Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hamilton County Report

The Noblesville Daily Times and Indy Star (both Gannett papers) shared a report yesterday on the various candidates appearing on the Hamilton County ballot.

While the article's focus was mainly on the township candidates, Hamilton County Chair and Kole Campaign Manager Rob Place got a nice mention in for me. From Chris Sikich's report:

Rob Place, chairman of the county's Libertarian Party, said Libertarians are focusing on Fishers resident Mike Kole's campaign for Secretary of State instead of local offices. Two Libertarians are seeking local office in Hamilton County, one each in Clay and Wayne Township, and Place said the party decided not to run for more offices to avoid being spread too thin. If Kole receives 10 percent of the vote, Place said Libertarians will become a major party with easier ballot access.

"We really want to make Hamilton County aware of who he is," Place said.

Libertarian Legacy of 2006

While the national Libertarian Party struggles with the reform the LPIN made several years ago, Libertarians will provide a real legacy to election history here in Indiana. Mainly, this will be the year average Hoosiers will see what a sham the tangled web of election laws, rules, and regulations is. They will see how the Rs & Ds collude to exclude, at the expense of better representative government.

Look for revelations of enormous numbers of shenanigans against Libertarians, coming soon.

It's interesting. Rs & Ds love to sneer at Libertarians, telling us that we are irrelevant, etc. Interesting that we are therefore treated like the greatest threat ever known. This of course, is yet another of the seven signs that Libertarians are becoming a threat to the power held by the other parties. Belittle, belittle, belittle as we grow, then smash! Eliminate.

The chronicles will begin shortly.
Back From NYC

Spamalot was great, we ate well, roamed Central Park, and were nowhere near the Holland Tunnell. The best thing was getting together with friends- Steve Wainstead put us up in Queens. Tom Menner and Greg McNair met us for meals. Pictures to follow shortly.

The older I get, the less I like New York. I can take the pace, but the crowds and the costs are so large. I like the elbow room Indiana affords.

The critics of suburban sprawl should spend a few months in New York, the land of 100% impervious surfaces and sardine-like density. The absence of greenery is simply crushing, even in Queens.

Monday, July 03, 2006

They Say The Lights Are Bright On Broadway

Thanks to Ame, Alex & I will be taking in our first Broadway production on Thursday, when we see Spamalot, the Monty Python-inspired musical. The blogging will be sparse as we spend three days in New York City.

Sure, Spamalot it isn't King Lear or Twelfth Night, but if you want to interest a teenager in stage productions, those classics may not be the best introduction.

I'm looking forward to staying with my best friend, Steve Wainstead. It's been nine years since he went to NYC, for a two-year experiment in living in the big city. Hopefully, Alex will have his taste buds in high adventure mode, as Steve now lives in Queens amidst a dazzling array of ethnic neighborhoods and their restaurants.

Notably, we'll take the #7 train that John Rocker infamously commented on, when we go from LaGuardia Airport to Jackson Heights, in Queens. Unfortunately, the Mets and Yankees will both be out of town.
Indiana Leads The Way

Alas, this is not good news. Indiana has the highest high school drop-out rate in the country. From an Indy Star report:
Indiana has the worst high school dropout rate in the nation, despite state efforts in the past decade to demand the best of schools and students.

Thirteen percent of Indiana teenagers from 16 to 19 quit school in 2004, according to last week's Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count report. Indiana's dropout rate was flat from 2000 to 2004, while rates in 42 other states improved.

"It's bad news for Indiana, no matter how you slice it," said Bill Stanzcykiewicz, Indiana Youth Institute president and member of the Indiana Education Roundtable policymaking group. "We're known as a state for auto racing, we're known as a state for basketball, but we need to be known as a state that places a high importance on doing great in school."

Iowa and North Dakota had the lowest dropout rates at 3 percent.

Unfortunately, this report will inevitably lead to calls for more money for the schools. Ah, money, that magic problem solver.

We put too much money into the schools right now. That's right- too much money. What we lack and need is the undivided attention of parents, to support their children, and equally importantly, their teachers.

My own experience with my son and IPS was awful- not because of his teacher. She was extraordinary. That's no small compliment from this Libertarian, who has always taken a dim view of public schools. She called me on my cell phone any time he acted out or 'forgot' an assignment. She was excellent. With that sort of attention to detail, I asked her why the kids in her class weren't doing better.

She reported that most parents were worthless as support to their children's success. These are my words, of course, but that's what it amounted to. Most parents wouldn't take her cell calls. Frequently, she heard from parents that it was the teacher's job to educate, and the parent's job was to get the kids on the bus in the morning. Parents don't check on the homework. They don't insist that the TV stays off until a book has been read. They don't urge the kids to think of college as a goal. They don't speak to their children about the future much at all.

Most parents warehouse their kids for the day, very sadly. No amount of money will make the rate improve unless the behavior and attitudes of parents improves. This seems to be the white elephant in the room that never makes it into these reports.