Sunday, December 30, 2007

More needless government interference

Indiana has a new law that will impact most professional tax preparers. Starting January 1st, 2008 any firm that filed 100 or more Indiana tax returns must file all of their Indiana tax returns electronically.

I personally prefer e-filing; however, we have several clients that are not comfortable with e-filing and would rather not e-file their returns. This next tax year we will have to e-file all of our Indiana returns so anyone that wants to paper file their returns will have to prepare their own return or they will have to find a very small firm that filed less then 100 Indiana tax returns in the previous year.

You can learn more about this new rule at: http://www.in.gov/dor/taxpro/efile-mandate.html

Mike Sylvester, CPA

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Accident Followup - and a question for all of you

To All,

Today I accomplished several things.

#1) Went to FWO and met w/ Dr. Caldwell. First thing I must say is that they were very easy to work with through the entire process (including NOT DEMANDING CASH). He explained what he thinks is wrong w/ my finger and why he thinks that. I go into outpatient surgery next Thursday at St. Joe at 11AM. I'm going to have a plate put on the bone as he thinks it is rotated.

#2) I went to the home of the lady who hit me. I tried first calling Allstate to speak w/ the person handling my claim only to find that neither she nor her address were in their system. After speaking w/ her I got the policy number and agency. After that I drove to the agency to determine whether or not there really is a policy in force. I was beginning to worry, but all is good.

#3) I spoke w/ the claims handler at Allstate and filed my official report. It would appear that this is where the ugly bureaucracy kicks in. This claims handler will make an initial determination then pass it on to one (or more) local claims handlers.

#4) I spoke w/ St. Joe's billing dept. Guess what?!?! They didn't demand any cash up front! (Yes, it is true) As a matter of fact we even DISCUSSED how I wanted to handle the billing, through my company or Allstate. After discussing that their bill would be a one time event and then over we decided to send the bill directly to Allstate and avoid subrogation. Very easy here.

Here is accident tip 101 for all of you out there: If involved in an auto accident IF POSSIBLE get the other persons policy number and insurance company!!! While there is mucho info on the police report the policy number IS NOT THERE! Getting this will avoid headaches, trust me.

While I am telling a personal story here on a blog that is dedicated primarily to politics I am hoping, by including some small details, to open a window into a major political debate: that of healthcare in the United States. I hope my misfortune will shed some light on what is right and wrong from the patients point of view. If anyone thinks this an inappropriate platform for my take let me know what you think and why you think so.

Respectfully,

Doug

Friday, December 28, 2007

The city must disclose what's in the environmental study

Hat tip to Jeff Pruitt

The city has decided not to exercise the $25,000 option to buy the Omnisource property. This means the commercial negotiations are over and the city now has no legal standing to keep the results of the environmental study secret. We need to know if contamination to the property poses a public health risk.

This also means the city wasted $25,000 when it bought the option in the first place. It would have been even more of a waste if the city actually bought the property. Government should stay out of real estate speculation.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

ONE v/s FWO - My Opinion FWO!!!

To All,

Thank you all for the moral support. I hope everyone is having a good holiday season.

Yesterday I accomplished the following:

#1) Got copy of accident report - $12 (will be charged to Allstate)
#2) Took copy of report to my insurance (so they can file proof of insurance to state)
#3) Ordered replacement of glasses (will be charged to Allstate)
#4) Rented replacement vehicle & picked up (will be charged to Allstate)
#5) Replaced my cell phone (will NOT be charged to Allstate - it had been having issues)
#6) Stopped by work to show them my condition & discuss my situation (Loss of work will be charged to Allstate)
#7) Set up appointment w/ Orthopedic Doctor - THIS IS THE ONE TO DISCUSS!!! :(

I first called Orthopedics North East. I called them because: A - They are nearby, B - They were recommended by Parkview as being a partner & thus having access to my medical information.

The first thing I did when calling them was to explain that I was just involved in an accident Christmas Eve and this was the soonest I could call. I need to see a Doctor right away so that my hand doesn't start to heal in an incorrect manner and thus need to be broken again so as to heal correctly.

The first - AND I MEAN FIRST - thing I am told (along w/ "we need to register you") is that I will need to bring $250 CASH in when I come in!!! Agitated, perturbed, angry, distraught, DO NOT EVEN begin to express my response to this. I explained that insurance would be covering this. In the worst case of her letting her insurance lapse my uninsured/under insured coverage would kick in and take care of it. The lady from ONE reiterated that I would need to bring in $250 cash.

At this point I offered the following gem of thought, "How about I just walk in this afternoon with a medical complaint and let you refuse to see me. Then, when something goes bad w/ my hand we'll let the lawyers figure it out in court - how about that?" She told me that she was just informing me of their policy.

At this point I allowed her to get my information but did NOT set an appointment!

I called Fort Wayne Orthopedics (FWO) and scheduled an appointment through them. The lady in billing explained that we would file through my insurance as the other insurance would not pay until the entire process is complete and that could take 6 monthes or a year or more. I am still not happy with this but she was at least friendly and explained their reasoning.

I will drive clear across town tomorrow morning for a 9:45AM appointment with Dr. Caldwell. So far I believe I have griped to everyone I have met about ONE - Heartz, my office, Centennial Wireless, FWO.

Don't misunderstand me, I believe everyone has a right to be paid for their work. However, the medical industry has the entire INSURANCE INDUSTRY (an industry that makes billions of dollars both in income AND investments) guaranteeing them payment. This is the reason we all pay insurance premiums, to cover our butts in an emergency. To be presumed a "nere do well" by ONE and demand CASH up front IS AN AFFRONT!

Of course this is just my opinion. What is yours???

Respectfully,

Doug

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our policians and the NFL

I am an NFL fan. I have been an NFL fan for many years. I tend to watch quite a few NFL games during the year.

You just have to read this piece:
<http://wcbstv.com/sports/Patriots.game.simulcast.2.618281.html>

Basically our politicians in Washington DC have decided to "interfere" with the NFL in order to ensure that the Saturday night football game is broadcast on NBC and CBS.

Good grief...

We have large and looming problems in this country and our politicians are worried about who can watch what football game on TV?

We need some new politicians...

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Doug was in an accident

To All,

Christmas Eve I decided to go to church services at 7PM. This would give me time to grab a bite to eat afterwards and finish wrapping gifts.

After church I visited my friends Jack & Hillary. Jack is always "Johnny on the spot" with some good food & company.

I left their house a little after 10PM and headed home. When I got to Hobson & Lake I headed north on Hobson. The light changed to green while I was still going north so I entered the intersection and "WHAM"! All I saw were two headlights out of the corner of my eye before they slammed into me. I did a 360 at least once before I wound up pinned to a pole in front of the BBQ place.

I don't know how long I sat there evaluating that I was still alive, wasn't in severe pain, no blood, and generally OK given what had just happened. I pulled out my cell and immediately called 911. They were very good in talking to me. While I was talking several folks came over to ask if I was OK. I said NO. One chap found my catechism book in the middle of the street. It had been on the back seat of my car. I was still facing west and couldn't get out of my car or turn my head and see who or what had hit me. I was told it was a woman and she was very upset.

I want to commend all of the firefighters, EMS workers, Fort Wayne Police, and good citizens who stuck around on their Christmas Eve to help accurately report what had happened. I was treated very well and all were most patient. I tried to save whoever pays for this (her insurance or mine) by getting a ride to Parkviews ER by having ny father take me. He lives just minutes away and since I wasn't dying why pay for an ambulance IF you don't need it.

My left thigh is sore as hell and my right hand hurts. My neck and chest are sore but so far don't have major pain. It turns out my right hand broke a bone and may require surgery. I should know Wednesday after I see an orthopedic specialist.

Right now my right arm is in a cast and I am typing w/ one hand.

I want everyone to realize how quickly things can go bad. Be thankful for what you have and that it isn't worse. Tonight I lost about 4 hours of my time. My car is gone. The cop told me the side impact reinforcement helped save me. He said I was hit so hard that my dashboard is bent. I know she didn't even slow down. I pay my insurance and I hope she did too. I lost my glasses and hope I find them somewhere in my car.

The only thing that REALLY bothers me is the fact that my car was going to be paid off in 3 monthes. I was looking forward to driving it without car payments for years to come.

I was truly blessed tonight. I am home safe and will hurt tomorrow but that is all. When you read this hug your loved ones, call a friend and thank them for being there. Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Doug
Banged & bruised but still kicking:)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fort Wayne Combined Sewer Overflow

Well this week it was announced that the Federal Government and the city of Fort Wayne reached an agreement concerning the amount of raw sewage the city of Fort Wayne is dumping into the rivers. This is a topic I have blogged extensively about in the last couple of years.

Our sewers and stormwater systems were designed well over one hundred years ago. We are one of many cities that elected to have these two system overflow to each other. The Federal government has disallowed this and is in the process of requiring many cities to stop discharging large amounts of raw sewage into the rivers.

Basically Fort Wayne proposed to cut its raw sewage discharge by about 90% for a cost of about one quarter of a billion dollars over the next 18 years. The Federal government has accepted that. Realize that to lower the discharge the final 10% would have cost an additional quarter of a billion dollars!

It is currently estimated that sewer rates will triple over the next 18 years to pay for the infrastructure improvements that will be necessary to lower the sewage discharge into the rivers.

Just for the record, I told you this would happen. Several people scoffed at me and said that it wold not be this expensive...

One of the reasons I oppose frivolous projects like Harrison Square is the fact that I knew that lowering the discharge of sewage into the rivers would be very expensive.

The local news media did cover this story, for one day.

The fact that our sewer rates will be tripling got about the same amount of attention as did the fact the Matt Kelty's relatives paid for a Cruise for his family.

Mike Sylvester

Before you use your computer again, read this

Another type of plastic is believed to cause cancer. Maybe you all should step away from your keyboards, because you might be absorbing carcinogens through your fingertips. Don't even bother to shut down, because you don't know what's in your mouse, either.

Instead, you should abandon synthetic products altogether and become hunter-gatherers. You'll get lots of exercise, and you'll eat more vegatables. You won't have to worry about hormone treated beef or street crime. You won't have to worry about cancer then because you'll have an average life expectancy of 23.

Friday NIght and the IPFW Libertarians

My wife and I had the IPFW campus Libertarians over to our house. My wife fixed them a bunch of food and we watched a couple of movies that they brought over.

We watched Dr. Strangelove. I had never seen the movie and I enjoyed it a lot. Remember that I served on a nuclear submarine at the end of the Cold War. Some parts of the movie were very accurate, especially the way the military communicates by repeating things back.

We then watched Fahrenheit 911. I had never seen that movie before and I enjoyed it somewhat. It certainly is not a neutral documentary; however, when it talks about the Bush's and Saudi Arabia I was interested. The Clinton family and the Bush family have strong ties with Saudi Arabia.

Mike Sylvester

Friday, December 21, 2007

Election Board meeting today

After reading a post over at Fort Wayne Left earlier today (<http://fortwayneindiana.blogspot.com/2007/12/election-board-hearing-coverage.html>) I decided to head over to the meeting. I was meeting with a new client near Downtown and that meeting ended at 2:35; so I was able to attend the Election Board Meeting.

15 people attended the meeting; over one third of the people were members of the press. Several local Republicans attended the meeting, as did several Kelty supporters, as did a couple of local Democrats.

The first issue discussed was a complaint filed by Jeff Pruitt over at Fort Wayne left concerning a $1000 contribution made to the Kelty campaign by Dan Turkette. To make a long story short the Kelty campaign should have promptly filed a CFA-11 and they did not.

The Election Board decided to clarify their interpretation of the difference between a "late filing" and a "failure to file." Basically they decided that if you file your report before the next campaign finance report is due then it is a "late filing." If you file the report after an intervening report is due then it is a "failure to file."

The Election Board clarified that Indiana code allows a fine to be set at $50 per day that a report is late up to a maximum of $1000. The Election Board then assessed a fine of $1000 against the Kelty Campaign since the CFA-11 was filed several months late.

The second item discussed was a disclaimer that was on the Kelty Campaign website about campaign contributions. To make a long story short the Election Board asked the Kelty campaign to remove this disclaimer and they removed it.

The Election Board then went on to clarify itemized and un-itemized contributions. If you contribute $100 (In aggregate) to a candidate then the candidate is to report your name etc. If you contribute less then $100 (In aggregate) then the contribution can be listed as an un-itemized contribution. So if you give a candidate $1 a day for 100 consecutive days then your contribution should be listed as an itemized contribution.

The Election Board then went on to clarify when a "disclaimer" is required on campaign material. They pointed out that there is a list in the Campaign Manual and that the disclaimer must go on yard signs, bumper stickers, etc. Apparently every election there is a complaint about someone with campaign materials that does not have a disclaimer on it. In the past the Election Board has contacted the candidate and the candidate has "fixed" the problem...

The Election Board decided to set a policy on this matter. Basically if a campaign does not use a "disclaimer" they will be warned once with a "cease-and-desist" letter. If there is a second (completely separate) violation of the rules then the Election Board will turn the matter over to the Prosecutor's Office.

The third item was a broad complaint filed that asked the Election Board to perform a general investigation of the finances of the Kelty campaign. The Election Board found this complaint to be too broad and decided to action was required.

I thought the Election Board did a good job a clarifying the laws and better yet of deciding in advance how future violations would be handled.

Mike Sylvester

Thursday night

Last night we went to my daughter's musical at Oak View Elementary. Kayla is in the first grade and last night's event was for 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade students. So many people attended this event that the gym was completely filled with people.

Oak View has a new music teacher, Aimee Slone, who was responsible for the program. She did a fantastic job and I was very impressed by the program.

Those of you who know me realize that I am not particularly interested in "the arts." That being said, they put on a great show and we had a great time.

Since I was at the Oak View program I could not attend the New Media, New Rules event held last night. You can read more about it here:
<http://fortwayneindiana.blogspot.com/>
<http://bepartofthesolution.blogspot.com/2007/12/brief-report-on-blogger-panel.html>

I wish I could have attended the event; however, I enjoyed seeing my daughter sing! This is an event that I would have attended if it did not conflict with my daughters school program.

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Health Care part 1: Fast track FDA approval

I wonder if I am doomed to have long discussions about health care reform every even-numbered year for the rest of my life. But I think I have one idea that even my friends on the left can agree on.

Let's have fast track FDA approval for treatments proven to work in other countries. Beta-blockers had been saving the lives of Europeans for years before the FDA approved their use over here.

Phage therapy is another treatment available outside of the US. The process involves the use of bacteriophage, viruses that infect bacteria, to attack a bacterial infection. Since bacteriophage exist in nature, it's 100% organic if you're into that sort of thing. Unlike other "organic" treatments, this really does work.

Phage therapy has been available in Eastern Europe for decades, but it is still not available here. The reason why? Because it costs a lot of money to clear the FDA approval process. A company would cheerfully fund the required trials if it thought that there would be a return on the investment. Except one cannot patent a process that has already been invented elsewhere, so there is no money to be made from this. So if you are inflicted with an antibiotic resistant strain of a disease, you'll likely have to travel to the Republic of Georgia for phage therapy.

I proposed that if a treatment has been proven to work in other countries, the FDA should simply approve it. There is no biological difference between Americans and foreigners, so whatever drug works on them should work on us as well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Public Access Live

To All,

It's that time again to tune into your favorite (and only) Libertarian Live program.

This Thursday evening my guest will be Sam Goldstein from Indianapolis. We will be discussing current events both statewide and nationally.

Who: Doug Horner & Sam Goldstein
What: Libertarians at Large
Where: Cable Channel 57
When: Thursday, Dec 20th 7P - 8P
Why: Share information about the LPIN

Respectfully,

Doug Horner

Incandescent light bulbs to be phased out.

Congress has passed a bill that will eventually ban incandescent light bulbs in the next decade. I personally use CFL bulbs at my house. Last year when I moved I took all my CFL's from my old house, and I replaced them with the incandescents from my new house. But there are drawbacks to CFL's which would make many consumers prefer the older variety of bulb. For example, turning the lights on for only short periods of time causes a CFL to burn out quicker. If you have a light in your closet that is only on for less than a minute a day, then you would want an incandescent bulb for that closet light.

As people become aware of the money and energy that they can save with CFL's, they will eagerly make the switch if they figure that a CFL would in fact save them money in the application that they want to use it. But when the government steps in and makes the choice for them, it can cause more energy to be wasted in the long run. CFL's require more energy to manufacture, hence the higher cost. It is up to the consumers themselves to decide which bulb is right for them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

At least let veterans smoke in their clubs.

If smoking is to be considered a privilege and not a right, then veterans have earned that privilege. Many veterans had to work in an environment that contained substances far more hazardous than secondhand smoke. The most notorious of these is secondhand lead. Secondhand lead has been known for centuries to cause brain damage, organ failure, paralysis, and death.

Quite a few of these men were not given a choice of whether they wanted to work in that environment. You can quit a civilian job anytime you want. But it's a lot harder to get out of the military than it is to get in. So at least let veteran's clubs smoke.

Monday, December 17, 2007

New Sentinel has an interesting piece tonight

It is a front page article at the bottom of the page. You can read it here:
<http://www.mcclatchydc.com/staff/rob_hotakainen/story/23154.html>

This piece illustrates one of the things that is wrong with America and wrong with big Government Democrats and Republicans.

On Feb 19th, 2009 broadcasters will no longer be required to broadcast the old analog signals that many Americans still use; per the article 20 million homes rely on analog signals.

The Federal Government set the Feb 19th, 2009 deadline a couple of years ago in order to force broadcasters to keep broadcasting analog signals so that Americans would have time to convert to digital television.

On Feb 19th 2009 you will have three choices per the piece:
1. Get a TV with a digital tuner (Note I do not have one yet)
2. Connect to cable or satellite.
3. Purchase a converter box for $60 to $70 that will let you use your old analog TV.

Get this, Congress has authorized 1.5 billion dollars to subsidize this switch so that Americans can switch easier.

You have got to be kidding me...

Each household will be able to purchase two coupons that will save you $40 on the cost of a converter box.

Yep, you got that right, the Federal Government is directly subsidizing the boxes to help ensure that Americans get to keep watching TV.

Is there anyone who thinks this is a good idea?

Mike Sylvester

Democrats, President Bush, and the failures of Congress this year

The Democrats have utterly failed to use their majorities in Washington DC to get almost anything done. They have passed a few small bills; however, they have failed to do any of the following:

1. Force a change of direction in Iraq. In fact, we have more troops in Iraq today with a Democratic majority then we had with a Republican majority...

2. Fix the Alternative Minimum Tax. This is a sad battle that is occurring between the Dems and Reps. Basically the AMT is going to hit a whole bunch of taxpayers in the mouth this year if it is not "patched" for another year. This is something that we have known about all year, and yet nothing has been done. Our politicians are realistically considering two options and both are poor:

Option one is the one the Democrats are pushing for. In it they "patch" the AMT and they close tax loopholes and increase taxes on the rich to pay for it.

Option two is the one the Republicans are pushing for. In it they "patch" the AMT and increase the National debt.

If someone had a gun to my head I would side with the Democrats and option 1. We have got to stop "kicking the can down the road" and we have to stop increasing the National debt. That being said; option two is not the solution that should be chosen either.

The real answer is to fix the tax code and cut spending; unfortunately for America neither the Reps or Dems are willing to do this...

3. The Dems promised to "drain the swamp" and change how business was done. They have passed a couple of minor bills; however, there is no doubt that the culture of corruption continues and the Dems are just a much a part of it as the Reps. Earmark spending is rampant and the Dems are embarrassing themselves and breaking their promises...

4. One of the most basic functions of Government is to fund various programs. To date this has not been done either.

It is truly pathetic and the Dems need to get their act together because they have NOT followed through on their promises...

Mike Sylvester

NIPSCO

Well it took two weeks, five telephone calls, and three faxes for NIPSCO to change the address from the Developer to our Accounting firm.

Good grief...

Mike Sylvester

Friday, December 14, 2007

Office Update

The move into the new office is progressing; however, there are currently three problems that have irritated me. Two of the three involve large companies with HORRIBLE customer service.

My wife has been trying to change the NIPSCO account at out new office from the Developer to our business since December 3rd. The account is still in the name of the Developer. My wife has talked to NIPSCO four times and she has sent them three different faxes with various documents they have requested. NIPSCO did manage to get our deposit of nearly $300; however, they still have not managed to put the account in the name of our business... This is yet another example of why monopolies and large Government do not work well...

Our Verizon problems are mostly resolved. I ended up going without a home phone number for one week since Verizon could not figure out how to give me a new home phone number for seven days. I do have a new phone number; however, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week I got notices from Verizon telling me that my Internet service would be disconnected it if was not paid. Each time I have called Verizon and told them that the account is paid in full; however, I have a new home phone number and most likely that need to change something in my billing profile. I have called them over this issue five times this week and talked to six different people. It is still not resolved; however, the person I spoke to last (The sixth person) told me that she can see that I am getting the disconnect notices; however, she does not understand why since my account is paid in full. Supposedly she turned this over to her manager and it will be resolved within 24 hours. About 8 hours have passed so far...

I ordered office furniture from InFusion in Fort Wayne. I got the order in such that the furniture would be delivered to my office by December 4th. The furniture has not even been made at the factory yet; however, on Wednesday of this week they assured me I would get it by Monday December 17th. I called them today and they were much less certain... My computers are sitting on the floor in the office and we are splitting our time between the new office and our house.

Luckily we moved on December 3rd so that we would have about a month to get our new office setup before our busy time. We chose a month because we knew that things would go wrong. They always do...

Mike Sylvester

A little experiment

I am going to try allowing people with Open ID accounts to post comments on this blog. Some people would prefer to use the same login that they use with AOL or AIM as they do with Blogger.

I call this an experiment because I could not think of any drawbacks to allowing OpenID comments, and yet that does not mean that there are no drawbacks.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Media New Rules Public Forum Dec. 20

Local political parties come together to present "New Media, New Rules"

FORT WAYNE, In., Dec. 13 -- The Republican, Democratic and Libertarian Parties of Allen County, in conjunction with the Fort Wayne Blogger Network, are proud to present "New Media, New Rules: How candidates and constituents can maximize the power of the Internet," Thursday, December 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the Downtown Allen County Public Library.

New Media, New Rules will feature a presentation by Fort Wayne Observed founder Nathan Gotsch and a panel discussion on the significant impact of new media on the 2007 with city council members-elect Mitch Harper (also editor of Fort Wayne Observed) and Karen Goldner as well as bloggers Jeff Pruitt (Fort Wayne Left) and Dan Turkette (Fort Wayne News).

In the first part of the program, Gotsch will give citizens advice on blogging effectively in order to make sure their voices are heard by and have an impact on elected officials. He'll also discuss how candidates can develop Internet strategies that take advantage of new technologies (pointing out missed opportunities during the 2007 campaign) as well as providing tips on how to interact with political bloggers writing about their campaign.

That will be followed by the panel discussion on the impact of local blogs on this year's election and how new media is already altering the local political scene. They'll also be taking questions from the audience.

MORE INFORMATION ON THE PANELISTS:

Mitch Harper -- Harper edits the weblog Fort Wayne Observed and was elected to represent the 4th District on Fort Wayne City Council in the 2007 election

Karen Goldner -- a longtime commenter on local blogs, Goldner was elected to represent the 2nd District on Fort Wayne City Council in the 2007 election

Jeff Pruitt -- one of the contributors to the blog Fort Wayne Left, Pruitt first brought attention to the photos of Matt Kelty's infamous birthday cake, which made fun of several local Republicans

Dan Turkette -- formerly known as "Angry White Boy," Turkette was the most vociferous blogger in support of Kelty's candidacy (as well as a Kelty campaign volunteer and donor) and posted several important documents on his blog during the course of the campaign, including copies of the Articles of Indictment against Kelty and the internals from a poll commissioned by the Kelty campaign.

LPAC 2.0 turns 3

Today is the third anniversary of the convention at which the Libertarian Party of Allen County was reorganized. We have accomplished a lot, yet we still have a long way to go.

LPAC is not just a group of eggheads who sit in a coffeehouse quoting Rand and Rothbard. We do a lot with what little we have, and we are working on having more with which to do a lot with.

I think our weakest area is fundraising. It might seem ironic that lassiez-faire capitalists have trouble coming up with cash, but there it is. Earning money feels so much more right than begging for it. We'll raise more money in the future though.

Money is going to play a lesser role in the future, however. This blog doesn't cost us anything to produce and here you are reading it. But the overlap between voters and Internet users is small. Today, many voters don't use the Net and many Internet users don't vote. As the younger generation of voters starts to replace older voters, elections will be contests that take place almost entirely online. That will do more to level the playing field than campaign finance reform.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

National Party Resolution on Ron Paul

LNC resolution to Ron Paul

Party congratulates Congressman Paul for his success in spreading a message of peace, prosperity and freedom

Charleston, SC – In a meeting of the Libertarian National Committee held this weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, former Congressman Bob Barr proposed a resolution urging Congressman Ron Paul to seek the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination.

The resolution passed unanimously and is included below:

WHEREAS, the Libertarian Party and Congressman Ron Paul share many common principles for liberty and prosperity in America, and

WHEREAS, Congressman Ron Paul is a member of the Libertarian Party in good standing, and

WHEREAS, Congressman Ron Paul was previously nominated by the delegates of the Libertarian National Convention to serve as the Libertarian Party’s 1988 presidential candidate, and

WHEREAS, Congressman Ron Paul, through the efforts of his current presidential campaign, has ignited a renewed passion for liberty across America, and

WHEREAS, for over 35 years, the members of the Libertarian Party have continually fought for liberty through activism, education and the political process, and

WHEREAS, the Libertarian Party and its members have remained respectful, and in many cases, supportive of Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign seeking the Republican presidential nomination, and

WHEREAS, the Libertarian National Committee encourages competition in the race for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination and is appreciative of all candidates who make the commitment to run;

NOW THEREFORE, in the event that Republican primary voters select a candidate other than Congressman Paul in February of 2008, the Libertarian National Committee urges Congressman Ron Paul to seek the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party to be decided in Denver, Colorado during Memorial Day weekend of 2008.

FURTHERMORE, The Libertarian National Committee congratulates Congressman Paul for his success in spreading a message of peace, prosperity and freedom and also thanks the thousands of activists and supporters across the United States who have made this unprecedented success possible.

RESOLUTION ADOPTED unanimously by vote of the Libertarian National Committee, the 9th day of December 2007, in the city of Charleston, State of South Carolina, United States of America.

Some good news

A state committee recommended recommended numerous reforms to local governments. These reforms including reducing the number of local government units by over a third and appointing officials such as sheriff, coroner, and county recorder rather than electing them.

The only downside to this that I can find is that we will no longer get to hear John McGauley's radio commercials.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

New Building, the good and the bad

Purchasing and moving into a new Commercial Office space has been quite the adventure. It has taken a lot more of my (And my partner's) time then we expected.

In an earlier post I discussed some of the details about the purchase itself. Today I want to talk about some local venders who did a good job; and then some who did not do as well...

In no particular order:

New locks; went great.
I had the locks on the front and back doors re-keyed after the construction project; you never know who has a copy after construction. I got out the phone book and called AAL locksmiths. They came out within one hour and replaced both locks with locks that were keyed the same. They charged a reasonable price and did a great job.

Switching gas and electric into our Company name, was awful...
The developer had the gas and electric in his name during construction. After we took possession Karena called to get the accounts transferred into our name. This was an extremely painful process that involved three things for each account:
1. We had to fax them a bunch of information prior to them switching the account into our name. 2. They both told Karena that she either needed to drive across town that same day and drop off a deposit in person or that she had to pay a fee and do it by phone or online. Both told her that dropping a check in the mail that same day was not acceptable. NIPSCO charged us a $5.95 fee and AEP charged us a $2.95 fee to give them our deposit by phone or internet.
3. Both required a large deposit from us even though we have been their customer for almost nine years. We have never had a late payment and have paid all of our bills promptly for that entire time. NIPSCO required a $295 deposit and AEP required a deposit of $278.
I am not impressed with either company... Both illustrate what is wrong with protected monopolies...

Phone service, OK so far
We decided to use a smaller phone company, CenturyTel, for our phone service. We purchased a package deal with a three year contract. That has gone ok so far...

Porting our current home phone and fax numbers to the new business, easy to port them; difficult to get a new number from Verizon
This has been another adventure. I talked to Verizon about six weeks prior to taking possession of the building. They told me the easiest way to port my number was to wait until the day I moved and then call their 800 number and that it would be a simple matter to give us a new phone number at home. Note that I verified this with two different people at Verizon... We took possession of the building on December 3rd and CenturyTel was able to port the phone numbers on time. I am still waiting on Verizon for a new home phone number... Supposedly I will get it Monday...

New phones and phone system for office, great
We purchased an office telephone system from Overman Telephone Services out of New Haven. They did a prompt and efficient job when installing the new phone system.

New Furniture, this has been the biggest problem yet
I ordered office furniture from InFusion, an office store located downtown. I ordered the items so that they would get here in time for installation on Dec 4th. They are having problems getting the furniture from their supplier; Highpoint. It now looks like I will get it on December 18th... This has slowed things down significantly. The local distributor has been responsive; Highpoint has been terrible. I imagine they are using Just in Time manufacturing and that they missed yet again...

So some good and some bad...

Mike Sylvester

Open Thread Post: Presidetial Primary Edition!!!

Here's your chance to plug or denounce the presidential candidate of your choice, irregardless of party. Keep in mind that if Evan Bayh gets picked as a running mate, Indiana could become a swing state. The fate of this nation may hinge on a few Lake County absentee ballots getting lost in the mail, or even on someone stumbling on to this very blog! Come on, now is your chance to make history!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

My new blog is up

My new blog and business website are up. There are two issues that are still being worked on; however, it is up and running.

You can check it out at:
sbscpagroup.com

The new blog will focus on accounting, economics, our business and will NOT discuss politics.

I will post my political topics here...

Mike Sylvester

Would this work here?

Would this work here? NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo thinks this is the best thing since sliced bread....

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/06/opinion/06wed3.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&oref=slogin

http://www.sunlightny.com/snl1/app/index.jsp

"Our goal is to promote disclosure as well as to increase government's transparency and accountability to you. As James Madison, the Founding Father of the Bill of Rights observed, "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

"More transparency can only help, although the old guard won’t see it that way. As Mr. Cuomo argues correctly, it is only by revealing “the good, the bad and the ugly” that New Yorkers will start believing that somebody is telling them the truth about how their state really works."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New Office, the good...

We are moving into our new office. It is located right behind the Dupont Branch of the Allen County Public Library. It is located at 450 E Dupont Rd, Fort Wayne, IN, 46825. It is about a mile and a half from our house...

We purchased 1/4 of an office "condo." The other 3/4 is available and can be built out. The other units can be purchased or leased...

There were a few very minor hiccups; however, the people involved in constructing the building did a very good job; specifically:

John Rogers was the Developer and he did a good job.
Chris Reed at BND was the go-between and she coordiated the project and she did an awesome job.
E&V Construction was the General Contractor and they did a good job as well.
Troy Teimschisel (Sperry Van Ness) did a good job as well.

I would recommend that if you are looking to purchase a commericail building or to build one that you consider the above poeple they all did a good job!

I often find that I am writing about negative things on this blog; and I am trying to write about "good" things as well...

Mike Sylvester

Hillary Clinton calls NAFTA a mistake.

Senator Clinton now says that the North American Free Trade Agreement was a mistake. However, many credit NAFTA with the economic boom that took place during her husband's administration. Most of the frontrunners in this race, including the GOP's Mike Huckabee, are pandering to popular protectionist pressure in the presidential primary. I have singled out Mrs. Clinton for criticism because she ought to know better. But if she does the right thing and backs free trade again after the election, whether she does so as a President or a Senator, I promise that I will refrain from calling her a flip-flopper. Instead I will congratulate her on realizing her mistake and making the correction.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

My take on the New Hampshire hostage taker

A guy straps a fake bomb to his chest and says he wants to talk to Hillary Clinton about mental illness. It would seem that he has some first hand knowledge of the subject. He'll probably try to cop an insanity plea.
"Insane" is a legal term, not a psychological term. For an insanity plea to work, the defense must establish reasonable doubt regarding whether the defendant knew that taking hostages was wrong. One can be mentally ill without being insane.

Maybe the guy is insane, maybe he's faking it. I'm worried that if the jury buys his insanity plea in a high profile case such as this, it is going to inspire criminals to act bizarre in order to sell the plea.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Harrison Square: Now What?

Harrison Square supporters are encouraging the rest of us to support the project. But it's their baby, let them raise it. If the project is as good as they say it is, it does not need our help because it will attract new residents, business, and tourism. If the project is as bad as I think it is, it will fail no matter what we do.

A likely scenario is that after opening day at the ballpark, we see a huge photo of a large crowd on the front page of the Journal Gazette. The editorial page will proclaim Harrison Square to be a success. A few years after that we'll have a bunch of shiny, empty buildings and people scratching their heads and wondering why.

I'm still optimistic that Fort Wayne will continue to grow and prosper in spite of what happens downtown. The Harvester neighborhood has stagnated for the past 25 years, yet the rest of the city continues to thrive.

But I refuse to accept responsibility for what happens downtown. You all were warned.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tax Abatement 101 for City Council

Well, they are at it again...

Please read Kevin Leininger's article in the NS:
<http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071128/NEWS/711280319>

I would like to discuss granting a tax abatement to "A $4.9 million, 60-unit apartment complex to be built at 6901 Huguenard Road by Keller Development Inc., which would create one full-time job. Fifty-seven of the units would be reserved for moderate- or low-income residents."

This apartment complex will be located at the very edge of Fort Wayne away from Downtown...

The apartment complex will create ONE full time job.

And our City Council has decided allow this company to pay less in taxes and City Council has decided to pass those taxes onto the backs of the rest of Fort Wayne's business owners.

DOES ANYONE READING THIS BLOG AGREE WITH THIS TAX ABATEMENT?

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Modern Modest Proposal

All this talk of universal healthcare is small potatoes. Let's get back to basics. Americans spend more per capita on healthcare than any other country, but they spend even more money on something even more important: food! Let's nationalize the food and beverage industry. The government should be completely responsible for all food production AND preparation. Consider:
  • Economies of Scale: It would far more efficient for a government meal hall to provide food for 1000 people than it is for those 1000 people to provide for themselves.
  • Public Health: All you fat Americans are clearly ill equipped to make your own nutritional choices. Plus you could stand to get some exercise working on a collective farm.
  • Cost: Why spent $200 buying food at the grocery store when for just $50 extra in taxes, you could be eating what everyone else is eating!
  • Advertising: The restaurant industry spends billions on advertising, yet this programs sells itself! No more annoying McDonald's commercials! The Taco Bell dog is an enemy of the people!

For those who do not get the literary reference, click here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Online schools

This year, the state legislature voted to ban any state funding for online charter schools. That was a mistake. Online schools can provide an education at a much lower cost than a brick and mortar school. There are some obvious drawbacks, but it is still shortsighted to rule them out completely. As technology progresses, the advantages increase and the disadvantages decrease. Consider these previous arguments against online schools:
  • "Lower income children cannot attend online schools." The price of Internet access continues to decline, and many public libraries offer Internet access for free.
  • "It's easy to cheat in an online course." There are measures, such as webcams, that can be taken in order to verify that a student is in fact doing the work. Students can also study online and take the tests in person, as is the practice with many university courses that are currently available.
  • "Kids don't learn social skills." Many kids don't learn social skills at school anyway. In fact, school massacres can be prevented by having the brainiac sociopath types stay home and have them study online. Many teenagers simply are not fit to enter society until puberty is over.

The advantages are as obvious as the drawbacks. Money is saved on infrastructure, transportation, and textbooks. Many kids learn better by reading than they do from a lecture. Education has been quick to adopt other technological advances. I've watched schools go from using film projectors to VCR's. Let's apply the Internet to its full potential to the educational process.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Politicians and past drug use

Barack Obama has admitted to using drugs as a teenager. I appreciate his honesty, assuming he did in fact use drugs as a teenager. Its only a matter of time before a politician is accused of fabricating drug use. ("He wasn't at Jezebel's party that night we all smoked that bowl," alleged the chairman of Potheads For Truth. "He was at home, STUDYING! How can a square like him be president?")

Seriously, I have never used illegal drugs, and I would advise everyone else from using illegal drugs as well. I also advise you all to keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. I do not think that past drug use or lack of a fire extinguisher disqualifies you from ever becoming president. You cannot make it to the age of 35 without making some mistakes along the way.

The dollar falls further

At its worst point yesterday the dollar fell to $1.4968 per Euro.

Do not expect to see front page coverage of this in the local newspapers. Do not expect to see an in depth report on the local TV news. Do not expect either Republican or Democratic presidential hopefuls to discuss this in detail. Do not expect our own Congressman, Mark Souder, to have a plan for dealing with this issue...

In short, expect the mainstream media and our politicians to continute to ignore the fall of the dollar...

Here is a good article about how the fall of the dollar is effecting Airbus:
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7108146.stm>

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

To All,

I hope everyone has a great holiday and gets stuffed!

I intend to pack in as much low carb food as I possibly can.

On a serious note please take a moment to appreciate what we have and be truly thankful. As much as I as a Libertarian gripe about things I still love my country, my state, and even my city. There are folks around the world and even in this country who have very little to be thankful for compared to those of us fortunate enough to read this blog. I know. I drive some of them.

Respectfully,

Doug

PS - Stay warm and dry too!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The dollar continues its drop

The dollar fell to 1.4814 dollars per Euro today.

Do not expect to hear as much about this from the mainstream media as it warrants. The erosion of the value of the dollar is a huge deal and is not good for America.

The dollar has dropped so far that it is now likely that both Japan and China will start shifting away from holding the massive amount of dollars they hold and switch to a "basket" of currencies. This will of course make the dollar fall even farther...

OPEC has again started talking about switching from the dollar. I do not expect this to happen; our government will put a lot of pressure on our allies in OPEC to keep using the dollar.

So do not expect this topic to get the attention it should from Presidential candidates, the mainstream media, etc...

Mike Sylvester

Homeland Security is out of control

This post has been simmering for quite awhile...

There is a new sign down in the basement parking lot under the Fort Wayne Allen County Library downtown. It is a professional sign that the library was required to post by Homeland Security. It says:

"You have one half an hour past closing time to remove your vehicle from the garage or it will be towed."

This is absolutely incredible. This is a good example of what The Department of Homeland Security is spending taxpayer dollars on to protect this country.

This regulation appears to be in place to prevent "terrorists" from leaving a car loaded with explosives in the parking garage below the library and leave it in the parking lot past closing. What on Earth are these "people" at Homeland Security thinking?

I have a lot of problems with this:

1. First of all I have a hard time believing the downtown Fort Wayne Library is a terrorist target.
2. Second no cars are searched upon entering the parking garage. So there is nothing in place to prevent a "terrorist" from parking in the parking garage duing the day and blowing their car up while the library is full of people rather then at night after everyone has gone home.


I could just go on and on...

Homeland Security is wasting my tax dollars.

If Homeland Security wants to protect America they need to secure the borders of this country and document the 12 million illegal aliens living in this country.

Mike Sylvester

Monday, November 19, 2007

Nancy Pelsoi and some Democrats do NOT get it

You have to read this article from the WSJ Online:
<http://opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110010881>

This article discusses the fact that some Democrats (Including the Hispanic Caucus and now Nancy Pelosi) want to keep allowing the EEOC to process lawsuits against American business owners who require their employees to speak English.

Over 200 such lawsuits were filed by the EEOC last year against American companies.

My wife and I own a company in Fort Wayne. It is an accounting firm.

Apparently the EEOC can sue me and my wife if we choose not to hire a potential employee because they do not speak English or if we were to fire an existing employee because they do not speak English.

This is wrong.

Our clients speak English, we speak English, and I feel that our employees should speak English.

What is America coming to?

Is there ANYONE who reads this blog who thinks that the EEOC should sue employers who require their employees to speak English?

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Feds raid Liberty Services

Last week the FBI raided the office of Liberty Services, a private organization that produced its own currency. It should be pointed out that it is not illegal to produce privately-issued currency. Liberty Services has been openly operating since 1998. The group is being investigated for fraud and money laundering, although I have not yet read what Liberty Services has allegedly done that was fraudulent.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Colts

My wife and are heading heading down to the game tomorrow. My mother got us tickets for Christmas and we in turn got two additional tickets for my brother-in-law and father-in-law who we will meet down at the game.

My father-in-law got into Chicago today from Germany. He is an ex-pat who has come back to visit for a couple of weeks...

Mike

LPAC Public Access Programs

To All,

I would like to share with everyone a brief history of our Public Access programming here in Fort Wayne. It is important for everyone who is interested in politics and may want to learn more about the Libertarian Party.

Several months after the Libertarian Party was reformed in Allen County I was skimming channels when I saw a gentleman doing his own program on Public Access. I mentioned this at a meeting and thought it was something I could do. As many folks who have met me know I can talk for hours and have more than my karmic share of hot air. Jeannette Jaquish had done some public access work in another city and was happy to help.

We investigated how the process works in Allen County and the two of us began co-producing "The Libertarian Perspective". This was and remains a half-hour program. My criteria for topics was, and still is, anything of political or social importance. I determine what that is exactly, but I am open to suggestions and try to be reasonable with the topics. When the show first aired we were successful at airing it weekly. As time passed I began to fall behind trying to line up programs.

Elizabeth Lord, who works for Public Access, gently put forward the idea that we go to a bi-weekly program. After seeing how hard it was to do a weekly program I readily agreed.

Somewhere in here I became interested in doing a live show. I wanted to do something that would allow us to interact with the public and try to respond to questions and clarify positions. We then began airing "Libertarians at Large" on the third Thursday of every month from 7PM - 8PM.

Jeannette had to drop out when she began the Firehouse Theater on State Street. She does an excellent job with that.

On the "Libertarians at Large" program I keep my guests to Libertarian party members. I do this because I want the public to understand the Libertarian view on issues as the public asks questions.

Over the last several years we have won the Philo T Farnsworth award for political, informative, non-professional programming. We have covered such topics as: the Fair Tax plan, AIDs, stem cell research, property taxes and how they are determined, Harrison Square, eduction, sheriffs candidates, and many more.

I know I can always improve. I am learning every time I go to shoot a program. I also need to put in a plug for the great volunteers who man the cameras, adjust the audio, direct, answer the phone, and many other services they provide. Without the volunteers Public Access would not work.

If anyone would care to suggest a guest or topic I would be more than happy to hear from you. Lord knows I can use all the help I can get.

I hope to continually improve the program. It has been an outreach tool that has helped to share our message with people who may not fully understand who Libertarians are and what we stand for (and what we stand against).

Feel free to ask any questions you want and stay tuned!

Respectfully,

Doug Horner (L)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Troll comment of the week

Conventional wisdom holds that it is best to ignore troll posts. But where's the fun in that? My words are in red.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The "Karen" who posted this is not Councilwoman-elect Karen Goldner.

Karen comments on "Libertarians At Large Tomorrow":

I watched the show on channel 57 yesterday evening. I have to ask you..how in the world do you expect to win much of anything, when you bring people on your show that don't exhibit the self respect to wear appropriate attire. For the two of you that tried to wear a suit, it appears that you "got" (I hesitate to use the word buy here) the (for lack of a better word) suit, at some goodwill store and never tried to make the clothes fit.

Many politicians do not always wear suits. Have you ever been to a candidate forum? In 2006 I attended a candidate forum and I was the only candidate wearing a suit.
Also, there is nothing wrong with secondhand clothes. It saves natural resourses to buy used instead of new.

And that Horner guy....geeze what a flake huh...it's hard to take you seriously when you have inflated ego that has no substance.

To say that a politician has an inflated ego is like saying that a wheel is round. A wheel needs to be round in order for it to fufill its function. A politician needs an inflated ego in order to make policies that impact the lives of thousands of people.

For god sakes get hair cut, or at least even up both sides. ...it's hard to take you seriously when you look like a clown...that goes for all of you....Especially the junkie looking guy,Fuller.

Mr. Fuller is visually impaired. He is unable to drive a car because of this impairment, and his eyes do not always face in the same direction. His appearance is not due to substance abuse.

No matter what you think you're trying to do ...you are not doing anything but making it worse. Please try and clean yourselves up.. Take pride in your appearance if you honestly expect to represent anyone other than your cat. Then maybe once you get to the point where you're not offensive to look upon, someone may want to try and listen to what you have to say. But from what I've seen...I doubt it.

Ever since the Kennedy-Nixon debates, a lot of emphasis has been placed on the physical appearance of candidates. To this day, I wonder if the fate of this nation and the world at large is going to hinge on a qualified presidential candidate having a bad hair day. Many voters place style over substance. Perhaps we should start nominating fashion models?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mayor requests a $10,000 raise for next year

Please read this story:
<http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071115/LOCAL/711150307>

Wow...

City employees get a 3% raise, our current Mayor wants the next Mayor to get an 8% raise.

I actually think the Mayor should make a fair amount of money. I think the $120,000 the Mayor currently makes is sufficient.

I have one question about this that you will not hear from the press...

Why did our current Mayor wait until AFTER the election to announce this request?

Inquiring minds want to know...

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

LPAC November Business Meeting

To All,

A reminder that our November business meeting is coming up.

Who: Libertarians and the public are invited
What: Monthly Business Meeting
Where: Acme Bar & Grill - 1101 E State Blvd
When: 6:30PM Meet & Greet + Food & Beer! 7PM - Begin Meeting
Why: Share information and plan for upcoming events

I will have a sign in sheet at the door so please sign in.

If you have any questions or get lost call me at 704 - 4698.

Also if anyone has any of my yard signs left feel free to bring them. It will save me a trip and I really appreciate it!

Respectfully,

Doug Horner (L)
Secretary, LPAC

Libertarians At Large Tomorrow

To All,

This is just a reminder that our television program will be airing tomorrow evening from 7PM - 8PM on Cable Chanel #57.

My guests will be Jon Bartels and Robert Fuller, both candidates in the last city council race.

We will be discussing our own campaigns and our own personal plans for future campaigns.

Call In and join us!!!

Respectfully,

Doug Horner (L)
Secretary, Libertarian Party of Allen County

Point to ponder about the Smoking Ban

This is a reprint from a comment made by the profile Ken Stocker. I wanted to draw attention to it because it gives a specific account of what has happened to one bar. I think it is something worth reading in spite of anyone's person, political and economic reasons aside.


On Saturday night, Oct 27, the local band I’m a member of played a gig at 4D’s Bar and Grill on Dupont Road. 4D’s was once a thriving nightclub establishment, but no longer. It is dying. And the one reason that is causing it, the smoking ban. While playing, I was observing the effects of the smoking ban first hand, and felt compelled to write about it. After our musical stint was over, I had a discussion with the owner of the establishment, Hamid Moftahedi. Hamid gave me full permission to express publicly what he had to describe, and my observations of things that had taken place. I do not know Hamid apart from being hired to play at his bar, and it was me who approached him about this issue. Let’s just say he was more than willing to let me know how he felt.

Hamid bought 4D’s from four men who started the place a year and a half ago, and whose names all began with a D, hence the name. After the purchase, renovations were made that replaces all the furniture, remodeled the décor, and added a band stage. A sound system was added, along with a dance floor and a disco lighting setup. People were coming and the place was making a profit. But on October 1, the city annexed the land area where 4D’s was located, and the smoking ban went into effect. Once that occurred, patronage went way down.

We have played there several times before, and last night the crowd size was one quarter of the typical nights. I asked the door attendant if this was the trend since the ban and he confirmed. In order to combat this, Hamid invested $40,000 dollars in building an outdoor hut behind the main building to provide a place for people to have a smoke. Most of the patrons that did come to 4D’s entered the front door, and made a bee line right out to the smoking hut, never even bothering to grab an indoor table. Hamid stated that this is not working for him however. It is not an environment where people want to order food and drinks. He said that people have commented it’s like going out for a night on the town in your garage.

And I agree with him. I went out there to see for myself. Due to construction requirements, it’s real breezy from the waist down, and your head is up in the warm pocket of air above the open frame of the wall. But guess what, the smoke is still there. The pocket of air can’t be circulated, because if it were, the heat would be lost. I observed groups of people out there where only a few of them were smoking. The rest were not, but went out to the patio in deference to their friends. So, in the end everyone is still smoking, still in a smoky atmosphere, their non smoking friends are with them, the only difference is that they are now standing in a drafty garage instead of the nice, interior where a nice décor, dance floor, and band have been provided. I ask what has been gained by this? But I do know what was lost. Hamid is out $40,000 dollars in an attempt to keep his clientele. But he has found it to have been futile. The expense of heating this outdoor room will become prohibitive in the colder months, and to boot, the people out there are not buying food or drink. Even though he did a nice job aesthetically, the open-air requirements just don’t allow for a comfortable experience.

People are going to stop going to these establishments, because the thrill is gone. With only a small group, it is not lively. When you have a room full of people, it take on a life of it’s own. People behave differently in a large gathering as opposed to a small group. It is just like the difference in watching a blockbuster movie in a crowded theatre verses seeing it in a theatre with 15 other people all spread out. The collective experience is not there. And that is what happened last night. Those that were in the room applauded for us politely, but for the most part sat calmly in their chairs. There were not enough people to get the spark going. There was back in September when we last played. Without the crowd dynamic, that experience is gone. And the few that did come, are going to soon stop as well. They are going to follow the crowds, right out of town.

New City Council might modify smoking ban.

Of the five city council members who were re-elected, Tom Didier voted against the ban and Glynn Hines supported an exemption for private clubs.
This is how the four new city council members stand.
Bender- Against the ban
Harper- Against the ban
Goldner- Wants an exemption for bars.
Brown- Intially supported the ban, but opposes repealing it on the ground that several bars had spent money building outdoor patios. I do wonder what she would think if she were lobbied by bar owners like Byron Peters who had built patios but still want the ban repealed.

By my count, there will be a 5-4 to grant an exemption to private clubs, or a 5-3-1 vote to grant an exemption to bars.

Fort Wayne now grants a Subway a tax abatement

Jeff Pruitt over at Fort Wayne Left, has a post and commentary that you just have to read about the most recent actions of our City Council:
<http://fortwayneindiana.blogspot.com/2007/11/move-over-mcdonalds-here-comes-subway.html>

Our City Council does NOT understand Economic Development.

A couple of decades ago Fort Wayne residents enjoyed a wage that was just over the average National wage.

Today the average wage in this region is 80% of the national wage.

And for the second time in the last few weeks our City Council has granted a tax abatement to a fast food restaurant.

This will transfer $450,000 of taxes from Subway to other businesses in Fort Wayne.

Is there ANYONE who reads this blog that thinks the City of Fort Wayne should have granted a tax abatement to Subway?

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Anonymous comments

After consulting with Mike, I have decided to ban anonymous comments. In the past I have allowed them because there were readers who had well thought out comments to post, but for whatever reason did not know how to set up a Blogger account. From now on, if you have something to say in this forum, feel free to email me with "Reader Mail" in the subject line. I will post these comments myself if I think that they are worthy of posting. I hope to have "Reader Mail" as a regular feature since that means less content that I have to write myself.

We try to maintain a standard of decorum on this forum. At the same time, if you trolls aren't allowed to post your drivel, you'll just go out and deface a bathroom stall. So as an outlet for your creativity, I will continue to allow anonymous comments on "Blog of the Enders". I posted an open thread there just now, so knock yourselves out!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pakistan illustrates several problems

I am sure most of the readers of this blog know what is happening in Pakistan. The US has been supporting the current ruler of Pakistan for quite some time. We give him about 1 billion dollars a year and he is somewhat helping us deal with forces we are fighting in Afghanistan.

The President of Pakistan is a moderate who has been fairly friendly to the US.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan was recently disbanded and "martial law" was declared. The President of Pakistan is using the military to enforce his will on the people and has imposed emergency measures and suspended the Constitution.

To make a long story short he has become a dictator and is trying to stamp out the resistance to him being President.

This is a terrible situation and one that we should not stand for. We do not need to get involved with our military (for obvious reasons) however we should take a stronger diplomatic stand.

I think this situation should illustrate a couple of things for the readers of this blog.

First and foremost it illustrates why we must always ensure that the citizenry of this Country is well armed. You never know when a group of idiots will rise to power and we must always ensure that we can remove them if need be...

Second it helps illustrate what is wrong with our foreign policy. Our foreign policy has been terrible for the last forty years. We support leaders who "marginally" support us and we support countries because they are the "lesser of two evils." This has got to stop.

We need to immediately and drastically reduce foreign aid and we need to only aid those countries that are Democratic and that are our strong allies.

Mike Sylvester

Veterans Day

Veterans Day has always had a special significance for me.

My father was in the US Army at the end of World War Two and was discharged in 1953.

I had five Uncles when I was growing up (All are gone now) and four of the five served in the US military.

I have a total of four first cousins. Of those four; three served in the US military (One is still serving and will most likely make a career of it).

I spent six years on active duty myself.

When I go to family re-unions well over 80% of the men at those re-unions are military veterans and we often discuss where we served and what branch we were in. I was in the navy; most of my family served in the army...

I always reflect on the history of this country and the importance of its military on Veterans Day.

Since Viet-Nam, this nation has been divided on many, many topics. Prior to the Viet-Nam conflict this Country pulled together; since Viet-Nam conflicts have tore us apart.

I support the US military, I always have, and I always will. I feel that our military is one of the main reasons that our Country is free and I feel that our military has helped make the world a better place.

I do not like some of the conflicts this Country has engaged in and I do not like the current conflict in Iraq at all. I feel that we need to either "take the gloves off" and let our military fight like we have in past wars or that we need to pull out relatively quickly.

Unfortunately I think that we will stay in Iraq and that we will not "take the gloves off."

I am disappointed that our political (and sometimes military) leadership has fought this conflict poorly and I am disappointed in the political rhetoric that has been bantered back and forth between the Republicans and Democrats to "score political points" with the voters.

I hope that our men and women in uniform are safe from harm and I hope that our military is given the respect that it deserves.

Mike Sylvester

My new blog

I will launch my new blog in the next couple of days.

My new blog will be geared towards the business my wife and I run, accounting, taxes, and business valuations mostly. The new blog will NOT be political in nature.

I will continue making my political posts on this blog!

Mike Sylvester

Friday, November 09, 2007

Currency Exchange rates and how they effect you

Exchange rates are extremely important. The value of the US dollars is rapidly dropping and our politicians do not seem to care at all. This should be one of the main issues the Presidential candidates are addressing; however, it is not.

I want to start this post by talking about exchange rates. Exchange rates are extremely important and many people do not understand them.

My father-in-law moved to Germany about a year and a half ago. When he moved to Germany the exchange rate was $1.18 to one Euro. Yesterday the exchange rate was $1.45 to one Euro. Unfortunately for my father-in-law and his wife they are civilians who work for the US military and they are paid in US dollars. This means that their purchasing power has dropped by almost 23% since they moved to Germany. So if $100 used to buy 30 Big Macs in Germany, today the exact same $100 in Germany would buy 24.4 Big Macs (As long as the price of a Big Macs has stayed the same in Germany). It sucks to be my father-in-law in Germany.

From 1945 – the 1990’s the United States maintained a strong currency policy and it had been one of the goals of our Economic and monetary policy to keep the US dollar strong in relation to other currencies. This has changed over the last decade (Due to actions by both Republicans and Democrats).

Our currency is plummeting in value for several reasons:
1. The Fed recently cut interest rates twice.
2. Inflation has been increasing somewhat.
3. We have a massive trade deficit that is increasing each year.
4. Our economy is expected to grow very slowly and several other countries in the
world are expected to grow much more quickly (China, India, and Russia lead the
way).
5. The sub-prime mortgage crisis has had a significant effect on our currency.

There is one factor that helps keep our exchange rate from dropping even further:
1. A large and consistent budget deficit.

In December of 1998 it took $.847 to purchase one Euro. Today it costs $1.45 to purchase on Euro. The purchasing value of the dollar vs the Euro has declined by over 71% in less then nine years. The European Union, a collection of mostly Socialist Countries, is “kicking the crap out of the US” from an economic standpoint. This is a massive development and I will bet that most of you have read nothing about it in the mainstream media.

The Federal Reserve has a great document about exchange rates; I suggest you read it:
http://www.chicagofed.org/consumer_information/strong_dollar_weak_dollar.cfm

The weakening of the dollar should terrify Americans. It should terrify Americans because our annual budget deficit is financed mainly by China and Japan. If China and Japan decide to stop purchasing US treasuries then we will be in huge trouble… That time is coming in my opinion…

The weak dollar has the following effect:
1. It helps those US companies with operations in the US who export products
overseas.
2. It should entice more tourists from foreign countries to come to the US (This has
not been the case to date).
3. It entices foreign investors to purchase US companies and assets.
4. Consumers face higher prices on foreign products (Except China since they
pegged their currency to ours).
5. It really hurts Americans traveling and living abroad.

Our politicians in Washington DC just do NOT understand what they are doing…

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Congress and Mark Souder do NOT get it

It is not often that I agree with President Bush. President Bush has found his veto pen and has started trying to restore a little fiscal sanity in Washington D.C. It is too little, too late; however, at least he has decided to try and cut a small amount of spending.

His most recent veto is of the proposed WRDA (Water Resources Development Act.)

A little history is needed to analyze this bill.

The WRDA is a bill that used to be passed each year and provided a list of projects (often earmarks) that the Federal Government will spend money on. Many of these projects involve rivers, wetlands, and flooding.

From 1997 – 2000 the WRDA was passed once per year. The average Bill was for 1.71 Billion dollars.

In 2000 President Clinton took exception to the size of the WRDA Bill when it was a “measly” 1.376 Billion dollars.

Since 2000 a WRDA bill has not been signed into law. This has to be blamed on the Republican controlled Congress and Senate in 2001-2006.

This has caused a large backlog of projects to build up. If you adjusted for inflation one would expect the 2007 WRDA to be 14.5 billion dollars since it is a bill covering 2001 – 2007.

The Democrat controlled House came up with a bill costing 15 billion and the Democrat controlled senate came up with a bill costing 14 billion. Once everything is considered this spending is in line with past spending.

So the bill was discussed in a committee between the two and it grew to 23 billion dollars. This is a completely absurd figure and one that no fiscal conservative could support since we are already running a sizable budget deficit and we have large fiscal problems (Medicare and Social Security) looming in the next few decades.

Believe it or not; this bill has broad bi-partisan support and easily passed both Houses this year.

President Bush wisely vetoed it; the House over-rode his veto yesterday and the Senate over-rode his veto today. Almost every Democrat voted to over-ride the veto AND a MAJORITY of Big Government Republicans voted to over-ride the veto as well!

Mark Sounder (R) is our Representative. He is defending the Bill and voted with Nancy Pelosi yet again. You can read his comments in the JG:
http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071106/NEWS03/711060329/1002/LOCAL

Mark Souder is a big government Republican if I ever saw one. He consistently votes for larger government and is proud of it.

Do any of the readers of this blog remember the negative attack adds Congressman Souder ran against Tom Hayhurst where he said that Tom Hayhurst would vote with Nancy Pelosi?

The bill has a grand total of 7 million dollars that will be spent in Mark Souder’s Congressional District. That is why he supports the Bill…

Mark Souder needs to take a refresher course in math!

Lets look at this, if you divide 23 billion (Total cost of the Bill) by 7 million that results in .0304347%.

There are 435 Congressional Districts in the US. That means that if the money in the WRDA were split evenly among all of the Congressional Districts each District would get .229885% of the money.

So we are getting 13.24% as much as we should if the money were split evenly.

Projects like this should be funded by local Government and not the Federal government.

Mark Souder needs to be voted out of office in 2008. I am sick and tired of him voting for larger and larger government.

Mike Sylvester

There is good news about media coverage today

One good thing about coverage today in the media, to tout our own horn, is a front page story about the Libertarian's performance in the election on Tuesday:

http://www.fortwayne.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/SE/20071108/NEWS/711080324

Also, tonight on Indiana News Center WPTA/WISE, Nicole Pence has a piece on the Libertarian Party of Allen County. It will begin airing for the night at 5:00 p.m. and will be available online after the last newscast tonight.