Monday, March 16, 2009

Six O'Clock News: "A Night of Fail" Starring George Bush Edition

  • Bush is back! And here we've barely had time to miss him. The Worst. President. Ever. is on the lucrative talk circuit, and the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan will be treated to a "Night of Fail" on May 28th. Condi Rice will warm-up the crowd on April 30th. Fun for all ages! Better hurry, tickets are going fast!

  • Rothbury 2009 line-up is released, and I'm sad that I have really lost touch with what's happening in music these days. Seen Dylan, was never a Deadhead, and the only name that was intriguing was Son Volt. Maybe DiFranco. The rest, I either go "meh" or "who?" Oh well, youze kids have fun. Stay away from the brown acid.

  • Got nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide...

  • ... and yet, some are running here. Artists thrive on "cheap" and "pain". Trust me. They will make Detroit "cool", the sycophants and the wannabes follow, and the artists are forced to move on eventually. The cycle of life continues.

  • Senator Roger Kahn has formed a posse of Bay area legislators that plan to band together to make the grab for the cash. Interesting that this tidbit comes up first:

    One goal, Kahn said, is trying to capture part of the $787 billion federal economic stimulus money to pay up to half of the $48 million cost of a new airline passenger terminal at MBS International Airport near Freeland.

    Good thing that Kahn is on the Senate stimulus subcommittee, isn't it? Very convenient! Gotta love those Republicans who simultaneously hate government spending but somehow come up with new ways to make sure they are first in line to spend it.

  • "Political grandstanding" against business travel in personal and company aircraft is listed as one of the reasons that Battle Creek's Duncan Aviation was forced to lay off 120 Michigan workers. Thank the idiots in Congress and a vapid traditional media who like to focus on the trivial rather than look at complex financial reality as a partial reason for the downturn in this particular industry.

  • Chart of an under-funded state government, originally published in the House Fiscal Agency's analysis of the Executive Budget Recommendation for FY2009-10. Some happy reading in that one, if you have the will and patience to try and decipher it all. I just look at the (not-so) pretty pictures.

    Yes, "living beyond your means" takes on a whole new dimension when you realize that it's not government that is growing, it's revenue that is shrinking. Factor in cost of living increases over the past decade and it all spells disaster when you're trying to keep the lights on, the kids fed and educated, and the state in working order.

    Now after years of tax cuts and spending restraint, Michigan will collect just 5.5 percent of personal income in assorted state taxes and fees in fiscal 2010. (Comparing apples to apples, that 2010 percentage factors out some $6 billion in school taxes shifted from local to state coffers in the 1994 Proposal A school finance changes).

    So in funding essential services, state government in 2010 will collect a little more than half the revenue--some $14 billion--that a conservative Republican thought appropriate three decades ago. That figure takes into account the $1.7 billion in personal income and business tax hikes approved in 2007.

    Conservative Republicans of three decades ago hadn't turned lying into an art form or basic party philosophy yet. Remember this next time you here some Michigan Republican say that we need to "cut government" - tell them they already did. For extra fun, go check out the chart where it shows how the Republicans blew through the Rainy Day (Budget Stabilization) Fund.