Friday, February 18, 2011

Michigan is down

Gov. Snyder's budget was met with a firestorm of criticism from almost everyone, but it hits almost everyone. So the criticism makes sense.

The biggest complaints are that it balances the budget -- and cuts aid to schools, seniors and the poor -- but helps business.

This also makes sense, because the Michigan economy is bad, which means that businesses are not coming here unless the state promises them huge tax incentives.

Unless business grows in Michigan, there will be more unemployed people, more poor people and more people leaving the state. There will be less money for schools and for services. This is a trend, not a stopping point. The situation is getting worse.

So, to stop the downward spiral, we do have to get realistic about what to do to stop it.

I am sure this budget is not perfect, but it is realistic.

And, we should keep an eye on what is happening in Wisconsin. That is another alternative.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Michigan likely to kill item pricing rule

The Michigan House considered a bill today that would end item pricing.
House Bill 4158 has already passed House Commerce Committee,
The full House will vote on the measure Wednesday. It would then go to the Senate.
However, it appears likely that the measure will pass and put an end to
Michigan’s law requiring a price tag on every item.
The change is overdue. Many retailers already ignore the outmoded and expensive requirement, and instead rely on price signs and bar code readers in the aisles.
Retail trade groups support the change, saying the current law results in higher prices.
Some Democrats oppose the repeal, saying it would do away with consumer protections, such as the bounty that stores must pay if their checkout scanners charge more than the price on the item.
The bounty can always be reinstated and defined as charging more than the posted price, rather than the individual price tag. That would be an improvement since the current law excepted sales items -- which are the items most likely to be incorrectly priced.
Check-out prices that do not agree with the signs that tempt buyers to buy are the problem -- not individual price tags.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mubarak out, now what?

Well, Mubarak is out. But who is in?
The Egyptian military says they are in charge. But stay tuned to see what general is put in place as the front man.
The people have won a say, but will they really get a fair vote in September?
There are still a lot of powerful people who have a lot to lose, and there are still a lot of wealthy neighbors who can put up a lot of money to control the outcome of any election.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kid Rock on ice

Kid Rock let his fans in Arkansas know that he would perform snow or no snow. Like a true Michigander, he is not going to let a little snow stop the show.

Perhaps our own government leaders and school officials should take a lesson from the Kid. It is winter -- snow happens.

Our readers supported his remarks 100 percent.

rob neighborhood wrote on Feb 10, 2011 12:05 PM:
" Bobby Brash, most performers would never dream of refunding tickets,,,,good for you old boy,,,,,, " wrote on Feb 10, 2011 12:48 PM:
" He is from Michigan, where we get lots os snow- so he probably didnt think it was a big deal. Arkansas probably had to shut down, over an inch, because they are not use to it. Since my daughter has moved further south; she calls me upset, because everyone freaks over a little snow, and she just laughs and is in dis-belief. "

oakpress1 wrote on Feb 10, 2011 1:07 PM:
" Those goobers down there don't deserve concerts from Michigan performers if they can't handle the weather. Bring it on, bring on the snow. Michiganders will be there. "

justsayin wrote on Feb 10, 2011 1:38 PM:
" This isn't the first time the south has gotten snow. Get over it and learn how to drive in it. Good for Kid Rock! "

Mubarak won't go

Quite fascinating to watch the protests in Egypt.
But we can be sure that the transition of leadership will not be bloodless or quick. There is too much money and politics involved.
My guess is a military coup, which would be just trading one dictator for another.
I cannot see democracy there, any more than it was possible in Iran.
And as one of the Israeli news commentators said when the Egypt unrest began -- watch and see. This would not be the first country that America armed and then saw it turn into an enemy.
The wild cards in all of this are cell phones, social media and Al Jazeera — are these really the engines of the new Arab revolutions?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Readers react to long snow vacation of Legislature

probo24 wrote on Feb 3, 2011 1:21 PM:
" Do as we dictate you to do, not as we do ourselves.
Not many of us vote our own raises either,
or any number of other things the government gives, or does for itself and not the rest of us.
Why do you think it's so hard for them to come up with a way to fix our healthcare system. Theirs works fine so whats the problem? "

waterfordmike wrote on Feb 3, 2011 1:31 PM:
" another reason for a part time legislature. "

Red wrote on Feb 3, 2011 2:00 PM:
" What is the matter with all of you people ? There are some people out here in the real worldthat do not let a little thing like the weather stop them from going in to work .Even the grocery stores were open as wellas the gas stations throughout the state. It is my opinion that POLITICIANS ARE WAY OVER PAID FOR WHAT THEY DO. "

oakpress1 wrote on Feb 3, 2011 3:00 PM:
" This is a stupid article. All the problems that this state is facing and people are quibbling over 2 lousy snow days. Let's focus on things that really matter. We have a $1.8 deficit. I imagine there will be many long days and nights to resolve that mess. "

davemich3344 wrote on Feb 3, 2011 4:46 PM:
" To oakpress1,

You really miss the main point. Michigan legislators are a HUGE cost to our state.

Do you realize they get lifetime healthcare after ONE term in office? Do you understand the cost of their fat pensions?

Michigan has a very large legislature given the size and problems of our state. It should be smaller, it should have benefits EQUIVALENT to the private sector.

I know several people who have run for office, ONLY becuase of the lifetime healtchare.

This is a gravy train, and contributes to the 1.8B$ deficit! It is big govenment at it worst. No efficiency, no performance culture, only big fat benefits, milk the system, add a couple more snow days, etc etc.

This INDEED is a good article because it highlights the gross excess our the Michigan legislature and cadillac benefits they consume. "

SpeaksDaFacts wrote on Feb 3, 2011 5:03 PM:
" Wow, when your very own trusted elected officials cannot drive in a 6 inch storm THE DAY AFTER IT STORMS, then you need to ponder....


Yipes! "

Jim wrote on Feb 3, 2011 5:06 PM:
" Dave, you're mistaken about the lifetime health care benefits. State legislators receive them after five years of service, not one term. Which means a state senator would have to be in his second term and a state rep would have to be in his third to receive lifetime benefits.

I do agree with you that we need to get rid of the lifetime benefits, though. Nobody ever leaves Michigan's Legislature on food stamps.

The two snow days are more evidence that our lawmakers think they're better than everyone else. Most government services, including non-essential services, were open these past two days. They shouldn't be any different. "

davemich3344 wrote on Feb 3, 2011 5:08 PM:
" Does everyone realize there are 148 legislators. Each has a staff?!

They get 90% of their cadillac healthcare paid by the taxpayers (i.e. Michigan residents) for LIFE.

Where in Private Sector can you find this benefits after a mere 6 years of work?

Nowhere! Can you say GRAVY TRAIN?! "

resident11 wrote on Feb 3, 2011 6:25 PM:
" With the financial condition they have put this state in, they are taking days off with pay! They all need to be replaced!

Patriot Games wrote on Feb 3, 2011 6:45 PM:
" The less time the legislature is in session the better! I'll gladly pay them to stay home every day, at least when they're at home they aren't doing it to taxpayers!!! "

aug181947 wrote on Feb 3, 2011 6:47 PM:
" Why would you want these folks, who work many long days, sometimes well into the evenings, and often connect with their constituents on the week-ends, to risk life and limb to drive through a blizzard to Lansing? There are no weeks which are only 40 hours long for our legislators. Give it a break! "

tylerdurden wrote on Feb 3, 2011 10:54 PM:
" its not just the snow days that are the problem.. do u realize they arent in session on mondays and fridays all the time? not to mention they take nearly the whole month of december off for the holidays.. kinda scary these are the "standard bearers" of our once great state. "

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earthly wrote on Feb 4, 2011 8:21 AM:
" If the mushroom workers have to work in Oklahoma, with 20 plus inches of snow, so should the state legislators in Michigan with 5.5 inches of snow. "

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Jason wrote on Feb 4, 2011 8:35 AM:
" The point is that there was no justifiable reason for them not to be in session on Thursday. When hasn't the 'media' hyped up a story? Even if it was the blizzard of the century they shouldn't have closed the offices on Tuesday. That call should have been made late on Wednesday. You will also notice that they aren't looking to make up the sessions on an upcoming Monday or Friday... To me it shows the overall lack of committment to the residents of this state. It is well past the time when our elected officials look internally to make cuts to balance budgets. This is supposed to be a sovereign nation yet the people no longer rule. Time to take back some of the control from the state and nation capitals. "

shahall wrote on Feb 4, 2011 9:31 AM:
" Does it really matter what the taxpayers think? They will do what they want anyway. Most politicians are nothing more than legalized crooks. "

aw geez wrote on Feb 4, 2011 9:33 AM:
" To Aug181947,
I would not be objecting to their 2 snow days if there would have been a state of emergency called for the state. But since the state doesn't care enough about me or anybody else I know who also had to go out and work those 2 days they too should have gone to work. I work many 12-14 hour days without a lunch break because this state doesn't have any laws pertaining to the working adult. I have no health care because I cannot afford it and I've had bi-lateral THR. So should they have worked "You Bet ya" "

Anonymus11 wrote on Feb 4, 2011 1:14 PM:
" No I do not think they should get 2 snow days. I work in the healthcare field and We DO NOT EVER get snow days. So what make them so different? Just my opinion. "

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Another storm that wasn't

Well, it did snow and it is cold. But is it bad enough that everything had to shut down. No.
And if you read the comments on OP stories last night, many readers were skeptical of the "blizzard." It turns out they were right. This one fell something short of a storm of the century -- for us.
But, as Lenny Bruce said, "Just because you are paranoid does not mean that they are not out to get you."
Same thing here. Just because you are skeptical about projected snowstorms does not mean that they do not happen.
The storm that missed us did dump on Chicago. The got OVER 20 inches and the city schools there closed for the first time in 12 years. Lakeshore Drive was closed for 12 hours. And the battered Northeast is taking another pasting, with NYC receiving another 12 inches on what they still have not cleared away. And they may get 3 inches of ice on top of that.
And just because we can get to the airport here does not mean that we can fly out of here. US flight cancellations are topping 5,000 for a second day.
However, what happened here -- all the closings -- was overreaction. We are getting used to not getting snow, so even the threat of snow is enough for us to shut everything down.
For example, the IRS shut down its Taxpayer Assistance Centers in Detroit, Flint and Saginaw; but not the ones in Marquette or Traverse City. Those northern cities are used to this kind of snow.
The fact is, we are getting off surprisingly light yet again and it is making our reactions to snow similar to those in Atlanta or Dallas. We should keep in mind that this is Michigan and in winter -- snow happens. Eventually our normal weather patterns will return.