Friday, October 29, 2004

The Cabinet Members and Me

On this post yesterday I mentioned I was going to see the Treasury Secretary. Sorry, it was the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy. Not only was I wrong about that, but I was wrong about the number of people. The meeting was 20 small business men from all over Cincinnati. I sat two seats away from Don Evans and Spencer Abraham. I wrote my friend Chris an e-mail that described it:

I had a roundtable discussion yesterday - about 20 small business people were there - with Don Evans and Spencer Abraham. Two cabinet members. I almost felt important, but remembered what my mom always said, "Your not important!" They were both impressive. I sat two seats down from Don Evans and the competence and sheer power that he exuded was very intimidating.

The intelligence these guys showed blew me away. I got to thinking; who's Kerry going to put in these positions - the options are a little scary. His most important pick so far is a pretty boy twit whose resume is blown away by Dan Quayle's (which was quite good).

Three facts I thought interesting:

*What's happened with energy prices, Spencer Abraham says they predicted on the first day of office, but the energy bill has been blocked by the supermajority requiring Senate.
*Evans: Regulations costs small business 2x as much per employee as large corporations.
*Evans: The Small Business Optimism Index is at all time highs. I didn't even know something like that existed.

Hector Barreto of the Small Business Administration came in about a half hour late, but spoke to something near and dear to my heart: Regulations. This is one of The Five Taxes, remember? Anyway, he says by CBO estimates that their regulator savings directly to small business has been $31 Billion during the Bush administration. (N.B.: The back of Mr. Barreto's hands are the hairiest I've ever seen on a person. I'm talking fur here.)

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Daughter No. 2 in the Autumn Leaves

It was halloween party day at day care. The Divine Mrs. M. took this picture of Harper playing in the leaves. That's a princess costume if you were wondering. I think the crown is somewhere in the Orlando airport right now. Posted by Hello

An Evil Looking Divine Mrs. M and Daughter No. 2

Alicia had another mom snap this pic after daycare pick up. She really a nice mom, but for some reason the position of her head, the lighting of the day, whatever - but she looks absolutely demonic. I'm going to steer clear of her until after Halloween. Posted by Hello

My Trips to See Pres. Bush, the Sec. of Treas and Energy

Just when I got bored with the election....

My office is in a battleground state (Ohio) so that means we get lots of attention. My home is in Kentucky - safely Republican, but only 6 electoral votes - so that means we get diddley squat. Last night, I received a call and was invited to a roundtable discussion with Don Evans, Secretary of the Treasury and Spencer Abrams, Secretary of Energy for today at 4:00. It's just a campaign rally and I'm sure the "roundtable" will hold about 1,000 people, but the idea of meeting the Treasury guy is exciting. This guy has so much power that a verbal flub like I have on an hourly basis can implode financial systems. That's just so cool.

A political friend also called to ask if I wanted tickets to see Bush. Yes, I said. If nothing else, it will be good for Daughter No. 1 to get a taste of the political experience. So this coming Sunday, we'll walk across the river to Great American Ballpark to see Bushy. There will be thousands so no handshake with the Prez, but it should be educational for the girl.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Presidential Election

I've lost total interest in the Presidential election. Maybe I'm just numb, maybe I'm just bored. This is strange because this is the first election Presidential or off year in quite a while that The Divine Mrs. M and I have sat out.

We've made it a rule that we don't vote for anyone we haven't met except for President and we've seen every Presidential candidate that we've voted for. Not this year. Although we'll be voting Bush we saw him in 2000. Our state rep and senator and Judge Executive know us on a first name basis. We've met our U.S. Senators a couple of times and while they usually can't recall our names, we get a head nod.

But this year I can't get excited. The guy running for our state rep seat has stopped by a few times and we let him put him sign in our yard but I'd rather go back to my t.v. than talk political gossip with him. Does that make me a bad citizen? Oh, well.

I know this may be an evil statement to some, but whether Bush or Kerry wins, the Republic will survive. I just don't buy into the statement that "this is the most important election in history."

Do your duty. Go out and vote.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Want Some Free Advice? I Do!

One of the economic factors that always intrigued me was the passing down of knowledge. In the past, father taught son and son taught grandson. This was easy because father, son, and grandson all worked the same piece of land and grew the same crops. Now, a physician in Cincinnati can have an engineer in Orlando for a son and a CPA in Chicago for a daughter. The lessons the father learned as a young doctor don't apply. Or maybe the lessons do? Working with people, managing a career, and taking chances are common to all professions whether medical, financial or academic.

How many of you have had a mentor? Who are they and how do you get them?

What got me thinking about this was the interview I did for the Challenger. The business is owned by father and son. The son knew he wanted to be part of it from a young age and upon graduation from a nice university told the father so. They father recommended he try another business just to see; when the son came back with the same conclusion, he recommended the son go to work for another jeweler. I spoke with the son who thought this was the best thing that his dad could have done for him. He learned so much of what he did love and didn't love about the business. I would have loved to have gotten advice like that.

Obviously, why I ask this is because I've never had a mentor? I'm now 34 and no one has offered me advice on career or school or marriage or kids or life or anything. I've pretty much made most choices from my teen years on on my own or with the only input from The Divine Mrs. M. And she doesn't know if what we're doing is right either. Is that normal?

I know parents sometimes serve this role, but I don't have that kind of relationship. I tend to only remember the negative but I'm pretty sure the only career advice I remember getting is "Learn the computer. Everything in the future will be computers (this is 1984 or so). Well, that BASIC knowledge from the class I got a D in hasn't done me much good. There's not much need to program a word processor. Also: "Learn Spanish. Everything will be international by 1997 with the EU and all." Eight years of study later and I can hardly place an order at Taco Bell and there's not much of a need to - I haven't done much international business lately. The furthest I go is the east side of Cincinnati. The Divine Mrs. M has had pretty much the same experience.

Is this normal? Do you have mentors? Do you get good advice from someone you trust? Is their anyone that you go to with life's big decisions? My fear is that I could be avoiding so many mistakes that are economically adverse if I just had an interested third party to bounce ideas off of.

Post your mentoring stories.

Just curious.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Monday, October 25, 2004

My First Assignment/Are You Ready for Some Football?

I did my first interview for the Challenger today. A profile of a local jewelry store. It's family owned and they seem like very nice people; quality people, in fact. I came back to the office and banged out 700 words or so. I really should polish it off tonight, but I know my mind is fried and anything written (including this) would have to be rewritten.

New fact I learned: If you bring loose diamonds into the country, there's no duty owed the government. However, if those diamonds are mounted in a setting, the duty is huge. Go figure. As I opined in my book, trade restrictions are business people using government against other business people or the consuming public usually under the guise of helping the downtrodden.

There's Monday Night Football in town tonight. I just opened my bedroom window and can hear the faint sounds of the game. If you look at the city shots and see a large arcing bridge I live about 10 blocks south of it in Kentucky. In fact, here's the bridge with the mass of urban houses that make up Bellevue. My house is in the new section built from the 10's to the late 40's located in the more wooded area between those big mounds. Luckily, they didn't knock down as many trees when the built this section. Anyway, even with Monday Night Football in town, I'm sticking with my committment not to watch pro football until the Bengals break .500. I'm already uneasy with the team blackmailing the local government into coughing up the dough, for them to turn around and put on a lousy team without trying just pisses me off. I shall not watch you Monday Night Football.

I'm off to sleep, perchance to dream.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Back from Orlando - Broke and Exhausted

Sorry for not blogging while away. Excuses given below.

Thursday morning I flew out of Cincinnati Orlando bound - via Columbus, OH. Today I flew out of Orlando Cincinnati bound via Atlanta and Louisville. Arghhh!

Note to self: Avoid at all costs delta connection flights. This is the third trip I've flown with them and the staff on the official Delta flights are much nicer. Even with their airline going broke, they managed a smile and feigned slight interest in the kids, wife, and me. For whatever reason, the connectors are required to hire angry homosexual men. South bound, we had the angry homosexual Vietnamese guy. He made all announcements in that hard consonent accent that made me think we were flying into to Khymer Rouge outpost for re-education but he had the effete manner and eye rolls that bordered on camp. I thought maybe I was heading into Queer Killing Fields for the Straight Guy? One the way home we had the Cuban guy who just looked angry - why are they always angry? I think the job would suck, but they choose it. If you hate it that much get a new one. I did my part; I smiled and asked questions politely and kept the kids quiet.

I was expecting to feel violated in the wallet at Disney World. Just the opposite. Nice time, not too expensive. Actually, food and drinks and parking was cheaper than the local theme park, King's Island - and the quality was top notch. I felt good about spending money there. Sea World not so much.

Finally, the Omni International at Champions Gate. My broker-dealer paid for the room, so I'm looking a gift horse in the mouth. First off I don't golf so much of the charm of the place was lost on me. In fact, the charm of Orlando sans Mickey was lost on me. Looking out of my10th story room, I was taken by the fact that this place is a swamp where mosquitos were attacking at night and the heat attacked during the day. And this was late October! I don't see a need to live in Florida, but if you are, why live in Orlando where you're 90 minutes away from the smell of salt air?

Anyway, the Omni wasn't bad, except for the $40 I spent every time I wanted to feed the kids chicken tenders. That sucked. Also, I went to the advertised business center the first day like a good blogger and there were these little meter machines that I had to swipe my credit card or room key through to get access to the computers. $2/minute. Dear Omni, I've stayed at Motel 6's off the interstate in Cleveland, Ohio that had free internet access. You are supposedly a 5 star (whatever) resort. Why don't just put in pay toilets in the lobby why don't cha? Oh, yeah, there's only 1 toilet in the lobby and it's hidden 1/4 mile from the frontdesk so bealeagered travelers like me have to do the little potty dance around your grand foyers looking for some sweet relief.

Ok, back to work tomorrow. Blogging will be better now that sickness is passed and travel is done.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I Join the Fourth Estate - A New Career?

I have a pretty good job history.

I graduated Ball State in December of '92 without a job. I moved back in with my parents which didn't really work out that well. In mid-January, my father looked over at me while watching t.v. and said it was about time for me to get my own place.

With that nudge, I moved to Fairborn, Ohio (a Dayton suburb) to live with the future Divine Mrs. M. While there, I got a job at Circuit City selling T.V.s for four months until Fidelity Investment in Cincinnati saved me from a life of selling extended warranties.

After 6 years, I joined my current firm. I don't really plan on moving any time soon. But I'm now going to moonlight a joining the fourth estate.

Regular readers know that I had a brief obsessive stint writing letters to the editor to my regional newspaper, The Sunday Challenger. I wrote ten in ten weeks and had all published over eleven weeks. At some point, I started to get tired of responding to what the paper wrote. I saw this ad for a freelance reporter and applied. I sent the editor copies of all my letters to him, a copy of The Pure Investor, and this blog's address.

I waited, I left a few messages and finally on Monday he called and said I was the paper's newest freelance reporter.

Great! What does that mean? I wasn't quite sure and said so.

The editor told me that he would every week or so e-mail all the freelance reporters with stories he needed covered. Whoever responded first and said they could meet the deadline got the job. Later that day, I received my first e-mail from him and jumped on it. It's now mine. I go on my first assignment next Monday at 2:00. I have to write a 750 to 1,000 word article on an estalished local business I won't mention yet and I'll get paid enough for a nice dinner. Is that good? I don't know-or care. Does it sound like fun? Yep, so I'm doing it.

So it's not a new career. I've only had two "real" jobs in 14 years - I'm not counting Circuit City. I'm solid, consistent, dependable, and a little boring. Maybe this freelance thing will take off, who knows. But it sure beats selling extended warranties on big screens.

Wish me luck and I'll keep you posted.

I can't wait for my first by-line.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Cheney Visits My Neighborhood, Election Fraud and National Health Care

I must be a really bad blogger because Dick Cheney visited my neighborhood and I didn't even go to see him. He visited Price Hill Chili which is a great diner right down the street from my office - see - anyway. I found out about the event yesterday and could have got some tixs but since I heard John Kerry in the 3rd debate, I'm really not interested in seeing the V.P. who has a lesbian for a daughter. (It's a joke, sourpuss - see here.)

I guess we now know exactly what the media is going to get orgasmic about this election - voter fraud, disenchantment, lawyers at the polls, etc. and it's all centered right here in Ohio. Here's a story, here's a blog post about Hamilton County (Cincinnati), and here's another. I promise that if Hamilton County becomes the West Palm Beach of 2004, I'll be here for you.

I have a meeting set for election day morning, but will make myself free after noon. If anyone has anything they want a firsthand report on, I'll have the car gassed and will be ready for investigation-just point me in a direction. But I do have one question......

In The Pure Investor, I argue strenuously for the private sector handling just about everything that the government now does, but I'm pretty sure that the most conservative Republican, the most stoned Libertarian, and the most atheistic Randian would agree that running the election process falls within the purview of the government. Right?

O.K., well, if the government can't pull of the simple act of counting ballots without a team of lawyers and calls of fraud, favoritism, etc., and turning it into what my grandma would call a general cluster f#&k, do you really want the government involved in your health care?

Just a question.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Monday, October 18, 2004

In Defense of Politicians

Beware: The following is longer than I like for blog entries, but it's all I got today.

I'm going to take an unpopular and, some will say, naive stand here but as the election gets closer, it seems more and more people grow weary of it and are starting to lash out at politicians. Some comments I've heard recently in my small office:

"They're all the same."
"They are all crooks."
"They're moneygrubbers and/or powerhungry."
"Don't want anything to do with them."

In my experience, politicians are not any of the above. In my pre-child life, I was the vice-chairman of the Campbell County (KY) Republican Party. This is the home county of U.S. Senator Jim Bunning. I've dealt with politicians from Sen. Bunning all the way down to County Commissioners, Sheriffs, State Reps, State Senators, and Gubernatorial candidates and the one thing I've learned is that whether Democrat or Republican running for office is not fun.

For the privelige of holding a relatively low paying office (these people usually give up a nice paying job), these guys get to sit in endless committee meetings, attend countless rubber chicken dinners, knock on endless doors asking for votes, give up their regular income, be absent from their families and all the while be called crooks or dirty politicians.

I've been at party fundraisers with them and to social occasions and even to their kid's birthday parties. I've seen them at their best and worst and, for the most part, they are good honest and decent people. Sure there are some fruitcakes, but these get weeded out pretty quick. In fact, unless the got alot of cash, we merciless eliminated these people from our midst.

In a campaign, there is an element of excitement and the public recognition is satisfying, but those benefits quickly fade as an incentive.

Many times, politicians start a campaign because of a sense of obligation and duty. Whether Democrat or Republican, they honestly feel that they can help out in some way. Many times, they are just plain afraid of the other guy running.

Take the first charge from above - that all politicians are the same. No, they are not. Carter wasn't the same a Reagan, Nixon and Kennedy were not the same, and Bush and Kerry are not. While the idelogical differences fade as you run down the ticket, even county commissioners are different. The problem is that the "all the same" charge is - like many of the other charges - a cop-out. It's given by people who are too lazy to find out what the differences really are. I'm not dealing with talk show hosts or other politicians. I mean I've heard this charge from regular ol' office and factory workers. It's just laziness. How many of these citizens have actually spoken with their State Senator or Rep or County Official- that is, before you have a complaint. During election year, they're everywhere. It isn't hard to go see one. Most are listed in the phone book. But I guess it's easier to just bitch.

The next charge that they are all crooks is just another a cop out. Do you know how hard it is to get away with anything? Most of the "scandals" that I've read about or even been slightly close to are not so much a greedy politician fanagling some kickback but some poor guy tripping over some obscure campaign law. At the low level I operated at, we needed a CPA just to keep the checkbook balanced. Furthermore, multiple reports were required with multiple deadlines-oftentimes conflicting with one another. The punishment for missing those often involved some kind of montary punishment or even jailtime. Try to get someone to volunteer their time to be the party treasurer or a campaign treasurer when a mistake can cost them dearly. I've done it. It isn't fun or easy. This isn't keeping the money box at the PTA bake sale.

The next charge that they are all money grubbers or greedy dovetails in with the crook charge. After giving it a minutes thought, the charge is ludicrious. Look at most Congressman or Senators or even at the state level. For the amount of work that goes into getting elected and then fulfilling office, there is very little financially to gain. And even at the lowest levels, the reports and deadlines are costly and there's always some reporter going over them looking not so much for a crime, but a clerical error. Again, most of these people give up very good careers to do this.

I'm not naive, I know there's some real jerks out there, but many times, when these guys are jerks, they are doing so because they think what they are doing is the right thing. That's not an excuse, but an explanation.

At the core of my irritation with people who assign all politicians to the crook bin is twofold. Usually, the person doing so is some lazy idiot who won't attend his kid's parent-teacher meeting, much less do a fraction of the work he demands of our politicians at the lowest levels.

More importantly, I think that this frame of mind is dangerous to democracy. This is along the lines of the arguement that the Bush=Hitler crazies are holocaust denyers. I know that sounds serious, but think about it. How hard is it to convince some lazy jackass that doesn't trust politicians that we don't really need the vote to begin with? That an easier more effective solution is to put experts in charge. I don't think too hard. This extends to those on the left who still say Bush stole the election and those on the right who thought the Clinton presidency was invalid.

Do yourself a favor over the next two weeks: thank a politician for working for you.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Sunday, October 17, 2004

I'm Back and Feeling Blah

Thanks to all for their advice and concern regarding my cold. I'm back to 75% today. Per NYCSara, I took some Ginger tea. But I supplemented with my favorite Thera-flu and rum.

I went home sick at 5:00 on Friday. Attended Daughter No. 1's Girl Scout Halloween party with 20+ screaming girls inside a bomb shelter of a school gym. The loudness and shrill screams must have been like when John Kerry strafed that village back in 'Nam. Got home about 10:00. The Divine Mrs. M put the girls to bed and I gratefully feel asleep.

Saturday wasn't going to be pretty. The Divine Mrs. M. had a full day of civic activites planned. She was gone by 7:30 a.m. and I lay in bed fearful of when the girls would awake and drag me kicking and screaming into the day. Thank God, not until 9:30 and then they were the best behaved kids I've seen a quite a while. Hosannahs all around. I lay on the couch and sniffled and sneezed and coughed while they played in the basement or outside and accepted the easiest meals I could possibly make. I watched The Four Feathers (that's what movies are suppose to be), Head Office (so 80's, so cool), Secondhand Lions (OK) and part of The Transporter until the satelite when out. "Whaaa?," I said. I called DirectTv and found out I had paid the wrong amount or something, so out comes the debit card and the bill for $22.59 is paid. I'll figure it out later. But by this time, my mind is going. I've got a Thera-flu high. The Divine Mrs. M has picked up the kids and left me with Taco Bell tacos and a giant 24 oz Dr. Pepper which combined with the Thera-flu makes me feel invincible - for about 1 hours. I shower and shave and put on something other than sweats...and then I collapse back to the couch.

The Divine Mrs. M returns, takes care of kids, and I fall asleep.

Sunday I skipped church - any reason really and I get some quiet. I'm feeling better. I did a load of dishes. Family comes back. I put daughter No. 2 down for a nap and take Daughter no. 1 to the office to get some work done.

Short but busy week ahead. Only 3-days long, but late at the office each day doing evening meeting with clients. Wednesday night father-in-law arrives to housesit, then Thursday I bundle the family onto a Delta flight (sure I feel safe flying an almost bankrupt airlines) and head for a long weekend of Orlando fun - Disney, Seaworld, & a resort hotel. I'll be in meetings much of the time, but the girls should have fun and it will be warm and after the great behavior on Saturday, I think they deserve it.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Friday, October 15, 2004

No Post Today

A scratchy throat has become a full press cold in a matter of hours. I need to finish the day then escort both daughters to a Halloween party. My costume will be grumpy dad with cold. The good part is that this is the coooooolest holiday. My favorite after July 4.

Maybe I'll post some pics later tonight after I induce a thera-flu and rum stupor upon myself.

Wish me luck.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Bush, Cheney, Kerry, Schieffer, and Me

I noticed something common during the 3rd president between Bush, Cheney Kerry, Schieffer, and me.

We're all married to strong women and we all have two daughters. Then I began to ask myself what I've learned from these women. Alot.

One of the things I've learned is that if anyone brings up my daughter's sex life on national television, I'm going to knock him on his ass. Hard.

I'm only 6' tall and Kerry is a Frankensteinish 6'4", but I'd still knock him on his ass.


Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

ACLU Ohio Commercials

Okay, you can call off the suicide watch. I apologize for yesterday's grumbling post. Hope I didn't make too many other people depressed, but that's the good thing about a blog, journal...what have you. You can blow off a little steam, whine a bit, and your wife doesn't have to take the brunt of it. She says "thank you," by the way.

Now on to the main subject: This ACLU commercial has been airing in Cincinnati (maybe it's nation wide?) on a very frequent basis. Not until today did I notice something missing. Did you notice it? Go ahead, take another look, I'll wait.

The PATRIOT act was designed and passed in the Congress on a wide spread basis (with Kerry and Edwards' votes) in response to the attacks of 9/11. Those attacks were carried out and sponsored by Muslims. The PATRIOT act will most likely be used against terrorist who are Muslims. The people in the commercial look like a bunch of Lutherans, Episcopalians, Baptists and A.M.E. churchgoers.

Would the commercial have the same effect if the words - or just a few- were said by a women in a burka or a Islamic man in traditional dress. Like I see everyday in the heartland city of Cincinnati? Probably not, most Americans would say, "Yeah, go ahead and do a roving wiretap on those people." And I would agree with them. I don't want anyone else to be killed.

I've already complained about the silence from the Muslim community here and here. I actually like the ACLU and the commercial has a valid point, but does the ACLU have to be silent also....unless I missed the terrorist attacks by Missouri Synod Lutherans in Minnesota or Long Island Prebyterians.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Worn Out and Wasted

I'm really tired of this election. I'm really tired of the markets. I need a nap.

I'm really tired of having to fix things. I'm really tired of things going wrong. I need a vacation.

I'm really tired of not having enough cash. I'm really tired of there always being bills. I need some time off.

I'm really tired of worrying. I'm really tired of worrying about worrying. I need some antacid.

I'm tired of no one buying any of these books. I'm tired of not being able to buy all the books I wants. I need a personal library.

I'm really tired of having to go someplace. I'm really tired of not going any place fun. I need a trip.

I'm really tired of not getting to the gym. I'm really tired of watching what I eat. I need a gastric bypass.

I'm really tired of the dog. I'm really tired of the cats. I need get rid of these pets.

As you can see, I'm really tired of alot.

What fixes this? How do I end this funk?

Phone is ringing again. I'm really tired of that.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

He's Not The Pure Investor

No, this guy is not the Pure Investor, but we like him.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

NASCAR Follow-up

I received alot - alot - of traffic and comments and private e-mails in regard to my In Defense of NASCAR post. I'm even getting links. Thanks to all. I'm not out-of-the-closet. I'll move the actual post over to a yet-to-be-completed greatest hits section soon.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Undecided Voters Make Me Sick

I watched the debates Friday. If you want analysis you can go elsewhere for someone much more educated and informed and opinionated than I am about these things.

You still here? Great. Prepare for a rant.

One question I did have is who are these idiots who are undecided or uncommitted or however they described themselves to Charlie Gibson? Where have they been? In a hole without cable news? Why are we putting them in charge of asking questions of our candidates? If they are so ill-informed now that they haven't decided, what's the likelyhood of them actually asking a decent question of these guys? You know what would be fun: get some serious partisan believers in there to ask very tough questions. People who live and breath this stuff (and know the issues!!). Now that sounds more interesting. Let them where their Bush or Kerry buttons and try to nail there candidate's opponent to the wall. Come on! Mix it up! Throw out these limp noodle twerps who can't make up what they call their minds a month before the elections. The odds are they won't make it to the polling place because they can't decide what route to take.

I know it's fashionable in some quarters to say that Bush and Kerry are both the same - but they're not. They are very different and will govern very differently. If these idiot undecided can't see that, then they never will.

In my own case, I have no idea who is going to be running in 2008, but I have a good idea of what party that person I vote for will belong to. I'll be voting for (insert person here of that party) because I have something called a set of core principles that one party for the most part usually represents. Sometimes they've done great, most times they've come up far short.

"I vote the man," is usually lauded as something noble to say, but come on. It's trite. How is anyone going to know "the man" from seeing him on t.v.? There's two ways of organizing society - one liberal and one conservative. Pick one you believe it - either way - just show you have a pair of huevos (sorry, ladies) and pick one. That shows at least some effort at thought.

Now the individual candidate/party may be more or less liberal or conservative than you wish them to be. Don't jump up and down and mope that no one represents you. It's not a perfect world and you're not 8 years old. Just pick the guy closest to your beliefs and let it go at that.

Honestly, I've got more respect for a card-carrying communist than I do for the "undecided." At least the communist knows why he's a godless pinko commie and you can have a conversation with him. In my mind I try picturing talking with the undecided and all he does is shrug his sloped shoulders underneath the sweater his wife picked out as he strokes his starter goatee and keeps telling me that he needs to consider both side of the argument while never really coming to a conclusion.

I'm sorry if you're an undecided voter and reading this, but your fecklessness really pisses me off.

Stay You (unless your undecided, then do something with yourself).

Back to Main Page

Friday, October 08, 2004

Tax Five - Inflation

(Sorry for the delay of post but blogger was down last night)

It’s Friday, evening is coming, and I’m finally getting to this final post on The Five Taxes. What is the fifth tax – Inflation.

How do Bush and Kerry stack up on this last tax?

I don’t’ mean to sound trite, but except for the power to appoint members of the Federal Reserve every 6 years and the President’s use of the bully pulpit either for or – as is more often the case – against the Fed, the President doesn’t have much of an affect on inflation.

First, I believe that first and foremost, inflation is a monetary phenomenon. This means that the level of inflation is determined by how much money the Federal Reserve is releasing into the system. From my book:

To maintain stable prices, the amount of money circulating within an economy
should grow at the same rate as the economy. So as businesses produce goods, a
proportionate amount of dollars should be printed.

This is a relatively new explanation of inflation.

Many economist and - I believe - most citizens think inflation is caused by a lot of people working and buying stuff and driving up prices. This is known as the Phillip’s Curve. This simply isn’t true as has been proven by history. I don’t think I can hold your interest long enough to describe it, but that’s it.

Inflation is caused the by Fed printing too many dollars.

I’m giving this one to Bush. Bush gets this one because I haven’t heard him scapegoat Alan Greenspan at all for the economic downturn. It would have been very easy to demagogue this issue. Bush could have done this and appointed a successor. It would have been politically easy to do and has been done in the past.

Kerry’s comments on the Fed have been non-existent and his actions benign.

That said, I don’t think either candidate or 99% of the Congress knows the first thing about inflation and it's causes.

Bush wins this one.

So in summary:

Tax One - Direct Taxes - Bush Wins!
Tax Two - Trade Restrictions - Kerry Wins!
Tax Three - Immigration Restrictions - A Draw
Tax Four - Regulations - Bush Wins!
Tax Five - Inflation - Bush Wins!

So the Pure Investor will grudgingly vote for George W. Bush. He's not happy about Bush's trade and immigration policy and there's lots of room for improvement for on the regulatory front, but between the choices's Bush.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Fourth Tax - Regulations

Bush, Kerry, and The Five Taxes continues…

My post on Tax Two – Trade Restrictions elicited a response from Madam Butterfly (Grace, mon joli papillon, he says in his best Pepe Le Pew voice) but no one else seems too interested in this. Oh well, the week’s almost over, is it back to NASCAR, Kids, and chicken suits??? Please, God no....

“What’s today,” Mr. McEwen you ask? Today we talk about Tax Four of The Five Taxes – Regulations.

In my book I wrote:
Regulations and their unintended consequences spread throughout society like kudzu strangling the productivity and vibrancy out of the economy. Regulations cause scarce money to be spent on more accountants and lawyers that don’t add to the economy’s value but only ensure compliance with government mandates. Firms are required to pay engineers not to build a better mousetrap demanded by consumers but to design the mousetrap to meet the regulatory demands of the Politician.
In this post linking to a now defunct project that didn’t work out, I reference page 2 of this .pdf from the Mercatus Center. Their website is worth visiting every so often.

As far as the Bush v. Kerry match-up goes, who look better?

Read this earlier post on Bush for a detailed explanation. In summary, Bush is not Reagan on regulations, but he gets a break in that he’s had to make some compromises to go kill terrorists and reorganize massive segments of a massive government to help go kill terrorists.

As for Kerry, he’s a loser. It’s to obvious to go into specifics. He’s a Bay State Liberal – nothing more needs be said. Is that a cop out? Maybe, but it’s getting late. I just clicked over to the official website and I can’t bear to read much of it. It just seems that every time he talks domestic policy…I go to sleep… but in my dreams I think he says he wants to manage it by making more rules (read: Regulations) and basically telling people how to live.

On Tax Four Regulation…Bush gets the win. The fifth and final tax tomorrow. Who shall get The Pure Investor endorsement.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Liberal Media

I've having trouble reconciling something in my mind. This is not a challenge to political conservatives, but...

I'm a believer in the liberal bias of the major media - ABC,NBC, CBS, and most major city papers. You can also toss in CNN although I haven't watched it in years. They don't like Republicans. I believe that and the proof is pretty much there for anyone watching and reading with a bit of honesty.

The problem comes in when I think that before Fox News, talk radio, and the blogosphere that Nixon won very handily, if not in '68 definitely in '72, Carter squeeked by in '76, Reagan dominated in '80 with a 3rd party Republican candidate (remember him), and cleaned up in '84. Republicans did pretty well with regard to the White House.

So it seems that as far as the Presidential elections go the big bad media was not very effective.

Now, the scales are balanced. There is a Fox News, there is talk radio. Look at these lines up on my local stations - almost all conservative. Then there is the blogosphere which is dominated by neither liberal or conservatives, but conservative voices are very well heard. There's no conservative ghetto in the blogosphere or the internet. Not to mention Drudge.

You never got this variety of opinion from Walter Cronkite's half-hour.

My question - and I really want an answer - is why is George Bush only slightly ahead or tied. Why did he barely win in '00. With the media/information scales more balanced, shouldn't he be walking away with this election compared to Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I.

Were Democratic candidates that bad in the past or is the Republican candidate just that bad now?

Just wondering

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Tax Three - Immigration Control

The Pure Investor knows the immigrant is the high octane fuel of the U.S. economic engine. As James P. Smith, the chair of a National Research Council report entitled The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration, stated “Immigrants may be adding as much as $10 billion to the economy each year”….”As the National Research Council report found, “Immigrants labor allows goods many goods and services to be produced more cheaply, and provides the labor force for some businesses that otherwise could not exist.”

From The Pure Investor

I’m not talking about illegal immigration. But simply the legal immigrants that are allowed to come in to this country and do whatever work – usually entry level – that they want to do.

As I wrote in the book:
When a politician advocates a plan to control immigration, he is reducing the supply of competition for possible employees. With fewer competitors, the price of labor rises, the pool of talent declines, and companies become less profitable. The Pure Investor’s returns are reduced.
How do Bush and Kerry match up on this tax? I honestly don’t know.

Have either advocated increasing or restricting legal immigration? Not that I know of. Bush has advocated granted some kind of amnesty/guest worker/cave-in to illegals. I hate the idea of rewarding the fact that an illegals first act in the U.S. was to break the law even if it does increase the labor pool, so Bush gets no credit for that in my book. I have never read anything Kerry has to say about it.

So on Tax Three – Immigration Control….a draw.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Thanks for all who posted comments or sent private e-mail regarding my NASCAR post from the other day. I had more to say but wanted to limit myself to 1,000 words - about 3 times as long as I think any post should be. I item I left out: The raw corporate commercial nature of NASCAR and why I love it and think it's the most honest thing in sports, eh, spectator entertainment. But that's for another day.

Reading the blogger news, they suggested a game. What three things do you want to see a picture of in my office and or home? Are you that interested in me? Let's find out? Let me know and I'll post in a few days.

The Divine Mrs. M was knocking at death's door last night but death wasn't answering by this morning so I came home about 11:00 to take over child care duties. Picked up No. 1 Daughter at school and headed along with No. 2 Daughter to the art museum. They saw a Degas, a Renoir, a Monet, and Manet, a Warhol and some other stuff. I saw some hot art students doing some copies. We stayed about an hour.

One the front steps of the museum, I tried to point our our house across the Ohio River. They weren't interested. I pointed out to No. 1 Daughter her school and she said, "Daddy, I see it every day." I said, "Yes, but not from Ohio." She then said "Whateveeer" by rolling her eyes at me and asked to get home.

They're now in bed and I'm going to make some dinner and watched the debate. The Divine Mrs. M. is snooring comfortably.

Quiet Night.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

The Five Taxes - Tax Two

"What is prudence in the heart of every private family, can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom." -- Adam Smith, kick-ass economist.

From my book:
When the government places restrictions on the goods and services that the Pure Investor can buy thus raising prices it has again leveled a tax confiscating his profits for it's own use.
That's Tax Two.

How do Bush and Kerry match up on Tax Two? The win goes to........Kerry.

Here's my reasons:

Bush has given sops to steel producers, sugar farmers and refiners and the textile industry. Don't misinterpret this as protecting American jobs. "Protecting" specific industries isn't anything but a payoff to a special interest group. Whether it's the steel, sugar or textile guys, they get a proportionally big payoff while the U.S. consumer pays a little bit more. But these start to add up in my checkbook and they also become a drag on the economy, thus your investments. The same goes for the farm subsidies and farm bill that was passed - thanks for making my grocery bill higher so you can sop a big payoff to some farmers.

Bush is supposedly a conservative. Bully for him. But from his actions, he is more liberal that Clinton was on trade policy. NAFTA Rules! I've giving the win on this Tax Two to Kerry because he says he's going to be more protectionist - "Outsourcing", "Benedict Arnold CEOs" - but let's see if he actually is.

I'm going to hold Bush more responsibly for his bad actions than I will hold Kerry responsibly for his bad rhetoric.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Monday, October 04, 2004

The Five Taxes

Remember when this blog was about concepts from my book The Pure Investor? Before some alter-ego started posting about NASCAR, before kid's pictures, and before chicken suits?

It's back. By the way, have you bought my book yet? Go ahead, click, buy it.

This week I'll hit what "The Five Taxes" are and how Pres. Bush and Sen. Kerry stand relative to each.

What are The Five Taxes you ask? They are 1. Direct Taxes, 2. Trade Restrictions, 3. Immigration Control, 4. Regulations, 5. Inflation. But today, we will address direct taxes.

From my book:

The Pure Investor defines taxes as any reduction in his worth or income directly caused by the government. The Pure Investor functions best in a capitalist society that allows individuals instead of bureaucrats to control the allocation of resources.... The Pure Investor spoke of five distinct taxes whereby the government has reduced his wealth.
Well, for direct taxes this is easy. Bush wins hand down. It seems this guy can't go a year without invading a country and cutting a tax. Good for him. Sen. Kerry seems to like taking my money away from me and my clients. Hey, Johnny Boy, I've got kids that are sucking up all my money. My clients need that cash for retirement. Let us keep some.

As I wrote:
Taxes directly assessed by the government are the most visible and possibly most egregious example of removing money from the productive environment of the private sector and placing it into the control of those who will strangle the growth and the good it could do.
Ok, Bush wins by far. But how's he fair on the other four taxes. Come back tomorrow.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Sunday, October 03, 2004

In Defense of NASCAR

OK. I’m going to make an embarrassing admission. I don’t really discuss this with many people. The Divine Mrs. M knows about it, a guy at the office is suspicious, my father-in-law, but no one else.

So here it goes: I watch NASCAR. There. I said it. Judge me if you will.

I know many people follow NASCAR I see their signs, their shirts, their stickers. I hear their conversations, but I don’t participate. I’m ashamed. I don’t think I’m one of those people. Am I? OK! Admittedly, I drive a Chevy Monte Carlo (often called the coolest car in the trailer park) while all others in my profession drive BMWs and Mercedes. But I don’t wear the hats. I don’t have the numbers stuck on my car window. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Rusty Wallace t-shirt. I don’t debate Earnhardt v. Gordon. I just watch. Every Sunday. Without fail.

Why am I embarrassed? Why do I keep it secret?

I’m not sure. I think it has to do with the fact that to many people NASCAR is identified as Southern and – logically to them – white trash. I would rather not be identified with that. I’ve read most of Shakespeare’s cannon. I’ve made it through One Hundred Years of Solitude – and liked it. I’ve not only read a book, I wrote one. What does NASCAR stand for to most of these people? North and South Carolina Auto Racin’

Another is that I just don’t want to defend myself against those who don’t like NASCAR racing. While becoming a minority, this is an active and vocal group.

What are their arguments? “It’s just a bunch of guys turning left.” Yes, except for the road races. “It’s not really a sport.” Maybe. “It’s just a bunch of guys with drawls.” Mostly. Their argument can be summed up with the NASCAR acronym: Non-Athletic Sport Created Around Rednecks.

So now that my secret is out. To remain true to myself and keep my esteem up, I’ll have to be ready to defend myself against these arguments and individuals. That’s what I intend to do here.

Let’s address the fundamental issue that NASCAR is a southern sport. Originally it was. NASCAR fans claim their lineage from moon-shiners eluding revenuers in the South. This ignores two facts: First, the country is becoming more Southern. Second, NASCAR has spread from the Northeast to the Pacific. With a father from Detroit and a mother from Charleston, SC, I noticed this in my traveling between the two while visiting the two halves of the families. In the 70s there was a difference. Country music wasn’t played at all at a certain point while traveling north. Accents also became clipped and less rounded and when you stopped at a gas station in the south, the attendant always had a short conversation with you. In the north, the attendant preferred not to have eye contact with you. Now country music dominates throughout the north. My cousin’s accent is less distinct than their parents and unrecognizable to their grandparents. Now, no gas station attendant acknowledges you north or south.

The country is migrating to the South also. I’m reminded of an old Barney Miller episode aired at the beginning of the Carter administration. A man introduces himself as from Georgia. Capt. Miller says he recognizes the accent. The man says, “I don’t have an accent now – you do!”

Like wise, NASCAR has become less Southern demographically while remaining Southern in character. Four-time champion Jeff Gordon claims Indiana as his home state (but he grew up in California) as does 2002 Champion Tony Stewart (Rushville, IN.) Last year’s champ Matt Kenseth is from Wisconsin. So just as basketball started out as a Jewish sport, then white, then black and as boxing migrated from the Irish to Italian to black athletes. NASCAR is migrating to cross-country status.

As for the white-trash factor, I have grown up in the mid-west and have traveled to other parts of the country. White-trash is not solely in the south. Click on the television and turn the channel to a network station around 4:00 in the afternoon. There they are. Think you’re nowhere near people like those Southerners, look around.

As for the “NASCAR isn’t a sport” issue I’ll remain agnostic. Not from lack of argument but from lack a having an adequate definition. Merriam Webster’s definition of “sport” is here. But as with the case with the labels “liberal” and “conservative” in politics, the dictionary definition of “sport” is incomplete and there’s no way to find agreement among sports fans. NASCAR is a diversion so it meets that dictionary qualification. There are physical activities – you try driving for a manual transmission for 500 miles in heavy traffic. It’s taxing on the entire body and well as mind. So it meets that dictionary qualification. I would also suggest that a NASCAR driver expends more energy in a race than a golfer does during a round at a major.

Many argue that NASCAR isn’t a sport because it can be simplified into it’s just “a bunch of guys turning left.” This is true in many cases. However, the objective of each sport can be simplified. Basketball can be simplified into the question “How hard is it for a 7-foot guy to put a ball into a 10-foot high basket?” It’s not hard until a 7-½ foot guard tries to keep that guy from putting that ball into the basket. Again, it’s not hard to turn left over and over. What’s hard is turning left while 42 other drivers are challenging you to getting to and remaining at the front with the added challenge – depending on the track – of driving for minimal fuel consumption and minimum tire, motor, and brake wear.

I began writing this article with a bashful admission that I’m a fan of NASCAR. The last 1,000 words or so were intended to be a defense of NASCAR. It was suppose to be like one of those rocky shoreline defenses against shoreline erosion. But in reality, NASCAR doesn’t need a defense. It’s not the shoreline. It’s the storm and it has washed over the country.

I'm off to watch the rest of the Talladega race. Go Jeremy!

Stay You.

Back to Main Page

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Daughter No. 1's 7th Birthday

The Unwrapping of Presents Posted by Hello

Too many screaming girls. Not enough sleep.

There's Daughter No. 1 sitting being helped while opening presents. The night went well and only a couple asked to leave early. So at 10 a couple of disappointed parents dropped by. Another awoke at 3:00 after I had drifted off at 2:00. She cried for mommy and home, but, luckily, The Divine Mrs. M. took her to another room with a tv and watched until she feel asleep.

I'm tired. Nothing will be done today.

Daughter No. 2 Gets Attention

Birthday Girl's Lil' Sis Posted by Hello

So as not to make Daughter No. 2 jealous, I am posting this pic of her with Katie the Dog and an unnamed stuffed pig.

Is her hair that red? No. It's much redder.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Agustin Blazquez Saves My Week

I apologize for not posting yesterday. It's been a tough week. I feel run down and depressed.

But when I feel like this some good thing usually happens - like getting an e-mail from the likes of Agustin Blazquez who liked this post from earlier in the week. Who's Agustin Blazquez? You apparently didn't read this article in the Wall Street Journal. He's also written for and other publications. Google him and you'll see.

As a film maker, he's one of the many that doesn't get much respect in the activist world because he calls Castro what he is: a thug, a bully, a tyrant, and a murderer - not a romantic revolutionary.

Mr. Blazquez wrote me:

What "The Right Kind of Tyranny" says has been my complain for years. It is an
unhealthy double standard. I produce and direct documentaries exposing the U.S.
media double standard in relation to communist regimes. Mine are about the real tragedy of Cuba, in English in order to educate the American people.
You can buy his newest film Covering Cuba 3: Elian here.

When you feel like bitching and whining because you've had a rough week and it doesn't seem like anyone cares, drop in Mr. Blazquez's DVD and realize that the people of Cuba have had a rough half century and not only do alot of people not care, many in Hollywood, as I posted, claim you're living in a island paradise instead of an island gulag.

Stay You.

Back to Main Page