Conversation With A Libertarian

I was at a conference in Minneapolis recently. I talked to a lot of people. One guy said he was a libertarian. He seemed like a nice fellow. He may be a guy who can say he is a “true” libertarian.

A lot of times, people who call themselves “libertarian” are using that term to put lipstick on a pig. Frequently they are racist or homophobic, or really just don’t like paying other people a day’s wage for a day’s work. There was a good article on Pando pointing out that a lot of people think of themselves as “libertarian” without realizing that other people call themselves “libertarian” and have some pretty nasty ideas.

So this guy said he was into Bitcoin. I just kept nodding as he kept talking. But after a few minutes I thought this guy might be sincere about libertarianism and freedom.

He worked for another crypto currency and got paid in Bitcoin (using a three-day moving average). He was involved in a Meetup in the Bay Area about Bitcoin. Two of the other organizers were on the far left politically. He reported his Bitcoin income to the IRS.

He even said that Bitcoin may not replace fiat currency, but complement it. He also said that Bitcoin itself might be replaced by something else in the future. A lot of Bitcoiners (like a lot of gold nutjobs) think that all we have to do is go to Bitcoin and everything will be wonderful. Just press this magic red button one time, set the dial right there, and everything will be okay. The fact is if you change the rules, then people just find new ways to cheat. Plus they seem oblivious to the idea that changing society in their image might hurt other people, even if other people think society is just fine. A lot of Bitcoiners sound like the Underpants Gnomes from South Park: 1. Dislodge fiat currency. 2. ???? 3. Utopia. What is step 2? No idea. So for a supporter of Bitcoin to say that Bitcoin might not be the final answer is surprising.

He also talked about how Bitcoin can be used in Africa. Apparently cel phone minutes are used as a form of currency. He pointed out that the banking system in many African countries is not that great, and that Bitcoin can do some good there. (The conference was a few weeks ago, and I honestly have forgotten some of what he has said.)

A lot of glibertarians are pretty racist (see the Pando article I linked to above). So here was a guy who actually thought that he was doing something to help people in poor countries. He seemed pretty sincere about it.

I am still skeptical of libertarianism in general. But I will say this encounter opened my eyes a bit.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

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Voyager Is Offline

There are now only 13 episodes of Voyager available on the Star Trek site. I will wait a few months to see if they will bring the episodes back. I still have not seen a big chunk of Deep Space Nine either. CBS has taken episodes offline and brought them back.

If they do not come back, I may have to break down and spend money to watch what I have not seen. I might try Amazon Prime. Someone at work told me about this. It looks like you can get a LOT of stuff for $20/month.

I was hoping to get more Star Trek for free. It looks like Comcast will be buying Time Warner Cable. I am pretty certain my cable bill will go up. I know Netflix has had some conflicts with Verizon. I wonder if anyone is on Comcast’s hit list. It would be nice to be able to watch stuff without dealing with all the corporate shenanigans.

I mentioned before that I didn’t think they needed to bring on Seven of Nine to make Voyager fun to watch, and that the other women on the show were pretty damn hot. Well, I think Kes and Torres (forehead, temper and all) are hot. But still, Seven of Nine does have an amazing body. The chest is nice, but for me the waist and the figure are what capture my attention. And the legs. And the rear.

I did not watch Voyager when it was first running, since I did not have a TV. I knew a woman at the gym I went to who was upset that her husband became a huge Voyager fan when Seven of Nine came on. She was very attractive in her own right. I told her that I thought she was at least an 8. She didn’t get it at first.

Image from Memory Alpha, copyright owned by CBS, assumed allowed under Fair Use

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Random Rant

I am not too thrilled with my job these days.

I work at a large consulting firm that was spun off from one of the then-Big Six accounting firms.

I work with a “business rules engine“. Nobody seems to know what on earth this is. One time I told someone the systems I help create implement health care policies for states, and he thought that I made the policy. I told him the state governments create the policy. Another guy thought that I did something with firewall rules.

The Austin office mostly does government work. I can’t say why, but I would prefer to be in the private sector. Plus I don’t really like the technology that I am working with. If I tried to get another job, I think all the offers I would get would be for what I am doing now.

I am not too confident in my status at work right now. I was on one project for a year, and since January I have been on four different projects. Perhaps they are sending me a message. I have never really liked any job that I have had. The benefits are nice. They were nice at the large, multinational bank. But there I did not really like the technology I worked with either. I spend some of my own time learning a new (to me) programming language that I would like to get a job in. I know it is odd to some people that I spend all day at a desk in front of a computer, and then I go home to sit at another desk in front of a computer. But if I don’t learn on my own, then I will never get a job in it. A lot of people who do not work in technology either think that it’s all the same, or that you can just go out and get any old technology job any old time. It is not like that at all. At least it never has been for me.

Granted, I do not work as much as I should on my own. I will drive home on Friday, and think about all the things I plan to do, but spend most of the weekend pacing, looking at other sites, or just not doing much of anything. I don’t go out too much. That is partially by choice. I do not like spending money. But it not conducive to meeting the ladies. I don’t meditate as much as I would like or as much as I plan. I don’t work out as early as I would like. I would like to do it when I wake up, but, as stated, I just put it off. Some days I don’t do it at all.

WRT working out, maybe I am worried that the neighbors will complain about the noise, and I will have to cut it short. Or maybe I have this weird fear that I will weaken the structural integrity of my apartment. Granted, if that is the case, the people above the people next door are really hurting this building.

Speaking of the ladies: I go to meetups, some tech related, some not, but they are still mostly guys. Even the non-tech ones. The non-tech ones are usually related to atheism, skepticism, or geek culture. I seem to go for activities that elicit little to no interest from women: atheism, martial arts, science fiction. Maybe there are plenty of women in those fields, but I have just spent my life in cities where women only care about going to church, getting drunk, or going shopping. (I don’t know about other countries, but if you do not have a religion or drink booze, the USA is a large empty space.) I know that some people get married and have children, but somehow I think that does not explain the imbalance.

When I was in Chicago I did ask a woman in the Chicago Skeptics what the heck women do with their time. She said that a lot of women feel socially isolated because their husbands/boyfriends go out and leave the ladies at home. So much for pairing off and having lots of hot sex. I guess I am even more disconnected from humanity than I thought.

It has also occurred to me that maybe I am not as smart as I thought I was, or as smart as people have been telling me. I don’t seem to get the hang of things at work as quickly as others. I have been going to a few meetups centered around board games. Usually I come in last. A few times I won at Thunderstone, and I won twice in a row in Ticket To Ride. (I have retired with my record intact.) But at just about all the others I do terribly.

Anyway, I hope I don’t get caught in The Chasm Of Death: Let go from my job before I have enough skills in the technology that I like to get a job in it.

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2014-07 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for July, 2014.

The monthly dividend income came out to $198.43. The yearly income total for 2014 through the end of the month was $2132.33.

The income for July, 2013 was $180.57, and the yearly income total up through that month was $1673.29.

I do not own too many stocks that pay dividends in January/April/July/October. I own about half that pay out in those months as I do that pay out in March/June/September/December. I have a buy order on Chubb that closed about 20 cents above my price, and according to Yahoo got within about 12 cents of it. Loading up on stocks that pay out in these months is a priority, but not as high as getting 100 shares of the stocks that I already own.

I might look at the list of dividend payers sent out by David Fish, and see if there are any stocks that pay in January/April/July/October that look compelling.

The S&P 500 actually went down a couple of days this week. I think the correction that everyone has been talking about might be starting.

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for July, 2014:

  • Automatic Data Processing: $27.53
  • Coca-Cola Co: $32.99
  • MDU Resources Group Inc.: $9.82
  • Kimberly-Clark: $46.44
  • Illinois Tool Works: $22.41
  • Chubb Corp: $10.91
  • Piedmont Natural Gas Inc: $18.96
  • Sysco Corp: $16.06
  • RPM International Inc.: $13.31

 

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More Thoughts On Snowden

I have had a few more thoughts on Edward BenedictArnoldovich Snowden a few weeks ago.

He said that he thought about exposing the NSA spying when Obama was elected, but decided to wait hoping that Obama would change things. Once again, either this guy is lying, or he is really really dumb.

There were plenty of other issues on Obama’s mind when he was elected: The stimulus, Gitmo, health care. The NSA was not on my mind, and not too many people were talking about it. Maybe if someone had brought it to his attention, things would have been different.

Plus, if you truly are sincere about getting the government to do things differently, then the best time to bring something to the public’s attention when we have a new president. Particularly when the presidency changes parties.

So why did he wait? Perhaps he was lying when he said he hoped Obama would change the NSA, and did this to make the US look bad (which I bet suits Russia just fine). Perhaps he is just not that bright.

Plus, as many commenters at Little Green Footballs have pointed out, before these leaks, the stuff inside the NSA stayed inside the NSA. The only way Snowden got some of it out was by convincing other people at the NSA to give him their passwords. But now these docs are outside the confines of the NSA because of Snowden.

Also, I and others have noted that if his intended destination really was Latin America, why didn’t he just go to Latin America from the beginning? It seems to be working out for Glenn Greenwald.

Image of Snowden’s role model from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

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2014-06 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for June, 2014.

The monthly dividend income came out to $522.86. The yearly income total for 2014 through the end of the month was $1933.90.

The income for June, 2013 was $351.48, and the yearly income total up through that month was $1492.72.

This is the first month I got more than $500 without any special dividends. This is due to a few factors.

One is that there are a lot of stocks that pay in March/June/September/December. I have about twice as many stocks that pay dividends in those months as I have that pay in January, April, July and October.

Another is that I bought shares of Kellogg.

Another is that I bought more shares of Exxon and Aflac, bringing my total number of shares in each company above 100.

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for June, 2014:

  • AFLAC Inc: $38.14
  • American States Water Co: $21.97
  • Black Hills Corp: $13.50
  • Bemis Co Inc: $26.92
  • ConocoPhillips: $72.74
  • Vectren Corp: $20.18
  • Archer-Daniels-Midland Co: $15.34
  • Chevron    CVX: $24.03
  • Emerson Electric Co: $22.91
  • Johnson & Johnson: $23.62
  • Sonoco Products Co: $21.12
  • Exxon Mobil Corp: $75.02
  • 3M Co: $11.19
  • Walgreen Co: $17.78
  • Valspar Corp: $15.03
  • Consolidated Edison Inc: $18.43
  • Dover Corp: $8.44
  • Kellogg Company: $46.00
  • RLI Corp: $20.20
  • Questar Corp: $10.30

Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

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Thoughts On “Voyager”

I am still going through the Star Trek canon.

After I got done with The Next Generation, I started going through Deep Space Nine. After I got started CBS started taking episodes off the site. There are still 160 episodes of Voyager, so I started watching that. There are currently no episodes of Enterprise, five of The Next Generation and two of Deep Space Nine. Last week there were 55 of The Original Series, then 34, and now there are 24.

So far I like Voyager. Somewhere I read that out of all the series that Voyager is the only one for which several of the regular actors said that making the series was not a happy experience. Robert Picardo (The Doctor) was 43 during the third season. I am 43, and I think he looks older then than I do now. I assumed he was in his 50s when the series started.

I thought Jennifer Lien (Kes) has one of the hottest voices of any women I have ever heard in my life. I liked what I heard the first time I heard her speak. I haven’t gotten to any of the Seven Of Nine seasons yet, but if they made the switch to up the babe factor, they could have kept Kes on. The Doctor is a lucky hologram to get to spend so much time with her in sick bay (“Please state the nature of your sexual emergency”). I thought the forehead ridges on B’Elanna Torres looked a bit odd, but the more I see her the more I like her. She’s fit, smart and intense. If they needed to up the babe factor, they could have just had those two wear something tighter.

Maybe later I will write something up about Deep Space Nine. I might just wait to see if I can get through all of Voyager before they take episodes offline. I was hoping to get through Star Trek to put off paying for a subscription to Netflix. Now Netflix is having conflicts with Verizon and Comcast will be merging with Time Warner, so who knows what will happen with online content.

Image from Memory Alpha, copyright owned by CBS, assumed allowed under Fair Use

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More Thoughts On Snowden

So our good friend Edward BenedictArnoldovich Snowden gave an interview to NBC in which he stated that he raised concerns within the NSA. Glenn Griftwald said this was an important revelation.

Then NSA released an email in which Snowden asked a question about whether executive orders supercede federal statutes. Granted, before this the NSA said there was no paper trail. Perhaps they were looking for something substantive. When the email turned out to be underwhelming, Greenwald had nothing more to say on it. Did he know about the supposed paper trail?

As many commenters at Little Green Footballs pointed out, this email was sent after Edward I-Love-My-Sugar-Vladdy Snowden had already been in contact with Greenwald and Laura Poitras. Snowden and Greenwald said there are more emails that the NSA has not released. Many commenters pointed out (as I did) that it seemed odd that Snowden and Greenwald have not released those emails themselves. I think Snowden did not keep those emails. If these people were smart, they would have released those pretty early. I know that 1.5 million documents is a lot to go through, but I would guess something that corroborates your story would be at the front of the list.

Snowden says he was trained as a spy. Didn’t they cover that in spy school?

I have also looked at a few lists of the documents. Yes, there is a LOT of spying on Americans. But there are also a lot of examples of the USA spying on foreign countries, their leaders and their citizens. I really don’t like that, but I really don’t think people in other countries have any rights under the US Constitution.

Plus some of the documents were looking at the activities of Iran, Russia and China. I really have no issues with the US spying on them. At all. Anything that makes China or Russia stronger relative to US/NATO is a bad thing in my opinion.

The UK has said that some criminals have gone off the radar thanks to the Snowden leaks. He has released info on spying by the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Sweden and the Netherlands. Why haven’t Snowden/Greenwald/Wikileaks shined a light on China and Russia? I do not have high expectations for China or Russia as beacons of freedom or democracy. It just seems odd that Snowden/Greenwald/Wikileaks say they are advancing freedom, yet their actions all seem to benefit China and Russia.

Snowden may not be a Russian spy, but the Russians have said they have had their eye on him since his time in Switzerland. That is interesting, because people who think that he is a Russian spy think he became one in Switzerland. So if he is not a spy, then perhaps Russia has been using him all this time.

Did Snowden keep the paper trail in which he raised concerns? Did Greenwald lose the files? Why didn’t Snowden only take files about NSA surveillance on Americans? Did not know how to only get those files? Or did he not care?

Are Snowden, Greenwald and Wikileaks stupid and incompetent? Or just apathetic and evil? Is one better or worse than the other?

I really hate it when people who don’t know what they are doing tell me they are looking out for me freedom. I’ll take my chances before trusting idiots.

Image of Snowden’s other role model from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

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I Am Looking At Deere Again

I am thinking about re-buying shares in Deere.

They increased their dividend a few weeks ago by about 17%. It was one quarter late, but I think it still counts towards their streak.

I know I keep saying I should stick to my rules, but I am still trying to work out what my rules are. How strict should I be? I held on to Intel after they had gone 8 quarters without a dividend raise. Deere raised theirs after five quarters. They have a nice P/E ratio, and they are still making money.

Plus they are in the agriculture business. Sort of. I think along with energy that food and water will be huge issues (and huge money makers) in the next decades. I think Deere is a good way to play that. Plus they are based in Illinois.

I bought Kellogg recently. I read an article that pointed out that most things we buy at the grocery store come from a handful of companies. Kellogg is on the list. I will start looking at some other companies listed in the article: Kraft, General Mills, JM Smucker, even Pepsico (even though we are a Coke family).

Image from John Deere web site, assumed allowed under Fair Use

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2014-05 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for May, 2014.

The monthly dividend income came out to $280.01. The yearly income total for 2014 through the end of the month was $1,411.19. If I had 100 shares of each of the stocks that paid out in May, 2014 I would have made $591.86.

The income for May, 2013 was $242.65, and the yearly income total up through that month was $1,141.24.

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for May, 2014:

  • AT&T: $27.05
  • Verizon: $7.42
  • WGL Holdings Inc: $14.15
  • ABM Industries Inc: $8.47
  • Lowe’s Cos Inc: $9.51
  • Clorox Co: $38.59
  • Air Products & Chemicals Inc: $11.86
  • Abbott Laboratories: $11.56
  • Colgate-Palmolive: $38.33
  • Hormel Foods Corp: $9.40
  • Northwest Natural Gas Co: $25.76
  • Procter & Gamble: $35.94
  • Texas Instruments: $16.09
  • Eaton Corporation: $25.88

Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

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