Old Shoes and Stew

Greetings,

I hope your day is like a perfectly seasoned stew.

Speaking of stew, life is good here at the CowChows. We do our best to keep the heat at a gentle simmer; we occasionally add a new ingredient; we stir frequently, and season and taste often; and when it threatens to boil over we make adjustments as quickly as possible. The recipe may not suit everybody, but we love it.

I find myself in a bit of a quandary and I’m hoping you can help. I have these shoes and I can’t decide what to do with them. I dearly love these shoes. They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn and they have served me well for years. A while back, I took them in to have another half-sole put on. When I went to pick them up my shoe guy told me this was the last time. He said he had done all he could, that they had out-lived their usefulness and not to bring them back again.

Always before, as soon as I got into the car I changed from whatever I was wearing into these shoes. But, not this time. I sat them on the passenger seat and looked at them. My faithful old shoes were at the beginning of their last life. I couldn’t decide what to do.

On one hand, I could wear them and take pleasure in the comfort of them as I always have. In which case, they will be completely worn out in a matter of months and that will be the end of them. On the other hand, I could set them aside and only wear them occasionally while I try to break-in another pair of shoes. But, that seems hardly fair considering the years of service they’ve given me. I know they’re just shoes but they do have soles, or at least half-soles. Don’t they deserve some consideration?

So, you see my dilemma. Do I use them up in the design and purpose for which they were made, and then move on? Or, do I place them on a shelf where they will last forever, but serve no purpose? Any advice would be appreciated. My feet are getting cold.

Happy birthday to Brothers George Washington and Paul Wilkerson, Jr.

Until next time, may the Light of your being guide others safely through the storm.

Fraternally yours,

Tim Couch

FairTax Rally, April 15, 2009, Columbia, SC

Learn more about The FairTax
Learn more about The FairTax

The FairTax is an idea whose time has come, and the drumbeats are getting louder. On April 15, in Columbia, South Carolina those drumbeats are going to be heard all over the U.S.

SCFairTax.org and AFFT(Americans For Fair Taxation) will co-host a FairTax “Save the Nation” Rally at the Township Auditorium located at 1703 Taylor Street in Columbia, SC. The doors will open at 4:30 PM, with the event starting at 5:30 and concluding by 7:00 PM. Reservations are free, required, and can be made here: FairTax.org.

There will be a number of FairTax All-Stars appearing at this event including GOP presidential candidate and Fox TV host, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Neal Boortz, radio host of The Neal Boortz Show and co-author of the FairTax books, and Ken Hoagland, National Communications Director from Americans for Fair Taxation, and many more (final schedule and speaker list is still being finalized).

The goal for this event is to bring national attention to the FairTax concept and to introduce the South Carolina FairTax Act which will be introduced in the legislature this year. This rally is scheduled to coincide with the Legislative session and is intended to send a strong and clear signal to all South Carolina Legislators that the citizens of South Carolina demand true tax reform in the form of new FairTax legislation, not just minor tinkering with the current convoluted and illogical accumulation of laws and regulations.

Fund raising is underway to generate enough money to air four weeks of radio broadcasts prior to the event. Options for other media are being explored as well.

Given the current state of our economy this event may well be the tipping point of the FairTax movement. Make plans now to attend this potentially historical event.

Obama, A Man of his Word

by Tim Couch

Over the last few weeks we’ve heard a LOT about the stimulus/spending bill that was signed into law a couple of days ago. As news of the contents of the bill began to surface and it became evident that this was much more than a stimulus bill I kept asking myself, “Why?” Why would the President of our Country refuse to consider viable alternatives? Why would he race around the Country crying, “The sky is falling,” when no one else was trumpeting that tune? I think most people agreed that something needed to be done, but for the most part only the President seemed near hysteria in his dire warnings. And, why was Congress given so little time to assess the bill before having to cast a vote on it? It just didn’t make sense for normally intelligent and basically pragmatic people to behave in such a way as our President and Democrat Congress members have been acting recently.

I’m a bit of a muller. I like to take an item and set it out in the middle of the table and study it for a while. Then, I walk around to the other side of the table and study it some more. So, I took this particular piece of legislation and I set it out in the middle of the table, on a big turkey platter. Then, I placed the key players, those who were rabidly pushing this bill, around the platter. Then, I placed the lesser players, those who could potentially effect the direction or outcome of the bill in a loose circle around them. Finally, I encircled the whole with the three hundred million American citizens who, for the most part, are simply waiting to see what happens. Once I had the table set I stepped back and I pondered, “What would induce these few players in the inner circle to force feed this turkey to all these other people?”

In the end only one theory makes sense. Our President must be a man of his word. How else does a man of no background, no experience, and no credentials go from Community Organizer to President of the United States in the course of a few years?

Now, I’m not naive. I realize that promises and compromises must be made in the political arena. I understand the political concept that to be of service one must be in office. And, I believe that if someone were to come to me and say something like, “We have the power and the money to put you in the Whitehouse, and we are prepared to do so if you will agree to certain conditions,” my answer would depend on those conditions. I do not believe that my ambitions would outweigh my sense of right and wrong, and likewise I have no reason to believe that if our President were ever faced with such a proposition his sense of right and wrong would not determine his answer. I have no idea whether such a conversation ever took place, but what else can explain the relentless march to the passage of this bill?

I choose, at this juncture, to believe that our President and our Congress believe they are acting in the best interest of our Country. I do not agree with the path we have taken, but I do not believe our leaders are taking us down this path with any malicious intent. Regardless, the path is before us and we can either stand here and bicker about how we got here, or we can take steps to move us toward our goal.

It’s true that our Country is in dire need of change, but the change we need is going to have to come from us, the people. Our elected leaders, as well intentioned as they may be, can not take us where we need to go. They rely on us to tell them where we want to be led. I know it’s a convoluted metaphor but that’s the beauty of government of, by, and for the people.

Mike Huckabee – “Do the Right Thing” Book Review

I just finished reading Governor Mike Huckabee’s latest book, “Do the Right Thing,” and man am I pissed. Why didn’t I learn more about this guy before the Presidential election last November?

In “Do the Right Thing” Governor Huckabee tells the story of the amazing campaign to make him the Republican candidate for the 44th Presidency of the United States. I don’t refer to it as “his campaign” because, as he readily acknowledges, it was not just his. It was a campaign carried out by a small army of passionate volunteers, small donors, and dedicated staff members. In the end Mike Huckabee won eight States, more than four million votes, and was the only candidate left standing before conceding the nomination to John McCain. And, the beauty of the Huckabee campaign is that they accomplished so much while spending pennies compared to the dollars the other major candidates were spending. The story of the campaign is in itself a lesson on how government should be run.

In the first half of the book Governor Huckabee recounts many stories from the campaign trail, from the lady who insisted he accept her wedding ring as a contribution because she had nothing else to give and believed the campaign was that important, to the truck driver who overcame fear of public speaking to stand up before a crowded auditorium and tell why he supported Mike Huckabee. He tells of his upbringing in Hope, Arkansas. He tells what he believes and why, and how he came to believe it. And, he shows that he understands the problems we face as a people and as a nation. Then, in the second half of the book he offers some common sense solutions to some of those problems.

Mike Huckabee supports the FairTax. I’ve been a FairTax supporter since I first learned of it about three years ago. I have to admit that when he first came out in favor of the FairTax I thought it was just a campaign ploy. I thought he was just a candidate trying to attach himself to a growing grass roots movement. But, after reading this book I can see that he truly does understand the benefits and implementation of the FairTax plan. It’s not just lip service. And, more importantly he is actually willing to scrap the IRS and start over with an entirely new system. As he puts it, “a twist of the screwdriver or a tap of the hammer,” is not going to fix our tax system. Nothing is. Our tax system is broken and it’s time for a totally new structure.

Mike Huckabee recognizes the difference between a health care system and a disease care system. In a disease care system, our current system, people receive medical care when they’re sick and doctors receive payment for treating sick people. In a health care system people receive benefits for staying healthy and doctors get paid for helping them stay healthy. We need to move from a disease treatment system to a disease preventive system. Or, as he quotes a doctor friend of his, “We need to quit treating snakebites and start killing some snakes.”

Finally, and I think most importantly, Mike Huckabee recognizes that real change can not be realized in the course of a four year term. True change takes years, possibly generations, and true leaders of vision do not limit themselves to the changes they can make and get credit for during their term in office.

It’s these logical, common sense solutions and the apparent integrity of the man that make me wish I’d learned more about him before the election. I wholeheartedly recommend that you get this book. Read it thoroughly, and listen not just to what Mike Huckabee says but to what comes through in how he says it.

I’m going to be watching him closely over the next few years, and I encourage you to do the same, but for now I gotta say, “I like Mike!”

American Solutions for Jobs and Prosperity

American Solutions for Winning the Future is a unique non-partisan organization designed to rise above traditional gridlocked partisanship to provide real, significant solutions to the most important issues facing our country.

The massive spending bill making its way through Congress is not a real solution. It’s doing for the sake of doing, and not for the sake of reasonable result. Through good old fashioned “people first” thinking American Solutions is offering a clear and decisive alternative that creates jobs and rewards work, saving, and investment.

Here are the twelve critical points of the American Solutions for Jobs and Prosperity. If after reading these points you want to endorse the American Solutions alternative, or join in the discussion regarding the plan, visit American Solutions for winning the future and help spread the word.

  1. Payroll Tax Stimulus.  With a temporary new tax credit to offset 50% of the payroll tax, every small business would have more money, and all Americans would take home more of what they earn.
  2. Real Middle-Income Tax Relief. Reduce the marginal tax rate of 25% down to 15%, in effect establishing a flat-rate tax of 15% for close to 9 out of 10 American workers.
  3. Reduce the Business Tax Rate.  Match Ireland’s rate of 12.5% to keep more jobs in America.
  4. Homeowner’s Assistance. Provide tax credit incentives to responsible home buyers so they can keep their homes.
  5. Controlling Spending So We Can Move to a Balanced Budget.  This begins with eliminating Congressional earmarks and wasteful pork-barrel spending.
  6. No State Aid Without Protection From Fraud.  Require state governments to adopt anti-fraud and anti-theft policies before giving them more money.
  7. More American Energy Now. Explore for more American oil and gas and invest in affordable energy for the future, including clean coal, ethanol, nuclear power and renewable fuels.
  8. Abolish Taxes on Capital Gains. Match China, Singapore and many other competitors. More investment in America means more jobs in America.
  9. Protect Our Right to Vote in the Workplace. We must protect a worker’s right to decide by secret ballot whether to join a union.
  10. Replace Sarbanes-Oxley.  This failed law is crippling entrepreneurial startups.  Replace it with affordable rules that help create jobs, not destroy them.
  11. Abolish the Death Tax. Americans should work for their families, not for Washington.
  12. Invest in Energy and Transportation Infrastructure. This includes a new, expanded electric power grid and a 21st century air traffic control system that will reduce delays in air travel and save passengers, employees and airlines billions of dollars per year.

Visit American Solutions for Winning the Future and endorse this plan. Thank you.

What was I thinking?

Don’t you just hate it when you’ve been doing something a certain way almost your whole life, and then find out you’ve been doing it all wrong? Me too!

But I have to say, now that my eyes have been opened and I’m seeing the logic of doing things differently I wonder how I never saw it before. When I think of all those years, decades even, that I spent carefully and cautiously doing everything I could to spend less money than I made. When I think of all the time I wasted balancing checkbooks and tracking expenses and worrying about repaying my debts. It just makes me want to whack myself on the back of the head. All that stuff is so unnecessary. Why did I put myself through all that?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame myself, of course. I blame my parents and my high school math teacher. How dare my parents instill in me a sense of responsibility? Who needs that? And this sense of fairness, what am I supposed to do with that? And this “Golden Rule” thing? That’s got no place in my new reality. And then there’s my math teacher who taught me to budget my expenses within my income. He even tried to teach us that it was important to balance our accounts, every month. Can you imagine? For thirty-five years I’ve been doing all this stuff and then, just this morning, it hit me. I’m doing it all wrong. There is such an easier way. So, here’s the deal.

First, I’m going to need you to send me a couple of bucks. And then, because I know times are tough I’m going to send you back a quarter. Then, I’m going to take most of what’s left and spend it on stuff that I think you would like. Unfortunately, this will require a lot of effort on my part and there will be expenses but I don’t want you to worry about that. If I need more money I’ll just borrow it from someone else and we’ll worry about it later. And of course, I want this to be fair for everyone so if you have more money than your neighbor then I’ll need you to give him a couple of bucks so he can send in his fair share, too. We certainly don’t want anyone to feel shortchanged.

For your convenience we can set up a direct annual withdrawal from your bank account. How about April 15? And for simplicity sake you might want to make that an account that will be a part of your estate. Thanks in advance and have a nice day.

Facetiously yours,

Tim Couch

Tuck and Roll

Cute, furry, fearless
Cute, furry, fearless

Greetings,

My wish for you today is that you experience a moment of wonder.

Things have been kind of slow here at the CowChows lately. Ice storms have a way of slowing things down, it seems. During this past week while everything was iced over we took to putting bird seed out back for our more Liberal feathered friends. It was nice. They got something to eat and we got to enjoy the show. The only problem came when Senator Squirrel discovered the seeds. Then he would run off all the birds and just sit in the middle of the feeder and stuff his jowls full of seeds. We had plenty of seeds to go around, but there was just something about the way he took over the feeder and wouldn’t let anyone eat until he had his fill.

So, when he showed up I would fling the door open and storm out onto the porch doing my Rottweiler imitation and make a big show to scare him off. At first it worked pretty good. He’d take off like a shot, scamper up a tree, and sit there and twitch his tail and chatter at me. But, after a few days he didn’t scare so easily and I found myself chasing him further into the yard. Sometimes he was back before I even got the snow off my shoes.

This morning I looked out and there he was, plopped down in the feeder, jowls bulging, and not a bird in sight. I threw open the door and charged onto the porch. He looked up, fainted right and then dove left. He went to the ground, but then he stopped. He just looked at me as if he knew I was all noise. So I started down the porch steps after him, and I made it as far as the landing. There was still ice on the landing.

My shoe hit the ice and kept right on going. I was immediately in full blown FDD (Falling Down Denial). That’s when you’re obviously going down but haven’t quite accepted it yet. FDD is also sometimes known as the Falling Down Dance. Fortunately, on my way down I remembered to tuck so my wrist and shoulder took the brunt of the fall. Unfortunately, I don’t roll quite so good anymore so it was more of a “tuck and splat.” After determining that everything still wiggled like it was supposed to I peeled myself up off the ice. The squirrel was nowhere to be seen, but I could hear him laughing somewhere up in the tree. I limped back toward the house brushing ice and bird crap off my clothes, and went inside where I belonged.

The thing is, the birds didn’t ask us to feed them. They didn’t ask me to chase away the squirrel. The ice storm came and we decided they needed us to take care of them when they most likely could have taken care of themselves. And the funny thing is, come the next ice storm we’ll do it all over again. Go figure.

Until next time, Brother, when life trips you up, tuck and roll.

Fraternally yours,
Tim Couch