Saturday, December 1, 2007

7 Blunders

Thought the following was worth repeating from Wikipedia. How timely is #7.

The Seven Blunders of the World is a list that Mahatma Gandhi gave to his grandson Arun Gandhi, written on a piece of paper, on their final day together, not too long before his assassination.[1]

  1. Wealth without work

  2. Pleasure without conscience

  3. Knowledge without character

  4. Commerce without morality

  5. Science without humanity

  6. Worship without sacrifice

  7. Politics without principle

Friday, November 30, 2007

__ things every teenage should know

Here are five (5) things every person between 15-18 should know.

1. The Gettysberg Address
2. The 10 Commandments
3. How to fix a flat tire
4. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech
5. How to balance a check book

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I think Abraham Lincoln said it best when he pronounced the establishment of Thanksgiving Day as a holiday.

"I invite my fellow citizens to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiv ing and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. "

Abraham Lincoln
3 Oct 1863

Sunday, November 18, 2007

8 ways to save our economy

If I were king here are eight (8) things I would do to return fiscal sanity to our country. I welcome your thoughts and comments. (Note - these are note in priority.)

1. Cancel The Medicare Part D program: Too expensive and too inefficient; a mess that we cannot afford. "A camel is a horse designed by a committee."; Medicare Part D is a camel. In years past our politicians would build offices and monuments to themselves now they are building gold-plated entitlement programs that are neither understandable nor effective at solving the problem for which they were created. Bush's worst domestic program that is not needed when we already have a program that works just fine.

2. Replace Current Income Tax with National Sales Tax with no deductions or exceptions:
The single best and fastest way to restore sanity and trust to our government. The current income tax system is but a wage tax and touches mostly those whose salary is reduced by those who must pay the 941. Easy to implement - most every state currently collects from those selling products or services in their state - and more efficient - easier to track down 12+ million "sellers" than 160+ million individuals. For example a 22% National Sales tax combined with an $8,000/year prebate for each household spares the lowest earners while enabling everyone else to control and manage precisely how much tax they pay.

3. Cancel Corp Tax: Makes politicians feel good but doesn't work [has never worked] as it is just a cost passed along to consumers.

4. Raise Fed Gasoline tax by $.10/year for each of the next ten (10) years: It is in the best interest of everyone in our country for us to use less gasoline. Taxes when implemented correctly make sense and a tax on gasoline that is scheduled to increase at a prescribed amount over a period of time will enable consumers to make their own choices is just such an example.

5. Reduce the number of school districts to one per county: School districts are an anachronism that have outlived their usefulness with the exception of their ability at hiring over priced administrative staffs. Having one school district for one (1) town or worse one (1) school is simply a waste of money that offers almost nothing to students. (You don't need a school district to run a bus service let alone manage a set of elementary and secondary schools that serve less than 3,000 students) School districts exists almost solely for the purpose of hiring and spending money on administrative personnel. In addition to funding schools need teachers, principles and parents to be effective; not administrators.

6. Cut all Federal entitlement expenditures by 10% in each of the next three (3) years: There is so much fat, fraud and waste in every entitlement program that an across the board 10% cut is the least we should expect. Granted that most all of our Fed representatives are beholden to only a small percentage of their constituents and special interests but it would be a challenge worth offering.

7. Raise the qualifying age for Social Security to 70 for those born on or after 1958 and then to 75 for those born on or after 1967. The math is simple. Either we reduce SS by some small amount for all or the whole thing will collapse and serve as the foundation for a revolution. Defined pensions went the way of the unicorn so why shouldn't SS?

8. Elected officials should be for single but longer terms that are purely voluntary.Today's professional politicians (i.e. Murtha, Bruno, Byrd, etc) are the single most destructive force in our political system. They serve no one but themselves and exist solely to retain their power. Congress - save a few oversight committees - is a useless entity that serves no one but themselves. Time to hit the re-set button.

Monday, July 9, 2007

A case for a National Sales Tax

Congress is sitting on an opportunity that is almost too good to be true.

It is in the form of Bills HR 25 and S 1493 "Fair Tax Act of 2003", and if passed it would be heralded by all Americans as the single greatest act of liberation and support for the citizenry of this country since the Declaration of Independence. (Please don't confuse the writing of the Declaration of Independence with the wording of HR 25 or S 1493 mind you; just the possible outcome.)

A 22% National Sales Tax (NST) would do the following:

1. Spur investment and savings because you could put away savings BEFORE it is taxed. Today the avg. US citizen saves the least amount as a percentage of their income than any of the 20 leading industrialized nations. Savings, and not borrowing, is the #1 growth engine for any economy.

2. Fairness: Make sure everyone pays. Afterall, it's easier to chase down 8 million + business than it is 170 million tax payers.

3. Simplicity: The mechanism to collect the NST already exists. Every public, private and non-profit firm/org. in America already pays taxes to the state in which they reside i.e. 941, FICA, FUTA, etc. Having them now also collect an additional 22% NST would simply be just another item to collect, file and pay. To the contrary, filling out individual tax returns is simply a time consuming hassle at best and an expensive nightmare at worst.

4. Greater Revenue: Today it is estimated that each year hundreds of billions of dollars are lost for non payment/compliance by tax payers. With a NST that number would be reduced substantially because of a) simplicity of collection and b) less reason to hide income.

Is a NST perfect? By no means. Is it better than what we have today? Absolutely! Will our economy suffer by switching from an income to a consumption tax? Absolutely not!! Will some people cry foul? Absolutely! Those who have not been paying their fair share of taxes and those who live off those who do not pay their fair share of taxes.

Let me know what you think. More importantly let your Congress person know what you think and tell your friends if you agree to let their representatives know as well.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Philemon - A letter to a friend.

Do you know who Philemon was? I didn't.

A few days ago I found a personal letter that was written to him from a friend who happened to be in prison at the time and he wasn't requesting bail or visitation rights.

What's most curious about the letter - besides being almost 1,970 years old, is that its about someone, a run-away slave named Onesimus, who fled Philemon and who coincidentally found himself working in - of all places - a prison that housed one of his former owner's friends. This friend of Philemon was a guy named Paul who himself was a well trained and highly respected [feared] lawyer who - because of an incident years earlier on the trip to Damascus - found himself on the wrong side of the law. Simply put I found this letter to be a fascinating read and study of two (2) professional men and in the power and value of grace and its ability to alter one's heart, the course of mankind and history itself.

Further more beyond its prose and style I was struck by the position Paul took that simultaneously reflected his lawlerly background and their mutual love and faith in Jesus Christ - in resolving what could only be described as a bad situation for Onesimus. (Something today's politicians and civic leaders could well learn from.) And to add to the tension Paul asks Onesimus to a) quit his job at the prison and b) return to Philemon with the this specific letter. (Since it was common to kill run away slaves who return I couldn't help but wonder if Onesimus read this private letter? If not what must have been going on through his mind when he saw Philemon and handed him the letter.) It was not just Paul but Paul and the Holy Spirit which turned the entire situation around into an incredible WIN-WIN for all concerned by appealing to their mutual commitment, love and faith in Jesus Christ. Could you have imaged writing a sentence like the following.

"Perhaps the reason he (Onesimus) was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever - no longer as a slave, but better that a slave, as a dear brother..."(v15)

I would have said "Philemon, get me out of here!"

In early April TIME magazine ran an article about bringing the Bible back into the school's curriculum. Whether you agree or disagree with that idea, and regardless of your position on faith, after reading the letter a guy named Paul wrote to his friend named Philemon concerning a run away slave you would be hard pressed not to see at the very least the civic value the Bible has to offer our future generations. Is there any question in any one's mind that it would make worse the present situation?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Web 2.0 Expo - A perspective

The Internet is indeed alive and growing! Last weeks (4/15-18/07) Web 2.0 Expo proved beyond a doubt that the Internet as you knew it just a few months ago is rapidly morphing and changing both itself and the way in which we are able to connect with others. My case in point:

Jeff Bezos founder and CEO of Amazon did not spend one moment discussing his incredibly successful business but instead focused almost exclusively on his new ventures

Search on Blog has gone from nil to 20% of all search activity in less than 6 mos; an astounding figure.

1 in 2 bloggers are under 30. 1 in 3 are over 30.

Word of mouth advertising is fast replacing ad generated spin as the prefered way to sell a service or product.

Widgets and Gadgets are a must.

Test, test and keep on testing.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Naked Conversations

Having just finished Naked Conversations by Scoble/Isreal I'm more convinced than ever that this here medium (blogs) has reached the Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell so effortlessly defined in his book of the same name. The "little thing" that has tipped for blogs I sense is the sudden ease with which both creating [writing] and searching for blogs has ocurred. Furthermore blogs like those from the likes of Battelle, Scobel and Israel just reaffirm the wealth of insite and wisdom that is available to all by simply taking the time to turn off their TV and start blogging. Also, try out Melnik's Blog The Mushroom Farm. Welcome and enjoy. More to come.

Note: This blog actually back with my first attempt titled Getting Started which fizzled.