Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies

Friday, July 31, 2009

Blue Dog Night

That look of terror in the eyes of the blue dogs is real. 


On the one hand, they have their constituents – who hate the Health Care Reform bill – to contend with. And on the other, they have Maxine Waters, who doesn’t think they have any business “voting their conscience”:


Also noteworthy in this clip is the “non-partisan” question posed by the MSNBC talking head. Go to the head of the journalism class.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Cash, Your Clunker

There’s no end to the items to be filed under “You can’t make this stuff up.”

For example there’s this from a WSJ article on cashing in your clunker (emphasis mine)

The EPA reviewed its mileage ratings for about 30,000 different models, to comply with a requirement in the cash-for-clunkers legislation that miles-per-gallon ratings be accurate up to four decimal places, the EPA said in a statement Wednesday. That review coincided with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s efforts to produce a 136-page-long rulebook for the cash-for-clunkers program.

Four decimal places? You cannot be serious! This from a government that’s taken to rounding our deficit down to the closest trillion?

And 136 pages of rules? I'm sure no one in Congress read them.

Update: As of July 31, (one day after original post), the Cash4Clunkers plan is officially out of funds. The program, originally scheduled to run from July through November has already run through the $1 billion funding that was the estimated cost of the program and has shut it down.

Yeah, let's let Congress estimate the cost of the Public Option Health Care Plan.

Exercising Her 2nd Amendment Rights

I don’t think even the NRA would support Madge’s right to bare arms.

madonna toned 

That is one serious meat shortage. Get that girl a hamburger. And a milkshake.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wm. Shatner Is “Rocket Man”

Shatner’s Palin Poem is getting more air time, but this one is infinitely better.

They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore:

Combined with the clarity of the Canadian astronaut who opined: "This is probably just a perception, but I just have the feeling that the glaciers are melting, the snow capping the mountains is less than it was 12 years ago when I saw it last time," I think we can safely say that the operative phrase in the video comes at 2 minutes, 47 seconds: “All this science I don’t understand!”

I'm pretty sure "perception(s)" and "feeling(s)" were good enough for Einstein.

PS. Wm Shatner is also Canadian. Coincidence?

It Appears we’ve been “Buried”

Thomas Sowell’s excellent article on our "post racial" president explains eloquently why Barack Obama won’t be putting racism behind us any time soon. As we’ve suspected all along, a man with BHO's affiliations and instincts is hardly the man for the job.

Mr. Sowell elaborates on why this is:

What does a community organizer do? What he does not do is organize a community. What he organizes are the resentments and paranoia within a community, directing those feelings against other communities, from whom either benefits or revenge are to be gotten, using whatever rhetoric or tactics will accomplish that purpose.

To think that someone who has spent years promoting grievance and polarization was going to bring us all together as president is a triumph of wishful thinking over reality.

Had conservatives been allowed to vet this man when he was a candidate without having been tarred as a racist, if half the country hadn’t allowed their hope to overrule reality, we might not be here today. But as the Democrats are fond of pointing out, they won. And elections have consequences. In the immediate case that would be America barreling down the freeway to Marxism, with nothing to stop us but a few toll booths.

One of the commentors on Mr. Sowell’s article advised us that the proper translation of Nikita Khrushchev's threat to capitalist America back in the 1960’s was not " We will bury you!" as widely reported, but rather "We will Barry you!"

I guess we need to start shoveling ourselves out. Faster.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sometimes When You Go Fly Fishing, All You Catch Are Flies.

Michigan Democrats must be vying for the Arnold Schwarzenegger Irresponsibility In Government Award. Right Wing News describes why they will undoubtedly win this year’s Hope and Change sweepstakes.

In a nutshell, here’s what Mark Brewer, Chairman of the Michigan Democratic party wants his fellow Dems to put in place in the upcoming year:

  1. Increase the minimum wage to $10 from $7.40.
  2. Increase and extend unemployment insurance and benefits.
  3. Slash utility rates 20% across the board.
  4. Impose a 12 month moratorium on home foreclosures.
  5. And last, but hardly least, mandate all employers provide health care for their employees and their dependents.

Brewer plans to pursue the minimum wage and mandated health care through ballot initiatives – another rip off of  California’s successful model for state governance. He knows even Michigan’s stupid legislature won’t swallow these suicide pills, so he’s “taking it to the people.” While no political party has a corner on it, this has to be the penultimate in pandering.

Since Obama doesn’t have to run again until 2012, the Democrats need to put something on the ballot that will get out the Detroit vote (which is about 110% Democratic, thanks to ACORN).

We have a state with unemployment at 15.5% and rising - with no end in sight. The taxpayers are already funding a desperate “Relocate Your Business to Michigan” campaign run by a hapless Michigan Economic Development Corp.. This campaign hands out tax credits and shovels out millions of dollars for ads and “business development” boondoggles to other states and countries to persuade companies to relocate to the Mitten State. And on the other hand, we have the leader of the state’s ruling Democratic party promoting proposals that virtually assure that will never happen.

What genius. We need to attract new businesses, so how about we raise minimum wage and mandate health care? Not only will no new businesses come, but scores of existing companies will leave, or more likely,  simply close. The only thing attracted by this plan will be unemployed workers. Of course, when they get here there won’t be any jobs so they’ll be added to the state’s welfare rolls. But what the heck, ACORN can sign them up to vote 2 or 3 times too.

Michigan needs beef, All Brewer’s got to offer us are flies.

As that penny pincher Ben Franklin said: “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” For the record, I don’t believe in taxation without representation. But I think it’s time to enforce its inverse as well: no representation without taxation.


Crazies To My Left

Are society’s crazies more numerous than those of us who cling to sanity, or just noisier? Not really a rhetorical question in the mind of James Lewis. He has a great piece in the American Thinker today, Indulging Craziness. It’s an interesting twist on “the lunatics have taken over the asylum” theme. In the political asylum, the crazies have co-opted the sane to advance their leftist agenda.

He maintains that our culture has taught us that it’s compassionate to indulge craziness. But he points out what every psychiatrist knows: “if you let the crazies set the rules, you have to get crazy right along with them.”  He could have added that by indulging them you validate their fantasy world, assuring they become more entrenched in their nutty behavior. Reality recedes further and further into the background until it reaches the vanishing point.

All the usual suspects are included in the group of crazies we have been trained to indulge:  paranoid race mongers,  gender groups, homosexual coalitions and every other group identity with a bitch. The one thing they have in common is the  promotion and practice of the politics of victimhood:

Our culture is now actively teaching racial paranoia to blacks, gender paranoia to women, and abuse paranoia to everybody with a beef. All those exaggerated fears and phony fits of rage have been cynically whipped up by the Left to grab more power. That's their Compassion Fascism. The rest of us go along, because we don't want to be bothered to stand up against it. But in the aggregate, over time, we have become a culture driven loopy by race, gender, and group paranoia. We have adopted the madness of the most race-obsessed people, and made them rich. Over time, they have worn down our sanity, so that our culture has literally gotten crazy.

The proponents of victimhood understand far more clearly than do the well intentioned enablers that this is really all about power.

Lewis proceeds to describe how the Obama administration plays into this scheme: two mean crazies at the center, Barrack and Michelle, surrounded by a court of sycophantic enablers which is growing larger by the day as more and more czars are added to the shadow government. The only good news here is the inevitable implosion. The bad news: it’s hard to gauge all of the collateral damage that will be inflicted.

Great article, do read the whole thing.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Losing Mitch

If you’ve lost Mitch Albom you’re in big trouble, my man. You may know him for his sports/pop culture column at the Freep, his ESPN commentary, his story about his dying professor Tuesdays With Morey, or his treacley novels.


But around here we know him as the token liberal on conservative WJR talk radio, jammed between Sean Hannity and Mark Levine during early evening drive time.

So when Mitch – whom we must assume to be rich after all those life-time achievements –comes out swinging and accusing the Chosen One of class warfare: well, you’ve got trouble in NoMotown.

Can Hollywood be far behind? Given Motown’s demise, I’m betting they have a lot more of the top 1% earners than we do. I know the glitterati didn’t think they were paying enough in taxes last year. They couldn’t wait to elect a president who would lift their dual burdens of white guilt and rich white guilt. But wait till they hear from their accountants.

Albom takes issue with the Obama administration’s position that “you’ve had it good long enough, “ and complains of Presidential Press Secretary Robert Gibb’s glib response to questions regarding the fairness of slapping an additional 5.4% surtax on wealthy Americans to pay for healthcare:

The president believes that the richest 1% of this country has
had a pretty good run of it for many, many, many years.

Quick to point out that he realizes health care must be reformed, Albom goes on to plead the case that piling it all on the backs of the rich is not the American way:

You don’t get a country behind you by pointing fingers. And you don’t inspire effort and ingenuity by always milking the rich. Suggesting that if Americans do too well they’ll be resented is not how this country became a prosperous nation. After all, the dream of being rich is often being dreamed by the poor.

Whoa! Welcome to our world Mitch, baby. Where were you when Obama was running for president? Didn’t you hear him tell Joe the Plumber that he thinks “we have to spread the wealth around”? Did you not hear him repeatedly say we had to raise taxes – just not on the “average” American, who he kept identifying as anyone making less than $250,000. (That’s a lie as well, but a different post.) So who did Mitch think would be called on to shoulder the burden of this grand redistribution service? Who did he think would pay for Barry’s Transformation Nation?

Obama is perhaps the first politician in modern history to tell us exactly who he was, exactly what he was going to do and exactly how he intended to do it. That’s what you just have to love about liberals: you can show them the whole pig in the mud, and all they can see is bacon.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Detroit!

On this date in history 1701, Detroit –variously pronounced “Dee-troy-yet” by hockey announcers and “Day-twah” by Francophiles –was founded by Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac. Per the Encyclopedia Britannica (emphasis added):

Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac was a French colonizer, administrator, and fur trader who founded Detroit. He also served as governor of the French colony of Louisiana.

Cadillac was born Antoine Laumet in Gascony, France. He falsely claimed to belong to the nobility, and he awarded himself a coat of arms and the title "de Lamothe Cadillac." In 1683, Cadillac arrived in Nova Scotia, where he served on a privateer (private warship) and traded for furs. From 1694 to 1697, he commanded Fort Michilimackinac (in what is now Michigan), the most important French outpost in the West.

In 1701, Cadillac founded Fort Pontchartrain at the site of present-day Detroit. He served as commandant there until 1710, when he was dismissed for incompetence and corruption. Cadillac was governor of Louisiana from 1711 until 1716, when he was recalled to France.

Sigh. Even after 308 years some things never change.

Cadillac went on to New Orleans. Kwame went to Dallas. Detroit to Dallas: watch your flanks, folks, and it would be wise to accept only cash.

For the record, the original Fort Pontchartrain stood on the Detroit River, at the foot of modern day Shelby, approximately where the Veteran’s Memorial Building is today. Here’s an interesting history of Cadillac’s founding of Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit. It covers all of the recurring human themes of power, wealth, corruption, and - in the case of the French - capitulation.

Our President’s Selective Outrage

This is what's wrong with multiculturalism. This is what happens when you pretend that all cultures are morally equivalent.

What kind of culture shames and shuns the victims of violent acts against women…or in this case a little girl? You cannot come to our country of laws and continue to operate by third world standards and barbaric tribal rules. I’m tired of being told on the one hand that we’re no better than these morally reprehensible medieval cultures, while on the other hand being lectured that we cannot use harsh interrogation techniques on terrorists because “America is better than that.” You can’t have it both ways.

This is the result of the intellectual drek that’s been hammered into our consciousness via big media, big Hollywood and big education for the past 40 year. This intellectually flawed and fraudulent thesis destroys cultures, countries, civilizations and in the immediate case, children.

Such wrong headed thinking has so permeated the mindset of the western world that we are willing to prostrate ourselves before pirates, tyrants and fascist religious leaders – under the guise of “reaching out”. Enough with the mea culpas: we ARE better than cultures that treat women like chattel, condone “honor” killings and legally dole out barbaric punishments. Societies that routinely erupt in tribal wars often dictated by nothing more than a desire to obtain monetary superiority are not culturally equivalent to western societies of law. And I’m sick of people pretending they are.

President Obama, where’s your outrage over this heinous crime? Isn’t an innocent 8 year old girl more vulnerable than a wealthy middle aged black man who lipped off to a police officer in Cambridge MA? (Who should’ve known better. After all he is a renowned professor at Harvard University. Doesn’t that mean that you are smart, have some degree of self-control and use good judgment? Or am I being too judgmental again?). Can you not manage to raise a voice against this sort of “hate” crime.

This story ignites a rage in me that will not be damped even by criminal justice. I want immigration control in my country. I demand that we enforce standards to enter and live in this country. I am outraged at what the coalition of well meaning progressives, unvarnished Marxists and our sniveling, pandering elected officials are turning this country into. And I am not alone.

Dewey has now left the building. To regain his composure.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ebony and Ivory

At the non-press conference last night, the President made a little joke about “jimmying” his way into the White House.

You don’t suppose he actually did it, do you? I mean "Jimmyed" his way into the White House?

jimmy carter

Yeah, I’m afraid so too. Ebony and Ivory, together in perfect harmony. Hopefully we’ll hear a new tune soon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Obama-Care. Sham. Wow! part 4

Remember the need for immediacy with the Stimulus Bill? Congress had to get it done by Valentine’s Day weekend? Maybe so Barry and Lady M could have something to celebrate on their Chicago “date weekend.” Anyway, they must have had a swell time because Barry didn’t get back to the White House until 4 days later to actually sign this crucial piece of legislation.

Apparently he knew that it didn’t really matter that much to the economy. As broadly speculated by just about everybody except the MSM at the time, the only real urgency was in preventing Congress from getting cold feet in light of the increasing barrage of objections from their constituents.  But the cult of crisis incites fools to action time and time again. And if there’s anything that Obama can do competently, it’s strike fear in the heart of all comers.

If any of the Congressional dufuses that passed the trillion dollar stimulus bill had taken the time to actually read it before voting they might have been a bit fearful of passing the largest spending bill in US history. Especially since it offered nothing that actually provided immediate economic stimulus, just a lot of good old fashioned pork.

Who am I kidding? They wouldn’t have been afraid, but their constituents might have been. Especially if the bill had been made “transparently” available on the internet 7 days before the vote – as promised by candidate Obama. And many would have given their elected representatives a very hard time about it, indeed. And Barry and Rahm-bo knew it.

So once again, word has come down from the Oval office that “health care in this country is a crisis.”  The President even got snippy with us. He apparently really doesn’t like people not doing what he says.  So tonight he’s going to give not just Congress, but all of us a good tongue lashing – explaining for the umpteenth time to  all of us government-mandate resistant morons why we need to pass the health care reform bill NOW.

But seriously, no. We don’t.  Apparently the Obama administration knows this too, since nothing in the bill as drafted goes into effect until 2010. So what’s the big rush to pass it now, Mr. President? Why is it so crucial that this be passed in the next two weeks, before Congress breaks for a summer vacation?

Yikes! Could it be because details of this disaster have been leaking out and the stooges that all voted for you are starting to squirm and ask questions like “Is it true there will be rationing of health care?” (Which is a polite way of saying services denied.)?

Because it’s hard to see how you avoid rationing if your own numbers are right. If there are currently 50 million uninsured people in this country not getting health care, how are you going to roll them into the pool with the same number of doctors and NOT need to ration services? Of course, your numbers are meaningless to begin with. Twenty million – or more –  of the 50 are illegal aliens. And anyone who’s had to go to an emergency room in the last 5 years knows that they are not going untreated, they’ve just taken it to the ER’s.

Also in the 50 million are any number of healthy young adults who don’t feel the need to have insurance because they’re immortal. They also are being treated when they get sick. Often in the ER too.

Then there are the poor, who don’t have insurance unless you count Medicaid as insurance. But they, too, are being treated. So in reality the only uninsured currently not being treated when they’re sick are probably old people too proud to ask for Medicaid, or go to the Emergency room when they can’t afford it. But don’t worry, they’re so old they’ll be denied treatment under Obama care anyway. 

But you’ll still get rationing, because if you make medical care free to the “uninsured” (50 million by government estimates), of course demand will go up. If it’s free, every sniffle is an opportunity for a doctor’s visit and free drugs. And of course there will be a shortage of doctors. In the future, that shortage is likely to be even greater, as working for the government isn’t really what most people who spend 8 to 12 years in medical school want to do. And the quality of the docs will likely go down too. The best and the brightest will turn elsewhere in order to make a comfortable living.

And just one comment on the Prez’s assertion that “if you’re happy with your health care plan now, you can keep it.” I’m not buying it. And neither are any of my friends.  But it’s a great sales pitch. I look forward to hearing it again tonight.

And then there’s the issue of paying for this universal health care plan. Let’s start with the easy part: the plan is to cut out $950 billion over 10 years from government health care spending through such measures as lowering reimbursements to hospitals and doctors that treat Medicare patients.  Sorry, but that one doesn’t even pass the laugh test among Democratic supporters:


Of course beyond “government efficiencies”there will be higher taxes to cover the rest of the kazillion dollars we’ll need. Surely we can just get that from the rich? Well that, and we’ll tax your employer provided health care benefits – at least until your employer drops them and forces you into government care. Then, I guess we can just tax the rich some more. By then the “rich” will be anyone not drawing a government welfare check.

That might be just a couple of things Barry and Rahm-bo are worried about the Senators and Representatives hearing when they go home for summer vacation. That could be a real buzz-kill.

But, hey! Good luck with that prime time sales meeting or pep rally, or whatever it is tonight. Finally, we’ve found a (unworthy) replacement for Billy Mays. May he rest in peace. And may Obama Care soon join him.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Michigan Math

Technically, it’s not just Michigan math but government math in general. You know, that new kind of math performed with exacting standards and logic that creates amazing results every time?

Here’s just one teeny-weenie example.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) handed out tax credits today to 8 companies, ostensibly to create new jobs in the state. MEDC simultaneously announced that they’ve already allocated the maximum credits authorized by their legislative mandate. Unless the state Legislature increases the cap on the amount of tax credits they can grant, they’re out of business for the rest of the year.

The intent of the tax credits, of course, is to create jobs in economically strapped Michigan. How can that be bad? Let’s give them more to spend, right? Kind of like printing our own money.

Well, not so fast. One of the beneficiaries in today’s round of tax payer lotto was Quicken Finance. Quicken was originally going to build a new office headquarters in downtown Detroit, but now says that due to the economy and commercial real estate vacancies in the downtown area, they think it will be better to rent – at least for now. They told MEDC that they still plan on building their own headquarters, probably sometime around the middle of 2013. For now, they’ll be renting 4 floors in the Compuware Building downtown.

In return for relocating in Detroit – and planning to build something, somewhere, some time - they’ll get a 12 year tax credit of around $29 million granted by the MEDC. They’ll also get an $18 million tax credit granted by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority to help them complete their current relocation project. In addition the City of Detroit will throw in parking concessions and additional tax abatements.

So is Quicken moving from Toronto? New York? Ohio, maybe? No, they’re moving from…Livonia. Michigan. Let’s see: net new jobs for Michigan?

I don’t know. You do the math.

I don’t think I have a problem with the MEDC being “out of business” for the rest of the year. I’m not sure how many new jobs we can afford to create.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Capitalism in Primary Colors

Welcome to Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of the University of Michigan. Primary colors: maize and blue. Primary political color: BLUE. As in left of Berkeley blue.

Ann Arbor is certainly one of the bluest cities in America. It is home to the University of Michigan (one of Dewey from Detroit's many alma maters). Finding Ann Arbor is easy; go to Moscow and turn left.


It was here in A2 in 1960 that the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was formed and its political manifesto "The Port Huron Statement" was drafted by Michigan student, Tom Hayden.


Other notable alumni or former A2 residents include William Ayers , Barry bud, bomb maker and founder of the Weather Underground faction of the SDS, John Sinclair, founder of the White Panther Party (try forming an organization with a name like that today), WPP co-founder Lawrence "Pun" Plamondon and, although he chose to flunk out, creepy rock legend Iggy Pop.


But here in this socialist nirvana, Dewey from Detroit finds himself in the midst of what is arguably the penultimate expression of entrepreneurial capitalism in contemporary America: "The Ann Arbor Art Fairs".

3.26.09 Art Fair Home Pg Pic

For 50 years, Ann Arbor has closed Main, State, South University and many other streets  for its 4 day art festivals. (Actually 4 separate art fairs - all juried- providing everything from  $50k bronze sculptures and $20k paintings to "art on a stick": $25 bucks takes it home).


Hundreds of artists and craftsmen from across the country convene to display and, hopefully, sell the fruits of their labor to tens of thousands of potential buyers. Both buyers and sellers are here by choice. No government mandate, subsidy, tax abatement or bailout has brought them here. Things are bought and sold - or not -at the will, whim and caprice of the parties. No government license, permit or bureaucratic approval is required to complete the transaction. Prices are set by the seller and adjusted, as needed, to complete a sale. Pure, naked, unadulterated, free market CAPITALISM.


The gallery quality fine art and crafts were as good as ever. Yet despite the dizzying array of art, the festival atmosphere, beautiful blue skies, and unusual but comfortably cool temperatures, the crowd of buyers was dramatically smaller than in any previous year. Good for browsers, bad for sellers. Change is not always better, and nowhere is that truer than in Michigan.


Like many, Team Dewey did not purchase any art this year, but we did find several notable new - to the art fair at least- Detroit artists. Here are some of the best from the local ranks:


A product of Detroit's superb Center for Creative Studies, Jonathon Meyer creates elegant as sensual metal work as well as furniture and wood objects.



Sooney Kadouh digitally manipulates his photographs of Detroit with stunning and beautiful results. Any one who can make Detroit look magical in these times deserves an award.



Ann Arbor artist Denise Rohde also digitally manipulates her photographs, but her approach produces soothing, painterly results - for when you've had enough of Motor City Madness.




An artist after Dewey from Detroit's own heart (half of Team Dewey loves to animate and re-animate), Gary Blackburn creates CGI magic in his metro Detroit studio.



Beach in Leland, oil/p, 11x14

Kathleen Kalinowski is not from Detroit, or anywhere close. She comes to us from waaay over near Michigan's left coast,which oddly enough is a much more conservative side of the state. We wanted our coverage to be fair and balanced. We love her impressionistic painted scenes of Lake Michigan and rural northern Michigan (the other half of Team Dewey is an avid painter).

It is with an uplifted spirit and a vague sense that things may work out in the long run, even here in the heart of socialist darkness, that we say "so long" to Ann Arbor's once-a-year orgy of art and capitalism, the true "power to the people," and look forward to its return next July.

OK Ann Arbor: you may now resume chanting "Kumbaya" and "yes we can". The rest of us will get back to work.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Non-Judgmentalism is Non-Sense

Michael Savage is now free to move about the kingdom. He has been removed from England’s “Least Wanted” list. You will recall that he was included in Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s list of 16 to be banned from Britain for heinous crimes against humanity. 

Ms. Smith resigned last month after Savage sued her for libel. She was also under investigation for misuse of taxpayer funds.

She said last week that she wasn’t up to being Home Secretary, in that she had never “ run a large organization.” Let the record reflect that she had, however,  a good deal of experience in academia. A pity she  hadn’t spent a fortnight or so as a community organizer. Then she could have just served as Prime Minister and let more qualified people run the departments and agencies.

But back to Savage: newly appointed Home Secretary Alan Johnson quickly did away with the entire list of 16 undesirables that Dr. Savage, a conservative radio talk show host that liberals love to hate, objected to being on. The infamous list also included Islamic-fascist preachers of jihad and terrorists of multiple persuasions. Not considering his conservative talk show rants the moral equivalent of preaching for the extermination of all Jews, death to America and the destruction of Israel, Savage filed suit.

It appears he made his point. But the new Secretary’s action is somewhat of a hollow victory.  Instead of removing only Savage’s name, the new Secretary did away with the entire list. That misses the point. A country is certainly within its rights to ban nut jobs who think beheadings, rape and suicide bombing is just part of their job description. It doesn’t seem to me that it’s hard to distinguish between evil-doers and talk show hosts who have views that differ from the prevailing wisdom of the progressive left.

But in typical non-judgmental fashion, it was easier to exonerate all comers than to cull the wheat from the chafe.

Once again - for the record - non-judgmentalism is non-sense. Please people, let’s practice safe discrimination out there.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pimp My Ride: Barry and the UAW’s Excellent Adventure

I know Obama has a dog in this fight. What I don’t know is why. For some reason the White House is strongly opposed to legislation aimed at restoring dealerships that were eliminated as a part of the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy filings:  

The administration said today in a statement that “the decision by Chrysler and GM to rationalize their dealer networks was a critical part of their overall restructuring to achieve long-term viability in order to save jobs in the long run.”

The statement also said it would set a “dangerous precedent” to “intervene into a closed judicial bankruptcy proceeding on behalf of one particular group at this point.”

Really? Didn’t the government “intervene into a closed judicial bankruptcy proceeding on behalf of one particular group”? Well, yes, in fact it did. The UAW wound up the majority owner in a major car company. Or two. Coincidentally,  the UAW was a generous contributor to the Obama campaign. I wonder if that had anything to do with it.

Here’s why this is mysterious. First of all, it doesn’t cost the manufacturers that much in the scheme of things to have more dealerships: sure, they’ll be able to cut dealer support staff at regional offices, and yes, they finance unsold stock, but come on – that’s not going to make or break GM or Chrysler.  And if it did, bankruptcy gave them an opportunity to re-write the franchise terms as easily as it allowed them to whack dealers all together.

So why was the culling of dealerships  such a key element in the bankruptcy reorganization plan? Why does it continue to be such a prickly issue with the White House? And is there any truth to the allegations that dealers were eliminated based on their party affiliation and campaign contributions? I’m just asking, on behalf of the conspiracy theorists.

The Autos have been trying to eliminate franchises for a long time now, and bankruptcy provided a handy vehicle. Along with Obama’s Car Czar,  they took the opportunity to ram it through with what they thought was impunity.  But damn! Those pesky dealers hired lawyers and started whining to their Congressional delegates about the Autos trammeling state franchise laws. The House Rep’s, looking like they might have to bend to the wishes of their constituents, sparked Barry’s wrath and a barrage of harsh words directed at his underlings on the Hill.

So what’s really up with the dealer brooming? Are GM and Chrysler trying to eliminate competition? You would have to think so.  Let’s see, less competition, higher prices? Yes, usually. And then there’s also the fact that if the dealers sell more cars per franchise, and are more profitable, the manufacturer could charge them more per unit, instead of having to cave to the dealers demands for manufacturer incentives. Everyone wins except the consumer.

Or maybe it has something to do with GM selling new cars on eBay? Currently they can’t do that legally in most states since state franchise laws prohibit the manufacturer from making direct sales.  So the pilot program will require buyers to complete the transaction through dealers. But again, why does GM care how many dealers there are? I don’t know – maybe less competition, better ability to establish minimum prices? I’m just asking.

Or maybe the new GM business model will eliminate dealers all together at some point, and just turn them into giant GM service bays. I wonder if the dealers that didn’t get dumped had unionized mechanics? Maybe the UAW wants to retrain their factory workers as mechanics. Again, I don’t know. I’m just wondering.

And here’s something else that I’ve been wondering about: doesn’t that Card Check Bill have a whiff of payback about it too? If Card Check were to get passed, it sure would make it easier to unionize those dealerships that aren’t unionized, wouldn’t it? I don’t know, I’m just asking.

What I do know is that GM’s VP for North American communications has said that the eBay pilot program is not, repeat, not "related to GM's ongoing dealer cull." So I guess that settles that.

I think the President is going to be a bit miffed at his House staff. It seems they defied him and passed the spending bill with the dealership reinstatement portion in tact. It will be up to the Senate to take it out. And it’s hard to say if old Harry Reid is on board, telling us on one hand that it’s not on the top of his agenda, and on the other that “there are winners and losers” in bankruptcies. True. But usually the White House doesn’t determine who they are. Handing the UAW the keys to the executive washroom while skewering bond holders and dealers seems a little high handed.

Obama seems to be a little too comfortable with such imperialistic techniques and Chicago-style thug tactics.  Perhaps it’s because he was conceived by the Chicago machine, and is surrounded by so many Czars.

He’s probably going to be pretty cranky this weekend. Not only did his House disrespect him, but it appears that his Senate dissed him by dropping Card Check from the Employee Free Choice Act.   Such insurrection is not likely to be taken lightly. Someone’s going to get whacked. I wonder who? I’m just asking.


Friday, July 17, 2009


Here in Detroit,  the former motor capital of the world, we know a little something about Bidenomics

As you can see below, Joey B explains at a town hall meeting in Virginia that “we have to spend money to keep from going bankrupt”.

He’s talking about the Detroit Business Model. For years the Automotives  have thrived by following one of the basic tenets of Bidenomics:  “ We lose a little on every sale, and make it up in volume.”

How’s that working out for you so far GM? Chrysler?

Signing off from NoMo Motown.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oh My Yes! It’s a wonderful Recovery.

The latest entrant in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” sweepstakes. Joe Biden in Virginia today:

"To those who say that our economic decisions 'have not produced jobs, have not produced and simply have not worked' I say, take a look around," Biden will say while visiting Cantor's home district.

"I say, 'Don't let your opposition to the Recovery Act blind you to its results. Come see what I see everywhere I go: workers rehired, factories reopened, cops on the street, teachers in the classroom, progress toward getting our economy back on the move.'"

Hey Joe, why don’t you come to Michigan and take a look.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Live and Die in Detroit

You didn’t know Marabel Chanin. Apparently, neither did anyone else. She was a loner both literally and figuratively.

She was the only child of Jewish parents who had no other close relatives. And although she lived in Detroit her entire life, she had apparently outlived all her friends as well. If she still knew anybody,they certainly didn’t live in her neighborhood anymore. In fact, nobody lived in her neighborhood. Not a soul.

When she died in her Detroit home at age 88 on December 26, 2008, her body laid unclaimed in the Wayne County morgue for five months. The city had no money to pay for a burial.

When Marabel moved into the house on Robinwood Avenue in 1964 it was a beautiful neighborhood of 1920’s era brick bungalows, stately trees and neat gardens. The northwest Detroit neighborhood was adjacent to the exclusive Palmer Park Golf Course and Country Club. A serene, safe and attractive community. Forty five years later, it had turned into a dump.

What transpired over the years is nearly incomprehensible. By the time Marabel contacted Channel 2’s Problem Solvers in 2008, she was the only resident left on her block. Robinwood, like countless streets in Detroit, had turned into a block of abandoned carcasses. Burned out, boarded up falling down houses littered the block, and served as gathering places for drug dealers, users and thieves. Marabel lived out her life a prisoner in her own home, fearful of gunshots, burglary and worse.

Who knows why Marabel remained? Perhaps she just stubbornly refused to sell – refused to believe what she was seeing with her own eyes: the destruction of her once lovely neighborhood. Some say she fell through the cracks. She did not. In a city as fractured as Detroit there are no cracks, just ragged, gaping holes. By the time Marabel allowed herself to believe the unbelievable, it was probably too late. No one would buy her still neat home in the middle of a a block abandoned by everyone other than those plying the very profitable drug trade. Too old and poor to start over, with too many things in her house that held all of her embedded memories. She couldn’t bear to stay, and couldn’t bear to leave. So she died there. And like all of the rest of the detritus in Detroit, she laid abandoned until someone finally said “enough.”

America, look at what Detroit has become. Ask yourself if you want to perpetrate the politics of social engineering that not only allowed this to happen but actively precipitated it. These are the real politics of destruction.

Marabel died never knowing “why this happened” to her … I don’t know either … Do you???

Rest in peace, Marabel.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Questions I Would Ask at Sotomayor’s Congressional Confirmation Hearings

NOTE: this was originally posted 5-30-09 but bears repeating.

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” said Sotomayor, whose parents came from Puerto Rico.

Based on the much reported statement that Sonia Sotomayor made in a speech in 2001, here are a couple of questions I would ask if I were on the Judicial Committee:

“Judge Sotomayor, would you say that a wise black woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman? How about a wise black man? Where might he fall in your spectrum of ‘good conclusions’? What about a wise Latino man? And I guess I’m also curious as to how you think an Asian woman might stack up.

“Also, among wise Latina women, is there a distinction between the wisdom of a Latina from Puerto Rico and one from Mexico? Or Cuba? And what about Guatemala?

“We assume, Judge Sotomayor, that white males would come in dead last, but I’m just wondering if perhaps, for future appointments to the bench, you could share with us some of your Latina wisdom and help us rank the full spectrum of color and gender combinations. That way we could ensure that all subsequent appointments will go only to those that are capable of reaching the wisest conclusions.”

Detroit Knows a Thing or Two About Abandonment

President Obama is visiting the Detroit area today. Not the city proper, but the “blue dog” environs of Macomb county east and north of the city. There are – or more accurately, were - a lot of auto workers living in this area. Now there are a lot of unemployed auto workers. I’m sure the President has already begun campaigning for 2012. In fact he hasn’t stopped campaigning since he won the election, except for date nights.

He’ll need some face time here, because Michigan might not be a slam dunk for him next time around. In these parts he’s as likely to be perceived as the Autos executioner as their savior.  And the whole state has been in a recessionary mode for 4 years, the result of a decline in businesses and increasing taxes: a death spiral for any economy. Few states with a misery index plumbing the depths of Michigan’s  choose to re-elect the incumbents.  The Democrats will of course carry the city of Detroit – although at its current rate of atrophy that may not mean much in vote count. Unless ACORN gets busy; we do still have lots of drug addicts and dead people.

We heard that Obama won’t be conducting a town meeting in Macomb after all. He’s probably exhausted from stumping across Europe and Africa. That’s too bad, because if he weren’t so weary, maybe he would have time to take a brief tour of the city his party created: The city of abandoned homes.   This is a photo exhibit put together by Kevin Baughman, a native Detroit photographer who, not surprisingly, doesn’t live here any more.

If you’ve never lived here, or if you’ve only been here after Detroit disintegrated you might be able to click through the gallery without a catch in the back of your throat. But if you remember Detroit when it was a beautiful, strong, proud homage to man’s better instincts, you will cringe and wonder how this could happen in America.

Detroit was destroyed not- as many would have you believe - by racism, apathy and neglect: but by good intentions. Social engineering put in play over 40 years has undermined the black family structure by attempting to “help” them with welfare. it has lowered academic expectations in an attempt to show minority children that they could “succeed” academically. It established set-aside programs for minority owned businesses so they wouldn’t have to learn how to compete on their own merits, or even - under the oversight of some of your great mayors – learn the basics of their business, as they were sham “owners”.

Yet all these  initiatives were implemented with the best intentions. Progressives haven’t yet learned the law of unintended consequences. The Civil Rights movement as conceived by the Reverend Martin Luther King was a glorious move forward in the history of this country. But MLK spoke of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, of personal responsibility,  of character, of color blindness.

When he spoke of righting the wrongs of the past, he didn’t mean by creating generations of single mothers dependent on the government. When he spoke of equal rights for public education, he didn’t mean a dumbed down education system with a  high school graduation rate of 25%, in a good year. And when he spoke of equal opportunities he didn’t mean racial preferences (Although you will find those that argue he did. Go to the original source and draw your own conclusion.)

As I wrote in a short history of Detroit,  the social engineering  that emerged from hard left policies “creates a perpetual underclass that can be manipulated by arrogant politicians. If you add corruption to the mix it guarantees the demise of the society.”

Look again at a few of Detroit's abandoned houses. Don’t be too disturbed by them; there are thousands  more just like them.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a story about what this societal entropy means on a purely human level. Please come back to read the story of Marabel Chanin. If you can bear it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Flying High: Detroit Style

Detroit likes anything that goes fast and makes a lot of noise. Exhibit 1: Yesterday’s hydroplane race on the Detroit river. Navy F-18 flyover thrilled thousands of race-day spectators along the riverfront. Probably not quite as much as it thrilled the residents of this riverfront apartment building along the course.hydroplane races Hope none of them were trying to sleep in.

PS: Not photoshopped

Update: here's a video if you want to watch it. Notice the (visible) shock wave forming - he came mighty close to breaking the sound barrier.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tony Snow: Someone Detroiters Liked

dc Tony Snow NPC Battle Of The Bands071

On the anniversary of Tony Snow’s death, Detroit would like to take a moment to remember him as an adopted son and someone we liked a lot. While he was not born here, he was raised in Cincinnati which gives him comparable blue-collar town chops. He worked as an editorial page deputy director at the Detroit News from 1984-87. Although his time in Detroit was limited, it was well spent. He found his soul mate and future wife, Jill, also working at the News.

Of the many eulogies offered at the time of his death, none summed up Tony Snow’s existence and perverse optimism as well as Bill Kristol's. Here’s an excerpt:

For quite a while now, optimism has had a bad reputation in intellectual circles. The fashionable books of my youth — and they are good books — were darkly foreboding ones like Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and George Orwell’s “1984.” Young conservatives of the era were much taken by Whittaker Chambers’s gloomy memoir, “Witness.” We who read Albert Camus — and if you had any pretensions to being a non-Marxist intellectual, you read Camus — loved the melancholy close of his essay “The Myth of Sisyphus”: “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

The basic attitude one derived from these works was that pessimism is deeper than optimism, and existential angst more profound than cheerful confidence. This attitude remains powerful, perhaps dominant, among many thoughtful people today — perhaps especially among conservatives, reacting against a facile liberal belief in progress.

Tony Snow was a conservative. But he didn’t have a prejudice in favor of melancholy. His deep Christian faith combined with his natural exuberance to give him an upbeat world view. Watching him, and so admiring his remarkable strength of character in the last phase of his life, I came to wonder: Could it be that a stance of faith-grounded optimism is in fact superior to one of worldly pessimism or sophisticated fatalism?

It is an exceptional man that is recalled so fondly.

I’ll confess to being drawn more to Camus and Orwell, but I did vicariously enjoy Tony’s optimistic and good humored view of the world. I also found it reassuring that even St. Tony could, on occasion, aim a cynical arrow in the direction of his opponents:

"Well, thank you for the Hezbollah view." –-White House Press Secretary Tony Snow to Helen Thomas, after the longtime White House reporter asked why the U.S. had vetoed an Arab-backed U.N. resolution

And just one last observation: While searching for Bill Kristol’s eulogy, I once again stumbled over the indescribable déclassé of the progressive leftists. Not satisfied with their “enemy’s” death, they had to wish him great pain and suffering as well. This, for a man who once apologized to David Gregory for pointing his finger at him. Wow. They better pray there’s no such thing as karma.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Money for Nothin’ and Sick For Free

Want to listen to Dire Straits while you read?

After watching Obama’s press conference in Italy, my only real question is this: How on earth did this man become “renown” for his brilliant rhetoric? Oh yeah - by using the teleprompter. Without it, he responds with more non-fluencies than a debate club rookie (high school division). But why quibble over style points when we have so much substance that annoys?

Let’s discuss Barry’s comments on his heralded health care reform(emphasis added).

We're closer to that significant reform than at any time in recent history. That doesn't make it easy. It's hard. And we are having a whole series of constant negotiations. This is not simply a Democratic versus Republican issue. This is a House versus Senate issue; this is different committees that have different priorities.

Let’s start with the “It’s hard.” Had W said that, that’s all you would hear all weekend, as in “Gosh, the President just found out that he’s got a tough job. Now’s a great time to find out we elected a moron”

More concerning are the next 3 sentences. He sees this not just as a Democrats vs. Republicans issue, but a House vs. Senate and committee against committee issue. Uh, Mr. President, could we forget about the bureaucrats for a minute? What about the real stakeholders in this grand mess of yours? How about the patients, doctors, nurses, hospitals, insurance companies and, uh, the taxpayer. Sir?

I suppose all politicians get inside the bubble eventually, but BHO’s only been in office for six months. Too soon to have forgotten that the government exists for the benefit of the people, not the other way around. Let’s see some more:

My job is to make sure that I've set some clear parameters in terms of what I want to achieve. We have to bend the cost curve on health care, and there are some very specific ways of doing that -- game changers that incentivize quality as opposed to quantity, that emphasize prevention.
There are a whole host of things that I've put on the table that I want to see included. I've said that it's got to be budget neutral, it's got to be deficit neutral, and so whatever bill is produced has to be paid for, and that creates some difficulties because people would like to get the good stuff without paying for it.

(How many times does he have to use the pronoun “I” ? I get it. It’s HIS idea. and HE’S in charge. Let’s talk again when the impact of all this hopey health care change is revealed. )

So, “game changers that incentivize quality.” Yes, if by “incentivize” you mean prohibiting certain tests/procedures because they’re not cost effective (beneficial only 6 out of 10 times), and by “quality” you mean certain tests/procedures are not cost effective (beneficial only 6 out of 10 times) and by “quantity” you mean not cost effective (6 out of 10 times).

And regarding that “difficulty” with people wanting to get the good stuff without paying for it: isn’t that your whole game plan Mr. President?

Most mysterious of all are his musings on health care in relation to the deficit:

There's been a lot of talk about the deficit and the debt and, from my Republican colleagues, you know, why isn't Obama doing something about this, ignoring the fact that we got into the worst recession since the Great Depression with a $1.3 billion deficit. Fair enough. This is occurring (on) my watch.

What cannot be denied is that the only way to get a handle on our medium- and long-term budget deficits is if we corral and contain health care costs. Nobody denies this. And so my hope is, is that everybody who is talking about deficit reduction gets serious about reducing the cost of health care and puts some serious proposals on the table. And I think it's going to get done.

Apparently there is a rule against having a presser without blaming Bush for the mess at least once. But we’re used to that. More disturbing is the false logic that passing a nationalized health care plan is the only way to get control of the deficit!? You cannot be serious, to quote John McEnroe.

I will point out for about the 12th time that this is what Charles Krauthammer referred to as "the greatest non sequitur ever foisted upon the American People": the way to solve the ka-trillion dollar deficit is to make it even bigger. How can anyone, even a messianic leader, utter such nonsense and expect the masses to swallow it? And yet Obama states that this is indisputable: “Nobody denies this”. Oh really, Mr. President? And if we do, will we be just like Al Gore’s global warming deniers? No better than holocaust deniers? Is that how you will paper and hang your opponents too?

And if anyone so much as mentions his ridiculous claim that “it will be budget neutral, deficit neutral,” I’ll be forced to come down there and smack you upside the head. Don’t you people know what Congress has been doing with smoke and mirrors for decades? You’re really starting to get me agitated. Let me just state for the record: no matter what the horse thieves and horses-asses can get the paper accounting record to reflect, there has never been a government program in the history of the republic that has been cost neutral. The only way to achieve that rarified achievement would be to neutralize Congress.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Think That Went Rather Well

Here’s how the Mainstream Media from the respective countries viewed the Obama Russian summit:


bo  and putin



Democracy Today: Dumb and Dumber

On the heels of BHO’s non-triumphant state visit to Russia, Daniel Henninger writes about the dumbing down of democracy as displayed by nations across the Organization of American States, but exemplified by Putin’s Russia.

Henninger relates how Vladimir Putin’s main press spokesman responded 2 years ago to questions from the WSJ editorial staff about the Putin government’s control of the media and their actions against political opponents:

With a calm and confident smile, Mr. Peskov replied: "Ours is a different system of democracy." That was it. He stopped talking but kept smiling. The message sank in….He couldn't have been clearer: We are changing the rules. Get over it.

So Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statement with respect to Iran’s repression of the protests against the election should come as no surprise: “No one is willing to condemn the election process because it’s an exercise in democracy.” Or at least an exercise in Russian democracy.

A greater surprise was the comment by our own President: “America cannot and should not seek to impose any system of government on any other country, nor would we presume to choose which party or individual should run a country.” Henninger calls this “political equivalence” and as such it entails the same fallacies and pitfalls of moral equivalence. Not surprisingly, it, too, has been warmly embraced by many Western intelligentsia.

This is definitely not your founding father’s democracy. Or even your father's. It seems obscene to even refer to it as a derivative. If we are to protect our liberty and Lockean democracy, we are simply going to have to do better than our President’s mealy-mouthed responses to the Iranian “election” and the Honduran constitutional removal of their president. We need to elect someone next time around that believes in promoting the principals of Democracy – at home and abroad. If we don’t, we may discover that our country’s motto “E Pluribus Unum” - Out of Many, One - applies to our enemies too.