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23 posts from September 2005

MI couple speaks to students about suicide

Two parents in the Detroit-area are speaking to school assemblies about how they missed their 12-year-old son's symptoms for depression.  He ultimately committed suicide.  They want parents and kids to be aware.  Their story is in today's edition of the Detroit News.

They even got an area state legislator to introduce a bill to allow local school districts to teach their students about suicide.

Can you talk with the dead?

I have to admit that I watched CBS's new show Ghost Whisperer about a character played by Jennifer Love Hewitt who talks to the dead. 

My pastor says this show and other new ones this season are in direct conflict with Christianity and are dangerous to watch.  There's a whole world out there ruled by spirits who are part of Satan's empire and all the fallen angels.

It was entertaining and I felt sympathy for one of the cases she dealt with, the son of a fallen Vietnam vet who wanted to talk to the father who he has no memory of ever seeing.  There was a big hole in this guy's heart and he thought that a message from the otherside would help fill it.

That started me thinking about what I'd do if I could talk to my dead father who I have two minutes worth of memories with.  It would be tempting and it would be wrong. 

Look at the show's website and the blog of a real life medium.

Going up north to the cottage becoming harder

As long as I can remember, there were lots of people who went to their cottage in northern Michigan every weekend.  It was a ritual and it has become an important part of the state's economy.

Now the Detroit News reports in today's papers that more and more up north properties are on the market and taking longer to sell.  Is this cyclical here in Michigan or is it a precursor of tougher times to come for the job-challenged Great Lakes state?

Trentadue family is one of many from New Orleans area

Img21They're one of the many families at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Lansing, MI.  But, Dave Trentadue, a local attorney and graduate of Cooley Law School in Lansing, was born and raised in the New Orleans area.  His mom and dad, siblings and extended family are still there.

They lost everything, not unlike tens of thousands of others.  They are still living and they still have each other.

But, it what we don't see on television that makes the difference.  Regular food is scarce and family members are struggling to get one meal a day and to find drinkable water.  Finding open local banks is a challenge and on the wrong days feels like a scene out of the old western Gunsmoke.

That's why our church is having a door-offering on Sunday.  They are passing the hat for the Trentadue family.  There's grandma and grandpa, a brother, couple of sisters, a niece with a new baby born during Katrina.  They are in need.

We are on the other side of the continent.  But, we still can help and we have a responsibility to help and I pray that we will make a difference for at least one family if not more.

Gov. Rick Perry says, "Pray for Texas"

I was sitting in my home office and I heard Gov. Rick Perry talking about the evacuation for Hurricane Rita and he ended his remarks by saying, "Pray for Texas."

My reaction was "Amen."  I can do that.  But, I have a question.  "How do you pray for people who are facing certain disruption in their lives and whose future is in severe doubt?"

Is it better to pray for specific needs?  By city?  By age-group?  By types of needs?  For the volunteers?  Law enforcement?  News media?  President Bush?  The Congress?  People working together?

Or is it better just to put the whole thing in God's hands and say, "Thy will be done?"

Any suggestions?

We are waiting to hear from Amazing Race

Img_0025_1It was a hot summer day in mid-Michigan when, my son, Justin, and I sent off our audition tape and application for Amazing Race 9.  We realized it was a long shot to get picked, but we both felt we had something to offer the show and its many millions of viewers.

We have a very functional and productive father-son relationship.  It started when he was young and it continues strong.  In between those two points, we have done a lot of stuff together in a wide-variety of places.  And I feel that we've been a demonstration to the world that a father and a son can work together to achieve some very big goals, but still retain their individual identities.

We would be "good tv" too.  People would enjoy watching us as we would move around the world trying to win a game that has a pot of dollars at the end.

Our similarities include:

Continue reading "We are waiting to hear from Amazing Race" »

In New Orleans, problem was societal breakdown, not feds

Those who believe that government should be the savior for everybody will take offense at this column from the news magazine of the Rochester Institute of Technology.  But, it makes an important point that needs to be discussed.

It states that government created a situation where poor people were totally dependent on government and weren't willing to take responsibility for themselves.  Ouch.  How much of this could be true.

Thanks to Confessions of Undercover Geek for pointing to this.

Identity theft strikes Mike Wendland of Detroit Free Press

In this morning's Detroit Free Press, Mike Wendland, their tech columnist, reports about how he was victimized by identity theft. 

Know those checks credit card companies send out every month with your name on them where all you have to do is fill out the amount?  It seems that somebody stole them from Wendland's mailbox before he got to pick up his mail and they used them.

He writes about the frustration of having to straighten the mess out.  It's worth reading and it's worth taking as a warning to heed if you have credit cards.

Detroit's Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick further separates his city from the state

Today's Detroit Free Press has a story about the maelstrom that Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick raised with his comments that surrounding suburbs have more problems with drugs than his city.

He made his remarks during the heat of his frustrated campaign for reelection.  He commented about how Oakland County's Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills youth had more problems with serious drug usage than his city.  Ouch.  Let's further drive a stake in the relationship between a once proud city and the rest of the state.

What happened to leaders who brought different groups together and found solutions to their mutual problems?  The preferred tactic to get-ahead in politics these days is to take a machete to your opponents.  The more that you can dishonor them, the better seems to be the attitude.

Continue reading "Detroit's Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick further separates his city from the state" »

Congressional Democrats are bloviators

I'm working in my home office and in the next room I can hear the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives trying to take partisan advantage of what happened with Hurricane Katrina.  They're all blaming President Bush.

That's like blaming President Clinton for what's happened with Osama Bin Laden.  He could have gotten him, but didn't. 

What would happen if we dropped the partisanship and worked together to discover what truly happened and didn't happen.  Democrats and Republicans should be working together in Congress and at all levels to sort out the facts from fiction.  Can we hold each other accountable without the Bush-bashing?

Listen to the Bush-bashers and you get the impression that he's responsible for everything wrong in this country.  Come-on.  I hear the voice of U.S. Rep. John Dingell.  All you hear is anybody but Bush could have done better.  Well, that's anybody but a Republican.

What about Bill Clinton and his little foray into an Oval Office side room where he and Monica Lewinsky got acquainted with a cigar and he denied it was sex. 

Is Bush's administration the first to have political appointees in key jobs?  What about FDR and Pearl Harbor.  Something was missed there, right?

It's time to cut the rhetoric and make sure Congress does its job.  It needs to be looked at thoroughly and there needs to be answers and then let's comeback and talk about it and who's to blame.

I'm sure there's more than plenty to go around.

Google has new blog search engine

I just learned about this from Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion that Google has a new search engine for blogs. I'm going to spend some serious time with it and then write more.  So, far, it seems to have some useful possibilities.  Will it compete with Technorati?

Windows Vista makes me glad I got Apple I-Book

This summer I made the trek to the new Grand Rapids, MI Apple store and bought a 14-inch Apple I-Book.  I also have an aging Inspiron 8200 by Dell.  I was ready for a change.

This morning I read in the Confessions of An Undercover Geek about how Microsoft in all its great wisdom is contemplating the release of seven different versions of its anticipated Windows Vista operating system.  Hmm...

That's going to make going to Sam's Club computer section real fun.  Trying to pick the right one could be a real nightmare.

I think I'll stick with what I got.  I really like Apple.  I'm almost sixty and I might even get a new I-Pod Nano. 

By the way, the Undercover Geek is my son.  We made the June trip to the Apple store together.  He has a Powerbook.  My wife, a third-grade teacher, has an I-Book and so does my daughter, a neo-natal intensive care nurse.  So, I guess we say to Microsoft bring on all the different versions.  It won't affect us.

Focus on the Family shines light on AARP agenda

I remember when AARP publications would come in my mom's mailbox back in Bay City, MI.  At the time, they looked casually interesting for the needs of that age group.  But, I wasn't in that age group.  Now I am. 

I belonged to AARP for a few years, but I didn't renew this year.  I saw the magazine becoming more and more a vehicle for a worldview that I didn't subscribe to.  And, then in the monthly bulletin from the organization, I saw such one-sided reporting about President Bush and his proposals for Social Security reform.  They treated anybody over-50 like brainless lapdogs.  And, that just didn't appeal to me.

Now, Focus on the Family has done some in-depth research about AARP and its CEO and I'm convinced I made the right decision in not renewing.  The national organization seems to have a clear agenda that is anti-life and very leftist is both politics and social reforms.  Check it out in this research report.  Any comments?

John Kerry would have handled Katrina

Okay, how would have John Kerry handled a response to Hurricane Katrina?

All the liberal bloggers who are bored on a nice September weekend are demanding that President Bush be impeached and run out of Washington and back to his Texas ranch on a rail.  The catalyst for this latest blathering is a catastrophe of epic proportion.

The Bush-haters are blaming this great president for everything from the actual storm to the federal government's response. 

What would Kerry have done differently? 

Now, all you ACLU types, tell me about whether the feds can just swoop into any local situation without going the invitation of the local and state governments.  Where was the ball fumbled?  Was it the local government of New Orleans or the Louisiana governor who looked like she had all the backbone of a jelly fish on the gulf?

What about all the emergency preparedness types in Louisiana who were convicted of ripping off money from their own program?

Impeach Bush?  Give me a break.  Go back to smoking your joints and swilling your designer beers and let Congress conduct oversight hearings to unravel what happened and what didn't happen.

I'm sick of the knee-jerk reaction against President Bush, a great man of courage and conviction.

They will go to any lengths to make government bigger and to get it so entangled in your lives that your freedom is just about gone.

Don't dishonor the dead and all the great people trying to make a difference in the Gulf with this constant carping against those trying to save lives.

Emotional and spirtual recovery when you've lost everything

The emotional and spirtual trauma felt by those affected by Hurricane Katrina has to be enormous.  There are hundreds of thousands of all ages who are having to cope with losing everything.  How do you rebuild your life?

Pastor Rick Warren, the Purpose Driven Life author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California, provides some answers through the notes for his sermon last Sunday.  The seven steps, he lists, are applicable to anybody who has experienced major loss: 

His seven rebuilding steps are:

  1. Release your grief
  2. Resist bitterness
  3. Reevaluate your life
  4. Receive help from others
  5. Rely on the Lord
  6. Refuse to be discouraged
  7. Reach out to others

His notes and his worksheets are a free download.  Individuals, small groups and churches would benefit by making them available.

Rising Tide, The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927

In this morning's USA Today, I saw a short story about the increasing popularity of books about past natural disasters in this country.  The one that caught my attention was Rising Tide by John M. Barry who did a social history of the big flood of the Mississippi Flood of 1927.

The details in the story and on Amazon are strikingly similar to what happened along the Gulf Coast.  There were lots of deaths, many racial issues and plenty of political finger-pointing.  I'm going to get it from Amazon and I'll read it.

It's easy to forget that natural disasters have happened before in this country.  For the people in the south, it's real deja vu' . 

My friend, David Trentadue, grew up in and has family in New Orleans

You could see the anxiety in his face when he and his wife visited with us last Saturday.  David Trentadue's family all had lived just over the line from the city of New Orleans in Metairie until Hurricane Katrina chased them out.

There was his mom and dad, siblings, cousins and aunts and uncles and others.  They were spread out over the south in motels and with relatives.  Meanwhile, David did not know the status of the home where he grew up.

His family is close and not being connected even electronically was a challenge for him to deal with.  The University of New Orleans graduate writes about it in his new blog, The NOLA Connection.

Katrina raises more important questions for MI elections

This past week I sat stunned watching the coverage of Hurricane Katrina.  I know big storms happen and people suffer as a result. 

But, what really shook me to my core was the apparent lack of response by the federal government to the needs of the people trapped in the New Orleans Convention Center and in the Superdome. 

Let me be clear.  I'm a lifelong conservative Republican and I feel good about President Bush for the most part, but I'm unsure about his response to the hurricane.

Continue reading "Katrina raises more important questions for MI elections" »