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It's cold and its raining and I'm sick and just want to go home: Weekend open thread

by: Eric B.

Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 09:24:46 AM EDT

Had an excellent time last weekend at the Wheatland Music Festival. I don't believe in god, but I'm starting to believe in a Great Evener that for every peak you get a valley. I say that because this weekend is starting to look like it's going to be a living hell.

For the rest of you, enjoy in comments.

Discuss :: (12 Comments)

Like Icarus, his sin is that he soared too close to the sun

by: Eric B.

Fri Sep 12, 2014 at 14:59:26 PM EDT

For our most recent number, we stretch back into distant MichLib history, not so far back as when Fried Chicken Frank threatened a lawsuit over a blog comment but more distant back that none of us yet had any inkling that a man who when transitioning from mere state representative to unofficial official spokesperson of the Michigan Republican Party would come up with the idea of filming himself in something called The Ready Room, where he'd share important kernels of wisdom about political correctness. We go back to the start of our sponsorship program, when we received a lot of support from Main Street Strategies and from a podcast called affectionately the Two Joes.

It's our sad duty to, in the name of disclosure, pass along this news:

A political consultant who targeted a candidate with salacious and false allegations about nude photos of young girls will publicly and personally apologize for his actions and compensate the candidate with money and consulting services.


The unprecedented, lopsided outcome in Macomb County was reached to settle a lawsuit filed by former state representative candidate Phil DiMaria against Democratic political consultant Joe DiSano and the call’s narrator, Dan Sloan. The deal was formalized earlier this summer and will be executed in the coming weeks.

If you want to read the terms of the settlement, you'll have to go read the story yourself. I will say that one of them is that Joe D. has to say nice things about this guy in the media should he ever want to run for office again. Knowing this, how could any reporter possibly ever use a quote in a story about Phil DiMara from Joe D.? That particular item in the settlement reflects a good deal of disdain for journalists.

As for Joe D., I can't really say that I've put enough thought to this to really offer any kind of intelligent comment. I mean, I can't get behind a robocall saying that someone lures girls into his basement to shoot nude photos of them, but I'm also not going to pretend that he hasn't been a friend of mine or this site in the past. I'm also not enough of a hypocrite to toss someone over the side just because they did something bad to make sure that people don't think worse of me by association.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

The state of Richard Baird's residency is not a partisan question

by: Eric B.

Fri Sep 12, 2014 at 13:00:00 PM EDT

I realize that during Silly Season, it's common for both parties to feed tips to news people on how terrible the other person is, and that people in the media need to be careful how they broach those things so as not to look like pawns for one party or the other. Sometimes, however, actual, real issues get raised (like Jase Bolger's dodgy history of paying business taxes) and deserve actual, honest scrutiny. For instance, from Ye Olde Inbox.

An article in Tuesday's Detroit News disclosed that Baird, who lives in Bath Township outside of Lansing, is driving every day to his job at the Romney Building in a Mercedes GL550 with Illinois license plates.  Michigan law requires vehicles driven in the state by Michigan residents to be registered with the state, which means Baird should also be paying the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association fee that all Michiganders pay under the state’s no-fault insurance law. Violation of Michigan’s registration law is a misdemeanor that could carry a penalty of up to 90 days in jail.  Baird signed a sworn statement earlier this year saying he has been a Michigan resident for the past three years.

Immediately after getting this, a couple of media people tweeted that the Dems were raising these questions, apparently without thinking through what they mean.

Well, guys, guess what? You can blow this off as a simple oversight, or you can fit it into a larger pattern of behavior, starting with the fact that originally he was a key gubernatorial adviser whose salary was off the books in a slush fund and paid by donors who today remain anonymous.

He already had to cut a check to pay his total property tax bill this summer, and now we find out that he's driving a car not registered in this state. One of the media people tweeted that he mostly lives and works in Michigan, which is fine for a private citizen but it's a legitimate issue to question the loyalty of key members of this administration to the state as a whole. I mean, we should be allowed to expect that people in the administration are first and foremost loyal to the state rather than existing in some bland Rick Snyder Cult of Personality.

So what say, Sparky, that we not pretend that questions of whether Richard Baird sees himself invested in Michigan for the long haul, or if once the governor's mansion is handed over to someone new that the loud squealing of tires you hear is Richard Baird going back home.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Does no one see the strategy: Benevolent overlord baited hook for Aramark, got a bigger fine

by: Eric B.

Fri Sep 12, 2014 at 12:05:12 PM EDT

A lot of people have been sharing this story the last few days. It's about how our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan's administration stepped in and got the Department of Corrections to not levy a fine against Aramark earlier this year for screw ups. Our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan's administration later fined Aramark $200,000.

“Director (Daniel) Heyns wanted to give Aramark some time to solve the problems we were experiencing,” department spokesman Russ Marlan said in a Friday email.

In a brief email exchange on March 13, Heyns tells Snyder’s Chief of Staff Dennis Muchmore he will “tone down my attack dogs, delay or cancel any fines and give Aramark time to solve the problems.”

Now, a lot of people see this as the administration interceding on behalf of a public-subsidized private enterprise to shield said enterprise from accusations of wrong doing. This is seeing things incorrectly. What happened here is that our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan's administration knows that someone who gets caught doing something wrong and given what is ultimately an empty threat of discipline simply encourages the wrong doer to do even greater wrong ... in this case going on to allow maggots to manifest near food lines and other things. This, in turn, allowed our benevolent overlord to up the ante ... rather than fining Aramark a measly $90,000 they fined the company $200,000. What you whiners fail to appreciate is that this whole thing has been a scam to generate revenue.

Let's all take a moment to bask in the sunlight of our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

And now, a word from our sponsor

by: Eric B.

Fri Sep 12, 2014 at 09:10:00 AM EDT

In all this week's hub-bub about polls, probably we shouldn't forget that part of the ballot is non-partisan. That is, don't forget that once you've waded through the partisan races that you need to flip it to get to what's on the other side. There are statewide questions and local races and ... most importantly, judicial races. That includes the races for supreme court justices.

MichLib's sponsor through Election Day is the campaign for one of those candidates, Richard Bernstein. You already know who he is. You know the family name, and you probably know quite a few of the things he's achieved on his own. So, you don't need to be introduced to him. You only need to be pointed in the right direction. But, if you do need an introduction, you can either click on the embedded image or click here.

Once the election is over, we'll be looking for new sponsors for this website. It'll be an off-year, and we all know what that means in general for political site advertising and sponsorships. If you're interested, there's space available and normal rates -- $25 by the day, $100 by the week, or $360 by the month -- remain cheap, cheap.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Michigan's least necessary columnist baffled that people who do terrible things are unpopular

by: Eric B.

Thu Sep 11, 2014 at 18:42:59 PM EDT

Nolan Finley wrote a column today about the poll numbers in the governor's race. Like most things that Finley writes, it's a column that didn't need to be written, but he wrote it anyway, probably because no one in his professional circles have told him how absolutely unnecessary his work usually is. As you might imagine, he bemoans the polling in the race and uses it as a club to beat on Democrats ... the same Democrats who've made it a competitive race, despite everything that we've been told by every Very Serious Person all along.

Schauer, little known and lightly experienced, is scoring with ads that are largely deceptive, but apparently highly effective at moving voters.

Snyder is still hung up on the quaint notion that facts and performance should matter. He’s been reluctant to counter Schauer with sharp punches of his own, leaving it to the Republican Governor’s Association to remind Michigan of the bad ol’ days when Jennifer Granholm was governor and Schauer was her key henchman in the Legislature.

We'll leave the bit about facts and performances aside for a second, and instead focus on his inherent inconsistency ... within the space of two paragraphs. Mark Schauer is lightly experienced in one, and then becomes Jennifer Granholm's "key henchman" in the Legislature in the next. In fact, when you include Schauer's experience in Congress, he still has more experience in government than does Snyder. But, that's not important here. What's important is to include, in as many paragraphs as is possible, attacks on Democrats.

Back to the facts and performance. Has it not dawned on any of these people that what the governor has done in his tenure are things that have not substantially aided most average Michiganders, that his combined crony behavior coupled with successful policy initatives that are based on trickle down economics, a failed theory of taxation and business, have turned people off?

Here's a quick list of the governor's greatest hits:

  • Shifted the tax burden from businesses to actual humans, resulting in a tax hike for many actual people, who have difficulty making ends meet.
  • Signed into law a replacement to a voter rejected emergency manager law that was basically the same, which in essence nullified the election in which people rejected the first one.
  • Signed Right to Work after a year of saying that it wasn't on his agenda, and a law that is by and large not popular with Michiganders.
  • Has not done anything substantial to repair Michigan's failing infrastructure, despite years of saying that it was his priority.
  • Overseen what is perceived as a cut in educational programming funding. The drones at the Mackinac Center are working, hammer and tong, 25 hours a day, to tell you otherwise, but a lot of schools are going to start running deficits because of how education policy has been crafted under this governor, and this includes the notorious Skunk Works, in which his crony Rich Baird ("I will sue the holy living shit out of you people until you stop saying mean things about me" Richard Baird) was revealed to be receiving a paycheck from a slush fund the donors to which are still unknown.
  • Didn't take a stand on our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect's unpopular assault as it related to reproductive choice and gay rights. On this, he has been utterly gutless.
  • Killed the budgets of local governments through changes to revenue sharing, which has in turn reduced local services and prompted local governments to tell people that Lansing keeps cutting their budgets.

This is his performance, as seen from your average person. An average person couldn't give two shits about whether the budget is balanced on time, but when they see local schools cutting popular programs because of what the state is doing, they tend to blame the governor and think that the people telling them that things are otherwise are simply lying to them.

And, by the way, this is a governor whose silence on the troglodytes in his party has encouraged them. So, an average person who thinks that we shouldn't discriminate against gay people can be forgiven if, seeing the governor refusing to take a stand on homophobia, thinks that maybe he's okay with it.

Whatever. Michigan's least necessary political columnist continues.

And yet Schuette, with four years on the job and in the spotlight, is managing only a 3 percent lead over Totten and Johnson just a 6 percent edge over Dillard.

This is it, as far as I'm concerned. I have to make dinner. But, consider this a second ... Schuette has been in the spotlight for four years and is underperforming in the polls. Again, it has to be asked, doesn't this perhaps suggest that while in the spotlight doing things like waging war on Obamacare, gay rights and medical marijuana that these are the things that people don't want him doing as their attorney general? Do these people not think this shit through?

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect's confusion over the meaning of discrimination

by: Eric B.

Thu Sep 11, 2014 at 14:21:33 PM EDT

Democrats introduced bills yesterday expanding the state's non-discrimination law to include LGBT folks. Republicans say they are open, as long as the law's expansion allows for discrimination.

The main sticking point for some Republicans, as has long been the case, is the fear that adding language to protect gay residents from workplace discrimination could impinge on the religious expression of employers.

“I believe Michigan workers should be hired or fired based on their work ethic and work performance, and nobody should suffer discrimination just as nobody should be forced to violate their religious beliefs,” House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

There really is no discrimination against LGBT folks that is not based on someone's religious beliefs, of course, so codifying the reason why most people discrminate is making a bad situation worse. It is enshrining the primary cause of discrimination into law.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Terri Lynn Land is a terrible candidate and her campaign is incompetent

by: Eric B.

Wed Sep 10, 2014 at 15:58:51 PM EDT

Everyone has posted a link to this article today. Here, to me, is the highlight.

A few months after the Mackinac moment, Land held a press conference in Lansing cocooned by close advisers who shut down the line of questioning rather quickly, according to a reporter in attendance.

“He didn’t actually whisper in her ear, but the scene reminded me of the Tony Hale character in Veep,” said one reporter, referring to the bumbling aide that surreptitiously feeds the fictional vice president answers in the acclaimed HBO comedy.

I hate to ask this, but why doesn't the reporter who said this actually say it in public? I mean, if the press corps regards the Land campaign as a bunch of buffoonish amateurs, don't you think they have an obligation to tell the public -- who might vote to put the power of helping to declare war in her hands -- about it? And, you know, an organization reflects the people at the top. If Terri Lynn Land's campaign is buffoonish and amateurish, what does that say about Terri Lynn Land?

There's also a companion piece circulating from the AP. I mean, it's a companion piece in the sense that if you read the one today, you should probably read the other, since it's the same topic.

The most recent red flag for Land came last month when Freedom Partners, a group associated with the Kochs, canceled an $878,000 ad purchase that was to run in Michigan throughout August.

"There is a high interest in return on investment," James Davis of Freedom Partners said. "We make decisions based on the most effective use for each dollar at that time."

Translation: She's a terrible candidate and we're not squandering any more money on her.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Today in snappy answers to stupid questions*

by: Eric B.

Wed Sep 10, 2014 at 12:16:54 PM EDT

Headline at MLive (well, it's a partial, but the partial serves):

Should Michigan rethink term limits?


The piece is actually about Randy Richardville perhaps planning to broach the topic at some point this year. Rather than increasing the amount of time people can spend in the Legislature, they should just simply do away with them. They are like debates. They sound like good ideas, but in practice they've been terribly and impractical and an all-around waste of everyone's time and energy. Also, we used to have another sort of term limit. It was called an election.

To put this in another perspective, my current representative, Kevin Cotter, went to the House with exactly zero experience in any kind of public service. He's a mostly nice guy, although some people tell me that he's a dick when asked about the issue of reproductive choice, but he's in way over his head. He's also in line to be the next House Speaker. This is a terrible turn of events, because it raises the very real possibility that our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect is going to get even worse.

It also hasn't done anything to get us away from career politicians, and no one has ever given me a good explanation why we should think of career politicians as automatically bad things. Experience is a good thing in every job, from brain surgery to passing legislation to -- oh, I don't know -- repair our fucking roads. Also, people who mostly hate "career politicians" are all mostly teabaggers, who at the same time love them some Bill Schuette, who's been bouncing from political job to political job since he was in the womb. Yet, they are fine with him. So, let's all just agree that we can stop listening to these people. That includes the idiot from U.S. Term Limits quoted in the story and who lives in Virginia.

*--Apologies to Mad Magazine.

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

From the horseraces: Peters up, Schauer tight, and so is the AG race

by: Eric B.

Tue Sep 09, 2014 at 14:00:00 PM EDT

PPP has a new poll out. Peters' lead is at 8 points.

PPP's newest Michigan poll finds Gary Peters matching his largest lead ever, which he had last October during the middle of the government shutdown. Peters is at 43% to 36% for Terri Lynn Land with third party candidates combining for 7%. The story of the race is Land's continually declining favorability. She has dropped a net 28 points since December, from starting out at +11 (34/23) to falling all the way down now to -17 (32/49). Michigan is a Democratic state to begin with, and Peters is getting 12% of the Republican vote, while only 5% of Democrats say they're going to vote for Land. Voters remain pretty ambivalent toward Peters himself- 35% have a favorable view of him to 36% with an unfavorable one. But with Land extremely unpopular, he continues to be in good shape. One issue playing to Peters' considerable advantage is the minimum wage- voters support increasing it to $10 an hour by a 58/34 spread.

Emph. mine. Gary Peters is in Terri Lynn Land's base, killin' her d00dz.

Discuss :: (13 Comments)

Confederacy of dunces sallies forth in Macomb County

by: Eric B.

Tue Sep 09, 2014 at 13:00:00 PM EDT

They are debating an expanded human rights ordinance in Macomb County. Don't know much about the backstory, but I do see that the county's neanderthals came out, knuckles dragging behind them, to bellow opposition in its general direction.

“This is preferential treatment, and I wonder why we need preferential treatment for this LGBT agenda,” said Jackie Ryan of Sterling Heights, who generated applause from the more than two dozen residents who turned out to oppose the proposed policy. “They … (the LGBT community) have been around for a long time and I don’t see where there has been discrimination against them.”

"They" have been around a long time. Spent most of it in a closet, however. As to the discrmination bit, apparently someone's rage about "lib-ruhl" bias in the media has prevented her eyes from being soiled by recent events. Will no one think of the children?

The hit parade continues.

Other opponents in the crowd said the policy should be put to a countywide vote, that it violates the U.S. and Michigan Constitutions, would force companies to go out of business, and it represents the first step toward the establishment of government “thought police” on gay lifestyles and gender issues.


What? Did no one say that prohibiting the firing of someone because they happen to be gay is horribly oppressive to the most oppressed minority group in the history of the United States: White, straight, male Christians?

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

MDP smartphone absentee ballot application goes statewide, Ruth Johnson has a sad

by: Eric B.

Tue Sep 09, 2014 at 11:30:00 AM EDT

The AP has a story this morning about the MDP's new statewide digital absentee application. The AP got the story wrong.

The Michigan elections bureau has issued a warning about problems with a new Democratic Party program that lets voters apply online for absentee ballots, saying clerks are getting applications for voters who live outside the jurisdiction and signatures that do not match voter records.

Hey, guys, there aren't any problems here. This is the way the process is supposed to work, and is supposed to work no matter how you apply for an absentee ballot: If your signature on the application doesn't match the signature they have on hand, or if you're applying for a ballot outside the jurisdiction of the clerk in question, you're not supposed to get a ballot. And if various clerks don't like getting more absentee ballot applications to check, well, that's what the clerks are being paid to do. 

It is not all that complicated.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/09/09/6691093/apnewsbreak-clerks-warned-over.html#storylink=cpy
Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Bridge gives over Op-Ed to full-length Snyder campaign ad

by: Eric B.

Tue Sep 09, 2014 at 10:45:50 AM EDT

I am at a loss to understand the editorial decision making that went into publishing this. It's an "Op-Ed" in Bridge Magazine from the head of the MEDC about how wonderful is the governor and how much he's turned around the business climate in Michigan. This is two months before an election that currently is a neck-and-neck race. But, functionally, it's not an op-ed, because it comes from one of Snyder's appointees who is, of course, extolling the virtues of his boss. That makes it a campaign ad. For instance:

No doubt the reinvention and financial success of the automotive industry has been a key driver.

Michigan's turnaround started before Snyder even took office because of this. Or does no one else remember Daniel Howes writing in the Detroit News that unemployment was going down because businesses were hiring in anticipation of Snyder taking office? This was entirely thanks to what was happening in the auto industry.

But, any discussion of Michigan’s comeback must begin with the common sense reforms Governor Snyder and lawmakers made to re-engineer our business climate to one in which businesses of every size and in every industry can compete, grow, and create new jobs.

A question from Waylon Smithers.

They replaced a convoluted business tax with a streamlined corporate income tax. This propelled our national business tax climate ranking to #3 among the 12 most populous states, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation in Washington D.C.

You know what else they've found? That the Tax Foundation's tax climate ranking has little bearing on the decisions by businesses to locate.


Discuss :: (3 Comments)

And now, a word from our sponsor

by: Eric B.

Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 23:00:00 PM EDT

As was noted last week, the campaign for Richard Bernstein for Supreme Court is sponsoring MichLib through the election. They're here, I'm here, we're all here. If you haven't please do go visit their website to learn about Bernstein and his campaign. Also, don't forget to flip your ballot in November and vote for the non-partisan supreme court race (not to mention any other judicial races). It's important stuff.

There are sponsorship slots open after the election, of course. If you're interested, please contact me at ebaerren@michiganliberal.com. Rates are $25 by the day, $100 by the week, and $360 by the month.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Open thread until Monday

by: Eric B.

Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 15:00:00 PM EDT

As you read this, I'm either at the grounds to the Wheatland Music Festival, am fighting with the Wheatland Music Organization people to get onto the grounds to the Wheatland Music Festival, or am sitting in a roadside ditch, my head hung in resignation that I won't be getting into the Wheatland Music Festival until tomorrow. How exciting!

I'll be out there until Sunday afternoon-ish, so you children play nice. You can also host a pool to see how long it takes for my faith in humanity -- restored by spending the weekend around such great musicians and artists -- to be crushed all over again. Last year, the person who put their money on, "Before you get home" won a lot o money.

Discuss :: (17 Comments)
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