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Flood Warning & Areal Flood Warnings

The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids maintains a FLOOD WARNING for the Muskegon river at Croton Dam indefinitely.  While the river is falling, the latest measurement of 12.4' is still more than 3' above flood stage, which is 9.0'.  

AREAL FLOOD WARNINGS remain for Muskegon, Oceana, Newaygo, Mecosta, and Montcalm counties for county and backroads that are under water.  Driving will be dangerous in some cases.  These warnings expire tonight.   

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Congressional approval ratings

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 12:38 AM EDT
Congressional approval ratings story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A new Gallup poll says Congress has sunk to a new low in confidence, respect, and popularity.

In fact, Gallup says it's the lowest level it has found for any institution it has polled since 1973.

Tonight, in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says it's a well-deserved distinction for a group of men and women that has never found a gridlock not to its liking.

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I truly cannot figure out why Congress doesn't get it, but there they are—the numbers from one of the most respected polling outfits in the country say it as starkly plain as it can be said: nine out of ten people just don't like Congress.

And just to be clear—of that ten percent—only six percent of them think Congress is doing an okay job.

In its poll, Gallup also asked people what they thought  of institutions like banks, the Supreme Court,  the Presidency, organized labor, and health maintenance organizations.

But only Congress had a 90 percent disapproval rating.

And guess what? At least one member of Congress agreed. Senator Tom Coburn, of Oklahoma, who won't seek reelection three years from now said Congress' rating was deserved.

"Look," he said, "we're incompetent. I think it fully appropriate."

Sometimes when people see light at the end of their tenure, they respond with unusual honesty.

Most people told Gallup they were fed up with partisan bickering, gridlock, and an inability to get anything done. On top of that, with all 435 members of the House up for reelection every two years, the people worry politicians spend too much time, effort, and money trying to stay in office than they do conducting the nation's business.

Not to mention the fear that Congress men and women become clay in the hands of the big money special interest groups.

Curiously, despite their horrible ranking in the public trust, the same people who hold them in such low esteem do, with great regularity, return them over and over again to their offices in Washington—where the disconnect between the beltway and main street festers and mutates.

How else can we explain the never-ending effort by increasingly radical conservative Republicans to find ways to erode Roe vs. Wade—which is the law of the land on abortion—while remaining gridlocked in its effort to come up with a desperately needed,  fair-minded, effective way to deal with immigration?

Remember the political recriminations against President Obama after the bailout of general motors?

Well, just for the record, the J.D. Power quality survey came out yesterday, and guess who's at the top of the list.

Yep. GMC trucks and Chevrolet cars.

They displaced Toyota and Honda. They're making money.

Has anyone from Congress said "Way to go, Mr. President. Way to go, GM!"

Nope. Not a peep.

But the same Gallup survey does point out that the President has an approval rating of 50 percent.

I do believe that most people who run for office are noble people who believe that, somehow, through their best efforts this country will be a better place.

And then things happen.

Pressures from within, pressures from without.

Lobbyists with their bags of cash and  bureaucrats with their promises for the future. Things happen.

I was friends a number of years ago with a radical liberal lawyer who was a passionate defender of lost causes.  He was invited to speak to the University of Kentucky Law School's moot court graduation dinner.

After a long, rambling speech, he came to his final stern warning and admonition.

"You're all sitting here tonight starry-eyed and anxious to get out there to change the system. But," he said, "I submit to you here that the system has great power, and it will change you long before you change it."

Maybe he was right.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.
Congressional approval ratings
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Business News

Last Update on April 17, 2014 07:32 GMT

WORLD MARKETS

HONG KONG (AP) -- Asian stock markets were mostly lower today, with Japan's Nikkei leading the retreat as investors locked in profits after a strong rally.

Profit taking set in following a sharp rise in Tokyo the day before and as comments from the country's central bank governor left investors unimpressed.

Other regional benchmarks were unable to find direction in spite of optimism in the U.S., where major benchmarks closed at least 1 percent higher, and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank would continue to provide stimulus for the job market.

Trading in some markets such as Hong Kong and Australia was subdued ahead of a long weekend.

Benchmark crude oil rose above $104 a barrel.

The dollar slipped against the euro and the yen.

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

Major business and economic reports scheduled today

WASHINGTON -- Investors today will be taking a close look at the government's weekly jobless claims report.

Also due out is Freddie Mac's weekly mortgage rate report.

There are a slew of companies set to report their quarterly financial results today. All results will be released before the bell.

Among the major companies reporting are industrial giants DuPont and General Electric.

Two big investment banks, Goldman Sachs; and Morgan Stanley, will report earnings.

Also set to release quarterly results today are PepsiCo, Philip Morris International, Union Pacific, Mattel, UnitedHealth and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

FAST TRADING-SUBPOENAS

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- An official familiar with the investigation says the New York Attorney General's Office has issued subpoenas to six firms and sent a letter to another for details about split-second stock trading and any unfair advantages.

The official tells The Associated Press the subpoenas went last week to trading firms including Chicago-based Jump Trading LLC and Chopper Trading LLC and Tower Research Capital in New York. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the subpoenas.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has said advantages in computer hardware and placement enable some traders to get millisecond timing advances on trades.

His office, with New York authority to investigate securities fraud, is seeking details about trading strategies and special arrangements with trading venues.

DISNEY-SECURITIES FRAUD

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A man will plead guilty to securities fraud and pay regulators around $801,000 for using insider information to profit from Disney's $4 billion acquisition of Marvel Entertainment in 2009.

According to the deal filed in Los Angeles federal court Wednesday, Toby Scammell learned from his then-girlfriend, a Disney corporate strategy employee, that Disney would acquire a well-known company she didn't name.

Scammell learned from his consulting company that Disney had previously wanted to acquire Marvel. He bought call options in Marvel stock for around $5,500, and later sold them for $192,000 in profit.

Last month, Scammell agreed to settle a parallel civil case and pay $801,000 to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which will be credited to his fine in the criminal case. He also faces prison time.

VOLKSWAGEN-UNION

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The fight over whether workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee can unionize is moving to Washington.

Two House Democrats said Wednesday they will investigate whether Republicans in that state may have violated "or otherwise run afoul" of any federal laws ahead of a February vote in which workers narrowly opted against joining the United Auto Workers.

Congressmen George Miller of California and John Tierney of Massachusetts say they want to know if any Tennessee Republicans attached any inappropriate strings to the state's $300 million incentive package to get VW to expand the Chattanooga plant.

The union claims the election was tainted by Republicans including U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.

Corker and others have denied doing anything inappropriate.

A hearing on the UAW's complaint is set for Monday in Chattanooga.

YAHOO SEVERANCE

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Yahoo's recently fired chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, left the Internet company with a severance package of $58 million even though he lasted just 15 months on the job.

The disclosure in a regulatory filing may lead to more second-guessing of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to hire de Castro as her second-in-command in October 2012.

Mayer dumped de Castro in January after concluding he wasn't executing on her plan for reviving Yahoo's lackluster ad growth. De Castro had been in charge of ad sales.

Yahoo Inc. previously disclosed de Castro would be getting a severance package, but didn't reveal the amount until Wednesday.

The company's board said most of the severance stemmed from the costs of luring de Castro from his previous job at Google Inc.

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