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38 posts from May 2010

Port Huron teachers get sweet healthcare deal and great pay, Mackinac Center shows

In addition, the district pays $13,961 annually for teacher health insurance plans, regardless of whether the plan is single, two-person or family. Teachers do not contribute anything to the cost of their own health insurance premiums. Comparatively, the statewide average cost (private and public sector) for an employer-provided family plan is $11,300, with the employee picking up 22 percent of that amount. The district also provides life, vision and dental insurance at no cost to employees.


The Mackinac Center of Midland has been digging into public school teacher contracts around the state. They have also been looking at other costs for school districts.

Their analysis shows that teachers do not contribute anything to the cost of their own health insurance premiums.

Look at how they compare. The Mackinac Center writes, "The statewide average cost (private and public sector) for an employer-provided family plan is $11,300, with the employee picking up 22 percent of that amount."

Is it time to bring public school teachers in line with other public and private employees? Could this be the reason that school budgets are always heading toward the red zone?

Does Kwame Kilpatrick deserve better treatment than "Gator" or others in prison

It's time to stop chasing former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's empty promises and throw him in prison for 2-5 years for probation violation when he appears today for sentencing, Wayne County prosecutors argued.


It would be too easy to stick my nose in the air and say that Kwame Kilpatrick, former Detroit mayor, needs to get a stiff prison sentence.

In about an hour and a half, a Wayne County judge will make public his punishment for Kilpatrick thumbing his nose at an order that he make restitution for his criminal case in which he was found guilty.

It has been shown that Kilpatrick has left a trail of corruption during his administration that leaves Detroit's future in doubt.

When I was an in-prison volunteer at a bunch of Michigan prisons, I saw young African American guys from Detroit who did a whole lot less than Kilpatrick and get sentenced to years behind bars.

Shouldn't Kilpatrick be treated the same? Anybody think he will?

This is the guy who should be Michigan governor

The Daily News of Greenville reports Ron Farrell has led Montabella Community Schools for 39 years. On Monday night, the school board in Edmore voted to knock $80,000 off his $95,820 salary for his 40th.


I never heard about Ron Farrell, the superintendent of Montabella Community Schools until this morning when I read this story about him wanting to work for free. He wanted his salary to be used to pay school district bills.

Can you imagine the ears that would perk up among voters if state lawmakers and the governor turned down their salaries because the state needed the money for more important purposes?

Is Ron Farrell for real? This kind of thing just doesn't happen anymore with our leaders.

I wonder what he would do as governor.

Whatever happened to "earmarks" in the federal budget?

I firmly believe that the most important feature of spending the people’s money is complete transparency. Any spending should be debated openly on the floor of the House and voted on in open session, with the American people having a chance to watch and listen.


In the last presidential campaign, there was constant talk about earmarked spending in the federal budget.

This is where members of Congress can insert spending for just about any purpose in the federal budget whether for private or public purposes without debate, any notice or details made public, completely behind a steel curtain.

Check out this blog post from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. Is she writing this because, election time is just around the corner and it's time to pull out the standard bromides to satiate the voters?

What can Kwame Kilpatrick learn from King David?

I'm not sure what Israel was doing to provoke such anger from God.  My guess would be idolatry of some sort.  God has many it ever so clear that he is not pleased when we put anything before him, be it our money, other gods, or our pride.


In the Detroit News this morning, there's a story about how former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is trying to restore his image as a leader.

A judge will decide tomorrow whether Kilpatrick will go to jail for not paying a huge restitution to the city as part of a court imposed punishment for a criminal conviction involving his leadership of city government.

Check this post from the Boomer In The Pew blog about King David, a leader not unlike Kilpatrick, who had a huge appetite for things that took him on a downward spiral.

King David was forgiven and restored, but there was a price and it was a big one.

Click on the link above to get the details.

Is State Sen. Jason Allen the favorite to replace U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak?


“I am running for Congress to represent the people of Northern Michigan and stop the Washington spending craze.  I am deeply concerned about the future of our country. 

We have runaway government spending, a government takeover of health care that we cannot afford, illegals and terrorists who get better treatment by our government than our citizens and a job crisis in northern Michigan that is more severe than anywhere else in the nation,” Allen said.


Is State Sen. Jason Allen of Traverse City the favorite in the contest to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak in Michigan's First Congressional district?

As a veteran member of the State Legislature, he has built a strong base of support and his wife Suzanne is a veteran political operative.

But, the question is who will resonate with the voters of a district that's bigger than many countries?

Click on the link above to see his website.

Can Republicans win U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak's seat in Congress

If you believe in personal responsibility and limited government, please support me in my effort to change the status quo in Washington and return responsible representation to the 1st District of Michigan. If you feel powerless as you watch our government take your hard earned money and spend it foolishly, choose me. If you want an honest, hard working congressman who will answer your letters and phone calls, choose me.


Click on the link above and you will see the website for Dr. Dan Benishek from the Upper Peninsula. He's running to gain the Republican nomination for U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak's seat.

Remember Stupak is the member of congress who during the healthcare debate stood fast against the feds paying for abortions and then switched under pressure from the Obama administration.

What are the issues in Michigan's first congressional district which includes all of the Upper Peninsula and most of the northern lower? Employment has to be one.

What are the others?

Every church in Michigan should be praying for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing this morning

And this disaster lands in the lap of Dave Bing, the squeaky clean mayor who is trying to lift the city from the devastation of his predecessor's corruption, but is now at risk of being overwhelmed by a scandal of his own.


It seems like the outlines of Detroit's future is being written right now.

The Motor City has struggled through monumental corruption and crime. And it continues to spiral downwards with the shooting of a seven-year-old girl by Detroit police.

This column by Nolan Finley of the Detroit News seems to summarize the city's situation. It needs one-of-a-kind leadership from Dave Bing, its mayor. Can he do it?

Every pastor, every church in Michigan needs to pray for him and for his city.

Detroit is hurting bad and when it hurts we all hurt.

I'm with Dave Porter about open rebellion against God

Part of me seemed to be screaming, "NO!...I am not going to bow down before any Lord!"


It's Sunday morning and not quite 7 a.m. and I'm sitting on the couch before I get ready for church.

I'm trying to get my head and my heart ready for church in a couple of hours. My morning routine is to read the daily devotions online from Our Daily Bread, from Pastor Greg Laurie from a Los Angeles Church and posts from my friend Dave Porter who has the Boomer in the Pew blog.

He's going through the Bible in a year and doing it chronologically and writing about it. He's a neat guy who is pretty transparent about his life and about how he has recalibrated his focus for living.

Today, he wrote about Psalm 95 and pulled out the verse about bowing down and kneeling before the Lord our Maker.

Then he talks about the war inside of him where part of him rebelled and said "no way."

Amen Dave. Thanks for sharing that. I'm there and continue to have the same fight.

Everyday I'm reminded of Psalm 51 where King David asks for forgiveness for having his aide killed after cheating with his wife. He asks God to create in him a new heart.

Then I'm reminded of John 3:16 where I get the power and the assurance for this to happen. He gave his son, Jesus, our only real hope.

I am constantly reminded of my rebellion against God. But, I'm forgiven, but I have the promise of ultimate victory.

Thanks Dave. I think I'm ready to go to church and really kneel and bow down before the Lord my maker.

Guess how much Michigan State University spends on intercollegiate athletics

"It sounds too commercial or too corporate, but this is one of the things we have to do to survive and advance as an athletic department," said Hollis, who spent much of Thursday's session reiterating the financial challenges faced by his self-sufficient department and its $75 million budget.


How can they call collegiate athletics amateur? Perhaps, it's time to pay college athletes for playing on a team.

Why do I ask?

Click the above link from the Lansing State Journal about how MSU is reshuffling the seats for season ticket holders at the school's Breslin Center where it plays basketball.

Season ticket-holders who have had them for up to a half a century or more will be moved to the nose bleed seats to make room for big donors to the athletic program.

By the way, the quote above from the newspaper says the athletic department has a $75 million annual budget.

Did your guess come close?

I'm confused about Michigan's economic projections

But Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, said the state needs to avoid "a mad dash to spend" for schools and instead shift the money to offset cuts to revenue sharing to local communities.


Click on the link above to the Detroit Free Press story about projections for the state budget and state revenues for this fiscal year and next.

I'm confused about what it seems to be saying. Is Michigan pulling out of a powerful recession that has beset it for the past several years?

Look at the tens of thousands of jobs lost and all the spending that goes with each one. And what about the thousands and thousands of cars no longer produced here and the state sales tax that was lost.

There have been plenty of other economic metrics to showing that we are still in big trouble.

What's the deal? What do these projections mean?

Will public schools start demanding more money again? How about local governments?

The vibration in my ankle was real, but no radio signals

Anybody ever feel vibration in their ankle? I'm feeling strong vibration where I have a titanium plate. Maybe it's the meritage we drank.


Last night, I wrote the above tweet after being amused by a vibration in my right ankle.

Here's the scene: Super-wife and I were sitting on the couch with her computer on which we were watching a sermon from Ada Bible Church where we've been attending. Pastor Jeff Manion was teaching about King Jehoshaphat and what we could learn from him about handling life situations.

As I started moving my legs, I felt the vibes coming from my ankle. It got more intense and I felt it til I fell asleep in bed.

Now we did have a glass of meritage, a mixture of wines, that we got from Sam's Club. Good stuff, but not the kind of wine where after a glass you start hearing radio signal through your fillings or other non-natural body parts.

My non-natural body part is a titanium plate in my ankle which I broke while in prison, as a volunteer, the day my favorite daughter graduated from high school as salutatorian.

Is this Detroit Free Press editor being naive about upcoming political campaign?

Voters will be well-served by a campaign of frank debate and honest exchanges. It's about ideas, not ideology. It had better be about moving forward instead of fighting old battles irrelevant to people trying to decide if Michigan holds a future for them.


What are the chances that the state of Michigan will get the political campaign that Ron Dzwonkowski of the Detroit Free Press is advocating.

In the above quote, he writes about how our troubled state would be well-served by a campaign of "frank debate and honest exchanges."

What are the odds that Michigan's gubernatorial and legislative candidates are going to heed his wisdom?

Will it be a continuation of what we've had in the past where slashing and searing partisan rhetoric will be the order of the day?

Will term-limited legislative candidates continue to show their frothy depth of knowledge and ideas by saying that they are for more jobs, better schools and safe streets?

What do you need to know before you vote for a candidate for governor or the state house or senate?

Does Michael Hyatt have answer to low-achievement in public schools?

Over the past few months, I have been doing a lot of thinking about reading—particularly about reading books. This was brought to my attention again last week when I interviewed Dr. Ben Carson for a series of video broadcasts on the topic of leadership, which I did for the Chick-fil-A Leadercast.


Check this blog post from Michael Hyatt of Thomas Nelson about the role of books in the education of an individual.

He talks about Dr. Ben Carson whose life started with a struggling single mom and her insistence that her sons read books instead of watching television.

This is an important discussion; What role can reading books play in educating a child.

Did Michigan teacher "concessions" actually result in pay increase?

The average teacher salary in 2008-2009 according to the MDE was $58,721, up 3 percent from the previous year. This figure is computed by dividing the total expenditures on basic instruction by the total full-time certified teachers. However, it also includes teachers in public charter schools, which has the effect of reducing the figure significantly. Only counting salaries of teachers in conventional schools (93 percent of all teachers) produces an average salary of $62,556.


Michigan teachers have been talking about all the pay and benefits they've given up because of falling revenues.

The Mackinac Center says latest data from the Michigan Department of Education shows that public school teacher pay has actually increased.

Is this true? Are teachers victims in this falling economy or are they just whining?

Does the State Board of Education in Michigan have the answer?

LANSING -- With hopes of influencing public school funding and spending reforms, the state Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved a broad, long-range plan for education that includes large tax increases to pay for greatly expanded preschool, state-paid college tuition and spending reductions.


Public schools in Michigan are struggling because of a lack of money.

The Michigan Board of Education in a newly-adopted policy says taxes need to be increased dramatically to beef up public schools.

They are also advocating for universal pre-schools and free college in the state.

Is this the answer to Michigan's problems? More taxes?

Can Detroit Mayor Dave Bing successfully lead neighborhood rebuilding?

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said Tuesday that he'll engage experts and the community to develop a strategy in the next 12 to 18 months to strengthen stable neighborhoods,


The city of Detroit is suffering mightily with neighborhoods that have deteriorated beyond the point of livability.

There are other neighborhoods that Mayor Dave Bing feels can be stabilized and improved.

Check this Detroit Free Press story about how he's rallying experts and the whole community to get a conversation going about how to make this change happen.

Are there examples of other urban areas that have stopped the process of decay?