Category: Feeding the Soul

July 4, 2012

Rich or poor?

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Wising upComments Off on Rich or poor?

Who decides if someone is rich or poor?  Is it how much you make, how much you have, how happy you are or how much you owe in relation to how much you make?  Who decides?  What’s the magic formula?

I think rich versus poor is in many cases an arbitrary measure.  I don’t think wealth can be measured just in money or possessions alone because each of us has a different yardstick by which we’re measuring wealth.

Using happiness as a measure of wealth is as arbitrary as any measure I’ve seen but it certainly is a valid method of rating wealth.  You could have the best house/car/yacht with servants at your beck and call and plenty of discretionary income but, if you’re miserable, you’re pretty darned poor.  You’d trade a lot of that “wealth” just to be truly happy.

Do you owe a lot of money?  What percent of your income goes to paying consumer debt on a house, a car, a boat . . . a condo on Maui?  Is lack of debt a measure of wealth?

Freedom is my favorite measure of wealth.  The wealthiest people in the world are those with the most personal freedoms.  The US used to rate at the top in personal freedoms, but each year we let the government further strip us of our liberty, we sink in the world ratings.  How does this degradation effects your personal wealth?

Income is also used as a measure of wealth, but I think it’s a largely illusory measure.  If you lost your source of income today, how many months could you sustain your standard of living before you lost your home, car and health insurance and were out on the street living hand to mouth?  So, how wealthy are you really?  Is it gloss or substance?

There are other ways of looking at wealth.  If you lost your source of income today, what adjustments could you make to continue to live in comfort if not to the standard of living you enjoy today?  Is that ability a measure of wealth?

Disaster preparedness is an infrequent measure but one with validity.  Maybe we should look at wealth as a measure of the level of self-sufficiency we could maintain in the advent of a global disaster.  Could you generate your own power if the grid went down?  Have you got a clean source of water and food stored?  Is your residence still going to be standing if there’s a fire in your neighborhood or an earthquake that flattens everything in your area?  Based on that measure, how wealthy are you?

So how do you look at wealth?  Fancy car?  Big house?  Lots of flash?  Trips to here or there on a whim?  If it’s any of those things, you might want to rethink how those things will serve you in the advent of a disaster.  You may not be as wealthy as you think.

Is wealth a measure of how smart you are?  Not book learning or ability to make money but ability to survive if disaster strikes?  Depending on your point of view, that’s a valid measure of wealth.

So is wealth a formula?  Personal liberty+happiness+absence of debt+survival ability+income stability?  Or is it a different formula altogether?  What’s your formula?


June 16, 2012

Favorite news sources

by Nori — Categories: Economics, Energy, Feeding the Soul, Government, Politics, Social networking, Taxing the American Public, Wising upComments Off on Favorite news sources

In my RSS feed (I use Bloglines as I’m still boycotting Google) I have over 30 hard and soft news sources.  I can get away with having this many because most don’t produce a lot of data daily.  For example, one of my favorite singers, Diana Krall, adds concert dates every couple months.  I subscribe so I know when she’ll be coming to our area.  The rest of the time the feed is empty.  Others, like Breitbart News, Daily Caller and Reason TV and Magazine, put out dozens of news items a day but I don’t read them all.  Many news feeds are all reporting on the same thing.  Much of it I can mark as read and move on.  Many of the sites are aggregate news sources (pulling news from other sites) which makes them a feed inside a feed.  I keep them on the list so I can get the newest news and follow the progress as the story develops or changes.  I get more of the big picture and I prune away any feed that can’t consistently report accurately.  I don’t have time for someone’s speculation.  That’s not news, that’s bias.

Here are some of my longest read feeds:

  • Cato Daily Podcast (my most favored feed)
  • Wall Street Journal (podcast, twice daily tech news briefing)
  • Cato (not prolific but interesting and educational informed commentary)
  • Libertarian News (rss for their US news aggregate only – see websites for other available feeds)
  • Breitbart News (a real hit and miss as much of this is a repeat if other news sources.  They chop one short video interview into multiple sound bite “stories” which is pretty irritating and some of their reporters can’t spell or use a dictionary (anyways not a word, and sherriff has only one r).  Despite that, Breitbart still rates highly with me as a news source.  They are also a member of the New Media.)
  • Reason TV/Magazine (libertarian commentary, some of it very good, some of it imminently skip-worthy)
  • Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom (not prolific but thought provoking)
  • Downsizing the Federal Government (reporting on unconstitutional action/legislation, waste, fraud.  The feed is not prolific but usually interesting)
  • Daily Caller (fairly comprehensive, includes in-house reporting)
  • The Washington Independent (Fed Gov’t news, mostly in-house reporting)
  • Spokesman (reporting on Washington State legislators and legislation)
  • Supreme Court of Washington (WA State SC)
  • Public Sector (highlighting Public Sector Union waste/fraud/mismanagement and general self-serving duplicity/stupidity)
  • Freedom Foundation (small government commentary/news)
  • Liberty Live
  • Ron Paul 2012 (the philosophy, the rallies, the videos, the supporters)
  • CNS News (about a dozen items a day, mostly a repeat of other sources.  I’ll eventually prune this feed as it’s mostly a skip/mark as read.)

I also have a couple websites I visit daily.  After the top two, the rest on the list are for a slow news day or if I need a different slant on something breaking.

  • Townhall Cartoons (good political cartoons from a conservative viewpoint – weekdays only)
  • Drudge Report (news aggregate. Drudge was the seed for the New Media with the breaking of the Lewinsky story.  Epic.)
  • Libertarian News (a dot org with comprehensive news – includes categories for Sci/Tech (good comprehensive coverage), national news (CNN, Fox, BBC, Reuters, AP and Al Jazeera) world news (same list of sources) and tabloid headlines (the total superficial including Yahoo and The Daily Mail from Britain)
  • Newsmax Breaking News (conservative news, usually fairly stodgy)
  • Olympia Watch (Washington State political)
  • National Journal

Add to that a couple inspirational sites like Daily Good and Gimundo, a couple DIY sites (Make and One Project Closer) and one health specific ( and I’ve got a pretty well rounded source for news every day.  I just have to stay aware that much of what I read is someone’s personal, and occasionally not very learned, opinion.  And I have the Daily Mail tabloid news when I need to check on fashion and the slow motion train wreck of celeb’s lives on slow news days.  How could I possibly get through life without knowing which celebs have saggy knees!  <rolls eyes>  For the real girly, I check out shoepr0n on Tumbler where the only topic is fashion footwear.  With all that, who needs TV news?

Once you start an RSS feed you’ll find you do a lot of feed pruning until you’ve developed a comfortable volume with an array of content.  As you use the feed, you’ll get a feel for what is slanted by the author or site’s inclination to disaster-monger and you will find yourself weeding out the worst until you have a fairly reliable source for ALL the news.  Your perception will change when you are no longer restricted to just what the main stream media feels you should know.

June 16, 2012

Where the news is

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Government, Politics, Social networkingComments Off on Where the news is

Over the last six months the way I get my news has changed.  I used to be a devotee of Fox, but the cancellation of Judge Napolitano’s Freedom Watch was the end of a slow change.

Napolitano’s show was the one I would watch faithfully.  Fox’s cancellation signaled a shift by Fox toward a more main stream media ideology.  In hindsight, I think Napolitano’s advocating for Ron Paul and Gary Johnson and his highlighting of corruption in government and the failure of our legislators to stay within the parameters of the Constitution and Bill of Rights factored into the show’s fate.  Napolitano spoke the unvarnished truth, something not very palatable for those with a big government preference or belief in the GOP’s status quo.

I announce my disaffection with Fox like it was a drop dead moment and it wasn’t.  Shep Smith’s broadcasts where slowly turning more socialist and pro government and when he came back after his illness/diagnosis, his broadcasts were increasingly angry, bitter and more slanted.  The news is grim enough without the festering overtones of an angry broadcaster and my life is stressful enough without adding to the burden.  So I stopped watching Shep.  That left me with Cavuto and Napolitano and, if I could find something to fill the time, Brett Baier.  When Napolitano’s show was cancelled, there was an awkward pause between the other shows I watched.  It didn’t take long before I stopped watching Fox regularly.  It no longer had the draw for me without Napolitano’s show in the lineup.  That was the piece that caused me to watch the other two if I had time.  Without the Napolitano draw, the Cavuto/Baeir bookends didn’t have enough appeal on their own to draw me to the TV.  Before long I stopped watching Fox altogether.  As Fox was the best of a bad lot, I wasn’t filling the gap with any of the other networks as what they presented was even more biased/slanted/filtered.  I was temporarily news-less.

So, where am I getting my news?  The same place others with internet access do, via a tailored RSS feed, news aggregate websites and the New Media.  I have a folder on my tool bar for Daily News.

Now that I get my news from many sources instead of one, I’m finding the news I’m getting is more fully rounded.  I’m also getting much of it three days faster.  Wadly will tell me about a story he saw on Fox and I’ll tell him I read it or saw a video on it three days before.   That tells me there’s a three day delay before Fox shares the story with its audience.  It occurred to me the days long delay is just long enough to make any viewing audience action moot.  By then, the story’s pretty much cold.  With a three day delay, how much effect would anything you do or say have?  In most cases, not much.

When you add to that all the news the main stream media doesn’t cover, stories big and small . . . all the Ron Paul rallies, the delegate fights, the stuff going on with climate change, the failure of wind farming, the crashing of the Euro, all the big and small Tea Party activities and the growing libertarian movement in young and old . . . it didn’t take long for me to understand the media was censoring what it wanted its audience to know.  And with the development of New Media, that’s becoming more and more apparent.  If you’re getting your news from the main stream media, have you even heard of New Media?  Do you know what it is and how it came about?  That, in itself, is pretty telling.

So if you’re relying on television news for your updates, you need to be aware your news is arriving late and is being filtered through the lens of the network.  Rather than support my case by giving you examples, I challenge you to spend a week comparing internet news to main stream media news.

And the beauty of getting the news over the internet is the flexibility with which it can be accessed.  I’m no longer stuck in front of the TV at a certain hour of the day to make sure I get my news.  On the internet, it’s there 24/7 and in much more detail, with many more viewpoints and opinions.  I can absorb as much of it as I have time/inclination.

April 20, 2012

Making connections

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Politics, Social networking, Wising upComments Off on Making connections

This morning I received an emailed article about the Obamas that elicited the following response.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I wish it were a more intelligent rant, but it’s just a rant; not memorable, not pointed, just a generic rant about disrespectful communists.  That it comes from a black man isn’t even particularly notable.

It wasn’t that I didn’t agree with the content.  By my estimation, it was all true.  I couldn’t figure out why it bothered me until I talked with Wadly.  I then realized why it left me feeling the time spent reading it was a waste of time.

The article didn’t teach me anything new.  It was a restatement of things I already believed.  It made no new logical connections and it had zero quotable content. To me, if it doesn’t have something that gives me some sort of “aha” moment or elicit some emotion other than boredom, it’s a waste of time.

I’m not looking for affirmation. I don’t need somebody else to jack my self-esteem or make me feel part of a group. I want new  ideas, concepts and connections. I want to read the leaps of logic and the new perspectives, not retreaded old tires.

So my question for you is, why do you read what you read?  Do you do it for affirmation?  Or do you do it for education?

April 1, 2012

Still riding the “ain’t no such thing” global warming horse

by Nori — Categories: Economics, Energy, Feeding the Soul, Government, Politics, Wising upComments Off on Still riding the “ain’t no such thing” global warming horse

The rain can stop any time now. If it doesn’t, I’m considering ark building as a potential hobby.

There’s lots going on in the global warming debate. Much of the steam has seeped out of the global warmists’ engine. Poland, among other EU eastern border countries, has told the rest of the EU to eff off, they’re going to continue to use their plentiful coal to produce the energy needs of their country. While that was a big thing when they started spouting it at the initial upswell of the global warming debate, now the figurative flipping-off is causing nary a ripple.

India and China are building thorium nuclear power plants patterned on research the US did middle of the last century. As a country, our failure to embrace our own research and our inability to be nimble in retrenching to a better/safer/cheaper nuclear technology is leaving egg on our faces. It’ll be interesting to see what Japan does over the next 10 years.

The EPA has backed off on its suit against a gas drilling company in Texas. It seems the methane in the drinking water was a pre-existing condition. Who knew?!  <rolls eyes>  I’m hoping the ruling against the EPA on the Sackett case in the Supreme Court was a bit of a wake-up call but I’m wasting zero time and energy holding my breath in anticipation. Governmental arrogance is a well established trait unlikely to change.

I read a really good article on Climate Realists this morning about past warm periods/droughts (decimated the Roman population) and wet periods (people literally had limbs and digits falling off) and plague (fleas brought in by the rat migration due to drought). I need a time machine so I can send those who think we actually have any influence on climate back in time. I’ll even let them pick ice age or drought! See how generous I am?! And no, I’m not bringing them back. I envision this as a one-way trip. I see it as their civic duty to reduce the current population’s influence on the climate by engaging in a little population reduction, a nice little bit of forced altruism.

So, today we’re testing to see if you’re up on the facts on CO2. Yeah, that’s me, poking people through the bars of their cage.  <evil laugh> I have to get my ever-so-cheap thrills where I can. It is, after all, still raining.

So, pick one.

  • I think ALL of the CO2 in the Earth’s Atmosphere is from man.
  • I’m not sure how much “Man Made” CO2 is in the Earth’s Atmosphere.
  • There is .04% CO2 in the Earth’s Atmosphere and of that “Man” has added an extra 4% (1 part in 62,500)

If you pick the first, the time machine line forms to my left. If you picked the second, I’m a little surprised you stayed awake long enough to read all the way through this post. You can go back to sleep now.

March 27, 2012

On Nancy Reagan and Jane Fonda

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Government, PoliticsComments Off on On Nancy Reagan and Jane Fonda

Does it bother you at all that avowed socialist Jane Fonda is slated to play the iconic Nancy Reagan? I have to say . . . it bothers me a lot. Not only because I don’t want the nation’s memory of Mrs. Reagan soiled by being associated with such an un-American person, but because I don’t think Fonda is a good enough actress to pull of the quintessential and beloved First Lady and wife of one of our most successful Presidents ever.

March 24, 2012

What’s in it for me?

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Government, Politics, Wising upComments Off on What’s in it for me?

Are you a fully actualized citizen? You can determine your status by answering one question. When you reflect on the federal government and ponder “what’s in it for me”, what are your expectations? What is it you expect the government to do for you?

If you haven’t really studied government, how it was designed to work by our founders, how it works now, how the changes impacts the citizenry and the direction our country’s headed, you may not see the pitfalls before us. Let me give you just a little food for thought.

In my view, a fully actualized citizen is one who, when questioning the role of government and what they have to gain, thinks about the natural rights of liberty and property as defined by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They know to get ahead they must work harder AND smarter, but they expect to be able to benefit from their efforts and sacrifice. They expect to bear the penalties of their mistakes. They have embraced their freedom and revel in it.

Someone who has not yet reached full maturity in their citizenship is someone very concerned about “fair”. Any benefit they could potentially receive by direct action of the government are perceived as rights to which they feel entitled . . . right to health care, right to a job, right to a house. The catch-word for this class of citizen is “fair”, I want my fair share, he has more than I do that’s not fair. They have no concept that “fair” is actually “fair and equal under the law”. It isn’t “you get the same”, it’s “you get treated the same”, a wholly different thing.

The only thing we are truly entitled to beyond the liberties and freedoms defined in the Constitution and Bill of rights is freedom of opportunity. Anything or anyone who reduces this right is negatively impacting your natural right to success as each of us defines it.

This country used to be about freedom, the right to work hard . . . or not, the right to strive to better your existence . . . or not, the right to think and dream and live to the best of your ability. This is the ideal of advanced citizenship as defined by the Constitution and Bill of Rights!

I read a really interesting article last week which resulted from the parasite woman in Boston wanting her birth control paid for by taxpayers. I posted the link to that article in a previous post. Sometimes things click and this morning the entitlement mentality, feminization of manly men and the dependency of women (see aforementioned article) all coalesced into a whole in my mind. Our country is made up of those who are philosophically women/children who want/need to be taken care of by others. These people don’t want to think for themselves or sacrifice/strive to the degree necessary to care for themselves. They are a sub-class of citizenry, the philosophically dependent.

Our country is also comprised of citizens who embrace our freedoms and celebrate the independence that goes with it. These citizens emulate our founding fathers in their desire for self-actualization. They work hard, they play hard, they sacrifice and suffer to achieve. They understand true freedom means being independent to succeed or fail. They understand failure isn’t the end, it’s just a lesson for what doesn’t work. They don’t turn to the government to fix their failure but retrench and start again. These are the advanced citizens.

February 2, 2012

Google, thanks and goodbye

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Social networking, Wising up — Tags: Comments Off on Google, thanks and goodbye

Google has recently changed the way they are managing their privacy policies with no option to opt out of the targeted advertising that will result from the change.  Being the anti-social anti-authoritarianist I am, that makes me uncomfortable.  Can you say “big brother”?  Being the reactionary I am, you just know I had to do something about it . . . and I did.  So, Google, thanks and goodbye.

While I could give each of my presences in Google-land a different login so my separate activities remained . . . well, separate, I think that’s a bit pointless when all my identities use the same computer.  Hello?  Connect the dots here.  I wouldn’t put it past Google to tie all those presences together and worsen the problem.  No thanks.  Hmm, I didn’t mention being paranoid, did I?  Well, maybe just a little.  So I chose to take a different route and divest myself of as much of my Google usage as I comfortably can.

Up until last night I used Google four ways; mail, chat, search engine and rss reader.  I have a GMail account which I don’t use as a mail client.  That account allows me access to GTalk which I do a stunning 12 times a year . . . maybe.  This puppy’s not used enough to do any harm.  I’m almost never there and when I do kick GTalk on I make a point to go into my GMail account and clean out the YouTube notices.  (Note to self, cancel those YouTube subscriptions and kill that info source.)  I use Google as my primary search engine because the way Yahoo handles click-throughs on image searches is really frustrating.  I won’t change this because if I’m not signed into a Google account, my search results aren’t tied to me so no harm there.  The one that was going to bite me was the rss reader.  <wince>  I read a fairly prolific number of items each day, so that one I had to change.

Last night I went in search of a new rss reader.  The first one I downloaded wasn’t making me smile but the second one is definitely going to work.  I’m now happily using BlogLines.  And, I have to say, it is impressive.  It makes the Google rss feed reader look like a kindergarten app.  <wince>  Sorry Google, but in comparison, you suck.

So here’s the silver lining thing . . . I never would have considered trying BlogLines if it hadn’t been for Google’s policy change.  Thanks Google!

January 31, 2012

The lighter side of disaster preparedness

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Wising upComments Off on The lighter side of disaster preparedness

OMG. This is SO funny!

Redneck guide to emergency preparedness

In case you were unaware, we actually do have rednecks in the family tree.  Honestly!  And, sadly, we do have 50% of the vehicles in our yard in operational condition.  And a boat that’s never used.  OMG!  We’re rednecks!

January 12, 2012

On personal economics

by Nori — Categories: Economics, Feeding the Soul, Wising upComments Off on On personal economics

In my RSS feed this morning was an article by A. Lawrence Chickering about annual get-togethers he had with William F. Buckley Jr. and Milton Friedman on the second weekend in January.  I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for their conversations.  I have no doubt they would have been educational and thought provoking.

One particular piece struck my “OH!” nerve.

Milton never stopped teaching. One morning we went to the Alta Lodge ski shop to buy various trifles. I finished my shopping and impatiently waited for him at the door of the shop. “Got everything you need?” I asked. “Nope,” he responded. “But I’ve got everything I’m willing to pay for.”

In everything I’ve watched and read about Milton Friedman, that is quintessentially Milton.  He was an enormous advocate of the free market system and free will, and that singular comment resounded strongly within me.

There are things I really want, thing I could make an argument for needing, but they aren’t things I’m willing to pay for.  Maybe I should say, they are things I’m not willing to pay that much for.

I saw a new tablet by Lenovo that’s due out in 2013.  It’s something I am sure to covet for a long time to come, but it’s not something I’ll be willing to pay full retail for.  I may get the second edition of the tablet (Windows 8) after the tablet’s been in production for a while and the price has dropped or I can find it at an affordable (to me) price when it shows up on Amazon used.  Maybe.

I like the freedom to spend my money as I choose and how I choose.  I like buying things discounted and second hand.  I don’t have a burning desire to buy things brand new as soon as they hit the market.  If it’s something I need/want, I can wait.

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