Welcome to Michigan, a basket case full of news

285704135_89390e9bb3_zMichigan has long had an outsize presence in the national and even global news digest. That’s due mostly to Detroit; its constant churn of sensational crime, economic decay, political corruption and auto-industry news — and more recently the municipal bankruptcy and revitalization narratives — keep journalists plenty busy here. Add in political developments from Lansing and sports stories from the pro teams or the state’s two B1G Ten schools, and the Great Lakes State often finds itself at the center of the public’s attention.

Today is one of those days — but not for good reasons.

The big morning headline everybody is talking about came from picturesque Mackinac Island, where the Michigan Republican Party is holding its annual leadership gathering amid the fervor of the nominating contest between GOP presidential hopefuls. Classic lede from the Freep:

A huge Republican political gathering on Mackinac Island got under way Thursday night with a barroom incident in which a top official for presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio allegedly threw a punch at a Michigan consultant working for Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

The barroom brawl was indeed captured on video and has since been shared by the likes of Politico, the National Journal and The Guardian. So that’ll probably be the storyline for a conference that in most years generates headlines of modest regional interest.

Meanwhile, Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, the two tea party clowns politicians whose first terms as members of the state House of Representatives went down in flames last week amid a stupefying attempt to cover up their extramarital affair, have both announced their intention to run for their old seats this fall. Because, of course they did, and sometimes words fail.

Courser even told CNN — CNN! — he has “permission” from his wife to run, so let’s all just let that particular domestic dynamic sink in for a bit …

“It really was up to my wife,” he said. “Yesterday, she gave me to go ahead. She said yes, run. She said the people haven’t had the opportunity to weigh in on this.”

Hi, world! No, we’re not all this crazy.

What else, sports fans?

Photo of Christmas, Mich. by James Marvin Phelps

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