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Did you know that President Obama is Black?

On Sundays in the Dallas Morning News, there is a section called, “Sounding Off”, that has brief comments by those who live in the Dallas area about a particular topic. The topic is chosen by one of the Dallas Morning News editors, and those of us that are contributors to the Sounding Off section get an email from the editor whenever he is interested in getting our opinions about a given topic.

Today, I got an email requesting two or three sentences about the topic, “What is the great untold story about your community in 2009 and how would it surprise people?”

I actually didn’t quite answer that exact question, but here is what I did submit:

“One great story in 2009 is how easy it has been for us to accept a Black president. I, and many people I know, disagree with many of President Obama’s policies, but his race hasn’t ever come up in my discussions with others. We are getting closer to Rev. Martin Luther King’s vision of judging a person for who they are rather than by the color of …

Government Job Creation and My Bad Math Skills

Someone tell me if I’m doing the math wrong.

In the 12/3/2009 business section of the Dallas Morning News, there’s an article about a White House summit to create jobs. The good news is that, according to the article, President Obama “returned last week from Asia vowing a renewed emphasis on the role of free trade in job creation.” He’s doing this in a number of ways, including attempting to get better free-trade pacts with Asian countries. And there are other things he wants to do to increase our exports, all of which are good. The article also claims that nearly one-fourth of the manufacturing jobs in Texas depend on exports, so clearly this would be helpful to Texas.

This all makes me happy.

How has the government been doing so far in creating jobs? The article says that unemployment is at 10.2%, “despite the $787 billion stimulus package. The White House argues that the stimulus has created or saved about 1 million jobs, but more must be done. “

Here’s where I need your math help.…

Government Based Upon Natural Law - (Part 8) - Foreign Trade, Foreign Relations, and Foreign Aid

"I saw that you could not separate the idea of commerce from the idea of war and peace. You could not have serious war anywhere in the world and expect commerce to go on as before. And I saw that wars were often caused by economic rivalry. I thereupon came to believe that if we could increase commercial exchanges among nations over lowered trade and tariff barriers and remove international obstacles to trade, we would go a long way toward eliminating war itself."

Cordell Hull, former Secretary of State, in his memoirs after observing two world wars
Foreign Relations

We should have cordial relations with all countries who act peacefully. No peaceful country ought to be afraid that the United States will ever attempt to conquer it or forcibly take away its natural resources.

To countries or groups that have ill intentions toward us, our firm message should be: It would be a grave mistake to attack us, because you will end up suffering more than we will. “Speak softly and carry a…

Are you Thankful for your Bathroom?

For this 2009 Thanksgiving, I thought I'd remind us to give thanks for things we don't usually remember to give thanks for.

Things for which we Should Express our Gratitude

Last night I went to the bathroom to take a shower. You won't believe this, but our shower has hot and cold running water, and the amount of water coming through the showerhead can be adjusted! How great is that? Less than a century ago, most people in the United States could not claim this. Most would have to go to back to an outhouse, not a bathroom. And once-a-week baths, shared by all family members were the norm.

Anyone want to go back a hundred years again and lose half the children that are born to a woman before that child is five?

Anyone want to go back to using horses as our main mode of transportation? Don't forget to clean up the manure, and shoo away the flies it attracts, and to close your nose while doing it.

Anyone want to go back before there was heat and air conditioning, sanitation, to…

Government Based Upon Natural Law - (Part 5) - Border Security and Immigration Policy

Border and Port Security
A primary responsibility of the federal government is to secure our borders, and our borders are clearly not currently secure. Every effort should be made to secure them so that it would be virtually impossible to enter our country illegally. Our borders need not necessarily have a literal fence. Rather, we may be able to use technology in conjunction with the border patrol and/or military to monitor our borders.

Our ports should be secured using the troops that we bring home from overseas. In particular, incoming cargo should be checked for nuclear devices or other weapons that pose threats to our national security.

Immigration Policy

1) Immigration is very important to the U.S. Our immigration policy should welcome many of the best people from all over the world who wish to immigrate to the United States.

Each potential immigrant should be subject to a background check and a medical exam, and we should attempt to discern whether or not the potential immigrant…

A Million Here, a Zillion There…

Government Debt Made Simple

Have you been scrupulously paying your way out of debt using one of those "Get out of Debt Now" programs? Or maybe you're already debt free. I'm sorry to say this, but you are so wrong. You may be personally out of debt but your beloved federal government has been taking you in the opposite direction.

Let's start with some government debt and deficit numbers, numbers so big that they are almost meaningless. But just for you, I'll reduce these numbers to what they would mean for an average family, so that you can get appropriately incensed. Frankly, most newspaper and magazine articles just stick with the big numbers, and we the people can only wonder what a trillion dollars means, and whether or not a zillion dollars is more or less than a trillion dollars. (Just for the record, a "zillion" is not real, but it is only slightly less not real than a trillion).

So bear with me for giving you the big numbers and I'll soon ge…

Are You a Republican or are you a Democrat? I hope not. (Part 2)

In my previous blog entry, I talked about the problems created by having just two major political parties. Here I talk about what we can do to ameliorate these problems and I also explore some alternatives to the two-party system. 

First, here are a few things we can do to improve the political situation even with two major political parties. These will take away some of the power they have that can burden the citizenry. 

An important solution is to pass a constitutional amendment that requires Congress to vote on only balanced budgets. Also, spending increases (over and above that due to inflation and increased population), would also require a 2/3rds vote from both houses, as would tax increases. Thus, there would need to be a broad agreement to deficit spend, increase spending, or increase taxes; no political party would be able to offer a free lunch to increase the chances of it getting elected. It should have an escape clause that allows Congress to override this with a 2/3rds vo…

Are you a Republican or are you a Democrat? I Hope Not. (Part 1)

"No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems.  They are trying to solve their own problems -- of which getting elected and re-elected are No. 1 and No. 2.  Whatever is No. 3 is far behind". 

Thomas Sowell, Economist

Are you tired of all the divisiveness that exists in the current political climate? A divisiveness that has leaked out into many other areas of life: talk radio, churches, the media, dinner parties, etc. Are you tired of the mounting national debt we are adding to every day? See if you agree with what I believe to be a major cause of both the divisiveness and the increasing national debt. 

Let's start with the divisiveness by first pointing out what is NOT causing it. 

It is not caused by the natural disagreements that occur about particular policies. We disagree about all kinds of things, but they don't usually cause a national splintering. 

And it is not caused by our politicians, as …

Has Mexico Read ‘Atlas Shrugged’?

For those of you who haven't read one of the best fiction books of all time, 'Atlas Shrugged', here's a three sentence summary of a 1200-page book: Those individuals that use their talents to create goods and services that are of value to people should not be punished by their government or anyone else. Any attempts to reduce their company's profits or their income are wrong and counterproductive. Rather, society should be happy that such individuals are prospering, since their prosperity will improve the prosperity of all people of good will.

Today, many people are concerned that the gap between the rich and poor is increasing. And indeed it has been for a number of years. But what they fail to mention is that the poor and middle class are still getting richer (over any time span of 10 years or more). So there's no need to begrudge the Bill Gates', the Ross Perot's, the Sam Walton's or the owners of Google. It is much better to be happy that we live…

The Dallas Cowboys and Math Phobia

If you like The Dallas Cowboys but you don't like math, this article is guaranteed to make you like math. Well, at least you'll see the purpose in being able to solve two simultaneous equations in two unknowns. Wait! Don't stop reading yet. By the time I'm through, it's possible that you might actually understand that some of the stuff you learned and (probably forgot) in Algebra II.

Here's what we're going to do. Given some stuff that's found in most major newspapers, we're going to determine something interesting about the score of The Dallas Cowboys vs. The Carolina Panthers game on Monday, September 28, 2009. If you're reading this after the game, keep reading anyway.

If you look in your paper for the games in the upcoming week, there's usually some information about each upcoming game. For instance, I'm writing this the Thursday before the game and here's what is has:

Favorite: Dallas
Underdog: Carolina
Today's Line: 9
O/U: 47

So w…

How to Transform the World

Transforming the world seems like an extremely ambitious task, but it is actually much easier than you’d think. You don’t have to be President, you don’t have to be rich and you don’t have to be famous. The only thing you have to do is to transform yourself, and anyone can do that. If each person transformed himself, the world itself would be transformed.

What does it mean to transform oneself? It can mean many things, but let’s stick to just two things anyone can do; two things that if we all did would create a world unrecognizable from the one we live in today.

1) Treat others as you would like to be treated.
2) Use your talents to make the world a better place.

That’s it. Were everyone to do this, God’s will would be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Quite simple isn’t it? Simple but not necessarily easy, but not necessarily hard either. It really adds up to doing a bunch of small things that will create a big difference.

Let’s look at 1) first. This is a tenet of every major relig…