Friday, October 31, 2008

Michigan Republican Party and Tim Walberg Steal Picture For Attack Ad

One of the great joys in my life is my camera. Anyone who has been reading me these past few years knows the effort I have put into creating images - I live for this, and I have invested money in the pursuit of this craft, anywhere from better camera equipment, to travel all over the state to attend events. It has been a passion for me.

But, thanks to Republican right-wing swiftboaters, and now Tim Walberg and the Michigan Republican Party, that joy and enthusiasm for capturing these moments in history has been stolen from me. Yes, we have another occurrence of copyright violation and blatant theft of one of my pictures - this time they stole a picture of Mark Schauer, taken at the Battle Creek Cereal Festival, and are using it in this attack ad for Tim Walberg that was paid for by the Michigan Republican Party.

Here is the shot from YouTube - kind of hard to see as the picture floats through water down the screen. You can see it clearly when you watch the video.

Walberg & MRP Stolen Picture

And here is the original shot they took it from, one of my favorite shots of Senator Schauer.

Schauer 3750

Blatant theft. When you see this ad on your TV, remember this post. It's funny how Republicans want to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship, they are all for the little guy starting small business, and claim that they want to help such people and are on their side, but yet they have no problem stealing work from a free-lance photographer. Does Tim Walberg approve of this? Do the Michigan Republicans? It really is a question that you have to ask yourself - after all, next time the work they steal could be yours.

Democrats have purchased my work with fair compensation, always asking permission and offering to pay market value for my time and efforts. Republicans apparently think it’s OK to rip-off the little people and thwart free enterprise. But, given the past eight years, is anyone surprised by that?

One last thing that speaks to integrity of my work. I have never published or sold bad or “funny” pictures of anyone to use in attack ads. I’ve got them too – Romney, Hildenbrand, Ehlers, Bouchard, all Republicans that I could have tried to sell and embarrass, and I didn’t. Why? Because I consider it tacky and low-class. Anyone can take a bad picture. I want my work to speak to the better nature of people, not to those who would use artistic creation to hurt others.

This is my art, my life, and they are stealing it from me. Now I need to decide whether or not to pull down all my pictures of politicians from Flickr, pictures that I hoped that the people of Michigan could enjoy. I never dreamed that they would be used by selfish Republicans for their own political gain. My apologies go out to Senator Obama, Governor Granholm, and now Senator Schauer. I never authorized these pictures for use, and I’m deeply hurt that something I did for the good of the state and its people is now being used in such a way.

UPDATE: Chris Gautz of the Jackson Citizen Patriot reports that the GOP stole two more pictures from me to use in a mail flier that is critical of Schauer. Read the story here. See my comment here about what Brad Flory had to say, since as of this writing, the Cit-Pat hasn't posted my response.

No on Proposition 2 Ads: "Every Word is a Lie"

That's according the director for Stem Cell Biology at the U of M, when asked about the No on Proposition 2 ads that are running across the state.

"Every word is a lie," says Sean Morrison, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Stem Cell Biology. Furthermore, "it's a blatant lie.

"They've decided they're going to make things up to frighten and confuse voters -- to make them say, 'I'm not sure, so I guess I'll vote no.' "

Neal Rubin at the Detroit News counts the ways these ads have lied to the voters of Michigan, starting off with the reason why Right to Life and the Michigan Catholic Conference are resorting to these tactics and pouring all this money into these deceptive ads.

But you can't sway mainstream voters by saying you consider embryonic stem cell research to be pretty much the same thing as abortion, because mainstream voters don't.

So instead, the commercials pretend that an English research project is trying to breed mutant man-cows, when in fact it's looking into cell behavior by fusing cow eggs with the nuclei of human skin cells and then destroying the end product within 14 days.

Or an almost-familiar deep voice warns about irresponsible research while the screen shows news clippings about Tuskegee, in which the government infamously denied treatment for advanced syphilis to 399 black Alabama sharecroppers so it could take notes on how they deteriorated.

Or they show the looming facades of businesses with names like HumanHarvest and HumanDouble Inc. -- even though Michigan law specifically prohibits human cloning, and the proposal would continue the ban.

Rubin also points out what we have said before - both presidential candidates have indicated that they will loosen the restrictions on this research, and that more federal funding might be on the way. Michigan would be the first state to say "no" to this if Prop 2 fails, and that keeps us in the company of North and South Dakota, Louisiana and Arkansas, the other four states with highly restrictive laws. Not to knock them or anything, but they are not regarded as top destination states for biomedical research and the jobs that go with it.

Don't keep Michigan in the Dark Ages - vote Yes on 2. Here is one of the latest ads from Cure Michigan:

Prison Official: "Republicans Misled Voters" in 70th House District Race

State Republicans use tragic deaths for political gain. Given their behavior in this election, it's not surprising - and that's really sad when you stop and think about it.

The politicians, including state Sen. Alan Cropsey, held a press conference Friday to make a point: Democrat Mike Huckleberry, running for the 70th House seat, supports early-release programs that could lead to tragedies similar to the Oct. 6 slayings of Robert and Norma Bean, of Howard City.

But state prison officials accused Republican leaders of using the Bean murders to intentionally mislead voters.

The two guys charged had already served their minimum sentences and had been released by a parole board. Republicans want to claim that the governor and the DOC are to blame, and use this incident against Mike Huckleberry in his race against Thomas Ginster because Huck supports releasing non-violent prisoners to reduce Michigan's spending on rapidly-increasing prison costs. Michigan houses nearly 50,000 inmates; 60% are in for non-violent and drug crimes, and we far outpace our Great Lakes neighbors on rates of incarceration. Michigan is one of just four states to spend more money on prisons than higher education, not exactly something to brag about.

"Obviously, this was a horrible tragedy," state prison spokesman Russell Marlan said. "But to use that tragedy in a political way and try to say the governor or the Department of Corrections or anyone running for office was responsible for that is irrational and just not true.

"These were two normal paroles, no special circumstances, no special programs. Both were eligible and both were paroled."

And one of the guys charged in the murders would not have been released under this new proposal anyway.

In any case, Stephan would not have qualified because he had a violent history -- larceny from a person.

This little fact doesn't stop the Republicans from trying to exploit someone's tragedy for their own means.

Had enough yet?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Barack Obama : American Stories, American Solutions

In case you missed it. Very nicely done - the production values, the cinematography, and, most important of all, the stories and the message of hope contained within - all simply perfect.

This version doesn't contain the segue to the live speech in Florida, which was amazing execution and timing. Watch that here...

Best. campaign. ad. ever. The new gold standard has been set.

Want or Need to Avoid Long Lines? Go Vote Absentee. Right Now.

Yes, you can. There is nothing to stop you. If you are worried about the expected long lines on Election Day and feel like that might keep you from voting, take mild-mannered columnist Peter Luke's advice and go exercise your right to vote right now. Just convince yourself that you are going out of town that day. If you feel guilty about that, then by all means, actually go out of town that day. Take a little trip and enjoy what's left of the fall colors, spend a few tourism dollars, and help out the Michigan economy. Go visit Aunt Betty in Battle Creek or Beulah or Burton. Whatever makes you feel better. And if not, well, it's not like the pols have been fair to you. There is always that.

Candidates seeking to run state government are permitted to tell outright falsehoods to voters. But checking the box that you expect to be out of town on Election Day when you probably expect to be in town is supposedly criminal behavior.

Truth is, local clerks aren't going to send out the absentee voting police to verify your absence from the city limits on Election Day if your expectation of being out of town changed. The Michigan Association of County Clerks has been pushing for no-reason absentee voting for years.

The deadline to apply by mail for an absentee ballot expired Saturday, Oct. 25. But voters can trek to their friendly city or township clerk's office through Monday, Nov. 3 and ask for one. You can fill out your ballot right there or take it home and mail it back. It's due back by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Voters requesting an absentee ballot on Nov. 3 must fill it out at the clerk's office. Since clerks offices will be
open Nov. 1 until 2 p.m., you can even go vote on a Saturday.

If you can, do it to help democracy flow a little faster. One less body in line this year might keep someone else from leaving because they have to get back to work, or pick up the kids, or whatever it is that might prevent them from staying for the wait to vote. You will be doing the poll workers and your fellow citizens a great service - well worth the small bit of civil disobedience.

If you need more incentive, do it to stick your thumb in the eye of the Michigan Legislature, which has done nothing to help you, the tax-paying voter, to vote.

In the past decade, nearly 30 bills have been introduced to permit no-reason absentee voting. None have come close to becoming law. And though some 30 other states allow for some form of no-excuse absentee or early voting, there are just six legal grounds on which you, the Michigan voter, can cast an absentee ballot.

The best reason yet? Do it to piss off the Republicans. They don't want you to vote, as evidenced by their attempts to obstruct all these bills and find other ways to prevent you from voting (see: Cox, Mike). Luke explains:

House Democrats support no-reason absentee voting, but they didn't get around to actually passing a bill, introduced in early 2007, until late last month after all the absentee voter applications already had been printed.

It wasn't going anywhere anyway in the Republican-run Senate. The Michigan GOP, its county clerks excepted, generally opposes no reason absentee voting on the strategic grounds that the more people who vote, the worse Republicans fare on Election Day.

Annoy Mike Bishop. Go vote early if you can.

New EPIC Poll: Granholm 46% Palin 43%

Ha ha ha. Jennifer Granholm now leads Sarah Palin 46-43 in the total favorables. Eat that, Republicans. Palin 2012? You betcha! Sign her right up!

OK, on to the serious numbers. Out of 600 voters, Obama still leads McCain 50%-38%. The other 12% in this sample? It's a wonder they can answer the phone. But they did and here is the rest of the story...

Levin is up on Mad Jack 54%-36%. No news there.

This "generic" question they ask really goes nowhere. For Congress - Dems win 46-34, with 17% saying undecided or refused. For State Representative, about the same thing - Dems win 43-34, with 21% undecided or refused. Local races breakdown to Dem 36-31, with 30% off the books. Too hard to get specific on these, but nice to know they lean Democratic though.

Now for the important stuff. Seeing as how this might be the "last EPIC poll", the Supreme Court race is going to be a mystery to us until election day.

A clear majority (57%) of voters have not made up their minds in the race for the Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Challenger Diane Hathaway leads, 21-20, over incumbent Cliff Taylor among those who have made a choice.

And on the props - Yes on 1 is passing by a wide margin, 57%-36% and, wow!, who woulda thunkit, to that, while Yes on 2 is barely squeaking by at 46%-44%. I would have guessed the opposite on these. It just goes to show you never know what those wacky Michiganders are gonna do...

Read the full poll here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hathaway Hits the Airwaves

Saw this one this morning-

Cliff Taylor has already spent $1.27 million on ads (along with the MI Chamber of Commerce dropping a cool $1.32 million on his behalf) - up until now Hathaway hasn't been on the air.

Word of mouth can help this race in this final week - tell your friends and family to remember it when they go to vote.

Tim Walberg Channels the Spirit of Dick DeVos

From the Where Have I Heard This Before Department comes this little tidbit from last night's debate between Tim Walberg and Mark Schauer.

Here's Tim -

"The best way to deal with unemployment is a job, the best way to deal with health care is a job, and the best way to deal with all sorts of things that people want is to get them a job."

And here's Dick -

"And that objective is to ensure that each citizen has access to health care. But I do know this: the best way to get access to health care is to have a job."

And, just like Dick, Tim's answer for more jobs is "cut taxes".

He said he would put an emphasis on reducing taxes and would level the playing field for businesses, noting legislation he introduced that would put a trade prosecutor in place to snuff out unfair trade practices.

Interesting side note - Walberg calls for more regulation and government spending when he suggests a "trade prosecutor". Got someone lined up to do that for free, Tim?

Gotta love these politicians that simultaneously call for increasing spending with reduced revenue. It's straight out of the DeVos playbook. You can almost see the ghost of Dick standing behind Tim, tenting his fingers and proclaiming "excellent" in a low, sinister voice.

Happy Halloween from the Bush Republicans.

No Cameras or Political Swag Allowed at Michigan Polling Places

Terri Lynn gives us this friendly reminder today; leave those video cameras and Obama t-shirts and buttons at home when you go to vote next Tuesday.

Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters remind voters that a national video project urging them to record their Election Day experiences cannot be conducted in Michigan of polling places.

The "Video Your Vote" project is being conducted by YouTube and PBS. They are asking voters to upload their voting experiences from this election, both inside and outside of polling places around the nation. Here in Michigan, you are going to have to sketch a picture. Maybe make a little flip book, tape that, and upload it later. For history's sake.

Land pointed out that the use of video cameras, still cameras and other recording devices are prohibited in the polls when they are open for voting. This includes still cameras and other recording features built into many cell phones. The ban applies to all voters, challengers, poll watchers and election workers. Exceptions are made for credentialed members of the news media though certain restrictions remain.

The ban protects voters who may feel intimidated in the polling place by the presence of a camera. Additionally, under Michigan election law, a ballot is rejected if deliberately exposed. A voter who deliberately exposes their ballot will not be allowed to vote in that election. The ban also serves as a deterrent to those who may try to sell their vote which is also prohibited by law.

Land wants everyone to have a "satisfying voting experience", and if your experience is unsatisfying - well, too bad. There won't be any evidence to back you up, you whiny Democrats. Not sure if a flip book is admissible in court, guess you just have to take your chances. Michigan is one of the few states that bans the practice, although our state doesn't show up on the Citizens Media Law Project list, so perhaps there are more than it appears offhand.

Better leave your Obama stuff home as well, or be ready to cover it up. A federal judge ruled yesterday that our ban on campaign buttons and t-shirts at the polls in still in place.

AFSCME attorney Herbert Sanders argued Monday that the ban oppresses voters' right to freedom of expression and abridges their right to vote free from intimidation.

But the state argued the law has been on the books since the 1950s and was amended in the early 1970s to prevent intimidation and preserve the sanctuary of the voting place.

Voters will be asked to cover up campaign shirts or buttons before voting.

These bans are understandable, actually - you don't want people running around sticking a camera in your face or being obnoxious about their candidate or issues while you are trying to vote. But, given the reports of intimidation from poll challengers in the past, how is one supposed to prove that harassment or illegal practices are taking place?

GM-Chrysler Deal Could Cost 35,000 Jobs in Michigan

Seems we have a choice. It can get bad...

The automotive market cannot sustain three Detroit car companies, making a merger of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC a more palatable option for the industry than allowing one of the Big Three to go bankrupt, Patrick Anderson, principal and CEO of Anderson Economic Group said today.

And even the best-case scenarios are likely to result in the loss of up to 70,000 jobs including as many as 35,000 blue- and white-collar jobs lost in Michigan.

... or it can get really, really bad.

“It’s a much bigger job loss and a much bigger taxpayer hit if Chrysler simply goes out of business or is dismantled,” Anderson said.

Chrysler employs about 49,000 people in the United States and has about 125,000 retirees and spouses.

So let's go back to the first scenario.

A tie-up with GM would still result in the closure of about 10 assembly plants, of which three (affecting 8,000 to 10,000 hourly workers) are likely to be in Michigan. The white collar ranks (technical and design jobs) would be in the 10,000 to 15,000 range in the state over a one- to two-year period.

Huge job losses would come from the supplier and dealer ranks and the job losses will be in all 50 states, he said.

Retool them to make wind turbines, maybe?

No easy answers to this one, except to keep working to diversify Michigan's economy and never, ever put all our eggs in one basket again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mark Schauer: Final Ad "One Thing", and the Marshall Town Hall

One last ad from Senator Schauer - and I love the sincerity that is expressed here:

I'm on the edge of an advertising hurricane up here in Grand Rapids. It seems like every single local ad break on WOOD features the Schauer-Walberg race, and that station's viewing area covers just the western edge of the 7th district. I can't imagine what it is like in the Lansing market. Before a few weeks ago, it was Club For Growth and the NRCC for Walberg, countered by the DCCC for Schauer. Last week, the campaigns themselves jumped in as well; Schauer with the "Tables" ad, and Walberg with the now thoroughly discredited Orbitform ad. It's crazy. Really crazy. There is one on now. It's constant. And I can't wait until they are gone.

So, I decided to take a drive down to Marshall last week and find out what all the brouhaha is all about. It's a pleasant drive down M-37, the day was beautiful, the colors at their peak; so what the heck - get me away from this TV and go see some Schauer yard signs for a change, check up on my favorite state senator. Besides, my family tree (Brooks) plays a prominent part in Marshall's history, and it's been awhile since I've been there. Mark held a small town hall at a local cafe, talking with some residents about the problems we face, and what he would like to see happen in Washington.

First of all, I could tell by looking at him - this guy is working hard. Very hard. I hadn't seen him in person in a few months, and the toll these campaigns take on a person was evident. He could barely talk, he's lost weight. Granted, he has been a bit under the weather, but it's more than that. I saw it in the governor in '06, I'm seeing it in Mark now - someone who has been working 24/7 at meeting voters and getting the message out with every waking second. This is a grueling task for anyone to undertake, and my hat's off to anyone who attempts it.

Undertake it he sure has, and he is fun to watch. Mark is very much a "people person", and that was obvious the first time I met him, well before the run for Congress. The guy just flat-out likes people; he greets everyone with a smile and a handshake or a hug, and you get the impression that he is really interested in talking to you. He doesn't come across as fake or insincere, as some politicians do. He strikes me as very genuine. Don't get me wrong, they all seem to have that politician veneer that they must carry to some extent, but with Schauer, you sense there is more there. His concern shows.

He got there a little before the official starting time of this meeting. The cafe is divided into two different sections, and they had segregated off the regular customers into one side to have space for the town hall. I said "hi" to the Senator when he came in, we were just milling about, waiting around, and I said offhand, pointing, "You should go work that room". The words were barely out of my mouth and off he went, zoom. He's just that quick. I laughed. I wondered if he would be like that even if he weren't running for Congress. Something tells me he is; after all, I've seen it in his work in the Senate.

The town hall meeting itself was pretty small - but this is Marshall, population of around 8,000 or so, and you can't really expect a mob. And, this is a scene that has been repeated across the towns of the 7th - small groups of people concerned enough to come out and speak their minds to a candidate, ask questions, look for answers. Real politics, right at the grassroots. There is something very special about that.

Mark Schauer - Marshall Town HallOne of the first things that came up was the ads. In a nutshell, the people that were there are tired of them. Had enough. Sick of it. Almost puts the candidate in a position where they have to apologize for the "way things are", and that must be tough. Is there a backlash occurring this year? Senator Schauer mentioned that his numbers have grown as the negative ads from Walberg have come out - whether that can be attributed to backlash or not, it's hard to tell. That is all Walberg is running at this point - probably because he can't point to any success in his time in Congress, or any plan that is different from the Bush "cut taxes, less regulation" economics that he adheres to.

This fact came up in the town hall. One gentleman complained that Walberg hasn't done anything for the district, that he wants representation that will do something for the 7th. I wrote down the words, "Michigan needs special attention" - whether this gentleman or Schauer said them, I can't remember now, but that was the overwhelming attitude of this group. They want someone to work for them for a change, to work for the good of our state.

What about education? Health care? The environment? Jobs? The economy? Infrastructure? As all these thing were mentioned by the citizens of Marshall, it really hit me how much needs attention, - not just here, but all over the country. The daunting job that awaits the new administration and Congress, to clean up this mess and get us moving forward again. When you stop to think about it - it can be overwhelming.

Senator Schauer took them one by one, and proved that he has a solid grasp on the issues. He understands what is broken, how it got broken, and what needs to be done to start to fix it. He doesn't cling to any one particular ideology or simply attack the other side; he takes the time to understand what is really going on, and he has ideas on where he would like to go. And, he is willing to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans, provided they are willing to work as well.

What he won't do is put up with Republicans that hurt people - and that is why I like him. People may think that I am some big Dem cheerleader. I'm really not. Overall, they actually annoy me more than inspire me (but that is changing this year with this campaign of hope). There are very few I take an interest in, certainly not enough to drive an hour to see, but the ones I do, I can trace it back to one moment, one time they stood up for "people". This was Schauer's moment for me - March 23, 2007. Repubicans had made drastic cuts in the middle of the night without debate; a disgusting and cowardly display that they are now famous for. Schauer would have none of it.

So this is how the Republican-controlled Senate makes public policy? I think it's interesting. A bill, a shell bill, is introduced a month ago. A secret plan that, for good reason, the Republican Party, or the Republican majority, doesn't want to reveal, is kept secret, and a bill was discharged to the floor, a negative supplemental budget bill that makes devastating cuts to people, communities, our state, and jeopardizes our future as put forward.

So just like your Republican cuts to our schools, this set of Republican cuts from the infamous secret plan are, thank goodness, dead on arrival. No wonder this plan was secret for so long. And no wonder the Republican majority limited debate. And no wonder the Republican majority, most of them, left the floor to spin the press about what they've done here today. No wonder.

Thank goodness the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and our Democratic Governor will kill these cuts--cuts that hurt our people, sacrifice our communities, and jeopardize our future. Let's be clear, colleagues and public, we have enacted cuts here today--$340 million worth of cuts. Certainly, we have a long way to go. Republicans today have chosen a strategy of a race to the bottom, rather than of investing our people, healthy vibrant communities, and a strong, diversified economy.

Whoa. Who is this guy. I watched him ever since, and time and time again, he stood up to the nonsense. He called out the Senate Republicans when they didn't want to work, he called them out when they censored this blog, he called them out when they kicked him off the Campaign & Elections Oversight Committee for pointing out that Republicans would rather play partisan games than work on election reforms that would help people - something that will become very relevant next week, as we shall see. He also stood up to Bruce Patterson, which could have been dangerous (I kid). He IS a troublemaker - he makes trouble for those who would hurt people. I jokingly called him that at the State of the State Address, and he gave me this "Who, me?" look, but I think he knew what I was talking about. We were directly across the hall from Bishop's office, after all.

And he has fought for those jobs that have been mentioned - Brembo, Duncan Aviation, the National Guard, MIS, and most recently bringing Uni-Solar to Battle Creek - he is out there, working it everyday, I have no doubt. They don't call him the "Energizer Bunny" for nothing.

I'm really jealous of the people of the 7th. Part of me feels like an interloper there, I can't vote for the guy, but I sure wish I could. What I would give to have a congressman like that. I have a Mark Schauer yard sign up, which probably confuses the hell out of my neighbors, but I don't care. Maybe someone from Battle Creek will drive by, who knows. It's my little token of appreciation to a guy who is fighting for this state, and his actions in the Senate certainly have helped me - it's the least I can do to repay the favor. (besides posting, that is)

I gladly go to bat for Mark Schauer, because he will go to bat for Michigan in Congress. I guarantee it. Good luck, Senator - I will be cheering you on next Tuesday with all my heart.

Catholics Support Stem Cell Research

Time for another round of "Jennifer Granholm isn't a real Catholic". Seems to happen every election year, though to be fair, she did have to go and bring it up first -

She said, in support of (prop) two, "As a Catholic, I can say to be pro cure is to be pro life."

Uh-oh. You just knew that the people who have spent $2.79 million to oppose this proposition would have something to say about that. Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea -

"To be in favor of proposal two is not to be pro life. A well formed Catholic conscience would never lead a person to support proposal two as a Catholic."

Um, that presents an issue as well. Looks like many Catholics are having a problem with the form of their conscience.

Three-quarters of Catholics nationwide support using excess embryos – those no longer needed for in-vitro fertilization – for research, according to a poll sponsored by National Catholic Reporter’s Web site.

Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed agreed that using frozen human embryos for stem cell research would be putting them to “good use,” according to

And Cure Michigan cites other polls as well -

• 69% of Catholics support stem cell research with early human embryos. (Belden Russonello & Stewart, "Secular and Security-Minded: The Catholic Vote in Summer 2008," Catholics for Choice, July 2008.)

• 58% of white Catholics say it is important to conduct stem cell research, compared to 56% of the general population. (Pew Research Center, "Pragmatic Americans Liberal and Conservative on Social Issues," Aug. 3, 2006, (accessed June 24, 2008.)

• 61% of white Catholics say "it is more important to conduct stem cell research that might result in new medical cures than to avoid destroying the potential life of human embryos involved in such research," as compared to 57% of the general population. (Pew Research Center, "Abortion and Rights of Terror Suspects Top Court Issues," Aug. 3, 2005, (accessed June 24, 2008.)

• 70% of Catholics and of all adults support embryonic stem cell research. (Harris Poll, "New Harris Poll Finds Different Religious Groups Have Very Different Attitudes to Some Health Policies and Programs," (accessed June 24, 2008.)

Joe Schwartz, who is Roman Catholic according to Wiki, had this to say-

“We are confident Proposal 2 will pass, in large part because of the huge numbers of Catholics who will be voting yes,” said former Republican Congressman Joe Schwarz, M.D., spokesman for the CureMichigan ballot campaign. “Rank-and-file Catholics understand that Proposal 2 is pro-life and pro-family.”

I know better than to get in the middle of a Catholic fight, so I'll let y'all figure this one out as far as what constitutes a "well formed Catholic conscience". I'll just say "Yes on 2" and run away real fast before someone tries to convert me. ;-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Granholm Adds Energy to the Dept. of Labor and Economic Growth

This will streamline the efforts to make renewable energy a main focus of diversifying Michigan's economy, bringing together programs that are a bit scattered between agencies right now. Breaking news -

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is restructuring the state's government to give renewable energy initiatives a heightened role.

Granholm has issued an executive order dictating that the Department of Labor and Economic Growth be renamed the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG). The reorganized department will oversee the state's alternative energy and energy efficiency efforts.

The reorganization comes about a month after Granholm signed the state's renewable portfolio standard, which requires that utility companies get 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2015.

This should save money by eliminating redundancies and bringing together the people who are working to bring new companies and jobs to the state. If they are all under one roof (more or less) - things will move faster for us, and with a shaky national economy that will be scrambling for any investment dollars it can get, we need to be positioned to make it as easy as we can to bring those opportunities here.

The reorganization will include the No Worker Left Behind green jobs training initiatives; Michigan’s new energy efficiency building code; the Public Service Commission and energy efficiency programs; the Office of Sustainability; the Renewable Fuels Commission; and the State Energy Office, all working in tandem with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) tax incentives and attraction efforts.

Granholm said the reorganization and the partnership with NextEnergy will allow the state to build strong, collaborative relationships with the private sector and state universities and community colleges, coordinate efforts across state government – eliminating redundancies and inefficiencies – and create new opportunities for our research and development centers.

Renewable energy is where it's at. Ask Senator Obama. He will make this a federal priority if he is elected - and Michigan needs to be ready. This move will help a great deal. Caveat: At the bottom of the state release is this-

Executive Order 2008-20 stands unless rejected by the state Senate and House of Representatives. It takes effect December 28, 2008.

Will a certain body of the Legislature prevent us from saving money and creating jobs? Let's hope not.

This Would Be Interesting... Or, Not...

I did not know this. Should Obama be elected, and should he offer Granholm a position, and should she accept it, all a bunch of "shoulds" and wild speculation and rumors of rumors at this point that are mostly fueled by that Freudian slip we call Tim Skubick, guess what happens. Yes, Cherry would become governor...

Democratic state Rep. Steve Bieda of Warren says Monday he is introducing the proposals in the Legislature.

The lieutenant governor still would succeed a governor who leaves office in the middle of a term.

The new lieutenant governor would be nominated by the new governor under Bieda's plan. Both the House and Senate would have to approve the appointment by a majority vote.

Silly me, didn't even consider a new lieutenant, but I just assumed Cherry would pick one. I was wrong about that.

Mike Bishop gets to pick one.

Bieda says current law calls for the Senate to pick a new lieutenant governor from the same political party as the governor.

Oh, dear God, no.

My Michigan law lesson of the day is a cruel one indeed. Although for some reason I can't stop laughing...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

NFL Week 8

San Diego at New Orleans
Kansas City at NY Jets
Atlanta at Philadelphia

Buffalo at Miami
St. Louis at New England
Arizona at Carolina
Oakland at Baltimore
Washington at Detroit

Tampa Bay at Dallas
Cleveland at Jacksonville

Cincinnati at Houston
NY Giants at Pittsburgh

Seattle at San Francisco
Indianapolis at Tennessee

9-5. 78-38.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Our Country Deserves Better" PAC Stealing Copyrighted Images

Is this ad playing in your area in Michigan?

Obama/Granholm: Wrong for Michigan!

If so, let me know. They are using images off of my Flickr account, images that are clearly marked "all rights reserved".

They do not have permission to use these images.

If you have seen this ad - leave a comment or drop us a line at, tell us when and where.

According to the National Journal, they are spending 500 g's running these ads in Michigan. I haven't seen them in the GR area. Yet.

The group is spending $500,000 in Michigan to run its previous ad featuring Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, as well as several new ones.

Yes, our country DOES deserve better than conservative pacs who use other people's work without permission. This is not a "fair use" issue.

Anyone know any good copyright lawyers?

UPDATE: YouTube has removed the video after I provided proof of copyright. The ad uses a cut-out of Granholm and Obama from this picture -

Gore, Obama and Granholm

... and uses some from this set as well. I do have a copy of the video for appropriate parties to view.

UPDATE 2, 10/23: The ad just played in the GR area, 6:29PM on WOOD.

So, they are running it on TV.

Richard DeVos Gives $200,000 to Defeat Prop 2

Daddy DeVos steps up with the cash once again to try to impose his narrow right-wing agenda on the rest of the world. Son Doug gets involved as well. Where's Dick? Well, since he probably is going to run for office again, chances are he doesn't want to appear as an extremist when it comes to denying cures for disease and jobs for Michigan, lest that be used against him someday. The rest of the family has no such problem.

In West Michigan, philanthropists have opened their wallets on both sides of the issue, led by $200,000 from Amway co-founder Richard DeVos in opposition to embryonic stem cell research, according to campaign finance statements filed Friday.


Douglas DeVos, president of Amway Corp., also gave $25,000 to Michigan Citizens Against Unrestricted Science & Experimentation, the committee formed against Proposal 2.

The Michigan Catholic Conference has chipped in $2.79 million to defeat Prop 2, even though 77% of Catholics nationwide support using excess embryos – those no longer needed for in-vitro fertilization – for research. Right to Life of Michigan has coughed up $276,000, while "local affiliates across the state gave tens of thousands more".

The last EPIC poll shows that the ridiculous ads have taken a toll, and the proposal is now a toss-up, with 46-43 favoring passage.

Experts attribute the drop in support for Proposal 2 to the well-funded ad campaign by the opposition that has raised concerns in voters' minds by suggesting its passage could cost taxpayers millions of dollars and lead to human cloning.

Prop 2 supporters say the anti-ads are misleading and deceptive.

Don't let ring-wing extremists like Richard DeVos lie and buy their way to victory - get out and tell your friends and family the truth on Prop 2. Here is the latest ad from Cure Michigan-

Clerks to Defy Cox and Bishop on First-Time Voters

When we last left the latest Republican attempt to suppress the vote, the office of the Attorney General Mike Cox had issued an "informal opinion" on the rules for people who registered by mail or through a third party, proclaiming that first-time voters must appear in person to vote.

Michigan election law requires first-time voters who register by mail to vote or pick up an absentee ballot in person the first time they vote. The requirement can cause problems for students who are registered at their parents' address but attend college elsewhere.

To get around the problem, 66 of 83 county clerks cross-deputized each other so they could verify first-time voters' identities without those voters having to return to their hometowns to apply for absentee ballots.

Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land agreed with the practice. But in response to a letter from GOP Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop questioning the practice, Republican Attorney General Mike Cox's office said it isn't authorized under law.

Cox didn't issue a formal opinion, which has the force of law. Instead, Chief Deputy Attorney General Carol Isaacs wrote an "informational letter."

According to MIRS, the clerks are going ahead with their plans to help voters until "force of law" is applied, and it appears Terri Lynn is taking issue with the opinion - presenting an interesting Republican vs. Republican battle.

First-time voters who registered by mail or with a third-party group must vote in person Nov. 4, according to an advisory released today by Attorney General Mike COX. But the head of the Michigan Association of County Clerks said clerks won't heed the AG.

Saginaw County Clerk Sue KALTENBACH, a Democrat, said more than half of Michigan's 83 county clerks would continue to help first-timers cast absentee ballots. Cox, a Republican, said this doesn't comply with the law.

Kaltenbach said she does not believe they're in violation of the law or that the advisory is necessarily legally binding.

"Unless we're told to actually cease and desist, we'll continue," she said today.

Secretary of State Terri Lynn LAND disagrees with the AG's advisory, spokeswoman Kelly CHESNEY said today.

Which brings us to Matt Marsden, that gift that keeps on giving. Matt pointed out that somehow it was the Democrat's fault that this legislation didn't move out of the Republican controlled Senate Elections and Campaign Oversight Committee .

Yes, you read that right - it was Senate Republican obstruction, once again, that led to the creation of this problem. Were the Democrats supposed to somehow make committee chair Michelle McManus grow a conscience and get her to actually help citizens for a change? Apparently so.

The clerks support two bills, HB 4474 and HB 5739, which passed the House last year but are stuck in the Senate Elections and Campaign Oversight Committee. They would allow a person to vote in any county, city or township clerk's office in the state and would allow those who register to vote by mail to satisfy the ID requirement at any clerk's office.

Kaltenbach said they "obviously aren't getting cooperation from the Senate" and described the deputization process as going "to lengths to get some change." Land supports the concept of the bills.

Marsden said the clerks were "trying to find a way around election law," noting the Democrats failed to get no-reason absentee voting brought up in the Senate before the fall break.

Terri Lynn Land didn't stop this from happening in the first place. We will see if Land wants to step up and fight for clerks and voters now.

Stay tuned...

George Bush Loves Cliff Taylor

'Nuff said.

Hat tip to Brainwrap - go rec his diary at Kos.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Detroit Free Press Endorses Mark Schauer and Gary Peters

*Edit for those hitting 2014: Note the date. This is 2008.*

A double endorsement for change - Mark Schauer and Gary Peters pick up the Freep's recommendation.

Here's the endorsement for Schauer-

As for the 7th District contest, Schauer, 47, has been in the state Legislature since 1997, and, unlike archconservative Walberg, believes that government can do more to help and protect people than just cut taxes and get out of their way. He has done considerable ground-level work to bring businesses and jobs to the Battle Creek area and says that securing health care coverage for all Americans is "an economic issue as well as a moral issue."


Walberg's first term was notable in part for a press release he issued taking credit for a federal grant to build a new runway at Battle Creek's airport -- in a bill that Walberg voted against. He explained that the full bill contained too much pork barrel spending. The League of Conservation Voters made Walberg a member of its 2008 "Dirty Dozen" in Congress for his record on environmental issues.

Walberg has certainly been true to his principles -- the American Conservative Union gave him a 100% rating last year -- but the 7th District would be better served by electing Mark Schauer to Congress on Nov. 4.

And for Peters -

Peters, 49, is a former state senator who was most recently commissioner of the state Lottery, where, despite Michigan's economic woes, he managed to increase sales -- and cut payroll. While a member of the Rochester Hills City Council, Peters managed the local offices of two major investment firms. He has also been director of investments for the state Treasury and just completed his obligation to the U.S. Naval Reserve, where he was a lieutenant commander and sharpshooter.

That background, in finance, the military, management, and state and local government, should make Peters an instant asset to the majority Democratic caucus in the U.S. House next fall, especially as Congress wrestles with new regulations to prevent a recurrence of the collapse in the credit system.

Congratulations, gentlemen. Now go win those districts!

UPDATE: Battle Creek Enquirer endorses Schauer as well. Go read.
UPDATE 2: Add the Lansing State Journal to the list.

Michigan Supreme Court Race Tied

But only because of the substantial number of undecideds. Name recognition is a factor here, so let's get that name out there first of all...

Vote Hathaway for Supreme Court

... and then take a look at the numbers.

Of particular interest to political insiders is the state Supreme Court race. While the positions are technically nonpartisan, the parties nominate candidates, and Taylor, a staunch conservative, is a GOP nominee. He got support from just 19 percent of voters, tied with the Democratic nominee, Circuit Court Judge Diane Hathaway. Almost two-thirds of voters were undecided, making the last 12 days of the race, in which Taylor has a significant financial advantage and has been advertising heavily on TV, decisive.

This is EPIC, this is only 400 voters, but it is important to note. Hope we see some Hathaway advertising on the TeeVee soon.

Michigan Republican Using Obama Sign in Campaign Literature

Check out the mail I received from Dan "Not Really a Republican" Tietema, running for House in the 75th District-

Looks like someone ran up, put the sign in the ground (but not too close!) and took the picture - because it's going to be the very rare duck that would vote for Obama and then turn around and vote for an extremist right-wing Republican like Tietema. Dan doesn't want you to know that he is a Republican though - you won't find the word anywhere on this literature in connection with him. Oh no, not Dan, he's "independent thinking". You can tell he will put "politics as usual aside" by the way he repeatedly bashes Granholm. Certainly no Republican thought to do that this year. What a maverick!

Too bad a recent debate with my current Rep. Robert Dean revealed that Tietema is just another slash and burn Republican, spouting the same tired rhetoric...

If elected, Tietema said he would fight for a part-time Legislature, lower taxes and seek broad cuts in state spending.

Uh huh. And he also supports Right to Work laws. My, how original.

Strangely enough though, on his literature, he says that he would "bring more dollars to the classroom" and supports "access to affordable health care". Wonder how he plans to do that when he also wants "broad cuts in state spending". Hmmmm.

Tietema wants you to get out and "join the national and local movement for change", but unfortunately for Dan, he's just another Bush Republican and represents the kind of thinking that got us into this mess in the first place.

A wolf in Obama clothing, stealing buzzwords and popular signs to try and sneak in on the blue wave. Don't let it fool you.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

98% Registered to Vote in Michigan

A new record, an amazing number. And one campaign to thank.

A record 7.47 million Michiganians are registered to vote in the Nov. 4 general election, state officials announced Wednesday, including sharp increases in Democratic bastion Wayne County and several college areas where Barack Obama's campaign has been especially active.

That's a 4.6 percent jump from January and represents a whopping 98 percent of the state's voting age population, reported Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.

Since July, 230,000 new voters registered. For comparison, Michigan's second biggest city of Grand Rapids has a population of around 200,000.

Now it's a matter of turning them out.

Overall, there were four times more new voters in heavily Democratic counties than in heavily Republican counties.

"The registration numbers probably bode well for Democrats," said pollster Bernie Porn of Lansing-based EPIC/MRA, which polls for The Detroit News. "The recent polling shows the odds are that new registrants are helping Democrats here, as in other states."

Tom Shields, Lansing-based political consultant to Republican candidates, said he's never seen a voter registration effort like the one the Obama campaign put together this year.

"They've done a good job of reaching out. That speaks well of the Obama campaign. But now they have to get them out to vote," Shields said.

Given the way the Obama people have run this campaign, there is no doubt that they will have a massive turnout effort as well. The trick on election day will be to keep the lines moving at the polls so people don't get stuck waiting for hours to vote.

New EPIC Michigan Poll : Obama 51%, McCain 37%

Holy sweet...

That is a monster EPIC number, and now it's pretty easy to see why they left Michigan and went to other states.

The poll, done exclusively for WOOD TV8 and our broadcast partners, shows Obama ahead, 51-37. One month ago, the same poll showed Obama held a 10-point lead.

Carl is cruising, and "generic" Democrats hold an advantage.

In the race for the US Senate, Carl Levin retains a commanding 58-30 lead over his main challenger Jack Hoogendyk.

When asked for which party they'd vote for their US Congress, State House representatives and local partisan offices, the generic Democrat beat the generic Republican. For Congress, Democrats were chosen 42-33, for State House Democrats were picked 41-36, and for local partisan races by a margin of 34-32.

Will update with the link to the entire poll if they put it up.

Mike Bishop Runs to Cox to Block Absentee Voting

Why does Mike Bishop hate college kids? Why does he want to stop them from voting absentee? And he brings this up now?

Think you already know the answer to this one. Do we really have to spell it out?

A Republican legislative leader says a program designed by county clerks to boost absentee voting by college students is illegal and has asked Attorney General Mike Cox to determine if it should be blocked.

First-time voters who registered to vote by mail or through a third-party organization must under Michigan law apply for an absentee ballot in person so local clerks in the jurisdiction they are registered can verify their identity.

Helping students to avoid that drive back home, 66 of 83 county clerks across Michigan have cross-deputized each other. That allows a college student with a voting address on the other side of the state to have their identify verified by the clerk in the county where they go to school. The student then can mail in an absentee ballot application from her college residence.

This program was approved and backed by Terri Lynn herself, and the clerks are a little miffed that Bishop is out there impugning their integrity - but certain Republicans like Mike Bishop think that if they are about to lose, why, it must be fraud. This is either a case of classic denial, or perhaps other forces put him up to the task. The world may never know.

"These independent actions by certain clerks may open up our election process to greater opportunities for voter fraud and consequently further damage the credibility of the election process," Bishop wrote in his opinion request this week.

Not so say the clerks who designed the program. Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land backs the program as well.

Ottawa County Clerk Dan Krueger, a Republican, said geography shouldn't impair the right to vote and was annoyed Bishop would infer that the elected clerks who took an oath to uphold the law would be enabling voter fraud.

Yup. He's annoying all right. Been there, done that, the list grows every time he opens his mouth, and now here is another example of where Bishop will act out of partisan desire alone to stop others from expressing their opinion. Do you think he would care if it were McCain riding this wave?

Mike Cox would not comment on the request.

UPDATE: Cox rules against this program -

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox released an opinion today that first-time voters who have registered to vote by mail or with a third-party group must vote in person on Nov. 4 and can’t qualify for an absentee ballot.

The opinion thwarts efforts by local and county clerks to try to help first-time voters, especially college students cast absentee ballots.

Terri, care to respond? Since the SOS supported this program, can it be held that the SOS misled these voters? THAT won't look good on the permanent record. Probably be used against you in a primary. Might want to look into it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Someone Break the News to John


John McCain says some polls may show his opponent is ahead, but he says indicators show his campaign is "coming up."

Um, no.

Democrat Barack Obama has expanded his national lead over Republican John McCain in the presidential race to 10 points, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

Obama leads McCain 52 percent to 42 percent among likely U.S. voters in the latest three-day tracking poll, up from an 8-point advantage for Obama on Tuesday. The telephone poll has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

One wonders what "indicators" McCain is referring to at this point. Three major polls in the past two days have Obama momentum building to tidal-wave proportions - Pew, WSJ/NBC, and now this - all showing double digit leads. Favorability for a candidate the highest in the last 28 years. Simply yelling "socialist" or "terrorist" has not worked this time around - and indeed, it has backfired. Early voting has people standing for hours in line to vote, and predictions are this is going to be a record year as far as turnout goes. "Enthusiasm" is the driving factor, and no one seems to be "enthused" about McCain.

I don't want to jinx anything here - but someone should clue John in. Maybe he is just going through the motions at this point, I don't know, but if so, he can stop the all the nasty stuff at any time. It doesn't work anymore.

Epic fail. And this time, it's not us.

Can you believe it?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Carl Levin Hits the Airwaves

Laugh out loud prediction of the year - MIRS, 10/9:

Asked to make a surprise prediction Michigan Republican Party (MRP) Chair Saul ANUZIS offered, "Jack HOOGENDYK wins the U.S. Senate."

Without missing a beat, Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Mark BREWER countered, "Sounds like Saul is already smoking that medical marijuana."

Saul is going to need it. Carl went on the air today to squash Mad Jack like the bug that he is, releasing six versions of what is basically the same ad about creating jobs in Michigan. Five are regionally targeted.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, in what will go down as a rarity from the '08 election, is a Carl Levin television ad. Drumroll please!

The temptation is strong to just ignore 'ol Jack, but a debate between the two Sunday reminds everyone that Hoogendyk is a wingnut's wingnut - the kind of Republican that serves only to obstruct progress, unless, of course, it means more tax cuts for the wealthy and less regulation on their activities.

Levin blasted Hoogendyk for opposing the $25 billion line of credit authorized by Congress to "save" Detroit automakers, a measure supported by every member of the Michigan congressional delegation, Republican and Democrat. Hoogendyk said broader measures are instead needed: corporate tax cuts, less regulation and enactment of right-to-work laws.

For the rest of us? Not so much. Hoogendyk wants the power of government to regulate your medical decisions. He's a true Schiavo Republican, and would use that power to infringe on your personal life.

Hoogendyk said he would oppose Proposal 1, which legalizes the use of doctor-recommended medical marijuana, and the Proposal 2 ballot issue to legalize expanded embryonic stem-cell research in the state. Levin said he backs both proposals.

He also backs efforts to make English the "official" language, and wants to abolish the Dept. of Education. In Jack's world, government is great when it comes to enacting his extremist agenda.

Last we knew, Hoogendyk still suffers from lack of name recognition, with 74% or so of voters not knowing who he is. That really is a shame; Jack should be held up to all as the kind of obstructionist Bush Republican that needs to be shown to the door this year. Like a Knollenberg or Walberg, he fights for his ideology alone, and not what is in the best interests of his constituents.

It's time to make people like Hoogendyk a rarity in the political world and send them back to the fringes where they belong.

Rustem on Walberg: "I'm Trying to Remember Anything He's Done"

One quote jumped out of the Detroit News article on the nasty battle that is going on down in the 7th District. It was a rather offhand comment from long-time Lansing political figure Bill Rustem - but it speaks volumes on Tim Walberg's legislative career, and the problem with electing Bush Republicans to Congress.

Asked to characterize Walberg's legislative career, Bill Rustem, president of Public Sector Consultants Inc., a Lansing-based think tank, said: "I'm trying to remember anything he's done."

You would think that that would be a problem for the voters in the 7th - just what has Tim Walberg accomplished for them? The article also cites Walberg's 16 years in the Michigan Legislature as part of the "no" caucus, refusing to legislate unless it fit the extreme right social agenda. Schauer summed him up nicely -

"Walberg has always stood on the sidelines, consistently voting 'no' on everything. He's part of the problem."

Yes, he is. He's a Do-Nothing. Like Hoogendyk, Walberg votes on ideology alone. He's not working to help his constituents, he's fighting for the far-right agenda - and apparently he doesn't do that very well, either. ranks Walberg at number 424 out of 435 House members on their "power rankings", which is a measure of a congresscritter's effectiveness, regardless of majority/minority status and other factors that would hold Tim back. He just doesn't do much of anything for anyone.

Another quote that jumps out - Bill Ballenger says Walberg is too conservative for the 7th. Coming from a grumpy conservative like Bill, that's sayin' something.

"Schauer probably is too liberal for the district and Walberg is too conservative," said Bill Ballenger, former Republican state senator and editor of the Inside Michigan Politics newsletter. "Schwarz was just about right, but he's gone."

As far as Schauer being "too liberal" - well, no. Not really. For Ballenger he probably is, but for normal people, no. The Republicans like to paint Schauer as a "radical liberal" (their favorite words for every Democrat running it seems), but the truth is he is actually pretty moderate. When MIRS added it up, Schauer was the third-most conservative Democratic state senator in both 2006-2007, and, coming from MIRS, that is saying something as well.

Walberg has voted with Bush 83% of the time according to the DCCC. He has voted against protecting consumer interests in both predatory mortage lending (which contributed to the recent crash) and abusive practices of credit card companies. And he claims that outsourcing is a good thing. So, while Schauer is working to bring jobs to the district, Walberg supports policies that will send them away. This all comes from voting for the philosophy that demands that business be allowed free reign to do what ever they want because government is such a bad thing that it must be stopped.

Well, when you elect people that hate government, don't be surprised when government doesn't work for you. Walberg is a shining example of this theory.

Michigan Will Be "Second-Class Citizens in the Field of Biomedical Research"

Scientists at the U of M are telling it like it is. Both presidential candidates have indicated that they will loosen the federal restrictions on stem cell research - this IS going to happen. The only question now is: Will Michigan be left behind? Are we going to send top scientists, jobs, and research dollars to other states? Because that is what we are talking about if Prop 2 fails.

Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama have said they would loosen federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research if elected, meaning the race for cures would certainly intensify.

If Proposal 2 fails and federal rules are eased, observers say researchers in Michigan -- one of the five most restrictive states -- would be hampered at a time when researchers in other states would have more freedom.

"We would be deemed as second-class citizens in the field of biomedical research," said Doug Engel, chair of U-M 's Cell and Development Biology Department. "All of the medical institutions in Michigan could give up on this research."

And no, no one is going to create "cow people". Don't let the crazies fool you; they are only hiding their anti-choice agenda behind some really, really bizarre claims. Thankfully they are so far-fetched that it's highly doubtful that anyone will believe them. Right?

Here, as promised, is the new ad from Cure Michigan.

Yes on 2. Tell your friends.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

NFL Week 7

San Diego at Buffalo
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Minnesota at Chicago
Tennessee at Kansas City

New Orleans at Carolina
San Francisco at NY Giants
Baltimore at Miami
Dallas at St. Louis

Detroit at Houston
Indianapolis at Green Bay
NY Jets at Oakland

Cleveland at Washington
Seattle at Tampa Bay
Denver at New England

Bye: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Arizona, Jacksonville

10-4. 69-33.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Freep Interview with Governor Granholm

Testing the embed on the Freep player.

I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)

Rest in peace Levi. Thank you for the music.

Levi Stubbs, whose impassioned baritone was one of the most iconic voices to come out of Motown Records, died this morning at his Detroit home. The singer was 72.

On songs like "Baby I Need Your Loving," "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)," "Reach Out (I'll Be There)," "Standing in the Shadows of Love," "Bernadette," "Ask the Lonely" and other Four Tops hits, Stubbs' voice was a rare instrument, capable of sheer, soaring joy, but also the most abject, broken-hearted sorrow.

Stubbs suffered a series of strokes several years ago that forced him to retire from touring with the Tops. The group -- which also included Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Lawrence Payton and Renaldo "Obie" Benson -- had been together since the 1950s, well before Berry Gordy Jr. signed them to Motown, and were seasoned performers on the sophisticated nightclub circuit. Fakir is now the only survivor of the original group.

League of Conservation Voters 2008 Michigan Scorecard

Who has been naughty and who has been nice when it comes to the environment and clean green energy. Also shows you how Vern gets away with being Vern.

Complete LCV 2008 scorecard can be found here.

Michigan Delegation 2008 Scores:

Sen. Stabenow – 100
Sen. Levin - 100
Rep. Stupak - 92
Rep. Hoekstra - 0
Rep. Ehlers - 69
Rep. Camp - 0
Rep. Kildee - 92
Rep. Upton - 54
Rep. Walberg - 0
Rep. Rogers, Michael J. - 15
Rep. Knollenberg - 31
Rep. Miller, C. - 31
Rep. McCotter - 15
Rep. Levin, S. - 92
Rep. Kilpatrick - 92
Rep. Conyers - 85
Rep. Dingell - 100

You should know by now that environment and green energy are paramount to this state and this country's future - with this scorecard you can tell who has voted for progress in clean energy independence, and who would keep us in the era of Big Oil and reliance on fossil fuels.

Michigan’s delegation was split between those who favored continued dependence on oil and other dirty fossil fuels and those who favored renewable energy and energy efficiency. Senator Levin, Senator Stabenow, and Representative Dingell earned perfect scores of 100 percent in 2008, consistently standing up to Big Oil and voting for renewable energy and energy efficiency. At the other end of the spectrum, many representatives scored below 50 percent, with Representatives Hoekstra, Camp, and Walberg receiving an outright zero. The average Michigan Senate score was 100 percent, and the average Michigan House score was 51 percent For the full list of scores, see the bottom of this release.

"We applaud Senators Levin and Stabenow and Congressman Dingell for their leadership in recognizing the need to make investments in clean energy technologies and at the same time protect Michigan's majestic natural heritage and our fragile manufacturing sector," said Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. "We are disappointed that not all members followed suit, including Representatives Hoekstra, Camp, Walberg, Rogers, Knollenberg, Miller and McCotter - but, instead failed the citizens of this great state by giving into Big Oil and big polluters."

Time to throw the dinosaurs out. Do it for the kids.

Yes! on Proposition 2 Yard Signs

Yes on Prop 2 Michigan

BFM has had a lot of searches on this - yes, they do exist! Check with your local Dem/Obama office if you are out and about this weekend, and get 'em up in your yard, pronto.

A new CureMichigan commercial is supposed to be out today. I haven't had the TV on (getting tired of commercials whining about that crazy troublemaker Mark Schauer that voted to save your local police department, you ingrates) so I don't know if it's running yet or not. Will put it up when they get it out there.

Until then... do what you can to help out!

DeVos Watch : Every Picnic Area Needs a Helipad

The ongoing saga of Dick's helipad continues. Earlier this year, we brought you the story of how DeVos wants to have his personal helicopter handy, neighborhood wishes be damned. Ada Township was inclined to say "no", but hasn't come to a definitive conclusion yet.

No matter. Clever Dick has figured a way around that little problem.

The paperwork may call it a "picnic area," but neighbors of former Amway Corp. president Dick DeVos are questioning whether his plan to put in a gravel driveway leading to a 40-by-40-foot concrete pad across from his home is a veiled attempt to skirt Ada's ongoing debate about where helicopters should be allowed to land.

Katherine Smith Kennedy, a neighbor of DeVos, said construction on the project has begun, including a staked-out portion identified as "helipad."

Earlier this year, DeVos asked township officials to clarify requirements for heliports because he wanted to build one on 12 acres he owns across the street from his home on Fox Hollow Avenue SE. But after neighbors complained about the prospect of air traffic near their homes, township planners said any rules they crafted likely would not include helicopters landing in residential areas. No decision has been reached.

Meanwhile, neighbors are not happy to see construction traffic.

"It's just unbelievably arrogant to me that this one person is able to start this process before he gets the approval he's seeking," Kennedy said Wednesday. "The biggest thing to me is that this is all for the convenience of one person."

It's not arrogance, it's funny. Just ask the Henry Hoeks, township planning commissioner. He and Dick shared a big laugh about it.

When township planning commissioner Henry Hoeks accepted an invitation to meet Dick DeVos for coffee this week to talk about a proposed ordinance regulating helicopter landing areas, "We joked that maybe it would be better to go ahead and do something and apologize later," Hoeks recalled.

DeVos' neighbors aren't laughing.

They aren't? Well, let's call in the lawyers then. That will be a hoot. See if we can find a loophole - but Dick doesn't really want to go in that direction. Unless you force him to.

On Thursday, DeVos' attorney met with township officials.

"They reviewed several possible legal scenarios that would make the case that landing a helicopter already is permitted," Ada Township Planner Jim Ferro said. "But the view was expressed that they would prefer to act within the scope of an ordinance than seek to prove a pre-existing right."

And besides, Dick is the victim here. He is justified in just going ahead with his plans despite the concerns of his neighbors. Geez, people of Ada, you are so mean.

Hoeks said that, during his meeting with DeVos on Monday, DeVos remarked "how ironic it was that the person who requested an ordinance be established is now being put in a very defensive position."

Expect the township Planning Commission to capitulate on Nov. 20th.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Michigan Fraternal Order of Police Endorse Schauer

Go, Mark!

Today the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police announced their endorsement of Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek) in his campaign for Michigan's 7th Congressional district.

"The members of the Fraternal Order of Police recognize Mark's strong support of law enforcement during his tenure in the Michigan Legislature," said Judd Price, the organization's President. "He has repeatedly supported legislation that gives us the tools we need to do our job."

The Michigan Fraternal Order of Police is the oldest and largest law enforcement organization in the State, with over fifty local lodges and more than 11,000 members. It is part of a National Organization with more than 320,000 members.

The special interest Club For Growth crazies are getting very worried about losing their bought and paid for man Tim Walberg - today they announced they are dumping $230,000 more towards running nasty attack ads. (in my market, unfortunately) Schauer has raised more money than Walberg overall, but between the Bush visit yesterday and this new money dump today, it shows the Republicans have gone into panic mode to save Walberg.

Don't let them do it - keep up the heat in the 7th!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ireland Today

John McCain likes to trot out Ireland as a shiny example of what those low, low business taxes can do for a country.

OK, let's do that. Here is what is happening in Ireland today.

Ireland is raising income taxes and slashing spending in a crisis budget unveiled Tuesday - with the government leading by example and pruning its own paychecks.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said painful changes are required to cope with an economy facing its first recession since 1983.

Ireland did enjoy a boom for a number of years - and now they are running a deficit that will require tax increases and painful cuts. Those tax increases will come on people; with businesses threatening to leave for "cheaper markets", they won't raise their tax rates, and instead have to require the public to make up the difference.

Lenihan forecast that the economy will shrink by more than 1.5 percent this year and by another 1.0 percent next year, while unemployment will rise from its current 10-year high of 6.3 percent to an average of 7.3 percent in 2009. Those developments mean tax collections will fall and state welfare costs will rise.

Lenihan moved up his government's usual year-ahead budget speech from December to reflect a stunning reversal of Irish fortunes following the Celtic Tiger boom of 1994-2007.

The finance chief announced a special levy on people's 2009 paychecks adding 1 percent to the income tax deducted from incomes up to euro100,000 ($137,000) and 2 percent on those earning more.

He said the government decided to impose a levy, rather than an outright hike on income-tax rates, in hopes that the extra deduction could be withdrawn in 2010.

Meanwhile, national sales tax on most purchases will rise from the current 21 percent to 21.5 percent. Tax on bank deposits will rise from 20 percent to 23 percent.

They are also going to raise taxes on airline tickets, gasoline, wine and cigarettes. And a 21.5% sales tax? Wonder what Joe the Plumber would think about all that. Ireland is also going to cut 41 state-funded agencies and close army bases.

Even with these increases and cuts, they still aren't going to solve their deficit.

He said that, even if his budget plans work as projected, Ireland still faces a record 2009 budget deficit of euro12 billion ($16.5 billion) - or 6.5 percent of the country's expected gross domestic product.

Next time McCain brings up Ireland, someone might want to get him up to speed on current events. Then again, he will probably just ignore the facts and continue to mischaracterize the situation, just as he has done with every single issue raised in these debates.

Bush & DeVos to Raise Money for Walberg, Knollenberg

Michigan Republicans have given up on McCain and are concentrating their damage control efforts on saving Tim Walberg and Joe Knollenberg. Turtle Power Pete gives up the goods -

The cash is slated for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has keen interest in a pair of races where GOP incumbents could be in trouble.

"Raising money for the NRCC is very important," said U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Holland.

And then he throws George Bush right under the bus.

Hoekstra acknowledged there is little Bush can do to help GOP presidential nominee McCain.

"I don't want people looking at a John McCain presidency through the lenses of George Bush. I don't think there's going to be a lot of people listening to President Bush."

Ouch. That's gotta hurt. But Pete & Dick will put aside their egos (yeah, right) and ambitions to support those who have supported the disastrous policies of George Bush - which really doesn't make a lot of sense when you think about it, but after all, DeVos and Hoekstra are disciples of Bush as well, they just aren't being made to pay the price for it this year. We have to wait until 2010.

Hoekstra said he planned to attend, despite occasional friction between him and DeVos as both mull a run for governor in 2010.

"Most likely I will be there. It's the president of the United States who is going to come to town. Dick and I are friends.

"Dick and I are doing absolutely everything we can to help a Republican ticket win in Michigan this fall."

Donations at Dick's house start at $5,000 a head. Hey, it's expensive to buy a Republican government that can turn around and hand the taxpayers the bill with a straight face. Prices are going up there too, you know.

Fortunately, there are alternatives, and you don't have to mingle with a bunch of hypocritical rich folks.

Mark Schauer Act Blue Page.

Gary Peters Act Blue Page.

Today is the last major filing deadline, so iffin' you want to send a message to George, Dick, Pete, Tim & Joe...


Didn't realize that Flickr has embedding capabilities on sets. Duh. Here are some pics from last weekend.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Schauer Creating Green Jobs, Walberg Named to the LCV "Dirty Dozen"

The choice doesn't get much clearer than this. Mark Schauer had a hand in bringing United Solar Ovonic to Battle Creek, creating 350 jobs to start, and up to 700 when they add an additional plant. Given the fact that Uni-Solar has $2 billion in backorders, more plants seem very, very likely. They can't build them fast enough in Greenville; chances are Battle Creek will be the same way.

Battle Creek Senator Mark Schauer, United Solar Executive Vice President John Morgan and Battle Creek Unlimited's Karl Dehn all made their pleas to the M.E.G.A. board Tuesday.

The board heard their calls and signed off on tax credits that helped secure United Solar's move to Battle Creek over sites in New York and North Carolina.

The company, that makes solar cells, says that they picked Battle Creek because the site was ready to go and that for them time is of the essence since they already have a backlog of nearly $2 billion in business.

Hundreds of jobs that will help save the planet. Doesn't get much better than that. Congratulations and big thanks go out to Senator Schauer, MEDC, Governor Granholm, and everyone who had a hand in this - this is one company Michigan should be very proud to have in our midst.

Tim Walberg? Well, not a lot to be proud of there. Today, the League of Conservation Voters added Tim to the "Dirty Dozen", citing two "dismal" years in Congress. Michigan native and LCV Representative Kerry Duggan explains:

"Tim Walberg has distinguished himself as one of the most anti-environment members of the 2006 Congressional class," said Duggan. "He has consistently voted against clean, renewable energy and is an adamant supporter of the failed Bush/Cheney energy policies that serve only to increase profits for ExxonMobil and the other big oil companies. The citizens of Michigan's 7th District need a leader who represents them and not the interests of Big Oil."

Rep. Walberg opposed every major clean energy reform in Congress last year. He voted against repealing subsidies to Big Oil, against increasing the use of renewable electricity and against efforts to help American drivers go further on a gallon of gas. Walberg has opposed extending tax incentives to clean energy which would lead to thousands of new jobs in Michigan.

"With record gas prices and a faltering economy, Tim Walberg still doesn't get it," said Duggan, "Congress needs members with the common sense to understand that clean energy will create jobs, end our addiction to foreign oil, and ensure our national security."

So, people of the 7th, which guy do you want as your representative in Congress? Today's news should spell out the answer in no uncertain terms.

UPDATE: Here's a YouTube from the press conference-

Where Have We Heard This Before?

The sharp eyes at the DNC were experiencing a bit of deja vu yesterday as they listened to McCain's efforts to beat the dead horse that is his campaign.

There is a reason this guy has been labeled "McSame". Nothing about him is original. He steals Obama's campaign theme of "change" when it is convenient, he steals Obama's economic theme of "help for the middle class" when it is convenient. One thing is new - he throws George Bush under the bus now that it is convenient, even though in the past he stood right by his side, encouraged others to do so, and voted with the guy 90% of the time.

Four years ago, McCain wanted people to stand up for Bush. Now, not so much, and in yet another Hail Mary attempt, McCain is going to try to spin his campaign as one that is running against the very policies that John McCain voted for. Anything for a victory, eh, John?

Republican John McCain delivered his toughest criticism so far of President Bush's economic policies as he unveiled a campaign stump speech that promised an energetic fight to reverse his slide in the polls.

In Virginia, a Republican state turned battleground this time, McCain criticized Bush while vowing to enact policies that would reverse the effects of Bush's two terms in office.

"We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change," McCain said. "We have to act immediately. We have to change direction now."

Should have told everyone that four years ago, John. Hell, we knew Bush was a disaster back then, why didn't you?

One thing George is good for - fleecing money out of wealthy Republican donors. Bush is coming to visit Dick DeVos here on Wednesday, and that leaves Saul gushing with pride.

"The president has been a great fundraiser," Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis said. "The Republican faithful enjoy seeing him. He's a good draw."

Never dreamed I'd say this, but I'm starting to feel a little sorry for George Bush. Here he has his friends, his supporters, stabbing him in the back, stabbing him in the front even, and at the same time, they want to use him for the money. Politics is a harsh mistress.

But on second thought... nah. Maybe not. Don't feel sorry for Bush at all. Too bad George. Better start packing for that long retirement on the ranch. Hope someone has counted the White House silverware...