Monday, June 30, 2008

CT - The State Takes Over The Old State House



Well, I am certainly all for historic preservation, and I think it is of utmost importance that our history be shared and communicated to the masses, but I am not liking yet another State bailout of private historical enterprise or "historical welfare".

The Courant reports this:
The state and the city of Hartford finally reached an agreement Friday that paves the way for the state to take over the operation of the Old State House, preventing the threatened closure of the historic downtown building.

The city owns the landmark, but it has been operated by the financially strapped Old State House Association, which has managed to keep the building open only with an infusion of state cash.

Amid squabbling over the wording of a long-term lease, the two sides had been unable to reach an agreement for nearly a year. But the process became more urgent when the state threatened to discontinue its funding on Tuesday — the start of the new fiscal year. Without that money, the famed building would have been closed.....

The city has agreed to a 99-year lease to allow the state to run the operations....

The state came to the rescue of the landmark last year, averting its closing by injecting $500,000 for its operation. More money has been set aside for the state to operate it in the future, but state officials had said the funding would not be released without an agreement with the city.
The State recently gave some money to keep the Mark Twain House afloat too, to the tune of $50,000. The organization that runs that historic site is also in financial straits, and it has been struggling to meet its yearly budget and repay loans which resulted from a 2003 expansion. In my humble opinion, the expansion was nice, but it was a bit overdone and certainly was a more costly venture then they should have overtaken. But be that as it may, they have to deal with the consequences now.

Ok - so here we have very important historical places - places that are vital to our tourism and culture and they seemed to be unable to manage their books, nor does it seem that they have put any money aside to be used for these tough financial times. While it is clear that many historic sites nationwide are in some sort of financial difficulty, one would think that the way out of this would be all out guerilla fundraising as well as deep cost-cutting to their budgets. Instead they look to the State and the taxpayers to bail them out. The State should not always be the answer.

I think attendance is a big issue. I haven't been tot he Old State House in years, even though it is a pretty interesting place. The State House is hard to access. It's amid busy downtown with little inexpensive or convenient parking and it is surrounded by bus stops and very little else to draw any interest. People don't want to use the bus to go into Hartford. Some of the connections are downright miserable. There aren't really any good reasonable or especially healthy food places to eat nearby either. The Atheneum no doubt has similar issues.

The Mark Twain House is also pretty cool, but it's expensive and so I've only been there a few times in all the years I've lived in the Hartford area.

You have to give people a really good reason to go to these places. School groups have dropped their field trip frequency too. It's costly and if they can't justify how a visit will help boost their CMT scores then they won't visit. It's a sad situation. Unfortunately people don't care much for historical places and if the public doesn't care then it will be hard to get them to support it with their visits or their dollars.

The sad fact is that we need to have these places, but we also shouldn't just rely on State handouts to keep them afloat. If the state wants to do something to help they ought to do a better job of public relations on promoting history in CT. Perhaps they can subsidize admissions on certain days to encourage people to visit. Maybe a ticket stub for the museum can be used for a discount for future bus passes or other incentives. There are a host of things the State can do to promote these sites without just giving them a check. Maybe they can help these organizations to make a larger appeal to the citizens of this state. Perhaps they can encourage CT citizens to support these historical treasures on their own, either by visiting or by a campaign for everyone to "send $10 to the Old State House to keep it's doors open". Or maybe they can promote CT History more in our schools and through other organizations. We need some new exciting events like CT History Days to promote these places - and to bring back events like Mark Twain Days.

We have to get creative if these historical gems are to survive.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yeah Right



The Mutual Admiration Society meets in Unity NH.
I don't know about you - but I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.
I'll bet they made a deal - he pays off her debts and she delivers her votes to him.

Hypermilers


An interesting article appeared in USA Today about the new breed of gasoline consumer: Hypermilers.

Hypermilers, those obsessed with squeezing every bit out of their gas tank, say they get 100 miles per gallon by practicing
such unorthodox techniques as coasting for blocks with their car's engine turned off, driving far below speed limits on the freeway, pumping up tire pressure far beyond car and tire makers' recommendations and carefully manipulating the gas pedal to avoid fuel-burning excess....
Like keeping the air conditioning off and windows barely cracked on a more than 90-degree day. Or parking in the boondocks at shopping centers so they can motor head-first toward the exit rather than backing out of a space.
The article has all kinds of creative gas saving ideas...so give it a read.

"Hypermiling is a whole suite of tools. It's half science and the other half is art, knowing when to apply them,"

Here is one hypermiler website: hypermiler.com

You too can be obsessed.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

DC Gun Ban Struck Down By The Supreme Court


A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. - 2nd amendment US Constitution

Hooray!!
The Shot Heard Round The World 2008


2nd Amendment Rights Kept Intact with a 5-4 decision in
Columbia et al. v. Heller

Judge Scalia wrote the opinion.

Held:
1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.

(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.

(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.

(c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous armsbearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.

(d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32.

(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.

(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation.
Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553, nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 264–265, refutes the individual rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.

2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited.
It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.
Pp. 54–56.

3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement.

Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home. Pp. 56–64.

478 F. 3d 370, affirmed.
The court's 5-4 ruling (Justices Breyer, Stevens, Souter and Ginsburg dissenting of course) strikes down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old handgun ban and calls it incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment.

This Supreme Court ruling proclaims that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting and this was first major pronouncement by the high court on gun rights in U.S. history. The basic issue for the high court was whether or not the 2nd amendment protected an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow was only tied to service in a state militia.

What everyone must understand very clearly is that the framers of our Constitution wanted to make sure that people could protect themselves from a totalitarian government - not just to protect themselves from burglers or to go hunting. This is of utmost importance.

A case in point is that Jews were disarmed before the Holocaust extermination begun.
Read this article by the American Rifleman included these thoughts:

Himmler, head of the Nazi terror police, would become an architect of the Holocaust, which consumed six million Jews. It was self evident that the Jews must be disarmed before the extermination could begin.

Finding out which Jews had firearms was not too difficult. The liberal Weimar Republic passed a Firearm Law in 1928 requiring extensive police records on gun owners. Hitler signed a further gun control law in early 1938.

Other European countries also had laws requiring police records to be kept on persons who possessed firearms. When the Nazis took over Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1939, it was a simple matter to identify gun owners. Many of them disappeared in the middle of the night along with political opponents.

...While the Nazis made good on the threat to execute persons in possession of firearms, the gun control decree was not entirely successful. Partisans launched armed attacks. But resistance was hampered by the lack of civilian arms possession.

Our founders knew the real importance of keeping and bearing arms. We should also learn from history why they were right.

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Thomas Jefferson Papers p. 334, 1950)

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms...The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Letter to William S. Smith 13 Nov 1787 (Jefferson, On Democracy p. 20, 1939; Padover, editor)


Thank Goodness the Justices upheld this extremely important right, and it is frightening to know that 4 justices dissented.

Today is a great day for liberty.

CT Public School Enrollments Are Declining So Why Are We Building More Schools?


The New Haven Register presented a report that claims that public school enrollments in CT are declining.

There are some interesting observations in this report and the bottom line is that demographers are reporting that their projections show a long decline in the number of schoolchildren in the state, which should in turn signal a related drop in need for expanded facilities.

Here are some of the highlights of that report:

- Baby boomers have failed to replace themselves, and the same is expected of the "echo-boom,"

- Connecticut apparently has some of the lowest fertility rates in the country

- The Connecticut State Data Center said the decline started last year, and by 2020, they projected it would have dropped 17 percent from a high of 523,100 in the 2003-04 school year.

- Between 2006-07 and the just completed school year, total public school population for the state was down about 4,000 in grades 1 through 12, according to the data center report; a 90,800 student loss is projected by 2020 for a total school population of 432,300 students.

- The enrollment high of 523,100 in 2003-04 is unlikely to return

Orlando Rodriguez, demographer and manager of the data center said:
"We have been expecting this downward enrollment trend to begin. The leading edge of baby boomers are approaching retirement and the trailing edge of their children have aged beyond K to 12 schooling"
Furthermore this leads to an interesting revelation regarding projections and school construction.
The researchers also cite a separate study by state auditors that points to a "systemic overstatement in enrollment projections" used to justify new school facilities. The data center researchers were surprised the five districts with the largest declines were all in cities: Bridgeport, New Haven, West Haven, East Hartford and New Britain.

This contradicts projections for total population increases in the cities, they said. The report suggests the expected drop in students may reflect parents opting for magnet schools, charter schools or private schools or an increase in dropouts.
Funny, they haven't mentioned that many more families are also choosing to homeschool! More people are homeschooling their children and our numbers continue to increase.

We are having less kids in general and more kids are taking advantage of other educational options. It is good to see more educational options, and the competition might just force government schools to do something to improve their product.

This projected decline in enrollment is probably one reason we are seeing a push to bring pre-k education into the public school system and to include pre-k facilities into public schools. Education unions have to do something to protect jobs and keep the money flowing into education despite this decline, so they hope to expand the number of grades to make up for the lost numbers.

Keep an eye on your own school budgets and you might see that government school enrollments are declining, but their budgets keeps escalating. In some school districts like mine (West Hartford) we have noticed that lower enrollments are being back filled with kids from the urban areas. This coming year alone, we are bringing in 91 students from Project Choice, and we are looking to build a magnet elementary school to accompany a new science center in Elmwood which has the purpose to satisfy the Sheff v. O'Neill lawsuit settlement.

The taxpayers of course will be funding Magnet schools in the suburbs and their enrollments may show a different story from the CT Data Center report only because the kids are being redistributed. One must keep in mind though that the magnet and charter school choice is still government funded schooling.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Recommended Reading For This Week

I hope something in here strikes your fancy.


Operation Malicious Mortgage yielded arrest of real estate players, including two former Bear Stearns managers in New York. These people have allegedly perpetrated mortgage fraud nationwide that have contributed to the country's housing crisis. Gee, I wonder if they ought to require the victims of all these sub-prime mortgages to take some sort of "how to avoid scams" class too.

Check out Fairtest, they have some interesting analysis of the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of the SAT and NCLB. Their site is worth a look.

Diet Police - the reality is that it is happening in Scotland where they are knocking on doors to peek inside the cupboards. Give a look-see over at Junk Food Science.

If that's not bad enough - people are being banned from wearing hats in Yorkshire pubs. Do you suppose that they will make Queen Liz remove her crown if she goes to visit one?

The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) struck it big as it will now gain the contract for national REAL ID hub as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) scraps a competitive process for state grants. Read more here at Papers Please.

So Far twenty states have passed anti-REAL ID legislation. The latest was Arizona. Last week, its governor signed into law a bill that prohibits Arizona from implementing the REAL ID system. Read more here. Here's the state by state breakdown regarding anti-Real-ID legislation. Real-ID is pointless. (I think the ACLU has this one right).

Oh and last but not least: Barack Obama’s foreign policy adviser, Richard Danzig, endorsed Winnie the Pooh as a “fundamental text on national security” The new Obama logos are hysterical.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Kelo House - An Icon In The Fight Against Eminent Domain Abuse

The Kelo House 36 Franklin Street, New London

Today is the third anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in the Kelo case. This past Saturday I attended the ribbon cutting of the Kelo House in New London, now moved from it's Fort Trumball neighborhood to Franklin Street. A man by the name of Avner Gregory paid $1 for the house and he spent $100,000 in dismantling and moving it from Fort Trumbull. He rebuilt it with help from some talented architects and builders on property he owns near downtown New London. Mr. Gregory is a champion in making this reminder of eminent domain abuse visible and alive. So the house that Susette Kelo once owned has been moved, it's been enhanced, it's a reminder that no property in CT is safe from taking by the government or developers who can convince a town that they could produce more tax income from your property.

The really sad thing is that all of those families in the Fort Trumball neighborhood that were chased out of their homes and had their homes destroyed, have since been displaced and the property that had been so fought over now sits dormant and empty even after three years. How pathetically sad.


There are other families in other parts of CT who have had a similar fate. Their properties were taken away from them for some grand development either by the State or for someone else's gain, and the properties now sit unused. Houses were taken and the roads or other buildings were never built.

It just goes to show how the urgency of these projects is such a myth. It just goes to show how really sad and heartless it is to cause people such financial burden through litigation and cause such upheaval in their lives... for what? This property at Fort Trumball doesn't even have a set development plan yet.

Although the Kelo case was lost unbelievably at the hands of a US Supreme Court that apparently cannot and does not interpret our Constitutional Rights properly, the many battles in the aftermath have been refreshingly better. 40 States have ignored the ridiculous ruling of the Supreme Court and have worked to put protections in place for property owners. State courts are more sensitive and sensible regarding the taking of land from people and handing it over to developers. Unfortunately CT is not one of them. The CT Legislature has yet to come up with any meaningful legislation regarding protecting property owners from Eminent Domain abuse.

I hope that you will ask some tough questions about this to those candidates who knock on your doors this summer and fall asking for your vote in November, as they seek State House and Senate seats in CT (or in some other states as well). If they are incumbents please look at their voting record regarding eminent domain abuse and ask them why they have done NOTHING to protect your home and property from what those in Fort Trumball had to endure.

Support and vote for those who will vow to make sure that what happened to Susette Kelo and Michael Cristofaro and others, will not happen ever again in CT. Visit the house in New London. Drive by and pay your respects. The Kelo House should be a beacon and a reminder of what can be lost at the hands of our government and courts.

Here are more photos from the day.The Kelo House with uncut ribbon on the stairway


Susette Kelo, Avner Gregory, Atty Scott Bullock (Institute of Justice)
speaking to those gathered. Scott Bullock said,"This little pink house will take its place among homes that have changed the face of America".


Susette Kelo, Michael Cristofaro (speaking), Avner Gregory,
and Atty Scott Bullock (Institute of Justice)


The dedication plaque in front of the house


"Not For Sale" sign on the granite address post in front of the house

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Parody Music For Saturday - Graduation



So how many high school or college graduation speeches have you heard lately?
This musical parody was inspired by music from Mozart, and the lyrics were written by Barry Levy with musical accompaniment by Brad Ross.

Another version was aired on NPR

Friday, June 20, 2008

Don't They Read The Constitution In Congress?


Congress is preparing to strengthen warrantless surveillance as protection against litigation is extended to telecom companies. House and Senate leaders agreed yesterday on surveillance legislation that could shield telecommunications companies from privacy lawsuits, handing President Bush one of the last major legislative victories he is likely to achieve. Pretty soon you won't have any judicial recourse if you are harmed by an invasion of privacy. All in the name of "protecting you".

The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports, 'this contains blanket immunity for telecoms that helped the NSA break the law and spy on millions of ordinary Americans.' The House vote is today, June 20.

Don't these people read the Constitution?
4th amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Which means that ANY House or Senate member voting YES on this bill is in violation of the US Constitution, thereby in violation of their oath of office to "...defend and protect the US Constitution...", and hence should they themselves be impeached and removed from office - then tried for treason.

From Wiki:
The Supreme Court held in Katz v. United States (1967), that the monitoring and recording of private conversations constitutes a "search" for Fourth Amendment purposes, and therefore the government must obtain a warrant before domestic wiretapping can be engaged in.
also from Wiki:
The NSA warrantless surveillance controversy concerns surveillance of persons within the United States incident to the collection of foreign intelligence by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of the war on terror. Under this program, referred to by the Bush administration as the "terrorist surveillance program", the NSA is authorized by executive order to monitor, without warrants, phone calls, e-mails, Internet activity, and text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S. The exact scope of the program is not known. Shortly before Congress passed a new law in August of 2007 that legalized warrantless surveillance, the Protect America Act of 2007, critics stated that such "domestic" intercepts required FISC authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The Bush administration maintains that the authorized intercepts are not domestic but rather "foreign intelligence" integral to the conduct of war and that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF).
No one should get immunity from illegal wiretaps - For more than five years, AT&T and other telephone companies broke the law and violated their customers' privacy rights by sending billions of private domestic internet and telephone communications and records to the National Security Agency.

If someone NEEDS his calls tapped, law enforcement can get a warrant. That's how it's supposed to work here.

If anyone thinks that the government is going to just be listening to "terrorists" they better think again. Once they redefine the definition of a "terrorist" to be any person or organization opposing government policy then we'll surely be in more of a fine mess.

I am all for protecting this country using some sort of surveillance, but we do not have to break our laws and trash our rights to do this.

Heaven save this country - the Constitution and our rights mean nothing anymore! Our 4th amendment rights are being stomped on, and one thing is for certain - you guys out there reading this better find out how Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama vote on this puppy before you cast a vote for either of them in November.

Longest Day - Happy Summer Solstice



"The longest day" of the year in the Northern Hemisphere begins on: June 20, 2008 at 7:59 PM EDT

Here's a good site about the Summer Solstice.
They say:
As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, but the people on the Southern half of the earth have their longest summer day in December.

Here is more about it.


In any case - enjoy the day.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

CT - David Aron Launches His Campaign Website


David Aron is running for State Representative in Hamden's 91st district. He's just launched his new website and will be adding an issues page as well as updating the calendar with all sorts of great events.

You can help David out with a donation to his campaign or fill out an online volunteer form.

Keep on top of what's happening with campaign news through his press releases as well.

FYI, David Aron is NOT participating in the CT State/public campaign financing and is raising funds on his own for this campaign. He doesn't believe that state money should be used to finance political campaigns, so he is raising funds the good old fashioned way. Good for him!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

CT Brain Drain


Unbelievable - 75% of our top kids leave CT within 3 years of graduation, says Prof. Fred Carstensen of the Connecticut Center For Economic Analysis (UCONN).

We spend so much money to educate these kids and then we have created a business environment that chases them out of state.
The formal report from CCEA is here.

One of my favorite blogs - CT Taxed - featured this link on their recent post CT Kids Are Leaving The State In Droves.

If you are a CT businessman it should make the blood shoot right out of your eyes. But what is really hysterical (and unfortunate at the same time) is that this forum was put on by CT Young Democrats - and if they could only realize that it is the State Democrats that they support which have handed them this situation maybe they would not be CT Young Democrats! We have had a Democrat controlled state legislature passing laws for the past couple of decades or more, and they are the ones that have made this State so business unfriendly. Don't CT Young Democrats get it?

My message to those kids kids; forget the party affiliation and party loyalty. Vote for people who are going to make CT a more inviting place for business and make it more affordable for you to live and work here. So far, the Democrats have not done this for you. So why are you supporting them?

Additionally, I liked Prof. Carstensen's comment - Retail is not economic development!

Interesting statistics here as well.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What's The Purpose Of Federal Government?


I got into a little email exchange with the head of a local group that is "promoting democracy". What this group really is, is a group promoting a Progressive Democrat agenda. They are using the hook of telling people to come to their meeting to "Become informed on campaign finance reform, universal health care, election integrity, peace activism, the environment, and energy conservation"

What they are really promoting is that government is supposed to provide you "with stuff". Their notion is that since the government provides public libraries and paved roads, police and firemen, and public education, which they claim are socialist institutions, then government should also provide other socialist types of programs. They believe that the government should provide everything for its people according to humanistic values.

Progressive Democrats are Socialists/Marxists. They are big into income redistribution and bigger government. They are the "Nanny Statists" who want the government to make all of the rules of how you are to live your life. They are promoting the "carbon credit mentality" to promote income redistribution and punish industrialization. They are the folks who have hi-jacked the Democrat party in this nation and have an agenda to tax us more and make everyone as dependent on the government as possible. Sen. Barack Obama is now their standard bearer as we go into the general election. Don't get me wrong, there are some statists in the Republican party as well. Government control has it's appeal to both sides of the aisle.

With regard to the notions of Nanny Statists, Texas Congressman Ron Paul wrote this:
The big government nanny-state is based on the assumption that free markets can't provide the maximum good for the largest number of people. It assumes people are not smart or responsible enough to take care of themselves, and thus their needs must be filled through the government's forcible redistribution of wealth. Our system of intervention assumes that politicians and bureaucrats have superior knowledge, and are endowed with certain talents that produce efficiency. These assumptions don't seem to hold much water, of course, when we look at agencies like FEMA. Still, we expect the government to manage monetary and economic policy, the medical system, and the educational system, and then wonder why we have problems with the cost and efficiency of all these programs.
Government should not interfere in functions that can be better handled by individuals or businesses or organizations. It is not the government's place to legislate common sense or virtue either. It should protect us from those who have little common sense or virtue by punishing those who murder or steal or swindle. By the way - I am not anti-government - I just want government to do what it is was intended to do and I believe it has grown to be too big and too intrusive.

But let's think a moment. What IS the function of government? Is it there to collect taxes so they can redistribute money and "give us free stuff"? No.

The 4 principal reasons why our federal government was formed:
"(1) The common defense (national security);
(2) the preservation of public peace, as well against internal convulsions as external attacks;
(3) the regulation of commerce with other nations and between states;
(4) the superintendent of our intercourse, political and commercial, with foreign countries (foreign affairs)." - Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper No.23, 1787 - a founding father with most important interpretation of the Constitution.

Consider that when you are looking to elect the next president or congressman. If they are promising you "free stuff" chances are it really isn't free at all, in fact it'll most likely limit your freedom and take from you the money and resources that you have worked so hard to earn.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Presidential Candidates


Yes, we all know about Barack Hussein Obama and John McCain, but here are some others (yes there are others) and of course the media will never tell you about them or give them the equal time that they are even to have as required by law.

Constitution Party - Chuck Baldwin

Libertarian Party - Bob Barr

Independant Ralph Nader

Independant Jessie Ventura

At least those are the four others that I know about.
So see America, you DO have a choice in November.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Parody Music For Saturday - I Think I'm A Clone Now



Cool Star Wars rendition put to Weird Al's music.
Here is a yet another person's version

Here is the original song "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tommy James & The Shondells (WOW that brings me back to the 60's when I was just a kid) of course Tiffany did a remake which I never thought was really any good.

Friday, June 13, 2008

American Citizen Obedience Training



With government and Department of Homeland Security checkpoints sprouting up in a few places like DC and roughly within 50 miles of our Southern border some people have suggested that what is slowly happening is that the American people are being "trained" to be obedient in producing documentation to government officials, or to be de-sensitized to being stopped and questioned, or even searched.

We have security cameras being put on roadways and intersections, and even in school classrooms. There is airport security. There are x-ray machines at amusement parks.

We are being watched; we are being stopped; we are being questioned.

All without probable cause.
And because authorities can no longer "profile" people (even though they really do that anyway) then everyone has to be stopped.

There is something terribly wrong with this picture.

It's bad enough that you have to routinely give your driver's license to the store clerk when using a check to pay for your groceries or clothing. A driver's license is not meant to be identification. It is meant to show that you have the privilege to drive a vehicle because you passed a test and showed that you were competent to do so. A Social Security Number is not meant to be identification either. It is only meant to show that you have an account with the government and will be eligible one day (perhaps) to receive benefits from that system. Using a drivers license or Social Security Number as identification to buy anything is a gross misuse of those documents, and yet it is allowed to be done every day and all the time. And we allow it. We say,"What's the big deal" and we produce those documents obediently and without much fuss. As we speak we have the prospect of REALID looming over us as a means to have a standard ID that every person must have. Isn't that what a passport is for?

It matters little whether you are handing over your passport, or a REALID card that looks similar to a drivers license - both actions constitute handing over "your papers" to the authorities asking to see them.

It seems as if our 4th amendment rights are evaporating.

In some stores there are signs that say "we card everyone who buys alcoholic beverages". So you no longer even have to look younger than 21 to be carded. You just automatically have to produce ID.

Well... and so what's the big deal if you are stopped in the street and asked to produce ID by the authorities. They must have a good reason to ask you for it; right? But honestly, how automatically obedient would you be to that request? Would you ask them for a reason first? Would you bother to ask what the probable cause is for them to want to know?

If you are stopped by the police while driving and you haven't done anything wrong, like speeding or having a broken tail light, is it reasonable for the police to demand that you open your trunk? Would you obey, or would you tell them that you do not consent to being searched? I would wager that most people do not even know that they have a right to refuse. Most people do not know what rights they have under the 4th amendment at all. I also doubt very highly that they teach anything about that right in schools today.

If you don't think you are losing your civil liberties or your right to privacy, you ought to think again. Think about it every time someone asks you for identification.

If you are brave enough - find out what happens if you tell them you don't have it with you, or that you do not wish to show it to them.
Will they still sell you those groceries?
Will they still let you pass through the checkpoint?
Think about how easily you have learned to comply.

Children's Toy
Playmobil Airport Security Checkpoint
Teach them young.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Big Oil - Are They Really The Problem?


Who is to blame for the high energy costs that we are facing?

1. Oil companies that are reaping huge profits?
2. Those politicians and regulators and eco-protectionists who have done everything to prevent the exploration and cultivation of new sources of oil and energy supplies?
3. "The Arabs" or other countries who are just not pumping enough of the goo out of the ground to satisfy a growing need across the globe and here at home?
4. The falling dollar; printing more money causes inflation and pushes up the price of fuel.
5. Something else.

Why should Oil companies be punished for trying to make a profit? If government got out of the way and there were a true open energy market there would be competition to drive the prices down. But that's not happening. Instead we get threats from politicians to steal profits and/or force companies to spend profits the way the government wants them spent. We have members of Congress, like Maxine Waters, actually threatening nationalization and takeover of corporations in the name of "protecting the consumer". Like that will solve the problem without creating a lot of even bigger problems.

Consider this: You are a businessman and are in business to make some money. The government decides you are making too much and tells you what to do with that profit. How is that right? Do we not own the fruits of our labor? Should Barack Obama give a portion of his book sales to another author whose book perhaps isn't selling as well, just to make things fair? Wealth re-distribution is un-American. Price gouging is also not morally right - but that is usually corrected by market forces. If there is choice in the market place then the lower priced item will be the more favorable seller. I see that in my own home town - gas stations with lower prices do more business and sell more. It's simple economics.

But I digress...

The development of new energy sources has become a painful and sluggish march.

Yes, we are seeing hybrid vehicles and there are a few advances here and there coming to the market, but we still need oil through this transition period. It will take a while to establish a wide variety of energy choices; but eventually that's where we need to be - hybrid cars, electric cars, hydrogen fueled cars and more.

And as for ethanol:
Overall, the economy has also worsened with the diversion of farmland being used to produce ethanol, which takes more energy to produce than it is supposed to save. The diversion of more of our corn crop to produce energy has also pushed up the price of everything that depends on corn syrup. The price of corn products has also shot up and that includes everything from taco chips to theater popcorn.

Nationalizing the oil industry is not going to solve the problem.
Rationing is not going to solve the problem.
Conservation is not going to solve the problem.
Punishing the oil producers is not going to solve the problem.

And as far as I am concerned the problem doesn't even really come from "those greedy capitalistic oil barons" or that dastardly Middle eastern oil cartel. We import more oil from Canada then we do from Saudi Arabia. In fact, only 16% of our imported oil comes from the Persian Gulf countries.

The problems that we are seeing comes from smaller supply and a growing worldwide consumption and need for energy as countries are technologically emerging.

Here at home we are choking off our own supply of energy.
We have abandoned nuclear power plants - which by the way are being built all over Europe.
We have abandoned or prevented new oil drilling.
We have not invested in new refineries.
We have not done enough to allow for the development of new energy sources.

With all that nature offers us here at home in the form of geothermal, solar, wind, hydropower, biofuels, oil, coal, nuclear and more, it is incredible that we are squabbling over foreign resources and seeking to control them. I have come to believe that this energy crisis is fabricated and self inflicted solely for political interest and to instill fear and uncertainty.

But let's not solely blame the capitalists. If we didn't have capitalists and entrepreneurs looking to make a buck, we wouldn't have had financial incentives to make the technological advances in the manner that we have. So I won't blame them, and right now there are plenty of those capitalists out there trying to develop new energy solutions. We just have to get government out of the way and allow market competition to let them do it.

Required reading: Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Kelo Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony


I got this email and wanted to share.

Kelo Day

I hope lots of people show up.
June 23 marks the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous decision in Kelo v. City of New London, which held that your home, business, church or farm can be seized just because someone else (presumably with more money and political power!) thinks they can generate more tax dollars with your land. While this decision opened the floodgates of abuse, it also sparked an unprecedented property rights backlash that continues to resonate nationwide.

Join Susette Kelo, her Fort Trumbull neighbors and the Institute for Justice at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new location of the little pink house that started it all.

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Saturday, June 21
1pm - 3pm
36 Franklin Street
New London, CT

Remarks at 1:30pm by Susette, IJ Senior Attorneys Scott Bullock and Dana Berliner, and community members involved in the heroic fight to stop eminent domain abuse not only in New London, but also across the country. Refreshments will be provided.

Please RSVP to Melanie Hildreth at mhildreth@ij. org or (703) 682-9320 ext. 222.

We hope to see you there! Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Best,

Christina Walsh
Castle Coalition Coordinator
Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 682-9320
www.ij.org
www.castlecoalition .org

The outcome of this landmark case set the stage and the groundwork (literally) for the taking of land out west for the NAFTA superhighway. Land battles and opposition are now ensuing in Texas and Oklahoma and elsewhere. The proposed Trans Texas Corridor may even be scaled back because of the opposition. The Trans-Texas Corridor was originally designed to be an immense 1,200 feet wide. The original design called for a highway for traffic alongside railway lines and petroleum pipelines as well as pipes to include lines for electricity, water and broadband fiber optic cables. It had been estimated that as much as a half-million acres of Texas land, would be taken by eminent domain for the construction of this superhighway. (Yes, that would be for commerce of this "mythical and non-existent plan" called the North American Union) Of course some will say that an already existing highway is merely being expanded and improved. No conspiracy here... move along. (wink)

One year after the Kelo decision by the Supreme Court, President Bush signed an Executive Order humorously entitled: Protecting the Property Rights of the American People which reiterated and strengthened the right of the government to take land from citizens and taxpayers (see Sec 3. Exclusions).

“The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory.
—Justice Sandra Day O’Connor


No one's property is safe.

Here are some interesting tidbits.
Lessons from the Kelo Decision
Trans-Texas Corridor Blog
No North American Union? see this and this
Some believe that this is more than just about "free trade".

What has YOUR state legislature done to protect YOUR property rights lately?

State House Candidate David Aron Voices Opposition to the Conveyance Tax

Photo by Sharon Bass

Thought I'd share this press release that was posted on Hamden Daily News:
Hamden, CT – June 10, 2008 – There is an old adage that the closest thing to eternal life is a temporary government program. On June 11, 2008, the Democrat controlled State Legislature will convene in special session to extend the life of the “temporary” state and municipal conveyance tax that was instituted in 2003. The original tax was scheduled to sunset on July 1, 2004, but has been extended and increased several times since its inception, with some portions of the tax having been made permanent.

David Aron, who is running as the Republican Candidate for the 91st House District, has challenged his opponent, State Representative Peter Villano, and the Democrats in the Connecticut State Legislature to oppose the proposed extension of the current conveyance tax rates during this special session, and then work to eliminate the tax altogether.

“As a State Representative, I would oppose any extension of the conveyance tax,” said Aron, “The Legislature promised us that this tax would be temporary and we should hold them to that promise. This is a tax that punishes the hard work of our neighbors to improve their properties and to make our community a great place to live. The conveyance tax also stands in the way of growth by penalizing new residents, which actually hurts the Town of Hamden in the long run.”

By contrast, State Representative Peter Villano has voted at least six times since 2003 to extend and increase the conveyance tax, and to make certain components of the tax permanent, both as a state legislator and as a member of House Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee (HB5885, 3/27/08; HB8001, 6/23/07; HB6841, 4/18/05 and 6/8/05; HB5692 and Amendment E LCO#4720, 4/30/04). Villano has a consistent record of voting with the Democrats in favor of extending and increasing the conveyance tax, even while residents of Hamden are taxed at the highest rates.

As a result of the conveyance tax extensions, many towns have become dependent on the tax to fund their annual budgets. Currently, the Town of Hamden projects $1 million in conveyance tax revenue for the 2008-2009 Budget. Even though portions of the tax are scheduled to expire July 1, 2008, Hamden and other towns across the state have included revenues from the conveyance tax in their budget at the current rate.

“The negligence of our State Legislature and of the Democrats has put Hamden in an unpleasant and difficult situation,” said Aron. He proposes that the conveyance tax be phased out over a two-year period, in order to minimize the impact to Hamden and other towns. “We need to eliminate the conveyance tax in a way that is fair to both our towns and to our residents, and as a State Representative I will hold the Legislature to its promises.”
Bravo for David Aron.
This tax needs to be phased out.

Monday, June 9, 2008

CT Public Campaign Financing - State Funded Political Welfare


Well, as we complete nominating conventions across the state and campaigns gear up for November elections I feel compelled to comment on the new public financing campaign laws that were enacted by our CT State Legislature. They claim it will reform the way political donations are made and received and that the new system "levels the playing fields".

Governor Rell just issued a press release giving it her blessing and saying that these reforms which were made here are a model for the rest of the nation. She explains in her press release to the public that it's ok for politicians to take state money because "it isn't taxpayer money".

In my view, this new public financing scheme for political campaigns is nothing more than State funded political welfare. And I believe that no candidate can possibly in good conscience run with a message of reducing the size and expenditures of state government while taking government funding for their campaign. How can any politician taking this money, look you the taxpayer and voter in the eye and say that they will reduce government waste and spending, put state money to good use, and seek less government rules and regulations? It would seem to me that our state surely has more pressing issues to spend precious state money on, than financing political campaigns where money will be used for lawn signs, bumper stickers, robo calls and probably millions of pounds of paper in the form of distasteful and annoying mail that gets thrown in the circular file upon receipt.

The fact that this money may come largely from unclaimed liquidated assets from Connecticut citizens, does not mean that the state should piss it away on political campaign propaganda. There is so much more that could be done with that money like, funding a reading program, giving CT citizens home heating oil relief, fully funding the Education Cost Sharing grants, or a host of other more worthwhile programs.

The rules of public campaign finance "reform" can be found here and the State's Election and Enforcement webpage about it is here. Here is another basic explanation. The one good thing about it, is that it is voluntary.

Basically here is how it works for example for State House Candidates; in order to qualify for the $25,000, "grant money", a candidate has to get $5,000 in private donations from people in any city that is represented by his district. At least 150 people have to donate money to the campaign. Parents may donate $100 and 12 year old (or younger) children can donate $30. Once the magical amount of $5,000 in private donations is reached, the candidate can apply for this state "grant". If his opponent out spends him, he gets automatic supplementary payments up to $25,000, and if another group or individual targets him with negative ads he gets up to another $25,000. The amounts and thresholds are higher for Senate candidates.

So where is the money coming from to fund this welfare bonanza? The answer can be found here on page 5:
The Citizens’ Election Fund

The Citizens’ Election Program is financed by the Citizens’ Election Fund. The CEF is a separate, non‐lapsing fund within the State’s General Fund. See CONN. GEN. STAT. § 9‐701. The primary source of the CEF’s deposits is money derived from the sale of property deposited in the State’s Special Abandoned Property Fund, which is administered by the State Treasurer. See CONN. GEN. STAT. § 3‐69a. In addition to the sale of abandoned property in the State’s custody, the CEF is comprised of voluntary contributions, as well as interest earned on the CEF’s assets. For a report on the status of the CEF as of December 31, 2006, see App. B, Report to the Connecticut General Assembly Concerning the Status of the Citizens’ Election Fund as of December 31,2006 (May 18, 2007).

Projected Total Available Funds in CEF for 2008 General Assembly Elections

As of December 21, 2007, the CEF contains $35,674,342.17 available for grant disbursements. Following the passage of Public Act 05‐5, the State Treasurer has deposited a total of $30,000,000 into the CEF ($15,000,000 deposited in each fiscal year for FY06 and FY07). In accordance with CONN. GEN. STAT. § 3‐69a(a)(2), as amended by Section 97 of Public Act 07‐1 (June Special Session), the State Treasurer must deposit an additional $15,000,000 from the sales of abandoned property into the CEF for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008 (FY08) for purposes of the payment of grants to participating candidates.
Thus, the CEF will contain in excess of $50,000,000 for grant disbursements for the 2008 General Assembly election cycle.
Wow! $50 million dollars so these politicians can blow it on chatchkas to promote their campaigns. This will be a windfall to every specialty printer and advertiser and campaign marketers in general. I was at a recent political program and I have to tell you that the mass mailing and robo call pitch men were practically salivating over the dollars that will come their way from the sea of candidates sitting before them.

In a time when this state's budget is facing deficits and money is badly needed for education and heaven forbid - tax relief, the CT taxpayer should be fuming mad that this State money is being crapped away by the political machine on both sides of the aisle.

As far as the State political machines go, they all claim that if you don't take this public money you are doomed to lose, despite the fact that both sides of the aisle are participating and someone has to lose.

And let's take a look at the notion of abandoned property...is it entirely proper for the State to liquidate those assets for the good of statewide politicians? If the State won't spend it on worthwhile government programs (if there are any), why not give it to charity? If the State must redistribute that wealth at all, why don't they use it in a more worthwhile endeavor? I just find the whole concept of this political welfare scheme distasteful and incredibly wasteful.

I also personally think this campaign finance law is full of a ton of loopholes and very badly conceived. A leading advocate of this political welfare scheme was none other than Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, who unfortunately is currently my State Representative. This man comes from a well to do family and has aspirations of higher office. He needs this political welfare and State handout like Newcastle needs coal. He'll have the unions behind him, and he will always do their bidding, whether he takes this money or not - so the illusion that this campaign reform takes the special interests out of the picture is just that - an illusion.

If they wanted real campaign finance reform they should have just said that PAC money and special interest money and money from businesses should be capped. Period. Leave the rest of the fundraising to the campaign and keep government out of it. Funding campaigns was never, and never should be, a function of government at any level.

I think it will also make politicians more lazy. Some are thanking God right now that they won't have to do that exhausting door-to-door thing or bother with fundraisers or even meet most of their constituents in person. They'll just bug a small bunch of people they already know (150 for the House or 300 for the Senate) for a few bucks initially so they can reach their dollar amount to qualify for the state handout. Your needs become less to them overall and the only reason you are important to them is to initially help them qualify for their grant. Incumbents won't really have to see you at fundraisers or talk to you or go door to door anymore. Then in return, you just get a whole lot of mail and phone calls trying to get you to vote for them.

The state of CT has social welfare, corporate welfare, medical welfare, educational welfare, and now political welfare. Taxes go up so your money can be redistributed as the State sees fit. You'd think the Purse in Hartford was just one big ATM machine with taxpayers making the deposits and a select few with the card and password to make the withdrawals.

Here is the list of participating and non-participating candidates from the SEEC website.

So far, there are a few candidates who are opting out of this system of political welfare:

P. Faith McMahon running in the 15th District
Chad Thompson running in the 20th District
Manmohan C. Sachdev running in the 60th District
David Aron running in the 91st District
Stephen D. Dargan running in the 115th District
James A. Shapiro running in the 144th District

Bravo to them - it would seem that purely by virtue of their decision not to take State money they truly understand the role and purpose of government. It seems they know that raising campaign funding is the job of their campaign - it's not the government's job nor is it the government's place to put money gained by the government from citizens, taxpayers or anyone else into the pockets of politicians.

By funding political campaigns like this I think that it also keeps the cost of campaigns artificially high - now they are essentially saying that it costs $30,000 ($5,000 from donors and $25,000 from state grant) to fund a State House race and $90,000 ($15,000 from donors and $75,000 from state grant) to fund a State Senatorial race.

What could YOUR town do with $200,000 ($100,000 for each party) in state money that it will now be giving to the four people running for State House and State Senate in YOUR district? Instead that money will be used on mailers, TV ads, and phone calls.

Now, isn't that a really great use of public money?
But don't fear - Jodi says it's ok and it has her personal stamp of approval.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Parody Music For Saturday - Hybrid Car

Since GM's SUV plant is being shut down I picked this parody for today:



Here is the original "Whiskey Bar" sung by Jim Morrison and The Doors

And admittedly, I am very much in favor of fuel efficient cars...

Police State In DC - Is This What It's Coming To?


Your papers please.
It is downright shocking.
[They have created] so-called "Neighborhood Safety Zones" which would serve to partially seal off certain parts of the city. D.C. Police would set-up checkpoints in targeted areas, demand to see ID and refuse admittance to people who don't live there, work there or have a “legitimate reason” to be there.
When crime is so rampant that drastic measures like this are felt necessary by law enforcement and city leaders to be put in place, people tend to accept it because...well... the thought is "what else is there that they can do"? I agree with one commenter on the article linked above: I think the real problem is people saying, "hey, this is really not a big deal, so what if we are losing some civil liberties, this fixes a problem, and if it curbs crime then they ought to do this".

Should we toss away civil liberties for a feeling or illusion of security? It looks as if "We the People" have come to accept the premise that policies like that are ok.

I think perhaps the root of the problem is that when the criminals are caught they are just let back out on the street, or the people won't come out and testify against them so they have to be let go. The root of the problem is to find out why there is crime there, and to try to fix that problem. Supposedly there is much crime as a result of the lucrative drug money between Virginia and Maryland. But, it seems is just easier to take away people's personal freedom to come and go as they please and to demand their papers, etc. then it is to actually do something about the source of the crime problem to begin with.

I know they've done this sort of thing before in places like New York City and so on, but it is still so much against what our Constitution and what America is supposed be all about.

For what it's worth - here is the text of the Mayor's press release:
The Neighborhood Safety Zone initiative has been developed to help increase security for those who live in high-crime areas around the city and to help residents reclaim their communities. The program will authorize the Metropolitan Police Department to set up public safety checks to help safeguard community members and create safer neighborhoods in the District by increasing police presence aimed at deterring crime.

The safety zones will be established only upon request by a District Commander where there is evidence to support the existence of neighborhood violent crime, such as intelligence, violent crime data, police reports and feedback and concerns from the affected community.

Potential Neighborhood Safety Zones must be approved by the Chief of Police, and will be in effect for a maximum of 10 days. Public safety checks will be established along the main thoroughfares of the established neighborhoods. Anyone driving into a designated area may be asked to show valid identification with a home address in that neighborhood, or to provide an explanation for entering the NSZ, such as attending church, a doctor’s appointment or visiting friends or relatives. Pedestrians will not be subject to the public safety checks.

“The Neighborhood Safety Zones is just another tool MPD will employ to stop crime before it happens. The Neighborhood Safety Zone initiative will help residents terrorized by violent crime to take back their neighborhoods,” said Chief Lanier.

Initiatives such as the Neighborhood Safety Zones have been accepted by federal courts as a legitimate law enforcement practice in keeping with the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. The constitutionality of the NSZ initiative has been reviewed by the D.C. Office of the Attorney General.

The NSZ will be launched next week in the Trinidad area.

Of course the nagging question is this: How will the police really determine who should be there legitimately and who might be a possible perpetrator of a crime? How would they know someone isn't lying about their purpose there?

This whole thing is just very disturbing on so many levels.

MyWay posted an article.

The Washington Post had an article about it too.

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Attributed to Benjamin Franklin

(H/T Chad T)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

CT - The Debate Begins On Initiative And Referendum


The Connecticut Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society held a debate in the Old Judiciary Room at the State Capitol this past Tuesday, about the topic of Initiative and Referendum, because there will be a question on the upcoming November election ballot which will allow for our state to convene a Constitutional Convention to make changes to our State Constitution.

That question will be:
"Shall there be a Constitutional Convention to amend or revise the Constitution of the State?"

The debate about Initiative and Referendum is available online.
(You can view the 1 hour 28 minute debate on CT-N's website link - wmv file).

Should Connecticut have a Constitutional Convention to change the CT Constitution to allow for Initiative and Referendum? Right now, Connecticut's Constitution doesn't provide for a way to put questions and measures on a statewide ballot for an up-or-down vote. Critics like retired Superior Court Judge,Robert Satter say that we don't need Initiative and Referendum because we have a legislature that makes laws through a lengthy and diligent process that includes public hearings and the test of going through two bodies (the House and the Senate) as well as a needing a signature from the Governor. Initiative and referendum, he believes, allows laws to be made solely based on public opinion and well moneyed media campaigns to sway that public opinion.

Proponents of Initiative and Referendum like President of the Federation of CT Taxpayers Organizations, Susan Kniep, and CCSU Professor, Atty John Woodcock III, say that Initiative and Referendum gives the people more of a voice and that all too often elected officials do not adequately represent their constituents in important matters; instead they cater to special interests or they do not address the problems at all. They also claimed that working people cannot attend public hearings at the Capitol and have become disengaged and disenfranchised from the law making process. We can see that by the lack of candidates running for office and how so many seats go uncontested.

There were many other fine points made during the debate. One thing is certain, CT voters should do all they can to research this issue because the mainstream media is barely reporting on it, and the topic is not being discussed at all.

This is a very important question that will be on the November ballot and we all should think about the possibility of changing our State Constitution and allowing Initiative and Referendum. If you have never read our State Constitution - then you can find it online here and should take the time to read it.

The Republican American ran a good article about the event.

The President of the Federation of CT Taxpayers Organizations, Susan Kniep presented a wonderful speech about why she believes Initiative and Referendum is necessary (when it is posted on her website I will provide a link). FCTO also has the State's report about Constitutional Conventions on their website, as well as articles about Initiative and Referendum.

There is of course a website for the Initiative and Referendum Institute

" With Initiative and Referendum, there will be no need for further Constitutional Conventions. People will be able to revise the Constitution when necessary. "The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government." - George Washington
“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.” - Thomas Jefferson:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It's Not On The Test

This video gives much food for thought... is this what educating our future has come down to?



What about all of the other stuff that is not part of high stakes testing? When do the kids get to learn that stuff? You know, the things that make the kids well-rounded educated individuals. It would seem that we have lost our way from the true purpose of education.
“To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts, in writing; To improve, by reading, his morals and faculties; To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either; To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor, and judgment; And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed” - (Jefferson Writings, Peterson, ed., 459). Thomas Jefferson, 1818-Report of the Commissioners for the University of Virginia
“It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country” - (The Learning of Liberty, Prangle and Prangle [126]; original Noah Webster: Schoolmaster to America, Harry Warfel [42]). - Noah Webster, 1790 - On Education of Youth in America
Yeah, all that stuff.... it's not on the test.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Recommended Reading


Let's all welcome this new blog by Mary Nix - The Informed Parent:

I am not a lawyer, nor an expert, but a parent just like you. My family and I chose home education as our educational choice. It is a hands on process that opens up many opportunities for learning and exploring. Because it is outside of the educational norm, we also felt the need to learn about the rules that govern this choice. This led us to learn the importance of knowing our rights and how to responsibly protect them. In doing so, we also learned the importance of understanding many other rights that affect our family, where to find and read them and to share these empowering truths with others.

This blog is dedicated to helping other parents find their responsibilities and claim their rights.
~~Mary Nix

This blog will certainly be on my list of "regular reads".

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The DNC Determines That Florida And Michigan Delegates Are Less Than Slaves

At least the original Constitution held that slaves were three-fifths of a person, now Democrat delegates in Michigan and Florida are each one-half of a person making them more lowly than a slave!

Leave it to the DNC to compromise voting rights away. Furthermore, this will not do anything to add to party unity down the road I suspect. It is hilarious to me that after making the rules they yielded to pressures to change the rules after Hillary and her supporters wanted the Michigan and Florida delegations fully restored for the upcoming convention, to reflect the primaries that she won back in January. Of course, because of the early primary rules, it was agreed back then that they would not count. Now that Hillary is scrounging for delegate votes as Obama nears his mark, the rules are asked to be trashed.

More importantly the voters in Florida and Michigan are furious. They want their primary votes to count in the process. Or at least they do now. Funny thing is that in Michigan, Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot!

I don't see much in the way of party unity with this type of nonsense going on. Two things are clear: DNC chair, Howard Dean sure has his hands full and they better bolt the furniture down in the convention hall in Denver otherwise there might be some chairs flying along with the fist fights. Perhaps this eco-friendly DNC party will turn out to be the biggest eco-friendly riot.

Since it isn't likely there will be a Clinton Obama ticket (or rather an Obama Clinton ticket) based on the egos we are witnessing, perhaps Hillary ought to start thinking of running as an independent. Now wouldn't that be interesting? Maybe she'll ask Al Gore to run with her.

Now all we need is for Obama to pick someone like Maxine Waters, or Nancy Pelosi as his running mate. Yikes!

1/2 a vote per Michigan and Florida delegate though...it's amazing those delegates will get less representation than a slave at the DNC convention. More amazing is the Democrats making/changing the rules not seeming to care much about how this affects the voters in the primaries. You can expect more of that type of thing if Socialism takes a greater hold in this country. Trash the rules and establish others that allow for less equality.

So the big question is this: Did the DNC rules committee really mean to say that with 1/2 a vote those Florida and Michigan Democrat delegates are now really half-assed?