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23
Jan

Ron Paul Update

Ron Paul is doing well. He placed second in the Nevada caucuses last week and did well in the Louisiana caucuses today. And as we head into a recession, I hear more and more people saying that Ron Paul is the only candidate who understands the problems and what needs to be done to solve them. One recent comment came from Glenn Beck as he interviewed David Walker, the Controller General of the U.S.

Now, I really like Ron Paul. He voted for military action in Afghanistan directly against the Taliban. But he voted against going to war in Iraq. So, if elected, I expect him to be strong against terrorism and to be extremely cautious about using our military to interfere in foreign countries. In hindsight, it seems obvious that working with the legitimate government of Afghanistan has gone better for us than invading countries that weren’t involved in 9/11.

The only complaint I have so far is with some old newsletters published under Ron Paul’s name several years ago that are very racist. Paul says he did not write them and disagrees with their content, but has not indicated who did write them. There’s an in-depth article in Reason Magazine investigating the identity of the author that concludes Paul didn’t write the material.

Supporting him, several black people who have known Paul for decades, including the head of the NAACP, have stated that Paul is not a racist and has never been one. That doesn’t stop the media from repeating the lies though.

I believe Paul when he says he did not write the material and has never agreed with it. The thing that bothers me is his hesitation in explaining why those newsletters went out with his name on them and who wrote them. Honestly though, this isn’t a big complaint.

Of course, it’s easy to find problems with politicians. For example, Mitt Romney promised Michigan voters that he’d spend billions of taxpayer dollars on reviving the Michigan economy, which essentially means subsidies for the big American auto manufacturers. Thanks for promising to spend my tax money to buy Michigan votes. Romney is still my second choice though. The other candidates are even worse.

So basically, I think Ron Paul still has a fair chance to win the nomination. Less than 10% of the Republican primary delegates have been allocated at this point. With Fred Thompson dropping out and Mike Huckabee running out of money, the Republican race may soon be down to three choices.

23
Jan

Quote: Henry Haskins

Ever since reading this comment, I’ve found myself almost constantly violating it. I’m getting better though.

The time to stop talking is when the other person nods his head affirmatively but says nothing.

23
Jan

The Secret History of Silicon Valley

I watched a video recording of Steve Blank discussing the history of Silicon Valley at Google today. Surprisingly, the tech capital of the world has its roots in the electronic warfare of WWII. I’ve loved reading WWII history since I was a kid and the speaker even includes clips from several WWII movies during his presentation.

It’s an hour, but was very informative and enjoyable to watch. Highly recommended for anyone who loves WWII history, technology, or both.

23
Jan

Quote: Brian Kernighan

Words I try to live by.

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.

7
Jan

Newsletter and Fiveplex

I wanted to write a quick update to let everyone know we are still getting the finishing touches on our newsletter. Well, actually, we’re still writing parts of it. Last year’s Christmas letter became a New Year’s letter, and this year it’s looking like we’ll have to rush to avoid it becoming a Valentine’s letter.

Payson Five-plex

We also closed on our first “for keeps” investment property. It’s a five-plex in Payson about 20 minutes from our house. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but the price was low and the numbers worked out, even counting some needed repairs. And the best thing is that I find I enjoy being a landlord. I like talking to the tenants and hope to make the building a great place to live. Of course, I haven’t had any calls in the middle of the night yet. So we’ll see how things go.

1
Jan

Why Silver

I got a rare chance to see both my brothers and their families this last weekend. It was great talking to them both and catching up. I didn’t get much of a chance to bond with Owen or Tia. But Kristy’s family was very generous. It was great to experience Texas hospitality again. Scott and I went to see a movie that neither Kristy nor Cheryl would’ve wanted to see: I Am Legend. It was fairly good, but made me jumpy later that night.

Dave and Carly stayed the night in order to cut an hour or so off their drive back to Phoenix the next day. Little Addison is growing up quickly, even since I saw her at Thanksgiving. And I discovered that Dave has also considered buying silver as an investment. Since I purchased some silver recently, I wanted to write a bit about why and how I did it.

First, silver is a precious metal and has often been used as money at various times in history. Second, it is an industrial metal used to make stuff. Third, we’re using more silver than we’re digging up — the amount of above-ground silver has decreased by 90% over the last 60 years. Fourth, the current price doesn’t reflect the increasing scarcity. Fifth, there are now several convenient ways to own it. Theodore Butler has written a great article describing the reasons to own silver in more detail.

There is now an exchange traded fund (like a mutual fund, but traded in real-time instead of at the end of each day) that specializes in owning silver. Apparently, there is an ETF for oil too, but I haven’t looked into that.

I also wanted to take physical possession of some silver. I did quite a bit of research and price comparisons and ended up buying American Silver Eagle coins from Bullion Direct. The coins are minted by the U.S. Mint and are trusted to have very high quality. The coins cost a bit more than raw silver does, but are easily recognized and should therefore be easy to sell or trade when the time comes.