I have made it clear there's a lot I don't like about Michigan's Gov. Rick Snyder. With that being said, he's still a much better governor than his inept, leftist predecessor, Jennifer Granholm. Gov. Tinkerbelle had about as much substance as cotton candy, but got the kid-gloves treatment from an adoring press.
Still, Snyder has never struck me as a man who realizes how badly millions of Michigan residents are struggling. While some of his policies (right to work and business tax cuts, for example) will help the average Joe by stimulating job creation, others are harmful (e.g., a cap on the homestead property tax credit) or betray a shocking disconnect from reality.
A few days ago, Snyder pardoned a politically connected lawyer who was convicted of driving while under the influence of liquor. You'd be hard-pressed to come up with a better parody of self-serving, good-old-boy-network political hackery.
Russ Marlan, a deputy director for the Department of Corrections, was quoted as saying Snyder is interested in "potential pardons where the conviction was inhibiting them from advancing economically or was preventing them from getting a job or was preventing them from financial freedom — from moving past some obstacle in their life." Marlan also said he "didn't know" that the attorney in question, Alan Gocha Jr., was politically connected.
Um, Russ, Mr. Gocha is about as politically connected as a tree trunk to its roots and branches. If the White House has an opening for press secretary or State Department spokesman, Marlan really ought to apply!
SPARTANS WILL -- This year's Michigan State Spartans basketball team may be the least talented that Coach Tom Izzo has ever taken to the Elite Eight. There are perhaps two players who have a shot at NBA careers: Senior guard/forward Branden Dawson, because of his athleticism and defensive prowess, and junior Denzel Valentine, a versatile guard with a nice outside shot and the ability to take it to the rack.
But according to Izzo, this is one of his closest and most tight-knit teams. Excellent team chemistry, in conjunction with the ability and willingness to play tough, lock-down defense and a stellar track record for minimizing turnovers, are what give this squad a chance to compete in the Final Four. On the same token, abysmal free throw shooting (330th in the nation) threatens to cut short their run this afternoon. Here's my prediction for today's tilt with the Louisville Cardinals (2:20 p.m. EST): Spartans prevail in overtime 71-68.
SS DEPART FOR $$ -- Two big-time pro sports figures (Scherzer & Suh) have departed the Detroit scene for greener pastures and larger paychecks. Former Detroit Tigers starting pitcher extraordinaire Max Scherzer and former Detroit Lions All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said sayonara to the Motor City a few weeks ago. Scherzer signed a 7-year, $210 million contract with the Washington Nationals; Suh inked a 6-year, $114 million deal with the Miami Dolphins.
While many fans are wailing and gnashing their teeth, I actually think both teams will be better off in the long run. Often, players who land huge contracts don't live up to expectations. Both of these teams have enough talent on their rosters to be competitive, and freeing up all that cash enables management to allocate it more prudently, signing or trading for other talented players to flesh out the roster.
I have always said it's a horrible idea to hamstring your entire roster just to coddle one prima donna. (One gargantuan salary can also cause jealousy and resentment among other players.) Even if that one superstar does play remarkably well, his performance isn't worth breaking the bank and hampering overall progress.
Hasta la vista, gentlemen.