Disagreements

I disagree with the Supreme Court permitting politicians to condemn personal property to enhance the tax base. This opens the door to corruption.

I disagree that Livonia has authority to reject Wal-Mart as the developer of a defunct mall. This neighborhood did not support higher class stores.

I disagree with this questionnaire we received.

City of Farmington, Historic District Study Committee Survey:

  1. Preservation Ordinance: Improve protection of the overall character of the historic district?
  2. Eligibility for rehabilitation tax credits?
  3. Binding review by the Historical Commission of plans for exterior work to houses?

In 1964, HUD and cross district busing destroyed our lovely neighborhood in Detroit’s Marygrove area. We searched the suburbs for an affordable neighborhood to raise our four children. This big old house on Grand River was low on the salesperson’s recommendation list—it needed work and the owner was awaiting trial. We would have looked elsewhere had there been a Historical Commission overseeing our personal tastes. My wife and I enjoyed rebuilding it ourselves as our children grew up and left.

The house changed from old to historic during our tenure, but we continue to fix it up as we see fit. Tax benefits for complying with a controversial preservation ordinance come at the expense of its opponents. We do not ask for taxes lower than our neighbors, nor do we expect them to be higher. The Historical Commission’s power to determine an owner’s eligibility for rehabilitation tax credit must be used wisely, if at all.

Pete recovered some old film negatives Betty had saved. Picture technology is growing rapidly, and the ability to research the past produces great memories. When our kids were small, I instituted a 50 cent allowance to be collected Saturdays if they could take it away from me, teaching them to fight for what they get. Many years later, they revived the custom, recorded on film. I was not sorry, but it cost me 50 bucks this time.

Hurricane Katrina may be the ill wind that blows some good. America was primarily an Indian hunting ground before pioneers developed the natural resources of wood, coal and oil. Some descendants would turn back the clock, purportedly to save the planet. They protect forests, hinder coal mining and protest drilling for oil. They prohibit construction of refineries and nuclear power plants, adding to shortages. The Sierra Club halted repairs to levees, saving wetlands but flooding New Orleans. If the high cost of fuel and paying for this disaster make us angry enough to send environmentalists to happy hunting grounds, the rest of us will be able to afford our bountiful resources.

Betty upgraded her AT&T cell to Cingular. SBC now owns both services and advertises:

“Combine SBC and Cingular Wireless® Bills. Eligible MySBC customers can now combine their Cingular Wireless and SBC local services into a single monthly bill for greater convenience and potentially qualify for a monthly discount off their Cingular Wireless rate.”

It seemed simple but the salesman gave up. Emails produced rejections and offered a phone number for solutions. An agent told me everything was fine, but no payment appeared on the SBC bill. My bank statement included $76.10 withdrawn August 31 from a closed ATT account that I can no longer access. A Cingular agent explained the cell phone with Betty’s name and social security number differed from DSL and services using my name and social security number. She must check our credit record, making me angry—our phone bill has been paid on time for 57 years and the subject is how to pay. She followed up days later telling Betty our cell service would stop at midnight and we must call another number to restart it. I called the next morning explain that my wife and I have different social security numbers to agent Jamie Andrews. She restarted our cell service and confirmed with a “Transfer of service completed” from her personal email address. Paying separate bills would have been easier but automation is challenging.

Roman Candles of October

So!  What was once old, is new again. With the Harriet Miers nomination withdrawn, the press is speculating again! Lucky us! As Punditry Inc.  speculates the day of indictment for Karl Rove, Lewis Libby and Tom Delay, perhaps, the prosecutorial barking will go further up the tree-house ladder! We Must stay tuned! Should we endeavor to wade through the drivel of the mainstream media’s prognostications; “They have all the angles covered!” We are inundated with sources “inside” the White House, the Special Prosecutors Office, the office of Ronnie Earle, “sources” close to Libby, Rove, an Interstate Rest Area rumored to be frequented by Republicans, and of course, the “un-named sources” in the executive office of our loveable shrubbery. So many angles, so many news shows, so many “sources”, so many opinions. Fortunately for us in Fly-Over country we’ve got Adam Corrolla on the TLC Channel… if you do not have cable TV… you must suffer.

Republican critics are convinced the wheels have come off of the Right-Wing juggernaut. Declarations are that the mighty Republican agenda and the Bush Political machine is kaput. Democrats in all their glee and capacity are out not to police the Republican leadership, but simply jail them. Do not pass go!  A phone call to one’s attorney suffices as an admission of guilt. The Democratic Party’s plan for America? “If you’re not with us, you’re Guilty!”

Sadly, like so much of what passes for news in this world, the allegations against The Hammer will take time to verify. Since the Dems have no real proof of Delay’s guilt, other than that the “Hammer” and Republican strategists are better at diminishing Democrats’ national elective prospects. The Dems are now merely hoping to stall the Republican agenda with attempts to scandalize the political process. Proposing nothing of their own to move America along, the Democrats, the press and their leftist allies simply resort to the most cynical form of pestering and smear, hoping the electorate will hate them less.

After watching the debates between Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick and challenger Freeman Hendrix, we are unimpressed with both candidates. The Mayor, very well spoken, confident, seemingly adept of the issues and probable solutions, continually finishes fine or at least expected answers with a bite of Rockport, Converse, or Florshiem. These sole-food finishes explain why he will probably lose the election. A man so seemingly intelligent, likeable, and energetic has let others define him, failing to stand out in front of not only the good news in Detroit but the bad.

Freeman Hendrix seems like a fine person. I’ve read his web page bio, but he is dull. Trustworthy? Yeah, probably. But dull. Dull may be what Detroit needs. Simple steadfast leadership, bookishly dealing with the city’s many needs. The former Dennis Archer Executive has no bling, little fire, & nothin’ to write home about. What are all of the “investigative” wings of Detroit media outlets going to do if this guy gets elected? It’s back to the usual conniving Contractors and Nigerian Internet fleece artists. Maybe, just maybe, the City of Warren will generate some teasers for the local nightly news broadcast.

An Open Letter

Congressman and Senators,

Based on geography, and little else, YOU are my ostensible representative. I DO NOT use the word ostensible as a jest, nor with contempt. I am utilizing the term based on my perception of the representation we receive and how it relates to the State of Michigan and your sworn duty to serve Michigan’s interests in Washington D.C.

Michigan, which serves ostensibly as your ’home’, as you may have noticed, is in a condition of economic freefall. Many are leaving the state, many have taken wage cuts, been “downsized”, or simply “outsourced”. I use those gentle terms because those are the terms that seem to have pull in Washington these days. These ‘softer’ adjectives seem to be articulated most often on the Sunday News shows and throughout the media in general. They are terms and that seem to lessen the otherwise blunt forced trauma of real-life words like “FIRED”, “Out of Business”, or “Relocating the business to another state/country”.

So, I’m watchin’ the tube and I see all of these semi-legal to illegal demonstrators protesting the possibility of the federal or state governments actually enforcing the immigration laws that are in effect, (AKA: “doing the job they’ve sworn to do!”) or perhaps enact newer, supposedly “tougher” legislation to restrict the flow of ‘illegals’ into our country from Mexico & elsewhere. As I watch those here illegally sticking their illegal status in my face, I see and hear my ostensible representatives using cautious terms like: “amnesty program”, and “guest worker program”, and saying that our industries; “couldn’t survive without them”, and that “they’re doing the work that Americans won’t do”.  If that’s the case, why don’t the illegals represent me in Washington as well? Because it seems that neither of my senators, nor my congressional rep, has the United States’ or Michigan’s interests on their agenda. It appears to me that they are MORE concerned about how they appear to the people that they do not represent than those that they do.

If either Senator, or my congressman would ever ask me, their client, what I thought of all of this. I would probably say: “Why are you so concerned about a  bloc that doesn’t even legally live here? Why are you concerned about how you look to a news media that doesn’t represent me? Why do you care about how you might be perceived to some nabobs of a neighboring country? Why are you more interested in representing those folks rather than us here in Michigan? As a taxpayer in this state, I don’t give a rat’s behind about how we are perceived in France, or Mexico, or Spain. Who the hell cares if they’re disappointed when we enact legislation that ensures OUR survival. That’s part of what I thought congressional “representation” meant. Or, am I just confused?

I drive the speed limit, pay my hefty taxes, and work hard to maintain a prosperous life for myself and those I am responsible to. I am the common hardscrabble proletariat my representatives state that they are always “looking out for”. Yet I am shoved to the back of the bus because I can take care of myself? My representatives have a greater concern for those that break the law, do not pay taxes and live a lie here in the states. All the while these same illegals are enjoying all the benefits that myself and many like me subsidize. And, they send their tax-free earnings to another country’s economy. I’m the guy serving the obligations here. Don’t get me wrong. I give my time to others, I’ve even helped old ladies carry groceries to their cars. I am a grateful American! I am also pissed off at not being acknowledged for being a good citizen, while you fall all over those whom are not citizens. When it comes to appealing to some other “constituency” group, I am supposed to shut up and go back to work because I don’t “get it”, or lack some smattering of sensitivity. By all means people should come to our shores, apply for citizenship, and become American! But don’t come here and think that you can get everything the real citizens here work very hard everyday for, do it on the sly and flip me off! That’s not a matter of disrespect, that’s a declaration of War!

When it came to Elian Gonzales, Democrats came out with guns drawn to send him back. In the case of the overrunning of our Southern border, they’re couching terms. I catch them using phrases like: “un-documented” or “guest workers”. If you have no documentation to prove citizenship, or lack a visa, you’re here illegally. As far as “guest workers” go, who’s guests are they? If Democrats want to be taken seriously as a “law & order” or a “national security” party, they ought to acknowledge that laws are being broken by illegal entrants to this country to the extent that it has become a national security problem. Yet they shy away from acknowledging either issue as an illegal immigrant problem, or as a national security problem.

Democrats seem hell-bent on hanging the President on any technicality they can, and yet when it comes to blatant ‘caught on video-tape’ law-breaking,  they have one eye open.

Since my ostensible representatives don’t take me seriously. Don’t expect me to believe that any word you say, any action you take, or any cause you may support is born of some guiding principle you may claim to possess.

Onto other things: Many years ago, in a era of television far, far away, we suffered ABC,CBS, ABC,  and PBS almost exclusively for the delivery of “News” as we understood it to be. With the emergence of issue oriented Talk-Radio, and cable television news outlets, the sun has finally begun to set on the aforementioned dinosaurs of the “Old Media”. The hubbub over “the perky one”: Katie Couric moving from NBC’s; “Today Show” over to anchor the “CBS Evening News” really means nothing other than a chance for the media to once again talk about itself.

At home, Republican gubernatorial challenger Richard “Dick” DeVos has pulled even in the polls with our hapless incumbent Democrat Jennifer Granholm. If DeVos runs a half-decent campaign he should win. If he takes any media criticism to heart, he’ll lose. Granholm’s record, based on “what could’ve been” hasn’t materialized. Instead, the governor’s policy regarding Michigan’s future has been to blame the previous governor for Michigan’s failures.

George Will shall sign us off this week:

United Van Lines, a winner from Michigan’s losses, reports that last year the ratio of outbound to inbound moves was the state’s highest since 1982, when Michigan’s unemployment rate was 16.4 percent. DeVos tells audiences, “I don’t want to have to get on a plane to visit my grandchildren.” He wants them to have to go to Lansing to visit grandpa.

On the Drive

Joe Mika sends Kowalski sausage to Pat in LA with anyone going there. I worried that airport security would sniff 7 pounds of kielbasa in our luggage and arrest us for smuggling, but no guard dogs appeared and we made a clean get-a-way.

My new Garmin GPS arrived the day before we left home. Bill Kirk helped me program it for California and we drove around experimenting, knowing Marilyn & Betty expected to shop at Robinson-May Department Store. We decided to find our wives and take them to lunch, but the store was large. A salesgirl dialed Marilyn’s cell phone and informed us my rented car was blocking the garage door and they could not leave home. Their shopping trip became smaller, but Marilyn was precious and purchased baby back ribs and a lemon meringue pie for dinner. The GPS found our way around California the last two days and nagged like a back seat driver when I left the route to get gas. It never lost the way.

The Redondo Beach Dog Park is a popular meeting place. Owners engage in conversations while dogs sniff each others’ behinds. The damp lamppost near the entrance serves like a TV news channel for dogs. Posted Rules are very explicit. Dogs don’t read, but all users were well-behaved.

Cindy warned of street parking near her home. The “No parking Thursday 11 AM to 1 PM” sign concealed by leaves is a moneymaker. “No parking Wednesday” is clearly visible across the street.

Ocean swimming was great, but I had difficulty returning to shore because my left ankle felt sprained when it carried no weight for a half hour. Waves crashed me into shallow water and I hopped on the good leg until the ankle recovered.

Nissan assembled a volleyball stadium in the sand. In the past, free seats were taken early and held for friends arriving later but this time guards ordered “make room for others”. Olympic Gold Medalists Misty May and Kerri Walsh faced stiff competition but were undefeated here. Cindy noticed Misty signing autographs but I told her I’d rather get a photograph. Cindy walked up to Misty and said, “Dad, take our picture.” Misty put her arm around Cindy and smiled like the champion she is.

Brad noticed smoke while driving to the beach and discovered a bush fire spreading rapidly. He took the hose from someone watering a lawn and instigated a neighborhood hose brigade. The fire department arrived to say, “You people have things well in hand.” Brad happened to be wearing his Fire Department T-shirt that day.

The LA Times found gridlock in the Cheviot Hills suburb worse after all of their “traffic calming” efforts. Bump-outs, traffic circles, 4-way stops and speed bumps failed to discourage cars from driving through but made getting anywhere worse. Engineers claim they are out of ideas to impede traffic, but perhaps that is not the answer. Commuters prefer slow residential streets to halted freeways. “Traffic calming” restrictions are popular with voters, but have not worked since the days of Roman chariots. The world of wheels will not go back to walking. More through streets, not fewer, are required to dilute the congestion. Farmington’s expressway bypass needs entrances and exits to be useful to residents, but they complain about traffic.

Janet Mika sponsored a Hermosa trip for her 17-year-old nephew Eric and two of his friends. Surfboard lessons in the ocean were a highlight. I used Brad’s new Canon Digital Rebel camera to photograph the boys facing waves and the rapid repeat feature caught the actions after. That camera is so fast I caught Misty May in the air during her volleyball contest.

Back home, I am programming the GPS with Michigan maps on a different CompactFlash card. House numbers are close but not exact. Parked in our side drive, the number 33967 appears but our front door shows 34011. There is a similar disparity driving down streets, but when I touched “Home” a voice said, “The distance is 6,956 miles”. Originally this was tested at a factory in the Orient and I finally learned how to delete those settings. I want to simplify Betty finding her way California, but I am not yet proficient enough to teach her. This tells streets, numbers, where to turn and what the signs read when you do. It sets on a bean bag and plugs into any cigarette lighter. It is a fascinating toy.

I’m Not There

Allegedly all over the country the illegal inhabitants are making their presence felt by “not being there”. And that’s the problem, they aren’t here as citizens. They’re here as invaders. They pick the fruits of America, they take the pay, they cull the ’free’ healthcare, they like the fact that they can go about their illegal business and not be accosted by the ‘federales’, or harassed by the local law enforcement who by choice, ignorance, or because of an idiotic city council proclamation, have decreed that police not report illegals to the INS for deportation.

The illegals and their support group networks are out to “teach us a lesson” about how “indispensable” they are to the American economy. Many callers to talk radio shows were delighted at not having the roads and waiting lines clogged around town. The “walk-out” allowed the LEGALLY employed to get to work and commerce quickly. Using less gas was an added benefit.

Build the wall, deport them where you find them, pay the Minutemen, arrest the illegals and punish them when they break the law. The illegals pay us no compliment by “coming here” when they remain shadow citizens. They escape the horrid situations in their home countries and the by-product they end up importing here is their indifference to law and order by living a lie here. How this kind of behavior is “beneficial” to America escapes me.

Politicians and their idiotic policies are responsible for the gas prices being what they are. These same politicians benefiting from a lackluster public education that fails to teach economics to kids and adults simply blame “Big Oil” for the record high “crude” prices. “Big Government” is the biggest impediment to energy independence. Big Oil is NOT allowed to explore or drill in our precious ANWR. A desolate arctic place few have ever been to. Big Oil is NOT allowed to explore or drill in the waters off of Florida. But Cuba is getting help from the Chinese to just that. Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy (D), won’t allow those precious “clean-energy” generating windmills to dot the seascape of his precious inherited Cape Cod estate.  So let’s just haul the execs’ of “Big Oil” up to Capitol Hill for another go-around with the blowhards promising us folks at home a$100.00 to shut up and suffer their reckless energy policies.

Everyone hates paying the Saudis, Iran,  or Hugo Chavez big buck$ for oil. The politicians in Washington and in state capitals around the country blame everybody else for the price while denying the public they care so much about an alternative supply chain. We here at the ‘Blog acknowledge that drilling in ANWR and in the Gulf of Florida WILL NOT bring the price down to a pre-9/11 level, or make America any more “energy independent” from oil than we are now. But it is a better National Security strategy than allowing the oil-producing countries that we have the tenuous relationships with to be such a large part of our economic picture.

Our hero Rush Limbaugh has finally been released from over-zealous prosecution in Florida. Rush admitted to his vast radio audience and submitted himself 2 1/2 years ago to treatment for an addiction to painkillers. At the time, the legal beagles of Palm Beach County claimed at least “10 felonies” against Limbaugh. Stating that he had possession of over “2,000 painkillers” and was “laundering money”. In the end it turns out that Limbaugh had possessed at the most, around “40 painkillers”. Hardly a drug operation, but maybe a decent weekend. In the end, Rush plead “not guilty”, paid court costs for being “Right almost 100% of the time” and the Palm Beach  DA drops the charge that is eventually expunged from Rush’s “record” if he continues treatment. Meanwhile those illegal aliens are everywhere going about their shadowy ways, seemingly evading detection, capture or deportation. How do they do it?

Elsewhere the dinosaur media is rallying around Mary McCarthy, the fired CIA employee whom leaked to the Washington Post the story of a “safe-house” prison system that the CIA was managing in foreign countries for the detention and interrogation of nasty Al-Qaeda and other terrorist types. The story won the Washington Post a “Pulitzer Prize”. And they don’t want to tarnish that award with any allegations of irresponsible reporting on their paper’s part. Hopefully the CIA is asking the Justice Department to aggressively prosecute the offender. Since she’s a Clinton appointee, she gets the same immunity from the press scrutiny that an illegal alien enjoys while garnishing the saintly praise of a Joe Wilson. We all know that only Right-leaning Conservatives are targets of prosecution. Ask Delay, Libby or Limbaugh.

Wrecking National Security is the name of the game for Democrats and their media allies. Will they suffer at the polls, or do Americans like having our intelligence networks compromised by these fools? Or, is American Idol on?

It’s early May, there’s too much politics of convenience and too little of conviction. Spawning perhaps political fatigue as much as disdain for the ‘inside the beltway’ crowd whom would rather phone it in than crack heads and exercise their political muscle. Why is it so difficult for those with the winning argument to fight those that have nothing? Or is it easier to “go along to get along?” But with the disparaging comments and parliamentary tactics employed by House and Senate Democrats, whose “getting along”  with whom here? If Republican voters are upset with anything, it’s the squandered opportunities Republicans continue to produce.

Republican voters nationally now know what it’s like to be a Detroit Lions fan locally.

And finally for those of you sticking around Michigan: You can find info on those old friends who have left the state here.

“Michigan citizens are voting with their feet,” said Michael LaFaive, the Center’s director of fiscal policy. “These votes are the ones that really count, even if the state continues to churn out press releases claiming Michigan is a great business location.”

Competition

If competition saves money for all overcharged electricity customers, my current utility will be serving only us money-losing homeowners and low-income users. The requirement that businesses subsidize my electric bill makes industrial rates prohibitively high and mine unprofitably low. Price increases will bring my rate to levels they would have been if regulation had not interfered in the first place.

Last year we watched the Bradford Pear sway in the wind, break and take down our power line. The tree grew and a branch rested against live wires. I phoned DTE, “No wires are down, but they will be.” The representative explained DTE is not responsible for lines that are not down, but a crew would investigate. Two hours later, man in a bucket was sawing that branch. I thanked him and volunteered to clean up the scraps. The crews had worked nearly around the clock after a major storm, but still obliged customers.

Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein tortured and murdered an estimated 300,000 subjects. Fearful citizens are becoming policemen and soldiers to protect their families from terrorists that assassinate leaders, blow up marketplaces and behead captives. Iraqis prefer death to surrender—they’ve been through Hell.

On September 11, 2001 nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered. We stopped making unfulfilled threats and committed to war. Terrorist strategy now consists of killing enough Americans to drive us out; however, suicide fanatics can die only once, and we are decimating their supply. We will win when we demonstrate perseverance by accepting casualties, as we did in WWII.

Unconditional Surrender of Germany and Japan was final. Compromise in Korea allowed North Korea to remain a menace. Withdrawal from Vietnam fostered more terrorism. Quitting Iraq would explode the Middle East and terrorism would become our worst import. Body counts would read, “Made in America.”

This toe still prevents me from swimming and exercise. The initial healing chafed off on the shoe so I chopped the top from the shoe. Open sores usually heal faster exposed to the air, but this one seemed to get worse when uncovered. Bandages did not stay in place; I purchased better ones that stuck so tightly they tore skin from the bottom of my toe.

This problem began years ago when I cut a thick nail improperly because our scissors could not hack straight across. On the Internet, I purchased toenail clippers similar to those Dr. Kaner used. I won’t be a podiatrist, but weekly visits are tough for a “do-it-yourselfer.” He has a good sense of humor and solves problems nearly as fast as I create them.

I received a letter from OCC thanking me for my interest in the swimming pool. Members of the school board never answered my emails, but this is close enough.

When Brad rebuilt my 1991 Ford brakes he noted the front stabilizer bar was gone. Harold’s Frame replaced that, the front shocks and checked the alignment. It drives like a new van again.

Jan Mika announced a contest for best pie crust in the tradition of Kay Mika. Jan designated me a judge and contributed an apple pie. I emailed photographs of the pie and Jan to other contestants. The pie baking war spread across the country, and I eagerly await other entries.

I could have chopped the dead 70-foot tall pine trees that are located 40 feet from my garage. I was a trained combat engineer 60 years ago, but I don’t scramble up and down ladders easily anymore.

Jim was chopping trees next door and it seemed easier to pay this younger, stronger man with newer tools to do the work. Jim’s daughter is getting married and wants a big wedding party, so he has real incentive. My money will be going to a good cause, and hopefully he will avoid my garage.

The Big Easy

New Orleans streets have always been dangerous. Pirates once sold boys to sailing vessels and girls to houses of prostitution. City blocks were planned with stores and businesses at ground level and families on the second floor—the large open center of the block was accessible only to residents. Children grew up within their four-sided confine for safety. Fabulous musicians created a profitable tourist industry downtown, but crime remained high elsewhere.

No one expected hurricane Katrina to become this once-in-a-lifetime disaster. Residents ignored storm warnings to protect what little they owned from looters. New Orleans Mayor Nagin issued orders for mandatory evacuation only after a personal phone call from President Bush. Louisiana Governor Blanco delayed making the official request authorizing federal government intervention. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) exhibited bureaucratic incompetence when quick decisions were required. Gunfire from armed robbers halted early relief efforts when police did not shoot looters or return their fire.

The 82nd Airborne arrived and bad guys went into hiding. Our military has the experience and logistics necessary to put things together. Fear is gone and groups are working together to solve problems. If we can stop the “Blame Game” our leaders might learn how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

Government FEMA leaders have more experience in politics than disaster relief and the bureaucratic delays cost lives and money. Taxpaying independent Halliburton delivered food, fuel and supplies on time in the desert under enemy fire a thousand miles away. However, they earned a profit—unforgivably bad politics.

“Bridey Quinn” (Anne Bleecker), hostess at the Eagle Tavern in Greenfield Village, explained boarding house rules before allowing us to eat lunch. “You must not pinch the salt or the waitress.” Frustrated, I pinched the hostess. That was seven years ago, and we have remained friends ever since.

Anne later acted the part of a white plantation owner with a delightful black slave. Unfortunately, Anne suffered an accident during a village parade and no longer works there. Betty and I asked her to be our guest and personal guide for this year’s Greenfield Village Old Car Festival. We were accustomed to seeing her in 1800 period dress, not 2005 slacks. Many Village people recognized the lady so skilled in meeting people, acting out historical roles and hassling customers like me. Anne enjoyed dining instead of working in Eagle Tavern, and she was nice to the current hostess.

Beautiful horses attracted a lot of attention considering this was a car exhibit; no one discussed miles per bale of hay, emissions or airbags. A 1924 battery powered electric vehicle sold new for $300, about the price of a Model T automobile. This “Little Red Bug” has a top speed of 12 MPH and seats 2 people. An electric starter motor drives one rear wheel and a brake stops the other rear wheel. Ralph Nader would probably consider this thing unsafe at any speed, and be correct this time.

My favorite vehicle was the 1931 Model A Ford convertible. Many beautifully restored ones put-putted through the village. In 1941, I was 15 and told my parents I wanted to leave Michigan for the summer. My father purchased a very used 1931 convertible for $50, gave me $100 cash and helped me to leave. This Model A broke down many times before I got out of the state and I learned to be a pretty good mechanic. Used tires cost $2, gas 15 cents a gallon. A loaf of bread and can of beans cost 35 cents and lasted several days. I slept curled up on the front seat and got wet on rainy nights. To supplement my funds, I worked all the way to California, pitching hay and shocking wheat for the harvest. Farmer’s wives washed my clothes and fed me well. Seven weeks later my car and I returned home. It provided fun transportation at senior parties during my final year in Cooley High School. After my discharge from service and marriage I sold it for $25 to local disk jockey Bob Maxwell. The Old Car Festival reminds me of great days in my youth. New cars run nicer, but lack nostalgia.

Joe

It almost restores one’s faith in random justice when while bored and perusing Drudge you can find some thing like this. Ward Churchill is at best a lackluster performer in an arena where you should get what you pay for: a 1/2 decent education at a State-sponsored University. Sometimes, it’s best to shut up and simply do your job or the notoriety you seek may become your undoing. But it’s the “professors” and “scholars” whom are judging “one of their own” in this case. And they, like the US Senate, stick together  looking collectively foolish while attempting to appear exemplary as they protect their turf and its occupants…good or bad from critical scrutiny. After all these “professors” teach American children about America; “warts and all”. To borrow a Steyn line: “we’ve heard about the warts, now how about America?”

Like We’ve opined here and here, Immigration isn’t the problem  we face. It’s the ever-growing number illegal occupants in our country, their support networks and the industries that subsidize their status that has to be dealt with…from the border to within. The politicians see a constituency of potential future voters. And racked with unexplainable guilt in the face of law-breaking minority groups, they petrify. The Federal bureaucracy sees a problem that pays the same whether they solve it today or tomorrow. The average American citizen sees law-breaking unabated that is not being handled by any entity of law-enforcement. The immigrants who went through the arduous tribulation of legally assimilating and are now “American” feel the harsh sting of a SLAP in the face. Official Washington and its executives…remain tone-deaf.

Since our ostensible Representatives live and die by polling data, and considering that that is all the news media report about President Bush these days, perhaps they’ll report that when polled; most legal US citizens want strict enforcement of our current immigration laws as well as a foreboding and intimidating presence of law enforcement at the nations borders to keep the illegals out.

But us Joe-6-Packs aren’t a tempered and learned class like that which makes up the US Senate. What the hell do we know?  Just send your money to Washington and shut up! We aren’t “above it all” like Levin, McCain, Hagel, or a Stabenow who carefully consider (IE: stall, poll again & demagogue) all the ramifications of “slamming the door” on the downtrodden and those that “seek a better life” as “construction workers, hotel maids, drywall guys, or landscapers”.  No Senators, all I see is a lack of will power on your side of Capitol Hill to stand up for the citizens that pay to keep the lights on there. I also see a lack of will to admit that being American is a distinct cultural attribute which is defined and has to be learned. You aren’t making the roads any smoother here at home either, so why should I care what pains you are going through while considering the fate of those that don’t pay taxes here?

Being the broken record that I am at times here, but: “What have you done for me lately?!” Not that I want undivided congressional attention. What has congress done that has made life easier here for the LEGAL citizens? Things like; Access to more oil within US borders in an attempt to lower fuel costs? NOPE! Tax cuts made permanent so families and businesses big & small can plan 5 years out? NOPE! Curbing the congressional “earmarks” that bloat Federal spending? NOPE! A cogent and concise National Security platform developed by a bi-partisan congress? NOPE! We know Michigan’s roads suck, so no help there. Nope, our congress is stuck on stupid ideals about people that have no stake in America’s future. Congress affectionately obsess about foreign dictators with their boot heel on their own citizenry, while shirking democratically elected representatives in Iraq and Afghanistan. They messed up cable TV rates a while back, and it looks like they’re going to do it again. Gee…thanks a heap!

Dennis Hastert is upset that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), acting upon a Judge’s search warrant raided the offices of William Jefferson (D) Louisiana after Jefferson ignored past subpoenas to turn over the documents being sought. President Bush, acting upon some inexplicable loss of political acumen has executed a 45 day “cooling off” period to determine the “constitutionality” of the search.

Bush now admits “mistakes” were made in the conduct of the Iraq war. He’s taking back his challenge to the terrorists of; “bring it on”  and; “Wanted: Dead or Alive!” The real mistake here is sheepishly fighting this ’War on Terror”. Americans would be satisfied with complete victory, rather than the Oprah-ization of the war effort we’re suffering with.

Back here where the potholes are wide, deep and reproducing faster than a minks, Governor wanna-be has pulled even in the polls with Governor suffering-with. In this “neck and neck” race 5 1/2 months out, it’s too close to call but the polls are continuously updated every time a 1/2 point change is noticed. In all my years as a ‘taxpaying United States Citizen’, I have yet to be personally polled by an Ed Sarpolus, Harris, Zogby, or a Gallup about what I thought about stuff. But then again, Michigan is “fly-over” territory to the media mavens on their way to prettier cityscapes in Chicago, L.A., or NYC. We’re fortunate that the glitterati beam their polling tripe back to us 6-pack types who’s opinions don’t matter in the great scheme of things. Most of the pollsters are wrong about us anyway, but they are still a 1/3 of the news that we read in a week.

Michigan, and Milford in particular is blessed with another sampling of the same type of Law Enforcement that brought us September 11, 2001. Acting on a “credible tip” from a tipster known for saying anything to get their jail sentence reduced, the Feds are digging up a local horse farm looking for the remains of former Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa. If this were about the Oakland County Child Killer, or some other criminal of some historical consequence, I’d let it slide. But to see an army of Federal Agents, at great taxpayer expense looking for a Union Boss  declared dead years ago by these same Feds appears to be more conspicuous Federal consumption. The Feds have a lot of other current threats they’re not dealing with at our major points of entry, our cities, and at our Southern Border. Their lack of law enforcement of the basics represents their absolute failure of taking their job seriously, and the demoralizing effect it has on those that are trying to get the job done.

Well, my Faith was almost restored.

Fillibuster

After pouring over the last few days of goings on in Michigan and the world, We are bored with it. Yeah, we can beat the “filibuster” issue to death, and rant about Kwame’s charitable side. But overall, it’s easier to sum it all up:

“Do what we elected y’all to do already!”

Republicans are busy clearing the decks in the Senate so they can exercise the option of changing the rules. The hallowed Chamber would be a more exciting place if Dick Cheney simply swore in member’s faces more often. This boorish pretense of  “decorum”,  “tradition”, and the ever tiring cliché: “I respectfully disagree with my colleague from the great state of Blue”. Why is it impolite for Republicans to mention facts when arguing with Democrats? If they only respected the reason they were elected more than this phony show of decorum that they try to project. The heck with respect! Generate some excitement!

For those 6 or 7 Michigan residents that are paying attention, the Detroit News and Free Press continue to offer “Ground-Hogs Day” moments with Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick since he continues to allow the media to define his reign. There are enough momentous going’s-on in the City for the Mayor to take credit for and glom onto (in light of having no agenda in the hopper). But for the harkening cry of “Last Call” which is difficult to resist. Thus young Kwame is distracted again from his elective mandate. His checkbook growing thin : “the bills are all due and the baby needs shoes, and he’s ‘Busted”.

A teaser sparked riots and killings in a few Islamic regions worldwide when Newsweek promised a story of Koran/Quran desecrations at Gitmo. Problem is, the story was not sourced adequately, and the media, whose template consists of informing the world of only the worst America has to offer didn’t bother to get a confirmation from the Pentagon… so blame Halliburton!

The Star Wars movies are just simple fun, and much fun has been made of the “trekki-like” fan base. But this series of movies has spanned almost a generation now and sentimentality creeps in. Yeah, it’s O.K. to be a kid about some things.

Al-Qaeda is hiring. Yes, the explosive Bush economy permeates even international borders. After the reshuffling of personnel, the #1 Terror organization has an executive position available. Applications may be sent via E-Mail since Al-Qeada has trouble staffing a regional office. The Motown Blog has no clearance to provide the appropriate link, but with a little “Googling” job seekers will most likely be awarded with the appropriate address to send your resume. Candidate applicants and resumes should provide info indicating that the candidate is well versed in Democrat Party’s talking points, have the ACLU on speed dial, and secretly enjoy the Second Amendment. Candidates should also be experienced with extensive travel and camping out of doors, be acclimated to mountainous regions, and possess a particular disdain of  Gillette and Norelco products.

Crisis? What Crisis?

The Ports

With all of the news media and political cacophony over the ‘Ports Deal’, scared Republicans, disarray Democrats, and city of Detroit suffering from Councilitis. We here at the ’Blog are phoning this one in. Why the heck should we try and accurately rant about things that the media have misconstrued from the start? Let’s just chalk it to up one final gasp for the “Old Media”. They’ve succeeded in knocking the story regarding Dubai Ports World (DPW) so outta whack, it would take many pages to set things right. Before it’s all over, DPW will probably lease control of the terminals to the Communist Chinese anyway.

So, let’s take time to reflect on the reunion of the 60’s era rock band Cream. It was enjoyable to hear the power rock trio plod along during a televised PBS special a few weeks back.  The well-worn hits: “I Feel Free”, “White Room”, and of course: “Badge”. For guitarist Eric Clapton, it was just another day on the job. Raking over chords, fluid lead playing, and terrific guitar tone. The elder Jack Bruce, coming back from near death due to a heart ailment seemed rusty, but the ‘voice’ was still there. And he can still play, his chops a bit chunky, but reasonably practiced. Drummer Ginger Baker sounded the least polished, like he was remembering as he went along. But still it was: Cream. Not a reunion of one or two of the band-mates and a mercenary sitting in.  ‘Yeah, good times indeed. Cream’s music fails to herald much attention locally here even when the ostensible ‘classic rock’ representative WCSX did its recent “Z to A” play-list just to mix up the oft repeated; ”Classics: A to Z”. It’s a shame the Michigan’s deplorable roads reverberate through the softest auto suspension not only drown out a Ginger Baker drum solo, but replace it with one conducted courtesy of the local Road Commission. An asphalt overdub, so to speak. Bass lines and other subtleties are lost as well, one needing to “crank it up” to hear the music. Thus drowning out the EMS sirens and the ringing of the cell phone.

WCSX seems to have tapped into something here because the “A to Z” format has been repeated recently almost as many times as one hears a Rock Financial commercial. Well, maybe not that much. One wishes that they would just play whatever comes to mind rather than the focus-group format they’ve adopted for themselves. As we pondered in an earlier rant about Detroit radio in these pages, maybe satellite radio domination is closer than we think. CSX’s brother station WRIF plays contemporary ‘hard’ rock. A  format that seems unchanged over these many years. The quality of the music and the lyrical tone however, is less positive and almost dreary these days. One could safely suppose the intent of the broadcaster is to put the tri-county’s youth on a suicide watch. WRIF plods on without regard to what competitors are doing, because they have none. And so the tri-county populace suffers at least one thing collectively: crappy commercial radio. WDET, Detroit’s public radio product turned away from indie-recordings spun by local DJ’s for East coast yakkin’ and other arid utopian constructs. You’d think the mean streets of the Motor City would demand rough & tumble music. But instead, it’s rather anesthetized to the monotonous-robotic formats of slickly produced hit-rock and soul, and the insufferable RAP.

Meanwhile the Michigan homeowner is experiencing declining home values while Michigan’s economy gets it’s rear-end handed to it by every other state in the union. The Republican controlled senate, facing a blow-out ballot initiative, had to vote in favor of a minimum wage hike in hopes of thwarting a Fall voter referendum to amend the state’s constitution tying minimum wage hikes to inflation. Forgotten is the fact that onerous regulations and taxes upon business stifle Michigan’s economic growth. The denizens of utopia are all for strengthening labor, at the expense of a shrinking economy. Hey, it all looks good on paper. Putting these destructive policies into place, well that has given us Michiganders what we have…at the start of this paragraph.

Michigan labor-mongers think locally and act locally. Thus, they are ignored nationwide and globally. GM and Ford would be kaput without the Chinese or Indonesian markets. They are the only places they are selling an increasing quantity of cars. Conservative politicians, the various Chambers’ of Commerce and state business leaders reap the scorn of the Labor’s demagogues for opposing a minimum wage increase. That refrain is heard by other businesses looking for a place to set up shop, realizing the ‘right to work’ South has better roads to boot.

It’s so easy to wax pessimistic about Michigan’s immediate future. But when the mantra being offered is just more of what put us in the predicament we currently suffer, one thinks about putting’ a sign in the lawn and perusing brochures of Southern latitudes. Many are investing in solutions elsewhere, rather than be a problem here.  All the while Governor Granholm skates any responsibility for the wreckage that Michigan has turned into. The Detroit News’ Nolan Finley finally gets around to de-bunking the Democrats myths that it was former governor John Engler policies that wrecked the state. Meanwhile, Michigan’s delegation has it’s mind elsewhere. Places where making tough decisions and resident feedback matter little. They talk to themselves and their media friends, their status merely one notch above the uninspired bureaucracy they wish to control. We suffer these fools, as the states populace flees for warmer climates, smoother roads, and steadier employment prospects.

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