Thursday, September 1, 2016

2010 Guide to Avoiding the Crowds at the Minnesota State Fair

Attracting over 1.7 million people, the Minnesota State Fair is probably the busiest event known to Minnesotans, especially those who live in the Falcon Heights/Roseville area of the Twin Cities. The masses of people who come to indulge in deep fried candy bars create insane lines, but the traffic is by far the worst of it all. As overwhelming as it may seem, there are ways to get around the crowd.

1) Wait until after the first weekend
The best way to go about tackling the crowds is to plan ahead. I’m not talking about planning out your day hour by hour, but how and when you should go. The start of the fair always attracts the most amount of people, especially during the first weekend. So, if you can wait it out, hold off until the Tuesday after the fair opens. Not only will there be less people, but it’s also “Ticket Deal Tuesday” where adult admission is only $9. If you go to the fair for events, plan to arrive early as traffic can be a pain.

2) Take advantage of the free shuttles
If you don’t want to be waiting in traffic, your best bet is to ride the buses. These aren’t your ordinary school buses either. If there was a scale of bus comfort level, I’d say an 7.5-8. Coach buses with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, even a toilet (although I wouldn’t recommend using it) what more could you ask for? If you don’t want to fight for parking spots or wait in line, the best times to hit the shuttle buses are before 10AM or after 4PM.

3) Buy your tickets ahead of time
In case you don’t already, buying your tickets ahead of time not only saves you time from having to wait at the front gates to purchase them, but you also save money. You save $2 off each adult admission, so if you’re a family of four, you already save $8, which you can use to buy some elephant ears and root beer. You also have the option of purchasing the Blue Ribbon bargain book for $4 instead of $5. I’ve never personally bought one before, but if you use up almost every coupon, you’d be saving over $500. Some food for thought for you.

4) Hold off until further into the fairgrounds to indulge
I know, I know. It’s protocol to want that pronto pup from the stand half a block down from the entrance, but is it worth the 20+ people wait? Especially, when you can walk down two/three more blocks and voila! A pronto pup stand with only two or three people in line. You receive its juicy goodness in less time.

So, whatever it is your heart desires from the Minnesota State fair, whether it be pronto pups or freshly roasted corn on the cob, may you travel there craziness free(-er than usual).

Tags:2010 Guide to Avoiding the Crowds at the Minnesota State Fair

2010 New Hampshire U.S. Senate Primary Race

Bedrock, NH — History records that it was the United States Supreme Court, in its Bush v. Gore decision, that handed the 2000 Presidential election to Texas Governor George W. Bush, but voters in New Hampshire know that it was its four votes in the Electoral College that pushed Bush over the top. “W” won the Granite State by a little more than 7,000 votes and was crowned Bush 43, allowing the former C student at Yale to exercise the sovereignty of these United States for the first of his two, four-year terms.

In 2004, the Granite State cast in its lot with U.S. Senator John Kerry, but it was too late. New Hampshire helped atone for its sin by going for Barack Obama in 2008.

For the first six years of the Bush 43 Administration, up until the 2006 by-election, the New Hampshire Congressional delegation was entirely Republican. That year, both Republican incumbents in the House were defeated by the Democrats Carol Shea-Porter in the 1st District and Paul Hodes in the 2nd, making it purple. In 2008, former governor Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, defeated the incumbent junior Senator, Republican John E. Sununu, to shade the Granite State’s purple a bit more blue.

The last time three Democrats represented New Hampshire in Washington, D.C. was during the 96th Congress, which met from January 3, 1979 to January 3, 1981. Those were the final two years of the presidency of Democrat Jimmy Carter, before the Reagan Revolution swept away F.D.R.-style liberalism as the governing philosophy of Washington.

Both Shea-Porter and Hodes were re-elected in 2008. Both had endorsed U.S. Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic Presidential primary.

The Candidates

U.S. Representative Paul Hodes is now running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Judd Gregg, one of President Obama’s favorite Republicans, judging from his offer of a Cabinet seat and praise during the 2010 State of the Union Speech. (The love is not reciprocated by Gregg, who has become a critic of the Obama administration.) Hodes continues to publicly embrace the President, and the manager of Obama’s successful 2008 Presidential campaign, David Plouffe, was in the Granite State last month, gracing a rally at the Hodes for Senate headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city.

Hodes, who essentially is unchallenged in the Democratic primary, is trailing behind the two front-runners for the Republican nomination, former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte and multi-millionaire venture capitalist Bill Binnie, who once owned a plastics company.

Among 500 likely voters polled by Rasmussen Reports on May 11, 2010, Hodes trails Ayotte 38% to 50% and Binnie 37% to 49%. In the Hodes-Ayotte match-up, 9% of poll respondents were undecided while 3% favored another candidate. The numbers for the Hodes-Binnie match-up are 8% undecided and 6% casting their lot for another candidate.

The Rasmussen Reports polling was the most up-to-date poll currently available for the New Hampshire Senate race.

Other Candiates

The Republican primary will be held on September 14th. There are two other candidates, Ovide Lamontagne, an attorney who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1996 and has served as the chair of the state Board of Education, and Jim Bender, a businessman with a high-tech background.

Paul Hodes leads both these Republicans in a hypothetical November match-up, 43%-38% and 41%-39%, respectively. With a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5%, Hodes is in effect, in a statistical tie with the two weaker candidates in the Republican field.

In April’s Rasmussen poll, Lamontagne beat Hodes in a hypothetical match-up due to the backlash against the Congressman’s vote for Obama’s health care reform bill. Obama’s health care bill is unpopular in the Granite State: 53% of respondents would like to see it repealed, against 44% who favor it. Forty-one percent of respondents strongly favor repeal while 35% are strongly in favor of the bill.

Among the two major political parties, the GOP claims the lion’s share of allegiance of those who strongly oppose the bill.

Congressman Hodes has a problem with independent voters, who outnumber both registered Democrats and Republicans in New Hampshire. Independents are favoring the Republicans this election cycle. It was the support of Independents for Barack Obama throughout the country that helped give him his decisive victory over Republican John McCain.

Hodes has the highest “Very Unfavorable” rating of any candidate, at 31%, versus 8% for Ayotte, 11% for Binnie, 14% for Lamontagne and 12% for Bender. (Rasmussen Reports believes only the “Very Favorable” or “Very Unfavorable” ratings have any real meaning.)

Interestingly, Kelly Ayotte has the highest overall favorable rating (34%) of any Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate who is not an incumbent in the entire United States. She has been endorsed by U.S. Senator Judd Gregg.

Bill Binnie, an unknown entity politically, has been blanketing the Granite State with his television and radio ads for months. They have established him as a serious contender, though Ayotte still is considered the favorite. If the anti-incumbent backlash that is sweeping America extends to public officials like Ayotte, she could be in serious trouble as she recently has been linked to a major financial scandal.


The Rasmussen Reports poll found that 48% of New Hampshire voters favor tough anti-illegal immigration laws like the recent law passed in Arizona’s that gives police the right to check the citizenship status of people they stop while 40% oppose such laws.

The son of immigrants from Scotland, where he himself was born (the family emigrated to the United States when he was five years old), Bill Binnie has launched a radio ad that praises the new Arizona law that its critics complain legalizes racial profiling. Binnie calls for restrictions on immigration and making English the official language of the United States. (English, of course, is the official language of Scotland, with the indigenous language Scots Gaelic having withered since the anschluss of 1707 that created Great Britian. Only approximately 50,000 people out of a total population of 5.2 million speak the native tongue.)

Whether Binnie’s hard-line on immigration will win him votes is hard to say, as 59% of polled Granite Staters are in favor of a friendly immigration policy. Illegal immigration has not been a major issue in New Hampshire in the past, and many Granite Staters or their parents or grandparents are immigrants from Quebec. Demographically, the state is overwhelmingly white.

Approval for President Obama among New Hampshire voters is split evenly, with exactly half of respondents (50%) approving of his performance while 50% expressing disapproval. The approval rating is slightly higher than Obama’s national rating, which bodes well for Paul Hodes.


Kelly Ayotte currently is at the center of a major financial scandal in New Hampshire, involving the bankruptcy of the investment company Financial Resources Mortgage, which turned out to be a Ponzi scheme. (FMR had a sister company, CL&M.) It recently was revealed that the Attorney General’s Office that she headed until she declared her candidacy failed to act to prevent the pyramid scheme-style fraud that has fleeced Granite Staters out of millions of dollars.

In total, $82 million is missing. Some are charging Ayotte with being part of a cover-up, trying to obscure the lack of oversight of FMR.

Her e-mails relating to FRM were found to have been deleted from the Attorney General’s computer system after she resigned. The scandal is wide reaching: The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that Jon Hildreth, the brother of state Banking Commissioner Peter Hildreth, was an investor in FRM and got cashed in his investment in 2005.

An unabashedly conservative newspaper since the days it was owned by William Loeb in the post-World War II period through the election of Ronald Reagan (which Loeb had a hand in securing due to New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary), the Union Leader is digging deep into the story, as are other Granite State media outlets.

Despite warnings that FRM was a Ponzi scheme, neither the Banking Commission, or the Office of the Attorney General, or state securities regulators investigated FRM, or tried to provide any oversight. In light of the scandals on Wall St. being revealed on a weekly basis, the FRM debacle could make Kelly Ayotte vulnerable in the Republican primary and in November, if she wins the GOP nomination.

Paul Hodes has highlighted this issue in his campaign Web site.

How it will play out in the Republican primary is uncertain. Kelly Ayotte is considered a “RINO” (Republican in Name Only) by many in the state, which would benefit her among independents. However, her seeming involvement in enabling a financial scandal might hurt her among more conservative voters and the “Tea Party” activists who have been energized by opposition to the Wall St. bailout.

Yet, her main opponent for the nomination, Bill Binnie, is a venture capitalist, albeit, a very different animal than the Wall St. sharks and local hucksters that have shucked billions out of millions of investors. Binnie’s specialty is raising capital for new businesses, a welcome occupation in these financially troubled times. (New Hampshire has lost more manufacturing jobs than any other state, on a per capital basis, to China.)

Congressman Hodes’ Web site and Facebook page trumpet the fact that he opposed the Wall St. bailout. Ayotte and the other Republicans, with the notable exception of Bill Binnie, also are opposed to the bailout. Binnie said he would likely have voted for the bailout if he had been in the Senate, as did Sen. Judd Gregg.

Whether Ovide Lamontagne can benefit from the populist backlash against out-of-control capitalism running hog-wild on Wall St. (where a pig’s trough has replaced the metaphors of bears & bulls) is hard to say, as he is a Ronald Reagan-style, pro-free markets, anti-regulation Republican. Despite being the most conservative state in the very blue Acela corridor that runs from Washington, D.C. up through Boston and continues via I-95 up into Maine, the Granite State’s conservatism typically is of a more flinty type, not the free-wheeling, “Damn ’em all to hell!” bent of the Tea Party movement.

The Nashua Telegraph, reporting on a debate among the Republican Senate candidates held at the end of January, came to the conclusion that they differed on the issues very little.


U.S. Representative Paul Hodes has the very strong support of President Barack Obama, according to David Plouffe. The Congressman’s support for Obama helped him nearly win the 2008 New Hampshire Presidential primary. The President very likely will hit the hustings for Hodes after the primary.

In addition to Judd Gregg, Kelly Ayotte has been endorsed by U.S. Senator John McCain. McCain has always been popular in the Granite State: He won the New Hampshire GOP Presidential primary in 2000 & 2008. However, he lost the Granite State’s electoral college votes to Barack Obama in the 2008 general election and is facing a tough re-election campaign from the hard, “Tea Party” right. His politically potent “war hero” persona is waning as he’s developing a reputation as a loser.

Ovide Lamontagne has been endorsed by the prominent conservatives Dan Quayle (the former Vice President of the United States), publisher Steve Forbes (a former GOP presidential candidate), and Gordon Humphrey, who represented New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate from 1979 to 1990. Humphrey is an ultra-conservative whose former seat is now occupied by Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.


Concord Monitor, “Firms were Ponzi fronts, lawyer says”; “Regulators trade blame in Ponzi case”

Nashua Telegraph, “Republican Senate hopefuls united on several issues “

New Hampshire Union Leader, “FRM files show NH official’s sibling got money back”

Public Policy Polling, “GOP Senate candidates aren’t very strong”

Tags:2010 New Hampshire U.S. Senate Primary Race

2010 Golden Globe Nominations: 5 Best Animated Feature Films

Who will receive the Golden Glove Award for Best Animated Feature Film? There are five nominations competing for the award. The 2010 Golden Globes will be held on January 17th, 2010 from 5-8 PM (PST) and 8-11 PM (EST) live on NBC. “The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards” will be televised in more than 160 countries worldwide. Ricky Gervais will be the host for the awards ceremony.

The following list gives a comprehensive look at the box office performance for each animated film. The information includes release date, approval rating, production budget and total lifetime gross. Keep in mind that the source is based on estimates by professional researchers and movie industry writers. Movie information is subject to change.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
The movie was directed by Chris Miller and Phil Lord. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs was released September 18, 2009 and grossed $30,304,648 over the opening weekend. The movie had a production budget of $100 million. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 86% overall approval rating. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs grossed $122,650,135 in total domestic box office.

The movie was directed by Henry Selick. Coraline was released February 6, 2009 and grossed $16,849,640 over the opening weekend. The movie had a production budget of $60 million. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 89% overall approval rating. Coraline grossed $75,286,229 in total domestic box office.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
The movie was directed by Wes Anderson. Fantastic Mr. Fox was released November 13, 2009 and grossed $6,965,267 over the opening weekend. The movie had a production budget of $40 million. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 92% overall approval rating. Fantastic Mr. Fox grossed $16,379,870 in total domestic box office.

The Princess And The Frog
The movie was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. The Princess And The Frog was released November 25, 2009 and grossed $24,208,916 over the opening weekend. The movie had a production budget of $105 million. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 82% overall approval rating. The Princess And The Frog grossed $28,421,437 in total domestic box office.

The movie was directed by Pete Docter. Up was released May 29, 2009 and grossed $ 68,108,790 over the opening weekend. The movie had a production budget of $175 million. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 98% overall approval rating. Up grossed $ 293,004,164 in total domestic box office.

Movie information is subject to change. Details will be updated as they become available. For more information, check out


Tags:2010 Golden Globe Nominations: 5 Best Animated Feature Films

2010 Georgia Supreme Court Candidates

Have you ever gotten to the end of your ballot while voting and had no idea who any of the judicial candidates were? If so, you are not alone. For most people, voting for a judge is a shot in the dark since the judicial elections are nonpartisan, there are no debates, and little campaigning.

You can get an idea by looking at a sample ballot before going to the polls. You can get a sample ballot for your precinct by visiting the website of the Secretary of State: The sample ballot contains the names and websites, if any, of the candidates.

One of the most striking ways to differ between judicial candidates is through their judicial philosophy. Generally, judges either fall into one of two camps. Judicial activists, who bring their own opinions and experiences to the bench, or strict constructionists, who rule based on the law as it is written and focus on the intent of legislature.

In spite of the low key nature of the judicial campaigns, voting for a judge is important. As we have seen in recent months and years, judges can overturn popular laws and policies on dubious grounds and shape our nation and state with little accountability. Georgia’s voter ID law, gay marriage and the upcoming legal battle over Obamacare are just a few recent examples.

Candidates for Supreme Court:

David Nahmias is the incumbent. You can view his website at: You can also view his biography on the Supreme Court website: Nahmias is a former US Attorney nominated by George W. Bush who received numerous commendations for his service. He states that his judicial philosophy is that “if judges do not like a law, th You can also view his biography on the Supreme Court website: Nahmias is a former US Attorney nominated by George W. Bush who received numerous commendations for his service. He states that his judicial philosophy is that “if judges do not like a law, they can vote to change it at the ballot box, like their fellow citizens, but they should not try to change it with judicial decrees”.

Matt Wilson is a practicing attorney from Atlanta. His website is: He states that his judicial philosophy is “to uphold and defend the Constitutions of this State and of our United States, to listen courteously to all parties and all arguments, to fairly and impartially decide cases presented on the basis of the evidence and our laws, while always protecting our civil and Constitutional rights”. He criticizes Justice Nahmias for decisions that “elevate Corporate and Government Interests over Individual Rights”.

Tammy Lynn Adkins, an attorney with no address or website given.


Tags:2010 Georgia Supreme Court Candidates

2010 Georgia Governor's Race: Roy Barnes' Redistricting Plan Backfired on Him Last Time Too

Redistricting the state of Georgia for House, Senate and Congress seats will take place during the new Georgia governor’s term starting in 2011. Roy Barnes is chomping at the bit to be at the helm of that again, according to the AJC, just as he was during 2001, when he ripped the reins of power from the General Assembly. But we can’t let him!

Roy Barnes opposed by his opponents

Nathan Deal and John Monds are just as insistent that Roy Barnes must never be allowed to play the redistricting game again at the expense of Georgia’s citizens. Both Georgia governor candidates oppose Roy Barnes about his redistricting game plan and insist it is a job for the General Assembly to decide, not a biased governor.

“I think we have a commission. It’s made up of the House and Senate. Those are the ones we traditionally use,” Nathan Deal said.

Deal went on to add that he wouldn’t be playing Barnes’ kind of politics in this way if he becomes governor, “I will not be a governor who strong-arms the General Assembly,” the AJC reported.

John Monds feels the same way as Nathan Deal about how Roy Barnes put his hand in the redistricting cookie jar back then, insisting that this time will be different if he is governor, too.

The AJC quoted Monds as adding, “We stick with the legislature,” when discussing his position on the issue.

Roy Barnes’ redistricting agenda

The reason Roy Barnes is so gun ho to bring in an alleged “independent counsel” is to influence what portions of Georgia will be represented by which party. He can’t do that if the General Assembly maintains that control.

Roy Barnes wants to do what he did in 2001. Roy wants to be able to reduce the jurisdictional geographical size a republican candidate represents in one portion of the state so he can enlarge the area of a democrat in another area. The General Assembly doesn’t allow that kind of shenanigans to go on.

I’d call it a smart move on Roy Barnes’ part if it wasn’t so devious and underhanded. He was King Roy his first and only term of office, and it is obvious he hasn’t learned to be different in spite of what his mouth is saying now.

Roy Barnes’ redistricting not good for Georgia

Georgia doesn’t need any more moves like they are making in Washington. We don’t need a governor who is more focused on drawing up geographical lines that benefit his Democratic Party politicians than he is about doing state business.

NY Times predicted Roy Barnes’ demise due to redistricting before

In 2001, as Roy Barnes was attempting to draw new district lines in the state of Georgia the New York Times made a bold prediction, saying this about the Democrats and Roy Barnes’ “independent commission”:

“If they create maps that not only maximize Democratic chances in the two new districts but also threaten any of the eight Republican incumbents, they may encourage one or more of the Republican congressmen to run for governor or United States senator next year.”

The NY Times hit the nail on the head, as that is exactly what happened, with Georgians giving Roy Barnes the boot when one of those Republicans by the name of Sonny Perdue ran for governor the next year.

Georgians were so fed up with redistricting shenanigans amidst all the other stuff Barnes did in office that they horsewhipped him but good. That’s why Barnes is still carrying only 40 percent of the vote now, six years later. Roy Barnes still hasn’t learned, has he?

Resources: Opinion/Editorial;; NY

Tags:2010 Georgia Governor’s Race: Roy Barnes’ Redistricting Plan Backfired on Him Last Time Too

2010 Free Halloween Music and Sounds Online

Halloween 2010 is almost here. You have your costumes, but what about free Halloween music and sound effects to make your party spooktacular? The music and sounds are not only great for parties, but also to spook all the trick or treaters and neighbors. Here are my top websites with great music downloads to entertain all.

All About Halloween

This website has a great variety to choose from. Movie and television theme music, Halloween sounds, and songs. You have popular choices such as Tales From The Crypt, Addams Family, Amityville Horror, Exorcist, Poltergeist, Casper, Psycho, Ghostbusters, Haunted Mansion sounds, Monster Mash, Thriller, Funeral March, Diary Of A Madman, and so much more. Just click and enjoy.

The next website I found called Haunted Bay. This site hasPsycho, X0Files theme, Grim Grin ghost, Disney’s Haunted Mansion, Munsters, Monster Mash, Alfred Hitchcock, Church bells, female scream, thunder, witch laugh, wolf howl, Black Hole theme, and more.

Ok listen up, you want free Halloween sounds then you must head over to Prankcallsunlimited. You have a choice of a rattle snake, women scream, owl sound, cat scream, cat screech, creak door, blood scream, scary boo, Twilight zone, scary monster, and many more.

The last website I found with free Halloween music and sounds is Haunted Illinois, which some people may not know about. There are 44 songs to pick from. Thriller, Werewolves in London, Tales From The Crypt, Aliens Theme, Deep Red, Doll Room, Dracula, The Exorcist, Freddy’s Theme, Funeral music, Monster Mash, and even a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is on this list.

If you need more song ideas, then I suggest checking this article out called Must Have Halloween Songs. It has all sorts of music artists such as Ozzy, Santana, White Zombie, Alice Cooper, Rockwell, and more.


Tags:2010 Free Halloween Music and Sounds Online

2010 Fourth of July Fireworks in Columbus, Ohio

The annual fireworks shows to celebrate the birth of our nation on the Fourth of July are a highlight of summer for many people. The festivities or picnics beforehand and the music leading up to and playing throughout the show all combine to make Independence Day a fun time, but it is the fireworks display itself that steals center stage on July 4. The city of Columbus puts on an amazing show each year, but there are some fantastic fireworks in the outlying neighborhoods and suburbs as well.

Red, White & Boom is back and celebrating its 30th anniversary. The annual fireworks show in downtown Columbus will be held, as usual, on July 2. In 2010, that puts this event on a Friday night. The entertainment at this day-long event will begin at 10:00 am, and the fireworks themselves will cap off the evening at 10:00 pm. Don’t miss the live music, good food, flyover by the Ohio National Guard, and Fourth of July Parade that will precede the fireworks show.

Ride into the Danger Zone on Saturday, July 3 at Dublin’s Independence Day activities. The day begins with a fishing derby at 8:00 am, and includes a canine Frisbee contest and a massive children’s play area. Kenny Loggins will be headlining the concert, joining past performers at the Dublin Fourth of July celebration like Rick Springfield and K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Fireworks will begin at 9:50 pm.

Other areas celebrating Independence Day on July 3 include:

  • Gahanna (Fireworks at 10:00 pm)
  • Grove City (Fireworks at 10:00 pm)
  • Groveport (Children’s Parade at 10:00 am, Main St. Parade at 1:30 pm, Fireworks at Dusk)
  • Reynoldsburg (Parade at 2:00 pm)
  • Upper Arlington
  • Westerville (Parade at 1:00 pm, Fireworks at 10:00 pm)

Worthington will be holding its annual Family Picnic and Fireworks on July 4. The Family Picnic features lots of good food and games for the kids. This year it will also feature a visit from the Columbus Zoo. The Family Picnic will begin at 5:00 pm, and the fireworks will begin at 10:00 pm. The best viewing of the fireworks is from inside the Worthington High School football stadium. This event is a local favorite, as it combines that small town Independence Day celebration feel with a fireworks show that easily rivals that of Dublin or Columbus.

Other areas celebrating Independence Day on July 4 include:

  • Hilliard (Parade at 2:00 pm, Family Events at 5:00 pm)
  • Pickerington (Parade at 6:30 pm, Fireworks at 10:00 pm)

Tags:2010 Fourth of July Fireworks in Columbus, Ohio

2010 New Hampshire US Senate Primary Race: Bill Binnie

The 2010 New Hampshire State Senate elections, scheduled for November 2, are an important turning point for conservative fiscal spending and long-term growth of our state and national economy. Current announced candidates for the Democratic Party are, Paul Hodes and Joseph Nadeau, and for the Republican Party, Kelly Ayotte, Bill Binnie, Jim Bender, and Ovide Lamontagne. As an independent voter, I have been following the candidates of both parties as their intended policies will greatly affect education, spending of tax dollars, and the economy. As an economist, my vote for senate is swayed for the candidate that can help Washington clean up the spending hemorrhage, and for the candidate that can bring a fresh perspective to the schooling and tax budget. In this article, I will examine my pick, based on economic issues addressed and leadership experience from the candidate that is best suited to tackle economic issues in real time.

Bill Binnie (Republican)

Background information

Bill Binnie, a Republican candidate from Rye, New Hampshire, is a self-made executive who attended Harvard University as an undergraduate and Harvard Business School for graduate school. Bill attended Harvard on scholarship and quickly gained success in the business world after graduation. Having served as the CEO and President of Carlisle Plastics from 1985-1994 before the sale to Tyco International, Bill has had outstanding leadership qualities in the business world. Bill currently serves as the President of Carlisle Capital in Portsmouth, NH. As a successful businessman, Binnie has a track record of growth and leadership at a very young age.

As an independent voter, why does Binnie stand out?

As an economist and independent voter, I have examined the current economic issues for long-term growth and how we are currently being hindered by over spending. Binnie’s economic issues are that he stands by are lower taxes, stopping bailouts and government aid to large corporations, the creation of jobs, and for a math/science base in the school districts. Binnie supports pro-choice, however, not partial abortions or federal funding for abortions, which is a key component for concerned independent voters.

Economic issues

For an economy to grow after a recession it requires lower taxes as larger take home income levels stimulate spending on non-essential goods, and the growth of the economy. Currently in Lee, NH, we are facing property tax hikes, as well as high federal taxes. For instance, we currently pay around $9,000-10,000 per year in property taxes for a home valued at $350,000. Lower tax levels enable the average American to spend more on non-essentials, which eventually leads to economic growth and investment, which in turn creates jobs and employment. Unemployment levels in NH are currently at 7.0% (seasonally adjusted) for March 2010.

As a conservative, Binnie wants to tackle “out of control” spending, and enact fiscal responsibility in Washington and New Hampshire. Currently China lends the U.S. funds by purchasing bonds and other American investments in order to support bailouts and large government spending. This policy is not sustainable for the future in competitive markers; therefore, our best option for senate is a candidate that can budget.


Binnie has proposed an emphasis on math and science for students. This policy is excellent if we want to compete on the global level. As a college student, I am often amazed by the lack of math and science skills from students. Students are not taking the initiative of taking advanced math classes at the college level, which over time will decrease our competitiveness in the global marketplace. Although I believe the arts and English are valuable courses, we need to ingrain our students that understand beyond general education math credits are a valuable resource for the future of our economy. Binnie’s stance on providing math and science emphasis in the public school system will undoubtedly create more able students, and competitive students in higher education.


Currently Binnie has stood out on his leadership abilities, knowledge of the business world that goes beyond politics, and his foresight to increase take home income with low taxes. Any economist that has studied the Great Depression will tell you that failure to decrease taxes during the 1930 has led to decreased spending and rationing, which led to little growth. No growth means high unemployment and lower wages, which creates a sense of chaos until investment increases in the private sector. Having faced the greatest recession with the Great Depression, we need a candidate that that can stimulate the economy by lowering taxes and creating employment. Binnie has had a solid foundation in business, which makes him a prime candidate for tackling these complete issues.


Tags:2010 New Hampshire US Senate Primary Race: Bill Binnie

2010 Jaguar XFR Review

LAYOUT: Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
ENGINE: 5.0-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve, supercharged
TRANSMISSION: Six-speed automatic
Peak Power: 503 hp @ 6000 rpm
Peak Torque: 461 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
0-60 mph: 4.7 sec.
Top Speed: 155 mph (limited)
Fuel Economy: 15 city/ 21 hwy
PRICE: $80,000

Jaguar has been busy lately. Under the auspices of Indian industrial titan Tata, the company seems to be finally turning out the sorts of cars it has been sorely lacking for the last few decades. That is to say, exciting ones.

The XFR is the latest offering. And it’s damn impressive. This R-branded XF takes Jaguar performance to an entirely new level. In the past, the company was content to take an R-badged car and strap a supercharger onto the Standard production V8. This new R, though, takes past performance considerations and punts them through the uprights. Displacement is pushed from 4.2 to an even 5.0 liters. Then the supercharger gets bolted on, and output rises to 510 metric horses, or about 503 American horsepower to you and me.

The real story here, though, is torque, 461 lb-ft which peaks at a lowly 2500 rpm and runs flat all the way to 5500, giving you a pretty broad 3000 rpm rev range in which to smoke tires and uproot asphalt.

Simply put, the thing is just a monster. Stomping on the gas time and again from a standing start, rear tires scrambling for traction, it might remind you not of a blown V8 so much as a Mercedes V12. When it does finally hook up, acceleration is visceral, squeezing your guts harder with every centimeter of throttle travel until you can’t help but dissolve into hysterics-or pee your pants. Brake for the next light, dangle your foot over the accelerator, and wait for it all to happen again. It’s total, pure entertainment.

The new XFR is bold, brash, and seems to make no bones about putting the E63 AMGs and M5s of the world directly in its sights. But is it up to that level? My right foot said yes-but the seat of my pants can’t be so quick to judge.

The car still feels big in a way an M5 does not; it still feels like a big Jaguar cruising vessel (albeit hellish fast). On a tight canyon road, the car’s heaviness and massive torque delivery are liable to make it a bit of a handful. Not that it isn’t exciting in that respect, too.

At the very least, the XFR is a performance deal in this segment, with lots of standard goodies, including a spectacularly elegant interior, bundled in for a (comparatively) affordable price tag

Massive torque delivery, typically elegant cabin

Inherent mass always remains fairly evident

Tags:2010 Jaguar XFR Review

2010 Holden Cruze CD Diesel Review

When I last wrote about the Holden Cruze I wasn’t exactly glowing about it. In fact words like ‘underdeveloped’ and ‘underpowered’ kept popping up, so it comes as a bit of a surprise that Holden let me have another one. But this is the diesel version and I had heard from fellow journos that this was the one to go for.

Visually there’s not much difference between petrol and diesel with the main difference being an audible diesel sound and a green badge on the car.

Like the petrol you get a reasonably good looking car with a respectably futuristic looking dashboard and a surprisingly comfortable driving position thanks to the fully adjustable steering wheel. You also get a six speed auto in this NZ$33,750 Cruze CD, although for most of the time it could well be a five speeder, as sixth doesn’t kick in until just over 100km/h (62mph).

If you’ve got an MP3 player there’s an auxiliary port, which is something every car on sale today should have. You also get six airbags, ABS, ESP, and Brake Assistance.

So far, so good.

On paper the diesel is a much better car than the petrol and you’d have to be certifiable to consider the petrol. But there is one fly in the ointment, and for me it’s a pretty big one.

With any sort of turbocharged car you don’t expect razor sharp throttle response, but in the Cruze CDi you don’t get any response at all. There’s a very pregnant pause between when your foot hits the throttle and the car does anything. It’s especially bad when starting off from rest, which can be very frustrating when you’re at a roundabout.

Interestingly enough it’s thte same sort of thing I found in the diesel powered Kia Carnival/Sedona, although in the Cruze it’s a constant problem all the time. Whenever you need power the car seems to take a while to think about it before reacting.

I can only imagine that this is some sort of Korean thing (as well as the Carnival the Cruze is built in Korea) which could very well be the Land of Leisurely Acceleration for all I know.

Once the car has thought about accelerating though, it does tend to go like a rocket. As with most modern diesels this engine supplies great gobs of torque, which thee car then easily changes into acceleration.

In fact there’s so much acceleration that the best mileage I got out of the car in an urban area was 10.8 L/100km. For a modern diesel that’s not really a good look.

It’s a pity though that the car is a reasonably indifferent handler. It’s good enough for most people and you’re not buying a sports car anyway, but this is one of those cars that always feels more like an appliance than something you could reasonably expect to have a good time in.

So the diesel Cruze is better than the petrol, but only just. Solve that acceleration problem and you’d have a decent car.

Tags:2010 Holden Cruze CD Diesel Review

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