Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cher, Sting, Madonna, Pele and Now....Rory?

Harry Reid possesses anti-coattails. So toxic are Reid's political fortunes that even his own son, Rory, is tiptoeing around his surname.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Michigan Smoking Ban Protest

I did something on Monday night that I have not done in probably close to two years; I went down to the corner bar, sat on a stool, and ordered a beer. That night I also did something for the first time in my entire life; I went down to the corner bar, sat on a stool, ordered a beer, and breathed smoke free air.

It has been over six weeks since Michigan's ban on smoking in most bars and restaurants took effect, and I have to admit it was nice sitting there without the smoke entering my lungs and permeating my clothing.

It was not so nice for the cook or the bartender, who can no longer smoke on the job, or for the business owner whose revenues are off about twenty percent since the ban started.

To compensate, some employees' work hours have been scaled back. The cook and bartender, who depend on tips to supplement their already less than attractive wages, are finding that both their paychecks and the tip jar are a bit lighter.

It isn't that crowds of people are avoiding the bar now that the ban is in effect, though some people certainly do that. The problem for the owner and employees is that shortly after patrons come into the bar and order a drink, that familiar craving for a cigarette starts to kick in. Shortly after that the patron gets up and goes home--taking his nearly full wallet with him.

Oddly, benevolent proponents of the legislation have not been frequenting taverns often enough to make up for the losses even though their squawking prior to law's enactment made it sound like the only reason they weren't down there cutting a rug or playing pool 24/7 was those damn Camels.

Its almost as if our dear overlords were making a law aimed primarily at controlling the legal behavior of other people in a private establishment. On the other hand, maybe it wasn't until after the smoking ban took affect that they discovered most bars use paper napkins and blare George Jones on the jukebox.

From a comfort standpoint, I like the ban. From the standpoint of freedom, I think that our overlords in Lansing are engaging in a tyrannical power grab and sticking their bulbous noses where they do not belong.

I am not here today to rehash my arguments against the ban, I've done that enough times that even Mom is bored with it. What I am posting about today is a response that many bar owners affected by the ban are undertaking--a boycott of Michigan Lotto for one business day.

That day would be today.

Of course government lottery officials are arrogantly sticking their noses in the air over such short-sighted protests. The businesses are "only hurting themselves" they say flippantly while reaching, pinkie in air, for the Almas.

However, what else should Lansing expect from taxpaying private business owners and their taxpaying employees who have had their incomes slashed by government for no other reason than George Washington isn't around today to kick our legislators' asses?

While government officials mock restaurants and bars for their resistance, businesses that operate on low margins might have only one other recourse left, and that might be to shut the doors once and for all. Which, come to think of it, might suit the state just fine. Out of business taverns are also smoke free.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ah...Frugal Government Strikes Again

Okay, I know, with a national debt laying comfortably above the $13 trillion mark and with additional unfunded government obligations hurtling well past the $100 trillion threshold, it is almost petty to point out individual situations that help to turn small government projects into larger ones.

A local Oscoda County project is just one minute example of how small becomes bigger and, by projection, how large can become gargantuan.

Residents of Perry Lake in Comins Township are being subjected to a $400,000 special tax assessment for the construction of a $98,000 dam project to help regulate water levels. The difference between the $98,000 and the $400,000 is, you guessed it, fees, permits, and engineering.

I'm not the kind of guy that wants some other guy with a shovel and a third grade education out there building a dam in sensitive wetlands without any direction, and I don't want some rabid homeowner taking out this sort of project on his own either. However, to get to the point where a three week long, $98,000 project ends up taking seven years and $400,000 to even get started strikes me as being government at its most typical.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hope and Change: Milk Police Edition

The EPA desires to regulate the very gas we exhale as a pollutant. By classifying CO2 as a greenhouse gas it would grant our federal government unprecedented powers to regulate business, commerce and individuals to an extent that would get EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's ass kicked by any one of the Founding Fathers had she the misfortune of making her case in the 1700s.

It appears as if Washington, Franklin, Hancock and Adams would have yet another reason to bruise the backsides of today's purveyors of the nannystate as the EPA makes strides toward classifying milk as a hazardous waste.

Believe it or not, according to Obama's legions in Washington, Elsie is spewing toxins out her udders. The Earth may never recover.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Words Versus Action: A Presidential Primer

What day is it now? Day 45, 50, 55?

Regardless, as we near the end of the second month since the US's most destructive ecological disaster in history began, our President has not spoken to BP's CEO, the man in charge of the company responsible not only for the initial disaster, but the company also spearheading efforts to stop the oil leak, and the company being held responsible for paying for the clean up.

Nearly two months after the explosion on and collapse of the Deep Well Horizon, our Ass Kicker in Chief still has not figured out that speaking to BP's CEO might be a good thing.

President Obama, have you spoken with the CEO of BP to discuss the oil spill in the Gulf?

“No… when you talk to a guy like the BP CEO, he’s going to say all the right things to me. I’m not interested in words. I’m interested in actions.”
Those are mighty good sounding words there, Mr. President. Now, how about you actually do something and speak to the man?

Monday, June 07, 2010

A Retirement Seventy Years Too Late

Helen Thomas has retired after controversial comments she made over the weekend concerning Israel and her beloved Jews.

"Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine."

"Remember these people are occupied and it's their land, not Germany and not Poland.

"They can go home, Poland, Germany, and America and everywhere else."
That this gargoyle of a woman could hold down such an esteemed job for so many years is a testament to the acceptance of progressive ideology among journalists.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Detroit's Image

Detroit's image is a concern to anyone hoping that the state of Michigan ever makes a significant economic comeback. Much of the city stands knee deep amid the crumbling structures that housed the manufacturing and manufacturers of the Motor City.

The city government is millions in debt, its schools system is recognized as being among the worst, if not the worst, in the whole country, its halls of politics have been greased with corruption for generations, and its history of crime and poor race relations stain its blemished skin like a botched $13 tattoo.

Dave Bing has a lot of ground to make up.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing knows he has a long road ahead as he attempts to attract new businesses and residents to his struggling city.

"We need to work hard as hell to change our image," he said Friday at the Detroit Regional Chamber's 2010 Mackinac Policy Conference.
And yet, when asked point blank by Paul W. Smith whether or not he would support making Michigan into a Right to Work state, Bing tosses out a simple and unhesitating "no."

Businesses locate to an area for many reasons, but the most important reason for any business to move to another location is because of the potential profitability in the new area. That's it.

Grand libraries and a well trained work force are great, and they might even be the deciding factor in a business choosing one city over another if potential profit margins are more or less equal among competitors, but secondary factors are nothing more than secondary factors.

What Detroit's political leaders do not currently understand will haunt that once great city for future generations.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Defining Michigan's Failure in One Sentence: Volume 8

From today's Detroit News:

Despite multimillion-dollar budget shortfalls in school districts across Metro Detroit, teachers continue to enjoy generous benefits that range from free health care to longevity pay, an analysis of teacher contracts in 10 of the area's largest school districts shows.

Freedom Flotilla Blah Blah

Israel perhaps should have waited until the "Freedom Flotilla" exited international waters before they boarded the six vessels. This, however, would not have changed anything other than to deny fawning pro-terrorist factions the only thread of legitimate outrage it is now entitled to.

The second that the Mavi Marmara hit Israeli the IDF should have boarded the vessel brandishing more than paint balls. Film clips of the boarding clearly show flotilla peace activists wielding clubs and beating the boarding soldiers. Many of the activists are thought to have ties to pro-Islamic terrorist groups.

The reaction across the world is not surprising because, it seems, there is a vast majority of dopes on this Earth. Governments in Turkey, Spain, Britain, and elsewhere were quick to condemn Israel for its brutal tactics; tactics that included advance warnings, the soldiers boarding the ships with insufficient weaponry to protect themselves, and an offer by the government to transport the aid itself if the ships would offload their cargoes at the Israeli port of Ashdod.

But had the activists accepted such maneuverings they would have had difficulty creating the public relations coup that pro Palestinian propagandists desire and that self-loathing Jews and other international Jew-haters habitually swallow. If this was not the case, why didn't the flotilla try and deliver the aid through Egyptian authorities who also have put strict rules of passage onto the terrorist state in Gaza?

Quickly stepping to the condemnation plate was the Christian Peacemaker Teams website where an activist opined that

The only difference between this tragedy and a terrorist attack is that this was committed by a government that is politically and financially supported by the victims' own countries.

Even in the US it is more than expected by travelers to have luggage rummaged through at the border. This is routinely done to limit contraband into the country. Why should terrorist sympathizers be held to a lower standard than the US holds white haired grandmas traveling from Kitchener to Detroit?

This was pure and simply a public relations stunt seeking to stir up anti-Israel attitudes among people that already hold Israel in contempt. Only after the Jewish state ceases to exist in toto will there be lasting peace in Palestine. Well, that and after the whole Sunni-Shiite score is settled. Oh, and lets not forget that distasteful infidel thing.

Then we can all sit back and relax peacefully while scores are settled in Kashmir, Sumatra, Egypt, Thailand, Chechnya, Nepal, China, Spain, India, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria, Paris, London, and at Fort Hood.

Inalienable and Self Evident

to all, except, it seems, to certain members of the political class in Michigan who would deem it necessary for a state licensing bureau to determine who should be able to practice free expression with a glossy Michigan seal of approval.

“What’s the definition of a reporter? I haven’t been able to find out? What’s a reporter? What’s a journalist?” [State Sen. Bruce] Patterson said. “I thought you had to have a degree in journalism but apparently not. I could retire and be a journalist.”

Patterson acknowledged the legislation is unlikely to pass -- it has no co-sponsors and was referred to committee last month -- but said he hoped to start a conversation that would continue beyond his time in office. His interview with appears to have had that effect, as voices in traditional and new media have expressed opposition.
Hey, dipstick, the whole point behind our Founding Fathers recognizing individual rights as inalienable and self-evident was so that future high falootin' wannabe tyrants such as yourself would not even entertain the notion of regulating or limiting them. Maybe the next time you have too much time on your hands you could better spend it trying to regulate gravity or the tides or static electricity.

PS. Bruce, I have that journalism degree. So, seriously, you can kiss my butt--I'm requesting it on the up-and-up.