Friday, October 31, 2008

Teeny Tiny Pictures of Rachel and Her Color Guard Crew

The professional photographer who took the pictures Rachel and her Color Guard at the St. Louis competition posted his thumbnail proofs at his website. Only two pictures of Rachel! What's up with that?

You could click on the thumbnail and get a bigger version but then the photographer's watermark comes up and I can't import that version to Blogger. So we'll just have to settle for the tiny version.

Here's the crew, cutting up for the photographer. Rachel's in the top row, far right:

Here she is out on the field:

If I come across some better pictures or video, you can be sure I'll post 'em.

iPod Shuffle Post #9

612. Three Dog Night Joy To The World
611. The Beatles For You Blue
610. Steve Winwood Take It As It Comes
609. Mannheim Steamroller Sunday The 7th Day
608. Electric Light Orchestra Strange Magic
607. Gorillaz Punk
606. Dido My Life
605. Steve Winwood One More Morning
604. Peter Gabriel San Jacinto
603. Paul McCartney C Moon
602. Dave Matthews Band The Space Between
601. Garbage Parade
600. Pachelbel Cantata BWV 174:1 Sinfonia
599. Bob Dylan High Water
598. The Beatles Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey

I still don't know how to properly list tracks like 600. Classical musical titles are so detailed. You get the idea, though, don't you?

Funny, as big a Bob Dylan fan as I am, track 599 comes from the only Bob Dylan CD I've ripped and put on my iPod. I wonder why that is. Er, at least I think it's the only one. Haven't had a Dylan tune come up from any other CD for a while. I don't want to check my iPod for fear of losing the current shuffle settings. I'll check my iTunes on my laptop next time I'm on and let you know.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Did The IRS Really Issued $1B In Bad Refunds In 2007?

The Inspector General seems to think so:
The government sent out more than $1 billion in fraudulent refunds last year and offered this explanation Thursday for the bad checks in the mail: The Internal Revenue Service has too few resources to pursue every tax fraud case.

IRS investigators never even looked at an estimated $742 million in fraudulent refunds, according to a report by the Treasury Department office that monitors the agency. When they did identify an additional $264 million in bad refunds, it was too late to stop them from being issued.

Reading further into the story, it sounds like what the Inspector General is really saying is that that because the IRS lacks the resources to audit every tax return, most tax returns are fraudulently understating income and overstating expenses. Thus, most refunds are larger than they should be.

Well, that's mighty nice of the Inspector General to overreach like that. For my clients, we're accurately reporting income and expenses and taking full advantage of the tax laws to reduce tax burdens. There's nothing fraudulent about that. We're claiming refunds for our clients that our clients are legally entitled to.

This report sounds like just the ammunition the IRS needs to go to Congress to ask for more funding. And it's nothing but hype. It will be troubling if Congress listens to this - and there's no reason to believe they won't - and increases funding, though I doubt they'll do that because of other budget shortfalls. Instead, Congress'll direct the IRS to the priorities Congress chooses and if that means closer scrutiny of tax returns, well, that's what the IRS will do.

Tough times loom ahead for taxpayers, not only with a probable increased tax burden thanks to a new administration but with an ever-increasingly invasive government prying into taxpayers' financial affairs. Look out!

Emily and Pepper's Second Obedience Training Lesson

Before Emily and Pepper go inside to begin their second lesson, they go for a stroll.

Tonight's lessons: the sit stay, the "off" command, the back up, praise, and release, the controlled walk. I'm sure they'll both do well.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Update - The lesson went well. Emily and Pepper were the only ones who started out the heal and sit commands like they were supposed to. Good for them!

The IRS Job Fair Draws a Crowd

I'm not sure it's because of "bleak times" like the NY Times says but something about a job with the IRS certainly attracted a goodly crowd:

The I.R.S. dangled the possibilities when it held an open house at the federal office building at 290 Broadway in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday. An hour before the fair was scheduled to begin, the crowd began lining up — recently laid-off Wall Street types in charcoal-gray pinstripe suits and trench coats; less formally dressed people; a woman with a new accounting degree on her résumé and a 14-month-old baby in a stroller.

The IRS isn't a bad place to work and some of these people seem earnest in their intentions. I'm just not aware that the IRS is hiring at this time - as automation has taken over, fewer and fewer jobs require human interaction. Add that with a new presidential administration that will likely not want to increase funding for enforcement of the tax laws, the prospects for IRS employment may be dim.

How About Another Reason To Vote For McCain?

Aerosmith’s Joe Perry Walks this way with John McCain:
“We pretty much stay out of it, but seeing so many people come out for Obama, I just felt like ‘What the hell, I might as well raise my hand for this side,” Perry said from his Duxbury home. . .

“I’ve been a hardcore Republican my whole life,” he told the Herald. “My mother and father drilled into me from the very start that if you work hard and be positive, you’ll get what you’re working for. I guess I’m living proof of that.”

Of criticism about McCain’s age, Perry said: “My mother’s in her 80s and she does aerobics. My manager’s 70 and he’s right there. That doesn’t bother me.”

And despite lopsided polls, he urged his fans to get out and vote.

"I’m an optimist. It ain’t over till its over,” he said. “I think that he’s got a chance.”
Nice, graceful endorsement without demonizing the other side. That's how it's done.

Yes, I've Changed The Font

This won't make any difference to anyone just now coming to this blog but, yes, I changed the font. I liked the old-school look of the Courier font but some of the typography didn't come out right - namely, dashes were showing up as big chunks of black. So I switched over to Arial - the default I use for most everything else. It'll do for now but at least it isn't distracting and that's one thing I don't want to be.

And, hey, what do you think about a fully justified format? I'm not sure I like those ragged right margins. Then again, fully justified may be too blocky. Or am I overthinking this?

iPod Shuffle Post #8

597. The Beatles With A Little Help From My Friends
596. The Beatles Glad All Over
595. The Beatles She Loves You
594. Paul McCartney Too Many People
593. Bach Suite in D, Air
592. The Beatles Within You, Without You
591. U2 Beautiful Day
590. Steam Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye
589. Pachelbel Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 6
588. The Beatles Dear Prudence
587. Steely Dan Here At The Western World
586. Paul McCartney The Song We Were Singing

A nearly all Beatles or Beatles-related session - 7 out of 12 tracks. Oddly, I don't have any solo work from the other Beatles on my iPod - the one John Lennon album I have is an LP and the George Harrison CD I tried to rip didn't for some reason.

And there seems to be an overall theme with this session. Tracks 588, 591, 593, and 596 set the mood. Let's do what Bono tells us to do in track 591. It's a beautiful day.

Obama's Prime-Time Gets A Negative Review

I didn't see it but, of course, my morning prowl of the usual right-wing blogosphere gave it a general thumbs down. Interestingly, though, the Associated Press wasn't entirely on board the Obama Express, either:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was less than upfront in his half-hour commercial Wednesday night about the costs of his programs and the crushing budget pressures he would face in office.

Obama's assertion that "I've offered spending cuts above and beyond" the expense of his promises is accepted only by his partisans. His vow to save money by "eliminating programs that don't work" masks his failure throughout the campaign to specify what those programs are - beyond the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

iPod Shuffle Post #7

585. Sting Love Is The Seventh Wave
584. Queen Crazy Little Thing Called Love
582. Garbage Shut Your Mouth
581. Moby Living
580. Phish The Inlaw Josie Wales
579. Paul Simon Homeless
578. Steve Winwood Back In The High Life
577. Steely Dan Bodhisattva
576. Annie Lennox The Hurting Time
575. Ben Folds Time
574. The Beatles Carry That Weight
573. The Association Six Man Band

Track 573 sounds exactly like the kind of music you hear in a 60s movie that's supposed to sound psychedelic but isn't. Groovy, man.

The artist for track 575 is a surprising find. Despite his sometimes PG-13 lyrics and hipster cynicism, his harmonies are quite lovely.

Track 574 is another one of those that sounds odd taken out of context. It's part of the stitched-together side of Abbey Road and by itself it's not much of a track. Er, not much for The Beatles which is to say it's only great.

Biden's Tax Truth

See, this is how it starts:
Well, will families making less than $250,000 get a tax cut under President Obama, or not? Senator Obama has been saying this for months, but on Monday Joe Biden put the tax-cut income threshold at $150,000 in an interview with a TV station in his beloved Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Biden campaign later clarified -- or at least tried to clarify -- the matter by saying that anyone making between $150,000 and $250,000 wouldn't get a tax cut but also wouldn't pay higher taxes.
Clinton promised a middle-class tax cut when he ran in 1992 and ended up signing off on middle-class tax increase.

I'm not saying McCain can be trusted any more than any other politician but when it comes to cutting taxes, the Republican party has the better record of delivering on its promises than the Democrats. With a House and Senate controlled by Democrats and a Democrat in the White House, there'll be little incentive to keep promises made in the heat of a campaign.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brother John's Scuba Diving Pictures

My brother John was kind enough to send me his latest scuba diving pictures. He says they're not the best quality - he's using a thing called "film" to capture his images and he claims this "film" is of low quality. Whatever this "film" is, the pictures aren't bad and I enjoyed looking at them.

Here's a sample:

In this last picture, John tells me there's a big - and he means big - moray eel tucked up in the shadows. Can you see it?

Yeah, right up there towards the top in the middle of the picture, you can kinda see him with his usual moray-eel-with-his-frightening-jaws-agape pose.

Looks like they had a great time. Good for them.

Halloween Preparations

Clara and Emily carved the Halloween pumpkin and they did a frightening job:

It spooked both dogs, though Emily only got a shot of Pepper:

I'm tellin' ya, the thing moved. Didn't it move? I saw it move. Did you see it move? It's looking at me right? I can feel it's eyes on me. Is it still looking at me?

Dogs. Don't they know anything?

Senator Obama's Four Tax Increases for People Earning Under $250k

Think Obama's tax plan provides for tax increases only on those earning over $250K? Think again! From The American Thinker:
Senator Obama's dual claims seemed implausible, especially when it came to my Federal income taxes. Those implausible promises made me look at what I'd been paying before President Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, as well as what I paid after those tax cuts became law. I chose the 2000 tax tables as my baseline -- they reflect the tax rates that Senator Obama will restore by letting the "Bush Tax Cuts" lapse. I wanted to see what that meant from my tax bill.

Ned Barnett's conclusion? He identifies four tax increases for those earning under $250K under Obama's plan.

1.) Allowing the Bush tax cuts to lapse,
2.) Social Security cap increase for those earning $97K or more,
3.) Increasing the Capital Gains Tax, which affects everyone, regardless of
income, and
4.) Raising taxes on businesses, which pass along their tax costs to consumers.

iPod Shuffle Post #6

572. The Beatles Help!
571. Hem The Burnt Over District
570. Dave Matthews Band Digging A Ditch
569. Wilco The Late Greats
568. Paul McCarteny & Wings Maybe I'm Amazed
567. The Beatles Keep Your Hands Off My Baby
566. Jack Johnson Never Know
565. The Beatles Ooh! My Arms
564. The Pogues The Streets Of Sorrow/Birmingham Six
563. Nick Lowe The Beast In Me
562. Rascal Flatts Stand
561. The Beatles Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
560. Billy Joel Uptown Girl
559. Patty Griffin Long Road
558. Joni Mitchell People's Parties
557. Tracy Chapman Fast Car
556. Sonic Youth Sleepin' Around
555. Dido Honestly OK
554. Dido This Land Is Mine
543. Steve Winwood Roll With It
542. Dixie Chicks Hole In My Head
551. Robert Palmer Trick Bag

Track 565 comes from their Live at the BBC compilation; it's a spoken word introduction to their next number and the title refers to a joke the announcer makes. It makes sense if you're listening to the CD but in random mode these things just come from out of nowhere and don't lead to anything. For the sake of completeness, I include it.

Tracks 554 and 555. Same artist, different CDs, both great.

Monday, October 27, 2008

iPod Shuffle Post #5

550. Jackson Browne I Am A Patriot
549. Electric Light Orchestra All Over The World
548. Sting Consider Me Gone
547. Annie Lennox Oh God (Prayer)
546. Nanci Griffith Shaking Out The Snow
545. Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris Love And Happiness
544. Wilco Handshake Drugs
543. The Beatles Hear Comes The Sun
542. Mozart Violin Concerto in D Major: The Last Movement
541. Peter Gabriel Shaking The Tree
540. Donald Fagen Ruby Baby
539. Rascal Flatts Backwards
538. James Carter & The Prisoners Po' Lazarus
537. Bob Dylan Po' Boy
536. The Beatles Little Child
535. Alison Krauss & Union Station Let Me Touch You For A While

Hey, I think the iPod Shuffle mode is playing with po' little me! (Tracks 537 and 538.)

We're Number 4! And Number 9!

The latest football rankings puts OU at number 4 and OSU at number 9. Good for us!

Emily and I caught the last two quarters of the OSU v. Texas game on Saturday. A well-played game with OSU putting up a good fight and making Texas work for it.

Let's hope the good news continues.

Acclaimed Author Tony Hillerman Dies at 83

I'm a big fan so this is sad news:
Tony Hillerman, author of the acclaimed Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels and creator of two of the unlikeliest of literary heroes — Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee — died Sunday of pulmonary failure. He was 83.

Well, this has been a long time coming. I knew he'd been ill for several years. Though his later books continued to delight me, his weariness showed. I came along around when A Thief of Time was published and I gobbled up everything he'd written before and everything ever since. He seemed like a good guy and, best of all, he came from Oklahoma:
Born May 27, 1925, in Sacred Heart, Oklahoma, population 50, Tony Hillerman was the son of August and Lucy Grove Hillerman. They were farmers who also ran a small store. It was there that young Tony listened spellbound to locals who gathered to tell their stories.

The teacher at Sacred Heart's one-room school house was rumored to be a member of white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan, so Tony's parents sent him and his brother, Barney, to St. Mary's Academy, a school for Potawatomie Indian girls near Asher, Oklahoma. It was at St. Mary's that he developed a lifelong respect for Indian culture — and an appreciation of what it means to be an outsider in your own land.

If you haven't already, treat yourself to these wonderful books. Great mysteries with great characters and great locations. What else could you ask for?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An Economist's Analysis of Obama's Tax Plan

Greg Mankiw analyzes the effect of Obama's tax plan on Mankiw's incentive to work. Conclusion? Mankiw has less incentive to work under Obama's tax plan than McCain's:

The bottom line: If you are one of those people out there trying to induce me to do some work for you, there is a good chance I will turn you down. And the likelihood will go up after President Obama puts his tax plan in place. I expect to spend more time playing with my kids. They will be poorer when they grow up, but perhaps they will have a few more happy memories.

(So, you might argue, Obama's tax plan is actually more pro family!)

Mankiw uses this chart from the Wall Street Journal as a handy comparison of the two tax plans on the table:

You might want to consider having a copy on hand when you enter the voting booth.

An Affair Of The Heart

This was the weekend of craft festival, An Affair of the Heart. It's been a while since Clara and I have gone and since Aunt Toni couldn't make it this weekend, well, what better time to go

A beautiful Fall day and a good crowd at Fair Grounds Park - there was a horse show going on as well, and that only added to the tight parking - and we enjoyed ourselves, strolling through seven buildings of crafts. More clothing than we remember in years past but an astonishing variety of things to see.

An Affair of the Heart is held twice a year - once in the Fall and again around Valentine's Day (thus, the name.) It was the Valentine's Day version we first took Rachel to nearly a little over 16 and a half years ago on her first outing. Only four weeks old or so, she was content to ride in the stroller while her parents wheeled her up and down the aisles. We remember that every time we go.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Questions About Obama

Victor Davis Hanson asks 'em:
Why didn’t Colin Powell and Co. jump ship in, say, June or July, and endorse Obama after many months of campaigning when his positions were already well known? That is, why wait until late October when, after the financial meltdown, Obama surged in the polls? Had Powell come out even in the first week of September, he could have demonstrated that although Obama was down by three points, he was willing to stick his neck out with a principled endorsement that may well have made him persona non grata in a McCain-administration Washington.

Why didn’t the media or McCain just ask Obama a few of the following questions: Why did you keep emailing and phoning Bill Ayers for three years after 9/11, when the country was gripped by fear of terror, and Ayers, like bin Laden, said that he had not done enough bombing, and had no regrets about the terrorism he had committed?

Why did Obama say in 2004 to the Chicago Sun-Times that he went to Trinity Church every Sunday at 11AM, and then later claim he had not been there that regularly once Rev. Wright’s venom was disseminated to the general public? Is Obama for, or not for, a simple yes or no, missile defense, nuclear power, off-shore drilling, and coal-powered electrical generation? There might be legitimate answers, but surely the public could profit by them, rather than worry over the Palin pregnancies, wardrobe, or Tasergate.

Why did the greatest furor against Palin originate with women, both liberals like a Gail Collins, Maureen Dowd, or Sally Quinn, or conservatives such as a Peggy Noonan or Kathleen Parker?

So far, none of them has adduced the necessary arguments that would justify their venom against Palin: they have not demonstrated that Vice Presidential nominee Palin has less government or executive experience than does Presidential nominee Obama; they have not shown that she has said anything in two months as disturbing as what Joe Biden says almost any day, and, in that vein, they have written few columns about Biden’s lunatic assertions, such as FDR addressing the nation on television as President in 1929, or that our nation’s enemies will test Barack Obama, and his reaction will so disappoint the American people that his polls will immediately sink; they have not shown that Palin’s ideas about shrinking government and keeping taxes low are less sound than Obama’s in time of economic downturn to raise aggregate taxes and expand government. So whence the vitriol, especially the frequent invective about Palin’s family, education, accent, or mannerisms, or the rather sexist suggestions that her looks bewitched either McCain or others?

Why do so many conservatives think that an Obama-elect might be prove a centrist, and so why do they use phrases like “I pray” or “I hope” that Obama might turn out, well, not to be Obama?

Jimmy Carter did exactly what he promised: raised taxes, grew the government, told the world he had no inordinate fear of communism, trashed our allies as retrograde right-wing authoritarians—and we got the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Iranian hostage-taking (have we forgotten that the “Great Satan” originated as a slur against Nobel laureate Carter?), communism in Central America, the Cambodian Holocaust, and spikes of 12% inflation, 18% interest, and 7% unemployment.

For his first two years (until 1994 Gingrich’s ‘Contract with America’ revolution, and Dick Morris’s ‘triangulation’), Bill Clinton, as promised, raised taxes, raised spending, tried to ram through socialized medicine, and by fiat wanted to force the military to accept those openly gay.

So why would any conservative think that Obama—friend of Ayers, Khalidi, Meeks, Pfleger, and Wright, veteran of mysterious campaigns in which rivals in 1996 and 2004 simply dropped out or were forced out, erstwhile advocate of repealing NAFTA, controlling guns, stopping new drilling and nuclear plants, zealot for bringing all troops home by March 2008, advocate of a trillion dollars in new spending, and raising the tax burden on the 5% who now pay 60% of the aggregate income taxes, supporter of more oppression studies and racial reparations—would not likewise try to govern as he has lived the last 20 years?

Why would anyone think that an Obama would not wish to enact the visions of those who first backed him—the crowd, ACORN, The Huffington Post, Sen. Reid, Rep. Pelosi, a Chris Dodd or Barney Frank—rather than the late pilers-on like Colin Powell or Scott McClellan? We should remember that, unlike the cases of Carter and Clinton, Obama would have both houses of Congress, and a (Republican) precedent of the federal government intervening into the free market, in the manner of 1932.

More Lileks Postcards

I mentioned here about the Oklahoma connection to Lileks' postcard collections. He begins the Oklahoma section of the Motel postcards here. Click through and enjoy. He treats us kindly.

iPod Shuffle Post #4

534. Enigma Incognito
533. Hem Idle (The Rabbit Song)
532. James Taylor September Grass
531. Dave Matthews Band Dreams Of Our Fathers
530. Peter Gabriel Big Time
529. Robert Palmer She Makes My Day
528. Weezer The World Has Turned
527. Mozart Concert No 2 for Horn and Orchestra
526. Paul McCartney If You Wanna
525. Donald Fagen Springtime
524. Bonnie Raitt Love Letter
523. The Pogues If I Should Fall From Grace God
522. Norah Jones The Nearness Of You
521. Jackson Browne Jamaica Say You Will

Though it's October, track 532 comes along at the right time. The sentiment behind it is appropriate for the time of year. Along that line, track 525 reminds us of what waits after Winter. Bright and cheery.

Track 533 is just lovely.

The title of track 523 doesn't quite hint at its raucousness. Fun, though.

Appaloosa - Movie Review

It was opening night for High School Musical 3 and Emily found a buddy to see the movie with but when we got there, all of the shows were already sold out. They opted for Beverly Hills Chihuahua while we chose Appaloosa.

A good enough western - we'd seen 3:10 to Yuma again last weekend so that was still in my mind - with a lot more talk than I thought was necessary about what was going to happen or what had just happened. I blame that on Robert Parker, the author of the book the movie is based on, because I find his Spenser books to be the same way. Clara was more forgiving and maybe I'm judging too harshly but, once again, it's the company you watch movies with that counts for more than anything and this was no exception. Plus, the scenery in the movie was nice to look at.

(Emily and her friend enjoyed their movie, too.)

Google Search

Checking my visitors through Sitemeter, I find this post comes up as the number 1 hit with the search phrase "Adairs tropical cafeteria ok city oklahoma." Above even the original link. (The Lileks link on the Google search page is actually for the older, original link, that's now broken and which I can't link to. Got it? Neither do I.)

Weird how that stuff works.

Friday, October 24, 2008

iPod Shuffle Post #3

520. Eurythmics Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
519. The Beatles Anna (Go To Him)
518. The Beatles Do You Want To Know A Secret?
517. The Beatles You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
516. Sting St. Augustine In Hell
515. Joni Mitchell Carey
514. Joni Mitchell Car On A Hill
513. Paul McCartney & Wings Another Day
512. Barenake Ladies Too Little Too Late
511. The Lovin' Spoonful Nashville Cats
510. Dave Matthews Band When The World Ends
509. Handel Water Music: Suite No. 1
508. Queen You're My Best Friend
507. Paul McCartney Junior's Farm

I ripped a Greatest Hits CD for The Lovin' Spoonful just to get, well, their greatest hits for Clara when I transferred the tracks from her MP3 player to iTunes. The Lovin' Spoonful tracks were copy protected so I had to go this route. That's the downside of having an iPod that can hold so much - you just throw everything on it. These Lovin' Spoonful songs play annoyingly often but, since I'm committed to running through the entire shuffle playlist, I'll listen to it.

Tracks 507 and 513 come from each of the artists' Greatest Hits compilation; I'm hard pressed to tell which artist is which. Was that a Paul McCartney song or a Paul McCartney and Wings song? Who can tell?

Tracks 514 and 515 are by the same artist but different albums but tracks 518 and 519 are not only the same artist but same albums. Huh. (Though track 517 is from a different album.) Interesting.

Oklahoma City Gets a Lileks Nod

My favorite blogger is updating the restaurant postcards section of his site and Oklahoma City gets this shout out:

Adair’s Tropical Cafeteria, OK City, OK. “One of the fine Adair family cafeterias.”

Note the remarkably untropical exterior. It’s almost anti-tropical. The drapes suggest they've closed down for the weekly Black Mass blood rituals. Or, it's summer, and the afternoon sun is too punishing. I'd go with the former, Occam's razor and all.

Gone now - but the sign next door keeps the era alive. For now.

The prose doesn't make much sense without the pictures so go to the link and see a picture of Adair's and then see what the site looks like today.

It was on 23rd Street and I don't remember if I ever saw it while it was there; there's no hint of when the building was demolished but I'm sure I must've passed it many times since my arrival here in 1973. Leave it to Lileks to keep the memory alive.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Emily Trains Pepper to Heel

Emily and Pepper's second session at Obedience School. Tonight's lesson: heeling. Dad's responsibility: take blurry pictures with his Blackberry.

That's Emily in the dark blue. The black blur at her heels is Pepper:

On their way back:

Both of them did well. Emily says she liked this session better than last week's.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Aunt Toni Can't Make It


We were supposed to host Aunt Toni this weekend and we were looking forward to a great time - just about guaranteed whenever Aunt Toni's around - but she was flying standby and couldn't get on a flight. Apparently Oklahoma's quite the destination place in the middle of the week towards the end of October. Deep disappointment all around.

Won't be able to make it anytime soon, either. Next window of opportunity: January.

Well, we'll have a fine time then.

iPod Shuffle Post #2

506. Peter Gabriel Secret World
505. Billy Joel Allentown
504. Santana Put Your Lights On
503. The Beatles Cry Baby Cry
502. The Beatles I'm A Loser
501. Sonic Youth Lights Out
500. Eurythmics You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart
499. James Taylor Irish Rifle Song
498. The Beatles We Can Work It Out
497. Wilco Hummingbird
496. Sting History Will Teach Us Nothing
495. Santana Africa Bamba
494. The Beatles You Won't See Me
493. Bonnie Raitt Cry On My Shoulder
492. Elvis Costello Talking In The Dark
491. Mannheim Steamroller The 7 C's
490. Sting We'll Be Together
489. Dixie Chicks Don't Waste Your Heart
488. Joni Mitchell Little Green
487. Hem All That I'm Good For
486. Sting Dowland: Flow, My Tears
485. Handel Water Music: Suite No. 2
484. James Taylor Enough To Be On Your Way
483. Madeleine Peyroux Between The Bars
482. Everything But The Girl The Night I Heard Caruso Sing
481. Jeff Buckley Eternal Life
480. The Band Don't Do It

An unusually long session but then I found myself in the car yesterday a little longer than usual and I opted not to listen to whacko right wing radio. Don't expect lists like this all the time.

I'm puzzled about how to list tracks like 485 and 486. They're classical so should I put the composer or the artist first? Well, you'll get the idea if I list it like I do, won't you?

I'm not surprised that The Beatles turn up so often - I have everything that's available out there and I mean everything. Always good to hear from them. But what's strange is catching two Santana tracks in the same session; I have only the one album.

I'm especially fond of Hem and I'm glad they show up at track 487. Their song is on a commercial for one of those life insurance companies. Liberty Mutual? You know, the one where one person sees someone doing something good for someone else and they pass it along? Yeah, that one. I was able to google around and find who it is and I've got everything I could find. Check 'em out. You won't be disappointed.

An Obamanomics Preview

When Obama talks about raising taxes to spread the wealth around, he risks prolonging the current financial gloom and doom. Here's an analysis of what Obama wants to do, tax-wise, and the probable results of enacting his tax policies. The money graf:
The nearby chart shows the arc of tax policy and economic growth across the Bush years. After the dot-com bust, President Bush compromised with Senate Democrats and delayed his marginal-rate income tax cuts in return for immediate tax rebates. The rebates goosed spending for a while but provided no increase in incentives to invest. Only after 2003, when the marginal-rate cuts took effect immediately, combined with cuts in dividend and capital gains rates, did robust growth return. The expansion was healthy until it was overtaken by the housing bust and even resisted recession into this year. Mr. Bush and Congress returned to the rebate formula in February, but a blip in second-quarter growth has now ended as the economy heads into recession. The Dow plunged again yesterday with a 514-point drop.

Er, the chart referred to is in the original and I'm too much of a doofus to figure out how to post it here. But follow the link and the graph will make the point abundantly clear: lower taxes = higher GDP. Higher GDP = better for everybody.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

iPod Shuffle Post #1

479. Vivian Green Love For Sale
478. Jackson Browne Redneck Friend
477. Paul McCartney & Wings Rockestra Theme
476. Peter Gabriel Family Snapshot
475. Elvis Costello I Wanna Be Loved
474. The White Stripes Red Rain
473. Dave Matthews Too High
472. Nanci Griffith Midnight in Missoula
471. Sting Dowland: Walsingham
470. The Association Everything That Touches You
469. Dave Matthews Band You Never Know
468. Sheryl Crow Begin The Beguine
467. Donald Fagen Countermoon

Tracks 468 and 479 are from the same album, the soundtrack to De-Lovely. What're the chances that with over 1900 songs, two of them in the span of a 13 song list would come from the same source?

The artist for track 469 shouldn't be confused with the artist for track 473.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Five Simple Things to Stay Sane

Assuming, of course, you're already sane. If not, well, you've got another task ahead of you.

Here's the list:


Developing relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours will enrich your life and bring you support.

Be active.

Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make you feel good and maintain mobility and fitness.

Be curious.

Noting the beauty of everyday moments as well as the unusual and reflecting on them helps you to appreciate what matters to you.


Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking – the challenge and satisfaction brings fun and confidence.


Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is very rewarding.

Rachel's Choir Recital

Rachel performed in her debut choir recital. All of the singers did well and Rachel was exceptional. Highlight of the show? Her flute solo during "Farewell My Friend," an adaptation of a Native American song. Her flute gave the song the authenticity it needed. Not a note missed, not a squeak squeaked.

How about some blurry pictures? Thought you'd never ask.

I'm shooting without the flash since it's useless at this distance and a distraction during the show. It slows the shutter down and without a tripod it's pretty much impossible to keep things steady enough for a clear picture. And forget about zooming in. It only makes things worse.

Rachel's the third one from the right on the bottom row. See her?

I cropped the next one a little tighter to help you out. There she is!

Zoom back out for the entire crew:

I can't post video due to the goofy format of my camcorder. I took video of the performance and didn't get any still shots. Got something afterwards though:

My photo editing software can take care of "red eye" but it's helpless to correct "white eye."

Here's a better shot:

A wonderful evening. Proud? To quote Governor Palin, You betcha!

iPod Shuffle

Man, I loves me my iPod. I've got 1,939 songs loaded on to it - no, not a lot by your standards but, well, it's a lot to me - and I'm often at a loss about what to listen to next so I've set it on shuffle mode and I just let the thing take me where it will. It's supposed to be a random shuffle but sometimes I think there's some kind of something going on in the background because I begin to detect themes or patterns that aren't entirely random. Do you find that, too?

My goal is to make it through all of the songs - I'm often surprised at what I have and it's a pleasure to revisit old friends - but I haven't made it just yet. I got as far as somewhere in the 900s once and I'm up to number 467 now but what I intend to do now is post my progress and see how far I get. Beginning tomorrow, I'll start listing the songs I've listened to since my last session, with comments, if the feeling hits, about the tracks that've come up.

Let's see where this takes us. Might be interesting.

2009 Inflation Adjustments Widen Tax Brackets and Expand Tax Benefits

The IRS has released it's 2009 inflation adjusted tax brackets:
For 2009, personal exemptions and standard deductions will rise and tax brackets will widen because of inflation adjustments announced today by the Internal Revenue Service.

By law, the dollar amounts for a variety of tax provisions must be revised each year to keep pace with inflation. As a result, more than three dozen tax benefits, affecting virtually every taxpayer, are being adjusted for 2009. Key changes affecting 2009 returns, filed by most taxpayers in early 2010, include the following:

*The value of each personal and dependency exemption, available to most taxpayers, is $3,650, up $150 from 2008.

*The new standard deduction is $11,400 for married couples filing a joint return (up $500), $5,700 for singles and married individuals filing separately (up $250) and $8,350 for heads of household (up $350). Nearly two out of three taxpayers take the standard deduction, rather than itemizing deductions, such as mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes.

*Tax-bracket thresholds increase for each filing status. For a married couple filing a joint return, for example, the taxable-income threshold separating the 15-percent bracket from the 25-percent bracket is $67,900, up from $65,100 in 2008.

*The maximum earned income tax credit for low and moderate income workers and working families with two or more children is $5,028, up from $4,824. The income limit for the credit for joint return filers with two or more children is $43,415, up from $41,646.

*The annual gift exclusion rises to $13,000, up from $12,000 in 2008.

Information about the pension and retirement plan-related changes can be found in IR-2008-118. Other inflation adjustments are described in Revenue Procedure 2008-66.

Obama's Permanent Change

Count me as one of those people consoling themselves with the latest electoral poll numbers by saying that no one person is larger than the office he holds. I mean, how much damage can a President Obama do? Plenty, according to Michael Medved:
Some conservative activists, despairing (prematurely) about the chances for victory on November 4th, argue that an Obama win could be a blessing in disguise. According to this logic, The One would occupy the White House for only One term and whatever big government, liberal programs he managed to enact could be swiftly repealed by some future "true conservative" champion.

Yes, it’s true that some changes by liberal presidents can be erased by future conservatives – for instance, George W. Bush cut the top marginal tax rate to 35%, after it had risen to 39.6% under Clinton (it’s sure to go back up to the Clinton rate – or higher – under Obama). Yes, the President and Congress tinker endlessly with details of the tax system or the levels of appropriation or regulation so that the growth in government and spending under President Obama could be adjusted after his departure, if not reversed.

But conservatives need to face the fact that Barack Obama has promised profound systemic changes that will be irreversible—absolutely permanent alterations of our economy and government where there is no chance at all that Republican office-holders of the future could in any way repair the damage.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rachel and the Westmoore Color Guard Compete in Missouri

Rachel left Friday for the Marching Band competition in St. Louis the following day. I hope to post pictures and video from other sources, hopefully, but Rachel reports they marched first, were judged harshly, and didn't make the finals.


Well, I'm sure they had quite an adventure, anyway.

Turns out, the ride home, at least, was anything but ordinary. Rachel texted me to report their bus had gotten stuck in the fast food parking lot at their stop in Joplin. Stuck? What the hey?

Rachel texted this to explain:

Ah. Stuck. Well, that makes perfect sense. The driver took a steep driveway a little too sharply and got hung up on the curb.

They were delayed only about an hour or so before a tow truck arrived to pull them off the curb and they were back on their way. Rolled into the Westmoore parking lot a little before 9:00, so not too terribly bad. A dejected crew, to be sure, but one that should be proud, considering all the hard work and practice they put in. It's not their fault the judges failed to see things their way.

Fall in Northwest Arkansas

After Rachel headed out on Friday morning, we gathered our stuff and Mack and Helen and headed out ourselves to Northwest Arkansas and the War Eagle Craft Fair. Beautiful fall day for travel, sunny and cool. We stopped in for breakfast at the Waffle House and then hit the road.

Only a three hour drive and no mishaps. Easy. Met up with Mark and Teri and the fine time commenced to be finer. We lucked out and had adjoining rooms which turned out to be much nicer than the one Mark and Teri had left in Branson. (They'd been making a tour of Eureka Springs and Branson for the last several days and this was their last stop before heading home.) We got caught up with one another then ran out for a bite at Mimi's Cafe down on the Promenade Parkway. Delish. Back to the room, then, and we called it a night.

Saturday dawned bright and beautiful. All you can eat breakfast in the lobby and then out to the twisty, turny highway to the Craft Fair. We were earlier than we had been in years prior so the traffic wasn't bad but we still had to park rather far out; we dropped off the ol' folks at where it all started, parked, and then hiked back and made plans. We'd go our separate ways and catch up with each other later.

Clara had the camera so I had to use my Blackberry. I took shot of, well, nothing it turns out:

I was holding my phone high above my head to get a downward shot of Emily but she dodged out of the way. That's her ponytail - and part of my forehead - in the lower left hand corner of the shot.

Let's try that again:

Ah, much better. More what I'd intended at least. A beaming Emily and a serious Clara shopping in the bright Fall morning, with the crowd shuffling by in the back.

We finished up, met across the river, and camped out in the canvas chairs we schlepped back from our car. Enjoyed the day, and the company, had a something to eat and drink, and then people-watched until it was time to go.

Back to the room. Dinner at Red Robin. Another hit. Then back to the room for good. We'd rented 3:10 to Yuma for Mack and Helen since they hadn't seen it before and both pronounced it good. Clara had her time with her Russell Crowe so I'd say that was a pretty good ending for a perfect day, wouldn't you?

Back to home the next day. Mark and Teri were up ahead of us and hit the road before we sat down to eat. We weren't far behind and we rolled back into our driveway by 2:00.

A short, but wonderful trip. Best to grab these days while you can.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Free Markets and Freedom

John Stossel has a column about how markets and freedom:
(G)overnments have regulated and subsidized the housing and financial industries for years. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were created to interfere in those markets. Had actual private companies invested in those mortgages, they would have been subject to market checks. But they were not. The results were predictable.

Now we will get a new onslaught of regulation. This intervention will fail and stifle innovation because, as Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek taught, markets are too complex to manipulate beneficially. Life works best when decisions are bottom up. But pundits have no clue about spontaneous order. Instead, they talk about who will "run America."

This faith in political solutions thrives in the face of repeated government failure. Big farm bills have raised the price of food and squeezed out small farms. Campaign finance reform made it harder to challenge incumbents. FEMA couldn't deliver water to hurricane-ravaged New Orleans as well as Wal-Mart did. Medicare has a $35 trillion unfunded liability over the next 75 years.

Yet the media and political class call for more government control. What puzzles me is why citizens don't act like the skaters we tried to boss around. The skaters wanted freedom. Citizens might desire this too, but the political class assumes they want and need direction.

"It's like we believe that when one man is chosen to be president, suddenly he rises above all the rest of us." says the Cato Institute's David Boaz. "Suddenly politicians can do anything: give us health care, better lives, better jobs. But politicians can't do most of that stuff."

"Fortunately," he adds, "Most of life is outside the government sector." That's the part of life that keeps getting better.

Something to keep in mind when you pull the lever on election day.

Rachel Goes to St. Louis

I was up at 4:00 this morning to get Rachel up at 4:30. She has a Color Guard competition in St. Louis tomorrow - the culmination of all these long weeks of practice - and the busses are scheduled to roll at 6:00. Which means she has to be there at 5:30 ready to load.

She got it done. Asked to sleep only another fifteen minutes and, because she'd packed the night before, we were out in plenty of time. I had to go back only twice - she'd forgotten her rifle and then her gloves - and that wouldn't have happened if we had let her drive herself to school instead of me taking her.

So she's off. We'll see her again on Sunday. Hopefully, some parent or student will take some video and post it somewhere that I can either link to or embed in a blog post later.

Emily and Her Obedience Class Pt 2

Things went as I posted earlier: we had a demonstration of what the dogs can do. Not strictly an agility type performance but impressive enough. Emily should be able to teach Pepper some good skills.

After that, they broke out into their groups with their instructors. Will is Emily's, and he went over the rules and expectations and equipment list and assigned a small homework task. Afterwards, I asked Emily if she thought she was up for it. She thinks so. I do, too.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Emily at Her Obedience Class

Er, actually, it's Pepper's obedience class. It's taught by the Oklahoma City Obedience Training Club at the Oklahoma National Guard Armory. We're waiting for the first class to start and they're supposed to be putting on a demonstration first. Should be interesting.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Hit and Run - Book Review

Hit and Run is Lawrence Block's latest in his series about Keller, the hit man, and it was a well done. Much lighter than Block's Scudder series but not as light as his Bernie Rhodenbarr series. The hero's a paid killer, after all, and when you think about it, no matter how well he's presented, the guy kills people for a living. Not the kind of guy you'd want to hang out with.

The plot is a kind of locked-room-mystery kind of thing, with Keller on a job only to find he's been set up and has to make his way home without resources of any kind. That's the fun of most of the plot and then it's all tied up just like it's supposed to at the end. Block's style is nearly invisible and the pace clips right along even though there's not exactly a lot of thrilling stuff going on. In fact, it's not thrilling at all but rather absorbing.

I'm a big fan of Block's. He's up to his high standards with this one.

Filing Season. . .Finished!

At around 2:15 yesterday, I declared the normal filing season for 2008 to be officially over. We'd finished up the last return and those clients who had yet to pick theirs up had made appointments to do so.

It was kind of suspenseful there at the end. The day began with my printer going kerflooey and then the copier/fax machine did its version of kerflooey, too, but a reboot and a repairman got things going again. What would the filing season be without a few challenges?

Still, there's plenty to do and for that I'm grateful. I've got a great bunch of clients and a great staff to provide those clients their services and so it's a pleasure to get it done.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thank You For Smoking

Roger Ebert's take on Political Correctness of the United States Post Office and its whitewashing of the smoking habits of Bette Davis:
Depriving Bette Davis of her cigarette reminds me of Soviet revisionism, when disgraced party officials disappeared from official photographs. Might as well strip away the toupees of Fred Astaire and Jimmy Stewart. I was first alerted to this travesty by a reader, Wendell Openshaw of San Diego, who wrote me: "Do you share my revulsion for this attempt to revise history and distort a great screen persona for political purposes? It is political correctness and revisionist history run amok. Next it will be John Wayne holding a bouquet instead of a Winchester!"
Government censorship at its finest!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Duchess - Movie Review

We saw The Duchess this afternoon. English period piece with great costumes and sets? We are so there. (And so were a bunch of other gals - air in the theatre was so thick with estrogen you could swim in it. I think I was only one of two males there and I wasn't so sure about the other guy. Then again, he probably wasn't too sure about me.) It didn't disappoint. Not a great movie but it did its job, telling the story the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire in an interesting enough way to make the two hours go by pleasantly enough. Yep, the costumes and sets were great, and Keira Knightly's jutting jaw wasn't a distraction so I'd recommend it.

We Lost


Oklahoma State is playing right now but they're trailing. Clara thinks it's because she's watching the game so she's doing her part and changed the channel.

UPDATE: OSU wins! 28-23. Good dang deal.

Scuba Diving John Pennekamp National Park

I got an e-mail from my brother John and his and his wife's scuba diving at John Pennekamp National Park off the the Florida Keys. This being the blogosphere, I've hijacked his pictures. It's not like he's gonna blog about 'em.

Looks like a grand time.

It's been a lot of years since I dived Pennekamp - shoot, it's been a lot of years since I've dived anywhere - but it looks as beautiful as ever. Maybe the visibility isn't as crystal clear as it once was but then maybe that's just my memory.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Oklahoma Football

John Walters at MSNBC has a good essay about the current state of Oklahoma football. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Tulsa all go into Saturday's games undefeated and they stand a not-bad chance of staying that way after the games. Good for us on the national recognition, I say. Let's see how it turns out.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lileks Finishes Disney

Lileks posts his 2nd and 3rd installment of his Disney trip here and here. (And, of course, my Disney posts begin here.)

Surprisingly, he'd never been to Disney-MGM and, not surprisingly, he fell in love with the architecture. And he only logged a partial day in the Magic Kingdom before heading home. Ha! Amateur!

Still, it's good to see someone else's impressions, especially someone who agrees about the magic of the place. Disney does what it does and it does it very well and if it's something you can't get, well, I doubt there's much hope for you.

Anyway, you'll enjoy Lileks' posts. And while you're there, you may find something else you like as well.

Family Dinner

Here's a rarity: we actually ate together Wednesday as a family. What with Rachel's Color Guard practice schedule and everything else going on, we hardly ever get the chance to sit down together and enjoy a meal and each other's company.

Not that we ate at home. That's a rarity as well. But The Olive Garden is still having it's Endless Pasta Bowl promotion and, well, who could resist? Not us.

Good food, good company. What else could you ask for?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Books I'm Not Reading

I blogged here about my reading list and about one of the books I wasn't reading (Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping) and why and now I have two more books from that trip to the library I'm not reading.

Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris is supposed to be all the rage but you can have it. It's told in an annoying tense - "We were fractious and overpaid," etc., right up to the last sentences of the book, "We were the only two left. Just the two of us, you and me." - which I can't be bothered to look up but you get the idea. Like that for nearly 400 pages, I don't think so. The four or five pages I read had no sentence that stuck out beyond the sentence's tense. Writing that calls attention to itself is bad writing.

So I moved on to Ian McEwan's Saturday with great hope but by the end of page three, the protagonist was still waking up and looking out his window on the morning of the day of the book's title. Yawn. Sorry, pal. Have to leave you greeting the dawn.

I'm now on Lawrence Block's Hit and Run. It's great fun. Block has a smooth, clean prose style and the genre lends itself to getting right to the heart of the matter: the hit man of this series is stuck in a far away state, suspected of assassinating a popular governor. He has to get back home and solve the mystery and clear himself and, well, you know the rest of it. Just sit back and let a master work.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Flash of Genius - Movie Review

About the only thing that looks interesting movie-wise is Flash of Genius and it turns out it's a pretty good movie. (Interestingly enough, the previews before the movie were of similar, positive and uplifting type movies. A trend? Or just a marketing ploy?) The story Robert Kearns and his invention of the intermittent windshield wiper and his later legal battle with Ford over patent violations, it's a classic David vs. Goliath kind of story. I don't think I'm giving much away if I tell you it the ending is expected and not at all disappointing. Greg Kinnear does a good job portraying an ordinary person with an extraordinary drive and the supporting cast is equally good.

No, maybe not a must-see-at-a-theatre kind of thing - a perfectly good DVD rental though, and it'll do until bigger things come along.

Lileks Blogs Disney

James Lileks returns to Disney - twice in one year but he explains why in his post - and stays at the same property we stayed.

Lileks truly gets Disney:
I love it, too – on nineteen different levels, from the coldest sense of amazement at the finely-meshed gears of commercial exploitation to the sappiest nostalgia for my own childhood to the general appreciation for the Americana that saturates the best parts of the operation. If you come here with one eye wide open, and one eye squinting with critical amusement and a sense of skeptical distance, you are guar-an-teed to have a grand time.
It should be an interesting next few days from one of my favorite bloggers.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Posting By Blackberry

I know blogger would rather I post remotely using e-mail but I'm posting this using my Blacberry to directly access Blogger. Could be troublesome to post pictures - I'll use e-mail for that but for now this seems to work just fine.

Assassination Vacation - Book Review

Aside from the Sarah Vowell's unfortunate case of Bush Derangement Syndrome, her book, Assassination Vacation was an interesting read. A humorous, lightly-written but well-researched chronicle of her obsession with presidential assassins, she visits the scenes of the crime and makes a great many side trips for a great many reasons. But being a card-carrying Liberal, she can't resist a slam against President Bush when the opportunity arises, and sometimes when it doesn't, and neither does shy away from the hate-America-first plank of the tenets of her faith.

Still, I enjoyed the book. She's really quite charming. I just skimmed over the parts where Vowell digresses and if you do that, she's written a fine enough book. She covers Lincoln's assassination in greatest detail and then gives Garfield and McKinley their due, but I must've missed the part where she explained why she didn't write about JFK. Maybe enough's been written about him or maybe his death wouldn't give her the fodder she'd need to bash Bush and America but it's odd that it was left out of a book about presidential assassinations.

(Vowell's the voice of Violet in The Incredibles and she's from Oklahoma so maybe I cut her more slack than she deserves because of this. Hey, a homegirl deserves a shoutout, doesn't she?)

Paul Newman Remembered

By Joe Morgenstern:
Paul Newman gave growing old a good name, after staying young for so long that he had started to seem immortal. He was a serious actor, as well as one of Hollywood's last superstars -- he gave hard work a good name too -- but what defined him, old or young, was his smile. Sometimes it was a jaunty kid's smile on the preposterously handsome face of a grown man; sometimes a genial version of a wise-guy smile, tinctured with traces of self-irony to let us know he didn't think he was wise at all. Most times he smiled as if the sun had just come out and he was basking in it.
TCM will be having a Paul Newman marathon next weekend. It oughtta be a great lineup.

Financial Crisis Solution

Who knows what the second day after Monday's stock market plunge holds? Yesterday, the market recovered 500 of the 777 points it lost but things are still in flux. Is there a roll for government in all of this.

Perhaps. Dave Ramsey offers a solution that seems sound to me. He tells readers to cut and paste his suggestions in e-mails to their Congressmen so posting it here instead:

Years of bad decisions and stupid mistakes have created an economic nightmare in this country, but $700 billion in new debt is not the answer. As a tax-paying American citizen, I will not support any congressperson who votes to implement such a policy. Instead, I submit the following three steps:

Common Sense Plan.


A. Insure the subprime bonds/mortgages with an underlying FHA-type insurance. Government-insured and backed loans would have an instant market all over the world, creating immediate and needed liquidity.

B. In order for a company to accept the government-backed insurance, they must do two things:

1. Rewrite any mortgage that is more than three months delinquent to a 6% fixed-rate mortgage.
a. Roll all back payments with no late fees or legal costs into the balance. This brings homeowners current and allows them a chance to keep their homes.
b. Cancel all prepayment penalties to encourage refinancing or the sale of the property to pay off the bad loan. In the event of foreclosure or short sale, the borrower will not be held liable for any deficit balance. FHA does this now, and that encourages mortgage companies to go the extra mile while
working with the borrower—again limiting foreclosures and ruined lives.

2. Cancel ALL golden parachutes of EXISTING and FUTURE CEOs and executive team members as long as the company holds these government-insured bonds/mortgages. This keeps underperforming executives from being paid when they don’t do their jobs.

C. This backstop will cost less than $50 billion—a small fraction of the current proposal.


A. Remove mark to market accounting rules for two years on only subprime Tier III bonds/mortgages. This keeps companies from being forced to artificially mark down bonds/mortgages below the value of the underlying mortgages and real estate.

B. This move creates patience in the market and has an immediate stabilizing effect on failing and ailing banks—and it costs the taxpayer nothing.


A. Remove the capital gains tax completely. Investors will flood the real estate and stock market in search of tax-free profits, creating tremendous—and immediate—liquidity in the markets. Again, this costs the taxpayer nothing.

B. This move will be seen as a lightning rod politically because many will say it is helping the rich. The truth is the rich will benefit, but it will be their money that stimulates the economy. This will enable all Americans to have more stable jobs and retirement investments that go up instead of down. This is not a time for envy, and it’s not a time for politics. It’s time for all of us, as Americans, to
stand up, speak out, and fix this mess.

The "mark-to-market" move is endorsed by the Wall Street Journal as well.

No matter what happens, though, in the long run, this will all sort out. So don't worry.