And my Tea Party was hateful?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Jindal Demonstrates Leadership

As hurricane Gustav bears down on Louisiana, the general populous recalls Katrina. The media is in a tizzy; Lined up across the Gulf Coast, they point their cameras offshore to document the storm rolling ashore. There is one stark difference between Gustav and Katrina. The difference is leadership. Our Governor has been on every local and national news network over the past 72 hours, briefing the public on the status of evacuations and preparations. Jindal stood behind the podium and line by line reviewed the process with the public.
He outlined the evacuation of the critically ill. He gave the people directions to the trains, planes and automobiles designated to whisk them to safety. He outlined how the contra flow worked and when the interstates would change direction. Point by point he ran through the list. Bobby Jindal has mobilized the state of Louisiana. Emergency vehicles have been traveling by caravan all day into the southern parts of the state via highway 1. He made agreements with other states to help with patient care. We have medi-vac in place, for those injured in the storm. He knew how many of nursing homes we evacuated. He knew how many critically ill died in travel. He knew where the nation guard was and where they were going. He spouted off statistic after statistic. I can not even recall everything he said we had done.
One can never be prepared for the amazing power of a hurricane, but I feel prepared. I have confidence that my state is prepared. It is a foreign feeling. One I have never experienced before. I hope my fellow citizens behave so this feeling may continue. I am certain that when the clouds clear, the clean up will begin. For once, my state has a plan. Weather (pun) or not he plan is sound; we will determine over the next few days. Prior to the Bobby Jindal’s election, I jested that I would follow Bobby Jindal off a cliff. Prior to making the leap, Bobby would inform you how far down the water is, what direction and speed the wind is traveling, when to jump to time the waves properly and what angle to hit the water to reduce the impact. Today, the whole state is following Bobby off of that proverbial cliff. I hope he is right.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I see your black man and raise you a women

My first reaction to McCain’s Vice-presidential pick was not resoundingly positive. Sarah Palin will have more appeal in Middle America than either party realizes. As a politically active female, I am extremely skeptical any time the women’s vote is discussed. In far too many elections, the story line reads “a historic day for women across America”. The end result is often disgraceful, as an unqualified woman is elected to her post by my voting sisters for no other reason than the candidate has internal plumbing. Please take a moment to recall Kathleen Blanco, former Governor of Louisiana.
The Democrats must be joking. I hope this drum beat continues. The more Palin’s experience is discussed, the more Obama’s experience will come into question. Palin has served as Governor of the State of Alaska for two years. Obama has served in the United States Senate for two years. Unlike the Members of the United States Congress the Governor of Alaska goes to work everyday. The Governor has to run an education system, a national guard and is responsible for the day to day Executive decisions required to run a municipality. Governor Palin has more executive experience than all three of the men on this year’s Presidential Ballot combined and multiplied by ten. With any luck, the Democratic Party will continue the constant drum beat of experience and McCain keep running his campaign on the high road.
Washington needs change from outside the beltway and Governor Palin can offer that change. Obama, Biden and McCain have been drinking the water in D.C. (I am convinced in is tainted in some way) for far too long. Governor Palin, former Miss Wasilla, represents real grassroots change emerging from real Middle America. Palin did not attend an exclusive private high school or an Ivy League university. She attended the local public high school, Wasilla High School, as a child and received her Bachelors degree in Journalism-Communication with a Minor in Political Science from the University of Idaho.
Sarah Palin married her high school sweetheart and began a family in her hometown of Wasilla Alaska. In 1992 she was elected to the Wasilla city council and was elected Mayor of Wasilla. Wasilla is small town and Palin’s opponents will try to use this against her. How does running a small town qualify you to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency? I think I would feel more comfortable in Wasilla Alaska than in Washington DC. As a mother of 5, Palin helps her husband run the family commercial fishing business. As Mayor she reduced property taxes and her own salary. Her husband is a registered Democrat and a union member and her son, who is about to deploy to Iraq, is a registered independent.
She served as Commissioner of the Alaskan Oil and Gas Conservation Committee from 2003 to 2004. She resigned to protest the corruption after her complaints about illegalities where ignored. After her resignation Palin continued to challenge the Republican establishment, despite party backlash. She is still fighting the allegation of those whose corruption she exposed.
In 2006 Palin ran for Governor of Alaska on a reform policy and followed through with her promises. Governor Palin is on the ground floor of the energy debate. Alaskans rely on the energy industry and their natural tourism to boast their economy. Balancing the environment and our need to expand energy production are concerns which Governor Palin is affected by daily in her hometown. Plain brought a law suit against the federal government over falsely placing the polar bear on the endangered species list. As Governor, she has reached across the aisle to bring change to the state of Alaska. Palin is one of Alaska's most popular Governors.
Sarah Palin is a real American, in touch with working people. She is not a Washington insider. She is a working mother of 5, giving birth to her fifth child while serving as Governor of Alaska. Personally, I would love to see a normal person in the White House. Some one who did not go to law school? I would like to see a candidate who has held a real job and raised a normal family. She is a life long hunter and member of the NRA. Her husband is a semiprofessional snowmobiler; seriously, the First Gentlemen of the State of Alaska is a semiprofessional snowmobiler. She is brilliant, witty and beautiful. Sarah Palin is the kind of women young girls can look up to. She has changed my vote against Obama to a vote for Sarah Palin. Prior to McCain's selection of Sarah Palin, I was not excited about the McCain Presidency. The Republican ticket truely excites me now. I believe McCain and Palin will continue to challenge the "business as usual crowd". The combination of an expirenced maveric and an ambitious women may be just what Washington needs.
But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Higher Standard?

“Unlike other candidates Obama’s campaign refuses to accept contributions from Washington lobbyists and political action committees.”
-Barack Obama’s “Blueprint for America”

Political action committees are an unfortunate side effect of the political process. If Obama actually was turning down money from special interests groups, I would take the time to commend practice. When ever you hear a politician say they will take money out of politics, think about how much money they spent to tell you. Political action committees flood the election cycle with fuel, hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions, independent expenditures and lavish parties.

Obama for America does not receive direct contributions from PACs. Instead the Obama campaign has numerous PACs and 527’s soliciting donations and earmarking the money for a candidate of the committee’s choosing. I was unable to find many reference to the term earmark contribution, expect for a publication on the Federal Election Committee’s website. Commercial websites are permitted to solicit donations from individuals and transfer these donations to a candidate based on the candidate’s position on an issue.

Act Blue, a Democratic PAC, has contributed under a thousand dollars to federal candidates in the 2008 election cycle. When the expenditures of Act Blue are examined more closely, campaign records reveal $411,607 of earmark contributions to the Obama for America PAC. The earmark contributions range in value from one dollar to two hundred fifty dollars. Moveon.org has given $1.6 million in earmark contributions to the Obama campaign in thousands of small earmark contributions.

Having political action committees solicit donations on your behave has numerous benefits. A large volume of small donations reduces the average donation and increases the percentage of “small donor funding” in the campaign. The campaign can use these numbers to proof the grassroots movement is genuine. The campaign can consider the earmark contributions an individual contribution and reduce the percentage of the campaign financing provided by special interests.

A politician needs to acquire funding to run a campaign. It is a necessary evil. Illuminated neo classical monuments to self-deification and stadiums are pricey. The Obama campaign is pledging to remove themselves from the influence of special interests, but continually receiving contributions solicited by special interests. The influence is still present, but concealed.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Obama and Ethics

University scholars devote their lives to the study of ethics. Politicians devote each election cycle to the discussion of it. The passionate nature of politics combined with the monetary impacts of ethics, spawns hours of campaign promises, federal investigtions and special sessions of congress.
Obama proposes a centralized database of lobbyist and political action spending so the public can monitor where the money has been spent. The Federal Election Commission allows anyone to search the quarterly and annual reports of politicians, PACs and their close relatives. Internet watch dog groups, like http://www.opensecrets.org/ provide more users friendly formats. In 2008, people can access ample information about the political process, but they rarely try. When the President creates an independent agency, it is by definition not independent of the government.

Obama promises a new type of political movement where money is removed from politics. Conventions, bumper stickers, phone calls, polls, ad space, air time, consulting fees, editing time, photo sessions, mailers and yard signs cost money.

“Obama supports public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. Obama introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and is the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) tough bill to reform the presidential public financing system.”
-Barack Obama’s Blueprint for America

Obama’s “Blueprint for America” proposes raising the level of government involvement in the electoral process. If candidates were provided with public funds to purchase or access radio waves at the expenses of the operator, the public would lose additional influence of the direction in the electoral process. Elections should focus on what the people want, not what the law allows. Either Obama is proposing the tax payer purchase campaign air time or media providers will “donate” air time to a federal agency to divide the coverage equally among the candidates. Once again, more government is the solution to achieving the goal of the citizenry. Obama declined to use federal campaign funds in the Presidential election (freeing him from campaign spending limits). The fair playing field Obama is promoting is too fair for him to participate. Having the same spending limits as his opponent would put him at a disadvantage.

Obama promotes the sponsoring of Feingold’s ethics bill. I was only able to locate one major piece of ethics legislation by Senator Feingold was McCain-Feingold. Obama is taking credit for the bipartisan effort of the Republican candidate? McCain-Feingold was radical legal reform, whose purpose and benefit I will not defend.

The nation does not need Obama to solve our political dilemmas that is our job. Despite the “transparency of government”, no progress will be made if no one is observing the process. Increased government involvement in any situation leads to more paper work and frustration. The more regulation we enforce, the larger the burden to the tax payer. When the paper work and bloated budgets are too frustrating to handle, the people elect to create new regulations enforced by new agencies to solve the same old problem. This is not a change in how things are done in Washington.

But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Monday, August 25, 2008

Why I am not voting for Barack Obama

The production, choreography, documentation, analysis and media hype of the 2008 election rivals super bowl Sunday and the price tag associated is ridiculous. Satirist, Pundits and strategists, from both sides of the aisle, are obsessing over a game of grade school gotcha. Journalists and talk show hosts focus on sensational stories of congressmen in airport restrooms and the socio-economic positions of candidate’s high school friends. Little discussion of the issues manages to slip through the airways. I disagree with Barack Obama’s platform in numerous areas and I will describe the points in further detail over the next few days. I do not believe the rhetoric in Obama’s speeches. While riveting, inspiring and well written, speeches and action are two very different things. Being a smooth talker will get a person far in life, if that person can continue to deliver upon those words. It is far easier to convince someone that you can solve his or her problems, but it is far more difficult to deliver on that promise.
Barack Obama has published “The Blueprint for Change” to describe his plan for America in better detail. The Blueprint is broken into sixteen sections with an introductory letter. The sections are as follows: ethics, healthcare, economy, seniors, education, energy, fiscal, rural, women, immigration, poverty, service, civil rights, foreign policy and finally veterans. The discussion will be limited to Barack’s vision for America. His childhood, family, faith (which did not make the list) and colleagues are not the focus, sidebar or tangent to this conversation. Anyone desiring to acquire tabloid style smears against the Democratic Nominee may wish find another opinion piece to read. Policy must be driven by ideas and rational arguments from the left, right and all those undecided. I opt to present a rational and thorough argument to explain why I am not voting for Barack Obama. John McCain does not parallel my political beliefs on many issues, but my reasons for voting against Barack Obama preclude me from not voting or voting third party.
The opening letter of Barack Obama’s “Blueprint for Change” begins by thanking the reader for learning more about the campaign and encourages dialogue on the issues. I am attempting to develop more dialogue on the above-mentioned matters; however, I do not believe it the sort of dialog his campaign is looking for. The introduction also encourages input from the reader. The President of United States is an Executive not a Representative. The job descriptions and requirements of the two posts are vastly different. I elect my Representatives and Senators to voice my opinion in the houses of congress and respond to their constituency in a timely manner instead of going to instead of going to recess with the campaign issue de-jour sitting on the table (it saved hundreds of thousands on polling). I expect my President to make the proper reaction behind the doors of the oval office when some things are too sensitive to discuss with 535 elected officials and their most loyal pages, interns, assistants and other entourage members. The President does not have the time or liberty to consult the American people on ever issue once in office. We must trust the President despite his political affiliation.
Obama states on the first page of the Blueprint “I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over”. The statement specifically separates corporate lobbyists from all other lobbying groups. Environmental groups, religious groups and agricultural groups all have lobbies and spend billions on influencing legislation. The money these groups have to offer candidates can just as easily create a conflict of interests as can money from corporate donors. Obama’s largest campaign contributor is Goldman Sachs. My limited understanding of economics allows me to classify Goldman Sachs as a corporation, a global corporation. Once Goldman Sachs gave $653,000 to Barack Obama’s campaign for President or, dare I say, lobbied Barack Obama; Goldman Sachs became a corporate lobbyist. There is nothing inherently wrong with corporations. I draw a paycheck from one regularly for an incorporated business and plan to continue the trend. Your paycheck came from a corporation too or a government (which I find far more appalling). Accepting campaign contribution from corporate lobbyists is a rather indirect route to preventing the evil corporate lobbyists from “calling the shots”.
The first section of the print covers ethics. The Blueprint is 56 pages in length, but has large margins and oversized quotes. Each section occupies two or three printed pages, but contains a few dozen sentences. Creating meaningful dialog with little source material is difficult. I will begin arguing the counterpoints to Baracks’ ethic plan tomorrow evening. I hope this piece will assist you in making an informed choice this November and allow you to more comfortably discuss you support for John McCain in the midst of Obama mania. If you would like to read along with me, you can download Obama’s napkin sketch here.

But No one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Is Pennsylvania the key?

Every election cycle seems to come down to one magical state in the electoral math. Who will be the Queen of the 2008 Presidential Prom.? Pennsylvania is could be the next Florida. If McCain found a true conservative executive from the Plantation State, the Democrats would have four years to explain how the Republicans stole the election again. Despite narrow margins of error, the below map show the current poll status.
Current Polling Data
Obama 273 McCain 265

McCain needs to steal a single state away from Obama to be our next president. Which blue state is prime for the picking? When viewing the below electoral map depicting toss up states and the strength of each candidates lead, the Appalachian states are a large cluster of undecided or weakly committed states. A conservative running mate, who can easily connect with the lunch pail voters in the region, would ensure McCain’s election.
Current Polling Data with Toss up States
Obama 228 McCain 174 Toss Up 136

McCain must focus campaign resources in Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana to keep the traditional Republican states from becoming blue states. Recent polls in Pennsylvania have Obama leading by a 5.8% margin. In 2004, The Democrats took Pennsylvania by a 2.5% margin. Mark Steven Schweiker, former Pennsylvania Governor, is the perfect Vice Presidential running mate for McCain. One of Schweiker’s most notable achievements as Governor was overseeing the 77-hour mine rescue of nine trapped coal miner during the Quecreek mine disaster. His record on mine safety is unparallel in politics, making him very popular in the mining states of Appalachia. The final electoral map will show the undecided states leaning in the direction the current polls are indicating. The only state whose electoral outcome was changed from the first map is Pennsylvania.

Proposed Electoral Map
Obama 252 McCain 286

The media has been preaching that the 2008 elections are going to be energy. The campaign commercials are following the same theory as well. As the candidates argue about the price of gas and the use of clean coal technology, no one suspected that the coal miner would be the next elusive demographic. While not as cute as the soccer mom or as wide spread as the NASCAR Dad, the lunch pail crowd will be key to this election. If I were McCain, Mark Schweiker would be my Vice Presidential nominee.
But no one listens to me
-Patriotic Progeny

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fair and Balanced?

The Denver Convention begins tomorrow and many of protests protesters are preparing to exercise their rights to of assemble assembly and their right to free speech. 200 yards from the Convention, this exercise is being restricted to fenced-in areas loving lovingly referred to as “Freedom Cages”. The restriction of protest to specialized, non-offensive loci contradicts the principles outlined, quite unambiguously, in our constitution and its Bill of Rights.
Human nature dictates that the convention organizers need balance constitutional rights with the security of the delegates. This balance is admittedly difficult to truly reach, but are the organizers trying to balance these issues or are they trying to hide the protesters from the camera’s watchful eye? My personal political beliefs may be diametrically opposed to the majority of the protesters’ ideology, but I firmly believe in the Constitution that grants them the right to assemble and speak their minds.
Intrigued by the sheer number of idealistically passionate individuals marching on Denver, I began searching the internet in order to learn more about this group and, more importantly, why it was protesting the Denver Democratic Convention (I thought they would hold out for the RNC). My search began with CNN’s website. I used the key words “protest Denver convention” hoping to learn more about the controversy surrounding the event.
When I sorted my search by relevance, the first story, entitled “8,000 protest NRA convention in Denver”, was from 1999 and chronicled the NRA convention in the mile-high city (the story was published on May 1, 1999). CNN has a vast internet database, so I sorted the results by date. The top story for “protests Denver convention” detailed the Republican-led protest over off shore drilling that exploded after Congress convened for a recess without addressing the energy crisis (the story was published on August 7, 2008 and titled “GOP leaders continue to protest drilling”). The second title was “Thousands of Demonstrators expected at GOP Convention” (published August 3, 2008). Is CNN glossing over the protest at the Democratic National Convention? I encourage my readers to review my search results by clicking here.
I continued my search on MSNBC’s website and had similar results. MSNBC does not have the option to sort by date or relevance, so my search was restricted to the search criteria built into the MSNBC website. The first story in the search dated back to April 4, 2007 and was entitled “Democrats’ Denver choice rankles unions”. I am typically behind anything that “rankles the union”, but the search results seemed out of date and irrelevant to my search. The second story was a clip from the news & updates banner about protests in India. Again, it seems that the 2008 march on the Democratic Convention is being swept under the rug. Please feel free to review my search results by clicking here.
Finally, I searched the Fox News website. The first four stories were about the protests at the Denver Convention. The first story, “ACLU ends its legal challenge to DNC restriction” was published August 07, 2008. Surprisingly, the ACLU and I agree on the issues involving the limitation of this right to assembly and free speech. The second story, “Judge: No Change to DNC security plan” was published on August 06, 2008. Fox News did not provide the information I was searching for, but at least they acknowledged the existence of the protesters and the controversy surrounding their rights. Again, please review my search results by clicking here.
Obama announced his selection of Senator Joe Biden as his running mate yesterday and the majority of the news cycle has been devoted to Biden’s life story. Many municipalities put restrictions on protests in the form of a permitting processes, location of protests or to the hours within which a protest can occur. A chill runs down my spine whenever we apply “reasonable restrictions’ to the rights outlined in our Constitution. It pains me greatly to come to the defense of Ward Churchill and Cindy Sheehan, but they are Americans and reserve the right to assemble peacefully. I do not condemn the Democrat Convention for placing the restriction on the protesters any more than I condemn the Republicans for the restrictions they will place on their protesters.
Both parties are treating this situation inappropriately. I do hold the media responsible for not reporting the grievances of the protesters.
My cable provider offers a lovely service which allows me to view the video feed from six cable news stations and hear the audio from any of these stations my simply moving my cursor from right to left. Five stations were playing old interviews or reporting live from the nearly empty Denver Convention center.
Fox News was on the street asking protestors what their message was, so I flipped the audio to Fox News. The message, both visual and verbal, included only “The Finger” and an unoriginal, but vulgar chant, “F**k Fox News” (See the video bar on the right). If I were participating in a protest (I have participated in a few in my time), I would not squander the opportunity to voice my opinion to any news agency (how many people ever get such a chance?). The majority of the networks ignored their efforts to inform the public of their political beliefs. Rather than taking advantage of a live, unedited television broadcast opportunity to sway the hearts and minds of America, the protestors decided to demonstrate pride in their limited vocabulary.
Next Sunday, I will compare a similar search on all three major news network website using the key words “St. Paul convention protests”. Until next Sunday, I will give both CNN and MSNBC the benefit of the doubt. The agencies may have a policy of not covering protests, but I am sure that I have watched several anti-immigration reform and anti-war protests on both of the aforementioned stations. If such a policy is in place, and this is not a partisan act, then why are the networks denying American Citizens fair treatment?
Perhaps, if the protestors conducted themselves in a self respecting manner, the other networks would give them a platform. It makes it very difficult to defend a person’s right of free speech when it used to hurl insults and profanity. Why would you insult the only news agency willing to spread your message to the voting public?

But no one listens to me-
Patriotic Progeny

Tax Day Tea Party

Open Congress : Recent Votes

Today on Capital Hill

Governor Bobby Jindal | State of Louisiana > Press Releases

Baton Rouge

The Foundry

The Heritage Foundation Papers: Thought

National Review Online

Republican Response

RealClearPolitics

The Economist: News analysis

The American Spectator and AmSpecBlog

Free Republic