Saturday, November 29, 2008
The family was the Nickless's
Tim and Arlene Nickless bought an 1860s-era house in Holt, hoping to fix it up for their family, but it wasn't meant to be. Arlene lost her husband, a nurse, in January after a seven-year battle with hepatitis C. Tim contracted the disease after being pricked with a patent's contaminated needle. Arlene was left in need of emotional and financial support and with a house that was worsening in condition. Detroit Free Press
And Arlene was left a widow with three young sons to raise.
SIDEBAR: I have a very dear friend with Hepatitis C. Although most people have heard of it, very few people know much about the virus. Hepatitis C is a virus that attacks the liver and affects approximately 4 million or 2% of Americans, and more than 100 million persons worldwide. It is called a "silent killer" because often there are no symptoms, you may have it for years before a blood test reveals it. However some people experience flu-like symptoms There is no vaccine for Hep C and current treatment is a combo of drugs taken over months that is chemo-like in its effect. The University of Michigan has a national and international renown state-of-the-art care and a cutting edge research program for Hep C. Diet also plays a role in management and can aid the health of the liver and prevent further damage. Hep C is spread by contact with an infected person's blood.
You could get hepatitis C by:
Sharing drug needles. (even years ago)
Getting pricked with a needle that has infected blood on it Hospital workers can get hepatitis C this way, this is how Tim Nickless contracted Hep C
Having sex with an infected person, especially if you or your partner has other sexually transmitted diseases
Being born to a mother with hepatitis C
If you had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
In rare cases, getting a tattoo or body piercing with
unsterilized, dirty tools
If you fit in any of these categories, even if it has been years since you were a drug user, you need to get a Hep C blood test done by your doctor ASAP.
BACK TO Extreme Makeover in Holt
After Ty Pennington send Arlene and her sons on vacation to Disney Land, local contractors begin the demolition of the 1860s farmhouse. Then the construction by Mayberry Homes. of a new 3,300 square-foot home in a mere 106 hours!
And it is true, a small army of local people, 1,500 volunteers, work around the clock building, and furnishing the house. My niece volunteered and her shift started at midnight. Large floodlights kept the site well-lit.
As the home was being constructed Dean Transportation ran buses from K-Mart to the site so local folks could get a look at the home being built.
I decided to take the trip myself. The atmosphere at the site was carnival-like. Local radio stations were there. Extreme Makeover had a tent selling their gear, and kids played, groups of folks milling around talking,taking pictures and movies (yes I took some but you have to watch tonight to see for yourself!) as we watched the the activity of the home being built.
And now the home is built, the Nickless family has moved in and we can watch, not just the home being built but a wonderful story of a community helping one of their own.
Mayberry Homes is hosting a special viewing tonight for the community at the Breslin Center on the MSU Campus. A “Thank you mid Michigan! An Extreme Celebration” event to thank the volunteers and contractors who donated their time to the five-day project.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
Entertainment, including Three Men and a Tenor, and giveaways will be provided throughout the night. Admission and parking is free and concessions available.
For the those not living in the Greater Lansing Area, Extreme MakeOver Home Edition, Holt, Michigan can be seen on ABC, this Sunday, Nov. 30th 8pm/7central.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Internet merchants used to have their own version of Black Friday but it was the Monday proceeding, Black Monday. However it seems this year, because of the economy no doubt, this has been bumped up.
That was a short tradition.
Nevertheless, I have decided this Christmas because of the economy to forgo giving gifts (except my mom) and instead give what money I would normally spend on gifts to various charities. I hate to keep repeating,"with the economy" but its true that giving will most likely to be down this Christmas.
There are so many worthy organizations needing assistance now. Giving to a local charity like food banks, and Toy for Tots and local Angel Trees helps your own community and Michigan.
However when shopping please consider patronized those merchants who embrace "Christmas" "Christmas-friendly" retailers — prominent acknowledgment of "Christmas"
However if you are looking for a great gift for the conservative(s) on your list.
These books should be required reading for every American but certainly for every conservative. They are:
The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution - W. Cleon Skousen
The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World - W. Cleon Skousen
The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression - Amity Shlaes
I buy my books online,usually Amazon, good deals on used books in great condition.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Citizens for Traditional Values
AND American Family Assoication
Say No to House Bill 6341
Review the legislation here.
"Hate Crimes" legislation has been used in many instances by homosexual activists as a "wedge" to boost the public's acceptance of homosexual behavior and to insert language in the law toward that end. Although this effort might appeal to our compassion for victims, it is really a Trojan Horse that should be opposed. There are already laws on the books to punish assault or other crimes committed against any person. In other places this type of legislation is followed by efforts to use the force of law to silence any opposition to the "political agenda" of homosexual activists, including anyone who has a differing opinion or set of values.
Please take a few moments to watch this short video that shows a little sample of what can happen if the Michigan state Senate passes HB 6341, the so-called "hate crimes" bill. Watch this unbelievable video and then forward it to others, especially your pastor. It is the story of what happened to a Christian couple when they said that homosexuality is a sin.
Unfortunately we are a bit behind on this issue, and much to our disappointment it passed the House with a wide margin. The Bill will be now taken up by the State Senate and we must take action. The Legislature is currently in a lame duck session which means that there are a lot of items on the agenda before the end of the year.
Disclaimer: Let it be known that CTV does not practice or advocate "hate" toward anyone - regardless of their behavioral choices or political views. We are simply engaged in a civil dialogue from our Judeo-Christian world view about what is best in terms of the laws that govern society in general and Michigan in specific.
ACTION NEEDED! Contact your State Senator today!
The Bill will be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 2. They need to hear from you now!
Judiciary Committee Members
Wayne Kuipers, Chair (R)
Alan Cropsey, Vice Chair (R)
Alan Sanborn (R)
Bruce Patterson (R)
Tony Stamas (R)
Gretchen Whitmer, Minority Vice Chair (D)
Hansen Clarke (D)
Michael Prusi (D)
In addition, contact your State Senator in the event that the Bill passes out of Committee.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
By DENNIS PRAGER
Tuesday, November 25,2008
That the news media were biased in the 2008 presidential election is now acknowledged by fair-minded people, left or right.
As Time Magazine's Mark Halperin said last weekend at a Politico/USC Conference on the 2008 election:
"It's the most disgusting failure of people in our business. . . . It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage."
Given how obvious this bias is, the question is not whether liberals in the media tend to offer biased reporting. The question is why? Why can't liberal news people report the news without any slant?
Lack Of Objectivity
The answer is that for people on the left, all — I repeat, all — professions are a means to an end, not ends in themselves. That end is the social transformation of society, meaning the promoting of "social justice" as the left understands that term.
For most liberal news reporters, therefore, the purpose of news reporting is not to report news as objectively as possible. The purpose of the media in general and of reporting specifically is to promote social justice and the social transformation of society.
For most liberal judges, the primary purpose of being a judge is to promote social justice and transform society. That is why liberal judges are so much more likely to be judicial activists than conservative judges. Most liberal judges do not see their roles as merely adjudicating a dispute according to the law. They see their role primarily as using the law and their power to rule on the law to promote social justice.
For most university professors — and many high school teachers, as well — outside of the natural sciences and math, the same holds true. The task of a teacher is to teach, i.e., to convey the most important information as honestly as possible. But, again, this conflicts with the social justice goal of the left.
History teachers who merely teach history are of little use to the left. History — and English and political science, and sociology and other liberal arts — teachers must use their classroom to produce young people who will wish to engage in society-transforming work for social justice.
For most liberals in the arts (there are very few conservatives in the arts) there is no denial of their having an agenda. They state quite candidly that the purpose of the arts is to challenge the (conservative) status quo, to raise political and social consciousness by advancing a "progressive" political and social agenda.
The artist whose agenda is merely to produce beautiful art is looked upon as a reactionary buffoon, and is not likely to be taken seriously — no matter how talented — in the worlds of music, dance, painting, and sculpture. Even the natural sciences are increasingly subject to being rendered a means to a "progressive" end.
There was the pseudo-threat of heterosexual AIDS in America — science manipulated in order to de-stigmatize AIDS as primarily a gay man's disease and to increase funding for AIDS research. There are the exaggerated secondhand smoke data popularized so as to decrease smoking and fight "Big Tobacco."
And now we have the scientifically questionable belief in man-made carbon emissions causing global warming leading to natural catastrophe — and recommended "solutions" many of which, if adopted, will serve the goal of undermining corporate capitalism.
The best analogy of the directing of all human endeavors toward a left-wing purpose would be those early medieval centuries of European life when just about everything man-made was supposed to reflect a religious consciousness. Virtually nothing stood apart from the Church. The arts were religious, the sciences were handmaidens of theology, and schools were religious in nature.
Most moderns look upon that period as a dark age — perhaps a bit unfairly at times. But the people who most scorn what they deem the religious "Dark Ages" are trying to build a secular-left dark age in our time. Because the left is a religion, a substitute for the Christianity it seeks to displace.
Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show and is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author of four books, most recently "Happiness Is a Serious Problem" (HarperCollins).
Copyright 2008 Creators Syndicate, Inc
Friday, November 21, 2008
REP. THADDEUS MCCOTTER (R-MI): I thank the chairman. Thank you for your indulgence, and I will have an opening statement and some questions, and I'll try not to take up too much time. And if I cover ground that you already have, please feel free to disregard it and put in your own points.
I come from Michigan's 11th District. My district borders Detroit. Heavy automotive industry. Lot of dealers, lot of suppliers, lot of white collar, lot of blue-collar employees.
One of the first things I would like to make clear that I personally find offensive is the implication that the domestic American auto industry has not done anything since the 1970s to restructure.
If anyone believes that the Big Three were not restructuring prior to the credit crisis bringing them here today, or the CAFE mandates that have brought them here today, I invite you to my district.
I invite you to look at how the fragile fabric of people's lives has been rendered asunder by a necessary restructuring process that has involved give and take on both sides, from labor and management.
I will show you the white-collar workers that are out of work. I will show you the blue-collar workers that are out of work. I will show you the pensioners that are worried about their health retirement benefits being lost. And I will show you the Wixom Assembly Plant that is closed.
I bring this up not for your pity for my constituents. I bring this up to show you that the automotive companies and the UAW have been doing what they believe they possibly can to restructure and become globally competitive and ensure that America has a domestic manufacturing base for the generations to come.
The second point I wish to bring up is why they're here. Throughout the entire process of the restructuring, we would hear rumors in Washington that the Big Three were coming for a federal assistance package, for one reason or another. And yet, as the white- collar workforce and the blue-collar workforce and the pensioners suffered the restructuring, they did not come.
They did not come to Washington with their hands out. They were not here begging, as it has been pejoratively put in the press. They wanted to restructure, without us making it harder for them to do so.
Unfortunately, the first thing we did as Congress was we passed a $100 billion CAFE-standard mandate on the auto industry, which would have been far worse had it not been for the strenuous efforts of the dean of the United States Congress, John Dingell.
Secondly, through no fault of their own, as they went through the restructuring process, the whiz kids on Wall Street, with their computer algorithms, decided to screw up the entire credit market of the United States. This was critical to the restructuring of the auto industry.
And then this Congress, in my opinion, passed a very bad piece of legislation, a $700 billion bailout of the very people on Wall Street who caused the problem. And now you see hundreds of billions of dollars slated to go to, quote-unquote, "healthy banks" to free up the credit system -- that has yet to free up, or they would not be here today.
So the question that the chairman puts before us in terms of the legislation he is proposing is to me not a matter of a bad policy that has already been imposed on the American people and has yet to work. It becomes a question of equity.
If the $25 billion is appropriated for Wall Street -- some of it probably targeted to healthy institutions, financial institutions, however nebulously defined -- a no-vote on a bridge loan to the auto industry means that that 25 billion (dollars) will continue to go to Wall Street and to healthy banks.
A yes vote means that it actually goes to Main Street, not just for the structure of the Big Three, the labor leaders, the auto leaders, but for the very hard-working men and people whose taxes have gone into the $700 billion bailout, which has yet to free up the credit markets.
So we are in the realm of equity here. And while I did not support that bad policy, we had here yesterday Secretary Paulson, who explained that he believed one of the fundamental problems that we face in stabilizing our financial system is the problem with home foreclosures.
I would agree with that. I would agree that the biggest problem we have are real working people's ability to pay to stay in the homes that they have.
If we turn our back on Main Street, if we continue to send all the money to Wall Street, who caused the problem, and the auto industry does have to go into bankruptcy, you will see foreclosure rates in this country skyrocket from people who have played by the rules and are currently paying their mortgages and are not part of the problem that Mr. Paulson says is already big enough to be worthy of addressing.
Finally, I want to issue -- address the issue of labor costs. I have long said that one of the problems Michigan suffers is the fact that we are currently still operating under the industrial welfare model of governance. And this is where the Big Three and the UAW get a very bad rap.
They talk about, quote, "shedding labor costs" that have been duly negotiated, because it makes them uncompetitive. My response to that is, where do those labor costs go?
The traditional model of governance throughout the 20th century of the United States, because we were an industrial power, was that business would pick up some of the benefits of employees and government would pick up some of the social needs of employees. And there was always the tension as to which would do what, but you had two pillars to help undergird American prosperity.
As we move into what people call the new global economy, the post-industrial economy, my question is this: If the business entities, in negotiation with labor entities, decide that they can no longer be competitive with these "labor costs," quote-unquote, where do those go?
They're going to go to the federal government. And so we have another instance where we can be penny wise and pound foolish, and we can say we're not sending a $25 billion loan to help the auto industry survive, and we can let real human beings go into the process of bankruptcy and watch the stresses and strains on their families as they endure that pain.
And you will not have saved the American taxpayers anything, because the pension costs will be picked up somewhere from the retirees who were cheated out of a lifetime of hard work. You will see the healthcare costs of hard working people that they have enjoyed because of the fruit of their labor put into the federal system. And you will see prosperity throughout the Midwest and the rest of the country crash and you won't have enough worker retraining money to take care of their needs.
And finally, for some of my more conservative friends, I point this out: if America does not have a manufacturing base, a manufacturing base which some may think is not necessary in this new global world, the United States will cease to be able to defend itself. We will be reliant on other nations for the innovative technologies, not only their creation but their provision, from friendly nations such as communist China and others, and the arsenal of democracy in our lifetime will have been dismantled in a time of war.
In the end, this issue is even larger than the Big Three, in many ways larger than the economy. It is what type of nation do we become. Do we become a nation that no longer produces wealth, that no longer has a path to middle class prosperity? Do we remain the America we inherited? Or do we just let it go and watch real people suffer in the process?
And my answer is no. Now if you can find a question in there, my hat's off to you. Thank you. (Applause.)
So I did what I do, which is a lot of research to educate myself on RVs. The first thing that needs to be determined is what kind of camping you want to do. Will you be mostly staying in camps and hooked up to electricity and water or do you mostly want to "boondock". Boondocking is not being in camp or hooked up and using either a generator or solar or a combination of both for your power. Boondockers usually want to be off the grid so they can be in more remote spots.
I wanted to mostly boondock so I knew I wanted a smaller rig that could get back into the more secluded places.
But what kind? A Class C, a fifth wheel or a travel trailer?
I went to an RV Conference in Bowling Green, KY to get some answers. Life on Wheels a popular educational series for RV enthusiasts held each year at college campuses across the United States which unfortunately has been discontinued after 14 successful years.
I also attended an Escapees Escapade in Van Wirt, OH. Escapees is the largest RV Association and the Escapade is a get together of RVers from all over the country and they also hold educational Seminars.
I joined several RV Forums, like iRV2.com and Escapees Forum and asked lots of questions also.
So I started out with thinking a small Class C and choose a LazyDaze because of their reputation and quality. However, I kept coming back to having to unplug the Class C if I was in camp before I could go anywhere.
And I knew I didn't want a toad (a toad is any vehicle you tow behind your rig)
So I started re-thinking and came back to what an RV tech said at Life on Wheels, "Complexity Kills". Travel trailer are the least complex of all RVs so you are less likely to have problems. Plus having a truck and trailer eliminates having to unplug at camp to go anywhere or having a toad.
So back to the drawing board. After researching out travel trailers I decided on a Bigfoot. Bigfoot is a Canadian company making high end quality molded fiberglass RVs. The shell of a Bigfoot is made by molds and then seemed together. The fiberglass makes the Bigfoot lighter but is also strong. The Bigfoot is also a "4 season" camper as it has extra insulation, heated enclosed holding tanks, and Thermal-pane windows. Perfect!
So I joined FiberglassRv.com a RV forum for other Fiberglass enthusiasts to learn AND look for a used 21ft Bigfoot rig. My dream rig!
Put my house up for sale and began planning.
Then the waiting,and then the housing bubble, then the recession, then a Marxist wins the election...then Bigfoot closes its doors.
Bigfoot a company who has been in business for thirty-one years.
According to Beau Durkee, Sales Representative for Bigfoot Industries.
TCM: What happened at Bigfoot this morning?
Beau: The major crediting bank for Bigfoot shut the company down. The bank’s decision came as a surprise to Bigfoot. We were willing to ride out this economic storm and absorb some losses, but the bank was not.
TCM: Is the Bigfoot closure permanent?
Beau: Yes. This is a permanent shut down and closure. If the company ever does restart, it would be something completely new.
Another victim of the Democrat engineered economic meltdown.
What this means is that used Bigfoots, never easy to come by, will become even harder to find now as most people will hold on to theirs. Dealers will lower their prices however a new 21ft Bigfoot can run almost $45,000!
The only manufactures of molded fiberglass rigs now are the Escape a Canadian company, Oliver made in Tennessee and the Michigan made Egg Camper. All are high end, quality but newer manufacturers so used rigs are almost non-existent. New ones run from $17,000 for the Egg Camper, which is not intended in my opinion for full timing as the Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) is small and so are the holding tanks. To the more expensive Escape, BASE price of $23,900 for a 19ft and $26,900 for a fifth wheel and the Oliver, BASE price for 17ft around $30,000.
So my dream rig, my Bigfoot is gone, just like my dream of retirement travel, full timing across America.
Well maybe not gone, put on hold. But for how long? Its a question looking for an answer.
Seems like all the news nowadays is only bad *sigh*
These are times that try men's souls...Thomas Paine
But what can you do but press on and fix your eyes on Jesus?
Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV)
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
As a retiree who worked for General Motors for 30 years, my ties are not just financial but emotional as well. I remember the "hay days," when we sold a history making amount of autos. I remember working six days a week, nine hour days in order to supply America with the cars they wanted. I remember the Toronado line, Oldsmobile 98's and 88's, and Cutlasses that were produced here in Lansing.
And its from that perspective, as an insider, a former employee, a current retiree of General Motors, I believe the best interest of the company would be to go into Chapter 11. I do not say this lightly as I have a huge financial stake in the outcome, my health care is on the line and my pension could be reduced. However, with that being said, I believe Chapter 11 to be in the best interest of not only GM but Michigan and other "Union states" for several reasons.
1. The ability to make the UAW Union contract null and void
In 1984 the Supreme Court ruled that employers can unilaterally break an existing collective bargaining contract upon filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition.
2. Keeps doing business and its stock and bonds may continue to trade in our securities markets. This is extremely important as almost 4% of the Gross Domestic Product is auto-related. Three million U.S. jobs ( and families) are dependent on the health of U.S. automakers, and they are not all in the Midwest.
3. Hold debt at bay while restructuring for profitability
Federal bankruptcy laws govern how companies go out of business or recover from crippling debt. A bankrupt company, the "debtor," might use Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code to "reorganize" its business and try to become profitable again. Management continues to run the day-to-day business operations but all significant business decisions must be approved by a bankruptcy court.
The question is, do GM Executives have the fortitude to try and entangle themselves from the chains of the Union in a Chapter 11?
In an e-mail I received from GM which asks employees to write/call their reps to encourage the "bridge loan", GM addresses the Myth of "GM’s biggest problem in North America is its union contracts" :
As The most recent GM-UAW agreement, signed in 2007, helps close fundamental competitive gaps with our import competitors, and we anticipate significant savings as we implement the key provisions of the agreement between now and 2010.
GM’s unionized North American factories compete with the best in terms of quality and productivity.
We are confident that a collaborative relationship with our unions continues to be in everyone’s best interest.
August 26, 2008
But then at this point what can they say as the UAW with its support of Barack Obama and Democrats is the best hope of a "bridge loan".
However with all the GM bashing, the fact is that GM has made significant improvements. In the last contract in 2007. GM freed itself of its obligation to pay health care benefits to its nearly 400,000 retirees and their dependents by setting up a multi-billion-dollar union-controlled trust fund—known as a Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association, or VEBA, that will pay out benefits. In addition, the agreement establishes a two-tier wage system—the first ever in a national UAW contract—that will drastically reduce wages and benefits for the next generation of auto workers.
Cost-of-living increases will be diverted to help offset the cost of retiree health benefits. The four-year contract includes three lump-sum bonuses but no wage increases, The two-tier wage agreed to by the UAW will reduce labor costs (wages and benefits) for new-hires in so-called “non-assembly jobs” to an average of $27 per hour, compared with the current average of $73 per hour. The union and company will offer buyouts and early-retirements to move current workers out of their jobs, so they can be replaced with far cheaper labor
The jobs bank, which pays laid off workers while they are jobless, will be changed so that the geographical area within which workers will have to move to an open position or lose their incomes will be expanded
GM cars and trucks have improved significantly over the past decade. Critics are taking note, and customers are responding.
In 2007, the Saturn Aura, and Chevy Silverado won North American Car and Truck of the year.
In 2008, the Chevy Malibu was named North American Car of the Year, The Cadillac CTS was Motor Trend’s 2008 Car of the Year.
Customers have responded just as enthusiastically as the critics. Although total U.S. vehicle sales are down almost 13% so far this year, a number of GM cars and crossovers have enjoyed significant sales increases:
Saturn Vue +5%
Chevy Cobalt +6%
Pontiac G6 + 8%
GMC Acadia +8%
Saturn Aura +10%
Cadillac CTS +25%
Chevy Malibu +36%
Pontiac Vibe +39%
Buick Enclave +124%
October 1, 2008
However as I have said I also have an emotional tie to GM as a large part of my life up to this time was spend as an employee and part of the GM culture. But its not just that, GM IS part of not only Michigan's heritage and culture but America's also, a great American automobile company,conceived and build by Americans.
From the 1905 song, "In My Merry Oldsmobile", to the 1950's image of Dinah Shore throwing a kiss after singing,"See the USA in Your Chevrolet". Mel Torme's "What a thrill to take the wheel of a Rocket Oldsmobile!" To Bob Seger’s "Like a Rock" Chevy Truck To Cadillac's "Breakthtrough" commercials with Led Zepplin. Great GM "muscle cars", Chevy Chevelle ss 454, Chevy Camaro Z/28, Olds 442. And GM cars and trucks in the movies
Add to that the GM cars and trucks driven by millions of Americans throughout its history. And generations of Americans who worked hard, raised their families and built their communities as GM employees.
GM is a part of the American Landscape and Experience. There is an old saying, What’s good for GM is good for America”. Although perhaps in a smaller measure now, I still believe that’s true.
November 23, 2005
The times, they are a-changin’
September 18, 1978. To most it’s just another day without any significance To me, this date proved to be a milestone in my life.
September 18, 1978 was the day I started my career at General Motors (GM).GM had just opened a new assembly plant that summer in Lansing. I was one of 20,000 new GM employees. My staring wage was $6.50, per hour (good money then) plus benefits. GM employees build over 359,825 Oldsmobile’s that year. (Lansing Production 4 )
Fast-forward 27 years. The same plant where I started working in 1978 closed in May of 2005 and will soon be demolished. Total number of GM employees in Lansing is approximately 6,200. My hourly wage is over $27.00 plus benefits. GM build approximately 240,000 vehicles the year before the assembly plant was closed. Most astonishingly, GM’s debt rating has been downgraded to junk bond status. Immediate costs saving cuts are needed to stave off bankruptcy. As I write this paper, the United Auto Workers (UAW) has just set a precedent by opening up its contract with GM before it expires in 2007 to re-negotiate for concessions in health benefits and wages for its membership.
So who is responsible for the financial descent of one of America’s largest corporations? Some will say the culprit is management, while others contend the UAW as a whole is to blame. As a GM employee of 27 years, I feel I am in the unique position to make a qualified judgement regarding the downfall of GM. I believe that both management and the UAW share the responsibility. However, ultimately, I believe that the burden of blame rests with management.
First, let’s review the UAW’s role in GM’s current crises. Foremost is the UAW contractual costs incurred by GM. Contractual demands for higher wages and benefits have increased with each contract. These costs have made it unfeasible for GM to be competitive with other automobile companies and make a profit in a global economy. Health care costs are exponentially higher for GM than many other companies and are unaffordable. For example, “UAW workers currently pay 7 percent to 10 percent of their health-insurance costs, compared with 20 percent for GM’s white- collar workers and 40 percent for Americans generally, according to union data.” ( GM Powertrain par 33 )
In addition to unaffordable health care costs, there is another unsustainable contractual cost, the “jobs bank” This is a program that is initiated after a large layoff or plant closing. A displaced employee attends a job bank and may not do any work, yet still receive a full paycheck and benefits. In Lansing, because there is a lag between the old plants being closed and the new Delta Plant being built, some job bank employees show up at a given place and spend the entire day doing nothing. Others may do community service, while others, like me go to school as my “job".
I estimate because of my position of being in the job bank, that there about 200 people in Lansing’s job bank. The payroll, based on my weekly salary, for job bank employees is over $216,000 per week! What business could possibly survive by paying its employees full wages not to work?
Another indefensible contractual cost to GM in light of a global economy is the “30 and Out” rule. An employee who hired in at the age of 18 may retire at 48 and can collect pension plus fully paid health care for another 30 years or more. For health care alone in dollars and cents…”GM provides $5.2 billion in health care annually to 1.1 million workers, retirees and dependents. Retirees outnumber current U.S. employees 2.5 to 1. About $4 billion goes annually to retirees does not go into developing products people want to buy.” (Will, pars. 11)
GM cannot continue to incur these costs and survive in the face of manufacturing moving into and competing globally with companies that pay far less to their employees,in wages and benefits, and therefore can design and produce less expensive cars which generate the kind of profits necessary to survive, prosper and grow in a global market. Of these companies, most are non-union including those with plants in America. And because they are non-union, these companies are not forced into contracts that they can ill afford.
To illustrate the difference in union and non-union on profits, “Toyota generated the highest revenues per vehicle last year, an average $26,514, once you stripped out incentives and other discounts. By comparison, General Motors’ net was a meager $20,659 per vehicle. “That’s an alarming number,” stressed Harbour, “all the more alarming because it hasn’t changed much in seven years.”
It is clear that GM cannot continue to give in to Union contractual demands and be profitable. (Eisenstein, pars. 21)
On the other hand, although GM management has been burdened with these demands, management is not without blame.
Management has capitulated to the Union’s unrealistic demands despite the reality of the monetary bottom line needed to successful compete in the global market place. Moreover adding to the financial overtaxing to GM is the huge salaries and bonus packages given to executives and CEOs even in the face of the coming financial maelstrom.
One case in point, according to Richard Freedman, for Executive Intelligence Review,Counting some other benefits, GM CEO Rick Wagoner’s total compensation came to over $10 million; this does not count an additional lavish pension benefit. GM’s Chairman Bob Lutz, and its chief financial officer, John Devine, each received total compensation packages of $6.4 million in 2004. It is estimated that the GM top management team took in more than $50 million in compensation for the year. (Freeman, pars.17)
In the final analysis, both management and the UAW are responsible for the GM’s current financial woes.
I believe that at one time the union was necessary to fight for the working conditions and wages of the “Average Joe” However, the UAW has become what they have fought against, a bureaucratic organization that has lost focus of what is good for the company is good for its employees.
I acknowledge I have benefited from many of the UAW benefits, good wages, health care, benefits such as tuition assistance and I am grateful. But at what cost to GM, my employer of 27 years and to my post retirement life?
In summary, the UAW shortsighted and prohibitive costly contractual demands in the face of a changing business economy has contributed to its membership not just losing pension and health benefits, but also perhaps their jobs as well.
Conversely GM management’s own self-created bureaucratic management hierarchy has contributed to highly paid executives, whom in turn, capitulated to UAW’s demands of higher wages and costly benefits in spite of the changing market in the automobile industry. Such demands have made it impossible for GM to compete with other automobile companies and make a profit.
To GM’s credit some changes have been made. GM has consolidated its divisions at the RenCen in Detroit to facilitate communications, implementing new assembly technology, cutting salaried and blue-collar jobs and closing aging plants and cutting benefits.
But will it be too little too late to save GM?
Nevertheless, the ultimate responsibility and blame for GM’s current financial position must lie with GM management. Management is the final arbitrator of all company decisions and as such carries sole responsible for acquiescing to the unworkable, and unrealistic UAW financial demands, in addition to paying huge salaries and bonuses to non-producing executives.
Of course I cannot view these events dispassionately. Not just because I face a monetary loss but in view of the fact that a large portion of my adult life was spend as a GM employee. But also in a much larger sense because General Motors is a part of Americana. Cultural and historically, GM, is a part of our American heritage, a great American automobile company, conceived and build by Americans.
There is an old saying, What’s good for GM is good for America”. Although perhaps in a smaller measure now, I still believe that’s true. So then it is my hope and prayer that like the mythical Phoenix General Motors will rise from the ashes to a new prominence.
Dylan, Bob, “The Times They Are A-Changin’” The Times They Are A-Changin’
Eisenstein, Paul A. “Detroit’s productivity gains aren’t enough to outclass Japan.” The Carconnection.com. 6 June 2005. 23 Oct. 2005 21 pars
Freeman, Richard. “Corruption in America:Big Three Execs Get Huge Pay To Ruin Auto Sector .” Executive Intelligence Review 2 Sep. 2005. 23 Oct. 2005 17 pars
GM Powertrain. 23 Oct. 2005 (http://uawlocal14.org/News/Regional/04-14GMBoard.htm)
Lansing Production. 2004. Lansing: GM Heritage Center, n.d.
Will, George. “GM Makes Turn Toward Fiscal Sanity .” The Grand Rapids Press 20 Oct. 2005. 11 pars. InfoWeb. NewsBank. Lansing Community College. 23 Oct. 2005
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
By THOMAS SOWELL
November 18, 2008
Americans have long had the right to put their candidates and their ideas to a vote. Now there seems to be a sense that your rights have been trampled on if you don't win.
Hillary Clinton's supporters were not merely disappointed, but outraged, when she lost the Democrats' nomination to Barack Obama. Some took it as a sign that, while racial barriers had come down, the "glass ceiling" holding down women was still in place.
Apparently, if you don't win, somebody has put up a barrier or a ceiling. The more obvious explanation of the nomination outcome was that Obama ran a better campaign than Hillary. There is not the slightest reason to doubt that she would have been the nominee if the votes in the primaries had come out her way.
As the election approached, pundits warned that, if Obama lost, there would be riots in the ghetto. We will never know. But since when does any candidate have a right to win any office, much less the White House?
The worst of all the reactions from people who act as if they have a right to win have come from gay activists in the wake of voter rejection of so-called gay marriage, which is to say, redefining what marriage has meant for centuries.
Blacks and Mormons have been the main targets of the gay activists' anger. Seventy percent of blacks voted against gay marriage in California, so racial epithets were hurled at blacks in Los Angeles — not in black neighborhoods, by the way.
Blacks who just happened to be driving through Westwood, near UCLA, were accosted in their cars and, in addition to being denounced, were warned, "You better watch your back." Even blacks who were carrying signs in favor of gay marriage were denounced with racial epithets.
In Michigan, an evangelical church service was invaded and disrupted by gay activists, who also set off a fire alarm, because evangelicals had dared to exercise their right to express their opinions at the polls.
In Oakland, Calif., a mob gathered outside a Mormon temple in such numbers that officials shut down a nearby freeway exit for more than three hours. In their midst was a San Francisco supervisor who said:
"The Mormon church has had to rely on our tolerance in the past, to be able to express their beliefs. This is a huge mistake for them. It looks like they've forgotten some lessons."
There was another gay activist mob gathered outside a Mormon temple in Orange County, Calif. Apparently Mormons don't have the same rights as other Americans, at least not if they don't vote the way gay activists want them to vote.
In the past, gay activists have disrupted Catholic services, and their "gay pride" parades in San Francisco have crudely mocked nuns. While demanding tolerance from others, gay activists apparently feel no need to show any themselves.
How did we get to this kind of situation? With all the various groups who act as if they have a right to win, we got to the present situation over the years, going back to the 1960s, where the idea started gaining acceptance that people who felt aggrieved don't have to follow the rules or even the law.
"No justice, no peace!" was a slogan that found resonance. Like so many slogans, it sounds good if you don't stop and think — and awful if you do.
Almost by definition, everybody thinks their cause is just. Does that mean that nobody has to obey the rules? That is called anarchy. Nobody is in favor of anarchy. But some people want everybody else to obey the rules, while they don't have to.
What they want is not decisive, however. It is what other people are willing to tolerate that determines how far any group can go. When the majority of the people become like sheep, who will tolerate intolerance rather than make a fuss, then there is no limit to how far any group will go.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Obama: "[Lobbyists] Won't Find A Job In My White House." "One year from now, we have the chance to tell all those corporate lobbyists that the days of them setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race - and I've won. I don't take a dime of their money, and when I am President, they won't find a job in my White House." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Spartanburg, SC, 11/3/07)
However didn't take Obama long to reserve his campaign position (expect "reversals" to be the trend). He has now announced that Lobbyists will work on his Transition Team
Yup the old "bait and switch" that so many still fall for....
For a list of Federal lobbyists working for the Obama transition
40 reasons to ban guns.....
1. Banning guns works, which is why New York, DC, & Chicago cops need guns.
2. Washington DC's low murder rate of 69 per 100,000 is due to strict gun control, and Indianapolis' high murder rate of 9 per 100,000 is due to the lack of gun control.
3. Statistics showing high murder rates justify gun control but statistics showing increasing murder rates after gun control are "just statistics."
4. The Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, both of which went into effect in 1994 are responsible for the decrease in violent crime rates, which have been declining since 1991.
5. We must get rid of guns because a deranged lunatic may go on a shooting spree at any time and anyone who would own a gun out of fear of such a lunatic is paranoid.
6. The more helpless you are the safer you are from criminals.
7. An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.
8. A woman raped and strangled is morally superior to a woman with a smoking gun and a dead rapist at her feet.
9. When confronted by violent criminals, you should "put up no defense -give them what they want, or run" (Handgun Control Inc. Chairman Pete Shields, Guns Don't Die - People Do, 1981, p. 125).
10. The New England Journal of Medicine is filled with expert advice about guns; just like Guns & Ammo has some excellent treatises on heart surgery.
11. One should consult an automotive engineer for safer seatbelts, a civil engineer for a better bridge, a surgeon for internal medicine, a computer programmer for hard drive problems, and Sarah Brady for firearms expertise.
12. The 2nd Amendment, ratified in 1787, refers to the National Guard, which was created 130 years later, in 1917.
13. The National Guard, federally funded, with bases on federal land, using federally-owned weapons, vehicles, buildings and uniforms, punishing trespassers under federal law, is a "state" militia.
14. These phrases: "right of the people peaceably to assemble," "right of the people to be secure in their homes," "enumerations herein of certain rights shall not be construed to disparage others retained by the people," and "The powers not delegated herein are reserved to the states respectively, and to the people" all refer to individuals, but "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" refers to the state.
15. "The Constitution is strong and will never change." But we should ban and seize all guns thereby violating the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Amendments to that Constitution.
16. Rifles and handguns aren't necessary to national defense! Of course, the army has hundreds of thousands of them.
17. Private citizens shouldn't have handguns, because they aren't "military weapons'', but private citizens shouldn't have "assault rifles'', becausethey are military weapons.
18. In spite of waiting periods, background checks, fingerprinting,
government forms, etc., guns today are too readily available, which is responsible for recent school shootings. In the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's,anyone could buy guns at hardware stores, army surplus stores, gas stations,variety stores, Sears mail order, no waiting, no background check, no fingerprints, no government forms and there were no school shootings.
19. The NRA's attempt to run a "don't touch" campaign about kids handling guns is propaganda, but the anti-gun lobby's attempt to run a "don't touch" campaign is responsible social activity.
20. Guns are so complex that special training is necessary to use them properly, and so simple to use that they make murder easy.
21. A handgun, with up to 4 controls, is far too complex for the typical adult to learn to use, as opposed to an automobile that only has 20.
22. Women are just as intelligent and capable as men but a woman with a gun is "an accident waiting to happen" and gun makers' advertisements aimed at women are "preying on their fears."
23. Ordinary people in the presence of guns turn into slaughtering butchers but revert to normal when the weapon is removed.
24. Guns cause violence, which is why there are so many mass killings at gun shows.
25. A majority of the population supports gun control, just like a majority of the population supported owning slaves.
26. Any self-loading small arm can legitimately be considered to be a "weapon of mass destruction" or an "assault weapon."
27. Most people can't be trusted, so we should have laws against guns, which most people will abide by because they can be trusted.
28. The right of Internet pornographers to exist cannot be questioned because it is constitutionally protected by the Bill of Rights, but the use of handguns for self defense is not really protected by the Bill of Rights.
29. Free speech entitles one to own newspapers, transmitters, computers, and typewriters, but self- defense only justifies bare hands.
30. The ACLU is good because it uncompromisingly defends certain parts of the Constitution, and the NRA is bad, because it defends other parts of the Constitution.
31. Charlton Heston, a movie actor as president of the NRA is a cheap lunatic who should be ignored, but Michael Douglas, a movie actor as arepresentative of Handgun Control, Inc. is an ambassador for peace who isentitled to an audience at the UN arms control summit.
32. Police operate with backup within groups, which is why they need larger capacity pistol magazines than do "civilians" who must face criminals alone and therefore need less ammunition.
33. We should ban "Saturday Night Specials" and other inexpensive guns because it's not fair that poor people have access to guns too.
34. Police officers have some special Jedi-like mastery over handguns that private citizens can never hope to obtain.
35. Private citizens don't need a gun for self- protection because the police are there to protect them even though the Supreme Court says the police are not responsible for their protection.
36. Citizens don't need to carry a gun for personal protection but police chiefs, who are desk-bound administrators who work in a building filled with cops, need a gun.
37. "Assault weapons" have no purpose other than to kill large numbers of people. The police need assault weapons. You do not.
38. When Microsoft pressures its distributors to give Microsoft preferential promotion, that's bad; but when the Federal government pressures cities to buy guns only from Smith & Wesson, that's good.
39. Trigger locks do not interfere with the ability to use a gun for defensive purposes, which is why you see police officers with one on their duty weapon.
40. Handgun Control, Inc., says they want to "keep guns out of the wrong hands." Guess what? You have the wrong hands.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
And I certainly not alone. Gun and ammo sales across the nation are going through the roof as shooters fear what Barack Obama will try to do.
Barack Obama has been pro-active in opposing our 2nd Amendments rights, "I am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry. From Promise to Power, by David Mendell, p.250-251 Aug 14, 2007
In 2003, while serving in the Illinois Legislature, Mr. Obama voted in favor of a bill in the Judiciary Committee that would have made it illegal to "knowingly manufacture, deliver or possess" so-called "semi-automatic assault weapons," reports Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.
"Under this bill, a firearm did not actually have to be semi-automatic to be banned. According to definitions in the bill, all single-shot and double-barreled shotguns 28-gauge or larger, and many semi-automatic shotguns of the same size, would be banned as 'assault weapons.' "
In an April television debate, Mr. Obama argued someone else on his staff improperly filled out a 1996 questionnaire stating support for a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns -- even after ABC News' Charlie Gibson told Mr. Obama, "Your writing was on the questionnaire." ReviewJournal.com
Actually, Obama's writing was on the 1996 document, which was filed when Obama was running for the Illinois state Senate. A Chicago nonprofit, Independent Voters of Illinois, had this question, and Obama took hard line:
35. Do you support state legislation to:
a. ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns? Yes.
b. ban assault weapons? Yes.
c. mandatory waiting periods and background checks? Yes.
We wanted to try out several firearms. We choose a .38 Revolver and a 9mm. The people at Total Firearms are great and one of their employees Greg accompanied my niece and I to the range and gave both of us welcomed advise on grip, stance etc.
So I was up first, shot the 9mm. Good. Shot the revolver. Good I felt comfortable shooting both. I was more accurate with the 9mm, in fact I did pretty darn good, my target below
Next up, my niece. Like me she was more accurate with the 9mm and in fact preferred it. Greg loaned her his .40 Glock for a test. She liked it and he suggested that she could go .45
Well, an accurate .380 is better then a missed .45!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
By LARRY ELDER
"Does Obama's victory, as a black man, make you feel that you can do anything?" Someone asked me that on election night.
It is a caricature of America that, pre-Obama, major obstacles blocked achievement. It is equally a caricature that Obama's win suddenly creates opportunity that did not exist before.
Hard work wins, my dad always told me. My Republican father, who disdained Democrats who "give people something for nothing," taught my brothers and me to work hard, stay focused, live within our means, and at all times avoid self-pity.
My mom and dad always said, "Ninety percent of the people don't care about your problems. And the 10% are glad it's you."
Born in Athens, Ga., and eventually raised in Chattanooga, Tenn., my dad never knew his biological father. The only father figure in his life was harsh, distant and cold. His mother, because he made "too much noise" for her then-boyfriend, threw him out of the house at age 13.
So this penniless boy, living in the Jim Crow South as the Great Depression loomed, started knocking on doors. He finally got a job running errands and tending the yard for a white family. One day, the family's cook failed to show up. But my dad, having watched her in the kitchen, whipped up a passable meal. The family let the other helper go, and a cook was born.
Seeking more money, my dad applied for and got a job on the railroads as a Pullman porter — then the country's largest private employer of blacks. He traveled all over the country, making a mental note of California because, he says, its beauty and warm weather seemed open and inviting, and the people seemed more fair.
World War II broke out. My dad enlisted as a Marine. He served as a cook and became a sergeant. The military ultimately stationed him on Guam as we prepared to invade the islands of Japan, an invasion that never took place because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
My dad returned to Chattanooga, where he went to an employment office. The lady at the desk told him he walked through the wrong door, directed him back out to the hall, and told him to enter through the "colored only" door.
"That's it," he angrily told my mom, whom he had just married. "I'm going to California, and in a few days, I will send for you."
My father arrived in Los Angeles and went from restaurant to restaurant to find work. "Sorry," he was told, "you have no references." "Sorry, you have no credentials." "Sorry . . ." He, of course, knew why.
He went to an employment office. The woman said, "We have no openings." My dad said, "I'll sit until you do." He sat in that office from opening until closing for a day and a half. Finally, the woman called him to the desk and said: "I have a job. It's for a janitor. Do you want it?"
My dad worked at that job for nearly 10 years, while working a second full-time job for nearly as long and cooking for a white family on the weekends. He somehow managed to go to night school to get his GED and save enough money, while in his 40s, to start a small cafe near downtown Los Angeles.
He ran the cafe, which provided my brothers and me weekend and summer jobs, until he was in his 80s. One day, my dad and I decided to clean out the garage. We found a letter he wrote to my older brother, then two years old. My dad said he feared that if something happened to him, my brother would need guidance:
May 4, 1951
Kirk, my Son, you are now starting out in life — a life that Mother and I cannot live for you.
So as you journey through life, remember it's yours, so make it a good one. Always try to cheer up the other fellow.
Learn to think straight, analyze things, be sure you have all the facts before concluding, and always spend less than you earn.
Make friends, work hard, and play hard. Most important of all remember this — the best of friends wear out if you use them.
This may sound silly, Son, but no matter where you are on the 29th of September (Kirk's birthday), see that Mother gets a little gift, if possible, along with a big kiss and a broad smile.
When you are out on your own, listen and take advice but do your own thinking and concluding, set up a reasonable goal, then be determined to reach it. You can and will, it's up to you, Son.
Dad is now 93 and, thankfully, still with us.
So, yes, Obama's historic victory makes a statement about the long, hard, bloody journey. Obama makes people believe. Some of us always did.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This is a "mega" church I attended for many years. It is a Full Gospel church and I know the pastor personally and he is a Godly man.
Details of the attack were posted on RightMichigan HERE and HERE
In a nut shell, Bash Back a self described "queers and trannies" anarchists group infiltrated "the congregation, on the main floor and in the balcony. "Jesus was gay," they shouted among other profanities and blasphemies as they rushed the stage. Some forced their way through rows of women and kids to try to hang a profane banner from the balcony while others began tossing fliers into the air. Two women made their way to the pulpit and began to kiss"
They also "ran down the aisles and across the pews, hoping against hope to catch a "right winger" on tape daring to push back (none did). And just in case their camera missed the target, they had a reporter in tow. According to a source inside the church yesterday there was a "journalist" from the Lansing City Pulse along for the ride, tipped off about the action and more interested in getting a story than in preventing the vandalism, the violence and anti-Christian hatred being spewed by the lefties."
Fire alarms were pulled
Church security went into action and the Eaton County Sheriff's arrived
I called The Eaton County Sheriff's dept wanting to know why the attackers were not arrested for trespass onto private property?
However because today is Veteran's Day the office was closed.
I intend to call tomorrow and I encourage others to call to find out why the Eaton County Sheriff's Dept. did not arrest the intruders.
The phone number is 517.543.3512
I called the church today to encourage them to prosecute. Church property IS private property and also false fire alarms are misdemeanours
Not to mention the fear the congregation and children experienced with an spontaneous attack on their church on a Sunday afternoon.
If these domestic terrorists are not accountable for their actions, it will only embolden them for the next attack
The media spoke person for Mt. Hope Church send me this press release
Violent Disruption at Local Assembly
Mount Hope Church Visited by Homosexual/Transgender Anarchist Group
On Sunday, November 9, 2008 at the 11:30 AM services the people of Mount Hope Church were shocked by an unwelcome violent demonstration by a homosexual/transgender anarchist group
based in Chicago, IL.
The group threw fliers at churchgoers and shouted sentiments such as, “It’s okay to be gay” and “Jesus was a homo” during a Sunday morning service. The Eaton County Sheriff’s office was called and the illegal demonstration ceased.
Mount Hope churchgoers were unclear as to what the purpose of the demonstration was. One churchgoer commented on the “lack of civility” in the demonstration and said, “There must be a better way for this group to advance their perceived cause.”
The group’s blog states that they were “targeting a well known anti-queer, anti-choice, radical right wing establishment” and stated that they would have a “militant” looking presence outside
of the building.
The leadership of Mount Hope Church does not attempt to identify the church as anti-homosexual,anti-choice, or right wing. The church does take the Bible at face value and believes what the Bible says to be the truth.
According to the Bible, Mount Hope Church believes homosexuality to be a sin, just as fornication, stealing, drunkenness, and lying are sins. No sin greater than the next. Mount Hope Church strives to follow Jesus’ example of loving the sinner but not the sin while helping people change their lives for God’s glory and their improved quality of life.
Mount Hope Church also recognizes that to each person God grants freewill. Mount Hope Church has groups to help people caught up in unwanted sexual sin, drug abuse,and many other areas. If you are in need please contact the church by calling 517.327.HOPE.
David J. Williams, Communications Director
Mount Hope Church
• 202 S. Creyts Rd.
• Lansing, MI 48917
• 517.321.6332 fax
email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Why now? Could the boldness be another result of an Obamanation?
If so, should we not expect more attacks on churches?
Barack Obama's stance on homosexuality
Being gay or lesbian is not a choice. (Nov 2007)
Decisions about marriage should be left to the states. (Oct 2007)
Homosexuality no more immoral than heterosexuality. (Oct 2007)
Ok to expose 6-year-olds to gay couples; they know already. (Sep 2007)
Has any marriage broken up because two gays hold hands? (Aug 2007)
We need strong civil unions, not just weak civil unions. (Aug 2007)
Legal rights for gays are conferred by state, not by church. (Aug 2007)
Disentangle gay rights from the word "marriage". (Aug 2007)
Gay marriage is less important that equal gay rights. (Aug 2007)
Gay rights movement is somewhat like civil rights movement. (Aug 2007)
Let each denominations decide on recognizing gay marriage. (Jul 2007)
Supports health benefits for gay civil partners. (Oct 2006)
Opposes gay marriage; supports civil union & gay equality. (Oct 2006)
Marriage not a human right; non-discrimination is. (Oct 2004)
Include sexual orientation in anti-discrimination laws. (Jul 1998)
It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion
It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press
It is the VETERAN, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech
It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble
It is the VETERAN, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote
It is the VETERAN Who salutes the flag Who serves under the flag Whose coffin is draped by the flag.
Thank you Veterans. I am eternally grateful for your sacrifice in the service of our country, the United States of America.
GOD BLESS AMERICA
GOD BLESS THE VETERAN
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; His truth is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling campsThey have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps; I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps; His day is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;“As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal”; Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel,Since God is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Since God is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;Our God is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me: As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free While God is marching on.Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.
He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave, He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave; So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,Our God is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.
Monday, November 10, 2008
By MATT APUZZO and LARA JAKES JORDAN
President-elect Obama's advisers are quietly crafting a proposal to ship dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned terrorism suspects to the United States to face criminal trials, a plan that would make good on his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison but could require creation of a controversial new system of justice.
During his campaign, Obama described Guantanamo as a "sad chapter in American history" and has said generally that the U.S. legal system is equipped to handle the detainees. But he has offered few details on what he planned to do once the facility is closed.
Under plans being put together in Obama's camp, some detainees would be released and many others would be prosecuted in U.S. criminal courts.
A third group of detainees — the ones whose cases are most entangled in highly classified information — might have to go before a new court designed especially to handle sensitive national security cases, according to advisers and Democrats involved in the talks. Advisers participating directly in the planning spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans aren't final.
The move would be a sharp deviation from the Bush administration, which established military tribunals to prosecute detainees at the Navy base in Cuba and strongly opposes bringing prisoners to the United States.
Obama's Republican challenger, John McCain, had also pledged to close Guantanamo. But McCain opposed criminal trials, saying the Bush administration's tribunals should continue on U.S. soil.
Obama Weighs Quick Undoing of Bush Policy
New York Times
By JEFF ZELENY
November 9, 2008
CHICAGO — President-elect Barack Obama is poised to move swiftly to reverse actions that President Bush took using executive authority, and his transition team is reviewing limits on stem cell research and the expansion of oil and gas drilling, among other issues, members of the team said Sunday.
As Mr. Obama prepared to make his first post-election visit to the White House on Monday, his advisers were compiling a list of policies that could be reversed by the executive powers of the new president. The assessment is under way, aides said, but a full list of policies to be overturned will not be announced by Mr. Obama until he confers with new members of his cabinet....
In January 2001, on his first full day in office, Mr. Bush reinstated the so-called global gag rule, initiated during the Reagan administration and overturned by President Bill Clinton, which prohibited taxpayer dollars from being given to international family planning groups that perform abortions and provide abortion counseling. After Mr. Obama’s victory last week, the Center for Reproductive Rights delivered a 23-page memorandum to his transition team, calling for “bold policy change,” including a repeal of the gag rule....
The idea of turning the auto industry’s crisis into a chance to enact changes with energy and environmental benefits is one that Mr. Emanuel has promoted in Congress. But he said that Mr. Obama had yet to settle on his proposals or whether he would announce them before he was sworn in.
“Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” Mr. Emanuel said in an interview on Sunday. “They are opportunities to do big things.”...
The Bureau of Land Management is poised to open about 360,000 acres of public land in Utah to oil and gas drilling, a plan that the Bush administration has argued would not harm the land. Environmentalists have opposed the idea, a sentiment echoed by Mr. Podesta on Sunday. ...They want to have oil and gas drilling in some of the most sensitive, fragile lands in Utah that they’re going to try to do right as they are walking out the door. I think that’s a mistake.”...
Mr. Bush used his first prime-time address, on Aug. 9, 2001, to announce his decision (technically a policy pronouncement and not an executive order) to permit federal financing for human embryonic stem cell research, albeit with strict limitations. Scientists and patient advocates have spent years pressing him to loosen the restrictions; Mr. Bush has twice vetoed legislation that would have done so.
“It will have been eight years that we have been operating in a limited funding environment,” said Larry Soler, a board member of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, an umbrella group representing 100 organizations. “I think everyone in the scientific community and the patient community is geared up and expecting this and excited to make this happen. It’s been a long struggle.”
One News Now
Revelations are coming out about Rahm Emanuel, the man Obama tapped to be his Chief of Staff. Apparently Emanuel was on the Board of Directors of Freddie Mac when the failed institution was in trouble and the board did not spot "red flags." See NewsBusters for more on this. Further, ABC News says that:
According to a complaint later filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Freddie Mac, known formally as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, misreported profits by billions of dollars in order to deceive investors between the years 2000 and 2002.
Emanuel was not named in the SEC complaint (click here to read) but the entire board was later accused by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO)(click here to read) of having "failed in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention." [...]
This means that Emanuel, as a member of the board, either had a hand in the fraud committed at Freddie Mac, or at the least knew about it and did nothing. This is a revealing piece of information about someone who is going to be the White House Chief of Staff for Barack Obama. I suppose the Chicago politicians have to stick together.
Of course, we already know that Obama is one of the top recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac campaign contributions, receiving $126,349 from those institutions, second only to Christopher Dodd (D) of Connecticut, but this is certainly nothing that you heard about from the mainstream media. I would be surprised if you heard that little tidbit from them now.
On an interesting side note, I watching an TV not sure which channel but it was a 2005 "Roast" of Rahm Emanuel. The speaker just happened to be Hillary Clinton. Even though the nature of her speech was humorous, the revelations were not. Among other things I learned that Rahm Emanuel was to be "feared" and that he loves his profanity, about every 4th word is a profanity for Obama's chief of staff. Additionally he seems to rub almost everyone the wrong way.
So we know he is tough willing to strong arm to get what he wants, connected to a corrupt Freddie Mac, is abrasive and can't seem to communicate without using profanity and insists on playing to the middle.
Isn't that what Obama did to win? Play to the middle, hide his true agenda,play to fears on the economy and establish himself as the Pied Piper of Change & Hope. Along with a huge war chest and a little help from his friends in the media.
Welcome to the "new socialists" White House
Sunday, November 9, 2008
How America Has Changed
Canada Free Press
By Alan Caruba
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Many of those who helped elect Barack Obama as the next President represent a very different generation of Americans from earlier ones. They have passed through the politically correct indoctrination of government/union controlled schools and have little accurate knowledge of history, geography, or civics with which to make informed judgments. They are more the product of popular media and culture than any previous generation.
The struggle for civil rights dominated the 1960s. The Watergate scandal marked the 1970s and the nation experienced its first serious military defeat after a protracted war in Vietnam. The rise of the Islamic Revolution began in 1979 and continued through the 1980s and 1990s, until it led to the 9/11 attack in 2001. The nation has been engaged militarily in the Middle East ever since. Events alter perceptions.
Here are some of the ways that America has changed since the 1960s:
The nuclear family—mother, father and children—is no longer the most common household type. It was in 1960, but today the nuclear family ranks third among alternative types of households behind married couples without children at home (mostly older, empty-nesters) and people living alone (also among the growing demographic of older Americans.) Divorce and out-of-wedlock births have caused the number of single parents to increase dramatically. Abortion ends 24% of pregnancies these days.
Most children have working mothers. In America today, 69% of married mothers work. The result is that most pre-school children are in daycare programs being raised and cared for by people other than their parents.
Only 16% of Americans think that our nation’s schools are doing a good job. To put it another way, 84% think schools are failing in their mission to education today’s children. There are ample statistics to demonstrate this. For example, only 39% of white students in fourth grade were reading at or above their grade level in 2005. Among black students, it was only 12%. Asian American students, however, scored at 40%. Educators tell me that today’s schools are virtual zoos requiring all manner of monitoring of disruptive students. Fear rules the halls of too many schools, both inner city and suburban.
The median household income peaked in 1999 after some forty years of rising incomes. Between 1967 and 2006 the median household income grow by 32%, after adjusting for inflation, to $48,201. The average American household makes $1,000 less than it did a few years ago. The earning power of men peaked in 1989. Between 1967 and 2006, the median earnings of women who worked full-time grew by 53%. Together, those incomes allowed families to buy houses, SUVs, and other top dollar items. Americans have been on a credit spree, however. The median debt of average American households is $55,300!
The Social Security Trust Fund will exhaust its surplus in 2041. Nine out of ten people aged 65 years or older receive a Social Security check each month. It accounts for 40% of their income.
In a recent issue of Budget & Tax News, published by The Heartland Institute, an article noted that “Federal regulations cost Americans almost as much as the income tax and more than 40 percent of all federal spending…Federal environmental, safety, health, and economic regulations cost more than $1 trillion a year in addition to the costs of official federal spending.” These costs are passed along to consumers.
Fully 63% of Americans believe in God and have no doubts about it, but 57% believe that it is not necessary to believe in God to be a moral person with good values.
According to the 2000 Census, America was home to 63 distinct racial groups, but it was the first census in which individuals could identify themselves as belonging to more than one such group, i.e., were multiracial. Whites constituted 211 million people. Blacks were 14% of the population and represented 25% of those living in poverty, but non-Hispanic whites represented 44%. Blacks constitute 41 million Americans and are outnumbered five to one by whites.
Despite the failure of some sub-prime mortgages, fully 68% of households own a home. The Great Depression caused such losses that the government created the Federal Housing Administration and a new system of financing, the 30-year, fixed rate mortgage. By 1950 home ownership rate had climbed to 55%. Allowing people to buy homes with no money down and a reasonable expectation of paying their monthly mortgage has proven to be a very bad idea.
If you were born in 1901 life expectancy was 47 years. By 2006, average life expectancy was 78! The leading cause of death in America is heart disease. More than two million Americans die of this cause every year.
Antonio Gramsci, a dedicated communist, wrote a book setting out a strategy for taking over strong Western democracies by infiltrating their churches and educational system, as well as a nation’s media. Communism could be imposed by turning churches into ideologically-driven political clubs. Educational systems had to be dumbed down and offer a politically correct curriculum. Mass media had to discredit traditional institutions such as marriage and commonly shared moral values.
If any of this looks like America today, consider yourself warned.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Today there are three U.S. Senate races currently unresolved: Norm Coleman faces a recount in his victory over Al Franken, Ted Stevens has a narrow lead in his re-election bid, and Saxby Chambliss faces a runoff on December 2 against his Democratic challenger. Chambliss deserves any support you can offer -- financial or otherwise -- and we urge all conservatives to do what they can to make sure he wins his runoff and returns to the Senate to fight for strong national defense, free markets, and a smaller government.
National Democrats have made the defeat of Saxby Chambliss one of their top priorities this cycle. They never forgave him for defeating Max Cleland in 2002, and they have resented his conservative stance on issue after issue.
Beyond that, the liberal leadership in Washington D.C. recognizes that Chambliss' vote is critical. They have already secured 57 votes in the Senate, and if the Democrats manage to win the three remaining races, they'll attain their longstanding goal of a filibuster-proof majority. We can't count on our lawyers being shrewder than their lawyers in Alaska and Minnesota as the only way to preserve 41 votes in the U.S. Senate. We need a clean victory in Georgia that creative vote counting can't take away.
As Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid begin to plan their agenda for the years ahead, conservatives must not let up until the 2008 elections are concluded. And that means doing everything we can to re-elect Saxby Chambliss today.
Please consider making a donation to Saxby Chambliss today. If you can't donate to support this effort, there are other ways that you can help out. Please consider signing up as a volunteer. Anything you do today will help promote good government for the next 6 years -- or more.
All the best,