Education and the Need for Improved Reading & Writing

Writing-reading-education-affectsThe American education system today has serious problem that not many people in the country want to recognize. Schools all across the globe are surpassing us on nearly every academic measure: science, math, reading, etc. In fact, as it currently stands, the United States ranks 17 on the latest PISA scores that rank the industrialized nations of the world, showing a continued American stagnation.

But what exactly is the problem and how can we fix it? For instance, the United States has a 25% drop out rate among high school students. That is shameful. One-quarter of all of our high school students will not graduate. Many of them cannot write at a proper level and they do not know the fundamentals of grammar instruction. We as a society are doing them a giant disservice.

What is much worse is America’s literacy rates among students. It is one thing to be behind other nations in complex and state of the art sciences or in-depth mathematics, but how can we, as country, be failing to teach our students the basics of reading and writing? People have been teaching students to read and write for millennia, so why is it that we are all of a sudden stagnating now? Students all across the country cannot read at their proper reading level, let alone write an essay with a basic understanding of the meaning of apart or a part (seen here, What’s wrong?

To a great extent, what is wrong in the U.S. education system is the same problem that is plaguing the U.S. economy: too many regulations. There are too many regulations and too much bureaucracy involved in education. Oftentimes parents are required to send their children to schools simply based on a predetermined zip code. If you live in a certain zip code you are unable to send your children to any other school. Now why should we be mandating where parents send their children to school? Does the government know what each and every child needs to succeed in his or her education? Of course not! Want proof? Look at America’s test scores.

We need more parental involvement in education and greater parental choice in where students go to school to be educated. There is not reason why a zip code should determine whether or not a child gets a quality education.

If we allow parents to have a greater say in their child’s education, they are more likely to get the education and reading skills that they need to succeed. Some parents may find greater value for their kids attending a school that teaches detailed grammar and teachers kids sentence examples of WHERE vs. WERE (seen here, while other parents might want their kids to be more versed in arts and sciences. But this is the beauty of parental involvement in education. A parent knows a child’s interests and passions while a bureaucracy doesn’t know and most of the time doesn’t even care.

The only way that we can get America back to the top of worldwide education achievement levels again is to include more options for parents and introduce a greater competition among schools. This will cause schools to take pride in their own learning environments and even cause other schools to mimic those being successful.

Continuing the Tradition of Firearms Rights and the Second Amendment

top custom 1911 M Handgun GripsAs we’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, we hold and cherish the Second Amendment near and dear. There is a reason why the Founding Fathers placed it as the second of ten amendments—because it is extremely important. The only amendment that appears before the second pertains to free speech and the free exercise of religion.

The Founding Fathers clearly thought gun ownership to be an essential right held by a nation’s citizens and it should not be infringed by the government—as we so often see today.

Left-wing activists are relentless in their efforts to try and chill gun ownership in America and restrict it to as few people as possible.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of these radicals who thinks that everyone needs to be armed at the teeth with guns. Gun ownership is not for everyone. Some people will never purchase a gun—or even shoot one—in their entire life. While this is actually quite sad, it is all right because that is their prerogative. If you don’t want to own a gun, shoot a gun, or have guns in your home, no one should be force you to have them. Now, the other side of the token is that people should be allowed to purchase guns if they want. The same person who chooses not to own gun himself shouldn’t say, “Since I don’t like guns, you shouldn’t be allowed to have them either.”

This kind of selfish, arrogant behavior has no place in modern society. Simply because you don’t like guns doesn’t give you the right to enforce and impose your will on the rest of society. Especially when the polls consistently show pro-Second Amendment advocates to be in the majority.

Since many left-wing activists can’t ban guns completely, which is their ultimate, long-term goal, they go after much smaller things to ban. They go after certain gun and handgun accessories to ban. One of their favorite accessories to go after is 30-round magazines and pistol grips. Use these two words in a sentence around some of the more radical left-wingers and they start foaming at the mouth.

The ban on pistol grips is especially nonsensical. Pistol grips are generally added for comfort and when used on a rifle in an urban area, they usually make the gun less, not more accurate.

There was a time, and it still appears every now and then, when they are talking about banning handguns again. In New York they recently passed a ban on handguns clips over 7 bullets So if you just purchased some the best new 1911 wooden grips for your handgun, you better make sure you don’t have a “high capacity clip” in it. And what’s considered “high capacity” today could easily be changed tomorrow.

The Best Outdoors Candidate

Mckinley uses top bail out bagsWhat we need in our community is someone who cares about the environment. But we don’t want an environmentalist who only knows about the environment through a textbook that they read when they were in school. We have had enough of out of touch environmentalist come in from outside our community telling us how we ought to care for ourselves. Our area deserves someone who cares about the environment enough to go out in it and experience it. Someone who can appreciate the great outdoors and wants to preserve them for others.

Mckinley is a great candidate. He is an outdoors enthusiast who wants to make sure that all of the fishing, hunting, and wildlife that our area currently enjoys is there for years to come.  As a kid, I can remember going on great hiking and backpacking trips with the local Boy Scout troops. If we don’t keep our area pristine, other Scouts might not have this same opportunity.

As a Scout, I learned how to survive off the land and to use things in nature that can help you survive. Today, of course it is a little bit easier because whenever I go on an outdoors trip I bring my with all of the necessary survival gear that I need in case of an emergency. Even so, it’s important to have these skills in case you get stranded some place with out lists of good bugout bag supplies for emergencies. And if nothing else, it gave me some great opportunities to get outside and active as a kid. Too many kids don’t know the joys of being in the great outdoors and instead choose to sit inside playing video games for hours and hours on end. And we wonder why kids don’t have an appreciation for nature.

I was out fishing when I just a couple of years old. I remember when I caught my first bass. It was just a few days before I started Kindergarten. I remember because our family took a camping trip up north and my father and I took a canoe out to the middle of the lake to go see if we could catch dinner. We always had a strict rule when camping. If you couldn’t catch your food, you couldn’t eat. Of course this was more of a metaphorical rule; we always brought an emergency bag review and food in case we weren’t able to catch anything. But the idea of being out in the wilderness, stranded with nothing to eat, and having to catch your own food is a great time and it has given me lots a great memories. And to be honest, I’m not sure we really ever had a problem catching fish. I don’t ever remember us not bringing in at least a few large bass and even some large walleye and trout. Not only is it a great experience by yourself, it’s a great bonding experience for families.

Our kids deserve the chance to make these same memories with their kids and keeping the outdoors sportsman activities alive and well are the only way ensure our kids have the chance.

Getting America Back To Work

Getting America Back To Work

American needs workers like truck drivers

We are just now starting to come out from one of the worst recessions in America’s history, yet instead of pursuing free-market solutions that allow the citizens of America prosper, the federal government has decided to go down the road of more and more regulations on the small businesses across our country.

The market is still extremely delicate right now and the last thing that small businesses want to hear is about a new regulation that provides them with even more uncertainty. This is exactly what Obamacare is; it is a giant jobs killer that makes businesses very uncertain about the marketplace and leaves them too scared to hire anyone.

You see this is exactly what regulations from the government do: they stifle business. Obviously some rules are needed to make sure no one cheats, but heaping more and more regulations on small mom and pop shops across the country is not helping anyone.

One such industry that is shackled with regulations is the truck driving industry. In America, driving a truck isn’t exactly easy. First you need to go to an inexpensive truck driving school in order to obtain the proper license just to operate the truck that you’re going to drive. On top of this, there are rules to how far you can drive in a single day, how many miles you can log, how much you can haul, how heavy your truck can be, how long it can be, how you are able to get reimbursed, etc., etc.

Assuming the you can pass the truck driving test and get your license “A-okay,” you’ll still need to get it renewed every year in order to keep your job. And now thanks to Obamacare, you’re forced to purchase health insurance for yourself. Many truck drivers act as contractors and therefore will choose to opt out of purchasing health care if they’re young or especially healthy. Not anymore. With Obamacare, you will go to jail if you don’t purchase health care for yourself.

The “recovery” that we are seeing today is very different from the recovery that we saw during the 1980s recession. Ronald Reagan also inherited a recession from Jimmy Carter. There was double-digit unemployment, double-digit inflation, and gas prices were at an all-time high at the time. We were in the middle of an ongoing hostage crisis in the Middle East and the Cold War was still across Europe. Rather than embrace more government, President Reagan turned to the market and the citizens on the United States. He cut taxes for individuals and small businesses. In just a few short years the economy was booming and our country saw the longest period of economic expansion in its history. Today we are officially 5 years out of the recession and yet we are still barely crawling along. What’s wrong? Well, for starters we should try giving the people a little bit more freedom.

If we give the citizens the freedom to start their own businesses and the liberty to become long-distance truck drivers by not overbearing them with costly regulations, everyone will be made better off, the rich, the poor, and the middle class.

Accounting and Finance Budget Legislation

fiscal budgeting with gross and contribution margin ratiosIt seems like every state as well as the federal government has made it a pattern to run into budget problems, debt constraints, and spending increases. In 2013 the federal government was shut down for almost two weeks because a budget was never passed and the representatives and senators could not settle on a debt ceiling agreement. 

Forbes recently wrote an article about another governmental accounting practices and the spending scandal that involved student loans. Under the current administration, student loans have become easier to obtain and many less than creditable individuals have found that taking out large amounts of debt to afford a college experience isn’t that big of stretch.

Obviously, there are great positive consequences for the country because of this action. Many young people are able to go to college who otherwise wouldn’t be able to without some type of government loan program. Unfortunately, this type of legislation also causes the overall debt and federal spending to increase.

The government accounting scandal involving student loans was used to understate how much student loan debt was actually outstanding and how much interest was actually being collected. The Congressional Budget Office officially disagrees with these findings, but the facts speak for themselves no matter what type of creative accounting is being used.

This type of behavior is crazy. We, as a country, have been spending more money every single year than the previous year for the last two decades. At some point this type of reckless spending needs to be curtailed. The country is in a downward debt spiral that can really only be fixed in two different ways.

The first way to fix the growing fiscal problem is to fix the country’s gross margin percentage calculation. Right now we are trying to justify future spending on the amount of GDP or gross domestic product that we, as a country, will be able to produce in future years. Said a different way, the federal government projects how much money the overall economy will make in future years in order to predict how much tax revenue will be able to collected for those years. As you can see, there are obvious problems with trying to delineate governmental spending and budgets based on the economy. Something unexpected and tragic like 9/11 can happen and create a decade long recession.

The second main way that we can fix the government’s financial problems is by controlling the contribution margin ratio formula. The government needs to understand that it cannot keep spending more than it brings in every year. Contributions from taxpayers can only provide for so much governmental expenditures before the system either needs to borrow more money or print more. Either way, the general country and culture will decline if interest rates remain lower than expected and spending rates remain higher than average.

As you can see, we are in a fiscally trying time right now with our federal accounting. That is why we encourage everyone to practice responsibility in his or her personal finances. You never know what is going to happen tomorrow.

Problems in Dental Medicine

Problems in Medicine

Dental Health Care

Obamacare is a disaster. It raises taxes on small business. Its rollout has been a complete failure. Thousands of people have been exposed to fraud and identity theft from both the state health exchanges and the navigator program. President Obama himself has delayed is implementation so many times due to problems in its roll out and citizen and business unease, it has caused many people to ask, why not just start over?

This does seem to be a better alternative. After all, think about it, the president has changed, whether unilaterally or with the help of Congress numerous times. According to Forbes, the ACA has been changed 35 times so far! Thirty-five times and the law hasn’t even fully gone into effect!

Doesn’t it stand to reason that if something must be changed 35 times before it is even implemented that perhaps, just maybe, it was passed a little too quickly—without giving it the proper consideration that it needs? After all, the health care industry is one-sixth of our nation’s economy. Shouldn’t we at least read the bill before we pass it?

The Obamacare law in its current form is not only a disaster for small businesses that are becoming shackled with new regulations and taxes, but it is also a nightmare for the doctors themselves.

For example, I have two friends who both operate citywide oral surgeon practices. They are dentists. They aren’t some gigantic corporation. They have a mom-and-pap dental practice that they started shortly after college. One does basic dental implant surgeons in Hartford Connecticut and the other does more sophisticated tooth implants in Rochester Hills. They’re not millionaires, but they employ around 4-5 people each at their respective practice.

I remember shortly after the healthcare law was passed, they both called me on the phone and said, if just half of these new regulations applied towards us and our practices, we would just close up shop. You see, much of Obamacare’s regulations don’t deal with dental care and instead only apply towards medical doctors, so thankfully my two friends were spared most of the harm.

But they still run and operate small businesses, and are therefore required to pay all of the new taxes associated with Obamacare. Seeing the small business side of it, they said that they couldn’t imagine having to deal with all of the compliances if they were medical doctors. It just wouldn’t be worth it to keep the practice open. They are both in their mid to late 50s and said to keep the practice open with all of this hassle for just another 5-6 years, it isn’t worth it.

So now what we see all over the country is precisely this phenomenon. Surgeons performing cosmetic dentistry are either choosing to retire early or choosing not to opt into the field at all, and this could wreak real havoc on our healthcare system should there be a shortage of doctors nationwide.

It seems to me that the only way we can fix the Obamacare mess is to repeal the ACA and start over. We should put everything on the table and have a national debate about what our country needs and how we can accomplish it.

Local Guitar Store Supports McKinley

Local guitar shop supports mckinleyMcKinley has always been a strong supporter of local and small businesses. This is how our nation grows and how our nation expands the middle class and eliminates poverty. Small business is what provides the average American with a decent living and a piece of the American dream. Being pro-small business is being pro-America.

Unfortunately, the current administration is Washington does not agree. With higher taxes, higher medical insurance expenses, and higher governmental restrictions, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to start a business and grow it into a larger company.

A great example of this situation is the Music Village. It’s a small, local music store that sells instruments and online guitar training for children and students in the area. The Music Village almost went out of business because of unfair taxes that were burdened on it because of their form of business. The small, family owned company fought to survive and beat the odds because of conservative, pro-small business legislation that was passed.

Now the Music Village is holding a fundraiser in support of the conservative campaign showing that it doesn’t matter whether you sell hamburger or teach guitar classes online, small businesses need to get out of the crushing governmental restrictions that are currently in place.

The Music Village has also offered, as a community outreach, to teach free music and guitar history classes. The instructors at the store will teach students about popular music history from the big band era all the way up to the present.

They will also teach a class on the history of electric guitars. Many people don’t people don’t realize that the electric guitar invented by one American. He experimented and created something in his garage that changed the rock n’ roll, music in general, and the world forever. Leo Fender started his Fender guitar company as a small American business out of his house, just like most American small businesses. He was the essence of being American. The class will also talk about other early American guitar entrepreneurs like Les Paul and how he not only changed guitars forever, but how he changed records forever too.

This class will not only teach students about Mr. Fender and Les Paul, it will also teach them about dating and valuing guitars. Early Fender guitars are quite valuable. The only real way to tell the vintage age of a guitar is to check the Fender Stratocaster serial number. The music store will show the student how to read and decipher the serial number database.

The Music Village is a great small company and we are very appreciative of their support for conservative candidates. Please, everyone go check out their promotions and lessons. If you don’t have any interest in playing guitar, please send your friends. We want everyone to go support people and businesses that support us.

We are in this together. We have to unite as a conservative nation if we expect anything to change in the future.




It’s important to support an “all of the above” strategy when it comes to American energy. Recently, President Barack Obama stated in his state of the union address that he endorses an all of the above energy strategy, but is this true? Let’s look at the evidence.

President Obama endorses special treatment for wind and solar energy companies, but doesn’t endorse similar treatment for traditional fossil fuel companies. What this does is it creates the conditions for the government to pick winners and losers in energy. Say you happen to have a very pro-solar president in office. Well he can offer lots of subsidies to solar energy and that makes it relatively harder for fossil fuel companies to compete and artificially puts them at a disadvantage—not to mention raises the costs of people’s electricity.

What we need to do is allow the market to decide. We need to get rid of special tax breaks and credits for all energy companies and allow them to compete based on the quality of service that they provide their customers.

Certain areas in the country may well be served by having large solar and wind farms. For example, in Hawaii, companies may choose to invest in solar energy and given their rate of sunshine, it fits perfectly with their geographical location. Those in North or South Dakota, however, don’t receive the same amount of sunshine that Hawaii does, so it does not make sense to force North and South Dakota to invest in a technology that will not fit their needs. The Dakotas should be able to use the resources that are available to them. Like Hawaii has an abundance of sun, the Dakotas have an abundance of shale oil that has literally transformed their economy.

People in North Dakota with no college education are now beginning to earn higher salaries than Yale and Harvard graduates. All because North Dakota was allowed to pursue an energy strategy that fits their own needs and takes into account their own economic and geographic climate. Pursuing these strategies have also allowed these states to get their debt under control, unlike the federal government’s massive debt.  The federal government should not single-handedly be able to tell states what they can and cannot do with the energy resources that they have.

This is what a true “all of the above” energy strategy looks like, and this will be the only way that we, as a country, will truly be able to become 100% energy independent—if we explore every option. Solar, Wind, Natural Gas, Oil, Nuclear, every option needs to be on the table, and no special handouts should be given to any of them. If President Obama really were interested in a true “all of the above” energy strategy, he would approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. The State Department has already ruled that it will have a neutral effect on greenhouse gases and that there are no environmental objections at this point. And this point doesn’t even take into account the fact that it is much safer to transport oil by pipeline than it is by rail. If the Keystone XL Pipeline isn’t approved much of the oil it would carry will instead be transported by railroads, making the Keystone XL a much more environmentally safe option.

Putting everything on the table, now that is a true plan for energy independence.

Second Amendment

Second Amendment


McKinley is a strong supporter of the second amendment of the constitution and we thought we would take the time to summarize some of our thoughts on the subject and why we agree with McKinley’s position on the second amendment.

Too often candidates frame the second amendment in a sportsman or hunting sense. While this is definitely an important byproduct of the second amendment, it is not its true meaning. The founding fathers didn’t write the second amendment envisioning a “right to go deer hunting.” Rather, the founders saw the second amendment as a protection against the usurpation of rights from the citizenry.

Remember that the American colonists had just undergone a war with what was at the time the most powerful nation in the entire world: England. The idea that government can slowly and steadily take away the rights of the citizens was fresh in their minds, as England imposed excessive taxes, quartered soldiers in American households, among countless other things. Thomas Jefferson saw this as the unfortunate trend in world history saying,

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”

So the true idea behind the second amendment had to do with self-defense, specifically defending oneself against a usurpatious government. And this is where discussions about individual self-defense come from. Individual self-defense is an idea that inescapably flows out of the second amendment, and intellectual gymnastics must be done in order to try and avoid this conclusion.

Modern-day gun control advocates are not at all interested in protecting the public in their gun control legislation but much more interested in disarming the public at large. Don’t think so?

Well, if you analyze any of the most recent gun control proposals, very few of them deal with things concerning public safety. For example, the president recently sought to ban “assault weapons” and 30 round magazines in an effort to keep the public safe. Well, when you consider the fact that nearly all violent gun-related homicides in America occur with handguns, what good will banning certain long guns do? The short answer is not much.

In fact you look at the data, most of America’s violent and dangerous gun crimes are committed in areas with the strictest gun laws, specifically in large urban areas, areas that tend to be extremely liberal. Many of these areas have implemented policies exactly related to what the president has proposed and they are no safer as a result of them.

Fortunately, McKinley recognizes the true reason behind the second amendment and has pledged to help expand federal “right-to-carry” laws. These laws help frequent travelers like truck drivers who find themselves going across state after state line keep track of where they can and cannot bring their firearms. Right now, a truck driver needs to check the books every single time he crosses a state line to make sure that that state honors the permit issued from his home state. Either that or he needs to obtain a permit in every state, which can be extremely costly and time consuming. “Right-to-carry” laws help eliminate this confusion.

Fiscal Responsibility

Fiscal Responsibility

Fiscal Issues

Today, the McKinley campaign had a fundraiser at a local business talking about fiscal responsibility. The text of the speech is below,

“The number one issue facing our country today is our staggering national debt. It currently stands at $17 trillion. That’s right, $17 trillion! Now, ask yourself, what is it that you have received for that $17 trillion in debt? Our economy is still in the dumps, people are looking for work and can’t find it, and the federal government just keeps spending money.

What would happen to you if you got yourself into debt? Maybe you got into some credit card debt. I know I have. But you don’t just keep spending! You stop! And that is the fundamental problem we currently see in our national leadership. No one is taking the lead to balance the budget. In fact, a lot of the times the government is actively running away from strategies that can help to balance the budget, ways such as taking advantage of our country’s natural resources.

Now I’ve run a small business for nearly twenty years. My father ran the same business for 35 years before me. Just a small town hardware store with a few hardworking employees. We’ve had some tough times, especially during the late 70s and early 80s, but we knew that if we couldn’t balance our budget, we wouldn’t be in business. If our business got into debt, we’d both be out of a job and broke, so we did what we could to scrimp and save along the way, and I would say we’re better because of it.

But this is exactly the opposite of what is happening in Washington D.C. Washington keeps on spending and everyone keeps their jobs. Politicians spend us into debt and they never get held accountable.

I think this is the fundamental question facing American right now, why should Washington, and the politicians living there, play by different rules than the rest of us? I know when I spend too much money on something, I might need to cut back on something else. Why is Washington allowed to exempt itself from certain laws that the rest of us have to follow?  You know, as much as the left gives lip service to democracy and eschews the ideas behind plutocracy, we have seen them completely silent for the last six years while our government has passed laws the people didn’t want, then written themselves out from having to participate. If that isn’t plutocracy—those in the government writing themselves out of laws to protect their own wealth and well being at the expense of the rest of us—than I don’t know what is.

What we need is a return of common sense, to fiscal responsibility. A return to the strange idea that the politicians should abide by the same rules we do. We need to stop demonizing successful businesses in our rhetoric and stop hurting small businesses with our tax policy. There is a reason no one in this area is hiring and why unemployment is so high; it’s because the business climate is downright scary! I wouldn’t want to start a business right now. Thankfully my father started ours when he did. But that doesn’t help us today. That doesn’t help our children become entrepreneurs, and that doesn’t help them find jobs. We need fiscal sanity.”