Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Today in Investor's Business Daily stock analysis and business news

Today in Investor's Business Daily stock analysis and business news: "As we've noted, 2008 has been a year of records for cold and snowfall and may indeed be the coldest year of the 21st century thus far. In the U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month of October.
Global thermometers stopped rising after 1998, and have plummeted in the last two years by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius. The 2007-2008 temperature drop was not predicted by global climate models. But it was predictable by a decline in sunspot activity since 2000.
When the sun is active, it's not uncommon to see sunspot numbers of 100 or more in a single month. Every 11 years, activity slows, and numbers briefly drop near zero. Normally sunspots return very quickly, as a new cycle begins. But this year, the start of a new cycle, the sun has been eerily quiet."

Las Vegas public pension system broke

Las Vegas Business Press
"'We are the only state with no minimum age,' he said.

Nevada requires 20 years on the job to qualify for the pension.

More alarming, Hill said, were health care benefits offered retired public employees."

Let There Be Dark?

Let There Be Dark?
"Moving past the term “controlling light wastage,” which seems to be little more than a euphemism for darker city streets, plenty of data link dim urban areas with higher crime rates. A 2004 study in the Journal of British Criminology, for example, studied 13 U.S. and British cities and concluded that improved street lighting, on average, was associated with a 20 percent decrease in crime. In contrast, I could find no data linking the inability to see the Milky Way with any sort of harm to anyone."

Uncle Jay Explains: Year-end! 12-22-08

Monday, December 29, 2008

Michelle O's a 'Goddess.' Palin is 'Worst Dressed' | NewsBusters.org

Fashion Writer: Michelle O's a 'Goddess.' Palin is 'Worst Dressed' NewsBusters.org: "It appears Obamamania has not only infiltrated British newspapers, but so has Palin Derangement Syndrome...even in the fashion section."

We must face facts!
THEY are always deranged about something/someone...
Bummer dudes!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Muskegon outsourcing?


I just was told that the address we must use to send in our city of Muskegon property taxes is in Chicago.... yes, THAT Chicago.

The Chicago of Senators-for-sale, Governors making license plates, "The Dailey Machine", "SouthSidePolitical Machine", etc.

And, oh yeah, home of our President-elect.

Anyway, I have a few thoughts about Muskegon outsourcing our tax collection services.

1. WHY!!!!!!

I assume the "official" reason is that it is "cheaper/more efficient" to outsource a city duty to the 2nd most corrupt city in the midwest (imagine if we outsourced to Detroit!).

2. But if it is "cheaper/more efficient" where are the savings right here in Muskegon?

What jobs have been cut?

What net savings accrue to us poor Muskegonites by this fiscal efficiency?

3. Why the silence from the City of Muskegon?

Why are we not proudly told by the city of their brilliant move to save costs to the taxpayers?

4. Why isn't The Muskegon Chronicle front-paging the great news that the city of Muskegon is utilizing the same methods of efficiency that The Chronicle recently imposed, ITSELF, to save moolah, outsourcing?

5. And if not pride at the new efficiency:

Where is the outrage?

The angry, double-dog umbrage!

The "say it ain't so Joe!" in high dudgeon from the editorialistas of our Muskegon Chronicle who have long warned us of the evils of outsourcing?

6. The silence is... not deafening.... simply consistent from our city of Muskegon and its lapdog/newspaper of self-destruction.

7. Or it might just be that someone paid someone to make the deal and we, the taxpayers are screwed again.

Thank God for Indiana!

GordoM-prefers-Muskegon-but-is-comforted-that-Indiana-"self"-outsourcing-is-an-option

SensaAbilities - Muskegon Opinion - The Muskegon Chronicle Online - Michigan Newspaper - MLive.com

SensaAbilities
If you feel overwhelmed by too much stuff, too many responsibilities, and too little time and money, 'Voluntary Simplicity' may be for you. West Michigan Interfaith will sponsor the five-week discussion series 6-8 p.m. Thursdays Jan. 8-Feb. 5 at the Torrent House, across from Hackley Public Library.
Developed by Northwest Earth Institute, this program is for all who want a path away from environmental destruction and toward an increasing awareness of how personal choices impact physical, emotional and spiritual health. The study guide quotes wisdom from a variety of spiritual teachers and philosophers who have found both inner and outer peace in a simple lifestyle.
The series is FREE, but participants are expected to read a chapter each week from a study guide, which can be purchased from Northwest Institute for $25 each; guides may be shared. Call Connie at (616) 846-8465 to register."

"Free" is $25 bucks?
Newspeak it is!

Detroit vs. Green Bay - Recap - December 28, 2008

Detroit vs. Green Bay - Recap - December 28, 2008: "The Detroit Lions own a distinction no team wants: worst in NFL history."

A PERFECT SEASON, dude!

Indy tradition dead!

My Way - Sports News
"Earlier this week, the speedway began making changes as it closed its 45-year-old hotel, the Brickyard Crossing Inn, where some drivers used to stay in May and scenes from Paul Newman's movie 'Winning' were shot."

What, no bailout for Indy motels?

Anger, sadness over fabricated Holocaust story

Anger, sadness over fabricated Holocaust story
"The damage is broad. Publishing, the most trusting of industries, has again been burned by a memoir that fact-checking might have prevented. Berkley is an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), which in March pulled Margaret B. Jones''Love and Consequences' after the author acknowledged she had invented her story of gang life in Los Angeles. Winfrey fell, as she did with James Frey, for a narrative of suffering and redemption better suited for television than for history."

"most trusting of...."?
Sounds more like laziness and wilful ignorance.
All in a business that thrives on both.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Muskegon County sued by U.S. over sexual harassment - MLive.com

Muskegon County sued by U.S. over sexual harassment - MLive.com: "The federal lawsuit -- one of only 12 such filed this year in the United States -- alleges the county 'failed to respond with adequate remedial measures' to employee Eva Amaya's complaints of multiple instances of sexual harassment, and to similar complaints by other employees."

Monday, December 22, 2008

U.S. newspaper shuns Web, and thrives

U.S. newspaper shuns Web, and thrives
"'Why would I put anything on the Web?' asked Dan Jacobson, the publisher and owner of the newspaper. 'I don't understand how putting content on the Web would do anything but help destroy our paper. Why should we give our readers any incentive whatsoever to not look at our content along with our advertisements, a large number of which are beautiful and cheap full-page ads?'"

The "progressives" who run our nation's newspapers thought that joint operating agreements (like the destructive "merging of The Detroit News & FreePress) would allow each newspaper to have a monopoly.

And they were right!

Except monopolies rarely produce high quality...... and progressives were never interested in quality to begin with. So......

The customers took the free stuff (who needs quality when it's free!) and dropped the rest.

It is amazing that newspaper owners are at a total loss as to why their companies are collapsing.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Solis' Selection for Secretary of Labor | National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation

Solis' Selection for Secretary of Labor National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation: "Right to Work President Mark Mix discusses Obama's upcoming appointment of forced unionism activist Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor with Neil Cavuto of Fox News:"

Man-Made Global Warming: 10 Questions

Man-Made Global Warming: 10 Questions
"I consider myself to be relatively well-read on the matter, and I’ve still come down on the skeptical side, because there are aspects of the issue that don’t make a lot of sense to me. Though I confess to have written none-too-reverentially on the subject, I want to try to put all that aside and ask ten serious questions to which I have been unable to find definitive answers:"

More snow, cold head for Aspen | AspenTimes.com

More snow, cold head for Aspen AspenTimes.com: "The snow in Aspen just keeps on coming, but it may be too cold to enjoy it by Saturday.

A winter storm that dumped up to a foot of snow on local ski slopes over the past two days has moved out, but another system is headed for Aspen Friday night. So are plummeting temperatures and a brutal wind chill."

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Real 'Torture' Disgrace

The Real 'Torture' Disgrace
"As Mr. Levin put it in laying on his innuendo this week, a commission 'may or may not lead to indictments or civil action.' It will also encourage some grandstanding foreign prosecutor to arrest Mr. Rumsfeld and other Bush officials like Pinochet if they ever dare to leave the U.S. Why John McCain endorsed this Levin gambit is the kind of mystery that has defined, and damaged, his career. We hope other Republicans push back.
Mr. Levin claims that Bush interrogation programs 'damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives.' The truth is closer to the opposite. The second-guessing of Democrats is likely to lead to a risk-averse mindset at the CIA and elsewhere that compromises the ability of terror fighters to break the next KSM. The political winds always shift, but terrorists are as dangerous as ever."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Tax Foundation - State Sales, Gasoline, Cigarette, and Alcohol Tax Rates by State, 2000-2008

The Tax Foundation - State Sales, Gasoline, Cigarette, and Alcohol Tax Rates by State, 2000-2008:

Black named to road commission

Black named to road commission
"Ironically, Black now believes there may be a need for a countywide millage election to properly fund road maintenance and improvements. That's because the road commission gets most of its funding from the state, and that funding has been shrinking with each passing year.
'In this day and age, asking for a millage would be tough, to say the least,' Black said. 'It would have to be done by educating people about the need."

Right.

We po folks don't got da smarts to no we gotta give the man mo of our money.

Edjukation is what we need.....

Right.

Proposed gas tax hike riles gas station owners

Proposed gas tax hike riles gas station owners
"A proposed gasoline tax hike to fix the state's crumbling roads and bridges is pitting road builders against gasoline station owners, who say it would give Michigan the highest tax in the nation.
With the proposed hike -- which would switch from a fixed 19 cents per gallon to an 18 percent tax on the wholesale price of gas -- being considered by the lame duck state Legislature, Michigan would jump ahead of California, the nation's current No. 1, according to station owners.
Michigan now has the nation's fifth-highest gasoline tax, including state and federal taxes, at 59.4 cents a gallon. California's is 67.1 cents."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The genesis of the $8.5 million parking ramp?


http://downtownmuskegon.org/recentnews-may09-07.shtml

(thanks to ClassifiedAd on the http://www.mlive.com/forums/muskegon/ Muskegon forum!)

Kind of amazing how $2.2 million morphs into $8.5 million in a real estate deflation..... ain't it?

more to come!



"Commission moves ahead on downtown parking ramp
Wednesday May 09, 2007
By Steve GunnMuskegon Chronicle Reporter
Muskegon
County Commissioner Bill Gill may never like the idea, but his colleagues on the county board are determined to use $2.2 million in federal funds to build a new parking ramp on Third Street in downtown Muskegon."

Chrysler closing all 30 plants for one month

Chrysler closing all 30 plants for one month
"Chrysler LLC said Wednesday that it is closing all 30 of its manufacturing plants for a month starting Friday as it seeks to counter the most severe downturn in U.S. auto sales in more than two decades."

Understand that this company is owned by a hedge fund!

Muskegon's $8.5 million boondoggle?


Does anyone know about the plan to demolish the current downtown bus station and replace it with a $8.5 million transit/parking ramp across from the Holiday Inn?

Parking ramps seem to be bulldozed in Muskegon, if you follow our city father's RECENT actions.

Why a new parking ramp 200 yards from the one we just tore down?

Granholm says she is not interested in Obama cabinet position

Granholm says she is not interested in Obama cabinet position
"'The governor has made it clear she does not want to be considered for an appointment at this time,' said Liz Boyd, a Granholm spokeswoman. 'Whether she is being vetted or has been vetted is immaterial. What she really is interested in is working on challenges facing our state, namely growing the economy and creating jobs.'"

Yeah right!

Serious "duh"!

She was "vetted" and stinko!!!!!! Worst state in the USA!

I'm thinking Blago has the same vetting.

Gotta love our "unbiased" media.

Schools offers buyouts to highest-paid teachers

Schools offers buyouts to highest-paid teachers
"Even if several teachers accept a new buyout option, Coopersville Schools likely will eliminate 4 1/2 staff positions next school year to stabilize a shaky financial forecast.
The school board Monday approved a voluntary separation plan that allows teachers making more than $61,000 in base salary to resign or retire and collect $54,000 afterward. Teachers making at least $75,000 would collect $60,000."

Scientists Call AP Report on Global Warming 'Hysteria'

Scientists Call AP Report on Global Warming 'Hysteria'
"'The mean global temperature, at least as measured by satellite, is now the same as it was in the year 1980. In the last couple of years sea level has stopped rising. Hurricane and cyclone activity in the northern hemisphere is at a 24-year low and sea ice globally is also the same as it was in 1980.'
Deming said the article is further evidence of the media's decision to talk about global warming as fact, despite what he says is a lack of evidence.
'Reporters, as I understand reporters, are supposed to report facts,'Deming said. 'What he's doing here is he's writing a polemic and reporting it as fact, and that's not right. It's not reporting. It's propaganda."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Students' work, design spread holiday cheer

Students' work, design spread holiday cheer
"If you're looking to send out Christmas cards with meaning, consider the Big Red Greeting Card Co.
Not only would you be giving business to a group of hard-working students with disabilities, but you'd also be benefiting the Noah Project animal shelter and supporting recycling to boot.
The greeting card company is housed at Muskegon High School and staffed by about 20 students in two special education classes."

THIS is worth your time!

YouTube - Obama on Governor Blagojevich/Rom Emanuel

YouTube - Obama on Governor Blagojevich/Rom Emanuel

Wow!
Openess?
Gonna be a long 1000 year reich......

Gov. David Paterson unveils dire New York State budget that includes new taxes, layoffs and cuts

Gov. David Paterson unveils dire New York State budget that includes new taxes, layoffs and cuts
"it's the $4 billion in new fees and taxes that are sure to aggravate everyday New Yorkers, who would be paying more for a host of services:
An 'iPod tax' that charges state and local sales tax for 'digitally delivered entertainment services' - in other words, that new Beyonce song you download.
State sales tax at movie theaters, sporting events, taxis, buses, limousines and cable and satellite TV and radio.
Costlier driving with the repeal of the 8-cents-per-gallon sales tax cap on motor and diesel motor fuel, plus and increase in the auto rental tax.
Tuition increases at SUNY and CUNY, $620 and $600 a year respectively.
A 50 cent tax on cigars. The current tax is equal to 37% of the wholesale price, or 34 cents a cigar.
No more sales tax break on clothes and shoes worth $110 or less, except during two weeks a year.
Higher taxes on wine, beer and flavored malt beverages. He would also impose an 18% tax on non-nutritional drinks like soda.
The rich would pay more for luxury items through an additional 5% tax imposed on cars costing more than $60,000, aircraft costing more than $500,000, yachts costing at least $200,000 and jewelry and furs costing in excess of $20,000.
In addition, a host of a fees, including those related to motor vehicle licensing and registration, parks and auto insurance, would go up, as would various state-imposed fines.
Even with the cuts, the 2009-10 budget would increase"

Survey supports minimum GPA for MHS athletes




Survey supports minimum GPA for MHS athletes
"A survey of parents, students, staff, coaches and community members showed 80 percent support a minimum GPA. Dissatisfaction with the proposal among 27 surveyed coaches -- fewer than half like the idea -- likely brought down the overall percentage of support.
Although the idea has the support of the community, the school board is still grappling with implementing a minimum GPA. Among their concerns are whether it should be applied to students in all extracurricular activities and how to pay for tutoring those who struggle to meet the GPA.


Imagine a school system that will allow its students to fail to be educated and still not help them because they are athletes.

Don't imagine!

It's Muskegon High School!

SEC chairman says agency failed to probe Madoff

SEC chairman says agency failed to probe Madoff
"Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox said Tuesday his agency repeatedly failed for at least a decade to pursue allegations of wrongdoing by Wall Street figure Bernard L. Madoff, the alleged perpetrator of a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
Cox ordered the SEC's inspector general to look into the failure, saying the agency's staff had never brought the Madoff matter to the attention of commissioners after relying on information voluntarily produced by Madoff and his firm."

Why do any of these SEC employees keep their jobs?

Unbuckled motorist faces cocaine charge


Doh!

Unbuckled motorist faces cocaine charge
"A motorist learned over the weekend that not wearing a seat belt can lead to further difficulties with police -- especially if officers report finding drugs and money in your car.
A 35-year-old Muskegon man was pulled over by police at 9:40 p.m. Friday on the exit ramp from I-96 to Airline Road. 'He was stopped for not wearing a seat belt,' said Lt. Jon Gale.
Police then discovered he was wanted on a parole violation warrant and had been driving without a license. He was told he was under arrest.
But it was the package containing 71 grams of suspected powder cocaine on the passenger seat that landed the driver in even more trouble, according to police. A scale was found near the cocaine.
In addition, $3,800 cash had been shoved into a purse that was near the cocaine, Gale said. The purse belonged to a female passenger who later was released from custody.
'The subject admitted to selling cocaine and that it (the drug found on the passenger seat) was his,' Gale said.
The man was lodged at the Muskegon County Jail for possession with intent to deliver cocaine as well as the warrant and license offense. Arraignment was pending Monday morning."

Amazon lights!


The Amazon building has now shut off its rooftop lights.

I guess it's an improvement.....

Better than the "A_AZ_N" embarrassment but it sure would be interesting to know who owns, manages and makes the decisions at that important Muskegon location.

Ain't taxpayer subsidized housing great!

The latest from the Harbor Theater

The ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW is this Saturday, December 20th at 10:15 PM. We will be selling participation kits, you can not bring your own into the theater. A participation kit will contain everything you need to fully participate with the film at the Harbor Theater, including noisemakers, glow sticks, toast, rice, newspaper, a roll of toilet paper and confetti. No lighters, squirt guns or hot dogs allowed. Also, no alcohol in the theater, but I am sure the Marine Tap Room would love to see everybody before and after the show in their costumes.

Opening on Friday December 19th is director Kar Wai Wongs(My Blueberry Nights, 2046, Chunking Express) revisoning of his epic film ASHES OF TIME, now titled ASHES OF TIME REDUX. Dubbed as "insanely gorgeous" by the New York Film Forum, this martial arts fantasy will appeal to fans of the original and modern classics like CROUCHING TIGERS HIDEEN DRAGON. Most critics agree, don't wait until the one is on DVD, see it on the big screen so you can appreciate all of its beauty. It also has a score of 91% on Rottentomatoes.com, for those of you that follow that.

Also opening, the rock opera REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA. Make is a horror/musical/comedy weekend with a REPO!/ROCKY HORROR combo.

Held over for a 2nd week, one of my favorite films of the year, JCVD. If you haven't seen it yet, give it a chance. It is a nice surprise.

And finally, if you aren't in the holiday spirit yet, come down Wednesday December 17th to see the free screening of the 1942 classic musical HOLIDAY INN.

ASHES OF TIME REDUX 12/19
Rated R, Runtime 93 Minutes
Directed by Kar Wai Wong
Click here to view the trailer!

"Elliptical, sweeping, lovely and thoroughly confusing, Ashes of Time Redux is not a film to rent. It's well worth paying to see it on the big screen." - The San Fransisco Chronicle

"For the love of all things sensual and mysterious, see this one on a big screen." - ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Ashes of Time Redux is inspired by Louis Cha's novel The Eagle-Shooting Heroes. It centers on a man named Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung). Since the woman he loved rejected him, he has lived in the western desert, hiring skilled swordsmen to carry out contract killings. His wounded heart has made him pitiless and cynical, but his encounters with friends, clients and future enemies make him conscious of this solitude...

-Showtimes-
Friday December 19th 7:00, 9:00
Saturday December 20th 5:00, 7:00
Sunday December 21st 3:30, 5:30
Monday December 22nd 7:00
Tuesday December 23rd 7:00
REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA 12/19
Rated R, Runtime 98 Minutes
Click here to view the trailer

"This goth rock opera features buckets of gore, a campy score and melodrama galore in a calculated effort to become a 21st-century Rocky Horror Picture Show" -THE MINNEAPOLIS STAR

"As it has evolved from a 10-minute cabaret piece, through a short film Bousman made in Toronto, to the big screen, Repo! The Genetic Opera has gained in both guts and gusto." - THE TORONTO STAR


In the year 2056 - the not so distant future - an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet. Out of the tragedy, a savior emerges: GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants, for a price. Those who miss their payments are scheduled for repossession and hunted by villainous Repo Men. In a world where surgery addicts are hooked on painkilling drugs and murder is sanctioned by law, a sheltered young girl searches for the cure to her own rare disease as well as information about her family's mysterious history. After being sucked into the haunting world of GeneCo, she is unable to turn back, as all of her questions will be answered at the wildly anticipated spectacular event: The Genetic Opera.

-SHOWTIMES-
Friday December 19th @ 9:15
Saturday December 20th 7:15, 9:15
Sunday December 21st 6:00
Monday December 22nd 7:15
Tuesday December 23rd NO SHOWTIMES
2nd week!
JCVD
Rated R - Runtime 98 Minutes
Click here to view the trailer
Starring Jean Claude Van Damme

Between his tax problems and his legal battle with his wife for the custody of his daughter, these are hard times for the action movie star who finds that even Steven Seagal has pinched a role from him! In JCVD, Jean-Claude Van Damme returns to the country of his birth to seek the peace and tranquility he can no longer enjoy in the United States.

Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself in this meta crime comedy that finds him garnering mores headlines than he's had in years after stumbling into an in-progress bank heist. Down and out, with only straight-to-DVD titles under his belt, and a recent job lost out to fellow has-been, Steven Seagal, the aging action star returns to Belgium a broken man fresh from losing a custody case for his daughter in Hollywood. Upon his arrival, the bad news continues with a disastrous ATM encounter that leads him into the bank and straight into a robbery situation, for which he's about to be blamed. Soon, crowds grow outside on the street, with the cops quick to point the finger at him and his fans cheering for his release

"The clever, stylish perception-teaser of a comic drama JCVD -- a reality-twisting cousin to Being John Malkovich -- showcases a Van Damme who's sly like a fox about his own image." - Entertainment Weekly

"very entertaining. And Van Damme proves himself a brave, possibly foolhardy actor. " - MIchael Philips, The Chicago Tribune

-Showtimes-
Friday December 19th @ 7:15
Saturday December 20th @ 5:15
Sunday December 21st @ NO SHOWTIMES
Monday December 22nd NO SHOWTIMES
Tuesday December 23rd @ 7:15
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
Rated R

Tickets are $6 each. We will also be selling participation kits for $5, which include confetti, a roll of toilet paper, toast, rice, noisemakers, party hats and newspaper.

You can buy your ticket and a participation kit together for $10 and save $1, or get them together plus a small combo for $12.00 and save $1.50.
Other combo packages are available. Ask at the box office.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 20th ONLY @ 10:15 PM
CINEMA SUNDAYS
EARLY SUMMER (FREE SCREENING)
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu

In postwar Tokyo, this household is loving and serene: older parents, their 28-year-old daughter Noriko, their married son, his devoted wife, and two rascally sons. Their only discontent is Noriko's lack of a husband. Society is changing: she works, she has women friends who tease and argue, her brother sees her independence as impudence, she sees it as normal. When her boss suggests that she marry a 40-year-old bachelor who is his friend, all the members of her family press her to accept. Without seeking their advice, and to their chagrin, Noriko determines her own course of action.

Sunday December 21st Only @ 3 PM
Opens Christmas Day!
SYNECDOCHE NEW YORK
Rated R, Runtime 124 Minutes
Written and Directed by Charlie Kaufman
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams and Hope Davis

Click here to view the trailer

Theater director Caden Cotard is mounting a new play. Fresh off of a successful production of Death of a Salesman, he has traded in the suburban blue-hairs and regional theater of Schenectady for the cultured audiences and bright footlights of Broadway. Armed with a MacArthur grant and determined to create a piece of brutal realism and honesty, something into which he can put his whole self, he gathers an ensemble cast into a warehouse in Manhattan's theater district. He directs them in a celebration of the mundane, instructing each to live out their constructed lives in a small mockup of the city outside. As the city inside the warehouse grows, Caden's own life veers wildly off the tracks. The shadow of his ex-wife Adele, a celebrated painter who left him years ago for Germany's art scene, sneers at him from every corner. Somewhere in Berlin, his daughter Olive is growing up under the questionable guidance of Adele's friend, Maria. He's helplessly driving his marriage to actress Claire into the ground. Sammy Barnathan, the actor Caden has hired to play himself within the play, is a bit too perfect for the part, and is making it difficult for Caden to revive his relationship with the alluringly candid Hazel. Meanwhile, his therapist, Madeline Gravis, is better at plugging her best-seller than she is at counseling him. His is second daughter, Ariel, is retarded. And a mysterious condition is systematically shutting down each of his autonomic functions, one by one. As the years rapidly pass, Caden buries himself deeper into his masterpiece. Populating the cast and crew with doppelgangers, he steadily blurs the line between the world of the play and that of his own deteriorating reality. As he pushes the limits of his relationships, both personally and professionally, a change in creative direction arrives in Millicent Weems, a celebrated theater actress who may offer Caden the break he needs.
Opens Christmas Day!
THE BLACK BALLOON
Rated PG-13, Runtime 97 Minutes
Starring Toni Collette
Click here to view the trailer

An adolescent boy from a most idiosyncratic family attempts to adjust to his new neighborhood as his sixteenth birthday looms on the horizon in this family drama from director Elissa Down. Thomas is about to turn sixteen, and as if adjusting to a new neighborhood, a new school, and new friends isn't enough for a teenage boy to contend with, his family is about as unpredictable as they come. His autistic older brother Charlie suffers from ADS syndrome, and attends a special school on the days that he actually chooses to go. His father Simon is an enormous cricket fan who is prone to holding intense discussions with his teddy bear, and his mother Maggie is a free spirit who sleeps with pretty much whomever she pleases. Recently, Thomas' mother revealed that she is pregnant. As a result, Thomas finds himself looking after Charlie much more frequently than usual. When Charlie strips half-naked and dashes into the neighbor's house in search of a bathroom, Thomas storms in after him and encounters pretty classmate Jackie - who is currently attempting to take a shower. Mortified, Thomas begins to realize that he might not be capable of caring for Charlie. Later at school, Thomas realizes that he'll have to learn to swim before he earns his lifesaving badge. Of course every student in class needs to have a partner, and it just so happens that Thomas' partner is a pretty fellow pupil named Jackie.
COMING SOON
Rachel Getting Married 1/09/09
Let The Right One In
Fears Of The Dark
A Christmas Tale
Wendy and Lucy

Twelve injured in Whistler gondola tower collapse

Twelve injured in Whistler gondola tower collapse: "Fifty-three stranded skiers and snowboarders at Whistler Blackcomb were rescued from gondola cars after a tower supporting the lift collapsed at the popular ski resort."

Monday, December 15, 2008

ILLINOIS: Obama: Probe shows no contact in Ill. gov scandal. “President-elect Barack Obama said Mo…


Obama: Probe shows no contact in Ill. gov scandal. “President-elect Barack Obama said Mo…: "UPDATE: Rasmussen: “Forty five percent (45%) of U.S. voters say it is likely President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the unfolding Blagojevich scandal in Illinois, including 23% who say it is Very Likely.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Chad Olson writes: “Regarding Obama being in the clear because his own lawyer said so. Obama should ask Cheney how that worked for him in the Plame mess.” Well, Cheney was never charged!"

Protection For Investors In Madoff Securities May Be On The Way

Protection For Investors In Madoff Securities May Be On The Way: "Meanwhile, a federal judge on Monday threw a lifesaver to investors who may have been duped, saying they need the protection of a special government reserve fund set up to help investors at failed brokerage firms."

This is GREAT!
They pay all the ....political contributions..... why shouldn't they get a little hep from their friends......

Sick and it's gonna get worse!

Ammo Ban And Registration Proposal Getting Fresh Look


Ammo Ban And Registration Proposal Getting Fresh Look
"so-called “encoded ammunition” or “serialized ammunition” bills would require ammunition manufacturers to engrave a serial number on the base of the bullet and the inside of the cartridge casing of each round of ammunition for popular sporting caliber center-fire rifles, all center-fire pistols, all .22 rimfire rifles and pistols, and all 12 gauge shotguns.

In all but one of the bills, people would be required to forfeit all personally owned non-“encoded” ammunition.

After a certain date, it would be illegal to possess non-“encoded” ammunition. Reloading would be rendered illegal."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Best Digital Cameras for Under $300 - NYTimes.com



I just bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 for $179 on line.

I love it!

Has the 401(k) failed?

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ASKS: Has the 401(k) failed?
"I don’t think 401(k)s have done any worse than defined-benefit plans — those are in terrible shape too, as a bit of poking around at PensionTsunami.com will illustrate — but one advantage of 401(k) plans and the like (including 403(b)s, 457s, SEPs, etc.) is that they’re transparent. When your 401(K) balance drops by 30-40% you know your retirement is in trouble; when public (or corporate) pension funds take a similar hit we get bland reassurances that everything’s okay. Isn’t it better to know where things stand?"

As City Goes Broke, One Expense Is Safe

As City Goes Broke, One Expense Is Safe
"Here in New York, the hostages go by different names, but serve the same function. They turn up without fail whenever the city is running short of money: library hours, firehouses, police officers, class sizes, day care centers, garbage pickup, health clinics. As perennial hostages to budget-making, these basic services, public servants and municipal buildings are captive to the current fiscal crisis.
Not so for the fastest-growing expense in the city since 2000: pension funds.
“The city’s payments to the pension plans have grown at 25 percent annually since fiscal year 2001,” said Martin Davis, a labor and pension analyst with the city’s Independent Budget Office."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

.: United States Senator Tom Coburn :: Press Room :.

:: Press Room :.:
"Examples of waste in 2008 include:

• $188,000 for Lobster Institute in Maine, home of the “LobsterCam”
• $1 million for bike paths on Louisiana levees while levees await basic repairs
• $2.4 million for a retractable shade canopy at a park in West Virginia
• $24.6 million for the National Park Service’s 100th year birthday in 2016 - 8 years early
• $3.2 million on a blimp the Pentagon does not want
• $367,000 wasted by a Texas school board on items like an inflatable alligator and under-the-sea waterslide, among other things
• $5 million for a bridge to a zoo parking lot in St. Louis
• $9,000 for a non-functioning airplane-shaped gas station in Tennessee
• $300,000 for specialty potatoes for high-end restaurants"

The Atlantic Online | February 1982 | Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond? | Edward Jay Epstein

Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?
"To stabilize the market, De Beers had to endow these stones with a sentiment that would inhibit the public from ever reselling them. The illusion had to be created that diamonds were forever -- 'forever' in the sense that they should never be resold."

Stunning article! Long but worth every minute.
Written in 1982!
(hat tip to Atlanta Lou)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The latest from The Harbor


Following her wins for Best Actress at the New York and LA Film Critic's awards earlier this week, actress Sally Hawkin's star making role in Happy Go Lucky has now been nominated for a Golden Globe Best Actresss in a Comedy/Musical.

The film itself, has been nominated for Best Feature Comedy/Musical.

If you haven't seen it yet, get out and see it now! The Oscars are right around the corner!

And now that I have seen JCVD, I can say it lives up to the hype. You will be amazed at Jean Claude Van Damme - and it has a great soundtrack. Don't let his previous work stop you from seeing this film, which in my opinion is one of the best this year.

If you don't agree with me, check out Bill Idding's review of it in Friday's chronicle, or it's rottentomatoes site which shows that 87% of critics have given this movie a postive rating. Time magazine declared Van Damme worthy of an Oscar!

And don't miss the award winning documentary THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK Saturday December 13th at 7:30 PM.

http://www.theharbortheater.com/
231-457-4274

BLACKFIVE: "You can take my leg, but you can't take my heart and you can't take my soul. I'm a Green Beret."

"You can take my leg, but you can't take my heart and you can't take my soul. I'm a Green Beret."
"The story over at Soldiers Angels Germany (via the WashPo and MSNBC - link to the full story at SAG). Ten Special Forces Soldiers receive the Silver Star. MUST READ."

Make sure you click this link and watch the video of these heroes! (the end is the best!) http://soldiersangelsgermany.blogspot.com/2008/12/blog-post.html

More snow, less clearing challenging motorists

More snow, less clearing challenging motorists
"'Road conditions have been pretty poor ... the plows have been really slow to get out to some roads,' said Jerome McCleary, a tow truck driver for T-Car in Montague and a bus mechanic for the Montague Area Public Schools."

WHO TO BLAME for job losses: Atlas has shrugged all over the country. Like many business owner…


WHO TO BLAME for job losses: Atlas has shrugged all over the country.

"Atlas has shrugged all over the country.

Like many business owners, we are no longer willing to take all of the financial and legal risks and put up with all of the aggravation of owning and running a business. Not with the prospects of even higher taxes, more regulation, more litigation and more emboldened bureaucrats on the horizon. Like others we know, we are getting out while the getting is, well, tolerable. Many who aren’t getting out are scaling back.

. . . It is no secret that owners circulated endless emails leading up to election day discussing lay off plans were Obama to win. Entrepreneurs instinctively understand the danger posed by larger liberal majorities in power. The risk-reward equation and fierce independence spirit of start up businesses are anathema to the class warfare, equality of outcome and spread the wealth mentality of the left. . . .

We got into business to be independent. We will get out for the same reason.

Truth, Economics, and Politics

Truth, Economics, and Politics
"As global warming pathologists insist that increasing carbon dioxide drives planetary meltdown, scientists who actually watch the climate trends -- as well as all the forces that affect it – see something different. They observe unchanging (if not declining) temperatures over the last dozen years despite increased global CO2 emissions during the same time period. They see Antarctic ice swells despite a greater media emphasis on Arctic ice (PDF) loss. They see a current warming bias across temperature monitoring stations; a cooling pattern since 1997; and a valid theory that solar cycles affect climate change more than any other phenomena."

Blog: Parties of Corruption

Parties of Corruption
"Which party is more corrupt? Maybe you've seen lists. The National Taxpayer's Union has a pretty good list http://www.ntu.org/main/press.php?PressID=343."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

Great tune from the 70s for Chicago folks.

Muskegon County eyes alternative-energy vehicles

Muskegon County eyes alternative-energy vehicles
"As of now, a portion of the county sheriff's vehicles can run on ethanol. And eight Muskegon Area Transportation System buses and trolleys use natural gas.
The first opportunity to purchase alternative fuel vehicles could come later this month.
On Dec. 11, the county department heads could release a request for 16 vehicles, pending approval from the board of commissioners.
Even though the county is considering bidding on alternative fuel vehicles, the county could face significant barriers when incorporating them into its fleet.
Two major issues are cost and availability of fuel, said Joe Siedenstrang, the county's accounting manager.
'The department will have to decide whether or not there will be enough of a savings to go with alternative fuels or not,' Siedenstrang said. 'But the absolute final decision on what vehicles to purchase comes down to the board.'"

Camille Paglia on Obama choosing Hillary as Secretary of State, and more | Salon

Camille Paglia on Obama choosing Hillary as Secretary of State, and more Salon: "Awarding such a prize plum to Hillary may be a sop to her aggrieved fan base, but what exactly are her credentials for that position? Aside from being a mediocre senator (who, contrary to press reports, did very little for upstate New York), Hillary has a poor track record as both a negotiator and a manager. And of course both Clintons constantly view the world through the milky lens of their own self-interest. Well, it's time for Hillary to put up or shut up. If she gets as little traction in world affairs as Condoleezza Rice has, Hillary will be flushed down the rabbit hole with her feckless husband and effectively neutralized as a future presidential contender. If that's Obama's clever plan, is it worth the gamble? The secretary of state should be a more reserved, unflappable character -- not a drama queen who, even in her acceptance speech, morphed into three different personalities in the space of five minutes."

Moving to Canada?


CADUSD=X Chart - Yahoo! Finance

Amazing collapse of the Canadian dollar vs US dollar.

Harvard prof slams US nut allergy hysteria •

Harvard prof slams US nut allergy hysteria
"the extreme example of when a potentially fatal peanut was 'spotted on the floor of a school bus, whereupon the bus was evacuated and cleaned (I am tempted to say decontaminated), the extreme example of when a potentially fatal peanut was 'spotted on the floor of a school bus, whereupon the bus was evacuated and cleaned (I am tempted to say decontaminated),"

Plaxico Burress On Gun Safety

Gun safety is cool!

Blago-Obama timeline

The Volokh Conspiracy
"Yet, looking at this timeline of Blagogate, it seems quite possible that someone in the Obama Camp is either lying or at least not revealing what they know. I also find it hard to believe that Obama’s closest advisors were hiding major corruption from him, especially as he was making decisions about where to place Senate candidates such as Jarrett.
"Something important is missing from this story. Let's hope that, whatever it is, the absent fact or explanation will allow the narrative to fit Obama's denial more naturally.
Since by all accounts, the Obama camp refused Blagojevich’s bribery attempt, it would be extremely unwise to lie about it. Remember, it’s not the crime that trips you up; it’s the cover-up."

The GOP Must Take Out the Trash

The GOP Must Take Out the Trash
"Now that the snows have come, the summer soldiers are sneaking off to warmer climes. No sense being a hustler where there's nothing to hustle. This process will send large numbers of future indictables home to the Democrats where they belong.
But plenty of rotten apples will remain. What can be done with them?

The simple answer is: expose, expose, and expose. Somebody -- possibly everybody -- knew what Foley, Cunningham, and Stevens were up to. Somebody should have spoken up."

Kick out the crooks, perverts and cowards.
Stand for SOMETHING!
It seems so simple.

Can our old, entrenched GOP leopards change their spots?
I doubt it.

A complete transfusion is necessary but will it come too late for our country?

Woman convicted of smuggling monkey

Woman convicted of smuggling monkey
: "A Spokane woman who hid a sedated monkey under her blouse on a flight from Thailand to Los Angeles – pretending she was pregnant – has been convicted of smuggling charges."

No word on whether she was accused of monkey abuse or spanking the...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Governor has one choice left: Sing?


Governor has one choice left: Sing?
"Blagojevich's buddies—the ones he still has left—surely aren't amused. They must be wondering how long it will take for Blagojevich to crack under the federal weight and start singing about all his friends.

This is the governor who once bragged that he had the 'testicular virility' to make tough decisions. This is the governor who compared himself to John Wayne."

Granholm expects big stimulus


Granholm expects big stimulus
"'It may lessen the need right now to do immediate, drastic cuts,' she said. 'With this stimulus coming up, it would be foolish to put up drastic cuts when we know that relief is on the way.'"
Great, our cute gov is delusional.....our state is bankrupt but she's waiting for Daddy Obama to pour moolah into michigan.
Great......

Mich. lawmakers still get health care perk.... pork

Mich. lawmakers still get health care perk
"Michigan lawmakers seem likely to finish the year without halting or scaling back a perk that's the envy of most workers - full health care coverage in retirement after six years of service."
Under current law, former lawmakers can tap into the health insurance once they turn 55.

The House and Senate overwhelmingly voted last December to make lawmakers work longer before having most of their health care premiums picked up by taxpayers. Neither chamber passed the same version, however, so the old system remains in place.

While the bill wouldn't affect current legislators, future lawmakers would have to work 14 years - six in the House and eight in the Senate, the most allowed under term limits - to get 90 percent of their premium paid by the state, the same percentage legislators now get after six years.

Unless new legislators work other state government jobs, they could have no more than 42 percent of their premium covered - 3 percent for each year if they serve the maximum 14 years.

Yankee extortion?




The Volokh Conspiracy
"The New York Yankees have just asked New York City for an additional $259 million in tax-exempt government-backed bonds to finance the construction of their new stadium. This comes on top of the $940 million in previously approved bonds and up to $450 million in direct government spending on the project. Even prior to the current funding request, the new Yankee stadium had already gotten more government subsidies than any other stadium project in American history. The rival Mets are also asking for additional government bond for their new stadium, albeit a much smaller amount."

Remember this when NYC demands a bailout....likely soon......

PensionWatch

PensionWatch: "But California state government employees have an employer who regularly and by law provides a $40-50,000 contribution to each employee’s pension account — year in and year out — good budget times and bad. (And in bad years they borrow the money!)"

Pension Tsunami

Pension Tsunami
"That approaching wave of pension debt is bigger than it looks. The purpose of this site is to provide an overview of the multiple pension crises that are about to drown America's taxpayers."

If you need more worries, read this.
Yikes!

Muskegon ranks highest in nation for unemployment





"Muskegon's jobless rate averaged 22.1% in the latest period. That's more than twice the rate from 2000.
Detroit ranked second with a 21.6% jobless rate. Pontiac was ninth at 19%.
Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington says the census information is flawed. He says the study is based on all people in the city. He says people 16 and up, including students, senior citizens and people who aren't actively looking for work are included in the census survey.
Warmington said he understands the number is very high and is disappointed but also says 'The number doesn't accurately reflect everyone in Muskegon.'"
The unemployment numbers would have been WAAAY lower if they'd have included only employed persons.....

We're #16!

Report: Local schools' air quality among the worst
"Children playing outside Lincoln Park Elementary School in Norton Shores are possibly breathing the worst air in the state.
That's according to an investigative report published in Monday's USA TODAY.

Over the span of eight months, reporters identified and ranked 127,800 public, private and parochial schools based on the concentrations and health hazards of chemicals likely to be in the air outside.

Only 15 schools nationwide were identified as having worse air quality than Mona Shores' Lincoln Park, according to the newspaper.

Other schools in the Mona Shores, Muskegon and Muskegon Heights public school districts were identified as having some of the worst air in the nation.

However, the report may not be current. The findings were based on emissions reports from 20,000 industrial sites that were filed in 2005.

Junk science RULES!

We're #1


Muskegon, Detroit lead nation's cities in unemployment
"Census Bureau report on U.S. communities with at least 20,000 people says Muskegon and Detroit are first and second in unemployment.
The report compares the jobless rate in 2000 with the average for 2005 through 2007 and says unemployment increased in 71% of the cities and towns.
It says Muskegon's unemployment averaged 22.1% in the latest period, more than twice its rate in 2000.
Detroit's rate was 21.6%, while Pontiac was ninth at 19%."

Everything I hear is that it's Engler/Bush's fault.

Let's see... worst state.... worst city.... re-elected most everyone..... anyone see a pattern here?

Bald Eagle Music Video

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Palm Pistol


The Palm Pistol: "The Palm Pistol is an ergonomically innovative single shot double action only defensive firearm chambered in 9mm that may be fired using either hand without regard to orientation of the stock. Suited for home defense, concealed carry or as a backup gun. It is also ideal for seniors, disabled or others who may have limited strength or manual dexterity."
Gimp gun!
Ain't ergonomics great!

Locally made wind turbines to create jobs

Locally made wind turbines to create jobs
"Energy savings improves to 30 percent when combined with the 30 CFL low-energy light bulbs included in the package, which will retail for $2,899 plus about $500 for professional installation.
Governmental rebates and tax credits could save buyers hundreds of dollars more."


This is lunacy!

30 light bulbs will reduce home electricity use by 15%!!!!!
How much did that "study" cost?

And it all make sense because "government rebates and tax credits".

The junk science dark ages have descended upon us.


No more "corporate welfare"?

My Way News - White House says auto deal is 'very likely'
"The size of the package hasn't been finalized, but it is expected to be between $14 billion and $17 billion."

The MSM has sort of forgotten one of their favorite terms of old, "corporate welfare".

Tax cuts to businesses used to be "corporate welfare" but enormous checks to the same companies are now simply a "bailout".

Gotta love the MSM. So much gravitas!

harrassing an intern is OK!

The Volokh Conspiracy
"this case also reflects that it is not a violation of the federal Title VII to sexually harass interns in D.C. or elsewhere."

Ummmm... interns... immune from Title VII..... ummmmm...... interns.....

Saturday, December 06, 2008

New graduation requirements offer flexibility

New graduation requirements offer flexibility
"The 2006 law that established the graduation requirements allows students to ask for a 'personal curriculum' that would allow them to waive some of the required courses. They can waive part of the dreaded algebra II requirement as well as some of the other required courses in social studies, physical education, health or arts.
Schools can develop a customized personal curriculum for transfer students, students who have disabilities, or whose career paths would be better served by taking more of a different core class."

Huh?

Free discount prescription drug card offered to Michigan residents

Free discount prescription drug card offered to Michigan residents
"In an effort to reduce health care costs, the Michigan Retailers Association is offering a discount prescription drug card program that can save an average of 30 percent on many prescription drugs.
Free to all Michigan residents
, the Michigan Retailers Free Rx Card has no income restrictions, age limits or applications to fill out. The card is accepted at more than 50,000 national and regional pharmacies in Michigan and around the country.
Members can download a card by visiting http://retailers.com"

Michigan News

Michigan News
Bankrupt ethanol maker VeraSun Energy Corp. will mothball its ethanol plant here until it finds permanent financing to fund its operations."

Michigan gets more federal home heating aid

Michigan gets more federal home heating aid
"The federal government earlier this year released $5.1 billion in fuel assistance to states, nearly doubling federal money to help poor people cope with high home heating bills expected this winter."

A "double" here, a "double" there and pretty soon we're talkin' some real money, eh?

Mechanisation Photo Gallery by Malcolm Niekirk at pbase.com

Mechanisation Photo Gallery by Malcolm Niekirk at pbase.com

Friday, December 05, 2008

Army cadets take trash-talking to new heights - wtop.com

Army cadets take trash-talking to new heights - wtop.com: "Perhaps bothered by losing the last six Army-Navy football games, a few Army cadets took trash-talking to a whole new level this week. College football's most storied rivalry just got a bit more personal."

UNC libraries to forgo Christmas trees

UNC libraries to forgo Christmas trees
"The trees, which have stood in the lobby areas of Wilson and Davis libraries each December, were kept in storage this year at the behest of Sarah Michalak, the associate provost for university libraries.
Michalak's decision followed several years of queries and complaints from library employees and patrons bothered by the Christian display, Michalak said this week.
Michalak said that banishing the Christmas displays was not an easy decision but that she asked around to library colleagues at Duke, N.C. State and elsewhere and found no other one where Christmas trees were displayed."

Proposed fee on smelly cows, hogs angers farmers

Proposed fee on smelly cows, hogs angers farmers
"For farmers, this stinks: Belching and gaseous cows and hogs could start costing them money if a federal proposal to charge fees for air-polluting animals becomes law.
Farmers so far are turning their noses up at the notion, which is one of several put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases emitted by belching and flatulence amounts to air pollution."


And just who will ultimately pay these fines?

It looks like we'll all soon be tithing to "The Church of Global Warming/Cooling/Climate Change...whatever...".

To repair Rhode Island roads, report calls for new tolls, taxes and higher fees | Rhode Island news | projo.com | The Providence Journal

To repair Rhode Island roads, report calls for new tolls, taxes and higher fees
"To fix its crumbling roads and bridges and rescue the state’s financially challenged public transit system, a draft report made public yesterday says the state should consider charging tolls at the state line on every interstate highway and creating a new tax for each mile a vehicle is driven."

Gwinnett residents could face $500 fine for not recycling

Gwinnett residents could face $500 fine for not recycling
"We don’t intend for this to be the garbage gestapo, running around, looking in people’s garbage about what’s there and what’s not there,” said Connie Wiggins, executive director of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, which is administering Gwinnett’s waste disposal program. “I believe the fine applies to all categories, and certainly, if we saw excessive abuses of materials being thrown in the garbage.”"

Maybe not a "gestapo" but certainly a police state.

I imagine Christmas giving to your local Sturmabteilung ... I mean garbage man, will increase this year.... massively.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Harbor Theater


The Harbor Theater:
"Muskegon's Only Source of Independent and Foreign Cinema"

I've been critical of The Harbor's marketing in the past but I somehow got signed up for their excellent e-mails of movies and events at The Harbor.

Well worth your visit.

Plus they have a blog!
http://harbortheater.blogspot.com/

E-mail Brendan if you want to be on their E-list.
Do it!

The Volokh Conspiracy - -

The Volokh Conspiracy - -: "Why Isn't Ohio's Indoor Smoking Ban Reducing Smoking? In 2006, Ohio voters approved a ban on smoking indoors, including bars and restaurants. The ban took effects in December 2006. One would think that the prohibition would reduce smoking rates, right? After all, the prohibition increases the costs of smoking quite significantly for many smokers (particularly in the winter). Yet according to this story, the smoking rate in Ohio has increased by three percent since 2007. What gives?
48 Comments"

Jobless rate up less than feared


Jobless rate up less than feared
"Muskegon community leaders and economic developers were bracing for the worst with the release of the local October unemployment figures from the state.
But despite the meltdown in the national economy and continued woes in the state's automotive industry, Muskegon County's unemployment rose to only 9.8 percent in October, from 9.3 percent in September."

WOW!
"Experts" had "feared" for worst.
And were wrong AGAIN!

Can anyone tell me why anyone listens to "experts" who are so consistently wrong in their expectations, fears, prognostications, bla,bla,bla?
And isn't it interesting that the focus of this story is on the "experts" and not the awful 9.8% unemployment!

City manager warns of possible layoffs


City manager warns of possible layoffs
"City Manager Natasha Henderson recently notified city employees of the pending financial crisis by memo.
'I am sure that you are aware that the City of Muskegon Heights is facing severe economic challenges,' Henderson wrote in the Nov. 19 memo. 'As a result, we may be forced to make some difficult decisions relative to reductions in our work force.'
Her memo indicates that no decisions have been made on which employees might be affected. But the 'possibility of layoffs' presumably includes police and fire officers."

Why not?

The old "if you don't give us more money we'll fire police, cops, road crews" threat ALWAYS works.

"There's a sucker born every minute" has been the backbone of support for big government.

Ain't gonna change soon.

New jobless claims drop unexpectedly:


New jobless claims drop unexpectedly
"New claims for jobless benefits fell unexpectedly last week but the number of people continuing to receive government aid reached a 26-year high and large companies announced more job cuts Thursday."

Good golly!
This is really getting OLD!!!
EVERY piece of good economic news is "unexpected" and accompanied by a negative economic sound bite contrived to appear as "new" news.

And the MSM wonders why we turn them off?

Clueless Amazon?


Nothing says "city-in-decline" like a major sign with lighted letters out.
Our Amazon Building (in the "NEW downtown!") has 1/3 of its rooftop lights out.
How many thousands of Shoreline Dr. motorists drive by each day?
And what message are they getting about Muskegon from The Amazon?

Obama "holiday mug"


Barack Obama and Joe Biden: Change We Need
Barack Obama Donate Contribute:
"This holiday season, celebrate our historic victory with a limited edition Obama coffee mug."

How festive!
And that warm glow of Christmas cheer just radiates without even having to mention Christmas!
Ummmm, Christmas warmth without the need to mention Christmas... ummmmmm.......

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hoekstra will announce he's not running for Congress before he commits to governor's race


Hoekstra will announce he's not running for Congress before he commits to governor's race
"U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra will not seek re-election in 2010, according to a Lansing news service.
MIRS, an online Capitol newsletter, reports Hoekstra will soon form an exploratory committee for a gubernatorial campaign, the result of a trial balloon floating for months."
Governor Pete?
Sounds pretty good to me.
And GREAT for Michigan!

Metal prices fall further than during Great Depression - Telegraph

Metal prices fall further than during Great Depression
"Kevin Norrish, the bank's commodities strategist, said the average fall in the price of copper, lead, and zinc has been roughly 60pc since the peak in July this year"

The massive building for the China Olympics were the reason for the jump.
The 8-8-08 Olympics started on ...... 8-8-08..... and the prices fell when?
Right after the Olympic spending binge ended.
Who'd of guessed!
(much like the Y2K tech binge ended on..... Y2K.)

Karzai Agrees to Cluster Bomb Treaty

Karzai Agrees to Cluster Bomb Treaty
"In a surprising last-minute change of policy, the government of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan agreed on Wednesday to join about 100 nations in signing a treaty banning the use of cluster munitions, a senior Afghan official said.
.....Representatives of about 100 nations began signing the ambitious treaty formally renouncing the use of the bombs, typically anti-personnel weapons that eject dozens of explosive bomblets when detonated. But some of the world’s biggest military powers, including the United States, China and Russia, reject the pact and many of the signatories expressed concern that the treaty they were signing fails to bind the countries most prone to military conflict. ...
Disarmament activists are already looking beyond the Bush administration and are calling on President-elect Barack Obama to sign the cluster munitions treaty and send it for ratification soon after he takes office. For good measure, they want Mr. Obama to sign a 1997 treaty banning the use and sale of anti-personnel landmines.

S.C. gun tax holiday: Shops see sales boom


S.C. gun tax holiday: Shops see sales boom
"Business was — you might say — booming this past weekend, as the state’s first sales tax-free weekend attracted throngs to gun shops.
“It was a tremendous incentive,” said Ronnie Thrailkill, manager of Shooter’s Choice, a West Columbia gun shop."


Jeeze, reduce taxes and increase revenue!

Who'd of guessed?

Study: Algae blooms do billions in damage

Study: Algae blooms do billions in damage
"Nutrient pollution that causes noxious algae blooms to blanket lakes is more than an environmental nightmare -- the problem also reduces lakefront property values and causes billions of dollars in other economic losses, according to a new study.
Scientists at the University of Kansas concluded that algae blooms fueled by excessive concentrations of phosphorus and nitrogen in surface waters across the U.S. cause at least $4 billion damage annually. Most of the damage comes in the form of reduced lakefront property values, degraded fisheries and other recreational activities and the loss of biological diversity."

Grand Rapids high school students cannot get failing grade under new policy


Grand Rapids high school students cannot get failing grade under new policy
"No Grand Rapids high school students will find failing grades on their report cards when they arrive this week.
Instead, students who performed poorly will see an 'H' for 'held' and an opportunity to make up the work and earn a passing grade by the end of the next trimester.
Teachers union leaders argue the change is another late-marking period scramble to boost sagging scores and undermines their ability to get students to show up and work hard all trimester.
Superintendent Bernard Taylor said the plan gives students a second chance to overcome problems and be successful.
'We are not watering down standards or lowering standards,' Taylor said. 'We're giving people the opportunity to meet standards when they go astray.'"


Very cool, dude!
An "F" is now an "H" and we all feel better about ourselves!
Why not make an "F" a "B" and we'll all feel even better!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Governing: Vallejo bankruptcy/November 2008

Governing: Vallejo bankruptcy/November 2008: "Are other cities with budget trouble on the verge of asking the courts for relief?
When the town of Vallejo, California, declared bankruptcy this spring, Mayor Osby Davis predicted — and rightly so — that he'd get an earful from his constituents, employees and retirees. What he didn't anticipate was the chorus of phone calls from mayors outside the city, both close by and clear across the country. They told him they were watching Vallejo's bankruptcy proceedings closely, and some of them, he says, indicated that 'they find themselves not too far behind us.'
Vallejo, a city of 120,000 about 35 miles northeast of San Francisco, flat-out went broke this year through a combination of generous public-safety salaries, declining property values and fiscal mismanagement. The city is estimating a $17 million deficit for the current fiscal year.
Previous municipal bankruptcies generally arose from adverse legal rulings or poor investment decisions. But Vallejo's predicament stems largely from economic conditions felt by cities across the nation, namely declining revenues and rising employee costs. And that scares the dickens out of cities, unions and municipal bondholders.
'Vallejo was sort of the canary in the coal mine — the sickest patient goes first,' says Dean Gloster, an attorney representing Vallejo's unions. 'Even better-run cities are going to be facing similar issues as health care costs rise and the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age.'"

My Way News - Rastafarian can sue over Jiffy Lube hair policy

My Way News - Rastafarian can sue over Jiffy Lube hair policy: "A Rastafarian man who refused to shave off his beard or cut his hair to comply with a Jiffy Lube employee grooming policy can take his religious discrimination case to trial, Massachusetts' highest court ruled Tuesday.
The Supreme Judicial Court reversed a decision by a Superior Court judge who had dismissed Bobby T. Brown's lawsuit against a Jiffy Lube franchisee before a trial."

We won't smell the tourists anymore

We_wont_smell_the_tourists_anymore
"The Capitol Visitors Center, which opened this morning, may have tripled its original budget and fallen years behind schedule, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid found a silver lining for members of Congress: tourists won't offend them with their B.O. anymore.

'My staff tells me not to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway,' said Reid in his remarks. 'In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it's true.'

But it's no longer going to be true, noted Reid, thanks to the air conditioned, indoor space.

And that's not all. 'We have many bathrooms here, as you can see,' Reid continued. 'Souvenirs are available.'

$621 million well spent."