Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Six O'Clock News - 8 Out Of 10 Americans Can't Be Wrong Edition

Sorry no news yesterday, but I came to one of those places in the road where I was about to tell everyone in this unjust, unappreciative, soul-crushing business to go take a flying... so I stepped away from the microphone before someone got hurt. Namely me.

Better now. Maybe. OK! Moving on...

  • This cheered me up. 79% of Americans are tired of the wingnuts obstructing progress. It's about time. Watch Obama kick some more booty tonight at 9PM.

  • Michigan will receive $882 million for Medicaid from the stimulus. With 1.65 million residents eligible for the program, and 50,000 added within the last four months, this will come as a welcome relief to both our budget and the hospitals that are feeling the strain of a failing health care system. Check out Progress Michigan's diary for more startling facts on what is rapidly becoming this nation's number one issue.

  • More benefits from the stimulus. The city of Howell was considering raising millage (that's taxes!, if you want to make a Republican cry) to pay for improvements to their water system. No more. $66 million will be coming to Michigan for drinking water infrastructure repairs. No only will it create jobs, it will save homeowners some bucks, at least for the short term. We still need $11 billion over the next 20 years statewide.

  • Some people that won't be receiving stimulus money, even through they want to - the city of Detroit, for Cobo improvements. The city council shot down the state plan to expand and improve Cobo today, much to the dismay of everyone that spent years trying to craft a regional solution to the problem. The Auto Show hangs in the balance. Ken Cockel Jr. can veto the council's vote.

  • House Democrats hit the road yesterday to tell the public about their idea for docking legislator pay when they miss session. The package of bills would also prevent lawmakers from becoming lobbyists for at least two years after they leave office. Son-of-Marden's Frankenstein Bill Knowling tries to take Republican credit for these ideas, but for some reason doesn't speak to the fact that the Senate has held up ethics reform as of late. MIRS tells us that Democrats are hoping that because McManus is running for office, she will finally move some legislation this year.

    They had little success last session with ethics reforms moving through the Campaign & Election Oversight Committee chaired by Sen. Michelle MCMANUS (R-Lake Leelanau). (Rep. Tim) Bledsoe said he's been trying to make an appointment with her for weeks with no luck. But he's hopeful, pointing out that she's running for Secretary of State and "you need a record to run on."

    Maybe when Michelle gets back from her latest vacation she will have time for the people of Michigan. Seeing as how she wants their votes and all.

  • About that vacation, another blip in MIRS has the Senate Republicans claiming that they needed this week off to talk to their constituents about the stimulus proposal. Just one problem with that excuse - the vacation was scheduled back in January, well before anyone knew when or if the stimulus package would pass. Which brings us back to one of the greatest mysteries of life - do Senate Republicans ever tell the truth about anything? Our four leaders from the chambers will be traveling to DC later this week to lobby for help for auto suppliers, so at least someone is doing something constructive.

  • Michigan is considering legislation that will put on state's worst tax dodgers up on the internet for the world to see. The DNews claims 350 people that owe the state at least $100 g's for starters. While questions about privacy and accuracy would be an issue, there are 18 other states that already do this, and they have had pretty good results. Georgia, for example, lists 420,000 individuals who owe a total of $1.4 billion - and they managed to snag eight state lawmakers as well. They paid up.

  • A group is lobbying for a change in Michigan's cable TV laws - seems deregulation has not lead to lower prices or increased competition as proponents had promised. Matter of fact, prices are higher than ever, and customer service is at an all time low. Anyone who has Comcast already knows this. Bishop trots out the "not a priority" excuse again when asked whether or not we could count on the Republicans for help.

  • A movie studio may be built in the old Freep building if Cassis doesn't find a way to stop it. Fingers crossed she doesn't, because that would be pretty cool.

  • GM won't build a new facility for Volt engine production, instead using existing space in Flint. Note to GM: Even if you are considering bankruptcy, please call it something other than "bankruptcy". Framing, people. Try "structured refinancing" or some such nonsense, and then get the media to repeat it. Or, sit on your cars for a few years, because no one will buy them.

  • I was never much of a wino, having been raised in Forest Hills where the kids drank straight whiskey right out of the bottle (no joke), but this sounds delicious: the nation's governors were treated to Michigan ice wine from Suttons Bay Black Star Farms at the big governor shindig at the WH last weekend.

    The White House paired the sweet A Capella Riesling ice wine with huckleberry cobbler with caramel ice cream.

    Yum. Sweet dreams. And rumors of conga lines. What happens in DC, stays in DC, and that's probably a good thing.