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February 2009
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22 posts from March 2009

How would the closing of our local paper affect our community?

Our daily newspaper--the Lansing State Journal--is struggling financially and everybody knows it.  The paper is so thin that it resembles an anemic shopper without the ads.

The online news media has been abuzz about the closing of daily newspapers around the country and most recently, the planned closing of the Ann Arbor News.

How would the closing of the Lansing State Journal affect our local community?

In my "The Lansing Blog"  I share a Princeton study of how the closing of the Cincinnati Post affected northern Kentucky and its day-to-day life, especially citizen participation in local government.

Is this what mid-Michigan has to look forward to?

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Mayor Virg Bernero needs to put on his teaching hat

Super-wife and I will get out a bottle of Great Lakes Red and watch Mayor Virg Bernero present his proposed city budget tonight at the Lansing City Council meeting.

In my other blog--The Lansing Blog--I write about
how hard it is for the average citizen to understand the "who, what, when, where, how and why" of the city budget.

Because this budget affects the daily living of everybody who lives here, I understand its importance.

Mayor Bernero told our daily newspaper reporter covering city hall that he refused to comment about it.  Hmmm. . . why?  He needs to build understanding and he needs to get citizen buy-in to what he's proposing.  He also needs to get the city council votes.

There's lots more that he could do and he could start with using the web to build a community of citizens informed about this and other city happenings.

I bet there's a ton of folks out there who would be willing to show him and the city council how to use these tools.  I'd volunteer.

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Can Michigan protect its abused and neglected children?

Read this story from this morning's online Kalamazoo Gazette about the death of 16-year-old Calista Springer of Centreville and then tell me that Michigan can protect its abused and neglected children.

Local authorities, according to the paper's investigation knew about the girl's situation and still didn't deal with it.  Why wasn't action taken when the girl's plight was apparently widely-known? 

It would be too easy to say this is an isolated case, but it's not.

Her parents are on trial for felony murder, torture and first degree child abuse.  Perhaps those charged with protecting our state's at-risk kids need to be held accountable too.

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Trying to figure out what our pastor will say about feeding of the 5,000

Do you try to get your head and heart ready for church on Saturday or earlier? I am trying to do that right now by checking the Scripture readings and by asking God to open my ears and my heart.

How many baby-boomers have gone to church for several decades and mainly gone through the motions. I know because I've done that far too often.

Our pastor--Father Jack Lumanog of Christ-the-King Anglican Church in DeWitt--uses the readings from the lectionary for his sermons. He usually picks the Gospel reading which this week is John 6:4-15 when Jesus fed the 5,000.

I've heard this story many, many times since I was a young child. What could he say that's relevant to me now?

There's lots of need out there right now and there's what seems to be very little to fill it. Everybody could make a list of their needs and come up short with ideas on where to go or resources to meet the need.

Could that be his perspective? I'll just have to wait. I know that he will be preaching God's Word and his promises and I pray that they will be drilled into my heart.

By the way, check out this short Flip video of the new pew Bibles at Christ-the-King. Father Jack invites anybody attending a service and in need of a Bible to take it home.

MI Auditor General needs to do performance audit of Michigan Film Office

Michigan's Legislature needs to belly up and start providing some real accountability to a new state program where state taxpayers' money is used to give millions of dollars to Hollywood filmmakers.

The Michigan Film Office submitted its annual report which, according to the Mackinac Center, doesn't provide information demanded by state law and appears to make the program look more successful than it is.

The Michigan Auditor General is an arm of the Legislature and is well-regarded for its ability to separate fact from fiction.

All its takes for them to start an audit is for a legislator to request it.

Click here for a video report on the film office report.

I invite your prayers for my friend Ben Baldus

In a phone conversation last night, my friend Ben Baldus asked me to ask you to pray for him. He was very specific and said to use his name.

Here's why: He's going through a rugged regimen of infusion therapy for a really nasty infection that if left unchecked could take his limbs and his life.

Side effects of the therapy are daunting, to say the least, leaving him with severe chills and extreme tiredness. All the while, he has a demanding day job as head of advocacy at the Michigan Capitol for Lutheran Social Services of Michigan.

As a pastor, he also does supply work for various churches in mid-Michigan.

Pray that God gives him the stamina for the final round of the chemo-therapy and that this virulent bug inside his body be stopped.

Are you a baby-boomer trying to lose weight?

Okay, I'm trying to do some spring cleaning in my life as a 62-year-old baby-boomer and one of the things on my radar is losing weight.

I've been skinny and I've been overweight with the cycle repeating itself several times and I know the time to stop is now.

For some reason, it's been hard to reset the dials in my head to make a consistent effort at changing habits.

If I have a choice, I don't want my best friends to be those who I meet in the doctor's waiting room or in the pharmacy as I wait for prescriptions to be filled.

That's why "super-wife" and I are going shortly to Sam's Club to get a big package of Boca Burgers, hamburgers without the meet.

The power that I need to make this happen can come from only one source and it's supernatural. It would be pure and undiluted Holy Spirit power.

Any other baby-boomers out there in a similar position?

Is your property tax bill in Michigan rising while your property value is falling?

If you've seen your property taxes continue to rise while your property value plummets and you live in Michigan, then write down Senate Joint Resolution H.

(For details: Check this post from Nick at Right Michigan. He has lots of links to news stories describing what happened.)

The Michigan Senate passed the measure to give our state's property owners $253 million in savings to bring their property taxes in line with their home's value.

The difference in the two values was caused when the Michigan Legislature and voters dramatically changed the property tax system in the state.

It's worth calling your state legislator and e-mailing him or her.

John Piper makes me think about the role of the Gospel in my life

This blog post from John Piper, a Minneapolis pastor, about the role of the Gospel in our lives really resonates with me.

Growing up Missouri Synod Lutheran in northern Michigan, I heard the Gospel every Sunday.

Through the years, the sermons all started to sound the same and, as a result, it would be easy to tune it out.

Now as I get older I can see that I shortchanged myself by not letting the full-meaning of the Good News of Jesus saturate every part of my daily life.

I think I'll print Piper's post and stick it in my pocket and pull it out often and pray that God will open my heart to the importance of what we are celebrating this Easter.

I'll pray for you for free

What I read in A Boomer In The Pew about an online service where you can pay to have computerized prayers said for you caught my attention. The company is Information Age Prayers.

Like the Boomer, David Porter, I thought it had to be a joke. Somebody has to be riding the edge to get some reaction. I bet not. I wonder how much business this prayer service has been able to get as a pray-er.

I'd be happy to pray for free. I need the practice. Are you getting kicked in the groin by the financial situation, get people praying for you.

God's listening and he will respond.

Leave a comment with a prayer request. Leave one too on the Boomer's blog.

Get a bunch of people praying and all kinds of things can happen.

How can we stop the AIG bonuses?

Like almost everyone else, I'm outraged by the AIG bonuses. Susan Tompor, a Detroit Free Press columnist, captures my feelings perfectly.

She says AIG has broken the social contract with its high risk investments resulting in millions of ordinary people losing the security of their retirement funds. To save capitalism, our government said it needed to bail them out.

Now they take our money and give millions to those who cause the problems.

I don't buy it. The U.S. Congress needs to assert itself and set their boots on the necks of CEOs and others to get our money back.

Or we need a new Congress.

I'm short on meniscus in my left knee and I'm starting to feel it

My left knee has bothered me for awhile. I've had it scoped and the surgeon told me that the meniscus cushioning the bones in the joint was pretty well destroyed.

There could be a couple of reasons for this. For about a decade in my younger days, I was an avid jogger and I took few precautions to protect my joints.

But the most obvious aggravation that I'd rather not talk about is being overweight. I know that for each pound lost a lot of pressure is taken off the knees.

There are times when it's fairly easy and comfortable to walk and other times where it feels like bone rubbing against bone.

I've been using a magnet brace around the knee and that seems to provide some relief and I take an Aleve every now and then.

But I know that I need to deal with this and I know if I don't there will be other health consequences.

This is part of my series of posts on my personal spring cleaning.

I've had trouble getting my 62-year-old "blog on"

Maybe it's because it's almost spring that I feel like my wheels are stuck in the mud. I've found it hard to get enthusiastic about posting on this blog about anything.

I could blame it on seasonal affective disorder where there's not enough sun and warm weather.

I could point my finger at the difficulties in reinventing yourself as a younger senior citizen and retiree.

I've thought that it might be never having a real niche in life like other folks. As a former newspaper reporter and state legislative staffer, I was always interested in everything, thereby found myself a mile wide and a couple inches deep.

I'm back feeling like a high school senior trying to determine his college major.

This blog is a great place to sort stuff and run ideas and thoughts up the flagpole to see how it looks and sounds.

Pardon me during the next few weeks as I do this. I can't make any promises about how interesting any of this will be.

Maybe others can identify.

Maybe not.

But I'm back.

What about all the potholes on Lansing (MI) streets?

Potholes dominate driving in Michigan right now.  They can be small and they can be big, but, regardless, these products of the freeze and thaw cycle in this state can be costly in fixing damaged cars.

Our city's streets can be a real gauntlet where one pothole hit the wrong way by your car can damage wheels and can throw front-end alignment out of whack and costing hundreds of dollars.

Today's meeting of Lansing City Council-member A'Lynne Robinson with her third ward, southside constituents was dominated by discussion of the conditions of city streets.  Main topic was the issue of how to fix potholes and how to make longer range fixes.

I invite you to visit my report on that topic in my "The Lansing Blog" where I outline the main issues with video from the meeting.

Second saturday

Free Stem Cell Discussion Guide from Concordia Publishing House

I know I need to become better informed about the whole embryonic stem cell issue. That's why I'm glad that Concordia Publishing House has opened up to free downloading a study guide on the issue.

I've heard plenty from those who are in favor of it and who make a compelling argument for those with all kinds of diseases. And now that President Obama has reversed course to allow federal aid for use of these stem cells in research, I really need to know more.

But what about the Bible? What does God's Word say.

I invite your comment about this study and about the issue.

Is it time to unplug General Motors from life-support?

How much more should the taxpayers be asked to pay for a bailout of General Motors that has not been working?

We've already had a multi-billion dollar round of the taxpayers' money being given to GM and it continues its death spiral.

Seeing GM go through these last gasps of life has been tough. The car company has been a part of life here in Michigan.

It's hard to find somebody over 40 who hasn't worked in one of their factories at some point or who knows somebody who has. It was always seen as a job that would lead you to and maintain you in a middle-class lifestyle.

But, the world has changed and maybe, it's time to admit the obvious that while General Motors is on life support, it's brain dead.

This morning's Detroit News says bailing out the company after an inevitable bankruptcy will cost as much as $100 billion.

GM has assessed and rejected the option of filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, saying it would further hurt sales. The automaker also said it would need as much as $100 billion in government aid to operate after filing bankruptcy.

When do we say enough is enough and unplug them from life support?

Remember, the life support is coming from our money and from our kids, our grandkids and our great grandkids and who knows how many more generations.

Reading Psalm 113 on a Wednesday morning in Lansing, MI

Tomorrow morning at 7 a.m., I'll join five friends who've been reading through the Psalms for the past two years. Next is Psalm 113. Short and sweet with lots of promises from the Almighty God. Have you read it? Any thoughts?

Psalm 113 (The Message)

1-3 Hallelujah! You who serve God, praise God!
Just to speak his name is praise!
Just to remember God is a blessing—
now and tomorrow and always.
From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
keep lifting all your praises to God!

4-9 God is higher than anything and anyone,
outshining everything you can see in the skies.
Who can compare with God, our God,
so majestically enthroned,
Surveying his magnificent
heavens and earth?
He picks up the poor from out of the dirt,
rescues the wretched who've been thrown out with the trash,
Seats them among the honored guests,
a place of honor among the brightest and best.
He gives childless couples a family,
gives them joy as the parents of children.