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Weekend open thread: Hillary, Obama, gay marriage cause earthquake

by: ScottyUrb

Sat May 02, 2015 at 15:15:24 PM EDT

Well, it seems like most of the Lower Peninsula felt it. 

There doesn't appear to be any fracking in the Kalamazoo/Galesburg area. But there was a significant earthquake in the same area in 1947 - so it's possible that there's a fault underneath there.

I'd also point out that the epicenter was just a few miles away from Rep. Jon Hoadley's district. Make of that what you will, Pat Robertson. 

Thread is open to discuss whatever shakes you. 

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

The sacred Second Amendment, etched by Jesus on the Ten Commandments when God founded Earth

by: Eric B.

Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 11:00:00 AM EDT

You know, I grew up around guns, have shot them since I was a teen ager, served in the military, and think that hunting is great ... especially when I get free meat out of it. These people, however, are gross.

LANSING, MI — Gun owners and advocates rallied outside the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday, openly carrying firearms and celebrating their 2nd Amendment rights.

A handful of Republican Senators — including Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, Mike Green, Rick Jones and Dave Hildenbrand — addressed the enthusiasts before taking up gun-related bills on the floor of the upper chamber.

"It is a great responsibility to carry a firearm, to own a firearm. It's also our right," Meekhof told the crowd of roughly 200, which appeared to grow later in the day.

It is your right to own a gun, but that does not translate into it being your right to haul your firearm around wherever you go. I mean, the right to own a firearm is really a new interpretation of the Second Amendment, and the Supreme Court in reinterpreting it said that local governments can still lay restrictions on where you can take them. So, this isn't about the Second Amendment. This is about appeasing a bunch of gun-happy paranoid nuts who think that when government turns tryannical that they only thing that'll stop them is an M-4 and their cool, calm trigger fingers.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Today in Rick Michigan isn't running for president

by: Eric B.

Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 10:25:26 AM EDT

Lookee folks, it's data journalism!

No one is winning the Republican presidential primary right now. In fact, there isn’t even a top tier in the endorsement primary, and the lack of a leader has led many Republicans to consider running. The latest is Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. While we’ll get into more details about Snyder’s chances if he eventually declares, Snyder’s candidacy does not look on first glance particularly attractive for Republican primary voters.

He has two things working against him: ideology and electability.

In a Republican primary, those are the two biggest things on the God damned planet.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

And then, there's the budget

by: Eric B.

Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 14:00:00 PM EDT

Thanks to things, the state budget is a thing that is done to us, not a thing we get to influence.

LANSING — The Michigan House on Tuesday approved a $37.9 billion general budget bill that would mostly align with Gov. Rick Snyder's plan but also break with him by discontinuing $50 million in moviemaking incentives and trimming state revenue sharing to Detroit.

The 59-51 vote, which was almost entirely along party lines in the Republican-led chamber, set the stage for further talks in mid-May when legislators get updated revenue projections. The House is expected to pass its $15.8 billion education budget on Wednesday — billed by the majority as the highest ever in the state — and the GOP-controlled Senate could approve its spending bills next week.

There is also a provision prohibiting state dollars from going to Planned Parenthood for some reason. Same bunch who is allowing Right to Life use the Secretary of State's office as a fund raising tool. But, at least we'll have the budget done in June, because doing things quickly is much better than doing things properly.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Ruth Bader-Ginsburg makes a hash of Michigan's finest legal mind's lawyer

by: Eric B.

Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 12:39:36 PM EDT

Hey folks, this is what you're getting for your tax dollars!

“Marriage today is not what it was under the common law tradition, under the civil law tradition,” said Ginsburg when Justices Roberts and Kennedy began to fret about whether the court had a right to challenge centuries of tradition.

“Marriage was a relationship of a dominant male to a subordinate female,” she explained. “That ended as a result of this court’s decision in 1982 when Louisiana’s Head and Master Rule was struck down … Would that be a choice that state should [still] be allowed to have? To cling to marriage the way it once was?”

“No,” replied John Bursch, the somewhat chastised lawyer for the states who are seeking to preserve their ban on gay marriage.

Those centuries of tradition, of course, were all about the preservation of family position and disposition of property, not about some Biblical nonsense about man and woman procreating in a God-blessed union. All this talk about traditional marriage and not one word about dowries, arranged marriages or female children being peddled off to the best suitor that could be found.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Life, liberty and the pursuit of random capitalizations

by: Eric B.

Tue Apr 28, 2015 at 12:23:28 PM EDT

Todd Courser posted something new yesterday. It's long, rambling and full of random capitalizations. Also, the Bible apparently commands Republicans to not attack other Republicans.

There is a proper biblical way to handle such disputes; that process doesn't include destroying a member of your group publicly and without providing any evidence of such wrongdoing. The proper way to handle such an incident is to first, if he had issue with Rep. Gamrat's actions, he should have given her a warning on his specific charges, which would be followed by an opportunity to correct the situation, then if the situation was not corrected then further actions would be taken in private before he threw her out publicly, without warning, and without evidence being offered to back up his decision.

Who knew the Big G was into full and proper due process?

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Michigan's least necessary columnist calls federal prosecutors a bunch of jackbooted thugs

by: Eric B.

Mon Apr 27, 2015 at 15:30:00 PM EDT

This is rich.

First, the Obama administration whips up a blame-the-banks fervor after the financial collapse. Then, armed with federal fraud statutes adopted after the savings and loan meltdown in the 1980s, it scours the transactions of lenders to find hints of irregularities. It extrapolates from the skimpiest evidence a pattern of widespread abuse, and if needed, frightens insiders into coughing up creative accusations against their employers.

Only in the fevered imaginations of rightwingers was the financial collapse brought on by anything other than the banks. To them, it was Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and poor black people. It was anything but an industry that was barely regulated in theory and completely unregulated in practice, and served by thoroughly corrupted, incompetent credit rating agencies.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Michigan's finest legal mind embarks on exercise in futility tomorrow

by: Eric B.

Mon Apr 27, 2015 at 14:40:24 PM EDT

I mark this moment, only because this is a very, very big deal and one that this blog has been behind for as long as I can remember (and it remains the only petition I have declined to sign). It has been since I took it over in 2007, and I can't imagine that Jon, Laura and Matt were any different before that.

Historic arguments will force justices to signal support for nationwide constitutional right, legal experts say, as continuing support of marriage bans would be ‘reckless and irresponsible’

The highest court in the United States on Tuesday will hear arguments in one of the last major undecided civil rights struggles in American history – whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right – but this particular landmark case for equality may already be open and shut.

It appears that most people feel like our gay marriage ban is going down in flames, and believe that the conclusion has already been telegraphed a long time before.

Dale Carpenter, a constitutional law professor at the University of Minnesota, said the court delivered an underappreciated signal in favor of same-sex marriage in 2014, when it decided not to hear pending appeals from several states, effectively creating a pathway for same-sex marriage across those 37 states that have since legalized it.


But if five of the nine robed judges bend toward history, Carpenter said, the opposition may be as out of options as the justices already are: “Once the supreme court has spoken, it’s over.”

Not according to Michigan's finest legal mind.

This is a nice, handy guide to tomorrow's court action. It also has the feel to it of being written by Stephen Henderson, who covered the Supreme Court.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Our benevolent overlord signals he might, just maybe, get into GOP presidential clown car

by: Eric B.

Mon Apr 27, 2015 at 11:54:53 AM EDT

This blew up over the weekend. Thought about interrupting the open thread to take note, but my attention was grabbed by something tangible and real.

Michigan governor Rick Snyder may be the newest GOP candidate for the White House.

Snyder mingled with donors at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) in Las Vegas on Friday and told at least one attendee that he was a candidate.

On Saturday morning, the former Minnesota senator Norm Coleman told reporters: “I met with Rick Snyder yesterday. He’s running. He’s running.”

In other news, Jennifer Granholm could be tapped very, very soon for a position in the Obama cabinet.

Look, folks, at some point this flirtation will end when people realize that he nearly lost re-election last year in an election that saw his party make across-the-board gains everywhere in the country.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Open yer thread like it ain't gonna never open thread again

by: Eric B.

Sat Apr 25, 2015 at 11:11:48 AM EDT

I bought a new phone last Friday, which was rather timely since on Saturday my Droid 2 died for good. Borrowed an old flip-style phone from a co-worker Sunday, but by Wednesday a Samsung Galaxy 4 had arrved.

This is the same model of phone the kid has been using the last few years. Well, used it on and off. He went through I think three of them, all of them ending in broken screens. The last time, he got grounded for not telling either his mother or I that he'd broken it. He also got grounded because the story he told us about how it got broken felt sketchy. When he replaced hs phone last time, he also bought a waterproof, shockproof case to protect the screen.

I bought the exact same model of case, in fact, because, well, he inherited his clumsiness from someone. True to form, Wednesday evening while I was preparing dinner, I knocked my phone off the kitchen table. It landed flat.

The case arrived yesterday. Same model and same color as his. Aside from the fact that our phones have different apps in different places, you wouldn't be able to tell them apart. Well, there's one distinct difference. My screen is cracked.

The thread, she be open.

Discuss :: (12 Comments)

Local attorney goes off his nut, alleges conspiracy, sues everyone

by: Eric B.

Fri Apr 24, 2015 at 15:28:55 PM EDT

This isn't politics, per se, but it is damn funny.


Mount Pleasant attorney Todd Levitt filed a civil lawsuit Thursday against The Morning Sun, Digital First Media, two Central Michigan University professors and attorney Gordon Bloem.


Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis, community engagement editor of The Morning Sun, College of Business professors James Felton and Kenneth Sanney and Bloem are named in the lawsuit. Levitt is accusing the defendants of libel and slander, false light invasion of privacy, intentional interference with business expectancy, infliction of emotional distress and reckless conduct through the published work of The Morning Sun. Levitt is seeking $1 million in damages for each count.

Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis is, among other things, mother to my son, so I've been in on the ground floor of this since it broke a couple of weeks ago. She's also a lot more pleasant to be around than I am, so it's sort of surprising that if anyone was going to get sued it would be her. Anyway, I share this for two reasons: A. A lot of readers of this blog in Michigan's journalism community came through Mount Pleasant during college, and know who she is, and B. It's been one of the most popular ongoing stories I've shared through social media the last couple of years. People all over the state and in fact all over the country have been entertained by it.

I'd be remiss if I didn't share the full backstory, which is that this started out as a lawsuit over a parody Twitter account. The attorney in question represents a lot of CMU students who get DUIs and minor drug possession cases. He's also never quite fully matured and acts like he is still in his 20s (what a shit age to get stuck on).

The Twitter lawsuit got dismissed, although for some reason the judge never ruled that Levitt is a public figure, which he very much is (at one point, he had his own IMDB page). So rather than walk away, he's responded by suing absolutely everyone, alleging a conspiracy ... among other things. My guess is that he's hoping to squeeze some money out of the newspaper company during an out-of-court settlement. In the old days, the newspaper would have told him to go fuck himself, but the thing ultimately is owned by a hedge fund today and the possibility that they'd throw their people under the bus isn't one you should entirely discount.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Rustic yahoo says his god demands that he interfere in others' lives

by: Eric B.

Fri Apr 24, 2015 at 11:02:30 AM EDT

In case anyone had forgotten that the 7th District is represented in Congress by a religious zealot, Tim Walberg would like to remind you that it is.

“It is clearly taught by Jesus the Christ himself,” Walberg preached to members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, “for those of us who believe in him — and I understand and I accept the fact that there are those who don’t — but he said render unto Caesar what’s Caesar’s and God what’s God’s, and I think that’s an important consideration for us on this committee tonight.”

Claiming Jesus in a political dispute is inflammatory, particularly when you accuse your opponents, as Walberg did, of “a continued attack on religion.” The appeal to theocracy Tuesday night was even more incendiary because it was used to justify a bid to strike down a new District of Columbia law protecting women from workplace discrimination if they receive fertility treatments, use birth control or have abortions.

Disagree with that, by the way, and you're not just holding a different opinion; you're attacking his faith. It's how these pocket edition authoritarians get away with it all the time ... no one wants to appear to be on record attacking someone else's religious beliefs because we've convinced ourselves that this is a bad thing.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

These people are still on about "the gays" and it makes no sense whatsoever

by: Eric B.

Thu Apr 23, 2015 at 10:37:11 AM EDT

The Lansing Bubble at work.

LANSING, MI — A Michigan Senate panel on Wednesday advanced controversial legislation that would allow adoption agencies who contract with the state to deny service to prospective parents based on sincerely held religious beliefs.

Supporters say the three-bill package, approved by the Republican majority in a series of 4-1 votes, would codify existing policy and protect faith-based agencies from any future regulations that may conflict with their religious tenets.

This is a movement in the process of flaming out. These people have no idea how much people are tired of this kind of shit happening. It blew up all over Indiana, and the people who passed that law were utterly clueless that it was about to happen before it did. It's because they are oblivious to the world around them, getting their information for a very confined set of sources. They have no idea how out of touch their internal values are, or how little interest most people have in seeing them codified. They are in desperate need of someone taking them aside, smacking them, and telling them to focus on their jobs ... instead of the job they imagine they have.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Media coverage of me calling Ted Cruz a clown

by: Eric B.

Mon Apr 20, 2015 at 13:43:08 PM EDT

In case you haven't, you can download last week's episode of Off the Record -- on which I was paneled with Tony T. and Dennis Lennox and Brandon Hall -- here. A lot of people have given Tony high props for his performance. I thought he was letting Dennis Lennox off the hook. I thought he should have not let Dennis Lennox talk over him quite so much. But, whatever.

Anyway, Chad Selweski watched the show and wrote a centrist thing about it. My favorite part?

Baerren also ignited the free-for-all with this simple description of Cruz: “A clown.” 

This is something that I'm proud of having had the opportunity to so publicly and prominently say that if it wound up on my tombstone I'd be satisfied with that.

Discuss :: (9 Comments)

The grift that keeps on giving

by: Eric B.

Mon Apr 20, 2015 at 13:38:04 PM EDT

I think we're seeing a pattern emerging: Rightwing loonie says or does something very loony and pays a very public social cost for doing it. Other rightwing loonies see this as a violation of his or her god-given right to say loonie thing without fear of consequence and dumps money into that person's bank account. Except with the guy who won't fix gay cars in Grandville, it didn't work.

Next test case: Livonia.

A Michigan tree trimmer and one of his employees set up a display featuring a Confederate flag and a pair of nooses – and they don’t care about neighbor complaints.

Of course they don't care. In fact, there's good reason to bank on them hoping that their enraged neighbors give them a money bomb pay day.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)
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