We’ll admit it. We here at the ‘Blog got caught up in all of the pre-election polling hype predicting that Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick would be making moving plans rather than opening up that second bottle of Moet-Chandon. In spite of the “polling irregularities” that seem to plague the Motor City, Kilpatrick ‘Navigated’ his way to a second term. The “reform-minded campaign of Freman Hendrix wasn’t enough of a motive for Detroiters to vote for “change”. Replacing Detroit City Clerk Jackie Currie with the unknown Janice Winfrey hints at reform, at least of problems that have plagued Detroit elections. Kilpatrick possessed the confidence to articulate his vision for Detroit’s future. For Hendrix, a plan was forthcoming, or at least available on ’the website’. There it stays.
Kilpatrick’s first move should be to hire some better PR people. The media has had their way with the public portrayal of Kilpatrick, and ’Hizzoner has suffered as a result.
Former Detroit Councilman Alonzo Bates, himself the target of similar stories of phantom employees and excessive abuses of his office that cost him his seat on the council can tell the Judge and jury what he failed to adequately explain to voters.
The Night of the 1/2 Dead Senate
The US Senate is a fraternity composed of many who think that they should be president. Yet, unlike most ideologues, they are as conscious of polling data as the Clinton White House was. The Senate moves as a cadaverous body moves, with few exceptions. Senators are the ostensible “cooling saucer” for House and Executive legislation. But rather than improving things, they mostly gum up the process, adding months, if not years, and $billions$ to simple reforms and ideas. Many in the Senate, express surprise upon discovering the rest of the country has left them behind…thus they are compelled to act…retro-actively.
With Iraq reforming itself, electing its own government and adopting it’s own constitution, the Senate upon reading the latest polling data, needs to get in on the action. The “exit strategy” the Administration has maintained all along is based on eventual and competent Iraqi self-governance. The paranoid Senate however, is pressuring the Administration to accept a schedule forsaking the reality on the ground with our troops in harm’s way. The paranoid Senate want the war over in time for the elections of 2006. Senators whom see themselves as “leaders” don’t want to have to campaign on tough decisions. They want fluff interviews from the Washington Press corps, not media examinations of their stance on difficult issues. The paranoids don’t want to campaign on decisions or positions regarding the War, a Supreme Court nominee, tax reform, Social Security reform, or military base closings. They want the easy domestic issues that challengers find difficulty campaigning against. By consensus they attempt to lead. Pronouncing and moving, tripping and falling over each other as a comatose throng similar to the closing scene in that B & W 1968 classic where the risen dead finally break down the doors of the old farmhouse, mauling hapless victims, picking their bones clean of fleash and scattering through-out the countryside zombie-like in search of more victims.
A funny thing is happening to Tom Delay’s accusers and some of his allies. Republicans and Democrats alike are rechecking and if need be amending their PAC and “special interest” sponsored travel reports to reflect what really went on and what the expenses for said travel and accommodations were paid and by whom. Of course Tom
Delay’s expense records grab the headlines because the media and their liberal allies dislike him. The story has been dangling out there for so long with no new info to bolster the initial accusations because House Democrats are stalling the assembly of a new ethics panel. Many members of congress are now getting a fresh look by the media in an attempt to keep the story alive in the faint hopes that Delay is actually guilty of something.
Mark Scott, the Objectivist talk radio host for so many years on WXYT has died. WJR AM reports that Scott passed away from heart failure. Mark Scott’s show is available here online. I remember him most for his broadcasts on WXYT when he warmed up the A.M. crowd for Rush Limbaugh in the early days of AM radio’s resurgence. Scott, and many local hosts like him
brought relevancy back to AM radio nationally and finally began to refute the unanswered arguments that Democrats and their leftist allies in the media enjoyed for years. Scott delivered a message of liberty and that the U.S. was not simply a “democracy”, but a Constitutionally Limited Republic. Scott reminded us that our rights as individuals were inherent, and it is the government that is limited by the Constitution. Scott took apart conservatives and liberals alike on his show and admonished listeners of his show to adopt a healthier lifestyle away from the TV and to “Seize The Day!”
The Blog sends our Prayers for the Scott family.
Excelsior! Good Friend. Thank you for many enjoyable hours of excellent radio.
Marian Ilitch is now sole owner of Detroit’s MGM Grand Casino. One can be sure that striking Hockey Players are undoubtedly breathing easier knowing that their salaries are not dependant exclusively upon the skimpy NHL revenues thanks in part to last year’s lockout. Many people would prefer to drop their house payment on the fortunes of the roulette wheel & blackjack tables than watch Pro Hockey Players play hockey.
Despite Clear Channel’s resurrection of Air America and “progressive radio” in general, ratings are still dismal. Clear Channel’s tentacles spread nationwide and liberal Air America even falters in it’s Mecca of New York City. We have noted here that “Progressive Radio” is insufferably dull and uninspiring. And even with the infusion of millions of dollars in seed money, months of free publicity in the friendly broadcast and print media prior to its launch, Air America and it’s “progressive” compatriots are progressing downward in a fashion similar to Enron or Arthur Anderson and so many other promising ventures that failed based on faulty premises, easily shoved over when examined critically and objectively.
Have your own Abu Ghraib Anniversary Party tonight. Suggestions include: A leash from your local pet store and a game of nude Twister with friends. With Ted Kennedy on Spring Break from the U.S. Senate, exercise caution with whom you choose to invite.
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!
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.
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…
The British do have a way with words…. A real-life customer complaint letter sent to NTL (to their complaints dept….)
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.
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.
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.
“We’ll throwing furniture in the fireplace to keep you warm!”
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!