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36 posts from December 2010

Do I have more to say after writing 2,000 posts on this blog?

From time-to-time, I've thought about pulling the plug on my blogging efforts.  I've done it for more than five years and I thought maybe that's enough.

This is my 2,000 post on this blog, The Daily Grit, which I use as a brain dump for whatever's on my mind.  As a member of the first class of baby-boomers, I've really wrestled with what to do next. 

I've come to the conclusion that I've got plenty to learn from others through the web and maybe they can learn a little from me.  The web is really positive tool for bringing people together and I'd like to help baby-boomers and other move the needle over to help make that happen.

I have more to say in a lot of areas, particularly poltics where I spent a good chunk of my life.  I'm no policy expert.  I'm just a plain citizen who happened to be at one time a political reporter, a legislative staffer and a political operative. 

I see the role that government's playing in my life and in the life of everybody.  Now's not the time to hide under a rock and I won't.  What else will I be writing about?  Count on it that I will write about my family.  Here's a pic-my grandson is in the stroller:

Family pic


How do you make your own bucket list?

Mybucketlist As I move closer to the 65th year of my life, the concept of having a list of thing I want to do before I "kick the bucket" seems to make more sense.

This idea of setting down things you really want to do before you move on to eternity was popularized i the movie, The Bucket List, with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.  When it came out, it was an entertaining concept, but now that I'm older, it seems to be a good idea.

Do you have one?  Can you share what's on it?

I've started mine on this blog and I'm sharing it.  I don't have any big ticket items like water skiing in the Suez Canal or peeing in a urinal in the West Wing of the White House.  But, there lots of stuff that I want to do. 

So, I'm putting all kinds of stuff down that comes to mind.  I will play with this and rearrange and then prioritize the items on the list.  Right now, I'm just listing things.  I will add more and will probably take stuff off.


Our daughter-in-law-elect has a blog and a Mac and really loves our son

Justinandlauren Super-wife and I got the call from Justin yesterday afternoon from New York City with a big smile in his voice sharing that he just got engaged to his girlfriend, Lauren Morris.  We are excited.

To introduce her to our side of the world, there are some important questions to answer.  Yes, she's a Mac person.  Yes, she has a blog.  And, yes, she has an iPhone. 

Here's more:  We met her this last summer when they came to celebrate my birthday.  She seems tailor-made for our son.  Their interests seriously complement each other. 

They literally met in church-the Rez in Washington D.C.  She has 47 stamps in her passport with most of those from an around the world mission trip.  She has the heartbeat of an entrepeneur which first manifested itself when she made and sold chocolate chip cookies as a young girl.  She's comfortable with technology and uses it.

But she has a larger interest in interior design and making living spaces come to life through tweaking here and there. 

Most of all, she really loves my son and he really loves her. 

Welcome to the family Lauren.

With the new Chevy Volt, it's time for Michigan to wave its flag

On its first road trip last week, from a Detroit factory to consumers' garages near New York City, the Chevrolet Volt made a lot of people happy.


It's not an easy time to live in Michigan, but this story about the new Chevy Volt from this morning's Detroit Free Press gives a hint of hope, maybe.

So much of our life in this state has centered around the auto industry. Everybody had some sort of tie to the business. Maybe it was family, friends or a business associate.

When I was getting ready to leave high school, I knew that I could always come back home to one of the local plants and get a good job.

Well, we lost all that. Now there's big time competition to get a job at a fast food restaurant.

What does the production of the new electric car by GM mean for Michigan?

It lifts up the blinds a little on the curtain that keeps the figurative sun from shining on our state.

I'm anxious to see the new car. I'm even a little excited about it.

Makes me remember my days as a youth in Bay City when the coming of new car models was a community event.

Do you agree with this list of best and worst communicators for 2010?

This Annual List of Top Ten Communicators of 2010 highlights the best (and worst) from business, politics (big this year), entertainment, sports and the professions. Take a look to see how communication skills helped make or break these notable individuals:


I'm going to read carefully this list of best and worst communicators for 2010 when I get home from a early morning breakfast meeting.

Who are the best and worst communicators in Michigan in politics, business, sports and entertainment?

Why isn't Michigan on this list of best retirement states?

Utah, Georgia, Tennessee, Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon and Florida are some of the top chioces for the best retirement states. This is simply because they are able to supply the best value for retirees, a lot more recreational activities, moderate climates, and can also be recognized for their natural beauty, people and fascinating geographical points of interest.


What needs to be done to make the state of Michigan a retirement destination for the hordes of baby-boomers who are and will continue to retire?

Is it perception that makes the difference or is it the hard, cold reality of a state in distress?

What are our political leaders doing to change that?

Should our state's retirees start to feel shaky about their pensions and health benefits?

Speaking on challenges to public-sector efficiency, Jeffrey Guilfoyle, president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, told the audience that the costs of public retiree benefits were "huge," with the $50 billion in unfunded pension and health commitments equivalent to $5,000 for every Michigan resident. 



Click on the above story from this morning's Lansing State Journal and the lede is about Governor-elect Rick Snyder's bravado in saying that his administration is going to do great things.

Dig deeper into the story and you will read that the state of Michigan has $50 billion in unfunded pension and health commitments.

What does that mean for retired state employees and for those looking at retirement in the next few years?

Yes, I am a retired state employee.

Getting ready to go out into 10 degree mid-Michigan weather

It's mean, ugly cold here in the heart of mid-Michigan, around 10 degrees with a little wind and I'm getting ready to go out in it. To get ready for the cold and for the day, I'm trying to focus my head and my heart in the right direction.

Everyday I usually start with a devotion from Radio Bible Class and its Our Daily Bread which typically takes a Bible verse or two and writes about it.

Today, it's from Psalm 71:14--14But I will(A) hope continually and will(B) praise you yet more and more.  It also included 1 Thessalonians 5:18--18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

My take-away for today:  I can not like the frigid cold weather, but with God's help I can be thankful.  And I have a lot to be thankful for. 

Hopefully, the car will start.


Thinking about Michigan's increasing homeless population this morning

Warming centers and shelters are expecting potential record numbers of families this winter as Michigan's homeless population has swelled to historic highs.

Many shelters are already seeing 25 percent more people than last year. For smaller facilities, that's a dozen more; for larger ones, that's several dozen. And at least one Metro Detroit shelter is getting crowds typically seen later in January, when shelter numbers tend to peak.


Michigan's homeless population is increasing, according to this Detroit News story-click above link.

I read this as mid-Michigan temps will climb to a frigid 15 degrees this morning.

What are churches around the state doing to help this need? According to this story, some in Macomb County are opening their doors for the homeless.

Understanding more about my baby-boomer generation

The Baby Boom stretched over 19 calendar years, from 1946 through 1964 — enough time for the first and last Boomers to have lived through drastically different experiences.


This USA Today story-click above link-is a good story about the vast age differences in the baby-boom generation.

I'm in the group that turns 65 next year and I can remember the milestones. I was a junior in high school when JFK was shot. I was working at my first after college job during the first draft lottery. I remember when the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show.

Those in the last years of the baby-boom would not remember those moments.

What about the 45,000 in Michigan who might lose their unemployment benefits?

For now, millions may soon find themselves in the same situation as 43-year-old Mark Reinertson, a Royal Oak information technology worker whose checks stopped in April.

"My unemployment has run out. My house is in foreclosure," he said. "I really have no idea how I'm going to survive."


I read this morning's story in the Detroit Free Press-above-about how 45,000 Michigan residents could lose their unemployment benefits by the end of the month.

The quote above from the information technology worker in Royal Oak reminds readers of the personal toll that our economic downtown.

With issues like this the role of the news media has never been important. We need to understand all aspects of the problem and, particularly right now, what's happening in Congress.

How open have Michigan members of Congress been about their position on the extension? Has this been reported?

There's so much noise from the partisan blogs, it's easy to take sides without having all the information.

I don't have all the answers, but I want to learn.

Will legalized polygamy be coming to Michigan anytime soon?

Is a court case in Canada a foreshadowing of what's coming to expand marriage laws in the United States to include polygamy? 

We are going through a period where there's a strong push to redefine what marriage means and a religious group in Canada says thier rights are being denied by not being able to have more than one spouse.  What if Canada says polygamy should be legalized? Could a similar push be made in Michigan?

Could it happen?  How do you feel?  Good idea? 

Check out the details in this story.

BOOK: Consider "To Account For Murder" by Judge William Whitbeck

Book I'm happy that Michigan State University doesn't have a football game this weekend to distract me from reading Judge William Whitbeck's "To Account For Murder" which is receiving great reviews as a thriller and a whodunit with a big political twist.

It's historical fiction that's based on a real event when a Michigan state senator was killed in the forties and during a time when the state's politics was driven by corruption. 

Last night's book-signing at the Michigan Historical Center in downtown Lansing was packed with readers who wanted to get their books signed by Whitbeck, the chief-judge of the state's Court of Appeals and wanted to hear him tell the "who, what, when, where, how, why and so-what" of the book and then read from it's first chapter.

If you're looking for a gift for the readers on your Christmas gift list, then this is worth looking at. 

I will share my reaction to to book after I read it this weekend.  It can be purchased from Amazon.  It's also available for the Kindle.

Here's a quick video look at last night's packed  book-signing.

Has the economy in Michigan slowed down Christmas tree sales?

  There seemed to be fewer cars at the choose and cut Christmas tree lot south of Lansing where we cut 5212486065_25df66624e_m our tree down this year.  In the past, the farm's parking lot would be packed with cars and with families trying to find just the right tree to celebrate the holiday.

This raises the question about the effect of the economy on people being able to afford the $35 and more for an average size tree.  Are more or less being sold?  I'm told it's too early to tell.

Just curious about what you are doing this year:

  • Are you putting up a tree?  Bigger or smaller?
  • Is the poor economy holding you back from getting one?
  • What kind do you buy?  Real or artificial? 
  • What age group do you fall in?  Baby-boomer?  Older?  Younger?

We made our annual trek to the tree farm with our adult daughter, son-in-law and five month-old grandson.  It was cold but it was fun.  But where were all the people?

Here are links to some Michigan Christmas tree facts:

  1. WKAR Radio--story about changing Christmas tree preferences in Michigan with some good interviews by reporter Rob South.
  2. Michigan Christmas Tree Association--its website is filled with interesting and helpful facts and check out the YouTube videos about the various species grown in Michigan.