“Are you going to stay home today?”
I start every day hearing that question from my sweet little guy, Bubbers. It’s usually one of the first things he says as I get him out of his crib. He says it with hope in his eyes and a cute, innocent look on his face.

And a little piece of me dreads hearing it every time.

Because for 5 out of 7 days of the week, I have to answer “Nope, I’m going to work today”. At first, he would politely ask me to stay home (“won’t you stay home with me today?”), which melted my heart but just made it worse.

Now he accepts (expects?) it and moves on pretty quickly.

In a way, I’m glad he still asks because it means he still wants me to stay home and he still has hope that I might say “yes”, one day. And sometimes I do say “yes” and take a day off. But not very often.

Which brings me to my dilemma. What’s the right balance between career and home? The extremes are obviously bad because staying at home all day would lead to homelessness while working all day and night would lead to absentee fatherhood-ism and, probably, divorce.

How do I figure out the right middle ground?

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The Brazen Serpent
Image via Wikipedia

The Old Testament is full of interesting stories. Many of them seem downright immoral, but that’s mostly because of mistranslations and/or cultural differences. They are usually full of symbolism and capable of teaching us many things.

One of my favorite stories has always been the story of the brass serpent.  I like this story because it brings up two questions:

  1. How do you make the Lord so mad, he sends poisonous snakes to kill you?
  2. Why did He choose to heal them this way?

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Government Motors
Image by Sweet One via Flickr

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/04/21/auto-industry-a-year-later

“Today, General Motors announced that it has repaid its $6.7 billion loan to the U.S. government in full five years ahead of schedule”

That’s from a blog post by Larry Summers, Director of the National Economic Council.  There are two things wrong with that.

First, GM didn’t borrow just $6.7 billion.  They borrowed $50 billion.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704133804575197990349307652.html

“GM’s repayment was a fraction of the $50 billion that the company received from the U.S. government last year. The big payback won’t come until GM goes public and the U.S. can begin to sell off its 60% stake in the company.”

Second, they didn’t pay back the money with their own earnings.  How did they do it?

http://wsbradio.com/blogs/jamie_dupree/2010/04/gm-money-game.html

“‘It’s good news in that they’re reducing their debt,’ Barofsky said of the accelerated GM payments, ‘but they’re doing it by taking other available TARP money.'”

That’s right.  They’re paying back their debt to the taxpayers…by getting further in debt to the taxpayers.

“‘It sounds like it’s kind of like taking money out of one pocket and putting in the other,’ said Carper, who got a nod of agreement from Barofsky.”

Well, no kidding.

Well, maybe things will look better soon?

“‘When do you think we’ll have really good news from GM?’ Carper asked.

‘I don’t have a crystal ball on that Senator,’ Barofsky replied.”

Wow, this GM bailout has been such a great idea.

HT: Coyote

Have you heard about the gay couple in CA who had all their visitation rights denied and personal belongings auctioned off by the state when one of them went into the hospital?  Here’s a quick summary:

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20100420/ARTICLES/100429976/1033

“Greene, 78, said that as Scull lay dying in a hospital bed two years ago, Sonoma County officials denied visitation for the same-sex couple, contending they were mere ‘roommates’ despite signed wills, medical declarations and powers of attorney naming each as the other’s spouse.”

and

“‘They stole my furniture, put me in a retirement home and told me to shut up,’ said Greene, sitting in his cramped studio apartment where he lives alone in Guerneville. ‘They took my cats. They took everything.'”

Any reasonable person would agree that’s horrible.  That kind of treatment is inexcusable toward any human.

Or is it?

Well, what if his visitation rights were denied because Mr. Greene put Mr. Scull in the hospital in the first place?  Yup, that’s right.  It was a domestic violence case.

http://i.imgur.com/TeK9Z.png and here.

“The Sonoma County Public Guardian became involved in this matter as a result of a report from Harold Scull that Clay Greene had physically assaulted him, resulting in Mr. Scull’s hospitalization.  Mr. Greene’s domestic violence against Mr. Scull has been independently verified during the course of litigation, including reports of witnesses who tended to Mr. Scull following the hospitalization.”

So, they didn’t allow him to visit his partner because he put him in the hospital.  I don’t think they would have allowed an abusive husband to visit his wife in the hospital after giving her a beating.  And it sounds like they had Mr. Greene put into a retirement home to care for him because of dementia and they sold off his possessions to pay for it.

Sure, I’m a little nervous about the state having that kind of power, but it seems reasonable in this case.  I mean, they had incontrovertible proof, right?

“While criminal charges were not filed, that does not mean there was no domestic violence.  In order to file criminal charges, there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest standard known in the law”

Wait, what?  You had enough proof to commit a man to a retirement home and sell everything he had but not enough to file criminal charges for a beating you had eyewitnesses for?!

This whole thing is such a mess.  The media and the homosexual lobby seem to be trying to position this as a denial of rights, without telling the whole sordid story, which I find despicable.  It reminds me a lot of the ridiculous tactics of the anti-Prop 8 campaign.

But the state is certainly not without fault either.  It’s pretty rough when you can tell a big wrong has been done but don’t know which side got the worst of it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/21/health/policy/21health.html

“Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years, Senate Democrats laid a foundation on Tuesday for federal regulation of rates, four weeks after President Obama signed a law intended to rein in soaring health costs.”

In other words, they realize the bill they passed will skyrocket insurance rates (40% estimated increase in individual premiums, above the already expected increase) and now they want to control premiums now, too.

Let’s pretend you’re a company with a, say, 2% profit margin.  Let’s say one line item of expenses (health care claims) equals 84% of your revenue.  Now, say those costs go up…by 40%.  How much does your revenue need to increase to cover those higher expenses?

33.6%

That’s right, your premiums will have to increase 33.6% to cover that increase in costs.  Do you think the federal regulator will approve that increase?  Here’s a hint:

“After a hearing on the issue, the chairman of the Senate health committee, Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, said he intended to move this year on legislation that would ‘provide an important check on unjustified premiums.'”

Nope.

Since the politicians keep linking insurance premiums to GDP growth, what if they only approved rate increases that were at par with GDP growth?  What a company’s profit margin be then?

-27.6% in year 1.

-41.1% in year 2.

Somewhere between years 5 and 6, they have a 100% loss.

Before that happens, you will not be able to buy individual health insurance, except for from the government.

Which is what Obama and the Democrats have wanted all along.

Soon, the government will be telling you what to eat, what outdoor activities you can do and what medicine you can and can’t take.