Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Sunday Paper: June 27, 2010

Solar Ball. Dow Diamond in Midland is believed to be the first minor league stadium in the country to utilize solar power. Connected to the stadium's main grid, through the course of a year these panels produce 28.56kw hours of power - the amount of energy equal to the electricity consumed by seven homes.

Summer breeze... makes me feel fine...

  • As Bruce pointed out below, some big breezy renewable energy news came out late Friday at the Michigan Energy Fair; John Deere announced they will open three new wind farms in Michigan, two of which will be the biggest in the state. This will mark a huge increase in Michigan's total wind power production, bumping capacity by 61% to 374 megawatts. This hasn't received a lot of coverage yet, hope to hear more on the announcement soon...

  • Michigan is one of five states where homeowners facing foreclosure have some new help coming; the Michigan "Hardest Hit" fund will provide mortgage assistance to people who are unemployed (a first, other programs wanted income), people who have had a medical emergency or for whatever reason have fallen behind in payments, and a restructuring plan to knock down principal for those who find themselves underwater. Check with MSHDA for more details, the program is expected to kick off in July.

  • Andy Dillon releases his secret plan to end the war in Vietnam solve Michigan's economic woes. It all sounds pretty reasonable, which begs the question, why not do it now? If the Speaker can do all this reachin' across the aisle and gettin' things done - well, then, go do it. Get the Promise Scholarship back THIS year. Or, stop talking about it, because every time it comes up, I just remember how incredibly pissed off I am that Dillon agreed to cut it in the first place.

  • A constitutional amendment to ban drilling in the Great Lakes is moving through the House. A largely symbolic move, but a step in the right direction nonetheless. Hopes are that we can lead other states and Canada to follow suit.

  • Very bummed about the Hangar 42 deal, but as they say - the show must go on. Los Angeles film producer Randall Emmett has launched Grand Rapids Films and Services, a company that aims to be a one-stop shopping service for those shooting in the GR and West Michigan area. "Services include production-crew hiring and training, recruiting local vendors for lighting, catering, hotels, security and other services and budget consultation." Or, as we like to call them, jobs. Right, Nancy?

  • A rare phenomena occurred here Thursday night: A Republican was honest. Don't blink, you'll miss it!

    The sharpest Republican-on-Republican attack came from George, who said his opponents promise to enact tax cuts without legitimate proposals to cut spending at the same time.

    "Those tax cut promises are fiscal fantasies," George said of Cox's promise to cut business taxation by $2 billion.

    And then they went back to reminding me why I never used to pay attention to state politics in the first place... Oh, and by the way? Every Republican candidate except Snyder opposes the extension of federal unemployment benefits because they don't want to burden "business". And for the unemployed folks? Well, that's just too bad for you. In a state with 13.6% unemployment. Damn, that's cold. Just remember, you were warned...

  • Peter Luke shows us once again today why he totally rocks at laser-sharp political analysis as he explains the impossible situation we find ourselves in concerning the state budget and the insane promises the candidates are making. One sentence levels them all:

    Playing on voter dissatisfaction with Lansing probably makes political sense however much it conveniently ignores history, the facts and basic arithmetic.

    Fiscal fantasies. And as far as getting anything solved this year, you know, to help give Michigan a leg up on any national economic recovery that is taking place? Fuggetaboutit.

    Everything done this decade by Granholm and legislative leaders in both parties didn't create the mess, it averted an even bigger one. They don't get any credit because a mess remains. Now, the options for cleaning it up exist outside the realm of the possible given the pressures of election-year politics.

    The options for cleaning it up have been placed on the table before, another good one was offered earlier this year, but the answer with this legislature has always been "no". And it's not just the election that is holding us back - it is obstructionist politics in general. They didn't create the mess, but the stalemate of the past few years between our House and Senate certainly didn't help matters much.

    Prediction: They kick the budget beyond the primary. With the fastball Congress just threw at our heads, coupled with the usual lack of urgency out of this body of lawmakers, it's a fairly easy prediction to make. Is it vacation time yet?

    Have a great remainder of the weekend...