Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sunday No Football News Dump

  • Talk show bonanza today. Governor Granholm will be on "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer this morning, and also taped an interview with CNN's John King for "State of the Union". He thought it would be fun to Twitpic some shots of Lansing and the Capitol building. Check local listings for show times, or watch it all on the internet later like I do.

  • With her eighth and final State of the State Address coming this Wednesday, the retrospectives on Governor Granholm's time in office are starting to creep into various stories here and there. Dawson Bell at the Freep does a brief sketch today in a story that only skims the surface of what went down. Stephen Henderson has praise for the Governor's proposals that were put on the table last Friday, but seems to have amnesia when it comes to the other times in the past where she has tried for sweeping reforms, namely the two-cent tax reform plan that now makes perfect sense in hindsight. (Thanks a lot, Andy!) Peter Luke also goes down this road today, looking at the endless budget grind and taking some pointed shots at the Legislature, and somehow ends up at Bob Bowman. Awkward, but there it is. Kathy Barks Hoffman beat everyone to the punch last week, but doesn't sound very optimistic that lawmakers will overcome the ever present partisan gridlock that will only get worse with an election year.

  • As if to emphasize the problems of that gridlock, protesters of all shapes and sizes and issues are expected at the State of the State Address; the usual teabagger suspects will be joined by students protesting the Michigan Promise and education funding cuts, also a group that wants to draw attention to the issues of foreclosures and utility shutoffs, and another that wants to lobby for more mental health funding. Maybe they can organize a "funding vs. no funding" tug of war or something.

  • Polls, polls, polls, here we go with the endless polls on this year's gubernatorial race. The latest is an EPIC special that shows Mike Cox in the lead for the Gee-O-Tea Party nomination with 32%, Twitter Pete at 25%, and Mike Bouchard, keeping up with his tradition of failing to excite anyone, ever, at 16%. For the Democrats, even though she really hasn't said a word yet, Denise Ilitch is the front runner with 23%, followed by Gary Peters, who shouldn't have been included in the poll, at 9%, and, in what might be the most surprising number from this, Andy Dillon at 8%. (Dude. That's bad.)

    Head-to-head competition show the Goopers winning all face-offs at this point - but the Dems haven't even really started yet, except for Alma Wheeler Smith having the guts to face down the R's at a forum in Grand Rapids this week. Read that link to see the R's continue their business tax cut mantra, to hell with everyone else attitude. And thank you Alma for showing up to inject some sanity into the show.

  • Rick Snyder is failing to draw much support, but his fellow Republicans are trying to take him down anyway. Seems robocalls went out to Republican party activists that tell of Snyder's outsourcing of jobs and transferring Gateway product warranties to an insolvent company. Little pre-emptive shot to combat the millions of dollars in TV ads slated to start Monday that could boost Snyder in the race?

  • Money is tight for the rest of the field this year, as a tough economy, donor fatigue, and a legislature that took $7.2 million out of the State Campaign Fund to balance the budget has candidates scrambling to find some cash. No way they will hit the $56 million spent in 2006. If we are lucky.

  • Speculation is floating that the recent bankruptcy filing of Affiliated Media could spell the end of the Detroit News. I've often wondered how that city was supporting two papers; it might not for much longer. Someone make sure and pick up Hornbeck and Greilick if that happens, k? And lookee here, the DNews eds are FOR raising taxes! When the Chamber tells them they should be, anyway.

  • Happy endings, at least for the moment. Teachers in Livonia deserve a round of applause: Rather than layoff 40 teachers, the union overwhelmingly approved a measure to take furlough days and bump up contributions to health care premiums to save those jobs and help out the district, which took a $4.3 million dollar hit in the budget. Principals and administrators did the same. They called on the Legislature to "act now" and make funding education a priority.

    Let's hope so. It looks like the Governor is making her best attempt to get these reforms done, and now it will be up to the Legislature to rise up and meet the challenge. Given their track record of the past three years, it's no wonder people are skeptical - but these lawmakers have a legacy to think about as well.

    Don't they?