Michigan Running a Surplus – Who Knew?

If you heard Jennifer Granholm talk, you’d never know there was a surplus. Our state is bleeding businesses and people. The ONLY industry that Granholm saw fit to offer incentives was Hollywood (movie/television etc.). It was a great lesson showing that tax cuts/incentives to industry work – but I guess the stars in her eyes blinded her to the fact that it would work across the board. In any case – I want my money back!

“Taxpayers deserve a refund!”
-Attorney General Mike Cox

MORNING UPDATE

Cox calls for state tax refund…Attorney General Mike Cox says the state is overcharging taxpayers, and more than $700 million should be refunded to them to help with car, house and other payments. He said when the state raised income and business taxes in October 2007, it was sold as a means to deal with an economic crisis. And yet, he noted, the state ended the last two fiscal years with surpluses, including $712 million for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

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Michigan taxpayers educate the country and other Granholm travesties

Michigan is like the poor waif looking in at the opulence from a cold frustrating place. The rest of the country is enjoying the feast while Jennifer Granholm is content blaming Bush for our woes and taxing the life out of those of us and businesses struggling to stay.

In a whispy headed attempt to scare tax-payers into “putting out,” she announced yesterday that she would be taking away $125 in funding per public school student and cutting Medicaid funding for hospitals by 6%. Am I shuddering? No, I’m mad!

More news in the past week:

In 2004, 72 percent of Michigan State University’s graduating class secured jobs in Michigan. The following year, that number went down to about 62 percent. In 2006, the percentage of MSU students finding employment within Michigan dipped to about 50 percent, according to Phil Gardner, director of the Collegiate Employer Research Institute at Michigan State University.

In light of this not so new development, perhaps Ms. Granholm should consider cutting the Michigan Promise Scholarship program which gives money to any Michigander high school graduate who merely takes the MEAP or MME standardized test and maintains a measly 2.5 GPA in college, university, technical school, or other approved post high school education.

Students who do not receive qualifying scores on the state assessment test will still receive up to $4,000 after the successful completion of two years of postsecondary education with at least a 2.5 GPA associate’s degree, two-year certificate, vocational education program or 50 percent of the academic requirements for a bachelor’s degree).

Bolding mine – So they don’t even have to complete the degree requirements.

Oooh, free money:

Scholarship and grant amounts that exceed tuition, fees and books are considered to be taxable income and are to be reported as such on income tax filings. For more information, discuss with a financial advisor.

So Granholm wants to tax Michigan out the whazoo scaring away potential employers and rich elderly tax payers:

Comerica Inc. was founded in 1849 in Detroit and the Detroit Tigers play in Comerica Park, but this week the bank holding company announced it is moving its headquarters to Dallas–where, it said, the bigger growth opportunities are. Consider it one more vote of confidence in the state the national expansion forgot, and especially in Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s economic agenda.

Re-elected last year, Ms. Granholm recently rewarded the voters by announcing some $1 billion in new fees and tax increases. The plan would charge Michigan residents higher levies for almost every activity inside the state with a moving part. She would tax trucking, shopping, smoking, hunting, fishing, drinking beer and liquor, using a cell phone and, yes, even dying.

Her plan does complete the phase-out of the state’s hated “single business tax,” which the Tax Foundation has called one of the most anti-growth business taxes in the nation. She should have stopped right there. Instead the Governor wants to create a new corporate income tax as well as a new 2% excise tax on upwards of 100 business services. The net effect would be to raise Michigan’s overall business tax burden. She’d also impose a 5% death tax on estates valued at more than $2 million–which is a sure way to encourage even more Michigan retirees to relocate to Florida.

Then she subsidizes college educations with our tax money and the graduates are fleeing the state to find jobs. Talk about an absurd investment into Chicago’s future with kisses from Michigan.

Kelley Bishop, executive director of career services at MSU, said a growing number of Michigan students are making a home in Chicago. A survey taken by his office on graduating MSU students found that, in 2003, 6 percent of the student population relocated to Chicago. In 2004, that number grew to 8 percent; 2005, 12 percent; and 2006, 15 percent.

thebobs.jpgBring on the “Bobs” to clean out Michigan Government. They certainly couldn’t hurt it any more than Granholm and her pals already have.

Just wondering Ms. Granholm…where’s all that extra revenue our state was supposed to see from the mandatory delay in the start of the public school year until after Labor Day?

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CAIR’s latest attempt at protecting our civil rights

Please take time to read this story at The Gathering Storm:

CAIR’s latest attempt at protecting our civil rights are charges against a California middle school teacher, Randy Ingram, who had the courage to state to his sixth grade class the obvious – that Iran has sworn to destroy the state of Israel.

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Death for blogging – Free Kareem

Came to this story via Michelle Malkin who has more.

His family has disowned him, his own father is calling for his death if he does not repent, and his lawyer is not hopeful.

Background:

Egypt has once again been cracking down on freedoms of expression in cyberspace and recently arrested a 22-year-old law student blogger, Abdol Karim, for being critical of Islam in his posts.

Mr Karim, known in the blogosphere as Kareem Amer, was detained on November 6 in his home city of Alexandria. A website has been set up to campaign for his release.

Amnesty International has been campaigning against online censorship and the jailing of bloggers around the world. Reporters Without Borders has responded to Mr Karim’s case with scathing criticism, and, at the weekend, a string of Egyptian human rights organisations condemned his incarceration.

According to reports, Mr Karim has been charged with several offences, including defaming the president of Egypt, incitement to overthrow the regime and incitement to hate Islam.

Alaa Abd el-Fatah, another blogger detained by the Egyptian authorities earlier this year, and later freed, says that the jailing of Mr Karim is much more troubling because he has been targeted for his religious views.

Reporters Without Borders says that earlier this year Mr Karim was expelled from his university, the Islamic University of al-Azhar for criticising the Egyptian government’s “religious and authoritarian excesses”.

Campaigners for Mr Karim have said it is particularly worrying that the university was involved in trying to stop Mr Karim’s blogging.

When I read stories like this, for some reason my mind wanders back to the drivel of that insufferable dipstick that has boosted ratings on The View (no, not Elisabeth Hasselback).

Thank you again Rosie for making it all so clear. Will you be speaking up for Kareem, Rosie? Just wondering…

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Imagine the NYT soliciting donations on behalf of Mohammed Atta’s family

I read this on Debbie Schlussel’s blog:

Can you imagine The New York Times writing a sympathetic piece about how Mohammed Atta’s family needs money to fly him for burial in Egypt?

It may sound twisted indeed, but not far from what actually appeared in a story about the Trolley Square killer in Salt Lake City’s Desert Morning News:

The family on Wednesday arranged for their son’s body to be picked up at a mortuary. It is to be sent to Bosnia for a funeral. The father will fly back to bury him, and the family is in need of donations.

Okay, if you have trouble with the terrorist parallel; submitted for your approval (or not) from and article by Robert Spencer in FrontPageMag.com:

Talovic joins an unfortunately growing list of Muslims who have committed random acts of violence, only for officials to assure us that their actions have nothing to do with terrorism. Maybe none of them do, but the list is full of troubling details:

  • On January 31, Ismail Yassin Mohamed, 22, stole a car in Minneapolis. He went on a rampage, ramming the stolen car into other cars and then stealing a van and continuing to ram other cars, injuring one person. His father told officials that Mohamed was suffering from mental problems; his mother added he had been depressed and hadn’t been taking his medication. During his rampage, Mohamed repeatedly yelled, “Die, die, die, kill, kill, kill,” and when asked why he did all this, he replied, “Allah made me do it.”
  • Omeed Aziz Popal, a Muslim from Afghanistan, who killed one person and injured fourteen during a murderous drive through San Francisco city streets in August 2006, during which he targeted people on crosswalks and sidewalks, identified himself as a terrorist after his rampage, according to Rob Roth of San Francisco’s KTVU. Later the murders were ascribed to Popal’s mental problems, and to stress arising from his impending arranged marriage.
  • On July 28, 2006, a Muslim named Naveed Afzal Haq forced his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. Once inside, Haq announced, “I’m a Muslim American; I’m angry at Israel,” and then began shooting, killing one woman and injuring five more. FBI assistant special agent David Gomez stated: “We believe…it’s a lone individual acting out his antagonism. There’s nothing to indicate that it’s terrorism-related. But we’re monitoring the entire situation.”
  • In March 2006, a twenty-two-year-old Iranian student named Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove an SUV onto the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, deliberately trying to kill people and succeeding in injuring nine. After the incident, he seemed singularly pleased with himself, smiling and waving to crowds after a court appearance on Monday, at which he explained that he was “thankful for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah.” Officials here again dismissed the possibility of terrorism, even after Taheri-azar wrote a series of letters to the UNC campus newspaper detailing the Qur’anic justification for warfare against unbelievers, and explaining why he believed his attacks were justified from an Islamic perspective.

None of these were terrorist attacks in the sense that they were planned and executed by al-Qaeda agents. And it is possible that all of them were products of nothing more ideologically significant than a disturbed mental state, although it is at least noteworthy that each attacker explained his actions in terms of Islamic terrorism.

Add to this, Michelle Malkin’s Random gallery of “lone” shooters and her addition to it yesterday.

Talovic’s family cries, heartbroken not knowing where he got these ideas or the weapons; insisting there must have been an outside influence.

He repeatedly insisted that he had never seen his son with a gun. He said he did not know where his son got the weapons and ammunition.

“I think somebody’s behind him, somebody’s trailing him,” he said.

Asked to explain what that meant, his sister, Ajka Omerovic, said, “He wants to tell you that he thinks there is somebody who push him to do that.” Does he have any idea who? “No, really, no. We want to find out, just like you guys, all other people,” she said.

“He think that somebody like, I don’t know, behind all of that, set up Sulejman.” This person told him to shoot people, she said, relaying the father’s feeling.

It sounds like Talovic’s own father has suspicions that his son was influenced by someone else. Someone having access to a lot of weapons. Someone who wants to see unsuspecting Americans dead. Was Talovic a lone Jihadist? Who could have influenced him if he was such a loner?

An Islamist extremist Internet site last week published a book that directs terrorists on “how to fight alone.”

Written by Al-Hakaymah, the “Guide for Individual Jihad” suggests ways to kill the enemy when one is fighting alone.

The recommended methods include stabbing, feeding overdoses of cocaine or heroin, injecting air via needles, assassination with guns, burning down homes, putting poisonous snakes in cars, tampering with car brakes, planting explosives in vehicles, running over people, and luring people and then killing them.

The book also highly recommends poisoning targets and includes various methods of preparing and obtaining lethal toxins, including botulism. The book also gives instructions on making improvised explosives.

“These ideas, ways, and methods are subject to development and improvisation,” Al-Hakaymah stated.

Of course, how very politically incorrect and Islamophobic to even suggest that there might be a connection that should at the very least be explored. Debbie Schlussel raised the question; why didn’t anyone take the computers from the Talovic house. If for no other reason (like finding jihadist sites in the history), then just to see where his head was, who was he talking to online, did he warn anyone, did he type up some sort of “Will” or explanation!

We’re not permitted to question why he did it, especially if the questions involve Islam.

The Guardian sneers at LGF, Jihad Watch

In “Playing with fire” in The Guardian, Dan Glaister reduces himself to vilifying Charles Johnson and me for asking politically incorrect questions, and demonstrates the intellectual bankruptcy of his position by offering no arguments against the questions we have raised. Just sneers.

“Salt Lake Jihad?” asks David Horowitz’s conservative Frontpagemag.com. The question refers not to some Latter Day Saints-Osama Bin Laden merger but rather to speculation about the shootings at the Trolley Square shopping mall in Salt Lake City on Monday. While much has emerged about the shootings, and about the shooter’s family background in Bosnia, the conservative blogosphere, such as it is, is awash with suggestions that the mainstream (as in, liberal) media has deliberately suppressed the fact that Sulejman Talovic, the 19-year-old perpetrator, was Muslim.

“Conservative” = evil. “Such as it is” = insignificant — albeit apparently significant enough for a full denunciation in The Guardian. “Suggestions”: i.e., not statements, and in fact just questions, but never mind. They were the wrong questions.

Glaister goes on to denounce Little Green Footballs for noting that the media did not report the Salt Lake killer’s Islamic faith, and parrots many of the charges made in the Deseret Morning News.

I enjoyed reading LGF’s response. Here is a tiny bit:

This is where the media are heading, and the British are getting there first. If you suspect Islamic terrorism when a Muslim commits mass murder, and say so publicly, you’re going to be attacked and derided as a bigot. The fact that Islamists launch mass murder attacks around the world nearly every single day is immaterial; the vital job of journalists is to make sure there is no “backlash,” and they’ll withhold information to prevent it.

Never mind that there has never been such a backlash, not even after September 11. Journalists like Glaister are sure there’s one just waiting to happen, and if it does, it will be the fault of those idiots who think facts and truth are important.

Read the rest here.

Don’t question and don’t satire.

Don’t do anything.

update.png As the commentor below points out – it has been reported that Talovic did not have a computer.  However, Debbie Schlussel is still disputing the possibility that a computer may have existed because of inconsistencies in information from the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Reported by the Balimore Sun:

Armed with a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol, a bandolier of shotgun shells under his trench coat and backpack full of ammunition, Talovic began “shooting anyone and anything he could point his gun at,” Police Chief Chris Burbank said Friday.

It is a question that might never be answered: Why did 18-year-old Talovic shoot nine strangers, killing five, at the upscale mall just east of downtown. His heartless 7-minute rampage ended only when police managed to cut him down in a Pottery Barn Kids store.

He left nothing behind — no notes, no journals, no computer — that might explain his motives, Burbank told The Associated Press.

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Merit pay, an anathema for teachers’ unions?

It seems simple. Someone does a great job and he is rewarded – typically with more money in a capitalistic society. If he does a poor job; he is not rewarded. In many facets of business and society, it works brilliantly. Common sense tells us that creating a such a sytem would motivate any employee, including teachers:

Bush seeks teacher merit-pay funds

President Bush wants more money in the 2008 budget for a fund that encourages performance-based pay systems for teachers — a request that will no doubt feed into the larger debate on Capitol Hill about how best to attract, create and retain effective teachers.

The administration is asking for $199 million for its Teacher Incentive Fund, which was created in 2006. The fund provides financial incentives for teachers and principals who improve student achievement in high-poverty schools and helps to recruit top teachers to these schools. Rewards are left up to the states to decide and can include bonuses or raises.

Dangle reward. Do well. Receive reward. It’s not climatological science! We’re taught this system as very young children even before we enter school. A reward is often a motivator for good behavior, completing chores, kissing Great Aunt Ethel. For children entering school, grades become the reward; though some teachers have been known to give out candy and trinkets to motivate their students. Public school teachers are well aware of this cause and effect response.

However, public school teachers are union members and the rules of the motivation system somehow do not apply.

The top teachers union has criticized the fund.

Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, recently said the setup “is nothing more than a merit-pay system, and merit pay hasn’t worked wherever it has been tried, for the most part.”

Far from spurring teachers on to greater effectiveness, extra bonuses for some and not others simply “creates tension” between teachers and kills any teamwork, he said.

“It doesn’t work and it’s not going to do anything to attract and retain quality teachers,” Mr. Weaver said. What will work is getting teachers involved in the decision-making process, giving them a safe and orderly school and a decent salary, he said.

My question is, what does motivate our public school teachers to do their best? If it’s pride in their job and students, then why would attractive salaries be a motivator? Reg Weaver is wrong and his positing otherwise is a glaring show of the disconnection between teachers’ unions and reality.

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Barbara Curtis talks about black candidates and liberal prejudice

Pointing out this article that I read on Barbara Curtis’ Mommy Life blog this morning. She must be a carpenter because she hits a lot of nails right on the head. Here’s a snippet, but please read the entire article for yourself:

As Americans, we really need to ask ourselves how much of our opinions are due simply to media distortion. We all need to humble ourselves and pray that God will help us see through the constant manipulation of our minds to get to the truth. You must read what candidates say and never forget to measure that against what they do.

I will say one thing: the leftist media favors light-skinned liberal black people – especially those with more Anglo features. They cannot handle someone like Alan Keyes or Clarence Thomas because they look more black and they do not conform to the liberal agenda. Blacks are not allowed to think for themselves in this country.

In bygone days uppity blacks did not know their place and they were lynched. Today uppity blacks do not know their place as defined by the left and they are lynched in the media.

Alan Keyes was guilty on three counts: dark black color, Christian, and conservative – so he was even more villified by a media which thrives on savaging any Christian conservative – white or black or brown.

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