Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What A Great Idea!!

Many news reports claim students in the United States are well below average in academic performance. I recall one report that US students are 35th in the world with respect to math performance, behind most European and some African countries. Yet the US is about 3rd or 4th in spending per student. What is wrong with our educational system? Obviously taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth and our children are being cheated out of a decent education. Some school systems are attacking the problem by throwing more money at it as if the solution is more of the same. Other school systems are trying innovative solutions such as creating school competition (i.e. choice) with mixed results. Most liberal politicians influenced by teacher unions oppose the latter. However, earlier this month a saw a report on GMA on a highly effective experimental program to improve performance in Chicago schools. It’s called “Pay For Performance”. The idea is to “reward” students monetarily for achieving high grades. Funded entirely by private funds, students were given $50 for each A, $35 for each B and $20 for each C. In less than one year the grade point average increased by one grade level. In addition, GMA reported that students and their parents were much more enthusiastic and involved in their education. They actually looked forward to final exams and bragged about how much money they earned. Now I know that there are many opportunities for abuse in this program (i.e. student cheating, teacher bribing etc.) and critics claim this is simply bribing students to do what they should be doing anyway (focus on the money and not on the academics) but I think we need to do something in this country and this experiment deserves further investigation and expansion. Monetary rewards are a tremendous incentive to perform and improve. During my entire career in engineering management we used “pay for performance” to determine annual pay raises. Persons with the highest performance ratings are given the highest raises. Yes there are occasional abuses of the system but by and large the process served us well. Pay for performance is one of the best ideas I’ve heard of to improve the performance of the educational system in the US. I expect that teacher unions and liberal politicians will find fault with this program and try to kill it. To all my readers I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, November 28, 2008


One of the liberals favorite words when it comes to free market economy is “greed”. But what is greed? Merriam Webster defines greed as: a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (such as money) than is needed. The problem with this definition is it uses relative words like: selfish, excessive and needed. These words have no absolute definitions so they are subject to arbitrary definition by anyone who wants to make a point or further their agenda. One of the favorite targets of liberal politicians and the liberal media are CEOs. But who has more greed, the CEO of Toyota (a fortune 500 company employing over 750,000 people) earning 1 million dollars annually or the president of The University of Chicago (a relatively small university probably employing only a few thousand people) earning 1.5 Million dollars annually? You could make a case that the university president is greedy relative to the Toyota CEO. It’s interesting that liberals never criticize as greedy liberal CEOs like Warren Buffet, the second richest person in the US, who made his fortune practicing free market investing. Thomas Sowell said in his column today: “The average pay of a CEO of a corporation big enough to be included in the Standard & Poor's index is less than one-third of what Alex Rodriguez makes, about one-tenth of what Tiger Woods makes and less than one-thirtieth of what Oprah Winfrey makes. But when has anyone ever accused athletes or entertainers of "greed"?” Some people think that greed caused the recent mortgage crisis. I agree. It WAS greed that caused the recent mortgage crisis. It was political greed of politicians to grant their constituents favors so as to be re-elected, it was social greed of moderate/low income people to live in houses with mortgages they could not afford and it was financial greed of investors buying risky investments based on those risky mortgages. Greed is relative like beauty – in the eye of the beholder or like pornography – you know it when you see it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Be careful what you wish for

With all the talk these days about CHANGE by both presidential candidates it brings to mind a story I recall from my childhood. Be careful what you wish for. A small boy with a crippled, badly deformed left arm went to a wishing well one day. With his good arm he pulled out a coin and tossed it in the well saying: “Wishing well, wishing well, please change my arm to be like my other arm.” POOF: His right arm was immediately crippled. Moral: Be very careful of the change you wish for. It may not be what you expect. Also, watch out for unintended consequences. For example: The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) passed in 1977 is designed to encourage commercial banks and savings associations to meet the needs of borrowers in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The Act requires the appropriate federal financial supervisory agencies to encourage regulated financial institutions to relax mortgage loan qualifications. The intent was to make home ownership more available to low/moderate income families. A valiant goal. However, this act gave rise to the “sub prime” mortgage industry that is at the heart of the current financial crisis. Congress passed a $700 Billion dollar “bail-out” bill to shore-up the financial institutions from complete collapse. The saddest thing is that many of the low/moderate income families that this act was meant to help are losing their homes in foreclosure and declaring bankruptcy. Now their credit records are ruined and THEY STILL DON'T OWN A HOUSE!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Objective News

I believe the American public is being ill served by their information sources today. There is no longer objectivity in news reporting. Every so-called “news” organization whether TV, radio or print purports to be objective but indeed have biased agendas and often lie to promote their agenda. Some are worse than others, like NYT, CNN, CBS and NBC who want the public to think they are objective so you will rely on them for information even if it is untrue. On the other hand there are talk shows like Hardball (Chris Mathews) Limbaugh, Hannity and internet blogs like Daily Koss and Moveon.org. that make no pretense of objectivity. They too lie openly to promote their agenda but, knowing their biases, their lies are obvious and transparent. So what is a thinking person to do to get reliable information to form their conclusions? DO NOT rely on a single source for information. Be skeptical of all sources claiming to be objective. If you want both sides of every issue you have to work for it and listen/watch sources with competing agendas. Most people are too busy to watch/listen to one information source much less multiple sources. These people often rely on Saturday Night Live or David Letterman as their only source of political information. Is it any wonder that we now have two deeply flawed presidential candidates?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Are You Open Minded?

Recently I was accused (subtly) of not being open minded by a dear liberal friend. Referring to the Bush administration her exact quote was : “---unless you have an open mind and can look at the "real story" or :"the rest of the story" there isn't any use even telling you about it.” That got me thinking about what it means to be open minded and whether I am open minded? The definition of someone who has an open mind (per Wikipetia) is: “Someone who has an open mind is receptive to new ideas or information.” I think most people, including myself, think they are receptive to new ideas and ARE open-minded. I think I am receptive to new ideas because I actively seek and contemplate new ideas. For example, I listen intently to liberal and conservative propaganda from John McLaughlin, George Stephanopoulos, Chris Matthews, Dan Rather, Chris Wallace, Brit Hume and others. Being receptive to ideas is vastly different than accepting and embracing them. I, like many people, including my dear liberal friend, have deeply held PRINCIPLES. I actively seek and contemplate new ideas but if they are not in concert with my principles I reject them. That does not make me less open minded. Just because I am open minded does not mean I have to accept and embrace all new ideas. Can a person with deeply held principles be open minded? What do you think?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Perfect Couple

After reading Marcel's latest posting about food it caused me to think of my own eating habits. I am reminded that Nancy and I are a perfect match, she loves to cook and I love to eat. If it wasn't for biking and golf I would go back to my pre-retirement weight. LIFE IS GOOD!

Friday, July 4, 2008

With Liberty and Justice For All

One of the BIG advantages of living in La La Land is the great entertainment opportunities. Last night Nancy and I witnessed a wonderful show at the Hollywood Bowl that culminated in a spectacular fireworks display.

There are few places in the world where you can enjoy a picnic meal, wine and an evening of entertainment OUTDOORS without being pestered by mosquitoes, flies or other insects in a comfortable shirt sleeve environment. LIFE IS GOOD!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Energy Guzzled by Al Gore’s Home in Past Year Could Power 232 U.S. Homes for a Month Gore’s personal electricity consumption up 10%.

NASHVILLE - In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. “A man’s commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home,” said Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. “Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption.” In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.

Friday, May 30, 2008

One Good Reason To Vote For McCain

SUSAN SARANDON, who appeared in three films last year and won kudos for her TV movie "Bernard and Doris," is still not a contented soul. She says if John McCain gets elected, she will move to Italy or Canada.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Audacity Of Congress

While liberals in the US, including Sierra Club, have successfully lobbied congress to prevent domestic oil exploration, today the House has the AUDACITY to pass a law allowing the US to sue OPEC countries "---for limiting oil supplies---" (see below). That law should be extended to include liberal congressmen and the Sierra Club! Why should other countries be expected to do what we in the US will not do!! Idiots!!
House passes bill to sue OPEC over oil prices
By Tom Doggett WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on Tuesday allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC members for limiting oil supplies and working together to set crude prices, but the White House threatened to veto the measure. The bill would subject OPEC oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, to the same antitrust laws that U.S. companies must follow. SEE COMPLETE NEWS ARTICLE

Sunday, April 27, 2008


LA has had one of the coldest winters on record even though angelinos have been doing their part to generate as much greenhouse gas as possible. We drive more SUVs than ever and we have been burning a record amount of gasoline. It’s finally working. Today we expect a record setting temperature of 101 degrees. Our faith in Al Gore is restored!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thomas Sowell

I love reading Thomas Sowell's writings ever since Marcel introduced me to them a few years ago. Here are some of his latest "Random Thoughts":

Most of the problems of this country are not nearly as bad as the "solutions" — especially the solutions that politicians come up with during election years.

Senator John McCain could never convince me to vote for him. Only Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama can cause me to vote for McCain.

One way to reduce illegal immigration might be to translate some of our far left publications into Spanish and give everyone in Mexico subscriptions. After they read how terrible this country is, many may want to stay away.

It is amazing to me that there are people who still take seriously claims by some candidates that they are against "special interests." All politicians are against their opponents' special interests and in favor of his own special interests.

Among the many wise things said by the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was that you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts. Yet an incredible number of people make up whatever "facts" are needed to support whatever they choose to believe.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Guy on Wright: Hate monger, race baiter.

Guy on far left: Naive. After 20 years I never knew and by the way, I did not have sex with that woman either.

Monday, March 10, 2008


hypocrite: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.

More than almost any other trait I despise hypocrisy the most whether it is a governor of New York, a Senator of Idaho, a female (BS) singing star or a former vise president. Invariably they lecture how you should act while they are unwilling to follow their own preachings.

Monday, February 11, 2008


It seems that not every scientist is part of Al Gore's mythical "consensus”. In 1991 the Danish Meteorological Institute released a study using data that went back centuries that showed that global temperatures closely tracked solar cycles. Now, Canadian scientists are studying our sun, which has a bigger impact on Earth's climate than all the tailpipes and smokestacks on our planet combined. And they're now worried about global COOLING!! According to Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council, solar activity, which fluctuates in 11-year cycles, has been disturbingly quiet during the current cycle. This lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century. Such an event occurred in the 17th century and corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe. Tapping warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere. The biggest impact on the Earth's climate over time has been the sun. There is excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations of the sun and earthly climate according to R. Timothy Patterson, professor of geology and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Center of Canada's Carleton University. A Hoover Institution Study a few years back examined historical data and came to the conclusion that "The effects of solar activity and volcanoes are impossible to miss.” "---try as we might, we simply could not find any relationship between industrial activity, energy consumption and changes in global temperatures." according to Hoover fellow Bruce Berkowitz . The study concludes that if you shut down all the world's power plants and factories, "there would not be much effect on global temperatures." Note: This was exerpted from an article in Investers Business Daily. If you care to see the complete article go to: http://ibdeditorial.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=287279412587175

Friday, February 8, 2008


That's me falling to the ground about 5 years ago.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


China is having the harshest winter weather in decades. My suggestion to them is they need to do what we do here in America. BUY MORE SUVs TO CREATE MORE GREENHOUSE GASSES. This should solve their problem. Oh wait; they already produce more greenhouse gasses than any other country in the world. Oh well, maybe manmade greenhouse gases are not the source of global warming after all. Maybe I should create a documentary. I understand a former vice president has made a fortune this way.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bigotry In America

Bigotry is alive and well in America and it’s bilateral. Today 80% of black South Carolina democratic voters voted for Barack Obama but only 21% of white democratic voters voted for him. Even 79% of black women voted for Barack over Hillary. Other than his color, what is it that black voters see in Obama that is not apparent to white voters? Not much I think. Color is the dominant discriminator in BOTH cases. Is this any way to select the potential future leader of the free world?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

All Hail Has Broken Loose

Climatologists predicted that in 2008 Southern California will have one of the hottest and driest winters in many years. However, we’ve have had more rain so far this season then all of last season and well above the average to date. In 23 years living in the Los Angeles area it snowed only once and hailed only 4 times. However, today we got a good sized HAIL STORM lasting almost half an hour. All this convinces me that so-called climatologists are incapable of predicting one year in advance much less 10 to 20 years. Does anyone know what climatologists predicted 20 years ago about the present? They were predicting man made GLOBAL COOLING. As Bill Clinton says: “GIVE ME A BREAK.”

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Wii is now the fasting selling video game because it not only appeals to children but also is a big hit with adults and senior citizens. The Wii games (bowling, tennis, golf, boxing etc. etc.) require the player to use there arms and legs to swing a virtual tennis racket or throw a virtual bowling ball. And therein lies the problem. There is a new ailment out there called Wii-itis. It is caused by overusing your Nintendo Wii video game. Some players (mostly seniors) overuse previously unused/underused muscles leading to pain similar to carpel tunnel syndrome. I played Wii bowling with my grandson Gregory (12 years old). Even though I lost it is a fun, challenging game. I wonder how long before Nintendo gets sued for selling an attractive nuisance and medicare gets swamped with Wii-itis claims!!