Saturday, March 13, 2010


Elected officials score lower than the general public on civic literacy and history! Also, college educated students scored only slightly higher on average than people with less formal education. In addition, more college education (while it did fail to make people smarter) it does make people more likely to hold leftist points of view on social and political issues.  

From the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI)

"All survey respondents were asked whether they have ever engaged in any of 13 different political and civic activities. These included, for example, registering to vote, signing a petition, contacting a public official, publishing a letter to the editor, and whether they have ever been elected to a government office.

Among the 2,508 respondents, 164 say they have been elected to a government office at least once. This sub-sample of officeholders yields a startling result: elected officials score lower than the general public. Those who have held elective office earn an average score of 44% on the civic literacy test, which is five percentage points lower than the average score of 49% for those who have never been elected. It would be most interesting to explore whether this statistically significant result is maintained across larger samples of elected officials.

The elected officeholders come from the ranks of Democrats (40%), Republicans (31%), Independents (21%), and those who say they belong to no party or indicate no affiliation (8%). None were asked to specify what office they held, so the proportion in which they held local, state, or federal positions is unknown.

Not all officeholders do poorly, of course. Some elected officials rank among the highest scorers. But the failure rate on the test among those who have won public office is higher (74%) than among those who have not (71%). Officeholders scored lower on all sub-themes of the test: political history, cultural institutions, foreign relations, and market economy.

In each of the following areas, for example, officeholders do more poorly than non-officeholders:

•Seventy-nine percent of those who have been elected to government office do not know the Bill of Rights expressly prohibits establishing an official religion for the U.S.
•Thirty percent do not know that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are the inalienable rights referred to in the Declaration of Independence.
•Twenty-seven percent cannot name even one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.
•Forty-three percent do not know what the Electoral College does. One in five thinks it either “trains those aspiring for higher political office” or “was established to supervise the first televised presidential debates.”
•Fifty-four percent do not know the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war. Thirty-nine percent think that power belongs to the president, and 10% think it belongs to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
•Only 32% can properly define the free enterprise system, and only 41% can identify business profit as “revenue minus expenses.”

On some questions, Americans who have held elected office do better than Americans who have not. They are a little more likely, for example, to recognize the language of the Gettysburg Address (23% to 21%) and to know that the question of whether slavery should be allowed to expand into new territories was the main issue in the Lincoln–Douglas debates (25% to 20%).

Officeholders and non-officeholders find it equally difficult to identify the three branches of government. Only 49% of each group can name the legislative, executive, and judicial."


"The average score for the college graduates who took ISI’s American civic literacy exam was 57%, an “F.”

"Thirty-six percent of college graduates cannot name all three branches of government, required knowledge on the U.S. citizenship exam. Remarkably, that is the same percentage of first-time citizenship applicants who answer this question correctly."

BTW, I missed ONE. I disagree with question #29's answer. Two others are "iffy", but overall it's a good quiz. That means I scored 40 points higher than most college educators and elected government officials!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Epler Effect Breaks Its First Ever Exclusive Story

Toothless Aggression:
Is it just me or are the rights of hard working people in this country getting crushed? I don't want to sound like a crazy lefty who thinks the world is out to get them, but have you noticed employers are getting away with more now than in the past few years? We have all heard about the company who fired its employees for being smokers,(see Alton Blair's post "You Will Be Next" here on the Effect.) and the Atlantic City casino that told its wait staff (all female) they must not gain weight or they will be fired. I have learned from a very reliable source that another casino in Iowa is considering firing employees for not having proper dental work done. I cannot believe a company who doesn't offer a free dental plan that would cover 100% of the dental work required to meet compliance would require such a thing. I remember a few years ago it was enough to show up for work, do a good job, and get along with your boss and those people were considered excellent employees. Now it appears we are basing performance on looks and style.What do you want to bet (pun intended) Crest has people working on its assembly line who are missing teeth. I don't know what can be done about these companies overstepping their bounds, but we better have some sort of plan in place because it's getting worse everyday. I know what your thinking (that's right I'm psychic) "why don't these people sue" right? Well, unfortunately the people mostly being targeted are hard working people who are making under $15,000 a year and can't afford dental work much less a lawyer. I am in contact with the source of this story so any serious suggestions would be appreciated.

Alton Blair
This is an Epler Effect Exclusive

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They Walk Among Us

IDIOT SIGHTING: I work at a local Casino in security. We recently held a fire drill and set off smoke at a location in the casino. People refused to leave their slot machines even while smoke was curling around them. Do these people have a problem or what?

IDIOTS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on a local road. The reason: "too many deer were being hit by cars" and he didn't want them to cross there anymore.

IDIOTS IN FOOD SERVICE: My girlfriend went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for "minimal lettuce." He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg. And he was a chef!

IDIOT SIGHTING: I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, "Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge? To which I replied, "If it was without my knowledge, how would I know? He smiled knowingly and nodded, "That's why we ask”.

IDIOT SIGHTING: The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged person next to me asked if I new what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, "What on earth are blind people doing driving?!" She was a probation officer

IDIOT SIGHTING: I know an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the life of her couldn't understand why her system would not turn on. She works at a local hospital no less.

IDIOT SIGHTING: Friends of mine arrived at an automobile dealership topick up their car; they were told the keys had been locked in it. They went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver's side door. As they watched from the passenger side, they instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. "Hey," they announced to the technician, "its open!" To which he replied, "I know - I already got that side." This was at the Ford dealership.

......and they walk among us ... and REPRODUCE


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Friday, August 26, 2005

The Fair Tax Plan

From Neal Boortz:

"Just in case you haven't picked up on this yet, I'm completely and passionately dedicated to the idea of the FairTax. I've been studying the idea of replacing the income tax with a consumption tax for over 25 years, and the FairTax is as close as I've seen, and as close as I believe we can get to a fair and effective plan. I understand, and I'm sure you understand, that the FairTax is not the perfect answer. It is merely the best answer.
Our current corporate and personal income tax structure is alienating the American people, chasing American business and capital out of this country, and choking our economy. This is a tax structure that was devised by politicians for politicians. There are politicians in Washington DC who view our current tax structure as the best vote-buying tool they have at their disposal. These politicians work tirelessly to manipulate and amend our current tax code so as to benefit those taxpayers whom they view as supporters, more often than not to the detriment of those whom they view as potential opponents. It just should not be this way. The Washington culture should not support literally thousands of K Street denizens who make hundreds of thousands of dollars each and every year doing just one thing -- gaming and manipulating our current tax structure for the benefit of their deep-pocket clients. These politicians and their remora lobbyists actually view every single dollar you earn as belonging to them. Their concerns are twofold: First, figuring our just how much of your money they can keep without running the risk of an open tax revolt; and secondly, trying to figure out just how to distribute the money they keep so as to maximize the political benefits that flow from government spending.
It should not be this way. America deserves better. We all know that the basic functions of the federal government need to be funded, and that it will take some system of taxation to do it. All Americans ask is that the method of taxation be fair, evenhanded, and easy to understand. We will gladly pay for the essential functions of government so long as we don't suspect that our money is being used instead to buy political advantage or to pay for past favors.
This is why I am so passionate about the FairTax. This is a tax system that was devised by economists, business people and ordinary American citizens, not by politicians. The goal was simple: Develop a system of taxation that is easy to understand, that treats every American exactly the same, that funds the federal government at its current funding level, and that does not empower politicians. Where every other tax reform idea fails, the The FairTax succeeds in meeting this criteria. It was during one particular focus group involving ordinary citizens that one participant said "This plan is so simple that you should just call it the Fair Tax." Hence the name.
You know what the FairTax plan is. Let me tell you what it is not. The FairTax is not a "something for nothing" tax scheme. We aren't promising you extra dollars in your pocket or a new car in your driveway. The promise is simple. Your earnings will remain essentially the same, and you will spend essentially the same amount for your consumer goods and services. You won't pay taxes on your investment earnings, nor will you pay taxes when you give money away as a gift. Your heirs won't pay taxes when you go tango uniform and they inherit the wealth you've worked so hard to acquire. You won't fall victim to the Alternative Minimum Tax or an IRS audit. You will be compensated at the beginning of every month for the FairTax you would be expected to pay during that month on the basic necessities of life, as set by the poverty level for your sized household. As they say, "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch," and that applies to the FairTax, unless you want to consider treating April 15th as just another Spring day as something you get for free.
Now .. let me modify that "we aren't promising you extra dollars in your pocket" line. Under the FairTax our economic future would look quite bright indeed, so bright that, in fact, you will almost certainly benefit in the long run. Economists estimate that American businesses and individuals spend anywhere from $200 to $500 billion dollars a year just to comply with our tax laws. These figures vary because the definition of tax compliance expenses change from study to study. So, pick a number between 200 and 500 billion. That's the amount of money that flows back into our economy with the implementation of the FairTax. Consider also the ten trillion dollars in American dollars that have fled the United States to work in capital markets overseas. Why were these dollars sent to work outside of our system? They were sent overseas to because to work because the return would be higher outside the crushing burden of the United States tax code. You don't have to be an economist --- you don't even have to be able to balance your own checkbook -- to contemplate just what it would mean to our economy if those ten trillion dollars started flowing back home. Increases in capital investment = more jobs = higher pay = a stronger US economy.
The FairTax was born because one Houston businessman got sick and tired of spending so much time in board meetings worrying about the tax consequences of business decisions. Can you think back over the past few years? Undoubtedly you, too, have made personal and business decisions based on tax consequences. You can't even make a simple decision such as how to save and invest for your own retirement without considering the tax consequences. Your concern should be about your retirement -- not your taxes. That would be your reality with the FairTax.
With the FairTax, American businesses would be free to make decisions based solely on what would benefit the business, its employees, shareholders and customers the most --- not on how it would affect the business tax picture. The only logical result from such a system would be enhanced growth, healthier businesses with stronger bottom lines, and a stronger economy. With the passage of the FairTax, America would become the world's number one tax haven. Every board of directors of every major corporation in the world would be considering whether or not to locate their next plant or facility in the United States so as to take advantage of a system where there is no tax component to capital and labor. Tell me, why would Daimler Chrysler want to continue to make Mercedes automobiles in Germany if they could do so in American with no taxes on capital and labor?
To what extent could the FairTax enhance economic growth in the United States? Some leading economists have suggested that with the FairTax economic growth could as much as double over the next 10 to 15 years. Savings and investment might increase as much as 70% or more during the first year! Among other things, this would mean the elimination of our budget deficit and our current Social Security and Medicare crunch. The FairTax would buy us all the time we would reasonably need to seek orderly and comprehensive solutions to these two safety net programs.
People have asked Congressman Linder and myself if there are any Americans who would not benefit from the passage of the FairTax. You bet there are. I've already mentioned them. Politicians and K-Street lobbyists. These lobbyists are going to be fighting like hell to make sure this plan doesn't grow any legs inside the Beltway. You have to fight just as hard to make sure it does.
Detractors are focusing their attacks on the FairTax on several different fronts. Some are hammering the "progressive" issue. They're playing on the wealth envy of the American people by telling you that the rich just won't be paying their "fair share." The purpose of a tax system is to raise money for the necessary operations of government, not to punish people for daring to achieve. Again, the FairTax treats every American the same. Isn't that what "equal protection under the law" is about? What about the poor? The FairTax is the only tax reform plan that completely relieves America's poor from the responsibility of paying taxes for the operation of the federal government. Under the FairTax plan the poor don't even have to pay for their own Social Security and Medicare. Sorry, concern for the poor can't be used as an excuse to oppose the FairTax. I know that Karl Marx like the idea of progressive taxation. His dream has failed. It's time to move on to a better one.
Other detractors will tell you that the FairTax can't possibly be revenue neutral, that the rate would have to be as much as 50 OR 60% to fund the government at its current levels. Well ... here's a bit of a factoid for you to digest. Over the past 18 quarters of the US economy, that would be over the past four and one-half years, if we had been operating with the FairTax instead of our current system of personal and business income taxes, federal revenues would have been higher for all but one quarter. So much for the "it would have to be 60%" argument.
Some of the members of the president's tax reform commission have reportedly said that they will not recommend a complete overhaul of our tax code. Instead, they want to wimp out with some incremental changes. The FairTax, some say, is just too bold a proposal to undertake. Are these Americans talking? There are ideas and concepts that are just too bold for American to pursue? America is and always has been a country of bold ideas, a country that does not shirk from bold undertakings. It's sad to hear people who purport to be our leaders talk about a fear of undertaking a bold plan, but there they are."

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

I Got Tagged

Greta tagged Chris with this game of numbers and Chris in turn tagged me. So here I go:

10 years ago: I was a dork in High School. I lived in Sidney, Iowa which is a very small town whose only claim to fame is the largest outdoor rodeo in the state held there every summer. I spent most of my time being a stupid kid, playing football, and wishing I was somewhere else.

5 years ago: I was still a stupid kid in some ways, but now I was in the U.S. Army stationed at Ft. Stewart, GA. My wife was pregnant with our first son and we were barely making it because neither of us really knew what we were doing out on our own in the world. We got a crash course in life.

1 year ago: I was just out of the Army. We moved back to Iowa and I took a crappy job. We moved into a crappy rental house that we are finally planning to move out of.

1 day ago: Was my wife's first day working for the State of Iowa where she now makes more money than I do for the first time since we have been married. I was training a new guy at work and recovering from a hangover from the night before because I foolishly let myself get talked into going out to the bar after work.

5 Favorite Snacks: Tough one, but here some things I like-
pie, especially cherry and apple. I like pie. Pie is good.
salt and vinegar chips, there's a brand I can't find here in Iowa called Tom's. They were the best.
sandwiches, especially roast beef. Or I just eat luchmeat on its own, its all good.
red diamond sweet tea. I'm addicted.
fudge bars. I can eat 'em by the box, so I try not to buy them.

5 Songs I know the words to:
name (googoo dolls)
love me when I'm gone (3doors down)
you shook me all night long (ac/dc)
one headlight (wallflowers)
red, white, and blue (Toby Keith)

What I would do with Five Million Dollars:
invest and turn into 5 billion dollars
run for president and win
save country
save world
give it all away after securing comfortable lifestyle for my family and friends.
(who wants a new house!)

5 Places I would escape to for a while:
Hawaii, because my wife is Hawaiian.
I'd visit places I was stationed while I was in the Army like S. Korea and Iraq.
any vast wilderness
space, the final frontier
in the desert on a horse with no name or was it mane?

5 Things I would not wear: (despite the fact that I got a sweet ass)
vinyl pants
biker shorts

5 Favorite T.V. Programs: I only watch TV occassionally, but when I do I like to try and see-
Family Guy
O'Reilly Factor
Breaking Vegas or similar shows on Discovery Channel, History Channel, etc.
Real Time w/ Bill Maher, to laugh at the ignorance and insanity of the left.

5 Greatest Joys:
wife and kids
Mom and other family
my time in the US military. I miss it so....

5 Favorite Toys:
xbox: KOTOR and KOTOR 2, or other SW games, and football games and 1st person shooters.
books? (if that counts)
okay, I can't think of much else so......bye.

5 People I will Tag to play:
Don Singleton
and I'll try to get some people at work to do this in the comments section.
it may or may not add up to 5 so there.

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Open Post to Cindy Sheehan

I posted this comment on the Huffington Post in response to a peice written by CIndy Sheehan. Last I knew it has been censored and is not visible at all in the comment section of the post. Just more proof that the leftists love freedom of speech until you challenge them.

Well I am posting here although I am fairly certain that the screeners will remove this as they have removed many other comments that challenge this Sheehan woman's ranting. I am a veteran of the Iraq war. I sympathize with this woman but it is clear she is being exploited by the media and the fringe left wackos that have surrounded her. Her message is diminished every time she makes an ignorant and outrageous comment like the one where she claimed that terrorism would end if we left Iraq and the Israelis left "Palestine". You got to be kidding me, no one is that stupid. Your hateful rhetoric only diminishes any argument you may have once had. You need to stop using your son's grave as a stump to further the goals of this leftist anti-war movement. Bush and the Jews did not kill your son you fool. Islamo-fascist terrorists killed your son. He died bravely fighting for his country just as he volunteered to do. This is not Vietnam and there is no draft. Every soldier serving does so bravely and freely. A vast majority of the soldiers fighting over there support the effort and realize the importance of their work. I know, I have been there and I stay in touch with those that continue to serve. Morale is high and the troops know victory will be ours. Whether you agree with the reasons for going or not it is clear that anything short of victory in Iraq will be a disaster for the United States. Honest dissent is fine as long as you are not actively seeking to undermine the troops. Unfortunately many of these fringe groups, like Code Pink, are actively undermining our troops and providing aid and comfort to our enemies. Code Pink has vandalized military recruiting stations, blocked them, and even harassed potential recruits and recruiters. This is the kind of nonsense that makes the anti-war movement lose all credibility and is very dangerous to the welfare of our nation. Demoralizing our country is not the way to help your cause. Many of you are out there hoping that we lose. That is un-American. That is not dissent. That's just irresponsible. You are dishonoring the memory of your son when you openly bash this country and our military. If you got a beef with our leaders then fine, but don't denegrate this nation and its finest citizens. Take a look in the mirror and then look at the people that have aligned themselves to your cause. Many of these are not good people. Get on with your life. Your son would not want you to make a mockery of his service and undermine his brothers-at-arms. He would want you to live your life and let go of your hatred. Hatred will only consume you and destroy all you hold dear. Do not spend your days trying to make other people's lives miserable. You need to support our troops, not undermine them. If you have issues with Bush, then you need to address them without hurting our servicemen and women. When the enemy sees this display of disunity from the American people it only serves to embolden them and make them think they can win if they just keep fighting a little harder. That gets Americans killed. Whether you agree that we should be there or not is irrelevant. We are there and we cannot leave and we cannot fail. We need to all pull our support behind the soldiers in harms way and root for the good guys. The title of your post here says "It's not about me, its about the war". Well ever since this ridiculous media circus began surrounding you and the PR people and left-wing nutcases began running your protest it has all been about you because you let it become that way. In many ways you are like a politician and you have handlers advising and directing you. At any rate it should never of been about the war anyway. At the most it should have been about your son. You need to start honoring his memory instead of exploiting it. I hope you will find peace in the knowledge that your son is a hero. I will pray that you can eventually find that peace and put this matter to rest. Know this; however, leaving Iraq will not do that for you. We can either fight them now or fight them in two years. I'd rather do it now because we have already made too much progress to cut and run simply because so many in this country lack the fortitude for war. God bless and always pray for peace.

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Despite the turmoil and the tough road ahead the situation in Iraq and its future is best summed up with this picture.

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The children are the future. The children especially love us and therefore the future is very bright.

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They also hate Bush....sure they do.

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Yeah right, the Iraqis hate us all.

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