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Circumspice

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Thu Nov 02, 2006 at 17:28:33 PM EST

  • Michliberal.com's Grand Rapids bureau chief, wizardkitten, has some interesting thoughts about the Amway Guy getting caught in a lie by his high school football coach. Turns out wizardkitten had the guy (the football coach - not Dick DeVos) as her history teacher! Read more here.

  • The DFP's Chris Christoff does the best job I've seen yet of explaining what kind of person Governor Granholm is. His profile is definitely worth reading.

  • The Governor gets a good reception in Greenville.

  • Elissa DeVos doesn't get a good reception from the EMU Echo of Ypsilanti.

  • To those who think the ACLU is merely a unit of the Democratic Party, take note: the organization is defending a guy in Fenton  who wants to display two Amway Guy signs at his place of business.

  • I completely agree with the DFP's take on the whole Kerry/Fox News feeding frenzy thing. The headline? "No Joke, Worse Offense On Iraq Is Botched Strategy". Damn right.

  • An anti-war demonstration in Midland?!?

  • A 61-foot blue spruce from Hancock is on its way to Lansing to become this year's official State Capitol Hanukkah Bush. Mazel Tov! (okay, maybe it's not officially a Hannukkah bush, but so what?)
Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Wed Nov 01, 2006 at 17:52:59 PM EST

  • Only six days to go and things just aren't looking so good for Republicans in the Legislature. So lousy, in fact, they've decided it's finally time to bring in the lawyers. The Senate Republicans are filing suit in a superficial attempt to block Democrats from spending money in the final 6 days of the race. I say superficial beacuse in the event this gets anywhere, most - if not all - of the money will already be spent. At issue is whether a 1995 letter by Republican then-Secretary of State Candice Miller establishes that candidates may contribute in excess of $20,000 each to the caucus campaign fund.

  • Political Wire.com wonders aloud whether U.S. Senate Republicans think by zeroing the national efforts on Sen. Stabenow they'll do better that if they spread their cash between some of the other less hopeful races.

  • I love this lead from the Battle Creek Enquirer:
    First lady Laura Bush's stop in Battle Creek five days before the Nov. 7 election has no political implications, according to the Republican National Committee.

    And if you believe that one, the committee also has a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. (emphasis added)
    #1 among the "political implications" that the RNC says doesn't exist?  How abou this: the real possibility that CD07 Republican candidate Tim Walberg could lose to an organic farmer from Munith who he outspent 25-1. Eddie Sarpolus has this one right:
    "No one wastes the first lady's time by sending her to (Battle Creek), unless there is some political usage,"
    And to think, if you would have told me a month ago the NRCC and Laura Bush would have to come in to bail out Walberg, I would have urged you to seek counseling. BTW, Brooklyn, Michigan is located smack in the middle of CD07. Not sure if there are any bridges for sale there, though.

  • Sounds like President Clinton will be in Detroit on SATURDAY morning - not Friday, as originally planned. Also, our old buddy Gov. Howard Dean will be a mere two blocks from Michlib World Headquarters on Friday night for a Jim Marcinkowski funder. More info on Gov. Dean's visit by calling (517) 579-7228 or email info@vote-jim.com

  • The guys at Kos are up in arms about Democratic officeholders criticizing John Kerry for his mis-statement. Count Michigan U.S. Senator Carl Levin (an early Kerry supporter) as among those the Kossacks are presumably pissed at. According to the GRP, Levin says Kerry ought to apologize and that he doesn't represent the view of the Democratic Party. Yes, Kerry made a verbal gaffe - and it's clear he doesn't really think our troops are dumb. All the same, his moment has passed. Time for him to just sit down. But hey, the Republicans need something to whine about. The blame Clinton thing is getting really stale. So now I guess we'll blame the previous (and failed) presidential nominee instead. Whatever, guys.

  • This from Booth's Sharon Emery today:
    The mantra for Democrats in the 1992 presidential election was "It's the economy, stupid." This time around politicians of all stripes should be looking at spreading the wealth: "It's the inequality, stupid."
    Whoah! Careful, Sharon. You can get sent to Guantanamo for saying things like that!

  • Remember Betsy DeVos? The DFP's Rochelle Riley does. So does Hector Solon, who breaks it all down here.

  • Michigan's Congressional Democrats say the National Association of Manufacturers is unfairly skewing its endorsement criteria to benefit Republicans. Now the head of NAM - a fellow named John Engler - has (in his own uniquely Engleresque way) issued his response. All of this has got me thinking: I wonder how life will change for Gov. Engler when he's forced to instead deal with a Congress run by Democrats? Perhaps HE is the one who is going to need some "special help" after school (see the ex-Guv's response)? Energy and Commerce Committee CHAIRMAN John Dingell (D-Dearborn) - would you be willing to give poor Mr. Engler a hand?

  • Leland High School in Leland, Michigan will serve as the headquarters for Michigan's student/parent mock election tomorrow. The event will be webcasted at Absolute Michigan (one of my favorite sites) tomorrow (Thu.) beginning at 9AM. Go check it out here and see what the next generation thinks about this whole democracy thing.

  • To nobody's surprise, John L. Smith will be leaving as coach of the MSU football team after this season. That's four coaches that have come and gone since I started at MSU (and traded in my maize and blue for green and white) in 1994. As Kermit the Frog used to say, "it's not easy being green."
Discuss :: (12 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 12:54:50 PM EST

Happy Halloween! Not too many trick-or-treaters here at Michiganliberal.com's downtown Lansing HQ. However, there does seem to be a few more each progressive year. We have an impressive battery of goodies to encourage the kiddies to keep coming back.

Another positive sign for the neighborhood: looks like a new coffeeshop is going in just two blocks down Madison St. in the old Dean Apartments. Hooray! Stay tuned...

Enough chit-chat. Here's your Circumspice:
  • NEWS FLASH! The subscription-only MIRS newsletter reports on a purported plot to depose Michigan Republican Party chairman Saul Anuzis! It may be centered in Kent County - where the locals are still teed off with Saulius for the bad P.R. he generated with his over-the-top flier he sent out against Dem. HD075 candidate Rev. Robert Dean. The denials are flying fast and furious, but Republican National Committeeman Chuck Yob is reportedly involved - not too surprising considering Yob once tried to get former Rep. Andrew Raczkowski to run against Saul for party chair. What IS surprising is the suggestion that Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land may be tied in too. Speculation has it that this may also have much to do with setting the stage for the 2008 presidential race. Nevertheless, it can't be a good sign for Republicans that partymembers are already privately calling for the chairman's head - and we haven't even had the election yet!!!

  • Congressional Quarterly has downgraded CD07 Republican candidate Tim Walberg from "safe Republican" to "favored Republican". CQ cites lingering bruises from the primary battle with Joe Schwarz - and Walberg's new domestic violence scandal. Go give Sharon Renier a hand!

  • Speaking of Sharon, the organic farmer from Munith gets her first major newspaper endorsement today: the Battle Creek Enquirer.  The BCE also notes how many other papers have declined to pick between Walberg and Renier this year. Also, Sharon got a joint appearance with the Governor yesterday - yet another sign something is going on here.

  • The subscription-only Gongwer News Service quotes Governor Granholm as saying if the Legislature fails to come up with a replacement for the Single Business Tax next year, she may push to put the before voters instead. Right on. But let's hope we don't even need to go there. One week from today: fire this Republican Legislature!

  • Former President of the United States William Jefferson Clinton will be in the Detroit area on Friday.

  • Former Governor William G. Milliken (R) and former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer (D) have side-by-side op-eds in the DFP today - both calling on voters to strike down Proposal 2.

  • The South Bend (IN) Tribune endorses Governor Granholm and Senator Stabenow. The SBT is widely read in SW Michigan.
Discuss :: (12 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Mon Oct 30, 2006 at 13:37:07 PM EST

  • Has Amway Guy given up? Take a look at his new "closet organizer" ad. It's an effective ad - until you get to the end, where Guy puts a goofy look on his face and says "If I haven't gotten your vote yet, could I interest you in a closet organizer?"



    Some will probably say that it's cute, and I suppose it sort of is. But it almost seems to me like he's saying good bye.


  • Brian Dickerson writes in today's Detroit Free Press:

    What is unique (or at least unusual) about DeVos is his combination of business acumen and religious zeal. Lots of people who have made a killing in the temporal world talk about their religious faith. But DeVos has put his money where his mouth is -- or rather, where his mouth has been in the past, and would be today if he were not running for public office in a state where religious zeal makes a lot of voters nervous.

    For more than a decade, DeVos and his wife and the tax-exempt foundation they control have funneled millions of dollars to conservative Christian groups that seek to promote school prayer, public assistance for religious education, the criminalization of abortion and the prohibition of embryonic stem cell research, among other causes.

    DeVos says he is running for office to promote an economic agenda.But as governor he would be in a position to advance nearly every one of the social agenda items that have preoccupied his adult life -- and there's simply no reason to believe he has suddenly lost interest in doing so.

    No, there isn't. But personally - and this is just my speculation - I think there's a little more to it than Amway Guy just being out to advance his dominionist agenda. I get the sense that for Richard DeVos, Jr., running for Governor is his way of finally trying to step out of Richard DeVos, Sr.'s shadow - under which he's been living his whole life. It only stands to reason. Could you imagine growing up with the domineering founder of the Amway motivational pyramid scheme as your old man? Some of you will probably try to kill me for saying this, but I actually do think that in Dick's mind, he thinks he's doing the right thing. Problem is, he's grown up inside of such a strange and weird Amway-brand, "free market"-worshipping bubble that his whole sense of reality is completely unbalanced and renders him hopelessly out of touch. There are things one can do to bring oneself down to earth in this kind of situation. Running for Governor of Michigan is not one of them.

    End of Freudian pseudo-psycho-babble.

  • The Ann Arbor News becomes the latest in a rash of newspapers to issue a "non-endorsement" - refusing to issue an endorsement in the Walberg(R)/Renier(D) race for CD07. As a former State Rep.,Walberg ought to be a shoo-in for this kind of thing. Nope. While the A2 News is certainly not kind to Renier either in their non-endorsement, it still should be seen as a victory for her - as it was when the Detroit News opted for the Libertarian.

  • All of this leads me to another topic. What's with all of the non-endorsements from the newspapers this year?  The LSJ refuses to endorse Jim Marcinkowski (more about this in yesterday's Circumspice), the DN is silent on the Bruce Patterson race, the A2 News won't take a stand on CD07, and the Free Press refuses to endorse ANY candidate for Congress. C'mon guys! Enough with the cop-outs already. If you're going to bother doing endorsements, do 'em all! Otherwise, what's the point? Or are you just trying to convince people not to show up to vote?

  • Stabenow picks up the A2 News today as well - along with the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.

  • Must be Ann Arbor News day here at the Circumspice. (Did I tell you I used to be an A2 News paperboy?) Art Aisner has some things to say about House Speaker Craig DeRoche (R-Novi).

  • More from the DN today about the split within the Roman Catholic Church over the gubernatorial race.
Discuss :: (14 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Mon Oct 30, 2006 at 00:26:50 AM EST

  • Once again, Booth's Peter Luke tells it like it is:

    "The voters in Michigan are a smart bunch of people, but I do think the word needs to get out they are being manipulated by a billionaire."

    So said House Speaker Craig DeRoche, R-Novi, to the Associated Press last week. But he wasn't talking about fellow Republican and gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos, who may or may not be a billionaire but is a lot closer to being one than you are.

    No, DeRoche was talking about another billionaire, as certified by Forbes magazine at least, Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo, an heir of the Stryker Corp. medical products company.

    Glad to see someone else picked up on the irony. Read the rest of Peter's column. Without saying so directly, he makes a pretty compelling case for making campaign finance reform job #1 in a Democratic legislature. Public financing, new contribution limits, greater disclosure...whatever it is. Immediately following the most expensive gubernatorial race in Michigan history is exactly the right time to tackle this issue head on.

  • Warm and fuzzy coverage of the Governor's visit to God's country.

  • According to TheRealMoralMajority on dKos, 5 of 6 members of the Lansing State Journal editorial board wanted to endorse CD08 Dem challenger Jim Marcinkowski (running against Mike Rogers) - but were supposedly thwarted. Instead, the LSJ refused to endorse anybody in the race - and (says TheRealMoralMajority) the 5 edit board members are considering publishing the original endorsement letter in another Lansing paper (City Pulse, perhaps?). Stay tuned on this one...

  • Saulius and his Red State brethren are gaga over a new "poll" which supposedly shows Amway Guy tied with Governor Granholm. Who did the "poll"? "Voter Roll Call" of Verona, NJ. Who are they? A robocalling service! No doubt they were hired by Amway Guy or some member of his alliance of doom. Take a look. Do you see polling listed anywhere among their services? Apparently VRC is owned by the same people as Survey USA - yet only the day before this "poll" was done, Survey USA had the Governor up by 7! Nice try, Saul.  Hmm... I wonder if this is the same outfit that has been producing those absurd "Michigan Working Families" robocalls?

  • Two interesting articles in the Ann Arbor News today about the possibility of passenger rail between Howell and Ann Arbor, and light rail between Ann Arbor and Detroit.

  • Also in the A2 News: unflattering coverage of CD07 Republican candidate Tim Walberg.

  • My friend - and occaisonal Michlib contributor - Luke Shaefer has a nice piece about the relationship between faith and the minimum wage. Luke (who lives in Lansing - Michigan connection) is one of the featured writers at faithfuldemocrats.com.
Discuss :: (15 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Sat Oct 28, 2006 at 16:14:11 PM EDT

  • Remember this quote from the other day?
    "The voters in Michigan are a smart bunch of people, but I do think the word needs to get out they are being manipulated by a billionaire," says House Speaker Craig DeRoche, R-Novi.
    Now look at this lead from this morning's Detroit News:
    Dick DeVos has poured $34.6 million of his own fortune into the race for governor, bringing the combined total for him and Gov. Jennifer Granholm to a record-shattering $56 million.

    State finance reports filed Friday also showed DeVos has received $6.47 million from 26,450 donors, mostly within the state, pushing his total to over $41 million. He has spent $39.3 million.

    Granholm, meanwhile, has raised $13.8 million and received another $1.125 million in public funding to which DeVos was not entitled, because he voluntarily exceeded the spending ceiling.

    Actually, Mister Speaker wasn't complaining about Amway Guy in that first excerpt. He was whining about Jon Stryker - who has spent $4.6 million - or about 13% of what Amway Guy has - in support of  Michigan Democrats. To put it another way (from this morning's Kalamazoo Gazette):
    Granholm swatted at the air, dropped DeVos' name for the first time, and said, ``They've got their billionaire (DeVos). We've got ours.''
    What's the Republican response? What else? BEAT UP ON GAY PEOPLE!

  • We're now at the point of the campaign where all of the papers do their "positive" biographical pieces on the candidates. Here's the AP's writeups on Gov. Granholm and Amway Guy. Here's the Bay City Times' takes: (JMG - AWG).

  • More on the gubernatorial candidates and religion. Governor Granholm delivered an address on faith and policy at Hope College. Read the coverage in the Grand Rapids Press and Holland Sentinel. Note in the GRP piece how the Governor emphasizes Christ's all-encompassing message of self-giving love and service to humanity - while Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Holland) talks about abortion, terrorism, and the death penalty.

  • A wonderful writeup from the Muskegon Chronicle on the Guv's visit to Muskegon. The best quote was already mentioned in one of the comments earlier today, but bears repeating here:
    "I heard he's been going around comparing himself to (Tigers manager) Jimmy Leyland," Granholm said, referring to her Republican opponent, Ada businessman Dick DeVos. "Well, I know about Jim Leyland, I'm a fan of Jim Leyland, and I can tell you he's no Jim Leyland.

    "He reminds me more of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. He tried to use his millions to buy a World Series, and he couldn't do it. Dick DeVos is trying to buy an election, and he's not going to do it, either." (emphasis added)
    The headline on that Chronicle story? "Granholm hits home run with supporters."

  • According to the Adrian Daily Telegram, Amway Guy is still hanging out with ultra-right wing CD07 Republican candidate Tim Walberg - this, in spite of news that the latter coddled a confessed child abuser on his campaign staff - and in spite of the Amway Guy's recent statement calling into question Walberg's handling of the matter. What was that about "individuals working with you are a reflection of who you are", Dick?

  • Meanwhile, the NRCC is still pouring money into CD07 (see those attack ads during the World Series?) - despite the fact that Dem candidate Sharon Renier has been outspent 26-1. I've never seen anything like it. Go visit Sharon's website here and give her some love.

  • One more signal something may be afoot in CD07: according to this ariticle from the Jackson Cit-Pat, Amway Guy won the straw poll at a dinner put on by the Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce with about 54% of the vote (I'm told Bouchard did slightly better.) However, in the congressional race, Sharon (an organic farmer from Munith) WON by 1% over ex-state Rep. Tim Walberg! This...at a Chamber of Commerce function.

  • Good bye, Tigers! Thanks for the memories - and for whopping the Yankees. The Saginaw News offers some analysis on how the Tigers may or may not have changed the political dynamic in Michigan.

  • Good bye, Traverse City Record-Eagle! The TCRE will apparently be sold to the bean counters at Alabama-based Community Newspaper Holdings. We might get lucky, but probably not. You will recall that the TCRE is currently under assault by a group of angry good old boy Republicans who are displeased with the paper's annoying habit of engaging in investigative journalism (like this piece today on Sen. Michelle McManus' (R-Lake Leelanau) sketchy campaign finance activities).  But if this article (from the Columbia Journalism Review) is any indication of what to expect from CNH, one of the bright flames of Michigan journalism will soon be extinguished. Money, money, money...

  • A supposed screw-up by the State Bureau of Elections (overseen by Terri Lynn Land [R]) is causing all kinds of confusion with absentee ballots in Monroe County. Is it just me, or is there an striking abundance of problems with absentee ballots this year? What's up with that?

  • Our very own David Boyle has composed a rap-music tribute to this year's gubernatorial election. Read the lyrics and/or listen here.

  • Don't forget to set your clocks back tonight.  Finally, a chance to catch on some of that sleep I lost during the World Series.
Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 14:18:20 PM EDT

First, for you poll hounds, Nirmal has some new trend lines out: See the rest of his graphs here.

  • More positive news for the Guv...The Midland Daily News op-ed page is easily one of the most reactionary in Michigan. Yet even they (to a degree, anyway)  seem to have soured on the Amway Guy campaign:
        The single business tax albatross around Michigan’s neck has been the biggest impediment to rejuvenating Michigan’s economy. It served as a reminder to businesses looking to build or expand here that our state had done little to make Michigan more friendly.
        So the rebuilding of our tax system was DeVos’s for the taking. The money he has spent on advertising would have been better used to present his grand plan to Michigan voters.
        But, alas, it was not meant to be. Instead, his campaign dollars have gone toward telling Michigan voters that enough Granholm is enough, something we already knew. They have gone toward feel-good advertisements starring his daughter. Need we go on? (emphasis added)
    If you read the rest of the Op-Ed, it's hardly an endorsement of Governor Granholm. But it's probably as close as she'll ever get.

  • Skubick's AG debate between Amos Williams and Mike Cox is now online. Haven't seen it yet.

  • The Lansing State Journal again slams Amway Guy's "get a job" health care plan.

  • The Traverse City Record-Eagle issues an anti-endorsement of Sen. Jason Allen (R-Traverse City). Here is Dem Challenger Sharon Unger's website.

  • Lisa Holland has been found guilty.

  • I feel sorry for the people of Jackson. With two bitterly contested State House seats (HD064 & HD065), a tight state Senate race (SD17), and now a warming U.S. House race (CD07), the town known as "the birthplace of the Republican Party" is essentially "ground zero" in this year's Michigan political ad wars.

  • Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta takes a look at where the gubernatorial candidates stand on public transit - one of my pet causes. Listen to Rick's piece here.

  • MSU and U of M men's basketball coaches Tom Izzo and Tommy Amaker have jumped into the political arena, in opposition to Proposal 2.

  • "The Decider" ate peanuts and cracker jacks in Warren yesterday with Mike Bouchard.

  • My Tigers! What hath become of you? From now on every game is do or die. It can be done. But it ain't gonna be easy. Game time is at 8 o'clock tonight again.
Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 16:38:50 PM EDT

  • Amway Guy was in Muskegon. Governor Granholm was in Mt. Pleasant, and is headed to Marquette on Saturday.

  • Headline in the Detroit News today: GOP brochure pins Selepak's killing spree on Granholm. A piece similar to the offending lit pictured- and described in the article - was featured on Michlib yesterday by Eric B.

  • The economy is hurting Republicans in Michigan. So says USA Today in their report today on the Granholm-Amway Guy contest.

  • WAH! How joyous it is to hear Republicans howl over Democrats getting help from Kalamazoo billionaire Jon Stryker and the Coalition for Progress. Take for example, this gem from Republican House Speaker Craig DeRoche:
    "The voters in Michigan are a smart bunch of people, but I do think the word needs to get out they are being manipulated by a billionaire," says House Speaker Craig DeRoche, R-Novi.
    Ahem, hello, guys? "manipulated by a billionaire?" WHO is YOUR candidate for Governor? Shoe's on the other foot now, eh, Craig? How does it feel? HA! Man, that is some of the funniest shit I've heard in a long time.

    While I certainly am glad CFP is helping to offset Amway Guy's warbucks this cycle - let's be honest: this is not a long term solution. We're talking about the people's government here. Democracy needs to be much more than a mere competition between dueling billionaires. If Democrats take control of one or both chambers of the Legislature, let us vow to use that power to change the rules of the game and make campaign finance reform priority #1. Public financing NOW! (End of sermon.)

  • My favorite Michigan political columnist of all-time, Hugh McDiarmid, Sr. is back for an op-ed against dove hunting in the DFP today. It is good to see his byline again.

  • A group of folks supporting Amy Brittain is protesting outside the home of Sen. Bruce Patterson  (R-Canton). Brittain, you may remember was the victim of State Sen. Bruce Patterson's latest outburst. The group - Bullies Out of Office Now (BOON) - is demanding an apology. Read more here. Give money to Dem challenger Mark Slavens here.

  • The Tigers and Cardinals will try to play game 4 of the World Series again tonight. As if we needed another reason to root for the Tigers, here's another: tonight's starting pitcher for the Cardinals is currently appearing in a TV ad opposing stem cell research. DetroitWonk has more. Sadly for Amway Guy, weather-related delays could mean the World Series may drag on even longer than planned - thus thwarting any last minute media attacks he may have been planning.

  • Today's closing words of Republican wisdom come from my email inbox, in the form of a message from someone identified as "Jay Langley":
    you are a bunch of sissies!!!!! liberals are ruining this country
    "Jay", you haven't seen anything yet. We "sissies" have only just begun! Just wait till November 7!
Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 16:56:58 PM EDT

Lots of exciting items today!
  • So I was watching TV last night - and lo and behold: there's a National Republican Congressional Committee ad attacking CD07 Dem candidate Sharon Renier (running against Tim Walberg)! The ad - among other things - showed Sharon's picture and talked about how she's so terrible because she supports GAY MARRIAGE, and blah, blah, blah.. Wow! Sharon's been outraised by Tim Walberg by a factor of 20-1 and the NRCC has to come in and run attack ads for him? That's marvelous! Go visit Sharon's website and give her money. Do it now!

  • And not only that...according to today's Jackson Citizen-Patriot, it seems Walberg's volunteer coordinator has pleaded guilty to hitting his 9-year old foster son in the face. In spite of this admission, Walberg is keeping him on. Any minute now, expect the Michigan Republican Party to start displaying posters of the 9-year old under the heading "another Granholm victim."

  • The Detroit Free Press says Michigan Republicans are "playing the politics of race" - and cited the nasty hit piece sent out against HD075 Dem Candidate Rev. Robert Dean and Republican Speaker Craig DeRoche's plan (and Saul Anuzis' cheerleading of said plan) to block a duly-elected state representative from Detroit from taking his seat.

  • Speaking of playing the race card, the DFP's Zach Gorchow profiles the Wayne County SD06 race between Laura Toy (R) and Glenn Anderson (D). Apparently a large thrust of Toy's campaign is in convincing people that Anderson is controlled by "Detroit" interests. Hmm....wonder what she's driving at? (More on SD06 here)

  • Governor Granholm actually gets some nice ink out of the Midland Daily News!

  • Two good in-depth reports from the Metro Times: one on the DeVos family's support for an organization trying to push a boycott of Ford Motor Co. - the other on Amway's weird deal with Dr. Phil. The best quote comes from an internal email written by Amway Alticor General Consul Mike Mohr:
    "I think that if any reporter digs we all need to be right up front and proud (without waiving [sic] the Amway flag). The Amway flag is a two edged sword for both of us. We have reputation problems that are common in the direct selling industry. We absolutely do not want that to attach to you in any way. Moreover, the same psychotics (in our business and on the web) that create our reputation problems will use powerful communication tools and undue influence to damage our businesses ..."
    Reputation problems? You don't say! Et tu, Amway Guy?

  • The LSJ has the traditional end-of-the-campaign "feel good" piece on Amway Guy today. Presumably, Governor Granholm is tomorrow. Let's hope she at least gets the same kind of dewy-eyed treament.

  • Karl Rove apparently told WJR (We're Just Republicans) radio that a meeting has finally been scheduled between "The Decider" and the heads of the nation's leading auto companies. I'll believe it when it happens.

  • In spite of bushels of evidence to the contrary, Amway Guy spokesman John Truscott meekly suggests that his guy could still win it. Unfortunately for JT - and Amway Guy - this comment is down at the very end of the Oakland Press article - almost as an afterthought.

  • Dem efforts to prevent Republican voter intimidation make the papers in Flint and Saginaw today.

  • The Saginaw News bends over backward by attempting to portray both sides as equally nasty in the races for SD32 and HD094. Funny thing is, when you read through the article, all of the really nasty pieces they actually mention come from the Republicans. But hey, at least they're writing about it.

  • The Traverse City Record-Eagle endorses Dem CD04 challenger Mike Huckleberry (CD04 running against Dave Camp). The TCRE quotes Mike: "I'm about people, he's about corporations."

  • Also from the TCRE - a great writeup of the SD35 race between Tiyi Schippers (D) and Michelle McManus (R). Read it here. Visit Tiyi's website.

  • The Bay City Times profiles the race for HD084 in the thumb-area. Principal, Christian minister, and Michigan First! endorsed candidate Terry Brown (D) gets what I imagine will be some helpful coverage.

  • Props to Sen. Debbie Stabenow. In response to Sen. Sam Brownback's (R-KS) blockage of a Bush-nominated judge who spoke at a commitment ceremony between two lesbians, Sen. Stabenow says she'll block two other nominees for federal judgeships in Michigan. Stabenow says she and Sen. Carl Levin had a deal with the White House that all three judges would be approved. Brownback's obstruction sabotages that deal, says Debbie.

  • E.J. Dionne is in Houghton (?!)

  • According to WDET, U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) says the House Judiciary Committee likely will not pursue impeachment proceedings against George Bush if when he takes over as committee chair next year.

  • According to the College Board, the cost of college tuition in Michigan is rising faster than the rest of the country. Hmm...I wonder where we would be if Amway Guy gets his $3 billion in tax cuts?

  • World Series Game 3: Cardinals 5, Tigers 0. C'mon Tigers!   Hopefully tonight you'll be better prepared to the hostile environment of bad beer stadium. Game time is 8PM.

  • BTW, have you ever heard the old "Go Get'em Tigers" song from 1968?  The DFP has it online - along with some Ernie Harwell-narrated highlights from the last time the Tigers and Cardinals met in the World Series.

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 15:59:43 PM EDT

  • The Detroit News announces its Wayne County picks for the state Legislature today. Nothing unexpected on the list - they're all either Republicans or entrenched Democrats. The lone surprise comes from who ISN'T on the list: the infamous State Senator Bruce Patterson, star of  the 2006 cult classics "Patterson Gone Wild" and "Patterson Does Gibraltar." For some reason, the 7th State Senate district doesn't make it onto the list at all (in spite of being completely contained within Wayne County). Here's SD07 Dem challenger Mark Slavens' website.

  • Bloomberg reports that the "China strategy" may cost Amway Guy some votes.

  • The Detroit Free Press says we ought to keep Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

  • The DN compares Governor Granholm and Amway Guy on the issue of health care. Amway Guy is apparently sticking to his "get a job" non-plan for health care. The Governor, meanwhile, touts her plan - now before the George Bush administration - to expand access to health insurance for 1.1 million Michigan residents.

  • The Muskegon Chronicle is going with Democratic challenger Mary Valentine over incumbent Republican David Farhat. The reason? The MC's editorial board is - among other things - pissed about nasty Republican hate lit that accuses Valentine of being in league with the terrorists. Enough already! - thus sayeth the Chronicle. Here's Mary's website.

  • The Livingston Daily Press & Argus has a nice interview today with CD08 (and Michlib-endorsed) challenger Jim Marcinkowski.

  • Still recovering from my near-death experience in the 9th inning of last night's Tiger game. But they did it! And if they can beat the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, surely they can win at the bad beer ballpark. When the Tigers do play tomorrow, they ought to use Max J. Bennett of Montrose as inspiration. Max grew up watching Ty Cobb play for the Tigers, served in WWII and was a lifelong Tigers fanatic. Sadly, as the Flint Journal reports, Max passed away at the age of 96 - just before his beloved team started in on the World Series. Perhaps it was Mr. Bennett's intervention that kept it together for the Tigers in the 9th last night?

  • By the way, as Wizardkitten pointed out - Governor Granholm WAS at last night's game. Amway Guy was NOT. The opposite was true Saturday night. Anyone notice a difference? Also...according to the DN, Amway Guy finally did name his favorite Tiger on Saturday (after being unable to when he was in the broadcast booth a few months ago). Who'd he pick? Saturday's losing pitcher, Justin Verlander.

  • Forget mourning doves! We need an open season on Cardinals! (hey, MIRS - how's that for quote of the day?)
Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread (GO TIGERS!)

by: matt

Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 13:41:05 PM EDT

  • The Saginaw News, Lansing State Journal, and Detroit Free Press released their gubernatorial endorsements today, and the winner is... Governor Granholm! From the SN:
  • We openly concede that our choice for governor in 2006 is a provincial embrace. All politics are local, as the political dictum goes, and more than ever Saginaw requires a leader in Lansing who understands the needs of one of the most economically challenged areas in the most economically depressed state.

    So when it comes to deciding Tuesday, Nov. 7, between Republican Dick DeVos and Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the choice for us is simple -- if not easy.

    -snip-

    In the end, however, we trust

    JENNIFER M. GRANHOLM more to reach out to areas such as Saginaw as the state adjusts to new, painful economic realities. We endorse her for a second term.

    The LSJ writes:

    Gov. Jennifer Granholm and her Republican challenger, businessman Dick DeVos, have built their campaigns around the central claim that they are best equipped to revive Michigan's economy. There are far more issues on the plate for the state's next chief executive, but jobs come before everything.

    And, on point after point, it's Granholm with the better plan for Michigan's revival. We endorse Jennifer Granholm for a second term as Michigan's governor.

    And here's what Michigan's largest newspaper - the DFP - says:

    Michigan government must strike a balance over the next several years between building a new economic model and helping the thousands of people hurt in the crumbling of the old one.

    Gov. JENNIFER GRANHOLM is the best candidate to lead the state through this difficult transition. The Detroit Free Press endorses Democrat Granholm for a second four-year term. She is a dynamic leader who is pushing Michigan in all the right directions against formidable economic and political forces.

    So far, with the exception of the wingnut Detroit News - who strangely opted to endorse nobody in 2004, the newspaper endorsements are breaking exactly the same way as they did in the Bush vs. Kerry contest.

  • Please - oh please - keep Amway Guy away from Comerica Park! Black cats and broken mirrors have nothing on Dick DeVos. First his campaign stop at Comerica resulted in five straight losses and very nearly destroyed the season for the Tigers. Then his marvelous little photo opportunity at Spartan Stadium cost MSU a win against Notre Dame. Now he shows up at Comerica again and BAM! the Tigers lose 7-2 in the World Series against a Cardinal team who most predicted would go down in flames. Governor Granholm: it's time to take drastic action. Use your state police powers, the National Guard...whatever it takes. Don't let this guy near Woodward Avenue. Better yet, keep him out of Detroit entirely! Don't worry about the public backlash. This is too important.

  • Booth Newspapers' Washington correspondent Sarah Kellogg has a feature on robocalls today. Sarah's piece includes a particularly deep, inspiring, and insightful quote from a certain crazed left-wing blogger. Also, the Kalamazoo Gazette builds on Sarah's story with some local comments about negative robocalls and mailings - along with an editorial urging voters to take a candidates tactics into account when they go to the voting booth. Also recall the KG's op-ed of two weeks ago taking the Michigan Republican Party to task for their "child molester" mailing. Negative campaigning is clearly something the folks at the KG are paying some attention to this year.

  • Don't support blowing mourning doves to smithereens? Then you must want to ban ALL hunting. Or so goes the "logic" of David Farbman of the World Hunting Association as published in the Daily News from the Land of Mid.

  • The contreversy rages in Zeeland over whether to legalize alcohol for the first time in 102 years. Ah... brave new world.
Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread (GO TIGERS!)

by: matt

Sat Oct 21, 2006 at 13:06:24 PM EDT

UPDATE by Matt:

Almost forgot...Happy Birthday, Dick!

  • TIGER FEVER: Governor Granholm and Missouri Governor Matt Blunt have the traditional World Series wager going. Blunt, a Republican, also opted to make a wager with the Amway Guy to get his name in the papers too. Meanhwhile, the City of Pinconning in northeast lower Michigan has officially renamed itself "Tiger Town" for the duration of the World Series. The city's famous (tiger orange) cheese has also been renamed in honor of Michigan's team. The DFP also has a nice piece today about how the Tigers can server as a  metaphor for the City of Detroit.
    Watch game 1 - beginning at 7:30 tonight on FOX. For the first pitch, Ernie Harwell will deliver the ball to Tiger greats Al Kaline and Willie Horton - who will do the honors. BTW, we'll have a thread going here to liveblog your reactions to the game.

  • "(T)he biggest turnaround story in Michigan could well be Gov. Jennifer Granholm." That's part of Kathy Barks Hoffman's lead for her story on the Michigan Gov's race for the national AP wire. I'm the first to admit the Guv's turnaround has been impressive. But I tend to think the "biggest turnaround story" crown belongs first to the Tigs.

  • With the media spotlight now focused intently on the World Series, there's little Amway Guy can do but sit on his hands and wait for it all to pass. He released his so-called "urban turnaround plan" yesterday - which mainly seems to focus on penalizing public school teachers and a pledge to stop cuts to revenue sharing (state payments to city governments). So now we know one thing Amway guy won't cut to pay for his $2 billion tax cut. Perhaps any minute now he'll tell us what he WOULD cut. Nah. After the election.

  • Oh, and here's a headline from today's Macomb Daily: "DeVos admits he can't cut taxes by very much." Whatever, dude.

  • More signs of the second coming. According to the Jackson Citizen-Patriot, Roll Call has moved the CD07 Walberg/Renier race to the "in-play" column. That has spurred Walberg's sugardaddies at the Club for Growth to put out an urgent plea for help. This, in a race where Walberg has so far raised Renier by a factor of 20-1. Today's Cit-Pat also talks about the funny - and rather unflattering  - comments about Walberg recently made by Esquire Magazine. Here's Sharon's website.

  • Thousands of birds are dying at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Researchers think invasive round gobies may be the culprit.

  • Predictably, Republicans got all of the Grand Rapids Press' State Senate endorsements. Still, even the GRP had some nice things to say about our friend David LaGrand - calling him "an attractive candidate" and "a particularly strong, well informed and articulate candidate." Here's David website.

  • Our closing thought comes today from Brian O'Connor's solid column in the Detroit News - and deals with the relationship between taxes, government services, and the Ricky Holland tragedy:
    Most of life's important problems can't be solved with money, but this is one problem where more dollars -- our tax dollars -- surely would make the difference.

    The problem with taxes isn't that they're too high. It's that too many of us feel we don't get our money's worth. Of course there's plenty of public sentiment to cut taxes -- we don't want to pay for a government that doesn't work any more than we want to pay for a car that doesn't run.

    The difference is that when the car craps out, we spend the money to fix it or replace it. But when government fails, the cry goes up to cut taxes because they're nothing but a waste.

    But protecting little boys from having their skulls bashed in isn't a waste of money. The real waste is that we don't spend enough to keep those kids safe.

    So, yeah, I can tell you how to shelter some money in that tax-deferred account, pay those expenses with this tax-free income.

    And if that's not enough, then remember that it's election season. You can vote for a candidate who'll vow to not only cut taxes, but completely slash them.

    There's just one problem: When I read about Ricky, I don't want to cut my taxes.

    A great man once said that, "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."

    I'm ready to pay more.

    Amen.
Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 15:14:06 PM EDT

  • More problems for Sen. Jason Allen (R-Traverse City). According to this op-ed in the T.C. Record-Eagle, Allen has lately been trolling for help from Tony Soave. The TCRE calls Allen on the carpet for this behavior.

    Soave has a long and colorful past, only part of which is mentioned in TCRE op-ed. One thing that isn't mentioned is that Tony is the same guy who worked with Joe Knollenberg to force Amtrak to haul Tony's fruit cars or risk losing $9.3 million in federal funding. Turns out Tony was Knollenberg's second largest campaign contributor. Knollenberg backed off when then whole plot was revealed in the New York Times last December.

    Allen's Democratic challenger is social worker Sharon Unger. Knollenberg, of course,  is up against our old friend Nancy Skinner.

  • According to the Washington Post-blog "The Fix", Governor Granholm has "roared back" and is "looking better and better." (hat tip to Pohlitics for finding this one - insert standard "it ain't over till it's over" admonition here)

  • I'll bet Saul Anuzis has a picture of Karl Rove on his nightstand. Instead of apologizing for the Michigan Republican Party's atrocious attack piece on HD075 candidate Rev. Robert Dean (D-Grand Rapids) - as local party leaders asked him to do - the MRP goes back on the attack and tries to change the subject. The Grand Rapids Press seems to at least partly be buying into this - and Dean's campaign hasn't helped by getting their story wrong at first about him being out of the country for a meeting 16 years ago (an honest - but ill-timed - mistake, I'm convinced). However, let's not lose sight of what's really going on here. The MRP's attacks blew up in their face - big time - and they're trying to create a diversion with the hope that nobody notices.

    By the way, here's Saul's letter to the GRP. Notice that he doesn't talk about the "dark" and "sinister" photo of Rev. Dean that the GRP called "racially-charged."

  • I almost didn't bother reading the Detroit News' congressional endorsements this morning - figuring I already knew what they would say. I was almost right...with one exception: down at the bottom, the DN has opted to endorse THE LIBERTARIAN (Robert Hutchinson) in the CD07 Walberg/Renier race! Of course newspaper endorsements don't really mean squat - other than you can use them in campaign ads - but it is rather surprising to see the DN go for a third party candidate.

  • The Flint Journal endorses Debbie Stabenow. Read the op-ed here.

  • $60 MILLION DOLLARS! That's how much Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network estimates will be spent by the time this year's gubernatorial race is over. Here's the AP story. Campaign finance reform NOW.

  • The Lansing State Journal makes note of the fact that the big money has started streaming into Democratic coffers in Washington - as the powers that be realize the Dems are about to take over. Fascinating. Campaign finance reform NOW.

  • In his LSJ column, Skubick expands on his analysis of the debates, outling four missed opportunities for the Amway Guy. The summation is this: for whatever reason, Amway Guy blew it.

  • Two commentaries today - one from Jack Lessenberry, the other from the Muskegon Chronicle - argue against our current system of having general election voters decide races for university boards and the state board of education. Jack says have a special "ed board" election where only people who are interested turn out to participate. The Chronicle says make them all appointed with legislative concurence. I side with Chronicle (and yes, I did feel this way even when John Mathias Engler was stilll around). While not a perfect system, the Governor appoints board members for all of the universities besides UM, MSU, and WSU. Why should these three institutions get special treatment? Though I have to say - I seriously doubt it would actually make that much difference who is chosen.
Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 15:47:11 PM EDT

  • Be still my beating heart! The Grand Rapids Press today SLAMS the Michigan Republican Party and Saulius Anuzis for their filthy piece of hate mail against HD075 candidate Rev. Robert Dean (D-Grand Rapids)
    .
  • Governor Granholm was down in my old stomping grounds rallying supporters yesterday. The Ann Arbor News reports.

  • U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Holland) gives the Iraq war a "C" grade. Hmm...I wonder what an "F" would look like?  I also wonder why Hoekstra - who chairs the Intelligence Committee sat on an independent report for months about how defrocked U.S. Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Prison) used his seat on the Intelligence Committee to enrich himself at the expense of taxpayers and our national security.  Meanwhile, the Holland Sentinel quotes Hoekstra as saying George Bush's new torture law could "lawyer-up" the Iraq war. Hoekstra also says he wants to send more American troops to Iraq.

  • Wayne State University law professor John Mogk explains in the DN this morning what some of the potential negative unintended consesuences of Proposal 4 (eminent domain) in terms of the effort to revitalize Detroit.

  • LiberalLucy was down in Detroit today with the intention of liveblogging the U.S. Senate debate. Alas, no wireless. However, she does report that Stabenow did get a punch in saying she voted against the Iraq war, which Bouchard desperately tried to weasel out of saying how he would have voted.

  • In Flint, backers of the ballot proposal banning affirmative action in Michigan spparently decided at the last minute to skip out on a debate.

  • The Metro Times has picked up on last week's story about the lack of political coverage in local TV News.

  • A Three Oaks building owned by Dem U.S. House challenger Kim Clark (CD06 - running against Fred Upton) has burned down! No word on the cause yet. From the Kalamazoo Gazette. Here's Kim's website. I imagine he could really use some love right now.

  • The Monroe Evening News has a nice summary of state ballot proposals that ordinary folks can understand.
Discuss :: (16 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 14:58:54 PM EDT

UPDATE by Matt: The power is back! Yippee!!!

Circumspice comes to you today from Michlib's offsite location (Cedar St. Beaner's). For whatever reason, the Lansing Board of Water & Light is unable to supply me with electricity this morning - and it's not because I didn't pay the bill (that probably won't happen until next month). OF COURSE this occured right as I was halfway through writing Circumspice - and killed everything I wrote. The whole block seems to be dark - including traffic lights on Walnut & Oakland, and Saginaw & Pine. BTW, people, when a traffic light isn't working, that means it is a FOUR-WAY stop. Is this so hard to understand? Hopefully the juice comes back before Hannahdog, the cats (Susie, Peavey, and Binsfeld) and I all freeze to death.

Some partiuclarly delicious and delectable items on the Circumspice menu for today....

  • OOH! OOH! I love it when they do this! From the Grand Rapids Press:

    Jerry Zandstra doesn't doubt for a second Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos' solid pro-life credentials.

    But after the last gubernatorial debate, some pro-life advocates did.

    "The next day I got inundated with phone calls," said Zandsta, a former Republican U.S. Senate candidate and president of the Pro-Life Federation of Michigan. "There was a lot of anger over it." (emphasis added)

    I guess now we know why Amway Guy was on Christian talk radio the other day telling everyone how thrilled he would be if women lost their right to choose. Sure would be nice if one of the questioners at WXYZ asked Amway Guy to explain exactly what he means in the debate this Monday.

  • A good article from the Kalamazoo Gazette on the role of faith in the lives of the gubernatorial candidates. Here's a snip:
  • Granholm, who was raised Presbyterian but converted to Catholicism when she got married, says her faith compels her to work in many ways for the most vulnerable in society. This means, among other things, protecting the rights of the elderly in nursing homes, making sure the poor have adequate health care, and pushing job training programs for the unemployed.

    ``My emphasis is to make sure that government has a safety net for those who are most vulnerable,'' she said in a recent meeting with the Gazette editorial board.
    By contrast, the writeup on DeVos' spiritual beliefs focuses almost exclusively on abortion, stem cells, vouchers, and the free enterprise system. Christ's message of serving "those least among us" somehow just doesn't seem to make it into the picture. Also not mentioned is the fact that the DeVos family is one of  the top financial backers of theocratic/dominionist causes in America.

  • The AP goes in-depth today on Amway Guy's extensive involvment in the nationwide school voucher movement. Ah, but don't worry. He says he won't try to push "vouchers" again as Governor (rest assured they'll figure out something else to call them).

  • The AP's James Prichard tells us about former Amway Alticor employee Molly Frendo - who is speaking out over how Amway under Dick DeVos avoided paying for health insurance by calling some full-time workers part-timers. What was that Amway Guy said about how the best way to get health insurance is to get a job? (Just don't get a job working for Dick DeVos).

  • The Bankers Association has endorsed the Amway Guy. Bankers endorsing a billionaire. Who woulda thunk it?

  • As mentioned below, residents of Battle Creek will be able to watch "Wife Swap" and "How I Met Your Mother" - but not the third and final debate betweem Gov. Granholm and Amway Guy.

  • Jack Lessenberry suggests banning all campaign commercials. He also interviews Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

  • Starting at 4:30 this afternoon, we may find out if the Detroit Tigers will go to the WORLD SERIES! GOOOO DETROIT!!!
Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 15:11:33 PM EDT

  • The successor company to Alterra, the national nursing home chain once controlled by Dick DeVos and his family, is bringing out the troops to protect their company's "good name"  (even though the company now has a new name).  They got a great reception from the Saginaw News' Michael Greenlee...who actually wrote the following:

    An official with Alterra Health Corp. is none too happy that Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm and her GOP challenger, Dick DeVos, have dragged her company into their fight.

    In Tuesday's televised debate, DeVos took a shot at Granholm's assertion that he condones sexual misconduct because he is an Alterra investor. (emphasis added)

    Uh...no, Mr. Greenlee, Governor Granholm NEVER asserted that Dick DeVos condones sexual misconduct (i.e., the sexual abuse of patients). The Governor merely asked why DeVos did not disclose his involvement in the company. Additional questions have since been asked by the Democratic party and Granholm campaign officials and others about why DeVos also tried to evade the fact that he and his family controlled the company (and installed their right-hand man as chief). Governor Granholm NEVER said Dick DeVos condones sexual abuse. And make no mistake: Dick DeVos is no ordinary "investor." He and his family controlled the company (they may have chosen not to exercise that control - but the that raises questions of why not?). That both of these blatant falsehoods were contained within a single sentence suggests either incompetence or a shameful right-wing hack job. Either way, the Saginaw News ought to set the record straight. (BTW, here's the brief Flint Journal take on the same story)

  • Meanwhile, Phil Power of the Livingston Daily Press & Argus offers a super analysis of how the questions regarding Alterra demonstrate the need for greater financial disclosure for state candidates. Did you know Michigan is one of only THREE states in America that have no financial disclosure laws?

  • One of Joe Schwarz's old pollsters says Sharon Renier (D-Munith) is within 8 percent of Tim Walberg (RRR-Tipton). Chicago-based Glengariff Group Inc. says Sharon gets 35% to Walberg's 43%. I've put in a request for cross-tabs. I like the sound of it, but I'm not familiar with Glengariff's work. But if there's anything to it, it would seem to be very good sign for Dems prospects this year. Apparently they're looking at also doing a poll in CD08.

  • The Bay City Times wastes no time announcing their pick for U.S. Senate: it's Debbie Stabenow. So goes the Observer & Eccentric as well.

  • The Flint Journal has had enough of Rep. John Stahl (R-North Branch). They're endorsing his Dem challenger in the 82nd State House district race, Dennis Harrand (D-North Branch). Here's Dennis' website.

  • Good press for Republicans for Granholm in Escanaba.

  • Bad press for yesterday's MDP press conference featuring Amway tissue paper made in China.

  • The George Bush administration has decided to include Amway Alticor among 25 companies to be included on a trade mission to China.

  • The über right-wing Midland Daily News declares this week's second gubernatorial debate a draw. That's a victory.

  • And those Tigers...oh, MAN...those TIGERS! It was a nail-biter, but they held it together, beating the Oakland A's 8-5 in game 2 of the AL playoffs. If they can win Friday and Saturday's games (in Detroit!), it's WORLD SERIES, baby!!! Go TIGERS!!! You make us proud!
Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Circumspice/Open Thread

by: matt

Tue Oct 10, 2006 at 13:42:48 PM EDT

UPDATE by Matt: Pursuant to nirmal's comment below - note that all Cirumspices (?!) are now also open threads.
  • In case you hadn't heard, there's a debate tonight. The bloggermobile will be heading to Grand Rapids this evening where we'll all watch the debate together - however we may be the only ones watching. I suspect most folks will be more interested in watching the Detroit Tigers as they chase their first title in 22 years.

    On a related note, I spoke with Loki Mullholland - director of Believe, the new film based on Amway (opening Friday) - this morning. Loki is lurking around doing interviews here and there and had a very funny tale to tell about meeting the Amway Guy and John Truscott in Grand Rapids. I told him to post it in a diary, so stay tuned...

  • Praise be to the Kalamazoo Gazette for speaking out on the Michigan Republicans' atrocious "child molester" hit piece targeting SD20 candidate Rep. Sandy Lipsey (D-Kalamazoo).

    Last week, mailboxes across George's 20th state Senate district received a couple of slick flyers from the Michigan Republican Party.

    One urged voters to keep a doctor in the Senate, pointing to George's career as a medical doctor.

    The other was more ominous.

    ``Which of these photos shows a sex offender who has molested children?'' it asks, showing photos of four men. ``Thanks to Sandy Lipsey, you'll never know.''

    On the reverse it reads: ``Lipsey voted against posting photos of child molesters on the sex offender registry website.'' (emphasis added)

    There's more...

    We have to believe the decision to key on Lipsey's decision about the sex offender registry must have been made before Washington Republicans were in a damage-control scramble last week after the resignation of a Republican congressman over his online sexual overtures to congressional pages.

    Unfortunately, the anti-Lipsey ad, coming on the heels of the much-publicized Washington scandal, makes it look as if the state GOP is trying to turn the tables on the Democratic challenger in this race.

    George said he has had nothing to do with the ad and that he does not like it.

    The state party certainly isn't doing him any favors.

    And, in the end, this particularly poor judgment may only serve to hurt George. (emphasis added)

    Methinks this probably wasn't the effect the guys on Seymour Street were planning for when they sent this little item out. Incidentally, nothing has appeared so far in the Saginaw News - where a virtually identical mailer was sent out targeting SD32 candidate Carl Williams. As nirmal pointed out yesterday, though, the issue was picked up by WJRT-TV.


  • The George Bush-endorsing Ann Arbor News hits it on the head with a call for more financial disclosure for state political candidates.

  • The State Board of Education has spoken: Intelligent Design is NOT science. The AP has the story.

  • Looks like the Jackson Cit-Pat finally got around to asking someone why Vice President Dick Cheney decided to do his fundraiser for wingnut 7th district congressional candidate Tim Walberg in district no. 8 (represented by Mike Rogers). According to a Walberg's campaign manager, Cheney couldn't go to the 7th district because of "security reasons." That's interesting. So...let me get this straight: it's OK for the Veep to go to Iraq - but too dangerous for him to visit a Republican-held congressional district in South Central lower Michigan? These are bad times to be a Republican!

  • The Battle Creek Enquirer today lays out the problems for business that have been created by prematurely repealing the Single Business Tax. Even more interesting, the article seems to suggest Rep. Lorence Wenke is trying to run away from his vote in favor of the $1.9 billion business tax cut.

  • The so-called "Young Americans for Freedom" are generating more bad press for the right-wing with yet another mean-spirited "catch an illegal immigrant" game at U of M. From the Ann Arbor News.

  • Lake Superior is at its lowest level in 80 years. But, they say this is a natural cycle of things. From the Marquette Mining Journal.

  • You know how Stephen Colbert feels about bears? The Bay City Times feels the same way...about WILD BOARS.

  • Go get 'em Tigers!
Discuss :: (11 Comments)

Circumspice, 10/5/06

by: matt

Thu Oct 05, 2006 at 17:31:22 PM EDT

As mentioned earlier, the Grand Pyramid Emperor himself, Rich DeVos, Sr. - in conjunction with the Good Ol' Boys at the Grand Rapids Press (who gave him a total pass) - has come out of cryogenic slumber to rescue his boy. Ironically, even with the suck-up coverage, the story opens up a whole new pandora's box full of questions - and I can't imagine the Amway Guy camp is pleased about any of this.

I've already talked about the fact that dad's comments indicate junior lied in the debate about when he learned of Alterra's abuse problems. But there's another issue: Senior's comment that they had their right-hand man - Jerry Tubergen - run the shop, inherently acknowledges what we already know: the DeVoses controlled the company. The headline in the GRP says "Amway co-founder: We didn't run Alterra." That's perhaps more true than the GRP editors realized. No, Rich and Dick didn't run Alterra. But they had the power to - that's what they got in return for $170 million. Yet, even after hearing about problems of abuse at their "quarterly briefing" they opted NOT to exercise their right to "run Alterra." They did nothing. And then Dick goes on TV and tries to pretend that he was only a "passive investor"...

In other Republican coverup news...

So far, only (subscription-only) Gongwer News Service has picked up revelations that U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers was a headliner at a fundraiser at Mark Foley's house (in spite of Rogers' claim that he never socialized with Foley). Rogers, as was mentioned last night says House Speaker Dennis Hastert ought to keep his job - in spite of trying to hide the fact that this sick individual (Foley) was on the loose in his caucus. Back in Grand Rapids, U.S. Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Grand Rapids) is saying the same thing. Ehlers also says he had no idea about Foley:
"I think a lot of us knew that he was gay," Ehlers said. "But none of us knew he was a pedophile."
Meanwhile, three newspaper op-ed pages are making their views known on Speaker Hastert. The Muskegon Chronicle rakes Hastert over the coals  but stops short of calling for a human sacrifice.  The Battle Creek Enquirer says Haster's "fitness to continue serviing as speaker" has been called into question. Up north, the Traverse City Record-Eagle has now joined the Washington Moonie Times in suggesting that it is now time for Hastert to step down.

Here in Lansing,  Dick Cheney has come and gone. It's still early, however early reports suggest no one was shot in the face. Here's a question: if Dick was in Michigan to raise money for Tim Walberg, why then was the event held in Mike Rogers' district? Isn't there somewhere in CD07 that could deal with him...say in Battle Creek perhaps? Then again, maybe this isn't really about Walberg. Could it be that they're really worried about Rogers instead? Or maybe Walberg wants Dick to get some money for him - but doesn't want him around his district?

A new snag in the case involving Attorney General Mike Cox, Graceland Fruit (owned by Republican donor and MSU Trustee Don Nugent), and a stream that is orange with blueberry waste. Perhaps one of our resident environmental legal experts can tell us what on earth it means.

Nearly 50,000 absentee ballots are now on their way to seniors in Macomb County today, following a circuit court ruling that denied a request for an injunction by the Republicans. The absentee program has been a major focus of Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh - now our nominee for Secretary of State.

WEIRD NEWS: The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a case dealing with a Grand Rapids guy who got busted for showing his "joke-telling penis" on the local public access channel. Meanwhile, over in Mount Pleasant, " Big Joe Devoe" - an big old tree carved and painted as a painter - has been cut down with chainsaws. I've never seen the thing, but according to the Mount Pleasant Morning-Sun, it's a landmark - and sat in front of a local paint store. Seems Joe was rotting from the inside and had to go. I only mention any of this because the picture is kind of biazarre - and because I noticed "Devoe" is only one letter away from "DeVos". Could this be an omen?

Tigers 4, Yankees 3 - YAY!!!! Tigs beat the Yanks in the Bronx for playoff game 2! Take that, Amway Guy curse!
Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Circumspice, 10/04/06

by: matt

Wed Oct 04, 2006 at 12:58:51 PM EDT

UPDATE by Matt: Forgot to mention. For those of you here in Spartyland, I'll be on Berl Schwarz's radio program (Impact88.9/WDBM East Lansing) tonight at 7. I'm told we'll be joined by Bill Nowling (Lunchbucket Conservative) and Ed Sarpolus of EPIC-MRA.

There's so much to talk about today, I've decided it's finally time for an edition of the highly-touted Not-so-daily Circumspice!

I've seen (and even moderated) more than a few debates - and I'm not sure I've ever seen a candidate get so badly knocked off balance as Amway Guy did when the Governor raised the Alterra nursing home issue. And man does that issue have some legs. Here's some of today's coverage:
AP: Democrats say DeVos controlled troubled nursing home company
Detroit Free Press: DeVos defends investment
Detroit News: Nursing home flap escalates
Michigan Public Radio Network: Democrats Press Nursing Home Charges
Booth Newspapers: Dems go after DeVos on Alterra investment
That is...unless you're reading the Grand Rapids Press. In the Amway Guy's hometown paper, the same Booth article suddenly becomes:
DeVos counters Granholm's nursing home claims
Oh, and the GRP also found someone who likes Alterra and wrote an article about him. One might get the impression the DeVos clan continues to draw lots of water in the furniture city.

More debate reax...

The DFP's Brian Dickerson - in keeping with that paper's "five favorite things" fetish, offers five things he learned from the debate. Here are my TWO favorites:
1. DeVos is one disappointed fellow.

I know this because he reminded me every few minutes. In one hour, DeVos invoked the D word at least 12 times, expressing disappointment in everything from his opponent's jobs record to her "constant references to what happened four years ago."

We all have our verbal tics. But DeVos' references to "disappointment" were so pervasive I couldn't help but suspect they grew out of a focus group experiment that ruled out tougher words such as "angry," "mad" and "disgusted." (Robocalls on DeVos' behalf also express "disappointment" in Granholm.)

Granholm's mantra? "Amway." She referred to DeVos' former employer 13 times during the debate, describing her rival as "CEO of Amway" seven times. Got it?

And...

3. The cover-up is always worse than the crime.

OK -- this is a cliché, not a news flash. So why can so few politicians remember it?

DeVos' refresher course came when Granholm asked why he'd failed to disclose his $170-million holding in Alterra Healthcare, an assisted--living provider that went bankrupt amid charges of patient neglect and sexual abuse.

DeVos isn't responsible for Alterra's crimes. How many Enron stockholders knew what that company's miscreants were up to?

But DeVos' decision to omit his Alterra holdings from what he boasted was a "comprehensive disclosure" of his financial interests suggests a deliberate attempt at concealment -- and it provided his rival an easy score.

Meanwhile, the editors of the Saginaw News have spoken...and the news is not good for the "disappointed one":
Admittedly, both candidates were often vague and, in Granholm's case, sometimes long-winded. She dominated the debate with a strategy that put DeVos -- and the Bush administration -- on the defensive. DeVos at times looked lost, mumbling that he was disappointed in the governor's attacks on his business investments and history. His primary knock against Granholm is that she isn't creating an atmosphere for economic growth in Michigan. He says he would.

-snip-

The soap salesman needs to offer more suds if he intends to persuade Michigan to change leadership. (emphasis added)

NoviDemocrat mentioned it in the wee hours of this morning, but it's worth repeating: Daniel Howes of the Detroit News is "disappointed" too!

Meanwhile, back at the below-the-fold ranch...
There's More... :: (5 Comments, 231 words in story)

Circumspice, 8/28/06

by: matt

Mon Aug 28, 2006 at 18:40:24 PM EDT

  • The coverage of the 2006 Republican and Democratic state conventions is in and the winner is: the Democrats! (you probably knew I'd say that, didn't you). As the party in power (of the governor's chair), the Dems inherently got a slight advantage. Add to that a kick-ass speech (watch it here) by the Guv and a lame, defensive, and whiny speech by Amway Guy (hmm..they apparently are not offering a video online - here's the transcript.) Oh sure, there was the Williams-Bowen "floor-fight", but it really wasn't much of a fight. Rep. Mary Waters is unhappy. Oh well. I'll still wager the Guv will bump up a couple percent as a result of the convention coverage. (Booth, DFP, DN, AP, Michigan Public Radio Network )

  • On the down side, the coverage in the DN and Grand Rapids Press spends a great deal of time talking about the influence of labor (be still my beating heart) in the MDP. Of course the influence of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce in the Republican Party goes unmentioned by the GRP or DN.

  • Speaking of labor, teachers in Detroit are on strike. The teachers say they're among the lowest paid around (true) and the district says it's broke (also true). Unless something changes soon, school will not open on September 4 as was planned. This makes no one happy (except people who hate all public schools). Politically, this presents a very real problem in the Guv's race. The Guv can get away with staying out of it at first. But the longer it drags on, the louder the calls will be for her to become personally involved. This will be further compounded by the Guv's (and virtually every Democrat's) strong ties to labor, and the public perception of this as recently chronicled by the DN and the GRP (see above). I hope to hell someone in the front office is working on a rational strategy for dealing with this situation in the event it drags on and on and on. Something, hopefully, other than just hiding in a closet and praying it will go away.

  • The State Republican Party is nervous enough about U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Brighton) that now they're robocalling households in CD08, accusing challenger Jim Marcinkowski (D-Lake Orion) of being inconsistent on the abortion question. Definitely a positive sign for Marcinkowski. Go Jim! From the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.

  • FOR SALE(?): Michigan's best newspaper (according to this writer) - the Traverse City Record-Eagle may be for sale. According to the AP, TCRE owner Dow Jones & Co. plans to put the paper and several others around the nation up for sale. The announcement closely follows a petition campaign by local Republicans upset over the paper's coverage of Sen. Jason Allen (R-Traverse City) and other issues the northwest Michigan good ol' boy network would rather not talk about. Of course, word of this controversy did NOT make it into the AP story. Factoid: former Michigan Governor John Mathias Engler (R) and former Michigan State University president M. Peter McPherson (R) sit on the board of directors of Dow Jones & Co.

    If there are any benevolent wealthy people around who care about freedom of speech in Michigan, they are urged to purchase the Traverse City Record-Eagle and retain editor Bill Thomas. Also -- please give me a job.

    BTW, according to the subscription-only MIRS newsletter, Sen. Allen is no longer the favored candidate for Senate MINORITY Leader next term - largely because of some of the campaign finance issues disclosed in the TCRE, and how Sen. Allen has dealt with them. Apparently Sen. Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) is now seen as being in front (whatever that means).

  • You may recall the online tongue-lashing I gave the Jackson Citizen Patriot for fawning all over freshman Rep. Rick Baxter (R-Hanover) for his attempt to insert a $550,000 budget line item (in violation of federal law) to pay for improvments at the Cascades park in Jackson. Last week, Sen. Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek) sent in a letter explaining the OTHER side of the story not covered in the Cit-Pat, i.e. that Baxter's money grab was illegal under federal law. This apparently shook the folks up at the Cit-Pat enough to write this bizarre editorial. According to the paper, this budget stuff is really just too complicated for anyone to figure out and while Baxter's line-item may have violated federal law other projects have gotten federal support so you see there's really two sides to this and gee isn't it terrible that partisan politics have gotten involved and Archie Bunker says to shut up (or at least that's how I understand their argument). Not exactly a retraction, Cit-Pat, but it's probably as good as we're going to get. I accept your apology. As for Baxter...Mayor Marty Griffin is coming for you, man!

  • Further proof Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) isn't the old Rockefeller-school moderate his daddy and former Michigan Governor George Romney was back in the 1960's: turns out the younger Romney's "Michigan Leadership Team" chair is none other than wingnut Speaker of the House Craig DeRoche (R-Novi). This according to the TCRE's George Weeks. Also troubling, from George's column, is that one of the people throwing Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) money around is none other than anti-abortion, anti-affirmative action, and anti-gay crusader state Senator Michelle McManus (R-Lake Leelenau). Not that this is surprising. Sen. McCain seems to be spending lots of time these days with "agents of intolerance."

  • Tigers 7, Indians 1. That's more like it, guys. I'm still kind of nervous that the Amway Guy curse is still lingering around Woodward Avenue.


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