Land O Links

"Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours" -- John Locke, 17th century English philosopher

* Propublica says the EPA has a report linking fracking chemicals to an instance of groundwater contamination in Wyoming. This has huge import for the state of Michigan, where hydrofracturing, or fracking, will be the basis for much of the natural gas extraction in the Northern Lower Peninsula. IF -- and this is one single report about one single incident -- fracking is too risky to use, that does not bode well for the price of natural gas -- and the budgets/cost structures for utilities using natural gas to generate electricity.

http://www.propublica.org/article/feds-link-water-contamination-to-fracking-for-first-time

* If you read nothing else about health care this month, read this piece, which reviews an illuminating dynamic: How do doctors deal with their own deaths?

http://zocalopublicsquare.org/thepublicsquare/2011/11/30/how-doctors-die/read/nexus/

* And if you care about health-care costs in Michigan -- which you should since it directly affects your wallet and savings account -- it would be wise to follow the litigation piling up against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Blue Cross is not your ordinary insurance company. Its current configuration rests, pretty much, on a state law (Public Act 350 of 1980). Ask your state representative or senator sometime to walk you through PA 350 and how it benefits the residents and voters of your district.

http://www.freep.com/article/20111207/NEWS06/112070436/Legal-challenges-mounting-Blue-Cross-Blue-Shield-Michigan?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cp
* "The expiration of the city income tax credit will force anyone who lives or works in a city with an income tax to feel somewhat of a pinch," reports the Saginaw News. According to the Treasury Department the cities that have such a tax are: Battle Creek, Big Rapids, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Grayling, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Hudson, Ionia, Jackson, Lansing, Lapeer, Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, Pontiac, Port Huron, Portland, Saginaw, Springfield and Walker. I haven't done the exact math, but I would guess that this "pinch" is going to hit the majority of families that live in Michigan. It will be interesting to see how that plays out during next year's elections for the state House of Representatives.

http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2011/12/saginaw_accountant_recommends.html

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