REMINDER: Quit looking for a hero or friend or partner in politics

We conservatives tend to be idol worshippers, focusing all of our efforts on the candidate. If it’s a good candidate, we support and help. If it’s a bad candidate we lambaste and oppose. Remember what Friedman said

“It’s nice to elect the right people, but that isn’t the way you solve things. The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.”

He was talking about Congressmen, but it’s a philosophy that applies equally to the President and to an entire party.

in thiis race, it’s Clinton v. Trump. One of those two will be the next President. You may be happy about that, you may be sad about that. You may fee embarrassed and ashamed that these are our pathetic choices. You may not want either one. I’m very sorry, but this country has survived bad Presidents before, we’ll survive this time, too.

The President is NOT the avatar of your self-worth. If he or she is a despicable human being (they both pretty much are), your support for one or the other doesn’t mean that YOU are a despicable human being.

Our job as responsible citizens of this Republic is to make a decision about which one of these wrong people can be best influenced to do the right things and then behave accordingly.

We know how Clinton is influenced, and we know who has the influence with her. It’s not us. She not only doesn’t care if we oppose her, she PREFERS that we oppose her. A weakend GOP Senate and House will not be able to persuade her of anything – she’ll have the backing of all Democrats, media, education, popular culture, and big business. At best, the GOP may be able to mitigate some of the horrors she is intent on. Perhaps instead of banning all guns and ammunition purchases, we’ll just have registration and application for permission to buy.

After 8 years of holding Obama back on some things, the public choosing “4 more years” of Obama policies will have a very strong pull on the GOPers who have always been squishy. Clinton victory will be a very strong message that the nation wants what the progressive left is selling, it will be more politically profitable for the GOP to do their thing than our thing. You know this.

We also know how Trump is influenced. He must be seen as winning, as smart. There’s some chance that a weakened GOP can have some influence there. Not much, but more than zero. We can make it politically profitable for Trump to do the right thing, in some circumstances.

Put away the anger and sadness, put away the disappointment, and get ruthlessly logical. If we are to have any influence over the head of the federal government, any at all, it’s Trump that has to be there.

My Invisalign Journey – 2. Settling In and Setting Up

Previous articles in the series: Prologue, Part 1

I’m now home, with set 1 on my teeth, and sets 2-10 in a bag. I also have two small travel containers for the trays. There’s also this rubber device I can use to help seat the trays if I need it. I am on my own until my next appointment in 10 weeks.  My way of eating and drinking is over, and I’m in this strange new world I wasn’t entirely prepared for.

First thing to do is set everyting up in the bathroom, and figure out some sort of timing mechanism. Yes, I’m determined to do this right (MASSIVE $$ investment, I’m not going to be careless), so I’m going to make SURE that I don’t have these things out for more than 2 hours in a day. I’m going to clock it.

There are timer apps on my phone, my tablet, my laptop, and my desktop computer. I have a timer in the kitchen.

  • The kitchen timer is ruled out, since I’ll be using this thing every day for at least a year.
  • Desktop and laptop apps are ruled out. I’m going to be managing this in the bathroom, so I want something right there that’s easy.
  • Apps on the phone or tablet are what I start with.

During the first week I tire of using apps for timing. I have to remember to bring the phone or tablet with me when it’s time to take out my teeth. Then, with wet hands, I’m unlocking the device, opening the app, and hitting start or stop on the timer. It works of course, but it’s just kind of annoying. I’m going to be starting and stopping a timer multiple times a day, every day, for over a year. This is exactly the kind of task that calls for a purpose-built device with a physical button rather than an “occasional use” app. So off to Walmart I go.

They have a few timers, in the kitchen gadget aisle, that advertise the ability to count up – that’s what I want. Hit the button to start, hit the button to stop, and at the end of the day it needs to be less than 2 total hours. There’s a $5 one, and being cheap, that’s what I get. After 2 weeks it pretty much craps out on me, so I end up buying the $20 one after all. Should have just started with that. It’s great – easy to use buttons and it tracks more than 99 minutes, so it’s totally clear how much time I’ve had my teeth out.

Note that I’m currently unemployed, and at home most of the time, so this works for me. If I were out and about more, I’d probably use a timer app that travels better, because portability would become the more important feature.

Tray Management
I have 10 little plastic bags with my trays in them. They’re numbered. I’ll be opening a new one every Wednesday. I’m a semi-hoarder and want to keep all of them until this is over, so I can compare the last one to the first one, just to see my progress. So I found a tupperware container that fits 10 of these things, and it will sit in my bathroom linen closet, ready when I need it.

Travel necessities
I’m going to have to carry a holder, and a toothbrush with me now. If I want to eat or drink while I’m not at home, I have to take my trays out, put them in the container and store them. Then go brush my teeth and put the trays back in when I’m done. OK. Walmart once again. In the school supplies aisle there are pencil holders for kids. Perfect. Combine that with a folding travel toothbrush, travel size toothpaste, travel size floss, and I’m set.

The Invisalign Gear.

So I’ve got the gear thing handled now. Every new project or hobby has its own accessory requirment. Invisalign is no different.

My Invisalign Journey – 1. Shock and Regret

Previous articles in the series: My Invisalign Journey – Prologue

So I’ve decided to go ahead with this, spend the money, deal with the orthodontist appointments, the pain that will flash me back to high school, the weirdness of wearing a clear plastic retainer all the time. I made the appointment for “computerized molds”.

New technology! No plastic molds with nasty rubber choking me, they use a digital camera to scan all of my teeth. That sounds easier than it is, but it’s still better than those molds.

The digital photos of my teeth are sent off to the nerds at Invisalign who come up with the step by step process of making my smile gorgeous, and then make the trays that will push and pull the teeth into alignment.  I make the follow up appointment to get my trays in two weeks’ time.

The day is here! I get my trays! Woohoo!!!

First the tech has to put “buttons” on my teeth in some places. These are little grippers that will allow the tray to grab onto a tooth and move it more easily. OK, they’re enamel colored, so when my trays are out they won’t be that noticeable.

Then the tech puts the first tray in, showing me how to make sure it’s all seated properly and stuff. Then she has me try to remove it. Um, that wasn’t all that easy. Then she has me put it back in. Oh, that was harder than it looked. Take it off again? OK. Yeah, this is kind of a pain in the ass. And these bumps on my teeth? They hurt the inside of my lips, just like braces do. They feel weird.

I’m not going to feel my normal teeth AT ALL for the duration of this process. I was not expecting that. Oh, and the “first batch” of aligners is 32, so 32 weeks and then reimaging to see how much more. This process is AT LEAST a year long. One tray per week.

The tech assures me I’ll get better at putting these things in. She assures me I’ll be able to tell at the one week point that the tray is “dead” and I’m ready for a new one. I doubt her, but play along, just to be agreeable.

Then she lowers the boom.

Nothing but water while the trays are in. And they’re in for 22 hours a day.

What? I knew I had to take them out to eat, but water only? RUFKM? I never DRINK water. I drink coffee and tea (cold and hot) and Diet Dr Pepper and Diet Coke all day long. I have a Sodastream that I’m trying to find acceptable syrups for since they changed the formulas. I drink beverages all day long. I have a HUGE collection of teas. My beverages are very important to me.

Also I’m a snacker. I really don’t eat an actual multi-course meal more than once a day, if that. I tend to eat one thing at a time, through the course of the day getting multiple types of food. Sure, it’s not all that healthy, but it works. OK, maybe forcing me to not snack and actually plan meals will be helpful.

But really…nothing but water while the trays are in. And they’re in for 22 hours a day.

I drive home with tray #1 in my mouth, feeling weird. Knowing I’ve just made a HUGE mistake.

The 2016 Senate Race

Tired of talking about Clinton and Trump?

Looking beyond the Presidential race, which has been captivating all of the attention of late, there are 34 Senate races pending. The GOP currently holds the Senate, and that might change.

Since there’s really nothing of interest for conservatives to root for in the Presidential race, perhaps there’s something we can get interested in on the Senate side of things.

The Democrats are defending 10 Senatorial slots, and only three are any risk at all – Colorado, Nevada, and California. The Republicans are defending 24 slots, only 10 of which are really safe. There is a LOT of room for Democrats to make gains, and a lot of room for Republicans to lose.

It’s pretty likely that a big Republican loss would be bad for conservatism, so defending these GOP Senators seems to be a fairly important step in protecting the conservative movement.

The map is coded with the darkest red states being the ones we really should focus on as first priority.usonly

Are there any Mike Lee style candidates running? Who could win? Are there any good conservatives at risk that we should be working to protect?

I’m just beginning to look at this, I’ve put together the list of races, and noted the incumbents. I’ve glanced at a few sources and divided the races up based on whether conservatives should bother with them or not.

Any additional info that you might have would be appreciated.

Let’s try to find something GOOD to pay attention to, and stop just complaining about how bad the POTUS candidates are, we can’t do anything about that. Let’s look into things we CAN effect.

All 34 Class 3 Senators are up for election in 2016, class 3 currently consists of 10 Democrats and 24 Republicans

  • Where to Go for solid reference information
  • High Risk to lose, High Chance to pickup – PRIORITY FOCUS
    • Arizona – John McCain – R
    • Florida – Marco Rubio – R, retiring
    • Illinois – Mark Kirk – R
    • Missouri – Roy Blunt – R
    • Nevada – Harry Reid – D, retiring
    • New Hampshire – Kelly Ayotte – R
    • North Carolina – Richard Burr – R
    • Ohio – Rob Portman – R
    • Pennsylvania – Pat Toomey – R
    • Wisconsin – Ron Johnson – R
  • Some risk to lose, some chance to pickup – SECONDARY FOCUS
    • Alaska – Lisa Murkowski – R
    • California – Barbara Boxer – D, retiring
    • Colorado – Michael Bennet – D
    • Georgia – Johnny Isakson – R
    • Iowa – Chuck Grassley – R
    • Indiana – Dan Coats – R, retiring
    • Louisiana – David Vitter – R, retiring
  • Safe Hold for Republican – no need to worry
    • Alabama – Richard Shelby – R
    • Arkansas – John Boozman – R
    • Idaho – Mike Crapo – R
    • Kansas – Jerry Moran – R
    • Kentucky – Rand Paul – R
    • North Dakota – John Hoeven – R
    • Oklahoma – James Lankford – R
    • South Carolina – Tim Scott – R
    • South Dakota – John Thune – R
    • Utah – Mike Lee – R
  • Safe Hold for Democrats – no point bothering with it
    • Connecticut – Richard Blumenthal – D
    • Hawaii – Brian Schatz – D
    • Maryland – Barbara Mikulski – D, retiring
    • New York – Chuck Schumer – D
    • Oregon – Ron Wyden – D
    • Vermont – Patrick Leahy – D
    • Washington – Patty Murray – D

My Invisalign Journey – Prologue

I’m an Invisalign patient, and thought perhaps I could document the journey. Perhaps someday it might be useful to someone.

I decided, at the age of 50, that my teeth needed to be straightened again.  I wore braces for a very very long time, longer than all of my friends. But all these years later, damn if those stupid teeth weren’t making themselves an annoyance. The shifting had been gradual, not even noticeable. Until I realized that my left front canine tooth sometimes caught my lip, or my lip got “stuck” on it when I was talking. It had just started “kicking forward” to a really unacceptable degree.

My Dad had horribly crooked teeth, seems like that’s another thing I inherited from him.

Anyway, my dentist suggested Invisalign and I looked into it. Not as much of a hassle as braces, sure, expensive, but insurance would cover a portion of it, and well, I’m super cheap about most of the stuff people splurge on, but this thing? This could remove some annoyance from my life. So what the heck, why not?

Dentist took molds – OMG, that was hell. The rubber stuff drips down the back of your throat, you’re certain that you’re dying, and it takes like…well, what I imagine tires taste like. Then, bad news, the molds weren’t exactly right, had to be redone. OK, I’m really suffering for this, but ok. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Hmm, my situation is kind of complex, so the dentist really thinks I should get it done with an Orthodontist, just to be on the safe side.  Oh, ok. I’m willing, interested in fact. But it’s been kind of frustrating so far, so I stall for a few months. Finally make an appointment with the orthodontist.

First appointment was just a look-see and consult. Took pictures, took x-rays, that kind of thing. Then the next appointment was the “can we do this and how much will it cost” appointment.

So, getting invisalign via the Orthodontist is, of course, more expensive.  By the amount that my insurance would cover. Ugh. This just keeps getting worse and worse. Am I that determined? Does it matter that much if my teeth are straight?

Actually, it kind of does. My stupid “crooked and getting worse” teeth bug me. I notice and think about them multiple times a week, and each time I do, I lose a tiny bit of self-esteem and pride. I know it shouldn’t matter, but it does. I notice that the upper middle class and rich folks have straight white teeth. It’s only the poor folks who have crooked teeth. And DAMN, when I’m driving around singing along with the radio, I don’t want to notice that my upper lip is caught on my tooth, that’s just STUPID.

It sounds like my teeth are just awful horrible gross, but they aren’t. They’re not TV star perfect, but they’re not super noticeably crooked, it’s ME that notices all this stuff.

Is it really worth more than $5,000 out of pocket for this?

Yeah, it is.

So I made the appointment – for MORE molds, to start down the path of Invisalign.

Too Tired to Support Rubio

I keep telling myself I should write a blog post to explain my endorsement of Ted Cruz. I keep thinking I should link a few of the excellent articles about him, and then explain my thinking on the many different items that I’ve weighed in my consideration, all of them bringing me to the conclusion that I really really want Ted Cruz to be the next President.

But you know what it is, mostly? I’m just too damned TIRED to want to have Marco Rubio as President.

I’ve been fighting against the President and the Senate and the House for more than 10 years now. My politcal involvement for more than a decade has been about stopping government from doing bad shit.

I’m just exhausted from that.

I don’t WANT to have to fight Marco on immigration. I don’t WANT to have to fight Marco on NSA wiretapping, civil rights for college students,, sugar subsidies, crony tax credits, or the millions of other things he and his cohorts will come up with to “help us”.

Why can’t we get a guy that we can fight WITH rather than AGAINST?

Imagine fighting WITH Ted Cruz to wind down mandates  and subsidies, to ensure protections for innocent Americans and expanded capabilities to pursue bad guys – with proper court authorization.

Imagine having the “unknown crazy stuff” that comes up filtered through the Constitution before a solution is proposed or approved.

I don’t have the time right now to link articles and properly source my allegations. I don’t have the time to find a pretty picture for this post on my crappy blog.

I don’t have the TIME or INCLINATION to fight to get some guy elected and then have to fight against him once he’s there. You know we’ll have to do that with Rubio. How much crap has he already done that we fought against, or cheered when it didn’t happen, or should have fought against?

Can’t we just have a chance to fight to get someone elected, and then…be HAPPY once we succeed?

I’m too tired to support Marco Rubio. But for Ted Cruz, I’m ready to fight!

This GOP Primary is Horrible and Wonderful

The amount of ugliness and snarkiness between candidates and their supporters is pretty intense. Some of that is a factor of our age and social media – we’re mean to people we don’t actually see or know. Some of it is because there’s an actual CONTEST to determine the person who will represent the GOP, and thus conservatism, for the near future.

We haven’t had that in AGES. For a huge percent of the population, we’ve never had that, not really. Much of my recollection is spotty because I wasn’t hugely into politics, but it’s how I remember things…

In 1988 – Bush was elected to continue being Reagan. Not a whole lot of philosophical battle going on.

In 1992 there was a significant battle – the Republican / populist battle was really fought between Bush and Perot. Constitutional conservatives seemed to be a complacent part of the GOP. That’s when I started paying attention to politics a bit.

In 1996, it was Dole’s turn, but no one was gonna beat Clinton

In 2000, Bush v. McCain – not a real ideological struggle. More of a battle of…whose turn is it? Which legacy wins?

In 2004 – Bush again, of course

In 2008 – it was McCain’s turn. It was a battle of campaign tactics, who was going to fight hardest because they wanted it most.  Who would be the last one standing, the one who had “lost the least”.

In 2012 – Romney again was the “last one standing”. It was a bit of an ideological struggle, the not-Romney’s versus Romney, but it was also Romney’s turn.

And all along, the polls could predict what was going to happen, and we could tell which tactics were going to work and which would not – in a general sense. The voters were predictable, the candidates were predictable. It all kind of made sense and flowed along.

Now? It’s no one’s turn. It’s crazy. It’s unexpected. They’re all trying all the different campaign tactics that have been used before, and no one knows what’s really going to happen.

This is absolutely the chaos election. And it’s delightful, and horrible, and exhilarating and disgusting.

Source: Politics – Collections – Google+

WHY is it so hard to reduce government spending?

Because those who get gov’t money are more motivated to KEEP getting their money than those of us who want to stop giving it to them.

Everyone attending the Cruz town hall was greeted by an employee of America’s Renewable Future, an ethanol lobby headed by Eric Branstad, the son of Republican governor Terry Branstad. The ARF aide handed out glossy fliers giving all Democrats and most Republicans a green light on their support for ethanol. Only Rand Paul and Ted Cruz got failing grades.

The fearmongering is quick to do and easy for children to understand “Ted Cruz wants to hurt you –  he wants to shut down Iowa Corn”

The truth takes time to hear, and adult minds to understand:

He pointed out towards the ethanol-lobby’s “You Cruz You Lose” truck in the parking lot and said, “As you all are aware, there are a bunch of lobbyists and a bunch of Democrats spending millions of dollars trying to convince the people that I am somehow opposed to ethanol. It is complete and utter nonsense. I very much support ethanol, I just oppose Washington.”

Cruz then explained his policy proposal — phase out the mandate, eliminate blending caps, and kill favors for oil and gas. Then he made his real argument:

“There is a reason that the lobbyists want the men and women of Iowa to focus on the RFS. Because it keeps Iowa dependent on Washington. It means that every year Iowa has to go back to Washington to maintain the mandate, and what that means is the lobbyists get paid every year. Every year they get paid. Every year the politicians get paid. As long as Iowa is dependent on Washington, that keeps the power in Washington.”

One attendee named David had come to the town hall with a list of eight questions he wanted asked. Ethanol was No. 3. He said Cruz’s explanation had convinced him.

That’s an excellent sign. Not just for the Cruz campaign, but for our nation’s economy. We CAN stop some of the subsidies, if we explain why, and get past the fearmongering and the clickbait.

Will we? Who knows.

Source: Cruz defends himself in Ethanol Country | Washington Examiner



+Walmart  and Coke, Pepsi, and Nestle have all cooperated to provide safe drinking water to the kids in Flint Michigan.

My buddy +Pradheep Shanker shared that story in his post

+Joe Hansen said:
Walmart does a LOT of good for communities all across America.

I had to reply, going even further about the GREAT THINGS that Walmart does. This was my reply:

Yes they do – both as charitable work, as as a free market employer of a LOT of people and a provider of goods and services in a clean, safe, convenient environment.

A family of modest means can make ONE trip, at whatever time of day works for them, and get pretty much everything they need at a good price.

Thanks to Wal Mart, the poor and middle class all over the WORLD have access to things that they could only ever have dreamed of before.

I’m a HUGE fan of Walmart and the positive change that they have brought.
Thank you Walmart
I’m happy to “go public” with my appreciation for you!

Source: I LOVE WAL-MART +Walmart  and Coke, Pepsi, and Nestle have all cooperated to…