Sunday, August 07, 2011

Barefoot Skiing

Summer. Better get out and enjoy it while you can.

Tough week. I liken it to the guy above, water skiing barefoot with one foot in the air after suffering a cut that had been hastily wrapped with duct tape. You can guess what happened in the next few frames, just as you can guess that NPR rumor now has it we might witness our own "wipe-out" tomorrow when the markets open. Fingers crossed they are wrong about that.

  • More good news for John McCain bad news for Rick Snyder on yet another negative poll. MSU's spring/summer survey shows the approval rating at 32%, tumbling from 45% in winter survey. Obama is holding steady at 45%. Granholm had a 58% approval at this point in her first term. Rick says the people he talks to are "voicing support", which probably means he only hangs out with his business-buddy base. Good spin, or failure to acknowledge reality? Maybe a little of both.

  • Credit where credit is due: Snyder did join Stabenow, Levin, and 36 other Senators in requesting full funding for LIHEAP, the energy assistance program that helps keep the heat on in the winter for low-income households. 615,000 Michigan households were served last year alone. Congress is considering a 50% cut in funding. Dammit.

  • Another problem with heating funds has presented itself, this time at the state level: A recent court decision has ruled that Michigan's LIEEF (Low Income and Energy Efficiency Fund) doesn't have the authority to distribute money to folks like the Salvation Army because our legislature forgot to include the language in the 2008 energy bills. That's $90 million, sitting on the sidelines. The PSC is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court, or our current legislature can pass a bill authorizing its use. Anyone want to place any bets on a good outcome from either of those options? Better bundle up.

  • Peter Luke brings us some chilling statistics on the cost of college in Michigan. For the first time, we have passed an average of $10,000 a year in tuition and fees, and since 2002, prices have risen an average of 110%. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a "back-door tax increase", as Republicans in the legislature have insisted on cuts to funding rather than investment in our people.

  • Debtors' prisons. They're back. And the ACLU wants to do something about it. They should, because not only is it archaic and cruel, it's a huge waste of money.

  • Republicans block Detroit bridge under Democratic governor. Republicans block Detroit bridge under Republican governor. Now, Republican governor is forced to find a way past Republican obstruction, ha ha ha. The Republican administration is now insinuating they will cut the Republican legislature out of the decision. Hilarity ensues. Hey, why didn't we think of that?

  • Storm debris from the winds that whipped through Calhoun County in May will be turned into "green power" at the Genesee Power Station in Flint. More than 800 tons of tree limb left-overs will be mulched and transferred and turned into electricity. Marshall is happy to get it gone - the pile was two-stories tall.

  • Climate change is bringing southern spiders to Michigan. And they have nasty bites. Ick.

  • Wind turbines can catch on fire? It's rare, but it happens.

  • Another loss to Michigan's heritage: Manistique Papers Inc. is closing, taking with them 150 jobs and a 90 years of economic support to the small UP city along Lake Michigan. Manistique was originally a lumber town and MPI was one of their largest remaining employers. The banks cut them off, forcing their bankruptcy. They hope to attract a buyer. Biomass, maybe? Hello, MEDC, want to step up here?

  • Ending on a nice note: Detroit 1-8-7 actress Erin Cummings plans on continuing her Mittens for Detroit charity drive, predicting that 2011 will double the 2010 donation of 10,000 pairs. "The city and state means so much to us. Just because I'm not living in Michigan and 'Detroit 1-8-7' won't be there filming anymore, it doesn't mean that winters in Michigan are going to get any warmer." There are some real angels in this world, and we are very lucky we found one of them. Thank you Erin.

    Get out and have a great day today, for you never know what tomorrow may bring!