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February 2007
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17 posts from March 2007

Michigan's economic pain won't go away for a long time, according to report

The state of Michigan is in an economic slide that's threatening the Great Lakes State with the pain of economic recession for a long time to come.  In the past, the economic pain has been part of a cycle where the auto industry would be up and down.

That's not the case anymore, according to a study by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.  With the death march of the domestic car companies, the state has to reinvent itself, according to the research.  A story from yesterday's Detroit News provides details.

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Is MSU's basketball coach worth the $1.8 million per year that he receives

First, I need to make a confession about my spending habits.  I can't help it, but there are times when I just can't resist spending 75 cents for a copy of USA Today. 

Because of the cost, I find it hard to throw it away.  I want to read every word.

That's where I learned that MSU's basketball coach Tom Izzo gets $1.8 million per year.  Wow!  Why?  Why does he deserve it?  He's just a trainer of college jocks.

The state of Michigan is quickly becoming an industrial backwater.  People line up to get $10 per hour jobs.  Thousands are without health care.  And it's getting worse.

Anybody think that Izzo's pay and that of other coaches like him is over the edge?  What's the thinking?

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I wonder what my mom, Frieda M. Thorp (Moll), is doing in heaven today

As the years slip by after my mom's death, my memories of her seem to get more fuzzy and hazy.  She died 11 years ago today, a couple of hours before Palm Sunday.

That's why I want to take a few moments to remember her, the effect she had on my life and the legacy she left. 

Her life personified unconditional love, a persistence and drive that would not let her quit even in the toughest of times.  She was a single-mom who was driven to make a life for her only child, me, and for her self.

She was born in Michigan's Thumb in the early 1900's in a large farm family that included six brothers and five sisters, in addition to my grandmother and grandfather who I never knew.

Her parents died young which left the brothers and sisters to care for each other in an environment where there were no social services and where food and money was scarce.

The story of those years rivals anything written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Day to day life for them wasn't always pretty.  Brothers and sisters had diverse personalities and goals.

But, the Moll family brothers and sisters raised in Gagetown, MI did it.  Each raised their own families and as a group the extended family maintained their family network when odds were against them.

Because of my mom, I was given a chance that she never had.  My dad abandoned us, but I knew I was loved and I knew I had a purpose, a reason for living.

My dad never stayed in the game.  He went on to other relationships without ever looking back.

My mother never blinked.  She just kept looking ahead and didn't stop until 11 years ago today. 

I know she's in the heavenly stands cheering me and my family on.  She ran the race of life and won.

Thank-you God for my mother.

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U.S. Congress still needs to respond to domain name troubles as outlined in

Problems with registration and maintenance of domain names still haunts the web world as I first outlined in a post back in January.

At, there's a picture of how the integrity of the web is being compromised because of questionable business practices by some registrars.

My heart goes out to those businesses and individuals who had their domain names locked and who went through a domain name hell to restore the digital gateway to their websites.

It's time to pester Congress on this issue to restore credibility to this important part of the web.

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Housing in the city of Detroit is cheaper to buy than new cars

There's more evidence that the city of Detroit and its residents are suffering from a myriad of serious problems.  Take a look at the cost of housing as mentioned by MI Republican Chair Saul Anuzis in his blog "That's Saul, folks!"

In his post, he includes a story from Reuters about the huge number of home foreclosures inside the Motor City.  Auctioneers are having trouble getting bids that would equal the cost of most new cars not built overseas.

Check this fact from the story:

Prices have gained less than 2 percent per year in the five years since 2001, when the auto industry entered a renewed slump.
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Does Michigan test inmates for hepatitis c ?

The answer is probably "no." I can't imagine that the state of Michigan would test its more than 50,000 inmates for hepatitis c. It would cost too much for the cash-strapped state budget.

But, look at this news story from the Associated Press where it states that 40 percent of the inmate population in this country has this often fatal disease that can be transmitted easily.

From just a financial point of view, is the Michigan Legislature and Gov. Jennifer Granholm being shortsighted by not testing and then treating inmates.

They get out, contract the full blown disease and then pass it on to others. It has to be expensive.

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Newt Gingrich talks about being an adulterer on Dr. Dobson's radio program

Is Newt sincerely repentant about his adulterous affairs, one committed while Bill Clinton was being impeached for the same behavior?

Newt Gingrich talks to Dr. James Dobson, Christian Right leader, about what he did and how he feels about it.

Anybody feel skeptical about the quality of Newt's repentance given his likely candidacy for president?

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Documentary: Need to see "As We Forgive Those" about forgiveness and reconciliation in Rwanda

My son, Justin, sent a Twitter about a documentary made by a friend of his, Laura Waters, about the reconciliation and forgiveness taking place between the two people groups involved in the Rwandan genocide. From the YouTube Trailer, this looks like a must see.

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Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick starts to show some leadership in his city

For those of us living in outstate Michigan, it's way too easy to ignore the city of Detroit. The Motor City has been ignored by just about everybody including its own leaders.

Meanwhile, its people are suffering from wanton neglect by the rest of the state and those who live inside its borders.

Now comes a ray of hope with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick who says that life for the average Detroiter has to change. He points to the level of crime and all the blood being shed in the city that used to be the crown jewel in the state. He says:

"This is us killing us. This is mostly African-Americans killing African-Americans and we, as a community, have to stop it now. Nobody's coming to save us."

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Can a proposed Michigan law stop or reduce bullying in public schools?

The state of Michigan is trying to get a handle of bullying in its public schools by passing law requiring local districts to get more aggressive with this destructive behavior.

Today's Lansing State Journal recounts testimony given at a state House Education Committee meeting where parents told about how their children were victims of bullies. One recipient of this behavior even took his own life.

After watching legislative reaction over the years to all kinds of behavioral problems, I have to wonder if such bills are considered to make the victims feel better, knowing that the laws will have little or no effect.

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Is government in Michigan kissing goodbye to freedom of information?

I've been gone for a couple of days to visit our son in the Washington D.C. area and woke up to find this Detroit Free Press editorial about the erosion of freedom of information at all levels of government.

Everybody knows about the feds and how they are scooping up gobs of personal info on individual citizens.  But what really surprised me was how the Michigan Legislature apparently has been busy ripping away at the state's freedom of information law.  The Detroit Free Press said:

"In Michigan, 25 new laws have been passed since 2001 affecting public access to government information. Much of what goes on in the office of the governor, legislators and the judiciary is also exempt from the state Freedom of Information Act."

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Turned upside down

By Ken Alexander, Guest Blogger who is sharing his notes on Philip Yancey's new book on prayer:

"Yancey is yanking my thinking around...just like Blackaby did with the Experiencing God. Blackaby challenges me to see where God is at work and join Him there rather than praying for His will to be done in my life.

"Now Yancey wants me to consider the mind and will of God, along with considering how the stream runs from the highest point, down the mountain, to the stream below.  He challenges me to model my prayer life like down. 

"I thought all of my prayers and thoughts were suppose to go UP.  I guess somewhere in there, I'm suppose to remember to pray in accordance with God's will.  All of this is seriously going to make me THINK, rather than just shoot some prayer darts and move on with my day."

Another sign of disarray in Michigan: State Supreme Court justices are fighting like kids

At the Michigan Supreme Court in Lansing, it's real "na, na, na, na, nah," time where normally staid justices are acting like out-of-control high schoolers in the cafeteria.

The Great Lakes state is sliding down a slippery slope with auto and supplier plants closing and with the positive attitude about a negative ten.

The Detroit News records the whole sordid affair on the court that makes us look like some country struggling with the practice of democracy.

The state of Michigan is in need of some real leadership. It's not getting it now.

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Comerica Bank headquarters move to Texas confirms Michigan's slide into obscurity

When's the bad news for Michigan going to stop?

For instance, the announcement that the number one bank in the state is moving its headquarters to Texas has to be a real shocker. Just about everybody in the know agrees that the bank's association with the city of Detroit and with Michigan is holding it back.

The symbolic importance of this move is incredible. The Detroit Tiger's home playing field is Comerica Park. The bank is a fixture in this state.

The Great Lakes State is in dire need of leadership. It doesn't seem to be getting it. There needs to be a debate of ideas on how to keep Michigan from sliding into oblivion.

All we've had up to this point is political pap that's designed by consultants and aimed at groups needed to win an election.

Perhaps we need a part-time legislature without term-limits. There might be more production from such a group. That's what they have in Texas and it worked for them.

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Local television personality/reporter-Tim Skubick-takes aim at the younger generation

Tim Skubick's column is the one thing you can count on in the Lansing State Journal. Every Friday, it's usually there on the opinion page. Skubick has become a statewide brand having hosted a PBS political talk show, reporting for various radio and television stations in the state and having written two books.

In his prime as a reporter, he covered Michigan's State Capitol like a beat and drew attention to stories that state citizens needed to know about. He passed his reporting skills on to several classes of journalism students at Michigan State.

In today's column, he muddles through some harsh criticism about today's younger generation. First, he belittles them for their reliance on technology, rather than personal human interaction. He says they need to pull away from their "crackerberries."

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What do Feb. 2007 GM sales gain mean for the auto company and the rest of the Big Three?

Living in the heart of Michigan, it's easy to get caught up in the gloom and doom talk about the future. Plant closings have become so common that they don't seem to make the front page anymore.

Everybody's expecting our state to cross that magic rubicon where it becomes an industrial backwater with China and India outsourcing scraps of work over here.

Then we see the newspaper this morning about the February auto sales and notice that General Motors sales for the month are up 3.4 percent. The Detroit News said:

"A bright spot for the No. 1 automaker was its redesigned Chevrolet Silverado pickup, which saw a 26.5 percent increase and outsold Ford's F-Series pickups to claim the title of best-selling vehicle in America last month."

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