Monthly Archives: June 2015

Too Much

Bad Government

Look, not all laws and government stuff is ‘bad’, but the amount of bad stuff out there is almost always due to ‘too much’.

For example, in what circumstance would a government care about patio plants?

MANKATO, MINN. — Marty Lewis, owner of Blue Bricks, 424 S Front St. in the City Center of Mankato was shocked to find that he had to close down the patio at Blue Bricks on Thursday, May 28th due to not having enough live plants.

“My managers told me that City of Mankato Associate Civil Engineer Landon Bode came into Blue Bricks on Thursday during lunch hour and told the servers that we did not have enough flowers on our patio and we were out of compliance with the City,” said Lewis “After the lunch crowd cleared, my managers went up to Drummers and picked up some shrubs, planters and hanging baskets and put them on the patio.”

Wanting to make sure Blue Bricks was in compliance, Lewis then called City of Mankato Associate Civil Engineer Landon Bode, who did not answer his phone and left a message.

“Landon Bode did not return my calls and I assumed that everything would be alright,” said a frustrated Lewis “Then at around 5:30 p.m. that day, two Mankato Police Officers came into the restaurant and told me that the patio was closed and we would have to clear the patio because we were out of compliance.”

Many things wrong with this picture, but two stand out:  One – Who thinks it is a governing bodies decision to dictate plant cover in a bar patio and Two – The enforcement of the rule is simply ludicrous.

Proper Use of the Tax Code


I’m continuing to weed through my archived stack – came across this one regarding the tax code.

I’ve always been suspicious of those folks who try and use the tax code too achieve some sort of social change.  For example, we can raise taxes on the wealthier folks and then lower taxes on the less wealthier in an attempt to more evenly distribute wealth.

I think that’s bad policy – for two reasons.  One, we’ll never get it right, two, the whole process is wide open to corruption and three (okay – three), it is simply not okay for people to vote to steal money from one man to give to another.

Turns out I am not alone in my thinking:

President Obama believes the federal tax code should bolster the middle class and make the rich pay their fair share. I have a different view: The tax code should make no attempt to differentiate rich from middle-income taxpayers, nor should it attempt to redistribute wealth to middle-income taxpayers.

Right – exactly.  But can the government do anything?

Yes – undo what it’s already done!

Big banks, for example, earn undeserved profits because they are protected by too-big-to-fail policies along with myriad regulations that limit competition in financial services. Doctors and lawyers, too, make higher incomes than their talents alone would warrant because government licensing restricts entry and competition. Scientists and engineers earn excessive incomes because our misguided restrictions on high-skill immigration (the H1-B visa quota) exclude talented foreigners.

Sugar barons get rich because of government-imposed import quotas. Ethanol producers cash in because the government mandates the use of their product. The military industrial complex profits from government-facilitated sales to authoritarian regimes around the world.

In short, instead of making the tax code more complicated by implementing more redistribution, the president and Congress should stop redistributing wealth altogether. Then we can have a truly simplified tax code.


The Game of Football


I found this in the Tar Heel Archives and running it today.

The game of football has been my favorite go to sport since I was a kid – and I wanted to play as long as I can remember.

But I sucked.

Part of it might have been that I wasn’t good but part of THAT is that I wasn’t willing to trade getting tackled for scoring touchdowns.  I like to think, in part, that I traded my mind for my body.

That said – I can’t let my son play the game; the trade off isn’t worth it.  And earlier this year a legend of the game agreed with me:

Football great Mike Ditka says that, if he had an 8-year-old son right now, he wouldn’t let him play football. He made the remarks in an episode of HBO’s Real Sports, which will air tonight.

The Chicago Tribune has the exchange:

Ditka: “If you had an 8-year-old kid now, would you tell him you want him to play football?”

Gumbel: “I wouldn’t. Would you?”

Ditka: “Nope. That’s sad. I wouldn’t. And my whole life was football. I think the risk is worse than the reward. I really do.”

The HBO piece will focus on drug use by the 1985 Chicago bears.

There have been numerous stories about the 1985 Chicago Bears, but none quite like this.

The upcoming edition of “Real Sports” (9 p.m. Tuesday, HBO) will feature a report by Bryant Gumbel that chronicles the players on that team using excessive painkillers and narcotics to overcome injuries and get back on the field. The report says that contributed to many of the former Bears players being severely debilitated nearly 30 years later.

Former Bears coach Mike Ditka even said if he had a young son today, he wouldn’t allow him to play football. Gumbel calls the ’85 Bears football’s “ultimate cautionary tale.”

Last May, former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, defensive end Richard Dent and offensive tackle Keith Van Horne were among a group of retired players who accused the league in a lawsuit of supplying them with powerful painkillers and other drugs that kept them in the game but led to serious complications later in life. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages on behalf of more than 500 former players.

The Evolution of the Family


Recently Jeb Bush has taken jazz for claiming that “we should shame single mothers”.

Public shaming would be an effective way to regulate the “irresponsible behavior” of unwed mothers, misbehaving teenagers and welfare recipients, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) argued in his 1995 book Profiles in Character.

When I read this my immediate reaction was, “Holy man, are you kidding me?  Another dipshit republican stepping in it when it comes to social issues?”

Then I read his quote:

“One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations,” he wrote, “is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame.”

So, yeah, THAT’S different than the characterization that Bush thinks we should trot a woman into town square, tie her up and then publicly shame her like some ISIS punishment.  What Bush is saying is that A) Intact families, complete with mothers and fathers, generate better outcomes for children than households managed by a single parent B) Society has recognized this and built in a method whereby single parent behavior is NOT placed in a positive light.

Nobody, right or left, disputes the body of evidence that claims 2-parent households are better units for kids than 1-parent homes.  We should discourage single moms, AND dads, from running households.  Divorce should present as a social burden on society.  Birth out of wedlock should be viewed as unacceptable behavior.

All of which is different from the meme that somehow single moms should be subject to the formal and organized shaming that the haters are heaping at Jeb’s feet.

Happy People

Happy People

I came across an article some time back describing the habits of Happy People.  I also think it applies to Successful People:

1. Happy people rarely… seek approval or validation from others.

2. Happy people rarely…depend on other people, places, or things for happiness.

3. Happy people rarely… play the victim. Rather, they play the victor.

4. Happy people rarely… live in the past, nor worry about the future.

5. Happy people rarely…hold onto grudges.

6. Happy people rarely… live dishonestly.

7. Happy people rarely…accept negative environments.

Nanny State – Parenting Style

Nanny State

A story that is a little old – but important non the less.

We have what seems to be a set  of decent, hard working parents that love their kids.  However, because they have a different set of expectations regarding the safety of those kids, they have found themselves on the wrong side of the law:

Two Maryland children who received national attention as so-called “free range kids” earlier this year because of their parents’ decision to let them roam alone were taken into custody again Sunday by Child Protective Services.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv’s children, ages 6 and 10, were picked up by police on Sunday at around 5 p.m., and taken to Montgomery County Child Protective Services. A neighbor apparently saw the children walking alone and called 911 to report it. WTTG reported the children were walking about a third of a mile from home at the time.

At 5 I was walking to and from school.  By 10 I had free range of multiple square miles of the town I grew up in.

These kids were less than 1/2 mile from home.

Poverty or Wealth – It’s a Choice


Choices matter.  Decisions matter.

We are who we are largely due to the choices we make.  WHY we make those decisions is an interesting discussion, but we are who we make ourselves.


  1. 72% of the wealthy know their credit score vs. 5% of the poor
  2. 6% of the wealthy play the lottery vs. 77% of the poor
  3. 80% of the wealthy are focused on at least one goal vs. 12% of the poor
  4. 62% of the wealthy floss their teeth every day vs. 16% of the poor
  5. 21% of the wealthy are overweight by 30 pounds or more vs. 66% of the poor
  6. 63% of the wealthy spend less than 1 hour per day on recreational Internet use vs. 26% of the poor
  7. 83% of the wealthy attend/attended back to school night for their kids vs. 13% of the poor
  8. 29% of the wealthy had one or more children who made the honor roll vs. 4% of the poor
  9. 63% of wealthy listen to audio books during their commute vs. 5% of the poor
  10. 67% of the wealthy watch 1 hour or less of T.V. per day vs 23% of the poor
  11. 9% of the wealthy watch reality T.V. shows vs. 78% of the poor
  12. 73% of the wealthy were taught the 80/20 rule vs. 5% of the poor (live off 80% save 20%)
  13. 79% of the wealthy network 5 hours or more per month vs. 16% of the poor
  14. 8% of the wealthy believe wealth comes from random good luck vs. 79% of the poor
  15. 79% of the wealthy believe they are responsible for their financial condition vs. 18% of the poor

There is this belief in America that if we just gave more money to folks who find themselves in poverty their lives would just ‘be better’.

It isn’t true.

Signals Matter


Society signals.  It’s how we manage our way through life and protect the ‘herd’.  And like it or not, criminals signal in the same way that non-criminals signal.  So, should we ask our cops to focus on those signals or not?

And if you don’t think we signal by dress, lemme ask you this:

Why do we dress like this for an interview:

job interviewLike this for clubbing:


And like this for a football game:

football game

The signals we send are powerful – and we should, as a society, accept that we signal as a matter of course.