I’ve been a Notre Dame fan my whole life. With such a rich history of college football greatness, the past several decades have been a major disappointment for all loyal Irish fans. We’ve suffered through the failed promises of Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis. Don’t even mention the days-long tenure of George O’Leary.
Now we’re finally going to the national championship game after beating arch rival USC in Los Angeles. It’s a bitter sweet feeling. I was born in the year the last time they won a national championship in 1988. I’ve never seen them win a title with my own eyes. This year could be it. To celebrate, I thought that I would share this little graphic that I made:
Posted on: February 15th, 2010 by Kyle. |
The Mayor of South Bend, Indiana today announced that the city would apply for federal grants that would make it possible for a streetcar system to link downtown with the University of Notre Dame, residential and commercial areas of the city. As the South Bend Tribune reports:
Transpo, the local bus service, is seeking federal grants to develop a fixed-rail streetcar route that would connect the two tech parks and link the university with downtown, he said.
The project would use state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient gas/electric hybrid streetcars, a growing trend in some larger U.S. cities. Technological advances in the hybrid cars would negate the need for unsightly overhead electrical wires, he said.
“As we start to see companies migrate from Innovation Park to Ignition Park, it would make it easier to connect the two,” Luecke said afterward. “People could live in Eddy Street Commons, work at Ignition Park and not have to have a car.”
This project would be similar to what other cities have tried, particularly on the West Coast, to provide affordable, clean public transportation options that link central business districts to technology parks and universities. Portland, Oregon is a good example of a modern streetcar system. If the city can win federal support for the project, it could come with minimal start-up costs for the city of South Bend. While some local residents may not find this to be all that appealing, trying to attract new high income residents means that we need to upgrade our public transportation system.
Mayor Luecke also announced in his State of the City address that South Bend would compete for Google’s plan to provide ultra high speed Internet to a trial city. Using fiber optic cables, which South Bend already has developed for businesses and universities, Google would provide Internet speeds of up to 1GB per second at “competitive prices.” South Bend plans on submitting its application by the March 26 deadline.
The Today Show recently aired a piece in which they named the top 10 U.S. cities based on home value. Factoring into their list were things such as cost of living, rising home prices and job growth. My hometown of South Bend, Indiana came in at #1 on the list. Not too shabby, I would say.
Real-estate contributor Barbara Corcoran ranked South Bend first among the “Top 10 Cities for Bargain Homes.” She noted that the median “price is just $89,000, and prices have been rising steadily for almost a full year now.”
There’s certainly a lot of potential growth in the South Bend area. Taking advantage of the University of Notre Dame, the city has opened a high-tech research park known as Innovation Park. Right now the city is focused on being a leader in nanotechnology. Last year Notre Dame was awarded the Midwest Academy of Nanoelectronics and Architectures, which will partner with other research universities to advance the technology. Other developments in South Bend include the newly opened Eddy Street Commons, which combines retail, shopping and dining into one multi-use district.
Here is the full Today Show list:
1. South Bend, Ind.
2. Akron, Ohio
3. Topeka, Kan.
4. New Haven, Conn.
5. Tucson, Ariz.
7. Portland, Maine
9. Kingston, N.Y.
10. Trenton, N.J.
Yesterday, President Obama paid his seventh visit to the South Bend area (his third as president) in a speech in Wakarusa, Indiana in Elkhart County. Elkhart County, which is just east of South Bend, is nationally known for its incredibly high unemployment of nearly 17 percent. It actually peaked earlier this year and has come down some 2 percentage points.
Part of the president’s visit was to tout the success of the stimulus package his administration passed earlier this year. It’s clear with the GDP falling only 1 percent last quarter that the economy is on the rebound after diving 5.4 percent in the October-December quarter of 2008 and 6.4 percent between January and March 2009. The Bush recession is leading to an Obama stimulus-driven recovery.
Another part of his visit was to announce grants as part of his stimulus package that will both reduce dependency on foreign oil, as well as put people back to work. The president announced $405 million dollars in grants into research and production of electric vehicle batteries for Indiana. $39 million of that will be for Navistar, a company based in Wakarusa. The money will be used to make “400 advanced battery electric trucks with a range of 100 miles,” the president said.
Six other companies in Indiana were awarded grants making Indiana the second largest recipient of money from the federal government. Investments will also be made in Indiana University, Purdue University, Notre Dame and Ivy Tech to train workers. As a state that has historically played a large role in the development of automobiles, it is great to see a president that supports domestic vehicle production. Not just any vehicles, either. Clean, green and energy efficient vehicles taking advantage of American ingenuity. Built right here in America.
Below is President Obama’s speech announcing the grants to Indiana:
NBC’s Chuck Todd also got a chance for a short interview at the Navistar plant:
Last week the state of Indiana was facing a budget deadline that threatened to shut down the state government. In a last hour attempt to pass a “bi-partisan” (i.e. Republican-friendly) two year budget, changes were made that would allow for minimal increases in education funding. Minimal being the key word: 1.1 percent for the first year and 0.3 percent for the second year.
Certainly we can all agree that a 0.3 percent increase in funding is not enough to keep pace with inflation. For the past two years education funding has been increasing at an annual rate of 4 percent. Worse yet, however, is the formula they use to determine how much a school district receives. Instead of having a minimum guarantee, districts that lose population will lose money and districts that gain population will gain money.
It is estimated that Indianapolis Public Schools, the state’s largest district, will lose 2.8 percent of its budget in the first year and another 4.3 percent in the budget’s second year. Other major urban centers face similar realities, such as Gary, which will see a decrease of 3.6 percent and 4 percent over the next two years. Even rural districts that face population decline are going to hurt under this budget. Likely the only districts to benefit will be those in the Indianapolis suburbs where growth is the highest.
In other words, the places that need the money the most will be getting less and less, while well-to-do districts in the suburbs will be getting more. Typical of a Republican budget. You wouldn’t even need to lose students under this formula to lose money. If another district gains and you just stay even, they’re going to get an increase in their share while you will not. I don’t want to see this state look like California, but damn, you have to set your priorities straight. Republicans don’t understand that.
South Bend Mayor Stephen Luecke today signed an executive order that prohibits “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in any city employment.” The South Bend Common Council failed to act on the issue of employment discrimination in the city of South Bend in 2006 when a proposal lost by a single vote. Discrimination is already prohibited based on race and gender.
Today’s executive order means that the city will investigate claims of hiring discrimination, as well as claims brought by city employees “who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” the order reads. The order does not affect hiring practices outside of city government. That would require action from the Common Council.
It has been recognized that diversity in the workplace is a benefit for everyone. Discrimination is an ill that virtually everyone deplores. Yet it is still a reality, as is housing discrimination, for all too many people that identify themselves as gay. It is time for the South Bend Common Council to recognize the history of racial and gender discrimination, the fact that it benefits no one, and that to exclude gays from this ordinance is inconsistent with the spirit of the law.
President Obama delivered the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame today in my hometown of South Bend, Indiana. It is an honor to have President Obama back in South Bend as President of the United States. Just about this time last year he was visiting the city campaigning for the Indiana primary. Now he has the difficult task of running our nation’s government.
The President was greeted by both well wishers and protesters. As the right wing Republican machine has done so frequently throughout his short term as the leader of our nation, they opposed his very presence. Their argument is clear: if you do not hold their position then you are not welcome. Essentially if their policy were adopted by the University then a “Democrats need not apply” sign might as well be posted on the Golden Dome.
Thankfully cooler heads prevailed in the matter. Father Jenkins was a gracious host and stood up to the pressure that Catholic leaders from Bishops to activists have put on him for the past month. While it is unfortunate that anti-abortion outsiders decided that this venue was appropriate, the graduation ceremony went on without a hitch (at least mostly – there were a few brief interruptions).
Let it be known to all of you from around the country looking at this media spectacle: the students and faculty of Notre Dame, as well as a majority of Catholics across the country, stand behind the decision to invite President Obama. The small minority that did protest, only a few dozen people, were mostly from out of state. They really had no business even being in South Bend.
I am perfectly fine if the students want to protest. It’s their graduation, afterall. But to have people like Alan Keyes, whom President Obama defeated in the Illinois Senate race in 2004, is pretty disgraceful. Unlike President Bush, who was invited in 2001 and was responsible for overseeing more inmates being put to death than any other governor in history (which is against Church teaching), President Obama has no direct connection to any abortions.
The president has no control over abortion laws and he never will. To vote on an issue like this for which the person seeking office has no legislative authority is mind boggling to me. Then to turn around and hold it against him when he speaks at a university is even more so. Notre Dame is a university. It is not a theological school, it does not require its students to be Catholic or practice Catholic teachings. Perhaps these activists would like to see Notre Dame institute an admissions policy where all new students would be required to convert to Christianity and hold Catholic beliefs. At any rate, these are absurd objections.
Barack Obama came to South Bend on April 9, 2008 for a campaign rally at Washington High School. Obama was greeted with an endorsement from South Bend Mayor Stephen Luecke, as well as Congressman Tim Roemer. Obama’s visit was the first stop in a 3 day bus tour of Indiana ahead of the state’s May 6 primary.
The Forbe’s blog Trailwatch made note of Barack Obama’s South Bend visit:
Washington High School in South Bend, Ind., brags about its state championship girls basketball team. A banner across the gym reads “Pride of the West Side.” Wednesday night a boisterous crowd filled the Washington High gym, but they were there for politics, not basketball. It was the kickoff rally for Sen. Barack Obama’s three-day Indiana bus tour that ends on Saturday at Ball State University in Muncie.
A local minister led a prayer and then the crowd joined in the Pledge of Allegiance. John McCormick of The Chicago Tribune, who has been covering the Obama campaign since it started more than a year ago, told me that those were relatively new additions to the standard Obama rally, becoming common after the public criticism of Obama’s pastor.
A few hours earlier, John had joined our table at Trio, a popular South Bend restaurant. I was with Anand Ramanujan, the chief technical officer of Real Clear Politics, and Don Wycliff, a former Tribune writer who now teaches journalism at Notre Dame.
A group of Obama supporters gathered in a Trio back room, including former Rep. Tim Roemer of South Bend, an early Obama backer, and Mayor Stephen Luecke of South Bend, who had been neutral in the presidential primary until Wednesday.
At the gym, Roemer warmed up the crowd and introduced Luecke, who won more cheers and applause when he took to the small stage in the middle of the floor and went public with his endorsement.
The Senator’s arrival brought forth even louder roars of approval. One section erupted with cheers when Obama asked if there were any Notre Dame students in the crowd. Obama joked about the late hour and said that when he was in college, “sometimes I’d wake up about this time.”