Against Corruption


This is an interesting book to read, because of the differences among the authors.  They were able to discuss corruption from different cultural, educational, and economic backgrounds/viewpoints.

Here are a few of the main points:

  • Corruption hurts life outcomes in a variety of ways.  Economically, it diverts resources away from their most productive uses and acts like a regressive tax that supports the lifestyles of the elites at the expense of everyone else.
  • Corruption incentives the best and brightest to spend their time gaming the system, rather than innovating or creating new wealth.
  • As the difficulties and risk of corrupt behavior rise, fewer people will behave corruptly.
  • While auditing doesn’t sound like a glamorous nation-building activity, it is a critical part of ensuring that governments are spending public money responsibly and effectively.
  • Corruption is a cancer.  At first, it can look small and harmless.  Before you know it, it has taken over your entire body.  Likewise, the losses from corruption can start small, but in the end the damage is enormous.

Humpty Dumpty – The Rest of the Story

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.  Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

The king’s horses and the king’s men tried to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

However, poor Humpty Dumpty cracked his shell.

Humpty Dumpty was taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation and an insurance consultation.

A surgery was required to save Humpty Dumpty’s life.  However, with the insurance agent there was much strife.

The insurance company refused to pay, because the accident happened on a rainy day.

The surgery was performed and the doctor saved Humpty Dumpty’s life.  Then the doctor gave a bill to Humpty Dumpty’s wife.

The surgery cost was more than Humpty Dumpty could ever pay, even if he worked all night and day.

Humpty Dumpty called a lawyer in town.  He filed for bankruptcy, but refused to frown.

Humpty Dumpty’s credit score was shot, but at least he didn’t die.  He said, “I’ll become a politician and fight for better insurance regulations,” then let out a sigh.

Humpty Dumpty is now a leader in the Egg Head party, fighting for insurance parity and equality.


Children of Shame – A Documentary


The documentary Children of Shame exposes atrocities committed at a home for unwed mothers in Tuam, Ireland.  The home was founded in 1925 and closed in 1961.

At the time, religion was an important part of the Irish culture.  Purity was viewed as an essential trait and failure to live up to that standard brought extreme shame, so unwed mothers were sent to special homes.

The unwed mothers were forced to live and work in these homes against their will.  They were treated as criminals, even though fornication was not considered a legal crime.

The babies could be put up for adoption by the home, regardless of the mother’s desire to keep her child.  Children remaining in the home were treated poorly.  They were malnourished, abused, and did not receive appropriate medical care.  This resulted in a mortality rate for babies born out of wedlock that was six times higher than the norm.

Legislating morality has been a hot topic in the United States.  For example: should gay marriage be legalized and should birth control be easily available to all women.

However, stories like this one remind me of the dangers of strictly legalizing morality.  The appearance of purity can become more important than people.  The end result is evil acts are committed to hide immorality.

Thoughts on Immigration

Immigration has been a hot topic lately.  I understand why people frown on those that come to this country illegally.  They are often seen as criminals.  However, I cannot fault someone for wanting a better life and for being willing to risk their own lives to provide for their family.
Coming into this country illegally can be extremely dangerous.  People have died when their boat capsized, or from dehydration in the desert.  There is also the possibility of being shot by border patrol agents (official and unofficial).  Yet these people keep coming in hopes of a better future.
Many of them chose the illegal route, because coming into the country legally is not within the realm of possibilities.  The amount of money they would need to do this may even exceed what they would earn in an entire lifetime.
I think immigration reform should focus on a merit system.  People come and apply for citizenship.  They are monitored for a number of years to see if they maintain employment, increase their education or marketable skills, do volunteer work, and stay out of trouble.  This gives people a way to immigrate without having to break any laws.

What are your thoughts on immigration?


Politically Correct Bedtime Stores


The book Politically Correct Bedtime Stores by James Fin Garner is hilarious and written in what I thought was a tactful manner.

Here are a few examples:

The Big Bad Wolf told Little Red Riding Hood it was not safe for her to walk alone in the woods.  Her response:

I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop you own, entirely valid worldview.


The three codependent goats named Gruff decided to travel up the mountainside, so “they did not overgraze their valley and kept their ecological footprint as small as possible.”

However, they had to cross a bridge that was home to a “hairy, dirt-accomplished, and odor-enhanced” troll.


Instead of helping the city of Hamelin by removing rats, the Pied Piper was hired to remove the residents of the trailer park.

The trailer park on the edge of Hamelin was a civic embarrassment.  Not only was it a terrible eye-sore, with its rusted pickup trucks and trash heaps in every backyard.  Within it dwelled some of the most unregenerate and irredeemable people you could ever imagine – murders of non domestic animals, former clients of the correctional system, and off-road bikers.  With their plastic daisy pinwheels, loud music, and drunken weekend brawls, they sent a shudder through every respectable person in town.


Finding Common Ground on Earth Day

It seems our culture can turn anything into an argument, fight, or protest.  Global warming, climate change, and recycling are polarizing issues.

Maybe we can find some common ground.  Maybe we can learn to compromise for our own personal benefit.  Maybe we can agree, breathing in fresh air feels better than breathing in smog.  Maybe we can all learn to enjoy streets and parks that are not covered in trash or litter.

I think we should be able to work together and clean our environment, regardless of our religious beliefs and political ideations.  Having a clean place to live benefits all of us, so let’s stop fighting and start cleaning.


Happy Earth Day