Blogs > It's Time To Take A Stand

Being a business theatre producer has allowed Brian the opportunity to meet and work with some very fascinating people from a variety of backgrounds which, in turn, has helped shape his knowledge and his opinions. His blog will not always be political, it will be about a lifetime of subjects, and nothing is off limits. “Few people have original thoughts, we are shaped by the people we know and meet” he says.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cash for Clunkers - Final Analysis

Now that the Cash for Clunkers program is over and we have had time to actually access the results, it is time to put the myth that the program was a tremendous success to rest. It was not.

According to, the premier resource for online automotive information, the company has determined that Cash for Clunkers cost taxpayers $24,000 per vehicle sold.

According to the article, nearly 690,000 vehicles were sold during the Cash for Clunkers program,officially known as CARS, but analysts calculated that only 125,000 of the sales were incremental. The rest of the sales would have happened anyway, regardless of the existence of the program.

To conduct the analysis, the team of PhDs and statisticians examined the sales trend for luxury vehicles and others not included in Cash for Clunkers, and applied the historic relationship of those vehicles to total SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate)to make informed estimates. These estimates were independently verified through careful examination of sales patterns reflected by transaction data. Once the numbers were determined,`s analysts divided three billion dollars by 125,000 vehicles to arrive at the average $24,000 per vehicle.

One more thing, what cost to the environment does destroying all those vehicles have vs. leaving them on the road?

And you want the government to handle Health Care? Not me!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Funding not a problem, spending is the problem!

I read that Governor Granholm was recently in Rochester meeting with area school superintendents trying to find a funding solution. That she purposely chose Rochester because it is Republican Mike Bishop's district. What the Oakland Press omitted to mention was that it is not a funding problem nor has it ever been a funding problem. Michigan schools have always been well funded. They may be disproportionately funded because some districts have more political clot than others. Some districts have chosen to spend money in Lansing to get higher per student funds in an effort to keeps their bloated budgets. The MEA, the most powerful lobby in Lansing, helps fund many of the politician's campaigns who are making decisions.

Like I said, it is not a funding problem, it is and always has been a spending problem.

We have too many school districts in Michigan, over 500 separate districts. Compare to a bankrupt California which has less than 200 districts, we have almost as much waste in Michigan school districts as there is in Washington, D.C.

Wise and intelligent spending is the answer along with consolidation of school districts. Unfortunately that is not on the Governor's agenda, raising taxes is.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

GM’s loss will be another’s gain

Not very often does one person impact a situation or a company with any significance. Normally we work our own areas and go about our life without much fanfare or notice. There are of course exceptions.

One of those exceptions is a person with whom I worked in the 1980s and early 1990s. He was merchandising manager for a General Motors Division that was run old school. Meaning that change or innovative ideas were not encouraged. The status quo was always desired. Statements like, “That’s the way we have always done it” were the mantra of the day. Eventually this person left and became the driving force behind another car company.

This other car company began to excel and people took notice so he was invited back to GM to manage his former division. He brought it to its current height and was elevated to a vice president of GM.

He was and is one of the most honest, ethical and moral people I know. He not only understood the inner workings of a car company, he also understood the responsibility that came with leadership. He always had time to say hello to the “little guy” and had a sincere desire to take GM to the next level of greatness.

Unfortunately, he left GM a couple of weeks ago to “pursue other interests.” I am not sure what that means but I know that the loss of Mark LaNeve is not good for GM or for the automotive community. Mark was an outstanding, dedicated and driven individual who, I feel, will be missed more than anyone can imagine and whichever company gains his leadership will be greatly improved because of his mere presence. Good luck, Mark.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

He said, She said Politics!

Where do we go from here! The blame the other side of politics has got to stop! Why can't our politicians see what they are doing to our country? Why can't they see how divisive their current actions are? Are they so wrapped up in themselves and their "my way or the highway" politics that they can't or won't even listen to the other side? Have money and special interest so corrupted politics that we don't have anyone who is willing to consider alternative plans? Or that there may be an alternative plan? Are your plans always the best?

Both the Democrats and the Republicans have created this mess together. Both are to blame but both could be the problem solver, if only they can let go of their egos and purse string attachment to special interests and put the good of the country and its people first.

No one is right in the health care debate and no one is wrong. How can that be? Can't we find some mutual acceptable points and work from there? Surely there are some good points to the Democratic bills and equally there has to be some good points to the Republican proposals. If only each side would step back and listen to the other side instead of all the rhetoric and name calling. It will require an open mind and an open heart to listen without prejudice, to actually listen to each other. To force anything on the American people is wrong. It is wrong for the Republicans and it is wrong for the Democrats. Listen to each other. That is all we ask.

It takes true leadership to listen, something that is missing in both Lansing and Washington. Just listen, you might learn something.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Shut down Government!

I don't usually agree with many politicians but L. Brooks Patterson may have the right idea now. In 2007, when we had the previous budget crisis, I suggested we call Governor Granholm's bluff and shut the government down. A Lansing politician wrote back telling me that could not happen because too many people count on the government for subsistence and safety. Do you think that could be the problem? Too many people count on the government?

I know times are tough in Michigan and it has affected me tremendously but I am not running to the government for help. I am actively looking for work everyday. But what are our politicians in Lansing doing? They waited until late in September to try to balance the budget that was due in October. Then they passed an emergency interim budget delaying the budget decision process until the end of October. Where the hell were they in May, June, July, and August? Didn't they know that September was going to be the next month? Are they that dense?

Governor Granholm's office put out numbers today claiming that the stimulus is working. This month alone it created 400 jobs and saved another 19,500 jobs. What are they thinking? We have a 15.3% unemployment rate in the state and that is not counting the self-employed whose income has been cut by 50-60-70% and are not eligible for any government benefits or people who have lost their businesses or people who have already given up. The true rate of unemployment is probably more like 17% to 19%.

Governor Granholm's answer is to raise taxes! She is looking to raise taxes on anything that moves and somethings that don't move. She wants to make is more difficult on the unemployed. Didn't she see the lines of people at Cobo Hall last week looking for help? Is she blind? She wants to chase doctors out of the state with her physicians tax as well as a beverage tax, an entertainment tax, and more smokers taxes. She wants to keep bars open until 4:00 am. Don't we have enough drunks on the road already? Why not tax walking, biking, execise, or overweight people, maybe short people and tall people. I got it, let's tax political contributions? That should bring in a ton on money.
Time to Take a Stand!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What are Dems thinking?

I have been struggling trying to understand the Democratic Party. I have been wanting to give them the benefit. I have even been listening to Talk Radio with their point of view, their spin. I even wrote about the fact that not all Democratic ideas are bad. I have bent over backwards to try to understand from where they are coming. All to no avail.
What are they thinking? They must think that all Americans are illiterate! They try to hide behind their own personal agendas. They pretend that Health Care Reform will be better for all of us. They talk a couple of renegade Republican Senators into supporting it and claim it is a non-partisan bill. When White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel invites Top Dems to the White House for a meeting, it is usually at gun point. This guy is about as subtle as a bull in a china shop. Chicago Politics.
Furthermore, it is bad enough that Charles Rangel, the Democratic Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee responsible for writing the Tax Code, under reported his income by $1 million and the Dems think it was a mistake. A mistake is when you forget to tell your wife that someone called for her earlier in the day. Under reporting a $1 million income is a wilful disregard for the law and Tax Code. He needs to resign and we need to vote every Democrat out of Congress as soon as possible.

That is my Stand.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I was Boo'd... in my own home!

Can you imagine, I was sitting watching the New England-Denver football game with my family and we were boo'd! In our own home.

It wasn't because I was expressing one of my political views about government waste! I wasn't attending a Tea Party. I was just about to leave to drive my daughter to the airport for her return trip to Orlando because she recently graduated from CMU and couldn't find work in Michigan. She found it in Orlando.

And I was Boo'd! My family tried to console me and telling me that it wasn't me that they were boo'ing, they were boo'ing the entire family.

But we loved it! We actually enjoyed getting boo'd!

While sitting in our family room, we heard the doorbell and wondered who would be at our front door this time of day. We weren't expecting anyone. Looking out the window, we saw a young person running down our driveway. Maybe it is one of those pesky canvassers dropping off a political brochure, we thought. But why would they be retreating so quickly? Didn't they want to annoy us with their opinion?

We opened the door and saw this little plastic bag, filled with candy with a post it note attached.

The post it note read, "You have been boo'd! Pass it on."

What a delightful thing to do to someone. This could be the start of a wonderful tradition. I don't know who boo'd us and I don't even care, I think it was a great gesture of kindness and selflessness and a fun way to say something nice to neighbors and to the people of Michigan who could use a boo or two.

To our Boo'er, thank you for boo'ing our family. I will pass it on!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Health Care and Politics

The Health Care mess continues with both parties blaming each other and getting no where.

A number of years ago, when the Republicans were in power, they failed miserably to address the Health Care issue. They didn't even have it on their agenda. They could have implemented tort reform, and easily addressed all of their current concerns but they didn't. Why? Now that the Democrats are in charge, the Republicans (Conservatives) are screaming foul and for good reason but why all of a sudden.

Politics in Washington has become so partisan. The Democrats are not even letting any Republican backed issues on the floor for discussion. It is there ball and they are not going to share it with anyone. They would rather take it and go home before allowing any Republican input. Much like the Republicans did when they were in power.

The Democratic Leadership think they are the only ones with any good ideas.

What the current controlling party (Democrats) and the previous Republcan party, when they were in control, are saying to the American public is, "Screw you, we don't give a crap what you want, what you think or what is good for the country. You are nothing to any of us except a free ride. We won't listen to you unless we have to get re-elected and then we will only give you lip service. Go to hell."

And the American public is accepting this with nary a whimper.

Conservatives can hold their Tea Parties (I attended a couple this year)and liberals will continue to call them UnAmerican, but no one has the courage to try to work together.

I can't believe that all Republican ideas are bad and that the Democratic bills are all incompetently written. There has to be some common ground from which both parties can agree.

This egomaniacal attitude has got to STOP! Special interests and lobbyists (campaign contributions) are controlling all of these politicians and not one of them has the courage, let alone the ability, to break through the crime and corruption of these political leaders.

People like Nancy Pelosi, Charles Rangel, Harry Reid, John Boehner, Alan Grayson, Michael Steele, Newt Gingrich have got to change their selfish, self serving, ideological attitudes and mindset. It is time to get rid of the entire bunch, starting in 2012.

It is Time to Take a Stand!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A guide for Lansing politicians

During the recent round of the Lansing budget balancing act by our representatives, I have come up with a couple of simple strategies for them to follow.

It seems that they simply don't understand what the words "cut" or "balance" mean, so here is a lesson.

If a Bill starts with “to create…to establish… to author…to raise” it is probably just another government bill wanting to add more bureaucracy with additional costs (that would be taxes)and should be voted against.

If a Bill starts with “to eliminate…to cut…to reduce…to suspend” it is probably a good bill and should be voted for.

Of course, there are always exceptions but this would be a good start for them. And they say government is too complex for the average citizen to understand.

The bottom line is if you don't have the money, you don't spend it. Then you cut waste, programs and/or services. Many Michigan residents have had to cut major chunks out of their budgets and are struggling to survive and these Lansing politicians are trying to find a new name for taxes. They call them fees, service initiatives, renumerations, dues, assessments, contributions, capitations, fines, tariffs, tolls but they are all TAX INCREASES.

Governor Granholm and her Democratic party have raised taxes every year since she became governor and the Republicans have been hoodwinked to go along with her so their is plenty of blame to go around.

It is time to Take a Stand against any and all tax increases.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Tigers Downfall

Sadly the Detroit Tigers lost a playoff game on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Twins but who is responsible for their loss? Many people want to point fingers at Miguel Cabrera's Friday drinking with members of the Chicago White Sox and his early morning visit to a Birmingham Police Department. Is he really the culprit here? He certainly does own a share of the responsibility but he is not alone.
Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland deserve some blame for allowing him to play on Saturday during a critical game. They just wanted to take the easy way out. If they benched him, they would have had to explain why. They didn't, they took the easy way out and possibly sacrificing a victory. We will never know.

Had they had enough courage to bench him and then allow someone of lesser caliber play, who knows what the outcome would have been. That is my stand.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Why English?

“English is the most widely spoken language in the history of our planet, used in some way by at least one out of every seven human beings around the globe. Half of the world’s books are written in English, and the majority of international telephone calls are made in English. English is the language of over sixty percent of the world’s radio programs, many of them beamed, ironically, by the Russians, who know that to win friends and influence nations, they’re best using English. More than seventy percent of international mail is written and addressed in English, and eighty percent of all computer text is stored in English. English has acquired the largest vocabulary of all the world’s languages, perhaps as many as two million words, and has generated one of the noblest bodies of literature in the annals of the human race.”
Author – Richard Lederer
Crazy English

English is the official language spoken by every international pilot and air traffic controller in the world. Not Spanish, Russian, French, Italian or German, English.

Almost every country has established an official language. Spain and Mexico have Spanish as their official languages. Germany has German, and Sweden names Swedish as their official language. Brazil uses Portuguese as their official language. Both English and French are Canada's official languages. This means that to be a citizen of Canada you must be able to fluently speak one of the two languages.

What does the Untied States have? Nothing. Zip. Nada.

What is wrong with our leaders? Have they no courage? The cost to print everything our government does into many different languages is in the billions of dollars. In whatever language you want a document, we have it, and for what reason, because we do not have an official language.

If you went to Mexico and asked for an English brochure, they would laugh at you. Try Germany and see if you can get something in Spanish or Italian or even English and you will come up against a brick wall.

It is time we make English our Official National language and stop printing everything in every foreign language and require immigrants to learn the language if they want to be live here, be a citizen or even receive a working visa.

It is estimated that by 2045, the Hispanic population of the U.S.A. will be the majority and you can bet that Hispanics will vote to make Spanish our Official National language.

Time to take a stand and contact every elected government official and let your voice be heard.

Welcome to my blog!

As you can surmise from the name, Time to Take a Stand, this blog will be about everything under the sun. Yes, it will probably be pretty heavy with political views but it will also cover things in our local area that may not be political. Too many of us read the newspapers or watch television and something will set us off but we do nothing about it.

You hear a story and think to yourself, “What were they thinking?” Well, I am going to tell you what I was thinking many times. I am not a person to hold back a comment, I will call it the way I see it. Sometimes it may offend someone and sometimes it may not. You might say, that is exactly how I feel or you may think that I am totally nuts. That’s OK because it is making you think about it and at some point, you may decide to take a stand about something important.

That is all I want to accomplish with this blog. I want people to start talking about anything and everything and take a stand. I don’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat, if you are left or right leaning, if you are an extremist or a moderate or if you are a conservative or a liberal. I care that we don’t take a stand. I care that we are all losing our ability to have honest discussion. I care that we resort to insults and back stabbing. I care that we have to find someone to blame all of the time. I don’t care that it is either left or right, or right or wrong, or black or white when nothing is ever that simple but without honest debate, without hidden agendas, we will never reach an agreement.

It all boils down to one of my mother’s life lessons. She was a great woman with intelligence that I never appreciated until late in life. She would always say, “Treat people the way you want to be treated and remember you are the only one responsible for your decisions, so think before you decide.” If we live life by this simple premise, we would all be better off. Thank you.

Please always remember our troops who are keeping us safe and free in your prayers.