Friday, November 21, 2008

Michigan's "Tax of the Month"

Welcome to Michigan's Tax of the Month. One could not come up with a better way to post on a web-log in perpetuity than to catologue the taxes levied by their home state. The many states nation-wide have all developed pernicious methods of monetary extraction from the citizenry. In the spirit of public information, let's highlight taxes as they infect our liberties here in Michigan.


Year adopted: 1967

Basis of tax: A direct tax on income

The measure of tax base: Federal adjusted gross income of individuals, estates and trusts, with certain adjustments.

4.35% from October 1, 2007, until September 30, 2011.4.25%

from October 1, 2011, until September 30, 2012.4.15%

from October 1, 2012, until September 30, 2013. 4.05%

from October 1, 2013, until September 30, 2014.3.95%

from October 1, 2014, until September 30, 2015.3.9% October 1, 2015 and thereafter.

2006-07 Collections:

$8,129,400,000 gross; $1,687,300,000 refunds and credits; $6,442,100,000 net.


Detroit's Finest Rock Band...EVER!

In November of 1978 I had just turned 18. In Michigan at the time, an 18 year old could vote, get drafted, drive a car, and for a short time, purchase alcoholic beverages...legally! Yeah it was a short lived privilege. On November 12th, a friend and I ran into high school friends named Lee & Brad who invited us to see his band: The Cult Heroes at The Second Chance Bar in downtown Ann Arbor.

Since I had never owned a car, I had no I.D. to get in! I rode my bike on a cold November afternoon to the Secretary of State's office and got a "State I.D". The same thing that many irresponsible voters are too damn lazy to go get for themselves. The MI-Sec-State hooked me up within 20 minutes! And that was in the days of crusty-cantankerous old Richard Austin's management.

That night walkin' to the show, I saw the Poster tacked to a telephone pole:

The comic book collector in me snagged it and I have kept it, along with dozens of other 'promos' to this day. It started my obsession with music, bands and playing as a semi-pro musician.

The 'Chance as it was called, suffered from typically poor lighting, a scarred interior and that ever present smell of cigarettes and puke that occurs when gobs of booze is consumed by college kids. We got a decent seat and before long the Cult Heroes began. Punk Rock was the medium and it was unintelligible, fast and LOUD! Best of all, it had ATTITUDE! Some of the Heroes' songs were muddled, some were (still are) very good.

Ivan Kral's Movie: Blank Generation was an assembled jumble of interviews with Punk Rock's originators, several now classic music performances and a few moments of hilarity. Especially Dee Dee Ramone's struggle for words to describe the Ramones' amps & gear.

The top bill: Sonic's Rendezvous Band, was comprised of Fred 'Sonic' Smith (formerly of the MC5). Scott Morgan (the Rationals), Gary Rasmussen; (The Up) and Scott 'Rock' Ashton (Stooges). From the first song they were the LOUDEST, most intense and satisfying rock 'n' roll experience I have ever witnessed. The sound was unmistakable: it was Detroit. On a Monday night, the place was packed with fans and local celebrities from our own local and national punk underground. Taking in dozens of these shows through the years, I crossed paths with several musicians who became near idols not necessarily for their fame, but for their style, and what they gave to the craft and the art of rock 'n' roll. A few of them took the time to show this young guitarist how to play an MC5 or Stooges classic correctly.

Scott Ashton and Scott Morgan (pic by Sue Rynski)

Fred 'Sonic' Smith

Fred, Gary, Scott Morgan, Scott Ashton

Sonic's Rendezvous Band was truly a "had to be there" rock band. But I dug 'em...and I still do. To this guitar player; their attack was ferocious and true. It was a pure masculine blast of unapologetic Motor City Muscle. They were a great band that rocked every show and could make any top billing band sound marginal if Sonic's was the opening act. SRB wasn't just "from Detroit". They sounded like the Motor City. Sonic's Rendezvous Band's old-school rock style defied punk's new-rock rebellion and at the same time, brought the local punker movement into their fold to also enjoy national acclaim. The links below provide more info and yes, there is a recorded legacy. Check

The fidelity ain't the greatest, but if you turn it up, it's all there.

Wikipedia Sonic' SRB: The One That Got Away

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nothing good can come of this

A few weeks ago, we all had high hopes that "The One" would lose his presidential bid and be soundly vanquished. It turns out that "Hope" was elected and Republican hopes were dashed. John McCain, the ever gracious loser met with President elect Barack Obama and they later emerged releasing a joint statement that said in part:
"...that Americans of all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the bad habits of Washington so that we can solve the common and urgent challenges of our time".
All that means is that McCain will work in concert with leftist Democrats to turn useful idiot Republicans eager for compromise and positive news coverage towards the Democrat's agenda. The media and punditry have fawned at the love fest, but American liberty will be the loser.

The fight continues for a runoff election in Georgia, and (hopefully) an honest recount in Minnesota to limit the destruction of Republican clout in the U.S. Senate. But the Democrats already have a 60 vote majority when one includes the RINO's of Maine (Snowe & Collins), South Carolina (Graham), Pennsylvania (Specter), and McCain himself. The Reagan revolution of 1980 was a long, long time ago. 1994 seems just as far away.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dingell: The Danglin' Dinosaur

Nice knowin' ya! Good stinkin' Riddance! Beat it ya chump! The state's slavish devotion to Democrats has paid huge dividends for Washington as they come for even more of your dollars, your jobs, and any clout you ever thought you had in Washington. Even the deviation of Great Lakes water can't be far behind...count on it.

John Dingell is being shoved out the door as chairman of the ostensibly powerful (at least that's the way reporters have always defined it) House Energy and Commerce Committee. Dingell has been described in the past as the "Dean" of the House of Representatives. When power is on the line, there is no tenure.

Well what's the Michigan delegation gonna do now? What are Michigan voters gonna do now? Pick their teeth up off the floor and pull their pants up. There's an election again in 2 years. The last few have given the state so much pleasure.

Some Good News: There's a print shop somewhere printing more of those "early voting" ballots.

Source: The Detroit News

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We were supposed to be "Blown Away"

Where would we be without experts to tell us that life in Michigan sucks:

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth said Wednesday the state has been hurt by the weakening of the national economy. Its work force has fallen by
74,000 people, or 1.5 percent, since October 2007.

2 years ago Michigan residents had the choice to move towards reform and away from this downward spiral which Governor Granholm engineered during her first term. Granholm continues to blame former Governor John Engler to the delight of Democrats and Granholm supporters only. Most Michigan residents are looking for any clearly marked exit.

I'll get the lights.

Source: Detroit News

VICTORY IN IRAQ DAY: November 22, 2008!

I hate to be a link whore here but:

By every measure, The United States and coalition forces have conclusively defeated all enemies in Iraq, pacified the country, deposed the previous regime, successfully helped to establish a new functioning democratic government, and suppressed any lingering insurgencies. The war has come to an end. And we won.

Thanks to all of the GI's who made this possible.

Friday, November 14, 2008

International Nationalism

The United States has been Europe and Japan's standing army since the end of WWII. Likewise; the U.S. military has occupied South Korea since the cessation of fighting against the communist North. America has expended enormous amounts of blood and treasure abroad preserving our interests in the belief that we are reflecting a collective desire to spread liberty and freedom elsewhere in the world.

The word on the Korean and European street is that America is an imperialistic, velvety gloved dictator pushing the little guys around while our GI's drink heavily in the local pubs and harass their womenfolk. This hegemony has resulted in protests here and abroad of U.S. out of: (fill in blank)!

Whittaker Chambers, the author of Witness wrote: "a man has to have something to live for and something to die for". Believing as he did at the time that communism was humanity's answer to the ills of the world. Chambers went all-in with the belief that communism was worth defending with his life. Years later Mark Steyn has written that Europeans are not having enough children to replace their aging populations. 'Mohammad' has become one of the most popular names of British born children. If given the choice today, would Europeans and/or South Koreans citizens be willing to die in defense of their own nation's interests?

When should the American military leave Europe or Japan? Should we also bail on Korea? In a military sense no. Those regions are as good a location as any we may get to project the occasional cruise missile or Stealth fighter against foreign enemies. But when, if ever, will we give military license back to any of these otherwise self-governing political entities? Iraq is well on its way to self governance, what about Japan?

We are scolded from many quarters that America is "not liked" abroad. We hear ad nausea about how any goodwill bestowed from abroad after 9/11 was squandered with our militaristic escapade in Iraq. Squandered because we did not find huge stockpiles of Weapons which ostensibly justified our reasons for going in. As if fighting al Qaeda was merely the equivalent of busting a check forger or the local crack dealer.

Would Europe's birthrates increase if Europeans were faced with having to live and fight for their own sovereignty? Would South Koreans shelve their placards of protest if they had to make the personal choice of what kind of weaponry would best repel the North? Do the people of Japan feel likewise? Dunno. For many decades now, America's electorate has continued to green light the human, emotional and monetary capital to nations abroad to maintain a relatively stable world.

If any of these countries suddenly had the responsibility of self defense thrust upon them, would they find themselves waxing nostalgic for that 'ol American military presence? Would they find in themselves any appreciation for what we as a nation had been doing for them all those years?

Good Morning Reality

Why has the American voter constantly rejected Vietnam Veterans for the highest office?