Friday, January 16, 2009

Steele’s RNC Whips Work To Secure Nomination and Move GOP Forward

From CNN: Michael Steele’s bid for the Republican GOP Chair has some interesting RNC Committee members working on his behalf; with most of the names released being residents of “Blue States”. Most notable are the Chairs of Arizona, California, Connecticut, D.C., Maryland, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin; states that understand what is at risk as far as membership and branding are concerned – should the GOP stand by the status quo. (Florida and Idaho Chairs are also acting on Steele’s behalf.)

What is interesting is that those who would maintain the status quo (Red State) point to Steele’s celebrity status, quasi innuendo’s regarding his finances and his “affiliation” with the moderate “Republican Leadership Council and Christie Todd Whitman, as reasons why Steele is not acceptable as a Chair Candidate. In a word – Bunk. Steele’s high profile will only enhance the RNC – having a Party Chair in the spotlight will bring much needed attention to the Party, a Chair, by the way, who is not shy about speaking up regarding social conservative values. The fact that Steele is “affiliated” with Moderate Conservatives proves that he has the wisdom to include all factions of the Party – worth noting: Moderate Republicans and Independents tend to think alike.

Case in Point Massachusetts – where Mitt Romney won the Governors chair on a Moderate Stance (pro-choice). Mitt Romney was forgiven by those fiscal conservatives (Beltway), once he made a heartfelt conversion. However, he still held the Massachusetts Governors Chair for the Republican Party - as a moderate. Should Michael Steele take the GOP Chair, there would be hope for the GOP to finally make inroads into territory that has been given up as lost for decades. To have Massachusetts and Michigan in the loop again, would be no mean feat. By promoting an Individual who will include all factions of the party, for the good of the Party, is just smart. To those ridiculous Social Conservatives whose litmus test includes that one cannot be associated with anyone related to anyone who may hold a less than far right point of view, and insist on some “righteous” notion of party purity – rethink your stance before there is no Party.

At the moment, those who are so disenfranchised with the Republican Party and its inability to see the forest through the trees (i.e. Beltway Think) are taking long hard looks at alternative political affiliations such as the
Constitution Party
and the Liberatrian Party. Michael Steele’s persona is one which would give these, as well as moderates, independents and fair minded conservatives a reason to believe that all is not “lost” – he would fight against “media perception” – which has done more damage in eight years of unopposed opposition than any other factor the GOP might face.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Obama’s - Democrats increase Stimulus Plan – now $850 Billion, Additional T.A.R.P. Funds requested, Massive Omnibus Land Bill Passed.

The Democrat controlled Senate and Congress have been adding to Barack Obama’s stimulus plan, however, the AP is reporting that the $3,000 provision for small business job creation was not likely to be included, however, a provision to allow companies who posted losses last year and would make tax refunds available for up to five previous years, still showed signs of life.

What is included: $85-$90 billion for states who need assistance with Medicaid, $90 billion for education, $25 billion to help laid off worker keep their health insurance, $35 billion for extensions in unemployment insurance and an increase in funds for food stamps. Funds for construction for state projects are expected to see a large increase.

The Omnibus Land Bill that was crammed through the Senate on Sunday, is an additional pork laden project that will be added to the national debt, and the President is requesting an additional $350 billion dollars for T.A.R.P. bailouts. T.A.R.P. has thrown billions of dollars at embattled firms, with a net result of zero. Citibank, one of the recipients of T.A.R.P., has deteriorated to the point where they are breaking apart, yet somehow, those bailout receiving bank executives have found funds to donate to < a href=""> Barack Obama’s Inauguration

Just how great will our deficit grow? There are no boundaries, unless someone with a clear head and some fiscal restraint grabs the reigns and fast - which is not likely to happen for at least two to four more years.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Barack Obama’s admiration of Abraham Lincoln – A President who Historically Played Fast and Loose with the Constitution

It is not without some interest that President-Elect Barack Obama has great admiration for Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president and an Illinois native. Lincoln is best known by most American’s as the ”Great Emancipator”, however, historical evidence exists that his views on slavery were at times, mixed due to family affiliations and the need to control slave states within the Union.

The Secession and Economics: the secession of certain Southern States, was based, in greater part, by Tariffs imposed by the Northern Industrial states - well before Lincoln gained the White House, the economics of the war took precedence over moral issues of the day.

Lincoln, can, therefore, be characterized as a man who took the reins of a country in turmoil, a man who, although his family and background (Kentucky) were vested in slavery, came to have a moral compulsion to end an immoral practice, and a man with a gifted legal mind who would use his talents to defend the union of the United States of American, even if it meant suspending certain elements of the Constitution to achieve his goals.

What is not generally known is that Lincoln suspended Habeaus Corpus during the Civil War. From the creation to Military Commissions to the suppression of the Press, Lincoln was able to ultimately quell anti-war dissent and bring the Civil War to a “successful” conclusion. There is a brief, yet excellent study of Lincoln and his treatment of the U.S. Constitution during his administration at California State University.

As a Conservative and Strict Constructionist with a background in History, reservations regarding Lincoln and the Constitution are worth noting, that said, he also based his argument for Free Markets on the same document. Therefore, it remains to be seen which aspects of Lincoln’s legacy will be brought forth in Obama's admiration. At the moment, Lincoln elements such as the food served during the inauguration or the extensive use of military guards (see Lincoln) are hot topics. Although Obama is dubbed as an "extreme liberal" by detractors, one must understand that to date, he has proved to be somewhat moderate, going so far as to attend a dinner party with known conservatives - causing a bit of a stir with certain press. Perhaps he will give the press greater cause for concern, be it an interest in Lincoln's free market ideology and his ability to bring divisive parties in line, (anathema to the liberal media) or, of greater concern, an ability to effectively shut down the press, if necessary.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Small Business Tax Incentive Cut from Stimulus Package – Obama bows to Democrats Objections

The $3,000 job creation tax credit to small businesses which had been included President-Elect, Obama’s stimulus package, has been cut due to objections by Democrat legislators. According to Business Week, the Small Business Tax Credit formulated to stimulate job creation, was an part of a larger plan that was “expected to include”: a longer period of time for small businesses to “carry back” losses, an incentive to invest in improvements, and the tax credit for job creation.

Although the loss of the tax credit is being touted as an addition to the stimulus package designed to gain Republican approval by most media - small business tax breaks were part and parcel of the Obama-Biden campaign platform, which included exemption from capital gains.

Congressional Democrats argued that the tax cut included in the stimulus package was “ripe for abuse and difficult to administer.” Apparently, Democrats believe that giving billions of dollars to cities and states for construction projects instead, will be much easier to keep tract of, let alone, be subject to any abuse. One only needs to look at how well the infamous “Big Dig” worked out, to understand what this stimulus package could end up costing the taxpayer.

Therefore, it boggles the mind that Democrats are concerned about giving a $3,000 tax cut to small businesses, while having no concerns at all regarding state and local governments and construction projects. One can be fairly certain that any other “tax cuts” proposed in the stimulus plan, or any other package proposed by the President Elect on the campaign trail or otherwise, will be treated in much the same way. Tax cuts, of any type, are anathema to most Democrats, who, also using similar language regarding the proposed “middle class tax cuts”. The question now remains, will history repeat itself and any proposed tax cuts become tax increases under the new administration?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Michael Steele Receives Florida’s GOP Chair Endorsement for RNC Chair

Politico is reporting that the Florida State GOP Chair, Jim Greer, has endorsed Michael Steele for RNC chair. Steele is a forward thinking, energizing voice – a rarity in Beltway politics from either side. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the National Review is making light of the Greer’s support. Steele’s detractors point to his “less than stellar “conservative” resume; (From The Hill)

Several members of the steering committee have expressed concern about Michael Steele, a leading candidate for RNC chairman, and his relationship with the centrist Republican Leadership Committee. That group, founded by former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, was made up largely of abortion-rights Republicans, causing many to attack Steele's anti-abortion credentials.
Steele considers himself in the conservative camp but says he joined the centrist group to build a bridge between the two wings of the party. "Wake up people! What are you going to do? Are you going to kick [centrists] out of the party?" he said during an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Steele is right: he is the most qualified candidate of the six, having successfully chaired the grassroots GOPAC, understands the need and original party creed of being inclusive, and is as media savvy as they come. (Not for nothing, he doesn’t apologize for his conservatism.)

It remains to be seen if the 168 Republican Committee members are willing to think outside of their box, this January and elect Steele as Party Chair. If so, and Steele is the GOP Chair, one can expect a reenergized and focused GOP that will reach out to all conservatives – with the Democrats facing an uphill battle with the economy and threats from abroad, (Iran, Afghanistan, etc.), now is the time for the GOP to look at qualifications not the status quo.

Dogs in the winter – Boots offer Protection from Chemicals and Cold

With temperatures dropping below freezing on a regular basis, those of us who are dog owners, have a few options available for keeping them more comfortable and safe during the winter. Winter roads are salted after every storm, dogs paws are sensitive to the salt and other chemicals used to keep the ice off the roads – these chemicals cause pain and discomfort. The solution is to protect the dogs’ paws on the walk (allowing them to exercise) with dog boots. There are a variety of boots and styles available, ranging in price and fit, and can be found in most retail stores (pet shops and retailers that offer pet sections) and on-line.
The biggest hurdle I faced was getting my dogs to accept the boots, (Ceaser Milan’s insistence on calm-assertive dog owners, is a challenge!), once the boots were on, and the dogs out on the pavement however, the result was that the paws were protected and the dog is able to enjoy some outdoor exercise. (Video below of my Puggle adjusting to the boots.)

There is a good list of winter weather tips here: at

Sunday, January 11, 2009

From Springfield MA to Tulsa OK – Economic Stimulus Wish Lists – You’re Tax Dollars at Risk!

As the debate rages in the Legislature over particulars of Mr. Obama’s proposed economic stimulus plan, cities and states across the nation are preparing lists of “shovel ready” projects that are designed to pour billions of taxpayers’ money into two-year construction projects.

One needs only to look at the proposed projects lists of two urban cities to understand just how much waste we can expect in a short period of time – understanding that once the buildings, roadways and “other items” are constructed - the jobs will be gone and “we the people” will be in deep debt.

The Springfield, MA stimulus wish list has a $1 billion dollar price tag.
The List in total:

Clean Energy and Efficiency
--Green Neighborhoods Program totaling $6,000,000
--Single Stream Recycling Program Solid Waste totaling $3,000,000
--Energy Savings Contractor (ESCO) Project Block 11 $ 111 totaling $45,000,000
--Oil Tank Removal - City-Wide totaling $1,200,000
--Indoor Air Quality Work in Schools totaling $18,050,000

Education Facilities
--School Roof Replacements - City-wide (17) totaling $15,615,000
--School Doors and Window Replacements - City-wide (14) totaling $19,030,000
--School Restroom Renovations - City-wide (8) totaling $4,160,000
--Renovation and Repair to the Kennedy Middle School Pool totaling $3.5 million
--Porter Lake Skate House/ECOS Environmental Center of Schools totaling $2,500,000
--SAFE Middle School Renovation totaling $9,600,000
--Construction of New Leadership Charter School totaling $45,000,000
--Roger L. Putnam Vocation Technical High School totaling $125,000,000
--Installation and Replacement of Portable Classroom Units - 3 school totaling $3,000,000
--Renovation of ball fields and construction of outdoor classroom at Rebecca Johnson totaling $700,000
--Replacement of Forest Park Middle School totaling $50,000,000
--Replacement of DeBerry School floor totaling $2.4 million
--General School Repairs totaling $15,800,000
--Middle School Renovation Projects - 3 sites totaling $55,500,000
--School Facility Upgrades - 3 schools totaling $45,000,000
--Job Training with Hampden County Sheriff's Dept. totaling $7,500,000
--Elementary School Replacement - 4 schools totaling $160,000,000

--Storm water improvements totaling $250,000
--Arterial Streets totaling $5 million
--Residential Streets totaling $5 million
--Sidewalk Improvements totaling $1.5 million
--Taylor Street Reconstruction totaling $3 million
--Private Way Paving totaling $5 million
--Traffic Signal Upgrade Intersection Sumner/Allen and Abbott Sts. Totaling $1,200,000
--Greenleaf Road Rehabilitation totaling $300,000
--Main and State Street Corridor Facade Program totaling $2,000,000
--Transportation Projects City-Wide totaling $1,428,000
--Forest Park Paving totaling $300,000
--Reconstruction/resurfacing of Main St. facade in the South End totaling $3,000,000
--West Street Bridge totaling $2,000,000

Information Technology
--Springfield Public Schools Data Center and Data Storage Warehouse totaling $3,500,000
--Public School Classroom Technology and Information Systems Upgrades totaling $20,000,000
--School and Municipal Building Security/Camera, Safety Upgrades totaling $12,500,000

Private Development
--Main Street Improvements totaling $3.189 million
--Acquisition of the Asylum totaling $600,000
--Court Square Redevelopment totaling $5 million
--Downtown Market Rate Housing Fund totaling $10,000,000
--Grow Springfield Fund totaling $7,000,000
--Indian Orchard Business Park totaling $3,500,000
--Chestnut Junior High School totaling $2,000,000
--State Street Alliance Redevelopment Projects $2,000,000

State Facilities and Courts
--Relocation and Expansion of the Renaissance School to S.T.C.C. totaling $10.5 million
--Construction of STCC parking garage totaling $15,000,000
--Former Federal Building Redevelopment totaling $5,150,000
--Reconstruction of MassMutual Garage totaling $34,000,000

Municipal Facilities
--Renovation and Repairs to Old First Church totaling $6.5 million
--Neighborhood Parks Improvements totaling $6,000,000
--Open Space Improvements/Public Greenway totaling $5,430,000
--Regional Park Improvements totaling $5,750,000
--Recreational Infrastructure Improvements totaling $5,400,000
--Riverfront Park Master Plan and Upgrades totaling $5,000,000
--Swan Pond Erosion and Bank Stabilization totaling $250,000
--Zoo Renovation/Drainage Project totaling $4,500,000
--School and Municipal Building Brick Pointing and Flashing Repairs totaling $7,200,000
--General Renovations to City Owned and Maintained Public Libraries totaling $5,000,000
--Symphony Hall totaling $2,230,000
--Court Square totaling $5,000,000
--Former York Street Jail totaling $1,000,000
--City Council Chamber Renovation totaling $500,000
--Spfld. Municipal Operations Center Shell Space Build Out and Renovations totaling $8,000,000
--South End Community Center Roof Replacement and Wall Repairs totaling $7,000,000
--Forest Park Improvements totaling $12,075,000
--Van Horn Lower Dam totaling $1,500,000
--Municipal Operations New Vehicle Storage Facility totaling $3,500,000
--Trails/Bikeways/Walkways totaling $4,000,000
--Campanile Restorations totaling $10,300,000
--Central Dispatch Facility totaling $6,000,000
--Police Headquarters Accessibility Renovations totaling $22,000,000
--Athletic Facility Improvement Project totaling $6,100,000
--Open Space Acquisition - Solutia totaling $5,500,000
--Amphitheater Parking Lot Forest Park totaling $300,000
--Asylum Building totaling $3,000,000
--Pynchon Plaza totaling $9,200,000
--Erosion Control Initiatives totaling $3,800,000
--Dam Improvements City-Wide totaling $6,800,000
--Senior Center totaling $6,500,000
--Lake Management totaling $10,500,000
--Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Garage Construction totaling $34,000,000
--South End Neighborhood Revitalization totaling $4,500,000
--Union Station Intermodal Transit Center totaling $65,000,000
--Pecousic Brook and Aquatic Gardens totaling $450,000

Shocked comments from taxpayers at the Masslive (Springfield Republican) website here The Mayor, Democrat Dominic Sarno, used an old pasta analogy to explain the absurdly expensive requests, noting: "We threw everything against the wall to see what sticks." Massachusetts, best known for corruption from the State Legislature to construction projects, has its own “Most Corrupt in Massachusetts” award here. You can bet the house that Boston’s list, when released, will make Springfield’s appear fiscally conservative.

The City of Tulsa, OK, in contrast, has a wish list totaling 944.6 million based on 34 projects. Included are: “$41.5 million for regional urban rail infrastructure, $8.9 million to expand the Martin Regional Library, $100 million to build 10 new Educare sites.” Comments from the Tulsa Word website are similar to those in Massachusetts.

At least Oklahomans used some restraint,Tulsa has a population of approx. 384,000, and is the 45th largest city in the nation . Compared to the "Billion Dollar" Springfield which has a population of approximately
154,000 and is the third largest city in Massachusetts

Barack Obama will be calling on American’s to sacrifice (Bloomberg), yet it remains to be seen if “government” (Local, State and Federal) will do the same. That said, someone has to pay the debt already incurred through the bailouts and should these “wish lists” succeed, for all economic stimulus projects – therefore, any proposed “middle class” tax cuts, may in the short run (2 years), become tax increases – on city, state and federal levels.

Note: One only needs to look to Massachusetts, already facing massive budget shortfalls, has Governor Duval Patrick considering a raise of the states gas tax (Federal gas tax hike also proposed) Additionally, Massachusetts currently has a state and local tax burden of 9.5%, property taxes are among the nations highest, yet the Bay State is currently considered a “donor” state (one which sends more tax dollars to Washington than it receives).

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