Friday, July 27, 2007

Why Mitt's Not a Flip-Flopper

The media has put forth huge effort to paint Mitt Romney as a "flip flopper" in a number of areas, but as I have studied him, I've come to the conclusion that this is not the case.
The label "flip flopper" implies a lack of personal beliefs, and being swayed by the crowd. This does not describe Mitt Romney. In fact, I believe he's as solid as they come.

First, the issue on Abortion.

Mitt Romney originally believed that Government shouldn't have a say with regard to abortion. Does this mean Pro-choice? That's up for discussion. Regardless, Mitt has believed all along that abortion is wrong. But what role should Government play? There are many things which are wrong which are not restricted by laws. Adultery, for example. Romney's position was partly influenced by his mother, who had also been pro-choice, and also that a family friend had died from an illegal (and I presume not medically safe) abortion that went wrong.

However, during his Governorship of Massachusetts, he officially changed his mind. As Governor he was looking into stem-cell research, and he saw first-hand the disregard many doctors had toward human life. This change of position wasn't sudden, however. This issue had been troubling him for a long time. Over the last 12 years that Mitt has been in politics, we all can see how society has shifted to accept more and more radical (some say immoral) lifestyles. I don't think it's Mitt, so much, changing position, as it is Mitt adjusting to a changing world. As the world disregards the sanctity of life more and more, there comes a time when we must begin pulling back the other way. Mitt reached that point as Governor, and since then we can see by the things he did as Governor of Massachusetts that he is solidly Pro-Life. In today's world, he believes the Government now needs to take a strong role in restricting what he believed to be morally wrong the whole time.

Given, I personally think he was wrong to think Government shouldn't have a say about abortion. I think he should have been actively Pro-Life the whole time. But I believe he's now quite solid on this issue. In addition, his point of view has always been a result of living by principle and not by popular pressure.

Gay Rights

The media many times has tried to say that before Mitt Romney was "Pro Gay-Rights", and now has "flip-flopped", since now he's in support of outlawing same-sex marriage. But this representation is very misleading. This position is NOT A FLIP-FLOP, because in reality, on this subject Mitt has essentially NOT CHANGED. Before, he believed that people who are gay should not be denied any rights as a citizen, and he still believes this. Before, he believed that marriage was to be a sacred institution between a man and a woman. He still believes that today. Please note that these positions are not contradictory points of view. Think about it.

Given, you many notice that years past when gay marriage wasn't as much of an issue, yes, he did have a slightly softer position. Again, as with abortion, we can see his attempt to pull harder back to the correct principles as the mainline society gets more liberal.

My own opinion is as follows: Why the argument? Gay people have just as much right to marry someone of the opposite gender as any other person!

Gun Control

I'm a little unclear on Mitt's point of view in this subject, but from what I understand, he used to go against the NRA over the issue of Assault Weapons. He believed then, and still believes now that Assault weapons should be outlawed, while still believing in people's right to own guns in general. Yes, it's true he was against the NRA and now has joined it, but the fact is, he still differs with the NRA over the same issue as before. So, really not much has changed except for his membership in the organization.

People like to bring up the fact that he had said he owned a gun and liked to hunt, but then it was later found out that it was really his son's gun which he had just used and kind of considered his own, and that it was only small game (like rabbits) that he hunted. I think on this issue, he simply misspoke, and it was an unfortunate situation I'm sure he regrets, since he's later re-clarified what he had meant.

So, Why Mitt?

Streamline the Government, Save Government money

And then there's the Additional talents and skills and abilities that he has!! If anyone's going to streamline the government, help it use money more efficiently and effectively, and do this while keeping taxes low, it's Mitt Romney. I'm sure you've heard how he brought the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics from debt to surplus, and he did essentially the same thing as Governor of Massachusetts. There have been arguments over how exactly he did this, but no matter how you look at it his abilities in this area are phenomenal. We really need that in Washington.

America's Moral Health

Also, his morality, his family life. How many other candidates have only had one wife, and never divorced? Not many. How badly do we need a President who understands both the temporal problems of America, as well as the spiritual problems!!! I personally think this is a really important characteristic in a president. Consider the following quote by Abraham Lincoln:

"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?-- Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! ... If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

Foresee the Unforeseeable

Another thing I really admire in Mitt Romney is his ability to bring up problems and solutions in areas that others haven't even seen or considered. He seems to be able to see the big picture, when other's can't see it. Have you ever heard of the demographic problem of the Arab world? Did you know over half of their population is under the age of 22? Have we considered the future implications of this? Another problem he sees involves reorganizing the interaction and chain-of-command of our civilian organizations to operate more effectively. Currently, after the military completes an operation and the civilian organizations move in, bottlenecks pop up everywhere and cause a lot of problems. (Mitt talks about this in the article below, if you're not sure what I mean). Mitt brings many solutions to the table when most other candidates don't even mention the problem.

All these things lead me to believe that Mitt Romney is the best choice for President of the United States.

If you'd like to learn more about Mitt Romney, to understand his vision and point of view, I suggest you read the following article, written by himself:
Or go to his web site,
Or here's one more really good one:

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Hi everyone.

I'm Benjamin, and am currently 17. I'll be a senior in high school this year, and am spending this summer doing some work and some vacationing (what are summer's for, eh?), and I'm looking forward to putting up a few pieces on the blog. I'm interested in technology, sports, politics, automobiles, humor, books, and many other topics as well (hard to remember them all). With luck, I can add some interest, and perhaps a few good jokes to the blog.

- Definition of toboggan: Why people go to auctions.

- Definition of information: How geese fly.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Chevy Volt and the future of the Automobile

It is my belief that the Chevy Volt concept represents the first permanent revolution in vehicle drivetrain evolution.
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Most people are familiar with "hybrid" vehicles like the Toyota Prius. These vehicles are usually set up with an electric motor running in parallel with a gasoline engine. This means that sometimes the gasoline engine powers the wheels, at other times the electric motors supplies the power, and every once in a while both provide power. This setup allows the gasoline engine to turn off completely when it would normally be doing little more than idle. This improves fuel economy anywhere from 15-25% over a traditional configuration. Excess power recharges the batteries. None of the current versions offer a plug-in option so all power comes from the gasoline engine.

The "hybrid" concept has found its niche in the current market, especially in smaller vehicles like the Prius. It has not proven to be as appealing in larger vehicles like the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid. The real problem has been the economic justification for the hybrids. They simply don't save customers that much money. It costs anywhere from $2500-$4000 to add the hybrid system, and it is unlikely that consumers will save that much from gas savings. Some car manufactures have been eating the extra manufacturing cost in order to make these cars competitive. Tax breaks have also increased their competitiveness. Quite simply, these are not permanent solutions.
* * *

The Chevy Volt does not employ a "parallel" hybrid system. It applies a "Series" hybrid system. The biggest difference is that the gasoline engine is not connected to the wheels at all. The engine's sole function is to power a generator that recharges onboard batteries. The wheels are powered by electric motors. Plug-in design also means that much of the power used by the vehicle will come from much more efficient power plants.

"Series" hybrid design results in no more wasted gas from revving the engine up steep hills, and no energy lost in the transmission. The responsiveness of the engine is also no longer a concern. Turbochargers can be used to their full potential with out worrying about "turbo drag," and engines can be run at their most efficient rpm at all times. In fact, any power source can be installed: diesel, biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas, or even a fuel cell.

The Volt is designed to go 40 miles before the batteries have to be recharged. For those who drive less than 40 miles to work, they may conceivably consume no gasoline at all. At current rates, the amount of power one gallon of gas provides is equivalent to only $.60 of electricity. For those who never go more than 40 miles at a time, they will spend only $300 a year on "fuel" for their car. I know people who go through that much gas in a month and a half. That is real savings. That is savings people are willing to pay an initial premium for, especially if they feel they are doing the environment a favor.

The advantages do not end there. Because the engine is running at its peak efficiency, the Volt has a total range of 640 miles and will achieve a minimum of 50mpg. I know people who would pay the premium just for the range.
* * *

GM is calling this "Series hybrid" system the E-flex system. The E-flex system is intended to work on many different vehicles. The company will seek to standardize parts and interfaces to lower costs. As these standards become more popular and diversified, costs will go down, alternative fuel sources will be able to compete on a more level playing field, and the average fuel efficiency of new vehicles will shoot way up. This is the ideal situation for both the consumer and the country.

As a final note, as more R&D money goes into the technologies it will become clear that, because the Volt is the first, it is the worst "series" hybrid GM will ever offer, things will only get better from here. If you are interested in learning more you can see the official Chevy Volt Website and Wikipedia Entry.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I just finished watching the first season of the CBS drama "Jericho." I have many thoughts running through my head. First, the premise absolutely fascinates me. In short, a small Kansas town has to adapt when America is hit by a massive terrorist attack that successfully nukes many of the largest cities in the United States. The drama explores how people react when their lives are suddenly in their own hands. There is no government taking care of everybody. Bad men are free to roam, and a community must figure out how to get along well enough to survive.

Pretty quickly, outside threats become a problem. Life and death decisions must be made in the face of fear and panic. Are Americans prepared to live without television to entertain them, the Internet to connect them, or the government to provide for the common welfare and defense?

The show is pretty well done, though the "constant jeopardy" and repetitive music can get a little tiresome. Characters must learn to deal with the consequences of their actions and get along with neighbors that they will be living with for the indefinite future.

A few things bothered me. For example, the writers don't quite grasp the necessary social elements required to keep a small community alive and stable. In their portrayal, adultery is evil, but part of life; fornication, however, doesn't even come up on the moral radar. In "Jericho" a good marriage is something to be sought for, but only after living arraignments have been tried and tested. The critical role that marriage plays in building and maintaining communities is critically miss-portrayed.

However, what bothered me the most was the secular tone of the show and the surprisingly irreligious response of everyone in the town to a disaster beyond comprehension. There are the obligatory visits to the Chapel for funerals and token requests for prayers before battle, but on the whole, this town believes that the only power that can save them is the arm of flesh. In fact, I believe that the writers would view a town prayer as outdated, and maybe even inappropriate.

When the town does not have enough food to feed everyone, the first response is to start kicking refugees out of the town. "The numbers simply don't add up," and "better them then us," attitude is prevalent. Somehow "right makes might," except when it doesn't. Fortunately, more charitable characters sometimes lead the way, but the show as a whole reflects the belief that sometimes, someone has to do the dirty work, and in a world that has gone to chaos, we all have to learn to get our hands dirty.

God is reduced to some force "out there." We return to him after this life, but he has zero practical influence on things in the here and now.

While, I disagree with these portrayals, the series is not without value. Very hard questions are addressed as best as the writers know how, and questions about the essence of government and democracy are explored in a manner not possible in most shows. If you would like to get addicted go here and watch for free online.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Hello this is Jason Schmidt, the oldest Schmidt brother. I'm up in Logan for summer, working for an engineering professor. I'm pretty happy about that. I'm looking forward to posting thoughts and ideas on this blog. Hope you enjoy!

Hello World!

The "SchmiBrosBlog" officially begins. Enjoy!