Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Old School

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Indiana Policy Review Article: "The Promise of Jobs: Right Here in River City"

Of late, I've been listening & reading some interesting news about how certain entities that receive significant tax-payer funds operate largely in secret without any public scrutiny. In particular, my hometown newspaper, the Chronicle-Tribune, has requested to cover the Grant County Economic Growth Council meetings.

The Chronicle was told that the the GCEGC is a private organization, and is exempt from audits from the Indiana State Board of Accounts. Furthermore, the Chronicle-Tribune is not welcomed to attend meetings, nor investigate and report on how their $300,000.00 annual budget is spent. Although the funds are used under the auspices to attract & recruit businesses to move to Grant County & the Marion community (which in turn, should equate in more jobs for our local citizens),  there have been several disconcerting business ventures that have failed. Some of these ventures involves millions of dollars...resulting in unresolved legal & significant financing problems. The tax-payers are left holding the bag, all in the hopes we can land some jobs.

While I certainly understand the need for discretion in dealing with potential businesses that we are trying to bring to town, I commend the newspaper for asking the tough questions. Indiana law seems pretty clear on the transparency of how tax funds are used. Journalists are right to pursue this issue. Tax-payers have the right to know how & where their money is being used. The Chronicle-Tribune will not win many friends by pursuing this story, especially with some city leaders (some of whom I know personally and consider friends). But the CT is doing the right thing.

You can read the David Penticuff's (Editor for the Chronicle-Tribune) article in the Indiana Policy Review here for an insightful account of this controversial issue.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The 2012 Election

"...I see an innumerable multitude of men, alike and equal, constantly circling around in pursuit of the petty and banal pleasures with which they glut their souls. Each of them withdrawn into himself, is almost unaware of the fate of the rest. Mankind, for him, consists in his children and his personal friends. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, they are near enough, but he does not notice them. He touches them but feels nothing. He exists in and for himself, and though he still may have a family, one can at least say that he has not got a fatherland."
                                                                                                   ~Alexis de Tocqueville. Democracy in America (1840)

In a less than one month, Americans will be heading to the voting booth to pull the lever for men who desire the highest office in the land. Several others are pursuing senate, congressional & gubernatorial seats. Times are increasingly tough for many of our fellow citizens. We are living in a season of high unemployment, a dwindling tax base, scarcity of resources, financial uncertainty, and global unrest. Passionate debates abound regarding the best ways to grow the economy and create jobs. Left & Right argue about the appropriate role of government. 

Many folks don't like to get into conversations about elections and the difficult topics surrounding them.  It's uncomfortable, and causes tension and divisiveness.  Understandably, people tend to avoid unpleasantries. And polite company who follow proper etiquette know to refrain from certain issues.    

We live in an incredible era in human history. We have unfathomable information at our disposable that previous generations could have never comprehended. In this digital world in which we live...from 24 hour cable news channels to live streaming news on your smart phone in the middle of nowhere, we experience what is referred to as 'information overload.' It can be just downright overwhelming. 

However, in spite of the ability to glean a wealth of information in seconds, many Americans are perfectly content being a part of the uninformed populace. Political scientists have a term for explaining disengaged Americans--something called "privatism." Essentially, it refers the behavior of people who are most concerned about their own self-interest and their own family. The issues outside of their immediate circle are not perceived as relevant.   

It's easy to forget about the problems and plight of others. But when large portions of the majority begin to feel the impact of tough times, it becomes a little more difficult to ignore.  

While previously focused only on self-interest, some will begin to have a better understanding for their neighbors and communities when they themselves are suddenly thrust into the midst of adversity. It is a quintessential paradox.  

For those of us who work in social services, we've always known the meaning of austerity. We know the folks who have nothing. We see the 'forgotten people' who are often ignored as the rest of society walks by. 
Among the frustrating realities of politics is those who have power & money have the most access to government. Their interests are clearly heard and understood. There is quite a bit of truth in the old cliche', "The squeaky wheel gets the oil." But what about those who have no voice. They often rely on others to help their voices be heard. We also encourage them, when possible, to speak up for themselves, to advocate for their needs and rights, and point them towards self-sufficiency. 

Those running for elected office should represent all of us fairly and equitably. But we don't live in a perfect world. For those of you who have disabilities, are parents or family of individuals with disabilities, and for those who work with people with disabilities, you MUST ask important questions of candidates who ask for your vote. Admittedly, it may not be the most comfortable thing to do. And we all have important things going on in our lives, often leaving us with little time to get to these kinds of issues & questions.     

Fortunately, The Arc of Indiana has put together an Election Guide that did just that. Take a few moments and read the responses of those who are asking for YOUR vote! It's that easy. 

And, of course, please remember to vote on Tuesday, November 6th. 


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Political Ads of Yesteryear: Part One

Lyndon Johnson's 1964 "Daisy" Commercial. Aired only once due to the controversy it caused.   

When I was college student at Ball State, I took a class on Campaigns (one of my degrees is in Political Science, so I assure you, dear reader, it really wasn't out of some twisted, sadistic desire for self-torture). It was also an elective for my degree, and I happened to like the topic.

We are right smack in the middle of a particularly contentious election cycle, and political commercials right now are as common as road apples at a horse track. And about as hard to avoid. (Side-note: my wife commented, "and they smell about as good.") But I digress.

Perhaps some will find this strange, but I love politics. And I especially enjoy following campaigns. There is something fascinating about the marketplace of ideas. Candidates need to explain what they stand for, and how they are different than their opponent.

Most folks are put off by negative political ads. They call it 'mudslinging' and are offended by it. Others argue negative ads are not effective. However, negative ads do work. Research shows that people tend to pay attention whether they want to acknowledge it or not. And negative ads tend to pique interest, and motivates some to find out more about the issue. If, at the end of the day, negative political ads cause the average citizen to show up at the voting booth better educated than before, perhaps that isn't so bad after all?

Thanks to the wonderful word of the Internet (which was created by a past Presidential candidate as I recall), there some web sites that have archived Presidential Campaign Ads going back several decades.

Here are some of the more popular ones.....

And one of my all time favorites.

Reagan's "It's Morning Again in America." 1984

Note: These ads are found at http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1972 . A great webpage with several video footage of campaign ads!

Part Two will be have some more campaign videos, and even some debates. Hope you enjoy!!

About Me

My photo
I work for a Community-Based, Not-for-Profit agency. I have worked in the disability field for over twenty-five years. I am the father of two boys, and have been married to my teenage sweet-heart for 23 years. I live and work in the same town where I was born & raised.
Real Time Analytics