Monday, October 31, 2005

Bush names "real conservative" as his newest Supreme Court Nominee

Let the games begin.

I am looking forward to watching The Democrats lose even more credibility with main stream America.

Just listen for some Ted Kennedy quotes, I am sure they will be absurd...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Harriet Miers withdraws her nomination

I certainly hope that George W. Bush will take the time to locate a person worthy of sitting on The Supreme Court.

I hope he picks a person without consideration of sex or race. I hope he chooses a person who believes in the Constitution as it was written over 200 years ago.

I hope he chooses a person who believes in the rights of the fifty states, not the expansion of The Federal government.

I also hope he ends up choosing a person with a strong judicial record; I do not like these stealth candidates he has been nominating.

If I could pick a person I think I would choose Janice Rogers Brown. She has a lot of Libertarian views and a strong judicial record.

I definitely hope that George W Bush picks a strong conservative and picks a fight with The Democrats in the Senate. One of the reasons why I feel that The Republican Party left me in the mid to late nineties is the way that The Republicans have abandoned fiscal conservatives and the way that they have expanded the powers of The Federal government. They are not willing to fight for the things they promised in 1994. Basically, I think the modern day Republicans are cowardly when it comes to facing down the Democrats.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Why we will never build another nuclear power plant in America

I spent six years as a Reactor Operator on a nuclear submarine in the United States Navy. I spent another two years as an equipment operator in a civilian nuclear power plant in Nebraska.

I strongly believe that nuclear power is a good source of energy and is safe. The nuclear power industry has been nearly destroyed by the United States government and its excessive regulations. The regulations are so oppressive that I decided to make a career change in 1998. I do not think we will ever complete a new nuclear power plant in The United States.

The government has undermined nuclear power in two different ways.
The first way is through excessive levels of government regulation. The nuclear power plant I worked at (The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station) is a perfect example. In 1978 (Before Three Mile Island) the plant employed about 80 people, mostly equipment operators and security guards. The plant was operated in a safe and efficient manner.

Today, that same plant employs about 550 people. The plant makes the same amount of power today that it did in 1978, it just costs a whole lot more to produce that power. The plant hired about 470 people just to comply with government regulations after Three Mile Island.

The second problem is dealing with nuclear waste in the form of spent fuel rods. These fuel rods are radioactive and must be safely disposed of. The United States government decided to tax all consumers of nuclear power in the country and collect enough money so the government could fund and build a disposal facility.
The Nuclear Waste Fund was created in 1982. One tenth of a cent was charged for each kWh of electricity produced at a nuclear power plant. By 1992 the government had collected enough tax revenue to build a “state of the art” disposal facility. Eventually, due to pressure from the Utility industry, the government finally agreed to build the facility by Jan 31, 1998 at Yucca Mountain.

Yucca Mountain was not completed in 1998 and approximately sixty lawsuits were filed by the Utility industry and various States against the Federal government for breach of contract. It is estimated these lawsuits could cost the Federal government (taxpayers) as much as fifty billion dollars.

In 2001 the Department of Energy completed a cost study and determined it would cost four and a half billion dollars to build the Yucca Mountain facility. Today, The Nuclear Waste Fund has almost 16 billion dollars. This fund is currently used by Congress to offset a small portion of the annual budget deficit. The nuclear waste disposal facility at Yucca Mountain is no where near completion, in fact, Department of Energy officials now openly question whether the facility will be completed by 2010, twelve years after the promised completion date.

Since the disposal facility is not operational nuclear power plants have been forced to store their own spent fuel rods at their own cost.
President Bush wants to spur the growth of nuclear power plants. I am all for nuclear power, that being said, President Bush's proposal makes no sense; in fact, it will waste billions of dollars. The new Energy Bill provides almost six and a half billion dollars of subsidies and direct spending to nuclear power generation companies to convince them to build new nuclear power plants. This is absurd. I would suggest The Department of Energy finish Yucca Mountain before it gets involved in building new nuclear power plants.

If we want new nuclear power plants to be constructed we need to minimize government regulation. A new nuclear power plant has not been started since 1973 due to excessive government regulation. The free market should dictate which power generation companies succeed and which ones fail, not the government.
We have experience with failed nuclear power plants right here in Indiana. Public Service Indiana proposed The Marble Hill nuclear power plant in 1973 with an estimated cost of 700 million dollars. Construction on the plant began in 1977 and expenses quickly doubled to about 1.4 billion dollars. In 1984 the project was halted and the plant was abandoned. This failed project cost The State of Indiana 2.8 billion dollars.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Upcoming Small Business Conference in Fort Wayne

The Second Regional Small Business Conference will be held at Don Hall’s Guesthouse in Fort Wayne, Indiana (1313 W. Washington Center Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46825, website for Hotel is http://www.donhalls.com/site/guesthouse/default.aspx.) The conference will occur on Saturday November 19th, 2005. Rooms can be rented for $69 a night if you mention that you are affiliated with The Libertarian Party event being held on November 19th.

There will be an informal meeting and dinner on Friday night at Don Hall’s restaurant. We will reserve a large table and each person will pay their own tab. We will meet at 7 PM and spend a couple of hours eating, drinking, and brainstorming.

The conference itself will run from 11 AM until 4 PM on Saturday November 19th. Please make sure you eat before attending the event. The cost for attending the conference is:
If paid in advance $15
Paid at the door $20

Please send payment to (Please make checks payable to Mike Sylvester)
Mike Sylvester
625 Windrift Lane
Fort Wayne, IN 46845

After the Conference there will be an informal get together at the house of Jack and Hillary Evans. Maps and directions will be provided at the Conference. A large (And I do mean LARGE) dinner will be served. Children are welcome to attend! The party at Jack and Hillary’s house will run from 4:30 until? We will collect donations at the door.

Please feel free to contact Mike Sylvester if you have any questions regarding this event. You can reach Mike at 260-338-0833 or at Mike.Sylvester@Verizon.net.

Conference Schedule and Speakers

11-11:10 Mike Sylvester, Welcome all

11:10 – 11:30 Mark Schreiber, will talk about the history of The Small Business Initiative.

11:30 – 12:00 Ron Reinking, CPA. Ron is a Fort Wayne CPA and will discuss some “Small business horror stories.”

12:00 – 12:15 15 minute break. Get to know your neighbors, exchange ideas.

12:15 – 12:45 Mike Sylvester, “Small Business Horror stories” from Indiana CPA’s and small business owners. How we plan on taking advantage of these “Horror Story’s” in Fort Wayne.

12:45 – 13:00 Jason Shelley from The Indiana NFIB will speak. He will discuss the importance of Small Business and he will explain the topics he feels are currently most critical to small business owners in Indiana.

13:00 – 13:15 15 minute break. Get to know your neighbors, exchange ideas.

13:15 – 14:15 Break into two groups and brainstorm ideas for the Small Business Initiative.
Kevin Knedler will handle one group.
Mike Sylvester will handle the second group.

14:15 – 14:30 15 minute break. Get to know your neighbors, exchange ideas.

14:30 – 14:45 Kevin Knedler of first group will discuss ideas with everyone. This could be done with crowd interaction.

14:45 – 15:00 Mike Sylvester of the second group will discuss ideas with everyone. This could be done with crowd interaction.

15:00 – 15:15 Mike Kole will talk about his campaign for Indiana Secretary of State AND Small Business Initiative examples he has used in his campaign and in Hamilton County.

15:15 – 15:30 Mark Rutherford, will ask if the representatives from States other then Indiana wish to speak about SBI in their State, if the answer is no Mark Rutherford will get more time!

15:30 – 16:00 Mark Rutherford, Closing speech, how to implement the plan going forward.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Fiscal INSANITY in Fort Wayne

A new proposal from The City of Fort Wayne is on its way to The Fort Wayne City Council; and it is really dumb.

If we had fiscal conservatives on The City Council, this absurd proposal would fail.

With the people we have; it will pass easily...

Expect to see your water bill go up 25% AND expect to see your Waste Water bills to go up 66%!

Tax, Tax, and Tax.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Local Blogs

There are a lot of great local blogs. I would like to hear what Indiana blogs you all like!

Harriet Miers

I am really looking forward to the confirmation hearings. I am certainly hoping to see Harriet Miers rejected by The Senate.

I cannot remember a more unqualified candidate.

I think that Bush should have appointed a candidate with the qualifications that he promised repeatedly when he was running for office, rather then one of his friends...

Cronyism is a bad thing.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I am back

I am finally back from France!

I spent 10 days in France. This is the second time I have been to France. I spent three days in France in 1999...

I attended several lectures on the French business climate.

One of the most interesting was a seminar on The 35 Hour work week that France adopted. France adopted a maximum 35 hour work week a couple of years ago. Before that, they had a maximum 39 hour work week. The employers have to pay their employees for 40 hours...

This 35 hour work week is helping to further hurt the French economy. Many businesses have left France. They left because of the increased labor costs... Brilliant move...

Believe it or not The French government hoped that by forcing employers to lower their work weeks to 35 hours from 39 hours a week (And still making employers pay the SAME amount in wages) that unemployment would drop. They reasoned that ll French employers would immediately hire about 10% more workers. This did not happen...

Brilliant.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Another post from Grenoble, France

I went to a presentation this morning from the main French retailer, it is very similar to Wal Mart.

What is most interesting is they agree that they cannot compete with Wal Mart due to wages. In France they pay huge wages to their retail employees, they are less driven by profit.

The French government pays for all helthcare, they ensure the empolyees have a government protected pension plan, and free education.

An entry level worker in the French store I was visiting this morning makes 16,500 Euros, about 20,000 US dollars... They work only 35 hours per week, they get FIVE weeks of vacation a year PLUS 6 additional personal days. They can earn bonuses of an additional 1.5 months of vacation...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Another short post from France.

It is official, the only people who like Americans in France seems to be "The Brits!"

When I came here I was somewhat concerned that the EU would seriously compete for the US in the world economy. The more I find out the less Worried I become...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A message from Mike in France

I have been to about twenty different countries in my life.

I have never been to a country with a more anti-American sentiment in my life. I must admit I am surprised at how much they currently dislike Americans!

Another interesting thing, American and French keyboards are different. They are similar; but, they are different. Typing this is NOT fun.

I think the most interesting thing about France so far is converting money. I came over with some trvellers checks in Euros. NO ONE will accept them. Three small branch banks would not cash them, several stores, bars, etc. We had to go to a MAJOR French bank!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Look out Frisco

The #1 defense in the NFL heads to San Fransico tomorrow, and who would have thought I was referring to the Indianapolis Colts? If the offense hits on all cylindars again, and the defense keeps up its stellar performance, it is going to be an awsome game for us Colts fans (not so for those 49er fans out there). I think we will see the offense return to last years' standard, and the defense will hold Frisco to 10 points! Go Colts!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Mike is leaving for France at 4 PM on Friday!

I will be in France for the next 10 days. I am going on a school trip with IPFW to Grenoble.

Grenoble is in the French Alps. It should be a fun trip.

I will be attending some lectures given by some French Professors in a Graduate school in Grenoble, that should be interesting. I hope they do not spout a bunch of Anti-American gibberish, that could get ugly (for them)!

I will be back on Sunday October 16th.

I will be updating my blog from France; however, I doubt that I will be able to update it as often as I generally do

My wife Karena will be making several posts while I am gone. She will most likely post about The Colts...

Doug Horner, Secretary of the Libertarian party of Allen County will be making some posts as well... Who knows what he will be posting about.

I will try to make my posts about France, especially the culture...

Have a nice trip Mike

I want to wish Mike a fun and safe journey as he heads to France for the next ten days! Our four year old daughter does not know what she is going to do without her Daddy, but I am sure she will surrvive! We love you and we will miss you!

Bon Voyage!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Update on the average per student expenditures in Indiana for 2004

Last year I calculated the average cost per student that is spent to educate each student in Indiana from K-12. The results were staggering.

Some of the estimates have been updated; so I have decided to update my calculations and include links in case you wish to go and check these statistics for yourself.

Start with this link: http://mustang.doe.state.in.us/TRENDS/trends1.cfm?var=curr

This link is to a summary page that is maintained by The Indiana Department of Education. Please pay particular attention to the bar graph at the top. What this chart shows is that real spending on education PER STUDENT in Indiana has DOUBLED in the last twenty two years.

For the 2003/2004 school year (The most current data The State of Indiana Department of Education has bothered to compile) the average cost per student is listed at $9033 per student per year. This is a staggering number. This is the number Mitch Daniels used in his State of the State speech early this year.

This number is wrong. Please read the note at the bottom of the graph "Current Expenditure is as defined by the Federal Government and does not include capitol outlay or debt service."

In other words, they did NOT include the interest we are paying on all of the loans and bonds that are in place to support the schools and this $9033 per student per year does NOT count Capital Outlays, for example, new schools.

The next part is much harder to find. I am assuming this data is hard to locate because there are various school districts spread out all across Indiana and they all have their own bonds and loans.

I used statistics from the National Education Association. These are once again estimated numbers for the 2003-2004 school year.

We had 1,010,000 students. We spent $1,025,576,000 on capital outlays. This works out to $1026 per student.

We spent $835,795,000 on interest payments. This works out to $836 per student.

So the total estimated cost for the 2003/2004 school year per student is
9003 + 1026 + 836 = $10,865.

Wow.

Remember that The Education Roundtable just admitted that even though The State of Indiana has been claiming graduation rates of over 90%, those graduation rates are much lower, most likely around 75%. What if the estimates on school spending are off by the same amount?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Colts

I cannot believe how good the Colts looked Sunday. Their defense was strong and their offense finally performed as expected.

The game to watch is the New England game, in New England. That game will be the test...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bush's Second "Stealth" Supreme Court Nominee

I am NOT surprised that President Bush appointed another person to The Supreme Court that has no track record.

I think that this is going to be a VERY interesting Supreme Court battle.

I expect to see the far left Democrats and the far right Republicans both oppose this pick. I expect that the "moderates" in both parties will vote for her. My guess is she will get on The Supreme Court easily.

I think this is going to hurt The Republicans in the 2006 election. President Bush "PROMISED" to appoint serious conservatives to The Supreme Court; he has failed to do this.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Colts and Titans tomorrow

I think this will be an interesting game.

I think our defense (I CANNOT believe I am saying this) will play well AGAIN.

I think our offense will struggle, AGAIN.

I think the Colts will win. I predict a tough game and a score of Colts 20 to Titans 17.

Go Colts!