Saturday, September 30, 2006

Lawyering runs in Beckering's family

I have had so many hits looking for info on Jane that I thought I'd throw this short Freep article up here.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- Lawyering runs in Jane Beckering's family.

The Michigan Supreme Court candidate is a partner in the Grand Rapids law firm of Buchanan & Beckering PLC. Her father, grandfather, great uncle and cousin all became attorneys.

Her brother, Robert J. Buchanan, is her law partner. Her husband, Raymond E. Beckering III, is a federal prosecutor in Grand Rapids, where the couple lives with their three children.

"My father and grandfather were really pre-eminent lawyers and they had an incredible amount of honor and respect for the law," says Jane Beckering, 41.

She always enjoyed helping her friends to solve their problems, so for a brief time while an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, she considered becoming a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

She would have been good at that, too.

Beckering, who specializes in medical negligence cases, says the state Supreme Court's conservative 5-2 majority has increasingly made it harder for people, particularly the poor, to sue doctors for malpractice.

"They're almost batting a thousand favoring big business and insurance," she says. "In doing so, they're eroding the rights of the people of Michigan."

Knock me over with a feather. Someone from Forest Hills said that? Never would have guessed. And this too-

She's critical of the current court majority, noting that it's engaging in judicial activism and overturning precedent on long-held laws "at an alarming rate."

"I feel very strongly about the fairness of the system, the integrity of the system, and I'm very concerned about what's going on in the Supreme Court," she says. "So I feel almost a personal obligation to get off the sidelines and do something about it to level the playing field and to protect the rights of the people of Michigan."

The executive and legislative branches of government are partisan bodies, Beckering says, but the judicial branch must be kept as nonpartisan as possible to dispense justice as fairly as possible.

"It's there to protect the minority against the majority when they have overstepped their bounds on civil rights, on constitutional rights, on that which the law is there to protect them," she says.

Go get 'em Jane. Would love to see you on the court.

But if you rule wrong on something- I'm posting your 2nd grade picture. You have been warned. ;-)
State Rep. Wenke admits MI Republicans "quash" good ideas

Really? Do tell.

He said a "bitter partisan spirit" pervades Lansing, as the Republican majority quashes or co-opts good Democratic ideas.

"I want to tell the people of Michigan how it really works in Lansing," he said. "That's a somewhat risky thing to do."

Why? Telling the truth get you in trouble with the Republican Party nowadays?

There in a nutshell is what is wrong with the current GOP- moderates don't have the courage to stand up to the extremists who dominate the party. Until they do, Republicans cannot be trusted with leadership positions. This guy knows that this is wrong, and yet he won't do anything about it.

While a supporter of Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos, Wenke said blaming Gov. Jennifer Granholm for the state's woes is "plain dishonest."

If he supports DeVos, and won't take the "risk" to tell us "how it works", and knows blaming Granholm is "dishonest", then he is just another gutless Republican who is costing the state in terms of forward progress. He puts his party before his duty to the people.

DeVos is as partisan as they come. Read this and tell me I'm wrong. Dick is more interested in "beating the Democrats" than he is in providing leadership for us all. Do we really want that kind of division to continue?

Bye-bye, Mr. Wenke. Thanks for playing. You are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Fire your local Republican this November. After all, they now admit to hurting the state for partisan reasons.

What more proof do you need?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Bill would aid Great Lakes - Waterways could get $80 million

Some good news.

The Great Lakes are about to win federal funding of up to $80 million over the next five years, double the amount available in the past.

From studying the movements of yellow perch in Lake Michigan to restoring marshes, the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act has paid for 65 projects since its start in 1990. The U.S. House renewed the act this week and the Senate is expected to approve the bill before it recesses today or Saturday.

The former maximum Congress could allocate to projects under the act was $8 million per year. That would be raised to $16 million.

The act has paid to control sea lampreys and zebra mussels and helped restore walleye in Saginaw Bay. It also pays for research. This week's votes were to reauthorize the act, but how much Congress actually appropriates is decided each year. Lately, funding under the act has been less than $1 million, despite an $8 million cap.

Rep. Dale Kildee, a Flint Democrat and sponsor of the legislation, said renewing the act is a big step in preserving and restoring the Great Lakes. It's also a hopeful sign in the effort to win $20 billion in federal funding to clean up the Great Lakes, he said.

There is a new book out that sounds very interesting- as soon as the politicians are done yelling at each other I might get some time to check it out. Titled "The Great Lakes Water Wars" by former Newsweek correspondent Peter Annin (website here), it explores the history of the Lakes and the current threats they face.

His premise is that an era of warring over the Great Lakes is under way -- and will intensify as the global water shortage worsens. The lakes' future and the region's way of life hang in the balance as leaders grapple with the challenge of preserving what amounts to nearly one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water, Annin writes.

The book comes nine months after representatives of the eight Great Lakes states signed a compact to ban most diversions of water outside the drainage basin, require each state to regulate water use and establish a regional standard for large-scale water withdrawals. The Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec pledged separately to adopt the same policies.

But the compact still faces an uphill climb, needing approval of legislatures in each state and the U.S. Congress to take effect.

"The Great Lakes Water Wars" describes the agreements and the contentious negotiations that produced them. But that's just the conclusion of a story that began more than a century earlier with construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which diverts water away from Lake Michigan.

The book relates the history of that still-controversial project and other legal and political skirmishes that led to the regional agreements. And it explains how the Great Lakes were formed, their unique characteristics and the threats facing them, from the global water shortage to exotic species and climate change.

This is one of those issues that flies under the radar. No one cares about the environment until it's gone- and there are some out there who would gladly sell it out for big profits now.

DeVos and the MI GOP are fond of using the words "extremists" and "radicals" whenever anyone mentions protecting the environment of our beautiful state- that is code for "we should be free to loot and pollute all we want". The current leadership of the Republican Party is actively working to turn back the clock on environmental issues- maybe when the rivers start to burn again people will wake up.

Granholm has an outstanding record on this issue- yet another reason we need to re-elect her.

You knew I'd get back around to that again, didn't you? ;-)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Government by Madison Avenue

It's all about the Benjamins, baby.

If you buy enough slick advertising, people will actually think you are a viable candidate for an office you have no business running for! And, if you drink enough Bud Light, the hot girls will fall at your feet!

Just trust us. It's all true.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Television viewers who feel bombarded by ads in the governor's race aren't going to get a break any time soon.

Spending on TV ads is close to $26 million so far and is going to intensify in October, the nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network reported Thursday.

Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm has spent $2.5 million for ads and the Michigan Democratic Party has spent $5.5 million for issue ads supporting Granholm's campaign through this past Wednesday. Republican challenger Dick DeVos has spent $17.9 million on ad buys through Oct. 2.

"My opponent has set new spending records in every election she has run in... And I will not be at all surprised if we are outspent in this race by my opponent."

-Dick DeVos, Grand Rapids Magazine, Sept. 2006

Well, the Governor better get out the 'ol checkbook and cough up about $16 million just to break even at this point. Wouldn't want to mess up her streak of "new spending records" in all those races she has run in... you know, both of them.

John Truscott adds to the inanity with this statement-

DeVos spokesman John Truscott said the disparity in spending isn't as great as it appears. Commercials run by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the state tourism department help the governor's cause, but aren't considered campaign ads.

"When you factor in all the state money being spent on her behalf, we probably are in the ballpark of what she is spending total," Truscott said.

If Johnny wants to count the state advertising, perhaps we should count all that Amway advertising for Dick, don't you think? How much was that total again, John?

According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, DeVos has funded 80% of that $17.9 million all by himself. That's a lot of pissed off Amway distributors right there.

Despite the onslaught, Rich Robinson of MCFN said voters aren't learning much about where the candidates stand on the issues.

"Michigan voters have been subjected to an unprecedented barrage of shallow messages designed to drive an emotional reaction to the candidates," he said in a release. "It remains to be seen whether voters will be shown enough depth to make a thoughtful choice on Election Day."

Because all the other election years were just chock-full of informative advertising. Don't you remember all those ads where George Bush said he was going to make us "safer"? And look how well that turned out!

Let's go to that font of wisdom Tim Skubick at this point-

"If you make a decision about who to vote for based on what you see in TV commercials, do the democracy a favor and stay home on Election Day."

Not only do we have deep pockets Dick splurging on misinformation like Paris Hilton on a bender, we have the other Pubs starting to take an interest in what they see as an opportunity to find a place to shore up the tattered remnants of the conservative base. They want to set up shop right here in Michigan after the rest of the country kicks them to the curb.

Beginning Thursday, the Republican Governors Association was to run ads for 10 days supporting DeVos.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said last month that the group will commit $750,000 to run issue advertisements in Michigan promoting DeVos. Republicans count Michigan as the most likely state where they can defeat a Democratic incumbent.

And Zack over at Pohlitics found this at the bottom of a Detroit News editorial-

Meanwhile, local GOP activists are muttering about a Vice President DeVos in 2008, and national Republicans are excited by the prospect of a re-energized state party that could help the GOP reclaim the Michigan electoral vote in 2008 after three straight losses to Democratic presidential candidates.

Michigan could give the world the next George W. Bush- all thanks to millions of dollars spent on misleading advertising.

How scary is that.
See Dick Hide- Granholm says the voters know little about DeVos

It will be up to the Governor to tell us, because Dick certainly won't. In today's episode, watch John Truscott disavow the Mackinac Center, which is either laughable or tragic, depending on your point of view.

Dick DeVos and DeVos family money has created and fueled the modern GOP and its extreme right-wing flavor, and they are now making it a point to hide and/or run away from all those connections.

Voters should ask themselves why. Either Dick lacks the courage of his convictions, or he is hiding his agenda because he knows he couldn't get elected if it were revealed.

"I'm running against someone who has led and financed organizations that have called for drilling under Great Lakes, selling off state parks, eliminating vulnerable populations from Medicaid," Granholm told the Free Press editorial board, referring to DeVos' association with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a conservative-leaning think tank in Midland.

DeVos is a former board member of the Mackinac Center and has donated $100,000 since 1999 to support the organization.

"Dick disagrees with the Mackinac Center on a lot of things," said John Truscott, spokesman for the DeVos campaign, saying DeVos never has supported drilling under the Great Lakes or selling state parks. DeVos would like to see fraud eliminated from Medicaid, but he doesn't want to eliminate benefits for vulnerable citizens, Truscott said.

Granholm also criticized DeVos' past support for school vouchers and his opposition to abortion rights and stem-cell research.

Granholm said voters still know little about DeVos, a wealthy Grand Rapids businessman whose father was a cofounder of Amway (now Alticor), but will learn more in the last six weeks of the campaign. She stopped short of saying her campaign plans ads to attack DeVos on wedge issues.

Later, her campaign spokesman Chris DeWitt declined to comment on possible ads, citing "strategic reasons." Recent polls show the governor's race is a toss-up.

Truscott said Granholm's comments were "just real disappointing" because they focused on divisive issues.

And here is the laughable part- name a divisive conservative "issue" and you will find DeVos money behind it. If it wasn't for Dick and his family, the "culture wars" probably wouldn't have had the influence on politics that they have today.

Just imagine what that would be like.

Look up any one of these right-wing organizations, read up on the policies they promote and follow the money. Dick is behind them all.

The "D" in DeVos stands for divisive.

During the past quarter century, the DeVos family has funded and supported just about every major right wing think tank and public policy institute. It is not an exaggeration to say that the DeVos' largesse helped change America's political landscape.

The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation has supported a panoply of right wing groups including the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, the Media Research Center, and James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries. Foundation money helped build the State Policy Network, an association of state-based conservative think tanks. In Michigan, the foundation provided funding to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which uses its research to propose and promote various policies in Michigan.

DeVos money has also gone to Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation, the man considered as the godfather of the modern conservative movement and a proud purveyor of America's culture wars.

The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation provides funding to many of the same organizations as the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.

One could write a book about the DeVos family money and how it has shaped the discourse in this country and the Republican Party as it stands today. They are the heart and soul of the culture wars, and it's hard to believe that DeVos would suddenly abandon every single radical cause he has supported with his millions.

Perhaps Truscott's "disappointment" lies in the fact that the truth is coming out about DeVos, Amway, and the radical right agenda, and now he is going to have to figure out new ways to hide his candidate.

He has his work cut out for him.

(One note about this Free Press article- they have a video of Granholm talking about the economy. Go watch- she makes a lot of good points.

The idea of going to video instead of printing a transcript is intriguing, but they need to a) learn video production (the audio is out of sync) and b) print a transcript anyway. A lot of people still want to read. It could be they just haven't transcribed it yet and it will show up later, I don't know, but just having video doesn't cut it.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Escape from Lansing: Lawmakers on the loose, Granholm cleans up the mess
Well, they are out. They are on the run. They are roaming free in your community, bragging about all the half-baked legislation they left in their wake as they roared out of town on the trail to justifying their existence. Hat in hand they will come to you soon and tell you about all the wonderful things they have done and oh, won't you please, pretty please, let them go back to Lansing to continue ignoring the needs of Michigan citizens?

As you contemplate that request, keep in mind this list of issues and proposals that were swept under the rug as they played political games designed to paint Granholm as "ineffective". By doing so, they have hurt our people, and hurt our state.

Yesterday Governor Granholm acted to extend special pay and benefits for state employees called to active military duty, one of the many things that the Legislature left undone as they ran out the door.

LANSING -Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today acted to extend indefinitely special pay and group insurance benefits for state employees called to active military duty after September 11, 2001. Under current Civil Service Commission rules, the special pay and benefits expire at the end of each fiscal year.

Executive Directive 2006-5, issued today by Governor Granholm, addresses one of the many pieces of unfinished business left behind by the Legislature last week when it adjourned for the fall recess.

"Our state employees who have been called to active military duty responded without hesitation; the least we can do is supplement their military pay and ensure that they and their families are covered by the state's group insurance plan until they are home and back to work," Granholm said. "While I am pleased to extend my gratitude to our troops on behalf of the state of Michigan, I am disappointed that state lawmakers failed to pass legislation on behalf of our military personnel in the public and private sector."

Not only did the lawmakers leave the troops in the lurch, they stiffed the college kids, too.

In addition to military protection bills left on the table last week, Granholm cited a list of bills left unfinished.

  • The New Merit Award scholarship - proposed in 2005, would allow every child in Michigan who continues their education beyond high school to earn a $4,000 Scholarship.

  • Some theorize that DeRoche, under orders from DeVos, blocked this deal just to deny Granholm the win. Sikkema was ready to sign off, but Craig, who thought it was necessary to blow a $2 billion dollar hole in the budget, called it "irresponsible".

    Moving down the list-

  • Stem Cell research - legislation removing limits on stem cell research in Michigan.

  • Michigan has some of the most restrictive laws in the country on stem cell research. Not only is the Legislature denying citizens the potential for cures to life threatening illness, they are hurting the state by driving away researchers, companies and ultimately jobs connected with life science industries.

    The list of unfinished business is long, but there was one interesting omission from the Governor that needs to be mentioned- the SBT. While there isn't a "bill" in front of the Legislature, they left the SBT work undone as they wait for "studies". Or a reading on the wooly caterpillars. Or a sign from God. Or something. Actually, what they are waiting for is the time that they won't have to face the consequences of the cut- after the election when you can't touch them.

    That inaction, though, is having real world consequences right now as businesses are left in limbo on tax rates and abatements.

    From James Epolito, who is still trying to be a good cheerleader for recruitment, but is also faced with the daunting task of convincing business to locate/expand here with only uncertainty and vague promises, comes this-

    James Epolito, head of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. that oversees the MEGA program, said it's tougher to lure companies now that he can't promise what the tax abatements will look like.

    "The other state and countries are putting firm offers out," he said. "I can't guarantee."

    At a time when job creation is crucial, our Republican lawmakers have made it harder for companies to invest and hire. Even Dick said so, which was rather confusing because it is said that he instructed them to break the deal that was reached on the SBT last year.

    A complete over-view of Republican malfeasance would take forever. Here is the rest of the bullet list from the release that highlights the inaction of our lawmakers.

  • 401(K) program - a 401(k) plan like the state's plan for those workers of small companies who do not offer a pension plan.

  • Bullying - requiring every school district in Michigan to have tough and effective anti-bullying policies.

  • Corporate Responsibility - passing measures that will demand high standards of corporate responsibility from any business that seeks a state grant.

  • Ethics for Officeholders - legislation establishing higher ethical standards and stricter, more comprehensive disclosure requirements, barring political contribution delivery and solicitation in public buildings, prohibiting gift payments such as honorarium, and imposing a 1-year ban on lobbying by former officials.

  • Election Reform - reducing bureaucracy for overseas voters and allowing no-excuse absentee voting to reduce lines on Election Day.

  • Medical Privacy - providing patient confidentiality regarding the maintenance and disclosure of medical records and certain health information.

  • Increased Penalties for Drive by Shooting - doubling the penalty for any person who intentionally fires a weapon from a vehicle, snowmobile, or off-road vehicle.

  • ID Theft - new protections against identity theft in Michigan.

  • After School Programs for Middle Schoolers - a program that focuses on math, science, and computer technology to help students meet local, state and federal standards and better prepare them for more rigorous high school curriculum expectations.

  • Early Childhood Education - investing in greater support for early childhood learning.

  • Regional Collaboration - providing incentive for state and local partnership on economic development projects that will have a significant, long-term transforming impact on the economy of Michigan.

  • School Consolidation - requiring the Department of Education to take steps to assist public schools to operate more efficiently.

  • Whew. What the heck have they been doing, anyway?

    Here is one thing that managed to get through- the House passed a bill on drug testing for welfare recipients, because nothing says "election year pandering" like going after the poor.

    Thing is, testing is already in place. Not quite sure how this differs from what we have now, but it sounds like it really wasn't necessary given all the other things they should have been doing.

    The bill would allow for drug testing of a family assistance recipient if a Department of Human Services employee has a reasonable suspicion the recipient has been using drugs.

    Because the DHS employees don't have enough to do as it is.

    Democrats said the legislation wasn't needed because state could give drug tests to welfare recipients now.

    At which point the Republicans took yet another shot at Granholm. Par for the course. They can't be held responsible.

    This goes to the Senate after the break, along with all the other unfinished issues- AND they are supposed to craft a replacement for the SBT, too, before the end of the year. They are going to be very, very busy.

    Just think, you don't get to hold them accountable after the election. They will be free to slash and burn at will, and there won't be a thing you can do about it. And if the unthinkable happens and DeVos is elected... the slashing and burning will be massive.

    Do something about it now. Time to throw out the game players that hold us back only to please the big money donors and social extremists that dominate the Republican Party.

    Re-elect Granholm, and fire your local Republican. Perhaps then we can get some things done and move our state forward.

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    Granholm, DeVos to debate at WOOD TV8

    Let's get ready to rumble...

    GRAND RAPIDS - WOOD TV8 will host one of three televised gubernatorial debates between Jennifer Granholm and Dick DeVos.

    The two camps have agreed to debate in Grand Rapids and in two other Michigan cities within the next few weeks. They've also agreed on a joint appearance between the second and third debates.

    WOOD TV8 will host the second debate at 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 10, and be available to all NBC stations in Michigan, plus WOTV4. WOOD TV8 anchor Suzanne Geha will moderate the debate, which will include panelists from WOOD TV8, Detroit's NBC affiliate WDIV, and the Detroit Free Press.

    Must be Suzanne will moderate so Rick can toss out some softballs.

    Albin: "Mr. DeVos, what is 2 + 2?"

    DeVos: "Well, Rick, the Governor has had three years to tell us what 2 + 2 is, and we still have no answer on the table. Well, that's just wrong. She is being deceptive. Only a businessman can tell what 2 + 2 is, and in my experience we can get 2 + 2 by cutting taxes on people such as myself, so those people are free to give us the answer."

    Albin: "Governor?"

    Granholm: "It's 4, Rick."

    The first debate is set for Monday, October 2. The 8 p.m. debate, moderated by Tim Skubick, will be held at WKAR in East Lansing and be available to all Michigan Public TV stations and all Fox stations.

    That is the one I want to see the most.

    On Thursday, October 12, Granholm and DeVos will make a joint appearance and deliver remarks at a luncheon sponsored by Detroit's Economic Club and the Michigan Chronicle.

    The third and final debate will be Monday, October 16 from the studios of WXYZ in Detroit. Chuck Stokes will be the debate moderator, which will be available to all CBS and ABC affiliates in the state.

    No clue who Stokes is.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when Dick can't spew his standard "because Michigan sucks" line of reasoning. He might actually have to mention some... I don't know... plans, or something.

    Tear him up, Jennifer. Do it for the state. Tired of the SOB bad-mouthing us all the time.
    Want jobs? Fix healthcare first

    As much as I hate linking to the Detroit News, it looks like they are going to have a great series of stories this week on healthcare costs and how it relates to employment and the economy.

    Today, they tackle what is going on at GM. Go read the whole thing. Here are some highlights- and the numbers are staggering.

    The world's largest automaker is being driven deep into financial trouble not only by the cars of a competitor, but also by the medical bills of its own workers and retirees.

    -Last year, GM spent $5.3 billion on health care -- enough to buy a GMC Yukon for each of its U.S. employees. By 2008, General Motors will likely spend more on health care in the United States than on its hourly-worker payroll.

    -Every second of every day, GM pays for a medical procedure; every two seconds, it pays for a prescription. Last year it wrote checks to 500,000 doctors, 35,000 pharmacies, 5,000 hospitals, 120 HMOs and 80 insurance companies.

    -One out of every 87 Americans over the age of 65 has their medical bills paid by GM, as does one out of every 279 Americans of all ages.

    -So large is the program that someone has a GM health card in virtually every ZIP code in the United States. So costly is the program that the automaker's health care spending alone is more than the total revenue of 121 companies on the Fortune 500 list.

    The News goes on to talk about the history of GM and how they arrived at where they are today. GM is a canary in a coalmine, so to speak, and what is happening there is happening all over America on a smaller scale.

    If health care costs are driving one of the most powerful companies in the world deep into financial difficulty, how bad will the health care crisis be for the rest of us?

    Why is job creation so difficult? Here is the answer- employers can't afford heath care.

    Health care costs are crippling not just GM, but also businesses across the United States, the only country where health care is primarily paid by employers. In other industrialized nations, it is paid for by the government. Companies may pay a health care tax in other nations, but that cost is far lower than the insurance premiums most U.S. companies pay.

    -Since 2000, premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage have jumped 73 percent, while wages have gone up only 15 percent, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

    -The average cost of annual premiums for family coverage is now $10,880 -- more than the $10,712 in gross earnings a full-time minimum wage worker would make in a year.

    -The share of U.S. companies offering health insurance dropped 13 percent between 2000 and 2005. Citing increased costs, only 60 percent of U.S. companies now offer health insurance.

    -Employers who continue to provide health insurance pay an average of 82 percent of the cost, according to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. With insurance premiums for a family of four now averaging almost $900 a month, companies are bearing a huge expense that their foreign competitors do not.

    And that's why they build Camaros in Canada. Nothing to do with the unions, everything to do with the healthcare costs.

    Go read these stories, all the facts and figures you would ever want to know.

    Granholm has a plan for healthcare, and let's pray she is re-elected so it gets off the ground.

    This state, this country, must start moving in this direction if we are to be competitive on the global stage.

    Or as DeVos said, you can "get another job". With only 60% of employers offering coverage, you might have to go through a few jobs first.

    Just don't get sick on the way.

    "Straight up, what did you hope to learn about here?

    If I were someone else, would this all fall apart?

    Strange, where were you, when we started this gig?

    I wish the real world would just stop hassling me." -Matchbox 20

    Utterly blocked, so I have been playing with a new blog at Word Press. As you can see from my first post, I have been up since about 3:15 am this morning- and I still can't think of a word to say about anything. So, I go listen to some tunes.

    Nothing but videos up there right now... but eventually...

    I loves me some YouTube. Finding all kinds of fun stuff.
    NFL Week 3 Results: It Ain't Pretty

    This is why I don't gamble.

    Carolina 26, Tampa Bay 24

    Chicago 19, Minnesota 16

    Cincinnati 28, Pittsburgh 20

    Green Bay 31, Detroit 24

    Indianapolis 21, Jacksonville 14

    N.Y. Jets 28, Buffalo 20

    Miami 13, Tennessee 10

    Washington 31, Houston 15

    Baltimore 15, Cleveland 14

    Seattle 42, N.Y. Giants 30

    Philadelphia 38, San Francisco 24

    St. Louis 16, Arizona 14

    Denver 17, New England 7

    New Orleans 23, Atlanta 3

    7-7. Yeesh.

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    Pohlitics: New Granholm Ad- Bringing Toyota to MI

    Linking straight to Zack for the YouTube version.

    Granholm campaign has the Quicktime and the Flash and the related story here.

    What is up with the black and white photos? Mix it up a bit, throw in some color! I like B & W, but then again I'm one of those weirdo artistic types.

    Something like this might be memorable-

    or this-

    Maybe too expensive, I don't know if commercials work off of the TIFs or not-

    Cheney speaks at GV Armory

    Caught Truscott in another lie...

    WYOMING -- Vice President Dick Cheney landed at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport at 3 p.m. and spoke at the Grand Valley Armory on 44th Street shortly thereafter.

    The vice president is here to honor the troops and raise some money for senatorial candidate Michael Bouchard.

    More than 1,000 National Guard members from the 126th Calvary Regiment were at the Armory but one notable Michigan Republican - gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos - was not.

    It was one month ago when DeVos took President Bush to task for not paying enough attention to the sagging auto industry. The DeVos campaign denies he is avoiding Cheney.

    Here is John on Friday-

    "We have nothing to do with the Cheney visit on Monday," Truscott said. "It's a completely different issue. He's coming in for other people. We have our own campaign schedule to keep. We won't even be in Grand Rapids on Monday."

    Here is John today-

    DeVos Campaign Manager John Truscott told 24 Hour News 8 DeVos will be in town, to receive an endorsement from the Michigan Association of Realtors, about the same time the Vice President will be at the fundraiser for Bouchard.


    Do these guys ever tell the truth? About anything?

    Sunday, September 24, 2006

    DeVos Says He'll Do Governor's Job for Free

    Wait for it...

    Dick DeVos says if he's elected governor, he'll do it for free. The multi-millionaire Republican candidate says he would not take the $177,000-a-year salary.

    What does Richard the Elder have to say about that?

    "If it's free, it's not worth much"

    Richard DeVos- April 2006

    Father knows best.

    Hat tip to the GR Press (!) for pointing this out.
    NFL Week 3: Land of confusion

    Offer void where prohibited.

    Good games this week-

    Carolina at Tampa Bay (these two are breaking my heart)

    Chicago at Minnesota

    Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

    Green Bay at Detroit (yes, I do think Detroit will actually win some games, if they lose this one, I take that back)

    Jacksonville at Indianapolis (tell me this is on TV)

    N.Y. Jets at Buffalo

    Tennessee at Miami

    Washington at Houston

    Baltimore at Cleveland

    N.Y. Giants at Seattle

    Philadelphia at San Francisco (upset pick. But only because I hate the Eagles)

    St. Louis at Arizona

    Denver at New England

    Atlanta at New Orleans (is anyone else kind of creeped out that they are playing in that building?)

    Open date: Dallas, Kansas City, Oakland, San Diego

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    Mo' money, mo' jobs - thanks to Granholm

    These venture capital, investment thingees are out of my realm of understanding- all I know is it takes money to make money and that makes jobs right here in our state. Yea for the Governor, yea for us.

    Much better than the Republican plan, where they just steal the money from an unsuspecting public by fashioning huge tax breaks for themselves and then turn around and create jobs overseas instead.

    You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

    The state announced a new $109 million fund Thursday designed to energize the investment community and the companies they buy into.

    The 21st Century Investment Fund will invest over the next three years in venture capital, mezzanine and private equity funds that will then choose companies to invest in.

    The fund is part of the $2 billion, 10-year initiative Gov. Jennifer Granholm launched to diversify Michigan's economy and create new jobs.

    The fund is separate from the recently announced $200 million Venture Michigan Fund, although the two share some similarities. The Venture Michigan Fund specifically targets venture capital firms that will invest only in early-stage companies focusing on homeland security, advanced manufacturing, life sciences and alternative energy. VMF is a loan that must be paid back over time.

    The 21st Century Investment Fund comes from the state's tobacco settlement and targets a much broader group of investors. While venture capital focuses on start-ups, mezzanine and private equity funds invest in later-stage companies that are growing or mature.

    In addition, venture capital tends to gravitate toward technology start-ups, said Cindy Douglas, director of technology acceleration for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., which is administering both funds. Private equity and mezzanine funds often invest in more traditional industries such as automotive or furniture, she said.

    The combination of the two funds means a broad range of companies at all stages will have a chance at some investment, Douglas said.

    Let the feeding frenzy of the suits begin.
    DeVos has "other plans" during Cheney visit

    Dick Cheney? Never heard of him.

    GRAND RAPIDS -- At least one prominent Republican won't be on hand Monday when Vice President Dick Cheney rolls into town.

    GOP gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos can't make it.

    DeVos and his family have a long lineage in the Republican Party. They are major contributors to the both the national party and to President Bush. DeVos' wife, Betsy, is a former Republican Party chair for the state.

    As Dickerson said yesterday, "without his patronage, our current president might be just another name on the lecture circuit."

    Just stop and think about that for a second.

    What a wonderful world it would be.

    Well, maybe not wonderful after all the damage Bush did in the first four years, but at least this country would be headed in the right direction instead of on the Express Elevator to Hell as we are now.

    See Dick Run from the monster he helped to create. Wonder if this is the "return on our investment" that Betsy expected. My guess is no.

    "We have nothing to do with the Cheney visit on Monday," Truscott said. "It's a completely different issue. He's coming in for other people. We have our own campaign schedule to keep. We won't even be in Grand Rapids on Monday."

    Could the denial get any thicker? Five short disclaimers from John. No, no, no, no and no. That how you guys treat your friends?

    They did the same to Bush. Dick had "meetings" he had to attend.

    Um, yeah. I'll bet he did.

    Bill Ballenger calls Cheney's visit "calculated".

    Ballenger said speeches before groups like this -- with images of Bush or Cheney on flag-draped stages before troops in uniform -- are part of a calculated push to retain control of Congress despite deteriorating support for the war in Iraq.

    I call it a "shake down of the big money Republican names in West Michigan so we can keep the tax breaks for the rich rolling along by trying to install another GOP puppet in the Senate in the form of Mike Bouchard".

    Following his speech, Cheney is slated to appear at a 5 p.m. private fund-raising event for GOP U.S. Sen. candidate Michael Bouchard, at the East Grand Rapids home of local businessman and former ambassador to Italy Peter Secchia.

    Ballenger said it's unlikely Bouchard would get a boost from Cheney's visit. Bouchard trails U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow by as much at 20 percent.

    Something tells me Bouchard would love to run away from these guys too, but he needs the bucks. Wonder if he takes a poll hit after this.

    Friday, September 22, 2006

    Attention Michigan media: The truth is out there

    Brian Dickerson tells us this morning that Republican strategists are "cringing" at DeVos revealing that he supports teaching intelligent design. It really shouldn't come as a shock to anyone at this point that DeVos is a proponent and major financial supporter of extreme right-wing organizations and causes, but the press seems to be acting as if this is some big revelation that took them by surprise.

    If the strategists are cringing, that only confirms that capital "C" Conservatives have to hide their true agenda, and that the Republicans are more than happy to deceive the public. Dick is hiding his true agenda, but as Dickerson points out in this piece all a reporter has to do is follow the money. It's all there.

    If only the media had been reporting the truth about DeVos all along. Hats off to those journalists who have done some homework on Dick's background, but, honestly guys, most of you have done a pretty poor job at reporting on the man that has been hiding in plain sight.

    Is anyone going to investigate a little deeper? Are there any investigative reporters left in this world? Will the real DeVos be presented to the public in the next month? Or do we have to rely on the TV commercials alone for information?

    Since last February, Michigan voters have been steeped in a $13-million TV campaign designed to portray DeVos as a sophisticated businessman with little time for the social agenda that animates his party's conservative Christian wing.

    Gov. Jennifer Granholm finally joined the broadcast scrum in August, but even Democratic strategists concede privately that DeVos' TV campaign has been more polished.

    DeVos himself has been equally disciplined, eschewing the evangelical causes that have preoccupied him as a private citizen to hammer away at the jobs issue every pollster says is the electorate's paramount concern.

    Granholm's ads paint DeVos as an outsourcer of jobs and exploiter of corporate tax breaks. But even those attacks reinforce Republican efforts to frame DeVos as a businessman more interested in economic development than in abortion or school prayer.

    Here is one major point where the media has failed.

    DeVos is not a jobs maker. He has changed his story repeatedly, still cannot point to any jobs he has created except for a handful at Windquest, and is left to claiming the jobs in the company he inherited as his own, and even there he lost jobs.

    In the K-zoo Gazette article highlighted yesterday, DeVos once again boasts that he has "created jobs".

    DeVos said he has a proven record as a job creator based on his experiences at Alticor and Windquest and his role as an economic booster in Grand Rapids. Under his ownership, Windquest grew from 70 to 140 employees, he said, while Alticor employs 4,000 people in Michigan. DeVos also presided over a restructuring of Alticor in 2000 that eliminated 1,300 jobs, including 597 in Michigan.

    Amway was his father's company. Dick did not create those jobs. He eliminated jobs there, and there was no growth during his reign, except for thousands of jobs in China.

    Windquest was started in 1989. If he is claiming growth of 70 employees in 17 years, well, that's not a lot to brag about.

    And as far as being an economic booster in GR, once again that was daddy's money. Dick's name rarely, if ever, came up around here- it was always Richard the Elder and Jay VanAndel. Always. If Dick threw money at GR, that money originated from his father. Even the Grand Rapids Press questioned his claims as "revisionist".

    So, where are all these jobs Dick has created?

    Better yet, why doesn't the media investigate these claims and bring out the truth?

    And that brings us to the intelligent design flap. Watch as DeVos and the Republicans try to cover up the reality of their candidate once again.

    Asked Wednesday whether he supported proposed guidelines that would allow school boards to mandate the teaching of intelligent design as part of their districts' science curriculum, DeVos replied that he did.

    The AP story broke on and other newspaper Web sites around lunchtime. By midafternoon, DeVos campaign manager Greg McNeilly and spokesman John Truscott were phoning reporters and editors around the state, challenging headlines that described DeVos as a proponent of intelligent design and insisting that his comments had merely reiterated his long-standing support for control of public school curricula.

    Voters who e-mailed the campaign to inquire about the interview received a reply informing them that news reports had "misrepresented" DeVos' views and enlisting voters' help in quashing "this untruthful rumor."

    For the record, Hoffman neither misrepresented nor embellished DeVos' comments. Her story was a faithful account of her taped interview.

    The DeVos campaign is now trying to obfuscate the truth and enlisting supporters to do the same, putting the blame on the media for "getting it wrong", when, in fact, the media got it right.

    That, in itself, is a story, don't you think? Rather than owning up to the candidate's real position, they twist what was said and call the press "untruthful"? Basically, they are saying the press is lying.

    Matter of fact, this has been Dick's only line of defense so far. When someone tells the truth about his record, he calls them a liar. He has done it to the MDP. He has done it to Granholm. Now he is doing it to the press. Anyone notice the trend here?

    Dickerson rightfully points to the money trail that shows us the real DeVos.

    DeVos' status as one of the Republican National Committee's preeminent financiers is well known; without his patronage, our current president might be just another name on the lecture circuit.

    But what DeVos and his wife, Betsy, have given to politicians pales beside their generosity to conservative religious organizations working to outlaw abortion, prohibit gay marriage and adoption and promote school prayer, religious displays in government buildings and the teaching of intelligent design in public schools.

    Since 2002, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation gave at least $5,000 to the Thomas More Law Center, which unsuccessfully defended the Dover, Pa., school board in last year's federal court showdown and has threatened to sue on behalf of two Michigan science teachers who want to teach intelligent design.

    Tax records detailing the foundation's most recent donations weren't available Thursday. But the contributions documented in its 2002 tax return are among hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to similar groups ranging from the Michigan Family Forum and Right to Life of Michigan to the Lansing-based Foundation for Traditional Values, which sponsors what it calls the state's "premier Biblical worldview and leadership training program."

    All this generosity presumably betokens a more-than-casual interest in advancing the conservative Christian agenda espoused by these organizations.

    The truth is out there. The bloggers can yell all they want, and I believe we are helping advance the conversation, but at this point it is still up to the traditional media to inform the public on the views of those who aspire to power. It is also up to them to point out when the candidates are distorting the facts.

    If the candidates choose to hide who they are, as DeVos is obviously trying to do, it is the media's duty to find the truth and report it. To not do that threatens our state, and threatens to render the press irrelevant when the public finds out after the election who the candidate really is.

    They will be angry that they weren't warned, and then they might cancel the paper.

    Give us the real story, Michigan media. The job and the state you save might be your own.

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    Cheney to visit Wyoming Monday

    You have been warned...

    WYOMING -- 24 Hour News 8 has learned Vice President Dick Cheney is scheduled to visit the Michigan National Guard Armory in Wyoming Monday afternoon.

    Details of the trip are limited, so stay tuned to 24 Hour News 8 for more information.
    DeVos admits uncertainty over SBT "is hurting us"

    I'll take "Quotes that make your head want to explode" for $500, Alex.

    What Dick fails to mention is that it is he and the Republicans who have created this uncertainty in the first place.

    From the Kalamazoo Gazette-

    "We've got to fix this," DeVos said about the business-tax structure. "The SBT hurt us, and the uncertainty (of what will replace it) is hurting us."

    He also has the audacity to once again blame Granholm for failing to take a "leadership position" on this issue, a statement which rings completely false since she is the only candidate in ths race who has put something on the table for the replacement for the SBT.

    The only one.

    Where is Dick's plan? He won't tell you until "after the election".

    Here is Dick's idea of "leadership". Tim Skubick, last April-

    DeVos went on to say he may not reveal any specific plan at all - at least, not until after the November election.


    DeVos' answer boils down to this, apparently: He has no answer. Or at least one he's willing to share with voters.

    By August, Dick had a new excuse, claiming that he "didn't have the figures" to produce an answer, which Tim Skubick pointed out was "baloney".

    Dick has been singing this song all year. Want a direct quote? From June, in an interview from the Detroit News-

    Q. Help us here then. Write the headline for us on the heart of this plan.

    A . Eliminate the Single Business Tax.

    Q . And ?

    A . We'll deal with that. Let's eliminate it first. The governor has been governor for three and a half years and has yet to put a plan on the table to do anything.

    Apparently leadership, in Dick's mind, is to avoid taking responsibility on answering specific questions from the public on your plans, change your story as time goes on, and to... oh, let's just say it, why don't we... lie about your opponent's record.

    Here is a timeline that shows who is providing "leadership" and who is "hurting" our state.

    Granholm called for a rewrite of the SBT (let's not get into semantics of repeal vs. rewrite) during her campaign way back in 2002.

    After cleaning up some of the mess Engler left, she started this ball in motion at the end of 2003- and by May of 2004 people were coming up with proposals and ideas. Republicans were "studying" the issue at that time also, proving that the information they needed was indeed available to them back then, no matter what Dick says now.

    Granholm released her plan in the beginning of 2005. An agreement was reached in November of last year to lower the SBT and that was scuttled by the DeVos family at the last minute. Republicans were supposed to work on the issue this year- and put it off yet again, instead taking the time to pass a repeal which they knew would be met with a veto, and even then Granholm would have signed it had they made the simple agreement that they wouldn't raise taxes on citizens. No can do, said the Republicans. They then went ahead and passed the Patterson petition, a move that is now hindering the creation of jobs and investment by leaving business in limbo and has revised our state's outlook to "negative" with Standard and Poor's.

    Long story short: Dick DeVos and the MI GOP created the situation that is "hurting us" and in typical Republican fashion is trying to pass the blame.

    And people wonder why I get headaches.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    DeVos: Intelligent design should be taught in Michigan's science classes

    The real DeVos slips out from time to time... from the Free Press-

    LANSING — Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos says Michigan’s science curriculum should include a discussion about intelligent design.

    He says including intelligent design along with evolution would help students discern the facts among different theories.

    “I would like to see the ideas of intelligent design — that many scientists are now suggesting is a very viable alternative theory — that that theory and others that would be considered credible would expose our students to more ideas, not less,” DeVos told the Associated Press this week during an interview on education.

    Intelligent design’s proponents hold that living organisms are so complex they must have been created by a higher force rather than evolving from more primitive forms. Some want science teachers to teach that Darwin’s theory of evolution is not a fact and has gaps.

    However, a federal judge in December barred the school system in Dover, Pa., from teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in high school biology classes. The judge said that intelligent design is religion masquerading as science, and that teaching it alongside evolution violates the separation of church and state.

    Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said that Michigan schools need to teach the established theory of evolution in science classes and not include intelligent design, but can explore intelligent design in a current events or a comparative religions class.

    Creeping theocracy here we come...
    MDP- DeVos Campaign Full of Contradictions Over Jobs Numbers

    I guess we need to give them a little more time to make something up...

    LANSING-Today Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Mark Brewer criticized GOP gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos and his campaign for their inability to prove any of DeVos’ alleged job creation and their contradictions and inconsistencies over DeVos’ jobs record.

    “The DeVos campaign’s ‘pick a number’ approach to his jobs record has to stop. There is a reason why DeVos never provided any proof that he created jobs – DeVos has never created a job outside of China,” said Brewer. “The only fact we know about DeVos’ jobs record is that while he was President of Amway, he eliminated nearly 1,400 Michigan workers, a quarter of the company’s Michigan workforce.”

    The DeVos campaign has differed wildly on DeVos’ job record (in chronological order):

  • By 1997, when 70% of Amway’s sales were overseas, 5,300 of the company’s 14,000 employees were in Michigan. Today, Alticor has about 13,000 employees worldwide, including 3,927 in Michigan and 721 in other U.S. locations, said DeVos spokesman John Truscott. [Detroit Free Press, July 19, 2005]

  • A spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos said Monday that DeVos has created at least 7,000 jobs while head of two Michigan companies and in conjunction with several Grand Rapids building projects, including the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. [The Associated Press, February 28, 2006]

  • During our expansion, and contrary to the partisan rhetoric that’s being spread, not one Michigan job – not one – was sent to China. In fact, expanding into the Chinese market has created 300 jobs right here in Michigan and helped secure the employment of thousands more Michigan workers. [Dick DeVos’ Opinion Editorial for the Detroit News, May 17, 2006]

  • DeVos has insisted that he expanded Alticor’s operations into China as a way to expand his business operations at a time when the business’ American business wasn’t doing as well. All of his Chinese-made products are sold in China, DeVos claims, and as a result of this expansion, it created around 200 new jobs in Michigan. [MIRS Capitol Capsule, Friday, May 19, 2006]

  • Because of selling Michigan-made products around the world, Dick DeVos created 1000 Michigan jobs, and saved 3,000 more. [DeVos Campaign Website, week of September 6, 2006]

  • “The third fact that you don’t hear about is that 400 jobs exist in Michigan today because the company invested in China,” said DeVos. [WJRT ABC 12, September 17, 2006]

    The DeVos campaign has also failed to provide documentation for any of their jobs claims:

  • Truscott said he will have documentation in a few days to back up how many jobs DeVos has created, either directly or indirectly, while overseeing his family's Grand Rapids building projects and as president of Alticor and The Windquest Group, a Grand Rapids management group involved in making and marketing storage and space utilization products. [The Associated Press, February 28, 2006]

  • It's not that Republican challenger DeVos is such a wonderful alternative. He's been long on commercials and miserably short on substance. He claims he can create jobs. Show us the plan. He claims he knows how to lead. Where's the proof? [Tim Skubick, Lansing State Journal, April 14, 2006]

  • The DeVos campaign agrees that Alticor laid off 1,400 workers while restructuring in 1998 and 2000, but says all were white-collar workers and that nearly 4,000 blue-collar jobs were not cut. It also says that DeVos has created other jobs, such as those involved in building a Marriott hotel under construction in downtown Grand Rapids. That Alticor project got off the ground while he was president, his campaign says. The DeVos campaign has not yet released documentation to back up its statements that DeVos created jobs. [The Associated Press, March 20, 2006]

  • “When you mentioned he created all of these jobs, prove it. You haven’t yet.”- Chris Dewitt “We will Chris.”-John Truscott [Frank Beckman Show, WJR, August 15, 2006]

  • That last quote was telling- Dick will make some wild claim right before the end of the election and there won't be time to refute it. Probably go back to that ridiculous 7000 number above.

    I love it when the MDP echoes my words. Anyone send this to Iacocca?

    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    Four companies left guessing without SBT replacement

    Our Republican legislature- bad for business, bad for Michigan. Be sure and thank Dick and Brooks for this, too.

    AP) — These four companies were told Tuesday by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority Board that "the MEGA Board would look favorably upon a tax abatement" for them. The attorney general's office said the MEGA Board can't promise tax credits because the credits won't start until after 2007, and the state's main corporate tax ends in 2007. A replacement to the Single Business Tax has not been crafted.

    • Grid4 Communications Inc. plans to invest $500,000 to expand its Troy headquarters. It tentatively would get a business tax credit worth $501,000 over six years.

    • Hi-Lex Controls Inc. will invest $26.8 million to expand its auto supply operations in Hudson and Litchfield. It tentatively would get a business tax credit valued at $1.2 million over seven years.

    •Siemens Water Technologies Corp. plans to invest nearly $3 million in its Holland facility. It tentatively would get a business tax credit valued at $1.1 million over seven years.

    • The Tech Group Grand Rapids plans to invest $12.4 million to upgrade its custom injection molding facility in Walker. It tentatively would get a business tax credit valued at more than $1.8 million over seven years.

    Leaving companies in limbo. Maybe they can "tentatively" create jobs, too. Hi-Lex doesn't seem to concerned, but notice the rest of them use the phrase "plans to invest". From the other AP story-

    John Flack, finance director for Hi-Lex Controls Inc., one of the companies granted an abatement Tuesday, said he isn't worried the company won't get the abatements after spending $26.8 million to expand its auto supply business in Michigan.

    "There's no way the state can govern without a business tax of some sort," he said. "We're not concerned about that at all."

    But it might be harder to lure new companies at a time when investment in Michigan is critical.

    James Epolito, head of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. that oversees the MEGA program, said it's tougher to lure companies now that he can't promise what the tax abatements will look like.

    "The other state and countries are putting firm offers out," he said. "I can't guarantee."

    Further proof that you should fire your local Republican legislator this November.
    Latest Granholm TV Ad: No One Will Work Harder to Bring Jobs to Michigan

    I like this one better than the last one. Zack has the YouTube version.

    Quicktime version here. For some reason the one on the main page always stops about 8 seconds in. Can't figure it out, but it keeps happening.

    Check out the multimedia page, too. Nice job-

    The Granholm campaign also has a novel idea going- you can buy airtime for an ad. What astounded me was that you can get an ad on WOOD in the morning for $30 (?)

    No way that pays Terri DeBoer's salary. Matt Kirkwood, maybe. ;-p

    The difference made clear in 26 seconds

    One of Albin's famous "fact check" pieces, but this time he doesn't check any facts- he "tracks down the candidates" to ask them about the direction of the race.

    The difference in tone of the answer shows the vast difference between these two- one is calm, cool and collected; the other is high-pitched, defensive and whiny.

    See if you can tell which is which. Go watch.

    Albin: With things getting testy on the airwaves, we wanted to know what the candidates had to say when it comes to the tone of this race. We tracked them down to get their take.

    Granholm: "I think it's important for people to know we've got a choice in this election, it's important to point out in a truthful manner what the choices are."

    DeVos: "They're deceiving Michigan on the facts, the facts are not one Michigan job went to China and they're inferring that many did and that's wrong, that is deceptive."

    Awww, poor Dick.

    Listen to Dick's voice in this clip. It tells you everything you need to know. These words come off flat on the screen, but in the tape you can tell who is speaking in a truthful manner and who is complaining to the cop about the speeding ticket.

    Three debates have been announced.

    The first debate is expected to be hosted by WKAR, the public TV station on the campus of Michigan State University, on Oct. 2. The others are at WOOD-TV (an NBC affiliate) in Grand Rapids on Oct. 10 and at WXYZ-TV (Channel 7, an ABC affiliate) in Southfield Oct. 16.

    Tim Skubick tells us about the first-

    But this first debate for governor breaks that mold. There are no rules. This will be the only debate with that format - if it comes off.

    For the first and perhaps last time in the fall campaign, the governor and her challenger can actually talk to each other. How novel.

    They can respond without a time clock, without restraints on the length of answers and without some red light going off.

    Of course a successful debate that informs the voters depends on two elements: The ability of the candidates to answer the questions - and the questions themselves.

    After watching the WOOD clip above, one wonders what will happen if (when) Dick gets upset.

    Heh. Can't wait.
    NFL Week 2 Results:

    Buffalo 16, Miami 6

    Minnesota 16, Carolina 13 (OT) (wtf?)

    Cincinnati 34, Cleveland 17

    Chicago 34, Detroit 7

    Indianapolis 43, Houston 24

    New Orleans 34, Green Bay 27

    N.Y. Giants 30, Philadelphia 24 (OT)

    Baltimore 28, Oakland 6

    Atlanta 14, Tampa Bay 3

    Seattle 21, Arizona 10

    San Francisco 20, St. Louis 13

    Denver 9, Kansas City 6 (OT)

    New England 24, N.Y. Jets 17

    San Diego 40, Tennessee 7

    Dallas 27, Washington 10

    Jacksonville 9, Pittsburgh 0


    Howard Dean on tonight at 8:30

    Wow... nice!

    Tuesday evening, 9/19, Howard Dean will be taking questions LIVE on the Granholm campaign website. He will be taking questions on the G4G blog at 8:30PM. Feel free to submit questions in advance, or log on to the website tomorrow and post a question or comment. Governor Dean is coming to Michigan for the DNC Black Caucus’s African American Summit this weekend. Spread the word!

    Consider it spread, Clint- sorry I didn't get to it sooner, but Comcast was down all morning. Seems like technology is conspiring against me all at once here...
    Group forms for embryonic stem cell research in MI- potential ballot issue for 2008?

    Dick DeVos and the MI-GOP oppose embryonic stem cell reasearch, a position currently at odds with 73% of Michigan.

    Since the Republicans in our legislature act under the orders of Right to Life (70 of 110 endorsed) and the Michigan Catholic Conference while they ignore the rest of the people, a new group formed recently might be part of the answer to getting the harsh restrictions on embryonic stem cell research lifted and so we can join and compete with the rest of the country in this field.

    While this group may help educate people, the real answer lies in making sure that DeVos does not become governor and electing legislators that will act on the needs of the people of Michigan.

    LANSING, Mich. -- Cathy Coury looks forward to the day when researchers may find a cure for the juvenile diabetes that makes her young sons' lives a constant round of insulin shots and blood-sugar monitoring.

    On Monday, she joined with researchers from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, elected officials and policy makers to formally kick off a bipartisan group, Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures, that plans to make the case that Michigan's tough restriction on embryonic stem cell research is blocking important medical gains and hurting the state's economy.

    "I want to know researchers are out there exploring every option," said Coury, who lives in Grand Rapids and is the legislative chairwoman of the West Michigan Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

    The stem cell advocacy group doesn't plan to endorse any lawmakers or any specific legislation. But it does hope to make its case with the public that the state is losing out on potential cures and economic benefits by restricting embryonic stem cell research.

    Perhaps it should endorse lawmakers and legislation. After all, if Dick DeVos were to become governor, the group's goals have no chance at success. DeVos is opposed to this potential life saving research.

    DeVos opposes embryonic stem cell research, although he supports research on adult stem cells.

    Another dodge from Dick, trying to make his position palatable- adult stem cells don't carry the same potential. This is the exact same position as the Right to Life and Bush. From a story on the Bush veto earlier this year-

    Right to Life of Michigan, which supports the Bush veto, said researchers could concentrate on treatments using adult stem cells -- those obtained from the umbilical cords of newborns or donors for cancer patients.

    And those fun folks in Lansing play along with this gambit, passing an adult stem cell bill in the House recently while ignoring and/or blocking bills for embryonic cell research, much to the dismay of Andy Meisner and other Democrats.

    The Michigan Catholic Conference, part of the one-two punch that controls our Republican legislature, seems to think that this group is the beginning of a potential ballot issue for 2008.

    Michigan Catholic Conference spokesman Dave Maluchnik said Monday that he thinks embryonic stem cell advocates, finding themselves stymied by the Legislature, will try to take the issue to Michigan voters.

    "I think the process today began a ballot campaign for 2008 on this issue," he said.

    They also try the "adult" bit.
    Maluchnik said current research on adult stem cells is finding cures without having to use embryonic stem cells.

    "We have a message of being positive and wanting to find cures as well, and we think we can do that through adult stem cells," he said.

    They keep saying that, and the doctors and researchers keep telling them they are wrong.

    Who do you believe, the people who do this for a living, or the people who have a religious agenda? Let's hear from Joe Schwarz, who was part of the news conference today-

    Schwarz, an ear, nose and throat specialist, disputed that. He said embryonic stem cells can foster more cures than adult stem cells or umbilical cord stem cells.

    And a researcher-

    Sean Morrison, director of the University of Michigan Center for Stem Cell Biology, agreed with Schwarz that embryonic stem cell research offers potential medical advancements that adult stem cell research does not. He warned about legislating "out of ignorance and misinformation."

    And another-

    "Because of the unique properties of embryonic stem cells, we just can't expect the same range of benefits from using adult stem cells," said Dr. Ed Nieshoff, a spinal cord injury research scientist at the Michigan Rehabilitation Institute in Detroit. He called the veto "a tremendous setback not only for Michigan but the nation."

    Scientists and companies are leaving Michigan to go to states where the laws won't restrict their progress.

    Yet despite the cause for optimism, and the weight and resources of one of the nation's top research institutions behind it, the program, just 2 years old, has already lost some of its top scientists to other states.

    They have gone to states such as California, where last year 59 percent of voters gave the OK to $3 billion in public funding for embryonic stem cell research over the next 10 years.

    "There are companies that have come out of the University of Michigan and gone to California," Sean Morrison, the new director for U-M's Center for Stem Cell Biology, said Friday at a conference for journalists at the university.

    Craig DeRoche doesn't care.

    Matt Resch, spokesman for House Speaker Craig DeRoche, R-Novi, said stem cell research hasn't been an issue in the Legislature and shouldn't necessarily be thought of in terms of economic benefit.

    Granholm has a petition, go sign now! - but I doubt it will get anywhere unless you fire your local Republican this November.

    Time to clean House!

    Monday, September 18, 2006

    Disembodied Head ruins my blog! Film at 11.

    I was so impressed with the look of the Disembodied Head site that I wandered over to Word Press to check it out. (actually I like all the Word Press blogs- they just look so much better than other free sites) They have a nifty little program that transfers all of your Blogger posts into their format, right? So, I said "OK! Let's do it!" and pressed the little button. I can be kind of stupid like that sometimes.

    Turns out that it didn't quite work, oh well, no big deal, and when I came back over- I found all of my paragraph breaks had been removed. From everything I had ever written here.

    Yes, I backed up my template. No, it didn't take when I tried to re-install it.

    Ruh roh.

    So, I will fix some of the front page, but I will not go through almost three years of archives- they will continue to look funny until the world ends or Blogger goes bankrupt, one of the two.

    Unless one of you hot shots out there has a simple command to put them back in? Anyone?

    I am planning on moving over to Word Press after the election anyway. Much nicer format, controls, look, everything. I'm also tired of Blogger being down or being slow half the time. Too frustrating.

    In true DeVos form, I will have to blame the Disembodied Head for this wanton destruction. ;-)

    Google era begins in Ann Arbor

    Who is the jobs maker again? Don't look for the Detroit News to tell you in this article, but I will refresh your memory-

    A year ago, when news that internet giant Google might be looking for a new location for its AdWords online advertising unit, Governor Granholm directed her team at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to do "whatever it takes" to encourage the company to choose Michigan.

    And here we are today.

    ANN ARBOR -- A 7,000-square-foot nook above a trendy wine bar is Google's new Michigan home -- at least for now.

    The technology giant, whose arrival many hope is a harbinger of the state's industry base, opens for business at 8 a.m. today at 110 S. Main St. in the historic Mayer-Schairer Building in downtown Ann Arbor.

    "This is a strategic office for us," said Grady Burnett, head of online sales and operations for the Ann Arbor office. "This is very much an operation where we are working hand-in-hand with our customers."

    The new office will be home to 20 workers, most of whom were Michigan hires, Burnett said.

    "We've seen people from a lot of different places, and we've hired several people from local universities, including (University of Michigan) and Michigan State (University)," Burnett said. "We're really seeing a nice mix of backgrounds, people from the area and people wanting to come back (to the state)."


    Given the growth of AdWords in the past four years, Burnett said it's possible the Ann Arbor office could grow to more than 1,000.

    The state has offered Google an incentives package of $38 million in tax breaks over 20 years, should employment reach 2,000.

    Average pay for the seven different jobs at the office is $47,000, and Michigan economic development officials expect the new office to generate 1,250 spin-off jobs.

    Back to you, Dick.
    Thomas to Dems: Don't be GOP-lite

    As I was just sayin'...

    TROY - White House correspondent Helen Thomas, known for grilling presidents from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, had blunt words for both Democrats and the nation's Republican leader Sunday.

    "Moderate Democrats dominate the party - GOP-lite," said Thomas, finding little difference between Republicans and moderate Democrats.

    Thomas was the keynote speaker at the county Democratic Party's 46th annual Phil Hart Dinner, a party fundraiser, which drew more than 300 of the party's hopeful faithful to the $85-a-plate event.

    "Democrats should be shouting from the rooftops against Bush's war of choice," said the 86-year-old Detroit native and Wayne State University graduate, who tempered her criticisms with humorous recollections of her decades covering the White House.

    Granted, Helen and I were talking about two different things- but the message is the same. Democrats need to stand up- and it should be easy to do given how down everyone is on the GOP is right now.

    You would think, anyway.

    MI House legalizes religious discrimination in adoption

    How is the work on jobs and the economy coming along, there, people?

    What? More important things to do? I see.

    Where did I get this story? The Chicago Tribune.

    So, not only do we have the legislature wasting time on divisive bills that legalize religious bigotry, I can't even get the Michigan media to cover it.

    LANSING, Mich. -- Private adoption agencies could not be forced to participate in placements that violate their written religious or moral convictions under terms of a bill passed Tuesday by the state House.

    The two-bill package passed by identical 69-37 votes. The legislation now goes to the Senate.

    The bills also would prevent state or local government agencies from denying a child placement agency grants or contracts because of the agency's religious convictions or policies.

    Translation: my tax dollars have to pay for it!

    From an HRC e-mail-

    These bills would permit adoption agencies in Michigan to deny adoptions to individuals or couples with whom they have a moral or religious objection. The bills would also force the state to support those agencies with tax-payer funds. The effect of these bills is far-reaching. One can only imagine the large number of people adoption agencies may find "objectionable".

    They want me to call Hardiman and ask him to oppose these bills. Ha. Might as well wish for money to rain out of the sky, too- the likelihood of either happening is about the same.

    People wonder why I don't get more involved with the MI Democratic Party. Well, here is the reason. Too many of them vote right along with the Republicans for this sort of thing.

    Twelve Democrats joined the House's Republican majority supporting the bill.

    The Democrats voting in favor of the bill were Kathy Angerer of Dundee, Rich Brown of Bessemer, Ed Clemente of Lincoln Park, Andy Dillon of Redford, John Espinoza of Croswell, John Gleason of Flushing, Jeff Mayes of Bay City, Gary McDowell of Rudyard, Gino Polidori of Dearborn, Michael Sak of Grand Rapids, Joel Sheltrown of West Branch and Dudley Spade of Tipton.

    Maybe we should send these 12 a copy of the MI Democratic Party platform. It includes this sentence-

    "We support full inclusion of LGBT families in the life of our State and seek equal responsibilities, benefits and protections for those families, including the right to adopt and raise children."

    At least the Republicans have the decency to stab you in the front. I am so glad that Sak is not my representative it's not even funny.

    There. Can't say I'm completely partisan now, can you. I always feel I have one foot out the door with these guys.

    A "big tent" should not include some people in that same tent having to forfeit their rights to equal citizenship. If it does, I'm gone.

    P.S. Resting the shoulder is helping- but I couldn't help sneaking a few comments in here and there yesterday. ;-)

    Sunday, September 17, 2006

    NFL Week 2 & a Blogger on the DL

    Yeah, you were looking for political stuff. I know.

    Right now I'm having a terrible problem with my shoulder- after a few minutes of typing my right hand starts to go numb and the whole right side from the neck on down through my arm just aches, and it's concentrated in my shoulder. It overwhelms my ability to compose my thoughts- which is hard enough in the first place because I'm usually thinking about 18 different things at once.

    What, did all of this look easy? You are so wrong, my friend. ;-)

    This pain only happens when I'm sitting at the computer- so I'm trying to cut back and get this healed a bit before it gets worse. It's hard to stop- I live on this machine. You know you are an addict when your behavior causes you mucho discomfort and you still do it anyway.

    But when everything in your life is connected to it? What then? From photos to news to this damn blog which is consuming my life and... well, everything. It all runs through here.

    So, I must rest the equipment. Or try doing this with my left hand tomorrow if that doesn't work.

    Here's the week 2 picks-

    Buffalo at Miami

    Carolina at Minnesota

    Cleveland at Cincinnati

    Detroit at Chicago

    Houston at Indianapolis

    New Orleans at Green Bay

    N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia

    Oakland at Baltimore

    Tampa Bay at Atlanta

    Arizona at Seattle

    St. Louis at San Francisco

    Kansas City at Denver

    New England at N.Y. Jets

    Tennessee at San Diego

    Washington at Dallas

    Pittsburgh at Jacksonville

    P.S. One political note and then I'm gone: I've noticed that the media is all over the Amway thing today, from Luke to the DFP to the GRP- many stories.

    Good. It's out there. Now, hit him with something else by the end of the week. Keep him on defense from here on out. That's what I would do anyway.

    And yes, Mr. Head- going for the "off" button now. :-)