You may think that we are moving into Autumn, and while that is true here in the United States, we are also moving into election season. Most of the primaries are over, so the political hopefuls will be busy bombarding everyone with their pleas for our votes.

Some people running for office are going to say things to which other people will take exception. People may even say that their comments are lies, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear some people call for certain advertisements to be banned and silenced. I have a problem with banning political speech. If you object to what someone has said, the proper response is to speak up for yourself, not to call for the other person to be silenced.

And speaking of silencing other people, as I walked to work this morning I just happened to notice that there were five political signs lying on the ground. I don’t remember any strong winds blowing over the weekend. Strangely enough, only signs for Republican candidates had been uprooted. Discriminating wind? Or an example of people trying to silence the free speech of people with whom they disagree?

Any time the topic of silencing free speech arises, I think Andrew Klavan of Pajamas Media seems to sum it up best:

President Obama has headed off on another vacation, this time to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Of course, all presidents take time off from the rigors of office, and that’s a good thing. The U.S. would be poorly served by any president who is so beaten down by the pressures of office that he couldn’t properly do his job. Being president is a very tough job, and getting away from its demands is a nice break, even if it is for a short time.

I remember reading about the vacations President George W. Bush went on, and people pointed to his many vacations as a sign of a bad president. According to the article, he spent 487 days at Camp David, and 490 days at his Crawford ranch in Texas. And so that means he was completely cut off from his office, right? Pfft. A president isn’t ever really away from his job, not even when on vacation. In the middle of a transoceanic flight on Air Force One, the president is in constant communication with the rest of government. Camp David is just as connected as Air Force One and so was Pres. Bush’s ranch. During his time away from the White House, Pres. Bush was still getting his daily briefings of current events and threats, and Pres. Obama is undoubtedly doing the same on his vacations.

Both Camp David and Pres. Bush’s ranch in Texas were excellent places for some a little presidential R-and-R. Both have been set up to support a president and his needs without completely disrupting the people around. But when a president or his family goes someplace else, the visit is a huge disruption to the locals. You can see a clear demonstration of this disruption during Mrs. Obama’s vacation in Spain. As her group went around, security had to clear out buildings, check for suspicious people, and cordon off beaches just for the First Lady’s use. I certainly understand the need for security, and to a lesser extent privacy, but the end result still remains: a visiting president and family is a major disruption. Just ask the people stuck for hours in bumper-to-bumper L.A. traffic because Pres. Obama made a short visit there.

Frankly, I’m glad Pres. Obama is taking his vacations, even if it means causing a ruckus around the States. Each vacation means he is able to blow off some of the pressure of office, and hopefully that means we will have a better president.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Time magazine reported an interesting survey of Americans:

Nearly one-third of the country thinks adherents of Islam should be barred from running for President — a slightly higher percentage than the 24% who mistakenly believe the current occupant of the Oval Office is himself a Muslim.

So one in four surveyed believe that President Obama is a Muslim, and their belief is labeled by Time as being mistaken. But based on Islamic teachings, President Obama is a Muslim because his father was himself a Muslim. And because Islam defines someone born to a Muslim father as a Muslim, I have titled this article, “Our Muslim President.” He has certainly demonstrated that he has sympathies towards Islam and Muslims, and I’m sure that is due to his upbringing. No, I don’t consider him a Muslim. President Obama has stated clearly that he is a Christian, and I will accept his word on that.

But If you listen to any of his speeches, they are loaded with his view of himself and filled with “I,” “me,” and similar language more than I recall any other politician doing. So based on his actions and words, I see that President Obama believes in Barack Hussein Obama above and beyond any personal belief in Christianity or Islam he may have.

Let’s face it — President Obama is our Narcissist in Chief.

The following story caught my eye:

40 billionaires pledge to give away half of wealth

A little over a year after Bill Gates and Warren Buffett began hatching a plan over dinner to persuade America’s wealthiest people to give most of their fortunes to charity, more than three-dozen individuals and families have agreed to take part, campaign organizers announced Wednesday.

In addition to Buffett and Gates — America’s two wealthiest individuals, with a combined net worth of $90 billion, according to Forbes — 38 other billionaires have signed The Giving Pledge. They include New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entertainment executive Barry Diller, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, media mogul Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, film director George Lucas and investor Ronald Perelman.

Combined, the 40 billionaires will donate $115 billion to their favorite charities. Their billions will touch and bless the lives of so many people, and it will all be made possible because of their industry. A poor farmer in Bangladesh may make the same pledge, but his meager money will not have the same scope as the wealth of a billionaire. Having large amounts of money grants a person the ability to greatly bless people’s lives. And the billionaires’ pledge is very laudable.

Now let’s imagine the government has decided that at a certain point, the billionaires have made enough money. Congress could easily write a law taxing at 50% the existing wealth of all billionaires. Do you think President Obama would sign such a bill into law? Hell yes, he would! And let’s also imagine that Congress is spending these incoming billions in exactly the same way that the billionaires would have done themselves.

Are the actions of Congress laudable? Absolutely not.

See, in the first case, the billionaires are voluntarily choosing to give up their own money. In the second case, Congress is stealing the billionaires’ money. It doesn’t matter that the money is going to the exact same charities; the act of Congress remains one of theft, not of voluntary giving. True, it’s theft via law and the armed force of government, but it’s still theft. While Congress’ action would be legal, there is nothing either praiseworthy or moral about forcefully taking one person’s money to give to another.

When you get down to it, it’s the billionaires’ money to do with as they see fit, not the government’s. Every time I hear a liberal talking about taxing the rich, I realize that liberal has forgotten that it’s just not his money.

As a rule, I don’t sound off on issues without first thinking them through carefully. I have my snap-judgments on issues, but I try to ponder the sides of any argument before sounding off on it. Yes, this means that many times the news and novelty of the issue have faded by the time I type up anything about it, but it also means that I’m rarely stung by jumping on an unsubstantiated urban legend.

With that said, I’m going to do what I rarely do: discuss a breaking issue. Today Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the Northern District of California ruled that Prop. 8 violates the U.S. Constitution.

Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

The judge is saying that California, and all the U.S. by extension, has the constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis to all people. So does this “obligation” include allowing a brother and sister to marry? How about someone marrying a minor? How about Mike and Mark marrying Mary, Marcy, and Maggie? How about Matt and Spot? And if marriage has become a right, could Moe sue Mindy for turning down his proposal?

And if this ruling is upheld by the Supreme Court, how long do you think it will take for a gay couple to sue some church that teaches homosexuality is morally wrong, and therefore refuses to solemnize gay marriages?