Sunday, September 28, 2008

This did not have to happen!

Please read the story mentioned above. This was a horrible accident and my prayers go out to each and every family involved in anyway.
But this should not have happened! No way no how as these students should not have been there. And the people at the top need to be held personally responsible.
If the school corporation and the state of Indiana would follow, implement and fund the law that guarantee's students with disabilities a right to their education this would not have happened. Ya, I know it's always hard to implement and follow the rules of all of these laws but give me a break. IDEA, The individuals with Disabilities Education Act was passed in 1975.
Bottom line is this if the schools would have been following the law these students would have been attending their home school and receiving their supports and services in the classroom right beside the friends from their neighborhood. Instead the schools find it cheaper to form Co-Ops and bus students around. In this case these students were in this horrible place at this horrible moment because of the School Corporation.
The Superintendent, School Board, Dr. Sue Ellen Reed, The Indiana State Board of Education and Governor Mitch Daniels should each be held personally responsible for the deaths of each of these students. Plain and simple the above mentioned individuals are responsible some by decisions they have made and some simply by their elected responsibilities.
Peace Dude.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Well I could talk politics but.............

So much to talk and debate but......We took Nash to his first Big Ten Football Game today and it does not get any better then that.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The House the taxpayers built!

Now I am 100% a Colt's fan and gladly pay my tax to help pay for the stadium. But now that we have to figure out how to pay for operations I have to ask. My comments in order of the pictures above.
1. First picture is the large suite at Lucas Oil, wonder what it costs to use? How much did that suite cost to furnish? Maybe that suite revenue could pay for operations?
2. Do you really go to a game to sit in a suite and watch a tiny TV next to your seat?
3. Did we really needs Colts logo's in the carpet in the press box?
4. Did Jim Irsay really need pigskin flooring in his office at the Stadium at $100 a square foot?
5. And last but not least the Irsay Throne that I hear cost $1,500.
The Stadium is really awesome and it's great to have the Colts here in Indy and I hope they stay for ever. But with some of these items I think the City, State and The Colts can figure out this operations mess without adding it to the taxpayers tab.
Peace Dude!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Taxpayer Bailout of the poor little rich boys!

As you know I am not a big fan of the folks on Wall Street. I am including the text of the proposed bill for this bailout below. I have read thru this and what I find interesting is this bill waives all oversight and waives all normal requirements of public contract granting. I really see this as giving $700 billion of play money to the Bush good ole boy network with no oversight or accountability. We as taxpayers if this is approved more then ever before need to follow the money. You will also see that overall point of the bailout is to take care of Wall Street first and to protect the taxpayers second. I have placed in bold a few items that really bother me!

Section 1. Short Title.
This Act may be cited as ____________________.
Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.
(a) Authority to Purchase.--The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.
(b) Necessary Actions.--The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:
(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;
(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;
(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;
(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and
(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.
Sec. 3. Considerations.
In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for--
(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and
(2) protecting the taxpayer.
Sec. 4. Reports to Congress.
Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.
Sec. 5. Rights; Management; Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.
(a) Exercise of Rights.--The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act.
(b) Management of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary shall have authority to manage mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.
(c) Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at prices determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions or other financial transactions in regard to, any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act.
(d) Application of Sunset to Mortgage-Related Assets.--The authority of the Secretary to hold any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 9, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a mortgage-related asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 9, is not subject to the provisions of section 9.
Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.
The Secretary's authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time
Sec. 7. Funding.
For the purpose of the authorities granted in this Act, and for the costs of administering those authorities, the Secretary may use the proceeds of the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, and the purposes for which securities may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are extended to include actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses. Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure.
Sec. 8. Review.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency
Sec. 9. Termination of Authority.
The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b)(5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.
Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.
Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.
Sec. 11. Credit Reform.
The costs of purchases of mortgage-related assets made under section 2(a) of this Act shall be determined as provided under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as applicable.
Sec. 12. Definitions.
For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) Mortgage-Related Assets.--The term "mortgage-related assets" means residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008.
(2) Secretary.--The term "Secretary" means the Secretary of the Treasury.
(3) United States.--The term "United States" means the States, territories, and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia.

I am really appalled everyone is not talking about this.


State to repay operator for waived Toll Road fees?

September 21, 2008
State to repay operator for waived Toll Road fees
Munster » Indiana will reimburse the private operator of the Indiana Toll Road for the state's decision to waive fees along the tollway temporarily to alleviate congestion during floods that closed Northwest Indiana freeways for days.
Jane Jankowski, a spokeswoman for Gov. Mitch Daniels, said Friday that the state will reimburse Macquarie-Cintra, a Spanish and Australian consortium, for its lost revenue. She said she doesn't know how much it will cost the state to make good on the lost tolls.
The state's decision upsets Margie Stewart, a Toll Road employee and Teamsters Union representative. "Why should the taxpayers pay for this? The company is making plenty of money," Stewart said Friday. "It was a disaster here. They could have helped."
Jankowski said the funds will come from the $3.8 billion the state received from the foreign consortium for the 75-year lease agreement to operate the Toll Road.

While I am somewhat sure this is in the fine print of the lease agreement somewhere I wish the Star would have dug into that contract to point it out.

I have to ask a couple of questions though:

1. Where does tax payer bailout of private corporations end?

2. Should not the consortium have a "Loss of Use" coverage on their insurance?

3. If the state declares a state of emergency somewhere in Indiana that causes a private business to shut down would the state then reimburse that business for lost revenue?

4. I think we need to know much more about this issue and how exactly the cost is calculated.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Really Good Stuff!

Big hat tip to John, Kim, Abby and the rest of the gang at The Arc of Indiana for their hard work on getting this info.

Please click here and read the Candidate Surveys on the Arc website.

Should give you some really good facts to check out.

Peace Dude

Is it just me?

I have been sending some emails and making a few phone calls to candidates in my districts of late to ask some very specific questions about issues that are important to me.

I have been somewhat surprised that I have been quite literally ignored by many cadidates for offices that I vote for.

Is anyone else finding this to be true?

Peace Dude!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wall Street Tax Payer Welfare!!

If you read my blog or you know me personally you will know I have been critical of Wall Street for a number of years. I formed this opinion a few years back. I don't even remember the manufacturer today but I remember the issue well. The company had just had a great expansion, increased domestic and export sales, created a large amount of new high paying jobs and had just reported the single best quarterly results in the history of the company. What happened to their stock? It fell 23% because it did not meet analyst expectations. WHAT I ASKED? How could this be?

My statement to this day is you can't run a business with sound principles if you are constantly chasing nothing but massive profit growth to meet analyst expectations. While I know there are probably some really great analysts out there impression is a bunch of over paid 28 year old snot nosed MBA's that have never managed people, had to close or make deal that was good for all or had to make payroll on Friday? Not fair? Maybe but the results of late speak for themselves.

How many more poor little rich folks are we going to bail out? Ya, I know the current CEO of AIG did take a 48% pay cut this year down to a hard to get by on $12 million.....

Well folks I think the problems on Wall Street are still coming fast down the train tracks.

So I have now seen the our government bail out company after company to the tune of over $300 Billion with my wallet. This from the same gang that says they can't afford to fund IDEA to the amount they promised in 1975 when they passed the law to include students with disabilities in public school.

Well gang, kiss your kids and hang on for the ride.


Sunday, September 14, 2008


Hey Gang,

Sorry my posting has been down but I started a new job this last week that is absolutely awesome but has kept me busy.

In the meantime I just stole a quote right from my good friend Nicole's web page. I love this quote:

Be who you are and say what you feel
because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind.
-Dr. Seuss

Tough Questions with no answers!

Well I have spent the last few weeks wrestling with myself over the national campaign. I have been supporting Senator Obama since day one but became somewhat frustrated with the Change we Can Believe in during the Clinton negotiations before the convention. Then all went well at the convention and I was happy again. Then Senator McCain came out with the gutsy decision to name Governor Sarah Palin as VP. This really made me take a step back. Governor Palin is an awesome example of what my old Republican Party was all about. Yes I use to be a rabid Reagan Republican. And the fact that like me she is the parent of a child with Down syndrome has made me really reflect.
Well I was willing to be swayed back but I had two tough questions for the Campaign both 100% issue based.
1. How will Senator McCain's health insurance policy benefit my family? You see we have really good employer sponsored health insurance and most of the decisions we make are based on that coverage. Why....well Nash does not have any health issues any different than you or I but because he is diagnosed with Down syndrome he can't get a stand alone health policy from any carrier. The only way he can get coverage is through a group plan or the state high risk pool. So if Senator McCain's plan goes into effect and we would lose our group and have to go out into the market for an individual policy we would not see any savings but an increase of 40% or more for our family's coverage in the high risk pool.
2. In 1975 Congress passed IDEA and promised to fund up to 70% of the additional costs to schools for providing services to allow students with disabilities to attend public school with their peers. To date they have never funded more then 17% of the additional cost. Senator McCain has a record here of not supporting increased funding for IDEA or NCLB. So I ask since Governor Palin does have a record on increasing funding for Special Education in Alaska how would this effect the campaign on this issue?
Well I emailed the McCain/Palin Campain over 10 days ago and asked for answers on these two questions so I could make my final decision on who I would support. To date I have not even gotten a politically typical thanks for your email but we are really busy response. No response at answer to my email or call asking for a donation and yes I gave them all my contact information. (side note I have done the same with the Jill Long Thompson campaign with the same results) (side not two Governor Daniels and Dr. Tony Bennett have gone out of there way to answer my questions)
My conclusion is the questions on these issues were not worth answering or they did not like their own answers.
For me these are the two most important issues of the campaign.
So I wish you luck Senator McCain and Governor Palin and I think you are both really great people and great Americans but if you can't answer my questions on the issues.....I have to stay in the camp of:
"Change we can Believe In"
But I am still open to having the discussion on these two issues.
Any of my readers have any thoughts?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac...Hate to say I told you so.....But!

Sometimes I hate it when I am right. Bush and the gang once again bail out the Corporate CEO's on the backs of the taxpayers. Below is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac info from CNN and then some links to my past posts. My previously stated estimate of over $100 million may be low....

U.S. seizes two mortgage giants

Federal officials today announced an extraordinary takeover of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, signaling the most dramatic move to date aimed at shoring up the nation's housing market. Freddie and Fannie own half the mortgage debt in the country. Since last summer, they have suffered about $12 billion in losses. full story

Peace Dude!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin and Down Syndrome

I felt this was a great article that I wanted to post over here.

Taken from Patricia Bauer Disability news. While I know many readers of my blog read Patricia regularly I know some that don't would appreciate this resource. Big hat tip to Patricia for this great article.

Questions, we get questions
September 5th, 2008

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, people come up with some new ones. Questions, that is — about Sarah Palin’s baby son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, who has Down syndrome (at left with sister Piper at the Republican National Convention). Here are answers to some common questions.

1) Down syndrome — that’s really bad, right? Doesn’t that mean he’s sickly and won’t live very long?

First of all, let’s think about this baby as just that — a baby. People with Down syndrome vary widely, and each has a unique personality, temperament, and combination of strengths and challenges. We haven’t been told anything about Trig’s health status yet, except that he has Down syndrome.

In general, people with Down syndrome have some degree of mild to moderate intellectual disability and have a higher risk for a variety of health problems, particularly heart trouble. At the same time their life expectancies have increased dramatically, from an average of about 9 years in the 1920s, to something reaching into the 60s today. (See my post here on Bert Holbrook Jr. of Waseca County, Minnesota, who just celebrated his 80th birthday.)
As recently as the 1960s, people didn’t know that people with Down syndrome were capable of learning, and sent them to institutions where they were most often neglected or abused. Most of the very negative images about them, and the worst health outcomes, date from that time.
With the improvements in education and health care of the last few decades, it’s not unreasonable to expect that children with Down syndrome born today can enjoy full, rich lives, form satisfying relationships, and gain skills that will allow them to work and make positive contributions to their families and communities.

2) If Palin opposes abortion rights, as she says, why did she have an amnio? Wasn’t that a waste of money?

Many women who oppose abortion nonetheless have prenatal testing so they can get information that may be useful in planning for their baby’s delivery and care. Gov. Palin has said she was glad to receive Trig’s diagnosis before he was born so she could learn about Down syndrome and come to terms with her son’s disability before she met him.

3) Ninety percent of women who get a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome get an abortion. Doesn’t that prove people with Down syndrome have terrible lives?

Actually, no. People with Down syndrome are valued, valuable and contributing members of happy families. Their families report deep attachment to their children, and are saddened by those abortion statistics. Family members attribute the numbers to widespread public ignorance about people with Down syndrome; doctors who lack current information and aren’t well-trained to deliver prenatal diagnoses; lingering fears and stigma left over from the days when these people were institutionalized under horrible conditions; and unrealistic desires for the “perfect child.” See also this post.
Interestingly, a recent research study found that parents of children with Down syndrome are less likely to divorce than parents of children without disabilities; another found that siblings are more inclined to be positively affected by a sibling with Down syndrome than negatively affected.
At the same time, families with children with disabilities report higher costs for medical care and other supports than comparable families, as well as a reduction of earnings for parents.

4) Wasn’t Palin at a high risk of having a child with Down syndrome when she got pregnant with her fifth child?

The risk of having a child with Down syndrome increases with age, and a woman who has a baby at the age of 44 has a risk of approximately one in 35 of having a child with Down syndrome. For women under 30, that risk is approximately one in 1,000. Most babies with Down syndrome are born to younger women, however, because they have more babies.

5) If Sarah Palin has a baby with a disability, how could she possibly consider running for vice president? Wouldn’t she be neglecting her family?

All children, whether disabled or not, need loving adults to take care of them and make sure their needs are met, but there’s no requirement in the marriage contract that specifies it must be mom. Gov. Palin and her husband Todd have said he will take the lead in childcare until further notice. (Presumably, there aren’t many jobs for commercial fishermen, oil field operators and snowmobile racers in Washington, so that shouldn’t be a problem.) The couple also says they have a broad base of support from extended family members and friends.
And besides, would people be asking that if she were a man? For another answer to this question, see Rosario Marin in the question below.

6) Are there other high profile people with family members with Down syndrome?

Let’s see –
Former French president Charles de Gaulle (daughter); former vice president Hubert Humphrey (granddaughter); former senator and governor Lowell Weicker (son); entertainers Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (daughter); St. Louis Cardinal slugger Albert Pujols (daughter); Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (son); Congressman Pete Sessions (son); D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (daughter); journalist George Will (son); playwright Arthur Miller (son); Emmy-winning Sesame Street writer Emily Perl Kingsley (son); celebrity chef Nigella Lawson (niece); Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx (sister); actor John C. McGinley (son); and Rosario Marin, the former treasurer of the United States and current secretary of California’s State and Consumer Services Agency.
And let’s not forget the high-profile people who themselves have Down syndrome: Chris Burke and Andrea Friedman, the actors with Down syndrome who starred in television’s “Life Goes On” series; Karen Gaffney, who swam across Lake Tahoe; Brad Hennefer, who earned two varsity letters (golf and basketball) in high school; actor Luke Zimmerman; actor Blair Williamson
Interesting fact: Down syndrome was first described in the 19th century by British physician John Langdon Down. Nine years after his death, his grandson was born — with Down syndrome.

7) Since John McCain picked a running mate who has a child with a disability, should we assume the McCain campaign is going to make a lot of expensive promises to the disability community?

That doesn’t seem likely. Advocates for people with disabilities and their families tend to be looking for universal health care and adequate funding for Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security -– not the traditional domains of the Republican party. While the Obama campaign website has an extensive section devoted to issues of concern to people with disabilities, the McCain campaign does not.
Still, both McCain and Obama are among the co-sponsors of an updated version of the Americans with Disabilities Act, currently awaiting action in the Senate, and both have pledged to increase federal funding for special education.
And consider this: George H.W. Bush reached out to people with disabilities in his 1988 acceptance speech, and pollsters later credited the support of the disability community with half of his margin of victory over Michael Dukakis. Two years later, Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark civil rights law that prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities.

8) When you see a person with Down syndrome in the community, can you assume that their mother opposes legal abortion?

Not at all. The community of people with Down syndrome is as diverse as the rest of the American population, with representation from red states and blue ones, big cities and small towns, people with religious affiliations and those without, all races, all colors, all demographics.
Mothers of people with Down syndrome are probably as divided on Roe v. Wade as the rest of the American public, with some opposing abortion under any circumstance, others believing it should be freely available, and still others who fall into the “safe, legal and rare” camp.
There are many who favor a woman’s right to choose abortion, but opted not to do so when they themselves received a Down syndrome diagnosis. I’ve met women who decided not to get tested because they feared amnio-induced miscarriage, because they thought Down syndrome would never happen to them, or because they knew they’d cherish any child they got. Some got reassuring results on early prenatal blood tests only to find out later that their children actually did have Down syndrome. Some mothers had their children before prenatal testing was widely available or offered to their age group.
And many of these women are hopping mad that their children with disabilities are being portrayed against their will as poster children for the anti-abortion movement.

9) Why in the world did the Palins name their kid after a high school math course?

Todd and Sarah Palin say that “Trig” comes from a Norse word meaning strength. They do confirm, however, that their older son Track was named after a high school sport. Lucky for him his parents weren’t devotees of synchronized swimming.

10) Like Trig Palin, more than 350,000 people in the United States are estimated to have Down syndrome. What should you do if you meet one of them?

Welcome them. Presume competence. Treat them with respect

Hope you all got some info here.

Peace Dude!

Friday, September 05, 2008

McCain Palin and Obama Biden on Education.

I am seeing and hearing all kinds of different versions of policy at this time. I thought I would post on here some of what I have found from both sides. Please comment away about whether you agree or disagree with anything posted.

An Alaskan Parents View on Palin and Special Education:


The Department of Early Development Student and School Achievement is responsible for special education for Alaska schools, gifted education, and the Special Education State Personnel Development Grant which provides money to train and recruit special education teachers. These are all state funded mandates per the budget document.In 2007, the State contributed $5,429,000 in General Funds Receipts to the department.In the 2009 Governors budget, this was increased to $6,253,800This was an increase of $824,000 which is a 15% increase in state funding.How much do you want to bet this was increased before the Governor even found out about her son Trig?

Click on his site and check out the links he has posted and read his entire blog post.

Another good article at Ed Week from the state legislators conference on a meeting with both campaigns education staff.

Senator Obama's remarks to the American Federation of Teachers on education at:

RealClear Politics Good coverage of NCLB but does not mention IDEA.

Just a few things to read. But now here are the links to both candidates education sections of their web sites:

Barack Obama on Education:

Barack Obama on Disabilites:

John McCain on Education:

John McCain does not have a Disability section under issues at this time. But they do have:

Americans with Disabilities for McCain

Well that is a start with more to come.

Peace Dude!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Senator Obama needs to fire some staff!

Well the Change and Hope we can believe in has had the wheels fall right off the bus thanks to a fresh new face on the political scene. Governor Sarah Palin was announced as the VP pick of John McCain and the Obama camp forgot what their campaign was about. Was this not the campaign about issues? Was this not the campaign about electing outsiders? Was this not the campaign about electing a new generation? If those of us that have supported Senator Obama wanted the same ole politics his campaign would have been dead on arrival in Springfield on that cold day 18 months ago.
Well Senator Obama I am ashamed not of you today but of your campaign staff and many of the volunteers. All the things we all stood up to and defended you over these last 18 months and said they don't have anything to do with the issues, your team pulled out and dusted off against Governor Palin. Now that YOUR staff has questioned her experience, her values, her relationships, her kids.....I have been amazed and the CRAP I have read on line and gotten directly from the campaign and campaign aides into my Indiana for Obama email loop.
Now that you have used the Swiftboat tactics you supposedly can't stand.......I think all the issues I have defended you on that have nothing to do with the issues, you now need to stand up and answer also.
1. You need to stand up and explain why you stayed with Reverend Wright for 20 years? Where you a believer or was it to give you credit in the community? Tell us.
2. What is your relationship with Father Flager? Tell us exactly?
3. What exactly is your relationship with William Ayres? You did not know his past or what he stands for some how?
4. What were your exact accomplishments as a community organizer?
5. Why did you vote Present instead of ya or nay all those times in the legislature? Was it politics, partisanship, or you just could not decide?
6. What exactly have you done to have enough experience to be POTUS if Governor Palin does not have enough experience to be VP?
Sorry Senator I have been a big supporter from day one but I saw all of what I don't like about politics from your campaign over the last few days. I have not traded sides as of yet but I will say that NOW you must answer the questions you have avoided up to now. You and your staff have brought each and every one of these issues back to life. So go take a look in the mirror and walk out your front door and answer the questions.
Peace Dude!