Friday, April 30, 2004

Ferry money spent on redecorating?

3285.2. The rest of the story
by NihilNemo, 4/30/04 10:35 ET
Re: I can't find the post on Bultema and Bailey by duddoright, 4/30/04
Too bad Jack left out of his memo that the money for the ferry wasn't available because it was spent remodeling his office. Check out the line item in this year's budget. Using room tax money to pay for Hall of Justice renovations is illegal under state law. I wonder why Steve Gunn hasn't run a story on it yet? Jack's memo also failed to mention the $20,000 per year pay raise he got this year. Always good to see fiscal responsibility starts at the top.

Why is the media always negative about the economy?

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Yes Virginia....

..there is a difference between Demos and fight

Then, apparently to Hayworth’s complete surprise, Armed Services Committee, members Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) and Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), took over the podium. “Are you guys trying to score some points politically, or what?” asked
Hayworth as he leaned in. “I’ll be here to watch.”

And watch he did, from only five feet away.

A release distributed by Meehan’s staff quoted him as saying, “This is outrageous. We’re standing next to an armored Humvee here in Washington when it should be in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

But when pressed, Meehan backed off that assertion, saying he didn’t demand that “this particular vehicle” be in Iraq, only that 12,000 such vehicles are needed over there.

Taking back the microphone, Hayworth said, “We all want to support our troops, but in full disclosure, I’m sure [Meehan] doesn’t mind if I point this out: When it came time to vote $87 billion for the troops, Marty voted no, and the man he’s supporting for president, Senator [John] Kerry [D-Mass.], voted no.”

Interesting Miracle Gro commercial

I just watched a Miracle Gro TV commercial starring Peter Straus (of old TV fame) touting the viagra-like effects on plants of MG. But the really interesting thing was the attractive but very grey haired lady (wife?) who gazed adoringly at super-gardener Pete as he preened for the camera. Quite a switch from the typical trim geezer with the 20 year younger trophy wife. Maybe the MG kept the marriage vibrant or is this a HORRIBLE new trend? Pleeese, no...... I want commercials that are REAL! Maybe a Henry Kissinger inching around on his walker as an adoring Carmen Elecktra snips the buds off their daffodils and has him lick MiracleGro from her fingers.....hmmmm

Maybe Hillary will visit Muskegon?

We need more politicos visiting Muskegon and spreading their $$ around.... or do we? I wonder who is paying for these gigs? I remember years ago that Rep. Guy Vanderjact (sp?) got caught in the Caribbean with a non-spousal sweet young thing and the voters told him to find a new job. Did the tax payers get stuck for that one too?

"Hillary Clinton leaves Jamaica Holidayed at Tryall
Monday, April 19, 2004

FORMER US first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, left Jamaica yesterday after a one-week vacation at the exclusive Tryall Club in Hanover, highly placed sources confirmed.

Hotel officials declined to confirm or deny Rodham Clinton's stay at the property, but one knowledgeable source told the Observer: "She had a quiet, delightful and restful holiday. That was the way she wanted it."

According to Observer sources, between her aides, friends and Secret Service protectors Rodham Clinton's entourage occupied 40 rooms."

Read the rest

More on Oil for Terror from the WSJ

Where is the unbiased major media on this? Disgusting!

"In a world beset right now by terrorist threats--which depend on terrorist financing--it's time to acknowledge that the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food program was worse than simply a case of grand larceny. Given Saddam's proclivities for deceit and violence, Oil-for-Food was also a menace to security. By letting Saddam pick his own business partners and draw up his own shopping lists, by keeping the details of his contracts and accounts secret, and by then failing abjectly to supervise the process, the U.N.--through a program meant to aid the people of Iraq--enabled Saddam to line his pockets while bankrolling his pals world-wide. In return, precisely, for what? That is a question former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker might want to keep in mind as he heads up the official investigation, finally agreed to by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, into Oil-for-Food."
read the whole articleOpinionJournal

Great response to "Try feeding a family of six on $235"

MyMuskegon responds (on the MLive site food costs money?) to one of the lamest front page articles ever for the Chronicle.
MyMuskegon should be on the Chronicle staff!
Here's the original Chronicle article Life is unfair!

"Oh where to start on this one...
This article is pretty well out there - especially to make it a front page highlight article in the Muskegon Chronicle. I don't even know where to start on this one. My thoughts are going in so many directions on this one...

I guess I'll toss a couple of things out there that quickly come to mind here.

What is the REAL purpose of this article?

To show us a family of six who made it for one month with food assistance of $235.00? (Let's not forget that they MAY have received a nice tax return of roughly $3,300.00 - $4,200.00 in the month or two before March due to EIC - and still not paid in ANY Federal Income Tax).

To tell us it is hard to feed a family healthy foods today for a low cost because healthier foods cost more? (Do they really cost more? If you watch the local sale ads, they DO NOT!)

To show us a family who didn't plan their future very well? (Why are they having more children when they obviously are having budget issues? Job or no job, are they REALLY aware of their own family budget and what they can afford?)

To show us a family who went to get help in learning how to feed the family healthier? (Are they really getting sound advice? Are they really being shown how to REALLY stretch a dollar? I don't think so!)

To show us that people with low incomes and without a lot of education tend to be obese? (These are not my words, they were in the printed version - Also, keep in mind the article (and the photos) showed that the family is NOT obese).

To show us that spending your entire food allotment at one time is a good idea (or not a good idea)? (The article stated that they purchase food at the beginning of the month - when the food assistance was available, and they made it last as long as possible (limiting fruit and potato chips). Isn't this a bad idea - better yet would be to plan ahead and buy the meals for a week or so (or freeze the meat, main course, etc), and the extras and sales items as they become available. Wouldn't this result in more spending power than blowing the whole wad at once? ALso, did anyone watch them actually spend $235.00 on JUST food? This cash is sepndable any way you see fit - was this real or just told??? For a front page article, I would hope that Susan Harrison Wolffis actually went grocery shopping with them - and hopefully pointed out deals and values along the way to stretch the dollar. It sure sounds as though this DID NOT happen.)

I'm just totally lost on this one. Reading the article online is one thing...seeing the actual photos/charts in the actual Muskegon Chronicle is a whole new experience...

What was the real point of this front page article? If it was attempting to be a culmination of all of the above, it was still done very, very poorly.

Looks to me that the Chronicle went shopping and took pictures at a Save-A-Lot or Aldi - I'm not sure which one yet, but I bet I am right (more than likely Save-A-Lot).


For one, I want to know how you can make Kool-Aid for $0.13 a quart when just a week or two ago Meijer had Kool-Aid on sale for $0.10 a packet. The everyday Meijer price is $0.25 a packet (not including the water or sugar). Sugar is roughly $2.00 per 5 pound bag. 8 ounces = 1/2 pound. 5 pound bag of sugar yields 10 cups - thus 1 cup sugar = $0.20.

I really thought I got a deal when I last stocked up on Kool-Aid at Meijer at the price of 10/$1.00. I sure wish the Chronicle would clue me in on this method so I could save some myself some more cash.

How do you compare Kraft "Pastuerized Process Cheese Food" slices to Kraft blocks of "REAL" Mild Cheddar Cheese? They are two totally different products??? I realize this is supposed to be a junk food to healthier food comparison - but wouldn't a comparison agasint the $0.99 cent generic made by oil (instead of milk) cheese slices to the Kraft "Pastuerized Process Cheese Food" slices have been a better comparison? Hey, Plumbs has Spartan Brand chunk cheese on sale this week for $1.50 for an 8 ounce package - that makes it $0.19 per oz and cheaper than the Kraft Cheese slices they showed in the Chronicle at $0.26 per ounce. The real deal at a cheaper price...WOW!

Who has Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs for $1.33? I'd like to know...and why do you compare this chicken/meat/pork product to Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast? Why not compare a Slim-Jim to filet mignon? It is supposed to be junk meat to healthier meat right? Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts can be had on sale for $0.99 to $1.99 per pound very often. Hey, lets not forget about the occasional sales at Plumbs for New York Strip Steaks at $1.99 - $2.49 per pound too... Also, Plumbs has Eckrich 1 pound hot dogs on SALE this week for $2.00 per pound. Hmmm...Where are those $1.33 hot dogs at again?

White bread $2.19 / Whole Wheat $2.79??? I have not paid more than $1.00 per loaf of bread in a very long time. Doesn't Wesco sell bread for $.69 (or $0.89) everyday. Local bread stores sell it for roughly $.30 - $0.40 everyday. Plumbs, Meijer, D&W, etc have store brands for roughly around $0.99 everyday (not counting sales). Hey, Plumbs has white bread on sale this week - $1.19 for TWO loaves. Hmmm...

Comparing Orange Drink to Orange Juice - $1.49 for 64 ounces of Orange Drink. Hey, Plumbs and Meijer have REAL orange juice on sale this week for $1.50 - $0.01 cent more and you get the real deal. WOW!

Lastly, they do not give food stamps out anymore - it is called a Michigan Bridge Card and it is processed the same way a credit card is - with the electronic swipe of a plastic card. Unlike in the past with Food Stamps (that required a food-only purchase), with their cash benefits, customers may purchase both food and/or non-food items in a store. The store owner may choose to accept the Bridge Card for the amount of the cash purchase, or may choose to offer cash back with or without a purchase.

Cash back - just like an ATM card.

Basically, my point is this article is way off base in all aspects. Healthy foods can be bought rather cheaply (if not cheaper) if you take the time to pay attention to the sale ads and shop and stock up accordingly. This article made absolutely no mention of this at all. This family gets one bag of potato chips per month and they go quickly. OH JOY! How about visiting BigLots and get those chips for $0.79 per bag. Or the Dollar store next to Plumbs on Apple Ave for only $1.00 (I'm talking Uncle Rays - Good chips by the way and made in Michigan). Better yet, why didn't this article state that the family buys a ten pound bag of spuds on sale for $0.99 and involve the family in a family potato chip making night which includes slicing and frying their own homemade potato chips???

Do you see my point here?

A family of six CAN live on $235.00 per month. The article did prove this - for what it is really worth. I think with the right knowledge and the right sales ads in hand, they could have eaten ever better. What exactly did they eat? What were the meals and/or snacks? This article told us nothing... The meals should be healthy...hey, we already know that. I want to know what exactly they ate to make it on $235.00 for a month.

Lets also not quickly think about how poor this family seems to be by the way the article surely made it feel (for the moment the article focused on the family). This family actually enjoys many more benefits than a single person or a married couple with no children.

Keep in mind that the children of this family now receive free health care benefits (including dental and vision) - all of them (via MiChild). The mother-to-be receives (for the term of pregnancy) free health care benefits as well as WIC (WIC also serves children through age five with regular checks that cover the purchase of milk, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, etc), the newborn child will also go on MiChild at birth too. The birth of the baby will be covered too.
The birth of the baby will be covered too. The mother-to-be could also choose free family planning services (such as Tubal Ligation or other means of birth control - at no charge). The oldest child should be receiving free lunch at school (one less meal to feed during the weekdays). As a low income family, they also qualify for LifeLine Telephone Service (roughly $8.00 per month for a landline telephone in the home via Verizon).

Via thier 2003 Federal Income Tax return, this family should have also received a check at the end of the 2003 tax year in the amount of $3,363.00 - $4,204.00 for the Earned Income Credit (EIC) or as advanced payment throughout the past 2003 year. They also owed ZERO Federal Income Tax (yep - I was bored and did the actual math).

Keep in mind that an adoption tax credit also exisits during the year that a child was adopted.

On the topic of Income tax, they could have also recieved a heating credit and a rent credit from the State of Michigan for 2003 too. I haven't taken the time to figure this out - perhaps someone else will? Base it on full year wages of $5.50 per hour and separately of $9.00 per hour and see what you come up with.

I'm not trying to be negative here...just pointing out some facts the article seemed to miss by my view point. There is nothing wrong with receiving assistance at all - by anyone. It it just that sometimes, by doing the complete math on a certain scenario that is presented, that you see the real results, start to think, and question the outcome...

More money from the bottomless pockets...

... of Muskegon taxpayers.
Hey, I like the idea of the ferry. And I think that Bultema and Bailey are two of the best folks to ever hit this town. And I think that they probably should get the extra $200 Gs. But when is the County gonna get out of the "hey, we've got boatloads of money for anyone who can prove they need it" business? Does anyone think this is the end? I hope so but it sure would be interesting to see how much federal, state and local money is being given away "free" and who is getting it.

Much more news on the Chronicle's MLive site!

It looks like the Chronicle is putting much more info and articles on the M Live site. Great news!
M Live

Yes Virginia, there is a difference.....

...... between Democrats and Republicans. Like it or not, no one can say they're both the same.
no God for the democrats

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Grumpy about Kerrey?

More talk of pressure to get rid of him. I wonder if it's even possible? From the liberal Village VoiceGet rid of Kerry

Mondo Washington
by James Ridgeway
John Kerry Must Go
Note to Democrats: it's not too late to draft someone—anyone—else
April 27th, 2004 11:45 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C.— With the air gushing out of John Kerry's balloon, it may be only a matter of time until political insiders in Washington face the dread reality that the junior senator from Massachusetts doesn't have what it takes to win and has got to go. As arrogant and out of it as the Democratic political establishment is, even these pols know the party's got to have someone to run against George Bush. They can't exactly expect the president to self-destruct into thin air.

With growing issues over his wealth (which makes fellow plutocrat Bush seem a charity case by comparison), the miasma over his medals and ribbons (or ribbons and medals), his uninspiring record in the Senate (yes war, no war), and wishy-washy efforts to mimic Bill Clinton's triangulation gimmickry (the protractor factor), Kerry sinks day by day. The pros all know that the candidate who starts each morning by having to explain himself is a goner.

What to do? Look for the Dem biggies, whoever they are these days, to sit down with the rich and arrogant presumptive nominee and try to persuade him to take a hike. Then they can return to business as usual—resurrecting John Edwards, who is still hanging around, or staging an open convention in Boston, or both.

If things proceed as they are, the dim-bulb Dem leaders are going to be very sorry they screwed Howard Dean.

Where did all the MONEY go?

Pardon my grumpyness but after reading this article We need more $$$ about the Mona Shores School system "budget crisis" I feel like I live in Never Never Land. Get this quote from the superintendent, "The last 10 years have been a real interesting time in education, and the financial issues must be fixed at the state level. Districts are struggling for capital dollars," said Babbitt. "Parents with children in school really need to pay attention to what is going on" at the state level. " Of course he means that the state funnel more moola into the schools. No problem with that except where does the state get its moola? Oh, what are you anti education? Anti child?
Most of any school's budget is spent on labor. Mostly teachers/administrators salary and benefits. Maybe we could just take a peek at what the real total compensation package is for those fine folks. What are you? Anti learning?!!
Try this cool link to see what MS Schools want us to see about that.Mona-Shores Schools

Monday, April 26, 2004

Joke of the day!

from Luskin
Joke of the Day
Monday, April 26, 2004

Every day there are news reports about more deaths. Every night on TV there are photos of death and destruction. Why are we still there?
We occupied this land, which we had to take by force, but it causes us nothing but trouble. Why are we still there?

Many of our children go there and never come back. Why are we still there?

Their government is unstable, and they have loopy leadership. Why are we still there?

Many of their people are uncivilized. Why are we still there?

The place is subject to natural disasters, which we are supposed to bail them out of. Why are we still there?

There are more than 1000 religious sects, which we do not understand. Why are we still there?

Their folkways, foods and fads are unfathomable to ordinary Americans. Why are we still there?

We can't even secure the borders. Why are we still there?

They are billions of dollars in debt and it will cost billions more to rebuild, which we can't afford. Why are we still there?

It is becoming obvious... we must move out of California!
Posted by Donald Luskin at 4/26/2004 10:40:53 AMjoke link

Big government logic in today's Chronicle!!

The Chronicle Honchos reprinted an editorial from the Flint Journal applauding Gov. Jennifer's veto of the GOPers porkey and redundant creation of a "Michigan State Manufacturing Czar" position with all the attendant promises and Czar-like international travel and personal expenses. Good for her! The Republicans should be ashamed. Flagrant politicking with the taxpayer's money again. Maybe the Chronicle will print a list of all of our "czars add czarinas" created in the last 15 years. Why not a sunset provision for every new program in our wonderful state? Wouldn't the money saved be better spent on roads, bridges and beer tent subsidies for Muskegon residents?

Friday, April 23, 2004

Unity Fest Aug 12-14

I'd never even heard any Christian music but last year I was dragged to the Unity Festival. I was amazed! The music was fab and it was real interesting to watch all the different ages and types of folks who really enjoy this music. This another wonderful Muskegon Summer opportunity not to be missed. It is best, if possible, to bring along a friend who is a member of the Eagles..... no beer's sold on the Fest site and all that Praisin' and rockin' and rollin' does get one a bit thirsty. And the Eagles is just a quick trip across the street.

Pat Tillman-Hero

-NFL player Tillman killed in Afghanistan
Former Cardinal gave up big salary to join Army RangersBREAKING NEWS news services
Updated: 10:26 a.m. ET April 23, 2004Pat Tillman, who gave up a lucrative NFL contract with the Phoenix Cardinals to join the Army Rangers, reportedly has been killed in Afghanistan.
from MSNBC
more about this fine young man

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Another "No-Show" by the Chronicle

Bush bashing on the front page is just duckey for the Chronicle but where are they when the real cause of French, German and Russian obstruction of our efforts against terrorism have been on the Blogoshpere for months?
UNSCAM, the shocking and dreadful theft of the UN's "Oil for Food" program now looks to include Kofi Annan, the political leadership of France, Germany and Russia and major political contributors of those politicians. It's beginning to look like the War was all about oil, stolen oil. Read the article and ask why the major media has ignored this for months.

Dirty air and alphabetizing.....

from the FREEP:
"ENVIRONMENT: 25 counties fail new smog rules, EPA says

April 16, 2004
Twenty-five Michigan counties fail new, stricter limits on smog, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday.

The designations mean the counties and the state must take measures to reduce pollution. ......
But he was pleased that western Michigan, which gets most of its smog from upwind industry in Chicago and Milwaukee, was allowed more leeway.
The affected Michigan counties are: Allegan, Berrien, Benzie, Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Kent, Macomb, Mason, Monroe, Oakland, Ottawa, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne, Cass and Muskegon.
Were Cass and Muskegon added at the last minute or does the FREEP have an alphabatizing problem? HeHe....
from the FREEP

Blame the Governor!

Another front page article from the Chronicle "Poor economy is pushing more to food programs" (No link, buy the paper!) OK, the Michigan economy is slow, and Muskegon's economy is slower than the rest of the state and more folks are utilizing whatever free resources available. No surprise. But if Georgie Bush is responsible for the terrible US economy, why isn't Jennie G to blame for our terrible state economy? And why not a front page expose on the mayors and county commissioners for wrecking Muskegon County's hope for a sound economic future? Huh? Maybe because most people have heard of 9-11? Maybe because most folks realize Jennie and the Muskegon Jets inherited a whole heap of problems from their predecessors? Just maybe? It seems to me that Grandholm and Muskegon County's leaders have done a pretty decent job so far. Same with Georgie. Oh, and by the way, the US economy is pretty good, not terrible.

Oil for Terror?

I generally think that the Chronicle is a good newspaper but their coverage of national news, particularly the war on terror, is appalling. Today's front page shouts "War's cost: $4.7 billion per month". No context is provided, no comparison with other wars or other federal programs. Just the same "dang, this is TOO much money" inference. It sure would be keen to see the Chronicle give front page space to other financial this maybe?
"Especially with the U.N.'s own investigation into Oil-for-Food now taking shape, and more congressional hearings in the works, it is high time to focus on the likelihood that Saddam may have fiddled Oil-for-Food contracts not only to pad his own pockets, buy pals, and acquire clandestine arms but also to fund terrorist groups, quite possibly including al Qaeda."Read the whole article

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Don't get me wrong....

Today's Chronicle reports a tsunami of praise for those receiving the largesse of our wonderful Muskegon taxpayers. I think most folks think that MPS does a reasonably good job but calling their financial management a "miracle" seems a bit of a stretch.
"That we still are maintaining the quality of education in Muskegon Public Schools is nothing short of a miracle," Michalski said.
Director of Support Services Gary Privasky is expected to be promoted to executive director of administrative services with a salary increase of $3,176. He currently earns $92,267 annually.

Huh? $92,267 per YEAR? And a $3,176 raise? How many of these salaries are being paid by this "Miracle" school system? Does anyone wonder?
The district has arrived at its dismal financial picture for a variety of reasons. Revenues from per-pupil state aid are stagnant, but enrollment has dropped the last several years and could drop some more.
In addition, the district is anticipating having to pay $913,604 more in salaries because of increased seniority and an anticipated 1 percent negotiated pay increase.
Health insurance costs are expected to rise by 18 percent or $1.5 million."

Maybe it's time the Chronicle honchos did a front page story on where all the money goes?
read it all

Monday, April 19, 2004

Was this a close vote?

That's $7500 per student per year. I wonder how that compares to charter and private schools in the area.
New School Ain't Cheap
Whitehall District Schools operates on a $16.5 million budget with 280 employees and 2,200 students.

The new 750-student high school, on land formerly in Whitehall Township but annexed to the city of Whitehall in 2002,