Politics: it’s for the dogs

29 02 2012

Ever notice how is the high use, low cost public utilities (libraries, parks, etc.) that get threatened with the axe first  when budget cuts loom? The growing portion of municipal, state, and national budgets devoted to non-discretionary spending, including entitlements and legacy costs, are (oddly enough) never mentioned.

Why, it’s as if they’re using emotion-driven extortion!

Funny how these dogs seem to nail down the problem better than politicians and pundits:

Read the rest of this entry »


bringatrailer.com threatens productivity, wallet

28 02 2012

Strip away the romance and mystery surrounding the cult of the automobile, and you’ll begin to realize that classic cars are really just a hobby like any other. The unique challenge a passion for cars presents is that is that the damn things take up a lot of space once you manage to acquire them.

Other hobbies can be just as costly, but they tend to be a lot more compact. Think about it: Stamps go in a binder. Cigars get smoked. Dead animals get turned into rugs, wall hangings, and other bits of attractive home decor.

Cars are relatively large and durable; when they’re not sucking down gasoline, they sit around occupying valuable garage space, leaking transmission fluid, and succumbing to rust. And unless you’re Jay Leno or Ralph Lauren, you almost certainly can’t afford the massive garage and team of technicians necessary to maintain a fleet containing every rustbucket  that catches your eye.

Seriously, I see a lot of potential here! Look, the body is straight, and someone already stripped off the paint!

But it’s nice to dream about potential projects, if only because it distracts one from the actual projects at hand (I will get the Packard running by the Dream Cruise this year).

Enter bringatrailer.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

Chillin’ the most with…the DSO?

27 02 2012

In an age of dwindling corporate sponsorships and shifting audience demographics, there’s simply no getting around the fact that orchestras around the country are going to have to hustle a bit to make ends meet. Dire times will lead to some much-needed innovation. Collaborating with artists from a wide variety of musical genres is one way for groups–like our own Detroit Symphony Orchestra–to stir up interest, creating new fans and supporters.

Still, of all the homegrown musical celebrities the DSO could have teamed up with, Kid Rock wasn’t really the first one to come to my mind.

Not even going to touch the "Air on a G String" jokes

Kid Rock. The DSO. One night only. This is either going to be the benefit concert to end all benefit concerts or a pyrotechnics-laden trainwreck the likes of which Detroit’s arts and culture community has never seen before.

Either way, it’s going to be entertaining. If you want to watch this triumph/disaster unfold in real time, you’ll have to pay between $100 and $1500 for a ticket. The concert is, after all, designed to raise money for the cash-strapped DSO. Read the rest of this entry »

Misdiagnosing the college affordability problem

27 02 2012

In his January State of the Union Address, President Obama pledged to make college more affordable by increasing access to student loans, boosting state contributions to schools, and controlling costs – a pledge he repeated during his recent visit to the University of Michigan.

Spendthrift Obama’s nod to cost control is certainly refreshing, if uncharacteristic. But the first part of his proposal, which focused on pumping more resources into our institutions of higher education, will undermine any attempts to tame budget bloat.

As SmartMoney notes:

If subsidies puff up buying power and shift prices higher, as economics courses teach, could federal aid for college help create an affordability problem? After all, the federal government began spending more on college aid with the Higher Education Act of 1965 and the full funding of Pell Grants in 1975. Since 1979, tuition and fees have tripled after adjusting for inflation. That’s much faster than the increase for real estate and teacher pay.

Well, duh.

That federal aid to students actually accelerates tuition’s upward cost spiral is a tough reality for education advocates to swallow. It’s easier to follow the lead of every other interest group and call for subsidies and handouts. The cause is at least more noble than underwriting yet another green energy boondoggle, even if the results are as unsustainable in the end. Read the rest of this entry »

Tune in to 1270 AM WXYT tomorrow morning…

26 02 2012

…at 7:00AM. I’ll be on the Charlie Langton Show discussing conservatism on campus.

I’m not sure who will be up at that ungodly hour (besides, you know, people with real jobs), so I’ll update with a podcast version if it shows up online.

Other than the early wake-up time, I’m looking forward to the on-air experience. The only other time I’ve ever been on the radio is this one time I called an AM oldies station to request Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual.” Here’s hoping tomorrow goes as well as that did.

Why can’t we have nice things?

25 02 2012

I never really got why American tourists abroad were always accused of passing up local fare in favor of McDonald’s. Sure, it could be nothing more than a stereotype. Then again, those snobby Europeans might be right–we’re far too attached to what we’re familiar with to try new and exciting things.

But maybe…just maybe…we can’t resist the temptation of the McBaguette.


This tasty bit of cultural bastardization is, in fact, a burger–

a burger made from France’s famed Charolais beef. McDonald’s said the burger will be topped with French-made Emmental cheese and mustard. It will replace the chain’s current special offer here: three limited-edition burgers featuring locally produced cheeses.

Wow. And we red-blooded Americans had to fight tooth and nail to bring back the McRib. It doesn’t stop at the McBaguette, either: Read the rest of this entry »


24 02 2012

300th post. Thanks for reading!

This would be pretty impressive except that I’ve been at it since May of 2009. If I’d done a post a day, I would have hit Number 300 a few years ago.

Only thing to do is to keep on posting going forward. Prepare for glory!