Thursday, July 30, 2009

Speed Traps Exposed

A recent Gazette article proved that it's still good for something, after all.

Not so fast: Thousands get tickets in Kalamazoo where speed limits may be set too low

The article exposes the fact that the city of Kalamazoo has been handing out lots of tickets to drivers for violating a speed limit that isn't legal. Specifically, the section of Park Street going down Westnedge Hill, where the posted limit is 30 mph.

KALAMAZOO -- The posted speed limit on South Park Street is 30 mph.

But the limit isn't legal and hasn't been for more than a decade.

The reason: State officials didn't perform a traffic study -- necessary to establish a speed limit -- when they assumed control of the Kalamazoo road in 1998.

That means thousands of people have been ticketed for exceeding 30 mph when, in fact, the speed limit is 55 mph -- the default limit for state roads where there's no legally established speed limit, according to Michigan's Vehicle Code.
A limit of 30 mph is too low on that stretch of road. You have to ride your brakes hard the whole way down to stay under it.

The Gazette lists the top speed trap locations in the city.
South Park, from Parkwood Drive at the top of Westnedge Hill to West Vine Street, ranked No. 1 among Kalamazoo streets for speeding tickets written in the city between April 1, 2008, and March 31, a Kalamazoo Gazette investigation found.

Rounding out the top five speeding hot spots in the city, three of the four may have posted speed limits that are set too low, the Gazette investigation found.

Those stretches of road, ranging from a few blocks to 2.5 miles, are:

• Portage Street, between Bryant Street and Washington Avenue.
• Stadium Drive, between Oliver Street and Drake Road.
• South Burdick Street, between Crescent Drive and Maple Street.

The tickets written for speeding on those four roads accounted for 46 percent of the nearly 6,000 speeding tickets issued in Kalamazoo during the 12-month period, the Gazette found.
Thankfully, there is at least one government employee who takes a reasonable position on this issue.

"It's obvious the general population is not adhering to the speed limit and doesn't feel the speed limit is proper," said Spc. Sgt. James Campbell, a Michigan State Police traffic-safety expert who conducts speed studies on state roads in Southwest Michigan.

Campbell said speed limits on roads where there is an inordinate number of speeding tickets are "probably artificially low."

"I hate to call it a speed trap because I don't think it's intentional," he said. "It's usually (kept low) for a false reason like safety."
Not everyone agrees, of course.

That's a recommendation the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety opposes.

"Our department believes the current speed limit as set is the appropriate speed," Public Safety Assistant Chief Brian Uridge said.

In the 12-month period examined by the Gazette, Public Safety officers ticketed 1,138 drivers for speeding on South Park Street, or nearly 20 percent of all speeding tickets written in that period.

Uridge said the department decides where to do traffic enforcement based on accident rates and citizen complaints.

Accidents aren't a problem, however, along that stretch of South Park. It didn't rank among the top 10 Kalamazoo streets where crashes occurred since May 2008, according to Public Safety.
At least now that we know that the city has been violating the law, justice will be done, right?

But drivers who've been ticketed there shouldn't pin their hopes on appealing the citation and having the points removed from their driving record, Willis and other attorneys said.

"To have such a low speed coming down a hill, it's got to be wrong," Kalamazoo attorney Gary Tibble said. "But I don't think a judge would automatically throw it out. It probably wouldn't invalidate the ticket."
The article goes on to discuss the speed limit on Stadium Drive, a wide, flat, five lane road for which 40 mph is simply too low.

In 1989, despite a state police traffic study that said Stadium's 50 mph speed limit should continue, city and state officials successfully lobbied MDOT to lower it to 40 mph, Campbell said.

That's the kind of wayward thinking that people have," Campbell said. "You may not like a 50 (mph speed limit) because you think it's too fast, but it's not."

Three intersections on Stadium -- at Howard, Drake and Rambling Road -- rank among the 10 most accident-prone intersections in the city since May 2008, according to Public Safety.


But if the number of crashes and speeding tickets is high, then there's a good chance the speed limit is too low, Campbell said.

That, he said, can pose problems on two fronts: Pedestrians have a false sense of security, and motorists drive aggressively -- such as over-accelerating to pass the few motorists who follow the 25 mph speed limit.

"You have a tendency for people to put themselves out there in harm's way because they think traffic is going slower," he said.

A sidebar to the articles notes that almost five times as many tickets are handed out in Kalamazoo as in Portage. Does anyone believe that drivers are five times as dangerous in Kalamazoo?

Of course Kalamazoo is using the speed traps to make money. The safety concerns are bogus. As Campbell recognizes, most drivers will drive a reasonable safe speed if left to their own devices. That's why speed limits are properly set based on the speeds that people actually drive.

Of course it's true that all else being equal, crashing at a higher speed is more deadly. But this does not explain the cause of a crash in the first place. A significant factor contributing to crashes is a significant difference in speeds between drivers on the same road.

When speed limits are obviously set too low, many drivers quite understandably ignore them. But the difference between their speeds and the few who follow the limits causes more crashes. Thus lower speed limits lead to more crashes.

But Kalamazoo would rather make money than save lives.

The Battle is On

UPDATE: Kalamazoo gay-rights ordinance suspended after petition signatures are certified

Opponents of Kalamazoo's gay-rights ordinance submit petitions to force vote

KALAMAZOO -- An opposition group to the city of Kalamazoo's gay-rights ordinance submitted petitions this afternoon with more than 2,000 signatures in an effort to get the recently passed law overturned.

If enough signatures are deemed valid, city commissioners will then have to decide whether to rescind the ordinance or place it on the November ballot for voters to decide.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

PC Gazette

WMU student who escaped Sudan trains at Fort Knox

Deng said he was about 7 years old the day in the late 1980s that his village, Guk, was raided by soldiers who looted and burned the villagers' mud and grass homes, Deng said. At the time, he said, he was about 30 minutes away, working in a cattle pen. When he learned of the attack, he joined other children -- mainly boys -- who were running away.

"The enemies were looking for us," Deng said of the fighters, whom he described as Muslims. "They come and kill you, they come and try to take (away your possessions). ... They deny what belongs to us. And they try to force us to accept what we don't want."


Is there doubt that they were Muslims?

Monday, July 27, 2009


This update focuses on sovereignty. Internationalist elites promote world government. Institutions including the United Nations and European Union threaten sovereignty.

James Perloff: Council On Foreign Relations
John McManus: Hillary Clinton Lets CFR Cat Out of the Bag
Jerome Corsi: White House mum on North America summit
Jerome Corsi: Texas trying to save 'NAFTA Superhighway'?
Warren Mass: EU to create Regional Financial Regulatory Body
William Jasper: The New Jacobin Elite
Ron Paul: International Bailout Brings Us Closer to Economic Collapse
William McIlhany: A Primer on the Illuminati
William Jasper: UN's Marxist Plan for Global Government

United Nations: Eagle Forum: United Nations
North American Union: Eagle Forum Stop SPP
Trans-Texas Corridor: Corridor Watch

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rick Snyder's Ten Platitudes

Rick Snyder, the stealth candidate in the Republican race for governor, has a list of 'ten principles' on his website. But most of them are platitudes, not principles. Can you imagine any candidate running opposed to "Create More and Better Jobs"? Where are the specific details of how he would do this? How would he reform the tax system, reform government, restore cities?

Still, there are some interesting tidbits here. Does "control urban sprawl" mean restricting people's right to control their own land? What is a proper "mass transit backbone"? People hate mass transit, and for good reasons. Discouraging the use of cars is just what Detroit needs.

"Invest in the arts?" Take money from taxpayers and buy 'art' that nobody would pay for with their own money? This is a Republican?

Alternative energy? Alternative energy is a scam. That's why it's alternative; nobody wants to buy it in the free market because it costs too much. Shouldn't a businessman understand that? Would Snyder invest his own money in alternative energy?

"Rick believes that a child’s progress from pre-kindergarten through college and advanced degrees is the cycle on which the state’s efforts should be focused and coordinated." Huh? What does this mean?

"Rick believes that the cornerstone to successful health care reform must include prevention, wellness and personal responsibility." Isn't a cornerstone one thing? Did anyone edit this?

"Rick also believes in the importance of embracing our racial, social and geographic diversity to reach common goals for the state." Any person or institution that celebrates diversity is bad news. When Rick moves to Detroit, I'll believe he's serious about this.


Reinventing Michigan: Rick’s Top Ten

Rick’s Top 10 principles to reinventing Michigan serve as the foundation for his vision and long-term plan in leading Michigan beyond today’s challenges, and into an era of innovation.

1. Create More and Better Jobs Rick believes that Michigan needs to cultivate a thriving and globally competitive economy with a diverse business base, enabling job growth and prosperity. His entrepreneurial experience, management over the growth of Gateway and leadership in economic development programs, such as Ann Arbor SPARK and the MEDC, make him uniquely qualified and positioned to lead this state in creating more and better jobs.

2. Reform Michigan’s Tax System Rick believes that we need to reduce the tax burden on families and businesses in Michigan. Rather than advocate for short-term solutions – Rick wants to reform Michigan’s tax system so that it is competitive, simple, fair, transparent, efficient and facilitates economic growth.

3. Fix Michigan’s Broken Government It’s time we reinvent state government so that it runs efficiently and serves its citizens as customers. Rick wants to restore ethics, accountability and transparency to state and local government. Rick believes we need a new approach to governing that is not politically motivated, but solution oriented.

4. Create An Environment That Will Keep Our Youth – Our Future – In Michigan Rick believes that we need to create networks, programs, and environments across Michigan that will cause our young people to want to stay in this state. His experience has given him an understanding of how Michigan can retain and attract young talent.

5. Restore Cities and Control Urban Sprawl In order for Michigan to truly reinvent itself, its cities and communities must become more vibrant. Rick will work to improve the state’s city centers and create attractive living and working environments for its citizens. Rick supports the establishment of a proper mass transit backbone in the state.

6. Enhance Michigan’s National and International Image Rick believes that to reinvent Michigan, we must focus our marketing strategy to encourage tourism, attract innovative businesses, invest in the arts, and build our roads and infrastructure in order to enhance Michigan’s image.

7. Protect Michigan’s Environment As a native Michigander, Rick knows that Michigan’s awe inspiring lakes, landscapes and natural resources are some of its most valuable assets. Rick has served on the Nature Conservancy and believes that protecting the environment and growing the economy can be done simultaneously. Michigan needs to be a leader in the innovative movement towards alternative and cleaner energy.

8. Reform Michigan’s Educational System Rick believes that a child’s progress from pre-kindergarten through college and advanced degrees is the cycle on which the state’s efforts should be focused and coordinated. Rick believes that schools, teachers and parents must renew their commitment to ensuring that each child is given the best possible preparation and education for life which is critical for future generations to be competitive and innovative.

9. Reform Michigan’s Health Care System Every citizen should have access to affordable and quality healthcare. Rick believes that the cornerstone to successful health care reform must include prevention, wellness and personal responsibility.

10. Bring “Winning” Back To Michigan Rick believes that it is time for this state to create a hopeful, positive culture and attitude where personal responsibility and collective determination introduce us to a new era. Rick also believes in the importance of embracing our racial, social and geographic diversity to reach common goals for the state.

Graduate Student Unions

Via the LRC Blog:


The Unionizing Trend

Posted by Kathryn Muratore on July 24, 2009 12:41 PM

A number of years ago, a trend started with the unionizing of graduate students (usually in their function as paid research or teaching assistants). Now, postdoctoral fellows* are joining the fun.

In the graduate student world, it is usually the students of humanities and arts who lead the fight, with science students reluctantly or forcibly included. Students in the natural sciences are paid comparatively well for their services. Let me just speak to two aspects of my own experience as a unionized graduate student instructor. My pay during the semesters that I taught was lower than during semesters in which I took classes and/or did research (although I never confirmed this was because of the union, I only suspected as much). A percentage of my wages automatically was garnered and paid to the union, but did not count as dues and so, I was not a voting member – just forcibly robbed.

Overall, this drive to unionize comes out of a “poor me” mentality. Meanwhile, these are the most highly educated people, are disproportionately privileged, and have higher earning potentials than the average citizen. They choose to forego other opportunities in order to advance their careers and then they use the arm of the state to extract more money from taxpayers. (First, stipends are often paid from federal grants, and second, state schools are the ones that tend to unionize).


*A training fellowship after receiving your PhD is a virtual necessity for chemists and biologists in their career pursuits. Such a fellowship is much less common, if it exists at all, in other disciplines

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

John Taylor Runs for Senate

Democratic Kalamazoo County Commissioner John Taylor announced that he is running for the 20th district state senate seat being vacated by Tom George.

Kalamazoo County commissioner announces candidacy for Michigan Senate

He will be running against State Rep. Robert Jones in the democrat primary. Jones is clearly the candidate of the democrat establishment, which means that they will probably arm-twist Taylor until he drops out of the race.

Taylor was elected by a few votes over the Republican candidate in 2002, when he was a WMU student. (It isn't clear if he ever graduated.) He defeated an aggressive challenge by then-WMU College Republican Chairman Tom Barrett in 2006.

Taylor has some dirt in his past, which could have an impact if he stays in the race.

Side note: Mlive has a menacing picture of Taylor and shares this "Fun Fact":

Taylor, the youngest commissioner, believes the townships — and not the county — should pay for increased sheriff’s patrols.
How is that a fun fact?

Michigan Needs Jobs, Not Gimmicks

The execrable Mark Brewer, leader of Michigan democrats, has announced his party's latest scheme to cling to power.

State Democrats propose $10 minimum wage in 2010 ballot package

They are considering a number of ballot proposals trumpeting benefits while hiding the costs.

Lansing -- Raising the minimum wage to $10 and mandating that all employers provide health coverage are among five ballot proposals the Michigan Democratic Party is considering for next year.

"It's pretty obvious from this whose side we're on. We're on the side of people who are suffering," Party Chair Mark Brewer said.
It's pretty obvious Mark Brewer is on his own side and doesn't care how many people he hurts. Does anyone who actually cares about "people who are suffering" go around talking about how much they care? People who talk about how much they care, care about feeling morally superior to others.

But Rich Studley, president of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, called the proposals "anti-jobs, anti-growth" and said they may be used by economic development directors in other Midwestern states to discourage businesses from locating or expanding in Michigan.

The ballot proposals would:

• Raise the minimum wage from $7.40 an hour to $10 an hour and remove exceptions in the law that allow employers to pay less than minimum wage to some workers.
Why not $100 per hour? Why not a million dollars per hour? Because it would destroy jobs, that's why. 'Minimum wage' laws are nothing but bans on low-paying jobs. How is this going to help the 15% of Michiganders who don't have jobs at all? See also: The Case Against a Minimum Wage

• Cut utility rates by 20 percent.
Why not cut them by 100%? Let's make everything free! If rates are below costs, utilities will stop selling electricity. We could call it the Brewer blackout.

• Require all employers to provide health coverage or pay a fine.
We had better also require that all employers can't go out of business. And how does this affect the unemployed?

• Increase unemployment benefits by $100 a week, extend benefits by six months and make all workers eligible for unemployment. The maximum unemployment benefit is now $387 a week.
Why not make them $1000 a week for life?

• Impose a one-year moratorium on home foreclosures.
Why not forever? Why not require that nobody ever have to pay bills?

"I'm not sure Mark Brewer understands he's playing with fire," Studley said. "The political and economic uncertainty caused by this publicity stunt can do immediate damage to economic development in this state."

Brewer said an online survey will be used to determine which initiatives to pursue.

Brewer said the proposals are not necessarily intended to drive up Democratic turnout during next year's elections, which will feature a race for governor, but said these ballot initiatives may in fact do that.
That's exactly the point, of course.

He didn't rule out running petition drives for more than one of these ballot plans.

The Democratic Party was behind a controversial ballot proposal in 2008 that would have changed several parts of the state constitution, including the structure of state courts and how the boundaries of lawmakers' districts are drawn. State courts ruled the proposal was unconstitutional because it was too broad, and it never made the ballot.

Brewer also did not rule out going to voters with a similar government reform plan next year.
Brewer lied about that proposal too: The Democrats' Court-Hacking Scheme

More unemployment, higher taxes, bigger government, and blackouts. It's pretty obvious that Mark Brewer has it in for Michigan.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kalamazoo to become Sanctuary City

Kalamazoo's police chief has committed to fight against fighting crime.

Kalamazoo police won't enforce immigration laws

KALAMAZOO -- A year ago, then-newly appointed Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley assured a local advocacy group that the police have no intention of enforcing federal immigration laws.

On Thursday, he returned with a written draft of a policy on the subject, drawing strong applause.

By making a written policy, Hadley said it will assure undocumented immigrants they are safe in turning to the police for help without fear of being deported.
This argument is a sham, as we shall see a few paragraphs below.

"We have people in our community living in the shadows, afraid to come out and seek out help," Hadley told the audience of 600-plus at the Kalamazoo Expo Center and Fairground auditorium.
Hadley has apparently memorized the checklist of inane immigration cliches.

The assembly was hosted by the Michigan Organizing Project, a West Michigan church-based advocacy group for social and economic change.
Any group that has 'Organizing' in its name is bad news.

Although the draft policy was not distributed, Hadley said it prohibits police from soliciting immigration status for traffic violations and nonviolent crimes.
But wait a minute. Wasn't this about crime victims contacting police? How does not checking the criminals that you catch help with that?

At least it's just 'non-violent crimes'. Like identity theft, drug smuggling, supplying guns to criminals, drunk driving, etc. All 'non-violent'.

Hadley said he hopes the draft will be finalized next month after being reviewed by the agency's two police unions.

Also at Thursday's meeting, Kalamazoo City Commissioners Sean McCann, Stephanie Moore and Don Cooney committed to continuing dialogue and pursuing revisions to requirements of employers who receive tax abatements from the city.

In addition, a representative for U.S. Sen. Carl Levin said the Democratic senator supports the Michigan Organizing Project's four principals for comprehensive immigration reform. A representative for U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, said the congressman is committed to continuing dialogue.
The argument about poor crime victims contacting police is a fraud. A policy of not asking about immigration strictly in such cases might be a good idea. But there is no justification not to check on people you catch committing crimes. Such a policy certainly doesn't help the poor, bedraggled illegal alien crime victims in whose name this policy is justified.

The only people who support such a policy are radical leftist pro-criminal 'community organizers' and racist ethnic lobbies that oppose any enforcement of immigration laws. Even in left-wing burgs like San Francisco, majorities oppose sanctuary policies. (Admittedly, this shortly after several brutal crimes committed by illegal aliens who had been in and out of police custody.)

The 'immigration laws are federal laws' argument is a sham, too. Is there any other federal law for which local police would refuse to arrest people who break it and turn them over to the feds?

Well, Cliff, we caught you engaging in counterfeiting. But that's a federal law, so who cares? Go on! You're free!

In any case, illegal aliens almost certainly break local laws too. They obtain counterfeit identification documents and drive illegally. Some sign up for government benefits fraudulently.

Illegal Immigrants are Criminals. But these days, Kalamazoo apparently is only interested in 'crimes' like 'discriminating' against cross-dressers.

Be warned.

Irananian Destroys Michigan Bridge

An Iranian student caused a crash and tanker explosion, destroying a bridge near Detroit.

Long road ahead: I-75 overpass cleanup continues

State Police say the crash was caused by a 27-year-old Clawson man who was driving northbound on the freeway in the far left lane, lost control of his car, crossed two lanes of traffic and crashed into the side of tanker carrying 13,000 gallons of fuel. Two truck drivers suffered minor injuries.


The driver police say caused the accident, Saied Haidarian-Shahri, 27, of Clawson, could not be reached for comment Friday. Police say he was driving too fast when he lost control on a curve while heading north on I-75 around 8 p.m. Wednesday. Haidarian-Shahri crossed two lanes of traffic and struck a fuel tanker truck driven by Michael St. John, 44, of Armada, officials said.

When asked by WJBK-TV (Channel 2) if he felt sorry, Haidarian-Shahri, who just received his driver's license in May, said "nope."

"I don't think I made a mistake," said Haidarian-Shahri, according to WJBK. "I gave an official statement to the police."

Lt. Shannon Sims of the Michigan State Police Metro North Post in Oak Park said Friday the Oakland County Prosecutor's Officer will determine if there was any criminality involved. Investigators have completed their reconstruction of the accident and will compile a report for the prosecutor's review using interviews with all drivers involved, including Haidarian-Shahri, he said.

Non-citizens are involved in many car crashes in America for obvious reasons, such as unfamiliarity with English and traffic signs.

Hey, he was just blowing up the bridges that Americans won't blow up.

This guy needs to go to jail.

Walberg for Congress (Again)

Former Congressman Tim Walberg announced that he will run to reclaim his old seat, Michigan's 7th district. Walberg is the strongest Republican candidate. Republicans did not have a lot of other good prospects in that district.

Schauer has the advantage of being an incumbent, but he will have to defend his voting record on cap-and-trade, 'stimulus', and more. Walberg is a tough campaigner and this will be a close race.


Walberg for Congress

For Immediate Release: July 14, 2009

Tim Walberg Announces for U.S. House
“I trust the American people, while Mark Schauer trusts big government”

Tipton, MI- Tim Walberg today announced he is running for the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The people of south central Michigan are hard working, entrepreneurial and care deeply for their community, but are struggling mightily due to excessive government spending, recent tax increases, and a big government that is squashing hope and economic opportunities,” said Walberg

"I cannot sit idly while Congressman Schauer votes to raise taxes, spend trillions we don’t have and bring the failed Granholm strategies he advanced in Michigan to Washington D.C. In contrast, I will fight for Michigan families by working to balance the budget, move America toward energy independence, and provide across-the-board tax relief to reward hard work and spur job creation. I trust the American people, while Mark Schauer trusts big government,” Walberg concluded.


Congressman Tim Walberg represented the people of the 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2009. He fought to make government live within its means, prevent tax increases, move America toward energy independence, make health care more affordable, support our troops, secure our border, and defend our traditional values.

Mark Schauer voted for Speaker Pelosi’s massive “cap and trade” national energy tax. [Roll Call Vote 477 on 6-26-09]
· Congressman John Dingell, a key Michigan Democrat and longtime Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that "nobody in this country realizes that cap and trade is a tax, and it’s a great big one." [Congressman Dingell speaking in House committee on 4-27-09]
· The Congressional Budget Office predicts gasoline costs would increase by 77 cents per gallon and utility bills could increase by 40-50%. [Rep. Upton Press Release 6-26-09]
· President Obama said cap and trade would cause “electric rates” to “skyrocket.” [San Francisco Chronicle interview of Obama 1-17-08]

Mark Schauer voted for massive federal government spending increases.
· Voted for the $800 billion spending “stimulus” package. [Roll Call Vote 46 on 1-28-09]
· Voted for the $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill that increased spending by 8.4%, included over 8,000 earmarks, and raised spending for the operation of Congress by 11%. [Roll Call Vote 86 on 2-25-09]
· Voted for Speaker Pelosi’s almost $4 trillion Budget that increases the national debt by $5.3 trillion over the next five years. [Roll Call Vote 192 on 4-2-09]
Mark Schauer voted for Governor Granholm’s failed economic strategies.
· With Michigan in a recession, Mark Schauer voted for Governor Granholm’s income tax increase and sales tax on services. [Senate Roll Call votes 397 and 398 on 10-1-07] Schauer even introduced a bill to raise the income tax by 18%. [Mark Schauer introduced Senate Bill 605 on 6-21-07]

Local News

News from Kalamazoo and Michigan.

Long road ahead: I-75 overpass cleanup continues

Advocacy groups cite Kalamazoo for its treatment of the homeless

Do you want an arena in downtown Kalamazoo? Supporters want your input

Tensions linked to trustee aired during Portage school board retreat

State Rep. Robert Jones plans to run for state Senate seat: Democrat forgoing 3rd House term

Both sides in gay-rights ordinance debate gather signatures in Kalamazoo

Farm-animal treatment could be on Michigan's 2010 ballot

New Oshtemo ordinance sets boundaries for student living

WMU trustees to explore charging different tuition rates for different degrees

Young people training to be community organizers

Kalamazoo police won't enforce immigration laws

Single-payer health system promoted at Kalamazoo rally

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Robert Jones to Run for Senate

State Representative Robert Jones announced that he will run for Michigan's 20th Senate district.

State Rep. Robert Jones plans to run for state Senate seat: Democrat forgoing 3rd House term

The seat is currently held by Senator Tom George, who is term-limited. The 20th district includes all of Kalamazoo County and part of Van Buren County including Paw Paw.

Jones has represented the 60th house district, which is dominated by the city of Kalamazoo, for two terms. He was previously mayor of Kalamazoo for eight years.

Jones announced earlier this year that he has esophageal cancer, making this announcement somewhat surprising. Unlike his previous campaigns, this one is bound to be long and strenuous. The current state of his health is unclear.

Jones is a down-the-line liberal, favoring more taxes, spending, and regulation, gun control, abortion, and racial preferences.

On the Republican side, state representative Tonya Schuitmaker and former state rep. Lorence Wenke are running.

This move opens up Jones' safely democratic seat. It isn't clear yet who might be interested in the seat. There are seven Kalamazoo city commissioners and seven democratic county commissioners in the 60th district. Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell and Vice-mayor Hannah McKinney both spent a lot on their last reelections, even though their seats were safe.

It will be interesting to see if there is a contested primary, as the last three times the seat was open, democrats had consensus candidates in Jones, Alexander Lipsey, and Ed LaForge. The democrat party somehow manages to eliminate contested primaries even for most safe democrat seats.

Robert Jones' Record:
Robert Jones Attacks Free Speech
Robert Jones Supports Crossdressers Over Christians
Robert Jones Wants to Raise Your Taxes
Arena of Conflict
Wild, Wild West
Candidate Forum Report

Hate Crimes Bill

The Senate may soon vote on the awful hate crimes bill to suppress free speech and religious freedom.

More Bad News

Change isn't always for the better.

Michigan unemployment rate hits 15.2%

Sunday, July 12, 2009


This update focuses on energy. The House of Representatives recently passed a cap-and-trade bill to massively increase energy prices. The goal is to impose more government control on the economy.

Ron Paul: Cap and Trade Will Lead to Capital Flight
Butler Shaffer: Human Life Is Destroying the Planet!
Ed Hiserodt: Obama's Energy Plan
Arthur Robinson: Power Plants Are Batteries
Arthur Robinson: Yes to Energy Freedom - No to Cap-and-Trade
Vin Suprynowicz: I Wish the Earth Were Warming
Phyllis Schlafly: Don't Fall for Cap and Tax
Floy Lilley: Windmill Farms Are Noisy, Ugly, and Ineffective

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Meltdown by Thomas Woods

Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse
By Thomas Woods

No topic is more timely for a book than the state of the economy. Dr. Thomas Woods managed to make it first to market with Meltdown.

Woods is a history professor and a culturally conservative libertarian who has written past bestsellers such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to History. He is a staunch adherent of the Austrian school of economics, a highly libertarian school opposed to government control of money.

In Meltdown, Woods asks pertinent questions, such as why we should look to the same people for diagnosis and solution of our economic problems who failed to predict the crisis and in many cases actually helped to cause it. He also takes on the conventional wisdom that the free market is to blame for the crisis.

Woods identifies the real causes of the meltdown. There was the bipartisan push for more lending to poor and minority borrowers, regardless of creditworthiness. There were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored corporations that specialized in buying mortgage loans from banks, thus subsidizing more lending. There was the Community Reinvestment Act, which favored diversity ideologues in bank mergers, leading to them running the then-biggest, now-bankrupt banks like Countrywide and Washington Mutual.

But the biggest culprit was the Federal Reserve, which responded to the collapse of the dot-com bubble in 2000 by setting interest rates far below market levels. This upset the workings of the free market, leading investors to engage in projects that there were not the corresponding real resources to complete.

Artificially lowering interest rates also increases the money supply. Woods explains the Austrian theory of the business cycle, which blames government interference with money for the boom-bust business cycle.

He also examines the system of fractional-reserve banking. Woods argues that it is not a true market institution, as it is insured by government against bank runs. Allowing banks to lend more than they actually have in the vault also increases the money supply and leads to the boom-bust cycle.

Finally, Woods examines historical myths about the Great Depression. Herbert Hoover did not 'do nothing' about the stock market crash; he intervened greatly in the market. After being elected promising to roll back Hoover's interferences, FDR imitated and extended them. The New Deal brought all manner of perverse policies, such as destroying crops and prosecuting businessmen for charging prices that were 'too low'.

The New Deal cannot in any way be said to have ended the Depression. The Depression lasted sixteen years. Other countries which experiences similar crashes recovered much more quickly. America had experienced a major crash in 1920, but quickly recovered after President Warren Harding really did 'do nothing'. World War II didn't end the Depression either, as Woods aptly documents.

Overall, Meltdown offers a compelling explanation of America's ongoing financial crisis.

Questioning History
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Kalamazoo Tea Party

The Kalamazoo Tea Party drew 500 or so people. They heard speakers including former State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk and Doug Till. Citizens had a chance to make their own comments as well.

Here's the Gazette's take:

Tea-party protesters blast Obama, 'socialism'

Here is the Kalamazoo Tea Party website, complete with much discussion and many photos:

Edmund Burke on America

On Independence Day, this speech by Edmund Burke makes interesting reading.

Edmund Burke Speech - Conciliation With America

Speech on conciliation with America, March 22, 1775

To restore order and repose to an empire so great and so distracted as ours is, merely in the attempt, an undertaking that would ennoble the flights of the highest genius, and obtain pardon for the efforts of the meanest understanding. Struggling a good while with these thoughts, by degrees I felt myself more firm. I derived, at length, some confidence from what in other circumstances usually produces timidity. I grew less anxious, even from the idea of my own insignificance. For, judging of what you are by what you ought to be, I persuaded myself that you would not reject a reasonable proposition because it had nothing but its reason to recommend it.

The proposition is peace. Not peace through the medium of war; not peace to be hunted through the labyrinth of intricate and endless negotiations; not peace to arise out of universal discord, fomented from principle, in all parts of the empire; not peace to depend on the juridical determination of perplexing questions, or the precise marking the shadowy boundaries of a complex government. It is simple peace, sought in its natural course and in its ordinary haunts.

Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government-they will cling and grapple to you, and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood that your government may be one thing and their privileges another, that these two things may exist without any mutual relation - the cement is gone, the cohesion is loosened, and everything hastens to decay and dissolution. As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have, the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil. They may have it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the commodity of price, of which you have the monopoly. This is the true Act of Navigation, which binds to you the commerce of the -colonies, and through them secures to you the wealth of the world. Deny them this participation of freedom, and you break that sole bond which originally made, and must still preserve, the unity of the empire. Do not entertain so weak an imagination as that your registers and your bonds, your affidavits and your sufferances, your cockets and your clearances, are what form the great securities of your commerce. Do not dream that your Letters of office, and your instructions, and your suspending clauses are the things that hold together the great contexture of this mysterious whole. These things do not make your government. Dead instruments, passive tools as they are, it is the spirit of the English communion that gives all their life and efficacy to them. It is the spirit of the English constitution which, infused through the mighty mass, pervades, feeds, unites, invigorates, vivffles every part of the empire, even down to the minutest member.

Is it not the same virtue which does every thing for us here in England? Do you imagine, then, that-it is the Land-Tax Act which raises your revenue? that it is the annual vote in the Committee of Supply, which gives you your army? or that it is the Mutiny Bill which inspires it with bravery and discipline? No! surely, no! It is the love of the people; it is their attachment to their government, from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience without which your army would be a base rabble and your navy nothing but rotten timber.

All this, I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the profane herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians who have no place among us: a sort of people who think that nothing exists but what is gross and material, and who, therefore, far from being qualified to be directors of the great movement of empire, are not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men truly initiated and rightly taught, these ruling and master principles, which in the opinion of such men as I have mentioned have no substantial existence, are in truth everything, and all in all. Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together. If we are conscious of our situation, and glow with zeal to fill our places as becomes our station and ourselves, we ought to auspicate all our public proceedings on America with the old warning of the Church, Sursum corda! We ought to elevate our minds to the greatness of that trust to which the order of Providence has called us. By adverting to the dignity of this high calling, our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious empire, and have made the most extensive and the only honorable conquests, not by destroying, but by promoting the wealth, the number, the happiness of the human race. Let us get an American revenue as we have got an American empire. English privileges have made it all that it is; English privileges alone will make it all it can he.

Friday, July 03, 2009


This update focuses on health care. President Obama is threatening to impose more government control on America's health care system. Socialism will lead to worse care and more death.

John Stossel: "Better" Health Care?
Thomas Sowell: Alice in Medical Care
Deroy Murdock: Reading Obama Care Bills Endangers Human Health
Phyllis Schlafly: Massachusetts: A Model Not to Copy
Phyllis Schlafly: Obama's Health Care Reform in Trouble
Phyllis Schlafly: High Costs of Obama's Health Care Plan
William Hoar: Overdosing on Obama Healthcare
Ron Paul: Fight Government Encroachment into Healthcare!
Ron Paul: When Government Plays Doctor

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

What's in a Slogan?

Kalamazoo county has a new slogan, courtesy of the Kalamazoo County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"You'll be back. We promise."
Sounds kind of menacing.

Kalamazoo County's new slogan: "You'll be back. We promise"

"We identified Kalamazoo as a destination visitors will want to return to with some frequency," said Bill Ayers, president of Discover Kalamazoo, formerly known as the Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Furthermore, we are so certain they will enjoy themselves while being so unexpectedly surprised when they visit for the first time, they will promise they will return."
As far as I know, that's not terrorist Bill Ayers.

This replaces the old slogan, "Easy to get to. Hard to leave."

It isn't clear if they considered alternatives such as

Roaches check in, they don't check out.
What happens in Kalamazoo, stays in Kalamazoo FOREVER.
In Kalamazoo, no one can hear you scream.
Kalamazoo: Like a Black Hole.
Perhaps Michigan's movie tax credit could be used to produce Escape From Kalamazoo.

I hope they didn't spend a lot of money on this.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Questioning College

Yet another article questioning the structure of college.


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