Friday, January 23, 2009

"Blue Dog" Dinner Meeting Invitation

I first want to thank those that were kind enough and thoughtful enough to invite me to a get together of some "blue dog" Democrats from Chesterfield County, Virginia last night. For those of you who thought that Democrats were dead and buried in Chesterfield might be interested to know that there may just be a resurrection afoot-well conservative Democrats anyway.

Of course, none of these "Blue Dogs" are associated with or affiliated with the local CCDC in any way which basically reinforces my views that niether the CCRC nor the CCDC are effectively reaching those that have a dedicated interest in the direction of the community and Virginia at large. Had any been associated with a local committee, I may not have been as interested in attending given the notion many here have in Chesterfield that both committees seem ripe with politics of the past. Some call it the "good ole boy" network and though probably more myth is a hard label to break.

So why sit down with professed "Blue Dog" Democrats?

Well, frankly many of these Democrats are more conservative than I on a great many of issues. All too often we allow ourselves to be fixed on the extremes of both the Republican Party and the Democrat Party that we forget that the majority of folks sit right in the middle. Some of these folks are moderates and some are truly conservative.

The term "Blue Dog" relates back to 1994 in Congress where various Southern Democrats mostly in the House aligned with various Republican agendas in direct contrast with the liberal wing of the Democrat Party. At the time there was also the movement of the DLC underway within the Party that was more moderate. These folks were known as New Democrats, but still closely aligned with the Democrat Party overall. The "Blue Dogs" however had a bit more of an independent streak, especially on economic and trade issues.

Historcially, and some at the dinner still believe in the old Boll Weevils views that supported Ronald Reagan's economic agenda and tax policy of the 1980's. Flash forward to today, and these folks still are on the side of tax cuts, fiscal conservatism and smaller government.

This is at the very heart of why I came to accept the invitation.

You see much of the ideals behind the "Blue Dogs" are very similar to the kind of Republican Party that I wish would re-establish itself in Virginia. A Party focused more on economic issues than that of the social ones.

What I learned through the discussions is:

That "Blue Dogs", (at least these) are pro-gun, pro-immigration reform, pro-welfare reform, pro-tax cut renewal, and split right down the middle on pro-life/pro-choice. What there are pro-life Democrats? Imagine that. That explains why it is these Democrats get no attention by the liberal media.

Until? Well at some point during the night word leaked that Caroline Kennedy had withdrawn her bid and a "Blue Dog" Congressman from Upstate NY would be appointed the next Senator of New York to replace Hillary Clinton. Needless to say, the wine glasses went up.

Look, anyone to counter liberal Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is a win win for this conservative.

One aspect that really got heated was the rather dissatisfaction these "Blue Dogs" feel they have been treated by the Liberal arm of their Party the last few years. You see, these folks supported and still do FISA and have come under diect fire by the LeftyBlogs and certainly Open Left.

OpenLeft refers to all "Blue Dog" Democrats as "BUSH DOGS", which is of course code for traitors.

The Republican side of this Republicrat smelled blood.

I urged these folks to join the greater conservative blogging community and create a new blog for those Democrats who align themselves with the same principles and tenents as they do.

There is alot of common ground with fiscal conservatives of the Republican Party and though the table was split 60/40 on the election last Fall for Obama, everyone supported Warner for Senate but then all either supported Republican Forbes or Cantor for Congress in their respective districts. Though in truth, many expressed real concern for Cantor's heavily waited social conservative leanings in the last few years as well as his support for the bailouts. In short- Washington changed Cantor and Cantor failed to change Washington.

What I noticed is the clear ability to reason why it is important to leverage what people have in common more so than concentrating on the differences. I found myself seeing things eye to eye on about 70% of the issues discussed and began to wonder how great things could be if we all focused on the 70% instead of the 30% exactly how much could be accomplished. In my opinion you can build a coalition with 70%.

So a few near future challenges expressed-

1. End the Independent experiment that is the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors and support Conservative (fiscally-minded) candidates next cycle and begin building networks of aligned interest.
- alot of time on the topic of the School Board's 52 million shortfall and the hurdles ahead for Chesterfield

2. The Governor's Race- (R) Bob McDonnell has the advantage of some real name brand recognition and they only thing that could happen within Democrat Party in Virginia to derail support for McDonnell would be the nomination of (D) Creigh Deeds. I could not have agreed more.
- Moran has zero chance with these Blue Dogs
- alot of fence sitting on Terry MacCuliffe though

3. Petition (R) Eric Cantor and (R) Randy Forbes to not support anymore bailouts or support only a true stimulus package that consists of tax cuts on capital gains, payroll taxes and the like and no so-called stimulus checks like last summer to anyone let alone those who pay not income taxes.

One of the biggest things to overcome is to work to end the divide and divisiveness that the social issues have created the feeling that all Democrats are liberals and are Pro-Choice and Pro-Gay Marriage and thus keep Republicans from attempting to reach out to these Democrats.

To me that is an issue at the top of the State GOP that appears willing to remain beholden to the social conservatives.

I left firmly believing that if there ever was a Conservative Party that could unite these Democrats with the likes of fiscal conservative and moderate Republicans then it would certainly outmatch the Liberal wing of the current Virginia Democrat Party. And lets not forget the Independents out there either.

What a future that would be for Virginia.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chesterfield County School Board Budget: A Tough Reality

If any of you had the opportunity to listen to CCPS Superintendent Dr. Marcus J. Newsome make his presentation at the Chesterfield Communicators Network Meeting you would be alarmed and just how deep the potential shortfall to the school budget could be in the coming year.

Of course, much of any County budget is tied directly to State resources and funding and with those areas shrinking from the Governor and General Assembly inability to prevent its own budget shortfalls, now estimated at 3 billion, Chesterfield County will have to address the following estimates: (as of December)

15 million less funding directly from the State
14 million less funding from the Board of Supervisors of Chesterfield
4.8 million less from the State Sales Tax funding
4.6 million less from the State for enrollment purposes

Dr. Newsome now currently sees the impact of the shortfall to be roughly 52 million. Meaning, CCPS will be hace a deficit of 52 million in realtionship to the approved budget. Early last year, Dr. Newsome's Superintendent's message included:

"35% of the available new resources projected for this budget will be dedicated to meeting State, Federal, and local requirements such as Standards of Quality, employee benefits, special education, debt service, and the continued operation of the our buildings and buses"

The CCPS will will directly impacted by two areas; reduction in County Transfer offsets and the reduction of real estate taxs. This occurs at a time when the CCPS will see another increase in enrollment throughout the system. This was anticipated. Since the 2004 Bond Referendum, which was supported by 87% of voters, CCPS has added five schools and has set in motion funding parameters to renovate or build additions to 13 other schools in the system.

Is this current shortfall a direct realtionship with the current economic crisis our nation faces today? Maybe. But a closer look also points to some other issues that most people remain unaware of in terms of the budget itself. Now this is independent of any shortfall, but merely what was being proposed and later budgeted for the CCPS.

I find it rather disturbing that 40% of new revenues, those new revenues that the Board had expected to trickle in when it was reviewing the budget last year, was dedicated to providing salary increases to all employees as well as towards the benefit packages of those employees.

40%. For example out of the 48 million in new resources that was expected over 13 million was to go directly to salaries/compensation plan, 576,000 towards Temporary teacher pay rate increases, and an addtional 2.7 million toward healthcare benefits and 4.6 million toward overall benefits.

In quick study of the budget, and honestly I am no expert in this, but it seems to me that some 80% of the budget is directed or devoted to employee compensation and benefits of those working in and for the CCPS system.


One thing that has come out in the weeks following the first round of State funding cuts in Richmond has been that the CCPS has forgone its proposed 1% salary increase across the board for CCPS employees.

Such across the board increases have always alarmed this tax payer. These increases have little to do with "performance", which is always frustrating when we are talking about governmental employment. I am impressed that the current Board endeavors to eliminate all postions that are not directly related to the Standards of Quality. I do expect there to be a fight however should the Board have to eventually reduce those positions supported and backed by teacher associations.

May people like to think that there are no Unions in Virginia, but in reality there are many "associations" that fill the void of a "union" per say that are aligned with the NEA nationally and work solely on behalf of teachers and educators.

If you recall, during the election last Fall one such "association" was highly criticized for mandating a "BLUE DAY" in support of Barrack Obama through the Virginia Public School System.

When you listen to all the facts and take the time to review the budgets over the last few years it is very easy to draw some of the same conclusions that many drew with the UAW and the Big Three Automakers. So much of the issues that have faced those companies have to do with contracts for sure, but mainly in the area of wages and benefits. If you review whats facing CCPS there are certainly quite a few similarities. Reduction in revenues from the State and County could be equated to the Big Three's sales problems and how much revenues they are taking in versus their cost structure. The costs of benefits in both areas is staggering and if you include debt service you basically have a majority of the funding requirements.

We still have a few months to go before we get a handle on what the proposed cuts will look like in order to address the current environment, but an agruement has to be made that we need to overall our costs structures at some point in the future and address how it is that a majority of the costs associated with the budget are indirectly related to the education of our children.

That said.

There is a petition at to influence the General Assembly and its funding efforts for Public Schools.

It states that it seeks to "reduce or eliminate proposed reductions in State funding for schools".

While I certainly can support that, we must also be diligent in holding our local officials accountable to where they spend that money that comes in from the State.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Another New Paradigm: Change

I think after the long, long 2008 everyone is looking for a little bit of change in 2009. I think we all could do with a nice dose of order and confidence. We all should have the opportunity to reach some level of confidence in our government. Sure many of us on both sides have had some really heated disputes in the last few years, but "government" is just simply not supposed to what it has become.

We have been promised "change", but in reality we have heard that mantra before. Maybe not so branded and marketed in the fashion it has been in the last year, but we heard in 2000 with Bush and we certainly heard it in 2006 when the Democrats took control of Congress during that so-called "change" election.

But just what can we expect?

I was looking at things very optimistically until of course I just so happen to tune in to MSNBC the past few days. I have never in my life seen the media play so much or hard the expectations game. Its as if they are setting the ground game on that network for some future news storyline. I have never heard so many pundits and politicians use the same line, as in "common mistake" regarding a error the potential Secretary had made with his taxes, it was as if the storyline was written in some back office of the studio and transmitted via text through every blackberry it could reach. Seriously, like 100 people all had the same thing to say about this issue regarding the next Treasury Secretary. The same talking point.

But we have seen the Circus that is Washington come confirmation hearing-time in every new administration, but when MSNBC dives in to reinvent or revise history to form some political paradigm for the sole benefit of some future action or result it gets a little surreal frankly.

Today, Chris Mathews attempted to put the blame of 9/11 on Bush after his nine months in office by stating Bush was the sitting President and needed to be held accountable and did not keep America safe. I wonder just how many Americans actually believe this regarding 9/11?

And if so, will these same people now hold Obama to the same standard? Thats the real question when we talk about "change". Bush was held accoutable for everything that happened with every aspect of policy and those shaping policy. Case in point would have to be the treatment of terror suspects by those soldiers and interrogators. Bush was blamed along with Rumsfeld very heavily for that treatment and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used the pics that came out of that episode as attacks directly on Bush. Maybe its true that the man in charge is to blame for all that goes on whether he knows about it or not, but I am beginning to question whether Obama will be held to the same standard. Afterall, does it not poorly reflect on a leader when two people he has chosen to be part of the cabinet have ended up with egg on their face. First Richardson who in my view nothing really has been proven yet and than the Treasury Secretary to be and his obvious failure to pay taxes on his income.

Hey Chris Mathews, whats up? Were these folks not properly "vetted"? I mean you and MSNBC had a field day with the McCain camp about vetting. Just asking? Why is it not a reflection of Obama that his slections are facing such issues? Sure we are all human and no ones perfect, but does Obama face zero accountability for any of this? I assure you that if these had been Republican selections the storyline would be much different than "common mistakes".

Then of course we have today, MSNBC pinning 9/11 on Bush and dismissing any accountability for the policies that Bill Clinton had in place when he turned over the White House to George Bush. I could get around that view if those holding it were willing to apply the same to Obama in the next nine months. MSNBC completely ignores the dismantling of our services, both military and intelligence, during the Clinton administration. Flat out ignores it. In the view of Mathews, Bush should have apparently changed the policies in place and by not doing so is "accountable" for 9/11. But then since he did not change them Mr. Mathews, doesn't that prove that Bill Clinton's policies failed our country as well? Afterall, Clinton put them in place and your contention is Bush did not change them. If they were such effective policy why would Bush had to have changed them? He didn't. The result? Another attack on the World Trade Center.

Remind me again Mr. Mathews what was the size of the military in 1992 compared with 2000? How many division in the Army were reduced exactly? Remind me what policy did we have after the first attack on the World Trade Center, something Mathews has never held Clinton accountable since Feb. 1993. Zilch. Mathews rational is that Clinton had only been in office a few weeks while Bush was in for nine months and could have changed policy to protect the country. Again, change whose policy exactly?

How is it that MSNBC is making it very clear that nine months from now this will still be Bush's economy and that Obama must continue with the bailouts that began under Bush three months ago but share in none of the responsibility for doing so. If Obama continues them will he be held accountable if they fail to bring us out of recession or will they continue to place it all at Bush's feet? If at the end of the 3rd Quarter FY 2009 we are worse off will it fall on Obama or will Mathews dismiss it eventhough he would have applied a very different application to Bush?

So at what point does this become Obama's Washington? At what point does the "change" being delivered be attibuted to Obama? If the bailouts work, will Obama be given the parade in the media as being the orchestrator and if they fail will they simply just demonize Bush more? I wonder.

One thing is for sure for all the talk and rhetoric, what hasn't changed are the faces of those involved with all of this in Washington save Obama. The lobbying level has been raised and its the same folks at the circus pulling the strings behind the scenes to be sure. And to top it off, the insider elite media circles are pretty much the same as well, the difference being their guy is now center ring of the Circus.

Pay attention to how much they build up all the things that are bad in the world and with the economy and ask yourself if the media on behalf of the Obama administration is not playing the expectation game on behalf of Obama.

It reminds of the constant barrage of Iraq in the news in 2005, everything bad bad bad. And now its as if they don't even have an Iraq desk anymore. They would really like to cover the Gaza situation better if they could, but Isreal determined after learning how the US media so negatively impacted the perception of Iraq that they kept the media out of Gaza.

Well all except Joe the Plumber that is. (ha ha) You gotta think that just bites those media elites in the a** over at MSNBC.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Smoking Ban back Again

For the love. Do we once again have to waste our time focusing our attention on a smoking ban. Apparently so. It would seem to me that on the grand scheme of things this issue is one that frankly out to sit the next session out---thats right, lets focus our attention on real issues that need to be addressed. Like say the three billion dollar shortfall to the State budget.

Wait a second. Does the State need extra revenue generators? Is that the solution to our problems?

How about this?

If we do not want restaurants or bars (please lets not spend a month in Assembly debating the defintions) or simply want to limit those that do how about we pass legislation that requires a restaurant based on capacity to have a permit or license to allow smoking.

What you say?

Well, do we not require those serving alcohol to have an ABC license? is alcohol not every bit as a threat to public safety as smoking or even second hand smoke? What are the costs of alcholism to our health system or DUI's brought into our courts? An ABC permit can be on-premise, on-off premise as well as special event and we have been able to successful run that service for years. Why not do the same for smoking?

If a restaurant or bar seeks to permit smoking on its premise, let them do so by paying for that ability. Smokers will still have a place to go and smoke and watch a game or whatever and the public will know that that particular establishment is a smoke-zone establishment. If they do not want to expose themselves to the environment they do not have to. Its a choice, instead of having big brother deny all smoking everywhere outside ones home.

Do you folks realize just how much revenue that State generates from the ABC Board? Do you think that that revenue is the reason they have a hands off approach to alcohol, which arguebly can be more deadly and costly to society to those who are innocent, and instead concentrate so much of revisiting smoking bans.

Here a question. You have a cigarette tax right? What happens to that revenue generated for the State when the State tells smokers they can only smoke within the confines of their homes? Does it go down? What then happens to the funding that that tax revenue provided? In a word- shortfall.

That is what happens with government when they fail to think through all the dimensions of a proposal in my view. So we reduce smoking, I think most of us are all for that, but then if we lose that tax revenue will not the government have to increase taxes in other areas on folks who may NOT be smokers. Again, an unintended consequence.

So, let them smoke but make them pay for the right to provide an establishment that permits it just like the sale of alcohol. Think how much revenue we could generate on top of the alcohol permits. Think if every year a restaurant that wanted to allow smoking paid the State $500, one third the cost of an average ABC license---how much revenue would that bring I wonder?

And in the end, the public still has the right to be a patron or chose to go elsewhere where there is no-smoking. Could this not be a win-win for Virginia?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What is it with Democrat Governors Exactly?

With the recent news that Gov. Tim Kaine will now take the position at the DNC that he once said would not be an option, Virginians are faced with its own version of a lame duck Executive. This really isn't any more lame than would have been expected given this November Virginians will determine its new future as it elects a new Governor- and hopefully a new direction.

I say new direction only because it appears as though there has been a national trend as of late with regard to Democrats residing in Executive Mansions across the country. Here of course, Virginia faces potentially a 3 billion dollar shortfall to its annual budget suffered at the hands of two back to back Democrat Governors. Of course, there is zero accountability taken for such a shortfall and many leftyblogs are quick to blame House Republicans for the dire state of our budget. Not surprising given as of late Republicans are the target of blame for everything it seems, eventhough the State's top executives have been Democrats for the past seven years. Everything from taxes to transportation woes have been put at the feet of the GOP by Democrats seeking to remove any responsibility they share in the matter-and admittedly it was Democrats who reversed Gov. Kaines own abuser fee remedy that leftyblogs across the State were so enraged over as a means to address transportation funding.

But what is it about Democrat and Governorships lately. A look at the most of the States in dire straits right now seem to all, with the exception of Republican-lite run California, be run by Democrats. take a quick look at tax rates and unemployment rates to get a picture of Democrat ideology and policy at work:

State: Unemployment Tax rate Gas tax Sales Tax
Michigan 9.6% 4.5 36.2 6%
Illinois 7.3% 3%FedAGI 40.0 6.25%
Ohio 7.3% 6.55% 28.0 5.5
Oregon 8.1% 9% 25.0 -
North Carolina 7.9% 7.75 30.o 4.25
Rhode Island 9.3% -federal 31.0 7%
District 8.0% 8.5%
New Jersey 6.1% 8.97% 14.5 7%
Vermont 5.7% 9.5% 20.0 6.0
Maine 6.3 8.5 29.5 5.0

Why is it that States like Illinois have the highest levels of taxation on its citizens and yet its government operates at such an ineffective level? What are they doing with all the tax reveue they garner from citizens? It can be no coincidence that Democrats at the State level must be authorizing tremondous spending to require such levels of taxation on consumers and yet those States taxing heavily also seem to be prone to have higher Unemployment rates. Is this because tax policy is in effect anti-business as well?

Many here in Virginia always point to Gov. Warner, now our newly elected Senator, as being a great job creator, but in reality those jobs arrived in the Commonwealth as a direct result of lower taxes and lower costs of living relative to other States, especially the Northeast. Business could relocate here and still have access to the I-95 corridor to the Northeast. Warner is certainly not responsible for the tax rates that brought business to NOVA, but he is responsible for his actions to raise such taxes while in office.

So, do Democrat Governors not undersatand that the higher your tax rates, whether income, sales, gas or even cigarette the greater downward pressure these leaders place on creating wealth in their State and jump starting business growth and jobs. Why should any business right now relocate to Michigan, even though there is a pool of workers available with the highest unemployment in the country when the State is run in the manner in which it is and its public schools in Detriot are some of the worst in the nation?

The Republicans across the country had better get their act together in consort to inform the public just how much these Democrat leaders are hurting not only their State's vitality but also each citizens wallet. What has been the return brought these citizens by their tax dollars in these States?

If increasing taxes is always the answer for Democrats to meet their spending programs then Republicans must offer a fiscally conservative approach to governance and offer a drastic cut in spending measures and promote balanced budgets and be fiscally responsible. The National Republicans failed in this manner, but State Republicans can rebound and rebuild the Party brand by simply pointing to the little achievement earned by Democrat policy brought about by these Governors.

Many folks always appear very hesitant when you challenge a budget. Folks get really concerned that something they care about may show up on the chopping block and those things that they do not perceive as warranted they will simply will endorse being cut, but have any of us really ever looked deep inside the budget to begin with.

For example, if I were to have to make cuts....and that exactly what this government SHOULD be doing, we have to start with the billion pound gorilla in the room and take on the Education budget. No, I am not talking about going after Kaine's pre-k program beacuse I think in the grand scheme of things its warranted and justified, but the billions we are spending at the College level is adsurd. Having a public school system for elementary and secondary education comes with its tax dollar support requirements to be sure, but we pay those taxes and then pay roughly 13,000 per year to send our children to college and yet our Government continues to spend billions at these Universities.

For 2009/2010 (remember Virginia runs a two year budget):
VCU: 687 million
UVA: 850 million
VA Tech 784 million
JMU 324 million
Community College System: 680 million

These are but a few of the colleges tapping into the State budgets "Education" section over the next two years and this does not even really count the so-called Non-General Fund funding for these endeavors. So in essence folks your paying twice; first the tuition and room and board and then your tax dollars generated from taxes are used to fund these schools whose Tuition Rates continue to rise in direct correlation to the increases in State funding.

I would much ratehr prefer the State concentrate in elemenatry/secondary funding as the bulk of its Education funding but even Direct Aid is still way too high and blouted when compared to other States. I would recommend a line be drawn in the sand on salary increases and freeze any additional funding projects not already in the process at end of 2009. That means that the State should not fund new projects of construction; remember the State must also insure through Risk Management all of these facilities at State schools that it builds or expands at these schools. That again taps tax payer dollars.

Ask yourself. Does VCU need to get any bigger? We have seen tremondous growth under Dr. Trani in Richmond, but at this point does Virginia need to continue expanding at tax payer expense the University's continued expansion given it is already the largest commuter school in the State it seems. I understand that MCV Hospitals is part of the VCU Health System and needs to be addressed, but the funding for continued projects at the Academic campus during these times must be frozen as well as at UVA and other Universities. Afterall, does it do any good to fund programs so extensively that in the marketplace compete against one another? Is that not what these schools/colleges are doing? Do they not compete for enrollment. If a campus has greater capacity; should that not drive DOWN the costs of attendence given the availibility of greater access? The more and more the State funds Colleges/Universities growth the higher the costs have become across the board.

Both Education and Depart of Social Services have ballooned in the last ten years. This cannot be a coincidence that during the last seven years or so a Democrat has been our Executive. Thats not to say that Republicans do not care about these things, I just think that there are more political threads at work here than people want to admit. It smacks of simply rewarding those segments that contributed to a Party's success. Social Services, while certainly noble, has entered the billion range of funding and the more programs apparently require that much more "administration" requiring extensive government payrolls and benefit expenses.

In short, the size of Government continues to expand in size and scope with every increase in the State Budget.

Hard choices are on the horizon folks. Hard choices. Maybe just maybe come November, Virginians will realize that this experiment under Warner and Kaine has simply just been too costly to bear and a new future must materialize in 2010.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Reality of Culture

It never ceases to amaze me how our present at times simply is a mirror image of our past. As a history nut, I confess to love the old stuff and all the characters and their times, but for a country that continually professes its "progress" on the cultural front you can still find those old line allegiances and bias propping up.

No I am not talking about out right bigotry of anyhting like that, but what I am referencing is our continual bias against or indifference to the unknown or traditional state of affairs. Politics certainly has its share of bias of course and it perpuates the myth that someone only "certain schools" prepare leaders for leadership. You know the token few; the Yales, Harvards and Princetons of the world, but is it the education that prepares or is it the networks those institutions have created over the years that prepares or elevates its own.

I say this in large part because much of our founding tradition was based on the idea that a son was not bound to his fathers status. A man could and should make it on his own and determine his own worth. This is not to say that there still did not present itself the opportunity to create an American ruling class or elite; which apparentl;y is still alive and well today at least in the way in which those within perceive those that are not. An example of this was the outright onslought of attacks against the likes of a Sarah Palin for example who did not possess the "right" pedigree of schools or associations to be elevated to such a prominent position regardless of any particualr talent, skill or demonstrated success she may have had in that "what amounts to nothing State" as the media would say in Alaska. Even as a Republican, had she been a Governor from a Northeastern State like the attacks would have most likely been less directed. Remember the brunt of the attacks launch against Palin came upon her selection or within days of and long before any interviews. The objective was to portray her somehow less worthy, not on substance, but on lineage or education or frankly where she comes from.

Of course we see these bias like this everyday but hardly recognize it. It is so much easy to play the tired "bigotry in the South" card everytime we speak of such outright bias, but is there a difference between things like discrimination based on the color of skin and that based on some baseless elitelist metality that one part of nation is better than another or one set of schools are better than another and if you belong to this tradition than you are somehow better than someone who has not. Both are rooted in ignorance.

But we see this in even the most irrelevent of things on the world stage; the NCAA. Anything governed by man is bound to have its issues, but the NCAA and how it regards its colleges and the traditon of those schools along with the media (again the media) plays homage to the elitism that plagued our country. In fact, something as meaningless as rankings prove such bias. Its not about what occurs on the field, but about "who" it is on the field.

This "who" is aexactly what our founding fathers rebelled against. That somehow the success of one school or team is greater than another because frankly one school has had a long tradition of success and therefore deserves homage, whether they deserve it or not. Its more about the schools than the teams on the field.

Case in point. Utah goes 13-0 after defeating a storied program in Alabama in its bowl game and still will be given zero respect by the media. Mind you the Bama team they beat spent significant time at #1 in the nation and were forced through the bowl alignment to play a Utah. Lets face it, what storied program like a Bama, Texas, Florida ST., Ohio State, Florida, or a USC is willing to go on the road and play Utah or Boise State for that matter in the regular season? Lets face it, no AD wants that on the schedule jor any coach. And to me that speaks volumes.

As much as the NCAA required minorities and woman be granted the same opportunities over the years, should not the NCAA be requiring these storied programs play other non-tradtional schools on their regular season schedule? Or has the fact that Boise State beating OK, Utah beating AL and App State beating Michigan at Michigan last season scared off just a test for these programs?

I am a firm believer that what matters most is what happens on the field or in real life what matters most is performance regardless of who it is or where they come from or what the look like or what school they come from or whose son or daughter they may be.

What does it say about the medias dismissal of small schools or small conferences? Is not the media simply continuing the cycle year after year of keeping a the same schools atop the polls? In fact, if you listen to the media they constantly hope for one of these schools to get beaten so they will NOT have to give the school the respect it may deserve.

Now that Utah has fullfilled its obligation and faced Alabama and defeated them easily, should not the media and the insiders who shape the bias in the first place be forced to take the medicine they deserve?

The medicine very well may be a playoff system in the future if enough people come to the realization that the current system in place is about rewarding "storied" programs with the financial windfalls of bowl games and not rewarding teams or schools for performance.

There is a reason why basketball has potential "cinderellas". Thats because eventually if you keep winning the tournament forces teams to have to play you in order to become National Champion. In football, they just sit back and decide themselves who it should be playing for the right to be Champion, and of course that descision is not open to debate either regardless of how many yell the system is flawed.

These are the messages we send our young people even in the smallest of ways. Its does not really matter if your successful on the field or in classroom if its not at the "right" school or from the right conference.

Bias gets is foundations in any number of ways, but it certainly begins in things we normally are proned to not take to serious.

Football is football of course, but it may just speak larger about our culture than we would like to admit. It may just be a reflection of ourselves in the end.