Friday, December 16, 2005
Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, December 16, 2005
Former President Friday: Bill Clinton addresses the the Sierra Club of Canada on climate change, George Bush Sr is new UN Special Envoy for the South Asian Earthquake Disaster, Jimmy Carter getting ready for son Jack Carter's Senate campaign, Gerald Ford, feeling better back at the office.
Other States Driving Air Pollution in Muskegon
The Muskegon Chronicle reports that even with most of the Muskegon area's gray iron foundries now closed, industrial air pollution still remains a threat because pollution drifts across Lake Michigan from factories in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Analysis found that four of the state's five most at-risk neighborhoods are where many blacks reside in greater Muskegon.
Utah Visionary Brings Growth Management Ideas to Michigan
The Michigan Land Use Institute has an excellent feature on a presentation by Robert J. Grow to the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. Mr Grow may be hired by the Traverse City area and is the founder of Envision Utah, Salt Lake City's growth plan to accommodate 3.4 million more residents by 2050 while preserving open spaces, reducing taxpayer expenses, easing traffic congestion, and preserving quality of life. The feature includes the full 1 1/2 hour video of his presentation.
Wine Bill Signed, May Be Unconstitutional
Crain's Detroit Business reports that although Gov. Granholm signed bills yesterday to allow Michigan and non-Michigan wineries to ship to individual consumers, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox recently told lawmakers there was the potential for an element of the legislation to be found unconstitutional: the fact that only Michigan wineries can to ship directly to retailers and restaurants.
2005 Michigan Book Picks
Michigan Radio has an audio feature of book reviewer & UM Undergraduate Creative Writing director Keith Taylor's picks for the best work from Michigan authors. His picks for 2005 include The Lake, the River and the Other Lake by Steve Amick (fiction), Melville: His World and Work by Andrew Delbanco (non-fiction), and Refusing Heaven by Jack Gilbert (poetry).
Listen to Keith Taylor Picks the Best Michigan Books of the Year from Michigan Radio (requires Real Player)
Hunting for Super Bowl Jobs?
The Detroit News reports that while several thousand temporary jobs will be created by the NFL's championship game, billed as the world's largest one-day sporting event, finding them will be hard work. The article gives a number of suggestions for would-be Super Bowl staff.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, December 15, 2005
Opinions: Legislation a watershed for Michigan, Great Lakes, Snowmobile riders must take lead in keeping trails safe, Double-dipping, early outs give state workers excessive benefits, Telcos Begging Congress to Allow them to Break the Internet.
State Board Fails to Certify Affirmative Action Petition
The Detroit News reports that following a raucous protest involving a couple of hundred Detroit area students, the state Board of State Canvassers failed again to place an affirmative action ban proposal on next year's ballot. The elections panel voted 2-1 to certify the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative for the November 2006 ballot, but three votes are required. Republican board members Katherine DeGrow and Lyn Bankes voted in favor with Democrats Paul Mitchell voting no and Doyle O'Connor not voting. Board members have expressed concerns that petition signers were misled about the proposal's intent, but the court ruled the board has no authority other than to determine whether enough valid petition signatures were gathered (1/2 million were, more than enough). The proposal would end racial and gender preferences for college admissions and government hiring and contracting, which means most public sector affirmative action programs would be scrapped.
Detroit Lions Under Attack
Lions fans are (apparently) in one of the fiestiest moods in the dark history of the franchise. Consider:
Sales Tax Exemption for Energy Efficient Appliances Proposed
The CNS reports that Rep. John Proos (R-St. Joseph) is proposing 6% sales tax exemptions air conditioners, dehumidifiers, washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers, freezers, room air conditioners, air cleaners or water coolers labeled as energy efficient. The measure would be opposed by the Department of Treasury due to the impact on school aid, which proponents feel could be offset.
Woman Sews 100 Dresses for Detroit Girls
The Detroit Free Press reports that forty years ago, upwards of 18,000 dresses for needy girls were purchased or hand-sewn by Free Press readers in response to the newspaper's Ruth Alden Dress Drive. Today 100 of 9,000 girls will receive a hand-sewn dress from retired Detroit Public Schools teacher Gertrude Ford. The girls are among 36,000 Detroit-area children who will receive Christmas gifts.
Make a donation to the Ruth Alden Children's Clothing Drive
Visit the Old Newsboys' Goodfellow Fund of Detroit
Can We Get Mickey Ears with that Diploma?
CMU News reports on the relationship between Central Michigan University's recreation, parks and leisure services administration program and Walt Disney World. CMU sends 35-50 students to Disney for internships every year. Disney is now asking CMU to join a tuition exchange program that would bring international students to the United States in 2006 to spend a semester each at CMU and Disney.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Where's a Warden When You Need One? by Find The River
Find The River writes: (AP):Wildlife agencies across the country are struggling with a combination of rising retirements and declining interest in their jobs among young people seemingly disconnected from hunting, fishing and rural life.
My Current Views on Things and Stuff by Northern Michigan Detroit Sports Blog
Leelanau Sports Guy writes: Catchy title, huh? I have been so busy lately, I haven't had a chance to really pay attention to anything in the sports world, but here's some of my recent thoughts.
Winning National Wildlife Federation Photos by ypsi~dixit
Y writes: Many amazing photos, apparently all taken by amateurs!
Quick Link by Elephant in my Coffee
Elephant writes: Stop the ACLU posts some interesting information about Progressive Insurance. I don't have anything of my own to add but I thought it was worth knowing about!
Around the town by dETROITfUNK
dETROITfUNK writes: Ice Floes about my personal favorite.
Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Fun with Computers: Computers create phone bill madness, a look at socializing online, Online retailers say Ho-ho-ho.
Legislature Approves Tax Cut, Welfare Changes
The Detroit News reports that state lawmakers and Gov. Granholm struck a deal on a $600 million tax relief package for Michigan's manufacturers Tuesday. The newly passed plan revises the single business tax over a three-year period so that it's less of a penalty on a company's payroll because the tax levy would be almost completely based on its sales. The Visteon-Delphi tax break will be reworked to give the companies more incentive to keep plants in Michigan. Also under the new plan, General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler qualify for the same two-year tax exemption as out-of-state companies bringing new jobs to Michigan. The legislature also made major reforms to state welfare laws.
Read Granholm: Diverse economy would still include auto industry, personal property taxes must be cut from Crain's Detroit Business
New Graduation Recommendations Headed to Legislature
The Lansing State Journal reports that the State Board of Education unanimously adopted new recommendations yesterday calling for 18 required credits - four in math and English, three each in science and social science, two in world languages and one each in physical education and the arts. The state would have to approve the requirements and some school districts say they could have trouble getting enough qualified math, science and foreign language teachers.
Michigan Writer/Publisher Hits Big with Christmas Book
The Northern Express has a feature on Has Anyone Seen Christmas?, a children's book by author Anne Margaret Lewis, owner of Mackinac Island Press. The book was illustrated by accomplished mural artist Wendy Popko who resides and works in the Detroit area. It has been astonishingly successful, with sales nearing 35,000 copies and projected to exceed 50,000 copies before Christmas.
Mackinac Island Press web site
Miller Seeking Constitutional Ammendment
The Detroit Free Press reports that US Rep. Candice Miller has collected 29 cosponsors for a bill to amend the Constitution so the number of U.S. citizens, instead of all people, would be used to determine the number of House members each state has after every census. Miller says Michigan and eight other states lost one member of Congress after the 2000 census, while California picked up 6 seats.
Senate Declares Michigan Christmas Tree
The Lansing State Journal reports that Michigan's Senate joined the thorny Great Tree Debate on Tuesday, declaring the blue spruce in front of the Capitol is indeed a Christmas tree. Tthe Senate resolution declares, "from this day forward, the tree and its graceful branches that adorn the Capitol lawn will be known as the Michigan Christmas Tree."
Also see Has America become a Christmas Grinch? in the Detroit News
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Evil: David Brooks on Munich by Oran Kelley's Adverse City
Oran Kelley writes: David Brooks' editorial piece this Sunday on Steven Spielberg's new movie Munich is an interesting case study of the conflict between idealism and realism in amongst US conservatives. Brooks, like most conservative pundits, likes to come off as a hard-headed fellow, not one to be put off the game by misty abstractions. But, on the other hand, he insists on using, and on other people using, a term which I'm betting he has no definition for: evil.
Fujitsu P1500 Tablet PC video by PC Mike's E-Journal
PC Mike writes: Here's a vBlog post about that new Fujitsu P1500 convertible Tablet PC that I've been raving about.
TEN THREATS: BOTULISM KILLS BEACH BIRDS by GLRC
GLRC writes: Researchers are beginning to understand what's killing thousands of Great Lakes shorebirds. It might be part of a larger problem indirectly caused by humans.
St. Lucia's Day = Glogg by ypsi~dixit
ypsi~dixit writes: YPSIDIXIT SALUTES all of her Scandinavian kind readers by making an entry about St Lucia's Day, Dec. 13, about which I know nothing.
The Writing on the Wall by detroitblog
detroitblog writes: Never have I been to an art exhibit where the artists hide their faces from cameras so much. It was one of those rare art openings where my disapproval of the artists featured (The Leather Jackets, among others), outweighed my admiration of their skills, which they clearly possess but often waste on vandalizing historic buildings.
Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Check these numbers, statistics and quotes about using the assets of the arts to strengthen and improve their communities.
Great Lakes Water Pact to be Signed Today
The Detroit Free Press reports that Gov. Granholm and seven other Great Lakes governors are in Wisconsin today and expected to sign a far-reaching pact aimed at protecting the water supply. The new deal (which will require approval by all eight state legislatures, Congress and the president to take effect) would do more than block water removal. It would require the states to develop water conservation plans, force industry to report water use, and establish review of new projects that permanently siphon large volumes of water. Water bottled in containers of less than 5.7 gallons wouldn't be subject to the "no diversion" rules providing an exemption for the bottled water industry.
Solve Michigan's Economic Problems, Win $1000
Government Technology reports that Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government has issued a new, Web-based case exploring how Michigan is tackling economic development where solutions rely heavily on information technology. It invites students to assess what Michigan has done so far, and then recommend priorities for the future. The winning student response will earn a cash prize of $1,000!
Michigan's Case from the 3E Project
USCG Cutter Mackinaw is Chicago's Christmas Ship
The Bay City Times reports that the US Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw is the most powerful icebreaker in the world and spends the winter plowing channels through the frozen Great Lakes, prolonging the shipping season and keeping the Straits of Mackinac free of ice. However, before that gets underway, the Mackinaw undertakes an early-December voyage from its home port Cheboygan to Navy Pier where it delivers 2,000 Christmas trees to disadvantaged families. For two days the Mackinaw becomes "Chicago's Christmas Ship", with Coast Guard sailors stringing lights and decorating the ship's deck with trees. During the two-day lakeside festival, the Salvation Army distributes the trees to the music of high school bands and local choirs while schoolchildren tour the ship.
Visit Chicago's Christmas Ship
Two Michigan Cities Ranked in Global Knowledge Competitiveness
MITECHNEWS.COM reports that Grand Rapids and Detroit were ranked in the top 15 in the 2005 edition of World Knowledge Competitiveness Index released Tuesday. The Index uses 19 knowledge economy benchmarks, including employment levels in the knowledge economy, patent registrations, R&D investment by the private and public sector, education expenditure, information and communication technology infrastructure, and access to private equity. Grand Rapids ranked sixth in the latest survey and Detroit 15th, down from third and twelfth in 2004. No other Michigan metropolitan area was ranked in the survey.
2006 Michigan Reads! Preschool Book Announced
The Library of Michigan has announced that the winner of its 2006 "Michigan Reads!" one-state, one-preschool-book program is Bed Hogs by Michgan author Kelly DiPucchio. The book is the story of Little Runt, who grows weary of sharing a straw bed with his parents and siblings and kicks them out (only to realize it's scary and lonesome without his family).
Monday, December 12, 2005
All kinds of Chocolate by The Chocolate Runner's Blog
The Chocolate Runner writes: This is a super dark 75% cacao single bean bar. That is, they use beans from the same crop in the same plantation to make the chocolate, whereas typically beans are blended to give a more consistent flavor. Since the flavor can vary from year to year, and crops only last so long, this is a limited edition.
Cards That Give by :neadfiles
neadfiles writes: On a nicer note concerning the holiday (not a rant?)... if you are looking to give money to a charity and want a few ideas, navigate over to www.cardsthatgive.org and let your heart do the searching (Awww.)
The Grip of Winter by Find The River
Find The River writes: This could make a friendship go sour:
(The Minneapolis Star-Tribune) A 44-foot wooden cabin cruiser locked in ice on the St. Croix River might have to stay there all winter, a Wisconsin conservation warden said Friday.
Darrell by The Snowsuit Effort
The Snowsuit Effort writes: "I lost my job - I was late a couple times and they let me go."
UA Sign Demolition by dETROITfUNK
dETROITfUNK writes: The United Artist Theater marquee got the axe today - or at least the cutting torches.
Five Things You Need to Know for Monday, December 12, 2005
The Holidays are here and Brian Dickerson wonders What would Jesus boycott? ... maybe the Lions??
Green Building Efforts at Michigan Universitiesrv
The Detroit Free Press reports on how universities in Michigan are building more energy-efficient structures to save money on energy and water use. One example is the recently renovated Dana Building at UM. Last spring, Michigan began requiring state-supported projects of more than $1 million to follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for green construction.
Check out The Greening of Dana from U-M
UP's B3 Computers Makes Deal with Sun Microsystems
The Mining Journal reports that Sun Microsystems will put the software muscle into new low-cost computer hardware to be assembled by Marquette County Economic Development Corporation Renaissance Zone firm B3 Computers. According to B3 officials, the SBox will be a $400 desktop running Sun's Solaris X86 operating system and Java software.
B3 Computers web site
UPDATE: B3 Computers went out of business. This post is mostly all that remains of the company. It got very far out of hand and somehow all notifications on it were routed to spam. We have deleted all the comments. There was one comment that had a link to more articles that we thought might be of use to anyone who is looking for information on the company:
# posted by farlane @ 9:27 AM
Sweeping Michigan Welfare Changes Proposed
The Detroit News reports that at the heart of the most sweeping Michigan welfare policy change in a decade is a proposal to set a lifetime limit of 48 months of benefits for those on welfare. Proponents say the changes will free those still trapped on public assistance. Others, such as the Michigan Catholic Conference say adoption of the plan would destroy the state's safety net. The House Fiscal Agency estimates the proposals would remove about 8,100 families (20,000 people) from the welfare rolls.
Michigan Venture Capital Controversy
The Ann Arbor News has an excellent and detailed look at the Michigan's venture capital industry and surrounding controversy. Nader Najafi, CEO of Integrated Sensing Systems Inc., alleges the state's 15 or so venture firms, the majority of which are concentrated in Ann Arbor, have become a syndicate 'suffocating' the local technology industry. While some agree, others dispute the allegations.
Michigan Venture Capital Association web site
Construction Trades a Tough Sell in Michigan
The Lansing State Journal has a report on how trades groups and employers are struggling to recruit high school students to fill growing needs for everything from plumbers to bricklayers and drywallers. Despite opportunities, the jobs are proving a tough sell - not only to young people but to their parents and school counselors, who don't always see the trades as a desirable option.
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