Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Next Nashville

The small Kansas community of Winfield intends to move forward with plans for a mid-summer country music festival. The annual, four-day event would be held in July. Already the host of a very popular annual bluegrass festival, it seems Winfield is looking to put itself on the map as a venue for outdoor musical events. A special note for my friend The Happy Catholic: there is usually very little rain in southeast Kansas in mid-July, reducing the liklihood of faceplants in mud puddles by small children.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Thursday, December 23, 2004

San Francisco's Homeless

Today, The San Francisco Chronicle began a series on Mayor Newsome's new Care Not Cash program for the city's huge homeless population.

The welfare-cutting Care Not Cash, officially titled the County Adult Assistance Program, or CAAP, has been the main vehicle to date for creating those new housing units, and for selecting the homeless people who get to move into them. Premiering on May 3, Care Not Cash cuts the former monthly welfare payments of up to $410 to the homeless to $59 and gives the recipient instead a shelter bed or, preferably, a supportive housing room.

San Francisco's homeless have been receiving checks from the city for as much as $410 per month in addition to any federal and state assistance. And people of SF can't understand why there's such a homeless problem! Other Bay Area cities have similar cash programs as well, so it's not uncommon for some to collect checks from more than one municipality. Our great mass transit system makes it easy and inexpensive to get from city to city to collect their checks. The weather's nice to boot. It's a great place to be homeless.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Not Like Other States

"This is not a state like other states, where rights have been denied same-sex couples," Senior Assistant Attorney General Louis Mauro said previously. "The issue is whether it's unconstitutional to provide those rights and benefits without calling it marriage."

The state also contends that if Californians want to legalize same-sex marriage, the way to do it is through the Legislature or a ballot proposition, not the courts. Two Christian legal groups have joined the state's position.

I don't even know what to say about this. It seems that California will be the center of attention again as the courts hear suits over same-sex marriages. At least the state and Assistant Attorney General Mauro are taking a stand, but I just love the quote about not being like other states. Ain't that the truth.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Dow above 10,750

Yahoo! Finance: "Dow Hits 3 1/2-Year High on Earnings Hike
Tue 6:30PM ET - Associated Press
The stock market barreled higher Tuesday, sending the Dow Jones industrials to a new 3 1/2 year high as two Wall Street firms reported better-than-expected earnings and a brokerage gave tech bellwether Intel Corp. a ratings upgrade."

I wrote back on the 5th that the Dow could hit 10,750 before year-end. Now, can it hold onto it?

Monday, December 20, 2004

Cisco and Coaster

 Posted by Hello


The Secretary of Defense clearly has his hands full trying to bring some kind of conclusion to the war in Iraq. For him to take the time to personally sign letters to the loved ones of soldiers who have perished would certainly be a nice touch. But if using a little technology to improvise those signatures can free up a few hours for Don to find a speedier resolution for the war, what's wrong with that?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Partial to Black

There are so many new car commercials on TV this holiday season. Ok, maybe there aren't any more than usual, but there are loads of ads for Lexus and Jaguar. Do people really give these cars for Christmas? Do people really give cars for Christmas at all? Just in case, honey, I'm partial to black.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Until recently I've always pretty much favored capital punishment (where did that euphemism come from? It's the death penalty!). But when I looked at why I felt anyone should be put to death, it was always because "he deserved it". I didn't really think about its intended purpose. But aren't punishments created to dissuade undesirable behaviors?

Lately, and especially with Scott Peterson's sentence, I've begun to wonder if the death penalty really serves any useful function other than to make us feel better--"let's stick a needle in the damn baby killer!" But does anyone think Peterson hesitated for a second because he thought he might get the death penalty? I don't think so. Will Peterson's execution make other would-be killers reconsider? Research doesn't consistently bear it out.

So, if a punishment is not a deterrent to crime, then it is merely vengeance. And vengefulness is not an admirable trait in anyone and it's not a healthy reflection of our society.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Bill Knepper

Yesterday we attended the memorial service for our neighbor, Bill Knepper, who died last month from Parkinson's disease. It was a simple and dignified service, attended by thirty or forty friends and relatives. Bill's two grown sons both shared memories about their father, a University of Kansas graduate who worked in the Foreign Service Corps for 35 years. He lived in numerous countries and was known and respected by presidents and heads of state around the world. He did what he could to serve his country and make the planet safer.

Though Bill's disease had already taken much from him when we first met five years ago, I could see his quick wit and easy style even as it was increasingly difficult for him to express himself. It made me wish I had known him before Parkinson's began to erode his abilities but I'm happy to have known him for awhile.

Rock Chalk, Bill.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Berkeley Marina

Two of our closest friends from Kansas City, Kenny and Mary, have been here visiting for the last 24 hours. It's been a long time since we've seen them and we had a blast catching up.

Yesterday, after a little shopping and then cocktails, the four of us went to dinner at a restaurant at the Berkeley Marina. Mary W. thought it would be fun to be there on the day they announced Scott Peterson's ultimate fate. After all, the marina is where Peterson put his boat in the bay on his mission to dispose of Laci's body. Of course, as it turned out, the jury didn't announce their decision yesterday, but we had a great dinner.

Afterward, we took a long walk out to the end of the Berkeley pier for some really great views of the San Francisco Bay and the cities around it. The pier goes out into the bay about a half-mile straight toward Alcatraz. Like I really needed a closer look at that stupid light.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Two Mikes

Last month at a friend's birthday party in Scottsdale, I met two guys named Mike who are both in the defense business. The first Mike is a manufacturer's rep who sells armor plating to the second Mike. The second Mike's company makes the armor kits to retrofit Humvees in Iraq.

Both Mikes have been really busy lately because no one anticipated the kind of warfare going on in Iraq. More than 9,000 US troops have been killed or wounded, almost half of those casualties can be attributed to IEDs--improvised explosive devices. IEDs are mostly roadside bombs, often hidden in dead animals.

Now, Rumsfeld and our other military officials are taking a bunch of flak for not having enough armored vehicles in this war. Please tell me, who predicted that so many American soldiers would get hurt by exploding goats? Anyone? I didn't think so.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Several days ago, when I started this blog, I figured I'd be posting a bunch of stuff about politically charged current affairs and my political views. But, in my blogging around, I have discovered there is a ton of it already out there. Most of it is pretty vitriolic. And the most hateful stuff seems to be penned by 24 year-old intellectual wannabes who haven't been paying taxes long enough to know a capital gain from a cap in the ass. So, I think I'll lay off for awhile and write about other things.

For those who are all bent out of shape over the election and have spent the last month spewing venom all over various blogs--relax. William Jefferson Clinton didn't destroy the world in eight years and neither will George W. Bush. It might just turn out OK.

That damn light

This morning in bed we were listening to the wind and the rain and a talk radio discussion about commuters. It seems that the fastest-growing group are called super-commuters. Over 3 million strong in the U.S., these folks commute 90 minutes or more each way. The radio show took calls from a dozen or so listeners who travelled 4, 5, even 6 hours a day between home and their jobs. Most of them said they do it because the only way they could afford to buy a home was if it was way out in the hinterlands. For some it's a temporary thing. For others, it's worth the sacrifice to be living in a bigger, nicer home than they could ever afford closer to San Francisco.

We are lucky to be living in a nice home in the hills above Berkeley and Oakland and it's only ten minutes from work. But the best thing is the kick-ass view of San Francisco and the Bay. We have outstanding views of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. We can see Oakland, Berkeley and Mount Tam. It's incredible. It would be perfect if that strobe light on Alcatraz wasn't so distracting! Hmmm, do you think I'm a little spoiled?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Liked it, stole it, posted it.

What does a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac do? Lies awake at night wondering if there is a dog.

Monday, December 06, 2004


As long as I live in California, I refuse to become a weather-wimp.

On my walk late this afternoon from my office building to my parking garage, I noticed all of the people bundled up. I mean they were wearing stocking caps, scarves, gloves, the works. They had their hands shoved into their pockets and shoulders hunched for warmth. It was a gray and blustery day. It really looked like winter. I guess it was chilly, but was it really cold?

I pulled the car out of the garage and looked at the thermometer on the dash. It read 55 degrees. Surely, as soon as the car was out in the open, the gauge would drop. It didn't. It really was 55. How can people think it's so cold when it isn't? Californians are funny.

My greatest fear is that too much time in California will make me a weather wimp like them. I refuse to succumb!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Winding Down

Since we're nearing the peak of the holiday shopping season and 2004 is rapidly drawing to a close, I thought I'd make a couple of predictions for the last few weeks of the year:

  • While retail sales have started off slowly for this holiday season, they will rebound and retailers will post some nice numbers for December.
  • Oil prices will stay down fueling consumer confidence. I look for oil to close the year around $45/bbl.
  • Stocks will continue their rally from November and the Dow could finish the year as high as 10,750.
  • What's the holiday season without a terrorism scare? It will turn out to be nothing, but I would expect a scare of some significance around Christmas.
  • The media continues to ignore the corruption in the UN even with more evidence of fraud in the oil for food program.
That's all for now, I'll be making some predictions for 2005 soon.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Barry Bonds

Say Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wins some big NASCAR race and it's discovered later that his crew was putting a banned fuel supplement in the tank. Would Dale have to give the trophy back? Would it matter whether he knew about it? What if no one knew the substance was banned, would the hardware still have to be returned? You bet it would, sorry Dale. Even if the additive didn't make a material difference in the race, Earnhardt would still have to be disqualified.

So what about Barry Bonds? Should his records stand? First of all, nobody gains 40 pounds of bulk and thinks it's because of some arthritis cream he's using. But whether he knew about the banned substances at the time doesn't matter. He still had (has) an unfair advantage. Why shouldn't he be tossed out of baseball? Why shouldn't he have to return ten of millions of dollars to baseball fans? After all, didn't he negotiate contracts based on performace created by illegal use of steroids?

Friday, December 03, 2004


This blog was inspired by my college friend Julie's blog called "The Happy Catholic". Until I started reading Julie's posts I really had no exposure to blogs at all. THC is filled with the things that Julie feels passionate about, especially Catholicism, but also contains musings and observations of all sorts that are interesting to Julie. Her blog generates great discussions of all kinds and it's just an interesting place to visit.

While blogging is entirely new to me, my hope is that I can create a place that will inspire some interesting discussions around politics, government and economics. The Happy Capitalist could be a forum that is informative, intertaining and thought-provoking. But even if no one ever visits The Happy Capitalist or posts a comment, while disappointing, I guess that's OK. This blog will help me to think through some beliefs and help exercise my brain. It will make me re-learn some writing skills and be intertaining for me.

I'm very intrigued by this new phenom of blogging. We'll see how this goes.

Figuring it out

I have just created this Blog called The Happy Capitalist and I'm working on creating content for it. This is a test to see how text ends up on the Blog.