Saturday, January 27, 2007

Eminent Domain Watch, SR 32

At what cost will we widen a road? At the cost of chasing a good Westfield business to Florida. From the Noblesville Daily Times report:
When David O. Nelson opened the doors to Performance Feeders, the plant was located on Westfield Road in Noblesville – the same spot where Backyard Archery now stands. Thirty-three years later and a move down the road into Westfield, the plant is closing its doors for good in Hamilton County and moving its operation to another location in Oldsmar, Fla.

Westfield plant president Carl Nelson, son of founder David Nelson, said the whole thing is “horrible.” He said the reason the plant is closing is because the state of Indiana has taken the property by eminent domain to widen Indiana 32.Nelson explained that the plant’s septic system lies in the 10 to 15 feet of property the state wants for the expansion, and there is no other place on the firm’s property to install new sewers, in essence condemning the building.“So because of that is why they have to take the building — it’s only over, literally, like 15 feet, but you can’t operate,” he said.

A dose of common sense would have been a good thing here. For 15 feet, why not shift the road at Performance Feeders so that it could stay? Is that less important than a perfectly straight road? I guess so. Nelson is understandably upset:
“The governor works awfully hard to bring manufacturing here, and they just don’t work too hard to keep it once they get it,” he said. “When you listen to them with their big deals with all these tax breaks and stuff, but with the small manufacturing companies — mom and pop companies with under 50 employees, that’s not really where they’re interested.”

The man speaks the truth. If you have a flashy name, like "Indianapolis Colts" or "Lucas Oil", then you get fabulous considerations. If you are just the salt of the earth Hoosier, you can go pound sand with our government of Republicans and Democrats.

Libertarians oppose mindless use of eminent domain such as this. Libertarians were on the forefront of the opposition to the Kelo v. New London decision, the attempt to take the NK Hurst bean plant in Indianapolis, and countless other less notable cases. We will grudgingly concede the use of eminent domain in true public need cases, such as dams, roads, and bridges, but we insist on fair compensation for the property owner, and we insist on common sense.

Too bad there isn't any common sense here. I hope this is an isolated case, but I imagine this is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Just wait til the US 31 eminent domain games begin. That will be quite a spectacle.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Justice, Swiftly Delivered

I was just thinking back to the old pre-Super Bowl days, when NFL championships were hosted by one of the teams. As a kid, I heard stories of how Cleveland was really abuzz in 1964 when the Browns hosted the Big Game, because the action was all right there- not in Miami, or Pasadena,or under a dome.

I was further thinking how good it really is that the Big Game isn't being hosted here in Indianapolis. Bart would have to play Hide The Homeless for two weeks and then pray to God the murders and carjacking subside.

So it came to pass that Indy suffered another carjacking last night. This would have been all over the national news, I'm sure, if the Big Game were being played here. Let's hope the news story makes the national news anyhow, because it has a happy ending. From the Star:
Indianapolis metropolitan police said a man who tried to steal a car at an Eastside service station was shot by the car's owner.

The would-be car thief was placed under arrest and sent to the hospital. The car's owner, Isaac Wilson, was questioned by detectives but not arrested. Police said they would submit the case to the Marion County prosecutor for a decision on charges.

Steven A. Dotson, 32, was arrested on a preliminary charge of attempted carjacking. Police said he was at a service station at 25th Street and Keystone Avenue when Wilson stopped for fuel in his Jaguar. When Dotson tried to take the Jaguar, Wilson pulled a gun and shot Dotson in the knee.

Now, that is justice! Better than that, it's a reminder to any would-be carjacker that while Indy may be Bart's Wild West, the law-abiding citizenry has not yet been fully emasculated and served up to criminals as defenseless milquetoast. Oh no! Isaac Wilson has shown that if you take criminal action, the risks are immediate, not set to some indetermine future time the cops should happen to show up.

Carjackings are crimes of great opportunity. The thief has the getaway vehicle, after all. By time the bewildered victim gets his bearings and calls 911, the robber is miles down the road. The police usually fail to find the perp. So, Wilson has done what law enforcement couldn't do- remind would-be carjackers that there is an immediate risk to life and limb. This is just one of the many reasons I support both the US Constitution and the Indiana Constitution and thier provisions for bearing arms. Criminals never mind bearing arms. It goes with the territory. When citizens are known to be armed, they are far less likely to be robbed. Every carjacker in Indianapolis must now think twice, and didn't have to until today.

Good show, Isaac Wilson!
The Kickback Arrives

You had to figure that since the Colts were able to pursuade the Legislature to pass a law allowing the doughnut counties to raise a tax to build their revenue-generating palace, plus the City-County Council, there had to be some kind of kickback. Well, today we learn what that kickback is. From Mary Beth Schneider's article:
Too bad you're not a politician.

The Indianapolis Colts on Thursday offered the 150 lawmakers in the state legislature and other Indiana politicians -- including Indiana's two U.S. senators, nine members of Congress and the 29 members of the City-County Council -- two tickets for the face value of $600 each.

Here we see what an ingrate piker that Jim Irsay is. 450 tickets at face value absolutely pales compared to the amount raised in taxes.

Interestingly, those making comment on the article are shouting indignation that the politicians cut the line in front of season ticket holders. It tells us a lot about the partial sense of justice Hoosiers have. Yeah, the season ticket holders should come first, but what about the taxpayers? The taxpayers are building the new stadium, so where's the cry for them? (I mean, besides from me and Fred McCarthy.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Missing The Hammer

Hammer of Truth was one of my favorite Libertarian blogs. It's been down 'for updates' for several months now- since the election, in fact. Any KHF regular readers know what's going on there?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Consider It Done

Hilary Clinton may not need to be elected President to ensure socialized health care here in Indiana. Republican Governor Mitch Daniels may just beat her to the punch.

Daniels has twice used a State of the State address to promote a 25 cent/pack hike in the cigarette tax. This latest push was a little more specific than the first, with the suggestion that all the money raised should go towards smoking cessation programs, and more fascinatingly, towards paying for uninsured Hoosiers' health care.

I've long noted that persistence with political ideas wins the day. The idea scarcely could get a sponsor last year. This year it seems to be on every Indiana lawmaker's radar. I noted in the Hamilton County Libertarian blog that my own House Rep Kathy Richardson (R-Noblesville) circulated a questionaire that included this question:
Would you support a 40-cents per pack cigarette tax increase if the funds were only used to provide health insurance for Indiana's uninsured, as well as anti-smoking campaigns?

Now, polling info has been released showing that 62% of Hoosiers support a dollar/pack tax - not a quarter - so long as the money goes to socialized health care. From an Indy Star report:
Support for the tax increase crosses partisan lines, the poll showed, with 61 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans and independents favoring a $1 tax increase on cigarettes.

"It's clear that a majority of Hoosiers support increasing the tobacco tax, and we are going to work this session to make sure legislators vote (to do that.) We are committed to this. It is the right thing to do for our youth. It is the right thing to do for Indiana," said Patricia Richards Ells, a spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society.

So, consider it done. The fingers have been stuck into the air and the winds blow for this tax. More Republicans support it than Democrats. Should Libertarians perhaps just give up now? Is it too overwhelmingly clear that Hoosiers, heck Americans, reject the principles that founded this country? Individual responsibility? No thank you. Please, let's have the state look after every aspect of our lives. Please give me minimal comfort and remove the burden of any need to think or plan on my own.

The steady drumbeat of increasing socialism is really depressing to me. The feeling of political helplessness and hopelessness is very great. Thank goodness Ame & I make a decent living that outstrips our tax burden and a good pot of soup. I fled Ohio, giving myself an 8% raise in taxes saved. I fled Marion County and gave myself a huge savings on insurance and COIT taxes. Why must I always look to greener pastures elsewhere?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Scary, Scary, Scary

No, not the ability of the Colts to comeback when all looks hopeless. I'm talking about the number of bills filed by Indiana House Representatives and Senators in this year's full session: 1,420.

This is scary because I agree with Mark Twain's age-old wisdom that nobody's money or liberty are safe when the legislature is in session. Scary because hte legislators cannot possibly read ever word of every bill, as they should. Scary that in the recent past, there were even more bills filed in those sessions. It's scary that the Indy Star printed an article that contained actual news! Is the sky falling?

The only saving grace is that about 3/4 of the bills filed fail to become law. As usual, the overwhelming majority of the bills would make government more intrusive, more expensive, and make government bigger. Let's hope the bi-partisan kumbaya spirit offered by Daniels evaporates immediately and less than 10% become law.

Great Indy Star article. Actual news!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Now We're Cooking!

Another thing not being involved in a campaign has allowed me to do more: cook! I love to cook, and right now, I'm getting into making soups.

It took me being dirt poor to appreciate soups. Big thanks to Steve Wainstead on that count. When we roomed together, both being flat broke, we did some long-range planning. We bought a 50-lb. sack of rice, 10 pounds of pasta, and several cans of Hunts pasta sauce. We would go to the West Side Market in Cleveland late in the afternoon on Saturdays, because you could barter best with the produce merchants near closing. We'd ask for a dozen apples or two dozen green peppers for a dollar. They'd yell that we were taking money out of the mouths of their children. We'd counter that they could take the stuff back with them to rot. We usually got what we wanted.

But, what do you do when you have two pounds of parsnips? Or, five pounds of celery and ten pounds of carrots? It could as easily have rotted in our fridge. Make soup! That was Steve's solution. He made some interesting and delicious soups. Until then, I had never tried to make soup, even though I would cook quite a bit.

So, I carry on- not because I'm broke. I'm cheap, to be sure, but I like soup as healthy comfort food. It's hot and filling!

So, today I am making a sweet potato chowder. I've already made yellow split pea soup twice this winter, and once I cheated by making Hurst's 15-bean soup. I say cheated because that one isn't 100% from scratch. The second pea soup was served to guests who seemed to enjoy it very well.

It's a challenge for me to find soups that the whole family will like. I have to balance Ame and Alex. Ame's a vegetarian, and Alex is rather the carnivore. I'm an omnivore, so I'm easy. I'll probably make a few soups this winter that have two pots going- one vegetarian, and one meat. I have it mind to make a few soups that fit that bill. Tortilla soup is at the top of the list. I guess you can't call it "ox tail soup" without the ox tails, but I want to try to find some kind of substitute.

Ox tail soup was another poor person soup my Mom used to make. It was loaded with barley, and the meat and marrow was from the ox tails. Like ham hocks or chicken wings, ox tails were once throw-away items that you could get for cheap from the butcher or grocery store. They have become popular enough over time to fetch gourmet prices, which is a shame... me being cheap and all.