Saturday, February 19, 2011

Song of Myself..................

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

-Walt Whitman

While following "The Money", remember......

· 1. With money you can buy a house, but not a home

· 2. With money you can buy a clock, but not time.

· 3. With money you can buy a bed, but not sleep.

· 4. With money you can buy a book, but not knowledge.

· 5. With money you can see a doctor, but not good health.

· 6. With money you can buy a position, but not respect.

· 7. With money you can buy blood, but not life.

· 8. With money you can buy sex, but not love.

This list appears on Steve Felix's blog.  His most recent post also
 included this wisdom:

"I’m sorry.  I don’t care how much technology is available
to us today whether it’s email, texting, Skype, Video
Conferencing, Twitter, Facebook whatever, there is no
substitute for meeting people face2face." 

My favorite economic futurist suggests.........

............................we get our act together.

We are doing ok:

      It might surprise you that the U.S. continues to lead the 
      world in manufacturing output. We produce more than
      the Chinese, the Japanese, the Germans, etc. U.S. output
      exceeds that of China by 40%

      It might surprise you that the U.S. share of global
     manufacturing output, at 20%-25%, is essentially the same
     as it was 40 years ago

     The U.S. still accounts for 40% of total world R&D
     spending. We lead the world in science and technology,
     although that lead is slipping, according to the Rand

We need to do better:

     Despite more recent successes, major challenges remain.
     Millions of lost jobs will never return. At the same time,
     ninety percent of manufacturers report having difficulty in
     finding skilled production workers. In addition, a large
     share of the manufacturing workforce will retire sooner
     rather than later, with the average U.S. manufacturing
     worker being 50 years old (The Agurban).

     Greater cooperation between local universities, community
     colleges, and high schools to provide quality training for
     local manufacturers remains a challenge largely unmet.
     Parents and educators need to promote a career in
     manufacturing as a highly desirable outcome for tens of
     thousands of new graduates.

     Issues remain…Opportunities abound

Full post here.

Just in time, too...............

Thanks Perry

Mark Perry asks a good question.............

...."Why divert farmland for fuels when the world's poor are
short of food, and there are millions of unfarmable acres in
Alaska and the arid West, as well as off the American coast,
that either are not being tapped for more efficient gas and
oil or or only partially exploited?"

"We need a drastic reset if agricultural policy.  The use of
prime ag land to grow corn for ethanol biofuel makes no

Actually, Victor Davis Hanson asked the question.  Mark Perry
excerpted Hanson's essay at Carpe Diem.  Full post here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Running like the wind.........................

It just doesn't get a whole lot better..........Marshall Tucker Band

Rules, rules, and more rules........................

From the 1,001 Rules for My Unborn Son  blog:

480. If a street performer makes you stop walking, you owe him
        a buck.

478. Reblog, but verify

470. Don’t play the ace if you can win with the king.

469. Stay in your seat until the credits have rolled.

From the Rules for My Unborn Son book:

-The best thing to do in the rain is to be quiet and listen.

-Take the time to get a shoe shine,

-Don't let the ice-cream truck get away.

-Despite what you may hear, not everyone's a winner.
 It doesn't mean you shouldn't play.

-When handling a frog, be gentle.

-Offer your name when greeting someone, even good
  friends have lousy memories.

-You are what you do, not what you say.

-Wisdom begins with an awe of nature.

I'm hoping this is satire..............

Thanks Ben

U.S. Government: An insurance conglomerate protected by a large, standing army.

Ezra Klein at the Washington Post suggests we "follow the
money."   Full essay here.  Fun chart here:

Excerpts here:

"American politics is one long argument about what govern-
ment should or shouldn’t be doing, and how it should or
shouldn’t be doing it. .......... If you want to know what the
federal government is really doing, just look where it’s
spending our money."

"Two of every five dollars goes to Social Security, Medicare
or Medicaid, all of which provide some form of insurance. A
bit more than a buck goes to the military. Then there’s a
$1.50 or so for assorted other programs -- education, infra-
structure, environmental protection, farm subsidies, etc.
Some of that, like unemployment checks and food stamps, is
also best understood insurance spending. And then there’s
another 40 cents of debt repayment. Calvin Coolidge once
said that the business of America is business. Well, the business
of the American government is insurance. Literally. If you look
at how the federal government spends our money, it’s an
insurance conglomerate protected by a large, standing army."

Active Patience...................

The Sales Blog advocates taking the long view- here.

Excerpt here:

An active patience means that you continually and frequently
take action to pursue your dream client, to find a way to be
valuable to them, to nurture the relationships you will need
later, and to eventually create another opportunity. You
have to be there and known when the trigger event that is
dissatisfaction makes another round.

Taking the long view means never quitting. It means unders-
tanding that a single round of the contest may have been
decided, but that you must get up off of your stool and walk
across the ring and continue the good fight. The only way to
win is to extend the contest and to get busy patiently taking
action after action to position yourself to win.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thanks Sweetie...........

A textbook maven..............

.......argues for a rising global tide and a cooperative future.
Fun blog here.  Specific essay  here.  Excerpts here:

"The key here is that everyone gains from trade. ...... Unlike
a sports contest, which by necessity has a winner and a loser,
a voluntary economic transaction between consenting
consumers and producers typically benefits both parties."

"Instead, we should view higher education in the United
States as one of our most successful export industries. The
United States has 5 percent of the world’s population but
most of the best universities. Is it any wonder that students
from many nations flock here to learn? And as they do so,
they create opportunities for Americans — from the
professors who teach the classes to the grounds crews who
maintain the campuses.

"When the foreign students head home, they take the human
capital acquired here to become productive members of their
own communities. They spread up-to-date knowledge, so it
can foster prosperity everywhere. Some of this knowledge is
technological. Some of it concerns business, legal and
medical practices. And some is even more fundamental, such
as the values of democracy and individual liberty. Nothing
could be better for the United States than these thousands
of American-trained ambassadors who have seen at first
hand the benefits of a free and open society.

"As we confront the many hard policy choices ahead, let’s
prepare for the future. Let’s invest for the future. Let’s be
willing to make hard sacrifices for a more prosperous
future. But let’s not presume that the future is a game
requiring winners and losers."

The UPS man delivered............ very own copy of the Autobiography of Mark Twain
(Volume One) yesterday.  Let the re-juggling of the book stack
begin.  Anyway, that makes it seem doubly appropriate to wish
Hal Holbrook a totally happy 86th birthday!

They are having some fun with.........

............Bill O'Reilly.  Full display here.  Two samples here:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Anniversary Sweetie...................

Fred B. Craddock................... a preacher and a storyteller.   Here is one of his stories:

"I went to see a lady in our church who was facing surgery.  I
went to see her in the hospital.  She had never been in the hospital
before, and the surgery was major.  I walked in there. She was a
nervous wreck, and she started crying,  She wanted me to pray
with her, which I did.  By her bed there was a stack of books and
magazines: True Love, Mirror, Hollywood Today, stuff about
Elizabeth Taylor and folk.  She just had a stack of them there, and
she was a wreck.  It occurred to me, There's not a calorie in
that whole stack to help her through her experience.  She had
no place to dip down into a reservoir and come up with
something - a word, a phrase, a thought, an idea, a memory, a
person.  Just empty.

"How marvelous is the life of a person who, like the wise home-
maker, when the berries and fruits and vegetables are ripe, puts
them away in jars and cans in the cellar.  Then when the ground is
cold, icy, and barren and nothing seems alive, she goes down into
the cellar, comes up, and its May and June at her family's table. 
How blessed is that person."

Excerpted from Craddock Stories

A word to the wise............

"Education and innovation are drivers of income growth."
-Mark Schweitzer

If blogging is art.................

........then here is a masterpiece.  The past week has been
especially good.  Thanks Kurt.

I wasn't trying to bum you out................

One of our most positive, energetic, and upbeat bloggers was
struggling with his optimism yesterday- here.   A contributing
factor to his unease was the following chart:

There is more than one way to interpret these charts.  While the
precipitous drop in housing starts that begins in 2006 clearly
attracts the eye, for me the more important trend line is the
average housing starts between 1968 and 1998.  Without the
raw data or a magnifying glass, I'm estimating that over that
thirty year time period  we averaged about 1,100,000 new
homes per year.

In 1999 the new home per year rate started climbing.  Ignoring
the precedent set in other recessions, the annual new home
count even continued its upward journey during the 2001
recession.  By 2003, the laws of the marketplace were in full
retreat as housing starts - then the engine of our economy-
reached unimaginable heights, topping out at 1,800,000 in 2006.

Unfortunately, what seemed like the glory years for the
production building industry, was, in reality, an unsustainable
borrowing from their future potenial sales.  They binged, now we
have a hangover.  The only cure for a hangover is time.

But, much time has passed.  Homebuilders have struggled the
past four years to get 500,000 houses built per year.  That will
soon change.

If you believe what you read on the internet, some 400,000
houses burn down each year.  Add to that a growing
population. Add to that the fact that the economy is starting to
recover, even with the construction industry still in the tank. 
Add to that the need that people have to change their housing
arrangements over time.  1,800,000 new houses per year
was an unsustainable abberation, but so is 450,000 new
houses per year.

Slowly but surely the market for new homes will return.  Look
for a sustained uptick in 2012 and a return to the 1,100,000
average by 2014.

The hangover is about over.  I believe that is cause for optimism.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quite the chasm.................

"Meanwhile, the chasm between religion and secular reform
and modernization that dominated politics in much of Europe
until the twentieth century - and dominates life in Israel and
many Muslim countries today - was never as deep in the
English-speaking world.  Two ideas in creative tension have
coexisted for half a millennium in the Anglosphere.  On the
one hand, God exists and reveals his will regarding moral
rules and religious doctrines to human beings; on the other
hand, human understanding of these revelations remains
partial and subject to change. "

Excerpted from  God and Gold by Walter Russell Mead

Harvey Korman, born this day in 1927.....

Youtube won't let me upload any clips from Blazing Saddles,
but it is worth the trip here.

Auden peered into the future..................

The Higher Mind’s outgrowing the Barbarian,
     It’s hardly thought hygienic now to kiss;
The world is surely turning vegetarian;
     And as it grows too sensitive for this,
     It won’t be long before we find there is
A Society of Everybody’s Aunts
For the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants.

-W. H. Auden
Excerpted from Letter to Lord Byron (1937)

It's that freedom of speech thing.............

"In late 1666, Charles II conferred with his High Chancellor,
the Earl of Clarendon, to discuss the possibility of suppressing
the coffeehouses outright.  Clarendon agreed with the King
that this was desirable, given that that coffeehouses allowed
'the foulest imputations to be laid upon the government' and
that 'people generally believed that those houses had a charter
of privilege to speak what they would, without being in danger
to be called into question.'  He proposed banning the coffee-
houses by royal decree as well as the skillful use of spies to
record conversations of those who persisted in deriding the
government so publicly."

An excerpt from Brian Cowan's The Social Life of Coffee

If you are interested......... the intersection of social media and your business-
pay a visit to Mathew Ferrara.  He has it covered.  Here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The road to recovery....................

 Attitude matters.  A lot.  This optimistic trend is heartening. 

Housing starts and the construction industry have traditionally
been the engine driving recoveries.  The chart below indicates that
it is not happening this go round.  Although, we do expect that by
this time next year, the phones will be ringing off the hooks for
custom home builders.  (I wonder how often that expression gets
used in the era of cell phones.)  So, don't forget- if  you want to
get a jump on your competition and start a building project this
year, we have some fabulous building lots available.

Personally, I find this chart a little hard to believe.

All the charts are courtesy of Calculated Risk.  Thanks.

Just for today.......................

Monday's Poem..............

           The Garden of Love

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst.
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
An "Thou shalt not" writ over the door;
So I turn'd to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore;

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be;
And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

-William Blake

Speaking of Blake

More quotes attibuted to William Blake.............

"Imaginati­on is evidence of The Divine."

"A truth that's told with bad intent Beats all the Lies you
can invent."

"A Robin Red breast in a Cage Puts all Heaven in a Rage."

"If the Sun and Moon should doubt, They'd immediately
Go out."

"To See a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour."

"Everything that lives is holy, life delights in life."

"A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees."

"He who desires but acts not breeds pestilence."

"If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would
appear as it is, infinite."

"One thought fills immensity."

"The road of excess leads to the palace of Wisdom."

"You never know what is enough unless you know what is
more than enough."

"Why of the sheep do you not learn peace?"
"Because I don't want you to shear my fleece."

"As a man is, so he sees."

"Manners make the Man, not Habits."

Mitch Daniels...............Sounding Presidential

Full speech here.  Excerpts here:

"....The failure of national economic policy is costing us more
than jobs; it has begun to weaken that uniquely American
spirit of risk-taking, large ambition, and optimism about the
future. We must rally them now to bold departures that
rebuild our national morale as well as our material prosperity.

"Here, too, the room abounds with experts and good ideas,
and the nation will need every one. Just to name three: it’s
time we had, in Bill Simon’s words “a tax system that looks
like someone designed it on purpose.” And the purpose should
be private growth. So lower and flatter, and completely flat is
best. Tax compensation but not the savings and investment
without which the economy cannot boom.

"Second, untie Gulliver. The regulatory rainforest through
which our enterprises must hack their way is blighting the
future of millions of Americans. Today’s EPA should be
renamed the “Employment Prevention Agency.” After a two-
year orgy of new regulation, President Obama’s recent
executive order was a wonderment, as though the number one
producer of rap music had suddenly expressed alarm about

"Finally, treat domestic energy production as the economic
necessity it is and the job creator it can be. Drill, and frack,
and lease, and license, unleash in every way the jobs potential
in the enormous energy resources we have been denying our-
selves. And help our fellow citizens to understand that a
poorer country will not be a greener country, but its opposite.
It is freedom and its fruits that enable the steady progress we
have made in preserving and protecting God’s kingdom.

"If this strikes you as a project of unusual ambition, given the
state of modern politics, you are right. If it strikes you as too
bold for our fellow Americans to embrace, I believe you are
wrong. Seven years as a practitioner in elective politics tells
me that history’s skeptics are wrong. That Americans, in a
vast majority, are still a people born for self-governance. They
are ready to summon the discipline to pay down our collective
debts as they are now paying down their own; to put the
future before the present, their children’s interest before their

Thanks to Maggie's Farm for pointing the way

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I am not afraid..I am not afraid..I am not afraid

"Revenge is a dish best served cold."

The scene:   Side street in Chicago after the great snow storm.

The crime:   "Borrowing" a snow shovel and not returning it.

The punishment:   That's why you watch the video

Thanks to the Mighty E. for pointing me in the right direction

The wisdom of Jim Rohn...............

"Can a poor person become wealthy?  Of course!  The
unique combination of desire, planning, effort, and
perseverance will always work its magic.  The question is
not whether the formula for success will work, but rather
whether the person will work the formula.  That is the
unknown variable."
-Jim Rohn

Sunday's Verse.............

39.  And He also spoke a parable to them:  "A blind man cannot
guide a blind man, can he?  Will they not both fall in a pit?

40.  "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has
been full trained, will be like his teacher.

41.  "And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's
eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

42.  "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother let me take 
out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not
see the log that is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take
the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly
to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.

43.  "For there is not good tree which produces bad fruit; nor,
on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.

44.  "For each tree is known by its own fruit.  For men do not
gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from the
briar bush.

45.  "he good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings
forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure
brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that
which fills his heart."

Luke 6: 39-45
The Open Bible