MI Morning Update 12-8-08


December 8, 2008

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
– Albert Einstein
“ ‘Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”
– Abraham Lincoln


SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MIKE BISHOP…addressed the State Committee this weekend and discussed the importance of the Senate Majority and what challenges were before the legislature. He asked for everyone’s support and assistance as we get ready for the Special Election to fill State Senator Mark Schauer’s seat.

I would suggest every county and district committee discuss what kind of resources, volunteers and help each can provide for this important effort. We’ll keep you informed as details develop.

STATE COMMITTEE MEETING…we had a great meeting this weekend. Michigan Republicans are clearly motivated and ready to take back our state in 2010. Three candidates for State Chair addressed the group and worked the activists over the weekend: Jack Hoogendyk, Norm Shinkle and Ron Weiser.

STATE CONVENTION…our next state convention is scheduled to take place February 20-21 in Lansing.

REPEAT…TWITTER & FACEBOOK CHALLENGE…I challenged State Committee members and County Chairs to join both Facebook and Twitter. Yes, it’s ONLY a tool, one of many that will help you get better organized and keep in touch with a large group of friends and fellow Republicans.

Below are the two link to find my pages and from there you can sign up and get your own accounts. They are free…both useable on iphones and blackberries. We need to take advantage of the various new modes of communications and the latest technology available.

TWITTER…anyone can follow my daily activities and impressions throughout the day by joining and following along. Twitter.com is another social networking site most easily described as a type of instant messaging – but with tons of people. You can follow the ‘tweets’ of others – and they follow you and what you write. The catch is that your posts are limited to 140 characters. But for many, that’s enough to say the important things. To follow me go to:

FACEBOOK…is a great “social networking” tool that many Republicans are using. This is particularly popular with College Republicans, TeenAge Republicans and Young Republicans. If you would like to become a “friend” join me here.



Articles of Interest………News…you…can…use………



No further Commentary today


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

Race on to finalize auto deal

David Shepardson and Gordon Trowbridge / Detroit News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and the White House on Sunday raced to finalize $15 billion in short-term government loans for Detroit’s Big Three automakers amid signs longer-term aid may require changes in top management, including the possible replacement of General Motors Corp. CEO Rick Wagoner.

The Senate could vote on a bailout bill that could keep GM and Chrysler LLC from imminent collapse as early as Wednesday; the main hurdle seems to be convincing enough Senate Republicans to go along.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, said the key to passage will be getting President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama to endorse the bill that could emerge today. "A lot will depend on how strongly they weigh in," Levin told The Detroit News Sunday. "It’s really important for the president-elect to take a position when it is finally drafted in the next 24 hours."

Auto workers head for Washington

Catherine Jun / The Detroit News

DETROIT — A four-car caravan of employees and retirees at both U.S. car companies and suppliers departed from a Detroit parking lot Sunday afternoon for Washington, D.C., to show support for a federal aid package to help the American automakers stay afloat.

The caravan of employees will arrive around breakfast time and go from legislative office to office, strengthening the case for federal assistance to Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp.

Jim Theisen, 57, is among them.

Outside Pressure Grows for GM to Oust Wagoner


DETROIT — General Motors Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner is coming under increasing pressure from outside the company to resign as part of any broad bailout of the auto maker by the federal government.

On Sunday, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.), a supporter of emergency loans for Detroit, suggested Mr. Wagoner should go if the government follows through and provides billions of dollars to help the auto giant restructure and return to profitability.

"I think you’ve got to consider new leadership," the senator said on the CBS talk show "Face The Nation." A Dodd aide said later the senator’s demand for change would not be a "condition written into the" rescue package coming together on Capitol Hill, and draft legislation prepared by top Democrats doesn’t make that explicit requirement. But Mr. Dodd’s displeasure was clear. "If you’re going to restructure, you’ve got to bring in a new team to do this," he said. "I think [Mr. Wagoner] has to move on."

Obama suggests some auto execs should lose jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) – President-elect Barack Obama pledged to work for the survival of the auto industry, but accused car company executives of a persistent "head in the sand approach" and suggested some should lose their jobs.

One leading Democrat in Congress, Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, was far blunter. Rick Wagoner, the chief executive of General Motors Corp. (GM), "has to move on," he said Sunday.

The criticism of industry leaders deepened as negotiators for the White House and Congress narrowed their differences over a plan to extend roughly $15 billion in short-term loans to any of the Detroit automakers that need it. Analysts say General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, in particular, are at risk for running out of money in the next few weeks, and that Ford Motor Co. (F) may need help if the economy deteriorates further.

Obama Offers First Look at Massive Plan To Create Jobs

By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer

On the heels of more grim unemployment news, President-elect Barack Obama yesterday offered the first glimpse of what would be the largest public works program since President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the federal interstate system in the 1950s.

Obama said the massive government spending program he proposes to lift the country out of economic recession will include a renewed effort to make public buildings energy-efficient, rebuild the nation’s highways, renovate aging schools and install computers in classrooms, extend high-speed Internet to underserved areas and modernize hospitals by giving them access to electronic medical records.

"We need to act with the urgency this moment demands to save or create at least 2 1/2 million jobs so that the nearly 2 million Americans who’ve lost them know that they have a future," Obama said in his weekly address, broadcast on the radio and the Internet.

Mich. economy stuck in 8-year recession

Mark Hornbeck and Gary Heinlein / Detroit News Lansing Bureau

LANSING — While the nation comes to grips with its yearlong recession, Michigan is the only state to have been in continuous recession since the downturn of 2000-01, economists say.

Patrick Anderson, chief executive officer of the Anderson Economic Group of East Lansing, said Michigan’s economic slide started in the latter half of 2000 — preceding the national recession by several months — and continues to this day.

"Most of the country came out of recession in 2002, and Michigan never has come out of it," Anderson said. "There have been seven straight years of recession for Michigan.

The Big 3-2-1

The Big Three automakers are inching closer to the kind of overhaul that merits a taxpayer bailout, but their restructuring plans still don’t go far enough and leave many questions unanswered.

General Motors and Chrysler say they will go bankrupt by the end of the month unless Congress lends them $25 billion in installments. Ford, which is in better shape, wants a $9 billion line of credit to guard against the economy’s getting even worse.

Lawmakers who confronted the Big Three CEOs again late last week seem skeptical of helping, despite the risk of letting their companies fail. After all, the Big Three employ more than 1.5 million people, counting parts suppliers and dealerships. Letting the automakers implode would be a disaster.

Legislature may act on budget cuts this week

David Eggert • Associated Press

Even if Gov. Jennifer Granholm and lawmakers agree on a plan to reduce state government spending this week, it’s unlikely a slew of other bills affecting everything from property taxes to indoor smoking will get a green light before the session ends.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop announced last week that the Republican-led Senate won’t approve any legislation until the Democratic governor issues a budget-cutting executive order.

Granholm plans to release the cuts this week.

But Bishop would like to act quickly on the proposal and then adjourn for the year.

Doubt cast on public financing reform

President-elect Barack Obama’s record-shattering $750 million campaign fundraising total spurred renewed calls to reform the public financing system, but Washington insiders wonder whether Capitol Hill Democrats have the political will to do it after winning the White House under current rules.

"The Democratic leadership may decide that Obama is better off without an overhaul of the public financing system," said Michael E. Toner, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission. "These electoral calculations are never far from anybody’s mind in the Congress."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada declined to say whether campaign finance reform would be on the Democrats’ agenda next year.

Pirates, Terrorism and Failed States


Ever since the end of the Cold War, there has been much chatter about the problem of failed states. Now we are seeing some of the terrible consequences of state failure on the periphery of the broader Middle East.

In Pakistan, terrorist groups such as the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Lashkar-e-Taiba have established themselves as a state within a state. They have virtual free reign in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and a lesser but still substantial amount of leeway in the Northwest Frontier and other provinces. That makes it all too easy for them to launch attacks such as those that killed more than 170 people in Mumbai. Or other attacks that kill NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.

Across the Indian Ocean, pirates are terrorizing passing ships. The International Maritime Bureau reports that 92 ships have been attacked and 36 hijacked this year off the coast of Somalia and Yemen. At least 14 ships and 260 crew members are being held hostage. A passenger liner with more than 1,000 people aboard barely avoided being the pirates’ latest prize. Vessels that were not so lucky include a Saudi oil tanker carrying two million barrels of crude oil and a Ukrainian freighter loaded with tanks and other weapons.