Friday, July 30, 2004

The GlaxoSmithKline Candidate

Blessed reprieve: The grandparents are taking the kids this weekend for a weeklong visit.

The Divine Mrs. M. and I will be able to do kinky things like eat a meal without yelling, "Eat what you've given" 47 times. I thought it might even be nice to go to a movie that's not animated by Pixar. So I went over to read what Roger Ebert thought was good and he had The Manchurian Candidate. In this version, the evil of the oppressive, totalitarian, butchering ChiComs has been replaced by a US multi-national corporation. I'm guessing it's a drug company whose products have saved my kids lives a couple of times-greedy bastards.

When the original was made in 1962, China was a definite enemy. In 2004, the U.S. also has some definite enemies and hollywood comes up A publicly owned, worker employing, firm producing something demanded by consumers. No suicide bombing Islamofacists, no Falon Gong killing Chinese, no food-for-oil bribe taking, reactor selling!

Roger Ebert's column also annoyed me.

There's a level of cynicism here that is scarier than the Red Chinese villains
in John Frankenheimer's 1962 classic. It's a stretch to imagine a communist
takeover of America, but the idea that corporations may be subverting the
democratic process is plausible in the age of Enron.
A communist takeover was a stretch. Oh, really? All that Sovietphile Henry Wallace had between him and the Oval Office was FDRs rice paper of a heart.

I'm also tired of Enron being held up as evidence of some failure of our system. To the contrary, it was a glowing success. They cheated and created no value. They couldn't perpetuate their lie forever. Adam Smith's invisible hand bitch slapped them down. That's what capitalism is about. A brief amount of pain but the problem is corrected.

As for subverting the democratic process, I'm more afraid of the government itself.
What happens when you remove capitalist forces? You take the sting of the bitch slap away. You get the social security administration, the farm program, price supports, all the other wastes I wrote about in The Pure Investor. A problem that doesn't benefit anybody, costs everybody and never ends.

WSJ's Own Presbyterian Jag

Here's the Wall Street Journal's take on the Presbyterian's anti-Israel vote.  Mr. Lefkowitz takes the same take as I do but make some additional points.  But still, he leaves unanswered why Israel is suppose to suck so much. 

Anyone willing to explain it too me?  Please, I'm willing to listen.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Mortality, Morality, and Growth

WhenI turned 34 this past April I realized I had outlived Jesus, Alexander, and Chris Farley.  I beat them, but I felt old.  And weak.  I'm the father of two daughters and have nightmares of boyfriends I won't be able to intimidate.  I need to look in shape and threatening within the next say... 4-7 years. 

So I've established some rules for myself:  First, I don't eat at any restaurants that have a drive up window.  Second, I've given up all sweets.  This doesn't sound like much, but I've been known to eat a pounder of M&M's in one sitting - weekly.  Third, I eat no potato chips and french fries.  I've stuck with eat of these so far.  I've failed at getting to bed earlier and a total cessation of caffiene.  Oh, well. 

I've lost a grand total of zero pounds, but I feel better, stand taller, have more patience.  Also, I've been exercising.  If I keep this up, the tightening of the cold grip of death will be postponed by a few years. 

In my book, I wrote 10,000 words or so on what's necessary for a growing economy.  I totally missed the effects of Hell.  The St. Louis fed has given me pause for thougtht.  

From the report:
....there is a tendency for countries in which a larger percentage of the population believes in hell to have lower levels of corruption.....It shows a strong tendency for countries with relatively low levels of corruption to have relatively high levels of per capita GDP. 

I don't believe this report. Someone from the St. Louis Fed is having a little fun.   I would leave the stats to The Divine Mrs. M. but from my rudimentary knowledge the sample size seems small and the correlation between belief in Hell and corruption (-.34) doesn't seem all that strong.

Plus this flies in the face of my own professional experience as a financial planner working with middle income people for the past several years.  Most people don't take action their retirement until they are pulling the confetti from their hair after their retirement party.  I'm sure most people don't think of the afterlife either-at least not specifically.  People just don't look that far ahead.  There's always time to correct a problem.  Sure, this could send me to hell, but I'll make up for it later.

Further, the human capacity for justifing their own wrong actions is infinite.  Everyone has an excuse.  I'm sure Hitler felt totally ready to meet his maker.  Is the fear of Hell going to keep an export clerk from demanding a bribe or a cube person from playing solitaire?  No.  They can justify it in their own minds.  Hell isn't for them and even if something would send them to Hell, they've got time to make up for it.
Stay you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Presbyterians for Tyranny and Anti-semitism

I noticed this little tid-bit the other day.  The first paragraph of a press release from the Presbyterian church reads: 
The 216th General Assembly approved several measures opposing the Israeli occupation of Palestine Friday, including a call for the corporate witness office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to begin gathering data to support a selective divestment of holdings in multinational corporations doing business in Israel/Palestine.

Later in the release we get this nugget:
The Rev. Victor Makari, the PC(USA)'s liaison to the Middle East, supported the divestment strategy, saying, “I think the issue of divestment is a very sensitive one with Israel. … If nothing else seems to have changed the policy of Israel toward Palestinians, we need to send a clear and strong message.”

First, why would be Presbyterian's pass some useless measure against Israel specifically?  Second, why is Israel the bad guy in this fight?   I'm honestly curious.

It seems fashionable to blame Israel for the bloodshed.  Maybe they are at fault (I personally don't see it).  But shouldn't the Presbyterians chastise other governments that are far worse.  Others that are dictatorial, totalitarian, and oppressive?  I entered Cuba into the Presbyterian's search engine and didn't find a call for sanctions, of North Korea, or of pre-war Iraq.  In fact, the church calls for engaging these countries.  See here and here.   So Presbyterian policy is sanctions against a democracy and engagment of mob-states run by maniacal cleptocrats. 

Next question: why is Israel the bad guy?  I've been reading/skimming a door stop of a book on the subject.  From what I can tell, the Brit's left after WWII and said "you guys (Jew and Arabs) work it out" and BLAM!, everybody (including the Brits) start blasting the Jews - and it hasn't stopped.  Yes, the IDF knocks down homes (where snipers are hiding).  Yes, they've occupied Gaza and the West Bank (after being repeatedly attacted from these areas). Yes, they're building an ugly wall/barrier (that's stopped the killing).  But they're probably tired of being killed.  Somebody fill me in on what I'm missing.  Please?

I can only see one answer to why the Presbyterian Church wants to sanction Israel and engage dictators and why Israel is seen as the aggressor after repeated being attacked.  It's that when the community of nations sits down at the table, the Presbyterians look down the table at Israel and sees the same thing Annie Hall's grandmother saw at the end of the table.

This is a DNC Convention free zone

This shall be a DNC Convention free zone for the rest of the week.  I won't talk about them at all.  There are smarter people out there than me, plus I don't particularly like conventions.  Mostly this is because of the poor speaking that is done during them.  The speeches just suck and, with the exception of Jesse Jackson, they lack any poetry.  There doesn't seem to be a craft at writing or delivery that I think would truly inspire.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Another Letter to the editor/Lance Armstrong

There's no site update this weekend.  Guests were in town.  House is a mess, spent this evening picking up.  This post is unedited.  Sorry.

The Challenger of Northern Kentucky printed another one of my letter to the editors here.  That makes three issues with 2 letters from me.  I'm going to see how long I can consecutively get letters in there before I either get ignored or inquired.  I'll keep you updated.

God bless Lance Armstrong.  This man is operating at a different level.  It's not physical at all.  It's in his head.  He's in a place where few people are able to get to.  I'm not too religious, but I always picture people like him transcending his experience outside of the realm of the human.

I'm now tired.  I'll watch booknotes and head off to sleep.  Lot's of work this week so posts may be light, but who knows.  Maybe I'll be struck by the muse.

Stay you.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Ronstadt - again

She's did it again.  100 people out of 1,700 walked out or almost 6%.  Again, just rude.  N.B.: If you're charging $100 - $250 per ticket, don't you expect a few rich republicans?

Microsoft Follow-up: Uncle Larry's Take

Uncle Larry's take on MSFT.  As always, he's right on target.  Uncle Larry and the Pure Investor - simpatico.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Microsoft: The World Just Changed

Something astonishing just happened.  Did you notice?  The era of mega growth in the computer/software segment of technology has come to an end. Read in depth here.  

From the link above:

Microsoft, with more than $50 billion on hand, announced yesterday that it would bestow on its shareholders a special one-time dividend of $3 a share, a payout worth $32 billion. 

Although other companies have paid special dividends in the past, the size of Microsoft's payout is far and away the largest cash grant in corporate history.

While the figures in these cases always seem insane, put that aside and think about what the Redman boys are telling us.  They don’t see MSFT growing faster than the market as a whole.  And Microsoft being an industry leader, the industry may not grow faster than the market as a whole.  They’ve looked high and low and there’s nothing they can do with all the cash that's coming in the doors, so they’re giving it to the shareholders to go find something better to invest in.

Since I was a kid, computer and software was the shining city on the hill of industry and business.  From the space program, to Commodore 64's to laptops to internet porn- this was where the growth and cash was.  They were revolutionizing the world.  Well, they did it.  Now they will be settling down and become just like….an automaker…or a retail stock.  Fun, but nothing too exciting.  Pumping out regular products upgrades. Changing the accessories and the style, but mostly the same.  This transition make take time.  10? 20 years?  But the idea of anything exciting coming out of the software industry- The Pure Investor just doesn’t see it.

Don’t despair though, something else will shake your world.  Just wait.  It’s coming at you right now.  You don’t even know it.  Your 3-year old will take it for granted in her 30’s, but to you it will be a marvel.  You’ll look at it just like your great-grandfather would have looked at this laptop - or you would have 15 years ago.  Now, sitting in your office, you’re using one to kill time.  Get back to work.

Stay you.

P.S.  Buy my book.

What? Me Worry

Wall Street Journal link re: Linda Ronstadt.  I'm bored already with that. Just to be politically fair though, I try to miss all Charleton Heston movies.  I always picture Pharoah saying "no" to "let my people go" and then Chuck pulls out a double barrel and blows him away. 

Sorry I missed a day of blogging.  Got to be more disciplined.  Eric stopped by to work on the furnace some more.  My AC went kaput a few weeks ago and I finally called him up to get a quote, he said he might as well do the furnace while he's here since it was about 30 years old.  He didn't want to come back the first cold week in October.  Tonight, he was here late, that's ok, but then I got to bed late because I then watched a tivo'd Nip/Tuck(great writing, good looking rich people having sex, great show-watch it without the kids). 

A storm moved in early this morning, woke up the kids - get them back to bed, laid down with them, get them to sleep - then sump pump came on from the rain water and wouldn't turn off.  The Divine Mrs. M turned that off and waited up for it to need turned off again. I could hear her watching Design on a Dime.  Then it started. 

Little worries crept into my brain.  What if that happens? What if this happens? Where's the money for this coming from?  These things ping into my brain in rapid succession and my mind becomes an echo chamber for worries.  They speed up and I can't keep track of them.  A cacaphony of stress and anxiety. So I lay awake, stare at the ceiling and stew.  I can usually stop myself before it spins out of control.  Fine! I told myself. I'll get up.  Shower.  Put on clothes.  Hit my sites.  Blog this out of my head.

I come from a strong line of worriers and fretters and borderline paranoid personality disorder victims.  In reality, my worries usually never materialize.  The money always seems to come when needed.  And if it doesn't, it doesn't seem that bad. 

I remember when the market was down, really down, I sat up night after night double over in worry and spent a few nights tossing up dinner.  I had very specific fears.  Never happened. Energy wasted.

Stay you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Ronstadt? Now which 70's pop pixie was she?

RE: the Ronstadt/Alladin controversy, Drudge linked to a story and highlighted this paragraph: 

It's a real conflict for me when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment. I'd rather not know." 

Drudge ran it with the tag BIGOT.  We know what he's getting at.  Let's say a Christian Rock group (is there one that doesn't suck?) declares in concert it's uncomfortable with homosexuals or pro-choice people - they'd be hounded until their careers are over.  Probably be blamed for try to incite a mob?The reporter put this Ronstadt quote in the story almost as a throw away.  Double standards- what are you going to do?
What bothers me about her dedicating a song to Michael Moore is that it's just not polite.  I don't talk politics with people when I don't know where they stand.  I just always thought it was rude. So why would she bring it up to a concert hall full of strangers.  And why would somebody paying good money to forget their problems in Vegas want to hear about it.  It's jerking them back to the real world in an otherworldly environment - that's not what their there for.  It's just rude Linda!
But that's not my point.  I don't think that she's being bigoted.  I think she's just acting like a close minded teenager without much life experience.  Strange to say about an international has-been superstar.  Or is it?  Speaking from personal experience, I have loathed some people that have the exact same opinions I hold-something about them just drives me nuts.  Sitting here, I can think of two -- three -- four people.  Four people! Four people who have a very similar outlook to me, but I cring whenever I know I'll have to deal with them.  Others who I care for deeply dread my politics and I theirs.  I don't understand them and sometimes think if I could just say one perfect thing that they might change their minds.  But they wouldn't and they'd be pissed at my for trying.  I get along with them just fine and in some cases consider them good friends.  I try mostly to follow John Derbyshire's advice

Lefty friends. There are a number of people I am very fond of, who are Left. For reasons I don't completely understand, this troubles me. I suppose it is the tension between liking them as people, and thinking their opinions are silly. Short of converting them to my point of view, or vice versa — neither of which, of course, ever happens — there is no way to resolve this tension in their presence, so I take it to bed with me and it pops out at 3 A.M. like a hernia.

As for Linda, just remember she posed for this cover so have a sense of humor about her.

Stay you.

Monday, July 19, 2004

The Church Beating Up on the Poor Again

I want to feel good about the church, but then I read things like this

The gist of the story is that genetically modified foods are out there and has been proven to reduce crop disease and increase harvest yields.  Great news for the poor of the world?  Of course not.  Those at the Catholic Institute for International Relations believe that it's an attempt by "big seed" to control and victimize the poor.  Read Mr. Conko's response for the facts on this particular issue, but it provides another illustration of a topic I addressed in my book. 

Some people gave me grief about the section of the Pure Investor where I'm picking on the church, but again and again those that pose as the advocate for the poor and oppressed want to keep them poor and oppressed.  But repeatedly the church takes very economically liberal and socialist positions and tries to browbeat their flocks into taking those position.  They know better than the actual poor farmers working the land.  In my experience, the flocks are tolerant but painfully aware that these positions caused the majority of human suffering in the 20th century.
I wrote in The Pure Investor:

"The church says we should strive for equality of man.  The fashionable church leadership maligns the U.S. as a greedy, unjust, and oppressive country.  The Pure Investor looks at the food the United States ships abroad and the technology selfishly developed by our citizens that saves lives of third world people and makes their impoverished life slightly easier and more tolerable.  After looking at this, the Pure Investor must agree with the brilliant Tom Wolfe in his essay "In the Land of the Rococo Marxist" from his book Hooking Up.  He states, "If you must rate a nation at this moment in history, your accursed America is the very micrometer by which all other should be measured."

In the final paragraph of the CIIR position paper, we get to the real crux of the matter: 

"'Food insecurity cannot be solved by technological fixes. If we are to help poor farmers in developing countries, we need to take a close look at the real causes behind poverty, such as social and economic inequalities. Undoubtedly, technology has an important role to play but it needs to be economically, culturally and environmentally appropriate.'"

Read: tech won't help, but taking from the land of plenty will.  Those with their faith in government action will substitute any problem for "Food insecurity" above and the cause will always be redistributive economics.  Inequalities don't lead to poverty; lack of property rights, rule of law, and democracy does.
Stay you.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Site update...The 4400....TIVO...stoned ramblings

I really wanted to update my site this weekend, but I've been stoned after my operation.  Funny thing: I've been swinging from the depths of sleepiness one hour to manic activity the next.  Very strange.
I did update a little bit so check it out. 
I'm off to watch the 2nd episode of The 4400.  I was intriqued for the commercials, but thought the pilot was a little weak.  I always dont' like pilots.  I have to ease into a series.  I'm also breaking a rule that I only watch 1 1-hour drama at a time.  It was The Shield and now it's Nip/Tuck - awesome.  But I now have TIVO which makes me feel all powerful.  See something - TIVO it.  Like it?  Get a Season pass.  This thing rocks.
I saw The Maltese Falcon on the other day. I knew I would be gone so I TIVO'd it.  Same for This Gun for Hire tonight at about 4:30 a.m.  Life if good.
Do I still sound stoned?

Stay you.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Letter to the editor

There's a great letter to the editor here.  Check it out.

Martha, My Dear

I'm still drowsy and lazy from my recent surgery but I'm getting restless and bored.  I'm down to watching Tivo'd Mad About You clip shows.  My favorite pastime is to watch for when Helen Hunt's chest explodes into a wonderfully rounded bosom.
Finally, I turned on the news and caught the announcement that Martha Stewart's getting 5-months in the pokey.  I'll be honest about this:  I haven't followed the case at all.  I just gave Martha the benefit of the doubt and figured the prosecutor's were going after an easy and unpopular target.  But I figured I'd find out what she did....and no one on the news said.  They said she lied.  But what was the lie?  They didn't say.  Maybe this is all backstory that the rest of the country knows, I thought, so I hit the web and read the actual indictment.  I'm going with the assumption that all items were proven.  After giving the matter about 30 seconds of thought, I decided:  She got what she had coming-she may have even got off easy.
In case you weren't up on the specifics, what she did was this:  she sold before a stock, Imclone, tanked after her broker's assistant gave her a head's up that the the head of Imclone was bailing because the government wasn't going to approve one of their products.   Got that?  Read again, if you need to.  I did. That's not was she was indicted for.  She was indicted for lying about it.  Specifically, she changed phone messages from her broker, talked with the broker when instructed not to,  and conspired with him into saying the sale was planned beforehand which is not uncommon.
Now I love Martha and I think most men like her. I won't speak for the ladies.  She's hot.  She's fashionable, yes. Attractive, yes.  But she has a confident manner of holding herself that to most guys says sex.  If she wants it, she'll tell you to forego the dinner and wooing and get right to business.  So I want to lean toward her side, but....
I have my securities license, I'm familiar with the legal lectures CEOs get, and I can imagine what it takes to run a company like hers.  So here's my question:  having had her securities license and running a NYSE listed company, what was she doing actively trading her own account.  She's in a fiduciary position and the exposure to liability that this entails is huge.  She should have picked a nice money manager, have him put the assets in a blind trust and have quarterly meetings.  This is a small amount of insurance to protect herself personally from any allegations.  But this extents into her own firm-where a lot of her wealth is- because her name on the door.  She should have gone out of her way to stay spotless. 
Next, what is she doing running a company that size and dealing with these penny-ante trades trying to make a quick buck like some credit card indebted middle manager trying to score big.  She has a responsiblity to her shareholder's to be at work for them.  That's the other responsibility she took on when she went public.
Martha, I love what you've done.  Your inpiring and motivating and you built an industry from nothing.  You look good and like you're having fun.  You piss off all the right people which is a big plus with me.  But this Imclone stuff; this is cheap stuff and that's where I run into a problem, babe.
Martha, my dear, you're cheap stuff.

Thursday, July 15, 2004


No posting done.  Minor surgury.  I'm sore and stoned on prescription drugs.  Back soon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

More on Wolf Man

An addemdum to my earlier post today.

When I was twelve I watched The Wolf Man and thought it was cool and I still think it could be. But now nonsensical items in the movie truly ruin it for me. Didn't these items ruin it for adults back then.  Don't they still?

For example, in The Wolf Man, Claude Rains plays Lon Chaney, Jr.'s father. Mr. Rains is 5'6 1/2" with a cultured English accent as befits his status as a noble. He carries an air of refinement. His "son" Lon Chaney is 6'3" and carries himself like a clumsy baffoon. Further, he speaks with an american accent filled with American colloqialisms. Except for being supposedly mentally unhandicapped, Mr. Chaney played The Wolf Man the same way he did Lennie in Of Mice and Men. I just couldn't get over this. Further, in the climax little Claude kills giant Wolf Man Lon with a silver handle cane. Sorry.  Not going to happen. Totally ruined the movie.  This is where my wife asks, "And this is where the reality breaks down?"  My answer is, "YES!"  I'll accept a couple of whoopers - men turning into wolves - for the fun of the movie, but not common sense items that could be solved.  Possibly this is a variant on believing THE BIG LIE?

My question isn't so much why can't the movie people do better, but why doesn't it seem to drive anyone else nuts. I just can't see blond pixiesque Meg Ryan playing the niece of semetic Einstein. (Isn't she just insulting to Jews?) Or Brad Pitt playing a Greek in Troy.   I know Greeks, I work for Greeks,  Brad is no Greek.

The worst example is Friends where love lives go on and children are forgotten. The first thing parents usually say when greeting are "Where are the kids?" Never seen that on that show. Often they went unmentioned for episodes. Last week on Monk, Monk's nurse rescued him from a stuck elevator. His first words: "Whose watching your kid?"  Took half a second, but those points of realizm really pull the show off.

Demand it more.

An American Werewolf in the White House

I encountered John Kerry's nuance the other night watching TV with my eldest. This is what I heard:

Others of us find good, bad, right, wrong a many sided complex thing. We try to see every side but the more we see the less sure we are.

No, this isn't John Kerry during an honest moment. Or the Times editorial page explaining why Bush is simple because he sees things in black and white. It's Claude Rains in 1941's Wolf Man. Mr. Rains played Sir John Talbot and in the above monologue is explaining to his wolfbane infected son Larry Talbot the duality of man.

It's all very good for these types of discussion while sitting in your manor house in the English country side or for John Kerry in the Senate. But out on the dark moors or in a world threatened by Islamofacist, everything is black and white. And when confronted with a Wolf Man attacking the lovely Gwen Conliffe, you don't discuss or debate or try to see his reasonings or try to seduce your neighbors into helping you keep the Wolf Man "in a box." You beat hell out of him with a silver handled cane....or the US Marine Corp.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Trade deficit narrows

I still don't know why this is good.

In effect, we unexpectedly got less stuff than we gave. We have less stuff.

Sorry no time, just wanted to throw it out there. Really interested in why trade deficits aren't bad, then hit that section of my book.

Can't talk. Need to work and get home. Air Conditioner finally being installed tonight...I hope.

Stay you.

Pigs mating Dogs and Free Trade

Oh believe me, I can make the connection. Check out this article from Reuters.

Quoting in full:
NAIROBI - A Kenyan mayor ordered more than 500 pigs to be shot dead because they were mating with stray dogs, the East African Standard reported on Friday.

A squad of town council guards moved from estate to estate shooting pigs roaming free in Nyahururu town, 95 miles north of the capital Nairobi.

Town mayor Muritu Karumba said he ordered Thursday’s cull to avoid an outbreak of disease caused by the pigs and dogs mating, which he said broke the laws of nature and “caused unnecessary commotion.”

But the unfortunate pigs’ owners immediately cried foul, claiming collusion between Nyahururu’s authorities and the town’s bacon traders to cut competition in pork supplies.

Note the last paragraph, a government official, in an effort to support prices and curry favor with a particular constiuency, has eliminated a supply source. The victims? Of course the pig owners, but also now all the citizens who now must pay higher prices

That's why I'm glad the US is so progressive over a backward country like that. God Bless the USA.

Monday, July 12, 2004

The Fives Taxes Index Update - Regulation BABY

Here it is.

Not a whole lot, but thought it would be interesting to those following it. It's a year by year chart of the number of pages in the Federal Register - the total embodiment of every rule, code, and law that the Federale's imposed during the year.

Play a little game with yourself: Stop reading right now, go to the link above and, without looking at the years, guess the presidential administration.

Done? Good. How'd you do? My guess is that even the slightest political junkies can tell who was in the big house when.

Three observations: Another reason Nixon was one bad dude, Reagan said what he'd do and did it, Clinton wasn't all that bad.

First Nixon, I can't think of much that this guy did that was good. Wage & Price controls, off the gold standard, etc, etc, etc, and now I can see the massive build up of regulations. Can't establish an EPA and not file pages with regs now can you? Is it any wonder that we had malaise during this time. Plus it was the 70's and everything was just ugly. I know someone's going to e-mail, "Yeah, but he went to China." I'm truly undecided about that. If president, I would hate for my finest accomplishment to be open dialoge and hence endorsement with a murdurous totalitarian regime. Maybe that's just me.

Second Reagan, he said in his inaugural that government is the problem and it's reflected in the federal register. A net decrease by my eyeballing. Hate him or love him - he did what he said he would do.

Finally, Mr. Clinton. Let me first say that I hate this leacherous raping Hillbilly. But on the economic front his lack of commitment to any idealogy whatsoever and his scandals preventing the things he'd like to get done were a godsend. The Federal Register grew slower under him that I'd expected. Add that to NAFTA, welfare reform, the clumsy handling of his tax hikes that went down to defeat. Not bad. Could I even say probably better that Bush I or Dole would have done? Yes, I think I could. Also, if Bush or Dole won, we probably wouldn't have a presidential endorsement of the "eatin' ain't cheatin'" defense.

Stay you.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Reflections on a Resume

Updated my resume on my website last night. I used to keep it polished nicely ready for submission at any time. See a job, snap, here's the resume. First one there-that'll impress 'em. Now I know. They weren't impressed. It went on the bottom of the pile until the next week when some HR rep sorted them out by the basics-toss this one, keep that one. I let that practice slide. Time to get back at it just to have it on hand.

Reviewing it does make me think. This is the first one that I've had that doesn't list any of my college activities, accomplishments, etc. They don't really seem important now. 4 years done and out. Got my degree! That's all that counts.

Also, I'm having trouble remembering exactly what I did on certain line items from my past job at Fido. I remember they were so IMPORTANT at one time. They consumed my life. They were IMPORTANT. They MATTERED. This is make or break stuff people. POOF! Gone. Now they don't seem to matter. Even people's names are beginning to fade. I know someone older, wiser, and more mature already knows this, but it's my first experience with it.

What does matter? They're at home playing now. Next time I stay too late at the office to finish some task when I know they need dad around. POOF! I'm gone. See you later Mr. Bossman. Don't like it? Don't matter. I'll have a hard time remembering your name in a few years. Oh, this all important project? Just a line on the resume that'll I'll dump some day.

Friday, July 09, 2004

$20,000 to save a life - not my money

Today's topic from my book: Direct Taxes.

It seems some Republicans (you know, the fiscally conservative party) are spending $60 million of our tax dollars to prevent suicide by college students. The story on the Senator Smith sponsored bill is here.

Near the end of the story, it mentions that 30,000 people kill themselves a year. Sen. Smith's press release puts number of youths that the bill is focusing on at 3,000.

So it's $60 million bucks to try to save 3,000 kids-or $20,000 each. Thas is if the program is totally successful. If only 10% (300 kids) are saved from themselves, which I think is optimistic, that means the per life cost is $200,000. The Senate will pass this bill because one of their own is crying over his kids, but I'm not responsible for that and their making me pay for it.

My own family is marred by suicide in each generation that I know about often multiple times and I would gladly pay $20,000 or $200,000 to get them back, but I'm not forcing others to cough up the money.

What Sens Smith, et al is doing is taking money already wrongly taxed away from the productive sector into the public sector. Each little chip like this lowers the productive, gains and wealth we might have.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

et tu Uncle Ben's

No, I'm not going to advocate massive consumer regulation. Check out my book. I'll live by this stuff.

But I also believe in spreading the news about a company ripping off the public, so here I go. I was very hungry for an early dinnner and bought an Uncle Ben's Rice Bowl for $2 at Kroger. It looked big and hearty. One fork in and I hit bottom. Was I optically alluded? Nope, the bowl has a dimple in the bottom much like wine bottles have and for much the same reason. They tricked me. The big bowl I thought I was getting was about half the size presented. I don't believe the government should regulate this but I will encourage all readers to not buy Uncle Ben's Rice Bowl.