Monday, June 29, 2009

for alex of the 3-61st cav

An award-winning newspaper series about the death of Alex Funcheon and its aftermath can be downloaded by clicking HERE.


Our Offspring #2 was a platoon leader in Iraq, who served in the same cavalry scout troop, and was good friends with LT Bland, Funcheon's platoon leader. Our daughter-in-law and LT Bland's wife were also close. At the time of the tragedy, I heard about the impact on the wives of the men from Fort Carson.

Be blessed,
RB

Friday, June 26, 2009

give me 20 minutes and the world will look different

I'm a student and teacher of development economics. The problem with that subject, as with so many others, is not ignorance but knowing so much that isn't so.

Rather than relying on what someone told us, a fact-based view of the world may be helpful. But only if you're into reality....

Please take 20 minutes, watch the video below, and your view of the world will change. (If you only have less than five minutes, the second video is good but not as informative, and certainly not as much fun as the first.)



You can play with the graphs yourself at Gapminder World.

Short attention span? A more recent and shorter version, but not as much fun:



Be blessed!
RB

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

s.c. gov went to the wrong side of the andes


South Carolina's Governor Sanford showed up after disappearing for the better part of a week. He said he went to Argentina - a spur of the moment thing. Why? "Sanford has been a fan of Argentina for years. While in Congress and since he's said that nation's Social Security system has a model the U.S. should follow" (source).

Argentina did have a privatized social security system where employees could choose to put a mandatory percentage of income into either the state system or private funds. 83% went with the private funds.

But sorry Gov. There's a problem. Last November Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner nationalized the private pension funds. The money is under government control. These funds now buy a lot of Argentine government bonds that were having a bit of trouble finding buyers. Given Argentina's fiscal difficulties, it must be nice to be president with access to other peoples money to "invest" in activities the government otherwise couldn't afford and that the private sector would view as unproductive.

I do not think the Republican governor really wants the USA to follow Mrs. Kirchner's example. He was probably just confusing Argentina with its neighbor on the other side of the Andes Mountains. Chile has a well-functioning, well-performing privatized social security system. In fact their system predates Argentina's and the politicians have kept their hands off the money.

BTW, President Kirchner announced earlier this month that the nationalized social security funds would invest in GM. I bet President Obama wishes we had a nationalized social security system too!

Wait a minute. We already do have a nationalized social security system. It does nothing but buy up US government bonds and support the deficit.

Never mind.

UPDATE:
Double never-mind. Turns out the gov went to Argentina because he fell for a beautiful women. Now that is much more reasonable -- relatively speaking that is.

Monday, June 15, 2009

as close as they'll get


Penguins share with those less fortunate than themselves -- the Pirates. The Stanley Cup is as close to a championship as this baseball team will ever get.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

bob & ray: stoa


Here is a classic Bob and Ray radio skit:

Click here for article and then click Listen: Slow Talkers of America.

Someone I know is a big fan of the comedy duo Bob and Ray. I find it funny that this is his favorite skit since he tends to actually talk like the president of STOA!

Be blessed!
RB

Monday, June 1, 2009

new computer app: cleans monitor screen

Cleans your computer screen from the inside: Click here!