Monday, August 31, 2009

Big Oil Bad. Big Soros Good.

When Big Oil donates to a candidate's campaign, that candidate is accused forever of being in the pocket of Big Oil, but when trial lawyers, the NEA, the UAW, Fannie Mae, or Hungarian born socialist benefactor George Soros supports a candidate or cause, it is with a benevolent purity not seen since God blessed the wandering Children of Israel with manna.

What Soros' legions conveniently forget to mention in a recently released ad slamming Thaddeus McCotter for his vote on cap and trade, is that cap and trade legislation would wreak further havoc upon the state and district that McCotter represents, and that the 1.7 million new jobs that would be created by the legislation are little more than gross speculation in the first place, hideously expensive per job ultimately created, ambiguous as to their long term benefit, and financed through punitive measures aimed squarely at energy consumers (that would be you and me to those paying attention.)

Big utility (apparently not so bad as big oil) would be granted the large majority of credits under the legislation, while electric and petroleum consumers would be allowed to enjoy the true meaning of "necessarily skyrocket" as it relates to energy pricing.

Thaddeus McCotter is supposedly a ripe target for Democrats in the upcoming general election who apparently cannot get enough of a good thing. If metro voters defeat one of the few conservative voices left in Southeast Michigan they will be further embracing the disastrous socialist policies that helped to send Detroit, Michigan and the United States into a full economic collapse in the first place.

George Soros thinks Michigan is worth his investment. Will Michigan voters?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August in Michigan


Also, don't forget to cover the tomatoes.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Take That, Glitches!

This has been a woeful two weeks of semi-blogging.

I've been pestered by undependable computer equipment, a vehicle with bad brakes, ortho appointments, cold weather, the thought of a fantasy football draft for which I am entirely unprepared, and a puppy that wants to chew on my socks whenever I sit down.

I will be off the computer for the remainder of the week because I am tired of fighting with it (and because of that little draft thing.)

In my absence you can mosey on over to Right Michigan where Theblogprof has posted another in his important series on life issues. I'd suggest you read all four articles.

As I alluded to above, this happens to be football season. Check out Overlawyered where Ken would like to point out that Michael Vick already got the job!

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the passing of Ted Kennedy who, despite any personal opinion you might have of the guy, was one of the most influential Senators of the last generation. Several years ago Jeff Goldstein penned an interview that could have conceivably taken place if the two had had an opportunity to sit down over a few quiet cocktails.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Freedom and Bummers

You will find me squarely in both the anti-smoking and the anti-anti-smoking legislation crowd. (I'm also anti-turnip but I'm not pursuing any laws against them.) You see, I don't smoke and don't much like smoking, but then again, I have disliked anal-retentive hall monitors since long before any of my coolest friends started lighting up.

I take my own initiative and avoid smoking quite successfully. There is no smoking in my car, my house, or in my office, and when I venture into a smoking restaurant or into a smoker friend's house, I do so without dictating my demands to everyone already inside. (Humility obviously being one of my more impressive perfections.) I also believe that when it comes to private businesses and buildings, it is the owners of these establishments that should dictate which lawful activities take place inside, much like I do in my own home.

In my book this is called freedom. A lot of sullen bureaucrats would call this a bummer.

But this isn't really a post about smoking per se. It is instead about a novel tactical change being made by Michigan Rep. Gary McDowell in his enlightened crusade against evil bar owners while protecting a sub-class of citizens he feels is too challenged to get up and move a couple of bar stools farther away from a Lotto playing chain smoker.

Rep. McDowell has become discouraged that the Michigan legislature has been unsuccessful in passing a state-wide smoking ban in bars and restaurants, and in a maneuver of almost dizzying misdirection, he has decided in this one specific instance that he wants to kick the authority for passing laws back to the local level.

Now, I don't agree with his motivation for pursuing the measure because he is simply trying to control smaller areas of behavior until he is able to control the whole ball of wax.

Really, I get it.

However, his chosen tactic did get me wondering. Could I imagine a world in which distant bureaucrats voluntarily kept their noses out of things in which they had no business and allowed the locals to manage their own lives? If it is a worthy idea as it relates to smoking, why is it not a good idea for anything else?

For most of us at least, if our representative considers doing something that we don't agree with we are forced to make phone calls to a switchboard or send letters to a post office box. Things are different at the local level where politicians are not able to dodge the debate by hunkering down in a distant office and surrounding themselves with smooth tongued staffers and bused in union protesters. Honestly, I wouldn't even recognize my representative's ugly mug if it served me deep fried chicken on the way to a cholesterol screening, but my local township supervisor is another thing. If that guy starts trying to run my life he can expect to find the rebel in me parked in my gas guzzler at the end of his driveway, dragging on a cigarette, and playing music way louder than is recommended by government authorities.

McDowell's motives aside, I sincerely hope that this starts a trend where Lansing nannies disencumber themselves from all the areas in our daily lives where they have stuck their unwelcome noses.

Could we see a day when Rogers City locals are allowed to choose whether or not a power plant is built in their area?

Could the time arrive when the local school district is allowed to hire the teachers and administrators that it wants to hire without interference from legislators influenced by the teachers unions? Could it potentially boot out into the streets the disruptive students that want to keep everyone else from learning?

Could local governments keep funds local rather than having so much of it travel to Lansing and Washington to be divvied up and redistributed according to the latest push button issue traveling like a wildfire through the house and senate chambers?

Might a struggling family with the need of a new home be allowed to build one without having to adhere to mounds upon mounds of ever more restrictive state mandated building and energy codes?

And might we live in a world where field agents of the garage sale police are retrained and transferred into the government agency that makes sure that no serial offender is tearing off Do Not Remove Labels in the pillow section down at Kohl's? (Don't you cynics ever accuse me of being soft on crime!)

I'm not holding my breath at any of this and apparently neither are the legislative powers that be. McDowell's bill was taken off Wednesday's agenda.

Currently Michigan law allows only the state legislature to ban smoking in dining establishments, and so far, despite many attempts at passing legislation to accomplish this, it has failed in the effort.

As I have said, I do not believe that Rep. McDowell pursues the overturning of this law for the purpose of ceding power on philosophical reasons, he does this only to pursue a specific end. He knows full well that local control of smoking laws could easily be returned to the state when passable legislation is produced, and you can bet that a part of that very legislation would include a provision that returned this glorious power back to its rightful owner.

So, I guess this really is nothing more than a dream and I need to wake up before the flying monkeys arrive. Big brother is not going to relinquish any of its real power regardless of any sly little maneuver being carried out by one of its own.

What was I thinking? People dumb enough to breathe in all that second hand smoke should not be thinking for themselves in the first place. Really, why should they even have to when we already have a glut of overlords quivering at the thought of being able to make more and more of our choices for us in ever expanding areas of our lives?

A lot of bureaucrats would call this freedom. It's what I call a bummer.

cross posted at Right Michigan

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

9/10 Mentality

Power Line has a series of three posts up that document the 9/10 mentality that is sweeping the country.

Read them all.

A good time to be a jihadist
A good time to be a jihadist, Part two
A good time to be a jihadist, Part three

Then weep.

Health Care Rights

Health care is being promoted by progressives as a right. Clearly, as rights are recognized in our US Constitution, health care is not a right and cannot be a right.

The founding Fathers of our great country recognized rights as being endowed upon man directly by the creator. The Constitution did not give us rights, The Constitution recognized rights that already existed. As such, the citizens were divinely blessed with these rights and the citizenry did not, and by definition, could not, depend upon a benevolent government or social system to deliver them. These rights were simply not the governments to give or to take away. They transcended government.

Suddenly, with the onset of the universal health care debate, leftists are allowing the whole discussion of rights to take on a new meaning, one that falls outside the definitions as we have always understood them, and one that bodes ill for future rights in America.

Health care is very expensive, and it is very expensive for a reason. Certainly government regulations shoulder a great portion of the blame for this as they have systematically crushed competition between insurance carriers, made it hugely expensive to bring new medical products to market, have allowed the system to bloat on tort abuse, and have created a system so gargantuan that even monumental fraud is almost undetectable. But, we have to recognize too that more than just health care costs have risen--the quality of health care has also risen.

A majority of the advances in health care have taken place in this country. It is the American dollar that paid for most of these advances, and these dollars were paid by the American payers of tax and premium.

There are, according to Barack Obama, approximately 47 million people who are uninsured in this country. Mr. Obama wants to insure all of these people (in other words, force them to enjoy the right of health care coverage) while promising to keep costs from rising on the overall system. While these numbers have been disproved as a lie by others, there is a subset of this so-called 47 million that is key to the implementation of a plan, however disastrous the plan will prove to be. That key group of people are those that can afford to buy insurance but who, for financial reasons, opt to stay out of the system. They are typically healthy and reasonably employed.

The aim of our enlightened bureaucrats is to force these millions of intentionally uninsured healthy folks into the paying pot so that their premiums can help to cover the vast and growing number of aging old farts such as myself who are less healthy. In order to enjoy their "right" of health care, they would be forced to relinquish property rights such as the ownership of their own money and the fruits of their labor, not to mention the simple freedoms of living their own life as they see fit without some buttinski nanny dictating how to spend the allowance.

Progressives are notorious for creating rights of their own imagination while attacking the rights The Creator bestowed upon us. If, for example, progressives believed in the right of keeping and bearing arms to the same degree they believe that health care is a right, they would force everyone that does not own a gun to ante up the purchase price for a government provided sidearm. Don't hold your breath.

Progressives want to control the machinations of our society through their discriminate picking and choosing of rights that they want the citizens to have. What they are emotionally attached to they promote as a right and what they emotionally oppose they wish to limit or eliminate. They wish to act as the givers of rights and the filters of rights and, in effect, wish to become the Creator that our Founding Fathers recognized.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Granholm Buys Her Own Ticket

The caption under this picture today in the Detroit Free Press made me laugh.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm makes her way to today's news conference and to wait to board an Amtrak train in Dearborn with a ticket that she bought. (REGINA H. BOONE/Detroit Free Press)
Why do you suppose the paper found it so important to announce that the good Gov bought her own ticket? Seriously, she is the one riding the train...shouldn't she buy the ticket?

I applaud the governor for doing the right thing and paying her own way, and I applaud the Detroit Free Press for preemptively disarming any controversy before it ever began. Kowtowing for a favored politician takes a lot of effort.

Another Union Payoff

The UAW's undying support for democrat candidates is paying big dividends. The latest example is a deeply buried $10 billion (yep, with a B) provision within the health care reform bill that is earmarked specifically to offset up to 80% of certain high-cost claims filed by union retirees between the ages of 55 and 64.

Is it any wonder why the SEIU has taken the time and effort to bus in pro-Obamacare protesters to town hall meetings and political rallies?

Billions and billions of dollars in new taxes are being contemplated by our government so that highly active pro-democrat constituencies can be rewarded for their monolithic socialist tendencies.

This is not the health care reform that we need.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Scotland Deserves Our Contempt

Two hundred and seventy murders landed terrorist killer Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi a minimum 27 year sentence in a Scottish prison. When the wheels of justice finally caught up with Megrahi after ten years on the run, it meted out punishment amounting to 36.5 days per person that he slammed into the ground near Lockerbie during that tragic Christmas season of 1988.

Thirty six days does not sound like a lot of time behind bars for murdering a single young American, but Megrahi, apparently due to his spectacularly efficient success at killing, qualified for the Scottish volume discount.

As it turns out though, in retrospect at least, the Scots believe that 36.5 days is still way too much time behind bars for a guy who happens to have developed in his bowels the same terminal affliction he became to those 270 victims.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill believes that the terminally ill Megrahi is worthy of the compassion he denied his victims and he has been released, after less than a dozen days per murder, to a celebrating throng of Libyans happy to receive their hero under the waving flags of Libya and their new second favorite country, Scotland. And, who wouldda thunk it, just in time for Ramadan!

Scotland deserves our contempt.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Computer Trouble

My ability to post to the internet is pretty tenuous right now.

My impressive network of two eight year old machines is giving me fits by dumping memory, crashing, and rebooting of its own accord. It seems to do this right after I've made unsaved changes to something I'm working on. (Maybe I need to break down and call a guy to shoo that mouse out of the tower.)

As you all know, I try my absolute hardest to provide both my readers mediocre content on a somewhat regular basis. Should my posting's frequency or quality slide over the next day or two you will know why. If they inexplicably improve the computer genius/exterminator guy has shamelessly stolen my identity.

Mom's Getting Wealthy on What Could Be A Mammal

I painted some beautiful horses when I was a kid. All that it took to get me started on what I was certain would become a highly successful painting career was a few bucks and the discerning purchase of a paint-by-number kit.

Many a long hour was spent as I began to slowly fill in the canvases' sections with exotic colors mysteriously referred to as number 3, 7, or 9. As patches of the canvas were one by one filled in with splashes of color, a spectacular stallion's image appeared. (I also remember doing one with a Mommy and Baby horse. Unfortunately by the time I had finished it looked more like a T-Rex being nuzzled by a goat.)

Those same paint by number kits are oddly similar to the way things work in politics. Political strategists are students of demographics, trends, and human nature, and they have a very good grasp on how certain target constituencies will respond to particular messages. This is why they are paid a lot of money by political bodies while food banks' shelves remain almost empty--they know exactly how to break down the hugely complex issues facing society today into small easy steps. They know, in effect, what color to paint certain patches.

Last week I talked about one of these more obvious strategies used by politicians; where sympathetic victims are used as poster children to justify the hoisting of taxes.

Yesterday I happened upon Michigan Rep. Kate Segal's (D-Battle Creek) website where I found, in one glorious paragraph, not only that strategy being employed but also two others; the "we owe it to the employees" strategy, and the "taxpayer dissociation" strategy.

Without this vital funding, not only will at-risk kids from across Michigan lose their last best chance to graduate from high school, but more than 50 employees of the MYCA will lose their jobs. If the academy closes its doors, supporting these unemployed workers will cost the state approximately $2 million – more than the cost of the state funding being cut.
Emphasis mine.

When one slogs through the "little Suzy will suffer" portion, it is easy to find the "we owe it to the employees" section. What the strategists have discovered is that the loss of jobs provides countless additional victims to be exploited for the benefit of maintaining or growing the size of government, regardless of any detriment to the taxpayer. We see this used every time when military base closings are considered, where government contracts are canceled for antiquated products, or in any other situation where the loss of government funding will affect those employed with the funds. This strategy can very easily ignore the primary benevolent or practical purpose of the program itself and adopt employment as the goal.

We find these employees being used as pawns in heavy handed plots against taxpayers. "Hand over the money or the prison guard gets it," and let's face it, we have all been made aware of those people in Standish (and those within the ranks of the state police) who either already got it or are fixin' to get it. Meanwhile, as most of you are aware, we now have a brand new multi-million dollar state police building down in Lansing that provided a lot of jobs while it was being constructed. That $1 a year rental price tag for the old building was just too much to justify.

After hurdling the first two strategies of the paragraph you will run squarely into the dissociation strategy. When this strategy is successfully used the taxpayer is inexplicably made unaware or unconcerned that he or she pays taxes to multiple taxing authorities and is willing to see one side of the wallet played against the other. The state shamelessly promotes the federal funding as being free while the feds use these "free" funds as leverage so that the states and the locals will cough up their portions. The taxpayers, of course, provide every cent of the money, or at least they will once China is paid off.

Ms. Segal's proud paragraph is a political propagandist's equivalent to a Churchill Down's trifecta; three beautiful horses having finished the race in the exact order predicted by those clambering to the payoff window. And, as we all know, nothing surpasses the power and beauty of a horse as it thunders toward the finish though my childhood forays into the arts were close.

That paint by number kit was a wonderful addition to my childhood. In the end, of course, it didn't add significantly to world culture, but what it did do was help me to visually understand that I could break down a larger process into small easy steps--a process not lost on political strategists. If I followed the formula I had a good chance at accomplishing my goal--in this case an image that would have looked, if not for the smudges and green flecks in the tail, something similar to the one on the box. (More than half of my friends knew almost immediately it was at least some sort of mammal.)

Sadly, at some point during my adolescent years, Mom must have either hauled the crap I painted to the landfill or had the paintings sold at auction for a couple million bucks. In any case, my artwork is now long gone and Mom seems to be living a bit above her obviously pedestrian means.

cross posted at Right Michigan

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Idiots on Both Sides

I am amazed sometimes at the stupidity of people. They come in all shapes and sizes, from all ethnic groups, and are represented among all political ideologies.

This sort of ticks me off.

After months and months of mischaracterizing conservatives as being a bunch of militia goons and gun-clinging hicks, some Einstein has come up with the bright idea of toting guns to Obama speaking engagements.

Hey, I have a better idea. Why don't you dolts go play guns inside a propane tank and stop making me attack your idiocy? I have better things to do.

h/t Power Line

Michigan News Summary on August 18

Mark Schauer is no chicken. As comparisons to generic farm animals go he would have to be considered one of the braver ones. Perhaps he is the red-hating alpha bull. Or, maybe he is that very confident and well-bearded tom turkey that spent much of its time strutting his stuff in testosterone charged circles just out of my reach during my recent visit to Oklahoma City.

No, Mark Schauer is unafraid. One could say he epitomizes American masculinity and bravery. And unscaredness. Did I mention Mark Schauer is unafraid?

U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer held five face-to-face town hall meetings on health care with constituents in July.

Schauer, D-Battle Creek, insists there is no connection -- none -- between the raucous crowds greeting some of his colleagues in August and his decision to switch to telephone town halls for the rest of the summer (along with one-on-ones with constituents).

But that hasn't stopped some citizens in his mid-Michigan district and around the country where telephone town halls are proliferating from asking: "Why not do the real thing? What're you afraid of?"
Hey, I don't blame the guy for not wanting to crash headlong into a sea of angry constituents. However, this appears to me as a way for Schauer (and others) to easily advocate for a progressive government controlled health care plan without having to listen to a contrary viewpoint.

Yelling is the natural outcome of politicians systematically ignoring the wishes of constituents. Well, sometimes I guess it results in crates of tea being thrown into Boston Harbor. The point is that the more our brave politicians retreat from their first job of listening to the people the more demonstrative the people will become.

Luckily we have more than one Michigander who is unafraid of tackling the mean issues of our day.

Yesterday Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm made quite a splash when she submitted an entry over at the Huffington Post. Now, as some of you are aware, I am not a huge fan of the governor and have taken a number of shots at her for being the poster child of the clinically obtuse. I thought, to be fair and balanced, I would reprint some of the comments that others, more supportive others, made about our dear leader after her entry.

From the Huffington Post:
Gov Granholm has done an excellent job for Michigan - not her fault that the big three took down the economy and kudos for the best job training program in the country.
Thanks for the great job you're doing in helping to turn our state around, Gov. Granholm. It's going to take time -- and lots of it -- to turn it around all the way, but you're getting us a good running start.
Gov. Granholm has been inspiring. What she inherited was a nightmare, compounded by the auto-centric economy that has been headed downward for years. Blame the Republicans? Sure. It was their folly, mismanagement, and blindness that carried the state into the abyss. At least now there is well-grounded hope. I much prefer someone who is substantive, hopeful, and efficient - to someone who is Pretty in Pink.
And in the comments of an article at M-Live that reported the posting:
Most who post here are pure partisan buffoons.

They NEVER mention the domestic auto industry when they are critiquing the governor’s performance over the past 6 years. And they NEVER offer up any specific things the governor did or did not do to hurt the economy of this state during that time. I often challenge them to give specifics and nobody ever offers up much more than the bipartisan tax increase of 2007.

I'm guessing many of these Granholm bashers are men who NEVER got any attention from the pretty girls. And they see an attractive Ivy League educated successful woman (who has achieved way more than any of them could fathom) who doesn't represent their party and it's just more than they can take.
Ok , you idiots , which governor is doing a good job with this depression on us ??? Lets all put all of our retirement money in the stock market , aka your great leader Busssh suggested . Where would we be if that fool idea would have passed . You idiots probsbly wanted it . And as far as welfare you beter hope that we don't stop paying people that or they will be climbing in your back window SOON !
Hey, I'm just trying to be fair.

From our hugely popular governor I will jump to the hugely popular (and successful) city of Detroit where bad winds could be blowing at Robert Bobb.

When a projected $259 million dollar debt is considered a great improvement the average casual observer might pick up on a slight hint that things may be just a wee bit out of adjustment. As a public school educated person who proudly graduated in the top 90% of my class, even I picked up on it.

However, it appears that the reassuring and familiar comfort of miserable failure is more appealing to the Detroit school board than actually, you know, educating kids.

In a move that has to appear stunning to anyone unfamiliar with the DPS, the Detroit school board has sued Robert Bobb for overstepping the authority granted to him by the Governor to clean up that hell hole. Those who are more familiar with the situation might not be so surprised because the DPS did not reach the absolute apogee of failure without a lot of well rehearsed practice.

And finally, researchers at Michigan State University feel they might be closing in on a discovery that wise men of the ages thought was impossible--figuring out what to do with the lowly rutabaga.

The researchers believe that rutabagas, since they aren't nearly as popular a food source as corn or soybeans, could present a huge biomass without the inconvenient complication of starving millions of third world children. One has to wonder though about any unintended consequences that could result should millions of acres of farmland be diverted from corn and soybean crops into flowering fields of high paying rutabaga. As always, I'm certain a free market completely unencumbered by bureaucrats and lobbyists will be allowed to sort it all out.

Sadly, many a childhood Christmas has been nearly ruined by the cooking odor of that pungent root permeating an otherwise peaceful and hopeful Yuletide home. For all these years I thought rutabagas were grown to be thrown directly into the garbage.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Oh, So That's What It Is

What are we feeling in Michigan these days?

It isn't the pain of a 15.whatever percent unemployment rate, or the fact that the parent company of the factory down the street just declared bankruptcy. It isn't the vacant homes, the moving vans headed out of state, or a monumental state deficit. It isn't Detroit crumbling under the weight its own mismanagement or its smoke stained empty buildings. It isn't the punitive tax rates or the businesses and jobs fleeing for right-to-work states.

It isn't the maneuverings of politicians groveling for Gitmo terrorists or just another generic report of a politician being caught in a scandal.

No, it is simply the electricity in the air!

And here I thought what I was feeling was either garden variety malaise or gas.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

NPR Has the Answers

Mr. Kai Wright, senior writier for, unchallenged by the banal and thoroughly predictable NPR host Guy Raz, has exposed the true motivations behind the health care debate.

Mr. KAI WRIGHT (Senior Writer, The Root): We're seeing the manifestations of an anxiety amongst poor and working class white folks about what is my place in a vastly changing culture and a vastly changing economy. Those are real and meaningful anxieties, and we're seeing a group of folks trying to exploit those anxieties.

The fear of Barack Obama not being a citizen, to these notions that people would have to stand in front of a death panel and defend their right to live. We've seen a handful of folks, both in corporate media and the Republican Party try to elevate those ideas in effort to exploit those anxieties.

RAZ: It's almost impossible to sort of do an empirical study on, you know, on who is going to the meetings, who is expressing anger. How can you be sure that most or many of the demonstrators are poor or working class?

Mr. WRIGHT: Well, you can't. What we do know, and there has been some reporting on this on where the ideas are coming from. And they do seem to be coming from the militia movement. When you trace some of who the leaders are, particularly amongst the Birthers, they're folks who have a history in the militia movement.
So there you have it. NPR's conspiracy among conspiracy theorists trumps the garden variety conspiracy theories of the birthers (oddly unmentioned is the fact that this movement was the brainchild of the Hillary Clinton campaign,) Timothy McVeigh types, and the rest of us poor and uneducated white folks driven into a frenzy by the evil puppeteers at Fox News and inside the GOP.

Where else could you possibly get that kind of hard hitting analysis?

Pop a Dramamine and head on over to NPR for the whole thing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Few Scrambled Thoughts on the Health Care Debate

I have a few thoughts on the debate process that we find ourselves in concerning health care.

First of all, I think initially we needed a lot less salesmanship from the government for a plan that admittedly members of Congress could not possibly have read, and think it is dumb to expect them to. To vote on something that has not been read is stupid especially when staffers have the occasional habit of tossing something into a bill that has not been fully considered.

Secondly, I think that our elected officials need to field all questions from people that are concerned about health care. Too many town hall meetings and press conferences were being staged for the purpose of ramrodding legislation down the throats of silenced constituents. Screened questions from hand chosen questioners were being used as tools to help advance the vision of socialist health care that is being demanded by the president. When you turn your back on the valid concerns of honest people you can expect to create upset honest people.

Thirdly, when people become upset because they are being ignored, it is patently stupid to vilify and mischaracterize those who are upset. This is exactly what people like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and John Dingell are doing. Anyone that disagrees with these measures are now "evil mongers" if you listen to Harry Reid. Evil? Come on Harry, a person not following your lead does not make that person evil, it just makes him a bit distrustful of a sniveling hatchet man that has proven his loyalty to constituents can be easily compromised by campaign payoffs and land deals that benefit his cherubs.

Now those that have legitimate worries about rationed care, government intrusion into private lives and end of life decisions, reductions in new medicines and equipment, the advance of socialism, etc., are being called unAmerican, evil mongers, and Nazis. Ya, that ought to bring them around.

Not all Americans that are scared of the Obama vision of health care reform are against health care reform. I would like to see many changes made to the system. That makes me pro-reform not anti-reform. Obama and company seem to have decided that reform can only mean what their vision of reform is. I ain't no linguist but I ain't no idiot neither. I refuse to be told that I am something that I am not.

I would like to see tort reform that would allow for doctors to practice less defensive medicine and would allow skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates to fall. While that would not in and of itself reduce rates to an affordable level for most of us, it would be a good 10% start. I would like to see medicines and equipment come to market with less than a multibillion dollar price tag--astronomical pricing that is necessitated by crippling regulation. These government mandated cost structures are the biggest systemic impediments we have to increased competition in the pharmaceutical field today. Everyone hates big pharma, but there can be no other kind under current regulations.

I would love to see the taxpayers not be responsible for all of the health care needs of people who illegally infiltrate our borders. This adds billions and billions of dollars to our annual health care costs, and the only way for this money to be accounted for is through increased costs to those that can and will pay higher bills.

Is there waste in the current system? You can be certain. I would venture that most of this waste is being caused by our government's presence within the health care industry and not by any absence. That is why I find it more than a little troubling that the solution being suggested by our overlords for this waste is that the government should become even more involved in our health care system.

Fox in the hen house and all that.

For my part, I wish that town hall meetings could be what they are designed to be. I want them to neither be a staged propaganda event nor a cage match. I would prefer more listening and less talking, more calm and less noise. In the absence of both, however, I prefer the noise. At least this way both sides understand exactly what the other side is thinking.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Things Can Always Get Worse Because They Already Are

The news was not good when it came out of Lansing back in April.

Oh, we knew we were broke, we just didn't realize how broke we actually were. In fact at that moment in time we had already stumbled head first into a $1.3 billion budget pit. It seems the state's unemployed had stopped paying taxes, the state's relocated citizens were buying their appliances within other borders, and the Michiganders still blessed with jobs were tight-fistedly hanging on to whatever money they had scratched together so that they could plop down their savings on state mandated rising energy prices.

That sobering shortfall was covered through over $300 million in budget cuts combined with the reapplication of $1 billion of the federal stimulus money that was generously tossed our way because (as everyone knows) Washington DC does not have a budget problem. The rest of the stimulus money was set aside to be spent buying everyone in the house chamber an exquisite sugar sprinkled pastry to be served by Daniel Mulhern's indispensable personal staff.

After the Governor plugged that gaping budget hole the state's financial experts then started making dire revenue projections for the remainder of the fiscal year. They wrinkled brows and gritted vanity-whitened teeth. "Hmmm," they said, "even the national economy is in recession these days."

They scratched shadowed chins with well-manicured nails. "Ah," they reflected, "the auto industry is in total free fall."

They chewed pencils and tapped long, tanned fingers on oaken conference tables cluttered with stained coffee cups and prescribed smoking cessation gum wrappers. "Rats, our governor is an idiot."

Then, after all the reflections and musings had been compiled, they quite somberly announced that their newly arrived at projections were their butt-ugliest ever in a state where butt-ugly projections are more common than in Helen Thomas' posh Capitol Hill powder room. A dejected Mulhern staff would simply have to keep itself busy accomplishing other important government tasks because there was a big ixnay on the astrypay. Alas, not even a box of lousy doughnut holes.

Wait, it gets worse.

As it turns out even that most pessimistic of projections was too rosy when faced up against an even uglier reality. July's actual revenues are $50 million short of the expert predictions made for that month only ninety days ago. When July's totals are added to the dismal shortfalls in May and June we now find our fair state another cool $170 million short in revenues to balance this year's budget. This is on top of the $1.3 billion addressed earlier in the budget year.

Is there any solution?

Granholm and legislative leaders are meeting weekly behind closed doors to try to resolve next year's budget with a combination of program cuts, tax or fee increases, tax loophole closings and federal stimulus money.

The governor has said the shortfall in this year's budget will be patched with the dwindling pot of federal recovery cash. That means less of the stimulus money will be available to help balance next year's budget.

"When the governor signed the executive order in May, she noted that we intended to fill any shortfall with recovery dollars," said Megan Brown, spokeswoman for Granholm. "We're trying to minimize that with ongoing spending restraints."
We all know what this means for next year's budget.

Razor thin cuts will be suggested to state agencies except those that can be identified as dangerous to the public or affecting the most innocent of victims. We can expect to hear rumors of vast cuts to occur in law enforcement, education, and in programs primarily aimed at helping children and the elderly. These proposed brutal and unpopular cuts can then be used to justify higher fees and taxes and the infamous tax loophole closings. Something along the lines of "If janitorial services are not taxed little Johnny won't get his meal before school!" or "Little Suzy will not be able to attend preschool if dirty smokers don't cough up another buck or so on smokes," or "Hey, you are getting new neighbors, but don't worry, they have already served some of their sentence and I'm sure these California inmates will not bring along any west-coast gang influences. By the way, aren't you glad we decided not to tax soft drinks?"

Oh, and that federal stimulus money will be pretty much gone having done nothing to actually stimulate our economy but having instead made it easier for lawmakers to kick the budget can another year down the fiscal road.

So, there you have it in a nutshell. Things are bad, but they could always get worse. I anxiously await August's report.

cross posted at Right Michigan

Lockerbie Bomber to go Free

Because the murderer of 270 should have the right to celebrate Ramadan with his family before he dies of cancer. Good grief, most of them were just infidels anyway.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

At Least We Are Not California!

Michigan has been taking it on the chin for several years and there have been few reasons to puff out our chests lately. If you want bad press we have it.

What major city in the country has had a longer run of embarrassing corruption than Detroit? What state has suffered more from the recent economic downturn? What state are more people fleeing than any other state in this great country? I don't care who you are or where you are from, our state can top yours for ineptitude and suffering.

Don't like your unemployment rate Elkhart? Ha! I give you Baraga and Oscoda Counties!

Don't like the shape of your school systems Arkansas and Mississippi? Ha! I give you Detroit where not too long ago only one quarter of enrolled students ever graduated!

Don't like your shuttered factories Tennessee? Ha! Again, I give you the Motor City, but also can throw in Pontiac, Saginaw and Flint!

You think your budget is in bad shape California? Ha! I give you... I give you...
Hmmm. Maybe we don't have it quite as bad as California.

California, thank you, thank you, thank you! Finally, the People's Republic of Michigan has another state it can openly taunt for fiscal ineptitude.

First, I'm sure that everyone is aware of those wonderful little IOUs that California has decided will suffice, at least in the near term, in the place of hard currency as it attempts to kick its financial obligation can farther down the road. Well, it seems that the powers that be in California, even though they are willing to issue the IOUs to businesses to whom they owe money, will not accept the same IOUs back to pay off the sales taxes it levees against the companies for sales it has yet to pay for.

Here is how it works. A business does work or provides a product to the state of California. California cannot pay for the service or product but instead issues an IOU. The state charges the company for sales tax on a sale it has not paid for, and instead demands cash in return. I think the Sopranos would be proud.

Now there is this little fiasco brewing as myriad lawyers are being retained by business clients to sue the state of California for reducing program dollars that were promised to them in the budget process. Oh, and they are winning too, with suits over the past few months adding more than a billion dollars to the state's already mind boggling deficit.

So, hats off to California. You suck worse than we do.

h/ts to QandO and Protein Wisdom

Monday, August 10, 2009

Two Sets of Rules for Taxpayer Dollars

It was a hissy fit for the ages. How dare those automaker executives, in an attempt to secure billions of dollars from struggling taxpayers in a massive corporate bailout, have the nerve to travel to Washington DC. in private jets to address Congress?

Were they blind to the economy crumbling around them? Were they deaf to the cries of the taxpayers? Couldn't they smell the dank aroma of countless abandoned houses vacated by people uprooted by the tragic economy? That corporate bigwigs would shamefully travel from Detroit to DC in private jets while the taxpayers suffered was more than could be tolerated.

Congress was angry!

There was finger pointing, threatening, shouting and the gnashing of well worn teeth. Thankfully, the angry theater proved enough to get the attention of the dunderheads from Michigan because, when the benevolent overlords demanded the executives travel back to DC a second time, the executives proudly motored back to our gleaming capitol city in vehicles blessed by the overlords, each highway mile brightened by the immediate budding of flowers that needed nothing more than the gentle waft of a green car's wake to open.

It appears that while the grand theater did have an impact on the automobile executives, the grand theater thespians were doing little more than reading an interesting script having absorbed none of the message on their own.

WASHINGTON -- Congress plans to spend $550 million to buy eight jets, a substantial upgrade to the fleet used by federal officials at a time when lawmakers have criticized the use of corporate jets by companies receiving taxpayer funds.

The purchases will help accommodate growing travel demand by congressional officials. The planes augment a fleet of about two dozen passenger jets maintained by the Air Force for lawmakers, administration officials and military chiefs to fly on government trips in the U.S. and abroad.
Congress might very well recognize that when taxpayer money goes to corporations those corporations should insist in making certain the taxpayers' money is not wasted. Why elected officials hold themselves to different standards when it comes to those same dollars is a mystery.

Perhaps there is some hope after all.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

I Want Me Some Cheap Health Care

After I read the news (h/t Power Line) that the citizens in the workers' paradise of Cuba might start using leaves and grass to clean their backsides because the government is running out of toilet paper, I had to wonder if socialism is really where we should place our trust when it comes to something as important as our health care.

If the expertise and resources to keep toilet paper on the shelves is not available in socialist Cuba, how could we ever expect the socialist system to provide adequate health care services, equipment, and personnel?

Then I read about this situation in the UK. From the Daily Mail:

An NHS call centre is employing 16-year-olds to assess suspected cases of swine flu.

They earn up to £16.40 an hour reading out a prepared script of questions.

It is their responsibility to hand out powerful anti-viral drugs such as Tamiflu - known to have violent side-effects.

The revelation comes amid concerns that problems with the phone hotline are leading to incorrect diagnoses.

At least eight pupils from the same school are among 15 youngsters employed at the pandemic hotline call centre in Watford.

Many have been working late into the night, in contravention of employment law guidelines for under-18s.

A source said last night: 'Some of the kids are just so young I would be surprised if they could even spell the word pandemic.'
The source added: 'Not only is the Department of Health employing young kids awaiting their GCSE results - they also hire people who simply cannot make themselves understood to the public.

'Many have accents which are difficult to understand and some have difficulty in reading from the prepared script.'
Thankfully, when the proper authorities were notified that the hotlines were being operated by children, they swooped in to take care of the situation.
Last night, the Department said: 'As soon as it was brought to the call centre's attention that a small number of call workers under 18 had worked past ten o clock, they took immediate action.

'The call centre is now using a workforce management application to ensure that no one under 18 works past 10pm.
Hey, you might still get some indiscernible 16-year-old with three hours training recommend you pop a couple Tamiflu to make his record look good, but at least you won't be receiving the bad advice from a teenager who is overworked.

Problem solved.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Until We Learn to Grow Bananas

One of the favorite techniques of banana republics is to intimidate the citizenry into accepting the government's bidding. We see it all the time in countries forever behind in their abilities to do even a mediocre job of taking care of their citizens and contributing wealth to the world economy.

We have seen relatively wealthy nations like Venezuela, Cuba, and Zimbabwe become global laughing stocks over their economic collapses, and we have seen other countries like Myanmar, Haiti, and Ethiopia continue on their courses toward perpetual human misery. These countries, and many dozens of like governed dictatorial countries have one vital thing in common--centralized planning orchestrated by a cabal of idealists wielding the power of an all-knowing, benevolent government.

Every one of these countries has thousands of silenced victims. They are in jail, dead, in hiding, or cowered into silence and poverty by government thugs or sympathizers.

When leftists protested Republican governance during the Bush years it was called patriotic. These protests were met with an occasional arrest for disruption. Now that the right is protesting the left's vision of universal health care the rules of engagement have changed. The administration itself has turned up the heat on naysayers by calling on citizens to spy on citizens, while Democrat operatives have called out union thugs to control dissent at propaganda town hall style meetings.

Several years ago a friend of mine traveled to Ukraine on business. One thing that he noticed during his time there was the way that so many people in that country avoided making eye contact with him as he walked down the streets of Kiev. According to his hosts this phenomenon was just the lingering effect of a brutal and paranoid government unafraid to make political opponents disappear. These people didn't want to make eye contact because the eye contact might accidentally be with the wrong person.

Dissent was not tolerated and it showed, sometimes for years afterward.

I do not believe that this is the type of change that will be good for the country and I do not think that silencing debate leads to the best solutions.

Obama and the unions can bite me.

clip h/t to Power Line

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Making Anything Become Anything


Who are you to judge?

h/t to Cranmer

Play Ball! (but hurry)

I remember looking at a childhood friend of mine in about the 3rd grade.

He sat on a wooden bench just behind the softball field screen at the township park where we played growing up. There were two fields at the park. There was a big field that served as the home of an adult fast-pitch league. We kids played on a small uneven grassy field where, if you really tore into one, you might land a homer in the cow pasture. At that age we could only dream of such a hit.

My friend sat there, choking back tears, one leg crossed over the other. A large lump protruded from his shin where growing bone had proven too weak to withstand the slide of a runner heading into second. He should not have been standing on the first base side of second to catch the ball before applying the tag. He knew this but in the heat of competition he was one step out of place.

Kids are sometimes just kids and sometimes they make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes hurt.

We probably all cried a little that day (though most of us probably wiped away any tears with our gloves before being seen.) By the next practice though, or the next game, those tears were dry and we were back in the batter's box hoping to crush one deep into the pasture. My friend was there too as soon as possible, unable to really participate again until the walking cast was removed.

Those were the days before the first response to all things injurious was a lawsuit, but those days may well be long gone.

At least for the time being the children of Staten Island still have adults willing to coach kids in sports and still have facility operators willing to provide a venue for children to grow up learning how to take part in America's pass time.

So, play ball! Just make sure you do it quickly; before coaches and parks decide it simply is not worth the liability.

Choking, Propping, Hammering, and Crippling Michigan to Success!

Last year the Michigan legislature passed a radical energy package that was designed to, among other things, force the two major electricity producers in this state to provide their customers with electricity that is at least ten percent generated through clean or renewable energy sources by 2015.

I say force because it was a very tough sell.

DTE and Consumer's Energy, as a result of their selfless generosity, were granted virtual monopolies in the areas they serve and as an added bonus, this time to consumers, the law allowed these benevolent utility behemoths to pass along rate increases to cover the costs of the more expensive alternate electricity. And you thought selling Michael Moore a Deep Fried Pastry of the Month Club membership was easy.

The reasoning behind this government intrusion into the business-consumer relationship was two fold. First, supportive bureaucrats felt the passage of such a bill would help Michigan in its quest to become a state at the forefront of the alternate energy industry, you know, much like raising our cigarette taxes to ridiculous heights has turned us into a major tobacco producer. Secondly, environmental advocates believe that the passage of the bill will help to shrink the state's carbon footprint thereby saving both the polar bears and Nancy Pelosi's salt marsh harvest mouse while (hopefully) not harming our own state's cherry and tomato crops.

The fact that competition between utility companies in the state had provided Michigan consumers with reduced electricity prices over the last few years was of little consequence to legislators in desperate need of playing puppeteer with our pocketbooks. In fact, cheaper electricity promotes electricity usage and that is unacceptable to the disciples of those blessed to jet around the world to UN conferences studying the harms of America's appetite for flat screen televisions.

Thankfully, in the aftermath of this legislation we are being allowed to catch our breath. At least now that the bill has passed, as woeful as it is, we can relax a while before another consortium of nitwits congregates to stick it to the rest of us again on energy.


DETROIT – A coalition of Detroit legislators, business leaders and clean energy advocates today announced a plan to catapult Michigan forward in alternative energy and make the state a magnet for clean, renewable energy jobs. The plan builds on legislation passed last year and further positions Michigan to meet growing demand for clean energy workers by offering powerful incentives for renewable energy development and manufacturing, energy efficiency and alternative energy production.

"We have to show alternative energy job providers that Michigan is serious about doing business in this rapidly growing industry," State Representative Fred Durhal Jr. (D-Detroit) said. "This plan will help make Michigan a leader in alternative energy and get our residents back on the job."

The legislation will position Michigan as a leader in producing alternative energy, as well as manufacturing energy-efficient products and components for renewable energy systems. The plan will:

  • Create powerful incentives for alternative energy companies to come to Michigan by requiring that 30 percent of our electricity come from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy by 2025. This plan builds on legislation passed last year requiring that 10 percent of Michigan's electricity come from clean, renewable sources by 2015.
  • Require utilities to work with their customers to decrease electricity usage so utilities sell 2 percent less energy each year.
  • Revise building codes to increase energy efficiency.
  • Encourage residents and businesses to become alternative energy entrepreneurs by allowing them to sell excess energy they create via renewable sources like solar panels or wind turbines.
I thought this was what the last bill was for!

Why don't we just get it all out of the way right now and demand 50% in the year 2025? Better yet, lets bump that up to 55% and the year 2020. These numbers are little more than a number-out-of-a-hat guess and the combination of 30 and 2025 had a nice ring to it. I suppose I should be thrilled they didn't suggest 32 percent by 2018.

The collection of interventionists we have in Lansing these days rivals that of any other time in our history. They are discontent to let individuals live in peace and prosper or to let businesses do what they do best, operate in a chosen market profitably while producing jobs.

No, they have a better idea. By choking the state of cheap energy, propping up an artificial industry with taxpayer dollars, hammering away at the state's residents with higher energy costs, and crippling the construction industry they know they can get this thing solved.

What could possibly go wrong with that?

cross posted at Right Michigan

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Where are the Clunker Numbers?

It is an interesting question. All we know for sure is that the numbers have not yet been released despite assurances by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that he "can't think of any reason why we wouldn't do it."

It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that the numbers are not as glowing as the government would like us to believe and that the numbers need to be concealed until after another $2 billion is pumped into the program. I think a more likely explanation is that the government has no idea yet what the numbers are despite the fact they firmly believe the program is a major success.

When all is said and done I believe the domestic auto sales bump from the initial $1 billion given to the program will amount to approximately 10,000-15,000 units. (The rest of the units are manufactured by foreign owned companies or are of vehicles that would have sold even without the incentives.)

Unfortunately we will never know which numbers are real and which are fiction until the DOT gives us the statistics. Until then we can just speculate.

Two of a Different Kind

Hardened political commentary:


Sucker Punch

Sen. Dick Durbin has a warning for his colleagues in Congress out and about pressing for an Obama-style takeover of the health care system.

"I hope my colleagues won't fall for a sucker punch like this. These health insurance companies and people like them are trying to load these town hall meetings for visual impact on television."
So, any ordinary individual that might attend one of these meetings has become a lobbyist for the insurance industry. There could not possibly be another motivation.

No, the only people who could be against this sort of government intervention into our private lives are de facto representatives of evil corporations who live to profit off the ill-health of true, patriotic Americans.

We need to get the narrative straight. Individual citizens that take the time to show up to town hall style meetings are merely insurance company dupes trying to load meetings for visual impact, but paid ACORN representatives showing up to protest against the flavor of the month outrage is always being done out of selflessness.

Who is the sucker here?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Lou Dobbs Must Be Stopped!

One slovenly news organization wonders aloud at the employment of a narrative bucking personality at another.

CNN, the network founded by a dictator loving Marxist, the operator of what amounted to a news bureau for Iraq's Saddam Hussein, and a network so pro-Obama that its election coverage running up to the 2008 presidential election showed a 3-1 favorable slant toward the Democrats versus the Republicans (this including all the negatives pieces directed at Hillary Clinton and John Edwards,) employs one right leaning moderator and the Associated Press goes off in a tizzy.

It appears as if Lou Dobbs, all by himself, is ruining the crystal clear reputation of CNN for bias-free reporting and analysis.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Granholm Declares "Cash for Clunkers" a Success

Never mind that the program is not officially over yet. Never mind that the government itself does not even know how many deals have been written to this point. Never mind that the government has not one iota of evidence that even a majority of the cars being sold are manufactured by stimulus receiving GM or Chrysler, or that a single car or any part in any of these cars was even manufactured in Michigan. Never mind that we do not know how many of these 250,000 vehicles being sold under the initial installment of the program are vehicles that would have sold as part of July's normal sales figures and, as a result, the American taxpayers may be needlessly dumping $4,000 average into hundreds of thousands of units that needed no sales' motivation. (J.D. Powers' automotive analyst Gary Dilts estimates approximately 210,000 of the 250,000.)

No, the only evidence that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has that the program is successful is that the government rifled through its initial allotment of money in about 1/10th the time it had predicted it would.

Never has such a hugely errant prediction become the measurement by which such huge success has been determined. The governor believes that the program has saved and created more jobs than any other portion of Obama's stimulus package while the program is being credited by Michigan Rep. Candice Miller as having gotten us "our mojo back."

Oh, and all that money that we gave to Chrysler and GM to keep them do you like the idea that taxpayer money in the form of some of these buyer incentives is going to pay off this debt to the taxpayers? That isn't even robbing Peter to pay Paul, that is robbing Paul to pay Paul.

One thing that is certain is that the taxpayers are $1,000,000,000.00 more in debt with that amount climbing as each old clunker exits the highway and a Toyota takes its place.

No wonder we feel so darn good.

Religion of Peace at Work in Pakistan

A child, four women, and a man died fiery deaths in the restive Pakistan province of Punjab after rumors of a desecrated Koran spread through the Muslim community.

The BBC reports:

The four women, a man and a child died as Muslim militants set fire to Christian houses in the town of Gojra, officials said.

TV footage showed burning houses and streets strewn with debris as people fired at each other from rooftops.

Officials said the rumours which led to the unrest were false.
Nothing says peace more effectively than a violent mob burning six Christians to death based on the irreproachable solidity of rumors.