Previous month:
October 2008
Next month:
December 2008

22 posts from November 2008

What if heads of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford took a lesson from Jesus Christ?

The titans of the auto industry took some pretty severe criticism from members of the U.S. Congress for flying in and out of Washington, D.C. on their private jets.  The symbolism of their actions was contradictory to what they were trying to portray.

They came to Washington pleading financial poverty for their industry and begging for super-sized loans from taxpayers. 

While autoworkers struggle with a down-sized workforce and what that means, the CEO's enter and leave the Nation's Capital like kings.

Now fast forward to yesterday's sermon from Father Jack Lumanog of Christ The King Anglican Church in Dewitt, MI and his sermon from Matthew 25:35-46 where Jesus Christ comes back in all his majesty to judge the earth.

He separates the winners from the losers.  Check the criteria he uses.  It centers around helping all kinds of people in need.

As Michigan moves into another year and slides further into economic trouble, I need to listen again to Father Jack's sermon and reread that text from Matthew.

I know it's probably not practical, but just think of the symbolism of the three auto company heads carpooling on their trip to D.C. with Rick Wagoner driving a five-year-old Malibu.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Here's what I'm reading about the auto industry crisis and how it will affect Michigan

It's too easy to have my attention diverted away from the auto industry crisis that could flatten Michigan even more than it is now. It's gray and cold outside, but for many their world is getting turned upside down.

For me, I feel it's important to follow this issue in as many parts as I can. Here in mid-Michigan, the pain is being felt and I'm sure it will become excruciating for many. Local institutions and individuals need to make plans to respond in a way that helps.

My reading list which I will add to during the day:

  • Average people in Detroit are getting real nervous--this is a series of profiles of average persons in Detroit who have jobs toppling at the edge of an economic cliff.  They know change is coming and that it will affect their lives.  It's worth reading.
  • UPDATED:  GM Chairman Rick Wagoner's quote from Detroit Free Press story about consequences of not getting loan--"We have run right out of capital," GM Chairman Rick Wagoner said."Without an injection of capital, some portion, if not all of the
    domestic industry, will not survive."
  • UPDATED:  Mitt Romney, whose dad brought the old American Motors back to health, is against giving the loans to the auto industry, according to the Detroit News.  He says the auto companies needs the protection of bankruptcy.  He calls it tough love.  I'd be more impressed if he would agree to live in Flint after bankruptcy is filed.
  • UPDATED:  This Associated Press story quotes Oakland County's Brooks Patterson who says auto company shutdown(s) would create a "nuclear winter" in Michigan.  Hyperbole?
, , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

My new posts on my Southwest Lansing (MI) blog: parking downtown, etc.

Do you live in or near Lansing (MI)? 

I'm posting on my blog--Southwest Lansing (MI) and my neighborhood--about issues which affect the entire city.  I invite you to check them out and to share your thoughts:

  • Do you have stories about parking in downtown Lansing?  Here's one person's experience, a person who lives in Grand Ledge and who used to spend money and time downtown.
  • City Hall is positioned to give a special $440,000 below prime rate loan to the Troppos Restaurant owner to move and expand.  It's taxpayers' money.  How do you feel about it?  How does your city council member feel about the loan?
  • Averill Woods neighborhood on the southwest side of the city is one of the crown residential jewels in the city.  Are you familiar with its boundaries?

, , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

What I found being part of my first "meme" from

My good friend Dave Porter who writes Boomer In The Pew, a well-read blog about his personal spiritual journey, has invited me to be part of his meme that he describes in this post.

Here's how it works, according to the post: 

Here's how it works:  I am supposed to pick up the nearest book with at least 123 pages, turn to the 123rd page, find the 5th sentence,  and then post the three sentences immediately after that.

He invited five friends with blogs to participate in a meme similar to one he was invited earlier in a similar exercise.  Here's what I did:  My desktop is mammoth and it has probably ten books lined up on it.  I picked the first one my eyes went to--Prayer-Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey.

Here's what I found in the first three sentences after the fifth sentence on page 123:

"I prayed for unity.  I prayed for the kingdom of God.  After the meeting the king made an urgent appeal to the Zulu people to stop fighting and to remain calm and peaceful."

It's part of an amazing story about the role of prayer when peace was fragile in South Africa.  Apartheid had fallen and the transition from a white to black government was making various groups nervous with the prospects for a continued peace very tenuous.  It's worth a read.  Great book.

David,  thanks for asking me to be part of your meme.

Watching "super-son" live over talk about building communities

What a thrill it was for "super-wife" and I to watch our son, Justin Thorp, live over UStream talk for 10-plus minutes about building community in this day of social media, like Facebooks and blogs.  He lives in Washington, D.C. and working for a widget-maker, Clearspring, and spoke on a panel in suburban Virginia.

It was a special treat to watch his participation on a panel and to watch it live.  I was especially impressed with him and I had my head turned by the web  Is this the future of video?  Here's the video from his panel discussion:

Free live streaming by Ustream

General Motors might not make it to end of the year even with federal aid

General Motors continues in its death dive with the latest news from a top Wall Street analyst who said the company's cash is just running out too fast, according to a new story in the Detroit Free Press.  He says, it might even be too late for federal aid.

The analyst said:

“Even if GM is able to secure immediate U.S. government support, we believe that GM’s predicament has the potential to set in motion a sequence of events that would be bankruptcy-like,” said Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache, who lowered his rating on GM shares to “sell” from “hold.”

What does this mean for the state of Michigan?

Does the state have the leadership to lead its people out of the economic dessert that's approaching?

Is government still the answer?

What are the implications of a federal bailout of the Big Three car companies?

Have we thought out the implication of giving a massive federal bailout to General Motors, Ford and Chrysler?

This country is one the verge of nationalizing an industry that has helped make this country great.  Now it's running out of money and the federal government wants to pay their bills.

My town, Lansing, has been hurt by the auto makers' troubles and will hurt more if they go bankrupt. 

Will nationalizing the auto industry, making government a business partner, help them or hurt them?  The Wall Street Journal this morning has a suggestion which, in my opinion needs to be discussed:

If our politicians can't avoid throwing taxpayer cash at Detroit, then they should at least do so in a way that really protects taxpayers. That means handing a receiver the power to replace current management, zero out current shareholders, and especially to rewrite labor and other contracts. Anything less is merely a payoff to Michigan
politicians and their union allies.

, , , , , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

Black ice turns the world upside down in the Detroit-area this morning

For many who travel today in the Detroit area, their immediate concern won't be about the future of the auto industry.  It will be about black ice which this morning turned I-75 in Oakland County into chaos, according the the Detroit Free Press.

Northern Michigan apparently is getting hit too from lake effect snow. 

, , , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

Lansing (MI) City Council Member A'Lynne Robinson gives update

Lansing (MI) City Council Member A'Lynne Robinson shared yesterday in this Flip video about issues before the council in Michigan's State Capital City.  These include final passage of a new cell tower ordinance and the possible consolidation of the city's two police precincts.  She dropped by a neighborhood school cleanup event before leading a constituent meeting at a nearby fire station.

Republican prospects for winning next round in 2010 of U.S. Senate elections looks daunting

What's the next big national test for Republicans to see if they can get their act together?

Look at this list from the Next Right of U.S. Senate seats
up for election in 2010 and look at the margin of victory in the last election for the seat for the winning party.  Most of the Democrats won with super-size majorities at the polls.

What will it take for the Republicans to get the job done?

, , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

Is the American church in need of a new Martin Luther and another Reformation?

With two copies of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life on my bookshelf, I read this post from Extreme Theology that maintains that American Christianity is in a state of crisis.  They point the finger at the California pastor as leading a heresy that's taking the church down the wrong path.

The post offers a new 95 Theses to get the church refocused in what they feel is the right direction.

It's part of a war within the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod where the self-described confessional Lutherans see themselves as believing in a more pure gospel than their fellow believers.

Any thoughts?

, , , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

Michigan State University on road to being Big Ten football power

With the demise of the University of Michigan's Wolverines on the football field, Michigan State's Spartans look to become the next power for the sport in the state, according to the Detroit Free Press.

That's good news for a part of the state that hasn't had much lately.

, , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

What's farthest point east and west in United States?

Farthest point east and west in the United States are both in Alaska:  Check Our Daily Bread for today and Wikipedia on Extreme points of the United States.  And if you can't wait, Pochnoi Point in the Aleutians is as far west as you can go and Amatignak Island is as far east. 

, , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

You're invited: South Lansing (MI) residents can help develop new city master plan

If you could wave a magic wand and make positive changes to south Lansing (MI) what would you want to see? 

Any changes to the main drags?  More big name eating places?  A revitalized Logan Square with anchor stores and specialty shops?  How about street changes?  How about development changes?

Then you're invited to share those ideas from 6-8:30 p.m., this Thursday, Nov. 6 at Grace United Methodist Church, 1900 Boston Blvd. on the southwest side of Mt. Hope.

It's the final installment of a series of meetings to gather and prepare southside attitudes for the city's process to draft a new master plan for development.

And, if you come, you'll be treated to a free turkey dinner starting at 6 p.m.  If you're coming to the dinner, then RSVP to the South Lansing Community Development Association at 374-5700 or e-mail at [email protected].

You're invited: South Lansing (MI) to clean-up Averill School woods

If you live in Lansing (MI), you are invited to help Averill Elementary School in southwest Lansing clean a small neighboring woods to keep it safe for students and for neighbors.

The clean-up starts at 9 a.m. and goes to noon this Saturday, Nov. 8 and will be tasked to clear out brush and small trees around the perimeter of the woods to improve visibility.

Please bring gloves, trash bags, loppers, string trimmers, saws or other tools that you have on hand to cut small brush and trees.

This is a project of the Averill Woods Neighborhood Association and is part of a year-long project to implement design improvements to the school and its adjacent area.  For more information call or e-mail Melissa Quon-Huber, association president at 394-3996 and [email protected].

View Larger Map

Michigan Republican chairman outlines reasons for massive defeat

Why did Republicans lose so massively in yesterday's election?

In an e-mail today, Michigan Republican chair Saul Anuzis shares his diagnosis for the voters public humbling of the GOP:

Our challenge going forward is to renew the faith of the American people in our party. We are the party that represents the best hopes of America.

Unfortunately, some of our elected leaders broke faith with the American people, on so many of our Republican core issues, that Republicans lost the ability to appeal to middle class families.

Continue reading "Michigan Republican chairman outlines reasons for massive defeat" »

To vote today, we stood in line for more than hour-and-a-half in southside of Lansing, MI

From our experience voting this morning at Lansing's (MI) southwest side, you could clearly see that something is brewing on the minds of voters.

We voted at the Averill Elementary School where the parking lot and the streets were jammed with cars, but there was no line out the door.  The line was inside where it went down to the end of a long haul and back again to the gymnasium where voting took place.

How many were in the hallway?  It could have been anywhere from 200-300 with the line continually being continually replenished with newly-arrived voters.

They covered the whole demographic spectrum of the neighborhood of Caucasians, African-Americans, and nationalized citizens from a range of other countries.  The ages went from one end of the voter continuum to the other. 

What did I take away from today's voting experience?

People are not happy with government now and they want a change.  And Republicans are going to receive a lesson in humility of biblical proportions.

Everybody seemed patient and respectful

In mid-Michigan: For judge, should I vote for Reynolds, Aquilina, Lawless, etc.

When I vote tomorrow, I will be asked to make my three picks for the local circuit court.  What criteria 2999835620_9681b5d33e should I use for making my picks out of six candidates? 

I have mailers sent to my house from three of the candidates:  Rosemarie Aquilina, Janelle Lawless and Frank Harrison Reynolds. 

Now I'm not unfamiliar with courts and how they work and I know about the role a judge and I see their importance.  But how do you decide if a candidate would make a good judge or if they are an incumbent, have they been effective on the bench.

Look at the endorsements?  Their community activities?  How law they've practiced law?  The pictures on their glossy flyers? 

It probably gets down to pin the tail on the candidate.  It's a name thing.  I'd like to do it better and be more informed. 

Anybody feel the same need?

What's cost for U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers constituent newsletter?

2999729828_e7f9c0bdb4 I wouldn't raise a question about the cost of U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers' newsletter to me and the rest of his constituents if I knew he didn't use my money to pay for it.   What's your guess?  How much did it cost to put together and to mail?

What did each one of us in the 8th House District get for the 50 cents to $1 that each of us had to pay for him to send it to us?  After reading it, do you feel that you should ask for your money back?  But, if he gave it back, he'd probably dip into our pockets to pay for the refund?

Continue reading "What's cost for U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers constituent newsletter?" »