Sunday, January 17, 2010

Random Sunday Thoughts

Some brief Sunday funnies. Or, not so funnies. I'm finding all my resolutions about "optimism" are being severely tested in the first couple weeks of this year. While there have been some good indications that things are starting to turn around here in Michigan, I can't shake the disgust I have with "politics" right now. Forgive my surly mood.

  • The Freep throws down the gauntlet to the Legislature - get the budget done by May 1st, or Dillon and Bishop should step aside. The odds of either of those things happening are pretty slim, but keep on dreamin'.

  • Peter Luke lays out the same argument, but in a thoughtful, analytic, in-depth, and non-threatening way. That's why I love him so. He takes a look at the proposals that have been laid out by the "business leaders", because at this point, what else do we have to go on? One line jumps out at me:

    The public would have to be persuaded that the increased taxes they’d be paying would help finance a better economic future for the state.

    Numerous polls and that study from the Kellogg Foundation (which Luke also wrote a great article about here, go read) show that the public already "gets it". It's not the public that necessarily needs convincing, it's the obstructionist Republicans and the dithering Democrats that need to step up to the plate and start putting this in motion.

  • The more Bart Stupak opens his mouth, the more I dislike him. What is it about Congress that turns these guys into such narcissistic jackasses? If it's such a burden for you to run, Bart, well then don't let the door hit you on the way out. Move a little faster though. Please. If you're not serious, you're a distraction that we don't need.

  • Denise Ilitch was a hit with the folks in GR - but it's not like she publicly addressed the crowd with her ideas on running the government. Still waiting to see who she is, trying to get past my prejudice against the wealthy - but the tortured artist that rules my psyche is intrigued by the fact that she is a designer. So, there's that. The clock is ticking though - and the appearance of Democratic indecision does not exactly instill confidence in the party as a whole.

  • A brief story on jobs and the stimulus once again exposes today's barrier to job creation - no, not "more tax cuts", small business loans.

    Noel Cuellar runs Primera Plastics, a Zeeland-based injection molding company that makes pieces for the auto and furniture industries. His business is up, thanks partly to opportunity created because other auto suppliers failed. But he can't find banks to lend him the money to expand -- a complaint heard by small businesses across the country.

    "If money wasn't an issue, I could add 30 people," he said. "How do you tactfully tell a customer 'no' and still stay in the game?"

    A bill introduced in the US House would tax excessive Wall Street bonuses at those firms that received TARP money, and redirect that revenue to the Small Business Administration for a temporary program that would offer low-interest loans to companies that are having a hard time getting a line of credit. Sounds like a plan. How soon can it happen?

  • The folks who police the mlive GR Press site have run into the same problem that blogs have had to deal with for some time - the comments under stories turn incredibly nasty, racist, sexist, threatening, you name it, it's ugly, they are scaring the nice folks away, and it's probably been a problem since mankind starting chiseling random thoughts on the cave walls. All I can say is - good luck, and welcome to my nightmare.

  • Ending on a positive note: A Grand Rapids boy is collecting teddy bears for the children of Haiti, and he started by donating his own. Very touching. The toys are scheduled to arrive in March after necessary needs are met.

    If you are looking to donate - check the new diary at Kos for a list of organizations that could use your help, or, take a look around your local community. Many civic groups are coming together with efforts to send money, items, and personnel, and if you're not comfortable with the online stuff, there is probably a local group that could use your time and/or donations. Give what you can.