Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mike Cox Asks For "Transparency Pledge" From Potential Future Lawmakers

Smacks of the famous "loyalty oath" - and one wonders how Cox can use the power of his taxpayer supported office to call for "potential" lawmakers to sign a pledge for what has been a top House Republican agenda item.

Attorney General Mike Cox today announced that he has asked all current and potential members of the legislature to pledge to the citizens of Michigan their support of creating a more transparent state government, including the creation of a transparency Web site (currently in the form of HB5137 and SB1441).

"Michigan citizens deserve transparency. Families are struggling to survive in this difficult economy, and they have a right to know that their tax dollars are being spent wisely," said Cox. "This isn't a partisan issue; this is a good government issue."

Cox, with bi-partisan support, favors passage of HB 5137 and SB1441. The bills would create a searchable Web site that would post all state spending online.

Good government or not, the reason extreme Republicans want such a site is to give fuel to the Norquist "drown government" crusaders out there looking to cull out examples they can take out of context and and use for justification as to why they need to cut taxes for the rich folk some more. Hoogendyk is using it as a campaign talking point on the aptly named "jackformichigan.org" (Jack for Michigan? Get it? Vote for Jack, and Michigan gets jack. Ha ha.) web site. This was one of DeRoche's pet projects/obstructionist tactics last year. House Republicans couldn't stop talking about it at one point, as if it was the answer to all of Michigan's problems. That's why Mikey likes it so.

A transparency site is a good idea - it's not that it isn't. If House Republicans want to come up with the money to set it up (besides kicking people off of health care, that is), go for it. But is using the power of the attorney general's office to size up "potential" right-wing recruits an acceptable use of the taxpayer's money now? The right threw a fit when Granholm wanted to run a stem-cell research petition - hard to see how this is any different.

Oh. I forgot. It's OK If You're A Republican.

I wonder what penalty will befall those Repulican potentials that don't follow Mike's marching orders and get those pledges in by October 3rd. Same goes for Democratic candidates for office. Will this be used against them in the last month of this campaign?

Joe Schwarz Endorses Mark Schauer

The anti-tax, anti-regulation Club For Growth spent $1.1 million to buy Tim Walberg in 2006, and they have moved to protect their investment by starting nasty attack ads on Mark Schauer as of today. Republican Joe Schwarz steps up and says "enough".

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz is endorsing Democratic challenger Mark Schauer in his former south-central Michigan congressional district, even though he's a Republican.

Schwarz told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he decided to endorse Schauer over Republican Rep. Tim Walberg because the anti-tax Club for Growth began running ads critical of Schauer.

The Club for Growth injected more than $1 million into the 2006 primary, helping Walberg defeat Schwarz, then a first-term congressman. The anti-tax group criticized Schwarz's record on taxes and painted him as too moderate for the district.

Too moderate. Bet the people of the 7th would be ready for "moderate" right about now - with Walberg they get "more of the same" anti-regulation policies that are causing our economic disturbance. Everyone having fun down there? Enjoying this crisis and uncertainty? Because Tim Walberg wants to continue the ride. (h/t to Cordelia for this)-

Walberg, however, said there are other alternatives including lowering taxes and lessening regulations to allow more capital to flow the markets. The capital gains rate and corporate tax rates especially should be lowered, he said.

Cut taxes for the rich and let them do what they want. Throw in approval of outsourcing jobs, and you have the perfect Bush Republican. That's Tim.

Schauer released his third ad today - take a look. The Senator speaks!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bush Postpones Michigan Bailout of Republican Party

Tragic. You know it's a crisis when they can't even show up to collect the checks from the people that want to buy their services.

Bush had been booked Tuesday for a private major donor fundraiser at the Ada home of former Amway chief Dick DeVos.

Funds were to be slated for the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee.

"The White House called and said because of the economic crisis all their attention is there," said John Truscott, a spokesman for DeVos.

"Oh noes!", said the local cadre of the people who benefit the most from owning the Republicans. "And here we transferred all that money from the Caymans! What shall we do?"

"Never fear", said Vern, "We will be around to collect. Bet on it."

Assuming the fund-raiser is rescheduled, Ehlers believes West Michigan's wealthy will come through for the party. He noted that Bush raised $500,000 at a similar event in Cleveland.

"It would be nice if we did that in Grand Rapids."

Individual contributions are limited to $28,500 to either committee.

Yes, the wealthy always come through to try and protect their own interests, don't they Vern?

Just write the check, people. You don't need to bother getting your picture taken with the Worst. President. Ever. It will just embarrass your grandkids.

Obama to Visit Grand Rapids Thursday

Grand Rapids is the place to be this coming Thursday morning....

This Thursday, October 2nd, please join Barack Obama for a rally in Grand Rapids, where he will talk about his vision for creating the kind of change we need.

Change We Need Rally
with Barack Obama

Calder Plaza
300 Ottawa Avenue NW
Public entrance will be off Lyon Street
Grand Rapids, MI

Thursday, October 2nd
Gates Open: 7:30 a.m.
Program Begins: 9:30 a.m.

The standard clause applies: The event is free and open to the public, and will be held rain or shine. Tickets are not required; however an RSVP is strongly encouraged. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

I love it that they are holding all these events within walking distance for me. (and no, GR is not that small, I just have great location)

UPDATE: Add an East Lansing stop as well - 2:30 p.m. at Adams Field on campus. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

NFL Week 4

I haven't added up Week 3 yet, but I know it wasn't very good. Been super busy. Will do that later. Promise.

Green Bay at Tampa Bay
Houston at Jacksonville
Atlanta at Carolina
Arizona at NY Jets
San Francisco at New Orleans
Cleveland at Cincinnati
Minnesota at Tennessee

Denver at Kansas City
San Diego at Oakland
Buffalo at St. Louis

Washington at Dallas
Philadelphia at Chicago
Baltimore at Pittsburgh

Bye: Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, New England, NY Giants, Seattle

Edit 9/29 - Week 3 10-6, 33-14 for the year. This week - 10-3, 43-17 for the year.

"If that doesn't scare the hell out of you, it should"

Just in case you haven't seen this clip yet-

Eight days left to register to vote. As one of the Obama people said at the rally yesterday, as we get closer to the election, there are going to be people who will want to vote and are going to find out that they can't because they missed the deadline to register.

Go find those people in the coming week, and get them to a SOS office or your local Obama HQ.

The phrase "worse than Bush" keeps coming to mind. We can't let that happen.

Hillary Sent Me: Clinton Comes to Grand Rapids

Hillary 2388

Time to confess something that I never published until now - I voted for Hillary in the primary.

Why? Mostly because she stayed on the ballot, which I saw as a gamble at the time, albeit a calculated one. Up until the last few days before the vote I was still undecided though. Was hoping the Democrats would come to their senses, pull out, and go with a caucus instead of a short ballot, and I would have voted for Edwards. But when it became clear they were going to go through with this, I started leaning Hillary. I also toyed with voting for Mitt to mess with the Pubs - but then someone sent BFM hate mail, telling us not to vote for Hillary, and that sealed the deal.

You see, you don't get to bully me into doing what you want me to do. I can and will do the opposite just to piss you off. So Hillary got my vote, a vote made out of spite - but a part of me felt good about it, too. I like Hillary; I never carried that grudge that some on the left do. I was down on Edwards and the others for pulling off the ballot. I don't care what the party here did, I don't care what other state’s Dems were saying, I wanted someone who would stand up to all of them and be here. And that was Hillary. (and a few others) Don't give a damn what her motives were. I also don't want to relive the whole thing. The primary season is over, towards the end I started not to care who won; I was just so tired of it all. But I never published that vote, because quite frankly, I didn't feel like taking the bullets from the Kool Kidz for it. I wanted to talk about alternative energy instead.

So we get to June. Her concession speech moved me so much so I had to write a brief diary on it. I thought it was a real class act. My appreciation of her really rose with that speech. Was hoping she would get VP, but Biden is good, too. Didn’t have a problem with it. That's Obama's decision, and I respect it. But on that convention floor in Denver, as Hillary was rallying the screaming crowd, this crowd that obviously loved her so - all at once, the enormity of what this woman had just been though really sunk in for me. Like a ton of bricks.

Can you imagine what it must be like to be "inevitable"? To have the presidency within your grasp, and watch it slip away? I can't. I don't want to. It would be devastating. Any normal person would crawl under a rock and just hide away from it all - but Hillary isn't a normal person. She’s steel. She picked herself up, put on a smile, and she went out there fighting, still fighting for what she believes in, Flordia, Pennsylvania, here, wherever they need her - and that is to be commended and honored.

Today, she brought it to my town, and I couldn't be more thrilled.

I knew I was in for an interesting time when Rick Albin walked up to me and said, "Are you wizardkitten?"

Um, yeah.

"You wrote some really vitriolic things about me..."

Oh dear. Yes, I did. But Rick, that was before I knew about the rest of the Michigan media. So, I fell all over myself apologizing for the rotten things I said a long time ago (just shows how that stuff sticks with a person, see Hillary story above for proof), and we had a very nice chat about the convention, and media in general, and blogs, and the internet, and all sorts of things. After seeing him so many times this year, it was good to "officially" meet him. And get the chance to apologize. Maybe someday I'll do the same for Skubick.

I got there a little before the gates opened, and there was quite a line waiting to get in.

Down the Block

Peter Luke estimated the crowd at 500 - that sounds about right. Lucky me - I finally met Peter Luke today as well. Once again I fell all over myself with a member of the media, this time with me approaching him, and profusely thanking him for his work. Don't ever quit, please write a book. "Who would buy it?", he asked. He might have a point - hard to believe state politics would be a big seller, but I sure would love to hear the things he knows. Anyway, we chatted for a bit as well, talked about the chance of Kent County going blue - I honestly don't know. The city will, but can we outweigh the very red suburbs? All depends on turnout, and given the enthusiasm I have seen from Dems this year - it's a possibility.

Peter Luke

Today was a magical day for pictures. Sun was out, the risers were close - and I ended up with so many good pictures of Hillary out of this that I didn't know where I should start. They put a big 'ol flag out there - how does it get any better than that? I mean seriously.

Hillary 2531

Got some great close-ups.

Hillary 2161

And crowd shots.

Hillary 2551

And she gave a rousing speech, voicing "full throated support" to Obama and Biden, and the AP's Dave Eggert provided more details in his write up on the Grand Ledge appearance. Said basically the same thing in GR.

"We cannot turn over our country with these deep deficits, with these serious economic problems, with the international challenges, to the same team that got us into this mess in the first place," Clinton told more than 1,000 people gathered at a park in this town 10 miles west of the state capital.

"There's no doubt in anyone's mind that Senator Obama understands the economic challenges we face as well as the need to change the way we do business here at home and around the world."

She said the "day of reckoning" has come for voters. She called Republican George Bush's presidency the worst in U.S. history. She added that Republican John McCain is a friend she respects.

"But I do not believe that the Republicans should be rewarded for what they have done to our country. Think of it that way," Clinton said.

You can listen to the GR speech here. Her only mention of Palin came with this-

"If you care about the economy, about our energy future, about health care, about education, about Iraq, anything you can say: No way, no how, no McCain, no Palin," Clinton told the Grand Rapids crowd.

After she was done, she signed autographs for the people who ringed the front row.

Signing Autographs

And she also took the time to walk over to the risers and shake hands with a certain member of the paparazzi. She didn't have to do that; she was on her way out, had places to go and other people to talk to - but she saw me standing there, pretty much by myself, and went out of her way to come over and grab my outreached hand.

Class act.

Thank you Senator Clinton, for all you do. You are an amazing woman, and I'm proud that I voted for you.

Hillary Sign

More pics in the Flickr set.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

At the End of the Day, McCain is Still a Republican

Just a brief diary on the debate.

At the end of the day, John McCain is still a Republican, and that is where John McCain loses not only the debate, but his whole campaign argument. He is trying to run as "real change". He's a maverick, right? Something new, something different?

He stood on that stage last night and repeated the same Republican rhetoric that we have heard for the past eight years. "Cut taxes, cut spending". He fell back on that as the default position, the thing to say when he had nothing else to say, because he has nothing else to offer. We know now that promise isn't true. When a Republicans says "cut taxes", the reality is they mean cut taxes for the rich. How are those Bush tax cuts working out for you? Chances are you haven't noticed them. Now, when a Republican says "cut spending" - that is where you come in. "Spending" has come to mean schools, health care, infrastructure, projects in your community - the things that benefit you directly. You are "spending". Don't ever forget that.

The Republican promise, actually their whole philosophy, rings hollow after eight years of practice. And it certainly isn't the "change" that the man is supposedly promising when he rips off Obama's campaign theme. McCain stood there and handed you "more of the same", but you are supposed to believe that it will somehow be different this time around. How?

It just doesn't work. It creates a cognitive dissonance. Something isn't right here. It doesn't ring true.

Not only that, he added arrogance and anger. His demeanor throughout the night was one of hostility. Instead of seeming like the voice of experience, he came off as condescending and dismissive. At a time when people are looking for reassurance from leadership, comfort and answers to their questions, new ideas to solve the problems -they got an older, angrier, meaner, George Bush.

Obama came across as cool, calm, thoughtful, knowledgeable. Someone who has taken the time to understand the problems we face and has specific ideas on how he would go about making this country and this world a better place. The message of investing in America, in the American people, is true "change", compared to the stale message of "cut taxes" and trickle down economics. Diplomacy in foreign matters is true "change" compared to the my-way-or-the-highway tactics of Bush, the tactics that McCain indicated he would obviously continue, the face of arrogance that has left the rest of the world distrustful and angry at America.

No. No more. Enough.

McCain's message probably sells to staunch Republicans; they just have to convince themselves that somehow "this time" it will work. For the rest of us, we know that it doesn't, and he won't win anyone over with this kind of performance.

McCain is still a Republican, and Republican leadership, philosophy and demeanor has been an utter disaster. McCain brings nothing new to the table. Republicans in general have nothing new to offer us. They prove that every day.

If "change" is the theme of this election, if "change" is what we are looking for, then only guy on that stage last night who offered us true "change" is Barack Obama.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Got Vote? 9 Days Left to Register

The Freep found another use for their countdown clock - this time it is ticking away the moments that you have left to register to vote in November's elections. If you are reading here, chances are you are already registered, but you might want to check and MAKE SURE you are showing up on the rolls.


If you aren't showing up, or the address is wrong, or whatever the case may be, get to your local Secretary of State office, your local Dept. of Human Services office, or your local Obama and/or Democratic Party HQ and register. You can also send in a mail-in form (warning: pdf), but if you are going to do that, better do it today. Don't wait. Make sure your friends and family are registered as well.

The Obama people have done an excellent job on voter outreach this year. Our state already boasts a 95% registration rate - and they are out there every day, trying to find the rest.

Despite Michigan's high registration, more than 100,000 new voters registered in the state between January and July, according to the Michigan Secretary of State's Web site.

"It takes some creative field efforts for us to find those people," Wilkins said. "We get into every nook and cranny."

I've been approached four times in the past few months by a clipboard carrying volunteer. They were present at the McCain appearance/protest in town, they were present at the street fair last weekend, they will be out in force this weekend - it's been an amazing effort. The effort for turnout will be equally impressive, I'm sure.

Cure Michigan Fights Back With New Ad

I remember this voice...

Nice response to the deceptive advertising that the anti-stem cell research people are running. Apparently the taboo against saying "you're lying" is over.

MiCAUSE is lying. They have even admitted it. And it's great to have that put right on the table for everyone to see, and called out for what it is.

RPS Already Attracting New Wind Business to Thumb


RES Americas, who has "either developed or constructed over 12% of the installed capacity in the United States" since 1997, has an interest in developing wind power in the Thumb area - but they don't want to talk too much because the competition might catch on.

Bryan Starry, development manager with RES, said his company is in negotiations with landowners to site two wind-measuring towers and a number of turbines in four to five townships in the county.

Starry declined to get more specific, because of increased competition created by the recent passage of a renewable portfolio standard, or RPS.

"We've been working in the state for almost a year now," in anticipation of an RPS, he said.

"It definitely creates a little bit more of a market for everybody."

"Everybody" is on the way. Noble Environmental Power is already constructing a wind farm near Ubly (check the picture of the turbine blade in the picture in that story), Heritage Sustainable Energy out of Traverse City has 40,000 acres leased and is installing towers, and Huron County officials dropped the name of DTE, who promised us big investment in the first place.

Russ Lundberg, Huron County building and zoning director, said he's heard from DTE Energy officials, who also have land under lease for windmills, since passage of the RPS.

"Statewide, I think things will pop a little quicker now because there's a future," Lundberg said.

Yes. Of course they will. Just like we said many, many months ago... hey, someone get Bishop on the phone, willya? He needs to hear about this.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bush to America: This is All Your Fault

You. Yes, you. You did this. You, who were unworthy of the credit that we gave you, you and those foreign investors and Congress, created this situation. You went and borrowed all that money from those poor, misguided bankers and Wall Street investors, and now you're going to make me do something I don't want to do, because I'm just trying to protect you from those people who are going to come and hurt America because you can't pay them back.

What, you don't believe me? I'll walk you through it.

First, how did our economy reach this point? Well, most economists agree that the problems we're witnessing today developed over a long period of time. For more than a decade, a massive amount of money flowed into the United States from investors abroad because our country is an attractive and secure place to do business.

It was that Clinton guy. He made our economy strong, and it attracted all those foreigners. While you might think that would be a good thing, it was actually bad, because it gave you access to money that you didn't really deserve. And you went and took it, didn't ya? Yes, you did.

This large influx of money to U.S. banks and financial institutions, along with low interest rates, made it easier for Americans to get credit. These developments allowed more families to borrow money for cars, and homes, and college tuition, some for the first time. They allowed more entrepreneurs to get loans to start new businesses and create jobs.

But then you went and made bad decisions with that money! You had to go and blow it on a house. And here we trusted you.

Unfortunately, there were also some serious negative consequences, particularly in the housing market. Easy credit, combined with the faulty assumption that home values would continue to rise, led to excesses and bad decisions.

Many mortgage lenders approved loans for borrowers without carefully examining their ability to pay. Many borrowers took out loans larger than they could afford, assuming that they could sell or refinance their homes at a higher price later on.

It was you who speculated on this. You were obviously "living beyond your means". What in the hell is wrong with you anyway? Do you take candy from strangers as well?

Borrowers with adjustable-rate mortgages, who had been planning to sell or refinance their homes at a higher price, were stuck with homes worth less than expected, along with mortgage payments they could not afford.

As a result, many mortgage-holders began to default. These widespread defaults had effects far beyond the housing market.

You didn't live up to your promises. We told everyone that you were responsible, hard-working people who could pay your debts, but we were wrong. So, so, wrong about you. You, along with Congress, let these poor investors down.

I'm not finished with you yet...

Many investors assumed these securities were trustworthy and asked few questions about their actual value. Two of the leading purchasers of mortgage-backed securities were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Because these companies were chartered by Congress, many believed they were guaranteed by the federal government. This allowed them to borrow enormous sums of money, fuel the market for questionable investments, and put our financial system at risk.

The decline in the housing market set off a domino effect across our economy. When home values declined, borrowers defaulted on their mortgages, and investors holding mortgage-backed securities began to incur serious losses.

How could you go and do that? Well, we don't want to punish you for your reckless decisions that created this problem, but if we don't pay off the people that you mislead with your foolishness, they are going to destroy this country.

Do you want to be responsible for that as well? Do you?

More banks could fail, including some in your community. The stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet. Foreclosures would rise dramatically.

And if you own a business or a farm, you would find it harder and more expensive to get credit. More businesses would close their doors, and millions of Americans could lose their jobs.

Even if you have good credit history, it would be more difficult for you to get the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college. And, ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession.

See? See what you did? Now we are going to have to save those poor investors from your bad decisions, and we have to do it right now and worry about the consequences afterward.

Once this crisis is resolved, there will be time to update our financial regulatory structures. Our 21st-century global economy remains regulated largely by outdated 20th-century laws.

But we have to be careful about it. Regulation, which we for the most part have removed because we thought you could be trusted, will have to be put back in place to protect us from, well, you. But we can't have too much regulation for them, or they might threaten to hurt us again. See how tricky this is for us?

There are other good ideas, and members of Congress should consider them. As they do, they must ensure that efforts to regulate Wall Street do not end up hampering our economy's ability to grow.

That's right. If we ask these people to pay for your mistakes, they will get angry with us. You need to come up to the window now because this is all your fault.

So be a sport, and let's borrow more money from these poor investment bankers. We will give you back the American Dream if you do.

And together we will show the world once again what kind of country America is: a nation that tackles problems head on, where leaders come together to meet great tests, and where people of every background can work hard, develop their talents, and realize their dreams.

As long as you do it at 29% interest.

(For the record, I am in favor of bailing these assholes out. But I'm really, really pissed off that free market Republicans will resort to this sort of extortion and never, ever own up to their responsibility for this mess.

You will make them pay for their share this November, won't you?

New Epic Poll Shows 10 Point Obama Lead in Michigan

Holy sh*t! 48-38!

Just last week, Epic showed 43-42 Obama.

Barack Obama has opened a 10-point lead over John McCain in the latest presidential poll of Michigan voters by EPIC-MRA.

The poll, conducted for WOOD TV8 and our broadcast partners across the state, showed 48% of voters prefer Obama to McCain's 38%. Ralph Nader is supported by 2% and Libertarian Bob Barr polls 1%.

The economy dominated respondents concerns, with 88% very or somewhat concerned about the effect the financial instability will have on the country and its banking institutions.

And aren't we the pessimistic bunch-

Because of the recent economic events, 61% believe it's very or somewhat likely the US will suffer another Great Depression.

Mirroring the overall numbers, respondents said Obama, by a 42-32 margin, has a plan for the economy that more closely reflects their views.

Complete poll details here.

Amazing jump for one week.

GM to Build Volt Engine Plant in Flint

This morning, Mittens Romney went on the Today Show and basically proved to the nation that the Michigan Republicans really need to work on some new talking points. Seriously guys, this is getting real stale. First of all, "one state recession?" Um, don't know if Mitt has been keeping up with current events lately... but that one doesn't work anymore, if it ever did in the first place. For obvious reasons. Moving on.

Romney also brought up the "automakers in the South" gambit... and well, turns out that might not work anymore, either. This week GM announced that they have decided to invest heavily in Flint, starting construction immediately on a new plant that will supply the engine for the Volt and the Chevy Cruze.

The "green" car movement, for GM, starts right here in Michigan. How you like us now, Mitt?

GM will start building the 552,000-square-foot plant immediately with construction expected to finish in 2010. The investment is expected to retain about 300 hourly jobs. GM employs about 6,000 at five facilities in Flint, down from about 60,000 during its heyday.

Two engines will be built here: A 1.4-liter turbo engine for the new Chevrolet Cruze, scheduled to debut next year, and a 1.4-liter naturally aspirated engine for the Volt.

The engines are expected to play a role in GM doubling global production of small four-cylinder engines by 2011. Flint will be the exclusive North American engine plant for the Volt.

GM is banking on the Volt, but it still has a way to go. Check out some pictures of the Volt - it's a slick looking car, and if they can work out the fine details...

The Volt is viewed as the most important vehicle being developed by a financially strapped automaker besieged by a consumer shift away from profitable pickups and sport utility vehicles.

But it still must withstand engineering and product testing. It is expected to be available in November 2010 and cost as much as $40,000. The Volt relies on a lithium-ion battery that will let commuters travel up to 40 miles on electric power alone. It also has a four-cylinder, 1.4-liter engine that kicks in once the battery is depleted and powers a generator that recharges the battery and keeps the vehicle running for several hundred additional miles.

One last thing - can't the Michigan Republicans find someone from MICHIGAN to speak for them?

Just sayin'.

Anyway, congrats to GM, to Flint, and to our state.

Walberg Votes Against Protecting Consumers From Abusive Credit Card Practices

Here is a fine example of how the Bush Republicans are going to continue to behave when it comes to helping the average consumer. We can hand big wads of cash over to Wall Street to help with their "credit crisis", but when it comes to helping you receive a little relief from abusive credit card practices? Not so much.

From the DCCC-

In the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Representative Tim Walberg today signaled that help is on the way – for the credit card companies. By opposing a credit card holders' bill of rights, Representative Walberg proved his willingness to continue the same Bush-McCain 'anything goes' attitude of lax regulations that created the current economic crisis, rather than put families first.

"While we're facing an economic crisis and Washington is talking about bailing out Wall Street, Representative Tim Walberg made his priorities clear by refusing to help families struggling with credit card debt," said Jennifer Crider, Communications Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Representative Walberg sent a clear message that families struggling with mounting credit card debt, excessive fees, and high interest rates are on their own because abusive credit card companies come first."

And don't you forget it.

I keep hearing "now is not the time for politics". I beg to differ. This is exactly the time for politics. Americans need to know who is on their side in this mess - and I guess we can count Tim Walberg out.

Looks like these protections will have to wait until the new administration comes into power, but for now you can check out the vote in the House here and make your plans accordingly.

Schauer Leads Walberg 42-36 in New Poll

Yeah, baby. Now that's what I'm talkin' about.

From the inbox-

Today a new internal poll released by Myers Research & Strategic Services for congressional candidate Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek) shows the state Senator leading incumbent Congressman Tim Walberg 42% - 36%, outside the 4.38% margin of error.

"Walberg has been on the air lying about Mark Schauer's record of fighting for jobs and protecting kids for more than a month, and it's clear that people simply aren't buying what he's selling," said Schauer campaign manager B.J. Neidhardt. "There's still a long way to go before Election Day, but voters are clearly rejecting the Bush-Walberg economic policies that have devastated Michigan's economy."

The internal poll released today shows a 9-point shift in Schauer's favor since Myers' May survey. Today Schauer is known by 67% of voters, while Walberg is recognized by 76%.

"This survey demonstrates that Schauer's communications are clearly taking root," said pollster Andrew Myers. "Perceptions of Walberg's job as Congressman are unchanged and remain solidly net negative, with 34 percent saying he is doing an excellent-to-good job while a near majority, 46 percent, say fair-to-poor. Bottom line, while this race remains competitive, these voters are aligned for change and Schauer's campaign is clearly taking root."

Want to help a great guy get to Washington and remove a Bush Republican at the same time? Visit Mark Schauer on the web for more info.

Selzer Poll Shows 13 Pt. Obama Lead in Michigan

Just yesterday I said to DJ, "I wish they would do a Selzer poll".

Ask and ye shall receive. 13 points from Selzer. Yowza.

The Detroit Free Press/Local 4 Michigan Poll shows the Democratic senator from Illinois with a commanding lead of 13 points over Republican John McCain in the presidential race. Obama’s lead of 51% to 38% in the poll is nearly double the edge he had a month ago in a Michigan Poll taken just before the Democratic convention in Denver.

And those worrisome women? No problem. The bloom is off the Palin rose. (edited to add: to find out the reasons why, just read gsp's Couric interview diary).

The poll showed momentum swinging clearly to Obama in almost every demographic. Among women, his lead is now 54%-35% -- eight points better than it was a month ago, before the Democratic and Republican national conventions and McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. Among independents, Obama enjoys a 14-point lead.

Read more from the Freep.

I'm feeling much better now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Real Change is Coming... to the Detroit Lions

This helps restore my confidence that there is justice in this world...

ALLEN PARK -- The Matt Millen era, one of the darkest periods in Detroit sports, apparently is over.

Whether he was fired, left on his own accord or some exit plan was reached mutually, was not revealed, but FoxSports.com reported Millen was informed Tuesday night that he was being relieved of his duties.

The action came two days after Bill Ford Jr., son of owner William Clay Ford, told reporters he would fire Millen if he had the authority.

Millen, who told reporters as late as Tuesday night that he would not quit, reportedly was at the Lions practice facility Wednesday morning and was seen packing up his office.

Happy dance time!

Breaking: McCain Wants to Postpone Debate

Right now on MSNBC - McCain wants to delay the debate and "suspend his campaign" to focus on the financial crisis in Washington.

NEW YORK - Republican John McCain says he's directing his staff to work with Barack Obama's campaign and the debate commission to delay Friday's debate because of the economic crisis.

In a statement, McCain says he will stop campaigning after addressing former President Bill Clinton's Global Initiative session on Thursday and return to Washington to focus on the nation's financial problems.

McCain also said he wants President Bush to convene a leadership meeting in Washington. Both he and Obama would attend the session.

Hmmmm. If it is that urgent, why wait? Why not suspend the campaign right now? Sorry, but this sounds like a dodge to me. Watching McCain on the TV - and OMG he just brought up 9/11 - this just seems like another trick to avoid talking about the issues. Maybe take the news of Davis off the table.

UPDATE: ABC is reporting that the Obama people say the "debate is on". Not sure who he will debate if McCain doesn't show... but this just got interesting.

House Passes $25B in Loans for Automakers

This means jobs. New jobs, retained jobs. Jobs for Michigan. So, yay!

Late this afternoon, the U.S. House overwhelming passed a budget bill that approves up to $25 billion in low-interest loans for the auto industry by a 370-58 vote. The Senate is set to follow suit on Friday, and the White House is expected to sign the bill that funds through March 6 the continuing operation of government.

Automakers scored a big victory, when congressional leaders agreed to help speed up the timetable for the low-interest government loans to help the auto industry retool to build advanced more fuel-efficient vehicles. In language inserted late Tuesday night, the U.S. Energy Department must issue its final rules for the loan program within 60 days of becoming law.

The program was authorized by the energy bill approved in December, but not funded. Because Detroit's Big Three automakers have sub-investment grade credit, they face 20 percent interest rates to borrow money without these loans. Automakers will be able to save more than $100 million in borrwing costs per $1 billion borrowed.

Dingell and Stabenow will try for $25B more next year.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stem Cell Research Opponents Using Deceptive Advertising

Call it "The Season of the Big Lie". Taking a tip from their Republican brethren, opponents of Proposition 2, the stem cell research ballot proposal, have decided that they, too, can use advertising that stretches the boundaries of "truthiness".

Opponents of Proposal 2 launched a TV ad Monday saying the proposal on the November ballot "is too costly to Michigan taxpayers."

A spokesman for the group acknowledged the proposal does not have any provisions for government funding of research or higher taxes.

But the group called Michigan Citizens Against Unrestricted Science and Experimentation says that will be the next step if voters approve the proposal.

They know they can't win this argument, so instead they pull out their favorite weapon of "taxes" - even though this proposal has nothing to do with taxes. Chances are it doesn't stick in people's minds - but it can be used as just another example of the depths the extreme right will go to in pushing for their agenda. This year, they have decided to just flat-out lie about everything.

Oh, and by the way, this little tidbit in MIRS the other day was interesting: Right to Life is being "instructed" to keep their mouths shut on this issue. Although the Lansing branch will send a flyer out in support of a banquet they are holding that mentions stem cell research, the big boys will stay silent on RTL's involvement in defeating this proposal.

In a related development, Ed RIVET from RTL and Paul LONG from the Michigan Catholic Conference have been very vocal on the stem cell question, but they've been instructed not to talk to the media during this fall campaign. Doyle, spokesman for Michigan Citizens Against Unrestricted Science and Experimentation (MiCAUSE), advised the two to adopt that strategy.

Gotta keep the extremists in the closet, ya know.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

But It Looks Funny

OK. I finally have the paragraph breaks back in.

Long time ago, I was going to switch this to WordPress. It didn't quite work, so I tried to switch it back. Somewhere in the coding, it removed the command for paragraph breaks, and I had to start manually typing them in. What a pain. It's part of the reason I stopped cross-posting all my stuff - it turned into a lot of work to format it right, and I'm lazy.

Now I have them back - but everything that I put breaks in is now double-spaced. I've corrected most the of immediate "front page", but if you go back you will see it. All the old posts that used to run together are now fixed though- and that's nice.

I'll try to bring the BFM stuff over - sometimes I get busy and forget, but now that this issue is resolved it should go a lot quicker.

You might have noticed that I turned off the comments; it's an attempt to keep the swift-boat brigade off of here. Those that have kept hitting this blog while I was neglecting it for the most part are friends who know how to get in touch with me anyway - everyone else should post any comments you have over at BFM and I'll deal with you there. Just don't have the time to mess around with comments in two places.

All You Need to Know...

... on the Bush bail out is contained in this sentence.

The proposal is a mere three pages long, but it gives sweeping powers to the government to dispense gigantic sums of taxpayer dollars in a program that would be sheltered from court review.

In other words, hand the keys to the Treasury over to Bush & Company, and let them do what they want with no oversight.

Everyone just stop and think about that for a minute.

"It's a rather brief bill with a lot of money," said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee chairman. "We understand the importance of the anticipation in the markets, but we also know that what we're doing is going to have consequences for decades to come. There's not a second act to this -- we've got to get this right."

Hand the keys to the Treasury over to Bush & Company, let them do what they want with no oversight, and there will be no second chance to get it right.

Feeling better yet?

Lawmakers digesting the eye-popping cost and searching for specifics voiced concerns that the proposal offers no help for struggling homeowners or safeguards for taxpayers' money.

Hand the keys to the Treasury over to Bush & Company, let them do what they want with no oversight, no second chance to get it right, and no safeguards for you or your money or your kid's money. Or your grandkid's money. To infinity.

Is this sinking in?

But wait! There's more! If you act now to apply any of those safeguards, it will be labeled "partisan politics", and you can be held responsible for the next Great Depression! Neat!

Signaling what could erupt into a brutal fight with Democrats over add-on spending, Boehner said "efforts to exploit this crisis for political leverage or partisan quid pro quo will only delay the economic stability that families, seniors, and small businesses deserve."

Wow! I guess the only question left to ask is: How soon can the Democrats cave?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. said "we cannot allow ourselves to be in denial about the threat now facing the world economy. From all indications, that threat is real, and the consequences of inaction could be catastrophic. Every single American has a stake in preventing a global financial meltdown."

Answer: By the end of the week.

This must be what George meant when he floated the idea of an "ownership society". We get to "own" the failures of conservatism, just as soon as they finish stealing the money.

For a bit of sanity - read Maryscott's diary on the Sanders proposal, and then pray like hell that Congress WAKES UP this week and stops this potential disaster from happening.

NFL Week 3

Kansas City at Atlanta
Oakland at Buffalo
Tampa Bay at Chicago
Houston at Tennessee
Cincinnati at NY Giants
Carolina at Minnesota
Miami at New England

Arizona at Washington
St. Louis at Seattle
Detroit at San Francisco
New Orleans at Denver

Jacksonville at Indianapolis
Cleveland at Baltimore
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia
Dallas at Green Bay
NY Jets at San Diego

12-3 last week. 23-8 for the year.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Post season, here we come...

The Cubs embarked on their long journey to October with a surprising proclamation from pitcher Ryan Dempster on the opening day of spring training.

"I think we're going to win the World Series," Dempster said matter-of-factly on the sidewalk in front of their training complex.

It was an audacious statement considering the Cubs had been swept in the opening round of the 2007 postseason and hadn't won a World Series in exactly 100 years. Dempster earned the nickname "Madame Cleo" from his teammates for his bold prediction after putting the onus on the team to shut up and get the job done.

Seven months later, the Cubs completed the first step of attaining their championship dreams, clinching the National League Central Division title on Saturday with a win over St. Louis on a picture-perfect afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Go Cubs Go!

Thank John McCain

Viral, baby, viral. Get this one out there.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Michigan Gets Renewable Portfolio Standard

Finally we join the rest of modern civilization, and I can shut-up about this. DTE and Consumers get their 90% market share, we get the jobs and investment, and the country moves a little closer to ending our dependence on foreign oil, not to mention the benefits to the environment.

10% by 2015. It's a start.

Here are a few of the other details, courtesy of the Freep-

Under the new rules, homeowners would see their monthly bills increase by up to 2.5% a year – less than $2 for a $75 monthly bill. They also would pay a $3 flat fee to help the utilities develop alternative energy sources, primarily wind power generators.

Businesses and many school districts would see their electric rates drop, according to analysts.

The bills call for the state to increase its use of alternative energy to 10% of the total power output by 2015.

Consumers would receive state income tax credits if they purchase new, energy efficient appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines, or insulate their homes to make them more energy efficient.

The legislation also changes the way in which the state regulated electric rates. The power companies could impose higher rates before the Michigan Public Service Commission signs off on approval, although the PSC could block rate hikes it deems unreasonable.

Sounds like the same plan that the Senate rejected back in June, which begs the question - why did we have to wait so long? Maybe the devil is in the details that haven't been released yet, but for now, let's rejoice that this is finally over.

Congratulations Michigan, you can now call yourself a "green state". Very cool.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tim Walberg Copies Sleazy Tactics of the McCain Campaign

First we had the McCain campaign falsely accusing Barack Obama of wanting to teach sex education to kindergarteners in an ad that the Obama campaign called "perverse" and the New York Times called "flat-out lies". The ad was roundly discredited by anyone with a brain and a sense of decency - but apparently it was perceived as a great idea by the Walberg campaign, for they rushed right out to copy it. You have to wonder about all these Republicans and their fascination with... well, nevermind. Let's not go there. Gets too creepy.

Back to the matter at hand - a new, negative attack ad from Walberg released today flat-out lies about Mark Schauer and his record of protecting children from pornography, and in a weird, off-topic twist, throws in taxes as well. Talk about strange and confusing mixed messages - the ad is not only sleazy; it's ineffective because of the bizarre juxtaposition with two topics that have nothing to do with each other, except for the fact that Walberg is lying about both.

Digging back to a House vote from 1999, the Walberg campaign is trying make the outrageous claim that Schauer approves of adults sending pornography over the internet to minors. Yes, I know, it's hard to believe, right up there with the lie about Obama, but that is where they are trying to go with this. Seems we had a bill before our Engler-era legislature that wanted to amend an existing law to include the internet in Public Act 33 of 1978, which prohibits dissemination of explicit material to minors. The Clinton administration had already passed something like this - and it was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional because it was too broad-based and infringed on adult's right to free speech, it would likely be subject to abuse by anyone who objected to any discussion of sexuality in general.(Remember, at the time filters and such had yet to come into existence). So, down it went.

Par for the course, our own wingnuts here in Michigan ignored that and wanted to try for their own version, and also par for the course, they wrote some really bad legislation. An analysis of the Michigan bill showed that this law, if passed, would be unconstitutional.

The bill is almost certainly unconstitutional and will likely be struck down if enacted into law.

For the same reasons as the federal law; citing chat rooms, e-mail, newsgroups, etc., there is no way of knowing who is out there and how old they are, and it could turn into censorship.

The Government’s assertion that the knowledge requirement somehow protects the communications of adults is therefore untenable. Even the strongest reading of the ‘specific person’ requirement of [section] 223(d) cannot save the statute. It would confer broad powers of censorship, in the form of a ‘heckler’s veto,’ upon any opponent of indecent speech who might simply log on and inform the would be discoursers that his 17 year old child -- a specific person . . . under 18 years of age," [citation omitted] would be present."

Furthermore, it would likely violate the interstate commerce clause. Bad all the way around. And, not only was this legislation unconstitutional - it had the potential of costing the state millions in trying to defend it if it passed and was challenged in court, which it most certainly would be. House Democrats of the time stood up and pointed that little fact out when explaining their vote. Here are a few quotes from the record.

"I voted no on this issue because it will be declared unconstitutional and the state will then be liable for the cost of the appeals process."

"I believe this bill to be unconstitutional and as such will be challenged and overturned in court. Subsequently, the people of the state of Michigan will pay in court cost and damage awards.”

"Due to current Federal Legislation and recent Supreme Court rulings, this legislation puts the State of Michigan and its taxpayers at risk to lawsuits. According to the House Legislative Bureau and beyond the financial concerns on behalf of taxpayers, this bill also violates the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause and gives broad powers of censorship.”

End result - the Democrats were trying to save the taxpayers money, but Tim Walberg wants you to believe that they were trying to peddle smut to children.

Unbelievable? Not really, given that the Republicans are proven liars this cycle. Sad thing is, Walberg can't even be original in his lies - he has to copy the trashy tactics of his Bush/Rove buddies.

And as far as the accusation that Schauer led that tax-increase - someone needs to remind the public that it wouldn't have happened without the consent and votes of the Senate Republicans. Got a problem with the taxes? Talk to Mike Bishop - wouldn't have happened without him. Somehow Republicans want you to overlook that little fact...

Tim Walberg. More of the same. In every way possible.

McCain Protest in Grand Rapids

WOOD is reporting 400 protesters tonight. I'm not sure if there were that many, but I guess I will take their word for it. The crowd was spread out along the steep hill in front of GRCC's Ford Fieldhouse and kept growing as the day went on....

Outsource McCain

More pics below - or just go right to the Flickr set to see them all.

For All of Us

Very boisterous - cheering at the honking cars, chanting at the Pubs waiting to get in across the street...

Pubs Look On

... who brought their issues on signs as well.


Guess we know what is really important now, don't we? Sure we do. The "I Am Proud To Be Voting For The Hot Chick" buttons gave it away. I really wish I was kidding about that.

Turtle Power Pete Hoekstra

Turtle Power Pete makes an appearance. Was hoping to see Dick DeVos. No, seriously, I was. Instead I saw Wayne Kuipers, Jerry Zandstra and (pretty sure it was) Pete Secchia. But no Dick. Maybe next time.

Lots of good protest though. Proud of my little town.

What Economy?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Governor Has Some Serious Competition

... when it comes to playing Sarah Palin. Wonder if Tina Fey knows anything about foreign policy...

Hybrids and Harleys for Obama


Hybrids and Harleys for Obama kicked off here in Grand Rapids today - check the new webpage....


Seems John McCain is a little... confused... as to whether or not that he bought a Prius for his daughter. First he said he did, then he said he didn't, seems his answer changes depending on who he is speaking to at the time, you know how THAT goes with John by now, don't you? - but he is on record, many times, as saying that he thinks that "buy American" is a bad idea.

Ahem. Bet a bunch of American and Michigan workers don't think it's such a bad idea, especially with unemployment rising across the country and all...

So, a bunch of Harley owners along with congressional candidate and Hybrid Malibu owner Bob Alexander got together today...

Obama Hybrid Group

Group shot.

Bob Alexander

Bob Alexander and Gil Arambula.

Bob's Malibu

Bob's Chevy Malibu Hybrid. He drove it out to the convention in Denver - told me it was a nice ride. Says they need to work a bit more on the fuel efficiency, but overall he really likes the car.


Harleys. John McCain objected to buying American-made motorcycles for the Secret Service.

Visit Bob Alexander on the web - he is running against Mike Rogers in the 8th. Thanks Bob for showing us your cool car!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Biden: "John McCain is Just Four More Years of George Bush"

Joe Biden, in Michigan today, calls out McCain on the economy -

THAT is the Joe Biden I was hoping to see, carrying the message that everyone needs to hear - "conservative" economic policies have not worked, will not work, Republicans don't get it or are lying about it, and it's time that people realize that McCain would indeed give us more of the same of the Bush policies and politics that have led us to these "difficult times". (Those are McCain's words, by the way).

"John is profoundly out of touch", Biden tells the Michigan audience.

Obviously. Biden pointed out that McCain said again today that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong". Yeppers. Ask those guys packing their desks at Lehman. As I type, the Dow is down over 300 points, and Wall Street is scrambling to keep its head above water. McCain's statement, along with Palin repeating the Bridge to Nowhere lie in a speech last Saturday - shows that the Republicans are just going to continue on with their set talking points, hoping that they stick with the base, and pretend that the outcry against the lies doesn't exist.

Well, OK, if that is the way they want to play it. We just need to keep calling them out on it. Granholm stepped up today -

“It is absurd to say that the fundamentals of this economy are sound, especially from someone that has been to Michigan so much,” Graholm said of McCain’s comments. “I can’t believe he would repeat that to the nation.”

Well, he did, so believe it. The lie continues nationally, and trickles down to the state level as well. What, did you think the Saul and the MI-GOP were going to be honest about the way things are? Have they ever?

Michigan Republicans fell back on their own special local lie in response to Biden's appearance - that the taxes used to balance the 2008 budget somehow are responsible for an economy that started to lose jobs in the year 2000. Does anyone really believe this whopper? Better yet, will anyone call them out on it?

"Michiganders have seen what Democrat-led taxes can do to a local economy and that is why they will come together on Nov. 4 and vote for the only ticket that can deliver real change to Washington and Wall Street, the McCain-Palin ticket," Taylor said.

Michigan Republicans want to pretend that last year's budget battle and tax hike, which happened only with Senate Republican approval mind you, are somehow to blame for everything that ails this state. They'll keep saying it in the hopes that you will believe it, even though the facts say otherwise. Guess they learned their Rove lessons well.

Maybe Michigan Democrats will take a tip from Obama and Biden and react accordingly.

Us and Them

A song fitting for the times. I guess it fits any "times".

Hat tip to Richard Wright, who passed away today at age 65.

Wright died Monday after a battle with cancer at his home in Britain. His family did not want to give more details about his death. The spokesman is Doug Wright, who is not related to the artist.

Richard Wright met Pink Floyd members Roger Waters and Nick Mason at college and joined their early band Sigma 6.

Sigma 6 eventually became Pink Floyd and Wright wrote and sang some of the band's key songs. He wrote "The Great Gig In The Sky" and "Us And Them" from Pink Floyd's 1973 "The Dark Side Of The Moon."

From the '94 tour -

Haven't you heard, it's a battle of words, the poster bearer cried...

Bishop Still Indicating That Senate Republicans Will Obstruct Energy Legislation

Sen. Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, sits on two conference committees that are working on the details of the energy package. Last Friday, he tells the press that the deal is done.

State Sen. Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, who sits on both committees, said they worked Wednesday night on a deal and again on Thursday.

He said a conference committee vote could happen Tuesday, and then the bills would move to the House and Senate for a straight up or down vote.

"By the end of next week we will have something ready for the governor to sign," Richardville said.

If that is true, no one told Mike Bishop. While it would be grand fun to see the Senate Republicans do an end-run around their own leadership, anyone who has watched how these guys operate will know that, in the end, obstruction must be served at all costs. For that very same day, Bishop contradicted Richardville, and told MIRS there is no deal.

Apparently the governor was following Richardville's lead Friday, telling the press the very same thing that Randy did, so of course by the end of the day Bishop had to step up and play the obstinate child again. It's an all too familiar pattern that we have seen repeated time and time again in the past couple of years.

Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM is "assuming" the legislature has a deal on the pending energy package that has bounced around the Capitol for more than a year.

The man who would have to sign off on such a "deal," Senate Majority Leader Mike BISHOP (R-Rochester) said "not so fast."

Anxious to boast of the renewable energy portfolio standards to Japanese business officials next week, Granholm told reporters today that "the framework of the understanding" on the long-awaited energy package is complete.

Allegedly, an all-night session of key negotiators put a deal at the point where lawmakers only need "dot the Is and cross the Ts," the Governor said.

If that's the case, Bishop said he didn't know about it.

"It's not at that point where we can say all we need to do is cross the Ts and dot the Is," Bishop told reporters today.

So, is Mike Bishop trying to tell us that his own committee member was misleading the press? Or, is this an indication that Bishop really doesn't know what is going on within his own caucus when it comes to this legislation? Or, could it be that that Mike is simply telling us that once again the Senate Republicans will obstruct this legislation under his direction?

Which is it, Senator Bishop? Inquiring minds want to know if you are lying, clueless, or just a petty little man that has a desperate need to make it appear to everyone that you are in control, so much so that you undermine your own people and party.

"There is one man standing in the way of job creation... His name is Mike Bishop" - Granholm to MIRS 8/22

In light of the way this all played out last Friday, that statement should probably be chiseled on the steps of the Capitol.

The governor is off to Japan this week to recruit jobs and investment for Michigan. It's too bad that Bishop has no intention of bringing new jobs to Michigan - guess we will have to do it without his help.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Elsa Prince Donates $250 Thousand to California's Anti-Gay Marriage Proposition 8

A cool quarter of a million to support a ballot proposal all the way across the country. Once again, the long arm of the Prince family money reaches out to impose their worldview on others through sheer dollar power alone in their quest to try and stop other people from having equal rights.

$20 million has been poured into the fight to ban gay marriage in California, and it's no surprise that the usual parade of national wingnuts are providing the bulk of the money towards the effort to make Ellen's marriage null and void.

But, the big money has come from out-of-state groups such as Connecticut-based Knights of Columbus ($1.275 million), a Catholic men's organization; the National Organization for Marriage ($921,000); Mississippi-based American Family Association ($500,000); and Colorado-based Focus on the Family ($414,000), whose chairman is James Dobson, the evangelical Christian whose syndicated radio show is heard by millions.

Wealthy and well-connected individuals have pitched in. Elsa Prince, the matriarch of a powerful Michigan Republican family, donated $250,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign. She's the mother of Eric Prince, the co-founder of Blackwater Worldwide — the controversial private military and security contractor — and of Betsy DeVos, the Republican activist whose family has contributed millions to conservative causes.

A recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California shows the measure going down to defeat 54%-40%. Looks like the Prince family will just have to find another place where they can try to buy an election. Those Bush tax cuts for the wealthy don't just spend themselves, you know.

In other Prince/DeVos news, scientists are worried about yet another super-collider black hole forming in Ada, Michigan on September 30th. What will happen when these two get together in one room?

On Sept. 30, President Bush is booking a private fundraiser at the Ada Township home of 2006 GOP gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos, Republican leaders said. The cash is pegged for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is trying to stave off Democratic efforts to increase their majority in the U.S. House.

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra confirmed the Bush event, which is expected to be closed to the public. It is not known if the president will schedule a public appearance during his visit.

You mean we can't all go over to Dick's house to watch the end of the world? Shucks. And here I was trying to decide what to wear.

MI House Republicans Try to Tie Abortion Bills to... Catalytic Converters?

Once again, House Republicans have to go and try to screw up perfectly good legislation by insisting that their extreme special interests be served first before they will let public need be addressed. Remember, they aren't here to serve you; they are here to serve Ed Rivet.

Earlier this year, the state House and Senate passed identical bills that would add catalytic converters to the statute that makes it a five-year felony to steal stuff off an automobile.

Police want the law passed. So do prosecutors, who hope that making this crime a felony will discourage it and give them leverage to pressure thieves into ratting out the rogue dealers who buy the stolen converters.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm has pen poised to sign either bill into law -- again, there's no difference between them -- if one chamber would just take up the other's effort.

Hmmmm. Wonder which chamber is stopping progress. There must be a good reason why they won't allow this simple measure to pass. Oh yeah. It's an election year. Can't have anything "good" happen for the people of Michigan. How on earth can Republicans blame the Democrats for all our problems if they actually start trying to fix those problems? You can't claim government is broken if it works! Especially if it comes from a seat they covet...

The House bill was sponsored by Rep. Mary Valentine, a Democrat from Muskegon who faces a tough re-election bid this fall. Republicans, who control the Senate, are loathe to pass a bill that would make her look good and maybe spoil GOP chances to take her seat.

... so, with that in mind, the same folks that tried to tie abortion to the MBT surcharge and the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association bills, decided that this time, they needed to play politics with your car.

Republicans in the House layered the politics even thicker when the bill was being debated there. They tried to tie-bar it to three anti-abortion bills. One established sentencing guidelines for doctors who perform late-term abortions. One prevented teens seeking a waiver from parental consent laws from judge shopping. And a third would protect doctors who object to performing abortions from retaliation by their employers.

Emphasis on "tried", must be the Democrats found a way to stop this nonsense yet again, but Tobocman's next statement needs to be parsed a bit closer. Exactly which issue is he talking about when he says "compromise"?

"We haven't really gotten into it yet, in terms of trying to move those other issues aside," said Rep. Steve Tobocman, a Detroit Democrat who serves as majority floor leader in the House. One of the good guys in Lansing, Tobocman acknowledges how silly this looks.

"Hopefully we'll get it done before the election," he said. "We need some compromise on the issue."

Car criminals engaging in the hottest thing going must be smiling today. They cab count on this purposeful dysfunction to help them out; after all, with this action, House Republicans are proving that politics are more important to them than serving Michigan's citizens.

But you knew that already, didn't you.

NFL Week 2

Tennessee at Cincinnati
Green Bay at Detroit
Oakland at Kansas City
NY Giants at St. Louis
Indianapolis at Minnesota
New Orleans at Washington
Chicago at Carolina
Buffalo at Jacksonville
San Francisco at Seattle
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
New England at NY Jets
Miami at Arizona
San Diego at Denver
Pittsburgh at Cleveland
Philadelphia at Dallas

Baltimore, Houston

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rasmussen Michigan Poll: McCain Favorables Continue to Fall

Obama is doing something right here in Michigan. Or McCain is doing something wrong. One of the two. Whatever it is, it should be watched, studied, and applied across the country.

New poll numbers from Rasmussen -

Michigan has cast its votes for the Democratic presidential candidate in four straight elections, and Barack Obama is trying to extend that streak. He currently holds a five point advantage--51% to 46%--over John McCain in this important battleground state.

Those figures are little changed from a month ago when Obama held a 49% to 45% lead (with leaners).

So that is basically the same, nice to hit the 50% mark - but look at what is happening with "favorability".

Obama is now viewed favorably by 58% of Michigan voters, up from 54% a month ago.

McCain’s favorability rating continues to fall. It's now at 52%, down from 54% a month ago and 60% in July.

What is going on here that is working in Obama's favor? You can point at many different things - but one stat jumps out. It's still the economy, stupid, and people are ready for a change from Republican "more tax cuts for the rich" economic policies.

Fifty-one percent (51%) of Michigan voters say the economy is the top issue of Election 2008. Just 21% see national security issues as the highest priority.

This is where Democrats can win. Will win. If it comes down to the economy, we win.

Unless you might have some other theories as to what is going on here. If so, do tell, because people are turning off of McCain, and we need to keep on doin' whatever it is we are doin' and keep that trend intact.

Biden Coming to the Detroit Area Monday

Are you starting to see Obama/Biden signs in your town? These have popped up within the past few days here in the wild, wild west.

Obama Biden Sign

Info on the Detroit rallies:

Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden will make a pair of campaign appearances in Metro Detroit on Monday, his first Detroit-area stops of the campaign.

Biden will appear Monday morning at a rally in St. Clair Shores. The event begins at 11 a.m. at South Lake High School, 21900 Nine Mile; doors will open at 9:30 a.m., and tickets are required. Tickets are available beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday at Communication Workers of America Local 4008, 145 Colonial Court in Mount Clemens.

A second rally begins at 5 p.m. at Flat Rock Community High School, 25600 Seneca in Flat Rock. Doors open at 3 p.m. Tickets are not required.

Go see Joe and show him some love.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Um, No, Thanks For Playing

Would someone please give this woman some lovely parting gifts and show her to the door?


Please tell me this isn't happening. Please. After eight years of George Bush, this is one really sick joke.

The AP has more. Read it and weep.

"You can actually see Russia!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Biden Taps Granholm to be Debate Prep Partner

Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. If there is one person in this country that is perfect for this job - it's our own governor: trained in acting, well-versed in Republican doublespeak from having it thrown at her so many times, and wicked smart enough to slip into this role with ease.

Get wig and glasses. So not kidding about that. Be the spitting image of this woman, and Joe will be totally ready.

(I didn't have any doubts about that anyway)

And Starring as Sarah Palin . . .

. . . Will be Jennifer Granholm, the 49-year-old Democratic governor of Michigan, mother of three and former Miss San Carlos, Calif.

The Obama-Biden campaign has selected Ms. Granholm to stand in for Ms. Palin to help prepare Senator Joseph R. Biden for the nationally televised Oct. 2 vice presidential debate in St. Louis.

Ms. Granholm, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard Law School, has agreed to devote four days to Mr. Biden’s prep work, Biden aides said. Ms. Granholm is particularly well-suited to the task, having herself faced questions of inexperience when she was first elected governor in 2002 against a field of male candidates with many years in public office, including former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard.

Do me a favor - someone film this? Please? Probably be more informative (and entertaining) than the real thing.

McCain Campaign Afraid of the Real Issues That Concern Voters

So come out and say that in an ad, right now. We seem to get a new ad a day anyway. McCain is "afraid" to talk about the problems that concern the average voter - the economy, education, health care, the war(s). They won't, can't, talk about the real issues of this election because they will be outed as holding "more of the same" Bush plans and policy that got us to this point, and they know it, so they will continue on with the diversions and hope the media keeps playing their lipstick games.

"Republicans are afraid to talk about real issues". Use it. "Afraid." It's a forward pass, a blow that lands, because it's an honest assessment of the situation.

Need to boil the sentiments of the following clip down to a 30-second ad and play it over and over and over... just watch.

Takes the wind out of all the swift-boat attacks to come. Every time this bullshit happens, answer with, "There he goes again. McCain is afraid to talk about the real issues." Start stealing their words, God knows they have stole enough from us.

Put some offense to go along with the defense. Call him "chicken". Put them on their heels. Make them answer a charge for a change.

And use the truth. It will work.

My two cents on what is happening here today, because quite frankly, I don't see how I can stomach two more months of this childish nonsense. I say all this in some desperate attempt to preserve my own sanity, not trying to second guess the campaign. Just want to see a little offense from the team.

Michigan Voters Overwhelmingly Support Energy Reform Package

"There is one man standing in the way of job creation... His name is Mike Bishop" - Jennifer Granholm, taking a swing at the Senate's top dog for allegedly holding up the energy package, MIRS, 8/22.

"We are interested in mitigating costs for the consumers. I think the people who have to pay the bills will appreciate that instead of just jamming something through so she can have her little trophy at the convention" - Matt Marsden, same day, revealing that Republicans were more interested in denying Democrats a political victory than they were in creating jobs for Michigan.

Her little trophy? Well Matt, seems the people of Michigan want that "trophy" too, and you are denying it to them. New poll shows that they really like this energy package. A lot. But, they don't like you. And that's a problem. Or, it would be, if you actually had a conscience.

A new poll shows 83 percent of Michigan voters support the bipartisan energy reform package now before the state Legislature, which will provide Michigan with an energy plan for the 21st century.

What's more, 86 percent said they would be much more likely to vote for a lawmaker who supported and voted for such a comprehensive plan, according to the poll by TargetPoint Consulting.

Seventy-two percent of Michigan voters said the state has major energy problems, and even more - 83 percent - say politicians in Lansing need to get working on a solution.

"Michigan citizens are concerned about the cost and availability of energy, that's clear," said Rich Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Michigan Jobs and Energy Coalition. "Moreover, they want lawmakers to do something about it - now."

The poll of 500 registered Michigan voters was conducted Aug. 22-25 by the Alexandria, Va.-based TargetPoint Consulting. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Here are the numbers on the three main components - and keep in mind the these are the things that the Senate Republicans screwed up back in June during their latest late-night robbery. Now, why would they go and do that when people overwhelmingly support these issues? Oh yeah, they didn't want someone to have a "trophy".


-- 83% approve to 12% disapprove: Creating the Michigan Energy Efficiency Program to help customers to reduce their electricity use.


-- 83% approve to 13% disapprove: Providing new incentives to Michigan's electric power companies to use the latest clean energy technology available in their new power plants.


-- 83% approve to 14% disapprove: Requiring all of Michigan's electric power companies to generate 10% of their electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar or other alternative energy sources by the year 2015.

Uh oh. Looks like Big Trouble in Obstruction Town. The voters are onto your game Matt, and it's going to be hard to put lipstick on Mike Bishop now.

-- While Michigan voters are critical of the performance of both political parties, they are significantly more critical of the Republican than Democrat lawmakers in Lansing.

So what does the Senate do? Screw around some more. THAT will make the voters happy. MIRS tonight -

What's clear at this point is that the bills aren't likely to move this week, and probably not next week, but could move the third and final week that the legislature is in session this month.

And Gongwer says maybe tomorrow, but who knows at this point. Marsden probably isn't done thinking of cute and condescending little quips to spout to the media yet. Perhaps we can drive those disapproval numbers a little lower before this is all over.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Obama TV Ad : "No Maverick"

Making the rounds on the blogs, so you get it here too. A must see.