Monday, February 28, 2011

New Michigan Export: Tired Old Commies to Wisconsin

The casual observer might have difficulty ascertaining the validity of union protests as they have arisen in and around the capitols of several nearly insolvent states. This can prove particularly difficult with the national news media running interference for those taking part.

Such difficulty would quickly evaporate if one cared to do some research into the flocking birds gathered to take part in the protests.

One such mottled fowl is Cheryl LaBash whose recent pilgrimage from Detroit to Madison, Wisconsin was chronicled yesterday in the left leaning Detroit Free Press.

If that newspaper were one's only source of information, LaBash is merely a retired construction inspector in Detroit and is there only to stand in solidarity with other people concerned about the middle class.

Her trip has been selfless and tortured.

She sleeps on a marble floor surrounded by hundreds of other protesters, most of them decades younger. LaBash brushes her teeth and washes her face in a public restroom and grabs the occasional shower when she runs into a friend who has rented a hotel room during the protests.

She's been living on bratwursts, pizza and pastries donated by union sympathizers and longs for cups of coffee that she took for granted until her adventure began last week.
What is conveniently left out of the article is LaBash's long activist career within the communist community, serving as a national organizer and correspondent for the World Workers Party.

She loves her some Castro, Lenin, Stalin, and cop killers, and her affiliations suggest strong support of the Soviet invasions of Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, as well as a yearning itch that only the memory of Mao Zedong's magical fingers can adequately scratch.

Her heroes murdered as many as one hundred million people in the past century and enslaved many times more. But those, of course, were the wrong kinds of people.

LaBash is a woman of conviction and she has come prepared.
"There's a long tradition of people going to jail for their convictions," LaBash said.

She's ready to be jailed again, when police try to remove protesters from the Capitol at 4 p.m. today. If she's evicted, she brought along a tent just in case.

"Who knows, maybe it will be Madison this spring and summer."
A Michigander can only hope.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The New Civility in Lansing

Thanks to Jason and Jason Jr. over at Right Michigan.

caution--leftist foul language alert

Richard Trumpka Fills My Resume

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka has proven to be the only breathing person on Earth capable of enlightening me on what the left believes a job is and how much it costs.

Thanks, at least, for that much.

What's the best way to get Americans back to work?

Raise taxes, according to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Specifically, he wants to raise the federal gas tax as a means to fund infrastructure spending. "We need a dedicated source of revenue to create infrastructure in this country," he tells Aaron Task in the accompanying clip.

"We need to create jobs. The best way to do that is through infrastructure development."
Simply maintaining the existing infrastructure in this country will cost $2.2 trillion over five years, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. That doesn't include Obama's objective of high-speed rails and green energy projects.

Trumka didn't say specifically how much he would raise the gas tax, but mentioned he's shown the President a $256 billion plan to improve infrastructure. If every billion spent on infrastructure creates 35,000 jobs, as he claims, this package would create close to 9 million jobs over the next five years.
What is needed is more taxation.

That's right folks, taking the money directly out of the taxpayer's pocket, percolating it through the stifling filter of bureaucracy, and then earmarking that money onto inefficient union-waged projects is how to create jobs--a complication that would at least partially dissolve if these projects were administered outside the influences of the Davis-Bacon Act. But, who cares if the taxpayers get screwed in favor of union interests?

(For the record, I'm not totally against gasoline taxes, or, more specifically, any infrastructure usage taxes, as long as those taxes prove ultimately to be revenue neutral to the government and that the money is actually spent on the infrastructure targeted by the tax. But, is that ever the case?)

Thanks to the article, we know now that Trumpka believes an infrastructure job costs $28,571 dollars all costs inclusive. (One billion dollars divided by 35,000 jobs created.) Though, to be honest, I didn't realize that Trumpka would be satisfied with championing temporary jobs that paid about $9 an hour before overhead, taxes and benefits.

I say temporary jobs because in order to reach the 9,000,000 jobs number that is cited in the article, each job is counted on a per year basis. Using the same logic, a man that has been employed for ten years as a hardware clerk has not had one hardware clerk job for ten years, but has had ten different hardware clerk jobs (all of them created) each lasting for one year.

Imagine how many jobs could be created if each only lasted several months!

Smoke and mirror calculations are a mainstay of progressive job creation methodology, but they do make it easier to fill up a resume.

Thank you Mr. Trumpka!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Turn it Around Charlie

I've known addicts.

Alcohol. Crack. Heroin. That does not make me particularly experienced with addicts. I would guess that nearly everyone in America has known an addict or two whether or not they realize it.

The addicts that I knew were addicts, were all sympathetic characters. They tried to erase their mistakes to the point of torturing themselves. They knew their weaknesses. They vowed a changed life.

Then there is Charlie Sheen.

Sheen, deep beneath his truther, foul, delusional, confrontational, denying, abusive, unappreciative, and indulgent varnish, might be a marginally tolerable person. Really, to his credit, armed with only a stuffed wallet and a closet full of opiates, he is consistently able to attract some of the more opportunistic porn stars on the west coast for epic drug binges that can last for days. So, he has that going for him.

Personally, I find Sheen to be perhaps the most unconvincing actor on television since Jerry Seinfeld. And yet, Seinfeld's lack of acting moxie was part of his series' charm and success. Not so with Sheen.

Paid well over $1 million an episode to shove his expressionless face in front of a camera, his salary would seem to be, at least to the casual observer, more than adequate, and it might even generate the merest level of gratitude among the rest of us who command a lot less money and who can actually make a believable expression when the checkbook gets close to overdrawn. Alas, this does not seem to be the case with Charlie.

More power to Sheen for the money he has been able to command. Really. I am a free market kind of guy, and if the free market has deemed that Sheen is worthy of money enough to buy a suitcase full of illegalities every week, so be it. I don't complain about his salary or that of Alex Rodriguez, Bill Gates, or Madonna. (I do bristle a bit when a dork like Ben Affleck, paid $13 million for his role in Gigli, complains about the money earned by those who make their money in business.)

But Sheen represents all that is wrong with Hollywood. He seems completely oblivious to the wide trail blazed by his father for him. He seems unappreciative of the breaks he has gotten, unaware of the blind luck often involved in the success of any career, and so presumptuous about his worthiness of all things good and extravagant that he lacks the vision to veer from a disastrous course.

He is a guy too ensconced in Hollywood glitter to see the world in real terms, and his vocational narcissism is even more complicated by juicy parasitic porn harlots willing to share in both the laughs and the endless lines of thin white powder.

He is a train slowly crashing in front of the world; a redeemable person worthy of redemption, yet too shallow by circumstances and too addled by a compromised bloodstream to even care much.

He is smarter than everyone, wiser than everyone, braver than everyone, more worthy that everyone, more popular than everyone, and more wronged by all the wrong people. And, if he doesn't soon figure out he's not quite as clever as he believes himself to be, he's going to become prematurely cold as a canned mackerel.

It is really sad. I hope someone can make him listen.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Obama is an Idiot

From USA Today:

President Obama will challenge business and labor leaders today to generate ideas for creating jobs, sustaining the economic recovery and making America more competitive.

Obama will ask a new jobs council made up of business executives, labor leaders and economists how the government can change its tax, trade and regulatory policies to improve the business environment. The group meets for the first time today.
Never has a man been so daft when it comes to employment in the private sector.


Let businesses operate profitably and they will generate jobs as a result. They will need to hire employees to man the accounting department, to do research and development, and to get their products to market.

Jobs are a byproduct of profitability and wealth generation. They are not created to achieve wealth, and they are not the result of some master plan hatched in a secret room in Washington. The opposite is true. In the private sector, jobs must be justified continually for the integral value they provide in the generation of profit.

As such, the free market will be the final arbiter as to whether jobs are necessary. Jobs cannot be mandated upon businesses in a scheme to elevate the Dear Leader's perceived concern for millions collecting unemployment checks.

Jeffrey Immelt sits atop Obama's board of concern. He personifies the benevolence of Obama and His concern for His people. Sadly, Immelt is calculatedly sympathetic to Obama's ignorance when it comes to determining what a private business needs in order to survive. Immelt is a corporate welfare glutton eating from the extended hand of fascist government planners thrilled with their ability to pick and choose obedient winners.

Immelt is on board with Obama's agenda, and who wouldn't be given his position? His company can be guaranteed long term solvency as long as it agrees to tow the government's line. He can depend on perpetual favor from the benevolent government; favor that by definition hamstrings his competition.

So, Obama's assembled corporate business team meets ostensibly to determine what can be done to spur employment growth. The team's findings can then be presented to The Obama.

The non-starters are, of course, energy policy already in place designed to make energy cost prohibitive, environmental policy already in place designed to make it expensive to operate in a manner not approved by government authorities, labor policy already in place designed to make employees more expensive than they would be in non-coercive terms, fiscal policy already in place that has made capital difficult to obtain, and trade policy already in place designed to make domestic products more palatable by making foreign products unnecessarily expensive.

Of course, once you toss all of that out, Obama is ready to deal!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snyder's Strategy: Wait Until it is Too Late

A quote lifted from today's Detroit Free Press:

Gov. Rick Snyder said he wants no part of Wisconsin's turmoil and will negotiate concessions with state workers, not impose them. "We're two very different states," he said.

Snyder also distanced himself from GOP efforts to repeal binding arbitration for police and firefighters and required union-scale pay for public construction projects. But he said he supports giving emergency financial managers vast power in bankrupt cities and school districts, which union leaders say would allow union busting.
In other words, he is willing to continue on with the failed policies that got us into this mess to begin with, but he will work diligently to salvage what he can after things collapse.

Now that is vision.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mitch Daniels is a Coward

So much for my potential support of a guy that I was at least looking long and hard at for the upcoming presidential election.

America, we have been pushed up against a financial cliff. If not for our government's Godlike ability to simply print more money, we would have been insolvent years ago.

We don't have the wealth to sustain the types of crap that our various levels of government want to slather the citizenry with. We simply don't have the money.

Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana is in a rare position where he can put critical mass behind the push back. But he is balking.

America needs strong fiscal conservatives to save this country from plunging off a financial precipice. As luck would have it, the Hoosier State elected a RINO to high office when it, and America, needed a real conservative.

Elections matter.

Throw Pure Michigan a Bone

Michigan is surrounded by states hemorrhaging state legislators too atremble to cast votes inside their own state capitols. Yet none of these public servants have ventured inside the Great Lakes State for refuge.

Public servants, come to Michigan, we could use the added revenue to offset the Pure Michigan advertising campaign that obviously didn't appeal to you enough to get you into the UP or to St. Joseph.

I'm discouraged. Seventeen brave Democrats flee from Wisconsin heading for the state line and they end up at a Best Western in Illinois. Indiana's stalwart Democrat contingent heads for the border, splits up, and ends up halving its delegation between Illinois and Kentucky.

Don't these people get it? Michigan is THE union state! How better to support the union masses than to visit the state that first helped nudge this whole nation over a cliff by succumbing to unsustainable union demands?

Sure, Milwaukee teachers might be proud of their 46 percent graduation rate, but Detroit can beat that by nearly one in five! Indiana, you think you're in budget danger? Hah, in Michigan we've been raising taxes and fees on the innocent since Jennifer Granholm was good looking.

Only Ohio's delegation is left to choose a state to flee to.

Come on, we're Pure Michigan. Throw us a bone!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

It's Just One Business

It is good to know that the our ever-watchful benevolent overlords are letting no stone go unturned in their never ending quest to hunt down and punish hardened criminals.

In a state where true unemployment hovers near twenty percent, where incomes are plummeting, and from where residents are fleeing in search of more friendly environs in which to make a living, Oakland Township authorities are working overtime to stamp out the criminal activity of providing jobs in a manner clearly inconsistent with local ordinances!

From the Freep:

Both sides have been battling since Barkham, 59, of Dryden, a veterinarian who also owns Paint Creek Animal Clinic in Oakland Township, bought the cider mill property in 1981. A cider mill since 1947, it was closed for a number of years during the ownership transition. The township sued in 1983, saying the closure affected the cider mill's right to operate in the residential area.

A subsequent court order allowed the cider mill to reopen between Labor Day and Jan. 1. But strict guidelines limited operations, restricting sales to cider, popcorn and other mill-oriented goodies, and allowed a small petting farm.

The township went back to court in November, saying Barkham illegally added the sale of Christmas trees, firewood and tickets for a corn maze. On Jan. 20, Oakland County Circuit Judge Michael Warren found Barkham in criminal contempt. Warren could fine the mill up to $7,500 at a sentencing hearing scheduled for 1 p.m. today.
Oh, this makes a lot of sense.

The business operated for many years in the exact same location, using the exact same processes, and selling the exact same products. It was not the business that changed, but rather the attitudes of bureaucrats and the authority they assumed by fiat over those that pay they salaries. In 1947 it was just fine to squeeze apples into cider at that location. By the early 80s? Not so much.

The area that contained the cider mill was zoned residential and new requirements were placed upon the lands. The authorities waited like ravenous wolves until such time when they could snuff out the business altogether or make it operate in a way that they thought was appropriate.

That time came when the original owner sold the property. As the property changed hands the authorities stepped in to announce that the business could no longer operate in a residential area.

The business owner balked, continued to operate, and the two sides have been fighting ever since--after all, nothing announces a donnybrook more loudly than a man seriously trying to make a living versus those in authority that make a living trying to be taken seriously.

The last straw might have been the introduction of firewood and Christmas trees to the products sold at the cider mill--authorities apparently fearing that a once dignified neighborhood would descend into a land of discarded couches and blighted graffiti once gnarled oak becomes sold by the half cord next to hands-holding old folks traipsing through a cornfield.

This small chapter is but symptomatic of a hugely serious problem that affects the state of Michigan. Entire industries are being driven out of business by overlord puppeteers who believe they know better than those whose strings they pull. These same bureaucrats are championing new and non-viable industries that stand no chance of existing without a forever commitment of huge subsidy by future generations.

As a state and as a people we stand near the point of no return. To be an American used to mean something. It used to mean that we could struggle or succeed on the basis of our own merits. Now it means we are more likely to struggle or succeed based on the merits appointed to our efforts by government.

A small cider mill is not going to make or break the Michigan economy. The few jobs that might stand in the balance aren't going to impact the state's unemployment rate by anything other than the smallest of percentage points. Consumers can even go farther out of town and get an equally beautiful seasonal secular holiday tree or a taste of tart cider.

The point is that when this business is added to the tens of thousands of others that have been negatively affected by lame brained regulation for the sake of regulation, we do end up with a situation that can be measured in intrinsic terms.

One can only hope that those living in squeaky clean residential neighborhoods today, absent the nitty gritty businesses of generations past, don't mind looking at the for sale signs picketing unmowed lawns up and down the street.

You know, good with the bad and all that.