Friday, December 31, 2010

The Art of the Start

I just finished reading Guy Kawasaki's 2010 book, The Art of the Start. Two words: succinct and poignant. In around 200 pages, he provides wisdom for anyone looking to start a business. The chapters are:

Chapter 1: The Art of Starting
Chapter 2: The Art of Positioning
Chapter 3: The Art of Pitching
Chapter 4: The Art of Writing a Business Plan
Chapter 5: The Art of Bootstrapping
Chapter 6: The Art of Recruiting
Chapter 7: The Art of Raising Capital
Chapter 8: The Art of Partnering
Chapter 9: The Art of Branding
Chapter 10: The Art of Rainmaking
Chapter 11: The Art of Being a Mensch

I tried to start a service business a few years ago. I was able to relate to many of his suggestions, recommendations and warnings. The reason my venture did not pan out was less in the idea but more in lacking a partner who shared in the vision. It was not a one man operation and in order to bootstrap it, required at least two people sharing the passion. This book would have helped me better addresses some of my concerns.

The book also is useful for new concepts from people working within larger firms; i.e., new product development especially in areas less-core to the current business.

I found it useful in my present role as an account rep. Working for a smaller firm and competing against larger players, it gave me some fodder for being a stronger competitor in our industry.

Business is not easy regardless of which firm you are with. Working harder, smarter and to a well-conceived plan is the only viable way one to achieve one's business goals.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

NYC Sanitation Workers Following the French Public Servant Lead

New York City sanitation management is following the lead of the French: "society be damned, we demand more money, more benefits, less hours and less responsibility."
NYC Sanitation Department bosses ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts.
According to their view of the world, "everyone else must sacrifice but not us." Mayor Bloomberg is not convinced.

The basic role of government is to provide services that individuals and corporations are not ideally suited for. Its is to facilitate commerce, not mandate it. It is to provide for emergency response to help foster law and order.

NYC, arguably the most expensive city to live in in the USA due in part to the highest tax rates on businesses and individuals, is unable to provide for basic governmental services. Instead it focuses on smoking and fatty food bans and other environmental-friendly initiatives.

The current snow fall, something foretasted for days in advance, seems to have "caught" the City off-guard. This governmental incompetency is just another reason to laugh at NYC.

I really do not know why people continue to live in such an over-priced hell-hole.

The video of the the snow plow destroying an SUV as it was being unstuck is vintage NYC public servants at work. They could care less about the service they are rendering. This is what out-of-control government results in. What happens in NY will happen throughout the nation as bigger government continues unabated.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Did Obama Just Abdicate His Presidency to Clinton?

Today's unannounced press briefing in the White House was about as non-Presidential as it gets.

On Monday, the President reached an agreement with Republicans on extending the 2001 tax cuts. A couple of days later, key House party members decided to reject the compromise. Speaker Pelosi stated she will not allow a vote on the tax breaks to occur. So what does Obama do? He brings in Bill Clinton to do his pleading.

Obama gathers the press corp, introduces Clinton, allows him to ramble for a while and then announces he needs to leave for a prior commitment with the First Lady. He leaves Bill Clinton the pulpit in the White House in a room full of reporters. For thrity minutes Clinton went on taking questions and sharing his opinions.

Who came up with this strategy? Obama is going from bad to worse. He needs a new set of advisers. This was a foiled strategy. Give Clinton a inch and he'll take a mile. There are just some thing that a president should never do, and this is one. It makes him look as if he is abdicating his presidency.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Party Rules: Republicans Less Tax, Democrats More Tax

The most basic difference between Republicans and Democrats (admitting that the differences have grown smaller over the past 20 years) involves taxes:

-- Republican are anti-tax.
-- Democrats are tax the rich.

Presidents, in order to show some form of leadership and to have any meaningful success, must operate in the center.

When G.H.W. Bush raised taxes, he all but killed his his re-election prospects in 1992.

When Obama caved on taxing the rich this week, he all but killed his chances of winning re-election in 2012.

Economists can make a great case for improving the economy by raising the taxes on the wealthiest and giving a greater tax break to everyone else, small businesses, capital investments, etc. but the Republican leadership would (or should) never allow this to occur. Only a President can negotiate a compromise. What Obama and the Republican negotiated seems to be about as reasonable a position as one can take.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wikileak Has Lots Left to Leak

The media will have you believe that Wikileaks dropped 250,000 classified documents for the world to see. As it turn out, they have been releasing on average about 106 documents each day since 28 November 2010. At this rate, it will take over six years to release this batch.

This "I am stronger than you" standoff better the pro-Wikileaks crowd and the US federal government is interesting. Assange will certainly take a journalist defense and will have many sympathizers.

What is more interesting has been the distributed denial of service attacks launched by Wikileak sympthsizers on those multinationals that pull support; i.e., MasterCard and Paypal.

I tend to be in the Wikileak side of things. If government insiders leak the information, then the publishing of it is okay by me. The federal government needs to get its house in order before trying to order someone else to do likewise.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Shooting the Messenger (Wikileaks)

If it was not Wikileaks, it will would have been another site. The next series of leaks will find their way to another Web site. That's the world we live in.

Last month's release of 250,000 confidential documents is less about putting government documents into the public domain than it is about pain old embarrassment. For the most part, these documents tended to validate what most people already knew.

Listening to the politicians, they are "outraged." They want Julian Assange extradited to the U.S. to face espionage charges. He is nothing more than the face of the Wikileaks crowd. Its like assuming a capture of Osama bin Laden will put a dent in terrorists activities. The leaks will continue to be published with or without Assange. (Sounds like without as he is being head in London for not wearing a condom while in Sweden.)

The real Wikileaks story is the lack of security at the Department of Defense, State Department, and other federal agencies. If these records are so confidential, then those tasked with their safeguarding have bitterly disappointed. If heads need to roll, it out to start with Secretary Clinton and those high up in the agencies.

Shoot the messenger. Deflect the blame. Ignore the elephant in the room. It should be about leakers not the messenger. It is paparazzi in another form.

The impact from this set of leaks will be minimal from an operations and human toll. What it will impact is America's reputation as a nation that cannot protect secrets.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Inflation in the Form of Higher Energy Costs

I just drove from southern Arizona to northern Utah. I noticed a range of prices from as low as $2.65 per gallon regular to $3.09 per gallon. With the price of a barrel of crude in the $90 range, $3/gal is imminent. The liberal states on the east and west coasts are already there.

When the cost of energy goes up, the average person begin to question his/her spending. Most of us are conscience of our thermostat settings -- some can handle it a bit warmer or cooler than others. To each's own. When it comes to driving, we all need to get to work, run errands, shuttle family members, etc. Gasoline is somewhat price inelastic. We might cut back some but most of our driving patterns remain the same regardless of the price.

The real impact comes within the broader transportation industry -- trucking, railroads, shipping and airlines. As their costs increase, they pass them onto the consumers. With higher transportation costs, we spend more of our limited incomes on higher energy prices, not on more consumer goods.

High unemployment with be with us for years. Low housing prices are here for years. Higher energy prices will increase annually. Salaries will continue to remain flat for years. Inflation is upon us despite what the Fed says. It is obvious they never go to the grocery store or consider the price of gas when they fill up their SUV tanks.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Dogs on the Navajo Reservation

I recently drove through the Navajo Reservation in Northern Arizona. Beautiful country. I spent the night in Chinle, AZ after visiting Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Besides the land, I was amazed at the Dine's domestic dogs.

For the most part, the families live on multi-acre plots of land, each family managing its allotment. The pre-fabricated houses tend to sit off the road 100-200 yards. It seems that each family has a dog. And the dog is not leashed, living free on the land.

The dogs form packs. Most packs are comprised of 2-3 dogs. They seem to have some amazing survival strengths. I am sure their owners feed them but what dog ever has enough food. They roam, looking for food. Road kill is a favorite as are things tossed from cars.

These dogs know how to navigate busy roads -- two land highways. Natural selection seems to be at work here. I don't think many of these dogs get hit by cars; those that do make the breed stronger. As I approach a pack at 65 mph, the dogs get off the road. After I pass, they return to what they were doing on the road.

IMHO, Navajo dogs are some of the smartest dogs I have seen. Like latch-key kids, these dogs know how to survive and in fact flourish.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ohio State President Gordon Gee and the BCS

Gordon Gee, President of Ohio State and BTW, an active member of the LDS church, voiced his opinion regarding non-BCS teams competing in the BCS.
"Well, I don't know enough about the X's and O's of college football," said Gee, formerly the president at West Virginia, Colorado, Brown and Vanderbilt universities. "I do know, having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it's like murderer's row every week for these schools. We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day.
I am a Buckeye from the core but I absolutely disagree with his opinion regarding non-BCS teams competing on the national stage.

There are certainly weak teams in the WAC and in the Mountain West. But one only needs to consider some of the other BCS conferences, namely the Big East and the ACC. They are basketball conferences with organized football teams. Even in the stronger conferences, there are some pretty weak teams: Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa State, UCLA, Colorado, Washington State, to name a few.

Boise State, Utah, TCU, BYU and even Fresno State and Nevada will give any team from the SEC, Big Ten, Pac Ten and Big 12 a tough game on any given Saturday. As a Buckeye fan, we need to schedule these non-BCS teams. I would welcome a home-home series against BSU, TCU or Utah. Anytime. Anyplace. Anywhere. It is better for the game. It is better for the fans.

The BCS is all about business, more importantly greed. The BCS teams are going out of their way to schedule 3-4 weak teams each season; i.e., I-AA teams, in order to pad their "wins". None of them will schedule Boise State or TCU.

Demeaning other schools and their athletic programs is based on ignorance and arrogance. Many share Gee's biased opinion. And that opinion is wrong.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quantitative Easing, aka, Bad Monetary Policy

Quantitative easing is a nice way of saying "print money with no backing." Pumping a second round of cash -- $600 billion worth -- into the economy is a desperate tactic of trying to fix years of failed monetary policy. The Fed continues to make one mistake after another.

QE2 will have only a negative impact on the US economy. There might be a short-term boost in the markets but the markets know that it is financial hocus pocus.

The federal government is taking no real positions and is implementing little policy to build business and investment confidence. Everyone if fearful of higher taxes and greater entitlement yielding sickly fruit.

The US government's size and its debt appears to have reached that tipping point where it begins to crash down on itself.

Washington craves -- we all crave -- adult leadership. Politics are killing us and will continue to do so as long as we have spineless congressional leaders and a spineless president.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Dragoon Mountains - Cochise Stronghold

As American implemented its Manifest Destiny political ambitions in the 19th century, some of its last opponents were the Chihuahua Apache in southeastern Arizona. Chief Cochise and his associates hid out in the Dragoon Mountains, today part of the Coronado National Forest. His hiding area has become known as the Cochise Stronghold.

I took my two daughters to the area for some nature and Indian lore experiences. We camped the night before at the Cochise Stronghold Campground, west of Sunsites, AZ. A nice campground with restroom but no running water. We started hiking at around 8am in early November 2010. We hiked three miles up the Cochise Trail to the Stronghold Divide -- the area between the east and west sections of the Stronghold. It climbs about 1100 feet over those three miles. The hiking trail is great. There are some rocky sections but there is little impact from horses so the trail is smooth and un-rutted. It is a great hike for families, youth, scouts, etc. -- not overly challenging but rewarding.

When I think about the the Apache history in the area, I cannot help think that they enjoyed their surroundings, despite the on-going battle with destiny. Cochise was buried up there, where only a few know. But it is refreshing to walk the land that this once proud people lived and walked.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Giffords Defeats Kelly in Arizona's 8th District

In southern Arizona, we are represented in the east (District 8) by Congresswoman Giffords; in the west (District 8) by Congressman Grijalva. Democratic incumbant Grijalva won a close battle and fifth term against Ruth McClung. Giffords beat out youthful Jesse Kelly, declaring victory four days after the polls closed, and earning a third term in Congress.

Obviously the Grijalva victory was not about character or doing what is right for Arizona. Here's a man that is outright against SB 1070 and welcomes open borders. He knows his constituency is Mexican Americans and traditional Democratic policies.

Giffords is a typical Democrat. Most of her positions are on the liberal She votes in line with Speaker Pelosi on just about every major issue. Jesse Kelly, though a solid conservative, went a little over-board with his apple pie, religion and military experience. He came across as too youthful and lacking experience. It is tough for some people to get behind someone who has no college education and has seen very little of what life has to offer.

The battle between Gifford and Kelly was close but would have gone to Kelly if it were not for the Libertarian Party's candidate, Steven Stoltz. Stoltz had 10,000 votes -- 4%.

I love the Libertarian Party platform. I agree with almost every position they take. However, third-party candidates cannot win elections. Candidates from the Constitution Party, American Independent Party and Libertarian Party take votes from Republicans. Third parties have their rolls but it must be with the the two mainstream parties. They must force the Republican Party to adopt more of their positions.

I am not thrilled with my congressional representative in Washington, DC, but I do hope Congresswoman Giffords keeps her promise and helps force the federal government's hand at controlling our southern border.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

France: When Civil Servant Dominate

Is America heading toward a European model where those working for some government entity outnumbers those that don't? The European model as personified in France, is collapsing upon itself.

Government does not create wealth. It consumes funds and energies while creating little value. We see job entitlements run amok. Not only do people want to work less than forty hours a week but they feel they should retire at 60. They people have it better than most, unless you are a 50 year old retired California state worker banking over $100,000/year plus paid health care.

The French birthright is above average standard of living in return for mediocre services provided over a 30 year working life. Weeks of annual vacation, holidays galore including many most people have no idea what they are honoring, free health care.

France is the canary in the mine. Yet liberals in America want to take us straight down the statism path. A path that sees more than half of the people working for the government, and millions not working at all but receiving welfare payments.

America is not far behind if we allow things to proceed along the Pelosi/Reid/Obama path. With more and more people deriving their standard of living from the government coffers, and less and less building wealth and paying taxes, the house of cards will come falling down. And those that derive their daily bread from the government will continue to vote themselves raises by voting Democratic -- the party that promise cradle to grave social care.

Liberals seem to find contentment in mediocrity. With little to inspire, less is being created. With less being created, America slides into European mediocrity. I enjoy Europe and appreciate their culture but that is not America. That is not greatness.

When civil servants dominate, we get France. or England, or Greece, or Spain... It might be okay for them, it is not for me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Arizona 2010 Election Ballot

Like more and more American's I vote well in advance of the official pooling day via mail. And this year, I was glad I did, at least in Arizona.

I spent more than an hour with my ballot. In Pima Country, we are electing a federal senator, federal House representative, governor, corporate commissioner, a judge or two, attorney general, state house rep, state senator, state mine inspector, state treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, and 13 propositions

Unless you really have done your homework, most people enter the polling booth in a few days will be overwhelmed. People will either not vote on many positions or guess. There are ten too many propositions, three would suffice.

On 2 November, there are going to be extremely long lines and a lot of very frustrated voters.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Peralta Trail, Superstition Mountains, AZ

On Friday, my daughter and I hiked the Peralta Trail to the Fremont Saddle. A 4.5 mile round trip, ascending and descending 1300 feet. A warm sunny day (unheard of in AZ), in the mid-90s. It is a moderate hike, one most average hiker can do without much bother. It took us 3 hours, up and back, with 20 minutes at the top to eat and view.

Weaver's Needle, the sharp peak to the northwest, is stunning (see photo).

This area of the Superstition Mountains is known for the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine. We cannot be numbered as two people of the thousands that search for it annually. The legend is compelling but probably more fiction than fact.

This hike gives visitors the Phoenix area an accessible hike that provides a good Arizona hiking experience. It provides quick escapism coupled with a good workout and brush with western lore.

More than anything, it was great to spend the day with one of my daughter's enjoying God's creations.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Laws Are Not Always the Answer

Laws are not always the answer to life's problems; in fact most laws are created to protect the interests of the few.

The military's current 'don't ask, don't tell' policy regarding gays does not need to be changed because a small group of legislators want to make it so.

It was no surprise that the Senate could not muster the 2/3's votes required to add the 2011 defense authorization bill. For once I agree with Senator McCain who has taken the position to allow the military leaders to work this out internally.

I have no doubt that gays will be allowed openly in the military some day. But it involves more than just an up or down vote.

Those that want to see the Clinton-era policy abandoned ought to hope idiots like Lady Gaga would stay silent on the issue. I am not a fan of her music and now will be even less so. I heard her try to 'talk politics' on this issue. She might be able to sing, dance and accessorize but she's a down-right dolt when it comes to politics and policy. I don't know what is scarier, her talking politics or those in the crowd cheering her on. That exchange was a sad commentary on American society.

This is another example of American society demoralizing. The military was one of the few last bastions of pure Americanism and Judeo-Christian valves.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Life of Riley...Sports Weekend in Florida



My brother-in-law and I decided a number of months ago to be in Tampa for the start of the NFL season. He's a Bucs fan and I am Browns fan. Two bottom-of-the-barrel teams, so tickets would be inexpensive and readily available. We decided to bookend it with NCAA football on Saturday and MLB on Monday.

We arrive in Tampa around 5pm. Drove to Orlando to see North Carolina State take on University of Central Florida. We stopped at Krystal's on the way down. We are not fans of either school, but love college football. We bought scalped seats for $20 each. NCST won, but UNC made it a game in the second half.

On Sunday, we watched the Bucs beat the Browns in a not-all-that-exciting game, less the last few minutes. It was a scorcher. The sun was blasting us for that 1pm kickoff. It was near 100 degrees and nearly 100 percent humidity. We started out in the nose-bleed sections but after half-time, moved to the 40 yard line. There were 25,000 un-sold seats. The economy certain is taking its tool on certain NFL towns. Luckily, it rained in the 4th quarter. Cooled us down but stayed wet for the remained of the day. We watch the afternoon games at Beef O-Grady's.

On Monday, after catching some sleep, doing some work email and my brother-in-law buying some local Bucs paraphernalia, we had lunch at The Loading Dock -- good Cuban sandwiches -- and then headed to St. Petersburg. We got to see a true pitcher's dual between David Price of the Rays and CC Sabathia of the Yankees. This game was 0-0 in the bottom of the 11th when the Rays' Reid Brignac hit a solo, walk-off home run. It moved the Rays 1/2 game ahead of the Yankees in the AL East.

We hope to do something similar annually. We love to live the "life or Riley" at least once a year.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Harry Reid Is Just Plain Wacko

We all know Obama is way over his head with his current assignment. He really has no idea what he is doing or how an economy actually works. He continues to blame it on Bush, despite the fact that the 110th and 111th Congresses have been under Democratic reigns; including himself. His political cohort, Harry Reid, has been the Senate Majority Leader in the 110th and 111th congress; Minority Leader in 109th Congress.

Reid, in his Nevada election bid, seems to have morphed into Joe Biden. Today, he said the economic downturn was not his fault.
"I had nothing to do with the massive foreclosures here. [snip] I don't have any hand in what took place during the Bush administration. I tried to rein that in."
He, along with Pelosi, was one of the driving forces of Obamaism. Reid has never met a government program he did not like and support.

This recession has government-causes at it core. Liberal economic policies that ignore sound economics caused and continue to prolong the downturn. Reid is leading the way with burdensome Congressional programs and taxes.

Until the government spends and taxes less, the economy will flounder. Reid will continue to support the recession, but blame it on past administrations (which he was core to).

Monday, August 30, 2010

Beck Shines, Obama In Denial

President Obama is in complete denial when it comes to those that oppose his liberal policies. His response is to go after those that think he's not Christian, that he was not born in the USA, that Glenn Beck was able to stir up people during uncertain economic times.

Regarding his religion, what it appears is that he was opportunistic with his choice of a church. He's just as much white as he is black, but he leveraged his black side. His Trinity United Church of Christ is a predominantly black church with extreme liberal postures.

His criticism of Glenn Beck is a natural response for someone that is in somewhat of a corner. His administration's policies have been rejected by the masses. The good thing for him (bad for most) is that they have been invoked and are law. Overturning them is an uphill climb, if at all possible.

Christians, regardless of denomination, should embrace Beck's call for national revival or a religious rebirth. Instead, for the libs, all we get is complaints that the rally took place at the same place MLK gave his "I have a dream" speech. That somehow this was sacrilegious.

We do have a dream. A dream to see America return to its founding values. Obama has slowly gone out of his way to coddle untraditional American values. Many have noticed his coddling of non-traditional American values, Islam seemingly trumping Christianity, big government becoming more mainstream, and taxation without true representation (representatives clearly going against the will of their constituencies).

We have willingly relinquished freedom disguised as progress. Obama is just the latest and current spokesperson. It started with FDR and has continued ever since, with only a few lulls in between. Hopefully well get another lull in November.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Liverpool FC Walking a Tight Line Early On

Talk about getting off to a slow start. As I looked at the Premier League tables after today's games, Liverpool FC was in a relegation position. Granted, they still have a match to play this weekend, but a loss keeps them at the bottom of the ladder.

It has bee a rough couple of years for the Merseysiders. The player that have been brought in have not performed as expected. Injuries have taken their tolls. The key players have not done their jobs -- they have not lead and performed as champions should.

Although the second winningest club in English football history (behind Man U), they have never won the Premier League since its inception in 1992. They have been runner up twice.

Liverpool FC has accomplished little in the Premier League compared to the League's powerhouses: Man U, Arsenal, and lately Chelsea.

The more I watch English and European football, the more bored I get with it. It is all about money. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I am very surprised the various European leagues continue to flourish because most teams -- at least 75% in each country in my estimate -- have no real chance of contending for a title.

Liverpool will not get relegated but it is going to be a tough season for them. it will be a challenge to contend for a berth in next year's financially rewarding UEFA Champions League. The second tier UEFA Europa League is just not where the money or excitement are.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Michelle Obama Thinks She's Queen

In the LDS cannon, there's an often referenced scripture (D&C 121:39):
We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
Belt-tightening applies to the other guys, not any of those in the current administration.

I thought (as still do think that Hillary was ridiculous with her power hunger, Barack's domestic assistant appears to have ramped up her entitlements to a level seemingly of a queen.

Her all-expenses paid, lavish vacation in southern Spain, a plan to trade a portion of the food stamp program for an $8 billion pet child-nutrition bill, another quick vacation to the Florida Panhandle, the lavish dinners and incessant entertaining. I don't have a problem with vacations, etc. but there is moderatation and there is extreme.

Some have accused Michelle the Belle of Marie Antoinette-ism. The fact this even comes up shows how out of step they are with those they proclaim to represent.

The Obama's appear to be children that cannot handle the wealth and fame that comes with this high office.

There's a right way and a wrong way to handle fame. They clearly are demonstrating the wrong way.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A President Strays from America's Core Values

American is a very tolerate nation. The First Amendment to our divine Constitution reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
We are accepting to just about all religions, even those whose practices are so extreme it makes it tough to classify them as religions. But core to America is our Judeo-Cristian heritage.

The recent news that a mosque is to be built on Ground Zero (NYC) has little to do with religious tolerance, everything to do with politics. Obama elected to comment on this plan, giving the impression it is religious freedom that is in question.

There are plenty of mosques and places for future mosques, other than the small area that makes up Ground Zero. Those in favor of this are just throwing fuel onto the fire. It makes no logical sense to do this at this time. It is if they are going out of their way to "stick it to America again" with the blessing of the so-called liberal tolerance patrol.

The president sticks it to many Americans again by holding a Ramadan dinner at the White House. This president goes out of his way to coddle a religion that has an element that hates America. Nothing Obama is doing will change that. Militant Islam is not all of a sudden going to love America, denounce its terrorists plans, and embrace the western ways. They hate us and everything we stand for.

A nation is defined by its borders, language and culture. This president is doing his best to eliminate our borders, allow our language to become a hodge-podge of dozens, and to embrace non-American cultures as if our's is lacking and we must change for the better.

Not a week goes by that he takes America one step closer ruin. It is as if no one thinks America will fall, as if we are different from Britain, Germany, Rome, or Greece. He, along with his liberal cronies, have expedited our demise economically, culturally and spiritually.

Monday, August 02, 2010

To Those of Us Born 1930 - 1979

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered
with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight. WHY?

Because we were always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were OKAY.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping pong paddles, or just a bare hand and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them, CONGRATULATIONS!

Friday, July 30, 2010

David Hayes' Last Days

Dad's last days...

About 5 weeks ago, Dave Hayes was diagnosed with cancer in his lung (a tumor) and upper right leg (femur bone). He elected to take the treatment -- chemo and radiation (for the leg). He had one (of six) chemo treatments and about 7 radiation treatments. His neighbor and member of the branch presidency (Sheril Hales) had been driving him to Kingman (it is a 60 mile drive each way from Meadview). On Tuesday, 7/20/10, he was not doing well, went to the ER. They gave him some fluids and released him. He felt even worse on Wednesday so Sheril called the ambulance. It took him to the ER in Kingman. I spoke to him just prior to him getting admitted. He said he did not want to leave there -- he was feeling terrible.

I drove up (5.5 hours) and by the time I got to the Kingman Regional Medical Center, he was in the ICU on a respirator. He had very low blood pressure, high heart rate, very low white cell count, pneumonia, malnourished and dehydrated. They got him stabilized by Thursday. He was moving his arms, could squeeze my hand. But by Friday, he was unresponsive. I came home on Friday, Denise arrived on Sunday. She confirmed that he was not there any longer. They tried to take him off the respirator on Saturday but his lungs could not do their job. They put him back on it. They took him off all sedation. He was being kept alive via the respirator.

The rest of us -- Jeff, Andy, Darren and Chris -- arrived Tuesday. We had been talking about his situation for nearly a week. Dad wanted the doctors to try to help him but he did not want to be kept alive on life support. He told this to his MDs and to us. He had a Living Will confirming this. The MDs said he would not get better -- the cancer was getting him fast. We all agreed and told the MDs and nurses our decision to remove the respirator. We were all around him and within 5 minutes, he was gone. He struggled a bit but only for 30 seconds. It was the right thing to do.

The funeral services were on Friday, 30 July 2010, 11am, at the Dolan Springs Branch chapel. Jeff, Andy, Darren went to the funeral home and picked out a casket (cheapest one they had -- Dad's request), no embalming (dad said it was a rip-off and it is), hurst service, etc. The fee was still higher than you think -- luckily they take credit cards. Obituaries were ran in three papers: Kingman Daily Miner, Columbus Dispatch and Portsmouth Daily Times (that's not cheap either).

The service consisted of the Branch President (Michael Brown) conducting, much like a normal church meeting: opening/closing hymns and prayers, a choir number, and speakers. Sheril Hales spoke and each of us spoke -- Denise, Darren, Chris, Andy and Jeff (youngest to oldest). The Branch President was the concluding speaker. Dad's four sons were pallbearers along with Denise's fiancée, Kuper Donaldson, and a friend of dad's. Dad's one living brother, Phil Hayes, tried to come but was unable to get a flight in time.

The burial took place in Chloride, AZ (a living ghost town, full of veteran graves). We had the VFW Chaplin and Commandant do a military ceremony, presenting the oldest with a flag. The grave was properly dedicated. The Branch President said a few words, and that was it. We went back to the chapel where the Relief Society provided a great lunch for us.

David Hayes joined the church in Columbus after meeting some tracting elders. He joined in 1964, shortly after our oldest sister, Julia, died. He had a testimony; was faithful til the end. He was buried in his temple clothing. Although he had some strange interpretations of some gospel principles which kept him at odds with many, he was a good father, always being there while we were in our youth, both before and after our parents divorced.

He loved his children, grandchildren and extended family very much. And we love and will miss him. But he is onto that next phase of God's eternal plan. We all look forward to embracing him again some day.

(BTW, his last real meal was on Tuesday...at In-N-Out Burger. True to his burgers to the end. Way to go dad!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

David Roth Hayes

David Roth Hayes was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, 27 July 1931, to Earl Chester Hayes Sr. and Katherine Elizabeth (Roth) Hayes. He was the second of four sons -- Earl Hayes Jr. (Betty), John Hayes (Sharon) and Phillip Hayes (Carol). He graduated from Portsmouth High School, class of 1949. He served in the Army during the Korean conflict. He worked for nearly 40 years in Columbus, Ohio at Battelle Memorial Institute as a draftsman.

He married Gloria Lonell Kidwell and they had six children: Julia, Jeffrey (Janice), Andrew, Christopher, Darren (Julie) and Denise. He has seven grandchildren. He later married Valerie and they moved to Meadview, AZ.

He was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) since 14 August 1965. A High Priest, he served in a myriad of Church callings, loving the challenge and opportunity each gave him to serve.

He loved American history and our national landscape (having driven cross-country multiple times), baseball (especially the Cincinnati Reds), Ohio State athletics (especially football and basketball), the night stars, studying the scriptures (especially the words of the living prophets), attending the LDS temple (he was an ordinance worker and visited most of the temples in the USA and Canada), politics, the LDS Wards and Branches he has lived in (from the Columbus 1st Ward to the Dolan Springs Branch), and his family.

He loved life, fighting to the end, never fearful of death. He was looking forward to embracing his parents, his daughter, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, his Savior and his Heavenly Father.

He died 27 July 2010 in Kingman, AZ of complications associated with heart disease and cancer. He will be buried in Chloride, AZ. He was 79.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Restoring American Financial Stability Act - More Bad Legislation

The Senate passes the 2,300 page financial reform bill -- Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (H.R. 4173) by a 60 to 39 vote. If it were not for three New England Republicans (Snowe, Collins and Brown), it would have failed.

The superficial goal is worthy: to address problems that caused the current recession and taxpayers $145 billion. The resulting legislation monstrosity will not even come close to addressing this goal.

It is reminiscent of recent legislation that attempted to address the then-current financial issues of the day:

-- Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) -- Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999
-- Sarbanes–Oxley Act (2002) -- Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act (Senate) and Corporate and Auditing Accountability and Responsibility Act (House)

The legislature feels compelled to act after major events. They must be able to tell their constituencies that that did 'x' or 'y'. It does not matter if it actually addresses the problems. It does not matter if it includes billions in unrelated pork. It does not matter what it will cost long term or the logistics of its administration. Some of the highlights are:

-- Gives the government authority for setting aggregate speculative position limits (agriculture) for market participants across various exchanges to better regulate market manipulation.
-- Requires derivatives to be traded in clearinghouses (exemptions for legitimate end-users of commodities and large financial speculators).
-- Strengthened authority for the CFTC and the SEC to determine if certain market actions are disruptive or manipulative, as well as improved authorities to take enforcement actions when deemed necessary.
-- Gives the Fed the authority to step in if it determines actions by large financial entities are acting in a disruptive or manipulative manner.

Not a word about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, two massive money pit pariahs that continue to drain the coffers.

Burdensome legislation like this creates an unfriendly business environment (like GLBA and SOX). It will drive business and jobs overseas. It hurts small businesses because it adds higher business costs.

This is nothing more than a Democrat means to expand government control over the economy and move the U.S. closer to the European system. This is not the change that does America any good.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Obama Now Claims Al Qaeda Is Racist

In reference to the terrorist bombing in Uganda, Obama said
"What you've seen in some of the statements that have been made by these terrorist organizations is that they do not regard African life as valuable in and of itself. They see it as a potential place where you can carry out ideological battles that kill innocents without regard to long-term consequences for their short-term tactical gains."
Does he think terrorists are not thinking rationally when the bomb black areas? Does he think the terrorists would have a better posture if they did not target locations in predominately black nations? Does he think that terrorist targets are only of the white or western type?

Terrorists attract any group that feels hopeless, be they Arabs in Gaza, blacks in Kampala, or white in urban England.

Politicians that place the racist card in the case of terrorism are grasping at straws. Whether is is Jesse Jackson accusing the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team of racism or Obama accusing Al Qaeda of racism in its bombing targets, the racism card is spent.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Economic Pessimism and Anti-Obama-ism

The CBS poll published 7/13/10 is an interesting read. It is a given that the economy stinks and liberalism has run amok with massive government growth and deficit spending.

What is interesting are those who buck the trends and state what would seem the opposite of what's actually going on.

-- 51% think the effects of the recession will last longer than two years.
-- 25% think the economy is getting better.
-- 17% think the economy is good.
-- 13% think the Obama stimulus programs have helped them personally.
-- 23% think the stimulus programs have made the economy better.
-- 54% think setting a time table for withdrawal from Afghanistan is good.

On a positive note, 59% think that the economy will rebound...eventually...and make life better.

Obama has been the great divider. I wonder what he says to his wife after a long day of meetings, official appearances, and golfing when he read/hears about how many people dislike his policies? He basically thinks we are all stupid and that if we would just get on board, the socialist way of life is right for you and I (just not him and his family and close associates).

I disapprove of every policy Obama and the Democratic congress have passed. Government is too big and too inefficient and ineffective for most of man's needs. Government is the ultimate money pit. Obama is the ultimate thief.

New Home, New Neighbors, New Congressional District

In June, we officially established a residency in AZ. (I've been here since November.) Our motivating factors of where to live were school district and time/distance to work.

We ended up living in a nice home, all on one level, with four bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a pool. Turns out the pool was the best decision we've made in years; and we'd never be considered "pool people."

We are in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District. Our Rep is Gabrielle Giffords, a two-term Democrat. I can say with confidence I disagree with 90% of her politics.

John McCain and Jon Kyl are our Senators, two guys I can support (though I did not vote for McCain for President in 2008 and will vote for JD Hayworth for Senate in this August's primary).

Regarding the AZ State Legislature, we live in AZ District 30. Frank Antenori, Republican, is our state senator. We do not have Representative in the House, apparently it was Frank Antenori, but he left in March 2010 (I guess to serve in the AZ Senate).

What I found out rather quickly is that we live around a bunch of middle age or elderly people. These people are not overly friendly. Their public appearances consist of the opening and closing of their garage doors.

Recently, my daughter and I were helping on an Eagle Scout project. We passed out flyers for school supply donations for Deseret Industries. We had one of 50 people that made a donation. These people have money, they just chose not to be involved.
That's telling.

We are adjusting to AZ. We have a great LDS ward. We will just never develop social relationships with people outside of church.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Jack Johnson -- Original Color Barrier Figure

100 years ago to day, Jack Johnson beat Jim Jeffries in Reno, NV in what was correctly referred to as the fight of the century.

Jeffries was arguably the best fighter of his era. He retired as heavyweight champion. At the same time, Jack Johnson was winning every fight he was in. He wanted the title for himself. Problem was: Johnson was black and Jeffries was white. Blacks were not allowed into the nation's boxing mainstream.

Johnson was definitely the better fighter on this day. But the story goes much deeper. This was a battle between the races. To most, the blacks were inferior and could not compete at the white man's level. The thought of even allowing it was preposterous to many.

Johnson was a catalyst for this confrontation for many reasons. The primary one was his affinity for white women (and their affinity toward him). His miscegenation practice was difficult for whites and blacks alike.

In the aftermath of the fight, riots broke out in many American cities. The whites did not like seeing the blacks celebrating the victory. To them, the blacks were throwing it in their face -- the bad loser/bad winner syndrome.

Jack Johnson did many things in his shortened life. But to me, he will be remembered for his efforts to break down the color barrier.

For further information, Ken Burns' documentary, Unforgivable Blackness, is a great film (albeit 3.5 hours).

Friday, July 02, 2010

Dream Theater at the Newport Music Hall

I am treading on "groupism" when it comes to Dream Theater. I saw them open for Iron Maiden in June in Phoenix and on Friday, 2 July, I went with two of my brothers and my brother's gal to see a 2.25 hour performance at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH.

It is so much better to see your favorite band perform in a small facility like the Newport. It makes it even better knowing that all of the attendees are dedicated DT fans. What topped it off was going with two of my brothers.

Their set list this evening was as follows (a good collection of DT's discography):

-- A Nightmare To Remember
-- Constant Motion
-- Hollow Years
-- The Mirror
-- Lie
-- A Rite Of Passage
-- Home
-- Panic Attack
-- As I Am
-- Pull Me Under / Metropolis Pt. 1
-- The Count Of Tuscany (encore)

Bottom line: if they are nearby, I am there.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Soaring National Debt Blame Game

The Congressional Budget Office has said that the federal debt will represent 62% of the nation's economy by the end of this year, the highest percentage since just after World War II. Both parties are to blame.

G. W. Bush, who should have known better, decided that spending billions and billions on foreign wars, growing the federal bureaucracy for security purposes, and providing an unfunded senior medication entitlement program, among others, were in the best interest of the country.

Obama decided that we need to spend and spend and spend our way out recession without addressing the fundamentals of economics (and failed Keynesian economics does not count). Add to that the realization or threat thereof of 50 years worth of liberal government programs from massive health care, financial and energy reforms to huge financial, auto and mortgage bailouts. What makes matters worse is that we are missing the foundations for real economic growth.

Without hope for a financial return after a monetary investment, there are not enough individuals or businesses willing to take the necessary business risks to actually build new product, drive new demand and create new jobs.

One can make the case that G. W. Bush was bad and Obama is worse. But the bottom line is that almost all our political leaders have let us down. We voters failed ourselves by continuing to nominate and elect economic dolts for the presidency and governorships and for the federal and state legislatures. These people are more concerned about their own images and power than doing what is in the best interests of the nation or states.

Why we still continue to tell ourselves that this nation's economy will rebound is beyond me. The fundamentals of sound fiscal and monetary policies are gone. Government has gotten too big and the debt too large. It is a house of cards. It cannot continue indefinitely. It is bound to all come crumbling down. I wish I were more optimistic. Just give me a reason, just a little one...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Supreme Court Justices and the Political Agenda

Traditionalist or reformist? Originalism or judicial interpretation? Those that believe in the original intent of the Constitution as written by the Founding Fathers or those that see the Constitution as a living breathing document that needs to be interpreted for out time and culture?

There is little doubt that Elena Kagan will be confirmed the newest Supreme Court Justice. What is also obvious is that her political positions will play a role in her decisions. She is of the judicial interpretive camp.

The fact that we have so-called "conservative justices" and "liberal justices" is sad. We all interpret what this nation is all about in our own ways. Most do not care or have the slightest idea what that means, but those few that do, take it serious.

The nation needs politically unmotivated justices. But those with strong political opinions, especial liberal ones -- more often than not -- cannot tame their power and evolve to legislate from the bench.

One of the most significant things a president does is nominate justices. Those appointment last for decades. The #1 criterion for a president, IMO, is how he/she will nominate justices. Obama failed my litmus test from day one.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Second Amendment Survives Chicago Ruling

Just like the 2008 Supreme Court ruling in Washington, DC, today the Court struck down Chicago's handgun prohibition by a 5-4 vote.

Besides a narrow win for the U.S. Constitution, this shows how close we are to cities and states deciding which parts of the Constitution apply to them and which do not.

This ruling must really bug the liberals. They control the presidency and both houses of Congress, but came up one vote short on the Court.

The gun-haters have no fewer than 20,000 gun-control laws in force at federal, state and local levels. The right to bear arms is barely intact. Before long, if the chipping away of gun rights continues, only the government and criminals will have firearms.

If gun-haters should focus on anything, it should be on gun handling and proficiency, not on gun bans. Stricter guns laws are a sure path to greater government control. Most Americans do not want to live in a Russian or European society.

Every freedom-loving American should support the basic right to own guns.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Month Without TV Easy Compared to No Internet

In completing our move from Utah to Arizona, we had some problems with our Internet and cable TV provider of choice. It seems the local cable company, Comcast in this case, has never provided service to this property. I assume that the previous people used DSL for Internet and traditional antenna and satellite for TV service.

In order to get the cable to the property, they had to schedule a dig crew. The phone rep who took the initial order did not say that. We waited 10 days for a guy to come out to hook up the service only to discover that the nearest junction box was 100 or so yards down the street. He promised a crew would by in two weeks. They showed up about three weeks later. And that crew was just a dig crew; they could not actually hook up the service. The service-enabling guy is scheduled to be here tomorrow. What do you bet there are issues and we still do not have cable TV or Internet access?

Luckily I have a neighbor, who I don't know, running an unsecured access point. I am not overly concerned about security as most of the people in this area tend to be elderly. The process of securing WiFi might not be something they are too keen on. (I do not, however, conduct any financial services through this borrowed WiFi.)

This has meant that we have had no TV for over a month and rather slow internet access. The only pain this has caused is not being able to watch the World Cup or MLB. To compensate, I have listen to World Cup via streaming ESPN Radio or have been forced to go somewhere to watch. For MLB, I have an audio account that allows me to listen to any game live via the MLB Web site ($20/year).

One can survive without TV. But having no Internet would be much worse.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Obama's New America Leads in Mediocrity

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the world "cannot depend as much on the US as it did in the past". In speaking ahead of this weekend's G8 and G20 meetings in Toronto, he said
-- Other major economies would have to grow more for the global economy to prosper.
-- Played down any differences in policy between the US and Europe regarding deficit reduction.
Now we have Vice President Biden telling an audience of supporters "there's no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession."

This pessimism is core to liberal policies. As the government takes a greater roll in controlling of our lives, the crippling nature of heavy taxes and entitlements make it harder for businesses to get established and to grow.

Entrepreneurs have a more difficult time raising capital. Investors affinity for modern risk is diminished.

What might work in China, will not work in America. As we become more European with our stifling policies, we end up becoming impotent.

Key faces of the Obama Administration are stating the true results of its socialistic policies: We can no longer lead; rather we will limp along excelling in mediocrity.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Financial Reform To Reach Every Aspect of Our Lives

Democrats and the White House have come to some final legislative conclusion about a massive (2,000 pages), new financial regulations bill.

According to Sen. Christopher Dodd (D, CN), "this is about as important as it gets, because it deals with every single aspect of our lives."

Obama said, "We are poised to pass the toughest financial reform since the ones we created in the aftermath of the Great Depression. The bill represents 90 percent of what I proposed when I took up this fight. We've all seen what happens when there is inadequate oversight and insufficient transparency on Wall Street."

There are some people that think this is a good thing -- more government control into our lives. There is another group that thinks it already has too much. That group would include me.

The legislation is redrawing how money flows through the U.S. economy, from the way people borrow money to the way banks structure complicated products like derivatives.
-- It intends to prohibit banks from making risky bets with their own funds
-- Limit the ability of federally insured banks to trade derivatives
-- Erect a new consumer-protection regulator within the Federal Reserve
-- Give the government new powers to break up failing companies
-- Create a council of regulators to monitor risks to the financial system
-- Set up strict new rules on big banks, limiting their risk and increasing the costs.

It could touch every person who has a bank account or uses a credit card
It implies a massive growth to the Federal Reserve, Commerce, etc -- more inefficient bureaucracy. The cost will be born by everyone as the federal fees imposed upon the large banks and hedge funds will be passed on. The proponents claim it is a temporary fee and will not be required after five years (right).

I tend to agree with Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R, TX): "My guess is there are three unintended consequences on every page of this bill."

There are no obvious limits on "too big to fail." They have left Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in tack. Yea, that's real reform.

With limits on the big guys for making investments, what's the start-up to do to raise capital?

At least the banks and investment firms know what the rules are. They will now begin the process of figuring out how to circumvent them.

This is another example of good intentions that will have more negative repercussions than positive. It will cost everyone more money. It will make credit harder to raise. It will make America weaker economically. That's the Democrat way. We can read you like a book.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Censorship and Broadcast "Equality"

I recently read Brian Jennings' 2009 book Censorship: The Threat to Silence Talk Radio. Embarrassingly, I was not aware that the so-called Fairness Doctrine has been in place since 1949 when the FCC began requiring "broadcasters to provide 'fair-and-balanced programming' on the public airwaves. The doctrine was repealed in 1987 during the Reagan Administration on the grounds that it was no longer necessary because of the diversity of voices heard in the media marketplace...and that such a regulation might well be unconstitutional".

Mandating broadcast equality to diverse opinions clearly violates the First Amendment.

It makes running a TV and radio business anything but financially rewarding. Making sure one covers opposing viewpoints for every 'hot topic' would drive a producer insane, considering how many opposing viewpoint would like to be shared. The result was little in the way on controversial topics being addressed publicly. Instead, radio and TV news was amazingly boring. When the ban was lifted, talk radio and TV news as we know it today began to take off.

Business personnel and investors could actually provide a product that specific target markets were interested in hearing or seeing. Ads could be sold. Money could be made in broadcasting. But because one aspect of broadcasting -- conservative talk radio -- was becoming big business, those that could not compete; i.e., the liberals, attempt to regulate it out of existence.

The Fairness Doctrine means boring radio and TV news. It means less jobs because the appeal of this class of media would diminish. It means less freedom for everyone.

Most media leans towards the liberal side of politics. In many cases, it survives because it is subsidized by the government.

The intent of "fairness" regulation is designed to control freedom of speech. The nation's minority of liberal-leading voices are trying to silence any opposing viewpoints. This has been tried to the detriment of many societies from the Soviet Union and Communist China to Chavez-lead Venezuela and similar-leaning Latin and African nations.

What we see going on here is the well-established liberal agenda: 1) get into power through any means possible and 2) protect that power based with stifling and enslaving regulation and legislation.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

FCC Regulation Is Part of the Fairness Doctrine

FCC agreed this past week to begin formal consideration to adopt new rules for high- speed internet companies. These forthcoming rules will attempt go after a business' right to do what it wishes with its services.

If for example, a service provider wants to raise it prices on the users base that uses a large portion of its bandwidth, it may not be able to do so. If a service providers wants to limit access to certain sites, throttle bandwidth, and create tiered pricing, it may not be able to do so. If a service provider elects not to give away free services to those unable or unwilling to pay, they may not have that right.

This Democrat-lead FCC is anti-business. They are part of the 'more government oversight is better' constituency.

There is no reason to assume that they cannot mandate balanced coverage or access, based on political stances. For example, if the bulk of talk radio streaming is for conservative talk radio, what's to say they will not force an equal amount of streaming from the opposing political side of the issue, however various and numerous those decenting positions might be.

We also have voices claiming they need to monitor all Internet traffic in hopes of sniffing some terrorist communications. This goes against the First Amendment. Radical opinion is everyone's right. Opinion being the operative word. In other words, everyone gets stripped searched because one in ten million might be planning an attach.

Let's just do better police work and leave the civil liberties alone.

Stick a dork like Janet Napolitano (aka Big Sis) into the position of Homeland Security Director, expect idiotic ideas.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Obama, Oil and the End of the Social Experiment

The golf oil leak is a disaster of epic proportions. The fault is all over the place. The biggest fault is with the businesses that were responsive for the drilling, the platform operations and the science and associated testing behind the deep water drilling efforts.

How the Obama administration has approached this will be his millstone. they have failed on the PR front (he still continues to vacation and golf at the drop of a hat). He claims to be fighting with everything he has. That consists of Hugo-Chavezing BP into mandatory payments for associated business economic losses.

He gave one of the all-time worse presidential speeches (his speech writing is probably out looking for work) last Tuesday. After him-hawing around for a few minutes, he got to the real Obama -- more government oversight and how evil we are for using oil.

Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Canada, Iran, etc. all continue to drill and operate deep water oil rigs. But not America. Will Obama leading the nation, his response is opportunistic and mandates we stop off-shore drilling and investigate the accident so this never happen again.

Obama, being the puppet that he is, will support the left's energy agenda: oil bad, renwable good; high price gasoline good, SUVs bad.

I am amazed at the poor planning done by BP and Deepwater Horizon. But every other firm in this business is just lucky it was not them.

I wonder what the situation would be like if Exxon Mobile had this happen in the Indian Ocean and oil was causing harm to other countries? Would America take the insults from those countries like it is dishing out to Britain?

This leak looks like it will go on for months. The forthcoming damage will continue to escalate. This millstone will continue to down Obama, perhaps killing off the social experiment that he has been as quick as possible.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Why I Love the Beautiful Game

Every four year's the soccer critics come out of their closet. On the positive, they are taking an interest World Cup and learning something about the nations which are competing and something about the USA roster. On the negative, they share their opinions about why soccer has not caught on in America and make their annual rule change suggestions.

I love soccer despite it flaws, and there are some rather obvious ones. The casual observer complains about shirt tugging, diving, and offsides (assuming they understand it). They complain about the substitution rule, teams entering the field -- prior to the start of the contest -- holding the hands of little children, and the fact there is only one referee on the field. The biggest complaint deals with the lack of goals.

A soccer fan takes great joy in watching individual performances; goals are nice but not essential to game enjoyment. I can watch a player or team turn in a dominate performance controlling the midfield. I love watching a set of defenders work together as a team. I love seeing a well-defended corner kick.

I would consider a well-earned and delivered soccer goal, especially a World Cup goal, one of the greatest athletic achievements in sport. Consider goals by Brazil's Roberto Carlos, Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez, or BBC's Best 10 World Cup Goals. I get goosebumps on some of these. That feeling rarely rears itself in basketball, college or pro. Football? Some. Hockey? More. Baseball? Even more.

We all have our favorite sports. I love the NFL and NCAA Football. I love the NHL -- Stanley Cup is my second favorite sport tourney. The college basketball (March Madness) is fun. The NBA is pathetic. Baseball is my favorite sport and I like the world Series is my favorite annual tourney. UEFA Champions League final is a must-see annual event. Although there are other world cup events (rugby, cricket, baseball), nothing compares to the FIFA World Cup.

There are some things people will stay firm in their whole lives: politics, religion and sport. I could care less if my fellow American's like soccer. I do and will always consider it the beautiful game.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Iron Maiden - Final Frontier Tour - Phoenix

It has taken me years to finally see Iron Maiden. They are currently on their Final Frontier tour and they happened to stop in Phoenix, a 2 hour drive from Tucson. So I had to buy a couple of tickets. I also had to force my wife to go (she's not a fan).

I also went because Dream Theater, my favorite band, was opening. We were running a few minutes late as as luck would have it, they came on at 7:25 p.m., a few minutes before we could get through security and to our seats. DT only played for 50 minutes (that'd be 6 songs). That was the first time my wife had seen DT and she likes them, especially John Mgung, their awesome bassist. Their set list was:

-- As I Am
-- A Rite Of Passage
-- Home
-- Constant Motion
-- Panic Attack
-- Pull Me Under

Maiden, though getting up there in years, put on a good show. My only complaint is that they played too many songs from the past ten years. Now I appreciate their evolution as artists but most people like Maiden for their classics like Trooper, Number of the Beast, Two Minutes To Midnight, and Run to the Hills, not The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg, Wildest Dreams, or El Dorado (off their yet to be released new album).

Their set list at the Cricket Pavilion was:

-- The Wicker Man
-- Ghost Of The Navigator
-- Wrathchild
-- El Dorado
-- Dance Of Death
-- The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg
-- These Colours Don't Run
-- Blood Brothers
-- Wildest Dreams
-- No More Lies
-- Brave New World
-- Fear Of The Dark
-- Iron Maiden
-- The Number of the Beast
-- Hallowed Be Thy Name
-- Running Free

They are performers. Dickinson and Harris were all over the stage, acting like 25 year olds. McBrain was hidden behind his drum kit all night. Smith is trying to dress like he did in the 80s; that doesn't work for him any longer. Gers is not an original but did not detract. Murry looks to be the one suffering the greatest from the aging process.

I am glad I went. I am going to have to spend some time with their newer recordings in order to better appreciate what they were after.

Utah to Pac-10

For nearly 30 years, there has been talk (albeit in Utah) about Utah and BYU joining the Pac 10. This began shortly after Arizona and Arizona State joined back in the late 70s. When Colorado left the Big 12 to join the Pac 10, I was thinking and hoping that Utah might get the node to accommodate them. It did not seem logic for Texas (especially Texas), Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to join forces with the major west coast teams. When Texas elected to stay put, the others followed suit. That meant Utah was the likely candidate to be the twelfth member of the Pac 10.

Ever since moving to Utah (20 years ago), I recognized the tie to the west coast. Utah is full of people from Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona. I-80, I-84 and I-15 are asphalt ribbons to home and entertainment along the coast. Utah (and BYU) do a great deal of their recruiting in CA and AZ. What I have wondered was why there was less tie to Colorado.

Utah and BYU play Colorado State and Air Force annually. Air Force always is a worth foe; CSU rarely. But there is no real rivalry.

We are 'forced' to watch Broncos games, as if that were our 'home' team. We get most of the Rockies games (which I actually appreciate). But the AAA Salt Lake Bees are affiliated with the Angels. We started getting Big 12 games when the Fox Sport network grew. But it has been a long time since the Ute played Colorado, though we have played them many times in the past (Utah is 24-30-3 against Colorado).

Having been a Ute fan since I went to grad school back in the 80s, Ute football was less than compelling. Rarely was there a sell-out. BYU had the more predominate team in the state. A series of events including Coach McBride, Coach Majerus, the 2002 Winter Olympics and a Rice-Eccles Stadium face-lift, the brief Urban Meyer era and the undefeated season, and the current reign of Coach Whittingham, have created greater ticket sales, donations and interest.

Utah is a fine university with great engineering, medical and law schools. I appreciate my business education from there. They have a great women's gymnastics team. But they have a long way to go in the other sports. A good skiing team does not buy them many points, just points to recruits and their families.

This is a great boon for Utah. BYU is feeling stiffed. (I can understand why the Pac-10 chose Utah and not BYU; and it is about religion and Sunday play.) BYU actually has better athletic programs overall and get more attendance at football games (64k vs. 45k for Rice Eccles) -- selling out more than Utah over the years. The Holy War rivalry will still exist, but will have less impact.

The Utes will be able to begin building a nice rivalry with the Bufs. Utah will be able to compete in the Pac-10. As I am a new resident of Tucson, I will welcome games at AZ and ASU.

I could not be happier as an alumnus. Go Utes!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How's That Wealth Redistribution Working Out?

What we all knew, this time from that bastion of investigative news reporting, USA Today:
Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year.

At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.
It started almost 100 years ago, was hurried along by the New Deal and Great Society. It did not falter during subsequent Democrat and Republican administrations. It has ramped back up to a level unforeseen with Hope and Change.

Greece is the bright yellow canary; Europe a dull yellow; America under the guise of progressivism, is beginning to show her color.

Robinhoodism only works for the poor, because they have nothing, but once they have something, stifles. It does not motivate a society to greater achievements.

The more people on the "government payrolls," however you want to define that, means more votes for those that keep the crumbs coming. And that's all that is being doled out.

Wealth redistribution on the scale we have witnessed in Europe and what we are beginning to see in America, is a sad day for all. The poor are happy to stay poor so long as they have the minimum. Those trying to achieve have an uphill climb, not by competitive forces (which are ominous enough) but by stifling laws, processes and taxes.

How does the White House and congress respond? By more Keynesian "stimulus" with money that does not exist. Tell me, how will we ever pull ourselves out of this hole that continues to be deepened by the one who offers no hope and no prospect for meaningful change?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Synthetic Cells

UK scientists have achieved another breakthrough: the creation of synthetic cells. It is amazing what those that dare to push the scientific extremes can do.

There will be plenty of people that will come out against this. I am not one of them. Like most leaps forward, there are positives and negatives to consider.

The hope is to be able to produce cells that will aid in medical treatments, produce new fuels, and deal with environmental pollutions like greenhouse gases and oil spills. But one cannot think about the creation of some biological entity that might be difficult to control (Hollywood and sci-fi have addressed this adequately).

A scripture comes to mind as I contemplate the spiritual ramifications:
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth.