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And finally retrogerrymandering the Oakland County commission districts pays off

by: Eric B.

Fri Oct 24, 2014 at 15:00:00 PM EDT

Finally, an executive pay raise that Republicans cannot get behind on the grounds that you need to pay talent to attract and retain talent.

(WXYZ) - The controversy over bonuses given to two top executives with the Detroit Institute of Arts is heating up even more this week.

Oakland County commissioners are angry and giving the DIA an ultimatum for the execs to give back the bonuses or else.

Commissioners are threatening to pull their portion of taxpayer money—a whopping $11-million.

Completely unrelated is this ... four years ago, the governor signed a bill that reduced the number of county commission districts so that Republicans could do legislatively what they failed to do during an election, win a majority of seats. Now, thanks in part to that law, the DIA has to continue suffering unwarranted controversy.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

And now, a word from our sponsor

by: Eric B.

Fri Oct 24, 2014 at 14:07:47 PM EDT

It's less than two weeks until Election Day. Probably very few of you reading this fall into the category of Undecided Voter, at least on the big races. Getting quite a lot less attention this cycle are the still critical races for Supreme Court justices, other judges and the ballot questions. Don't forget to flip your ballot and make known your voice!

One of them, as you're well aware, is sponsorshing Michigan Liberal through the Election. It's Richard Bernstein's campaign. Have you visited their site, yet?

Come November 6, the day after the election, this website will be sponsorless once again. Will you allow such a sadness to exist on earth? Sponsorships are very cheap and very effective. I mean, before September, who ever heard of the Bernstein family? Cost is $25 a day, $100 a month or a low, low $360 a month. If that sounds just ducky to you, contact me at ebaerren@michiganliberal.com, by text message at 517/881-8008 or on social media.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Benevolent overlord says pension tax a great way to unretire retirees

by: Eric B.

Fri Oct 24, 2014 at 13:56:08 PM EDT

So much for enjoying a little quiet repose in your Golden Years.

MC: Explain “Snyder killing pension tax.”

RS: There was a benefit for a certain group of people, and (people) don’t like to see benefits go away. But it wasn’t fair. It was an exclusion of certain kinds of retirement income that you didn’t have to pay Michigan tax on. It started small and kept growing till it became a big deal. We replaced it with a senior exclusion in a fair way regardless of your type of income. Now we have a better system. We are not killing jobs at all. We are encouraging seniors to work more.

I am not sure our benevolent overlord understands the point of retirement.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Guy running for House Speaker lies about criminal history in MLive voter guide

by: Eric B.

Fri Oct 24, 2014 at 13:08:02 PM EDT

For this post, we go aaaaaaaall the way back to Year of Our Lord 2010, the Sunday before the November general election. I worked my normal shift at the group home (3-11) and came home to a piece of paper stuffed into the frame of my storm door (a storm door that very coincidentally was removed just today). The piece of paper was a copy of a court record from Gratiot County, and it outlined the proceedings regarding Kevin Cotter, who at the time was just the young man running for state House and who in 2000 was caught by John Law driving through the little town of St. Louis with an open container of alcohol in the car. I was led to believe that the person who placed the piece of paper there, and it was either his opponent in the general election (Toni Sessoms) or a late attempt to exercise revenge by Christine Alwood, who Cotter defeated in the primary, had tried leaking it to other media people in town but to no avail.

So, I wrote a column about it, and it came out after the election, and it was intended in part to tell people a little (a very little) about the guy they'd just elected and in part to castigate the media for acting irresponsibly by sitting on news.

This morning, someone forwarded me a copy of MLive's voters guide on the race. When asked if he'd ever been arrested or been found guilty of a crime, he answered that, no, he hadn't. Now, it is possible that he could be working the super weasely angle here, that he was probably ticketed and that a guilty plea isn't technically a conviction or a plea of no contest. From where I sit, however, you still can't get from Point A to Point B without being an act of dishonesty with voters.

Update! ... Another Republican running for another House seat telling another kind of untruth to MLive. Will MLive uncork on these people for trying to use it to spread disinformation?

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Reset your Aramark Employee Does Something Terrible tickers!

by: Eric B.

Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 17:31:40 PM EDT

More drugs.

A third Aramark prison food worker has been fired on suspicion of smuggling drugs into a Michigan prison, and the case is under investigation by the Michigan State Police, officials confirmed Thursday.

The kitchen worker at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian was fired and banned from prison property on Oct. 3 on suspicion of smuggling marijuana into the prison, Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan said.

This wasn't the only appearance in today's press clippings for Aramark and it's splendiforous privatived meal service.

A fired Aramark prison food worker filed a whistle-blower complaint Wednesday with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, alleging she lost her job for complaining about falsified records and kitchen practices that endangered health and food safety.

In response, Aramark called her a disgruntled former worker and said the entire episode was another manufactured outrage against the company.
And, that's really the feeling you get from our "leadership" on this ... that they don't take it seriously because they think it's just cheap way to score political points. The truth of it is a distant second.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Unofficial spokesman for the MRP Dave Agema refers to Arabs as "camel jockeys"

by: Eric B.

Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 14:39:21 PM EDT

Just in time for November's election.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Media's "Big, persistent lie" about education funding unravels in the blink of an eye

by: Eric B.

Thu Oct 23, 2014 at 10:14:40 AM EDT

Well, now, this is interesting.

In his budgets, Gov. Snyder has been shifting about $400 million per year out of the School Aid Fund – the money dedicated to K-12 – and sending it to the state’s community colleges and universities to partially make up for cuts he made there. No governor has ever done that before.

Mitch Bean, the consultant who’s kept a close eye on the budget for decades, says the line items in the School Aid Fund have been altered to the point it’s really hard to compare past School Aid Fund budgets to the Snyder budgets. But behind the shell game of shifting money from here to there, a loss is revealed. Bean says since Gov. Snyder cut taxes on businesses, less money is going into the school fund.


Bean says a billion dollars in cuts or a billion dollars added during the governor’s four-year term isn’t the real story. The tax change means billions of dollars of potential resources lost to schools during that time. Fewer business tax dollars going into the School Aid Fund and then dollars being taken out for higher ed and community colleges add up.

It's worth reading in its entirety, obviously.

The prong of this fork that no one is talking about is the shift of funds from conventional, public schools to "alternatives." The alternatives are things like charter schools, online learning and other for-profit drek that undereducates kids but funnels tax dollars into private hands for a substandard product (i.e. education). But, that's another story.

Bottom line: Our media took a stand behind what they thought was a fact, and got it wrong.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Dan Gilbert takes a shot at our benevolent overlord for signing anti-Tesla bill

by: Eric B.

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 14:00:00 PM EDT

This is great.

(Dan Gilbert) said Snyder's move "sends a bad message" about the influence of lobbyists in lawmaking.

"To me you have to have a philosophy and you have to stick to it and you can't let your personal circumstances compromise that," Gilbert said.

It sends a bad message, but it also sends a very accurate message. Thanks term limits, for empowering this. I mean, you know the governor knew he was being a lobbyists' shill when he released a statement defending the bill.

Still, he did it anyway.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Bobby McKenzie campaign releases the greatest Tee Vee ad you'll ever see

by: Eric B.

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 13:46:10 PM EDT

There is nothing about this that isn't great, including that it promptly provoked howls of protest from Republicans.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

GOP candidate with a sex thing for motors says homosexuals are a menace to society

by: Eric B.

Wed Oct 22, 2014 at 13:13:55 PM EDT

From the "I was not graced with an abundance of self-awareness at birth" category.

A Michigan Republican with a criminal record for breaking into cars and masturbating is urging residents to move out of state to avoid the “homosexual agenda.”

Jordan Haskins briefly suspended his campaign for an open state house seat after his criminal convictions were revealed.


“If the state wants to trample religious freedom, we go somewhere else where our values are welcome,” Haskins posted Oct. 8. “Michigan loses tax money, economic performance, jobs, etc. if they choose to be entrenched with the homosexual agenda, it’s time for conservative christians (sic) to vote with their feet and their dollars.”

Marriage should be between a man and an internal combustion engine. Jesus said that, somewhere near the back.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Fred Upton calls donors to Super PAC that is spending against him, says they are sad

by: Eric B.

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 15:16:15 PM EDT

Here's your afternoon funny.

The mission of the Mayday PAC, a crowdfunded super PAC created by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, is to make it politically toxic to oppose campaign finance reform, thus reducing the influence of money in politics. To raise the political cost of inaction on the issue, Mayday has targeted a handful of members of Congress, hoping either to knock them off or to give them the scare of a political lifetime.

Yet some of the major donors behind the PAC are themselves getting quite the scare. One of the congressmen Mayday has set its sites on is Michigan Republican Fred Upton, chairman of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee that has jurisdiction over the tech companies in Silicon Valley.

According to people familiar with the situation, committee staff director and former super lobbyist Gary Andres personally has been calling the CEOs of major Silicon Valley tech companies, hammering them for coming after Upton and spooking Mayday's donors, who worry their companies will get rougher treatment when and if Upton survives.

Put short: Super PAC targets Fred Upton for not aggressively pursuing campaign finance reform. Upton responds by loosing his henchman, a former super lobbyist, to call the Super PAC's donors and threaten to take it out on their companies.


"Who do you think orchestrated Shayes-Meehan, the bipartisan bill? It was Fred Upton," Upton told the Kalamazoo Gazette editorial board. "I'm not a lawyer. I'm sorry that the Supreme Court struck quite a bit of it."

Fred Upton would like you to know that he's responsible for campaign finance legislation, but not so responsible for it that he should be blamed that the Supreme Court overturned it. He's no lawyer, sunshine.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Our benevolent overlord makes a mockery of the market-based economy

by: Eric B.

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 15:03:08 PM EDT

Ho, ho, ho.

Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed a bill that strengthens a law banning automakers — including Tesla Motors Inc. — from selling vehicles directly to customers in Michigan.

Snyder said the bill, which also prohibits automakers from telling dealers how much to charge in documentation fees, “clarifies and strengthens” an already-existing law that prohibit direct sales in the Great Lakes state.

“This bill does not, as some have claimed, prevent auto manufacturers from selling automobiles directly to consumers at retail in Michigan — because this is already prohibited under Michigan law,” Snyder said in a letter to lawmakers that accompanies the signed bill.

Tesla, of course, disagreed that they were barred by state law from direct sales in Michigan, which is probably why our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect "strengthened and clarified" the law in the dead of night, which is usually the best time for open, transparent democracy. You may wish to ask youself what about the law neded to be "stregthened and clarified" in the first place.

Someone asked today how much money the auto dealers' lobby had sunk into both party's coffers. Good question. There is also this.

A proposed Cadillac dealership is a step closer to becoming the first new development of city-owned property in Warren’s “downtown” district.


“Tax relief is necessary to assure financial viability of the dealership,” said Jackson, adding that he would seek a 12-year property tax abatement on the new auto facility and tax relief “for a period of six years from the state education tax.”

That's the business model that's being protected here: It requires statutory protection from competition and tax breaks to thrive.

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Land takes credit for fixing something called the DMV

by: Eric B.

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 13:21:56 PM EDT

This ... this is just embarrassing.

The campaign for Terri Lynn Land, from Michigan, fired off a tweet touting her progress with streamlining the DMV. The state does not have a DMV.

"You can trust Terri to make DC work b/c she has the experience to back it up," the tweet insists.

"Terri made the DMV work! #MISen"

It's not like we don't know what the DMV is supposed to be. It's just that we don't have one in this state.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

HUD investigates former MSHDA director who spent lavishly

by: Eric B.

Mon Oct 20, 2014 at 11:27:52 AM EDT

Just remember that our benevolent overlord's initial reaction to this was to defend the guy.

The Office of Inspector General of HUD is investigating a complaint Michigan Democrats filed in September alleging a potential conflict of interest or misuse of federal funds by former Michigan State Housing Development Authority executive director Scott Woosley, an official confirmed Friday.

It's the stuff that came out afterwards about his private company receiving federal grant dollars, but it's all also related.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Your thread, she be open for the weekend

by: Eric B.

Sat Oct 18, 2014 at 12:24:54 PM EDT

The kid asked to borrow my laptop last night to play Minecraft at a friend's house. So, I spent half an hour searching the Internet for instructions on how to load it onto a Linux machine, and then another 15 minutes figuring out how to make it work. He disappeared with my laptop for the night and I just got it back. Always be aware of what doors you open, is the moral of our story, because some of them can never be closed.

Your thread is open.

Discuss :: (7 Comments)
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