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17 posts from February 2006

Ray of light shines for MI auto industry with Delphi and UAW

This morning's Detroit News happily reports that Delphi has extended the time period to reach a new contract deal with the UAW at its various plants in Michigan and around the country.  New date is March 31. 

The threat of a Delphi strike is very real and the consequences would be catastrophic. 

Does the delay mean that the two sides can work something out?

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Five affirmations for friendship by Dr. James McDonald of Walk In The Word

I can't believe that ten years from now I'll be almost 70-years-old.  I'm humbled by what I've experienced and learned.  But, more importantly, I've come to another realization and I'm almost embarrassed to say this.

I have so much more to learn.  You would think that by age 59, you would have it pretty much together.  But, I don't.  However, I feel that I'm moving forward.  Something I picked up this morning:

Some context:  Over the years I've tried many things to start my day, including going to the YMCA.  That's good, but not the best.  To keep my day focused and to keep my heart right, I need to start it with God.

This morning:  I listened to a podcast from Dr. James McDonald of how the Bible defines real friendship.  As an example he pointed to the relationship of David and Jonathon.

From 1 Samuel 23, McDonald gets five affirmations of friendship:

  1. I will be there during times of hardship:  Jonathon's dad, Saul, was out to kill David.  But, he made it clear that he was still behind his friend, David.  He'd be there.  He wasn't going anyplace.
  2. I will help you depend on God and not me:  David was dealing with a whole boatload of emotional problems.  Bitterness, discouragement were only two of them.  Jonathon was not the answer for David.  God was and that's where he pointed his friend.
  3. I will seek to be a source of emotional stability for you:  he was a calming influence for David.   Jonathon was objective and clear-headed.
  4. I will be self-effacting and unashamed in my loyalty to you; He rejoiced in the fact that David was going to be the king and not him.  Loyalty is not blindness.  It's insistence that others see him as God sees him.
  5. I will verbalize my commitment to my friend.

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In Michigan governor's race, it's hard to not ask some questions

I almost feel guilty in raising questions about the upcoming political campaigns in Michigan for a variety of offices, all the way from U.S. Senator, to governor and to the whole Michigan Legislature.

My feelings come from how I perceive both political parties, Republicans and Democrats.  I am looking for principles and values that make them different from each other.  They should have differences, right? 

All I see is partisan blathering from both sides.  It's like trash talking the other team on a basketball court. 

The perception is that both parties are in this just to win and hold power and not to do something with it.

My guilt comes from being a lifelong Republican.  As a teenager, I got involved in poltics to make a difference.  I knew what I wanted and I worked for it.  The Republican Party stood for something and so did the Democratic party.

I'm sure my Republican friends will take umbrage at this.  But, I hope they take a look at how they are perceived.  I really want to be involved. But I want to be involved to move towards some end, to get some done and not just to hold power.

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Read Detroit News story about Ricky Holland and then react

I read this story in the Detroit News this morning about 7-year-old Ricky Holland from Williamston, just east of here and then felt some feelings I hadn't felt in a long time.  Disgust with the system and with those who lead it. 

Michigan's child protection system is gasping for breath and it needs help.  First, somebody has to have the courage to sort it out.  Then, it can be repaired. 

The Detroit News story says that state workers knew about the abuse of Holland and his siblings, but still left them with their abusing parents.  The facts are needed and they can't be fudged. 

Maybe sympathetic ears in the blogosphere can help!

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Al Gore: Is he right in U.S. rebuke or is he a traitor?

I just read Michelle Malkin's post titled Al Gore Slanders America.  The former vice-president was giving a speech in Saudi Arabia to the Jeddah Economic Forum where he is reported saying that the U.S. government committed "terrible abuses" against Arabs after 9/11.

He talks about how Arabs had been "indiscriminately rounded up" and held in "unforgivable" conditions.  Gore then described how Washington was playing into al-Qaida's hands by blocking Saudi visa applications.

Malkin then refutes his charges by quoting from the Justice Department's Inspector General report on how the 9/11 detainees were treated and why they were detained. 

Gore's living in another world, it seems.  Is he right?  Or is his bitterness over losing the election and his rampant self-righteousness getting the best of him?

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Michigan Blog: A candidate for my blogroll

I just stumbled on this Michigan blog.  The author describes himself as a right-winger who lives in Oxford in Oakland County, I believe. 

A pretty well-known former state lawmaker, Mel Larsen, is from Oxford I believe.  He authored the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act. 

I don't have time to read it all right now, but I will get back to it. His comments are closed which has got to mean that his conversation is one-way with him doing the talking. So is he worth listening to, if he won't listen to anybody else? 

He probably represents the viewpoint of a lot of people in Michigan, I'm sure.  I'll report back and just perhaps I might put him on my blogroll.

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Is killing single-business tax the answer to getting more business in Michigan?

Oakland County (MI) Executive L. Brooks Patterson made a pretty bold statement about how to improve Michigan's economy and business climate:

"More than the global economy, the Single Business Tax is killing this state because it is killing jobs in Michigan," he is quoted as saying in today's Detroit Free Press.

He is raising money to get the tax on the November ballot through a statewide petition.  More info can be obtained at

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Domestic spying; who is telling the truth?

Can you believe President Bush and what he says about domestic spying?

Time magazine in its Feb. 13, 06 edition in its Notebook column has a short piece headlined "Wartime power play."  It talks about the brouhaha over President Bush's domestic spying program where Americans have their phones tapped?

The obvious question is how many phones have been tapped?

Time quotes President Bush as saying only a few U.S. phones and then quotes Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as saying thousands.  That difference in answers is troubling.  It's getting harder and harder to believe people in power.  Does Time has this story right?

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Does Lansing (MI) City Council website work for you?

Now that I have a little more time, I'm trying to stay more informed about what is happening here in mid-Michigan where I live.  It's almost impossible to follow the activities of the Lansing City Council.  That's really disheartening.  Here's what I've tried:

  • City Council broadcasts on our local cable.  This is really hard to follow.  You don't have an agenda or any of the background.  The council sessions seem to be dominated by local citizens who speed way too much time trying to get their time before the camera.
  • Local newspaper coverage of city council proceedings.  It's non-existent.  Why is that?  Nobody interested?  Or is it the local paper, the Lansing State Journal-a Gannett newspaper, making a judgment about what it feels is important.  Whatever their attitude, it needs to be reevaluated.  Readers in the city are being shortchanged.
  • City Council website.  I have an Apple iBook.  It's about six months old and I use a variety of browsers.  None of them will fully open the City Council portion of the website. 
I'm asking for blogosphere help.  Can you open the Lansing (MI) City Council site with your computer?  Am I doing something wrong with my browsers? 

Here's the url:

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Quick Verse: Having some installation problems

For Christmas, my family got me the Quick Verse Bible software for the Mac, the Black Box version.  I installed it and it worked fine for several weeks.  Then when Apple offered the system update 10.4.4, I installed it.  The Quick Verse program has worked right since then.

The program will open, but there will be no books in its library.  It renders the program useless.  My wife got it for me at Family Book Stores, one of the two here in Lansing.

I e-mailed Quick Verse and got a note back from what appeared to be a nice, but overworked support person.  I called two times.  The first time, I was put on deep hold and couldn't wait more than 25 minutes and the second time I connected.  I was sent a fix.  It specified that I remove certain files and then re-install.

I removed everything Quick Verse and it still didn't work.  I'm going to Africa in three weeks and I would like to take it with me.

Anybody have any ideas on how I can get this going?  I've tried praying.  Still waiting for an answer.  Maybe, the answer is to be patient and I'm trying to be.

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Living in Michigan and learning important business terms like net profit

To be an informed citizens during these days of economic transition and uncertainty, it's important to know some business and accounting terms and what they mean.

For instance, in today's online versions of the Detroit Free Press and other papers, there are stories about Toyota and how its net profit for the third quarter was up 34 percent. 

Okay, what is net profit?  Wikipedia has an answer.  It is equal to the gross revenue for a given time minus associated expenses.

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Super Bowl chief Roger Penske profiled by Mitch Albom

Michigan leaders have wrung their hands over how to get stuff done in the city of Detroit for a long time.  To say that it has struggled is a severe understatement.  One guy who seems to be getting stuff done is Roger Penske, the head of the Super Bowl XL committee which is responsible for the big show on Sunday.

Mitch Albom, sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press, did a ride-along with Penske in the past few days as he was inspecting the city of make sure it was ready.  He spoke and things happened.  He should be mayor of Detroit.  Heck, he should be governor of Michigan. 

When I was in the Army, what he had was called command presence.  When he walks into the room, you know he's there and you want to follow his orders.

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Global warming: FAQ from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Living in the heart of Michigan where February 2 weather is really balmy compared to the way it usually is, I can almost say I like global warming.  However, I know it's a serious issue with potentially real consequences.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has this pretty comprehensive FAQ on Global Warming.  I'm book marking it and will read it in the next week.  I offer it just in case others might be interested. 

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Foreign auto makers make-up for lost Detroit jobs

From this morning's Wall Street Journal is a story about the Denso Corp., an affiliate of Toyota and their decision process to locate a manufacturing plant in Osceola, Ark. 

Right in the lead of the story, it says:

"But massive job cuts by Detroit have overshadowed an important change in U.S. manufacturing.  Asian and European auto companies, looking for skilled workers tomake complex products, have created nearly enough new jobs in the U.S. to make up the difference."

My question:  Why can't Michigan get these foreign auto jobs that are going to other states?  We have the trained workers?  Is it the high costs of the UAW contracts?

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