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Rick Jones wants to put government in your booze flask

by: Eric B.

Tue Mar 31, 2015 at 14:37:31 PM EDT

Legislating like it's 1952.

LANSING, MI -- Legislators in two chambers and on both sides of the political aisle are looking to stop the sale of powdered alcohol, known as 'Palcohol,' in Michigan.

Federal regulators recently approved the product -- a powder that people could mix with water to form an alcoholic beverage -- for sale in the United States. But it's up to individual states to determine if it can be sold there.

Two elected officials want to make sure that doesn't happen in Michigan.

I get their reasoning -- it's a menace to public health -- and while there is certainly something to it, let's finally just all agree that prohibiting things is an old, failed way of addressing the public health risks. It doesn't work. All it does is put government in between goods and consumers who want to purchase them. Rick Jones (and Scott Dianda) should stop worrying about that relationship, because at least for Jones it's an unhealthy obsession that stinks of simple authoritarianism.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Gongwer: Miller might run for governor

by: Eric B.

Tue Mar 31, 2015 at 13:20:26 PM EDT

From The Interwebs!

(Lansing-Gongwer News Service) Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller is not ruling out a run for governor in 2018.  

The Gongwer News Service says a source close to the Republican Representative says she is not saying yes or no to the idea, but has been encouraged by fellow Republican to consider seeking the state’s highest office. Miller has said she won’t run for re-election to Congress next year. Governor Rick Snyder won’t be able to seek another term. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and Attorney General Bill Schuette are both considered possible Republican candidates for governor in 2018.

Why on earth isn't the identity of the source revealed? Why is a source for a "will she or won't she" story identified by name? That's stuff that is supposed to be reserved for genuine whisteblowers and in case of critical information for important news stories that you can't otherwise obtain. How does this story meet those criteria.

It doesn't.

Discuss :: (11 Comments)

Indiana, religious freedom and our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect

by: Eric B.

Tue Mar 31, 2015 at 11:29:34 AM EDT

Nancy Nall Derringer posted this article to her Facebook wall over the weekend. It's about Indiana's religious freedom bill. I take the author's word for it, he being an Indiana law school professor and me being, well, me.

As most smart people can imagine, the law works in a way that's a lot more complicated than what it's been made out in the media to be. Religious-based discrimination is already legal in most of Indiana, so they've really done nothing to expand people's rights to do that.

The issue that's being overlooked here, the angle that everyone has so far missed, is what is really motivating this stuff. Deep down, these are bills that are part of the ongoing struggle between individuality and collectivism. It's already been pointed out that there are no religious texts that forbid a baker from selling a wedding cake to a gay couple. Religious people who don't want to cater gay weddings don't want to do it because their god told them to. They don't want to do it because they think their god has told them that homosexuality is icky and they don't want any part of promoting it.

That's not a conflict between a secular and a religious state. Well, it is to the extent that the religious state is intended to be one approach to one religious: evangelical Christianity. But, it's a conflict between what has become radical individuality and our common spaces, because it allows the individual to elevate him or herself above everyone else based on what they believe. Mostly we agree that discrimination is bad, but this tells people who discriminate that they don't have to worry about practicing evolving common norms. This is what is ultimately behind this bill, and the bill that would allow people to carry guns into bars, and laws that allow people working in pharmacies to choose not to sell birth control otherwise available at their store.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that Michigan's religious freedom expansion bill's main champion is Mike Shirkey, who was also very big on Right to Work. Right to Work, of course, is part of that struggle: The individual worker can say, I object to a collective effort that benefits everyone else, and want no part of it.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

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

by: Eric B.

Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 13:50:46 PM EDT

http://www.michiganliberal.com/upload/11627_10152840492181443_4165225573199008096_n.jpgThe Michigan Democratic Party's month-long sponsorship expired some time ago, but I didn't catch it until over the weekend. Oops, says Rick Perry. Anyway, this made me sad, and I decided to let you know how I feel by posting a picture of a sad clown. He's off to the left. Actually, I think he's less sad and more exhausted from going to bed very late and waking up very early. What was he thinking? In fact, to hell with that guy.

We are in need of a new sponsor, however. It probably won't make the clown off to the left any happier, because nothing ever pleases that fucking guy, but it would help keep our lights on. We're out of winter, but we're at the peak of winter heating bills, which means that money we could be using to keep up on hosting bills is intead going to keep the electricity turned on.

You know the drill. Rates are $25 by the day, $100 by the week, or $360 by the month. In exchange, you get a picture file of your choice in the upper righthand corner, the most prominent real estate on the whole site, and a link. Plus, a post here in the main body. Interested parties can contact me at ebaerren@michiganliberal.com, via text message at 517/881-8008 or over Teh Social Medias.

Don't make me go begging to someone. It's degrading.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Hey, look, ma ... I is gonna be on the Tee Vee

by: Eric B.

Mon Mar 30, 2015 at 12:25:02 PM EDT

Hey, off to the left, that's me this morning. As you can see in the background, I was in Lansing to tape an episode of Off the Record. There's a new set, which Skubick says plays well with the younger set but not so much whose cohort includes the so-called Reagan Democrats (that is, people who are old).

The episode I taped will air starting April 17, and can be downloaded starting at, like, 3 p.m.

My co-panelists were Tony Trupiano, Brandon Hall and Dennis Lennox. I was really tired, and I really dislike Dennis Lennox, who tried talking over everyone and was a rightwing talking points distribution machine. I felt half-tempted to choke the shit out of him, but in the end consigned myself to calling him "ridiculous." Oh yeah, when the taping was over, he went scurrying out of the studio while the rest of us were still in there talking. The other day, I mentioned on Facebook that I would have to stifle an urge to stuff him into a garbage can, so maybe someone told him.

Other highlights: I called Ted Cruz a clown and a con man. Lennox tried referring to Elizabeth Warren as a leftwing Ted Cruz, which since he'd just come to Cruz's defense I guess was maybe an attempt to compliment her.

Whatever. Skubick said it will make compelling television.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Today we are all Stinking Cow College: Open thread

by: Eric B.

Sat Mar 28, 2015 at 14:13:20 PM EDT

There's some kind of tournament going on right now, isn't there? Why, yes, there is. I've seen stuff in people's social media feed this week. It appears that Stinking Cow College is doing well. Bully for Stinking Cow College.

Open thread.

P.S. Here are a couple of conversation starters: Apparently, Harvey Santana said on Off the Record this weekend that he is the future of the Democratic Party; also, Michigan's finest legal mind is arguing that banning same sex marriage is a matter of state's rights. How much is he spending to make this argument, again? Someone should ask him that.

Discuss :: (11 Comments)

Governor uses the power of his pardon to help some poor wealthy man get ahead

by: Eric B.

Fri Mar 27, 2015 at 13:17:16 PM EDT

The other day, the AP ran a story about how the guy who started the Five Hour Energy company is a little known bigtime donor to Republican causes. Then, today.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder used his pardon powers to erase the drunken driving conviction of a politically connected lawyer who was appointed to a state economic board in 2011.

Snyder followed the recommendation of the Michigan parole board and pardoned Alan Gocha Jr. in December - one of only 11 pardons out of roughly 750 applications since the governor took office.

This isn't just soe schmuck who lucked out. Snyder knows him well enough to have corrected a reporter who mispronounced his name during an interview. Snyder also says that he tries to use the power of the guberatorial pardon to help people being held back. It is, however, apparently reserved for this sort of thing.

The governor was interested in "potential pardons where the conviction was inhibiting them from advancing economically or was preventing them from getting a job or was preventing them from financial freedom - from moving past some obstacle in their life," said Marlan, who oversees the parole board.

Gocha said the conviction was a "black cloud" that slowed deals with Wall Street bankers and limited international travel.

Apparently,if you are slowed in making deals with Wall Street bankers and have limited international travel, then the governor will have your back. Have a non-violent drug conviction that make it next to impossible to pass any background check ... not so much.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

In a shocker, LGBT people don't like vacationing where they don't feel welcome

by: Eric B.

Thu Mar 26, 2015 at 13:50:01 PM EDT

Today in Stunning Revelations.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- There are 37 states with marriage equality and the fact that Michigan isn't one of them hurts the tourism industry's bottom line, said a market researcher at the Pure Michigan Governor's Conference on Tourism this week.

"Whatever percentage of Michigan's business now is weddings, it could be increased by including LGBTs. Certainly within the state but those who have family here, etc. I think that there's a lot of opportunity," said Thomas Roth, president of San Francisco-based Community Marketing, Inc.

When asked to respond to this, Dave Agema reportedly said, "Homos get AIDS and die.*"

*--I don't think he said this. At least, not publicly. Probably said it privately, tho. Lots of times.

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Cutting ties to Michigan Liberal continues to be path to success

by: Eric B.

Thu Mar 26, 2015 at 10:46:50 AM EDT

Awhile ago, I posted something about how the employer of Laura Packard, who helped found this here website, had won some awards. They've won more, and related to Debbie Dingell's website, so it's highly topical!

We want to take this moment to thank our clients and our friends throughout the political and non-profit world for everything you’ve done. We owe it all to you. Thank you especially to Chris Potter on our team who built the websites, to Laura Packard who project managed both website projects, to Laurin Manning who designed them and Anne Savage who did the wonderful photography for the Debbie Dingell site. Thank you to the entire Governor Malloy, Congresswoman Dingell, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and AAVREP campaign teams, especially to the campaign managers and the candidates themselves. We know how much work you put in to win, and we salute you for it. Full 2015 Pollie winners list here.


Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Dan Benishek breaks three term vow

by: Eric B.

Wed Mar 25, 2015 at 16:00:00 PM EDT

Great news, America's most hated Congressman is breaking his vow to only serve for three terms.

Rep. Dan Benishek, a third-term Republican from Michigan, announced Tuesday that he would seek reelection in 2016—even though when he first ran for Congress, he said he'd be retiring by next year. He made his move after dancing around the issues for weeks. "Right now, he is focused on veterans' issues," Benishek spokesman Philip Christofanelli told National Journal last week, "and any future political decisions will be made in due time."

Vows of self-imposed term limits are dumb in the first place, so this isn't a big deal. He probably only did this because the wankers in the Tea Party think it's great.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

You can take the bullying homophobe out of Midland...

by: Eric B.

Wed Mar 25, 2015 at 15:09:47 PM EDT

Gary Glenn tries to work the refs.

MIDLAND, MI -- A Michigan state representative issued an "agenda alert" on social media in response to news that his hometown newspaper is appointing an openly gay man to the position of news editor.

State Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Larkin Township, posted links to the Midland Daily News' announcement Sunday, headlining both posts as an "agenda alert" in reference to what some call a "homosexual agenda."

It's hard, unpacking the story, whether Glenn actually wants the guy fired or if he just wants to own real estate in his head. That last bit is what Eric Alterman refers to as "working the refs."

The idea is this: Gary Glenn (and every other conservative) bellow and snort and wave their arms over "liberal" bias in the media to the point where people think they have a point. So, newsroom managers go to extra lengths to make sure the stories are "balanced," which is to say taking seriously moronic and factless things. Conservatives wind up being free to say whatever they want because newsroom managers overcompensate on an illusory phenomenon, and liberals wind up being hemmed in lest someone say that they were treated too nicely by their pals in the media. And because everyone knows that an untrue thing is true, conservative reporters tend to insert their agenda into their work a little more. They simply feel that doing so "balances" things, even though it doesn't. It's not really enough to say that the media is conservative, but it is enough to be annoying.

This guy has already worked in Midland for almost a decade. If he were biased, it would have showed up by now. But, it's also fairly simple to separate your political and personal beliefs from the stories you are doing if you make effort. Why? For the same reason that Republicans and Democrats on local elected bodies don't wind up going Russian parliament on each other over things like centrally planned economies and progressive income taxes ... they have other, more immediate things to deal with.

The real danger in bias, and this is one that American journalism needs to confront, is a bias in favor of sources. Reporters are prone to be a lot more biased in favor of people they are on good terms with to preserve the relationship.

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Woman alleges Planet Fitness violated her constitutional rights to be an ass

by: Eric B.

Tue Mar 24, 2015 at 13:58:23 PM EDT

Probably everyone has been following the story of the Planet Fitness in Midland giving a woman the heave-ho from its membership ranks for complaining about a transgender person using a locker room to do locker room things. Then she got mad and sued.

Earlier this month, the Planet Fitness in Midland, Michigan canceled Yvette Cormier’s membership. Cormier had claimed to see a “man” — a transgender woman — in the locker room and had spent several days complaining to other customers about the gym’s inclusive policy allowing her to be there. Planet Fitness deemed her judgmental behavior “inappropriate and disruptive to other members,” but now Cormier is suing for over $25,000 in damages.

A normal human being would see this as an excellent opportunity to work the marketplace by letting people know that she planned to go to a different gym that is a better fit. I mean, one of the things she is suing for is fear of using the gym facilities. The simple solution would be to go find a gym she's not afraid to use.

Not Yvette Cormier, apparently, She appears to believe that Planet Fitness should be compelled to not only take her back as a member but also change the customer service policies of a private company.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Kristy Pagan: I face sexual harassment almost every day

by: Eric B.

Tue Mar 24, 2015 at 10:35:30 AM EDT

This is a very interesting interview.

Pagan told host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani that she confronts sexism "Every day, as I work on the House floor... As a young woman especially." The lawmaker said there are "very few women elected in Michigan" and described how she manages in such a male-dominated environment. "For me, it's just addressing it straight on and trying to work with my colleagues, male or female, and trying to get the job done."

Apparently, someone very recently asked her whether she'd want to make a list of hottest legislators.

Discuss :: (13 Comments)

On the agenda for Lansing's city council tonight: Public official pay raises

by: Eric B.

Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 12:00:00 PM EDT

Lansing's city council will tonight vote on an agenda item rejecting recommended 20 percent pay raises. I don't know enough about this specifically to feel one way or another on it (also, I live in a different town that has a city manager style of government, so it's not really my place to take one). But, Lansing stuff always seems to draw a lot of interest from y'all, probably mostly because most of y'all live and work in the Lansing area.

I will say this, however, that when I was serving on the board of directors for our local coop, we got compensated with $30 (for officers) in-store credit every month and sometimes that was the difference between me going to the meetings and me sandbagging them to do something fun (I fucking hate meetings). I also seem to remember a Lansing city council person telling me that for them it's a part-time job, and if that's the case it's not a meager time expenditure. Although, 20 percent seems maybe high, but maybe it hasn't been hiked in awhile.

Consider this an open thread on this topic. 

Update: The raises will happen. Council members voted 5-3 for the resolution, which needed 6 votes. A'Lynne Boles, who was one of the sponsors of the resolution, was a deciding vote to block the resolution and thus allow the raises to take effect. 

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

CapCon drone publishes dumb "gotcha" "article" about George Heartwell

by: Eric B.

Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 11:00:08 AM EDT

Know what I hate? A long time ago, when I started out being a non-conformist, I was having a chat with a good friend of mine. He told me that whenever he'd talk about Vietnam or some other horrible American policy failure (usually involving killing people living in foreign countries by the dumptruck load, or something environmental) that his father would hint that maybe that he had it so good here that he ought to just shut up already. I hate that, and I hate those people (although not my friend's father), and I hate that argument. It's not only dumb, but it has all the depth of your typical rain puddle after an April shower. The derp, as the poet says, is strong wth that one.

Today, we go to CapCon, where Tom Gantert applies it to George Heartwell's application for money from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The underlying thing to it is that Gantert imagines that it zings Heartwell, because Heartwell says that fracking and climate change are bad, but is happy to take money from oil and gas royalties to do things.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell has become a hero to the global warming movement with his anti-oil comments. The mayor has said, “Our planet is sick and it is we who have infected it.”

What is this global warming movement of which he speaks? Is there a similar movement for other scientific phenomena? Is there a gravity movement? How about a germ theory of disease movement? Can one enlist in the heliocentrism movement?

But, that's not our real story...

However, Heartwell appears to have no problem with taking money collected from oil companies for using hydraulic fracturing when drilling on state land to fund city government spending. MLive reported that Grand Rapids plans to request a $7.5 million grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The city would use that money, which comes from royalties paid by oil and gas drillers, to buy six properties that are owned by Kent County, Michigan State University and the city's parking system.

Ah, yes, the "He took money from polluters, so he's not really against pollution" canard. It's otherwise known as the "Al Gore farts methane" argument. Also, he owns a home and doesn't live in a cave, wearing clothing of hemp and eating nothing but lichens that he scrounges from the forest.

The Natural Resources Trust Fund, of course, was not set up to funnel profits from feeding pet coke to school children into municipal projects, of course. It was set up as a way for oil and gas companies to compensate property owners for the use of their land, sort of like when they lease out space for wind turbines. Who are those property owners? The people of Grand Rapids, and the people of Detroit, and the people of Ann Arbor, and the people in every other Michigan city or even in the rural townships. George Heartwell's zinged hypocrisy in this case is simply making use of money paid by oil and gas companies who benefit from degrading land owned by everyone else.

Here in America, this is how we do things.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)
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