Monday, October 31, 2011

Turkia Abbott and Lou Ficano


I have to admit that I have not followed closely the appointment of Turkia Mullin to a directorship of the Wayne County Airport Authority. Her involuntary departure after only two months on the job is, however, interesting.

Ms. Mullin was considered a good public servant in Wayne County, in fact being so valuable that the County paid her $200,000 for leaving, and it is that exit payment that appears to have put the kibosh on her employment at the airport authority--a job for which she has no direct experience. (Oddly, you'd think that a valued employee would be offered $200K for sticking around and not beating the pavement, but this is not apparently how government works in Wayne County.)

What did Ms. Mullin do wrong? Aside from accepting a payment that may or may not have been illegally offered, we do not know. And, there is absolutely no reason to believe that Mullin was intentionally trying to receive an illegal payout. (Hey, I know its an unjustified and truly irrational payout, but does that make it illegal?)

What I find most interesting here is that it is Wayne County that should be heavily scrutinized for offering Ms. Mullin the $200K upon her departure, not necessarily Ms. Mullin who would have been a nutcase to turn down such an offer unless she thought the payment illegal.

But, the illegality of said payment is not so obvious. In fact, her exit payment (as well as some others) is under investigation right now, but it was not Ms. Mullin who wrote herself a check upon leaving, and it was not Ms. Mullin that demanded payment before she left. Ms. Mullin is certainly guilty of acting human when someone in authority and someone that you think is acting legally tries to shove stacks of crisp greenbacks across the table at you. But, to my knowledge, she didn't extort the payments and she didn't attempt to hide them once they were shoved at her by the greasy fingers of Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano.

Now, don't get to thinking that I think such payments make any sense. Whoever authorized such payments ought to be run out of their jobs on a high-speed rail because they clearly are not being good stewards of the people's money. In fact, I think any person in charge of any government authority that would think such payments justified should also be run out on a rail, after all, its the only way to be sure. Well, that or nuke them from orbit.

But, there is nothing that I can see to this point that makes me believe that Mullin was acting in any way other than human. These government agencies toss around money like feathers of a broken pillow, and what public servant properly desensitized to bundles of wasted cash wouldn't think it proper to accept a few if they were legally offered as thanks?

Ms. Mullin, upon the deserved scrutiny her payment received, returned most of the $200K. She also was put on the defensive by those who began to scrutinize her credentials for the job that she had already been hired for. This too seems like a government screw up (if a screw up at all)--this of the Airport Authority rather than Ms. Mullin. Good grief, if I thought I stood a chance of knocking down $250K running Detroit Metro I'd go for it. It isn't the applicant's fault that the hiring authorities offered Ms. Mullin the job without any previous airport experience.

Of course, Ms. Mullin is now threatening a lawsuit against the airport board and might be due a $750,000 cash settlement as a contract buyout for the job she's held for eight weeks and from which she's just been fired. (By the way, I think I got the wrong major in college.)

I'm certainly not suggesting that Mullin is innocent of all ethical wrongdoing in this saga. But I do find it odd that Robert Ficano is the one whose agency paid Mullin the disputed $200K severance, and that it is the same Robert Ficano whose airport board offered the inexperienced Mullin the airport job, with, I suspect, an outstanding letter of reference signed by none other than Robert Ficano. What's more, it is the same Robert Ficano who is politically behind the removal of Mullin from the airport job his appointed directors specifically hired her away from Ficano's Wayne County to fill.

Mullin might be a crony (and a reasonably good lookin' crony at that,) but it is Ficano who is pulling the strings here and a busy puppet master he is.

To recap, Robert Ficano has now successfully gotten Turkia Mullin removed from the same job he just recently had recommended her for, this after apparently losing faith in her for accepting the same severance check his office offered her for leaving her former job with Ficano, so that she could take the second job, also with Ficano.

Abbott and Costello could make a routine.


CS at Right Michigan points to more muddy water here.

Herman Cain Allegedly Guilty of Something! Roll the Presses

It appears as if Herman Cain is as guilty as his black skin might indicate. He's done gone and made some anonymous someone, a couple decades ago, allegedly, feel offended by something that he might have said or done. Whether or not what he said was intended to be offensive or not is irrelevant, as is whether or not what Mr. Cain said or did could be plausibly interpreted as offensive. (Incidentally, he says he was accused of harassment but has denied ever harassing anyone.)

This is what we have come to expect from politicians and the media who will spend an inordinate amount of time seeking out scandals among conservative political competitors while aggressively looking the other way when it comes to vetting progressive politicians who might, wink, wink, impregnate a campaign staffer while his wife is home dying of cancer.

How many snoops fled to the Alaskan woods to dig up dirt on Sarah Palin? Accusations of affairs, marital troubles, fraud, vindictiveness, cronyism, obstruction, etc., against the Alaskan governor were each given their days in the headlines--none of which were proved. Even her children became targets of progressive political merrymaking up to and including her Down's Syndrome infant son.

Michelle Bachmann and her Neanderthal! husband have undergone more religious inspection than did the twenty years that Barack Obama sat in the pews not listening to a single word spake by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. (Oh, he also didn't listen to Frank Marshall Davis, take tips from Saul Alinsky, take political cues from Bill Ayers and Madelyn Dohrn, snort a little coke, get a sweet deal from Tony Reszco, strong arm political opponents off the ballot, or steer millions in government grants to the employer of his wife.)

George W. Bush was accused by a democrat operative and Dan Rather of evading the Vietnam War even though the evidence was created out of whole cloth and with a technology that didn't even exist when Bush was in the Texas Air National Guard. (Why should such trivialities matter?) It was enough for Mr. Rather and his crack team of fact checkers at CBS to run with.

Which gets me back to Herman Cain.

Whoever is guilty of forwarding these accusations needs to be exposed for who they are--regardless of which camp they might be coming from. Some rumors are pointing at operatives within the Rick Perry campaign and if that is true Republican voters should hold him responsible. We should expect better from our Republican candidates.

I'm afraid, however, that we will not be able to expect as much from a liberal press that yearns for another four more years of Obama. This is a story that might very well have no natural legs on its own but that we can probably expect progressive journalists to duct tape fake legs to for however long it takes to damage Mr. Cain.

Politics is a dirty business but it needn't be so dirty if voters would, first of all, hold politicians responsible for the mischief they create, and secondly, if they would tell the legacy media to go jump in a lake.

Jack Frost Visits Oscoda County

Early Saturday morning I rose in order to visit my children in East Lansing to ascertain how successfully they are being indoctrinated into leftist culture and politics. (It probably drives the professors crazy when they discover just how counterproductive I was during their formative years.)

In any case, when I arrived at the car I saw this heavy frost pattern on the roof. I'm not a photographer but I snapped a picture anyway.

Winter is coming.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Another Great Moment in Bureaucracy

One of the many downsides of huge government is the number of rules and regulations that must be adhered to. The more complex these sets of rules and regulations become, the more difficult it is to satisfactorily navigate through the morass.

The city of Detroit is so far removed from sanity that we have come to expect knuckelheadedness in even the situations where obvious solutions are evident.

I give you the city of Detroit.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

2.5 Percent Rise In GDP Equals 4 Percent Rise in Oil

Today the US government released GDP numbers for the last quarter.

It was an anemic 2.5%. In historical terms, a quarterly GDP number this low is alarmingly low. It is not high enough to spur employment growth. It is not high enough to outpace modest inflation. It is not high enough to pull this country out of the serious economic doldrums it has dug itself into.

And yet, 2.5 percent is enough in today's energy depleted economy to send oil prices up over 4% and to a three month high. West Texas Crude hit $93 plus per barrel today on economic numbers that would have sent them a buck or two a barrel lower only two or three years ago.

I know we are suffering from a credit crisis. I know we have a serious debt issue. I know that unemployment is unacceptably high and that the American Dream is under attack in nearly all corners of this country. But, in my opinion, it is this country's obtuse energy policy that will keep it from recovering in a healthy way over the next few years.

America can simply not recover when every modest step it takes toward a rebound results in a shovel to the head in the form of energy prices.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Because It Worked So Well In Michigan

Jennifer Granholm's impact on the state of Michigan is still unfolding. She spent eight long years in the governor's mansion, each one of them dedicated to making Michigan less competitive on both the national and international stage.

She harmed employers through crippling regulations. She harmed employers by promoting regressive tax policies. She harmed the entire economic landscape through efficiency-hobbling initiatives that funneled taxpayer money to heavy Democrat constituencies. Unions gained in strength under her leadership while the services provided by those unions became more expensive and less efficient. She made energy expensive, cronyism cheap, and all the while knew she was blowing much of Michigan away.

Sadly, hindsight has taught her nothing. She regrets not having been tougher in office. She regrets not being forceful enough with her agenda. Her vision and leadership were all that could save the state. And save it she did.

During her tenure as savior, Comerica fled the Great Lakes State. As did Pfizer. As did portions of GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Meanwhile, despite the superior workforce she touted her job training programs and her public universities had helped to produce, Toyota opted for Texas, Volkswagen chose Tennessee, and Honda now produces cars in Indiana. Windtronics (despite a nice state grant) shipped their manufacturing north to Canada. Eaton moved theirs south to Mexico. Factories became shuttered from coast to coast, from peninsula to peninsula, and for sale signs began to spring up on lawns along the highways like mushrooms after a warm rain.

And yet, it is the wisdom and talents of Jennifer Granholm that will soon be on display at Current TV, the media company founded by former VP and Nobel Laureate Albert Gore. She is getting her own television show--The War Room with Jennifer Granholm.

From the promo:

During two terms as governor, she pioneered the state through an economic storm, strengthening its auto industry, preserving the manufacturing sector, and adding new, emerging sectors, such as clean energy.

Each night, Granholm will present a dynamic, fun and informative show that actively engage viewers with a blend of smart analysis and relevant commentary from guests on the cutting edge of politics, business and entertainment.
Only to Al Gore and the socialist left could the current condition of Michigan be a bragging point on a resume.

People silly enough to follow Granholm's sort of 'smart analysis and relevant commentary' on economics and business deserve to travel their own path to predictable ruin. The rest of us will only watch when we need a good laugh.

Oh No! Not Again...

This from an article on MLive yesterday under the title: Expect more pressure to raise minimum wage as percentage of those receiving it increases.

Anyone earning minimum wage in Michigan makes $296 a week for a 40-hour week, or $15,392 a year. Federal poverty level in 2011 is $10,890 for a single person and $14,710 for a couple.

Nationwide, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the percentage of employees working for minimum wage doubled from 2009 to 2010, going from 3 percent to 6 percent. The percentage of men receiving minimum wage or less nationwide rose last year from 1.9 percent to 4.5 percent

Some states are aggressively raising their minimum wages, led by the State of Washington, where the minimum wage will go up 37 cents on Jan. 1, 2012, to $9.04 per hour. Ohio is also raising its minimum wage Jan. 1 from $7.40 an hour to $7.70 per hour for non-tipped employees and $3.85 per hour for tipped employees, plus tips.

As the Occupy movement gains more supporters across the country expect more more discussion about raising the federal minimum wage. The Center for Economic and Policy Research is already arguing that if the minimum wage had kept pace with the economy, it would be almost $20 per hour.
Minimum wage laws fly in the face of liberty even though they are a tyranny based on benevolence. The results of minimum wage laws are always of the "unintended consequence" variety, while their motivations are of the "for the people" ilk.

While the article itself is rather straight in its presentation, it is in the comments that one can find the progressive favor for such intrusion into the private sector.

Here are facts that are rarely disputed among economists. First, since minimum wage increases are arbitrary and not based on increased productivity or profitability, the added cost of higher wages are inflationary. In other words, if a company has to absorb an additional $1,000 a week in payroll and other employment costs, in order to simply keep its head above water, the business must raise revenues to offset the new $1,000 in costs and must toss a few more dollars to the profit side in order to keep margins healthy. (Don't believe me on that last part? Try to get a commercial loan today with poor margins.)

But, what if a company is unable to get customers at the higher rates? (This occurs often to businesses whose products are more discretionary in nature.) Those businesses, unable to raise the additional $1,000 per week in receipts, must find other ways to make ends meet. The easiest way to do this is to lay off employees, and the first jobs to go are typically those that can be done with lower frequencies and lower skill labor. A business can have the back room swept less often, can make customers wait a bit longer in line before a cashier is available, or can try and handle the lunch hour with a smaller wait staff.

Each job has a price point. At a certain cost they are worth doing. At costs above this point they are not worth having accomplished as often or at all. By raising the costs of employment, more and more jobs are no longer worth doing at the prescribed rate.

The fact is, whenever the minimum wage laws are changed they increase unemployment among unskilled and new-to-the-marketplace workers while also offering an inflationary component to the entire economy. Those workers who hold on to their jobs gain nothing over the long term because their larger checks must purchase more expensive goods and services, while those who have been laid off lose big at the outset.

Another unintended consequence of higher mandated costs is the shifting of commerce from high overhead mom-and-pop operations to larger corporate behemoths such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot. While all progressives hate warehouse stores for the small businesses they supposedly destroy, they have no problem with encouraging the very sort of regulations that place a decided disadvantage on the backs of these smaller stores.

The minimum wage war is something that is fought every several years at the Michigan or national level. Foolishness has often been defined as employing the same failed solutions time and time again while each time expecting a different outcome.

The results of an increased minimum wage in Michigan are as predictable as the effects of gravity. We know that they will increase unemployment among the most vulnerable while also adding to inflationary pressures and, in addition, will put smaller employers at a disadvantage against low overhead businesses. No wonder it is in such favor among progressives.

Thank you sir, may I have another!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stop Being So Rude, Just Shut Up and Put Your Father Back On the Phone!

I am so blessed by being in my 50s and still being able to enjoy the company of both of my parents who have lived long and healthy lives. I have experienced few benefits due to my underemployment, but one is the ability to share a morning cup of coffee with my parents several times a week when I'm in town.

Last Wednesday was just such a morning as I pulled into drive the of their house at about 9:00 am. I entered their sweltering house and greeted my Mom with a quick hello but left my Dad alone as he was listening intently on the telephone. I would occasionally hear him toss out short responses such as "I don't know about that" and "Oh, a few years ago."

The conversation went on for another five minutes or so--my father occasionally interjecting a word here or there which was answered in kind by a muffled voice that I could pick up whenever the angle of my Dad's hand changed to allow the caller's voice to reach my ear.

I asked my Mom who he was talking to. "Some salesman or someone that wants some money." My Mom at that point began suggesting that my Father should just hang up on the caller, but My Dad has never been a man wont to engage in rudeness or the impolitic. So, on he listened with the occasional interjected word to the increased frustration of my Mom and interest in me. I gathered enough from what I could hear that the salesman was hawking a septic treatment designed to infuse the septic system with massive amounts of bacteria that would help the system from becoming overloaded and needing to be repaired or replaced. (Think expensive Rid-X.)

After another few minutes or so, my Dad began to say more forcefully that he was uninterested in what was being sold. While never being rude or raising his voice, it became obviously clear to me that the salesman was not going to take no for an answer--he was the kind of salesman who only understood the word 'no' when it was delivered by the sound of a dial tone. But, since my father has never hung up anyone in his entire life, the conversation continued on and on until my Dad was completely frustrated.

Of course, my Mom was willing to offer her advice. "Hang up on him." "Hang up the phone." "Hang up on him." As for myself, I was confident that I could dispatch the caller with a simple--"Dude, my Dad's not interested. What is it about "no" that you do not understand?"

Finally my Dad threw up his arms with the receiver clutched tightly in one hand and asked "What am I supposed to do?"

I was angry. My elderly Father has lived too long and gracefully to have to put up with the sort of crap being expelled by this anonymous asshole. "Let me have the phone," I told my Dad. He handed it to me without hesitation.

On the other end of the line I could hear a man blathering on (he believed at the time he was still talking to my Father) about the information that he had delivered and about the value of his product. Having delivered the information flawlessly and truthfully, he was demanding that my Father repeat to him what it was about his presentation that my Father either disagreed with or did not understand.

"Sir?, Sir?" I said into the phone. There was a slight pause as I introduced myself to the salesman. "I need to let you know that you are no longer talking to my Father. My name is Kirk and my Dad just handed me the telephone because he was getting frustrated. He is not interested in your product and he has told you several times already."

"Who am I talking to?"

"You are no longer talking to Boyd. You are now talking to Kirk, his son."

I must admit that there was a flurry of words from the salesman at this time that I don't entirely remember, and his flurry was matched with a flurry of my own that, because of my frustration, I have also forgotten. I know that I did not raise my voice.

This went on for several sentences, him talking, me talking, and nothing at all being communicated other than the noise that is created when different words from different mouths are crashed headlong into each other.

Then, perhaps in the short break it might take me to inhale, I heard this..."Mind your own business. Be a good Son, and give the phone back to your Father." Classic.

"What?" I remember asking this with a disbelieving tone in my voice. "Hey, my Father just handed me the phone. At that point I think it became my business. You wouldn't listen to him so he handed the phone to me. He is not interested in your product."

"Shut up and give the phone back to your Father. You are causing him to lose money."

"Maybe I am, but it is his money. He can do with his money what he wants and he is not interested in your product."

"He has used the product in the past and was satisfied. Give the phone back to your Dad. You are being rude."

"You're kidding me! You just told me to shut up and now I'm the one being rude?"

This seemed to snap him back to the fringe of reality as he slowed down and attempted a different tactic. "Let's go back to square one. Who am I talking to?"

I have to admit that at this point I was no longer upset and was having a bit of a good time. I was happy to continue this conversation.

"Sure. Let's start over."

"Okay, my name is Joe. I'm the account manager."

"Hello, Joe. My name is Kirk. I already told you my name earlier when I introduced myself."

"I'm sorry, I must have missed that."

At that point Joe leaped off into another sales pitch having deduced that I was now the one that needed to be sold, not my Father. He talked about the oils included in today's new cleaning products. He talked about their impacts on a septic system. He talked about the buildup they caused on sewage lines, about the reduced flow this buildup could cause, and how this could result in major problems. He yammered on and on for several minutes. Admittedly I had been ignoring most of what he said, so when he asked me a question, I had no idea what his question even involved but I faked it. Satisfied with my response, he went on again, this time launching into the costs associated with failing to use his product. A replaced septic system would cost $7,000. A pumping of the septic would run my Dad $300. Calling a plumber in to do work on the system could cost additional hundreds.

"Are you a plumber?" he asked me.

"No, my brother in law is the plumber."

"Well, you probably know then how expensive all of this could get. This could cost your Father a lot of money."

"Joe, you might have a great product. It might be the best product on the market. But the fact is that all of this is irrelevant. It is not my money. It is not your money. It is my Dad's money, and he does not want to buy your product."

"You need to stop being so stupid and give the phone back to your Father. Why are you even there? Don't you have a job? Are you there because you are living off your parents? Be a good son and give the phone back to your father."

"Joe, where are you calling from? What company do you represent?" Up until this point I knew the type of product he was selling but did not know which company was employing him to prey off my Father's politeness and to occasionally, whenever the need would arise, to accuse his customer's family members of preying on unsuspecting patriarchs. "What number are you calling from."

"The same number that showed up on your caller ID."

"We don't have caller ID here. Where are you calling from?"

He gave me the 800 number of the business and told me he was calling from Florida. He also made certain that I understood that my Dad had purchased the product from him in the past, apparently giving his phone call the necessary wiggle room to avoid do-not-call restrictions.

"Oh. I thought I could detect a Florida accent." Now, I have no idea why I was trying to engage this guy in casual conversation other than the fact that I was having a pretty good time. Perhaps it was stupidity.

"I don't have a Florida accent. I am from New York. You must be too stupid to recognize a New York accent." Yep, it was stupidity.

"Oh, well, I've known people from Florida that had similar accents." I was responding to the guy with a mirth in my voice because the whole situation had become humorous to me. I had never in my life had a conversation like this. I was being entertained!

"You're wasting my time. Why don't you shut up, be a good son, and put your Father back on the phone."

"Because he is not interested in your product."

"I tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to call him back later in the day when you are not around."

"You had better not call him back later in the day. He has already told you that he is not interested in your product. I don't want you to call back here and I don't want anyone else from your company ever calling here again."

"Well, your Father has already given me his credit card information."

I knew that this was a lie. My Father is as blind as a bat and couldn't read numbers if they were written in bold red on the side of a barn. "So, what are you telling me, Joe? Are you saying that you plan on charging my Father's credit card for a product that he has told you that he does not want to buy?"

"No, I'm not saying that. I wouldn't do that."

"Then why would you even mention it? Is there some sort of identity theft issue that my Father now has to be concerned with?"

"No, I would not do that."

"I cannot figure out why you would mention having his credit card information unless you were trying to threaten me with an illegality."

Joe clearly did not want to continue to discuss the credit care issue. He moved on. "Well, when your Father's septic tank fails and needs to be replaced and it costs him thousands of dollars to have it done, I'm going to call him up and say 'I told you so."

"How in the world are you ever going to find out if and when my Father's septic tank goes on the fritz? Do you have spies out here that monitor sewage levels?"

"And, when your septic tank fails, I don't want any phone calls down here threatening to sue us."

"Why would we ever call you if the septic tank failed?"

"Because of the costs of replacing a septic tank and because your Dad has been using the product for the past few years. You might claim the product failed. You know what? You are just wasting my time. I'm going to call back later when I can speak with your Father. I'm going to hang up on you."

"You called here and you don't think you are wasting my time?"

"I'm going to hang up and call back later. You are too stupid to talk to and you are costing your Father money."

"Joe, please don't hang up on me. What about my feelings?" Click.

After twenty plus minutes with my Dad on the phone and another fifteen minutes more with me, Joe had determined that too much of his time had been wasted.

I went and hung up the phone thoroughly impressed that I had outlasted possibly the rudest and most obstinate sewage treatment salesman on Earth. I went back and discussed with my parents some of what had been said.

I then did a Google search of the phone number he had given me to see if I could find any consumer complaints lodged against the company for its sales tactics. I found none but decided I'd call the company to lodge my own complaint.

I dialed the 800 number worried that I was going to get Joe back on the line and that he would have to hang up on me again, after all, a man's self esteem can only withstand so much. My fears were calmed when the phone was answered by a nice young lady not named Joe with an accent decidedly un-NewYorkerish.

I told her that I wanted to speak with a supervisor. She assured me that she could help me. I told her a second time that I wanted to make certain I was speaking with someone that supervised the account managers. Again, she assured me that she could assist me with whatever I was calling about.

"Do you supervise Joe? I'm calling from Michigan and Joe called here this morning and I want to lodge a complaint about him."

"What did he say to you?"

I did my best to recount all of the things that occurred, trying to lay them out similarly to this blog post. Of course, I probably remembered a few things then that I forgot to write here, and I probably wrote some things here that I forgot to mention to the supervisor.

When I mentioned the credit card number and that I was going to be very angry if Dad was charged for product he did not want or became a victim of identity theft, she wanted clarification. I repeated that part of the story to which she assured me that Joe had no credit card information. While I knew that my Dad had not given the information to Joe I was not so certain that Joe did not have access to the credit card information through his access to my Father's sales file--after all, Joe was the account manager.

Finally, after I had completed my account of events, the supervisor told me that when she heard the phone ringing that she wondered if it was me. She told me that she had wandered out into the call area and heard Joe's part of the conversation and told me that Joe had definitely "crossed the line." Joe was going to be reprimanded.

I told the lady that my Dad should not have to suffer through any more of these calls and that I did not want Joe or any other representative of the company calling him back. She quickly and resolutely agreed and assured me again that the credit card information was secure, that Joe would not call him back, and that no other representative from her company would ever contact my Father again.

We ended our call in the traditional manner without anyone being hung up on and, thankfully, with no one's feelings being damaged.

Approximately twenty minutes later the telephone rang again. My Mom answered the phone, paused, and then handed the telephone to my Dad. My Dad listened for a few seconds and then handed the phone to me.

I said into the receiver, "Hello, this is Kirk."

On the other end of the line was the general manager or owner of the company that Joe had called from. Once again I was asked to recount my side of the story. This time, however, while retelling the story I was kindly encouraged to continue. For instance, when I mentioned that Joe had told me to 'mind my own business' the general manager interjected that he thought it was definitely my business. When I told him that I had been repeatedly called stupid, that I had been told to shut up numerous times, and that I had been told to mind my own business and be a good son, my words were greeted with empathy. He too was concerned when I mentioned the credit card part of the conversation and assured me that Joe did not have that information.

"I want you to know that Joe is not just getting a reprimand. He is being fired. What he did is inexcusable and we cannot have that here."

To my insistence that I did not want anyone from his company to call my Father again, he said he didn't blame me one bit and that no one would call.

He apologized again and we hung up.

In retrospect I couldn't help but wonder what Joe's problem was. Meth? Coke? Was he wrestling with the manic side of a bi-polar incident? I am not gloating over the loss of his job and my intent was not to get the man fired. I told the general manager as much when he told me Joe was being terminated. The guy needs some help.

The truly sad thing about this whole story is that I did not have to embellish it in the least. Some of the comments might be slightly out of the order in which they were originally uttered and I'm certain I forgot portions of what was said--for instance, I know I was called stupid at least five times, but I cannot remember what I said to prompt Joe's wrath each individual time. To the best of my ability and recollection, this story is recounted as accurately as possible but if I can think of anything else I'll add it to the bottom in an update.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Leonard Pitts on Herman Cain

From the freep

One of the least-discussed impacts of the black experience in America is its emotional toll. African Americans were psychologically maimed by this country, the expression of which can still be seen in the visceral self-loathing that afflicts too many.

Meaning the black child who equates doing well in school with "acting white." Meaning the famous black man who bleaches his skin. Meaning the famous black woman who rationalizes her use of a certain soul-killing racial epithet. Meaning Herman Cain.
Pitts plays the identity politics card with such mastery that not only is Cain's authenticity as a black man challenged, but today's black populist culture is itself forwarded as evidence of legacy racism.

Leonard Pitts is left to define for the rest of us who is a bigot, who is self-loathing, and who is inauthentic, and is also kind enough to point out the two types of African-Americans that we crackers can tolerate--which I truly appreciate as its just like having a Caucasian owner's manual!

For my part, I don't know Herman Cain the candidate as well as I expect to know him over the next few weeks and months, but his message of conservatism is refreshing--not because it is a message of black conservatism, but because his message is one that this pasty skin American believed in before he was introduced to the inauthentic Mr. Cain.

As for Pitts, living life must be miserable when you cannot take even one day off from keeping score.

What's Next, The $22.95 Cup of Coffee?

Starbucks is worried about the extinction of the coffee bean according to the company's director of sustainability, Jim Hanna. Global warming rears its ugly head again.

With a typical cup of coffee at Starbucks already more expensive than a six pack of gray tube socks, I don't think an escalation in the price of a Grande Caffè Misto will affect me much.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Circle of Life: Government Style

At the same time that the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation has announced plans to cut its bus service by 22 percent and to lay off 123 people, Ray LaHood has announced that SMART will be receiving federal grants totaling nearly $5 million for new buses.

In the government's circle of life, the albatross is never allowed to die.

Friday, October 14, 2011

This One Was Not For the Children

There are many winners in the plea deal that resulted from the dismissal of Teresa Gueyser from her Superintendant's post at the Detroit Public Schools--this shortly after she was exposed to Detroit's School Board President fondling himself while he sat across from her at a meeting.

As sympathetic as the lawyer turned adminstrator might seem, she gets to walk away with a cool $650,000 that could otherwise have been used to, well, educate children. Of course, Otis Mathis, the self-pleasuring public servant in trust of the education of his city's children, gets off (I'll bet you didn't see that one coming (or that one)) with a couple years probation for his admitted behaviors while simultaneously avoiding the embarrassment of other disclosures.

The DPS itself, perhaps the most incompetently run government entity this side of Mogadishu, gets to avoid what could have easily amounted to even larger legal fees while not having its already besmirched reputation dragged farther into the gutter in full view of the district's parents.

There are words that aptly describe Otis Mathis though I will leave them untyped should Mom stumble onto this rant while looking for important cake recipes in Mennonite history. There are other words and terms every bit as fitting (and more palatable to your typicaly anabaptist) to describe Gueyser; opportunist, sufferer of Münchausen, selfish git, typical bureaucrat. I find one simple word appropriate to describe the DPS; failure.

The driving force behind the education of children has become money. Not necessarily the money actually needed to educate the little rugrats, but the chambers full of treasure to be divided among the educrats so that little Johnny and Little Sally can drop out after completing the 11th grade while their older siblings, Billy and Susan, having received their own diplomas can scantly read the word Diploma stamped on its face.

$650K is peanuts to a school district so awash in red ink that the new punishment will scarsely register a blip, and $650,00 is less than peanuts to a city with problems so numerous that a public snake charming hedonist can seamlessly rise to the level of School Board President after he had already climbed to the board room of Wayne County.

The scoreboard looks like this. Gueyser gets her some cash, Mathis can entertain some other unsuspecting victim (that is, should the miracles of modern medicine fail him in his never ending quest to stop yanking himself in public) and the DPS can avoid having its name in the papers throughout a very embarrassing and protracted court litigation. The kids? Who cares, the education establishment has bigger fish to fry.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Confusing Orwell

Okay, I'm in Georgia right now and blogging is almost impossible, but at the very least certain hypocrisies must be exposed and ridiculed.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has filed a brief in support of the Justice Department in a lawsuit brought against the Lutheran Church.

The case involves a former teacher at Lutheran school, who along with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is pushing a claim that a Lutheran congregation should be forced to restore her ministry position.
Let me see if I have this right.

A group whose adopted name would seem to indicate that it exists ostensibly for the purpose of keeping the church out of the state's business and the state out of the church's business, has decided instead to cast lots with Eric Holder and Barack Obama in their attempts to put the government in charge of the church's personnel policies for ministers.

We know, of course, that these control freaks are not interested in church and state separation but rather endorse a rigid hierarchy where the church rests comfortably underneath the heel of state tyranny. Saying so just doesn't sell as well.