Bits of Tid: December 29, 2009

  • Yikes. As I was driving my van onto a snowy and icy entrance ramp to I-96 yesterday, I lost control and slid partway into a ditch. Luckily, the van suffered no apparent damage, and other than being shaken up, I was fine.

    Fine, that is, until I had to pay the towing company. But the point is, as far as accidents go, that was a very minor one - not even a fender-bender. And of course, I was wearing my seat belt. So I hope you're careful on the roadways - especially those ramps!
  • Speaking of traveling safely, Republicans in Congress have provided opposition to TSA funding - a move which many call hypocritical, while some suggest it makes them responsible if something should happen down the line.
  • Also, here's a good piece about then-President Bush's response to the shoe-bombing incident which took place around the same point in Bush's presidency as the Metro Airport incident did in Obama's.
  • To all the attention-seekers out there -from Ezekiel 28:17:
    Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.


Bits of Tid: December 27, 2009

  • Dear wannabe spammers: No, I do not want to see Miley Cyrus sans clothing.
  • It's the third day of Christmas! Where are my French hens? Where are my turtle doves? Where is my partridge in a pear tree? Mr. President, you promised me all of this! I am this close to never voting for another Democrat ever again! {/snark}
  • From an email - Ten Signs Your Kids Don't Like Their Christmas Presents:
    10. There's something half-hearted about the way they say, "Oh wow -- Q- Tips".
    9. They spend Christmas morning making up games involving wrapping paper.
    8. They hire a Gambino family hit man to break Santa's kneecaps.
    7. You see them trying to shove everything back up the chimney.
    6. Spelled out in Legos on the front lawn are the words "You're Cheap!!!".
    5. Moments after they unwrap gifts, you see them for sale on E-Bay.
    4. Your son simply refuses to understand why you couldn't get him two hours alone with Cindy Crawford.
    3. They cite your gifts as a major factor in their decision to convert to Islam.
    2. You wake up and find the head of Elmo in your bed.
    1. They ask, "Where'd you buy this stuff -- Crap `R' Us?"
  • I hope Jonathan Chait is right:
    The Republicans eschewed a halfway compromise and put all their chips on an all or nothing campaign to defeat health care and Obama's presidency. It was an audacious gamble. They lost. In the end, they'll walk away with nothing. The Republicans may gain some more seats in 2010 by their total obstruction, but the substantive policy defeat they've been dealt will last for decades.
  • Pete Hoekstra says what happened the other day near the Detroit Airport was a terrorist attack. Even though he wasn't briefed on it, and even though the attempt cannot be described as anything but an epic fail. I'm guessing Hoekstra wants us to see this as an attack that happened under Obama - with all the bad that is supposed to represent - and forget what happened during Bush's first year in office.

    More on conservative attempts at exploitation here.


Letter from Jesus regarding Christmas

From an email:

Dear Children,

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year. It was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival, although I do appreciate being remembered anytime. How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children and grandchildren of your own. I don't care what you call the day.

If you want to celebrate My birth, just get along and love one another. Now, having said that...let Me go on... If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen, and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that, there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Don't worry about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees; you can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish...I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one about the vine, look up John 15:1-8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth, here is my wish list; choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know because they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home, not just during Christmas time, but all through the year. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing "George" complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year...then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past... ...and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of "nit-picking" about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" ,that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day, they'd close and let their employees spend the day at church and at home with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary -- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts giving them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me. They will even make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions and words that you are one of mine. Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest.

Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love...and remember... ...I LOVE YOU!


Merry Christmas!


Need a laugh?

With Christmas coming soon, and with all that's been happening lately, I wanted to brighten up your week with some laughter. Consider it a Christmas present from yours truly. ;-)



Bob was in trouble. He forgot his wedding anniversary. His wife was really pissed.

She told him "Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in 6 seconds AND IT BETTER BE THERE !!"

The next morning he got up early and left for work. When his wife woke up, she looked out the window and sure enough there was a box gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway.

Confused, the wife put on her robe and ran out to the driveway, brought the box back in the house.

She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale.

Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him to use the Internet, he won't bother you for weeks!


  • You see a billboard that says "Don't do crack" and it reminds you to pull up your pants.

  • You stare at a carton of orange juice because it says "concentrate."

  • The nativity scene you set up in your yard at Christmas includes two pink flamingos and baby Jesus lying in a painted tire.

  • You hunt from your bedroom window.

  • Your idea of a loaded dishwasher is getting your wife drunk.

  • The officer that just pulled you over asks if "you have any I.D."..and you respond "About what?"

  • You take a beer to a job interview.

  • You and your friends are putting an engine in a pickup, drinking beer, and the conversation is: Which county jail has the best food!



A man was walking on the beach one day and he found a bottle half buried in the sand. He decided to open it. Inside was a genie. The genie said,” I will grant you three wishes and three wishes only." The man thought about his first wish and decided, “I think I want 1 million dollars transferred to a Swiss bank account. POOF! Next he wished for a Ferrari red in color. POOF! There was the car sitting in front of him. He asked for his final wish, " I wish I was irresistible to women."

POOF! He turned into a box of chocolates.


A university creative writing class was asked to write a concise essay containing: 1) religion; 2) royalty; 3) sex; and 4) mystery.

The prize-winning essay read: "My God," said the Queen. "I'm pregnant. I wonder who did it?"


• A virgin forest is a place where the hand of man has never set foot.
• Although the patient had never been fatally ill before, he woke up dead.
• I expected to enjoy the film, but that was before I saw it.
• Arabs wear turbines on their heads.
• When there are no fresh vegetables, you can always get canned.
• It is bad manners to break your bread and roll in your soup.
• Running is a unique experience, and I thank God for exposing me to the track team.
• The dog ran across the lawn, emitting whelps all the way.
• A virtuoso is a musician with real high morals.
• We had a longer holiday than usual this year because the school was closed for altercations.
• The bowels are a, e i, o, u, and sometimes w and y.
• The death of Francis Macomber was a turning point in his life.
• The Gorgons had long snakes in their hair. They looked like women, only more horrible.
• Zanzibar is noted for its monkeys. The British governor lives there.



• Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
• The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.
• Evening massage - 6 p.m.
• The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.
• The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.
• Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p.m. Please use the back door.
• Ushers will eat latecomers.
• The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment.
• For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
• The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.
• The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy."
• During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.
• Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on "It's a Terrible Experience."
• Due to the Rector's illness, Wednesday's healing services will be discontinued until further notice.
• Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
• The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
• The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister's daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.
• Twenty-two members were present at the church meeting held at the home of Mrs. Marsha Crutchfield last evening. Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Rankin sang a duet, The Lord Knows Why.
• A song fest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.
• Today's Sermon: “How Much Can A Man Drink?” with hymns from a full choir.
• On a church bulletin during the minister's illness: GOD IS GOOD... Dr. Hargreaves is better.
• Potluck supper: Prayer and medication to follow.
• Don't let worry kill you off - let the church help.
• The 1997 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.
• Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.


• If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of payments.
• If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea... does that mean that one enjoys it?
• Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
• A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. I have a work station.
• If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong.
• A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.
• Children: You spend the first 2 years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next 16 years telling them to sit down and shut-up.
• Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?
• A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don't need it.
• The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
• Would a fly without wings be called a 'walk'?
• He who smiles in a crisis has found someone to blame.
• I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
• How do they get deer to cross the road only at those yellow road signs?
• Crowded elevators smell different to midgets.
• Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.
• The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.
• If a parsley farmer is sued, can they 'garnish' his wages?
• The shinbone is a device for finding furniture in a dark room.
• The sole purpose of a child's middle name is so he can tell when he's really in trouble.
• Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?
• My psychiatrist told me I was crazy. I said I want a second opinion. He said, “You're ugly too.”
• If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you!
• Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back.
• Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.
• I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.
• What if there were no hypothetical questions?
• If you keep your feet firmly on the ground, you'll have trouble putting on your pants.
• Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
• A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
• The difference between an oral thermometer and a rectal thermometer is in the taste.
• One nice thing about egotists: they don't talk about other people.
• Where do forest rangers go to 'get away from it all'?


• When my twin daughters were young, I taught them to say this prayer before going to bed. As I listened outside their door, I could hear them say, "Give us this steak and daily bread, and forgive us our mattresses." My husband and I always had a good laugh over this. That was over 50 years ago, and the memory still remains in my heart.
• My mother spent her early childhood saying, "Hail Mary, full of grapes."
• My son, in nursery school, said, "Our Father, who art in Heaven, how didja know my name?"
• I remember thinking this prayer was "Give us this day our jelly bread."
• I recall reading something years ago about the Pledge of Allegiance. Some child thought it began, "I led the pigeons to the flag."
• I often wondered who Richard Stands was. You know: "And to the republic for Richard Stands."
• When my husband was 6 years old, he thought a certain Prayer was "He suffered under a bunch of violets." The real words were "under Pontius Pilate," but at that age, he didn't know better. To this day, we still snicker in church whenever that prayer is read.
• When my older brother was very young, he always walked up to the church altar with my mother when she took communion. On one occasion, he tugged at her arm and asked, "What does the priest say when he gives you the bread?" Mom whispered something in his ear. Imagine his shock many years later when he learned that the priest doesn't say, "Be quiet until you get to your seat."
• When I was younger, I believed the line was "Lead a snot into temptation." I thought I was praying for my little sister to get into trouble.


Bits of Tid: December 19, 2009

  • My deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of State Rep. Mike Simpson. Simpson represented the 65th State House district, which includes part of the Jackson area stretching up to Eaton Rapids. Simpson, just 47, died yesterday of a heart attack.
  • What do I think about this healthcare reform debate at this point? To be honest, I'm conflicted. The bill as it stands in the Senate does not include a Medicare buy-in or a Public Option, but it would offer some improvements over the current 'system' we have now.
  • Another thing to keep in mind: The House-passed version does include the Public Option. So nobody should assume that the Public Option is dead yet. Far from it.
  • The word "Sexy" made its way to the White House blog - it was spoken by the President himself.
  • From the Times of India:
    A ray of hope for some slum-dwellers has come all the way from the US. Students of Central Michigan University (CMU), US, which will be adopting slums in Ahmedabad as part of their CMU Clean Water Initiative (CMUCWI). Under this project, the students will bring in the HydrAid water filtration system to 500 urban poor in selected slums for a decade.

    Students of CMU have identified slums near Bombay Hotel, Dani Limda and Vatva for the unique project, which will start from the first quarter of 2010.
  • Go to your local library or bookstore and get Ted Kennedy's True Compass. You will not be disappointed.


Bits of Tid: December 7, 2009

  • Before I go on, it would be a mistake not to acknowledge that today is the 68th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    I hear a lot less talk about Pearl Harbor nowadays than I used to. Perhaps because many of those who remember that day have since passed on; perhaps because September 11, 2001, has taken precedence when it comes to attacks on American soil.

    Regardless, I ask that you please take a few minutes to remember in your thoughts and prayers all who have died in the service of our country, not only at Pearl Harbor but throughout our country's history.
  • Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately; we have come upon a time we at Central call "Finals Week." Luckily, the bulk of what I have to get done is already done, and my Finals Week isn't that hard at all.
  • In between studying, I am reading True Compass: A Memoir, by our beloved Ted Kennedy.
  • Wal-Mart's been naughty.
  • Just in time for Copenhagen: What if scientists could create electricity with zero CO2 emissions? Now they can.
  • And if that's not enough, solar electricity is becoming more available.
  • Guess who cracked the AP Top 25?
  • And finally, enjoy this holiday medley by Straight No Chaser:


What We're Thankful For

President Obama:

So what are you thankful for? I've compiled some reflections from various people; many of these are from emails, so they are not linked. Along the way, enjoy some Thanksgiving music!

Rep. Gary Peters:

Just this month I had the opportunity to serve, along with my family, friends, and other Oakland County residents, at Lighthouse of Oakland County. We sorted food for families having a tough time right now so that they can still enjoy Thanksgiving meals with their families.

Serving all Oakland County residents in Congress is an honor. But serving struggling families face-to-face is a reminder of what it is we're fighting for in Washington--and how much we all have for which to be thankful.

Daily Kos's Bill in Portland Maine:
Barack Obama is our 44th president and John McCain is not
Joe Biden is our vice president and Sarah Palin is not
That somehow we didn't fall into Great Depression II
The hope of semi-significant healthcare reform

(more from Bill here)

Thanksgiving Medley: We Gather Together, For the Beauty of the Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come

Sen. Claire McCaskill (on Twitter):
Happy Thanksgiving to all. I'm thankful for so much, especially my family and my country.

Dan Seals:
This Thanksgiving season, Mia and I will be teaching our children about Sarah Hale. She was a remarkable woman who, through the power of the pen, convinced President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. This year, Thanksgiving will be on the exact calendar day, November 26, as the first national Thanksgiving proclaimed by Lincoln nearly 150 years ago.

Over the course of thirty-eight years, Sarah undertook, and engaged others to join her, in a massive letter writing campaign in support of this holiday. None of the four Presidents who preceded Lincoln would listen to her. Along the way, she also advocated for better education for girls and playgrounds for children, she raised five children, she was a prolific writer, and she vehemently opposed slavery. Lincoln became President during one of the darkest chapters of this country’s history. Hale knew Thanksgiving would not stop the Civil War, but believed it would help bring this country together. Lincoln agreed. Thanks to Hale’s deep sense of public service and her dogged determination to stand up for her beliefs, we have a holiday focused on gratitude and celebrating the diversity of cultures.

Ellen DeGeneres:
For me, the most important thing about it is to think about what we're grateful for, right? .... Number one, our friends and ourfamily. Number two, our caller IDs so we can avoid our friends and family ... The big things, the elm trees, the oceans, the oversized sunglasses, the mall things, you know, the dandelions, acorns, Danny DeVito...

First verse with refrain:
For the bread and wine we share here,
For the friends that we embrace,
For the peace we find in healing,
For all who gather in this place,
For the faith of those around us,
For the dead and all those here,
For the hope we find in mem’ry
For the love that draws us near;

We give you thanks, we give you thanks,
For the grace to receive, in you we believe
We give you thanks, we give you thanks
With faith and hope and love, we give you thanks.

Sen. Pat Leahy:
Marcelle and I have so much for which to be thankful.

We are thankful for the health and well-being of our daughter, two sons, two daughters-in-law, son-in-law, and five beautiful grandchildren.

We are thankful for the warmth of our neighbors here in Vermont and our friends around the world -- the old friendships that still flourish even as our lives have changed quite a bit over the decades, and all the new friendships we've made through public service.

We are thankful to our men and women in uniform, especially those who can't be with their families today.

We are thankful to those who came before us, emigrating to this great land, fighting for our freedoms, and building a more prosperous, more just world for each successive generation.

We are thankful for the opportunity Vermonters have given us to continue that legacy, so that we may leave our grandchildren -- and their children -- with a nation and a planet better off than those which we inherited.

Oh, and ScottyUrb:

  • My life
  • My family and friends
  • Our dog, Lucy, and our birds
  • Food and drink
  • Clothing
  • A home
  • Air
  • Water
  • Good health
  • Electricity
  • Humor
  • A computer
  • The Internet
  • A TV
  • This awesome country
  • All of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen
  • A sweet job
  • Attending Central Michigan University
  • The many, many people around the world who have dedicated their lives to making our world a better place
  • President Barack Obama and progressive Democrats


Bits of Tid: November 19, 2009

  • Today is World Toilet Day, Use Less Stuff Day, and Have A Bad Day Day. If you are anywhere near me, please only celebrate Use Less Stuff Day. Maybe World Toilet Day, depending on how you commemorate it.
  • Is marriage itself illegal in Texas? I'm not just talking about gay marriage. I'm talking about marriage in general.
  • Someone made this comment on one of my earlier posts:
    How do you like your change now? Idiot.
    First of all, I do like my change. It's kind of nice to live in a country that is admired on the world stage and whose President cares about the average working person as much as he cares about anyone else. And for you to call me an idiot? Well, for a conservative to say that to me, is such a high compliment!
  • "Unfriend" has been named the 2009 Word of the Year by the Oxford Dictionary.
  • Speaking of which, it's almost "that time of year again" - time for the Lake Superior State University Banished Words List! If you have a word or phrase you'd like to see banished, now's your chance to nominate it!
  • Not to make any of you jealous, but I get to see Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., AND Jennifer Granholm at CMU today!


Bits of Tid: November 18, 2009

  • Today is Mickey Mouse Day, Married to a Scorpio Support Day, and National Education Support Professionals Day.
  • From Daily Kos:
    Steve King (R-IA) chose to miss his son's wedding so could vote against health care reform -- that he knew was going to pass. What an ass.

  • I'm not the biggest fan of polls, but if this one is to be believed, then Sarah Palin just might be the Democrats' dream opponent. Also.
  • Palin will be in Roswell early next month. Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.


Election Recap

On a scale of one to ten, this election ranks about a 3. There were plenty of disappointments, but some victories that should be highlighted.

You can guess how the media is framing this: as a big election for Republicans. But let's dig deeper.

I'm not surprised that the Republicans won the New Jersey and Virginia races. Dems had held those governorships for some time now, and neither Jon Corzine nor Creigh Deeds were all that progressive - in other words, they didn't exactly stand up for Democratic values.

Meanwhile, in New York's 23rd Congressional District, President Obama's cunning political strategy of appointing a moderate Republican from a not-so-Republican district to an administration post to get another Dem vote in Congress has paid off. Bill Owens (D) has defeated Conservative Doug Hoffman by a small margin after even the Republican nominee endorsed Owens.


I was disappointed to see Commissioner Jim Jendrasiak lose in Grand Rapids. He is a perennial target for some people, and it's sad to see that they were able to knock him off this time. Next time, Jim!

Speaking of next time, congratulations also are due Ben Barker, the 21-year-old CMU student who came in fifth out of seven candidates. Not bad, considering that (a) this was his first race; (b) he's a student; (c) he ran against the three incumbents, all of whom won; and (d) he outpolled two others. His future is bright! Congratulations also to Bruce Kilmer, an involved Mt. Pleasant Democrat and incumbent Commissioner who won.

And what about Kentwood? The city saw its first contested race for City Commission since 2003, and Mayor Rick Root was unopposed for a third term. (Kentwood has not seen a contested race for mayor since 1997.) The contest was in the second ward. Incumbent Frank Raha III's day job is with Republican State Rep. Dave Hildenbrand, so hearing that he lost to Ray Verwys might not seem all that bad - except for the fact that VerWys is a 'tea party' activist. Only 1,033 votes were cast between those two, as only 6% of those in the 2nd ward showed up.

Southern Michigan played home to both the biggest pleasant surprise (the approval of a gay-rights referendum) and disappointment (Mike Nofs's election to the State Senate) of the night.

What does this all mean?

There are plenty of ways to look at these results.

For one thing, the typically low turnout that we often see in "off-year" elections was seen once again this year. Many people don't realize that the decisions their local leaders make can be even more important than some of those made by the President, Congress, and the like. Our votes for city commission, mayor, etc., are much more important than our votes for American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. (Okay, I will admit to having voted a couple times on Idol).

Furthermore, this election is a good excuse for progressives to intensify their efforts to bring change to our communities and our nation. Gay-rights advocates saw mixed results; the Maine vote was particularly disheartening, but its closeness reminds us that the fight cannot end now!

In closing, I leave you with two quotes:

"Dr. King once said that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. It bends towards justice, but here is the thing: it does not bend on its own. It bends because each of us in our own ways put our hand on that arc and we bend it in the direction of justice." - Barack Obama

"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." - Ted Kennedy


Bits of Tid: October 26, 2009

  • We're getting closer and closer to meaningful healthcare reform! Senator Reid is backing a public option with the option of allowing states to back out of it. While I can't say I agree with the opt-out provision, what is being offered now is certainly a lot better than what we have currently in our healthcare system.
  • How's that No Worker Left Behind program working for Michigan?
    Of the nearly 34,360 people who finished training between August 2007 and February 2009, about 24,700, or 72 percent, either retained work or got a new job, while about 9,660, or 28 percent, were still looking for a job, according to the report being released Monday. It found more than 16,840 kept their jobs and about 7,860 found new employment.

    No Worker Left Behind offers up to $10,000 over two years to workers who attend community colleges or other training programs. It's overseen by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, which compiled the review.


Bits of Tid: October 15, 2009


Our President, the Nobel Laureate

"The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts... one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
-from the Will of Alfred Nobel

According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee:

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

Who in the past year has done nearly as much as President Obama to advance the cause of peace in our world?

As Americans, we are truly fortunate to be led by someone who has dedicated himself not only to making our country better, but making our world more peaceful.

Congratulations, Mr. President! You have earned this. May your work continue to benefit the cause of peace for all mankind!


Matthew Shepard Act on fast track to becoming law

Found in my inbox, from Senator Carl Levin:

This week, Congress took an important step to protect those who have been targeted because of the color of their skin, their religion, their disability, their gender, or their sexual orientation.

Yesterday, the Senate and House Armed Services Committees agreed to a final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 that included the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This legislation will likely be passed by both Houses of Congress and signed into law by President Obama in the coming days.

As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am delighted that we were able to include this landmark legislation in the National Defense Authorization Act because it embodies values of diversity and freedom that our men and women in uniform fight to defend.

As Senator Ted Kennedy said in 2007 when we debated this legislation:
"We want to be able to have a value system that is worthy for our brave men and women to defend. They are fighting overseas for our values. One of the values is that we should not, in this country, in this democracy, permit the kind of hatred and bigotry that has stained the history of this Nation over a considerable period of time. We should not tolerate it. We keep faith with these men and women who are serving overseas when we battle that hatred and bigotry and prejudice at home."
According to the FBI, between 1998 and 2007, more than 77,000 hate crimes incidents were reported. The trend is up for hate crimes based on sexual orientation - with a six percent increase in such crimes in the most recent year for which statistics are available, from 1,195 in 2006 to 1,265 in 2007. This is a major new category of hate crimes that would be covered, for the first time, by this legislation.

This law would punish violent acts, not beliefs. It would provide federal protection for victims of violent crimes where the offender intentionally selects the victim because of his or her actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.

I want to emphasize that this legislation only applies to violent, bias-motivated crimes and does not infringe on any conduct protected by the First Amendment. The right to organize against, preach against and speak against any way of life is left intact with this legislation.

We must make America a fully inclusive nation, a country that does not tolerate violent acts against individuals because of who they are. I am proud to be able to report that this week we have taken a very important step toward that goal.
While I can't say I agree with putting it in the Defense Authorization Bill, I'm glad this is going to become law soon.


Bits of Tid: October 3, 2009

  • Brianne Hovey, whom I knew from CMU's College Democrats, passed away this week. She had such a warm smile, and her personality always made it delightful to be with her. I am grateful to have known her. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her entire family.
  • From a letter in The Wall Street Journal recently:
    If a corporation is indeed a "person" under the law, then let's just elect Goldman Sachs as president and the Fortune 500 to Congress, and eliminate the middleman.
  • There's a great rant on Daily Kos about those who say they're patriotic, but celebrated the fact that the Olympics won't be in the USA in 2016.
  • Speaking of which, whaddya say we bring the Winter Olympics to Wasilla, AK, in 2018? I'm probably the first person to toss that idea around. Still, how can you not say 'You Betcha!' to that idea? :-)
  • Here's a humble suggestion: At least once a year, check out a high school football game. Not necessarily one in which your alma mater is playing, just any high school game. I had the chance to go to a Mt. Pleasant game last weekend and a Sacred Heart Academy game this weekend. Both were pretty neat.


Birthers, Baggers, Booze, and Buying Ballots

From the clever, yet brutally honest, folks at the Michigan Democratic Party, in regards to last weekend's Repoublican foray to Mackinac Island:

  • With a dozen private jets parked at the Pellston Airport and more private planes at the Island airport, you could see the Michigan GOP cared little about the suffering of the people of Michigan while they partied for 3 days leaving the state budget unresolved.
  • Michigan GOP Chair Ron Weiser claims “record attendance.” However, attendance was inflated by numerous Birthers and Tea Baggers, aka Tea Party activists, as well as by hundreds of people paid to attend so they would vote in the straw poll. If not for all those extremists and paid-for voters (doesn’t the GOP allegedly oppose vote-buying?), attendance would have been down significantly, reflecting a smaller and depressed GOP base in Michigan.
  • Mike Cox had a very bad weekend. In the debut of campaign manger Dan Pero, L. Brooks Patterson declared the gubernatorial candidate debate a draw and Cox lost the straw poll to Rick Snyder despite spending tens of thousands of dollars on hotel rooms (three nights for scores of people), food, transportation, registration fees, jackets, customized signs, literature, lawn signs, and parties.
Those are just three of the bullet points. Hop to the above link and see the whole thing.


How do you know if your lawmaker is a Democrat?

I'll give you a hint: Whether or not someone calls themself a Democrat is not the greatest indicator of whether someone really is one. (You probably knew that, right?)

See, real Democrats are the ones who stand up for ordinary people. They show - by their actions, not just by their words - that they want excellent healthcare, a clean environment, and did I mention a quality education for all young people?

Take these highlights from the 2008 Michigan Democratic Party platform:
Provide unprecedented educational funding. Under Governor Granholm’s leadership, per-student public school funding has been increased to record level of over $7,300 per student.

Make higher education available for all. Higher education is vital to success in the new economy. Under the leadership of Lt. Governor John Cherry, the Lt. Governor’s Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth devised a comprehensive plan to double the number of Michigan residents with a college degree or other valuable educational credential. Michigan Democrats vigorously support the plan and applaud the progress toward implementation.

Democrats want to make sure higher education and technical training in high-growth fields is accessible and affordable to all. Governor Granholm’s $4,000 Michigan Promise Scholarship, available to all high school graduates, helps ensure that they can go to college or receive post-secondary training.
Kinda makes you wonder about people like George Cushingberry, one of three people with a D by their name who were part of a panel that cut the Michigan Promise scholarship.

Or those Blue Dog 'Democrats' in Congress who choose profits instead of people's lives.


Bits of Tid: September 7, 2009

  • From the one and only Walter Reuther:
    "This country is my country too, you know. I am not a second class citizen, and I don't intend to start acting like one...just because they pay a worker, does not mean they own him."
    Happy Labor Day!
  • "U.S. Economy Gets Lift From Stimulus." So says that bastion of liberalism, The Wall Street Journal.
  • A Seattle rally for healthcare reform, attended by 3,000 people, doesn't make the paper.
  • Hard work? Staying in school? Obama's a socialist! (/snark) But most people aren't buying that.
  • Ernie Harwell, 91, has inoperable cancer.
  • Good news for the Tigers? Their magic number is 20. They lead the AL Central by 7. I don't want to curse them, but it looks like they're running away with it!


The dream shall never die. Edward M. Kennedy, 1932-2009

It is the glory and the greatness of our tradition to speak for those who have no voice.

-Edward M. Kennedy

What a life Ted Kennedy lived.

Though he was a member of one of the nation's most well-known families - one that included an inspiring President - Ted Kennedy did so much in is own right. From Daily Kos:
Kennedy was a liberal fighter in the old mold. The plethora of legislation he helped pass made life better for children, for the poor, for African-Americans, for immigrants, for workers. He didn't just give lip service to the rights of workers, he stood in their corner.
As his son, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, said recently:
"He is the penultimate senator. I don't need to exaggerate when I talk about my father. That's the amazing thing. He breaks all the records himself."
I offer my condolences to the entire Kennedy family following the passings of both Ted and his sister Eunice earlier this month.

Thank you, Senator Kennedy.

We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make.


Bits of Tid: August 25, 2009

  • For those of you who don't know (since it has been a while since I explained it), Bits of Tid is my semi-regular compilation of news and other items. The name comes from reversing the syllables in 'Tidbits' and sticking 'of' in between.
  • Mention that the public option is just that - an option - and people are much more supportive of it.
  • It's a start: Attorney General Holder has appointed a special investigator to look at detainee abuse.
  • Barack Obama's vacation reading list includes five books totaling more than 2,300 pages.
  • A group of local Republican leaders in Illinois
    held a meeting and prepared to recite the pledge. Oops. There was no flag in the room for them to face while reciting. What to do?

    Why, call on a fellow named Gene to come to the rescue. Gene was wearing a shirt decked out in an American flag pattern. He came forward, and the group of assembled Republicans pledged allegiance to his shirt.
  • Tigers' magic number: 35. Ironically they've scored fewer runs than three of the other four teams in the AL Central, but they've also allowed the fewest runs. Possible proof that defense wins championships?
  • Yesterday was my 18th - and, for now, final - first day of school. Where has the time gone?


Late-summer joke roundup

It was opening night at the Orpheum and the Claude the Amazing Hypnotist was topping the bill. People came from miles around to see the famed hypnotist do his stuff. As Claude took to the stage, he announced, "Unlike most stage hypnotists who invite two or three people up onto the stage to be put into a trance, I intend to hypnotize each and every member of the audience."

The excitement was almost electric as Claude withdrew a beautiful antique pocket watch from his coat. "I want you each to keep your eye on this antique watch. It's a very special watch. Its been in my family for six generations."

He began to swing the watch gently back and forth while quietly chanting, "Watch the watch, watch the watch, watch the watch.... "

The crowd became mesmerized as the watch swayed back and forth, light gleaming off its polished surface. Hundreds of pairs of eyes followed the swaying watch, until suddenly it slipped from the hypnotist's fingers and fell to the floor, breaking into a hundred pieces.

"Crap!" said the hypnotist.

It took three weeks to clean up the theater.

You Ever Wonder Why...
  • Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
  • Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?
  • Why you ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?
  • Why "abbreviated" is such a long word?
  • Why doctors call what they do "practice"? And...
  • Why is it that to stop Windows, you have to click on "Start"?
  • Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
  • Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
  • Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
  • Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?
  • When dog food is new and improved tasting, who tests it?
  • Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
  • Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
  • You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why - don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?
  • Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?
  • Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
  • If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

Seven year old Susie approached her mother one morning and asked, "Mommie how old are you?" To which her mother responded, "Now Susie, that is not a question you should ask a woman."

Susie then replied, "Well, how much do you weigh?" Once again her mother said, "Susie that is another question you never ask a woman."

Perplexed, Susie was sitting on the steps when her best friend eight year old Anna came by. "Why so sad?" Anna asked. Susie replied, "I asked my mother how old she was, and how much she weighed, but she wouldn't tell me."

Immediately, the ever worldly Anna put her hands on her hips, lilted to one side and advised Susie to get her mother's drivers license out of her purse and she could get all the answers.

Triumphantly, Susie marched into the kitchen where her mother was preparing dinner and announced, "I saw your driver's license, and know you are 35 years old." She continued with, "And I know you weigh 135 pounds."

Susie's mother sighed and admitted to her age and weight.

Finally Susie exclaimed, "And...I know why you and Daddy got a divorce." Puzzled by this remark her mother asked, "How do you know this?"

Susie waved the license in the air, and replied:

"It says right here you got an "F" in sex!!"


The OTHER problem with our healthcare system...

...Terminology! From a couple of emails:

  • Benign: What you be after you be eight. 
  • Bacteria: Door to the cafeteria. 
  • Barium: What doctors do when patients die. 
  • Cesarean Section: A neighborhood in Rome. 
  • Catscan: Searching for Kitty. 
  • Cauterize: Made eye contact with her. 
  • Colic: A sheep dog. 
  • Coma: A punctuation mark. 
  • D&C: Where Washington is. 
  • Dilate: To live long. 
  • Enema: Not a friend. 
  • Fester: Quicker than someone else. 
  • Fibula: A small lie. 
  • G.I. Series: World Series of military baseball. 
  • Hangnail: What you hang your coat on. 
  • Impotent: Distinguished, well known. 
  • Labor Pain: Getting hurt at work.
  • Medical Staff: A Doctor's cane. 
  • Morbid: A higher offer than I bid. 
  • Nitrates: Cheaper than day rates. 
  • Node: I knew it. 
  • Outpatient: A person who has fainted. 
  • Pap Smear: A fatherhood test. 
  • Pelvis: Second cousin to Elvis. 
  • Post Operative: A letter carrier. 
  • Recovery Room: Place to do upholstery. 
  • Rectum: Damn near killed him. 
  • Secretion: Hiding something. 
  • Seizure: Roman emperor. 
  • Tablet: A small table. 
  • Terminal Illness: Getting sick at the airport. 
  • Tumor: More than one. 
  • Urine: Opposite of mine. 
  • Varicose: Near by/close by.


Bits of Tid: August 18, 2009

  • I call bull feces on rumors that the White House is willing to do away with the public option.
  • Dancing With... Tom DeLay? Yuck.
  • With apologies to Lou Gehrig, this man may be "the luckiest man on the face of the earth" after falling to said earth without a parachute - and surviving!
  • Speaking of baseball, Aubrey Huff is a Tiger.
  • Big announcement forthcoming.


Bits of Tid: August 16, 2009

  • I'm back at CMU! I still have a week until classes begin, but that doesn't mean I can't start studying in my air-conditioned hall! This winter, when you think Michigan is too cold, remember days like today!
  • The President in The New York Times:
    OUR nation is now engaged in a great debate about the future of health care in America. And over the past few weeks, much of the media attention has been focused on the loudest voices. What we haven’t heard are the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them.
  • Conan O'Brien:
    "This is a weird story. Someone recently tried to sell an Xbox that was autographed by Sarah Palin for $1.1 million. Yeah. Unfortunately, the Palin Xbox kept quitting in the middle of every game."
  • Tigers' magic number: 44. Meanwhile, the Lions are on pace to go 4-0 in the preseason - just like they did last year!
  • Robert Gibbs:


Bits of Tid: August 11, 2009

  • No, Sarah Palin. We won't have any 'death panels' deciding whether to kill your son or anyone else. Nor will the giovernment ration care - let's leave that up to some private insurers.
  • Need to be amused? Here's Barack Obama's Facebook page - not his real one, but a satirical one.
  • Headline from The Onion: "GOP Warns Healthcare Bill Would Only Inflate Costs of Defeating Obama in 2012."
  • Check out Blogging for Michigan's Twitter Michigan directory.
  • Did you know that every three seconds, someone needs blood? If you're eligible to donate blood, please do so when you get a chance. Michiganians, find an MCBC or Red Cross blood drive near you. Whether or not you can donate, you can also volunteer at a blood bank or blood drive. Whose life will you save?


Michigan Senate GOP leader condones mob violence

Eric at Michigan Liberal informs us about a rather telling interview with Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop.

"I would suggest that everybody go back and read the Declaration of Independence," Bishop told Frank Beckmann this morning on WJR AM-760 in Detroit. "The kind of reaction that you're getting from the public out there was envisioned by our forefathers. And it's our responsibility to let the public know and to let our elected officials know how we feel about things."

The Declaration of Independence, of course, asserted U.S. independence from the British government. While Bishop didn't go so far as to endorse overthrowing the current administration, he said it is testing the limits of power envisioned by our founders.

He goes on:

While Bishop took exception to the "angry mob" characterization, he did say such a scene could replicate itself if Governor Granholm moves forward with a proposal she's floated in closed-door sessions to increase taxes on beer, cigarettes and soda pop.


"If she's going to rely on a proposal that includes tax increases she needs to let the public know that so that we can speak out, and if we turn into an 'angry mob,' so be it.

That's right. Mike Bishop - who wants to be Michigan's top law enforcement official next year - is suggesting that this mob violence "was envisioned by our forefathers."

This kind of violence has been condoned and carried out by many people, but what's different this time is that the person condoning this behavior sets policy in the Senate. Under his 'leadership' of the State Senate, important legislation that would help our state has stalled, even while Michigan lawmakers are paid some of the highest legislative salaries in the nation.

As one commenter on Michigan Liberal asked:

Where in the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, or anywhere in our Constitution does it say mob rule is among our democratic priniciples? Indeed, it seems I remember something about the Supreme Court saying that with rights come responsibilities.

The First Amendment allow us to "assemble peaceably" - keyword: PEACEABLY - but I cannot find any justification from the Founding Fathers for the kind of mob violence which Mike Bishop condones.

It also reminds us that the mob 'demonstrators' do not have anything valuable to add to the healthcare debate. Their concerns are not legitimate - it is because of this that they are acting up. The more violent they act, the more they prove that they do not have a valid point to make.


Bits of Tid: August 7, 2009

  • This week is Single Working Women's Week. Today is Purple Heart Day, Professional Speakers Day, and Lighthouse Day, and Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day.
  • Exodus 20:16:
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
    Hey conservatives, that's a Commandment! How about following it?
  • Speaking of which: healthcarefactcheck.com.
  • Tigers' magic number: 53.
  • Say hello to our newest Justice!



The economy - and what politicians do about it - is widely expected to be the #1 issue in next year's election for Governor. But just as important in any election is another issue that gets far less attention: Trust.

Trust is always important for a number of reasons. When we vote, we trust that those for whom we vote will do the best they can if elected. Politicians aren't perfect; they're humans like the rest of us. But we should expect them to do their best, even when we disagree with them.

Trust is even more important now in an age when many governors - including Mark Sanford, Sarah Palin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rod Blagojevich, and Eliot Spitzer - have humiliated themselves and their states. Local pols Kwame Kilpatrick and Monica Conyers have done likewise in Detroit.

If you think Michigan needs more embarrassment on the national stage, I suggest you support Mike Cox, who had an affair and blasted others for exposing the affair. Or you can get behind Pete Hoekstra, whose record in Congress stretches from opposing working families who have been hit by this economy to being hypocritical about the CIA to having an entire blog dedicated to his crazy tweets. Or how about Mike Bouchard, who was caught in a "pay-to-play" scheme in which he rewarded a company that contributed to his 2006 Senate campaign?

But if you think our lovely though beleaguered state deserves better, then I highly recommend supporting John Cherry.

How many people in Lansing know as much about working families - and the challenges they face - as John Cherry? Here's a guy who worked for Sen. Gary Corbin and served as political director for AFSCME before being elected to the state House in 1982 and 1984. He then won election to the Senate four times in a row, eventually becoming Senate Democratic Leader.

Then, in 2002, Attorney General Jennifer Granholm asked him to be her runningmate in that fall's election. The rest is history.

Or is it?

See, when you've been in Lansing as long as Cherry has, and when you've held a post like that of Senate party leader, getting caught up in the politicking of Lansing can cause you to forget the people whom you are supposed to serve. Not Cherry. From last year:

Republicans credit Cherry with keeping a level head, having a long-range perspective and improving relations after talks got rocky and legislative leaders sniped at each other in the media.

And as Alan Cropsey - yes, Alan Cropsey - said:

"This lieutenant governor has done a terrific job... Obviously, we disagree politically. But I have found him to be a very good guy to work with."

Ed Sarpolus of EPIC-MRA said that "Cherry's respected by both business and labor" after Granholm chose him as her running mate.

A level-headed, respected consensus-builder whom even Republicans say "has done a terrific job?" Good chance he'll be the same as Governor. Really important, even when - no, especially when - few people on the other side are willing to cooperate.

But why just 'trust' people's words? (Thanks everyone, I'm here all night. Try the veal.)

  • The Detroit News named Cherry one of "Michigan's Most Effective Lawmakers."
  • His colleagues elected him Chair of the National Lieutenant Governor's Association in 2006.
  • During the 2002 and 2006 campaigns, the Posthumus and DeVos campaigns could not find any sort of scandal about Cherry with which to try to topple him and Granholm. Yes, it's true that people vote the top of the ticket - in Presidential and even more so in gubernatorial elections. But if there was something scandalous about Cherry, then why didn't they bring it up?

Oh, and one more thing. U-M Alum:

MSU Alum:

Need I say more? :-)

Maybe not. But I will note that that picture of Cherry - featured prominently on the bio section of his campaign website - was taken at CMU. More reason to trust him!


Bits of Tid: August 4, 2009

  • It's also Coast Guard Day and Chocolate Chip Day.
  • And it's Primary Election Day in certain cities and towns in Michigan. Let me remind you that one vote really can make a difference. I won re-election as precinct delegate last year by a single vote!
  • No one should pretend that things are all rosy for the automakers yet. But 'Cash for Clunkers' sure has helped their sales.
  • The American Football League is no more.
  • Tigers' magic number: 56.
  • Oh well.


Bits of Tid: August 3, 2009


Things to celebrate in August

August is:

  • American Adventures Month
  • American Indian Heritage Month
  • Black Business Month
  • Cataract Awareness Month
  • Children's Eye Health & Safety Month
  • Children's Vision & Learning Month
  • Get Ready for Kindergarten Month
  • Golf Month
  • Happiness Happens Month
  • Motorsports Awareness Month
  • National Immunization Awareness Month
  • National Inventor's Month
  • National Panini Month
  • National Water Quality Month
  • National Win With Civility Month
  • Neurosurgery Outreach Month
  • Psoriasis Awareness Month
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month
  • What Will Be Your Legacy Month
Celebrate wisely!

Bits of Tid: August 2, 2009

  • Darn. The Palin divorce rumor appears to be just that - a rumor. But maybe she ought to get a divorce. McCain, Gingrich, Giuliani, Ensign, Vitter, Limbaugh - she'd fit in well with the GOP. And we've only had one divorcee President - Ronald Reagan.
  • Money is running out for the Cash for Clunkers program, but Congress is expected to approve more money for it. As Gov. Granholm said:
    "Michigan is probably disproportionately affected positively, but since we've been disproportionately affected negatively by the economy, I think it's actual, it's sweet justice."
  • If I'm a little too crazy for you, blame my brother.
  • If Democrats don't take a stand and ban the 'music' of the Jonas Brothers, then I'm voting Republican in 2012! ;-)
  • Tigers' magic number: 58.


Bits of Tid: July 31, 2009

  • Governor Granholm has issued an executive order allowing Michigan to move forward on becoming more energy efficient.
  • Look at the list of President Obama's first Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients! What an amazing list - stretching from Ted Kennedy to Sandra Day O'Connor, Billie Jean King, to Desmond Tutu!
  • Sen. Max Baucus ('D'-MT) has 'no idea' how he'll vote on Sotomayor's nomination next week. No idea because he's not very smart? Or because he's not very progressive? Either way, it tells me that there are other Finance Committee members who are more deserving of the Chairmanship than Baucus. (And yes, I figured out years ago that the Finance Committee does not handle SCOTUS nominations.)
  • Do the Lions want another 0-16 season? It looks like the answer is yes, as evidenced by their signing of a WMU alum to their roster.
  • Tigers' magic number: 60.
  • Here's something neat:


Bits of Tid: July 30, 2009

  • Is Max Baucus's chairmanship in trouble?
  • "In order to save your life, we need to make sure you didn't make a late payment on your mortgage five years ago."
  • Speaking of which, surely I am not the only one who notices the hypocrisy from many who call themselves "pro-life" yet oppose reforming health insurance. 18,000 people die in this country every year because they lack health insurance.
  • Less money for schools = fewer teachers = bigger classes = less individual attention for each student = students not getting the education they deserve = a less talented workforce = companies choosing to create/maintain jobs in certain places instead of others = a weaker economy.
  • Not all Americans are geniuses, but not many are that naive either.
  • KKK says "White Power," clowns respond in ways humiliating to the KKK.


Bits of Tid: July 29, 2009

  • I've noticed that most of those in Congress who are against a government-run plan for all Americans are themselves beneficiaries of a government-run plan.
  • So you have health insurance, and you like it. What good will healthcare reform do for you? Plenty, if the White House gets its way.
  • An Ontario woman who has made news south of the border by lying about Canada's healthcare system is being sued by the Province.
  • Not saying Chuck Todd is my favorite, but here he is discussing Glenn Beck's accusations of Obama being racist:
    What's most amazing about this episode is that what Beck said isn't a fireable or even a SUSPENDABLE offense by his bosses. There was a time when outrageous rants like this would actually cost the ranters their jobs. But not anymore; if anything, it's now encouraged.
  • They can't discuss issues anymore, so they hang effigies.
  • On food stamps? Know someone who is? More and more farmers markets are taking food stamps.
  • The Republican Party is controlled by far-right southerners, complained Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH). Well, David Vitter validated Voinovich, calling the Ohioan "wishy-washy."
  • Speaking of Vitter, let's buy some sex.


Bits of Tid: July 28, 2009


Bits of Tid: July 27, 2009

  • US home sales went up in June. We're not completely out of the woods - not by a long shot - but things may have bottomed out.
  • Pollution does wonders for your IQ. Which is to say, you wonder why your IQ is so low.
  • Speaking of which: Sarah Palin in late-night comedy.
  • Tomorrow the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Judge Sotomayor's nomination.
  • Are you a hunter? If so, you might be interested in this.
  • Facebook users: Follow the instructions and post this as your status:
    Facebook has agreed to let 3rd party advertisers use your posted pictures without your permission. Click on SETTINGS up at the top next to the log out link. Select PRIVACY. Then select NEWS FEEDS AND WALL. Next select the tab that reads FACE BOOK ADS. There is a drop down box, select NO ONE. Then SAVE your changes. (REPOST to let your friends know!)
  • Five years ago tonight:


Bits of Tid: July 26, 2009

  • The Free Press has a good article on efforts to promote Michigan-made products.
  • Conservative 'fiscal restraint' at its finest.
  • Here's another article from the Free Press, this one on Isle Royale National Park.
  • Could things be looking up for Ford?
  • Want to save some money? Wash your clothes in cold water. In one year, using hot water to wash your clothes wastes enough energy to drive a car 3,600 miles.
  • Want to save some money? Wash your clothes in cold water. In one year, using hot water to wash your clothes wastes enough energy to drive a car 3,600 miles. Cold-water washing is just as effective as warm- or hot-water washing.
  • Starting today, Governor Granholm has less competition in the Hottest Governor contest. Yep, today's the day Sarah Palin steps down. Of course, Palin was no competition for JG in the Smartest Governor category.
  • Speaking of which, Granholm will appear tomorrow night at 9PM on CNBC's special, Meeting of the Minds. Granholm and four other intelligent people, as well as Bill Frist, will discuss healthcare reform.
  • The Tigers, who came into Friday in a tie with the White Sox for first in the AL Central, have taken the first three games of this weekend's series to leap into a 3-game lead. Going into tonight's game, their magic number to clinch the AL Central is 63.
  • The good news:
  • The bad news:


Healthcare reform: Debunking the myths

From an email.

With baseless claims and misinformation being aggressively peddled by opponents of health reform, it's been a busy couple of weeks for fact-checkers. To help you sort through it all, we've compiled some of the latest and greatest analyses and reports from independent and non-partisan organizations and media outlets. We will be updating this as more and more of the other side’s claims are debunked. Hope you find it useful.

Republicans use “deceptive assaults” to stop health insurance reform. “Republicans in Washington seem to be shifting into overdrive to keep a health system overhaul from passing Congress before the August recess. Yesterday, July 22, brought two more deceptive assaults (that we know of) on the pending bills, one from Minority Whip Eric Cantor and the other from the top GOP member of the House Immigration Subcommittee, Steve King of Iowa.” [Misleading GOP Health Care Claims, FactCheck.Org, July 23, 2009]

Cantor’s video “inflates” cost of bill by “more than 50%.” “Cantor’s is in the form of a video that accuses Obama and the Democrats of being in a “reckless rush” to finalize a reset of the system. “How much will it cost?” the narrator asks, as photos of House Democrats flash onscreen. “$1.6 trillion?” Actually, in a preliminary analysis released July 14 (and updated July 17), the Congressional Budget Office scored the House tri-committee group bill as costing a net $1.042 trillion. Cantor’s video inflates that number by more than 50 percent.” [Misleading GOP Health Care Claims, FactCheck.Org, July 23, 2009]

Cantor’s ad fails to mention there “is no Republican plan.” “In the sunny wrap-up to the ad, the narrator describes “the Republican plan”: “If you like what you have, you can keep it,” he says. “Access to an affordable basic coverage.” But there is no plan around which Republicans have coalesced. Back in May, some GOP lawmakers offered a bill that would have cut the tax deduction that employers get for offering their employees health insurance plans, and given workers tax credits instead. But there’s been little talk of the bill since then. And Missouri Republican Rep. Roy Blunt was tapped to head a GOP health care task force in February, which was charged “with crafting Republican solutions to increase Americans’ access to quality, affordable health care,” but which so far has produced no plan and seems unlikely to do so.” [Misleading GOP Health Care Claims, FactCheck.Org, July 23, 2009]

GOP claim about coverage for illegal immigrants, “not true.” “King claimed that this is what the Congressional Budget Office’s recent analysis of House health care legislation said. But it didn’t. His press release also said that the 5.6 million would be covered “in large part because the liberal proposal does not include any requirements to verify the citizenship or immigration status of those receiving taxpayer-funded health benefits.” That’s not true, either.” [Misleading GOP Health Care Claims, FactCheck.Org, July 23, 2009]

Canadian style health care? A “straw man argument,” based on opinion piece “riddled with errors.” “One ad claims that ‘Washington wants to bring Canadian-style health care to the U.S.’ But the health care bills moving through Congress don’t call for a single-payer system like Canada’s… Obama, too, has said repeatedly that he doesn’t back a conversion to a single-payer system…. But as we've said about other ads, all this sets up a straw man argument, criticizing Canada's health care system despite the fact that a purely government-run system isn't what's being seriously considered in Congress or being proposed by the president.” [Canadian Straw Man, Fact Check.org, June 17, 2009]

Insurance industry “cherry-picks facts” in fight again public option. “Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), invoked the statistic to argue against the creation of a government-run insurance option. But the polls are not that simple, and her assertion reveals how the industry's effort to defend its turf has led it to cherry-pick the facts. The poll Ignagni was citing actually undercuts her position: By 72 to 20 percent, Americans favor the creation of a public plan, the June survey by the New York Times and CBS News found. People also said that they thought government would do a better job than private insurers of holding down health-care costs and providing coverage.” [Health Insurance Industry Spins Data in Fight Against Public Plan, Washington Post, July 22, 2009]

Gingrich claims on cost and taxes of health care plan simply “not the case”. “As for Gingrich’s twittered claim that the legislation would increase taxes on “virtually everyone,” that’s not the case. The proposal would increase taxes on those with adjusted gross incomes above $280,000 a year or $350,000 a year for couples. That’s not a whole lot of people. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center projected a little less than 2.2 million households (1.4 percent of all households) would face higher taxes under the proposal. The surtax for those upper-income folks would start at 1 percent and go up to 5.4 percent with top incomes over $1 million. (This New York Times post explains how the surtax would work.)” [Tax-and-Spend Twittering, FactCheck.org, July 15, 2009]

Republicans use “misleading” facts when analyzing health Care. “A new ad from Conservatives for Patients' Rights says that a public health insurance plan now being proposed in Congress “could crush all your other choices, driving them out of existence, resulting in 119 million off their current insurance coverage.” That's misleading. The 119 million figure comes from an analysis of a plan that would mirror Medicare and be open to every individual and business that wanted it. But that's not the type of public plan President Obama has proposed. Nor is such a plan gaining acceptance on Capitol Hill.” [More Health Care Scare, FactCheck.org, June 11, 2009]

Investor's Business Daily is “perpetuating misinformation” on health care legislation, “page 16 doesn’t allow private insurance.” “Jennifer Tolbert, the (Kaiser Family Foundation) foundation's principal policy analyst, told us that Page 16 doesn't outlaw private insurance. “There will be individual policies available, but people will buy those policies through the national health insurance exchange,” she said. The House bill allows for existing policies to be grandfathered in, so that people who currently have individual health insurance policies will not lose coverage. The line the editorial refers to is a clause that says the health insurance companies cannot enroll new people into the old plans.” [The Truth-O-Meter Says: Private health insurance not banned on page 16 of the House bill, Politifact, July 22, 2009]

Rove “wrong”, “false,” “distorting” facts. “He (Rove) said, “The Lewin Group estimates 70 percent of people with private insurance — 120 million Americans — will quickly lose what they now get from private companies and be forced onto the government-run rolls as businesses decide it is more cost-effective for them to drop coverage.” That's wrong. The report said that people would choose to leave private insurance if given a cheaper option, but the report provided smaller numbers for other options. The debate in Congress over what a public option will look like is fierce and ongoing. So Rove is picking the worst-case scenario and then distorting the cause and effects. We rate Rove's statement False.” [The Truth-O-Meter Says: Rove's op-ed distorts health study, Politifact, June 12, 2009]

120 million deprived of health care is “not correct,” Pence’s statement “false.” “But there's a hitch: We'll grant that Congress could come up with a Medicare-style plan and open it to everyone, but it doesn't seem likely. Pence appears to be picking the worst number he can choose. And he doesn't mention the fact that under the scenario laid out by the Lewin Group, people would still have health care coverage and their premiums reduced by 30 to 40 percent. He says the government would “deprive” people of health insurance, when actually the scenario is that they would choose a different option. Finally, we have to include a caveat about the Lewin Group. The group says it operates with editorial independence, but it is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, which also offers private health insurance.” [120 million “deprived” of health care is not correct, Politifact, May 19, 2009]

End of life claim, “pants on fire” “outright distortion,” Republicans “spreading a ridiculous falsehood.” “Republicans have found many reasons to oppose the Democrats' health care proposal, but this is one of the oddest. McCaughey incorrectly states that the bill would require Medicare patients to have these counseling sessions and she is suggesting that the government is somehow trying to interfere with a very personal decision. And her claim that the sessions would "tell [seniors] how to end their life sooner" is an outright distortion. Rather, the sessions are an option for elderly patients who want to learn more about living wills, health care proxies and other forms of end-of-life planning. McCaughey isn't just wrong, she's spreading a ridiculous falsehood.” [McCaughey claims end-of-life counseling will be required for Medicare patients, PolitiFact, July 16, 2009]

Lewin Group, frequently cited by GOP, “wholly owned” by “one of the nation’s largest insurers.” Generally left unsaid amid all the citations is that the Lewin Group is wholly owned by UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation's largest insurers. More specifically, the Lewin Group is part of Ingenix, a UnitedHealth subsidiary that was accused by the New York attorney general and the American Medical Association, a physician's group, of helping insurers shift medical expenses to consumers by distributing skewed data. Ingenix supplied its parent company and other insurers with data that allegedly understated the “usual and customary” doctor fees that insurers use to determine how much they will reimburse consumers for out-of-network care.” [Research Firm Cited by GOP Is Owned by Health Insurer, Washington Post, July 22, 2009]

Republicans “break previous promise” to provide health care bill. “GOP Rep. Roy Blunt has now said Republicans won’t offer a health care bill of their own, breaking a previous promise. Worse, it turns out Blunt is chair of something called the “House GOP Health Care Solutions Group.” Blunt’s quote went up online late yesterday evening: “Our bill is never going to get to the floor, so why confuse the focus? We clearly have principles; we could have language, but why start diverting attention from this really bad piece of work they’ve got to whatever we’re offering right now?” That’s a pretty stark admission that Republicans won’t introduce their own bill solely because they think it’s better politics to keep the focus on the Democrats. It gets better. Head over to the House GOP Health Care Solutions Group’s Web site, and you’ll find prominent video of Blunt vowing the GOP is “drafting our own legislation.”” [Leader Of GOP Health Care “Solutions Group” Says GOP Won’t Offer Health Care Bill, Washington Post’s Plum Line, July 23, 2009]

Americans support need to “pay for the cost of health care reform.” “A proposal has been made to raise taxes on those who earn more than $250,000 a year to pay for the cost of health care reform. Do you favor or oppose raising taxes on those who earn more than $250,000 a year to pay for the cost of health care reform? 48% Favor; 44% Oppose; 8% Not sure. Another recent poll found that 60% support taxing the wealthy for reform. So if, as Nelson says, “tax” is a four letter word, the public doesn’t appear to think of it as an epithet when it’s applied to the wealthy in service of health care reform. What’s hard to understand is this reflexive belief that majorities must think the way conservatives do.” [Despite Centrist Claim, People Support Taxing Rich On Health Care, Washington Post’s Plum Line, July 17, 2009]