On Turning Away From Zeus…

I just came across a Facebook posting wherein a true (Christian) believer was lamenting the sorry state of America, asserting it was all because we, or some of us anyway, had “turned away from God”.

I began to chortle but, when you get to thinking about such a contention, it begins to make sense.  Seriously. Permit me to explain.

Archaeologists, historians, and comparative religion scholars have identified roughly 20,000 distinct deities that have been created by humankind since we split from our hominid cousins some 200 millennia ago, all to explain what we couldn’t then understand and to instill meaning in life beyond the daily struggle to survive.

Think about that. Americans largely focus on only one god, and a quite recent one to the banquet at that. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the chances against picking the correct deity out of that tangle are pretty darned high and, in fact, the odds are only one in 20,000 that the vast majority of Americans have chosen the correct one to worship.

Ergo, it is not just possible, but incredibly probable, the aforementioned believer was correct, albeit not quite in the way she so self-righteously assumed.

Or not.

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Ducking an Ice Age: Has Humankind Fooled Mother Nature?

time-magazine-april-1977

I remember this cover. Do you?

I post it not because I am a climate denier, I am not. But it does demonstrate how science can, from time to time (yet generally only for a short while), be very wrong.

I post it because it helps me make the following argument:

  1. We are due, overdue actually, for another ice age. Look at the record back into deep history and you’ll see what I mean.
  2. As bad as a warming Earth is, it is far less destructive of human life, agriculture, economies, and college football than an ice age would be. Less than twenty thousand years ago, where Chicago stands today, sat an ice cap over a mile thick. Cubbies games postponed indefinitely.
  3. We use the terms “climate change” and “global warming” rather loosely. It is warming up from what it was 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 years ago, but so what? Who are we to say, temporary and short-term residents of the planet that we are, that the temperature/climate we’ve enjoyed for the last millennium or so is the “right”, or “proper” one? Many older species, dinosaurs perhaps, might disagree.
  4. Returning to item two for one second, is there any doubt that dramatic cooling would be far worse for our kind than the warming that is occurring presently? For example, the number of deaths prevented by warming exposure to cold temperatures is several times greater than the deaths projected from warming. It is a net good in that regard.
  5. No scientist of any weight believes that we can take significant enough action to halt, much less reverse the trend.  The Gores and Boxers of the world are simplyusing warming to promte their own interests and agendas. Given that, why not spend our time and resources learning to mitigate the damage rather than waste them on a campaign that will have little or no effect? And finally
  6. Given the above, even though who wouldn’t want to live on a planet with a static “ideal” climate, man-made warming could end up being one of the best things humankind has created since we stumbled out of Africa.

So perhaps we should be considering a much larger picture than that on which we seem to be focused.  Perhaps humankind is better served by planing, mitigating, and – by the way – thanking our lucky stars for the carbon-based energy that allowed us to grow our collective wealth to levels that would have been unimaginable to our great-grandparents. Not to mention postpone or even prevent an ice-driven end to our species.

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OBAMA’S SEQUESTRATION MISDIRECTION…

Today America’s Prevaricator-in-Chief, no he’s not the only one, merely the most prolific, announced the cuts to the budget required by the legislative sequastration he demanded and then signed into law.  Of course, politics being what it is, his list is designed to create the most discomfort for the largest number of people possible in the hope they will blame Republicans and Congress will be forced to give the Administration yet another round of tax increases in order to punish the productive classes for, well, being productive.

While not the topic at hand, I feel compelled to digress momentarily to remind folks that increased tax revenues almost never are used to reduce deficits or debts, but rather to initiate new spending on new programs that will then grow faster than revenues and eventually add to those deficits and debts.  But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Back to the point at hand, Obama’s cuts include cuts to Medicare, science, NASA, the FDA (forcing closure of meat plants for lack of inspectors) and on and on, as I said before, in order to maximize the felt pain.  But few of these cuts are necessary, and could have easily been avoided.

A few more creative, albeit not politically advantageous, sequestor ideas:

  1. Reduce the federal payroll through attrition. Just over 100,000 federal workers retire every year.  (Yes, the workforce really is that large.) By simply not replacing most of them (we would of course want to replace meat inspectors, for example, so we could keep plants open and the food supply reasonably safe), we could save roughly $15,000,000,000 a year, almost 20% of the $83 billion goal.
  2. Stop the effing insane War on Drugs.  The savings to the US government, from reduction in enforcement and prison costs, would exceed $5,000,000,000.
  3. Legalize and tax recreational marijuana. Projected income, between $3 billion and $5 billion dollars.  Combined with #2 above, a minimum of $8,000,000,000 differential and another 10% achieved.
  4. Return the Department of Defense to its original mission, that is – defending the United States.  Today we have about 400,000 troops overseas stationed at more than 700 bases  (OUTSIDE OUR COUNTRY – in case you missed that) at a cost of $250 billion dollars a year! Reduce those numbers by just a third, and you get..tah dah…$83 billion dollars.  Does that number sound familiar.

So there you have it.  A great deal less pain, no danger to our national security or essential services, no cuts to Medicare or science or anything else.  Just a real easy $110 billion dollars give or take. It won’t solve our problems, but it may indicate a way out.  Now ask me where we can get another $100 billion next year.

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What It’s All About

The target opening date for MaidPro Flower Mound has been set as 01 May.  For those who may have missed my Facebook announcement a few months ago, MaidPro Flower Mound will be owned and operated by wife Patricia Winning and yours truly, with an occasional assist from son John Michael. In light of the reelection of the most anti-business President in the history of our country, and the minions who hang on his every word and deed, I have decided to blog about those reasons why we decided to take on the risks and headaches of business ownership, and why we did not.

The easy part first:  We did not decide to risk more than $125,000 of our retirement funds in order to provide jobs for people, deserving or otherwise. Nor did we take said step in order to subject ourselves to the outrages and frustrations of dealing with state, federal, and local bureaucrats, and/or because we thought it would be fun to spend countless hours every month filling out forms and making payments to a half-dozen or more government agencies. To be explicit, we did not decide to move forward to be nice people, to contribute to society, to pay more taxes, to be good citizens, nor to keep puppies from crying.

At the age when most folks are dusting off the rockers on their back porches, we determined to start a new business solely for one reason and one reason alone: To earn money.  As much as we can, pure and simple.

Given the ongoing rape of senior citizens’ retirement accounts and pensions by the low or no interest policies of the Federal Reserve, all in support of their banking and Wall Street cronies, it was becoming obvious we needed to try something to jack up our return on investments.  Even with a reasonable nest egg, 3% to 4% returns just are not going to cut it, especially since those returns carry with them the risks of the stock market. Only by risking a portion of our funds in a business startup can we hope to come close to retaining the lifestyle we enjoyed during our working years, and so here we are.

Not only will we spend the above-mentioned princely sum to get our business up and started, as well as cover the losses every new business experiences early on, but I will work for no paycheck for a year, perhaps more, in order to see the business succeed. 

Neither President, Congresscritters, nor liberal know-it-alls are contributing anything to our efforts. “Society” is taking no risk, nor will it care if we fail. Government will not only be be a major cost item, but an obstacle to overcome if we hope to be successful. (We will eventually need to deal with more than a dozen different agencies at all levels just to open our doors.) In spite of this, big government types and liberals in particular will pontificate about how much we owe to them for any success we might achieve. To which I answer, “bull”.

We are building it, not with government’s help, but in spite of all the roadblocks it throws up. Should we prosper, I will thank no one but my wife and any small cadre of employees whose work contributed to our success. I especially will not thank Barrick Obama, who has not only never built anything, but has never had a real job in his life.

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Leaving Reason Behind…

I am disgusted!  And more than a little ticked.

I have been perusing the latest D Magazine, not a regular pursuit, but this month’s is the “Best New Restaurants in Dallas” edition and y’all know how I love good food.

Eventually I came upon a brief article about Lauren Scruggs, the young woman who inexplicably walked into a plane’s propeller, losing an eye and a hand among other things.

Initially I found myself admiring her spunk and optimism as she struggled to return to a near-normal life.  This being Texas, I should have known better.

The writer, one Krista Nightengale, drew first blood when she asked the most inane possible question, “You write everything happens for a reason.  What’s the reason behind your accident?”

The daft door now cast opened to its fullest extent, Ms Scruggs stepped through, “I just know that God has a purpose in things that are more about the bigger picture… So I just trust wholly in that. God has been there throughout the entire thing… He’s deepened my faith a lot…”

Let us pause and summarize here.  God wanted to teach Ms Scruggs, or perhaps someone else, a lesson about one thing or another so he severely mutilated a vivacious young woman.  One whom, by the way, was already a follower.

How anyone could believe in, much less worship, such a sadistic monster is beyond cognition.

No, I really mean it. The God Ms Scruggs worships can only be described in those or even worse terms, making her faith and devotion the results of an unreasoning and unreasonable mind. She is no better off intellectually than the brainwashed zombies in North Korea who venerate whatever member of the Kim family of thugs is starving them to death at the moment.

It is not a terribly difficult concept to grasp:  Either the god you worship is something far more sinister than the “loving god” you were taught to believe in, or he/she/it does not exist.  Your god allowed or caused this horrible thing for his/her/its purpose, or it was just an incredibly unfortunate accident.  Those are the choices.

How much more sane and comforting to understand you are the victim of a random event, than to believe some force with power over your life chose to have you suffer in spite of your devotion and adoration.

“Abandon hope all those who venture here” used to be inscribed on ancient maps to warn of monsters that might inhabit the unknown corners of our earth.  In Texas it seems that phrase has been rewritten as “Abandon all reason…”

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A Modest Proposal

Soon, January 1st to be precise, a number of new taxes on America’s most productive citizens will go into effect.

Obamacare punishes these folks with two actual taxes, a surcharge of 5% on investment income, and 3.8% on salary, plus the “Roberts Tax”, a penalty of $2,000 or more for every employee over 35 full time equivalents.

Additionally, these same targets of success envy will see their marginal income tax rate balloon to 39% from 35% (over a 10% increase), and in all likelihood capital gains and dividend tax increases too.  Hundreds of billions of dollars more will be squeezed from a figurative handful of Americans, under the incredible belief that it will have no negative consequences.  To quote the Coach however, “Not so fast my friend”.

The first thing to realize is that both money and people are fungible, they can be here today and quite somewhere else tomorrow.  (Check what happened in Ireland when they passed a “Billionaire’s Tax”.)  Getting screwed over by Uncle Sam?  Open a business in Panama, Hong Kong, or a dozen other places and simply do not repatriate the profits. (Big companies have been doing this for years to escape the highest corporate tax rate in the world, and consequentially taking good paying jobs with them as well.)

Secondly, these people are under no obligation, moral or otherwise, to bite the progressive bullet.  Workers can be fired, salaries of those remaining frozen, and prices to consumers raised. Make no mistake about it, all three will happen.  All three should happen.

Which brings me to my modest proposal…  Rather than just raise prices three, four, or five percent to cover the costs associated with the new taxes, I propose that every business whose owners, executives, investors, etc. have been targeted by these unconscionable attacks add a new line to their invoices, food checks, bills of sale, and the like which reads:  “Obamacare and Tax Increase Surcharge”, listing the upcharge separately and prominently.

People need to learn (and should be constantly reminded) that decisions, including votes, have a consequence, that they are now paying for their election day decisions, and they will continue to pay for them for a very long time.

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A Word on “Alternative Medicine”

And try as hard as I like,
A small crack appears
In my diplomacy-dike.
By definition,

I begin
Alternative Medicine,

I continue
Has either not been proved to work,
Or been proved not to work.

You know what they call alternative medicine”
That’s been proved to work?

MEDICINE.”

The above lines are from the “beat poem”, Storm, by Tim Minchin. (If you are unfamiliar with his work, you may be in for a delightful discovery.)

They often come to mind when I read claims by one person or another about “natural cures”, or worse yet, how bad modern medicine is for you.  The vaccine deniers are deserving of special derision, but that for another day.

I had lunch a few days ago with a special friend of mine.  I say “special” because Don and I are members of The Brotherhood of the Balloon, an honorary society of men who have undergone Proton Therapy for prostate cancer at Loma Linda Medical Center in California. (I won’t gross you out with how one qualifies for membership.)

We chatted about many things: hunting, politics, women, and more, until Don’s face turned sad, and his tone somber.  “I buried a close friend a few weeks ago,” he began.

It seems that at the same time Don was diagnosed with PCa, his friend was also.  They spent weeks investigating treatment options, and discussing their findings into the night.  Don, obviously, chose Proton Therapy.  His friend opted for “natural” treatments, including vitamin mega-doses, a special diet, and a “proven” blend of herbs.

That was five years ago.  For the last year Don’s friend suffered horribly, as the once treatable cancer had spread into first his bones and then his brain.  He is not the only victim of such fake claims and misplaced trust, the victims number in the many thousands.  Even rich celebrities fall victim, Steve McQueen to name one.

Don and I on the other hand are cancer free, and have every reason to believe we will remain so. We trusted the best medical science had to offer, therapies subjected to rigorous testing and with years of positive results.

A word to the wise, and all that jazz…

 

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