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I began to write short pieces when I was living in a room too small to write a novel in.
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Blog Posts for February 2010

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Driving Value

Over the past year, my work life has transformed a great deal. On the drive home tonight from Des Moines Local Live, I realized what I'm becoming.

I recently said to a friend of mine that what we do at work is not nearly as important as what we become through the work. Labor, earnest and passionate, is transformational. If we allow it, work expands us and broadens our vision and capacity.

I've said many times that ideas are cheap. It costs nothing to conjure up an idea, and ideas, frankly, are worthless. Give me a day, I can cook up twelve "killer" ideas. Big deal.

But taking the idea and making it become reality, then the idea begins to have value.

Too many entrepreneurs place a valuation on their idea before the idea is market-tested and proven to be sturdy and reliable under use.

That's what I'm doing at DMLL - I'm taking an idea and turning it into reality. Yes, it existed already, but frankly its technology was shaky and its web site sucked. By my revision of it, I'm creating something of lasting value. Each day, my efforts make it worth more than it was the day before. If someday it makes money, it's in part because I drove value into the company, and the more value I drive into it, the more purchasable it becomes.

That's what I'm doing for ESI, the HVAC industry provider. They came to me with an idea and I created a web site that gives the idea shape. In one month, Alliant Energy will begin using it, and there are talks with Best Buy underway. The idea is worth more because I drove value into it.

And that's exactly what government can't ever do: drive greater value into a company or enterprise. Only individuals can drive value, by their energy and expertise, to make it more valuable than it was before. A carpenter takes plain pieces of wood and fashions them into something usable. A farmer takes a seed and dirt and feeds people. A loan officer assesses risk and provides a means to borrow money for people and companies.

What does government do that you would pay money for? For every effort of government that you wouldn't purchase, that effort has no value and is therefore a subtractive force on the economy. The bigger government is, the more subtractive it is.

Driving value is an additive force in the economy. It creates purpose and use from nothing and makes it attractive to purchase, which increases the velocity of money around those driving value.

My son, Nick, and I got into a discussion over the weekend about whether socialism and capitalism can be successful economic systems. We came to the conclusion that only capitalism can be a successful economic system because its primary goal is exactly that: expanded economy. Socialism can't be a successful economic system because its primary goals are not economic but social.

To take the point further, as an economy expands, the stress on society diminishes because needs and wants are fulfilled.

If an economy subtracts, the stress on society increases because needs and wants go unmet.

Therefore, I question whether socialism can ever be a successful social system, even if everyone in it craved its purported social outcomes: equality and fairness. Every socialist system ever tried collapses and leads to unrest and poverty.

On the other hand, what if every person believed that a chief purpose of their life was to drive value wherever they worked?

"What do you do?" I'll soon be asked.

"I drive value," I'll reply.

Through my direct efforts, do I leave whatever I touch more valuable than how I first found it? That's a hell of a question...

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 2/1/2010 2:54:36 AM
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Longevity

Remember when some folks said that last April 15th's Tea Parties were irrelevant and attended by horrible people?

Remember when some folks declared Sarah Palin toast?

Snobs ignore these two political forces at their own peril.

For what it's worth, Sarah gives a speech that encapsulates well the problems with the policies of our nation's resident Super Genius. Give a listen...

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by Brett Rogers, 2/7/2010 8:48:13 AM
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Neener

Al Gore - eat your heart out.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now - suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no 'statistically significant' warming.

So let's see just how dishonest the anthropogenic global warming "science" has been. Two graphs, via SonicFrog:

Q: Is the earth warming?
A: Possibly.

Q: Is it man's fault?
A: Probably not.

Q: Does anyone know enough about this now to be able to predict what's going to happen?
A: Absolutely not.

Q: And if they can't predict with any reliability, should we trust politicians to arrive at a solution?
A: Only fools go there...

ETC: More - from the London Times:

"The temperature records cannot be relied on as indicators of global change," said John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a former lead author on the IPCC.

These stations, they believe, have been seriously compromised by factors such as urbanisation, changes in land use and, in many cases, being moved from site to site.

Christy has published research papers looking at these effects in three different regions: east Africa, and the American states of California and Alabama.

"The story is the same for each one," he said. "The popular data sets show a lot of warming but the apparent temperature rise was actually caused by local factors affecting the weather stations, such as land development."

Local factors? The article cites another researcher who published "photographs of weather stations in locations where their readings are distorted by heat-generating equipment. Some are next to air-conditioning units or are on waste treatment plants. One of the most infamous shows a weather station next to a waste incinerator."

Moving the data collection equipment next to a waste incinerator - wow, I guess anthropogenic warming does exist.

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 2/14/2010 11:36:30 AM
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Lies!

No clearer example of media bias is there than this example from the Washington Post's columnist, Jonathan Capehart, who lies by omission:

Joseph Stack was angry at the Internal Revenue Service, and he took his rage out on it by slamming his single-engine plane into the Echelon Building in Austin, Texas. We now know this thanks to the rather clear (as rants go) suicide note Stack left behind. There's no information yet on whether he was involved in any anti-government groups or whether he was a lone wolf. But after reading his 34-paragraph screed, I am struck by how his alienation is similar to that we're hearing from the extreme elements of the Tea Party movement.
Now here's the lie - he quotes the suicide note, but leaves out a very critical element:
Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

02/18/2010

That's what Jonathan Capehart quoted. But here's how the note actually reads:
Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

02/18/2010

Tea partiers are fierce defenders of the free market and capitalism. Joe Stack clearly isn't cut from that tea party cloth.

Jonathan Capehart knows that, but doesn't care. He's a journalist, and he's got an agenda, you see. Never mind that what he reported isn't the truth...

And people wonder why the public pays less and less attention to the media and to newspapers.

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 2/18/2010 6:07:21 PM
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Today's Beauty

Pardon the slight blur...

2 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 2/20/2010 8:29:08 AM
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The Pitchfork in the Road for the Republican Party

Mitch McConnell announces that Republicans plan to group up with Obama and the Dems for the health care summit.

Paraphrased, McConnell announced that we're about to witness the tragic end of the Republican party.

Obama has no intention of listening to the Republicans. That's a given.

The media has no intention of giving favorable coverage to the Republicans. That's a given.

The Democrats' congressional leaders have no intention of letting their agenda go. That's a given.

The Republicans have very few among their ranks who can articulate principles based upon the constitution. That's a given.

Barring some miracle, I don't see how the Republicans, who really don't fight much for our individual rights and freedoms much as it is, will do anything but screw this up big time and throw themselves six feet into a hole to await the cascade of dirt we'll shower upon them after they screw it up.

So far, us in the cheap seats have successfully kept the juggernaut of socialism from arriving at the station. It certainly wasn't because of the Republican politicians in Washington. They wanted to work with the president and the Dems - until we beat them upside the head and told them not "No," but "Hell No!"

Now they're going to participate in Obama's reality game. Killer chess move from Barry O and company...

Unless the Republicans - to a member - are awesome and stalwart in their defiance in an unprecedented way, this is the end of the Republican party. They will either successfully defend our freedoms and our individual rights and thereby find the American people behind them in a way that they've only dreamt of, or I and millions of others will take part in the funeral procession.

Your move, McConnell.

ETC: Were the Republicans awesome and stalwart after all?

Maybe so... I'll check the rest of it later, but it's awfully hard to argue against Rep. Ryan's assertions - unless you're a socialist.

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by Brett Rogers, 2/21/2010 9:25:33 PM
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Misunderestimated

My son, Tyler, came home yesterday and I had to tell him that he was right.

I was wrong... the Republicans, politicians from a party that haven't really stood for our rights and freedoms in a while, came to do their jobs yesterday at Obama's health care summit. They succeeded, and today, our nation is better for it.

Well, damn skippy.

I will say too that Obama's obvious arrogance was on display. I can never undervalue his ability to be a snobby jerk and to be thin-skinned.

Way to go, Republicans. Now that 56% of Americans believe the government stands in opposition to their rights, the Republicans have aligned themselves with the people.

That also dovetails nicely with the less-than-majority 44% who approve of the president.

Well done, and I am thrilled to be wrong.

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by Brett Rogers, 2/26/2010 10:11:27 AM
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How to Have Fun

Life is often what you make of it, and a girl named Ashley shows us in this video how to make the best of time in the airport.

Bending a few rules is a good thing.

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by Brett Rogers, 2/27/2010 7:44:31 AM
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11

Today, my bride is 11.

Happy birthday, baby :)

ETC: I'm painting her a picture today... about two-thirds finished...

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by Brett Rogers, 2/28/2010 8:58:43 AM
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Tamara's Bouquet

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by Brett Rogers, 2/28/2010 4:58:31 PM
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