Tuesday, February 27, 2007|
Harrison Square, questions about financing
I have a lot of questions I will be asking; however, I would be happy to ask any financing questions that the readers of this blog may have.
Monday, February 26, 2007
With Tax Season Comes the Dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax
Unfortunately, they never indexed the AMT to inflation so the amount of income that a "high income household" must earn before getting hit by this 26% flat tax keeps getting lower and lower every year. The government estimates that by 2010 over 30 MILLION taxpayers will get hit by the AMT. And let's call this what it really is - a HUGE tax increase. Go ahead and look at what you paid this year and I'll almost guarantee that you are nowhere near 26%.
The AMT just affected someone I know. He makes good money but I certainly wouldn't call him wealthy or rich by any means. He has 5 kids and a good sized house to go w/ that. Because of these deductions and his moderately high income he was hit by the AMT. The increase in his tax bill was over $5k - obviously he wasn't prepared for this. This guy isn't rich - he has to put 5 kids through college. He doesn't have any stock options or any such perks. He's just a working Joe trying to making a (upper) middle class living.
Is this really the type of person we want to raise taxes on? The middle class is supposed to be the backbone of this country and now we're going to bleed them dry through a dramatic tax increase?
The REAL reason this hasn't been changed is because it would affect ALL the budget numbers. All the budget (including the ones making the President's tax cuts permanent) analyses assume the AMT will continue as planned. If this is removed then there will be a fiscal shortfall (worse than there is now) and there will be pressure to rescind some of the current tax cuts and/or control spending.
Due to inflation, this issue gets more and more attention every year and the this administration, and specifically the Republican-controlled congress of the last 8 years, should be ashamed of themselves for not fixing the problem. The Democratic party has (once again) the opportunity to show they truly are a populist party by revoking, or at least substantially altering, this outrageous tax increase on the middle class - will they be up to the challenge???
Sunday, February 25, 2007|
Journal Gazette investigates "Flipping" schme in Fort Wayne
If newspapers had several stories like this each week newspapers would NOT be struggling so much. This piece is great!
My wife and I have a lot of local clients. We currently handle the taxes of over a dozen Realtors and half a dozen financial planners. We have a lot of clients who both rent houses and "flip" houses. Most of our clients who own rental properties own between one and six properties and most of our clients who "flip" houses "flip" one or two houses per year.
Our clients tend to purchase inexpensive houses in need of repair. They then "fix the house up" and turn around and sell it. "Flipping" a house in this manner is perfectly legal and can be a lucrative business, especially if you have the expertise to "fix it up" yourself.
The Fort Wayne Real Estate market has been relatively stagnent for many years. This means that our housing is affordable; however, you cannot own a property for a few years and sell it for a profit of hundreds of thousands of dollars like certain other Real Estate markets.
Our clients will probably "flip" 10 - 20 houses this year in Fort Wayne... None of our clients have been effected by the "flipping scheme" discussed in this article that I know of.
There are two important concepts that this article illustrates:
1. When you purchase Real Estate you need to use a reputable Realtor if you do not understand Real Estate transactions.
2. When you purchase Real Estate you need to make sure that you use a reputable Real Estate Appraiser if you do not have the expertise to evaluate what a property is worth.
It will be interesting to see how this story plays out. I think the companies that own the mortgages will be suing...
Dan Stockman wrote a "heck" of an article.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Happy birthday SAMANTHA!
I read on Johns blog that its Samanthas birthday. So this post is for SAM on her birthday.
Grand Canyon Skywalk opens deep divide
An engineering marvel or a colossal eyesore, depending on who is describing it, the horseshoe-shaped glass walkway will jut out 70 feet beyond the canyon's edge on the Hualapai Indian Reservation just west of Grand Canyon Village. Buttressed by 1 million pounds of steel and supporting 90 tons of tempered glass, the see-through deck will give visitors a breathtaking view of the canyon.
When the cantilevered structure opens to the public next month, it will be the most conspicuous commercial edifice in the canyon. And, if the tribe's plans come to fruition, the Skywalk will be the catalyst for a 9,000-acre development, known as Grand Canyon West, that will open up a long-inaccessible 100-mile stretch of countryside along the canyon's South Rim. The cost of the Skywalk alone will exceed $40 million, tribal officials say.
"Skywalk is the 'wow' that will draw people," said Steve Beattie, the chief financial officer for Grand Canyon Resort Corp., the tribe's business arm. Construction on an attached 6,000-square-foot visitors center and restaurant is to begin after the walkway opens. The Skywalk will charge an admission fee of $25, Beattie said, adding that some of the financing will come from a private-sector partner.
See full story here.
What do you think about this? I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I don't like the idea of defacing such a beautiful landmark, but on the other hand, the Indians should be allowed to do what they want with what land they do have.
Labels: grand canyon
Friday, February 23, 2007
We live in a world where we grow up being taught that it is only acceptable for a boy and a girl to be together. So how do you think you would feel if as you grew older and more mature you started noticing people of the same sex as you, rather than the opposite?
I can only imagine how hard it would be to come out as homosexual in today’s society. I think it is so wrong to look down on those people, or to make fun of them, just because they have a different sexuality than you. There is nothing wrong with them or their brain; they’re just different than you. I’ve heard some people say that they think there is a cure to being homosexual. I can’t believe anyone would think that. It’s not a disease, or something that you catch from someone else; it’s something that they don’t have control over. In saying that, I also believe that homosexuality is not a choice.
Almost everyone that I talk to says that a person chooses to be gay or straight. That, again, is something that I believe to be very wrong. If people made the choice to be homosexual, there wouldn’t be anyone who committed suicide because they were too afraid of what people would think of them, and kids wouldn’t be afraid of being disowned if they came out to their parents.
There is also the religious aspect to the argument, where people say that if someone is homosexual, they are automatically sent to hell. To me, that seems extremely unfair. So what are homosexual Christians supposed to do? The answer that I constantly get to that question is, “Just don’t acknowledge that they’re homosexual and live a ‘normal’ life.” Excuse me? So they’re just supposed to never find a partner, or marry someone of the opposite sex, have kids, and pretend they’re “normal?” I don’t think that’s right, or fair. I wouldn’t want to believe in something that would condemn me over something that I didn’t even choose.
It is fact that as many as 7.2 million Americans under the age of 20 are homosexual, and of those that have already come out, 28 percent of them felt compelled to drop out of school due to the constant verbal assault that they experienced after people found out. Now, if you think that is terrible, this is even worse: According to pflagupstatesc.org , every day 13 Americans from the ages of 15-24 commit suicide, and homosexual youths make up 30 percent of the completed suicides. I don’t understand why we would put so much pressure on those people, that they would feel that they have to end their lives because of their sexuality. Would it be so hard to just accept them as human beings who have feelings just like everyone else? Being homosexual doesn’t make a person inhuman, it makes them just a little bit different than the rest of the world. And for living in a society that tells you to always be yourself, it’s a hard price to pay.
While I do not agree with everything in her article; I am impressed with the fact that a High School sophomore wrote it and wrote it well. I think she did a great job of expressing her opinion.
I think she should be praised and encouraged!
Instead the Principal has decided to censor the High School newspaper. Please read the article below:
It is another sad day in Allen County...
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Left in the fog
Labels: local weather
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Harrison Square Request for Proposal
You can read the entire proposal over at the blog "Downtown Fort Wayne Baseball."
The formal "RFP" confirms some of the things that I have suspected for a long time.
Last Thursday I had a chance to talk to the Mayor in a public forum and ask him about the project. We had a friendly exchange and he said that he did not know the answers to my specific questions; he said that the project was still in the planning stages. The Mayor promised me that I could meet with The City of Fort Wayne so that I can review the financial projections for the project when they are completed and before they are voted on by City Council. I am looking forward to that meeting!
According to the original RFP:
The RFP was issued on Dec 21st, 2006 (Cover page)
The RFP requires the hotel to have 300+ rooms (Page four, section 2.1)
The RFP states that “The hotel program must include a minimum of 300 rooms to be considered responsive” (page 4, section 2.4)
The RFP requires proposals to be submitted to the City by 5 PM on Feb 13th, 2007 (Page 12, section 13.3)
The RFP stipulates that “a refundable deposit in escrow of $300,000” will be established by the Respondent (page 5, section 3.4)
The RFP was amended with Addendum Number 2 on January 17th, 2007. The amendment says that “The City of Fort Wayne is willing to negotiate the number of rooms for the hotel and will consider lowering the number of rooms that are now set at 300.”
One “Respondent” requested that the deposit be lowered; Fort Wayne immediately waived the deposit requirement, page 3 of the written questions submitted by the Respondents.
Other interesting items:
“A portion of the Parking Garage revenues can be directed to support hotel operations,” page 4, section 1.3.
“Parking will be provided in the 900 space garage,” page 4, section 2.3.
“The City will pursue negotiations with the top ranked Respondent with the goal of a Development Agreement by April 1st, 2007,” page 11, section 10.3.
I have several questions about this RFP:
1. From the first day this project was “unveiled” every official press release and communication from The City of Fort Wayne has stated that “for the project to be economically viable the hotel must have 300 rooms or more.” Why was this requirement removed from the RFP on January 17th, 2007?
2. Requiring a minimal deposit of $300,000 for a project of this magnitude seems very low to me. Why was this requirement waived?
3. This is a large project that requires a large amount of planning. Why does Fort Wayne want to have a Development Agreement in place by April 1st, 2007?
I have a lot more questions about this project and I am greatly looking forward to
meeting with The City of Fort Wayne and analyzing the financial projections.
I applaud the Mayor for allowing an independent citizen to review this project
BEFORE it is voted on by our City Council!
Like the title of the article says:
A Tool Worthy of Batman's Utility BeltIt takes about six minutes for a firefighter with a full load of gear to reach the top of a 30-story building by running up the stairs--and when he gets there, he's tired. A group of MIT students have designed a rope-climbing device that can carry 250 pounds at a top speed of 10 feet per second.
Read the rest of the article HERE.
Monday, February 19, 2007
A Fresh Start
I joined the U-Blog Post with the understanding that I could post anything I wanted as long as I followed the rules. All of the sudden I felt I was being attacked for my posts, and I didn’t understand why. I have had discussions with Stan and Robert, and I think I now know what happened. I was blind sided with my posts by my own stupidity!
I had no idea there were so many readers who were so political! Let me be clear, I am not political. I know, some of my posts appeared to be political, but actually, to me, they were just funny posts. Really! I posted a funny video about Bush, and a funny post about Hillary. No one seemed to care about the Bush video, but once the Hillary joke was posted, I was getting a lot of comments directed at my political beliefs. The only thing is, I didn’t post them to take a political side! In fact, I posted the robot joke because I actually felt like I was the person the robot was talking to. I know, you probably wouldn’t have known that, but it’s true. I am probably the most misunderstood person you will ever meet. I don’t care about politics. All I care about are friends and humor. That’s why I said I am not Democratic or Republican or anything else. I do vote, but I just vote for whom I feel like voting for, not based upon a political party. I didn’t join U-Blog to be political, but I can see why some of my posts were misleading.
In fact, if you visit my blog < http://leftsideofdansbrain.blogspot.com/> , you will see that I am all about fun and humor, and not taking a political side or stance for anyone or any group.
With that being said, I have decided to remain a part of the U-Blog community, and with a fresh start. I am going to avoid political humor, and negative replies. That is not my thing.
I hope you enjoy my posts, but if you don’t, just remember, someone else might!
Sunday, February 18, 2007
MAN GOES INTO A BAR
on a stool, he noticed that the bartender was a robot.
The robot clicked to attention and
asked, "Sir, what will you have?"
The man thought a moment, then replied, "A martini,
The robot clicked a couple of times and mixed the best
martini the man had
ever had. The robot then asked, "Sir, what is your
The man answered, "Oh, about 164."
The robot then proceeded to discuss the theory of
space travel, the latest medical breakthroughs, etc.
The man was most impressed. He left the bar, but
thought he would try different tactic. He returned and
took a seat.
Again, the robot clicked and asked what he would have.
A martini, please."
Again it was superb. The robot again asked, "What is
your IQ, sir?"
This time the man answered, "Oh, about 100". So the
robot started discussing NASCAR racing, bass fishing
and what to expect the Steelers
to do this weekend.
The guy had to try it one more time. So he left,
returned and took a stool
. . . Again a martini, and the question "What is your
This time the man drawled out "Uh . . 'bout 50."
The robot clicked, then leaned close and very slowly
asked, "A-r-e y-o-u-r
p-e-o-p-l-e r-e-a-l-l-y g-o-i-n-g t-o
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Is a "Non-binding" resolution the best tactic for Democrats to oppose increasing troop levels?
First of all Congress made a gross and flagrant error after 9/11 when they gave President Bush a "blank check" with which to pursue the supposed "war on terrorism." Both Reps and Dems made this mistake. Congress should have authorized the use of force against the terrorist organization that attacked us and then forced President Bush to come back to Congress for future authorizations. This "war on terror" will NEVER end.
Second of all I am getting sick and tired of people blathering about how the "war on terrorism" is the most important thing in America. It is not. There will always be terrorists and there will always be people in the world who hate is, get over it.
Third you CAN be patriotic and be against putting over 20,000 more of our soldiers in harms way, PERIOD.
Fourth this "non-binding" resolution the Democrats just passed is pathetic and weak. If they oppose the "troop surge" they they should cut off funding or throw legislative roadblocks in President Bush's path.
Enough said, I feel better now.
U-Blog Press came to life on January 8th, 2007; and in the short period of time since then, has logged over 1,200 visits to the site!
Robert and I are very much aware that this "experiment in blogging" is only in it's infancy. This site is for anyone who is willing to follow the rules , and wishes to blog occasionally. We welcome Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, or any flavor of your choosing. It is not necessarily about politics, as you can tell if you have seen some of the recent posts! It's about YOU, and what YOU want to do with your U-Blog. You can visit whenever you like, create a post when you like, and comment when you like.
What I especially like about U-Blog Press, is that you don't have to visit several blogs to see commentary from several different bloggers! If you're like me, you just don't always have the time to visit all your favorite (and sometimes non-favorite) blogs. Well, now you can see some of them in one place!
I am looking forward to a more diverse listing of contributors by the time the political climate gets back into full swing. I don't know of a blog that allows POSTS from all political sides of the aisle, and I am sure this will turn out to be a great collaboration between "friends".
If you enjoy the U-Blog Press, then please help us recruit new talent by passing along the site to your friends, and heck, if you like, even your foes! You might even want to do a story about the blog on your personal blog, or place a link to U-Blog Post on your site. Remember, this is a community blog, and it will take the entire community to help it grow. Thank you for being a part of it!
Friday, February 16, 2007
Bush at Ford's theater didn't have the ending I hoped for
Here are my simple views on Global Warming:
I think that Global Warming is most likely occuring. I think that it can be proven that mankind is adding significant levels of CO2.
I am not sure if it is a large problem, a small problem, or no problem at all.
I just do not know.
I really do not think that anyone else knows either... They just have opinions...
Thursday, February 15, 2007
We will most likely file about 250 individual tax returns this year. We will file about 100 separate business returns; most for sub chapter S corporations.
I convinced Karena to start the business in July of 2001. Our daughter was born in June of 2001 and I convinced Karena that she should start a business and work part time out of our home.
In 2002, 2003, and 2004 I worked full time at Halex as their Maintenance Manager and worked part time preparing tax returns for my wife's business.
In 2004 I left Halex and went to work for my wife part-time and went back to College full-time. I did a lot of work for my wife during 2005 and 2006, especially during tax season.
I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Business with a specialty in Accounting in May of 2006.
Ever since I have worked full-time for my wife. (I have a lot of stories about working with my spouse...)
I have passed 3 of the 4 sections of the CPA exam. I am waiting to find out my results on REG. I expect that I passed and I will find out in a few weeks... Then I will file the needed forms and become a CPA...
We provide a large range of accounting services including:
Tax Return Preparation
Phone support for all Accounting issues
Payroll and Payroll taxes
Sales and Food and Beverage Taxes
We had no clients in early 2001... We now have 250 individuals that we do tax returns for and 100 businesses that we do work for... Almost all of our clients are in Fort Wayne or Allen County; however, we do have clients in about ten states and one in Canada.
Most of our clients employ 1-3 people. Our largest client employs about 25 people.
We spent about $5000 to advertise in 2001 and 2002. We had a website, ran a few ads in small newspapers, and sent some direct mail. This advertising resulted in 26 long term clients. The rest of our growth was 100% from referrals...
There are two morals to this story:
1. If you do a good job for people they will tell their friends and family about you and your business will grow!
2. We are expanding and looking for new clients. We would love to prepare your tax return and help you with your Accounting needs. Please shoot me an email at Mike.Sylvester@Verizon.net.
KSFR says NO to unnamed sources
Bill Dupuy, the news director of the public radio station KSFR in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has directed his staff to ignore national stories that quote unnamed sources. He also challenged other news outlets to take the same stance. Dupuy sent the following to his news staff:
Effectively immediately and until further notice, it is the policy of KSFR's news department to ignore and not repeat any wire service or nationally published story about Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia or any other foreign power that quotes an "unnamed" U.S. official.What we have suspected and talked about at length before is now becoming clear. "High administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity," "Usually reliable Washington sources," and others of the like were behind the publicity that added credibility to the need to go to war against Afghanistan and Iraq.
Our news department covers local news. But, like local newspapers and others, we occassionally are taken in by national stories that we have no way to verify.This is a small news department with a small reach. We cannot research these stories ourselves. But we can take steps not to compromise our integrity. We should not dutifully parrot whatever comes out of Washington, on the wire or by whatever means, no matter how intriguing and urgent it sounds, when the source is unnamed. I am also calling on our colleagues in other local news departments, broadcast and print, to take the same professional approach.
Mr.Dupuy, I commend you. This may be the action of one man at a small public radio station, but it shows more principle and integrity than most of your larger peers combined. May what you have started in New Mexico become a growing trend in returning to the long lost days of actual news reporting and the decline of the "stage production news-dramas" that have taken over. . .
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
"Boom Like That"
I don't want to make any money, folks, I just love to sell guns!
I just found this commercial on You Tube that ends with a slight variation of Don's catch phrase that may be even more unnerving. Gun rentals?
Good God, make it stop!
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Neither has proved to be true because THEY LIED.
Please read this article:
The tax has been used for other things and now Nelson Peters wants to allow this tax to be used to fund things unrelated to The Coliseum...
I am disappointed...
Allen County should pay off the Exposition Hall Bonds and then ELIMINATE the food and beverage tax.
If our elected officials (Democrats and Republicans) feel that we need another Food and Beverage tax then they should take their argument to the people and pass a new tax. It is NOT complicated...
Friday, February 09, 2007
I never would have guessed!
I was also surprised to hear that during his teen years he tried cocaine and marijauana! Well, not totally surprised. I think most teenagers have tried at least one of those drugs.
By JAKE TAPPER
Feb. 7, 2007 — When Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., officially enters the stressful world of presidential politics this Saturday, he will be trying his hardest to resist the urge to smoke those Marlboro Red cigarettes he has relied upon for years.
Instead, he has pledged to his wife, Michelle, that he will chew Nicorette gum.
Before the Run, Obama Needs to Quit.
Obama may face several daunting challengers in the months to come — Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., a prying media, a conservative attack machine and the tricky politics of race. But none may prove as mighty a foe as his nicotine habit.
"I've never been a heavy smoker," Obama told the Chicago Tribune. "I've quit periodically over the last several years. I've got an ironclad demand from my wife that in the stresses of the campaign I don't succumb. I've been chewing Nicorette strenuously."
Obama aides say that the main reason Michelle Obama has been pushing so hard for her husband to quit the demon weed is for health reasons, but of course for any public figure, one also has to factor in the image of the habit — either out of concerns he would be setting a bad example, or that he may turn off some voters.
The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that his penchant for butts makes the Democrat "intriguingly imperfect," while Fox News Channel's John Gibson has called it "Obama's dirty little secret" and argued that it makes him wonder "what else do we not know about Barack Obama?" (This literally days before Gibson helped spread the false smear that Obama attended an Indonesian madrassa as a youth.)
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Indiana is going to raise taxes this session
Please read this article and educate yourself about what is coming.
First please consider some facts from the Tax Foundation:
The Tax Foundation measures the tax burden in each of the fifty states each year. They have performed this service since 1970. The tax burden they measure is the average state AND local tax burden in each state.
The tax burden in each state is EXTREMELY important from an economic development standpoint. Growing companies often move to states for the following reasons:
1. Amenities such as beaches, oceans, parks, mountains, etc.
2. Tax burden and state regulations.
3. A workforce that has the skills that specific employer needs at a reasonable price.
4. Proximity to customers and suppliers.
5. High quality schools for their employees.
Indiana generally tries to portray itself as a state with a low tax burden and a skilled workforce that can be employed at a reasonable price.
Per the Tax Foundation Indiana and Louisiana are tied and have the 11th HIGHEST tax burden levied by local and state government... There are only 10 states with a higher tax burden. I will rank the top 12 from most expensive to least expensive:
1. Maine. 13.5%
2. New York. 12.9%
3. Ohio. 12%
4. Minnesota. 11.9%
5. Hawaii. 11.7%
6/7 Wisconsin and Nebraska. 11.6%
8. Rhode Island. 11.5%
9. Connecticut. 11.3%
10. Vermont. 11.1%
11/12 Indiana and Louisiana. 11%
Can you believe that California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey all have LOWER tax burdens then Indiana as far as State and local governments?
In case you are curious Indiana ranks 30th as far as Federal Tax burden. We are ranked lower then average since our wages are lower then a majority of the fifty states...
The tax burden in Indiana has been steadily increasing for many years.
We are competing against other states that have a much lower tax burden AND more amenities... This does not bode well for Indiana.
So now consider the "Fiscal panel approves tax revamp" article I linked to above...
First of all it is a good idea for us to discuss whether we should shift burden away from property taxes towards income taxes. I think this is a debate we should have.
The Indiana House Ways and Means committee passed an overhaul bill by a vote of 16 - 9.
This legislation would allow local governments to raise their local income rates by another 1%. 60% of this increase would have to be applied to provide property tax relief. The other 40% would be available for NEW SPENDING.
If a county raises its income tax by 1% then it also must raise its corporate income tax by 1% as well. The additional revenues collected from businesses would be used to provide property tax relief.
I took a quick look at the Indiana Budget and the total tax revenue generated by local governments in Indiana.
The below statistics are approximate, it is tax season and I did not spend too much time "crunching the numbers."
If each County raised their income tax by the maximum percentage and if HALF of the promised money were actually used to lower property taxes Indiana would have a total State and local tax burden of about 11.4%
This would end up making it MUCH MUCH harder to draw new businesses to Indiana.
I will be especially interested to read Karen Goldner's thoughts on this post since she has spent so much time working on Economic Development and trying to draw new businesses to this area.
Wiretapping: Bush changes his tune
“Is President Bush surrendering in the war on terror?” asked Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune. It’s a reasonable question, given the administration’s surprise declaration last week that it will henceforth get warrants to monitor Americans’ overseas phone calls and e-mails. For more than a year, the White House has insisted that it would be too “cumbersome” to let a judge issue warrants for its new spying program. Critics who called the program illegal were labeled reckless, unpatriotic, and accused of exposing the nation to grave danger. But now, in a miraculous turnaround, Bush says that getting warrants will pose no problems, said The Philadelphia Inquirer in an editorial. How could that be? With Democrats now controlling Congress, Bush knows that his “end runs” around the Constitution will no longer be tolerated.
“Keep the Champagne on ice,” said Patrick Radden Keefe in Slate.com. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales merely said that any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program would now be conducted with approval of the special federal court established in 1978. But the TSP goes much further than conventional wiretapping, in which a suspect’s calls are monitored. Instead, the new program involves the analysis of “staggering volumes of phone calls and e-mail,” almost all of it by innocent people, as the government looks for telltale signs that foreign terrorists are communicating with compatriots inside the U.S. It’s unlikely that the administration now will clear every one of those data-mining expeditions with the court. Instead, it could seek “blanket authority” to spy on large groups of Americans. The larger question, though, is why the White House keeps playing these silly power games, said The New York Times. By law, the administration had three days to get a warrant for a wiretap it had already placed. So the argument that following the law was too “cumbersome” was always an obvious lie. The real agenda here was power, and the administration’s desire to create an “imperial presidency” that neither Congress nor the courts could constrain.
In wartime, the Constitution assigns all battlefield decisions to the commander in chief, said The Wall Street Journal. Spying on enemy communications falls into that category, which is why Bush should not have backed down. There really are fanatics out to kill us, and it’s Bush’s responsibility to smoke out their agents and sympathizers in the U.S. He need not submit such intelligence operations to a judge’s approval. By surrendering to political pressure, Bush has lost a fight he could have won—and damaged the anti-terror efforts of future presidents.
I totally disagree with the last paragraph quoting from The Wall Street Journal.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
A Day in the Life
So it ended up just being me, reading a short speech to a bunch of my friends and colleagues, all for the benefit of one [MSM] reporter. Don't get me wrong, I am very glad he was there (Ben Lanka from the Journal). He got lots of personal attention. But it was kind of funny. Hopefully tomorrow there will be a small story in the J-G. Ben does a good job.
What HAS been nice is the wide coverage in the local blogosphere today. Thank you to Robert Rouse, Mitch Harper, John Good, and Mike Sylvester who all posted about the news conference (I believe in the order I listed them here). I'm not sure how many people actually read these blogs, relative to the size of the electorate - but those who do definitely get more local news content than those who don't.
If people continue to question whether bloggers are journalists, my response is now: at least they are covering local events.
If you want to read about the campaign, you can check out www.citizensforgoldner.com. I am very grateful to Beth and Dave for all of their hard work on the design and programming of it.
You know how you can think about something for a long time, plan it in your head, talk with folks about it, etc......but when you actually DO IT, you're still a little surprised at yourself. This has been today for me. Only without the TV cameras.
Rich Reynolds, Fort Wayne Media Watch
He sends out a weekly newsletter with his "take" on local (Fort Wayne media).
He mentioned two of the contributors to this blog in his most recent "newsletter."
I just cannot help myself.
I have cut out part of the last newsletter and it appears below in italics:
Incestuous connections in local media are rampant.
For instance, the News-Sentinel continues to ballyhoo cronies of Leo Morris and Kevin Leininger: Mike Sylvester, Mitch Harper, Karen Goldner, Craig Ladwig, et al.
What on earth is Rich Reynolds talking about?
bal·ly·hoo (bl-h) KEY NOUN: pl. bal·ly·hoos
Sensational or clamorous advertising or publicity.
Noisy shouting or uproar. TRANSITIVE VERB: bal·ly·hooed , bal·ly·hoo·ing , bal·ly·hoos
To advertise or publicize by sensational methods.
Does anyone have ANY idea what he is talking about?
I am especially entertained with his reference to Karen Goldner AND Craig Ladwig being a cronies of Leo Morris and Kevin Leininger... That is pretty funny...
Does anyone know anything about Rich Reynolds?
Behavior of Senator Robert Byrd
It seems like he gets a pass because nobody wants to really talk about the subject. But I guess I'm wondering if we shouldn't be talking about this. Shouldn't Senators be criticized if their behavior changes even if it is something out of their control?
For those who reed and right
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?
Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.
Let's face! it! - English is a crazy language.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Presidential Candidates 2008, Democratic initial look
I will give you my quick opinion on them; as the race progresses I hope to learn more about those who I may consider voting for in 2008.
The odds are I will vote Libertarian in 2008; however, I ALWAYS look at all options.
The Democratic field is rather weak in my opinion (Unfortunately so is the Libertarian and Republican fields currently).
Christopher Dodd. I know little about him; however, what I do know leads me to believe he would be completely unacceptable.
John Edwards. I would never vote for John Edwards.
Mike Gravel. I do no know enough about Mike Gravel to have an initial opinion.
Dennis Kucinish. He is a complete lunatic and I could never vote for him.
Tom Vilasec. I know little about him and I plan on learning more. He may be a good candidate.
Joe Biden. I know little about him; however, what I do know leads me to believe he would be completely unacceptable.
Hillary Clinton. She is someone I could not vote for unless she ran against poeple who were even worse then she is.
Barack Obama. So far I like what I see in barack Obama. I have a positive first impression of him and I plan on watching him carefully.
Bill Richardson. I know little about him and I plan on learning more. He may be a good candidate.
Wesley Clark. I know little about him and I plan on learning more. He may be a good candidate.
Al Sharpton. He is a complete lunatic and I could never vote for him.
So I have an initial positive opinion about Barack Obama.
I am unsure about Mike Gravel, Tom Vilasec, Bill Richardson, and Wesley Clark.
I am almost positive that I could not vote for Joe Biden or Chistopher Dodd.
I cannot vote for (Unless it is an emergency and they are running against a field of worse candidates; which is possible) John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Hillary Clinton, or Al Sharpton.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Former Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey Goes Off on Delay, Bush, Iraq, etc
"I have my own understandings and feelings about Tom DeLay. ... I don't believe he's a good person and I don't believe he is a person who should have been in public office. I don't like sneaky, conniving people. I don't like people who get behind closed doors and contrive against other people."
"I don't see how anybody can look at the Bush presidency and say this was a success in public policy terms."
Q: You voted for the resolution to go to war.
A: "I did, and I'm not happy about it. The resolution was a resolution that authorized the president to take that action if he deemed it necessary. Had I been more true to myself and the principles I believed in at the time, I would have openly opposed the whole adventure vocally and aggressively. I had a tough time reconciling doing that against the duties of majority leader in the House. I would have served myself and my party and my country better, though, had I done so."
Sunday, February 04, 2007
What is the actual Financial condition of the United States?
This report can be found here:
This report discusses the financies of The Federal Government as of the close of fiscal year 2006 (9/30/06).
The report is grim and shows that we have put our children, grand-children, and all future generations in a financial bind of record proportions...
Here are some highlights from the actual report:
1. For the TENTH consecutive year the Department of the Treasury has "disclaimed" an opinion on the overall financial statements of the US Government. This means that for ten years in a row the Department of The Treasury has not been able to verify the actual condition of the Government's fiannces. THIS SHOULD FRIGHTEN YOU.
2. The Federal Budget deficit for fiscal year 2006 was 247.7 billion dollars. In other words the government spent more then 247.7 billion dollars then it brought in. This money was borrowed and future generation will pay interest on this debt.
The rest of the report is equally enlightening...
The worst part of the report is the fact the The Federal Government itself agrees that the Federal Government has ABOUT 60 TRILLION dollars of unfunded liabilities...
What do you think?
Last Tuesday, as President Bush got off the
Helicopter in front of the White House, he was
Carrying a baby piglet under each arm.
The squared away Marine guard snaps to attention,
Salutes, and says: "Nice pigs, sir."
The President replies "These are not pigs these
Are authentic Arkansas Razorback Hogs. I got one for
Senator Hillary Clinton and I got one for Speaker of
The House Nancy Pelosi."
The squared away Marine again snaps to attention,
Salutes, and says,
"Excellent trade, sir."
h/t: My Dad
Labels: Elected twits
Saturday, February 03, 2007
The News Alert says: A suicide truck driver attacked a crowded market in central Baghdad Saturday, killing at least 38 people and wounding dozens more, police said.
The caption under the photo says: Governor: Storm damage looks “like a bomb went off”.
The BIG story is the storm that ripped through central Florida. It was approximately 40 miles long and left at least 20 dead. A Federal disaster declaration has been requested and FEMA is getting involved. "We have complete devastation of homes, businesses, religious institutions. It was unlike perhaps even the hurricanes of 2004," said Christopher Patton of the Lake County Emergency Operations Center.
I am not going to trivialize the death and destruction that occurred in Florida, but rather compare it to the news alert. Why is it that when death and destruction is closer to home, it seems to have a larger impact on Americans? Where are the images of Iraq that looks “like a bomb went off”? Something tells me that this is almost a daily occurrence in Iraq.
Because what is happening in Iraq is so far from home, and so devastating on a daily basis, it’s like it isn’t real, or trivialized to just news alerts. How many times have you heard “X number of American soldiers were killed in Iraq today by a roadside bomb” while buttering your toast, and went about your business? Of course, there is nothing you can do about it, but because it is an every day occurrence, and because there are no devastating images, the impact is trivialized.
I want to see the reality of what is occurring in Iraq. Not just the devastation, but the positive things as well. I want to grieve and feel sorrow for the lost souls in Iraq, just as much as I want to grieve and feel sorrow for the same in Florida. I want to feel joy and exuberance for the touching positive stories in Iraq, just as I want to feel the same for all the good things happening in America today.
Americans are in Florida and Americans are in Iraq.
There is “complete devastation” in both places.
Update 12:26PM: After I posted this, CNN.com is now showing a different top story showing the carnage at the Baghdad market. I had no idea CNN.com reads my posts, and so quickly at that!
Update 11:06PM : Now they are back to the Florida story.... give me a break!
Hat tip to: The Undeniable Liberal
Scientists Offered Cash to Dispute Climate Study
Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.
Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.
The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. It will underpin international negotiations on new emissions targets to succeed the Kyoto agreement, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft last year and invited to comment.
The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI's board of trustees.
The letters, sent to scientists in Britain, the US and elsewhere, attack the UN's panel as "resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work" and ask for essays that "thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs".
Climate scientists described the move yesterday as an attempt to cast doubt over the "overwhelming scientific evidence" on global warming. "It's a desperate attempt by an organisation who wants to distort science for their own political aims," said David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
"The IPCC process is probably the most thorough and open review undertaken in any discipline. This undermines the confidence of the public in the scientific community and the ability of governments to take on sound scientific advice," he said.
The letters were sent by Kenneth Green, a visiting scholar at AEI, who confirmed that the organisation had approached scientists, economists and policy analysts to write articles for an independent review that would highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the IPCC report.
"Right now, the whole debate is polarised," he said. "One group says that anyone with any doubts whatsoever are deniers and the other group is saying that anyone who wants to take action is alarmist. We don't think that approach has a lot of utility for intelligent policy."
One American scientist turned down the offer, citing fears that the report could easily be misused for political gain. "You wouldn't know if some of the other authors might say nothing's going to happen, that we should ignore it, or that it's not our fault," said Steve Schroeder, a professor at Texas A&M university.
The contents of the IPCC report have been an open secret since the Bush administration posted its draft copy on the internet in April. It says there is a 90% chance that human activity is warming the planet, and that global average temperatures will rise by another 1.5 to 5.8C this century, depending on emissions.
Lord Rees of Ludlow, the president of the Royal Society, Britain's most prestigious scientific institute, said: "The IPCC is the world's leading authority on climate change and its latest report will provide a comprehensive picture of the latest scientific understanding on the issue. It is expected to stress, more convincingly than ever before, that our planet is already warming due to human actions, and that 'business as usual' would lead to unacceptable risks, underscoring the urgent need for concerted international action to reduce the worst impacts of climate change. However, yet again, there will be a vocal minority with their own agendas who will try to suggest otherwise."
Ben Stewart of Greenpeace said: "The AEI is more than just a thinktank, it functions as the Bush administration's intellectual Cosa Nostra. They are White House surrogates in the last throes of their campaign of climate change denial. They lost on the science; they lost on the moral case for action. All they've got left is a suitcase full of cash."
On Monday, another Exxon-funded organisation based in Canada will launch a review in London which casts doubt on the IPCC report. Among its authors are Tad Murty, a former scientist who believes human activity makes no contribution to global warming. Confirmed VIPs attending include Nigel Lawson and David Bellamy, who believes there is no link between burning fossil fuels and global warming.
Friday, February 02, 2007
A Disturbing Statistic
This brings up a question all of us should ask ourselves - are we saving enough? Are we prepared for a financial shock to our personal finances even if only temporary? I fully understand that there are people out there that have a hard time getting by and saving is truly not an option. However, there are many people that live paycheck-to-paycheck, not because they have to, but because they choose to.
I'm always amazed at the responses by friends and family when we discuss this topic. So many of them don't even know what their monthly income and expenses are let alone have an actual budget. I'll admit that I probably go too far in the other direction because I categorize and budget everything down to the penny. And every year I try and find ways to increase income while reducing expenses - it's an annual challenge.
However, I grew up in a family that always talked about the importance of saving money. I took it seriously as a child and I continue that behavior now. I wonder how many people get bad financial habits from their parents? I mean I can't recall discussing personal finance in school. It seems like an important topic to me so perhaps the schools should consider focusing on this subject a little more...