Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fish Sauce!

Ketchup. Catsup. It doesn't matter how you spell it. It is one of the most prolific condiments in American cuisine. Pompeii, it was Garum. Garum is a sauce made from fish entrails. Does it sound yummy or what! The Romans enjoyed this sauce for its sweet/sour flavor and would substitute it for the more expensive salt on much of what they ate.

Scientists have used a pot of garum found in Pompeii to support Pliny the Younger's account of Mount Vesuvius' eruption [source], placing the date of the eruption as 24 August 79 A.D. Imagine using ketchup to determine a time line of events.

Condiments have been used against me. Yeah, that hotdog I ate in transit became something less of a secret and more of a scandal when the mustard stain in the middle of my chest betrayed my vain attempt at a quick, unnoticed snack.

Hmmm. Fish sauce is the answer. What's next?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mike For President!!

If I were president. . .

Don't we all think that we could do this better than those who are doing it? Barrack Obama suggests we need to reduce the taxes of the middle class. I think that is a good thing for me but is it good for the country. John McCain claims to be a conservative. "no pork barrel spending!" but has supported the economic bailout. In fact, both candidates think it must be done. Can either candidate consider anything more than what it might take to get the votes necessary to claim the White House for their residence come January?

What would I change if I were president?

• America would be in the business of producing and exporting energy. We have the resources - natural and intellectual. We could be making money rather than exporting it to the Middle East and South America. We need tax incentives to encourage businesses to exploit our resources. We need the government to stand aside and let this happen. We send almost a trillion dollars out of this country on products we could be purchasing at home. Let's make the changes necessary to make this a reality.

• America would return to the days of a Free-Market System. This bailout is socialism. If the government is going to be socializing the losses, it won't be long before they socialize the profits. Isn't that something someone said this past week? Look, our system - the fundamentals of our economy - is not broken. In fact, the proof of this is the reason we're all up in arms. People made poor investment choices and are feeling the pinch because of it. Risk is the reason we make money. Removing risk will remove profits and eliminate investment.

• The tax system would be less convoluted. I would do something that might eliminate the IRS or significantly decrease its relevance. Government spends more than they make. It doesn't matter what revenue or how much revenue the government successfully sucks from its citizens, they spend more than they bring in. I am not an advocate of a surplus but the government should not be in the business of spending my grandchildrens' money now. Reduce the tax rate, eliminate loopholes and encourage investment. In the long run, there will be more money but the burden will be lighter on the citizen.

• Balanced budget. Balance is not easy but it is possible. So many entities feel entitled to certain handouts. No president has the power to change a lot of what the government spends because there are so many entitlements that must be met. We need to eliminate many of these entitlements. Private organizations must be empowered to meet the social needs of the needy. Private organizations can do more with less, getting the money where it belongs at a lower cost.

• Honesty and respect. The office of president is one that requires honesty and respect. I think these two attributes have been missing from politics for a very long time.

Too much to really cover. I do not believe I will come close to living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I think too many people see my views as extreme. What I consider as common sense is not so common, I guess.

Not the right answer.

Today the legislature is going to vote on the bailout. A very expensive solution which does not provide enough assurances that it will fix the problem. Our government is moving into the financial markets and usurping power with a socialistic answer to losses. I read earlier this week that once the government starts to socialize losses, it won't be long before it begins to socialize profits. Wall Street is acting like a young child, who through carelessness has broken a toy and wants it fixed. Not seeking advice or willing to change behavior, the child just wants someone to remove the consequences of the bad behavior.

Today, the legislature is working toward eliminating the consequences of bad behavior. Although I believe that the behavior was encouraged by legislation, the ultimate responsibility has little to do with who will be paying the price. We will pay the price and Wall Street will return to its poor behavior since there is no consequence.

Not because I think we need to leave the child to his own devices, I have urged my congressman and senators to vote against this bill. If there is bad behavior we need to do what is necessary to change that behavior. Rewarding poor behavior encourages poor behavior. Giving money to cover poor investments, encourages poor investments. Giving money to Wall Street will not fix the real problem.

Have we learned to do this because of the Great Depression? Government did not act in time to save the market in 1933. Is this a vain attempt at avoiding the same problems? Could our government have found better alternatives? I think there are plenty of options that might not have been as "easy" as this one but better for Wall Street and the Tax Payer.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Financial Crisis

By the time you read this it might be too late. I doubt many will read but I thought I might try posting here in case someone stumbled by. Our country is in a terrible mess and our congress and president are deeply and terribly misguided. Acting, however, is better than simply standing back and letting our economy slide into a depression. Acting, action, doing something.

CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES!

I am again burdened by things politic. You see, our markets current crisis does not necessarily affect me directly but I can see how the ramifications and the fallout might be dire. I spent a bit of time thinking about this over the past couple days and have been extremely worried that we, in our haste to find a fix, are going to be burdening our children's grandchildren with a heavy debt. I have called my senators and congressman and given them each a piece of my mind. No, I do not think I am experienced enough to suggest the answer to this complex problem but it has been such a weight of concern that I could not sit here idly as someone else decided the course to be followed. I followed up my calls to the senate and congressman offices with an email. The following statement is what I sent to them.

"In this time of dire financial stress, the whole nation is transfixed by what might be a terrible long term mistake for short term gain. I am certain you understand the gravity of this issue far more than I could; however, it is necessary that I express to you my grave concerns. There is serious doubt in my mind that investing 3/4 of a trillion dollars to buy out bad debt is the appropriate tactic. I urge quick response but the response must be measured and keep the fundamentals of our economic philosophy intact. Any plan must be grounded firmly in free-market principles. Additionally, any "bail-out" deal must include provisions for equity ownership. A return on our monies must be founded in a responsible, free-market plan.

Thank you,

Michael Gibson"

I don't know if any of you is inclined to communicate with your representatives but I would urge you to at least voice your concerns. Congress works for us and can be pursuaded to do the right thing. You can easily go to http://www.lnksrv.com/m.asp?i=3064775&u=464108139 and http://www.lnksrv.com/m.asp?i=3064776&u=464108139 to find the phone numbers and email forms for your elected representatives. It won't take but a few minutes. Make your voice heard.

Thanks,

Michael

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

International Disturbed People's Day