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Blog Posts for January 2010

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2009 Great Find of the Year


First, a wonderful picture from the cruise:

That was taken off the balcony of our stateroom, perhaps Christmas morning.

Last year, I discovered the most informative talk show host on radio. I'd heard of him previous to last year, but it was really in the last year that I gained a level of respect for him that earned him this spot. I now listen to him regularly.

Jason operates out of Minneapolis, and his great strength is economics. For me, Jason epitomizes journalism. He does a fantastic job enunciating the facts and explaining the ramifications.

You can catch his podcasts here.

If you agree with my politics, then I recommend that you listen to his show.

If you disagree with my politics, then I strongly recommend that you listen to his show.

And lastly, another picture from the balcony of our stateroom:

That's of St. Thomas and its marina.


by Brett Rogers, 1/3/2010 8:45:59 AM



Picture story: Taken from Disneyworld, Austin, Jacob, and I were messing around and mugging for the camera while waiting in line for a ride at The Land in Epcot. Austin flapped his arms and I lengthened the exposure enough that the image blurred. They had great fun with this, as did I. I'll post a couple more of these down the road...

As anyone who reads the web site knows, I'm the founder of 247Toolset, the web platform that organizations can use to increase and coordinate the engagement of those associated with their mission. I have a few candidates for office using it, a couple of business accelerators using it, a networker using it to manage his myriad contacts, and one other. Sales were tough in this economy as we entered the Sunday of the year: December. End-of-year budgets were tight, and my salespeople told me frankly that January would be better. Awesome - welcome January.

Back in November, I had a conversation with a couple of friends of mine. We were discussing how cities can improve their budget. The remedy for any city with a tight budget is one of two avenues: either cut spending or increase taxes and fees. Expenses and revenue - those are the only solutions. But I suggested back then that a city might employ a volunteer force. Why do city workers need to clean a neighborhood park? Certainly it's in the best interest of the folks of that neighborhood to keep it clean. And if activities like that took place, city managers could either replace the workers (saving costs) or re-allocate those workers into other areas (expanding services).

Then it occurred to me that the city could provide rebates on property taxes to those who became engaged like this. Think of all the retirees who would like more social activity, a bit more control over the amount of taxes that they pay out, and who would like to improve their community.

247Toolset would be ideal for stewarding such a volunteer force and for coordinating their activities. I have a conversation with a mayor next week about this topic. This morning, I'll be talking to our salespeople about it as well.

I've also become an owner in an Internet radio station. Des Moines Local Live has some issues technologically, and so I'll work to remedy those issues in the next month. About three months ago, I asked the guys who started it if I could tinker with their revenue model. They said, "Yes, please." From that, I wrote out a vision paper entitled, "Ripples." And so they invited me to become part of their world. More on that later...

I continue to work on the complicated web site for the HVAC industry. To do so, I've brought in another developer. Jonathan lives in Taiwan, and has been a breathtakingly good find. My work with him has introduced me to the world of Skype, which I've learned works wonderfully when it comes to international communication.

Then, I'm giving a bit of advice to Louis Dean, the singing gourmet. He's the guy who made our 1,000th day of marriage even more special.

And finally, Dave Funk has asked me to become his campaign chair for Polk County. To which I say, "Yes." And that will be the sum total of my political involvement this year - getting Dave elected.



by Brett Rogers, 1/5/2010 8:51:27 AM

Two Days, Completely Wasted


Yesterday, my sure and steady laptop - a Lenovo - accelerated what it started doing a few weeks ago, which is to push the screen to stand-by mode all on its own. Over time, the frequency of it came to every 60 seconds. The only way to un-blacken my screen was to actually put the computer in stand-by mode, and then revive it. Awkward...

So I bought me a new laptop, the HP TouchSmart, replete with 64-bit dual quad processors and Windows 7. Now I'd heard all of the horror stories of Vista, and I thought that by getting Windows 7, I'd be fairly problem-free.

Au contraire...

I'll spare you my agony, but suffice it to say that while Windows 7 looks cool and runs fine, there are a few things you want to avoid:

  • Don't try to connect your Windows 7 machine wirelessly to your XP machine to conduct file transfer.
  • Don't have any confidence that your 32-bit apps will function adequately on a 64-bit machine.
  • Keep the caffeinated tea handy for the late night and long days of conversion.
But there is a bonus - my new laptop has a cool new feature. I'll hopefully showcase that here in the next week.


by Brett Rogers, 1/7/2010 4:58:22 PM

Fave Chair


While waiting on a process to complete late last night...


by Brett Rogers, 1/8/2010 1:33:18 PM

Mojo by the Back Door


Now that the laptop is almost installed, while it's cooking on some processes, I'm able to take advantage of one of its coolest features: the tabletPC. The laptop's monitor spins in place and then lays down on the laptop. It comes with a digital pen and a rudimentary program from Corel called Sketchpad. With that, I can create art.

In short, think of this as the next version of the enjoyment I discovered on my LG Dare. Since LG never saw fit to expand what I was able to do with the Dare's Drawing Pad, I've been without art on a daily basis as I was with the Dare. Anyone who knows me knows that I go nowhere without my laptop, and so with this I'm able to practice drawing. While it's not quite as handy as my cell phone, it is more robust.

Corel does offer a better program yet, called Painter. Looks attractive. I'll reward myself with that purchase when sales for 247Toolset are able to sustain my income completely.


by Brett Rogers, 1/8/2010 11:44:31 PM



Given the scope of the projects under my wing these days, I'm working hard to better organize my world. I like computers, but I like pen and paper too. Between my cell phone with its calendar system, and my computer with Outlook on it, I'm mostly covered. But I need a way to better organize thoughts and papers, such as receipts.

About five years ago, I bought a binder from Target that had it all: diverse pockets of all kinds, an integrated accordion file system, and three-ring binder. I liked it so much that I bought several as spares.

And I created the page format in Excel below to better organize each day:

I used it for a while, and then stopped. Organization is not my natural way. I'm a creative, chaotic guy. But to be the effective person I want to be, I need to teach myself organization.

So I'm reasserting this method in my life. I've recreated the Excel scheduling format. (You can download it here, if you like. In the first row, if you set your birthday in the formula and then the current day, the other 100+ pages will automatically fill in. I then print it out to three-ring paper to put in the binder.)

It's always about the journey. Sometimes, you have to do the things you don't want to do to be the person you want to be.


by Brett Rogers, 1/9/2010 8:55:00 PM

Andy G



by Brett Rogers, 1/10/2010 7:45:05 PM

Kitchen Plant


Took a break tonight, spun the chair around, and sketched our sad kitchen plant.

I'm getting the hang of this new medium, my laptop's tabletPC sketchpad.

Okay - now back to coding...


by Brett Rogers, 1/12/2010 2:19:04 AM

Crystal Clear


Now that my entire political effort is focused on getting Dave Funk into Congress, I have to say that I'm much happier and I feel better. I'm doing something, and I'm having a strong effect. I've got some amazing people who have joined me in the effort, and things are coming together nicely. I look forward to Dave's election.

Tomorrow, I speak at the Madison County Conservative breakfast. Kinda cool. If you've heard of the Bridges of Madison County, that's where this is. My aim is to get them to help Kent Sorenson win his election to the state senate. We'll see if I am effective at all in my effort.

I watch from a distance as Scott Brown forces the Democrats to confront the hard truth that they're in deep trouble when a Massachusetts Senate seat is up for grabs. Awesome... it fills me with hope when America balks at the socialist ninnies in office. It also fills me with hope when Nebraska's village idiot, Ben Nelson, wants to give back the money he tried to bribe from the government/taxpayers. People are wising up. Freedom still has its crystal clear appeal.


by Brett Rogers, 1/15/2010 8:24:11 PM

Campaign Finance Reform


I'm going to step out on a limb here and say something brash:

You can roll your own Campaign Finance Reform.
That's right. You have the power to render the money in politics irrelevant.

Why is money spent on campaigns? To buy marketing. That marketing is either pro-candidate or anti-candidate, and usually the latter.

What trumps negative marketing, every day of the week? Personal experience. They can buy ad after ad that tells me you're an ass, but if that flies in the face of everything I know about you personally, then it's dollars wasted.

The old hands in politics believe that you're lazy. They believe that you won't get involved. They believe that they you're just a sheep to be led around and pushed around by their marketing. This is why every campaign has financial targets, but not organizational targets.

Here is what those influence peddlers fear most: an engaged and informed electorate. Why? Because it will render their money useless.

The reason that every politician - Democrat and Republican - is afraid of the tea party movement is because my personal activist influence will trump their moneyed influence. My personal involvement deflates the value of their campaign war chest. Neither the politician nor the rich guys nor the media want that to happen. Hence the name-calling and the poo-poo'ing of the tea party folks, from both sides of the street.

They fear most that they can't use money to sway you.

If you want to make money irrelevant in politics, the only way is to get actively involved in supporting the candidate of your personal choice. That's how you make sure that the right person is elected and how you show them that money will not buy the election.


1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 1/16/2010 7:33:12 AM

Happy Scott Brown Day


Whether he wins or not, Scott Brown has won.

And whether Martha Coakley wins or not, Obama has lost and ObamaCare is toast. When the voters of Barney Frank's and John Kerry's and frickin' Ted Kennedy's state rebel against ObamaCare and Democrats, Obama has lost.

This is the point at which he should pull a reverse Sally Field.

You don't like me. You really really don't like me.
No matter how cool you initially come across, socialism will never appeal to people who have tasted freedom. I bet Ben Nelson gets that point now.

It's fitting that it's one year after Obama became president. Happy Scott Brown Day, Barry. You earned it.

ETC: I misspoke.

Happy Senator Scott Brown Day!

In honor of our Super-Genius-in-Chief, an older graphic of mine:


by Brett Rogers, 1/19/2010 4:22:08 PM



Demonstrating his super keen sense of the American people, the Super Genius gave us this tidbit after Massachusetts:

Here's my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country: the same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years.
Were voters mad in 2008? Yes, they were.

Were voters mad in 2010? Oh hell yes they were - by every multiple of the deficit over what was there in 2008. We're alarmed by his bankrupting policies, and we're not the same crowd that voted him into office...

So one of two things is possible with his tone-deaf comment:

  1. He's too stupid to get it. Anger is anger, right?
  2. He's stupid enough to think that he's persuasive enough to convince us that he's actually on our side. Persuasion... yes, more Time magazine covers, more Prime Time news conferences, that's the ticket. We haven't yet basked in his royal presence enough yet to soak up that socialist sunshine and feel good about it.
What a maroon.

Either way, though, he can't see us. We're standing, millions strong, right in front of him and he can't see us at all. Which is fantastic...

Surprise is always your best friend in any fight.


by Brett Rogers, 1/21/2010 10:19:45 AM

Today's Beauty



by Brett Rogers, 1/21/2010 2:38:35 PM

On Corporate Personhood


Here's the dilemma: the government knows that the source of all money in America is business. Everything happens in America because business creates the economy.

Now businesses are oftentimes partnerships. The larger the business, the more likely it's made up of multiple people. Therefore, a corporation exists as a legal entity, and also to protect the entrepreneur(s), who risk their wealth and property by starting a business.

But it's just a legal construct. No corporation is actually a person. Of course corporations are not people.

Government loves money, and if it is to get money, why not go to the source? So it taxes corporations.

If government taxes corporations, just as it taxes individuals, then it's a bit inconsistent to deny the taxpaying corporation a voice.

If the government collects tax from any entity, that entity has every right to speak on its own behalf.

Personally, I don't think corporations are people. I don't believe that corporations should be taxed. And I don't believe that corporations should have a political voice. The people who own and work in them? Yes, of course. But not the corporation itself.

Some in government want to silence corporations. Fine. But if you choose to silence corporations, then silence the taxation as well.

I expect that businesses will be okay in either direction, but a mixed result will only hurt jobs because it diminishes the health of the business by removing its advocacy for its own survival.


by Brett Rogers, 1/22/2010 1:41:27 PM

Jeff Foxworthy's Next Contestant


At an elementary school, Obama gave a speech.

My youngest son, who is in fifth grade, is asked to give speeches without even the use of cue cards...


by Brett Rogers, 1/25/2010 8:50:52 AM