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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Job Warrior: My Experience Losing a Job and Getting Another During a Hiring Freeze

I walked into my job a few weeks ago and was informed that I was unemployed. Pretty much that was it. Merry Christmas and good luck paying rent and buying groceries. Without getting into particulars, I went from being the top salesman to being a former employee. Not an easy thing to walk home and tell my wife when just about the entire country is on a hiring freeze. The first thing I did... in fact, the same day, I went to see my previous employer, a man who had not wanted me to leave in the first place. In fact, the only reason I left was because I was working both jobs at the same time, and the assistant manager making the schedule couldn't or wouldn't reconcile the two schedules. But what I did was leave on good terms with plenty of notice, and I kept in touch and on friendly terms with the previous employer. Granted, it was easy, because the previous job was in a supermarket. But my wife and I talked to the manager, a great guy named Matthew, like a friend. Sometimes it was no more than a greeting, a 'How are things, Matthew?', but my wife and I both kept him in our orbit. Part of the family. We genuinely like Matthew, and he has always been a friend regardless of the job. At the same time, I knew that my first responsibility when faced with unemployment was to get another job. And the obvious first move was to go back to the man who said that he'd love to have me back. So I put on some smart clothes (as my wife really taught me well, put your best foot forward. Dress for what you want to be) and went to see Matthew. I didn't try to BS Matthew. I didn't beat around the bushes. I told him I needed a job. He said that the company had a district-wide hiring freeze, but that he would see what he could do. He said I should come back in a few days and talk to him. At that point I have to admit I was let down. I'd walked in figuring I'd walk out with a job. Then I had to assumed that the hiring freeze would be non-negotiable. So I went home (I even stopped on the way home to try to pick up an application. No dice. This place that had a help wanted sign wouldn't even let me apply because they weren't hiring) and got onto I updated my resume and started searching for jobs that I am qualified. 'Retail' and 'customer service' were my keywords. That's because for the last 18 years I've been in the retail/customer service trenches. I have extensive experience in that arena, and most of those 18 years in fastfood, which is, to my experience, the most challenging customer service arena. My wife and I even considered leaving town while we had some savings to work with, but we were also concerned that we wouldn't find the job situation any better where we went. We settled on giving our town a week or two before we gave up on it and left. With that in mind, I opened up my job search parameters for some places we considered moving to. With all of that in mind, I set about applying for jobs via I should note that before I started job hunting, I got up early, had a good breakfast, showered, shaved, and dressed as if I was going to work. I thought it was important to approach the job search as a job itself. It might be tempting to sleep in and give up shaving and sit around in sweat pants and a ratty old shirt, but that is too much vacation mode for the serious work of job hunting. I also set a minimum of four applications filled out each day before I stopped. Discipline was vitally important for my motivation and mindset, and was necessary to get another job quickly. And I knew that I had to get another job quickly. And something else. I was told by many friends that I should apply for unemployment. Maybe I should have, but to be honest, I didn't want to ask for any kind of financial assistance unless I absolutely needed it, and at that moment I didn't think we did. I was paid for vacation time that I had coming (almost a week), plus a paycheck, plus a bit of savings. If we hadn't had that, or if it had taken too long to get another job, it would have been different. But I thought that to apply for unemployment would also have been bad in a motivational sense. And, to be honest, pride got in the way. It wouldn't have remained in the way for long, but it was there at that point. I didn't want to see myself on the news as part of the huge number of jobless claims making headlines.So, on to the job search. showed (what was for me) a surprising lack of opportunity for retail/customer service specialists. What I had failed to take into account was that one of the hardest hit sectors of our economy is retail. People are simply less and less encouraged to go out and spend money if they don't have to. And of course, especially close to the end of the year, companies don't tend to hire full-time, permanent people. I did get a quick response from a local advertising firm, and dressed up nicely and took 3 buses to get to their office for an interview. It turned out that they were hiring people to sell things from booths (I won't get any more specific, as I don't want to identitfy the firm in question) on a strictly commission basis. That is okay for some, and they said that people could make quite a bit of money doing it, but I have regular bills and a family that depends on me. I need a regular paycheck that I can depend on. But the point is, I tried. I put my best foot forward. I went to a bit of effort.At this point, the few days that Matthew had said to wait had gone by. I called the supermarket to make sure he was in, and dressed nicely again and went to see him. Then the really bad news. Matthew said that the hiring freeze was still on. He couldn't hire me. I was pretty disappointed at that point, but I thanked him for trying and tried to not show my disappointment. That was really the worst moment of the job search, because I'd put a lot of hope in getting that job back. Ah, but then two days later, I found out that Matthew hadn't given up. He went to bat for me with human resources and managed to arrange to bring me back as a rehire rather than a new hire. To start, I would actually have to take an almost 4 dollar an hour pay cut, but after the first of the year there should be a departmental manager position opening that needed to be an in-house promotion. It was just important that I get my foot in the door. I took the offer without hesitation, and my job search that really had me scared only lasted one week. I was very lucky. I know that people have spent six months or more looking for work and not found any. I know that there are lessons to be learned from my situation. First and foremost, don't burn your bridges. Give plenty of notice, treat employers with respect, and don't be afraid to go back to them. Treat your job search like a job, not a vacation. Listen to your spouse. They are intelligent and resourceful, and can help you. I know mine helps me. I wouldn't take this world on without her. Don't dismiss jobs that you think are below you. There is no such thing as a bad job if it is honest and supports your family. For example, I was prepared to go back to fastfood if I had to. I wasn't enthusiastic about the possibility, but I was prepared to do it anyway. Pride is important, but you can't support a family on pride. In fact, Matthew was concerned that I might not want to take the pay cut and come back as a courtesy clerk (among other things, we bag groceries and retrieve shopping carts). My wife and I both said that I'd take anything. I'm happy to have it. And one other thing. If you have the opportunity to go to college, take it. Get yourself a degree in a subject that interests you but that is also marketable. I was in the military, but failed to sign up for the G.I. Bill, and I have regretted it ever since. I'm not saying that my professional life would be better if I had a degree (because there are plenty of unemployed college graduates), but I certainly would have had more opportunities.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The House Abukoff Lexicon

Just on the odd chance anyone might be reading, I;m starting a lexicon
noteworthy things. For example:

Quoted from Thelma (family member, last name omitted)

"Let your air be free where ere you be"

comments welcome

Monday, June 2, 2008

Good and Bad Founding Fathers

I've been reading David McCullough's John Adams, and aside from a fantastic
history lesson, I'm getting a picture of our early Congress that is, as hard
as it is to believe, almost as bad as that nest of vipers we have now. I'm
also learning of some of the truly brave men and women who gave us this
opportunity that our representatives now seem to be squandering. Rather than
try to explain each excerpt, I'll just present the words of David McCullough
and John Adams.

...Outraged by Dickinson's insistence on petitions to the King as essential
to restoring peace, even after Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill, Adams
had strongly denounced any such step. Like many other delegates, he had been
infuriated by Congress's humble petition of July 8, 1775, the so-called
Olive Branch Petition, that had been Dickinson's major contribution. From
the day he saw with his own eyes what the British had done at Lexington and
Concord, Adams failed to understand how anyone could have any misconception
or naïve hope about what to expect from the British. "Powder and artillery
are the most efficacious, sure and infallible conciliatory measures we can
adopt," Adams wrote privately...


...The greatest minds agreed, Adams continued, that all good government was
republican, and the "true idea" of a republic was "an empire of laws and not
of men," a phrase not original with Adams but that he had borrowed from the
writings of the seventeenth-century philosopher James Harrington. A
government with a single legislative body would never do. There should be a
representative assembly, "an exact portrait in miniature of the people at
large," but it must not have the whole legislative power, for the reason
that like an individual with unchecked power, it could be subject to "fits
of humor, transports of passion, partialities of prejudice." A single
assembly could "grow avaricious . . . exempt itself from burdens . . .
become ambitious and after some time vote itself perpetual."...


...But when later that evening a preliminary vote was taken, four colonies
unexpectedly held back, refusing to proclaim independence. The all-important
Pennsylvania delegation, despite popular opinion in Pennsylvania, stood with
John Dickinson and voted no. The New York delegates abstained, saying they
favored the motion but lacked specific instructions. South Carolina, too,
surprisingly, voted no, while Delaware, with only two delegates present, was
divided. The missing Delaware delegate was Caesar Rodney, one of the most
ardent of the independence faction. Where he was or when he might reappear
was unclear, but a rider had been sent racing off to find him. When Edward
Rutledge rescued the moment by moving that a final vote be postponed until
the next day, implying that for the sake of unanimity South Carolina might
change its mind, Adams and the others immediately agreed. For while the nine
colonies supporting independence made a clear majority, it was hardly the
show of solidarity that such a step ought to have.The atmosphere that night
at City Tavern and in the lodging houses of the delegates was extremely
tense. The crux of the matter was the Pennsylvania delegation, for in the
preliminary vote three of the seven Pennsylvania delegates had gone against
John Dickinson and declared in the affirmative, and it was of utmost
interest that one of the three, along with Franklin and John Morton, was
James Wilson, who, though a friend and ally of Dickinson, had switched sides
to vote for independence. The question now was how many of the rest who were
in league with Dickinson would on the morrow continue, in Adams's words, to
"vote point blank against the known and declared sense of their
constituents." To compound the tension that night, word reached Philadelphia
of the sighting off New York of a hundred British ships, the first arrivals
of a fleet that would number over four hundred. Though the record of all
that happened the following day,Tuesday, July 2, is regrettably sparse, it
appears that just as the doors to Congress were about to be closed at the
usual hour of nine o'clock, Caesar Rodney, mud-spattered, "booted and
spurred," made his dramatic entrance. The tall, thin Rodney - the
"oddest-looking man in the world,"Adams once described him - had been made
to appear stranger still, and more to be pitied, by a skin cancer on one
side of his face that he kept hidden behind a scarf of green silk. But, as
Adams had also recognized, Rodney was a man of spirit, of "fire." Almost
unimaginably, he had ridden eighty miles through the night, changing horses
several times, to be there in time to cast his vote...


..."Unfaithfulness" was something he could not abide, and in his spells of
gloom he pondered whether the fault was in the times. Unfaithfulness in
public stations is deeply criminal [he wrote to Abigail]. But there is no
encouragement to be faithful. Neither profit, nor honor, nor applause is
acquired by faithfulness. . . . There is too much corruption, even in this
infant age of our Republic. Virtue is not in fashion. Vice is not


...Then, just as agreement seemed near, Henry Strachey proposed to amend the
line specifying the American "right" of fishing to read "liberty" of
fishing, to which young Fitzherbert declared the word "right" to be "an
obnoxious expression." The moment was one made for Adams. Rising from his
chair, smoldering with indignation, he addressed the British: Gentlemen, is
there or can there be a clearer right? In former treaties, that of Utrecht
and that of Paris, France and England have claimed the right and used the
word. When God Almighty made the Banks of Newfoundland at 300 leagues
distant from the people of America and at 600 leagues distance from those of
France and England, did he not give as food a right to the former as to the
latter. If Heaven in the Creation have a right, it is ours at least as much
as yours. If occupation, use, and possession have a right, we have it as
clearly as you. If war and blood and treasure give a right, ours is as good
as yours. We have been constantly fighting in Canada, Cape Breton, and Nova
Scotia for the defense of the fishery, and have expanded beyond all
proportion more than you. If then the right cannot be denied, why then
should it not be acknowledged? And put out of dispute? It was settled -
almost. Article III of the treaty would read, "It is agreed that the people
of the United States shall continue to enjoy unmolested the right to take
fish of every kind on the Grand Bank." However, on the matter of taking fish
along the coast of Newfoundland and "all other of his Britannic Majesty's
Dominions in America," the people of the United States were to have the
"liberty," which, insisted the British negotiators, amounted to the same
thing. "We did not think it necessary to contend for a word," wrote a more
mellow John Adams years afterward. By the end of the day there was agreement
on everything. Dining that evening at his hotel with Matthew Ridley,Adams
was in high spirits. Asked if he would have fish, he laughed and declined,
saying he had had "a pretty good meal of them" already that day. Adams
generously praised his fellow negotiators. Franklin, he told Ridley, had
performed "nobly." But to Jay belonged the greatest credit, Adams said. Jay
had played the leading part, Adams felt then and later, never failing to
give Jay credit. The following day, Saturday, November 30, 1782, all parties
made their way through still another damp Paris snowfall, again to Oswald's
quarters at the Grand Hôtel Muscovite for the signing of the preliminary
treaty. Oswald was first to fix his name, followed by the four Americans in
alphabetical order. In effect, the Americans had signed a separate peace
with the British. They had acted in direct violation of both the
French-American alliance and their specific instructions from Congress to
abide by the advice of the French foreign minister. To Adams there was no
conflict in what they had done. The decision to break with the orders from
Congress, and thus break faith with the French, had been clear-cut, the only
honorable course. Congress had left them no choice. Congress had
"prostituted" its own honor by surrendering its sovereignty to the French
Foreign Minister. "It is glory to have broken such infamous orders," Adams
wrote in his diary. "Infamous I say, for so they will be to all

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How Stephen King supports the troops

"Reading -- I don't want to sound like an ad, a public service ad on TV but the fact is that if you can read, you can walk into a job later on.  If you don't, then you got the army, Iraq, I don't know, something like that.  It's not as bright.  So that's my little commercial for that."
Stephen King on the intelligence of American Troops, and apparently how he "supports the troops".

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Do I Have To Say It?

Forget that Obama has been sitting in an "unashamedly black" church for twenty years while his inspirational 'uncle' spouts racist hate speech... never mind that an "unashamedly white" church would have been shut down.... never mind that the American (and I use the expression loosely) who's philosophy is most in line with that of Osama and (the racist hate-mongering) Louis Farrakhan really really REALLY wants Obama to get elected. Never mind that. Never mind the lack of any specific plans to address any problem facing the world. The man has already been caught lying about his position on international issues. (NAFTA/Canada). He is already demonstrating his lack of honesty and conviction... and the reluctance to accept responsibility for people who work for him (again, NAFTA/Canada, and the volunteer with the Cuban flag/Che Gueverra's face in the office). He has no respect for the National Anthem, and states that the flag lapel pin means nothing but the war and 9/11. We do have freedom to not demonstrate patriotism here... we even have freedom to not feel patriotism. But with the country in as much trouble as it is now, we need a president who at least pretends to be a patriot. I realize that his wife has never been proud of her country, but if he wants to be the commander in chief, I think he should also kind of be the cheerleader in chief. At least pretend that the flag means more to you than politics. And then maybe you can explain how you can be so influenced by a man and listen to him preach for twenty years the kind of racist spittle that Adolf Hitler (and Osama Bin Laden and Louis Farrakhan) would have loved.... and then not remember hearing any of it.

And if that weren't bad enough, the jack-booted fascist that looks preferable by comparison, Hillary Clinton, wants a do-over in Florida and Michigan. Not because she cares about every vote being counted (that's right... they did say that was important, didn't they?), but because she's losing. If you want to punish two states for breaking the rules, at least have the integrity to stick to that when it's inconvenient. That's what we can expect from another Clinton administration. Hillary has experience? Well, we have experienced Hillary, and she stinks.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Platform of the American People

In I provided a transcript of Newt Gingrich's Declaration of Independence from the Republican Party. Here is some more work of Newt's, a fascinating bi-partisan study of just what the majority of the American People want for their country. Here is a copy. Not my work, but very important.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A Red, White and Blue Revolution


(This version of the Platform provides polling data to demonstrate why we
believe this is the platform of the American people.)

Everything in this platform has the support of a majority of Republicans, a majority of Democrats and a majority of independents. Go to for the results of the six polls which helped us understand the key concerns of the American people.

This version includes the percent support for each item. They are listed as percent support

first and then percent opposed. The two political parties can find many issues on which to disagree and fight. It would be a healthy change if they could begin by recognizing the values and concerns

of the vast majority of Americans and jointly agree to a core platform which could bring

us together before turning to divisive issues which polarize people into separate camps. We call these unifying issues the “Platform of the American People.” Our hope is that beginning with local conventions up through district, state and the

national conventions both political parties will consider adopting this “Platform of the American People” as the foundation from which they can then pick other topics on which to disagree.

Imagine how much healthier America would be if in January 2009 both parties were com
mitted to adopting a series of issues the American people favored by large majorities.

If you would like to work to get your party to adopt the “Platform of the American People” please go to and sign up and you can find who else in your community has agreed to work on common goals for America.


★ There are values which unite a large majority of Americans. (86 to 10) ★ We want to strengthen and revitalize America’s core values. (80 to 9) ★ Our goal should be to provide long-term solutions instead of short-term fixes. (92 to 5) ★ Government clearly has to change the way it operates and bring in ideas and systems

currently employed to increase productivity and effectiveness in the private sector.
(74 to 16)

★ The changes we need in government have to occur in all 513,000 elected offices throughout the country and cannot be achieved by focusing only on Washington. (84 to 12)


ENGLISH ★ English should be the official language of government. (87 to 11) ★ All election ballots and other government documents should be printed in English. (74 to 23) ★ New immigrants should be required to learn English. (83 to 17) ★ Government should offer intensive English language instruction to all who need it,

including stipends to help immigrants attend the programs. (83 to 15)
★ Businesses should be able to require employees to speak the English language while on the

job. (80 to 17) AMERICAN CIVILIZATION ★ The United States should only grant citizenship to those who want to embrace American

values and culture. (68 to 29)

★ It is important to have references to God in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Declaration of Independence — that we are endowed by our Creator with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — because they make clear that certain rights can’t be taken away by government. (84 to 13)

★ Statements regarding religion and morality made by the Founding Fathers are just as
important today as they were 200 years ago. (86 to 12)

★ We reject the idea that the times change and the language in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Declaration of Independence must change with the times. The language in the Pledge and the Declaration are very important and must be protected. (86 to 12)

★ Public schools should teach more American history. (56 to 35)

The American people favor legal immigration, control of the border, ending illegal immigration with an emphasis on employer responsibility, immediate deportation of felons who are here illegally, a requirement to return home to become legal temporary workers, assimilation of those who sincerely want to become American, and a sophisticated, technologically advanced temporary worker system.

★ The American people want to increase the number of visas for highly-educated
immigrants or those with special skills, the so-called H1B and H2B visas. (63 to 29)
★ The American people believe border control is a security issue. Terrorists are trying to

enter the United States illegally. (86 to 12) ★ Illegal immigrants who commit felonies should be deported. (88 to 10) ★ There should be a worker visa program making it easier for people to work legally in the

United States. (83 to 16)

★ Allowing illegal immigrants to remain in this country undermines respect for the law. Therefore to join a worker visa program workers must apply from their own country. They could not apply from the United States and must return home first. (69 to 27)

★ When applying for a temporary worker visa each worker should take an oath to obey
American law and be deported if they commit a crime while in the United States. (93 to 8)
★ In a worker visa program each worker will receive a tamper-proof identification card that
will allow the government to track him or her. (89 to 11)
★ Each worker will go to immigration centers in their home country that will help them find
jobs in the United States so they apply for a visa with a job in hand. (84 to 14)

★ A real time verification system should be established to verify immigration status and it should be outsourced to companies like American Express, Visa, or MasterCard so businesses can immediately identify whether or not someone has forged papers. (73 to 20)

★ No company should market services such as credit cards or bank accounts specifically to
people who are in the United States illegally. (78 to 18)
★ There should be heavy monetary fines against employers and businesses who knowingly
hire illegal immigrants. (78 to 20)
★ The Internal Revenue Service should conduct audits of companies who hire illegal
immigrants to determine if those companies have paid the taxes they owe. (83 to 15)

★ There will be incredible possibilities to meet our country’s challenges in a variety of fields because in the next 25 years there will be 4 to 7 times the amount of new science and technology in the world as in the last 25 years. (88 to7)

★ Therefore we should dramatically increase our investment in math and science education.
(91 to 8)
★ We must rely on innovation and new technology if we are going to compete successfully
with India and China. (88 to 8)
★ Prizes should be given to companies and individuals that invent creative ways to solve
★ We support giving large financial prizes to companies and individuals who invent an
affordable car that gets 100 miles to the gallon. (77 to 15)
★ We support giving a large financial prize to the first company or individual who invents new
ways to successfully cut pollution. (79 to 18)
★ We support giving a large financial prize to the first company or individual who invents a
new, safer way to dispose of nuclear waste products. (79 to 16)

★ We have an obligation to be good stewards of God’s creation for future generations. (95 to 3) ★ We can have a healthy economy and a healthy environment. (73 to 18) ★ We can solve our environmental problems faster and cheaper with innovation and new

technology than with more litigation and more government regulation. (79 to 15)
★ Entrepreneurs are more likely to solve America’s energy and environmental problems than
bureaucrats. (72 to 18)
★ If we use technology and innovation and incentives we do not need to raise taxes to clean
up our environment. (68 to 29)
★ We support giving tax credits to companies that cut carbon emissions as an incentive to
cut pollution. (76 to 21)
★ We want to encourage businesses to voluntarily cut pollution and give them financial
incentives to do this but, if necessary, we will require them to do so. (66 to 25)
★ We should give tax credits to homeowners and builders who incorporate alternative

energy systems in their homes, like solar, wind, and geothermal energy. (90 to 8) ★ We support offering tax credits for people who turn in older, high-polluting cars. (68 to 27) ★ Climate change and global warming are probably happening. (82 to 13) ★ We support building more nuclear power plants to cut carbon emissions and reduce our

dependence on foreign oil. (65 to 28)
★ We should hold city governments to the same standards for cleaning waste water as are
applied to private industry. (91 to 5)
★ We are prepared to use public funds to preserve green space and parks to protect natural
areas from development but especially with public and private partnerships. (81 to 15)
★ We favor property tax credits to private landowners who agree not to develop their land
and agree not to sell it to developers (65 to 30)
★ Our current dependence on foreign oil threatens our national security by making us
vulnerable to dangerous dictatorships. (78 to 18)
★ Our current dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic prosperity by making us
vulnerable to dangerous dictatorships. (78 to 19)
★ We should build more oil refineries in America to lower the cost of gas and reduce our
dependence on foreign oil. (77 to 19)
★ With appropriate safeguards to protect the environment, we should drill for oil off
America’s coasts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. (73 to 23).

★ The federal income tax system is unfair. (69 to 27) ★ The death tax should be abolished. (65 to 32) We favor tax incentives for companies who keep their headquarters in the United States. ★

(70 to 26)

Taxpayers should be given the option of a single income tax rate of 17%. Taxpayers would ★ still have the option of filing their taxes in the current system if they choose to do so. (61 to 32)

The option of a single rate system should give taxpayers the convenience of filing their taxes★
with just a single sheet of paper. (82 to 15)

We favor the option of a single corporate tax rate of 17% that would lower taxes for some ★ businesses that pay up to 38% while also closing loopholes that some corporations use to pay less in taxes. (74 to 22) ★ The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world making it difficult for U.S. corporations to compete internationally which gives incentives for companies to move overseas. This plan will make America a more attractive place for businesses that provide good paying jobs. (68 to 14)

★ It is important for the President and Congress to address the issue of Social Security in the
next few years. (96 to 2)
★ The current Social Security systems is broken and, if it isn’t reformed, future generations will
no longer have it as a safety net for retirement. (80 to 19)

We favor a Social Security proposal in which Personal Social Security Savings Accounts ★ would be optional, with workers given the choice of continuing to depend on the current system with current benefits. (64 to 31) ★ We favor a Social Security proposal in which, when a worker retires, he or she would use the money in the account to buy an annuity, which is a type of financial benefit that will give monthly payments for the rest of the worker’s life. The annuity will pay at least the same amount as traditional Social Security would. (67 to 27) ★ We favor this Social Security proposal because in the current system, workers cannot pass onto their family members the money they paid into Social Security. This would not be the case in this new plan. (59 to 23) ★ We favor a Social Security proposal in which any money in the account left after the purchase of an annuity would be the property of the worker and the extra money can be left to family members at death. (80 to 17)

★ References to the Creator in the Declaration of Independence are very important. (87 to 9)
Keeping the reference to “One Nation Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is very★
important. (88 to 11)

★ We reject the Ninth Federal Circuit Court declaring the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional because the Court believes the Pledge’s reference to “God” violate the separation of Church and State. (82 to 15) ★ The phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is perfectly in line with the United States Constitution. We reject that this phrase violates the separation of Church and state. (82 to 15)

★ Separation between Church and State does not mean there can be no references to God in
government sanctioned activities or public buildings. (81 to 16)
★ The best way to ensure religious freedom is to protect ALL religious references and
symbols; including those on public buildings, lands, or documents. (83 to 16)

★ It is important to acknowledge today that the references to God in the Declaration of Independence — that we are endowed by our Creator with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (93 to 6)

★ Children should be allowed a moment of silence to pray for themselves in public school if

they desire. (94 to 5) ★ We reject banning all prayer in public schools. (82 to 16) ★ We support the right of high schools students saying thanks to God in a graduation

speech. (79 to 20)
★ We approve of a Christmas tree or a Menorah being placed on public property during the
holiday season. (90 to 7)
★ We favor a law to protect city, county, and state lands that have crosses or other religious
symbols from being removed. (68 to 28)

★ Many of the problems our country faces are because America is no longer as religious and moral as it once was and are not a result of changes in the economy, war, public education and other issues. (65 to 30) ★ The Founding Fathers understood that religion and morality were important to creating and building this country and talked about it regularly. This was understood throughout American history and is central to America’s success today. We reject those who say that just because America has a 200 year history of religion in government doesn’t make it right. We reject that this violates the U.S. Constitution and discriminates against those who are of other faiths or are not religious. (79 to 17)

★ Statements regarding religion and morality made by the Founding Fathers are just as
important today as they were 200 years ago. (86 to 12)

★ We must help defend America and her allies. (85 to 10) ★ We must defeat America’s enemies. (75 to 16) ★ We have to be prepared to survive an attack by a nuclear, biological, or chemical weapon. (83 to 17) ★ Al Qaeda poses a very serious threat for the United States. (93 to 5) ★ It will not be possible to negotiate with terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. (79 to 19) ★ America should take the threat of terror by fanatical religious groups more seriously. (83 to 13) ★ Iran poses a serious threat to the United States. (85 to 14) ★ Hezbollah and Hamas pose a serious threat to the United States. (67 to 17) ★ There should be a death penalty for someone caught and convicted of carrying out a

terrorist attack in the United States. (79 to 18)
★ Congress should make it a crime to advocate acts of terrorism or violent conduct or the
killing of innocent people in the United States. (83 to 12)

★ The Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies should develop programs to teach Americans what they can do as individuals to help in the fight against terror. (82 to 13)

★ Terrorist websites at home and abroad should be closed down using computer warfare.
(77 to 16)

Our hope is that beginning with local conventions up through district, state and the national conventions both political parties will consider adopting this “Platform of the American People” as the foundation from which they can then pick other topics on which to disagree.

Imagine how much healthier America would be if in January 2009 both parties were committed to adopting a series of issues the American people favored by large majorities.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Worst Case

By the time this is up, Stupid Tuesday, er, ahh, umm, Super Tuesday, that
is, will be history, and we'll probably know that John McCain has locked up
the Republican nomination, and Hillary will have taken most of the popular
vote, while Barack Hussein Obama (hey... that's the man's name, okay?) gets
most of the delegates. Well, it's a pretty damn stupid process, and really,
the only thing positive to be said about it all is that so far, nobody has
gotten killed. Yet. Part of what makes it stupid and futile and pretty
frustrating (to me anyway) is people with hom I tend to agree on most issues
shouting that we need to vote our principles instead of playing games, but
then allowing some admirable principles to risk losing the country. I'm not
a conservative talk show host, but I am a thinker. And I know that if I
support or berate someone based on race gender or religion, I am part of the
problem. I also know that if I am faced with the reality of either voting
for someone I don't like or someone for someone I don't like sharing the
planet with, I better rethink my principles. I'll be honest. I'm a
conservative. I'd be pretty happy if Mike Huckabee wins. But the fact is,
lots of people aren't. He did too good too early, scared the liberals, and
they put out a hit on him. The press took the job and assassinated him. I
thought the same about Romney, but apparently Republicans aren't allowed to
be religious. Especially Mormon. So really, the only Republican who'll be
allowed to even run is McCain. And he is a huge moderate. He works both
sides of the aisle. And really, someone so far to the right as to get
unqualified support from Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck (both whom I respect
and agree with quite often) is not not not going to get elected. Not because
the people won't support him(given fair and full information), but because
the mainsteam drive by media will do anything to avoid giving that fair and
full information. The game is fixed, friends. They hated Bush going in the
first time. They went nuts when he went in again. If you think they are
going to sit still for a third absolute, uncompromising right wing
republican to go in, you are sadly mistaken. You really need to think beyond
the self-righteous chair and think about what is going to happen in
November. I really dislike each and every one of the clowns running for
president. If I had my choice, I'd be voting to dig Reagan out of the
ground, shoot some electricity into him, and put him back in office. But I'm
not going to get that. So I have to decide two things. Who, among the two
clowns I hate the least, has the best chance of beating the two clowns I
hate the most? Not my first choice, but I'd rather vote for someone who has
even one principle I believe in than someone who either shows no love or
respect for the flag, or someone who doesn't trust me write what I want on
the internet or to spend the money I earn. Principles are great and
important, but when your opponent is thinking two moves ahead, you'd better
be prepared to do the same. The other side is thinking not only about
winning the primary, but about winning the general election. And if you
don't start to think like that, you'll lose. Vote for who you like the most
in the primary, but take a shot of reality when it comes to the general
election. Because at that point its put up or shut up. That's when
compromise becomes something you need to think about.

Really, one of the things that has really poisoned politics in this country,
amongst republocrats, talk show hosts, and even thinkers, is a 'my party
right or wrong' way of thinking. Sort of like the "Are you still beating
your wife?" gag of old. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Logic or reason has no place because it might show another point of view.
Conservative talk show hosts like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are doing
things like that, refusing to consider working with the other side while
continually evoking the Reagan name. But Reagan didn't care about party. He
cared about his ideas. And he worked with whoever agreed, and sometimes even
compromised for the greater good.