Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Sunday Paper: October 31, 2010

In State. A shadowy figure strolls the second floor as Michigan's 1st Governor Stevens T. Mason is honored in the Capitol rotunda last Tuesday, one day before his 199th birthday and re-interment back in Detroit. Stevens was only 24 when he was elected in 1835, and to this day is the youngest governor ever to serve. He brought statehood to Michigan and the U of M to Ann Arbor. In his second term, the national "Panic of 1837" hit Michigan very hard, and he was blamed for the state's financial woes. Thus began a long tradition that continues to this day...

The scariest Halloween story ever leads off the news this week:

  • Paul Krugman looks into his crystal ball and sees the results of what may be a very bad decision by the American electorate this coming Tuesday.

    This is going to be terrible. In fact, future historians will probably look back at the 2010 election as a catastrophe for America, one that condemned the nation to years of political chaos and economic weakness.

    And why is that? Could it be that Republicans are promising war, Mitch McConnell proclaiming that the "single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president" and that there will be "no compromise" from here on out? Go on, Professor...

    In fact, if they get their way, we’ll get the worst of both worlds: They’ll refuse to do anything to boost the economy now, claiming to be worried about the deficit, while simultaneously increasing long-run deficits with irresponsible tax cuts — cuts they have already announced won’t have to be offset with spending cuts.

    So if the elections go as expected next week, here’s my advice: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    If that column is not enough motivation to get out and vote, I'm not sure what would be. Better hope that recovery can stick in the face of DC gridlock, because the Bishop Playbook of total obstruction may be about to go national.

  • As part of the war on Obama, get ready for the war on the environment. The GOP has promised investigations into the EPA and climate scientists in an effort to eliminate regulations concerning emissions controls on coal, oil and other carbon fuels. Destruction of the environment in the name of big profits is one of the main goals of the Koch brothers, and they intend to get the Congress they paid for.

  • Gannet Washington reporters run through the possible scenarios of what happens if the Republicans bring "guerrilla warfare" to DC; doesn't matter how you add it up, all the various combinations of chamber control still end the same way. (See: Krugman, above)

  • Back in Michigan, the Freep reports that the Republicans are on the verge of a super-majority in the Senate, meaning that Democrats would lose the ability to use immediate effect on bills as a negotiation lever. Peter Luke writes of the reality of our fiscal situation and lays out the choices facing a new legislature and governor - but notice that no one is talking about the solutions he prescribes. Thanks for trying dude.

  • RIP Pontiac. The brand that brought you the birth of the muscle car officially comes to its end today, as GM agreements with dealers expire and the name passes into the annuals and junkyards of history. The last Pontiac rolled off the line nearly a year ago.

  • In lighter but stranger news: The Michigan Supreme Court ruled this week that "an Oakland County family had no legal right to a dead woman’s brain when her body was returned after an autopsy in 2006." Seems they can keep pieces of you for as long as they deem necessary. A new law passed this year will notify family members of that however.

  • A group of Michigan Tech students has solved the mystery of the UP's famous "Paulding Light". Geez, you couldn't wait until after Halloween to tell us?

  • You wanted that diverse economy: A Zeeland company has found its niche' in making life-like skeletal and body parts for surgical training and medical sales aids. Medical Accessories & Research Corp. Inc. makes skulls and skeletons and skin with tissue layers and bones that bleed when you cut into them - but the items run a little pricey as Halloween favors though; a glass skeleton that shows surgical implants recently went out the door for $20,000. The company made $4 million last year.

    That's all for now...

    Please, please, whatever you do, please get out and vote Tuesday, and take your friends and family and neighbors with you. If you read any of the first few links above, you'll understand how important this election really is. You have a choice between continued progress, slow but sure, or total chaos and the return of the Bush policies that brought us massive deficits, endless war, and the near destruction of the American economy. Hard to fathom that people would willingly choose to go back to that, but there it is.

    You can make a difference. Vote.