Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
After originally filming 2006's Lawn Mower Poker Run, hosted by Sheridan's Corner Tap, the film is finally edited and ready to be released to the public. There were all sorts of setbacks along the way, but this fun documentary is now complete.
The movie clocks in at 45 minutes in length. Its more than just a home video camera filming random lawn mowers. The DVD contains interviews with an assortment of top tractor pullers, the Corner Tap's owner, as well as numerous other personalities who help to make this event so exciting.
If you're interested in learning more about Sheridan's Lawn Mower Poker Run shoot me an email and I'll tell you all about it. Otherwise make sure to get yourself down to this year's 14th annual event this upcoming Sunday, August 24th. I'll be there all day, hopefully with camera in one hand, and DVD's in the other.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
The budget was tight, but we managed to get our money’s worth out of the trip. Fortunately my brother and his family recently moved to
With the Freedom March being Saturday morning, and only a 13 hour drive in front of us, we were able to spend all of Friday touring DC. We made sure to hit up the Jefferson, Lincoln, and FDR (only by accident) memorials, as well as the American Portrait Gallery.
Oh, and we managed to find our way to the front steps of our beloved Federal Reserve headquarters and participate in a good old fashioned protest. There were probably 50 or so of us adorned in monopoly money. Most of us were Ron Paul supporters who were making the most of being in town a day early. So it was nice to meet and chat with some like-minded people. We actually ran into our good friend Dan Tucker, the excellent meet-up group leader we met while attending school in his hometown of
We were out the door by nine Saturday morning, with my brother Reed driving us down to the northwest corner of the
The crowd started to work itself into a frenzy as we began to envelope
By marches end, over 6,000 Americans had poured onto the front lawn of the Capital. We stayed on that lawn, listening to good music, over a dozen prominent speakers, and sharing ideas and enthusiasm with others, clear until 6 pm.
It was especially interesting to see the range and diversity of people at the rally. In fact, where one might expect to find a bunch of college youth making a ruckus, instead the majority of the crowd was the droves of families that came out.
With a variety of people you get a variety of sights. The spectrum of messages being advocated on people’s shirts and signs were certainly broad. Memorable messages such as, “Legalize the Constitution” and, “Warfare + Welfare = Broke” abounded the field along with a plethora of patriots waving a variety “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. Oh…and I also got a sticker handed to be me with Che’ Guavara wearing Mickey Mouse ears. Awesome.
Ron Paul was our keynote speaker; he covered all the big issues and commended us for our continued energy in the cause, pointing out that we should be proud and aware of our ongoing responsibility to civic duty. As always, he was kind, generous, and witty. It’s always a pleasure to hear him speak. His most present concern seemed to be the escalation of
The march was an excellent time all around. I’m looking forward to having a similar, if not, better experience at Ron Paul’s convention September 2nd in
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Thursday, July 3, 2008
Well the month of June seemed to come and go before I even knew it. So just some quick thoughts on the middle most month of year.
Boston Celtics (Congrats to showing us some great "team" ball)
Tiger Woods (Awesome performance at the US Open)
Ron Paul (The Revolution continues with a number one NY Times Bestseller and strong showing at GOP State Conventions all across the country; especially in Nevada!)
People who drive a lot ($143 for a barrell of oil? Its only going to get worse)
Midwest Flood Victims (When it rains it poors)
Hillary Clinton (Its been real, its been fun...but it aint been real fun)
Website of the Month
A custom radio website. You tell the site your favorite artists and songs, from there it decodes the music's "genome" to present you with other music that should match your taste. Its a surprisingly easy and accurate application. Half the time its spot on guessing music you already know and love, and the other half its introducing you to music you probably should've known all along.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Basketball fans will find out soon enough, but in the meantime, I'd like to take a peak into my trusty crystal ball to see what there is to see. Most teams are 4 games deep into their first round matchups leaving little room for any advancement surprises. Despite Detroit's failure to focus in the first few games of their 76ers series, they are finally getting back to old form. Expect to see them playing alongside Cleveland, Boston, and Orlando in the next round. The West semi's will likely feature a Lakers v Utah and New Orleans v San Antonio (Although the Suns had an imressive must-win performance this afternoon).
Outside of Lebron's stellar performance and the expected dominance of Boston throughout the Eastern tournament, there is little else to talk about. I'd be surprised to see anyone other than Boston waiting for whoever surprises the trecherous West.
But ahh, the Western Conference. Some great series await in round 2, and really, from here one out. While the hotly anticipated Spurs/Suns series only has managed to live up to expectations in game 1, prospects such as the possibility of a Deron Williams v Chris Paul Conference Final rest even higher on my future's wish list. And you know what, the prospect of Kobe and the new Kids on the Block facing off against the decade dominant Spurs isn't a bad alternative.
If I've got to pick a single team to come out of the West, I would have to put money on the defending champion spurs. Until someone proves they're better than them, I'm just not believing it. I expected to the Suns would expose any weaknesses the Spurs would have this year, but the truth is, this looks a lot like yesteryear's team. Outside of any injuries to the Spurs Big 3, I think the West is their's to lose.
Surprisingly, Steve Nash is going to bed feeling better then Dallas's Jason Kidd tonight. Kidd was ejected Sunday night, after committing a dangerous frustration foul halfway through the 4th. The Sun's blowout win today thrills me that I get to watch them play again, but I'm only interested if they play with the same intensity they did today.
As for the Finals in June? We may just be seeing Duncan matched up against the newest Jolly Green Giant.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
It is easy to agree on the important implications of what may come of us along with our environment if we do not act. I struggle with McMichael’s strong affection for the idea of government regulation. I would describe his approach as “tunnel vision” in nature. But if we are to properly address this issue, should not other methods be considered?
Seemingly unbeknownst to McMichael, there are many like myself, who struggle with this assumption that only government is capable of tackling the big problems of the day. I would think that the idea of entrepreneurship and its related capabilities would be something worthy of a minimum of a chapter in this book.
McMichael stresses all sorts of examples of failed empires and civilizations that can be aligned with the environmental degradation of their time and area. Are there no positive examples? I find it hard to believe that, in our long history as a species, we can find no examples of management done right. I would also contend that those such findings are far more rare an occurrence in government policy, than it is in free market entrepreneurship. Problem solvers like Benjamin Franklin flourished in a deregulated, self-responsibility filled setting.
The strongest testaments to the potential of humanity, when left with nothing less than liberty, can be found in what Leo Marx calls the “heroic generation of founding revolutionists” (Teich, 7). In his article, “Does Improved Technology Mean Progress?” Marx reminds the reader that before we can decide if technology means progress, we must first decide what exactly it is that we are striving to progress towards.
The modern idea of progress, championed by those like Thomas Jefferson, recognized that technology was only progressive so long as they worked towards sacred goals such as justice, freedom, harmony, beauty, and self-fulfillment (8). Knowing that technology will play a large part in how we go about handling world health and environment, as well as understanding that any solutions are going to need the leadership and mobility of a strong and moral people, the prevailing philosophies of our “heroic generation” suddenly seem very relevant to the current debate.
The enlightenment idea of progress was something that nay existed before our nation formed. Most of human history sees history as a fall from grace or some other utopian origin (Foltz).The embodiment of these ideas in the U.S. Constitution is what truly makes the document so special. Patriots like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams rooted their beliefs not in technology alone, but also recognized that they must be conducive with protecting the natural rights of man.
Many will shiver at the notion of the above described free society, with its emphasis on person to person contracts and the importance of private property. These same people will claim that such a free market oriented solution couldn’t possibly work. Not only that, but dangerous! How can I expect intellectuals such as McMichael to willingly participate in the leveling of the playing field? A successful businessman or rural farmer has no place in the debate over how to handle global warming. Well, nothing outside of paying their new “green taxes” (McMichael, 334). Leave the rest to the lobbyists and their public servants.
My counter argument to their cynicism is that it is only fair to understand that there is an equal basis for skepticism in the faith blindly thrown behind entrusting all the responsibility to government and other giant institutions. He claims we need far reaching policy making as instituted by our government (mostly non-elected bureaucrats, mind you). This is the part where I am expected to entrust such important responsibility to the career politicians. These are the same folks who spend far too much time crunching numbers from their latest polls, and the other half over dinners with some of the deepest pocketbooks this world has ever known. I would rather entrust the human spirit operating within a free market any day of the week.
When talking about Jefferson and his virtues, Marx goes as far as to claim, “In weighing political, moral, and aesthetic costs against economic benefits, he anticipated the viewpoint of the environmentalists” (Teich, 5).
Look at the seemingly boundless innovations that have sprouted out of the first decade of one of the greatest “free-market friendly” technologies to date: the internet. With current trends creeping towards more and more regulation, the world wide web’s first decade will probably be remembered as its most open as well as its most innovative.
Early developments such as the idea of search engines have evolved and streamlined themselves into the powerhouses of the internet, (Yahoo!, Google etc…) while chat rooms that were once the buzz, were overshadowed by instant messaging, which has now been replaced at the top of the communications ladder by the Internet 2.0’s social networking sites (such as Facebook and MySpace). It would be difficult to find an example of such accelerated progress within the constraints of any traditional institution’s regulations. I believe that the immediately (though low) quantifiable satisfactions that come from centralized regulation (such as a carbon tax) strongly aid in the reasoning behind the seemingly overwhelming faith society is putting behind it.
It is much more difficult to accurately measure and present the results of an open market, making it a much less desirable option for any politician trying to get reelected. A PowerPoint slide with a simple bar graph depicting taxes rising and pollution falling will work for regulation. But quantifying earth friendly intellectual property that is born out of freedom from restrictions, and the courage to entrust an entire society with such power is not nearly as easy.
George Reisman’s article, Environmentalism in the Light of Menger and Mises, recalls a quote regarding global warming from his previous work Capitalism, “It would be too great a problem for government bureaucrats to handle…But it would certainly not be too great a problem for tens and hundreds of millions of free, thinking individuals living under capitalism to solve” (Reisman, 14).
The fact of the matter is that such heavy handed regulations are, daresay, un-American in their roots. We have lost faith in the abilities of ourselves, and feel much more comfortable sacrificing those responsibilities to faceless elites in D.C. and the Executive Branch only to watch the highlights on our 24 hour cable news. A free market places property rights in a near sacred light. Congressman (R-Texas) Ron Paul best explains how pollution can be handled when operating within a free system, “no one is allowed to pollute his neighbor’s land, air, or water…Currently, preemptive regulations and pay-to-pollute schemes favor those wealthy enough to perform the regulatory tap dance, while those who own the polluted land rarely receive quick or just resolution to their problems” (Paul, online).
I mentioned in the introduction that McMichael has many ways of going about making his points on the environment. I should also stress my allegiance to his overriding concerns. Deforestation, (currently subsidized by the US government) global warming, loss of coral reefs, etc…are all very real problems (McMichael, 334). While virtually all can agree that the present results are nowhere near satisfactory, I contend that piling more of the same solutions is also not the answer.
If allowed, the entrepreneurs born in the spirit of freedom, will be the Shepards of the 21st century. Thanks in large part to the internet as a new template; any one of us can see the potential greatness harbored in capitalistic institutions such as Google. The word has only been part of our vocabulary for a mere few years, and already it has grown to be so much more than a simple, internet search engine. Google is now actively engaged in critical sectors such as telecommunications, (bidding wars with telecommunications giants such as Verizon) and energy. It should be no surprise 10 years from now when Google is recognized worldwide as the leading provider of alternative energy (Google windmills anyone?).
In conclusion, I applaud McMichael’s efforts to instill a sense of urgency, (not shying away from possible scenarios such as those embodied in “threshold theories”) but I am left wishing that more various approaches to the situation were explored. Ludwig Van Mises, one of the great advocates for liberty, may have said it best, “Only individuals think and only individuals act” (Reisman, 12). Now is the time for action.
Foltz, Prof. Bruce. Eckerd College lecture. October, 2007.
McMichael, A.J. Planetary Overload: Global Environmental Change and the Health of the Human Species. Cambridge University Press. Great Britain. 1995.
Paul, Ron. Environment and Energy Policy.
Reisman, George. Environmentalism in the Light of Menger and Mises. The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. Vol. 5, No. 2. Summer 2002.
Teich, Albert H. Technology and the Future. 10th ed. 2006. Thompson and Wadsworth Publishing. United States. pp. 5-8.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Besides giving regular updates that analyze the current headlines, I intend to be posting some of my journal entries from my most recent stint overseas. That's right, since last posting on this blog I've returned to Southeast Asia living in Xiamen, China for the first half of 2008. In fact, I've only just returned from there in the past week. Look for highlights of that trip to sporadically be added.
Oh and sports fans, how about the Spurs/Suns opener Saturday afternoon? If you missed it...phew! Possibly one of the best games I can remember seeing ever. Double overtime, big names making big plays on both ends of the floor...I can't wait for Tuesday to get here.
Well, the train is leaving the station folks, make sure you got your ticket!