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.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Obama visits GOP Convention

I listened to President Obama's lecture to the GOP Convention last week and I don't anyone to confuse it with a speech, it was a lecture. As Michigan Governor Granholm promised in 2004, I was blown away with his holier-than-thou attitude. His arrogance was without any evidence of bi-partisanship. Don't you know that you Republicans are the ones who have ruined America? Don't you know that you Republicans are the ones who are wrong? Don't you know that you Republicans are the party of "NO?" Don't you know that you Republicans are the cause of this economic train wreck because of former President Bush and his policies from the past eight years? Don't you know that we (Democrats) are going to spend our way out of this recession?

Don't you know that no Democrats has ever done anything wrong. Why can't you Republicans just accept that? Democrats don't ever admit errors or even that there is a possiblilty of an error!

Democrats are the party of write! You want wasteful spending for an airport in the middle of Pennsylvania that no one uses, just write a check for an earmark? You want a health care bill that will eventually bankrupt America, just write a 2562 page bill? You want to take your wife to NYC for a date, just fly Air Force One with all its support staff at a significant cost to the taxpayer (afterall Dems have an unlimited supply of money and we don't have to show any fiscal responsibility).

I watched Campbell Brown's program last night and was wondering how she can have such a 180 degree view of President Obama's lecture to the GOP? I mean, I know that America is made up of differing opinions but to be that far off and not admit that there was even a possibility that he was lecturing. Not even see the possibility that Obama is not allowing GOP input in his administration.

He said that both sides need to be more "civil toward each other", I say, lead by example. Show Americans that bi-partisanship begins with its leaders.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of the Union Address

Like many Americans, I watched the State of the Union address last night with the usual amount of curiosity. I purposely did not read any newspaper accounts this morning, nor did I listen to any analysis last night by the media. And I didn't listen to my usual round of talk radio this morning. I watched the speech again this morning since I DVR'd it and took some notes. I don't know what you saw but here is my take on it.

Limbaugh, Hannity, and Levin are probably saying it was an "I" speech. What I did, what I will do and they are probably saying he is just campaigning as usual. I will leave that kind of rhetoric to them.

What I would like to know is who produces these meetings? Who gives instructions to attendees? Who decides who sits where? Surely there has to be a person in charge of the orchestration of the evening events. Who stage manages it? Who decides who sits in the front row? Or the back row? How does a Junior Senator from Minnesota get a seat in the fourth row? I am sure the Justices get the same seats all the time but what about the rest. Is it all political protocol? Or is it payback time? Who gets camera time and who doesn't? It would be interesting to know.

I am almost certain that the instructions Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader John Boehner both gave to fellow Democrats and Republicans respectively went something like this. "If I applaud, you applaud; if I stand up and applaud, you stand up and applaud." Keep your eyes on me most of the time. To the Democrats, Nancy Pelosi probably said, "Don't ever shake your head left to right." Likewise Boehner said, "Whenever you feel like it, shake your head left and right." And someone probably advised Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice-President Joe Biden to both wear purple as their sign that they are not red or blue tonight.

That aside, here is what I heard. We will more than likely, maybe, possibly, have a spending freeze of non-essential services in 2011. What you didn't hear was, "So don't cut any budgets in 2010, spend until you are blue in the face because next year we may be held accountable and try not to spend more than 2010. We don't have the courage to call for an immediate spending freeze or even some cuts."

We are going to setup a Bi-Partisan Fiscal Commission to see if we can help us from spending more of your grandchildren and great grandchildren's money. Have you ever seen a government committee work?

Talk about the Supreme Court decision last week to open the political market to a free for all from a guy who spent almost $1 billion to get elected president is beyond the definition of "chutzpah."

Earmark reform. Words, just words. Want to see how many earmark requests get posted online? So do I!

President Obama's statement about Republicans just saying "No" to everything is, in his words, "not leadership". Leadership is not letting Republicans in on closed-door meetings, that is his style of leadership. What about letting C-span in on all meetings or at least have meetings open to the public.

President Obama stated that he will "continue fixing the immigration system." When did he start?

He stated, "We are working with Muslim communities around the world to promote science, education and innovation." Why is he singling out reaching to Muslims? What about Christians, or Jews, or Protestants? It was the only mention of any religious group in the entire speech. His Muslim up bringing always shines through.

He also stated, "Each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people's doubts grow." Someone should give him a mirror on that one. As a matter of fact, they should give mirrors to each and every politician in the audience.

And the last comment about the speech was when the cameras cutaway to show brief cuts of the audience, the amount of head shaking, discontent and disgust, even on some Democrats was obvious. John Dingell looked like he was up way past his bedtime and bored. The Levins looked their usual and Senator Stabenow didn't look too excited either.

Oh, I could go on about his comments concerning nuclear energy, solar power, clean coal power, energy independence but it was just words. Nothing speaks louder than actions but they don't do actions in Washington, D.C.

I didn't watch the Republican response, I should have.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Toyota takes one giant step backward

With the recent announcement of Toyota stopping production and sales of eight of their top sellers, many are taking another look at how great our American-made products really are.

How would you feel if you recently bought a Toyota Camry or Corolla, two top selling cars in America, for your son or daughter, as a graduation present? Would you let them continue to drive knowing that the company now admits there is a major problem with the accelerator pedal? What do you do? Park the car? Try to sell it? Buy another foreign car? How comfortable do you feel having a Toyota following you down the freeway? For a company the likes of Toyota to admit this problem, it must be much more serious than being admitted. This is not simply a recall of almost all of Toyota-made vehicles, it is an indication of the serious flaws in Toyota engineering, manufacturing, and products. Can Lexus be far behind? Remember it first came to light that the problem originally started with a Lexus speeding down a California highway, resulting in death of the passengers.

But what does this say about companies that have claimed Toyota builds the Number One car in the world. What does this say about JD Power and Associates, a company built on evaluating everything under the sun? Does this diminish their results? Will their status be tarnished because of Toyota's actions?
Would an American company take such a bold move? Probably not but I contend that an American company would not have that ability or need to take such a step. Our media would be all over an American company had it had the problems Toyota has had. It would have been headlines in every newspaper and on every TV newscast in the country long before a company would have to take the step of stopping sales and production of eight of its models.

In the past, Toyota didn't have recalls, they had service announcements and the announcements usually ended up on page nine in the newspapers and usually didn't get any mention on TV. The media let Toyota get away with this for a long time. Maybe it is time to take a closer look at all companies, not just American companies.

That is my stand, what do you think?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The cost of Reid's grand standing before Christmas

Now that Harry Reid's version of the Health Care Bill has been sidelined and his keeping of the Senate in session until the very last minute before Christmas, one has to wonder what the cost has really been.

Forgetting the $300 million given to Senator Nelson of Nebraska and the $100 million given to Louisiana and all of the other pledges that probably will not come to fruition. I mean the cost to taxpayers in hard cash.

No one could make travel arrangements until the last minute. Those who might have made early travel arrangements with those "non-refundable" airfares to return home for Christmas vacation probably lost them. President Obama left on time but he and his entourage were probably the only ones. The entire senate and their staff were being held hostage by Harry Reid. They could not make travel arrangements ahead of time. They could not save any money. When they could finally travel home for the holidays, they had to pay top of the line airfares. I am not just talking about the 100 Senators from their respective states. Each Senator has a staff of dozens, even hundreds of clerks, advisers, administrative assistants and family. What was that cost?

If I made a flight from Washington, D.C. to Detroit today for a flight today, the cost would be $617.84. However, if I made the arrangements ahead of time, the cost of the flight would be $217.75 So who picks up the difference $400.09, the taxpayers. Oh, I didn't choose to fly first class as most senators would do. The penalty for flying first class is less severe but the average costs for the same flight is $1,453.40. Who pays? The taxpayers!

If this were a private business, someone would have been called on the carpet for wasteful spending. What needs to happen is that the Federal Government needs to be audited and congressional spending needs to be put under a microscope.

That is my stand, what do you think?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Real Nancy Pelosi - A horrible woman!

Don't take my word for it, I am not the one who called Nancy Pelosi a horrible woman. Watch the video and judge for yourself. While the Speaker of the House tries to ram through many untimely bills and make life for the average American worker or should I say unemployed worker, she spends recklessly and with total abandonment to her fiduciary responsibilities as the third most powerful figure in American politics, at least currently. She needs to step down as Speaker of the House and retire, with 95% of her pay of course, from politics.

It is bad enough that the Copenhagen "Climate Change" meetings had a carbon foot print that will take five years of normal living to reduce the waste exhibited. This kind of "Do as I say, not as I do" philosophy has got to stop. Anything that Nancy Pelosi does is a lie and anything that she advocates for is a farce. The only one that Nancy Pelosi is concerned about is Nancy Pelosi.

By the way, I agree that she is a horrible woman.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Massachusetts Senate Seat election

President Obama weighed in on the Massachusetts Senatorial election. He is confused. He calls Scott Brown's ads slick and insults anyone who drives a truck.
I have watched Scott Brown's ads and they are not slick by any standard and his truck is a Government Motors truck so why is President Obama slamming his truck and making fun of his driving around the Commonwealth of Massachusetts? Nearest I can tell is that the Democrats are afraid of what is going to happen to former Senator Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. As Scott Brown said, "it is not Ted Kennedy's seat and it is not the Democrat's seat, it is the people's seat." So to the fine citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I urge you to vote for Scott Brown. Don't believe me that the ads are not slick. Click on either ad below and watch for yourself.
Here is another slick ad run by Brown.

Chicago politics has now entered Massachusetts. You figure it out but remember in November.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Good news and bad news

There is good news and bad news coming out of our illustrious leaders in Washington these days. While everyone is focused on the terrible tragedy in Haiti, congress is moving forward with the Health Care reform bill, all behind closed doors with no input from the Republican Party but plenty of input from private interests.

By private interests, I mean Unions. I heard about this a couple of weeks ago but thought it was just too bold and corrupt a move to be real. I was wrong. It seems that the Unions are going to get a free ride on their "Cadillac" health care insurance.

So there is good news and bad news.

The good news: Unions are not going to be taxed on their "Cadillac" benefits for the next five to seven years and for lifetime on dental, and optical insurance, thanks to the SEIU, UAW, MEA et all.

The bad news: If you are not a Union employee, your wallet is about to get a lighter. A lot lighter.

Estimates figure the cost to taxpayers will be in the $60 Billion range. Those especially hurt by this latest form of corruption will be the engine of the American economy, small businesses.

All along you probably thought that Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow were not working for Michigan. That Representatives John Dingel, Carolyn Cheecks-Kilpatrick, John Conyers, Sander Levin, Gary Peters and the rest of the Democrats were not doing anything to support the people of Michigan.

Congress and the Democrats keep paying off their debts for electing the President Obama. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid keep spending like there is an endless amount of money, spending like a drunken sailor in a (well you get the idea). Their benefits package alone is the most outrageous extravagant package in the world. They will never participate in this new Health Care Bill. They have exempted themselves and all federal employees for life. They are trying to make this bill so it cannot be repealed by future Congresses, although that will be a Constitutional challenge right out of the box.

The bottom line is that every non-union worker in the country, except for the fine folks in Nebraska, Louisiana and a few selected state which received even bigger payoffs, will be paying additional fees (taxes) for life. The Democrats are going to start taxing everything they can get their grubby little hand on. First to be taxed will be Social Security and Medicare benefits that cover our senior citizens. If you are currently receiving $2,000 a month from Social Security, expect to start receiving less than $1,800 a month. Fixed incomes are about to be lowered. These are the people that can least afford it.

How do you like "Change" now? Remember this in November.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Race to the Top

Reading various articles on the Race to the Top school reform and money grabbing effort to throw more money into our failing educational system, I am amazed how much of our government doesn't learn or listen.

They (our Lansing elected officials)are asking the MEA (Michigan Teachers Union) to approve the reform measures without letting them have the opportunity to read the reforms. I may not be a big supporter of the MEA but isn't that what we all bitched about with the Health Care Bill. And the stimulus bill. No one read them but voted for them.

When will our legislatures learn? Post it online and let every one read the bill before a vote is taken. Let everyone read the reform plan before approving it. Do things on a timely basis, not at the last minute. Plan ahead. Hell, just plain plan would be good.

Even though many of the reforms are long overdue, it is just plain old R-E-S-P-E-C-T for all involved to allow them to read the proposed reforms. I thought it was only our Washington Congress who didn't read the bill. I guess I was wrong.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Companies lack the human touch

With the economy of Michigan in the tank, many people have had to look for alternative sources of income. Many have had to wait in long lines and fill our countless job applications. Many are under employed but have a commitment to support their families so they have decided to do the right thing and possibly find a different line of employment that would not be their normal line of work.

That is where a big problem exists. Many companies have moved to online job applications or even have kiosks in their stores that require a person to sit near an entrance way for an hour filling out the application and then answering countless scenario questions to test their aptitude for an available job.

I know people who have filled out a 100 applications and sent out countless resumes. They have made phone calls, left messages and sent emails.

So what is this blog about, you might ask? It is about the lack of responsiveness people receive from most companies. I have personally filled out many applications and have not had the courtesy of a response. Not even a "Thanks for your recent application." The problem is that these companies lack ethics of old.

Today's youth, the ME generation, who are in key personnel positions at many of today's companies, seem to lack some basic communication manners. I am sure they have the education to hold these positions, their parents made sure of that. But they are so used to immediate gratification, i.e.: Blackberries, iPhones, Facebook, etc... that they don't realize that the person on the other end of the application, email, resume, letter, is a human being in need of a job. Many times they are looking for a little respect to get them through tough days. To give them some hope of survival.

I am not talking about Mom and Pop companies, I am talking about some major players, like Home Depot, Lowe's Home Improvement, Costco, to name a few.

A simple automated, "Thank you for your interest in our company, your applcation will be reviewed and a representative from our company will be in contact with you in the near future." would be, at times, a heartening response. Wow, someone is actually listening. It is not a big thing to generate such a response, it is simply good etiquette. Something that is lacking in business today.

I know times are tough these days and that companies are running lean and mean but the basics of good business still require the human touch. When I personally hear about such companies, I make an effort to stay away and shop elsewhere.