Our Most Important Virtue

I came across this quote today by the third President of the United States.. it seems to speak to the current state of affairs in our country and in the world:
“I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.” -Thomas Jefferson
Thought I might comment on the points made in the quote:
  • Economic Virtue: So often we forget that how we use money is indicative of the condition of our national heart.. where our national treasure lies says much about the heart of our nation.
  • Perpetual Debt: This phrase sends shivers down my spine. I cannot fathom living my life in such a way that my children would be burdened with my debt when I die.
  • Taxing the Essentials: Jefferson certainly did not envision a nation that taxed meat and drink much less comforts and amusements. Somehow our government has gotten so big it needs to tax our necessities.
  • Wasting our Labor: This phrase is so graphic. It paints a picture of how the hard labor and sacrifice of citizens is squandered by career politicians who have lost their way and consequentially caused our nation to lose it's way.
  • Pretense of Caring: This one just breaks my heart. President Jefferson seemed to have an insight into the nature of the political machine and of uncaring and power hungry career politicians.
Writing this post has saddened me.. it is so easy to lose heart when you read some of these phrases. I guess I am just wondering where we are heading. I don't think that the founders of our country ever envisioned the behemoth that we now call our government. I guess it just strengthens my resolve to stand against career politicians of all stripes and parties.. we need a grass roots movement to take our government back.

100 and counting..


I liked the subtitle on today's front page of West Hawaii Today.. miles to go, promises to keep. I think that the jury is still out on Obama's promises and policies.. one poll I saw has the nation split. Yet I think that the majority of the nation likes the person of the new president and wants him to succeed. Here's wishing President Obama well in the future.. may God bless him with much wisdom as he leads our nation.

Burrito Bob

According to the What Kind of Fast Food Are You? quiz..

I am a Burrito

I'm not a picky person. I'm able to go with the flow and really enjoy life. I have a taste for the exotic, and I am quite adventurous. I am willing to try almost anything. I'm very low maintenance. I don't mind getting a bit messy if it means having fun. I'm not superficial or easily impressed. Someone has to be the real deal if they're going to impress me.

..not bad if you trust an opinion gleaned from 5 questions :)

What Kind of Fast Food Are You?

Intellectualism and Athleticism

Does anybody see a lot of difference between intellectualism and athleticism?
It seems to me that both are different strains of the same.. each are natural abilities or talents.. each can be improved or refined.. each can be sources of pride.. and both can result in some really dumb people.

I guess that is what I love about all of the "heart" stuff.. people can be wise even though they are not intellectual.. people can be strong even though they do not lift weights.. many times things like perseverance, imagination, personality and other indicators are better predictors of success.. in short.. you don't have to be an intellectual or an athlete to be successful in life.

What do you think?

The Blame Game

A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else. -John Burroughs

If you blame others for your failures, do you credit them with your success? -Unknown

When you cease to exist, then who will you blame? -Bob Dylan

There is luxury in self reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us. -Oscar Wilde

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny. -Albert Ellis

We believe that to err is human. To blame it on someone else is politics. -Hubert H. Humphrey

Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame. -Bertrand Russell

Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame. -Erica Jong

Goodbye Tony

Those of us who root for the KC Chiefs knew since last season that Tight End Tony Gonzales' days with our team were numbered.So the news this past week that Tony was traded to Atlanta was not a big surprise. Still it is very sad to see Tony go.. many of us were hoping he would retire in Kansas City.

Here's to you Tony.. one of the greatest Tight Ends that has ever played the game.. we will miss you.. thanks for giving it your all in KC.. we wish you much success in life and all you do.. but not when you play the Chiefs :)

Blues on the River

Had a great meal at a place that overlooked the Blues on the (Arkansas) River celebration this afternoon during our visit to Little Rock. The food was good (but I wish I had seen the Dixie Chicken van).. the music great.. and the company was fabulous.

Branson at Night

The fountains at Branson Landing.

Vacationing with Al Roker

Apparently Today Show weatherman celebrity Al Roker heard that Ann and I were vacationing in Branson, Missouri today and flew in to be with us. Unfortunately Al forgot we were here and didn't get close enough for a real close-up :)

And if you caught the today show at 10:30 EDT you might have seen a microscopic version of me in the crowd when the Chinese kids were performing.

Happy Earth Day

About Mistakes


A man's errors are his portals of discovery. -James Joyce

Unreasonable haste is the direct road to error. -Moliere

Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes. -Oscar Wilde

All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes. -Winston Churchill

Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also. -Carl Gustav Jung

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. -Albert Einstein

Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error. -Cicero

Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts. -Nikki Giovanni

Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. -Thomas Jefferson

Netbook Recommendations

Thinking about buying one of cute little netbooks? Here are a few thoughts from the folks at ZDNet:
  • A Linux Operating System will cut costs over ones equipped with Windows XP.
  • Many of the most popular models feature only seven or nine inch screens.. before buying test it using a sample or evaluation unit at a local retailer.
  • Battery life varies widely by manufacturer and model.. some get as much a 5 hours while some just over 2 hours.
  • Be sure to review the pointer (i.e. touchpad) configuration carefully to make sure it meets your preferences.
  • Some only include only 16GB solid state.. be sure to factor storage space into your purchase.
  • Most netbooks don’t have a CD-ROM or DVD drive and force you to buy an external one if you need it.
  • Rethink machines weighing more than three pounds — too many sub three-pound options are available for you to settle for needless dead-weight.
  • Verify that it has sufficient USB ports and the appropriate video and network connections for your needs.
  • When reviewing CPU specifications, keep in mind that faster-running chips typically diminish battery life.
  • Check wireless options.. many users require 802.11n or Bluetooth connectivity.. still others need their netbooks to connect to cellular networks.
I looked at netbooks before I bought my 13" notebook and didn't think one would meet my needs. What do you think? Would you buy one if the price was right? What would you use it for?

Il Silenzio


A beautiful rendition by a very talented 14 year old girl!

Rebates

This frame from Sunday's Dilbert cartoon reminded me of my visit last week to a store that offered an instant rebate on an LCD TV. I like the instant rebates but not so much the mail-in ones.. even though I am pretty organized and eventually get the money.

Do you have any rebate stories?

In case you missed the evening news..



All the news in under a minute with thanks to Robin

Lessons from Two Boys

I found these stories today in my email inbox and just had to share them with you. They reminded me of the parables that Jesus used to teach simple truths.

Always remember those who serve..

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

'How much is an ice cream sundae?' he asked.

'Fifty cents,' replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

'Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?' he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

'Thirty-five cents,' she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins.

'I'll have the plain ice cream,' he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies..

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

Giving When it Counts..

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, 'Yes I'll do it if it will save her.' As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, 'Will I start to die right away'.

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her but he had chosen to save her anyway.

Bo May Not Have Been Vetted

LOL - Maybe they should have used a real vet :)

John Madden Retires


Yesterday 73 year old sportscaster John Madden announced his retirement. ESPN characterized John as a fixture in NFL broadcast booths for 30 years. He has fourteen Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Event Analyst.

I will miss him but wish him well in retirement.. life is, after all, not all about work.

Books for Dummies

This cartoon got me to thinking about all of the "for Dummies" books that I have seen over the years,, This website lists a bunch of them covering subjects like computer software, Catholicism, Investing (who would trust that book), Real Estate, eBay, foreign languages, wine, photography, diabetes, golf, gardening and others. Ever read one of these "for Dummies" books?

The Terminator as Metaphor for Life

In his Wired Magazine article bearing the same name as this post Josh Friedman, executive producer of the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, has some interesting things to say about life and his TV show. Here are a few excerpts from his story:
But before I could actually start writing the show, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. I had to have an operation to remove the tumor, which meant I couldn't write it for that season. So I had a couple of months when I couldn't do anything, and I was in pain. I had this crisis — I went to a therapist, and I said, "What am I doing? I'm going to write a freaking show about a scary robot? Who cares?"

But when she calmed me down, I started reflecting upon it, and I realized that this show really was about my life. It was about mortality. The first voiceover I ever wrote for the series started with "I will die. I will die, and so will you. Death gives no man a pass." That's what the Terminators are — they're death coming to get us.
...
To me, the show is about what you do with life in the face of death. I mean, yeah, it's a genre show. It's the Terminator, and it's kind of pulpy, and some people think it's past its prime. But you can find yourself in this show. I definitely found myself in it.
The TV series season ended last Friday with a great twist in the plot. I had not thought about the whole life metaphor idea but resonate with it and think that it is one of the reasons I like the show. Each week we see the characters struggling against the enemies of mankind.. they are in a life and death battle - much like us.. even if we are living unaware.

Soul Wow


Forget that Sham Wow guy, Father Vic, from Soul Wow shows what we really need to do to get clean from the inside out.

Which Abraham Said It?

Without looking it up.. can you guess who said:
If the only tool you have is a hammer,
you tend to see every problem as a nail.
Was it? [presented in alphabetical order]
  1. Abraham Heschel - Jewish Rabbi and theologian
  2. Abraham Lincoln - sixteenth president of the USA
  3. Abraham Maslow - creator of the famous hierarchy of needs.
  4. Abraham Ribokowski - Russian human rights activist
  5. F. Murray Abraham - Academy Award winning actor
  6. Harold Abrahams - Olympic runner featured in the Chariots of Fire movie
You get one point if you identify the author of the quote and another if you identify the nonexistent person. Two points entitle you to a cup of Kansas Bob coffee.

Life is an Adventure

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
-Helen Keller

It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves - in finding themselves. -Andre Gide

We love because it's the only true adventure. -Nikki Giovanni

Life is uncharted territory. It reveals its story one moment at a time. -Leo F. Buscaglia

Adventure is not outside man; it is within. -David Grayson

When you're safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you're having an adventure you wish you were safe at home. -Thornton Wilder

One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure. -William Feather

I Support the Wealthy!

Did anyone see yesterday's issue of Parade magazine that touted the yearly earnings of a variety of people and occupations? I guess it is no surprise that a 35 year old Houston hedge-fund manager topped their list with $1.5 billion in annual compensation.

Ann and I were discussing the list yesterday and reflecting on the enormous amounts that celebrities and sports figures are compensated.

We Americans have a weird obsession with these folks and seem strangely unaware about our part in their compensation. I am part of the problem.. I watch the professional sports games on TV and go to the movies that many of these outrageously compensated people are showcased in.

All that said I have to say that I am proud that I can no longer be blamed for the outrageous salary of El Rushbo Limbaugh who made $38 million.. I also didn't support NY Yankee Alex Rodriquez's $34 million.. or contribute to Barbie's $3.3 billion income.. or take a GMAC loan to cover their CEO's $11.6 million.. also did not spend anything on the music of Jay Z ($82m) or Beyonce ($80m).. did not pay to watch a Tyler Perry ($125m) movie or buy one of John Grisham's ($25m) books.. and I did not watch Kelly Ripa ($8m) talk to Regis (who did not make their list).

I did watch Tina Fey last year and helped her earn $4.6 million.. oh well.. guess I only support a few rich people.. maybe it is good for the economy?

Which rich people do you support?

Boring TV

This funny cartoon from the folks at the Shoebox Blog reminded me of Sunday afternoon's viewing of The Masters golf tournament.. I watched for a while.. changed the channel then changed it back.. golf is just too boring. On the quazi-positive side I think that it is pretty good viewing if you are doing something else like reading a book or surfing the net.

Some realities shows fit into this boring TV category.. some PBS shows put me to sleep.. TV baseball games are snoozers..and I won't get into some of the weird stuff on the food network or cable news channels.

What do you consider boring TV? And don't tell me how exciting golf is :)

The Resurrection

To celebrate Easter I thought that I would post a few things that people have said about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ:

I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history. -E. M. Blaiklock (Professor of Classics, Auckland University)

I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. -Jesus of Nazareth

Both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions admit an empty tomb. -Josh McDowell

The foundation of our religion is a basis of fact - the fact of the birth, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection by the Evangelists as having actually occurred, within their own personal knowledge. -Simon Greenleaf

The empty tomb, and not the manger of Bethlehem, is the earthly symbol of the great birth upon which Christianity is founded. -Sir Robert Anderson

The entire plan for the future has its key in the resurrection. -Billy Graham

Without a doubt, at the center of the New Testament there stands the Cross, which receives its interpretation from the Resurrection. -Hans Urs von Balthasar

The Crucifixion loses its meaning without the Resurrection. Without the Resurrection the death of Christ was only the heroic death of a noble martyr; with the Resurrection it is the atoning death the Son of God. -R.A. Torrey

Good Friday



One of my favorite songs with scenes from the Jesus movie.

Flavored Coffee


This cartoon made me smile and remember how I used to like a hazelnut flavored blend of Einstein Brothers coffee. My wife likes caramel flavoring in her latte.. I just dump some sugar in mine. How about you? How do you like your coffee? With a bit of soy sauce?

PUMA in the City


General Motors and Segway planned to take a two-wheel concept vehicle for a spin around New York City last Tuesday.

The prototype vehicle, called Project PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), is designed to ease congestion and pollution problems in cities. It is based on the Segway Personal Transporter but holds two people, instead of one, and lets them sit, instead of stand.

A PUMA runs on lithium ion batteries, can reach 35 miles per hour, and can travel up to 35 miles between charges. It includes some high-tech touches, including GM's wireless OnStar communications technology that lets a passenger locate other drivers in a city.

The two-wheeler is meant to address the mounting problems of urban car transportation, according to the two companies that plan to unveil the vehicle at an auto show in New York. Read more here.

Red Envelopes to Washington

4/8/09 Update: The White House confirms that they have received over 2 million red envelopes.. [snarky comment alert].. not sure that the Obama administration was impacted but the post office thanks everyone who participated.. probably generated over a million dollars in revenue for them :)

2/22/09: Got an email from a friend this week urging me to:
Get a red envelope. You can buy them at Kinkos, or at party supply stores. On the front, address it to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington , D.C. 20500

On the back, write the following message.

This envelope represents one child who died because of an abortion. It is empty because the life that was taken is now unable to be a part of our world.

We will mail the envelopes out March 31st, 2009.

Put it in the mail, and send it. Then forward this event to every one of your friends who you think would send one too.
...
Together we can change the heart of The President and save the lives of millions of children.
Does anyone think that this campaign will really work? I guess I don't. I periodically "write my congressman" and always get a form letter response with their position on whatever issue I had wrote them about.. it is generally a huge waste of my time.. albeit a cathartic one.

Don't misunderstand me.. I think that a campaign like this one is a sincere and heartfelt one.. but I don't think that it will change President Obama's views about abortion laws.. but it may help the economy and maybe save a job or two at the post office.

What do you think? Have you found, from personal experience, that our leaders in Washington are responsive to your letters? How would you respond to these red envelopes if you were President Obama?

WWW: Dead Incumbent Re-Elected

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you this KC Star article titled:
Missouri town’s mayor, though deceased, wins re-election

Yesterday Harry Stonebraker was re-elected mayor of the eastern Missouri town of Winfield — about a month after his death. Ballots had already been printed and absentee voting had already begun when Stonebraker died March 11 of a heart attack at age 69. He won easily Tuesday with 206 votes, or 90 percent. Alderman Bernie Panther got the other 23 votes.

Another reason to support my new Challenger Party.. always vote against incumbents.

British Steam Car

Per ZDNet "It looks like the love child of the Batmobile and an F-15 fighter jet. Deep in its genome are traces of a very early automotive bloodline, the Stanley Steamer."

Duplicity | ★★★★★

Ann and I caught this Julia Roberts and Clive Owen quazi spy thriller a few weeks ago and both thought it to be an enjoyable flick but frankly a bit disappointing. Here are a few excerpts from the Christianity Today review:
  • A pair of corporate spies with a steamy history conspire to pull off the ultimate con in this smart, breathlessly entertaining cinematic musing on the fragility of trust.
  • At any given time, we have no idea what's going on, but rather than becoming frustrated, we hunker down and pay that much more attention, intent on reconstructing the jigsaw puzzle before all the playful twists are revealed. However, as the title suggests, deceit is the name of this intoxicating game, and we soon realize that success is nearly impossible when the pieces never sit still.
  • The romantic comedy is as much the crux of Duplicity as it is its ultimate means of misdirection, employed in such a way that we cannot help but think of earlier films like To Catch a Thief and The Thomas Crown Affair, even as Gilroy reappropriates their sophisticated repartee and transforms it into something darker and hence more modern.
The CT reviewer obviously liked it better than I did. On the plus side I really liked the corporate CEO characters played well by Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson. I thought that on screen chemistry between Roberts and Owen was okay but sub-par when compared with that of Roberts and Gere in Pretty Woman. If you have not seen it yet I suggest that you wait for it to come out on video. On a scale of 10 I give this movie ★★★★★

TwitterBots

Very true.. I generally block several "followers" a week because they are obviously robot spammers hawking their stuff on Twitter. On the flip side I like connecting with folks on a quazi-regular basis. If you read this please connect with me on Twitter.. see my sidebar for more info.

Hemochromatosis



Tag this a public service blog post.. Julie asked about why I gave blood that was tossed today on Facebook. About twelve years I was diagnosed with Hemochromatosis (HHC). According to hemochromatosis.org:
Hemochromatosis is a leading cause of iron overload disease. People with Hemochromatosis absorb extra amounts of iron from the daily diet. The human body cannot rid itself of extra iron. Over time, these excesses build up in major organs such as the heart, liver, pancreas, joints and pituitary. If the extra iron is not removed, these organs can become diseased. Untreated Hemochromatosis can be fatal.
HHC is a genetic disorder that my sister and I both share. My treatment over the years has involved regular blood testing and phlebotomy therapy.. a nurse discards 3-4 units of my iron-rich blood every year.. the first year after I was diagnosed required a phlebotomy every other week (26 units of blood).. those needles are pretty big.. and hurt a bit :)

HHC is not fatal if it is caught early and aggressively treated like mine was.. a good reason to insure that your blood is screened for high iron levels when you get your annual physical.. you do get one I hope :)


Loaded Questions

I thought this one was funny but way too close to home.. but I only counted two insults. Ever have someone ask you to be "honest" and then ask you something that could not be answered without saying something vague or a borderline lie? Often these questions are loaded with all sorts of subtleties like "if you don't like my scarf then you must think that I have bad taste".

Have any canned answers that have worked for you? How about pleading the 5th?

Google Reader ousts Bloglines




I have been a longtime user and advocate of Bloglines (BL). I liked the way that it helped me organize the RSS feeds from many blogs and news sources.

When Google Reader (GR) came out I tried it but thought that it lacked the full complement of features and integration that I had in BL. Well, things have gotten better for GR and stayed pretty much the same for BL.. even their Beta version. I can now integrate my GR blogroll into my blog along with several of their other widgets.. and the one BL script that I use often slows down my blog. But the thing that pushed me over the edge is the way that GR displays on and interacts with my Moto Q smart-phone.. a much better and faster integration than BL. So I switched.

Do you use an RSS reader? Which one and why?

Patience

One of the lessons that I have learned in life is the power of patience. I feel that I can out-patient just about anyone.. but I have not always been this way.. I have learned through many mistakes - don't ask me about my Volkswagen Rabbit :)

Patience will cause you to wait until something goes on sale.. it will reign in your impulse to act.. it will help you in the raising of your children and it will bring success to you at work and in other parts of your life.

Here is a bit of wisdom on the topic from some notable folks:

He that can have patience can have what he will. -Benjamin Franklin

Patience and fortitude conquer all things. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. -Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. -Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears. -Barbara Johnson

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it. -Arnold H. Glasgow

Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in one ahead. -Bill McGlashen

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. -St. Francis de Sales

Letter from Huckster Huckabee

I got a letter on Wednesday from former Arkansas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee titled: What My Mother Would Tell Obama. It started off with all sorts of anecdotal info about the economy and something he calls the "Wall Street-to-Washington Axis of Power". Then brother Mike took a bit of a segue when he said:
That may not be the "change" that many Americans voted for last November -- but it's the change we're all getting. And we're stuck with it for at least a few more years.

In the meantime, however, how can you and I secure our financial futures even as President Obama and Congress are doing so much to drive down our economy?

As a politician and talk-show host, I wouldn't say I'm qualified to answer that for you -- but thankfully, I know someone who is.
He then went on to recommend some financial guru that could help me out and gave me his website. Does anybody find this kind of huckstering a bit beneath someone who wanted to be our president. It disappointed me that Mike is using his influence in the conservative Christian community in this way.. maybe he needs to get a real job?

Sebelius: Incompetent to File Tax Returns

This cartoon got a chuckle out me.

Hopefully Governor Sebelius will not have as much trouble reforming health care as she (and her husband) did filing their taxes the past several years. A CPA found three errors that cost them over $7,000 and forced them to amend their returns.


Of course Sebelius will have to get past those hard nosed pro-life senators to be confirmed.. I am sure that she is really worried - LOL.

Grading Obama


I think that this poll, with almost 1.4 million folks voting, is a very interesting one. I think that it speaks to the polarization that is prevalent in our country.. I mean really.. how many of your employers would give you an "A" or an "F" when you were on the job just a few months. You can vote here.

April Fools

Which of the following list of 10 is not an April Fool's spoof?
  • I have decided that I am tired of blogging.. too much narcissism for me.. I quit!
  • Ann and I are expecting a child.
  • I am considering the possibility of starting a new political party that is not centered on ideology.
  • I secretly blog using a titanium MacBook.. Leopard rules!
  • I listen to El Rushbo almost every day.
  • I am embracing Christian Universalism.. no Hell.. no problem.
  • I have placed an alert with Sprint to notify me when the Palm Pre becomes available so that I can be the first in line to buy.
  • I have completed the first five chapters of a new book titled: The God of Pain.
  • I have decided to watch Good Morning America instead of Morning Joe.. Joe is just too conservative for me.
  • Rachel Maddow is my favorite politcal commentator.
Take your best guess before you look at others guesses in the comments.

America's Bankers

Some interesting info from a CNBC article titled "Biggest Holders of US Gov't Debt". Here is the way the article begins:
As the US government spends an unprecedented amount of money to fix the nation's economy, there is an equally great need to raise the cash to pay for it. This is accomplished through borrowing, whereby Uncle Sam sells Treasury securities of varying maturity.

For investors, the government bills, notes and bonds are consdidered a safe financial product because they have a guaranteed rate of return, based on faith in future US tax revenues. The government has been partially funding operations via Treasury securities for decades. This borrowing adds to the national debt, which is now above $11 trillion and is rising every day. Much of that debt is held by private sector, but about 40 percent is held by public entities, including parts of the government.
The list of our bankers is an interesting one that includes institutions, like commercial banks, savings banks and credit unions, that hold approximately $107.3 billion in US debt.. Mutual Funds carry a large part of the debt managing approximately $769.1 billion of US Treasury securities.The list also includes:
  • China: Standing at $739.6 billion in January, China’s holdings have skyrocketed from $492.6 billion from a year earlier. Hong Kong, which is not included in China's total, holds an additional $71.7 billion.
  • Japan holds a huge amount of the country’s debt, with a stunning $634.8 billion. As recently as January 2008, Japan held the more US debt than any other country, but currently holds the #2 spot, as far as foreign governments are concerned.
  • US State and Local Governments have over a half-trillion dollars invested in American debt, according to the Federal Reserve. The level of investment has remained very stable over the past three years, moving within the range of $516.9 billion and $550.3 billion from 2006 to 2009.
  • Private and Local Government Pension Funds, totaling $456.4 billion. The private pension fund category also includes US Treasury securities held by the Federal Employees Retirement System Thrift Savings Plan "G Fund."
  • Oil Exporters like Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria combines for a total of $186.3 billion, up from $140.8 billion one year earlier.
  • Caribbean Banking Centers hold $176.6 billion, up from $109.2 billion in January 2008.
  • Insurance Companies hold $126.4 billion in Treasury securities.
  • Other countries (Brazil, the United Kingdom, Russia and Luxembourg) hold between $600 and 700 billion in US debt.
An interesting fact is that the biggest holder of US government debt is the United States itself. The Federal Reserve system of banks and other US intragovernmental holdings account for a stunning $4.806 trillion in US Treasury debt. And with recent announcements from the Fed, potentially another $1 trillion may be added to its balance sheet.

Not Cool Enough for Mac



ZDNet took a poll on this new Microsoft Ad..



..you know that I loved it :)