The wheels on the bus go round and round

The wheels on the bus are, according to the children's song, supposed to go round and round. Except in New Orleans they didn't. At least not prior to Hurricane Katrina hitting. Which is a shame, because they could have been used to help tens of thousands of people who lacked transportation evacuate.

One school bus got put to good use—by a young man who'd never driven a bus—but who drove it all the way to Houston picking people he didn't know up along the way. See a problem, find a solution, help others out. Jabbar Gibson is a hero—New Orleans, and the United States, needs more people like him.

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Lollygaging in Memphis?

Rachael designed a very beautiful (in my unbiased opinion) cover for the book I'm having published. I needed the original Photoshop file, but it's rather large—more than sixty megabytes, and she's stuck out there in Lubbock, TX with just a dial-up connection (and what's worse, she's only got pokey NetZero, poor girl). Sometimes sneakernet does have higher throughput...

We decided it'd be quicker for her to burn me a CD and overnight it. She drove it out to the FedEx office at the Lubbock airport last night so that I could have it this morning and take it to the printer.

Sad thing is, although FedEx's website is still telling me the estimated delivery time is 10:30 AM on Thursday September 8, 2005, it isn't even in Utah yet.

It left Lubbock at 9:06pm and got to Memphis right at midnight. Then it apparently just hung out there for over thirteen hours. It got a departure scan from Memphis at 1:06pm this afternoon—several hours after I was to have received it.

It sure better get here tomorrow. And I think I'll be asking for my $19 back. The sad thing is I would have happily paid several times more than that to guarantee (truly) that it would arrive today, since I can't exactly have the printer print coverless books...

For anyone who wants to follow along, I'm sure I'll be tracking the package every few minutes tomorrow morning till it arrives.

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Rachael's cover looks gorgeous

I got to see a proof of the cover Rachael designed yesterday. It looked gorgeous in print—even better than it did on the screen. I'm very excited!

— Michael A. Cleverly

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What a lousy job, especially in the summer-time

The summer after I graduated from High School, before starting college, I lived in Henderson, NV with my friend whose father had been transfered from Salt Lake to Las Vegas. (I spent the summer working as a teller at the First Interstate Bank branch on Tropicana & Eastern.)

The heat, of course, was terrible outside. But generally people just go from an air conditioned house to an air conditioned car to work in an air conditioned building. (I didn't, but that's because the luxury pinto I drove didn't have functioning a/c.)

Anyway, what's the point? Well, it's HOT outside in the summer in Las Vegas. And so when I read about a rather strange protest tonight I knew that I definitely would not have wanted to earn only slightly more than minimum wage to stand outside in the heat and be a "professional" protestor.

That's exactly what a labor union in Las Vegas has hired cheap temps to do. The labor union pays these temps a miserly $6.00/hour and doesn't provide an benefits whatsoever. The temps have to stand outside all day in the sometimes > 104 degree heat, in front of a new Wal-Mart neighborhood grocery store in Henderson, NV to "protest" the fact that new entry-level Wal-Mart employees often get hired on at only $6.75/hour.

While a lot of people believe Wal-Mart is evil (I personally prefer to support local or regional merchants whenever possible), it seems rather hypocritical for a labor union to pay people less with fewer benefits than the evil corporation they're protesting against.

And, personally, if I were desperate enough to take a benefitless job from a labor union for $6.00 an hour, I'd head on inside and talk to the store manager and see if I couldn't "defect" from the protest and start working there. Better salary, at least no fewer benefits—possibly more—and air conditioning(!). At least one temp is apparently considering just that.

— Michael A. Cleverly

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I support a flat tax in Utah

I don't pay tithing in order to get a tax deduction. I pay tithing because it is a commandment.

Jon Butler, an attorney representing the LDS Church gave a statement to the Tax Reform Task Force committee, saying in part:

"Our community is best served by providing tax incentives for the support of charitable activities... Charitable contributions help provide for society's poor and needy, fund education and the arts, and meet other important social needs beyond the reach of government resources."

I know I would make at least the same amount of charitable contributions even if there were no tax benefits to doing so. With a flat tax leaving more money in my wallet I'd have the means to give even more.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves". He did not say, "I lobby the government to give men a tax break to incentivize them to do the right thing."

As a homeowner and a parent of four, I'm also in favor of a flat tax in-lieu of being able to deduct my mortgage interest as well as receiving per-child tax breaks.

It's hard for me to imagine that the simplifying the byzantine tax code could possibly make the system worse or less fair than it already is. Steve Forbes makes, in my opinion, a fairly persuasive case that a flat tax would "unleash a stupendous economic boom."

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Saturday's plague in World of Warcraft

Saturday night I was playing Word of Warcraft when a plague of sorts hit Ogrimmar. I thought it was a great new feature that had just been added in last weeks update, but apparently it was more of a bug than a feature.

— Michael A. Cleverly

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Custom printed toilet paper

Though quite spendy, I think custom printed toilet paper is rather humorous. I don't have any rejection letters to use, alas...

— Michael A. Cleverly

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