Friday, May 06, 2005

Benton Harbor School bans the Band from Playing Louie Louie

Alleging that the lyrics to the song Louie Louie are rauncy, the Superintendent of Benton Harbor Schools in Michigan has banned the School Band from playing it during the benton harbor Blossom time Festival.

As reported in the Detroit Free Press article School band song now a banned song
Benton Harbor Superintendent Paula Dawning cited the song's allegedly raunchy lyrics in ordering the McCord Middle School band not to perform it in Saturday's Grand Floral Parade, held as part of the Blossomtime Festival.

In a letter sent home with McCord students, Dawning said "Louie Louie" was not appropriate for Benton Harbor students to play while representing the district -- even though the marching band wasn't going to sing it. (bold added)
In fact the article points out the song was even investigated by the FBI:
the FBI spent two years investigating the lyrics before declaring they not only were not obscene but also were "unintelligible at any speed."
Yes, TWO YEARS spent investigating a song.

The Detroit Free Press has reproduced the commonly accepted version of the lyrics to the song.

Methinks the Superintendent is whistling the wrong tune on this one.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Proposal to Reform Michigan's Alcohol Sales Law

Michigan Senator Gilda Jacobs (D) has introduced legislation to end Michigan's antiquted and riddiculous bans on the sale of alcohol on Sunday mornings and on Christmas Day.

As reported in the Detroit Free Press article Senator proposes altering alcohol sales law,
Democratic Sen. Gilda Jacobs of Huntington Woods introduced legislation Tuesday that would allow alcohol sales between 7 a.m. and noon on Sundays, and also remove the Christmas Day ban.

"Individuals can make their own decisions," Jacobs said. "It's OK to drink Saturday morning and go to the store but not OK on Sunday morning? Sunday should really be no different than Saturday."

Jacobs said the main reason for the bill is convenience -- both for consumers and retailers -- but she noted that not everyone has the Sabbath on Sunday. She said society now is more diverse.
Coming from Sen. Jacobs, the assertion that "Individuals can make their own decisions," is most refreshing, given her clear anti-choice voting record regarding permitting the citizens of Michigan to make their own decisions regarding gun possession and ownership, but, it is a nice start to hear such language from a typically leftward leaning Democrat.

To show that idiocy is not restricted to the Democrat side of the aisle alone, some Republicans are in favor of keeping this ban for such specious reasons as:
"Our predecessors in the Legislature going back to 1933 believed it was important enough to pass this ban," Sanborn said. "The good senator would have a challenge to convince senators it's something we should do."
Ah, the old, "if it was good enough in 1933 its good enough for now". Well Senator Sandborn, prior to 1933 it was not felt to be needed, so shouldn't we respect our even earlier predecessors and not follow the elders of 1933?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Breakfast with the Governor

The Oakland County Bar Association's First Tuesday Breakfast had Michigan's Governor Jennifer Granholm as its keynote speaker.

Gov. Granholm gave a very dynamic speech and spoke about her plans to deal with Michigan's current economic woes.

These plans include:
a) Reductions in the Simple Business Tax (SBT) to encourage job development. The change would result in different tax rates depending on the kind of business was paying the tax.

b) Issuance of $2 Billion (with a B) in bonds for infrastructure improvement, including $400 million in road repair funds, and incentives to companies to lcate in Michigan.

c) Changing the MEAP scholarships from a Merit based scholarship, as it leaves out too many students, to a scholarship to any student who lasts through two years of college (including community college) in the amoun of $4000.

Gov. Granholm is a very smart, dynamic speaker, and she has both a strong personality and a great deal of charisma. I can certainly see her running for a seat in the US Senate for the Democrats when her governorship ends.

Personally, I think her plans have quite a few flaws.

For SBT reform, if one wants to make it more attractive for business to locate here, simply scrap the entire antiquated SBT rather then reducing it incrementally and let the resulting economic growth result in greater revenue genration from other already existing taxes.

For the Bond plan, $400 million in road repair is a good start. But, the Governor's fix-it-first-before-building-new-roads plan is flawed in that it does not improve congrestion, cause more congestion due to the closure of lanes during repairs and then increases the wear and tear on existing roads while others are being fixed. In addition this increase in debt now may make borrowing harder later, and lead to increased taxes in the future...but on the other hand Michigan is in pretty bad shapenow and the bond revenue, if spent wisely, may prove to be both a shot-in-the-arm to the economy and hopefully improve Michigan's decaying infrastructure.

The problem with the "$4000 for everyone education" plan is that undoubtedly college tuition prices will rise in response to this new source of money being promised to the students. Additionally, this "free" money may cause many who are neither capable nor ready to handle college to go, thereby reducing spots and resources for those who are ready.

These issues aside, Gov. Granholm is a very effective politician and I'm quite sure that she will be a force to be reckoned with in Michigan politics for some time to come.