Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Boner Candidate -- Mayor of Stockton

I miss X96 and boner awards. In homage to the X96 boner awards, I would like to nominate and award the mayor of Stockton Utah with the Green Jello Boner.

Officer Josh Rowell, who paid his own way through Utah Police Officer training, was running a DUI checkpoint last Tuesday night when he noticed a car appeared to try and evade his checkpoint. He tracked the car down pulled the driver over and ticketed the driver for not having a license.

"About 20 minutes later, Rowell found the police chief in the mayor's pickup. "You could tell just the way the mayor's hands were flying, the mayor was upset," Rowell said. When the officer approached the pair, Rowell said the mayor fired him. "Are you the one that gave my son a ticket?" Rowell recalled of the conversation. "I want your badge tomorrow morning."

The mayor apparently renigged on the full firing, but suspended Officer Rowell without pay.

When I first heard this story I thought of the Dead Milkmen song "Bitchin' Camaro".

My folks bought me a bitchin' Camaro
With no insurance to match
So if I happen to run you down
Please don't leave a scratch

I ran over some old lady
One night at the county fair
And I didn't get arrested
Because my dad's the mayor
This is one of those stories that make you cringe. What a moron that mayor must be, his son gets a ticket and he has the unmitigated gal to to fire the officer who did it? Now that the town knows how much respect he has for the law and his own police department -- I'm sure his next reelection bid has gotten much, much more interesting.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Come on, Dems! Try working in UK Parliment.

So Democratic house leadership is now going forward with a resolution to rebuke Joe Wilson for having the audacity to shout at President Obama during his health care address. I'm sorry folks, the Dem leadership is wasting time and (I hope the majority of the nation's patience) my patience with crap like this. President Obama is a big boy, he already accepted Wilson's apology -- so why waste time with floor debates about a resolution to rebuke someone when there is so much more important work that needs to be done. The Democrats are making themselves look feeble-minded and petty, and they are again demonstrating why congressional term limits are necessary -- senior congressional leaders become far less concerned about representing their constituents over their party. Seniority and power on the hill need to be decoupled.

Compared to UK Parliament, Congress is an old woman's tea party. Heckling is a regular and (for me personally) cherished part of the English Parliament. Congress could use more passionate questioning of ideas in debate, maybe heckling would wake up Congress enough to actually make sure 700 billion "stimulus" bills are actually read before enacting them into law.

UPDATE -- Congressional Democrats are a bunch of Wankers. They passed the resolution rebuking Rep. Wilson 240-179. I think I want to run for Congress one day on a Heckler platform -- we need more heckling in Congress, not less. Props to Rep. Wilson, speak out!

American Indians take the Washingon Redskins to SCOTUS

I'm surprised that this hasn't gone to the high court sooner. Many will remember the NCAA's attempt to crack down on possibly offensive Native American mascots during the 2004-2005 athletic year by banning offending schools from championships (I believe). The NCAA targeted everyone, even if the teams used accurate tribal names as an homage to local tribes -- like Utes, Seminoles, and the Illini.

Redskins has always been like a circa-1940 racist characture from Cowboy and Indian folklore. For it to last unchallenged in the enlightened politically correct east coast is astounding.

My prediction -- Washington Redskins will become the Washington Red Storm in the 2011-2012 season. However, the conservative majority on the court may hold for the NFL team.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

William Wilberforce -- Healthcare Reform

I have been going through a bit of a refiners fire for several months -- and things have come to what appears to be a rather serious head. This has led to some awakenings -- and I have come to think on William Wilberforce.

William Wilberforce was a British politician & activists that the fight to end the slave trade and to abolish slavery in the British Empire in the early half of the 18th century. He was called a seditionists and struggled to abolish the slave trade for 26 years, and slavery wasn't ultimately abolished until 1833 -- days before his death. I enjoy the account in the movie "Amazing Grace" Wilberforce is portrayed as a politician firm in his convictions and willing to fight for them until they are accomplished. I am great admirer or his strentgh as a politician, and as an advocate for those with no voice.

The are paraleles to Wilberforce's battle, and the healthcare reform fight. It is a kind of oppression in that 46 million American's don't have affrodable access to basic healthcare, and it is wrong that 46 million Americans cannot afford the peace of mind that health insurance coverage provides, it is wrong that 46 million Americans face financial disaster while convalecing from serious injury or illness. This argument is about right and wrong! In most things I believe the market should be left alone, however in the matter of the health care the market hand is and has been to icy.

I was impressed with what I heard from the President the other night (however vauge it was). The fact of this debate is that affordable and available healthcare for all is the right move. I hope that our leaders on the right and left sides of the isle do all that they can to pass health care reform this year or early next year -- this is not something that should be delayed.

The part of the president's plan that was most appealing was the pooling of uninsured small businesses and indivduals in his proposed "National Health Insurance Exchange". Using a public option for the most hard-luck cases seems like a reasonable plan.

I'll admit my bias. Over the past few months my own health deteriorated, and the probable diagnoses that doctors are pursuing go from scary to terrifying. I am also the uninsured controller of a small local company. The fear of where my health problems may lead, and the stress of knowing the financial ruin that will come with it is agonizing. My children and I are high risk and virtually uninsurable because of a rare genetic disorder that pre-disposes us to cancers and various benign tumors. Even before we discovered genetic disorder insurance was unaffordable for my small family of 4 then 5. The last quote for comprehensive insurance that came close to rivalling the insurance provided by large employers was 2X more than my monthly rent payment at the time and nearly as much as my mortgage payment now. Quotes for HSA insurance was as much as car a car payment, and that didn't even include money tucked away in the savings plan. Federal and state guidelines for SCHIP and Medicaid qualifying gross earnings have always been barely too low for me and my family to qualify. We need (at least a type of) the major reforms that are being proposed, and we need to have the moral honesty to admit that this is the right thing to do.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Healthcare Reform -- The Income Tax circa-1913

I am for health care being made available and affordable to all Americans, and I'm (very cautiously) in favor (at least not completely opposed) to a nationalized health care option. However, I think caution is needed in accepting Congress' current plan and the guarantees the president and congressional leaders make regarding the a fore mentioned Act. I thought I would bring up something from our past to illustrate -- the income tax.

The first tax return was required to be filed by those that made 3,000 dollars+ during the tax year -- over 64,000 dollars adjusted for inflation. The top rate for the uber-rich was a big fat 6%. A minute 1% tax was owed if an individual had net income less that 20,000 dollars -- 430,406 dollars inflated to 2008 value. The income tax promised when it was enacted was supposed to small and painless to We the People, but the tax system promised has turned into a monstrous beast of government influence. The rates are high, it is used as welfare vehicle, and it is incredibly complex, a gross mutation from the simplistic tax system enacted in 1913.

The President and Congressional leaders are promising that the public option (using the Social Security/Medicare system -- the largest ponzi scheme ever) will provide a flowery fix to the problem of ever booming health care costs. We the people need to have our voices heard on this issue. Given the problems that Social Security already has, it gives me pause to think that our leaders want to put the entire health care in the hands of this same agency. It may be that using Social Security is the best option to provide insurance to everyone, but Congress needs to put a little more caution into creating (what may become) one of the most intrusive government programs in American history.

While I yearn to feel confident that my family and I can afford to see doctors when necessary, I am scared to death to think of Social Security-esque bureaucracy becoming a part of the health care system. I have nightmares of taking my kids to the doctors and the offices resembling the stark white, inefficient Social Security offices I have had to misfortune of visiting on a few occasions.

There may be other options.

y-intercept had an interesting post, about the perverse incentives that insurers have in rising health care costs. He suggested that health cost should flow through individual accounts in Medical Savings and Loans, laws of supply and demand would be better able to regulate skyrocketing health care costs.

I hope that our leaders step back before they take us down a road that will be irreversible. I fear that we will soon tie ourselves to a system that our children will curse for generations to come. Everyone needs to be able to see a physician without worrying about bankruptcy, but we should be able to do it without possibly bankrupting the nation or burdening future generations with an even more grievous tax burden.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Madoff -- He has a Projected Release Date

I found this to be rather interesting. Bernie Madoff received a 150-year sentence for his Ponzi scam. You would think a sentence of 150 years would be treated as a life sentence without the possibility of parole -- the end. However, the Federal Prison Bureau has calculated a projected release date for Madoff and the date is Nov. 14, 2139. The good news for Madoff is he has already knocked 20 years off of his sentence.

I wonder why have a release date for him. There is the obvious answer of federal agencies just following policies and procedures, but there is also a demoralizing factor for a prisoner like Madoff of puting a date to the end of his sentence. "You can get out in 2139" is a lot more vivid than, "you are sentenced to 150 years in prison." Point is -- Madoff is going to die in there.

The LDS Church and the Kiss Heard Round the Salt Lake Valley

Before I write anything I want to express that I am a Mormon, and I support my church's teachings. However, too many Church members view the Church's opposition to homosexuality as a lifestyle as a reason and excuse to discriminate and oppress gays and lesbians individually and as a group. For this I am sorry and embarrassed. The second great commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself -- there is no caveat in this commandment for color, religion, or sexual orientation.

Last week a gay couple was asked to leave the church owned Main Street Plaza for kissing, and was subsequently arrested when they refused. This led to a minor firestorm of criticism and protests directed at the LDS church. While I agree that some on that LDS Church security crew handled the confrontation in a bigoted circa-1963 Alabama-esque manner, I think the subsequent rage, and protests are counter-productive and somewhat misguided.

First, it is disingenuous of the arrested gay couple to claim that the kiss on the LDS Church owned plaza was just an innocent display of affection. The LDS church is often made to be the main oppressor of the gay and lesbian community in Utah. I would assume that a gay couple living downtown would know this. However, this couple expects the public to believe they were somehow shocked when they were confronted for publicly displaying affection amongst homophobic Mormons on private LDS Church property. Come on! This couple was looking to raise eyebrows, even if they didn't expect they would be arrested and treated so brutally.

Second, the LDS church and the gay and lesbian community will never see eye to eye on this issue. The LDS church (unless this ends up being a major church policy shift caused by a visit from the Deity in person) will never support gay marriage or openly support anything resembling gay marriage. The LDS church will fight gay marriage on all fronts, until the idea is completely rejected in this country, or it becomes institutionalized. I believe the biggest reason the church fights gay marriage so openly is due to our nations civil rights laws, if this was institutionalized nationally our country's civil rights laws would possibly become very cumbersome to any Christian-church that doesn't perform, solemnize, or recognize gay marriages by way of anti-discrimination lawsuits and by other legal issues that face organizations that are viewed as discriminatory. So the point is this, the battle for gay rights should be fought on other fronts (i.e. against political groups like Eagle Forum, and legislators like Chris Buttars), compromises may be needed, and most of all level headed civil political discourse should be maintained. The rage and protests against the LDS church last week seemed a little like childish-pouting. This doesn't excuse the security guards behavior, but targeting the LDS church as an organization is not going to lead gay and lesbian activists to their end goal.

Having said all that. More needs to be done to teach local LDS church members, how be more tolerant of others in this state. The backwardness of many Latter-Day Saints in Zion is somewhat appalling -- tolerance of those who drink alcohol can be a stretch for some members. For a religion that wants members to proselyte to all people, it is interesting that one of the most powerful tools (loving all men as brothers) completely eludes so many of the local Saints.

Personally, I support civil unions (that are treated exactly like marriage) as the best compromise in the gay marriage debate. Civil unions don't seem to be as problematic for Christian churches, and they provide marital benefits and protections to homosexual partners. Most of all I hope that a spirit of peace and compromise may one day lead to a resolution of this issue.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Civil Political Discourse -- Southern Utah Style

How marvelous! St. Georgians exercised their freedom to assemble this 4th of July by having one of many National "Tea" Parties. Unfortunately, due to my camping trip to Lake Powell, I was unable to attend. Thankfully the crack squad of reporters from the Daily Spectrum were there to cover the meaningful, civil discourse between angry conservatives and a snarky Washington County Democratic Party Chair.

Washington County Democratic Party Chairman Cyril Noble braved a hostile crowd when he stood at the microphone and said, "Repeat after me, 'Obama - a two-term president.'"

Amid a growing chorus of boos and shouts of "Traitor!" and "Go home!" Noble said, "He is doing the best he can."

Noble noted his own accent, saying, "I am an American. ... I am an immigrant, which you don't like."

Someone in the crowd called, "Sounds like he's trying to be a victim, to me."

I don't know if it is the snarky liberal, or the bitter, angry, and phobic conservatives -- but events like this are so obnoxious. The liberal used ad hominem arguments, and baiting tactics and the local conservatives were simply parroting conservative talk radio pundits. It is the same old story -- too many Americans have political myopia.

This was my favorite:

Seven-year-old Fox Barrett was one of the speakers to raise his voice against the president from the microphone.

"I'm a conservative, and I just want to say to Obama, 'Stop stealing my future,'" he said.

"He's been wanting to do this since April," said his father, Brett Barrett, while the pair waited in line.

"So he's going to exercise his First Amendment rights, then we're going to go home and exercise our Second Amendment rights," he said, indicating they were going to go shooting at the local firing range.

All right, way to push political ideology on your seven year old! What kid wouldn't want to spend his 4th of July hanging out with awnry old farts?

I am sorry if this offends any of the attendees, but the lack of civil, intelligent political discourse is one of the greatest stumbling blocks for our state and nation. We need to open our eyes, pay a little less attention to pundits, give a little more consideration to what problems need to be addressed, and figure out which elected officials are most likely to present real solutions to those problems.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bravo Supreme Court

The Supreme Court released a decision yesterday regarding reverse discrimination. The "ruling that New Haven, Conn., wrongly discriminated against a group of mostly white firefighters who lost out when a promotion exam was scrapped because no blacks scored well enough to advance". Interestingly enough, there seems to be a great deal of debate on whether this ruling creates new problems for businesses or whether the new ruling provides clarity in relation to civil rights practices by employers. The decision shows that employers must be on solid ground before they make a decisions that discriminate against a certain group of employees irregardless of whether the group is a protected minority.

In the opinion of this author, Monday's ruling is a clear indicator that race cannot be the trump card in making employment decisions -- even in regards to protected groups. I hope that this ruling remedies some of the perceived and in certain cases actual perverse results of affirmative action laws. Since affirmative action was enacted there has been legitimate gripes that affirmative actions mandates reverse discrimination in order to counter-balance the history of gross racial inequality in the US. Affirmative action has major problems; it has left reverse-discriminated individuals with racially charged grievances, and it has added an unnecessary concern for businesses in employment matters. This ruling seems to say, as long as the business is doing all it can to make sure employment and advancement policies are fair to all employees, businesses should hire and advance employees by the employers normal policies irregardless of whether or not targeted/protected minorities are among those who qualify for employment and advancement. This is a ruling that clarifies affirmative action, and says it is okay for businesses to hire based of merit and qualification, and (should overtime) remove the incorrect perception that companies must reverse-discriminate in order to be compliant with Civil Rights statutes.

There is one problem. This ruling says that a company can ignore race as an employment factor if the company can show that it made sufficient effort to ensure employment decisions and policies are fair to all groups and races. How does a company prove that their employment policies and practices are fair to all races and groups? I think many employers will have to review their hiring and advancement practices to make sure they have policies in place that not only are fair to protected minorities, but policies that promote and hire qualified employees without using race as the determining factor. This will be difficult for for many entities that have history of reverse discrimination policies as a fail safe method to maintain the appearance of being compliant with affirmative action.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Utah Rental Law -- Mitigating Damages and Written Terminations

I was in Small Claims Court a couple of nights ago, because of a disputed cleaning bill from an old landlord. I have a few questions for the real lawyers out there. I'm going to provide the basic arguments of my case below and I would like to know if I have a case for an appeal:


I terminated my rental agreement by phone on 2/13/2009. The landlord, who travels a great deal, said he couldn't take the time out of his busy schedule to make arrangements to get the rental re-rented and required that I list and show the home until I either rented it or he found the time to take responsibility for showing and renting the property. I ended up showing the home until March 20th after which point he finally returned to the area, cleaned the property and rented it within days.

The landlord kept a 1,400 security deposit which he accrued to March's rent. When he cleaned and made repairs, he charged over 1500 dollars for his time, water bills that accrued after I vacated, and for supplies. The majority of the bill was for his and his wife's time.


The Plaintiff Failed to Provide a Written Itemization within 30 days

Under Utah Code Annotated § 57-17-3 requires that the landlord provide “a written itemization of any deductions from the deposit, and reasons therefore, shall be delivered or mailed to the renter within 30 days after termination of the tenancy or within 15 days after receipt of the renter's new mailing address, whichever is later.” The contract was terminated on February 13th when we notified the landlord that we were going to terminate the lease. As far as the new address requirement is concerned, Landlord received the address long before the date we terminated the contract. Weeks prior to this he asked for the address claiming he’d like to drive by the property whereas he “claimed” he might be interested in purchasing our home. Notwithstanding, the landlord is an experienced landlord (with 2 rental properties on the Wasatch Front and one 2 blocks from my home in St. George) who knows, or should know that property information is public record and easily attainable from any web browser. Landlord knew that we would be moving back to our home in Saint George and had access to the address at any time.

Failure to Mitigate Damages of the Defendant’s Contract Breach

Under Utah State Law, upon premature termination of a rental agreement, the landlord is required to make reasonable efforts find a new renter for the dwelling. During the period from Feb. 20th to March 20th, the plaintiff did not make reasonable attempts to rent the unit. When we notified the Plaintiff on or near February 13th that we were going to terminate the contract, Landlord required us to advertise and show the home to prospective renters. He said he didn’t have time to, and would not, list and show the home. He gave us an implied ultimatum regarding our deposit (i.e. if we could get it rented quickly we might be able to get a portion of the deposit back)

During February and March, Landlord was unavailable to get a new contract executed on multiple occasions due to his travels – he was in Hawaii on one occasion and Las Vegas or Pennsylvania on another. Although he claimed he would be cooperative in showing the home, Landlord never made a good faith effort to do so until March 20th – after he had accrued the majority of the deposit to March’s rent leaving no deposit monies available to cover the plaintiff’s excessive cleaning and repair fees.

As a direct result of plaintiffs’ apathy towards their legal requirement to find a new tenant, defendants were denied recovery of the 1400 dollar security deposit. On account of the plaintiffs’ failure to take mitigating actions after the defendants breach, defendants liability to the plaintiff should be limited to the 1400 security deposit already paid to the plaintiff.

The Security Deposit

The opening line in paragraph 16 states that “the security deposit set forth shall secure the performance of the resident’s obligations”. This is a protection to the defendant limiting costs of vacating the residence to the required deposit. In the contract, the security deposit is broadly defined as being usable for rent, repairs, cleaning, other contractual fees, etc. The plaintiffs’ contract clearly sets forth that the deposit secures the defendant’s obligation, and the shortfall is the fault of the plaintiffs’ for not requiring a larger deposit. The contract makes no provision for additional excess costs to be collected beyond the security deposit, and Utah Code Annotated §57-17 does not provide for collection of excess costs beyond the security deposit. Any ambiguity in the contract is the fault of the plaintiffs who presented the contract to the defendants as a requirement to rent their property.

The Judgment

The judge decision was in favor of the plaintiff because the contract requires that written notification of contract termination must be given and notification was given verbally. The landlord admitted to receiving verbal notification on 2/13 over the telephone, and verbal notification that we moved out the 21st of February. All other arguments that I made were apparently considered moot.

If anyone would like to opine on this matter feel free. As a warning to anyone renting, never ever communicate with your landlord by phone, and negotiate a early termination contingency plan. The judge was on her way to ruling in my favor over the first argument, until the written termination provision was brought up.

I'm just curious

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cell Phones -- Its about time!

IRS Commissioner released this statement about laws related to personal and business use of employer provided cellular phones. The current rules require a business use log of cell phone calls:

Statement of IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman

This month, the Internal Revenue Service asked for comments on ways to simplify compliance with rules related to employer-provided cellular telephones. The current law, which has been on the books for many years, is burdensome, poorly understood by taxpayers, and difficult for the IRS to administer consistently. Some have incorrectly implied that the IRS is "cracking down" on employee use of employer-provided cell phones. To the contrary, the IRS is attempting to simplify the rules and eliminate uncertainty for businesses and individuals.

Although some of the proposed changes would add clarity, the current law will inevitably leave widespread confusion among employees and businesses. Therefore, Secretary Geithner and I ask that Congress act to make clear that there will be no tax consequence to employers or employees for personal use of work-related devices such as cell phones provided by employers. The passage of time, advances in technology, and the nature of communication in the modern workplace have rendered this law obsolete.

It's about time!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Universal Healthcare -- Why and how?

Universal health care, one the socialist ills that Ronald Regan spoke out against is currently one of the hot button issues in Congress this year. There is draft legislation circulating to create a national health insurance through medicare, expanded SCHIP, and Medicaid. Due to the fact, the final bill hasn't been presented yet, I would like to discuss the ideology of this issue.

The free market is the best catalyst for innovation and scientific advancement. There is no other system that provides the incentive needed to continually do bigger and better things. Having made this statement, I am immediately going to contradict myself in stating that I am fully (but cautiously) in support of universal health care.


There is nothing as counter-productive to proper preventative health care in America as the inaccessibility of affordable health insurance. The only people who are not in this boat are those who are lucky enough to land jobs in large corporations, organizations, or government -- otherwise millions of Americans are either forced to take unnecessary health risks if their financial situation is poor, shell out exorbitant premiums for plans with good coverage, or make due with lower premiums for plans that cover virtually no common health problems. This is a poor catalyst for encouraging people to take care of themselves. Aches and pains are ignored, little ailments often grow, and these people risk seeking preventative care after it is too late.

Our current health system is a disincentive for small business entrepreneurship. Without having any actual statistics I'm sure there are a large number of Americans who may hate the job they have now, may have wonderfully innovative entrepreneurial ideas, but will not turn innovative entrepreneurial ideas into productive businesses because the thought of leaving group employer provided health coverage is unacceptable.

Some may argue that universal health care is one step too close to Stalin-ism. I would agree with you if it weren't for the fact that we, as a nation, have had and accepted numerous socialist-esque programs for over 100 years. Here in Utah, for example, we fought off the evil capitalist ideals of competition in education. Our protection from fire, crime, foreign enemies, and libraries are all provided at the expense of taxpayer dollars. Why are we so unwilling to get together and make sure that everyone has unfettered access to medical care? No one would be afraid to call the police if they were becoming victims of a crime, and no American should have to fear seeking medical attention because of an inability to pay. To be honest, I now believe the need for universal health care for all Americans should trump the right to free education, or the right to social security when we retire.

How can we the people uphold the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness if we have to bind ourselves to jobs we don't like because of health benefits, or fear seeking necessary health care because we may not be able to afford it. The truth is we can't.


This is where we must be cautious, and I'm afraid there are no easy answers. Our national debt is out of control and ballooning, the tax code is abused and incomprehensible, and our economy is still floundering. The prospect of Congress or the President developing an hasty, under planned Social Security-esque regime is frightening. There are also other questions:

-- Would employers continue to provide coverage, or have any incentive to do so?
-- How high would effective tax rates rise in order to responsibly finance a National Healthcare System?
-- More frightening, would all US hospitals, and clinics become federally owned and operated?

However, I think is important to make affordable health care for everyone a reality. The how is a daunting question for men who are smarter than I, and one I hope can be answered.

Some of my random ideas -

-- Phase Social Security out and phase in Health care security (over several decades -- America's addiction to not saving for their own retirement is a habit that will be hard to break)
-- Force Americans to save/invest for retirement and make those invested funds sacred and untouchable until retirement. (for the lower/middle classes the EIC and/or ACTC could be forced into savings or investment accounts)
-- Phase down public funding for education (maybe making education more of a privilege will make our system better) (probably too radical an idea, even for this writer)

Anyways, I believe in this. I just wish I could believe our elected officials could make it happen with out bankrupting the nation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Journal of an Unemployed American -- Month 1

Hello everyone,

It has been some of the roughest weeks of my life. I was laid off in February, and at that time I almost looked at it as an opportunity to go back to what I loved doing. I have a high opinion of my credentials in small business and individual tax consulting, and I thought that I would have no problem finding a job during tax season in one of the several busy accounting offices in Southern Utah that thrive on tax work. I was mistaken.

I have found a client who is in dire need of help for which I am extremely grateful. He has helped keep me afloat for the past several weeks -- but one client can only provide so much income.

I was hired a week ago by what I thought was an honest tax preparation firm. Unfortunately, when I reviewed returns with due diligence and questioned my "supervisor" on some of the many questionable deductions -- I was relieved of my position. I thought there were laws protecting whistle blowers?

Jobs are extremely scarce in the southern part of the state. The only jobs that are plentiful are commission sales jobs, but I guess it doesn't hurt to hire salesmen that don't make anything if they can't sale anything.

I will be one month behind on my mortgage in a few days, and I am scared. My old landlord in SLC is after me, bills are piling up, and I feel desperate.

I love my country, and I believed in our government for most of my life. Unfortunately, I can't believe it anymore. I'm just praying that I can find a way to keep my home and keep food in my family's stomachs. Meanwhile, those that are in charge of our nation are handing free money to the very bankers and industries that have caused our economy to collapse -- the very bankers that threaten to cut off my financial head if I can't catch-up. These same incompetent (excuse the expression) bastards in Congress still take a "required" pay increase each and every year.

I guess the only option is to go into business for myself. I've bought good tax software and am trying to market myself to former clients, but it seems that I am sowing seeds that I will not be able to reap this year.

May God change the hearts of our leaders, and help them remember the burdens that their actions place on individuals.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

PCU -- Dixie State College...Red Storm?

I grew up with parents who were fanatical Dixie College alumni (ironically neither of them actually received degrees from the school). Dixie College Rebels was a mascot that fit the schools name and the nickname of the region.

I understand the connection that the politically oversensitive make between the mascot and the states who succeeded from the U.S. because of slavery. The school saw the unfortunate connection over a decade ago and has done several things to disconnect itself from that image (removing the Confederate Flag as the official flag, redesigning the physical mascot from a Confederate soldier costume to a bird, and other changes).

However, forces of political correctness didn't give up -- the schools mascot is now a red storm!?! What the hell does a red storm mean? The illustration the school gave is a tornado with bull horns and a bull ring, and the costumed mascot is a bull.

Okay, good now the schools mascot isn't offensive, or is it? What about Midwestern people who actually suffer through tornadoes, or cattle ranchers who have been hurt in a senseless bull charging? We must think of a less offensive mascot.......maybe the seagull would have a better connection to state (although we can't offend people who have had their cars shat upon) they could have gone with Red Necks and brought back the old confederate soldier costume. Collegiate PC is so much fun.

Any suggestions for a less offensive mascot than a half atmospheric phenomenon-half cow?
Oh well, if this post was gay I apologize -- I'm feeling quite bored today and I fear my wit may have deserted me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Tax Cheat to Run the Treasury Department

So Treasury Secretary Nominee, Timothy Geithner, has passed the Senate Finance Commitee Hearing despite the fact he appears to be a reformed tax cheat.

He apparently has made numerous tax errors, including failure to pay SE Tax for 4 years. His excuses are pitiful and self-serving, the kinds of excuses that would draw heavy critisim from US Tax Court judges (if he used those excuses in that court). However, because he has paid those taxes up with interest he may still be given the job as head of the US Treasury -- the same organization that runs the IRS, and handles the billions of dollars of bailout funds.

This may get interesting, especially in relationship to the IRS. Many people need very little justification to cheat on their income taxes, and now they have one more -- the boss of the IRS did it so why can't I.

Unfortunately, Mr Geithner doesn't stand from a strong moral position as future head of the Department responsible for collecting taxes, and viciously pursuing people who have the made the same "mistakes" that Mr. Geithner has made. His historically "flexible" tax compliance makes him a poor candidate for Sec. Treas., he should be replaced as nominee and he should be offered some sort of finance advisory position.

Oh well..... I guess I have one more hurdle to leap in explaining why you have to be fair and honest in your dealings with the Federal Government. I guess I'll need to focus on not getting incarcerated for tax crimes.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Presidency of George W Bush

With the new Obama administration coming in, and the "supposed" worst president in history going out I've been reflecting on the Bush presidency -- how bad was it?

Did George Bush accomplish anything?

Keeping America safe post 9-11: Agree or disagree with his tactics and decisions, we have not endured a terrorist attack on US soil since 9-11. Some argue that his tactics have produced more hatred and animosity towards the US, and will breed more hatred of the US in the Middle East and breed more Islamic jihadists who seek American blood. This may be a horrifyingly accurate depiction of the future. However, (by luck or the Bush-formed Homeland Security Department) we have been safe on US soil for coming on 8 years.

Lowered taxes: George Bush successfully kept taxes low through-out his presidency. This wasn't only for the rich -- the refundable child tax credit, increased standard deductions and exemptions, 5% capital gains rate, and other provisions have been highly beneficial to the lower and middle classes. Conveniently ignoring the housing bubble and subsequent banking collapses, his tax cuts were instrumental in increased investment and economic growth for a large part of his presidency.

Despite the tax cuts, revenue increased substantially during his Presidency. This is because the President appointed IRS administrators who ended the "kinder, gentler, IRS" for a "smarter, more efficient IRS". The IRS has spent his presidency updating stone age computers, and hiring new IRS agents who go into audit meetings usually knowing that the target has unreported income or over reported deductions that will bring in additional revenue to the US coffers.

I can't think of any others:


Afghanistan: We never found Osama.
Iraq: No weapons of mass destruction. Declaring victory almost 6 years too soon.
Spending: He spent like a drunken sailor. He ran extremely high deficits.
Social Security Reform: He was never able to get on Social Security reform proposal through Congress.
Illegal Immigration: Instead of doing what the right wanted or what the left wanted, George Bush did nothing!

So it is my opinion that Bush II was not a good president, but I don't know that he was a horrible President either.

I respected Bush because he stuck to his guns on a lot of issues, despite to enormous unpopularity that resulted. However, he made rushed decisions regarding foreign policies that will be costly in future Middle East relations, he couldn't stay fiscally conservative (a "walk middle, squish just like grape" policy is bankrupting us now) and he failed to move one meaningful permanent piece reform through (except the Dept. of Homeland Sec.) that he proposed.

Florida concedes the Title to Utah

I have not received a response from Urban Meyer. Therefore by not addressing the challenge, he has conceded to title to the Utah Utes (in the world of Phramahaphil)

Friday, January 09, 2009

An open letter to Urban Meyer

Dear Coach Meyer,

Congratulations on your win last night. Your team had a wonderful season.

I am and always will be a big fan of yours. You brought Utah Football the next level while you were here and Kyle Whittingham is continuing that legacy. You are truly a legendary coach.

I believe you and I would agree that champions should be made on the football field and not in computer calculations, or by the votes of sports columnists. This system kept you from competing for a championship while you were Utah's head coach in 2004, and will keep your 2009 championship from being indisputable. Utah has the best record in college football, they beat the team that you defeated to get into the BCS title game, they beat Bama by a larger margin than you beat them. This year will always be known as a year that the championship failed to produce a legitimate champion because Utah wasn't allowed a shot at the title in a post-season playoff. This complaint isn't new.

The BCS system is a system of discrimination, monopolization, and elitism. This situation reminds me of Seabiscuit v War Admiral. In 1938 an unheralded racehorse was allowed a unsanctioned shot at what may have been the "greatest" racehorse of the time. War Admiral was bigger, had defeated much more notable opponents, and was believed by sports writers and many to be unbeatable especially by a smaller racehorse from the west. However, War Admirals owner realized one important fact -- the word maybe would always precede the words greatest racehorse of the time unless War Admiral faced the smaller contender from the west.

I believe we have a chance to create a Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral event for the 2008/09 college football season. The Florida Gators have been crowned as champions by the powers that be in college football, but there is a small racehorse in Utah, that you helped create, who has a rightful claim to that title. Your "2009 BCS championship" will always have a cloud over it unless your championship team faces Utah.

The game doesn't have to be sanctioned by the NCAA, the outcome (if Utah won) wouldn't change any history of your championship. What it would do is produce the first EARNED and PROVEN champion in college football! A championship that cannot be disputed. I believe a proven champion is something all college football fans would love to have. My hope is that a game like this might lead the BCS to move to some sort of playoff system, so that fans can celebrate and admire proven champions.

Florida maybe the best team in college football this year, but the word maybe will always accompany that phrase unless Florida and Utah meet on the field. The BCS championship will always receive jeers of the BS championship until a playoff is derived. Fans from non-power conferences will always feel cheated until they are allowed to see their championship level teams compete.

You have to power to help change the course of college football. I propose a scrimmage game, Gators v. Utes, on the Saturday before Super Bowl Sunday. I doubt that there would be an empty seat in whatever arena this occurs in, or a TV in America that would not tune in.

American College Football Fan