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38 posts from September 2008

Should Michigan be the home of General Motor's new electric car, the Volt?

General Motors announced this morning that it's throwing a hail Mary pass to save its business and reputation with its new electric car, the Volt.

The one big unanswered question is where this new car will be built.  That should be Michigan and more specifically, I feel it should be the city of Lansing, the birthplace of the deceased Oldmobile and a location with a long history in automotive manufacturing.

Lansing and many other areas of Michigan have the manufacturing infrastructure and the labor force to get the job done.  And, of course, there are all the statutory tax breaks that localities and states can give.  I know that Michigan can compete on all counts.

It's hard to not get excited about this new vehicle that could be a game changer for the business that was literally born in this state and in this part of mid-Michigan.  GM is promising smaller lithium-ion batteries and a long ride on one charge and a small gasoline powered generator to charge up the battery.

I almost feel like a kid growing up in Bay City, MI during the sixties, waiting for new car models to come out.  I'll be at the dealership when the Volt comes out.  How about you?

Check out this video report uploaded to YouTube last month from a news report.  This is hot stuff.



Auto company bailout would do little to solve problems of the auto industry

I hope there's a full discussion about giving federal loan guarantees to the auto industry.  Voters should be demanding that candidates talk about both the negatives and positives of such a bailout.

Here's what the Heritage Foundation says
in it's analysis, Putting the Brakes on the Automaker Bailout:

"The proposed bailout, however, would do little to solve the very real long-term problems of the U.S. automobile industry, which include not just fuel inefficiency
but large retirement, health, and other costs.


"Meanwhile, American taxpayers would be left to pay the tab for years of bad business
decisions by Detroit. And the cost is unlikely to end there. If Detroit receives a federal handout, more industries would come for their own dollop of aid.
"

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Democrats and Republicans are ready to give the boot to Adam Smith

The Democrats are starting their death dance for free markets in this country and Joe Biden, Democratic veep candidate, confirmed it in his visit to Detroit yesterday.

With the current campaign rhetoric, the average person might have to refresh their memories that the philosophy behind free markets as enunciated by Adam Smith is that the marketplace functions best for everybody including the consumers when their is minimal governmental involvement.

Let the marketplace decide who can compete most effectively and don't let government prop up businesses which are not being supported by consumer action.

In speeches to Detroit-area audiences yesterday, he said, auto jobs are being lost and that he was fighting to help automakers win $25 billion to $50 billion in federal loans so they can retool their factories.

Biden also said, other countries support their automotive industry, including China,
Germany and South Korea.

He added, according to the Detroit Free Press:
"Folks, if we do not do what the
rest of the world is doing and invest in the technology needed ... to
build automobiles people want to buy, so we're not relying on foreign
oil, we're stupid."

Say good-by Adam Smith. 

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Will GM's electric-powered Chevrolet Volt be affordable for the masses?

I'm excited about GM's apparent unveiling this morning of its production version of its electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt. 

The Detroit Free Press says this morning
that the new car can drive at least 40 miles on a plug-in charge before using a drop of gas.  The Volt would also have a small gas-powered generator on board to recharge the lithium-ion battery for 400 miles of range on a full charge and a full tank.

That's exciting.  But how affordable will it be?  Where will it be built?  Here in Michigan?  It's official announcement is expected to start at 8:30 am today.

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Why are the Detroit Lions perpetual losers?

It was painful to read Mitch Albom's column this morning about yesterday's Detroit Lions game with Green Bay.

He wrote: 

"Honestly, this franchise should rename itself Disneyland.
It guarantees a magical time." 

He then goes on to recount how the Lions made a heroic effort to snap defeat from the jaws of victory in their first two regular season games this year.
During my lifetime the Lions have a couple of times teased us into thinking they were winners.  But, they've never delivered. 

What makes the difference between teams?  The players?  The coaching?


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Voters need to hold McCain and Palin's feet to the fire about her congressional earmarks

Whether they're Republican or Democrat, I'm tired of politicians lying about what they did or did not do.  It should be unacceptable to everybody and those who do it should have their actions paraded in the public square.

For instance, Gov. Sarah Palin, veep candidate on the Republican ticket bragged about how she was against congressional earmarks.  In her acceptance speech, she bragged about how she was against the laughable bridge to no where which the feds would have funded to the tune of several hundred million.

According to the Wall Street Journal this morning,
it turns out that Palin at first supported the bridge in the wilderness and asked taxpayers to fund $453 million in specific Alaska projects over the past two years. 

As a voter and a taxpayer, I've found that it's easy to develop an immunity to this lack of truth from politicians.  There are all kinds of responses.  As a Republican, I can justify it by saying that she's not as bad as the Democrats.  I can shrug my shoulders and say that's just part of political campaigns.  And there can be a justification that the projects are needed.

She appeared to be not truthful about her actions and she needs to explain it without all the political mush mouthing from her media relations types.

What would have happened if she had just been honest about her actions?

Palin certainly would have scored higher on the integrity meter.

Anybody disagree?


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Could social media like Facebook be used to mobilize political movements?

Many persons I talk to over 30 pooh-pooh Facebook and its promise for social connection and communication.  Many see it as nothing more than fluff used by college kids and young professionals who drink designer beers.

Read this post
from the National Conference of State Legisatures and its blog--The Thicket at State Legislatures--about how Facebook is being used in Algeria and Egypt. 

Perhaps, folks in this country need to give social media a more serious, longer-term look.  What do you think?

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Good post about Ray Boltz, Christian singer, coming out of the closet

I was surprised when I heard that Ray Boltz, a popular and well-established Christian singer, announced to the world on Friday that he was gay.  In this post from Terrace Crawford in his blog "Life on Life", I find some God-honoring perspective.  I remember hearing Boltz in a local concert.  It was outstanding.  He's still a child of God.  And, I still like his music.

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In Indianapolis: What I'm reading before I jump in the shower

I'm in Indy this morning and here's what I'm finding in an online check of the newspapers:

  • Detroit Free Press' Dawson Bell has a detailed story about how both McCain and Obama are trying to downplay their positions on hot-button social issues.  But, Bell goes on to outline some very clear differences on issues like abortion, gay marriage and guns.  Important reading.
  • Detroit News story about Cindy McCain's visit to a Lincoln Day Dinner in Pontiac last night.  Most interesting fact is that she is a former special education teacher and that she led 55 medical missions to help kids in war-torn and third world countries.
  • Peggy Noonan, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, writes that by overreacting to Gov. Sarah Palin being picked for VP that they made her bulletproof.  She also raises the question that because of the divisions in this country whether either candidate will be able to govern after the election.
  • Weekly Standard magazine provides picture of role that American forces are now playing in Iraq.  It's dramatically different than earlier days of fighting the insurgency.  Title is "The Endgame in Iraq."
  • Indy Star writes about how southern Indiana is crucial to the success of both McCain and Obama. From the story, this interesting fact that no Democrat has carried Indiana in a presidential election since 1964.  Lots of quotes from southern Indiana voters who are undecided and who like Sarah Palin.
  • NEXT RIGHT--Politics, Strategy, Action blog--writes in this post about the difference in how the Republicans toned down their convention and political activity during Hurricane Gustav and how during Hurricane Ike, Barack Obama and the Democrats have racheted up their political screeching.  Great point.
  • Hope Is Not A Foreign Policy blog sorts out argument from female bloggers at Slate Magazine about Sarah Palin.  The post tackles the issue of Palin's brother-in-law, the Alaska state trooper who allegedly was pushed out of his job by the governor.  The post says that he used a Taser on his son.  And, the trooper thinks Palin is a great candidate for vice-president.  Was this in the mainstream media?

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My wife's first Flip video: Helping your kids learn new words

My wife recently retired from her third grade classroom and has started using what she's learned in a blog:  Mrs. Thorp's Third Grade Classroom at www.mrsthorp.com .  Today, we shot a Flip camera video showing how parents can use letters from their Scrabble game or a bag of letters purchased from the Dollar Store.

In this video, she shows how to use words your kid's already know to make new words.  These are exercises she used in the classroom and with our own kids.

I invite you to view and share the video and comment with your thoughts and questions.  It should on her blog by the end of the day.


Do you feel that Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was repentant for what did?

I've spent a lot of time over two decades as an in-prison volunteer talking with inmates of all stripes, hundreds of them and you tell one thing pretty quickly. 

Many talk about being sorry for what they did while their words and body language indicate that they are more sorry about getting caught.  Others move farther down the continuum and show true remorse and shame for what they did, while others maintain they are innocent.

Reading Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's remarks yesterday following his plea bargain, I saw no remorse for what he did.  I can't read his heart, but his body language showed the same sentiment that Elliot Spitzer, the former New York governor, showed when he got caught going to a high-priced hooker.

With both of them, there was a stiff upper lip and body language saying they will take it like a man and they walked off to wherever.

Kilpatrick has an opportunity to be a witness to others, especially those who are younger about how to make a mistake and then how to get up after you've fallen.

A guy named King David who did some scum bag type things where he had sex with other guy's wife and then had the guy killed wrote about it in Psalm 51.

That's how he got up after screwing up big time.

Kilpatrick still has time.


Bringing our neighborhood-Lansing, MI- together around hot dogs and chips

Last night's Averill Woods Neighborhood Association block party reaffirmed for me again that my wife and I are blessed to live where we do and in the town where we live.  More than 100 residents got together around hot dogs, brownies and chips to get to know each other better and have fun.

Two Lansing City Council members--A'Lynne Robinson and Kathie Dunbar--were there, along with Mayor Virg Bernero.  There were a full contingent of Lansing Police Department members from the command level on down who were cooking hot dogs and just being ordinary people.

I used my Flip video camera to help give a taste of the affair.  These are on my personal neighborhood blog and are fun to look at.

I'm sure that serious issues will come up in our neighborhood, but after last night I know that we will be better equipped to handle them.
Averill Woods (Lansing, MI) 2008 Block Party


My Wednesday morning in Lansing, Michigan

Do you have a routine when you get out of bed?

I used to head for the newspaper on the front porch to check the headlines and then a hot bowl of oatmeal with Craisins and then a devotion usually from The Daily Bread by Radio Bible Class.  That's changed with broadband and wi-fi at our house.

Now I head for my MacBook Air and the couch where my first headline check is online and usually starts with the Wall Street Journal, then the Detroit Free Press and occasionally the Drudge Report.  I then head to the online version of Our Daily Bread where the devotion has both an audio and written version. 

Here's what I read and listened to today:

Continue reading "My Wednesday morning in Lansing, Michigan" »


Could Michigan decide the outcome of the presidential election in November?

Laura Bush, President George W's wife, told Michigan Republicans in Denver this morning that our state could be decisive for the outcome of who becomes president.

John McCain's appeal to independents could be decisive for which way the Great Lakes state goes.

It's a great time for the state to billboard what's happening and what needs to happen.

I'm looking forward to this fall.


Will the state of Michigan be judged by how much love it shows towards Detroit?

If you hung around Republicans at the Michigan Legislature, you would hear lots of guffawing about what's happening in the city of Detroit right now.  Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been charged with a couple fists worth of felonies that involve lying, millions of dollars and attacking a police officer trying to do a job.

Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm will hold a hearing tomorrow on whether Kilpatrick should be removed from his job.

The city of Detroit needs help and it needs help from everybody in this state, both Democrats and Republicans.  It's not unlike the 17-year-old pregnant daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin who needs help during a very difficult time. 

The Motor City needs love from the rest of the state, whether it's Iron Mountain on the western end of the Upper Peninsula or Macomb County just north of the city and an area that's regarded for its anti-Detroit attitude.

What does loving the city of Detroit mean?

Continue reading "Will the state of Michigan be judged by how much love it shows towards Detroit?" »