Saturday, November 07, 2009

Saturday News Dump

President Obama speaks about the tragedy at Ft. Hood in this week's address. Listen, and take a moment for reflection. Flags will be at half-staff through Veteran's Day.

And now for this week's "Things I Would Have Blogged, But I Ran Out of Pepto-Bimol", featuring your wacky Michigan Legislature.

  • DHS employees testified this week that they are so overwhelmed with Michigan residents seeking help that they are fearful for their safety, as clients become frustrated with the delays and start to take it out on the workers. Budget cuts since 2000 have already trimmed the department by a total of 3,600 employees, and courtesy of the Bishop-Dillon budget, they will lose another 320 soon - this coming when we are seeing record demand.

    About 2.2 million people, or two in 10 Michigan residents, get some type of government assistance -- 400,000 more than a year ago. While the state was forced to hire more child welfare caseworkers because of a federal lawsuit, it would require 700 more staffers to handle rising caseloads, said DHS field operations director Terry Salacina.

    House Republican Dave Agema suggested during the hearing that state employees might want to consider carrying a gun. No, I'm not kidding. This has only been reported in Gongwer so far (that I've seen), and they have a great editorial at Dome Magazine this week concerning the whole budget situation.

    During the same hearing when DHS workers worried about their safety, several legislators gave possible answers. One was kinda obvious: get a better economy, then more people will have jobs and the caseload problems will take care of themselves. Yes. True. And getting there requires what exactly?

    But one legislator also proposed that those worried about their safety get a concealed weapon permit. In other words, get a gun.

    Not for a second discounting the armed society is a polite society operating theory, is getting a gun an answer to give public servants? Would “I’m here from the government and I’m packing heat so how can I help you?” really work?

    The Republican solution to everything. Get a gun. Maybe we should arm the clients too, and perhaps we can show the Republicans just what a real socialist revolution looks like.


  • School funding crisis? What school funding crisis. Gongwer also reports yesterday that House leaders Dillon, Elsenheimer, and Rep. Pam Byrnes are heading off to China next week. Why now? Dillon is traveling with Bob Ficano, and this is the only time he could squeeze it into his schedule. The other two are going with the State Legislative Leaders Foundation. Naturally, the Republicans who complained so much about the governor trying to drum up business in Japan the weekend Bishop and Dillon went to the football game are all for the trip.

  • Speaking of the governor, she is still traveling the state, talking to school leaders in an attempt to turn up the heat on lawmakers to get them to move on school funding. While the governor is proposing long-term solutions on the issue, the Monroe News has a perfect example of the bargaining process as it stands now. Granholm is being flexible on the stimulus, and on a tax amnesty idea, while pushing for these revenues as well, but Republican Senator Richardville is saying "no" to closing business tax loopholes. The article reports that something should be done by the 20th; I guess it's just a matter of what House Democrats will give away next at this point.

  • And speaking of those House D's who can't wait to roll over again for Mike Bishop, we had George Cushingberry on "Off the Record" yesterday, defending the "all-cuts" strategy (assuming you can call that a strategy), and suggesting that the House would be willing to vote for the freeze on the EITC. An elimination of the MBT surcharge is also in the works. I haven't watched the whole show, figuring I don't need to see Cushingberry rationalize hurting the poorest in our state while he gives the Republicans everything they ever dreamed of. Again, no Pepto-Bismol.

  • As if all that betrayal weren't bad enough, the GR Press has another story on how the Right to Life people are seeking to overturn the wishes of the voters when it comes to stem cell research. We threw out some of the most restrictive stem cell laws in the country by a wide margin in that election, so of course the Republicans are looking for ways to reinstate laws that don't exist "anywhere in the country" and fill their campaign coffers at the same time. Aren't you glad that you vote doesn't matter as much as the wishes of the extremists who run the MRP?

  • Let's end the state news on a positive note, and for that we need to look outside Lansing. The WK Kellogg Foundation gave us $16.7 million over five years to train math and science teachers for high-need urban districts. Teachers will receive a $30,000 fellowship and three years of mentoring after they complete a two-year master's program. Participating universities and school districts will be announced in January.

  • Health care vote in Congress today? MSNBC is reporting that the GOP is using "delay" tactics, no Republicans are going to vote for the bill, and it looks like Stupak has suceeded in making women second-class citizens when it comes to their health care needs. That will get "the base" fired-up to vote for Democrats next year - let's throw more of them under the bus! Idiots. See that Kos diary for action contacts.

    Have a good Saturday, in spite of your elected officials. Remember, when you smile, it pisses off a Republican. So smile often, and at everyone you meet - we will get there someday.