Saturday, February 28, 2009

How the stimulus will work!

My Good Friend. Chris Stiehl, author of "Pain Killer Marketing" forwarded me this. I couldn't agree more!!!

Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House. One is from Chicago, another is from Tennessee, and the third is from Colorado. All three go with a White House official to examine the fence.The Colorado contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, “$2,700.”The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?”The Chicago contractor whispers back, “$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.”“Done!” replies the government official.And that, my friends, is how the new stimulus plan will work.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Who's Gonna Pay for All This Stuff?

Does anyone else have the concerns that I do about the programs that President Obama is proposing and how he plans to pay for them? According to the IRS we may have some challenges here. Consider their reporting for 2006, the most recent year that such tax data are available and a good year for the economy and "the wealthiest 2%." Roughly 3.8 million filers had adjusted gross incomes above $200,000 in 2006. (That's about 7% of all returns; the data aren't broken down at the $250,000 point.) These people paid about $522 billion in income taxes, or roughly 62% of all federal individual income receipts. The richest 1% -- about 1.65 million filers making above $388,806 -- paid some $408 billion, or 39.9% of all income tax revenues, while earning about 22% of all reported U.S. income.
Note that federal income taxes are already "progressive" with a 35% top marginal rate, and that Mr. Obama is (so far) proposing to raise it only to 39.6%, plus another two percentage points in hidden deduction phase-outs. He'd also raise capital gains and dividend rates, but those both yield far less revenue than the income tax. These combined increases won't come close to raising the hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue that Mr. Obama is going to need.
Don't get me wrong. I believe we should all pay our fair share for government programs that are needed. However, to add to the tax burdens of a very small number of people makes us all vulnerable to their success or lack thereof. What happens if they aren't as successful as they have been in the past? Isn't this the very issue that has bedeviled California? Now they are having to close their $42 billion budget gap with significant tax increases. How is that working out? In spite of having the highest income tax rates in the nation, they are going to increase them some more AND they burden the rest of their citizenry with the in increase on their already highest sales tax rate in the nation.
So while President Obama talks about a lack of tax increase to the average wage earner, he apparently is not considering the burden that states like California are placing on their citizens. Somehow, burdening the country with more taxes at a time of economic stress seems like leaning into a left hook.
What are your thoughts?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Weekend to Remember

Valentine's Day 2009

We have had the privilege and opportunity this weekend to participate in Family Life "Weekend to Remember" in Virginia Beach, VA. This weekend has been quite special for Cheryl and I. As part of our personal commitment to keeping our marriage new and fresh, we traveled to Virginia Beach to the Founders Inn and Spa to listen to a couple of Family Life speakers discuss ideas on marriage. Both Cheryl and I have loved this experience. We are here with literally hundreds of other couples to renew our commitment to our marriage to each other and to come away with a couple of new ideas on ways to keep our relationship fresh.

I must say that this has been more than we expected. I could go on and on about how entertaining and informative the speakers have been. I could tell you about how wonderful the setting is here in Virginia Beach, but the most important aspect of this weekend has been the opportunity to focus on each other and our marriage.

While the ideas have been good, the high point so far has been the opportunity to exchange a "love letter" to each other. Both of us wept.

The couples we have met have been special as well. I look forward to trading messages with our new friends.

Tonight we are going out on a "date". How great is that!!!! and on Valentine's Day to boot.

If you have the opportunity, give yourself a treat and come join one of these weekends. You will not regret it, I promise.

Jim & Cheryl

Monday, February 9, 2009

Blast from the Past

I have recently uploaded one of our older "music" videos from 2005 to YouTube. It is a compilation of antics from Basketball Senior Night at Southern Lehigh High School..

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Am I Dumber than Stella? Part 2

Well, Here is part two to my post from the other day. As many of you know, I received an email from a friend, found it interesting and amusing, so I thought I would share with all. Turns out that it was a fabrication. On the other hand, Randy Cassingham is a fairly well known author and has in fact published The Stella Awards along with several other books. Since 1994 this former reporter turned author has hosted This is True Wierd News.

So that got me thinking, was the Stella Award a complete hoax, or simply the message I received. I wrote to Mr. Cassingham and this was his reply....

May it please the court: Many stories are going around the 'net saying they are "The Stella Awards". Many of these stories are false, made-up, or (sometimes) true stories with false elements added to them. It makes no sense to use false examples of real problems when there are so many true examples that illustrate the actual problem.....

For his complete take on the validity of the Stella Awards, visit Stella Awards: Decidedly NOT the Stellas.

So apparently, their is much Weird News and what Randy has on his website and in his book is valid, (including the material in his book "The Stella Awards", but the material I received in email and posted here in my blog is not.

Am I Dumber than Stella? I will let you be the judge. My bottom line, as Ronald Reagan said famously, "Trust but Verify".
To see Randy in Action, check out this video..

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Am I Dumber Than Stella?

Well you might think so....

You see it turns out that my entire post from last week on the Stella Awards was a complete hoax. According to, the entire Stella Awards is another of those Urban Myths, perpetuated by those who love to decry our legal system.

As my good friend, Chris Stiehl, author of "Pain Killer Marketing" points out. It is the job of lawyers to represent their clients fully and to understand the legal implications of every clients complaint. Therefore, it should be the right of every citizen to explore all legal remedies to their situation. On the other hand, we expect the judiciary to be fair representatives of the common interests. They should be the watch guards of what is legitimate and what is a waste of the courts time.

It is not lawyers who run amok, it is the judiciary who should be exercising wisdom and judgement.

So, mea culpa, for perpetuating this urban myth.