Sunday, October 23, 2011

Misty Fall Morning Roundup

The mist and the frost gave Reeds Lake a painted look this morning. Still some color left to see out there...

Yeah, yeah, this is going up in the evening, I know. Tried to get out and enjoy the sun while it lasted. Some articles that caught my eye from today and the week that was:

  • Brian Dickerson has a scathing column on what's happening with the Legislature, Matty Moroun, and the Detroit bridge. Check these words: bordello, sailor on shore leave, legalized prostitution, payola, "get in line with the other johns". Yikes. I've always tried to shy away from using such descriptors, but if the shoe fits...

  • Matty is but a symptom of the disease though, and Tom Walsh's column about the recent social unrest and the election next year segues nicely here.

    What's clear is that anger and frustration abound across the land. A lot of people feel, justifiably, that the economy is rigged to keep rewarding the rich while the rest scrap for crumbs from a pie that's not growing.

    Walsh is a business guy. If he admits the economy is rigged, well, then you know it's true. And that situation will only get worse if the Republicans are allowed to implement more trickle-down economic policies. Who is it that is calling for more tax cuts for the rich again?

  • The Great Recession hit Michigan hard. State demographer Kenneth Darga breaks down some numbers.

  • The UP escapes the worst of the property value drop. Good for them.

  • While the Republicans in our Legislature come up with all kinds of lame excuses for passing regressive laws that will take away domestic partner benefits from public employees, the Fortune 500 companies show us what is happening out in the real world:

    All but two of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies and 70 percent include gender identity. Eighty-eight percent extend domestic partner benefits, including health insurance, to the same-sex domestic partners of employees.

    So much for "running the state like a business", huh?

  • Bob Emerson, Don Gilmer and Mary Lannoye, also known as our last three budget directors under Engler and Granholm, get together and write an op-ed telling us how fiscally irresponsible and cruel it is for Republicans to apply an asset test for food stamps. Couple that with the story above, as well as some of the other mean-spirited actions they have taken this year, and you can start to see a legacy take shape already. History will not be kind.

  • Michigan was the most-improved state for energy efficiency last year. Since the energy legislation that called for efficiency measures was passed in 2008, we have gone from 34th to 17th in the nation.

  • The Toledo Blade has a great story on wind energy and the financial benefits it has brought to the NW corner of Ohio/SE corner of Michigan. (Yes, they address some of the controversy too.) On the flip side, the uncertainty in national energy policy has caused a major wind farm that was slated for northern Indiana to cancel their plans.

  • Ending on a positive note, the Recreation Passport plan, a voluntary $10 annual fee that passed last year to help fund our state parks, topped its goal for the first year. The program brought in $18.9 million, where the previous system had averaged $11.7 million over the past three years. 24.7% of the state's motorists signed up; the DNR is shooting for 30% next year.

    Have a great week...