Club for Growth “Information”

The Club for Growth (a conservative 527 org) has a blog for dispersing “information” on Social Security reform and I found an entry with an interesting quote:

It has long been one of my primary examples when advising my clients, readers and audiences of why it is extremely dangerous to trust our financial future to our rulers in DC. What sound like great tax and retirement savings plans today, such as Roth IRAs, can be changed at any time by our rulers and they are rarely, if ever, taken to task for their violations of such agreements.

So, essentially, whatever you may or may not have doesn’t really matter, because when the Social Security Trust Fund goes belly up (because the US Treasury decided to default on its’ bonds), the rulers in power at the time are just going to change the law and start taxing all these things that were promised to be “tax-free” or “tax-deferred”? If that’s the case, why on earth would we want to start to contribute to private retirement accounts that the government is just going to change the rules on later? Shouldn’t you be advising clients to keep cash under the mattress and stockpile gold bars?

Not to mention the fact that no one has come forth with anything even remotely resembling an actual plan or even details.

And, why does every debate have to have someone that tries to play the race card?

Dr. Dobson off his rocker

Why do I feel like I’m on a playground at recess with a group of second graders? “Spongebob is gay! Spongebob is gay!”

Now, Dr. Dobson said, SpongeBob’s creators had enlisted him in a “pro-homosexual video,” in which he appeared alongside children’s television colleagues like Barney and Jimmy Neutron, among many others. The makers of the video, he said, planned to mail it to thousands of elementary schools to promote a “tolerance pledge” that includes tolerance for differences of “sexual identity.”

(Use this Google link to get the article without registering)

Update: And the BBC has picked up the story as well.
Update (1/21): CNN is on the bandwagon too.

Puzzles and Deals

Every year for Christmas gifts from Alisha’s grandparents we get a puzzle or two. For some reason, they never seem to be easy ones. This year was no different. I didn’t get a good picture of the first one, but this is probably the best one. Not too tough, but not easy. The second one was much worse. I’m not sure how much time Alisha spent on it, but quite a bit more than I did.
Cropped round puzzle
This weekend I helped Jim pick up a nearly brand new 42U Dell server rack for the school district. We don’t really have a place to put it right now, but it was such a good deal we couldn’t pass it up.
Dell rack

More pictures of puzzles and the rack.

And, when I got back to the house today, the garage door wouldn’t open. I assumed it was frozen down, but it wasn’t. I came inside and the light on the wall switch was blinking continously. It would open using the wall switch, but not the remote or the HomeLink transmitter in my truck. I don’t think we have a manual for it anywhere, so I went searching the web. I found a discussion area talking about Craftsman door openers with someone else describing the exact same symptoms. The reply was to press and hold the lock button for 3 seconds, the constant blink means the opener is in lock mode. I never even knew what the lock button was for. I guess you learn something every day.

squidguard & google safe search

Trying to turn on Google Safe Search for all of your clients behind your Squid+squidGuard server? Well, you aren’t the first and probably won’t be the last, but it’s not that hard, once you find the right words to plug in to Google.

You need a little patch that Eric Harrison (of MESD fame) wrote. If you are already using his recent RPMs, you already have the patch. If you are compiling from source, you’ll need to grab the source RPM from his testing area and extract the squidguard-sed.patch file. Once you’ve applied that patch to the squidGuard 1.2.0 source and recompiled, you should be able to use the following code snippets in squidGuard.conf to append “safe=strict” to all google urls:
rewrite google {
# log google

and in your acl section add:
default {
# for google to be in "safe mode"
rewrite google

Then, there are fewer inappropriate pictures available via google.

Thanks to Eric’s post to K12OSN and a Louisiana library page with a full squidGuard.conf linked for examples.

Social Security “reform”

This blog has some good ideas, but something is off-kilter with his message. Compare and contrast:

I don’t like the idea of forced savings, period


But what I think most people can get around is that a system that allows people, especially lower-middle- and lower-class people to conserve some capital over time is a good thing, regardless of any other ideological/political affiliation.

So, you are against forced savings, but for those unfortunate poor people, it’s okay for the government to force them to save something to pass on to their heirs? Anyone else see a double standard there? (This was linked off InstaPundit, so I shouldn’t be suprised that it’s got me worked up.)

I’m opposed to the “reform” of Social Security to turn it into a government-sponsored financial industry support program, which is what the nebulous “private accounts” appear to me as. Just imagine the management fees fund managers can collect on even 1% or 2% of the total Social Security tax intake.

The other thing that really piques my interest is how Bush trotted out the “compound interest” argument:

…a personal savings account which will compound over time and grow over time; a personal savings account which can’t be used to bet on the lottery, or a dice game, or the track. In other words, there will be guidelines. There will be certain — you won’t be allowed just to take that money and dump it somewhere. In other words, there will be a safe way to invest, to be able to realize the compounding rate of interest.

So, if Joe Q. Public takes his $1/week and sticks it in an account that returns, lets be generous and say 10% compounded monthly, he’s going to get a higher return than if all the $1/week contributions get lumped together into one account? If you buy that as the truth, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

I’m not 100% sure what my stance on forced savings is, but anyone who earns enough and is eligible should be contributing to a tax defered retirement plan, be it a 401(k), 403(b) or some IRA variant. Or multiple ones if you can so afford.