Monday, May 04, 2009

Six O'Clock News: H1N1 Shutdown Edition

  • More flu being reported in Michigan - and apparently I'm at Ground Zero here in Kent County with 19 suspected cases of H1N1 (swine) flu. And get this - I went to Tulip Time in Holland last Saturday, and wandered around the campus of Hope College in Ottawa County, home of the second most number of suspected cases in the state. Uh oh. Numerous schools have been closed around here (and across the state as well from what I've read) and the state health department has gone crazy with the news bulletins, which tells me that they are being slammed with people looking for info.

    Helpful hint: If you have questions about the flu, call 2-1-1. Other than that, stick with the usual precautions: stay away from sick people, and wash your hands. Hope this passes soon.

  • A deal has been reached, the state budget cuts (for this year) are coming tomorrow, and this is what (roughly) $300 million looks like:

    State police layoffs, cutbacks in revenue sharing with local governments and in hospital and physician reimbursements for Medicaid, 4 percent across-the-board cuts in most departments and accelerated elimination of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries are among the budget-balancing measures being considered.

    State workers also will learn Tuesday if they'll face layoffs or furlough days as the state tries to fill a $1.3 billion budget shortfall.

    Now imagine what would happen if they tried to cut the entire $1.3 billion. Aren't you grateful our Democrats in Congress passed that stimulus? We sure need it, and we aren't alone, as states across the nation are busy cutting their budgets and raising taxes at the same time.

  • Want to know what happens when the state cuts revenue sharing? It trickles down to your local government, where they either have to a) raise the revenue themselves, or b) cut vital services. At that point, the pond scum of this world will be there with their out-of-state financed recall threats for your local officials if they decide to do the right thing. You can either speak up and stop the pigmen in their tracks, or you can live without your police and fire department. Your choice.

  • Dammit Dow, clean up your mess. Yes, times are hard and you are broke, but just work it out. Get a grant or something.

  • Great story in the Flint Journal about Michigan companies looking at training workers and transitioning them into "green jobs". There are some people out there who are taking this opportunity to create lasting and thriving businesses in alternative energy, and they are now, and will be in the future, clamoring for trained people. Go read for more info on what to expect at the Michigan Green Jobs Conference in Lansing on May 11th.

  • To wrap it up with the elephant that is occupying the room in my head: There is nothing in the world that would be more thrilling than to see this. And it's starting to look like it's a possibility, if all the chatter I'm reading is to be believed. It just... fits. Perfectly. Fingers and toes crossed, and that's all I'm going to say about it. For now.