Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Six O'Clock News - Beyond Extreme Edition

  • Posters at BFM had a little concern last year about whether or not Rep. Jim Slezak from the 50th was really a Democrat or not. Early indications are that those suspicions may have been correct, as he is exhibiting some real Republican behavior already. And, judging from quotes in the story and comments underneath it, Slezak is not endearing himself to his constituents when he does things like this:

    Sure, it's not an overnight stay in the Lincoln Bedroom, but state Rep. Jim Slezak, D-Davison, is hoping his first major fundraiser is seen as refreshingly out of the ordinary. Slezak is soliciting people to go on a cruise with him to the Bahamas.

    The trip costs about $660 per person, including a $350 donation to Slezak, and is so unusual the new lawmaker had to check with the Michigan secretary of state's office to make sure it was legal. The charge doesn't include airfare or all the little umbrella-laden beverages you can drink.

    Been in office a month. Campaign finance guru Rich Robinson said he had never heard of a state legislator doing such a thing. "It gets to a point where it's kind of toxic. It goes beyond extreme," he said. Sure does.

  • Pink hair is no longer allowed for elementary students in Gwinn. "Natural" colors only. Also, no hats, bandanas or sweat bands. Tattoos must be covered. Wait, tattoos? On elementary school kids? Just what are they doing up there in the UP? Someone might want to go check...

  • On to "extreme" drinks. Sen. Mickey Switalski wants the caffeine content listed on energy drinks - to which this caffeine fan says, "Oh, hell yes!". I want the most bang for my buck, and those things are expensive. Switalski even made a YouTube to tempt me. The good Senator has a point though - these drinks are marketed to kids, and no one needs a bunch of hopped-up children running around coloring their hair pink and getting tattoos. Also included in Switalski's effort: legislation to limit the sale of junk food in schools and testing for steroids in high school athletes.

  • Muskegon looks to be the first to take advantage of the new Promise Zone legislation, voting to submit their plan to the state Dept. of Treasury. Three districts in Jackson County are looking to band together and form a plan to pitch to the state. Lansing also voted to submit their plan just recently as well. First come, first serve... a total of 10 districts will be eligible.

  • Former deputy Commerce Department director Greg Main will be replacing Jim Epolito at MEDC. Business folks seem pleased. Key quote: "We were talking about diversification back in the 1980s. As soon as the auto industry started coming back we sort of forgot about that." Uh, yeah. We know. Let's not do that again.

  • Congrats go out to Freep reporters Jim Schaefer and M.L. Elrick for snagging a George Polk Award for Local Reporting with their tireless efforts on the Kwame Kilpatrick text scandal.

  • Saving the best for last: Ford will be receiving a $55 million tax credit (for our economically challenged Republican friends, that's different than a tax cut) for their work on electric batteries. Ford plans to bring four electric models to market by 2012. Read the company release here.