Monday, September 10, 2007

Who says Des Moines Register editorials aren't influential?

The Des Moines Register has declared bottled water an environmental menace. I responded to their stirring cry by immediately making a trip to Sam's Club:

They'll take my bottled water when they peel my cold, dead, well-hydrated fingers from it.

I'm not the only one moved by the Register's eloquence.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

200-1 gets you 15-85

You have to hand it to our local chamber of commerce. The Greater Des Moines Partnership, with the backing of the biggest companies in town and a $770,000 war chest - 200 times that of the opposition - managed to convince about one voter in seven to vote for a sales tax increase in an off-season election specifically timed to maximize their chances for approval. It's hard to think of a way to make their performance any more disastrous, short of having mobs chanting "no!" sack their headquarters building.

What a debacle. Only Kim Jong-Il and Fidel Castro win by greater margins than "No." In some cultures, a loss like that would lead to abject apologies by the Partnership board, perhaps followed by ritual suicides.

After such a resounding vote of no confidence, a parliamentary government would resign and appoint a caretaker government pending new elections. That would also be appropriate for the leadership of the Partnership after such a waste of member and taxpayer dollars. The Partnership has strayed far from it's small-business, low-tax, good government roots and has become a cheerleader for government spending and crony capitalism. Maybe this will help them rethink their direction.

Every local politician who embraced this shameless cash grab should withdraw from the next election, and those who don't should be hounded from office. A new generation would have a chance to remake our dysfunctional local politics. Maybe they could try the old-fashioned approach to economic development - low taxes, good and thrifty government, and good schools. The Central Iowa as Yuppie Theme Park fared poorly yesterday.

None of this is likely, of course. But at least the size of this defeat should frighten our "business leaders" away from trying to stick us with a tax increase for a few years. That's something.

Project Destiny Vote is Today!

Destiny: the trap range, I hope.

UPDATE, 8:50 p.m.: Dust off the Browning!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Project Destiny Viral Marketing #3

Dan Albritton, local labor official, friend of Ramona, and member of the Prairie Meadows board, has been indicted on conspiracy charges related to CIETC. Mr. Albritton is innocent until proven guilty, but just to be safe, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent when asked to testify about his role on the CIETC board and as a paid CIETC consultant.

This indictment can only make central Iowans more excited about the one-cent "Project Destiny" sales tax vote slated for July. It will remind the voters how well the Central Iowa political establishment plunders manages their money, inspiring the voters to send them more cash.

To help this process, we introduce our third effort in our Project Destiny Viral Marketing Initiative. Feel free to use this on your website. Of course, Project Destiny is welcome to put this on billboards.

Our prior efforts are here and here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Steadfast for skedaddle

The Democrats who now run Congress - many of whom voted to go to war in Iraq, including Senator Harkin - now want to run away and turn over that country to Al-queda. So how does the Des Moines Register describe this behavior on today's front page?

(click photo to enlarge)

"Democrats Steadfast," says one headline. Then further down, it says "Public Ignored: Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and others said Bush was ignoring the will of a majority of Americans."

So, according the Register, the Democrats are being "steadfast" by changing their positions on the war to conform with polls. Profiles in courage, indeed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Project Destiny Viral Marketing 2.0

The blogosphere has not taken up the Project Destiny Viral Marketing Initiative with the gusto we would have expected/ To move this noble cause along, then, another contribution is in order:

Featuring Tom "Rubber Stamp" Vlassis. As a city councilman, Mr. Vlassis would oversee the new sales tax proceeds with the same rubber stamp approach he used in overseeing CIETC spending. If this doesn't sell the new tax, what can?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Project Destiny Viral Marketing Initiative

Project Destiny, the initiative to give Central Iowa the higher sales tax everyone is clamoring to pay, seems to be spending its money at an alarming rate. The Des Moines Register has reported that $118,000 of its first $245,000 in corporate donations had already gone into the pockets of consultants and other vendors by February 12.

It's up to us to help Project Destiny find ways to convince us that we need higher taxes. I summon the power of the internet to produce a viral marketing campaign for the sales tax increase.

To kick things off, here is my first effort. It would look lovely on that fancy digital billboard at 63rd and Grand.

I think the celebrity theme is a winner. Project Destiny is welcome to use this free of charge, but I will also accept checks or cash if they insist.

For background on the celebrities on this billboard, go here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Adam Smith, call your office

"Jane's Law" holds that the party in power - whichever party - is smug and arrogant, while the party out of power is insane. Since winning control of the legislature, Iowa's Democrats are struggling with the transition.

How so? Consider newly-introduced SF 182. The bill explanation says it all:

This bill provides that a person or employer shall not discriminate in providing compensation for work of comparable worth between jobs predominately held by women and men. The bill defines "comparable worth" as being the value of work as measured by the skill, responsibility, and working conditions involved in performing the work. A violation of this provision constitutes a simple misdemeanor.

"Comparable worth" is absolute economic illiteracy. The "worth" of a job is found where an employer is willing to pay an employee is willing to accept. The idea of legislators or judges second-guessing wage levels across the economy is so impractical and absurd that only politicians could advocate it with a straight face.

Brian Gongol has more.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Slowest book review ever

Last summer I was live-blogging Arnold Kling's book "Crisis of Abundance." The project ground to a halt when I lost my copy (long but incoherent and embarrassing story omitted); As a Christmas present to myself, I got another copy, so the posts now resume.

To recap, the book addresses the causes of our rising health care costs. Dr. Kling examines some commonly-held beliefs about the causes of increases in health care costs and finds them wanting. He says the evidence doesn't show that private health insurance is the culprit, nor is overcharging by health-care providers. Instead, it is the prevalance of "premium medicine" that drives up health costs.

Premium medicine can be thought of as the practice of always wanting to use the latest and greatest health technology and medicine, even if it doesn't necessarily improve treatment results.

When I left off, I was on the verge of Dr. Kling's discussion of possible solutions to the problem. With California's governor blundering into drastic state intervention in the healthcare economy, and with some here in Iowa pushing the same direction, the topic is timely, even if my completion of the book isn't.

If you've somehow lost the thread of my earlier posts, you can pick them up below:

Expat comments on Crisis of Abundance Posts.
Premium medicine in action
C of A: "Three Health Care Narratives"
Crisis of Abundance: "Premium Medicine"
May 20, 2006
May 16, 2006