The Republican Crowd

It is time for some trimming down of the Republican Presidential candidate crowd. It is long time for Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, and Gary Johnson to pack it up and head home. None of them can cut the mustard in the battle for the Presidency. That leaves Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, and  Newt Gingrich as potential viable candidates. The Republican old guard is pushing for Mitt Romney. Cain is a wildcard with virtually no government experience or a notion about foreign affairs. He has been a delight to hear and very good for the dialogue to this point, but, simply put, he is not ready for the top spot; maybe Vice President. That leaves Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Neither is a darling of the conservative religious right but both are better than all the rest if the social agenda takes a back seat over economics and foreign affairs. But, Mitt Romney has a ton of baggage that the media and liberals would have a hay day with if he became the Republican nominee for President.
So, for my money, give me Newt Gingrich. He has not made a lot of noise nor commanded the attention of the main stream media to this point. He has sawed wood. He has put together a 21st Century Contract for America that makes very good sense. No surprises about what he would do as President. He has been very clear about that. He has all the experience in the world with Congress and how things get done there. He knows the closets, the skeletons, the special interest groups, and the back halls. In brief, he is the most qualified potential candidate of them all. Newt is level headed and damned intelligent. Listen to what he has to say. Let’s face it, the next President must focus laser like on the next several years to get the economy moving, the budget balanced, and the size of government reduced while at the same time deal with any threats, terrorist or economic, from abroad. Newt Gingrich is the one who can best handle the tasks at hand.
For the conservative religious right,  I say please concentrate your efforts on electing the Representatives and Senators that share your social goals. Congress is the only place that has the power to accomplish what you desire or not. One man or woman in the Presidency cannot do that.
It is time for the Republican Party to suck it up, quit fiddling around, and select the most qualified person to run the race against President Barack Obama. Only Newt Gingrich measures up.

Scary Rick Perry

For some reason, I find Texas Governor Rick Perry a bit creepy. I have known nothing about him until he showed up as a possible Republican candidate for President of the United States. He was referred to in one column that I read as a “George W. Bush on steroids”. This is really scary.
That is not what got me though. There was something about the way he dressed that caught my eye first. His suit appeared to be one of the very expensive types….. you know, shiny cloth and tightly tailored.
Then I began to hear things that I did not like. He wears his religion on his sleeve. He questions evolution (which likely means science, too) and is proud of the fact that Texas teaches Creationism in schools as science. He has concluded global warming is a scam. He does not believe in a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. He is intolerant of gay and lesbian folks. He takes credit for the job gains in Texas when other outside factors are largely responsible. He wants to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency. And on and on. In other words, he wants to create a society I don’t want to be a part of supporting.
Just for the record, I have voted Republican for the office of President all but once since first voting decades ago  — and it wasn’t the current one. I am one of the people the Republican Party has to be really careful about now. I thought George W. Bush was a disaster for this country and largely responsible for the ease at which Barack Obama and the Democrats won over John McCain. Of course, McCain didn’t help with his choice of a cipher for Vice President as he attempted a pandering for the female vote.
Now the Republicans have a chance to regain the Presidency and bring some financial sanity and stability to this country. I hope they do this without bringing along a social agenda like that professed by Gov. Rick Perry. If they do, they will lose and we will see a second term for President Barack Obama.

Casey Anthony

The Casey Anthony trial is over. The verdict is “not guilty”. It is time for the tabloid, yellow journalism TV and newspaper coverage to end. It is time for Nancy Grace to button her sensationalism up. The justice system worked. All 12 members of the jury decided the prosecution did not make their case beyond a reasonable doubt.That verdict could have been blocked if even one of the jury believed otherwise. None did.
Casey Anthony has a screwed up family that seems not to know truth from lies. Casey Anthony needs psychiatric treatment. Caylee is dead. There was insufficient tangible evidence to determine the clear circumstances of Caylee’s death. Those are the facts.
The mobs outside of the courthouse need to go home and tend to their own business. Judge Belvin Perry, who came across as somewhat of a dunce at times, needs to return to routine court cases where he may be more competent.
The true culprits in turning this trial into the circus it was lies at the doorstep of Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS. Ratings were the driving force. It was not that the public clamored for news of the trial. It was the TV hyping of the case. I never heard so much speculation as I heard in this trial. It is a wonder justice found her way in the end. You may not like the verdict, but it is time to go home and get on with your life.

Temper Tantrums

So, now we have rule by mob at the Indiana General Assembly. In case the Democrats missed it, they lost the last election. The Republicans gained majorities in both the Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana Senate.
It is unconscionable the Democrats would now seek to control the legislative process by temper tantrum. There are no other words for it. They have demanded and succeeded in getting the “Right to Work” bill pulled off of the agenda. They have demanded several other pieces of legislation not be brought to the floor for debate and vote or they will take their marbles and go home.
This is the worst case of dereliction of duty I have ever seen in Indiana. The absent legislators did take an oath of office. The House Rules clearly state (IV-A-36) that “No member shall absent himself from the service of the House unless he is excused by the Speaker, is sick or is unable to attend”. The Rules further empower the Speaker to fine and censure absent members and adjourn from day to day until a quorum of 2/3rd of the members is present. Fine and censure he should do.
The behavior of the Democrats should not and cannot stand. The voters of Indiana have spoken and the business of Indiana must move forward. If the Democrats don’t like being in the minority, they have every opportunity to change that in the next election. In the meanwhile, they need to suck it up and behave like responsible legislators rather than spoiled losers. Our form of representative government cannot function this way. If they cannot adhere to the rules of governing under our State Constitution, they should step down in favor of someone who will; someone who will honor the oath of office.

Kokomo Schools "International School" Follow up

Kokomo-Center School Corporation announced in mid-January the initiation of an “International School” to function within the K-C system beginning in 2011. Jeff Hauswald, Superintendent of the Kokomo-Center system, told the public that the School Board approved of three new “International” schools. These are to be housed within traditional school buildings along side the traditional academic programs offered in each location. Each will require classroom space and teachers. The “International” school label mostly means teaching Spanish beginning in kindergarten.
In other school news, the recently released Indiana school performance data show an alarming decline in math and language proficiency among Kokomo High School students. Tenth graders in Kokomo High School that meet or exceed the math standard set for 10th graders has fallen from 66% in the 2007-2008 school year to 44% in the 2009-2010 school year. Tenth graders that meet or exceed the language standard has fallen from 63% to 47%. In other words, less than half of Kokomo-Center’s 10th graders are proficient in math and language skills.
Now, the KC system is proposing to divert resources to the teaching of Spanish. They do not appear to be able to teach math and English. If additional resources are available within the system, a much better use would be to remediate the pathetic performance of students in basic skills. It is no wonder that a high percentage of applicants to universities must take remedial math and English courses before being formally admitted to university level work. They are simply not coming out of high school equipped with the required skills in either math or English.
The idea of diverting resources to establish extensive Spanish programs within the Kokomo-Center School system is a perfect example of wrong thinking. The idea should be discarded quickly.

A German's View of Islam

[What is below has been widely publicized on the Internet. It is certainly fiction, but it does make a point, doesn’t it.]

A man whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a
number of large industries and estates. When asked how many Germans were
true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism.
“Very few were true Nazis,” he said, “but many enjoyed the return of German
pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just
thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So the majority just sat back
and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us. We had lost
control, and the end of our world had come. My family lost everything. I
ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”
We are told again and again by ‘experts’ and ‘talking heads’ that Islam is
the religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to
live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is
entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better,
and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the
globe in the name of Islam.
The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It
is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 wars
worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or
tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire
continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead,
murder, and honor-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque
after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the doctrine of stoning and hanging rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.
The hard, quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the ‘silent
majority,’ is cowed and extraneous.
Communist Russia was comprised of people who just wanted to live in peace,
yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20
million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.
China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists
managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.
The average Japanese prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist.
Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an
orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese
civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.
And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not
be said that the majority of Rwandans were peace loving?
History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our
powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:
Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.
Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because
like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the
fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.
Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs,
Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many
others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until
it was too late.
As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only
group that counts — the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Kokomo "International School"

[This was originally a Letter to the Editor of The Perspective newspaper]
I read with interest the lead article in the January 19th issue of the Perspective which was about Kokomo-Center School Corporation proposing to start an “International School” for K-12. In the same issue, you editorially support such a move. In short, I believe the proposal is a very poor one and should be quickly rejected. Kokomo-Center Schools have a difficult enough time teaching the basics.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Education, and the Indiana Dept. of Education; Kokomo schools rank 313 of 417 schools in Indiana. Looks like there is work to be done to me that does not include diversion of resources into wide teaching of Spanish. If I read the article correctly, Kokomo-Center is saying institution of this program will cost the taxpayers nothing. I am wondering what would be dropped to provide the funds needed for such a program.
Further, I taught as an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University Kokomo for several years. I was Vice Chancellor of External Relations at that campus for a couple of years. One of the issues frequently discussed among the faculty was the pathetic preparation in math and language skills among the applicants for admission to the university. At that time — and maybe it has changed now — a high percentage of those admitted had to take remedial English and math courses just to get to college entry level.
Now the Kokomo-Center Schools are proposing to divert resources. Bad idea.

Kokomo's Firsts

It’s Thanksgiving. We have a lot for which to be grateful. We have had some true innovators in our midst over the years. Our “City of Firsts” designation has been well earned. The renovated downtown library has a wonderful display of glass panels depicting many of the reasons for Kokomo being the “First”. This is the list —
First Commercially Built Automobile, 1894. Built by Elwood Haynes. Road tested July 4th, 1894, on Pumpkinvine Pike east of Kokomo.
First Pneumatic Rubber Tire, 1894. First Pneumatic Rubber Tire invented by D.C. Spraker, president of Kokomo Rubber Tire Co. in October 1894. The tire consisted of strips of three-ply rubber, canvas and other wrappings of vulcanized rubber formed around a slender pole.
First Aluminum Casting, 1895. First aluminum casting by William “Billy” Johnson at the Ford & Donnelly Foundry in 1895.
First Automobile Carburetor, 1902. First carburetor developed by George Kingston.
First Stellite Cobalt-based Alloy, 1906. First Stellite Cobalt-based Allow, a wonder metal known for its hardness, corrosion resistance, and ability to withstand extreme temperatures developed by Elwood Haynes in 1906.
First Stainless Steel, 1912. First Stainless steel invented by Elwood Haynes while attempting to satisfy Mrs. Haynes’ demand for tarnish-free tableware.
First American Howitzer Shell, 1918. First American Howitzer Shell used in actual warfare, made by Superior Machine Tool Company.
First Aerial Bomb with Fins, 1918. First aerial bomb with fins invented by Liberty Pressed Metal Company.
First Mechanical Corn Picker, 1920s. First mechanical corn picker developed by John Powell in the early 1920s.
First Dirilyte Golden-Hued Tableware, 1926. First Dirilyte Golden-Hued tableware invented by Carl Molin in 1926.
First Canned Tomato Juice, 1928. First canned tomato juice developed by Walter Kemp, Kemp Brothers Canning Co. at the request of a St. Louis physician searchi8ng for a baby food to use in his clinic.
First Push-Button Car Radio, 1938. First push-button car radio developed by Delco Radio Division of General Motors.
First All-Metal Lifeboars & Rafts, 1947 & 1943. First all-metal lifeboats and rafts manufactured by Globe American Stove Company. Life raft was named, “Kokomo Kid”.
First Signal Seeking Car Radio, 1947. First signal seeking car radio developed by Delco Radio Division of General Motors.
First All-Transistor Car Radio, 1957. First all-transistor car radio developed by Delco Radio Division of General Motors.
Not a bad list for our town. Wonder what happened to all of those companies? Wonder what has happened to innovation in the past 53 years?