Book Review: "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power"

It's not often anymore that I have time for a full-length book, but I recently read Jon Meacham's biography of Jefferson, "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power."  It took a few weeks taking it on long flights and reading before bed, but it's very worth the time.

Meacham covers the entire arc of Jefferson's life, giving plenty of space to his formative years in Virginia and looking at the influences that shaped him prior to obtaining high office.

By Meacham's account, Jefferson seldom would be directly critical of others, even political opponents or enemies.  His politeness and tact were the surface that people saw, while he worked quietly and diligently behind the scenes to consolidate alliances and test the waters to ensure that he seldom engaged in battles he could not win.

Meacham does not avoid the issue of slave ownership, treating it thoroughly, but noting the complexities of the time and Jefferson's complicated relationships with his slaves.  He finds some evidence that Jefferson supported abolition as a concept, but his assessment of the political situation was that it would be a lost cause to fight for publicly.

Libertarians have a soft spot for Jefferson, due to many of his writings and quotations having a strong libertarian bent, but the picture Meacham paints is of an idealist who was an absolute realist about policy and the exercise of governmental power.  His ideas were lofty, but he also had skill as a political tactician in not seeking too much and knowing when to negotiate.

If you're interested in the man behind the legend of a Founding Father, Jon Meacham's "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" is worth a read.


Real change starts with the man in the mirror

There are so many people in the world who are not doing what they should.  When I find myself focusing on the actions of others, I find it helpful to listen to Michael Jackson's classic, "Man in the Mirror

As a stoic, I recognize that only my actions are in my control.  As a Libertarian, I recognize that nobody should have control over another person's freedom.  As a businessman and manager, I have experience that people respond better to examples than commands.

It's time we take a look at the man in the mirror.  It's time to make a change.


How Much Do You Get Paid for Breathing? - An update

Back in July 2013, I wrote a post about how much one gets paid for breathing.  The basic concept is to figure out how much money you make from entirely passive investments and divide it our to figure out what you get paid just for breathing, without having to do any work.

At that point, between interest, dividends, and rental income, I was making $0.34 per hour.

Not quite two years later, I'm doing a little better on dividends and the rent went up on the house we don't live in.  The new passive income is up to $3409.49 for the year, $284.12 for the month, $9.34 per day, and $0.39 per hour.

A five cent per hour raise is not normally something to write home about, but when it's a raise on the wage you make for breathing, that's an extra $438 every year for just staying alive.


The Next Chapter in my Career

Over 70 years ago, Roman "Slim" Sarwark moved from South Bend, Indiana to Phoenix, Arizona to convalesce after he lost a lung to tuberculosis. His doctors didn't give him much chance to live for many more years.

Slim started Sarwark Motor Sales in 1942, selling one or two cars at a time. His hard work and dedication built the business up, through selling new cars, mobile homes, and eventually only selling quality used cars. He was at the lot every day until about a week before he passed away at the age of 87 in 1999.

My father, Frank Sarwark, worked with my grandfather as he grew up, sometimes being called from high school to bring back the car he was driving so a customer could buy it. He's the President of the company now, and just like his father, he's at the lot every day.

The name has changed to Consolidated Auto Sales, Inc, but it's the same business my grandfather started 72 years ago. When people come to us, they aren't always in the best financial or credit situation, but they need a vehicle. We still treat every one of those customers the way we would want to be treated, with respect and integrity. We do our own financing and do whatever we can to work with people to get the vehicle they need.

That way of doing business is not as common as it should be. We can't make other dealers change how they do business, but what I can do personally is join my father in the family business to make sure that we keep living up to the standards set by my grandfather and father for another generation.

Our sign at 1610 E. Van Buren says, "Sarwark's Consolidated Auto Sales." That's my grandfather's name. That's my father's name. That's my name. I'm committed to honoring that name and the reputation for doing business the right way that was earned long before I was born.


Last day as a public defender

Today is my last day as a Deputy State Public Defender. 

Over the last five years, I have fought beside some of the best people I've ever met to defend the indigent accused. 

I've had the honor of saving men from living the rest of their lives in a cage. I've experienced the pain of watching a client be sentenced to 48 years of prison, taking away his adult life. 

Nearly 35 jury trials. Oral argument in front of the Colorado Supreme Court. Thousands of clients lives touched, and hopefully, helped in some way. Late nights and weekends spent working harder to keep my clients out of a cage than the prosecutor was working to put them in.

There are new chapters to be started. They should be good ones, but today is the last day of the most meaningful job I've ever had.


Sarwark Elected Chair of Libertarian National Committee

Blogging here has been kind of light.  I ran for and was elected Chair of the Libertarian National Committee over the last weekend in June.  It's going to be a busy two years.

From the official press release:

Delegates to the 2014 Libertarian Party National Convention in Columbus, Ohio, elected Nicholas Sarwark of Colorado to be the party's new chair.
Sarwark has been active with the LP since 1999. He has served on committees of the national party, and as chair of the Libertarian Party of Maryland. He is currently the vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Colorado, where he played a key role in recruiting the state's 42 Libertarian candidates for 2014, as well as supporting the passage of Colorado's historic marijuana legalization initiative in 2012.
Sarwark's goals include clearly positioning the Libertarian Party as the only choice for pro-freedom young people.
"Younger voters are rejecting the old political parties," Sarwark said. "Reaching out to pro-freedom young people will make us the dominant political party in 20 years."

I will keep this blog primarily for personal stuff.  Based on the last two weeks, in which I've taken official positions on the Hobby Lobby decision, leaving the old political parties behind, immigration, and stopping NSA spying, I'll be saying plenty about politics in my role with the Libertarian Party.

I also maintain a Facebook page as Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, where I will be doing more political blogging.  You can also follow me on Twitter as @nsarwark.


Elect Nicholas Sarwark as Chair of the Libertarian National Committee

The Libertarian Party national convention will be held in Columbus, Ohio June 26-29.  I have announced my candidacy for Chair of the Libertarian National Committee and hope to lead the party to growth and success as we go into the 2016 election cycle.

If you can attend the convention, please come out and support me.  If not, please "Like" my campaign page on Facebook and tell your Libertarian friends about my campaign.