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MI Morning Update 1-10-09

668 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY

January 10, 2009

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"The plague that has been brought upon us by Rod Blagojevich will be lifted. We will no longer tolerate the culture of corruption that has seized our government. Our duty is to clean up the mess and stop the freak show that has become our government."
– Rep. Jack Franks as Democrats scramble to impeach the Governor of Illinois.

MORNING UPDATE:

4th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT ROUNDUP…the 4th District started their meetings and activities yesterday in Clare. I’ll be heading up there today to be their luncheon speaker. This is a great tradition where members from across the district come together to make plans for the year to come.

MICHIGAN LOOKING AT $1.4 BILLION HOLE… Fiscal analysts projected this afternoon at the biannual Consensus Revenue Estimate Conference (CREC) that the state will collect $917.2 million less in tax money this year than was believed last May. The estimates for FY 2010 were dropped another $444.5 million.

JOBLESSNESS TO HIT 11.3% In ’09…MIRS reports that Michigan is expected to hemorrhage 191,000 jobs as unemployment spikes to 11.3 percent in 2009, which analysts predict will be a "rough year."

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THE REST OF THE STORY:

No further commentary today

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TODAY’S TOP STORIES

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


Illinois House Impeaches Governor

By SUSAN SAULNY

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois was impeached by state lawmakers on Friday, setting the stage for a trial in the Senate, where the governor vowed he would prove his righteousness.

“I am confident that at the end of the day I will be properly exonerated,” Mr. Blagojevich, 52, said at a Chicago news conference in which he cast himself as something of a martyred populist.

The State House of Representatives deliberated less than an hour and a half before voting 114 to 1 to impeach Mr. Blagojevich, making him the first Illinois chief executive to face such a trial. On Thursday, a 21-member bipartisan House committee unanimously recommended the same, citing an abuse of power in the ordinary work of government.

ILLINOIS HOUSE IMPEACHES BLAGOJEVICH

In a dramatic display of anger and solidarity over a political scandal that has made Illinois a national laughingstock, lawmakers on Friday voted 114-1 to impeach disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

It’s the first time in the state’s history that the Illinois House has voted to impeach its governor. The impeachment proceedings will now move to the Illinois Senate for trial. That trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 26.

Blagojevich was out jogging in Chicago while lawmakers in Springfield voted to impeach him. Upon returning from his run, he compared his situation to the loneliness of long-distance running.

The Republican Revival Will Start in the States

By STEVE MOORE

Haley Barbour has a message for Republicans still dispirited by the November elections: "We’ve been in a lot worse shape than this. . . . When I first started working in politics during the Watergate era only 16% of Americans identified themselves as Republicans." He recalls one incident in the mid 1970s when "Mary Louise Smith, the chairman of the party, appointed a committee to change the name of the party. You can’t get much lower than that."

That doesn’t mean the Grand Old Party will storm back into power in 2010 and 2012. "We shouldn’t kid ourselves. Republicans have a whole lot of work to do to win back voters who’ve fled the party. I think the brand damage is much worse than in 1992," is his sobering assessment.

Mr. Barbour is a political-turnaround artist — the Lee Iacocca of party rebuilding. He took over the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee in 1993 during another one of those low points. George H.W. Bush had just mustered 38% of the vote and lost the White House to Bill Clinton. Mr. Barbour recounts that the political wise men all agreed that 1992 was a realigning election, that the GOP had become a regional party of the South, that the conservatives were devoid of ideas, and that the era of Reaganism was over

Six-way race for GOP chairman heats up

By Jill Lawrence, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Republicans plunge into another election campaign today, this one a six-way race for party chairman that has erupted into an argument over how to recover from an unpopular presidency and crushing defeats at the polls.

Half of the candidates to lead the Republican National Committee (RNC) are Southerners: current Chairman Robert "Mike" Duncan of Kentucky, South Carolina Chairman Katon Dawson and former Tennessee chairman Chip Saltsman.

Former Ohio secretary of State Ken Blackwell and former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele are black. Saul Anuzis, the Michigan GOP chairman, is a Harley-Davidson rider, an ex-union member and the son of an autoworker.


No Instruction Manual as Stimulus Bill Takes Shape

By EDMUND L. ANDREWS and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

WASHINGTON — The fresh evidence on Friday of the economy’s downward spiral focused even more attention on two questions: Is the stimulus package being pushed by President-elect Barack Obama big enough? And will the component parts being assembled by Congress provide the most bang for the buck?

With the Federal Reserve having just about reached the limit of how much it can help the economy with cuts in the interest rate, Washington’s ability to end or at least limit the recession depends in large part on the effectiveness of the big package of additional spending and tax cuts that Mr. Obama has made the centerpiece of his agenda.

And with the economy facing what now seems sure to be the sharpest downturn since the 1930s, the financial system balky and the government facing towering budget deficits, economists and policy makers acknowledge that there is no playbook.

Cherry announces 2010 bid as papers uncover outsourcing by his administration

By Nick De Leeuw

You work in and around politics long enough and you get used to campaign spokesmen saying stupid things- nonsensical things even. It happens. They’re trying to walk a fine line between pretending to answer a question, asked or anticipated, while simultaneously delivering their campaign message. Sometimes, though, the goofiness of an official soundbyte is traceable to the simple fact that the man the spokesman is promoting is an utter and complete failure at public service with few redeemable political qualities. Lipstick on a pig, if you will.

Such was the case yesterday when Lieutenant Governor John Cherry officially announced through a spokesman his intention to run for Governor in 2010. (Technically he announced the formation of a campaign committee, but in this game its six of one, half dozen of the other.) Here is how the Detroit News describes the LG:

Cherry, an affable 57-year-old former state senator who has served as the Senate’s Democratic leader, has been Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s right-hand man for six years. Granholm is prevented by term limits from running again.

The Paperless Obama Plan

By JACKIE CALMES

The Obama Plan for economic recovery, so widely anticipated, is already here it seems — or at least as much of it as there is going to be.

Forget the usual detailed documents, cost estimates and announcement fanfare that capital watchers expect for the unveiling of major initiatives. President-elect Barack Obama and his advisers suggested on Friday that he has provided the “framework” of a plan in recent public remarks; now Congress, coordinating with the Obama team, will flesh it out.

Mr. Obama and his advisers “wanted to set the broad outline and, very smartly, want Congress to sort of fill in some of the details,” Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said in an interview. “It just makes sense. There’s a lot of knowledge here on the Hill.”


Gaza fighting continues; truce plan pushed

CAIRO, Egypt — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas today urged both Israel and Hamas to agree to an Egypt-brokered truce to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip. But he singled out Israel, saying it would be responsible for a “waterfall of blood” if it doesn’t accept the deal.

In Gaza today, Israeli forces pounded dozens of targets and edged closer to Gaza City. Southern Israel was largely spared militant rocket fire in one of its quietest nights in the two-week offensive against Hamas.

Abbas is in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials on a truce to end the fighting, now in its 15th day. In a news conference today after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Abbas also stressed that there was no time to waste in ending the bloodshed in Gaza, home to 1.4 million people.


Gas cut by Kremlin highlights U.S. concern over Russian intentions

WASHINGTON: As Russia pinches natural-gas supplies bound for Europe, senior American officials acknowledge they have little power to persuade the Kremlin to change course.

But natural-gas shortages this winter may prompt the Europeans to listen more intently to a case Washington has made for years: that relying on Russian hydrocarbons is risky, and that finding alternative supplies would limit Kremlin opportunities for coercion.

"We can’t force Russia to turn the spigot on," David Merkel, deputy assistant secretary of state for European affairs, said in an interview. He said the United States had been "trying to get Europe to focus on this for a long time — that dependency is something they should not be comfortable with, especially if it is dependency on Russia, which is willing to use its energy as a political tool."

Israel rebuffs UN resolution, pursues Gaza war

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Israel rejected a U.N. resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Friday and warplanes and tanks pounded the Palestinian enclave.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dismissed Thursday’s binding Security Council resolution demanding an "immediate and durable" ceasefire in the two-week-old war as "unworkable".

Israel said Hamas fighters had fired at least 30 rockets into its territory on Friday. No casualties were reported.

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