Monday, February 25, 2008
New York Times
Op-Ed Columnist William Kristol
Last October, a reporter asked Barack Obama why he had stopped wearing the American flag lapel pin that he, like many other public officials, had been sporting since soon after Sept. 11. Obama could have responded that his new-found fashion minimalism was no big deal. What matters, obviously, is what you believe and do, not what you wear.
But Obama chose to present his flag-pin removal as a principled gesture. “You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest.”Leave aside the claim that “speaking out on issues” constitutes true patriotism.
What’s striking is that Obama couldn’t resist a grandiose explanation. Obama’s unnecessary and imprudent statement impugns the sincerity or intelligence of those vulgar sorts who still choose to wear a flag pin. But moral vanity prevailed. He wanted to explain that he was too good — too patriotic! — to wear a flag pin on his chest.
Fast forward to last Monday in Wisconsin. Michelle Obama, in the course of a stump speech, remarked, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.”Michelle Obama’s adult life goes back to the mid-1980s. Can it really be the case that nothing the U.S. achieved since then has made her proud? Apparently. For, as she said later in the same appearance: “Life for regular folks has gotten worse over the course of my lifetime, through Republican and Democratic administrations. It hasn’t gotten much better.”Now in almost every empirical respect, American lives have in fact gotten better over the last quarter-century. And most Americans — and most Democrats — don’t think those years were one vast wasteland.
So Barack Obama hastened to clarify his wife’s remarks. “What she meant was, this is the first time that she’s been proud of the politics of America,” he said, “because she’s pretty cynical about the political process, and with good reason, and she’s not alone.” Later in the week, Michelle Obama further explained, “What I was clearly talking about was that I’m proud of how Americans are engaging in the political process.”But that clearly isn’t what she was talking about. For as she had argued in the Wisconsin speech, America’s illness goes far beyond a flawed political process: “Barack knows that at some level there’s a hole in our souls.” This was a variation of language she had used earlier on the campaign trail: “Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands that, that before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.”But they can be repaired. Indeed, she had said a couple of weeks before, in Los Angeles: “Barack Obama ... is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.”
So we don’t have to work to improve our souls. Our broken souls can be fixed — by our voting for Barack Obama. We don’t have to fight or sacrifice to help our country. Our uninvolved and uninformed lives can be changed — by our choosing Barack Obama. America can become a nation to be proud of — by letting ourselves be led by Barack Obama.John Kennedy, to whom Obama is sometimes compared, challenged the American people to acts of citizenship and patriotism. Barack Obama allows us to feel better about ourselves.Obama likes to say, “we are the change that we seek” and “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Obama’s rhetorical skill makes his candidacy appear almost collective rather than individual. That’s a democratic courtesy on his part, and one flattering to his followers. But the effectual truth of what Obama is saying is that he is the one we’ve been waiting for.
Barack Obama is an awfully talented politician. But could the American people, by November, decide that for all his impressive qualities, Obama tends too much toward the preening self-regard of Bill Clinton, the patronizing elitism of Al Gore and the haughty liberalism of John Kerry?It’s fitting that the alternative to Obama will be John McCain. He makes no grand claim to fix our souls. He doesn’t think he’s the one everyone has been waiting for. He’s more proud of his country than of himself. And his patriotism has consisted of deeds more challenging than “speaking out on issues.”
Sunday, February 24, 2008
And those that don't make any money, what should they pay?
Post Tribune article on Senator Tallian's proposal.
A fascinating but absolutely non-scientific survey of right-wing bloggers finds 75 percent indicating they'll vote for John McCain in November. From Right Wing News:
Right Wing News emailed more than 240 right-of-center bloggers and asked them to answer 9 questions. The following 59 blogs responded:Aaron's CC, Absinthe & Cookies, The Absurd Report, Argghhhh!, AtlanticBlog, Baldilocks, Betsy's Page, Blonde Sagacity, Bluey Blog, Keith Burgess-Jackson, Lorie Byrd, The Captain's Journal, Conservative Grapevine, Dispatches from Blogblivion, Classical Values, Dr. Melissa Clouthier, Conservatives With Attitude (Hank), Conservatives With Attitude (Michael), Dr. Helen, Eckernet, Musings, Cassy Fiano, Fraters Libertas, David Frum's Blog, Jeff Gannon - A Voice of the New Media, GayPatriot, GraniteGrok, Mary Katharine Ham's Blog, JackLewis, (Brian) Liberty Pundit, Likelihood of Success, Midnight Blue, Moonbattery, mountaineer musings, The Jawa Report, Newsbeat1, Nosiy Room, No Oil For Pacifists, (Buckley) The Nose On Your Face, (Potfry) The Nose On Your Face, Pal2pal, Pirate's Cove, QandO, Reformed Chicks Blabbing, Riehl World View, Right Thinking From The Left Coast, Right Wing Rocker, Samizdata, Say Anything, Don Singleton, Sister Toldjah, Slobokan's Site Of Schtuff, The Smallest Minority, Solomonia , Southern Appeal, dcthornton.com, Townhall (Katie), Trying To Grok, WILLisms.
The bloggers were asked to select answers to the following questions...[see original post].
A crafty being, (The Abominable No-Man) knows that fear is his best tool for creating division among the villagers and thereby killing the Good Idea. So he shifts from house to house, from tree to tree, whispering in the villagers' ears that the Good Idea is really a Bad Idea because it's a new idea. He reminds the villagers how good the Old Days were and suggests the Good Idea will cause disaster and destroy the village. The "No"-Man knows the villagers have nice memories of the Good Old Days and can be fearful of the future and of change.
The "No"-Man cries that the Good Idea is not good at all because it's not a sure thing and might even cost them something. He reminds the villagers of "those" people living in other nearby villages who might come to live in their village if the Good Idea happens. He whispers in their ears that things don't have to change as long as Good Ideas are destroyed.
It's not often that Costas shows his satirical side. Good for him.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
For all you taxpayers out there in Lake County, this is your wake-up call!
You can sit on your duff and moan and complain about property taxes. But how
many of you voted for these same elected officials who keep spending and raising
our taxes or worse yet, didn't vote at all?The 1% tax cap on homes is NOT a done
deal. For those of you who think it is, guess again. Our Democratic legislators
are tinkering with it and what the Governor originally proposed in his property
tax reform plan may not be the final product.Our legislators are going to try to
find a way to sneak that county option income tax in by hook or by crook. So
your property taxes may go down, but you will end up paying out money through an
income tax. And if some have their way, there will be a public safety tax and a
food and beverage tax. Don't think this will happen? Just ask the people in
Marion County. They have both. But guess what? Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson
raised the income tax rate on Indy citizens and they voted him out of office!
And we can do the same in Lake County.
From the Post Tribune:
Treasurer candidate aims to abolish job
February 23, 2008
By Jane Huh Post-Tribune staff writer
Bob Wichlinski is running for the position of Porter County treasurer -- hoping to make the job extinct.
"The Treasurer's Office is largely redundant and has, through computerization of the office, established itself such that you can vest the authority of it to the (Auditor's Office)," said the former Porter Township trustee soon after he finished filing Friday.
Wichlinski, 48, wants to be elected to the "unnecessary" office so he can be in the position to facilitate a referendum on departmental consolidation.
"It's going to have to come by virtue of the authority that's vested to the elected official," Wichlinski said citing Indiana Code 36-1.5.
Wichlinski faces former executive deputy auditor and circuit court clerk Dale Brewer in May, assuming neither candidate withdraws from the race by the Monday deadline.
Wichlinski has written columns strongly in favor of consolidation for the Post-Tribune's opinion section. He said he will not submit columns during the campaign.
Brewer, 53, said she is in favor of streamlining. However, "at this stage, we have a tax problem," Brewer said. "I'm not sure this is a good idea at the moment." (perhaps we should wait forever to make government smaller?)
"We need to get our taxes straightened out," she said. "To me, that would be the goal.
"My big idea is to eliminate the tax sale. I don't think people should lose their homes because they can't pay taxes. I hate to see elderly people and others, especially now with foreclosures, to lose homes because of taxes."
If elected, Wichlinski said he would spend his time in 2009, a hold-over year, to prepare the process required for the referendum which he hopes will materialize as early as fall 2010.
If the voters favor the transition, the Treasurer's Office would be merged with the Auditor's Office.
Jim Murphy, the current county treasurer, filed to run for the District 1 county commissioner's seat.
Murphy, who has served two terms as county auditor and four terms as treasurer, said Wichlinski's idea is a sensible one.
Although the function of the treasurer's office as the county's only tax collector is not redundant, "it doesn't have to be a stand-alone department," he said.
Murphy said he would have tried to merge his office with the auditor's if he had the opportunity.
"(But) I don't have enough time to pull it off," he said.
Fellow Republican Andy Vasquez also filed for the District 1 seat. Democratic Commissioner Carole Knoblock is uncontested in the primary.
Contact Jane Huh at 477-6019 or email@example.com
In the opinion of this author, it's time for the other two candidates to remove themselves from consideration and support Bob Wichlinski for the elimination and streamlining of government that we sorely need in Indiana.
Friday, February 22, 2008
From the Chesterton Tribune:
Setting up a rematch of last fall’s Democrat caucus, Porter County Council member Robert Poparad filed this morning for 10th district state representative.
The other Democrats who have filed so far are incumbent Greg Simms and Charles Moseley.
Those same three men vied for the seat last fall, following the death of Jack Clem, who had filled the post in the summer after former representative Duane Cheney resigned.
At the October caucus, Poparad emerged the top vote-getter in the first round of voting among the three candidates. But the seat ended up going to Simms in the second round between him and Poparad.
Poparad said this morning that he’s running again for the state seat because of his concerns about Indiana’s property tax system. He said he is opposed to the latest proposal, advanced by House Democrats, that would tie a 1 percent cap on property taxes to one’s income, instead of the property assessment. He said that would not result in a uniform tax system.
“We need property tax relief,” Poparad said. Of the Indiana Legislature, he said: “They need an experienced, strong voice.”
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Lots of Republicans interested in running for public office in 2008, why? Well I think it's because the Democrats have been in charge during the tax problems and the anti-growth movement which just lost us the South Shore extension. Time to change the leadership.
Anti-growth movement leader Harper attacks Northwest Indiana Forum, this is ridiculous. I'd like to be the first to call for Commissioner Harper to resign and stop hurting the county with his tirades.
With a huge number of accidents on 94 and toll road, did anyone wonder how many of those people would have been on the South Shore if we extended it?
Monday, February 18, 2008
There may have been some people who interpreted my column of Sunday Feb. 17
as saying I don’t think either Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller or Fire Chief
Dave Hamm deserve the $15,000 raises they have been given, but that is not quite
In fact, it’s not accurate at all.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Finally, we got some answers to my many, many
questions about the South Shore Expansion.First of all, the $1B price tag for
the extension is for capital costs only. The costs do not reflect inflation
(i.e. it will cost more to do the extension in the future).
While Chris Hedges points us to a Post Tribune article in his post Why Not use Existing Line for South Shore?
One key issue is the fact that all of the money that is being talked about
right now is just for building the new lines and various train stations needed
for the project and other expenses related to getting the project built. Nothing
is being allocated to assist with operating costs — about half of the expenses
are already subsidized by taxpayers, but that ratio might change with the
additional costs of operating the expanded system.
Another issue raised is
the possibility that current stops in Gary may lose riders, causing them to
become flag stops. While the articles suggest that there isn’t much commerce
related to commuters in those areas, I’m sure the pain will be felt at some of
the fast food places and other businesses located near the South Shore
And, will the predicted 26,000 plus jobs gained with a South Shore
Extension become reality?
The convention team announced recently that Google will be the official innovations provider for the entire convention, featuring YouTube support, mapping, and other google products to help the convention get out the word. Kudos to the convention team for choosing the best provider in the world!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Basically the win is notched, I'll call it even if the news and campaign staff won't. Time to start preparing for Obama or Clinton in November.
Some other noteworthy announcements today:
Oliver North Endorses John McCain
Rush Limbaugh pulls down the rhetoric, of course he won't vote for Hillary or Barack
My Man Mitt says "please support McCain"
Obama with a Cuban flag?
Once again, attorneys Bob Harper and Dan Whitten have elected to represent those opposed to a high-profile initiative. This time the case is the South Shore extension. They've become experts at trying controversial cases in the court of public opinion. Consequently, they reinforce their reputation as defenders of the disenfranchised. To their credit, they offer their personal and professional time, talents and treasure to represent the opposition: anti-sprawl, anti-dump, anti-Illiana Expressway, anti-South Shore extension, anti-County Road 100 South, anti-RDA, anti-the issue de jour.
They're effective at applying the brakes to a project, to the delight of their clients.
My concern is that their approach, while righteous, fails to solve the problem that forced the conflict in the first place.
No dump in south Porter County, but no long-term solution to the county's increasing solid waste disposal needs. No Illiana, but no solution to rising congestion and profound demands upon our infrastructure. No South Shore extension, but no solution to increased need for commuter transportation. No County Road 100 South improvement, but no plan to increase safety while preparing for the inevitable increase in traffic resulting from the new Interstate 65 interchange. No long-term plan to invest the $15.5 million in Major Moves proceeds Porter County has been banking for over a year. No plan for the hospital sale proceeds. No economic development plan embracing emerging economy employment. No plan for "smart growth," just 400 pages of more government. requiring increased payroll to enforce it. Quotes, quips, and criticisms carefully crafted to inspire those opposed while intimidating the competition, but absent a meaningful solution.
It's important to consider that Dan remains a member of the Porter County Council, which voted to join the RDA. Bob remains the president of the Board of Commissioners. Clearly, little materializes in Porter County government without their approval, given they are leaders in the political party that holds the majority on both boards.
When the council voted to join the RDA and remit the required $3.5 million annual admission fee, the RDA's enabling legislation clearly identified commuter rail transportation as a principal objective. And as its name implies, the RDA is in the development business. The council appoints a representative to the RDA who serves at their pleasure. Ironically, the council's RDA appointee supported funding the Northwest Indiana Forum's outreach campaign, which has drawn their most recent criticism. Provided they're routinely communicating with their appointee, none of what transpired should be surprising. Expressions of fury and frustration amount to little more than public relations.
True leaders are patient planners. They celebrate the successful reconciliation of competing interests. They painstakingly promote a respectful, inclusive, inviting process that produces lasting, meaningful solutions to critical challenges. While I appreciate Bob and Dan's passion and public service, their approach is disappointing.
Historically, they win their case, but what do we as clients really receive from the settlement?
Bob Wichlinski is a retired elected official and serves as a political analyst for LakeShore Broadcasting.
Contact Bob at www.219.com
Does Barack intend to distmantle the US-NATO-Israel alliance on his first day in office?
I have stayed away from attacking Hillary or Barack, since obviously I support John McCain and think he can beat either one of them. But, down deep in places I'd prefer not to talk about, I am worried ... deeply worried that Barack Obama is a real bad thing for the United States.
Sure, I dislike the Clintons and suffered the 90's. But this is different, this could be a selling of our cutlure, and societal norms to a very flashy talking leader. I am afraid of Barack, there I've said it.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Is the issue, that they have jobs, so they don't care to create jobs for anyone else? Maybe it's time to send them both packing back to the legal work that they seem more prone to.
Once again, attorneys Bob Harper and Dan Whitten have elected to represent those
With caps from the state, and increased public awareness that counties and cities are having a hard time controlling themselves, 2008 should be the year that councils and commissions actually start cutting costs.
Good conservative honest and open government.
Hoping to curb an out-of-control payroll, Porter County commissioners abolished
Councilman Mike Bucko, who led a subcommittee on the issue, said the move will
This is just another terrific move to move new leaders into positions to help change Porter County and ultimately Northwest Indiana. Great work Mayor Costas!
Conover, a former council member and current Valparaiso city worker, beat Robert
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Conservative Pulse - about 15 mins ago suggesting that Missouri and California basically clinch the nomination for McCain, putting now second place holder Huckabee in a position tough to climb out of.
Well, it’s been a crazy night. We’ve witnessed the collapse of the Romney
campaign almost everywhere they were playing to win. But Mike Huckabee is
now outperforming expectations and might be the second place finisher coming out
Romney vows he will hang in there, but how does he justify that
with his long list of defeats? Romney absolutely HAS to win California
tonight. If he doesnt do it, he’s no longer a relevant force in this
Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee is fighting John McCain for the lead in
Missouri. Over 80% of the votes have been counted and McCain is only ahead
by 1,000 votes. This is a winner-take-all contest for 58 delegates.
If Huckabee pulls out a win, it will be huge for his campaign.
If McCain wins (Missouri called for McCain at 11 p.m.)
Missouri and California tonight, this race is essentially over and John McCain
is the Republican nominee.
Monday, February 04, 2008
The judiciary is different. On Jan. 20, 2009, six of the nine Supreme Court
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Buzzcut at Blue County in a Red State showcases Rep. Charlie Brown (yes, you read that right) and his suggestion that the bi-partisan support shown for his own party member Chet Dobis stinks and he thinks there's something afoot.
Here are your leaders and how they voted:
Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster
Tom Dermody, D-LaPorte
Chet Dobis, D-Merrillville
Linda Lawson, D-Hammond
Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City
Gregory Simms, D-Valparaiso
Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso
Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point
Charlie Brown, D-Gary
Donald Lehe, R-Brookston
Vernon Smith, D-Gary
Dan Stevenson, D-Highland
DID NOT VOTE
Earl Harris, D-East Chicago
It would appear that Charlie Brown, Donal Lehe, Vernon Smith and Dan Stevenson should be voted out of office this year. I would probably add Greg Simms too, since he is a Valpo resident trying to respresent the people of Portage who keep getting overlooked by their own party.
Exerpt from: Arizona Republic
“Actually, I see two states that Romney wins: Massachusetts and Utah. There’s four or five that Huckabee can win.”
California poses an unusual battlefield. Republicans there have switched from a winner-take-all system to one that awards three delegates to whoever wins each of the state’s 53 congressional districts. The statewide victor will capture another 11 delegates. “Whoever wins the raw vote in California is going to get some bragging rights, but you can win the raw vote and lose the delegate vote,” noted Ken Khachigian, a California veteran of multiple GOP presidential campaigns.
In California, McCain has won the endorsements of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News and other newspapers.
Optimism in Arizona McCain will continue to stump around the nation through Tuesday afternoon, when he returns to Phoenix to cast his own vote in Arizona’s primary and host an election-night celebration at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa.