Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Sunday Paper: May 2, 2010

Old School Wind
Old School Wind. It was found that Holland's Windmill Island is not suitable for a modern wind turbine, but the DeZwaan windmill stands ready for this year's Tulip Time, which runs through May 8th. Just don't expect to record Erik Prince or anything. Go see the flowers instead.

Late edition today, wanted to take some time to soak in the Obama-y goodness. And I know the President said just yesterday that we should be nice and listen to the Republicans - well, sir, I did, and they are still wrong. You'll see. It's toward the end. Happy stuff first.

  • More good news on the auto economic front: Auto parts manufacturers are seeing a big rebound in the market; auto makers and their suppliers are expected to add 88,000 jobs a year over the next couple of years. Visteon, Penske, and Amerigon all are reporting a sharp increase in sales for the quarter. Thank the nice President for saving the auto industry.

  • Other Michigan companies with solid 1Q earnings: Kellogg reports a 30% rise in profit. Whirlpool's profit more than doubled. And Dow's revenue rose 48%. Rising consumer confidence in America is evident nearly everywhere. But one Michigan company is doing better - overseas. Amway announced they will cut 100 Michigan jobs as part of a "strategic adjustment". Other people tend to call that "outsourcing".

  • The Freep ran a two-part series on the movie industry in our great state: "Michigan a star in Hollywood" follows the buzz at a California trade show as film makers note how the industry is now aware of us and is excited about filming here, and "Michigan's chief movie rivals offer lesser enticements" looks at our competition. You can get a 44% credit in Alaska - if you shoot between October and March. Washington DC matches our 42%. The big competition is still Louisiana, who offers less on the credit but already has the infrastructure in place.

  • Michigan is setting up a high-risk insurance pool to offer coverage to people who have chronic health problems, the DNews calls it "low cost" and "subsidized", and seems to indicate that over 1 million uninsured citizens would be eligible. Need more details. 34 states already have high risk pools in place; this is one of the first provisions to come with the health care reform laws.

  • Mike Bouchard embraces the crazy by apparently opposing... everything. He opposes the new bridge (Moroun is a campaign contributor), he opposes the smoking law, he opposes slots at tracks, he opposes the health care law (tenther!), he would alter the film credits. Oh, and he is also polling well-behind the front runners. Take a hint, Mike.

  • Peter Luke points out that most of the Republican gubernatorial candidates can't do math. He shows them what their proposed $2 billion in business tax cuts looks like in the real world.

  • It's May. The budget is not finished. The early retirement plan is not finished. Try and contain your surprise.

  • Speaking of things not finished, or, more like, not started: Because our lawmakers will not fund the roads, MDOT has officially delayed 100 projects, costing us thousands of construction jobs. They also have drawn up two sets of plans (at taxpayer expense) - one with a federal match in funding, one without. Sen. Bill Haridman trots out the usual Republican line - "looking at budget reforms he declined to specify" - as he said "no" to funding. Has anyone added up the number of lost jobs in Michigan courtesy of our Drown Government Senate?

  • Shades of stimulus hypocrisy: The newest Republican game is to attack MEDC and the tax credits that bring us new business - except when those credits bring jobs to their district, of course. Then they deserve applause! Call it the Cassis Syndrome.

  • The smoking ban has been greeted with mostly cheers mixed with a few jeers across the state. It will take some time for the bar crowd to adjust. Good news is: Some smokers will take this as a new motivation to quit. Add it up and 80% would like to stop the habit. So, enjoy the new smoke-free Michigan, and know that most current smokers would love to join you. Maybe they will.