Last Day of Class/Weekend Update

20 04 2010

Today was my last day of class for the semester, glory be.  I can now get on with more important things, like…exams.  I’ve got two on Thursday, then one a week from Thursday.  But then, after that, I have a summer of campaign managing (for a State Senate run) to look forward to.  More details to follow on that—I’m not really sure if I’m supposed to give any details at this point.

I didn’t get around to posting this weekend since I spent about half my waking hours covered in motor oil, gasoline, and grease.  Yeah, there was a problem with the Wagoneer.  Fortunately, it was nothing out of the ordinary, though it took a bit of automotive CSI to diagnose the problem.  For the past few weeks, the vehicle had been leaking something.  I couldn’t figure out what it was; it felt like oil, smelled a bit like gasoline, and was dripping from the bottom of the front differential casing.

Well, it turns out that the fuel pump gasket was shot, so liberal amounts of gasoline would leak out whenever the engine was running.  But the underbody is so caked in two decades of grease and oil that the dripping gasoline dissolved the build up, making it seem more oil-like than gasoline-like. And it seemed to be coming from the differential casing simply because it was the lowest point on the underbody.

Since I don’t have a lift, I had to take most of the power steering apparatus out just to access the fuel pump.  I can’t say that I want to do that job again, but at least I know what I’m doing.  And I saved a couple hundred dollars doing it myself (cost of new fuel pump gasket: $2.48).  Plus, my fuel mileage has increased, and the likelihood of me dying in a four-wheel-drive fireball has decreased by a corresponding amount.

But it wasn’t all grease and oil last weekend, though Austrian Econ demands a certain amount of manliness as well.  I spent Saturday morning at an economic symposium hosted by the University of Detroit-Mercy Graduate Economics department, where I hope to study in the near future.  The event featured an interesting array of topics and speakers, discussing issues as varied as the origin and meaning of money, the state of the economy in the short run and long run, and the future of the auto market (with commentary by Manny Lopez of the Detroit News).

Oh, and last Thursday, I attended a Tea Party rally in Sterling Heights.  I was curious about whether there were going to be an “infiltrators,” but (sadly) I saw none.  What I did see was a lot of creativity in the signs of the attendees:

It would have been funny and/or depressing if there had been some kind of counter that continually updated the debt load...

I'm sure there are some racial undertones here, somewhere.

By contrast, the “opposition,” who were protesting to “Save our Services” or something, couldn’t be troubled to purchase poster board and markers:

Learn to protest, guys. Pre-made signs cost big protest points.

The pre-made signs gave their group a “rent-a-crowd” feel.  Besides, our side was more enthusiastic, and got a constant stream of supportive honks from motorists.  Oh, and we outnumbered the others by a huge factor:

Decent crowd, I'd say.

I know some dislike the Tea Party movement as a whole because they feel it has been co-opted by establishment Republicans, and I guess to some extent that appears to be true.  But it only appears to be the case because the bigwigs show up to the big rallies.  Last year, there were a bunch of large rallies at state capitals or big cities.  This had a huge visual impact, and struck fear into the hearts of statists everywhere.

Now, everyone wants to organize a Tea Party.  There must have been close to a thousand nationwide.  I haven’t tried to find nationwide rally attendance numbers, because I doubt an accurate count exists, but I think it’s encouraging to see many smaller parties that energize local populations.

One of the main issues of the Sterling Heights rally was a proposed 18% property tax hike; ObamaCare was definitely on everyone’s mind, but realistically, the citizens of Sterling Heights stand a better chance of having an immediate impact by battling government encroachment on a local level.  Plus, smaller, decentralized rallies don’t attract bloated GOP types, and they (hopefully) inject fresh, relatively uncorrupted blood into the political process.




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