Monday, December 26, 2011

The Birthplace of the Republican Party

Rink Rats is spending a great part of the holiday season in Jackson, Michigan. Jackson is a city located along Interstate 94 in the south central area of Michigan, about 40 miles west of Ann Arbor and 35 miles south of Lansing. It is the county seat of Jackson County. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 33,534, it was founded in 1829, named after President Andrew Jackson.

Jackson is the disputed birthplace of the Republican Party. Undisputed is the fact that the first official meeting of the group that actually called itself “Republican” was held in Jackson under the Oaks on July 6, 1854. Earlier meetings of groups that later formed the Republican Party were held in Ripon, Wisconsin; Exeter, New Hampshire; and Crawfordsville, Iowa, and all four cities bill themselves as the “Birthplace of the Republican Party.”

Though being in the “Birthplace of the Republican Party” is very unsettling to say the least it is home to family and friends. The Republican Party has come a long way from 1854; from Abe Lincoln to Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. As we head into a Presidential campaign year in 2012 let us hope true leaders come to the front this coming year.

DEBATE TAKEAWAYS -- "The 13th and final debate [before Iowa] went off with a whimper ... as frontrunners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney kept the gloves on, and refrained from the fisticuffs they've engaged in over the last few days ... Gingrich was on the defensive for the first ... hour of the forum, as his rivals - save for Romney - pounded him over his contract with housing giant Freddie Mac. ... In his first answer of the night, the former House speaker came off as prickly as he defended his conservative credentials. The second hour of the debate mostly went better for Gingrich. Absent any attacks from Romney, Gingrich was able to settle back into his crowd-pleasing professorial routine ... Gone was the testy Romney of the Dec. 10 debate ... Romney bypassed repeated opportunities to slam Gingrich, and trained his sights on President Obama."

--THE BIG PICTURE - GOP field slouches toward finish line. The "debate ... did not show any of the seven candidates ... unambiguously dominating the stage. ... The evening - the last of an astonishing 13 debates to be held in 2011 - highlighted just how much the candidates are entering the new year defined as much by their vulnerabilities as for their assets. At the very moment when one or two candidates are usually beginning to surge, in the same way a distance runner has a finishing kick, this pack seems collectively slouching to the finish line."

COLD WAR HERO - "Havel, Czech playwright and president, has died" at 75 - AP/Prague: "Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright who wove theater into politics to peacefully bring down communism in Czechoslovakia and become a hero of the epic struggle that ended the Cold War, ... died Sunday morning at his weekend house in the northern Czech Republic ... Havel was his country's first democratically elected president after the nonviolent 'Velvet Revolution' that ended four decades of repression by a regime he ridiculed as 'Absurdistan.' As president, he oversaw the country's bumpy transition to democracy and a free-market economy, as well its peaceful 1993 breakup into the Czech Republic and Slovakia."

JACK ASS OF 2011 – Number One: RR cannot think of more deserving Jack Asses for 2011 – The 112th United States Congress. There is no better example of the inefficiency of leadership in this country as this 112th Congress. From the debacle of extending the deficit limit to the year-end payroll tax battle, this Congress has proven beyond expectation the Jack Ass of 2011.

CHINA TO IMPOSE DUTIES ON U.S. CARS - "China will impose retaliatory duties on US car imports in the latest sign of trade friction between the world's two largest economies. In a statement, China's commerce ministry said ... that it was taking action in response to damage to its car industry from US 'dumping and subsidies'. The move will affect several larger vehicles popular in China, including sport utility vehicles made by Germany's BMW and Mercedes-Benz brands at their US plants. ... China overtook the US in 2009 as the world's largest vehicle market, and sales there account for a substantial chunk of profits for BMW and Mercedes, who build the SUVs they sell globally in North America."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Ted Danson (64), Mary Tyler Moore (75), Meredith Vieira (58), Denzel Washington (57), Tiger Woods (36).

BCS COLLEGE BOWL PICK OF THE WEEK – Thursday 12/29, 5:30 PM, ET the Champs Sports Florida Citrus Bowl from Orlando, Florida, ESPN. Florida State Seminoles (8-4) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-4) in the ACC/Independent match up. We like the Seminoles in this one for one big reason, it is always fun to see The Domers getting beat. The most overrated college football program of the last 20 years continues to make millions of dollars with average coaches and average talent. Season to date (9-8).

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Thursday 12/29, 7:30 PM, ET the opening round of the Great Lakes Invitational Hockey Tournament from Joe Louis Arena in Detroit Michigan. We are back for another year of college hockey picks and we have a good one leading off: Boston College Eagles (12-6) vs. University of Michigan Wolverines (9-8-3). Though Big Blue is down this year the 14 time Great Lakes champion will be up for this matchup with Jerry York’s BC Eagles. RR likes Boston College to win in round one of the tournament. Season to date (0-0).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday January 1, 8:00 PM ET, NBC has a winner take all game between the Dallas Cowboys (8-7) at The New York Football Giants (8-7). Both teams are struggling but this still should be entertaining. We like The Giants to win and head to the playoffs. Season to date (8-8).

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Florida State 35 Notre Dame 24, Boston College 5 Michigan 2, New York Giants 24 Dallas Cowboys 21. Season to date (30-17).

THE BIG READ -- Joseph Stiglitz writes "The Book of Jobs" for Vanity Fair -- Web subhead: "Forget monetary policy. Re-examining the cause of the Great Depression-the revolution in agriculture that threw millions out of work-the author argues that the U.S. is now facing and must manage a similar shift in the 'real' economy, from industry to service, or risk a tragic replay of 80 years ago." -- "The fact is the economy in the years before the current crisis was fundamentally weak, with the bubble, and the unsustainable consumption to which it gave rise, acting as life support. ... It was absurd to think that fixing the banking system could by itself restore the economy to health. ... Government spending [during World War II] unintentionally solved the economy's underlying problem: it completed a necessary structural transformation, moving America, and especially the South, decisively from agriculture to manufacturing. ...

"The millions of jobless former factory workers once employed in cities such as Youngstown and Birmingham and Gary and Detroit are the modern-day equivalent of the Depression's doomed farmers. ... Of four major service sectors-finance, real estate, health, and education-the first two were bloated before the current crisis set in. The other two, health and education, have traditionally received heavy government support. But government austerity at every level-that is, the slashing of budgets in the face of recession-has hit education especially hard. ... What we need to do instead is embark on a massive investment program-as we did, virtually by accident, 80 years ago-that will increase our productivity for years to come, and will also increase employment now. ... We have to transition out of manufacturing and into services that people want-into productive activities that increase living standards, not those that increase risk and inequality."

DRIVING THE WEEK – President Obama is in Hawaii, Rink Rats is in Michigan, College Football bowl games dominate sports television, the only people truly working this week are the not-for-profit fund raisers collecting those end of the year donations. Good luck JZ, JB, and Rink Rats old friends Darth Vader and Silver Tongue Devil.

Next week, 2012 predictions.

Happy New Year all Rink Rats readers!!!

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Jackson, MI
December 26, 2011

#II-35, 88

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