Thursday, February 19, 2009

Six O' Clock News - Takin' It To The Streets Edition

  • Governor Granholm and Senator Stabenow were making the rounds across the state today to talk about the stimulus and job creation. Granholm has been focused on road repairs, talking to transportation people in Detroit, Lansing and Flint. The Freep has some of the Detroit projects already listed - and remember, this can't go to local roads, federal rules apply, so look for a lot of highway and bridge construction. Granholm says that Michigan will receive $850 million for roads, and that is expected to create around 25,000 jobs. Plus save a lot on car repairs. (my words there)

    Stabenow was in Grand Rapids this morning, and Lansing later in the day, and her emphasis was on energy and energy efficiency jobs, as well as green manufacturing for wind turbines and the like. Note to GR: Please stop the "Mom likes you best" routine. Yeah, I do it too, but it's not very dignified coming from our officials.

  • Michigan schools will be spared cuts in the budget - the federal stimulus tells them so. Use of the money stipulates that "funding for schools and colleges must be kept whole to be eligible for federal recovery money". The governor's office doesn't see it that way, but as the Detroit News article says, it sounds like semantics. They intend on the cuts, but the stimulus will make it whole, so then it isn't a cut. Or something like that. I don't know, I'm tired, and they lost me here. It will all come out in the wash eventually. Go read the story for a nice breakdown on the numbers for all categories.

  • The most important thing I've gathered from stories on the stimulus - it has to be done soon. There is a time limit on the funding. Use it or lose it. Whatever needs to move through the legislative process needs to MOVE - not get bogged down in endless fighting. We need jobs now, and the legislators better get that through their thick skulls and not play games. Or I hound you for eternity. Ask Mike, he will tell you.

  • Twitter Pete loves him some stimulus. Congressman Hoekstra joins the growing ranks of Republicans that voted against the stimulus, are running around denouncing the stimulus, but yet will take advantage of the stimulus, if and when it suits their needs, of course:

    Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., recently tweeted: "If you know of someone thinking of buying first home, now may be the time. Stimulus incentive is very generous! Up to 8k! Check it out."

    The ABC story has the long list of GOP bandwagon jumpers.

  • The Michigan GOP will be singing the lyrics to "Dixie" as Haley Barbour will be the big draw in Lansing this weekend. The Goopers look longingly to the only base they have left - that is as the regional party of the South, and politicians that campaigned on keeping the confederate flag as a symbol of honor. What's the matter, Shelby wasn't available?

    Barbour is among a handful of GOP governors who claim they are considering turning down stimulus money to "burnish their conservative credentials", all the while knowing that they can and will accept it anyway. After all, if Mark Sanford has already changed his tune, they can too. Barbour's state of Mississippi is running a $1.7 billion dollar deficit next year. Do you suppose that Mike Bishop will take him aside and chew him out for his "overspending"?

  • Saturn dealers are discussing plans to spinoff from GM, making it an independent company that contracts the cars to be manufactured. That would be sweet, returning Saturn to its independent roots that made it unique in the first place. Wish them luck on getting the funding for something like that, GM will make an announcement after further study. 60 days is the time frame for a decision.

  • Smart auto suppliers are looking to diversify their product lines and check opportunities in "aerospace, defense, medical devices, and alternative energy". Around 300 of them attended the Automotive Manufacturing Diversification event at Grand Valley State University yesterday. While none of them plan on abandoning their auto lines, they are looking at high growth areas: medical supply needs are growing as the boomers age, and, this was a big one:

    Parts for utility-grade wind turbines, the gear or direct-drive control boxes, and the massive blades could all be made in Michigan, he said. The U.S. already has 120 wind turbine manufacturers, but 50 percent of the demand must be imported.

    And that is where we can cash in. Get to it, auto people.