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38 posts from October 2006

Granholm and Devos: What if they took a lesson from the Amish example

I'll probably watch the debate tonight between Gov. Jennifer Granholm and her challenger Dick Devos.  I'll watch at least for a few minutes.

There's no reason to believe that it will be anything different than the previous two.  It will probably be more of the same.  Devos will accuse the governor of being inept and he will brag that he has the skills to make Michigan great again.  Granholm will point her finger at Devos and say he's lying about moving jobs to China and blah, blah, blah.

What if they took a lesson from the Amish in Pennsylvania who experienced the brutal murder of their children.  They forgave the perpetrator.  That's biblical thing to do, right?

Granholm and Devos could ask each other for forgiveness for the way they've acted towards each other.  And, most civil people, would have to admit that they've treated each other pretty shabbily.  It's time to break the political paradigm set by political advisors and consultants.  They need to set an example for the rest of the country. 

Maybe they need to ride to the debate together, just by themselves and settle their differences and tell voters how they would run Michigan and how they would bring people together, rather than polarize them.

Can it happen?  Sure.  Will it?  Doubtful.

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Detroit Tigers provide a break from the grayness of October in Michigan

Michigan has not been doing much positive thinking lately.  With our politicians throwing knives at each other and with our highways filled with jobs moving out-of-state, it hasn't been a fun place to live.

However, there's a break in the dark thinking compliments of the Detroit Tigers.  Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press describes it as jubilation.  It seems a little strong, but I get the point.

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Advice to a friend about his remarks to a Right-to-Life group

A friend ask my advice about what he should share with a Right-to-Life group in east Michigan.  He has been asked to give remarks at a big annual dinner.  He is a former state legislator and a very special person who has left his mark. 

He's a former special ed teacher who has a passion to see children thrive and succeed.  He sees the good in everybody, regardless of situation.  His passion for the unborn always stood out.  What do you tell a ballroom of pro-lifers?

I've thought about that a lot.  Do you tell them what they want to hear or do you tell them what they should hear?

I don't expect others to see through the same filter I look through, but here are some of my thoughts based from lots of right-to-life exposure and to the political process:

  • In our culture today, we seem to take life at all levels for granted and we seem to be apathetic when life is threatened, disregarded or even ended.
  • Example:  In Michigan, point your finger to just about any spot on the map and look at the child abuse and neglect that takes place there.  This happens in varying degrees.  Check the number of kids who are murdered by their parents or a care-provider.  And, then check the state response.

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How would you grade your worship at church today?

I'm not sure how many worship services I've attended.  Perhaps, it's been a couple of thousand.  I'm little over 60 and I've gone to church pretty much all my life.

During that time I haven't heard much serious discussion about what you should be able to get out or what you should be able to put into a church service.  I've never really known what my expectations should be about Sunday worship.

What makes good worship?  I've learned that my heart has to be right or, at least, pointed right or I might as well stay home.  But, what else?

I went to church this morning.  It was Friendship Sunday.  Members were encouraged to bring friends and that's good.  How serious did I take that?  Hmmm. . .

  • Does anybody else ever struggle with the same questions about worship? 
  • Have you found the answers?
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Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers manager, will be my write-in for Michigan governor, maybe

For the first time in my  life, I don't feel like voting  in an upcoming gubernatorial election.  I am really tired of the rhetoric-saturated fat of their campaigns.

We need leaders who can inspire and who people want to follow and right now I don't want to follow either incumbent Jennifer Granholm or challenger Dick Devos.  On the one hand, they complain about negative campaigns and on the other, they take a blow torch to their opposition whether it's warranted or not.

Both candidates come across as real lightweights without the skill to get our Great Lakes State through the challenges of the next four years. 

How can voters make a protest vote on Election Day, Nov. 7?

Why not write-in the name of Jim Leyland, the manager of the Detroit Tigers?  Look at the facts.  He knows how to bring people together.  He took a team made it into a powerhouse and was able to get it through the challenges on the way to the World Series.

Leyland, in one season, has probably done more for Michigan's economy in one year than Granholm and Devos can do together.

I'm sure that a winning MLB manager needs the same skillset that a governor needs in bringing a state together.

Is this realistic?  Not really.  But, Granholm and Devos need to get the message that they're not connecting with the people.  I wonder how much of Granholm's growing support is from those who don't want Devos and don't particularly care about her.

Leyland looks and talks like lot of guys I grew up with.  No pretenses.  No bullsh*t.  Just get the job done.  That's it.

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Looking at the gray from mid-Michigan at the start of a new week

I'm looking out our picture window at a lawn full of dropped leaves and looking at the sun which is pretending to come up.  Before I jump in the shower to get ready for church, I want to recalibrate my attitude for the coming week.

This is getting harder to do living in the heart of an area undergoing massive economic transformation with the decline of our auto industry.  Nowadays, you take hope where you can get it.

  • In the race to be Michigan's governor, you won't find much reason for hope.  Both candidates, Granholm and Devos are very uninspiring and haven't planted a flag that people can gather around and fight for.  No hope here.  More of the same-old-sh*t.  Granholm's winning in the polls.
  • In East Lansing, Michigan State University loses again at football.  It's amazing how the success of a sports team can affect an area.  Spartans shoot blanks.  They can't win.  They might as well sell the stadium.  Perhaps it can be converted to a dorm.
  • In the United States, families composed of married couples are officially outnumbered by unmarried.  I'm not sure about the implications of that, but there certainly have to be many. 
  • In Lansing, our church--Our Savior Lutheran Church--is having Friend Sunday where you are specially-invited to bring an unchurched friend.  There will be special music and I assume a service that will be more user-friendly than the usual Lutheran service.  Very few times have I invited a friend to one of these services.  I don't know why. 
Ooops!  I'm late.  Shower time and then church.  More later.  Sun's coming out.  Really.

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A profile of Ricky Holland's dad who helped murder the seven-year-old

What kind of person would murder or help murder his own young son, a seven-year-old?

Ricky Holland's dad, Tim, who confessed to his murder, saw his own mom commit suicide in front of him and his abusive father. 

In today's Detroit Free Press, reporter Jack Kresnak writes about Tim's experience as a young boy and the terrors he had to live with.

Is that kind of background a solid predictor of future behavior? 

How much could be learned to prevent child abuse and neglect by interviewing parents who murdered their own kids?  Can we affect the problem if we don't understand it?  Are laws enough to change behavior?

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For those who want third choice for Michigan governor, who should we write-in?

In my previous post, I suggested the possibility of Michigan voters writing in a name as a third choice and protest vote agains the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor.

The Great Lakes State needs a leader who can move beyond the partisan carping and somebody who has vision and who can work with a sometimes stubborn legislature.  Who could that be?

How about U. S. Rep. Joe Schwarz?  He has demonstrated the ability to bring people together and he has shown that he's not the toady of any interest group.   U.S. Rep. Schwarz, a former state senator also has vision and he has management skills that work well in a legislative environment.

Any thoughts about Schwarz?  He's looking for a job.  He has more savvy than our existing choices.  Anybody else that we could write-in?

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In Michigan, we need to start a write-in for governor

I watched part of the debate between Gov. Jennifer Granholm and her challenger Dick Devos last night.  I wanted to be engaged by a debate of the issues and a nuanced look at how the candidates responded to them.

Michigan deserves better than either one.  At least that's my perception from what I've read and watched.  Our state faces so many big issues that will determine its future for years to come.  It's hard to find the hope in how it will manage its various transitions.

And, in my opinion, neither Granholm or Devos showed any vision on where they want to take us. 

Devos does sound like a whiny rich guy who get his back up when he's challenged.  Was I impressed about his strident attack on the governor for her charges about his nursing home investments?  Not at all. 

He comes across as speaking down to people.  I hate that.  I can't relate to him.  He appears to want power because he just wants it.   He doesn't show how he's going to use it. 

Then Gov. Granholm has every cliche in the political advisor's book.  But, she certainly is more pleasant and comes across as the kind of person you would like to have as a neighbor.   But as governor?  I'm not convinced.

Voters need to demand more from both candidates.  It's time to set partisan identifications aside.  Too much is at stake to do it any other way.  Michigan is at a fork in the road and unlike what Yogi Berra said, we should do more than just take it.

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Lynn Kurt through her son's blog shows us all how to die

I remember talking to Lynn Kurt in front of the Michigan State Capitol Building where I was the manager of the Press Room, where reporters hung out and where news conferences were held.

My job at that time was to ensure that all interest groups had access to the Capitol Press Corps and that the reporters had access and a place to work. 

Lynn's issue was right-to-life and abortion.  At the time, I didn't have any strong feelings about the issue and felt it was a matter of choice.  And, I remember Lynn, a friendly, but incredibly assertive woman on the pro-life issue.  She jammed a book into my hand by Dr. Jean Garton that pried me loose and moved me in the pro-life direction. 

Our paths crossed again occasionally at various functions.  I knew of her commitment to God, her husband Jim and to her kids and grandkids.  She had a focus that was laser-like.

I heard some time back that she had pancreatic cancer.  I never heard many of the details, until I ran across her son Dave's blog where he writes about his mom's life and death.  Each post is written with a poignancy, clarity and a whole lot of heart.

After reading his blog, I feel like I know the family.  He has pictures, including many of Lynn.  They dealt with dying and they dealt with death.  And, I'm sure it was hard and that there was a huge gap left by her passing.

I'm really happy that I ran across this blog and I'm really thankful that she had enough gumption to stop and talk to me on the front lawn of the Michigan Capitol. 

I know Lynn is in the heavenly stands cheering us all on.  Her story reeks of hope and of a strong message to not give up regardless of the circumstances.  See you later Lynn and to her son Dave, thanks for the blog.

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Fire Michigan State University president, trustees and football coach

In East Lansing (MI) and at Michigan State University, it's time to clean house and get a football program that can win.  Unlike many, I don't believe that football and other sports is life.  I watch very few games and pay scant attentio to the sports pages.

But, I know that a successful football program can drive a college or university to new heights of positive public visibility  and with that comes all sorts of fringe benefits. 

What would a winning program mean for MSU and its struggles to stay relevant and vital in an ever-changing economy and culture?  Just think about it.  MSU wins every game and really pummels the University of Michigan.

In our culture and the values that it places on athleticism, state legislators who decide state aid for institutions of higher learning would be more inclined to give more money.  The same for foundation grants makers.  New programs could be started and existing ones could be bolstered.  Maybe even Google would build a facility in East Lansing, like they are doing in Ann Arbor.

Why can't MSU have a winning and dynamic football program?  And why is the U of M's program a big winner most years?  What accounts for the difference?  It can't be money.  I'm sure MSU spends millions on its football program.

It's time for a change on the MSU campus, especially on game Saturdays.  And it should start with a new president, new trustees and a new coach. 

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Granholm-Devos gubernatorial debate doesn't make me feel better

I feel comfortable with my decision to not watch the debate last night between Gov. Jennifer Granholm and challenger Dick Devos.  I'm not sure my hour spent watching Seventh Heaven was any better.

But, one point stands out.  I read Chris Andrews' story about the debate in the Lansing State Journal and then I read the comments from readers in their blog format for presenting stories.

One comment notes that Devos invested $173 million in an assisted care company that was accused of allowing abuse of some of its patients.  His response was way less than reassuring that he has compassion for people who are in need. 

I can't see myself voting for Granholm.  But, I'm not some lap dog voter for the Republicans.  I could sit on my hands.  However, I may see more in the next few weeks that will convince me otherwise.

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My son's notes from first day on the job as newly-graduated web geek

My son, Justin, a newly-graduated RIT computer geek, had his first day on the job at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.  Check this:  After work, he went to a downtown coffeehouse/church where they had free wi/fi.  He shares his notes from his first-day on his first after college job in his blog, Confessions of An Undercover Geek.

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Michigan's legislation to move children's ombudsman from governor to State Legislature

For those of you following the growing lineup of young children being abused and murdered in Michigan, check out Rep. David Law's bill to change control of the Michigan Office of Children's Ombudsman from the Executive Branch to the control of the Michigan Legislature.

Presently, the Ombudsman who investigates the state's involvement in child protection cases gone awry, is under the control of the sitting governor who is Gov. Jennifer Granholm.  This means that the Ombudsman is in the position of having to write critical and potentially embarrassing reports about the boss. 

The present structure is not working and needs to be changed.  This became obvious with the murder of two-year-old Ariana Swinson whose death spawned several important changes in the law which apparently are either not being followed or are not effective.

Watch Prison Break or Michigan's gubernatorial debates?

My partisan ardor should really be up and fully erect this year with the gubernatorial election in Michigan, but it's not.  Why?

This is one of the few years in my adult life where I have been able to sweep aside my partisan prejudices and ask straight forward questions about issues and the candidates.  For most of my working life I have always worked with or for politicians in some way shape or form.

My political flavor has always been Republican.  Some of this is inherited from my family, but, it's also a reflection of my natural desire to make my own decisions and take responsibilty for my actions without government interference.

But as I've gotten older I've come to see that party labels are pretty meaningless.  U.S. Joe Schwarz, a Michigan Republican, pretty much believes that our party should include everybody, regardless of their belief about anything.  I've got a problem with that.

THIS BRINGS ME BACK to the gubernatorial election this year and my lack of excitement about it.  The rudeness from both sides has been monumental.  There's no respect for other's beliefs, even if they're different than yours.

It's like the Taliban is lose in Michigan.  Disagree with somebody and they're ready to jump down your throat and start calling you names.  It happens on both sides.

The Detroit Free Press this morning talks about tonight's debate between Gov. Jennifer Granholm and challenger Dick Devos and about the paper's message board where respondent's were asked to pose questions for the candidates.

I'm sick of this and I feel that voters need to make their displeasure known.  Perhaps the blogosphere is one way to do that.  Tonight, I think I'd rather watch Prison Break, than the debate between Granholm and Devos.

The Free Press affirms what's happening:
Overall, however, even while many contributors posed
straightforward, dispassionate questions, the dominant tone was
abusive, as posters traded insults and ignored each other's arguments.

Starting Monday at Beaners on Waverly Road in Lansing

This morning I took my wife to school where she's an elementary teacher and then went to the Beaners coffee shop on Waverly Road in Lansing where I wanted to start my online day.

My first online visit was to the Radio Bible Class and its Our Daily Bread where I read a devotion written by David C. McCasland on John 16:13-14 about the promise of Jesus that the Holy Spirit will teach and guide me as I read through God's Word.  McCasland says to expect an enlightening tour.

I need some enlightening today, especially in mid-Michigan where the morning sky is about every shade of gray imaginable.  The Lions continue to lose.  The Detroit Tigers are giving away games and Michigan State's Spartans are having another throw-away season.  Then there's Michigan's economy where gloom and doom pervades.

This will not be my last go-around with God's Word.  I just pray that He will open the eyes of my heart to hear what he's saying.

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Starting out my Sunday; Dr. James McDonald, Walk In The Word podcast

I have learned that there's really no other effective way to start  my morning.  In the past, I would grab the local paper--the Lansing State Journal--or other online papers.  I would get my head and my heart into what's happening in the world.

It wasn't working.  I needed more and I needed something that provided hope.  Lately, I have been listening to the podcasts of Dr. James McDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.  His ministry, Walk In The Word, seems to strike a chord, fill a need. 

I need to get into the shower, but check it out if you're looking for something that's more than news about Iraq or the upcoming elections or whatever else. 

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Our first Sunday as official empty-nesters; a moment of silence

When our son, Justin, called yesterday from his new apartment in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., I kidded him that I felt like we needed a moment of silence.  He was driving from our home in Michigan to a new job at the Library of Congress.  He made an overnight stop in Rochester, New York to visit friends.

He's a newly-minted IT graduate from the Rochester Institute of Technology who had several job  interviews and offers around the country, including Michigan which has the highest unemployment in the country. 

His call from his first apartment put a big wax seal on the documents making us empty-nesters.  Both kids are out on their own.  Our daughter is a neo-natal intensive care nurse in a nearby state and our son is a web developer.

As I get ready for church this morning, I'm reminded big-time about the importance of this occasion.  It's evidence of the faithfulness of God through all the circumstances of life.  Wow.  He has been totally faithful and consistent with our family. 

It started when I met my wife for the first time.  God's hand was there.  Worldly-wisdom says I come from a background not conducive to good marriages, but Gladys and I are at 25 years and counting.  I've enjoyed every part of our family.  Big and little.  But, the difference-maker has been God.  He has been there.

So, Justin, we shouldn't take a moment of silence.  It should be loud praise.  Dude, it's faith in God.  Grab onto the faith handles and don't let go. 

And, don't ever forget the strength that comes from being part of a family.  We are here always for you and your sister.  And so is God.

God bless your first day on the job and call us tomorrow night.

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