Tuesday, September 28, 2010
He told me point blank that in both of their cases, a move to mayor would cause a steep income loss, and the financial punch to their families would be too great to consider. It's not that the mayorship is under them; they built a certain level of living for their wives and children with their success, and this would pull the rug out from under them.
This makes some sense to me, and raises the question of whether we pay our major officials enough to attract the talent who we'd like to see step up for the job. Does the pay level only attract retirees, people whose lives don't require maintaining a certain income level (i.e. those with no families or dependents who can make drastic moves without worrying about others), career politicians, or those who figure they'd augment their pay either honestly (teaching politics at a local university), or dishonestly (the home improvement misadventures of Mayor Pabey)? In this age of tiny budgets and the inviolable sacrament of cutting costs, are we cutting too far and driving off the successful class? It's one thing for someone to sacrifice some time and money for community service, and it's another to expect a four year financial fast and lifestyle sea change for one's family in order to succeed at the mayoral office, plus also maintaining family life, especially if we expect our elected officials to serve a term or two, then go back to their previous lives with the modesty and virtue of a Cincinnatus, and not dig in since the old life is now gone.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
It got me thinking about the role of government in preventing disasters. Bermuda gets struck with a hurricane, most people ride it out at home, and there’s virtually no damage. In contrast the US suffered $10 billion of damage by each Hurricane Rita and Wilma in 2005. Not to mention the $45B in damage from Katrina, which put NFIP in a $19B hole that taxpayers will eventually pay. Even a quick drive along Lake Michigan shows houses just a single big storm away from falling in the lake. Now think of how you're on the hook for insuring over 4 million such houses up and down the coasts.
One way to reduce damage from storms is to use building codes to regulate away all but the strongest of building techniques. Then it wouldn’t matter nearly so much if government subsidized socialized insurance like NFIP. The opposite approach would work too: let people build their houses wherever they wish, out of whatever materials they like, and pay their own private-market insurance. No more government insurance programs for beach houses. The private insurance market will price the risk, and only a fool who wants a massive homeowners insurance bill would build a house of wood on a barrier island or beach.
Unfortunately, since 1968, federal government has insured about 5% of the homeowners market through NFIP. State “wind pools” and “beach plans”—most of which are not financially sound--cover another 6% of the ~$75B US homeowners insurance market. NFIP takes in about $3B in premiums a year and currently has a $19B deficit. While we midwesterners tend to think of NFIP as covering the guy who lives in a van down by the river, about ¾ of its claims are for hurricane damage. These government programs, which underprice risk and leave taxpayers on the hook, encourage building and rebuilding on sites that are almost surely to become major losses in a storm.
Bermuda has no such government insurance program, so anyone building a house on the ocean had better find an insurer willing to cover it else bear all the risk of loss. Bermuda also has strict building codes requiring homes to be made of concrete with white stone-and-concrete Bermuda-style roofs. Houses must also not be built directly on the beach, where they’re easily vulnerable to storms. No wonder people “ride it out” and emerge 48 hours later with essentially no damage. Proposals for hurricane-tough building codes have had a very mixed record of success in the US, but one wonders if they’re even necessary or if the private insurance market can provide better discipline through their underwriting practices.
The libertarian approach could well work in the US: let people build wherever they want (unlike Bermuda), but eliminate the government insurance programs that subsidize building on beaches. If you want to build on the beach, build whatever you want, then find someone to insure it and don’t expect the government to bail you out if it gets washed away. We’ll find that not only will hurricanes be a less serious problem, but taxpayers who live far from oceans won’t be on the hook to subsidize fancy beach houses.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The right you will see a graph of the taxes payed out by "the rich" in the year 2004. I'll explain the graph a little later, as it pertains quite extensively to the subject matter at hand.
A plant sent me an email that is being circulated by those inside the liberal Democrat community telling organizers exactly what to focus on.
I won't release the email directly, since that may, in some small way, reveal the source, however I will deal with the main focal points one by one.
1) The first claim is that Republicans have released a tax plan that would borrow an additional $700 billion over the next decade for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans -- and would increase our deficit by $4 trillion. Needless to say, it makes their claims of financial responsibility even less
believable than they were in the first place. (the words of the email, not mine)
My rebuttal? I thought you'd never ask.
Democrats routinely fail to recognize that cutting taxes has, over the decades, actually INCREASED revenue to our national government. However, the reason that the deficit has continued to go up and up and up, is because spending has never been cut. Statistically speaking, and if one cares to he or she may reference the graph, the rich actually pay MORE taxes than if the tax rate is higher. The reason for this? The "rich" are the ones that supply jobs. They own businesses, they manage major accounts...and at the end of the day, if they see they aren't going to be taxed up the wazoo, they either a) hire more people or b) invest more money in different ventures. This creates jobs. Which creates taxpayers. This also creates more revenue for the "rich" man, who makes more money, and pays more taxes than when his tax rate is through the roof. Therefore, the government actually makes MORE money by having lower tax rates over all. The important thing for the government to recognize is that spending, being at the all time high that it is, needs to be cut in order to make those surpluses actually matter.
2) President Obama's plan includes policies that reduce taxes on the
middle class and small businesses, and would extend the Bush tax cuts
only to those making under $250,000 -- not to the wealthiest few.
My rebuttal: this is absolutely true. However, if the wealthiest few are getting the hard end of the bargain on this one, wheres the incentive for them to continue to hire more of those "middle class" people? In all different aspects of economics, there are a couple of things that economists universally agree on. One of the biggest aspects is incentives. Incentives are everything. The economy is not doing that great. There isn't much incentive to hire people. In order to at least try and get the unemployment rate down, the wealthiest HAVE to be included in this. No matter what your ideology, no matter what your thoughts or feelings regarding the rich, they have to be given a reason to hire people. Period.
3) Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's tax plan would
nearly double our country's projected deficit by adding $4 trillion in
tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans over the next ten years.
Republicans are pretending they would pay for those tax cuts by
freezing spending -- but they haven't said what they would freeze or
cut, and their freeze generally would save only $300 billion over the
Hell, see the top couple of paragraphs. This is ludicrous!
Re-pass the Bush tax cuts all the way, from the lowest income to the highest. It worked to get us out of the recession of the early 2,000's, and it is needed to keep us from the edge of a depression as we near 2011.
And yes, some spending should be frozen or at least cut. It's what a responsible country does when they are in over their heads in debt. What, exactly? I don't know, exactly. What would I do? Form a bi-partisan committee (TRULY bipartisan, with an even number of R's and D's) and go through the books one by one. Look for mess ups. Look for wasted funds. If at the end of the day it isn't that much of a success, at least it can be said that it was attempted.
4) Despite Republicans' rhetoric about deficits and spending,
Senator McConnell's tax plan would grow America's deficit without
growing our economy, creating jobs, or boosting America's middle
class. Instead, the Republican plan would return us to the same failed
economic policies that led to the economic crisis: cutting taxes for
the wealthy few, cutting regulations on special interests and big
business, and cutting middle class families loose to fend for
Don't cut regulations at all. I agree. The rules are there for a reason. However, I have to be the voice of dissent on most everything else. Special interests are pretty level across the liberal/conservative board, and middle class families are only middle class because they can hold onto a job that is (SURPRISE!) provided by the so called "rich".
I don't hate the rich. I recognize that they are the ones that actually supply jobs in this country, and that they have to be given some kind of reason to keep supplying jobs, even in this catastrophic economical climate. However, the Democrats are doing their damnedest to keep up the typical "rich vs. poor" schematic that has won them so many elections in the past.
Don't fall for it this time, please.
Don't let "hope and change", which is about as useful as a pocket full of rainbows and unicorns, be your calling card. How about we use "hard work and perseverance", and work towards rebuilding this country as best we can and making the unemployment rate go back down?
But you're not going to make that happen by screwing the rich.
So let us shift focus to something that actually DOES matter: the race for US Congress here in Northwest Indiana.
Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
So does that make Mark Leyva insane, or is it a statement about the people who voted for him?
Regardless of how Democratic this area is, Pete Visclosky should be one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country right now. Seriously, Visclosky is in so much hot water legally that the RNCC should be funneling millions of dollars to our Congressional District with the goal of making him the national characture of the Democrat ass. In other words, a strong Republican candidate here could have very positive effects across the country for the GOP come November.
The problem is that instead of a strong candidate, we've got Mark Leyva... again. This is really a shame because we had a few good candidates and fresh faces in the primary. Unfortunately, they failed to communicate, drop out, and rally around one or two of these candidates. I'll let you debate the reasons for that.
What's important is that Mark is our candidate now and nobody in Washington, Indianapolis, or Northwest Indiana is taking him seriously. It's his own fault, too. With a few radical exceptions out there, very few people who know anything about him even think he's worth taking seriously. In the southern part of the state, former Representative Mike Sodrel (R-IN9) lost this year's primary after failing to win his seat in 2002, 2006, and 2008. The people down there were ready to move on.
Here? Is anybody still counting the number of times Mark Leyva has run against Pete? Sodrel had the experience of one win, which is why he won the nomination again in 2008 despite a 33% record of victory. Sodrel also had a college degree, military experience, and a family business - all things that Leyva lacks. Yet, he continues to run, get nominated, and embarrass the Republican Party. This year, he proudly announces that he has filed for bankruptcy on his campaign website. Not only does he use this to compare himself to President Lincoln, but he also argues that he'll be fiscally responsible in Washington.
Here's an idea. If he really wants to be like Lincoln, why doesn't he go off and join some upstart political party so that the GOP doesn't have to worry about tripping over all the baggage he brings to the top of the regional ticket?
And before you leave a comment about your observation of me kicking Mark while he's down, allow me to admit that you're right. It's unsporting of me to kick Mark while he's down. The difference is that NWIPs are smart enough to see that they're down (they can't even fill a room at a public library). Mark Leyva still thinks he has a chance.
It's a shame that we conservatives have missed this golden opportunity in 2010 to make major inroads in Democratic strongholds. Hopefully the fallout from Petegate will continue through 2012 to give us another chance. Hopefully, we'll have the common sense enough to nominate someone different to take advantage of it in a couple years.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Memo to Tea Party: These Colors Don't Run!
We have heard it all before. There is no new attack, there are no new tactics. However, to those who wish to drag us center or drag us further left, we have a new message:
These colors don't run.
There are clear and present dangers to the American Spirit. They float bonds to pay for their schemes. They rob purposeful taxes, collected for meaningful needed projects, and redistribute them for their own political gain. Never thinking about what damage they are doing to our posterity. But we have a message:
These colors don't run.
They created an entrapment system where they add thousands to everyday robbing from all classes of society to ensure its existence. They overly burden the tax structure, they devalue the currency and create massive bureaucracies that impede and manipulate the free market impairing its ability to self correct and allow the natural business life cycle to occur. But we have a message:
These colors don't run.
The Castle's, Crists's and Murkowski's of the party tell us when their candidates have won, to get in line. But when it comes time for them to get in line? Sour grapes all the way. They are the ones in '94 who said it was time to get back to business as usual, it was time to govern. But we have a message:
These colors don't run.
We have clear cut issues that we can all rally around:
In the coming year, Tea Party type spirits will enter into their greatest challenge. They will begin to hear the attacks once again. They will again begin to marginalize our politics attempting to state, we don't matter. But we have a message to the clear and present danger:
These colors won't run!
We will challenge ourselves, especially as we enter into the presidential cycle. We all will have our favorite horse which in turn will challenge our resolve as our enemies attempt to use this to divide and conquer. But we will have a message and remember, no matter what other side issues may divide us:
These colors don't run.
As they try to divide and conquer us, they will point to a blurry aberration and they will say absolutely whatever to change the conversation, we will know they are all side show distractions keeping us away from our common target:
Sign off below:
These colors don't run!
To most of you, I would hope you consider Joining the Republican Liberty Caucus, our colors don't run and we are focused on a common goal, smaller government. And we demand that out of our party, The Republicans. INRLC.org
You may reprint this blog anywhere with permission so long as this blog is linked to it.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Current conditions are winds 20-40 mph, light rain bands, and rough seas to the south. The storm's eye is projected to cross the island in a little more than 24 hours. Buoys suggest waves of 40' are on their way. Jim Cantore is about a mile away reporting from the Elbow Beach Hotel and will have quite a good view, but most Bermudians are riding it out in their homes. Being on an island 22 miles long and a mile wide, with no land of any sort for over 600 miles, there's little choice but to ride it out.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
SEPTEMBER 15, 2010
Contact Nancy Adams
Commissioner Candidate Responds to Business Forum Criticism
Republican Commissioner Candidate Nancy Adams believes that Bob Harper’s criticism of the Valparaiso Chamber’s Candidate Forum is another effort to divert attention from the real issues facing Porter County citizens. “The issues are job creation, quality of life, and local government efficiency, not who is formulating or asking questions at a public forum,” she said.
The citizens of Porter County can’t be fooled by Bob Harper’s political games, Adams said. As a career politician, the last thing Bob Harper wants to do is attempt to defend his record that has led to rising unemployment, no vision for economic development, and no plan to move our community through these tough economic times She added that she has been invited to a number of candidate nights by other groups and the issue of who is asking the questions at those has not come up. “It seems petty and paranoid that he does not trust the Chamber,” Adams said.
Adams said she appreciates and has complete confidence in all of the groups that are taking the time to organize these opportunities for their members and the public to hear from the candidates and ask questions that are important to them. “I have no concerns at all about the integrity of the good people who are hosting them,” she said.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Carbon Dioxide. We breath it out when we exhale. We create a lot of it when we burn our fossil fuels. We limit the parts per-million in the air that we breathe when working in a confined space. And it's apparently causing a global warming catastrophe that could conceivably result in mass human extinction. When researching global warming, there are several different levels at which once can read about the possible severity of such a happening, and there are several different theories and scientists with different variations and varying fields of expertise that have thrown their two cents in on this matter. What's the “inconvenient truth” regarding this matter? One wonders. However there are a number of different thoughts and theories that are extremely interesting, and each offers it's own unique perspective on the matter.
The first and perhaps most publicized theory on the matter, made immortal by Al Gore and his “An Inconvenient Truth” documentary, is that global warming will result in mass extinction and drastic changes in our planets structure, and the only way to halt or even slow down such a happening would be to pass strict reforms on carbon emissions from businesses, to buy electric cars, and to generally cease emitting carbons into the atmosphere. Al Gore was awarded a Nobel Prize for this documentary, and throughout the film he shows numerous graphs and statistics from scientists and meteorologists to prove his theory (not to mention the fact that he whines consistently about losing the 2000 elections). According to this theory, carbon gets trapped in our atmosphere and stays there. Now, carbon is a good thing, because it traps in heat and allows our planet to sustain life. However, according to this theory, we are putting so much up in the atmosphere that it will melt our polar ice caps, submerge much of our coasts in water, and generally kill over half of our population on the planet. Subsequently, in the past few years, NASA has put out press releases saying that the data that Gore uses is old data and they have since found that the levels used are much less.(Singer and Avery, 2007) Also, in Great Britain, children are required to have a parents signature in order to watch the film, because so many other problems have been found with the documentary that it is no longer able to be said to be scientifically sound and is not allowed to be used for educational purposes(also, it violated the law in that there are so many politically charged statements throughout the video, and one is not allowed to push politics, one side or the other, in a public education school system).(Sheppard, 2007) What does this mean? Maybe everything, maybe nothing. That's up to each individual to mull over and decide for his/herself.
On a more moderate note regarding the global warming controversy, we have Nathan Myhrvold. He and his team of inventors and scientists work in California in Silicon Valley. Some of his scientists research was actually used in the film “An Inconvenient Truth”.(Levitt and Dubner, 2009) Nathan and his team have worked on issues of global warming for years, and they themselves live as green as it is possible for them to. They chronicle many different ways that global warming is misrepresented, and speak frankly about Gore's documentary and how it was meant to “scare the Hell out of people” (their words). They agree that it is a problem, even if they don't agree with the doomsday scenario, however they offer up an interesting way to cheaply fix the problem without having to affect anybody's lives or pocket books. They call it: the garden hose to the sky. The hose would be structured to reach eighteen miles into the sky, and would pump liquified sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. A sprinkler system would pump the sulfur dioxide around the globe about ten times a day, creating what the scientists affectionately call “Budyko's Blanket”. The blanket would, according to the scientists, halt and possibly reverse global warming. Could this happen because of the politically charged atmosphere (so to speak)? Would politicians allow such a cheap and relatively simple plan come to fruition? That's hard to say. However, this writer thinks it wouldn't hurt to try such a scheme before resulting to mass business and manufacturing shut downs.
The third level of dissent would be the authors of “Unstoppable Global Warming”, referenced earlier in this paper. Singer and Avery are geologists who have dedicated their lives to mapping out past climate models, and have extensively researched Gore's film and disagree very much that global warming is caused by carbon dioxide at all. They believe in global warming. Temperature changes and thermometers don't lie. However, they attribute it to a natural progression of the Earth's cooling and warming cycle. In fact, as predicted in their book originally published in 2007, temperatures have begun to see a cooling a trend, resulting in, perhaps, global cooling. Singer and Avery aren't just “right wing hacks” or ideological deniers. They have won several awards in their field including an honorary doctorate from the University of Ohio in 1970; Special Commendation from President Eisenhower for the early design of satellites in 1954;and the Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Federal Service.
Does any of this prove anything in particular? Maybe. Maybe not. However, in order for people to form an educated opinion on any one thing, some type of actual self educating is necessary. If one is to only believe the politically charged rantings of one politician versus another, then we would be a country of radicals on either side, and this writer for one does not care for such an idea. This debate is certainly not over, and will probably continue for some time, between the many different sects and degrees of extremity within the scientific community. And that's a good thing! We should have open, intelligent debate across the whole never ending scope of ideas. Because that's how good legislation is formed.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I seem to remember growing up learning about how our forefathers fought overwhelming odds and overcame horrific elements to win our freedom from the British. A lot has changed since then, including the willingness of self-described "Patriots" to battle the elements.
Supposedly, the Northwest Indiana Patriots had a float they planned to enter into the Popcorn Fest Parade. But when "fearless" leader Faith Jones woke up this morning and saw that they might be setting up and marching in the rain, she called it all off. This despite the fact that the tiny handful of extremists and crazies left in the organization spent around $700 to build the float.
That actually makes me happy because no group that openly welcomes 9/11 conspiracy nuts into its organization should be marching in a parade on September 11th.
Jones' official reasoning was that they would have to cover the float and that red, white, and blue dyed popcorn would fall into the back of a volunteer's truck.
Now, I confess that I wasn't at the Popcorn Fest because of the rain. I usually go every year the weather permits because I love the city of Valparaiso (and its highly intelligent and responsible Mayor). However, the idea of walking around in soaking wet clothes didn't appeal to me and I skipped it today. Does that make me a hypocrite? Perhaps. But I didn't apply to be in the parade and then ask my friends to spend $700 on a float to let it sit in someone's garage.
This seems kind of cheap for $700, but it's their money to throw away.
I suppose I shouldn't be as cynical as I am, suggesting that NWIPs melt in water and all. I truthfully suspect the problem was that the number of "patriots" who are willing to make fools out of themselves in the rain was so embarrassingly (even for Faith Jones) small that the move to pull out of the parade all together was inspired by Jones' desire to save face.
Feel free to take that as a compliment. I'm suggesting the NWIPs are finally beginning to demonstrate the ability to make strategic decisions and choose their battles wisely.
That doesn't change the nutty nature of what's left of the group, but it's something they can hang their tin foil hat on.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Okay. There are so many elements to this it's unbelievable. I don't particularly agree with the Pastor Terry Jones. What does burning a crap load of Koran's really do? Sure, I like to burn things too. I've always been a bit of a pyro. But this isn't going to help anything.
Symbolically, Jones wants to burn the Korans as a symbol against radical Islam (note that he said radical, which is rather important) on the anniversary of 9/11. He has since suspended his endeavor because of pressure from the White House and from his own home town threatening to fine his arse off if he went through with it. While I'm glad he isn't doing it, the fact that the federal government is involved with this at all is what bothers me the most.
Look, when people get mad, they burn stuff. And it's all usually stupid.
When John Lennon made his statement that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, Christians across the country burned Beatles records. In protest to the war in Vietnam, liberals burned American flags. When protesting for woman's rights, women burned their bras (actually, on reflection, I guess I'm ok with that one...). To this day, and I'm sure all the ladies can agree with this one, the first thing girls do when a boyfriend breaks up with them is to burn all his crap, usually with a "traveling pants" type circle of friends talking about how he was a jerk anyways there for moral support.
So lets not all be so appalled that somebody is pissed off and wants to burn something, all right? Let's not be a bunch of pansies about this. "My God, somebody might get offended!" is not an excuse to stop something from happening. If he wants to do it, let him do it. How can you turn the other cheek at the burning of an American flag, and then be so outraged at something like this? If he wants to do it, just ignore him. Now it's national news.
The other thing that bothers me about this is that the excuse the military is using to be against it is that it might put the troops in danger. This is probably true (of course, it would have to be talked about on the cable news in the first place for them to get the reception from the caves, in which case, see the above paragraph and tell the news not to cover it. It's not unprecedented.) but still: if we choose to change our own countries behavior in order to not piss off some Muslims overseas, what does that mean? That's right. It means they've won.
Terrorism isn't just about killing people. Sure, that's often an element. But the basic goal of terrorism is to get people to do what you want. Terrorism is used to achieve this goal when you don't have, say, an Army like America has. Through this manner, they want us to conform to their views, and so they will take their extremist groups and kill. It probably doesn't even matter to them that he isn't burning the Korans now. The next big Muslim firework show will be pinned on him even THINKING about burning the Koran.
What exactly CAN we do, then? Is the White House saying that it's okay for me to burn Bibles but not the Koran? If this isn't a war against radical Islam anyways, why should it matter to burn the Koran? Is this an admission that the enemy is, in many ways, an ideological one? Kind of like a cold war, except we're actually putting lead out there?
WHY is President Obama letting himself get dragged into these kind of things? This along with the New York mosque debate are two great examples of Obama's inadequacy as President. The President should be above these piddly little arguments. Leave these arguments to bloggers and grass roots people, there, Barry. This makes it seem like you're admitting to an ideological loss to the terrorists. And if that happens...well, I don't care much for pork anyways.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Time for Emergency Economic Reform
By MITCH DANIELS Wall Street Journal
Ronald Reagan enjoyed telling of the elderly Blitz victim rescued from her demolished London flat in World War II. A fireman found a bottle of brandy under the ruins of her staircase and offered her a nip for her pain. "Leave it right there," the matron ordered. "That's for emergencies."
A look around the American economy suggests that it's time to break out the brandy. By any measure, growth is anemic—alarmingly so for this time in what is supposed to be a recovery period. The administration's wild foray into trickle-down government spending has clearly failed. Funneling borrowed billions to government workers hasn't stimulated anything where it counts, in the private sector.
Moreover, the administration's big-government policies—most notably health-care reform—are holding back job creation. Drowning in new or pending regulations and taxes, businesses, banks and investors are understandably sitting on dollars that could be putting Americans to work.
Especially ominous are the implications of slow growth for the nation's burgeoning debt. The government's projections, which already point to national bankruptcy, rely on growth assumptions we aren't even close to achieving. They say the economy must grow at an average rate of 3.4% for 10 years—better than any previous decade in a half century. And that is just to achieve disaster, with debt rising to as much as 90% of GDP. To stave off catastrophe, nothing short of a truly vibrant, extended boom will do.
Most Americans don't know these figures in detail, but they have a strong sense that we are in a dangerous place. As I was leaving a small-town Indiana diner a couple weeks ago, a local said to me, "When the boys in there are discussing Greece, and it doesn't refer to the cheeseburgers, something is different." Odds seem strong that a degree of balance is about to be restored to the currently lopsided Congress.
Republicans may not reach a majority, but they will be looked to for constructive answers to this central dilemma of our era. A time-limited, emergency growth program aimed at triggering new private investment should be a primary goal of the next Congress, one hopes on a bipartisan basis.
What might such a project comprise? Here are a few suggestions:
• Payroll tax holiday. Suspend or reduce for the emergency period, say one year, the Social Security payroll tax on workers. Offset the revenue loss twice over through a combination of the following four policies.
• Impoundment power. Presidents once had the authority to spend less than Congress made available through appropriation. On reflection, nothing else makes sense. Plowing ahead with spending when revenues plummet is something only government would do. In Indiana, we are still solvent, with no new taxes, money in reserve, and a AAA credit rating only because our legislature gave me the power to adjust spending to new realities. I promise you that a president who wanted to could put the kibosh on enormous amounts of spending that a Congress might never vote to eliminate, but the average citizen would never miss.
• Recall federal funds. Rescind unspent Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds and any unspent funds from last year's $862 billion "stimulus" package, as well as large amounts of the hundreds of billions of "unobligated funds" unspent from previous appropriations bills.
• Federal hiring and pay freeze. Better yet cut federal pay, which now vastly outstrips private-sector wages, by 10% during the emergency term, and freeze it after that.
• A "freedom window." Might we try some sort of regulatory forbearance period in which the job-killing practice of agonizingly slow environmental permitting is suspended, perhaps in favor of a self-certification safe harbor process? Businesses could proceed with new job creation immediately based on plans that meet current pollution or safety standards, or use best current technology, subject only to fines and remediation if a subsequent look-back shows that the promised standards were not met.
• Accelerated or full expensing of business investment. Economists differ about its success on past occasions, and certainly it involves a degree of pulling forward investment that would have happened eventually. But it seems well matched to the current situation where so much money is cowering on the sidelines, and a burst of new investment might jump-start growth that enables more investment in the future. (Reports indicate that the administration is about to propose this very idea. If so, good.)
Surely there are better ideas or variations on these suggestions that a jobs-minded Congress could fashion. And clearly permanent tax and regulatory moderation is vastly superior to temporary. But to have a prayer of avoiding fiscal ruin, we need to go to economic general quarters immediately.
It may be fanciful to imagine that the Obama administration, chastened by economic reality and an election setback, might join or even champion such a plan. But no one has a bigger stake in the kind of private-sector growth it would attempt to generate. Any hopes of paying for their health-care and other spending schemes depend on it.
With or without Democratic help, Republicans should step forward with these or superior ideas. A stagnant, impoverished America will not be a greener or safer or fairer place. Grown-ups make trade-offs. Pass the brandy, then let's get busy.
Mr. Daniels, a Republican, is the Governor of Indiana.
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Regular readers may have wondered what happened to the regular posts from this particular bigmouth of Lake County? Then again, they may have been relieved. In any event, hypokalemia has been my ailment and I want to share with you some of the symptoms:
- Abnormal heart rhythms (dysrhythmias), especially in people with heart disease
- Breakdown of muscle fibers (rhabdomyolysis)
- Muscle weakness or spasms
- Paralysis (which can include the lungs)
Take your pills and eat your bananas- Realize what is going on.... excerpt below
The Power is now with the Progressive Statists. "The Oppressed" have become the oppressors...
Molly Worthen at New Republic is exhibit A for what’s wrong with progressivism. Progressives just hate "outmoded" concepts like democracy and will of the people. It's all so noisy and messy.
Here's how she describes the "problem:"
"the problem of democracy’s ignorant priesthood of believers, and the destructive feedback loop between culture warrior politicians and the self-appointed citizens defending inviolable but ill-considered first principles."There are several things wrong with this ignorant, liberty-hating statement
1) Ill-considered first principles? Like a good little deconstructionist, Worthen takes a jackhammer directly to the foundation of American liberty, hoping to cause a complete collapse of the structure. Progressives, like their ideological father and racist in chief Woody Wilson, hate our founding fathers, their founding principles and especially Lockean natural law. They loath the constitution, and want to render it useless as a restraint on government power.
2) “Ignorant priesthood of believers” and “self-appointed citizens” is a direct slap and you and me. And the second phrase in particular is just ridiculous: We are citizens by birth or naturalization, not self-appointment. It rankles progressives that we the great unwashed don’t know how to shut up and obey our superiors. Their attitude is what brought to power the Mussolinis and Chavez’s of the world.
3) The feedback loop she calls “destructive” could just as easily describe the mechanics of progressive liberal thought. It has leached into society, academe, and government,corroding personal initiative and traditional societal norms. So it’s OK when they do it, but not when caveman conservative who believe in first principles do it. What lazy and arrogant thinking...
Tea Parties and Town Hall Meetings? Just Ignorant Rabble!
"democracies in general, and perhaps the United States in particular, are not very good at managing public conversations about complex issues."We may be ignorant ( I doubt it) but citizens understand that every decision made for us by a klatch of elitists is one more piece of freedom gone. Maybe we don't "understand the benefits," because the arrogant overlords who crafted the healthcare monstrosity are unable to explain it. Hell, they didn't even read it! How ignorant is that, defending something you haven't even read? No wonder we have no faith in the District of Criminals.
"They demonstrated that the populist strain in American politics, newly revived, means that cluelessness in defense of delusions of liberty is no vice."
"the most striking feature of the town hall meetings: the gross ignorance and anti-elitism of voters whose influence, while failing to halt the healthcare bill, did radically reshape it."
It’s not left versus right. It’s one-size-fits-all statism versus personal freedom..."
Take your shot! You get one shot at fixing this. Vote early and make sure it gets done. But you can't sit home on election day and let everyone else do their thing. I know I have to fight off hypokalemia or I will die by NOT trying. America is sick. Indiana is sick. Northwest Indiana is exceedingly sick of machine, crooked, dirty, liberal, arrogant, nasty, lying politics! Did I leave anything out? Not just your vote. If you are not a complete idiot we (constitutional conservatives of all stripes) have that already.
I cannot just take in potassium normally now and be fixed, I have to take in extra potassium until I get my balance back. We have to not just vote but get others voting as well. We cannot stop until our country gets its balance back. We're so far left right now we are nearly horizontal. I take pill potassium and natural potassium from fruit and potassium in liquid form. We need to join Libertarian hands with Conservative hands with Republican hands to defeat the liberal loonbats.
You cannot do a thing to help me but your country is in desperate need. The local Democrats have been making headlines for trying to get good Republican candidates off the ballot while running people who do not even live in Indiana (Carol Ann Seaton, anyone")? No big deal, the Dems have voters who don't live in Indiana and in fact they have a pretty large contingent of dead people voting for them...so we need all the live ones we can get~
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Originally written for and posted at: www.thesub-urban.com
2010 is going to be a big year for Republicans.
I'm talking huge.
Oprah's waist size big.
Obama's ego big.
Ted Kennedy's liver size big (too soon?).
Very few people are debating this point at the moment. There are different reasoning's and explanations that have been thrown out there, along with a general inquisition as to who is going to lead the party in 2012, but very few aren't in agreement when the question is asked: Who is going to win big in these in 2010, Republicans or Democrats? Now, there are many different reasons why R's are going to dominate, and I'll avoid the usual snark responses like, “We're smarter,”, or, “We're better at just about everything,” in order to come up with a real coherent understanding of the political realities that we are tied to this coming election. To start with, it's the midterm elections, and those classically sway to the right anyways. Statistically speaking, a good chunk of the Democratic voters just don't come out on midterm elections. Sure, they're bussed in in droves during the presidential election (a little joke there, I'm here all night) but for whatever reason they don't show up the following year (possibly because the homeless don't stay in one area for longer than a couple years? All right, all right, I'm done...) . That block is typically younger voters and African American voters. Sure, there has been a very positive looking uptick in both youngsters and blacks showing up at the polls at all, but unless that uptick really rises, there will still be a dismal showing.
The House and Senate both have Democratic majorities, with a Democrat in the White House, and historically when that sort of situation is presented, the American independent voters level the playing field a bit. This pretty well goes for either party, and has been a more recent trend (relatively speaking, because it's more of a trend that has developed more since the past couple of decades) where independent voters may vote in a D or an R President and then during midterms replace a D or an R in the House or Senate seats. It happened in the 90's by putting Newt Gingrich and the Republicans in control of the House while Bill Clinton and the Democrats had the Presidency. It happened again in the 2,000's when Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats dethroned the decade of Republican House rule while George Bush was President, and it will probably happen again this year with the major Democratic dominance in government.
Also, there is the stagnant economy, an overall disenchantment with government, and a whole lot of grass roots activism on the right that has never been so vocal or active. Right now Republican's are battening down the hatches, working together, and, for the most part, placing good candidates in important races. Yes, 2010, even admitted by most political scientists of a more liberal persuasion, is going to be an unstoppable Republican year (unless some cover up to massacre children is found, which is very very unlikely). A lot of this has been happening at the more local levels, since although members of Congress are often looked at nationally, at the end of the day they aren't voted on by everybody in America but rather those that live in their individual districts. This is the reason that Nancy Pelosi can continue to be reelected, even though her national approval rating hovers around 15%. Just from my own experiences here in my little corner of Northwest, Indiana, the party has been pristine with their organization and the candidates have been hitting the road hard, knocking on doors rain or shine, handing out pamphlets, and involving the grass roots with their campaigns, showing their recognition of the hard work these groups put in and showing that the groups are energized and happy with the over all lurch of the party back to the right (otherwise, these same very helpful grass roots organizations would turn on the party, and would be pulling for a third party candidate or fielding their own primary opponents. While we've seen a little of that with the libertarian sects, it hasn't been an unusual amount because the libertarians, no matter how far to the right the Republican party goes, will always peg the party as not sufficient for their libertarian means. Ron and Rand Paul are more the exceptions that prove the rule than anything else, and even though they have R's after their names, a lot of Republicans won't claim them, including this one. And in any effect, if Ron Paul hauled any more pork back to his district while constantly preaching economical efficiency, he'd have to change his profession from doctor and Congressman to butcher and hypocrite.)
However, on a national level right now, there is much to worry about. During this period of Republican re-invigoration, there's an onward battle between many different faces, sects, and aspects of the party to be the leader and, subsequently, the 2012 Republican nominee for president. This next year and half, depending on presentation and determination, will decide if it will be Sarah Palin with her espousing of traditional conservatism, Mike Huckabee with his Christian right and evangelicals, Ron Paul and his libertarianism, or John McCain again with his moderate views. Granted, there may be an “out of the blue” candidate that could jump into the race (perhaps a John Thune or a Mitch Daniels) but as of right now, that seems to be the most likely handful. The only reason I didn't include a Romney or a Giuliani in this mix is that neither one has been as vocal, and neither one have done a very good job of putting themselves out there for conservatism, especially when conservatism is the key word this year with Republicans. Of course I'm sure their names will end up the ballot, but I don't think they will get far in the primary and so, for the sake of keeping this mostly about the possible nominations, I'm not going to dwell on them nearly as much.
On a public level, you don't hear a lot of in-fighting and baring of claws as of yet (which is good, I think it would make the party look disorganized and petty if that were to happen so far away from 2012) but when you look at the grass roots level, whether it be through blog sites, Facebook and MySpace rantings, or even rhetoric at different events, an internal warring of ideologies is eminent and real. For example, while I do believe that there are indeed RINO's in the party (Republican's In Name Only), not EVERY moderate Republican is a RINO. I don't believe John McCain to be a RINO. I don't think that every member of Congress should be thrown out and publicly exonerated. Yes, there are members of Congress that are inadequate for the job, at least in my eyes, however that is ultimately up to the voters in those districts to take care of that situation. Regionalism in politics is a very real thing, and the voters in Tennessee don't influence, say, the voters in Arizona.
Another prime example is the constant usage of the term “neoconservative” to describe any Republican that doesn't tow a certain libertarian line. Every Republican that is in support of the Iraq war, or that agrees we need a more hawkish foreign policy, is not automatically a “neoconservative”. There has been this odd fascination with libertarian leaning R's to weed out the hawks under the guise of eradicating the “neocon's”, and though it isn't going to happen any time soon, there is a small danger of losing the elderly vote that has a much more hawkish foreign policy (but I could rattle on about that all day, I'll save it for another piece). There are hundreds of others that I could speak of, different ways of looking at things, different ideologies, however I think you all get the point. There is some fighting with in the family for the head of the dinner table, and only one man/woman can carve the bird.
This isn't too uncommon, though. The Republican party has always been the “Big Tent” party because it incorporates so many (needed) elements. The different ideologies are there to counter balance each other and to (usually) come up with the best possible legislation for the most people as possible. We need the libertarians to keep us fiscally sound, but we have to be weary of their protectionism and often nutty foreign policy platforms. We need the traditional conservatives, not just because it's such an enormous block of votes, but so that we don't become knee jerk reactionaries and take things slow and steady, like most conservatives universally agree is the best, most effective method of passing good legislation. And we need some moderate voices in the party as well, because not everyone is politically tied down to one ideology or the other, and in fact more and more people consider themselves independent voters.
Also, this isn't uncommon for a party that is in the throes of reconstruction, either. During the long stretch of Democratic President's (FDR, Truman, an eight year break of the trend with Eisenhower, who was a rather moderate conservative, following by Kennedy and LBJ) there was worse infighting than now. Rockefeller represented the liberal wing of the Republican party, Nixon the moderates, and Goldwater the conservative wing, and many more dirty tricks and underhanded things were done back then compared to now because we didn't have 24 hour news channels, cell phones with camera and video recording capabilities, or shock news hounds that wanted to dismantle politicians with a rather unhealthy passion (this changed with the Watergate scandal, of course). Hell, wire tapping itself was commonly ordered from the White House, and the Kennedy and Johnson administration had ordered at least double the wire tappings that Nixon had, not to mention the dirty Chicago politics that probably got Kennedy elected, or the dirty deals that Johnson was known to cut in order to get what he wanted. Politics was different then, less transparent and less accountable to the American people. There was a lot less “sun light” on the politicians, and so not only were they less accountable when in office, but the in fighting was less publicly known during that time or even in election cycles.
Right now the Republican party is like a giant game of king of the hill. Every ideology has their hat thrown in the ring, and they are all scraping to end up at the top and be able to mold the party as they each individually see as the best fit. It's one of the reasons that I love politics. The different people with different ideas battle it out and the person who has conveyed his/her thoughts on the issue, and has done a good job hitting the streets, and has...well, just been lucky, runs and becomes de facto leader of the party for that period of time. Hopefully at the end of the day they can all do what past politicians have been able to do: shake hands and smile. Because while they may all be vying for power, they have to realize that the over all goal is better, if not good, government that does well for our nation and is supported by the people. If any one of them begin to lose sight of that over all goal, and I'm not convinced that any of them have, then all is lost.
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Carol Ann Seaton, the Democratic candidate for Lake County assessor, is not an Indiana resident and committed fraud in her application for an Indiana vehicle registration, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles ruled Wednesday morning.
In a four-page decision, Administrative Law Judge Carla D. Hartman said Seaton "indicated her residence in both Indiana and Michigan only when it suited her interests."
"I have seen nothing which indicates that (Seaton) truly is an Indiana resident," Hartman said. "Further, I find that (Seaton) committed fraud in the application process for titling and registering her vehicle when she applied for an exemption based on her residency in another state and listing that other state as Indiana."
The decision means the emergency order issued in July suspending Seaton's driver's license and vehicle registration will remain in place until Seaton proves her Indiana residency. But even if Seaton regains her license, the BMV said it will suspend Seaton's driving privileges for one year as punishment for the dual registrations.
The BMV began investigating Seaton's residency earlier this year after receiving notice from Michigan authorities that Seaton also held a Michigan driver's license. Indiana law prohibits Indiana-licensed drivers from possessing a valid driver's license from another state at the same time the driver is licensed in Indiana.
At a BMV residency hearing held Aug. 19, Seaton said she would not comment on her residency status due to a pending criminal case against her in Lake County. Prosecutor Bernard Carter has charged Seaton with misdemeanor perjury, accusing Seaton of lying under oath for not telling Indiana officials she also had a Michigan license.
It is not yet known what effect the BMV's finding that Seaton is not an Indiana resident will have on her candidacy for Lake County assessor.
Under state law, the deadline to challenge her candidacy with the Lake County Election Board was Feb. 26. However, a candidate who moves out of his or her electoral district is required to withdraw from the ballot.
That law may not apply, as Seaton insists she is a Gary resident, despite also holding a Michigan driver's license with a Union Pier, Mich. address.
If Republican assessor candidate Hank Adams loses the Nov. 2 election, he could raise Seaton's residency as an issue in a formal contest of the election result.