Saturday, September 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today would have marked my Mom's 73rd birthday (she passed away April 4, 2008).

Naturally, I miss her. I still have ribbons collected off of the flower arrangements from the funeral in my living room. They were placed in milk glass vases she gave me years ago.

I was thinking about what I would have been doing if she were here, today. No doubt I'd be preparing to throw a very intimate party for her in my home, often only with she, my husband and myself. We'd be having her standard choice of fried chicken legs, mashed potatoes and gravy, whatever vegetable she wanted, and birthday cake.

My house is small, it has no room for a real dining table but at least on this occasion every year I would clean up the picnic table, cover it with a pretty tablecloth and set it in the middle of the living room floor. We'd gather around and share and it was special.

Happy Birthday, Mom...and hellooooooooo birdie!

City Council and Mayor Candidates as of September 26

The Springfield News-Leader published the list of names of those who had picked up petitions to run for the City Council and Mayor as of Friday, September 26:

Candidates for city positions

People who have taken out petitions to run as of Friday:

General A
Robert Stephens
Tom Martz
Jeff Paul

General B
Frank Howey
Scott Bailes
Fred Ellison
Jason Lillard

Zone 1
Denny Whayne
Nick Ibarra
Cameron Eaton

Zone 4
Scott Bailes

James O'Neal
Sandra Queen Noble
Christopher Donegan
Derek White
Jack Bresee

(Thanks, Wes!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oops, forgot to remind you......

...The new issue of the Community Free Press came out on Wednesday and I didn't get a chance to tell you!

Managing Editor Mert Seaton took the above the fold cover article with his introduction to Springfield's new city manager, Greg Burris. According to the article, Burris' dream job is to be a professional golfer by day and a musician in the evenings. Seaton wrote:

"Burris played music in Springfield for 10 years with some of the best local musicians. He also is an alternative rock fan who owns every dada CD including the bootleg."

As usual, different candidates have different ideas about the best way to run a campaign. I noted in Brian Brown's article "Candidate Questions Opponent's Motive," that most of Public administrator candidate Laura Fabro's time was spent in dissing the qualifications of her opponent, David Yancey. Yancey spoke about his own experience, failing to even mention Fabro.

...and Brian Brown was a busy writer this issue. He also covered the campaigns of Ronald D. Day and Representative Charlie Norr as they battle it out to represent Springfield's 137th district; the 138th district candidates, Michael Goodart (a knowledgeable and avid supporter of the FairTax) and Sara Lampe, Lampe talked about her past record as a legislator. There's more of Brian Brown's work in the current issue...geesh, he's a productive kinda guy!

The City Council Notes column offered some information on the topics of CU's budget rate increases, the new city manager's compensation as compared to former city manager Bob Cumley and further information about Drury University's contractual agreement with the City to compensate two police officers for working full time at Drury campus and managing a police substation there.

Big surprise to me, "Fat Jack" of Fat Jack's Erratic Rants blog had a "blog speak" column in the current issue.

Cutting edge Bob Mace's column "The Edge" is now accompanied by an occasional shorter piece written by Mace called "Straight Edge," less wordy but every bit as entertaining and thought provoking as his original, longer column.

In the "Faith in the Ozarks" section, Kelsey Garman contributed some interesting statistics on why young adults leave church, read it on page 9. In the "Maturity Matters" section, Garman tugged at my heart strings in a short piece titled, "When Bad Things Happen to Old People."

That's only a taste, there is a lot more to read in the Community Free Press. Read more about the articles I touched on and then, be sure and catch the Business section, the Arts & Entertainment section, and Mert's infamous Sports column.

There is also additional information at the CFP Web site, click on supplementals to the print edition, you'll find the link right under the cover shot of this issue. To read the paper online, click on the cover shot.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shake it up, baby...

Interest in running for City Council seats, high

According to the Springfield News-Leader, Eight people have picked up petitions for council and mayor spots so far.

Councilman Denny Whayne has picked up a petition to seek re-election for his Zone 1 seat.

Nicholas Ibarra intends to run for the Zone 1 seat, as well. He has indicated he plans to pick up his petition this afternoon, I thought I'd note it because since he hadn't picked up his petition yet he wasn't mentioned in the News-Leader article.

Seats up for election are:

> Mayor, held by Tom Carlson
> General Seat A, held by Councilwoman Mary Collette
> General Seat B, held by Mayor Pro Tem Gary Deaver
> Zone 1, held by Councilman Denny Whayne
> Zone 4, held by Councilman John Wylie

Zone candidates are required to submit 100 registered voter signatures from those within that Zone. General candidates must submit 200 registered voter signatures from those who live within the city limits.

Petitions can only be picked up at the City Clerk's office, in the Busch Municipal building.

Filing dates for the election are October 7 - November 18.

For more information, contact City Clerk Brenda Cirtin's office.

Monday, September 22, 2008

All the Mayor's Horses

What will it take to fully fund the police/fire pension plan and should we consider the recommendations of the Pension Board?

I'm troubled by much of what I see being written about the police and fire fighters' pension plan. Rather, I should say, not only am I troubled about much of what I see written, I'm also very troubled about what I do not see being written.

The City of Springfield has a pension board. According to Assistant Fire Chief and Pension Board Trustee David Hall, all members of the Pension Board are Trustees. So, what is a trustee?

1 a: one to whom something is entrusted

2 a: a natural or legal person to whom property is legally committed to be administered for the benefit of a beneficiary (as a person or a charitable organization)

Here's what Hall said about Trustees of the Pension Board:

"All members of the board are considered trustees of the plan, which means that we have a special obligation to the plan, where my only concern can be about the plan.

I think, at times, that’s where some people may misunderstand, because I may be a fire chief for the department and, obviously, I have concerns for our staffing, but when I’m sitting in a pension board meeting the only thing I can look at is, is the fund being taken care of? Are we going to be able to pay the benefits that we are obligated to, because I’m acting as the representative of the individual in the plan, so, even though one role of my life is the assistant fire chief, I might not like the idea of the city having to cut its budget but, at the same time, as a trustee, my only concern is that they have to fund the system. It’s just one of those things."

I have to wonder if the new city manager and the City Council value the resource they have in the pension board and in pension board trustee David Hall. As usual, due to word constraints, when I wrote, "Pensions Remain Top Council Priority," for CFP's September 10 issue, I wasn't able to pass along everything Hall told me, here is some further information Hall passed along that I was unable to include:

"I’ve read every single minute from the pension board since it was established in 1946, every single one of them, because I really needed that full view of what happened. I’ve read all the actuarial reports, even those from back in the 40s and 50s and tried to get every document that I can get, that I can view.

I read and I’ve spent hours and hours because it’s information that we really need to know and be able to pass on to new trustees as they come on, as part of their education about cases that we’ve won or lost and so, that tells us what we can and can’t do on future ones.

It’s been extremely beneficial to me. It’s been a great learning experience and my big thing is, I hope I can communicate it well to the community so they understand it because, I feel comfortable, once they’re informed they’ll make a good decision. I think it (their decision) will agree with my assessment but either way, at least they’re making an informed decision. Our goal: for them to be educated and make a decision."

Hall's complete presentation can be viewed, here.

What I find troubling is that, instead of seeing discussion about the recommendations the pension board came up with to fix the problem and to keep the pension plan from getting in the same trouble later on, what I see are people who have spent far less time studying the issue coming up with other ideas. See: this, this, this, and this. While I note Burris is meeting with representatives of the Springfield Police Officers Association and Firefighters Local 152 and, according to the last New-Leader link, Burris found the discussions "encouraging," I'm still not seeing anything to suggest that the pension board's recommendations are being seriously considered.

What were the pension board's recommendations? Again, see the September 10 issue of CFP:

"At the top of the list of recommendations Hall made for dealing with the pension plan was a sales tax of at least 1/2 to 1 percent, depending on how long the community wants to pay the tax. At 1/2 percent it could take eight to 16 years. At 1 percent it would take just over three years to fund the plan to 90 percent. The board supports the tax being “sunsetted” when the plan is 90 percent funded.

Further recommendations were: a commitment from the city to contribute at least 28.88 percent as long as the tax is in place; after the tax ends, the city make the actuarial required contribution for all future years; a portion of all future cell phone settlements should be directed into the plan; reductions in the general fund should be revised to a level that does not impact services; and the city, Hall said, needs to review the disability process by making reasonable accommodations to retain injured employees."

Now, I don't have a problem with other people, the city manager, the News-Leader, the public at large, offering to come up with other recommendations or suggestions that might help to fix the serious gap we have between the amount of money in the pension plan and the amount it would take for the plan to be fully funded, but I'm troubled that no one is discussing the recommendations, at least in public, that were made by the very board entrusted to oversee, protect and keep viable the plan. I should also remind readers that those who sit on the pension board are approved by the City Council and there is a City Council member who sits as a non-voting member on the board.

Who are the current members of the board?

Current Pension Board Members

Voting Members

> Collin Quigley: city manager’s appointee
> Mary Mannix-Decker: city finance director
> Sheila Maerz: city human resource director
> Ken Homan: citizen representative
> Beau Barrett: citizen representative
> Steven Fenner: citizen representative
> Jim Edwards: police representative
> Jim McCulloch: police representative
> David Carter: fire representative
> David Hall: fire representative
> Ron Hoffman: retiree representative

Non-Voting members
> Cindy Rushefsky: City Council representative
> Dan Wichmer: city attorney
> Shelley Smith: board secretary

Source: Pension Board Trustee David Hall (See: Supplements to the Community Free Press)

Another thing that troubles me about the discussion surrounding the pension plan is the reluctance to fully explore how the plan got into its current state.

There seems to be fear about finger pointing to the extent that, in my view, it threatens complete understanding of the issue. Everyone knows that the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one, it seems common sense to me that unless one has a complete understanding about how and why a problem has occurred one can't fully address it.

If we are so afraid of finding out what went wrong that we disallow ourselves the opportunity to fully understand how the problem occurred, then how can the City leaders have the vision to make sure safeguards are put into place to ensure those problems won't return at some future date, after the plan has been adequately funded again?

"....The plan is in trouble, in some part, because its limited pool of money, or assets, cannot make enough money to keep it solvent.

That has put every official and taxpayer in Springfield in worry mode, and started a potentially paralyzing round of finger-pointing." -Springfield News-Leader

Potentially paralyzing finger-pointing? Perhaps, for a time, but it's necessary to understand the problem, without understanding it, the city manager and all the Mayor's horses and all the Mayor's men can't put the pension plan back together again.

Fortunately, much can be understood about how the plan got into the state it is in today.

That vast wealth of study David Hall has done on behalf , and as a trustee, of the pension board, to ensure future pension board members can understand the past and have vision for the future is available, and he has been very willing and accommodating in sharing that information with the city manager's office, the City Council and the public at large. He shared it with CFP some time ago. In "Budget Discussions Meet Objective," the May 21 issue of CFP, Hall provided this information to readers:

Pension Plan Contribution Rate Increase Drivers

> Investment underperformance
> Payroll not increasing at the expected rate
> City not contributing required amount (Net Pension Obligation)
> Higher average salaries than expected at retirement

> Retirees living longer
> More disabilities than expected

> Changes to meet new accounting standards
> Changes in assumptions

Source: Police Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ Retirement System Trustee, David Hall

Assumption Changes Affecting Police/Fire Pension Plan Contribution Rate

> Lowering of expected return on investments
> Lowering of expected increase in payroll
> Inclusion of an offset for payouts
> Increase in number of steps in pay plan
> Change in mortality rates
> Increase of the expected disability rates
> Reduction in expected turnover rates

Source: Police Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ Retirement System Trustee, David Hall

There is no reason to fear finding out how the pension plan got into its current state. In fact, we MUST understand how the pension plan got into the underfunded state it is in if we are to ensure it will not return there again some day.

Finger pointing is a characterization, a characterization that begs us to ignore the causes of the problem, a characterization that begs us to rise above pettiness. Unfortunately, unless we get down into the dirt and find out all the root causes of the pension plan's underfunding and how it got to it's current state our community will never be able to come up with permanent and sustainable solutions.

I think it a much more scary prospect to ignore the truth than to face it. Of course, facing the truth and allowing blame to be pointed in the appropriate directions may cause some people to think in terms of accountability.

Is accountability a bad thing?

Thursday, September 18, 2008


THIS Just in from the Springfield News-Leader

Be sure and notify all your friends!


But seriously folks, make fun of the News-Leader's choice of an "Our Voice" editorial all you want, at a cost of $2,500 per replacement pole, get a stake.

Try Habitat for Humanity Restore on South Scenic for cheap material for sign stakes. I have also found the large paint stir sticks to make excellent stakes and they're very affordable. They work great with a staple gun.

Wanna save on your utility bill? Seems to me this would be one simple way to keep costs down.

My apologies for not alerting readers

I should have posted about the Town Hall meeting held by Council members Wylie and Rushefsky tonight. I don't expect I have that huge a readership, but maybe a few more people might have read about it and attended if I had posted a notice about it before hand.

There were an equal number of citizens and City officials attending.

8 citizens

8 City officials

...and I thought last year's turn out of about 50 people was a poor turn out....

Oh, well. There's always next year.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Redneck Joke Alert!


'Hello, is this the Sheriff's Office?'

'Yes. What can I do for you?'

'I'm calling to report 'bout my neighbor Virgil Smith...He's hidin' marijuana inside his firewood! Don't quite know how he gets it inside them logs, but he's hidin' it there..'

'Thank you very much for the call, sir.'

The next day, twelve Sheriff's Deputies descend on Virgil's house. They search the shed where the firewood is kept.

Using axes, they bust open every piece of wood, but find no marijuana. They sneer at Virgil and leave.

Shortly, the phone rings at Virgil's house.

'Hey, Virgil! This here's Floyd....Did the Sheriff come?'


'Did they chop your firewood?'


'Happy Birthday, buddy!'

(Rednecks know how to git-R-dun). ---author unknown

Interview with Circuit Clerk Candidate Jim Lee posted on the Web

Local blogger Jack, over at Fat Jack's Erratic Rants, did an interview with Jim Lee, local Democrat candidate for Circuit Clerk.

It looks to me that Republican incumbent Steve Helms will have his work cut out for him, that is, if voters learn about Jim Lee, especially in light of so many complaints about our court system in recent weeks (see the Brian Brown series in CFP, "Justice Delayed," July 2, July 16, and July 30 issues) Certainly, the Clerk's office plays a vital role in how efficiently and smoothly things run in our court system. I was really impressed with the answers Lee provided to Jack's questions.

Jack observed:

"We have all heard stories about the backed-up court system and if the stories are true that the current office of the Circuit Clerk's is not working properly, then that will only serve to exacerbate the problem....

"In typical Lee fashion, his down-to-Earth perspective and attitude is exemplified in his quote: "I work hard, I work honest, and I don’t try to kid anyone."

If you want to know more about the candidate running against Helms in the Circuit Clerk race, I'd recommend Jack's blog. Great questions, great answers.

It should probably be noted that Helms was not voted into his position. He was appointed by Governor Matt Blunt when the previous Clerk, Mike Carr, took an early retirement.

"With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Helms took more than 43 percent of votes cast in the Republican primary." - Springfield News-Leader.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget

What happened the morning of September 11, 2001?

Turn up your speakers.

Council Bill 2008-280

The resolution adopting:

"...a Memorandum of Understanding for Employment of Greg Burris as City Manager effective September 15, 2008, and by authorizing payment of benefits in accordance with provisions set forth therein."

...will be presented at Monday night's City Council meeting as a one reading consent agenda bill.

To read the four page ordinance setting the terms of compensation and listing the bullet points for that compensation agreed upon between the city and new city manager Greg Burris, click the above link.

Citizens wishing to address the Council regarding the terms of compensation laid out in the resolution will be required to request Council Bill 2008-280 be removed from the consent agenda prior to the Council meeting, or upon the Mayor's invitation at the beginning of the Council meeting. Citizens can request its removal by letting the City Clerk or her surrogate know before Carlson brings up the question, if they so choose.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Palin's "in the game now"

From KY3 Political Notebook's: Drill Baby, Drill

""On October 2nd, Biden's got to go after her," (Councilman Denny) Whayne said when asked about his reaction to the Sarah Palin phenomenon. "None of this playing around anymore. He has to drill her . . . She's in the game now, so let's go.""

Thanks, David! What a hoot!!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Pension Plan

Wow. I have some problems with this article in the New-Leader, but they might not be what you think they are.

Greg Burris, before he has even officially started his job as the new city manager of Springfield has said what we all knew he would say.

According to Wes Johnson of the News-Leader:

"...Greg Burris already plans to seek a sales tax vote early next year to deal with a huge shortfall in the pension system for city police and firefighters...."

If voters say no to the sales tax:

“Then we know that what we’ve got ahead of us are massive budget cuts, which equate into massive service cuts,” Burris said....

The article continues:

"At a recent pension presentation, Assistant Fire Chief David Hall said the sales tax should automatically end when the retirement plan reached a 90 percent funding level. At that point, interest from invested pension funds should be enough to sustain it without additional sales tax revenue, Hall said...."

And Burris goes on:

“Maybe part of a package solution is one where everybody is contributing — police and fire contribute a little more, the city is contributing more, taxpayers are contributing a little more — and we can identify some time range that this solution will sunset after X number of years.”

I think Burlison has the right idea (read the article) that he wants to see the whole plan and that the police and fire fighters have already contributed enough and shouldn't be asked to sacrifice any more than they have already sacrificed. They continue to pay into the pension fund, they never stopped paying into the pension fund.

I have no problem with supporting a sales tax, and yeah, that's going to get me in trouble with some folks, even maybe here at home, if you get my drift ;) The thing is, I think the city is going to have to exhibit a little different attitude if they want the support of people. The city wants the taxpayer to sacrifice because the city didn't contribute as they should have and because one of their past city managers failed, miserably failed, to address the issue after promising the pension board he would.

Assistant Fire Chief and Pension Board Trustee David Hall didn't stop with a sales tax, and he didn't want to see the people of Springfield have to suffer more in cuts to core city services, as they were forced to do in fiscal year 2008-09.

At Hall's presentation to the City Council he offered several recommendations, a sales tax was just one of the recommendations, albeit the key recommendation. I have to wonder why I see no one at the News-Leader outlining the complete recommendations of the board, different reporters think different things are important, I guess.

One of the other recommendations was that "reductions in the general fund should be revised to a level that does not impact core services," the new city manager must have missed that recommendation, along with the News-Leader.

Everyone at the presentation heard all of the board's recommendations, every city official and all the media received copies of the entire power point presentation to take home and consider further.

CityConnect posted The video of the Police/Fire Pension Presentation at their Web site, but I don't see anyone talking about any of those recommendations except the sales tax. I see the new city manager possibly coming up with some new ideas, like asking the police and firefighters to contribute more than they have been, but I didn't see any mention of any of the other recommendations made by the board.

Now, I understand they are only recommendations from the pension board, not mandates, but shouldn't they be being considered as a part of the equation?

The pension board has many members and at least one of them, that I know of, has spent countless hours studying how the plan got where it is today to avoid the plan getting there again in the future. I hope sour grapes, due primarily to a past lack of communication, doesn't keep our current City Council and new city manager from seriously considering recommendations which came, no doubt, after hours and hours of research and deliberation by the pension board. That wouldn't seem wise to me. When such a valuable resource is available, it should be used.

Further, I have to wonder about the wisdom of the new city manager announcing he's going to rush right into asking for a quick vote of the taxpayers for a sales tax increase to fund the pension plan before he's even taken his position.

I've been one of those people who have been saying let's give him a chance. I've been thinking we ought to at least let him mess up before we condemn him. I've been waiting, giving him the benefit of the doubt and hoping for the best but the timing of this big announcement seems a little whacked to me, a little rash.

I think the taxpayers who are being asked to rectify the mistakes the city has made in the past would like to know about the entire proposal, I think the taxpayer would like to see how the city plans to sacrifice something beyond core city services, as if the public is to pay for their mistakes, before they are ready to consider sacrificing to get the city out of the pension plan mess they allowed a past city manager to get us into due to lack of communication and oversight.

Anyway, in the meantime, if you want to read all the recommendations made by the pension board, some very good and well thought out recommendations, which were no doubt deliberated over for a considerable amount of time, check out the new issue of the "Community Free Press."

Yers truly has a pension article too, "Pensions Remain Top Council Priority."

Here's a tease:

"“In the pension board we were given a commitment from the city manager’s office that they would resolve the problem with the funding. We were told to report to the city manager’s office and that’s why all of our communications, at that time, were going to him. Obviously, now, the board sees it has to report to Council because we can see what happens whenever it gets locked up, or it did get locked up in the city manager’s office.” - Pension Board Trustee David Hall

Read more....

Update: Jason, at Life Of Jason, did his own interview with Assistant Fire Chief and Pension Board Trustee David Hall that offers further insight into the Pension Plan issue. Read it here.

This Bible Verse has been Coming to my Mind a lot Lately...

Luke 6:42

" How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Missouri: Questionable Purchases says the National Taxpayers Union

The National Taxpayers Union found over $2.4 million in taxpayers' dollars spent for purposes they deemed questionable at the state level in a review of the Missouri Accountability Portal (MAP), launched by Gov. Matt Blunt (R) in 2007. Some of the purchases were made at bakeries, bra stores, coffee shops, beauty salons and picture framing galleries, they reported in this August 29, 2008 news release.

""Unfortunately, MAP only goes so far in telling you what was actually behind the expenditures," (Kristina) Rasmussen concluded. "Often, the spending record data will dead-end at 'professional services,' 'supplies,' or 'non-contract purchases.' While it's possible that some of these purchases are fairly innocuous, the name of the vendor alone gives reason for taxpayers to at least question the expense."

The National Taxpayers Union claims 362,000 members nation-wide. Of those members, the news release said, almost 7,300 of them are employed and live in Missouri.

Edit: I should have noted these questionable expenditures were made over an eight year period.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Japanese Fall Festival at the Japanese Stroll Garden

Scott(e) and family came to Springfield to attend the Japanese Fall Festival with me and my husband today. It turned out to be a nice afternoon. The rain let up and we enjoyed the demonstration of Ku-Budo: Japanese traditional Martial Arts demonstrated by Keisuke Nishimura, an 18th generation instructor from Isesaki, Japan.

We also really enjoyed the Hibiki Taiko Drums.

We all had fun visiting the many booths there, too. We sampled the steamed soy beans, which we all liked very much.

My sister-in-law and I purchased some bromeliads. I bought three small ones and the nice lady running the booth gave me one for free when I asked her the price of another one I liked that wasn't marked!

Tomorrow is the last day of the Fall Festival.

For more information visit Springfield-Greene County Park Board:

"Sunday festival hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Admission is $5 for adults; $2 for children ages 3-12; and free for toddlers.

Festival highlights include: authentic Japanese drum performance called "taiko", tea ceremonies at the lake-side tea house, nightly candlelight strolls through the garden, authentic Japanese souvenirs, local artisans and performers, kimono shows, early Japanese archeology discussion, and a hands-on activity center for children. Booth vendors include gardening, traditional Japanese crafts, Koi fish, martial arts, photography, and many others."

Tomorrow's schedule of events, as posted at the Park Board's Web site:

Sunday, September 7

12:00 - Tea Ceremony Introduction (Nawa - no -Kai Isesaki, Japan)
12:30 - Kimono Demonstration (Nawa-no-Kai Isesaki, Japan)
1:00 - Hibiki Taiko Drum (from Oklahoma)
2:00 - Martial Arts (Tracy’s Karate)
3:00 - Garbonzo’s (2005 Isesaki Festival Performers)
4:00 - Pat’s Clogging (2008 Isesaki Festival Performers)
5:00 - Mosaic Vocal Ensemble (2009 Isesaki Festival Performers)
6:00 - TaeKwonDo (National Progressive TaeKwonDo Association)
6:45 - Ko-Budo: Japanese traditional Martial Arts "old martial way."(Nawa - no - Kai Isesaki, Japan)

*Hera Hera Yukai: Enjoy life/being happy talk show (Jesse Mandera) This show will have several brief performances

** Schedule subject to change in inclement weather**

Friday, September 05, 2008

My Aunt sent some political quotes:

My Aunt, the one who sent me the Bible book puzzle, sent me some quotes tonight. Many of them I had already seen but they were enjoyable to read again. Here's a couple of them that you might have already read but I hadn't seen before:

"If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!"- P.J. O'Rourke

"The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin."-Mark Twain

Here's a couple I had read but are worth repeating:

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."-Ronald Reagan (1986)

"I don't make jokes... I just watch the government and report the facts."-Will Rogers

Thanks, Aunt _____! (She's an anonymous source :)

Palin More Popular than Presidential Candidates?

Rasmussen reported today that Sarah Palin was favorably viewed in a national telephone survey by 1 percentage point over both McCain and Obama and by 10 percentage points over Biden.

Maybe Sarah Palin should have run for president?


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Governor Palin's Speech

Well worth the wait

There were a lot of things I liked about Palin's speech but to say it in a few words, there was "meat" there, not just "milk."

In places, sure, she played the expected partisan game. In others, the speech took a very serious turn and caused me to reflect more on the gravity of the choice for President than I had so far this year. Maybe, because I take some of the issues she spoke about very seriously, myself.

I like Palin for VP. I'm cautiously optimistic.

She struck me as very real, very smart, perfectly self-controlled.

A pit bull with lipstick. Yeah.

(Did anyone else watching PBS think Gwen Ifill looked disappointed and morose when she gave her closing thoughts?)

No liberal bias?

I think some excellent points re: Palin were raised over at Fat Jack's Erratic Rants.

Regarding how Palin would juggle the responsibilities of being the VP with her family life, Jack wrote:

"It is true that the media did not ask the same questions of Obama, Biden or McCain. The thing that complicates the issue further is that the media did not have to ask Obama or Biden about how they will balance their home lives. Both Obama and Biden freely offered this information in full during the course of their campaign. Palin has not had the opportunity to do so as her pick was sudden and surprising."

Jack goes on to discuss why he believes it's a legitimate question and I don't disagree with him on that point. He also praised Obama's handling of the issue of Palin's daughter being thrown into the fray. Well, okay, but I remember a time when I was much more partisan than I am today. I remember people on the other side of the political divide not letting the Bush campaign off the hook for things said by other people in the party, people who were not part of the campaign. Those people, the very people who wanted to hold Bush and/or his campaign directly responsible for say, the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth's campaign against Kerry, are most likely the very rabid, political animals who are engaged in the attempted character assassination of Sarah Palin. I say this just to make the point that there are people who, from their own partisan positions, will not accept that this isn't a direct part of the Obama "machine." If it was fair for the far left to claim Swift Boat Vets were part of the Bush political machine then, they may have to take a dose of their own medicine.

And, rest assured, I'm not directing this at my good Democrat friends, I actually have some and it's doubtful, to me, they'd be rooting for the continuance of this attempted character assassination of Palin.

Obama shouldn't be held accountable for everything everyone who supports him writes or says about his political opponent(s) anymore than I believed Bush should have been held accountable for everything everyone who supported him ever wrote or said about his political opponent(s).

What I appreciated about Jack's post and where I think this issue is the most saddening is when he wrote the above quoted segment. No one had "to ask Obama or Biden about how they will balance their home lives. Both Obama and Biden freely offered this information in full during the course of their campaign. Palin has not had the opportunity to do so as her pick was sudden and surprising."

Palin didn't have the chance, the vultures descended on her without giving her the opportunity to offer that information freely and voluntarily, as the other candidates have been able to do, and I think I've even heard that some people are proposing that she is unwilling to give that information, when the reality is, she just hasn't had the chance yet.

Certainly, Republicans have every right to complain. Michelle Malkin is doing a bit of complaining today. In Us magazine’s partisan hit job, Malkin pointed out a US magazine headline read: "John McCain's Vice President SARAH PALIN: BABIES, LIES & SCANDAL."

Malkin reminds readers of the June cover of US magazine on Barack Obama: "Michelle Obama, Why Barack Loves Her," further, on the cover, "She shops at Target, loved Sex and the City and never misses the girls' recitals. The untold romance between a down-to-earth mom and the man who calls her 'my rock'"


Jason Wert of Life Of Jason, brought up the John Roberts question about Palin's ability to be VP and devote an appropriate amount of time to her special needs child, here. I thought at the time, the level of outrage was a bit over the top but, hmmm, maybe not. I had no idea the media firestorm that was waiting in the wings for Sarah Palin. It would have been nice, as Andy Cline pointed out, if Roberts had asked Palin rather than another reporter the question. Cline agreed, there was a legitimate question that could have been asked of Palin, well, rather than summarize what he wrote, here it is:

"Roberts and Bash are engaging in a practice typical of political reporting on TV today--a practice I object to: reporters talking to each other about issues as if they are experts. They should be reporting news, not engaging each other in speculation.

There is a legitimate question here that ought to be asked of the candidate. I would phrase it this way: What challenges does raising a special needs child present for a vice president?

Palin needs to be ready to respond to this reasonable question. What's unreasonable about the Roberts/Bash conversation is the underlying premise that one might not be able to handle both jobs well."

Certainly, it has provided more fodder for conservatives to declare there is a liberal bias in the media. Andy?