Wednesday, October 31, 2007

OOPS! Moment for Local Republicans

Diversity of opinion within the party is pretty unusual for Republicans. Perhaps that's why Livingston County Republicans had to do a quick re-write of the invitation to their Reagan Day dinner.

The invitation (received by someone I know who wants to remain anonymous) read: "Got Taxes? We know you do, and we know you’d rather not have them – not at a confiscatory rate anyway. So how do we change things? Elect Republicans. Democrats support increasing taxes – and with a few exceptions, Republicans do not. Nearly all (67) elected Democrats voted in favor of the income tax increases, while only 6 elected Republicans did, and not one Republican voted in favor of the service tax increase. The Livingston County Republican Party, and the Michigan Republican Party were not in favor of these tax increases."

"Not one Republican" voted for the service tax to prevent a shut-down of state government earlier this month? Talk about a knee-jerk response. The email was corrected the next day to say that four Republicans voted for the service tax, one of whom was Livingston's own Republican Sen. Valde Garcia.

Thanks for doing the right thing, Valde, even if your own party doesn't have the sense to appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

CHOMP-ing at the Bit

An interesting story floated into my inbox this morning. It seems that Mike “I’m too busy to talk to my constitutents” Rogers will be putting on his party togs for a big-bucks GOP fundraiser in Washington, D.C. Tonight’s CHOMP (Challengers Helping Obtain the Majority Program) bash will raise money from House Republicans and dole out the cash to GOP challengers around the country who look like they have the right stuff.

The Hill had an item about the CHOMP party, including these helpful numbers:
The event, which is set for Oct. 24 at the Capitol Hill Club, has raised between $75,000 and $100,000 per candidate in the past and is expected to raise a similar amount this time. A letter distributed to House GOPers on Tuesday asks them to contribute $2,000 from their campaign committees and $5,000 from theirleadership PACs to each of the nine candidates.

CHOMP was founded in the 2006 cycle by Rogers and Pete Sessions (TX); tonight’s event is co-chaired by Jim McCrery (LA).

Isn’t it nice that Mr. Rogers is working so hard on behalf of his fellow politicians? It’s totally understandable that he was caught up in the arrangements for tonight’s moneyfest – of course he wouldn’t have had spare time to listen to any of the 8th District voters’ concerns about the SCHIP veto. Thank heavens for the Bush talking points – they are such a time-saver for a busy party-planner! And we all know it's super-crucial to raise money, as The Politico points out.
Republicans have struggled to keep pace with House Democrats in fundraising this year after falling from power last fall. But the GOP still sees plenty of pick-up opportunities in some of those same seats they lost last year.

As evidence, the three powerhouse fundraisers included some of their former colleagues on the list of nine recipients: Jeb Bradley of New Hampshire, Melissa Hart of Pennsylvania and Jim Ryun of Kansas. The program raised more than $1.4 million during the last election cycle, and the current harvest should give some of these Republicans a financial boost heading in to 2008.

“We hope to do what we did last year,” Rogers said. “This allows us to go on offense.”

Silly me. I thought Mr. Rogers' job was to go on offense for the people of Michigan's 8th Congressional District. A quick glance at the Press & Argus front pages from this morning (County may lose out on housing aid ) and yesterday ('Katrina-like' woes loom at food bank) give a pretty clear picture of what is going on here in Livingston County. What will it take for Mike Rogers to take a break from scenery-CHOMPing on the national political stage and actually work to help us here at home?

You'd think he'd show a little appreciation... after all, us taxpayers are footing the bill for his health care...

(cross-posted at Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood )

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sacrificing for Iraq War Remains Optional

One of the things that underscores the difference between the war in Iraq and World War II is the presence of so many young people still living normal lives while their peers are off in the desert fighting, away from family, friends, jobs or school.

I was reminded of the unequal distribution of sacrifice for this war when I saw the picture of Josh Romney campaigning in Brighton on Wednesday (Oct. 17, 2007) that appeared in the Livingston Press and Argus. He's a big, strapping, healthy-looking man of 32. Yet he and his four brothers are driving a motorhome around the country trying to get their dad elected president instead of serving in Iraq.

Two months ago, Mitt Romney told a woman in Iowa that the U.S. has a volunteer army and he respects his sons' decisions not to volunteer because their work helping him get elected is important. Again, sacrifice for this war, as important as it supposedly is, remains optional.

Apparently, no one in Brighton brought up the issue of Josh Romney's non-service, but he did mention the war, saying the issues voters are worried about are "immigration, the Iraq war, health care and the economy."

The Livingston Press and Argus quoted Josh Romney also as saying, "When it comes to Iraq, he said, 'We want to get our troops home as fast as we possibly can.' However, he said it's important not to leave the country in an unstable position where it might become a 'terrorist state.'"

Not important enough, apparently, for any of the Romney sons to pitch in, as long as there are plenty of other people's kids willing to do the dirty work.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Never-ending Story

Well, you already knew that Ann "Funny Gal" Coulter doesn't limit her, um, sense of humor to political figures like John Edwards; she's perfectly happy to spread the sunshine to 9/11 widows , gays and Arabs.

Make no mistake, though -- she is a deeply religious woman. Interviewed while promoting her book Godless, she had this observation:
Although my Christianity is somewhat more explicit in this book, Christianity fuels everything I write. Being a Christian means that I am called upon to do battle against lies, injustice, cruelty, hypocrisy—you know, all the virtues in the church of liberalism. As St. Paul said, if Christ is not risen from the dead, then eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
Wow! Who knew that AC was so highly qualified to judge how truly Christian Christians are? (Especially someone who quotes St. Paul when it's actually Isaiah 22:13... but more on this in a minute.)

Lest you think her narrow-minded on the God front, she included this footnote in her book:

"Throughout this book, I often refer to Christians and Christianity because I am a Christian and I have a fairly good idea of what they believe, but the term is intended to include anyone who subscribes to the Bible of the God of Abraham, including Jews and others."

In fact, Ms. Coulter is so fully-informed about matters theological that she was able to take this concept a little step further. Earlier this week, she produced this warm, loving bit o' religious insight:

Appearing on Donny Deutsch's CNBC show, "The Big Idea," on Monday night, columnist/author Ann Coulter suggested that the U.S. would be a better place if there weren't any Jewish people and that they needed to "perfect" themselves into -- Christians.


DEUTSCH: That isn't what I said, but you said I should not-- we should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians, then, or --


DEUTSCH: Really?

COULTER: Well, it's a lot easier. It's kind of a fast track.

DEUTSCH: Really?

COULTER: Yeah. You have to obey.

DEUTSCH: You can't possibly believe that.


DEUTSCH: You can't possibly -- you're too educated, you can't -- you're like my friend in --

COULTER: Do you know what Christianity is? We believe your religion, but you have to obey.

DEUTSCH: No, no, no, but I mean --

COULTER: We have the fast-track program.

Oh. Well, THAT clears things up! One of the world's great religions is apparently the equivalent of of Betamax, and another has powers analogous to those of the U.S. Trade Representative. Makes me feel all warm & fuzzy inside.

It may also explain AC's attribution of the "eat, drink & be merry" quote to St. Paul rather than Isaiah. Those Old Testament patriarchs were god-fearing and all that, but being Jewish they were, um, "imperfect." Yep, Ann clearly has the flexibility and iron will needed by any Public Christian to deal with all realities that doesn't conform to her standards. Plus, she's a laugh riot! Yay!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Michigan Lawmaker: Private Medicare Rips Off Seniors

A Michigan lawmaker is in the middle of the fray over private insurance companies that are ripping off senior citizens after selling them expensive policies subsidized by regular Medicare recipients.

Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat who represents Michigan's 1st congressional district, is head of the investigations subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He told The New York Times for a story in editions for Sunday (Oct. 7, 2007) that he had “verified countless stories of deceptive sales practices by insurance agents who prey upon the elderly and disabled to sell them expensive and inappropriate private Medicare plans.”

The plans offered to senior citizens as an alternative to Medicare are subsidized by regular Medicare recipients. Audits of the companies offering the plans have turned up thousands of instances of predatory marketing practices, refusal to pay claims, and shockingly poor service, including long waits to talk to claims representative.

Why do we put up with such treatment of our parents and grandparents, in the name of private enterprise? Is there nothing this country will not sacrifice for profit?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Anonymous Senators Strike Again

The Livingston Press and Argus has a decent column today (Oct. 7, 2007) summing up last week's appearance by comedien Ann Coulter, a competing talk on health care by Ann Arbor author Jonathan Cohn, and the Michigan Legislature's action to save the state from shutting down by passing a modest tax increase.

Author Rich Perlberg rightly criticizes Coulter for doing nothing but deliver recycled one-liners. But what did he expect? That's all she does. At least she didn't appear spaced-out and high, which she often does on many of her television appearances.

Perlberg reverted to Press and Argus form, however, when he was discussing the Legislature's marathon session last weekend. He refused to criticize specific lawmakers who happen to be Republican, instead preferring to leave the impression that it actually could be Democrats who are the culprits he is complaining about.

Specifically, Perlberg wrote: "Some senators were mad because some people were taking pictures of the voting board, which is a taxpayer-funded tally that records how taxpayer-funded lawmakers are voting on how to spend money that comes from — you guessed it — taxpayers."

"Some senators?" Which senators? Only one -- Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop. Michigan Liberal has the info here.

Why in the world does Perlberg not name the culprit? Names make the news, unless you're afraid to criticize Republicans.

P.S. Had Perlberg done a little research, he would have known that other senators, (code for Democrats) introduced a resolution changing Senate rules to bar secret votes of the kind Bishop sought by preventing pictures of the voting board.
The Conservative Media has the story here.

Things won't change if the public is unable to hold the guilty parties responsible and reward the others.

Friday, October 5, 2007

So Much More Than a Book-Burner

It's bad enough that one of the applicants for a vacancy on the Howell school board is a would-be book-burner. She also seems to think school employees are nothing more than "hired help" and that the way to help schools is to cut taxes.

Yes, I'm talking about Vicki Fyke, the founder of LOVE (Livingston Organization for Values in Education), whom the Livingston Press and Argus says in an article Friday (Oct. 5, 2007) has applied for the vacancy created by the resignation of Mary Jo Dymond.

The newspaper notes that Fyke "objected to profanity and sexual content in books assigned in an advanced English class at the high school." The books were not trash, but ones by Toni Morrison, Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Wright. And her complaint to U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy III ended up absurdly triggering an FBI investigation.

But there's so much more (or less) to Fyke than that.

On a blog, The Suburban Voice, Fyke has written such gems as "Cutting taxes increases revenue" and referred to school employees as "the hired help."

And in an interview on WHMI radio March 2, Fyke complained that one of the English teachers isn't married and doesn't have any children so shouldn't be teaching books that have sexual references.

She's also pushed putting posters reading "In God We Trust" in school classrooms.

In another posting titled "You Worry Me," Fyke approvingly reprints a supposed letter from an airline pilot who says he's "worried" when he sees Arabs. "Read, absorb
and pass this on. This same concept can also be applied to other immigrant groups who
cross our borders. Hope you consider the intelligence of this pilot," wrote Fyke.

She worries me.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

No Lieutenant Governor Coverage, but Plenty of Coulter

By now, you all know that Lt. Gov. John Cherry spoke to Livingston Democrats at a picnic Sept. 23. Of course, you know that only because you read this blog, not because you read the Livingston Press and Argus.

The newspaper declined to staff the event, opting to cover a rodeo instead of the second highest elected official of the state of Michigan who would later cast the deciding votes that would end the state's budget crisis. The newspaper's rationale, apparently, was that there are more Republicans than Democrats in this county.

So that explains why when comedien Ann Coulter came to Clearly-not-a-University this week, the newspaper featured not one story, but two stories plus a photo gallery.

But it doesn't explain this. The caption to one of the photos read: "Ann Coulter spoke in support of the Republican administration at a luncheon hosted by the Livingston Economic Club at Cleary University Monday."

But when I read both of the stories about Coulter's appearance, I couldn't find any references to George W. Bush by Coulter. I saw references to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as "stupid" and to Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards as being womanish (as if there were something wrong with being like a woman.) But I didn't read any quotes from Coulter in support of "the Republican administration."

Guess the non-partisan, neutral, unbiased reporters were laughing too hard at the jokes to write down the serious stuff.

Plenty of KoolAid to Go Around

Over at FireDogLake, TRex has a post about Ann Coulter. Seems that a blog writer was attending a Manhattan party where AC showed up -- and apparently she is actually a fun party princess in real life! TRex nicely skewers those who completely abandon their political & moral principles for a brush with fame...

Which of course led me to think about the Press & Argus coverage of AC's recent Trip to Livingston. Now, I am pleased that the paper covered the Jonathan Cohn talk on the front page (I won't be nitpicky & point out that it was below the fold, shorter & a smaller headline). What dimmed my enthusiasm was the inclusion of Buddy Moorehouse's opinion piece on the front page. See, Buddy thinks that Ann Coulter is an unsung comic genius. So she really can't mean all the things she says, right? And she's really, really funny!
An economic club luncheon? At times, Monday's speech by Ann Coulter felt more like GOP Night at the Comedy Castle.

Guess this means it's OK to unleash vicious personal attacks on people. And not just people who are public figures, but folks like the 9/11 widows, gays, and Arabs. But don't feel bad -- she's really, really funny!

Bottom line? If Buddy Moorehouse & Rich Perlberg think that it's perfectly alright to post an opinion piece on the front page -- an opinion piece that isn't about the state budget, the Iraq war, the S-CHIP veto or any other issue that actually means something to the people of Livingston County -- then they need to quit whining about the mean StoryChat comments.

Wait! I get it! Ann Coulter is FAMOUS, so her venom is HILARIOUS. Carrot, Hammerooski, YokrArk & co. aren't famous, so their comments are CRUEL.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Recipes for our cookbook

Reminder: Send in your recipes for our Livingston Democrats Cook Book. We need to mail them to the publisher in time to arrive by October 10 order to sell the books for Christmas.

You can e-mail the recipes to or you send them snail mail to:

Livingston Democratic Party
10321 E. Grand River, Suite 600
Brighton, MI 48116

Give us a call with any questions.

JoAnn Murphy Donna Anderson
517 304-4499 Cell 248-719-0112

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Healthy Discourse

Ever since we heard that Princess o' Darkness Ann Coulter would be speaking at Cleary University's Livingston Economic Club luncheon, there has been a lot of discussion about how to respond. Some advocated a boycott of businesses that sponsor the LEC series. Some talked about picket lines and protests. What with one thing and another (balanced state budget, anyone?), the discussion tapered off.

Well, behind the scenes two local organizations were working to present a positive alternative to Coulter. Voter's Voice (a multiparty group that encourages civil discourse and accurate information) joined with the Community Universalist Unitarian Church to organize an evening of healthy discussion. They contacted Ann Arbor author Jonathan Cohn, and invited him to give a talk about his book, Sick, which analyzes America's employer-based health care system.

Cohn's talk was very well-received by the 150 or so folks who came out to the Howell Opera House on a dark & stormy night. Proceeds from the evening benefited the new VINA Dental Clinic, which provides much-needed dental care for low-income county residents. Over $1500 was raised for the VINA clinic in just a few hours. Great ideas, great discussion, great support for a worthy local organization. Sounds like a positive alternative to me!

Cohn spoke about the people he met while writing his book, and gave a brief overview of how our health care system came to its present state. Dr. Kelster (my better half) is a health-care provider, so I've heard a lot of this before. Given that he's been a doc for over two decades now, I'm both sad and angry that we're still hearing about hard-working families being pushed into bankruptcy because they lost their health insurance... or sitting on a gurney in a hospital hallway for 18 hours... or dying because they didn't get timely care.

It's wrong. It's wasteful. It's not what our country should be about.

I was pleased to see local reporters there. With all the hoo-ha about Coulter, it would have been easy to ignore the Cohn event. After all, Jonathan's not a tall blonde with a mile-wide mean streak and a national TV presence. He is a mild-mannered guy who has spent a lot of time researching his topic and asking useful questions.

This isn't sexy or headline-grabbing stuff. But it's a safe bet that the average American would rather have affordable health care than an hour or two of AC's snarky one-liners.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Today's the Day

Okay, so today's the day that Ann "Little Miss Sunshine" Coulter comes to Livingston County. It's also the day that LivCo citizens have an alternative to hate speech. Author Jonathan Cohn will discuss his new book, Sick, and the crisis in American health care at the beautifully renovated Howell Opera House @123 Grand River at 7 p.m. Donations suggested, and the proceeds from the talk will benefit VINA Community Dental Center, LivCo's free dental clinic for children.
Say no to hate. Say yes to an evening of ideas, and help our community at the same time.