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62 posts from December 2006

Chrysler sticks knife in heart of Michigan auto workers with Chinese subcompacts

I hope that the American political establishment takes a good, long look at the agreement between the Chrysler Group and China's Chery Automobile to import subcompacts to this country.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the Chinese subcompact will compete with the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and the Chevrolet Aveo. These are vehicles which have sold well this year.

On the surface, this seems to be a real kick in the face to American workers. How far should free trade extend? My impression is that China doesn't allow the sale of our goods in their country as freely as we sell theirs. Is that a correct impression?

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The United States needs another Gerald Ford to bring the nation together

I was saddened this morning when I picked up the Lansing State Journal and read about the death of Gerald Ford, our 38th president.

He saved this country from itself and its own demons during the day of Watergate when news of a national scandal dominated the media and conversation. Confidence in federal government plummeted to new depths. As a country, we were in crisis and Ford pulled us back from the edge of the cliff.

In contrast to the political leaders of today, Ford knew how to set partisanship aside and how to show respect to those who believed differently than him. And everybody trusted him. He defined integrity in a political leader.

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Get your hope tank filled: Go see the Pursuit of Happyness

I usually don't go to movies for the message, but for the entertainment. That's why my friend, Ken, and I went to see, "Let's Go To Prison." It had no socially redeemable value, but it was funny, real funny.

Today, we joined a packed theater complex on Christmas day to see "The Pursuit of Happyness." It was a good story and it had a strong message.

You could go through a couple of full coffee pots unraveling the various messages that you could take from the movie about a working dad with young son who loses his job and his wife in San Francisco. The dad was played by Will Smith and the movie son was played by his real life son, Jaden.

Watching the Chris Gardner character that Smith plays, you are quickly reminded of the real life situations that so many people face everyday, even right here in mid-Michigan. The list would be topped by unemployment, homelessness, business failure, a wife who runs away and every card in the deck that seemed stacked against him.

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Just had Christmas breakfast, schedule includes Pursuit of Happyness and daughter arrival

IMG_0133.JPG For Christmas breakfast at our house, it was french toast Monday, where my health conscious wife, used fat-free bread, egg beaters and reduced fat syrup and we had sausages from Garden Burger.  It was really good.  We had the third place at our table filled in by our son who is home til tomorrow morning.

Our table has always been a zone for discussion, especially about politics, the church, sermons, issues of the day and concerns of anybody sitting there.  Today was no exception.  We talked about the two church services we attended yesterday and their various parts, especially the sermons.

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Christmas morning in Lansing, Michigan: Story about Leslie retiree who makes wooden crosses

Guy Mitchell is a 77 year-old retiree in Leslie, just south of Lansing who lets his woodworking tell the story about Jesus. He has made more than 1,500 wooden crosses from scraps of wood and he hands them out to people he meets on errands.

Sure, the cross tells the Easter story. But, it reality it's part of the Christmas story. The son of God came to earth, died and then rose on Easter. It's connected and I'm anxious to hear more from the Lansing State Journal about how people react to this special gift.

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Grocery shopping at Meijer on West Saginaw in Lansing on the Saturday before Christmas

For far too long, I've coasted through the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ.  Sure, I love our family celebration with the kids, catching up with their lives, eat dinner, snacks, a couple bottles of wine and even a Scrabble game.  Of course, we'd always go to church.

But, I haven't always felt as connected and plugged into what Christmas is about.  Maybe, it's because I've never tried to look beneath the manger scenes for the real Jesus and what he means to me in my life on a real time, live streaming sort of way.

To help, when my wife and I went to Meijer for groceries this morning, I took my Siemens/Cingular phone/pda where I've installed three versions of the Bible.

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Because of the norovirus at a mid-Michigan nursing home, it's going to be a long Christmas weekend

Grey is the color of the day here in Michigan in a more ways than one.

Consider the nursing home on the outskirts of Lansing where a sizable chunk of the residents got the norovirus, essentially a volatile and highly contagious form of the stomach flu.

Nursing home residents have to tough it out alone over Christmas without visitors from the outside bringing company and gifts.

This follows outbreaks at a local restaurant and another senior citizen assisted living center. Pray for these vulnerable people who will be alone over the Christmas weekend.

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Here's a great Rachael Ray blog that gives the cooking diva attention she deserves

Mid-Michigan is not a fun place to live right and I imagine that's affecting moods and emotions of many. Michigan State University football team plays like a bunch of pee-wees. Detroit Lions don't even know how to spell w-i-n. And Toyota might soon overtake GM as the world's biggest carmaker. Pretty glum, right?

That could explain the local blog receiving tons of attention and that really trash talks Rachael Ray. Oh, come on guys. We who call the Great Lakes state home need to break this habit.

There needs to be some balance and a young attorney from Sacramento provides some with her blog, Everything Rachael Ray. While my wife and I were sipping coffee, she saw some of the Rachael creations on the blog and said she wanted to see more later.

It's time to let our Food Network friend know that not all Michigan people are Gloomy Gus'.

Thanks to Madeline from EverythingRachaelRay and an invitation to Rachael to come to Lansing to cook for her fans. I bet we could even get our mayor, Virg Bernero, to give her a key to the city.

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Detroit News reporter blogs about working an hour on line at Ford's Wayne assembly plant

A whole lot of us in Michigan can remember working on an assembly line during some point in life. While going to Michigan State, I earned money back in the sixties by working at plant six at Saginaw Steering Gear.

Those memories were reawakened by Detroit News auto reporter Bryce Hoffman who blogs about spending an hour on the line at the Ford's Wayne (MI) assembly plant where he attached rearview mirrors to the Ford Focus.

It's not the mindless, no-skill work that many believe it to be. It's a good post and worth a read by anybody who wants a better understanding of life working in an auto plant.

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Michigan's Capital City should not be known for its anti-Rachael Ray blog

Hey, I was really taken aback when I read my Lansing State Journal this morning and saw our area is home to a tacky, sarcastic anti-Rachael Ray blog.

A local blogger has gained a national following by dissing the Food Networks young guru of good eating. The blogger has been featured in news media stories for her caustic comments about everything from how Ray gestures with her arms too much to her steady banter with the audience.

Ms. Ray is an icon of creativity with food. She has shown that you don't have to some snooty cooking school to learn how to fix good food.

How about a new blog where it's shown how Rachael Rules? Maybe I'll do it. She rocks and I know I'm not alone in feeling that way.

What do you think? The anti-Rachael site is

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Detroit cop who started web site to get his boss fired get his wings clipped by state court

A Detroit police officer who didn't like the chief and expressed his disdain through a website was told today that the city had the right to discipline him, according to an online Detroit Free Press story.

The Michigan Court of Appeals told former police officer John Bennett that his suspension was within the rights of his employer.

Bennet's has drawn more than a million hits.

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Keep Lansing, Michigan employed buy GMs new GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook or Buick Enclave

Are these new crossover utility vehicles (CUV) being built by GM in the Lansing, MI area finally the economic sunshine that everybody in mid-Michigan has been looking for?

From reading this story in the Detroit Free Press about the new GM plant in Delta Township, just southwest of Lansing, it's hard not to get excited. There seems to be a whole new manufacturing philosophy in the way the plant is run.

Hey, put these vehicles on your Christmas shopping list. They are cutting-edge supposedly and they are built on a car frame, rather than a big truck frame like SUV's:

The Free Press story relates the significant role that GM has played in Lansing over the last century plus:

From 1901 to 2005, auto operations at the site churned out more than 19 million vehicles, believed to be the most made continuously at any one location in the world.

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Just joined Rudy Giuliani's team here in Michigan

I just got an e-mail from Saul Anuzis, Michigan Republican chairman, about Rudy Giuliani setting up his exploratory committee website to run for president. I clicked and I signed up to join his team.

I sat on my hands during the past campaign. I just couldn't get excited about anyone. But, I know that I need to exercise my responsibilities as a citizen in a free society. I like Rudy. But . . .

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My book notes: Prayer-Does It Make Any Difference by Philip Yancey

Being from the first class of baby boomers, I find this a hard topic to talk about. I was born and raised in the church, but I've never felt satisfied with my prayer life. I know that it's my point of contact with God, but I ignore prayer so easily.

I could blame it on my childhood. In the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) that I belonged to and grew up in, it was always the pastor who prayed. That was a given. There were generally two exceptions, at meal times when you prayed 'Come Lord Jesus . . . ' and then at bed time when you prayed 'Now I lay me down to sleep . . . "

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What does a pastor do when he makes the wrong decision?

Pastors can make a bad decision. They can even blow it on a big one. How do they handle it? Do you hide until your face stops being red from embarrassment or are you honest about it?

Pastor Brad Mitchell of Trinity Church in Lansing, Michigan decided to be completed open when he flubbed a major decision in his life. Through it all, he has given his church a template to help them in decisions they face.

It was page one in today's Lansing State Journal. Also, listen to his sermon where he explains what happened.

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Lost manufacturing jobs in Michigan are being replaced by growth in healthcare jobs

Aging baby-boomers seem to be a bright spot for job growth in Michigan's troubled economy.

In an online story this morning, the Detroit News reports that Oakland County's Beaumont Hospital will soon overtake General Motors as the largest employer in the county. Oakland County, in the past, had been driven by Big Three plants and other supplier plants.

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Rick Warren is a heretic parading as a Christian, according to Lutheran radio show

That headline is a pretty harsh statement, right?

But, that seems to be the clear message from a radio program on the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's radio station KFUO. The program, Issues ETC, is hosted by Rev. Todd Wilken who delves into issues of the day using guests who present their take based on LCMS dogma.

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