Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm a Cool, Damp Clay

Because I believe in markets, it's impossible to ignore the pointlessness of carrying on with the ol' Kole Hard Facts. My message is freedom, and nobody's buying. What's worse is that the viewer doesn't even have to buy. And yet, 30 hits a day? Forget it.

It's been extremely discouraging to watch 2008 sink into the political abyss. One of my most recent posts captured it all, via a Reason column, pointing out that freedom was no part of the major party conventions. Only more and more government. And the people? They love it. They lap it up. 

Well, that is, when they even bother with policy. I found it hellish enough when it was all about the horse race. Now it's worse.  We have this tiresome game of 'gotcha', where a gaffe, or even a non-gaffe, or something someone associated with a candidate did is exploded and extrapolated into having the finger on the nuclear arsenal's button and dying to fire. Even my two favorite Hoosier non-libertarian blogs, Advance Indiana and Masson's Blog, have not spared us the dregs of the rancid vat of partisan slime. Both have become unreadable to me, and are indicative of most political blogs out there, whether statewide or nationally. Sadly enough, their hits have soared as the stench has wafted higher. So, I just find it pointless to continue in this climate.

The market has spoken. Mainly, there is no market for the Kole Hard Facts. Thank goodness there is a market for an effective right-of-way agent. 

See you near the equipment cabinets, or at the rink.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Campaign Money Trail

(Carmel, IN)- Scanning the readers while in a waiting room, I found a blog post that helps me understand half of why John McCain (Maverick-AZ) and Barack Obama (Change-IL) are devoid of outrage and otherwise silent about the absurd bailout of the irresponsible lenders.

As always, follow the money. From
Both companies have poured money into lobbying and campaign contributions to federal candidates, parties and committees as a general tactic, but they've also directed those contributions strategically. In the 2006 election cycle, Fannie Mae was giving 53 percent of its total $1.3 million in contributions to Republicans, who controlled Congress at that time. This cycle, with Democrats in control, they've reversed course, giving the party 56 percent of their total $1.1 million in contributions. Similarly, Freddie Mac has given 53 percent of its $555,700 in contributions to Democrats this cycle, compared to the 44 percent it gave during 2006.

Well, Democrats took over the Congress after the 2006 elections. This all makes sense to the a) cynic, and/or b) astute observer. Here's the surprise:

1. Dodd, Christopher J S D-CT $133,900
2. Kerry, John S D-MA $111,000
3. Obama, Barack S D-IL $105,849
4. Clinton, Hillary S D-NY $75,550
5. Kanjorski, Paul E H D-PA $65,500
6. Bennett, Robert F S R-UT $61,499

I truly expected John McCain to be here with Obama.

Now, before anyone gets excited and wishes to point to this as some example of me finding fault with Obama and not McCain, let me offer a sharp skewer for the alleged maverick.

If it isn't the lobbying money that keeps you silent on the absurdity of this, what possible explanation can there be? Come on! You don't really have to be all that wise in the ways of economics to know this is stupid and damaging to the economy besides!

I get why Obama, the guy currently running ads about how McCain is tied to lobbyists, is silent on this. So, why is Bob Barr the only candidate issuing statements and condemnations? Anyone?

Link to Barr's recent statement.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I Am Channelled

I don't know how Steve Chapman got inside my brain and wrote the words that were in my mind, but he's pulled it off. Here is my November of Discontent:
This year's Republican National Convention had a different theme for each day. Monday was "Serving a Cause Greater than Self." Tuesday was "Service," Wednesday was "Reform," and Thursday was "Peace."

So what was missing? Only what used to be held up as the central ideal of the party. The heirs of Goldwater couldn't spare a day for freedom.

Neither could the Democrats. Their daily topics this year were "One Nation," "Renewing America's Promise," and "Securing America's Future." The party proclaimed "an agenda that emphasizes the security of our nation, strong economic growth, affordable health care for all Americans, retirement security, honest government, and civil rights." Expanding and upholding individual liberty? Not so much.

It's an excellent opinion. Read the whole thing here.
The Right Thing To Cut

In a time when budgets are tight, cuts must be made. You hear that a lot, but I'm of the opinion that it doesn't matter whether the budget is tight or not. Some things just shouldn't be purchased, no matter how flush you are with cash, because they aren't proper for you to buy.

I don't buy Russian language books. Even though I have a friend who is from Russia and could read them, I leave it to her to buy the Russian language books for herself.

So, I am thrilled that Indianapolis' mayor is putting the city's arts budget on the chopping block. From the Indy Star:
Mayor Greg Ballard's plan to cut public funding for the arts by a third, to $1 million, next year dominated the discussion by about 25 speakers in front of a crowd of roughly 100. The council is scheduled to vote on the budget Sept. 22 and is not expected to make major changes.

It's a shame the cut is only going to be around 33%, and not 100%. Socialized art is not a proper function of government. Public safety is. Courts are. Infrastructure is. These things should be fully funded before anything else is even considered. It seems this Mayor gets it, at least by a third, that public safety affects everyone, and that the arts are a private concern, because not only do they not affect everyone, but art is so specific to taste, that it really only benefits a few.

Is that what we want? Public policy that benefits the select few?

What was interesting about a previous outcry about the proposed cuts was to see the line of representatives of local museums at the podium. That told me a lot about the nature of the funding. Mainly, it isn't going to starving artists. It's going to well-funded institutions as a corporate welfare.

Is that what we want? Public policy that benefits corporations?

No, cutting the arts is the right thing to do. Our federal government could take note here.

Update: Indiana Barrister has the list of recipients of arts funding largesse.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Consolidation of Executive Power

(Fishers, IN)- I was thinking about the Bush presidency, and the correct complaints coming from the Bush critics, that the Executive Branch was acquiring too much power. They were also complaining that Bush is just, well, stupid.

So, Should Barack Obama could win the presidency for the Democrats, can I have my 'audacity of hope' that perhaps the Democrats will scale back Executive power, or, is it more a case of 'our team knows best what to do with wrong-headed power- especially since this is a 'smarter' man?

Penn Gillette's recent column, while very funny, addresses the concerns of widespread Executive power, and a 'smarter' President on the way.
The idea, especially from the Democrats that I know, is, we just get a smarter guy in the White House, and all the problems will go away. We'll have smart speeches, smart high gas prices, smart bad economy, smart war on terrorism, smart war on drugs, smart hurricanes, smart global warming, smart war in Georgia -- smart, smart, smart.

Barack Obama is way smarter than Bush -- so way, way smarter than me. Obama is way more charismatic than me. He did his big speech for about 80,000 people; I'll do my show tonight in Vegas for about 1,000 people. He's more ambitious than I; he's going to be the next president of the United States, and I couldn't even get to week three of "Dancing with the Stars."

Link to full article.