We’ve Moved Again

If you are interesting in more of my commentary.  Please follow me at my new blog, Utah’s Arch.

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Change Is in the Air

In my previous post I mentioned that I wasn’t planning on blogging for several months. Well, I am breaking that because I have some pretty big news in my life. I know that I am going to get heck from some people for posting here, but I did state that I might break in with any big news, so here it is.

At the beginning of December my boss asked me to join him in the Head Manager’s Office. While worry always comes to mind in such situations, I knew that this couldn’t be anything bad. At least I hoped.

They wanted to talk to me to offer me a different position in the office.

If you have followed me on Twitter, you know that I have often complained about our IT Guy. I have often felt that I knew more about computers than he. Well, now is my time to prove it.

They asked me to spend the next few month training on the various systems, and then I will take over the bulk of the IT work. This has me a little nervous, because while I am fairly handy at computers, I have very little experience with network administration. But I am also equally excited for the chance to learn.

The few people that I have talked to about it at work (I was told not to, but some people already knew), have shown a lot of confidence in me. While that is reassuring, I hope that I don’t fail them.

This couldn’t have come at a better time. I like my job and I really like the company that I work for, but I am getting tired of the same old story every day. I have been wanting a change in my career for several months now. So, this seems to be a great fit for me.

One problem I see with this, is that it may interfere with the project that I started several months back. Honestly, while I have done some work on it. I haven’t done a lot. And now that things are changing at work, I will probably have less time to work on it. Which might mean that I will start blogging again. However, no promises. I am going to see how everything works out.

Anyway, I hope this new year is good for you, and I am sure that it will be an exciting one like this one appears to be for me.

Hiatus, Sabbatical, Time Off, Leave of Absence, etc.

First of all, congratulations to all who won their races in this election. Specifically, I want to congratulate Jason Chaffetz and Carl Wimmer. It was truly an honor to work on both of your campaigns.

I am of course a little upset about the Obama win. However, the people have spoken, and now we must live with the “change” that is coming our way. I personally am bracing for impact, but praying that it won’t be as hard as I imagine it.

Now on to the reason for this post. About six months ago, I started a project right in the middle of all this campaigning that I had volunteered to do. Thinking back, it wasn’t really the smartest timing for starting a new project. With family, work, church, and campaigning, I had no time to work on anything else. Further, I got myself rather involved in several online “social networks.” I have generally enjoyed interacting with others on these sites, but it has consumed a lot of time.

However, I have realized that this has consumed a lot of my time. Perhaps even more than television had once occupied.

So, the big news for today and the reason I am writing is to let you know that I am leaving the online world (sort of). I will be discontinuing much online presence for a while. I am not going completely off-line, and I am not deleting any accounts. I am just taking a 6-month break.

Here is the rough break down of what exactly is happening:

This blog (and others)
I will discontinue all blog activity. I have no plans or intentions of commenting here for the next 6 months. No stories about my life, no political commentary, and no more dutch oven recipes. If anything significant happens during the Utah legislative session, I might jump on here briefly, but I really am not planning on much. I strongly recommend you follow me through RSS or the Utah Bloghive. Both of these should let you know when I have started posting again. Otherwise, you can just wait until May.

Twitter
I pretty much plan on abandoning this for the next 6 months. I am for sure not going to be reading others’ posts. And I don’t expect that I am going to make any comments there as well. I might on a rare occasion give an update on the progress of my project, but I won’t be following what is going on in others’ lives.

Facebook
This may be the one place that I stay with. I won’t follow it as closely, but I am thinking that I will post a few pictures and videos. This will be mostly to keep in touch with family. Sure I will interact with friends, but for the most part, I will not be following people’s status reports or pictures.

RSS Reader
I have greatly reduce the number of feeds that I am following. Don’t worry, I have saved a back up of all the RSS feeds that I have been following. But I have reduced my current feeds from 129 to less then a third of that. I was hoping to do more, but there are a few forums, people, and news items that I still want to keep up with. However, I did remove some of the most active feeds. I expect that I will have only about 10% of the amount of reading as I have come to expect.

You might be wondering what project could be so important that I would change my life so much. However, I am not telling, and only a select few know. Most of you probably won’t be interested in the project. Most of you will find it a complete waste of time. However, there are a few of you that might find it a worthwhile project. I am choosing to keep it under the cover for now, and I promise that by May 15 2009 I will tell you what the project is. However, I will drop a wee little hint for you.

During my time away, I hope all fares well for each of you. In the unlikely event you want to contact me, there is a contact tab at the top of this page, go ahead and use that. Or you can try t r g r a n t -at- b y u -dot- n e t.

Thanks for your readership, both in good times and bad. I hope that this project is a success, and that I am able to publish a positive announcement is 6 months. Good-bye for now.

Join a Group of Hundreds in a Fast for Our Nation

I wrote about this earlier, and many of you joined in. I am inspired out fast this movement is picking, and I wanted to remind all of my readers, that it isn’t too late to join in.

The Nationwide Fast is effort to encourage every citizen of this great country to fast on November 2nd. We are fast as a petition to God to get our nation on track with his will.

If you haven’t taken the time to commit yourself to this nationwide effort, please do so now. You can show your commitment in several ways, but the best ways are either on the website or on facebook.

Say No to Renew the Zoo

About a month ago, Hogle Zoo emailed a coworker in the office where I work.  They asked if she would be willing to share and email with our office. The forwarded email essentially invited us to put a yard sign up at our homes. I immediately choose to offend half of the office, and I told them, that I would be voting no on Proposition 2.

I became very unpopular. Not that I was popular before.

I was accused of being a hypocrite because I attended the company summer picnic at the zoo, when I don’t support the zoo. I quickly correct those who accused me of such, and said that I support the zoo. I have supported the zoo in the best way I know how. I have purchased annual memberships at the zoo. I have had 3 separate annual memberships.

My problem is not with the zoo. It is with taxes and debt. We are entering into some financially trying times. And we need to cut back on services. We shouldn’t be increasing our state’s debt and thus increasing the tax burden on our citizens.

Like others, I will be voting no on Proposition 2. And I still love the zoo. Hmm… It’s probalby time to signup for another annual memberships again.

Utah GOP Shuns at Anti-Hatch/Bennett Message

The Utah Republican Party doesn’t like fellow Republicans who voice their opinion against their candidates.

Did you know that the Utah Republican Party has a blog.  It’s called Leadership that Deliverers and it is generally fairly informative and fun to read.  I commend them in their efforts to reach out their party members and the public through blogging.

However, about a week ago, the party bloggers posted their support for Hatch and Bennett’s votes on the bail out bill. Immediately after reading the post, I commented that I disagreed with them.

Then I watched waiting for my comment to be published. It never was. At first, I thought that it was because of my dissenting opinion. But it doesn’t go that far. Because they currently have one comment that disagrees with them.

So, they aren’t that thin skinned. But they are sensitive about their politicians. Because the only reason that I can think why they wouldn’t publish the comment was that I specifically stated that I would not be voting for Bennett or Hatch their next election time.

I would provide the full comment, but I wasn’t smart enough to keep a copy of the comment somewhere. I just assumed that they were open-minded enough to let my post get through. I now know better.

It’s amazing how weak kneed the party is. Come on guys. We can’t a little decent in the party? It’s almost enough to make we want to leave. But I won’t because the Utah Republican Party is the closest major party to my opinion, and I can’t have influence without their strength.

Apparently, I CAN‘t choose to vote against a Republican candidate and express it on their blog.

Hatch is Wrong on Bailout

My friend email Senator Orrin Hatch about the recent bail out bill that he supported at the beginning of the month.  I believe that my friend’s email was letting Hatch know that he didn’t support the bail out.  And this was the response that he received from Hatch.

It is just further eveidence as to why the 110th congress needs to be removed from duty.  I share the email in its entirety.  But of course, I have to pause for comment. (Just for clarification, the italicized and indented portion is the letter from Hatch, the rest are my thoughts.)

From: Correspondence_Reply@hatch.senate.gov
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2008 11:54 AM
To: My Friend Whose Name Has Been Removed
Subject: Response to your inquiry to Senator Orrin Hatch

Thank you for contacting me to express your view that the Congress must act to address the current crisis in our financial markets and the state of the economy. I appreciate hearing from you.

As you well know, our financial markets have become increasingly volatile over the past weeks. The collapse of major financial institutions and a giant insurance company sent a clear signal that we were on the brink of a major financial catastrophe. Something had to be done in order to prevent the problems of our financial markets from leaking into other sectors of our economy. Secretary Paulson and President Bush offered the first solution to the exacerbating economic decline as an attempt to get the dialogue flowing. However, many, including myself, believed that this plan was not sufficient. The House amended the original plan in an attempt to protect taxpayer’s interest, prevent exuberant executive packages for participating entities, and provide more oversight. Even with these additions, the plan failed to pass the House, and that day the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 778 points, the biggest single-day point loss in history.

Politics of fear.  If you want people to believe that they should give more power to the government just make them afraid.  Create enough fear in them and they will bend over to let you have more power.

As you, I am deeply troubled by the financial situation we are facing. We did not get here because of any one decision or policy – these problems were years in the making. For example, in the late 1990s, the Clinton Administration began pressuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase loans to subprime borrowers. We are seeing the consequences of a long series of policy errors, both in private and public sectors, which have combined to create a “perfect storm” of financial problems. In my view, one thing was for certain, inaction was not an option. We had to provide relief quickly because the consequences of inaction far outweighed the cost of the provisions in the legislation.

Just a minute here.  We are blaming the Clinton Administration here?  Let us not for gets that is the congress that has more control over the economy than the President.  And let us also not forget that Hatch and Bennet were both Senators during the Clinton Administration.  He is right that “these problems were years in the making.”  And Hatch is part of those years.

If we had not addressed this problem, we would be ignoring a much greater danger. For everyone who has a savings account, retirement savings, or a job, inaction placed these lifelines in jeopardy. For anyone who needs a mortgage loan, to borrow for a car, or to finance an education, the prospects had significantly worsened. With business expansion and job creation, there is a need for credit in order to make our economy work.

Wow, this isn’t what President Bush said.  Bush said that it was all about credit.  So, who is right?  Simply put, the real solution here is to manage our money.  To keep debt to a minimum, or eliminate it all together.

The Senate version of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, HR.1424, which ultimately passed the Senate and the House and was signed into law on October 3rd, broadened the ability of the federal government to revitalize our economy. The legislation is designed to help secure retirement savings, help small-business owners meet payroll and help restore the American people’s confidence in their own financial well being. Furthermore, the Senate added specific provisions to curtail the jobless rate and promote investment. Among the added provisions was a set of extensions to expired and expiring tax provisions, including the research tax credit and the Alternative Minimum tax (AMT). While it is estimated that 70 percent research tax credit dollars are used for wages of R&D employees, the AMT relief will free 23 million Americans, including hundreds of thousands of Utahns from having to pay the unfair AMT.

Thank you Uncle Sugar. I knew that you would come and save the day.  What would we do with out.  Sarcasm over.  The real solution is that we need to be willing to sacrifice.  By sacrifice, I mean to suffer the pains of an indutry that got greedy, and the consumers who were just as equally greedy.  We shouldn’t be placing this burden on someone else shoulders (our children) by getting in to debt.  The worst way to get out of debt is by incurring more debt, it makes no sense.

This legislation, while not perfect, will have a greater impact beyond Wall Street into Main Street. I believe that one reason why the financial rescue legislation failed to pass in the House the first time was because the American people were not convinced that the bill would help them personally.  Along with this, I believe that many Americans failed to see the connection with the current crisis with our financial markets and their own future economic well being.

Oh, I get it, Main street is too stupid to realize that they will be affected by Wall Street. This is just further proof that Hatch is an elitist.  He thinks he knows better than us.  We do realize that these companies failures will hurt us.  But, that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.  Government intervention is never the solution.

While the Economic Stabilization Act may hold off an impending economic meltdown, it must now be followed up with decisive action on our part. Foremost, we need to change the way the financial sector works. The Federal Reserve needs to rethink its definition of good monetary policy and determine whether its existing policy tools — such as reserve requirements, oversight capabilities, and reporting rules — are adequate. In addition, Congress must reconsider what it has charged the Federal Reserve to do. The Fed has been charged with two goals: 1) providing a sound currency with stable purchasing power, and 2) maintaining steady economic growth with low unemployment. At this point, it is obvious that an aggressive, excessively easy monetary policy in pursuit of short-term growth is self-destructive in the long-run. It leads only to inflation and speculative excesses in the credit markets that harm the economy. Only by focusing on a stable currency can the Federal Reserve achieve both its objectives.

Can you please explain to me how printing more money will help to stabilize our currency?  And further, increased regulation will not fix this problem.  Isn’t government involvement in the banking industry what got us here in the first place.  Keep your dirty hand off of the private sector.

We also need to completely rethink Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As we’ve heard countless times over the last few weeks, in creating these two government-sponsored enterprises, we have made sure that the benefits of their investments are private while all the risks are public. Put simply, this is bad policy, with considerable moral hazard. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together represent an immense government-created and government-coddled duopoly. In the years since their creation, they have focused mainly on their own expansion, recklessly urged on by many in Congress who believed this was a way to make home ownership more affordable for lower income families. However, as a recent Fed study has demonstrated, most of the benefit of the previously implicit – now explicit — federal guarantee of their debt has gone to their shareholders as higher earnings, not to reducing costs for new homeowners. In their efforts to expand, Fannie and Freddie took too many unwarranted risks. They needed an ever-expanding supply of new mortgages to package and resell and to hold for income. Others fed this expansion effort with unsound lending. The recent Federal rescue package of these institutions requires an immediate step: Congressional oversight. It is a little late in coming, but, as of right now, it is essential.

Yep, I was right.  It was the government meddling in the private sector that caused it.  Thanks for helping me to understand how WRONG you are.

The regulatory and rating agencies also need to be reviewed. We need to ask whether they have enough resources for adequate supervision and whether they’ve failed to recognize the evolutionary changes in the credit markets and the new business arrangements that reduced transparency in financing. These and other questions will have to be explored as we move forward.

Yep, that’s right.  The problem has been that these federal programs don’t have enough money.  Why don’t we just print some more money and give it to these regulatory agencies.  When are you going to get it through your thick head, that government and money are the only solutions to every problem.  The solution in this case has to be self-regulation.

I believe that we clearly need to reform our financial markets and refine the powers of the Federal Reserve in order to ensure crises like this don’t happen again. And, though I hesitated to support the idea, it is not unreasonable to conclude that government intervention can provide immediate relief and prevent any more catastrophic losses in the near future and give the financial market time to sort out the mess. But, if we don’t adopt policies that are pro-growth, pro-business, and pro-job creation, we won’t be able to ensure long-term economic security for our country, no matter how many bad mortgages we purchase with taxpayers’ money.

Government involvement hasn’t been working so far.  Why would it work now?  Come on.  I am tired of this.

In order to address these concerns, Congress must be very careful as we work to solve this crisis. We must meet the demands of taxpayers and restore confidence in our financial markets.

Again, thanks for writing.

Sincerely,
Orrin G. Hatch
United States Senator

I have posted in several places (twitter, facebook, Newspapers, personal emails, etc.) that I will not be supporting Hatch or Bennet for reelection.  This email has solidified by reasons for such a move.  Hatch believes that government is the solution to all our problems.  When in reality it is usually the cause of it.