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Archive for November, 2008

[This is one of those things that was a comment on another blog that the other blog’s comment-editor kicked out for some gobbledegook reason. So I’m moving it here. Since Tuesday I’ve talked to more than one McCain voter who thinks the world is literally actually really going to end with an Obama presidency. They see this event as the gateway to the end times. I can only shake my head in wonder that anyone of an adult age really thinks the government accomplishes anything.]

As a libertarian I think it’ll be years before MY president sets foot in office. The current run-up for the title seems to be to promise your supporters to use the role as a way to buy them what they want. (Security for Republicans, Socialism for Democrats.)

Edited to say: Ooops. It eventually showed up over at Ken’s. Since I don’t want to hog his traffic, you can head over to Ken’s if you like.

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The Christian circles are abuzz with concerns about the economy. My last issue of Christianity Today has a Q&A with Dave Ramsey about it, and every church blog I read has had something about the worries about fourth quarter giving. Now that the economy is contracting instead of expanding the churches figure they’ll be the first to see their funding dry up.

I know a lot of people in the direct employ of various churches. I’ve been a member of one church or another since I was ten years old. I don’t want to hurt the feelings of any church people but I have to be honest.

Times ARE tough. I don’t know about other folks out there, but I’ve been inside 8 churches in the last ten years. Each of those churches spent money on TVs that are nicer than what I have in my home. Six of those churches had an expensive sound system, computer system and computer projector for showing PowerPoint presentations. Six of those churches had some type of gym or recreation complex.

Starting in May it is impossible to drive pretty much anywhere in Nashville without seeing a VBS sign. A recent article on the AP wire lists the standard cost for VBS at $2000.   Some churches spend more than twice that.

I’ve never believed solely in storehouse tithing.  I think that’s an Old Testament concept that was abolished under the New Covenant of Christ.   I think Christians are not supposed to just throw 10% at the church of their choice.  Instead I think they are supposed to prayerfully give as much as they can as often as they can to where they feel led to give it.

That being said I don’t think many Christians are going to feel as led to underwrite TVs and gymnasiums as they used to.    It may be time for the Church to worry about lower giving, but it may also be time for the church to consider what they do with what they’ve been given.

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On vacation the husband and I were discussing what we would put together for an economic recovery package. While this isn’t normal vacation chatter for most folks, it’s what passes for fun at the Coble household. Besides, I asked the hotel to stop giving us USAToday in the mornings and they didn’t–so we were stuck seeing at least the above-the-foldlines as we walked the “paper” over to the recycling.

I had an idea that I think would help the mortgage crisis, the general economy and a lot of other things. I’ve thought about this from many angles and have yet to think of a downside. I’m relying on someone out there to hand me a downside.

Here it is in a nutshell:

Automatic stays on mortgage payments for the unemployed.

We already know that unemployment benefits are a joke. Last year we collected just enough in unemployment to meet our basic needs. Daily I thank God for our savings and the brothers and sisters in Christ who either lent or gave us money to see us through.   There was no way unemployment would cover our mortgage payment.   In fact, the maximum amount of unemployment in any state does not cover the average mortgage payment amount in that state.

Clearly losing one’s job is a recipe for losing one’s home as well.  And of course the cascading stressors make it very difficult to find another job.

If you become unemployed while holding a student loan, you can fax proof of unemployment to some office somewhere and then be exempt from making those loan payments until you get a job.  That’s called an automatic stay.

Why can’t we do the same thing with mortgages?   Especially now that most mortgages seem to be owned in some way by the government (much like with student loans.)  The default and foreclosure rates would surely go down if people weren’t technically falling behind on their mortgage payments as they looked for work.  The downside for the lender is that they don’t get their money–but they weren’t getting it anyway.  The downside for the borrower is that they aren’t paying down their mortgage during those months.  But they likely weren’t able to pay it down anyway.

I fail to see how this one common sense idea is in anyway bad for our country or our economy.

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This is the post where I should talk all about how wonderful my vacation was and bore the socks off all those who read my blog. “Oh, goody” they’ll think to themselves. “She’s going to prattle about the sun and fun while we’ve been stuck here in a reality with varying degrees of suckitude.”

Well, I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’ve decided to bless you with a list of things I learned about myself over the past 8 days. Vacations should be a time for self-reflection, and I did a lot of that. Blogs are a place where you vent. I did not any of that really, so I’ve got a lot of ponderings and a few ventings. Hold on, it’ll be a bumpy ride.

Things I Learned On My Disney Vacation

  • Other people think their children are adorable. Other people are so often very wrong.
  • If you are trying to stay apolitical during this election cycle it is not wise to vacation in a battleground state a week before the election. Especially when the hotel doesn’t have TiVo.
  • The TNGOP–or RNC– has no qualms about burning through your cellphone minutes. My poor husband must have gotten a half-dozen automated calls per day from everyone from John McCain to random “concerned citizens” encouraging us to vote on election day. Guess what we’re not doing? Well, we weren’t going to vote McCain anyway, but if I had been undecided those annoying phone calls would have decided me.
  • I have no desire to live full-time in a Disney-type state. There’s too much control of adult persons. I may be too much of an “individual” (read: brat) but I don’t like being told what to do and when to do it. I’ll get a guide map after I get off the bus if I want to.
  • I could commute absolutely everywhere by boat. Maybe I’ll move to Venice. Italy. Not California. Venice, California seems to be filled with people I’d gladly run over in a pedicab.
  • I missed my dog something fierce. Although I will say that if anyone in Mt. Juliet, Hermitage or Donelson is looking for a smack-ass place to leave your dogs (‘smack-ass’ in this context being a good thing) that I highly recommend Little Paws Pet Resort
    They took wonderful care of my dog, were very affordable and didn’t mind my calling once a day to check on him. They also have this thing where for $2 extra per day you can monitor your pet via webcam. Nothing is cooler.
  • I love love love Disney World, but it is exhausting.
  • Even though other people’s kids often tend to be horrible, awful examples of the human condition I think that parents should realise that four year olds are not cut out for traipsing miles around the Magic Kingdom at midnight.   It broke my heart to hear how some of those people talked to their kids.
  • A stitch in time saves nine.  Benjamin Franklin said that.  It roughly means that if you do a little bit now, it saves you the effort of having to do a lot later.   I think many of the parents in Disney World could do well to take this to heart.  I saw a lot of parents ignoring kids as they ran wild.  I got hit in the chest once by a free-range child while his mother was busy talking with her friend.   Then I saw the same parents later in the day screaming bloody murder at the same children who were tired, hungry and bored.   I know my only child has four legs and fur, but I think it’s a good idea to realise that children have different metabolisms, energies and capabilities from their parents.   I think it’s also a good idea that I don’t have children of my own.   I have no patience with anyone under 7.   In another life I may have been Cotton Mather.   Or some other ragingly puritannical “seen and not heard” freak.
  • Either the recession isn’t affecting everyone the same way, or a lot of people were having one last hurrah before reconciling themselves to brokeitude.  WDW was PACKED with people spending money like it was going out of style.
  • We finally finally finally got towel animals.   I guess it pays to tell the reservation people when you’re there to recover from an illness.   Between the towel animals and the balloons and the confetti on our table at dinner I felt a bit like a Make A Wish child.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say.   But for now, on this election eve, I’m just glad to be home and glad to be out of Florida and glad to be away from those commercials.   The one for McCain of the raging sea and the one for Obama with the rising gas prices and crashing stock market really bummed me out.

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