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News and quick-hit commentary from around mid-Michigan ... from the Morning Sun.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Your Monday morning links

Conventional wisdom takes a beating this Monday morning.

Firms nationwide say they're doubling or tripling work forces to upgrade millions of homes, businesses and government buildings to make them more energy efficient, reports The reason? The stimulus spending and an accompanying batch of new tax breaks for efficiency.
CEOs and analysts expect the demand to last, in part due to some fine-print strings attached to the stimulus money that push states to adopt ongoing efficiency incentives.

Steven Henderson asks, in, could a backlash to Gov. Jennifer Granholm -- call it the "Granholm effect" -- threaten what should be a strong Democratic year?

The Swedish government says it won't prop up Saab, the Swedish car company owned now owned by General Motors. reports that the last thing they want is to seem to be bailing out a despised foreign company.

Suzanne Garment, writing an op-ed piece for, says the president was irresonsible in his approach to AIG's bonuses.

And a provocative piece from David Barash on
Marx was wrong: The opiate of the masses isn't religion, but spectator sports.

Go State!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

From the Sunday sites

Add Brighton to the list of school districts closing schools in face of dropping enrollment. reports that parents' battles, including an online petition, went for naught in saving the Miller Early Childhood Center, which currently houses 568 students.

Congress is sending money to schools. But reports that some dollars are going to districts that don't need it, while some poorer districts are getting little. reports that these are tough times for Starbucks. It's been closing stores by the hundreds and laying off workers by the thousands. People started skipping Starbucks even before the recession got really bad. What to do?

How are we dealing with tough times? says thrift and responsibility suddenly sound sexy. Balance, both in lives and in bank accounts, oozes desirability. Instant gratification, by contrast, sounds like the cheap thrill it really is.

How can business prosper in these times? My old friend and editor Jack Telfer at reminds us of how treating customers like they were the people who pay the bills pays off.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday morning reads

Heading into the weekend, check out these must-reads:

The Grand Rapids Press looks at polling data showing Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Rep. Peter Hoekstra as the leading candidates to be the Republican gubernatorial nominee in 2010.

Meanwhile, we're reporting on a non-politician who might seek the office, too.

The Globalist puts together in a simple, easy-to-digest format, a look at the troubles facing General Motors.
Note: It doesn't seem to be a marketing problem or a product problem. It's a health care problem.

Bloomberg News
reports that Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, plans to award $2 billion in extra compensation to about 1 million U.S. hourly workers this year after sales jumped in the recession. Through

How'd the president do on "The Tonight Show?" Well, except for that little Special Olympics gaffe ... Read about it in The First Post.

The New Criterion reports that while supposedly living in a market economy, today’s Russians understand making money by stealing, but not by producing. Efficiency remains a foreign concept. One scholar remarked that Russian spirituality allows people to deal with abstractions but leaves them unable to repair an elevator or television.