Sunday, November 8, 2015

Will Wonders Never Cease? Democrats for Economic Growth?

In line with my previous book review post, looks like some Democrats are trying to save their party from the French Revolution-like "equality" crowd.  Check out James Petohoukis' article.  Apparently there are still Democrats in favor of innovation/wealth creation rather than just wealth redistribution. Is it too much to hope they might prevail over the Marxists in their party? Let us hope not.  I'd like all voters in all parties to have some good choices within their parties.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A More Prosperous Planet

About time somebody wrote about helping people prosper instead of just demonizing success!  It's been a while.  Felipe Tudela offers facts, not politics; math, not mantras.

As a trained engineer, I was hooked as soon as I found this phrase in the introduction: "Reality is always bound to win."  Yes!! I have always said people need to experience the physical sciences and physical work.  Then they know there are some inviolable rules--that reality does not adapt to our feelings or whims.  This is why engineering professors are not the Marxist kooks that liberal arts professors tend to be.  In the real world, those who break the rules cause explosions, fires, bridge collapses.  Marxist theoreticians (like many politicians) need not face the results of their experiments.  They insulate themselves while others suffer.  The entrepreneur, bridge builder, or surgeon, however, must pay the piper if/when he/she screws up.

Tudela seeks to explain the difference between the permanently limited wealth paradigm and the wealth creation paradigm.  The former sets us against each other in a winner-takes-all cage match, while the latter makes a better world for anyone of good will and work ethic.

Libertarians and conservatives should get copies of this book into the hands of as many as possible--particularly young people who have been poorly educated indoctrinated) by "progressive" schools.  Since reality always wins, let's be sure we understand it!

I will gift a copy of this book (Kindle) to the first two readers to comment on this blog post, so hurry!  You can also get a copy right away on Amazon.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Don't be Prey--Protect Yourself from Ravenous Government

I have recommended this organization before, but it seems time to remind my readers as election season is upon us again.  If you are tired of government swallowing your entire life with its laws, rules, whims, and taxes, join the Enlightened Zebra Society.  The website has plenty of informative articles on topics near and dear to lovers of individual liberty: flat tax, government spending, legal reform and much more.

There is work to do if we are to escape the hungry lion of progressive tyranny.  Let's get going!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Preserve Free Speech--Don't Be Silenced!

Is it indeed the End of Discussion?

Mary Katherine Ham and Guy Bensen teamed up to warn us of the dangers of letting the left shut down free speech.--not by passing laws, but through intimidation and personal destruction. Who needs to repeal the first amendment when they can simply sic a Twitter mob on you or make sure you lose your job because your wimpy employer doesn't want to make the evening news? 

Even if we wanted to keep all the left's rules (and believe me, I certainly don't) we couldn't. They change the rules daily and sometimes retroactively. Instead of a lively debate like our founders had in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers, we, despite our abundance of communication resources, get a society that wants to stifle and filter communication instead of encourage it!

Please just stop!!! Let people speak, using words that have had meaning for generations. Stop thinking everybody has to tiptoe around and look at you right and have the right "tone." Heck, those of us who are engineers/geeks (like me and most of my friends) are lucky we can communicate at all under normal circumstances, let alone follow all the silly rules people with nothing useful to do with their lives keep making up and changing daily. 

Get this book.  And use your God-given right to free speech as often as possible.  Do not be silenced.

The trend of scaring private citizens into silence by making their every word as scrutinized as a public figure's does not bode well for a free society. When we are afraid to speak, argue, debate, and agree to disagree at times, we no longer have a free society.

I received a free review copy of End of Discussion from Blogging for Books.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Problems with Common Core: A Rant

Image from FreeClipArtNow

Common Core is an issue of great importance to parents, even if they do not send their children to state schools. It is so enormous in its reach that it will crowd out much of the innovation now happening in the private education sector.  Common Core is so extensive and complex that, as with the “Affordable Care Act,” it will be years before most citizens understand the many constitutional and pedagogical problems this Washington, D.C. initiative has caused and will cause.  Let’s look at the most important issues.

Why Do Many Citizens Oppose Common Core?

First, Common Core originated not in the states, but in Washington, D.C., where two organizations, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief School Officers, collaborated with the Gates Foundation and other private groups.  This major overhaul of K-12 education was created without input from the elected legislatures of the fifty states.  Governors were bribed by the federal government with threats to deny funds to states not cooperating with Common Core.  This is not a process in which local teachers and parents had any input, nor was their input desired.  This is a top-down initiative from businessmen and education bureaucrats, not teachers.

Given the Constitution of the United States leaves education to the states (see tenth amendment) Common Core is yet another federal encroachment into local issues.  Parents also have concerns about the massive amount of data to be collected under Common Core.  Not only will student information be available to schools, but to private researchers and companies.  The amount and scope of data on America’s children is unprecedented and alarming to parents concerned with privacy and civil liberties.

Parents also have reason to doubt that Common Core standards are indeed preparing students for college.  The fact that Common Core homework is often confusing to parents (one might think deliberately confusing) makes parents justifiably suspicious.  These parents are also concerned about the toll so much high-stakes testing takes on young children—and the instructional time children miss as test preparation and administration become the focus of schools.

Why Do Many Real Teachers and Professors Oppose Common Core?

Despite assurances that Common Core is not a national curriculum, states are required by the federal bureaucracy to assure that 85% of reading and math standards are Common Core compliant.. Thus, only 15% flexibility is allowed.  According to Eagle Forum, retaining cursive writing instruction would of itself take up that entire flexibility for a school.   Excellent teachers will be restricted in their ability to use creative and innovative lesson plans, as they will be chained to the curriculum provided by Pearson (a major textbook publisher and great beneficiary of Common Core.)

Professor R. James Milgram was the only professional mathematician on the Common Core Validation Committee.  He refused to sign off on the math standards.  He has testified that the standards are not rigorous—in fact they are two or more years behind international standards by grade eight and only get worse from there.  Common Core neglects/delays teaching of standard algorithms (i.e. how to calculate the right answer) in favor of group projects and “reform math.”  Engineers and other STEM professionals typically entered college having already taken calculus.  The Common Core generation will be lucky to squeeze in a precalculus course before college.

Who Benefits from Common Core?

Politicians are able, through Common Core, to claim they “did something” about education.  It matters not whether they did the right thing, only something.  Bill Gates made his fortune off computers and, surprisingly, Common Core requires schools to invest heavily in new technology instead of human capital (students and teachers.)  Michael Barber’s Pearson PLC, a British firm, also profits; already holding a large share of the textbook and testing  market, Pearson can all but destroy rivals in with the blessing of America’s federal government.

Be Aware

Read about Common Core.  Get involved with state organizations to monitor student privacy concerns and oppose excessive testing and federal curriculum.  Most of all, do what is best for your own family and community.  One size does not fit all!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Business Resource:

Hog on Ice: Books and Independent Learning: Business Resource for Developing Successful Habits...: +1 Success by Jon Olsen.

I downloaded this free pdf and am impressed with how Jon Olsen simply states a basic idea: Just do one more thing...

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Your Input Needed for New Book!

Image from

Greetings, dear readers.  A fellow writer needs your input to be sure the book he is writing really answers the questions his potential readers have.  The subject is the difference between rich countries and poor countries.  Here is how you can help:

Can You Answer Just ONE Question? It's for my NEW BOOK

I'm working on a new book and I need YOUR help. Could you answer
just ONE question? This has to be the shortest survey in history
- so I'm hoping you can stop what you're doing and answer this
one pressing question at
This will be my 5th book. In this new book I explain, in a
thought provoking way, why some countries are very rich while
others are extremely poor. It's one of the world's great issues
-- and your One Answer will be part of the discussion.

Felipe would really appreciate our libertarian input, so make yourself heard.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Conservative or Libertarian? Or Both?

It both delights me and grieves me that it took an atheist from Great Britain to write this book.  If only more American citizens/voters were as educated about limited constitutional government as Cooke, we would have a happier and more prosperous country--and perhaps even a more virtuous one!

In The Conservatarian Manifesto Cooke tackles the inconsistencies in the Republican Party, such as opposing gun control, yet supporting the mass imprisonment of non-violent people for mere possession of drugs in the name of the "War on Drugs."  He doesn't give Libertarians a pass, either, pointing out that being pro-life is not an issue only for the religious, but for everyone who values human life over human convenience.  Naturally, Progressives get plenty of logical opposition from Cooke.  His perspective from living in the much more statist environment across the pond has given him an appreciation of our American freedoms that more Americans should share.

As a pro-life libertarian and an anti-war-on-drugs conservative, I felt like Charles Cooke actually "gets" me.  An atheist and a Christian can agree that mankind is imperfect and cannot be perfected by any government, progressive or conservative.  Freedom is the best way to maximize good outcomes in society; At least it gives most people a fighting chance at their pursuit of happiness.

This should be required reading for high school civics class (although I guarantee it will not be--at least in government-controlled schools) and for educated Americans of all political persuasions.

I received a free review copy of this book through Blogging for Books.

Author Bio: Charles C.W. Cooke

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bitcoin for Books

Image from FreeClipArtNow

The website  encourages people to read by offering free books and Bitcoin reading incentives.  There are over 50 books on the Paid Books site so far, with additions being made regularly.  The books uploaded to the site are public domain works from Project Gutenberg.  In the future they plan to encourage authors to upload their own books to Paid Books as well.

Signing up is not difficult.  You will need a Bitcoin account, but they walk you through the process of acquiring one.  Incentives are earned by choosing a book and setting a timer.  Spend the requisite amount of time on a page and earn when you turn the page.  It works a bit like a traffic exchange, as there are ads on the pages.

Fast readers can still use the site without frustrating waiting times—just turn pages at your normal speed and forego the Bitcoin earnings.  If you don’t have an e-reader, this site is a way to read free books online.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Support Indie Writers

Here is an example of a creative, clever tale from an independent writer.  Modern publishing technology makes it possible for good writers to get their stories to the public quickly and in quality formats.

Piccolo Fortunato is an Italian greyhound--and an artist.  After Piccolo's father goes to America to seek fame and fortune and does not return, Piccolo follows to look for him.  He meets a famous human artist on the voyage to America and becomes his intern.

Will Piccolo find his father? Will he ever return to his sweet mother in Italy?  Can the famous American artist be trusted, or is he cheating Piccolo out of his artwork?  These questions and more will be answered in a well-written story for lovers of art and/or dogs.

I received a free copy of Piccolo: An Intern's Tale for my honest review.  It is available on Kindle and makes fun read when you need an escape from daily cares and stress.

Keep an eye out for the second book in the series: I, Piccolo.  I was privileged to preview a draft and found it interesting as well.  I will not spoil the story for you, but will let you know that things in Florence are not exactly as Piccolo left them.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Take Back "Cool" From the Hipster Frauds

What does almost all the insanity in the United States have in common?  The pursuit of a twisted, distorted version of "coolness" as defined by people who wouldn't know real cool if it slapped them in the face.  Cool used to mean something special and unapologetically different from the crowd. Now it means thinking and saying and wearing and doing exactly what everyone else is.  What's cool about total conformity?

Greg Gutfield seeks to put us back in touch with actual coolness.  Greg tells you the "beliefs the cool use to enslave you" such as that nobody will like you.  When Greg says "cool" he is referring to hipsters who "pretend the predictable, acceptable choices they make are actual risks."  He attacks pointless "activism" and those cool losers who attack the people who actually make things work--things like liberal protesters' smart phones.

If you long for the days when people aspired to be like people who actually did cool things, e.g. walk on the moon (Neil Armstrong) or actually help the poor themselves (Mother Teresa) or invent stuff that makes people safer or happier (countless engineers in uncool clothing working long hours) you will enjoy this book.  Gutfield understands your frustration with a world that values awareness over achievement, novelty over values, and entertainment over productivity

I received a free review copy of Not Cool from the publisher for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

He Should Have Shrugged!

What if Atlas didn't shrug?  This short novel explores the pitiful life of Henry, an Atlas who should have shrugged years ago.  Instead Henry slogs along, doing his daily work for the benefit of anyone but himself.  He is falling apart (quite literally) and nobody cares--even Henry seems rather nonchalant about it.

I think this is what Ayn Rand's producers in Atlas Shrugged would have looked like if they had not gone on strike, but kept stubbornly working for a system that did not appreciate them nor reward their efforts. Jeremy Tyrell's clever story is available on Smashwords.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Motherhood Manifesto

I am a mother. I have the power to defy the popular culture. I have the power to defy evil. I will use that power:
When the world tells my children to be afraid, I will teach them to be courageous.
When the world offers hand sanitizer, I will offer sandboxes, gardens and playgrounds.
When politicians teach helpless dependence on government, I teach independence, voluntary cooperation, private charity and hard work.
When the world undermines the family, I will build a strong one.
When the government undermines and ridicules faith, I will teach my children the history, doctrines and practice of my faith.
When the world teaches socialism, self-esteem, relativism and hedonism, I will teach ethics, logic, reading, mathematics and the scientific method.
When celebrities parade their lives of excess, I can teach a life of purpose.
When their professors glorify Marxism, I will tell my children about the millions killed by Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and a host of other dictators.
When society tells them to shut up, I will encourage them to speak out.
When the world offers them birth control, abortion, and meaningless fornication, I will teach them self control, personal integrity, and unconditional love.
When the media offer them mindless, tasteless entertainment, I can give them the tools to create their own poetry, art, games and music.
When the world tells them the right answer doesn't matter, I will continue to teach the existence and the value of truth.
When artists sing about f*$%Sh#?!Bi&*, I can give them Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.
When people throw feces and call it art, I can show them Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Picasso.
When the world offers them "The Vagina Monologues" I can offer them "Julius Caesar" and "Antigone."
When their peers go to the beach to get drunk over spring break or summer vacation, I will pay for their mission trips to build schools or teach English.
When the media use euphemisms like "choice" and "procedure" I will tell them the truth: Choices are made before conception and the procedure kills an innocent human life.
Yes, I am a subversive woman. I will resist the dominant culture and teach my children to do the same. I make no apologies. If America survives, it will be because of those of us who refused to give in to decadence, dependency, and deception.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

An Alternative Perspective

In keeping with the title of this blog, I agreed to review a book I would not otherwise have purchased and read.  Though Cast Away rambles from continent to continent and idea to idea (punctuated by interludes and side trips by the author,) the last quarter of the book did have me thinking about exactly what economic system could improve life in this century.  Though "ethosism" is not defined in detail, I did get the gist that individual interactions are what will revolutionize life for those who do not have access to political favors under crony capitalism or various dictatorships,  Reference was made to people making money through micro transactions on or through youtube fame.  

While I have many differences with the author philosophically, I can agree with him that poverty in the world should anger and sadden us.  Much of that poverty is the result of corruption and greed, whether religious or political in nature or simply humanity's sin nature.  As a libertarian and a Christian, I would have us answer poverty by increasing freedom, lowering barriers to prosperity, and encouraging private virtue and sharing.

If you want to read a book that is different, this one certainly is.  Do not read if you are very sensitive/easily offended (in which case you would not have clicked on this blog anyway.)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Group Projects--Preparing Students for a Communist Utopia

One of the early lessons schoolchildren are taught is to do their own work and not copy from other's papers. There is a trend, however, that is on the rise at all levels of education from preschool through graduate school: the group project. Unlike a group activity or discussion during class time, the group project assigns one group grade to several students.

Collaboration versus Freeloading
Groups of scholars through the ages have read and discussed ideas. Students have traditionally been admonished by their teachers to do their own work and to work hard in order to learn new skills. Students have always had discussions among themselves and have tutored others who needed help with difficult concepts. Most importantly, students were responsible for their own work, or lack thereof, and held responsible through a system of grading meant to evaluate individual achievement. It is interesting that professors who rightly devote several syllabus pages to the evils of plagiarism, then turn around and tell students they will be graded, in part, on work done by other people. Once a group grade is assigned, the project moves from scholarly collaboration to teacher-sanctioned freeloading by low-performing group members at the expense of high-performing members.

Academic Socialism
Like economic socialism, group projects force some people to work for the benefit of other people without just compensation for their efforts. Furthermore, group projects assign responsibility for outcomes without corresponding authority to enforce the necessary discipline to complete the project successfully. Responsible and competent students have nothing to gain from a group project, unless they are able to select only other responsible and competent people as group members. Irresponsible or incompetent students have nothing to lose from a group project; if they are in the lower half of the class, odds are in their favor that other group members will make them look competent and responsible in order to preserve their own grade point averages.

Like the producers in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, good students will just keep working harder, dragging the slackers along because they see no other choice. The slackers will relax, complacent, knowing the producers will not let them fail because the producers care about the outcome. Like the characters in Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron, the best students are handicapped so that they cannot appear more competent than others.

Real Life versus Group Project
One argument instructors use to justify graded group projects is that such projects prepare students for real life. This is simply not true. In the world outside the classroom, people do work in groups; however, the similarity ends there. In the real world, somebody in the group has authority to make decisions and enforce them, to evaluate or promote, to retain or to dismiss group members. In the real world, the slackers are often exposed and fired. Real world companies cannot afford to pay people for doing nothing. Companies that insist on paying everyone in a group the same, regardless of performance, will lose their best workers to companies that encourage and reward excellence.

Instructors who want to prepare students for real life should concentrate on teaching skills to all students, evaluating them as individuals, and offering extra help to those who learn more slowly. Group discussion and collaboration should be encouraged as a valuable life skill. Nobody, however, should be allowed to claim a grade earned by others. Graded group projects are not an honest assessment tool.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Here's a Crafty Idea for Your Own Business

Fiberfrau: Fun with Fabrics and Fibers: Make Money from Knitting? It's Possible: Here is a new resource I found to help potential entrepreneurs avoid common mistakes.  Most artisans don't ever make money because they don't understand the value of what they do or how to best turn their passion into a marketable, profitable product.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On My Book Review Blog

Hog on Ice: Books and Independent Learning: Jihad Explained: A review of Jesus, Jihad and Peace by Michael Youssef: The idea of forced conversion is hard for Christians to grasp.  After all, Je...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Interesting Reading for Libertarians

I have come across a site with interesting, thought-provoking articles called  Jack the Vote.  Warning, it does have an attitude (especially toward people the author identifies as stupid) but ideas should be evaluated based on their merits, not the attitude of those presenting the ideas.