Thursday, April 30, 2009
"The Indiana House overwhelmingly rejected the biennial budget by a stunning 71-27 count just before midnight Wednesday, creating the need for a special session that will probably take place in June." Howey Politics
I'll post more links is a couple hours ... but suffice it to say the Indiana House led by a speaker bent on hurting Governor Daniels made a series of fools decisions. Sorry to those that feel we should be respectful of the Speaker ... but he did not favors to Indiana residents and we'll all be paying for this special session. They had a budget to pass, they needed to cut the budget substantially since we're in a recession ... instead they disregarded all government reforms and argued over how much Stimulus money and Rainy Day money they could spend instead of making government smaller.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Senator Arlen Specter is said to be looking to leave the Republican Party and become a Democrat. Sources suggesting that he was looking at polling showing he cannot win the Republican primary but chances are much better in a General Election.
This move also brings the Obama administration within a comedian (Franken) of a veto proof Senate and therefore total domination of our country.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Raise Funds. Without money (or votes) political movements are useless. If the thousand people at the county courthouse each donated five dollars a month to a tea party pac that would provide enough money to make some noise.
Stay non partisan. I just saw a headline quoting Micheal Steele threatening to go after Arlen Specter. No judgment on Specter, but Steele couldn't do any thing until he left. Simply no party will throw their own under the bus.
Start Local. Keep the supporters engaged with races and issues that directly affect them.
Stay with one or two large ideals. Keep it simple. good/small/efficient government
Win something. Get somebody elected because of the party. Can't do much from the outside. If the tea party delivers funds and votes then it has stroke. Fund a primary opponent against an entrenched pol.
Don't be anti everything. Understand occasionally government can do some good things. If we are against everything we lose our chance to engage the debate.
Communicate. All the names that registered should get regular e-mail or blog updates about what the pac is doing. Keep people engaged.
Take small victories. 1000 people from Porter County won't eliminate the fed. Be happy with progress. Keep holding everyone accountable but realize it can't be done in a day.
If something doesn't go your way don't quit. Somebody you like might get beat in a primary, keep funding.
Don't let either party or nut jobs hijack the movement. Already explained the parties. Just because someone has railed against government doesn't make them electable. Stay focused.
At first, this movement struck me as a repeat of Republicans’ Contract with America back in 1994. While that strategy was overwhelmingly victorious in 1994, I believe many saw it as just another play out of the old GOP book. Naming Newt Gingrich as the movement’s figurehead only reiterated this symbolism, and it allowed the liberal media to publicly discount the significance.
At the surface, this movement appears to come at the perfect time. We have an overwhelmingly Democrat Congress as well as the Presidency, and together they have passed the largest pork legislation in U.S. History. Our grandchildren’s grandchildren will still be paying on this phenomenal debt, and for a questionable payoff that may not be seen for decades, if at all. As well, it took place on the very day waste in government spending has been rallied against for more than a century.
According to those Keynesian economists out there this might just be the tug that our economy needs to get out of this giant hole. While I bitterly disagree about this questionable suggestion, I am not closed-minded enough rule it out entirely. Perhaps the FDR strategy could somehow work, despite its flawed reliance upon logical and economic fallacies. But whatever the wisdom between these two extremes of possible solutions, the Tea Party Movement doesn’t seem to have a counter proposal. Rather, leaders have managed to fire up conservatives who simply dissent from both liberals as well as “progressive” Republicans without a cohesive message other than “no taxes.”
For the Federalist Paper enthusiasts who regularly read the patriot-fathers of this great nation, the principles of limited government, reduced taxation, and reveling against the tyranny of government swells the chest. Many participants feel as though they are among those who raided the East India Tea Company ships in 1773. We are simply looking for tyrants to tar and feather. One major difference, however, is that those patriots were charged with a specific purpose and were raging mad over specific policies that oppressed them.
Having participated in several of these demonstrations recently, I have found the respective turnouts to be impressive, at least, and highly mobilized. But, for all of this, what have we accomplished? If I were an existing public official swayed by the force of this movement, how would I even go about implementing its demands?
The answer is that it is difficult to determine, at best, what these movements are proposing. Surely by their timing it suggests that these conservative purists are resisting the recent Stimulus Bill proposed by President Obama and a liberal Congress. However, the timing also suggests a general rally against the Federal taxation system as a whole, having staged most of these on or near tax day, April 15. Even if this idea was not a recycled Contract with America idea, it is a play right from the Libertarian playbook. Libertarians have been doing this for decades, without much attention from the media or from mainstream conservatives. I think the Ron Paul mobilization effort over the past election cycle is largely responsible for this, at the expense of “pure” Libertarians who are furious. As I mentioned before, this is not a new idea, and many saw this coming.
Pragmatically, a platform of “no taxes” cannot work. It is precisely why the Articles of Confederation miserably failed. Certain core, Constitutional services must be in place in order to have government at all. Because the reality of “no taxes” is impractical, the Tea Party message lacked clarity and substance. From my observation, many charismatic leaders and speechwriters have effectively rallied the far right base for a cause that has quickly dissipated, and predictably so. If it weren’t for a renewed effort to repeat this event seemingly for its own sake on July 4th, the sheep would have all but completely scattered.
I was fortunate to have heard many noteworthy speakers, some of which sharply departed from old guard Republican leadership. I found this to be much-needed and very refreshing. This grassroots effort has been remarkable to watch, but it is elementary to see why it has not had the effect it intended to. Because the Tea Party movement lacked clarity and because it came across as nothing more than an ambiguous anti-liberal political assassination plot, it has been dismissed by those currently in power. Instead of cutting through the white noise of the Washington press, any message just became another grain in the constant static. The purpose of every movement should be to DO something instead of just BEING something. I just don’t see what this movement seeks to do.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Instapundit (Glen Reynoldds) wrote on the topic:
But if the vice president is a legislative official, then the exercise of executive power by the vice president raises important constitutional questions related to the separation of powers. The Supreme Court has held on more than one occasion that legislative officials cannot exercise executive power. The Court would likely dub this a “political question” that is beyond its purview, but Congress is empowered to remedy this sort of thing by legislation.
And Congress should do just that: pass a law to prohibit the vice president from exercising executive power. Extensive vice presidential involvement in the executive branch — the role enjoyed by Dick Cheney and Al Gore — is not only unconstitutional, but also a bad idea.
The most important function of a vice president is to serve as a spare president. Using the spare president in the ordinary course of business is as unwise as driving on one’s spare tire. Spares should be kept pristine, for when they are really needed.
Again, I think an over-reaction. Although it would seem like a decent idea to eliminate the Vice President's overegrown staff. How about a chief of staff, a secretary, and a security detail? Why does the Vice President need a economist?
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
- Tonite we passed our 60,000th page view, with 100,000 in sight soon
- We also finally passed our 100th RSS subscriber here at Porter County Politics, thanks to each of you who subscribe and comment and engage
- Last week during the Tea Party coverage we averaged our highest weekly traffic ever! OK, not really ... one and only one time we got a link from Instapundit and we had the highest traffic in the history of our site. But last week was darn good.
- I am a bit frustrated that we have so many approved contributing authors but they write so seldom, time to send some reminder emails to jog those writing skills.
- We tried quite a few more videos in the last month, are you enjoying those? What other political issues locally are we missing? Come one it's not often you get asked for your opinion, which you can leave anonymously below and we will actually listen ...
The council's votes to rescind its appointment to the RDA, to withdraw from the RDA and to withhold funding were foolish and shortsighted.
But one of the council members' complaints about the RDA is a valid criticism.
"We are not informed of anything," council member Rita Stevenson said at the council's fateful April 8 meeting.
No matter your position on the RDA going forward, there is no doubt that appointed bodies in our region have done a poor job of communicating and getting word out about their accomplishments and challenges. Once appointed far too many of these acronym bodies are confusing at best and hidden at worst.
We have seen the same thing in Valparaiso with an all appointed school board, once appointed nary the two shall talk ... time for appointed leaders to communicate with enabling elected officials and time for elected officials to demand accountability too.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Portage planners look to create a downtown business district. From Times. But complaints about fees abound, tax caps in next two years may help soften the impact though.
Gary mayor looking at all options, some include building land based casino and expanded IU medical school for job creation.
Much regional planning and co-operation is being conducted. Tourism boards need to work together and save some overhead. Economic Development groups need to work side by side to attract businesses to create jobs in the region. But so much of what happens in Northwest Indiana in the future will be determined by the health of Gary. As Gary goes, so goes the Region in my estimation.
That's not an endorsement of taxation on residents in other counties to fix Gary, but that is a call to regional vision casting, that steps out of worn out slogans inferring old patterns of corruption or deceit ... a vision for jobs for economic diversity and for good government.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
From the Post tribune video library and Scott Bort, photo journalist
Seems to be better viewed on original site, can't seem to modify embed code to make big enough
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Times article - early version
- I was pleased for Northwest Indiana that the small group in Crown Point and much larger group in Valparaiso were able to voice their displeasure with government. Far too few people take the time to speak out ... I hear in social settings that citizens are furious about what our federal government is doing, but it takes doing something ... acting ... stepping out and saying something with your feet.
- In Indiana we have some interesting opportunities, first our state budget isn't in the mess that other states are in. Also, as the economy recovers we could get very aggressive at reforming government and moving away from property taxes altogether over a long period of transition. Do we have leaders willing to fathom the thought of leading, casting this kind of vision, or engaging us? Or will the passing term of Governor Daniels mean all of our state settles for less ... that would be sad.
- Here in Porter County I am quite worried that anti-growth, anti-development, anti-roads, anti-trash plan, anti-toll road, anti buses and railroads ... basically means we would really like to make a move to Amish Country. I don't want to live in Amish Country for one. It will take substantial leadership right now, to cast a vision for growth and job creation that facilitates our citizens' desire to not ever look or feel like Lake County. I say this tentatively because I know that even this comment has the underlying tones of racism inferred.
The Porter County Republicans will be having their inaugural meeting TOMORROW NIGHT, Thursday, April 16th at 8pm in Urschel Hall (1909 Chapel Drive) on the Valparaiso University Campus, and I haven't heard from many of you. Please respond whether you are attending as soon as possible here: http://www.facebook.com/reqs.php?nctrct=1239828931089#/event.php?eid=61299547780 if you have Facebook. If not, just join us tomorrow night. This is going to be a great event!
There is much recent controversy in Porter County politics and this is your chance to weigh in on the issues and get involved in your local party. If you haven't been to a meeting in awhile, this is your chance to refresh your membership. If you've never been to a PCGOP meeting before, please seriously consider taking an hour and meeting fellow Republicans and finding out about the exciting things that are going on in the Porter County Republican Party. I assure you that it will be well worth your time...
I look forward to seeing each and every one of you there!
President, Valpo Law Republicans (Co-host)
Live Video starting at 10 a.m. from Indianapolis Tea Party
Northwest Indiana Tea Party on Facebook
Sorry if you aren't following the tea party movement this week, it is the focus of this site this week. The Times finally decided to cover the event, Times article, although just enough yellow journalism to make it seem dirty by suggesting that the organizer works in a government building.
Let's be honest, very few Americans were ready for the dramatic shift of power from private enterprise and families, to the government, that we've watched in the last 90 days. Barack Obama may have run as a moderate, but he's ruling us as a despot. We have no need for TARP, Stimulus, or the earmark heavy budget of this Congress. As a matter of fact, it's high time many of these Congressmen, from both parties, go home for good.
Today's rallies are not a corporate funded Republican campaign against Obama, as CNN and MSNBC have suggested, they are a groundswell of regular activists and citizens ... people who are working to pay bills and mortgage ... people who agreed with Rick Santelli of CNBC and said "enough is enough already"
I'll be at the County Courthouse in Valparaiso today, at 4 p.m. ... I don't actually enjoy political rallies or marches frankly ... but I'll be there with my kids to support our right to speak out and to march ... President Obama - if your definition of a terrorist is someone who speaks out against socialism and totalitarianism, then you're in for a surprise today! You have over-stretched your mandate ... 50 million voted for you because you speak well and got them excited, not because you were going to turn our nation into Cuba.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
If I've missed your event leave a comment and I'll update yet tonite. Some are missing details which may be avail on the google map on this morning's post.
When: April 15, TBA
Facebook Group: Coming Soon!
When: April 15, 6:00pm
Where: Donner Park, 19th & LaFayette
When: April 15, 5:00pm
Where: Evansville Civic Center
Other Info: http://meetup.com/united-conservative-movement
When: April 15, 12:00 Noon
Where: Courthouse Steps
When: April 15, 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Where: Jasper Train Depot
Facebook Group: Coming Soon
When: April 15, 6:00pm
Where: Dearborn County Courthouse, West High Street
City: South Bend
When: April 15, 11:00am - 3:00pm
Where: Corner of Washington and Main, downtown in front of the County Court House
When: April 15, 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Where:Courthouse Lawn (south side)
When: April 15, 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Where:front steps of the Pulaski County Courthouse
What we need, cancel the Congressional Re-election Credit Card. A total economic recovery is right around the corner, in my opinion it's already started, but the worst possible thing would be to let the administration borrow $2 Trillion and ruin interest rates and the value of the dollar. Time for a nationwide call for repealing the Stimulus Bill, the President's Budget, and Earmarks bought and paid for by PAC funds and corporations.
That's the reason to join the Tea Parties tomorrow ... a call for citizens to speak out, don't wait until Congress ruins the economy say something now.
View 2009 Tea Parties in a larger map
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Happy Resurrection Sunday - Which we call Easter
Roughly 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ raised himself from the grave, he was all the way dead don't play games with the story in your head, and he overcame that death to show that he/God is dominant over even death.
"Where o death is thy sting ..."
Although we as Christ followers believe in our own mortality and depravity in sin, and our need for a redeemer to pay the penalty of our sins, and therefore the dominant role of the cross in helping us remember the horrible death and sacrifice of Christ
The Resurrection is in many ways more important. All other sacrifices died, the lamb the goat the bird, never to be seen again.
Jesus Christ rose again ... that's a really big deal. Quite possibly the most important event in human history, in 7,000 years, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A 100% man, who was 100% God (of course we can't understand that tension) died a horrible death and then three days later raised himself from that tomb, rolled away a multiple ton rock, and walked out still bearing the holes in his hands and feet ... the marks of the price he paid on our behalf.
Sorry for this pause in political debate, but it's well worth the pause. If you are offended at this blatant statement, or feel that no one has the right to state "truth" when there are so many different opinions in today's society ... welcome to post modern predictable thought ... you too have been duped by humanities 7,000 year desire to be "my own person" and "not need a god"
Take a deep breath and dare yourself to ask "where do I stand for eternity?"
Over 233 years of tears, blood, body parts, families destroyed, hundreds of thousands of lives sacrificed in order to protect and defend the United States Constitution and Republic principles & I am honored to have spent over 34 years in the US Army, taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic&that oath will hold firm as long as I live
Thomas Jefferson said *To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.*
We have seen, literally before our eyes unimaginable corruption and
incompetence by American leadership, printing money we dont have,
bailing out failures, unprotected borders, and illegal aliens by the
millions, on and on. It is not my intention to offend anyone, I speak
as a non-partisan, but Ill not pull punches&my fox-hole experience
gives me some measure of credibility to speak in support of our
Do you share in my disgust, just totally fed up with the taking apart
of our Constitution, our nation, unbelievable incompetence and
purposeful betrayal by the so-called leadership in America?
It boils down to two variables in my opinion: *Power and greed*&we
the people are useful at election time to support the power seekers,
but merely irritants after that& we are of little to no consequence
until the next election. The deceivers, manipulators are in our face,
view us with disdain when we tell them NO&Whos in charge? We the
people or politicians? I mean have you had enough&&& ready to take a
stand, do whatever it takes to put boots on the ground and tell
Washington, D.C a revolution is coming? A Merle Haggard song comes to
mind, Washington, Youre walking on the fightin side of me?
I would be preaching to the choir if I listed all the bottom feeder
illegal and immoral actions that are destroying our nation&I will
mention one item that has fired me up recently because it reflects a
gutless appeaser. The occupant of the White House in a speech on
foreign soil last week stated America showed arrogance and been
dismissive, even derisive toward European leadership. Can you
believe the chief executive of our nation would categorize Americans
in those terms? A nation that has given its heart and treasure in
support of suffering relief and freedom throughout the world.
Further, to add insult to injury, a man acting as U.S. president
bowing to a Saudi Arabian official, demonstrating a subservient
position for America. I can only imagine our Founding Fathers
reaction over such a statement or suggesting America bows to any
nation in the World?. Is there any doubt the leadership compass in
America has lost touch with its Constitutional rudder?
We as Americans can no longer stand-by, watch, allowing our nation
and hundreds of thousands of warrior lives to be treated as so much
fodder for the political grist mill? Now I know many patriots are
doing things, maybe you, but were not doing enough. Were not
stopping the insanity in Washington, D.C. and other greedy and
power-hungry pockets that are creating national destruction. It goes
on and on and cannot stand&we simply must rise up across America,
come together and consolidate the fragmented, isolated pockets of
patriotic support&act as a massive force of millions, shoulder to
shoulder, arm in arm, a cohesive force for America against greedy,
self-serving politicians, corporations, money launderers, immoral
murderers, that are making a mockery of our US Constitution and God
ordained Republic principles.
Its no longer business as usual&many have been talking a good game
but the talking must stop. Millions of Americans have an opportunity
to peacefully take to the streets on April 15 Tea Party Day to forge
our nation-wide take back America movement. We must let huge
numbers do the talking all across the nation&the TEA PARTY movement
is not an invitation to stand-up, it demands our attention because we
have no alternative but to stand-up&if we dont we are contributing to
national destruction by our absence.
All States, many cities in each State are making preparations to
field millions of Americans to raise our voices in a massed force
that will totally jolt the entire nation. (Pensacola, Ft Walton,
Crestview, Niceville, Panama City) This is not about some few hundred
or a few thousand people in specific cities&this is about millions in
major cities, hundreds of thousands in medium cities, and tens of
thousands in smaller cities all across America&& April 15th must be a
gigantic outpouring or the PC media and politicians will view us as a
weak, fragmented movement and they will continue their dishonorable
politically correct direction. A few million patriots in
Washington, D.C. cant be far off.
*The silent majority has been silent too long, we must send a roar
that we want, no we demand in no uncertain terms that the thievery in
America end, the corruption will no longer be tolerated, greedy
leadership will be put on notice&.Ignoring, betraying, and
dishonoring our Constitution and Republic principles will be treated
as more than ample reason to fire the entire US Congress. *
This is deadly serious patriots&we can do this now, rise up in a
non-violent gathering to convince a shameful, rudderless,
out-of-control government to mend behavior or risk a potential
implosion in America of devastating proportion. We simply cannot
allow over 233 years of sacrifice for freedom be swept aside by
ungrateful, self-serving, progressive slime balls that would destroy
our Constitution and our nation&..
So, find some friends, select a rally point and commit, without
qualification, to be on the street April 15th 2009&.and remember,
April 15th mass rallies across America is just a continuation of what
were doing today. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE, sacrifice is still
required&.we must stop the madness in Washington, D.C.
God bless you&&thank you for your support to America. Have a blessed
Harry Riley, COL, USA, Ret
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Three members of the TradeWinds Rehabilitation Center board of directors -- Speros Batistatos, Ray Kasmark and Victor DeMeyer -- have accused TradeWinds Human Resources Director Dan Whitten of "possible financial malfeasance." (Source Times)
I feel bad for Dan, although I wonder why he didn't foresee a problem if a major part of his income comes from a non-profit funded and supported by those he so easily ignored when voting to leave the RDA. Sure I think it's paybacks, but if Mike Bucko voted to eliminate all NITCO towers in Porter County he'd lose his paying job too right?
Friday, April 10, 2009
A good question, and one that probably requires more than the answer I gave last nite - permission to revise and extend my remarks :-) Here's a start, more to come later today, your comments and follow-up questions will be used to revise the post today, so leave comments and questions please.
- Set up an RSS Reader - I use Google's free reader and it's pretty user friendly, you grab the RSS code or feed URL for each site you like to follow. Let's try it - hover your mouse over this link Porter County Politics RSS and right click and choose "copy this URL" or "copy link location" ... now go into your feed reader of choice all of them are easy to set up. In google reader you will see "add subscription" in top left ... choose this button ... in the box right click again and this time "paste" so that the feed you copied goes in the box. Then "add" ... You should be set up to get our headlines in your reader everytime we post. We have just short of 100 subscribers (free) who have done this exact thing and never miss a breaking post.
- If you are a Facebook member, you can also "follow" us on facebook's networked blogs feature. Porter County Politics Networked on Facebook
- There is a Tea Party in Porter County on April 15th at 4 p.m. you can get the breaking news on that movement on Facebook or their website.
- Now some other sites to keep an eye on daily - Hoosier Access, Indiana Hardball Conservative, Blue Indiana, Hoosiers for Fair Taxation, Circle City Pundit, Hoosier Pundit, Blue County Red State, Ft Wayne News, Advance Indiana ... all great political sites in our state and worthy of adding to your RSS reader. Frankly they tend to break news that gets reported by the Times and Post later in the day or even the next day.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
One minute audio
No word today on legal ramifications, will the RDA sue for the $3.5 million ... heck Gary was behind millions and they hadn't even threatened them yet. That does bring up an interesting point -
Why did we have to get out now? I understand this cut the Town of Porter off at the knees on a project, and our next payment wasn't due until August. What was the rush again?
"The 2006 assessments were trended wrong" per the DLGF ... and thus we begin the presentation on Porter County's assessment woes.
The DLGF Commissioner brought 6 members with him for this presentation. Attendance is much lower than last nite's craziness with RDA removal. Interestingly it would appear the elected assessor was too busy to attend too.
We start with some background and terms. Trending is not the same as reassessment. "What happened here was not supposed to happen, especially in the second year of a trending". So our assessor blew it right?
- Most properties were assessed right, and are now at market value. They were supposed to be there two years ago and our assessors played too many games and "cherry picked" to keep them low. Shorewood is still low and will need to be re-assessed for the last two years.
- If most properties are right, why did taxes jump so much? Well frankly that's a bit of a mystery ... the tax rates should have gone done a bunch since valuations went up over 30%. Rates went down only 11% in Center Township.
- The biggie, and for some reason under reported is that the Valparaiso Schools (and Portage Schools) grabbed an extremely high amount of extra cash last year. Can't say I know the politics but it looks like they knew the state was taking over the budgets this year and they needed to be as high as possible going into the new situation.
- Both Valpo and Portage were lean frankly, it was schools that blew the budget. And in Valpo you have no one to blame because the city council doesn't even review the budget set by their appointees. I would say it's time to go to an elected school board.
Commissioner mentions Strongbows, nice advertisement! Next speaker goes right to the jugular, land values require use of sales only. Basically they're building a case that land was assessed incorrectly and applied wrong in 2006 ... Causing massive mess in 2007
Lots of questions from the floor and I had to leave after 2 hours. Will get links from Times and Post writers when they post later tonite. Saw Lakeshore TV there, love to see a video of their interview with DLGF Commissioner.
Let's boil it down. There were some errors and gross negligence by the assessors office. They really need to go, I think both parties are in agreement there. But even if those assessments were perfect, the rates are high, way high for small businesses. They are high mainly due to the schools ... but also because government in general is still growing even though we are in a recession.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
In an amazing turn of affairs most people speaking tonight were supporting the RDA and staying in it!! This was actually a surprise to me, since I figured it was easier to get a crowd against taxes than one for them. After all the testimony though the vote was called with:
Stevenson, Graham, Blaney and Whitten voting to remove Porter County from the RDA ...
Will the attorney general act on the legal issue now? Can a county remove itself after committing? In an interesting side note the council also ordered their appointment to the RDA to stop attending meetings. I have no doubt that the county can repeal the tax, but wonder if we'll be dipping into our hospital proceeds to pay our $3.5 million this year if we do? Lots of questions.
Lots of details still left outstanding but there's no doubt that the council has spoken and they want no part of the RDA going foward. I'll add links to quotes from testimony and other media later tonite.
Times Article and Here as well
couldn't find anything from the Post yet ... will post the link in the morning
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
The Swing State Project, a lefty Democratic series of blogs, has a post up over the weekend about redistricting in Indiana. Putting on their "bizarro world GOP thinking cap", they drew up what they believe to be the most Republican Congressional map possible (the outcome they believe is likely from the upcoming redistricting process given state redistricting laws and GOP control of the Senate and the Governor's office). Note: Republicans would have to win back the House first, that's a map I'd really like to see.
They came up with the following map:
District 1 - Pete Visclosky (D-Merrillville) -- with all of Lake and Porter Counties, and nearly half of LaPorte, this is a quintessential Democratic seat along the lakeshore. Note: Is there ever a chance of a Republican in this district? Could Pete's troubles with fundraising come to roost if a solid contender came on the scene?
District 2 - Joe Donnelly (D-Granger) -- outside of Dem-leaning St. Joseph County being intact, there's little for Donnelly to like about this district. The Obama vote is still probably in the mid-40s here, but no doubt this is would be a Republican seat in most election cycles. Donnelly should take a serious look at statewide office if he gets dealt a hand like this.
District 3 - Mark Souder (R-Fort Wayne) -- solid GOP seat centered on Allen County.
District 4 - Steve Buyer (R-Monticello) -- I thought of diluting this hyper-GOP district a bit to hurt Ellsworth but realized that the lines would start to get bizarre and that, as mentioned in the intro, there are too many Democrats in western and southern Indiana to be cracked up without influencing at least one district.
District 5 - Dan Burton (R-Indianapolis) -- I think the current lines in this district are silly and prefer my more compact version, still safely Republican but not so "stretchy".
District 6 - Mike Pence (R-Columbus) -- to help the odious Pence just a tad (he doesn't need much), I gave Obama-supporting Madison County to Burton to split up the swingy/moderately Dem-friendly Anderson/Muncie/Richmond area between two GOP districts.
District 7 - André Carson (D-Indianapolis) -- entirely within Marion County, as before, and still strongly Democratic.
District 8 - Brad Ellsworth (D-Evansville) -- all Ellsworth seems to need to win easily is the combined electoral power of Terre Haute and Evansville, so putting on my bizarro world GOP thinking cap, knowing that it would be easier to dislodge Hill, I attempted to give Ellsworth an actual Democratic seat, one that would have voted for Obama. The coup de grâce, both for packing the 8th with Democrats and for cracking the 9th, was the addition of Monroe County (Bloomington) with its Obama-crazed college students. For a Republican mapmaker, making Ellsworth Congressman-for-life is a small price to pay for winning back the 9th (possibly with Mr. Déjà Vu himself, Mike Sodrel).
District 9 - Baron Hill (D-Seymour) -- He is likely toast as these lines are drawn, since his tougher battles (2002, 2004, 2006) were all made or broken by Dem GOTV in Bloomington. While the district lacked Bloomington back in its 1990s iteration, southeast Indiana was also very accustomed to Lee Hamilton back then, and Hill was clearly the beneficiary of some lingering Hamilton popularity both in 1998 and 2000. As for this take on the 9th, a couple of its Ohio River counties are traditionally Democratic, but the district is more rural and conservative than ever before, so conditions would be just right for Sodrel to finally triumph after losing three of his last four races against the venerable Hill. With a district this unfriendly, Hill might also consider statewide office. He ran respectably against Dan Coats in 1990...and Richard Lugar will be 80 years old in 2012. I'm just saying!
While this map is bad from a Dem standpoint, its worst possible scenario is a 6-3 GOP edge, not as bad as the 7-2 delegation seen between 2004 and 2006. Back then we fretted about the real possibility of 8-1, given Julia Carson's repeated underwhelming performance in the 7th...thanks to Indianapolis turning deep blue and most of southern Indiana moving into swing territory (with some clear Democratic strongholds), 6-3 seems bad in the context of Indiana circa 2009. So, from a broad perspective, Obama genuinely changed the game for the Democratic Party in Hoosierland. And who knows...by 2012, maybe even this unfriendly version of the 2nd District could be held.
It's sort of an article of faith among lefty blogs that the 2006 and 2008 elections represent a series of movements in an inexorable trend in their favor; Republicans made similar such assumptions based on their performances in 2002 and 2004.
I think it's rather foolhardy to assume that Democrats are going to continue to do as well in Indiana as they have in 2006 and 2008, given the weight that was holding down a lot of the normal traditional trending in the state. That weight is now gone; it will be interesting to see how much of a bounce-back manifests itself in 2010 and 2012.
If you wanted to base your maps on the Obama baseline (which I think is foolish, given that it was an atypical year with an atypical candidate), the best map that the Republicans can hope for is probably 6 to 3. But then, the Republicans learned the folly of basing their electoral strategies in 2006 and 2008 around the Bush-Cheney '04 baseline.
If 2010 shows a significant return to prior historical voting trends in Indiana, the GOP can probably draw a map that would go 7 to 2. Such a map would probably crack Democratic strongholds in Indianapolis, South Bend, and Bloomington (among others) among multiple districts (not just two). It wouldn't look anything like the current map, certainly, but it could be done.
Inherent in such a power play, though, is the risk of overreach. In Kentucky some time ago, the Democrats sought to draw a map on which they could win every seat (or all but one). In the process, they drew a map on which they lost (for a time) every single seat.
In that sense, 6 to 3 might be a safer map. But that also assumes that you want the 3 Democratic seats to be locks for the Democrats. You might not be able to draw a solid 7 to 2 advantage GOP map. But you might be able to draw a map that has 6 solid GOP seats, one swing seat, and two solid Democratic seats.
All things to look at, going forward into redistricting.
In response Leaving the RDA - Let's Go Back to Porter County, 1863! was posted by another author with a decided slant toward the long term vision of development and job growth. As the last couple days unfolded Mayor Costas has taken the position of regional leadership that is his obvious mantle, while Councilman Whitten has continued to decry any tax or regional structure. The sides and lines have been drawn.
Last nite the two of them actually debated on Lakeshore Television, I was not one of the 16 people who watched the show, and cannot find a link to watch or embed here ... too bad our only local television show is mired in the 70's.
Where are you? Where do you stand? Do you have all the details, need more information? I know three of our county councilmen read this site daily ... care to engage and give us some of your thoughts?
Monday, April 06, 2009
Now the automobile industry. As everyone on here I'm sure knows, Obama is now not only a politician, but a care salesman (which actually makes sense...) and is now dictating to GM and Dodge what moves they must make. This is ludicrous and needs very little explanation. PRIVATE industry is, der, PRIVATE. Government should not be running these two car companies like they are. Everything the government lays their dirty little hands on they screw up: social security, the DMV, VA clinics, etc.etc.etc. If I worked at GM I'd be sweating like a pig, especially if I happened to be the guy involved in making SUV's, since we all know the only cars we'll be able to buy soon will be little electric death traps that emit zero emissions. What happened to the good old days of personal freedoms and choice, and not propping up failing companies that decided to overpay their workers and keep crappy management on hand? All I know is that here in a couple of weeks I'm getting rid of my piece of crap PT Cruiser (which has been nothing but a pain in the ass since day one) and will be going to straight to a Ford dealership.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
Republican former State Representative Luke Messer announced on Thursday his plans to run for Congress in Indiana’s 5th Congressional District. The seat is currently held by U.S. Congressman Dan Burton who has announced he is seeking a 15th term. The district includes all of Miami, Wabash, Huntington, Grant, Tipton, Hamilton, and Hancock counties, as well as parts of Howard, Marion, Shelby, and Johnson.
“This is a very serious time in our nation’s history,” Messer said at a gathering with supporters in Shelbyville. “And, in tough times, Hoosiers step forward. We’re not the kind of folks to sit back and wait for others to solve our problems. That’s why we’re working with our friends and neighbors to build this campaign for Congress.”
“We can and must do better,” Messer continued. “The old ways of doing business in Washington just aren’t good enough. We need new ideas and fresh perspectives to move our country forward.”
Messer announced his candidacy at a small business in Shelbyville citing the significance that, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses employ about half of all private sector employees and created nearly 80 percent of the nation’s net new jobs in recent years.
“If history is any indication, the jobs created in small businesses will lead our economic comeback,” Messer explained. “Yet, as we consider bailout after bailout of another failing large corporation, we need to remember that the burdens of the debt and taxes associated with those bailouts will fall on our nation’s families and small businesses. Simply put, if the burden is too high, these folks won’t be able to create new jobs.”
“In these tough times, Hoosiers are ready for their own brand of change,” Messer concluded. “We know it will take new ideas to move our country forward. But, we want a change built on Hoosier values that aims higher than the old business-as-usual in Washington, reins in reckless spending, and empowers individuals with the tools needed to improve their own lives.”
Cross-posted at CircleCityPundit.com by Jacob Perry
This started a conversation with @chris_hedges a blogger from Lake County who made the easy point: Sad that Lake County can at least figure out how to get their public information online ... more so than we can at least.
When can we expect to get some legitimate professional service from our county administration? I'll go back to government reforms, which were widely attacked by Republicans and Democrats alike ... elect those to set policy and hire those to carry it out.
There are several reasons that this idea is ludicrous:
1. The action is already illegal under current law. This is the very issue that lost the council its most competent representation. The former city attorney advised the Council on this very issue that it was in violation of Indiana State law, and because it wasn’t the answer they desired, they sought their own determination, and it was the last straw. The most experienced local government attorney in the county withdrew from representing the Council for its incompetence and complete obstinacy on this very issue. Representative Dobis’ proposal (unfortunately full text not yet available to the public) is helpful in clarifying the existing law that mandates participation by counties within the jurisdiction of the RDA, but it is redundant with the law already on the books as it pertains to withdrawing. See Ind. Stat. Ann § 36-7.5-2-3 (West 2008) (mandatory establishment of Authority). See also, Ind. Stat. Ann. § 36-7.5-4-2 (West 2008) (mandatory transfers from counties to Authority). What the legislature createth, only the legislature may taketh away.
2. Regional governance is not an expansion of government, it is a consolidation. The RDA was created by the State Legislature for consolidation and accountability of all of the smaller regional special function districts (SFD’s) in NW Indiana. To say that the RDA technically increases the size of government is technically correct, but eliminating overlapping inefficiencies between local and county governments, the Little Calumet Board, the RBA, et. al., makes the marginal increase offset and therefore its establishment is effectively a governmental “cram down” or consolidation. It is easy to persuade simple minds that this is simply an expansion, without looking at the complexities that this argument overlooks.
3. Logical fallacy: we must throw the baby out with the bath. Does it make sense that we should abolish a governmental body because it has a brief history of mismanagement? If this were true, there would be no single municipal government in all of Lake County, and for that matter in Porter. (Anyone remember pre-Costas Valpo City?) There are great things ahead for the RDA under its new leadership, three (3) days old.
James- “progressive” is not necessarily a dirty word to describe a Republican. Lest us remember that this Party was established with a progressive anti-slavery platform. That’s not to say that socialism is acceptable. So called “progressive” Republicans just believe that we should have a more open mind when it comes to things like the environment, and they believe that government should create an environment most desirable to businesses, which includes a basic supporting infrastructure and limited taxes upon business. I don’t see your point that this conflicts with a conservative platform. Are you saying that Whitten, inter alia, better represents true “conservatives” than so called “progressive” Republicans? I think not. Whitten and friends seek to block any development whatsoever. You might agree with them on the RDA, but when you couple this measure with the adoption of the UDO it paints a much more accurate picture for what they’re trying to do. Just keep that in mind.
As far as the rail extensions, here I will not weigh the wisdom/foolishness of the ideas, but I will state one general inevitability: the market does not provide adequately for public transportation. If the costs were passed on to the consumer, it would become less economical to individuals to ride than to drive. If we want fewer (single-occupied) cars on our roads—which I believe is a public good in and of itself—we have to subsidize it to some degree or it will fail. We can fight about just how much subsidy is necessary or desirable, but it simply cannot exist if left to purely market conditions. If that’s the NW Indiana you wish to live in (one without public transportation altogether), let’s argue about that; namely, whether we should have it or not, not whether we should subsidize it.
From the Post:
Porter County could opt out of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority as early as next week. The County Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to withdraw from the group.
"I intend to get the hell out of this RDA," Councilman Dan Whitten said. "We've lost enough money on them and anyone who votes against (the withdrawal) should be run out of office."
From the Times:
Councilman Dan Whitten said it's bad enough that Porter County has been paying $3.5 million a year in income taxes to join with Lake County in the RDA to fund commuter rail service and other development.
But on Tuesday, state lawmakers proposed creating a new regional transportation district that could impose a new 0.25 percent income tax to residents in Porter, Lake, LaPorte and St. Joseph counties to fund bus and commuter rail service in those four counties.
I'd like to hear your thoughts? Earlier this week Senator Luke Kenley proposed forming a four county Regional Transportation Authority with ability to tax incomes in those four counties to raise additional dollars for building and managing the rail and bus systems. Although I'm a fan of regional efforts, and agree with Mayor Costas that Lake County will never solve these problems without our leadership ... I am not a fan of forced taxation from downstate to solve local challenges.
Personally I think it's sad that Porter County is the center of anti-everything ... anti-roads, anti-development, anti-growth in general. That's bad policy and won't solve anything unless you are racist and are wanting a "great white wall" at the county line. On the other hand forced taxes for a community that has not determined it needs, and there is little support frankly, a rail system extension is foolish too. You'll note previous posts suggesting that the South Shore should be charging what it actually costs to run the train, not losing money and looking to government to pick up the remainder for ever.
I'd like to see us keep our membership in the RDA, for five years, with a demand issued to the RDA that they accomplish something or go out of business. So far, we sure haven't seen a whole lot accomplished with our $3.5 million a year. The chairman should be changed to reflect Porter County's leadership, not a guy from LaPorte County. The RDA should take over the RBA and Gary Airport immediately and commit to working with the funds they have now, no more. Raise the train and bus rates to actual costs to operate, maintain, and upgrade. Look to sell the entire transportation system to a private operator in 10 years, because if you charge a real rate, someone will gladly buy the system.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Post Tribune story today on meeting last night.
Due to the regulations imposed under HEA 1001 in 2008, schools may no longer unilaterally decide to issue new debt for construction. The bond proposed by Boone Grove Schools is $34 million and there seems to be some debate about priorities, order of construction, and need. I would be very pleased to have the Superintendent or opposition join us here to engage the issue.
This referendum, will be the first test in Porter County of the new laws governing school debt and construction. Remember that in 2009 the state takes over the schools' general fund with taxes raised from increased sales tax and income tax.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
John Evans - Republican
Bob Harper - Democrat
Laura Blaney - Democrat
Might be nice to hear from Chet Dobis, the supposed mastermind behind the scenes, on his position quickly. I liked John Evans' comment the best, in paraphrase: why are we trying to fix a Lake County problem?
Obama ran his campaign by saying he wanted to give tax cuts to 90% of Americans. Those of us that read/blog on here (well, most of us) we saw through the rhetoric and lies and didn't vote for him. Simple math is all you need to know that we are all going to be/are paying more now than previous. For example, the first of these little "sin tax" increases that has been put into place is the tax on cigarettes. Now those of you that don't smoke, this obviously doesn't effect you. And quite honestly, none of us should smoke. It is bad for our health, it shortens our lives, and is overall a stupid and irresponsible thing to be doing. However, isn't that what this country is all about? Taxing my bad habits into oblivion is wrong on so many levels, but I digress. Everyone will soon be receiving around 13 dollars more in their checks (WHAT A TAX CUT!), but after we spend that extra thirteen on higher cigarette/gas/whatever the hell else, what does the math add up to be? We will actually be spending MORE than that thirteen unless everybody decides to be hermits and grows their own food and doesn't drive anywhere.
Now back to the cigarettes. The main reason for raising cigarette taxes is to pay into what is basically the first installment of socialistic health care. BESIDES the point that socialistic health care is wrong (that would take up about four pages, and I've already done that on my site) there is the fact that a lot of smokers are now going to quite smoking because of these increases. Literally ten smokers I personally know (and possibly me) are now quitting smoking. I'll give a conservative estimate and say that 15-20% of smokers will give up the habit. There goes damn near a quarter of the profit that Obama is expecting to have in his greedy little fingers. So now what else is he going to tax in order to achieve his goals? Everything that he decides to raise taxes on to pay for all his (stupid) ideas will naturally stop being purchased as often or at all. He will more than likely just break even on the amount of generated government income, or possibly actually LOSE money.
Now this brings me to my conclusion: Obama is not a stupid man. I don't think that anybody thinks that. I think the only reason that cigarettes were taxed as high as they were was because Obama and all the other liberal dictators don't like people smoking and figured this was a good way to get a lot of people to stop smoking. Effective? Sure. Morally wrong? Absolutely. The greatest thing about being an American is having that right to smoke a cigarette (even though it could/will give you cancer), eat that cheeseburger (even though it could/will give you heart disease), play the lottery in hopes of becoming rich (although its always the elderly that win. Whats up with that?), take those risks in the stock market (for better or for worse), and to eat (I've got nothing for that. The grocery tax is just plain wrong.) So, my fellow Americans, how does it feel to have your personal freedoms taxed the hell out of? Obama voters, I await your apologies.
This morning I was able to get some detail: 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. April 15 on the Courthouse Square
The facebook page for the Valparaiso NW Indiana Tea Party
Email for organizers: email@example.com
Organizer/Founder Faith Jones
Northwest Indiana Tea Party website with videos and links to national site too.