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I give you thread, open thread

by: Eric B.

Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 13:08:37 PM EDT

Next weekend is the Wheatland Music Festival. I'm covering it, starting Thursday night, for the local paper. Posting will be accordingly light until I return Sunday and have the good vibes crushed out of me. My guess is that it'll have something to do with either open war in Ukraine, or something moving fast through our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Discuss :: (9 Comments)

Look, guys, pick a line of attack and stick with it

by: Eric B.

Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 10:28:05 AM EDT

Stories I wish the media would report, pt. 14: This morning, Politico is running a story that has this in it.

Land is playing the petcoke card, too, though: She points out that Peters invested in the giant French multinational energy company Total S.A., which also produces petcoke — though not the specific waste that was stockpiled in Detroit. Peters’ investment consisted of $19,000 in stock, according to The Detroit News.

“Congressman Peters says he opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline because of concerns about the substance petcoke, but then we learn that he’s heavily invested in petcoke,” Land said in a statement, adding, “It’s difficult to trust someone like that.”

Yesterday, the MiGOP was sharing this video.

The sum total of the GOP attack line is that Gary Peters is a Wall Street fat cat millionaire who is also heavily invested in dirty energy to the tune of a whopping $19,000.

Dear Ye Olde Emm Ess Emm: Does not compute. They are making two arguments that contradict one another. Time to start doing your job by pointing this out to the public.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Today in campaign news: Sierra Club endorses state and local candidates

by: Eric B.

Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 17:00:00 PM EDT

From Ye Olde Inbox:

Flight one: Coleman Young for State Senate District 1, Morris Hood for State Senate District 3, Virgil Smith for State Senate District 4, Vincent Gregory for State Senate District 11, Kevin Commet for State Senate District 16, Jim Ananich for State Senate District 27, Sarah Howard for State Senate District 30, Ron Mindykowski for State Senate District 31, Fred Sprague for State Senate District 33, Cathy Forbes for State Senate District 34, and Phil Bellfy for State Senate District 37.

Flight two: Stephanie Chang for State Representative District 6, Sherry Gay Dagnogo for State Representative District 8, Julie Plawecki for State Representative District 11, Kristy Pagan for State Representative District 21, John Chirkun for State Representative District 22, David Haener for State Representative District 23, Robert Wittenberg for State Representative District 27, Derek Miller for State Representative District 28, Bo Karpinsky for State Representative District 30, Christine Greig for State Representative District 37, Sandy Colvin for State Representative District 39, Phil Phelps for State Representative District 49, Sharon Wimple for State Representative District 57, Jon Hoadley for State Representative District 60, John Fischer for State Representative District 61, Andy Helmbolt for State Representative District 62, Rob VerHeulen for State Representative District 74, Annie Braidwood for State Representative District 85, Lynn Mason for State Representative District 86, Betsy Coffia for State Representative District 104, and Robert Kennedy for State Representative District 106.

They also endorsed David Bowman for Oakland County Commission, District 10.

Discuss :: (12 Comments)

And now, a word from our sponsor

by: Eric B.

Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 16:01:11 PM EDT

I'm pleased as punch to announce that this website is being sponsored by the Richard Bernstein for Michigan Supreme Court campaign ... right through the election. it's all gone, every last bit of sonsorship space between now and through the election. So, you don't have to listen to me complain, cajole or beg for sponsors to come forward, because it's all done for you. To show your appreciation, you should go and visit their website and learn more. And, by the way, let the occasional popping up of this logo remind you to, in early November, flip the ballot and vote in the judicial races.

Most of you long-time readers and close followers of things political remember that Bernstein was for a time a serious contender to be the Democratic nominee for attorney general in 2010. We made note of it here, and I wrote a column for the Mt. Pleasant newspaper about it. Longtime readers also know that the state supreme court is one of the topics of natural interest here. In extolling his supporters to do more at a gathering of Republicans in 2008, matter of fact, Taylor mentioned that Democrats had a better organized online resource to help motivate them to vote. Pretty sure he was talking about Michigan's equivalent of the Netroots. So, as we do every couple of years, we'll be following the race between now and Election Day.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Fried Chicken Frank expresses upset over partisan gamesmenship in column attacking Dems

by: Eric B.

Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 09:59:09 AM EDT

Let's just dive right into the muck that is the bottom of this week's column by Fried Chicken Frank for the punchline.

This situation is too serious for political gamesmanship.

The situation in question is the flooding in the Detroit area in the middle of the month. It's so serious that Fried Chicken Frank penned this as his next paragraph.

The Democrats who seek power need to pressure the administration to free up some of our federal tax dollars to help defray recovery costs – after all, there’s still stimulus money remaining for those shovel ready jobs – and Republicans in power in Lansing need to get serious about addressing the longer term problem of improving Michigan’s road infrastructure system.

It's so serious that Fried Chicken Frank attacked Republicans in Lnsing for not being serious about infrastructure funding. From nine paragraphs preceding the first snippet.

Then, citing the massive flooding on area freeways, they criticized him for overlooking the longtime need for road infrastructure improvements, ignoring his years long call for increased spending on such projects, an initiative the Legislature has failed to address.

They are "Democratic office seekers," the ones who presumably are playing political games by criticizing Lansing for not properly funding infrastructure ... the same Lansing crowd who Fried Chicken Frank ends his column by attacking for the same thing.

It's a touch different, of course. Fried Chicken Frank is attacking our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect and saying that the governor should be shielded from similar criticism because he's called for more road funding, because the flooding is too serious for political games.

The entire column is like that.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Guy who accused Lisa Brown of "milking the vagina business" concern trolls women

by: Eric B.

Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 14:00:00 PM EDT

When Lisa Brown was picked as Mark Schauer's running mate, Nolan Finley wrote a column saying that she was still "milking the vagina business." The vagina business, as we all know, was the time that Brown and Barb Byrum were cut off from speaking in the House because Brown said that the men who served in the House at the time should be less concerned with what she does with her vagina. This was on the occasion of the House debating a bill to further restrict the right of women to have abortions. Since that time, as we all know, the same House, albeit with a slightly different membership, voted to approve Right to Life's rape insurance rider. Nolan Finley this morning wrote about last weekend's nomination of Bill Murphy as a pro-Life jurist.

So it is richly ironic that Schauer so ardently embraced the nomination of an anti-abortion Supreme Court candidate at last weekend’s state party convention.

In the week leading up to the convention, women party activists tried to derail the selection of appeals court Judge Bill Murphy for the Democratic ticket. Schauer rebuffed their pleas to choose a pro-choice candidate instead — they had former Macomb Prosecutor Carl Marlinga waiting in the wings.

Like most everything Nolan Finley writes, it's a column that never needed to be written. It's also a column that, given his past on this issue, that Nolan Finley shouldn't have written. But, he wrote it anyway, probably because he lacks the sense of decency and self-awareness to know that he had no business writing it.

Keep in mind that just last week, Finley wrote a column in which he said that Democrats were going to pick one real candidate for the state supreme court and one place holder on the ballot, a chump candidate who they expected was going to be on the receiving end of a good floor mopping. The real candidate, by the way, is Richard Bernstein. The chump is Bill Murphy. If that's true, Nolan Finley is alledging that Democrats planned to nominate one real candidate (Bernstein) and one sack of wheat (Murphy), but for some reason now hate women equally with the people actually voting to restrict access to abortion and who think that Hobby Lobby as an entity has religious beliefs because they hate the idea of women having sex because they nominated for state high court a guy they don't expect to win.

As to the Murphy nomination, I'll defer to people at the convention. I'm not a big fan of litmus tests for candidates, but I can certainly understand why people are less than thrilled with this guy as a candidate. I just don't think Nolan Finley is the guy to bring this up, because he's shameless and dishonest about how he does it.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

From the horse races: Schauer atop latest poll

by: Eric B.

Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 12:00:00 PM EDT

Hate race coverage based on polls, but it has to be acknowledged because it's so ubiquitous.

Democratic challenger Mark Schauer has edged ahead of Gov. Rick Snyder by 2 percentage points, according to a new poll of likely voters in the Nov. 4 election.

The results from EPIC-MRA of Lansing come just before Labor Day, which is seen as the kickoff of the main campaign season and were released exclusively to the Detroit Free Press, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) and statewide media partners. A 2-point lead is within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, meaning the race remains a statistical dead heat.

It's important to remember that pretty late in the race that Amway Guy was atop Jennifer Granholm and that all changed by the weekend before the election, but it's likewise important to remember that Amway Guy was up for a very long time and Granholm didn't start campaigning until late in the cycle, and then she beat the holy living shit out of him.

At any rate, this could be a fun autumn for stuff. ALL THE STUFF.

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Terri Lynn Land is a climate denier, pt. one million

by: Eric B.

Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 10:11:01 AM EDT

Politico has an article this morning about Gary Peters and climate change and the Senate campaign. Peters position on climate change is pretty clear, and has been for the better part of a decade. His opponent?

As for her own views, Land wrote that there “is no denying that the climate is changing and we must take measures to protect the environment.” When asked how much of that change is caused by humans, Land spokeswoman Heather Swift said in an email that “Terri believes we need to keep an eye on it; but she doesn’t believe we should put a meter on the business end of a cow, like the EPA does.”

This is Do Nothing climate denier-ism. She says it's real, but doesn't want to do anything about it. That means she doesn't think it's a terribly pressing problem. If she thought it was a terribly pressing problem, she'd want to do something. But, she doesn't, which means that she rejects the scientific community's near universal consensus that it's  serious problem that demands swift, comprehensive action. That makes her a climate denier, and an ignoramus.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Democracy today was diminished

by: Eric B.

Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 14:33:02 PM EDT

I am told by teh Twitters that right now in our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect that deliberations are now under way that would enshrine wolf hunting and undermine two successive citizen petitions to adrss what our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect has done.

Occasionally, I'll get asked about the Dunning-Kruger effect: It's not that really stupid people think of themselves as very smart, as most people tend to think, but the idea that highly competent people also tend to understand the limits of competence and think of themselves as less competent than truly incompetent people, who are unaware of how incompetent they really are.

This definition brought to you by today's debate on the wolf hunt.

Update! ... The deed was done.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Koch stooge refers to Michigan Senate race as an "uphill climb"

by: Eric B.

Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:13:33 AM EDT

America's favorite journalism equivalent to a kidney farm got their hands on audio from a Koch brothers retreat, or at least a retreat of their paid-for stooges, Hilarity ensues.

Such discussion is franker than that offered during the daily grind of the campaign trail -- for obvious reason. The talk was private. At one point, Cotton flatly claims that former Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his seat because he "endorsed immigration principles." At a separate panel on congressional races, the audio of which was also sent to The Huffington Post, officials with two Koch-funded organizations -- Americans for Prosperity's president, Tim Phillips, and Freedom Partners' president, Marc Short -- also spoke more candidly about Senate races than they would have on a public panel.

"Michigan is a state that's basically an uphill climb honestly," said Short, mentioning the battle to replace Sen. Carl Levin (D).

Basically and honestly, he sez.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Chad Selweski continues his efforts to not understand what constitutes an actual big deal

by: Eric B.

Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 12:59:50 PM EDT

Barring some miracle Hail Mary by Fried Chicken Frank, this is going to be the worst example of political journalism you'll read at any Michigan media outlet all week.

Senate candidate Gary Peters’ recent purchase of coal company bonds marks the second time in a week that revelations about his personal investments clash with his campaign commitments to champion environmental causes.

The first time, of course, was the revelation that part of Gary Peters' diversified investment portfolio was that it had foreign petroleum holdings. It was not, in fact, evidence that his personal investments clash with his committment to environmental causes, since the burning of petroleum, while unfortunate, is still an unescapable reality. Saying that someone is an environmental hypocrite over a modest investment in foreign petroleum is like saying that Al Gore is an environmental hypocrite because he flew on an airplane to accept his Nobel Peace Prize for An Inconvenient Truth. It's not anything any adult takes seriously, and is mostly regarded as important by rightwing zealots and centrist columnists who are always in the market for evidence that "both sides do it," no matter how lame.

As to the investment in question, at least this time Selweski was good enough to attach a number. How much has Peters sunk into bonds for his coal company?

Congressional disclosure forms require members of Congress and congressional candidates to identify the value of their assets in financial categories. Peters reported that his investment in Cliffs Natural Resources was between $1,000 and $15,000. The company’s mines, located in West Virginia and Alabama, produce up to 9.4 million tons of coal annually.

This is every bit as damning as it would be to read a campaign finance form and found that Peters received $200 from a local gas station owner. WOULD HE RETURN BIG OIL'S MONEY? Keep in mind that not so long ago, they were jumping up and down, flapping their arms, and shrieking that Peters isn't a man of the people because he is worth a couple million dollars.

By the way, it has to be pointed out that an actual objective examination of Peters' environmental record would actually be an examination of where both candidates stand on energy  and the environment, since in this case it's actually the other candidate that is trying to tar the other as anti-environment. That would include disclosing the petroleum investments of that candidate and her ties to the people who actually left the giant pile of petcoke lying next to Detroit that got Peters' dander up in the first place.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Michigan's Finest Legal Mind takes a crack at meddling in local affairs

by: Eric B.

Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 10:55:37 AM EDT

I give you the party of small government and individuals deciding what's in their best interests as opposed to centralized planning.


Marijuana decriminalization in Mount Pleasant just got two more voices of opposition in the form of Michigan's governor and attorney general.


Both Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette sent letters to Mount Pleasant's city commissioners care of City Clerk Jeremy Howard denouncing the proposal, which is slated to be on the Nov. 4 ballot. The proposal, spearheaded by marijuana advocacy groups on and off campus, would effectively make the use, possession and transfer of less than one ounce of marijuana legal in the city.

This isn't just a case of elected officials meddling in what ought to be purely local affairs, it's also the case of two elected officials who just simply can't see the writing on the wall and are trying to hold back the river of change with their hands. In the grand scheme of things, marijuana prohibition is only a big deal in the cost that it saddles all of us with in terms of diminished civil liberties and ballooned prisons, but leadership that continues to insist that it remain our stated public policy despite a public that is turning against it and despite decades of experience that tells us that it is failing is probably not going to be forward looking in a lot of things.

File this under "Our attorney general may be the most out of touch office holder in the state." There's good reason for that, of course, which is that he's never held an honest job a day in his life.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

An abortion of democracy, just as the framers intended, says Skunk Works McLellan

by: Eric B.

Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:13:21 AM EDT

Ye Olde Emm Ess Emm loves them some Richard McLellan, the Lansing-area attorney who is often involved in crafting policy. This morning, they ask him about our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect's unprecedented, unique effort to undermine your democratic right to (literally) petition government of redress of grievance. He says it's no big deal. To people who follow these things closely, this might sound familiar, because when asked about his role in Skunk Works, our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan's secret work group (funded by a slush fund, the names of donors to which were kept secret) to redraw education, he said basically the same thing.

But Lansing attorney Richard McLellan, who often is involved in such issues, said state constitutional provisions allowing citizens to petition for new laws don’t mean every proposal has to go to the ballot.

The framers, McLellan said, just “wanted people to have the right to start the (law-making) process. I get a little irritated with these Democrats who’d do exactly the same things for the same reasons” if they had the legislative majority.

It would be great if his irritation were accompanied by, you know, an example of Democrats actually doing this any time in the last three decades. But, this is the way that our democratic discourse has degenerated ... Republicans do something dastardly and incredibly underhanded that diminishes our democratic institutions because they know they wouldn't win in a fair fight and then say that Democrats would do the same thing as if that's some kind of credible excuse, and our political media just kind of sagely nods its head ... because everyone knows that BOTH SIDES ARE EQUALLY GUILTY.

I assume it's a foregone conclusion that the House will vote to move this thing through. If this happens, the only recourse that anyone has is to constitutionally enshrine what would be the right of the citizenry to make its own choices about how to dispose of its property*. That, in turn, will no doubt lead to a lot of hand wringing in our political media about junking up the state constitution. That, in turn, will give me the urge to drink heavily.

*--Once again, it has to be pointed out that all wildlife in the state of Michigan belongs to the people of Michigan. The act of choosing which animals are game species is not really any more controversial than the act of any property owner choosing how his stuff is managed. The party of property rights and opposing taxation on the grounds that individuals know better how to dispose of their property -- money -- than government aren't so much in favor of property rights and individuals knowing better how to dispose of their property -- wildlife -- when suits them.

Update! ... Just so we're clear, state policy is being crafted in a way that diminishes your democracy on behalf of people like this.

Two Upper Peninsula hunters, under investigation for videotaping hunting dogs mauling a coyote, are also being investigated for running down a coyote with a truck, then filming the injured animal before killing it.

I am not the slightest bit interested in hearing attempts to disconnect the two by saying that coyotes and wolves are different species or that it is terribly unfair to tar every hunter with the actions of two assholes who apparently might not get punished for torturing injured animals. It's the same thing. Same god damned thing. These assholes killed coyotes for fun. There is no legitimate need to hunt wolves. You don't eat them, and if you have problem wolves, you don't punish the entire wolf population with what are essentially random killings. You deal with the problem animal. So, the only reason to hunt them is for sport, which is the same thing as killing them for fun. When you allow people to kill things for fun, this is an outcome that you can expect. Our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect isn't just diminishing our common sense of democracy, it is also bringing low our common humanity ... and standard-issue Lansing Bubble insider Richard McLellan gets a little irritated that you might object to that.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Weekend Open Thread: Conventionally speaking

by: Eric B.

Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 11:39:06 AM EDT

So, lots of you are at the Democratic convention today and some of the those of you who aren't are following the Republican convention on teh social medias. I understand that the latter they've banned peanuts and popcorn lest things get out of hand and the circus animals start throwing it around.

For everyone, this is your official open thread on the weekend. Enjoy the warmth.

Discuss :: (28 Comments)

While you were away, a mockery was made of democracy

by: Eric B.

Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 11:26:03 AM EDT

Actually it was while I was away, and I heard about it via e-mail. Thanks for ruining part of my vacation, jerk (you know who you are), and thanks for sapping my phone of precious battery juice that might have otherwise allowed me to snap a photo of the toilet at the trailhead.

Anyway, this happened.

Has the will of the people been usurped by the Legislature so that we no longer have a voice? This happened recently with the minimum wage petition, which prompted the Legislature to raise the minimum wage in a ploy to thwart Democrats from coming to the polls to vote on raising minimum wage. The Legislature’s pending vote on hunting wolves will thwart Public Act 21, rendering the voice of the people, on the separate ballot issue to protect Michigan’s wolves, pointless.

We need transparency, not further deception. A rushed vote is reminiscent of how Michigan’s right-to-work legislation was passed. This Legislature seems to forget that it works for the people, not the other way around. I am hoping that the initiative submitted by the Citizens for Wildlife Management will be voted down, restoring confidence to the voters that this state is still a democracy.

It's a letter ot the editor written by Linda Samelson of West Bloomfield, not an actual unsigned editorial.

Where are the state's editorial boards on this? This wasn't just about allowing people to kill animals for fun, which it is. This is also about a concerted campaign to prevent people from making use of a democratic process specifically built into the state constitution to redress grievances with shit done by our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Discuss :: (9 Comments)
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