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30 posts from January 2009

Learn more about Michigan's give-away program for Hollywood movies

If you pay taxes in Michigan, you are helping to underwrite films being made by Hollywood studios.  I wrote a post yesterday about the program, along with an explanatory video by the Mackinac Center.

It's your money.  Ask yourself, what are taxpayers getting in return for their investment.

A piece of the puzzle is the Michigan Film Office.  Here is their website.  Take a look. 

Think about the Michigan Film Incentive next time you go to the movies or pay your taxes

I think I've got this right about Michigan's Film Incentive, the governor's and legislature's special effort to attract film-making to our job-troubled state.

The Michigan Legislature passed and Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed a package of bills where the movie companies would give given 42 percent by the state of the money they spend in our state on making movies. Think about that for a little bit.

What does the state get in return? There's been plenty of press releases, but very little information about how it's working and the results its producing.

The Mackinac Center of Midland is raising the questions that the news media should be asking. State legislators need to justify this sweet deal where movie companies are made winners at taxpayers' expense with little to show in return.

Watch this video from the Mackinac Center and then remind yourself that this comes out of your pocket:

Taxpayers lend General Motors money for battery packs to be built in Korea

The money U.S. taxpayers borrowed and then lent to General Motors is being used to make lithium ion batteries in Korea for its new electric car, the Volt. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, at a news conference this morning, GM said the battery packs will be made by LG Chem in Korea and then assembled here in Michigan.  There's no word on where the assembly plant will be located and whether it will be in a yet to be built or a vacant plant.

GM's Bob Lutz said the Korean company was chosen over U.S. firm A123 Systems because "LG had more experience in the larger batteries that GM will need . . ."

Does anybody have links to stories or information about tax breaks granted by the Michigan Legislature for battery companies to locate here in the state? 

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Michigan will assemble lithium-ion batteries for GM Volt

Michigan will assemble the battery packs for the lithium-ion batteries in GMs battery-powered Volt expected to reach showrooms in 2010.  The Detroit Free Press says the announcement will be made today.

At the North American International Auto Show, GM announced a four-door minicar called the Chevrolet Spark and the Chevrolet Orlando.  Does anybody know if these are being built in Michigan or even in the United State?

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Jack Bauer and "24" has only gotten better with age

Super-wife and I are watching the season 7 opener for "24" while I have my MacBook Air on my lap communicating with friends around the country doing the same thing.

Jack is back and I think our country has been ready for a 21st centry super hero who stands for truth, justice and the American way.  George Washington would have watched if he had a television.

Check this live blog
of the two hour event from the blog "We Love DC" the location where this season takes place.

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We created our own house church today

When super-wife and I woke up this morning, it was butt-ugly cold outside and the snow plow filled our driveway on its two runs down our street.

So we decided to create our own church right at our house with the two of us.  For a sermon, we used two preachers who archive their efforts on the web.  For music we had the Family Life Radio station in Midland, MI.

With a little more web research, we probably could have found, a church that streamed live video of its services.  In lieu of that, we found two stellar sermons, one from Dr. Michael Lawrence of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and the other from Father Jack Lumanog of Christ the King Anglican Church in DeWitt, MI. 

The sermons of Capitol Hill Baptist came recommended to me by my friend David Porter of Boomer in the Pew. 

We listened to Dr. Lawrence's sermon from Philipians 3: 17-4:1 about how joy can be sucked out of your life and how to make sure that doesn't happen.  I remember Philipians 3:8:

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ

The second sermon from Father Jack was equally relevant with the story about Jesus walking on the water and about Peter's response.  From Matthew 14:25 to the end of the story, he talks about dealing with those times when personal storms enter our lives. 

Both were extreme relevant.  Next time, I'll invite neighbors outside blowing snow. 

In Michigan right now, it is really easy to feel a covering of gloom over just about everything

It's hard to feel optimistic about anything living in Michigan right now.

Our state has gone through tough economic times before.  I remember the ups and downs of the auto industry and the foreknowledge of every car company employee that they would experience several layoffs during their career.    Things have been nasty and tough before in our state.

But, it has always gotten better.  Consumer demand would plummet and there would be a down period to be followed by an upswing.

This time its different and most everybody knows that the state will never rebound to its former condition.  The anchor to our economy has always been the three car companies and all the parts suppliers that support them.

The anchor has been pulled and we are afloat on an uncharted journey.

Everybody has their fingers crossed hoping that the federal loans to GM and Chrylser will make the difference.  But, there's a realization they might not work.  Then what?

It's very cold outside.  There's plenty of snow and roads are slippery.  We are going through the gray days of winter.  The sun may shine this week, but it probably won't for long.

You can almost hear the hope being sucked out of the state much like a helium filled balloon that keeps going lower and lower.

I've debated changing the name of this blog--Daily Grit.  But, the name has never seemed more relevant.  The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines what this state needs plenty of right now:

4: firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger

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Taking our relationship at the Averill Woods Neighborhood Association to the next level

Our neighbors here on the southwest side of Lansing (MI) are dynamite in working together to deal with common concerns.  They came together when T-Mobile wanted to build a cell tower in our front yard, when an after hours free-for-all broke out with gunshots at a nearby school and many other times.

That's our Averill Woods Neighborhood Association is moving towards the next level of organization with the expected presentation of bylaws at its next meeting on Thursday, Jan. 22.

Go to this post on myneighborhood blog
--Southwest Lansing (MI) and my neighborhood--and download the proposed bylaws.  Leave your comments to help make this an effective, working document for our neighborhood.

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Is Visteon's action in VanBuren Township (MI) the way to handle layoffs?

To avoid laying off salaried employees, Visteon is cutting pay and shortening the work week for 2,000 of its salaried employees in western Wayne County's VanBuren Township, according to the Detroit News.

Does this address the need to keep people working without layoffs?

Is this a possible plan for hourly auto plant workers in Michigan?

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