Category: , By GotDesign

I can't believe it. It seems like some Orwellian fantasy, but Congress is trying to control salaries across the board. It's like we awoke from a bad dream and discovered we now live in a socialist "worker's paradise."

I'm frustrated. I can't write, I'm so .... argh! Go read -- Beyond AIG: A Bill to let Big Government Set Your Salary.


Time for a Rant

Category: , , By GotDesign

There are times when I look at the extraordinary efforts being exerted on my behalf by members of the armed forces in places hither and yon and I am filled with an overwhelming desire to do something for those who are wounded in their efforts -- something to show appreciation, in some small way, for the heroic sacrifices of life and limb to protect my liberty and to extend freedom around the globe.

I don't want to get off on a rant here, but don't you have the slightest inclination to lend a hand to those who have already lent an arm and a leg (and sometimes both) to us in the name of liberty? I don't know what kind of crazy sweater the Norns have woven for me that I haven't been put in harm's way -- after 15 years of service in the Army, you'd think I was due to have my tour of duty in the far-flung places of the world where the men are bad and the personal hygiene is worse. You'd think that I was about due to be cross-stitched into the mayhem our armed forces endure on a regular basis. I thank God both that I haven't been thrust into this global kerfuffle and, at the same time, wish I were already hip-deep in the fray.

So, what's a frustrated old soldier to do? Play golf? Actually, that's the ticket. USA Cares, a nonprofit organization that helps frustrated individuals like myself provide care for wounded veterans (and their families), is hosting a golf scramble on Thursday, Arpil 2nd at the Covered Bridge Golf Club in Sellersburg, IN (outside Louisville, KY). The golf scramble is to raise funds for USA Cares who, as previously mentioned, provides financial assistance to wounded veterans to cover medical bills, pay housing costs, and provide for daily necessities. For wounded veterans, it is mightily difficult at times to keep up with daily finances when you're struggling to pay for therapy sessions to deal with your post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Or you can't make your car payment because you have to pay to have your prosthetic leg fixed after taking a tumble.

But this is not just some other golf scramble. The USA Cares event will feature the King of Rant himself, Dennis Miller. Mr. Miller will be present for both the golf scramble as well as for a dinner afterward where he will, no doubt, practice his linguistic legerdemain. I can assure you, it will be an afternoon to remember.

USA Cares is still looking for golfers, hole sponsors, and non-golfing dinner attendees. If you are at all interested in either attending this event, or in supporting USA Cares' efforts generally, please don't hesitate to contact me. There are over 16,000 veterans who have been assisted by USA Cares in the past 6 years and there are countless more who still need assistance. Step into the breach and put yourself on the line for those who have held the line against tyranny and desctruction.

But enough from me, what do you think?

Need Volunteers

Category: , , , By GotDesign
As I mentioned in my blog post yesterday, I've been volunteering with USA Cares. Their latest campaign -- 50-50 -- is to get 100 people to donate $5 in 50 states over the course of 50 days -- that's $25,000. Donations are made specifically by texting from your cellular phone. But we still need someone to coordinate the campaign in each state. The following states are still in need of a volunteer coordinator: MD, NJ, OK, SD, CT, IA, MI, AR, ID, MN, WI, NE, RI, UT, WV, ME, SC, and WY.

Through the miracle of Twitter, I was able to find someone to cover Missouri just yesterday. I'm working on bringing USA Cares into the Twitter-verse. I think it will be a boon for us.

If you can volunteer to help USA Cares with their 50-50 campaign, please e-mail me. Thanks.

The Cause

Category: , , By GotDesign

Many of you already know that I am a soldier. I have over 15 years of service in the U.S. Army, Army Reserves and National Guard. I'm a lifer. So soldiers are near and dear to my heart. We've sweated and bled together. Because of this I have recently become involved with an organization that goes out of its way to help soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen alike in their time of need.

I recently began volunteering with USA Cares. USA Cares is a non-profit organization that helps veterans in three areas. First, they help combat injured veterans by making grants to help cover their medical needs. Second, USA Cares helps veterans by providing housing assistance grants and financial counseling to keep veterans and their families in their homes or apartments. And finally, USA Cares' "Quality of Life" program helps to provide daily necessities for veterans until they can get back on their feet.

I have read USA Cares' external audits -- they are very fiscally sound. Over 90% of all donations are given out to help veterans. That means that the administrative staff operates on less than 10% of the money that has been donated. Not many non-profits can say that. The first and foremost mission of USA Cares is to help veterans -- period! USA Cares is an organization that I am proud of and I am volunteering my time to help however I can. that's saying something! Because, as some of you know, I'm unemployed. My time comes at a premium.

This is the part where I ask for your help. So, for the squeamish ones out there, please skip to the end.

How can you help USA Cares? Thanks for asking (I love you guys). Donations can be made at the website -- But you can also make donations this very moment. Text "VET" to 90999 on your cell phones and $5 will be sent to USA Cares. In fact, I'm looking for help throughout the US with this texting project.

USA Cares is preparing to roll out its 50-50 program. 50-50 is short for "50 States in 50 Days." We want to get volunteers to help us coordinate a 50-day fund-raising drive in all 50 states. Our goal is to raise at least $25,000 by getting at least 100 people to donate $5 via texting in each state of the union. That's 100 people, $5 each ($500 so far), and 50 states (voila! $25,000 -- I know... multiplication). But we still need volunteers in several states to coordinate the effort. Specifically, we need volunteers in: MD, NJ, OK, SD, CT, IA, MI, AR, ID, MN, WI, MO, NE, RI, UT, WV, ME, SC, and WY. That's 20 states out of 50! Please send me an e-mail if you're interested in helping. Volunteers will receive plenty of support in marketing the efforts in each state. You won't want for assistance in this effort, but we need warm bodies to get the work done. And soon! USA Cares hopes to start 50-50 on April 1st.

Please let the veterans know that you appreciate their sacrifices. Text "VET" to 90999! Go to the website -- -- and donate!


UPDATE 1: We've found our volunteer to coordinate our 50-50 campaign in Delaware. Just since this morning! But we still need another 19 volunteers (minimum). Contact me!

Flying Into The Flames

By GotDesign
A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter takes off on a mission to transport soldiers of the 1204th Aviation Support Battalion to their home station in Independence, Ky. on Monday, Feb. 2, 2009.

Classism At Its Best

Category: , , , , By GotDesign
A good friend of mine has an awesome bumper sticker. It reads: "I [heart] Capitalism." It warms my heart to see that my friend has both a firm grasp on how the world works, and a great sense of humor.

So when our new President has decided to force a salary cap on executives whose companies receive bailout money, I cringe. First and foremost, I don't like bailouts! Companies that receive bailouts don't learn the lessons that the market has to teach. They also do not build up institutional creativity and innovation required to handle crises. But this salary cap move also sends a sign that the Administration knows better than the markets.

When corporate executives receive sizable salaries and bonuses, I sometimes wonder if they're worth it. But I also understand that, unless I'm a stock owner, it's not my call. Senior executives are the decision-makers. Their decisions are the focal point of succeed-fail moments. A single decision can make or break a company. High salaries attract the best candidates. High salaries compensate for extreme responsibility. High salaries are the sole prerogative of the Boards of Directors.

A lot of people have made comparisons between President Obama and President Franklin Roosevelt. And there is a comparison to be made. Alan Brinkley's Wall Street Journal article "Railing Against the Rich: A Great American Tradition" is a great explanation of President Obama's blatant class warfare. Brinkley does a great job of explaining how both FDR and Hughey Long pursued a "soak the rich" policy -- as does Obama.
Franklin Roosevelt himself, trying to steal the thunder of the populists, proposed the so-called "soak-the-rich" tax, passed in 1935, which targeted high corporate salaries and investment income, even though it did little to increase government revenues or reduce the real wealth of those required to pay.
While the current economic malaise is by no means comparable to that of the Great Depression of 1929 and following, President Obama's policies belie the inner socialist that lurks within the extremely popular breast of our 44th president. When the circumstances are so different, why does Obama seek to use the same policies as FDR to spark a recovery. Because, while FDR's policies didn't spark a recovery (they actually prolonged the Great Depression and unnecessarily drew out the recovery), they did help to entrench the Democrat Party in the halls of power for over 40 years. And class warfare is the prime waeapon of the Democrats.

Truly, if you want to spark an economic recovery, why remove incentives for decision-makers to accept responsibility in desperate companies? If anything, you want to encourage the best managers to step up to help beleaguered companies out of their dire circumstances.

They way out of the economic blues lies in a few basic principles. First confidence -- talk a good game. FDR talked up some confidence when he enetered office in 1933. It was the increased public confidence in FDR's (assumed) ability to restore hope (where have I heard that before?) that allowed him to begin a series of socialist and sometimes unconstitutional policies. If confidence were restored currently, it would shore up markets and gain time to implement policies that would truly stimulate the economy. The current "Stimulus Package" is rife with corruption, payback and pork -- not stimulus.

Second, corporate tax cuts. Currently, the state and federal corporate tax rates are the highest in the world. Corporations are the entities responsible for driving the economy. Corporations are responsible for employment. Employment pumps money into the economy. The economy grows due to cash flows created by happy, purchasing peole in the markets. It's the circle of life, people! If you reduce corporate tax rates, companies can then expand workforces, invest in innovation and productivity -- in a nutshell, drive economic growth!

Third (and finally for me), encourage savings and investment. In 1990, the government of Chile moved from a Social Security system that had been the model for the U.S. in the 1930s, to a system that encouraged personal savings and investment while maintaining the security of retirement savings. From 1990 until the time I heard about it (1995), the Chilean economy grew by an average of 8% per year. It can be done here, too. And our economic engine is bigger!

Wake up, America! Open your eyes! Don't allow "hope" to lead you around blindly. There is such thing as false hope.

God's Grace

Category: , By GotDesign
As you already know, I'm unemployed. I've been unemployed for nearly 4 months. Things are getting tight. I just received an e-mail from a close friend. This friend -- who will remain nameless at present -- has recently come into some small profit in a venture and has offered to share some of this profit with my wife and I in our time of need.

Being unemployed is difficult for a number of reasons. The obvious reason being financial. But often more devastating is the emotional toll that unemployment takes on (especially) a man. Unemployment shows us that we are not truly in control of our circumstances. It is extremely difficult for a man to not be able to provide for his family. Feelings of worthlessness threaten to drown him.

But praise be to God for his compassion! He sees us in our need and provides for us according to his plan for us. In his time, he provides for us. Below is my reply to this close friend's offer of assistance:
As you know, the one thing that truly separates us from God is our own pride. The pride that says we can do things for ourselves. It is pride that keeps us from admitting our need, whether that need is spiritual or (in this case) physical. Pride drove Cain to kill Able after being recognized for his better sacrifice. Pride led Moses to strike the rock in the desert without God's direction. The Bible is filled with examples of people giving in to pride instead of trusting in God.

Trusting requires humility. Humility that we're are not "all that and a bag of chips." Humility requires that we acknowledge the truth of our situation. The truth is that we would have nothing without God. God works in our world to see that we have provision. In his divine wisdom, he uses people in this world to accomplish that provision. God is using you and [your wife], [Name], to provide for his people. And that is truly humbling.

Melanie and I would like accept your offer of financial assistance. We are humbled by your consideration of our circumstances. And yet, we are proud of our God who sees our need and has compassion. We are so thankful to you and Mimi that words are not sufficient (despite the long-winded nature of this e-mail). What I have written here is only a small expression of Melanie's and my appreciation of this gift. This act is another jewel in your crown and yet another justification of the warmth and friendship I hold for you.

Thank you very much. May God continue to bless you and your family. May he bless us all.
Once again, all praise be to God for his provision and his compassion!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever. --Psalm 118:1

Border Bowl Experience

By GotDesign

As mentioned in my last posting, I went down to Williamsburg, KY to cover the 2009 National Guard Border Bowl for the Public Affairs Office of the Kentucky National Guard. What a trip!

I started my morning by meeting the Adjutant General (a.k.a., "the TAG") of the KY National Guard, Major General Edward Tonini, at Bowman Field in Louisville. I flew along with the TAG in his UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter to Willimasburg. In addition to myself were 3 other public affairs personnel. this was my first experience in a Blackhawk helicopter. It was worth the wait. The flight to Williamsburg was pretty uneventful -- no turbulence. We arrived in Williamsburg at the University of the Cumberlands around 11 a.m.

At about 12:30, I rejoined the pilots at the Blackhawk. The Blackhawk was scheduled to do a high-speed flyover just before the game started. About 20 minute prior to the flyover, we took off and flew around the area while we waited for our cue. In that time, the pilot took it upon himself to try to get me to puke in his aircraft. He started a series of high-speed banks and dives. I normally get very nervous at turbulence in fixed wing aircraft, but that didn't seem to bother me in the Blackhawk. I just hung on tight and enjoyed the ride.

The flight back to Louisville was a little more eventful. We encountered a lot of turbulence due to high winds in the area. But it settled down as we got farther away from Williamsburg. But the sun came out and everything calmed down. I've posted some photos of the day's events over at Flickr.

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. Kentucky beat Tennessee 26-20.

Mild Mannered Journalist

Category: , By GotDesign

Yeah, right! Don't you believe it.

But seriously, I start my Army career as a journalist tomorrow. I'll be covering a high school football event -- "The Border Bowl" -- in Williamsburg, KY for the KY National Guard. I'll be driving down to Williamsburg on Friday morning to cover the practices and interview some of the players. On Saturday, I'll be flying down with the Adjutant General for the KY National Guard -- Major General Edward Tonini. I'll be shooting the game as well as the various activities associated with the Border Bowl.

The Border Bowl is sponsored by the National Guard. High School seniors from eastern Kentucky and eastern Tennessee submit applications for selection to the Kentucky or Tennessee teams. Last year, over 400 high school seniors applied. In last year's contest, Tennessee beat Kentucky 23-13.

Once it's said and done with, I'll post some of the photos and tell you all about it.

Back 'n' Scrubbing

Category: , By GotDesign

Well, we're back from Texas. This time we made it back without any incidents. But my wife picked up a bug... some might call it an illness. She's cleaning!

Before we left for Texas, my wife informed me that she could not leave home with "it being in such a mess." So, we started cleaning the house. The laundry room looks much better, I must say. After returning home, the fever continued. We're now cleaning up the office and removing a good deal of clutter. But it always makes me nervous when she starts "cleaning." I have to look to my personal nicknacks. She might just throw away the ballpoint pen I brought back from Ethiopia. You know, the one I haven't used since I returned from East Africa over eight years ago.

In truth, I'm glad my wife started us down this road. It gives me the impetus to throw junk away. How much do I really need this? I should really throw that away. You know, pry open my tightly clutching fingers and let some stupid stuff go. Thanks, sweetie!

Yet another reason I absolutely love my wife. Couldn't live without her. [Insert smooching sound here]