Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Election in Cohoctah Township today

From WHMI:

Voters in Cohoctah Township are casting ballots today in a special election on a rezoning request. Resident Vern Brockway wants his property in the Oak Grove area rezoned from residential to commercial in order to put up a gas station and brick convenience store. That request was approved by the township and county, but a group of residents led a petition drive to place the issue on the ballot citing traffic and environmental issues. Brockway has denied either of those would be problems and has indicated that the group may be using the referendum to keep out competitors. Officials say there are about 2,300 registered voters in Cohoctah that could potentially cast their ballot on the issue with around a 50 percent voter turnout anticipated. Polls will be open until eight tonight.

Monday, February 27, 2006

More bad news from Michigan

Michigan's economy is still in a recession. I expect this number to rise with the Ford Wixom closing and its ripple effects.
From the AP


Michigan foreclosures double in two years, now 2 1/2 times U.S. rate
2/27/2006, 5:14 a.m. ET
The Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — The number of homes undergoing foreclosure in Michigan doubled from February 2004 to February 2006 to a rate that is 2 1/2 times the nation's, according to a group that monitors foreclosures.

Michigan had 8,240 homes in active foreclosure on Monday out of 96,019 nationwide, the Boca Raton, Fla.-based Web site http://www.foreclosure.com says. In February 2004, the state had 4,085 foreclosures in progress.

Michigan's active foreclosures are 8.6 percent of the U.S. total, while the state's population of 10.1 million is only 3.4 percent of the nation's 296.4 million.

(snip)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Another Reason for Photo ID

This is from State Party chair Saul Anuzis' blog. I agree with it 100%

Another Reason for Photo ID
Unbelievable...dead people voting in Michigan...it's clear we've got a problem, we have the technology, we have the resources...now we just need the will to do what is necessary to insure fair and honest elections...and we could make the process faster.

We have had various versions of what is referred to as "photo id" tossed back and forth in Michigan over the years. For nearly a decade we have had a law in Michigan requiring voters to show a state-issued photo ID. Problem is, that law was "set aside" by a highly suspect and partisan ruling from a Democrat attorney general back in 1997. Using drivers licenses or state issued id's as voter cards makes perfect sense, and disenfranchises no one. It's the best and easiest way to insure "real, live people" vote. The only ones with reason to complain are the ones who have something to hide.

After the last Detroit's Mayors election, former Mayor Dennis Archer and candidate Freeman Hendrix joined the call for photo id's to help with the system. A national commission headed by former president Jimmy Carter and former secretary of state James Baker III have called for nationwide adoption of use of photo ID.

The overwhelming majority of folks have a drivers license, seniors get "free" state paid for id's, others could for about $5.00 cost get a state id....and the state could provide them at no cost to the citizens. This would insure no one is "disenfranchised" in anyway. There are federal funds that might even be available to help implement such a system.

As an added benefit, SOS Terri Lynn Land has suggested legislation to enact "electronic poll books" which would speed up the process at the polls. Some variation of photo id's with electronic strips on the back could be used right now...i.e. our drivers license.

Please read this front page Detroit News article:

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060226/METRO/60226030


Is anyone surprised that dead people are voting in Detroit? Me neither.

Another 8th District Challenger - Eric Crosley

From the Argus

House race gets crowded
By Dan Meisler
DAILY PRESS & ARGUS

The cast of characters seeking to represent Livingston County and the rest of Michigan's 8th District in Congress is getting larger, and more interesting.
Already in the race are a three-term, rising-star Republican incumbent; a church business manager and GOP primary challenger who argues the incumbent is too moderate; and a Republican-turned-Democrat former CIA officer.


Now joining the field is a transsexual, left-wing, college professor poet.

Democrat Eric Crosley of Lansing, a part-time professor at Jackson Community College's Adrian campus, plans to challenge fellow Democrat James Marcinkowski, the ex-CIA officer, in the August primary


With Crosley's candidacy, the democrats now have a primary of their own. Primaries sometimes hurt, but sometimes help candidates as well, depending if they are positive and issues based (as the US Senate primary is so far), or negative personal attacks.

I don't think either Crosley or Marcinkowski are strong candidates against Mike Rogers. From what I've seen, Jim Marcinkowski is nothing more than a better funded Frank McAlpine in personality (and that takes work). That's not mentioning the overcoaching he has on issues - as shown when he laid an egg in his interview with the Booman tribune blog.

Crosley's biggest weakness is that he's a transsexual. Is the 8th district going to vote for one? I doubt it.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Livingston News - Election in Cohoctah Tuesday, New School opens

Two local stories from Livingston County. First is a referendum on a gas station/convienence store in rural Cohoctah Township. The other is a new St Pat's school opening in Brighton.

Rezoning protest spurs election

Voters on Tuesday will decide fate of proposed gas station-store in rural Cohoctah Township.

Jon Zemke / Special to The Detroit News

COHOCTAH TOWNSHIP -- Building a combination gas station and convenience store in one of Livingston's most rural townships has touched off yet another clash over development in the county.

It has gotten to the point that a special election will be held Tuesday to decide the issue. The township clerk is preparing for a turnout that could reach as high as 50 percent of the township's 2,230 registered voters.

"I don't know if it's going to be high or low," Cohoctah Township Clerk Karen Thurner said. "I know both sides of the issue are putting out signs. One side even sent out postcards." Thurner estimates the cost of the election at about $2,000.

Vern Brockway, the developer who wants to build the gas station and store, sent out about 1,000 postcards promoting why he should be allowed to build on the site. He lives on the 60 acres surrounding the six-acre parcel in question on Oak Grove Road near the Oak Grove millpond.
(snip)


I don't know all the specifics on this issue and haven't followed this since I'm not a Cohoctah resident. The other story is from Brighton. St Pat's School is doubling its enrollment with their new building over where the old GM building is behind Meijer's.

Brighton school gets new home

$10M North Campus, expansion of St. Patrick's Catholic elementary, is to open in September.

John M. Galloway / Special to The Detroit News

BRIGHTON -- After a year and a half of struggling with city officials and the Fire Department to grant approvals to build a new facility, St. Patrick's Catholic Elementary School officials have started construction on their $10 million North Campus school.

The relocated and expanded complex is being built on a 13.4-acre site in a former General Motors Corp. building at 1001 Orndorf Drive, behind the Meijer store.

School officials are promising the doors will open for first- through eighth-grade students in September.

"We have overcome all our hurdles," said Ron Garrison, development director at St. Patrick's. "We are starting to call families off the wait list, and after that, we will start open registration."

Mary Bourke of Hamburg Township has two sons who attend the Catholic school and a third enrolling in the fall. She is excited about her kids attending the new and larger facility.

"When classes change, it's crowded," Bourke said. "I have been up there with my 4-year-old, and I have gotten carried away with the crowd."

The move from the St. Patrick's School on Rickett Road will allow class enrollment to increase from 274 to 480 students. There are about 140 students on the wait list.

(snip)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Even Tim Skubick admits media biasness

From the Lansing State Journal.

Tim Skubick: Guv's mouth gets her in bind
Child protection claim puts Granholm in backpedal mode

By Tim Skubick
For the Lansing State Journal

Talk about your double standard.

If former Gov. John Engler had misled the media on a story, he would have been convicted on the spot.

When that misdeed came from the current governor, she got a "Get Out of Jail" card.


I'm shocked....

Fact: A 7-year-old boy's body was recently found near Lansing.

Fact: Gov. Jennifer Granholm's Human Services Department had investigated parental abuse charges prior to the boy's killing.

Fact: That department is understaffed with Child Protective Service caseworkers.

Fact: The governor has "repeatedly" sought to beef up the ranks of those employees.

Facts Nos. 1-3 are accurate. But fact No. 4, uttered by Granholm, turned out to be dead wrong.


(snip)

While she never said it, the implication was obvious: The Republican-controlled Legislature never coughed up the bucks, so new caseworkers were never hired.

It was a nifty move, which shifted any responsibility in the Holland case away from her and onto the backs of GOP legislators who write the budget.

The Associated Press published the interview and soon the GOP chair of the House Appropriations committee called the executive office. Rep. Scott Hummel, R-DeWitt, was direct: The governor had never "repeatedly" asked for anything.

Turns out Hummel was right, and so was the Republican leader in the Senate.

"The governor never asked for additional funding ..." and "to use the horrible tragedy of Ricky Holland's death to score some kind of leverage in budget negotiations is in poor taste and unacceptable," said Sen. Ken Sikkema, calling Granholm on her claim.

Adding salt to the wound, Sikkema also reported the GOP, without the governor's request, had added 14 workers two years earlier.

So, here you have the governor saying one thing that was wrong, totally unaware more workers had been hired. One could conclude somebody in the front office didn't know what was going on.

To their credit, the governor's folks issued a three-paragraph statement conceding "the administration has not asked for additional resources for Child Protective Services in the past."

The AP ran that story, too.

Amazingly, the concession hasn't made most of the media coverage. Go figure.



Now I don't pin most of the blame on this on Granholm other than a case of the buck stopping at the top. That wasn't the point of this. The problem is the almost blatent partisan media biasness against Republicans and for Democrats which is so pervasive in this country.

Tim Skubick is right here in the fact that Engler would have been roasted. If there's a standard for one, there should be one for all of them, even media darlings like Granholm.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

ALL COUNTIES FINISHED!!!!

After months of work, I just finished Wayne County and I am now finished with all of the counties.

The last ones added are:
Tuscola County in the Northwesten part of the thumb.
Van Buren County in Southwestern Michigan, most known for its vineyards
Washtenaw County - Ann Arbor
Wayne County - The most democrat county in the state by far.
Wexford County - Northern Michigan

NO RECOUNT - Vince Green to take on Gretchen Whitmer

In breaking news first seen at the Republican Michigander - John Findlay decides not to seek a recount. By one vote, Vince Green is the nominee against Gretchen Whitmer for the 23rd state senate district in Ingham County. My source for this is John Findlay and Vince Green themselves. They announced this at a Republican event in Lansing about 90 minutes ago.

Good luck to Vince Green. It's an uphill fight, but anything can happen in a special election. So if you are a Republican in Ingham County, please vote on March 14.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Whitmer, Green to battle for Senate seat

The special election results are in.

Whitmer, Green to battle for Senate seat
GOP candidate prevails with one-vote lead

By Chris Andrews
Lansing State Journal


State Rep. Gretchen Whitmer sprinted past her Democratic rivals Tuesday in a special state Senate primary, while attorney Vincent Green appeared to eke out a one-vote win on the Republican side.

The results are unofficial. If Green's victory over John Findlay of Alaiedon Township holds up, he and Whitmer will square off in a special general election on March 14.


Green (depending on recount) has a tough go since Whitmer is a Blue Cross heir and has gazillions. Still, in a special election anything can happen. Good luck to Green.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

TODAY'S SPECIAL ELECTION - Ingham County

From the Lansing State Journal



TODAY'S SPECIAL ELECTION

Voters throughout most of Ingham County have a chance today to narrow the field for the 23rd District state Senate seat recently vacated by Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

Today's vote

• Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The 23rd Senate District includes all of Ingham County except Mason, Leslie, and the townships of Vevay, Leslie, Bunker Hill and Stockbridge.

• District voters can vote in one primary, but not both.

• The special general election is March 14.

Democratic candidates

• Anthony J. Benavides of Dansville

• Melissa Sue Robinson of Lansing

• Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing

Republican candidates

• John Findlay of Alaiedon Township

• Vincent Green of Okemos

Monday, February 20, 2006

Campaign finance violations in Brownstown Township

I'd vote against the recall based on this alone if I lived there. The Detroit News reports:

Who is paying for recall election?

Brownstown Twp. group won't disclose contributors to campaign to remove two officials from office.

Dorothy Bourdet / The Detroit News

BROWNSTOWN TOWNSHIP -- If voters want to know who's spending money to recall Treasurer Diane Philpot and Trustee Ed Neal, they may have to wait until after they've cast their vote.

Brownstown Families for Common Sense has spent at least $43,000 on its campaign and, although the organization is required by law to report who contributed money before the Feb. 28 election, organizers say they won't.

"The people who are contributing to us, they don't want any kind of backlash until this vote is over. Afterwards, yeah, it's all going to come out," said Bill Kaiser, organizer of the recall group. "We've made a conscious decision just to pay the fine that we're probably going to get levied against us."

When the group filed with the county in August to become a political action committee, it signed a reporting waiver pledging it would not spend or collect more than $1,000. If it did, it was required to file those contributions and expenditures with the county. The group faces a maximum $1,000 penalty for late filing.


$1000 is a good fine for small PAC's, but $43,000 is not a small PAC, especially on the township level. To compare, out taxpayers group raised $1700 in the millage election including in-kinds. Unlike the group in Brownstown, we reported ours before the election.

They should get fined for 1/2 of what they raised. That'll hurt more than the $1000 fine which they probably budgeted for.

Primary election tomorrow (February 21) in most of Ingham County

From the AP

"""""Five face off in race for Ingham County Senate seat
2/20/2006, 4:56 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Five major-party candidates vying for an opening in the Michigan Senate will be narrowed to two.

Three Democrats and two Republicans are running in a special primary election Tuesday for the 23rd Senate District in Ingham County. The seat opened when Sen. Virg Bernero, a Democrat, became the mayor of Lansing in January.

The Democrats are state Rep. Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing, Lansing businesswoman Melissa Sue Robinson and Anthony Benavides of Dansville, the nephew of former Lansing mayor Tony Benavides.

The Republican candidates are Okemos attorney Vincent Green and John Findlay of
Mason, a former worker with the state Department of Human Services.

(SNIP)


The odds on favorite are a Green vs Whitmer race. That said, anything can happen in a special election. From what I've heard Vince Green has the GOP side wrapped up.

Robinson is the weakest candidate, so I recommend a Robinson vote in the primary if you are a republican. Green would probably defeat Robinson.

The general election is March 14th.

Added Sanilac, Schoolcraft, and Shiawassee Counties

I added three more counties to the profile list. Sanilac County from the thumb, Schoolcraft County in the UP, and Shiawassee County, our neighbor to the Northwest.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Handy Township (Fowlerville Area) - 3rd precinct moved

From the Detroit News



Handy Township

3rd Precinct voters are relocated

Voters in the township's 3rd Precinct will now cast their ballots at the Fowlerville United Brethren in Christ Church, 9300 W. Grand River Ave., beginning with the school board election in May. Clerk Laura Eisele said the new electronic voting machines require the tabulators to be separated by at least 10 feet, but the Fowlerville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6464 hall, where all three of the township's voting precincts were located, did not offer enough separation. Precincts 1 and 2 will remain at the VFW hall

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Organized labor's leadership spends more on democrats instead of representing working families

Redstate's Mark Kilmer has a great thread on Redstate, that I highly recommend. I can't say I'm not surprised, especially with the three BS attack ads on my answering maching from their goon squads.

Early reports show the AFL-CIO spent $49 million (27 percent of its total annual budget) on political and lobbying activities but only $30 million (or 16.5 percent) to represent its members. That gap contributed to the breakaway from the AFL-CIO of the Teamsters, the Service Employees and other unions.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Parker High School opening in jeopardy, say school officials

The Ann Arbor News today has a story on Parker High School's possible non-opening.

Howell Public Schools officials said this week the opening of Parker High School in 2007 is in jeopardy, and school board members hinted at a class-action lawsuit if the state does not properly fund public schools.

"Right now, it would be our recommendation to not open the school,'' said Superintendent Chuck Breiner.

"The bottom line is we can't open that school unless we have the money,'' said school board Treasurer Mike Hall. "But opening that building is the least of our problems - it's keeping it operating.''

(snip)


I have not been impressed with the fiscal management that goes on at Howell schools. I'm even less impressed with "passing of the buck" to the state that goes on by elected officials. We all knew that the state has had budget problems for the past five years, and will continue to have budget problems for the forseeable future.

The school board members like Mike Hall are elected officials. Their job is to run the schools properly. Mike Hall is the treasurer and is also a businessman. He should understand the need for fiscal restraint when it is necessary. Giving Chuck Breiner and the administrators big raises before asking for a headlee overide and a millage is not smart fiscal policy, especially with Parker High on the horizon. Parker High was approved in 2003, so there has been 4 years to plan for this.

Board Secretary Jeannine Pratt suggested Monday the district consider forming a coalition of school districts to tackle the state funding problem. "Maybe we should consider a class-action lawsuit to sue the state,'' she said.

Hall said he thought Howell should "take the lead'' on such an action and suggested the district could seek a legal "white knight'' to help fund such a case.


That's no plan. That's a Hail Mary pass and a whine. Do I think the state funding needs to be equalized (without tax increases or defecit spending) - absolutely. There's no argument here, but a lawsuit is going to cost money, time, and effort - and probably will fail. The law is the law, and Proposal A was voted in by a wide margain into our state constitution.

The school board members need to stop blindly following administrators (The superintendent, an employee, runs the meeting - not the board) and blaming others. They need to start doing what's best for their schools. That's their jobs. That's what they were elected by the people of their districts to do. The state is important, but the buck stops with the board members themselves.

This May we have an election for school board members. Mike Hall and Sue Swartz are not running for re-election giving us two open seats. Howell's race is competitive with five people running for two positions. The five individuals running in Howell are John Arthur, Wendy Day, Jim Pratt, Phil Westmoreland, and Valerie Webster. As a member of the Concerned Taxpayers Group of Livingston County, we are going to prepare a list of questions for all the candidates before making any decisions on endorsements. As I'm posting this from a Concerned Taxpayers Group perspective, I am taking my partisan hat off for this. Both Republican and Democrat school members deserve blame for the fiscal mismanagement, and both deserve a chance to be heard in the interview process for support.

We will follow the school board races of Livingston County based districts closely and update the voters as things develop.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Chris Ward introduces bill on school funding

From the AP:

GOP lawmaker introduces measures to close gap in school funding
2/15/2006, 7:21 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker is proposing legislation that would close the funding gap among Michigan's school districts.

State Rep. Chris Ward of Brighton said two bills — one a constitutional amendment — would require the state to reduce the state funding gap between the highest- and lowest-funded schools to within 10 percent.

The current state portion of the annual per-pupil grant for K-12 public schools ranges from $8,175 to $6,875, a 19 percent gap. Districts that had spent even more prior to the school funding and property tax reforms of 1994 continue to do so with local funds, with some districts at $12,330 per-pupil, Ward said

(Snip)




In other news, State RepMary Waters runs for Secretary of State

Monday, February 13, 2006

Jim Marcinkowski posts at liberal site, chokes like the Detroit Lions

I read left-wing websites from time to time, and found this over at the Booman Tribune, which is similar to the Daily Kos website. Meet Jim Marcinkowski. Marcinkowski's answers are under the screen name Sea Eagle. I see no straight answers given, only political doublespeak. Now if he's giving doublespeak to people that should be his BASE, what does that say about him? Is he that worried about guys like me ripping apart his answers? He's dodged questions on abortion. He's gives slight generalizations on health care and trade and bashes "Wall Street" with no specifics. He also has a "blog bodyguard" on the site demeaning those who gave tough questions.

Now "Boston Joe" and I probably don't agree on much issueswise. That said, I respect him for his principles. Meet my choice explains his problems with Jim Marcinkowski. It's the same reason you will not see me voting for John McCain.

As for Marcinkowski, he's nothing more than an opprotunist. He has a vendetta against Bush, and ran for office twice before. He's trying to capitalize on the Bush hate from the left to get him into office. That's not good enough. First of all, he's running against Mike Rogers. Second of all, he's not giving anyone a reason why the people should vote FOR him. Third, his most recent campaign event was in Ann Arbor - outside of the district.

If this is a omen of things to come, then Mike Rogers won't have much to worry about. Even I could defeat this guy.

Construction Trades Scholarship Applicants Sought

I got this in the mail from a friend, Jay Drick. He asked me to post this on the site.

"Construction Trades Scholarship Applicants Sought"

Howell

For the ninth straight year, the J. Ralph Drick Scholarship Trust seeks applicants for two scholarships to a Livingston County area boy and/or girl to be trained in the construction trades such as carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrical, etc. The two scholarships are in honor of J. Ralph Drick, who taught High School mathematics in East Aurora, New York for over 45 years. Applications shall be obtained during business hours (Monday through Friday) at the Law Office of Jay R Drick, 528 West Grand River, Howell, Michigan, 48843, or by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope. Prior winners can re-apply for subsequent years.

The application by the candidate must be re-delivered to Jay R Drick, 528 West Grand River, Howell, Michigan 48843, by 12:00 noon, April 14, 2006.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Friday, February 10, 2006

Michigan lawmakers have taken dozens of privately-funded trips since 2002 (Sander Levin leads)

Sandy Levin loves his trips. The AP fires away.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jetting off to places like Hawaii, Africa and Europe, Michigan's congressional delegation has taken dozens of privately funded trips valued at more than $300,000 since 2002, according to records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The trips, paid for by think tanks, nonprofit organizations, and trade groups, could be banned under proposals being considered by Congress in the wake of an ethics scandal.


The AP then lists them.

Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, has taken 17 trips valued at more than $78,000, according to congressional disclosure forms, with destinations including Spain, Mexico, Hawaii and China. Much of the cost came from eight trips organized by the Aspen Institute, a global policy think tank that sponsors several seminars for lawmakers every year and bans participation by lobbyists.

• Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Detroit, has taken 11 trips worth more than $40,000, records show, including travel to Egypt, Nigeria, Brazil, Cuba, and a Caribbean cruise sponsored by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and General Mills.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has been on 13 trips since 2002, valued at about $28,000. About half of the cost came from trips to Barcelona and Moscow paid for by the Aspen Institute.

• Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, has taken 14 trips valued at nearly $29,000 with destinations ranging from conventions in Las Vegas sponsored by the broadcasting and electronics industries to retreats led by the Faith & Politics Institute, on which Upton sits on the advisory council.

• Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-Bloomfield Township, took three privately funded trips between 2002 and 2005 worth nearly $12,000. A weeklong trip to Hawaii in early January to attend meetings sponsored by the American Association of Airport Executives raised eyebrows in the post-Abramoff environment.

• Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, has taken five privately funded trips worth more than $11,000. His most recent trip involved an appearance last month on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

• Two Republican members from Michigan — Reps. Joe Schwarz of Battle Creek and Thaddeus McCotter of Livonia — have not taken any privately paid trips.


What is the ASPEN INSTITUTE? They sure seem to like Sander Levin and Debbie Stabenow. There sure have a nice hotel of their headquarters, that's for sure - Aspen Meadows

Their mission statement is extremely vague.

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, and New Delhi, and leadership programs in Africa and Central America.


Their board of trustees has a lot of big names. Looks like an elitists' club. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Jack Valenti of the movie industry, Gerald Levin of Time Warner, United Nations leader Maurice Strong, David Gergen and Mort Zuckerman of US News and World Report, Michael Eisner of Disney, Former Texas Governor Ann Richards, Former Sec of Defense Robert McNamara (Yes, That McNamara), Former Senator Warren Rudman, Former Federal Reserve chair Paul Volker, and Henry Kissinger.

This sets off alarm bells with me. I'll post more when I find out more information about them, and Levin/Stabenow's connection to them.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Haley Barbour NOT running for President

From the AP



JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Republican Gov. Haley Barbour said Tuesday he will not run for president in 2008 because he is too busy with Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.


I think the democrats dodge a bullet here.

Cityfolk vs the country

The Argus has a classic rural story about cityfolk who move to the country and want to change things.

It was 3 a.m. a couple of years ago when the rustic nature of Livingston County stirred Dolores Pitts from a deep sleep.
"I was convinced that someone was being attacked," she said. "My husband was, too. It wasn't until daylight that we went out and looked around. That's when we realized it was a peacock."

The peacocks belong to neighbor Sam Campbell. He also owns roosters, dogs, chickens and other animals that he keeps on the 37 acres that abut the condominiums in Hamburg Township.


If you don't like the animals, Ann Arbor is just 15 minutes south of Hamburg. Most of this county was farm or to a lesser extent woods. It is the buyers' responsibilities to know the neighborhood and know the area they are moving. I live near railroad tracks. They were there before me. I had fair warning before moving here that trains and their whistles would be a problem at times. That's life. If there is one thing that bothers me, it is when the city moves to the country, tries to eliminate country values, and then uses the heavy hand of government to change the country to recreate their city.


The animal noise and the smells — particularly from chicken manure — irritate the residents of the 7-year-old Summer Park Condominiums. They say the use of the land for farm-like operations doesn't predate current zoning, which means they can't be grandfathered.

That argument mystifies Campbell, a Hamburg native, who says animals have always been a part of the land that's been in his family for three generations.

The original owner of the land where the condos sit, he said, used to keep horses, mules and rabbits


Those in the right are those who are there first. This is a clear cut case. 60+ years of animals vs seven years of condos. Period, end of storty. There should not even be a discussion here.

Grand Rapids US Senate Debate

Today was the 2nd formal debate between the three senate candidates. Being political junkies, Keith Richards and I drove out to Grand Rapids to see how the three would debate over in the West side of the state. Matthew Dowd was the moderate and did a good job keeping control.

ON EDIT - Grand Rapids Press article on debate

I took notes as quickly as I could on this and have a general summary of what was said.

All three candidates significantly improved over their first debate in Oakland County. Bouchard was more polished than he was in the first debate. He also spoke about more than just security issues which he concentrated on in the first debate. Butler mentioned the economy more than he did previously and was much more assertive. Zandstra continued his campaigning on his detailed knowledge of the economy, and he also mentioned social issues more than he previously did. Based on the detailed answers, I give Zandstra the edge, although I could vote for any candidate over Stabenow.

The format outside of opening/closing statement was 90 seconds (I think) for the question, with 30 second rebuttals for the two other candidates. As such, the first answer is almost always longer than the second and third answers.

Opening Statement:

Mike Bouchard - Michigan is in "tough straits" with the jobs, people moving out of state. He mentioned his small business experience as well as his elected office as a state senator and sheriff. He said he was a fiscal conservative. He mentioned that we need to control the borders. He said that Debbie was controlled by special interests and needs to be replaced.

Keith Butler - He mentione being the only Detroit Republican to win in the last 50 years. He said he was a reformer on the city council who didn't take the pay raises or city cars. He's not a lifetime pol and understands people. He said he was a compassionate conservative and that "Do nothing Debbie has got to go."

Jerry Zandstra - Principles matter on both social and economic issues. He emphised his Acton Institute background and his international experience on economic issues with Acton. He said he is prolife, and said that his primary opponents were also prolife. Jerry is pro-2nd amendment. He is also the only candidate to support MCRI - the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative He said that his economic background will make the difference in defeating Stabenow since national unemployment is dropping while Michigan's is up.

Question 1 - What makes you beat Stabenow?

Bouchard - His experience in the state senate background. He's cut taxes and regulations and wrote the sex offenders register act. He's won 14 elections.

Butler - Crossover appeal and that the GOP has only one one senate election in 30 years - 1994.

Zandstra - Economic background. He's running on jobs pension costs, tort and tax reform, and tax structure reform.

Q2 – What is the candidate’s plan to stop the outflow of jobs from Michigan.

Butler – Business costs are too high, and there is too much regulation. Health Care costs are the number one expense. 18% of the GDP is on Health care. There is no competition in health care. Butler wants all health care computerized.

Zandstra – Significant tort reform is needed as it adds 2-5% to all manufacturing costs. Michigan’s economy is 76% manufacturing. Tax reform is needed as ½ trillion dollars is spent each year just compiling with taxes, let alone paying taxes.

Bouchard – He worked on what they were talking by cutting taxes, regulations, and tort reforms.

Q3 – What is judiciary roles? Would you support or oppose a pro-choice nominee?

Zandstra – Strict constructionalist. Concerned about activist judges redefining marriage and the second amendment. He would vote no on a judge which openly supports abortion.

Bouchard – Concerned about activist judges and cited the Massachusetts court and California Circuit Court (although I think he meant 9th Circuit federal) as examples. He did not specifically say yes or no on a pro-abortion judge which disapointed me.

Butler – Originalist. Will support up and down vote on all nominees, but would vote no on pro-choice judge.

Q4 – What would the candidate do to stop partisan bickering.

Bouchard – Gets the job done. He was originally a minority member in the senate. Looks for common ground as opposed to Debbie’s obstructionalism. He sited getting 75% of the legislature to agree on a casino gambling issue as an example.

Zandstra – Believes in principles and thinks through issues based on those principles. Principles matter.

Butler – Play fair with them, and they may play fair with you, but republicans are republicans and democrats are democrats.

Q5 – MCRI stance.

Butler – Opposes, and mentioned the GR Chamber and DeVos’ opposition. Said that only Zandstra opposed it. He said that MCRI goes too far and does not address legacy discrimination and bans all girl or all boy schools.

Zandstra – Supports – The other reasons given are smoke screen and that MCRI only covers public schools. 80% of GOP supports this. 65% of all voters supports this. He read the part of the GOP platform that covers this – opposing quotas and set asides.

Bouchard – Opposes quotes, but this goes in the constitution. His kids are in Catholic schools, and is worried that MCRI would stop all boy or all girls school.

Q6 – What tax policy changes would candidate support and do you support Bush’s tax cuts.

Zandstra – Goes back to MCRI and said it covers public schools only. He would vote to make tax cuts permanent. He states that ½ trillion is spent on tax preparation. To compete internationally, tax changes are needed. He supports replacing the income tax with a national sales tax – Fairtax.

Butler – 18% GDP is spent on tax compliance. He supports a flat tax.

Bouchard – Supports tax cuts. Cut taxes in the senate.

Q7 – Spending and defecit.

Butler – Outlaw earmarks. Saves 27 Billion. Cut health care costs. Medicare, Medicaid, and eventually Social Security needs to be fixed.

Bouchard – Cut spending aggregate. The pie goes to appropriations and the pie needs to be cut in the first place.

Zandstra – When an area is cut, those dependent on the program start screaming. Across the board 5% spending cut. All feel the pain.

Q8 - Health Care Costs, Prescription drug costs.

Bouchard - Bring costs down, make it affordable. The cause needs to be addressed, not the symptom. Tort reform is needed in Washington. There is too much paperwork in the medical field.

Butler - 34 Billion is spent on illegal aliens. Close Borders, and add competition. Mentioned that we all pay for the uninsured currently.

Matthew Dowd jumps in with the next question on Illegal Immigration, then gives extra time to Zandstra to answer both questions.

Q9 - Illegal Immigration

Zandstra - Health Care - Competition drives down price. 31% of costs are administrative overhead which must end. 5% of the cases are 50% of the cost - Diabetes, Obesity, and Heart Disease. Stabenow wants to nationalize health care with Hillary Rodham Clinton - and the costs will go up if that's the case. Health care needs to be tied to the wallet. Illegals - We don't know how many there are. People come here for economic interest since salaries are higher here. Those who hire illegals need to face a $10,000 fine.

Butler - Control borders by all means possible. Fine harborers.

Bouchard - Must secure the border. Illegals need to go. National security issue - some illegals are coming to blow up our buildings.

Q10 - Social Security.

Bouchard - We're running in a brick wall. Democrates refuse to deal with it. He supports Bush's call for a bipartisan commission and compares the issue to Michigan's property tax issue of the early 90's.

Butler - Cited Galveston TX decision to opt out.

Zandstra - Privatize part of it - We own it. The return of SSI is abysmal, and it should be on the market. 6% return is much better than 1.5%

Q11 - Disagree with any part of GOP platform? Why?

Zandstra - No specific issue, but he's afraid of the rhetoric on immigration. Protect the borders, but do not isolate ourselves.

Butler - Agrees with Zandstra - we all came from somewhere. Supports Legal immigration, and immigration is needed for science skills.

Bouchard - Some demonize the GOP over this. Not against legal immigration. Immigrants need to speak English and become Americans. Does not want a Quebec here.

Q12 - President's wiretaps of terrorist calls.

Butler - Cites Article 2, Section 1 as commander in chief. Supreme court has upheld this in the past, and that the president needs to have the power to defeat the enemy, no matter where he is. Congress can not override the constitution.

Bouchard - Agreed.

Zandstra - The democrats are engaging in political theatre and were briefed with the president. He said this was not a case of him calling his wife, but are known terrorsts.

Q13 - Candidate's influences.

Bouchard - Parents. Political influence - Reagan

Butler - Parents, education. Political - Reagan and Jack Kemp.

Zandstra - Grandfather.

Closing statement:

Zandstra - Principles matter. He's educated and has strong leadership. He's the best candidate to defeat Stabenow based on the economy. He grew up between Gary and Chicago and saw what happened to the steel mills. Michigan needs federal help. He has the business and education background needed.

Butler - Read his book to know where he stands on all of the issues (That disapointed me - it should be on his website). Forums are not a good way to find out where candidates stand. Moral issues matter as well as economics. Abortion has economic consequences, and reduced the work force. He is a well rounded candidate.

Bouchard - There needs to be a change in Washington and the governor's mansion. Economic and security issues are key. John Kerry won Oakland, but he received 61% there.

------------------------------------------

Overall, I think all candidates improved.

On immigration, I think Bouchard hit a home run. Butler hit a homer on Social Security with Galveston.

That said, I still give Zandstra the win here, as I did in Oakland(before I endorsed him). I did not see political answers from him, but straight answers with as much detail as possible - particulary on tax issues, budget issues and health care issues. Those are the major keys in the election IMO, and why Zandstra gets the slight edge. He took a stand on MCRI that was the least PC, and that may pay dividends as well.

All three are quality candidates. All three are head and shoulders above Stabenow. This was mostly a positive issues based debate, and did not go into personal attacks. Kudos to all three candidates, and may the best man win in August. Whoever wins, it's time to send Debbie to the private sector.

Keith Butler's website

Mike Bouchard's website

Jerry Zandstra's website

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

NRSC censors (and is outclassed by the dems counterpart)

Blanton over at Redstate smacks down Liddy Dole's NRSC for censoring conservatives who call them out for misusing their money.

NRSC Censors

Apparently, subjecting the GOP to a 2006 cycle with less than stellar recruitments is not enough for Elizabeth Dole and the NRSC. Now, the NRSC has taken to censoring Republicans who comment on the NRSC website. As Save the GOP notes and as several scorned commenters have confirmed to me, the NRSC is deleting comments that speak negatively of Lincoln Chafee from its website.
So, let's review. The NRSC is spending the dollars of Republican faithful to bash a conservative so that they can help Senator Chafee. Senator Chafee refused to vote for Samuel Alito and admits he would not even vote for President Bush in 2004. And now, faithful Republicans who want to express their concern over Senator Chafee's lack of fidelity to the GOP have their comments deleted from the NRSC's website.

Given the way the NRSC has been going about its business lately it is no wonder the DSCC has outraised the NRSC by $14,713,341.00 as of December 31, 2005.


As I posted back in October - with friends like the NRSC, who needs enemies. There's a reason why they get $0 from me. I don't want my money intended for helping republicans to be used to attack a republican and help a RINO.
If you want to help Republicans keep a senate majority, back individual candidates instead where the people are more competent than the NRSC.

I think donating to Steve Laffey's campaign is a good start at sending a message to the NRSC.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Why a good treasurer is a must for a campaign

Dan Meisler and the Argus today set its sights on Edmund Senkowski, who was Joe Hune's opponent in 2004.

""Edmund Senkowski, the Democratic candidate who ran unsuccessfully against state Rep. Joe Hune, R-Hamburg Township, in the 2004 election for state House, owes the state more than $4,000 in fines for not filing campaign finance disclosure reports.
The Michigan Department of State has sent Senkowski six notices of past-due fines totaling $4,075 for either filing documents past the deadlines, or not filing them at all.""


I briefly mentioned this in a previous post, but I didn't fire both barrels at Edmund Senkowski on this. I knew about this back in 2004, but decided to hold my fire since Senkowski had no chance to win with the campaign (or lack of) that he was running. I told Joe Hune and a few others I personally knew, but that's about it. Joe had a good record to run on and was going to coast to a 70-30 win, and as far as I knew, Senkowski wasn't being a jerk, so a negative attack wasn't going to help either Joe or myself.

The lesson from this story is that candidates (both republican and democrat) need to know what they are getting into when they are running. The other lesson is that they need to have their most competent and trustworthy individual be their treasurer. From what I could see from a distance, Senkowski had no clue whatsoever on filing matters, and neither did his treasurer, presumably a family member. If anyone here knows Senkowski, they should tell him to call the Sec of State and get this taken care of ASAP. Sometimes they will drop or reduce fines, but ignoring them isn't going to help matters. Mistakes happen and can be corrected with amended reports, but "failure to file" is the worst possible choice to make.

For future candidates, one thing that helps is the waiver box for extremely low budget campaigns (under $1000). Those who check that box and raise less than $1000 do not have to file reports. Those who check the box and raise over $1000 need to file them.

One thing I can say is that I've never been fined on anything I have treasurered, and I've done treasury and filing work off and on for five years. Everything's been turned in on time, and anything with mistakes has been corrected with a pain in the arse Amended report. I hate amendment reports and haven't had to do one since I was a rookie. I don't play games with this stuff. They've seen it all, and even Geoff Fieger got caught.

In other news, the Steelers beat the Seahawks 21-10. Good to see Detroit native Jerome Bettis get his ring back in his hometown. Retiring as a champion back home - can't beat that.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Bowl Prediction - Steelers 24, Seattle 21

Defense Wins Championships, and Smash Mouth Football carries the day.

Let's just hope the game matches the hype.

Friday, February 03, 2006

George Allen visits Michigan

I just got back from the Freedom Works event featuring Senator George Allen of Virginia. Sen. Allen is a potential presidential candidate and spoke to a good crowd for a 5PM event - about 150 or so people. Livingston County was represented well with both Republicans and Concerned Taxpayers' Group members attending the event. We had a table and a half there. I've never heard George Allen speak before, so I had no idea what to expect.

Senator Allen was a personable speaker who did not look at his notes very often. He played football for Virginia, and his dad was the former coach of the Washington Redskins and mentioned what he called the four "F's" which were important to him. Faith, family, freedom, and football. He mentioned how he learned much about life from football, which is something I understand myself. Football teaches teamwork, meritocracy, motivation, preperation, and learning from mistakes. All those can relate to politics as well.

Senator Allen described himself as a "common sense Jeffersonian Conservative." He's a republican for the same reason I am. While no party is 100% in line with my views, of the two parties, the GOP is closest to my views. Allen was a 1976 rebel who supported Reagan over Gerry Ford. He also stated that politics needs to stop at the border during wartime, which I agree with 100% - no matter who is president.

The main issues George Allen mentioned were energy, taxes/spending, and judges.

On energy, he wants to reduce dependency on Saudi Oil. We need to explore for oil and natural gas here to become less dependent on the Middle East. He also supports more research in to biofuels. He said we should learn from the French (Yes, you heard that right) on nuclear energy which is efficent and clean.

On Taxes - he said the tax cuts need to be permanent. He was also one of the 11 senators who voted against the infamous Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska. He opposes taxing the internet, and opposes surrendering control of the internet to the UN or any other organization. He supports the Line Item Veto.

On Judges - he opposed activist judges such as Stephen Reinhardt who rule the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional. He also mentioned the rulings on partial birth abortion, parental notification on abortion, and the Kelo case. He also blasted SCOTUS for basing rulings on "international standards" instead of the US Constitution.

Lastly, one thing for which I give Allen much credit. Most politicians, especially in Congress are on a busy schedule. After Allen's speech, he stayed afterward and was very patient with pictures of the attendants. This was a free event and not a fundraiser, nor was it in Virginia in front of his states' voters. That should be remembered. Senator Allen didn't act like a stereotypical senator as opposed to a John Kerry. That's a good thing.

It was a good speech. Freedom Works put on a good event, and George Allen was a good personable speaker who seemed to relate well to the crowd. We'll keep an eye on him for 2008.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

MCRI gives Senate hopeful a boost

Being a Spartan, I tend to avoid the Michigan Daily for obvious reasons. :) That said, one of the anyonomous posters here tipped me of to this Michigan Daily blogpost on Jerry Zandstra and MCRI. Full disclosure - I endorsed Jerry Zandstra

MCRI gives Senate hopeful a boost

The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative has landed on Michigan’s ballot and its Senate race, giving a GOP candidate a significant boost over his challengers.

If the GOP senate primary were held today, Rev. Jerry Zandstra who supports the initiative would receive 45 percent of the vote from likely GOP primary voters. His challengers, Michael Bouchard and Rev. Keith Butler, who both oppose MCRI, would receive 8 percent, respectively.

Those surveyed would vote 78-22 in favor of the initiative.

The caveat: 48 percent were undecided about which they would vote for if they knew the candidates’ preferences about MCRI. This is likely due to the low name recognition of all the candidates. Furthermore, the primary race is months away, the poll was about a single question (people often decide who they’ll vote for on more than one issue) and the race is split among three contenders. It’s no surprise half of the sample haven’t made up their minds yet.

(SNIP)


Mike Bouchard and Keith Butler both oppose MCRI (Michigan Civil Rights Initiative). Jerry Zandstra supports it. Although I support MCRI, that's not the main reason I support Jerry Zandstra (economy is the reason for me), but a lot of people are supporting Jerry based on this issue.

I've long said that Jerry's only real weakness is name recognition. Those who meet him and know him tend to support him. I encourage every republican and conservative to visit his website and to go to a GOP event where Jerry will be attending.

Mike Bouchard and Keith Butler would be good senators. Jerry Zandstra would be a great senator and a leader among a group of followers.

Fire the Michigan Senate?

A ballot question committee from Hastings called Unicameral Michigan has a new website out calling for us to fire the senate - for good.

ITS TIME TO ABOLISH THE MICHIGAN SENATE

Goal: To create a unicameral -- single-chamber--legislature for the State of Michigan.

How: By eliminating the 38-member state senate through a statewide vote.

When: A total of 317,000 valid signatures must be collected by petition during a 180-day period for the proposal to appear on the November, 2006 ballot. The petition drive is expected to begin February 1, 2006. The petition deadline is July 4, 2006.

History: Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature. The single-chamber body went into session in 1937, three years after being approved by Nebraska voters.


I'm undecided on this. I see some positives and some negatives to this.

Positives:
1. Less conference committees.
2. Reduces government.
3. Prevents duplication as the state senate and house districts are both population based.
4. Makes it easier to repeal bad laws.

Negatives -
1. Sometimes gridlock is good, and I think there are too many laws out there. A bicamerial state legislature reduces the number of laws passed, including the bad ones.
2. Eliminating the senate makes it easier for tax/fee increases to pass.
3. Eliminates an extra check and balance on the government.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the Union

I would have posted something earlier, but this is taking me a while to write.

Overall - Some things there I support, and some I don't. I am on the right flank of President Bush on some issues, and have some problems with a few of his proposals. Some others things I support 100% - the tax cuts and tort reform. I'll get to the details later.

One thing I have a major problem with is the blatent two faced dishonesty of a few of the democrats there. These people try to be the first to go up to shake President Bush's hand, and then are the first to viciously attack him afterward. If I was a congressman and could not stand the president, I either wouldn't show up, or just take my seat. Dick Cheney had the best response to Pat Leahy a couple of years back for his twofaced behavior. "Go f@#% yourself." It's not polite, but neither is saying something different behind someone's back that wouldn't be said to someone's face.

The most interesting part of the speech wasn't the speech itself, but the reactions by the other pols there. Hillary made a real donkey of herself with her smirks and facial reactions. I think she's actually one of the easiest democrats to beat in 2008. Oftentimes, Joe Lieberman was one of the few democrats clapping. The GOP often clapped for the president on just about everything as expected. These are political games played by both sides there.

On the speech itself, President Bush seemed more forceful than usual, which was good. It was also an optimistic speech which is also good to see. However, to me the content is most important.

On Iraq:
"""No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam -- the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death. Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder -- and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously. They seek to impose a heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East, and arm themselves with weapons of mass murder.

Their aim is to seize power in Iraq, and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world. Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear. When they murder children at a school in Beslan, or blow up commuters in London, or behead a bound captive, the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth. But they have miscalculated: We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.

In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores. There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat. By allowing radical Islam to work its will -- by leaving an assaulted world to fend for itself -- we would signal to all that we no longer believe in our own ideals, or even in our own courage. But our enemies and our friends can be certain: The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil.""""


I have mixed views on Iraq. I was not completely in favor of it, but since our troops are there now, the job needs to be finished. Washington needs to get out of the military's way. The media needs to stop rooting for the enemy to embarass a republican. The media coverage of Iraq outside of Oliver North has been nothing short of atrocious. Every bad thing is reported, and the positive actions are not reported. Bad news sells. Politics needs to stop at the borders (whoever is president) Get out of the way, let the military do their jobs, and go home of their families with the mission accomplished.

However, I'm not a Wilsonian, and do not believe we should be the world's policeman. We can't go after every dictator and should only go after those who are threats to the US.


Our country must also remain on the offensive against terrorism here at home. The enemy has not lost the desire or capability to attack us. Fortunately, this nation has superb professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military, and homeland security. These men and women are dedicating their lives, protecting us all, and they deserve our support and our thanks. (Applause.) They also deserve the same tools they already use to fight drug trafficking and organized crime -- so I ask you to reauthorize the Patriot Act. (Applause.)


I never supported the Patriot Act (going back to 2000 and Clinton's push for a similar bill in the name of the War on Drugs), and still don't. It needs to go the way of the Ugly Gun Ban. "He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security", and lose both.

"""
The American economy is preeminent, but we cannot afford to be complacent. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors, like China and India, and this creates uncertainty, which makes it easier to feed people's fears. So we're seeing some old temptations return. Protectionists want to escape competition, pretending that we can keep our high standard of living while walling off our economy. Others say that the government needs to take a larger role in directing the economy, centralizing more power in Washington and increasing taxes. We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy -- even though this economy could not function without them. (Applause.) All these are forms of economic retreat, and they lead in the same direction -- toward a stagnant and second-rate economy."""


"Free trade" only works when the other countries have free trade in return. It does not work with subsidized trade. It's times like this where I really miss Jesse Helms who was a leader of the right when it came to this issue. Neither party has been acceptable on this issue overall. GATT was the worst of the trade agreements. Most Favored Nation Status for China was second(Bush, Clinton, Levin and Stabenow all supported that). We do need to cut costs here, especially overhead costs. Tax reform is a must.

Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent.


I agree with this 100%


"""Every year of my presidency, we've reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending, and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another $14 billion next year, and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009"""


I believe this when I see it. President Bush has been atrocious when it comes to spending. He talks the game, but never uses that veto pen when needed. It's my biggest problem with his presidency.


I am pleased that members of Congress are working on earmark reform, because the federal budget has too many special interest projects. (Applause.) And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto.


I may be wrong here. I thought the line-item veto was found unconstitutional when it was passed by the Class of 94.

By 2030, spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone will be almost 60 percent of the entire federal budget. And that will present future Congresses with impossible choices -- staggering tax increases immense deficits, or deep cuts in every category of spending


I give the president guts for wanting to take this on again. Personally, I'd like to see Social Security eliminated and phased out, but that's not going to happen. It's only going to be more of a problem in the future with less workers supporting those on Social Security.

So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan solutions. We need to put aside partisan politics and work together and get this problem solved.


I don't like commissions as a matter of principle. If one is formed, I hope it is made up of congress, and not unelected has been glory hound bureaucrats like the 9/11 commission who just wanted a lot of face time in the press. I'll keep an eye out for more details here.

On immigration:

Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the interests of our economy. Our nation needs orderly and secure borders. (Applause.) To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. (Applause.) And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty, allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally, and reduces smuggling and crime at the border.


I want to see the details. My guard is up. The last plan WAS amnesty. Any guest worker program that rewards illegal immigration is unacceptable. President Bush's leadership on border security is not up to par since he is afraid of political correctness and making Mexicans mad. I support a guest worker plan and requires current illegals to go back to their country of origin to apply for a guest worker card. Else, illegal immigration is rewarded. It's not just Mexicans and Central Americans who cross the Southern border. Hezbollah terrorists also have crossed the border. We need major reform here. I have no problem with LEGAL immigration, no matter what the country of origin is, but illegal immigation is a major problem that needs to be controlled.

President Bush called for tort reform. I support that 100%.

On Energy:

America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances. So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy. (Applause.)

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. (Applause.)


I'd like to see nuclear energy make a comeback. I'm glad to see alternatives mentioned, but I have not seen any details of the plan, and unfortunately, I do not know enough on this for an informed opinion as of present. I'd like to see us give a middle finger to the Saudis for once, and we can not do that until we are no longer dependent on Saudi Oil.


Third, we need to encourage children to take more math and science, and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We've made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country. Tonight I propose to train 70,000 high school teachers to lead advanced-placement courses in math and science, bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms, and give early help to students who struggle with math, so they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs. If we ensure that America's children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world. (Applause.)


I can't go along with this. I opposed No Child Left Behind as well. The federal government should stay out of education as they are in the way. We have elected school boards on the local level. We have state funding, and state standards. Schools of Choice add some competition. The MEAP was a joke and the tests were not taken seriously. We have good tests that are proven. They are the ACT and SAT. Those are good enough for college admissions, and they are good enough for this too. I prefer vouchers, competition, and parental choice involved in schools. It brings out the best in both public and private schools. I should also mention that School Board elections are this May(at least here). Those that care about education should inform themselves on their local school board candidates, show up, and vote.


A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under the law. The Supreme Court now has two superb new members -- new members on its bench: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. (Applause.) I thank the Senate for confirming both of them. I will continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges must be servants of the law, and not legislate from the bench.


I'm cautiously optimistic with Justices Roberts and Alito. Time will tell if this was the right decision. I'm a originalist when it comes to the constitution, and expect the same from them.

Overall, this was a mixed bag. Some parts were good(optimism, tort reform, tax cuts, judges, Social Security), some parts were poor (Patriot Act, immigration, education), and some parts incomplete (energy, spending). If he follows through for spending, I'll be pleased, if it's the same old song and dance, Congressman Mike will hear from me often. I'm a "1994" style Republican.

We'll wait and see what happens. SOTU's are good for talk, but the action is what I'm waiting for.