Something for Democrats and Republicans to Consider   Leave a comment

Somehow, our nation has managed to nominate two of the most repulsive, dishonest, unethical and borderline criminal people to be the major party candidates for President.  Despite this, polling suggests that about 84% of registered voters intend to vote for one of the two on November 8.

I do understand the basic argument.  “Even though (s)he is terrible, I’m voting for him/her because the other one is worse, so much worse that I can’t risk voting for a third party candidate and causing the worse one to win.

I’m not going to try to change your opinion on which one you think is worse.  I am, however, going to present an argument that it may not be a bad thing if the one you think is worse actually wins, and why that makes it OK to consider voting for a third party.

Either a President Clinton or a President Trump is going to be one of the most, if not the most unpopular President ever.  Very few of the things they want to do that you consider terrible will have any chance of getting past Congress.  On top of that, the President’s massive popularity will almost certainly create a massive swing in the House and Senate toward the other party, and re-election in 2020 seems incredibly unlikely.

So, as unpalatable as the immediate future might seem, Democrats/Liberals do much better in the long run if Hillary Clinton loses this election and Republicans/Conservatives do much better in the long run if Donald Trump loses this election.  This line of thinking is already out there among both conservatives and liberals.  In other words, whoever wins this battle is going to lose the war, or, to use a sports analogy, you don’t want to end up like the Cubs where things look great now but are destined to end badly down the road. [I may only have a couple weeks left to make jokes at the Cubs’ expense–I need to get in as many as I can now.]

Keep this in mind anybody tries to tell you that a vote for a third party candidate is dangerous because it might mean the other side wins.  It’s not the end of the world if the other side wins and in the long run it actually turns out better.  Plus, if enough of us decide to subscribe to this theory and vote for a third party candidate, then neither of them win which is what most of us are secretly hoping for anyway.

Posted October 13, 2016 by Andrew Cabiness in Uncategorized

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It’s Been a Busy Seven Months   Leave a comment

Not that there are a lot of you out there who have really missed my blog posts (I average less than 100 hits per post), but I haven’t posted because it’s been a very busy seven months for me

Since getting a house into a sellable condition while living in it with two kids under ten is pretty much impossible, we had to buy our new house and move to it before putting our old house on the market.  That led to a very stressful period of owning two houses with two house payments, plus not being able to fully furnish our new house until the sale on the old house closed.

Things have finally settled down, and I hope to get back to writing more regularly.  All the changes that have gone on have reminded me to update my About page, which hadn’t been updated since I first started the blog.

Posted October 13, 2016 by Andrew Cabiness in Uncategorized

Stealing Away and Leaving GCCS Behind   Leave a comment

In December 2014, Greater Clark County Schools board member Teresa Bottorff-Perkins pled guilty to felony shoplifting in Tennessee.  Fifteen months later, she is still a board member.  I find this unacceptable.  I can’t understand why the superintendent, the other six board members, and the teachers and parents of the school district don’t also find this unacceptable.  I’m not one to suggest that we all shouldn’t be perfect and mistakes can’t be forgiven, but I also think that the people who make critical educational decisions for kids really need to be held to a high standard.  I try to teach my students that there are consequences for their actions.  I assume that GCCS teachers also teach students that there are consequences for their actions.  Apparently school board members believe that they are above consequences.

There are elections coming up in November, and it’s entirely possible that Ms. Bottorff-Perkins will lose her seat.  However, we have reached a point where we need to sell our house and move to one that has more room for our family, and I’m not willing to take a chance on the outcome of a future election.  As such, we decided to focus our search outside of the GCCS district.  If we weren’t already going to be making a move, we may have waited out the election and then considered private/charter school options if the felon was indeed reelected.

As of today, we’ve had an offer accepted on a home in Floyd County.  The kids will miss their school and their teachers, but I just couldn’t bring myself to consider homes within the district.  In the big picture my actions will probably have little impact on GCCS, but I need to follow my conscience.

Am I being unreasonable?

Posted March 15, 2016 by Andrew Cabiness in Uncategorized

Ted Cruz Does NOT Represent This Christian   Leave a comment

And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him. – Mark 12:17

I really don’t like to broadcast my thoughts on politics or religion, let alone both at the same time, on such a public forum, but I believe this is too important.  I say this as a Christian speaking to other Christians: Please do not vote for Ted Cruz.

I’m not going to suggest for whom you should vote.  Every candidate has major flaws.  Ted Cruz, however, is the most prominent example of a serious problem in American Evangelical Christianity today.  Ted wants to force Christianity, specifically Christian moral standards, onto the entire country via law.

This is where the opening quote comes into play.  Yes, when Jesus said this he was talking about taxes, but I think it applies broadly to government actions in general.  The fierce fight that Christians have publicly waged against gay marriage and LGBT rights has driven people farther way from Christianity, not closer.

I’ve seen firsthand the way in which an Evangelical Christian church can let politics get in the way of actually practicing Christianity.  When the government was shut down in 2013, people at my church spent a lot of time praising our Congressman (now a Senate candidate) for his conservative, Christian values, and no time showing compassion for the government employees that he had put into serious financial difficulty.  This was the exact opposite of what I thought a Christian church should be doing, and I promptly moved on to find a different church home.

Christianity is supposed to be about sharing your faith on a personal level in order to bring more people into the faith.  It’s supposed to be about supporting people who are in need or are dealing with sin, not about judging others.  The more vocal Christians are in supporting Ted Cruz, it pushes the people Christians are supposed to be reaching out to farther and farther away.

Posted February 2, 2016 by Andrew Cabiness in Uncategorized

This Post Has Been Rescheduled   Leave a comment

The blog post originally scheduled for October 1, 2015, has been rescheduled.  It is now tentatively scheduled for December 14, 2015.

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Posted October 1, 2015 by Andrew Cabiness in Uncategorized

If You Make $50,000 Per Year, You Pay:   4 comments

If you have a Facebook account, you’ve probably seen this graphic at least once by now:

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I’ve seen it at least five times by now.  Being a statistician by trade, I’m automatically suspicious when somebody posts a graphic full of numbers.  I’m doubly suspicious when the graphic full of numbers is trying to make a political point.

Now, in checking out this gem, the first thing that jumps right out at me before even starting to think about how accurate the figures might be is that the first seven items on the list are precise down to the penny and the last item is a nice round number.  That screams, “absolutely made up,” right there.

Still, I decided to look into it.  I found lots of different figures for the total amount of corporate subsidies.  To give the creators of the graphic the benefit of the doubt, I’m going with the highest number I could find, which is $110 billion.  Wow, that’s a lot, but how do you figure out a single taxpayer’s share of this?

I started with finding the percentage of Federal income taxes paid by individuals as compared to businesses/corporations.  It turns out that 81.3% of Federal income taxes are paid by individuals, with the other 18.7% paid by businesses/corporations.  So of the $110 billion in corporate subsidies, individuals are footing the bill for $89.43 billion of it.  That still sounds like a lot.

Next, to get one person’s share of that $89.43 billion, I need to know how many individuals pay taxes.  About 150 million individual income tax returns are filed each year.  So the average share of that $89.43 billion comes out to $596.20.  Whoa, that’s a lot less than $4,000, and that’s before you even take into account that somebody making $50,000 per year pays much less than the average amount in taxes.

Another way to look at it is to think about is the total amount of income tax that is even paid by a person making $50,000 per year.  The exact amount can vary quite a bit due to marital status, number of dependents, etc., but a single person taking only the standard deduction with no dependents and no other credits would owe $5,813 in Federal income taxes.  Having $4,000, or almost 70% of it, going to corporate subsidies isn’t even realistic when $110 billion is such a small portion of the Federal budget.

Bottom line: if you want to make a political point that relates to how much the government gives out in corporate subsidies, use something other than this graphic to make your argument if you want to have any shred of credibility.

Posted August 13, 2015 by Andrew Cabiness in Uncategorized

95 Pounds in 95 Weeks: 25% of Goal   Leave a comment

In this post I laid out my goal for losing 95 pounds in 95 weeks.  I am happy to report that I have surpassed the 25% mark on my journey.  One thing I have found helpful in my quest is that I have been posting weekly weigh-in updates every Thursday on my Facebook page.  The built-in accountability that comes with broadcasting weekly updates has been a very good motivating factor on my part.  Most weeks I do a “pre weigh-in” on Tuesday to see how I’m going and if I have gained a bit of weight or just not lost any, that gets me to really clamp down on my eating and exercise habits for the next 48 hours.

My biggest challenge continues to be ice cream.  My lap band is restrictive in nature, so I am forced into moderation of other high-carb foods I enjoy, such as pizza or french fries.  Ice cream, however, slides right through my band so it is the one food I have to really work hard at limiting.  The opening of a Comfy Cow just down the road isn’t going to make things any easier.

Still, I hope to be making my 50% goal post in another 18-20 weeks.

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Posted May 15, 2015 by Andrew Cabiness in Uncategorized

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