Bob Conley

My continuing interest in the minor history of federal politics led me to acquire one of the former campaign websites of Bob Conley who ran for US Senate in 2008 in South Carolina. I certainly don’t agree with Bob on everything, but we’ll see what people think of him.

Small Business Owners Matter

I run a small business – my law firm. There’s me, plus two other full-time lawyers, a part-time lawyer, a full-time assistant and a part-time assistant. What a tremendous learning experience it has been.

One thing I think most people don’t realize is that small business owners work very long hours. I don’t really have set hours. I’m essentially on-call 24/7. I might stroll into the office today at 11 am, but that’s hardly the whole story. Last night I worked at home until sometime after 1 am. This morning I was up checking e-mails around 7 am.

When you’re the owner, you can’t stop working because it’s yours. We get a lot of calls from prospective clients. Ideally you return those calls quickly. Check out the distribution of when our calls come in:


These calls are money. That’s how we pay the mortgage, the car payment, and how we will eventually pay for the kids’ college tuition and our retirement (if lawyers really do retire). As you can see, my day isn’t 9 am to 5 pm. We get calls on weekends too, though it’s not too bad:


It’s not just money. It’s people looking for help. For all the anti-lawyer hatred out there, the fundamental truth is that we do something important. We help people. That’s what most businesses (large and small) do. If we didn’t help, they wouldn’t pay us.

But my point is that small business owners work long hours. For myself, there’s two reasons. Of course I do it to make money. But I also do it because helping people is very rewarding. I suspect a lot of small business owners feel the same.

It can be as simple as running a restaurant, and the satisfaction of providing customers with a good meal and a pleasant experience. Now think about how many hours a restaurant owner works. Lunch starts at 11:30 and dinner wraps up after 9 pm. You start prepping for lunch around 9 am and you finish cleaning up after 10. After lunch maybe you get a small break, but you have to get ready for dinner too. Most restaurants are open 6 days a week, and some are open every day.

Politicians don’t create jobs – small business owners do. These idiots in Washington and our state capitals just don’t get it. Right now they’re revving up to raise taxes and small business owners are sure to get hit hard.

That takes away our incentive to do what we do. I hear concerns from owners of all kinds of businesses – lawyers, doctors, restaurants, retail stores, etc. Why would we keep working this hard if the government is going to take the money out of it?

If we don’t work as hard as we do, that means fewer jobs are created.

The truth is that many of us will continue working because we still like helping people. But as you take the money out of the equation, you’re reducing our incentive to do so.

US Use of Torture: An Opposing View

I believe it is wrong for the US to torture prisoners. But I don’t claim to know the answer to whether torture is effective or not. Happily I have no experience with it.

Here’s a perspective from someone who does seem to know, Matthew Alexander:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfYov5o5_2s]

He also wrote an article about it in the Washington Post.

Rand Paul on Health Care

Rand Paul is, for now, better known as the son of Ron Paul. But he’s stepping out and deserves attention for who he is. Below is a video where he talks about health care.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BugRMHaL3lU]
This is a bit of preaching to the converted. Libertarians already get it. The challenge for Rand Paul and others is finding a way to explain these issues in soundbites. Sad but that’s politics.
His reference to water distribution after Katrina is pretty good.

The Times Union and Tom Golisano

The Times Union sneers at Tom Golisano for moving to Florida to reduce his taxes. Some quotes from the TU:

to get out of paying his fair share of taxes

I’m pretty sure Golisano has paid more taxes than anyone at the Times Union, and probably more than the entire operation.

That what it all comes down to is, he just doesn’t like paying taxes, and would rather keep his money?

Soon to follow in the paper is the list of people who like paying taxes and don’t want to keep their money.

he might remember … where he came from. New York was where he made all that money. Here … was an environment that nurtured this entrepreneur: The businesses and work force on which to build his payroll enterprise

He could have built his business anywhere. He chose to do it in NY and in doing so he created thousands of jobs – more jobs than any of the TU’s beloved politicians. His efforts generated huge benefits for our state.

Tom Golisano deserves thanks for all he’s done for New York. Instead he gets the TU’s “version of the Bronx cheer”.

The practical reality of governing: Your policies influence people’s choices. Does the TU blame city residents who move to the suburbs for better schools? How about all the NY seniors who move to Florida which has better policies for them?

The State decided on a “soak the rich” tax plan. Why would you expect the rich to stick around for that?

Meanwhile, budding entrepreneurs see the writing on the wall, and start their businesses elsewhere. New York will continue its long slide.

Lindsey Graham – Consistency …

I believe the quote from my Contracts professor (Professor Dubroff) was: Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. Lindsey Graham must have a big mind.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3vH4umQIE4]

Save Tigers – By Eating Them

At this point I’m pretty much a John Stossel fan:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSPkVoGx5c4]

A Republican Who Likes Obama

I’m an elected Republican and I’m happy with Barack Obama … sort of.

Of course I’m unhappy with him monkeying around with the economy, but he’s not doing any worse than Bush on that stuff.

Here’s why I’m happy:

1. Obama stepped up to the plate on medical marijuana. Under Bush (and Clinton), the feds would arrest people involved with medical marijuana even where it was legal under the laws of those states. For those who think Republicans are supposed to hate marijuana, that’s missing the important principle. Republicans believe (or used to believe) in federalism and states’ rights. If a state wants to allow medical marijuana, the feds should respect that. Obama does.

2. Obama is pushing to end the crack/powder disparity. Long ago the feds made the same stiff penalties apply to 5 grams of crack cocaine and 500 grams of powder cocaine. Many felt this was unfair since the drugs are essentially the same and since crack is used more heavily by poor blacks vs. wealthy whites using powder. Of course Obama should go farther, but he’s done more than Clinton did on it.

3. Obama is right on the torture issue. I’ve been sickened by reading how some of our nation’s top officials justify torturing people because 9/11 changed things. Baloney. Torture is wrong. We’re better than that. I’m waiting to hear Bush answer the question: Who would Jesus torture?
Same on this point for Gitmo. Time to close it down.

4. Obama is right on opening up dialogue with other countries. Yes, I do think governments in places like Iran, Cuba and Venezuela stink. But we work with plenty of other countries that stink too. The talks probably won’t lead anywhere meaningful – those leaders will stay rotten. But not talking is worse.

5. Obama understood that belt-tightening starts at the top – a view not shared by the Democrat leadership in Guilderland. On his first day in office he instituted a pay freeze for top officials in the White House. Grandstanding? Maybe, but good policy anyway.

There’s more, but I give Obama credit for doing the right thing on some tough issues. Now if only he could get past that whole socialist mentality and start to recognize that capitalism is better …

Swine Flu: Ron Paul Talking Straight

Dr. Paul (he’s really a doctor) talks about how government (and perhaps the media) is overreacting to the swine flu outbreak. Great perspective.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB5-Y08qbjo]

Universal Health Care and the Doctors

I saw this great op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal: When Doctors Opt Out. Not sure if the article will stay online. It’s by a Dr. Marc Siegel, and he talks at length about doctors refusing to accept Medicaid and Medicare patients. This does not bode well for a government-run universal health care system.

For some of my past posts on this topic, see:

Sept. 2006: Universal Health Care – Looming Catastrophe

Dec. 2006: Universal Health Care Again – Do Doctors Make Too Much Money?

March 2007: Socialized Medicine