Fear of Debate

Scotsman.com News – Latest News – Bush May Duck Out of Kerry Debate

President George Bush might try to dodge one of three live TV debates with election challenger John Kerry, it emerged today.

Republican officials said the president may back out of the second of the debates, due to be held on October 8 in Missouri.

And for obvious reasons. Half a trillion dollar budget deficit, Iraq mess, questions on his military service during Vietnam, and the list goes on. He has to answer to all of that. I wonder – what is the phobia term for fear of debate?

Entourage Gets S/MIME

In the past, I ranted about the lack of S/MIME options for Mac users. Netscape 4 and later versions of Mozilla were our only options. Then S/MIME came to Apple Mail, and things got a bit better. But while Mail is good, I have to say that Microsoft Entourage is a better productivity tool. I won’t get into all the particulars of why choose one over the other here, but let’s just leave it to say that I was using Entourage for all my business work, and using Mail to enjoy some continued use of S/MIME.

Well bucko – Now that Entourage 2004 has incorporated S/MIME, I can finally go back to using one single tool. Not that Entourage 2004 doesn’t contain a bunch of other kickass features, like the new Project Center and PalmOS synchronization that actually works. But my main holdout was always S/MIME. After downloading the Office 2004 Test Drive and seeing the screen below, I was convinced that it was time for me to upgrade.

Related Posts:

We need s/mime

Apple Mail gets S/MIME

Tutorial for Apple Mail

Deficits Do Matter

The American fiscal disaster continues:

The U.S. budget deficit will balloon to $2.29 trillion over the next decade, a worse outlook than previously forecast according to a new report by congressional analysts, said a congressional source Tuesday.

The forecast from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which is likely to stir the election-year debate about President Bush’s economic policies, is more than the $2.01 trillion outlook for 2005-2014 it gave in March for the deficit that will be created under current economic policies.

I thought the following fact was particularly funny, considering the enormous failure of the White House to provide a conservative, responsible fiscal policy:

The White House no longer provides a 10-year deficit forecast.

Of course you don’t… why on Earth would you want to voluntarily call attention to how you cast our nation into debt for generations? The dot-com boom isn’t ever coming back you know…

Many conservative pundits will tell you that deficits don’t matter. Of course they don’t matter to an irresponsible administration that doesn’t care about saddling our country with a crippling debt. Of course they don’t matter to the pundits that want you to forget about the consequences of debt and just get out the vote for the Republican Bobblehead. Of course lower- and middle-class citizens don’t care because it’s not one of those subjects where people can directly equate ballooning deficits to money flying out of their pockets. Tax cuts? Yeah – four hundred dollars, I get that! Two trillion dollar deficit? Uh… um… Well as long as Dubyah gives me my four hunnert dallers, ‘den I trust my boy will do his best to bring down that there def-i-sit ‘cuz ‘dats his job. Let’s face it: tax cuts don’t require much explaining to the recipient. The take their little check and drop it in the bank. But with a gargantuan deficit, it takes a complex discussion to explain what is being lost to the individual. Your government is spending more money than it has. And the first rule of economics is: There is no free lunch. Eventually, that money has to be paid back. That somebody is you in your retirement, your children, your children’s children.

Large sustained deficits lead to higher interest rates, drops in household income, and of course – higher taxes and government fees to make up the difference. That tax cut rebate you get in that little envelope from the IRS is like a temporary loan the government is giving you, and you will pay it back later in the form of either recouping deficit shortfall, or a loss of government services and the evaporation of things you’ve been paying for all your life like Social Security and Medicare. A budget deficit is not just irresponsible government. Deficits are robbery. Politicians, the rich, and the banks will profit. You will lose.

滿月

Our new son Dylan is now one month old. In Taiwan, this is celebrated as 滿月 (mǎn yuè); the child’s achievement of making it through his first month of life. And how is little Dylan doing so far? Well, his skin has turned into a nice healthy baby-pink tone now, after a brief case of jaundice and a lingering yellow pigment. His hair is no longer curly – it’s as straight as can be, and black, and spikey. He looks about twice as big now, went from being a little chicken-legged skinny baby to a nice fat pudgy one. This kid eats like a pig. He’s awake more during the day, and unfortunately at night, and he is getting louder and louder. All around healthy little boy so far!

By the Numbers

There’s a long list of statistics from an article in the Guardian that illustrate with sobering clarity some of Bush’s measured accomplishments. While it’s worth checking out the whole list, I found this bit on Bush’s achievements in the area of taxation quite interesting:

George Bush: Tax cutter

87: Percentage of American families in April 2004 who say they have felt no benefit from Bush’s tax cuts.

39: Percentage of tax cuts that will go to the top 1 per cent of American families when fully phased in.

49: Percentage of Americans in April 2004 who found that their taxes had actually gone up since Bush took office.

88: Percentage of American families who will save less than $100 on their 2006 federal taxes as a result of 2003 cut in capital gains and dividends taxes.

$30,858: Amount Bush himself saved in taxes in 2003.

Hmmm.