Sunday, February 22, 2009

Socks Rest in Peace

It's not a huge or important one, as news stories go, but we learned this weekend that "Socks", the White House cat that lived with the Clintons in the 1990's, has passed away, reportedly due to cancer. (He was about 18 years old, which is pretty much the upper limit for house cats these days.) He had been staying in Maryland with the former Clinton's secretary.

Presidential dogs get a lot more press, and there have been more dogs than cats in the White House, even though there are more cats than dogs in America. When the Obamas get around to choosing their new pet, the media frenzy will rival any news story out there.

Nevertheless, I had always wondered what became of Socks, and even with the constant avalanche of bad economic news we have to bear each day, it made me a tad bit sad when I heard about Socks. The black and white cat (which is the most common color of domestic cats world-wide) was a fixture in the White House during the Clinton presidency, and many of us look back on those days wistfully.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Boycott the "bamn" Boycott

The professional 70's style protest group "bamn", which is hassling local shoppers trying to patronize downtown Ferndale businesses, claims to be trying to reform the region's education system. They wish to either combine all the local systems into one giant district or get inter-county schools of choice. To this end, they have targeted one successful magnet school in Ferndale that attracts about 400 students, claiming it is somehow segregated.

(See previous post from last month)

Bamn is pleased that they have begun to hurt our local economy, and have ramped up their protests at several local popular businesses and landmark downtown locations in Ferndale.

They even tried to boycott the Blues Festival (They failed at that...big time !)

Since our Constitution guarantees free speech, there is little we can do to counter their bully tactics and misplaced anger. But one thing we can do is patronize the businesses that are being targeted. Boycott the boycott.

Nothing will deflate the tired rhetoric of bamn (I have decided to only use lower case letters for their acronym, they are not deserving of capital letters) than to negate the very tactics that they use.

So....Let's spend some of our money in the businesses that are being picketed by bamn. Go to Western Market and buy your produce, meat, and groceries. (It is a great store anyway.)
Have dinner and or drinks at Como's or Dino's. Buy some items from Dollar Castle and or The Record Collector. Let's fight fire with fire. Buy local. Support our local businesses.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Last Michigan State Fair ?

Many people will be shocked and saddened to learn this week that the new state budget being proposed for the new fiscal year will include an end to funding for the state fair grounds. This year's annual Michigan State Fair held at the end summer may be our last.

Michigan is still in a deep recession, and has been for more than five years. Continuing depressed economic activity, increased unemployment, and disasterous vehicle sales have all taken their toll on an ever tightening state budget. Nearly everyone is hurting, including local, state, and federal govermental budgets. Additional cuts are necessary, and this highly visible cut cannot be helped. The state may put the land up for sale where the historic fair has been held for more than a century.

We in Ferndale will watch the situation unfold, and will stay attuned to developments. Obviously we will strive to represent the interests of our residents and neighbors, and support ideas that would improve the area (parks, recreation, nature, and or housing/retail) as well as oppose options that could be detrimental to the area (race-tracks, heavy industry).

The budget for the City of Ferndale is still in very strong shape, with no cuts to services planned right now. But we are not an island, and we all will have to pull together as we weather this world-wide economic storm, and its unfortunate and unpleasant ramifications.