Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More on MSP Headquarters

Several weeks ago I blogged briefly about the proposed new headquarters building for the Michigan State Police in downtown Lansing. Last night on WXYT Channel 7 in Detroit, reporter Steve Wilson asked some very hard questions and got some very interesting answers. You can go here to view the video or read the transcript. This is a two part story (so far, there is more coming) and you can link to part 2 on that page.

The Joel Ferguson angle is interesting. No-bid contract, long-time supporter and contributor, downtown wasteland. Corruption is the word that comes to my mind. And why is it only ONE legislator, out of the whole bloody lot of them, is standing up and questioning this? ONE!

So, Michigan voters - you elected this person. Are you blown away yet?

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Problem, encapsulated

Reading The Detroit News coverage of the Michigan House debate overnight on the state budget, and I gleaned this nugget:

The lone Republican "yes" vote was cast by Rep. Chris Ward of Brighton. Because he voted against the Republican tide, he temporarily stepped down from his leadership position as House minority floor leader.

"Our state is on the brink of a constitutional crisis, and the time has come for all of us, regardless of party, region and philosophy to pull together to show that our state government can work," Ward said. "The institutions of our government are bigger than any one person."(emphasis mine)

Rep. Ward's comment epitomizes the problem with government at every level. Those who are in government think it is their job to perpetuate and increase it. That it is their job to take money away from people who can't afford to have it taken away, and turn around and give it away to people or entities who either don't deserve it or who shouldn't be getting government money anyway.

Rep. Ward, not only should you resign from your Minority Floor Leader position, you should resign from your House seat. You are a disgraceful example of the worst things in government.

Here's a news flash for ya Rep. Ward, straight from a real Republican - Ronald Reagan: "Government isn't the solution to our problems, Government is the problem." Learn it, live it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hail to the Victors? Not!

A little sports commentary today, reflecting on the weekend events. If the Tigers hadn't lost yesterday, my sports weekend would have been complete, as MSU and the Detroit Lions won, and UM and Notre Dame lost.

Good wins for the Spartans and Lions, but with these teams performance over the last few years, cautious optimism is all I can muster up for them. I enjoyed the games, especially late when the game was on the line, when both teams responded on both sides of the ball.

I do have to make a comment about UM folks who were ready to fire Lloyd Carr after the Appalachian State debacle. The nastiness I have heard about him is just incredible. I'm no UM fan, but for crying out loud people - this man has done more for UM football than even your precious Bo Shembechler (who never won a National Championship like Lloyd Carr did), and you people are ready to draw and quarter him and send the pieces to all the UM Alumni clubs around the country. Any football program in the country would be tickled pink to have his record, and you want him gone? Puh-leeze! Get a grip! This ain't the 60's and there are no more football factories, and you people need to pull your heads out and realize it!

Coach Carr, here's one Spartan who respects what you have done even when it's often been at our expense. You should retire whenever you want to, walk out with your head high, and tell all those UM doofuses what they can do with their maize and blue.

Arts, Beats, and Eats on Labor Day

A bit belated, but a tip of the cap to the City of Pontiac and Chrysler Corp for their very enjoyable Arts, Beats, and Eats festival over the Labor Day weekend. We attended with my friend Aaron (from The Shekel Blog) and his family. His account of the day, including a tutorial on Fish & Chips, is here.

One thing that caught my eye was the Gem, an electric vehicle project by Chrysler.

I am the furthest thing from an eco-nut that you could ever imagine, but I am interested in vehicles like this as alternatives to gas-powered vehicles in secondary applications like commuting or utility work on a farm or large property for example. This particular car isn't a regular commuting vehicle, as it only has a top speed of 35mph with limited range, but it's interesting to see the advance of design and technology. They market them as useful for golf carts, retirement villages, and large manufacturing plants.

They had several examples at the festival, and they were also being used to transport food and supplies to the vendors, and equipment for the bands. I took a few minutes to sit in one, and they are suprisingly roomy for as small as they are. I am 6'3" and broad-shouldered, and I had no problem fitting into one - there was at least 8 inches between the top of my head and the roof of the cabin. A few more inches of beam would have been nice, but Aaron and I both sat in it together without feeling too cramped.

The funniest thing was finding the habits for our regular autos didn't fit this one. Looking for the shift lever, for instance: there isn't one! Just a rocker switch on the steering column pod: forward, reverse, and off. I didn't ask, but it is likely that it has a transmission similar to a golf cart or snowmobile, where there are no gears, and your top speed is limited by the speed the motor can run without tearing itself apart.

So, an interesting not-ready-for-prime-time vehicle which has lots of possibilities for niche applications.

We also spent some time in the Ontario Tourism pavilion. It was nice and shady there, and I'm sure Aaron enjoyed visiting his Canadian roots (having been raised in suburban Toronto). He was scouting future dive sites around Tobermory.

Topping off the experience as we were walking back to the cars was an excellent Blues band. I don't remember their name, but they sure knew what they were all about, and their progressions followed us until they were blocked out by some buildings. We had a lot of fun and appreciated the hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Shekel and their beautiful daughters.