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"There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating -- people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing" -- Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright and author.

* Durable goods manufacturing, as a percentage of total economic activity, is "at or near pre-recession levels for each Seventh District state," says the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The Seventh District includes Michigan. So, if manufacturing is back to health, why is the state's economy less stellar than, say, back in 2000? "The sectors that had the largest negative impact on Seventh District growth were financial activities and government. ... The government sector contracted for the second straight year, with the decline picking up in 2011, reflecting the continued cutbacks taking place in state and local government employment. Relative to the nation, the Seventh District experienced faster rates of decline for the finance and insurance sector and government sector."

* These maps provide evidence that farming -- as distinct from food processing and handling -- is no longer a major employer in Michigan. Allegan County holds the distinction for having the most farmers, by raw numbers, with 2,468, slightly surpassing Hillsdale County. The second map on the page shows crop value per person. Michigan's $345 is barely more than half of Wisconsin's rate, only about a third of Indiana's rate, and about one-fifth of Minnesota's rate.

* The Michigan Tax Tribunal has cut its huge backlog of cases by 65 percent in the last year, the Detroit Free Press reported last month. (Sorry, no link available.) Still, the tribunal has thousands of cases pending. Some in the economics field are arguing that instead of taxing buildings, it makes more sense to just tax the land they use:

* Diplomat Pharmacy in Flintexpects to hire up to 150 more people by the end of the year, reports. Bridge profiled Flint-based Diplomat in September 2011.

* Mlive puts the numbers to what most of us would expect: Riders of motorcycles who do not use helmets suffer more serious injuries when crashes occur. In the first two months after the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder repealed mandatory helmet use, "25 percent of the 129 helmetless riders in accidents suffered 'incapacitating' injuries. That compares to 16 percent for the 525 who wore helmets."

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

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