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Saturday, February 26, 2005



Municipal Bonds

As defined by Ivestopedia a municipal bond is "A debt security issued by a state, municipality, or county, in order to finance its capital expenditures. Municipal bonds are exempt from federal taxes and from most state and local taxes, especially if you live in the state the bond is issued." What a deal, you may say. The issuer receives a cash payment, and in return promises to pay the investor that cash payment over a period of time (anywhere from a few months to 40 years). Laws governing municipal bonds usually require the money raised by a bond sale to be spent on one-time capital projects between 3 to 5 years. Due its tax exemption, a municipal bond typically returns a lower investment compared to a taxable investment of similar risk. Although the return is lower, due to its exemption an investor will still earn more money from the municipal bond rather than a taxable investment (a municipal bond returning 6.2% will return the equivalent interest income after taxes as a corporate bond returning 10%).

Friday, February 25, 2005


DCA and Your 401(k)

Sunday, Amy's parents and I struck up a debate on privatized social security. They're against it, which didn't quite surprise me. What did, however, is that Amy proposed a 401(k) style private account. Her parents seemed to agree with her that it would be the better way of approaching privatization.

Alas, I didn't realize until yesterday that they were agreeing with me (idiot that I am).
If privatized accounts made it through congress, and I had the option of investing, due to the nature of the account (long term) I would invest in it very conservatively. Unless I figured out a less risky approach, I'd invest in the private account using dollar cost averaging, with of course a diverse portfolio of my choosing (something I don't think President Bush has proposed). What I didn't realize is that a 401(k) is a dollar cost averaging investment, the only difference is that your employer helps match your investment. Bush would do well to get into the public mind that privatization would be as secure (or perhaps more) than a 401(k) plan. If I recall correctly, Bush has proposed that the private investment accounts would be insured, which in my mind says that if you come up negative when your time is up, the government will give you the money necessary to break even. Seriously, who's against this, and why do they not want me to make a profit off of my own damn money? People, we need to debate this amongst ourselves, instead of debate the different parties' proposals.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Is It Just Me

Or do a lot of Government agencies visit blogs? So far I've been getting a lot of hits from the Social Security administration, as well as the US International Trade Comission. If anyone can comment on it, comments should be open. If not, email me

Term of the Day

Dollar Cost Averaging.

Basically, you spend a fixed amount of money on a certain company's stock at regular intervals (monthly, bi weekly, etc.). When the stock price is down, you buy more shares than you would when the stock is high. Over time, the average cost per share shrinks, giving you a large investment for the smallest possible cost (aside from riskier schemes).

Many long term and conservative investors adhere to this policy, as it is the market's nature to grow, and dollar cost averaging is the best way to grow your portfolio, making your money easily work for you. Another key benefit is that it's unnecessary to predict the stock's lowest point (and best entrance point).

If you participate in a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, you are already seeing the benefits of this scheme.


This Coming Weekend

Going to be light posting this weekend, Amy's going to be in town for a few days, as she has a wedding shower to tend to. I'm going to try a "term of the day" so that this blog doesn't get entirely in the way of school. You help me study, and I give you riveting (heh) commentary.

Let the Market Decide

You ever wonder how to get your cable rates down? Time Warner just increased its rates by nearly 4% this year, and other cable providers have also raised their rates within one percent of 4. Notably, Cox communications raised rates by a mere 2%. Why are our rates increasing at, on average, twice the rate of inflation? Understand that the provider isn't the only company to blame here. Stations like ESPN and the Turner Networks (TNT, TBS, DISC, etc.) raise the prices that providers must pay to keep their programing. MTV is the standard, of course, trying to reach as many teens as possible. Even with basic cable, providing only the core stations, MTV must be included. This gets on my nerves, but we'll revist that later on.

What is the problem with offering choices in what the consumer wants to watch. The only stations that I watch are the news organisations such as CNN and Fox News, as well as the History Channel and Comedy Central. Why am I paying for sports shows that annoy me, estrogen packed stations that don't cater to my interests, the motorcycle channel (er, Discovery), and the, sorry to bring this up once again, but the one channel where if I had children, they'd never be allowed to watch? Why can't I just pay for the costs of giving me access to the cable network, as well as only the stations I choose to watch? Heavy handed lobbyists (which the American people can't afford to pay for) make sure that in no way can the cable companies offer choices. I'm not even so sure that the cable providers are against the consumers' choice, seeing how it is a more secure way of keeping customers (you're less likely to drop the plan if you're watching what you want, instead of having to flip through 80 channels of junk before you come across one you want). Who's going to stand up for us, to break up the regional cable monopolies, and demanding that choices must be given? Surely not our elected representatives of both stripe. If we can raise awareness of this ongoing scam, perhaps we can effect a change, don't hold your breathe, but it could happen. So tell your friends write your congressman (I usually do, and am always met with a reply as well as an explaination. They don't bite their voters). We can fix this.

Oh and MTV, I think you can figure out my stance now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Real Tax Reform

Hippies don't want their tax dollars going to defense, just like many conservatives don't want theirs to go to more than a few social programs, right? This may sound like an odd proposal, but what would be the harm in giving partial budgetary control to the American people? Congress may spend our money, but we need to find a better way to check the politicians because, in regards to taxation, the checks and balances system isn't working in our best interest. I propose an idea which I call Itemized Taxation.

In the broadst sense, the plan gives partial (I'd rather it be complete, but let's be real) choice in where your tax dollars go. Each department (treasury, etc.) is given a short description, as well as a blank space next to it. Every year, when a citizen pays his taxes, he is then shown a list of government departments and programs. He then puts a number next to each. This number represents the percentage of his paid taxes he would like to allocate to those departments and programs.

In light of such control, all departments must work towards more efficiency, and would have to spend some money on advertising, to remain sovent. To make this plan more attractive to law makers, 10% of the taxes must go to a general fund, that way any necessary program finding itself in a shortfall will still receive funding. Wasteful spending would come to an end, as every department is now actively on the market, and any wrong move by the department would result in less funding the next year.

This reform must first be introduced to a state, as the Federal Government would resist such a drastic change. If, in a smaller "market" the plan succedes, it can then be implemented in other states, and eventually the Federal Government would be compeled (through elected means) to change.

Monday, February 21, 2005



A huge welcome to all you coming in from the "Carnival of the Capitalists". Hope you enjoy your stay.


Out for the Weekend

Went over to Amy's for the weekend, she lives a few hours away. That ought to explain away the light (ie, no) blogging this weekend. Came home and found out that the priest where I go to mass died over the weekend. He'd had cancer for a year or so, and said last Sunday in a letter to the parish that he'd try to make it to mass more often. That's when I knew it wouldn't be long.

So...who wants to get into itemized taxation?! Not me, not right now. It's February, and it's friggin 80 degrees outside. Anyone want lemonade? Really, I've got to make some dinner for the family, woohoo, right. But when I do get back, ITEMIZED TAXATION and all the boring gory details.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Eliot Spitzer is bad for America

Eliot Spitzer is bad for American business. Spitzer, the New York Attorney General, and perhaps a gubernatorial contender in 2006, is dangerous to a free market. One wonders how a state Attorney General, even from New York, can have such an affect on businesses.

Granted, I am not going to stand here and defend the businesses who have come under fire from Spitzer. For instance, Marsh & McLennan was accused late last year of bid rigging by the NYAG. Two weeks ago, Marsh & McLennan paid $850m to settle those civil charges. Unfortunately, Spitzer has the right idea, but is aiming in the wrong areas. My philosophy is that no company is bad (unless it's selling something like heroin, but you get my point), however people within that company have the capacity of wrongdoing. This is exactly what befell Marsh & McLennan, the world's largest insurance broker. But who is to blame for the bid rigging? Is it the company, or is it the person or people who proposed the rigging, who actually performed the illegal action? Personally, I'm going to have to say the people involved should be held responsible, not the company they worked for. Spitzer obviously disagrees.


More Merger Talk

There are some small problems with the recent merger between Verizon and MCI, as well as last month's SBC buying AT&T. I have heard that we're getting closer to raising our telecom companies to regional monopolies. Yes, these companies are large, but in this age they have to be. The high overhead involved in cell phone networking (maintence costs, etc.), as well as the cost of cell towers, means that very few small businesses can carve out a portion of the market. With the advent of VoIP, though, more companies can compete. The costs of VoIP does not include large and expensive cell towers, instead the service relies upon existing broadband access. Verizon is set to dominate the market early on, but I know that my local cable company is offering VoIP. Many other smaller companies are beginning to emerge in this soon to be very competitive market.

The monopoly claims are baseless, there are many national networks that offer cheap telephone service. Although I cannot speak of their reliability, I know that most of these companies offer service for as little as ten dollars. Some companies entering the wireless market, such as Virgin, have yet to set up a network of their own, and instead have rented access to the Sprint network. This isn't a bad idea, and if the renting of access by smaller companies gains any headway, the cost of entering a wireless network will go down a small ammount (a decrease in costs of around 5%). The model that Virgin has used is relatively innovative, yet when I was on their network, I couldn't help but think I was being overcharged for a prepaid plan. But that is of course personal preference. So there's no monopoly. I wonder what all of these negative people are going to latch on to next? Not Social Security, I would bet.

Monday, February 14, 2005


No More Mr. NYSE Guy

After doing some research on the New York Stock Exchange, I'm begining to agree with Stephen Moore at the Club For Growth. The NYSE model is getting old, and although has in past years been an efficient marketplace, the times have changed. Hidden fees, although relatively small, affect every transaction. These fees are necessary, NYSE defends, to keep the marketplace functional. Yet NASDAQ opperates efficiently, perhaps even more efficiently, without charging similar fees.

Still more research is necessary, and I need to bring my brother home from school. More to come.


The New Telecom Wars

From PRNewswire , "Verizon Communications
Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and MCI, Inc. (Nasdaq: MCIP) today announced that Verizon has agreed to acquire MCI for $4.8 billion in equity and $488 million in cash." Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg stated that his company's goal is to increase it's services to large businesses, their goal being the major provider in that market. Another key to the acquisition is MCI's efficiency, which Verizon aims at implementing in the near future.

The largest reason, one that was underplayed in the press release is MCI's Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, network. Over the next five years, personal communication will likely trend more towards VoIP, straying away from the still relatively unreliable (by many standards) wireless phone. VoIP, by using a digital signal, provides better quality for a smaller price. Verizon now has a strong backbone in this burgeoning market, and assuming it's marketing strategy stays steady, Verizon is poised to dominate this market.

Yes, it's a little bit unprofessional for me to say it here, but Happy Valentine's Day, Amy. I love you.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

I heard earlier this week such an odd claim. Someone on one of these news shows mentioned that Carly Fiornia had been fired as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard because she was a woman. No! She was fired because she was inept, oversaw the horrible merger of HP and Compaq, which didn't provide the returns that she had promised. If it were because she's a woman, she'd never have been hired in the first place. Oh, and don't dwell on the fact that she resigned (because she's a woman? Nonsense). Just needed to get that out in the open.


I was over at Lynne Keisling's "knowledge problem" a little bit earlier, and she was talking about how the sugar industry is begining to attack Splenda. She brings up the issue of how the government provides a high level of protection for the American sugar industry. Now, I live in Louisiana, where fewer than 50 families dominate the sugar industry. Every few years, when a senate seat is available or a governorship is up for election, the Democrat in the election usually brings out a bombshell towards the end of the campaign saying that the Republicans are trying to destroy the Louisiana sugar industry via outsourcing. This tactic has been proven reliable and has brought us some of the most savy politicians in key areas in our state and federal governments, such as Senator Mary Landrieu and Governor Kathleen Blanco.

How is it that a group of 50 families have such a buying power in this state? It all goes back 400 years to a group of politically brilliant men living in France. They saw an opportunity in America, and more specifically the area that is now Louisiana. Each of these men built very strong families in North America, and these families have gone on unobstructed through today. A very large threat to these families, one that could bring down these local aristocrats is the possibility of deregulation of foreign sugar. This would be a huge benefit to the American people, as well as other foreign nations.

One of the common misconceptions is that wealth is finite, and politicians (especially democrats) have manipulated this misconception to make the American public believe that outsourcing is a scourge on the nation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let us take, for example, Hewlett-Packard, outsourcing hardware manufacturing to, say, India. The quality of the product has not diminished because of the lack of American hands, and HP stockholders and employees benefit from the lower costs of these laborers (many of whome live in the United States). These laborers in India benifit the most, though. Although the ammount they make is relatively small in comparison to American standards, the mere fact that these people now have a way to make money while not working for the Indian aristocracy. Those wealthy families are much like our Sugar Cartell, controlling the market through government protectionism.

So now more and more indians are working, for an American company, acruing wealth. This wealth is largely returned back to the US. These families must eat, and now they can afford American goods, some of the best in the world. After a few years, they may want a computer (an american computer, yet built by their own hands). Recently, Microsoft has begun developing a version of Windows for developing nations (all of these developing nations are ones that we outsource jobs to).

Nearly all of the money we outsource does make it back to the United States. We help out developing nations, and they help us out. Now, compare this to foreign aid packages, giving billions of dollars to develping nations for free. What is the chance that this money will be returned to us? Well, foreign aid has proven to not trickle down, but instead stay with the very powerful officials within those countries, thus increasing the ammount of control they can have over that nation. It would be great to outsource sugar, to bring down the aristocracy. These people need to stop buying my government, and who doesn't want a 20 cent candy bar?

Part two in this ongoing series is the illegal immigration problem here in the US. 700,000 (conservative estimate) illegal immagrants make it to the US every year, which translates into nearly 2,000 entering daily. As of January 2005, the percentage of people unemployed who are able and want to work is 5.2%. While that is an excellently low figure, there are easy ways to get that 5.2% back to work and earning money. If we are to seriously fix the unemployment problem, we must take a look at our booming illegal immigration problem.

Earlier this week, British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared that only immigrants who speak english and have a skill which is needed in Britain would be allowed into the kingdom. I hope that if this works, we begin implementing it here. 20 million illegals reside in the US (as of the 2000 Census data), many hold unskilled and low wage jobs. One argument I have heard in regards to why illegals should reside in the states (and one the President Bush has cited) is that many of these workers do jobs that Americans are unwilling to work. Yes, we are a very rich nation, and some kid from New York City would probably rather be unemployed than work on a farm in Kansas. I believe that given a few years without illegal immagrants, however, the market will make a minor shift, and that kid from New York will be employed, and the farm in Kansas will have no lack of workers. Unfortunately, the government is making no effort to allow the market forces take effect, and instead do very little to solve our immigrant problem.

But, the government did try to dissuade illegals from entering the US once. A proposal entered congress allocating funds to providing a fence in high traffic areas along the Mexican/US border. And, to tie this into my last post, there was one large hang up. Apparently there is a rare species of bird living along that border, and PETA stood up to the birds' deffence. Now I have no problem with environmentalism, and I'll admit that to a degree I am one, we all are for that matter. But when a bird gets in the way of our security as a nation and affects the US market to such a ammount, we must start making better decisions. A fence would be a great start. Not exactly the best fix, but it should cut down the ammount of illegals entering into the US enough to justify the cost. We should also take a page out of Britain's book and only allow english speakers who have a needed skill. For as socialist as Britain is becoming, this is a brilliant device to help an economy. Speaking of, I've got a great post on outsourcing coming up, so stay tuned.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


Economic Terrorism

Over the past few years, the type of terrorism that America is at risk of has taken a major shift. From the 1960s until the late 1990s, most terrorism taken place on American soil or directed towards American targets abroad, has been carried out by left-wing radicals. While the threat of an attack from right-wing extremist in the Middle East poses a serious threat, our focus must become more trained to the terrorists amongst our own ranks. Many of these left-wing groups were fronts for the Soviet Union, and their targets were largely corporate, as well as various small businesses. After the fall of Soviet Russia, many of these groups collapsed due to lack of funding. Yet some have flourished in recent years due to Hollywood activists and the media darlings who head these groups. Under the guise of ecology reform and animal rights, the Earth Liberation Front, as well as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals , have caused millions of dollars in damaged property, as well as countless lives (many of whom are the animals they are trying to "liberate").

According to the FBI's Domestic Terrorism Section Cheif, Jeff Jarboe, between 1996 and 2002, Earth Liberation Front (ELF) alone have commited "600 criminal acts in the United States since 1996, resulting in damages in excess of 43 million dollars." ELF itself claims it's North American members have caused in excess of $100 million between 1997 and 2003. In August of 2003, a Hummer dealership in an eastern suburb of Los Angeles suffered the loss of 20 Hummers, with severe damage done to another 20, as well as several Chevrolet Tahoes. Now, I'm not a big fan of the new Hummer, I find it slightly wasteful, because I am for the most part a utillitarian. I do, however, recognize that some would want to drive such a vehicle, thus why it is available. The Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the attack, and since then only one man, Jeffrey Luers, has been brought to court and convicted. He will serve 22 years, if we are lucky. Another widely reported case occured late in 2004. Indian Head, Maryland was another target of ecoterrorism. A neighborhood had been developed 25 miles south of Washington, D.C. These houses were in close proximity to the nation's last undisturbed magnolia bog. The Seirra Club, as well as other environmental groups protested the development, but lost. The houses were completed, but not inhabited at the time of the arson. A total of 12 homes were destroyed and another 41 suffered excess damage. The cost of damages is estimated at more than $10 million. A security guard, Aaron Speed, 21, has been aprehended and will be brought to trial. Unfortunately, the maximum penalty is only 20 years for arson.

Unlike Al-Quida, who has been deemed a military target by President Bush, ELF has enjoyed media attention without being targeted as a major threat. The leader of ELF, Craig Rosebraugh has not been arrested for any of these attacks, and may never will be. As an international team searches for Osama Bin Laden, who remains in hiding since September 11, 2001, while Mr Rosebraugh has been a very public figure. He has been hosted by many North Eastern and Western Colleges, and although there is ample evidence to warrant his arrest, the FBI will not touch him. The problem is, according to the Heartland Institute, "ELF has no formal headquarters or publicly known organizational structure. Rosebraugh says he doesn't know who is or is not a member. But he knows every detail of what they do and is well-established as the one and only authoritative ELF media contact." The only ones punished for eco terrorism acts are those who are directly involved. Compare this to international terrorist groups where we would rather target those at the top. Al-Quida, whose many top members have been apprehended or killed, has not carried out a major international attack since September 2001, although they have tried. Yet ELF, whose top officials appear at colleges across the country, and have scheduled appearances in many cities, enjoy and take advantage of the freedoms that the United States has given them. Which has been more effective, the few minor al-Quida terrorist incidents, or the unchecked terrorist incidents caused by ELF? We have to do something about this soon, or suffer the consequences.

Under the Weather

I'm just a tad bit under the weather today, got an awful case of the sneezes. I pulled down my last post because, in my haste, it just plain sucked. But I am very interested in economic terrorism, so I'll have a much better article up later on today. I've got class in a few minutes, and that'll give me plenty of time to go over my notes on the topic. With that, I bid you all adieu.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Tax Code

So this is a bit of a cop out, but I just haven't had time to go through hidden taxes yet. But tonight I'm going all out, and I'll expect to put up a huge post coming in before 2am.

Monday, February 07, 2005

I forgot one thing in my previous post. It seems I provided an inaccuracy in regards to how FICA taxes are taken from your paycheck. I provided the figure 12.9%, but instead, you pay 6% while your employer pays another 6.9%. I'm sorry for providing the wrong figure.

However, this brings up a whole new topic. Where does that employer get that 6.9%? Right out of your paycheck, correct? And if not through your paycheck, then through raising the prices of the services your company provides, which every company must, so it all comes back to you eventually. My big question is, why is the federal government lying to us saying that it's only taking out 6% while surreptitiously taking another 7% (behind our backs, no less) through our employers. Tomorrow I'm going to be dissecting taxation, and we'll handle this matter in more detail. Just, if more people realized how fully they are being taxed, there would be a huge call for reform. The government is taxing your employer much more heavily than it is you, but where do people think this money comes from? That your employer makes this money magically appear?

Sunday, February 06, 2005


An Explanation of Social Security

President Bush, during the State of the Union address, suggested to the nation (as well as those in both houses of congress and Supreme Court) that Social Security is in danger of going broke (in about 75 years) and that something must be done to securely extend the program. To preface this with my view of Social Security, I believe that over the next 20 years it ought to be phased out from the general public. With the advancement of our national economy, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to have not invested in any number of retirement plans (nearly all of which pay out in much higher returns than Social Security). After it is phased out of the general public, you must apply for it, a sort of welfare for the retirement aged. But, as it stands, that will never happen because the philosophy of the program is so ingrained in the public mind that the program can be easily manipulated by politicians (which earns them instant scorn from myself, not that it matters). I absolutely agree that something must be done now, rather than later. Yet, I am not ready to support the President's plan, for various reasons. I have heard, through opponents, that 75 years is a long way down the road, why must we fix it now? This, on the whole, is flawed thinking. Trends in longevity are showing that by the time social security is bankrupt, I will possibly still be alive. I realize these attacks are merely political, but how can I respect an opposition that is against forward thinking, and whose primary argument is that it's not happening now, so it doesn't need fixing?

But here's an actual argument for you. These personal accounts, as suggested, are handled by the government. All federal employees, instead of paying into social security, buy into personal accounts. The problem with this program is that, if enacted, I will have the option of redirecting 2% of my FICA taxes (under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, 12.4 percent of your earned income up to $90,000 is paid into Social Security, and an additional 2.9% is paid into Medicare, which has no earned income cap) into a "private" mutual fund instead of a social security account (which I will describe momentarily). This redirection, as calculated (assuming I earn more than $90,000) will be a mere $2,232 annually. Let's say that this government handled mutual fund returns 20% (I'm willing to say that, realistically it will have a 5% return, which will not even cover the rate of inflation), over the course of 30 years I will have amassed $80,352. That isn't even a year's worth of work for me. But this is only part of what I will be worth in social security, adding back the 12.4% I've paid in to (over 30 years at $90,000), I am worth at 65 $348,192. That is a fairly impressive number to me, a 22 year old. However, let's say that I die when I 65 and 1 day? That's right, it goes straight to the federal government. Isn't that just great? If I have opted to the 2% personal account, that potential $80,000 will be inherited by my wife or heir. How is my wife going to live off of that? And we haven't even gotten into the taxation of that $80,000. I wouldn't be surprised if all my wife ever receives is a $50,000 check. That will probably be 1/10th of what she will get from my life insurance. If that's not depressing, I don't know what is.

Indeed, so depressing that I don't even feel like going on. Yet, moving forward...this private account will not be managed by me (whom I can almost definitely say will be a better investor), but a government office, another nameless bureaucracy. Thankfully, I am going to be prepared. My advise to everyone is to put somewhere between 5% and 13% of your earnings (do not cap at $90,000) into any number of retirement funds and stocks. Over the course of 30 years, investing 5% of $90,000 into a mutual fund that earns 8%, you will have made $145,000. Seems pretty meager, so try and increase the percentage you buy into these mutual funds. Also, you will more than likely be earning more than $90,000 as time goes on. Lastly, this figure will increase as the rate of inflation increases.

As a private investor for your retirement, you can easily expect much higher returns than you would through social security. An added benefit is that the money earned through your private retirement fund will be inherited by your heir, instead of by the government. And I still wonder why people aren't saving for retirement, and instead expecting a few hundred dollars from the government every month (where you will have to be 85 to see all the money you put into Social Security). It's too big of risk not to invest in your retirement and only rely on Social Security (I'm sounding like a broken record, but how many times must it be said before people realize this?). However, and I failed to mention this in the first paragraph, if you haven't put any more money into your retirement than the required FICA tax, don't expect me to pay for your stupid mistakes, because that isn't taxation, that's robbery.
Amy's best friend is getting married in little more than a month, and I've been thinking. You see, the two are in deep debt (at least, for a couple of 20 somethings), and I've been thinking that they may need a hand. Now, there is a relatively popular debt managment specialist, Dave Ramsey, coming to town within the next few months. I'm going to bring it up with Amy wether or not I should advise them to attend. I've heard the guy on the air, and he does make some excellent points, mostly just good common sense and suggesting more budgetary responsibility. Mr. Ramsey also suggests putting away something between $50-100 monthly into mutual funds, etc. Unfortunately, he doesn't get much deeper than that, so in reality, this may not be the best way to go (probably a waste of money, and I can't afford that). But, check this space later for more, if any of you are interested.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Just as an aside, I'm trying to figure out a way to get articles on different pages, and instead just tease with a paragraph or so on the main page, while linking to another page. Does anyone know if I can do this internally on blogger?

Update: My editorials are at the Anyletter Article page

At a loss for words

I thought i'd have more to say to all the non americans out there, but I really don't, I'm sorry.

On the other hand, and this is in no way related, but last night Amy said that I should focus more on more emotion rather than information. Now, granted, I can see where she's coming from (she says that I'm horrible at inflection), but I'm not so sure I want to go that way. Besides, if I can provide an unique aspect on one topic or another, I don't think emotion would have to enter into it. But, you know, I'm sure she'll convince me otherwise.

Good morning everyone

Didn't get too much done yesterday. My mom is in the hospital, and I had to make sure that all my siblings were fed. I'm the oldest, Greg's 19, Tom's 17, and Monica is 14. We got Mom a "get well" card (thank you Amy, she really appreciated it, and knew it was your idea). Weirdest point of the night was when Dad had to check on how to do laundry. Nobody but mom or I knew how to do it, so after I got back I went and took care of the laundry. But, that's not all. I got to be the "Andrew Taxi Service" yesterday. I had maybe 30 mins to myself before 11 last night. First I had to pick up Tom and Monica from High School at three. And since Baton Rouge traffic is terrible, I got home at about 3:30. Then I had to bring Greg to class, then pick him up. Then I took monica to softball practise, then back home. Then went to visit Mom. And then had a pretty short phone conversation with Amy (i'm hoping that at some point this week we'll have more to talk about, at a time when we're not both tired). But i still couldn't fall asleep until 2am.

I've noticed some internationals through my records (in fact, I have more people coming in from GMT than Amy visits), and I'd just like to welcome all of you from out of town. You know, I didn't even consider that I'd be getting anyone from outside the states, and even if you're just here for a few seconds, I'd like to thank you for coming by. You know what, I'm going to continue this in another post.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005



Look, I think that the tax structure of this nation really needs a second look. The state of North Carolina seems to have the right idea. Tax Stamps for illegal drugs. You see, taxing is a difficult matter. What should we tax? What can't we? Here in Louisiana, everything you purchase is taxed (about 9 percent), whereas in New Jersey, where I grew up, the necessities (food, clothing) weren't taxed. Yes, I agree that in this case New Jersey got it right, however, their income tax is outrageous, where Louisiana's is, well, not acceptable, but much lower. Property taxes, Luxury taxes, all of these things have one thing in common. They're good things being stigmatized by a tax. Now, enter North Carolina and their Drug Stamp tax. If you are caught with any illegal drug, you must provide a North Carolinian issued Stamp that states you have paid taxes on it. You can purchase these stamps at any police office. Now, if you fail to provide said stamp and are caught by a police officer, you will be heavily taxed based on the ammount (and what) you are carrying. So far, an $8,000 investment has raised millions of dollars, some of which has been returned to the police, the rest is put in the general fund. Now, I don't know anyone else's thoughts on this, but I know what I think, 2 birds, one stone. I also think that alcohol is taxed terribly insufficiently here in Louisiana. Too many drunks on the road, and it seems the entire state has an drinking problem during any holiday. Now, I realize that society here seems to breed it into the system, but it shouldn't be the case. I'm not gonna tell anyone to not have a few drinks, but I'd rather more of the government be paid for by items with a negative connotation (and a health risk).

Economics (click for article)

I'm an economics student, and there are some things that rub me wrong. Perhaps you've heard of Paul Krugman. He's a columnist for the New York Times, and a fairly well known economist. I think he's full of it, and let me tell you why. His newest book "The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century" just seems to strike me as being a bit odd.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Hey Amy

I'd like to welcome my girlfriend to my site (click an ad, get a cookie i guess), so everyone here give her a nice round of applause. Oh, it's just us, isn't it? I just realized that there are a few spelling errors in my other posts, but i'll fix that after I finish up with this. Expect my site to be about as boring as I am, but maybe just a little bit less. I can only hope. I'll see you in a couple of weeks (if anyone is wondering, we live in different cities, not too far apart, but just far enough to make it annoying sometimes). Uhm, so, this is it, my castle of ones and zeros. Funny how that is. Ok, in honor of Amy, no politics for the next 24 hours. Or at least I'll try. So instead, we go to Lets spend some time there, it's about as fun as the library, but not nearly as fun as tooth decay. Or is that...nevermind! Moving right along. Yes. Why don't I do that now, before I lose the only reader of my site.

Michael Savage

The man is a pig, but you know, he's a riot. So I agree with him pretty often, I hardly ever like his delivery, however he does seem to have a very straightforward mind. That's all I have to say about that.

This is rather new to me, so if you're here (and I'm not so sure how you'd get here), leave a comment, let me know how I'm doing, click an ad, just lemme know I'm doing something all right.

So, a combination of right-wing politics, some software reviews (if you can call them that), and mind numbing commentary? Where can I sign up! Well, this is entirely free, apparently. Though click a banner. Ok, now that's just getting out of hand.

HTTP:// , go there, have some fun if you want. I've sort of been following the site since it popped up a couple of weeks ago. It's pretty laid back, if anyone cares about such a thing. It's not nearly as vulgar as you would think. The sites language is very clean, and the topics are, well, topical. You'll see me in there, with a different name, of course. It ends in a .1 if anyone comes across me. So, my adoring masses, I will come back later, do not fear.

Welcome Firefox and Opera users. Oh, and IE.

Remember how I said that I wasn't going to talk software? Sorry, but changed my mind. So, firefox is kinda nice, I use it every now and then, really I do. Opera, well, I've got a thing for it, if you don't mind. And IE? Get a shell, at least, people, that's all I have to say about that. Maxthon is what I use, because I just can't get away without mouse gestures. Ok, so what I normally use (Flip Forward/Back) aren't really classified as such, but if I can't have them, well I'd much rather have a gesture. Tabbed browsing is cool, probably couldn't live without it, but i don't notice it so much as gestures. Oh, and one more thing about alternative browsers...I don't care if they're safer than IE or not, they both have exactly what I'm looking for, gestures, popup blocking, the ability to have full functionality yet still maintaining my minimalist stance on open windows, etc. Ok, I'm done now. Really.

Click for your adification

Yes, I am a corporate whore. As soon as people just start sending me cash for this, the ad stays up. Oh, and I'll fix the way it keeps showing up. Just give me a few minutes, ok? Nothing new to report here yet, I'll be back in a couple of hours.

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