What’s the difference between a person without healthcare and a terrorist?

A terrorist gets a trial before going to jail.

I saw this story today. And started to wonder. What is driving the 2010 deficit?

First off. A complaint:

Spending dipped 2.7 percent to $311.7 billion. Last October’s outlays were inflated by the $33 billion spent on the first round of financial bailouts at the peak of the financial crisis.

If you take away that $33 billion dollars (I know you can’t, but simply accounting for “normal” spending),  then spending actually rose 3% over last October. The deficit for October is $176.4 billion – remember when yearly deficits under Bush were much and people went mental? We are set to high Bush’s highest deficit number (sans 2008) in December of 2009. For the 2010 budget. Scary.

Revenues continue to drop.

The imbalance came mostly from lower receipts of individual and corporate taxes. Receipts were $135.3 billion, a 17.9 percent drop from last October.

Obviously due to the fact that more people are unemployed now. 10.2% or 17.5%, depending on how you want to count. I like the 10.2% number, myself. Because it’s the normal standard we use and the 17.5% counts people who are “under-employed” but I don’t think it’s a number you can assign responsibility for.

Here’s the point of this post though:

The Obama administration expects this year’s deficit to reach $1.5 trillion. That would make it the third straight record annual deficit.

If TARP ($700 billion) and Porkulus ($787 billion) drove the 2009 deficit. What is driving the $1.5 trillion one in 2010? If those are one time expenses, they do not count for 2010 in government accounting. So what’s driving it? If TARP is included in the 2008 Deficit (as I thought it was, which is why the final Bush deficit was so high), why is it also accounted for here, as part of the 2009 deficit?

You’d think, naturally that if you remove ~$1.5 trillion from the books, you’ll be in much better territory. The 2009 deficit was around $1.8 trillion ($1.4 is what DC uses officially, as they removed ~$400 billion off book). So if you take $1.5 trillion away from this, shouldn’t the deficit be back down to around $300 billion?

If not. Why not? Why is it so high for 2010?

The Berlin Wall was erected to force people to participate in a government run economy. If they tried to seek freedom from their government, they were put in jail or killed.

20 years ago today, it fell.

Yesterday, Democrats pushed a bill through the House, that will force people to buy health insurance and if they don’t, they will be put in jail.

Apparently the Wall fell, but the ideas remain. The lesson wasn’t learned very well.

Borderlands is a new game for the Xbox 360 that continues the trend to an open environment “sandbox” where you can pretty much do what you want – with a limitations based upon level.

I started playing it last night and have some thoughts on it. If you’ve read my previous reviews (which you probably haven’t) of Two Worlds and BioShock, you know I skip the graphic stuff and the technical mumbo jumbo and get to the stuff about what I care about.

Here’s the quick summary of Borderlands thus far:  Have you ever wanted to pay World of Warcraft. With guns. Alone?

Well, that’s what this is.

You have a leveling bar. You have quest objectives that are similar (find 8 plants, kill 8 bandits). You have skill points that you assign to skills to make your guy a little more unique. Even the weapons have the same color coordination system (white – normal weapons, green – uncommon “better” weapons, blue – rare “good” weapons, purple – epic “awesome” weapons). Playing the thing, its obvious what group of gamers they are going after. There is even an arena system where you can battle your buddies.

From the second I started playing, I was thinking – man this is WoW with guns. Yes, it’s a first person shooter type game, but still. It is what it is.

There is a vehicle system – but it’s awful. Steering the car is near impossible. Or I’m an idiot. The second option is very possible, but it’s certainly not intuitive, that’s for sure.

The shooting is fun. And get used to it, cuz there is just a ton of it. Even after level 11 or 12, you will still constantly be wasting time on level 2 monsters that die in a single hit. It’s weird. And given that you can only carry so much ammunition at a time, it’s a little stupid as well.

The first boss fight of the game is insane. Granted, if you read my BioShock review, I’m not good at first person shooter type games, but I manage. The first boss fight is 1 main dude and 2 adds (using a WoW reference, of course). The 2 adds do the bulk of the damage and jump you from great distances. I assume you are supposed to dodge them or whatever, but man, for the level it is really difficult. I think I’m 2 bosses past there now and I’ve gotten better and the hit and run tactics needed, but still…that was rough.

The environments are nice, the graphics are very good and the speech is decent enough. But really if you’ve played WoW, just accept the quest and read it later. Who cares what’s going on. It makes no difference, really – you already know the game’s objective (find stuff and kill things) so, it doesn’t seem, you have any real choice in the outcome. I wish games were more open ended like that, but anyways …

For me, it’s unfortunate that this game is released so close to Dragon Age Origins, which is the one I really want to play. I feel like this will be back burnered really quickly cuz I find it more frustrating than fun. If there was only one game I wanted to play, I’d deal with it. But there are two. So I probably won’t.

I’d probably give it 7/10 if I were really rating it.

Many republicans and bloggers ponder the rift between Conservative Republicans and Moderate Republicans – and are trying to find a way to breach that schism in an effort to ensure victory in 2010.

Most people (Ace, Allah, etal) that I read focus on the idea differences between the two.

Conservatives want the whole boat (social conservatism and economic conservatism)

Moderates want part of it (economic conservatism only or maybe only social conservatism)

But is it even more simple than that? This post about Crist and the Porkulus got me thinking.

Let’s distill the issues down to a set core of values, first off. Let’s say a “pure” republican is:

  1. Pro-Life
  2. Pro Traditional Marriage
  3. Limited Government
  4. Low Taxes
  5. Against Illegal Immigration
  6. Pro Gun

Your “ideal republican” maybe 1-6, but would you vote for a guy who is 3-6? i.e. He’s pro-choice and pro gay marriage. I’d say yes. A minority might say no, but overall that’s a pretty good candidate. But would you vote for a guy who is 1-2, but not 3-6. I’d say no. 3-6 are non-negotiable. Right? That’s the foundation. Small government, low taxes, pro gun. I don’t think many republicans would disagree with this notion.

So, what’s the problem with Moderates. They fit that. They are, essentially 3-6′ers. They aren’t social warriors, right? They profess to be economic conservatives, but leave the bandwagon on social issues.

But the problem is they aren’t even rock hard on those issues. They are squishy. Olympia Snowe says she is an economic conservative, but might vote for Obamacare. And she’s certainly not a social conservative, right? So what is she?

If her “core” beliefs are that flexible and she can vote for big government and higher taxes, then what good is she? The converse is true as well. John McCain. He’s pro-life and pro-gun. And pretends to be an economic conservative (I’d disagree, but that’s another issue). But, as we see so many times, he doesn’t hold to his guns on what he believes. He’ll negotiate his core away at a moment’s notice, if the opportunity is there.

So, really, that’s the problem isn’t it? It’s not an all or nothing party. 1-6 or die. It’s a stick to your beliefs or you are useless. If you don’t want to be a social warrior – fine. Don’t be. But then you must be an economic warrior. You can’t go in and say “Well, maybe a tax increase here is okay.” or “Obamacare is just dandy. Maybe I’ll vote for it.” and expect people to continue to support you. This is the problem with moderates – their beliefs in anything aren’t firm enough.

I’d have absolutely no problem with Snowe as a social liberal, as long as she’s an economic conservative – and sticks to her guns in that sense. If she won’t support a pro-life judge or whatever. Cool. I don’t care. But you can’t turn around and stab Republicans in the back where you are supposed to be a reliable vote.

Arlen Specter was the same way. You aren’t a social con. Wonderful. Who cares. But don’t turn around and argue for big government spending and tax increases, too. You can’t go left on all issues and expect people to support you.

And I think that’s where the root of the problem is. (And yeah, I’m poor at explaining it). It’s not -really- about social cons vs social moderates. It’s about sticking to what you believe. Be steadfast in your core values.

If you are a Republican, who isn’t a reliable vote on social issues, don’t go in front of cameras and hedge on big government spending then wonder why the party hates you. And it’s not the party’s fault if you can’t stand up for a single thing the party believes in. That’s your problem, not ours.

A smaller example would be Ace or Allahpundit. They aren’t pure conservatives. No one would argue with this. But you know where they’ll come down on the things that matter to them.  They are going to be reliable on economic issues (Except TARP, damn you both), war on terror, taxes, guns and government spending. Not so much on social warrior issues.

In an even smaller sense, this – I think – is the conservative problem with Little Green Footballs of late. It got popular because of the War on Terror and Islamic extremism. Since the WoT is being neglected by Obama, and the site has become more apologetic to Islamic Extremism – there is little reason to expect conservatives to love this site any longer.

Back to the original example of Charlie Crist. He wants to be a Republican candidate for Senate. He’s not a social warrior, but he says he’s a fiscal conservative. But he turned around and hugged Obama and supported Porkulus. Before he came out against it later. And even more recently, he pulled a Charlie Gibson (Porkulus? Never heard of it.). Which would go back to the original point – what is he? If he’s not steadfast in his fiscal conservatism -and- he’s not a social conservative … what good is he?

It’s not about party purity as so many suggest, he’s simply not reliable in any way. And that’s the real issue, isn’t it?