Doing More With Less Since 1972

Tag: government

Need Help With Debt? Just Ask The Feds

This is amazingly rich.

The federal government has a web site to help Americans with their debt. It’s called “Knee Deep in Debt“. I can’t think of a better place to go for advice when you’re knee deep in debt than an organization that is over its head in debt.

It gets better. According to the site, the first step to eliminating debt is to set a budget. From my experience, this is great advice. Dave Ramsey says the same thing. The thing is, the last time we did a budget at our house was 21 days ago, before the month of January started. The last time the federal government did a budget was over 800 days ago.

Next up, sites on healthy living run by fat smokers and tips on living clean and sober by alcoholic meth lab operators who supplement their income running product from pill mills.

Remember this bit of wisdom from the gov’ment:

Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.


It’s About The Children, Not The Farmers

Proposed rule changes by the Labor Department may be bad for farmers, but they are worse for kids.

We never owned a farm when I was growing up, but I knew plenty of people who did. Having the opportunity to do farm work at a young age is one of the single biggest advantages I’ve had in life, second only to being as handsome as ten movie stars.

That was a joke.

First of all, it gave me the opportunity at an early age to learn about working to earn something. Most of the time I was paid by how much work I did, not how many hours I worked. The harder you worked or the more desired skills you possessed, the more you could earn. Example: suckering tobacco doesn’t pay nearly as much as cutting and spiking tobacco. I learned the lesson my first year of working tobacco for a family friend. I showed up the next year anxious to cut.

Secondly, I learned the difference between “working” and “working hard”. I learned this mostly from my Uncle Fred. My dad (he was actually my dad’s uncle) had already told me that this old man could outwork anybody he knew, and he lived up to his reputation the first day he hired me on. Lucky for me the other two guys working with us were grown men with a knack for laziness. I could easily outpace them, so he wasn’t too hard on me. But I did get to hear his opinion of people like them while we were waiting on them to finish their work, and I knew I didn’t want anyone to talk about me that way if I could help it.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Working hard at an early age is good for the body, mind, and soul. If nothing else it can give kids the motivation to make the most of their education so they don’t have to spend their lives doing back-breaking labor. I’m talking about kids 11 and 12 years old and up here, not babies.

Why would anyone want to deny kids the right…yeah, I called it a right…to learn these lessons, earn their own money, and actually get outside and do something productive?

Let me put it on tougher terms–these are the kids you are going to be depending on to go out and hit it hard all day to pay your social security (or whatever sort of safety net exists at that point).

We are getting soft.

This is the part that really gets me:

Furthermore, most 14- and 15-year-old workers would be prevented from operating any tractor, all-terrain vehicle, milking machine, or lawn mower. Now, exemptions exist that allow them to operate such equipment given they complete a 24 hour safety course…

My safety course for driving a tractor consisted of “You know how to work a riding mower don’t you?”.  It was sort of implied that if I wrecked my Uncle Fred’s tractor and survived, my safety would be in danger.

[Image Credit]

A Tech,Education, and Fitness Link Dump

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D) – Not often Mr. Reynolds writes something this verbose, but when he does, it’s almost guaranteed to be quotable.

And if I’m peeing all over the wave of hope-and-change hype that got him into office despite his obvious unsuitability, it’s to help ensure that nothing this disastrous happens again in my lifetime. I realize that it’s painful for those who fell victim to the mass hysteria to constantly be reminded of their foolishness, but I hope it’ll be the kind of pain that results in learning.

It’s Not A Mirror, It’s A Crystal Ball – How and why @techcrunch works. And why traditional media is failing. I hope TC doesn’t get watered down by this latest dust up.

The Amazing Colossal Syllabus – The worst thing about this mentality is something I’ve noticed in adults too: their idea of learning is attending a class regularly and getting a certificate of completion. The notion of internalizing the course material and applying it to situations not specifically addressed in the text is completely foreign.

Dim & Dash: Breaking Up – I was once accused of pulling a “frat boy move” when breaking up with a girl this way. Maybe I should have considered that a compliment since she seemed to have a penchant for frat boys.

Quick Math for Understanding Any Goverment Program – Our congressional representatives often measure their success by how many pieces of new legislation they’ve been able to pass. I think a more accurate measure of success is how many pieces of legislation they’ve been able to repeal.

Mauricio’s Ironman – Love reading these race reports! Can’t wait until I get my turn.

Jogging beats weight lifting for losing belly fat – HT @sram9. Personal fitness, like personal finance, is 20% knowledge and 80% behavior. Those numbers may be even more skewed for fitness.

Firefox for Android Tablets Unveiled – Wait…and we still don’t have Chrome on Android devices? This is good news at least.

A Short “How To” Link Dump

Lot’s of “How Tos” were read around here in the last week or so, and I’ve linked to some of the best ones. I was pretty excited to get Spotify too. This one may be worth paying for!

I’m also playing around with Post Formats in WordPress, which explains the drastic change in the way the blog looks. I switched to the Twenty Eleven theme and I’m going to be building off of that. The obvious change I’d like to make is to have a “Link Dump” format and change the way that appears here. I only post about 1/10 of what I read, and if I had a better format, I think these posts could be way better. Anyway…here are the links.

Got Spotify? Here’s How To Use It – Great guide to getting started.

How to Swim Straight in Open Water – One mistake I’ve made in ocean swims is not accounting for the current enough. Even though I started out beyond the break I found myself eventually getting tumbled by surf.

Was the Space Shuttle a Mistake? – You can begin throwing rocks and insults at me in 3, 2, 1…

How to Stock a Home Bar – Another part of the 5 year plan.

Learn jQuery & JAVASCRIPT for free – Can’t wait to finish my current project and dive into this.

“Download map area” added to Labs in Google Maps for Android – Very nice. Very fast. Thanks Google!

Kindle Price Dropping and A Bunch of Other Financial Stuff

Here’s another mind dump of thoughts on a few of the link worthy things I’ve read lately…enjoy!

Now you can buy a Kindle for $114! The gotcha here is that you have to be willing to look at ads and special offers. Still, I’m glad to see the price coming down one way or another. I still think the magic price for this device is $99. At least, that’s the price at which I’d bite.

5 Common Remote Work Misconceptions – Word!

Roth IRA: Time to retire Roth IRAs – Could not be more wrong. This guy needs to run the numbers, although I doubt he’d know where to start to do that. Roth IRAs and Traditional IRAs generate the exact same tax revenue if you make the assumption that the tax rate doesn’t change. But for the gov’ment, they get to have their candy now instead of waiting for you to retire. The upside for the account holder only comes if they end up in a higher tax bracket or tax rates rise across the board. Look where people have placed their bets.

Gov Shutdown’s Impact – Great argument by @newscoma for keeping $ in state instead of sending it to D.C. 🙂

IKEA desktop – <3 IKEA. This is pretty cool.

Portugal, Illinois and Caterpillar – “The Portugese have decided to protest against mathematics….” That’s pretty much all you need to know. Of course, as Dave Ramsey likes to point out, if they’d been doing math they wouldn’t be in this mess.

They Should Be In Charge of EVERYTHING


The American Postal Workers Union has extended its internal election after thousands of ballots appeared to have gotten lost . . . in the mail.

I can hear it now:

“We’ve reviewed your X-Rays and have concluded that they never arrived in the mail. Please go back to the end of the 6 month waiting list for more X-Rays.”

“But why couldn’t they just email the X-Rays? Why can’t you just pull them out of a database?”

“I’m sorry. Regulations say that all medical documents must be sent through the mail. We can’t endanger the jobs of postal workers.”

HT Doug Mataconis

Stuff You Should See– July 31st through August 16th

Disney Princesses, Deconstructed – All you can really do to fight it is to push a fascination with ocean dwelling killing machines instead of Princesses. But it’s an uphill battle.

Muscles Remember Past Glory – I strongly suspect fat bellies have the same memory ability.

Thanks No For Skipping Your Immunizations! Whooping CoughIs Back – I wouldn’t let Jenny McCarthy give me dating advice when I was 19. Why would I listen to her parenting tips?

What Happened to Yahoo – Bottom line–nothing was happening at Yahoo, so things started happening to Yahoo. And why is that when I change my Yahoo! password, my password doesn’t change. Exhibit A.

Ragnar Central Florida – Always wanted to do one of these…I may have found a team!

Endless Bummer – Don’t worry, it’s safe for work.

Unsuck It – Pretty useful, especially if you are low on bandwidth and need to bucketize terms.

The Third Stage of Personal Finance – Good motivator to start your day.

Facebook bug spills name and pic for all 500 million users – Uh….awsum?

Complete Guide to Maximizing Your Android Phone’s Battery Life – When following these instructions, make sure you’re holding the phone correctly.

14 Famous Man Caves – And not one has a spin bike or a punching bag. Where does all the anger go?

7 Discipline-builders for Remote Workers – I found this article very distracting. 🙂

Girl quits job on dry erase board – I like TechCrunch too, but if you spend an hour a day there, you must be reading at a remedial level. It’s not Faulkner.

Michael P. Fleischer: Why I’m Not Hiring – Interesting…and I thought it was just because he was a racist.

The Great Reset of Urban Development in Economic Downturns – Metropolitan corridors. I don’t like the sound of that.

Internet gambling freedom boosted by House committee vote – It’s comin’….

Rdio – Even more music.

Zone 12 Project gang: Little Blue Egg – I will put this right next to the outdoor shower. Or maybe inside the outdoor shower.

Build Your Own Outdoor Shower – Coming soon to a side of the house near me. I hope.

Black Holes Killing Whole Galaxies

Let the hand-wringing begin.

For instance, “we expect our own galaxy and Andromeda to merge in about 4 billion years or so,” Bluck explained. “If this ends up providing new gas reserves and channeling this gas to the center of our galaxy — all big ifs — then there is a real chance of triggering our dormant black hole at some point in the distant future.”

A few questions:

  1. What did we do to cause this?
  2. How is Wall Street going to use this to stick it to the little guy?
  3. Why isn’t the government, or at least a former Vice President,  doing anything about it?

What If The Federal Government CAN Make You Buy A Product?

I’m glad the AGs of various states are challenging the federal mandate that compels us to purchase health care coverage from the (“evil”) insurance companies. My worry is that they will lose. And once that precedent is set, what else could we be forced to purchase by law?

Will we be required to have bank accounts, purchased from evil banks? After all, if you have money, you must be participating in commerce, so that can be regulated.

What about funeral insurance? We’re all going to die (I’m working on this one) and there’s a cost associated with that, for now. Or maybe someone will come to the realization that since all of us will need our remains disposed of at some point, this service is a right. And since it’s a right, no one will be allowed to make money on it, making it “free”.

Proof by iteration is a concept that should be taught at around age 10.


I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say the  U.S. is ungovernable. It’s just that a weapon has not yet been developed to make it stick.

Power at the national level creates extreme inequality between the few who hold office and the rest of us who do not. Basically, we can vote in elections, and that is it. With power more localized, we have a greater chance of holding office or having influence as voters. More important, we could “vote with our feet” by moving to jurisdictions that suit our preferences.

People already do this, but for the most part they stay in the U.S. That could be changing if a growth in centralized power results in more of a Generica.

Delicious Link Dump– October 12th through October 13th

We Learned Good From The Romans

We look back at the Roman epoch with a sense of relief. We’ve learned so much since then. No longer do we consider our leaders to be gods among men. No longer do we hand them unearned and meretricious awards and prizes. We don’t turn on and destroy members of previous administrations. We don’t tolerate incompetent and corrupt sycophants in high office. We’ve learned to recognize disorders such as pathological narcissism and assure that the victims do not gain high office. Any president who placed his prestige on the line with an athletic contest would be laughed to scorn.

The Wrong Way To Pass A Class – Unfortunately, I think it may still work in many cases. This guy can probably pull on his own and doesn’t need any help from a strumpet like her. Good for him.

Business School For Free On iTunes – You even get a voice recording of someone reading a diploma at the end.

Death by Spork Would Be Torture in Deleware – The best outcome for this kid would be to NOT have to return to this band of idiots to be “educated”.

Pitfalls and Perils of Blogging – Some stuff to think about.

Willie Nelson’s Got a New Broadband Plan – It looks like a box full of networking equipment, but really you just put your weed in there.

Sifting Mountains of Data – When I retire, I’m going to sit on my back porch and whittle on data. All. Day. Long.

Digital Passive-Aggressive Communication – This articulates something I’ve been saying much better than I can articulate it myself. Wave combines the rapid fire communication of Twitter with the give and take (or “ignore”) of email. It just needs to be beefier at this point, and we need to train our brains to use it.

Delicious Link Dump– October 7th through October 8th

Breast-feeding mother sues airlines – I'm relatively sure we would have been asked to get off several planes for causing a disturbance if breast feeding were not allowed.

Get Outta My Face With That Crazy Talk! – This guy is claiming, get this, that the earth's temperature is mostly affected by that huge ball of fire in the sky.

What it Feels Like to Be a Libertarian – I can relate to this all too well. Sometimes I just wish I could a gangsta instead. Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

Criminalizing everyone – There should be laws against making all these stupid laws.

Rangel: “Why don’t you mind your goddamned business?” – It's great to live in a country that allows you to walk up to these guys and ask them tough questions. If they were held accountable it would be even greater.

UT’s Band Director on the Hot Seat? – UT can't really fire its football coach this year. Guess they need to go after someone else. I'll be tuning into BandTalk later to see what Small Mike thinks we should do.

When Companies Get It Right – Aside from companies getting it right, it's also nice to see people write about people getting it right!

Mystery Google – Pretty funny site. It's sort of like pot-luck Taco Bell. Only different.

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