Category Archives: About the Author

My Bucket List – Top 5

My Bucket List – Top 5

# 5            Go to the top floor of the Burj Khalifa (2,717 ft.) in Dubai.

#4             Climb to the top of Huayna Mt. at Machu Picchu

#3             Fish for trout in Patagonia

#2             Get funding for a 50/50 for Health Event

The idea is that I would jog/walk 50 kilometers a day for 50 consecutive days (25 in the morning and 25 in the afternoon) visiting 100 communities in our state. It would involve a 20 minute presentation in each community addressing the health benefits of daily exercise and healthy eating on a budget.

#1             Get a tour of Site S-4 at area 51

Resurrecting Respect

I apologize in advance for this self-serving post. I also apologize to my Sophies Soapbox Facebook readers since this will be a partial repeat of a prior Facebook post. I recently had a book published and much of the material was taken from prior posts to this blog. The book is titled Resurrecting Respect.

Our country has fallen from a position of leadership and respect that it had earned after WW II. What made the U.S.A. the example for the rest of the world has eroded. The reasons are complex and not the work of any one political party or faction. The “blame game” runs rampant and as a result, we have not been willing to work toward reclaiming our status. This little book attempts to examine the issues with an apolitical view. While the first part is essentially a “moan” the second part offers many practical solutions.

All of the opinions and solutions in the book support the following principals:

  1. In the USA, our citizens and permanent residents deserve freedom of speech, worship and freedom from want & fear, affordable quality healthcare, and an affordable education.
  2. Over time, many of our past successes have eroded and now require evaluation and change. There are many areas where we were once an (if not “the”) world leader, but are no longer. Changes will be required to make the U.S.A. great again.
  3. Our founding fathers intended to create a system where the common people ruled and not the “Royals.” We have created a new class of Royals, if not in the title, but for certain in practice.
  4. Service to country (and the earth) is more important than individual gain.
  5. Individual freedoms are sacrosanct as long as they do not infringe on the right’s other individuals
  6. Short term benefits should never unduly mortgage future generations.
  7. Government spending should be accountable to the taxpayer, and borrowing obligations should be “transparent” both in terms of current deficits and future “unfunded” liabilities. Both areas should be subject to reasonable limits that congress would not have the ability to override.
  8. Unskilled and semi-skilled workers should receive, at a minimum, the compensation required to provide the entitlements in #1 above.
  9. When the economy (real GDP) is growing the middle class deserves its fair share of this growth. The middle class is paying more than their fair share to fund our government.
  10. Persons and families in need deserve our support. We should give those in need the opportunity to maintain their self-respect. Everyone should have the opportunity to “contribute” to the country commensurate to their abilities. All subsidies should have limited terms except in cases of ongoing and legally documented disability. 
  11.  The role of money in our election process and determining the outcome must be reduced.
  12. Least government is the best government. Citizens in service to the Federal Government will be paid fairly, but not overpaid. By that, I mean their total compensation should be in line with comparable positions in private industry. Where possible, productivity standards should be in place for all government workers.
  13. The time available for election campaigns requires reduction. We need more time governing and less time campaigning.
  14. Capitalism is the preferred economic system as long as it provides for most of the citizens to participate in owning capital. Participation in capitalism should include all classes other than those requiring subsidies.
  15. Taxes come in many forms. For example: When your government chooses to support an inefficient and costly system when cheaper and better alternatives exist, then you are being taxed.
  16. Worldwide free markets are most efficient in the long-term, fostering innovation and productivity
  17. Growth for the sake of growth is not the best measure of economic viability. Productivity ultimately determines effective resource utilization and well-being. This measure becomes even more important for countries when their internal population is declining. Measures like GDP per capita are a better economic measure of success.
  18. Our elected representatives should play by the same rules as the voters that elected them into office regarding benefits and entitlements.
Resurrecting Respect: True Patriotism

I’ve been programmed, how about you?

I’ve been programmed, how about you?

I am reminded of the lyrics from a song by one of my favorite musical groups, Pink Floyd. Another Brick in the Wall (part II) written by Roger Waters:

“We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.
………………………………….Wrong, Do it again!
If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you
have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?”

My programming was gained initially through participation in a military family, parents that grew up in the South, exposure to a maternal grandfather that was a staunch racist, a paternal grandmother that was not and 10 years of Catholic school education complete with required catechism classes. My programming was further enhanced via two years of “public” high school and five years of social (and sometime academic) exposure at University. Programming continued through four years as an Air Force Officer, twenty years in senior management with several firms and finally a decade plus in the accommodation industry both in the US and in New Zealand. More recently my programming has been modified through participation with a variety of community volunteer groups.

In retrospect I question how much wisdom was gained despite the massive amount of information exposure that occurred? In my “formative” years “I liked Ike” and a bit later I wanted to “ask what I could do for my country”. During University I moved a bit further to the left in my thinking. While in the Air Force I reversed course moving back in the “right” direction. As a senior manager, then executive and accommodation entrepreneur I continued to proceed further to the right. During the last decade, via my volunteer participation, my views have moderated and moved back closer to the political center.

What I now realize is that most of my view has been “influenced” by both others and by the responsibility of the various money producing positions that I held. I wonder if I really have any views that are truly my own? I find that doing my own research on a variety of topics has been very satisfying. It has been extremely difficult to set my past programming aside and I find it an ongoing struggle. My key is to ask myself what is the basis of my current view. What is the source of my information? Is it backed up by other sources? Can I say for certain that I am in touch with the facts? How much of my view is based on a belief system? Am I just another brick in the wall?