The Congressional Record

Detroit politicians: A gift that keeps on giving. Like the gleeful investor collecting high interest from many loan products, a cold virus exchanged between school children, or fits of apoplexy among the Washington Press Corps when small town newspapers scoop them. You can’t surf cable TV  without noticing that politicians and the news media have compromised most channels these days. We the People love to hate politicians, the politics, the media, and the ‘stars’ of both industries.

Detroit suffers even as the appearance of positive growth changes the skyline of downtown and the complexion of the blocks of both sides of Woodward Ave. The ‘growth’ is a great thing to see. It leads one to believe that the City is like the suburbs, where we ostensibly enjoy a pragmatic, if somewhat ham handed effort to appease public demands and needs. But the TV cameras eventually get around to the Detroit City Council, and the City’s congressional representation.

According to The Hill. The paper of Congressional Record, Detroit Congressman John Conyers has been using his staff members to tutor and shuttle his kids to a SUBURBAN Private School. According to one complaint filed by a former staffer, Conyers  also instructed staff to work on local political campaigns for the Reps wife, leaving Conyers unfettered to dive in White House wastebaskets with Senator Carl Levin. Conyers and Levin both viciously partisan Democrats, indulge the ‘busy work of the busy body’ party. They work different sides of the street trying to find a route to the same goal: obtaining the modern day version of a Zapruder film that implicates the Bush Administration. They zealously search the same empty, dusty closets finding instead: Fahrenheit 911. There’s a conspiracy lurking everywhere according to Levin/Conyers that’s screwing the little guy by shamelessly enriching the President’s friends with the windfall profits of “Big Oil”. These Nancy boys cry wolf over the “Downing Street Memo”, that stupid Plame/Wilson affair, and no Republican conspiracy would be complete without: Halliburton. These ineffectual clods provide a welcome distraction to the lazy ‘old media’ that are themselves outclassed by an information insurgency (see links) by a citizenry tired of the network’s fossilized news format of one-sided projections and editorials. Together they all ’chat’ with each other about non-issues, filling the time between commercials the networks failed to sell to advertisers.

What benefits has Detroit enjoyed from Conyers’ representation? Where’s the beef? He says he champions ‘the little guy’. And the city of Detroit has lots of them. But what’s he done for them lately if EVER? Why does Detroit tolerate such mediocrity? Is it because Conyers is the right color? Or is Republican bashing all that’s required to satisfy the Motor City’s constituency? Levin and Conyers busily look into every crack of the desolate streets they walk. Failing to ever look up and see Michigan’s crumbling roads, the state’s regressing economy, the constricting business regulations, lackluster public schools, and even their loyal voting base: Organized Labor’s faltering membership and relevancy. Let’s be Honest here: The main reason Detroit gleefully suffers these fools is because it angers and frustrates the suburban citizenry to see such mediocrity. It’s the Detroit way of “stickin’ it to” the only “Man” left: The suburbs.

Detroit’s City Council, proving to the public they’re even worse at handling city affairs than the Kilpatrick Administration, finally approved the plan that releases the Zoo from City control and transfers governance to the Zoological Society. The Council, a collection of immature, scowling, insecure malcontents closely resembles the US Senate in personality and style. They all think they could run things better than the Executive, but as a collective left to their own devices, they default into public-school playground pathologies. A collection of tattle-tales that garner not accolades but overt and quiet contempt from the tax-paying public.

We here at the ‘Blog’ are inconclusive regarding the ‘Port Terminal’ deal in which a United Arab Emirates company: Dubai Ports World has negotiated to purchase P & O, the British firm that currently manages the loading and unloading of container freight at six US ports. It’s also no surprise that the ‘old media’ is reporting few, if any salient technical aspects of the deal. They also leave out any history of how these terminals work, or how they came to be British owned. Desperate politicians who are consistently weak on National Security are logging many overtime hours in demagoguery of the issue. The business end of the deal is fairly simple, in and of itself. Troubling is the Emirates spotty history with the flow of cash to terrorists and their advocates. The Emirates relationship with the Taliban ‘government’. The UAE is ever in contempt of Israel, but on the other hand: “An indispensable US Ally”?  Strange bedfellows indeed. In the end; it’ll probably go through. But only after another bigger and better story bumps it’s perch from the headlines. Maybe ALGore will shoot somebody plucking fruit form a tree. Like much of the salient news that channel surfing America would watch, it’s the cacophonous grab-bag of gaseous flapdoodle has us constantly clickin’ the remote. The media get to make news for themselves for a couple of extra weeks since another “review period” has been demanded from Congress. D.C. area doughnut shops open early in anticipation of extra orders of more tea & crumpets. The clattering  motor tops off its tank, then roars to life and the political/media collective again talk to themselves and pile on additional hours of frustrated taxpayer channel surfing.

Honey: Where’s the Remote? It needs new Batteries!

Communism

If Communism is such a great idea, why didn’t they put up a picture window instead of an Iron Curtain?

Springtime

The Joy of Spring is upon us with the arrival of the Robin, our beloved state bird. A calendar is irrelevant when the Robin shows up. It is proof that Nature’s calendar is the most accurate meter of what time of the year it is.

Being stuck at a traffic light, I was able to watch these red-chested birds frolic and dig the earth looking for whatever they call food. The sunlight was perfect, the nearly perfect temperature was acting as a narcotic, and the last thing one wants to do in such circumstances is rush headlong into the day. A day that here in South Oakland County is full of expectations. Much is expected today, and I have expectations of others. There’s simply no time to “veg-out” and contemplate the scene outside of my car window a minute longer. (yes, the traffic light is green now)

But onto to great things we plunge ahead hopeful. A mentor and friend of mine, the most driven man I know is always active. Whether he’s at dinner, vacationing, even at rest his mind is working. Ideas spring forth optimistic, radical, and often clever. Inspirations based on fundamental principles found throughout the  business world that have worked for decades. I have seen this man after he was “phased out” as it were. He remains serene and not only hopeful, but certain that he will land not only on his feet, but with a better office, a better position, and better pay. I wonder, does he see the Robins return?

Is there any good info out there anymore? A Republican staff member at Mel Martinez’s office composed the Schiavo memo, the Press and the Democrats stated that Republicans were behind it. Democrats are the only ones other than the now “ex-staffer” that had a copy, and gave it to the press. Republicans in the Senate never saw it. But for some reason, they’ll pay a political price?

Unlike Robins, the Census Bureau is predicting that people are leaving the state. Our fair Governor told WJR to ignore such projections for they are merely “predictions” based on incomplete models failing to account for; “the great things we are doing here in Michigan”. Considering it’s “Earth Day” we should pay attention to the same “projections” and computer models that tell us the Polar Ice Cap is melting and we are killing the Earth with abandon and mankind should stop existing right now. Except for a select few who can properly steward the earth back to normal. An Earth Day recital my daughter took part in at the local elementary school was dire in the scope of the music as well as the outlook for our future. I am furiously recycling, hopefully to gain a few more days to watch the Robins.

No telling how many more shots Kwame Kilpatrick’s SUV can take. Time magazine has named our municipality’s  “Hip-Hop” Ambassador one of “The Worst Mayors” in the Land. The Mayor’s many opponents draw out the long knives to get a slice. Many pieces are available. The Mayoralty of NYC, Boston, and Chicago have little to fear; Their cities work. Detroit remains a petrified relic, locked in a time capsule unchanged except for a few blocks downtown and the occasional strip mall. Many vacant lots lay fallow, boarded up homes slighted for demolition years if not decades ago mock the Mayor and the citizenry, like so many ne’er-do-wells flaunting their insouciance at law enforcement with one eye on other pressing issues, whether it be lay-offs, or more serious crimes but not knowing where to start.

The crisis continues…

Goings On

I have read many texts, watched a lot of movies, and I have seen many of the old news reels and photographs countless times detailing the sneak bombing and destruction of our naval fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. One can easily recall photograph of the Japanese soldier about to behead the tied and helpless Australian flier.

I am saddened at the premature loss of life of many young veterans and civilians that faced those times. It is maddening as well that the sneak-attack was conducted in the midst of ongoing diplomatic relations with Japan that seemed to be tense but not hostile. There was saber-rattling indeed, but that kind of rhetoric has been amply recorded by many despots through the ages. It was after all, one military pitted against another. Our country’s trained soldier vs. theirs.

That’s why September 11, 2001 was different. It was an clandestine army of Arab terrorists vs. American civilians. Americans that on any given day would have engaged these 19 murderous punks in a conversation with a sympathetic ear bent toward the plight they professed to be suffering at our hands. Instead, they chose to channel their hatred to murder the weakest of this country’s populace. The Japanese at least possessed the nerve choose a military installation. And as a country they faced the consequences of their actions when they chose to attack us.

In any battle of our army vs. theirs, the Japanese or their axis partners fought savagely to protect whatever they had conquered, but we won. These Arab terrorists types, operating under some similar pretense of Islamic righteousness and a score of other grievances, choose to attack civilians because they lacked the guts, ingenuity, and determination of their convictions to turn on their own oppressors. They instead turn their guns on the civilian populations of free countries because free societies reflect the damning nature that their despotic leaders have wrought upon them. The terrorists know full well, that if they try to front our armed forces ‘man to man’, they get their collective asses kicked all day long. I don’t care “why they hate us”. Their real problems are in their own countries. The only place they can vent their anger is on unsuspecting free people in free countries.

Perhaps that’s why the pain is so great to see the footage of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in so many 80’s & 90’s movies. To see them as they are so prominently displayed like “it never happened” makes it all the more painful to contemplate watching a movie like: United Flight 93, scheduled to be released soon. Similar to “Saving Private Ryan”, I like war hero movies. Maybe I like ‘our guys’ too much. But at least our Fascist enemies acknowledged who they were,  were recognized as such and that the battlefield was acknowledged by both good and evil as the place to settle the score.

But the 19 terrorists chose to attack the children of a free nation. Terrorists are always shooting at those who cannot shoot back. Such cowardly displays further underscored the fact that WE, the free of America had to go to their region, their towns, their turf and have our soldiers put their lives on the line in order to set THEM free. Because they had neither the conviction, the courage or the knowledge to do it themselves. Any oppressed person knows that there is a better way than suffering a despot’s rule. And, it takes a lot of courage and guts to step forth and break the chains. Our battles in Afghanistan and Iraq merely demonstrate that it can be done. But, a free people can only deliver the machinery to impose freedom in another country. The indigenous peoples of these respective countries have to develop the initiative to embrace freedom for themselves. That will take much more time than an TV episode about politically correct Washingtonians, or even a miniseries.

Detroiter and political consultant Adolph Mongo has finally found out what the rest of the state has known for years now: Governor Jennifer Granholm is worthless to Michigan. Except, that Mongo’s concern is more for the plight of Democrats, Detroiters and their elective prospects in Lansing than the rest of the state’s citizenry. It is even more frustrating to Republican voters as we  watch our representatives squander opportunities to implement proven ideas, especially when hapless Democrats continue adrift without a compass.

In Case You haven’t noticed: Our ostensible representatives are home for “Easter Break”. Back with their constituents listening no doubt to our concerns with bated-breath. Taking our commentaries and suggestions in a suitcase back to Washington to beat their opposition over the head with.

Sad fact, the only time I ever see Sander “Sandy” Levin here in the home district is for a few minutes a year at the ‘Wood’s 4th of July parade.

And Finally: Regarding all of these malcontent ‘Generals’ calling for Rumslfeld’s resignation and their sycophant allies in the Democrat party. It gets tiresome and fails to account that American casualties in Iraq are continuing to go down as the locals training and experience picks up. These wuss Generals don’t really care if Rumsfeld resigns, they wouldn’t show up on the radar as applicants for the SecDef job. They’re out there to keep a negative light shined in the direction of the Bush Administration, and in effect they’re helping Al Qaeda and the insurgency in Iraq by keeping a target painted on the backs of our GI’s…

With Friends like these…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complaint Letter of the Year

The British do have a way with words…. A real-life customer complaint letter sent to NTL (to their complaints dept….)

Dear Cretins,

I have been an NTL customer since 9th July 2001, when I signed up for your 3-in-one deal for cable TV, cable modem, and telephone. During this three-month period I have encountered inadequacy of service which I had not previously considered possible, as well as ignorance and stupidity of monolithic proportions. Please allow me to provide specific details, so that you can either pursue your professional prerogative, and seek to rectify these difficulties – or more likely (I suspect) so that you can have some entertaining reading material as you while away the working day smoking B&H and drinking vendor-coffee on the bog in your office:

My initial installation was cancelled without warning, resulting in my spending an entire Saturday sitting on my fat arse waiting for your technician to arrive. When he did not arrive, I spent a further 57 minutes listening to your infuriating hold music, and the even more annoying Scottish robot woman telling me to look at your helpful website….HOW?

I alleviated the boredom by playing with my testicles for a few minutes – an activity at which you are no-doubt both familiar and highly adept. The rescheduled installation then took place some two weeks later, although the technician did forget to bring a number of vital tools – such as a drill-bit, and his cerebrum. Two weeks later, my cable modem had still not arrived. After 15 telephone calls over 4 weeks my modem arrived… six weeks after I had requested it, and begun to pay for it.

I estimate your internet server’s downtime is roughly 35%… hours between about 6pm -midnight, Mon-Fri, and most of the weekend. I am still waiting for my telephone connection. I have made 9 calls on my mobile to your no-help line, and have been unhelpfully transferred to a variety of disinterested individuals, who are it seems also highly skilled bollock jugglers.

I have been informed that a telephone line is available (and someone will call me back); that no telephone line is available (and someone will call me back); that I will be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been cut off); that I will be transferred to someone (and then been redirected to an answer machine informing me that your office is closed); that I will be transferred to someone and then been redirected to the irritating Scottish robot woman…and several other variations on this theme.

Doubtless you are no longer reading this letter, as you have at least a thousand other dissatisfied customers to ignore, and also another one of those crucially important testicle-moments to attend to. Frankly I don’t care; it’s far more satisfying as a customer to voice my frustrations in print than to shout them at your unending hold music. Forgive me, therefore, if I continue.

I thought BT were ****, that they had attained the holy piss-pot of god-awful customer relations, that no-one, anywhere, ever, could be more disinterested, less helpful or more obstructive to delivering service to their customers. That’s why I chose NTL, and because, well, there isn’t anyone else is there? How surprised I therefore was, when I discovered to my considerable dissatisfaction and disappointment what a useless shower of b*stards you truly are. You are sputum-filled pieces of distended rectum incompetents of the highest order.

British Telecom – wankers though they are – shine like brilliant beacons of success, in the filthy puss-filled mire of your seemingly limitless inadequacy. Suffice to say that I have now given up on my futile and foolhardy quest to receive any kind of service from you. I suggest that you cease any potential future attempts to extort payment from me for the services which you have so pointedly and catastrophically failed to deliver – any such activity will be greeted initially with hilarity and disbelief quickly be replaced by derision, and even perhaps bemused rage. I enclose two small deposits, selected with great care from my cats litter tray, as an expression of my utter and complete contempt for both you and your pointless company. I sincerely hope that they have not become desiccated during transit – they were satisfyingly moist at the time of posting, and I would feel considerable disappointment if you did not experience both their rich aroma and delicate texture. Consider them the very embodiment of my feelings towards NTL, and its worthless employees.

Texas Sized Conspiracy, Y’all

Here at home, Freeman Hendrix has been putting the vice-grip to first term Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. We here at the Blog had high hopes for the fledgling Democrat senator when he was elected nearly 4 years ago. Kilpatrick has been a major disappointment in Mayoralty, unless you’re on his “A-List”. The Bling ain’t getting’ it done Downtown, and the ‘Fo-shizzle has turned to

‘Mo-fizzle regarding Detroit’s progress. So, what’s a desperate candidate to do? Rip the suburbs’ drug problem and how it hurts the city. Deflect criticism off on your opponent in the hopes of pulling him into the quicksand before you go under.

But what drew the lowest, loudest “ooh” from a packed noontime session of the Detroit Economic Club was when Kilpatrick ended the debate by saying that no one in his family, himself included, has ever gotten into trouble with the law. Then he added: “I just wonder if Mr. Hendrix can say the same thing.”

Kilpatrick will sink or swim with this tactic. It has had past success, but the times have changed. The ‘burbs are where most of the jobs are, much to Detroit’s chagrin. The economic climate downtown is improving, but management has not. To imply that Freeman Hendrix is an “Uncle Tom” to ’white’ suburbia’s “special interests” will work only with the “base” of one’s party loyalists. That’s good for about 30% of any voting bloc. Time is running out on Kilpatrick as he needs to prep his resume and show up at any job interview with a hefty supply of references. Hizzoner’s “A” List friends are undoubtedly polishing theirs as well.

Conspiracy? Where?

Course Overview

In this class, students will not be required to develop fierce political skills predicated on details, negotiations, or philosophical predicates. Students will instead, be required to master the production of broadcast quality audio-video sound-bites that grab the heartstrings of young and old alike, urban and suburban. Minor injuries,  or hospital visits for first, second or third degree burns resulting from public reaction to the hot button issues derived will be considered insufficient for course passage. The volatility of the issues and the subsequent reaction of the public at large must project a radioactivity quotient causing permanent political impotency or fatality for course passage.

REQUIRED PREQUISITE COURSES: Politics 101, Detroit Zoological History 104, Minor required: Child Psychology, Council Snookery 101, Public Relations 101, 102, 105.

The Kilpatrick Administration is either the most inept, bumbling, and incompetent governing entity or they’re brilliant strategists. For over a year, the Administration has been working and re-working a proposal with a $4 million dollar blessing from the State to the Detroit Zoo that also transfers managing authority to the Detroit Zoological Society. The City would maintain ownership, but leave the Zoological Society to manage the day to day affairs.

What we have here is thus: A proposal, already agreed to in terms by the Mayor, the State, Detroit’s City Council, and the Zoological Society would regionalize the Zoo’s management and save the City $4 Million dollars a year in operating costs. At the 11th hour, the Mayor sent the framework proposal to the City Council outlining the plan to transfer the management to the Zoological Society. The Council, not having the details in writing to work with and little time for debate, quashed the proposal 7-2. And with it, the expiring $4 Million Dollar operating grant from the State. Disgruntled Council members felt and publicly stated that the State was imposing a form of racial politicking by setting a deadline upon which the grant would expire. Once the story: “Detroit City Council kills Zoo Deal!” hit the streets, any political leverage the Council had was gone, along with a lot of political capital they may have had to sway the Kilpatrick Administration on future decisions.

What’s seems to be lost on the Council: Nobody cares about any racial aspect of this issue. Few care about the details, which were already agreed upon by all the concerned parties in prior meetings. The State and the Kilpatrick Administration score a hit on the Council because they quashed the deal. Kilpatrick, with the help of local TV stations and the print media are seen as the ones holding the hands of the children saying:

“Don’t Close Our Zoo!!”

With a few phone calls, and some patience, Detroit’s City Council could have won on this deal. But the Kilpatrick Administration seems to have played their cards based on the Council’s history of political paranoia and racial hypersensitivity. Detroit’s City Council are once again the ‘goat’. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is right, the Council belong in the Zoo.

Detroit’s Motto:

“We’ll throwing furniture in the fireplace to keep you warm!”

Lunar Landing

Many folks can easily recall the 1st lunar landing, and the few others that followed. If your memory of the era was not personal, there is much written, photographed, and filmed about it. There’s even music CD’s about the lunar landing. Much science was gleaned from the Apollo Space Program and the moon landings that benefited many aspects of our lives. And of course there is astronaut Neil Armstrong’s inspiring phrase: “One small step for man. One giant leap for Mankind!” Pretty cool stuff.

The Apollo Eight Christmas Eve broadcast was also  memorable as the 3 astronauts; William Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell read from Genesis while the images of  the moon and earth rising were beamed to televisions world-wide. Even more awe inspiring stuff!

In these closing months of Winter, anyone in Southeastern Michigan with a driver’s license in good standing can experience their own form of lunar landing with almost every road they drive on. The vehicle you choose for this experience matters not. The same report is also broadcast to any sensibilities you have, regardless of age. The report being, ow! OUCH! DAMMIT! OUCH!!! Blown tires, bent wheel rims, busted ball joints, control arms, shock absorbers, motor mount bolts, tie-rods, all sorts of rubber bushings, and other car parts fill the streets and dumpsters of auto dealerships and repair shops alike. In thanks to Michigan’s roads. All of it, at the motorist’s expense.

Driving on Woodward Avenue through Bloomfield Hills, even in the winter is usually a fairly relaxing drive…for a major roadway that is. But lately, that drive has turned into as jarring an event as Baja Motor-cross. In almost every town, big and small, both legally  and illegally licensed motorists are getting the collective fecal matter kicked out of them and their cars by the continually crumbling roads of Southeast Michigan.

Over the years, I’ve heard many reasons why “Good Roads Go Bad!” The constant freeze and thaw we experience in Michigan is usually the biggest default line one hears espoused by the road commission spokespeople. Pavements are just not well suited to the expansion and contraction caused by extremes in temperature, along with the pounding they receive not only from tens of thousands of automobiles, but the big rigs as well. Big rigs hauling tons of whatever needs to go wherever somebody needs the tons of stuff. It’s all part of the major economy that this part of the state is.

In the summer months, the asphalt road surfaces get mighty hot and ruts form in the roads most traveled having many motorists wondering if their alignment is out of whack from some other pot-holed road. Then there are the moguls that pile up at the stoplights of these asphalt roads as well. It is no mystery how they form with the stopping a couple of thousand cars a day in the blazing heat on a major roadway that is a rubberized surface severely tests any material.

Michigan’s roads seem a schizophrenic collection of building materials that have their medications run out on a constant basis. With most of these prescriptions stating on the bottle: “NO REFILLS!” Many other states, and many countries as well have similar weather to Michigan. Many of those same places have as much if not more traffic than Southeast Michigan. Visitors from the many other regions state and world-wide always say the same thing upon a visit to our Great Lakes State: “The roads here stink!” These other folks being: an Aunt and Uncle from Germany, many cousins from Canada, relatives from Washington D.C., relatives from Colorado, and friends from Boston, to name  only a few.

Why is it that Michigan’s roads are continually in disrepair and why is it many years before they get the attention that they need, only to fall again into disrepair within a few years of the last overhaul? Woodward Avenue from Bloomfield Hills to 8 Mile Road was re-surfaced not five years ago. Once again it possesses the lunar quality it had prior to the last repair. Insanity is not a word that comes to mind regarding Michigan’s roads. Rather, an almost conspiratorial idea foments that there is a racket going on here between the state and federal Representatives, and whomever they hire to do the repairs and replacement.

I’ve traveled to and driven through West Virginia, which is also known as a “recipient state”. West Virginia is a state with the lowest per-capita income in the US. Yet, they have the best roads. West Virginia’s roads and highways are all named after Senator Robert Byrd (KKK-D) a former Grand Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan and ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee. We’ve been told, and it has been reported that Michigan is a “Donor State”. Being a “Donor State” means that Michigan sends more tax dollars to the Federal Government than we receive back in the varying forms of subsidies, grants, works projects for municipal infrastructure and highway money. Us Michigan residents have been getting the screws put to us for quite a while. With nary a whimper to our weak-sister representatives, both Republicans and Democrats.

The Michigan Democrats are typically clogging up President Bush’s agenda, and mailing me letters telling me of their “progress”. Since I am not in a district with Republican representation, I have no idea what they are doing. I can guess with a reasonable degree of certainty that it’s not focused on benefiting the residents of the State of Michigan. If our weak sister delegation can’t get us any Federal money for our crumbling roads, how about another Tank Plant, or a Bomber factory, or something that at least gets Michigan residents something back for the net loss of highway money? I do not approve of the Pork Barrel way of Federal largesse. But since that’s the way the game is played, We are stuck working with that system’s premise. And where’s our Governor on all of this? AWOL. She’s afraid of her own shadow, let alone taking any kind of stand that challenges the status quo. By status quo I mean: 7-8% unemployment, crappy roads, a Detroit near receivership, a dilapidated, deficit ridden school system, many crumbling municipal infrastructures, the Emerald Ash Borer, etc. One could pile on but, boys are not allowed to hit girls. Especially Democrat girls.

Michigan residents pay lots of taxes that are supposed to pay for infrastructure maintenance, salaries for state employees, the teachers, and all manner of government services. We have taxes like the: lottery taxes (dozens of them), gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes (for the children y’ know?), licensing fees, income taxes, small business taxes, big business taxes, sales taxes, gaming fees, cab drivers pay taxes, diesel fuel taxes, hunting license fees, fishing license fees, at least 22 Michigan cities have an income tax, there are property taxes up the ying-yang(!), transportation taxes, and those are only a few of the categories of taxes! Not including the Federal taxes we as citizens and businesses pay! There’s not enough bandwidth to itemize each Michigan tax in every category. There seems to be enough money going to the government, what are the politicians doing with it all? The State of Michigan collects enough taxes to finance it’s own Apollo Space Program. Perhaps the moon is where all of Michigan’s tax dollars have gone. The Moon probably has all of the good roads, ’cause they sure ain’t in Michigan!

Even Death Row Inmates get a “Last Meal”

In a bizarre and sad case, the Courts of Florida and a handful of Federal Judges decided to let an innocent person simply starve to death because her husband wanted her to. Terri Schiavo was given fewer options than are given to death row inmates who exhaust their appeals. Death row thugs at least get a last meal. The Supreme Court has ruled that mentally incapacitated murderers, whom had been previously sentenced to death, should not be put to death.  But since Terri Schiavo had become inconvenient to a husband whom found more fertile pastures, and without the anti-death penalty lobby that was busy gearing up to defend Scott Peterson, they had little interest in intervening in Terri Schiavo’s case.

After an amazing 14 days of survival after having her nourishment removed via the “feeding tube”, Terri Schiavo simply faded away. She was sentenced to starve because her husband said: ”…she said she never wanted to live this way”. Without the benefit of any documents of any legal standing to prove his position, judges across the nation merely took the estranged husband at his word, despite pleas from Terri’s parents to be granted the opportunity to care for her themselves. Rev. Frank Pavone, a Roman Catholic priest added: “This is not only a death, with all the sadness that brings, but this is a killing, and for that we not only grieve that Terri has passed but we grieve that our nation has allowed such an atrocity as this and we pray that it will never happen again.”

 

Mitch Albom still seems to think that the Republican “memo” that ABC News itself has said it cannot verify, is: “the depth to which Republicans will go to exploit an issue”. The American Prowler has a few words on this: “There is a process here for documents like this that are passed around down on the Senate floor, which is where the media claimed that the ‘talking points’ were being distributed last Thursday,” says a Republican policy committee staffer. “There was a lot of stuff going on Thursday, but a document like this one was not being distributed. As far as we know, the only documents being handed out related to votes on a series of amendments being pushed through before the recess. Schiavo wasn’t part of that package.”

 

On the home front Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has 120 new buses for the City of Detroit. They were on display on Belle Isle Wednesday (could anybody get a ride there to see them?) rather than being on the road helping the wheelchair bound and infirm that sued to get them, since the old fleet had failing mechanicals on the wheelchair lifts. Maybe today that bus will show up on time. Let us know about that “New Bus Smell?”

 

Kwame isn’t done yet (perhaps soon?), he dissed Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson earlier this week on WJR Radio for allegedly coming up short on funding for Cobo Hall:

 

Kilpatrick has argued for support by Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, while Patterson has argued the expansion should be done by private businesses. Patterson said county taxpayers already contributed $185 million to the last Cobo renovation, a debt that is ongoing until 2015. Beckmann called Patterson and replayed the Kilpatrick interview, seeking a response. “I’m p—ed,” were Patterson’s first words on radio. A couple of others were censored later in the interview. “I thought I was a target of unprovoked assault by the mayor, and I’m not going to take that crap,” Patterson said later. “We predicted, as his race unfolds for re-election, that he would start beating up the suburbanites, and this is one suburbanite who’s not going to take it.”

 

Seems like old times when Brooks and the late Coleman Young used to play the dozens across Eight Mile Road. Considering Oakland County’s economic output rivals many European countries, perhaps Kwame should have a second look at what the suburbs are doing right? Probably not.

Hybridization

Hybrid technology won’t save enough to cover the $6,000 battery required to improve acceleration. Simple, trouble free cars are available without developing impractical power plants that will be unfashionable by the time they reach production. Heavy SUVs and pickup trucks cannot achieve the mileage of lightweight, small engine vehicles. Tiny VW Beetles and Honda CVCCs replaced big land cruisers during the 1970’s gas crisis and history is repeating.

 

Farmington City Council candidates promote “Pedestrian friendly streets.” Old people prefer to drive and the health-oriented pay to use treadmills.

They would install bump-outs on Grand River to slow traffic downtown and encourage use of the M-5 by-pass. Access to that expressway was made difficult for the same NIMBY reason—citizens want good streets but Not In My Back Yard.

It is not wise for a city to impede the right-of-way for licensed vehicles on a major thoroughfare. Visitors, shoppers and walkers will go elsewhere, taxes will rise, property values will fall and citizens will petition the city to become part of Farmington Hills with fewer empire builders. Be careful what you wish for.

Farmington’s new Main Street plan is frightening drivers and pedestrians. Parking is now restricted by curbs and bump-outs, forcing drivers to stay in line while someone ahead waits for a place to open. Angle parking spaces are too small to load a market basket into the trunk without interfering with through traffic; loading into the side door would scratch the next vehicle. Baskets are left in these curbed sanctuaries, and snow removal will be expensive. Cement everywhere does not foster a historical image.

 

Fresh-picked produce attracted crowds to downtown, but farmers will probably relocate. Amplified music now overwhelms discussion of vegetables and infuriates many seniors. Higher fees and restrictions on parking their trucks near the pavilion result in more expensive produce and difficult supply and re-supply. It just is not a farmer’s market anymore.

City promoters predict everything will smooth out. Yes, the harvest season will be over and shoppers will go where they can park close and push a basket straight to their car. Farmington will be left to walkers that don’t mind stepping around curbs. Happy Halloween.

 

In Namibia, Brad sat in a rented 4 door while Sue shopped. Three men tried to pull him out, gesturing to a problem beneath the car. Brad struggled and they left. Brad and Sue drove 2 hours to their lodge before realizing a fourth man had stolen his back pack from the rear seat. It contained prescription glasses, airline tickets, jacket, $1,000 camera and one GPS. They returned to the small town and filed a police report. Brad theorized later the matching GPS still in the trunk could have located the stolen one if thieves turned it on and pushed buttons. However, he could not confront a gang alone and police would not likely be present.

They returned to the safari in time to see leopards and cheetahs. The next morning, two male lions and a female visiting their camp seemed less dangerous than native hustlers in town. They flew from Namibia to Cape Town where Brad replaced his Canon camera. Insurance will cover most items and Sue has a copies on her film camera. They photographed whales along shore that night. It was quite an adventure.

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