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22 posts from January 2007

U.S. Congress needs to investigate online domain name registration scams

More and more stories are starting to circulate around the blogosphere about online domain name registration scams and other questionable efforts to get domain name business.

Domain names are the gateways for access to our blogs and other websites.  Because of this importance for complete integrity in this area, the U.S. Congress needs to get involved with some kind of oversight investigation.

There's more specifics at the blog--MyDomainPain--and suggestions with helps on making your voice heard.

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Ford CEO Alan Mulally should run for president if he pulls off rescue plan

Ford Motor Company is about as close to the edge of the economic abyss as you can get.  Just how close was documented by a story in today's Detroit Free Press saying that Ford had a historic net loss of $12.7 billion last year.

The story recounts what has happened with the company during the past year.  Customers are not buying its vehicles like they need to keep the company afloat, particularly pick-ups and big SUVs.

Alan Mulally, the new Ford CEO, has thrown a big "hail Mary" pass to save the company.  No guarantees.  He hasn't sugar-coated the dire situation, nor has he whined about it.  There's no call for the government to bail the company out like the feds did with Chrylser.

This guy seems to be a leader with vision, skill and courage.  If he can pull Ford away from the edge, maybe he should be allowed to do it with the country.

Anybody agree?  Disagree?

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Rudy Giuliani: I'm disappointed by his lack of response to get involved in his Michigan campaign

Several weeks ago, I signed up on Rudy Giuliani's website to get involved in his effort to gain support for his presidential candidacy in Michigan.

My view then was that he had the skills to bring people together and that he had a vision and he had the management skills needed to run the country.  I based this on his background as a prosecutor and as mayor of New York City, especially during the 9/11 tragedy.

I figured that I would get some kind of response from stepping out and from blogging about my support and my willingness to get involved.

As of today, I've gotten nothing from his exploratory campaign.  Zilch.  Is that an indicator about his interest in Michigan?  I hope not.

I signed up for the e-newsletters for other candidates, both Republican and Democrat.  I get a steady stream of e-mails providing info about their position on relevant issues and encouragements for me to get involved and to get my friends involved.

Rudy, if you're serious about Michigan, you need to step it up.  If not, then say so.

Might be time to step out and continue my candidate shopping.

Anybody in Michigan hear from the Giuliani campaign?

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Morning read: What's your reaction to 15-year-old Detroiter murdering young Iraq vet

Check the comments at the end of this story about the 15-year-old Detroiter who murdered a 24-year-old Iraq vet who had just cashed a tax refund. 

When I worked as a staffer in the Michigan Legislature, this type of story in this morning's Detroit Free Press would draw little attention.  The white suburbanites would shake their heads and make some anti-Detroit remark that usually had a racial tinge.  Lawmakers from Detroit seemed to never talk about it.

In my opinion, the Detroit Free Press would be doing a public service to cover this story like a blanket.  It's time to understand the reasons a 15-year-old could take a life so easily. 

What needs to be done to make it better?

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Morning read: MI Gov. Granholm told by Pfizer that 2,300 lost jobs not state's fault

Michigan's Gov. Jennifer Granholm was told by Pfizer's CEO that the state's tax system and its job climate had nothing to do with the drug company's decision to take more than 2,300 high-paying jobs out of the state.

In addition, according to a column by Tom Walsh of the Detroit Free Press, these high end jobs are not being eliminated, they are being moved to other states where taxes are high.

What's Michigan doing wrong?  How could we have kept those jobs in the Great Lakes state?

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Morning read: Flawed prescriptions kill more than 7,000 each year in U.S.

From the Notebook section of Time's Jan. 29, 07 edition, there's this eye-opening fact that flawed prescriptions each year kill more than 7,000 people in the U.S. and injure more than 1.5 million. 

It's part of a short story of an attempt to get more doctors to use computers when writing prescriptions as a means to bypass legibility problems and to get instant feedback on drug interactions. 

They have a big selling job to do, according to Time, because out of this country's 550,000 doctors fewer than 10 percent use software to write prescriptions.

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Bill Hall of the Cingular, Lansing, MI store has turned us into customer evangelists

I remember the time that my son, Justin, and I, went into another cellphone service provider and were told that Bill Hall had moved across the street to Cingular as the store manager.

We thanked the person who worked for the other company and said we are going with Bill wherever he worked. Sitting in our car in front of his Cingular store, we used our cellphone to cancel service with the old company before we signed up with the new.

The techies can argue over a couple of six packs about coverage and equipment, but, it's the service that seals the deal. And, Bill treats all his customers the same, like each one is special.

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Should the state of Michigan decriminalize adultery?

Just about everybody in Michigan has read the news stories about the State Court of Appeals saying that a criminal defendant can be charged with criminal sexual conduct if adultery was committed in the course of another felony.

My friend John at Native writes that state government is going overboard by declaring that adultery is illegal. He says government is inserting itself into areas where it shouldn't.

Is that true? A lot of people maintain that that is the case.

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To Michigan legislators: Don't forget that tax on services will come out of our pockets

Michigan's state budget is in big trouble. With less than nine months left in the fiscal year, the state is going to have to cut more than $800 million from the budget that supports everything from public schools to prisons to foster care.

This morning's Detroit Free Press has a story about a possible proposal to put a sales tax on services. Now it's only on the sale of non-food goods.

I hope that taxpayers demand to be heard on this. There should be a full debate that includes them. The implications for a tax on services is huge. Living in Michigan will continue to get more expensive. I'm not sure that's a good thing.

How many of our new legislators--term-limited--know how to engage their constituents in an important and ongoing discussion to get a sense for what they want?

A big part of a legislator's job is being an educator. They need to teach their constituents about the issues. Give them the facts. And, then listen.

Will that happen? I doubt it. But people still need to demand it.

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What should you give your wife for her birthday?

I'm one of these guys who married up.  My wife of 25 plus years is perfect for me and yesterday was her birthday.  Being empty-nesters and with our kids in other states, it was a pretty subdued celebration.

Girls There was our aging beagle, Snoopy, and me, her aging husband.  We started the day with breakfast at one of our favorite places, Flap Jack, where we had baked oatmeal and for supper, we went to the mall where we ate at the Red Cedar Grill.  My presents for her didn't seem to fit the occasion and why I'm so happy she was born and why I'm happy to be married to her.

I wish I could have presented her with one of those fancy scrapbooks that make the past come alive with pictures and relevant mementos.  Here are some of my favorites and they are part of an archive of memories that makes her so special:

  • Her reaction when I told her that I had just gotten fired from a political job at the state legislature.  I got the boot and I knew that she was shopping at the supermarket with our young daughter.  I went there and my eyes must have said what happened.  With a big, "I'm sorry" and an "I love you" smile, she asked what I wanted for supper that night.  No panic, just support.

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Mother Wit--Colleen Anderson--from WV has my attention with her blog

Colleen and I grew up in Bay City together where we were part of an extended family of cousins produced by a family of six brothers and six sisters and their spouses.

She now lives in West Virginia, but is taking three months for a fellowship in Taos, New Mexico.  She's blogging about the trip, starting with preparations through her arrival and now her day to day excursions in her temporary adobe home.

Colleen Over the years, our paths went separate ways mainly because of geography.  I would hear bits and pieces about her activities.  She's a professional writer, graphic designer, folk singer and just all round nice person.

I hope that we can reconnect through our blogs and our mutual interests.  I invite you to check out her blog and follow her adventures.

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You can call Europe for free from your land line, according to Shel Israel

Have somebody in a European country that you would like to call?

This is from Shel Israel, co-author of Naked Conversations with Robert Scoble, who says that his business associate has started a company where you can call Europe for free from this country. No catches and there's nothing hidden, he says.

In his post, Shel provides the steps to make the call right after you're done reading this.

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More than $850,000 spent by state of Michigan to house and rehab 11-year-old murderer

I remember the first news stories that came out of Pontiac, Michigan about 11-year-old Nathaniel Abraham being arrested for killing another youth with a .22 rifle. He was charged as an adult with first degree murder. He was subsequently convicted of second degree and given a juvenile offender's sentence where he would be released at age 21.

He's soon turning 21 and officials are concerned that after being locked up in the state's toughest juvenile offender environment, Abraham might have problems adjusting to life on his own.

The cost for his incarceration and for all the social workers and psychologists who worked with him was pegged at more than $850,000, according to this morning's Detroit News.

Michigan taxpayers and those in any other state with tough juvenile offender laws need to ask some very serious questions of their lawmakers and of the state's criminal justice and corrections establishment.

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Good Michigan news: Gas prices go as low as $1.88 in metro Detroit

It's a gray Friday in Michigan and the Weather Channel says our state should be hit by some bad weather this weekend; rain, freezing rain and then significant snowfall.

But, the Detroit News just reported that drivers in the metro Detroit area are finding gas for $1.88 a gallon. That will get cars on the road and help people spend money. And that's good, right?

What are gas prices in other parts of the country?

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The Koran (Qur'an) was a positive influence on U.S.Founding Fathers

Is this true about the Koran, the holy scriptures of Islam?

The Koran influenced the thinking of the Founding Fathers of our country. This is according to U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim Congressman.

In today's Detroit Free Press, Ellison, a Detroit native, said:

The Quran is "definitely an important historical document in our national history and demonstrates that Jefferson was a broad visionary thinker who not only possessed a Quran, but read it."
My familiarity with the Quran is less than minimal. Anybody have any reaction to the validity of Congressman Ellison's claim?

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Cognitive rehabilitation: Help for those recovering from a stroke or other brain injury

I almost zipped right on past this Wall Street Journal story (online subscription needed) about cognitive rehabilitation for stroke victims and others who suffer from various kinds of brain injuries.

Symptoms from these various ailments where blood is cut-off to the brain can really diminish the quality of life.

But, according to the story, there's hope for those left with memory problems or many of the other manifestations of these injuries and its through a regimen known as cognitive rehabilitation.

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Rejecting the Holy Spirit on a gray day in mid-Michigan

Actually, I feel like I'm looking into the mouth of Satan when I go to this website, the Blasphemy Challenge. It seems to be a real challenge to readers to post a YouTube video where they renounce God by denying the existence of the Holy Spirit.

As this site says, the Bible is pretty clear that this is the one sin that God won't forgive. And, I know there are a whole lot of heart issues here to make a determination that somebody actually said "no" to the Holy Spirit. Some kid could say it just to be rebellious and not really understand what they're saying.

Nevertheless, this is serious stuff with eternal implications. Christians need to be aware that such sites exist. This is even more pernicious that a porn site.

While you're at this site, scroll down to the bottom and click on the link to End Christmas and for The God Who Wasn't There movie. This really brings the other side out into the open.

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Time to get out the violins for underpaid substitute teachers in mid-Michigan?

Somedays, it seems hard to justify throwing out two quarters for the Lansing State Journal. But, local columnist John Schneider usually justifies half of the cost.

Take today for example, he writes about how substitute teachers in Lansing and mid-Michigan are paid a flat fee of $75 per day and how the subs feel that they're not getting paid what they're worth.

How much is a substitute worth? How does their pay compare to the daily pay of a regular classroom teacher? How does it compare to the pay of a private school teacher? Subs don't do lesson plans, right? Isn't that more than half the work in teaching?

I hope Schneider continues to report on this topic that affects lots of folks. More facts are needed though.

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