Archive for October, 2011
If you asked the average American what he thinks when you say the word “empire,” he’d probably say something about exploitation, oppression and the heavy hand of intrusive government - a leviathan-like state we’re steering toward yet desperately need to avoid.
But in terms of the largest empire the world has ever seen - the British Empire, the empire that gave birth to the United States and gave America its ideas of liberty and limited government - he’d be dead wrong. Compared to today’s modern welfare state, the British-empire (that is, Britain and the quarter of the globe it governed in the 1920s) operated on a budget the size of the projected fiscal revenue for Best Buy stores in 2012 (in inflation-adjusted dollars). The British Sudanese civil service, which governed a country of 9 million people, was 140-men strong (smaller than the combined active rosters of the Rams, the Packers and the Cowboys of the NFL), and governed - perhaps needless to say - with a far lighter and fairer hand than the regime now in Khartoum. In India, 100,000 British soldiers and civil servants ruled more than 300 million people. To put that in perspective, in 2009 California, a state with a population of about 37 million, had 206,000 full-time state employees - that’s not even counting city, county or federal workers. Oh, and incidentally, it’s a little remarked fact that the British ended up taxing the Indians at a far lower rate than the Moghuls had taxed their subjects before the British arrived. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “I have more than once said that the government is best that governs least; and I have found that it is possible for me to be governed least by the British Empire.”
Read more by H. W. Crocker III at The Washington Times
Adding a lane for bikes and pedestrians on the Hoan Bridge would cost $9.4 million to $95.5 million, according an analysis of alternatives done by the consulting firm Graef USA.
The range of costs represents the choice to be made - money or traffic lanes - if the Wisconsin Department of Transportation decides to include the bike lane in its upcoming reconstruction.
That project, replacing the road atop the bridge, will start in 2013 and is expected to cost $275 million to $350 million.
With the engineering work underway, the DOT sought to analyze the costs and feasibility of adding a lane for bicyclists and pedestrians.
A draft of the study, which cost $99,000, was released Thursday. It puts a price tag on an addition to the Milwaukee biking options long sought by cyclists.
Closing off one of the northbound lanes on the Hoan, and using the eastern-most section of road for a two-way bike and walking path, would cost $9.4 million. That would reduce the number of northbound traffic lanes from three to two.
Read more by Tom Held at Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“It would be 100x cheaper to have a dedicated shuttle van ferrying bikers/pedestrians across the bridge & back.” comment made by Tim Thomason after the article
–SNIP– In 2005, then-Senator Barack Obama went on a mission to Russia with Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN). The newly-minted U.S. senator was invited to be part of a Russian fact-finding tour that inspected a nuclear weapons site in Perm, Siberia. The base Lugar and Obama visited was where mobile launch missiles were being destroyed under the Cooperative Threat Reduction program (CTR), which also went by the name of the Nunn-Lugar program.
What happened next — after the inspections were over — was at the time reported by several foreign news sources but was never reported in the USA by the CMM. The Russians detained Obama and Lugar for three hours at the airport, demanding to examine both Obama’s and Lugar’s passports and search their plane. Some sources reported that the Russians accused Barack Obama of being a spy.
But wait — there’s more!
According to an Italian source, the Russians did not accuse Obama of being an American spy; they accused him of being a spy for the British! The report went on to say that the incident ended up involving the White House, the U.S. State Department, and military officials, along with their counterparts in Moscow.
Strangely enough, an official report from Lugar’s office about the trip never mentioned the incident. Neither did Barack Obama in 2008 when he was desperate to exhibit some foreign policy chops.
One other oddity: in the fall of 2008, Obama admitted on his Fightthesmears.com site that he had held dual citizenship with both the United States and Great Britain (the site explained that this was due to Barack Obama, Sr. being a foreign national) until 1982. Did the Russians know something about Obama’s citizenship in 2005 that ordinary Americans don’t know in 2011?
Another story no one has seen fit to ask about: Obama’s Most Excellent Pakistani Adventure.
Read more by Mondo Frazier at American Thinker
In a speech today at The Heritage Foundation, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke about Saving the American Idea. The full text transcript of his remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
“Saving the American Idea: Rejecting Fear, Envy and the Politics of Division”
Thank you so much, Ed, for that kind introduction.
We’re here today to explore the American Idea, and I can’t think of a better venue for this topic. The mission of the Heritage Foundation is to promote the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.
These are the principles that define the American Idea. And this mission has never been timelier, because these principles are very much under threat from policies here in Washington.
The American Idea belongs to all of us – inherited from our nation’s Founders, preserved by the countless sacrifices of our veterans, and advanced by visionary leaders, past and present.
What makes America exceptional – what gives life to the American Idea – is our dedication to the self-evident truth that we are all created equal, giving us equal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And that means opportunity.
Video and transcript of Rep. Paul Ryan’s speech at Heritage.org
Fri Oct 28
JANESVILLE: 9:00 - 10:30am, Pontiac Convention Center, 2809 North Pontiac Drive
ELKHORN: 12:00 - 1:30pm, Monte Carlo Room, 720 North Wisconsin Street
KENOSHA: 3:00 - 4:30pm, Gateway Technical College, Madrigrano Auditorium, 3520 30th Avenue
Ryan For Congress
Finance Director/ Campaign Manager
Its important to know the difference between democracy and a republic, anarchy and an oligarchy.
After discovering that Occupy Milwaukee protester and left-wing activist Austin Lee Thompson used a Glendale hotel to register and vote, Media Trackers has discovered that at least two more out-of-state activists employed by the SEIU registered to vote from the Glendale Residence Inn hotel for the April 5, 2011 spring election.
SEIU organizer Todd E. Stoner from Freehold, New Jersey, used same-day registration to cast a ballot in the April 5, 2011 spring election in Wisconsin. Stoner, like Thompson, still has an active voter registration in New Jersey. According to Stoner’s Wisconsin voter registration form, he simply listed “Residence Inn Marriott and N.J. ID” as his proof of residence. Stoner used another state’s ID as part of his proof of residence to vote in Wisconsin.
Read more by Collin Roth at MediaTrackers
How regulations hurt the poor.
If you live in a middle-class household, you generally expect your needs to be met through the marketplace. You buy or rent housing in the real estate market. When you aren’t driving your own car, you catch a taxicab or maybe even hire a limo. You or your employer buy health insurance, and you choose your doctor in the medical marketplace.
For most poor families, the experience is very different. Regulations designed to protect entrenched special interests have succeeded in raising the costs of basic services so much that low-income families have been priced out of the market for many essential services. Middle-class and poor communities differ not just by income. For the middle class, basic needs are met by markets and they benefit from the customer-pleasing innovations that competition produces. All too often, the poor must turn to public programs with all of the customer-pleasing attributes of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Take housing, for example. The cheapest form of housing is small, prefabricated homes for zero-lot developments. However, zoning regulations in most cities outlaw them — an act that effectively doubles the price of the cheapest housing. There are also other expensive restrictions on new housing, such as forcing builders to build on bigger lots and mandating specific types of materials and construction methods. Regulations vary widely across the United States. In Houston, a less restrictive city, regulatory costs add about $13,200 to the price of an average home. In San Diego, a multitude of regulations add $240,000. These cost-increasing regulations have essentially priced many low-income residents out of the market for a private home, forcing them to turn to public housing instead.
Then there is transportation . . .
Read more by John Goodman at Townhall
West Allis - West Milwaukee Republicans,
Time for our monthly meeting of the West Allis - West Milwaukee Branch.
Date: Thursday Oct. 27th
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: County GOP headquarters, 1488 S. 84th St.
West Allis has been redistricted.
Have you volunteered to be a poll worker?
Up-coming events in November
Stop by for the hour or so and see what the Republicans of the area are up to!
Reforms.wi.gov will show the results from the Administration’s reforms
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker’s office today released a new website, www.reforms.wi.gov that will help inform Wisconsinites about the results from the Administration’s reforms.
“Since our reforms passed a lot of people have wondered what kind of results we’re getting and why the reforms were necessary,” said Governor Walker. “Reforms.wi.gov shows the results from our reforms and how they’re working.”
So far local governments have saved over $450 million because of the reforms. That total is only the beginning of the potential savings. The savings are based on media reports and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s estimate on pension savings. For hundreds of governments there is no official estimate of savings from health contributions, but it is likely millions of dollars more.
Governments have seen savings not only from employee pension and health care contributions, but also by having the ability to do design plan changes and shop the market for better rates. So far governments have saved over $73 million through health plan savings.
Reforms.wi.gov goes beyond just the savings from pension and health care contributions to share how the reforms have improved government.
For example, in Baraboo School District is considering using the savings to rebuild the running track and athletic field at the high school, a project that had been on the backburner for years.
In Kaukauna, they turned a $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. With the savings from the health care and pension contribution, they were able to hire additional staff to lower class sizes. The district is also now working on a merit pay proposal for teachers.
In Brown Deer, the reforms allowed the district to have teachers in contact with the students for only 310 minutes per day. According to the Finance Director, “if it got to be 311 minutes, they grieved it. You couldn’t even ask a teacher to walk her little first graders to art because that was 312 minutes.”
The website will be updated as more data becomes available and more results become public.
October 21, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Cullen Werwie, 608-267-7303
By Sen. Ron Johnson
Our Founding Fathers recognized how the unchecked power of a majority would be a constant threat to individual liberty. They acknowledged that government was necessary, but they also knew that a government elected by a majority could easily trample the freedoms of the minority. They and their ancestors had come from dictatorial monarchies, and they fully understood that, more often than not, government was something to fear and should therefore be limited.
This month Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Democrat colleagues voted to change the Senate rules with a simple majority vote of 51 to 48. Most people would simply shrug and think, “So? Isn’t that the way democracy is supposed to work?” For the past 222 years in the U.S. Senate, the answer to that question has been no.
Historically, if the minority objects, Senate rules dictate that a supermajority vote of two-thirds is first needed to cut off debate, before a simple majority vote can change the rules of the Senate. This requirement was established to protect the rights of the minority in the Senate, just as our Constitution was established to protect the rights of a single individual — the ultimate minority. Instead of using the formal rules change procedure — requiring a two-thirds hurdle vote — Reid used a parliamentary maneuver to set a new precedent, with a simple majority vote.
Read more by Sen. Ron Johnson at Washington Post
Dem Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: Abortions Are a “Needed Action,” Heartbeat of Babies In The Womb Are Just “Sounds”…
During the House floor debate on the Protect Life Act last week, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D- Texas) defended abortion as a “needed action” and referred to the heartbeat of a fetus as a “sound”.
Voicing her opposition to the measure on Thursday, Jackson Lee referenced a previous Texas law, “Just as the courts ruled unconstitutional and upheld the provision of the Texas law that required a doctor to talk first to a woman seeking an abortion and to allow or force them both to listen, uh, to sounds that, uh, might discourage this needed action, this is going to be held unconstitutional. This is not a law that can pass,” Jackson said.
Read more by Eric Scheiner at CNSNews.com
Originally found this at Weasel Zippers
Everyone knows that media is a powerful tool for broadcasting your message. In fact, you could say that’s what it’s all about. But its power is undeniable. So why, then, has politics always been slow to adopt new media? Let’s look at the timeline:
Read more by Brett Moneta at TalentZoo.com