Archive for September, 2007

Fear and Loathing in Grand Rapids…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, September 17, 2007

Drawing editorial cartoons for a Business Journal, it’s hard not to make comparisons between the business world and the government world. Yes, yes, they’re different animals. Both worlds have their own nuances. And we all know that being a successful CEO doesn’t necessarily make you an electable public servant, right Mr. Perot? Mr. DeVos?

But still, you look at what makes a successful business successful — things like respecting customers, building honest relationships with customers, not patronizing the customers — and it’s difficult to understand why this wouldn’t translate directly into good practices in government.

Vice President Dick Cheney was in Grand Rapids recently to follow up on the General Petraeus testimonies on the Iraq War. It wasn’t big news, even locally. It was the standard fare of ominous warnings framed in patriotic tones and followed up with the usual “now go about your business and stay out of mine.” (Actually, now that I think about it, that’s probably exactly how Cheney ran Haliburton.) Kinda makes me all misty for Ross Perot….


Michigan Political History…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, September 10, 2007

Just sort of a silly homage to traditional Michigan politics this week. West Michigan leans to the Republican side — East Michgian to the Democrats. That’s the way it has been for a long, long time. So when a mastodon image was recently discovered….


9/11 Kindergarten…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, September 3, 2007

Not to go all Facebook and MySpace on you here, but my 44th birthday was September 10th. (You could celebrate this event by adding a comment to this blog entry — something like “gr8 post!” or “urkewl” or “bff!!!” — and then adding me to your list of friends. If I get enough friends, I think maybe I get a coupon for a small flurry at Dairy Queen. Actually, I’m not exactly sure how these new social networking things work, but from what I can see it starts with meta-relationships and corporate tie-ins and ends with identity theft and tears. xlnt!)

I mention this because while my 44th anniversary of birth was very special thanks to my family, the number itself was unremarkable. I mean, in general, who looks forward to, basks within, or always cherishes their 44th because of the number? Not many. So it was with this year’s sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. It just sort of felt, well, blah.

What could one say six years hence to evoke a special feeling, to commemorate the tragedy in a special way? I mean, six is just six. Nothing special there. And after all these years of politicians trying to alternately cajole and beat 9/11 emotions out of us, I just felt tired about the whole thing. (Good news: Dick Cheney is popping by Grand Rapids tomorrow to re-serve some “stay the course” crappola, so that should give me some new energy.) But then, after giving up on a sixth anniversary idea, I had to take care of some new school year stuff — and the comic came to me.


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Subprime Quicksand…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, August 27, 2007

There is a story in my extended family about a young man who had recently graduated high school, but was seemingly making no effort from that point to move on. No career path, no job, no further education, no source of income. When another relative challenged him on this, he replied (in complete sincerity) that he did in fact have a plan: “I’m buying lottery tickets every day!”

While not always that naïve, we Americans have demonstrated with disturbing consistency an enthusiastic willingness to suspend reasonable expectations to mortgage the future. This subprime loan crisis is only the latest example. So it only figures that with a government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” it, too, can be found sinking into the quicksand of debt.

See? I told you last week that I’m hoping to be a frumpy irascible curmudgeon….


Hypocrisy and Parenting…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Family magazine, August 2007