Saturday, February 03, 2007

If Enron's CEO is in Prison...

I am endlessly fascinated by where people place their suspicions. When it comes to financial power, there are two places one can have great suspicion- with corporations, and with government.

I think a healthy dose of suspicion of each is healthy. Both have the ability to buy you out of your life as you know it. However, corporations cannot do so unless you consent... unless government helps bring force into the equation. Government is force. The most dangerous thing to be suspicious of is a government that is too cozy with corporations.

So, it was with interest that I read Rex Bell's latest blog entry. Rex recently ran for Indiana House in District 54 and had the best showing ever by a Libertarian Party candidate in Indiana in a three-way race for that level of office. From Rex's post:
From David Walker, U.S. Comptroller..."The largest employer in the world announced on Dec. 15 that it lost about $450 billion in fiscal 2006. Its auditor found that its financial statements were unreliable and that its controls were inadequate for the 10th straight year. On top of that, the entity's total liabilities and unfunded commitments rose to about $50 trillion, up from $20 trillion in just six years.

If this announcement related to a private company, the news would have been on the front page of major newspapers. Unfortunately, such was not the case -- even though the entity is the U.S. government."

And yet we continually look to the government to solve our problems. It's failed policies of artificial market supports, forced wealth distribution and strangling over-regulation will only continue to force businesses to close or relocate.

Too bad Rex wasn't elected. We need more common sense, no shell games kinds of people like him in our legislatures, in Indiana and in the Congress.

So, those who would rail on about the evils of thieving corporations, I challenge you: Be consistent. If you believe fraudulent accounting should be prosecuted, go the whole route. Also assail the governments that practice Enron-accounting with the tenacity with which you assail large corporations. Remember that there is a greater good to protect here. While Enron may have swindled its shareholders, governments swindle taxpayers who have their money withheld from them prior to receiving their paychecks.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Paint The Town BLUE!

I finally made it downtown with some walking around time and snapped off a bunch of photos of city scenes with plenty of Colts spirit. Here are my favorites of the bunch.

Clear winner. The banner at the top of the building reads, "Actually... Bears fumble in the woods. Go Colts!" On Monument Circle's interior, there stand several ornate light poles. See the detail of the restrained bear. I really like that. Tell the Star to hire me for a photo job.

Walkway from Convention Center. The RCA Dome is visible beneath. This is
probably the most colorful and interesting daytime scene I have encountered.

The Indiana Sports Corporation Building. Days before a Super Bowl, a building across from the RCA Dome should have a decoration in every window. Come to think of it, most downtown buildings should, too.

The Statehouse had nothing. That's as it should be. The State shouldn't be spending a nickel on sports. OK, so the horse is out of the barn on this, but these thoughts still made me grin on this frigid Thursday afternoon.

Union Station and Pan Am Plaza. Several different Colts flags twisting in the breeze.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mass Transit Debate at the Statehouse

I've had many, many posts showing how mass transit is just a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. I just cannot fathom the lack of reason on this. It's like the windmills in Europe- They don't really do what it is thought they do, but they make people feel good.

I loved hearing Marc Fisher of the Indy Chamber on Abdul's show this morning. he and I debated light rail a few months ago, and today Fisher returned to his talking point: We can't build our way out of congestion. His solution? Build light rail?

Pardon me, but isn't that building your way out of congestion?

And what about the average 80% losses on the average mass transit system? Should we just sweep those under the rug?

Let's hope this doesn't get out of committee.

Look for a master post linking all of my previous mass transit posts. Too much to re-hash and re-research.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Prediction Time

Colts 34, Bears 27.

Peyton Manning hasn't had a really good playoff game yet this year, but I think he's due. Winning three playoff games, plus New England again, really clears the hurdles for him. When he has confidence, Manning has no rival. The Colts have lost enough playoff games in the last few years to learn from. The defense will allow some points, and plenty of rushing yards, but consider it done.

The Bears remind me of last year's Seahawks- a surprisingly good team greatly aided by a soft division and conference, but hardly battle tested. In the big game, these teams tend to fall short. there have been teams that have won Super Bowls despite their quarterback- the Baltimore Ravens come to mind- but with the turnaround the Colts defense has made, I don't see the Bears running over the Colts a la Jacksonville. That's what would be needed. Grossman had exactly one good series against the Saints. He's going to need an excellent game if the Bears are to even be in it at halftime.

Let's see your picks!
Mac Vs PC

I've enjoyed those unique, instantly recognizeable Mac ads with the cool slacker Mac guy and the slightly overwieght, stodgy PC guy.

So, I really like this counterpoint.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Blue Fever, Around Central Indiana

Here are some of my recent pictures of the more interesting or exuberant Colts related things I've seen around the region.

Nothing more interesting or exuberant than my little girl! Isabel sports her
Joseph Addai jersey.

My insurance agent, Chad Humes at Monte Smith's State Farm, Fishers.

Propane tank at the Co-Op, Noblesville.

A two-story Lombardi Trophy, "Coming Soon to Indy", at Dick's Sporting Goods, Carmel. It was tough to get a decent shot of this, as the sun and snow glare was impossible.

I'm still finding that the business community is having a lot of fun with this, but residences aren't being decorated much at all. I'm going to try to get into the South Side neighborhoods to see what the response is, along with downtown Indy.

The Indy Chicken

Are you enjoying the antics of the Indy Chicken? I sure am. I love seeing news reports with the big yellow chicken standing at City Council meetings.

Don't get me wrong, I rather prefer ponderous, thoughtful discourse, but since Indianapolis is not a place where that sort of thing carries the day, a big yellow chicken will have to do. It's hard to argue against the effect the guy's having.

At any rate, the Chicken has a web site. No word yet on podcasts. From the Chicken's site:
Reason for Protesting: Crime Rate and our Mayors inability to respond appropriately. Tired of dishonest politicians. Tired of unprofessional people in politics. Ignorance & arrogance have no place in City Leadership. If I wanted to live in Detroit, Mich. or Oakland, Ca., I would have moved there. Our City Government is heading Indy in those directions.
Rah rah, Chicken!

Update: I found a link to an RTV6 slideshow:

Monday, January 29, 2007

Super Bowl? Anyone?

So far, I've been left rather flat by the response to the Colts and the Super Bowl. Sure, the rabid football fans are going crazy, but the region is not.

Remember, I'm from Cleveland. People there are nuts about the Browns. The signs and banners we see here in Central Indiana for the Super Bowl Colts right now are little less than what you see around Cleveland at mid-season when the Browns go 6-10.

In my neighborhood, the response is almost non-existent. There were two snowmen wearing Colts jerseys. One was Edgerrin James... who plays for Arizona now.

The 'best' of Sunblest. I like the creativity of dressing up the most melted snowman in Patriots colors. That's pretty cool.

Great sentiment, but The Edge is in Phoenix now.

Not a lot to report here. It's a Super Bowl!

I was told when I got here that in Indiana, basketball comes first. That's fine, but this is a championship after all! Then again, the Browns fans in Cleveland were most intense in the working class neighborhoods. Perhaps Fishers is just too effete, or too caught up in the rat race to notice. I'll visit other areas to see the outward support.

Enjoying The Run

Those who have come to rely on my opposition to the public financing of stadiums may be surprised to learn that I am enjoying the Colts run to the Super Bowl. It is possible to have a set of political beliefs and enjoy the game at the same time. I'm no interested in the disappearance of the NFL, just a major change in public policy. My main beefs are with the governments of my state, my county, and several other county and municipal governments who voted to give Jim Irsay the earth, stars, and moon.

So, I will have some posts this week about the Colts and the build-up to the Super Bowl.

Keep this in mind: I'm originally from Cleveland, so I'm enjoying this. In my lifetime, the best the Cleveland Browns could muster was three trips to the AFC championship in the mid- and late-1980s. (Against Denver, who won all three AFC crowns, and who promptly lost all three Super Bowls, badly.) Other than that, the Browns were generally terrible. The Indians were generally terrible, with the exception of those offensive powerhouses in the 90s that couldn't pitch their way out of single-A rookie league ball. Two trips to the World Series, two lost World Series. The Cavs have always been awful. They never have even made it to an Eastern Conference championship series. Well, they could have been something, but there was this guy named Michael Jordan in Chicago. The NHL Barons were so pitiful in the late 70s that they only lasted two seasons after moving from Oakland.

I was a big sports fan as a kid. My city never won it all. Cleveland was a city that desperately wanted something in those years. I'll never forget my experience in 1997, when the Indians were going to the World Series, when I had to hide in the basement because people were firing guns in the air in the streets. Now, obviously I don't condone that kind of third world stupidity, but it points to the kind of foolish exuberance some places display when they have a civic win.

I'm looking to enjoy the exuberance here in Central Indiana, in the hopes of an absence of foolishness. Look for plenty of pictures!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Alex is 15!

It's simply amazing for me to think that Alex is 15 now. It shouldn't be. He's my height already, which is hard to miss. It's cliche, but the time really does get away from you.

The Koles love to eat to celebrate, and Alex is right on board. We took him to a local restaurant of his choosing for his actual birthday meal, and then took a special trip last night for another.

Two fisted dessert Alex. He choose the Old Country Buffet in Westfield. Nothing a young man enjoys more than endless choices that he gets to make.

Alex sports the desired post-celebration meal pose. Isabel mainly wanted to run around.

At the Don Quijote Restaurante in Valparaiso. After living in Spain for three years, Alex gets a hankering for some of the flavors of Andalucia.

There are a handful of Indiana stores where one can buy Jamon Serrano (and, we actually went to Cincinnati to Jungle Jim's for some), but I'm not aware of any other restaurants that serve Paella and dishes from Spain's various regions. Don Quijote also has an import store where you can get Spanish wines, olive oil, Manchego cheese, cookies, tiles, and other recognizably Spanish items.

Make a wish!