Monday, January 30, 2006


If you have been paying attention to world news over the past few years it would be nearly impossible to come to the conclusion that we are not doomed to an apocolyptic end...

All we have to do to avoid the impending doom is completely relinquish control of our economic liberty to a group of unelected and unaccountable elitist bureacrats who will then save us from ourselves.

From global warming to hurricanes/tsunamis to pandemic diseases to nuclear non-proliferation, all we have to do is trust the UN to unleash their combined power for utopian good and we can avoid the trainwreck.

Here we have the UN Development Programme admitting that they are willing to unleash 7 trillion dollars to advance the greater good. Where does the money come from? I thought you would never ask, it's kind of like this: Rich countries (read the USA) just have to admit of when they are sinking money in a failed program and then cancel that program and spend the savings "up front" on a new program. Sounds easy doesn't it?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Where's the applause?

Gen Abizaid has announced that US troop deployment has been reduced by 15-20% over the past two months.

We should all be happy, right? People who support the war in Iraq are pleased that there has been progress and our servicemen and women are now coming home having accomplished their mission...people who opposed should be pleased because they are getting what they want, troops out of Iraq....so why is it not a story? Why are there no reports on it?

Here we have the story as reported by Agence France-Presse.

It should be in every US paper...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Koan of the Week

And here it is--I know you were hoping that I would post a new koan.

Real Prosperity

A rich man asked Sengai to write something for the continued prosperity of his family so that it might be treasured from generation to generation.

Sengai obtained a large sheet of paper and wrote: "Father dies, son dies, grandson dies."

The rich man became angry. "I asked you to write something for the happiness of my family!"

"Why do you make such a joke as this?"

"No joke is intended," explained Sengai. "If before you yourself die you son should die, this would grieve you greatly. If your grandson should pass away before your son, both of you would be broken-hearted. If your family, generation after generation, passes away in the order I have named, it will be the natural course of life. I call this real prosperity."

The last Laffer

The Laffer Curve postulates that there is an optimal tax rate to maximize revenues and that by lowering current rates, revenues would actually increase.

If you remember the wailing and gnashing of teeth by the left wing pundits and Democrat shills about the budget deficits you may have noticed that they have gotten quiet.

Their claim was: “you can’t cut taxes, there is a budget deficit, tax cuts for the rich will just increase the deficit.” Of course this is silly for two reasons, deficits are a function of spending as much as they are a function of receipts. If you make 3k a month and spend 4k a month, you are running a deficit of 1k a month. You could demand an increase in pay to eliminate the deficit spending, (which is what our gov’t does to us) or you could just decrease your spending…

The Bush tax cuts of ‘01 and ’03 have brought us solid economic expansion, lower unemployment, the stock market has increased over 4 trillion in value, home values have increased by over 10 trillion in value, next to zero inflation, and yet the chorus from the Dems was, “tax cuts for the rich will just increase the deficit.” They are wrong again…

There was a $120 billion reduction in the budget deficit in 2005. That's because tax receipts rose by more than in any previous year in U.S. history, even adjusting for inflation. Receipts were up by $55 billion above projections in 2004; $122 billion above projections in 2005; and are already running well ahead of projections so far in fiscal 2006 (which began in October).

Inertia of the machine

There is no stopping it. The sprawling and extending of government has grown impossible to contain, and Americans (in general) lack the desire to to take on the herculean task of reigning in the profligacy.

It's hard to believe that we are the collective descendants of men who denounced the King and took up arms to protest "taxation without representation" on what amounts to a small sales or use tax.

" In the early 1960s, transfer payments (entitlements and welfare) constituted less than a third of the federal government's budget. Now they constitute almost 60 percent of the budget, or about $1.4 trillion per year. Measured according to this, the US government's main function now is redistribution: taking money from one segment of the population and giving it to another segment. In a few decades, transfer payments are expected to make up more than 75 percent of federal government spending.
Currently the federal government consumes about 20 percent of the GDP, which is another way of saying that about 20 percent of Americans' income, on average, is paid in taxes to the federal government. According to the Government Accountability Office, that is on course to rise to 30 percent by 2040. Most of that 30 percent would be redistributed as payments to other Americans, rather than spent on standard government services like law enforcement, transportation, defense, national parks, or space exploration."

I think it was Mencken that said "people get the government they deserve, and they deserve to get it good and hard."

"warriors and wusses"

Finally a man actually says what so many have been thinking...Joel Stein writes in the LA Times what I have been contending for a long time. It is hard to maintain that you "support the troops" when you disparage everything they accomplish and openly wish for their failure.

When you hear someone say, "Iraq is the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time" simultaneously contend they "support the troops," it can get a little thick.

Of course committing American lives and treasure for meaningful change in the middle east is difficult and was only considered a price worth paying after it became clear that we can not accept terror sponsoring dictators. I truly believe that we are safer in the long run for having gone and done it.

Here is Joel's op ed. Here is one of the most loathsome portions:

But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.
Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there — and who might one day want to send them somewhere else. Trust me, a guy who thought 50.7% was a mandate isn't going to pick up on the subtleties of a parade for just service in an unjust war. He's going to be looking for funnel cake.
Besides, those little yellow ribbons aren't really for the troops. They need body armor, shorter stays and a USO show by the cast of "Laguna Beach."The real purpose of those ribbons is to ease some of the guilt we feel for voting to send them to war and then making absolutely no sacrifices other than enduring two Wolf Blitzer shows a day. Though there should be a ribbon for that.

Now that Joel has actually come out and said it, how long will it take for others to agree?

For the record, I support our troops, I appreciate their sacrifice, and I hope they come home as soon as they can.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Koan of the Week

It is time for your Koan of the Week!

This one is great, I think you will like it, because who doesn’t like strawberries?

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.
Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Divine Bowling Coalition

Self styled education activist Rob Van Der Sloot is suing the school board of Pig Snout, Arkansas for the right to teach children in our great nation “alternative theories” for the explanation of natural phenomena such as thunder.

While conventional scientific theories have described lightning as a giant spark that superheats the air around it causing a rapid expansion of gases and the trademark “boom” of thunder, some scientists have offered other explanations.

One such alternative is Divine Bowling: a theory that suggests that the thunder that we experience during thunderstorms is actually the result of the supernatural bowling tournament held intermittently in the heavens, and while we are unable to physically see the spectacular bowling event, Mr. Van Der Sloot is confident that his “Divine Bowling,” explanation is every bit as scientifically sound a theory as the conventional wisdom.

“I can’t see negatively charged ions, or electrically charged particles---how could they possibly cause that noise? On the contrary, have you ever stood in a bowling alley during Thurssday night tourneys? Now that seems more plausible” said Mr. Van Der Sloot.

Other alternative theory advocates are encouraging educators to keep an open mind, and be willing to teach alternatives.

There is also the theory of the “Big Giant Invisible Man that drags his feet on shag carpet” explanation for the existence of lightning.

At this time, it’s too early to tell, but we clearly want to keep an open mind to all possible explanations. There is no black and white, we all live in shades of grey. One man’s negatively charged ion is another man’s supernatural omnipotent bowler.

Save the Planet!!

Cut Down the Trees! Or Kill the flatulent farm animals!

It turns out that methane, one of the "worst greenhouse gases" that we superpowerful humans are destroying the earth with is coming out of trees, and cow's and pigs....

So the next time you are thinking that you are driving a gas guzzling Sequoia and feeling a little self loathing...clear your conscience--slaughter a pig and prevent it from destroying the atmosphere. Or clear cut a forest...or poison a herd of cattle, anything to prevent those dangerous gases from accumulating in our atmosphere and raising the mean global temperature by .00015 degrees over the next 50 years.

You don't believe me? read this

Sunday, January 15, 2006

St. Ann shout out

I spent the evening Saturday visiting some friends in St. Ann with my beautiful bride. Hey Lee, Mooch, T, and all others!

We celebrated 7 years of wedded bliss in a fairly unconventional way, but that's OK, because we are a fairly unconventional team.

I have just joined the rest of the country and got DSL, (yes, I have been using dial-up until now.)

It's amazingly fast, easy installation, absolutely cool...I plan on buying a wireless router next week and I will not only connect to the internet with blazing speed, but be able to do it while sitting on my deck, enjoying the sunset with my trusty laptop.
Shameless plug, Sprint DSL is now only 19.95 so if you don't have it, get it. Send me a comment and I will refer you to one of my buddies.

Anyway, this is my first "high speed" post, there will be many more.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

State of our State

We might all have a little more respect for politicians if they would simply accept reality occasionally, instead of rejecting it and replacing it with their own. We are all tired of reflexive disagreement. If a Republican stands in front of an audience and says, “I am wearing a red tie.” The Democrats will respond, “It troubles me that Mr. Republican would consider his tie red when so many Americans are without healthcare. Our children are not wearing red ties…”

Gov Blunt gave his SOTS address last night, and he emphasized a few key points: education funding, unemployment rates, job creation, and the state budget vis a vis a modest surplus due to intelligent and targeted cuts in spending and increases in revenues.

Of course the Democrat response was perfectly unhinged—and the rhetoric doesn’t match reality, and most Missourians are capable of distinguishing between the two---and most Missourians don’t appreciate being lied to.

Example: If unemployment rates were at “historic lows” during a Democratic administration (Carnahan/Holden), and then they fall further still, how can they now be “lagging behind the national rate” as the Democrat response claims? If Missouri’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average, how can it be “lagging behind the national rate”? The Democrats claim that there has been no jobs created since May of last year….seriously, that’s what they claim, and then they blame Blunt.

It’s classic playground tactics, “tearing down” your opponent in order to make yourself feel better….and it looks silly.

Why not try to take a little credit for working together in the legislature, admit that the economy is doing well but there is always room for improvement, and either agree with the proposals that the Governor introduced in the SOTS, or substantively disagree and offer an alternative, instead of offering the intellectual equivalent of name-calling or sticking your fingers in your ears and saying “na na na na I can’t hear you.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Koan of the Week

Back to what djobe is famous for, your weekly koan. (if you don’t believe me--do a google search on “Koan of the Week”)

If you are new to this feature, every week (almost) I post a new koan. A koan is a parable passed down for generations in the zen tradition. Here it is:

Three kinds of disciples

A Zen master named Gettan lived in the latter part of the Tokugawa era. He used to say: "There are three kinds of disciples: those who impart Zen to others, those who maintain the temples and shrines, and then there are the rice bags and the clothes-hangers."

Gasan expressed the same idea. When he was studying under Tekisui, his teacher was very severe. Sometimes he even beat him. Other pupils would not stand this kind of teaching and quit. Gasan remained, saying: "A poor disciple utilizes a teacher's influence. A fair disciple admires a teacher's kindness. A good disciple grows strong under a teacher's discipline."

I've got your polarization right here!

It is taken as a given that the “increasing polarization” in American politics and culture has grave implications, talking heads on both sides of the spectrum lament the “culture war” and the “widening divide” or the “ideology gap.” President Bush ran as a “uniter not a divider” and plenty of conversations that I have had over the past few weeks and months have had a decidedly, “can’t-we-all-just-get-along” theme.

That is a natural evolution of our post modern educational system, where everyone’s opinions are equally valuable and viable, and everyone’s cultural experience is equally “good.” We have taught them that there is no “Truth” with a capital “T”--- that truth is just a social construct. In our postmodernist climate, the universal battle cry is “Who are we to judge?” and “Everyone is entitled to their opinions.”

I am here to say that while everyone may be entitled, it doesn’t make them correct. One of the greatest disservices that we have done to young people is to imply that great achievements can be made without great efforts or sacrifice--- that all opinions are equally viable. The idea that you can just sit around and dream about greatness and it will happen for you, without great efforts and studies and risk taking. Show me a man of great achievement and I will show you a man that has dedicated his being to that purpose.

I digress, what I really wanted to comment on was the “culture wars.” Some wish to shy away from the culture wars, or act as though they are above it all, too intellectually pure to sully themselves with the hard work of making and defending declarative statements of principle.

I say: BRING IT ON! We should welcome honest and informed disagreement. Welcome the opportunity to empirically demonstrate the correctness of your beliefs. If you cannot, then maybe you are wrong, or maybe you don’t know why you believe what you believe. Notice I say honest and informed....

In the 1400’s the majority of the world believed that the planet was flat, they were entitled to their opinions, but they were wrong…and so it is today. Few believe the world is flat, but many believe all sorts of clap-trap. It is a time for the Christopher Columbus of this century to sail his Nina and Pinta and Santa Maria right over the edge and show the world where it is wrong.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Governor’s Student Leadership Forum/Bolt of lightning

Occasionally someone says something that hits you like a bolt of lightning. My hair did not catch on fire, but I heard a speaker earlier this week while attending a forum on student leadership say something that stopped me in my tracks. More on that in a moment…

The forum was hosted by the governor, and we had an opportunity to meet and listen to some great people talk about their faith and values and how their beliefs inform their daily lives and impact the decisions they make as they lead their respective communities.

I was a facilitator along with Ken (Hi, Ken!) and we had the opportunity to meet lots of college students from around the state, and break into a small group with 8 of them (Hi, guys!). We shared some time, some good food, and our thoughts about faith and values as it relates to leadership.

We heard a lot of great speakers including a Supreme Court Justice, some business leaders, and some one on one time with the Governor. A gentleman from Worldwide Technologies, (the founder-actually) David Steward was the speaker who hit me with that bolt of lightning. It was just one of many things I was able to see and hear over the past couple of days. I will try to share some of the other things as well, but this one is stuck in my head---

I’ll paraphrase:
“Are you living your life in a way that is worthy of the sacrifice of those that came before you?”

We all fall short.