Thursday, December 11, 2008

Big Three Bridge Loan

Normally, I do not like to comment on politics in this blog. Although I comment on political posts at other blogs, it really is not the reason that I started blogging.
So this post will be a rare deviation from the norm.
I am really starting to get fed up with the grand standing in the House and especially the Republican members of the Senate regarding these loans. They are literally a pittance when compared to the TARP funds that Congress has approved for the likes of AIG and the large banks.
Regardless of what you think of GM, Ford, or Chrysler's products, they are the main economic engine of the state of Michigan. We need this money from Washington ( I would like to point out that Michigan is a donor state to the Federal government. In 2005, Michigan got $0.92 for every dollar sent to Washington, while Alabama gets $1.66 H/T O'Tim).
These funds are not a "bailout". Even if these companies eventually do go out of business, the Federal Government will still get their money back as they will be first in line if a bankruptcy occurs, so there is no risk to the American Taxpayer.
I am now, and have always been, a "we're all in this together" type of person. Michigan has been neglected for years and years by the Federal government and it is time for that to stop.
The "Red States" of the south and west are always carping about paying taxes to Washington but by and large benefit from funds received from "Blue States" Like Michigan, California, New York" and others. Seventeen states pay more into Federal taxes than they get back in the form of Federal spending. They are all "Blue States" with the notable exception of Texas (whuch got $0.94 in 2005).
I will not go into all of the tax breaks that the foriegn auto companies got to locate their plants in non-union states in the south, both Federal and State.
If you agree with me that this is inherently unfair, especially in these extremely trying economic times for Michigan, Ohio, and other states, please write, call, of email your Senator and express your opinion.

I also encourage you to visit this website

Here is the text of an email that I wrote to Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama:

Senator Shelby;

I am a resident of Michigan. Our state has been in recession since 2002. Although I am employed, many of our people are having trouble finding employment and if you insist on driving General Motors and Chrysler out of business, our unemployment rate could reach 15% or more.That's a depression.

Our state is struggling really bad, and we are all doing the best we can up here. When Wall Street had a crisis, you and others handed them 700 billion dollars. If you divide that up 50 ways, you get 14 billion. Okay, fine. Just give Michigan the money that we sent to Washington to keep our main economic engine alive and stop the grand standing. We are asking for a LOAN. This money will be paid back. I find the hypocracy of Washington politicians telling us that we overpromised workers and retirees ridiculous when your party has gone on a spending spree like a bunch of drunken sailors over the last eight years.I did not see one Wall St. CEO getting humiliated by congress for days on end when they got 50 times the amount of money from the government. You all just handed it over to them and they won't even lend it to anyone. They are using it at luxury resorts and to buy each other's bank, and not to stop the forclosure crisis.

I was disgusted to see how our business leaders were treated by you and others. It will be a cold day in hell before I ever set foot in your filthy swamp of a state. I will never buy anything that is produced by your state. I don't know why you feel that it is the right thing to do to attack a state that has never done anything to Alabama, but if trade war and boycott is what you want, then so be it.

Just remember, there may be a day when Michigan is in a position to help Alabama during a hurricane or some such disaster. I will say "let them suffer, they are not worth the dirt on my shoes".
You need to stop this opposition and not kick a fellow state that is down. We are in desperate need or we would never go through the humiliation you and others are subjecting us to. It is just plain sadistic.

Even President Bush has said that we must not let the American Auto industry die. He is the head of your party. Listen to him.If you do not, Michigan will never forget the mortal blow that you will inflict on us.
I don't know why I am bothering to write this. Someone as arrogant as yourself probably thinks that the "little people" like me don't count. We have seen how you and your corrupt ilk hold the common man in contempt.

Just remember, some day it could be Alabama on the ropes. When that happens, I will personally tell you to go to hell.

Very Truly Yours Tim Gasco, Lifelong Michigan resident and veteran

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Duluth, MN

I've still got a few pics from DC (Air and Space Museum, National Portrait Gallery, etc.) that I will be posting, but I've got some other interesting pics this fall. I was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to visit my daughter, Meredith, who is an English major at Northern Michigan University. I snapped a couple of pics of the two lighthouses there and a few of the Lake Michigan shoreline that I will share soon.
These pictures were taken at sunrise on Lake Superior in Duluth, MN. This is a neat town, but I'll tell you, it's cold there all year. 70 degrees is a tropical heat wave, and it is painful to get into Lake Superior anywhere above the knees. I've been here a few times, especially when in the Coast Guard over twenty five years ago.I was there on November 10th, the 33rd anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, probably the most famous Great Lakes shipwreck of all time, because of the Gordon Lightfoot song.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead when the skies of November turn gloomy.With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed when the "Gales of November" came early.
The ship was the pride of the American side coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most with a crew and good captain well seasoned,concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms when they left fully loaded for Cleveland.And later that night when the ship's bell rang,could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?
The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound and a wave broke over the railing.And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too 'twas the witch of November come stealin'.The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait when the Gales of November came slashin'.When afternoon came it was freezin' rainin the face of a hurricane west wind.
When suppertime came the old cook came on deck sayin'."Fellas, it's too rough t'feed ya."At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said,"Fellas, it's bin good t'know ya!"The captain wired in he had water comin' in and the good ship and crew was in peril.And later that night when 'is lights went outta sight came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Does any one know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er.They might have split up or they might have capsized;they may have broke deep and took water.And all that remains is the faces and the names of the wives and the sons and the daughters.
Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;the islands and bays are for sportsmen.And farther below Lake Ontario takes in what Lake Erie can send her,And the iron boats go as the mariners all know with the Gales of November remembered.
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,in the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down of the big lake they call "Gitche Gumee.""Superior," they said, "never gives up her dead when the gales of November come early!"

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Washington Monument and the Capitol

This picture was taken from the steps of the Jefferson Memorial.
This, the most phallic of all monuments, is befitting the "father of our country"
A cool civil war battle scene on the Capitol grounds...

Dad and Derek near the Capitol steps...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Theodore Roosvelt Memorial

This memorial is a little hard to get to. It's a good three or four mile walk from Arlington, on an island in the Potomac that is closed to all but foot traffic. It is a wildlife sanctuary, which is fitting for the greatest conservation president. I have always been very fond of TR. I'll let his own words on the tablets below speak for themselves.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Iwo Jima Memorial

Just down the road from the gates of Arlington you will find the USMC Memorial. It is a brilliant work of art and holds a special place in my heart as two of my uncles are Marines. I come from a family where military service is practically expected as the price of being a free American. We did it proudly and with a joyful heart. Many times people have said "thank you for your service" upon finding out that I am a veteran. I am slightly embarrassed and don't feel right saying "you're welcome". I just say " I didn't do it for the thanks, but thank you for recognizing it. I did it because I love this land where I am living my life." My uncle Ray Nicol served in Nam and was wounded there. If you want to thank someone, thank someone like him. He would probably just say " It was nothing".
This is the west side of the statue, facing away from the street. The indian, Ira Hayes, is the man whose fingers are not touching the flagpole.

This is the east side, visible from the street...

detail of the south side...

a close up of the man in front...

Uncle Ray, it's like they had you in mind when they wrote this. Semper Fi!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Taking the Metro on an eight mile ride under the Potomac River is a very convenient way to see Arlington National Cemetery and the USMC (Iwo Jima) Memorial. The most striking thing about Arlington is the sheer size of it. Thousands of graves that stretch for acres and acres. While one does not have to be killed in battle to be interred here, one must either die while on active duty, have retired from the U S military, or be the spouse of a qualified veteran buried here. Alas, my bones will never lie here.
This is the standard headstone.

These are the graves of JFK and Jackie, along with young son Patrick, and a daughter...

This is the grave of brother RFK nearby...

This is the home of Gen, Robert E. Lee, whose land was taken to make Arlington. He would have to see the death that he wrought...
From Gen. Lee's front porch you can see the Lincoln Memorial dead ahead, and the Washington Monument off to the right. At the far right is the Jefferson Memorial. Between them lies the Capitol...

The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns (soldiers from WW1, WW2 and Korea, and Viet Nam).

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bettisville Ohio

This is the heartland of Northern Ohio. Staunch Republican territory. Imagine my surprise when I saw this and lots of other Obama signs. It has been hit extremely hard by the current economic climate. There will be more pics of Washington, DC soon.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Jefferson Memorial

If you look at my last few posts, you will see that all of these monuments are very close to each other and I have posted about them in the order that you see them as you walk from place to place. Bring good walking shoes! All of the posts that you have seen so far were all done in one day.
As you walk down the lane from the FDR memorial, you see this impressive building...
From the front the memorial is reminiscent of Monticello...
The statue of Jefferson is every bit as impressive as the statue of Lincoln, although, somehow, the seated Lincoln seems to have a little more "gravitas"
Somehow, with the revelation of Jefferson fathering children with the slave, Sally Hemmings, these words ring hallow. Yet they are great words. Jefferson is surely a flawed, but great man. Much like William "Jefferson" Clinton...

Truer words were never spoken...
What can I add in commentary?
I leave the rest to your comments...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

FDR Memorial

I liked this tribute to FDR very much. It is laid out so the you walk through it much as you would go through a museum exhibit laid out over several rooms. It is very understated, yet thought provoking at the same time. Each section highlights a different stage in the history of his presidency.
FDR in the waning days. Again, political correctness strikes. This statue is based on a photograph where FDR has a cigarette (in the classic style black holder) that was one of his characteristics. I don't like the way that history has been "airbrushed" to more fit our modern ideas of what's correct and acceptable.
This should serve as an admonishment to the golden parachute boys running Wall St. and wrecking our economy.

Will a figure emerge to set things right again?
Eleanor is honored with a life sized statue of her own. Truly she was one of our greatest first ladies.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lincoln Memorial

Okay ladies and gentlemen, this is the show stopper- The figure of Lincoln is amazing! He looks like he is going to get right out of that chair. The north wall is inscribed with the Gettysburg Address, the south wall the Emancipation Proclamation.

This beautiful temple is a re-imagined homage to the Temple of Zeus, in the ancient Greek city of Olympia.

Unlike the Zeus, Honest Abe would easily be able to stand without tearing off the roof...

Possibly the greatest speech ever written, at least in America...

To me, anyway, this statue was very ominous, kind of creepy. You feel like Lincoln is looking right at you ...

The preserver of our Union looks across the Reflecting pool at the obelisk honoring its creator...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Korean War Memorial

This was not my favorite one, but was directly across from the Vietnam memorial. All of the soldiers have that thousand yard,

lifeless stare...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Vietnam Memorial

These photos of the Vietnam Memorial were taken later in the day after visiting the WW2 Memorial. It is north of the Reflecting Pool, between the WW2 and Lincoln Memorial.
These life sized figures face the wall at the entrance...
This is the wall as you move past the figures. These people, like me, came to remember friends, neighbors, loved ones...
Lawrence "Larry" Poet is the person that I came to remember. He was the son of our next door neighbor, Ralph Poet. He was three weeks shy of his nineteenth birthday when he was killed. I was ten years old.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Washington DC:World War Two Memorial

What a wonderful trip I had with my son, Derek in Washington, DC. The last time that I was here was well over thirty years ago when I was in the fifth grade. The mall has changed a lot since then, as well as the security at some of the sites.
The White House is completely unapproachable. I remember taking a tour bus right in front of it then, but now you can't get within a quarter mile of it. A shame.
The Capitol can be viewed from the outside, but you have to send a letter to your congress person for tickets to go inside. In fact, I happened to sit next to my congressman, Thaddeus McCotter (R- Livonia, MI) on the return flight. He was very friendly and told me to stop by his office before my next trip and that he'd make sure I got some passes to come in.
I'm going to be making a lot of posts on this trip as I saved over 300 photos (and took nearly 1000) during the five days that we spent there. I hope that you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed this trip! Click on any of the photos for a larger view.

This is the base of one of the flag posts that surround the memorial. It has the emblem of every branch of service at its base.
Located directly between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, the World War Two memorial pays homage to both the founder and preserver of our great union. This is the view looking to the west...
...and to the east...

This quote is from the famous "Day that will live in infamy" speech. I must say that I am amazed that the final four words from FDR's speech "SO HELP US GOD" were omitted (in some misguided attempt at political correctness, I suppose).

This arch to the south represents the Pacific Theatre. Its identical northern counterpart represents the Atlantic theatre.

These eagles laying a wreath are inside the arches.

There are 4,000 gold stars. One for every 100 lives lost in the war.

There is a column for every state and territory of America during the war. This one is from my home state.

A photo of my son, Derek, my the fountain.