Thursday, May 27, 2010


I was riding my bike to work today and it occurred to me as I passed several landscaping crews that there was not a non-Hispanic among them. Interesting I thought, how can such a small minority so dominate one profession. Especially one that used to be the home of summer jobs for college students. Given this reality it is also interesting the desire to determine the immigration status of Hispanics. It seems that no one really cares when they are driving a lawn mower, but when they are driving a non-company vehicle it is a huge problem. When we deport all of these people who do you think is going to do your lawn work? Maybe these employers will hire other illegals who blend in with the majority (Eastern European?)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Stop Obama?

So, I was out riding my bike this weekend and spotted a sign that said stop Obama. I thought about this for a while and then wondered what they were talking about. Lets go through the issues:

1. Warrantless wire taps, we still have them.
2. The war in Iraq, still going strong.
3. The war on drugs. Obama's drug czar said that the war has not reached its desired outcome in the last 40 years, but we can't quit now.
4. TARP which wasn't his idea has allowed the banks to buy other banks.
5. The stimulus, which candidate McCain also supported. Senator McCain did not support the stimulus.
6. Rendition, still have it.
7. Buying GM, again had broad support until after the vote.
When he has pursued a more progressive policy it has been disastrous with the industry essentially write the legislation, just like Bush.

I see what needs to be stopped but I doubt that the person who had the sign would agree with me. I think that he needs to stopped from enacting the agenda of the corporations.

Representative Nass

Madison recently installed a bike box, which, is an area that bike riders can pull ahead of cars at intersections and spread out. Having ridden the city streets of Madison I think that the idea of the bike boxes has merit. Representative Nass, for those of you unfamiliar with him he is one of those small government local control republicans, saw this as an affront to his way of life. As with most things that Madison does it is up to the people who don't live in the city to complain. Rep. Nass throws out his core values to argue that Madison shouldn't be allowed to install bike boxes on city streets. His reason for the opposition is that in today's economy it is simply to expensive an option. So, we want the State to micromanage the city's budget, but when he is in a conservative leaning town he touts local control. I look forward to hearing how this is not the State government taking control from a muncipality.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Edgewater Hotel

As I've said before I don't live in the big city but like everyone else near Madison I follow the city issues. I think that the council made the right decision to build this hotel. I don't think that the city should be on the hook for $16 million dollars. If the Edgewater wants to do the project they should fund it. I think that it is a great idea and they should make money at it but that is a lot of money to ask the city to kick in when the ripple effect benefits will not be that great. Spin off business is unlikely. Some restaurants might do a little better but there is no guarantee. The hotel will still have a restaurant and bar and they better improve from what they currently have if this project is to succeed.

Rand Paul and the Tea Party

Wow Rand Paul goes on Maddow and calls it a huge mistake. Republicans point out that she is the gotch ya media. Say what you will about Rachel Maddow, you can't say that she is the "gotch ya" media for asking responses to statements that you yourself have made. Sorry Sarah just because Fox won't ask you about your statements and ask intelligent follow-up questions does not mean that they are doing a good job as journalists in the public interest.

Back to Rand Paul and civil rights. He gave an answer that a true libertatrian would give and the fact that people are shocked shows how little they know about libertarian beliefs. It also points out what many see as a flaw in libertarianism, that the individual will always make the right decision and that there is no need for government interference. The problem is that people left on their own committed overt discrimination. This compelled society (government) to step in and say that we have decided that we can't allow it.

This is true on many regulatory issues where business refuses to do what is right. With banks we were told that the banks could self regulate, but greed is a pretty overwhelming virtue. We are now being told that big oil can self regulate, except it seems that one of the big guys is prone to cutting corners and lying to the American people. Rand Paul would agree that these industries shouldn't face regulation, relying instead on the market.

As the tea party (who Rand Paul gave a shout out to in his victory speech) learns more of what a real libertarian (not just some one leans libertarian) believes the more entertaining the reaction will be to watch. No it is not just lower taxes, it is ending social security, medicare, welfare, farm subsidies, ending the wars (for real not the illusion that is going on now), ending the Western water subsidy, ending the Western power subsidy, privatizing roads, privatizing fire protection, selling federal lands (no more grazing rights you have to buy the land), mining and oil would have to buy the land no more leases,...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


So now the Republic of Arizona is threatening Los Angeles with a disruption of power. Interesting when they are talking about private companies and their ability to make money. Aren't the people in charge pro-business Republicans? Also, weren't many of the power projects in Arizona at least partially funded by the Federal Government? If Arizona wants to go to war with LA, I want my share of what my tax dollars paid for in Arizona. This is crazy! Arizona wouldn't exist if it weren't for those of us in the other 49 states subsidizing their water, electric, and roads. If they want to continue to act like an independent country maybe we should let them go but take all of the federal projects away.

Social Security reform

A government report was just released with options to save social security. Fixing social security is not that hard the answer has been there for years. It's just that no one has the courage to do it. Social security was created to provide for the working person in their old age. However, it was thought that the wealthy would never take it which is why the tax has always had an income cutoff. The poor and middle class pay on 100% of what they earn. It turns out that we have nearly 100% of people collecting whether they need it or not. This has caused some to believe that we should tax every dollar earned which amazingly enough will solve the problem. But, will it? Chances are compensation for the high salaried will change so that the employer is not paying millions for their high salaried employees in social security. A better solution is to look at retirement age. When social security was created the average life expectancy was 62, yet they made the age of retirement 65. So, many people never collected. Today the average life expectancy is 78 so most people collect something. We could move the age to 81 and tie the age of retirement to the average life expectancy. We could also means test the people receiving the benefit. And finally increase the tax a percent or 2. Will this happen? No way, but it is nice to think about.

Monday, May 17, 2010


More fallout from Arizona. People talking about comprehensive reform whatever that means. One side think amnesty since they are here saves us time and money to round them up. Another group favors a guest worker program. I have a solution and it involves neither option, but instead enforce the current law. Amnesty was tried during the Reagan administration and all it did was turn a relatively minor problem into a 12 million person major problem. Non citizens without a proper visa cannot work in this country, sees simple right. Then why do employers hire these people and pay them cash? You can't tell me that they didn't know.

Cable off Road Classic 2010

Just back from the Northwest part of Wisconsin and an annual ride in the Cable off road mountain bike race. We enjoyed the best weather in years. The long course added more single track which the fast people still torched at over 15 mph. Riding in the short race I had a good day except for one spectacular crash. What was pretty cool was how many people asked if I was OK and offered assistance. I think that this really showed the kind of community the bike racers have.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who Should Pay to Clean Up the Gulf

Thanks to Congress BP is only liable for the first $75 million in cleanup costs then who do you think pays? That's right the US taxpayer. I don't understand. This is not a natural disaster, we know what and who caused it. If you want to socialize this corporations loss the States affected should pay. Of course we all know that won't happen. Much like the corporation they derive benefit from the oil but when there is a problem they are no where to be found. So, it is left to the people from the affected states to pay for the clean-up and continue to pay high prices at the pump.

When you think about it the oil business is a pretty sweet deal. The producers rent land from us (Federal land, US taxpayer), sell us a product at high cost, and then ask us to fund any clean-up due to the manufacture of the product. Wow only in America. You could call this business model Socialism except there is no for the good of the public involved. No, it is all about what is good for the corporation.