Over the years, I often privately complained to retiring City Attorney David Gillam that he was the only city employee at The Table whom I almost never found reason to criticize. Meeting after meeting, Dave provided guidance and clarification, backed occasionally by a warning against a legally unwise move by the elected officials. His relationship with those officials and with most of city Staff reportedly ranged from collegial to warm.
Volunteers working on diverse committees and boards report that Gillam is cordial and cooperative even when he has to deny a request for service and to remind residents that the city attorney's client is the City, not the residents.
Gillam will be missed and hard to replace. His successor would be wise not to try to walk in Dave's footprints but to create a new set of footprints. There are two other attorneys in the city attorney's office.
You seem to be doing a lot of praising lately. Davids, Rizzo, Ellison, Johnson, the City overall. You take issue with those you call chronic bitchers. (1) Have you become a chronic praiser? (2) Explain again how you can praise a commissioner one week and have-at him or her the next.
(1) It's fun to think of myself as an equal opportunity pain-in-the butt and glad-handed backslapper. (2) Try to keep in mind that any praise or criticism is focused on the individual's performance or behavior at a specific meeting or about a given topic. The comment is never a personal attack. Many of my warmest civic relationships are with Democrats.
For new readers, let me repeat that Versagi Voice is this retiree's hobby. The slogan under my picture, above, offers a brief mission statement: Inform, Educate, Entertain.
scrap yards fill with flood victims' discards
People are lined up down the road to drop their washers, dryers, cars and electronics at GLE Scrap Metal in Warren, Pontiac and Melvindale. "We're getting flooded by flood victims," founder Nathan Zack said. Here's how the business is handling the 1.6 million pounds of post-flood trash. -- Crain's Detroit Business
Grand Rapids on Monday launched a $40 million rapid transit bus system that connects the city center with southern suburbs.
The 9.6-mile Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit system kicked off with free rides to attract commuters.
"This is important today for symbolic reasons," Mayor George Heartwell told WZZM-TV at a ceremony marking the service's start. "We're the first in the state of Michigan to have bus rapid transit. We are looking toward the future. We're not stuck in the past, we're not even stuck in the present."
The federal government paid about $32 million of the costs, and the state paid about $8 million.
The system cuts a typical 45-minute drive to a 27-minute commute, according to transportation planner Conrad Venema.
"We've designed this to attract the choice rider," Venema told The Grand Rapids Press. "We finally have a transportation mode that's competing with the car. This is part of Grand Rapids growing up. It's a bigger city, and it's a bigger project."
Supporters also said the Silver Line will foster future economic, housing and transportation development. They hope the line will replicate the success of Cleveland's bus rapid transit system, which has stimulated about $6 million in development since 2008.
Jeff Steinport, of the Kent County Taxpayer's Alliance, said he thinks the new bus system is a boondoggle that duplicates existing public transportation routes. -- Crain's Michigan
Angela is right: U.S. should back off a bit, but is Germany ready to step up?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested that the United States should no longer feel obligated to take the lead re all international matters. That is an appropriate suggestion, I think, no matter what her motive.
Take the Russia/Ukraine issue, for example. That is a European matter, and the Europeans should address it, asking for our advice or support as needed. It's unlikely that Germany and Russia will go to war over Ukraine, but if they want to huff-and-puff and modify borders a bit, there's not enough at stake to do more than cluck our disapproval.
Even if Russia "invades" Ukraine, why should the United States take action if the European Union isn't willing to step up.
Western Europe overall is pretty much
over any gratitude for our having supported them
financially and politically for more than five decades,
and some of that gratitude has been replaced by
resentment, so they and we should be able to maintain a
cordial multidimensional friendship without insisting
that we all must think alike about every difference that
might arise between us.
Ryan uses Detroit as scare example
Washington — Former Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy is a warning to the United States and and compares the Motor City to the NBC post-apocalyptic drama “Revolution.”
In a new memoir, the Wisconsin Republican who chairs the House Budget Committee, recounts Detroit’s collapse, along with General Motors’ decision to close its assembly plant in his hometown of Janesvillle. Ryan calls Detroit “a warning about what our country might face if we do not rethink how we are governing ourselves: a place full of good people with lots of potential lost amid the wreckage of bad policies and failed leadership.”
Ryan has repeatedly called for reductions in government spending and new tax cuts to spur the economy.
“The problem is that as a country we’re pursuing a lot of the same policies that got Detroit in trouble. We’re spending too much and living off borrowed money. We’re growing government at an unsustainable rate, often at the expense of civil society and individual freedom,” Ryan wrote in “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.”
“If we keep it up we risk following in the path that left Detroit ravaged.” -- Detroit News
Are Blacks the only group who protest by rioting
When one reads of a protest which morphed into riot and robbery, how many of us think "Japanese" or "Hispanics" or "Jews" or "Irish' or "Italian"? Every one of those groups can cite experiences with bias and discrimination and with overzealous profiling by cops.
Self-identification by ethnic or racial group can easily become a 2-edged sword which injures rather than benefits those who wield it unwisely. To riot and rob is to use group-identity unwisely.
DEMS make unusual financial plea/deal
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is offering a one-day deal in hopes of boosting contributions in its fight to keep the Senate, by promising, in an e-mail pitch signed simply "Barack Obama," to triple-match any donations that come in on Monday.
"If the GOP gains just six seats, the same Republicans who just voted to sue me will control both Houses of Congress," the Obama-signed pitch says. "Republicans will control everything in Congress from Medicare to education. I don’t need to tell you how devastating the consequences would be."
But mobilizing voters doesn't come cheap, the e-mail says, and launching field offices and "recruiting new volunteers takes time and work, and it's not cheap."
Democrats are facing challenges from having an increasingly unpopular president in their party, to fighting a lack of voter interest and [the impact of] redistricting efforts that benefitted the GOP. -- Detroit News
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal charges that the US Department of Education is strong-arming states into accepting base-line standards once viewed as voluntary. Backers say that Common Core is voluntary, because some states declined to adopt it.
Versagi to Uganda
Daughter Charlotte Michael Versagi, never one to avoid adventure, has set her heart on volunteering for six months in Uganda. During her adult years in Michigan, Charlotte helped introduce massage therapy at Beaumont Hospital. A massage therapist with emphasis on lymph issues and cancer, she has written a well-received book describing the massage approach to treating 30 distinct medical conditions.
The day I'm writing this, 29 August 2014, she'll have a 5-hour layover in Paris.
Charlotte has provided her thoughts about all this, and I have dedicated a page in Versagi Voice through which she can share her experiences in Africa.
Parade ain't what it used to be
The parade used to be a mile long, with thousands of union workers proudly strutting and displaying their Local's banner. Michigan Avenue's and Woodward's sidewalks from the DIA to downtown were filled with watchers and not just the families of the parading union workers. So important was the parade and unionized Michigan that Presidents arranged to speak here.
Now, it's a skeleton of a
parade and the sidewalks are next to bare.
God bless him: Vice President Joe Biden will speak in Detroit.
Although a few hundred dedicated union workers show up, the truth is that most of their brothers and sisters prefer to and can afford to go "up north" to their cabin or have a family barbeque or just watch a ballgame from their couch.
Who would begrudge them
the freedom which has resulted from their past victories
at the collective bargaining table?
research shows that common smart phone operating systems
are easily susceptible to attack
An academic paper by researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of California, Riverside reveals that the Android, Windows Phone, and iOS operating systems can all be accessed to retrieve sensitive personal information on users. But Android phones are the most susceptible, as the research shows that for six out of seven of the most popular Android apps were susceptible to hackers exploiting weaknesses in smart phone memory.
This comes at the same time that around 900,000 Android phones have been found to be infected in the past month with what's known as "ransomware." These recent string of attacks have been found to be the work of Eastern European hackers, according to The New York Times, citing Lookout, a San Francisco-based mobile security firm. The particular strain of ransomware described by Lookout is called "ScarePackage."
research shows that common smart phone operating systems
New Horizons — which is scheduled to zoom through the Pluto system on July 14, 2015 — passed Neptune's orbit today (Aug. 25), 25 years to the day after NASA's Voyager 2 probe executed the first-ever flyby of faraway Neptune and its icy moon Triton.
New Horizons team members took the opportunity provided by this spaceflight coincidence to pay tribute to Voyager 2, the only probe ever to visit the "ice giant" planets Uranus and Neptune.
"We stand on the shoulders of giants — giants like [Voyager project scientist] Ed Stone and his Voyager science team that pioneered how to do the exploration of the deep outer solar system," New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern said during a news conference today, adding that the New Horizons team views the Voyager scientists and engineers as mentors. -- Christian Science Monitor
The world is
coming to an end -- again
2012: The Mayan Calendar has been added to the list
The Last Word re Global Warming?
Global warming "hucksters"
Ancient climate change link to CO2?
The global-warming hockey stick is broken
No energy is "renewable"
Monsoons getting drier?
DTE getting serious about solar?
Pseudo climate change science