Monday, June 29, 2009

Battle Creek, Part Two

After splitting the first two games of the Mayor's Tournament, my son's team came back to win its next game in a rout. Then, inexplicably, they dropped the fourth game to fall to 2-2, playing a team they could have and perhaps should have beaten. This second loss meant they would not be in the playoffs for the tournament championship.

The fourth game was a disaster in most respects. Our pitching faltered, the hitting did not come through, and Alex took a beating. Playing third, he dove for a ground ball and cut up his elbow. Then, another grounder took a bad hop and hit him in the Adam's apple, leaving quite a mark. I told him later that you could see where it said "Rawlings - Official Size and Weight" on his neck. Others told him they could see the stitching from the ball.

When it hit him, he bent over, put his hands on his knees, then rubbed his throat and went back to his position. It was obvious that it hurt, and he was taken aback. His coach came out to talk to him, and the conversation went something like this:

Coach: Are you okay?

Alex: I'm fine.

Coach: Can you keep playing?

Alex: Yes, I'm fine.

Coach: I'm taking you out anyway.

So Alex sat and watched the rest of the game. The next day, playing their fifth game in three days and with nothing to play for except pride, the Stars went out and hammered the opposition, winning 12-6 and finishing the weekend 3-2. Alex started and got the win, while going 2-4 at the plate.

In many respects, the last game of the tournament was the best -- the teams were competitive, and the Stars had to find out what they're made of. A win meant nothing in the context of the tournament, but it meant everything to their pride and self-confidence.

We can all learn a lot from teams that pull together in the face of adversity and persevere, if only for pride. These boys can be proud of themselves that they didn't quit and didn't phone in the last game -- they put forth a tremendous effort, even when one of their best players got spiked at second base and had to sit out the rest of the game.

I think we would all be better off if we lived the principles we try to teach our children.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blogging from Battle Creek

If you have been able to work your way through this site, you have read about my son and his baseball team. This week, we are in Battle Creek, in the western part of the Enchanted Mitten, as his team plays in the Mayor's Tournament.

Their first game was this morning at . . . wait for it . . . 8:30 a.m.!

Although the boys were half asleep when they got to the park at 7:30, they slowly awakened and began the game. Alex, my son, was the starting pitcher. He was salivating over the fact that instead of the mound being 60 feet from home, as he has played all year, it was only 54 feet in this tournament. That's a 10 percent increase in velocity, without doing anything differently.

The game started slowly, with Alex walking the first hitter, who made his way over to third on an error. Then, with one out, the batter hit one back to Alex, who grabbed it and got the runner in a pickle between third and home. It looked like they might get out of the inning until the ball got away and the runner scored. No further damage that inning or in the second. 1-0, going into the bottom of the second.

After a lead off walk and a stolen base, Alex doubled up the gap in right center, driving in the tying run. He then scored the go-ahead run on a single, and the team widened its lead to 4-1, then later 6-1 with some timely hitting. Alex was rolling on the mound, pitching very efficiently, although he gave up 5 walks. Still, the other team was not scoring until the fifth, when they put together three unearned runs (on only one hit, their first of the game) to pull within 6-4.

Not to worry. Our boys hung a 6-spot on them in the bottom of the fifth to close out the game on a mercy, 12-4 (8 runs or more ahead after 5 innings and the game is over). Alex pitched 5 innings, gave up 4 runs, all unearned, and had 5 walks and 5 strikeouts while giving up only one hit. He was also 1-3 with 2 runs batted in. All in all, a good performance.

The good feelings were short-lived, however, as the boys had to go right back to work with a game at 10:30 against a very good team. The boys fought hard, but they seemed tired and the bats stopped working, the end result being a 7-0 loss.

Two more games tomorrow and one on Saturday. Then, we'll see whether they make the playoff games on Sunday.

It's hot here -- high 80s. Gatorade sales are through the roof.

So what do we do tonight, with some down time from the baseball tournament? We watch baseball! Alex and I are going with one of the other boys and his dad to the West Michigan Whitecaps game in Grand Rapids.

It's summer. There is baseball to be played, watched, analyzed, and loved for all of its intricacy, difficulty, and beauty.

I wish you baseball.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Governor Turns On Her Own

Our governor, whom we affectionately refer to in these pages as Tinkerbell, is no orator. Her speeches sound like they were written for mediocre high school oratory contests, and they are delivered with all the gravitas of a cheerleader. The phrase "a mile wide and an inch deep" comes to mind when I hear her speak, but her speeches -- scripted and controlled -- show the governor at her best (which is none too good).

When she is off-script, however, watch out. You just never know what might come out of Tink's mouth. Like the other day, during a factory tour in Grandville, when she said that the delay in the Chrysler bankruptcy proceedings (due to a stay issued by the U.S. Supreme Court) was caused by "some greedy lawyers." (The stay has since been lifted and the Chrysler bankruptcy is humming along, shedding assets, jobs, and the future of the U.S. auto industry).

Tink did not identify the "greedy lawyers" by name, but presumably she meant the lawyers representing the Indiana State Police Pension Trust, the Indiana State Teachers Retirement Fund, and the Indiana Major Moves Construction Fund, who requested the stay in the first place.

Let's take a closer look at the greedy lawyers and their clients.

The police and teacher pension funds manage retirement assets for approximately 100,000 Indiana civil servants, including police officers, school teachers, and their families.

The construction fund finances infrastructure construction projects. (Aren't these supposed to be the saviors of our economy under The One's stimulus package?)

Chrysler owes the pension funds alone $100 million, secured by a first lien on all of Chrysler's assets. This is part of a total "first lien" debt of $6.9 billion.

So, police officers and school teachers have been putting away money into a retirement fund, which in turn lent $100 million to Chrysler, in exchange for what amounts to a first mortgage on Chrysler property. So, what did that first lien, that mortgage, get the Indiana retirees? How does "virtually nothing" sound?

The Indiana funds will get about 28 cents on the dollar, while all of Chrysler's unsecured trade obligations will be paid, all warranty and dealer obligations will be paid, and $10 billion in unsecured claims against Chrysler's VEBA (the Voluntary Employee Benefit Association, a UAW-run health care trust) will be paid by giving the UAW a $4.6 billion promissory note and a 68 percent share of the reorganized Chrysler. Based on testimony at the bankruptcy court hearing, the UAW stock is worth about $24 billion. Wealth distribution, anyone?

The lawyers for the Indiana funds were looking out for their clients, police and teacher retirees. In doing so, they argued for the law and against the massive distortion of the bankruptcy code orchestrated by the federal government and financed by our tax dollars. The Chrysler bankruptcy has turned the law on its head and will have substantial repercussions for all manufacturing entities in the future, because the current administration treats contracts and the law as irrelevant obstructions to be overcome on the way to its apparent goal of eliminating private enterprise and the right to make a buck.

Not to mention the Indiana retirees, who have seen 72 million dollars go up in smoke, in a fire lit and stoked by the U.S. Treasury.

Perhaps Governor Tinkerbell, who has always fed at the public trough and has never had to worry about running a business (as demonstrated time and again by her wretched handling of our state government), considers lawyers trying to protect 72 million pension dollars to be "greedy," but in doing so she has turned on police, teachers, union members, and lawyers, all of whom have supported her in varying degrees over the years. See what happens when you don't have a script in front of you?

And where is the outrage from teachers, police, and lawyers? Do they just chalk it up to rhetoric, knowing that at crunch time Tink will carry the water? That she won't touch teacher health care in Michigan, that she won't fool with defined benefit pensions, that she will appoint judges of dubious quality in thinly veiled payoffs to the trial lawyers?

By using the phrase, "greedy lawyers," Tink pandered to the lowest elements of our society, among which, apparently, her heart lies. These are the groups that substitute slogans for political thought, and consider bumper stickers to be a form of literature.

If advocating zealously on behalf of my clients and arguing for the rule of law makes me a "greedy lawyer," then I am proud to be one. What does destroying Michigan's economy, causing tens of thousands of families to go on public assistance, and driving tens of thousands of people out of our state make you, Governor?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Can These Clowns Do Anything Right?

I admit it. I have not paid any attention to the "cash for clunkers" bill winding its way through the geniuses in Congress. Today, however, I caught the story in the Nick DeLeeuw-designated Ivory Tower about this ridiculous proposal.

Less than a week after it was reported that The One's "economic" program is having the opposite of the intended effect (i.e., instead of rejuvenating the housing market, the massive spending is driving up interest rates and choking off investment), we now have the "cash for clunkers" bill (let's call it CFC), apparently designed to destroy vast segments of the auto market.

Most people hear about CFC and think it's a simple incentive to buy a new car. Not so fast, sparky. Here's how it works -- you take your qualifying car or truck (one that gets less than an EPA combined mileage rating of 18 mph) and take it your nearest dealer (hurry, before they're all gone). Don't worry about negotiating a trade-in allowance for your vehicle -- there won't be one! Why? Because the car or truck you trade in cannot be resold; under CFC, it must be crushed or recycled. In fact, the car or truck traded in becomes . . . wait for it . . . property of the federal government! Here's the language from the bill itself:

For each eligible trade-in vehicle surrendered to a dealer under the Program, the dealer shall certify to the Secretary [of Transportation], in such manner as the Secretary shall prescribe by rule, that the dealer--

(i) will arrange for the vehicle's title to be transferred to the United States and will accept possession of the vehicle on behalf of the United States;
(ii) has not and will not sell, lease, exchange, or otherwise dispose of the vehicle for use as an automobile in the United States or in any other country; and
(iii) will transfer, on behalf of the United States, the vehicle (including the engine block) and the vehicle's title, in such manner as the Secretary prescribes, to an entity that will ensure that the vehicle--

(I) will be crushed or shredded within such period and in such manner as the Secretary prescribes; and
(II) has not been, and will not be, sold, leased, exchanged, or otherwise disposed of for use as an automobile in the United States or in any other country.
Fancy that.

The government incentive is not all it seems to be -- if you have an old car worth $4,500, trade it in on a new car, and get a $4,500 incentive, you are no better off than you were before. If your vehicle is worth more than the incentive, you are worse off, and it makes more sense to keep the vehicle.

So, the supply of used cars will be strangled. What are teenagers supposed to drive?

Goodbye, used car market. Goodbye, auto parts stores. Goodbye, after-market parts and accessories manufacturers.

Goodbye, common sense -- we look forward to your return, but we will continue to suffer through your absence.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Holy Macaroni!

"And then I was really like, holy macaroni."

This was the reaction of a Michigan judge upon learning that one of the witnesses in the prosecution of two drug dealers was actually an informant, that the prosecutor withheld the information from defense attorneys, and that police officers lied about it on the witness stand. To compound matters, the judge went along with the deception, claiming that if the witness's true role was disclosed, "he would be dead tomorrow."

The judge, the prosecutor, and the police officers are now charged with various crimes centered about perjured testimony in the trials of two drug dealers in 2005. As detailed here and elsewhere, an informant tipped police about the existence and location of a large quantity of cocaine, along with plans for moving it. When the "movers" arrived, police were waiting, and they arrested everyone. The informant was also arrested, to protect his role in the affair.

During the subsequent trial, two police officers lied on the stand, testifying that they did not know about the informant's role in advance. In fact, the informant was paid for his information. The prosecutor knew the testimony was false, so she approached the judge and discussed it with the judge -- alone -- in the judge's chambers, although a sealed transcript was made of the conversation. The judge agreed to go along with the deception, purportedly out of fear for the informant's safety.

So. let's review the cast of our little drama:

-- 2 drug dealers with 47 kilos (about 103 pounds) of cocaine, worth approximately $27 million;

-- a paid police informant;

-- two police officers who knew of the informant's status and involvement, but lied about it on the witness stand;

-- a prosecutor who was aware of the perjury and met with the judge in order to conceal it; and

-- a judge who, once apprised of the perjury, went along with the cover-up.

This is our criminal justice system? How screwed up have things become when the prosecution and the police lie in order to convict two drug dealers (who were caught redhanded, by the way) and the judge goes along with it? Has "the ends justify the means" leached completely into the courts from our political system?

You may ask, what is the relevance of the informant's status? It goes to the initial stakeout, stop, and arrest, and whether the police had probable cause to arrest and search the defendants. If probable cause did not exist, any evidence seized (namely, the 47 kilos of cocaine) would be declared inadmissible, and the charges would go up in smoke. So, in order to get a conviction, the prosecution had to preserve the admissibility of the evidence seized during the arrest, and their zeal (or incompetence or fear) led to the perjury and the cover-up.

For her part, the judge believed that the prosecutor was not "good enough to handle that case," and said she feared the informant would wind up dead if his status was disclosed to the defense attorneys, whom she "just didn't trust."

The actions of the police, the prosecutor, and the judge cannot simply be chalked up to a desire to get bad guys off the streets. Undoubtedly, that was part of it, but such a desire cannot override the law. When she assumed her post, the judge took the following oath:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of [judge]according to the best of my ability.

This oath, prescribed by our state Constitution, does not say that the judge can support the Constitution sometimes, or when compliance will be easy. The judge's oath imposes ongoing duties and obligations that cannot be shirked. A judge's job is not easy and often entails very difficult decisions with no clear answer. Concealing perjury, however, is never an option.

The same goes for the prosecutor and the police. There is no indication that they could not have gotten the convictions if they had revealed the informant's true role, and the defendants later pleaded guilty. While they should not have taken affirmative steps to put the informant in danger, they cannot lie, not even to save him from a fate that may have been preordained when he chose to involve himself in the world of big-time drug dealing.

With all the tremendously important issues implicated in this case, however, I can't help thinking that we should not have someone on the bench who reacts to surprise developments by saying, "Holy macaroni!"

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Hilarious World of John Cherry

SNL? Forget it. Family Guy? Boring.

If you really want to laugh, tune into the hilarious world of John Cherry.

That Cherry is running for governor is a given, but his pre-announcement committee is called "A Whole Lot of People Supporting John Cherry." It's like a supermarket generic name -- a white box with black lettering -- and shows there is no limit to the dumbing down of the political process.

The Detroit News has an article today titled, "Cherry has image problem in bid to be next Michigan governor." No kidding! The article's thesis is that Cherry is "widely recognized by experts as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for governor. But among voters, Lt. Gov. John Cherry is barely recognized at all." Again, no kidding! He's 35 points behind that noted statesperson, Debbie Stabenow, in polling among Democrats and, when voters are not read a list of names, they manage to dredge up Cherry a whopping 9 percent of the time.

This is a frontrunner?

But the fun doesn't stop there! In the same article, the author says Cherry is "respected by leaders of both parties and is known around the state capital as a smart behind-the-scenes public policy wonk who has learned during 20 years in the Legislature and six years as lieutenant governor how to broker deals."

A public policy wonk! The Random House Dictionary gives three definitions for "wonk":

1. a student who spends much time studying and has little or no social life; grind.
2. a stupid, boring, or unattractive person.
3. a person who studies a subject or issue in an excessively assiduous and thorough manner: a policy wonk.

Which one of these conveys the News' intended meaning?

Of course, all Democrats are considered geniuses by the media, so here is Cherry being described as the quiet genius, laboring behind the scenes to accomplish . . . uh, what, exactly?

Here's how a couple of admirers describe Cherry. The Port Huron Times Herald opined on January 2, 2009:

[Cherry] served in the Legislature for 20 years and understands how things get done.

On February 24, 2008, the Associated Press fawned:

Cherry has led efforts to bring about many of the changes Granholm wants and has helped decide what those goals should be. He headed a task force that led to the creation of a plan to double the number of college graduates and was a key negotiator during last year's epic struggle to raise taxes and balance the state budget. As the Senate's presiding officer, he cast rare tie-breaking votes for tax increases.

Wow. He was in the legislature for 20 years, and he voted for tax increases and helped to implement the Granholm agenda. Amazingly, he puts this stuff on his website! What a sense of humor!

Can't you picture Cherry and his pals sitting around, laughing about his candidacy:

Minion: "Tell us again, LG, what you put on your website."

Cherry: "You won't believe this -- I put on there that I voted to raise taxes and worked FOR Jenny's agenda!" (Wild laughter)

Minion: "Oh no, you didn't! You are crazy, man -- what next?"

Cherry: "Hey, I'm making this up as I go along. Still, it's working -- I'm the frontrunner." (Wild laughter)

Minion: "How about if we blame everything on Engler?"

Cherry: "Brilliant! Pour me another one." (Wild laughter)

Oh, man, I can't take it anymore. These guys are killing me! Only an expert comedian would run on an economic record that has us heading toward 15 percent unemployment and perhaps higher, with ballooning budget deficits, higher taxes, and the systematic destruction of our entrepreneurial spirit.

On his website, under "His Vision for Michigan," Cherry has a picture of a windmill.

Stop it, already!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Making it Tougher for Michigan's College Students

Elected representatives ordinarily can be expected to advocate on behalf of their local constituents. Once in a while, they even rise above local politics to work on something that will benefit a broader area, such as the county, the region, or the state they serve.

Then there are those politicians who, inexplicably, do stupid things that do not benefit anyone.

Say hello to Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, a Democrat from Washtenaw County. On June 3, she introduced a bill into the Michigan House of Representatives that is so ocntrary to common sense that merely to state its content is to ridicule it.

First, a little background. The Michigan Competitive Scholarship program awards scholarships to students pursuing their first degrees at approved Michigan postsecondary institutions. Students must demonstrate both financial need and merit, and eligible applicants must achieve a qualifying ACT score prior to entering ocllege. The scholarships are awarded to three or more students in each legislative district.

Good idea, right? Helps kids who need the money and have demonstrated the ability to succeed in college. What could be more appropriate?

Rep. Smith obviously has a different idea. On June 3, she introduced HB 5039, which would prohibit any Michigan competitive scholarship from being awarded this year or at any time in the future. Why? What could possibly justify this move? I called Rep. Smith's office to ask, but there was no answer.

With the economy reeling, we need to make sure our foundations are sound. Our taxing and spending has to create and foster an entrepreneurial environment, and our educational system must encourage performance at a high level for all our citizens.

The Michigan competitive scholarship is a small part of the education effort, but it sends an important signal -- we are committed to helping those who need the help but who have also demonstrated the ability. Perhaps Rep. Smith objects to the merit requirement? We may never know, but that would be consistent with another change she proposed, one which really makes no sense.

The current law denies scholarship funds to persons who are incarcerated. HB 5039 takes this away, such that persons residing in our state prisons would be eligible for the scholarships. This is bad, but it's also nonsensical since the same bill eliminates the scholarships altogether, so why make prisoners eligible for them?

What puts the frosting on the cake is the fact that Rep. Smith's district includes Eastern Michigan University (The Wiz's undergraduate alma mater). Why would someone representing a university introduce a bill to eliminate college scholarships for financially needy, well-deserving students? Who benefits from this bill?

HB 5039, where the nonsensical meets the inexplicable.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Shovel Ready? Oh. Never Mind.

The centerpiece of The One's economic "stimulus" program was financing for infrastructure improvement nationwide, the idea being that needed roads, bridges, and buildings would be built or repaired, creating jobs and boosting the economy. Many experts, including the Congressional Budget Office -- hardly a bastion of conservatism -- disputed The One's absurd claims of job creation and preservation, pointing out that much of the proposed spending would not happen until 2011 or later.

The One and his minions countered that there are many, many, many projects that are "shovel ready," needing only the cash to get things moving. This cash, they promised, would be funneled through the states and all would be rosy.

Not so fast. As it turns out here in the Enchanted Mitten, our governor has decided not to put the shovel in the ground and has cancelled 137 projects worth $740 million, on the grounds that Michigan does not have the cash.

So, where's the stimulus money? Why were these projects, presumably "shovel ready," scheduled in the first place if the money wasn't in hand? How much have we lost just getting these 137 projects to this stage?

I have a good idea -- let's shut down state government for 9 weeks, just like GM is being forced to do. That should save us roughly 9/52 or a little more than one-sixth the annual cost of state government, about $7.5 billion. Isn't that enough to address our cash flow problems?

Look, I know this is an overly simplistic approach, but isn't it better than leaving the entire machinery of government in place while the governor and her pals slap band-aids on our hemorrhaging economy?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Removing the Barriers (to Voter Fraud)

Voting used to be treasured as a right and a privilege. Whenever I vote, I feel a genuine sense of pride at participating in the democratic process, and I made sure to take my children with me whenever I could in order to instill that same feeling in them.

Now, it seems like voting is becoming just another opportunity to scam the public.

The dregs of ACORN, considered criminals in days gone by, are now embraced by our federal government and given hundreds of millions of dollars in funding. Remember, this is the same group that, in concert with the Ohio Secretary of State (a Democrat) and a federal judge (appointed by Clinton), effected a settlement by which the homeless were permitted to use park benches(!) as their addresses for voter registration purposes. ACORN is being investigated or has been charged with voter fraud in 14 states. The U.S. Department of Justice has now ordered that states are not permitted to verify voter citizenship.

Still, all that is happening outside Michigan, right? Wrong. Not only has our legislature decided to endorse "no reason" absentee voting, but two legislators are trying to further dilute any protections we might have against voter fraud.

HB 4993, introduced by Reps. Melton (D-Pontiac) and Johnson (D-Detroit), would permit anyone to register to vote at any city, county, or township office anywhere in Michigan. The office receiving the application is required to process it and give the voter a receipt for it, then send the application to the city, county, or township where the applicant resides.

Why even require voter registration anymore? If we are going to allow people to register wherever and whenever they want, and if people can use park benches as addresses, how is it possible to detect voter fraud? What is to stop a person from selecting park benches in a dozen different locations, driving around the state to register, and then voting absentee in each location? Internet voting and same-day registration will only compound the fraud.

And is in-district registration really an issue? I called Rep. Melton's office and was told the purpose of the bill was to "make it easier to register" but not to encourage voter fraud. The example used was of college students who may find it difficult to register at home.

Oh, please.

This is the most mobile society in history (at least it is until our governor and our president succeed in destroying the automobile history). If a person wants to register and vote, he can, and there is no need to degrade the process into a free-for-all.

My personal view is that voting should be made more difficult. Requiring photo identification is a terrific first step, and citizenship checks should be next.

I worked the polls in a heavily Democratic precinct during the last presidential election. No one complained about the photo i.d. requirement, but there was one glaring example of why voting should be more - not less - difficult. A middle aged man entered, went through the process of checking in, and was handed his ballot. Rather than proceed to the booth, he stopped and asked, "Who's going to help me with this?" When no one responded immediately (probably from the surprise of it), he again demanded, this time more loudly, "Who's going to help me vote?"

With voters like this, who's going to help the rest of us?

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Lessons of Baseball

Baseball is a miracle. How could Alexander Cartwright have foreseen that 90 feet is the perfect distance between the bases, that 60 feet, 6 inches is the perfect distance from the mound to the plate, and that three outs per team per inning over 9 innings is the perfect length for a game? And yet, when Mr. Cartwright, the Father of Baseball, established the rules of the modern game, he created a sport unlike any other -- a perfect blend of speed, strength, and strategy.

Watching my son's team play a doubleheader this past weekend, I reflected on the nature of baseball. The rules are the rules, and they are followed, even though there is a human element that intervenes occasionally (a moving strike zone or a bad call on the bases, for example). Successful teams ignore -- or better, overcome -- the human element and continue to play hard, within the rules, giving their maximum effort.

And the effort is a thing of beauty and grace -- nine players in the field moving as one in a coordinated response to the direct confrontation between pitcher and batter. There is always something happening, and each player must fulfill his individual responsibility while at the same time being part of a team that works together.

This is the value of team sports -- players learn teamwork and individual responsibility at the same time, while learning to play by the rules. The rules don't change in the middle of the game.

Now, if only our elected officials could learn this lesson.

Rules, though they may be unwritten, govern our society. Things like "supply and demand," "if you tax something you get less of it," and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," make a society livable and understandable. Americans are amazingly resilient, and we will adapt to changing conditions, but we cannot change the rules in the middle of the game, and we cannot apply different rules to different people.

Our governor and our president need to remember these truths. Our governor tries to attract business by giving targeted tax breaks, but does not apply that approach to the rest of the state, preferring instead to raise taxes while refusing to rein in spending. Our president will spend hundreds of billions on the financial industry with no accountability whatsoever, but forces the auto companies to jump through impossible hoops, give away ownership, and even then to file for bankruptcy protection. He runs up incredible, unprecedented budget deficits, then decides to raise taxes in the middle of a severe recession. He has decided that he knows what cars Americans "want to buy," just as our governor has decided she knows what energy sources are best for Michigan, cancelling coal-fired plant permits a year or two into the process, dooming us to outrageous energy prices.

That's the irony of what our president and our governor are doing -- they are actually applying the law of supply and demand, but artificially manipulating the supply side of the equation, as I explained previously, and as is evident from the stated purpose of the president's "cap and trade" program (to cause electricity prices to "skyrocket").

It's impossible to play by the rules when our elected officials see rules as something to be gotten around or manipulated, not something to be followed. In baseball, the strike zone varies depending on the home plate umpire. Players understand this, and they will adjust. All they ask is that the calls be consistent and fair.

Is that too much to ask from our president and our governor?