Sunday, August 31, 2008

Even Local Republicans Say Palin is a Ploy

This from Saul in St. Paul:

"Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is the talk of the GOP Convention. She has reinvigorated the campaign and we need to keep this energy going in Michigan. Please help me tell our Republican activists about Governor Palin by making an online contribution today.

"I have never seen so much excitement around a candidate’s pick of running mate that (sic) what’s going on here at in St. Paul over Senator McCain’s selection of Governor Palin."

I'll bet there's a lot of talk in St. Paul about Palin. And I wonder if Saul Anuzis, the chair of the Michigan Republican Party, is confusing "reinvigoration" with turmoil and screams of dismay with "excitement."

How do I know Republicans might be a little upset with McCain's surprise decision to put Palin on the ticket? Livinston County Republicans were bold enough to put the statement in print, via the Livingston Press and Argus on Sunday (August 31, 2008):

"Bill Rogers, chairman of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners and a Republican candidate for the state House, was skeptical of the pick and would have preferred someone with more of a business background, such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"'To me, this is all a political ploy,' Rogers said. 'They're going to say she's a novice, which then we ... see that the (Democratic) presidential hopeful is a novice, so it kind of killed that argument.'"

Yes, it certainly did. When the person your party wants to put a heartbeat away from the presidency was mayor of a town less than half the size of Brighton 18 months ago, it really kills the argument that a U.S. senator is a novice.

For another local view of the pick, check out Conservative Media's piece.

But the really interesting thing about Anuzis' statement is the comment that Palin's pick has "reinvigorated" the campaign. I didn't know it was in need of reinvigorating. According to Saul, things have been going swimmingly all along, except for that need to pay "volunteers" 10 percent of the money they raise for McCain that he floated a few weeks ago. And I really doubt people in Michigan are all that fired up for a mayor from Alaska when they could have had the Romney name on the ticket.

Speaking of Romney, I would like to have been a fly on the wall when Romney got the call that it wasn't him and it was Palin instead.

At this point, no one should say that Palin is another Dan Quayle. We don't know enough about her. I'm sure she is a loving mother to her five children and that she is rapidly learning how to be the governor of a small state. But the way this decision was made -- after meeting McCain casually once at a meeting and then receiving a phone call on Sunday in which she was offered the job -- says a lot about the random way McCain makes decisions. You can't get hired at most jobs after just one interview.

P.S. Thanks to the friend who let me know about Anuzis' email.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Donna Anderson on HUB TV

HubTV came to our office to videotape an interview with me. They were giving me equal time with Bill Rogers. If you go to and click on "Politics '08" on the menu at left, the interviews will come up and mine is first. If you have time, you might want to check out Bill Rogers interview for a comparison.

I think you'll agree with me that it's very important that I win. We can't afford to have two Rogers making legislation with their right wing viewpoints. Even though I'm up against the name and the money, I feel that I have the right ideas and will fight hard to do the things necessary for jobs, education, environment and health care.

- Donna Anderson, Democratic candidate for 66th District House Representative

See Barack in Battle Creek on Sunday!

You were so excited after Barack Obama's speech last night that you couldn't settle down to sleep, could you? You can't get enough of him, can you?

That's why it's so cool that you'll be able to see him again, right here in Michigan. Barack Obama and running mate Joe Biden will both be in Battle Creek on Sunday (August 31, 2008) at 5 p.m.

The two will be at C.O. Brown Stadium at Bailey Park, 1392 Capital Avenue NE in Battle Creek.

Admission is first-come, first-served, so go early.

Obama and Biden also will be in Detroit on Monday to participate in Labor Day activities, too. So you have two opportunities to catch the hottest pair in American politics right now!

Perfect Setting, Big Crowd, Overflowing Enthusiasm--Right Here in Livingston County!

The setting was great. It was packed with people who wildly applauded all of Barack Obama's lines.

But we weren't in Mile High Stadium. We were right here in Livingston County.

Barack Obama supporters turned out in force Thursday (August 28, 2008) to watch the first African-American in history accept a major party's nomination for president.

We packed the banquet room of Memories Lounge and overflowed onto the dance floor.

We didn't just party. We signed up to volunteer. We donated money for buttons and tee-shirts. We took a pledge never again to say that we thought there were no Democrats in Livingston County. And we made phone calls to undecided voters all across Livingston County urging them to watch the speech and make up their own minds.

And then we watched the speech and were blown away.

It was a tremendous night, even if you had to be in Michigan and not Denver.

If you came, it was great seeing you there.

If you didn't, you'll never know what you missed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Granholm Starred on Stage Last Night

Obviously, Sen. Hillary Clinton gave a terrific speech last night (Tuesday, August 26, 2008). She overshadowed everyone who came before her last night because of her passion and eloquence in support of Sen. Barack Obama.

But if you caught Michigan Gov. Jennifer Grandholm's turn on the stage, you had to be impressed, too.

Granholm conducted a mini-town hall on the issue of alternative energy. She exuded energy, personality, and expertise on the subject as she maneuvered between the video-recorded or e-mailed questions on the subject and the panel of experts assembled to address them. Compared to all the other governors and elected officials who spoke last night, Granholm seemed much more at ease and prepared, and able to communicate without being tied to a tele-prompter.

Obviously, alternative energy is an important issue to Granholm, who is trying to get the Republicans in the Michigan Senate to move on the issue.

But they would prefer to keep enriching Big Oil, borrowing money from China to buy oil from Saudi Arabia, as more than one speaker said last night.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Elect My Dad! My Dad for President!

I grew up with a great Dad. He worked in a factory. He earned good money. He loved my Mom and he loved all five of us kids. He did fun things with us. He kept us in line. He taught me to love to read. I love him to pieces.

But I never knew he was qualified to be president.

After all, my Dad was a POW. He was beaten. He was starved. He was locked up. He endured horrible conditions -- freezing cold weather for days at a time. He wasn't allowed to communicate with his family. His health was damaged permanently. It was horrible.

But I never knew that qualified him to be president.

Of course, my Dad didn't talk about being a POW. For him, it was no badge of honor. It was no badge of courage. He didn't use it as an excuse. When he got angry about something, or when he forgot something, or when he broke something, Dad never said, "Yeah, but I was a POW so it's OK."

When he wanted a promotion to supervisor in the factory, he never told his boss that he deserved it because he had been a POW.

Nobody ever thanked my Dad for being a POW. Nobody held a parade in his honor, or made a video about him. After World War II, being a POW was no big deal. In fact, it was a sign of dishonor. A sign that you had failed as a soldier. And that's how Dad felt about it. He felt he was a failure. People actually said that to former POWs.

The nation did not give him a hero's welcome. After he was liberated while on a Nazi death march, he and thousands of other POWs were taken to a camp in northern France where they had to stand in line for hours to get chow -- even though many of them were sick and weak. It was a national disgrace at the time and a congressional committee investigated it.

I'm not the only person who wonders why being a POW should serve as a free pass for everything a particular politician does.

Some people who were in the same prison camp as John McCain say exactly the same thing. Read this article in the Military Times by a fellow POW who says he won't vote for McCain. He writes:

"John's treatment as a POW:

1) Was he tortured for 5 years? No. He was subjected to torture and maltreatment during his first 2 years, from September of 1967 to September of 1969. After September of 1969 the Vietnamese stopped the torture and gave us increased food and rudimentary health care. Several hundred of us were captured much earlier. I got there April 20, 1965 so my bad treatment period lasted 4 1/2 years. President Ho Chi Minh died on September 9, 1969, and the new regime that replaced him and his policies was more pragmatic. They realized we were worth a lot as bargaining chips if we were alive. And they were right because eventually Americans gave up on the war and agreed to trade our POW's for their country. A damn good trade in my opinion! But my point here is that John allows the media to make him out to be THE hero POW, which he knows is absolutely not true, to further his political goals.

2) John was badly injured when he was shot down. Both arms were broken and he had other wounds from his ejection. Unfortunately this was often the case - new POW's arriving with broken bones and serious combat injuries. Many died from their wounds. Medical care was non-existent to rudimentary. Relief from pain was almost never given and often the wounds were used as an available way to torture the POW. Because John's father was the Naval Commander in the Pacific theater, he was exploited with TV interviews while wounded. These film clips have now been widely seen. But it must be known that many POW's suffered similarly, not just John. And many were similarly exploited for political propaganda.

3) John was offered, and refused, "early release." Many of us were given this offer. It meant speaking out against your country and lying about your treatment to the press. You had to "admit" that the U.S. was criminal and that our treatment was "lenient and humane." So I, like numerous others, refused the offer. This was obviously something none of us could accept. Besides, we were bound by our service regulations, Geneva Conventions and loyalties to refuse early release until all the POW's were released, with the sick and wounded going first.

4) John was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart for heroism and wounds in combat. This heroism has been played up in the press and in his various political campaigns. But it should be known that there were approximately 600 military POW's in Vietnam. Among all of us, decorations awarded have recently been totaled to the following: Medals of Honor - 8, Service Crosses - 42, Silver Stars - 590, Bronze Stars - 958 and Purple Hearts - 1,249. John certainly performed courageously and well. But it must be remembered that he was one hero among many - not uniquely so as his campaigns would have people believe.

John McCain served his time as a POW with great courage, loyalty and tenacity. More that 600 of us did the same. After our repatriation a census showed that 95% of us had been tortured at least once. The Vietnamese were quite democratic about it. There were many heroes in North Vietnam. I saw heroism every day there. And we motivated each other to endure and succeed far beyond what any of us thought we had in ourselves. Succeeding as a POW is a group sport, not an individual one. We all supported and encouraged each other to survive and succeed. John knows that. He was not an individual POW hero. He was a POW who surmounted the odds with the help of many comrades, as all of us did.

I furthermore believe that having been a POW is no special qualification for being President of the United States. The two jobs are not the same, and POW experience is not, in my opinion, something I would look for in a presidential candidate.

Most of us who survived that experience are now in our late 60's and 70's. Sadly, we have died and are dying off at a greater rate than our non-POW contemporaries. We experienced injuries and malnutrition that are coming home to roost. So I believe John's age (73) and survival expectation are not good for being elected to serve as our President for 4 or more years.

I can verify that John has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly that is not the finger I want next to that red button."

The point is, McCain was not the only American POW. He was one of more than 600 in the prison camp he was in. Thousands more came before him and McCain's treatment was not much different from anyone else's. They just have not exploited it the way he has.

I'm sorry, but being a former POW is not enough reason to be president.

If it were, I think people should vote for my Dad. He's nicer.

Time to Get Garbage Off the Public Airwaves

Can you type an email? Can you dial a cell phone? Then you can help Barack Obama's campaign today (Tuesday, August 26, 2008) without even leaving your home.

Some Michigan television stations are running an ad about Sen. Barack Obama that is a total lie. This ad, which is paid for by the same people who swift-boated John Kerry four years ago, tries to link Obama to a bombing that occurred 40 years ago, when Obama was in elementary school.

It is pure garbage. In fact, it is so full of lies and distortions that even Fox News has refused to run the ad. Furthermore, the ad group that produced the ad, the American Issues Project, may be breaking the law with the ad by advocating the defeat of Obama instead of merely airing an "issue."

But Michigan television stations are running it anyway. So we're asking that you call or email the television stations and ask them to reject the ad.

Click on this link and follow the instructions to call or email these stations.

Let's stop the smears and have a debate on the real issues people care about.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's Obama-Biden!

I knew it all along.

No, I didn't get the text message because I haven't figured out how to text message. Or I'm afraid it will drive up my cell phone bills. Or both.

I found out the old fashioned way. I read it on the web. But in a newspaper. The New York Times had the story.

But I did tell people yesterday (Friday, August 22, 2008), that I thought Barack Obama would pick Joe Biden to be his running mate.

And yes, I think it's a terrific pick.

P.S. The Obama campaign had updated their website with Obama's photo by early Saturday morning. That's fast.

Friday, August 22, 2008

How Many Houses Do You Own?

While John McCain has trouble remembering how many multi-million-dollar condos and houses he owns, too many Michigan families are struggling to hold onto their only home.

And people like Mike Rogers aren't helping. Instead, he takes money and favors from one of the nation's largest mortgage foreclosure law firms -- Trott and Trott. He also has voted against measures to help people losing their homes to foreclosure.

Meanwhile, Bob Alexander spent the day with a Michigan family losing their farm and home. Watch the tragedy unfold:

How Many Rogers Does It Take to Run Livingston County?

Not one, not two, but three at least.

And according to the tone of the Livingston Press and Argus' puff piece on the Rogers' family in editions for Friday (August 22, 2008), it's a good thing that one family holds three elected offices in our county.

Is it really?

How many new ideas come from the same family that continues to dominate politics?

How broad a spectrum of the public is represented by one family?

How many different points of view can be expressed by one family?

Does the Rogers family represent your family?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Republicans Torpedo Leaner Government

AFter years of Republican claims that they want smaller govenment and less government spending, a panel of Republican judges has torpedoed a proposal to overhaul the Michigan Constitution.

A three-judge panel of Republicans on the Michigan Court of Appeals said the Reform Michigan Government Now proposal is too sweeping to be on the ballot. Peter Luke has the story.

One of the judges who made the ruling stands to lose his job if the proposal passes. And that's a good bet if it gets to the voters because polls show widespread support for it -- especially among Republican voters. Yet William Whitbeck stayed on the bench and ruled on the case rather than recuse himself.

This proposal would save Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars a year in unnecessary salaries for judges on the Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court, which both have seen their caseloads fall in recent years. It would trim salaries of judges and top officials of state government, reduce the size of the Legislature, and limit the number of state departments.

It is everything Republicans have said they were for -- smaller government, less spending, less bureaucracy. There is a real disconnect between Republican leaders who want to protect their own jobs and Republican rank-and-file voters.

Next stop for the proposal is the Michigan Supreme Court -- headed by Supreme Court Justice Cliff Taylor. Taylor is up for re-election this year. He should keep in mind the wrath of voters before he decides to follow the marching orders of party bigwigs to take the fate of this proposed constitutional amendment out of the hands of the people.

Come Party with Obama Supporters at Convention-Watch Bash!

Sen. Barack Obama will make history next week when he becomes the first African-American to accept the nomination for president from a major political party. Why not share the moment with other Obama supporters?

The Barack Obama Campaign for Change is holding a convention-watch party on Thursday, August 28, at 7 p.m. at Memories Lounge and Restaurant, 1840 S. Old U.S. 23, Brighton Township.

Memories will have two large-screen televisions for Obama supporters to watch the senator's convention speech. Field organizers for the Barack Obama Campaign for Change will speak to the group as well.

Memories has a bar and a full restaurant menu. Wait staff will be available to take orders.

Please call us at (810) 229-4212 or email us as to let us know you are coming so that we can advise the establishment of attendance ahead of time.

This is going to be a night to remember. Let's share it!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh, Those Greedy Auto Execs -- Where's the Outrage?

The story is not getting much attention, but it should be.

Total compensation for automobile CEOs went up 11 percent last year. And the pay and other compensation for other top bureaucrats in the auto business was up 20 percent.

Yes, 20 percent, at a time when workers are being told to make concessions, to retire early, to take job cuts.

The 20 percent figure comes from a survey by Watson Wyatt, reported in the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday (August 19, 2008).

In typical Free Press business reporting fashion, the story focuses on the remarkable restraint that auto companies are showing in giving their CEOs pay raises of only 4 percent. The total compensation figures of 11 percent and 20 percent are buried down in the story. There were no comments from workers in the story.

Everybody wants to see merit pay for teachers. How about merit pay for auto execs?

Here are the higlights of the study, which soon will disappear from the Free Press' website:

"Key findings

"Watson Wyatt's automotive survey found:

"• Salaries and bonuses increased more for non-CEO executives than they did for CEOs in 2007.

"• Stock options are decreasing overall.

"• Compensation is increasingly tied to financial targets.

"Automotive executive pay -- by the numbers

"In its study of the top executives at 70 auto-industry companies, Watson Wyatt found that compensation grew less, on average, for the top bosses than for their top lieutenants.

"4% salary increase for automotive CEOs in 2007.

"24% of automotive CEOs not paid a bonus for 2007.

"$2.7 million, median automotive CEO total direct compensation, defined as base salary, target annual incentive and long-term incentives.

"11% increase in auto CEOs' total direct compensation.

"20% increase in other top auto executives' total direct compensation, to a median of $975,000.

"Source: Watson Wyatt"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rogers Using Official Contacts for Political Gain?

Officially, politicians are not supposed to campaign on the taxpayer's nickel.

But we all know that line is hard to draw. It's more a broad gray band than a bright white line.

But Mike Rogers has crossed it, in my book.

He now is sending emails to his Michigan constituents and asking their permission to put them on his campaign email list.

He writes, "As your Congressman, I’d like the opportunity to talk to you periodically about important political issues being debated as well as hear from you on things that are important to you."

Then he goes on to babble about his plan to keep Americans burning oil until there is none left or the price is $20 a gallon.

"Occasionally, I’d like to be able to talk to you through email updates on campaign issues and events. I hope you will find them informative and useful."

Where did he get these emails of constituents? Did they come from his office, from people who wrote him about issues? Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Melon Fest Popular with Democrats

What was more popular than ice cream at the Howell Melon Fest on Saturday (August 16, 2008)?

Barack Obama buttons, I'd guess.

The Livingston County Democratic Party booth did a brisk business taking in donations for Obama buttons, tee-shirts, yard-signs, and bumper stickers. The Barack Obama Campaign for Change also was busy registering voters and signing up volunteers for the fall campaign.

Democrats looked sharp in the Melon Fest parade. "Chicago" kicked up his heels. Supporters showed off a beautiful cloth "Obama" banner made by a volunteer, and Michigan's 8th District Congressional candidate Bob Alexander got the crowd clapping and cheering by urging Democrats, independents, and disaffected Republicans to show their support.

It truly was a beautiful event in a lovely setting. Howell's old buildings downtown are a treasure. The city sure knows how to throw a party!

All Six Dems Win Spots on November Ballot

Livingston County Democrats batted .1000 in their write-in campaigns in the Aug. 5 primary.

All six candidates backed by the local party won the right to appear on the ballot in November, based on results released Friday by the Livingston County Board of Canvassers

That means voters in the townships of Green Oak, Hamburg, and Putnam will have the chance to choose bipartisan government for their communities instead of seeing Republican candidates unopposed on the ballot in November.

The candidates nominated by write-in are:
Livingston County Commission, District 8 – Dave Buckland.
Green Oak Township – Matt Evans, supervisor.
Hamburg Township – Debby Buckland, clerk; Linda Taylor, treasurer; Shannon Piper, trustee.
Putnam Township – Mike Porath, supervisor.

No one party has a monopoly on good ideas, so the fact that Livingston County will have contested races for these positions is good news for voters.

Bipartisan government truly is the best government. It provides a check on excesses by either side. It allows a wider range of voices from within the community to be heard. It includes new people with different skills and ideas about how to make our communities more livable places.

Let the campaigns begin!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Obama Yard Signs Now Available!

You asked for them. We've got them. Finally!

Yard signs for Barack Obama have arrived. The Livingston County Democratic Party will have them available at our booth at the Howell Melon Fest on Saturday and Sunday (August 16-17, 2008) and in our office starting Monday.

If you put your name on a list to reserve one, now is the time to come in to the office and pick it up.

These signs were not given to the local party by the Obama campaign but were purchased. That is why donations are being requested.

Stop by the party booth (on the front lawn of the courthouse) at the Melon Fest at 10 a.m. Saturday to visit with Green Oak trustee candidate JoAnn Murphy, at 2 p.m. to visit with 8th District Congressional candidate Bob Alexander, and at 4 p.m. to visit with 66th state representative candidate Donna Anderson.

And be sure to look for the Livingston County Democratic Party float and Donna Anderson's float in the Melon Fest parade.

The Howell Melon Fest is a great family-friendly event, but that doesn't mean adults should not take a few moments to attend to serious political business. It doesn't make sense to have fun with our kids today at the expense of neglecting their futures!

See you there!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Republicans Paying 'Volunteers' to Fund-Raise for Them

How bad are things in the Michigan Republican Party?

So bad that now they need to pay their "volunteers."

Party Chair Saul Anuzis told GOP supporters in an email (forwarded to me by someone who wishes to remain anonymous) that helping Republicans raise money can actually be a money-making opportunity.

As he put it, "As a Michigan Republican Party eLeader, you will be able to help with a variety of fun and valuable activities, such as: raising money online, building and growing your own online political network and becoming an active and known advocate of the Michigan GOP. You can also send out invitations for events hosted by yourself or others.

"For any funds raised you can choose from a 10% commission or points ($1 = 5 points) to spend on Republican gear in our store!"

Is the Michigan Republican Party so bankrupt of ideas that the only way it can motivate its volunteers is to offer them a cut of the take? And will they be admitting to the people they contact that they are getting some of the money that contributors think is going to elect Republicans?

For our volunteers, getting Republicans out of office is its own reward.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rogers -- Marching to His Own Drummer?

Prior to the 4th of July parade in Brighton, a friend told me she ran into Michigan 8the District Rep. Mike Rogers in Costco looking for people to march with him in the Brighton parade.


This week, another friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) forwarded me a local Republican email saying that Rogers is looking for people to march with him in the Howell Melon Fest parade on Saturday (August 16, 2008).

Double hmmm.

This guy is a member of the Rogers family, which dominates Brighton-area politics. He is an incumbent member of Congress, well-known in the community, part of the Republican Party, which has thousands of supporters in the county.

And he is still looking for people to march with him in a parade less than 3 months before the election.

Too bad he can't dress up some of that hundreds of thousands of dollars he has raised and let the dollars march for him.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Watch Out Livingston County -- We're Being Invaded!

In language right out of a B-movie, that self-appointed guardian of truth, justice, and a very narrow idea of the American way, Wendy Day, is warning of an invasion of Livingston County.

Killer bees? Body snatchers? Aliens from outer space?

No, much worse. Moderates and liberals!

In an article for RightMichigan, Day writes that "in the past 10-years there has been a steady migration to Livingston County that has brought a lot of moderates and liberals to the area."

Day, who is herself a member of the Howell school board, warns that this invasion of a species that she claims is alien to "conservative" Livingston County is having dire consequences. Specifically:

"Democrats are sneaking candidates into non-partisan positions. This includes School Boards, Judgeships, County Commissioners, City Councils and Township Boards.

"Democrats understand they can't win with a 'D' next to their name, so they run in races they don't need to declare what team they are playing for.

"This is dangerous because name recognition is such a large part of politics and they can get it without the baggage of their actual political platform. Good for them, bad for us."

It is "dangerous" to have Democrats on city councils and school boards? Democrats who live and work right here in this community, pay taxes, obey the laws, mow their lawns, keep up their property, and send their kids to local schools (unlike Day who does not even send her kids to the schools she is responsible for overseeing.)

But even funnier is Day's contention that county commissions and township boards are "non-partisan." Hate to break it to Day, but those are partisan positions in this state.

Did she somehow miss the nasty primary fight going on amongst Republicans in Hamburg Township? How could she not have noticed? Too busy checking under the bed for invading moderates and liberals?

Nevertheless, Democrats are running candidates for township posts in Green Oak, Hamburg, Handy, Putnam, and Unadilla townships, as well as three county commission districts (pending final certification by the board of canvassars.) And they will all be listed on the Democratic side of the ballot, despite Day's contention that there is no "D" next to their name.

Then Day goes on to claim that:

"So while the average family in Livingston County is conservative, the government they have elected is not. What a shame."

Ah, let's see, the county commission is 100 percent Republican, and Democrats currently hold two township posts. Despite that, Day insists that Republicans need to "please protect your local government from democrats. They are organized and marching forward to try and infiltrate your non-partisan bodies of government." (Note that Day did not capitalize "democrats.")

The implication -- they must be stopped! Bring up the drawbridges at the county borders! Halt the invasion of moderates and liberals from other parts of the world or we are all doomed!

Good grief! Township races are races where the major issues are the size of the new fire station, the fate of our senior centers, and how efficiently local services are delivered. Democrats have good ideas about such matters. We want to work in a bipartisan fashion to improve the communities where we live and pay taxes.

There is nothing sinister about that. We live here, too, for pete's sake. We want what's best for our communities.

Stop demonizing us!

Road Trippin' with Bob Alexander

Bob Alexander brought his "Road Trip for Change" to Brighton a few weeks ago to formally kick off his campaign for Michiganb's 8th Congressional District. If you missed it, here's your chance to sample the trip via video.

The campaign stopped at Bagels and Bites in Brighton, where Bob laid out his energy independence strategy, which shares many similarities with Barack Obama's, including a $150 billion commitment to alternative and clean energy.

The video is well done, and the original background music is great. Another sign of what a terrific campaign Bob's team is running.

Take a peek.

Friday, August 8, 2008

GOP Sign: Time to Rebuild America! From What, You Might Ask?

Are the Republicans in Livingston County a little off their game right now?

Michigan motorists along I-96 in Livingston County might be a little confused by a sign that urges them: "Help Rebuild America with President John McCain."

First of all, he is not president now, as the sign implies. We are not re-electing a "President" John McCain -- although it could be argued that we are re-electing George Bush if we elect John McCain.

But the bigger question is, after eight years of George Bush and his policies -- supported by John McCain -- why do we need to "rebuild America?"

Shouldn't eight years of George Bush have resulted in a better America? And if it didn't, why should we vote for another Republican? Especially a Republican who supports Bush's policies.

But since Republicans brought up the matter, let's list some of the things we need to rebuild America from:

--A disastrous war in Iraq that has cost thousands of American lives (and many thousands more innocent Iraqi lives), damaged our prestige, and cost of billions of dollars, all while the Iraqi government bickers amongst itself and piles up billions of dollars in oil profit that they won't even spend to rebuild their own country.
--A budget deficit that has skyrocketed out of control and threatens to burden our children and our children's children with interest payments to China.
--Erosion of our constitutional rights to be free of government snooping on innocent civilians who have committed no crime whatsoever.
--Policies that favor the mega-wealthy over working people, such as the Bush tax cuts, which are now the McCain tax cuts.
--The failure to create an energy policy that will protect our planet and keep energy affordable.
--Trade policies that let jobs go overseas and an economic adviser who tells Americans they are whiners to complain about the economy.
--A health care system that costs more than any other one in the world while delivering results that aren't even in the top 25.

Yes, we need to rebuild America -- from Republican policies.

And we need to do it with Barack Obama.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hold Your Horses -- GOP Not Winners in Hamburg, Green Oak, Putnam Just Yet

Some champagne corks were being popped on Tuesday night (August 5, 2008) when the results of the Republican primary came in. There were lots of assumptions being made about who had just won "election" by virtue of winning the GOP nominations -- specifically in Hamburg Township.

Victors in the GOP primary were told they had won the clerk, treasurer, and trustee posts because the Democrats had no candidates on the ballot.

But hold your horses, folks. It ain't over till it's over.

It is true there were no Democratic candidates on the ballot, but the Livingston County Democratic Party did wage an aggressive write-in campaign for three township candidates and Livingston County commissioner. The township candidates -- Debby Buckland for clerk, Linda Taylor for treasurer, and Shannon Piper for trustee -- each collected in the neighborhood of 200 votes. Dave Buckland picked up 175 for county commission in district 8, which does not include precinct 3 of the township. The Livingston County Board of Canvassers is reviewing the unofficial primary results, including the write-ins, so we won't know for awhile whether in fact enough write-in votes are valid.

The Livingston Press and Argus has picked up on the fact on Thursday (August 7, 2008) that the races are not over. But it is assuming that way too many votes are needed for write-ins -- namely, 200, based on county-wide voting totals. But in reality, the proper figure for calculating the write-in threshold is probably only several dozen because it is based on township -- and not county-wide -- voting totals.

Meanwhile, races for Green Oak supervisor and Putnam Township supervisor are also still alive, due to the write-in campaigns of Matt Evans and Mike Porath, respectively. Each of those collected healthy write-in totals, too.

The number of write-in votes all these candidates earned indicates voter interest in reducing Republican rule in their townships is high. These are likely to be competitive races in November -- so let's put the cork back in the champagne bottles for awhile longer.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Anderson vs. Rogers in 66th District -- Who's Really Experienced?

It's time for the main event in the race for the two Livingston County seats in the Michigan House.

In House District 66, Democrat Donna Anderson defeated her young opponent, while Bill Rogers won the Republican primary.

Neither one has ever served a day in the Michigan House. So as far as I'm concerned, they start off on equal footing. Neither one is more experienced than the other when it comes to being a state lawmaker.

In House District 47. Democrat Scott Lucas had no opposition. He now knows that his opponent will be Republican Cindy Denby. Denby was on the staff of outgoing Republican Rep. Joe Hune, who voted against the school aid bill that provided more funding to Livingston County schools. Denby's performance in the recent Livingston Press and Argus debate was less than impressive for someone who claims to know her way around Lansing.

These will be competitive races -- especially if you volunteer to help Anderson and Lucas in their campaigns!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rogers Boys Thinking Alike on Tire Pressure

Turns out Bill Rogers isn't the only Republican, or even the only Rogers boy, in Michigan to be touting proper tire pressure as a way to save energy.

Over at Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, kelster93 points out that 8th District U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers offers tips for saving gas on his own website. And of course, it includes saving gas by keeping your tire pressure at recommended levels.

Classic case of hyperpartisanship -- This is a good idea, but only if I think of it and not if somebody from the other party does.

Remember to Vote Today!

Today is primary day in Michigan!

Remember to vote today (August 5) because we have plenty of contested or write-in races on the Democratic side of the ballot in Livingston County.

If you live in the 66th House District, Donna Anderson needs your vote against a candidate who has not shown up for public debates or attended Livingston County Democratic Party meetings despite being invited.

In Hamburg Township, four Democrats are running write-in campaigns so they can be on the ballot in the fall. The four are:

Dave Buckland, county board of commissioners, 8th District (all of Hamburg Township except precinct 3).
Shannon Piper, township trustee.
Linda Taylor, township treasurer.
Debby Buckland, township clerk.

In Green Oak Township, Matt Evans is running a write-in campaign for township supervisor.

And in Putnam Township, Mike Porath is running as a write-in for township supervisor.

Remember to write in their names and to fill in the oval on the computer scan sheet for the appropriate office. The office must be filled in for the vote to count.

Help us ensure voters have a choice in November!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Imagine an America That Doesn't Need Foreign Oil -- Obama Tells Lansing It Can Happen

Can you imagine a world in which the United States needs no foreign oil -- no oil from Middle East dictators, not even any oil from Hugo Chavez's Venezuela?

How different could our foreign policy be? How many troops would we need to protect us against terrorism if we did not feel the need to meddle in Middle Eastern politics?

Those were some of the possibilities that Barack Obama opened up for some 1,700 people who were lucky enough to get tickets to see him at the Lansing Center on Monday (August 4, 2008).

"We must end the Age of Oil in our time," Obama said, as he delivered a message that was tailor-made for job-hungry Michigan and for our auto industry -- a plan to spend $15 billion a year for the next 10 years to wean Americans completely away from foreign oil and create 5 million jobs based on alternative energies. And, he said, he wanted to see 1 million plug-in, fuel-efficient cars built in the U.S. Michigan's history of technological innovation would allow many of those jobs to be created right here, he said.

Obama acknowledged that the switch to alternative fuels will be expensive and difficult, but no more so than answering John Kennedy's call to put an American on the moon or Franklin Roosevelt's call to ramp up industrial production at the start of World War II. He said he knew the nation could do it because "we are Americans. We always do the improbable," he said.

Obama delivered his message in front of at least one Big 3 executive -- Bill Ford -- who undoubtedly appreciated Obama's promise for financial support for helping Michigan automakers retool to turn out cars that will run on alternative fuels.

In response to recent $4 a gallon gasoline, Obama laid out both a short-term and a long-term plan.

In the short run, Obama called for:
--$1,000 energy rebates to ease the pain of high fuel costs.
--A windfall profits tax on excessive oil profits.
--Selling some oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring down prices.
--Allowing a limited amount of additional oil exploration, including possibly off-shore, if that is necessary to obtain support for alternative fuel measures.

Recently, a bipartisan coalition of members of Congress released an energy plan that includes alternative fuel measures, along with some off-shore drilling. Obama said the measure is not perfect, but he said the nation cannot wait for perfection.

He also chided John McCain for his whole-hearted support for off-shore drilling, which was quickly followed by more than $1 million in contributions to his campaign by oil and natural gas executives, noting that oil companies have oil leases on 68 million acres of American land that they never have used and that off-shore drilling will not provide any relief for seven years. "If they don't use it, they should lose it," he said.

But Obama said he did agree with McCain's recent statement that our nation's dependence on foreign oil has been growing for 30 years. And, Obama noted, McCain has been in Washington for 26 of those years.

Obama also agreed with Texas oil man T. Boone Pickens, who said recently, "This is one emergency we cannot drill our way out of."

In addition to the short-term plan, Obama called for long-term measures, including:
--Increasing mileage standards by 4 percent a year.
--Extending the $7,000 tax redits for buying alternative fuel vehicles.
--$4 billion in loans and credits to automakers so they can retool their plants to build plug-in hybrids. "Automakers are not going to have to beg and plead to get the attention of the White House because they are going to have a partner in the White House," Obama promised.
--Requiring that 10 percent of American energy come from reneweable sources within four years.
--Extending production tax credits for five years for wind powre and solar power.
--Tax incentives and government contracts to encourage the next generation of biofuels.
--Safer ways to use nuclear power, including finding a solution to storage of nuclear waste.
--Modernizing the nation's utility grid.
--Reducing electrical usage by 15 percent by the end of the next dcade, including making new buildings 50 percent more efficient and basing utility profits on conservation not energy usage.

Overall, this was a different Obama speech from the ones seen on television during the primary. This was not about soaring rhetoric or hope or America's promise. It was a nuts-and-bolts policy speech, filled with plenty of specifics for all those cynics who claim Obama is short on substance. There was plenty of substance -- the kind that allows people to dare to hope.

McCain's Campaign Making Fun of Gas Conservation Measures -- Even As GOP Candidate Rogers Promotes Them

Sometimes a campaign can be a little too cute.

John McCain's presidential campaign decided to ridicule Barack Obama as he prepared to deliver a major address on energy and the economy Monday (August 4, 2008) by handing out tire gauges to the media. They were trying to claim that Obama had no plan for energy besides conservation (and what's wrong with conservation?), based on a remark he made about making sure your vehicle's tires are properly inflated.

Supposedly, Michigan Republicans also were handing out tire gauges to the hundreds of people lined up outside the Lansing Center for Obama's speech, although I stood in line close to a half hour and never saw anyone doing any such thing. (I did see one protester. She had to ask someone to take a picture of her with her anti-Obama sign because no one else had even come with her.)

So if handing out tire gauges is such a cute idea, maybe we Democrats in Livingston County should try it.

After all, Bill Rogers, candidate for the Republican nomination for the 66th House seat, has been handing out business cards promoting his candidacy.

On the back, Rogers listed 13 ways to save gas.

At the top of the list?

"Check air pressure in tires."

That Rogers, I knew he was a tree-hugging liberal at heart.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Scary People Showing Up in Some Republican Races

Sometimes the best information in the Livingston Press and Argus shows up in its letters to the editor.

That was the case Sunday (August 3, 2008) when a letter-writer raised the possibility of extreme right-wing ties of some of the Republican candidates for office in Brighton Township, specifically Tom Murphy and Lana Theis. The candidates are tied up with a group called Americans for Prosperity, which was founded by the owner of Koch Industries, the world's largest polluter. His father was co-founder of the John Birch Society.

That information didn't appear to concern the newspaper, which endorsed the two anyway.

The John Birch Society, for crying out loud. How extreme are Republicans in Livingston County getting? Are there not any moderate voices in that party that voters could turn to?

Lazy Reporting Lets Free Press Put Blame on Workers

If there is one thing I cannot stand as a former journalist it is lazy reporting. And too often that's what we get, especially from business reporters.

The latest example is Detroit Free Press business writer Tom Walsh. His column Sunday (August 3, 2008) is the classic case of a reporter who would rather cozy up to CEOs in industry than take the time to find out what's really going on. This column is so bad I can barely stand to link to it. You can guess the premise -- there are no jobs in Michigan because of the UAW.

As usual management is held blameless in everything that goes wrong between workers and their bosses. Oh, sure, there is a veiled mention late in the article about CEOs receiving huge bonuses, but Walsh won't name any of them and the amounts they received. Perhaps he doesn't want to shock the sensibilities of his readers by mentioning words like "$250 million."

Yet he can point fingers specifically at Ron Gettelfinger and the UAW.

Walsh also brushes off the billions in concessions that Gettelfinger negotiated for the Big Three. Why is that a sign of a "tough labor climate"? Isn't that the sign of a union that values its employers and bent over backwards to help them survive? Don't see that in the article anywhere, do you?

Why does the Free Press always blame workers and never examine management closely? Why is that a UAW company like Deere & Co. is making millions of dollars (their stock just split a few months ago) while paying high wages to members of the same union as the Big 3? Could it be that Deere has strong management while the Big 3 is poorly run? Could not the Free Press examine the differences between the companies and get some answers?

Oh, but that would be too much work. And lord knows we can't have reporters doing any of that, not when they can dash off a column from the top of their head, relying on the same old stereotypes.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hottest Ticket in Town? One for Obama's Talk

I'm not the kind to camp out all night to get tickets to the Rose Bowl or a concert -- not even if the dear-departed Beatles came back to life and got back together with the others. But I do believe that the early bird gets the worm, so I was outside Gone Wired Cafe in Lansing before 8:30 a.m. Saturday (August 2, 2008) to get in line for a ticket for Barack Obama's speech on energy and the economy Monday at the Lansing Center.

Of course there was a line -- out the door and along the front of the building and down the side. Not too bad, I thought, as I let my passenger out at what I thought was the end of the line. But as I drove two blocks down a sidestreet, I realized the line hadn't ended where I thought it had, only turned down an alley, then turned on another sidestreet, made another turn for one block and then turned again.

Maybe this bird hadn't been early enough, I began to think, as I took my place in the line that snaked five blocks away from the cafe. At least I was better off than those standing behind me in the continually growing line -- although not as secure as those who came at 10:30 p.m. Friday night or 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

I felt good about my chances to get one of the tickets -- rumored to number about 5,700 -- when the line started to move ahead quickly. I enjoyed the scene on the shady side street -- people selling coffee and breakfast burritos to the waiting Obama supporters, 8th Congressional District candidate Bob Alexander working the crowd, chatting with a few Democrats I happened to know, cars going by with liberal bumper stickers (my favorite: "Grand Oil Party"), admiring the hosta gardens in some yards.

It was so orderly and peaceful. No one even dropped a piece of litter. I didn't mind the wait -- until a woman came by who seemed to know telling everybody that we wouldn't get tickets because they had all been given away.

Still, we waited. The line, which once moved ahead steadily, had stalled to a crawl. We were less than a block away. Surely some of the 5,700 tickets were left.

As luck would have it, we barely got tickets. Those behind us signed up to be the first called when Obama comes again -- as he surely will -- for an event later in a larger facility at Michigan State University.

Such enthusiasm for a political candidate is unbelievable. How long would people stand in line for a ticket to hear John McCain?

If people will stand in line two hours for a ticket to listen to Obama, let's hope they will stand in line that long to vote for him come November.

And if enough of them do that, imagine how they will queue when he asks them to visit their members of Congress to demand they vote for change.

Now that would be worth getting up early for.

County Commission Candidate Gets Top Endorsement

It's easy for candidates to get endorsements from people who don't know them very well -- answer a few questions the right way, figure out their hot button issues and zero in on those and you're in.

But when somebody knows a candidate really, really well, who has seen them in all kinds of situations, endorses them, that says something.

Especially when it's your kid.

Adrian Campbell Montgomery of Hartland, Democratic candidate for Livingston County Commissioner in the third district, has put together an adorable ad featuring her daughter, Aurora, advocating for her mom's candidacy.

It's cute -- especially when Aurora flashes the Michigan-mitten. And it's also accurate. Adrian will do a great job!

Adrian was featured in Michael Moore's movie on health care, Sicko. Her story about her health care provider's refusal to pay for her cancer treatment because she was too young brings audiences to tears. Even 8th Congressional District candidate Bob Alexander nearly broke down after hearing her talk about her experience at a recent Barack Obama Campaign for Change rally in Livingston County.

Adrian has pledged, if elected, not to take the free health care that Livingston County lavishes on its part-time commissioners.

So if you enjoy the commercial, help out Adrian by passing it on.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Line Up For Obama Tickets in Lansing!

Cancel that shopping trip for Saturday. Forget about sleeping in. You want to go to Lansing and get tickets to see Barack Obama on Monday.

The Illinois senator will speak at 11:30 a.m. Monday (August 4, 2008) at the Lansing Center. He will talk about his plans to help hard-pressed working families being hit by disappearing jobs and rising gas prices. Doors will open at 9 a.m.

The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available starting at 9 a.m. Saturday (August 2, 2008) at Gone Wired Cafe, 2021 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing.

Because of security concerns, those who attend the speech are asked not to bring bags and to limit personal items. No signs or banners will be allowed.

Obama in Lansing on Monday!

Our turn at last!

The Lansing State Journal reports Friday (August 1, 2008) that Barack Obama will be in Lansing on Monday.

He will speak on energy issues at the Lansing Center at 11:30 a.m., according to local Democrats.

We'll tell you more when we know more!

Hat tip to Michigan Liberal for this.

Still Growing, and Growing, and Growing...

It's the end of the month and time to brag a little bit again.

Living Blue showed continued growth in July. Visits were up 9.98 percent, and page views were up 19.07 percent over the month of June.

Living Blue continues to attract attention from other liberal sites, as referrals from other sites were up 29.44 percent. Michigan Liberal and helped funnel readers our way.

Our visitors came from 20 countries and territories around the world. From within the U.S., people from 39 states stopped by.

Michigan readers, of course, are our mainstay. Traffic from within the state came from 98 different cities and was up 15.8 percent over June.

We must be doing something right!