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Terri Lynn Land is a climate denier, pt. one million

by: Eric B.

Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 10:11:01 AM EDT

Politico has an article this morning about Gary Peters and climate change and the Senate campaign. Peters position on climate change is pretty clear, and has been for the better part of a decade. His opponent?

As for her own views, Land wrote that there “is no denying that the climate is changing and we must take measures to protect the environment.” When asked how much of that change is caused by humans, Land spokeswoman Heather Swift said in an email that “Terri believes we need to keep an eye on it; but she doesn’t believe we should put a meter on the business end of a cow, like the EPA does.”

This is Do Nothing climate denier-ism. She says it's real, but doesn't want to do anything about it. That means she doesn't think it's a terribly pressing problem. If she thought it was a terribly pressing problem, she'd want to do something. But, she doesn't, which means that she rejects the scientific community's near universal consensus that it's  serious problem that demands swift, comprehensive action. That makes her a climate denier, and an ignoramus.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Democracy today was diminished

by: Eric B.

Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 14:33:02 PM EDT

I am told by teh Twitters that right now in our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect that deliberations are now under way that would enshrine wolf hunting and undermine two successive citizen petitions to adrss what our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect has done.

Occasionally, I'll get asked about the Dunning-Kruger effect: It's not that really stupid people think of themselves as very smart, as most people tend to think, but the idea that highly competent people also tend to understand the limits of competence and think of themselves as less competent than truly incompetent people, who are unaware of how incompetent they really are.

This definition brought to you by today's debate on the wolf hunt.

Update! ... The deed was done.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Koch stooge refers to Michigan Senate race as an "uphill climb"

by: Eric B.

Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:13:33 AM EDT

America's favorite journalism equivalent to a kidney farm got their hands on audio from a Koch brothers retreat, or at least a retreat of their paid-for stooges, Hilarity ensues.

Such discussion is franker than that offered during the daily grind of the campaign trail -- for obvious reason. The talk was private. At one point, Cotton flatly claims that former Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his seat because he "endorsed immigration principles." At a separate panel on congressional races, the audio of which was also sent to The Huffington Post, officials with two Koch-funded organizations -- Americans for Prosperity's president, Tim Phillips, and Freedom Partners' president, Marc Short -- also spoke more candidly about Senate races than they would have on a public panel.

"Michigan is a state that's basically an uphill climb honestly," said Short, mentioning the battle to replace Sen. Carl Levin (D).

Basically and honestly, he sez.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Chad Selweski continues his efforts to not understand what constitutes an actual big deal

by: Eric B.

Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 12:59:50 PM EDT

Barring some miracle Hail Mary by Fried Chicken Frank, this is going to be the worst example of political journalism you'll read at any Michigan media outlet all week.

Senate candidate Gary Peters’ recent purchase of coal company bonds marks the second time in a week that revelations about his personal investments clash with his campaign commitments to champion environmental causes.

The first time, of course, was the revelation that part of Gary Peters' diversified investment portfolio was that it had foreign petroleum holdings. It was not, in fact, evidence that his personal investments clash with his committment to environmental causes, since the burning of petroleum, while unfortunate, is still an unescapable reality. Saying that someone is an environmental hypocrite over a modest investment in foreign petroleum is like saying that Al Gore is an environmental hypocrite because he flew on an airplane to accept his Nobel Peace Prize for An Inconvenient Truth. It's not anything any adult takes seriously, and is mostly regarded as important by rightwing zealots and centrist columnists who are always in the market for evidence that "both sides do it," no matter how lame.

As to the investment in question, at least this time Selweski was good enough to attach a number. How much has Peters sunk into bonds for his coal company?

Congressional disclosure forms require members of Congress and congressional candidates to identify the value of their assets in financial categories. Peters reported that his investment in Cliffs Natural Resources was between $1,000 and $15,000. The company’s mines, located in West Virginia and Alabama, produce up to 9.4 million tons of coal annually.

This is every bit as damning as it would be to read a campaign finance form and found that Peters received $200 from a local gas station owner. WOULD HE RETURN BIG OIL'S MONEY? Keep in mind that not so long ago, they were jumping up and down, flapping their arms, and shrieking that Peters isn't a man of the people because he is worth a couple million dollars.

By the way, it has to be pointed out that an actual objective examination of Peters' environmental record would actually be an examination of where both candidates stand on energy  and the environment, since in this case it's actually the other candidate that is trying to tar the other as anti-environment. That would include disclosing the petroleum investments of that candidate and her ties to the people who actually left the giant pile of petcoke lying next to Detroit that got Peters' dander up in the first place.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Michigan's Finest Legal Mind takes a crack at meddling in local affairs

by: Eric B.

Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 10:55:37 AM EDT

I give you the party of small government and individuals deciding what's in their best interests as opposed to centralized planning.


Marijuana decriminalization in Mount Pleasant just got two more voices of opposition in the form of Michigan's governor and attorney general.


Both Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette sent letters to Mount Pleasant's city commissioners care of City Clerk Jeremy Howard denouncing the proposal, which is slated to be on the Nov. 4 ballot. The proposal, spearheaded by marijuana advocacy groups on and off campus, would effectively make the use, possession and transfer of less than one ounce of marijuana legal in the city.

This isn't just a case of elected officials meddling in what ought to be purely local affairs, it's also the case of two elected officials who just simply can't see the writing on the wall and are trying to hold back the river of change with their hands. In the grand scheme of things, marijuana prohibition is only a big deal in the cost that it saddles all of us with in terms of diminished civil liberties and ballooned prisons, but leadership that continues to insist that it remain our stated public policy despite a public that is turning against it and despite decades of experience that tells us that it is failing is probably not going to be forward looking in a lot of things.

File this under "Our attorney general may be the most out of touch office holder in the state." There's good reason for that, of course, which is that he's never held an honest job a day in his life.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

An abortion of democracy, just as the framers intended, says Skunk Works McLellan

by: Eric B.

Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:13:21 AM EDT

Ye Olde Emm Ess Emm loves them some Richard McLellan, the Lansing-area attorney who is often involved in crafting policy. This morning, they ask him about our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect's unprecedented, unique effort to undermine your democratic right to (literally) petition government of redress of grievance. He says it's no big deal. To people who follow these things closely, this might sound familiar, because when asked about his role in Skunk Works, our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan's secret work group (funded by a slush fund, the names of donors to which were kept secret) to redraw education, he said basically the same thing.

But Lansing attorney Richard McLellan, who often is involved in such issues, said state constitutional provisions allowing citizens to petition for new laws don’t mean every proposal has to go to the ballot.

The framers, McLellan said, just “wanted people to have the right to start the (law-making) process. I get a little irritated with these Democrats who’d do exactly the same things for the same reasons” if they had the legislative majority.

It would be great if his irritation were accompanied by, you know, an example of Democrats actually doing this any time in the last three decades. But, this is the way that our democratic discourse has degenerated ... Republicans do something dastardly and incredibly underhanded that diminishes our democratic institutions because they know they wouldn't win in a fair fight and then say that Democrats would do the same thing as if that's some kind of credible excuse, and our political media just kind of sagely nods its head ... because everyone knows that BOTH SIDES ARE EQUALLY GUILTY.

I assume it's a foregone conclusion that the House will vote to move this thing through. If this happens, the only recourse that anyone has is to constitutionally enshrine what would be the right of the citizenry to make its own choices about how to dispose of its property*. That, in turn, will no doubt lead to a lot of hand wringing in our political media about junking up the state constitution. That, in turn, will give me the urge to drink heavily.

*--Once again, it has to be pointed out that all wildlife in the state of Michigan belongs to the people of Michigan. The act of choosing which animals are game species is not really any more controversial than the act of any property owner choosing how his stuff is managed. The party of property rights and opposing taxation on the grounds that individuals know better how to dispose of their property -- money -- than government aren't so much in favor of property rights and individuals knowing better how to dispose of their property -- wildlife -- when suits them.

Update! ... Just so we're clear, state policy is being crafted in a way that diminishes your democracy on behalf of people like this.

Two Upper Peninsula hunters, under investigation for videotaping hunting dogs mauling a coyote, are also being investigated for running down a coyote with a truck, then filming the injured animal before killing it.

I am not the slightest bit interested in hearing attempts to disconnect the two by saying that coyotes and wolves are different species or that it is terribly unfair to tar every hunter with the actions of two assholes who apparently might not get punished for torturing injured animals. It's the same thing. Same god damned thing. These assholes killed coyotes for fun. There is no legitimate need to hunt wolves. You don't eat them, and if you have problem wolves, you don't punish the entire wolf population with what are essentially random killings. You deal with the problem animal. So, the only reason to hunt them is for sport, which is the same thing as killing them for fun. When you allow people to kill things for fun, this is an outcome that you can expect. Our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect isn't just diminishing our common sense of democracy, it is also bringing low our common humanity ... and standard-issue Lansing Bubble insider Richard McLellan gets a little irritated that you might object to that.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Weekend Open Thread: Conventionally speaking

by: Eric B.

Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 11:39:06 AM EDT

So, lots of you are at the Democratic convention today and some of the those of you who aren't are following the Republican convention on teh social medias. I understand that the latter they've banned peanuts and popcorn lest things get out of hand and the circus animals start throwing it around.

For everyone, this is your official open thread on the weekend. Enjoy the warmth.

Discuss :: (28 Comments)

While you were away, a mockery was made of democracy

by: Eric B.

Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 11:26:03 AM EDT

Actually it was while I was away, and I heard about it via e-mail. Thanks for ruining part of my vacation, jerk (you know who you are), and thanks for sapping my phone of precious battery juice that might have otherwise allowed me to snap a photo of the toilet at the trailhead.

Anyway, this happened.

Has the will of the people been usurped by the Legislature so that we no longer have a voice? This happened recently with the minimum wage petition, which prompted the Legislature to raise the minimum wage in a ploy to thwart Democrats from coming to the polls to vote on raising minimum wage. The Legislature’s pending vote on hunting wolves will thwart Public Act 21, rendering the voice of the people, on the separate ballot issue to protect Michigan’s wolves, pointless.

We need transparency, not further deception. A rushed vote is reminiscent of how Michigan’s right-to-work legislation was passed. This Legislature seems to forget that it works for the people, not the other way around. I am hoping that the initiative submitted by the Citizens for Wildlife Management will be voted down, restoring confidence to the voters that this state is still a democracy.

It's a letter ot the editor written by Linda Samelson of West Bloomfield, not an actual unsigned editorial.

Where are the state's editorial boards on this? This wasn't just about allowing people to kill animals for fun, which it is. This is also about a concerted campaign to prevent people from making use of a democratic process specifically built into the state constitution to redress grievances with shit done by our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

Another day, another scandal involving former NERD-paid, Skunk Works mastermind Richard Baird

by: Eric B.

Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 08:17:33 AM EDT

So, this broke last night.

LANSING — A top aide to Gov. Rick Snyder says he’ll immediately pay local property taxes that he says were “inadvertently” exempted on his Lansing-area house at the same time he took a similar exemption on a long-time home in the Chicago area.

Not just that, but he also appears to be registered to vote in both Illinois. It's some of that voter fraud the Republicans have been warning us about for years.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Like professional wrestling, except with more colorful characters and less believable story lines

by: Eric B.

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 13:00:00 PM EDT

You can tell that this weekend's Michigan Republican Party convention is going to be great when the selection of delegates prompted this sort of news copy.

Waterford Township sent at least six uniformed police officers and an undisclosed number of plainclothes officers, which the county party will pay for, Thienel said.

“The tea party people have advocated throwing chairs if they don’t get what they want,” Thienel told The Detroit News before the meeting.

It's hard to know if he's serious or if he's posing for the cameras, so to speak, and playing to the Tea Party's reputation for getting on with others ... but, damn, doesn't it sum those people up nicely? As Charles Pierce notes, we have to assume that he's talking about the chairs themselves and not the people occupying them.

Presumably, when Mr. Thienel says that the Tea Party people advocated "throwing chairs," he meant furniture, and not the people sitting in them, as in, "The Chair rules that Delegate Crackbottom is out of order and should get down off the damn chandelier."

Keep in mind that this is coming out of Oakland County, which is not just our most prosperous county but also supposed to be the most refined one in the state.

And, of course, what will these people be asked to decide this weekend, besides to leave the furniture alone?

“Brian is an outstanding lieutenant governor,” Snyder said Tuesday evening after addressing supporters at a new Republican Party office in the Ann Arbor area. “I believe he’s the best in the country. He’s a strong voice in our administration, and he’s made a difference on a lot of important things.”

Calley will be challenged Saturday by tea party organizer Wes Nakagiri, who contends the lieutenant governor has not done enough to move the Snyder administration in a more conservative direction.

Yes, our current lieutenant governor was most effective in getting lawmakers to pass an expansion of Medicaid while his boss was in Israel. Of course, with the loon crowd who want him tossed off the ticket, not being able to move the governor's agenda through the Legislature, which is what he was sold as in the first place, is probably not a reason to bounce him off the ticket, since Medicaid expansion is one of the reasons Nakagiri thinks that unless he's given a job of serious importance in government -- a job he is otherwise unqualified to hold -- the Republic will implode into a neo-Roman supernova.

This all is great, especially if you don't live in this state where you have to deal directly with the fallout of this clown show.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

The taste is ever sweeter when the flesh you feast on be that of your own

by: Eric B.

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 11:18:10 AM EDT

Social conservatives are outraged that business interests aren't terribly enamored with their "Gays burn in Hell" routine. From MIRS.

Social conservative activists raised questions this morning about a combined $100,000 in contributions given to House Speaker Jase BOLGER's leadership PAC by a pair of prominent business executives involved in promoting gay rights issues.

MIRS reported last month that Bolger's "Restore Michigan Fund" received $50,000 from Tim GILL, a Denver software entrepreneur known for his support of LGBT issues (See LGBT Activist Gives $75K To Bolger, Foster Leadership PACs," 7/25/14). Days after the state closed the books on the reporting period, Bolger reported a $50,000 late contribution from Wall Street investor Paul SINGER, founder of the American Unity PAC. 


Detroit Pastor Stacy SWIMP and others within his "Black Christian Pastors" wrote in a press released today that Bolger and the Michigan Republicans "dance with the devil" on Elliott Larsen.

The pastors said Gov. Rick SNYDER and other Republicans risk losing the votes of Christian families in the upcoming 2014 general election "if they rush to hop in the same political bed with homosexual activists."

I'll let you make the jokes about Rick Snyder jumping into bed with homosexual activists. That sort of precision humor is currently beyond me. As for Stacy Swimp. I'm glad to see that they've stopped referring to him as The Rev., since there are legitimate questions as to whether it's a title he's earned. The next step, the next logical step, is to just simply stop referring to him altogether, since it appears that he mostly just speaks for himself.

If you have access, you'll get the added privilege of seeing Mad Jack Hoogendyk make a reappearance. This is gratifying, since I think most of us assumed that he died during the massive implosion of his last campaign to win office.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

And now, a word from our ... awwww, nuts

by: Eric B.

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:29:40 AM EDT

Another day without a sponsor is like a cup of coffee with no coffee, or a cup of tea with no cup. It's just a puddle of liquid sitting around on the counter. In another day or so, I'm going to break out photos of sad clowns and puppies and stuff if we don't get a sponsor for MichLib for the next while. And, if there's one thing you people can count on, it's me making good on threats to punish you. It's what I live for.

What does your sponsorship get you? Aside from a prominent place on a website read by media and political people -- activists, elected officials, journalists, staffers, etc... -- and a cheap introduction, you get to contribute to our efforts here not just to point out the harrowing inconsistencies and hypocrises in the media, but why things we generally think are important are important and why things we generally think are unimportant are unimportant. That includes our ongoing efforts to stop the media from making big deals out of trivialities, and to ridicule the stupider side of politics. Also, I'm mostly recovered from last week's backpacking trip, so content should be rolling by this afternoon. You support that, too.

How much does it cost? $360 a month, $100 a week, or $25 by the day. It's peanuts, but they're peanuts that this circus clown would be most gratified to have.

If you're interested, please drop me a line at ebaerren@michiganliberal.com, via text message at 517/881-8008 or over teh social medias [sic]. As past sponsors with special requests can attest, I'm really very flexible in working with people.

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No, Gary Peters' investment in a French oil company does not raise eyebrows

by: Eric B.

Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 17:25:09 PM EDT

Chad Selweski found a post at the Detroit News opinion blog thing that he linked to because it was supposed to do what Chad Selweski like to do, pretend that everyone is equally terrible so you don't have to take a position on someone's awfulness. In this case, it's Terri Lynn Land's awfulness as a candidate and the mysterious $3 million and whatnot. Or, in the case of the original post that Selweski links to, a portion of Gary Peters' investment portfolio.

Kudos to Brandon Helderop, a New Hudson freelance writer, who has reportedly uncovered a glaring bit of hypocrisy in Senate candidate Gary Peters’ personal finances.

A Republican activist, Helderop wrote on his blog that the Democratic congressman, who paints himself as pro-environment and anti-Keystone pipeline, has a large investment in a French oil company, Total S.A. France. According to the company’s website, they are the fifth largest publicly-traded international oil and gas company in the world.

How large an investment, what percentage of his total portfolio is invested in oil? We're never actually told, only that it's large. So, what about the hypocritical nature of this particular investment? It's pure "Al Gore flies in jets, so he doesn't care about climate change" nonsense. It's expecting someone to hold themselves to a standard that you yourself set for them and that is arbitrary and unrealistic.

First off, Total S.A. isn't behind the Keystone pipeline. A Canadian pipeline company is. Second, petroleum isn't the same thing as the petroleum-like substance synthesized from Canadian tar sands. Third, the only way this smacks the slightest of hypocrisy is if Gary Peters has ever in his life said that we need to stop burning all petroleum right this instant, which not only hasn't ever happened but would be, well, an insane thing to say (we should stop burning petroleum, but we are currently dependent upon it).

So, there's no "glaring hypocrisy" or anything else here. It's just that Gary Peters' investment portfolio includes holdings in energy, which if you want an investment portfolio that is, you know, successful, you probably want.

This is great stuff for rightwing bloggers to flog. These people are mostly bellowing and shouting the same kind of thing about Tom Steyer just as they did it when they discovered that Al Gore's house used a lot of electricity (also that Al Gore at one point was heavy). This is the sort of thing that works to whip the rubes into a right frenzy and into believing that they're on to something. In some circles, Al Gore's energy use is still considered a reliable excuse to say that climate change is a myth.

Chad Selweski isn't a rightwing blogger, however. He's a centrist columnist who should know better than to fall for this sort of thing. Hopefully anyone who reads his post will be smart enough not to join him.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Bridge says that governor was lying when he lied about pension tax

by: Eric B.

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 12:30:00 PM EDT

The thing I hate the most about Very Serious Person-driven political truth squading is the tendency to try to parse things down to finite details rather than just simply coming out and saying something. For instance, when our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan helped scale back Michigan's pension tax credit, everyone recognized that while it was technically ending a tax credit that it was in fact a new tax on pensions, which had been previously safe from taxation. Everyone understood this because of the very simple cause-and-effect relationship involved: Income from pensions that was previously untaxed because of a tax credit were now subject to the income tax.

Earlier this summer, our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan tried to get out from under that by telling a room from olds that it wasn't actually a pension tax. Everyone kind of laughed because it was so bald faced and obvious. Bridge this morning finally got around to flagging it as a "foul."

For those keeping score at home, it was a more significant lie than last year's PolitiFact's lie of the year, which was the president saying that if you like you insurance that you could keep it. What makes these different is that when people's health insurance got canceled, it was mostly the insurance companies doing the canceling and not the president. This is a public official who is actually responsible for something and trying to duck accountability for it by passing it off as something that it ain't.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

If'n you please, no longer refers to Michigan simply as "a dump"

by: Eric B.

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 12:11:12 PM EDT

"Too much proximity to folly tends to make it seem normal."--Ed Abbey

As some of you already know, I just got back from backpacking yesterday afternoon. I was gone a week, which was apparently just long enough for this to strike me as idiocy of the highest order.

As other states ban landfills from accepting low-level radioactive waste, up to 36 tons of the sludge already rejected by two other states was slated to arrive in Michigan late last week.

Let me sum up the story for you: A landfill in Wayne County is accepting low-level radioactive fracking waste that other states won't accept and that, in the case of Ohio, the state's were recommending Michigan as a destination. Among the many WTF questions from that previous question is just how much radioactive waste is created through fracking that doesn't actually get removed from the well?

This is your addiction to fossil fuels, people, and it's killing humanity's future one day at a time.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)
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