Monday, September 26, 2011

Objectivity and Disclosure

Objectivity is something many strive to offer and many others hope to find. Columnists are supposed to be biased; they express an opinion, but "reporters," well, they're objective, right? describes being objective as "not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased."  But objectivity in almost any circumstance is virtually impossible. Why? Because everything we observe is influenced by our personal feelings, our prejudices, our impressions of the facts, our experiences and world-view.

Ask any police officer who had to interview three witnesses to a traffic accident, let's say a bystander and the two drivers who were in the accident. ("Just the facts, ma'am.") You know you will hear three different versions of "the facts."

I write a newsletter called Core Principles. It sort of a companion to this blog of the same name. I sometimes try to be objective; other times I intend to express my opinion. But either way, it is nearly impossible for me to be totally objective.

Take the U.S. Senate race, for example. My objectivity is colored by my personal support for one of the candidates. When you see stories I post about the race, be forewarned, I may not be totally objective. But, I promise you this, I will try to be truthful.

It is appropriate that I disclose a couple of things. First, I am supporting Peter Hoekstra for U.S. Senate. However, contrary to rumors that have circulated, I am not on the campaign payroll. In fact, I have not been compensated at all, in any form, by the Hoekstra campaign. Any campaign activity I have involved myself in has been as a volunteer.

Secondly, I am an ardent supporter of the Michigan Freedom to Work effort. While I am not currently being compensated by MI-FTW, I have raised funds independently to financially support myself while working on making Michigan a Freedom to Work state.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A "Union Guy" Weighs in on Electric Cars

Terry Bowman
September 20, 2011
Union bosses wrong to prop up unwanted electric vehicles  by TERRY BOWMAN

Today's movement for green technology is nothing new in the automobile industry. The plug-in electric car has been a hopeful dream for decades.
Fifteen years ago, Costco installed EV charging stations at some of its stores. This month, the warehouse store chain started removing those chargers because it acknowledged no one was using them.
Nonetheless, the Chevy Volt and other electric cars are marketed as the saviors of the automobile industry. High hopes and dreams are once again laid at their proverbial feet, hoping Americans are ready to embrace electric drivetrains.
In August, a measly 302 Chevy Volts were sold in the entire country.
In short, Americans don't want electric vehicles because they are too expensive, inconvenient and underpowered.
Unfortunately, union officials have jumped aboard the electric car wagon, proclaiming it as the hope and promise for thousands of union jobs in the auto industry. They are sure 2011 is different and we are ready to buy the electric car en masse.
Read the rest of the article here.

Terry Bowman is a UAW member and president of Email comments to

© Copyright 2011 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 19, 2011

DeWALT's New Nail Gun? A Second Amendment Right!

New Nail Gun, made by DeWALT

It can drive a 16-D nail through a 2x4 at 200 yards.

This makes construction a breeze, you can sit in your lawn chair and build a fence.

Just get your wife to hold the fence boards in place while you sit back and relax. When she has the board in the right place, just fire away.

With the hundred round magazine, you can build the fence with a minimum of reloading. After a day of fence building with the new DeWalt Rapid fire nail gun, the wife will not ask you to build or fix anything else, probably, ever again.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Great" Bill of the Day September 14, 2011

Plastic Shopping Bag Tax. Representative Douglass Geiss, (D) Taylor, has introduced HB4919, a bill to impose a one cent tax on virtually every plastic shopping bag used by consumers in Michigan including, bags for groceries, dry cleaning, and restaurant take out. Under this legislation, the retailer would be required to keep track of how many bags are dispensed and pay the tax on a quarterly basis. The state will provide proper forms for each retailer to fill out. The collected funds will go the Department of Environmental Quality for household recycling programs and litter cleanup ONLY.  
Call (517-373-0852 or email Representative Geiss and share your views on this bill. Incidentally, Rep. Geiss has received a perfect 100% score from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

Monday, September 12, 2011

RSC Update: Employers Not Encouraged by Obama’s New Stimulus

Monday, September 12, 2011

From the Chairman
Over the last few years, we’ve all learned what happens when Congress passes bills without reading them first. So I was struck during President Obama’s new stimulus speech last week by his repeated demand that Congress immediately pass a $450 billion bill that hadn’t even been written yet.

Although we’re still waiting on the bill text, the President has discussed his plan in generalities. A few of the items on the list merit a closer look, but much of his speech sounded like the same things he said about his failed 2009 stimulus plan. It often felt like the movie Groundhog Day. And when The New York Times asked private sector employers what they thought about the plan, the general sense was that it wouldn’t lead them to hire anyone they didn’t plan to hire already.

In the meantime, House Republicans will continue working to cut through the bureaucratic interference and red tape that’s costing Americans jobs. Later this week, we’ll pass a bill to prevent the NLRB (the government board attacking Boeing for building a new plant in South Carolina instead of Washington state) from restricting where an employer can create jobs in the United States. And next week, we expect to pass a bill to delay a new EPA rule (which a Texas company announced today will force it to cut 500 jobs) until the full economic impact of the Obama administration’s  regulatory agenda has been analyzed.

God Bless,

Congressman Jim Jordan
Chairman, Republican Study Committee

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hoekstra Slams Hoffa for Calling Tea Party Members "Sons of B*****S"

Teamster Union President James Hoffa maligned tea party members as “sons of b*****s” as he introduced President Obama at a Labor Day rally in Detroit, and the White House has said the president won’t apologize for Hoffa.

Pete Hoekstra says he’s alarmed by such hateful talk.

“This kind of rhetoric has no place in American politics,” he declares.

“The litany of people who are trying to engage the tea party and Republicans in a street fight goes on and on. Let’s not get dragged into the street fight that they want to pull us into.

“We need to be talking about solutions to the problems and the issues that face America. The reason that the president and other individuals are engaged in this rhetoric is they don’t want us talking about the failed policies of this president in regard to jobs, the economy and the deficit.”

Watch this NewsMax interview with former Congressman Peter Hoekstra.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mission Statement of Michigan Board of Education: Adopted by Republicans, Repealed by Democrats

Don't you wish the state board of education still had this as their Vision and Mission?
We, the (1995) Michigan State Board of Education, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, do earnestly desire to secure these blessings for our children. A blessing of Freedom is to reaffirm an important truth.  Religion, morality, and knowledge are necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, so therefore schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.  Good government entrusts citizens to conduct a great experiment in Freedom to seek excellence in providing a quality education for their own families and other children in their communities.

We, the Michigan State Board of Education, believe that to teach a child created by God is a noble calling; that throughout life, parents are a child’s first teachers with the primary right and responsibility for their child’s education.  A quality education is rooted in character and academic excellence. It seeks to help a child develop to his or her fullest potential in heart, mind and body. It encourages a child always and everywhere to seek truth, to know what is good, to develop a disciplined mind and a wise, kind and discerning heart, and to be a self-responsible Citizen who leads a full and good life as a productive and contributing member of a free society.

We, the Michigan State Board of Education both united in vision and philosophy and empowered by our Constitution to respond with leadership, humbly serve to enable, promote, and inspire a new spirit and birth of freedom, self- government, excellence and accountability in our local communities for all who are involved in the lifelong education of students.  In working to achieve this mission we recognize a quality education is first the responsibility of parents and students, then of teachers, administrators, school boards and others in the local community; we support public education; we support school choices for parents; we encourage the development, support, and recognition of quality teachers; we support local accountability that enhances excellence in education; we advocate the removal of barriers that constrain efforts to open, sustain, and/or expand quality schools and other quality educational opportunities in the marketplace of a free society; and we pray for wisdom in all decisions that impact the lives of the students we serve.

Adopted January 19, 1995 by
Clark Durant, President
Marilyn F. Lundy, Vice President
Dorothy Beardmore, Secretary
Barbara Roberts Mason, Treasurer
Katherine DeGrow, member
Kathleen Straus, member
Gary L. Wolfram, member
John Engler, ex officio, Governor, State of Michigan
Robert E. Schiller, ex officio, Superintendent of Public Instruction

Wisconsin: New Budget = More Jobs, Less Spending

The results in Wisconsin are stunning. In just thirty days after the passage of Governor Walker's new budget, the state has already saved a documented $220 million, while adding half of ALL the jobs in the United States in the month of June.

Want proof?
Madison—One month after the 2011-13 state budget was signed into law, tangible results from the reforms put in place by Governor Walker and the Legislature are being realized. According to media reports, local units of government and school districts have already saved more than $220 million, with millions more in potential savings not yet reported.
The state is also adding jobs. Between December 2007 and December 2010, Wisconsin lost over 153,600 private sector jobs. The state has netted over 39,000 new private sector jobs since the Governor called a special session to open Wisconsin for business. The state has seen 14,100 manufacturing jobs created since January. In June Wisconsin had a net job creation of 9,500 new jobs, including nearly 13,000 private sector jobs. Only four states created more private sector jobs than Wisconsin did in the last month.
Below is a sampling of local units of governments being able to balance their budget and improve services due to the reforms contained in the 2011-13 state budget and the budget repair bill:

Ashland School District
A health insurance provider switch saved Ashland School District nearly $378,000.
Kimberly School District
The district saved $821,000 by dropping WEA Trust.
Baraboo School District
The Baraboo School Board expects to save about $660,000 next year after deciding to change insurance providers Monday evening.
 Marshfield School District
Marshfield will balance its budget despite the cuts. "Given the cost savings with health insurance and the turnover with staff and new hires, we will be able to preserve our programs and come up with a balanced budget," said Peg Geegan, the district's director of instruction who will assume the superintendent's position Aug. 1. The district will save $850,000 by switching health insurance carriers…
Fond du Lac School District District leaders believe when school starts in the fall they'll be operating with a balanced budget. They say the savings under the bill will offset their 4.4 million dollar budget shortfall. Class sizes and programs will also remain in tact.References: and
Kaukauna School District They will hire additional teachers, reduce projected class sizes from 26 to 23 students at the elementary level, 28 students to 26 students at the intermediate/middle level, and 31 students to 25 students at the high school level and set aside money for merit bonuses for good teachers. “Due to the law change the District’s projected operating budget has moved from a negative $400,000 to approximately a positive $1,500,000. Earmarked in the operating budget are $300,000 related to merit pay, a program being explored for all staff by the district for the 2011-2012 school year.”References:|head and
Hartland-Lakeside School Board They switched insurance providers and saved taxpayers $690,000.

Wisconsin State Senator Explains What Really Happened

Senator Grothman
What really happened in Wisconsin? You saw all the news about the rallies, the sit-ins, protests and near-riots. But is what finally transpired a good thing for Wisconsin or a bad thing? Let's get the information from someone who was part of the process, State Senator Glenn Grothman.

"The repeal of much of Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law will do more to improve the quality and lower the cost of Wisconsin government than anything else we’ve done...the cost savings are significant at all levels of government.  But, the most important benefit will be an improvement in the quality of our schools as efficiency, personnel decisions, compensation decisions and methods of teaching children will not be subject to union meddling and obstruction."

Here is text from Senator Grothman's letter, which includes details of how the legislation improved things in Wisconsin.

The repeal of much of Wisconsin’s collective bargaining law with regard to many of Wisconsin’s public employees will do more to improve the quality and lower the cost of Wisconsin government than anything else we’ve done. There are approximately 275,000 government employees in the state of Wisconsin, 105,229 work in education. Only half of state employees are unionized, but almost all school employees are.

Let’s look at how collective bargaining affects both the cost and quality of our schools.

Under current law, virtually all conditions of employment have to be spelled out in a collectively bargained agreement. Consequently, it is very difficult to remove underperforming school teachers. It may take years of documentation and thousands of dollars in attorney fees to fire a bad teacher. Is it right that two or three classes of second graders must endure a bad teacher while waiting for documentation to be collected? Just as damaging is the inability to motivate or change the mediocre teacher who isn’t bad enough to fire. Good superintendants are stymied when they try to improve a teacher who is doing just enough to get by.

Another problem affecting our schools’ quality is that payment for individual teachers is not based on merit but on a union negotiated pay schedule. A mediocre teacher with a master’s degree and additional college credits gets more money than a superior teacher who doesn’t have as many college credits. This is clearly unfair, and destroys healthy incentives that would encourage teachers to be more effective.

It has been well reported that, under collective bargaining, districts have been stuck with the teacher union insurance company which can cost $3,000 or more per teacher than a plan that is virtually identical to that which another company is willing to provide. Switching to Health Savings Accounts like the private sector is out of the question. 

The removal of collective bargaining in prisons will also save money. Under collective bargaining, guards could call in sick on first shift and work overtime on second shift. Similar to counties, you could not shuttle people back and forth between job descriptions. If a prisoner must go to the hospital, the prison may have to send a transporter who is on overtime to take the prisoner to the hospital rather than an extra prison guard who is not in the prison at that time.

While we did not eliminate collective bargaining, we certainly reduced its scope in Wisconsin. As a direct result, the cost savings are significant at all levels of government. (Cost savings to schools from having school employees pay a small part of their health insurance and pension costs more than offset the mild reduction in education funding.) But, the most important benefit will be an improvement in the quality of our schools as efficiency, personnel decisions, compensation decisions and methods of teaching children will not be subject to union meddling and obstruction.