Sunday, November 20, 2005


Has the effort to 'diversify' teaching by eliminating grading systems, adding 'soft' subjects like 'Analysis of Tom and Jerry in a Bi-Sexual Relationship' contributed to the overall support of intelligent design? Stay with me a sec...

If hard subjects like math and science were replaced with easier, less demanding subjects, might the liberal education community have slit it's own throat by creating an entire generation of people completely incapable of rational thought?

A recent conversation with a very intelligent person resulted in the following comment: "Can anyone really believe we descended from apes? Please..."

Apparently evolution is fine to explain animals...but humans...we just popped into existence and started building pyramids and cities on hills.

Bankruptcy fallout

or more correctly, falloff. You know I don't like links, but here is the first story of the expected rash:

We all expected there would be a fall off of bankruptcy filings, but in MA it is over 95%. Our district, Wisconsin Western, has had a 98% drop from average last year. We have had two calls since the law change. (Our district had about 8,000 cases last year, we are over 13,500 so far this year but will probably finish with less than 14,000. 7,000 of those cases were filed between August 15th and October 16th.)

My guess is there will be less than 10,000 cases filed NATIONWIDE between October 17 and the end of the year. That would be a 97% drop from last years average.

It will take several months to see if the numbers stay that low (not likely). My guess back in March was a drop to 100,000 filings per year after 2 years of the new law. I would suggest that number is going to be pretty good. A 95% drop. Anyone want to speak up and suggest that 95% of the people filing bankruptcy didn't need to? Go ahead...speak up...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Leaks in a bucket

Come on! We have a 2 year investigation into the leaking of a CIA operatives name (which by the way seems to have ignored the person that actually published the name) and no one is charged with leaking the name...

NOW, we have a leak about super-secret CIA prisons in foreign countries and no one is calling for investigations about the leak....noooo....we want investigations into why there are these super-secret prisons.....

What are we....France-lite?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Politically Incorrect

The form of government currently in place in the United States is fundamentally SUPERIOR to that found anywhere else.

The form of economic system currently in place in the United States is fundamentally SUPERIOR to that found anywhere else.

The ideals, goals, and culture of the United States are fundamentally SUPERIOR to that found anywhere else.

That the United States lacks perfection does not in anyway diminish the standings.

And this IS a moderate position.

Time to be a moderate?

I heard this morning on the radio (it might have been Fox because I have XM) that a woman that was pro-choice, a self declared feminist, was considered conservative because she supported Bush in the war on terror. Welcome to the moderate base.

Yesterday, the commission on tax reform released it's report. It made some suggestions, one of which was the elimination of the tax deductibility of mortgage interest. Now many people like that deduction because all by itself it can make itemizing deductions better than the standard deduction. The other suggestion was the elimination of deductions for state and local taxes. Let us take one at a time.

Mortgage deduction. Get over it. Come on people! If your income is $100,000, tax rate is 35% and your mortgage of $250,000 has an interest rate is 5%, taking nothing else into consideration, you will save about $4375 in taxes...but if we reduce the rate to 30% and eliminate the deduction, you would save $5000 in taxes. And that is just this year. Next year your interest deduction will be smaller, your income higher and your tax bill greater. The reduction in the tax rate means less taxes paid on the higher income.

A lower overall tax rate generally speaking is better than just about ANY deduction. With an emphasis on deductibility, the only way to continue to benefit is to take ever larger mortgages (or higher interest rates)....does anyone else see the stupidity in THAT? Removing the deductibility does something else much harder to quantify: it removes the leverage of some special interest groups in tax policy, and that should be very welcome.

State and local taxes. One argument local officials make in raising taxes is that it will hurt less because of deductibility. Of course the problem is that state and local tax increases hurt the lowest income people most and they are less likely to be able to get any relief from deductibility. This argument needs to be ignored, getting local and state taxes lowered is the place to fight.

Simplifying the tax code reduces the dependence on tax accountants, improves tax collections and allows the economy to act with less bias.

Alito. It looks like Bush did find a moderate conservative. Yea!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

What now? Meirs and the next option...

George Bush can pick the most radical right wing ideologue and demand that the right stand up and fight every inch of the process for confirmation. A candidate without the slightest hint of moderation would be an open invitation to the base to put up or shut up.

Unfortunately, Bush has never seen fit to rub anyone's nose in their own crap, so expect a moderate conservative (is that possible?).

The person whose opinion I would most like to have for a recommendation to the Court is Judge Roberts.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

On Bankruptcy....

Newcomers, my partner is a bankruptcy attorney, I work in the office. The last three weeks have been....busy. Some interesting news.

The US Trustee has reported that over 205,000 bankruptcy cases were filed LAST WEEK. The number of filings for October appears to be easily over 250,000 and it may approach 500,000 since mid September....we filed the equivalent of 4-5 months worth of cases last week. Amazingly, the electronic case filing system seems to have held up under the onslaught...however, one thing has fallen apart. Each bankruptcy case is assigned to a trustee that reviews and administers the case. Most trustees hand 75-150 cases per cycle. Right now, their load is closer to 500 (guessing based on our experience in our two districts and reports from other districts). The law requires that a hearing on the case be held no earlier than 20 days after filing but no later than 45 days after filing. Due to the load, hearings are being set WELL outside that time frame. Some districts are setting hearings as late as MARCH 2006. This is probably ok as there will be very few filings over the next three months.

There have been several rulings dealing with the new law provisions already active, among the most interesting is that Arizona and Minnesota homesteaders are not bound by the $125,000 equity caps...primarily because the law says that if you choose state exemptions, the bk law can limit the exemption to $125,000. In Arizona and Minnesota, no choice is possible, therefore, the limit is not applicable. On Monday a ruling in Georgia came down that said that attorneys admitted to the bankruptcy bar are NOT Debt Relief Agencies under the bk law. One provision in particular was cited as damning - attorney regulation is a STATE responsibility...any attempt by the bk law to regulate attorneys would be a federal intrusion into state domain and as no one seems to have brought that up before, it must mean that the law was not intending to regulate attorneys. This law is going to be such fun...

Some interesting anacdotes: an attorney mailed petitions to the court on Friday...they got sent back - there is no mailbox rule. Cases are not filed until they hit the clerks desk. We had a potential client slip a small retainer fee with a note under our door asking for an emergency filing, sometime after 2pm Saturday when I left the office but before 11am Monday when I returned. Needless to say, no emergency filing. They had been in our office on 10/4 and were informed that all fees and paperwork had to be in by 10/12....too late. And given the need for a lot of preparation for filing under the new law, we could not prepare a petition before their home would be sold at foreclosure auction next week.

If 500,000 cases were filed in the last 30 days leading up to the law change, AND each case had at least $10,000 in unsecured debt (our average was closer to $40k), then $5,000,000,000 (billion) in unsecured debt was cleared away from consumers.

UPDATE: Victoria attended CLE on Friday and the clerks from the BK Court said that as of last Friday, 19 cases had been submitted after the law change, all were mailed on Friday 10/14 and all were wrong and returned.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Lost their minds

In thinking about the unbelievable screeching going on about Meirs FROM THE REPUBLICANS I can only be reminded about two things:

Howard Dean yyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa


Many of those from the right opposed to Meirs have lost their minds....

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I got to thinking tonight...

I know, dangerous...but I have it covered...

Bush. Interesting read today on some characteristics of Bush and something struck me. He is a born-again Christian. Now we know many of them that give that a bad name and further, many more that scare the bejezus out of less religious folk. But: turn the other cheek; do what is right, not popular; stand up for your principles; associate with people of good character; do not speak badly of your neighbor. In general, I see that Bush has lived up to those. I have come to a decision on Meirs...

I have read George Will and Ann Coulter. I have read the debates (such that they are) on a dozen blogs and listened to the talking heads for the last 36 hours. Two things have been of interest.
Bork. A legal genius. Very conservative. Big fight. Lost. Got Stevens.
Thomas. A legal lightweight. Conservative. Big fight. Won? Got Thomas.
Souter. Got Souter, lost.
Roberts. A legal genius. Conservative (?). Minor fight. Won.

After the last 20 years, all the wonderful legal minds we have on the current court, we get Kelo. Also, for those completely normal people, there was a ruling a couple years ago In re Seminole Tribe that is just terrible. We recently lost a case against the State because of that case, the state ignored the bankruptcy court and we couldn't do a damn thing about it....couple lost their home.

Ann Coulter thinks we need the best legal minds possible on the court. Rush makes the point that we don't want "touchy-feely" types making decisions. It seems to me that the result is Kelo. Law without compassion is not JUSTICE. Was it the best legal minds that found privacy in the constitution? Does ANYONE think that privacy is bad? You know, the Founders probably never envisioned that someone standing on a hill could not only hear what was being said in the house over the hill IN THE NEXT COUNTY, but could READ what was being written at the same time. Our Constitution is designed to change, to be changed, we just don't want judges doing it. It doesn't seem to me that it takes the best legal mind possible to understand that.

I don't think Bush is beholden to his base. I think he cares more about this COUNTRY than just about anything else and his actions are designed to promote that. Seems to me that those that voted for Bush in the first place (and the second place) did so BECAUSE he cared more about the Country than polls or being liked. Seems to me that the nomination of Meirs is exactly in keeping with HIS goals. That he chooses people based on his faith and trust in them should be considered a POSITIVE. Maybe Meirs is NOT the best LEGAL mind available, but if Bush looked around and said this is the person I most trust NOT to legislate from the Bench, then he picked exactly the right nominee for his goals for the country.

I for one (and there are damn few of us) am willing to accept the nomination and pending any information that suggests she is unfit to serve - being Christian, woman, lawyer, not a judge, not the best legal mind are all not issues - she should be confirmed.

Update: How many people now complaining about Bush's pick were stating that he had the right to have his choice approved absent any evidence that he was unfit?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hello? Government?

From the IRS Website:

> Housing and Utilities Allowable Living Expenses
> /*Disclaimer:* IRS Allowable Expenses are intended for use in
> calculating repayment of delinquent taxes. They are not intended for
> use in bankruptcy calculations./

Did anyone check with Congress...because in 12 days we have a law that SPECIFICALLY states those expense tables are to be used for bankruptcy calculations...

What is wrong with me?

I am a reasonably intelligent person. Fairly well read. Educated to a degree.

I read an editorial in the WSJ and find it's arguments compelling. A few days later, a rebuttal makes an equally (and heretofore unconsidered) strong case for exactly the opposite position. I read George Will, whom I admire greatly, and feel like an idiot, not even a honest one.

I am partnered with a very liberal Democrat, I understand implicitly the value of dissenting opinions. I acknowledge that honest people can have equally compelling, but opposing positions on many issues. How many people in this country (forget about considering the rest of the world for a moment) do not build into their daily lives opportunities for competing ideas?

When important decisions are made and respected people hold conflicting opinions on an appropriate do you decide who is right? This is important. We elect people to make tough decisions because in our analysis, those people most consistently reflect our own positions. But what happens when they do not make decisions we agree with?

I have often said (and did so again yesterday) that when a republican or democrat is elected President, they all seem to come to the understanding that they are no longer a democrat or republican, but the President of ALL OF US. The likelihood that a President will piss off both the opposition AND his own base approaches certainty is inherent in the job.

So, the right is disappointed (to use a term) that Miers is 1) a lightweight, 2) a close and loyal friend, 3) a missed opportunity to have a 'debate'. They complain that Bush has no stomach for a fight...that he is showing weakness.

Point: Less than 50% of the people continue to support the war in Iraq. That means that people that elected Bush are against the war. If the President has a weakness, it is in doing the right thing even when all around him abandon him and not calling them on it.

The same groups/individuals that claimed Roberts was "an inspired choice" now complain that Miers is completely idiotic one. Selections made just a couple of months apart by the same person. I'm confused....what's wrong with me?

Monday, October 03, 2005

A few minor rants

1. I have turned off anonymous postings, the spam level jumped over the weekend, yes, you commentors over the weekend ARE SPAMMERS, I don't give a damn about your pathetic sites.

2. Bush's selection of Supreme Court. What can I say...I bailed on the Republicans months ago. DeLay should not have been indicted for election violations, HE SHOULD BE IMPEACHED FOR "WE HAVE CUT ALL THE FAT POSSIBLE". GIVE ME A BREAK.

3. Bicyclists that complain I don't follow the rules of the road...and then break the rules of the road. The person that complained I didn't signal my turn as he went through the stop sign....asshole...

4. It is less than 14 days until the new bankruptcy law goes into effect. People are coming out of the woodwork and expecting us to jump. I had someone try to get us to file a case with no filing fee, no attorney fee...his complaint...he was broke.

5. Credit card minimum payments are going to 4% this month; gas is $3 a gallon here in Madison, WI; heating oil is over $2 a gallon (3 times what it was two years ago when people SCREAMED); natural gas is double last years price (on this note, our local gas supplier offers commercial accounts a fixed price over the winter, usually about a 15% premium to the current, but usually lower than the expected peak price, we took the deal 3 out of the last 5 only paid off the first year, since then, about 20% more on average....we aren't going to do it this year and take our chances) - can anyone say recession?

6. Speaking of which - the reports that August numbers were down because of the hurricane is frankly a little hard to swallow...come on people, it hit on August 30th.... Everyone in government/politics/economics is going to spin the September numbers as purely hurricane spikes(or troughs) but here is my prediction (and we know how well I did the last time there)...14% drop in retail sales this Christmas over last with 4th quarter growth less than 2%(maybe less than 1.5%). Watch 1st quarter numbers if oil, gas and heating fuels stay where they are the new year we may be filing more bankruptcies than ever.

7. From a long time ago: Rush said that nothing important was ever done by a moderate...I beg to differ. Moderates get up every morning and go to work. They do not lead marches, sit outside a ranch, create billion dollar companies, run for statewide or national office. They do the job they need to do, earn their paycheck, pay their bills, raise their children and if they are really, really lucky, retire and enjoy some years of rest. Moderates are why this country works despite Bush, DeLay, Reid, Kennedy, Kerry, Roberts and Sandra Day O'Connor. Moderates keep Walmart, US Cellular, GM, Charter, Time, AOL, Rush, Monday Night Football and Budweiser alive. Oh yes....moderates are in Iraq right now...serving their country. Rush, next time you complain about moderates, take out your is filled with dollars given to you by moderates.

8. Walter Cronkite and Andy Rooney: both of you just shut up.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


DeLay has been indicted, Frist is ineffectual and Republicans are spending like drunken sailors. If it weren't for the absolute conviction that Democrats would actually be worse (but how could they be...), I would support the idea that Congress be dissolved and new elections ordered...oh wait...this is not Europe....sorry...we are stuck with these guys for another year+.

Can't someone please run against these idiots? Who me? No thanks. I have too many skeletons in my closet and some of them are still trying to move around.

Social liberal/fiscal conservative. Stay out of my bedroom and my pocketbook.

We all know really good people that would serve in a heart beat....except they look at the treatment of good people like John Roberts and say, "are you kidding?"

You have to be perfect, and if you are, no one believes it anyway. The first casualty of politics is truth. The second is the loss of good people. I don't like DeLay...frankly, I think he is slimy with a capital S. Frist reminds me of Gomer Pyle...nice guy, but an idiot - I know he is a doctor...but so is Kevorkian.

Blame us...everyone else does...we elect these guys...but we also complain that it is the lesser of two evils. So what happens is that 60% of us stay home and refuse to vote for either evil. In Louisiana, Nagin and Blanco WERE ELECTED. Say what you want about Brown being appointed and Bush being to blame (hey didn't Brown handle 4 hurricanes in 8 weeks in Florida last year....yea....seemed to do ok there...) we (at least the voters in LA and NO) are to blame...not Bush.

My rep is Tammy Baldwin...haven't seen hide nor hair of her this last month. Sen Feingold and Kohl. Feingold...I like but oppose because of his stance on Iraq. Kohl supported the bankruptcy bill and we won't go there (until October 18th when the real screaming will begin). So, I am much to blame as others. But people, something has got to change. We either accept that people are not perfect and look to leadership and passion, or we continue to look for perfection and know it is not possible ignore everything else bad.

What do we change? Is there no one ready, able and willing to step up? I see no evidence....

Economics of gas

We have two gets around 25mpg, the other about to guess which has been parked most this month? Right.

Two years ago, people were commenting on the lack of refineries built in the US in the last 25 years. Guess how many have been started in the last 2 years...right, none.

People are commenting again...but of the 250 billion asked for by Louisiana, none is going to refinery building. Refineries are running full tilt and making money hand over fist, but the market isn't building more...why? Well, because we don't want more refineries. The environment would be would mean lower prices, more consumption and that is BAD.

A recommendation that oil companies (those vertically integrated monsters) divest themselves of one part (preferably two parts) of the exploration/refining/retailing trifecta is being suggested. I have a different suggestion. How about we get rid of the requirement to blend 50 different types of gas to satisfy local environmental requirements. It would require no new refineries and no long term efforts of is a place to start.


Over the weekend I had a chance to talk to someone about Iraq. The question she asked, as so many have before her, was "what right did we have to go into Iraq". My answer is, and has been, "who else was going to?"

If it is imperialism when we act and racist indifference (is that possible?) when we don't (Rwanda), exactly where do those that object to the US stand?

What right does a passer-by have in interfering with a parent hitting a child? A husband beating his wife?

When people suggest that other countries have a right to the type of government they have without the US interfering, they give strength to those that abuse their own people.

What makes me think our way of life is better than someone elses? DUH! LOOK AROUND!

Name me a single country, ONE, with greater potential for it's citizens, with greater freedoms for it's citizens...ONE. I will not make it harder by asking that you add the criteria that whatever country you name also invites more immigrants.

The United States has an OBLIGATION to support freedom and democracy around the world, and those incredibly brave men and women of our armed forces know that deep in their souls.

I joined the Air Force in 1977 when it was very much NOT in fashion...but I had only a distant fear that war would break out during my enlistment. My nephew joined during war with the complete knowledge that he was going to be going to an active war zone. His sacrifice stands World Trade Center TALLER than my service.

As was true in the 60's, those that stand in open opposition to our war on terror, give aid and comfort to the enemy. Such pandering only emboldens those that think death (specifically our death) is an honorable calling.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Late Summer Rant

Morality is personal and SUBJECTIVE, it is not societal nor objective.

I am tired of people slamming me (and others like me) as amoral. They act like I am some kind of sociopath.

Here is the basis of my morality...

Rule #1: Always act in my own best interest.

Best interest - defined as the set of goals I have set for myself
Always act - personal responsibility - actions I take I must be held accountable for, ALWAYS, without qualification or exception.

Corollary: I must offer the same level of freedom of action to others as I hold for myself. If I have absolute freedom to act, so does everyone else. Therefore, if I seek to limit the actions of others, I must likewise be limited. I therefore accept the laws of the land as applicable to me because they are enforceable on others on my behalf.

Personal freedom means personal responsibility. Suggest to me that there are many people that need the structure imposed by society in order to act appropriately and I will not disagree in the general but will in the specific. If you assume people are children, what incentive do you offer them to grow up?

The Constitution of the United States is a document of maturity. Isn't it about time we started to act like the adults it assumes exist under it's umbrella?

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Definition: Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Examples:
$600 a month to Katrina evacutees
UN Reform
Senate Confirmation Hearings

If you are not sure what results I am thinking about....

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Americans are giving hand over fist to the people of the Gulf Coast, yet a vocal and oh so minor minority continue to proclaim that we are the stingyist country in the world when it comes to aid. They claim that we should give .7% of our GDP to help the less fortunate around the world....(they might be the same people claiming we can't help our own people...might not).

So, to ANYONE that agrees we need to donate in cold hard cash (in kind aid doesn't appear to count) $42 BILLION a year to help end poverty I ask this simple question:

For how long?

How long do we engage in this WAR ON POVERTY? Of the 10-12 TRILLION spent so far have we gotten?

So, I might consider your plea, but you have to tell me for how long? I want an exit plan. No open ended commitments to spend billions every year without any way to determine if it is accomplishing it's goals.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Shameless Plug

I have established a new website after spending the weekend with my elderly parents. (They are in their 70's but able to care for themselves "just fine thank you")

Katrina has scared them and while they will never feel a huricane at their home (1000 miles from ocean), they are concerned that other events could leave them equally in trouble. We spent a lot of time talking about various situations and what they should be considering. The website is up but I am still working on it. I will be looking for a partner or two on this project if you are interested.

On Being Prepared

I have heard numerous talking heads proclaim that the Federal Government should have had more resources ready for deployment given the knowledge that a hurricane would (not could) slam into New Orleans.

Let us take this criticism to heart.

I call upon the Governors of California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Utah and Washington to prepare for an earthquake EVERYONE knows is coming and that will likely kill tens of thousands. Let's get shelters ready, stockpile food, water, medicines and helicopters.

We better get moving...there is no such thing as earthquake season...

Monday, September 05, 2005

Kelo and New Orleans

I haven't seen it anywhere else, and it might be too soon, but here is the idea.

Kelo the whole city of New Orleans. Give the people that own property there the market value of the LAND (most structures are going to have to be razed) and then develop the land not as residential, but as park and visitor and industrial land.

The Port of New Orleans could be expanded and improved, most of the levees could be removed or reduced to protect the tourist areas/downtown and a great cost savings.

Friday, September 02, 2005

September's Rant

Mornin. For the last 24 hours virtually every newscast has included reports from New Orleans screaming, literally screaming, that Bush has left them high and dry...or in this case, low and wet. Bloggers that normally seem reasonable even if they disagree with Bush have lost their minds. Everyone seems to say that we can not get politics involved right now, people's lives are in danger....that hasn't stopped an increasing shrillness to the reporting on Bush's activities or lack thereof.

The comparisons to the tsunami or 9/11 ignore vast differences.

9/11: The area of damage was contained to about 4 square miles in New York and one building in Washington. The area of damage from Katrina is THOUSANDS of square miles. In New York, emergency services could literally drive right up to the areas affected. In LA and Mississippi, emergency services were under as much water as the areas they were to assist.

Let me diverge here for a moment.
"Where the hell is Bush? We have no water or food for 4 days....". This was a quote from a woman on a newscast on Thursday. I have to ask, why? Why did she and her family not have food or water since Sunday. It wasn't like they didn't know a hurricane was coming. Even if the levees had not broken, the probability that electricity would be available even now is zero. Let is ignore for the moment the evacuation, let us not. People were told to get out of New Orleans. I remember seeing a report late Sunday night from the French Quarter where bars were open and people were partying on the streets. Why were the businesses open? Why were there people having a party AFTER an evacuation order? Still, the people of New Orleans and all the Gulf Coast KNOW they are in Hurricane Boulevard. Where was the personal stockpile of food and water?

(Now some reasonably sounding person is going to comment - the stockpile of food and water is in their home...submerged under water....and I will agree that is possible for say...20% of those that stayed. Remember, only about 20% of the population either ignored the evacuation order (75%?), or had no way to get out(25%?).

Louisiana has lived with the possibility of a major hurricane hitting it for decades. Where was their own emergency plans? The Superdome? is in the middle of the severe danger zone! In the event of a levee breach, the Superdome would become an island in a sea of devastation...oh, hey, IT IS.

The National Guard is controlled by the individual states where they are based. Where were the Louisiana Guard? Please don't give me the crap they are all in Iraq, because that is not true. But even if EVERY National Guard member were available and ready to go, the question is...go where? As many as a dozen towns in Louisiana have CEASED TO EXIST. The damage in Mississippi is as bad although it had no cities the size of New Orleans in the path of destruction. Louisiana has about 6,500 National Guard troops available...meaning that if they were deployed to cover the entire damage area (about 20,000 sq miles) there would be only a couple per square mile if they were limited to actual towns. So, IGNORING all the rest of the damaged areas, a National Guardsman whose normal Guard job is fixing radios, COULD, hold a gun and stand on a corner in 4' of water in the French Quarter with 5 other equally 'well-trained' Guards for hours on end to protect it from looting...but of course, they would need food and water and people might be dying three blocks away...

As late as Friday, Katrina was only a Cat 1 hurricane with the potential of hitting the Gulf Coast. It was a Cat 3 only 12 hours later and a Cat 4 24 hours later...but now it was late Saturday/early Sunday....the weekend. The path was predicted on Saturday to hit Louisiana Monday. As late as Sunday evening I heard people saying it was going to miss New Orleans...from people in New Orleans...idiots.

Federal funding. Even if every penny had been left in the budgets, the levees would not have been ready for a Cat 5 before 2011 (I have heard 2008 to 2015). Does anyone else think this is ridiculous? People wonder why others insist on building homes on sides of hills in California that are KNOWN to homes on the BARRIER islands on the southern Atlantic homes on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. I can't get a permit to build a home if the area is in a 50 year flood plain....but we built a whole city below sea level in an annual flood plain? Hello??

Remember the newscasts on Monday afternoon? "New Orleans dodged a bullet." All those people that stayed, "I've been through 3 of problem", were congratulating themselves Monday evening...were drowning Tuesday morning.

Looters. I would agree with those that think "shoot on sight" is an appropriate response except there bodies would end up floating with all the other garbage floating in the city. People knew they wouldn't be where to put, the scum of New Orleans walked among all the other floating scum and added to the destruction. I AM NOT BEING RACIST - the majority of the looters shown on newscasts have been BLACK...AFRICAN AMERICAN....why? It appears the vast majority of people that did not evacuate when told to do so, were black. Where was the neighborhood leadership....gone? Is it because the majority of the people left were too poor to leave? They had to loot to survive? I find there is NO excuse for looting, PERIOD....EVER. What percentage of looters do you want me to concede were not black...10%, 20%...40%? The majority was/is. Again, why? The asshole that said he had been held down by the man and this was payback time, was a criminal and NO ONE should defend either his words or actions. But you will, won't you....

Another thing I noticed. Lack of leadership. People were wandering around asking what to do, where to go, where is the help? Where were the people that organized small groups to help themselves? I hate to say it, but those people looked not only lost but helpless.

I have a portable radio. I would have gathered my family and neighbors and started walking out of the damage area. Sitting on a bridge surrounded by water for 4 days JUST WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED.

To the idiot that asked where was the plane with porta-potties. Yea, over in Kansas, there is an airport with 200 porta-potties and a plane right next to them that can hover and drop them off anywhere in the US with just a few hours notice...but you are black and live below sea-level and didn't evacuate when told to, so we sent the pilots home to have a nice LABOR day weekend....tough shit...

Of course if people hadn't started shooting at rescue workers, things might not have gotten stalled on Wednesday...

No one is covering it deeply, but it is getting reported that there were rapings going on in the SuperDome...treat them like animals and what do you expect? Sorry, I don't buy that shit. If it was happening, then the people in there should have beat the shit out of the criminals and dumped them outside. Where was/is the leadership? NO NOT BUSH.....let us start with the people themselves...the neighbors, the pastors....the Mayor of New Orleans, the Governor of Louisiana. The Federal Government doesn't act until requested...of course the offers can be (AND WERE) made.

Where would the government put up evacuees? To the east, the damage was as bad or worse and the access to the east is severely damaged. Most areas outside the damage area already were full with those that actually did leave when they were supposed to. The AstroDome is 320 miles to the, having places to put people have been sense in loading people into trucks and buses with no place to go...

-- NOTE to residents of New Orleans and other damaged areas: The Bankruptcy Reform Act goes into effect on October 17th. Your income is based on the last 6 even if your home is gone, your job is gone, you might not QUALIFY to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy....good luck.... ---

I heard on woman complain that the MRE's she had gotten were terrible, that she couldn't eat that crap...I guess beggars can be choosy...

The devastation is terrible, the loss of life, horrible. But the place to start questioning readiness is IN NEW ORLEANS, in Louisiana...not Washington DC. Americans are going to give BILLIONS to the damaged areas...the Federal government is going to allocate and spend BILLIONS in Louisiana and Mississippi. Rebuilding will take years...but it is going to be for naught....because sometime in the future, a Cat 5 is going to come ashore again and lay waste to all that rebuilding. Some have compared the rebuilding to Chicago after the fire...but is wrong...Chicago did not build wooden houses on top of smoldering ashes...

Oh...the comparison to the tsunami, which caused damage over a widespread area. Access was available almost immediately after the fact....the population density did not approach that of the Gulf Coast, and the level of technical infrastructure was considerably lower....and if I recall correctly, it took 4-5 days for relief to get into place.

By the way....what kind of disasters happen (even if infrequently) in your area? Are you ready? Do you and your family have an evacuation plan? For your house, your neighborhood? I do. I know what we will do and where we will go in the event of: a fire, a tornado, a blizzard, flooding, loss of utility services (expected to last for more than couple of days), loss of civil order, loss of government services (fire, police).

Do you?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Opinion - The Constitution

Our first constitution failed. It was replaced just 6 years later.

Of the 73 delegates named to the Constitutional Convention, only 39 signed the Constitution...53%.

Less than 100 years later, civil war broke out..

From the Federalist Papers, #2:

With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people--a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.

This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.

If it takes Iraq 15 years to reach some point of stability, they shall have done so faster than we did...and if perchance they do choose a different path, let us know that we have acted nobly to 'establish general liberty and independence'.

Position - Noble Cause

The PS crowd (you know, Patti Sheehan's band of anti-war/anti-Americans) has asked this question (reiterated on Fox News Sunday by a mother of a soldier killed in Iraq):

What is the noble cause our children are dying for?

Ma'am: For the removal of an oppressive dictator and his regime, one that invaded two neighbors, killed hundreds of thousands of it's own people, so that his nation of 26 million could have the freedom to vote to give themselves democracy and liberties unavailable to almost anyone else in the region, yes, even if that choice is to have a theocracy.

But the PS crowd will not accept my answer. They do not believe our soldiers should die to give others freedom. They do not believe we have any RIGHT or OBLIGATION to impose OUR way of life - democracy and freedom - on other cultures. They do not believe our way of life is better than the Iraqis under Saddam, or the people of Afghanistan are better off out from under the Taliban. As a matter of fact, they think our way of life is VERY MUCH WORSE than that.

The PS crowd does not accept that there is any answer to their question that is satisfactory. Either we did it for oil, for greed, for imperialism, for revenge, or for religious reasons, but no matter the reason, it is not worthy of dying for.

Another point raised by the mother on Fox and the PS crowd is the moral of our troops. They don't think their questioning the deployment of troops is in any way demoralizing the troops. They think they are supporting the least they say they are.

Here is a suggestion. If you believe questioning the purpose of our deployment in Iraq is not demoralizing - find a soldier on R&R from Iraq and ask them face to face if we are doing the right thing. Make sure to point out that you believe Iraqis were better off under Saddam....

I have thanked soldiers for their service several times over the last 3 years...have you?

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I just added my "blog roll". From the 40 or so that I have bookmarked and check in with regularly, this is a list of blogs that I follow just about daily. If you have to select only one to read, I would choose Michael Yon from Iraq.

Every blog has its style. I do not like the aggregators like Daily Kos and others...if I want a quick splash of the daily news, I will catch the news on the hour. I want commentary...opinions on events. My list includes a very geographically and politically diverse group...except in the Iraq....that is direct reporting from the scene.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Opinion - The Future

Three items conspired to push this issue: the powers that be pushing on China to revalue the yuan; Cindy Sheehan; and Ohio's Governor Taft. Now, you might wonder what these three items may have in common? Political expediency.

First. When countries depend on the dollar for their economic wellbeing, they have a tendency to be more...pliable...when it comes American desires. Forcing the Chinese to revalue the yuan has pushed China away from a more involved position with regard to the US. The WSJ expounded upon this today and gave substance to my concern that our "insistence" that China revalue it's currency to make our trade deficit look better was extremely SHORTSIGHTED.

Second. Cindy Sheehan and the anti-war left continue to call for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Mrs Sheehan (soon to be divorced from a husband that apparently disagrees with her as does much of her family) dishonors her son's sacrifice by using his death to drumbeat for withdrawal. Her son volunteered - after combat had started - to continue to serve in his country's military. Her dishonesty might be forgiven because of her grief, however, her apparent desire to engage with the anti-war left seems calculated. Both the anti-war movement and Mrs Sheehan are politically motivated and extremely SHORTSIGHTED.

Third. Ohio Governor Taft has been charged with taking gifts...frankly, it is a wonder that EVERY politician is not similarly charged...however, there is no doubt he will remain in office. Politicians of virtually every stripe and of every political party take "gifts". In polite circles it is called lobbying. Among most Americans, we call it graft. In the Bush administration (someone can correct me if I am wrong) we have seen very little of it compared to previous (R or D) administrations. But the bar was lowered considerably by a certain NJ governor that refused to resign after considerable ethical violations in order to retain political control. The fact that average America seems willing to give these guys a pass is...extremely SHORTSIGHTED.

It seems we have learned a lesson in the last 20 years or so...never consider for tomorrow what you can benefit from today....and extremely SHORTSIGHTED.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Opinion - Pacificism

Those that proclaim their pacificism and declare those that do not share it warmongers, militarist, murderers...are of the same ilk as isolationists and anti-immigrants...we have ours, you can't have yours.

Suicide bombers are given a pass...they have no other means to deliver their bombs...unfortunately they have other targets but choose innocents instead. They are true murderers whatever excuse some may have for supporting them.

The claim that war is indiscriminate and more innocents get killed than combatants ignores several millennium of human war. The fact that more civilians have died in the last 100 years than combatants doesn't change, in fact adds to, the need for war.

I have dealt with pacificists for the last 20 years of my adult life. I served in the military out of a sense of moral obligation in addition to the benefits it conferred upon me. When I served, 1977 to 1981, military service in this country was very much out of favor. When I finished and attended college 5 years later, I found many people willing to enjoy the benefits that war had brought them, but unwilling to support the concept that it might be necessary again some day. That day did not long delay in coming.

The pacificist seeks to claim a high moral ground. Unfortunately, that high ground is defended by us warmongers, us militarists.... Once I asked, if someone were to attack you with a knife, would you not defend yourself? NO. If someone were to attack your wife with a knife, would you not defend her? NO. If someone were to attack your child with a knife, would you not defend it? NO. Coward. COWARD. You do not stand on any moral high justify your cowardice as honoring life, yet you would stand by and watch it destroyed.

That is the problem with pacificism....your position encourages more death, more destruction. If a murderer knows you will stand by and allow them to kill, they can ignore you and focus on their destruction. Do you think they will stop, and seeing your stance, realize their folly? No. They will kill and then laugh as they wipe the blood of your loved ones in your clothing and walk away.

The soldier is always blamed by the coward for his lack of perfection in killing. The soldier can not defend himself from the charge of killer. He/She knows they are killers. They must live with that all their days.

The coward, the pacificist, can praise his position as morally superior, but it is repugnant. Cowards...

Pacificists, like those that excuse the suicide bomber, do not prevent war, they encourage it...and the sooner we warmongers, we militarists, acknowledge that we kill, the sooner we can stand and blame war on those most encouraging war...the pacificists...


see my posts in religious agnostic for comments on intelligent design

Monday, August 01, 2005

Opinion - August Rant #1


Sunday, July 31, 2005

Opinion - Martyr


1. Martyr - someone that DIES for their faith or beliefs
2. Murderer - someone that KILLS for their faith or beliefs
3. Fanatic - someone that confuses the two....

Thanks to Bizzyblog for turning me on to varifrank for a post on a terrorist, "I've got rights".

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Opinion - Merging

There you are, in the right lane of a highway, moving at a respectable 60 mph in a 55. An on ramp approaches and a vehicle is inbound to your lane. Right about at the point the grass disappears there is a sign on the says MERGE. The idiot speeds up to 60 (we will not consider the idiot that stops at this point for now) and pulls even with you...then he begins moving into your lane forcing you out or into an accident...and he has the gall to give YOU the finger!

Problem 1. The driver entering the highway thinks he has right of way....he doesn't.
Problem 2. The driver does not attempt to adjust his speed to enter the flow of traffic....
Problem 3. You allow him to bully you into moving.....
Problem 4. He thinks he was right...and you let him...

Clear about the scenario? Good, because immigrants think the responsibility for their merging into our society, is our responsibility....and the apologists are letting them get away with it.

First, our society is here, it flows, it works. Anyone seeking to enter it, must adjust to our flow. Any time we force our society to yield to those entering, we disrupt the flow of our society. That is why having government services and documents in foreign languages (yes, they are foreign even if 10 million, 20 million even 40 million speak the language here) is counterproductive.

Second, when people enter our society, they are responsible for getting up to speed with how it works. It is not our society's responsibility to adjust to their needs.

Third, by letting those that are entering our country (and those that support them) to force us to change to accommodate, it sets a precendent both for those that follow and those that want their own accommodations.

Fourth, by letting it happen, we allow people to tell us we are wrong, when we were right to begin with.

And to those that suggest that failing to adjust will just lead to an accident, I can assure you, that in EVERY case where I refused to move, they either panic stopped on the shoulder, or adjusted their own travel.

Next time someone suggests to you that our society must accommodate those of different ethnic or religious backgrounds, tell them the responsibility to merge is theirs, not ours.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Opinion - Population and CO2

Something has been bugging me for a while. Humans produce CO2 by breathing (as does every living breathing animal, but lets stick with humans). How much do they produce? About 180 kg per person per year (a little higher for ag societies). Bear with me...
Country..............................Population........................CO2 Output
United States
1900 Population.............76,000,000...................15,200,000,000
2000 Population..........272,639,608....................49,075,129,440

1900 Population..........290,000,000....................58,000,000,000
2000 Population.......1,000,848,550..................200,169,710,000

1900 Population.........500,000,000..................100,000,000,000
2000 Population.......1,246,871,951....................249,374,390,200

1900 Population.......1,600,000,000..................320,000,000,000
2000 Population......6,100,000,000 ...............1,220,000,000,000

So, right now humanity is producing over 1.2 trillion kg of CO2 a year, just by breathing.

According to the same place I got the 180kg per person, the average car produces 2,800kg per year of CO2 (and a lot of other things also). Meaning, that 14 people breathing produce about the same CO2 as 1 car a year. Can you figure where I am heading with this?

Everyone Else........400,000,000.........2,800.........1,120,000,000,000

The larger populations of China and India produce as much CO2 as 160,000,000 cars.

Is it possible that global warming might be caused, in large part, by the fact that world population has tripled in the last century?

*lots of rough averaging here....don't go nuts about it. The point I want to make is that the growth in population should have had a significant impact on the global climate at a basic level, we all produce CO2 and there are a lot more of us now than 100 years ago...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Opinion - Tax and spend

CUT IT OUT. Republicans, you are spending like drunken sailors on the first night of shoreleave.

OH, you Democrats - you are helping so don't get all self-righteous.

Who said government had to have a raise every year? We don't get one...

Congressmen are supposed to bring back the bacon to their one said they had to have the whole pig.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Opinion - UPDATE - Terrorist

I asked for the Moslem community to condemn terrorists and a reporter wrote a story addressing that issue. He said that many Moslem groups issue condemnations every time a terrorist blows up something. He then listed several he had received post the British bombings and included (apparently) the full release.

Here is what I found funny about his story....every one of those organizations of Moslems that issued a condemnation, was an organization here in the US that had the benefit of freedoms.

Maybe I am asking too much.

On a somewhat related note, I quit a listserv because I had no time and I was tired of fighting with the lefties there. Unfortunately, I still see the postings because Victoria remains a member. Generally I ignore them but there was a thread on the British bombings and I will only recount one line

"I can't help but feel that the British brought this down upon themselves."

Any proof that the writer is not worth the time is confirmed by the use of these three words: "can't help feel"

What spineless crap.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Position - The UN

I have spoken before about the UN and today, several former foreign ministers (how Ms Albright defined herself) suggested that part of yesterday's carnage in Great Britain could be addressed by reforms in the UN, some specific recommendations were made with the 4th item encouraging democracy...but not the full blown, freedom that George Bush wants...something...more civilized.

Well 'Ministers'...I have a suggestion. Why don't we make free and honest elections in the home country a condition of voting in the UN. Why should a country that does not allow it's citizens to vote, get to vote in the democratic community of nations? China....hasta la vista...

Oh they can still participate....just not vote.

How 'bout it?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Position - Terrorist

I may be overstepping my "moderate" position.

Time for the Islamic community to step forward and "out" those in their community calling for Jihad. The people in Iraq must "rat" out the people in their mist that support those that would kill civilians. The fanatical component of Islam is destroying any hope for the peaceful co-existence of Islam with other religions and secular communities.

People in the United States and Europe and Asia must ask their Moslem neighbors to push their community to actively ostracize those in their community that support - even only vocally - terrorism in an form, for any purpose.

UPDATE: In the past, most other religions have justified the killing of non-believers as God's work. I do not dispute or justify it. The difference now is that Islamic extremists have access to materials that can kill hundreds at a time.

If the militants only targeted military targets in Iraq, I would say tough shit to our troops, go find them and kill them. And before you think I am just sitting on the sidelines with nothing to nephew walked out of a mess tent in Mosul not too long ago...and it saved his life...he joined last fall, an obligation he felt....he is a walking target, he knows it, his wife knows it, my brother knows it, I know it.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Opinion - Economics

Victoria just got me Freakynomics......reports to follow.

A long time ago I found a book called "How to Get Rich on the Obvious". It was a wonderful book and I made some good money in the market at the time. I have been unable to find another copy so if someone has one, let me know. The point I want to make however is two-fold.

First, the obvious, usually isn't.
Second, only economists that state the obvious get Nobels.....(some have argued with me about this in the past - obviously not convincingly)

Opinion - Politics and the Supreme Court

Is it because I have lived with an attorney lo these 10 years? The Supremes are getting senile. Given my current state of affairs with Republicans, letting them loose to nominate (potentially) 3 Justices has me a little on edge. I am personally, more constructionist. Having the Justices find a right that does not exist in the written word of the Constitution is dangerous and having done so, they have embarked upon a slippery slope.

If people want a right and it is not listed in the Constitution, then legislate it. However, a right at the end of your arm is not a right at the end of my nose.

You know, I sit here reading that sentence and it doesn't seem right...

Doesn't the Constitution work to LIMIT government? Isn't it designed to protect us, from it?

Why do we have to make a law to have a right? We have all rights, but limit our use of them in order to have a functional society. I have to work through this....bear with me for a while...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Off topic - my list of stupid people : per request

Everyone has at one time or another done something stupid. In and of itself, that does not make one a stupid person. I admit to brain farts. That said, some people act in ways that can not be mistaken for a momentary lapse of brain function. Here is my list of stupid people - I hope it pisses some of you off:

1. Vegetarians
2. Vegetarians that smoke (these people get honorary Darwin awards, designated HDA)
3. Those that oppose the death penalty but are for abortion
4. Those that are for the death penalty but are against abortion
5. Anyone seeking national or statewide public office
6. Anyone that is elected to national or statewide public office (HDA)
7. Anyone that drives in the left lane of a limited access highway and does not do at least 10 mph over the limit
8. Anyone that drives in the left lane of a limited access highway and does the speedlimit (HDA)
9. People that smoke
10. People under 35 that smoke (HDA)
11. Teenagers that smoke (DA)
12. People that smoke and have high blood pressure, obesity, asthma or lung disease (soon to be awarded a DA - but probably too late to have prevented gene transfer)
13. People that use illegal drugs - yes, you idiots that smoke grass too
14. People that drink and drive (HDA...but hopefully DA)
15. People that do drugs and drive (HDA)
16. People that think war is NOT an option (HDA)
17. People that think the United States is a bad country
18. People that think poverty is anyone's fault but the people in poverty
19. People that think the government can do better than marketplace (see #5)
20. People that think the smartest people are the smartest people
21. People that think I am full of shit
22. Drivers that will not enter the intersection to turn left when the light is green (HDA)
23. Bike riders that complain they have just as much right to the road, but somehow don't think they have as much RESPONSIBILITY to follow the rules of the road (DA)
24. Actors, who after playing a role, think they're an expert in a field...other than acting.
25. Anyone that thinks solutions to problems just need more money
26. Anyone opposed to freedom for everyone, at the point of a gun if necessary
27. Anyone that KNOWS I am full of shit
28. Anyone against the personal ownership of guns (any and all kinds and in whatever numbers)
29. Anyone NOT opposed to abortion after the 28th week
30. Anyone against religion
31. Anyone that thinks everyone needs to belong to a religion (worshipping a deity)
32. Democrats that think Republicans are uncaring shits only out for themselves
33. Republicans that think Democrats are sniveling little cowards
34. People that call themselves Democrats or Republicans and consider themselves better for it
35. Libertarians, independents and Greens, see 34, it applies to you too
36. Greens - you eco nuts, not the vegetable (HDA)
37. Anyone for animal rights. Animals do not have rights, CAN NOT HAVE RIGHTS!
38. Anyone that thinks anyone that owns a Hummer is bad
39. Anyone that owns a Hummer
40. Anyone that owns a plane and wants stricter rules on drilling for oil
41. Anyone that beats an animal
42. Anyone that beats a child
43. Any man that hits a woman
44. Any woman that hits a man
45. Any parent with an out of control child
46. Anyone that wants stricter rules on drilling for oil and: does not walk or ride a bike everywhere; uses electricity or plastic; does not grow their own food; does not live in a log cabin built with their bare hands
47. Anyone opposed to immigration
48. Anyone not opposed to deporting illegal immigrants immediately
49. Anyone that thinks the UN is a viable and useful institution
50. And last but not least, anyone that read this list and didn't agree with at least 40 items.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

June Rant #3 - really, the last and the first for July

In yesterday's rant, one item was: I am really tired of stupid people.

Case in point. (Disclaimer and warning: Foul language forthcoming. I have been in a pissed off mood for weeks)

Today I went to Taco Bell to get a Mountain Dew. I do it most afternoons. The cost is $1.47. Today, I gave the cashier $1.52 and she gave me back a dime. I told her the correct change was 5 cents and handed her back the dime. She looked at the cash register and repeated, the change was a dime to which I answered, $1.52, $1.47...5 cents. Now, I had taken too much time and her supervisor came over and asked what the problem was, I said - still being polite - the drink was $1.47, I gave her $1.52. The supervisor looked at the register and said 10 cents was the correct change. I lost it. I yelled, "the fucking register is wrong, I was just trying to be nice, keep the fucking dime..." and drove away. I so hate stupid people.

A client informed us today that they had been short $200 on Aprils mortgage payment but because the bank cashed the check, they didn't worry. The bank is foreclosing (there is a lot involved so don't get in a lather about a bank foreclosing because of $200), and they are within their rights.

My daughter asked me when I noticed there were stupid people in the world. I told her,
"about your age...10...but I figured there were like maybe 10%...but as I get older, the percentage keeps climbing"....I added 2% to the total today.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

June Rant - just to finish it off

Item 1: Ok, the Supreme Court has ruled that a government can seize private property for the purpose of development - well that is what it means...

We already had such a situation here in my town. The city wanted a $100 million arts center (never mind that the arts in this town are severely under-attended) and to get it, they seized three businesses. The land was given to the "foundation" set up to build and run the center. The funding came from a local rich dude as long as the money was for BUILDING not RUNNING the arts center. The city will be stuck with the cost of running the elephant. Oh, did I tell you, in this town of lakes, there is not enough funding for lifeguards on the 20 beaches, and for years people have been trying to build a community pool but no money was available.

The Democrat Mayor seized the property, put 4 friends on the board (of 9) and hailed herself as the friend to the arts....she lost her next election race.....a distant 4th place in the democratic primary.

Item 2: I am tired of stupid people.

Item 3: Can we retest everyone? Ok, not everyone, but everyone that drives? Here is my suggestion. Everyone has to retake their driving test - any infraction, no matter how small, boom, no more license. I volunteer to be first. We have taken to calling our car "The Invisible One". We have been cut off so many times in the last year that it just boggles the mind we have not had an accident.

Item 4: In the saga of my degree. The university does not keep records after 5 years, they have to recreate my file "do you have any documents?" they asked nicely....stay tuned.

Item 5: We are starting a new business - see sidebar CLIENT AID. We need people in many geographical areas to 'franchise'. Contact me.

Last item: for almost 2 weeks we were supposed to get rain daily. We didn't, now my grass is getting brown.....I'm pissed...the only thing growing is the clover, the chickweed and something new I have never seen before...nice yellow flowers though...

Position - Obesity

Disclaimer: I weigh in at 370 pounds. Each week I mow our 1/4 acre pushing our gas lawnmower up and down the irregular swales of our site. I can still walk a 6400 yd 18 hole course carrying my own bag. I can still put my foot on the table to tie my shoe.

Scientific American had a nice story about the 'obesity epidemic'. Pick up an issue if you want the whole story but I had just finished the story when I had the opportunity to talk to a surgeon that performs bariatric surgery (stomach stapling for you uninformed). About 14 years ago (and 100 pounds ago) I worked at a health club. Everyone wanted me to lose weight, so I ate my meals at the club (it was a full-service club), worked out 3 days a week with a trainer and gained weight over 12 weeks. I stopped that "diet" when the 'dietician' informed me that one pound of cake = three pounds of fat. I corrected her, I suggested that if I ate 1 pound of pure lard, I would not gain one ounce more than 1 pound. She disagreed and was very insistent. I left it educating the closed mind. I recounted that story to the surgeon upon which he lamented the state of education and the danger of a limited understanding of basic human physiology. About 10 minutes later, someone said they worried about the difference between their weight at home that morning and their weight at the clinic and he suggested that drinking the entire 20 ounce soda she had could cause a variation of as much as 5 pounds.

May I lament at the state of education and the danger of a limited understanding of basic PHYSICS?

In 1982 I was an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant. At a Saturday crew meeting (60-70 teenagers), we were discussing a problem that had occurred the week before. The freezer had stopped working but no one noticed for several hours, a situation that caused some food loss. After some questions, I realized a basic problem. I asked everyone to take a small slip of paper and write down the freezing and boiling temperatures for water. To get a correct answer they had to tell me if they were giving me C or F. 2 got it right....2.

The surgeon blamed the use of genetically enhanced corn, chicken and beef for the 'explosion' in American waistlines. All those steroids were getting into the food we eat and we are getting "fattened" up just like the cows on the farms, chickens in the coops.

The SA article raised one point I will bring up the rise in diabetes the cause, or the result, of obesity. I don't think there is a good answer and neither did the researchers in the story.

By EVERYONE's definition I am morbidly obese. Care to walk a to me?

Opinion - The Future

I went looking for a quote that I once wrote down about the future. Now, I am a fan of science fiction for two reasons: first, most science fiction has the implied position that we will survive into the future...always a good thing; second, most science fiction requires that you put aside your pre-conceived notions about how things ought to be....ah change. Anyway, I couldn't find the quote but here it is - my version:

I object to everyone running down the future, I plan on living there and I want it to be a nice place.

Point 1: Iraq is a sink hole of epic portions

I challenge anyone that thinks so to predict either the weather on Saturday or the Dow on Thursday. Unless you have been in country, shut up.

Point 2: This country is in the middle of a real estate bubble that is going to destroy our economy.

Ok, I have my concerns about real estate, but they are mostly regional in nature and (as I am considering selling in the next 2 years) time sensitive. 90% of real estate isn't even located in the states with the highest price increases!

Point 3: Is it possible, just possible, that tomorrow might be a good day IF YOU GAVE IT A CHANCE?

When people wake up and before even getting dressed (on a scale of 1-10) give the day a 3, they really need a life. Suggestion: give up on the news first thing in the morning - WATCH CARTOONS!

So, the point of this little post - if you don't give the future a chance, the 'good ol'days' will have been a lot worse than you remember.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Opinion - June Rant (#1 ?)

Throughout the 60's and 70's, the (D) politicians supported and gained solid electoral favor by creating a society in which people felt "due" government largesse. By the end of the 70's, the crack in that false society began to show. Starting at the top, the idea that work and investment could get more people out of poverty than entitlements gained favor, but it wasn't until the early mid-90's that lower levels of government started getting the idea. know what, scratch that...

For 40 years (R) politicians yelled, kicked and screamed that the (D) politicians were spending the country into permanent debt. For the most part, Republicans agreed with them (even though the (R) politicians were closet spenders). It seems that with (R) politicians in power at the Federal level (and over the last decade increasingly at the state level) that spending is more out of control NOW more than ever.

When a child is raised in poverty and for whatever reason gains wealth as an adult, there are two possible results: first, having learned frugality at an early age, they continue to live frugally and invest their wealth, multiplying it manyfold; or, second, they go on a binge and buy everything in sight. Can you guess where I think (R) politicians have gone?

The WSJ opinion page had the story about Texas, similar to the federal government, (R) politicians control the whole ball of wax....and are they too are making a mess of things financially.

The majority of the national population (IMO) believe that entitlements are wrong, PERIOD. However, most of that same majority desire to ASSIST people in need, and consider attempts to do so honorable...even necessary. However, for decades (R) politicians have repeatedly stated that government money can not fix every problem, nor should it try. I agree. Unfortunately, since the (R) politicians have come into their own power, they seem hell bent on not only trying to fix every problem with government money, they are SEEKING new problems to fund!

The (R) politicians, at the federal and state level, have lost their way. Time for AMERICANS to show them out of the candy store.....

Note. For future reference, given the apparently inate ability of (R) and (D) politicians to vote AGAINST the best interests of their electorates, I no longer feel comfortable calling a politician a Democrat or Republican...they are politicians and they have their fingers in the wind....that stinky wind so often blowing out of the Houses of Politicians. Therefore :

Republicans - voters most often voting for (R) politicians
Democrats - voters most often voting for (D) politicians

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Opinion - College

Disclaimer: I have 282 pts of college credit in a school that requires 260 to graduate, my overall GPA is 3.2, I have 40 hours of major credit with 32 required...unfortunately, my gpa in my major is 2.749, or .001 short of required.

Is college required?
  • I know someone that has more hours than I do, is no where near a degree and is $67k in student loan debt....right, $ 67,000.00 in debt, no degree and at least another year (and $13k) to go. The degree she will get will NEVER pay her enough to pay her student loans.
  • Students graduating with social science BA degrees and 30k in debt, with little or no marketable skills.
  • Students with non-technical degrees "need" advanced degrees to obtain jobs capable of paying back the debt.
Exactly how much do students actually learn in college (when they are not making a specific attempt to learn)? If they are there, "because it is expected of them"?

And given some of the crap that passes as academic studies today, what real value does a degree hold? I mean, "Application of Temper Paints in Medieval Cloths"?

I live in a small city full of cab drivers and store clerks with DEGREES!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Opinion - Can we have no politicians?

In following the issues in the Ohio 2nd on bizzyblog, I am again reminded of the Founding Father's idea that a citizen representative, not professional legislator, was the goal. In those states and municipalities where representatives are paid little and are not required full time, citizen representatives continue to serve well. One of the arguments AGAINST citizen representatives at the federal level is that the "bureaucracy" would run roughshod over the poor hapless local yokels. Worse, "everyone" knows you need a long term stable "bureaucracy" to keep the government running smoothly when elections "disturb" the normal flow of government operations.

However, the example of the State Department all but having their own agenda regardless of the President is an argument that the bureaucracy is already way out of control.

So, what to do?

First, get rid of the permanent politician. Term limits were designed to do so, but have not fared well at the federal level. Two suggestions: first, eliminate federal pensions, from the President on down to the janitor (exception: military). The average person with a desire to serve government will do so for a period of time, get some experience, do some good, and then bail to a private firm offering retirement plans.

Second, voters have to be willing to boot even good representatives after 12 years - Senate and House.

I'm even willing to start the Citizen Party, we have no candidates, just people willing to serve. Of course, we may not have many willing to serve as the first hurdle anyone seeking office has to deal with is the very intrusive prying into the past.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Opinion/Position - The Mommy State

No one died on the roads of Southern Wisconsin over the holiday weekend. It was a reason to .... be glad. However, every news station ran a story last night that layed the "blame" right at the foot of a marketing campaign, "Click it or Ticket". The "new" enforcement of seat belt laws that have recently been moved from secondary to primary reasons for a traffic stop. If you missed it, just about everywhere, the cops can now stop you if they see you are not wearing a seat belt.

In "progressive Dane", my county, this morning while driving our daughter to school, I looked at the cars going in the other direction....less than half were wearing a seat belt, meaning every one of those dozens and dozens of cars could have been stopped and ticketed. Who to choose? How about a little stereotyping? We recently had a client, he had 7 traffic stops in the last 2 years, 5 were for seat belt violations. He was 20. Given that no other ticket was written, exactly why does anyone think he was stopped? For NOT wearing a seat belt?

Lawn yarts were banned, couple of people died. ATCs were banned (the real ones, the tricycle version), couple died, others seriously hurt. Where is the ban on guns, cars, knives....ladders?

Helmet laws for motorcyclists AND bicyclists. Seat belt laws. And it is not just these "mommy" laws....we have all these laws designed to protect us, from ourselves. It seems the law thinks we are all a bunch of imbeciles that can not make responsible decisions. Of course, the overabundance of legal cases where stupid people have received money for lawsuits because they were STUPID does give the argument some weight. I recommend a subscription to the Stella Awards (free).

Where is the reasonable man when you want him.

Position - laws designed to protect the stupid from the irresponsible should be eliminated.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I am a big fan of the Darwin Awards also.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

Many will speak eloquently today about those that sacrificed for our freedoms, please listen.

Opinion - Hello, Republicans? YOU IDIOTS

You will not know what hit you and that will make it twice as bad.

I believe that the GOP is going to lose the Senate in 06, if it does not, the count will be 52-48. Worse, they are likely to lose seats in the House also, I am less willing to specify a number there however.

While the Democrats are losing ground on the Judge issue, spending has gotten so out of control that many are wishing a return to Democratic control just to cut some of the pork. When Democrats give 50 projects with price tags of $1-5 million, we lament the stupidity of some of them, but when Republicans green light only 5 projects - with price tags of $50 million EACH....Come on....both sides of the aisle are giving away our tax dollars like it was candy...the Dems used shovels, but the Repugs are using SKIP LOADERS!

There is NO indication that the GOP is making even the slightist nod towards fiscal restraint.

And the bankruptcy law change and their unwillingness to reign in Freddie and Fannie, show that they are TRULY more pro-business than they are pro-responsibility.

Presidential Race, 2008: Check out Polipundit, I like the analysis

Both parties should just put it in their by-laws, Senators can not run for President.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Opinion - Triple Net

We are in the hunt for new space for our office. The 5 year lease on our current space expires in July and for several reasons, we have decided to move to slightly less expensive space. Don't get me wrong, our rate $12 nnn is very competitive and all three location, location, location requirements have been wonderfully met. But, with the uncertainty of the near future, we did not want to get into another long term commitment knowing problems are coming - construction in the area will SERIOUSLY impact out clients ability to get to us for the next two years.

$12 nnn....or triple net, means we pay a fixed dollar amount for the square footage, but we also pay for our own utilities, a proportional share of the taxes and a proportional share of the maintenance costs. But there is another kind of triple net that is about to explode on the economy as a whole that people need to be prepared for...

N1 - housing prices. The concern that a bubble has formed in housing prices has gotten a little boost from none other than Alan Greenspan who suggested that there was a little "froth" in the marketplace, but more likely in specific areas rather than nationwide. Given the concerns with Fannie and Freddie, a stagnation or worse in housing prices nationwide would have a serious impact on the economy because of what it would do to consumer spending.

N2 - interest rates. No one expected interest rates to stay where they were, so the increase over the last 2 years has not had much overall effect on the economy. That could change with another % or more of increases. Many home loans over the last 3 years were purchased with adjustable rate mortgages and those rates are just starting to adjust. Many will lock in rates slightly higher than they have been paying by converting to fixed rates but many will be unable to because of the higher cost or other personal economic conditions The government's announcement that it was re-introducing the 30 year treasury has also helped to actually stabilize things. However, with energy prices climbing over the last year, inflation has popped up some. A further increase in interest rates above what was planned in order to deal with an increase in inflation would further add to pressures on rates. I think most everyone expected a fed rate in the 3-3.5% range and if that were to occur, few would be worried. But if it pushed over 4 heading to 5%....both long term and short term rates would rise....

N3 - Consumer costs/prices. Anyone will tell you that despite the low rise in CPI over the last couple of years, the cost of living has risen strongly. The rising cost of fuel has been given the most attention, but food, insurance, utility and educational expenses have all grown much faster than inflation. (see previous post on the CPI) . Credit card companies are increasing the payments required under their plans as we move into fall, and it is expected that as many as a million people will be facing reduced pension payouts by the end of the year.

Now, despite the doom and gloom here, and in the media, the economy is showing some serious strength. The issues raised here, rising fuel prices, rising interest rates, increases in the payment requirements on credit cards, rising housing costs are stresses on the system. That said, all that is missing is something to spook the consumer and we could set a triple net threat to our economy tightening like a noose.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Opinion - On a related note: Education funding

Tomorrow, our local government is asking two questions by referendum: to raise the cap on spending for education AND to raise property taxes for the school budget.

From Friday WisOpinion:

Between 1999 and 2004, the statewide number of K-12 students in Wisconsin fell by over 1,200. That didn’t stop us from hiring more teachers: over the same period, the number of teachers in Wisconsin public schools grew by 2,300. We hired nearly two new teachers for every student we lost. The Madison Metropolitan School District (where officials say they desperately need more money) added 46 teachers while losing 48 students. Their spending per student is over $12,500, yet they say they don’t have enough money.
I had a conversation with a father at our kids "Spring Strings Concert" last week. A program for 4th and 5th graders to get music teaching that is "threatened with cancellation" if the referendum does not pass. I was undecided until speaking with him, now I am firmly opposed. The School Board often uses popular programs as "examples" of programs that will have to be cut to push financing increases. Frankly, I am willing to call the bluff.

One more quote from WisOpinion:

We’ve had TABOR-like limits on schools for 12 years, and we are spending nearly $11,000 per child. I wonder how much we would be spending without revenue controls. K-12 taxes make up roughly half your property tax bill, and nearly all of your income taxes. Without controls, do you think we would be spending more?

Time to stop the "it's for the children" blackmail....

Position - Tax and Spend

As reported in the WSJ, tax revenues at the federal level are booming. Individual revenues are up 15% and corporate revenues are up 48%. After a series of tax reducing measures, federal revenues are rebounding sharply.

For over 15 years I have promoted (when someone would listen and NOT roll their eyes) a federal spending freeze. There have been several different variations on it: freeze spending for two years; freeze spending for two years with allowances for emergency appropriations; base spending on the previous fiscal year's revenues - my current preference.

The problem with any federal spending is the habit of Congress to off load expenditures onto states, forcing them to raise tax rates...the net result being increased taxes on consumers. I have supported the idea of a flat tax, and a mandated sales tax (the rate only changeable by popular vote - every 4 years). But any change has to be done at the state level also. My current property tax rate is 24 a state with +10% income tax, a one-two punch that effectively doubles my federal tax rate.

As WSJ pointed out, the problem is not how much the government raises, that has almost NEVER been the is how much the government spends and right now that is 2.5 times as much as 15 years ago.

Position - freeze federal and state funding at previous years revenue levels - allow borrowing for emergencies

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Speaking of witch...

It wasn't really...she was a he and he was a creditor but his opinion as a "banker" was:

"People should be made to get rid of their stuff and pay their debts. It is too easy to file bankruptcy, this was a long time coming. They don't need cable or cell phones, or boats, or guns or more than one car, or more than one TV."

He was dumbstruck when I told him we would be recommending to all clients with cars less than 2.5 years old to surrender them. Given his attitude, he should not be surprised when debtors start returning cars, boats, furniture...houses...

A conversation with another Trustee was also interesting. We told him that we would be filing two sets of personal property lists. One exempt and the other not. He didn't understand why we would. I said, as long as the requirement to value personal property at retail existed, too much of the wildcard exemption would be needed to protect household goods. Easier to pick a stack to surrender to the Trustee than to lose otherwise exemptable goods that debtors really want to keep. He said, "what do I want with a bunch of worthless goods?". We smiled and said, offer them to credit card companies as recompense.

Got it?!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Opinion - Without fear of retribution

Posted at Agnostics Unlimited first, but here, under law:

Does the idea that a lack of Divine Retribution makes it harder to have a civil society have merit?

Is it possible that as a lack of "religious faith" grows civil laws lose their ability to enforce behavior?

If you know that the odds of getting caught doing something wrong are pretty slim and if you 'know' there is no Divine accounting, are you more likely to act wrongly?

If you have no fear of God, no fear of the law....what is to stop you from doing whatever you damn well please?

Opinion: yes. When prison is a place where you can sleep, get fed, medical treatment and relax, in other words, a better place than not in prison, exactly what is the punishment?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Position - Inflation

The Wall Street Journal today had a piece on the construction of the CPI. I have always hated it and as someone with an economics background I can tell you that the artifice is like much of economics - something that generally works, but don't look too deep.

The vast majority of us do not buy a car, house, move and rent somewhere new, buy a refrigerator, a computer, furniture, stop in an emergency room EVERY MONTH. But those are part of the Index. A lot was made of hedonics and frankly, that is just another system by which people who are supposed to know why something works (but don't) use to explain their explanation to those that think they know that they know why things work the way they do.

Get it.

Here is the basic problem with economics. Take 5 families, each with two parents and three kids (two boys and a girl), working for the same company, living in the same neighborhood, earning exactly the same income, driving the same cars, having the same education. Now, follow one family for 6 months, account for every single penny they spend, how they spent it and use that information for two purposes: predict (with reasonable certainty) how they will spend their next 6 months of income AND, use the info to determine how the other 4 families spent their last 6 months of income. You know what you will find? You will be able to predict next month, and maybe most of the next month with the family you have specific information about, but the other 4 families....way off, not just with one, but with all 4. Now try it with 140 million....

Here is my inflation: our property taxes went up $55 per month this year, milk costs $2.89 a gallon (last year $2.29), eggs were .99, now 1.49, bread was 1.89, now 1.79, my favorite ham was 3.89 a pound, now 4.89 a pound, gas was 1.78 a gallon, now 2.18.

CPI should have 3 reported rates: established (for those whose life this year will be mostly like last year); initial (for those starting out) ; and transitional (for those with declining needs).

Opinion - Respect and Honor

Ok, over the weekend I watched a favorite movie - just the last 90 minutes - The Last Samurai. Acknowledging for the moment that an overly dramatic and sanitized version of Samurai honor is portrayed, I do have a problem with the COMPLETE LACK of either respect or honor in today's society.

I like having a door held open for me damn it. Is it so much to ask for some respect in conversations? I am a firm believer in the idea that respect is earned, but a lack of even basic respect when you first meet someone is DISRESPECTFUL. And I am not talking the 'dis'ing that people complain about....most of those people are looking for others to fear them, and anything less than abject debasement is considered dis'ing.

Our daughter is in karate. She has attained black belt status after years of working for it. Black belts are called Sir or ma'am. Even lower belt adults must use the honorific when addressing a child black belt. Respect, earned. We bow when we enter or leave the dojo, even us un-belted parents. Respect and honor.

I served my country. I volunteered at 19 back when it was very unpopular to do so. I felt I had a moral obligation to serve. My nephew is serving in Iraq, he joined last year because he felt an obligation to serve. Honor, respect.

For my entire adult life I have tried to consider the opposing viewpoint. I have considered even things said in anger might have a basis in truth, and I have tried to see what that truth was (no matter how small). I have not always been successful, but I have tried.

This weekend I was asked what I wished for from people (it was more specific but you will get the point) and I said, more thank you's. We are a less polite people than when I was growing up....and that is a lack of respect too...for ourselves.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Position - Marriage

Can marriage be between two consenting, non-biologically related adults?


Does the governmnet have a place determining which adults can or can not enter into contracts?


Why does government think that limiting the actions of consenting adults to enter contracts is acceptable?

Because EVERYONE knows marriage is between a man and a woman...right....?

The government should not use marriage as the basis for determining who will receive government benefits and who should not. A civil license can and should be a license for two people to form a contractual union in the eyes of the state. If a couple wishes to get married, they can find a church and have their union blessed by a religion.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Opinion - May Rant #3

Inflation is too low. With real interest rates this low, no one is making interest income. Inflation has to go up so interest rates will increase so interest income grows. Those that rely on interest income have had it bad (unless you are a credit card company and then, your rates have nothing to do with inflation so who cares). What would be the impact of higher rates? Recognizing for a moment that step-wise increases the Fed has imposed....

From : Freddie Mac

  • Specifically, in 1997 2.4 million working families spent more than half their income on housing, but by 2003 this number had grown dramatically to 4.2 million. This comprehensive study also compares immigrant working families to their native-born counterparts and reveals that immigrant working families are 75 percent more likely to pay more than half their income for housing. Working families are defined as low- to moderate-income families that work the equivalent of a full-time job and earn from the minimum wage of $10,700 and up to 120 percent of the median income in their area.

  • Through November, ARMs accounted for 34 percent of the conventional purchase-money market in 2004. This marks the highest annual share since 1994 when the ARM share was 39 percent. The highest annual ARM share occurred in 1984 at 62 percent, the same year Freddie Mac began its Annual ARM Survey.
  • Over the last several years, annually adjusting ARMs with an initial "fixed-rate" period of more than one year, known as "hybrid" ARMs, have grown in popularity. According to the FHFB data, hybrid ARMs accounted for the majority of purchase-money ARMs by 2002. Within that product type, ARMs with an initial fixed-rate period of five years, known as "5/1" ARMs, have been the dominant choice of consumers. "In 2004, two-of-five ARMs, and three-of-five hybrids, were 5/1 ARMs," commented Nothaft.
  • "Hybrid ARMs provide the consumer the comfort of knowing that the interest rate will be fixed over the first five years of the loan. However, the interest rate may jump as much as five percentage points on the fifth anniversary. Thus, the product has been popular with families who plan to have the mortgage for five years or less," Nothaft observed.
A client recently complained that her mortgage company raised her payment, she wanted to know if they could do that. Well, yes. Turns out she had an ARM and after 3 years, her rate could go up...from 5.75 to 8.99%...a 37% increase....already in a chapter 13 bankruptcy, she will be moving this summer after the foreclosure is completed.

Over 20,000 people in Wisconsin were foreclosed on in 2004. It is not slowing down. And as those ARMs purchased in 2001, 2002 and 2003 come due for their adjustment rate, the percentage of people already over 50% of their income on housing is going to jump and so will foreclosures....

Oh, yea, but the way....did you know that credit card companies will have to raise their minimums later this year? Effectively doubling to consider what the impact of that will be on minimum paying consumers?

The new bankruptcy law takes effect on October use a marketing phrase..."what's in your wallet"

Opinion - May Rant #2

Americans are idiots. Sorry, how else to explain politicians.

Ok, that is too harsh. Politicians THINK Americans are idiots. seems everyone is up in arms about the Senate filibuster. The Repugs want to end it (supposedly) and the Demo-crats whine about tradition. First...when was the last time anyone of either party actually DID a filibuster? The last couple of years it has only been a threat....

Second: 10 years ago when the Stock Market was screaming, Demo-crats wanted private accounts for Social they are strongly opposed?

Third: Repugs think Hillary Clinton is the candidate for the Demo-crats in 2008. Don't know why they are worrying, they don't have anyone that could beat Paul Wellstone in a race in 2008.

Opinion - May Rant #1

Word has it that Bankruptcy Judges have lists of attorneys that perform bankruptcy pro bono. Not sure what planet the spokeswoman from Senator Grassley's office is on, but it is not in the 7th Circuit. Exactly how many clients does she think attorneys can take pro bono? ALL OF THEM?

Yesterday we were at 341 hearings. A pro se (without attorney) bankruptcy filer was in front of the Chapter 7 Trustee. Almost every schedule and form necessary for the filing of the bankruptcy was either completely blank or incorrect. The Trustee adjourned the meeting and told the debtor to find an attorney. His response: "I was told that filing bankruptcy was easy". I laughed out loud, the Trustee smiled at me and said, "if you know what you are doing". The man had ONE creditor and $10,500 in unsecured debt to it.

We were covering for another attorney and the client said, "I got this in the mail last week but don't know if it is important." It was a statement, an account with $35k in it....something she conveniently forgot to inform her attorney about. Under the new law, that attorney would be in very big trouble right it is, the debtor is in deep do-do.

Finally, in the same MSNBC report quoting the Grassley spokeswoman, an attorney insurer suggested that liability rates would not be adjusted until after 7 years of experience under the new law...we are unsure what he is smoking but we can be sure that if he was speaking the truth, I'd sell his stock now....

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Position - Wills and dying

I left home in 1977, I was 19. I had a will. It is 2005, I still have a will, it has been updated dozens of times. I wish to be cremated, no service, please, have a party and drink responsibly.
I do not want extraordinary measures, no life support if there is no meaningful brain activity or hope of recovery. No one in my family and none of my friends are unclear about the above.

Twice in my adult life I have known families that ignored the specific verbal and written desires of a loved one that was dying. I made very little comment about the Terri Shaivo case. Victoria appeared on local TV and national TV about a year ago on it.

If you don't have a will, get one. If you do not have a living will, get one. If you have not told EVERYONE exactly what your desires are, and put it in writing, do it.

The Republicans made a huge mistake getting involved in that case.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Prediction !

"Bankruptcy filings have dropped significantly over the first weeks since
the enactment of the new bankruptcy reform law. It appears that a
large number of filings that are occurring are being done pro se. In
what may be another indication of the law's impact, clerks are
reporting a higher percentage of cases are being dismissed for
problems with the paperwork."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Position - Political Action

I hereby renounce my 'membership' in the Republican Party.

Representative Thomas Petri, Ron Kind, Paul Ryan, Mark Green and James Sensenbrenner: effective immediately I will lend whatever support I can to your defeat in the next election.

Senator Herb Kohl: effective immediately I will lend whatever support I can to your defeat in the next election you face.

I am sure all you gentlemen don't give a damn what I do, how unfortunate.

In a response to an email from me, Herb Kohl suggested that despite our disagreement on bankruptcy reform, he was sure we agreed on other issues. I responded:

"That we might agree on some issues is, based upon your position on bankruptcy reform, is a matter of coincidence, not principle."

President Bush: effective immediately, I will lend whatever support I can to the defeat of the Republican Party in the next mid-term election and the next general election.