Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Sunday Paper: December 5, 2010

"Isarithmic History of the Two-Party Vote" since 1920. Keep in mind the shifting political platforms in that time, especially when you are looking at the South.

Some stories of note from the past week - and this first one will be THE story of next year, wait and see. Canaries in the coalmine are starting to fall over...

  • Can Michigan cities declare bankruptcy? Hamtramck officials would like to try, as the city is facing a $3 million deficit and won't be able to make payroll by the end of January. After requesting that an executive order be issued to grant them permission to file, the state's lawyers nixed the idea. "There is absolutely no precedent for an order of that nature under the state's current constitutional framework," said Steven Liedel, legal counsel to the governor.

    Hamtramck will work on Snyder next - and we better find an answer soon, as "hundreds of jurisdictions" in the state (and across the country as well - as this Kos diary by Meteor Blades points out) are facing the same problem due to falling property tax revenue. The Michigan Legislature has cut revenue-sharing payments to localities by almost one-third in the past year and by $4 billion in the past 10 years, according to the Michigan Municipal League, and now there are rumors flying that it will be totally eliminated under the new Republican administration. Wave goodbye to your local cops and firefighters, folks. We are at the breaking point.

  • As you know, we are already seeing the fallout of declining revenues across the state, perhaps none more apparent than the city of Pontiac eliminating its police force and turning duties over to Oakland County Sheriff's Department. Will they be able to handle it? Unknown. And pretty scary when you really stop and think about the ramifications. Good luck all.

  • And while we are in Oakland, our next stop finds that even Brooks Patterson wants to see unemployment benefits extended, but he wants them paid for. Does he feel the same way about tax cuts for the wealthy? Also unknown. At least Brooks understands that people who are unemployed aren't there for kicks, which makes him a bit more reality-based than some of his Republican colleagues. Hate it when he does that. ;-)

  • Oh, and Brooks? Now that we have the best government that undisclosed money can buy, everything will be fine, right?

  • The UAW goes global. The union will hold a rally Monday at Hyundai's tech center in Ann Arbor in support of striking temp workers at the automaker's Korean factories. Workers in Korea staged a sit-in strike after the company dismissed its "precarious" temp force and used the standard intimidation tactics and violence to remove organizing employees from its factories. Interesting in light of the free-trade agreement reached with South Korea yesterday - and that still has to make it through Congress, so hold the knee-jerk reactions for now.

  • Toyota. It's the new GM. Maybe GM is the new Toyota. Whatever it may be, life is tough at the top of the ladder.

  • Nice interview with First Gentleman Dan Mulhern hits the front page of the Freep today - and for those who think power and fame is something to be desired and envied, go read the cautionary tale of what life is like inside the gilded cage. I wish sweet freedom to you all. And Dan? Don't mess with the state cops. They have a hard enough job as it is.

  • Another victory for the Asian carp, as the feds will not close those locks by court order, so don't ask. Can we stop wasting money on lawsuits and start figuring out a way to deal with these things? By the time there is evidence of "financial harm", it will be too late. Put that money spent on the lawyers to better use. Thanks.

  • Ever wonder what happened to that great old pair of jeans you had? Ford used them in your new Focus. And no dear, it doesn't make you look fat.

  • One more car story that shows that "green" is here to stay: The 2011 North American International Auto Show is partnering with MEDC to feature Michigan companies that are "building and creating eco-friendly communities and sustainable lifestyles". Hybrid and electric vehicles will be featured with solar and wind power examples in the "Smarter Living In Michigan" display. Sounds pretty cool.

    Anything else? Leave a comment below. Or, get out and enjoy today, for the storm clouds are brewing across the land...