Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Upper Peninsula Upventure: The Keweenaw Waterway

The Keweenaw Peninsula is technically an island, albeit a man-made one. To expedite the shipment of copper, canals were dug on two sides of Portage Lake, creating the Keweenaw Waterway.

On the left is Hancock, Michigan. Houghton is on the right. I took this photograph from the Quincy Mine site.

There is a drawbridge on the waterway, which you'll see in my next post.

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Republican comptroller candidate confronts Giannoulias on SEIU endorsement

Ambush interviews aren't my favorite style of journalism, but since the mainstream media is largely overlooking the Service Employees International Union's ties to ACORN, sometimes stepping outside of the box is all that can be done to attract attention.

Comcast Sports Chicago's "Sportsaholic," William Kelly, is running for the Republican nomination for Illinois' comptroller.

Watch as State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who is running for the US Senate, squirms as Kelly confronts the Chicago endorsement about not only accepting SEIU's endorsement of his campaign, but his seeking of it.

I rarely quote myself here, but I thought I'd return to an April teleconference call with Mitt Romney I participated in.

In my opinion, this is the real problem of SEIU political activism:

I was fortunate to ask a Romney question during the call, and my query regarded public sector unions--I mentioned SEIU and AFSCME--and whether it troubled him that government workers are conspiring to expand government.

I was pleasantly surprised by his answer, because Romney brought up a hypothetical scenario of a mayoral candidate who makes promises to teachers, firefighters, and police officers to win their endorsement. The candidate wins, and a few months later the new mayor is negotiating their union contracts--on behalf of the taxpayers. But Romney warned, "No one at the bargaining table is representing the citizens," and worse, that mayor is agreeing to obligations, expensive ones such as pensions and retiree health care, that are overlooked by the media because the financial outlay is down the road.

Related post:

Report from the bloggers' conference call about Employee FORCED Choice binding arbitration

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Obama's inaction on Afghanistan

"As president, I will make the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win." Barack Obama, July 25, 2008.

Is that what Obama thinks now? Or was he just posturing as tough last year to woo moderate votes during the presidential campaign.

A valid criticism of President Bush's performance as a wartime leader is that he stuck with his generals--and his first Secretary of Defense--for far too long.

In June, Obama replaced General David D. McKiernan with Stanley McChrystal as the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. McChyrstal is asking for 30,000-40,000 more troops for the "war we have to win." Obama is sitting on the request.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has this to say about Obama's inaction:

The president's pick to lead our efforts in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has made clear that more forces are necessary to accomplish the mission. And while the administration hasn't yet reacted to General McChrystal's report, in my view, the president must soon explain to the American people his reasons either for accepting The McChrystal Plan or for taking a different course.

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GM to to scrap Saturn brand, forecasting firm predicts Ford will surpass it

Even though the American taxpayers essentially own General Motors (When are we going to sell it?), the companies Saturn brand will be scrapped because the deal to sell it to Penske Automotive has fallen through.

In related news, the Detroit Free Press is reporting that a leading economic forecasting firm is predicting that Ford will overtake GM and become the nation's number one automobile manufacturer, although it will trail Toyota in US market share.

Ford did not receive any federal bailout money.

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Boehner on GOP call for removing Rangel as Ways & Means chief

Here is what Rep. John Boehner is talking about, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:

Among other issues, Mr. Rangel is currently under investigation regarding his use of four rent-stabilized apartments at New York City's tony Lenox Terrace and soliciting donations with his official letterhead for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York, which was itself built with a $1.9 million earmark. Yet another part of the probe is his failure to report $75,000 in income from a rental villa at the beachfront Punta Cana Yacht Club, in the Dominican Republic.

From a Boehner press release:

WASHINGTON, DC – House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after Rep. John Carter (R-TX) announced his intention to offer a privileged resolution next week to force a vote on removing Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) as Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, pending completion of the Ethics Committee investigation that is now in its second year:

Working families across America are struggling in today’s economy, and they need to have confidence that the individual in charge of the House’s tax-writing panel is following the laws the committee is charged with crafting and overseeing. It is improper for Rep. Rangel to remain in a position with such vast power and influence while serious questions about his official conduct continue to multiply and go unanswered. Several weeks ago I wrote a letter to Rep. Rangel asking him to step aside while the Ethics Committee conducts its investigation. He has not done so, and his fellow Democrats have voted to protect him every step of the way.

When Democrats took the majority, Speaker Pelosi promised the most "open and ethical" Congress in history. Given the nature and severity of the charges against Rep. Rangel, I would urge all my colleagues, Democrat and Republican, to do the right thing and support the Carter resolution next week.

Related post:

Charlie Rangel must go

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