Idiot politicians in Michigan

We’re visiting my son in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan this weekend (ugh, lots of snow storms, etc.) We lived in Michigan for years, but left just as Jennifer Granholm took over. Listening to the news on the radio while driving, communities are unhappy because the state has built up a multibillion dollar deficit, and they are shutting down highway patrol stations, local cops, local ems, etc.

But then tonight I see on the news here that the state senate has decided that the state needs to spend money to give every kid in school in Michigan an iPod.

Total idiots.

Indeed, and proving that Democrats in Michigan are almost as stupid as Republicans in Washington when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

Okay, just as stupid, but the effects are confined to one state.

It appears every news story sources back to this Detroit News editorial. I can’t find the actual bill proposing this anywhere on the website of the Michigan legislature.

Detroit lies dead in its never-ending winter. RIP.

Here’s a couple summaries of the recent Michigan House (not Senate) Democrat plan to deal with the budget deficit.

Michigan’s in bad shape, no doubt. Last I saw, it’s got to find a solution to an expected $2.5 to $3 billion shortfall over the next 18 months, and the budget is required to be balanced for the remainder of '07 and the proposed '08 fiscal years. But IMO it’s unfair and disingenuous to reduce the entire Democratic house proposal, containing a mixture of spending cuts and revenue enhancements, to a single soundbite for a $38 million increase (1.3% - 1.5% of the total shortfall) to provide students iPods.

I agree with you about that specific proposal; it seems wasteful unless I see evidence for enhanced learning or higher educational attainment attributable to iPod ownership. There may be something of value in the plan beyond this item, however, if folks take the time to study it and are open to ideas.

P.S. I tried to find a comparable plan to address the shortfall from the Republican members of the MI House. The closest I could find is a proposal to form a committee to examine where Michigan taxpayer money is spent. I know I’m biased towards liberals, but I hope once their recommendations are released, I can assess the whole package, rather than focus on the one or two items that will surely seem extreme to me.

Oh Michigan, exemplar of unchecked replication
Oh Michigan, oh Michigan
The tank the fishes are in
Expansionist in spirit
In letter, borders untamed
Don’t hold us back, don’t hold us back
We must eat Michigan’s brain
Now grow back, Michigan
We miss you again

Well, probably easier to hear about it when you’re here in Michigan. The local news had an editorial on the overall plan, and were bemoaning having to get rid of their local highway patrol support station and reducing their local EMS force (both in process) while the legislature was earmarking $30-40 million to give every school kid an iPod (that amount was more than enough to pay for the cuts being required in a variety of communities in EMS and law enforcement) and another hundred million to pretty up downtowns and something that wasn’t entirely clear that was another couple of hundred million on some museum project.

What on earth is the rationale for this policy proposal?

Even if they went through with it, many kids (most kids, I would guess) would simply sell the government-provided cheese, er, iPod. In effect, it’s a plan to give every kid $250 or so. Which is reminiscent of Ralphbucks, come to think of it, but at least that was a silly policy response to a budget surplus.

jeff- Jason’s point is that this smells of easy to get upset about bullshit. Which it does. That editorial sounds like the fake Rush Limbaugh from that episode of the Simpsons where Burns ran for governor.

Anyway, fuck Michigan.

You say that, but don’t forget that from where we sit, we’re in the perfect position to shit all over your precious Ohio. Mwuahahaha!

Michigan’s term limits are the problem. By the time our politicians have any experience, we kick them out and never allow them back.

It’s ridiculous.

So has anyone found an actual bill proposing this yet?

Yes…

My point is that no one’s produced a document, bill, or quote from someone describing the actual “ipod proposal.” The MI House Democrats link doesn’t mention it; the MI tech news describes it, and sources it to Gillard, but the quoting is all muddy. Is he suggesting the state actually buy every ipods for the kids? That the state should make sure all audio programs use digital audio players? That they revamp their audio learning programs? You can’t tell.

NEW PROGRAMS: One of the most eye-catching proposals is a $38 million plan to equip every student in the state with an Ipod in the classroom. Rep. Matt Gillard (D-Alpena) said the state needs to redesign its education environment and instead of kids checking their Ipods at the door they should be incorporated in the learning process. He said using more individualized learning programs and doing more professional development for teachers is part of that plan.

Yeah, the one senator was on the news in Michigan talking about it - he specifically stated that students should be given the option of an iPod or a similarly priced other brand of MP3 player, with the comment that he wasn’t just trying to help Apple.

Aaah, here’s one.

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan defended the money, saying the $38 million isn’t targeted specifically to buy iPods for Michigan’s 1.7 million public school students. Instead, it’s for ramping up a program called ``21st Century Learning Environments.‘’

The full budget line as approved by Gillard’s subcommittee last week doesn’t even mention iPods or MP3 players, although it says the state should help districts obtain ``distribution tools’’ for digital media.

So, to review: it looks like yon goofball Michigan state senator said it at a press conference. It never made it into even a proposed bill - the one released from subcomittee (on the same day?) didn’t have it. What was actually in there was usual vague “tech program” you get for education.

Therefore, clearly the entirety of Michigan state government is full of corrupt free-spending democratic retards, because one guy said something at a press conference that was never introduced as an actual bill, much less passed. Or something.

Yon goofball is the chair of the sub-committee that appropriates K-12 spending. Yeah, it still has a long way to go before it’s law, but this isn’t the random hippie-cum-legislator who keeps introducing HR 420 “Resolved: A bill to light 'em if you got 'em”.

What do you mean, long way to go? It was never introduced as a bill.

I didn’t realize he was the chair, though. Ugh.

Jason, this isn’t an attack on Democrats - really, everything doesn’t have to break down to democrats vs. republicans. Michigan state politics have had a lot of idiocy over the years I lived there. This is state politicians, who gives a damn if they’re democrats, republicans, or green party, digging a deep, deep deficit and telling local townships they need to shut down some things like highway patrol stations and ems staff, while wanting to stick $38 million into iPods. While the actual bill may merely say “distribution tools for digital media” the chair actually explained when questioned on the news that he means that to be buying every kid an iPod or other MP3 player, and he justified it by saying “We have a great inequity here - rich white children have iPods that they can use to study with by listening to audio books, while poor minority children are put at a disadvantage by having to use paper books.” The guy actually said that - I heard it on the NBC affiliate in Houghton, MI this past week. And they also want to spend quite a few millions on some other superfluous programs that would be OK if you had the money, but they are running up a multibillion dollar deficit - dammit, take care of that and THEN you can decide to buy everyone iPods and spiffy up selected downtowns, etc.

As for the shutting down patrol stations and EMS personnel being hype, I also listened to two local ems people talk on the Marquette ABC affiliate about what they were going to do now that they are fired due to state budget problems and instructions from the state capital on where to cut, and a state senator saying it was “regrettable” that highway patrol stations were being cut but he hoped that the decrease in drunk driving in the state would help.

This is why I titled the thread what I did.