Saturday, January 30, 2010

I love trains, but...

I love trains, BUT...

For those of you comparing the proposed (I guess it's a done deal?) government supplied train travel here in Ohio to the government subsidy of roadways:

We pay for a large portion of highway funds through the gasoline tax. An overwhelmingly large portion of the population uses and needs the roads -- some small percentage of them to drive to and park for a train ride that takes twice as long as the same trip in a car.

Are there any passenger trains between large cities that currently run through Ohio? I'd be interested to know how many Ohioans currently use trains, compared to the population to which train travel is available, AND how many of them trip between cities.

This is the game we see time after time: Unveil some extraordinary government program, tell you it's good for you and expect you to live with it, knuckle under and pay for programs that YOU don't use. Then the stories come out that the program doesn't quite work, and that it would never survive without increased taxes (In this instance, ridership will be half of what is predicted, it's more expensive than what they said and the state is stuck with this mess and has to raise taxes to pay for it.). If it is operated and run by the government, no matter whether it is a failure, the workforce never gets laid off, its workers receive benefits largely unavailable to the taxpayers footing the bill, and get to retire after 30 years with 90% of their incomes - and inflationary increases.

And another thing while I'm on a roll: $400m is almost twice as much money as we are budgeting for Haiti next year... Haiti, a problem that will take BILLIONS of $ to make a dent.

"Senators working on the next annual foreign assistance budget have proposed at least $282 million for Haiti; the House proposal would provide at least $165 million."

We need real solutions for jobs, not make-work government programs that benefit a very small percentage of the population, and that have no measurable value return to the people who pay for them.

"I love trains", but they really need to put some more thought in this. Shouldn't they start with light rail IN the cities before they try to connect them?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Well, now. It's time for me to run for office...

...Time for me to run for office! Get me sum o' dat Big Coal monies!

Maybe it should be a law that for every donation over 100K, the pol has to get the company logo tattooed on his/her face. That way every time they speak, you know who you're really listening to....

For the “smaller” corporate donors, they can paste Nascar-like stickers on their suits and accoutrements.

I understand the principle behind the majority decision, but I really believe it is an overreaction.

I very much doubt the Founders forsaw a time when even local candidates would run on platforms provided by multi-national corporations. Well, that time is now.

The problem began with the PACs. How do you define or even recognize the difference between say, the your "Concerned Citizens of Lantucky" and a FRONT GROUP.

So what they are doing is opening it up for everybody. Simply because it has become impossible to distinguish the differences (and WHO decides which group is kosher????).

I don’t think this will effect large elections at all...

But what about the example of a state representative who gets on the bad side of “Big Whatever”, and “Big Whatever” then buys their own candidate the election?

You can scream 1st Amendment all you want, but in these days of conglomerates, “Big Whatever” is likely owned by people who live outside the state. Not that this hasn’t been happening already and all-over, but this makes it even easier for non-constituents to affect an election.

Some great forum comments from The Volokh Conspiracy:

"What about arguments based on agent-principal issues? The point being that the speech of a company or a union is controlled by a few insiders and will often be weakly — or even inversely — correlated to the views of the stockholders or union members. Doesn’t it seem a little strange to ground the free speech right for a corporation in the collective free speech rights of natural persons who may — and frequently will — disagree with that speech? (While I think this argument is quite strong for companies and unions, it doesn’t apply or at a minimum is very weak for corporations whose principal purpose is advocacy e.g. the Sierra Club or the NRA.)"


"Who is accountable for corporate speech? Not the strawman corporate “person” that is built up as a means of giving (real) people limited liability. The strawman corporate “person” isn’t even accountable to its own conscience, since it doesn’t have one.

The bigger issue for remains the special protections we give shareholders and officers of corporations. To have both those special protections and the privileges usually reserved for individuals tilts the playing field way too far. I would prefer preserving free speech whenever possible, so my preference would be to reduce those protections for shareholders of corporations who choose to engage in political speech. Make them an LLS(peech)C."


"1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition ...

The wording of the First Amendment does not establish a human right of free speech. It places a limit on the subject of legislation. Without arguing whether Freedom of Religion is a human right (people have freedom of religion, churches don’t) it bars legislation that interferes with organized religion. Freedom of the press is clearly an organizational/corporate right. Note that the end does not talk about the right of a person to assemble (one hand clapping) but the right of the people to assemble (an act that by definition can only be exercised as a group). However, in all these cases the text is not about the rights themselves but rather a prohibition on Congress to legislate on certain matters.

Therefore, the actual text that Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech does not limit its application to citizens or even people. The text does not talk about “freedom of people to speak”. Congress cannot pass a law abridging speech. Any kind of speech."


Shareholders of US corporations need not be American citizens or even American residents. So even if you buy the “tool” model that free speech of a corporation is just a pass-through for the free speech of the shareholders, the right to spend money on speech is flowing through in part to foreigners and even foreign governments.

By this standard, the Government of Singapore for example (via Temasek and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation) has greater opportunity for paid political speech in the US than all but a handful of Americans.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Republican Senator from Massachusetts!

Who would believe it?

I wonder if this is a vision of the future, or if it was reactionary to the HC debate, the 0-Man's shrinking numbers, and the fact that the Dems made a bad choice and ran a stupid campaign? I would‘a lost a bet on this one. I thought "the Machine" would get their voters out no matter what it took...

NPR is the only place I have heard mention that Scott Brown voted for the Mass HC bill that created the state system most similar to the current Fed HC bill.

Bad decision by the Dems to not pound him on that.

And he never said why he changed his tune....

I'm a bit discouraged with everyone involved. Populism can be a dangerous thing -- that's why we are a Republic, thanks to The Founders -- people don't often take to nuances and complications, so they ignore them and just bleat for change (It happened with the 0-Man phenomena, and now with the HC debate).

Politicians are natural liars, so what you end up with are leaders that in bad times, instead of solving problems, exacerbate them by bending to whatever portion of the population is bleating the loudest.

In good times the same Pols are for sale to the highest bidder. This goes for both Dems and 'pubs.

BUT -- Had the Massachusetts legislature not tried to screw with things when Kerry was losing his Presidential run, a Dem would have been appointed after Kennedy's death and a Dem would be elected during a regular cycle.

The really funny thing is that when the 'pubs screamed about changing the rules, the Dems ALL - every single one of them - said "Well, that's just politics. Suck it up and play with the big boys."

Karma is indeed a bitch.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Avatar Spirituality...

Avatar Spirituality

Many people are receptive to nature-oriented spirituality, as celebrated in “Avatar,” but they don’t think of it as a central or necessary part of their lives. They don't view such spirituality as a "religion" in any historically conventional sense. This means that when times get hard, there is any inconvenience or even persecution, they feel no responsibility to follow through on this spirituality.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Do Away With the OSHP...

Ohio State Highway Patrol Fraud. Again.

This will never fly, BUT… Do away with the OSHP.

We have no need for a state level law enforcement agency relegated to traffic enforcement; it is nothing more the revenue generating.

We have OBCI for investigations of a felonious nature. We have a solid force of County Sheriffs throughout the state to handle other types of criminal, and as officers of the courts; civil matters as well.

OSHP is a huge waste of state funds, relegated to cherry-picking remote stretches of road, baby-sitting accident scenes and practicing court-sponsored violations of Constitutional Rights.

Deactivate the entire OSHP, and give the tax money back to the counties. It can be spent on upgrading Sheriff Departments and maintaining roads.

In reality, the OSHP only exists as a revenue collection agency for the state with their obvious ticket quotas and close tie-ins with outside groups both actively encouraging and dependent upon the income generated through this culture of revenue.

Part of our court system and many of these interconnected agencies exist as part of this revenue stream. It's all part of the government bloat and waste that is Californiaizing Ohio.

Any Sheriff Deputy can take an accident report and often does.

Put the money and the responsibility back in the hands of real Peace Officers and do away with fake cops.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Harry Reid -- Back-room Dealmaker -- Castigated for telling...

... The Truth.

I think the really funny thing is that Harry Reid, the comsumate back-room, cigar-smoke dealmaker, is being castigated for telling the truth - for just once - and saying what everybody was/is thinking.

Come on, you don't think that every single Democrat power-broker wasn't salivating over a Black/Irish pol who exhibited every trait of the Ivy-school scion that he really is, but can turn on the "dialect" at will, and speak idiom where it is understood, makes points and is considered a sign of bonding and identification?

AND, you don't think that every single Republican power-broker wasn't combing the bushes of every Red-state for a 'pub that matched the above? And you don't think they weren't green with envy?

Come on...! Geesh.

It is so hilarious that a politician of Reid's "skill" at deceit, is getting in trouble for telling the truth. And, it's a sign of the depth of depravity of both the American system and the way we have been trained to think, that this is actually being considered a serious flaw -- when there are so many other deparately important and way-of-life threatening subversions of congressional power taking place.