Quote of the Day

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” [1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia]

– James Madison

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Obama’s Emission Policy Kills 800 more Americans a Year

Maybe my invitation to one of the many social gatherings and cocktail parties hosted by President Obama and the First Lady has been lost in the mail? I mean I have been paying for the $100 single servings of the mighty delicious, oh so tender and savory “wagwu steaks” that Barry O delightfully serves to his VIP, red-carpet-welcomed guests. While this week’s episode of The Fabulous Life on VH-1 did not feature Barack’s cushy playboy lifestyle, I am holding out for the episode that will attribute him as this year’s concluding rock star. I mean, the man deserves the celebrity lifestyle he was given.

His giving nature is what inspires me to be all that I can be. Even today Barry O put Mother Teresa to shame when he signed the credit card bill into law. In case you missed the coverage, his halo radiantly floated above his head, while the delightful harps played in the background as the rays from heaven shined down to gracefully silhouette his toned features as he delicately signed each letter of his name with a new pen. His generosity outpoured as he carefully designated each pen to a specific individual who aided in the writing of the credit card bill so they would have a token to cherish and pass down to generations.

But the blessings we have received from Barry are much more than pens to treasure. We Americans have received the charming gift of debt and now it seems with new emission standards we will also receive the gift of death, well at least 800 more Americans a year to be specific.

Ian Murray, writer of “the corner,” part of the National Review stated, “Using the methodology of the CEI study from a few years back, applied to today’s fatality numbers in a back-of-the-envelope calculation, the new policy will lead to around 800 more needless deaths on the road each year. Blood for less oil, you could say.”

Announced by Barry O earlier this week, cars and trucks produced by the year 2016 are to achieve an improved EPA all in the name of improved greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, on the market today there are only 11 vehicles that meet these tough standards and most of which are nothing more than glorified golf carts that could barley transport more than a few victims, excuse me, passengers.

Beyond killing American’s, Megan McCardle encapsulates what the new policy or regulations will do:

• It will raise the prices of cars, and make them less safe
• It will reduce our carbon emissions, but not by as much as advertised, because more fuel efficient cars make driving cheaper, so people will do more of it. This “rebound” effect robs about 25% of gains, and also means more congestion, and more wear-and-tear on roads
• This will either help the Big Three compete, or seal their doom as the Japanese manufacturers continue to eat into their market share. If I had to bet, I’d wager this means big ongoing subsidies for our favorite three public charities.
• If you want to cut down on the pollution from driving, this is about the worst possible way to do it. On the other hand, it may be the only politically feasible way to do it. If you take global warming seriously, as I do, it may be the best of a bad set of policy choices.

You know, I have nothing against taking care of the environment. In fact, I do my part to be conservative with the Earth we were given by recycling and by taking correct care of my trash. That is called being responsible. But irresponsibility is cultivated when poor regulatory choices are forced upon a once free market by the government. But of course we must remember America’s good fortune with the election of a selfless man who has taken time off the greens to help us poor, uneducated peasants achieve global warming Moksha.

I think Don Boudreaux, of Café Hayek, describes our nation’s luck the best in his offered comment:

“We Americans are lucky. President Obama, although having zero experience as an entrepreneur or in the automotive industry, has designed fuel-efficiency standards that (he assures us) will save the average car buyer $2,800 over the life of his or her vehicle. What a deal!

No one in Detroit, in the U.K., in Japan, in Germany, in Korea, in Sweden, in Italy, in France – no one anywhere, not even persons with decades of experience producing and selling automobiles – has figured out how to devise vehicles that are so obviously attractive to American consumers — and, therefore, so rich in profit-earning potential for manufacturers — as are the ones now promised to us by the Obama administration.

And we can admire not only Mr. Obama’s industrial and commercial genius, but also his magnanimity in offering to the public, free of charge, his money-saving idea. He could have earned billions of dollars in profit by putting his idea to the test in the market. But no: by simply forcing us to use his idea and charging us nothing for it, he’ll forego this profit. We Americans are lucky indeed.”

Thanks Barry O! While you continue to ride in your motorcade of limousines, align yourself a photo-op next to the Statue of Liberty in Air Force One, or cruise in Marine One to Meijer to ride the coveted penny pony ride, I will opt for the heavy duty, at times gas guzzling, Range Rover in light of the environmentally friendly, oh so ugly smart car, especially with the knowledge that Ted (hiccup) Kennedy (hiccup, hiccup) is on the road.

Chaz Oswald

Putting Granholm on the Supreme Court could put John Cherry in the Governor’s Mansion in 2010

President Barack Obama just might cast the decisive vote in the 2010 Michigan gubernatorial race. The Administration’s announcement that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is on the short list of potential Supreme Court Justice Replacements holds significance for the 2010 governors’ race. If Granholm is selected to replace Justice Souter on the nation’s highest court, Lieutenant Governor John Cherry would assume the role of Governor. Given that Lt. Gov. Cherry is the presumptive Democratic gubernatorial candidate, this raises an important question: Would having Lt. Gov. Cherry finish out Granholm’s term help or hinder the Democrats in 2010?

I think it would help them. The promotion of Cherry to Governor would give him the opportunity to make a bigger impression on voters, whether positive or negative. The economy is by far the foremost issue on voters’ minds, especially in the Michigan, which has been suffering an economic downturn for years. If this scenario plays out, the economy would be the deciding factor in public perception.

Economically, if Michigan continued declining, Cherry could somewhat rightfully claim that it is not his fault – and promise a more hopeful future. He might take a slight hit at the polls, but this would be more than offset by the name recognition and higher public profile that the Governor’s Office would bring.

If the economy improved, Gov. Cherry would be seen as part of the administration that crafted the needed policy. Being in the Governor’s Office during a recovery would also serve to better his chances, even if only for a year. An economic upswing in Michigan would probably prove beneficial to the Democrats regardless of whether Granholm is appointed to the Court.

If nothing else, Cherry would almost certainly obtain substantially more recognition among voters. Lt. Governor John Cherry will be tough opponent for Republicans regardless, but a year as Governor could give him enough momentum to hold on to the Governor’s Mansion in 2010.

However, Republicans have a wonderful and well qualified selection of individuals considering a run for the Governor’s office. It will be up to us, the grassroots conservatives, to educate and inform Michigan’s citizens. 2010 is going to be our year to take back the out of control and arrogant leadership we so blindly elected.

Zak

Quote of the Day

“ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

-John Adams

How Money Buys Happiness

Ever since the ancient Sumerians began trading commodities as currency, men have been enthralled with money. From the origin of credit during the Babylonian Empire to the introduction of the modern credit card, mankind has been obsessed with gaining more money at greater speed with greater ease. Money has been the rise and downfall of civilizations, the catalyst of conflict, the sinews of war and the key to peace. The issues of money and credit have played a dominant role in world history, from providing impetus to the Crusades to ensuring Union victory during the American Civil War. Whether coins made from gold or numbers on a computer screen, money represents a store of value and portable power.

Money inspires the greatest of passions — both good and bad. Warren Buffett, the world’s wealthiest man, recently made headlines by donating an unprecedented $37 billion to the Gates Foundation.  Conversely, Francisco Pizzarro led an expedition of Spanish conquistadors against the Incans almost 500 years ago, pillaging and looting all their possessions, killing their army, and garroting their emperor Atahuallpa.  Pizzarro ruthlessly forced the natives to work their own mines, extracting gold and silver for shipment back to Spain. The invasion and forced labor killed thousands of Incans, whose blood and toil gave the Spanish crown wealth beyond its wildest dreams.

Money brings out the best and the worst of human nature. But can it buy happiness? The answer is yes, but not in the way you might think. The mere possession of money does not yield happiness, but giving money away can provide great joy. 

Having money does not ensure happiness. A 1995 University of Illinois study found that one third of America’s wealthiest individuals were less happy than their average-income counterparts. If the mere possession of money creates happiness, then the richer members of society would certainly be leading the happiest lives.

Reality paints a far different picture. Some of history’s wealthiest individuals have been the most miserable.  Here is what some of them have said:

John D. Rockefeller, the richest man of all time: “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness.”

William H. Vanderbilt: “The care of $200 million is enough to kill anyone.  There is no pleasure in it.”

Henry Ford: “I was happier when doing a mechanic’s job.”

John Jacob Astor: America’s first millionaire, “I am the most miserable man on earth.”

Their money was certainly not cause for happiness to these individuals, and instead often contributed to making their lives miserable.

Consider the sudden fortune that came to Keith Bryce, a 2005 winner of the Mega Millions lottery. Bryce received $3.7 million, overnight becoming a wealthy man. Instead of solving all his problems, the money only compounded them. His subsequent marriage to a younger woman has angered Bryce’s mother and she barely speaks to him. Bryce’s relationships with his siblings were strained following an ill-conceived business venture that was financed with his winnings. Sudden wealth has brought hard feelings and destroyed his family connections, and three years later Bryce has spent almost all of the money with little to show for it.

Bryce’s story and the testimony of some of America’s richest personalities illustrate the fallacy of money equaling happiness.  While money allows the acquisition of expensive possessions, the beneficial effects are short-lived. Eventually great wealth became a burden to these individuals, contributing to depression and misery.

The only way to achieve genuine happiness through money is in giving it away.  At first glance this appears illogical, but an understanding of the definition of happiness reveals this to be the case.   Helen Keller best defined happiness when she said: “A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.

Many individuals have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”  Ayn Rand took this thought further when she said: “Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.”  Thus happiness comes not from pursuing material, short-lived things like money or power, but from worthy ideals and the attainment of an individual’s values. Happiness is not self-gratification but rather selflessness.

Applying this understanding of happiness to the topic of money, selflessness means giving it away.  Happiness is attainable when we use money to enrich the lives of others.  Pursuing and clinging to money does not lead to happiness and often produces the opposite effect. One wonders if the wealthy people mentioned would have been more joyful had they never amassed such riches.

The absence of great wealth certainly does not inhibit happiness, and times of financial hardship can actually be beneficial.  Whether individually or organizationally, good things can come from financial crises. Financial depressions force individuals and businesses to become innovative and rely on ingenuity for survival.  Some of today’s most successful companies have been launched in the midst of economic downturns. Well-known corporations like Microsoft, Wikipedia, Disney, and Hewlett-Packard were all started in less than
desirable economic conditions.

Economic depressions can also have a positive effect on individuals – they bring a renewed emphasis on things like family, friends and relationships. Having strong family and friend relationships could be considered an almost universal ideal of happiness, and money can often get in the way of these other, more important areas in life.

Thankfully many recognize that happiness is not rooted in the ownership of possessions, power or money, but in things like contentment, strong relationships and helping others.  Money and happiness are not mutually exclusive, but one does not beget the other. Happiness is not a commodity that can be bought, but rather an ideal that can be found. For even when money is not present, happiness can flourish. It is giving rather than receiving — selflessness instead of selfishness — that brings about authentic happiness.

-Zak

2010 Secretary of State Prospective Candidates Forum

Yesterday evening a small “meet an greet” was sponsored by the Pachyderm organization allowing a forum for Senator Cameron Brown, Fmr. Representative Judy Emmons, Senator Michelle McManus, and County Clerk and Register of Deeds Anne Norlander to speak in regards to their credentials and their ideals if elected to the position of Michigan’s Secretary of State. But before I detail the astonishing pool of candidates let me introduce to you the Pachyderm organization.

In 1998, Joan Secchia founded the group known as the Pachyderms. It is an organization intended for women who believe in common sense politics and a return to the principles of our Founding Fathers. As of now the Pachyderm Chairs include its founder Joan Secchia, Maria DeVos, Judy Hooker, Mimi Amash, Sue Jandernoa, Carol Van Andel, and Iva Tol. With the desire to reach young republican women, the organization, with the guidance of Iva Tol, founded what is called the Junior Pachyderms and most recently the Pachytrains; each a branch of the Pachyderms. The Junior Pachyderms are chaired by Julie Henrickson and Samantha Mehney and tend to attain women around the age of thirty to forty years. The Pachytrains are chaired by Laura Vorgis and Ashlie Estabrook primarily targeting college age women and those in their twenties. Then, as of last evening the event was opened to young republicans including men.

The forum was a very tasteful and informative event introducing the SOS candidates with Senator Cameron Brown being the first to speak. Deriving his passion for politics from his father, a World War II Veteran, Senator Brown is currently serving Michigan’s 16th district. He is a lifelong republican who has been elected at numerous levels from City Council to that of his current position of State Senator. His Secretary of States campaign is based on “Common Roots. Common Values. and Common Sense.” Brown believes that the office of Secretary of State is about serving and protecting the great people of Michigan. To learn more about Senator Cameron Brown you can follow him and his campaign at http://senatorcameronbrown.blogspot.com/.

Former Representative Judy Emmons, now a candidate for Secretary of State, followed Senator Cameron Brown. Previously serving the people of mid-Michigan, Emmons believes it is now time to serve Michigan collectively. Just like the other three candidates, Judy has fought tirelessly to preserve our freedoms, protect our unborn, and please our people without compromising her conservative values. Visit Judy Emmons’ website at http://www.judyemmons.com/ to learn more about her record, stances, and candidacy.

Known by some as the “Sarah Palin of Michigan,” Senator Michelle McManus followed Former Representative Judy Emmons last night. No, Senator McManus does not have a Moose head hanging in her office, but she does have a great deal of stuffed animals hanging on her walls as she is an avid hunter and strong proponent of our Second Amendment rights. Serving the people of the 35th District, Michelle feels that it is time she extends her fight from the State Senate to the office of Secretary of State. With the technological advancements that have come and the greater use of the internet, Michelle advocates taking advantage of said technology in order to create a more user-friendly and accessible engagement with the Secretary of State offices. Visit http://www.michellemcmanus.org/ to inform yourself more on the positions of Senator Michelle McManus.

County Clerk and Register of Deeds, Anne Norlander, was the forth and final candidate last night for the Secretary of State position. If you do not remember, last November the Calhoun County conservatives were slaughtered as many offices were turned over to democrats in hope of “change.” However, Anne boasts reelection with garnering fifty-five percent of the vote in her county which comparatively gave her 1000 more votes than Barack Obama which she claims shows her electability. Again, Anne is yet another fine conservative running for the SOS office and you can learn more about her at http://annenorlander.com/.

Cameron Brown, Judy Emmons, Michelle McManus, and Anne Norlander are all well qualified and credentialed conservative candidates for the position of Secretary of State. It was an honor having all four briefly share and discuss their plans hosted by the fruitful Pachyderm organization. With honest candidates such as these, 2010 looks like a promising year for Republicans.

-Chaz Oswald