Friday, July 27, 2007

Good news from the FCC for once

It's not the best news possible, that the FCC is eliminating content regulation, but at least they do not plan on censoring political speech with the leftist "Fairness Doctrine."

There is no "compelling reason to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine," the head of the Federal Communications Commission said in a letter to lawmakers this week.

Chairman Kevin J. Martin, responding to a letter from several House Republicans on the modern-day appropriateness of the rule, assured them that the media regulator has no intention of bringing back the doctrine, which required broadcasters to present contrasting points of view on issues of public importance.

"In my judgment, the events of the last two decades have confirmed the wisdom of the commission's decision to abolish the Fairness Doctrine," wrote Mr. Martin, a Republican, in a letter dated Monday and released yesterday.

"Discussion of controversial issues over the airwaves has flourished absent regulatory constraints, and the public now enjoys access to an ever-expanding range of views and opinions. Indeed, with the continued proliferation of additional sources of information and programming, including satellite broadcasting and the Internet, the need for the Fairness Doctrine has lessened ever further since 1987."

Good news, but we still need to get something passed so this doesn't make a comeback later. I'd rather go a step further and stop cotent regulation altogether and have the FCC go back to only making sure stations do not interfere with one another.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fred Thompson hires Spence Abraham as campaign chair

Could be interesting for Michigan.

From the AP

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson is replacing his acting campaign manager with former senator and energy secretary Spencer Abraham and Florida GOP strategist Randy Enright.
Thompson spokeswoman Linda Rozett said acting campaign manager Tom Collamore, former vice president of food and tobacco giant Altria, still will advise the campaign. Collamore has helped organize the campaign for Thompson, who has not officially jumped into the race.

Thompson has established a "testing the waters" committee that allows him to raise money for a presidential bid. He is expected to formally kick off his candidacy in September.

No comment - and I'll leave it at that.

2008 Presidential Selection in Michigan

There's been a lot of controversy over the 2008 primary. Under the old system, the Republicans had an open primary where anyone voted, while the democrats had a closed caucus system. The result of that was many democrats and independents voting in the GOP primary. That's nothing new, as both George Wallace and Jesse Jackson won primaries here.

The best case scenario is an agreement with the democrats to hold primaries the same day. That saves costs to this state, and all residents will get their say, although they must declare a party when they vote. I don't have a problem with that. This works best since presumabely for the most part, the dems will vote in their primary and we'll vote in ours as both parties have real primaries. We can choose between McCain, Rudy, Romney, both Thompsons, Hunter, Paul, Brownback, Tancredo and maybe Newt. The democrats can choose between Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Biden, Dodd, Kucinich, Richardson, and Gravel. There's enough differences and enough of a chance of different candidates to make this a real good event. There's no gaurantees, and some candidates are opposed to this. Giuliani and McCain's camps probably favor the old style open primary on different dates than the democrats. Why? More democrats would probably vote for them.

IMO this convention setup favors Romney, but not completely with the safeguards in place. The secret ballot hurts all of the big three. The automatic promotion also hurts Romney in some areas and McCain in others. It's too early to tell if Thompson will be affected. The Choice C candidates are hurt by this, and that does concern me. However one excellent provision is the preference given to current precinct delegates in decisions. That is a good safeguards to any gamesmanship played by some chairs and powerbrokers.

The big thing is moving the primary up. With all the states frontloading their primaries, we need to go early, pass NH and Iowa, and take the risk of losing some of our delegates. Even if we lose the delegates, we still have a major say through persuasive authority. Going to other states and saying "I won Michigan" is good for the "electable" argument and carries more weight than the actual number of delegates for the national convention.

The problem with a party run primary or caucus is the price. 1 million. Not to mention the agreements that would have to be made on it. Policing is another issue considering some of the gamesmanship going on by some who want a coronation instead of a primary. I still like the caucus setup myself, but I can live with the convention - if there is not an agreement with the democrats.

I hope the agreement is set however. This is a rare opprotunity of both parties having strongly contested races, something that doesn't happen often with so many "anointed" candidates and coronations. We need to take advantage of that.

Update on MMA bill in House (Yea/Nay)

The Voting Record on this has been released.

The 14 no votes are as follows. I can always count on uberleftist Steve Bieda being wrong on flat out everything. Eight Democrats and six Republicans opposed this. This wasn't a party line vote.

Richard Ball (R)
Kevin Green (R)
John Moolenaar (R)
Joel Sheltrown (D)
Joan Bauer (D) - She cosponsored the bill, wonder why she flipped.
Robert Jones (D)
Mike Nofs (R)
John Stakoe (R)
Steve Bieda (D)
Kathleen Law (D)
Michael Sak (D)
Howard Walker (R)
Ed Clemente (D)
Steve Lindberg (D)

Rep. Bieda, having reserved the right to explain his protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement:

"Mr. Speaker and members of the House:

After much consideration, I voted 'no' on House Bills 4869 and 4870 because I do not believe this change in the law either benefits society, nor advances the culture of our state. I would not feel comfortable with children being exposed to this type of violence, and I sincerely believe that a civilized society would not recognize this as a legitimate sport. 'Ultimate Fighting Championships' glorify violence, and appeal to the baser instincts of human nature. I know the long-term as well as the short term health risks of more traditional fighting sports such as boxing, and I am sincerely concerned with expanding our definition of sport to include this type of activity. Because of these concerns I voted 'no' on both bills."

Thumbs up to Joe Hune for voting right, as well as to Chris Ward for his support, and to Barbara Farrah for getting this through committee.

Now we need to get this past the state senate.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mixed Martial Arts bill passes the house 94-14

Good news from the state house. Mixed martial arts may soon be legalized in this state. It passed the state house 94-14 on a bipartisan vote. I don't have the roll call vote, but the bill was cosponsored by many in both parties including our own Chris Ward. Barbara Farrah (D-downriver) wrote it and came through for us in the committee chair position.

From the AP:
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The state House on Wednesday passed bills aimed at regulating mixed martial arts fights in Michigan.

The legislation's sponsor, Democrat Barbara Farrah of Southgate, says the bills are needed to draw professional events such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship to the state.

The bills would expand state law covering boxing to include contests sponsored by mixed martial arts organizations.

The main bill in the package passed the House by a 94-14 vote. The legislation now goes to the Senate.

I first wrote about the push to legalize MMA here in Michigan last month. This is good news, and now it is onwards to the Senate. Garcia will get a call from me soon. If it passes by the same margin as it did in the house, then we don't have to worry about Granholm - although I don't think she'll be vetoing something like this that can bring money to Michigan.

Bad Press we don't need

This story caught me by surprise when I first heard about it a few months back since I knew Mike Flory as an acquaintance from different political events around the state. Flory, a lawyer and former chair of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans, just pled guilty to sexual battery (rape) and is very likely to end up in prison (could be probation to 5 years in prison).

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer
The former head of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans admitted today that he sexually abused a colleague during a national convention here last summer.

Michael Flory, a 32-year-old attorney from Jackson, Mich., pleaded guilty to sexual battery on the day he was to stand trial for rape.

The teary-eyed college student he overpowered in a downtown hotel room gasped and dabbed her eyes as Flory replied to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Peter Corrigan's question, "Are you indeed guilty?"

"Sure - yeah," Flory said.

Corrigan set sentencing for Sept. 13. Flory faces a sentence that ranges from probation to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Flory is also a licensed insurance broker; Corrigan warned him that the guilty plea places both professional licenses in jeopardy of revocation.

Because of the decision made at the convention, Flory may go to prison, may lose his law license, and may lose his insurance license. Was someone passed out or nearly passed out from drinking worth all of that? That is an extremely high price - and what is/was a major felony brings a high price. Tough political future as well (unless your a democrat like Mel Reynlolds and Gerry Studds)

The side effect to this is that we as republicans all look bad from this through guilt by association. Democrats are having a field day on this. Mike Flory is not an elected official, but still this is all over the AP wires and is major regional news in Ohio (where action took place) and Michigan (home state). This does not help our standing with voters.

The lesson we as republicans need to learn is that all the actions we take are magnified in the public eye. It does not matter any more that we are not "big names" - IE Congressmen, senators, RNC chair, etc. We all to some degree represent the party whether we like it or not. That does not mean we always have to follow the company line. I don't. That does mean our character actions however reflect on the party. Politics is so sensationalized these days that anything shady or controversial may become news. That goes from the president all the way down to delegates and activists. I sometimes joke about being somewhat infamous because I'm involved in politics, but I damn well don't want to be infamous for a reason like this.

Eyes are on us, and let's all remember that.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ticket increases jump bigtime in Ann Arbor

I wonder if this is a new budget enhancement technique. That's one hell of an increase.

From the Ann Arbor news

The Ann Arbor Police Department has been very busy this past year.

According to an e-mail written by Deputy Chief Greg O'Dell, the patrol division has just about doubled the total traffic tickets it wrote in the just completed fiscal year. The total number of tickets went from 9,967 to 19,080.

But it's not just writing tickets. The police also have increased the number of traffic stop warnings, in which people are pulled over but not ticketed, from 3,667 to 5,308. Police also saw an increase of 58 percent in total code violations from 899 to 1,420. Code violations are misdemeanors such as disorderly conduct.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

ID required to vote in Michigan

The State Supreme Court laid down the law on former AG Frank Kelley. That's usually a good thing, and this is no exception. From the Argus.

A state law to require photo ID to vote in Michigan, approved in 1996 but suspended before it went into effect, has been upheld by the Michigan Supreme Court in a 5-2 decision released Wednesday.

The court majority – comprised of Chief Justice Clifford Taylor and Justices Maura Corrigan, Stephen Markman, Elizabeth Weaver and Robert Young Jr. - found that while the right to vote is fundamental it is “not without limits.”

The court was responding to a request from state Rep. Craig DeRoche, R-Novi, the Republican leader in the state House, to review the law, which had been suspended when former Attorney General Frank Kelley deemed it unconstitutional.

The issue of voter ID has been highly politicized, with Republicans generally supporting the idea and Democrats generally opposed. The court also split along partisan lines. All five of the justices in the majority were Republican court nominees. The two dissenters, Justices Michael Cavanagh and Marilyn Kelly, were nominated by the Democratic Party.

Critics had argued it placed an unfair burden on poor and elderly people.

The least that should be done is requiring ID to vote to prove you aren't voting for a dead person. The vote fraud advocated are all crying in their beer over this one. Too bad. Tell Michigan's version of Boss Daley TS.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

We have our first Joker award winner

We already have the "No Guts" awards here. The first winners are Barack Obama and The Oaks at Mill Creek down in Jacksonville.

We are now creating a new award - the Joker award. At first I wanted to call it the a**h**e award, but decided to change the name for this. It fits since the winners of these awards are real jokes.

Our first winner of the Joker award goes to all the jerks who toss their McDonalds bags out the window and onto the street. For some reason McDonalds seems to attract a major pro-literring clientale. I saw two of these on Rickett Road on two consecutive days on my way home from work.

I'm no Sierra Club type, but I am an outdoorsman, a hunter, a fisherman, and a Livingston County native who was here back when Brighton was country. It pisses me off to see more and more litter around here destroying our outdoors. It is really that hard to wait till you get to work or home to properly dispose of your trash?

So a congratuations to the litterers on Rickett Road. You are the first winner of the Joker Award. My only regret is that I didn't see these fools toss the stuff out their window. If I did, I'd make note of their license plate and make a stop at Green Oak PD on my way home. A nice fine could teach a very good lesson. I'm not a busybody, but that's just wrong.

Can't go along with this, Mike

I like Mike Rogers, but I can't support this.

From the Argus

.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, got six earmark funding projects through the House Appropriations Committee, but many other requests were rejected, and the ones that were ap-proved were for less money than originally asked for by Rogers.

For example, Rogers asked for $2.5 million for the Latson Road interchange at Interstate 96, but the bill approved by the committee contained $500,000.

He asked for $11.2 million for a runway extension at the Capital City Airport in Lansing, but he received $500,000 in the bill.

Several other transportation projects — including road construction, a community recreation building at Cleary University and money for the Livingston Essential Transportation Service — were not approved.

For a support center to address infant mortality, known as Tomor-row’s Child/Michigan SIDS, the congressman asked for $550,000; yet, the bill to fund the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education departments contains $200,000.

I know earmarks is how the game is played. I know that this is an attempt to bring home the bacon to the 8th district. The problem is the game itself, and Mike had a good chance to be a hero. Mike righttly called out ABSCAM crook John Murtha for his pork bill. Murtha went ape because someone had the gall to not kiss his ring.

This was a good chance for Mike Rogers to request no earmarks and once again call out the democrats, as well as the Ted Stevens acolytes in the GOP side of the house, and bring some fiscal responsibility to the party which - until recently - carried that banner.

The system is broke, and this was a good chance to fix it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Obama hates Civil Rights and the Constitution - Again

I wouldn't expect anything less out of the former board member of the Joyce Foundation. Scratch a Chicago liberal and find a fascist - and I don't use that term for many people. No guts award winner and so called "rock star" Barack Obama has earned it as much as the Detroit Lions earned their reputation for losing. His true colors and hatred for civil rights and the 2nd Amendment are shown here in this slanted Chicago Tribune puff piece.

Obama called for better enforcement of existing gun laws, tighter background checks on gun buyers and for making an expired assault weapon ban permanent.

For those outside the people's republic of Illinois - that means total gun registration, ID cards for ammo buyers, and total gun bans in some areas - like his hometown of Chicago.

"A couple weeks ago, cops found an AK-47 near a West Side school," he said. "That type of weapon belongs on a battlefield, not on the streets of Chicago."

But Obama said the "power of the gun lobby in Washington" has blocked tougher gun laws and enforcement.

Son, let me tell you about the power of the gun lobby. It's not in Washington son. It's at the ballot box in real America. I also highly doubt your cops found a real AK-47 since I doubt automatic weapons are a common occurence there.

"If you want to go hunt, go hunt. Nobody is trying to take your shotgun or rifle away," he said. "But when you've got the gun lobbying saying that we can't use ballistics to trace back where guns came from ... then it is time for us to stand up to the gun lobby and say enough. It is time for a change in Washington."

Son, the Second Amendment isn't about hunting. It has nothing to do with hunting. Gun rights have little to do with hunting. It's about people protecting themselves from politicians.

Also, YOU voted to BAN hunting rounds, including the .30-30. When you talked about not taking our shotguns and rifles away, you lied. As far as ballistics go, that's one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard in my life. If you want to beat a ballistics test, just alter the barrel. If you knew something besides the talking points from the Joyce Foundation, you would maybe understand that -- if you are smart enough.

"I believe that the majority of NRA members would not object to doing a background check from a bullet that has been used to kill a child on the South Side of Chicago, or the West Side, and find out who sold that gun," he said. "That's a law that's already in the books. The problem is that we're not enforcing it."

We already have background checks. It's called NICS, son. Illinois even has tougher checks. Hell, guns are banned in Chicago. It looks like it's doing a lot of good there, huh?

"That wasn't part of my growing up, but I am sympathetic, as I say, to the fact that if you go down to Downstate Illinois, that's an important part of the culture there and people use guns responsibly in those situations

Quit your pandering, son. It's about freedom and civil rights, and you once again oppose it. This goes right along with your vote to support prosecuting those in Chicago who use a firearm to protect their homes from burglars.

This so called "rock star" needs to get rocked at the polls.

We need to Recall ALL tax hikers

And that goes for both Republicans and Democrats.

The Lansing State Journal had an article on the pressure former state rep and libertarian republican Leon Drolet is putting on Richard Ball up in Shiawassee County.

Any vote to raise Michigan taxes is probably weeks away, but the specter of recalls already casts a large shadow over the Capitol and lawmakers' districts.

State Rep. Richard Ball, R-Laingsburg, knows better than most. An anti-tax group already has brought a giant pig to his district, circulated fliers and sought to hire circulators for recall petitions.

"We will be attempting to facilitate and assist citizens in recalling as many members of the Legislature who supported the tax increase as possible," said Leon Drolet, who heads the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance.

"I see, hear and feel desperation, people desperately wanting change, and I feel mounting anger at politicians."

Gov. Jennifer Granholm and legislative leaders are trying to figure out how to fix a $1.6 billion budget shortfall in next year's budget.

Granholm says additional revenue, either through raising the income tax or expanding the sales tax to some services, has to be part of the solution.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, has said Granholm needs to do much more about cutting spending and reforming government before he'll put it up for a vote.

However, I'm not interested in threats if we all as conservatives do not follow through and stop the big government onslaught pushed on us by Granholm and her democrat and RINO supporters. Government spent us into this mess. They screwed up. They have not earned the privledge to receive more taxes from us. If they steal more of our money, it's time for us to fire their arses - starting with the Matt Millen of governors herself - Granholm. Even California of all places fired a democrat. We can certainly do so here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

From Freedomworks

I don't usually post forwards and that goes double for "talking points". I am posting this I received from pne of the reps at FreedomWorks as it seems like an interesting event with the high caliber of speakers there.

Dear fellow conservative activist,

The Peace and Prosperity Foundation is proud to announce the Young Centurion Program. The YCP is an intensive, year-long lecture series on the foundational conservative principles that shaped the hearts and minds of conservatives like Ronald Reagan. Beyond instilling the crucial conservative principles, the YCP teaches the cutting-edge tactics for succeeding in today's society. In short, the Young Centurion Program combines book-smarts and streets-smarts.

One doesn't need to go to Washington to be a part of the course. We've brought the class to 4 regional Michigan locations! The course is provided free-of-charge to qualified activists on a scholarship basis.

Course seating is limited. Learn more about the Young Centurion Program and apply for a scholarship today at:

The Young Centurion Program will offer instruction by some of the most accomplished intellectuals and strategists that Michigan has to offer. Among the monthly professors for the course are Clark Durant, John Truscott, Gary Wolfram, Dan Pero, Harry Veryser, Saul Anuzis, Dick Posthumus, Jeff Nelson and Gleaves Whitney.

The Young Centurion Program.
- Providing the conservative intellectual foundation and
the necessary skills to develop the next generation of leadership.

Free Press makes some pols nervous

Two interesting articles from the FREEP. Irony is that a friend of mine and I discussed this the other day, and didn't expect the papers would go near it. I was wrong about the latter. The Free Press did a good job on this.
Article 1

Michigan politicians raise millions of dollars from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals for pet causes -- and they don't have to reveal the financial backers or how much they gave.

The Free Press found more than 50 tax-exempt charities or civic education funds connected to current or former officeholders, including Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Attorney General Mike Cox, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

The fund-raising is legal under the federal tax code. But political watchdog groups say it's cause for concern because donors -- who often have financial stakes in what government does -- can curry favor with politicians by supporting their charities or civic funds.

And those organizations, while potentially doing good works, can lift a politician's public image and help win votes, critics say.

Contributors to the charities or civic funds can give unlimited amounts. The public has no legal right to know the donors' names or how, precisely, the money was spent unless a politician releases those details. Most of the fund operators contacted by the Free Press refused to reveal their contributors, saying donors wanted to remain private.

Critics say secrecy can invite abuse because no one knows whether a corporation, a casino, a trade association or a powerful individual is giving large amounts of cash while seeking government business, regulatory relief, tax breaks, special legislation or favorable zoning decisions.

If politicians misuse the funds, "then you have abuse and you have corruption," said Bruce Freed, codirector of the Center for Political Accountability in Washington, D.C. "You don't know where the money is coming from. You don't know why they gave. Were they shaken down? Were they willing accomplices? You just don't know."

Article II

Jim Gilmore drops out

Jim Gilmore was a candidate I was certainly considering. Unfortunately the most qualified to be president aren't always the top candidates. I hope he stays active and makes a comeback in Virginia. Senator Gilmore sounds good.

From the Politico

Former Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III is dropping his underdog bid for the Republican presidential nomination today, he told The Politico in an interview.

Gilmore said he has been approached about running for Virginia governor a second time, and about running for U.S. Senate if Sen. John W. Warner (R) retires. Gilmore said he will consider both options. Reflecting his long-held interest in Old Dominion politics, he said he will start a political action committee to support Republicans running for the state senate and House of Delegate

2008 - Presidential Analysis

I'm actually close to making an endorsement, but I'm not quite ready to do so at this time. If the primary election were today, I would be voting for Duncan Hunter. That's still subject to change, but less so.

The Candidates

Duncan Hunter - At this time, I do not believe an establishment Republican candidate can win in 2008. I clarify that by saying "at this time." That may change. It may not change. People are not happy with the establishment in either party, and there needs to be a "change" candidate. Duncan Hunter can pull this off. I think if Duncan Hunter has the money, he can win. Why?
1. He can keep the base. There's no questions with his stance on life and 2nd amendment issues. He'd even get rid of the IRA (Fairtax)
2. He can bring home the Reagan Democrats. He voted against NAFTA. He voted against GATT. These are BIG issues with me as well. I'm from a Big 3 Family, and understand the effects of these treaties have on our manufacturing base. We got our butts kicked in 06 - mostly due to the blue collar independents sending the GOP home. The biggest swings against us were in close communities.
3. He has a military background - and his son serves in the Iraq War. He'd be trusted as commander in chief much more than Bush is (Or John Kerry for that matter).
4. He was a leader against Amnesty.

One other thing I liked about Hunter. He isn't a coward, and he can think on his feet. How many presidential candidates after their speeches take UNSCREENED questions from the crowd? Not many. Hunter did.

About the only thing that has held me back from giving a formal endorsement so far is that he's a congressman and not a governor or complete outsider (Businessman/General). How much of a chance does he have to win. One interesting thing I've noticed is that many of the people I've talked to have Hunter as their first choice. Most of the others that I know that aren't voting for him (perceived electablility) liked him. I'm still open to switching my vote, but I'm leaning towards a Hunter vote.

Sam Brownback - Great on the abortion issue. He has some strong core support among social conservatives. Can it be expanded? The immigration issue hurts him however.

Jim Gilmore - Viewswise, I probably match up with Gilmore more than most candidates, but I haven't seen anything yet from his campaign. I was optimistic when I heard him annouce. He's probably the most anti-tax candidate in the race outside of Ron Paul.

Fred Thompson - He was a moderate republican from a center-right state (Tennessee). He caught on like fire and is one of the now "Big 4" (McCain, Romney, Giuliani are the others). He's trying to be the conservative alternative. Will he catch on after the vetting he will receive from the campaigns? We'll see.

Mitt Romney - There's a lot I like and a lot that concerns me about Mitt Romney. Romney has a great business background and did an excellent job running the Olympics in Salt Lake City. Competence isn't a problem for him, and that's a major issue at this time. He's also a very good speake. Where I'm concerned is with the pandering. Anytime I hear the "I'm a hunter" comment on guns, my guard goes up immediately, as most anti's try and hide their antiness in that statement. Look at the atrocious John Kerry as an example. Where does he really stand on many of the issues. That's the question.

Rudy Giuliani - I wish there was something viewswise I could really work with. I like Giuliani has a person, and if my vote was decided on which candidate I'd like to have a beer with - he's win. However, there are too many difference on the issues back from his record as mayor and as a US senate candidate for him to receive my vote. I will give him credit on one thing. He is running the best campaign IMO, of all the candidates. If things continue as I see them, I expect him to win the nomination.

John McCain - He's currently going through staff reduction, but he's got two major problems he'll have to deal with. Much of the base as well as establishment do not trust him - largely based on McCain Feingold and his relationship with the media. His amnesty position has also hurt him in a bad way. People have made some major comebacks before. We'll see what happens and what strategy McCain takes.

Tom Tancredo - I like Tancredo's stance and vigilance on amnesty. I also like his stance on 2a and life issues. The problem is that sometimes he doesn't always use the best choice of words, and everything I like about Tancredo can apply to Duncan Hunter.

Tommy Thompson - I haven't seen't much from his campaign. He's visited this state for Mackinac last year and did a great job with welfare reform in Wisconsin, but that's all I really know about him. I did like his answer on Iraq from one of the debates.

Mike Huckabee - Interesting candidate. Former Arkansas governor from Hope, just like Bill Clinton. Huckabee's also a very good speaker, probably the best of all the candidates running outside of maybe Romney. I thought he won the debate that I saw. I do have some fiscal concerns but his support to replace the IRS and income tax with fairtax helps him on that issue. I think Thompson hurts him badly though in the South. We'll see what happens there, but I think there's a chance for a late blooming candidate.

Ron Paul - I like Ron Paul, and I am still considering a vote for him. The establishment hates his guts, which is one thing I like about him. He also voted against the Patriot act, and when it comes to 2nd Amendment issues and freedom issues, there is none better. I do not agree with him on every single issue, but he takes a principled stand. The worst case scenario is that he brings things to the debate some of the others don't want to see. Paul has some strong core support, the question is can his insurgent campaign split this wide open. In the age of the internet, I think it is certainly possible. Ron Paul's no joke. I can say that much.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Jurassic Pork - The Ann Arbor to Howell commuter train

I've mentioned many of my thoughts on this mass transit plan here. People mover pt II? My guard was up then and it is more up today as this looks to be a public funded project more than a private fund agenda.

First off, I'm not against mass transit. I'm not even against a commuter train. However, my number one basis of support is that it must pay for itself, else it becomes the Detroit People Mover all over again.

The Argus and Dan Meisler does a good job giving budget figures here.

The state has guaranteed another $1.4 million for a proposed Howell-to-Ann-Arbor commuter train line that supporters say is necessary to combat congestion on U.S. 23.
The new grant from the Michigan Department of Trans-portation was announced Monday at a meeting where supporters were talking about receiving a $150,000 contribution from the Livingston County Board of Commissioners.

Washtenaw County has already committed $150,000, but Living-ston officials raised concerns about the viability of the service and its funding.
Commissioner David Domas asked whether expecting people to shift from cars to trains is realistic.

“Isn’t that a major change in thinking?” he said.

“That’s why we surveyed everybody,” replied Mike Cicchella, supervisor of Washtenaw County’s Northfield Township, one of the plan’s big boosters.

The estimated budget seems way too low to me.

The tentative budget presented to the county board predicted a capital outlay of $2.9 million and an operating budget of $4.9 million in the first year.

The budget also predicts that the rail service will prevent the need for city of Ann Arbor to build 800 parking spaces, at a cost savings of $35,000 for each spot. Commissioner Jack LaBelle asked Cicchella if those figures were correct, and on hearing they were, calculated that the city would save more than $28 million.

4.9 million will cover what? You have salaries, security, normal wear and tear, energy costs, and runs. 2.9 for startup? Between the trains, parking lot construction, training, etc? I'm skeptical. Even using that number, will you get a profit on that. 15,000 people (estimated number of commuters from Livingston to Ann Arbor at $225 a month (rumored price) will get you 3.37 Million a month - that's if EVERY commuter in the county uses it and pays that amount. I'm guessing most of the commuters to Ann Arbor are in Brighton, Hartland, and Hamburg. Hamburg has 20,000 people. I'll guess that 4000 of them commute to Ann Arbor, with 1000 in Howell (city has 10000 people) commuting. That'll give 5000 of the areas covered from the train. 5000 * 225 - 1.125 million a month - if all commute on the train. Anyone familiar with Hamburg knows how spread out it is. Part of it is "Brighton", most of it is "Pinckney", part of it is "Lakeland", and part of it is "Whitmore Lake". I'll be shocked if most of the commuters are going to drive a few miles to wait for the train. This area is spread out. Howell is denser, but has much less population - and it too is spread out a bit in its eastern and northern most areas near 59 - and forget about getting much help from Genoa (even with the Chilson stop - that area is flat out country), Marion, Howell Twp, and Oceola.

In order to cover the estimated operation costs from regular commuters - you need 408,334 a month - 1814 commuters a day (including weekends, so weekend warriors are very important). That leaves 2.9 million in debt from startup costs which can be paid for over a few years with good profit.

Can you get 15-20% of county's Ann Arbor commuters to use the train EVERY DAY - despite cutting out Brighton and Hartland from the route? If you can, then I'll cook up some fried crow.

Unless this pays for itself, I'm considering it the lite version of the Bridge to Nowhere - Jurassic Pork. I'm not against Mass Transit, and if convienent for me I'll consider using it. I am however against reckless spending of government's tax money on longshot proposals.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Giuliani's geography strategy

While I'm not a fan of Rudy Giuliani's political stances and some aspects of his record, I am a fan of his campaign strategy. 2007/2008 is not 2004. There is one major difference - the timing of primaries. Several states are frontloading their primaries to compete with the traditional startups of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. While the rest of the field is concentrating on those states mostly, followed by a 2nd tier (Which includes Michigan), you have newcomers joining the ranks, including California and Florida.

Giuliani understand that, and is going for them.

From the AP:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rudy Giuliani, taking advantage of an accelerated primary calendar, has adopted an unorthodox campaign itinerary en route to what he hopes will be the Republican presidential nomination.

The former New York mayor is lavishing attention on Florida and California, two delegate-rich states with voters far more receptive to his moderate-to-liberal views. Giuliani is not slighting the early voting states — he plans to be in New Hampshire on Tuesday and Wednesday, but it's his first trip there in a month.

So while Republican rivals Mitt Romney and Sam Brownback were in Iowa last week, Giuliani visited a deli in Orlando, Fla., a town-hall meeting in Jacksonville and a NASCAR race in Daytona Beach. The week before, he turned up at a bagel shop in Irvine, Calif.

Some speculate that Giuliani is deliberately lowering expectations for his performance in Iowa, New Hampshire and another early voting state, South Carolina. Already, he is skipping an early test of strength, the Iowa straw poll in August, although the Giuliani campaign insists he will compete in the Jan. 14 caucuses.

South Florida has a ton of ex New Yorkers. North Florida and the Gulf Coast is tougher for him, but worth fighting for. Giuliani is fighting for base votes (and getting a much deserved earful on gun control - a major weakness) as well as fighting for the more neoconservative crowd he's at home with. California has the money and a lot more "Law and Order" types compared to libertarians. He'll do well there.

The big unknown is what other states are going to move up their primaries. If all of them are frontloaded, then New Hampshire/Iowa may be almost worthless. We'll wait and see.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dingell proposes 50 cent gas tax increase

This is the latest from The Hill

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) will propose a new carbon tax that would increase the gasoline tax by 50 cents, the lawmaker said in an interview on C-SPAN's ‘Newsmakers’ airing Sunday.

In the interview, Dingell acknowledged that voters may not be willing to bear the cost of limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and that he would propose the new tax “just to sort of see how people really feel about this.”

“I sincerely doubt that the American people are willing to pay what this is really going to cost them,” Dingell said in the interview.

Since 1955 Dingell has represented Dearborn, MI, home to Ford Motor Company’s headquarters. The Michigan lawmaker has said he will push legislation in the fall that would restrict carbon emissions from both automobiles and electric utilities.

In addition to raising the gasoline tax, Dingell’s new proposal would institute a “double digit” tax on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted.

This is a dangerous gamesmanship on Dingell's part. I think his intent is to tick people off here so people will pay attention to the anti American auto industry agenda of the democrat leadership (mostly from California). Unfortunately, I think this bill could pass whether Dingell really supports it or not.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Rocky II?

The second time Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed fought, Rocky won.

Rumor is that former state rep Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski may be rematching Carl Levin in 2008.

I think it could have been an interesting matchup in 2002, if Rocky wasn't thrown to the wolves by a bunch of cowards - I repeat - cowards - who wrote off the Levin race before it started.

One thing I do respect on the democrat side of all people is Howard Dean. Dean has his 50 state strategy that was laughed at by many (not me). If you write off 1/2 of the country, or write off any race against a long time incumbent, you aren't going to win, and you'll be playing defense instead the entire time. Dean has some guts if nothing else.

Rocky's background and views are a good fit for a Michigan candidate. He's socially center-conservative (pro-2nd Amendment, pro-life). He's owned a business. He opposed NAFTA. He's a combat veteran in the military. He's a good speaker. He's won a seat in a swing to democrat-leaning district. (Farmington Hills).

The biggest weakness is money and the lack of confidence of establishment types who don't think Levin is beatable. The former is tough. The latter is self fufilling if it isn't prevented. The unknown Dick Posthumus came within 4% of the then "unbeatable" Jennifer Granholm despite 75% of the GOP establishment being cowards and saying "can't win, can't win" all throughout 2002. He could have won, and if those cowards actually gave some effort, he would have won, and Granholm wouldn't have destroyed this state with her Matt Millen style of management.

I'm undecided in the 08 senate primary, but I have no problems with giving Rocky another shot. With some good low budget campaign strategists, a grass roots movement, a solid message, and hard work, there could be a real surprise in 08.

30+ year incumbent Jack Brooks was knocked out by Steve Stockman in a rematch in a democrat leaning seat won by Bill Clinton twice. Jon Tester beat longtime incumbent Conrad Burns in Montana, a normally Republican leaning state. Incumbents are beatable. Let's give Levin a real race for the first time in 24 years.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Ron Paul - more cash on hand than John McCain

As a bit of a maverick who hates coronations in elections, I love seeing this (although I'd rather see Giuliani get knocked down)

Very interesting development here. Either Ron Paul's online presence is spreading, or John McCain is in big trouble moneywise. Or both. Keep in mind that McCain has some strong establishment support, while Paul has zero establishment support.

From ABC News

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos Reports: Though often regarded as a longshot candidate for president, Republican Ron Paul tells ABC News that he has an impressive $2.4 million in cash on hand after raising an equal amount during the second quarter, putting him ahead of one-time Republican frontrunner John McCain, who reported this week he has only $2 million in the bank.

In an exclusive interview taped Friday and airing Sunday on "This Week," Paul said his campaign is on a better trajectory than McCain's.

"I think some of the candidates are on the down-slope, and we're on the up-slope," said Paul.

Paul's cash on hand puts him in third place in the Republican field in that important metric, although he is well behind leader Rudy Giuliani, who has $18 million in the bank, and Mitt Romney, with $12 million.

Paul, who polls show with support in the low single digits, said his surprisingly strong fundraising is the best measure of his support.

"I think people have underestimated the number of people in this country who are interested in a freedom message," says the Republican congressman from Texas, who has strong libertarian leanings.

As McCain is one of the "Big 3" (or 4 with Fred Thompson), this is big. I think small l libertarianism is starting to make a much needed comeback in 2008.

Even is Ron Paul doesn't win the nomination, at worst he brings some issues that need to be addressed to the table, issues that haven't been brought to the table since before 2001. Yes, security is important, but if we have to give up all our freedoms to be "safe", then the terrorists have won already. Ron Paul has been consistent on freedom issues, fighting Bill Clinton's big government as well. I well remember the popularity of his Project Freedom newsletter back in the late 90's. I don't agree with Ron Paul on every single issue, but his consistency and his support of our constitutional rights is something I respect, and something I'll be considering in my vote. I am REAL sick and tired of "Big Government Conservatism" and "George W Bush Republicanism". I'd like to see a return of the 1994 style of Republican where Government is the problem.

One interesting aspect to watch with Ron Paul is what the 2nd Amendment Crowd will do. The High Road, a 2nd Amendment centered gun rights message board, is generally split between Ron Paul and Fred Thompson (ideological vs Pragmatism in stopping Hillary). GOA and NRA will be interesting to watch as well. I predict Ron Paul to be endorsed by GOA. NRA is capable of anything after the Joe Schwarz debacle in 06.

Whether the establishment likes it or not, Ron Paul will be a force to be rekoned with in 2008. How much of a force remains to be seen.

GOP and Spending

An Interesting washington Times Editorial on the GOP and Spending. I agree with it to an extent, but there's more to mention.

Polling data on the issue of which party Americans trust to manage federal spending has turned upside down over the past several years. Republicans — viewed historically as more disciplined when it comes to fiscal responsibility — have now lost that advantage, according to many national surveys. In an Alice in Wonderland kind of reversal, more citizens now give the Democrats the edge on the question of stewardship over the federal treasury.

As the chart below suggests, Republicans held an advantage on spending discipline for many years, but that pattern reversed in 2003. And by 2006 and 2007, Democrats held a clear advantage on the issue.

As a longtime observer of Washington, I found this shift particularly odd. In all my years in Washington, rarely have I seen a debate where Democrats want to spend less than do Republicans. So why have the parties traded places on this issue?

One answer is obvious. Since September 11, Republicans have indeed opened up the spending spigots with alacrity. "We spent like drunken sailors" is a common refrain among many Republican lawmakers. It's repeated often in the halls of Congress and usually given as one of the reasons the Democrats won back the majority in 2006.

But there is a more subtle explanation, one that might cause the issue to swing back in the Republicans' favor over the next couple of years now that the Democrats hold the majority. Most voters didn't pay much attention to Democrats' spending proposals over the past several years. In the House and Senate, Democrats offered amendment after amendment increasing federal largess in budget and appropriations bills, routinely defeated by the Republicans. While in the minority, Democrats basked in the luxury of criticizing the Republicans, while never really being held accountable for their own spending initiatives — because none of them ever passed. In other words, they were shooting with legislative blanks. Democrats had big spending plans, but no ability to implement them. As a result, most voters heard criticism of Republicans, but never took Democrats' spending ideas seriously, because they never passed.

The problem is twofold. One, the GOP did an extremely poor job on mentioning how worst the democrat spending bill were. I knew them, but I'm not the guy that needs to be convinced about the worseness of the democrat spending. The other problem - and bigger problem - is that the GOP spending bills were so bad in the first place. Us fiscal conservatives have higher standards for the GOP. We expect the democrats to suck on spending. We don't expect the republicans to suck (even suck less) on spending. The GOP now has lost the trust of the people on spending and needs to get it back.

Mike Pence and the Republican Study Committee were some of the few during the last congress to push on this and they were rebuffed by the leadership that caused the GOP to lose the house and senate. They have to continue to lead, and the GOP will have to propose smart alternative legislation on issues to lead the way. There will need to be Lastly Bush needs to actually use his veto pen on spending measures for once in his life.

This will take time, leadership, and something other than the same old talking points from the NRSC/NRCC/RNC.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

July 4, 1776 - Delcaration of Independence

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton