The $10 Voter-Apathy Tax: Avoiding Lead-Poisoning & Raising $1 Billion for Michigan

My first job was supposed to be as a dishwasher–until my buddy heard me mention I was applying for the job and got there an hour before me.  I ended up becoming the kitchen slopboy/custodian–mopping the basement and scraping out the grease under the prep table after the health department again threatened to shut down the swanky Pagoda. Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen. Place your bets… The place is long-gone but I still have that first green pay-stub reflecting my 9 hours that July 1979–for $3 an hour.  I remember looking at the top right and seeing $27.00 “gross pay” (pretty accurate considering the nasty work).  Then at the bottom was “net pay” for six bucks less.  It was my first non-paper route payday so after I cashed the check, I asked my dad who had ripped me off. “Well,” he said pointing out the little boxes, “that’s the federal tax, that’s the state tax… Read More…

Propaganda, Potholes and Pensions: Political Ads & Business Clichés During Election (Hunting) Season

It wasn’t supposed to be this close of a race in Michigan. To get Rick Snyder re-elected governor may take more checks from United Citizens like the Koch brothers to create more subtle ads like the following… [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnPG2iW3cqU] This cringe-worthy moment was a response to Mark Schauer’s surprising “too-close-to-call” campaign—perhaps riding on the bumpy road of last winter’s potholes and angry pensioners whose fixed incomes become less-fixed with Snyder’s new tax on their retirement. Even GOP legislators weren’t happy with this tax… Republican Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, who introduced the repeal bill on March 20, said he did so in response to constituents in his district who have called his office or approached him in coffee shops to complain about the pension tax as they prepare their returns. “Since it’s tax season, I’ve had a huge amount of calls from my constituents when they find out what their tax liability is,” Jones told… Read More…

Labor Day: Created in Six Days from Collective Guilt and a Stubborn Landlord

This weekend, we’re celebrating the end of summer–the bookend to Memorial Day and a great Monday to have off.  Labor Day was created to supposedly honor the American worker but was  passed in record time in 1887 by a Congress and president with a guilty-conscience. It began with a broken promise–probably one that shouldn’t have been made.  But it was made–and believed to be made for all the right reasons on one side and the more logical reason on the other side–the reason of profit. George Pullman, like any great American businessman, found his niche.  He grew up near the Erie Canal and witnessed the importance of creating luxury transportation and adapted it to the newborn railroad system. After transporting Lincoln’s body through 180 cities and seven states demand for Pullman’s cars grew, in spite of the cost being five times traditional railroad transportation.  (Interestingly, not only did Lincoln’s macabre road-tour change rail-travel it also perfected funeral science… Read More…

Once Cherished Detroit Journalist Turned Thoughtless Blogger – The Tipping Point of Mitch Albom’s Generational Supremacy

I’ve had a gripe with Mitch Albom for a long time. Like many, I used to be a huge fan. Tuesday’s With Morrie made me cry and The Five People You Meet in Heaven made me wonder, gasp and smile. He used to be “our guy” on ESPN’s Around the Horn or Outside the Lines. And—as a New Jersey transplant—he was the champion of Detroit when others were kicking us while we were down. Then he lied about a little detail in a Free Press article… Will Albom’s woes taint journalism? It was a small detail, but it was lying nonetheless. And since then—- A once staple column in the Detroit Free Press, Mitch Albom’s weekly Sunday pieces have tended to follow a stagnant, boring and Kale-infuriating formula in recent years. If he isn’t writing books about how scared of death he is, or he isn’t dropping an article touting… Read More…

Saturday Morning Marriage-Rush: Families Racing Against Their Government

* Non-Surprising Update After 7 Hours since this original post:  “The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, after first signaling it would not intervene in Michigan’s gay marriage case until Tuesday, posted a new order late Saturday imposing a stay in the case until Wednesday.’ (link) The Oklahoma land-rush scene from Far and Away, best illustrates what’s happening this morning in many county clerk’s offices in Michigan.  Desperate families given a brief window of opportunity to give their children the same rights and opportunities as other American kids–fully expecting the window to be slammed shut at any moment. Free land–if you can out-run or out-wit your opponents.  Unfortunately, families in line right now are finding their opponent their own state leadership.  You need to move fast and be ready to deal with cheaters. Sadly, too few people trust the State of Michigan to do what is right.  My cousin Jenny… Read More…

Then Along Came a Snyder: Super Bowl Scuba-Governor & Four Great Lake Shipwrecks to Explore Before Drowning in $30 Million in Ads

It’s not every Super Bowl you see a snorkeling governor rising dramatically from the depths of a swimming pool. Toss in the Phil Hartman-like cheesy narrator and you’ve got a $400,000 bid for amnesia. And while Super Bowl ads often have strange, engaging openings, they often aren’t know for their literary depth Even the press secretary of former Michigan GOP governor John Engler admitted he was a bit baffled: “Truscott initially was confused by the snorkeling scene too, but upon further reflection, he thought it worked as a metaphor.” (link) Most Super Bowl ads don’t require “further reflection.” There’s not a lot of metaphors either, unless you count cute dogs, groin-injuries and trucks hauling cattle. This strange spot produced by Strategic Perception Inc. of Hollywood oddly blends two famous 1960s Hollywood images that have never before co-existed: Benjamin Braddock and James Bond… It’s not too far of a leap, actually,… Read More…

Newsflash! Michigan Company Moves to Michigan – “Right-to-Work” Righteousness by Gov. Snyder

I received an email today from the governor.  Rick Snyder proudly announced that a Michigan-based company has decided to move to–Michigan, of all paces.  There it was, right there in my in-box, under the double-meaning title:  “This is what it’s all about.” subject heading… This is what it’s all about.  Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the Michigan’s governor signing into law “Right to Work” under the promises that it would make Michigan more competitive, attract new companies and give employees more options. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, that all of the RTW states’ employees have a lower standard of living without unions, despite the governor himself stating that the issue was divisive, despite the doors being locked from the public during the lame-duck push by legislators who had just lost their seats in the election, the law was passed. Yesterday, the AFL-CIO sent out an email reminding… Read More…