Friday, October 1, 2010

Time to Reign In the Nanny State

Back in the days of sanity, legendary Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach celebrated wins by lighting up the victory cigar. He didn't invent this, but it became part of his image and legacy.

Athletes who would never touch a cigarette have celebrated huge wins by emulating Auerbach. It is a symbol of victory and enjoying the moment. The Cincinnati Reds this year wanted to celebrate their long, hard, and arduous climb back into baseball relevance by lighting up victory cigars after their division clinching victory last night.

At least five people in Cincinnati were born in the wrong time and place. They should have been in Italy in the 1930s and would have felt right at home under the boot of Mussolini and his fascist regime. They actually lodged complaints that the Cincinnati reds violated the city's indoor smoking policy. Let's be clear. These people were not affected in person. They called after they saw someone smoking on television!!!

It's time to stop the insanity. Those who want fascism, go live in Venezuela. You'll love it. The rest of us will leave the Cincinnati Reds alone and let them enjoy the moment.

West Virginia's Red Lean In the U. S. Senate Race

From the John Raese for U. S. Senate website.

Cook Political Reports
September 30, 2010
This special election to fill the remainder of the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s term was supposed to be a walk in the park for Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin. The Democratic-controlled state legislature set the table for him with an advantageous schedule of filing deadlines, primaries and special election dates. But, recent polling indicates that this will be anything but an easy race.
A Rasmussen (IVR) poll (September 27 of 750 likely voters) gave Republican businessman John Raese a two-point lead over Manchin, 48 percent to 46 percent. A Public Policy Polling (IVR) survey taken a week earlier (September 18-19 of 1,397 likely voters) had Raese ahead, 46 percent to 43 percent. Among all general election ballot tests taken in the contest, Raese now leads Manchin by three points, 49 percent to 46 percent, according to the trend line.
Although Manchin remains popular – his job approval rating in a September 19 Rasmussen survey was 69 percent – he must make the transition from being the state’s chief executive to being a federal candidate in a hostile climate for his party. A case in point is President Obama whose approval ratings in West Virginia are some of his lowest nationally. According to the PPP survey, Obama’s job ratings were 30-percent approve to 64-percent disapprove. At the same time, Manchin is getting help from some unlikely sources. It’s not surprising that he’s been endorsed by the major labor unions, but he’s also gotten the endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce. Even more surprising is today’s endorsement from the West Virginia Coal Association, which is a very direct slap at Raese, who is in the coal business.
This race has gotten very competitive very fast. Republicans weren’t sure that they could make in-roads here, given Manchin’s popularity, and hadn’t planned to invest in the race. Raese is a wealthy businessman who can self-fund the race. He owns companies in the mining and media industries; he is the CEO of a newspaper publishing company and owns a network of radio stations. Like Manchin, national Democrats believed that the contest would not get close. Manchin has seemingly been preparing for a Senate bid for years and was just waiting for the opportunity to run. All that has now changed and both parties are playing here.
Like many races, the narrative of this contest is perhaps best told through the ads. If nothing else, the back and forth on television and radio attest to the fact that this has become a very close contest.
In one of his first attacks on Manchin, Raese invokes coal and national Democrats’ cap and trade proposal. In the spot, an announcer says, “We generate electricity through coal. But Joe Manchin passed a law that eliminates 25% of coal usage in our power plants. It’s Obama’s cap and trade bill, West Virginia style.”
RAESE: “Joe Manchin should know better. Cutting coal usage will cost West Virginia jobs. Joe Manchin has thrown us under the bus. So imagine the damage he’ll do in Washington with his friend, Barack Obama. I’m John Raese and I approve of this message because I won’t be a rubberstamp for Obama’s cap and trade bill. I’ll fight for you.”
Manchin has also brought up mining in his attacks on Raese. According to the script, Manchin says, “I’m Joe Manchin and I approve this message because I’ll always do what’s best for West Virginia.”
ROBERTS: “I’m Cecil Roberts. My job is to protect these miners. Joe Manchin worked with us to pass historic mine safety laws. He’s always been there for us.”
ANNOUNCER: “But John Raese is bad for mine workers. Almost $100,000 in fines, over 600 safety violations.”
ROBERTS: “John Raese puts profits before people and I don’t trust him to look after these miners. And neither should you.”
Both party committees are now heavily involved in the race. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee went up this week with a spot that hits Raese’s record as a businessman. In the spot, an announcer says, “John Raese. He wants to eliminate the minimum wage. Failed to pay workers compensation for on the job injuries. But one thing John Raese does support? A pledge that protected tax breaks for corporations who ship our jobs overseas. It’s true. Protecting tax breaks that reward corporations for sending our jobs overseas. West Virginia working families, we can do better. And we have to.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is on the air with both television and radio ads, and have bought time in the expensive Washington, DC media market that reaches 12 percent of West Virginia voters. Both ads portray Manchin as another rubberstamp for President Obama’s agenda. The radio ad seeks to differentiate Manchin, the popular Governor, from Manchin, a potential Democratic U.S. Senator. According to the script:
MAN 1: “Hey did you hear about those folks getting laid off?”
MAN 2: “Oh yeah, federal government’s making it real hard to make a living these days, and it’s killing our economy.”
MAN 1: “Joe Manchin supports all that big Washington government.”
MAN 2: “Oh yeah, it’s like he’s a different person when it comes to Washington.”
MAN 1: “I know, I know…it’s like, there’s West Virginia Joe, who’s not bad as governor, then he becomes Washington Joe, a “yes man” for Barack Obama and the Washington liberals.”
MAN 2: “Yeah, Washington Joe supported Obama’s failed stimulus bill.”
MAN 1: “Yeah, and unemployment went up again last month.”
MAN 2: “ Yup. Washington Joe also supported Obama’s government takeover of health care that cut Medicare and increased costs.”
MAN 1: “You know, we better keep Joe Manchin in West Virginia and don’t let him near Washington.”
MAN 2: “Oh, that’s for sure.”
Judging by the polls, voters already seem to be making the distinction between Gov. Manchin and the Senator he might be. And, like voters nationally, they might be disgusted enough with the Democratic-controlled Congress not to want to add another Democrat to their ranks.
Raese makes no bones about the importance of this race, often referring to it as the 10th seat – the seat that would hand a majority to Senate Republicans. That might have been true before Christine O’Donnell became the GOP Senate nominee in Delaware, making it much more difficult for Republicans to win that race and gain the 10 seats they need. Still, winning this race would be a major coup for Republicans. West Virginia hasn’t had a Republican U.S. Senator since 1958.
The race that wasn’t supposed to be competitive is now the contest that is too close to call today. It moves to the Toss Up column.
Disclaimer: The National Republican Senatorial Committee provided the above article as a service to its employees and other selected individuals. Any opinions expressed therein are those of the article’s author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the NRSC.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Guess Who Else the Stimulus Bailed Out?

A friend of ours raising a child whose father has never paid much support in fifteen years got a letter this week. It had a substantial check inside from the United States Government.
The letter accompanying the check read that stimulus money was being distributed to single parents whose children's parents were not paying support. That's not too bad in itself. I can live with a little help for these mothers and fathers struggling to make it on their own.
My problem comes from the fact that the letter said that the amount given to the parents with the child had been deducted from the total amount of child support owed by the absent parent.
Say what? I can understand using stimulus money to help the parent with the child and then attaching any future federal tax returns. I cannot understand why that money was just wiped off of what they owed.
So yes, Joe Taxpayer. Apparently, you paid your taxes to bail out deadbeat parents.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Obama Tells Democrats That Their Apathy Is "Inexcusable"

This may be one of the most laughable statements that Obama has made on a variety of levels, chastising Democratic voters for apathy and warning that their entire agenda could be lost.

Obama is supposed to be a smart man and you never want to fall into the trap of assuming a president is stupid because of statements or decisions. However, here is a guy who pushed his agenda through Congress despite the misgivings of a majority of the people including Democrats. It sparked major concerns about constitutional violations and a backlash against his party. Now he is lecturing them on how they should feel.

Obama and voters have a serious and growing disconnect. President Bush never lectured the people on his visions as if they were recalitrant ten year olds. He made tough choices and understood that he might end up unpopular. Bush never lost faith in the voters even though many of them lost faith in him.

If Obama wants to win voters, he must sell them instead of belittling them. This is a democracy and people will always vote their self-interest. They also see red flags when they are asked to do anything for a greater good. Voters have seen that Obama's policies steal from the productive to give to the unproductive. They understand that he means more, not less government interference. They even see his wife as a skinny woman trying to lecture people on their eating habits. Nothing about this man or his administration has been palatable once voters find out the whole story.

And now he tops it all off with belittlement. Good work, Obama. Thanks again for all the assistance that you have provided the Republican Party!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Question of Year Round School and Obama's Education Visions

Obama has come out this week, as usual, making a generalized speech that echoes some conservative thoughts. Of course we now know that with Obama, the devil is in the details. Yes he says schools need reformed, not just money. Of course he is not mentioning that he would most certainly love to see the Department of Education get more authority at the expense of the states and the local systems.

One idea that Obama has discussed is the creation of a year round school calendar. Many agree with this idea, seeing it as a necessary modernization from an agricultural calendar. However, what would we give up if we adopted this plan, which would substitute regular vacations of a few weeks for the three month break.

I would hate it, personally. I love the extra time that I get to spend with my children during the summer. We take trips, go swimming or fishing, visit relatives, and just hang out around the house together. It's a time for families, if they choose, to reinforce their values and enjoy each other's company. Few people agree with all the values taught in school. Now, parents get three months to counteract those influences.

Second, the summer right now is a chance to broaden a child's experiences. That might come from sports camps, science camps, trips to historical sites, or something else. For many children, this is the education that they would never get in school.

Then comes the cost. Like all Obama ideas, this is extremely costly and ther eis no money to pay. Teachers and administrators would see all their salaries go up by 25%. There would be more wear and tear on school busses and facilities. Who pays for Obama's ideas? Not Obama. We do.

School failures boil down in large part to large classes and consolidation, not as much the "bad teachers" that Obama wants to get rid of. We need to put money into maintenance and not building shiny, glitzy new fangled buildings just so politicians can stand in front of them. The White House was built over two centuries ago and still functions. Schools built four decades ago are being torn down and replaced. Why? We also got away from teaching kids the basics so that we could somehow raise their self-esteem. We teach cultural geography now so that kids can know what Indians do in Peru even though they cannot find Ireland on a map. Fox News just reported that a teacher was using rap music to spur thinking. While it is nice that they want people to think, why not use something that in itself is also educational, such as real poetry, political speeches, or something from some point in history that will actually educate a child rather than degenerate their brain. Can I at least ask that this teacher find something written in the King's English? Of course the teacher him or herself probably never read The Federalist Papers, or even heard them mentioned. Teachers are not as well educated as they once were either. The system has beaten down good teachers and made them apathetic.

Schools need fixed. Obama is the last person that we want to impose his vision, though.