Winter In Alma, MI

The Clean Slate

Psychologist Dr. Amy Johnson describes how a relaxing state of mind is within our reach, only if we allow it to surface from time-to-time:

The truth is, what we feel and experience is only what is on our mind in that very moment. After that—in each and every new moment—the slate clears.

You know that feeling when you wake up in the morning and you feel good…until you remember that you have problems? You remember last night’s fight, or yesterday’s binge, or that you don’t like your job.

That clear, peaceful feeling you wake up with is YOU. That is home base. It’s your natural, default state.

Then you innocently drag old thought in, covering up that peace of mind with memories of what already happened or projections of what is yet to come.

We have peace available to us in any moment but we cover it up with thought and mistake that personal thought for who we are.

But it’s hard to have a clean slate after a Pittsburgh Steelers loss. That ruins my whole week!

What Might Bring Down Snyder

I’m still sticking to my prediction that Rick Snyder survives next week’s election to remain Michigan’s governor, but a recent poll shows a too-close-to-call race.

Snyder’s approval amongst Michiganders hasn’t been all that high, and while the polls have consistently showed him leading his Democratic challenger Mark Schauer, Snyder’s numbers have rarely (if ever) been above 50%.

The recent EPIC-MRA poll showing a tightening race has me wondering why Schauer is all of a sudden receiving a bit of a boost. It’s not like he’s an electrifying candidate who’s taken the state by storm.

Perhaps voters are starting to pay attention?

Perhaps visits by Bill and Hillary Clinton have proven to work, somewhat?

Or perhaps, voters keep seeing negative stories pop-up that are shining a negative light on Snyder. Whether it’s over his tax-cuts for businesses at the expense for pensioners plan hasn’t worked, how privatizing prison food has failed, or the horrific lack of oversight with the state’s charter school system, some Michiganders may like Snyder, but they aren’t big fans of his policies.

Now, we read this story about a lawsuit over the validity of the so-called Right To Work law, and how it was rammed through the state legislature using highly questionable–and divisive–methods:

The doors to the Capitol weren’t re-opened until right-to-work opponents obtained a court order from an Ingham Court judge late in the afternoon.

“It is undisputed that there was a deliberate and concerted effort to exclude the public from the legislative sessions on Dec. 6, 2012, and Dec. 11, 2012, by stacking the galleries with legislative staff members and others so that interested citizens could not observe the legislative proceedings,” the filing said.

Among the e-mails introduced as evidence is one sent on the morning of Dec. 6 by Peter Langley, director of the Senate Majority Policy Office, which reads: “The House is having Republican staff report to the House gallery for the day — something to consider for our side.”

Click on the story so you can read the emails for yourself. Legislative staffers were most certainly trying to fill the galleries to prevent RTW opponents from getting a chance to be present for the ramming.

Whether or not it was a violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act is a question I can’t answer. That’s not the point, though.

When reminded of those ugly lame-duck days of 2012, and how the legislature and Snyder quickly passed the law, it’s no wonder why Snyder’s having trouble beating a less-than-entralling Democratic candidate.

Milk Does A Body…Bad?

Charlie Rood on WSGW’s The Morning Team Show highlighted a recent study by Swedish researchers who found that drinking three glasses of milk per day could actually be detrimental to one’s health.

MilkLive Science has more:

Women in the study who downed at least three glasses of milk a day were nearly twice as likely to die over the next 20 years compared with their peers who drank less than a glass daily, researchers in Sweden found. In addition, the study found that women’s risk of bone fracture climbed steadily as their milk intake increased.

The culprit could be galactose, a simple sugar found in milk, said Karl Michaelsson, a professor at Uppsala University in Sweden and one of the study’s authors. “That compound might induce oxidative stress and low-grade inflammation, and that type of inflammation can affect mortality and fractures,” Michaelsson told Live Science. “The funny thing is that if you provide galactose to experimental animals, they will die faster by induction of oxidative stress and inflammation.”

For a more basic breakdown of the study, visit this Medical News Today article, which also says men have a higher risk of death if they down lots of milk.

Like the MNT article, Charlie mentions how the study’s authors express the need for further study before reaching the conclusion that increased milk consumption causes more harm than good. This study only proves association, and not cause and effect.

I’m an enthusiastic connoisseur of dairy products, such as any kind of cheese and ice cream, but my milk consumption has dropped considerably about a decade ago. That’s when I was diagnosed with acid reflux, and I decided to cut soda and milk out of my diet. My stomach and esophagus are very thankful for that decision. I wrote about this last year, and how health experts have already pointed-out some unhealthy byproducts of milk consumption, like Type 1 Diabetes and prostate cancer.

Furthermore, I suffered broken bones when I was younger, and that’s when I would ingest a gallon of milk a day! I eventually concluded milk wasn’t all that.

Milk is a part of our culture and many enjoy drinking it on a daily basis. It’s true that there are some proven health benefits of milk consumption. There are some drawbacks, too. Like anything else in life, perhaps moderation is key?

Click the link below to hear’s Charlie’s take on this new milk study:

Milk Can Hurt? Charlie Rood’s take on “The Morning Team Show,” 10/29/14


Does Snyder Owe Obama Some Credit?

Obama SnyderOver the weekend, the left of center Detroit Free Press editorial board announced its support for Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s reelection over Democratic challenger Mark Schauer. The logic of this endorsement is baffling considering its less than enthusiastic language for Snyder’s first term in the governor’s mansion. Here’s one paragraph to prove my point:

He is the candidate most likely to build on the state’s germinal economic momentum.

I had to look up the definition of “germinal” because I honestly had no clue. It didn’t sound like a word that exuded positivity.

True, the state has recovered slightly since the 2008 financial crisis, but it’s a recovery that began prior to Snyder’s 2010. More on that in a second.

The “endorsement” gives Snyder credit for “practical leadership” during tough economic times, but then writes the following paragraphs to illustrate how his “practical leadership” hasn’t benefited the state all that much:

Snyder’s move to eliminate or pare back most tax credits hit middle- and low-income earners hard. Overall, individuals pay about $900 million more each year than they did before Snyder was governor. If Snyder’s scheme had jump-started job creation the way he predicted, there’d be little to criticize today. But each year since the new tax system has been in place, Michigan has added fewer and fewer jobs, as reported in a Free Press analysis. (Read the Free Press’ analysis on the result of the tax shift.) So the burden on everyone else glares brightly and cries out for adjustments.

Snyder’s tax shift scheme (as reported by the Free Press!) didn’t bring a flood of high quality jobs to the state of Michigan. Here’s how that investigated story started:

People pay more. Businesses pay less. And the jobs picture is still clouded by slow growth and unemployment.

Not much of a positive sounding story. In fairness, as the investigative story points-out, there are several other economic reasons that could possibly explain why big tax breaks for big businesses didn’t produce a plethora of jobs to Michigan. There are numerous moving pieces to an economy, and one policy alone can’t destroy or greatly improve conditions.

But fact is fact: pensioners lost money in the name of rebuilding Michigan’s economy, which never actually occurred.

Let me repeat: The Detroit Free Press just reported this story a few weeks ago, and still threw its support to Rick Snyder.

It’s confusing, especially since that investigative report also noted that Michigan’s (slow) economic recovery started before Snyder took office in 2010.

And that gets to the main point of this post.

Doesn’t Rick Snyder have to credit President Obama just a little bit for contributing to Michigan’s recovery? Obama did expand President Bush’s auto loan bailout in 2009 to help keep GM, Chrysler, and the rest of the auto industry afloat. According to The Center For Automotive Research, Obama’s bailout expansion saved some 2.6 million jobs.

There’s some dispute over exactly the number of jobs saved due to the bailout, and the kinds of jobs saved. Despite these disagreements, thousands of jobs did survive in Michigan thanks to Obama’s bailout expansion. Can you imagine the state’s unemployment rate had he not intervened during those volatile days of 2009?

That probably explains why Snyder never truly criticized the bailout when he ran for governor in 2010. He knew full well the dire shape the state would’ve been without the federal bailout. Snyder also knew that 2009 wasn’t the time to sit and wait for some private entity to save the auto industry–and the nation.

So, while Snyder’s touting a “Michigan Comeback,” shouldn’t he give a shout-out to Obama for the comeback? It seems like that policy decision has played a more consequential role in bringing or keeping jobs in the state than anything Snyder or the state legislature can say during the last four years.

Monday Music Minute–Cream

We learned of the sad news that former Cream bassist and vocalist, Jack Bruce–died of liver disease over the weekend. Bruce performed lead vocals not just on some of the band’s biggest songs, but in rock history.

CreamInstead of “Sunshine Of Your Love’ or “White Room,” I featured Cream’s first released song in 1966 called “Wrapping Paper.”

Bruce not only composed the song, but he also played piano and cello. Even though drummer Ginger Baker hated the song, I’ve always been a fan of it.