Wednesday briefing and open thread

Hello and happy middle of the week!

  • Let’s start with a bit on the 2010 Enbridge oil spill:

    The 158 documents and 58 photos will provide the factual basis for the National Transportation Safety Board’s conclusion of what caused the spill, said spokesman Peter Knudson.

    The investigation into the cause of the spill began soon after the spill in July 2010 and aimed to be completed last summer. But given low staffing levels and high number of pipeline-related incidents in the past couple years, it was delayed.

    Low staffing levels. High number of pipeline related incidents. I suspect they are related …

  • After the Incredible Lying Schmidt’s betrayal, House Dems proposed a couple of changes in election law. The changes would have required candidates switching parties to return campaign donations collected prior to the switch, and the other would require the language “formerly a xxx” next to the name of the candidate on the ballot. In other words, a skank like The Incredible Lying Schmidt would be listed as a Republican, “formerly a Democrat.” (Though I don’t think the changes would have applied to Schmidt) Ultimately both amendments failed along party lines. As for Schmidt, he’s willing to return campaign contributions to anyone who requests a refund. So … let’s contact those donors and have them call him for a refund. :)
  • Is Michigan in default to City of Detroit for $220M ?

    Krystal Crittendon, the city’s corporation council and the author of the document, wrote that in addition to the state owing the city $4.75 million for a water bill from the Michigan State Fairgrounds and $224 million in revenue sharing, the state also owes Detroit $300,000 for 600,000 unclaimed property claims being held by the state.

    But Crittendon also acknowledged – and attached as an exhibit — that John Johnson, Jr., the city’s former corporation counsel, concluded in an Aug. 17, 2006, opinion that “the City does not have a legally enforceable claim against the State for the difference in amounts of revenue sharing actually received and the $333,900,000 initially provided in 1998…as there is no clear legal duty incumbent on the State to provide the $333,900,000.”

    And Detroit, she argues, should consider the state in default because on Jan. 3, state Treasurer Andy Dillon is quoted telling Mildred Gaddis on her “Inside Detroit” show on WCHB-AM-1600 that the state didn’t live up to its end of the 2005 deal.

    “The state failed to live up to that 10-year deal and if you add up the last revenue sharing it totals up to $224 million. So we don’t deny that the deal was not kept,” Dillon told Gaddis, according to the documents.

    Detroit v Michigan just gets stickier and stickier.

  • Cap Con is wondering how union friendly language ended up in a Republican bill:

    Language that would have made anyone who contracted to provide services to a school a “public employee” and thus subject to the potential of being unionized will not be included in a newly drafted House substitute bill on teacher pension reform, said House Appropriations Committee Chair Chuck Moss, R-Birmingham.

    And the GOP response:

    He said the inclusion of that clause in the bill was a “blooper.”

    “Now we know it is there . . . it’s a blooper,” he said. “It’s something that slipped though. We’re going to put it out of its misery and get rid of it before we take a vote on the bill. It will come out.”

    I’m conflicted. Do I jump on the fact that they finally admitted that their bills are mistakes, or do I admit that I think the GOP is too afraid to tell the Mackinac Center that they did it on purpose to appease someone? There’s just so much to work with here.

Census Daily

Wednesday, May 23rd. Many things we take for granted in the current U.S. actually had their beginnings in Colonial America. Life insurance is one. While sources vary as to the exact beginning date, it appears to be between 1759 and 1761 in Philadelphia. The first known life insurance company was called the Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers. Given the time and location, it should not be surprising that Benjamin Franklin was involved in setting up the business. Now, there are 946 life insurance companies in the U.S., with nearly 300 million policies in force.

Solidarity forever, brothers and sisters!!!

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