Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another poll for my blog, this time it is about "Global Warming."

You may vote in this poll once per day.

Global Warming has been in the headlines A LOT recently.

The "Global Warming" debate has become, for some reason I just cannot understand, 100% political in America.

Democrats often think that Global Warming is a real problem and that is is being made worse by mankind. Republicans often think that Global Warming is not a big problem.

A lot of respected scientists are on both sides of this issue...

I do not have a strong opinion on this issue. I have read several reports from those on both sides if this issue; in my humble opinion both sides bring up some good points. If I had to guess, I would say that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

I do NOT know enough about the topic to have a strong opinion; yet, MANY people who have read far less on the subject then I cling to one view or the other view.

What do you think about Global Warming?

Mike Sylvester

Poll for Fort Wayne Mayor

Since I posted the last poll new entrants have entered the Republican Primary for mayor of Fort Wayne.

This poll has had a larger response then most of my previous polls.

As always, this is not a scientific poll.

There were 243 votes:
31% or 75 votes for Matt Kelty
69% or 168 votes for Nelson Peters

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Indiana Republicans once again prove they are for bigger Government

Check out this story from the Indy Star:

House passes minimum wage increase

By J.K. Wall
jk.wall@indystar.com

Twenty Republicans joined Democrats in approving a hike to the state's minimum wage today in the Indiana House of Representatives.

House Bill 1027, which passed 71 to 29, would require employers to pay at least $7.50 an hour by September 2008. The current minimum wage is $5.15 an hour.The bill would also double the deduction allowed on the state inheritance tax for direct ancestors and descendants.In the Indiana Senate, the bill will be sponsored by two Republicans, Sen. Richard Bray, R-Martinsville, and Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, as well as two Democrats, Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, and Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary.Both Gov. Mitch Daniels and Senate President Pro Tem David Long have said they support an increase.The state bill would supercede a federal effort, which is currently being debated by the Senate in Washington. That bill would raise the minimum wage to $7.25 by January 2009.

Does ANYONE who reads this blog still think that The Republican Party stands for smaller Government and fewer regulations? This bill, which is supported by Mitch Daniels and President Pro Tem of the Senate David Long (Republicans both) will raise the minimum wage HIGHER then The Democrats are about to raise it at the Federal level.

Good grief.

What do you think Tim Zank, Andrew Kaduk, and AWB?

Mike Sylvester



Monday, January 29, 2007

Libertarian for President

Below is a Press Release from Christine Smith. Christine Smith is running for the Libertarian Presidential nomination in 2008. Please take the time to check her website out!

I would like to introduce myself to Indiana Libertarians.

As Libertarian candidate for president, I am interested in hearing from you regarding the federal issues which concern you most. I am receptive to listening to your ideas as well as constructive criticism. I am also very interested in learning more about the Indiana LP and your individual county chapters, and invite Indiana Libertarians to contact me.

Thus, I invite you to my campaign website:

http://www.LibertarianForPresident.com

I look forward to hearing from you...talking with you...and hopefully meeting many of you during my campaign travel.

Christine Smith

Paid for by Christine Smith for President

15400 W. 64th Ave., E9-105
Arvada, Colorado 80007
(303) 532-4185

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Moving day

I want to thank my many friends who helped me move my mother today!

We moved my mother into her new place.

We started moving at 9 AM and we were done around 3 PM...

Karena and I stayed until 10 PM to arrange and assemble the furniture and organize the garage...

THANKS.

I am going to bed.

I have proved once again that I am an overweight, out-of-shape, middle-aged, guy...

Mike Sylvester

Friday, January 26, 2007

Pelosi and her first hundred hours

It is over and in the books.

Was the first hundred hours a success or failure for The Democrats?

It took the Democrats about 87 hours to pass the six bills they promised during the 2006 election... The did get all of the bills passed in a timely fashion.

They refused to allow The Republicans to participate in the legislative process... This is 100% disappointing. One of the main Democratic pledges was that they would rule in a bi-partisan fashion. This has NOT been the case so far.

Lets look at their six bills.

1. They promised to make ALL of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission into law. They passed a 278 page bill with a vote of 299 in favor vs 128 against. This Bill will enact most of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission; however, it does not enact one of the changes the 9/11 Commission wanted the most. It does NOT change the way oversight is done by Congress. About 1/3 of the Republicans voted for this Bill. Mark Souder voted against it.

I will say The Dems kept this promise; however, it is disappointing that they kept about 80% of the promise rather then 100% of their promise.

2. They promised to increase the Minimum wage. They passed a three page bill with a vote of 315 in favor and 116 against. This Bill raises the Minimum Wage in all fifty states. For some really stupid reason the Dems decides to increase the Minimum wage in The Northern Marianas Islands and NOT to increase the Minimum wage in American Somoa. This was dirty politics and anyone who looks into the matter knows it. Nancy Pelosi made a mistake with this one... If they are going to raise the minimum wage for one US Territory they should raise it for all US Territories... About 40% of the Republicans voted for this one. Mark Souder voted against it.

They actually passed a three page bill, and this is a GOOD thing.

I will say The Dems kept this promise; however, they made a mistake by including one territory that used to be exempt and then excluded another US territory that used to be exempt.

3. They promised to expand Federal Stem Cell Research. They passed a three page Bill with a vote of 253 in favor and 174 against. Most Republicans voted against this Bill. Mark Souder voted against the Bill.

The Democrats kept this promise 100% AND they limited the Bill to three pages. Impressive to say the least.

4. The Democrats promised to pass a Bill that would allow the Government to negotiate with the Drug Companies for bulk discounts. They passed a three page Bill with a vote of 255 in favor and 170 against. Most Republicans voted against this Bill. Mark Souder voted against this Bill.

The Democrats kept this promise and they limited the Bill to three pages. Impressive.

5. The Democrats promised to cut the interest rates on Student Loans. This is an 11 page Bill. This Bill passed with 356 in favor and 71 opposed. About 60% of the Republicans voted in favor of this Bill. Mark Souder voted against this Bill.

This Bill is poorly written. It SLOWLY lowers the interest rates over several years. It certainly does NOT immediately cut the student loan interest rates in half.

The Democrats made a feeble attempt at this Bill and did not quite keep this promise.

6. The Dems promised to end some subsidies to big oil and to invest that money in renewable energy. This is a 14 page Bill. It passed 264 - 163. Most Republicans voted against this Bill. Mark Souder voted against this Bill.

The Democrats kept this promise.

All in all I have to say that The Democrats kept five of their six promises for Bills they waited to pass, they did it in less then 100 hours; however, they rammed the Bills through and used the same tactics that they promised NOT to use.

Overall I have to say The Democrats kept most of their initial promises...

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Kevin Leininger

Kevin wrote a great article entitled "Post-smoking ban, what can we expect for encore?"

You can read the full article here:
<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/news/local/16543151.htm>

The article includes some quotes he got from an email I sent him yesterday. It is a great article and I suggest you read it.

The only think about the article that is not correct is that I am no longer the Chair of the LPAC! I stepped down and Jennifer Griggs is our new Chair. Jennifer will do a great job!

This smoking ban is a property rights issue and should SCARE every small business owner in Fort Wayne. I know it scares me and my small business. I know it scares that vast majority of my clients who are small businesses as well. What will our elected officials think of next?

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Eric Dondero posted a comment that is deserving of your attention

A couple of days ago I posted an entry entitled "Fort Wayne Smoking Ban, another step backwards ."

In this post I correctly point out that both Republicans and Democrats tend to stand for larger government and more regulation. This is an indisutable fact... You can scroll down and read that post if you are interested...

The 8th comment is from Eric Dondero. Eric Dondero is from Texas and he thinks that Democrats are evil and Republicans are good...

I do NOT feel that is the case.

This "smoking ban" is the brain child of local Republicans...

I have put Eric's comment in italics for your reading pleasure... My comments are in red.

Goddamit Mike. Stop with this Democrats and Republicans are the same Bullshit! Enough already. If you and other Libertarians continue to promulgate that horrible myth we will severely lose our liberties. Really? So under Republicans we will not have the Terry Schiavo debacle when the Federal government wanted to interfere with the States? Under Republicans we will not have a "do not fly list" with dead people, active duty members of the military, US Senators, etc? Under Republicans we will not EXPAND Federal involvement in education? You have got to be kidding me...

Republicans ARE MUCH MUCH MUCH BETTER THAN EVEN THE BEST DEMOCRATS, with only a tiny handful of exceptions. (Maybe Bill Richardson, and Joe Lieberman?) Really? Which political Party pushed through the expanded prescirption drug benefit for seniors? Which Party expanded the ue of earmarks? I could go on and on.

In Anchorage, it was the Democrats who viciously attacked us Libertairan petitioners back in Oct/Nov. to block us from getting signatures to repeal the smoking ban. If this is true then I would oppose those Democrats. Note in Indiana it was the Indiana REPUBLICAN Party who did not allow several Libertarian candidates to run in the 2006 electiondue to a small loophole in Indiana Code created by REPUBLICANS.

It was City Councilwoman Anna Fairclough (now a state legislator) and another Republican who BRAVELY stood up against the Democrat onslaught to pass the smoking bans in bars and bingo halls. Good. Then you should support them.

And then there's Montana, Missouri, Nevada, and Oregon last year where the mother-'f'ing Democrats blocked us libertarian petititioners from gathering signatures for property rights at college campuses, grocery stores and post offices.I literally had one Democrat SOB with the AARP follow me for 2 days in Butte yelling and screaming at anyone who was willing to sign my petition. My friend Jake Wittmer of the Libertarian Party had 12 (!!!!!!!!) 12 friggin' Democrat Goons blocking him on Primary Day in front of the Butte Civic Center from gathering signatures. That is unfortunate, and if true, it is VERY wrong and I would oppose those Democrats.

DEMOCRATS ARE THE ENEMY OF ALL LIBERTARIANS!!!! No, they are not. You need to look past Parties. There are SOME ideas that I agree with Republicans on and some I agree with Democrats on and some I agree with neither on. You need to grow up and realize that nothing is as absolute as you perceive it!

They MUST BE DEFEATED BY LIBERTARIANS. Stop with this complete and utter bullshit line that Republicans are just as bad. The truth can be painful Eric. Republicans ARE just as bad.

Keep mouthing that BS Sylvester, and you will lose a great many of your libertarian friends and allies in your efforts!!! Really? I have never met you Eric. IN the past I have encountered you on email lists and other online forums. Sometimes your arguments are reasoned and make good sense; sometimes they are like this rant...

Which Libertarian friends and allies will I lose if I get mad at my local elected officials for passing a smoking ban.

The ban was started by our County Commissioners, all three of which are Republicans.

It was voted into effect by FOUR big Government Republicans and THREE big Government Democrats...

Eric Dondero, CEOMainstreamLibertarian.com
Former Senior Aide US Congressman Ron Paul
Former Libertarian National CommitteemanFounder, Republican Liberty Caucus

Mike Sylvester

What do you all think of Eric Dondero and his comment? I think maybe he has been listening to Sean Hannity too long...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Senator Web's response to the SOTU

Senator Webb gave an interesting response.

It is extremely disturbing that he thinks we need to throw even more money at New Orleans. This is WRONG.

He did a pretty good job as far as foreign policy and he has a lot of credibility on this issue.

His comments about economic imblance were interesting; however, he porposed no solutions...

Mike Sylvester

State of the Union Address, 2007

I watched the SOTU address. I always watch it. I enjoy watching the crowd.

This was a TOUGH crowd for the President.

Things President Bush said that were good:
1. We should balance the budget in five years. (I disagree, we should balance the budget today)
2. We need to fix our entitlement programs. (He is right)

Things president Bush said that scared me:
1. He wants to extend No Child Left Behind (Worst bill in recent history except Medicare expansion)
2. Mandatory fuel standards.
3. "Serious problem of global climate change."
4. He inferred we will ALWAYS be at war. (VERY SCARY)
5. He repeated that we would embed our soldiers into Iraqi units.
6. He wants to make a Civilian Reserve Corps... Good grief.
7. He wants to spend 1.2 BILLION dollars (That we do not have) to fight malaria in Africa.

I am currently quite depressed...

Mike Sylvester

Fort Wayne and its new and stupid smoking ordinance...

My current councilman, Don Schmidt had the City Clerk send me a copy of the proposed smoking ban. I got it today...

I would like to thank Don for directing the City Clerk to send me a copy. When I called the City Clerk they told me I would have to drive downtown and get it myself...

I guess that may be someone's idea of Downtown development? Make taxpayers drive downtown to read silly new laws they are forced to comply with?

Enough of that...

Now to the smoking ban. As you all know I oppose this. It is a property rights issue for me. I think that each business owner should determine their own policy...

This smoking ban excludes smoking in all public places and in ALL places that have employees except:
1. Private residences that are NOT licensed child care, adult day care, or a health care facility.
2. Motels and hotels may allow smoking in up to 20% of their rooms.
3. Private or semi-private rooms in nursing homes and long term care facilities that are occupied by one or more persons, all of whom are smokers and have requested in WRITING to be placed in a room where smoking is permitted, provided that smoke from these rooms does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited under provisions of this chapter.

Some things to keep in mind:
1. The ordinance DOES apply to all vehicles owned by the City!
2. Please read #3 above CAREFULLY about nursing homes. This could EASILY be interpreted to mean that the smoking rooms need their own ventilation system.
3. Smoking is not allowed within 20 feet of an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited. This distance is 200 feet from a governmental building and from the property line of a campus hospital that has prohibited smoking.

Especially absurd:
1. All areas where smoking is prohibited by this ordinance must have "no smoking" signs. This means that every City vehicle will now be required to have a "no smoking" sign! Every entrance must have a sign and signs must be in each area... The sign industry must be ECSTATIC.

Enforcement is really egregious:

1. Check this out. "Enforcement of this subchapter shall be implemented by the Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Department, the City Fire Department, the City Police Department, and all other city and county governmental agencies responsible for building inspections, which boards and/or departments shall certify in writing that any establishment being inspected is complying with the terms of the subchapter."
2. Check this out. "ANY citizen who desires to register a complaint under this subchapter may initiate enforcement by calling the City Fire Department. If the Fire Department is not involved in other higher priority activities, someone will be dispatched to issue a citation to the offending party."

This is a disaster for the City Fire Department...

Will the Fire Department install a smoking violation hotline?

How many new employees will the Fire Department have to hire?

Penalties:
1. A business entity who does not post the necessary signs at each entrance, does not post the necessary signs throughout his or her establishment, or who leaves ash trays in his establishment will be fined up to $2500 per day.
2. A person who smokes (Except in restaurants, see 3 below) will be fined up to $25 the first time, up to $100 the second time, and up to $250 for each additional violation.
3. A person who smokes in a restaurant can be fined up to $2500.

Big government is in Fort Wayne to stay. Democrats and Republicans officials both stand for more Government regulations...

Good grief...

Mike Sylvester

Monday, January 22, 2007

Glaring error on the front page of today's Journal Gazette

I make lots of errors on my blog. I blog part time and I do not have a staff to proof-read my entries...

It seems to me that newspapers (ALL newspapers) are making errors more frequently then they used to.

See if you can find the GLARING error on The Journal Gazette's front page story entitled "Policy-makers define victory in Iraq as non-military."

<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/news/nation/16518789.htm>

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bush and his new Health Plan

Apparently President Bush will be making a HUGE proposal in his State of the Union Speech on Tuesday.

His proposal is about health care...

First of all, let start with this, our health care system is BROKEN. I have dealt with our health system a great deal with my parents and I can tell you that it is 100% broken. With the baby boomers approaching retirement we need to fix it now.

I do not currently think our system can be fixed; however, we MUST try. I am NOT sure how it can be fixed.

To understand Bush's proposal you have to first understand the current tax code and most people do not.

Lets say you work for the Fort Wayne police department, Northwest Allen County Schools, GM, or Lincoln in Fort Wayne. If you do, you have a great health insurance plan provided by your employer and you do NOT pay taxes on it. Your employer IS allowed to deduct it as a business expense and there is no tax consequence to you.

Lets say you work for most small businesses in Fort Wayne like: Karena Sylvester, CPA, CBF Sales, etc. You are generally in a far different situation...

You most likely pay for your own health insurance. You may get a limited tax break if you have set it up right. I will use my family as an example.

My wife and I run a small business that employs the two of us. I am 39 and she is 37, we are relatively healthy. We have two kids who are 3 and 5, they are also relatively healthy. We have an HSA and we choose to have a low-cost health insurance plan that covers NOTHING until we meet a rather large deductible. This makes us pay for most of our health care ourselves and means that we really watch what we spend. In 2006 our health insurance premiums for our family were about $4000 and we contributed $2000 to our HSA for medical expenses. We pay for our own health insurance since as a small business we really have no choice... This year we will deduct $6000 from our adjusted gross income and not pay taxes on it...

Currently the Federal tax code vastly favors citizens who have health care provided by an employer.

Bush's proposal is in its early stages and will be modified. I am just looking at their preliminary proposal... It is NOT very detailed and A LOT OF THINGS will need to be "firmed up."

Basically what president Bush is saying is that he wants to allow each married family a $15,000 tax deduction for health insurance and every single American a $7500 deduction for health insurance. He says his plan is revenue neutral. Bush wants to drive Americans into low cost health insurance plans because he thinks this will lower the cost of health care since Americans will pay closer attention to what they spend. I tend to agree with his overall thoughts on the matter. President Bush also thinks his proposal will cause more uninsured Americans to go and get their own low-cost health insurance, I think he is right on this as well... They will get a MAJOR tax break if they go and get health insurance...

Here are some things that would need to be "firmed" up and that need to be understood:

1. This is an accountant job creation act and a health insurance job creation act as well. Each employer would be forced to put a cost on the health insurance they provide for each employee. This is a HUGE thing and should not be underestimated. This would be TOUGH in many situations. This could be a large compliance problem. Basically each W-2 would HAVE to include a separate line listing the total cost to provide that employee with health insurance for the year.

2. How would this work for people on Government health insurance like Medicare? Would seniors include their premiums, the cost to the government to provide medicare insurance, and/or supplemental insurance... The above questions would have to be considered for Medicaid, Hoosier Health Wise, etc.

3. How would it work when the employer pays part of the cost and employee pays part?

4. How would it work when the employer provides it for employee and employee makes up the difference for their family?

5. How would co-pays be handled?

Etc, Etc, Etc...

Here are some examples of how I THINK it would work:

1. How this would effect Mike and Karena Sylvester. It would help us GREATLY because per his plan anyone who provides their own health insurance via a low cost plan would be allowed to deduct $15,000 from their taxable income if they are married. We would lose the $6,000 that we currently deduct. So this would end up reducing my taxable income by $9000 per year. This would help me and it would help everyone who is self employed or who works for an employer that does not provide health insurance.

2. How this would effect a Fort Wayne police officer. I am not sure how much the City of Fort Wayne pays for health coverage per employee of the Police Department. I would guess it is about $12,000 per year. Assuming it is $12,000 for a married police officer then that police officer would be able to deduct $3000 (15k - 12k) from his taxable income.

3. How this would effect a major corporate executive with a Platinum health insurance plan provided by his employer. Lets assume the person is married and the cost to the company to provide his health insurance is $20,000 per year. This would mean that this example would have to pay taxes on $5000 more then under the previous method.

It is WAY to early to tell if this is a good idea or not. The devil will most likely be in the details...

It will be very interesting to see how The Democrats and Republicans respond to this proposal. It will be very interesting...

On its face this plan would help:

Self employed Americans
Small Businesses
Un-insured Americans

On its face this plan would hurt:

Those employees who have health insurance that costs their employers more then $15,000 per year would have to pay taxes on this excess income
Large businesses for two reasons
1. It will remove some of the advantage they have over small businesses
2. This will be complicated and it will cost them money to comply with it

At first blush I am for this plan if the details are worked out in a reasonable fashion...

Consider this:
58% of Americans have health insurance provided by an employer
9% of Americans pay for their own health insurance
16% of Americans have no insurance
17% of Americans have insurance provided by the Government (Including military)

Mike Sylvester

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Child abuse in Fort Wayne

This is a story that will make you sick, angry, and sad all at the same time:

<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/16488392.htm>
<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/news/local/16489585.htm>
<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/news/local/16480621.htm>
<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/news/local/16478988.htm>

This story discusses alleged child abuse right her in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The case involves two Fort Wayne children. The girl is six and the boy is three.

I have two children myself. My son is three and my daughter is five and a half. My kids are almost the exact same age as the kids in the story...

I feel very sorry for these two kids and I hope that our broken "Justice system" ensures that these children are brought up in a different home...

I am very angry at the two adults. Child abuse of this magnitude is a violent and serious crime. I am even more appalled that the mother in question is pregnant with her third child!

If guilty both adults should spend a LONG TIME in prison.

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fort Wayne Smoking Ban, another step backwards

The Fort Wayne smoking ban will be voted into law next Tuesday. The initial vote, held last night was 7 in favor of, 1 against, and 1 abstention.

Tom Didier, Republican, was the sole vote against the measure.

Glenn Hines, Democrat, was the sole abstention.

This is another GREAT example of how both the Democratic and Republican Parties favor larger government and more regulation. Both parties seem to think that government regulation is needed in almost every aspect of our lives.

This smoking ban is a "property rights" issue for me.

I think that each business owner pays the taxes on his or her business, complies with thousands of pages of regulations created by politicians, and that this gives them the right to make some decisions on their own.

As far as I am concerned the only law we should have in place regarding smoking in private businesses is that each business owner should be required to post his or her smoking policy prominently on the front door. This would allow each patron to make their own decision regarding whether they wish to patronize said establishment...

I would like to point out that FOUR big government Republicans voted in favor of this restrictive smoking ban in Fort Wayne.

I would like to point out that THREE big government Democrats voted in favor of this restrictive smoking ban in Fort Wayne.

The next time ANY City Councilman except Tom Didier tells you that they are a "defender of small business" PLEASE laugh in their face.

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New poll, Nelson Peters vs matt Kelty, Fort Wayne Mayor

Please take a minute to vote in a poll concerning who you would vote for in the Mayor's race if it were held today!

You may vote once per day.

Mike Sylvester

Minimum Wage law

I did a poll over the last couple of days about the Minimum Wage. Unsurprisingly there were:

15 votes against even having a Federal minimum wage in the first place
3 votes in favor of having a Federal minimum wage

As always; these polls are NOT scientific and should be taken with a "grain of salt."

Mike Sylvester

Fort Wayne Election Rumors

The "announcement" season has been rather slow in Fort Wayne this year.

There is still not a Democratic candidate for Mayor; however, I am sure that at least one Democrat will run for Mayor.

There are still "uncontested" City Council races as well...

The rumor mill has been busy and rather funny. I will leave some of the "funny" rumors out...

I think it is too bad that more people do not run for public office. I think we would be far better off if "regular" citizens would run for office and we could get rid of our "career" politicians...

One rumor I have recently heard (from two sources who wish to remain anonymous) is that Mitch Harper (Current editor of Fort Wayne Observed and past Republican State Representative) is going to run for City Council. I am not sure if there is ANY truth to this rumor; however, he would most likely run a strong campaign.

I have no idea who will run for Mayor on the Democratic ticket. I would think that there SHOULD be an active primary with multiple candidates; however, that is not currently the case. If I had to guess, I would guess that John Shoaff might run for Mayor.

The Smoking Ban debate has been a contentious and divisive issue in Fort Wayne politics and SHOULD have drawn more candidates into the "fray."

I would love to see a couple of candidates in favor of property rights and the rights of small business owners run for office on a small business/property rights platform and oppose some of the big government Republicans and Democrats we currently have in office...

Matt Kelty is currently the only person who fits that ticket... He is running as a "small government" Republican!

Mike Sylvester

Monday, January 15, 2007

2007 Allen County Convention

The Allen County Convention was a lot of fun!

Both myself (Chair) and Jeanette (Vice Chair) stepped down and we elected a new Chair and Vice Chair who will serve until April of 2008!

Jeanette and I have been in our positions since the Allen County LP was organized in December of 2004.

We now have the following officers:
Chair: Jennifer Griggs
Vice Chair: Jon Bartels
Treasurer: Robert Enders
Secretary: Doug Horner.

I would like to congratulate all of our new officers!

I plan on staying active with the Libertarian Party. I am the Convention Chair for the Indiana State Convention that will be held in May of 2007 in Fort Wayne.

I think 2007 is going to be a very exciting year for the Libertarian Party of Allen County!

Mike Sylvester

Sunday, January 14, 2007

This was recently sent to me; it is an internet scam. Do not fall for it...

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $63.80. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.

To access the form for your tax refund, please click here

Regards, Internal Revenue Service


© Copyright 2006, Internal Revenue Service U.S.A. All rights reserved..

Libertarian party of Allen County Convention tomorrow night

I hope to see each and every one of you tomorrow night at our Convention!

We will be holding officer elections, determining delegates for the 2007 LPIN Convention, etc!

The 2007 Allen County Convention will be held on Monday January 15th, 2007. The Convention will start promptly at 8 PM.

The Convention will be held at “Lucky’s.” “Lucky’s” used to be called The Munchie Emporium. “Lucky’s” is located at 622 East Dupont Road . The restaurant is located at the southwest corner of Dupont and Coldwater roads. The Convention will officially begin at 8 PM. I plan on arriving by 7 PM and having dinner. Please feel free to drop by early!

Mike Sylvester

Friday, January 12, 2007

A strange thing happened in the middle of the last post

One of my neighbors came over and rang the doorbell. She had just got home from work and the front door to her house was ajar. She was alone and came over and asked if I could come over and go into the house with her. She did not want to go in by herself.

I was more then happy to head on over and help ensure that nothing was amiss...

Everything was fine... I checked all of the rooms, under the beds, the closets, etc.

I think she did exactly the right thing. This world is a dangerous place.

I truly think we need to watch out for our neighbors!

Mike

Results of "Harrison Square" poll

I have been running a poll asking my readers if they are in favor or against the newly proposed "Harrison Square" project.

As always these results are not scientific and should be taken with a "grain of salt."

There were 97 votes cast:
28% in favor
67% against
5% maybe

I truly do feel that a majority of Fort Wayne residents are against this project. Numerous polls have shown a majority of citizens oppose it and I have talked to a lot of poeple who oppose it...

Mike Sylvester

Downtown Fort Wayne Baseball

Downtown Fort Wayne Baseball is a very interesting blog that I have added to the list of blogs that I read most days.

They have done a very good job of putting together information about Downtown "Improvement" projects...

I certainly do not agree with all of their conclusions; however, they have provided a lot of GREAT infomration and I would encourage everyone who lives in Fort Wayne and is interested in Downtown to read the Downtown Fort Wayne Baseball blog!

Check it out:
<http://downtownfortwaynebaseball.blogspot.com/>

Mike Sylvester

Buddy

Today was a very bad day.

My mother has two cats. She is quite attached to them. She got the cats after my dad died.

One of the cats was killed by a car this morning.

It is a very sad day.

My mother is taking it badly.

I did not take it so well myself. I am upset because of how badly this makes my mother feel. Don't get me wrong Iliekd Buddy and I will miss him as well; however, my sorrow is for my mother not her cat.

My mother loves her cats and they have been a lot of company for her; however, Buddy getting killed by a car just about "ripped her heart out" today.

My kids have taken it pretty well; they really do not understand and they are putting on a brave face for Grandma.

I have never had a pet and I am pretty sure I will never have a pet.

Mike

Thursday, January 11, 2007

More on Steve Shine

I was listening to WOWO earlier today and I heard a sound bite from Steve Shine, the Chair of the Republican Party of Allen County.

Steve Shine was quoted as saying that we need to bring both Syria and Iran into diplomatic talks...

Wow...

Did I hear that quote right on WOWO or do I need to clean out my ears? I may have some wax buildup...

Did anyone else hear that?

Mike Sylvester

Miracles DO happen

Kevin Knuth and Steve Shine both expressed their opinions today that adding another 20,000 troops in Iraq will NOT improve the situation in Iraq.

I do not feel that adding 20,000 troops will help either...

I am glad that Steve Shine has decided to "buck" many in The Republican Party and express views contrary to those of many Republicans...

Well done Steve!

Mike Sylvester

Update on my mother

As many of you know my mother fell down her stairs June 30th 2006. She broke both her knee and ankle. She was 74 at the time...

She spent almost exactly two months in a nursing home rehabilitating after her surgery. She moved in with my family on August 30th.

In August of last year we decided to sell her two story house and she decided to move into an apartment. I put her on a waiting list and was told she would "most likely" be able to move in to an apartment in either 2 or 3 months. She was to move in either November 1st or December 1st of 2006.

Mom is still living with me. She is still on the waiting list. The soonest she could move in right now is March 1st; and that is far from certain... He rehabilitation has gone very well. She walks without a cane 99.5% of the time.

We decided to go and look a "villaminiums" over the last few days.

My mother has put a bid on one and it has been accepted. We close on January 24th!

This is the 3rd time my mother has lived with my wife and I. I say this to the readers of this blog because this is something many of you should think about. Our population is aging nd you may well have a relative live with you or you may live with a younger relative.

When my wife and I bought our house almost six years ago we bought one that would be large enough to run a small business out of and one that would be large enough to have a relative live with us. It has worked out well...

My mother lived with us:
For two months after her husband (my dad) died. (Eight years ago)
For two months when my brother was in big trouble with the law and I needed to keep my
mother safe from my brother's constant "requests" for more money. (5 years ago)
For about five months this time.

I hope that everyone who reads this blog will take a good hard look at your family. The population is aging and many of you may have to deal with situations like these in the future...

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Democratic legislation so far

In November I made 22 predictions about what would happen after the election. Only three of them have been "addressed" so far...

One of the main promises The Democrats made was to have more "work ethic" and to impose a five day work week. They have violated this in the first few days. They took Monday off... What a let-down...

The three predictions that have been resolved to date are:

1. I predicted John Bolton (Prediction #5) would stay at the UN. Boy was I wrong. He resigned right away and he is gone. Robert Enders, Stan, and Kevin Knuth were all wrong as well. Tim Zank and Jeff Pruitt were right.

2. I predicted the House would increase the minimum wage (Prediction #8). I was right about this. The House passed it and now it goes to the Senate. The surprise can be found in this AP story:
<http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CONGRESS_RDP?SITE=ININS&SECTION=HOME>

All Democrats voted for this, and the shocker to some of you is that 82 Republicans voted with them. Only 116 Republicans voted against this bill. The Republicans are a large government Party; believe me when I say this.

Robert Enders, Stan, Tim Zank, Kevin Knuth, and Jeff Pruitt were all right on this one.

3. I predicted the Democrats WOULD implement ALL of the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. The campaigned on this OVER and OVER. They decided to implement some of the recommendations; however, they decided not to pass the recommendations that would force Congress to change the way they did business. This is a HUGE disappointment for all Democrats. I was wrong on this prediction as were Robert Enders, Stan, Tim Zank, Kevin Knuth, and Jeff Pruitt. We all thought the Democrats would implement this right away and we were all wrong.

The Democrats are not off to a good start...

It must be very disappointing for those Democrats who read this blog.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Mike Sylvester

Summary of my thoughts on Bush's speech on Iraq

I do think he said both good things and bad things, see the previous post.

I am NOT in favor of this new plan; however, it is not exactly "More of the same."

I feel that Bush has some good ideas; however, I do not feel his plan will work.

What do you think?

Mike Sylvester

President's speech outlining a "New Strategy" in Iraq

President Bush gave an interesting speech and I have to admit he handled the situation better then I expected.

Here are some of my thoughts:

Good things:

The President accepted responsibility for mistakes. I like this.

The President said that the "Rules of engagement" were hurting our troops. No kidding. Please tell me how you are going to change this? Will you allow them to level entire buildings?

The Iraqi government will appoint Military Commanders to take charge of the area around the capital. Who will they be accountable to?

He says that the Iraqi government must stop protecting people for Sectarian reasons or politicals reasons. I agree with this; however he did NOT tell us how this would be done. Will we start by arresting Al-Sadr? This is just a talking point.

President Bush said that Iraq would have to take charge of security in all of their country by November of 2007. Ok, or what? Does that mean our troops will be under Iraqi control?

We will "embed" one American Brigade with each Iraqi division. I like this idea because it does not hang our troops out to dry; our troops should never have to be embedded into Iraqi units, period.

We will put another 4000 troops in the Anbar Province. I think this is needed...

President Bush does not want to talk with Iran and Syria he says he wants to disrupt and interupt the support coming from Iran and Syria. I in 100% in favor of this. Do not fight a war half way...

Bad things:

Must succeed in Iraq. Why?

President Bush thinks we do not have enough troops to hold neighborhoods. This is one of the silliest things I have heard; we do not have enough troops to secure every neighborhood. Get over it.

President Bush wants to send 21,000 more troops to Iraq.

President Bush wants to "embed" our troops into Iraqi units. I am 100% opposed to this; I think it will get more of our soldiers killed. I do not trust the Iraqi forces.

Iraqi government will allow more "Bathists" to be involved in the Government. Good grief.

President Bush is sending ANOTHER carrier strike group to the Gulf. This is completely unnecessary and serves no purpose unless he plans on attacking Iran or Syria.

President Bush said he wanted this new strategy to bring us "closer to success." What? I expect a strategy to bring us success. It almost sounds like Bush has given up winning.

President Bush wants to form a bi-partisan working group to help fight the war on terror. Give me a break. Who thinks a bunch of politicans can accomplish anything?

President Bush wants to increase the size of the army and the marines. Our military is plenty big; just eliminate the unneeded forces and then increase the types of forces we need. It is not complicated.

President Bush wants to "mobilize talented citizens to go overseas and help new Democracies." I am not sure what it means. I think it refers to The National Gaurd and sending civilian "contractors" overseas on the government dime... This is not what we need. The National Gaurd should be kept at home...

Interesting things:

80% of Sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the Iraqi capital.

Iraq will have to share oil revenues with the three factions.

Iraq must spend 10 billion on infrastructure.

Iraq must hold Provincial elections.

President Bush wants to give patriot missiles to our allies in the Gulf. I would prefer to sell them Patriots, these countries have oil...

He wants to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Mike Sylvester

President's speech on Iraq

His speech starts in about ten minutes. I am going to listen to the speech and post my thoughts right after the speech.

I hope that his plan is a "new plan" and that it has some chance of success...

I will be quote angry if it is "Stay the Course" in disguise...

P.S. I actually think his speech will be "Stay the Course" packaged as something else...

We will see.

I have avoided posting on this because I want to try to keep an open mind; however, it is difficult...

Mike Sylvester

Allen County GOP and Doug Foy

Doug Foy's problems have continued.

According to the Journal Gazette Doug Foy's problems have grown:
<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/news/16415884.htm>

Apparently he used about $10,000 for personal expenses rather then for the GOP.

This is truly sad.

This is more common then most people believe. It is common in political parties, not-for-profits, families, and for-profit businesses. Theft is wrong.

The Libertarian Party of Allen County does not have a lot of money; however, we do have a system in place to protect the money that we do have. Doug Foy would NOT have been able to "divert" our money into his own pocket with the controls that we have in place.

The local GOP is better off without Doug Foy and I have a feeling they will do a much more thorough background check and put much better monetary controls in place after this embarrassing episode.

Mike Sylvester

Monday, January 08, 2007

England and smoking

Please read this story:
<http://www.drudgereport.com/flash3.htm>

You have got to be kidding me.

Keep out of my home!

England is in many ways similar to America. Lets hope this never happens in America.

Mike Sylvester

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My predictions for 2007

1. The Democratic Congress will quickly raise the minimum wage. They will raise it in phases.
The effect of the minimum wage increase will be somewhere in between what those on the
right and left think. It certainly will hurt some businesses; however, not as many as The
Republicans claim. The increase in the minimum wage will help some low income
individuals; however it will not help as many as The Democrat claim.

2. President Bush is going to announce a new course in Iraq. It will be "sugar coated" but it will
be very similar to the current course. He will propose sending 10,000 - 40,000 troops to
Iraq on a "temporary" basis. This will cause a large outcry in Congress. I think the
Democrats will cave in and there will be outrage amongst the "peace" wing of the Democratic
Party.

3. The Democrats will pass some reform measures to limit corruption and lobbyists. These
reforms will almost completely fail to accomplish anything; much like McCain-FeinGold.

4. The "earmark" process will undergo some meaningful reform. I certainly do not think this
problem will be fixed in 2007; however, I think the process will become more transparent
and that the number of earmarks will diminish somewhat.

5. Troop levels in Iraq will be about the same at the end of 2007 as they are now.

6. The economy will continue to expand; however, it will expand at a smaller rate; I would
guess 2-3%.

7. The value of the dollar will continue its fall.

8. The US trade deficit will continue to grow. Congress and The President will continue to
ignore it.

9. The Federal debt will continue to grow and Congress and The President will ignore it.

10. I am not sure what interest rates will do. Interest rates SHOULD be increased; however,
I do not think The Federal Reserve will follow through with interest rate increases like they
should. I would guess interest rates will remain about the same.

11. The violence in Iraq will remain about the same. The Iraqi government will be corrupt and
the reconstruction effort will continue to be corrupt and ineffective.

12. The salary cap will be raised on Social Security. This will result in a tax increase on the
wealthy. This will make Social Security solvent for another 3 or 4 years... This will be touted
as major reform; which it is not.

13. The tax code will become even more complicated. The Democrats will start "putzing" with
the tax code and try to help their supporters just like The Republicans have done for the last
12 years.

14. Fort Wayne City Council will approve the "Harrison Square" project with a vote of 7 to 2.

15. There will be several competitive City Council races in 2007. At least one incumbent will
lose.

16. The FWCS school board will vote to approve a project costing about 740 million dollars.
Jon Olinger will vote against this tax increase; but, he will lose. This tax increase will make
Fort Wayne property taxes "skyrocket."

17. A remonstrance will be held in an attempt to block the above project. FWCS will win a very
nasty remonstrance about 60% to 40%.

18. There will be no large terrorist attacks in the US in 2007.

What do you think?

Mike Sylvester

My views on abortion

My views on abortion have changed over the last few years. I am 39 years old and I now have a 3 year old child (Graydon) and a 5 year old child (Kayla.)

When I was younger I tended to think abortion was often wrong; however, I fiercely believed that everyone has to have the freedom to make their own choices. I was 100% Pro-Choice; however, I always felt that I would not be involved in an abortion if I had any say in the matter.

I watched the birth of both of our children. Graydon was born about 7 weeks early. He was "delivered" 45 minutes from when we entered the hospital. Once they hooked their machines up to Karena to monitor her and the baby they "panicked." I have NEVER seen a room fill up with so many medical personnel. It was frightening. The doctor actually and literally ripped Graydon from my wife's womb. There was no labor at all, they just cut her open and ripped him out.

I think this experience helped change my views on abortion...

Here is what I currently think about abortion:

1. I think Roe v Wade should be overturned at once. It is NOT the Federal Government's
Constitutional responsibility to determine how each of the fifty states handle abortion. I
think each of the fifty states should determine their own laws on how to handle abortion.
2. I am in favor of abortion in cases where the safety of the mother is a concern.
3. I believe that parents MUST be involved in all decisions regarding pregnant minors under
their care.
4. I am in favor of the ban on "partial-birth" abortion.

Abortion is a tough topic; however, I think that many people share views similar to mine...

Mike Sylvester

Disappointing things about the Fort Wayne "blogosphere."

I have operated a blog for quite awhile. I enjoy operating my blog.

I enjoy having "discussions" with other people who often do not share my views. I occasionally change my views and I find the opinions of other people to often be quite interesting. My views on "Free Trade" and "Fair Trade" have changed in the last couple of years. I am now much more in favor of "Fair Trade" then I used to be. My views on abortion have also changed; most likely due to having two children. I am far more "Pro-Life" then I used to be... In one case I moved to the "left" and in the other case I moved to the "right."

I have a lot of people who read my blog and I have a great group of people who leave comments.

I have even made a couple of friends in Fort Wayne by blogging.

I think there have been quite a few changes in the local "blogosphere."

When the local "Blogosphere" was in its infant stages I felt that most bloggers were cordial and relatively polite.

I have noticed that many local blogs seem to be getting more and more hostile to each other. There are a growing number of personal attacks and insults being "posted" all over the place.

I plan on ensuring that I keep my blog as clean as possible. I ask that everyone who visits this blog attempts to be respectful of others.

I think that America (And Fort Wayne) need to have a lot of discourse about various topics. Attacking each other and making petty comments solves nothing.

Mike Sylvester

Nelson Peters clarifies his position on the smoking ban!

Left of Centrist is a blog run by Robert Rouse. Robert has three great contributors to his blog, one of which is Jeff Pruitt.

Jeff Pruitt has been critical of Nelson Peters in regards to the smoking ban. Jeff Pruitt thinks that Nelson Peters should have pursued the comprehensive county-wide smoking ban in a more forceful manner rather then reach the compromise that was ultimately reached.

Nelson Peters took the time to respond to Jeff Pruitt's comments.

I think the race for Fort Wayne Mayor is very important and I encourage everyone who lives in Fort Wayne to take the time to go over the Left of Centrist and read the dialogue between Jeff Pruitt and Nelson Peters...

<http://leftofcentrist.blogspot.com/2007/01/nelson-peters-responds-to-criticism.html#links>

Mike Sylvester

P.S. I am still currently planning on backing Republican Matt Kelty for Mayor; however, I am impressed with Nelson Peters and his willingness to clarify his stance! I still hope that a qualified Libertarian will run for Mayor; however, I will not hold my breath!

P.S.S. No, I am not going to run for Mayor as a Libertarian no matter how many times people ask me to. I CANNOT raise anywhere near enough money and I am not qualified to be the Mayor of Fort Wayne!

Another of my predictions is coming to fruition...

This story should SCARE all Democrats who read it:
<http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2007/01/01/daily13.html?from_rss=1>

Too make a long story short, I think the "Peace" wing of the Democratic Party is going to get into a fight with the rest of the Democratic Party; this could get REALLY ugly.

I think President Bush is going to propose a "temporary" increase in troop levels next week.

I think it is likely that the Congress will agree...

This will INFURIATE a lot of Demcorats...

The leadership of The Democratic Party needs to get in front of this in a hurry!

Mike Sylvester

High School graduation rates in Indiana and Allen County

I have posted about Indiana High School Graduation rates repeatedly on this blog. The State of Indiana has used a formula that was highly flawed and inaccurate for decades. This formula reported a graduation rate that was far too high and everyone in Education knew it...

Indiana has finally started tracking individual students and now the reported graduation rates are much more accurate.

This is progress and this should have been done long ago.

Up until the 2005 - 2006 school year Indiana had been falsely reporting its High School graduation rates at 90% - 91% statewide.

The 2005 - 2006 school year was just reported with the new formula and Statewide our graduation rate fell to 76.5%. Believe it or not, it was expected to fall even further!

In the last school year about 3 children in 4 graduated from High School in Indiana on time...

This is a frightening statistic.

Here is a list of the public schools in Allen County and their 2005 - 2006 graduation rates listed in order from highest to lowest:

Carroll 95% NACS
Homestead 93% SACS
Woodlan 88% EACS
Heritage 88% EACS
Leo 87% EACS
Snider 84% FWCS
Northrop 79% FWCS
New Haven 78% EACS
South Side 73% FWCS
Elmhurst 72% FWCS
North Side 71% FWCS
Wayne 70% FWCS
Harding 64% EACS

By School District in Allen County:
NACS 95%
SACS 93%
EACS 81%
FWCS 76%

The administration and teachers at Carroll should be proud of the work they have done. The students at Carroll and their parents should also be proud. A graduation rate of 95% is definately an accomplishment!

Mike Sylvester

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Fort Wayne property taxes may skyrocket!

Kevin Leininger has a "must read" article in the News-Sentinel entitled "Fancy schools must justify financial impact."

Please read the article:
<http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/news/local/16366629.htm>

I grew up in FWCS. I graduated from Snider High School in 1985. Late last year I sold my mother's house in Walden. Walden is a very nice middle classed neighborhood near Georgetown Square. My mother's house was 33 years old, had a two car garage, was 1800 square feet, and had four bedrooms. I have always thought that my Mother's house was the very definition of "Middle Classed."

My mother lives on a fixed income. This year my mother's property taxes would have been about $1200 per year.

I did some number crunching and estimated what her property taxes would have increased once all factors are considered. Please remember that property taxes are expected to increase significantly this year WITHOUT any new bonds.

I estimate that her property taxes would increase to about $2300 a year depending on what the State legislature does this year if FWCS asks for 995 million dollars in bonds...

WOW...

Note her house sold for about $102,000 three months ago...

Fort Wayne MUST fix the Combined Sewer Overflow problem in the near future due to Federal mandates. This will certainly increase property taxes even more!

I feel sorry for all of those people living in FWCS who live on a fixed income! A property tax "tornado" is headed your way!

A tax increase of this type would have many effects that must be considered carefully:
1. It will drain a lot of money from area consumers. This will have a profound impact on the
local economy.
2. Property values in Fort Wayne would possibly DECREASE due to the property tax increase.
3. Many residents would consider moving out of Fort Wayne, especially those on a fixed income.
This would have a negative impact on Fort Wayne, it might flood NACS, SACS, and EACS
with new students. It also might cause the FWCS school population to DROP after spending
almost a billion dollars!
4. The bankruptcy rate in this area has been one of the highest in the nation for many years. A
property tax increase of this magnitude might cause it to increase further.
5. Fort Wayne has lost a lot of major employers and is strggling to attract new businesses.
One of the most important considerations for new businesses are the taxes they have to pay.
It would be much harder to draw new businesses to Fort Wayne with a tax increase of this
magnitude.

This issue needs to be looked at long and hard by the taxpayers!

Mike Sylvester

Government incompetence

This story is quite typical and quite disturbing:
<http://www.winonadailynews.com/articles/2006/12/30/wi/02wissocsectax30.txt>

The State of Wisconsin put taxpayer's social security numbers on the mailing labels attached to 170,000 packages... Some of those packages were obtained by the State before they were mailed...

Wow...

Identity theft made easy by the government...

Sure makes me feel better!

Mike Sylvester

The Great Lakes Small Business Blog

As many of you know I have planned on making some changes to this blog during 2007. I plan on discussing more issues relating to: Accounting, Taxes, Finance, Downtown Fort Wayne, Small Business, etc.

I plan on holding off on this somewhat until I become a CPA.

Tax season has begun and I will be spending more time working then I have in the past few months. My wife and I put in as many hours the first 4 months of the year as we do in the last eight months of the year! This is typical for many accountants...

I received an email today from a new blog called "The Great Lakes Small Business Blog." The email was a request for me to answer 20 questions about our small business. I filled out the questionnaire and then went and checked out The Great Lakes Small Business Blog.

The blog is new and I liked it. I offered to be a contributor to that blog and its owner accepted.

I hope that you visit "The Great Lakes Small Business Blog" and check it out! You can find it here:
<http://greatlakesbusiness.blogspot.com/>

Mike Sylvester

Monday, January 01, 2007

Another GREAT article from the Indiana Policy Review Group

by Craig Ladwig

As any good citizen, you want to start the New Year right by determining how much you owe — not individually but collectively, in bonds that your Indiana community has issued to raise the cash it cannot bleed from the rest of us turnips.

You may even have seen the term “municipal bond” in a city-hall press release announcing this civic project or that. It will be near the phrase “this will not raise your taxes” or similar disclaimer.

That the bonds are backed by future tax revenue is not always made clear. Nor is the fact that the depth of our taxable pockets, the fleece on our sheep, is why investors are willing to trust a bunch of local officials and politicians in the first place.

Technically, the bonds are debt obligations or IOUs issued by the state, county, city or any other political subdivision to individuals who in turn lend money to our local government. Such loans are used for roads, sewers, hospitals, schools and the like. These days they also are issued for music halls, downtown hotels, sports stadiums, parking garages, swimming pools, shopping malls or anything else a politician can put his name on.

Everybody agrees that it is possible for a county to issue too many bonds. It seems a good idea, then, to ensure that at least your own community is not one of them. And in an open society such as ours that should not be difficult.

In my particular county, though, one that had opted out of an adjustment board, it was necessary to seek out a specialist in bonding matters. The specialist, a partner in a prestigious Indianapolis accounting firm, was confident he could get us a list of all the bond-issuing entities in our county.

Moreover, he thought he would be able to tell us the total amount outstanding for each bond for each entity. He could even identify that point in time when our county taxpayers would be most exposed to bonding obligations. He thought he could do all of this in a few weeks at a cost of only $35,000, a reasonable sum other accountants tell us.

But whoa, let’s stop right there: Why do you have to pay an expert to tell you how much you have borrowed from your children’s future?

Will they even be able to afford the future?

We are told you can get the same information more or less free from various state offices. It would take you considerably longer, of course, than the 190 hours our specialist expects to clock. Also, the word of a solitary citizen without credentials or authority claiming to know the exact date of bonding Armageddon would not be worth much in a public debate.

In short, First Amendment or not, without a sizable pile of cash you are unable to speak out on the issue of government bonding.

That is wrong on several levels:

First, democracy only works when it is transparent; otherwise, a monarchy would be more efficient.

And if nobody knows how much money is being borrowed or when it all will come due, we are tempting politicians beyond what human nature has shown they can bear.

It follows that allowing local officialdom to squirrel away critical information in the arcana of bonding reports is bad policy.

Still, you should fear the likely political solution: The issuance of another bond, one to pay to determine the status of the previous bonds.

T. Craig Ladwig is editor of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation. Contact him at cladwig@inpolicy.org.

This is a GREAT article, and yes Mr. Ladwig lives in Allen County...

Mike Sylvester

Even more pics...



The top pics was taken by one of my kids for sure. It is a picture of "their" computer and "their" office. You can also see my Golden Dragon certificate from the USN.

The bottom pic is of some of the "Larsen" girls...

That is the last of the pics. Doug and my kids did a good job.

Mike Sylvester

Even more pics from our New Years Eve party





Top picture is Hillary Evans.

Next pic is our upstairs Christmas tree and a view of some of a few of the baskets my wife has made.

Next pic is the stairs leading up to the loft. You can see part of the tree and some baskets Karena made...

Next is my son Graydon sitting on my mother's lap.

Last is my son Graydon...

Mike Sylvester

More pics from our Party last night




Three more pics for your viewing pleasure...

The top picture is my mother on the right (Betty) and Karena's mother on the left (Karen).

The middle picture is James and Florie Fitch.

The bottom picture is Doug Horner in the foreground and Florie Fitch in the background.

Mike Sylvester

Even more pictures from the Party, this is all AWB's fault! Blame him!




The top picture is of our loft. The loft is my part of the house. I keep a lot of my stuff in the loft and that is where my office is. Three of the girls are young Larsen's and the 4th is a friend. IN the lower left of the picture are two boxes of paper. We are getting ready for tax season. We will use almost a dozen BOXES of paper this year.

The bottom picture is in the hallway near the foyer. In the center is James Fitch. ON the right is my wife Karena and on the left is Jame's wife Florie.

Mike Sylvester

More pics from our New Years Eve Party




The top picture is from our Great Room right off the kitchen. In the back left of the picture you can see part of my wife's 10' Christmas tree we bought in Frankenmouth Michigan 4 years ago. Starting in the lower left you see a man with a bald spot on his head. That is me... To my right in red is my mother Betty. To her right is Jeannette Jaquish the Vice Chair of the Libertarian party of Allen County. To her right in a blue shirt is Bob Uecker. IN the red chair is Rigel Jaquish. Continuing around the circle is Jack Evans in tans pants. Also on the couch is Jim Hartzell. YOu cannot really see Brent and Katie Brachtl however, they are on the love seat...

The bottom picture is of Doug Horner, Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Allen County. Doug is single and looking for the right woman!

Mike Sylvester!

AWB asked for pics from the party, so here are some...


Doug Horner brought over a camera and let my kids take some pictures. Doug took a few pictures; however, he let Kayla and Graydon take most of them.

The top picture is at the far end of our kitchen. The beautiful blonde girl in the black dress is our daughter Kayla. Next to her is her Granny Ilardi. The plate on the table has some bread my mother made for the party.

The bottom picture is my kitchen. The lady in black on the right side of picture facing away from the camera is Hillary Evans. The lovely brunette in the white shirt is my wife Karena. Bill and Lenore Larsen are the couple on the left, Lenore is wearing a blue and white sweater and Bill is wearing a light blue shirt. In the lower left hand corner of the picture facing away from the camera is James Fitch.

The date on Doug's camera needs to be adjusted.

Mike Sylvester

New Year

My wife and I hosted a New Years Eve Party last night. It was a lot of fun. We had about 30 people over and celebrated the New Year.

My wife, my mother, and Jack Evans made a feast that 75 people could not have consumed and we had a great time.

I certainly hope that 2007 is a better year then 2006. I hope for the following in 2007:
1. I plan on becoming both a CPA and an ABV (Business Valuation Certification)
2. I hope to get my mother setup in a place of her own in the next two months
3. I hope to drop 30 pounds before we go to Germany in June
4. I am looking forward to spending a couple of weeks in Germany visiting my father-in-law
in June.

From a political standpoint I have several hopes as well:
1. I hope that the new gridlock that we have in Washington will limit the increase in the size
of government.
2. I hope that we restore some of the accountability that has been missing from the
Government for decades.
3. I hope that we agree on a plan for how to drawdown our troop levels in Iraq.

Mike Sylvester