Friday, February 26, 2010

Retail Products - eggs

Part of the fun of living is observing and figuring
out things that aren't quite so obvious. A few years
back, while living in Illinois, I bought and weighed
two dozen eggs, one large and one extra-large carton.

The weight difference at that time was 1 ounce for
the entire dozen, and I stopped then and there
buying the extra-large eggs.

A few weeks ago I weighed eggs from Angeli's Central
Market with the following results:

Extra-large dozen 26.4 oz
per egg 2.2 oz

Large dozen 24.4 oz
per egg 2.0 oz

Medium dozen 22.0 oz
per egg 1.8 oz

By weight of product, if medium eggs cost $ 1.00, then the
relative value for large eggs is $ 1.11 and for extra-large the
relative value is $ 1.20.

Looks like I'll be buying the medium labeled eggs, as the best
value, for a while.

Oh, I probably should mention that we are working on some
other political stories, they just aren't ripe for publication
as yet.

Bill Vajk

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Iron River City Workers 2/24/2010

I was about town yesterday and noticed that the
city workers were taking down the Christmas, oops
in Iron River that's called Holiday, decorations that
they installed on the lamp posts last fall.

It all seemed normal enough to me, as I sat and
watched them for a short while, till they began
to move to the next position.

As you can see from the photo, the lead truck
is driving down the street with an employee
still in the bucket. This scene would make any
safety oriented supervisor soil his pants. Moving
a truck while a worker is in the bucket is among
the worse of the no-no's in private industry as
well as government departments.

The balance sheet shows that the city workers got
the installation of the banner across US2 right
after the cables were fixed some months ago after
a written complaint by Iron County Doings to the

So the public works department placed the entire
city at risk through a dangerous practice on one
day, but properly earned their keep another. The
city needs to change that ratio to every day being
a 100% safe day.

Bill Vajk

What's Happening To Us At The State Level?

But first a note about the national level:

"To understand Washington today, we have only
to look at European Communist antics of the
20th century."

In my travels I have been led to discover a web site , a site that lists legislation
that's in the works or recently proposed by our
repcritters. Mike Lahti's data is available at:

Blogs are available there for your comments on
individual bills.

I'm impressed with Lahti's work overall, but I
don't have the time or energy to look at his
record where it comes to a bunch of state
pension issues for teachers and other employees.

A couple of years ago I briefly met with Mike
Lahti here in Iron River and I gave him a series
of written requests for legislation with the
caveat that I only asked him to consider the
requests, that is, to think about them.

Among the requests was one that's come to the
forefront nationwide, that is, how to define
a "job saved or created." It is now important
to all of us to understand what the expression
means. You'd think it would be an easy thing to
do at the state level IF government were honest.
I haven't been able to find any reference to
such a proposal in Mike Lahti's record. Instead
there's tons of anti-business legislation, one
example from Lahti's voting record page is quoted

"Supported 2009 House Bill 4782 (Enforce RV
dealer "territories" ). Passed in the House
(98 to 5) on April 23, 2009, to impose state
regulation on the terms of commercial
relationships between recreational vehicle
manufacturers, wholesalers, warrantors, and
dealers. The terms of these relationships
are currently voluntary and are the product
of negotiations and contractual agreements
between the parties. The bill would authorize
the state to enforce certain exclusive dealer
'territories' and other commercial relationships,
in a manner similar to regulations which apply
under current law to new car dealers and

It looks a lot like Mike Lahti and Michigan's House
of Representatives is against free trade, and still
Grandholm et troupe wonder why business avoid
this state like the plague? We need not wonder at
all. State treatment of business forces investors
to look elsewhere.

Here's a partial list of legislation brought to our
attention by the Mackinac Center for Public

House Bill 4813 Give state employee benefit increase

Senate Bill 927 Authorize "pension obligation bonds"
for government retiree health benefits

Senate Bill 682 Authorize a bicentennial of the War
of 1812 specialty license plate

House Bill 4577 Increase school employee pensions

House Bill 5233 Allow some state employees to
collect pension check and state paycheck

House Bill 5197 Authorize enhances pension
"early out" for state employees

House Bill 5449 Give $40,000 to some state
employees who retire early

House Bill 4275 Cap government employee health
benefits at national average

Now just where is all this money for state employee
benefits coming from? Our state government can't
seem to get a handle on what it takes to manage a
budget, that is simply you can't spend more than
you take in.

At the same time the state is cutting back on
things like law enforcement and prisons, things
they think the average citizen isn't going to

The web page needs a workout
by the voters of this state.

Bill Vajk

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Planning for the Future

Iron County looks like an area that hasn't had
anyone planning for the future in realistic terms.
The only growth here for the past several decades
has been in the negative direction. I've been
watching a series on TV History Channel called
"Life After People." In episode after episode
they demonstrate what will happen to the things
that humanity has built. Literally everything
collapses over time.

Looking around Iron River, such signs are on
us already, and it is happening in an inhabited

In 2006, the City of Iron River participated in
what was then called the Cool Cities project. As
a result a report and plan was prepared by a
consulting firm, some 47 pages of data, information,
and four items on the primary wish list created
from information provided by the people who live
here. The report is available on line at

I attended one of the evening meetings at City Hall
where, in addition to the discussions, a sincere
sounding request was made for ideas to help the city
progress and grow.

In December 2006 I made my presentation to John
Archocosky for a trolley project that eventually
grew to two phases. The first was to provide public
transportation in the city but to duplicate, in terms
of a trolley system, a railway that resembles, in
operation, a main line railway.

The second phase would have instituted a school for
high school age children to experience railway
operations. Since then several rail accidents have
demonstrated the need for a railroad operations
school, another growth possibility for the proposed
Iron River Trolley.

In the end, the proposal failed because, in my
opinion, those who were the decision makers were
too afraid that their political power would probably
become diluted, and they would no longer enjoy the
prestige they currently held among their similarly
placed peers.

And that, dear reader, is why I have come to accept
the opinion first offered me by a lifetime resident,
that no progress can ever be made here that has even
a remote possibility of threatening the existing
power structure. In fact, it is this same threat that
leads to so many in this county being frightened of
increasing the tourism that is presently probably the
largest single contributor to the local economy. I
have heard it expressed as the fear of any change
(despite the fact the local population voted for a
President who offered nothing other than change.)

I have heard it expressed as a fear that more money
in the community will drive land prices, and thus
existing property taxes, up.

In discussing the problem with one public official
I asked the individual what they thought an improvement
in the local economy and property taxes might to
the income they were being paid by the county. They
hadn't thought about it, but the reality is that with
an overall increase in revenues in all aspects of
private business and local governments, the income of
all those employed by both would necessarily increase
as well.

Consider the fact that the US Government has begun a
railway improvement program in the USA.

A recent article in the Iron Mountain Daily News
discusses the approval of the Madison-Milwaukee
line improvements by the Wisconsin Legislature.

Every region, like Iron County, has been unhappy about
the fact that rail lines have been ripped up and
are no longer available. In most of the civilized
world railways provide the bulk of transport of goods
to all parts of the country. And in some places the trolley
tracks connect to main line railroads and are used at
night to deliver freight cars to make deliveries in
cities and towns.

But this reporter's best guess is that we don't need
to worry about progress in our community because those
in power will see to it that their little fiefdoms
remain undisturbed, and the community can continue to
deteriorate around us so long as they retain their
pecking order among their peers. By all rights, if we
had a few "highly placed folks" wanting progress, we
should be close to having a trolley system in place,
the Middle School would become a Railroad Operations
School, and we could be looking forward to a bright
future for our community.

Bill Vajk

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Comments about Page 1-Feb 10, 2009 issue

Looking at the most recent release of the misnamed
Iron County Reporter, I decided there's quite a
bit of content on page 1 that deserves comment.
The issue is Feb 10, 2010.

At the top left of the page is an article headlined
"Stambaugh Township Board OKs salary recommendations."
Sure enough, the board approved a 4% raise for
themselves for the upcoming year if those attending
the annual meeting set for March 3.

This is being done in the face of no senior citizen
in the US achieving any cost of living increase
for Social Security because, according to the
federal government, the US has not experienced a
cost of living increase.

Disgusting, isn't it?

Next comes the EDC's pet project to build a Disk
Golf course adjoining the RV park in Iron River.
Bruce Benkley, a physician assistant at NorthStar
has been appointed the chairman of the committee.
While I disagree that this should be a government
project in the first place and have written about
this issue before, how did the decision to name
Mr. Benkley the chairman come about? Why wasn't
there some public significant discussion about
the position in the first place?

We note that the photo of the group that attended
the meeting about Disk Golf consisted of 5 people,
one of which was Julie Melchiori, our county
Economic Developer, and another was Robert
Rafferty, the Iron County Mine Inspector who was
there because there are some mine shafts in the
immediate vicinity of the proposed course. While
Mrs. Melchiori's estimate of the materials cost
for the course is in the range of $15,000, we
have to wonder what the cost of protecting the
public from mine shafts in the area will run,
and who will pay for that!

We note that with 5 people attending the meeting,
two of them county officials, leaves the total
interest in this project some three individuals.
Considering a county population of 12,800 or
so individuals, the public interest level in
this project is 0.0023%. Even if we say that only
10% of those interested attended the meeting, we
would have am interest level of 0.023% of the
entire population of Iron County, say 30 people.

Is that sufficient reason for the county to expend
the funds and effort to build this facility?

Next is the discussion about the Habitat project
meeting invitation. The newspaper was first
available on Tuesday, February 9th, and the
meeting that's offered for as the public
informational meeting was scheduled for this
evening at 6 PM in Crystal Falls. Two days
notice for an informational meeting is, in
a word, inadequate!

But my real question is, why is any organization
interested in building new houses for the poor in
a community where there are so many vacant,
easily repairable, homes in the county? For
the cost of building one new home we could be
repairing 5, with five poor families reaping the
benefit and future eyesores being brought back
onto the tax rolls, a win win all the way around?

Someone needs to take a deeper look at why a new
home is going to be built in Iron County for
this purpose. If something seems too good to
be true, it usually is, and it would be good to
know in advance whose pockets are going to be
filled by this project. Even if high school
students in a construction trades program were
going to be involved, it seems that it would be
of greatest benefit to rehab several houses
instead of building one from scratch.

Finally, the Iron County Medical Facility is at
the beginning of expansion projects to increase
the number of beds available. We wonder is this
is going to become another construction project
like the NorthStar Hospital expansion that
employed very few people from Michigan, let
alone from Iron County. I am one of those who
believes we live and work in an economic
region that includes parts of Northern Wisconsin,
but it was clear that all the subcontractors
came from a goodly distance away in Wisconsin
because of the convenience of their having a
place in the general contractor's rolodex.

We certainly hope that this project will
represent a turning point in larger construction
projects by making a point of employing as many
local contractors as possible.

Please bear in mind that this entire article
discusses issues arising out of articles only
on the first page of the local weekly "newspaper."
In Iron County we have lots of issues, with no one
bothering to challenge how things are being run
locally. That needs to change. We really need
people to shake things up a bit.

Bill Vajk

Anyone Else?

I received this email from the Emily
Salvette at the Libertarian Party:

Ms. Emily Salvette:

My name is Mitch Foster and I, along
with others are in the process of
trying to create a Northern Michigan
University chapter of the College
Libertarians that would also be open
to local community members to participate
in. Is there any way that you could send
me information about local Libertarians
so that I may contact them? Also, if you
could help us in our process that would
be wonderful!

Thank You

Mitch Foster


Shall we start our own here in Iron County? I've
mailed the prior articles posted here to Iron
County's P. Ashcraft, county chair of the
Republican Party, and received exactly what I
expected, nothing!

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Libertarian Party Responds!

Well the Libertarian Party has expressed an
interest in getting things moving here on the
UP. They seek volunteers and organizers. Please
contact them directly but also let me know if
you are undertaking work on behalf of the
Libertarian Party. If you have any problem in
establishing contact please email me.

The Republican party remains silent, as always.
We need conservatives to run for offices, the
more the merrier. Too bad the Republican Party
is intent on continuing the political failures
we're experiencing here in Michigan.

Dear Mr. Vajk,

Bill Hall has forwarded your message to me. We
would love to have Libertarian organizations
going on in the UP. In fact, we really want to
find someone to run for State Rep up there! But
we need an organizer (or 20) in the UP...someone
with energy and enthusiasm who can set up
meetings, publicize and conduct them; someone
who is reliable and can build an organization
that will recruit candidates and do what's
necessary to get their names on the ballot.
Bob Black did a great job of this in the past.
Do you know someone like that I can contact?
Attached is our standard information about
starting a local LP group to give you background.
It's how we have to start...

As for working with the Wisconsin LP, the issue
there is if you live in the UP and want to run
for office, you need to run in Michigan and be
nominated through our procedures, which are
mandated by state law. Certainly participating
with the Wisconsin LP for educational and social
events is encouraged if that is more convenient.
I'm not sure where their active groups are, but
here is contact information for the WI state
chair, Ben Olson:
P.O. Box 20815
Greenfield, WI 53220
608-963-2285 (cell)

I would be delighted to work with you and/or
others who would like to work for limited
government and greater personal responsibility
through the Libertarian Party. Please let me
know where we can start. Thanks.

Best regards,

Emily Salvette, State Chair
Libertarian Party of Michigan

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Few Points About Conservatism

Last night Sarah Palin's keynote address to the
first national Tea Party convention was aired.
It is a political party, it isn't a political
party, who knows for sure? Nobody knows how this
political movement will evolve. It could simply
embrace political conservatism that lives within
both our primary political parties that exist

But the problem that conservatism has, about
small government, seems to spill over where
organizational skills are concerned.

Sarah Palin advised the Obama White House to
start listening. Unfortunately she failed to
warn the Republican Party, and the conservative
factions within the Democratic Party, to do the
same thing.

But this problem, in terms of Michigan's
conservatives at least, doesn't stop with those
two parties. We also have a Libertarian Party
that's somewhat active downstate, in Michigan's
lower peninsula.

I exchanged some email with Bill Hall, Political
Director of the Michigan Libertarian Party. They
don't seem very interested in the UP because of
the distances from their headquarters. That's the
same reason I won't go to their April 17 meeting
at Brighton, MI. One of the announced purposes of
the meeting is to encourage and assist individuals
who are willing to run for political office this

I then suggested to Bill Hall that since we are in
a much closer proximity to a goodly number of
Wisconsin population centers, perhaps the Michigan
branch of the Libertarian Party should encourage
the organization and merger of UP chapters with
existing groups in Wisconsin. Brighton, Michigan,
is some 498 miles from Iron River. That's further
than Chicago and further than most, if not all,
population centers in Wisconsin.

My best guess is that despite Mr. Hall taking the
matter to the group in charge, I'll not hear back
from him on this matter.

So for all practical purposes, there is no one in
Michigan politics doing anything about conservatism
for the UP. The local Republicans are merely
placeholders, filling out their terms and doing
nothing. I've lived in this area since 2003 and
never have I seen or heard anything in the local
media about the Republican Party save a few people
who simply announced their affiliation when running
for office. The Iron River Township treasurer is an
excellent example.

There was a local meeting or two claiming some
connection to the Tea Party, but other than a few
speeches, (I mentioned one by Dan Stafford earlier)
nothing has been done and there's no continuity.

The dearth of organization in the entire conservative
movement is clear. I'm willing to participate if
we can develop either a Tea Party movement or a
Republican or Libertarian Party with some staying
power here in Iron County. How else can we hope to
vote out and replace those in office who are deadwood?
And it seems we have plenty of standardized yes
voting commissioners and councilmen to get rid of.

We're presently rid of conservative organizations,
and that's a situation that must be remedied if
we're to get out of the economic depression we're
experiencing in Iron County.

Bill Vajk

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Smoking Gun

We spend a lot of time looking for someone holding
the smoking gun that clearly proves guilt. This is
no less true in political circles where understanding
what's actually happening despite purposeful
misdirection by a political party is often very
important. Never in the history of the US has
understanding been more important than today.

Our children are being indoctrinated very much
like German children were during the Third Reich.

Recommended reading for children volunteering for
internship under the "Organizing for America"
program includes the following list:

Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky

The New Organizers, Zack Exley

Stir It Up: Lessons from Community Organizing and
Advocacy, Rinku Sen

Obama Field Organizers Plot a Miracle, Zack Exley,
Huffington Post

Dreams of My Father Chicago Chapters, Barack
Hussein Obama

Alinsky's rules include the following:

1."Power is not only what you have but what the
enemy thinks you have.
   2. "Never go outside the experience of your people.
   3. "Wherever possible go outside of the experience
of the enemy.
   4. "Make the enemy live up to their own book of
   5. "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
   6. "A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
   7. "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
   8. "Keep the pressure on.
   9. "The threat is usually more terrifying than the
thing itself.
  10. "Major premise for tactics is development of
operations that will maintain constant pressure
upon the opposition.
  11. "If you push a negative hard and deep enough it
will break through into its counterside.
  12. "The price of a successful attack is a constructive
  13. "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and
polarize it.

Please click here for further information.

Any reasonable reading of Alinsky's rules demonstrates that
dishonesty and deception are acceptable.

"Organizing for America, the successor organization to
Obama for America, is building on the movement that
elected President Obama by empowering communities across
the country to bring about our agenda of change."

If you read Obama's web page by clicking


please take notice of the far bottom left corner of the page,
where it states that "Organizing for America is a project of
the Democratic National Committee" and that they're paying for
Obama's web page.

Now if that weren't enough, the National Educational
association jumps on the bandwagon and recommends Alinsky's

Obviously we've found a smoking gun, but who is willing to
do anything about it?

During my pursuit of this story I ran across another web
page that is worth reading.

As a warning I need to add that once the radicals who
promote socialism/communism eventually need to get rid
of the very people who put them into power for fear that
activists will eventually turn against their new masters
once they're eventually offended, as they always are.
Typical of that genre was Béla Kuhn, a Hungarian communist,
came to power in 1919. The promises made were all too
familiar when compared to those we're hearing today:

"The Communists also promised equality and social justice."

"In terms of domestic policy, the Communist government
nationalized industrial and commercial enterprises,
socialized housing, transport, banking, medicine,
cultural institutions, and all landholdings of more
than 400,000 square metres."


Soon driven out for his failures, Kuhn fled to Moscow
where he was initially welcomed as a hero "come home."
His popularity was short lived as he was soon
assassinated by the Russians. That's the reward
offered by socialists/communists who hold with
Alinsky's other rule, that the end justifies the

Those who forget history are destined to relive it.

Bill Vajk

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