Thursday, May 24, 2007

Victor Davis Hanson on a Declining America

VDH says nay to the nay-sayers.

Message from Leon Drolet


Today the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance was VERY busy. Crews were dropping literature all day in state Rep. Dick Ball's district in Owosso, Perry and Durand that informed voters of Rep. Ball's support for a 15% hike in the state income tax.

At the same time, the MTA's giant pig statue, Mr. Perks, was parked right in front of the State Capitol Building most of the day with a message painted on his side saying, "NO to Rep. Ball's Tax Hike!". Mr. Perks was widely viewed by lawmakers, lobbyists and media.

Why was Mr. Perks parked in front of the Capitol all day? Because today is the day that the state House was supposed to vote on the proposed income tax hike.

In anticipation of the vote, the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance launched over 50,000 "robo-calls" into the districts of Republican House members yesterday to alert citizens that their legislator was getting pressure from the Governor to support the tax hike. The calls encouraged the citizens to call their legislator and express their opinion on the tax increase. The calls were VERY effective, as on state Rep. informed a Lansing reporter that he had received over 300 calls from citizens opposed to the tax hike. Several of my former colleagues called me to ask me to stop the calls and wanted me to know that they would oppose the tax increase. Channel 4 News WDIV in metro Detroit did a great story on the robo-calls and how they were working in the Grosse Pointe district of Rep. Ed Gaffney. I saw Rep. Gaffney today when I was walking into the Capitol. He wasn't happy.

Tomorrow, another 50,000 robo-calls will be launched to inform the voters in 10 key Democratic House members districts of the pending tax hike.

I say "pending" because after a very long House session that lasted until around 11:00pm, the House passed a replacement to the Single Business Tax instead, leaving a vote on the income tax for another day. The SBT replacement had already been voted on in the House previously and tonight's vote was more symbolic and procedural than anything else. The SBT replacement that was passed, called the Michigan Business Tax or MBT takes exactly as much money out of Michigan's economy as the hated SBT did. The Senate replacement of the SBT is a net $400 million tax cut. Of course the best solution to the SBT's elimination is to "replace" the "lost" government revenue with spending cuts and watch Michigan's economy grow again.

Replacing the SBT, however is the under card. The big battle is the income tax or sales tax hike. The MTA will continue to make citizens aware of what their lawmaker is doing on this issue through literature drops, phone calls and media.

Keep the calls going to your state representative. Rumor is that they might meet through the weekend trying to get the votes for the income tax hike.

Leon Drolet
Michigan Taxpayers Alliance

Message from Jack Hoogendyk

The Democrat leadership called us into session at 1:30 p.m.[yesterday]. We have been waiting around ever since. It is now 6:30 p.m. Rumor has it that tonight we will be voting on any number of possible tax increase measures.

What is of interest is that the House Appropriations committee voted today to pass a supplemental spending bill for this year's budget. The Senate had sent over a spending cut bill to move toward balancing the $800 million shortfall in this year's budget. But the House committee's version, (HB 4492) is actually a net $69.5 million INCREASE in spending. The bill is tie-barred to HB 4500, which increases the income tax from 3.9% to 4.6%. (This means the spending bill only goes into effect if the tax bill passes). There is no telling how this will play out tonight or in coming days. You can watch House proceedings on the House TV network or check in with my blog, for up-to-the minute reports from the House floor.

If you have any thoughts, contact me at:

Learn about my part-time legislature proposal at

Jack Hoogendyk

Play Curveball


some macaroni and cheese recipes

While looking for possibilities for a milk substitute in Macaroni and Cheese, I found some interesting-looking recipes for the from-scratch stuff, one of which is a Spicy Mac!
(makes 4-5 servings)

1/2 lb (1/2 box) macaroni, cooked
5 oz sharp cheddar, grated
2 cups milk
2 Tb flour
2 Tb butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
About 1 cup chorizo, sliced and grilled
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 dry mustard
1 Tb fresh parsley or oregano
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook and drain pasta. Slice chorizo into 1/4-inch thick pieces on a bias, and quickly saute to brown. Remove from heat and reserve. In a saucepan, saute onions in butter for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and flour and stir for another 3-4 minutes. Pour in milk and continue stirring until just beginning to boil. Add cheese and spices and stir until fully melted, thickened and bubbly. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Fold in fully drained, cooked macaroni and chorizo to sauce mixture and transfer everything to a casserole dish. Bake for about 20 minutes or until top is golden and crispy. Let sit a few minutes before serving.
The Temper Tantrum Macaroni and Cheese actually involves taming eggs and hoping that the stuff don't scramble in your bake.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook 1 lb. pasta to just-under al dente. I used penne, but I have learned my lesson. Sometimes, you shouldn’t mess with tradition. Use elbow macaroni. Drain and rinse if you want. The whole dilemma of whether to rinse or not to rinse pasta is pointless here.

Melt 4 Tbsp. butter (that’s ½ stick or ¼ cup) in a large sauce pan. Cook ½ medium to large onion that has been super teeny minced, or you can get smart and use the smallest holes on a grater. When the onion is cooked (5 to 7 minutes), sprinkle 4 Tbsp. flour over the onions and butter and continue cooking for another 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp. dry mustard and 1 Tbsp. hot sauce.

If you are in a desperate situation like I was, use 4 to 5 mustard packets. I was a little bitter about the mustard packets, so I doubled the hot sauce (Tabasco) to make myself feel better.

Pour 4 c. whole milk into pot and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes while continuously whisking. Salt and pepper to taste.

Temper and add 2 large eggs.

Remove sauce pot from heat. Add 5 c. shredded or grated cheese and stir until melted. I used half medium Cheddar and half Monterey Jack. If you want to get fancy, get fancy, but remember, this is macaroni and cheese.

Add cooked pasta to sauce, stir until it’s all one big pasta and cheese orgy, then pour it all into a buttered 2 quart casserole. You can also use a 13x9” pan, but you might have some macaroni and cheese that won’t fit into the pan. No problem. Just eat it.

Bake for 20 minutes

Cover the top with ¾ c. breadcrumbs mixed with 4 Tbsp. melted butter and ¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 10 more minutes until it’s burbling, gurgling cheese and the breadcrumbs are toasted.
I don't know; it all sounds good.

How to make macaroni and cheese with a substitute for milk

Yes I made Macaroni and Cheese without milk.

Rather, when I was making Macaroni and Cheese and had no milk to start with, I had to find a substitute. Macaroni and Cheese out of the box is macaroni, and once you cook that you mix the cooked pasta with margarine or butter, the powder mix, and 1/4 cup milk. I lacked milk, which always seems crucial to the mix, but if all the milk really is for is to turn the powder into cream, then any good-tasting liquid should work as a substitute. I used chicken liquid.

I defrosted and cooked a frozen chicken thigh using the microwave and set aside the chicken juices. I mixed that with some boiling water from the Macaroni cooking and mixed that in less than 1/4 cup. When I was putting the whole thing together I made sure there was approximately a teaspoon of sour cream in the mix, under the powder and then poured the chicken/water liquid on top of it all, just as one would milk and it works. It tastes good.

My solution worked well enough for me that I put a copy here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

interviews from Nights with Alice Cooper

Interview with Alex Lyson and Geddy Lee from Rush
Aired 04/26/2007


Interview with George Thorogood
Aired 08/23/2006


Interview with Neal Smith (Alice Cooper Band)
Aired 04/13/2006


Interview with Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead)
Aired 04/12/2006


Interview with Joe Perry (Aerosmith)
Aired 04/07/2005


Interview with Brian Johnson (AC/DC)
Aired 04/06/2005


Interview with Ozzy Osbourne
Aired 04/05/2005


Interview with Jerry Springer
12/02/2004 (Unedited)
Interview with Ronnie James Dio
Aired 10-25-04
*SPECIAL!* Alice Impersonates Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn, and Tom Petty *SPECIAL!*
Aired 11-15-06
ALICE-DOES-Dylan_Petty _McGuinn.mp3

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thomas Jefferson versus Barbary Pirates

I hope this does not end up being my only post on the subject.

I love this story. Here's Christopher Hitchens' idea on the grand crusade and our country's first exertion in strong foreign policy for the City Journal.

the Truman Doctrine

After Communism started to spread President Truman decreed to crusade against the mental disease and changed the course of our nation throughout history.

Dogpile on George Tenet, Part I

Jonah Goldberg slaps former CIA chief George Tenet's new book for attacking the President's war while excusing himself, all the while taking points from said book which certainly do support that war. The thrust of the article however is that regardless of Mr. Tenet's intentions or lack of loyalty the book has enough bits to partially justify the war, as it was. Many anti-war folk, for all the hindsight are still willfully blind and abstinent.

Christopher Hitchens lam basts Mr. Tenet for self-love and playing the political game while there is real work to do, asking why the President didn't can "this vain and useless person on the very first day of the war."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dan Mulhern's sense of perspective is deplorable

In "Suits and Arrows" Michigan's "first gentleman" makes a direct comparison between matters of war and life and death with an increase and decrease of services never promised in any constitution. In short, he compares (in a naysayer leftist Democrat manner) the President's decision to maintain the war in Iraq with "my wife the governor... raise some taxes or devastate services." Now Mr. Mulhern admits that ending the American involvement in the war would lead to death and chaos far beyond what we see now but he compares the deaths of war to government services, and holds up "the services we expect" as if it's a principle comparable to "life, liberty".

I would remind the Governor's husband that no foundational principle of this country is stuff that the government merely offers you and in addition the stuff that would be cut is nothing that's promised in any Constitution!

Prison Slang comprehensively defined

Randy Kearse wrote a dictionary in prison, chronicling and defining, comprehensively, slang. Who would know it better than a man where he was? Point of fact, what better does one man have to do while he is in prison? A Slate article about it is here written by Bryan Curtis.