Monday, August 30, 2010

Learn for Free--Khan Academy

More and more, the world's knowledge is becoming available to anyone via the internet.

This is Khan Academy, one of its biggest fans is Microsoft's Bill Gates.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Da Bugsters Tells Me To Run Red Light

Freedom-Berlin Wall

Harbor Fish Grill in Brea, CA

If you live in Brea, and you want good seafood at a reasonable price, go to Harbor Fresh Fish Grill. I don't know if there's a dish over $10. My plate you see in the picture is trout (with a choice of toppings), brown rice, broccoli, and salad for $8.95.

I'm a big fan, needless to say. I like this restaurant. You can bring your pooch if you eat outside.

(Just make sure you're not a penny short. I went to this restaurant yesterday after returning from vacation and I asked if they saw this blog post. She said "yes", and as I paid I was 1 penny short. She did not cut me any slack. Funny)

On Frugality

My wife will be able to retire at a young age. While she makes a decent income, she knows how to save. It is nice that my wife and I think the same when it comes to money. She does not care to purchase status. She is more happy and comfortable obtaining frugality.

It's a lot easier to save a $1000 than to pay off a $1000 debt. Since we have no debt, live well below our means, savings almost can't help but be done. And with investments, hopefully the money grows.

I enjoy reading personal finance, minimalist, and frugality blogs. There's so much great information on the web.

If you're like me, you like reading stories of how others struggle financially, and end up prospering. As a kid I heard stories of my dad working full time, working at the movie theater at night and then walking around collecting bottles. He retired at 47. While he didn't have a lot of money, he lived a wonderful life. Lots of golf, time with friends, and a through enjoyment of life.

We all know such stories. They're inspiring. On the flip side, I like stories about Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, men who've achieved incredible wealth.

This great country allows this to happen. Thank God, I won the lottery being born in the United States.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Mosque In New York City

Here are some comments from a very good website.

Using Google To Search In Real Time

This seems exciting. Let's say an earthquake just happened. Google will search places like Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates. This could prove to be a valuable tool.

What if there is a car crash on a freeway next to your house? It will be quite possible to go to Google and not only read what others are saying about the crash, but likely to see video of the accident.

So not only is the internet democratizing knowledge but it's going to happen in real time.

Just think, in a few short years, this post will be thought quaint. And by then, not only will we expect to see video of the accident, we'll be able to see the accident as it happens.

Fanny and Freddy-Warnings By Bush

This video clearly shows that George Bush warned congress starting in 2001, that an economic crisis was coming if something was not done. But congress refused to listen. Please note the comments of the arrogant congressman Barney Frank and the ever moronic Senator Chuck Schumer.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Excellent 8 minute video on Islam

This is from the Qur'an itself. Not separately pieced together to tell a story. An Imam would not quibble with this video, and would tell you "Yes, this is definitely what the Qur'an states".

I beg you to watch this video. The creator touches on key precepts of Islam.

Islam is in direct opposition to Western Civilization--this must be realized and there can be no doubt. To deny this is only to deceive oneself.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Immigration--2005-Predicting the Future

Subject: immigration

Dick Lamm is the former Governor of Colorado. In that context his thoughts are particularly poignant. In Jan, 2005 there was an immigration overpopulation conference in Washington , DC , filled to capacity by many of America 's finest minds and leaders.

A brilliant college professor by the name of Victor Hansen Davis talked about his latest book, "Mexifornia," explaining how immigration - both legal and illegal was destroying the entire state of California . He said it would march across the country until it destroyed all vestiges of The American Dream.

Moments later, former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm stood up and gave a stunning speech on how to destroy America . The audience sat spellbound as he described eight methods for the destruction of the United States .

He said, "If you believe that America is too smug, too self-satisfied, too rich, then let's destroy America . It is not that hard to do. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall and that 'An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.'"

"Here is how they do it," Lamm said: "FIRST, to destroy America , turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country." History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. The historical scholar, Seymour Lipset, put it this way: "The histories of bilingual and bi-cultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy." Canada , Belgium , Malaysia , and Lebanon all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with Basques, Bretons, and Corsicans.".

Lamm went on: SECOND, to destroy America , "Invent 'multiculturalism' and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. Make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal. That there are no cultural differences. Make it an article of faith that the Black and Hispanic dropout rates are due solely to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out of bounds.

THIRD, "We could make the United States an 'Hispanic Quebec' without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently: "The apparent success of our own multiethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved not by tolerance but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated ethnocentricity and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together."

Lamm said, "I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with the salad bowl metaphor. It is important to ensure that we have various cultural subgroups living in America enforcing their differences rather than as Americans, emphasizing their similarities.."

"FOURTH, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50% dropout rate from high school."

"My FIFTH point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of 'Victimology.' I would get all minorities to think that their lack of success was the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population."

"My SIXTH plan for America 's downfall would include dual citizenship, and promote divided loyalties. I would celebrate diversity over unity. I would stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other - that is, when they are not killing each other. A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precedent. People undervalue the unity it takes to keep a nation together. Look at the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed that they belonged to the same race; they possessed a common Language and literature; and they worshipped the same gods. All Greece took part in the Olympic games. A common enemy, Persia , threatened their liberty. Yet all these bonds were not strong enough to overcome two factors: local patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions. Greece fell. "E. Pluribus Unum" --From many, one. In that historical reality, if we put the emphasis on the 'pluribus' instead of the 'Unum,' we will balkanize America as surely as Kosovo."

"Next to last, SEVENTH,I would place all subjects off limits; make it taboo to talk about anything against the cult of 'diversity.' I would find a word similar to 'heretic' in the 16th century - that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like 'racist' or 'xenophobe' halt discussion and debate. Having made America a bilingual/bicultural country, having established multi-culturism, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of 'Victimology,' I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws. I would develop a mantra: That because immigration has been good for America , it must always be good. I would make every individual immigrant symmetric and ignore the cumulative impact of millions of them."

In the last minute of his speech, Governor Lamm wiped his brow. Profound silence followed.

Finally he said,. "Lastly, EIGHTH, I would censor Victor Hanson Davis's book "Mexifornia." His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to destroy America . If you feel America deserves to be destroyed, don't read that book."

There was no applause. A chilling fear quietly rose like an ominous cloud above every attendee at the conference. Every American in that room knew that everything Lamm enumerated was proceeding methodically, quietly, darkly, yet pervasively across the United States today. Discussion is being suppressed. Over 100 languages are ripping the foundation of our educational system and national cohesiveness. Even barbaric cultures that practice female genital mutilation are growing as we celebrate 'diversity.' American jobs are vanishing into the Third World as corporations create a Third World in America - take note of California and other states - to date, ten million illegal aliens and growing fast. It is reminiscent of George Orwell's book "1984." In that story, three slogans are engraved in the Ministry of Truth building: "War is peace," "Freedom is slavery," and "Ignorance is strength."

Governor Lamm walked back to his seat. It dawned on everyone at the conference that our nation and the future of this great democracy is deeply in trouble and worsening fast. If we don't get this immigration monster stopped within three years, it will rage like a California wildfire and destroy everything in its path especially The American Dream.

From Early Retirement Extreme

This post is from Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme. I really enjoy Jacob's blog. His ideas are fresh and inspiring. His field is not finance, but physics. He retired in his early 30s, not from making a lot of money, but through prudence.

Is it possible to draw a line between happiness and saving money? It certainly is. The line is drawn according to a parameter called the discount rate which is the interest rate which separates one’s desire to lend vis-a-vis borrow money.

In other words, the discount rate is the minimum interest rate one would demand to lend money out. If my discount rate is 5% or lower, then this means that

I would rather have $105 in a year, than
I would want to have $100 now.

Conversely, if your discount rate is 5% or higher, then this means that

You would rather have $100 now, than
You would want to have $105 in a year.

If so, we can do business; I will lend you $100, and you will pay me back $105 in a year and everybody is happy.

People differ in their discount rate. If you have a very high discount rate, it means you value the present more. If your discount rate is 20% or higher, you would have no problem carrying consumer credit.

My discount rate is very low, because I figure that I am [genetically] as capable of being happy in the future as I am today given the same amount of money. Thus, by lending out money at 5% I expect to be 5% happier in the future; namely, I will get to spend $5 more in the future.

Conversely, by borrowing money, I would expect to be 5% less happy in the future than now.
Before you start arguing that money doesn’t buy happiness, etc. keep in mind that the discount rate is set by the marginal dollar. If you have very little money, you value it highly in the present—every dollar buys a lot of happiness including the last one you spend. If you have a lot, you have more than you need, and you can easily postpone its use into the future—the last dollar you’d spend would create little happiness.

There are two effects which come into play now.

First, while there is no mathematical difference, consider whether your discount rate would be identical if

You would rather have $100,000 now, than
You would want to have $105,000 in a year.

Now, we’re talking $5,000 instead of $5. $5 is trivial, but $5,000 is not even though as a fraction is the same.

Second, compound interest will change the amount into the farther future.

Would you rather have $100,000 now, than
You would want to have $127,628 in five years.

Here is more on how to do a discounted cash flow analysis on student loans.

Given our high savings rates, people on the road to extreme early retirement have a much lower discount rate than most other people.

As a result, they can accumulate $100,000 and lend it out at 5%. After 5 years, they will have $127k. Now, live off the 27k for the next five years while lending out the $100k again.

The preference or psychological ability to have a lower discount rate is what allows the freedom. Another word for a low discount rate is delayed gratification. It is an extremely powerful financial weapon if used in an environment of higher rates. Consequently, no matter what happens, as long as your discount rate is lower than most other people’s discount rates, they will be giving you money, but seeing that you will both have your own optimally chosen discount rate, e.g. 6% vs 5%, you will be better off. To wit, at the very bottom, that is, those who work the most for the least are those with 20% or 30% discount rates who pay that much extra for everything they buy. Conversely, at the top are those with 2-3% discount rates who are typically paid by others.

For example, my savings will pay/has paid [virtually] for the home for one upper middle class family who don’t/didn’t have the money but is willing to carry the mortgage. It is thus as if they are working to pay me because they want to live in a house they can’t afford for the next 30 years. This, then, effectively, is why I don’t have to work—they do it for me. Their discount rate is higher than mine.
Maybe it is better explained with an example.

Suppose A has $150,000 in assets and B has $150,000 in debt. Both draw 6%. Both earn $40,000 per year.

Then each year, A will have $49,000 to spend, while B will have $31,000 to spend. You could also have a person with a net worth of zero, C, who’d then have $40,000 to spend. This is not just one year, this is every year.

If the debt has to be paid off as well, then B may be paying $1250 extra per month to get rid of it in 10 years. This will cut B’s spending to $16000 per year. That’s less than 1/3 of A. Huge difference!
Overall, A will have substantially more financial freedom than B.

Any kind of substantial debt, which can not be paid off within a year, will act as a huge drag on one’s finances, simply because interests will be quite high compared to the principal to paid off—you will mainly be paying interest, while the principal debt remaisn the same. It’s like riding a bicycle uphill (principal) in headwind (interest).

This will be even more apparent if interest rates are higher, earnings are lower, or asset/liabilities are higher. Indeed, because of the interest bias, it is much easier to save $100,000 than it is to pay off $100,000.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Something to think About

Kimberly O. Dennis -- WSJ

Successful entrepreneurs-turned-philanthropists typically say they feel a responsibility to "give back" to society. But "giving back" implies they have taken something. What, exactly, have they taken? Yes, they have amassed great sums of wealth. But that wealth is the reward they have earned for investing their time and talent in creating products and services that others value. They haven't taken from society, but rather enriched us in ways that were previously unimaginable.
Even if Mr. Gates makes progress in achieving his ambitious philanthropic objectives--eradicating disease, reducing global poverty, and improving educational quality--these accomplishments are unlikely to match what he achieved by giving us the amazing capability we literally have at our fingertips to access and spread information. The very doctors and scientists who may develop cures for diseases like malaria will rely on the tools Microsoft supplies to conduct their research. Had Mr. Gates decided to step down from his company and turn to philanthropy sooner than he did, they might have fewer such tools.

While businesses may do more for the public good than they're given credit for, philanthropies may do less. Think about it for a moment: Can you point to a single charitable accomplishment that has been as transformative as, say, the cell phone or the birth-control pill? To the contrary, the literature on philanthropy is riddled with examples of failure, including examples where philanthropic efforts have actually left intended beneficiaries worse off. The Gates Foundation has itself acknowledged that one of its premier initiatives--a 10-year, $2 billion project to reorganize high schools around the country into schools with fewer than 400 students--was a complete bust. Good for them for admitting it. In that, they are unusual. In the failure, they are not.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Obama. Muslim? Read this

Franklin Graham on Obama’s Muslim heritage:

“Well, first of all I think the president’s problem is that he was born a Muslim. His father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim. His father gave him an Islamic name.”

Crooks and Liars has the full clip where Graham also states that Obama says he became a Christian later in life.

Of course, The New York Times reported the same thing back in 2008:

Senator Obama is half African by birth and Africans can understandably identify with him. In Islam, however, there is no such thing as a half-Muslim. Like all monotheistic religions, Islam is an exclusive faith.

As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mother’s Christian background is irrelevant.

Taking Chances

As an eight year old child, I crawled through a sewer pipe barely bigger than my young thin body could squeeze. I must of had a flashlight too, I'm sure it was that modern piece of technology that intrigued me to find out what was lurking in the nether world.

The distance I crawled was far. My shoulders and hips had just enough room to squiggle. Even today I remembered thinking back then, "don't panic, just keep going". And I was never scared.

I'm sure if my mom was home, or if she asked "where's Mike", she would have freaked. And her freaking might have caused me to freak. But she never did know where I was. To this day, I wonder if she ever knew what I did. Of course there were a lot of things I did as a kid that she never knew about. That was one of the great things being raised as a kid in the 60s--I got a chance to explore. And we kids explored.

So yes it was impulsive. What if I got stuck? What if a rat bit me. Or my greatest fear, becoming surrounded by snakes. When I look back, I remember finishing my crawl through the sewer, getting out and just going on with my play. It was no big deal. No fanfare.

I look at stories today that make national or even world headlines. Big deal. I made bigger headlines than that many days of my life. And I thought nothing of it. Today we live through other people's lives via the news. I especially do with Tiger Woods. It's pathetic really.

And we've become so afraid to take chances. We want to be safe. The Government's main job is to keep us safe. I remember years ago listening to Pres. Clinton give a State of the Union address and I marveled how many times he used the word "safe" in his speech.

My wife's nephew and niece have never in their lives spent the night with their aunt. News of kidnappings of children taken from their front yards has been news well received. When I am around children, my radar is definitely on. I know the parents have their radar on too, wondering if I'm a pervert that's going to steal their children. Hyper sensitivity rules the day. Common sense does not.

Children are taught never to talk to strangers. How sad. Children should talk to strangers. I remember as a 15 year old hitch hiking to my job. I worked in a fast food chicken joint. I got picked up by a queer. When I got in his car, he started to rub my leg. I didn't know what that was all about. To be honest, I'm not sure I even knew what a homosexual was. Look at the way we're going, in a few years we'll all be fudgepackers. Anyway, I remember being uncomfortable with this man's advances and told him to let me out of his car.

Watching the PGA tournament last week, which is one of the most important tournaments in golf, a mistake happened by a golfer leading the tournament on the final hole. He subsequently was penalized two strokes and came in fourth or fifth place. Now everyone's bemoaning what could have been done. The Golf Channel has been talking about it nonstop. Polls have been conducted. Numerous commentators have weighed in. Who's to blame, how can we prevent this, etc. You know what, SHIT HAPPENS. It does. We can try to minimize it, but shit happens. Do we not want to live our life out of fear that something bad may happen?

I like being careful. Don't get me wrong. But government has become our nanny. Things have gone too far.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Far Right Conspiratorial Extremists

Clash of Civilizations-Ayaan Hirsi Ali

What do the controversies around the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, the eviction of American missionaries from Morocco earlier this year, the minaret ban in Switzerland last year, and the recent burka ban in France have in common? All four are framed in the Western media as issues of religious tolerance. But that is not their essence. Fundamentally, they are all symptoms of what the late Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington called the "Clash of Civilizations," particularly the clash between Islam and the West.

Huntington's argument is worth summarizing briefly for those who now only remember his striking title. The essential building block of the post-Cold War world, he wrote, are seven or eight historical civilizations of which the Western, the Muslim and the Confucian are the most important.

The balance of power among these civilizations, he argued, is shifting. The West is declining in relative power, Islam is exploding demographically, and Asian civilizations—especially China—are economically ascendant. Huntington also said that a civilization-based world order is emerging in which states that share cultural affinities will cooperate with each other and group themselves around the leading states of their civilization.

The West's universalist pretensions are increasingly bringing it into conflict with the other civilizations, most seriously with Islam and China. Thus the survival of the West depends on Americans, Europeans and other Westerners reaffirming their shared civilization as unique—and uniting to defend it against challenges from non-Western civilizations.

Huntington's model, especially after the fall of Communism, was not popular. The fashionable idea was put forward in Francis Fukuyama's 1989 essay "The End of History," in which he wrote that all states would converge on a single institutional standard of liberal capitalist democracy and never go to war with each other. The equivalent neoconservative rosy scenario was a "unipolar" world of unrivalled American hegemony. Either way, we were headed for One World.

President Obama, in his own way, is a One Worlder. In his 2009 Cairo speech, he called for a new era of understanding between America and the Muslim world. It would be a world based on "mutual respect, and . . . upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles."

The president's hope was that moderate Muslims would eagerly accept this invitation to be friends. The extremist minority—nonstate actors like al Qaeda—could then be picked off with drones.

Of course, this hasn't gone according to plan. And a perfect illustration of the futility of this approach, and the superiority of the Huntingtonian model, is the recent behavior of Turkey.

According to the One World view, Turkey is an island of Muslim moderation in a sea of extremism. Successive American presidents have urged the EU to accept Turkey as a member on this assumption. But the illusion of Turkey as the West's moderate friend in the Muslim world has been shattered.

A year ago Turkey's President Recep Erdogan congratulated Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his re-election after he blatantly stole the presidency. Then Turkey joined forces with Brazil to try to dilute the American-led effort to tighten U.N. sanctions aimed at stopping Iran's nuclear arms program. Most recently, Turkey sponsored the "aid flotilla" designed to break Israel's blockade of Gaza and to hand Hamas a public relations victory.

True, there remain secularists in Istanbul who revere the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey. But they have no hold over the key government ministries, and their grip over the army is slipping. Today the talk in Istanbul is quite openly about an "Ottoman alternative," which harks back to the days when the Sultan ruled over an empire that stretched from North Africa to the Caucasus.

If Turkey can no longer be relied on to move towards the West, who in the Muslim world can be? All the Arab countries except Iraq—a precarious democracy created by the United States—are ruled by despots of various stripes. And all the opposition groups that have any meaningful support among the local populations are run by Islamist outfits like the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

In Indonesia and Malaysia, Islamist movements are demanding the expansion of Shariah law. In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak's time is running out. Should the U.S. support the installation of his son? If so, the rest of the Muslim world will soon be accusing the Obama administration of double standards—if elections for Iraq, why not for Egypt? Analysts have observed that in free and fair elections, a Muslim Brotherhood victory cannot be ruled out.

Algeria? Somalia? Sudan? It is hard to think of a single predominantly Muslim country that is behaving according to the One World script.

The greatest advantage of Huntington's civilizational model of international relations is that it reflects the world as it is—not as we wish it to be. It allows us to distinguish friends from enemies. And it helps us to identify the internal conflicts within civilizations, particularly the historic rivalries between Arabs, Turks and Persians for leadership of the Islamic world.

But divide and rule cannot be our only policy. We need to recognize the extent to which the advance of radical Islam is the result of an active propaganda campaign. According to a CIA report written in 2003, the Saudis invested at least $2 billion a year over a 30-year period to spread their brand of fundamentalist Islam. The Western response in promoting our own civilization was negligible.

Our civilization is not indestructible: It needs to be actively defended. This was perhaps Huntington's most important insight. The first step towards winning this clash of civilizations is to understand how the other side is waging it—and to rid ourselves of the One World illusion.

Ms. Ali, a former member of the Dutch parliament, is the author of "Nomad: From Islam to America—A Personal Journey through the Clash of Civilizations," which has just been published by Free Press.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Birthday's Coming Up

From Heritage Foundation

If the President really wanted to see the economic damage his policies are causing in the Gulf, he could first stop in Pascagoula, Miss., where idle oil rigs in the Signal International shipyard have formed an eerie floating ghost city that locals have dubbed “Rig Row.” Instead of being deployed at sea where they could be creating wealth for this country and jobs for Gulf residents, these rigs are wasting away idly in port as a direct result of President Obama’s oil drilling moratorium – a moratorium that when first issued on just deep sea rigs, a federal judge ruled was “arbitrary and capricious.” Undaunted, the Obama administration doubled down, issuing a broader oil drilling injunction that is killing even more jobs than the first ban.

For more

The stunning decline of Barack Obama

Sometimes, the most poignant articles come from over the pond.

London Telegraph--Nile Gardiner

There is a distinctly Titanic-like feel to the Obama presidency and it’s not hard to see why. The most left-wing president in modern American history has tried to force a highly interventionist, government-driven agenda that runs counter to the principles of free enterprise, individual freedom, and limited government that have made the United States the greatest power in the world, and the freest nation on earth.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Gay Marriage, CA

From Power Line

The notion that the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution bars the government from adhering to the traditional understanding of what is and is not marriage strikes me as ludicrous. That understanding was nearly universal in this country when the Amendment was enacted and remained so for at least one hundred years. It still prevails today. Should the time come when it no longer prevails, it can and will be overturned democratically.

If an argument that adherence to the traditional understanding of marriage is unconstitutional can be cobbled together from existing Supreme Court jurisprudence, that tells me this jurisprudence is hopelessly misguided, not that there is a constitutional right to gay marriage. In other words, Judge Walker's decision represents the reductio ad absurdum of left-wing "living Constitution" jurisprudence. If the Supreme Court reaches the same result, its opinion will probably replace Roe v. Wade as the symbol of judicial activism intolerably run amok.


El Pollo Loco--Automated

El Pollo Loco's (EPL) automated teller allows one to order and pay via the computer.

Just as Home Depot, and some Super Walmarts have automated service, now it's moving into the fast food industry.

After putting in my order today, I then payed the machine, which distributed my change. Also, by imputing my phone number, it remembers me and my order. That way, in my next visit, if I keep the same order, the process is further shortened.

I believe that in the future, EPL will allow me to call, and recognizing my number, allow me to place and pay my order, ready for pick up as I walk in the restaurant. Or to go one step farther, having an app on my phone, I click on the app and the order is placed.

Think about it--Why the need to go into EPL, look at the overhead menu, give the order to the taker, (and have you ever had to repeat 4 times), and then fumble around with the exact change?

I don't need to go to Subway, walk down the isle, tell them each ingredient I want and don't want, and then deal with the cashier. It would be nice to just walk in, pick up my sandwich and be on my way.

Some might see this as a bad thing, I don't.

Now if I could pay someone to help me chew my food;>)


This is cool. I posted this a few days ago, and the very next day, I got this email. I'd say this business is on top of its PR. This is the email from Brent:

Hey Michael,

Just wanted to let you know that I saw your blog post about the kiosks at El Pollo Loco, and was very interested in your insights. You have some good ideas.

In case you were wondering, those kiosks are produced by EMN8 – (short for “Enterprise Media Networks”) in San Diego, CA and are also being used by Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr, Arby’s and a few other brands.

If you are interested in more info, you can check out our web site at

Thanks again for posting about us!
Brent Christensen
Vice President, Sales
EMN8, Inc.


But Look On The Bright Side

Staggering deficits. Exploding national debt. Grossly underfunded public pensions. Aging populace. Social Security on track for insolvency. Investors running for precious metals. Higher education bubble. Stagnant economy. Massive new government healthcare program. Words like “unsustainable” in CBO reports.

I have racked my brain and debated with anyone who was willing. I can’t come up with a way out of this that doesn’t involve printing vast amounts of cash, double-digit inflation and interest rates, and the end of the dollar as a global currency because we “soft default” trillions of the national debt. What productive capacity we have left would be gutted by the tax increases needed to honestly pay what we are going to owe. And the people we owe (China, seniors, public pensioners, etc) aren’t going to just write off the debt like a bank short-selling a beach house.

John Steakley

Sunday, August 8, 2010

VDH--A Rather Angry America

A handful of judges nullified what millions voted for in Arizona and California, apparently on the premise that wanting federal immigration law enforced, and seeing marriage as a traditional bond between a man and woman as it has been for 2,500 years in the West, was bigoted, analogous to the racism of the Jim Crow South, and thus in need of judicial intervention.

A guy in Bakersfield might think it prejudicial that a gay judge struck down an amendment to the Constitution passed by a majority of voters and opposed by the gay lobby; a guy in DC would think the guy in Bakersfield prejudicial for coming up with that preposterous conclusion.

For more

On Stealing

stealing - definition--To take (the property of another) without right or permission.

There is the outright stealing of another's property, and then there's the not so subtle form of stealing.

Ways we steal that may not necessarily be thought of as stealing:

1. Downloading music that is copyrighted.
2. Calling a business, asking many questions, with no intention of buying their product or service. (Stealing of a business person's time, which in itself, contains value.)
3. Buying something in store, using it, and then returning for a full refund.
4. Using coupons with no intention of buying the product at regular price.

These are just a few examples. As we look toward being more frugal, getting deals, I wonder if we sometimes cross a line from making use of a business/product, to outright stealing.

How to: Mikie's Green Smoothie

I don't do this everyday. Wouldn't it be a worthy goal? Imagine the health benefits of drinking a healthy smoothie daily.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy Friday

Psalm 24

The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
Lift up your head, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

This is the time for me to seek God, asking for his guidance, his mercy and forgiveness.

Basic Economics Lesson

The Broken Window Fallacy

Brigitte Gabriel

What a beautiful woman with a powerful story--Brigitte Gabriel

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dennis Prager, Make Good People

Have We Stopped Trying to Make Good People?
by Dennis Prager

The most important question any society must answer is: How will we make good people?

That is the question Judeo-Christian values have grappled with. There are many and profound theological and practical differences between Judaism and Christianity. But in the American incarnation of Judeo-Christian values -- and America is really the one civilization that developed an amalgamation of Jewish and Christian values -- the emphasis has been on individual character.

One cannot make a good society if one does not begin with the arduous task of making good individuals. Both Judaism and Christianity begin with the premise that man is not basically good and therefore regard man's nature as the root of cause of evil.

This may sound basic and even obvious, but it is not. In the Western world since the Enlightenment, belief in the inherent goodness of human beings has taken over. This has resulted in an increasing neglect of character development because evil has come to be regarded not as emanating from human nature (which is essentially good) or from morally flawed individuals but from forces outside the individual -- especially material ones. Thus, vast numbers of the best educated in the West have come to believe that "poverty causes crime."

Now, while no one could possibly refute the argument that starving people will steal bread for their families (an act that is morally defensible), the argument that poverty causes crime posits that when poor people in America commit murder and other violent crimes, it is because they are poor.

This is irrational dogma, as much a matter of faith as any theological doctrine. Two simple facts illustrate this: First, the vast majority of poor people, in America and elsewhere, do not commit violent crimes. Second, a large amount of crime is committed by the middle class and even by the wealthy. Neither fact prompts the "poverty causes crime" believers to rethink their position.

They need to, however, not only because the poverty-causes-crime thesis is so demonstrably false, but because it prevents societies from making good people. When society blames evil on forces outside the individual rather than on the individuals who perpetrate evil, society will work to change those forces rather than work to improve the character of individuals. That is a key to understanding why the left constantly attempts to radically change society -- how else make a better world?

Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that the way to "repair the world," in the oft-used Hebrew phrase of those most concerned with "social justice," is far less dramatic, far less revolutionary and far less macro-oriented. It is the laborious process of raising every generation from scratch with good values and self-discipline. Without both of these, individual goodness and therefore societal goodness is impossible.

That is why the most important question a society can ask is how to raise young people to be good adults. American society, under the influence of the left, asks other questions: How do we make young people environmentally aware? How do we teach them to fight allegedly rampant racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia in society? How do we fight AIDS and breast cancer?

It is, of course, good to be environmentally aware, to fight AIDS and breast cancer, and to oppose bigotry. But before training young people to be social activists, they must first learn character traits -- truth telling, financial honesty, humility, honoring parents and, above all, self-control. Before learning to fight society, people need to fight their own nature. The world is filled with activists of all varieties who are loathsome individuals.

In general, we would do well to be far more impressed with a young person who sits next to the less popular fat kid who is eating alone at lunch, who fights the class bully, who doesn't cheat on tests and who refrains from drug use.

There is no federal budget, no Senate or House bill, no social policy, no health care fix that can do as much good as a society that is filled with decent people.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why I Am A Conservative

I like this so much, I'm going to buy him a battery for his smoke detector.