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Advice to young writers? Always the same advice: learn to trust your judgment, learn inner independence, learn to trust that time will sort the good from the bad-including your own bad. -- Doris Lessing
James Dobson deeply offends my sensibilities. He and a group of influential Christians threaten to create a third-party candidacy if Giuliani is the Republican nominee.
"If the Republican Party nominates a pro-abortion candidate we will consider running a third-party candidate."
As if abortion were the most important issue facing America today... but that's enough to cause them to try and stop the election of a right-leaning candidate.
If they cough up such a candidate to represent them, they could take enough Republicans with them to give Hillary a plurality, like Perot gave ol' Bill Clinton, and ta-da: they have, by subtraction at the polls, elected a pro-abortion liberal who wants to take money from the wealthy and redistribute it to the poor.
Yeah - that'll make these Christian leaders powerful and influential with the rest of us. For the rest of time, we'd find a way around them.
You see, they shoot themselves in the foot. Because the next president will replace a few justices on the Supreme Court. Their election of Hillary by subtraction will ensure that their precious goal of overturning Roe Vs. Wade will never happen; the court would turn liberal.
Even their supporters might abandon them in that aftermath.
I recently ordered two 24" x 36" posters of the collage of my artwork. It looks like this:
I think I'm going to give one to my daughter and keep one for myself. And Tamara has requested a smaller one for her office. I'll order that today.
This format for my artwork really appeals to me. It has me thinking a lot of what I intend with my art going forward. This kind of remix of so much color and so many different subjects makes it more interesting to me.
When I was very young, the notion of reading a book without pictures was absurd. Pictures delighted me. It added to the experience. It made the characters more real to me.
When I got older, pictures books were a childish thing. I read the long tomes, pages of endless black and white, letters left to right and top to bottom, all neatly aligned in the correct margins.
The older I get, the more I crave picture books. It's probably prompted by the re-awakening of my right brain after years of left-brained programming activity. But I suspect there's more to it than that. You see, you like picture books too.
Oh sure, you can hike your nose in the air at the my belief but I will prove it to you.
Answer this: at work, would you rather have the white paper discussing the project at hand or the PowerPoint presentation with pictures and flowcharts? ("Neither" is not a choice...)
Okay okay... so your project is not fiction (well, maybe it is, depending on how many milestones the project has missed). I'll give you that a comparison of a child's picture book to the Nyquil-equivalent technical white paper from work are not on par with each other, but look at the image above...
If I looked at you and said the word, "pleasure," would you have thought of well-worn blue jeans and bare feet in the cool grass on a summer day?
Nope. Not a chance.
But that's what I was thinking. That was how I wanted to convey "pleasure" to you. And I did it in a fraction of the time that words would have taken.
Bloggers routinely put images with their blog posts to "spice it up" - to make their words more attractive. Let's face it - most blogs are picture books.
So c'mon, admit it. You're among friends here. You can say that you like picture books, too.
I think we emphasize verbal vocabulary over visual virtuosity. Verbose v. visual. In the marketplace, verbose wins. Look at all the books on expanding your word power.
So my question to you: what's your mental image for "pleasure?" (Trust me - I have one like that too, but this is a family-friendly web site.) How many ways can you convey "pleasure" via pictures?
Me, I paint and that has helped me quite a bit reacquaint with this part of myself. You might not be an artist... but everyone has a digital camera. Why not think up how to best convey "pleasure" and then arrange the shot and take the picture?
Really... why not?
Practice building your visual prowess in addition to verbal prowess. Both are ways of communicating. But I guarantee, you'll have a much surer audience if you can get some measure of skill with creating images. You'll hold the attention of your audience longer for the time that it takes to communicate your message.
So once a week, pick a word and build the scene and take the shot.
Here in Iowa, most of the managers with whom I've worked have been women. In fact, most of the managers where I now work are women, including the president of the company.
If Hillary gets into office, let it be for the fact that she is the best person for the job (she's not), and not for the token that she happens to be a woman. Iowa typically votes Democrat in its choice for president anyway, so I don't know why this article was necessary, but evidently someone thought so.
There's comes a point in every project where you're knee-deep into it and it seems like an ever-increasing amount of work and you know you have aspects of it yet to figure out and it's a bit daunting. But you keep putting one foot in front of the other. That's how a project comes to pass: one step at a time.
And then there's my favorite part of the project: that part where things are really coming together and you begin to see it as it really is...
From that point forward, it gets fun and easy. Effortless, almost.
A couple of months back, I mentioned that I was undertaking a secret project. A few people know about it, and it's been an evening and weekend effort, stuffed between time with my beautiful wife and the kids. Lots of imagination, scenarios, a few meetings, emails, coding, analysis, and - most importantly - optimism. I do a demo of it this week to my partners, and with their tweak requests and the last phase of coding, I'll have not much left but testing and previewing to customers - who've already expressed interest and want to see it. Nice when that happens before you even finish.
Today, as I finish each two-hour shift of programming, I get up from the chair and bounce around the house, excited. I feel like I could stop bullets...
I'm up late working on the development project, and during a break, I read that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D) of New York wants to raise the taxes of the top income bracket.
The bill may propose that high-income filers would pay at least a 4 percent surtax on adjusted gross incomes above $100,000 ($200,000 for joint-filers).
Now, I wonder why this is necessary, because I recently read that the budget deficit is the lowest it's been in 5 years because of rising tax revenues at the current tax rates. If current tax revenue is getting closer to bringing about a balanced budget, why increase the tax rates?
Part of Rangel's proposal is to get rid of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) - a mechanism by which upper-income people pay more tax than normal rates. The problem with the AMT is that it hits a lot of voters. Hey, I'm good with the idea of dropping the AMT.
But again, I argue: why raise rates at all? If the budget gets closer to being balanced, why not drop the AMT and stave off higher taxes for everyone? A tax hike is unnecessary - unless of course Democrats plan on a Democrat president and increased government spending in 2009. Oink.
ETC: Pale Rider chimes in with a great comment. I'll quote him in full...
Get ready for socialism courtesy of Hillary. Dems have been wanting this for years. If they get both houses and the presidency they may finally get their wish. To be fair though they should run as a socialist party. Although the republicans have slid so far left they should run as democrats. There really aren't any conservatives left. Kind of funny to watch them argue about who is more republican.
Seeing how I am of fair mind today I'll also say we don't have to wait until 2009 for more spending. Bush has spent more than Bill Clinton ever dreamt of.
The Universal Music Group is retarded. They have utterly no clue how to market. What could have been an engaging and cute way of making people feel good about Prince's music, they turn the music into a negative.
A "source" in the article says that it was Prince's doing, but um, he was giving away his new album. I'm skeptical of the "source," especially since it's Universal Music Group that has been pulling all of its artists songs from YouTube unless it's through Universal's YouTube account, and they don't allow us web site owners to embed the video into our site. For them, it's their channel or no channel.
In my last My America installment, Annette wrote this in the comments:
I take care of me and mine, so I won't be looking to my government to help me. These hands are busy working. I don't have time to hold one out.
Amen. The government should not avail itself as a source of assistance in living life, and we shouldn't reach out to it to help us.
And just as people shouldn't reach out to the government to live, we should not allow the government to reach out to us to tell us how to live. That's the focus of this installment: my life is my private life and not the business of the government.
There is a well-known phrase in the Declaration of Independence: "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." You knew it before you even finished reading it - that's how well-known it is. Where did that phrase come from? What does it mean?
John Locke believed that "that property is a natural right and it is derived from labor." Locke believed that liberty meant the right of individuals to do as they pleased with their own lives and their own property. You work for it; you earn it; it's yours. You get to decide what to do with it.
Some in the government would tell you how to live. They would determine for you what you can do, and what you can't do. Be it the religious zealots who despise homosexuals and what they do in the privacy of their own home, or the environmental zealots, who demand that a person cannot cut down trees on their own property for fear of harming an "endangered" animal. Laws are enacted to tell us how to live. This nanny-ish quest for - and acceptance of - power is in direct opposition to a "Declaration of Independence."
Annette also commented:
I think it was Dennis Leary who said something about Americans' unalienable rights to be assholes. I might not help a neighbor start their car, for no other reason than I just don't want to. I certainly wouldn't want my government telling me I had to do so.
And you know what? She's right. What independence do we have when we allow - no, encourage - the government to tell us how to live? We don't.
If a person chooses to be stingy with the property they've earned through their labor, that's their right. And if we choose to look down our noses at such a person, that's our right. We might abhor such behavior according to our own personal morals, but it is not our right to tell others how to live their own lives, spend their own money, or determine how to occupy their own time. The government should not be the convenient vehicle it's become to mandate how others should live.
Liberty, if we truly prize it, means what Locke said it meant: the right of individuals to do as they please with their own lives and their own property.
If they want to have consensual gay sex, have lots of consensual gay sex.
If they want to drive by the stranded and not help people out, then drive on by.
If they want to cut down a tree on their property that harbors a spotted owl, then rev up that chainsaw.
If they want to despise the way that others live, then despise all you like.
But don't use the government as a means for dictating lifestyle to others. That's not freedom. That's not liberty.
To believe that Iraq is a failure is to believe the White Flag Democrats and the American media who propel such myths... and yet, Iraqis vote once again, this time in the election of parliament members. Democracy is blooming, regardless of how dour the left makes it seem.
As an American, I am enormously proud of my president, our military, and those Americans who've had the backbone to stand up in the face of hard pressure to give up this fight long ago. We didn't back down, and that resolve serves the Iraqi people well today.
Why exactly did we go into Iraq? To go after Al Qaeda, the organization responsible for 9/11. Have we been effective? In the words of Osama bin Laden, absofrickinlutely, which is what prompted this post.
In yet another sign of trouble for al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden publicly conceded that his like-minded militants in Iraq "made mistakes." In an audiotape broadcast by Al Jazeera this week, he sounds deeply anxious about the survival of al Qaeda in Iraq.
Bin Laden's troubles transcend Iraq. Prominent clerics and former militants call into question the very legitimacy of bin Laden's authority as a spokesman for Islam and Muslims. And last month, one of bin Laden's most prominent Saudi mentors, the preacher and scholar Salman al-Odah, wrote an open letter reproaching him for "fostering a culture of suicide bombings that has caused bloodshed and suffering and brought ruin to entire Muslim communities and families."
Bin Laden's al Qaeda was dealt another shattering blow from within when one of its top theorists, Abdul-Aziz el-Sherif, renounced its extremes, including the killing of civilians and the choosing of targets based on religion and nationality. In the past few months, El-Sherif - a longtime associate of Zawahiri, who crafted what became known as al Qaeda's guide to jihad - called on militants to desist from terrorism and authored a dissenting rebuttal against his former cohorts.
It's difficult to keep a ship from sinking after being thrown overboard.
Thrown overboard is right. The people of Iraq watched all this violence being done in their country by their "fellow" Muslims (the terrorists that the media likes to call "insurgents") and saw it as the despicable crap that it is. The people of Iraq wanted peace and freedom. I also said in the comments back then:
I can give you over 10 million reasons why democracy is not only wanted in Iraq, but will succeed. Each one of those is voting today.
If introducing democracy to them is a bad idea, they'd stay home. No one is making them go. And if you read their own accounts of how they feel about it, it's very much what they want.
Democracy is not an American concept. It's a human concept. It's about freedom, which has great appeal to every person on the planet. Which is exactly why it will succeed.
It's a gross mistake to underestimate the power of the desire for freedom. Given a taste of freedom, no one wants to step backward from it. But most of the left in America bet heavily against that desire and instead believed that religious oppression and fanatical homocidists would win the day.
Never bet against the innate burning desire that we all have for freedom. It's a loser when you do.
I spent a lot of time this weekend working on the big project and getting closer. My partners came back with a logo and I reworked the web site to match the logo. It's coming together well.
This is a collateral effort, but it is not the big project. But here's how it came together...
Two years ago I pitched an idea to a company where I knew the principals pretty well. I'd done business with them before and I like them a lot. Their integrity is well-known and they run a great company. So I pitched the idea and they said, "Hmm... interesting. We'll think about it."
I didn't hear from them for 18 months.
At that time, they asked me to pitch it again. I met for lunch at Legends in downtown Des Moines and went through the model, adding a few new thoughts.
Two months later, they decided to move on it. It would be a significant addition to their current web site, and be a new direction by building on to their existing business model and enhancing it.
We reached an agreement where I don't earn any money unless this makes money for them. I've received no money up front... it's a pure venture for me. They get to try it for no monetary risk. They pay as they go. Which gives me a ton of incentive to make sure it's got everything I can put into it to make it user-friendly and valuable to give people the desire to return to it again and again.
And so, today I'm polishing up the 60% of the web site that's built so that we can preview it for clients. I also built the collateral site, which for now is just a static bookmarker until we release the big project.
This is the eighth company I'm building. About half have done well enough to feed my family while they were in operation. I can't help this sort of thing. It's in my blood. I figure the more at-bats I have, the more likely I am to hit a home run. This is one more time at the plate.
The radio and TV are awash with ads for the uninsured in our country. And it's not just healthcare they're pitching. A new initiative from the AARP, Divided We Fail, says, "We're asking Members of Congress to commit to working in a bipartisan way to provide Americans with actions and answers on health and lifetime financial security." Emphasis mine.
Since when is it the job of Congress to provide actions and answers on "lifetime financial security" for anyone?
Or maybe that's what Hillary means when she says that she wants to take $10 billion away from US industries.
I'm going to take $10 billion away from a lot of these industries, starting with money from the HMOs that are getting too much out of Medicare, starting with the no-bid contracts for Halliburton; starting with the defense industry that needs to be pared down and reined in.
I've been very clear about that. And I intend to implement that.
Since when is that the job of the president of the United States - to take money away from US industry? That's what she would do as president, she promises.
Good lord, that is frightening stuff. My kids' tax rate when they reach middle age will be well over half their income to support all this. I have no respect for the "Me Generation."
So, how did the "Me" generation do for itself? Have the boomers prospered as much as they could have, or did they miss key opportunities to better their nation and their lives?
It depends on whom you ask.
Some experts say the boomers did not plan well for their future, especially their financial futures, relying instead on the whimsy of a historically rosy economic era to carry them along.
"I think they've been baby bummers," says Suze Orman, a personal finance expert and host of her own financial advice television and radio show.
"We are a fascinating generation," she says, admitting that she's a boomer herself. "We're really independent and free-thinking," but from a financial perspective, "we did not save money, and we loved to spend money. Many of (the boomers) were saved by the real estate markets, and their wealth was created for them; they did not create it themselves."
It's one thing to borrow money with the intention to pay it back. That at least leans in the direction of responsibility.
But it's something else altogether to have the expectation to pull money from others because you think you deserve it just because you breathe.
Boomers, the AARP, and Hillary Clinton and company don't have any right at all to take money from people. If we allow that to happen, us parents and grandparents will devastate our children financially. It's not their job to take care of us, but that's what we assert by supporting these policies. All that money will have to come from tomorrow's wage earners, since we tax income and not wealth. (Think about that for a bit...)
It's one thing to ask for benefits for children, age 18 and under. It's another to expect for benefits for adults. How utterly selfish of the Me Generation.
Shame on those who desire, support, or push this agenda.