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28 March 2013

*Uh-oh: “Asian carp are reproducing in more places and under more varied conditions than experts had believed they could, yet another reason to worry about the greedy invader’s potential to infest waterways and crowd out native species, scientists said.”

*Meanwhile, legislation is moving to bar the state Department of Natural Resources from using biodiversity in its decisions.

In January, Burton Barnes, a retired University of Michigan scientist, told a Senate panel, “(Senate Bill 78) is lacking in common sense, ecologically literacy, and vision; it is divisive, counterproductive, mean-spirited; couldn’t be worse. As Mark Twain said of a book he reviewed — it is a cemetery.”

SB 78 passed the full Senate on March 5 by a 26-11 vote. The bill is now before the House Natural Resources Committee.

*That’s some serious inflation. In 2010, the average Michigan driver paid $1,073.52 in insurance premiums, placing the state no. 8 nationally on rates, says the Insurance Institute of Michigan, an industry group. Last week, came out with its cost rankings for 2013: Michigan was no. 2 nationally with an average of $2,520.

Hmm. Had the 2010 figure increased at the rate of inflation, it would be $1,142.99 in 2013. But the actual gap between the numbers represents about a 150 percent increase.

And that’s the state average. In Detroit, auto insurance rates are more – and lead people to do some funny things.

*Globally speaking, the United States doesn’t expect that much from its high school teachers. The U.S. standard for teacher training is below that of most of the other areas of the developed world.

*Good piece at Capitol Confidential on a long-running federal subsidy program for airports: “Evart Municipal Airport has two flights per day, one runway, zero employees and five ‘likes’ on its Facebook page. Yet, the federal government spent $150,000 on the airport in 2012 while state and local taxpayers spent thousands more.”

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