Sarah Palin was on Glenn Beck today. She had some really great things to say. Here is my favorite quote:
"GOVERNOR PALIN: See, Glenn, people have got to hear his words, don't just be there at these rallies or anything else. Listening to what he's saying. You have to really, really hear what he is saying. Barack Obama claims that he will cut income taxes for 95% of Americans. The problem is more than 40% pay no income taxes at all. So how do you cut income taxes for folks who don't pay them? What he's going to do is write them a check and call that a tax cut, even though it's really a tax credit. And where is he going to get all the money for all those checks? By raising taxes on America's families and on our small businesses and folks just like Joe the plumber, and Barack Obama is playing with words to hide his real agenda of redistributing the hard earned money of American families and I mean, you've got to hand it to Joe the plumber in Toledo. He's the one who succeeded in finally getting Barack Obama to, in plain speak, explain what his intentions are for these quote/unquote tax cuts."
Here are some of Obama's ideas for redristributing wealth:
- A $500 tax credit ($1,000 a couple) to "make work pay" that phases out at income of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 per couple.
- A $4,000 tax credit for college tuition.
- A 10% mortgage interest tax credit (on top of the existing mortgage interest deduction and other housing subsidies).
- A "savings" tax credit of 50% up to $1,000.
- An expansion of the earned-income tax credit that would allow single workers to receive as much as $555 a year, up from $175 now, and give these workers up to $1,110 if they are paying child support.
- A child care credit of 50% up to $6,000 of expenses a year.
- A "clean car" tax credit of up to $7,000 on the purchase of certain vehicles.
"Here's the political catch. All but the clean car credit would be "refundable," which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to call it a tax cut." (Wall Street Journal)
ACORN, short for The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, began in 1970 with noble goals. They wanted better housing and wages for the poor, more community development investment from banks and governments, and better public schools.
They fought and “demonstrated” and were able to push through many of the policies that led to our current financial crisis. Any bank that didn’t lower credit standards and give loans to people that couldn’t pay them back were labeled “racist” and ACORN would conduct strikes against them. ACORN protesters will break into private offices, show up at a banker’s home to intimidate his family, or pour protesters into bank lobbies to scare away customers, all in an effort to force a lowering of credit standards for poor and minority customers.
This wasn’t too big of a problem until the 1990’s. Freddie and Fannie would not buy the bad loans. The banks that got pushed around by ACORN would try to sell their risky mortgages to Fannie and Freddie, and they said “no way!” Unfortunately, ACORN found a friend in President Clinton and many Democratic members of Congress.
In June of 1995, President Clinton announced his new strategy for raising home-ownership in America to an all-time high. He said that: “Our homeownership strategy will not cost the taxpayers one extra cent. It will not require legislation.” Clinton meant that these informal partnerships between Fannie and Freddie and groups like ACORN would make mortgages available to people with bad credit and people without money.
Great plan…we know now that this has indeed cost taxpayers far more than “one extra cent”.
It’s probably important to mention that Barack Obama was the attorney representing ACORN at this time. Just a small detail…
Another small detail to mention is that ACORN is funded by our tax dollars! Seriously!! And Democrats tried to give them more money through the recent “bailout”. Remember…the one that started out at $700 billion…then they added $150 billion in pork. Yeah, that bailout. Well, the first version had more money going to ACORN! Thank heavens that didn’t make it through. At least the pork is just going to NASCAR and wooden arrow makers.
So we have the American taxpayers giving this group lots of money. This has given them the ability to jump into a whole new area.
Yep. We are paying for them to register as many liberals as it takes to get Barack Obama elected. Of course, Obama is doing his part too. His campaign gave ACORN over $800,000 for get-out-the-vote efforts. Somehow he initially reported that this contribution was for “staging, sound and lighting.” His campaign says it was a “clerical error” and has amended their report. I’m sure he wasn’t trying to hide the fact that he gave a large sum of money to a liberal organization that has been convicted of voter fraud. No…it was a “clerical error”. (This happened at the end of August…you probably didn’t hear about it…why would the media run a negative story about Obama?)
This year ACORN is spending $16 million to register new Democrats. The question is: how many are real? Mickey Mouse…Tony Romo…probably not very many of them.
Just to prove my point…here are some of the states where the fraud is taking place. Notice all of the battleground states…coincidence? I think not. Why bother trying to win the election fair and square when you can falsely register an entire phonebook and be done with it?
Connecticut - falsifying/forging voter registration cards; Bridgeport, Connecticut estimates about 20% of Acorn's registrations were faulty.
Florida - falsifying voter registration;
Indiana - falsifying/forging voter registration cards; Lake County has already found more than 2,100 bogus applications among the 5,000 Acorn dumped right before the deadline. "All the signatures looked exactly the same," said Ruthann Hoagland, of the county election board.
Michigan - "a sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications."
Missouri - looking into hundreds of dubious Acorn registrations.
Nevada - a raid on Acorn's offices, following complaints of false names and fictional addresses (including the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys). Nevada's Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said he saw rampant fraud in 2,000 to 3,000 applications Acorn submitted weekly.
New Mexico - hiring felons to work on registration drives;
North Carolina - fraudulent registrations submitted;
Ohio - 200,000 fraudulent registrations (no, I did not add a zero…it’s really that many. The crazy part is that the election in that state will probably be won by less than 200,000 votes) one man ACORN registered to vote over 70 times; The very liberal Secretary of State is trying to let all 200,000 stay, because legitimate voters will be disenfranchised if they have to prove their information is correct. PLEASE!!!
Pennsylvania - $2k reward offered for ACORN temp charged with perjury, identity theft and vote fraud;
Texas - 40% of 27K registrations from Houston rejected;
Washington - worst case of registration fraud in state history;
Wisconsin - hiring felons as “special registration deputies” and investigating Acorn employees for, "making people up or registering people that were still in prison."
This means that in 2/3 of the states where ACORN ran voter registration drives, they were involved with fraudulent registrations.
That’s just this year!
In 2004, four Acorn employees were indicted in Ohio for submitting false voter registrations. In 2005, two Colorado Acorn workers were found to have submitted false registrations. Four Acorn Missouri employees were indicted in 2006; five were found guilty in Washington state in 2007 for filling out registration forms with names from a phone book. It goes on and on. And did I mention that they are funded by the federal government?
So how does Barack the "community organizer" fit into all of this? Right in the middle of it!
In 1992 he led voter registration efforts as the director of Project Vote, which included Acorn.
He served as a lawyer for Acorn in 1995
During his tenure on the board of Chicago's Woods Fund, that body funneled more than $200,000 to Acorn
In a speech he gave to ACORN in December 2007, he said that "before I even get inaugurated, during the transition, we're going to be calling all of you in to help us shape the agenda." Holy cow! They are NOT the ones I want shaping the agenda!
This past November, he applauded Acorn's leaders saying "I've been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work." Did you catch that…"smack dab in the middle of it"
And of course there is the $832,000 donation this year.
Obama says that he has “limited ties” to ACORN. Sure.
There is good news:
The numbers in Ohio are so ridiculously high that the FBI is getting involved. They are investigating ACORN to see if there is a “coordinated national scam.” Hopefully something can be done to stop ACORN.
Today, House of Representatives Republican leader John Boehner called for ACORN to be barred from receiving federal monies, and for a ban on ACORN contracting with candidates for federal office. He said, "ACORN spent decades promoting the housing policies that brought America's economy to the brink, and similarly over the years has committed fraud on our system of elections"
Parenting With Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Faye is hands down the best parenting book ever written. I feel qualified to make this assessment because I have read A LOT of parenting books. If you are a parent and have not read this book…go buy it! If you are not a parent yet…you’ll need it eventually!
Love and Logic parenting teaches responsibility by using the natural consequences of a child's behavior and actions to do the teaching. Parents should let children make choices and mistakes in the early years, when the consequences of the inevitable less-than-perfect choices are not too severe or damaging. By the time the child reaches adulthood, he is equipped with the decision-making skills needed for adult life. Parents can rob a child of the ability to grow up making good, responsible decisions. If a parent is constantly BAILING OUT their child, the child never learns from his mistakes. The mistakes will just keep getting bigger.
Earlier this week Aiden forgot his assignment notebook and math homework. My first thought was to BAIL HIM OUT by running it up to the school. I stopped myself, thinking “natural consequences”. Aiden knows that it is his responsibility to put his things in his backpack. If I had BAILED HIM OUT, would he have learned anything? His teacher made him redo the math homework during recess. And boy am I glad she did. Natural consequences. Hopefully he learned from this experience, and will be more responsible in the future.
You’re probably thinking “hey, I thought this was Aubrey’s political blog. Why is she reviewing parenting books?”
I’ve decided that every member of Congress needs this book!
I was very young during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980’s. But I believe very strongly that the taxpayer-funded BAILOUT related to mortgages during the savings and loan crisis encouraged lenders make the same mistakes again by making similar high risk loans over the last several years. That was a $160 billion bailout…if they had suffered natural consequences rather than being BAILED OUT, perhaps we wouldn’t have the much more expensive mess on our hands today.
So have we learned our lesson? Are we going for the natural consequences this time around? Oh no.
Congress is like a really bad parent. They have completely screwed everything up. Congress hasn’t set rules and standards for their “children”. They have given them free reign, and then bailed them out of their mistakes.
Bottom line…Congress is at fault. The crazy part? Congress is in charge of fixing the problem!!! So they came up with this stupid bailout plan.
Our economy is in the toilet, our national debt is soaring, and our currency is weakened. Basically, the credit score of the United States stinks! So…let’s take on $850 billion dollars in MORE DEBT! Great plan. The bailout started as a $700 billion idea. By the time it made it though the two houses of Congress, $150 billion dollars of pork had been added. Seriously.
Here are a few highlights of the pork:
• Makers of wooden arrows for kids. Cost to taxpayers: $2 million over 10 years. • Speedway owners (yeah…NASCAR). Cost to taxpayers: $100 million over two years. • Rum-makers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Cost to taxpayers: $192 million. • Companies that do research in the U.S. Cost to taxpayers: $19 billion. • Movie and television producers. Cost to taxpayers: $478 million over 10 years. • Wool producers and makers of wool clothing. Cost to taxpayers: $148 million over five years. • Businesses that encourage their employees to commute by bicycle. Cost to taxpayers: $10 million. • Corporations and producers that donate food. Cost to taxpayers: $149 million • Groups that donate books to schools: Cost to taxpayers: $49 million.
Regardless of whether you think these are good things…they did not belong in this “rescue” bill. That’s what they’re calling it now. ”Bailout” sounds so negative. Oh, and this is such a positive thing!
I hope I can raise four responsible adults, even though the government is setting a horrible example. Maybe I can get some pork of my own added to the next big rescue bill. How about $10,000 to buy each member of Congress a copy of Love and Logic.
I am completely in shock that despite the financial crisis in this country, there are actually people who think it’s a good idea to vote for Barak Obama. I realize that the media is singing his praises. Americans are scared, so they are blindly listening. People…please remember that the media is controlled by a bunch of liberals. Extreme liberals. You must use your own brain to make your decisions; don’t let them make your decisions for you.
I want to start at the very beginning of the “mortgage crisis”. What happened?
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This whole mess can be traced back to them. Fannie Mae gave mortgage loans to millions of Americans who couldn't afford them. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the worst offenders in this housing loan crisis, which in turn caused many banking institutions to go down with it. The crisis has had a domino effect throughout our financial institutions. In fact, AIG was in part brought down because it held $600 million in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
But why? Why would they make all of these risky subprime loans?
Fannie Mae is heavily involved with the Congressional Black Caucus. Interim CEO Daniel Mudd described the relationship Fannie Mae and the Congressional Black Caucus shared as a "family" relationship. The Caucus pressured Fannie Mae to make these loans. I am not saying that all of these bad loans belong to minorities. I am also not saying that banks are blameless. I AM saying that race played a big part in this mess.
Congress was pushing their "noble goal" of increasing home ownership for poor and minority Americans. There were lots of new rules that made it possible for otherwise unqualified people to buy homes. This really got going in the 90’s under President Clinton and included eliminating verification of income or assets, little assurance of the ability to pay the mortgage, and virtually eliminating down payments. That sounds great, but what they really did was create a time bomb that was set off as soon as property values began to decline.
Increase in demand (more "qualified" buyers) led to an increase in home prices. As long as housing prices rose, the problems of lowering lending standards were hidden. While prices rose, no one had to default. Instead, if someone was unable to pay the mortgage, the obvious option was to sell the house at a profit. As long as prices continued to rise...it was amazing...the new standards didn’t cause higher default rates than the old standards! Enter time bomb.
Government backing let Fannie and Freddie dominate the mortgage-underwriting. The politicians created the mortgage giants, which then returned some of the profits to the politicians. So it is probably important to know who Fannie and Freddie are giving their money to right?
Recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Campaign contributions 1989-2008 1. Chris Dodd 2. Barak Obama 3. John Kerry
And Obama has only been in the Senate a few years! I wonder why all of the “unbiased” media ignores this little fact?
The media has been successful in making this mess look like it is the fault of “Republicans”. Let’s take a quick look at other Obama/Democrat ties to the Freddie Fannie mess.
1. Former Fannie Mae Chairman and CEO Franklin Raines was the White House budget director under Bill Clinton. He was also cited by the Washington Post as an economic advisor to...Barack Obama. He left Fannie Mae $90 million dollars richer.
2. Jamie Gorelick served as Bill Clinton's Deputy Attorney General. She installed the Intelligence "Wall of Separation" that helped lead to 9/11. Then she served as Vice Chairman at Fannie Mae. In 2002, she told "Business Week" that Fannie Mae was "very, very strong" and was "managed safely". For her efforts, driving the company to the brink, she received $26 million plus bonuses.
3. Jim Johnson is a former Vice-Chairman at Fannie Mae, AND Former managing director of Lehman Bros. It seems BOTH those companies have come into question recently. Barack Obama appointed him to his 3 member Vice Presidential search committee.
4. Penny Pritzker currently serves as Obama’s national finance chairwoman. Pritzker was chairwoman of the board for her family’s bank, Superior Bank FSB, and later director of its holding company. She made the fateful decision to adopt a new business strategy of aggressive subprime lending. The bank went under in 2001; a year after federal bank regulators were alerted of Superior’s subprime lending practices. The bank was accused of poor risk management and of targeting minorities for subprime loans at a rate that far exceeded other financial institutions. The FDIC covered most of the losses, but there are over 1,000 people who didn’t get back all of the money they had deposited in the bank.
Aggressive subprime lending is an important component of the economic crisis we currently face. So when you hear Barack Obama discuss the current problems, don’t forget that his campaign’s top money-woman was one of the actors in this drama, who gambled in the subprime mortgage market, and lost millions for her bank customers.
How many times have you heard Obama say “four-more-years-of-the-same-failed-policies-of-the-Bush-administration”? Drives me nuts.
A little Poli Sci 101: The president can’t make law. Only the Congress can do that. President Bush has been asking Congress to pass laws reforming Freddie and Fannie during his entire presidency...17 times this year alone! Please indulge me here...I have included a few examples of the times that “the evil Bush administration” tried to prevent the mess we are in now. He was ignored. I have to include some examples, or you would think I’m making it up!
April 2001: The Administration's FY02 budget declares that the size of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is "a potential problem," because "financial trouble of a large GSE (Government-sponsored-enterprise) could cause strong repercussions in financial markets, affecting federally insured entities and economic activity."
May 2002: The President calls for the disclosure and corporate governance principles contained in his 10-point plan for corporate responsibility to apply to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (OMB Prompt Letter to OFHEO, 5/29/02)
September 2003: The Bush administration recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago. Under the plan, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.
If this had been passed, it could possibly have prevented the current financial crisis. The strongest opponents were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who feared that tighter regulation of the companies would sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing. (NY Times article- September 11, 2003)
February 2004: The President's FY05 Budget again highlights the risk posed by the explosive growth of the GSEs and their low levels of required capital, and called for creation of a new, world-class regulator: "The Administration has determined that the safety and soundness regulators of the housing GSEs lack sufficient power and stature to meet their responsibilities, and therefore…should be replaced with a new strengthened regulator." (2005 Budget Analytic Perspectives, pg. 83)
April 2005: Treasury Secretary John Snow repeats his call for GSE reform, saying "Events that have transpired since I testified before this Committee in 2003 reinforce concerns over the systemic risks posed by the GSEs and further highlight the need for real GSE reform to ensure that our housing finance system remains a strong and vibrant source of funding for expanding homeownership opportunities in America… Half-measures will only exacerbate the risks to our financial system." (Secretary John W. Snow, "Testimony before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee," 4/13/05)
April 2008: President Bush urges Congress to pass the much needed legislation and "modernize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. [There are] constructive things Congress can do that will encourage the housing market to correct quickly by … helping people stay in their homes." (President George W. Bush, Meeting With Cabinet, the White House, 4/14/08)
August 2007: President Bush emphatically calls on Congress to pass a reform package for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying "first things first when it comes to those two institutions. Congress needs to get them reformed, get them streamlined, get them focused, and then I will consider other options." (President George W. Bush, Press Conference, The White House, 8/9/07)
Why didn't Congress do anything?
In 2005, the Senate Banking Committee, then under Republican control, proposed a strong reform bill introduced by Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole (I love her!), and others. The bill prohibited Fannie and Freddie from holding portfolios, and gave their regulator more authority (such as setting capital requirements. In light of the current financial crisis, this bill was probably the most important piece of financial regulation before Congress in 2005 and 2006. All the Republicans on the Committee supported the bill, and all the Democrats voted against it. John. McCain endorsed the legislation in a speech on the Senate floor. Barack Obama, like all other Democrats, remained silent (he did that a lot). Republicans were unable to get enough Democratic votes for a filibuster-proof majority, and therefore failed in their effort to get the bill out of the Senate. “The same politicians who today decry the lack of intervention to stop excess risk taking in 2005-2006 were the ones who blocked the only legislative effort that could have stopped it”. (Wall Street Journal, September 2008)
I have seriously fallen down on the job! I have been meaning to post about the "financial crisis" and the "bailout", but I have had a hard time putting my thoughts into words. It's bad...very bad. The whole situation. I promise I will post my thoughts about the new bailout bill (and the $150 billion pork spending that is attached to it) very soon. Right now I am trying to read The Birth Order Book for Book Group tonight. So I am going to post a letter instead. This is from CNN.com; written by Glenn Beck. It's really good.
Happy 300th Birthday!
It's 2076 and we've just invented the time-fax machine. (Actually, "we" didn't invent the time-fax machine, the State did -- they pretty much control everything now.)
I'm faxing this back to you in 2008 because that seems to be the year we had the best chance to reverse our course and get back to the vision laid out by our founding fathers -- a vision that didn't include the government being in the insurance business.
I don't have a lot of time (the State only gives us one 30-minute break per day) so let me give you some advice: Stop worrying so much about who runs the country and start worrying about who runs your towns, your states, and your Congress.
I know you're all distracted by the presidential election, but for all the money and time poured into it, the truth is that you're choosing between two roads that will lead you to the same destination. Sure, one may be the Autobahn and the other a two-lane highway, but you'll end up at the same place either way.
Decades of Republicans and Democrats alike have all chipped in to lead you to where you are today. Believing that one person, from either party, can change that by themselves is a big mistake.
Presidents are like captains of a large ship: They can map out a course and shout out orders, but without the trust and hard work of the people who actually move the rudders, their commands mean nothing.
In retrospect, the lack of trust and confidence you now have in your leaders was really the root cause of everything that's happened since. While our founding fathers designed a brilliant system of checks and balances, separation of powers and democratic elections, trust was the one thing they couldn't mandate in the Constitution.
Unfortunately, it's also the foundation upon which everything else is built and once it began to erode, our whole house inevitably began to crumble.
Looking back now, it's pretty obvious that our trust in government declined at about the same rate as our partisanship increased. People became so concerned about getting their party into power at any cost that the truth didn't even seem to matter anymore.
That's probably one of the reasons why George Washington hated the idea of political parties so much. Here's what he said about them in his 1796 farewell speech:
"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty."
I know that George had a habit for using big words, so allow me to translate into 2008 English: Political parties that put their own success over that of the country's will be the death of America.
If you don't believe him yet, just wait a few more years...you're about to see firsthand how right he was. After all, if power corrupts, then the kind of absolute power gained by political parties (and feared by Washington) corrupts absolutely.
The best advice I can give you is to stop thinking in terms of left and right and start thinking in terms of right and wrong. Demand the best leaders possible, and then demand the best out of them.
Believe me, when you see what's coming your way, you'll realize how little the donkey and the elephant really ever mattered. Oh and while we're on politics, one quick thing that I'm sure you're curious about: Yes, Robert Byrd is still in the Senate. He's 159, but doesn't look a day over 91.
Now, let's talk about the economy. Let me see if I have this right: Money and power made people greedy, so you decided to hand over a bunch of money and power to greedy politicians instead. Smart! After using that money to nationalize a bunch of banks, mortgage companies and insurance companies, they moved on to bigger things.
The airlines came first -- we just couldn't live without them. Then it was the automakers (Detroit would've died), health care (they said they could manage it better), and eventually, the oil companies (I'm not sure where all of those "windfall profits" have gone).
The idea behind it all (an idea that was eventually turned into law with the passage of the Securities Exchange Act of 2011) was to "socialize losses" by spreading them out among all taxpayers. The pain, our leaders argued, would be minimal that way.
They were right. At least until the bills came due. See, we didn't actually have any of the money we were promising everyone; we were borrowing it.
It didn't take long before so many of our tax dollars were going toward interest payments that we couldn't fund even the most basic of government programs without massive tax increases on everyone. People now work most of the year just to pay Uncle Sam (or, as we now call him, "Comrade Sam").
I hear the State censors coming, so let me leave you with a few other quick things:
• Good call on not worrying about protecting our borders. That works out really well for you in 2019.
• You might want to spend a little less time worrying about carbon and a little more time worrying about Iran. We're now in a new mini-Ice Age but, believe me, Iran isn't using their nukes to warm any homes. (PS The International Atomic Energy Agency just revealed to you that Iran appears to be refitting their long-range missiles to carry nuclear payloads. Did you think they were joking or were you just too busy with lipsticks and pigs to notice?)
• The currency of the future is energy. Those who have it are thriving and those who don't -- well, let's just leave it at that. Drill for all the oil you can, but you also better start seriously looking for some other options.
In closing, remember this golden rule and you should be fine: Your Constitution will never fail you, but your leaders will. Be wary of anyone who tries to convince you that it's the other way around.
Best wishes (you're going to need them),
PS It's not all socialist doom and gloom here in the future. We just thawed Ted Williams' cryogenically frozen body and he hit 87 home runs for the North Team!
I am the Arkansas equivalent of a “Hockey Mom”. I have a degree in Political Science that I have never used, because I choose to stay home and raise my four kids. I love politics. Most people think that’s crazy, but I really do. I have lots of opinions, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my friends like reading what I have to say. So, with great encouragement from my friends, I started this blog. Whether you agree with me or not…here are my opinions!