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Thanksgiving weekend open thread

by: ScottyUrb

Thu Nov 27, 2014 at 12:43:01 PM EST

We can be thankful that:

1. Gary Peters won.
2. Winnie Brinks, Scott Dianda, and Gretchen Driskell won.
3. We won 7 of 8 statewide ed board races.
4. Obamacare is a thing.
5. The Lions won't lose this Sunday.
6. U-M is about to commence a 9-month unbeaten streak.
7. Dave Brandon is no longer AD. 

Add your own in the comments. Or, you know... speculate, kvetch, whatever. Thread's open.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Taxpayer-funded part of Schuette's 2018 guv campaign continues

by: ScottyUrb

Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 14:56:48 PM EST

Not content with meddling in the affairs of people who love each other or want affordable health insurance, Bill Schuette is now meddling in the affairs of other states.    
Court records from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals show Michigan filed an amicus brief on Nov. 12 in the case along with 20 other states.

The brief is asking the appeals court to overturn a federal district court ruling that a Maryland law banning 45 types of assault weapons and limiting magazine size to 10 rounds as constitutional.
 Oh, and which other states are participating?  
Michigan joined West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming in filing friend-of-the-court briefs in favor of repealing the ban on weapons and magazine sizes.
 FWIW, Schuette was recently named to head the Republican Attorneys General Association.
Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Michigan makes list of least friendly states to LGBT people

by: Eric B.

Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 11:34:23 AM EST

This is a God damned disgrace ... Michigan joins the Deep South in hostility towards the LGBT community.

This wave of anti-LGBT violence is part of the reason why Detroit was named the most dangerous city in the nation for gay travelers, and the survey also cited the metro area's dwindling number of gay bars and high poverty rate. Dave Garca, the executive director of Affirmations LGBT center, told CBS that the state's legislature isn't helping matters. "It is still legal to fire people in Michigan for being gay, we can not marry, cannot adopt, and the governor signed away domestic partner benefits for LGBT public employees," Garcia said. He argues it has "created an anti-gay environment across the entire state."

Garcia has a point: The Guardian's 2012 survey showed that Michigan has almost no protections for LGBT people at any level, putting it on par with Mississippi. Whereas fellow Midwestern states Ohio and Kentucky at least allow LGBT people limited adoption rights, Michigan law even goes so far as to ban surrogacy. A recently introduced bill hopes to change the tide of Michigan's LGBT politics by championing employment non-discrimination­ – but only on the grounds of sexual orientation, leaving transgender Michiganders out in the cold. Michigan might be America's mitten, but it's beginning to look a lot like Texas.

We also have an attorney general dead set on fighting marriage equality to the U.S. Supreme Court and a Repulblican Party that named the state's most notorious homophobe to the job of national committeeman, and who refuse to fire him after posting rambling, semi-coherent rants about gays and Muslims on social media.

It's what the suits call, "Competing for talent in a talent-driven economy."

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Does Harvey Santana plan to vote no on a Harvey Santana sponsored bill? (Eliot-Larsen)

by: Eric B.

Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:24:43 AM EST

Emily Dievendorf with Equality Michigan was on Off the Record (P.S. How many Democrats actually went up to Bill Ballenger this year and said, "Hey, this was our plan?") this weekend talking about the bill that would expand the Eliot-Larsen non-discrimination law to include LGBT folks. After the show was taped but before it aired, state Rep. Harvey Santana took to Twitter to let her know that anyone who thinks that every Democrat is on board with it has perhaps jumped the gun.

 

For the record, Emily didn't say she had Harvey Santana's vote. She said they have enough votes to expand Eliot-Larsen, not that they will do it with Harvey Santana's assistance.

More to the point, Harvey Santana is a listed sponsor of the enabling leglslation. Santana has a reputation for occasionally going off the reservation, but who sponsors legislation and then says that he'll maybe vote against it? I asked him, on the very same Twitter in which he made this statement, but he has yet to respond.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Pre-Thanksgiving weekend open thread

by: Eric B.

Sat Nov 22, 2014 at 11:28:06 AM EST

This is y'alls chance to get your open thread on, although I'm not sure what you'll discuss. As for me, I launched a major anti-clutter campaign yesterday in my apartment that is going to involve, hopefully, halving the amount of shit I have laying around. For some reason, the prospects excite me far more than they should.
Discuss :: (4 Comments)

And now, a word from our sponsor

by: Eric B.

Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 23:37:25 PM EST

Off to the left is a photo of Archie Bailey, Genesee County Commissioner for District 7. He's been a Genesee County Commissioner for 12 years, but his public service started with the Berkley school board in 1962. This is also his last year of serving the people of Genesee County District 7 ... at least, he said, for the time being. Next year, he will retire from that seat and although the future for his is an uncharted map, he said he'll get involved with the Innocence Project. He's also spoinsoring Michigan Liberal this week. Please thank him by following the link to his official Genesee County Commission page.

Speaking of thanks, Bailey said he has a lot of people to thank especially his two mentors, Sandy and Carl Levin. With his retirement pending, Bailey also said that he'd like to get in touch with his many friends across the state. If you know him, take this opportunity to reach out, because I think he'd like to hear from you.

As for me, this sponsorship lasts a week, so by Black Friday we'll be sponsorship-less and in the middle of the holiday season. If you think this means I'm going to act all depressing and pathetic and try to play on your sympathies to sponsor this website, then we're probably good, close friends because you know me very well. If you've thought about sponsoring Michigan Liberal before, this is a good time to do it to spare everyone a heaping helping of indignity. Cost is $25 a day, $100 by the week, or $360 for one whole month. Contact me at ebaerren@michiganliberal.com, via text message at 517/881-8008 (there is nothing on earth I hate more than talking on the telephone) or via social media. I'm not a hard man to get ahold of.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

SD-20: McCann requesting recount

by: ScottyUrb

Thu Nov 20, 2014 at 14:35:33 PM EST

The 20th State Senate race was one of the heartbreakers of this election - perhaps the lowest-hanging fruit for us, yet we still lost.

Or maybe not.

Friends,

After much thought and consultation with my family, my team and supporters, I have decided to request a recount of the election results in the 20th Senate District.

More than 80,000 ballots were cast in the race, and the results showed a difference of only 59 votes, or 0.07% of the total votes cast, less than one vote per precinct. We think that this extremely close margin warrants a recount.

We also heard from many voters who expressed concerns about their votes being counted. Multiple issues with finalizing the local results give us enough concern that we believe a recount is appropriate.

Discuss :: (18 Comments)

And we have an answer as to whether the monkey house will be controllable next term...

by: Eric B.

Tue Nov 18, 2014 at 15:30:00 PM EST

Anyone remember that election thing we had a few weeks back? Sure we all do. Immediately afterwards came words, full of wisdom and sobreity, from all corners of Very Serious Personville that the governor had earned a mandate and that all we needed to know is whether a more conservative Republican majorityin the House of Representatives (with weaker, more inexperienced leadership) could be tamed and bent to his will. Today -- the day after one member of that soon-to-be caucus (and who has yet to officially take office) demanded partisan investigations into how the state handled one consultant -- we get the answer.

Tea party darling Todd Courser, now a state representative-elect, wasted little time going on the offensive against his Republican colleagues.

What's more, he's calling for the ouster of House Speaker Jase Bolger -- who only has about nine session days left in his reign -- if the speaker pursues a measure that would prevent discrimination against gays.

Answer: No.

I look forward to watching the reaction -- probably equal parts muted and confounded -- of Very Serious Personville next year when these people start offering up legislation commemmorating the South's victory at Chancellorsville during the War of Northern Aggression.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

CapCon picks up Gary Glenn's ball and runs, immediately clotheslined by real reporting

by: Eric B.

Tue Nov 18, 2014 at 14:41:28 PM EST

Yesterday, we noted that Gary Glenn was demanding an investigation into the high crime committed by the state in paying an expert in healthcare economics to consult on implementing a heathcare product. What we didn't note was that Tom McMillin the committee chairman he wants to investigate this, implied that Jonathan Gruber, the consultant in question, is a fraudster. Today brings word that one of the drones at CapCon has taken up the banner of trying to make this an actual news story

A consultant considered an architect to the federal health care law who said a “lack of transparency” and “stupidity of the American voter” were critical to getting it passed reportedly received $481,050 from the state of Michigan, and a recently elected state representative said he wants an investigation.

Unfortunately for said drone, someone did take him up on this, MLive's Emily Lawler.

A 2012 Michigan contract included $481,050 in state money related to a health exchange under the Affordable Care Act, said Michigan Department of Community Health spokesperson Jennifer Smith, and represented all the money that the state itself spent on state exchange-related activities.

“Regarding state funding, $481,050 in state funds was spent and that money went to the consulting firm Health Management Associates. HMA then had several subcontractors of their own,” Smith said.

It’s clear from the contract that Gruber was to be one of those subcontractors.

In other words, Gruber did get money. Just probably not half a million, the figure being whipped out of shape by people demanding what are thinly veiled attempts to beat on Obamacare in the state Legislature. If McMillin gets shut down, of course, Glenn will actually become a state representative next term with a House Speaker who will probably be more open to catering to the knuckle draggers of his caucus.

For added hilarity, here's the guy from CapCon -- the guy whose "reporting" was corrected by MLive -- talking trash today about MLive.

Psst, Tom ... MLive is in ur base, killin' ur d00dz.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

A hearing today into how to make Michigan less relevant in election years

by: Eric B.

Mon Nov 17, 2014 at 11:53:36 AM EST

They're having a hearing today to advance Peter Lund's silly electoral vote idea. I don't suppose it'll have any impact, because I really don't think the leaders of our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect really care what people think, but Jack Lessenberry writes about it today.

But now State Representative Pete Lund, a term-limited Republican from Macomb County, wants to change that in Michigan, replacing it with a complex system that could have dire national consequences. Lund doesn’t like the fact that Democrats have been winning Michigan in recent presidential elections. Earlier he tried to get a bill through that would have given Republicans most of Michigan’s electoral votes even when they lost the popular vote.

That was seen as too unfair to fly. So now he has a new bill that is almost impossible to understand, but is designed to give Republican presidential nominees a chunk of Michigan’s electoral votes even when they are badly defeated statewide.

This has the potential of doing two things: Making Michigan almost irrelevant in presidential elections, and causing a ripple effect that destroys all public trust in how we choose our leaders.

I don't think people actually have that must trust in how we choose our leaders. I think people are turned off at what politics has become, and have done it mostly because one party has gone batshit insane and the other is too cowardly to fight for anything. What Lund's bill will do is guarantee that the state will become totally irrelevant in presidential elections, because candidates will already basically know how many votes they'll pull out of Michigan and will spend their time campaigning in states with higher payout.

But, we all know that Lund's scheme has nothing to do with increasing Michigan's clout and everything to do with making sure that Republican candidates get something from Michigan ... contrary to how everyone has always done things.

As to the idea of a national popular vote, which is the alternative to an Electoral College vote, it's a worthy idea; and by worthy, I mean it's one that is probably good but might have some unitended consequences that would make it even worse. I just can't think of them. What I am certain of is that if we go to that system, we should do it as a whole country rather than piecemealing it and that if we piecemeal it Michigan shouldn't be leading the pack because that makes us less relevant.

People keep saying that Randy Richardville will kill this thing. I hope so, because the governor has given us zero reason for confidence that he'll do it. I think that as long as he can cobble enough votes together to get road funding that he won't particularly care what has to get broken to get that done because at the end of the day you get the impression that the actual governance part of being governor bores him and that he'd rather spend his time being a CEO.

Discuss :: (42 Comments)

Gary Glenn already using office he doesn't yet occupy to grandstand

by: Eric B.

Mon Nov 17, 2014 at 11:07:35 AM EST

Congratulations, Midland, on being taken to the cleaners two weeks ago.

If outgoing lawmakers don’t have time to investigate the matter during the waning days of the current legislative session, Glenn said he will ask for an investigation when new lawmakers take office in January.

“Taxpayers and those of us entrusted with spending our tax dollars deserve to know why (Gruber) pocketed more tax money from Michigan than from any other state, even more than the Obama administration itself paid him,” Glenn said. “Why did Michigan taxpayers get (stuck) for nearly half a million dollars paying for Gruber’s propaganda pitch for an ObamaCare state health care exchange, which the Michigan House correctly refused to even set up? And who’s responsible for approving this waste of nearly half a million of our tax dollars to justify implementing ObamaCare in Michigan before it was determined the exchange would ever even exist?”

This is all related to the revelation from the Washington Post that Jonathan Gruber, who is the latest Republican anger and fear bogeyman because he said that people are stupid, got nearly half a million dollars from the state of Michigan. Is it true? No, although the Midland Daily News reported it as if it were true (great reporting, guys). Someone was good enough to post the contract to the Internet.

Project Team
The Michigan Insurance Market Modeling Project will be completed through a collaboration of three firms with experience in analysis related to health cost and coverage.

It was noted in the original reporting that sometimes Gruber wasn't the sole beneficiary of these state contracts, that sometimes he worked in collaboration with other people, which is what happened in Michigan ("Not all of the contracts could be found on public Web sites, but here is a sampling. In some cases, Gruber worked with other consultants, so the fees were shared. These figures also might not represent the final payout, and of course these are gross figures, before expenses. But it’s safe to say that about $400,000 appears to be the standard rate for gaining access to the Gruber Microsimulation Model."). How much did the state pay him? The contract doesn't say, only that the project he worked on with two other firms was almost a half million dollar payout. While that ain't chicken feed, it also ain't all that out of line with what he got paid in other states for access to a computer model used to predict health insurance access.

What it certainly isn't worth is the coming months of grandstanding by the Gary Glenn caucus in the state House over Obamacare this and Obamacare that. And that's what this is all about ... Gary Glenn grandstanding because his career has never been about proper governance but about building his own career through grandstanding. He did it for years as the state's foremost homophobe, at the end reduced to meddling in local human rights ordinance conversations and finally getting elected to the House. Congratulations, Midland ... you own this sham.

Update! ... Ezra Klein on this.

In that way, Grubergate is really Obamacaregate. What you think about it isn't based on what Jon Gruber said. It's based on what you think about Obamacare.

This is exactly right. Gary Glenn isn't grandstanding for hearings over a state contract. Gary Glenn is grandstanding for hearings about Obamacare. That's what he really wants, to put Obamacare on trial in the state Legislature by holding hearings into someone closely tied to it. This is about Obamacare, but even more so Gary Glenn trying to buff up his public persona by making it about Obamacare.

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Humor is a good thing: Open thread

by: ScottyUrb

Sat Nov 15, 2014 at 15:03:55 PM EST

Never underestimate the power of satire to make a point. Examples: 

  • The Onion: Republicans Poised to Retain Control of Senate 
  • Borowitz:  Obama Urged to Work Closely with People Suing Him
  • Free Wood Post: American Voters: Things Were Getting Too Good, Time To Crash The Economy Again
  • Borowitz:  McConnell's Election as Senate Majority Leader Annouced with Puff of Toxic Black Smoke

Thread is open for satire, speculatuion, or whatever the heck else is on your mind.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Fear of a gay wedding cake

by: Eric B.

Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 12:36:04 PM EST

Our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect strikes again!

LANSING, MI — Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger on Wednesday proposed a Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act, calling it a necessary companion to new gay rights legislation designed to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Both bills were met with immediate opposition from advocates pushing for broader LGBT protections and face an uncertain future in Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature.

“I believe workers should be hired and fired based solely on their work ethic and their work experience,” Bolger told reporters during a media roundtable. “And nobody should be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs.”

See, now there's the thing ... discrimination against religious beliefs is already covered somewhere else. We don't actually need a separate law allowing this, unless what you want to do is undermine the companion law that you're running with it. So, why do people's religious beliefs need protection?

Bolger, offering an analogy, said he does not think a baker should be able to fire an employee for being gay or refuse to make a birthday cake for gay customer.

But that same baker should not be forced to make a cake for a same-sex wedding if such a union would run counter to his or her religious beliefs, according to Bolger, who said courts would ultimately draw that line.

Got that ... Jase Bolger wants to prohibit bakeries from refusing to bake birthday cakes for gay people, but is okay with bakeries refusing to bake wedding cakes. Gay birthday cake? Okay. Gay wedding cake? Not okay.

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Peter Lund does plan to bring up the Electoral College scheme

by: Eric B.

Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 10:53:02 AM EST

This is certainly disconcerting.

Michigan, like 47 other states, awards all its 16 electoral votes for president to the candidate who gets the most votes statewide. This doesn’t seem fair to some Republicans in Michigan, which has voted for the Democratic candidate for president every election since 1988. Term-limited state Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, has introduced bills during the last two sessions that would change the way Michigan’s electoral votes are awarded to a system that almost certainly would be more favorable to Republican presidential candidates, even if they get fewer votes than their Democratic opponent.

Lund hasn’t introduced a bill this session but told Bridge on Tuesday that he is likely to do so during the lame-duck session, which marks the end of his tenure in the House. Lund said he wasn’t certain yet how electoral votes would be awarded in his lame duck bill, but in the bill he sponsored in 2011, an electoral vote was awarded to the winner of each of Michigan’s 14 Congressional districts, with the winner of the overall vote in the state garnering two additional electoral votes. Because of the way the state’s congressional districts are drawn, Republicans dominate the vast majority of districts even though overall state voting patterns trend Democratic.

facepalm.

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

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

by: Eric B.

Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 03:30:00 AM EST

Today in sad animals, we have Sad Panda. Why is Sad Panda so sad? Sad Panda is sad because no one is sponsorsing this website. This makes Sad Panda feel like maybe this website has no friends and is lonely and cold and hungry, so he's sad on behalf of this website. What kind of terrible person lets Sad Panda be Sad Panda. What kind of terrible person wouldn't move Heaven and Earth to make Sad Panda, Happy Panda. The fact that I've ended the two previous sentences with periods rather than question marks speaks volumes, I think, to what the answer is.

If you'd like to help Sad Panda become Happy Panda, the way to do that is simple ... and cheap. Contact me at ebaerren@michiganliberal.com, via text message at 517/881-8008 or on social media to sign up. Rates are a low, low $25 a day, $100 by the week, or $360 by the month. What do you get out of it? The knowledge that you are helping this site be around until the next campaign cycle and that the content found here will not vanish. Plus, there's stuff coming up that you'll want to know about.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)
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