November 29, 2011

HOME - Dierks Bentley

It can't be said much better than this:

West, on a plane bound west I see her stretching; out below
Land, Blessed Mother Land The place where I was born
Scars, yeah she's got her scars
An' Sometimes it starts to worry me, Cause lose, I dont wanna lose Sight of who we are
From the mountains high To the wave-crashed coast
There's a way to find better days I know
It's been a long hard ride
Got a ways to go
But this is still the place
That we all call home
Free, nothing feels like free
Though it sometimes means we don't get along
Cause same, no we're not the same But that's what makes us strong
From the mountains high
To the wave-crashed coast
There's a way to find better days I know
It's been a long hard ride
Got a ways to go But this is still the place
That we all call home
Brave, gotta call it brave to chase that dream across the sea.
Names, then they signed their names For something they believed
Red,how the blood ran red
We laid our dead in sacred ground Just think, wonder what they'd think If they could see us now
It's been a long hard ride
Got a ways to go
This is still the place That we all call home
It's been a long hard ride
And I won't lose hope
This is still the place That we all call home.

June 30, 2011

In Defense of Marriage

This is probably not the post you think it is. 

What is Marriage, fundamentally?  Do you believe that Marriage is essentially a religious ceremony or rite?  I think everyone will agree that it is essentially a religious joining of two people.  Can anyone explain to me why  one has to have a license from a secular government in order to have a wedding?

Our Nation was founded partially on a belief that :

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

I think I can speak for everyone when I say I do not want Congress making any laws with respect to religion.  I would prefer the government not try to legislate morality.  They will only fail.  Can you show me a more amoral group of people?  Do you want them to try to create standards of morality?  Ultimately an amendment defining marriage would be unconstitutional in my view, because marriage is an exercise of religion and we are protected against congress making laws governing that.  We all know how good and innocent things get twisted by government.  Do you really want government involved in who you will marry?

When we talk of Marriage it MUST be understood that we are discussing two concepts that have been artificially intertwined.

Who thinks that Abraham went to the Courthouse to get a marriage license to wed his wife?

A Marriage is religious.  That is what happens at the church.  A ‘marriage license’ is a license to form a civil partnership which can be executed by a judge or a preacher or the captain of a ship.  Right now it is a ‘special’ civil partnership, and differs from a civil union.  But it shouldn’t in the eyes of government.

Does everyone agree?

Then how can anyone be in favor of congress making a law in defense of marriage? 

Just because a law happens to protect something you or I might agree with does not mean we should be for it!

What we need is a repeal of ANY law the government has made that affects marriage.  That is the only way to truly protect “Marriage” from the Government.

I am in favor of moving any benefits or penalties the government has on Marriage, to Civil Unions.  Let anyone who wants a Civil Union have a Civil Union for their Civil Rights.  Marriage is a religious institution, let churches and congregations decide who they think God wants to be joined together in matrimony.

I watched the Republican Primary debates and every one of the candidates except Ron Paul is in favor of an amendment to define marriage.  THAT IS WRONG, PEOPLE!  Let the government define it, and in short order they will be regulating WHO can Marry. Remember You Can Only Be For The Government Being as Involved In Someone Else’s Life the Amount You Want the Government Involved In Yours.  Keep that in mind and you will see things differently.


June 20, 2011

Lower Gasoline Prices Predicted–Why?

The average price of gas nationally has declined to $3.67 ($3.34 this weekend in my area)a gallon from nearly $4 a gallon last month, and some forecasters predict prices will continue to fall through summer. Nonetheless, prices remain $1 higher than a year ago.

In a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 69% of respondents said they had been affected "a great deal" or "quite a bit" by an increase in gas prices this year, compared with 55% hit by a jump in food prices, 28% by an increase in the unemployment rate and 22% by a rise in the number of home foreclosures.

Wallace Tyner, an economist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said the volatility—and visibility—of gas prices have a great impact on consumer psychology. "Every gas station has the price posted in big numbers that are a constant reminder of the changes," he said

Okay, everyone who thinks that the big players in the market are nudging the price down in a play to help Obama’s approval ratings raise your hand…

Lower gas prices will certainly be better for the economy this summer.  It is probably the single best thing that could happen to our economy right now- helping everything from tourism to grocery prices.  Since this governments policy is not to allow more drilling here, and instead to continue to buy oil from the same people who are funding those trying to kill us – it is the only viable choice to help flagging political ratings.

And why is gas dropping in price?  Summer blends are usually more expensive, aren’t they?  Are we not still in Afghanistan and Iraq?  Did Israel and the PLO suddenly reach a settlement?  Are they no longer fighting in Syria?  Yemen?  Did achmadinajihad step down and a Israel/USA loving president take control of Iran?  Did India and China cut Oil Imports?

You mean that the flooding in Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri and the fires and drought in the Southwest aren’t enough of an excuse to keep prices high?

What do you think?

June 18, 2011

Everything wrong with Progressivism in a post!

I found this Gem at Teresa's blog. What better way to lay out everything that is wrong with progressivism that to simply lay it all out. That is what Teresa did and that is why this is cross posted here as well.


Progressivism 101

1) They consistently abet and defend the criminal rather than the victim.

2) They promote moral relativism and immorality.

3) They promote "diversity" and "equality" while being intolerant of anyone who has a differing point of view

4) Progressives enable the poor to be and stay poor, and promote permanent dependence on the government.

5) They persecute, marginalize and censor (at least attempt to) any person who espouses any traditional, Christian, or conservative point of view.

6) They resort to name calling when the facts do not support their agenda. This happens quite a bit since the facts usually don't support their arguments.

7) Progressives distort history in order to advance their agenda.

8) There are many instances where progressives simply omit either partial or complete segments from history.

9) Progressives are oblivious to reality.

10) They promote indoctrination of our youth

11) Progressives have anti-Semitic sympathies

12) Progressives themselves have been so desensitized and indoctrinated by the MSM or Left-wing extreme news that they see any fair & balanced news as a "right-wing" distortion of facts.

13) Progressives think that they represent the mainstream of America because they have people like George Soros (Spooky Dude) aggressively promoting their point of view when in fact they don't represent mainstreet America.

14) They encourage class warfare.

15) They believe in the rights of union employees but not the employers.

16) They are ignorant and sympathetic with our enemies when it comes to foreign policy.

17) Progressives believe in "spreading the wealth". They believe that they have a "right" for the government - taxpayers- to take care of them so they don't have to take responsibility and take care of themselves.

18) Instead of truly fixing medicare, medicaid, and the cost of our health care, progressives would rather demagogue the issue and advocate rationing or euthanasia for the vulnerable - sick and elderly.

19) They prey on the most vulnerable and innocent, promoting the murder pre-born children because of what they call "choice".

20) Progressives promote the "you are a racist" or racism meme.

21) They promote statism - strong, big centralized government, communism, socialism, welfare state

22) Progressives promote a mob-like mentality.

23) They demonize the wealthy, the job creators.

24) Progressives believe in power, and in obtaining an enormous amount of power and control over our lives.

25) They believe in racial reparations when those who are in existence today have no history of keeping blacks as slaves.

26) Progressives believe in forcing taxpayers to relinquinsh funds - i.e. their earnings - over to the government instead of true charity from the heart.

27) They don't believe in the Constitution, but see it as an outdated paper which is interfering with their endgame.

28) They ONLY use the Constitution when it fits with their agenda.

29) Progressives are anti-God, anti-prayer in the public sphere, and promote separation of church and state when that is seen nowhere within the Constitution.

30) Simply stated, they're WRONG!

June 17, 2011

"No one would dream that three people should “vote” to make the fourth person pay for them. Why does it become right when done through the government"

By the Left Coast Rebel

The quote in the headline of this post was taken from "What is "Fair"?" at Liberty Unbound, which got me a-thinking this morning.

Just What is This Fairness I keep Hearing About and Where can I get Some?

Any of the numerous times that I have heard the chief collectivist in the White House proclaim how much the United States values "fairness" in our tax system, markets, "national" income, etc., I cringe, wince, yell and throw things at the television and/or perform repeated face palms.

I get so irritated by the uses of a anti-concept like "fairness" because it is an incredibly subjective term dependant upon one's worldview.

How Can a Guy as "Smart" as Obama Believe in Such a Fallacy?

Bringing up "fairness" (specifically in taxes and the iron fist of government power) begs several questions. Every time you hear King Obama mention it, think of a few simple scenarios and questions:

Fair to whom? A Republican-appointed bean counter? A Democrat-selected Czar? A committee that has control over your life, public life, a city or state? Fairness determined by a compromised President? Your neighbor? A Che Guevera-lusting college professor that thinks communism is fair? An idiotic, brain-cell-challenged teenager that is just lazy and likes to think that "fairness" is an 24/7 X-Box-playing government-subsidized lifestyle? A union-thug demanding the overwhelming majority of your income simply because they wake up in the morning? (pictured at right).

Isn't it so much better for markets and individuals to be the final arbiter in deciding that which is fair? For instance, I don't think that it is "fair" for me to pay progressively higher tax rates on my personal income simply because I work 12 hours-a-day and put a lot more effort into my career than my fat, lazy 12-pack-a-day neighbor does. I think that progressive taxation limits my income potential, choices and liberty. I, as a responsible adult individual should be allowed to pursue my career without fear of penalization via. progressive overlord concepts of that which is fair. My income is my property and without it, I am deprived of my personal freedom.

Again, "fairness" is an anti-concept, paraphrased by the Ayn Rand Lexicon site, as:
An anti-concept is an unnecessary and rationally unusable term designed to replace and obliterate some legitimate concept. The use of anti-concepts gives the listeners a sense of approximate understanding. But in the realm of cognition, nothing is as bad as the approximate . . . .

I've Seen Fair and Her Name is Socialism

Effectively used by our progressive overlords, fairness replaces and obliterates the unyielding, uncompromisable, nearly forgotten concept that this nation was founded upon: liberty. That's why a government focused on such a non-tangible subjective credo is so dangerous. There is literally nothing in its path to keep it in check. From Barack's psuedo communism to Fidel Castro's real deal, collectivist notions to rob you of your pay check, life and liberty at gunpoint always begin with selling "fair" to a non-thinking public unwilling or unable to weigh the tradeoff of socialism versus human freedom.

For further reading on this topic, please read, "What is "Fair"?" at Liberty Unbound and "C’mon Time to Give Something Back" at Allied Liberty News.

Cross posted to LCR, Libertarian Patriot, Allied Liberty News and Rational Nation.

June 15, 2011

We Failed This Generation

“Our Daddies won the war, then they came home to our moms
They gave 'em so much love that all us kids were born.”
They say the strongest steel is formed from the metal that has been hammered and folded the most.  If this is true the two generations that preceded the Baby Boom: The Greatest Generation, and the so called Silent Generation, were strong steel indeed.  The earliest of the Greatest Generation were born around 1901.  Their parents and grandparents were children of the Civil War.  They saw the end of the horse and the rise of the automobile.  (And we think the transition from Dial up to Broadband was a big deal).  They came of age during WWI, and were becoming adults at the start of the Great Depression.  By this time the weak and the lazy had been weeded out.  They knew hardship, they knew pain, and yet they believed in freedom.  After the attack on Pearl Harbor the whole generation went to war.  More death, more suffering, and the strong survived.  The group slightly behind them were children during the Depression, too young to go and fight, they are called the Silent Generation.  They saw and dealt with, as children all the things their older brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles went through.  They also knew hardship and pain, and loss.  They lost family during the war, they dealt with the rationing at home, they read the news reports, and watched the news at the theater.
These two generations are probably the toughest ever born in our nation.  They had inner and outer strength and they were patriotic and knew America held a special place in the world.  They were also the first generation of Americans who were wealthy enough to be able to give their kids the things they did not have as children.  Our culture became very Child-centric.  If the returning soldiers could have been warned that they needed to guard their families every day from the cultural rot that would take place in the schools and if they would have talked to their chidren about why they fought in the war and what it meant the story would be different.  But it seems many of them chose to just move on with their lives and shield their children from the evils of tyranny.  I recently heard of a man who waited 37 years to tell his family what he did in the war and what it meant to him.  He was a Silver Star recipient and knew first hand the evils of Statism.
“We all grew up on Mickey Mouse and hula hoops.
Then we all bought BMW's and brand new pick-up trucks.
And we watched John Kennedy die one afternoon.
Kids of the Baby Boom.”
But if the strongest steel comes from being forged under pressure, what does that say about the steel that never was put through the trials and heat?  Their parents seeking a better life for their kids than the ones they had gave them more than any generation of children before had ever had.  It was a time of stupendous growth in the USA.  Suburbs were born, many families had two cars, food was bought at the store, and nearly everyone had a television and a phone.  People took vacations on the new highways that were built.  Route 66 became famous.  RVs were invented.  People began to use Dishwashers, & Clothes Washers, we put a man on the moon.  It was magical.
“It was a time of new prosperity in the USA.
All us fortunate offspring never had to pay.
We had sympathy for the devil and the Rolling Stones.
Then we got a little older, we found Haggard and Jones.
A generation screaming for room.
Kids of the Baby Boom.”
The Baby Boomers, and the mini-generation behind them, the so called Generation Jones, grew up in a culture, the speed of advancement and wealth of which had never been seen before in the world.  Then we were drawn into the Vietnam Conflict and these kids were called upon to go and fight as their parents and grandparents had done.  The stated goal was to contain Communism, but the threat to our society was intangible to most and the war was fought literally from the oval office.  Many of their parents were shocked that their kids would question answering the call.  They would have never done so.  But these kids were different and most assuredly this war was different.  We won it on the battlefield and lost it in public opinion and the media.  All of this of course spawned the counterculture, the summer of love, Woodstock, “I’m OK, You’re OK”; Tuning in and Dropping out, Free Love, Open Society, the SDS & The Port Huron Statement,  The Black Panthers, & the Weather Underground. 
And the communists and socialists smiled. 
People began to fear the government instead of the other way around.  The Culture had changed, moral relativism and a turning away from core beliefs had begun.  History was seen as irrelevant at best, and untrue at worst.
“Kids of the Baby Boom,
We have freedom, we have money.
Baby Boom, here in the land of milk and honey.
Counting our chickens way too soon.
Kids of the Baby Boom.
Now we all can run computers and we all can dance.
We all have Calvin Klein written on our underpants.
And at 6 o'clock like robots we turn on the news.
And watch those third-world countries deal out more abuse.
Remember the first man on the moon.
Kids of the Baby Boom.”
The economy turned sour, the middle east began to be a concern, terrorism began its rise.  The cold war was in full swing and the Boomers and The Jones’ began having their babies.  Reagan was elected.  The economy got better, a new time of prosperity in America.  They thought they had seen hardship because of the Gas Crisis and Stagflation.  Boomers are known as being a bit self involved.  It was the generation where Sociology and Psychology really came to prominence. Self-Esteem was born as a concept. Their children grew up at the Dawn of MTV (as opposed to now, where MTV is dead; youtube taking its’ place) .  We of Generation X grew up as children of the hippies.  We lived in a very real time of fear of communist takeover and nuclear war.  Our generation was the first raised by divorced parents, where both parents worked outside the home, we were left alone much of the time.  The television and the Atari, later NES, were our baby sitters.  Computers began to be used in the home.  We grew up watching movies from the video store.  We are the so-called latch-key kids.  The drugs and the music that a lot of the kids of this generation were hooked on seemed far less fun and happy than the drugs and the music of their parents.   Schools were pressured to discontinue punishing students and parents wanted teachers to “like, quit hassling my kids, man”. 
The kids born to the X generation wanted to be friends with their kids more and more instead of being parents.  Competition began to be seen as something less than good.  Political Correctness began its’ march to prominence.  Teachers began to teach to tests.  A generation of students raised under the Great Society Welfare Boom, did their own version of “dropping out.”   We quit saying the Pledge, and Prayer was outlawed in school.  Being a Christian began to carry a stigma.
Things like “New Math” and “Small Group work” (little more than music circles themselves) took over from “Readin’, Ritin, and Rithmatic”.
Children were no longer held back for failure, indeed by the end of the Nineties, there was almost no way to actually Fail.  College began to be seen not as something to aim for, but something that was expected.  A Degree was turned from something indicating a certain level of learning to a “gimme a job” certificate.  Teachers were encouraged not to use red ink because it was hurtful to self esteem.
Gen Y went through high school, (the ones that went, and the ones that were not already being home or private schooled) under this system. 
Now, Gen Y is having children. 
A generation of kids who had little clear direction and parental guidance, who all got ribbons and trophies just for being on a team that they didn’t even try out for having kids.
But the kids aren’t stupid, they are ignorant.  They were raised believing lies and half truths peddled by the spin doctors of the liberal media, the liberal education system and the nanny state.
Thus is the state of Education in this country,  and the failure is not the kids’ failure to learn.  It is the older generations failure to teach and guide.  It is the Boomers, Jones and X’s not understanding proper role of  government and the importance of character.  It is an increasingly liberal government subsidizing birth rates, divorce, and encouraging welfare and dependency.  
We have lost our way; and we haven’t really given our kids a map.  If our society’s light goes out, it will not be their failure, but ours.

May 29, 2011

Memorial Day

On second thought, I do want to say something personal on Memorial day.
On this Memorial Day please thank a Veteran and remember our ancestors who sacrificed so much in order for us to be free and life in the most open society on earth.
And also keep the residents of Joplin in your thoughts, and if you are so inclined, your prayers.  Remember those who have loved ones they have lost.  For those who lost someone, be comforted, because God will surely know his own.
I am thankful that I was fortunate enough not to lose my home even though it was only two miles further east from where the tornado lifted off.  I know many people personally who were affected and my heart goes out to them.
I also saw the faces of the people who lost everything, many who I do not know personally.  I saw them for three days as I did my small part to help last week.  I saw so many who lost so much and my heart goes out to them as well.
This is definitely a Memorial Day those of us in Southwest Missouri will never forget.
On the bright side, know this: We will rebuild our buildings. Because although many of them might be destroyed, our Community, which is made up of People, not strong, and will likely become stronger because of this tragedy.

Memorial Day


Was trying to come up with a  good Memorial Day post.  Then rememebered the one I posted last year from and realized there was no way I could improve on it. So here it is again.  If you didn’t read it last year, read it this year; if you did read it last year, read it again.

Memorial day...

Most of us will spend the weekend grilling burgers and visiting with relatives, or lounging on a beach somewhere, or watching a baseball game in an opulent stadium, overpriced beer and hot dog in hand. And most of us will have forgotten the meaning of the day.
So when you partake in your Memorial Day festivities this weekend, try to remember a few things.
When the smoke from the grill blows into your eyes, try to imagine the terror of the young pilot as the smoke fills the cockpit of his F4 Wildcat, spiraling into the sea off Guadalcanal.
When you sample those pork ribs, remember the Iowa farm boy whose life blood stained the surf at Normandy.
When you eat a bite of potato salad, think of an Idaho preacher’s kid who died with a prayer on his lips, asking God to forgive him for the enemy soldiers’ lives he had taken.
While you enjoy the warm summer sun on your face, take a moment to think of the frozen bodies of American soldiers strapped to jeeps and tanks at the Chosin Reservoir.
When you welcome your niece’s new boyfriend to the table, remember the black kid from Mississippi who died right beside his white buddies in Vietnam, though he wasn’t even allowed to eat in the same restaurants back home.
When you scold your misbehaving grandchild, think of the little boy whose only knowledge of his father will come from stories told by family, because Daddy died on a dusty street in Fallujah while he was still in the womb.
When you fetch your wife another glass of tea, think of a young wife living in base housing at Fort Benning, as she hears the news that her husband died at Ia Drang.
When you invite Grandpa to say grace before the meal, think of young men cut down by a hail of fire from a Maxim at Belleau Wood.
When you reflect with pride on your daughter’s recent graduation, think of a young woman cartwheeling into the sea in her F14 Tomcat after a failed carrier landing.
When you look with distaste at the tattoos on her new boyfriend, think instead of the former gang kid from Detroit who found a way up and out of poverty in the Army, only to die from an IED blast in Baghdad. And remind yourself that what matters is how he treats your daughter, not the ink on his arms.
Whilst you enjoy your beer and bratwurst, remember the 19 -year-old Army private who died in a training accident in Grafenwohr in 1960, one of many young men who knew they’d be little more than a speed bump should the Russians ever come pouring through the Fulda Gap. Yet still, they served.
When you sit at the table, think of a Navy Captain, a husband and father, who died at his Pentagon desk on September 11. His death was no less honorable.
If you’re traveling today, think of the passengers of United Flight 93, for in a field outside Shanksville they became the first soldiers in our war on terror.
When your boys fight, as boys will do, remember the boys on both sides who died at Gettysburg.
If a loved one can’t make it to the gathering today, think of Mrs. Bixby and her five sons.
While your kids play in the pool this afternoon, think of other kids not much older, trapped below decks as the Arizona went under at Pearl Harbor.
If you have bemoaned the layoffs of friends and co-workers in the recent economic crisis, think of the Navy SEAL who lost every single one of his teammates on a rainy night in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.
When you take a shower tonight, think of young men reeking of machine oil and sweat, desperately trying, and failing, to surface their wounded submarine somewhere in the Pacific in 1943.
I tell you of these things not to spoil your appetite or your day, but to remind you that the things we enjoy in our lives are made all the sweeter when you consider what made them possible.
Remind yourself also that your sacrifice is infinitely easier. All you need do is sacrifice a moment of your time every few years to pull a lever. The way to honor a dead soldier is not simply to fly a flag on Memorial Day. Vote to preserve the freedoms they died defending. Elect leaders worthy of those rough young men and women who stand ready to do violence on your behalf.
And stop by your local Veteran’s Cemetery and put out some flowers on the grave of your choice. It need not even be the grave of someone you know.
Bring your children along, and explain to them why. It’s important.
-Kook via

May 20, 2011

Nixa MO Family Could Face Millions in Fines from USDA for selling Rabbits without a license

Ok, Got this on a Tip From BBCW and this needs to go viral.  You can read the full sordid tale any of several places Big GovernmentBBCW, & Left Coast Rebel, to name a few.

Here are the salient facts of this total over reaction by the Federal Government, specifically the USDA APHIS unit.
This is mostly taken from Bob McCarty’s excellent story which originally ran on the 19th. 
John Dollarhite and his wife Judy of  Nixa, Mo( Pop 12,124) , have been told by the USDA that, by Monday, they must pay a fine exceeding $90,000. If they don’t pay that fine, they could face additional fines of almost $4 million. Why? Because they sold more than $500 worth of bunnies — $4,600 worth to be exact — in a single calendar year.

The backstory:
“About six years ago, the Dollarhites wanted to teach their young teenage son responsibility and the value of the dollar. So they rescued a pair of rabbits — one male and one female — and those rabbits did what rabbits do; they reproduced. Before long, things were literally hopping on the three-acre homestead 30 miles south of Springfield, and Dollarvalue Rabbitry was launched as more of a hobby than a business.

“We’d sell ‘em for 10 or 15 dollars a piece,” John said during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, comparing the venture to a kid running a lemonade stand. In addition, they set up a web site and posted a “Rabbits for Sale” sign in their front yard. Most customers, however, came via word of mouth.

In the early stages, some of the bunnies were raised and sold for their meat. Much further down the road, John said, they determined it more profitable to sell live bunnies at four weeks old than to feed bunnies for 12 weeks and then sell them as meat.

“We started becoming the go-to people” for rabbits in the Springfield area, John said. “If you wanted a rabbit, you’d go to Dollarvalue Rabbitry.” He added that the family even made the local television news just before Easter in 2008 for a report about the care and feeding of “Easter bunnies.”

…During the summer of 2009, the Dollarhites bought the rabbitry from their son who had grown tired of managing it. They paid him what he asked for it, $200. Things kept growing, however, and the Dollarhite’s landed a pair of big accounts in 2009.

A well-known Branson theme park, Silver Dollar City, asked the Dollarhites to have them provide four-week-old bunnies per week to their petting zoo May through September. When the bunnies turned six weeks old, they were sold to park visitors. The Springfield location of a national pet store chain, Petland, purchased rabbits from the Dollarhites as well.

…By the year’s end, the Dollarhites had moved approximately 440 rabbits and grossed about $4,600 for a profit of approximately $200 — enough, John said, to provide the family “pocket money” to do things such as eat out at Red Lobster once in a while. That was better than the loss they experienced in 2008.

Then some unexpected matters began demanding their attention.

It’s an understatement to describe the Dollarhites as being “beyond surprised” when, in the fall of 2009, a female inspector from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed up at the front door of the family home, wanting to do a “spot inspection” of their rabbitry. She said she had come across Dollarhite Rabbitry invoices while inspecting the petting zoo at Silver Dollar City.

“She did not tell us that we were in violation of any laws, rules, anything whatsoever,” John said, explaining that the inspector said she just wanted to see what type of operation they had. Having nothing to hide or any reason to fear they were doing anything wrong, the Dollarhites allowed the inspection to proceed.

John said he had to go to work at the family’s computer store, so Judy took the inspector to the back of their property where the rabbits were raised. There, the inspector began running the width of her finger across the cage and told the Dollarhites they would need to replace the cage, because it was a quarter-inch too small and, therefore, did not meet federal regulations.

Such a requirement came as a shock to the Dollarhites, because they had just invested in new cages to ensure the bunnies had a healthy amount of space to develop, John explained. Though raising dwarf breed varieties of rabbits which require less space, they had opted to purchase cages designed for “large breed rabbits” so the dwarfs would have plenty of room. All for naught.

Not only was the cage too small, according to the inspector, but she noted a small rust spot on a feeder and cited it as being out of compliance. When the Dollarhites told the inspector that rabbit urine causes the cages to rust and that they worked hard to keep the rabbits cages in top shape, she told them it didn’t matter. The rust spot would count as an infraction.

…During the course of the spot inspection, John said, the inspector asked his wife if she and John would like to have their operation certified by USDA. Judy said she wasn’t sure and asked what certification would entail and if it would help them sell more rabbits. The inspector responded, telling her it would involve monthly inspections and was completely voluntary. The inspection ended with the inspector telling Judy that the Dollarhites rabbits looked healthy and well-cared for.

After the inspection, the Dollarhites didn’t hear from the USDA again until January 2010, John said, when he received a phone call from a Kansas City-based investigator from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
“He called us and said, ‘I need to have a meeting with you and your wife,’” John recalled.

After explaining that he asked the investigator to come after the workday at the computer store had ended, John said he asked the investigator about the purpose of the meeting,

“He said, ‘Well, it’s because you’re selling rabbits and you’ve exceeded more than $500 dollars in a year,’” John said, “and I went, ‘Okay, what does that have to do with anything?’”

John said the investigator refused to discuss details over the phone and made it clear that rejecting his request for a meeting would be a costly error in judgment.

When Judy asked if they should have an attorney present, the investigator responded, saying, “Well, that might be a good thing.”

“At that point, we kind of set back, (wondering) what in the world is going on,” John said. Then he found an attorney who is also a farmer.

…a couple of days later — at the same time both met the APHIS investigator in person at John’s home.

“The first thing (the investigator) said was ‘My name is so and so, I’ve been in the USDA for 30-plus years, and I’ve never lost a case,’” John recalled, continuing. “He said, ‘I’m not here to debate the law, interpret the law or discuss the law, I’m here just to do an investigation.’”

John said the investigator went on to explain that he would ask questions, write a report based on the answers and send that report to his superiors at the USDA regional office in Colorado Springs, Colo. The entire process was suppose to take about a month, and John was told to contact the regional office if he had not heard anything in six weeks.

“At this point in time, we were still not knowing anything about the law he was talking about,” John explained, adding that his rabbitry had never had any issues with any animal welfare agencies.

Eight weeks passed, and John decided to call Colorado Springs. Immediately, he was given the number to a USDA office in the nation’s capitol. He called the new number, and the lady he reached there was blunt, John said.

“She said, ‘Well, Mr. Dollarhite, I’ve got the report on my desk, and I’m just gonna tell you that, once I review it, it’s our intent to prosecute you to the maximum that we can’ and that ‘we will make an example out of you.”

When John once again tried to determine which law he and his wife had violated, he said the USDA lady replied, “We’ll forward you everything.”

“Ma’am, what law have we broken?,” John said. “Well, you sold more than $500 worth of rabbits in one calendar year,” she replied, according to John.
Okay, what does that have to do with anything?” John countered.

The lady replied by saying there is a guideline which prohibits anyone from selling more than $500 worth of rabbits per year, John recalled, but she refused to cite any specific law and, instead, promised to send him the report containing details.

Soon after the meeting with the APHIS investigator and with the stress of the investigation hanging over their heads, John said he and his wife traded everything associated with the rabbit operation for other agricultural equipment.

Recently, the Dollarhites received a “Certified Mail Return Receipt” letter (dated April 19, 2011) from the USDA informing them that they had broken the law and must pay USDA a fine of $90,643. Their crime? Violating violating 9 C.F.R. § 2.1 (a) (1) [which is basically selling pets without a license]

Based on an average price per rabbit sold being $10.45, the fine comes out to more than $206 per rabbit. In addition, the letter contains the following statement:

”APHIS laws and regulations provide for administrative and criminal penalties to enforce these regulatory requirements, including civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each of the violations documented in our investigation.”

If the threat contained in the letter is to be believed, the family could be fined as much as $10,000 per rabbit beyond the first 50 bunnies that netted the family its first $500. Do the math (390 rabbits x $10,000 each) and, if they don’t pay the initial fine, they could face additional fines totaling $3.9 million.

Needless to say, the Dollarhites stopped selling rabbits in January 2010 and are considering setting up a legal defense fund.

Dave Sacks, a spokesman for the agency’s subordinate Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service located in Maryland had this to say:

"Our main focus here at USDA’s Animal Care program is to ensure that the animals covered under the federal Animal Welfare Act are being treated humanely. Animal welfare is at the heart of everything we do. So, we consider it very serious when there is an activity regulated under the Animal Welfare Act that is being conducted without a USDA license. Reason being, when individuals are licensed, USDA inspectors conduct periodic unannounced inspections of those individuals’ animals and facilities. It is during these inspections that our inspectors can see how the animals are being treated and handled. When unlicensed individuals conduct regulated activities, this hampers our ability to enforce the Animal Welfare Act and hampers our ability to ensure the welfare of their animals. If you don’t have a license, that means that we are not inspecting your facility and your animals, so we would have no idea how your animals are being treated."

Sacks closed his message to me with the following:

"USDA certainly realizes that $90,000 is a lot of money. But we’ve been called upon by Congress to enforce the Animal Welfare Act so that regulated animals are humanely cared for and treated. And the reality is that there is no way we can guarantee that this care is being provided to these animals unless all individuals conducting regulated activities are licensed."
I did a little quick research on the regulation in question and because the Dollarhites were selling the rabbits for pets and not as food and because they sold over the $500 amount and because they were not selling them directly to individuals...they are in violation.  It is stupid but it is true.  There are so many regulations on the books that it would make the average person's head explode, but it is the way it is, this is how most of our "Laws" are now made.

The USDA is going way overboard on this and needs to be put back on their chain.  This story needs told because from the information I have read it seems the USDA is not dealing in good faith and it seems the punishment far outweighs the "crime".   Our Government is running rampant.

May 13, 2011

Who Sets Gas Prices At The Pump?

Right now gas prices are hovering around the $3.80 mark in my area of the country.  We have all heard rumors of the so far mythical $5 a gallon gas in the US.  This is obviously a source of much angst in the US because we are a large country with a large suburban and rural population who have literally grown up as a nation with the automobile. What is more we like BIG automobiles because we spend a lot of time.  We like big automobiles because we have active lifestyles, and we use them to work, and we like to feel safe. 

So who is to blame?  Is it those filthy Oil Executives?  OPEC? The owner of the convenience store chain?  The government?  Yes.  it is all of those folks.  But it is way more complicated than that and unfortunately even after a lot of study the answers are not that satisfying.  What is more it is so complicated that there is no easy answer. 

To even begin to understand this issue you have to start at the beginning.  It is the most basic Economic rule.  Supply and Demand.  On the Supply side is a group of countries, primarily known as OPEC, Oil Producing and Exporting Countries. 


OPEC is a consortium of 13 countries: Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Together, these 13 nations are responsible for 40 percent of the world's oil production and hold the majority of the world's oil reserves, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).  More than that Saudi Arabia is way out in front.  The table below is in BILLIONS of barrels of oil. Countries in red are OPEC nations.

1  Saudi Arabia 264
2  Canada 178
3  Iran 132
4  Iraq 115
5  Kuwait 101
6  United Arab Emirates 97
7  Venezuela 79
8  Russia 60
9  Libya 39
10  Nigeria 35
11  United States 21
12  China 18
13  Qatar 15
14  Mexico 12
15  Algeria 11
16  Brazil 11
17  Kazakhstan 9
18  Norway  7
19  Azerbaijan 7
20 India 5

Top 20 countries: 1224.5 (95%)

OPEC can affect the cost of gasoline with even a threat of producing less oil.  Doing so lowers (or causes the perception of lowering) supply relative to demand and therefore increases price.  They don’t even actually have to do anything because the price is set by other groups which do not always behave rationally, but we will get to that.

Another word on OPEC, if you look at that list you will notice that none of those countries has what we would normally consider warm and friendly feelings towards the United States.  It is pretty much a who’s who of who hates America.  Interesting, since if we were not buying their product they would mostly be afterthoughts, or never-thought-abouts on the world stage.

Lastly with OPEC it is important to note that although they used to be able to push prices all over the place by increasing or limiting demand they have even less influence now than they have historically because with the exception of a couple of countries, Saudi Arabia for one, most of the member countries are pumping it out as fast as they can now despite what they agree to do.  They are making money as fast as they can, while they can.

To get back on point you also have to understand a bit about the United States’ nearly insatiable need for Gasoline and other fuels.  We are large geographically and we have by far and away the worlds’ largest economy (still).  We use a LOT of oil.  We use a lot of oil because we have decentralized our manufacturing plants away from Rail yards and have embraced Japan’s JIT (just in time) method of purchasing and logistics.  This works well in a small country but in one as large as our it necessitates a tremendous amount of trucking. 

Also because we average nearly three cars per household (even our so called poor drive) and because of the social and moral breakdown of our culture no one can stand to live in the city or town center and we all migrate as far away from there as possible we are more reliant on the automobile, because we all largely still work somewhere.

Couple that with the fact that we are more rural in nature than most of the other developed countries in the world to begin with AND the fact that we have grown up with the automobile instead of the automobile being a recent addition to a city that has been around since the middle ages (London, Paris, Rome, etc.) and you can see that our love affair with automobiles is not going anywhere.

  One small but increasing factor is the rise in wealth of India and China.  Their demand for oil is increasing because they are not riding bicycles as much as they used to.  They want to drive cars.  Incidentally this is forcing a lot of Americans to look towards riding a bicycle.  But this is still not the reason gas is going up.  And if everyone bought a Prius it would not really help.

Next let’s look at the Oil Companies themselves.  We all hated that guy from BP and we have all heard how the Oil Companies are making record profits every quarter in the multiple Billions of Dollars.  They are a fat and easy target.  But you have to understand how their business works.

There is no such thing as an "Oil Company". It is an oversimplification for an entire industry made up of hundreds or maybe thousands of companies worldwide with different pieces of the overall oil business.
But for an oversimplification here is one possible option where the company does everything. The oil company will gain rights to the oil from the government, it leases or buys the land, drills the oil, ships it to a refinery, refines it, ships it to distributors, then gas stations, then sells it directly to the consumer.
The problem with this scenario is that no business does the whole thing alone. Many companies only do one stage in the process. Some major oil companies never get past transportation of the crude oil. Some only refine. Some only refine for certain products

They don’t set the price of the Crude Oil.  Take Saudi Arabia for instance, Exxon or BP might have spent their money to find  the oil in the seventies.  They probably built the drill rigs and the pumping stations, but the OIL belongs to the King.   Therefore he is in charge of when it gets pumped and when it doesn’t.  And it works like that for all the other nations as well.  Someone owns the mineral rights to the oil and someone else drills for it and hauls it.  The ShelExxonBp’s of the world make contracts with the owners of the oil to develop their fields.  That is why you hear talk to “leases” and such in the Gulf.  In come cases the Government owns the land and controls who gets the leases and when an oil company’s lease runs out they move on or someone else moves in.  Further complicating this is the fact that just because it says BP on the side of the oil rig, doesn’t mean it is really BP’s rig, these are often times outsourced to smaller companies working on contract.  This is similar to an Airline, if you fly a lot you know it may say Delta on your ticket but you may be flying a local carrier (ComAir) leased to Delta.  Or a trucking company where the driver is an owner/operator leased to a larger company. 

Oil companies, the major ones at least, usually pump their own oil. They have exploitation permits (contracts) from the countries that they are pumping the oil from. In every contract the case is different. In some cases they pay a fixed amount up front to take the permit (contract) in other cases they pay a fixed amount per barrel they pump. The most usual case is that in the permit they agree to some very complicated formulas that determine the amount the companies pay to the countries for each barrel. In these cases they take under consideration the cost of pumping, oil prices, investments, number of barrels pumped etc.

It is important to note they may do this YEARS in advance.   So oil companies are making huge profits now because prices are up now and they agreed to contracts speculating what the overhead costs and the price of a barrel of oil would be years ago.  All you have to do is look at the price of gas for the past decade to see that no one would have figured that kind of rise into a forward looking contract.


  They invested in oil fields when prices were much lower, with the expectation that they could break even at, say, $50 per barrel. Since the market price is now more than $100 a barrel, the extra money is gravy. It's like a farmer who can raise corn for $1.50 a bushel. If the market price is $1.75, he makes a quarter per bushel. If the market price jumps to $2.25, his profits jump as well. (If the market crashes to $1 per bushel, the farmer loses money. That can happen to oil companies as well.) Oil companies, like the farmer, are the beneficiaries of high market prices, but they can no more control those prices than a farmer can dictate what he gets for a bushel of corn.

This may seem strange to many readers who did not grow up in a farming or mining or oil producing area.  But when you are a farmer you don’t know what your profit will be at the end of the harvest because you don’t know what your beans or corn will be selling for.  Again, not to get ahead of myself but this is the way it works.  You are a farmer and you make a decision to raise beans.  Typically you borrow the money to put your crop in, for seeds, fuel, labor the whole shebang.  You know when it comes harvest time where you will be taking your beans.  There are only a few buyers in any area.  If you are lucky you can get a contract for X amount of dollars per bushel when you plant.  This is a simple form of a “future” When you hear on the news that “Corn futures are trading up $.02” that is what they are talking about.  People buys and sell contracts on prices for all kinds of things as if it were stock in a company on the “Commodity Market”.  These people are “Speculators.”  It gets really complicated really quick trying to make sense of all the rules and strategy of the game. There are buyers and sellers and then their are third party brokers just making money in the transaction or the trading of the contracts themselves.   Basically think of “futures” as insurance against taking a severe beating at the end of the harvest, or you may buy an “Option” which is even better, you have the “Option” of selling it for this price unless you don’t want to, in which case you don’t have to.  You may contract all your crop for one price or break it up or only put part of it in contract and play the wait-and-see-game with the rest.  Then again you might lose the crop or not raise as much as you thought and that is bad.  That is how banks get farms cheap. 

But who sets the market Price?  It must be the Gas Station Owners right?  Well to some extent, yes, but not completely.

It goes something like this, every day a station gets emailed the wholesale cost for a gallon of gas, for reference. They use that number and then add other costs in to try to figure out what their ideal price point would be. .  At most convenience stores the gas is what brings in the customers but snack sales are what keeps the lights on.

But the reality of what consumers pay at the pump has little to do with the literal cost of the gas in the tanks at the store.Here's an approximation of where each dollar you spend on gas goes:

  • Crude oil: 55 cents
  • Refining: 14 cents
  • Distribution and Marketing: 8 cents
  • Taxes: 13 cents

You know the hidden number in a gallon of gas?  You know, we say that gas is 3.85  but there is that other little number that is not rounded up.  gas is really 3.859. .   That is usually the profit margin of the store itself on gas.

Back to the cost of gasoline: oil is traded just like any other commodity, by the use of Futures and Options. Both of them are financial products. Here is a generalization on how this might work.  Lets say that you want to buy a barrel of oil, not right now, but in six months. You believe that in six months the barrel will cost $60 . Then you buy a future that is worth $60. In six months you go to the market to buy your barrel. If the barrel costs more than $60 you use your future and take it at that price. If it costs less you do not use your future and buy it normally. Do not take all these literally, the way futures and options work is far more complex and they are also subject to supply and demand.

Another thing that might put this in perspective is the difference you pay for ticket prices to a concert or sporting event.  You can pre-purchase them cheaper than you can at the door.  Now think about if you didn’t know for sure but there was a possibility that the tickets at the door might go on SALE just before showtime and also a possibility that they could go way way up .  You pre-purchased ticket is a hedge against a higher price, a “Future”.

Please note that oil is not bought only by Oil companies but also countries who further complicate the process.

When the spot value, or the value “right now” goes up usually the future and options values go up. That means that when the prices increases the companies anticipate that in the future when they will need to buy more futures to buy more oil they will have to pay more money. What they do is they sell the oil they already have at a higher price to find the money to buy the new options and futures.

You can understand now why when the spot prices go up you have an immediate increase on the gas at the gas station. They will sell gas at higher prices even though they use reserves that they bought much cheaper in order to compensate for the future prices they will have to pay.

One more reason for the immediate rises at the gas-stations is the fact that the gas-station owners and gas distributors do take advantage of the situation. When all the media say that the prices go higher they find it a great opportunity to take advantage and make more money. They do this because they can, there is literally no law against it.

Please also note that the taxes on fuels, is oftentimes  a percentage of its value. So the higher the price the more taxes you pay. Finally the supply chain of oil is complicated and a lot of different companies take part in it. All of them have a specific margin that they calculate it on the price they bought the oil. The gas that you buy at the pump is much more expensive than the oil that it is pumped at the well.

So, if the price is not set by OPEC, and not by ShelExxonBP, and not by the local corner station, who really slaps the price per barrel on the barrel of oil?

The Government?  No.  Now, the government can influence things for reasons we will get into in just a bit.  Without getting off topic; opponents of increased domestic drilling say it will not affect immediate gas prices.  This is patently illogical because just like with OPEC, the threat of increased supply will lower prices immediately. The other thing that always gets glossed over is that increasing our domestic drilling probably would not lower worldwide oil prices, but it could  lower our domestic gas prices.  to deny that is ludicrous int eh extreme, for one thing we would not be paying for shipping oil halfway around the world.  Our refinieries are in the gulf.  not coincidentally a lot of our vacant oil fields are within several hundred miles of the gulf coast.  The withholding of permits for drilling at home and the idling of our ancient refineries (none new since ‘76 because the government will not allow it) has a definite deleterious impact on what we pay at the pump, to think otherwise is insanity.  But the government doesn’t set gas prices.  Oh, and opening up the strategic reserves is about like a fireman using a bottle of Evian to put out a fire.  Sure it is water, but it ain’t near enough.  The strategic reserves are to allow the military and necessary infrastructure of the country to survive a short term embargo or military operation.  Not to make it affordable for you to take the ‘lade to starbucks.  It is a mere fraction of what the public uses in a very short amount of time.

Ok, so gas prices are not completely at the whim of Government either.  So WHO controls the price of Oil? 

The guy we haven’t really talked about much.  Not the Producer, and not the Consumer, the other guy.  The guy in the system who doesn’t care whether it is oil or corn or sow bellies.  The guy who makes his money trading “futures”.  These folks buy futures and sell and trade them to make money in the middle of the process between producer and consumer.  The so called “speculator”.  Remember Enron?  That was one of their gigs.  But lots of other companies do it too, you can buy futures online.  They might be part of your mutual fund or 401k.  And the Futures on Oil are traded on the NYMEX.

NYMEX is a Commodity exchange.  Commodity exchanges began in the middle of the 19th century, when businessmen began organizing market forums to make buying and selling of commodities easier. These marketplaces provided a place for buyers and sellers to set the quality, standards, and establish rules of business. By the late 19th century about 1,600 marketplaces had sprung up at ports and railroad stations. In 1872, a group of Manhattan dairy merchants got together and created the Butter and Cheese Exchange of New York. Soon, egg trade became part of the business conducted on the exchange and the name was modified to the Butter, Cheese, and Egg Exchange. In 1882, the name finally changed to the New York Mercantile Exchange when opening trade to dried fruits, canned goods, and poultry.

As centralized warehouses were built into principal market centers such as New York and Chicago in the early 20th century, exchanges in smaller cities began to disappear giving more business to the exchanges such as the NYMEX in bigger cities.  Now, the NYMEX operates in a trading facility and office building with two trading floors in the World Financial Center in downtown Manhattan

The floor of the NYMEX is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, an independent agency of the United States government. Each individual company that trades on the exchange must send its own independent brokers. Therefore, a few employees on the floor of the exchange represent a big corporation and the actual employees of the MYMEX only record the transactions and have nothing to do with the actual trade. The NYMEX is one of the few exchanges in the world to maintain the open outcry system, where traders employ shouting and complex hand gestures on the physical trading floor.

Yes that is right, the cost of a barrel of oil is ultimately decided by a few people yelling and waving hand signs at each other in New York.


These traders are the ones ultimately responsible for the cost of a barrel of crude.  They don’t represent Oil Companies, at least not directly, they represent Hedge Funds and Brokerage houses. 

Now, I am

not economist, there are many many people who could lose me instantly in a discussion on this topic.  But I am smart enough to know that there are groups and people in this scenario with enough pull to influence the market. Some of them may be big oil executives, some might be foreign governments, but by and large it is just like the stock market.  It cannot really be controlled, but it can be nudged, and we know who likes to nudge everything.


May 02, 2011

Osama Is Dead - Random Thoughts

I hate that I don't feel...anything really

I know that this is not cause for celebration.  When you put down a rabid animal, it is a job that needs done, and you do it without regret, but you should not be exultant about it. 

Justice has been done, it was grim business, it was done, and now we should just move on.  You don't celebrate. (nevermind when it actually happened)

The pictures on the web and on facebook with the Statue of Liberty holding Osama's head sicken me.

Then again, the fact that we have not been shown any good proof and that he was buried at sea leaves me feeling empty.

Sad too, that I am so cynical and disgusted with the government, and this pResident, that I find it awfully coincedental that they ANNOUNCE this during an election year when there is very little for Obama to crow about.  Gas is high, we are still in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now he put us in Libya as well. Unemployment is still at a 30 year high.  He has failed to deliver on many of the promises he made to get elected (promises that I was mostly against anyway).  All of this is causing him trouble with his base.  And I know how all of us feel about him.

I am old enough that I don't believe in coincidences much anymore.  So I will dust off my tin foil hat and wonder if it is possible that Osama died when I thought he did and the (wise) decision was made (by the previous administration) to keep it quiet to prevent martyrdom and retaliation.  But I hate being a conspiracy theorist all the time.  So I don't know what to think..

It just leaves me with a nagging thought that we will never truly know now for sure who was killed in Pak-e-Stahn.  . 

If nothing else, the result is the same in my humblest of opinions. 
1. Obama gets to make political hay out of this when the work was done by others
2. Now there is a real rallying cry for all the would-be terrorists out there
3. All the jubilant announcing of Osama's death will do is decrease our safety.

Just my thoughts, what are yours?

April 19, 2011

Western Hero: Push Back on the "Give Back"

Saw this this morning on the webz from our long time blog buddy Silverfiddle.  It is just great and strikes at the heart of something that has always really steamed me.  To read my previous take on it make with the clicky:  C’mon Time to Give Something Back.   Good Job Mr. Silverfiddle, you get a Kook knuckle bump of the day.

Push Back on the "Give Back"

"Give something back" is a leftist rhetorical trick designed to shame people into pouring even more money into failed state enterprises.

President Obama delivered his official response to the budget crisis: those who have benefited the most from our way of life can afford to give a bit more back. (HuffPo - Rev Al Sharpton)
What an absurd statement.  But liberalism has become an eternal fount of absurd pronouncements.
Here is the statement straight from the emperor's mouth:
"It's a basic reflection of our belief that those who benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little bit more."  (President Obama - RCP)
"Give back" presupposes that someone took something.  That is why it is an absurd statement.  So until demagogues like Obama can give us details on just what exactly "the rich" took from us, (and which ones?  Name names!), I'll continue to ignore them. 
Speaking of "Taking..." and "Giving Back..."
What have all those recipients of government-subsidized student loans and government grants given back?  How are welfare recipients, government housing residents and food stamp users paying us back?
At the next DC-NY taxpayer-funded orgy, Obama should ask GE CEO Jeffrey HeMelts when GE will "give back" all the damned tax money they have scammed us out of.  When will Obama-owned GM give back the $50 billion he took from us and gave them in a fit of crony crapitalism that would make FDR blush?
And didn't effete millionaire jet setters Michelle and Barack Obama use government-subsidized student loans and grants to attend Ivy League schools?  And don't those schools receive millions each year in government funds?  Have the Obama's given it back?
If liberals really want to go down this road of "give something back," we conservatives and libertarians should take them all the way.
Give Something Back?  Statists Have it Backwards
Government should give us back...
Economic liberty; incandescent bulbs; drilling permits; freedom to travel through airports without being groped, raped, scanned, fondled and strip searched;  Sane immigration policy...
What would you like to see government give back?

Western Hero: Push Back on the "Give Back"

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