Thursday, December 31, 2009

Paying the State's bills

On the heels of Sen. Grothman's unfunded proposal to mandate how the Madison main streets are plowed comes news that the State is shorting cities where it owns property in the costs of services to those properties. No way! In the case of Madison it amounts to 4.4 million dollars. Wow that is a lot of plowing. Mayor Dave should cease providing services to those properties, like snowplowing and trash pickup. Maybe that will cause the good senator from West Bend to change his mind about unfunded mandates.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ironically challenged Republicans

I couldn't believe it when I heard that Sen. Glenn Grothman wants the State to take over plowing plans for Madison. This is a plan that would be dismissed as crazy if the supreme irony wasn't so apparent. Here is a pro local control anti government Republican advocating that a bigger government manage snow removal in Madison. Why only Madison? Because they are "LIBERAL". The beautiful part of this plan is there would be no money from the State to pay for doubling the amount of salt put on Madison streets creating an unfunded mandate which I thought all Republicans were against. Who is going to placate the fisherman when the fishing goes away due to a high salt content in the lakes. We'll have to have a legislative committee investigate this just like they are doing with the deer numbers. If Glenn really believes that we need a snow removal agency we should do it statewide because I for one have been on some pretty poor roads in the winter.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coastie Song

I just heard about the coastie song and the controversy surrounding it. The lyrics aren't that bad in fact I was reminded of the 80's song Go Back to Chicago except not as funny. It is the video that is offensive. I don't know that they intended it to be anti Semitic but it sure comes across as such. There is plenty to make fun of the coasties who come to school here without resorting to this. Shameful!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Subsidies for roads

Very rarely does the opportunity arise where the massive subsidy to build roads is illustrated. You always here the argument that mass transit is too expensive, won't pay for itself, doesn't generate revenue,... This is a big topic in Dane County where the Mayor and the County Executive are for "trains" and many are for the status quo or maybe a few bigger roads. So, there is one of these roads, I'll admit it is screwed up, that needs up grading. The plan was just unveiled to build a little less than 2 miles of highway. The 17 year project will cost an estimated $343 million dollars. Gee the train we were talking about is only a couple of million. This is a road where in the middle of the day or on any weekend day there is not a traffic problem. $343 million to solve about a 5 hour problem. Has anyone looked at a cheaper alternative like routing the road across vacant land to the South? Or, how about eliminating the cross streets from county PD north to the beltline? Just the interchange at PD carries a $54 million price tag. Where are the teabag protesters on this one?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jonah Goldberg

I was reading the Wisconsin State Journal the other day and they carry Jonah Goldberg's column. Once again I could only shake may head and say Jonah, Jonah, Jonah. He is postulating that the real party of business are the Democrats. He was serious. So, what big business and the wealthy are doing is pretending that they are against the Democrats and everything that they stand for while really being for them. Wow and I thought that the Democrats went in for conspiracy theories. This could explain why everything that starts out looking like it will help the middle class turns out to aid big business and the wealthy. Look at health care. For at least the last century big business has lined publicly up against the Democrats. You mean to tell me that this was an act? This is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Teabag movement and what it means

The teabag movement is interesting for several reasons. The first is that the movement is successful when you are asking people to protest the programs that largely benefit them. There have been no teabag protests of the trillions of dollars given to the financial institutions. But there have been countless protests against the $700 billion stimulus program. The vocal complain that the stimulus hasn't benefited them. How so? The money has gone to build roads, bridges, fund science research,... It was never a jobs program along the lines of the WPA but an investment in America's future. Maybe it should have been. Secondly there is the socialism argument. There have been far more socialist movements in that past and there weren't these types of protests. The big difference was that past movements were led by tougher leaders FDR, Eisenhower). Third that by taking over healthcare the government will control 1/3rd of the economy. This is true, but should healthcare be 1/3rd of the economy? I think not. Fourth that the Obama administration is unconstitutional. He is in fact doing the same thing Bush did as far as curtailing civil rights. He has the same number of offices of the President, those un-elected Czars, President Bush. The only difference is health reform. There was a video of a woman nearing retirement age reading the preamble to the constitution and after reading promote the general welfare of the people said that no where in the constitution does it say that everyone was entitled to healthcare. Most people would contend that promote the general welfare would apply to a healthy population. Using the teabag logic do you know what else is not in the constitution? Social security, interstate highways (roads were private at the country's founding), police, fire, large standing armies, medicare, unemployment, disaster relief,.... In other words most of what we expect a government to do.

US economy

The US economy is out of whack in case you have been under a rock for the last 20 years. Right now we are in recovery but it is a jobless recovery. The people working (not the top income brackets) are struggling to buy most things due to wage reductions and higher costs for things like healthcare, cars, and fuel. We do not produce many products that are affordable anymore. We still design and innovate (the media has that one right) but it is increasingly difficult to sell those innovative products to the US consumer. Henry Ford recognized that a situation like this could be bad for business. All of his employees could afford to buy a bottom end Ford. GM announced that the Volt will retail for $40,000, while at the same time economists are saying that the US worker needs to take a 20% salary reduction. Who will be able to afford the Volt? Think back to the election of Bill Clinton the first time. Ross Perot talked about the economy and how these free trade agreements would be bad for the country. He has been proven to be 100% correct with his prediction. If we hope to have a strong economy we have to create an environment where most things are made here. There needs to be some incentive to keep production here. Whether that is a big tax break or a hefty import fee or even a reduction of wages it needs to be done and it needs to be done fast.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

As much as I am always amazed by Republican hypocrisy I was stunned by this exchange between Sen. Hutchison and David Shuster. Yeah I know he works for gotcha media MSNBC, but come on she could have been prepared for a simple question about Afghanistan version 2008. She implies that the past is past and we shouldn't dwell on the fact that President Bush and Republicans in congress didn't act on a troop request in 2008 (although they were all about the troops and the generals) but instead we need to focus on how President Obama spent 3 months deciding how many troops to deploy and what they are going to do once they are in the country. Something that I would remind the Senator apparently they didn't have in the previous 8 years of the conflict. While I don't think that the President has gone far enough (Karzai is still president) I applaud that we have a plan of what we want to accomplish in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Edgewater Hotel

Irony is not lost on the opponents of mayor Dave. Here's a guy who is constantly criticized as anti business and doesn't give handouts (or enough handouts) who put together a deal to expand the Edgewater Hotel. If I lived in Madison I would be upset with the handing out of $16 million, but I think they are upset because Dave did it. They are for handouts. They are for low wage jobs which will be created. They are for the high wage short term construction jobs. This is a win, win, win. But not so fast, it was voted down by the city council.

More troops!

Well, the President delivered on what has been speculated for days now and is sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. The left is in a tizzy, "we didn't vote for this". Oh, but you did, go back to the debates and the campaign. The right is upset about timelines. Our own Paul Ryan is quoted that the troops are fine but a timeline sends the wrong message. Only a Republican or someone who didn't listen to the speech would believe that we are leaving in 18 months. What the President said was that in 2011 we would begin withdrawing the additional troops if conditions on the ground have improved. Sounds open ended to me. If the conditions improve we'll take 30,000 out leaving 48,000 in country (that is still a lot of soldiers). How long are the 48,000 staying? No answer for that one. Say that the Taliban lay low for 18 months, that could be enough time to allow changes to made (I hate to use this example) like what happened in Iraq (never mind that we aren't really withdrawing from there either). So there is a chance that it could work. I still believe that a re-occupation is the best solution. We as a nation need to recognize that both of these wars are imperial wars, the liberation talk is to make people feel good, and that we now have acquired 2 new states. A war of liberation works in a country that is educated and has a political tradition. Something that neither Iraq or Afghanistan has had for more than 1000 years.