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Our benevolent overlord thinks not highly of "blogs"

by: Eric B.

Mon Dec 22, 2014 at 12:25:39 PM EST

Me and our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan: One of us frequently uses swears on the Internet, one of us failed to get his own party to pass a comprehensive road solution he's been talking about for two years through a Legislature his party dominates. Who is worse?

He would not go that low but he did offer, “Too often it’s people not acting with civility and respect. They often are quite mean to one another.”

No really?

This from a governor who does not like confrontation and finds no value in cussing, arguing, or other stuff that some bloggers can’t seem to avoid. And you know who you are.

Know what I think was mean? This governor jacking up my tax liability by $200 a year (on an income of less than $15,000) so he could give that money to people who don't need it. You can file this in the same category as "People who think it is worse to say 'Fuck' on the Internet than it is to torture others."

Also, is this guy unaware of the race in which Jack Brandenburg, one of his party's own senators, unfolded? Because that was more nasty and mean and uncivil than any blogger has ever dreamt of being.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

And now, a word from our sponsor

by: Eric B.

Mon Dec 22, 2014 at 11:37:11 AM EST

When is a sponsorship not a sponsorship? When does a child become a man? When does a personality simulation become the bitter mote of a soul?

Questions, questions, questions. Actually, just three of them. Three questions, and two of them are irrelevant (the one all of us parents of male children around the age of 12 -- which is me -- grapple with every day; the other entirely related to a very near future when robots rise up in violent revolution and stain the streets with a river of human blood).

As to the first, this is also hard to define. This week, for instance, it is not a sponsorship by the Sierra Club, but a sponsorship on behalf of the Sierra Club, specifically the Sierra Club's membership drive.

Why join the Sierra Club right now? What makes this a great deal? Simple. Until the end of January, all money through membership dues stay right here, in the state of Michigan. If you follow environmental politics, this is a pretty big deal.

A piece of history: Way back when, the Sierra Club was founded by John Muir mostly to support wilderness preservation (side note: I read Muir's "A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf" while backpacking along the Manistee River Trail this summer with my son). Probably its greatest success came when David Brower, who lead the group in the 60s, killed off a proposed dam in the Grand Canyon after taking out an ad in the New York Times attacking it. Conttroversy within the club was brought to a head a couple of years later, Brower resigned (forcibly, some people say), and the Club embarked upon a controversial path.

These days, like anything within the Beltway, there's reason to be suspicious of the national chapter. It gets criticized all the time for putting pursuit of its mission second to self-preservation and positioning it as something to be taken seriously within Beltway circles. For state chapters, it's a different story. You can say, "This is an organization for Democrats," which is mostly true these days, but that's not the fault of the Sierra Club. That's the fault of one party simply rejecting the environment as a priority of any kind. So, there is a difference in joining the Sierra Club now and joining it in February.

Anyway, all that aside, we're still looking for sponsors. If you would like to sponsor this website, please contact me at ebaerren@michiganliberal.com, via text message at 517/881-8008 or via social media. Rates are $25 a day, $100 a week, and $360 a month.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Programming notes: The pending changes I was talking about the other day

by: Eric B.

Sun Dec 21, 2014 at 08:00:00 AM EST

Anyone remember the two-day mental health vacation Michigan Liberal took from the Internet a couple of weeks ago? I sure do. Anyway, after we got the ship righted, I mentioned that I was looking into migrating to a new, modernized platform, probably Wordpress. I've started doing this, and unless something else far superior materializes pretty soon, it will be Wordpress. I know one person isn't terribly enthused about that, but -- well -- it's gotta happen. Soapblox was great for its time but it hasn't gotten proper support to modernize it and I'm afraid it's only going to get more outdated.

One of the things I've heard from long-time readers is that they'd like to see as much of the archived content as is possible preserved. I'm working to get a comprehensive back up of all our posts, since we did something very similar a few years ago, but if that doesn't happen I might have to copy and paste individual posts.

So, this is my invitation for input on what content people want to see preserved most. Contact me directly, either over social media or at ebaerren@michiganliberal.com to let me know. One thing you don't need to tell me to preserve are Grebner's posts. Those will be the first things I copy and paste. If you've written diaries here, and want them migrated to a new platform, take this as my invitation to go in and copy and save them ... and let me know you've done it so I can keep track of what we're taking with us.

Speaking of which, I occasionally receive bug reports from people. The latest, this weekend, was from someone unable to leave comments. I'm trying to troubleshoot whether this is an individual user problem or if Soapblox isn't playing nicely with a specific OS. If you've tried to comment, but couldn't get the comment box to pop up, please do drop me a line at ebaerren@michiganliberal.com. Also, let me know if this is a matter of Internet or smartphone access.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Pre-Christmas open thread

by: Eric B.

Sat Dec 20, 2014 at 11:32:45 AM EST

As some of you know, I'm not a religious man. In fact, every year I write a column for the local paper bashing Christmas. Why? Because Christmas is a terrible, terrible phenomenon. It is rooted in the theft of rituals and icons of other religions to suppress what forms of those religions they couldn't with fire and steel, and today has become -- in the words of my sainted father -- a great season of waste. It has engulfed other holidays and involves months of peer pressure-driven overspending in an effort to convince others what a good a person you are. The truth is that most of you are probably already very decent, good people and shouldn't be pressured to prove it by racking up larger interest payments over purchases from Kohl's, Target and other purveyors of drek.

Give me Halloween's fear of the unknown and the notion that as you sleep that the dead rise from their graves to dance. Sleep soundly Oct. 31, my pretties, and nevermind that scratching on the wall. I'm sure that it's just a tree branch swaying in the wind and not the bony claws of the departed risen to drag you into Hell. This is a holiday that I can get behind.

Before I sign off for the weekend, there's an Easter egg hidden in the previous post about how our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect could not give shit one about scientific management of public resources. It's related to the revelation that as I prepared dinner the other night, I forced my offspring to listen to Neil Young.

It's ... pretty obvious, really.

Discuss :: (16 Comments)

Our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect is not interested in scientific anything

by: Eric B.

Sat Dec 20, 2014 at 11:19:44 AM EST

Anyone remember what Tom Casperson told us about why we needed to hunt wolves: They's a killin' teh puppies! Except that it turned out that most of the stories he told to back that up were utter horseshit. But, no matter, they turned to the aimless blade of science, saying that we needed to manage our species scientifically, because that's the best way to do it. Through science.

It turns out that, that, too, was complete horseshit (we knew this, but bear with me). We start out with the happy news that we didn't have a wolf hunt this year and that as of this very second we won't have one in the near future, too.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A federal judge on Friday threw out an Obama administration decision to remove the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list — a decision that will ban further wolf hunting and trapping in three states.

The order affects wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped federal protections from those wolves in 2012 and handed over management to the states.

If you followed wildlife species protection issues the last decade, this wasn't entirely surprising news. The delisting of the bald eagle as an endangered species in 2007 was a controversial one. Critics said it was made for political reasons, not scientific ones, because the bureaucracy needed a big, splashing success story because the Endangered Species Act was under attack in Congress as a JOB KILLING ACT OF UNFETTERED SOCIALISM BECAUSE BIRDS COULDN'T COMPETE IN THE MARKETPLACE BLARGH! BLARGH! BLARGH! In fact, it was attacked for the same reasons why conservatives have attacked the social safety net: They insisted that once a species went on the gubbermint dole, it never came off (what the California condor really needs is a bit of tough love and a pair of bootstraps to pull itself by).

And who better to prove to the program's critics that the Endangered Species Act was not that than by delisting 'Murica's national bird. And, in fact, delisting the gray wolf was criticized for basically the same reason.

It appears that this criticism had something to it, so Michigan's wolf hunt was never scientific management. If it were managed scientifically, they wouldn't have done it, rather than allowing 22 of our finest top tier predator -- property of all Michiganders -- to be killed for fun.

How hollow in this "scientific management" nonsense? From lame duck.

The Michigan Environmental Council today condemned the Legislature's passage of a bill that prohibits state agencies from managing any acre of public land specifically for the purpose of sustaining biological diversity, and undermines foundational scientific principles that guide state land management.

SB 78, approved by the House today after clearing the Senate in 2013, amends the definition of "conservation" in the state's 1994 Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, removing key provisions regarding restoration, distribution and the "continued existence" of native species and communities. It also removes the conservation of biodiversity from the forest management duties of the Department of Natural Resources and requires the department to balance its management activities with economic values.

"It is stunning that Michigan is on the brink of prohibiting our state's resource professionals from actively identifying and protecting diverse, healthy ecosystems and native plants and animals," said Brad Garmon, MEC's director of conservation and emerging issues. "It's an anti-science bill that sends exactly the wrong message about our state's priorities and values, and threatens Michigan's reputation as a state that promotes and protects our forests, wildlife and outdoor recreation."

Keep in mind that the reasoning behind this directly conflicts with their reasoning in favor of hunting wolves: Decisions about how to manage the public trust should not be left in the hands of people who are not scientifically trained. We should manage these things scientifically, except when it comes to things that no one wants to kill for fun ... only profit. Keep in mind that multi-use is the current philosophy applied federally when it comes to public property. Public lands -- especially our national forests -- are managed with recreation, crop harvesting (there's a reason why the Forest Service is part of the Department of Agriculture and not the Department of the Interior, boys and girls), biodiversity and other things in mind. The message sent by it is that Michigan is not confident that its public property managers are incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time.

Also, let's not forget that part of what drove this was a fear of Agenda 21. That is, unless the governor vetoes this bill, Michigan law will be shaped by the United Nations. Not directly, but because out of conspiracy mongering over a decades' old sustainability program.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Todd Courser's army of child soldiers (aka his family)

by: Eric B.

Fri Dec 19, 2014 at 16:20:44 PM EST

Todd Courser is a deranged nut.

Courser’s twisted interpretation of the Constitution and patriotism was on full display when he posted this picture of his son holding what looks like a military-style assault rifle – which he calls a “modern musket” – with some rather disturbing commentary:

You can go to the source -- Eclectablog -- and follow it to Courser's Facebook page to read it for yourself. Or, read:

Doing a little modern musket training. Elijah said, "its beautiful! I'm in luv!" I was inspired yesterday. Funny thing is the gun is just one vital tool to train up my four children as the weapons for liberty that will impact the future both for freedom, but also for Christ. The 2nd Amendment is but one important part of our history that every citizen needs to be acquainted with and no one should be afraid of. Trained children equipped in every aspect of the cause of freedom are the bulwark against tyranny.

The kid in question, it should be pointed out, isn't standing behind a table at a rifle range, but laying in a shooting position on the ground ... wearing a U.S. Army surplus helmet.

Copies of all this shit should be made and distributed to everyone who lives in Courser's district so that they know that they've elected an anti-government lunatic to represent them in Lansing.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Schostak won't run for third term as MRP chairman

by: Eric B.

Fri Dec 19, 2014 at 15:47:59 PM EST

From MIRS:

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby SCHOSTAK announced this afternoon he will hang it up after running the state GOP for the last four years. 

“Those before me paved the road for a Michigan Republican Party that I have had the privilege to navigate these last four years,” said Schostak. “Today, our committee is the gold standard of Republican state committees across the country and well positioned for the future. As a result, I feel now is the time to turn the mantle over to the next great leader to take this organization to the next level as I focus on helping Republicans in Michigan and across the country in new ways.”

I'm frankly a little shocked that he didn't blame Democrats for this somehow, or link it to that U of M professor who wrote that she hates Republicans.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

The Freep told me that if I voted for Schauer, nothing would get done. Turns out they were right.

by: Eric B.

Fri Dec 19, 2014 at 12:06:40 PM EST

Here the final statement on the legislative legacy of Jase Bolger: His final act was to make Fried Chicken Frank look sensible and courageous.

Truth is, taxpayers are getting nickeled and dimed to death and they’ll either pay up or be blamed themselves for the bad roads if they vote no in May.

Sure the roads need to be fixed, but it’s the Legislature that should have figured out how to pay for it by cutting the existing budget, not leaning on the taxpayers for even more money.

The route he took to get here, cutting Hollywood tax credits, is weird and not well thought out, but when you need to have Fried Chicken call you out for cowardice in refusing to act ... well, it's not something for which you should be proud.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Bold, decisive action: Job of funding roads ultimately left in your hands

by: Eric B.

Thu Dec 18, 2014 at 16:53:45 PM EST

Apparently Jase Bolger was unable to rally his merry band of ignoramuses in the lower chamber of our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect to get behind a plan to fix our roads, so cans were kicked.

Lansing — Michigan voters will be asked to approve a 1 percent increase in the 6 percent sales tax as part of a road funding plan Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders announced Thursday.

The sales tax boost to 7 percent would generate an extra $1.34 billion annually. Those funds would be partially dedicated to replacing $752 million in revenue for schools and cities lost by repealing the sales tax on fuel, according to the plan unveiled by Snyder and lawmakers at a mid-day press conference.

Keep in mind that this revenue was not lost, according to the drones at CapCon, which is as solid an argument they've made this week not to pay attention to anything they say.

Anyway, dear reader, this is you, having to do the job that the people who you elect to do this sort of work couldn't get done. By the way, the reason they had to get this done RIGHT NOW and not leave it for the next set of lawmakers is that the next set of lawmakers is even more fucking insane that this bunch of lawmakers.

Sleep well this night, my pretties.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

People in the party of pig ignorant, anti-intellectual cavemen angry an intellectual hates them

by: Eric B.

Thu Dec 18, 2014 at 10:40:57 AM EST

Oh, look at the hurt fee-fees.

“I hate Republicans,” she wrote in the first paragraph. “I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal ‘personhood’ ...”

Douglas wrote that her “loathing is a relatively recent phenomenon” since in the 1970s she “worked for a Republican, Fred Lippitt, the senate minority leader in Rhode Island, and I loved him. He was a brand of Republican now extinct — a ‘moderate’ who was fiscally conservative but progressive about women’s rights, racial justice and environmental preservation.”

Her column goes on to mention “an escalation of determined vilification” and how “dogmatism, rigidity and intolerance of ambiguity” could influence thinking.

The writing did not please Andrea Fischer Newman, a member of the UM Board of Regents.

She and Bobby Schostak want her disciplined or something. I don't know. The entire thing is really kind of dumb and not at all newsworthy.

File this under, "The First Amendment is only important to conservatives when Alpha Redneck is hating on the gays."

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

A quick poll heading into the last bits of lame duck!

by: Eric B.

Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 17:37:40 PM EST

In case you've haven't been following along from home, road funding appears as if it will go down to the wire with Jase Bolger essentially holding things up because Jase Bolger is a dick. Probably something will happen, but let's start taking predictions of -- in case nothing happens -- who Jase Bolger will blame (h/t Josh Pugh with the MDP for the idea).

Either in comments or in our exciting poll.
Discuss :: (11 Comments)

Carl Levin says goodbye

by: Eric B.

Wed Dec 17, 2014 at 16:56:54 PM EST

This is sad, because Carl Levin has always been my favorite elected official.

...

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

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

by: Eric B.

Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 14:00:00 PM EST

The other day, I went to a local department store and visited with Santa. I actually cut in line to see him, citing that my religious beliefs didn't permit me to stand behind children in a line for anything (huzzah for closely held personal religious beliefs!). My intention was to ask Santa for a MichLib sponsor for Christmas, but when I tried to sit on his lap, one of his elves pulled a knife on me. I kicked the knife out of the elf's hand and then punched him in the throat, but while my back was turned Saint Nick kidney punched me and down I went like a sack of potatoes. Then, the lights went out. When I came to, I was in an alley out behind the store, where a vagrant was relieving himself on a nearby dumpster.

Point is that I never got a chance to ask Santa for a MichLib sponsor. So, that leaves you, dear reader, for me to put the bite on.

Usually, I embed some kind of harrowing photo in these posts solicting sponsors to tug at your heartstrings. My presumption anymore is that very few of you have hearts of any kind, let alone hearts with strings. And, besides, a stringy heart suggests a very serious medical condition best not joked about. If you have heart strings that can be tugged, my suggestion is that you immediately seek care for it.

The rest of it, the stuff about soliciting a sponsor, that's real enough. This site doesn't run itself. Okay, it mostly does, but the content doesn't generate itself. I mean, I suppose you could program a bot of some kind to generate this site's content, but what fun would that be.

So, yeah, a sponsor. Our last sponsor, Archie Bailey, reported success in his efforts to reach out to friends who read this site. I am always happy to be part of a success like that, since usually everything that I get dragged into wind up as miserable failures (I was the guy who focus grouped the Coca-Cola company into dropping its old formula about 25 years ago; I also canceled Star Trek). Anyway, our sponsor before him was Richard Bernstein. Or, should I say, Supreme Court Justice-elect Richard Bernstein. I think you see where this is going.

Sponsorships are by the day, by the week or by the month. And I'm open to alternative time lengths. Rates are $25 by the day, $100 by the week, and $360 by the month. To take part in this, please contact me at ebaerren@michiganliberal.com, by text message at 517/881-8008, or via social media. As the man says, I'm not hard to find. Just lift any rock.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

From today's rally in opposition of religiously-based discrimination

by: Eric B.

Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 13:16:34 PM EST

Some lows are almost too low.

Neither has the Speaker had the state police "disappear" the guy with the Nickelback sign nor has he ordered the releasing of the hounds, so we can take this as a tacit acknowledgement that Jase Bolger does, in fact, like Nickelback.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

The Capitol lawn: This year's latest battlefield in the War on Christmas

by: Eric B.

Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 13:00:00 PM EST

So, by now, we can all agree that Christmas isn't a Christian holiday, that it's a series of rituals and traditions stolen from other religions to help ease Christianity into the lives of pagans by the holy rollers who wanted to convert them. I think we are all mostly in agreement that not only does this apply to Christmas, that in fact based on stuff written in the Bible that Jesus' birth was actually in the spring (based on the cycles of plant life), and that Easter happened on a specific day that wasn't tied to the lunar cycle's relationship to the vernal equinox. All of this stuff was originally stolen from other religious expressions in order for Christianity to spread and anyway Jesus very specifically told his followers that his birth was an unimportant event, but that salvation would come through his death. That means, that as a Christian holiday, Christmas is a giant load of horseshit.

This widespread agreement that the notion that Christmas is not, in fact, a real religious holiday (instead of the commercial one it's become) has not stopped people from trying to insist that it is.

John Truscott, a member of the Michigan State Capitol Commission, confirmed that The Satanic Temple has been granted approval for the temporary outdoor display. It will be limited to 3-feet by 3-feet in size and must be removed each evening because of a pre-existing ban on overnight displays.

"We are restricted by the Constitution and bound by the Constitution to recognize their First Amendment rights," said Truscott. "We don’t have the ability to reject them if they meet the guidelines of the Capitol."

But on a personal level, Truscott said he thinks it is "absolutely disgusting to hijack a Christian holiday," and he expressed hope that the public will "just completely ignore these negative forces."

This is great on a whole lot of levels, like that we assume that Truscott, who I've always thought of as one of the more advanced Republicans, said it without a sense of irony. In every way, including that the same people who think that mucking up public property with Nativity scenes also tend to be the same people who think that everyone needs to live according to their religiously-based values.

As to the Satanists, I'm also not sure that he understands what Satanism is these days. It is not about worshipping some dark, anti-Lord, although waving it off as such continues in a fine Christian tradition of denigrating the spiritual competition. People who today call themselves Satanists think of it as a matter of free expression and enlightenment. It's mostly bullshit hippie woo, and this is the reason why we don't leave the decision of what religious displays are allowed on public property in the hands of people like John Truscott ... the only reason he said they voted to allow the Satanists to erect this is because they were forced to by the competition.

The greatest part of this is that there might not be any Christian competition for the Satanists display, because the guy who wanted to put up the Nativity scene is from out-of-state and couldn't find anyone to put it up and take it down every day. There is an update in the MLive story that some state senator is hoping to rectify this (the link for the update is dead). Still, considering the amount of whining we hear from Christians about how their religion is under attack, its a sad statement that a religion once spread by men and women willing to risk death and dismemberment to do it can't drum up someone willing to spend 10 minutes a day putting up and taking down a Nativity scene.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)
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