Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Constitutionality of Income Tax

Found this on the Constitution Party website. Interesting.

Investor Sanity Check

For those of you that have stuck with me for the past year or so, you know that I can get pretty snarky. I get sarcastic, play with satire, conduct "tests", and so forth. Based on the content of this post, I am compelled to issue the following:


As you read this, you may think I am conducting a test. Or that the other shoe will drop. Or that there is a "right" answer to be presented at a later date.

The reason for this post is for you to answer the question: Am I missing something?

Let me explain.

Regarding global warming, I give up. Not that I believe in global warming, not at all. Having a business sense, however, I can watch trends and sense where businesses and political organizations are heading. I'm not ready to say that the "green" industry is a hit, but the number of people and organizations jumping on the bandwagon have led me to look into investment opportunities.

Based on what I've either casually or intentionally read over the past year, I've realized that there could be some positive gains on my hard-earned money for my family. Not that I want to get in on the ground floor; I am not wealthy, so I don't have the capital to risk by being a wholesale investor (not that I'm actually qualified to be one). You won't see me invest in IPOs or subsequent stock issuances. Bonds, maybe, but my preferred investments are of the retail variety: stocks and mutual funds. In other words, I won't help a company get started, but I'll trade on the exchanges.

Thus, my growing interest in green industries. I've monitored fuel cell companies for over a year. Recently, I started looking at the carbon credit exchange programs mentioned by Al Gore to learn more about them. If the gravy train is moving on, I figured that folks that have some money to invest ought to have a way to do so.

Here's where I am stuck. I haven't found that way. A number of Google searches have educated me on what "carbon credit investing" is, but it doesn't seem to present a market, per se. It looks to be an inter-company and inter-country exchange, brokered by well-meaning, well-placed individuals. But I can't find how or where average Joe can get involved.

Hence, my request. Is something right under my nose that I'm missing, or am I reading this right, that the average Joe has no play in this game? Please send links that answer the question in either direction.


Friday, July 27, 2007

BIG NEWZ on the Music Front

Local boy has a chance to make good in his home town after moving to the left coast to get his start. After completing three successful European tours, Pauly and his band Elegantly Wasted will be making their Cleveland debut! The band is performing an 18-and up show at the Hi Fi Club in Lakewood, OH on Friday, September 21.

How do I know Pauly? Well, rumor has it that we are related. He's on the far left. Can you see the resemblance? :-)

Okay, so he looks "mean" there. But the Die Hard Equestrian got to meet him a few weeks ago, and thinks he's not such a bad guy.

He's not...I know.

But wait, there's more!

I know there are a lot of "24" fans that read this blog, and Pauly's news gets even better. His band is working to get signed by Kiefer Sutherland's music label, IronWorks Music. By linking to this site, find the "Burn Right Through" video link and watch the video. Then, do your civic duty as a rock and roll loving American, and VOTE for his band!!! (Use the big red button that says VOTE.) Elegantly Wasted is the last name on the ballot. One vote per e-mail address, so make as many new addresses as you can and vote often. I'm already in the process of exhausting my e-mails.

You can also hear samples of their music at the following locations:

  • Their Myspace site (four full-length songs)
  • Their CDBaby site (twelve 2-minute samples)
So, get geeked out by the awesome rock! Then contact me for tix. Nothing better than experiencing a successful homecoming!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

He's Right, Failure Has Occurred

I gotta give it to Harry Reid. He is absolutely correct. The U.S. has failed at war.

But which war? I say, not the Iraqi war. I say, not the Vietnamese war. Yeah, there are (and were) problems with both. I've never known a professional football team make it through the first quarter, score tied or at least close, and give up because the game was over. Only fans do that, so maybe Harry is more a "fan" of the war than a stakeholder in it.

You tell me one person who could make the perfect decision every time, and I'll show you a person smart enough not to go into politics. :-)

The political war has failed. You know, the one where Democrats and Republicans show off their awesome power and aptitude to the detriment of the country as a whole. The one where the duopoly is in power, and all others are also rans or fringe candidates.

What do I mean? First, let's define "failure" according to Mr. Reid:

  • We've been engaged in battle for too long. We'll skip the part about who defined "too long" for now, as that is a farce in its own right.
  • We've spent too much money on this initiative.
  • Results aren't spectacular enough.
  • We've lost out on other opportunities (i.e. the opportunity cost of engaging in Iraq), such as Darfur and other UN peacekeeping initiatives.
  • Families are still getting hurt, either through death or other not-so-drastic forms of hardship.

Now that failure has been defined per Mr. Reid's (and others') talking points, let's see what has truly failed:

  • The War on Poverty - how much money spent? How long is "too long"? What other opportunities were wasted so we could continue to support these entitlement programs? Results? Aren't most of these families we were supposed to help still having troubles, and aren't new "poor people" created every day?
  • The War on Drugs - porous borders, lack of enforcement, a two-decade program. Results?
  • The War on Immigration - geez, the symptoms sound a lot like the failure points for the War on Drugs. Results?

And, the grand prize goes to:

  • The new Democratic-led Congress! Looking at Reid's own key performance indicators, the Democratic-led Congress is a bigger failure than the war in Iraq. Results?

Harry, I agree with you. You have failed. You've been doing this for too long. You've spent too much money to do it. You've lost out on other opportunities by continually engaging in the political war. Results are desired solely for political gain. And not only are families getting hurt, but the entire nation is being hurt. All on your watch.

Thanks for nothing.

(Republican "leadership", you are no better. You both stink, and both need to be replaced.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sieves and Pails

This is a sieve.

This is a pail.

Both have different functions when it comes to fluids. A sieve allows fluid to pass through but catches tiny particles; a pail holds fluid. That is, a pail holds fluid until the volume of fluid flowing into it exceeds the capacity of the pail, then you get a big mess.

No duh, huh? What does this have to do with anything?

Being a project manager, I have developed a pet peeve about problems that are defined improperly and incompletely. Not only does it lead to bad research and outcomes, no matter how proper and accurate the research techniques and methods might be, but the people communicating the problem and its definition look like total buffoons.

Take Michael Chertoff, for example. He is the head of the Department of Homeland Security, or "DOHs" for short. (How increasingly appropriate.) When it comes to immigration, he sees an overflowing pail. How do I know this? He says things like, "We don't have the manpower or funds to handle the number of problems we have". The pail is overflowing.

He's right, to an extent. But taken by itself, he has not defined the entire problem, and doesn't even address the key factor of the problem.

I prefer to look at the immigration problem like a sieve; it lets in all comers, and offers no containment capabilities at all. So, what good is it to complain about the size of your pail when you've actually done nothing to stop the flow of water? If I give you a bigger pail - more money, more power, more control - you've still done nothing to stop the influx of illegal immigrants into the country, and your pail still overflows. DOHs, indeed!

I guess the best way to look at the immigration problem isn't to look at the problem first, but to define what you want the solution to be. My solution would be a large pail with a few strategically placed holes in it, thus allowing some flow of fluid beyond the pail, but giving a large enough containment vessel that the vessel doesn't overflow.

Sounds good, huh? Containment of immigrant processing, but allowing a queuing mechanism to process and permit immigrants to enter the country legally? Yeah, I like it, too.

Now only if we'd solidify the border and start enforcing the laws already on the books.

DOHs around!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Own Worst Enemy


It started with this, posted at a “politically open” website that I used to support.

Let’s say it is true, that abortion is not the greatest idea in the world, and that a majority of Americans want to reduce abortion to the greatest extent possible. After all, looking at the stats provided by the CDC, several things are painfully obvious:
- An overwhelming majority of abortions – almost 80% occur out of wedlock.
- Among those 19 years and under, abortion is decreasing significantly; however, almost 50% of all women having abortions are over 25. In other words, they are likely not women who didn’t know better. They weren’t drunk at a college dorm, getting high behind the high school, or anything like that; they were already integrated into the responsible, adult world.
- An underwhelming percentage occurred after 21 weeks of gestation.
- The change in percentage of abortions by race says that, yes, abortion among black women is increasing, but white women are by no means absolved from the problem.

These numbers can’t be false, they come from the government. Can they? These numbers are generally accepted, and they point out a huge number of societal, economic, and political issues.

THIS IS HUGE! It’s obvious that, whether we have a consensus opinion or not, it’s worth spending time and money to make sure the problem doesn’t get any worse. We know the facts – they really aren’t even up for discussion. We know the impact – look at the broken homes, stigma to society, and loss of life. We know the resolution, but we’re not doing enough about it. Sexual expression is the start and end of the biggest cause of abortion: conception.

Conception is the new Global Warning. Consensus says conception is wrong. Consensus says we MUST act, even if the stats and forecasts are askew. Consensus says our world will fall apart if we don’t fix it. The media say it disproportionately affects the poor. Critics aren’t really arguing about it that much. Even Hillary Clinton
wants to minimize the rate of abortion, which can only be done by minimizing conception.

Conception is the new Global Warming…but only if you’re willing to pass out condoms. There is no need for behavior modification, even though it would reduce medical costs and alleviate societal issues, let alone stop freaking out every adult female who is three days late.

So, why do we want to put all the taxpayers’ money behind every potential cure for global warming, when we won’t know for years whether the potential cures will work, but won’t pursue every avenue with conception, when we know what the results will be?

I was ostracized for using satire to make a point, and for trying to manipulate people into believing that abortion was on the same plane of problems as global warming.

It went to this, as comments posted to the same website, but to a different post, searching for some pointed clarification:
There are several elements of your response that raise more issues for me
than they answer.

1. Textbook definitions of ‘consensus’, are: “agreement in the judgment or opinion reached by a group as a whole”. (WorldNet) Or, “an opinion or position reached by a group as a whole”. (American Heritage Dictionary) Or, “majority of opinion”. (Dictionary.com) The first two definitions were the ones I learned throughout my schooling years. I would surmise that the community of believers of the church of Global Warming use the word ‘consensus’ instead of ‘majority opinion’ because they, too, are well aware of what definition we all learned for the word ‘consensus’. This is not honest.

2. You didn’t respond to my charge of blacklisting non-believers and heretics. No one ever does. To me, lack of response on this charge is up there with the non-response the panel gave to the caller. It’s swept under the rug. Prove to me that the heretics aren’t persecuted, and we may have reason to come to the table together.

3. Organizationally, the community of believers looks to be more like a single, non-reproducing amoeba, than it does an emanating group of concentric circles. The former looks like it’s growing because it changes shape, but really doesn’t grow. The latter grows, and its growth is obvious because you have an origin from which you can measure the growth. a) IPCC members have left the GW table over everything from differences of outcome to differences of approach to disagreements about the use of political strong-arming. b) A significant number of scientists that signed the UN report on global warming are not meteorologists or climatologists. That’s like me, as a project manager, signing onto a report on electrical engineering. Here, the community of believers is continually redefined to make it look like we have majority of opinion.

4. Many businesses and industry leaders fail – and bring down their entire enterprise - because they say “we believe it’s true, so we HAVE to do it”. Good people are martyred for having different opinions and approaches, even if they agree with the premise. I’ve been on the wrong side of this by-product of groupthink a number of times. I’m used to it. People become blinded when they are in the “in” group, and regularly lead their projects or movements to dismal failure.

All I’m asking for is intellectual honesty. What I see is folks saying, “so what, we need to do something anyway.” That’s not honest.

The response I received was pointed alright, and ended with me asking to have my name pulled off the contributor’s list. The “science/academic guy” in the group didn't address my issues – that is, educate me – but rather scolded me. (He didn’t like my using religious metaphors to describe the movement, either. Go figure.) Again, he didn’t refute any of my issues, as I was mostly looking for an honest answer to #2, and some discussion of terms and the true population of the community of believers, er, proponents of global warming. Never got it. Hmm.

I don’t believe global warming is a legitimate issue. I’ve seen enough to believe it’s possible, but not enough to believe man has anything to do with it, and definitely not enough to believe that indulgences…er, carbon credits…will make any difference other than making green politicians and green companies rich. (Geez, and they hate Halliburton’s ties to the Bush administration. If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, what is?)

All that premise to get to this: the libs who are pro-global warming are really missing the boat. There is a common area of concern for all political types, and it is reliance on foreign oil. Libs don’t want to rely on any oil because of the global warming issue. They myopically forget that many conservatives don’t want foreign reliance for anything we do, including our accumulation of energy sources. So, if we could only reduce oil consumption, we’d all be better off, right?

Well, not so fast here. As easy as I believe it would be for the green left to say, “Hey, America, if we work to change our habits, and change the way we create and consume resources, in ‘x’ years we can eliminate our reliance on foreign countries that want us dead!” Sounds good, right? Lefties would get their way without freaking people out. Other energy sources would not only be considered, but pursued with vigor. Righties concerned with protecting their country would tell their politicians that we should no longer rely on Saudis and other Middle Eastern countries – or Venezuela, for that matter – to provide our oil. Russia would lose a trump card, because we could export our new technologies and take away one of their prime exports. How’s that for socking it to ‘em?

Oops, I forgot about the problem with that method. That would put America on top again. Can’t do that now, can we? That would kill everything the lefties are working for.

Instead, the libs continue to shoot themselves in the foot with global warming. They use scare tactics, and won’t answer legitimate concerns from righties because they see only political questions instead of the opportunity to educate. And they fly a quarter of a million miles in jets to play music – music! I say! – to show that global warming is bad.

I…uh…I see dumb people. D'oh!

Instead of conceding to righties a bit and protecting the country that lets them be bozos, they have to have their cake and eat it, too, all to the detriment of their own causes.

Some people never learn.


Oh, and didja know that Gulliver took four journeys in Gulliver's Travels? When I read it in high school, the teacher had us read about the Lilliputians, the Brobdingnagians and the Houyhnhnms, but said it wasn't worth reading about the fourth journey (actually, in sequence it was the third). What was it about? Here's the summary from SparkNotes (emphasis mine):
Next, Gulliver sets sail again and, after an attack by pirates, ends up in Laputa, where a floating island inhabited by theoreticians and academics oppresses the land below, called Balnibarbi. The scientific research undertaken in Laputa and in Balnibarbi seems totally inane and impractical, and its residents too appear wholly out of touch with reality. Taking a short side trip to Glubbdubdrib, Gulliver is able to witness the conjuring up of figures from history, such as Julius Caesar and other military leaders, whom he finds much less impressive than in books. After visiting the Luggnaggians and the Struldbrugs, the latter of which are senile immortals who prove that age does not bring wisdom, he is able to sail to Japan and from there back to England.
Why do I feel like America is turning into Laputa and Balnibarbi?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

CLC Radio

The next installment of CLC Radio will be ready in the next day or two. I'm currently having technical difficulties uploading to podOmatic.

If you've noticed the right-hand column in my blog, I now have the CLC Radio listener embedded there. When you click onto my site, the most recent podcast will be displayed at the top of the listener's list. Currently, it's on Trinity 3. So, if you're reading this and it no longer says Trinity 3, then we've uploaded a new podcast.

You can listen by clicking once on the listener, then again on the "play" button (the right-facing arrow) at the top of the listener.