Archive for March, 2011

It’s (Static) Electric

Posted: March 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

GM’s electric baby, the over priced Volt can be yours for over $40k. I spotted an amusing article highlighting the “pros” of another GM joke on the US… here are 2 of my favorites…

Townhall: #9 The Chevy Volt will improve the U.S.’s standing in the world, because if that’s the best U.S. Government Motors can do, there’s no reason for other countries to feel threatened.

#3 The Chevy Volt has greater fuel efficiency the less you drive it. The Volt is even comparable in fuel efficiency to a bicycle if you never drive it at all.

Wisconsin: Union Thugs

Posted: March 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

Thank you Katie for this find: The Blaze , letter from Jim Parrett (Union Field Representative), threatening a local business for NOT displaying a “pro-union” sign (and this was not an isolated incident).

As I searched around, it is interesting how non-existent the coverage is on this story. How is this NOT top news, somewhere? Because unions have everyone cornered with a knife held at their wallets?

One of the very-few finds on this threat problem, here are the few and far between discussions..

  • BigGovernment.
  • Examiner “Parrett said he has received threatening phone calls since the letters went out.  Apparently, he can’t understand that business owners do not like being threatened by union thugs”

Naturally there are numerous articles that are against Scott Walker. Remember the bias in media, search engines are under that thumb too.

There has to be a way to boycott businesses/organizations that unions control. But this is a tough one, there are the known entities like automakers (we avoid buying a new car,or one of those makes) and schools (opt for a charter, private or home school), then there are correctional facilities (how on earth can we boycott a correctional facility?).

The union thug states the union workers have not received raises over the past 5 years. Wow and yet how many Americans have had not seen pay increases, or worse yet lost their jobs? The other “issue” is they don’t like how the discussion was approached.

(increases in health care & pension) which “could’ve” been negotiated (and was actually offered) properly.

In that statement he is acknowledging it was offered, they just did not like how the negotiations were presented. In other words, they are being fussy children because they are not getting their way, because they “want it all” and nothing less will do. Union workers need to step outside of their world, take a look at regular jobs.. and see how over paid they already are!! Yes they might not see raises, but they are receiving far more than they should! Note also that healthcare is one of the increases, did they thank Obama for that? After all they voted for him…Barack Obama won by 56% to 42% over John McCain

Unemployment rises in nearly every Wis. county along with the suffering economy in Wisconsin, these union drones are going to push and threaten??

Wikipedia Union Highlights:

In the 1940s and 1950s, links to organized crime were discovered in U.S. unions, hurting their image. Since the 1970s, union membership has been steadily declining in the private sector while growing in the public sector

If you join a unionized shop, you typically will be required to “contribute” to the union (1-2% of your pay).

Of course unions think their decline in membership is because employers are keeping them out. But membership started to grow again in 2007, then declined again.

Members of labor unions enjoy “Weingarten Rights.” If management questions the union member on a matter that may lead to discipline or other changes in working conditions, union members can request representation by a union representative

I think that should be renamed as “whiner” rights. If the union member is not getting their way they can fuss to their rep, and they will “take care” of the “problem”.

 Collective bargaining is the main topic of what is happening in Wisconsin & the Unions. It sounds innocent enough… But there is more to it. Collective Bargaining is more about the Union power & control, the more they control the more power. So it is a benefit to the Unions, not the members. The more money they have the more control & power, the more political power, and it just keeps growing from there. Unions are exempt from anti-trust laws, which allows them to fix higher prices (sounds like a benefit for the consumer eh?).

(more…)

Life Magazine offers “Detroit Still Life” Pictures (February 2010), which look more like aftermath pictures. One image shows a rather new vehicle, scrapped to the bone, the appearance.. it is not safe to leave your vehicle unattended. There is an image of the Belle Isle Aquarium (built-in 1904, shut down in 2005), a beautiful building and incredible piece of history. The aquarium’s basement served as a speak easy during prohibition. There are people fighting for the aquarium, definitely a gem that should not be left to scrapping, and scavengers. The Detroit Zoo risked being closed in 2006, but people who support the zoo fought for, and continue to fight for it. There is a glimmer of life still beating! Yet beautiful church stands with a sign “Best Cash Offer”, other churches along with schools stripped to the bone.

A quote from the Time slide show, describes and illustrates the landscape in Detroit.

 Daniel Okrent wrote in his Time cover story, “where for decades orderly rows of sturdy brick homes lined each block, is now the urban equivalent of a boxer’s mouth, more gaps than teeth. Some of the surviving houses look as if the wrecker’s ball is the only thing that could relieve their pain.” The tortured vista Okrent describes is found again, and again, and again, throughout the city.

Detroit is rich with history, one that tells so much of America’s history. Sadly so much of it is decaying and being scrapped. I suppose that in itself is another page of our history books, when people have to pick through the rubble of what built their town, in order to survive.

But are they without hope? No doubt a huge part of the problem revolves around the domestic automakers (specifically Chrysler and GM). Both of these automakers have failed in the past, and bailed out, or rescued in one manner or another. Part of the automakers problem revolves around the unions, which makes sure that the quality of work is not a primary focus. If the unions were eliminated, perhaps the pride in product would return, as would the pride in Detroit would return as well. So they have hope, if they will allow it!

Welfare recipients are a huge factor, and looking at data from 2003 (Statemaster.com) Michigan ranked at #13 with 2/100 as welfare recipients per capita, but ranks #5 with total quantity 202,469 (California ranks as #1 with over a million welfare recipients).

Where did 465,659 people go?

Check out a couple articles from 2009, one that talks about Michigan’s population drops below 10M for the first time since 2000. Another one from 2009 talks about the Michigan’ 8 year Population Exodus

So why is it a problem that people are fleeing Michigan? See the photos and links I have shared, they highlight the problem, it is who is left behind, those picking through the rubble. They are not people who will or can rebuild, they are the scavengers who pick through what is left.

The state loses a family every 12 minutes, and the families who are leaving — young, well-educated high-income earners — are the people the state desperately needs to rebuild.
data reveals that every day, Michigan gets less populated, less educated, and poorer because of out-migration
To give numbers a more tangible feel:
Since 2001, migration has cost Michigan 465,000 people, the equivalent of the combined populations of Grand Rapids, Warren and Sterling Heights the state’s second, third and fourth-largest cities.
The downside, again for those left behind, the lower wage earners, the scavengers.. often those requiring government (tax-payer) assistance.. hard to come by when the major taxpayers leave. That is a perfect example for those who believe in Socialism, just check out the remains of Detroit. Imagine an entire country of those on the bottom rung, who is supporting them? Instead of politicians attacking the wallets of those who make more, they should encourage more people to aspire to that quality of life (instead of reinforcing the bottom rung with hand outs and Welfare).
  
The upside, politically..
As Michigan loses population and other states gain, the state is likely to lose more congressional seats, resulting in less clout in Congress. Electoral votes — based on congressional seats — probably will decline, giving Michigan less influence in presidential elections when votes are reallocated in 2010.

Another potential upside? Michigan has a large Union (problem). Perhaps with the hardships they are facing the union problem will also dissolve. While yes those left back in Detroit are likely those who were/are union workers, if the economy landscape remains, they may rethink things. Perhaps this could benefit their children, but not introducing another union generation (the union problem, does often run in families). 

Detroit’s Downfall:

A look back at the Packard Motors plant 1899-1958 (on the left) long since deserted. The skeletons of Detroit’s past still linger.  While everything/every place has highs and lows, there is always decay and progress.. but the fact that there are remains wasting away a half century later (a welcome sign for crime) is not a strong statement for Detroit and any progress they could and should be able to achieve.  A peek into the future for Detroit? Apparently yes.. and even worse..

Abandoned businesses, buildings, hospitals, hotels, churches, schools, and homes… a desolate, apocalyptic landscape.  These are signs of our current times, we can find them everywhere. What makes the difference? When an area has people fleeing, in mass. Population rolls back to 1910.

Thank you Katie for sharing with me a photo journal article (Daily UK) about Detroit Michigan. The pictures and story are simply horrifying. The buildings look like a bomb or war hit them, and much of the damage occurred within a year. I started thinking back to a story on Top Gear, (Series 15 episode 6 ) showing the aftermath of their dead auto-industry. The episode showed the Jensen Automotive plant in West Bromich UK, like Detroit Michigan, West Bromich is part of an Industrial area.

Yet the UK aftermath is nothing compared to what Detroit has done to itself.   The Jensen factory closed in 1976, and the Top Gear episode was 2008. Consider over 3 decades a defunct factory still was in better shape than any of the leftover in Detroit, after just a year!

Here is another  photo tour of Detroit. They share some places that were spared, why others were not. Like all places around the country, we all have some form of decay, but the story about detroit is so much bigger than that.

What else is plaguing Michigan? Could there be more? Sadly, there sure can..

Michigan is on disease cluster list: An environmental group will tell a Senate panel today that it has identified 42 suspected clusters of cancer, birth defects and other illnesses in Michigan and 12 other states.

What other States did they find with these disease clusters?

The 42 clusters — either confirmed or under active investigation — are in Texas, California, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Delaware, Louisiana, Montana, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas

Examining Jane Cooper Elementary, not an isolated story, sadly it is one of many.

One item that drew my attention was, Jane Cooper Elementary School.. (Images Spring 2008 vs Spring 2009). A brand new playground was installed just a year before it was shut down. Look what can be done to a school in just a year..

    

Looking up more information on this school, I found that it is (or was) a nuke-shelter. (Noted 2008: Waymarking)

Sweet-Juniper offers more pictures and a story about the school & the surrounding, extremely depressed, impoverished area. Visit that link & read the story, it is quite a heart-wrenching story. The stone building is a very handsome building, what remains of it anyhow. The writer describes part of the story, surrounding homes leveled to make space for an industrial park, that never happened. The skeletal remains of the school have been picked at by scavengers. (Note: Government involvement gone amuck, both in choice and timing).

More pictures show what looks like the contents of children’s desks. The picture looks like maybe people left for lunch, but just never came back.  The rubble and waste is beyond description. The appearance would make you ask, the aftermath of an earthquake, a tsunami, a tornado, a hurricane,.. maybe a war or bomb?

The writer offers what they found out about the abandoned school, it was once a fall out shelter (like many schools were at one time). So that sign and site I had found, are just more remnants of what it once was.  As the writer further investigated he found horrible news stories that involved the children, those alone should make this building a home for ghosts.

Was the town always such a sad place? The writer shares it once was a place of pride. Hard to imagine, with this aftermath.

The writer is not sure when the school opened, who Jane Cooper was, but does find it was closed in 2007. It only took a little over a year for the school to be stripped.

Another site (DetroitFunk) shares more pictures, and more story. They offer some more close up details of the tile on the front of the building. Also pictures of textbooks piled in the rubble (the writer include amazon values for those books), they highlight the toilet paper that was left there (while other schools require children to bring their own). Why so much waste? Why didn’t the district gather all these valuable items? They certainly could be used at other schools.

The writer also notes there are many Detroit schools that have this aftermath appearance. It is sad enough to see the what has happened to this school, but for there to be more like this! No wonder there are so many failing children, and failing communities.

I found the school’s slogan to be quite a statement.. “Making a difference”, maybe in a sense it is.. it is telling us a lot about wasteful governments, and bad choices.

Here is a noteworthy look back, less than a decade before this school was abandoned… it was an exemplary school? Yet now it is abandoned, and stripped…

Governor John Engler “Jane Cooper Elementary School’s outstanding program deserves this recognition for its innovative educational approach and its promotion of lifelong learning with emphasis on developing career skills,” said Governor Engler. “It is a model program for others to follow.”

~ From 1998

Another Eye Catching Curiosity:

Also from the UK article, another item that drew my attention… The Bagley-Clifford/Detroit National Bank, I looked for information on when it closed. The image looks like it was bombed by a nuke! I could not find any specific information on this specific location, but according to what I could find the Detroit National Bank (DNB) has been subject to a variety of mergers. The DNB was founded in 1933 (The Great Depression), during the banking reform it the bank was shared by GM & the Government (Sounds familiar, eh?). Eventually they were free, then merged in 1995 with the 1st National Bank of Chicago, then with Bank One, then by JP Morgan. Now the DNB is Chase (2006). 

So when was this bank left abandoned? Was it before one of the mergers? Could it have been around 1995 with the 1st National Bank of Chicago?  Or was it more recent? Like after 2006 with the Chase name?

Numbers.. data… and looking further into the Detroit Disaster: (more…)

Disabled USA

Posted: March 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

FoxNews: Millions of Americans may be disabled and not even know it, according to some legal experts. 

New guidelines defining what i defined as “disability” under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act):

Although the new regulations cannot classify any condition as a disability per se, there is a list of maladies that will be viewed that way “in virtually all cases.” The list includes: autism, diabetes, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

The proof will now be on the employer vs employee, starting May 24. Employers will basically have to reform their environment to fit every imaginable issue.

Seems like more employers will be strapped to hire people… gee this should help the economy and unemployment issues. Maybe soon employers will be able to find a way to file as disabled their ownselves, due to this legal knee-capping?

I spotted a story talking about the failure in Latino communities.

Fox: We have the lowest educational attainment levels of any group. We’re the only group in the country that has less than half our kids in any kind of an early childhood program, so the achievement gap is starting pretty early: As our kids come into elementary school, they’re already having to try to catch up.

About half of our kids are not graduating high school on time. Of those who are picking up their diplomas, about half are not ready to go to college. At the higher ed level, only 13 percent of the community has a B.A. degree; if you throw in community colleges, you only get up to 19 percent. Only about 4 percent has a professional or a graduate degree.

The other thing we can’t forget about is adult education. It’s sometimes treated like a stepchild, but it’s the fourth pillar. Traditionally, the little adult education that we are taking is around English as a Second Language, which is important. But as far as career and technical training to help you bump up your skills so that, particularly in this tough economy, your family can make a little more money? Our adults aren’t taking those courses

It is always “interesting” which issues Obama will face. And of course the Latino failure is one he will address…

President Obama is devoting Monday’s town hall to Latino education. (This will be televised on Univision at 7p.m. ET/PT Monday night.)

Yet why are there “Latino” Public schools in the USA? They should be in regular public schools, and they can continue to maintain Spanish as a second language if they choose, but English should be the focus. They should be educated in English, they should learn in English, and they should learn to speak English. This would help THEM in their future. The rest of the US should not have to know Spanish because these people come here for a better life, but refuse to become Americans. If they prefer their home country, if prefer to speak another language… they should leave the US and return where ever they consider home.

Counting down to Easter, how can the Obama’s make their mark on children…

How gay does that bunny look?? Seriously a headband? Is your first impression Obama’s fitness/health focus, or a gay-bunny?? They need to can their artist!

From Elisabeth Meinecke: Courtesy of CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller’s twitter feed, you get to see the latest logo for the White House Easter Egg Roll: a rabbit working out.

As a final note, obviously, it’s important for kids to eat healthy and exercise. Townhall’s problem with Michelle Obama’s program is that it’s basically another smokescreen by which the government can 1)exercise more control over your life and 2)play the parent, which it thinks you are incapable of doing adequately (although it’s a role government itself is incredibly inadequate for).

Considering the fact that the Obamas are for abortion, it’s ironic Michelle chooses to discriminate against kids who have no voice for themselves in the womb, then makes herself a champion of their well-being when they’re older.

Elisabeth, the answer is clear.. Obama’s are afraid of their own shadows. It makes sense that if they favor killing someone who can’t fight back, and they want to push control on those who can.

I guess we will see a stealthy Santa? Perhaps some tofu for Halloween?

Since the Obama’s are pushing their “perfect image” on the rest of us, doesn’t it make you want to buy those caramel filled eggs?