Monday, December 31, 2012

Sperm Donor Made to Pay Child Support


A sperm donor living in Kansas has been ordered to pay child support for a child he provided sperm for to a lesbian couple.

Now, that may seem a little far fetched, but the lesbian couple broke up and tried to get on state aid.  The state demanded to know who the sperm donor was so that he could be made to pay child support due to the fact that the lesbian couple could not be made to pay child support because Kansas does not recognize same sex marriage marriages.  The state threatened to end the child's health care services if the couple did not give up the sperm donor's name.

The guy was being nice.  The couple thought highly of him, but his undoing seems to be centered around the fact that the insemination of the sperm into the host body was not done by a licensed physician, so the state contended that the contract the donor and the lesbian couple signed relieving him of responsibility of child support was null and void.

Check out this link:

Do you think he should have to pay child support?  Leave a comment....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Right-To-Work Gives Brewer New Job Security


There’s a great deal to complain about regarding the recently enacted right-to-work laws, particularly the swiftness with which they were passed.  There are a few other legitimate issues with the narrowness of the laws.  But you've got to ask yourself, why didn't the unions and the Democratic Party see this coming?

After all, the man repeatedly asked them to not force his hand.  Governor Rick Snyder did not beg the unions and the Democrats to refrain from pushing ballot initiatives which would enshrine the collective bargaining process into Michigan’s constitution, but he did a good job of making it clear that if they didn't, he wouldn't.

Maybe the unions and the Democratic Party did not believe Snyder when he first said that right-to-work legislation was not on his agenda and that he thought RTW and messing around with the constitution were both bad divisive ideas.  Maybe they thought that if they went ahead and tried it anyway, Snyder would “nerd-up”, take the slap in the face, and turn the other cheek.  Well, guess who got pimp-slapped…

The one-day lightening rod speed with which those three bills zoomed through the house was ugly but impressive, if nothing else.  No debate, not committee deliberation, no negotiations with the House minority party…  all of which seemingly signaled a “take that!” response to Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer’s most recent failure to get it done. 

Seems like every time Brewer fails on a statewide level, he gets more job security.   He failed with the affirmative action initiative, he failed with the Benero gubernatorial campaign, he failed with the 2010 Michigan House and Senate elections, he failed with the “three Supremes”, and now he will again keep his job based on yet another promise, two full years from now, to reverse the RTW legislation and the GOP grip on the state legislature.  Talk about nine lives.  This man secures relevancy with each instance of abject failure.

As a former union official and independent Democrat, I vehemently oppose the RTW legislation as written. As a pragmatist, I understand why Snyder had no choice but to reverse course.  The word on the street is that he would have lost a great deal of support during his next gubernatorial or first senatorial campaign. It turns out he is not only nerdy, but smart about it. 

After the failure of all the initiatives that would have changed Michigan’s constitution, anyone could have, and someone should have, told Brewer that judgment day was surely coming.  Whoever is giving Brewer advice should give him a refund.  Someone should also tell Brewer that if all you do is talk to yourself, you will certainly always agree with yourself and excuse yourself, outcomes be damned. The party deserves better leadership.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wife Gives Baby Away To Adoption Agency While Husband Is On Active Duty


In one the most heartbreaking stories of 2012, Terry Archane, a military father, finds out his new-born baby, Teleah, is given away by his then-wife to an adoption agency that transfers his child to a Utah couple who, despite a judge's order, refuses to give the child, now 2 years old,  to Archane.

The adoption agency knew the woman was legally married and that the consent of the father was required before an adoption could proceed.  They processed the adoption while knowing that the attorney for the agency had contacted the father, who did not give his consent, which is required by Utah law.

The adoptive couple also knew all this, and were told that if the birth father demanded his child, they would have to turn the child over to the birth father. They too proceeded anyway.

The father found out where his daughter was, asked for his child, was denied,  and then went to court to get his baby back.  The judge ruled in his favor, but the adoptive couple claim it is "God's will" that they keep the baby.

Check out this link to the full story:

Father fights for daughter given away by his Wife

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DPS Employee Bonus Sends Wrong Message


How in the world do you get a bonus when your employer is in deficit status?

Well, the emergency financial manager at the Detroit Public Schools has found a way to bring the corporate play book to a school district that won't buy books for its kids.

Depending on where you sit (a recipient of the bonus or a parent who cannot get your child's teacher to make accommodations for a child's proven disability), Roy Roberts should either be fired or retained as EFM for using badly-needed district funds for what is being called a public relations giveaway.

DPS has a "projected" 2010-2011 "surplus" of about $10 million or so...why that money is not being used to pay down its $75 million deficit escapes a lot of people.  Any major dent in a deficit that large has positive financial repercussions for the entity in debt.  Or better yet, why not put that money into classroom equipment, building supplies, and a fundamental learning device called...books.

For some people it is a bribe or trade off for labor harmony. For others, it is an example of how DPS got in the hole in the first place.  Either way, it comes from a corporate philosophy that says that when things are at it worst, pass out bonuses, not based on merit, but based on a strategy of garnering endearment to someone the unions may now tell its members is a benevolent dictator.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Signatures Sought For Detroit Mayor Recall


Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is now subject to a recall effort. This recall effort is being led by a state representative who believes that Mayor Bing has left the city defenseless when it comes to the deployment of police officers and emergency responders. The Wayne County election board certified the language for the recall last month but it's just being made public now.  44,000 signatures are required to place the recall on the ballot in May and the projected costs an an estimated $500,000-$900,000.

Some would wonder why recall a guy who may not run for re-election in November 2013 anyway? him and The recall effort may actually serve two purposes: to stop Dave Bing from continuing upon his path, and secondly to send a message to whomever may run for Mayor that the residents of the city of Detroit will have a say in the governance of the City of Detroit.

A great many Detroiters believe that Mayor Bing is hell bent on giving away as much as he can before he leaves. There are those who believe that Gov. Rick Snyder is actually running the City of Detroit.  A common perception is that Dave Bing is so pro-business he is anti-neighborhood resident. It is believed that he has abandoned Detroit's neighborhoods in favor of the downtown area.

A great many people I have talked to directly feel that for Dave Bing, Detroit begins at the New Center area and travels down Woodward Avenue to the University District, past the medical and entertainment centers, into downtown through the sports district, passing Gilbertville and ending at Jefferson.

The only genuinely new development abutting a Detroit neighborhood is the Gateway Project on 8 Mile.   Other than that, Mr. Bing has not generated a major new project in his three years in office that is not in or near downtown Detroit.

What he has managed to do is to eliminate bus service, lay off thousands of Detroiters, eliminate human services, end city oversight of Head Start, deceive organized labor, and sign off on consent and milestone agreements that severely curtails his role as an elected official.

Trust is another issue for Bing.

Dave Bing is said to have lied when he promised he would not fire former Detroit police chief James Barnett and covering for staff affairs that would not be tolerated in the world he came from. He is also accused of lying when he said before he was elected that he would only take one dollar in compensation. He got caught being paid and using benefits five months after he began receiving them. Bing said he would not move into the Manoogian Mansion. He said, and I was there when he said it, that he would honor the $100 million negotiated concession package that his administration and the unions bargained over a two-month period late last year.

The likelihood of the recall supporters securing the required number of signatures is high. People are fanning out all over Detroit gathering signatures from residents who claim to have been harmed since his election.  The signatures must be turned in in February, 2013.   Stay tuned.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Florida Man Kills Youth Over Loud Music

What in the world is going on in this country when a man feels justified in firing several shots into a car wherein kids were playing loud music?

IMAGE: Michael David Dunn, 45, is charged with murder and attempted murder in the Nov. 23 shooting at a Jacksonville, Fla., gas station.
Michael David Dunn

Michael David Dunn shot and killed 17 year-old Jordan Davis as Davis sat in the back seat of a SUV at a Jacksonville, Florida gas station.  Dunn claims he saw a gun and felt threatened.  The police have not found the gun he says threatened him. To the credit of local law enforcement, Dunn was arrested the next day, after fleeing the scene with his girlfriend. Dunn fired at least eight rounds into the vehicle.

Strangely or conveniently enough, Dunn is positioning himself to use Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows persons who feel threatened to use deadly force.  It is highly likely that Dunn will not get a pass using that defense, especially since there are witnesses to the shooting, no fight occurred between Davis and Dunn, and no gun was found in the SUV Davis was in.

This case bears watching, and will be followed up on in the next few weeks.

Once Again, Detroit's Mayor Unfairly Disses Detroit's Workforce On National Television

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing took another shot at Detroit municipal workers, this time on national television, stating city workers have a sense of "entitlement" regarding their jobs and benefits.

This from a guy who live in a house free from any mortgage obligation, who has a Cadillac benefit plan, who uses a car he neither pays gas or insurance for, and who has been caught lying to the same workers he condemns.

I was in the room when Dave Bing thanked city unions for working with the administration on coming up with more than $100 million in concessions.  He said he would present those concessions to City Council for approval.

One month later, Bing turned his back on those same unions by refusing to bring the contracts before City Council.  To this day, Bing has not instituted or initiated the revenue producing suggestions the city unions brought forward.

To make matters worse, he has laid off accountants who handle the city's money while at the same time fighting for contracts for the firm who used Bing's info to assert the city was broke.  No independent audit was done of the city's finances; Bing gave Ernst&Young what Bing wanted them to work with.

Bing knows he only has a year to do his handlers' bidding, and that he can't get re-elected.  Voter turnout will be different next year, and his legacy will be that he left the city in worse shape.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Election Drama Nearly Over....Or Is It?

Raise your hands if you are anxiously awaiting the end of the election season!

The print material is choking your mailbox and you probably would like to choke the next deep voiced political ad narrator; however, do not despair...we only have a few days left.

Thereafter, we will be assaulted with all the "pundits" breaking down every nuance of the entire election cycle...seems like that part of it will never end.

Following that, we will be told what will unfold over the next 60 days, the next 100 days, and the next four years.

Then it starts all over again as we will be enlightened as to what 2014 portends.

We just can't get away!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Let me start by admitting that I am a fierce advocate for inclusion.  I have served as the vice president of a Macomb County advocacy organization that is a chapter of a century-old national civil rights organization.  I relish the experience and insight gained into racism in Macomb County and Michigan.  However, that experienced led me to believe that a person should be judged by their individual actions, and not be stereotype based solely on their personal beliefs.

So I have caught hell last week for supporting the reversal of the murder conviction of Jimmie Nelson…a white guy who had no love for black people.  That attitude contributed to the ruling of a judge that Nelson had murdered Cherita Thomas, a black woman who disappeared after having car problems up in Tawas City, Michigan back in 1980.  That attitude alone is not enough to put someone in jail for 32 years.

Nelson had a bad attitude and drove a blue truck, the color and vehicle type described by witnesses as the type of vehicle Thomas was last seen in in the vicinity of where Thomas’ car broke down back..  A panel of three court of appeals judges just this past week ruled that Nelson’s attitude was not sufficient enough “evidence” to convict Nelson of Thomas’ murder.  I agree with their assessment.

The problem with Nelson’s prosecution is that aside from having a blue truck, and being an outright avowed racist, there was absolutely no physical evidence to connect Nelson to Thomas’ disappearance.  Her body has never been found, and there was no other evidence presented that physically connected Nelson to Thomas. Simply put, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  

Nelson was tried before a judge.  It is called a bench trial.  In these instances, a judge is the only arbiter deciding the truth of the information presented by the prosecutor.  No one is suggesting that the judge ruled based on his sensitivity to Thomas’ family, the black community, or the times (1980), nearly 32 years ago.  However, sometimes, bench trials with no jury can be as problematic as jury trials, especially when you have one person trying to juggle all aspects of complex and competing circumstances.

Thomas is nearly 60 years old and, in my opinion, entitled to some compensation for having been locked up for 32 years for a crime he should have never been convicted of absent the physical evidence routinely required for such determinations.  Nelson deserves more than an apology: he deserves justice.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012



There are a great many people scratching their heads over why the Missouri GOP would stand by a guy who claims women have powerful gender-based biological weapons against being impregnated if raped.

To be truthful, the mainstream top drawer GOP muckity-mucks are distancing themselves from outrageous remarks made by Republican Senatorial candidate Todd Akin, who is being quoted as saying that

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare...If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down." 

Now, if that is not a foot-in-mouth statement, there never will be one.  No matter how much spin you put on it (“I mis-spoke”), it was and is a horrific statement that demonstrates, despite being a six-term congressman, this man is out of touch. 

But don't count him out. Despite being derided and de-funded (by the National Republican Senatorial Committee), the Missouri Assembly still stands by him.  They actually believe Akin, who just lost Tea Party Express support, can weather this storm and still beat out long-term US Senator Claire McCaskill in November.  

The larger question is does this firmly brand the GOP as out of touch when it comes to women's issues? Is this really going to blow over and not affect the national election discourse to the extent that Mitt Romney's economy message is overshadowed by Akin's statement and its affect on the attitude of women voters?  And truth be told, Akin's defiant refusal to end his senatorial campaign does nothing to bring Romney's campaign train back on track.

Even worse, the recently adopted Republican platform on abortion now contains no exception for abortion in cases where the fetus is the outcome of rape. Due to the blow-back regarding Akin’s statement, this party platform development will now be seen in a different light altogether. It's the political perfect storm.

The Democrats are salivating over the many ways they can politically exploit Akin's remarks to drive home their election-season message that the Republican Party is waging a general campaign against women.  President Obama has been handed a gift that will keep on giving through the next few months.

To be sure, Akins' semantics may have killed his senatorial aspirations, but they have re-ignited a fire storm that could change national politics for years to come.  And if Akin beats McCaskill, look for a whole new battle for the soul of the Republican Party.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Detroit's Assessor's Office Runs Out of Paper Due to Lack of Vendor Payments

The City of Detroit is at it again. One step forward, two steps back.

Everyone knows the City of Detroit needs every penny it can get.  What some do not know is that there are divisions within Detroit’s departments that are charged with generating revenue.  One would think that those departments and divisions would be given priority when it comes to providing them resources need to keep the money flowing.  But one would be mistaken.

The city of Detroit’s Assessors office is out of paper.  Completely out of paper.  They need paper to make the city’s cheddar, so to speak.  The division cannot function without paper.  You might think it is a small thing, but what business can function without paper?

This office within the City of Detroit’s Finance department is tasked with generating and defending millions of dollars in property tax assessments.  Yet, the workers in this office cannot get printer paper for its office because the vendor has not been paid and will not allow new orders.  That stops the business of the office dead in in its tracks.  A scramble is on right now to get some paper into the office at some point next week. Re-read that last sentence.

How does this happen when Bing’s administration just rammed two personal service contracts down City Councils throat for the division's two management-level assessors who retired after 20 years with the city on July 20, 2012.  These two, who will now be paid a total of more than $250,000, ran the office that cannot now get a basic office resource such as paper. Who would not find this situation unconscionable and why should not those two persons be held accountable?

Starving a department of the resources necessary to conduct business is an age-old management strategy to negatively affect the performance of the department and thus justify contracting out the functions to other parties “to improve operational efficiency.”  Where have we heard this before (Detroit’s  Workforce Development Department, Department of Health and Wellness Promotion, and the Detroit Human Services Department)?   Sounds like a tactic right out of Bain Capital's alleged playbook.

Bing’s administration has been in office long enough to ensure payment to vendors for services to key department and divisions.  The assessor’s office is such a division.  The assessor’s office determines the property tax for homes and businesses and answers taxpayer appeals of those assessments to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, which affects revenues the city should receive for property tax assessments. The revenue this department brings in helps prop up Detroit’s annual budget, and any slowdown in its operations can actually worsen the overall deficit.

In the corporate world, someone's head would roll. Someone in management should be fired or, at the very least, disciplined.  The two high level assessors who ran the office for years and who just retired just to get cushy personal service contracts in the same division should be held accountable for what appears to be a history of their department’s bill’s not being paid.  Just where does the buck stop?

Thursday, July 19, 2012



In an era of declining municipal revenue, it would appear the George Orwell is alive and well.  How else can you explain the logic of asking for more money from homeowners for the arts when budgets for core services like public safety, schools, and badly needed infrastructure repair are being cut back year after year?

The Detroit Institute of Arts is asking for a property tax increase to, well, uh, depending on the audience it is before, stop it from closing its doors.  Oh, wait, it’s to raise new funding so that the DIA doesn’t have to touch its $100 Million-plus endowment surplus. No matter what the reason, this DIA millage proposal should be more like DOA (dead on arrival).

The arts community says this new money is needed because the arts play a crucial role in the marketability of a community.  The DIA marketers insist that the promised free admission to the Institute is well worth a tax increase that only homeowners will have to pay.

Well, the word on the street is that a picture will not respond to a home invasion call... a sculpture will not transport you to an emergency room, tea and crumpets are no substitute for feeding the, the priority should be on people, not pictures, on services, not sculptures, on roads, not Renoirs, on schools, not elite social gatherings, or at this time, any other function which does not directly prioritize using tax revenue to stabilize neighborhoods or make communities safer and stronger.

Let the DIA marketers tell you, admission will be free at the DIA while you drive through unsafe and decaying roads to get there. Let the DIA tell you, the arts are critical to the region while you fight just to keep your child’s neighborhood school open and your children safe in that school.  They will tell you admission will be free while not telling you that the tax they want from you is actually frontloading the admission price.

They will tell you, however, that the arts are essential to the economics of the region…hasn’t worked in the past and won’t in the future.  Tell that to the 3,000 Detroit employees scheduled for layoff, or explain it to the Oakland and Macomb County residents who are dealing with reduced services based on deficits the likes of which have not been seen in decades. There are more important things that bring business to a region, like public safety, good schools, viable transportation systems, solid infrastructure, and diverse communities. This DIA millage brings none of that to the table.

The promoters of this tax want you to bail them out; where is your family budget bailout?  Haven’t we had enough of bailouts on the backs of hard working homeowners who can’t get banks that got bailed out to help homeowners stabilize and reduce their mortgages and by extension, help the families whose taxes bailed out the banks in the first place?

What sense does it make to regionalize the revenue stream for the arts when we can’t even agree on a regionalized transportation system, nor a regionalized public safety system, a consolidated school system, or a regionalized water system?  If we are looking at priorities to more efficiently utilize and leverage tax revenue, taxes for arts should be at the bottom of any sane person’s list for sure.

Taken one step further, how fair is it that people who do not own a home can dictate that you have to pay more taxes based on the fact that you do own a home?  Why should people like me, who lease or rent property, determine how much a hardworking homeowner should pay in property tax that I and others will never be on the hook for?  It would be different if we were talking about a flat sales tax or helping veteran or first responders, fixing streets, or helping to keep schools open and safe. 

As much as I deplore Leon Drolet’s and the Michigan Taxpayer’s Association’s abject cowardice as exemplified by their running from the issue of the state and Detroit imposing through the consent agreement a new $137 million debt obligation on its residents, I have to agree with his selective outrage over the DIA’s blatantly misleading media campaign to win over votes for this ill-timed attempt to get at more taxpayer money.

This revenue stream would better spent on core services that affect the quality of police and fire services, local roads, health and human services, etc., all of which are declining at alarming rates due to declining tax revenue.

After it is all said and done, your vote on art millage should boil down to this: If you want more, pay for it at the door, and if you don't go, vote no.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hackel To Bing: Not So Fast, Buddy!

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel is a smart man.  He was smart enough to anticipate the potential backlash which certainly would have occurred if it appeared he freely offered Macomb County taxpayer –derived public safety services to prop up Detroit’s fun-based annual events.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing threatened to not facilitate events such as the Target Fireworks if help from the suburbs was not forthcoming.  This was after he declared certain areas off limits for this year’s event.  Given Bing’s addiction to “regionalization” and last minute gloom and doom pronouncements, Bing added the fireworks, his latest instance of regional extortion, and that of the annual nationally televised Thanksgiving Parade, to his list of endangered events.

As if on cue, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godby then added his two-cents worth by implying that Detroit gangs were possibly plotting mischief and mayhem for this year’s firework.  That would be uncool, especially since like when visiting the Detroit Institute of Art, suburbanites come downtown Detroit mainly only when they feel safe.   Who wouldn’t?  Not enough cops….no way! 

The Mayor’s office has said they will reconfigure grant funds to pay for more security.  Using grant money for the fireworks seems to be misguided.  Grants for fireworks while sending millions in grant funds for services to the poor back to the federal government? What kind is message does that send?

Responding to Bing’s threats that certain areas of downtown Detroit would be off limits to Detroiters and suburbanites alike due to a lack of a Detroit Police presence, and with Godby’s threat of a criminal presence at the fireworks, several area law enforcement agencies (Oakland County, Macomb County, etc.)  forked over public safety personnel to patrol and augment security for the event, which usually draws more than one million people to Detroit.

Up until recently, the regionalization of all things Detroit has come with no price tag attached to a specific civic event.  The fireworks and the Thanksgiving Parade were just two such events where Detroit footed the majority of the bill or helped raised the revenue to produce the event.

Bing’s new message to the suburbs seems to be “show us the money.” It is almost as if he is saying that if Detroit can pay some of you to move from your communities to downtown, some of you “communities” can pay to offset the events that draw those left in your communities to downtown Detroit.  Huh??????

Back to Hackel…and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.  Both issued a clarification that busted Dave Bing’s back-door attempt to get other communities to fork over resources for the fireworks at no cost to Detroit.  The following is an excerpt from their joint press release:

"Both counties are delighted to help the City of Detroit host a safe 2012 Target Fireworks but the city must reimburse both counties' taxpayers completely for the costs of deployment of law enforcement personnel,…Both county executives are responding to a statement made by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing at an earlier news conference that said some of the regional law enforcement assistance will be 'in kind.'"

Oakland County spokesman Bill Mullan added additional clarification when issuing the following statement:   "At (Bing's) press conference, he thanked the regional partners for providing patrols, which he said were “in kind”. “In kind' is another way of saying it's free, and both county executives wanted to make it clear that their taxpayers wouldn't be footing the bill for patrolling in Detroit."

Including reserve officers, Macomb County will send 40 public safety officers while Oakland County has agreed to nearly 90.  Some of the smaller communities have agreed to provide personnel as well. That appears to be a lot of cheddar.

Perhaps this could be the first order of business for the newly seated financial advisory board. Like everything else Detroit, these commitments and the associated costs could have an impact on Detroit’s finances; there is no reference to this cost in the Detroit’s 2012-2013 budget approved by Detroit’s City Council and Dave Bing.  Oh well, this may cost the layoff of a few city workers, but what’s a few families to the Bing administration.

So Hackel was able to outflank Bing.  Mr. Hackel, a good many people will be waiting to see that check.

Monday, May 14, 2012



Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Prepared Statement of Senator Richard G. Lugar  on the Concluded Indiana Senate Primary

May 8, 2012

I would like to comment on the Senate race just concluded and the direction of American politics and the Republican Party.   I would reiterate from my earlier statement that I have no regrets about choosing to run for office.  My health is excellent, I believe that I have been a very effective Senator for Hoosiers and for the country, and I know that the next six years would have been a time of great achievement.  Further, I believed that vital national priorities, including job creation, deficit reduction, energy security, agriculture reform, and the Nunn-Lugar program, would benefit from my continued service as a Senator.  These goals were worth the risk of an electoral defeat and the costs of a hard campaign. 

Analysts will speculate about whether our campaign strategies were wise.  Much of this will be based on conjecture by pundits who don't fully appreciate the choices we had to make based on resource limits, polling data, and other factors.  They also will speculate whether we were guilty of overconfidence.  

The truth is that the headwinds in this race were abundantly apparent long before Richard Mourdock announced his candidacy.  One does not highlight such headwinds publically when one is waging a campaign.  But I knew that I would face an extremely strong anti-incumbent mood following a recession.  I knew that my work with then-Senator Barack Obama would be used against me, even if our relationship were overhyped.  I also knew from the races in 2010 that I was a likely target of Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and other Super Pacs dedicated to defeating at least one Republican as a purification exercise to enhance their influence over other Republican legislators.

We undertook this campaign soberly and we worked very hard in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to overcome these challenges.   There never was a moment when my campaign took anything for granted.  This is why we put so much effort into our get out the vote operations. 

Ultimately, the re-election of an incumbent to Congress usually comes down to whether voters agree with the positions the incumbent has taken.   I knew that I had cast recent votes that would be unpopular with some Republicans and that would be targeted by outside groups.  

These included my votes for the TARP program, for government support of the auto industry, for the START Treaty, and for the confirmations of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan.  I also advanced several propositions that were considered heretical by some, including the thought that Congressional earmarks saved no money and turned spending power over to unelected bureaucrats and that the country should explore options for immigration reform.  

It was apparent that these positions would be attacked in a Republican primary.  But I believe that they were the right votes for the country, and I stand by them without regrets, as I have throughout the campaign.  

From time to time during the last two years I heard from well-meaning individuals who suggested that I ought to consider running as an independent.  My response was always the same: I am a Republican now and always have been.  I have no desire to run as anything else.  All my life, I have believed in the Republican principles of small government, low taxes, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and trade expansion.  According to Congressional Quarterly vote studies, I supported President Reagan more often than any other Senator.   I want to see a Republican elected President, and I want to see a Republican majority in the Congress.  I hope my opponent wins in November to help give my friend Mitch McConnell a majority.  

If Mr. Mourdock is elected, I want him to be a good Senator.  But that will require him to revise his stated goal of bringing more partisanship to Washington.   He and I share many positions, but his embrace of an unrelenting partisan mindset is irreconcilable with my philosophy of governance and my experience of what brings results for Hoosiers in the Senate.  In effect, what he has promised in this campaign is reflexive votes for a rejectionist orthodoxy and rigid opposition to the actions and proposals of the other party.  His answer to the inevitable roadblocks he will encounter in Congress is merely to campaign for more Republicans who embrace the same partisan outlook.  He has pledged his support to groups whose prime mission is to cleanse the Republican party of those who stray from orthodoxy as they see it.

This is not conducive to problem solving and governance.  And he will find that unless he modifies his approach, he will achieve little as a legislator.  Worse, he will help delay solutions that are totally beyond the capacity of partisan majorities to achieve.  The most consequential of these is stabilizing and reversing the Federal debt in an era when millions of baby boomers are retiring.   There is little likelihood that either party will be able to impose their favored budget solutions on the other without some degree of compromise.  

Unfortunately, we have an increasing number of legislators in both parties who have adopted an unrelenting partisan viewpoint.  This shows up in countless vote studies that find diminishing intersections between Democrat and Republican positions.  Partisans at both ends of the political spectrum are dominating the political debate in our country.   And partisan groups, including outside groups that spent millions against me in this race, are determined to see that this continues.  They have worked to make it as difficult as possible for a legislator of either party to hold independent views or engage in constructive compromise.  If that attitude prevails in American politics, our government will remain mired in the dysfunction we have witnessed during the last several years.  And I believe that if this attitude expands in the Republican Party, we will be relegated to minority status.  Parties don't succeed for long if they stop appealing to voters who may disagree with them on some issues. 

Legislators should have an ideological grounding and strong beliefs identifiable to their constituents.   I believe I have offered that throughout my career.  But ideology cannot be a substitute for a determination to think for yourself, for a willingness to study an issue objectively, and for the fortitude to sometimes disagree with your party or even your constituents.  Like Edmund Burke, I believe leaders owe the people they represent their best judgment.  

Too often bipartisanship is equated with centrism or deal cutting.  Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle.  One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset.  Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas.  It acknowledges that national unity is important, and that aggressive partisanship deepens cynicism, sharpens political vendettas, and depletes the national reserve of good will that is critical to our survival in hard times.  Certainly this was understood by President Reagan, who worked with Democrats frequently and showed flexibility that would be ridiculed today - from assenting to tax increases in the 1983 Social Security fix, to compromising on landmark tax reform legislation in 1986, to advancing arms control agreements in his second term.

I don't remember a time when so many topics have become politically unmentionable in one party or the other.   Republicans cannot admit to any nuance in policy on climate change.  Republican members are now expected to take pledges against any tax increases.  For two consecutive Presidential nomination cycles, GOP candidates competed with one another to express the most strident anti-immigration view, even at the risk of alienating a huge voting bloc.  Similarly, most Democrats are constrained when talking about such issues as entitlement cuts, tort reform, and trade agreements.  Our political system is losing its ability to even explore alternatives.   If fealty to these pledges continues to expand, legislators may pledge their way into irrelevance.  Voters will be electing a slate of inflexible positions rather than a leader.

I hope that as a nation we aspire to more than that.  I hope we will demand judgment from our leaders.  I continue to believe that Hoosiers value constructive leadership.  I would not have run for office if I did not believe that.

As someone who has seen much in the politics of our country and our state, I am able to take the long view.  I have not lost my enthusiasm for the role played by the United States Senate.  Nor has my belief in conservative principles been diminished.  I expect great things from my party and my country.   I hope all who participated in this election share in this optimism.

What a letter!  I think this about sums it up....What do you think?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Is Delmon Young The "Other" Miguel Cabrera?


Some Say Domestic Violence Against Women Equally Offensive

Delman Young is the latest example of athletic "assininity".

That is my word for behavior that defies any semblance of respecting the blessings bestowed on the few people who have out-size opportunities the rest of us mere mortals only see on tv, read about in the tabloids, or fantasize about during our work-place day-dream sessions.

Was Detroit Tiger slugger Miguel Carbrera treated differently when accused of the crime of domestic violence?  He actually apologized to his teammates for his indiscretions, but was allowed to continue playing, despite the fact that he beat his wife while drunk ( he had a blood alcohol level of .26, more than three times the legal limit).

Delman Young will not be so lucky.  He has been suspended for his violent New York indiscretion against a street pan-handler.   Here is an excerpt from a recent article written by Tom Gage :

"He is facing a misdemeanor aggravated harassment charge for the incident in which he allegedly made anti-Semitic comments to a panhandler. The incident is being investigated by the New York Police Department's hate-crime task force.

"I do not know what happened there," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said on Saturday, while the Tigers were still in New York. "If the allegations are true, that is concerning and not something you'd like to see happen.

"I do know he was in a skirmish. I do know that. Beyond that, I don't know anything else."

When Dombrowski got to Young's hotel room after being notified via a phone call between 3:30 and 4 a.m., police were there.

As for Young's condition at the time, Dombrowski said he was a person "that was not in a very good state as far as his sobriety."

Language is important. Re-read that, please.  Is Young getting dogged where Cabrera was treated gingerly?

More to come....

Friday, March 23, 2012

"White Flight" Remark Right On Target

Jon Gruenberg made a big mistake when he uttered two words that have now been used to strip him of his position as vice president of the East Detroit board of education.  His real mistake was to say what others have been whispering for years.  

His comments about past white flight were more raw than racist, but in an effort to demonstrate how racist they are not, his colleagues stripped him of his position as vice president of the board of education.  Political correctness should have clear boundaries; thank God they couldn't kick him off the board altogether.

While everyone is running around trying to prove that they are not racist, Gruenberg is the sacrificial lamb who took the hit for bringing up what is a clear historical and quantifiable fact: flight occurs when a community feels threatened by what it feels to be an invading culture. It is akin to the "fight or flight" syndrome. And Gruenberg committed the cardinal sin of saying it just might happen again.

"Fight or flight" is an often a justifiable human behavioral response to perceived threats.  There are emergency financial managers popping up all over Michigan largely due to the impact of white flight on urban cities once diverse and economically and socially stable. When people had enough of the breakdown of their cultural and community fabric, and then voted with their feet, they took their wallets, too. The consequence is just pure historical and quantifiable fact.

Were they wrong to leave, trying to escape to a quality of life safety net?  Of course not.  They left for the same reasons some black parents will say was their own motivation to leave cities like Pontiac, Benton Harbor, and's all about personal safety, civility, unfettered opportunity, quality education, and other values which reflect community stability; amenities and cultural values that sometimes can only be found by leaving one place to find another where others share, respect, and evidence the same values.

You'd be fooling yourself if you still think that school of choice enrollment alone is the issue in Eastpointe.  There is a legitimate concern that district academic performance could take a major hit by an influx of students from failing schools where sometimes just showing up gets you by... or where dress code enforcement is non-existent...or where socially-unacceptable behavior blooms into loitering, fights, increased petty crime, and paralyzing fear of the end of a calm that once was and which cannot be reclaimed except by flight.  Ride down Gratiot between Eight Mile and Nine Mile around 8 AM or 2:30 PM and determine for yourself how the transition is going.

Additionally, there is a strong sentiment held by Eastpointe residents that there are times when money alone is not worth the hassle.  The East Detroit school district is struggling with an $8.5 million deficit that probably cannot be erased except through open enrollment.  As cash strapped as they are, is it not indeed ironic that the black and other minority students they fear may be their school district's only financial salvation?

Others cannot believe that the board of education cannot see that their school district and city has already been tagged as non-receptive to minority "encroachment".  You don't need an anthropologist to discover that Eastpointe has a prolific history of alleged discrimination, racial profiling, and a host of other alleged insensitive conduct; however, for parents who want the best education possible, fleeing east of 8 Mile is simply just another example of seeking a quality education that hopefully will lead to achieving the American dream.  

The East Detroit school board response to this situation is similar to the way some people view certain comic routines that target blacks and whites.  Black comedians can wax poetic about white people and their strange behaviors, but let a white comedian unload a barrage of antidotes about behaviors or beliefs predominate amongst black people and all hell will break out.  Whites will nervously laugh at jokes aimed at them by black comedians; blacks will call for a rally, a firing, and a congressional hearing.

This dust-up is a strong example of the need to explore the relationship between what I dare call black flight to white life. That sentence will surely or hopefully get some people going.   Gruenberg's comments should help to compel the conversation.  It is a conversation worth having and it is a shame that Gruenberg's integrity has to be sacrificed to have it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

'Condom Killer" May Lead To Different Kind of Local Arab Spring in Detroit This Summer

Gas Station Shooting May Escalate Tension in Local Community; Radio Show Hosts Urges Community to Shut Down Station

The Detroit Police has arrested a gas station attendant who shot and killed a young man for pushing "Little Debbie" cakes off a rack at a BP station on Fenkell and Myers in north-west Detroit.

Details are still coming in, but what is known at this time is that the attendant went into an office behind the bullet-proof glass, got a gun, came from behind the bullet-proof enclosure, and shot the young man in the shoulder as the man attempted to leave the station.  Accompanied by another person into the store, his friend and one other person drove the injured man to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The incident began when 24 year-old Michael Haynes II attempted to return condoms he purchased but which he thought were over-priced.  His attempt to get his money back was rebuffed by the attendant. That lead to the Haynes knocking over a rack of "Little Debbie" cakes, which then prompted the attendant to go get a gun.

The account of the events were relayed by the owner of the station and another employee of the gas station, in addition to the dead man's friend. Reportedly, there may be video-tape of the incident well.  The stories told by each of the three are practically identical but the investigation continues.

Popular local radio talk show host Mildred Gaddis today asked the community  to shut down the  gas station.  Gaddis pointed to a pattern of disrespectful behavior on the part of BP gas station attendants throughout Detroit as a reason for her call for community action.

Was the attendant right in coming from behind the bullet-proof enclosure?  Did Haynes' action rise to the level of warranting the use of a weapon when the attendant was not placed in any danger of physical harm?  What do you think?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I appreciate feed back from readers of this blog.  Thanks go out to one anonymous reader who did not reflect on the content of the blog but who found four errors in my blog and posted them to this blog.  Below, you can read my reply to him.  Please continue to do so as I want my blog to be as tight as possible.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Meet Amanda Clayton, Michigan Welfare Queen


Lottery Winner

Meet Amanda Clayton.  She is a million dollar lottery winner.  She also has the distinction of being the new face of welfare abuse in America.

Despite getting a $700,000 lump sum payout after winning a $1 million lottery game, she felt she was still entitled to receive food stamps.  No, she is not from Detroit (she is from Lincoln Park), and by the looks of her, she is not a minority.  But she is a new homeowner (she bought another house, so she now has two), and she bought a new car with the loot she won in September 2011.

Ms. Clayton has managed to shatter the stereotype and has set a new bar for those who try to game the system.  This story went viral in no time flat, much like that of the one man union in Detroit (more about that later).

The state just cut her food stamp benefits this week. No word on whether she will have to pay back the food stamps she received since September, so that will require a follow-up.

Well, what do you think about this? Did she personally eventually tell her worker about her good fortune or was she stone cold busted by a family member who did not share in her sudden blessing?  Should she have done the right thing, right away (of course, but we want to know what you think!)? 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Heroin Deja Vu Strikes Suburbia


Back in the day, the “Cass Corridor” in Detroit was a highway for heroin and other drugs...junkies would blend in amongst students and the homeless, making it hard to differentiate between those three classes of urban dwellers.  

Homeless shelters seemed to be on every other corner from Forrest to I-375.  Drug houses were smartly camouflaged within the area, which ran from West Grand Boulevard down to Michigan Avenue, and from John R over to the Lodge freeway. 
That grid was a virtual 24-7 Detroit Woodstock, the main thoroughfare for locals and suburbanites alike, shopping for their drug of choice.

Fast forward to today---two homeless shelter zoning and standards ordinances, along with aggressive law enforcement campaigns, has successfully thinned out the corridor’s homeless service providers and drug house clientele.  Morphed into a vibrant mix of university, medical, theater, entertainment, and sports districts, the grid has emerged as one of the most racially and socially diverse eclectic safe-zones in Detroit.

A few years back, I wrote an editorial column for the Macomb Daily reporting that Smart 560 buses were the chariot of choice for Macomb County residents shopping for drugs off the Gratiot strip in Detroit.  I caught hell for it, and local leaders denied there was a problem or that the bus line was a hit-it and quit-it express for safely getting (to) a fix that could not be gotten locally.

A few months later, cooperating law enforcement agencies used the 560 as a surveillance tool, leading to the arrest of more than 70 druggies, raids on Detroit drug houses located off Gratiot and the impounding of vehicles, resulting in what was later considered a strong message to those who thought they were smart to use SMART.

While drug consumption in the "Cass corridor" has not completely disappeared, and access to drugs on the 560 has not been quite so evident lately, one thing is painfully clear; access to heroin is on the rise and no longer exclusively a two-way trip to Detroit. In fact, recent reports suggest that heroin use, and its local availability, is up...way way up, in metro "suburbia".... perhaps in a city or township near you.

A few years back, counties as far out as Genesee and Livingston started reporting sharp spikes in heroin use.  Overdoses were on the rise, and communities which thought themselves immune from the "scourge of Detroit" had reality checks that shook their communities to the core.  Then, things got quiet for a while, and local interventions seemed to be stemming the tidal wave of suburban substance abuse.

However, evidence now seems to suggest that heroin use has circled back to the suburbs.  While it is clear that drug use is no respecter of race, stature, or any other demographic or social or political class, what is crystal clear is that heroin users are getting younger, are upgrading from bathroom cabinet prescriptions, and are much more close to their dealers.

Just last December, Clinton Township police discovered that 19-year old twins had set up a heroin house in their grandmother's home right across from Chippewa Valley High school.  Clinton Township Detective Captain Richard Mairle told the Macomb Daily that “Heroin is a big problem out here….Parents have to make sure they keep a close eye on the children…We’ve had a lot of problems with overdoes.”

Warren, Michigan's third largest city, has such an alarming spike in heroin use that it just assigned additional officers to a drug unit for a three-month wheels-up campaign targeting heroin dealers and users.  There have been nearly 10 deaths in Warren by overdose in less than half a year, which may not seem like a lot in some people's eyes for a city the size of Warren (one death is a death too many) but, for Warren and other suburban centers, it is a marked increase warranting specialized attention.  

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has recently announced a campaign against the sale of "Lollipipes" in Oakland County stores.  "Lollipipes" are described as candy crack pipes which cost a few cents short of six bucks but which can also possibly be used to smoke the real thing.   Patterson announced a hot line (248.858.8746) for reporting the sale of these items in Oakland County.   No such action appears to have been taken in either Wayne or Macomb County. 

Vigilance is a key tool in combating drug use on a personal level as well as it is a strategy for local municipalities.  Keeping your medicine cabinet free of certain prescriptions is as important as it is for cities to enforce drug-free zones. Parents cannot assume it cannot happen to their kids any more than a community can take false comfort in an "It can't happen here" mentality.  It is happening again, right now, and for the sake of our children and our communities, this fight needs to again take center stage.  The fight need to taken to our streets, our schools, and to our neighborhoods; more importantly, though, the fight needs to be taken seriously.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Older Vets to Get GI Bill Benefits

Montgomery Bill Gets A "Do-Over"!

Veterans who are under 60 years of age whose 10 year educational benefit statue of limitation has expired under the Montgomery GI Bill but who are are unemployed will now be able to go back to school thanks to VOW To Hire Veterans legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama.

This lifeline for unemployed veterans is part of President Obama's effort to increase employment opportunities for those who served our county but who are having a hard time finding work.

The president's initiative hopes to eventually result in the hiring of nearly 850,000 veterans based on their completing their degrees or successfully completing vocational or certification programs matched to the needs of local communities.

GE has announced plans to hire nearly 5,000 veterans through its "Hiring Our Heroes" initiative.  Tyson Foods and ConAgra Foods have committed to step up its hiring of veterans as well.  Check out a separate effort to promote hiring vets at at

When it is all said and done, the sacrifices men and women and their families make to keep this country safe should be reciprocated in ways that confirm our appreciation for their service to America.

Well...what do you this political theater or a patriotic plan to help those who have helped us remain the most powerful and free county in the world?