Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Corporations Will Ship 2.4 Million High-Tech/Professional Jobs Overseas by 2015

I broke down and bought a new computer and I've been in hell the last few days trying to get everything transferred over and working okay. I haven't had much chance to catch up on the news, but I did notice the stock market lost more than 400 points today. (Coincidentally, Netflix notified me that the film "Crash" is on its way to me! )

Oh, I also noticed this gloomy article on the
AFL-CIO blog:

Corporations Will Ship 2.4 Million High-Tech and Professional Jobs Overseas by 2015 According to the Bureau of National Affairs Daily Labor Report (subscription required):
"Growth in the offshoring of information technology, business office, and other service-providing occupations will cause the loss of an estimated 2.4 million jobs in some 250 U.S. cities between 2004 and 2015, according to a report by the Brookings Institution.

The offshoring of service jobs, including ones held by college-educated professionals who previously thought their jobs were immune to foreign competition, has “created a new source of job insecurity,” and the movement of work to other countries is expected to grow over the coming decade, especially in information services and “back-office” services, the study said."
The most susceptible areas include Boston, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Dallas, San Francisco, and Seattle because they have higher proportions of residents employed in computer programming, software engineering, accounting, telemarketing and other occupations that are highly susceptible to being offshored.

Michigan understands all too well the effects of offshoring. It's a race to the bottom none of us wish on anyone.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Compassionate Conservatism's Legacy

From McClatchy Newspapers: U.S. economy leaving record numbers in severe poverty
The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty has reached a 32-year high, millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line and the gulf between the nation's "haves" and "have-nots" continues to widen.

A McClatchy Newspapers analysis of 2005 census figures, the latest available, found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty. A family of four with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 - half the federal poverty line - was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year.

The McClatchy analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. That's 56 percent faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period. McClatchy's review also found statistically significant increases in the percentage of the population in severe poverty in 65 of 215 large U.S. counties, and similar increases in 28 states. The review also suggested that the rise in severely poor residents isn't confined to large urban counties but extends to suburban and rural areas. [emphasis added]
...[T]he share of national income going to corporate profits has dwarfed the amount going to wages and salaries. That helps explain why the median household income of working-age families, adjusted for inflation, has fallen for five straight years.
This is the result of years of Republican leadership and corporate lobbying. You'd think they'd be ashamed. And they call themselves moral.

Update: Related reading from Libby @ DetNews:
Yet Bush's proposed budget intends to pay for the tax cuts for the obscenely rich by slashing these programs [the ones that help support those living in poverty]. And slashing the VA budget and veteran's benefits. And slashing funding to the states for federally mandated programs. And a thousand other cuts to assistance programs. But last I heard, the repeal of the death tax which will save you nothing, but will save the Walmart heirs about 27 billion dollars, will be passing through into law soon. That is what these cuts will be funding. That's not capitalism. That's cronyism.
The rich get rich and the poor get poorer. When are people going to learn to vote in their best interests and not those of Corporate America, Inc. and the GOP?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Kennecott Mine Update

Here's an update to yesterday's post about the Kennecott Mining Company's efforts to open a sulfide mine near Marquette. From Media Mouse, the EPA Intervenes in Sulfide Mining Permit Process:
On Monday, the National Wildlife Federation, issued a press release stating that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has notified Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company that at least one federal permit will be needed before the company can open its proposed sulfide mine near Marquette, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. Citing concerns over the safety of drinking water in the region, the EPA sent a letter to Kennecott asking the company to submit previously requested information about a treated water filtration system proposed by Kennecott. That system--a series of pipes buried underground that allows treated water to trickle back into the ground--would impact the entire aquifer. The EPA has determined that a permit is required to ensure that the system would not "endanger an underground source of drinking water" while also stating that once the information is received from Kennecott, it will "make a determination about other potential requirements." [emphasis added]
This is welcome news because it will stall approval of the mine and give the public more time to comment. Michigan's DEQ earlier said they expected to make their decision by May of this year, but an EPA spokesperson said it would take about six months for their agency to process an application for the permit and a 45-day period would be set aside for public comment and a hearing might be conducted.

State level hearings are scheduled for March 6-8 at Northern Michigan University and March 12 at the Lansing Center in Lansing.

As I said yesterday, I'm not convinced this mine is a good fit for the state. Acid mines are never safe.
Acid mine drainage is an unavoidable and destructive by-product of the sulfide mining process has been deemed one of the most serious threats to water quality by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Here's how the EPA describes possible damage:
A region impacted by acid mine drainage often has a decline in valued recreational fish species such as trout as well as a general decline in outdoor recreation and tourism along with contamination of groundwater drinking supplies.
Marquette County enjoys nearly 1.5 million tourists a year, bringing more than $77 million dollars to the local economy, and creating 1,600 jobs. The proposed mine will only create between 100-250 temporary jobs that are expected to last 5-7 years, and many of those jobs are expected to be filled from people outside the state.

The real benefactor is Kennecott Mining Company who stands to make up to $2.8 billion, and 90% of that will leave Michigan. The company will take their profits back to London. Meanwhile, if our water should become permanently impacted by the toxic sulfuric acid, what happens to those 1,600 jobs that depended on tourists to come and fish, boat and enjoy the outdoor recreation?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Kennecott Mining Wrong for Michigan

Joyce Kilmer said, "But only God can make a tree." I'll expand on that a bit and say only God can create the real beauty that surrounds us in nature. I've seen beautiful man made sights in my time, but the places and things that have always filled me with a sense of reverence were made by the hand of God. Nothing can hold a candle to His creation and that's why it's so important for us to be good stewards and make wise decisions about the way we use the earth.

If you care about the earth too - and particularly Michigan - please read on about public hearings being held by the DEQ regarding a proposed decision to approve a mining permit to the Kennecott Eagle Mining Company to conduct nickel mining operations at the proposed Eagle Project Mine. Here's some background and details from other sites:

From Michigan Liberal:
The battle is over sulfide mining - an inherently destructive technique of extracting (in this case) a deposit of nickel and copper from the ground. Unfortunately, this deposit, sought by Kennecott Corporation, underlies the headwaters of the Salmon Trout River, believed to be among the last spawning streams on the south shore of Lake Superior for the native coaster brook trout. Sulfide mining is a process that releases toxic sulfuric acid into nearby water. It's like putting a chemical factory in one of the wildest places in Michigan - and then counting on good-faith promises not to leave an expensive mess behind for taxpayers to pay for. But acid mine drainage has already polluted more than 12,000 miles of rivers and streams and over 180,000 acres of lakes and impoundments in the U.S. [...]

When sulfide mining was proposed in the north country of Wisconsin a few years back, the same concerns about the long-term environmental risks of sulfide mining were heard. There, legislators enacted a law with a simple, easily defensible standard - sulfide mining would be allowed provided that its proponents could demonstrate the safety of the method. There's been no new sulfide mining in Wisconsin. But Michigan has taken a different approach, enacting a law that assumes that sulfide mining can be made safe - when it is inherently unsafe with current technology.
From Save the Wild U.P., here's more about Wisconsin's actions:
Wisconsin did not "ban" metallic sulfide mining. The state of the technology and the record of MSM have done that. Wisconsin's law is a moratorium that says, in effect, "Industry can mine metallic sulfide ores in Wisconsin when it can show one mine in the United States or Canada that has operated and been closed for ten years without significant damage to its watershed." That cannot be done so far, and that challenge has been sufficient to make Wisconsin the least friendly place in the world to attempt to mine metallic sulfide ores!
There have been other incidents too. From Media Mouse [emphasis added]:
Kennecott has had problems with other mines it runs and acid mine drainage, most notably with its Green’s Creek Mine in Juneau, Alaska and the Flambeau Mine in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. According to research conducted by the Eagle Alliance, Kennecott tops the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of corporations with the highest toxic release in the United States.
What does Michigan stand to gain from granting the permit? Jobs. There's no doubt the U.P. needs the employment, but it's projected the project will only create between 100-250 temporary jobs that are expected to last 5-7 years, and many of those jobs are expected to be filled from people outside the state.

Moreover, while the mine may bring up to $100 million in investment, the ore body may be worth up to $2.8 billion and 90% of the profits will leave Michigan The payoff goes to a foreign corporation at the possible expense of our environment. I'm just not convinced this is a good fit for Michigan.

This could just be the beginning according to Dick Huey of Save the Wild U.P.:
This first proposed mine is just the foot in the door -- if it is permitted there will be a new mining district up here that may well go from end to end in the U.P., and could even extend into the Lower Peninsula all the way down to Ann Arbor.
The prospect of a huge mining district sounds exciting, but it doesn't guarantee wealth and good paying jobs. Just ask someone like Judy Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch, West Virginia. [Via Alternet]
"The more coal we mine, the poorer we get. We don't have good roads, good infrastructure, water and sewage -- we have nothing," said Bonds. "They treat us like a third-world country, and the rest of America turns their faces away. There is no prosperity here."
We can't afford a short-term fix that risks ruining Michigan's most valuable resource - it's fresh water. The Great Lakes were formed at the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago - acid mine drainage from sulfide mines can be “forever.”

Click here to learn about 5 Simple Things You Can Do Now to Protect Michigan's Water

Monday, February 19, 2007

Taypayer Money Helps DeVos

The Muskegon Chronicle had this to say about our state GOP naysayers:
State Republicans aren't letting a little thing like an election defeat end their ongoing blockade of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's attempts to stabilize the state budget. [...]

Probably, Dick and Betsy DeVos, and maybe John Engler, are cheering them on. Michigan voters didn't elect any of that trio to lead our state this dark and depressing year, but they sure seem to be in charge nonetheless.
I think the Chronicle is probably right. The DeVos family is one of the largest contributors to the Republican Party and they've been trying to influence politics behind the scenes for years. The fact that they and state Republicans are calling for even deeper cuts - instead of a 2% service tax to stabilize the budget - is kind of funny considering the fact that taxpayers are helping Daddy DeVos build a new stadium for his basketball team in Orlando.

Happytown is not too happy. Foul cried one journalist.
The only reason the city is building a new arena is that the Magic demanded it. Yet all they are willing to contribute is 10 percent. Someone should have called foul.
Is arena deal too good to Magic? asked another.
Critics charge that local taxpayers will get shortchanged in the pending $480 million deal. That's because the team stands to gain huge profits -- perhaps tens of millions more than it earns now -- from selling luxury suites, premium seats, advertising and more.
And Living in Fantasyland is how another journalist summed it up.
Yes, we all know that billionaire team owners have been raking taxpayers across the coals for decades in this country. But as most of your kindergarten teachers used to tell you: Just because someone else is doing something wrong doesn't mean it's OK for you to do it, too.
As long as taxpayers keep letting them get away with it, rich Republicans will keep on trying, and DeVos is no different. The only time Republicans hate taxes is when they can't use them for personal profit.

Orlando taxpayers can take some solace from this fact though:
The Magic will control the construction of the new arena. This will enable them to cut corners so as to avoid any cost overruns for which they would be responsible.

Under the city’s contract, however, the Magic have to follow the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance. Which means Magic owner/fundie weirdo Rich DeVos can’t refuse to hire gays to build his new pleasure palace! (He also can’t refuse to hire blacks, Hispanics, midgets, Wiccans, atheists or disgruntled Amway customers.)
That's priceless.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Dollar-A-Day for the State GOP, Nothing for the People of Michigan

The naysayers are determined to ruin our state. Senate Republican leaders said they will turn down Granholm's budget-balancing plan because they oppose a tax hike she proposed. How do they propose dealing with Michigan's $800 million-plus deficit? That can be entirely closed by making cuts according to Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester. Naturally, he wasn't specific on where the cuts would be made, although he was clear school aid reductions are on the table. I'm so flabbergasted, I'm at a loss for words, so let me quote Wizardkitten:
And there, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of the sad state of the MI GOP, the party that is continuing to hold your future hostage to their outdated and damaging fiscal policies. They are proud to say "NO" to your kids, to retraining displaced workers, to alternative energy, to creating jobs... well, proud to say "NO" to Michigan in general. And they still won't tell you what they would do instead.
The tax they're objecting to is the 2% tax on services that will cost the average family $65 a year - or 18 cents a day. Meanwhile, the MIGOP website asks Michigan Republicans to join the Dollar-A-Day Club so they can keep the party on the job every day fighting for America's future. What about fighting for Michigan's future?

You would think Granholm had been calling for tax hike after tax hike the way the GOP whined, but that's not the case. The Traverse City Record-Eagle recently addressed how our state got to this point:
For years now, as the systemic tax cuts created by Gov. John Engler have drained revenue streams and the auto industry has obliterated jobs by the tens of thousands and millions in income taxes, Michigan government has survived only through round after round of budget cuts.

Schools, local governments, bridges, roads and parks have all taken hit after hit, to the point that nowadays, all they can manage is to go through the motions. We're getting the minimum because that's what we're putting in.

And year after year other states have gained on us. Michigan's K-12 and higher education programs used to be among the best in the nation but now they're a shell of their former selves. Michigan has lost its reputation as a place where highly skilled workers helped innovation become reality.

To begin making the changes so necessary to compete in the new global economy Granholm has dared to speak the dreaded words: Tax hike. She has proposed a 2 percent sales tax on services, such as hiring a lawyer and getting a haircut, a five-cent hike on cigarettes and a 5 percent hike on liquor.
The paper concluded that the plan was fair and that Michigan must invest in itself to compete on the world stage. It also pointed out that her proposal was more than just a tax hike, it also included the following:
* Two years of community college education for free for displaced workers.
* Commuting the sentences of some elderly and non-violent prisoners. Michigan, incredibly, spends more on prisons than K-12 education and costs must be cut.
* Giving those who buy a new vehicle a sales tax break. Buyers could subtract the value of their trade-in from the cost of the new vehicle and pay sales tax only on the difference.
* Make more than $400 million in cuts from this year's budget.
* Cut next year's budget by more than $300 million.
* Schools and local governments will be expected to cooperate more in terms of sharing services and reducing costs. Those that do will be rewarded.
The Governor's plan was a chance to give Michigan a future, but we can't have that future unless we're willing to make an investment. State Republicans want you to invest a dollar-a-day for their Party, but they turn their noses up at 18 cents a day for Michigan. That tells me they don't care about Michigan or its citizens, they only care about politics.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rep. Kildee's Definitive Statement on Iraq

The Detroit News is reporting that Michigan Democrat Rep. Dale Kildee of Flint spoke on the House floor today in favor of the Democratic resolution.
"President Bush either did not get or did not understand the message the American people sent last November," said Kildee. "Before the end of this year, U.S. troops should be redeployed and their efforts focused on support and training for Iraqi security forces. It is their country. It is their fight. It is their future."
Kildee can't put it any plainer than that - and he echos the sentiments of all of Michigan's Democrats who are also opposed to escalation - yet most of our state Republicans support the President's plan.

If they won't listen to Kildee, then maybe they'll take to heart what one of their own has to say:
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, said today that he will vote for a resolution opposing President Bush's plan to send more than 20,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq, becoming the first Michigan Republican to break with the White House. [...]

Upton said the evidence leading the U.S. to invade Iraq was "flat out wrong."

He added, "It is time for the Iraqis, not the United States, to lead after four years. We need to send a message to our troops that, yes, we support them, and for this administration, a signal to pursue a diplomatic surge in the region."

Upton called the situation in Iraq a civil war.

"The Iraqis don't want us there…So much for being a liberator. We are viewed as part of the problem, not the solution." [emphasis added]
Kudos to Kildee for reminding the House about the message voter's sent last November, and kudos to Upton for having the courage to put aside politics and do the right thing.

Are Evangelicals Fixated on Homosexuality?

That's a question being posed by Tony Campolo. He also believes, "Sigmund Freud would have something to say about the ways in which we evangelicals seem to be fixated on homosexuality." Unless you live under a rock, it would be pretty hard not to notice that fact, and fixation is putting it mildly.

Campolo says he became aware of this fixation during two dozen interviews he recently did on Christian radio to promote his new book Letters to a Young Evangelical. Although his book has 21 chapters, he had to spend at least 80% of his time focusing on the few pages that dealt with homosexuality. Here's an excerpt of how those interviews went:
The primary focus of the questioning during these interviews focused on my assertions, based on my own research and a survey of literature on the subject, that nobody has come up with a conclusive explanation of what causes a homosexual orientation, and that it develops so early in the bio-physical and social development of children that it's practically impossible that it could be something that is deliberately chosen. It seemed to me that the interviewers were not willing to accept what I had to say, and wanted me to commit to one of two other options that I believe to be erroneous. The first was the suggestion that the homosexual orientation is the result of poor socialization. This is the commonly held belief among those evangelicals who head up ministries that propose to “deliver” homosexuals and make them into heterosexuals. The most cited version is that a boy overly identifies with a dominant mother, while his father is either absent from the household or is a somewhat weak personality. This theory puts already upset and confused parents of gays on unnecessary guilt trips.

The other theory often proposed in these interviews was that being homosexual is somehow the result of trauma resulting from the gay person being sexually molested as a child.

The reasons for these beliefs were all too obvious to me. If either of these theories had validity, then it could be said that homosexuals who wanted to change could do so by making the decision to be open to the work of God in their lives and getting some good Christian counseling. When I questioned such conclusions, the interviewers usually came back at me by claiming that if I did not accept what they were saying, then I must be implying that the homosexual orientation was inborn. That, to them, was unthinkable because accordingly, this would lead to the assumption that God created homosexuals the way they are, and that we should accept them as such. Over and over, I would have to repeat that nobody knows definitively what establishes same-sex attraction in persons - and again I would have to assert that what we do know is that it is practically never the result of any conscious decision.
Sadly, as Campolo points out, evangelicals have little to offer in the way of "positive suggestions" for those who are struggling with being homosexual in a homophobic world.

This fixation not only hurts homosexuals and their families, it's also tarnishing organized religion's image. More from Campolo:
In many instances, those in this new generation are even reluctant to accept being called evangelicals. They sense that the label “evangelical” is commonly thought to be synonymous with right-wing politics and suggests a gay-bashing, anti-environmentalist, anti-feminist, and pro-war mindset. Instead, they are increasingly calling themselves Red Letter Christians. This name, of course, associates them with those verses in scripture that record the words that Jesus spoke, which in many Bibles are printed in red. That I affirm this designation and promote this new label in my book often greatly disturbs my interviewers. They quickly remind me that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. “That’s right!” I respond. “He most likely maintained ancient Jewish laws on the matter, but condemning gays was not on His big-ten hit list, while attacking judgmental religious people was.” [emphasis added]
Jesus did talk about unconditional love, humility, forgiveness, turning the other cheek, and love for one's enemies, but the one thing Jesus talked about more than anything was helping the poor. That tells me it's time for our country to fixate on social concerns and move beyond this absorption we have with homosexuality.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I'll Sacrifice for Michigan

State Republicans are in a tizzy because the Governor will call for a 2% sales tax on services. It's estimated the tax will cost the average Michigan family $65 per year, but raise $1 billion a year in new revenue for the state.

Frankly, I don't understand why Republicans are complaining. I'll gladly sacrifice $65 a year for the State of Michigan and my fellow Michiganders. Would I prefer to take that money and spend it on dinner and a show? Sure. But we all have to make sacrifices from time to time.

I thought Republicans of all people would understand sacrifice. President Bush just submitted a new budget that will bring the total for the Iraq war to $683 billion through 2009 - a debt that my grandchildren will still be paying years from now.

Michigan's share so far is nearly $10 billion, and the estimated cost of the war to every U.S. citizen (as of September 2006) is $1,222.

If I can sacrifice for the war, I can sacrifice for my state.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Reaction to Granholm's Plan

Gov. Granholm delivered a powerful State of the State address last night. There wasn't anything I heard I didn't like. Her plan to turn Michigan around has lots of vision and innovation, but most of all it was fair and balanced. If you missed the speech, I recommend you click the link and read it. If you want reactions, the Conservative Media has some thoughts, as well as the bloggers at Michigan Liberal, and I'm sure as the day progresses other Michigan bloggers will be posting their thoughts as well (check out the sidebar).

I couldn't let one reaction pass by without commenting on it though. This is from the Freep:
State Sen. Nancy Cassis, R-Novi, called Granholm's agenda ambitious but lacking in specifics.

"Where we can agree, we'll work hard and we'll work together," Cassis said. "I want to know. Show us the money. It seems like a big price tag. Government doesn't create jobs, the private sector does." [emphasis added]
That's not what this recent report from the Economic Policy Institute indicates:
Changes in tax law since 2001 reduced federal government revenue by $870 billion through September 2005. Supporters of these tax cuts have touted them as great contributors to growth in jobs and pay. But, in reality, private-sector job growth since 2001 has been disappointing, and a closer look at the new jobs created shows that federal spending—not tax cuts—are responsible for the jobs created in the past five years.

If tax cuts have created jobs at all since 2001, it will have happened in the private sector. Assuming that job growth in 2006 matches the Bush Administration's projections, the economy will have added about 2.0 million jobs to the private sector from FY2001 through FY2006. But how many of these two million jobs actually can be attributed to tax cuts and how many to increased government spending—particularly increased defense spending—in this period?

Based on Defense Department estimates of the number of private-sector jobs created by its own spending, we project that additional defense spending will account for a 1.495 million gain in private sector jobs between FY2001 and FY2006. Furthermore, increases in non-defense discretionary spending since 2001 will have added yet another 1.325 million jobs in the private sector, for a total of 2.82 million jobs created by increased government spending. Increased mandatory government spending—which is not even included in these estimates or the accompanying chart—would account for even more job creation. The mere fact that the projected job growth resulting from increased defense and other government spending exceeds the actual number of jobs projected to be added to the economy through 2006 clearly indicates that the tax cuts hardly seem plausible as the engine of the modest job growth in the economy since 2001. [emphasis added]
Cassis might want to check her facts before she makes statements to the media or risk being perceived as a naysayer.

UPDATE: Here's a little related reading from Media Mouse: $6.2 Million Awarded to Companies in West Michigan for Military Work in January.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dale Kildee Opposed to Troop Escalation

Here's an update on Rep. Kildee's position on troop escalation that I wrote about a few weeks back. I'm impressed at the quick response I received. Thank you, Congressman.

I don't want to misquote him, so here's his letter word for word:
January 26, 2007

Thank you for expressing your opposition to President Bush's proposal to send thousands of additional U.S. combat troops to Iraq. I agree that our troops should be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as practical.

That is why I will support Congressional resolutions of disapproval of the President's proposed escalation of the American combat operations in Iraq. We should turn all combat operations in Iraq over to the Iraq security forces, leaving the minimum of U.S. troops needed to support and train the Iraq forces.

Moreover, I voted against the war resolution that authorized the President in October 2002 to use military force against Iraq. I did not believe the President and his advisors had provided the Congress and the American people with clear answers to several crucial questions which I asked during debate on the resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq:
** What was the nature and urgency of the Iraqi threat to the U.S.?
** What was the mission of our troops?
** How much international support would we have?
** What is the exit strategy to withdraw our troops from Iraq when their mission is concluded?
** Would U.S. military action against Iraq diminish terrorism or increase it?

Years later, and the President still has not adequately answered my questions. I am convinced that my vote against the war was and is the correct course. The occupation of Iraq was a mistake from the very beginning that was further exacerbated by incompetent leadership from the White House and the civilian officials in the Pentagon. You may be assured that I will continue to support efforts to bring our American troops home from Iraq at the earliest practical time.

Dale E. Kildee, M.C.
That last paragraph says it all. Those GOP Senators who blocked debate on a bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush’s troop buildup should heed his words or pay the price in 2008.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Respect for Lake Superior

I can't tell you if hell is freezing over today, but it appears that Gitchee Gumee might be judging from this webcam located in Copper Harbor at the very tip of Michigan. Brrr...it's cold.

Speaking of Gitchee Gumee, a.k.a. Lake Superior, I wanted to share some pictures of the lake my aunt sent me. They were taken in November aboard the Misener Steamships MV Selkirk Settler (a Canadian company) as she crossed Lake Superior. The first picture shows her in calm water, but conditions deteriorate rapidly when a storm blows in. If you ever wondered why the Edmund Fitzgerald didn't make it, these pictures will explain it all.

Update: I'm deeply indebted to an anonymous commenter who alerted me to the fact that what I told you about these pictures is incorrect. If you check the comment section, you'll see the link that explains these pictures were taken on February 13, 1987 in the N. Atlantic. I am so sorry. I tried to find information about this ship before I posted the pics, but I didn't have much success. Unfortunately, this is one of the hazards of the internet. My aunt's friend sent her the pictures and she trusted that the information was correct, and I in turn trusted my aunt who lives next to Lake Superior. I think that fact added to my belief that the information she sent was indeed accurate. After all, yoopers don't lie! Anyway, I'm sorry for misleading everyone. I'll leave the pictures online for everyone to enjoy, but just be aware they weren't taken on Lake Superior in November.

Incredible, eh?