Some of my favorite quotes

  • "Light tomorrow with today." -Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • "Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." - Louis Brandeis
  • "Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren't any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn't be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life's challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person." - Buckminster Fuller
  • "The world bursts at the seams with people ready to tell you you're not good enough. On occasion, some may be correct. But do not do their work for them. Seek any job; ask anyone out; pursue any goal. Don't take it personally when they say "no" - they may not be smart enough to say "yes"." - Keith Olbermann

  • "Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little." -- Edmund Burke
  • "It always seems impossible until it's done." - Nelson Mandela
  • "Do what you can with what you have, where you are." Teddy Roosevelt
  • "If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own." - Scoop Nisker
  • "Do not ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman
  • "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." - Abraham Lincoln
  • "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader." -John Quincy Adams
  • "Lead with your best self." - Dan Mulhern
  • "Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy." - Norman Schwarzkopf
  • "Let your life be a friction against the machine." - Henry David Thoreau
  • "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth will find reserves of strength that will endure as life lasts." - Rachel Carson
  • "One kind word can warm three winter months." -Japanese Proverb
  • "We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom." - Dwight Eisenhower
  • "The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government." - Thomas Jefferson
  • "Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." - Thomas Jefferson
  • "...public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people...with full recognition that every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration..." - Margaret Chase Smith
  • "Tomorrow will be better for as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life." - Walt Disney


Bits of Tid: June 27, 2009


Bits of Tid: June 25, 2009

  • Sorry I haven't blogged much lately. I've been in Argentina with my mistress.
  • Some insurance companies "confuse their customers and dump the sick, all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors," said a former Cigna executive.
  • Unemployed? Michigan Senate Republicans don't like you.
  • While Michigan Republicans are attacking financial aid for students, the Obama Administration is making it easier to apply for aid.
  • Wow! Obama's having a wonderful effect on US foreign policy! Under his leadership, Team USA beat Spain 2-0 in soccer, all while refusing to bow to the rest of the world by calling it "football." I'm impressed! (So it wasn't Obama's doing, but hey!)
  • Tigers' magic number: 86.


Bits of Tid: June 24, 2009

  • For the first time this year,the weather in Michigan is hotter than the Governor of Michigan!
  • Speaking of Governors, South Carolina's Mark Sanford (a possible 2012 hopeful) went missing; apparently hiking on Naked Hiking Day.
  • As imperfect as Obama is, I don't quite agree with Bill Maher on his criticisms, which have been the source of much discussion. Even so, few people can make a point better than him. From the "it-would-be-funnier-if-it-wasn't-so-true" file:
  • Ismael Ahmed has a storied career of working to improve the quality of life for Michigan citizens. Now he also has a blog.
  • Another cool blog: The Positivity Blog. It's got tips on things like being social, productive, and better at what you do.
  • Tigers' magic number: 88.


Are Democrats bad for Michigan sports teams?

Why should we expect Democrats to lead effectively and do well by our state when Michigan's sports teams seem to fail under their 'leadership?'

Consider this:

  • Under Obama's 'leadership,' the Red Wings are 0-1 in the Stanley Cup Finals. The last time they lost in the Finals was in 1995 - when Clinton was President.
  • They won it three times during John Engler's governorship (1997, 1998, 2002), while under Granholm they've only won it once.
  • Not to mention that the Tigers were lousy when Clinton was in office. Under Bush, they got the 2006 AL Championship. While their magic number to clinch the AL Central is just 97, perhaps it hasn't sunk in yet that Bush 43 is out of office.
  • Remember the Tigers' (and the AL's) worst season ever took place during the first year of the Granholm era in Michigan (2003)
  • The only team ever to go 0-16 did so under a Democrat governor. While Bush 43 was President at the time, Obama was President-elect during some of those losses.
  • Reagan's 1984 landslide came just weeks after Kirk Gibson's home run and the Tigers' victory in the World Series.
  • It was John Engler who governed during U-M's national football title in 1997 and MSU's basketball championship in 2000. The first NCAA basketball championship of the Bush 41 era (1989) was the only one for U-M.
  • Thank you, George W. Bush, for leading CMU to two straight MAC football titles (2006, 2007)!

Of course, there are plenty of holes in that logic - Granholm governed duriong the Tigers' AL Championship, Blanchard during the 1984 Series, and Clinton's Presidency included two straight Cup Finals sweeps for the Wings and championships for MSU basketball and U-M football.

Not to mention the fact that who's in office has nothing to do with the outcome of sporting events!

But while I wrote this factually-based snark piece, given what we have seen in Republican logic, I just can't seem to believe that this is too far-fetched to come out of the Republican spin machine.

Money, Congress, and We the People

Want to know what a conflict of interest looks like? Here are three examples. First from Yahoo! News:

Influential senators working to overhaul the nation's health care system have investments and family ties with some of the biggest names in the industry. The wife of Sen. Chris Dodd, the lawmaker in charge of writing the Senate's bill, sits on the boards of four health care companies.

Members of both parties have industry connections, including Democrats Jay Rockefeller and Tom Harkin, in addition to Dodd, and Republicans Tom Coburn, Judd Gregg, John Kyl and Orrin Hatch, financial reports showed Friday.

The Hill reports:

Senators who oversee the $700 billion Wall Street rescue package held stocks in many of the banks bailed out towards the end of last year, according to financial disclosure reports released Friday.

According to the reports detailing senators’ finances in 2008, nearly half of the members of the Senate Banking Committee had holdings in financial institutions that have taken funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The panel has jurisdiction over the bailout fund and other relief efforts directed by federal regulators to save the nation’s financial system.

For example, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), a Banking panel member, has assets in several banks that have taken bailout funds. Along with Goldman Sachs, the senator has several assets in Bank of America funds, worth at least $115,00. Bank of America has received $45 billion in government funds.
And finally, from the Miami Herald:
Among the 17 senators who voted against allowing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco are some of the top recipients of campaign contributions from the tobacco industry, which has donated millions of dollars to lawmakers in the past several campaign cycles.

Over the course of his nearly quarter-century Senate career, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who hails from the tobacco-rich state of Kentucky, has received $419,025 from the tobacco industry, more than any other member of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that analyzes the influence of money on politics and policy.

North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who led the opposition to the bill, is the second-highest recipient and netted $359,100 from tobacco-related political action committees and individual contributions. His state is the nation's largest tobacco grower and is home to R.J. Reynolds, the nation's second-largest tobacco manufacturing company, which contributed $196,850 to Burr's campaigns.

Despite refusing to take lobbyist money during the campaign - and having the same policy put in place at the DNC - Barack Obama was still able to get elected President by a convincing margin. He refused to let his principles be stained by their money.

I think we all accepted the idea that just because Obama was elected, that didn't mean corporate and lobbyist money was divorced from government. Not at all. However, now that Obama has shown how one can get elected to high office without lobbyist donations, I find it striking that a lot of people in Washington think they somehow still find it necessary to be so closely connected to big-moneyed businesses and interest groups.

I see an apples-to-oranges comparison here - Congressional and Presidential elections aren't the same - but even so, it would be hard for any of these people to justify letting any conflict of interest get in the way of doing right by the people.

Senator Burr, for instance, faces a potentially competitive re-election campaign next year. Senator McConnell, on the other hand, doesn't face the voters again until 2014. And yet both felt the need to break from the vast majority of their colleagues to vote against the best interests of the people of our nation.

Members of Congress are supposed to represent We the People. That's why we have a Congress in the first place. If a lawmaker won't do right by We the People, then what does that tell you about their integrity?


I Believe

I Believe that Barack Obama is a pretty damn good President. I'm glad we once again have a President who uses his brain!

I Believe that Barack Obama is an imperfect human being and that we should all expect him to make mistakes and disagree with us.

I Believe that when my grandfathers served my country in World War II and Dad in the Army Reserves, they did so in defense of freedom - for all people.

I Believe that as much as I like Obama, I'd like him even more if he would back up his talk on GLBT freedom with more action (and not having his administration defend DOMA in the courts). Oh, and highlight his dedication to open government by releasing those torture photos. If there's no reason to hide them, then why hide them?

I Believe that the effort being expended to stop the release of those photos and to protect DOMA could be better spent on other important matters.

I Believe that there are very few people on DKos who blindly support Obama, and there are also very few who look for any opportunity whatsoever to bash him. Most think he's a great President, but far from perfect. I am in that camp.

I Believe that change takes time. We would be mistaken if we expected Obama to do everything we want him to do in less than five months. Or, for that matter, less than four years. Even so...

I Believe in accountability. Speaking out and holding our elected officials accountable is not merely a right - it is our civic duty. We can say what we want to each other on DU, but there's a greater chance it would have an impact if our elected officials knew our opinions. How can we expect elected officials to do what we want if we don't tell them what we want?

I Believe - no, I Know - that the Capitol Switchboard is at 1-877-762-8762 (1-877-SOB-U-SOB). The White House's comment line is at 1-202-456-1111. I have programmed the numbers for the White House and my members of Congress into my cell phone so I don't have to look them up every time.

I Believe that it's much more productive to share your views with your elected officials than to be silent.

I Believe that the Red Wings are going to dominate tonight!

Bits of Tid: June 12, 2009

  • Happy Election Day!
  • Here in America, Midterm Election Day is fewer than 44 million seconds away!
  • Bill Clinton is hopeful that the current President will be able to succeed where he couldn't in the area of healthcare reform.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is dealing with a massive backlog that is hindering service to those who served.
  • How can we strengthen civic participation? The White House Blog explores the subject.
  • Finally, some good economic news for Michigan:
    Michigan's growth in clean energy jobs has outpaced the nation's since 1998, according to a Washington study.
  • Give blood and you might go to Vegas.


Kent Commission chair slams colleagues for standing up for West Michigan

Phil on West Michigan Rising recently discussed a Hire Local First policy for Kent County, which the three new Democratic members of the County Commission are proposing for the county.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that Kent County Commission Chair Roger Morgan has responded to the request by Democratic Commissioners Keith Courtade, Peter Hickey, and Bob Synk to form a subcommittee to look into establishing the policy. Not surprisingly, Morgan is not interested in change.

They got their reply last week from Morgan, who said he was not inclined to review 35 years of purchasing principles as practiced by the county.
While Morgan does try to make a case for keeping the status quo, more striking is his attack on the commissioners themselves for being first-termers.
Morgan, a Rockford Republican who was elected to the board in 2000, concluded by reminding the trio they are rookies on the board, having been elected last fall.
So, rather than take action to help our economy and the people who are suffering because of it, Roger Morgan would rather attack his colleagues for having been elected only once.

Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush, Roger Morgan - there sure are a lot of Republicans reminding me why I'm a Democrat!


Bits of Tid: June 9, 2009

  • We are in the midst of National Headache Awareness Week, International Clothesline Week, National Business Ettiquete Week, and National Automotive Service Professionals Week!
  • Feeling wonkish? The White House has unveiled its Roadmap to Recovery, which is aimed at keeping or adding 600,000 jobs over the course of the next several months.
  • And on that note, let the building of a new mass transit system begin!
  • Residents and businesses in Walker, MI, are now allowed to put wind turbines on their properties.
  • Speaking of wind turbines:More here.


Bits of Tid: June 7, 2009

  • By the numbers:
    • Number of Allied casualties on D-Day: 9,387
    • Number of people who die because of a lack of adequate health insurance each year: Almost 20,000. The current system is not pro-life.
    • Savings under single-payer healthcare (versus the current system): Up to $400 billion
    • Tigers' magic number: 105
    • Red Wings' magic number: 1
  • Lots of pictures of Obama and other world leaders at Normandy can be found here and here.
  • Sonia Sotomayor has completed her questionnaire for the Senate Judiciary Committee in preparation for her confirmation hearings.
  • KBR is being busted.
  • Joe Biden has served as Vice President longer than John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, William King, or Harry Truman.
  • The Red Wings scored more in the second period of Game 5 than I will in my entire life!
  • What do you think of this?


Our common humanity

The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as -- it is as if he has killed all mankind. And the Holy Koran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.

The President touched on our "common humanity" to reach out to the Muslim world in his address at Cairo University. For instance, he highlighted the rich history between the Islam faith and the United States, so as to show that there is no reason for Americans to be afraid of Muslims, or vice versa.

The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President, John Adams, wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims." And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, they have served in our government, they have stood for civil rights, they have started businesses, they have taught at our universities, they've excelled in our sports arenas, they've won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers -- Thomas Jefferson -- kept in his personal library.

Obama also took aim at long-standing beliefs about strength and authority.

It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That's not how moral authority is claimed; that's how it is surrendered.

The President concluded by illustrating a common theme amongst the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths. He used this to call upon all peoples to seek a new beginning for the Middle East.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us: "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."

The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."

The Holy Bible tells us: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."


International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression

4 June acknowledges child victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse and affirms the world’s commitment to protecting the rights of all children, including the right to freedom from torture. Over the past several years the IRCT has campaigned for the establishment of a Special Representative on Violence against Children. In its 62nd session in November 2007, the UN adopted a revised resolution for the promotion and protection of the rights of children, which included the creation of a Special Representative - though a person has not yet been appointed to fill this post. The IRCT urges the UN to make an appointment as soon as possible.
More at IRCT.


June is National ScottyUrb Likes Making Lists Month

Each month, week, and day is observed in many different ways by different people. February, for example, is National Awareness Month Awareness Month. Meanwhile, June is:

  • Adopt A Shelter Cat Month
  • Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome Awareness Month
  • Cancer From The Sun Month
  • Celibacy Awareness Month
  • Child Vision Awareness Month
  • Children's Awareness Month
  • Dairy Alternative Month
  • Effective Communications Month
  • Entrepreneurs "Do It Yourself" Marketing Month
  • Fireworks Safety Month
  • LGBT Pride Month
  • Great Outdoors Month
  • International Childhood Cancer Campaign Month
  • International Men's Month
  • Dairy Month
  • Lane Courtesy Month
  • Latino Health Awareness Month
  • Perennial Gardening Month
  • June is Turkey Lovers Month
  • National Accordion Awareness Month
  • National Aphasia Awareness Month
  • National Bathroom Reading Month
  • National Candy Month
  • National GLBT Month
  • National Ice Tea Month
  • National Rivers Month
  • National Rose Month
  • National Safety Month
  • National Smile Month
  • National Soul Food Month
  • National Steakhouse Month
  • Pharmacists Declare War on Alcoholism Month
  • Potty Training Awareness Month
  • Professional Wellness Month
  • Rebuild Your Life Month
  • Sports America Kids Month
  • Student Safety Month
  • Vision Research Month
  • World Infertility Month

Bits of Tid: June 2, 2009

  • Today is National Leave The Office Early Day and Yell "Fudge" at Cobras in North America Day. Please celebrate appropriately.
  • A couple years ago I called out state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and others for not doing their jobs. Well, some things haven't changed. Exhibit A:
    Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop told reporters today that Republicans will review the legislation but take their time working through the details.
    Exhibit B:
    The Senate Republican Majority's avoidance of Michigan's drug industry immunity law continued today, as the Senate Democrats' efforts to force a vote on legislation to return justice to Michigan victims of prescription drugs was postponed for four more months. On April 30, 2009, Republicans pushed off an up or down vote on the issue of drug immunity until June 2, and as the date was reached today, they further delayed their own deadline and put off any action on the legislation until October.
  • Whatever happened to "Change We Can Believe In?" Barack Obama lives in the SAME HOUSE that George W. lived in, works in the SAME OFFICE, and has the SAME NUMBER OF KIDS! And then there's this:
  • "Lose weight" and "Stop procrastinating" are the two most popular goals on 43things.com. Others include "write a book," "get out of debt," and "visit all 50 states." I'm telling you, this is one of my favorite sites at the moment! I strongly recommend getting an account and making your list of things you want to do - and things you have already done!


ARRRRGH - Bankruptcy Edition


Bankruptcy for Chrysler, and now GM. I won't insult your intelligence by saying that this is utterly devastating, to say the least.

While not glossing over the harshness and devastation of GM's bankruptcy, President Obama and Governor Granholm have made it clear they are committed to ensuring that the newly restructured GM will be leaner, meaner, and structured far better than the old GM. The White House has released a fact sheet on GM's restructuring.

Meanwhile, on the Huffington Post, Granholm writes:

So, three major opportunities exist to turn the destruction of bankruptcies and job losses into the creative reconstruction of America's manufacturing economy:

President Obama's commitment to free us from dependence on foreign and carbon-based fuels; the imperative that those green products be made in America to create that true independence; and a talented manufacturing sector hungry for work.

The moment is now to use our lean, retooled American manufacturing sector to build the green cars, batteries, a smart electric grid, wind turbines and solar panels that will lead us to energy independence.

It's a time of dramatic, historic, national transformation. And despite today's devastating news, Michigan is ready to lead.

Meanwhile, there seems to be at least some hope for Chrysler. Obama:

"The decision by Judge Gonzalez of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to approve the Chrysler sale transaction paves the way for the new Chrysler to successfully emerge from bankruptcy as a new, stronger, more competitive company for the future. Only a month ago, this great American company’s very future was in doubt. Now, as a result of a substantial commitment by the U.S. government, and tough sacrifices from all stakeholders involved, Chrysler has a new lease on life. We said this process would be completed quickly and efficiently, and that’s exactly what has been accomplished today. Tens of thousands of American jobs will be saved as a result of this extraordinary effort."

We'll get through this.

UPDATE: I just found this thanks to Graham: