Thursday, December 23, 2010

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National Public Radio Aims to Transfer Listenership Ahead of Funding Cuts

Many of you have probably heard about National Public Radio firing Juan Williams a few weeks ago. Juan is a well spoken and thoughtful Democrat who frequently appears on Fox News. This apparent act of retribution for his involvement in Fox's programming has created a tremendous backlash against NPR with many conservatives calling for Congress to defund NPR because of thier aparent, however subtle, attack on free speech.

I was channel surfing on my FM Radio the other day when  seek button stopped on the local NPR affiliate. I had gotten tired of surfing so I gave up/ got distracted with the dial set on the local NPR affiliate. I didn't choose to put it on NPR, but that is just where it happened to be set when I gave up surfing.

The program was called "All Things Considered." You may have heard it before. It was hosted by a mild mannered apparently liberal moderator whose quiet and calming voice, I can still hear in my head. After a few minutes of not paying any attention, I somehow became aware of what was on the program, perhaps I even turned up the volume.

The show was singing (not literally) the praises of Bloomberg News and its growth in recent years. They couldn't speak highly enough about Bloomberg News and its owner, Michael Bloomberg, who also happens to be liberal democrat mayor of New York City.

They spent 20 minutes detailing the conversion Bloomberg News was undergoing, and how it was emerging as the new leader in the "hard news industry" . In truth- the "hard news industry" has been dominated, I mean dominated by Fox News in recent years and it will be a very long time before Bloomberg is able to change that, if ever.

NPR is simply trying to create the illusion among their listeners that Bloomberg is a fair and unbiased source of information the way Fox News has been for the American public in recent years. That is an absolutely rediculous assertion. The fact is that with that kind of free advertising, funded by the American public (many, if not most, of whom disagree with the agenda of Bloomberg and NPR and the rest of the socialist progressives) through NPR, any news agency would begin getting more attention.

How can we believe that a news agency being owned by politico Michael Bloomberg, would not reflect his political perspective? The fact is I have never heard them plug Fox News once. On the contrary, this program represents a promotion of a company aiming to compete with Fox. It appears to me that this is as much an act of retribution by NPR for the uprising of the people that has come about since their firing of Juan Williams for his frequent appearances on Fox News, as anything else. They know they are goign down. They want to bring Fox down with them by trying to put Bloomberg on top.

It appears that the political arm of National Public Radio sees the writing on the wall. In the coming months, they will lose their federal funding and they know it. It is with this in mind that they have chosen to use our money to tell their listeners about how great Bloomberg news is, in a prime time setting.

This is just another reason that NPR should be removed from the federal dole. It is time for congress to stop funding many, many of the agencies and departments they have been funding for years and NPR is only one of them. But there is simply no excuse for NPR receiving federal funding any longer. For years it has used its funding to promote the liberal socialist agenda. Now that we have exposed NPR for what it is, they are doing the best they can to send their listeners to Bloomberg (and other liberal media outlets, if I had to guess).

Now lets call on our faithful lawmakers in Washington and demand that they get to work with their buzzsaws cutting NPR and all of the other unecessarrys from the federal budget. It is time to down size the government, cut taxes and end this recession. There is only one way to do it and it is by using our strength to pass legislation cutting spending anywhere we can. No more pork, no more pork, NO MORE PORK! It is up to you and me to make sure this happens.

We must petition our leaders to advance the conservative agenda and pass conservative legislation. Cutting NPRs funding is just one small example of ways that we can reduce governmental spending and reduce the tax burden on he working class American families who need it most but its as good a place as any to start.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ethics Reform- Part Deux

Tomorrow begins the historic special session on Ethics Reform in Alabama's newly elected Republican Legislature. This will be Governor Riley's last hoorah and could likely determine how he will be remembered by generations of Alabamains.

We have gone from the depths of despair and what we hope will prove to be the bottom of the recession, to a hopeful moment in the history of our state that may represent the dawning of a new day in Alabama. After 136 years of Democrat control, beginning this week we will see if our newly elected legislature is serious about cleaning up corruption, or if they are just trying to bar the door on the Democrats now that they have gotten them out of town.

The burden rests squarely on the shoulders of the GOP Leadership of the Legislature and it will be these same legislators who pay the price of failure if the first act of the Republican legislature proves to be a political stunt.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that transparency in our government is a great step in the right direction. I have read the legislation and I agree that we need to eliminate gifts from lobbyists, PAC to PAC transfers and double dipping. But I am afraid these bills fall short when it comes to addressing corruption in Montgomery and local government(s) in Alabama.

The point I am getting at is this. Double dipping is being targetted in this ethics reform effort. Double dipping is when a state representative of senator collects two state salaries, one from thier elected position, and the other is from a state agency (historically these have often been no-show, two year college positions).

Now these douple dipping arrangements are being targetted by the Republicans because it has most often been the Democrats who have benefited from these double dipping arrangements. I agree double dipping needs to be addressed, but I think that the definition of double dipping is far too narrow.

The problem I have is this: Many Republicans are guilty of double dipping, but instead of taking a second state salaried position, they are often the beneficiaries of very lucrative tax payer funded contracts, which they win with limited to no competition. This should be a crime.

When our elected leaders grant themselves unfair advantage for The People's money, I can't think of any reason that this shouldn't be considered an Ethics Violation. Any time competition is limited or non existant, simple economics dictates that the tax payers are left paying more than they should be for the goods or services procured.


There is NO REASON a state legislator or any elected official should even come close to having this conflict. There are sacrifices that must be made when one chooses to serve in elected office and yes, this may be one of those sacrifices that needs to be made. "I am sorry, Mr. Elected, No, you may not have a million dollar contract on my dime just because you have duped the electorate into voting for you."

That is like buying a car without shopping the prices. Without shopping/competition the buyer will never get a good deal. Undermining competition not only takes money from the tax payers that they should never have to pay, but taking it one step further, this sort of corruption is largely to blame for our current recession. This sort of crony capitalism is running rampant in our government from Montgomery to Washington DC, the only difference is the number of zero's in the budgets and the number of victims of this behaviour. It is also a problem in county and municipal governments.

Without this sort of crony capitalist CORRUPTION, the necessary revenue for running our government could be reduced tremendously. This means the burden on every tax paying American could be lightened substantially, putting more money into all of our pockets, which we could all use.

If the appearance of impropriety becomes apparent, it will be amply clear that those involved did not run to serve. Or at the very best, they have chosen, after being elected, to pad their pockets at the expense of those they are sworn to represent. If that is not an ethical violation, I don't know what is.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Judicial Reform and Divorce in Alabama

It is high time that in addition to ethics reform, we institute some judicial reform in the State of Alabama.

For the last two years, my wife and I have been victims of our judicial system. We have been pitted against each other by lawyers and the legal system for fear of losing our children to one another. We are not alone in this either. Many, many Alabamians have been through this very same traumatic experience. Its unfortunate, it is unnecessary and perhaps most importantly: I believe it is unconstitutional.

There is no more basic instinct in the mind of a parent than his or her desire to protect his or her children. Unfortunately, this often results in disagreements between parents in how they believe the children should be raised and the values which should be instilled in them. All to often, these disagreements ultimately materialize into what is now referred to as "irreconcilable differences".

That term is the biggest crock of shit I think I have ever heard, pardon my French, but I am more than a little bit passionate about this subject matter. This way of looking at marriage, as being soluble and able to be broken for convenience sake is damaging our country and our children beyond measure. There is no such thing as "irreconcilable differences". I can say this because my marriage has reached the breaking point, been through two years of divorce trials, and I continue to pray for reconciliation with my wife.

I have realized, through prayer, that it is not all her fault, as I once believed. In fact I now realize that if I had listened to her and valued her opinion more and respected her emotions more, then our marriage may have never gotten to the broken state that it did. That being said, God can heal all things and he continues to work in my life by changing my heart and changing my relationship with my wife as he does.

I am not saying that I am solely responsible for the things that happened. I am saying that I know I played a part and I could have been a better husband. My ability to admit my faults, opens the door to change. Hopefully we are both on this road towards becoming better people. If not, that is ok, I can only be responsible for myself and I choose to love my wife, regardless of what she has done or will do, good or bad, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, till death. That is the marriage vow isn't it?

Last time I checked, a Marriage is a vow between Man, Wife and their God. Does Government even have a place in marriage? I don't think so. I think that the state's governance of marriages is just a way to tax the people for exercising their Religion by requiring a marriage license.

Now it has gotten to the point that the judicial system has made an even bigger business out of divorcing people, once again, when the judiciary has no place in marriage (except in upholding our right to marry, and exercise our faith by doing so). The only people who benefit from this system are the lawyers, who surprisingly enough, are the ones who wrote the laws that established this system.

These divorce lawyers foster a sentiment of distrust between the husband and wife which further prevents any sort of reconciliation. They milk their clients until they cannot pay another cent. They manipulate the party's fear and turn them against each other in such a way that makes reconciliation all but impossible. They even go so far as to encourage the parties to make allegations against each other and foster conflict that can be damaging to their clients and their families for the rest of their lives.

They do this to their benefit and at the expense of countless defenseless children, whose parents have been pitted against each other in court rooms where they stand to lose what is most important to them, their children, so they feel they have no option, but to fight.

I believe it is time for the conservatives among us, to stand up to this government who has gotten out of control and is interfering with our lives and injecting itself into our religious practices, where it has no place. We must put conservative judges on the bench. I mean real conservative judges who will stand up for and protect the religious nature of marriage, not just cover their asses by letting these trials drag on and on and on, benefiting no one but the lawyers who put them in office.

For that matter, I think we should put more regular folks on the bench and into elected office. I don't think we need lawyers writing our laws anymore because historically the laws they have written have protected the members of their trade, more than the rest of us. That isn't right.

One shouldn't have to be a lawyer to be a judge or to hold any office. He should have demonstrated a commitment to justice, a sound mind and values in line with those of The People (all which can be determined by the electorate) but being a lawyer shouldn't be a requirement. The point I am getting at is this: let's put regular folks on the bench into elected office. They'll look out for the regular folks through their ruling and their governing. Allowing our state and our judiciary to be run by lawyers has only benefited one group of people: lawyers.

If you must hire a lawyer, find one or research several divorce attorneys at attorneys.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ethics Reform in Montgomery

Governor Riley has called for a special session of the Alabama Legislature to address "Ethics Reform". I think this is a great step in the right direction, but we need to make sure it goes far enough.

So far most of the items initended to be addressed pertain to lobbyists and campaign finance reform/ PAC to PAC transfers. These are definitely things that need to be addressed.

It has also been said that they intend to address "double dipping". That is good too. What I have not heard is anything about prohibiting elected officials from gaining unfair advantage to government funded CONTRACTS.

The contracts let by the state and local govenrment represent a large portion of government spending. More often than we'd like to admit, state officials wind up recieving or benefitting from these contracts. This is a different kind of double dipping, but is double dipping none the less. If they are circumventing or undermining fair competition, the tax-payers pick up the tab for the difference and that is unacceptable. It is time for it to stop.

That being said this session on Ethics Reform needs to address this situation as well as those already planned to be addressed. There is no reason an elected official or any company he or she works for in any way , or owns an interest in, should be performing tax payer funded work, without total transparency and fair competition. This is true during thier term of service as well as after thier terms have expired or they have been removed from office and it should apply to local officials just as much as those at the state level.

I know of too many instances where someone has been elected, served a term or two and has been set for life because they were able to arrange a contract for themselves after leaving office or even while still in office, all at the expense of the tax payers, whom they were sworn to represent. Now THAT is an Ethics violation and we don't need any commission to tell us so. Every human is blessed with a consience and naturally we know right from wrong. that being said, I think making every elected Joe take an ethics class is another waste of our money. People know when they are doing something wrong. Write the rules and if someone violates them, let them pay.

If the newly elected Republican Legislature doesn't address this issue of contracts being funnelled to friends and allies of the elected officials (and even the officials themselves) in its "Ethics Reform" session, we will know right off the bat that these guys are not really serious about cleaning up corruption and special interests in Mongomery. They are only serious about cleaning out thier competition for public money so that there is more to go around for them and thier cronies.
I hope that we have elected men of character who will do the right thing and address ALL of the corruption in Montgomery, not just that which exists on the other side of the aisle.