Archive for February, 2008

December Gifts; February Realities…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Family magazine, February 2008


Pits and Peaks in Corporate America…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, February 18, 2008

The drawing of the GM guy in the deep, deep hole? I mean, the drawing of what is supposed to look like a GM guy in a deep, deep hole? Yeah, that’s what happens when you are merrily drawing away at 10:00 filling in the money pile and suddenly realizing you are supposed to be at a meeting downtown at 10:30. I only draw perspective with painstaking trial and error, and even then get middling results.

So, yeah — decent idea, but this one definitely isn’t going in the portfolio….

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Selective Personal Health Care Options…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, February 11, 2008

I’ve earned my wrinkles and plan to keep them. Besides, they are blending nicely with all the scars from my youth….


No Drivers License for You, Scumbag…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, February 4, 2008

Michigan recently passed a somewhat draconian law regarding non-residents acquiring a drivers license. Like a lot of laws, the idea seemed sound — don’t let illegal aliens (read: terrorists) get drivers licenses, which can lead to them getting other citizenship-type benefits. But in practice it could cause all sorts of callateral damage such as highly valued foreign workers at multinational corporations, universities, and research institutes being denied licenses.

The silly thing is, if a drivers license was simply a drivers license — a card indicating that one has been successfully prepared to operate a motor vehicle in Michigan (which should, by the way, include advanced pothole avoidance maneuvers) — then this wouldn’t be such an issue. It would be in our best interest for any potential driver to have one — to be licensed to drive. Unfortunately, a drivers license functions as so more in its capacity as a picture ID. So now we have this unfortunate law on the books and our Attorney General is enforcing it. Good thing we don’t need no stinkin’ foreign investment here in Michigan….

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The Problem with Blindly Voting for Your Demographic…


This cartoon would have been in the Biz Journal next week, but the editors passed on it. So I’m posting it here. Think of this as the reduced price bin….

Here’s what I was trying to get at. The press has seized upon the unique makeup of this year’s presidential candidates, and not without merit. While a pleasingly high percentage of voters have managed to cross race and gender lines to support candidates who don’t happen to look exactly like themselves, there are still quite a few who have been voting strictly within their demographic. Taken to an extreme, that’s a bad idea.

Two others stories are looped into this. The less obvious one — this week Grand Rapids chose two new leaders for its police department, both from within its ranks, both with their own strengths but pretty much equally qualified. The chief is a white man, the deputy is black man. There were many who felt strongly that this should have been reversed. Some based solely on his race. Again, bad idea.

The other story is the ongoing shenanigans of the mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick. Illicit affair. Spend taxpayer money to cover up. Lie. Get caught. Incredibly uncomfortable public apology. Ongoing questions. In summary, an otherwise skilled politician doing breathtakingly stupid things. Sound familiar?


Oh! So Now “Recession” Is a Big Deal?!!!…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, January 28, 2008

Mel Brooks famously said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.” So paraphrasing, “Tragedy is when my state has a slow month. Comedy is when Michigan bleeds jobs out its rear end for years on end.”

Just last month, all of the Republican presidential candidates stopped by to patronize us with their one-state recession platitudes. “There, there you hopelessly backward state. This fixation with making things, automobiles and whatnot. It’s so 20th century. Come join the rest of the country selling subprime loans and building impossibly large homes in deserts. That’s where the money’s at!”

But now that the economy is apparently slowing down in other states, the race is on to cut interest rates and hand out free (re: the next generation’s) money. All those sensible suggestions of fiscal responsibility and wise investment for a better Michigan future? Bullcrap. What we need now is spending, spending, spending! We’ll consume our way out of this, by God!

Which isn’t to say I don’t want my government check. I’m just a little put out that they weren’t sending them to us Michigan folks sooner….


Sleepover Drama…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Family magazine, January 2008



Mitt! Oh, Mitt! …Mitt?…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, January 21, 2008

Mitt made a lot of promises to win the Michigan primary. A lot. He said sweet things and threw money around. And he kissed us full on the lips. We haven’t seen him since….