Friday, April 29, 2011

Political posturing

Alvin Brown is trying hard to look conservative but it isn't a good impersonation.
Brown is a Democrat. You cannot use the words "Democrat" and "fiscal responsibility" in the sane sentence.
If you like Obama, you'll love Brown.
But his handlers have found a few poll-tested phrases, such as "holistic" and "partnerships" that they think resonate with voters, and he is deploying them randomly when he speaks, but they mean nothing.
Republican Mike Hogan is the conservative candidate for mayor. He is the candidate with experience. He is the candidate who will look out for the taxpayers.
Here are two bits of evidence to support that contention.
One is that the liberal morning newspaper is slamming Hogan in the news columns. And, since the news columns and opinion pages are joined at the hip, he will not get the paper's endorsement. That doesn't matter much, because the paper's influence in the community has become almost non-existent.
The second clue, which is related to the first because it is trumpeted in the paper, is the fact that a handful of registered RINOs are supporting Brown.
There are folks who talk about free markets and such, but want a mayor who will keep on spending money like there is no tomorrow, and one who will continue to toss slop in the trough.
Also, there is more than a little snobbery. Hogan doesn't have a Harvard degree and doesn't hang out in the country clubs, extending his pinky when he sips his latte.
That's OK with those who don't belong to the country clubs. Hogan intends to spend your money sanely. For example, public employees will be treated fairly, not lavishly. Jacksonville is not in California.
No matter what they say in Washington, the recession is not over. The next mayor probably will see 8 to 9 percent less in property tax revenues, yet higher expenses because of the federal government's policy of inflation and built-in costs the current administration has failed to address. He must act responsibly because Jacksonville is not the federal government and cannot spend more than it collects.
For taxpayers who want to be treated fairly, the solution is simple. Turnout will decide the outcome. If you don't vote, they will -- and if they win, you will pay.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thanks, Ben

The geniuses at the Federal Reserve are quantitatively easing me right out of retirement.
I've never been close to being "rich" even by liberal standards. But I did save some money while I was working because I never believed that Social Security would be around -- and, even if it was, I believed Franklin Roosevelt when he said it wasn't intended to be anyone's sole source of retirement income.
So, I retired.
Now, my pitiful little savings is being whittled away so that the federal government can inflate away its awesome debt.
The theory is that if they take the money out of the private sector, or borrow it, and put it back into the private sector, the economy will improve.
How does that work?
Obviously, no wealth is created with this shuffling of money.
How is wealth created when the government borrows money, hands it out, then must raise taxes to pay back the money with interest?
Jobs and wealth are created when some entrepreneur risks his own money to start a business in hope of making a profit. (Otherwise, he can just put his money in a bank and collect the interest.)
Meanwhile, the federal government is taxing most of my savings directly and stealing the rest indirectly with inflation, and I'm rehearsing: "Hi. Welcome to Wal-mart."
I'm not rehearsing, "Woe is me," however. Work is no big deal. I did it for 50 years and I can do it another 50. Plenty of people are worse off than me.
But no one can convince me that a government of the politicians, by the politicians and for the politicians is either "compassionate" or what the Founding Fathers intended.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Missing word alert

Where did it go?
When George W. Bush sent troops to Afghanistan to kill Taliban, the most prevalent word in the media was "quagmire."
Comparisons were made with centuries old military adventures in that region as the libs proclaimed Americans were either going to be there for decades or would be defeated swiftly. (They didn't care which, they just didn't want a victory.)
Now, Afghanistan is a liberal president's war, and it has been escalated.
No one seems to know why we are in Afghanistan anymore, or what the strategy is for winning and leaving.
Sounds like a quagmire to me.
If there is such a word anymore.

The Boss calls POTUS

"Mr. President, Mr. Soros is on the red phone!"
"Yes sir?"
"Barry, here's the word for the day. 'There's no silver bullet.' Got it?"
"Yes sir. What does it mean?"
"Never mind that. Just put it on the TelePrompter and use it every chance you get when you are talking about gasoline prices."
"Yes sir. Ummm. I forget. Are we for higher prices or lower prices?"
"Higher! These fools still have too much money. If we don't part them from it, they will be all starting businesses, creating jobs and wealth. Who the hell will need the government then?"
"Right, chief. I'll get right on it. I'll get our union goons and the media to spread it around, too."
"Good. And quir worrying about next year. I've got it covered. They are all focused on Donald Trump and where you were born. Nobody is paying attention to how you are screwing up the world."
"Thanks, boss. And don't you worry. No matter what Beck says, I don't think you are a spooky dude."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

T. Edward Austin, RIP

Two things I remember about Ed Austin, who died this week:
One was the fact that as state attorney he looked at the evidence and brought an indictment against a good friend, Mayor Hans Tanzler.
I don't think Tanzler did anything wrong other than run afoul of highly complex campaign finance rules. He and Austin and the late Dale Carson were three of the most honest public officials I ever ran into, but that's beside the point. Austin thought there was enough evidence to let it go to trial and he didn't let friendship affect his decision.
Another example concerned a murder case that I covered as a reporter. At one point, Austin's investigators uncovered evidence that supported the defense. Austin immediately told his people to make the defense attorneys aware of the information. (The guy was convicted anyway.)
Just a short time before he died, Austin and I had breakfast at the Fox in Avondale and talked over old times. I had known him since we were neighbors back in the 1960s.
I wrote many stories, columns and editorials about him while he served as state attorney, general counsel and mayor. He never complained about any, although he thought I was wrong about sentencing guidelines. (He may have been right.)
I didn't think he looked well when I saw him. He told me he had been down a bit, but planned on resuming his workouts at the gym, and insisted that we visit again soon.
I wish we could. But I'm glad we had those last few moments.

A sign of spring

Just as flowers always bloom in the spring in Florida, a newspaper headline written by and for blooming idiots will appear:
"Florida ranks (fill in the blank) in school spending."
Let a simple soul ask a question. If you go to a tailor and he makes a suit for you that is baggy, has gaps at the seams, is made of polyester and is a sickening chartreuse color, are you totally pleased as long as he charges you $1,200?
After all, only the price matters, right?
A few years ago Florida TaxWatch wrote a paper pointing out the fact that Florida spends less than Texas and California on its schools, yet Florida students learn more.
Conversely, some states spend more and students learn more.
One Florida governor spent his entire term urging the Legislature to move Florida schools into "the upper quartile." In learning? No, in spending.
Gov. Jeb Bush, on the other hand, spent two terms pushing for more accountability in the schools and other reforms that actually helped increase student achievement.
Needless to say, that infuriated the teacher union leaders. They have spent decades trying to foster the notion that only spending more money on public schools will increase student learning. They have absolutely no evidence, so they rely on taxpayer gullibility -- and the liberal media, which would never question such an vacuous argument.
Yet, why the unions would make such an argument is vividly clear. When more money is spent on the schools, unions collect more money from teachers, and build large war chests to help elect more liberal legislators who vote to spend more money. It is a tidy little racket.
Not so good for struggling taxpayers, especially those who don't have children in schools. But someone has to make a sacrifice.

Journalism 101: Slanting the story

The Miami Herald is looking critically at the idea of private state prisons.
The Herald, which has never seen a government proposal to waste money that it didn't like, worries that it might cost more.
This is part of its analysis: "Critics also say the plan to expand prison privatization is aimed at rewarding an industry that donates generously to the state Republican Party."
Well, there you go. If the industry helps the Republican Party, obviously it might be ... what? Devious? Underhanded? Criminal? Deranged?
Oddly, enough the Herald doesn't even see any need to explain just why that is a talking point. Its readers are supposed to understand.
The fact that the "critics" are unions who donate to the Democrat Party is, of course, beside the point.
When it is a case of special interests vs. the taxpayers, you can always count on Florida's liberal media to do what they do best.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Information matters

Don't you get tired of being treated like an idiot?
If you are one of the few remaining readers of the local daily newspaper published in the mornings (always referred to by one leading politician years ago as "The Morning Mistake"), that is how you are treated.
Just one example: local schools.
Not only in the news columns but also in the opinion columns, readers constantly are harangued about the supposed problem of "school funding."
It is too little, they say.
But are you ever told (a) how much it is, (b) how much it has changed or (c) why it matters?

Herewith, information that is relevant.

School spending

What this shows, obviously, is that spending is higher than it was five years ago, although down from 2008.
Rational human beings, however, would be more interested in knowing whether children are learning more or less.
That information is more difficult to find. The Web pages of the government school system contain data, but most of it is not current and there does not seem to be any that shows year to year progress.
Competent journalists, however, easily could unearth the information -- if their intent was to inform rather than proselytize.
One thing you can count on is that the politicians who run the government schools will assure you that the schools are improving under their watchful eyes.
They expect that you will not ask how that is possible if the amount of money thrown at the system is the only factor involved.
If it should turn out that children are learning less, and they attempt to attribute that to lack of funding, the relevant question would be: How would greater funding improved learning?
Ask them to cite the research showing any correlation between school spending and student achievement.
Good luck getting an answer. Don't bother to look for it in the newspaper.
Mark Twain said, "If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed." Until newspapers begin fulfilling their responsibility to inform the public, that will continue to be true, and they will continue to lose readers.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Let's look at the record

Candidate Barack Obama promised hope and change.
He criticized George Bush for spending too much. Obama has added $4 trillion to the debt.
He criticized Bush for the tax relief Bush had championed. Obama allowed the tax relief to be extended.
He criticized Bush as a "warmonger." Obama has continued one Bush military operation, escalated another and started another of his own.
He criticized the imprisonment of terrorists at Guantanamo. Obama has allowed the terrorists to continue being house at Guantanamo.
He criticized Bush for being too close to Wall Street. Obama has bailed out big banks, General Motors, General Electric and other Wall Street moguls.
He criticized Bush for America's standing among other nations but world leaders now regard Obama as weak and indecisive and America appears to have lost respect since Obama took office.
He criticized Bush for his Medicare prescription plan, then Obama rammed through Congress a health care plan overwhelmingly opposed by the American people, via trickery.
He promised transparency and honesty in government but passed his health care plan in secrecy, making dozens of deals with various players, deals he has begun to renege on.
Obama has no plan to meet the looming economic crisis, other than inflating the currency and imposing punitive taxes on all Americans.
Where is the change? Where is the hope?

Monday, April 4, 2011


Tomorrow, socialists around the nation are being urged to attend a great "teach in" at which they will try to "take back" America. Commies and pot-bellied, grey-haired '60s hippies also are expected to attend.
Maybe they will be shouting "Ho ho, BHO has got to go." Or, maybe not.
Coincidentally, I'm sure, George Soros is hosting a series of events April 8, aimed at destroying capitalism.
Other events coming up include a special "aid for Gaza" event to highlight the plight of the terrorists in Gaza, who daily fire rockets into civilian neighborhoods in Israel, and send forays to murder entire families. Old Obama pal Bill Ayers is in on that one.
These events come right on the heels of Obama's announcement that he will run for re-election, and the simultaneous announcement that he will not try terrorists in civilian courts, as he previously had promised to do. American voters are overwhelmingly against the idea of giving terrorists special rights and a public show.
There certainly are a lot of things going on. None of them seem to be very good for America. Next year we will find out whether Americans care or not.