Diary

MI Morning Update

716 Days Until Election Day

November 16, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and gave him triumphal processions.  Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the ‘new, wonderful good society’ which shall now be Rome’s, interpreted to mean ‘more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.’ Julius was always an ambitious villain, but he is only one man."
-Cicero

MORNING UPDATE:

RNC SOUTH CAROLINA POST ELECTION RETREAT…has been very interesting as we review what happened and look to the future.  I have to tell you, from my perspective; it is our belief in American exceptionalism, and in peace and prosperity that will make us a majority party again!  Keep the faith!

SUNDAY MORNING TALK SHOW…schedule printed below.

MICHIGAN MATTERS… Geoffrey Fieger and L. Brooks Patterson are teaming up to run for Governor -Lt. Governor in 2010?  Fieger and Patterson weigh in on the prospect with host and Detroit Free Press columnist Carol Cain.  Auto expert John McElroy also joins Cain to talk about the fate of the Detroit Three and the Washington bailout. Watch today (Sunday) at 11 am on WWJTV CBS Channel 62

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FOR THE LATEST NEWS, COMMENTARY & INFORMATION:

Check…out…our…online Articles of Interest………News…you…can…use………

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THE REST OF THE STORY:

THE SHOWS, per AP:

ABC’s ‘This Week’ – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif.

CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’ – Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.; Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.; Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La.; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.

NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ – Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.; Shelby; T. Boone Pickens, chairman of the energy investment fund BP Capital.

CNN’s ‘Late Edition’ – Reps. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Ted Turner, CNN founder and author of a new memoir.

‘Fox News Sunday’ – Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.; Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn.; former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, R-Md.

TODAY’S TOP STORIES

The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.

 

 

Pelosi outlines aid package for US automakers

By KEN THOMAS, Associated Press Writers Ken Thomas,
Sat Nov 15, 5:43 pm ET

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Saturday the House would provide aid to the ailing U.S. auto industry, requiring that the industry meet new fuel-efficiency standards, produce advanced vehicles and restructure "to ensure their long-term economic viability."

Pelosi, D-Calif., did not disclose the amount of funding House leaders intend to seek for the industry – automakers have been seeking $25 billion in loans to stabilize their sinking companies. But she said the funding should come from the $700 billion financial bailout approved by Congress in October. "A restructured, competitive American automobile industry will continue to play a crucial role in our national economy and in the global marketplace," Pelosi said in a statement.

 

Dems attach strings to auto bailout

Stymied by one last stalemate with the Bush administration, the Democratic Congress has released a scaled-back auto industry bailout that would force Detroit to embrace more fuel-efficient cars and new auto technologies. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in a Saturday afternoon announcement, says the House plan would require existing funds from the $700 billion financial rescue plan to be used to help the auto industry, meaning no new money would be authorized by Congress under this plan.

The White House has resisted using existing existing funds for the auto industry bailout, so any major accomplishments in next week’s lame-duck session are in serious doubt if Democrats can’t strike a deal with the lame-duck Bush administration. Pelosi said the auto industry funds would come with many strings attached, including restructuring company finances, meeting new standards for gas mileage and requiring advanced technologies "to compete in the domestic and global market." The speaker’s office offered no specifics about what the new fuel efficiency standards would be and what types of technologies would be required for the auto industry.

 

Gettelfinger: No more UAW concessions

Mark Williams / Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Even as Detroit’s Big Three teeter on collapse, United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger said Saturday that workers will not make any more concessions and that getting the automakers back on their feet means figuring out a way to turn around the slumping economy.

"The focus has to be on the economy as a whole as opposed to a UAW contract," Gettelfinger told reporters on a conference call, noting the labor costs now make up 8 percent to 10 percent of the cost of a vehicle.

"We have made dramatic, dramatic changes and the UAW was applauded for that," he said. Instead, Gettelfinger blamed the problems the auto industry is suffering from on things beyond its control — the housing slump, the credit crunch that has made financing a vehicle tough and the 1.2 million jobs that have been lost in the past year.

 

Don’t use temporary economic woes to remake U.S. institutions
 
The truest thing that Senator John McCain said during the election campaign is what got him into the most trouble: "The economy is sound." "Sound" does not mean bullet-proof. Nor does it mean that everything is going wonderfully at the moment or that nothing needs to be done.

You may be as sick as a dog from having eaten the wrong thing. But that does not mean that you need to have your arm amputated or to receive massive doses of morphine. In other words, your body may be perfectly sound– and radical medical treatment can do more lasting damage than your temporary suffering will. The political left has always known how to exploit temporary economic problems to create lasting institutions reflecting their ideology. The "progressives" did that during the brief time that America was involved in the First World War, less than a year and a half.

 

State firms to pay more taxes for jobless

11/15/2008, 3:42 p.m. EST
The Associated Press   

DETROIT (AP) – State officials have informed 40,000 Michigan businesses that they will pay higher unemployment taxes in January because of a more than $470 million shortfall in a jobless benefits fund.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report Saturday that the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth has informed the employers that they must pay an extra $67.50 per employee in 2009. That’s money the state had to borrow from the federal government to pay benefits.

The increase will affect businesses whose laid-off employees have collected more in benefits than the employers paid into the fund.

 

A Power Duo, Dingells Battle on Two Fronts

By JOHN M. BRODER

WASHINGTON – Things are a little tense in the Dingell household. John is fighting to protect his job from an ambitious younger colleague. Debbie is battling to save her company from bankruptcy. John is recovering from major knee surgery. Debbie’s mother has been seriously ill.

This is no ordinary family drama. Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan, the at-times-irascible Democratic chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is trying to stave off a challenge to his chairmanship from Representative Henry A. Waxman, the anything-but-mellow California Democrat. Mr. Dingell’s wife, Deborah Insley Dingell, is a senior executive at General Motors and a member of the family who founded the company.

At a time when they thought they would be quietly nursing Mr. Dingell back to health, celebrating the Democratic victory on Nov. 4 and helping the ailing auto industry, the Dingells find themselves in a nasty intramural brawl with Mr. Waxman. One Dingell ally called it King Kong versus Godzilla.

 

Obama promises anti-default deal

By MIKE ALLEN
11/15/08 4:29 PM EST  
 
President-elect Barack Obama tells "60 Minutes" that one of his top priorities will be a program to help homeowners renegotiate mortgages to avoid default. Obama made the remarks in his first post-election interview, a sit-down with Steve Kroft of CBS News that will take up the full hour on Sunday.

"We have no focused on foreclosures and what’s happening to homeowners as much as I would like," Obama said. "We’ve got to … set up a negotiation between banks and borrowers so that people can stay in their homes. That is going to have an impact on the economy as a whole. And, you know, one thing I’m determined is that if we don’t have a clear, focused program for homeowners by the time I take office, we will after I take office." He also said he would make Cabinet appointments soon and would name a Republican, according to CBS.

 

GOP back to square one with Hispanics

By DAVID PAUL KUHN
11/16/08 7:03 AM EST 

In January, 2001, two days before President-elect George W. Bush moved into the White House, his top strategist Karl Rove told the Republican National Committee that "our mission and our goal" was make further inroads with Hispanics. Four years later Bush had accomplished just that, improving his share of the Hispanic vote to 44 from 35.

Today, those gains are gone, as Republican John McCain won just 31 percent of the Hispanic vote-an 11-point Democratic improvement.

"The percent of the white electorate is dropping every election cycle and when you look ahead at America, black and Hispanic, by age bracket, there is a demographic trend that is obvious-our country is becoming more diverse," McCain pollster Bill McInturff said on Thursday. "There are any number of states that McCain just lost that he got the same percent of the white vote that Bush did in 2004."
 
 

 

State hearing tackles insurance rates

Santiago Esparza / The Detroit News

DETROIT — A crowd of at least 75 people jammed into a downtown state office Saturday, spilling out into its lobby as visitors listened to testimony on auto insurance rates here.

It’s the third in a series of hearings held across the state to determine whether people find auto insurance rates in Michigan fair and affordable. The deregulation of the industry in Michigan and whether it has resulted in adequate monitoring and Michigan’s no fault insurance was also debated.

"It is almost unintelligible if you read it," Michigan insurance consumer advocate Melvin Butch Hollowell said of the state law mandating insurance for drivers. "It is a lobbyist’s dream." Hollowell sat on a panel with Detroit Branch NAACP President the Rev. Wendell Anthony, Focus:Hope co-founder Eleanor Josaitis and State insurance commissioner Kenneth Ross.

 

Iraqi Cabinet approves security pact with US

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA
Sunday, November 16, 2008; 7:03 AM

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s Cabinet on Sunday approved a security pact with the United States that will allow American forces to stay in Iraq for three years after their U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year, the government said.

The decision followed months of difficult negotiations and, pending parliamentary approval, will remove a major point of contention between the two allies.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said all but one of the 28 Cabinet ministers present in Sunday’s meeting, in addition to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, voted in favor of the pact by a show of hands.