The UAW's never ending war upon its employers is erupting again in another battle near Detroit where UAW local members recently voted on a tentative agreement. The agreement included compensation concessions and the promise of an infusion of new work at the Sterling Heights axle plant that would add up to 100 jobs. The UAW local voted overwhelmingly against the agreement.
Ford Motor is the only member of the domestic Big 3 that did not accept taxpayer money in the federal bailout. Since that time Ford has been forced to continue to operate with labor agreements that put it at a disadvantage with the other two companies who emerged from bankruptcy with deals more competitive with foreign owned manufacturers.
Ford, who feels it must cut costs to compete, is now considering moving the promised new work under the agreement to a southern non-union shop in North Carolina. Along with that move, Ford is considering moving additional work to other plants as well.
Here is a current events newsflash for belligerent UAW members.
Those yellow vans hitting the state line every day are filled with furniture, clothes, and children's bikes, and they represent the lifeblood and future of this state. If you are too stupid to notice that having a job for less money is better than having no job at all, perhaps you are too obtuse to hold down a job to begin with. Maybe Jennifer Granholm can spend a few grand to retrain you in either the hospitality or custodial industries, and then we will see just how you like making concessions.
You may bitch and moan about how horribly you have been treated by your employers, but the fact is that you make a lot more money than the average person in this state, have a far superior benefits package, and retire with a pension far better than most of the rest of us could ever hope to attain. From my vantage point that does not look like horrible treatment.
So, go ahead and vote your conscience and see what happens. I for one hope you change your mind and accept the contract in a proposed re-vote do over. But, if you don't, I would like to see Ford move as much work as possible away from your plant. Michigan is better off with a healthy domestic automobile industry, even if a majority of that industry is located out of state, than it is to be dependent on a critical patient that barely survives on taxpayer funded life support.
We'll see just how tough, proud, and smart you look standing in line outside the Michigan Works! office.
Friday, October 30, 2009
The UAW's never ending war upon its employers is erupting again in another battle near Detroit where UAW local members recently voted on a tentative agreement. The agreement included compensation concessions and the promise of an infusion of new work at the Sterling Heights axle plant that would add up to 100 jobs. The UAW local voted overwhelmingly against the agreement.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
A couple of years ago, MDOT worked out a sweet arrangement with the feds over the installation of a couple of changeable message signs it ultimately placed along the I-75 corridor just south of Grayling, one facing each direction.
If the state kicked in $220,000 of Michigan taxpayer money, Uncle Sam was willing to ante up the other half of taxpayer money to get those signs sending the important messages that motorists need to see.
The message signs are a part of a national network of "Amber Alert" signs to be used to flash quick messages to motorists as they traveled. Why the signs were placed on a section of freeway that gets only a fraction of the travel that other sites do is not clear to me because I'm too lazy to look it up.
I have looked at these signs every time I have traveled that road since they were installed. Today's southbound message was
PLEASE DO NOT VEER
TO MISS A DEER.
There are always great ideas on which bureaucrats can burn other people's money; money that was removed from an efficient and productive private sector to be spent by poet dreamers who have been chained to a government desk most of their life. There will never be an end to these dreams despite the nation's stiffening possession laws.
I try to make a point of looking at the signs whenever I travel down that stretch of highway. Buckle up. Watch for deer. Do not exceed posted limits. Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line.
The feds and state have spent hundreds of billions of dollars over the years on road projects and on support for the arts. Maybe one of these times the two behemoth bureaucracies can can get their heads together and ponder a message sign campaign that would actually encourage motorists to look at the signs instead of blowing by them habitually because they have rarely, if ever, carried a memorable message.
I'm holding out for haiku.
Posted By Roug at 7:41 PM
cross posted at Right Michigan
It is pretty easy to figure out the purpose behind the cosmetic lather that Sen. Gretchen Whitmer is raising as she pits the big salaries of legislators against the educational survival of defenseless little school children. All interesting fights need a villain, and in this fight Whitmer has determined that the legislators are the villains, especially the villainous Republican kind. If mean Republicans do not pass taxes to fill the school aid gap, the children will suffer!
In recent years, as we all know, education funding levels have been uncertain as they overwhelmingly rely on now steadily declining tax receipts. With Michigan’s economy contracting faster than an eight chinned Jerrold Nadler, the shell game of the state lottery does not even come close to filling in the gap, and pennies from Washington rarely match the mandates heaped on districts.
So, what is the relative earning status of the people whom Whitmer is ultimately (though inadvertently) pitting against one another?
According to the American Legislative Change Council, in school year 2006-07, Michigan ranked 4th among the states in teacher salaries (h/t to the Mackinac Center) and according to the Empire Center of New York, Michigan’s legislators in 2007 received the second highest salary in all the land behind only those of the rapidly collapsing California. The 2nd highest paid in the nation versus the 4th highest paid in the nation, both pretty high rankings when you consider there are 57 states in Obama's America.
I am making light because I know that few teachers ever get rich solely on their salaries, and rich legislators become so either before taking office or after selling their souls as lobbyists after leaving office. Yet, it is hard to feel very sorry for either of these two sides when both have managed to live much better than their national peers for no better reason than Michigan’s taxpayers have been an easy target for a very long time.
Perhaps we can all remember a time in the not too distant past when Michigan could take enough money, however misguidedly, from its citizens and could then afford to provide premium salaries and benefits to both its teachers and legislators.
Not any more.
When Michigan’s economy continued to chug along and the house of cards stood firm, there was at least enough money in the kitty to keep the system afloat. It was, however, in a fragile state. Enter the financial collapse, the auto collapse, runaway energy prices, and the whole system was destined to fall apart quicker than a Larry King marriage commitment.
The truth of the matter is, Michigan taxpayers can no longer afford to pay premium salaries and provide lavish benefit packages to any of their employees, regardless of which budget line their salaries might fall under. This means that the comely Gretchen Whitmer gets her fight card filled in only half right and, in Gretchen’s defense, that ain’t half bad for her.
Gretchen’s fawn eyed pleadings assume several items not in evidence. First of all, it assumes that educators cannot provide a quality education to children at less money per student than it is currently spending. If state after state after state spend less money on teachers and still succeed, why must Michigan pay top dollar when it is both flat broke and when student scores do not bear out any real bang for that extra buck? She assumes also that cuts can only weaken education and not be used to ferret out continued waste at all levels by forcing a new look at priorities.
This might sound like an attack job on teachers and I want to assure you that it is not. I love teachers and I wish that effective teachers could be paid even more money for they provide a great benefit to society. (I also wish we could run lousy teachers out on a rail along with disruptive students, but those sentiments will never wash in Lansing even if they would save lots of money.) Right now more money for teachers is simply not in the cards.
Further, Whitmer wants to tie legislators’ salaries to funding for schools but does not consider making the same attachment to funding for firefighters, police, the DNR, DEQ, MDOT, or any other of the alphabet soup bureaucracies down in Lansing. How else can one interpret this line of reasoning other than it being an encouragement for legislators to collect a full paycheck by simply gutting other areas of the budget and lavishing education with a full arsenal of cash? Political ploys, even ones arrived at hastily, should have a little more brain matter invested in them. Perhaps Gretchen just needs a bit more sleep.
While I am not so certain that Gretchen Whitmer worked long and hard concocting the legislators vs. children strategy, how much time would it really take over the course of a full budget year for lawmakers like Whitmer to at least address some of the issues that really could have a positive impact on school financing, something that her theatrics does not do?
How hard would it be to address some of the recent mandates that have been made on districts that have had a negative impact on school finances but have had little measurable return? How much trouble would it be to consider returning some control to the local school districts? How tough would it be to address some of the burdens placed on districts by lawmakers for no other reason than to please the MEA?
Let us sit back for a moment and think. Does it do more substantive good to pit the salaries of legislators against the needs of sad eyed children who cannot spell, or would it do substantially more good to get serious about cutting back the layers of waste and duplication that take place in Lansing today so that there might be a little extra money to support the schools with?
We know Gretchen Whitmer's answer to that question, though it was intended to be rhetorical.
Posted By Roug at 7:00 AM
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
How does the old saying go?
"You can count on Detroit to be there whenever it needs us." Or something like that.
The latest Detroiter to stick out her panhandling cup is city council member Joann Watson who said in a candidate's forum that the federal government should offer the city of Detroit a one time $1 billion bailout. She reiterated her request later in an interview with Darrell Dawsey of Time who asked her, essentially, if she was serious.
"If the federal government can get a loan from China, if the state of Michigan can get $2 billion in federal stimulus money, why isn't it obvious for the city of Detroit? Why not establish us as an important precedent? They've bailed out Wall Street. They've bailed out General Motors. When are they going to bail out the workers? And Detroit's problems are a direct result of the economic meltdown and the crisis in the auto industry. Michigan's problems are.That is some mouth full.
"And don't tell me we don't deserve it. Of course we do. The city of Detroit has been a leader in industry, in labor. We built the vehicles in World War II. Our unions have helped lead the nation to more humane work conditions, whether it be in terms of sick pay or the five-day work week. We have led the nation, and we've been dependent on an industry that's been hit hard. So if the federal government sees fit to bail out GM -- and I'm not mad about that because I went to Washington to help ask for bailouts for the car companies -- then the government needs to bailout the city that depends so much on GM. You cannot allow this to continue to happen to one of your largest cities."
The city of Detroit lived high on the hog for many years. Its industry did help to shape Michigan and America, but it did not do this for free as Watson seems to forget. Detroit was lavished with great wealth, a wealth that served to attract workers from all over the country as they sought out jobs that paid much more than they could get elsewhere.
The city of Detroit grew wealthy on the car companies and consequently, its white and blue collar workers. It taxes and taxed and taxed and, with the help of regulators and taxers in Lansing, it helped to slow and stunt the growth on an industry that was its primary benefactor. After helping put the golden goose on life support, Watson is hoping to be blessed with the eggs of a different goose.
Watson goes on to point out that Detroit is the bees knees.
"This is a Midwest megalopolis. We've got waterways. We've got land. We sit on an international border. We have everything it takes for this city to be great.Ever wonder why Detroit, with all these logistical advantages, still has to scrape by like a poverty stricken crone? It is because the problems of Detroit are with the management of Detroit; a management that Watson takes pride in being a part of.
Detroit should not get one more dime of money from the feds on top of the millions upon millions that were essentially slathered upon the city's industries already. Continued mismanagement of the city would only be encouraged by throwing more money at Motown.
Lets see what efforts Detroit will undertake to clean up its own hygiene before someone else steps in and buys it a series of expensive spa treatments.
Posted By Roug at 12:38 PM
Hey, maybe we all need to relax just a bit here in Michigan. We are sweating the details of running a paltry $2 billion in debt. We are cutting back on police, prisons, and the education of future generations of carbon emitters. We have closed parks, libraries, and campsites, have reduced hours at many government offices, given people unpaid days off, and even suggested that maybe blowing a wad of cash on Hollywood so that the Governor can rub elbows with Roman Polanski apologists.
We are only dipping our toe in the water of debt, just look at Ontario, where Granholm-like green interventionists have a job to do!
h/t Small Dead Animals
Posted By Roug at 12:14 PM
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monica Conyers will face a judge on December 1st for her sentencing in the Synagro sludge bribery scandal.
Few Michigan politicians have provided the entertainment value of Ms. Conyers over the past few years. Her hair trigger temper and combative personality have led to altercations from the Motor to the Mile High City, and her willingness to say whatever is on her mind, however disadvantaged that mind might be, has made her a barrel of laughs.
The shtick loses its guffaw value once it crosses over the line into outright criminal activity, and as an admitted seeker of bribes for political favor, Ms. Conyers represents the worst sort of threat to a voting republic.
The maximum sentence is five years and it is a sentence deserved. We will always have corruption, and we will always have people willing to play the game, but the citizens of a city mired in decades of untold abuses should be shown that they cannot be gamed without the abuser paying a price. Civic pride must start somewhere and perhaps it can commence with the statement that "we will be taken advantage of no more."
Detroit deserves better and because of that, Monica deserves the max.
Posted By Roug at 12:39 PM
Lord Stern has a plan.
First, force people to pay an exorbitant amount for high carbon foods.
Lord Stern, the author of the influential 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.Second, reeducate the masses.
He predicted that people’s attitudes would evolve until meat eating became unacceptable. “I think it’s important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating,” he said. “I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student. People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food.”Finally, spread the wealth that was confiscated.
Lord Stern, a former chief economist of the World Bank and now I. G. Patel Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, warned that British taxpayers would need to contribute about £3 billion a year by 2015 to help poor countries to cope with the inevitable impact of climate change.A tip of the hat to Cold Fury who led me to a disgusted Captain Ed:
Seven hundred years ago, man farmed and raised cows and pigs on the entire island of Greenland. When they do that again, perhaps I’ll worry about bovine flatulence as a global threat. Until then, I consider creeping elitism from horse’s asses a much more elitist threat than methane from cow’s butts.
Posted By Roug at 12:14 PM
Monday, October 26, 2009
Of the 9,000 Detroit properties put up for auction by Wayne County officials, more than eight in ten went without a single bid, this despite a required low minimum bid of $500. The properties had been seized by tax collectors for nonpayment.
In a crowded ballroom next to a bankrupt casino, what remains of the Detroit property market was being picked over by speculators and mostly discarded.Most of the properties that did sell were scooped up by investors leaving local Detroiters seeking low cost entry level housing out in the cold.
After five hours of calling out a drumbeat of "no bid" for properties listed in an auction book as thick as a city phone directory, the energy of the county auctioneer began to flag.
"OK," he said. "We only have 300 more pages to go."
The good news is that some investors have decided that Detroit might be a good place to take a chance again even if that investment is quite small. The bad news is that these investors will most likely have to wait a long time for a positive return on their investments, and the city may have to wait years before these investment worthy properties ever see habitation.
These are the fruits of Michigan and Detroit; a state and city choked by too much regulation and taxation, a state and city where profits are considered almost evil by bureaucrats and labor leaders, and a state and city where generations of individuals have been encouraged to lean on the benevolent hand of government to provide.
Residents who might want to move in will be moving into a city that is not secure and has on many occasions earned the title "Murder Capitol of America." Its schools are among the worst, if not the worst, in the nation. For primarily security reasons, there is not one chain grocery store in the city making the cost of daily staples more expensive than places superstores are common. There are widespread problems with city services while many neighborhoods are littered with debris between abandoned houses.
No, it is not a surprise that a vast majority of these homes and properties went without a bid. What is surprising is that people were complicit for the decades of outright abuse and neglect that it took to turn Detroit into the city that it has become.
Decades of progressive thought have left their mark on Detroit. Will its remaining residents ever choose a better future?
Posted By Roug at 11:15 AM
Sunday, October 25, 2009
From the Daily Mail:
An obese couple’s seven children are all to be taken into care after their newborn daughter was removed over fears she would become dangerously overweight.One wonders why the benevolent surgeon of the state doesn't just do some snipping here and there to prevent the obese from ever giving birth to begin with. Or why any adult should ever be allowed to have children if the conditions for raising the cherubs is non-utopian.
Three children had already been removed by social services before the infant was taken from her mother within hours of her birth.
Now her ‘heartbroken’ parents have learned that their three other children will be taken away from them too.
They say the children of the so-called 'fat family' are being removed over fears they would also become clinically obese.
Perhaps the parenting rights of all obese should be stymied, as well as those of all smokers, those who speed, litter, or believe the Bible speaks out against homosexuality. Should adults who are skeptical of man made global warming be allowed to propagate when their progeny are likely to emulate their AGW denying parents?
Creating utopia might not be so difficult if those in power are given the authority to indiscriminately shape society through the confiscation of its children.
Posted By Roug at 1:00 PM
Friday, October 23, 2009
Go to Above the Law to read the story about one Albert Freed, a plus sized gentleman who sued the manufacturer of his underwear for the discomfort he suffered from injuries sustained while walking the beaches of Hawaii.
A question for the guys out there: How long would it take you to correct a problem involving sandpaper and your penis? Don’t you think penis chaffing is something that requires immediate attention and decisive action?Funny stuff for everyone I suppose, except for Mr. Freed.
And while we’re here, how long does it take for you to notice your stuff hanging out where it is not supposed to be?
Posted By Roug at 11:24 PM
Thursday, October 22, 2009
cross posted at Right Michigan
When did it become an accepted theory that government has the ability to create jobs in much the same manner that my kid sister used to pop out cool multicolored extrusions with her Playdoh Fun Factory?
Nowadays, progressively bent government operatives assume that if they throw enough proper ingredients into a bowl and add a little flowery sentiment, they can force the concoction through a die and out the other side will come a never ending stream of gainfully employed citizens. Push this button and that button, keep a foot on this pedal, push two levers, flip three switches, turn a dial, make a hand in the armpit farting noise, and voilà!, you have a job of tomorrow!
You can rarely go a day without some public servant promoting a great idea that he cooked up where this initiative and that regulation can, in tandem, create the necessary habitat for a job to squirt out. Of course, this initiative and that regulation can rarely work perfectly the first time they are tried, and a little tweaking will be necessary.
This is how our corn ethanol craze was born, and how it became a highly successful industry that literally leaped from the dark soils of America's heartland. An artificial demand was created by law that forced gasoline to contain a certain percentage of ethanol, and tariffs were imposed on more efficiently produced imported ethanol so that the American farmer would get a piece of the action. A few additional subsidies were tossed around for good measure to grease the wheels of infrastructure, and away it went. It was easy.
Many years later, however, there has arrived a more modest critique of its success. Several of the largest ethanol producers are bankrupt, gas prices are artificially high, more subsidies are needed to keep ethanol businesses operating, prices are rising for most other crops because less land is being allocated to their production, corn fed livestock prices are booming, and Iowa has been turned from a state that has historically fed the world's starving into a net corn importer. All this because a gaggle of bureaucrat jackasses decided without thinking that America needed to produce an inferior fuel with an ultimately negative energy impact (estimated at up to 20,000 BTUs per gallon) that uses up to 1,700 gallons of water for the production of one gallon of the environment-friendly elixir.
This is not an article about ethanol, but rather about the thought process that allowed the production of corn ethanol to become a blessed industry in this country, for Michigan possesses one of the finest stables of government jackasses ever assembled, and each one of them is dying for the opportunity to promote the next government blessed Fun Factory capable of popping out jobs like a 4H bunny shoots pellets. Someone has to keep an eye on them.
The "jobs of tomorrow" phrase is little more than a sales pitch devised by politicians that have little intent of creating many jobs for today. It is a throw in the towel sentiment wrapped in an advertising slogan. Sure, future job hawks brag often about snaring the occasional Washington grant of borrowed Chinese money to build a bridge or pave a road here or there, but these earmarked funds do nothing to create a robust long term employer/employee relationship. For statistics sake, I suppose, the Chinese funded two month job is every bit as valuable as the job that a person can land right out of college and work in until his retirement, though it doesn't do much for either the deficit or the economy.
The jobs of tomorrow, the ones being championed by today's bureaucrats come with a list of requirements. They require the government funded retraining of workers, the government subsidy of high speed rail, government provided safety, education, and welfare, and perhaps most importantly, the government blessing of a green outcome. When the government is able to line up all the properly considered components we will be, as Governor Granholm puts it, "blown away." These are, of course, all hugely expensive propositions that require the extreme taxation of today's citizens who are still lucky enough to hold down one of today's jobs. Each dollar taken from one of today's taxpayers is a dollar that is no longer available to be spent on one of today's businesses. Another cup of coffee is not consumed, another hamburger goes uneaten, and another roof project is delayed. Soon the waiter and the roofer's gofer are holding hands outside of the Michigan Works office.
Interestingly, the purveyors of tomorrow's jobs see little need for the relaxation of taxes and regulations that would allow a business of today to create jobs for today. They talk a good game about creating a place where businesses will relocate, and about laying the foundations for the jobs of tomorrow, but they do little to allow today's Michigan businesses to grow profitably today.
Michigan is not tax friendly. It is not regulation friendly. It is not labor friendly. I have heard it is even mean to puppies. Many businesses are leaving and others are closing outright because they cannot make a profit or they scrape buy on margins so thin it makes the whole enterprise unworthy of the effort. With each loss of business goes the loss of more and more of today's jobs and left behind are unemployed workers who no longer contribute taxes to the public coffers, but instead become a drain on them.
Legislators and the governor are nearing the end of a brutal budget process. There have been painful cuts and there will undoubtedly be more. It is time for the Michigan legislature to create a freer atmosphere in which businesses can survive and grow profitably today, and to stop meddling in the business environment by creating a never ending expansion of regulations designed to herd existing businesses, taxpayers and consumers down a blessed path.
Perhaps legislators and the governor can afford to wait for the jobs of tomorrow. Today's workers cannot.
Posted By Roug at 12:30 AM
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
This headline caught my eye on M-live.
Unions do their best to kill the Democratic Party in MichiganI got a few paragraphs in before I read this:
But big labor is doing what it does best: Strong-arm and screw over the Democratic Party. (Just take a look at how how AFSCME is trying to kill President Obama's health care reform and the NEA and American Federation of Teachers are trying to quash education reform.) Naturally, freshmen are scared witless and looking to do anything to please labor, instead of questioning the true effectiveness of top-heavy organizations that peaked when poodle skirts were still in fashion.What kind of reasoning is this? The unions monolithically (with the help of other misguided socialists) put these yokels into office, so why should this generation of union members not expect to get political favors in exchange for their votes when generation after generation of previous union voters were rewarded by big-government Democrats for choosing any candidate with a D behind his name?
It is the taxpayers and the consumers that have been getting screwed over by the unions, not the poor Democrat Party. How long should we expect unsustainable financial policies to stay in effect before the whole house of cards comes tumbling down? I'd say we are lucky the whole smoke and mirrors thing lasted as long as it has.
When the unions finally do fall completely off the scene it will not be because they abandoned the Democrat Party's socialist principles, but because of their unfortunate propensity for developing symbiotic relationships with hosts they don't mind killing.
Posted By Roug at 5:27 PM
Posted By Roug at 8:42 AM
Monday, October 19, 2009
The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal ruled that sending the Bolivian man back to his homeland would breach his human rights because he was entitled to a "private and family life", and joint ownership of a pet was evidence that he was fully settled in this country.There are many reasons for a sovereign nation to legitimately exclude an immigrant from the party. The UK (and to some degree the US) is in the process of creating a system that simply allows Earth residence to trump that of the national interest when it comes to determining who should be allowed to live in the country.
Lawyers for the Home Secretary were aghast at the decision by James Devittie, an immigration judge, to allow the immigrant to stay in Britain. They lodged an appeal, but their case was again rejected.
The Bolivian's identity has not been disclosed and even the name of the pet cat was blanked out in official court papers to protect its privacy.
Delivering her decision on the case, which is thought to have cost the taxpayer several thousand pounds, Judith Gleeson, a senior immigration judge, joked in the official written ruling that the cat "need no longer fear having to adapt to Bolivian mice".
Criminals who fear severe prosecution in their homelands are now legitimate immigrant prospects, as are those who will refuse to culturize, those whose primary intent is to enjoy the windfall of socialism, and those who simply have little to offer by way of education, professional skills, or motivation.
It is interesting to me that the European model is what many Americans are seeking to emulate as they dispense with the whole notion of American exceptionalism; a model that, to this point at least, has placed the nation's best interests above that of
Posted By Roug at 8:52 AM
Friday, October 16, 2009
In the same month that Barack Obama can win the Nobel Peace Prize I suppose I should not be surprised that the National Association of State Boards of Education has named Jennifer Granholm the Policy Leader of the Year.
I know that every Michigander is proud of the award bestowed upon our Dear Leader, without whom education in Michigan would be in horrible shape. It is, after all, under her leadership that Michigan's largest school district has had its graduation rate skyrocket to almost 30 percent.
Under her leadership the robust Michigan economy has been able to exemplify the importance of progressive education funding. Hundreds of schools have closed, programs have been eliminated, and teachers have been laid off. Meanwhile to find work each year, many thousands of new college graduates must move to climes disadvantaged by far inferior chief executives.
Michigan's governor sure knows a lot of things about education, she's just running out of people in-state to enlighten.
Posted By Roug at 3:46 PM
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Thousands of state inmates will get coveted swine-flu vaccinations weeks before law-abiding Bay Staters - who foot the bill for prisons - have a shot at protecting themselves, state public health officials have decided.While I admit that I am somewhat of a jerk to begin with, if there aren't enough vaccinations to go around immediately, what sense does it make to vaccinate the least deserving members of society first?
The prison pampering has one lawmaker questioning the con-voluted flu preparation.
“I can think of a number of populations that are more needy and vulnerable than prisoners,” said state Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), who co-chairs the legislative committee on public health.
Posted By Roug at 11:53 AM
cross posted at Right Michigan
Every night that we go to bed we can count on the fact that some government agency somewhere with properly assumed jurisdiction will have done something new and wholly designed to create a more perfect world for us to wake up in. Some new regulation or law will have taken effect at the city, township, county, state or national level.
On an even wider plane, we have treaties with other nations that govern our actions, and the UN is chomping at the bit to administer its benevolent hand of fairness onto peoples spread about the Earth. Those of us living under the rules of neighborhood associations can find themselves encumbered with rules and regulations even more narrowly focused.
If we are still a free people, we are barely free.
All of these laws, rules and regulations are for mankind's and Earth's long term benefit, and the vision behind these restraints can only be dictated by people with power. We may not agree with them all (or even know they exist) but each and every one of them was passed as someone's idea of bettering our world.
We are sitting at an important point in history where leaders in this state and country are contemplating a charge into two already existent regulatory arenas, but this charge will be carried out in such a way that the country may never be able to economically recover. Our America of today could indeed become nothing more than a remembered America; one where suffering may once again become the historical human condition. This country's ability to produce generation upon generation of children whose lives have improved on that of their parents may cease to exist, and with it the American Dream.
The steady improvements of our living standards here in America are the fruits of a free market society that encourages production, invention and innovation. We learned to feed and clothe ourselves and much of the rest of the world. We worked hard in the fields and the factories. We put the world on wheels and in the air. It was America that spearheaded the industrial age, the technological age, the information age, and whenever peoples in the rest of the world have needed protection it has been the United States that provided the decisive blow so that freed peoples might enjoy the ability to carve their own destinies.
Despite out best efforts and our best intentions, our sacrifices and our success, America is still considered by many to be a place of evil and greed. Unfortunately these thoughts are held by many within our own country. It is the evil and greed that the new regulations hope to address under the guise of health care and energy reform. The innovators and the inventors will have their hands stayed in favor of the planners that prefer the European model; a model that has routinely performed at only a fraction of America's growth, and a model that has survived even only as well it has because of the relative growth and wealth of the American consumer.
Different health care proposals in the US Congress today mandate varying (but all larger) portions of US GDP in the hands of government. A government that becomes ten percent larger will become monumentally more powerful, and a government that can conceivably control who lives and dies has few natural enemies.
Cap and trade is also on the near horizon and could conceivably be even more destructive to the American economy than is the health care fiasco. Ridiculous CO2 reduction goals are being proposed by those in our administration and demanded by those who wish to freely import the windfall of American dollars and technologies. These proposed reductions will be impossible to meet in a growing economy regardless of how much corn is processed, windmills erected, or solar cells installed. While new nuclear energy generating capacity could certainly provide the power necessary, there is so much unbridled hatred for that industry that building enough nuclear sites to even replace those scheduled to be deactivated is highly unlikely. Fossil fuels are, of course, off limits.
Government agents long ago discovered the silver lining behind economic doldrums--a reduction in green house gases that could muffle man's impact on Earth. While Jennifer Granholm and other useful tools of Gaia might actually believe many of the lines they are spewing, there are others within the movement that have no intention of ever allowing economic growth to reach a robust level again because economic growth and people are harmful. The only way to conceivably reach these highly aggressive reduction goals is to dampen energy consumption, and the most effective way to accomplish this is to punish energy usage through exorbitant pricing, by more closely regulating the entire economy, and by limiting the number of potential energy gluttons.
Consumers are being slowly transformed from being thought of as the engine that drives new economic growth into being the catalyst behind an undesired demand for more energy.
We do sit at a crossroads and the American dream is in peril. And, if you cannot tell on your own, I also have not had my coffee.
Posted By Roug at 9:45 AM
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
People clear a wide path when I walk down the street because I have reputations for both a hair trigger temper and lighting quick fists. Men and women alike scurry away from me in fear while children peek from afar, their faces partially obscured behind branches, rocks, or trembling fingers, hoping that I fail to catch them in my steely gaze. You don't want to cross me.
I am a baaaaad man.
I fear neither the law nor the lawman. I am a rugged opportunist and play by my own self centered rules. Dennis Hopper envies my attitude, Sean Penn my individualism.
You can see it in the way I live my life; the way that I push fate's envelope, laugh at danger, and poke fun at death. Mostly though, you can see it by my wheels--a sleek '95 Buick with a mint scented air freshener dangling by a string from the rear view mirror. I dare you coppers, just try and pull me over!
Posted By Roug at 9:04 PM
I have heard taxes referred to as many different things, but before today I had never heard of a tax referred to as a "quality assurance assessment."
To protect health care funding for Michigan kids and seniors, physician services would see a 3% quality assurance assessment. This assessment would be used to take part in a federal program; for every dollar Michigan contributes, the federal government will contribute nearly $3. Michigan will be able to bring in hundreds of millions of federal dollars, allowing Michigan to increase our state's Medicaid reimbursement to physicians, putting it on par with Medicare reimbursement, which will give more Michiganders increased access to quality health care.Archaic Mlive called it a tax, but newspapermen can be so behind the times.
Posted By Roug at 10:22 AM
I was reminded today of years long past as I watched a video of Olympia Snowe's meandering and toothless justification for her committee vote in favor of sending on Max Baucus' health care plan. She certainly expended a lot of words while straddling the middle of a teetering fence. Snowe spent several minutes engaging in what has become a perpetual professional quest for her, ensuring everyone how tough she really is while simultaneously caving in. Don't accuse her of being unable to multitask.
Oh sure, she does reserve the right to become the bad guy at some point in the future because, as she says, she is capable of being tough, very tough. Tough as nails, if you get her drift. She voted for passage today, but she may not vote for it in the future. Do not make the mistake of misinterpreting her stance today, because she may be tough later. Yada, yada, yada. I've seen that strategy before.
I was reminded of my adolescent years bagging groceries. One of my most vivid recollections of those years spent smashing bread and breaking eggs was watching mothers negotiate with their children at the checkout counter where, just beyond the reach of the kids' fingers, hung the delicious candies and gums. Kids like 'em some candy, and they are not afraid to make their desires known.
Negotiations do not work in the long term if there is no fear of potential consequences. Both sides in a substantive negotiation must have something expendable to give up and something valuable to withhold. Those same children that tasted the fruit of tantrum at the age of three were still enjoying an angry harvest at the age of six and seven. The children that learned early that their histrionics would earn them no favors learned their lesson completely. Parents too willing to soothe the rotten teeth of their screaming cherubs were always taken advantage of and seemingly never learned a thing.
This reminds me of Olympia Snowe--willing to negotiate to the point that no one takes her seriously any more. The Democrats know she will cave and the Republicans know she will cave too.
Certainly a political legacy one can be proud of.
Posted By Roug at 9:01 AM
Monday, October 12, 2009
A martial artist and recent convert to a right-wing survivalist organization has been suspended from his school for carrying a dangerous weapon into the classroom. Though it was his first offense, the Christina School District in Newark, Del. has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to weapons.
Six-year-old Zachary Christie was so excited to become a Cub Scout that he brought his camping utensil to school. The tool serves as a spoon, a fork and a knife, and Zachary wanted to use it at lunch.
What Zachary didn't know was that the gizmo violated his school's zero-tolerance policy on weapons. And now the Christina School District in Newark, Del., has suspended the first grader and ordered him to attend the district's reform school for 45 days.
Are these people friggen insane?
We have moron educators and psychologists trying to eliminate the game of tag at some schools in order to preserve the fragile self-esteem of children, and we have other moron educators willing to toss children into reform school for taking a spork to class? What am I missing?
The school district, in a statement, said rules are rules and defended its decision to suspend the boy.Funny how constant examination would still manage to leave such gaping holes in the everyday policies of college educated adults put in charge of 6 year-olds, and to think, this is their chosen profession!
"At this time, the Student Code of Conduct does not take into consideration a child's age in a Level three offense," the statement read.
"This is the first incident this year involving a student under the age of seven in possession of a dangerous instrument. Christina School District staff and the Christina Board of Education are constantly examining ways to improve policies regarding student discipline."
The reform school had better add on to its current facility for the eventual day when educators discover that a sharpened pencil can kill.
The parents of the district might be better served if the school created a reform school for stupid educators. Who knows, maybe no one would be left to teach.
Edited to add this h/t: Darlene at Protein Wisdom
Posted By Roug at 9:00 PM
We should all brace ourselves for the ridiculous solutions that government, advocates, and energy companies will conjure up in their angst to save the planet from the death grip of CO2.
Through it all you can expect that the consumer will ultimately carry the burden.
A fine example comes to us from Ohio.
FirstEnergy Corp. is sending two energy-efficient light bulbs to all of its residential customers in Ohio, but not everyone is happy with the charge that comes with the bulbs.The scheme has already been approved by the state's public utility commission and is part of a state mandate that requires that utility companies reduce the demand for electricity.
The utility will charge customers about 60 cents a month for three years in exchange for delivering the compact fluorescent bulbs to the door or mailbox.
The average residential customer will pay $21.60 over three years for the two 23-watt CFLs, which are equivalent to 100-watt incandescent bulbs.
Retailers sell the CFLs for about $9 a pair.
Consumers will receive the two bulbs, whether or not they want them, and will be charged $21.60 for them whether or not the bulbs are ever used or not. In fact, should customers refuse acceptance of the bulbs, the customers will still be charged for them.
The high cost of the bulbs was arrived at to pay for the bulbs themselves (at an inflated price,) to pay for private delivery of the bulbs (to all of the utility's 3.75 million customers,) and to refund the utility company for the money it will lose in energy sales if each customer uses the bulbs.
It's a sweet gig if you can get it.
h/t Right Nation
Posted By Roug at 7:21 PM
Sunday, October 11, 2009
A very simple truth in economics is that you get more of any behavior that you reward and you get less of any behavior that you punish. This does not mean that each and every subject of punishment or reward changes his behavior all at once or at all, but it does mean that as these rewards and punishments are slathered upon the masses, measurable changes in behavior take place.
This is lost on many politicians who prefer to abide by their own rules that dismiss the impacts of human behavior on economic models. Believe it or not, we have a good number of politicians who operate in a vacuum completely oblivious to such notions.
In light of the fact that both Oakland University and Central Michigan University are in the process of adding medical schools to their campuses ostensibly to address the expanding shortage of doctors in our state, do you think it is wise for our cash-hungry Michigan government to tax doctors an additional 3% of gross revenues on top of all the other taxes that they pay?
Will raising taxes on doctors help Michigan in its shortage of doctors or will it hurt? Is this a wise way in which to address a doctor shortage? Is it a wise way to raise revenues?
Will it be worth it to the newly trained doctors of Michigan to stay here? Should doctors set up shop in a state that treats their practices as if they are simply blessings of privilege and not because the doctors took the time, money, and effort to succeed in such a difficult field? On the flip side, will it be worth it to the taxpayers of Michigan to support new medical schools where the trained physicians who graduate may be compelled to set up their practices elsewhere?
Is it any wonder that our state is crumbling under the direction of these bumbling idiots? (Okay, that last question was rhetorical.)
Posted By Roug at 7:48 PM
Friday, October 09, 2009
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Barack Obama for his promotion of peace and because he is not George Bush.
This award says a lot more about the Nobel cast of characters than it says about Barack Obama, who was actually nominated for this award only two weeks after he took office.
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the Norwegian committee said in a statement.If the other Nobel prizes were awarded on the same merits as this year's peace prize a chemist could get his cool $1.4 million for wishing he could discover something. The medical prize could be awarded for wanting to heal. The physics prize might be awarded to some schmuck who hoped to make a meaningful observation sometime in his career.
"His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."
Asked why the prize had been awarded to Mr Obama less than a year after he took office, Nobel Committee head Thorbjoern Jagland said: "It was because we would like to support what he is trying to achieve".
"It is a clear signal that we want to advocate the same as he has done," he said.
Obama's achievements in promoting peace thus far total up to somewhere between disastrous and nil, and by my account he is just as deserving of this once meaningful prize as he is the National League MVP.
Jules Crittenden has a great roundup but it is Patrick of Popehat that has the most insightful comment and question:
The only significant war that Obama has resolved is the Henry Louis Gates conflict, and there he had an assist from the makers of Bud Light. Was Anheuser-Busch at least nominated?
Posted By Roug at 9:35 AM
Thursday, October 08, 2009
An article by Sven Gustafson at Mlive helps to illustrate why things are so screwed up in Michigan and why they are very unlikely to get unscrewed any time soon.
Support for a pair of coal-fired power plants that could create thousands of construction jobs in Michigan is running headlong into opposition from supporters of moving the state toward green energy as a prime economic revitalization strategy.I think it is telling that the public conflict that is being reported is between two normally aligned elements of the progressive movement--the environmentalists and big labor. As much fun as it is to watch leftists eat their young, this is a sorry state of affairs, and helps to indicate why Michigan has lost its economic footing.
Hundreds of blue-collar union workers rallied earlier this week at the state Capitol in Lansing urging the state to approve coal plants proposed by Consumers Energy in Bay City and Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative Inc. in Rogers City. The latter plant won a $2.7 million federal grant to test carbon capture and storage technologies intended to prevent greenhouse gas emissions.
"We can't bring other business to the state without a stronger power base," Jim Dawson, an unemployed Iron Workers union member from Flint, told the Lansing State Journal. "Until alternative energy can supply what this state needs, these plants are crucial to the survival of Michigan."How shocking is it that forecasts for future power needs are being reduced at a time when the economy is in its worst recession in decades? This is not a lot different than projections that suggest sun dress sales are slumping while failing to notice that the weather stinks around here in October.
But regulators have questioned the need for the new plants at a time when utilities including Consumers are forecasting diminished demand for power. And Gov. Jennifer Granholm has stated her preference for developing wind and other forms of renewable energy.
The reduced need for power that has been forecast will not last forever, and we should not wait until the power is actually needed before we try and build something. Determining the best time and place for increased energy generation capacity is the specialty of energy company forecasters and not that of government or of special interest groups. When an automobile company decides it wants to build a new factory somewhere, it is the motor company itself that stands the best chance of predicting correctly when the move needs to be made. The same thing is true of beef jerky producers, widget manufacturers, and even (gasp!) power companies. When the government figures out how to do so much as deliver mail efficiently I'll start taking stock in their opinions on delivering mail. I'm going to hold off on energy generation capacity if you don't mind.
Delaying the development of energy production infrastructure, which is exactly what leftists want to do, will place a bottleneck on future growth when economic conditions finally do begin to turn. Concerned leftists habitually toss out the old chestnut that oil fields opened for drilling today are irrelevant because the oil they produce cannot be harvested for several years down the road. This is a well established leftist strategy that aims to defeat unblessed industry through the masterful weaving of a catch-22.
New coal plants and oil fields are discouraged or stopped outright because they are currently not needed. When economic conditions improve that would place extra demand on energy capacity, there is not enough inexpensive energy available because development was not allowed before it was needed. When the power is needed, the building of coal plants and the development of oil fields is scoffed at because it will take too long to develop them. Then, when the economy bottleneck forms again due in part to energy shortages, there will be no need for the new plants because there is not a sufficient demand. Its not an awful lot different that arguing with a five year old except that a five year old produces fewer and smaller tears.
Hey, I've got a great idea. Why don't we let specialty businesses do what they do best and then we can can all sit back and share in the rewards of an economy that clicks along on all cylinders. Well, either that or we can let central planners shoehorn whole industries into the business models that run contrary to economics and human nature.
That won't work, of course, but the good news here is that if energy companies are forced to satisfy all of our needs through green sources only, we simply won't need that much power anyway.
This prediction game isn't all that difficult.
Posted By Roug at 11:00 PM
I'm not sure if anyone even knew this little fact or not, but Michigan law requires that legislators pass a balanced budget by September 30th of each year. I think it was on the news.
What this means, of course, is that months before the legally mandated deadline arrives, the well oiled machine of benevolent government will draw closely together and make all the tough decisions necessary to smooth out a budget. All the "t"s should be crossed and all the "i"s dotted in plenty of time for the governor to sign her Jennifer Hancock on the bottom line long before lawmakers run afoul of the Michigan Constitution. Sure. Not since Kwame Kilpatrick was forced to vacate the Manoogian Mansion have so many lawbreakers been housed under one roof.
In any case, after suffering through another almost annual national embarrassment on its failed budget (not to be confused with the monthly Michigan embarrassment that is Carl Levin, the weekly Michigan embarrassment that is Debbie Stabenow, or the daily Michigan embarrassment that is the entire city of Detroit) Michigan legislators have introduced a bill that will require its members to pass a budget by July 1st or have their pay docked.
A bipartisan group of legislators today introduced a constitutional amendment that will require the state's budget to be balanced by July 1 on any given year. Under the plan, Michigan's Senators and Representatives will lose pay for every day the budget remains unbalanced after the deadline.Hey, I have no problem with that sentiment. I don't like to have my tax dollars go to pay for Detroit schools that don't educate, and I don't like to pay benevolent minded bureaucrats for failing on their most basic of assignments.
"Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay legislators who don't get the job done," said State Representative Mike Huckleberry (D-Greenville). "We all took an oath of office to serve the people of Michigan and to always put their interests first. If legislators can't balance the budget in time to avoid a government shutdown, then they shouldn't get paid."
In fact, if this general sentiment gained a little momentum maybe we could get MDOT bigwigs to pony up a little salary for potholes that don't get filled and who knows, maybe the crowned heads at the DNR/MDOT can toss a few bucks into the kitty for letting deer carcasses stack up alongside the road like firewood before being hauled off. Unfortunately, this is not the way that things work in our world.
You see, MDOT might say that they would love to fix those potholes, but they will also tell you that to fill them all will require more people and more money, not less. The same answer will come to you from the DNR/MDOT as it relates to roadkill. Deer stack up on the road both because the stupid animals refuse to look both directions, and because it is hard to shovel roadkill when budget dollars are instead aimed at trespassing on private property so as to assure that brazen property owners aren't disposing of carrots in a huge pile.
I applaud legislators for their sentiment--maybe we are making a little headway on the common sense shortage down in Lansing. I am frightened, however, by the added incentive that this bill might give to legislators to compromise when similar previous compromises have contributed so greatly to our current disaster. There are worse things than not having a budget in place when the compromise alternative is making a bad choice for the sake of "getting something done" and allowing a representative to collect his full $220 a day with a chin held high.
A few concepts should be understood before legislators even consider compromise.
First, government generates no money of its own. Each and every dollar that it receives it has skimmed off of the private sector. Each and every one of these dollars is therefore removed from a taxpayer that would have found another use for that dollar. This weakens the economy and results in the displacement of workers.
Every. Single. Time.
This is not only true of "new revenues" that the government tries so hard to find every year, but also for the almost forgotten billions of established revenues that it takes from taxpayers out of habit with nary a flutter of the eye.
Secondly, each dollar that is reallocated away from an individual's intent is thrust into a delivery system that is, by definition, inefficient. There is no end motive for government entities to operate efficiently, and there are few ways to measure the effectiveness of a government's delivery of products or services. Where the two can be compared side by side, the government edition suffers.
In education, it is a competitive private sector that offers the lower cost alternative. When it comes to housing prisoners, it is the private sector that offers the least cost. When it comes to delivering health care, would it be the VA hospital or Munson Medical Center that you would rather go to? If allowed to compete in the automobile industry on their own merits, will it be Ford that triumphs in an embattled industry, or will it be government/union owned GM or Chrysler that lives on? Heck, when Katrina had blown ashore and left parts of several states in shambles, it was WalMart that had trucks of bottled water on location the next day for displaced citizens to drink, while local government authorities allowed whole parking lots of empty school buses to succumb to the rising waters while they screamed for the delivery of luxury charter buses to carry people out.
I'm not saying that government is only filled with workers who try hard to do a lousy job every day. That is not my experience. (There are, thankfully, only so many Conyerses.) I am saying that most government workers do what they do within a system that even they recognize is hopelessly choked with regulation and inefficiency, and that government does not have the free market means to recognize when departments should be groomed, combined or separated for efficiency, or eliminated altogether. Throw in a little cronyism, some red tape, the never ending supply of funds that government was reared on, public servants disillusioned by years of banging their slightly flattened heads on the wall, the occasional Kwame Kilpatrick, and soon you have the recipe for a Lansing on your hands.
Which brings me to my final point. Too often government entities are seen as a means of providing good employment for dedicated workers. Private industry looks at employment in exactly the opposite way. To a thriving private business, employment is a necessary byproduct of success. Each worker that draws a paycheck from the company must add more value to the company than he costs or his continued employment is not a legitimate expense. In government this is largely immaterial and the vast growth of government employment in Lansing over the past few years is evidence of this in the face of falling revenues in a hobbled economy.
In light of these facts I believe that budget compromises are not always good.
It appears now, however, that we might at least be at the threshold of a new era where lawmakers are willing to face the fire if they fail to produce in a timely manner. That in itself may be a step in the right direction.
"In the real world if you don't do your work, you don't get paid," said State Representative Dan Scripps (D-Leland). "Legislators should be no different. This plan will help bring fresh air to Lansing and make sure elected officials are truly working on behalf of Michigan's residents."While I am encouraged that some bureaucrats recognize that there even is a real world out there beyond Lansing with its own set of operative rules, I am not so certain that a salary withheld by the day to the sound of a ticking clock will ensure that all bureaucrats will work in the best interest of Michigan residents.
That will still depend on what it has always depended on; who will compromise, and on what.
cross posted at Right Michigan
Posted By Roug at 11:00 AM
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
When did the media begin caring about the accuracy of Saturday Night Live skits?
For as long as I can remember the political satire has been brutal on the NBC bellwether, and, while I can remember numerous occasions when the people mischaracterized on the show bristled at what was said, most often the targets of the satire just smiled and went along.
Well, that was before the media had a crush on the man occupying the Oval Office, and before the media had shelved its purported purpose of providing objective news and had instead become the mouthpiece and protector of the progressive left.
Look, we know SNL isn't the Times, and that some people might consider it ridiculous to fact-check one of their skits. But political satire isn't legitimate if it's not based in truth. It's not that SNL's disenchantment with Obama is unsupportable; they just picked some faulty evidence to support it. If you're going to skewer Obama for all the things he hasn't done, it might be better to make sure that, you know, he hasn't done them. Especially since, after witnessing the lasting impact of its Sarah Palin caricature last year, we can probably stop pretending that SNL is "just a comedy show" with no real influence.Funny how New York Magazine sounds appalled at the treatment of Sarah Palin in the skits, but it isn't until The Obama is skewered that the magazines has the nerve to stand up on principle.
Posted By Roug at 5:39 PM
There is a silver lining behind every starvation and poverty inducing worldwide economic meltdown cloud.
The global recession provides a window of opportunity to curb climate change and build a low-carbon future, says the International Energy Agency (IEA).Of course this is great news for the UN, particularly if that august body is able to completely disregard the millions of people that the global recession has made unemployed, dumped into poverty, or starved outright.
It calculates that global greenhouse gas emissions will fall by 3% this year - an increase on previous estimates.
If governments take this opportunity to invest in clean technology, the global temperature rise can be kept below the G8 goal of 2C (3.6F), the agency says.
The findings were released at UN climate talks in Bangkok.
"The message is simple and stark: if the world continues on the basis of today's energy and climate policies, the consequences of climate change will be severe," said IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka.
"Energy is at the heart of the problem - and so must form the core of the solution."
The recession is likely to mean emissions being 3% lower this year than last - and it will have a longer term impact, the IEA says, with emissions in 2020 projected to be 5% less than they would have been without an economic dip.
UNITED NATIONS - The global economic crisis is pushing millions of the world’s most vulnerable people into poverty, hunger and early death, a new UN report warns, stressing that “green shoots” of recovery are not being felt by the poor in the developing world.Maybe UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro can remember to keep his mouth buttoned the next time he and Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN climate convention, happen to be slurping down caviar side by side at the next UN party.
Estimates suggest that the worldwide recession has pushed 100 million more people below the poverty line and 61 million people have been added to the number of jobless over the last two years, according to the report.
In addition, the report - part of a new UN initiative to monitor and draw attention to emerging crises - notes that an increase of 100 million people suffer from hunger and infant mortality rates are set to rise by an additional 200,000 to 400,000 deaths each year from now to 2015, if the crisis persists.
People have been starving for centuries. But dammit, this is an opportunity!
Posted By Roug at 8:54 AM
Monday, October 05, 2009
Come on Dave Bing!
This is the opportunity that the citizens of Detroit have needed for decades. Now is the time to fire municipal employees that put themselves ahead of the citizens that they are charged with serving.
From the Detroit News:
Mayor Dave Bing met for three hours with leaders of the city's largest union, but reported no progress and warned that more layoffs could be coming.The citizens of Detroit suffer some of the worst urban blight in the country. Their most basic city services are too often delivered poorly and those that are delivered come at a hugely inefficient cost. Detroit's schools fail. It's landmarks crumble. It has become the most vacant of American cities not ravaged by hurricane mega-disaster.
Bing said the city has presented its final offer to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25, which represents about 3,500 of the 13,000 workers. But he said the union has rejected any concessions, including his call for a 10 percent pay cut.
"They won't agree to it," he said, adding six other unions have ratified similar concession agreements.
Catherine Phillips, the lead negotiator for AFSCME, acknowledged the city had presented its "last best offer," but she believes her members still have some leverage.
"We think there is still some negotiating we can do," said Phillips, who refused to say on exactly what issues the city and the union are in agreement.
Detroit is a shell of a city just waiting to collapse upon itself as the remainder of its social and physical infrastructures weaken. The problem that is Detroit today will never be solved until someone finally has the guts to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough.
Dave Bing has nothing to lose except a city that has long been lost.
Posted By Roug at 5:24 PM
In today's Detroit Free Press there is an expert's discussion as to how the David Letterman scandal will affect the late night host's popularity.
I'm guessing not at all.
How long has the entertainment industry been devoid of any real moral compass to begin with? The scandals, particularly those of a sexual nature, have been swirling around the television/movie/music cesspool for decades. America and the world have proven themselves to be little concerned with the peccadilloes of its beautiful people (ok, Dave, even I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt with that inclusion.)
Consorting with brutal dictators has done little to sour the careers of many entertainment leftists. Drug abuse and alcohol excess, it seems, have been used as window dressing to enhance the popularity of several kingpins, and when it comes to sex, well, much of Hollywood itself has even come to the defense of the child stalker and pedophile Roman Polanski.
No, a simple sex scandal by the gap toothed pundit isn't going to hurt him overmuch. Dave is more likely to get lambasted by feminists for sexual harassment than he is for being a man with no moral compass.
Posted By Roug at 9:07 AM
Friday, October 02, 2009
Hey, am I the only one encouraged by the reaction of Delmon Young to being plunked by a well aimed Jeremy Bonderman fastball behind the knee in last night's baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins?
Let me set the stage...
The game was out of reach. Detroit had already been buried by the 8th inning when Minnesota's Jose Mijares intentionally threw a fastball at Detroit's shortstop Adam Everett. Everett evaded the pitch and it went sailing just behind his back.
Mijares had been sufficiently provoked, he felt, because the Tigers had stolen two bases off of him in a game that had essentially been decided. It had already happened twice in the inning and Mijares was powerless to do anything about it as Minnesota was ceded the bases to the Tigers' runners with defensive indifference.
Mijares had had enough when Everett walked to the plate and he unleashed his infamous fastball. After the pitch sailed behind Everett both benches were warned and the inning commenced.
When Minnesota came to bat in the 9th inning it was Delmon Young with the unfortunate duty of leading off--knowing full well that he was likely going to be the target of a Detroit pitcher.
First pitch....Thwack! A direct hit and it looked like it hurt. Bad.
Young went down in a heap but hobbled to his feet quickly yelling and pointing at another player. He was very angry and I suppose having to suffer unnecessary and intentional pain is as good a reason as any to be pissed. This is where I will celebrate the response of Mr. Young.
Young’s anger was directed at Twins pitcher Jose Mijares, who threw a pitch behind Adam Everett in the eighth inning, sparking an ejection for Tigers manager Jim Leyland and an official warning to both benches. Bonderman whacked Young behind the left knee with his first pitch of the ninth inning, prompting Young to point directly into his own dugout, at Mijares.Imagine what our political landscape would look like if all politicians today would refuse to tolerate the foolish antics of their own party members and were willing to call out them out when they did something or said something that was indefensible.
“He wasn’t upset with them. He was upset with one of our teammates,” Twins outfielder Denard Span said. “I think he was thinking about it the whole inning before that and he realized he was on deck. I’m just glad it wasn’t me up.”
Delmon Young didn't like the idea of taking a pitch for his stupid teammate and called him out. I sort of like this guy.
coachlon passes this along from the Star Tribune
Posted By Roug at 9:22 AM
Thursday, October 01, 2009
I've done some clean up around here on my blogroll.
I've added Watts Up With That, Ric's Rulez and Popehat. I've deleted Little Green Footballs.
Watts Up With That is a blog that primarily discusses the nuts and bolts science behind our planet's climate debate. If you hear of any new report or statement made by a climate expert you can bet the discussion will quickly hit the pages of WUWT if it hasn't already.
Ric's Rulez is the blog of Ric Locke, a long time commenter over at Protein Wisdom whose understanding of politics and personality surpasses that of 99.99 percent of all blogs out there. He wishes he had better teeth.
Popehat is group blog that primarily discusses legal issues though it far from draws a line at that. The commentary ranges from biting to the simply informative, but it is always manages to be interesting. Keep your eye on Ken. He gets sarcastic.
Little Green Footballs is one of the most popular blogs out there. It helped to expose the liar Dan Rather for who he is and also introduced me to the guitar talents of both Andy McKee and Monte Montgomery. Philosophically we have simply parted ways.
Posted By Roug at 6:47 PM
In part six of her hard hitting series on liberal lies about health care, Ann Coulter says this:
But members of Congress, such as Reps. Dennis Kucinich, Jim Moran and John Olver, have all cited the U.S.'s relatively poor ranking in infant mortality among developed nations as proof that our medical care sucks. This is despite the fact that in many countries a baby born the size of Dennis Kucinich would not be considered a live birth.My side hurts.
Posted By Roug at 6:04 PM
I am a bit discouraged this morning with the way that things have progressed down in Lansing of late. Faced with unprecedented pressure on Michigan taxpayers and a growing number of citizens just waiting to flee the state for better opportunities, there are still a great number of politicians in Lansing chomping at the bit to raise taxes further in order to create jobs.
It seems as if every dollar taken from taxpayers these days is done for the purpose of creating jobs.
I love this quote.
"Police officers and firefighters protect our neighborhoods, our property and our lives," said House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Twp.). "We have to ensure that public safety remains a top priority. No business wants to locate in a state that allows criminals to take over its cities or doesn't have the manpower to respond to fires. To keep our residents safe and to grow our economy, we must protect the jobs of those who protect us."It used to be that putting out a house fire was, you know, to save the house. It used to be that tossing criminals behind bars was to protect citizens and punish the offenders. Now, apparently, these activities are primarily engaged in to promote job creation. (Oh, if we don't want criminals to take over the cities perhaps Detroit will refrain in the future from electing people like Monica Conyers and Kwame Kilpatrick to office.)
I'm sort of partial to this quote too...
"In order to create good-paying jobs, we must have a highly educated workforce," said House Majority Leader Kathy Angerer (D-Dundee). "Promise Scholarships open the doors to higher education for a whole generation of kids who have worked hard for the chance to compete for 21st century jobs. If we want a strong middle class that will attract emerging industries, then we must provide our young people with access to an affordable college education."It doesn't end there either. How many times have we heard that it is a "green economy" that will draw people to Michigan and help us compete for the jobs of tomorrow?
The moment is now to use our lean, retooled American manufacturing sector to build the green cars, batteries, a smart electric grid, wind turbines and solar panels that will lead us to energy independence.The same argument is made about Michigan's inclusion in a high speed rail system.
It's a time of dramatic, historic, national transformation. And despite today's devastating news, Michigan is ready to lead.
"Public transportation has gone underutilized in Michigan for far too long. A strong, interconnected mass transportation system is absolutely vital to competing in the global marketplace and will trigger the economic development we need to turn things around here in Michigan."It goes on and on and on.
There is virtually no line item in our state budget that cannot be used to argue that it helps to attract business and create jobs.
The problem is, of course, that this argument is exactly bass ackwards. It is a strong business community and the jobs and the wealth that it helps create that provides communities with the resources to adequately protect their citizens from fire and crime, educate its children, provide for public transportation systems, and creates the framework for tomorrow's businesses. It is never the other way around.
If Michigan bureaucrats want increasing wealth to return to this state it can only do so by creating conditions in which businesses can grow profitably, expand, and in turn hire people who will then pay reasonable taxes for police and fire protection, etc. It cannot be accomplished any other way, and it certainly cannot be accomplished by specifically promoting taxation and regulation that choke businesses of their ability to profit.
Too many of our elected officials, even after the second government shut down in only three years, still have not figured this out.
Now you know why I'm discouraged.
cross posted at Right Michigan
Posted By Roug at 11:56 AM