Every weekday morning from 5:30-9am, Charlie, Dave, and Art inform and entertain you.   It can be a delicate balance dealing with the important issues of the day and trying to have some fun at the same time.   We like to say we mix the “serious and the silly”.   You can judge whether it’s working or not! 

Email us at:
dave@wsgw.com
      charlie@wsgw.com      artlewis@wsgw.com

The Morning Team Blog

  • It's OUR Money

    It's OUR Money

    Charlie Rood - November 4, 2014

     

    It's not that I'm against government spending.   I'm against what I perceive as silly, wasteful, and unnecessary government spending.   Of course, my perception might be different than your perception!

    I proudly support the United States Armed Forces with whatever spending the military says it needs.

    I gladly want to help the less fortunate, to a point.  

    I gladly want schools funded properly, to a point.  

    I gladly contribute to roads and infrastructure, to a point.  

    What's the point?   The point is when we spend, see no improvement, but spend more.   The point is when we spend, wonder why we never have enough money, but spend more.   The point is when we spend, never question why, and spend more.

    Bottom line, government spending is our spending, it's our money, and I think we deserve a better accounting.   We fought against taxation without representation.   There are times I think taxation with representation is just as bad!

    What's the reason for this pontification?

    Recently, USA Today ran an editorial centered on their selection of some of the worst campaign ads produced for this election.   One of the ads cited was a GOP ad against a Democrat in Georgia suggesting the candidate supported funding worthless government programs.   USA Today stated the ad repeated one of the "biggest lies in American politics - that federal spending could be substantially curtailed by axing silly programs of limited use".   USA Today goes on to say "Washington's budget problems are the result of growing expenditures for popular and massive entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, veterans' benefits, and food stamps".   

    BIGGEST LIE?!?!   The USA Today says the amount in question in this politcal ad - $820,000 for monkey research - is a "tiny piece of the budget, and if 20,000 programs like this were eliminated, government spending would shrink by less than one half of 1%

    Okay, but at least there are two words we can celebrate from above...  government spending "WOULD SHRINK"!   I don't care by how much (well, I do) as long as it SHRINKS!

    Let's do the math using the USA Today formula.    20,000 programs at $820,000 each equals $16,400,000,000.   It may be a tiny piece of the budget, but it's OUR tiny piece of the budget because it's our money!   Either spend it wisely or don't spend it at all!

    Hey USA Today, the biggest lie is the failure to recognize every dollar spent adds up!

    So, how can we be expected to tackle the seriousness of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, veterans' benefits, and food stamps if we can't tackle the silliness?


    Speaking of silliness...   Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is out with his "2014 Wastebook" of how our taxpayer money is wasted.     You can read a story about this and get a link to his "Wastebook" here:  

    I read through the "Wastebook".   I close by offering these few excerpts as examples, and offer this link to the entire "Wastebook":

     

    1:   An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employee who admits spending up to six hours every day viewing pornography on government computers during work hours collected a $120,000 annual salary and with performance bonuses.   When a special agent from the EPA Office of Inspector General went to interview the employee about his behavior, he was  “actively viewing pornography on his government-issued computer.   The employee confessed to spending, on average, between two and six hours per day viewing pornography while at work. The OIG’s investigation determined that the employee downloaded and viewed more than 7,000 pornographic files during duty hours. This investigation has been referred to and accepted by the DOJ for prosecution.”
     

    A high ranking EPA official admitted at a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing in May, “I’m not personally doing anything about it.”
     

    The chairman of the committee, Congressman Darrell Issa, questioned “how much  pornography would it take for an EPA employee to lose their job?”
     

    Rather than being fired, the employee received “performance awards, merit based prizes, during the months he was found to be surfing porn at taxpayer expense,” according to an EPA official.

     

    2:   A group of rabbits received daily rub downs from a “mechanical device that simulates the long, flowing strokes used in Swedish massages.”   The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health provided $387,000 for the two year project which ended in April 2014.

    The massages were given after subjecting the rabbits to exercise to measure its impacton recovery.   Following the work outs, researchers compared post-exercise recovery time for those receiving immediate massages, delayed massages, or no massages at all.   The lucky bunnies received massages four times a day that lasted 30 minutes immediately following exercise.   These rabbits not only got the most massages, they also recovered quicker from the exercises.

    “We tried to mimic Swedish massage because anecdotally, it’s the most popular technique used by athletes,” said Thomas Best, the project leader and co-medical director of the Ohio State University Sports Medicine Center.    The researchers “acknowledge that the injury created in our animal model may not be completely analogous to the injury produced in humans with eccentric exercise.”

    They do note, however, that studies do exist to support the use of massage to treat human muscle aches and pains.   If the researchers were seeking to learn how to identify the most optimal application of massage therapy to treat human muscle aches and injuries, then perhaps they should have observed human subjects.


    3:   The feeling of anger caused by hunger is so well-known that pop culture has given the feelings their own name:  hanger.   Armed with voodoo dolls and chalkboard noises, federally funded researchers wanted to prove a hangry spouse is also an unhappy one.   Over the course of twenty-one consecutive evenings, 107 couples were given a chance to stick up to 51 pins into a voodoo doll representing their spouse.

    The pin-pushing happened in secret, away from the other partner.   Participants then recorded the number of pins they poked into the dolls. Those tests revealed what may already be obvious to many couples:   a spouse with low blood sugar was an angrier one, and stuck more pins in the doll (on average).

    In a subsequent experiment, partners were allowed to blast loud noises at their partner if they won a game. The winner could play the loud noises – the sound of a smoke alarm, dentist’s drill, and fingernails-on-a-chalkboard for any amount of time they chose.

    Again, the results were just as any parent of a toddler might expect. “Hungry people are cranky and aggressive,” said the lead researcher.   Partners with lower blood glucose levels blasted their spouses with louder and longer noise.

    Not all academics believed the results. Two psychologists who reviewed the work suggested, “[I]t might be a big leap to interpret the results with voodoo dolls as indicating risk for actual physical aggression against a
    spouse.” 

    Funding for the voodoo doll project came in part from National Science Foundation grant worth $331,000.

     

    4:   Humans have long been known to have a “hot-hand bias” in which they believe hot or cold streaks exist where there is actually none.   Researchers wanted to know if monkeys had the same problem.   “Luckily, monkeys love to gamble,” said Tommy Blanchard, a doctoral candidate at the University of Rochester who worked on the study.

    But scientists “had to create a computerized game that was so captivating monkeys would want to play for hours.”   Monkeys were faced with three kinds of games: “two with clear patterns (the correct answer tended to repeat on one side or to alternate from side to side) and a third in which the lucky pick was completely random.”

    They picked up on consistent patterns in the first two games, “but in the random scenarios, the monkeys continued to make choices as if they expected a ‘streak.’ In other words, even when rewards were random, the monkeys favored one side. The monkeys showed the hot-hand bias consistently over weeks of
    play.”   Almost like being stuck in a casino, the three “subjects” played an average of 3,732 games.

    Based upon the monkeys’ behavior, the researchers concluded monkeys share “our unfounded belief in winning and losing streaks.”   “Win-stay strategies appear to be more natural for monkeys than win-shift ones,” details the study.   The researchers contend the study could “provide nuance to our understanding of free will” or even “inform treatment for gambling addiction.”

    But taxpayers are likely to go totally bananas that NSF is monkeying around with federal research dollars.
    The project is being funded as part of a $171,361 continuing grant to be provided by the National Science Foundation from June 2013 to May 2018. 

     

    5:   Mothers have the same reaction looking at photos of their dogs as they do to those of their own kids, according to recent government funded research published this year.

    The unique relationship between man and his pets is nothing new. “Humans began domesticating dogs to serve in a variety of roles, including as human companion or ‘pets’, 18,000-32,000 years ago,” the authors wrote in their study.   “Approximately 2/3 of U.S. households have pets, and over $50 billion is spent annually on their care...Many people have a strong emotional attachment to their pets...half of pet owners consider their pet as much a part of the family as any member of the household.”

    Science has already shown “very similar results for human infants’ and dogs’ behaviors with their mother or owner have been described under high and low stress conditions.”   And, bonding has “been implicated in human-human and owner-dog pairs.”

     

    This new study was described by the scientists as “the first report of a comparison of fMRI-related brain activation patterns in women when they viewed images of their child and dog.”   Participating moms were solicited “via advertisement in local media, veterinary clinics, dog parks” and a hospital research program.    Dogs and children were first “photographed in the participants’ home.”   Mothers were then shown a series of dog and child photos from other participants in the study, as well as photos of their own.   As they looked at each, their brains were monitored with an MRI scanner.   “Mothers reported similar emotional ratings for their child and dog, which elicited greater positive emotional responses than unfamiliar children and dogs,” and their brains acted in similar ways in viewing both their own kids and dogs.  

    Two of the scientists performing the study received a combined total of $371,026 from the National Institutes of Health this year, money intended for work in addiction research. 

     

    6:  Virginia Mary’s Alpaca, LLC received a $50,000 Value-Added Producer Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to process, package and market Alpaca manure as plant fertilizer,” commercially sold as “Poop Paks.”   The company boasts that its product is the “perfect POOP.”
     
    “Packaged in colorful, unmistakable green bags,” the Alpaca Poop Paks are “hand-tied using rustic hemp twine and recycled paper tags.”   “The” Mary, for which the company and farm are named, has been winning awards for her alpaca pets for over 15 years.

    Her 160 acre farm located in The Plains, Virginia, is home to 140 alpacas that she raises and sells (a “roaming” camera will soon be installed to broadcast the movements of the alpacas live on the internet).   Of course, buying and selling Alpaca manure as fertilizer is not new. It is widely available from retailers online and from those who may have pet alpacas. It has become a popular fertilizer, in part, because it doesn’t smell as bad as other types of waste, unlike the foul odor of misspent tax dollars.

     

    7:   Earlier this year, a congressional committee blocked the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from closing down a $2 million-a-year sheep research site the agency said was no longer needed.   Known as the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho, its mission is “increasing production efficiency of sheep and to simultaneously improve the sustainability of range land ecosystems.”

    The site is located near the borders of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana and used to graze 3,000 sheep on 28,000 mountainous acres of land.   Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack proposed closing the sheep station saying in June it “no longer has the critical mass of scientists necessary to address high priority research.”

    A spokesperson with USDA said the station was one of several the agency found had “gotten to the point where, from a financial standpoint, they’re either marginally viable or they’re just not sustainable.”   Moreover, the cost of running the station became too expensive after losing $1.5 million fending off lawsuits from environmental groups.

    The lawsuits stemmed from a dispute over whether grizzly bears or sheep should get priority in a high-altitude pasture, with environmental groups saying both cannot co-exist.   Secretary Vilsack ultimately sided with the bears – believing they needed better access to sites like Yellowstone – and notified Congress
    in June of plans to close the Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho and reallocate its $1,984,000 in annual funding to strengthen higher priority research.

    That was the point when Congress stepped in, however, to insist the sheep station remain open. Citing an obscure provision of law giving congressional committees the ability to stop the USDA’s plans, members from Idaho, Washington, Montana and Oregon joined forces to insist the closure be halted.   Idaho’s governor, Butch Otter, joined in the protest, saying he wanted to protect home-state businesses, “We want to keep it open.   The sheep business is big business in Idaho and will continue to be big business in Idaho, we hope.”

    The decision to keep the sheep station open, however, drew a sharp rebuke from environmental groups, which called the sheep station, “another subsidy to an industry that is already subsidized” with low fees and direct federal funding.   “It is ridiculous that Congress will intervene to keep a financially insolvent research station open ...” said John Meyer with the Cottonwood Environmental Law Center.

    One Idaho newspaper directly accused Idaho representative Mike Simpson – who intervened to keep the sheep station open – of helping drive up the national debt, saying, “If the sheep industry truly deems this facility’s work to be vital, the sheep industry should fund it.   Period. This should not fall under the purview of
    responsible, efficient government.”

    “We should shut down the Sheep Station,” said Phil Knight, resident of Bozeman, Montana, “and stop wasting taxpayer money on outdated science experiments.

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  • Detroit Tigers 2014 Season Perspective

    Detroit Tigers 2014 Perspective!

    (Charlie Rood) 

    Well, here we are in October, and our Tigers are still playing baseball.   When the season began in April, this was the goal.   Somehow, someway, play 162 games and be in a position to play some more.

    This is what I talked about at the beginning of the season.   Enduring the marathon.   Knowing that even if we had an incredible 100 win season, we would have to lose 62 times.   We finished 90-72.   Think about that.   Simply turn 10 games around and we have 100 wins.

    I'm sure we could find 10 games we should have won (or thought we should have won).   We know Joe Nathan blew 7 saves (more on him in a moment).   We know we blew a couple of seemingly comfortable leads even before the 9th inning.   We know we lost agonizing games, such as the 1-0 David Price one-hitter.

    On the other hand, we had a number of games we won that perhaps we should have lost.   I know because we enjoyed some great highlights from the seventh inning on when we came back to take leads and win games.

    We were frustrated by a stretch of games when our stellar starting pitching wasn't and our potent offense was impotent.   We also had some health issues which you never want to use as an excuse, but when guys like Cabrera aren't at their best, when Sanchez is lost for a time, when Andy Dirks and Bruce Rondon never played, you can't ignore that.

    HOWEVER, you may remember throughout the season as I offered up monthly perspectives, I told you I would tell you when it was time to worry, and I never did, because I was never worried.   Concerned a couple times, but never worried.

    I've played the game too long, listened and watched the game too long, and loved the game too long to ever get too high or too low during a season.   Generally, teams that have quality players will have a quality season.   That doesn't always mean the highest payroll or having the best player at every position.   Dare I mention the 1968 Tigers with Don Wert at 3b and Ray Oyler/Dick Tracewski/Tommy Matchick sharing short.   No wonder Mayo Smith had Mickey Stanley at short in the World Series!

    Here is some of what I wrote April 10:   "I'm thinking the Tigers win 93. That means 69 losses. That means we win just 24 more games than we lose. On average, if we win 15-16 games a month, we lose about 11."

    April:    14-9 (three rainouts)
    May:    17-12
    June:    14-13
    July:    13-13
    Aug:    16-15
    Sep:    16-10

    More from April 10 post: "Our new closer, Joe Nathan, has blown two save opportunities already this year. Concerned? No, not yet. On average, if a closer gets 50 save chances, he blows 5-10. Joe could now save seven games, blow another, save seven, blow another... and by the end of the season, maybe has 42 saves and 8 blown, and we'd be happy. Is that what will happen? Who knows? Maybe he just sucks and will be off the team by July."

    Joe Nathan at end of season:   35 save, 7 blown  (perhaps he could have got to 42-8...   and yes, a roller coaster ride...  just like Todd Jones...  but in the end, he did save 35)

    From April 10:   "Remember our strength is our starting pitching, and it just seems improbable we'll have any type of losing streak of 7-8 games which can really hurt a team, especially at the wrong time of the season".

    The worst losing streak we had was 5 games.   We had four, 4 game losing streaks.  

    In closing, from my April 10 post: "No guarantees on anything. That's why we play the games".

    And that's what I say about the post-season.   No guarantees.    It's also not a marathon anymore, it is a sprint!   Our Tigers have just a good a chance at winning the World Series as the other playoff teams.   Let the games begin!

    Having said that, you realize IF the Tigers were to win the first series in five games, you'll have to put up with two losses.   IF the Tigers were to win the ALCS and World Series in 7 games, you'll have to put up with three losses both times.

    Don't panic over losses.   We aren't going to go 11-0.

    And if we do lose, remember to appreciate the thrilling season it was, the fond memories we'll have, and the enjoyment we had because of a game.   Yes, in the end, baseball is just a game!    It's a better game when you win.....

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  • The Bible and Baseball

    "The Bible and Baseball"

    (Charlie Rood -  May 9, 2014)

     

    On Saturday, May 10, the Detroit Tigers will participate in "Home Plate 2014".   Various groups will join the Tigers to experience a special pre-game program.

    "Home Plate 2014" is when several players (active and retired) will speak about their careers in baseball, and more importantly, their faith in Jesus Christ.

    Why do players do this?   Perhaps you've heard and seen many professional ball players  express thanks and praise to God after winning a game or playing well.   Cynics will say God had nothing to do with who won a game or how they played, that it's nothing more than a performance of talent and skill.   Faithful followers know it's God that blessed these players with the talent and skill, plus gifts, desire, and will to perform individually and as part of a team.

    During the baseball season, numerous road trips and games every Sunday don't allow players to regularly attend church services.    Many players on all teams are active in their faith through "Baseball Chapel".   

    Did you know "Baseball Chapel" got its start in Detroit?   In 1973, a sportswriter from Detroit approached the commissioner of baseball asking for permission to start a chapel for players.   "Baseball Chapel" has grown over the years to ballparks across North America, Latin America, and Japan.

    "Baseball Chapel" is for more than players.   It's for all staff, from front office executives to broadcasters.  

    The Tigers had a prime example of a broadcaster with faith by the name of Ernie Harwell.    On the radio, Ernie was the voice of Tigers baseball for many years.   He was loved by fans and players, making and maintaining numerous friendships throughout the baseball world.   Ernie was known to lead "Baseball Chapel" gatherings even before chapel received the blessings of the commissioner.

    I had the pleasure of interviewing Ernie a few times.   I once humbly thanked him for his commitment to Christ, as I was just starting to experience my walk with the Lord, and told him I was inspired by his faith.   I asked him what his secret was to his long and healthy life, his continued enjoyment of working in baseball, and the fact he and "Miss Lulu" (as he called his wife) were able to have such a successful marriage.  

    "It's no secret," Ernie said, "I'm faithful to God and that allows me to be faithful in everything else."

    At the start of every baseball season, when Ernie would broadcast the first spring training game, he would start by reciting a Biblical passage from the Song of Solomon, 2:11-12,  "For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.  The flowers appear on the earth.   The time of the birds singing is come and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land"

    Miguel Cabrera of our Detroit Tigers has worn a T-shirt to practice that displays a fallen Jesus Christ with the cross on his back struggling to lift himself from the ground under the words "Lord's Gym."

    Longtime Tiger and Detroit native, Willie Horton, now hands out baseball cards with this inscription on the back:

    Much of my life has been spent striving to be the best baseball player I could be. I wanted to be like the Negro League heroes my Dad highly respected. At 20 years of age, I made my major league debut. While I enjoyed success on the baseball field, I found myself straying from the religious upbringing my parents sought to give me.

    In 2003, at the age of 60, a nephew of mine was battling cancer. I tried to talk with him about how he was feeling, and he told me not to worry about him. “You should be worrying about your own soul,” he said. His words hit me like a fastball to the ribs. I was stunned to receive a call a couple days later informing me that he had died of a heart attack. The day after attending his funeral, I received the news that another nephew had been tragically killed. At the church for his funeral, God’s message of love overwhelmed me. I knew it was time and I received Jesus Christ as my Savior.

    Happiness and joy surround my life these days. Along with working for the Detroit Tigers, I have the privilege of confessing the name of my Lord Jesus Christ. I find my daily strength in God’s Word. I have found a peace in my life. I’m closer to my team, my family and my God. My life seems complete.

    “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” Matthew 16:26

    Willie Horton is scheduled to appear at this "Home Plate 2014" event.   His testimony is one of the reasons why I titled this message, "The Bible and Baseball".

    I pray it may help further strengthen your faith, renew your faith, or perhaps even start your faith, and in the future, perhaps the title will be:   "The Bible and You"!

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  • Uncle Tom... what about it, Harry Reid

    "Uncle Tom"...  what about it, Harry Reid

    (Charlie Rood, May 1, 2014)

     

    Well that didn't take long, did it.

    In a post concerning Don Sterling on Wednesday, I wondered what will the NBA do "next time" there is an incident damaging to the league.   I stated - You know it's going to happen, just as it does in politics, in the entertainment world, or in ordinary life, there is always a "next time".

    From the world of politics (though I will tie it together with Sterling).....

    The Washington Post:   Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) on Wednesday stood by his remark that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is an "Uncle Tom" and continued to suggest that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) opposition to President Obama is race-based.

    In an interview with CNN, the Congressional Black Caucus member doubled down on his comments, first made over the weekend, that Thomas apparently "doesn’t like black people, he doesn’t like being black.” His comments were first reported by BuzzFeed.

    "Well if you look at his decisions on the court, they have been adverse to the minority community, and the people I represent have a real issue with an African American not being sensitive to those issues," Thompson told Dana Bash.

    Thompson cited Thomas siding with the conservative justices on the court -- of which he is a firm member -- upholding Voter ID laws and Michigan's ban on affirmative action. The court has also struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, which was first passed to prevent racial discrimination in elections.

    "The people that I represent, for the most part, have a real issue with those decisions," Thompson said. "All those issues are very important and for someone in the court who's African American and not sensitive to that is a real problem."



    Are you kidding me?   A member of congress using a racially insensitive term when talking about a Supreme Court Justice who he thinks isn't sensitive to a problem?   You are the problem, Representative Thompson.   Your disagreement with Justice Thomas cannot be taken seriously if you are going to do it using racially charged language.

    To take this a step further, how about this from Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (from USA Today)...  

    U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called out NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Wednesday and said he has not taken a decisive stand against racism the way NBA commissioner Adam Silver has.

    Reid (D-Nevada) applauded Silver's lifetime ban on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racist remarks against African-Americans and said Goodell should follow Silver's lead and force Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change his team's name.

    "I with almost all of America applaud the NBA's work to swiftly move to stamp out bigotry in its ranks," Reid said on the Senate floor, according to a rough transcript released by his office. "Commissioner Silver and the league have set the standard for how professional sports associations should act in the face of racism. I wonder … how the leadership of the National Football League, the NFL, that money-making machine, I wonder if they have taken notice of the NBA's decisive action. How long will the NFL continue to do nothing, zero, as one of its teams bears a name that inflicts so much pain on Native Americans?"



    Really, Mr. Reid?   What if we paraphrased your story this way...

    Senator Harry Reid was called out for not taking a decisive stand against racism the way the NBA commissioner has done.   Shouldn't Reid follow the the NBA and force Representative Thompson to change?

    We wonder how the leadership in Washington, that money-taking machine, if they have taken notice of the NBA's decision action.   How long will politicians continue to do nothing, zero, as one its own members uses a name that inflicts so much pain on African Americans?



    Yes, members of all politcal persuasion say stupid things and even use racially insenstive language.   It happens in sports, the world of entertainment, and life in general.   

    And you know what?   This will happen again, because there is always a "next time".

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  • A stunning update on "If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor"

    A stunning update on "If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor"  (March 3, 2014)

     

    The stunner about this is revealed at the end.   From the Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition...

    This is from a memo written by White House aide Todd Stern regarding a draft of the State of the Union speech mentioning health care:  

    "We have a line on page 10 that says - You'll pick the health plan and the doctor of your choice - this sounds great and I know that it's just what people want to hear.   But can we get away with it?   To appear to promise the nation that everyone will get to pick the doctor of his or her choice.   That's exactly what this line does.   I am very worried about getting skewered for over-promising here on something we know full well we won't deliver."

    Did I mention the date on this memo?

    January 22, 1994!

    Yes, you may have thought it was very recent, but it was from President Clinton's administration, regarding his speech mentioning proposed health-care reform.

    This memo was part of the documents released on Friday by the National Archives and the Clinton Presidential Library. 

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  • Charlie's Lawsuit against Uncle Sam

    Charlie's Lawsuit against Uncle Sam  (February 6, 2014)

    I'm thinking of filing a lawsuit against the United States Government to force CVS to sell cigarettes.  Why you ask?   To try and make a point.   I don't know if I make it, but here goes...


    Tobacco is a legal product.   How can the government stand by and not get involved in a private company blatantly discriminating against smokers?  

    How are smokers going to survive?   It's forcing smokers to find another source.   Where will smokers be able to find another source for this product being denied to them?  

    Are smokers expected to take personal responsiblity to decide if they still want to do business with CVS based on its "war on smokers"?   And what about smokers that work there?   Should they have to work in such a hostile environment? 

    How dare a private company take a moral stand based on the principles and beliefs of an owner!


    Have you figured out my point?   If government can force private businesses to offer certain types of birth control products as part of the Affordable Care Act, even against the moral principles of the owners...

    CVS is being hailed for doing business according to its standards.   Hobby Lobby has to sue to maintain its standards.

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  • Michigan School Funding (February 4, 2014)

    Michigan School Funding  (February 4, 2014)

    Governor Snyder says school spending is up.   Democrats say it's down.   Analysts say they're both right!   Most importantly, what do you say?   Which measurable method of funding better tells the story of school money?

    This is why people love politics (sarcasm).....

     

    The governor has increased K-12 spending of total appropriations from $12.98 billion in fiscal year 2011 to $13.36 billion for the current fiscal year.   By this measure, funding is up.

    Democrats say most of the increase would only help teacher retirement costs and not help with actual per-pupil funding directly in the classroom.   By this measure, funding is down $240 per pupil from $7316 to $7076.

     

    So, is it up or is it down?

    My take?   I look at the bottom line which shows an increase overall.   Whether it's directly in the classroom or for teacher pensions, it's all part of the education budget.   Or should be.

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  • "Dixie Dave" Minar Heart Attack

    (Charlie Rood)   "Dixie Dave" Minar had a heart attack last week.   

    He's alive!   He's okay!   Thank God!

    Here's the story...

    First of all, Dave will talk about his ordeal when makes his regular appearance on Mike Avery's Outdoor Magazine Show this weekend on WSGW (Saturday mornings 9-Noon on 100.5 FM and Sunday mornings 9-Noon on 790am).   Dave will be on about 11:50am.

    Most eveyone knows "Dixie Dave" Minar through his association with Mike Avery.   For years, you saw him with Mike on TV.   Now, you continue to hear him with Mike on the radio.

    Of course, he's also known for his restaurant in Birch Run, "Oscar and Joey's" (formerly The Old Dixie Inn).

    He's also known as a man of great faith who serves God with his time and talents in many ways.

    Last Wednesday, Dave made his regular call-in on Mike's show (this show is prerecorded on Wednesday mornings for weekend broadcast).   He called Mike after the recording was complete to let Mike know "by the way, I had a heart attack"!

    In fact, Dave made his call to Mike's show while sitting in the parking lot preparing to go to emergency as ordered by his doctor!   Dave had been experiencing some pains and suspected trouble, called his doctor, and was told to get to the hospital.

    Last Friday morning, he underwent triple-bypass surgery!   

    Doctors were amazed he wasn't dead.   Turns out he has a hereditary condition as several family members have died due to heart problems.

    Earlier today, we completed another recording of Mike's show.   Joining us for his usual appearance in the last segment was "Dixie Dave" Minar, after he had just returned home from the hospital!

    How is he doing?

    So well, that he will appear this Sunday at the 10th Annual Sportman's Wild Game Dinner and Charity Event hosted by his good friend, Mike Avery.

    This event is an evening of Christian fun and fellowship sponsored by St. Martin Lutheran Church in Birch Run with the proceeds going to the Helping Hands Ministry.   It takes place at the Frankenmuth Conservation Club, 8415 Curtis Road in Frankenmuth, doors opening at 3pm.

    The dinner is prepared by "Dixie Dave" Minar.   This year, Dave is getting some help as he will be resting in the dining room and not working in the kitchen!

    For tickets and information to this event:   Karen 989-770-4389 or Larry 810-686-3498

    AND, tomorrow on the Thursday morning WSGW Morning Team Show, we'll give away a pair of tickets after the 6:30am news.

    If you wish to send a message to Dave, please post here and we'll make sure he sees it!

    God Bless You, "Dixie Dave", and thank you for all the lives you have touched for so many years with your giving spirit, and thank you for all the lives you will continue to touch!

    (posted January 15, 2014)

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  • The Government Shutdown

    Just a few thoughts on “The Government Shutdown”…

    (Charlie Rood - October 5, 2013)

     

    I don't deny there are many people who will face personal hardships because of the shutdown.   We are already hearing stories.   More on that in a moment. 

    However, my first reaction to the shutdown is "YAWN"!   That seemingly non-caring reaction is because of something I remember from past shutdowns, which is NOTHING!  

    I was pondering this the other day when I heard Rush Limbaugh put it in perspective.   Whether you agree or disagree with Rush, you at least know he is aware of what is happening, especially politically.

    Rush was wondering why, of all the government shutdowns that have occurred, he only recalls this one and the one in 1995.   I think the total number of shutdowns I’ve seen is seventeen.   Only these two mattered?  I don’t recall all the pain and suffering previously?   Well…  

    If I understand correctly, until about 1981, if a shutdown happened, nobody really noticed because government workers could still work when not being paid.   But then a rule was changed and workers couldn’t work without being paid.   So change the rule back!   I’m not suggesting workers shouldn’t be paid, but at least government could still function while lawmakers negotiated.  

    Something else changed, too, especially in the 90’s and today.   The media coverage.   These days, the buildup to a possible shutdown is reported as an “end of the USA as we know it” scenario.   Then, when the shutdown is active, the “body count” starts.

    Adding to this media mayhem are the politicians who willingly contribute to “shutdown coverage” with  continuing rhetoric.   They end up talking more to the cameras than they do each other!               

    As the blame game is played out, nothing gets done.   Each side is holding firm to its demands.   A stalemate.   Big deal.  

    Some government run institutions are shutdown, some programs are curtailed, and some employees are not paid.  

    That means some institutions stay open, some programs continue, and some employees are paid.   Those paid include the lawmakers responsible for the shutdown!

    Are the republicans not "playing fair" in this shutdown?   Are the democrats simply "protecting Obamacare"?

    Neither side is breaking any rules.   They are breaking trust with the American people.

    Now, nobody likes the stories of how families face difficulties because of the shutdown.   Real stories are worthy of real attention  and worthy of real solutions.  

    BUT, when you also have stories that don’t need to be stories, you have to wonder what is going on?

    I’m talking about the World War II Memorial and the veterans.   Who had the bright idea to close that down when it’s never closed in the first place?   Barricades and guards?   Talk about made for media coverage!  

    My idea to end this shutdown and prevent others?   Lawmakers and the President stop getting paid and don’t get backpay.   They are forced into non-stop negotiations, locked in until their work is done.   They can take out their own trash, clean their own bathrooms, and fend for themselves in whatever ways necessary.    AND, they don’t talk to the media until after reaching an agreement!

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  • Why, Congress? Why? Why? Why?

    Why, Congress?   Why?   Why?   Why?

    (Charlie Rood, September 27, 2013)

     

    This isn't an easy point to make because it involves the widow of Senator Frank Lautenberg, but....

    A story in USA Today (link below) references how lawmakers are debating how to keep government funded, yet in the $1.1 trillion stopgap spending resolution, is a one-time payment to Senator Lautenberg's widow for $174,000, equivalent to his yearly salary!

    WHY?   Because these kinds of payments have become a "long-standing and routine practice of Congress", so routine, it's even covered in the official Senate handbook!

    WHY?   Because Congress has paid the funeral expenses of members who die in office since the 19th century.

    WHY?  Funeral expenses are one thing (and debatable), but the one year salary payment?

    To add further fuel to this fire is to note Frank Lautenberg's estimated worth in 2013 was estimated around $56.8 million!

    It sounds crass to ask, but does Lautenberg's widow need the money?   Heck, Bonnie Lautenberg didn't even know about this until she heard about it in the news.   

    Of course, this is nothing against her, it's against the political establishment in Washington who once again, have set up some "perk" that most of regular America does not get, but yet we pay for them to get!

    Some are pointing out that $174,000 in a $1.1 trillion dollar resolution is paltry.   

    It's NEVER paltry when you are talking about American taxpayer money!

    How many more of these expenditures might be part of spending resolutions, bills, and the budget overall?   Plenty, I'm sure!

    And now, a final "WHY"...

    Although most other federal spending is subject to across-the-board-cuts under the "sequestration", WHY doesn't this "payment to widows and heirs of deceased members of Congress" face cuts?

    BECAUSE, Congress specifically exempted the payments under the 2011 budget deal that avoided a government shutdown at that time!

     

    (USA Today story:   http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/09/26/frank-lautenberg-widow-payment/2877049/)

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