Monday, June 16, 2008

OH HELL NO: A New Manhattan Project?

It's not what it seems to be (at least at first glance), but it sure is one bad name for a program dedicated to energy independence:

H.R. 6260, The New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence

H.R. 6260 would ensure the energy independence of the United States by promoting research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of technologies through a system of grants and prizes on the scale of the original Manhattan Project.
I don't know about you, but when they say, "Manhattan Project," I think:

Call me crazy, but probably not the smartest PR move.

H.R. 6257: Assault Ban Reauthorization (bleh)

And it goes on. I'm sure more and more weapons are going to be added to this list, possibly until we get to the point that SPORKS are banned.

To be sure, this is not just a reauthorization. It includes further stipulations on weapons the American people are too EVIL to use:

    (a) RESTRICTION- Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding after subsection (u) the following:
    `(v)(1) It shall be unlawful for a person to manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon.
[...]
    (b) DEFINITION OF SEMIAUTOMATIC ASSAULT WEAPON- Section 921(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding after paragraph (29) the following:
    `(30) The term `semiautomatic assault weapon' means--
      `(A) any of the firearms, or copies or duplicates of the firearms in any caliber, known as--
        `(i) Norinco, Mitchell, and Poly Technologies Avtomat Kalashnikovs (all models);
        `(ii) Action Arms Israeli Military Industries UZI and Galil;
        `(iii) Beretta Ar70 (SC-70);
        `(iv) Colt AR-15;
        `(v) Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR, and FNC;
        `(vi) SWD M-10, M-11, M-11/9, and M-12;
        `(vii) Steyr AUG;
        `(viii) INTRATEC TEC-9, TEC-DC9 and TEC-22; and
        `(ix) revolving cylinder shotguns, such as (or similar to) the Street Sweeper and Striker 12;
      `(B) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of--
        `(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
        `(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
        `(iii) a bayonet mount;
        `(iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and
        `(v) a grenade launcher;
      `(C) a semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of--
        `(i) an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;
        `(ii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;
        `(iii) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned;
        `(iv) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; and
        `(v) a semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm; and
      `(D) a semiautomatic shotgun that has at least 2 of--
        `(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
        `(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
        `(iii) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5 rounds; and
        `(iv) an ability to accept a detachable magazine.'.
I'm sure further gun bans will make us safer. Just ask Washington D.C. how it's been for them since their COMPLETE ban in 1976:

John Stossel has his way with the myths about Gun Control and Crime:

My solution for the United Council Budget

Although it would work beyond the magnitude of my estimates, I know it will probably not be accepted due to the overwhelming power of the status quo as well as the centralized decision-making structure known as the Board of Directors who, for the most part, choose their own pay and benefits.

Not on my watch. Here is my proposal to fix the 60,000 dollars of debt that the United Council Budget contains:

Line 65 (Medical Reimbursement) 4000

Line 66 (Loan Reimbursement) 19200

Line 71 (Cell Phones) 5500

Line 76 Cut the Lease, Buy a copier

Line 77 Why are we paying 1200 for a computer?

Programming: Cut conferences, focus more on GA’s and Lobbying

Combine LGBT Q, Multicultural, and Women’s Issues

Separate Women’s and Environmental Issues

Estimated Benefits

  • Salaries: approximately 28,000 for Environmental Issues, approximately 28,000 for Equity and Diversity (combination LGBTQ, Multicultural, and Women’s Issues). Cost: approximately 56,000 dollars.

56,000 – 28,504.80 – 28,248 – 27, 580 = 56,000 – 84,332 = -28, 332

  • Health benefits: cost is 247.08 per month, per employee. Total is minus one employee (7), therefore: 27,765.56/8 = 3470.70.

27,765.56 – 3470.70 = 24,294.86; Total savings – 3470.70

  • Medical reimbursement: 500 per staff, therefore savings – 500.
  • Student Loan reimbursement: not enough information to calculate. Potential savings: 2,400.
  • Miscellaneous other savings: hard to calculate; would include board travel, per diems, supplies, other travel expenditures and registration fees. No estimate made.

TOTAL SAVINGS: 34,702.70

TOTAL SAVINGS WITH APPROVED REMOVAL OF LINES 65, 66: 31,802.70

Total Proposed Budgetary Savings: 60502.70

Let it also be strongly recommended to take another look at combining or eliminating some conferences, with more focus on legislative and lobbying affairs along a broad spectrum. Currently, a disproportional amount of time is spent looking at a variety of specific issues outside of relevant and tangible fronts in higher education today. Let it be recognized that focusing more on the lobbying and Shared Governance aspects of United Council would be more likely to produce a functional and effective student activist/lobbyist population, which would ultimately yield more favorable and numerous results.

Money saved would be on travel, costs of literature and advertisements, per diem, hotels, etc.


That should do it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

UW Tuition to Rise 5.5%, Largely in Response to Initiatives Supported by United Council

Like I said before, The United Council of UW Students has a terrible problem (called Liberalism) in which they continue to recklessly demand funds from the state for higher education, whether they be loans, grants, remissions, or other initiatives ("Civil Rights" and Green initiatives for example). United Council rarely does their own economic impact study, nor do they care about where that money comes from, as long as they get it.

Well, now it's come to bite them in the ass:

Students who are resident undergraduates at four-year schools in the University of Wisconsin System would pay 5.5% more for their tuition this fall - in part to subsidize tuition for veterans, who can go to public colleges here for free under state law.
Unfortunately, this bites the rest of us in the ass too. While I am all for cutting the costs of education for veterans, is it absolutely necessary to provide 100% remission? Was 50% not generous enough, especially once considering other benefits such as the G.I. Bill, Chapter 31 program, and other programs specifically for veterans in higher education?

Throw this on top of substantially decreased state revenue and a running deficit, as well as an already over burdened UW System and what did you expect to happen?

The United Council of UW Students supports the GI Bill but doesn't think the money for it should be from on other students' backs, said Patrick O'Connell, the group's spokesman.

That's the same way UW-Milwaukee student and Iraq war veteran Anthony DeWees feels.

"I just don't think it's right that the state has decided not to fulfill its promise to veterans and has passed the buck on to students," said DeWees, who receives the tuition benefit.

Just like tuition shouldn't be from the back of students? Not surprising, coming from a group that uses the premise "Education is a Right" as their bedrock philosophy.

Secondly, just what promise is he talking about? I don't ever remember the state making any promise for education for veteran's, short of the original 50% remission program. And what does that have to do with increasing tuition? Tuition is a huge component of system revenue. When you increase burdens on the system, the system will require more money. Easiest and most rational way? Tuition.

Chew on that for next time.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

United Council General Assembly

I was in Waukegan this weekend for a General Assembly for the United Council of UW Students, a 501 C3 organization comprised of students of member UW campuses who come together to propose legislative as well as other initiatives in the interests of UW students (theoretically), as well as support or condemn actions or current initiatives of the Board of Regents, Wisconsin Legislature, etc. It's basically a large lobbying group.

My committee (Legislative Affairs) was relatively uneventful, and whereas I couldn't get the time of day to propose my initiative, I went back to the hotel to draft my own resolution for the following day's General Assembly. I lobbied other delegates, some more successfully than others, while still others went on tangental tyraids against capitalism blah blah blah. While I was able to gather some support, including one fellow Libertarian (in an organization of hardcore liberals and socialists) I knew the resolution was DOA. However, we had the largest delegation, and might have had some swing (which we did).

Long story short, the intiative failed, but not before I got some good words in, swung some potential votes, and utilized some good parliamentary procedure. From there on in our delegation was generally quiet on most initiatives, trying to gain some leverage over the upcoming budget (I will cover that one later). We ended up adjourning four and a half hours later than expected (budgets are like that), if not for the sole reason of incoming tornados, a problem we had faced both on our way to and from the GA. Indeed, a good portion of our travel time was through tornado sirens.

It was postponed for further research (even though there was plenty), until the next GA, which means we can count on the resolution being on the agenda. This is fine with us, because the intention was primarily to force them to acknowledge our initiative, and then swing the meeting with parliamentary procedure since we were the largest delegation, and necessary for qourum. Our delegation is currently working primarily with Milwaukee, but there are other key delegations we have on our side, more than we expected or could have asked for.

The hardest part of the whole thing was trying to explain to people who are accustomed to demanding government money (without regard to how its going to be paid for) for school, how creating a strong bedrock for economic development and growth is essential to supporting the very programs (and University System) they talk of. The well is already drying up, where do they think this money is going to come from? Also, the more pressure put on the system by increasing subsidized grants and scholarships as well as tuition remissions, the higher the very cost they are fighting will go.

I will have pictures, potentially video up possibly late tonight/tomorrow. Class + work = busy summer.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It's Over: Obama Defeats the Clinton Machine



Clinton is in New York right now giving a campaign speech; I'm waiting for her concession any minute now.

[UPDATE]

8:50pm Clinton says she won't make a decision tonight, you have to go to her website and tell her what to do...?

8:54pm Speech is over...I'm pretty disappointed.

What the hell is she getting at? She has to know it's over, short of the HRC Machine paying delegates to switch (I wouldn't put it past the Clintons) she doesn't stand any chance. He has surpassed the amount of necessary delegates. McCain is already jumping on Obama:

"He is an impressive man who makes a great first impression," McCain said. "But he hasn't been willing to make the tough calls, to challenge his party, to risk criticism from his supporters, to bring real change to Washington. I have."

In a speech intended to mark the start of the general election, the Republican defended himself against Obama's frequent claim that McCain is "running for President Bush's third term" because McCain supports the Iraq war and wants to extend the president's tax cuts.


[UPDATE]

9:10pm Obama is about to give his speech in St. Paul.
9: 13pm Obama talking up "change" again. Oh, "hopes" and "dreams" as well.