Thursday, December 31, 2009

Worst. Decade. Ever.

...well, at least since the 90's. Some good lines here from Nick Gillespie:

On Bush, "He hadn't dodged that well since Vietnam," and, "He's always had a problem with exit strategies".

On Dennis Kucinich, "Any time Dennis Kucinich is the voice of reason, you know you're really screwed."

Love it. Good stuff. "Enjoy".

Lying Liar

As far as I'm concerned, John McCain, Dick Cheney, or Barack Obama could be president right now, and the war results would be about the same. Bush's 3rd term. As 2009 ends, we're supposed to see an end to the war in Iraq. Today. Per, Barack Obama. Via Cato at Liberty:
This is not the change we hoped for. President Obama rose to power on the basis of his early opposition to the Iraq war and his promise to end it. But after a year in the White House he has made both of George Bush’s wars his wars.

Speaking of Iraq in February 2008, candidate Barack Obama said, “I opposed this war in 2002. I will bring this war to an end in 2009. It is time to bring our troops home.” The following month, under fire from Hillary Clinton, he reiterated, ”I was opposed to this war in 2002….I have been against it in 2002, 2003, 2004, 5, 6, 7, 8 and I will bring this war to an end in 2009. So don’t be confused.”

Indeed, in his famous “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow” speech on the night he clinched the Democratic nomination, he also proclaimed, “I am absolutely certain that generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that . . . this was the moment when we ended a war.”

Now he has doubled down on the war in Afghanistan and has promised to keep the war in Iraq going for another 19 months, after which we will have 50,000 American troops in Iraq for as far as the eye can see. If McCain had proposed this sort of minor tweaking of the Bush policy, I think we’d see antiwar rallies in 300 cities. Calling the antiwar movement!

Calling all Democrats! Calling the left! Where art thou? Only the libertarians left standing against the war? Don't want to ruffle your seat at the table? What good is having power for change if you aren't going to use it?

I'm not confused. Obama lied. People die. Sound familiar?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Integrity of the Game

Conspiracy, or just resting some stars for the playoffs? Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley sees a conspiracy. From ESPN:
Pittsburgh's problem: The Patriots (10-5) and Bengals (10-5) have little at stake other than which team will be seeded No. 3 in the AFC. With a wild-card playoff game awaiting both teams next week, New England and Cincinnati are expected to rest some starters to avoid possible injuries.

New England coach Bill Belichick hasn't revealed who will play. Woodley, last week's AFC defensive player of the week and a Pro Bowl alternate, thinks he knows already.

"All of them lay down," Woodley said Wednesday. "No one wants to see Pittsburgh in it. That's just how it is. Everybody knows we're a dangerous team once we get into the playoffs, no matter how we played the whole year. Once we get into the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers is a playoff team."

Are. Are a playoff team. Well, he probably wasn't an English major in college.

I don't buy his conspiracy theory, but I do think the Pats and Bengals will be as beatable this week as any all season. Just like the Colts. Wake me up when the second round of the playoffs start.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Conversely, Hockey Players

I once met Troy Auzenne, a former lineman for the Bears and Colts. He went something like 6' 8" and 300. When he shook my hand, it disappeared inside his.

We had a deep, meaningful conversation about sports that went a little like this...

TA: You play hockey? You guys are crazy!
MK: What do you mean? You guys are giants and you smash into one another every single play.
TA: Yeah, but you guys don't wear facemasks!

Those days, I didn't. Now I wear the birdcage, and providence smiled upon me when I put it on, as a guy slammed his stick across my caged face, saving me roughly half of my teeth.

So, while the Colts pull starters for fear they might get hurt, pro hockey players get hurt fairly severely and won't miss a game. Check out Dallas Stars' Stephane Robidas, via ESPN:
Robidas, 32, suffered the injury when he was hit in the face by a puck during Sunday's practice.

"I saw a dent there, so I knew something was wrong," Robidas said. "My cheek bone caved in a little bit. They had to do an incision on the side of my head and pop the bone back out. It was causing a little bit of pain."

Robidas said the procedure took 10 to 15 minutes.

"They put me under, but the surgery was at 7 a.m. and I was home by 10," Robidas said. "I'm ready to go."

That means Robidas will be able to play his usual spot on the top pair with Nicklas Grossman.
'Causing a little bit of pain'. Now, THAT'S a professional athlete!

Update: Robidas not only played, he logged more on-ice time than anyone else on his team... by five minutes! That's unreal. Robidas led Dallas to a 5-4 win over one of the NHL's best teams, Chicago, with a broken cheekbone. Finished with an assist, a +2 rating, and blocked two shots. With 25:44 on ice, Robidas logged more time than 99% of NHL players will get per game, any game.

Full admiration from me.

More Armchair Quarterbacking

I'm with ESPN's Howard Bryant here, on the benching of Colts starters:

But here is where the entire logic of resting starters in December collapses: In the most dangerous and violent of sports, football coaches don't practice this protective strategy during the season. If Caldwell or any coach were going to rest starters at the end of the season, he should do so during the entirety of the season, following the NBA approach (it is commonplace to watch Kobe Bryant or Tim Duncan watching a fourth-quarter blowout from the bench).

Take, for example, how Caldwell handled Manning earlier this season:

• Led 31-10 in Week 3 at Arizona with 11:31 left. Manning played the whole game.

• Led 28-3 in Week 4 versus Seattle with 8:02 left in the third quarter. Manning played the whole game.

• Led 31-9 in Week 5 at Tennessee with 7:32 left and a bye week coming up. Manning played the whole game.

• Led 28-6 in Week 7 at St. Louis at the end of third quarter. Manning played the whole game.

So Caldwell coached a certain way all season long. Why, then, would Manning be more at risk on Sunday than he had been during the rest of the regular season? If the stated objective is to win the Super Bowl, wasn't Manning unnecessarily at risk on the field for the entire game in a 42-6 win over the Rams?

Taking out his starters would have made more sense under the following conditions: 1. The game was especially physical and/or dirty; 2. Weather increased the risk of injury; 3. The result of the game was no longer in doubt; or, 4. The players in question were already playing with injuries that threatened their playoff availability.

When Manning was removed, he had not been sacked nor intercepted. The Jets are a tough, physical defensive team, but Manning had completed 14 of 21 passes for 192 yards. The two teams are formal rivals, but the game itself wasn't a particularly edgy one in which a star player was at greater risk of injury due to a cheap shot or rougher play. Weather, naturally, was not a factor because the Colts play indoors. At 15-10 with five minutes left in the third, the outcome of the game was hardly assured, and Manning, who has played in 191 consecutive games -- which is to say every game of his NFL career -- is not an injury risk.

And if injury was truly such a major consideration, why allow Manning to play at all? He could have broken his leg in the first quarter Sunday and could injure himself at Buffalo next week. In short, none of it really made sense.

I'm with Bryant when he says that Coach Caldwell created a distraction- his decision. Good coaches remove distractions. He created one, at precisely the wrong time: right before the playoffs.

None of this is to say that the Colts can't overcome. They certainly can. Overcoming 16-0 would have been a better 'problem' to deal with, though. Just because the Patriots lost the Super Bowl after going 16-0, well, post hoc; ergo, propter hoc?

Monday, December 28, 2009

What In The Wide World Of Sports?

I can't remember the last time I was so irritated watching a sporting event. There were the Indianapolis Colts, winners of all 14 of their games, lining up against a very mediocre NY Jets team. At home. With a chance at history. So, what happens? Rookie coach Jim Caldwell pulls Peyton Manning and several other starters in the 3rd quarter, and the game goes from a Colts lead to the first loss of the season.

I was damn glad not to be one who paid for a ticket to this game. I would have wanted a refund. Good for the fans who booed throughout the latter part of the game. They were ripped off. They paid full price, they should have gotten to see a full team, for the full game.

The coach is apparently thinking that he wants to spare his stars potential injury. There are a few flies in that ointment.

First, look no further than the team's recent history. When they've rested players like this in the past, they've been eliminated early in the playoffs. The one Super Bowl win came in the season the Colts were a Wild Card team, playing every playoff game without rest, scrapping continuously. Why would anyone deviate from their own model for success?

As an Ohio State fan, I get the value of continuous play. Year after year, OSU rolls to a good record and a bowl game awaits. Because the Big Ten doesn't have a playoff, the Buckeyes have a month-long layoff. They come to the bowl game out of synch, rusty, and generally lose. Well, that's the same lesson as the Colts' playoff history.

I just hate the cowardice. Go for the brass ring! Try for perfection! How often does that opportunity come along?

If nothing else, Colts fans hopefully learned this: Never buy a ticket for the last home game. Exhibition season is at the front end of the season, but Colts management is unaware.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pro-War Senate Democrats Pass Defense Budget

Let's see... The Dems have roughly a 60-40 majority in the Senate. Republicans hold the reputation for being hawks. Can't wage two wars without big money. $628 Billion in the bill. Will the Dems oppose their Administration? From Politico:

Coming in at dawn Saturday in the middle of a snowstorm, the Senate finally caught up with its budget calendar, approving a $626 billion bill to fund the Defense Department for the fiscal year that began nearly three months ago.

The lopsided 88—10 vote followed a 63-35 roll call in which most Republicans stood back and again forced Democrats to come up with the super-majority needed to waive budget rules before passage. The measure now goes to the White House where President Barack Obama is expected to quickly sign the bill into law to end the impasse.

So, only 10 Democrats voted against? I guess it's fair to call bullshit whenever a Democrat claims the desire to hem in 'the military-industrial complex'.

Nice, how the media buried this story. Almost like it didn't happen. Must be nice to have a complicit media so as not to upset the Democratic base that would largely like to see us out of Iraq (esp) & Afghanistan, and to curb the military budget. They can't count on the people they elected to do their will. But, if there's one thing we can count on with a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President, it's gigantic spending at every turn.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fishers, Restaurant Graveyard

In the five years I've lived in Fishers, I've seen a surprisingly large number of decent restaurants come and go, but none has surprised me as much as the disappearance of Fionn MacCool's Irish Pub. From a Star report:

The popular Fionn MacCool's Irish Pub in Fishers has closed its doors.

The economy is to blame for the closure, the restaurant said in a letter to staff and customers on its Facebook page.

"2009 has been a challenging year for most of us and it is with deep regret that we are not able to withstand the economic crisis and must close our business," the message says.

It appears the restaurant closed Wednesday.

The restaurant, which has been open for about four years, won the Fishers Chamber of Commerce's Pillar Award for Business of the Year this fall. The chamber confirmed the restaurant is out of business.

The first one I noticed to come and go was a Chinese restaurant at Commercial, north of 116th. As soon as it opened, I got take out, and Ame really loved their tofu dishes. They were closed within three months. Who gives a start-up three months?

That space then became a Mexican-Guatamalan restaurant and bakery. It was a weird combination. Guatamalan food is pretty bland, and when I think 'fresh baked bread', I neither think "Mexico" nor "Guatamala". They were open about two years. Now the space is going to be BBQ.

The same strip had Stefano's, which closed earlier this year. Awesome garlic knots, possibly the worst marinara I've ever had. It tasted like it was overboiled for days. It was so bad I went back twice to see if it was an overboil, or if it was just that bad. It was just that bad. You really don't have a prayer with an Italian joint if you make lousy marinara.

There was a Dick's Bodacious BBQ on 116th at I-69. That's a Qdoba now.

There was a decent Indian restaurant on Allisonville south of 116th, run by very sweet people. It is now a chain Mexican place.

There was an Iranian restaurant on 116th across from the Town Center. It is now a Sushi joint. Ame & I went there Thursday. Good food, if pricey.

A former Boston Market is now a McDonald's. A Burger King is now a bank! Two Quizno's locations have vanished. A La Hacienda Mexican location that had a great daily lunch crowd disappeared. That space has been vacant for about two years.

There are still a lot of restaurants, and interesting ones at that. I love India Sizzling. I buy more groceries than anything at Al-Basha. Excellent fresh pita there! Friend Bill Smythe operates Claude & Annie's, which was one of my old poker haunts. I tease my friend Andrew about Ram, since he moved away and misses their beers. Among others.

I don't know why Fishers is a revolving door for restaurants. Many of those that vanished were pretty good. Is it the rent? The economy? Poor management? When your Town's 'Business of the Year' fails in the year it wins the award, you have to wonder what's going on.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nader Says What?

Again? From the Daily Beast:

“This is what I meant a year ago when I said the next year will determine whether Barack Obama will be an Uncle Tom groveling before the demands of the corporations.”
Whoa. A white guy calling President Obama an 'Uncle Tom'? That's... That's something. I'm speechless.

I have a general schadenfreude buzz as the various elements of the left experience cognitive dissonance, as Obama isn't left enough. It does remind me greatly of the Bush years, where the right experienced the same not-far-enough frustration. But, I also take it as a genuinely good sign.

Nader cited a number of cases in which he was encouraged to see people he considered loyal Democrats stand up to their lawmakers on principle.

“Markos, he finally turns around—this guy is an indentured servant of the Democratic Party, and he’s finally breaking.. [Arianna Huffington] is chirping up,” he said. “And they go a long way—they’ve given Obama the biggest elastic band in Democratic Party history and it’s reaching the point of snapping.”

While I don't hope they get their way in bringing the President and the Congress around to a fully socialized health care system, I do hope they get to them on civil liberties issues- Patriot Act, the fairly pointless wars, warrentless wiretapping, and the war on drugs.

I don't believe Obama will listen to his critics on the right, so opportunity lies with his critics on the left. Fan the flames!

Update: I really hate posting from my MacBook. The posts always look like crap when I do, and I never have the energy to figure it out. I want point-and-click uniformity and simplicity!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let Me Be Clear: His Lips Are Moving!

Reason's Jacob Sullum really hits one out of the park on Obama's rhetorical BS. I especially am sick of the phrase, "Let me be clear". I really like how Sullum addresses it:
From now on, when you hear Obama speak, try replacing “let me be clear” with “let me lie to you,” and see if it makes more sense.

That makes perfect sense to me. Whenever I listen to Obama's speeches, I find that he's trying to disarm opposition as the first order of business. I understand the need to win the argument in order to carry the day, but I never feel he has it quite right. Maybe that's by design.
Obama’s depiction of his critics is a bit further removed from reality. In the health care debate, he says, “there are those who simply don't believe Washington can bring about this change”; “there are those who will say that we do not go far enough”; “there are those who would have us try what has already failed, who would defend the status quo”; “there are those who will oppose reform no matter what”; and “there are those who want to seek political advantage.”

What about those who do not like the status quo but have a different vision of reform, not because they want to go farther than Obama does but because they want to go in a different direction, toward more choice, more competition, and less government involvement? In Obama’s world, they do not exist; instead we have his bold yet achievable plan, pitted against socialist utopianism and blind partisan intransigence. Let me be clear: This is a false choice.

The formula is exposed. A truly brilliant analytical article. Required reading. Send the linkage far and wide.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Copper Rush?

I was reading an online article in the UK's Telegraph that had me a bit baffled. The lede had to do with Al Gore as getting rich on environmental policy- then had nothing to back up the assertion.

But, I soldiered on, and came to something of genuine interest- the likely huge increases in the use- and mining of- copper, in these hybrid and electric cars.

According to research by the European Copper Institute, hybrid cars need a staggering 33kg of copper in their construction – about the weight of an average 12-year-old child. This compares with 20kg – 25kg of copper in a conventional car.

About 3kg extra is needed for the electric compressor, the converter/rectifier needs 2kg, the lithium-ion battery needs 8kg and high voltage wiring requires a further 8kg.

"2010 could be the year of the electric car," says Harvey Perkins, associate partner at KPMG. "By exempting electric company cars from company car tax and giving them 100pc first year capital allowances, it will encourage fleets to invest and encourage production.

Although the incentive is not huge because of the expense of electric vehicles, Mr Perkins thinks it will "seed the market".

On Tuesday last week, Ford said that it would invest up to $500m (£307m) to assemble hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars, as well as the construction lithium-ion batteries in Michigan, if it received tax credits from the state. Currently only the development of batteries for plug-in vehicles garners these credits in the US.

Lithium is another commodity that should do very well out of the rush to sustainability. The US Department of Energy is supporting the development of lithium batteries, with President Obama President Barack Obama unveiling $2.4bn of funding in March to develop generation plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Lithium battery development is key to this strategy, although the more immediate beneficiary is likely to be copper.

Fears are growing that a serious shortage of mine capacity across the world will lead to the copper market moving into a serious deficit from 2013 and beyond.

Maybe gold isn't the only metal to add to one's portfolio. Shortages are great opportunities.

Ok, it was said that the increased use of copper will decrease the production of carbon. Great. But, how much carbon will the increased mining of copper create, and will the offset be a net gain? And, what environmental damage will be caused by the copper mining? And, if we run out of copper, then what?

Worth noting that although we never seem to run out of any natural resource, animals do become extinct despite their ability to reproduce. How is it that man can find ever more ways of prizing out of the ground more and more of a finite substance, including those (like oil or coal) that were predicted in the 1970s to be exhausted by now?

Green Line Eats Green

The Indy Star is touting IndyGo's Green Line from the airport as some kind of winner. If it's a winner, the bar must be set below the low hurdle of mediocrity. From the report:
So far, the Green Line isn't profitable. All of the express lines need a federal subsidy.

"It is unlikely to make money given the hours" that public transportation has to be available, Terry said. The Green Line runs from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Green Line driver Dennis Harrell said the bus is often full and, sometimes, his passengers are celebrities, such as the players and managers attending this month's winter meetings of Major League Baseball in Indianapolis.

"We do see the Green Line starting to pick up, and it is one of the areas we will focus on next year. It has been getting better as we continue to tweak the routes," Terry said.

The Green Line was carrying about 300 to 400 passengers a month when it started in 2007, but the numbers had grown to 3,868 in October. There were nearly 23,000 through the first 10 months of this year, an increase of 94 percent from the same period last year, said IndyGo spokeswoman Jenny Brown.

Why is it unlikely to make money during those hours? Given the quote, one might expect the buses running from Midnight to 4am.

23,000 passengers? That many cars pass over I-465 in half a day. Etc.

I tire of the waste. If there is to be public transportation, the riders should pay for it. Raise the fares, and make it so. And, don't hand me the similarly tiring line, 'Well the roads are also subsidized'. No shit. You don't say. So, because we do one thing wrong, we should do another wrong, eh? We can as easily make user fees pay for the roads entirely as we can the buses. So, the reality is that our system is designed really as a transfer of wealth, to those who enjoy transportation, public or private, from those who very frequently do not.

There's your waste. Cut, cut cut.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Keynesian Spending Is Practical?

A recent comment asserted that free market advocates are idealogues, while Keynesian advocates are realists. I think that's crap. Both are idealogues. That's okay with me. If you don't have ideals to draw from, what is your compass? One has to solve a problem by some means, and I think for most people, their idealism becomes their realism. Certainly, it does for me. But in our goofy world, one is deemed practical when they cross their ideology.

The real outcomes are what matters. So, what of the stimulus spending? First off, let's not forget that stimulus spending is both a Bush and Obama solution. From Chris Edwards, at the Cato Institute:
In his Brookings Institution speech yesterday, President Obama called for more Keynesian-style spending stimulus for the economy, including increased investment on government projects and expanded subsidy payments to the unemployed and state governments. The package might cost $150 billion or more.

The president said that we’ve had to “spend our way out of this recession.” We’ve certainly had massive spending, but it doesn’t seemed to have helped the economy, as the 10 percent unemployment rate attests to.

It’s not just that the Obama “stimulus” package from February has apparently failed. The total Keynesian stimulus is not measured by the spending in that bill only, but by the total size of federal government deficits.

I'm struck by the chart... which I cannot seem to add right now. It's worth clicking through to.

I would argue that Keynesian economics is dogma for Democrats, (and for the liberal Republicans like Bush) but doesn't appear very practical in terms of boosting the economy. We haven't even seen the inflation yet. Look out! Perhaps it has been very practical in boosting this President's poularity, even while it did nothing for Bush. It's all very curious. In any case, maybe it's time for Obama to become truly practical by today's odd standard of the word, and start adopting some market solutions.

Mourdock at Cato

I finally listened to the Cato Daily Podcasts from October 23 & 26, to hear Indiana's Treasurer's take on the Chrysler bailout, and how it affected funds for the Indiana teacher's union and state police. He made a convincing Constitutional and moral case that those holding secured assets should have been first in line for payoff at bankruptcy, and not facing pennies on the dollar.

Go to the Cato Daily Podcast archive via this link, and look for the Oct 23 installment titled "Fallout from Chrysler's Bankruptcy featuring Richard Mourdock", and the Oct. 26 installment titled "Obama Versus the Rule of Law".

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

You Can Never Go Wrong Underestimating...

Abandon ye all hope. "Petitioning" to increase inflation to 100%. The man should be fearing for his life. Alas.

At least one man stood his ground and refused to sign.

Why I Don't Trust Government

Sometimes when I get into a political discussion, I find myself being asked why I have an almost total, reflexive instinct to not trust government. Why is it that I won't give the benefit of the doubt.

Unlimited evidence?

Let's put it this way: Why should I trust our government to not make health care in this country 100% worse, when this sort of thing can be permitted by that same government, per ABC News:
At least 12 members of Osama bin Laden's family currently hold Federal Aviation Administration pilot's licenses that make them eligible to fly aircraft anywhere in the United States, including three who received their licenses just this June, according to an analysis of FAA records provided to ABC News by a computer security firm, Safe Banking Systems.

One of the three who received his FAA licenses this year, Yeslam bin Laden, a half-brother of Osama who lives in Geneva, Switzerland, is named in a civil lawsuit brought by the families of 9/11 victims alleging he helped to finance Osama's al-Qaeda network as it started up in the 1990s in Yemen and the Sudan.

I scarcely know where to begin.

We're at war in order to find Osama bin Laden. This is because he commanded men TO FLY PLANES INTO BUILDINGS.

I'm not in favor of our current wars, but if I were in charge of the thing, we would be done within two weeks. Bin Laden's half-brother filled out an application! For the love of all that is good and decent, stroll up to his address, grab that man, and maybe a half-dozen of the other kin, and let the ransoming begin!

The ineptitude is staggering. Why do I not trust government? That's rich. Good one.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Great Post On Copenhagen Global Warming Issues

Reason Magazine's Nick Gillespie put together a fantastic post on Reason's Hit & Run blog, covering several different angles that lead up to a handful of conclusions, but mainly: the majority of American don't want to see a sweeping solution that could hurt the economy.

I'm no expert, but I find it reasonable to believe that man's pollution could impact climate globally. However, I don't believe that capping emissions in the USA at the rates frequently discussed are worth doing. Just as Bush's pre-emptive war struck me as a huge, out-of-proportion response to a low probability possible future catastrophic outcome, the usual cap solutions I see strike me as parallels.

Also, I've long been skeptical of the environmentalist Chicken Little approach. When the Al Gore's of the world had been shutting down skeptical inquiry, declaring the debate was over, it began to become religion and not science so far as I could see. Those climategate emails did nothing to improve that view.

I say, have a nice meeting in Copenhagen, and the US should do nothing more than China or India do.

Indy, or Alabama

This is my 7th Winter here in Central Indiana, and I remain floored at the inability of locals to drive properly when there is a little snow and ice on the ground. I would expect people in Alabama or Florida to not know how to manage, but Indianapolis? On my short drive with my little girl to her school, there were two cars run off into the ditch- on straight sections of road! The passage took 2x as long as usual. This snow and ice was nothing. Zippo.

Slow down, tap the brakes, learn which way to cut the wheel if you're sliding.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Gun Owners & Sex Offenders

Sex offenders have their home address information made public thanks to Megan's Law, with the idea being that people who have children have a right to know. That idea is controversial for some people, on the grounds that those who have served their time should not have to wear the Scarlet Letter after completion of sentence.

Along comes the Bloomington Herald-Times, with this announcement:
"This week, will launch its new gun permit database. You'll be able to search gun permit records by county, city or town and street."

Why should gun owners be treated on par with sex offenders? What compelling interest does the public have in knowing who has legally registered a firearm? Who is it that the Herald-Times hopes to help?

One who might benefit from such info? A would-be robber. "Not going to Kole's house, but I see that on his street there is a string of five houses in a row without firearms. Hmm. Think I'll hit the middle one, as far from armed residents as possible."

Maybe if we're publishing the names and addresses of people who legally enjoy the 2nd Amendment, we can publish the names and addresses of people who enjoy the 1st, such as newspaper journalists. Well, no. That's just a knee-jerk reaction towards serving one a dose of his own medicine. It would serve them right, but wouldn't serve liberty too well. *sigh*

(h/t Libertarian Party of Indiana, Duncan Adams, Sean Shepard, Andy Horning)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Quick Reactions To Obama's Speech

The biggest thing I came away with from the President's Afghanistan policy was the middle of the road approach that is bound to give everyone something to dislike.

1. The Right is going to hate the timeline. Easy to criticize: All the enemy has to do is lay low until 2011. Then, back into action. Also, the Republicans find religion and suddenly this war is too expensive. That wasn't a problem when their team led, naturally.

2. The Left has so much to dislike, ranging from the simple fact of escalation, to the foreshadowing of deeper involvement in Pakistan. In fact, by the end of the speech, I began to conclude that Obama was really preparing the American people for an eventual war in Pakistan. Well, that's what a foreign policy of interventionism will do for you.

As for me, I still don't like the fact that the war was not Constitutionally declared by Congress, and that it represents a near continuous 60+ year stream of wars under the bi-partisan policy of interventionism. I'm war weary already. "All we are saying..."

The reasons and justifications sounded just like the reasons and justifications coming from the Bush White House over the previous seven years. I didn't buy it then, and I don't buy it now. This isn't the 'right war'. The right war would deal with the people behind the 9/11 attacks. The right strategy would involve a whole lot more intelligence, and no occupation of foreign lands. The Obama plan appears to be in line with Bush's pre-emptive war. Rooting out would-be terrorists who might attack us? This made Bush a liar and a dunce, as I recall.

No sir, I don't like it. The speech was lovely. The policy is crap.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bush's Third Term Continues

Obama, the Peace Candidate. McCain is Bush's Third Term. Endless War. So many things I saw on bumper stickers 13 months ago. So many similar sentiments expressed by the left's bloggers. So much in the world of foreign policy that looks just as it would have had McCain won, or had Bush just stayed in office. Iraq was a quagmire and a failed war 13 months ago. We're still there. They hate us because we intervene, said the Left. Are we loved now for our intervention? Afghanistan is the real quagmire, as we should have learned from the Soviet experience, but we're getting ourselves in deeper. From CNN's report:
On Tuesday, Obama will travel to West Point, New York, to announce his decision on a request by McChrystal for up to 40,000 additional troops.

Obama is expected to send more than 30,000 U.S. troops and seek further troop commitments from NATO allies as part of a counterinsurgency strategy to wipe out al Qaeda elements and stabilize the country while training Afghan forces.

Ok, anti-war, anti-Bush folks. How does this rub you? How's that Change (tm) thing working out for you? Or, is it okay because your guy is leading the way?

Friday, November 27, 2009

I Like Trains, But...

Russia's high speed passenger train apparently derailed. Per CNN:
A passenger train running from Moscow to St. Petersburg derailed Friday, causing 25 deaths and 63 injuries, state-run Russian television reported.

Russian state radio said the crash occurred 280 km (174 miles) from St. Petersburg at 9:34 p.m. (1:34 p.m. ET). Rescue workers were trying to free people trapped under the carriages of the Nevsky Express that overturned.

Well, it's the technology of yestercentury. These things are bound to happen.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

By The Same Token, Obama's Allure

Just as I don't get Sarah Palin's great allure among so many conservatives, I'm similarly not understanding the very high approval ratings President Obama gets among Democrats. compiles polling data from the polls you know, and places Obama's approval rating among Democrats above 82%.

Are Democrats no deeper than, "He's on our team, he's not on their team, so he's obviously great"? It's hard to argue against.

1. Obama has essentially affirmed the Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by remaining and extending the wars.

2. Obama did a stimulus package that was merely bigger than Bush's.

3. Still in Gitmo.

4. Still maintaining the Bush policy of indefinite detention.

5. Could have significantly scaled back the war on drugs when the Mexican border militarized. Instead, laughed.

6. Still have the Patriot Act. No push to repeal coming from on high.

Obama reminds me an awful lot of George Bush, and not just because their foreign policy is identical in execution, if different in tenor. Mainly, Bush ignored a huge part of his base, the fiscal conservatives, expecting (and largely getting) continuing support on the strength of the oh-so-deep consideration of "at least he's on our team". Now, Obama does nothing for civil libertarians, or worse, and expects that if they are Democrats, they can't possibly go anywhere else.

I guess Obama is gambling correctly. The silence is deafening. Those who made issue of the war before the election of Obama are largely gone. Etc.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What Is Palin's Allure?

I don't get it. If you can't hang with Katie Couric in an interview, etc., how do you translate yourself as big-stage political material? Are conservatives that desperate? Apparently, yes they are. A thousand lined up in Noblesville, one town north of me, to get 30 seconds of face time and a book signed. From the Indy Star report:

Best-selling author Sarah Palin pulled in the parking lot of Hamilton Town Center in Noblesville at 5:40 p.m. to a crowd chanting her name.

"Sarah, Sarah, Sarah ..."

She got off the bus holding her youngest son, 19-month-old Trig. At the podium, she thanked everyone waiting in the rain for her arrival. People had initially been in line starting around 7 a.m. today to get 1,000 wristbands, used to limit the number of people getting books signed. They lined up again about 3 p.m. to prepare to enter the store. She called them good hard-working Americans, the people from whom she wrote her book "Going Rogue."

I can see going if you gave money during the Presidential run, although if I had, it might be to demand answers more than anything.

But really, what's the allure? I remember the Couric interview, where she said in essense that the bailout had to be done. That's a deal-killer for me, straight away. I don't get how 'conservatives' can be so excited about a fiscal liberal. Is it that her other 'conservative' bona fides simply cancel out everything else with so many Republicans? I just don't get it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No Ash Borers Here So Far

I keep an eye on reports like the one at the Indy Star today, advising of more Ash Borers being spotted in a variety of Indiana locations:
The tree-killing emerald ash borer has reached another four Indiana counties, boosting the insect’s foothold in the state to 30 counties.

State wildlife officials say the invasive green beetle has been found in Delaware and Jay counties in east-central Indiana, Miami County in the state’s north-central region and Washington County in far Southern Indiana.

My home county, Hamilton, is one of those under quarantine, meaning that you aren't supposed to transport ash from the county, due to observed infestation. Fortunately, I haven't seen any of the buggers yet on my lot. About a third of the trees in our woods are ash, and I'd hate to see those things kill so many trees. One ash, the biggest naturally, was hit by lightning last year, and we cut it down in Spring. The wood wasn't going anywhere, but to our fireplace, probably beginning in the next couple weeks.

Friday, November 06, 2009

My Take On Recent Elections

There was a lot of predictable spin on the recent elections that follows partisan lines. The race that most interested me was NY-23, where a Democrat ultimately won in a district that had elected Republicans for more than 100 years.

This happened because the Republicans nominated a fairly liberal candidate for US House, and in response, Doug Hoffman ran on the Conservative Party ticket. The liberal Republican dropped out of the race, the Conservative nearly made up the ground, but ultimately lost.

Some are saying that this is proof that a third-party candidacy is folly, and that reform needs to happen within the major parties.

I'll point out again that the GOP leadership nominated the liberal Republican.

The GOP leadership, virtually anywhere, has been so interested in targeting moderate and independent voters that the result is the appearance of not standing for anything at all. That's where they don't get it. There is a morass of wandering disaffected voters looking for a home, that requires a party to stand for something.

Obviously, the fear of third parties in general is keeping these folks in limbo, because the Libertarian Party has ever been for smaller budgets, less spending, less taxes, more economic growth, and higher employment... and this is what the people seem to want. From CNN's polling:
The number of Americans who say the economy is their top issue is on the rise, according to a new national poll.

Forty-seven percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday morning say the economy is the most important issue facing the country today. That's up 6 points from August.

Health care, at 17 percent, remains second on the list. But the issue is down a few points from August, indicating that the furor caused by the late summer town hall meetings may be fading somewhat on the minds of most Americans.

This tells me a lot. There's the Democratic leadership, working hard on something that the public doesn't regard as the top issue. Neither the Bush stimulus nor the Obama stimulus convince the public that their solution is working. Here are the Libertarians, offering a result that the people are clamoring for, yet not reaching the people.

My opinion is that right now, the Libertarian Party needs to become a single-issue party, focused solely on the economy. It isn't just that CNN article that makes me think this way. This has been the top issue for about a year now. The old leadership is discredited. The new leadership is losing people. This is an opportunity for the Libertarians, provided they eliminate distractions.

What say you?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Predictable World of Baseball

I am not watching the World Series. There is not a shred of interest. Oh? Did the Yankees make it? Now, who woulda thunk it? Big surprise. The Phillies? Knock me over with a feather.

It's hard enough being a sports fan in a country where most of the parks are built on the backs of taxpayers, where millionaires could have built them without being welfare queens. But baseball is a special kind of suck.

It's hard to miss how not competitive Major League Baseball is. Every year, the Red Sox and Yankees are going to compete in the American League. Every Year, the Cardinals, Dodgers, Mets, Braves and Phillies are going to compete in the National League. Mainly, these are the teams willing to spend money on talent.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have had 17 straight losing seasons. The Kansas City Royals routinely see their best players get to the end of their contracts, and leave via free agency.

Don't get me wrong- I don't bemoan the players their ability to sign for the highest bidder. The players are the product, after all.

What I don't care for is the fact that most teams will make a profit without even trying to compete for the top-level talent reserved for teams in Boston, New York, or Philadelphia. Why is that? Socialism.

No kidding. If you want to see how the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor in a socialistic microcosm, look at Major League Baseball, which has a revenue sharing program. Michael Lewis, assistant professor of marketing at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, said this in a University article:
"Even though revenue sharing was intended to create incentives for ball clubs to build their teams and build their fan base, it's ended up having the opposite effect," Lewis said. "For small markets, like Kansas City or Tampa Bay, the club fares better in terms of how much revenue it collects, when their team doesn't win and the stadium isn't full."

"The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have been notorious for under-investing in their team," Lewis said. "In 2006, they collected $33 million in revenue-share payments and they only filled about 37 percent of the seats in ballpark. Clearly this is a team that has decided to grow the bottom line through revenue-sharing payments rather than grow the fan base.

True, the Rays reached the World Series in 2008, losing to the Phillies, but that was an anomoly. This year? They finished just 6 games over .500. They'll tread similar waters for the next 20 years.

So, there isn't any tension this year. It's maddening besides. I'm a Cleveland Indians fan who gets to see CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee, both Cy Young winners for the Tribe in the past two seasons, now start in Game One of the World Series, for the Yanks and Phils respectively. The Indians just aren't willing to compete at the highest level. They dumped this phenomenal pitching talent for prospects, who they will in turn dump when they become stars themselves.

Why would anyone get emotionally involved with the Cleveland Indians? Or, any other team not in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, St. Louis, or Los Angeles?

I suppose if I were a Yankees or Phillies fan, this would be a lot of fun to watch. I'm not, so I won't. I get to look at enough crony socialism in the world of politics such that I hardly need it in my entertainment.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Friendly, God-Fearing Bank Robber

This one is bound to make national news. From the Indy Star report:
A robber holding a gun on an Advance America cashier Monday apologized to the woman for his actions, but went ahead with his robbery even after praying with the victim.

"He said that he hated to have to do this, but times were hard and he had no choice," cashier Angela Montez, 43, told police according to a police report.


The man told Montez he had a 2-year-old child to support and then asked Montez to pray with him about overcoming his hard ships. The two got down on their knees and prayed, remaining on their knees for nearly 10 minutes, police said.

In response to the woman's kindness, the man took a bullet out of his handgun and gave it to her, according to the report, telling the clerk it was his only bullet and promising not to hurt her. He then asked Montez for a hug.

I have nothing profound to say to this. It strikes me as some weird kind of goofy desperation, the kind of reality that is more bizarre than any creative fiction could be. Dig this:
The man took $20 in $5 bills from the cash drawer, according to the report -- leaving the rest of the cash in the drawer.

Twenty bucks. Astonishing. I'm sure there is political spin waiting to happen. I have nothing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dow & Gold At Highs?

Ok, I'm confused. The Dow cracked 10,000 yesterday for the first time in a year, while gold finished today at $1,050/oz, which is just off an all-time high. This doesn't make a lot of sense, with gold so often being strongest when stock markets are at their weakest.

My biggest market fear is that inflation is inevitable, thanks to the rampant printing of valueless money wrought by the stimulus, so in that sense, the gold price makes perfect sense. But the stock market? Why is it so high?

I'm going to have to do my homework on this.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reason on Whole Foods

Interesting to hear some Whole Foods employees speak, alongside Whole Foods protesters.

Yet Even Still More Smoking Ban for Marion County

It seems like there is endless restlessness by those who wish to use the power of government to force businesses to involuntarily adopt no-smoke policies. From WTHR 13's report:
A City-County Council committee approved a tighter ban in a 4-2 vote. The measure is designed to further reduce health effects of secondhand smoke especially on non-smoking workers at bars and clubs.


City Councilor Christine Scales questioned the wisdom of expanding the current restrictions. "Why a total ban? We're talking about serious liberty interests at stake here. Smoking is legal," she said.

I happen to like no-smoke establishments. I choose to patronize them. However, I get hung up on the phrase "the pursuit of happiness". People define that in different ways. For me, playing hockey is one avenue to happiness. For others, it's smoking a cigarette in a bar. I no more want a group of busybodies to outlaw my ability to play hockey on the basis of safety and eliminating risky behavior than smokers or bar owners want this ban. It's the third parties, those who don't even participate in the ownership or behavior, who are driving this law. That makes their efforts very suspect to me. I don't trust little dictators.

The ends of the no-smoke policy is nice, but the means are very important to me. There are the parallels I think of:

I like having a fully staffed military, but I oppose conscription.
I like having top notch health care, but don't think you should be taxed to make it so.

We want the ends. For the means, it is so unnecessary to resort to force, yet it is our nation's first resort anymore. We become less American daily.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So, Who Will Pay?

With the health care debate, the proponents seem to be stuck on a nuance-free, black & white answer: The Rich(tm). After all, they can afford it.

Alas, the reality is that it isn't just the rich. Turns out it could be people working manufacturing jobs, right here in Indiana. From an Indy Star report:
Zimmer Holdings, Biomet and DePuy Orthopaedics are based in Warsaw, along with several smaller companies and suppliers. Together, they generate nearly a third of the estimated $32 billion in global orthopedic device sales.

But the industry, succeeding even as some other U.S. manufacturing sectors are slumping, faces challenges:

A proposal that passed the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday would place as much as $40 billion in new taxes on the medical device industry in the next decade.

As always, the devil's in the details, although, there's devil aplenty in the main argument, as far as I'm concerned. Anyhow, is this what the proponents want? To do something that would stifle the creation of good paying manufacturing jobs?

Also, it may meet the definition of Obama's campaign promise that taxes won't be raised on 95% of individuals, but taxes on corporations end up being taxes on the employees and customers of those corporations. Again, lack of nuance. Black & white. Ham fisted simpleton explanations.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Limbaugh To Own The Rams?

I was amused to see that one former painkiller addict wouldn't support the other. From the AP:
Rush Limbaugh's bid to buy the St. Louis Rams ran into opposition within the NFL on Tuesday. Colts owner Jim Irsay vowed to vote against him

I get the feeling that Indy's conservative football fans must have some large cognitive dissonance buzzing their brains right about now. The Colts are 5-0 and playing some of their best football ever, but the team is the city's welfare queen poster child, with Irsay a billionaire in no small part due to transfers of wealth from the populace to him. Then, the iconic Limbaugh gets a slap in the face from Irsay.

The Left boycotted Whole Foods when its' CEO said things it found insulting. Any chance the right will boycott the Colts?

Before any Limbaugh supporters call it un-American for Irsay to take this stance, just remember that the NFL and its' franchises are a different kind of property than, say, a common piece of real estate. The other owners do have a vote on whether or not to accept any prospective owner or ownership group, and they can discriminate against any prospective buyer, for any reason, no matter how illiberal that might seem.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rewarding Saturday

I was very happy to deliver a talk to potential Libertarian Party candidates this Saturday, on the subject of beginning the race. Mainly, as the most recent candidate for Secretary of State, my top secondary objective, apart from winning, was to establish four more years of automatic ballot access for LP candidates. These were some of the folks who will take advantage of that ballot access.

Most of what I do in politics has no immediate return. This event was rare in that there was the immediate gratification of meeting and informing these good people, and, in helping to justify that campaign- both at once.

Now, folks: file those papers!!!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize?

They must just give that thing away to anyone. To give the Peace Prize to the president who has not ended the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but extended them? The Prize has no value any longer, and what a horrible message: Words matter, actions don't.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Saturn Rings The Bowl

GM announced today that Saturn is being closed down. From an AP report:
General Motors Co. said today that it would shut down its Saturn brand after an agreement with Penske Automotive Group Inc. to acquire it fell apart.

Penske, citing concerns of whether it could continue to supply vehicles after a manufacturing contract with GM ran out, ended talks with GM Wednesday to acquire the brand.

I don't get it. Wasn't the whole point of the GM bailout by the federal government that the plants would stay open? Basically, a big make-work project? This has to be a real kick in the ass to those who worked at Saturn.

I have no love for Saturn. I owned a 1997 SL2 that I actually really did love, being that it was the first car I ever bought new. It was totally reliable until 2006, when I took it to the Saturn of Fishers for an oil change. A mere 600 miles later, the engine blew. The dealer, Saturn of Fishers, wouldn't stand behind it. Nor would Saturn itself. So, I had the damned thing crushed into a cube. Then I bought a Toyota, swearing I would never buy another Saturn or GM product again so long as I lived.
GM CEO Fritz Henderson said in statement that Saturn and its dealership network will be phased out. Locally, Saturn dealers are in Indianapolis, Fishers and Greenwood.

I don't usually delight in schadenfreude, but in this case, I must confess I did snicker as I drove down 126th Street, past the entrance to the Saturn of Fishers. Good riddance. The market has spoken. Recessions are so very good for weeding out the bad.

I know I was just one customer, just one grain of sand on the beach, but maybe, just maybe, had Saturn treated me a little better, they might have survived. For, if they treated me with such contempt, I'm sure they treated just about everyone else who found themselves at a pivotal moment of showing customer loyalty, or not, like shit.
Souder Begs Of Me?

I was fairly surprised to get a beg letter from Congressman Mark Souder, a Republican representing Indiana's District #3, covering the northeast corner of the state. Surprised, because I live in District #5, in the central part of the state.

The gist of the beg is that Souder is under attack by 'liberals', and that he is a good 'conservative'.

These terms are relative, of course. I consider myself a conservative in that I am to conserve the traditions of the Founders. This is not how most people portray conservatism today, although Souder's letter does site the Founders, so I'll hold him to it.

Souder describes himself as not a 'big spender'. Yet he votes consistently to fund Amtrak, voted to subsidize private health insurance, and votes in favor of farm subsidies- all hallmarks of big spending as far as I can tell. Source.

Mainly, I just don't trust a Republican who voted with George Bush on so many government growing budget items who then turns around and slams the Obama Administration for doing exactly the same things, only at a greater degree. I don't care to shade bad policy in terms of very bad and extremely bad. Bad is bad.

I'd be much happier to see Mark Souder replaced with a Libertarian- a conservative who meets my definitions of the word, conserving the actual principles of the Founders.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Feast / Famine

I haven't posted in several weeks, because the work was overwhelming. A great problem to have, as now illustrated by having almost none.

With some down time, I've decided to go forward with one of the many projects I've put to the back burner for years- selling my record collection.

I think I'm going to start selling piecemeal, beginning with the 7" records. I doubt I'll start anywhere in particular, just start pulling them out of the boxes and listing them on eBay. I think I have around 2,000 or so. Best case scenario is that I end up with about 10-15, those with sentimental value, where the artist thanked me on the sleeve, or like the My Dad Is Dead "Shine" 7", numbered "0001/1500", which I invested in. I'm keeping that one!

If you want something, looking for a particular 7" record from some '77 punk band, or early 90s noise rocker, drop me a line. Just know that I'm selling, and looking to supplement my dwindling income with this. No stimulus checks coming my way, after all. I'm not too big to fail.

I'll post the eBay links when the time comes.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Useful Way To Think About Health Care Solutions

I was very taken by Harvard economist Greg Mankiw's blog post about institutions and trust. He and I are of a like mind.

In sum, Mankiw asks, If you are more apt to trust government as an institution than free market competitors, AND you don't trust government run by Republicans, why would you put something as important as health care in the hands of the federal government, when historically Republicans run the government about half of the time?

Quotes, from Mankiw's post:
I tend to distrust power unchecked by competition. This makes me particularly suspicious of federal policies that take a strong role in directing private decisions. I am much more willing to have state and local governments exercise power in a variety of ways than for the federal government to undertake similar actions.


This philosophical inclination most likely influences my views of the healthcare debate. The more power a centralized government authority asserts, the more worried I am that the power will be misused either purposefully or, more likely, because of some well-intentioned but mistaken social theory. I prefer reforms that set up rules of the game but end up with power over key decisions as decentralized as possible.

I would add that even if the power is given to a well-intentioned and correct social theory, it will become distant, static, and inefficient as a bureaucracy develops and becomes entrenched. Certainly, this is a large complaint about the insurance giants, and they have nothing on the federal government in that department.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We Want To Give Power?

Why am I so opposed to government run health care? Because I'm hard pressed to think of anything important that government does well. For reference, consider our economy.

Yes, the Federal Reserve is a private bank, but it is given power to control our currency by our federal government. Ben Bernanke is the 'Czar' of the Fed. He was wrong about housing, wrong about the poosibility of recession, wrong about the strength of economic fundamentals.

Video courtesy Lew Rockwell. Great article.

This is typical. 'Stimulus' packages don't work, so our federal government does stimulus packages. Inept people run the show. Socialized medicine doesn't work, so of course we are headed that way, and no doubt, some inept clown with be the 'Czar' of health care.

If I had a surgery I was putting off, I'd get it done pronto.

(h/t: Wayne Kirk)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Indy Star Rushes to Irrelevance

Is it just me, or did anyone else notice that trying to view the Indianapolis Star online now requires a password? Go ahead- give it a whirl:

The management seems hell-bent on making sure nobody reads. If I can't look for free at the Indy Star, no problem, I'll look at other free sites for news. There are plenty of them. The Star doesn't generate enough original content to make it worth my while to subscribe, and besides, they treated my campaign poorly, so I won't subscribe on principle.

I can think of just one or two subscription news websites that make any money. The Star's management has to know this. Maybe they just want to fold at this point.

Enjoy your accelerated trip to oblivion, Indy Star!

Update: Followed up on Todd's comment and found the Star fully accessible once again.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Obama Explains Shrinking American Job Base, Inadvertently

Freudian slip! From a NY Times report:
One evil he came here to fight is the pernicious mix of greed, famine and war that has kept Africa down. He delivered a blunt message that from his predecessors might not have been received the same way. Instead, it was cast by aides as hard truths from a loving cousin.

“No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers,” he said. “No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the port authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end.” (emphasis mine).

Physician, heal thyself! Obama's Administration oversees an IRS that punishes American businesses just as he advises against. Does he comprehend anything that crosses his teleprompter?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

RIP Billy Mays

Now, here is a celebrity I'll miss. From CNN's report:
The 50-year-old known for his shouting OxiClean ads was pronounced dead at 7:45 a.m. The Hillsborough County medical examiner will perform an autopsy, Tampa police Lt. Brian Dugan said.

Mays was on the US Airways flight from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Tampa on Saturday that had a hard landing at Tampa International Airport when the plane's front tire blew out. There were no reported injuries on Flight 1241, US Airways told CNN.

According to a local Tampa TV station, Mays said: "All of a sudden as we hit you know it was just the hardest hit, all the things from the ceiling started dropping. It hit me on the head, but I got a hard head."

While always amused by Mays' delivery, I first got some greater insight into the man as one who was at once deadly serious about his business, and yet able to laugh at himself and enjoy the absurdity of it, thanks to Sex Pistol Steve Jones' old radio show, Jonesy's Jukebox. Ever since that show, I absolutely loved hearing Mays' pitches. This is a great bit of fun:

Friday, June 26, 2009


(Charlevoix, MI)- So, we arrived in Charlevoix for Ame's first marathon, and after a long drive dinner was beckoning. TVs were on in the place, and it was all Michael Jackson.

I could care less.

Really- We have a vote on cap & trade coming up, North Korea throwing nuclear rocks at the knees of the United States, Iran is coming unravelled, unemployment is rising and nearing double digits, the US is still in Iraq and Afghanistan... and people are riveted to coverage, 98% Michael Jackson, 2% Farrah Fawcett.

Bread & circuses. We are a very pathetic, very distracted nation and society. Watch this hideous cap & trade be passed while people watch 'news' reports about the pedophile.

Update: I just got a call from Ron Paul's Campaign For Liberty, urging me to contact my Congressman about cap & trade. Thank goodness he's not distracted. I had already contacted Dan Burton's office. I hope you contact your House Rep also.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Craig Coxe Interview Posted

I was happy to see my lengthy interview with ex-NHL player Craig Coxe posted at last on

The main thing that delayed the posting was the ambition of it. There is so much that could be done with it, because the interview was videotaped by Steve Wainstead. The video of Coxe sharing his stories really brings life to the mere dialogue. More than that, the ability to run Coxe's voice over clips of his fights is an incredible opportunity... but a lot of work. So, at least for now, the transcribed interview is posted. Check it out via this link.

For a look at what is possible for this interview, take a look at this snip from it, where Coxe talks about his scraps with Bennett Wolf, in the AHL:

Now, look at a clip of the scraps themselves:

It would be awesome to edit the clips such that you are watching the fight, and hearing Coxe speak about it.

A lot of potential there. Coxe talked about scraps with Joe Kocur, Dave Brown, John Kordic, Troy Crowder, and Ken Baumgartner, plus the Madison Square Garden incident. For now, I'm extremely pleased to see the interview itself have the light of day. Coxe was a magnificent interview subject.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How Did This Happen?

I received a copy of the property tax statement from the Hamilton County Treasurer, and found that my property taxes went down by about 12% from last year.

This is remarkable, because they went down 10% the year before. I am astonished. So, why?

One large item: A "Supplemental Deduction" item added to my table of deductions, roughly equal to my Homestead Deduction.

It's still quite a soup sandwich. The "State property tax relief" item went down by 90%, meaning, I liked that one a whole lot more last year... but it's hard not to like this "Supplemental Deduction". Here's an interesting breakdown on the distibution on my property tax money, by taxing authority, by percentage change:

State: -100%
County: -15.73%
Township: +98.26%
School District: -54.06%
Corporation: -12.76%
Library: -18.31%
TIF: -22.5%

I guess that's a plug for eliminating Township Government. Everybody else seems to get that the economy is down, and therefore so should the spending be down.

Next year, the property tax caps will kick in for residential property at 1%. As my net liability was under 1% this year, I'm pretty happy with the progress there. It still isn't the elimination of property taxes, but it is movement in the right direction.

Now, I'll be interested to learn how others are affected. I still expect Marion County, and others, to feel it moving in the wrong direction.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Light Rail Crash in DC Area

No mode of transportation is without risk. Rail commutes are often touted as a safe alternative to auto commutes. I'd like to see comparisons on injuries and fatalities per passenger mile. I know this: When the train wrecks, many people are injured at once, with fatalities. From a USA Today report:

One Metro transit train smashed into the rear of another at the height of the capital city's Monday evening rush hour, killing at least six people and injuring scores of others as the front end of the trailing train jackknifed violently into the air and fell atop the first.

Cars of both trains were ripped open and smashed together in the worst accident in the Metrorail system's 33-year history. District of Columbia fire spokesman Alan Etter said crews had to cut some people out of what he described as a "mass casualty event." Rescue workers propped steel ladders up to the upper train cars to help survivors scramble to safety. Seats from the smashed cars spilled out onto the track.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said six were confirmed dead. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin said rescue workers treated 76 people at the scene and sent some of them to local hospitals, six with critical injuries. A search for further victims continued into the night.

Horrific stuff. Inexplicable quote:

"I don't know the reason for this accident," Metro's Catoe said. "I would still say the system is safe, but we've had an incident."

Yeah. Ok. Nothing to see here. I get it. What a load. If 6 people are killed when a train has crashed violently, and you cannot explain it, the system is decidedly unsafe, and dangerous. When you can explain the cause, and have it fixed, then the system is safer. Not safe, but more safe, since no mode of transportation is safe. All entail risk.

I know I don't want this in Fishers, sound economics aside.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No Doubt About ABC's Bias

For years, many have asserted that the media is biased to the left, and many others have countered that it isn't, or that corporations own the media, so it is biased to the right. Then there's Fox News.

Say what you will for the rest of the media, but ABC has removed all doubt. From the Drudge Report:
On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care -- a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!

Highlights on the agenda: ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special -- 'Prescription for America' -- originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.

The Director of Communications at the White House Office of Health Reform is Linda Douglass, who worked as a reporter for ABC News from 1998-2006.

Ok, my friends on the left. Not even Fox News does this. Can we at last say that ABC is liberally biased? I can't see how one could say otherwise.

Now, for my friends on the right who are about to have an aneurism, take a breath. You believe in private property, so remember that ABC has every right in the world to take whatever bias it wants, to air whatever it wants, to not air at its' whim, and to refuse any advertising, for any or no reason at all. You don't have to watch, and you certainly never have to listen to anyone who defends ABC as non-biased ever again.

I read the statement from the Republican Party, and concluded they are missing something. Again, from Drudge:
The President has stated time and time again that he wants a bipartisan debate. Therefore, the Republican Party should be included in this primetime event, or the DNC should pay for your airtime.

ABC is a private company. The notion of the 'public airwaves' is crap. That Republicans don't get it is telling. Besides, cutting the Republicans out of the debate hardly means it can't be bi-partisan. It's time for the Libertarians to steal the show.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Good For Him!

The Indiana soldier on his way to Iraq who put his original 1788 copy of The Federalist up for auction has cashed in. Per the Indy Star report:
An Indiana soldier’s rare leather-bound first edition copy of volume one of “The Federalist” has sold for $80,000 at an auction.

Indiana National Guard Capt. Nathan Harlan was in high school when he paid $7 for the 1788 book that’s the first part of a two-volume book of essays calling for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

I love that someone treasures the volume to the tune of $80,000, and that the money went to a soldier.

Now, be sure to read a few essays. I'd recommend Federalist 84. For as much as I disagree with Hamilton's general vision for the scope of the Federal Government, he was spot-on about how an enumeration of the people's rights could well undermine the interpretation of a constitution meant to limit government, and not the people. It was controversial in its' day, and the matter has hardly been resolved. A goodie.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bailouts & Stimulus Are The Problem

You've probably heard of Peter Schiff- the man who was the town crier, telling anyone who would listen that the sub-prime market would collapse, and then it did. Here's Schiff on the Daily Show:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Peter Schiff
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorNewt Gingrich Unedited Interview

Republicans set the fire. Democrats brought gasoline to 'fix' it. You need the Libertarians now more than ever.

H/T to Eric Schansberg for the clip!
Federalist Papers Going Once!

I love this item. A Hoosier soldier had the good fortune to stumble across an original edition of The Federalist, edition 1788, and picked it up for $7. From the Indy Star:
A rare leather-bound book that played an influential role in America's early history could bring a windfall for a soldier training for his second tour in Iraq.

Indiana National Guard Capt. Nathan Harlan was a high school junior when he paid $7 for a 1788 first edition of volume one of "The Federalist" -- a two-volume book of essays calling for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

I hope he gets a big pile of cash. I also hope this story might spur even one Star reader to investigate and read The Federalist. A boon for the soldier. A boon for our society.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tooting My Own Horn

The most recent installment of the Libertarian Party of Indiana's Weekly Podcast turns the tables on me. Rather than hosting as the interviewer, I am the guest, as the Chair of the Hamilton County LP. The guest host was more than capable. LPIN Executive Director Chris Spangle is a radio pro, a former producer at Indy's WXNT for the Abdul in the Morning show.

I answered Chris' questions about my plans for growing the Hamilton County affiliate, and the challenges in reaching voters in a traditionally Republican county, and one that is split between the highly developed suburban landscape of Carmel, Fishers, and Noblesville, and the rural and small towns of Sheridan, Atlanta, and Strawtown.

Here's the link to the podcast archive.

You can also subscribe to get every podcast episode downloaded to your iTunes or other service. Follow this link to subscribe. All 30 podcasts are available!

Monday, June 08, 2009

No TV? No Big Deal

In five days- you know, unless they can't pull it off, as was the case in January- all the broadcast TV stations will switch to digital, and the Kole household will lose the remaining 7 or 8 channels we have had since we pulled the plug on cable two years ago. Per the Indy Star:
The clock is ticking if you haven't made the switch to digital. On Friday, federal law requires television stations to stop broadcasting in analog. Recently released Nielsen data show Indianapolis is the 16th-least-prepared market. More than 40,000 households -- or 3.6 percent -- are not ready.

Only 3.6%? I'm amazed at how crucially important Americans find their televisions to be. Or, for that matter, how important entertainment is regarded.

If you ask me about movies made in the last 10 years, you'll get a blank from me. I'm astonished at how so many who are not named Ebert or Socey have encyclopedic knowledge of every movie Ben Stiller has ever made... and yet couldn't begin to tell you what the 4th Amendment is about, or what the Enumerated Powers are, or what their state income tax rate is, or who their representative in municipal government is.

So, government colluded with electronics retailers to needlessly create demand for new devices? Count me out. I don't need it. TV is the heroin that helps keep the populace distracted and stupid... and poorer. I can't believe how many 'poor' people subscribe to cable at $100/month. It's all an incredible misplacement of values.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Best Wishes, Andy Horning

With Andy Horning departing Indiana for Texas, after so many mostly Libertarian campaigns for office, we're seeing many nice tributes to the man, several of which go, "I'm a Libertarian because of Andy Horning".

Well, I can't say that's my story too. I was a Libertarian back in Ohio, when it became apparent in mid-2002 that I would be moving to Indianapolis with Ame. I didn't know anybody in Indy. I didn't even have a job lined up, so I was looking to make associations right away. So, I called the Libertarian Party of Indiana's office, talked with then-Executive Director Brad Klopfenstein, asking where I could get active upon arrival.

No hesitation. Brad directed me to Andy's campaign for Congress.

I was most impressed. I was leaving a state where the Libertarian Party lacked ballot access. I was never deeply involved with the LPO, because it was scarcely like a political party at all. If you can't get on the ballot, you essentially don't exist. But Andy Horning fulfilled everything I expected a Libertarian candidate for Congress to be: He is something of a statesman. His positions are well-reasoned. His delivery smooth and sure. His temper even. I felt great about my move, politically. Everything that Ohio couldn't be, because of the repressive ballot access laws, Indiana seemed to be. Before I even knew my neighbors, I was delivering the Hoosier Libertarian newspaper to every door in my neighborhood, in an effort to promote Andy's campaign.

Andy Horning is one large reason I ran for Secretary of State, beginning in late 2004. Yes, by then he had jumped ship and was running for the Republicans, but the purpose for my running was established: to preserve the ability of Libertarian candidates to have the ballot access.

I was delighted when Andy came back to the Libertarians, and accepted the 2008 nomination for Governor. He was running with us, on the ballot access I helped preserve. That was a private observation and pleasure, until now.

The last political thing I did with Andy was to sit down with him for an interview for the Libertarian party of Indiana's Weekly Podcast. He was working in Louisville, and when the issue of state sovereignty began to arise in Indiana and several other states, there was no other person I wished to interview on the subject. Andy answered as sometimes only Andy can- with a somewhat confounding, surprising response, but one that was wholly consistent with his view of the US and Indiana Constitutions. He was speaking off the cuff, but he was as scholarly as a university professor... and he was truly just gabbing on his lunch break.

So, I'll miss you, Andy. Indiana's loss is Texas' gain.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Never Wonder Why Some Libertarians Dislike Democrats

I couldn't believe what I was reading this morning, in an article on Andy Horning's leaving Indiana later this month. From the Indy Star report:
A confident public speaker and skilled debater, Horning has been the face of the Indiana Libertarian Party for a decade and has run for offices ranging from county recorder to governor.

"I don't think he made any good points, but he made his points in a way that you didn't dislike the man," said Dan Parker, the Democratic state chairman.

This makes Andy rather unlike Dan Parker.

It seems that Indiana Democrats know only one speed: attack. If there's one time when one can say nice, flattering things about a member of an opposing party while they are still alive, it's when they are leaving your area. Alas, Parker.

When I was running for Secretary of State a few years ago, Ame & I hosted some fundraisers in our home, and she was always taken aback, as a Democrat herself, by the contempt some Indiana Libertarians hold for Democrats. This is pretty typical fare, so there shouldn't be any surprise at it.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Hamilton County Libertarian Meet-Up

Our Meet-Up group meets the first Thursday of every month. Come join us tomorrow in Noblesville! The discussion is informal, the food & beer is delicious, and our group is growing each month.

Thursday, June 4, 2009
Barley Island, Noblesville
7pm - ?

RSVP here, if you plan to come. It helps us allow Barley Island how many people to expect. They are dedicating a server to our group, since we slammed them last time.

We can talk about anything, although the GM bailout and the Indiana budget are bound to be hot topics. See you there!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quick Reaction To Sotomayor Nomination

I don't know much about Sonia Sotomayor. Why would I? Judges are not known to us the way lawmakers are, or even governors of other states are. I figure that's as it ought to be, justice being blind and all.

So, the first article I read on the nomination has two passages that have me hoping for a miracle defeat:
Even before she was nominated, conservative activists were describing her as a judicial activist who would put feelings above the Constitution.

Sotomayor seemed to take the matter head on. She said the rule of law is the foundation of all basic rights and the principles set forth by the Founding Fathers endure. "Those principles," she said at the White House, "are as meaningful and relevant in each generation as the generation before."

Sotomayor has spoken about her pride in her ethnic background and has said that personal experiences "affect the facts that judges choose to see."

"I simply do not know exactly what the difference will be in my judging," she said in a speech in 2001. "But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage."

I don't want a Supreme Court Justice, left or right, who puts feelings ahead of the Constitution. It seems to me that we have eight Justices that do that now, and as such, the next appointment will merely replace one of those eight. No improvement. I hope Justice Kennedy lives to be 135.

And I certainly don't want a racist, sexist Justice. That last quote makes me very uneasy. Imagine if a white man had said that. There would be references to linens as costume, and organizations using the letters between J and L. But instead, this racism and sexism is 'historic'.

Thus, I don't like the nature of the nomination. From the same article, the first statement:
Reaching for history, President Barack Obama on Tuesday chose federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court

I don't want nominations, appointments, or elections based on the color of one's skin, one's sex organs, or one's national origin. I want this done on the basis of a resume, and resume only. Let's stop this idiocy of being 'historic'. Rule of law, not of men.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bush's Third Term

I hope the folks who sported the "No Third Term" bumper stickers in the Fall of last year as tasting the buyer's remorse. President Obama is changing so little besides the names we call certain policies. It's so apparent, that even the commentators on the Left can help but notice it.

Three cheers for Rachel Maddow! I deeply respect her integrity for this report. It would have been easy enough for her to report on Obama's anti-Bush remarks while sweeping the subtance that makes Obama's policies exactly the same as Bush's under the rug. Change, my eye!

So, what about the Right? From Gene Healy at Cato at Liberty:
Since Rich Lowry, Karl Rove, and Charles Krauthammer have all admitted that Obama’s anti-terror policies are substantially the same as Bush’s, I assume they’ll refrain from arguing that Obama’s making the country less safe, and they’ll hold the recriminations if and when there’s another terrorist attack. Right?

I wouldn't hold my breath.