Tuesday, June 27, 2006

U.S. Senate Democratic Primary Runoff

I voted in the runoff today at 7:03AM CDT. I lingered on for an hour at the Crest Park polling place, since I knew some of the ladies working the polls. I serve as a city election commissioner and all the ladies lived in Pearl. We talked city politics and what was going on in the city. When I left an hour later, I was still the only voter. Because he was pro-life, I voted for Erik Fleming. I called and e-mail Bill Bowlin as to where he stood on abortion and I never got an answer.

In the last primary, only fourteen people voted in the Crest Park box. I was the second one to have voted and two more voted when I left. In Rankin county, only 814 people voted. There were some boxes where nobody even came to vote, such as the Antioch box. In the North Pearson box, only one person voted--at 5:30PM (The polls close at 7PM.)! In the Crossgates box, which is a very strong Republican precinct, only six people voted. In the two Castlewoods boxes, another solidly GOP area, only twenty-six voted. And in the two Reservoir boxes, which are solidly Republican, only eighteen voted. It was only in the black boxes where there was an appreciable voter turnout, such as Cato (38 voted), Dry Creek (29), Johns (23), Mullins (28), Monterey (49), Northeast Brandon (37), West Brandon (47) and South Pearson (53).

Erik Fleming, the only black in the race, won the county with 53.808% of the vote. I expect him to easily carry it in the runoff. He's a state representative from Clinton, which is in Hinds County and borders Rankin. In the general election, he'll get about 25% of the vote against the incumbent Senator Trent Lott.

In the first primary, the statewide vote was 104846. Erik Fleming took 44.05% of the vote. I think he'll get about 70% in the runoff. I expect only about 40000-50000 votes in the runoff. What could throw a monkey wrench in my prediction is there is a runoff in CD1, which is in Bowlin's stomping grounds. In the first primary, the big contest was in CD2, where 83.6% of the vote was cast and that was Fleming's stomping grounds. If there is a big turnout in CD1 and a very low turnout in the rest of the state, Bowlin could pull out a narrow win. But black voters are the majority of the Democratic primary voters and they may vote for Fleming because he is black.

Bowlin would be a stronger candidate against Lott. The reason is not racial, but political. Fleming has been connected to political cookoo Lyndon LaRouche in LaRouche's past campaigns. That will hurt him against Lott. Bowlin has no political baggage other than running two losing races for Congress (CD1) as a Republican. He switched parties some time go because he was angry at the GOP for wanting total control of the state and Federal government (Well, so do the Democrats. Isn't that what the party system is all about?).

We'll know more tonight around 9PM.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Jason Reed Was Laid to Rest Today

I went to the visitation yesterday at Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home in Jackson. It was heart-wrenching. I saw photos of Jason with his parents (His father died late last year.) and his siblings. They seemed so happy together.

Yet when I viewed his body, he looked totally different. Cancer had taken a toll on him. He had a knot on his head, which is where the chemo went thorough. He was nearly bald with blond tufts of hair on his head. I was in tears over his death. He had so much to live for. He was only 32 years old. I know he would have made an excellent husband and father. And as a CPA, he would have been a credit to the profession. He had a thirst for learning and always strove for excellence. Indeed, the very last time I would ever see him alive was at the Butler Snow O'Mara tax seminar on October 26, 2004. During one of the afternoon breaks, he and I talked. He told me he felt run down and he could not get out of bed in the morning. He was always sleepy and had no energy. A month later, I found out he had a very rare form of leukemia. He and I talked in early 2005. He said he had no plans to "check out" and was going to fight it. He did to the bitter end. To my bitter regret, I never spoke to him again.

His mother, brother, sister and fiancee' were there. His sister Jennifer held up quite well. But his mother and fiancee' were really shaken up. All I could do was express my regrets.

Today was his funeral at Southside Assembly of God. He was very active in his church and loved the people there. As I wrote before and I'll write this again: He not only talked the talk about living the Christian life, he walked the walk. Of all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are "what might have been."

Farewell Jason. I'll miss you. Enter the joy of the Lord and rest in the Bosom of Jesus.

Two Great Speeches Started Two Powerful Movements

In my lifetime, there have been only two great speeches that started two very powerful movements. One was Martin Luther King, Jr.'s August 28, 1963 "I Have a Dream" and the other was Ronald Reagan's October 27, 1964 "A Time for Choosing." Both speeches started movements which last to this very day.

It is bitterly ironic that the two greatest speeches in my lifetime--just within fourteen months of one another--started movements that are often at odds with each other. Indeed, the two movements are still with us.

The movements are the Civil Rights movement and The Conservative movement. Obviously, both movements were there before King and Reagan made their speeches. But the speeches galvanized the movements. I still remember liberals in tears over King's speech (I was just entering my teen years when King made his speech.) and conservatives mesmerized by Reagan's speech.

I have listened and read the transcripts of both speeches. Whether or not you agree, the rhetoric is flowing and musical. It rings in your heart and head. King, being a Baptist minister, used religious rhetoric to galvanize his followers. Reagan, being a former actor and a political activist, used facts and figures laced with emotion to galvanize his followers. Even though I am very conservative but a strong supporter of the struggle for civil rights, I was deeply moved by King's speech. But what got me involved in politics was Reagan's speech. There are people who joined the civil rights movement because of King's speech who are still involved in the movement. Yet there are people who joined the conservative movement because of Reagan's speech and are still involved in the conservative movement.

Both movements have had monumental success. The Civil Rights movement accomplished the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Conservative movement eventually galvanized Reagan to the White House for eight years. Both movements have had their share of successes and failures. But they are still with us.

It is so rare when a political speech starts a movement. There have been other excellent speeches in my lifetime, such as Ted Kennedy's address to the Democratic National Convention in 1980, Reagan's speech to the Republican National Convention in 1976 and other speeches to the Democratic or Republican National Conventions. They may have moved their followers, but they never started a movement.

Indeed, their followers said about them, "How well they spoke. Let us applaud them." But when King and Reagan gave their speeches, the people said, "Let us march."

To this very day, they are still marching.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Jason Reed Has Entered the Portals of Heaven

On June 15, 2006 at 7:15PM CDT, Jason Donovan Reed breathed his last after a 20-month battle with a rare form of cancer. He died at the young age of 32 at UMC Hospital. Visitation will be tomorrow at Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home on High Street in Jackson from 4 to 7PM. Visitation will also be on Monday at 11:30AM at Southside Assembly of God in Jackson and the funeral service at 1PM in that church that he so passionately loved.

There are very few fine Christians I have known. Most of them give you talk and talk but never walk the walk. Jason was one of those who did walk the walk. I worked with him for four years. I got to know him. He lived the Christ-filled life to the best he could. He nearly died on May 13th--the day he was supposed to get married. His fiancee' had already bought her wedding dress before the cancer took a toll on Jason. He survived for another thirty-three days.

Jason was a big, burly guy with an infectious smile and a big laugh. We used to think of ways to joke around during tax season. He loved to make real strong coffee in the late evening. I always thought he was part Cajun because he made it so strong. We would greet each other with the upended "Peace sign" of both hands. It was a big laugh.

One time, back in February 2002 on a Saturday, Jason told me in the middle of the afternoon that "Girls Gone Wild" would be performing that night at The Dock (a popular watering hole). I asked him what that was all about. He said sex-crazed women performed for the cameras wearing skimpy outfits and doing provocative things. He said some of them are drunker than a skunk and throw their tops at guys. The girls could be anyone from anywhere--even in the audience. I asked him what time this Bacchanalian Bash began. He said it started at 10PM, but we had to be there around 7PM if we were to get in. After that time, it would be impossible to get in.

So I said, "Now let me get this straight. We could play hooky from work (We were to stay until 8 or 8:30PM.) and work on really complicated, boring tax returns OR we can go to The Dock and watch sex-crazed women dance on the counter and fling their tops at us. Is that our choice?" Jason replied, "Yeah, it really is tough to decide." We stroked our chins and thought. Then Jason asked, "Do you know a lot about the Alternative Minimum Tax?" I replied, "I know quite a bit about it. But the return will take us quite a while." Jason replied, "Whoops. There goes 'Girls Gone Wild.' They lost to the AMT."

There were really very few outstanding Christians I have ever worked with. I can literally count them on my right hand. Jason was one of those very few. I bitterly regret I never had a chance to talk to him in his last days. I would've loved to joke with him and talk about those days that we worked together. Someday, when we are in Heaven together, I will talk with him and relive those days. But for now, I will mourn his passing. He was a true giant among Christians.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

U.S. Senate Democratic Primary

This is the third Democratic primary in which I've voted. In 2002, there was no Republican primary for the U.S. Senate or Congress, so I voted im the Democratic Primary. I voted for the late James "Bootie" Hunt. He lost. In the 2004 Presidential Democratic Primary, I voted for Howard Dean. And today I voted for Erik Fleming.

I voted for Fleming because he is a staunch pro-lifer. He even attended the Mississippi Right-to-Life banquet. I was going to vote for Bill Bowlin. I sent him an e-mail asking him where he stood on abortion. I never got a reply. The other two candidates did not comment on abortion. Also, Fleming has been a state representative for six years. I don't agree with him on a lot of the issues, but at least he's opposed to abortion. I've listened to him on the "Kim Wade Show" on WJNT 1180 (which airs from 5-6PM on weekdays). He's got some good ideas. Kim Wade does not flinch from his conservative views and he has some very good guests. Fleming has been on his shows a few times. Wade is one of the most listened to drive-by talk show hosts. He is one of the funniest and the most intelligent talk show hosts I have ever listened to.

Fleming will probably win, but there may be a runoff. No matter who the nominee is, the candidate will have no chance against the incumbent Sen. Trent Lott.

Whenever there is a Republican primary I vote in it. But if there is no GOP primary and there is a Democratic primary, I'll vote in that. That is the tragedy of not having party registration in Mississippi. I have known Democratic municipal officials vote in the GOP primary--even if there is a Democratic primary. There should be party registration in the state and a closed primary. But that will never happen here.

Monday, June 05, 2006

What a Deal

The U.S. Senate bill is a fantastic way for American taxpayers to make some bucks. Indeed, I can make quite a few bucks thanks to the tax provisions for illegal aliens. You see, under the Senate bill an illegal alien does not have to pay taxes on two of the five years he has an income tax liability.

So here is what I plan to do if the Senate version becomes law. I plan to go to Canada and renounce my American citizenship because the Department of Interior has not made the cockroach an endangered species. Then I'll enter North Dakota and work for a CPA firm (The Canadian border is really very pourous.). There is an extreme shortage of professionals in that state, especially in Fargo (with a low eye-popping unemployment rate of 1.1%). I'll make a deal with a CPA firm. For three years, pay me the minimum wage at 2200 annual billing hours for three years (That comes to $11330 a year, or $33990 for three years.). They can withhold Social Security and state income tax (Yes, North Dakota has an income tax.). My tax liability for those three years would be $313 (based on 2005 tax rates), or $939 for three years. Plus, I'd get a little earned income tax credit as well. What a deal!

For the other two years, which would be the last two years I work, the firm would pay me based on a 1099, or self-employment contract income. They would pay me based on what a CPA tax manager would make. Up North, that would come to $90000 a year (maybe more). For those two years, the firm would pay me $416010 ($90000 x 5 years less $33990.) That would be $208005 per year for those two years. And under the Senate bill, I wouldn't have to pay a penny tax on that $416010!! I'd get my American citizenship, move back to Mississippi and get with another CPA firm. (North Dakota may be a great state, but -60 degrees in the winter ain't toasty.) And I'd have $416010 to stash away in some mutual funds.

As Yakov Smirnoff would say, "America, what a country!"

Friday, June 02, 2006

Time for a Third Party

Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago on why it may be time for a third party. As vice-chairman of the America First Party in Mississippi, I wholeheartedly agree. The AFP is a conservative party without any scintilla of racism, which we vehemently condemn and do not tolerate. We are a reformist, records-open party with a conservative bent. If we were to choose a legislator that most closely reflects our beliefs, it would be U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) or Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas). If you want to know what the AFP's political philosophy is, we are the Old Right. To find out what the Old Right is all about, read Joseph Scotchey's book Revolt in the Heartland.

I used to be a Republican Party activist. For twelve years (1980-1992), I served on the Rankin County Republican Executive Committee and was treasurer for eleven (1981-1992) of those years. I worked in many a campaign for a Republican candidate in Rankin County. It was the Reagan Revolution that got me involved, although I had been active in politics since I was 14 years old (The Goldwater campaign). It was Reagan's seminal speech, "A Time for Choosing," that galvanized me. And from 1964 to 1996, the GOP could count on me to work like a dog for them.

But when Bush 41 broke his "No New Taxes" promise in 1990, my support for the GOP diminished. I worked for Pat Buchanan in 1992 in the Republican primary. I stayed in the GOP (nominally, I'm still in the GOP for two-party purposes in the state) because of the GOP takeover of Congress in 1994, hoping things would change. I worked for Buchanan again in the GOP primaries. But I left to support Buchanan of the Reform Party in 2000 (a total disaster).

Bush 43 is no conservative. Other than the social issues, his judicial appointments and cutting taxes, he is no conservative. Indeed, he is one of the biggest spending liberals we have had since FDR. The old-line Republicans would never have gotten us into this unneccesary war in Iraq. But both Bushes have done so.

This Republican Congress is tone-deaf to the voices of the people. Illegal immigration is sweeping the nation and the GOP has done nothing. Manufacturing jobs are being shipped overseas and the GOP gives us NAFTA, CAFTA, ad nauseum. The grassroots GOP wants spending limits and Congress spends money like drunken sailors. The GOP screeched against Bill Clinton's healthcare plan but gives us drug coverage for Medicare, which will cost over a trillion dollars in due time.

The Democrats are even worse. They are ultraliberal on the social issues (abortion on demand and homosexual marriage), will vote to raise taxes and will spend money worse than the GOP. If the GOP is horrible, the Democrats are even worse. So where is a conservative to go?

While the AFP is in its infancy stages, it concentrates mainly on two issues: Illegal immigration and the shipping of manufacturing jobs overseas. But unlike a lot of third parties, it has a lot of sensible ideas on state issues as well.

The Republican Party has abandoned its conservative base. Isn't it time for a change?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Illegal Immigration

The four Congressmen and two U.S. Senators are clueless about illegal immigration in our state. Let me tell you what is going on in the big city of Pearl (pop. 22360). Illegal immigration is flooding our city. When I drive to work around 7:10AM, there are Hispanics walking or riding their bikes. Even just a year ago, that was a very rare scene. Now it is a common one. Five years ago, there were only about twenty-five Hispanics in the Pearl School District. Today there are about 175. And the number is growing. Since they are not taxpayers because they do not own property, we taxpayers have to shoulder the burden.

Let me tell you of an incident that happened last April 29th. I was going to work on a cloudy humid Saturday around 12:40PM. I passed a Hispanic carrying a backpack on his shoulders. He was walking slowly and seemed to have a problem steadying himself. I got to the office, parked my car and went to work. About twenty minutes later, a police car and an ambulance came to my office. The illegal immigrant passed out right to the north of my bookkeeper's office. The policeman told me he had walked from Madison to Pearl and passed out from the exhaustion. Inside the backpack were drugs! This was unheard of even a year ago.

When I drive up Old Brandon Road going to the airport, I see a lot of rental homes. Most of them are occupied by immigrants. They keep their yards clean and are law-abiding. But I doubt if they are legal immigrants. The reason the immigrants come to Pearl is because it is the cheapest urban area to live in Rankin County. I talked to a client and he told me there are no Hispanics in Brandon. He hasn't seen any in Crossgates or any of the other well-to-do areas. But they are in the apartments and rental homes in Pearl. And it seems the number is increasing.

When I was working at H & R Block in 1983, I saw my first Hispanic. He asked us in Spanish if anyone could speak the language. We said "no" and he went on his way. But that was a very rare occurrence. Now they are a very common sight throughout the downtown area. I have no objections to legal immigrants. My grandparents--maternal and paternal--were immigrants. But they were legal immigrants.

It is time Congress put a stop to the illegal immigration in this country. We may have as many as 49000 illegal immigrants in this state. The State Auditor's office issued a report which stated illegal immigration is costing the state $25,030,051. Our Congressional delegation better wake up and get off their ivory towers and see what is going on here--especially in the city of Pearl.