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Who I Voted For

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 9:14 PM

Michael had the good idea to post who/what he was going to vote for today. I thought I'd do the same — if nothing else for something interesting to look back on in a few years.

Federal Offices
U.S. Senator: Christopher “Kit” Bond (Incumbent)

U.S. Representative - District 2: Todd Akin (Incumbent who replaced then Governor hopeful and now U.S. Senator Jim Talent, who retired from congress in 2000) [Unopposed.]

State-wide Offices
Governor: Matt Blunt (Secretary of State, going against Incumbent Bob Holden or possibly new Democrat Claire McCaskil). [Winning as of 8:00 PM with 3% of precincts reporting.]

Lieutenant Governor: Peter Kinder (State Senator [side note: the only politician I have ever heard Rush Limbaugh endorse through an ad on the radio]). [Winning as of 8:00 PM with 3% of precincts reporting.]

Secretary Of State: Catherine Hanaway (Speaker of State House) [Unopposed]

State Treasurer: Sarah Steelman (State Senator) [Winning as of 8:00 PM with 3% of precincts reporting.]

Attorney General: Chris Byrd [Winning as of 8:00 PM with 3% of precincts reporting.]

Local Offices
Circuit judge Circuit 11 Division 1: Jeff Morrison (Fmr. St. Peters City Alderman. In the general election, I'll probably vote for Democrat Ted House, who I usually vote for — whatever office it is he may be running for — he's a good guy.) [Winning by 4 votes (less than 1%) as of 8:10 PM with 13% of precincts reporting.]

State representative 16th District (Rep): Carl Bearden (Incumbent) [Unopposed]

State senator 23rd District: Chuck Gross (Incumbent) [Unopposed]

Local Propositions
Proposition R (Extend 0.5% Sales Tax for road work): No [Passing as of 8:00 PM with 13% of precincts reporting.]

Propositions and Amendments
Constitutional Amendment 1 (Riverboat Gambling on White River near Branson [Rockaway Beach): No [Failing by 10 point margin as of 8:00 PM with 3% of precincts reporting.]

Constitutional Amendment 2 (Codify marriage as between a man and a woman): Yes [Passing by over 60 point margin as of 8:00 PM with 3% of precincts reporting.]

Can't Kerry On

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:04 AM

How better to comment on John Kerry than by quoting his speech (and a few other choice quotes)? I think I will do that. And in doing so, let this serve as my official nomination of a presidential candidate (click the link for the nominating portion of this post — if you can't wait — otherwise, “kerry” on for just a bit longer).

John Kerry on Negative Campaigning
I want to address these next words directly to President George W. Bush: In the weeks ahead, let's be optimists, not just opponents. Let's build unity in the American family, not angry division. … My friends, the high road may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And that's why Republicans and Democrats must make this election a contest of big ideas, not small-minded attacks
“I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war. I will have a vice president who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a Secretary of Defense who will listen to the best advice of our military leaders. And I will appoint an Attorney General who actually upholds the Constitution of the United States.”

“As president, I will not privatize Social Security. I will not cut benefits. And together, we will make sure that senior citizens never have to cut their pills in half because they can't afford life-saving medicine. … And that is the choice in this election.”

“For four years, we've heard a lot of talk about values. But values spoken without actions taken are just slogans. Values are not just words. … You don't value families by kicking kids out of after school programs and taking cops off our streets, so that Enron can get another tax break.”

Tim Says: Did you notice how he mentions Enron? Not just the rich — after all, not all of us hate the rich.

“[T]hink of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don't wear my own faith on my sleeve. But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don't want to claim that God is on our side.”

Tim Says: If you didn't realize it already, Ron “Rampaging” Reagan was attacking President Bush with that quip. And, yes, despite Reagan Jr.'s delusions, President Reagan was quite religious — “Moral Majority,” anyone?

John Kerry and His Family on Outsourcing
“We value an America that exports products, not jobs — and we believe American workers should never have to subsidize the loss of their own job.”
Counterpoint: The Times of India reports, courtesy of BlogsForBush:
“H J Heinz & Co, the family business of Kerry and his wife Teresa, has spread its ketchup operations across the world. Of the 79 factories that the food processor owns, 57 are overseas. Heinz makes ketchup, pizza crust, baby cereal and other edibles in such countries as Poland, Venezuela, Botswana, Thailand, and most of all, China and India.”
John Kerry on Health care
“Our health care plan for a stronger America cracks down on the waste, greed and abuse in our health care system, and will save families up to $1,000 a year on their premiums. You'll get to pick your own doctor — and patients and doctors, not insurance company bureaucrats, will make medical decisions. Under our plan, Medicare will negotiate lower drug prices for seniors. And all Americans will be able to buy less expensive prescription drugs from countries like Canada.”
Sounds like private health care still, right? Maybe not:
“And when I'm president, America will stop being the only advanced nation in the world which fails to understand that health care is not a privilege for the wealthy, the connected, and the elected — it is a right for all Americans.”

A $1,000 tax deduction will not provide universal healthcare. So what is John Kerry talking about? The true meaning of this can mean one of several things. Most likely, he either means that the government will offer everyone “senator quality” health care, or he will expand Medicaid to provide health care to those who don't have it/can't afford it.

Which will not help the deficit, it will cause it to skyrocket. There's a reason we are the only advanced nation with a relatively small 33% tax rate for most incomes. Many “advanced nations” with health care have over 50% taxes on income. Will you be better off with “free” health care but with nearly 50% more taxes?

If universal health care is provided, consider if it cost just $50 a month per person, far less than private health care does. While that is not likely, let's just consider it. What would that do to the Federal budget? It would add $175,800,000,000 to it ($175 billion dollars) per year. Now, consider that bypass surgery costs at least $30,000 per operation and consider this is a very frequently performed surgery. If we figure that each person's share of the health care costs was $50/month, it would take fifty years for the government to break even on that one person. Now if we assume that probably everyone will need at least $30,000 in health care services over their lifetime, and very likely many will need far more, you'll see how $50/month per person just isn't enough. And, what if we bumped it up to $100/month per person — still less than half of a private insurance plan — the Federal budget would then go up by a whopping $350 billion dollars a year.

That's without considering that usually when the government is involved the prices of stuff goes up. So, when hospitals cost more to use, drugs cost more and doctors cost more… will even $350 billion dollars a year be enough?

As an aside, the anti-Bush tax cut Tax Foundation site puts the Bush tax cuts for 2002 and 2003 at just $188 billion, less than what we've calculated above is needed just to provide universal health care. John Edwards, on Wednesday, told us the Kerry-Edwards plan would only roll back the tax cuts for the top 2% of income earners and would use it to pay for all kinds of things — where is the rest of the health care money going to come from?

Also, consider this: you might say, well, just provide socialized health care to those who don't have health care. Well guess what? As soon as businesses learn they don't need to provide health care to attract employees, do you think they will still foot the bill? Likely not. So, the amount of people that the government would need to give health care services to would vastly increase at an alarming rate.

John Kerry on Stem Cells
“What if we find a breakthrough to cure Parkinson's, diabetes, Alzheimer's and AIDS?  What if we have a president who believes in science, so we can unleash the wonders of discovery like stem cell research to treat illness and save millions of lives?”

Tim Says: This would easily fit into the Bush bashing quotes I listed at the beginning next to Kerry's quote about positive campaigning, but let's consider it here instead. Does President Bush believe in science? Yes, I think so. But believing in science doesn't require doing everything science can do when there are ethical issues involved.

Guess what? There are ethical issues involved. If you are like me and believe that even the tiniest embryo is a real human being, then you must be willing to advocate murder before you can advocate stem cell research. Maybe that isn't the case — but I'd rather assume that and be proven wrong some day (although how you prove this either way other than through philosophy is beyond me) than to assume embryos are just cells and find out I advocated murder. President Bush took the middle ground: he chose to allow continued federal usage of already created stem cell lines, but prohibited further stem cell line creation — that makes sense (note that the President hasn't and can't stop private funding of stem cell research by himself).

Secondly, what Kerry and Company want to do, essentially, is promoting cloning for research and as well as using the murdered babies that died through abortion for research. The former is done through a technique known as Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT). SCNT is what was used to create Dolly the Sheep. SCNT is what Embryonic Stem Cell researchers want to use to create more stem cells to use. It is prohibited in Germany because the difference between the process to clone a human being for reproduction and for research is non-existant. The Germans don't want to come anywhere near the Nazi-era legacy of eugenics and such — and we would do wise to heed what they know by experience.

Thirdly, many scientists now think that using stem cells in the umbilical cord, after the birth of a baby, may be just as useful as the embryonic stem cells Kerry and Co. want to use. Finally, many (most?) scientists who are really willing to research the evidence admit that stem cells don't appear to be doing anything useful for Alzheimer's like they thought they would.

John Kerry Lies
“You don't value families if you force them to take up a collection to buy body armor for a son or daughter in the service, if you deny veterans health care, or if you tell middle-class families to wait for a tax cut, so that the wealthiest among us can get even more.”

Tim Says: The body armor, from what I've read, was/is included in the $87 billion dollar budget John Kerry “voted for before [he] voted against it” (his words).

The President's tax cuts have applied across the board. It is silly to suggest the cuts have only been of benefit to the wealthy. It is also foolish to suggest that the wealthy should front the bill for all of us, in essence, to level the playing field. That kind of thinking goes under a name John Kerry doesn't want associated with himself: SOCIALIST.

Whereas the current president of the United States is the forty third president of this union.

Whereas the forty third president of the United States of America is George Walker Bush;

Whereas the present year is the two thousand and fourth year of our Lord;

Whereas the current election pits John Forbes Kerry, a senator with a dubious record, against George Walker Bush;

I hereby declare the forty-third president of the United States of America, George Walker Bush, the official candidate of asisaid in the upcoming presidential election.

Go! Go! Go! Four More Years! Go Dubya!

Observations on DNC Night Two

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:31 AM

Senate hopeful Obamba definitely stole the night. Bar none, hands down. He probably stole the whole two nights, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's the one people are talking about after the convention is over. This guy was a politician's politician and gave a very good speech on his upbringing and unifying the nation. He only sent a few barbs toward the Bush administration, which was an added plus.

Mark my words: this guy will be running for the president in a few years.

Earlier in the night Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont gave a decent speech that began after the longest applause thus far during the convention. He lamented that he had hoped to receive such a reception, but had hoped it would be on Thursday rather than Tuesday. He didn't say a whole lot new or different from his stump speeches, but this time it was (obviously) for Kerry rather than against him. Given his clear popularity with the audience and medical credentials, I betcha he has the title Secretary of Health and Human Services coming his way if Sen. Kerry beats President Bush on November 2.

Ron Reagan did a speech arguing for Embryonic Stem Cell Research, arguing that it doesn't involve fetuses (give the man a prize, that must be why they call it embryonic). He then proceeded to explain that the embryos weren't human because they didn't have fingers and toes and so on as if that was a clear fact. Anyone who didn't agree with that, he essentially stated, “has a political axe to grind.”

Reagan then used an ends-justifies-the-means argument referring to the situation of a girl who does have fingers and toes and a brain. He argued that this wasn't a political speech he was going to give, but urged people to “vote for stem cell research on November 2.” Reagan, despite mounting evidence against it, argued that embryonic stem cell research would provide replacement parts on demand for people as though this was a known and confirmed fact.

Drudge reports than Michael Reagan has again denounced this stand and says his sibling is being used by the Democrats. The senior Reagan son in June pointed out the fact that reports citing that the Reagan family supports stem cell research sadly excluded himself and his father.

Democratic National Convention

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:24 PM

I've been watching most of it since 7:00 on C-SPAN. Nothing terribly remarkable thus far. Al Gore had a few humorous barbs aimed at Bush that were pretty good, I'll admit. “You win some, you lose some. And then there is that third type,” Gore remarked.

That was the only thing that's really stuck out so far, I think. Not surprisingly, all of the speakers have attacked Bush a lot. Sen. Clinton is coming up right now.

The Old Gray Lady Admits Stance

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:22 AM

Well, not really, but almost. The reader advocate for the New York Times finally has admitted that the paper is unabashedly liberal. And not just on the opinion page or the op-ed page, but in its news coverage. In an insightful piece, Daniel Okrent, the “Public Editor” of the Times even notes that the paper's characture of the gay marriage issue makes things look so great that they “would make a very effective ad campaign for the gay marriage cause.”

Okrent, who seems to enjoy this self-examination, continues, saying that “You wouldn't even need the articles: run the headlines over the invariably sunny pictures of invariably happy people that ran with most of these pieces, and you'd have the makings of a life insurance commercial.” So what will the liberal media do now?

That's going to be difficult. It was relatively easy for the media elites to black list Bernard Goldberg, a long time CBS News reporter who they could argue was obviously crazy. After all, he published his harsh criticism of bias in the media in the conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. What will they do now that the Old Gray Lady has said the same thing?

They'll probably ignore it. First, a disclaimer at the bottom of the article makes it clear that the Times isn't officially saying this. And, even if they are, the likelihood most people will hear about it is rather slim. Despite its impressive size, the New York Times still isn't read by most Americans, and I can't see Dan Rather coming on and saying “In other news, we at CBS News admit today that we're a bunch of liberals. All that stuff I said about us being all across the spectrum was hogwash.”

So maybe this article will do some good. For once the mainstream media won't be able to just mindlessly copy all the stories from the Times.

Reflections on the Rally

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:30 AM

Well, I know I keep promising, so here are some thoughts — scattered as they may be at one o'clock — about the rally on Tuesday.

I've already said it was great. The speakers, who hit on a lot of important issues, including the Missouri Marriage Amendment, where interesting. Save for MO GOP chairwoman Ann Wagner, it was a mostly positive set of remarks too. Ms. Wagner did do a bit of mud slinging, on the other hand, comparing a Kerry Speech to a root canal and doing an obligatory slam of President Clinton. Other than that, though, most of the presentations were purposeful statements of what the politicians hoped to do.

With an estimated 11,000 people in attendance, the arena was almost full and and certainly was full of anticipation. There was a definite sense of anticipation back in November of 2000 at the Family Arena when the then-Gov. Bush came in for one of the last pre-election rallies, but that excitement was far larger now that Dubya is the most powerful man in the free world.

The UMC Church of the Shepherd worship team did a great job. I can't imagine what their Sunday services are like, but they were very good at doing different styles of music including rock, CCM and traditional patriotic. The second group to sing was a bit too rap-like for my taste, but they did get everyone going chanting “B-U-S-H.” I need to look up their name, but I think they might be a Christian rap band.

Then, the speakers quit as did the music groups and we had canned music for a few minutes. After awhile, a man in a black suit came out and placed the presidential seal on the podium. He's arrived! Sure enough, a few moments later, the room grew dark and as dramatic music echoed through the arena, lights made to project “W's” floated around the room and the ceiling turned red, white and blue. “Ladies and gentlemen… please welcome the President of the United States!” Then the spotlight found its subject and President Bush was on stage.

At that point, the president took to the podium and spoke for probably about 45 minutes. In 2000 he presented a great vision and message. Yet his tone and message were far more purposeful and eloquent this time, showing how the events of the last three years had transformed Bush from someone apparently destined for a lukewarm presidency to certainly one of the most determined, interesting presidents in some time.

Negativity was kept to a minimum, with only a few pokes at Kerry. The big poke (and one well earned by Kerry) was about Kerry's ringing praise of the vulgar Hollywood elites and their comments made at a fundraiser earlier this month. How Kerry could listen to people like Whoopi Goldberg make obscene remarks and then say they were the “heart and soul” of America is beyond me. President Bush noted that he thought the “heart and soul” of America was “in placed like St. Charles, Missouri.”

At an earlier, more lighthearted moment, he also pointed to Kerry's flip-flopping. “Sen. Kerry has been in Washington a long time. Long enough to hold both sides on just about every issue.” Later, he joked that if you ran into Sen. Kerry and found you disagreed with his views, you clearly just ran into him on the wrong day.

Bush covered his standard stump fair, including stopping frivolous lawsuits, keeping the U.S. independent of other nations (more specifically, not to trust national security decisions to other world leaders), keeping taxes low, a pitch for “No Child Left Behind” and, of course, lots of talk about Iraq. He pledged to do all he could to keep the country safe and never allow the government to take measures that would make the country less secure “during his watch.”

He also did a small pitch for gubernatorial hopeful Matt Blunt. After making one statement he looked back at Blunt and quipped, “isn't that right, governor.”

Overall, his message came across extremely sincere and assuring of his positions. It was probably one of the best speeches I've heard him give. Being there definitely made it just that much better. After the end of the speech, he took a long time to shake hands, going deep into the crowd, picking up babies, and even — right before leaving — jumping up in the air to touch the hand of someone leaning down from a high row of seats over the doorway.

All I can say is this: if you get the chance to go see the President during this election season, do it. It was an experience that can't be exactly explained by putting a few words together on a screen. You won't regret it, but I think you will regret missing out on the opportunity.

The Bush Rally Photos

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:33 AM

Here are the promised photos from yesterday's event. I had hoped to post a bit more about the event, but time got away from me. Tomorrow, hopefully…

For now, just enjoy the photo tour. The 38 photos I've posted are the best of the bunch I got. I also recorded most of the speech using my camera's video recording functionality, but I doubt the campaign would want me to post that (copyright issues and the like).


By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:12 AM

I went to the rally for President Bush today. It was amazing. I have lots of photos, I'll post some tomorrow.

Politics by the Numbers

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:45 AM

The political compass divides views into a four way map with coordinates rather than just a two way spectrum in the following manner.

My “score” is:
Economic Left/Right: 1.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.97

That makes me just slightly below the middle on the up/down social scale between Libertarian and Authoritarian views and just a bit more skewed from center to the right on the economic scale. I guess that makes me a “compassionate conservative.”

Okay, one more way to look at this, courtesy of Christopher:

32 percent liberal, 68 percent conservative - compared to 73 percent liberal, 27 percent conservative” You can click the link to view my full results and take the quiz for yourself. (The comparison part is based on the poll's ability to compare your views with someone else's. I chose to enter my father's views, as best I understand them, as the second person.)

Interesting. So I took three polls. The first puts me far the right, the second puts me just right of center and the third puts me somewhat in the middle of the right (half way between ultra-conservative and centrist). The latter two are closer together and I think they my corroborate what I generally held to be true: I'm a conservative, but not an ultra-conservative. Furthermore, I generally am slightly more liberal economically than socially (mostly due to less conviction about the issues there, I suspect), although I lean to the right on both.

Finally, the last quiz also includes a personality segment:
There has been much research on how people describe others, and five major dimensions of human personality have been found. They are often referred to as the OCEAN model of personality, because of the acronym from the names of the five dimensions. Your specific personality indicates that the following attributes will most likely describe you well:
You enjoy having novel experiences and seeing things in new ways.
You are neither organized or disorganized.
You tend to shy away from social situations.
You tend to consider the feelings of others.
You are generally relaxed.

President Comes to Town

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:33 AM

I was in downtown St. Charles, a quaint little area of historic buildings along our river front, this afternoon, when I noticed something unusual: a bunch of “Bush-Cheney” signs on the street. I decided to investigate and noticed underneath it said “Tickets” with an arrow pointing up the street. Following the arrows to the side a building, I found a door with another campaign sign on it. By this time, I was intrigued, so I went inside.

As it turned out, this was the Bush-Cheney campaign office for the area and they were giving away tickets to go see the President at the nearby Family Arena on Tuesday. Needless to say, I jumped on the offer and got a ticket. I was at the family arena four years ago when the then-governor of Texas came into town just a few days before the election. This time, I get to see the President of the United States. Pretty exciting!

I guess it pays to look at signs… you just never know what surprise might arise from them.

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