Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Endowment Funds and Green Bumper Stickers

Governor Beshear of Kentucky announced last night his first budget proposal and the whining hasn't stopped since. The hardest hit, according to the one that is the supposedly hardest hit, is higher education. Lee Todd, the president of the University of Kentucky, is upset that that there will be a 12% reduction to the state's universities and community colleges. Meanwhile, fundraising was up again last year as the endowment fund for UK ballooned to a reported $831 million. Some dire straits they are in, huh? Tuition increases will be announced soon, along with cuts in campus security I'm sure. Meanwhile, in Bloomington, the endowment is just shy of a billion. That's right, with a B. $955 million makes it one of the top ten endowments in the country. No wonder they can contribute so much to the Baron Hill campaign. Bring on higher tuition so the students can start their careers with mountains of student loan debt. When they pay it off in twenty years they can contribute to the endowment.

Anyone remember seeing those green bumper stickers that were all the rage ten or fifteen years ago? They simply said "Build the Bridge." Now we all knew what bridge they were referring to - the east end bridge. Indiana had enough forward thinking to build 265 right up close to the river, because everyone knows that is where the bridge will be. Fast forward to 2008 and nothing has really changed. Countless environmental studies and design votes have taken place. Indiana has identified the houses it will remove and started the process of removing them. Kentucky has rebuilt one ramp on the Snyder. Yawn. Let me tell the 8664 guys one thing. I could care less if they remove it from the riverfront or not. It never should have been there in the first place. But, we all know that we definitely need and east end bridge. So let's get started already. And by the way, Mike Sodrel was blasted for even considering a toll to pay for the bridge. Now the democrat leaders in Kentucky say it is the only way to get it done. Wow, now that's full circle. We can get it done without the toll, just take a look at how other states have gotten it done. Either way, can we just start building it already? And does anyone know where I can find one of those green bumper stickers?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Christian Roots - Conservative Branches

My upbringing and unwavering faith in God have attributed to my view of the world as a whole. I consider the book of Proverbs to be the book of wisdom for daily life. Proverbs 6 provides examples of what God hates, yes it says hates, and also a fantastic story of an ant.

Proverbs 6:6-11 (The Message) You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions. So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy - do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent houseguest!

I understand there are those that simply cannot, and that is what welfare was meant for. I understand there are those that won't, and that is a shame.

2 Theselonians 3:10b If a man will not work, he shall not eat.

Back to Proverbs, in chapter 6, verses 17-19 explains the things God hates. Haughty eyes - being proud
Lying tongue - enough said
Hands that shed innocent blood - life is sacred and a gift
A heart that devises wicked schemes
Feet that are quick to rush into evil
A false witness who pours out lies and a man that stirs up dissension among brothers.

I know there will be some of you that will twist these words and remove them from their context, but it will not move me.

My earlier posts explained my views and here is the basis. Give Caesar what is due him, but love thy neighbor as thyself. Take care of the widows and orphans, for this is the true religion. This is our responsibility. Do not shed innocent blood. Life comes from God and is not up to us to end it early.

Now that the left side of New Albany knows my theology, let's talk policy. I will try to the best of my ability to stay on topic, but no promises. This faith is woven into me. I expect the comments to be plentiful and heavy handed, so bring 'em on.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Reinventing the Conservative Movement

There has been much talk lately about the Republican Party splitting if certain individuals gain the nomination. There has also been grumblings of the old guard retiring and fresh blood moving the party in a more modern, progressive direction. This will not happen no matter who is the nominee and shouldn't happen no matter the age of the Republican leaders. I am a conservative first and a Republican second in my political mind. The conservative movement has always stood for certain ideas that were not to be compromised. Following are few of those.

A strong national defense - peace through strength. This does not mean being policeman of the world. It does mean standing up for freedom and democracy in the world.

Smaller government through less taxes - The main purpose of the government is to provide for the national defense (see the first point). This nation has slowly evolved into a nanny state that resembles a socialist government in eastern Europe. We fund departments, employ special prosecutors by the hundreds, redistribute wealth and waste money like we actually have it in government.

Grow the economy with real incentives - When businesses retain more of their funds, they can actually hire more people and grow the business, thus spurring the economy into real long term growth (see the second point). Tax rebates in an election year? Who would have ever guessed it? We all know that businesses don't really pay taxes, they simply pass them on to the consumer. This point brings me to the next.

Implement a fair tax - Now it doesn't have to be a flat tax or a national sales tax, but it has to be a simpler, more fair tax. The tax code in America is impractical and outdated. It's bad enough that we pay so much in taxes. Add to it a couple hundred dollars to prepare them and you have insult to injury.

Strong commitment to the Second Amendment - It's not about hunting or target practice. It is a freedom that our founding fathers knew must be kept alive for the democracy to survive. We need to reaffirm our stance that gun control laws only hurt law abiding citizens.

The most important conviction is our stance on Life - We must make it known that over 40 million babies have been aborted since Roe v. Wade and we are still fighting for the innocent. We believe in the right to life from conception to natural death, period. We value life as a gift from God, whether there are disabilities or nursing home stays. We will not settle for the situation as it is or turn our backs and say we have done all we can do.

The Conservative movement is alive and well in the real America. An America where people get up and go to work and take responsibility for ourselves and our families. We don't expect or need government to interfere with our lives because we can do it better ourselves, thank you very much. Let's return to our grassroots and remember what got us where we are today. I don't like talk of a remodeled Republican party and with courage we can restore our conservative values to it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I don't have to live there to care.

There are some in this little virtual community that feel I have no stake in New Albany or the affairs that govern the city. It is true that I do not live in the city limits. The fact is, I live in the county of Floyd (barely) in the great state of Indiana in the greatest nation that has ever existed. I will defend the people that government tramples - hence the name of this blog. I will speak out on wasteful spending of tax dollars and crooked politicians. I will remind readers of campaign promises and lies that go unreported. I have spoken out on surrounding municipalities such as Charlestown and Jeffersonville. I have blogged about local, state and national topics. I do not blog about the ultimate dream of European style governance that others wish existed here. Comments are always welcome, but my convictions are solid and based in truth and conservative values. I may not live in New Albany, but my love for America and my little piece of that dream compel me to speak out. Even those that disagree with me have acknowledged broken promises by the mayor and have expressed many ways in which the money could be better utilized. Why then do they defend a man that has a record of lies and shadiness? Are they that tightly connected to a party that their vision is blurred? I will continue to speak out against any administration, right or left, that misappropriates the peoples funds or attempts to hide the truth no matter the location.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Albany to Consider Salaries

That is the headline atop the Indiana section of today's Courier-Journal. Seems like I have heard about this somewhere? The article quotes the new mayor as saying the new salaries are important because they will help him "get moving" with his agenda. His agenda includes attracting more businesses downtown, as well as lining the pockets of a few friends. The last part of the agenda there was derived by the author. How about taking that $160,000, still don't know where they will get it, and hiring three or four more officers? Reducing the crime in downtown might attract more businesses and residents. How about fixing some sidewalks so folks can actually get to the businesses downtown? How about sticking to a campaign promise of not hiring anyone for economic development? Kevin Zurschmeide (R) feels that the mayor should have a chance to hire the staff he needs. Well Kevin, let's make sure that we question authority. Now is your chance New Albany. Tonight's meeting is at 7:30 on the third floor of the City-County building. Let your voices be heard tonight. Are there any fiscally conservative Democrats left? Any concerned citizens? Any New Albanians that are waiting for this sleepy river town to wake up?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rush the Kool-Aid Man and Indiana's Short Session

I've got a couple things on my mind tonight so this might be all over the place, but here goes. Rush Limbaugh constantly states that he doesn't get involved in primary endorsements, but lately he has done his share of bashing all but two Republican candidates. That sounds an awful lot like and endorsement to me. His argument goes like this - Everyone wants change and the Republicans say the era of Reagan is over. Rush says it isn't over unless we nominate Huckabee or McCain. Then the party will be split and broken forever. I say Bull - oney! How is Rudy more conservative than Mike Huckabee? Rudy is pro gay marriage, pro abortion rights, pro gun control along with a personal history that looks suspiciously Clintonesque. Now Romney looks more conservative than Rudy, but then who isn't? Oh yeah, McCain isn't. Mitt has a history of flipping on issues more than others. Let's not fool ourselves about this man's faith either. Talk about splitting a party. Maybe it shouldn't be an issue, but it is. Rush has made up his mind and has finally let the cat out. He doesn't like middle America, evangelical conservatives. You are smart enough to make up your own mind - aren't you?

Now to Indiana's short legislative session. You see there is no budget to pass this time around and, oh yeah, it is an election year so the good folks take off early to campaign. All the talk has been about property taxes. There is another very important issue that desperately needs your action. SJR 7 is in committee and needs to pass, or a resolution has to be established, for the marriage amendment to appear on the fall ballot. This needs to happen this fall. Presidential elections bring voter turnout up and that will help this cause. Call your representative and tell them to push SJR 7 through, now! This is too important to put on the back burner. I'm sure they can work on two things at once.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Has Conservatism Come To This?

We hear it all the time - The Republican Party is at a crossroads. There is talk of a new party being formed. Controlling interests want to take the party in different directions. Where did it all go wrong. The Republican Party - the party of Lincoln and Reagan - is a mere shadow of its former self. The contract with America that ushered Newt Gingrich and the Republican majority into power in congress in the mid 1990's has vanished. It used to be personal responsibility, lower taxes through smaller government, peace through strength and a return to the moral gravity that founded this country and kept it on track. Now it's earmarks and the largest government since the Great Society. It's breaking from the party to withhold money from the troops. It's limiting free speech by so called campaign finance reform. It's open borders and closed markets. These days it is difficult to tell the difference between McCain and Bill Richardson. At least Richardson has balanced a budget! Let's face it people, none of the candidates on the right are truly right. They all have issues that do not line up with traditional conservative values. Does that mean we split the party or refuse to vote because there are issues? We can't afford that. The alternative is even worse. The grassroots campaign has begun. Just like the summer of 2007 when we crashed the switchboard on the Hill, we need to let these candidates know what we expect. We need to find qualified people to run for office. We need to reclaim the conservative platform before it vanishes. The alarm clock is going off, don't hit the snooze button.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Definition of Insanity - Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results!

Case in point are the fine citizens and government of New Albany. Now I won't include all of them, but those that voted to put Doug England back at the helm may fit the definition. Mayor Doug promised that he wouldn't need to hire anyone for economic development because he could handle it himself. Then after he was elected, he decided that just maybe a friend of his was a better economic developer than himself, so he announced the hiring of Carl Malyz. His title will be deputy Mayor and head honcho of developing the economy. His salary for both of these important jobs is a mere $85,000 a year for four years. A small price to pay for his expertise in this area. Well it's only about $10,000 more than the mayor himself will make. Then there is an assistant economic developer yet to be named that will only pull about $60,000 taxpayer dollars out of the treasury. Did Mr. England really get voted out a few years ago or is my memory failing? Now the mayor says he will retain the former mayor James Garner for a month as a sewer advisor. You know, just to bring the new mayor up to speed. It will only cost $6000 for the month. Mr. Garner didn't know much about the sewers during his four years as mayor, but that shouldn't matter to the good citizens. What's $150,000 in the fisrt couple of weeks in office? After all, it's not his money! It is all business as usual in this sleepy river town that has even my liberal friends wondering when it will wake up.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Barack can bag it up and that aint Good

by Daniel Short

Barack Obama has a unique chance on Tuesday to put the Democrat Presidential race out of reach. He is polling up over double digits against Hillary and the lead is growing everyday. He definitely has the big "MO" on his side and here is how I see things coming down. First, Obama wins New Hampshire by 14, heads south and eats up South Carolina and Florida. Hillary's contributions start to dry up and the prose of Barack continues to ooze change to the American left. How can Barack win so big in New Hampshire? Over 40% of voters are independents and can choose which party they will vote for in the primary right before they enter the booth. A lot of independents have polled for McCain, but will choose to rock the boat by making a statement for Obama. I fear that what is left is an even stronger Barack with enough money to ride it out.

This all has great implications on the Republican side of things. If the Democrats rally around Obama this early and the right struggles through super Tuesday without a true leader, valuable time will be lost. National polls show Rudy and Huckabee tied at 19%, Romney at 17%, McCain at 15% and Thompson at 14%. This is a dangerous scenario for the GOP.

Now let's remember that Bill lost the first five states in 1992 before going on to take the nomination and the White House. So maybe Hillary can drag it out long enough to slow the "O" train. Will Hillary take the VP job. Oh you betcha she will. If she doesn't, that's it for her. If she does, she still becomes the first woman to hold that office and will be 69 years old in eight years. That is three years younger than McCain is now. An Obama/Clinton ticket will probably wrap it up, unless we see a McCain/Lieberman ticket. Then there is Mayor Bloomberg! OK let's not get ahead of ourselves! Whew

When we said anyone but Hillary, we didn't exactly have Barack Obama in mind.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Resoltion for Big Government - Go on a Diet

by Daniel Short

Just like the rest of America, our government has bloated to proportions beyond anything our founders could have possibly imagined. The fattening up is not just at the federal level either. Local governments scarf up every crumb of taxpayer funds to fuel programs and initiatives that have no business anywhere near an inefficient machine like government bureaucracy. The federal government should not be interfering in markets where unscrupulous lenders target overspending consumers and both sides get what they deserve. Tax money to bail out the big vinyl boxes(as my friend over at the brewery calls them) is in my opinion illegal. Jefferson County Kentucky voters finally got one right by defeating the so called library tax by overwhelming margins. ENOUGH is ENOUGH. Locally we push for downtown renewal by issuing bonds for new buildings - firehouses and Y's - while neglecting the roads in the industrial parks that generate the funding. Sidewalks in New Albany our an ankle sprain just waiting to happen. Incentives to lure business downtown is fabulous, but using tax dollars to finance it is another animal altogether. Let's get back letting government do its job and the free markets doing theirs. Free markets always do things more efficiently and governments always try to maintain control over it. Now I wonder if that twenty sixth environmental study is complete on the east end bridge location? Happy Motoring Hoosiers!