Sunday, November 30, 2008

Is Archer In Line for Post in Obama Administration?

It was a bit of a surprise recently (Nov. 20, 208) when former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer announced that he would not be running for governor in 2010. The former Michigan Supreme Court justice had told the news media months before that he was exploring a possible run after Gov. Jennifer Granholm leaves office due to term limits.

In declining to run, Archer cited his unwillingness to spend the necessary time away from his family in order to campaign, saying he basically would have to "marry" the state of Michigan.

That doesn't mean he has lost his taste for politics. Archer was a major and active supporter of President-elect Obama here in Michigan, spending time on the campaign and not just lending his name.

Could it be that some position is waiting for him in the Obama administration? At his news conference, Archer said he didn't expect that to happen. And most of the high-profile cabinet posts have been filled.

Granholm has been mentioned as a possible U.S. Supreme Court justice should a vacancy occur in the next four years, as is extremely likely. But Archer seems an equally plausible pick. Not only did Archer support Obama earlier than did Granholm (who was a backer of Sen. Hillary Clinton), but he served on Michigan's highest court. And he was once voted Michigan's most respected judge.

Archer also would do a fine job on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, or any number of other posts.

So I'm betting we haven't heard the last of Dennis Archer as a public servant.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

National Interest Picking Up in Funding Rogers' Challenger?

During the fall campaign, Michigan congressional districts 7 and 9 dominated the news and the attention of political junkies elsewhere. But after Republican incumbents in those two districts lost on Nov. 4 to Democrats Mark Schauer and Gary Peters, the Washington-based blog, The Hill, has begun to wonder about the future standing of some of Michigan's other Republican members of Congress.

In a recent post, The Hill noted that the results of the Nov. 4 congressional races showed which Republican incumbents likely will be targeted for defeat in 2010, based on their unimpressive wins this time. One of those is likely to be Thaddeus McCotter, who managed just 51 percent against a Democratic challenger who only spent $25,000.

The Hill adds that, "McCotter saw two neighboring Detroit-area GOPers lose, while a fourth area incumbent, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), took just 56 percent against an unheralded and under-funded challenger."

The unheralded and under-funded challenger was, of course, Democrat Bob Alexander. Alexander ended up with a $35,000 campaign debt, which he is working to retire. If you'd like to help out, visit his webpage and make a donation via ActBlue. Then invite your friends to do the same.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Commissioners Look At Buying New Toy

Remember those billboards before the election? The ones the Republicans put up to tell us all how fortunate we are to have one-party rule in Livingston County because the Republicans are so good at saving the taxpayers money?

Well, the election is over and the same Commissioners who said we couldn’t possibly afford a commuter system between Howell and Ann Arbor, one which would bring us new business and jobs, now want to buy a $1.7 million Central Dispatch system that will not do much more than the existing system.

According to the Press & Argus, November 26, 2008, the new system will help with record keeping.

“Obviously, it’s a more advanced system than what we have,” said Dick Winsett, director of Central Dispatch. “It would provide more information and newer technology to public safety for their record management concerns.”

There are numerous software systems that will keep records efficiently for the jail and prosecutor’s office. Some of them can probably be integrated into the existing Dispatch system. The County Commissioners should look at how other counties handle their records.

“The downside of this, of course, is our existing system with CLEMIS is very cost-effective,” said Commissioner Dave Domas, also chairman of the PublicSafety/Judiciary Committee. “We only pay $41,000 a year for the system that we’ve got, and it works.“It doesn’t do everything that we want,” Domas added.

So, Dave, why are you wasting time looking at a new system if it’s not cost-efficient? What do you want the system to do, Dave? Serve coffee and snacks at the Board meetings? Or did SunGard’s slick salespeople cause you to “need” a new system.

Put this one on the ballot, Dave. I guarantee you will lose. Or go ahead and buy the system and lose in 2010. People are hurting, Dave. They want something that will bring jobs and business here – something like the WALLY or spending money on our crumbling infrastructure.

What is it with our County Commissioners? After the 2006 election, they suddenly found $1.5 million for a new jail. After the 2008 election, after all the budget crunching and downsizing, we suddenly have the funds for a new Dispatch system? Something is rotten in the state of Denmark and the county of Livingston and the stink is coming from the Commissioners Board Room.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Feeling Things Slip Away, Are They?

When you're part of a team, some people play offense, some people play defense.

President-elect Barack Obama did not carry Livingston County, but his supporters put up one heck of a defensive stand. Obama's 42.5 percent showing was far better than John Kerry's 36 percent from 2004.

But don't take my word for it. Look at what someone at Republican Michigander is saying:

"Countywide, I consider a 55.79% win a big loss. Period. Same thing I said about the 2006% election. In order for a Republican to win statewide, 64-65% is minimum. Anything less at the top of the ticket is most likely a loss."

In other words, in order for Republicans to win statewide at the top of the ticket, they need to get at least 64 percent of the total vote in Livingston County.

That's why we Democrats keep working so hard here in Livingston County. The votes for statewide victory can come from Livingston County as well as from Wayne or elsewhere.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Citiigroup's No Questions Asked Bail-out -- Where's Their Plan?

OK, it's fair to ask the automakers what they intend to do with $25 billion that the taxpayers would loan them during this economic emergency.

It's fair to ask what sacrifices auto executives are prepared to make, such as flying commercial first class instead of in private jets.

But why weren't executives of Citigroup asked to do those things in order to get their second multi-billion-dollar bailout -- $20 billion on top of $25 billion earlier?

Citigroup did not have to beg in front of a congressional hearing. It just cut some kind of a deal with Secretary of the Treasury Paulson. Details to follow.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explains the difference in the federal attitude toward helping Wall Street and Motown in this post linked to by Michigan Liberal.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kudos to Bill Milliken

During the past election campaign, candidates were asked to name a leader of the opposite party that we admired. Bill Milliken’s name sprang immediately to my mind. A gentleman of civility and bipartisanship that accomplished so much for Michigan, he deserves to be remembered by Democrats and Republicans alike, although it’s doubtful he would be allowed in today’s GOP.

Jack Lessenberry writes in the Traverse City Record-Eagle, Nov. 23, 2008:

'Remember the 1970s, when Michigan was a prosperous state, our public schools were widely praised and there was a fair amount of bipartisanship in government?
'Those years are sometimes known as the Milliken era, and last Tuesday night, dozens of former officeholders, journalists and admirers packed Laurel Manor in Livonia to pay tribute to William Milliken, a Republican who was the longest-serving governor in Michigan history. The event was sponsored by the Michigan Political History Society. Among those who spoke was Democrat Frank Kelley, who was the longest-serving state attorney general in U.S. history.
'When it was his turn to speak, Milliken, now 86, sounded the themes that had marked his administration, including returning civility and common decency to politics. Quoting one of his heroes, Judge Learned Hand, he also said that "term limits have been a disaster" for government in Michigan, a view widely shared.'

We can hope that the 21st Century will bring us again the civility and bipartisanship of Bill Milliken. Perhaps it is audacious to hope that Barack Obama will lead the way to a new kind of politics and Congressional and Michigan politics will follow but I am feeling very audacious.

Alabama's Shelby Overlooking Struggles in Auto Industry in Home State

Alabama's Richard Shelby is catching plenty of well-deserved flak from Michigan writers for his stupid remarks against giving aid to domestic automakers.

Check out the Livingston Press and Argus editorial for Sunday (Nov. 23, 2008) which notes it's "ugly to see the members if the Southern congressional delegation almost rooting for our collapse so that their band of foreign auto plants can have a greater market share. Reflecting on the Civil War, I can sort of understand Sherman's attitude.

"Provincialism aside, they should look not only at the national good but at their own best interests.

"According to the CAR report, a collapse of our Big Three will cripple suppliers and likely put foreign auto manufacturers in America out of business for at least a year."

Then there's this from Mitch Albom from The Detroit Free Press, who calls out Shelby thusly:

"Sen. Shelby. Yes. You. From Alabama. You've been awfully vocal. You called the Detroit Three's leaders 'failures.' You said loans to them would be 'wasted money.' You said they should go bankrupt and 'let the market work.'

"Why weren't you equally vocal when your state handed out hundreds of millions in tax breaks to Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Honda and others to open plants there? Why not 'let the market work'? Or is it better for Alabama if the Detroit Three fold so that the foreign companies -- in your state -- can produce more?

"Way to think of the nation first, senator."

Well, it turns out the "market" isn't working so hot for those foreign manufacturers down in Alabama, either. Check out the layoffs, buy-outs, and production cuts that are in progress in Shelby's home state, according to Edmunds Auto Observer.

The piece notes that Shelby's fellow senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama has called the auto industry there vibrant, even as sales of the vehicles made in Alabama are off from 20 percent to 39 percent and as at least one of the plants is offering buy-outs to all of its 11,000 workers.

So Michigan workers do not need to feel that they are alone. It turns out Shelby doesn't care any more about workers in his own state than he does the ones here in Michigan.

Friday, November 21, 2008

In Hamburg, the More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

The in-fighting in Hamburg Township did not stop with the Nov. 4 election.

Replacing one Republican (JoAnna Hardesty) with another (Matt Skiba) in the township clerk's job did not end the squabbling.

The latest incident is a sign erected by a Hardesty supporter attacking Skiba for his past financial problems. (Sign photo from Livingston Press and Argus website.)

Hardesty did not give up after losing to Skiba in the Republican primary, choosing to run a write-in campaign. Foolishly, the Press and Argus endorsed her instead of Democrat Debby Buckland. So Hamburg ended up with Skiba.

And the soap opera bubbles on.

Dem Straight-Ticket Voting On the Rise in Livingston

More people in the Nov. 4 election took to heart the motto, "Make It Emphatic, Vote Straight Democratic," according to election results.

Straight ticket voting by Democrats went up, while straight ticket voting by Republicans went down.

Overall, 38,729 people cast straight-ticket ballots, down from 40,111 in 2004, according to official returns. In percentage terms, straight-ticket voting made up 38.61 percent of the ballots this election, down from 42.67 percent in 2004.

All of the decline was due to a 12.53 percent drop in Republicans splitting their tickets or just not showing up at all. Republican voters choosing to vote for every candidate in their party dropped by 3,457, to 24,124. Meanwhile, Democrats saw a 14.58 percent jump in straight-ticket voting. Some 14,067 people cast straight-Democratic ballots, up 1,790 from 2004.

In percentage terms, straight Democratic ballots went up to 14.02 percent of the total votes, from 13.06 in 2004, while GOP ballots went down to 24.05 percent of the total ballots cast, from 29.34 percent.

Democrats made up more than one-third of the straight-ticket voters -- 36.32 percent this election, compared with 30.6 percent four years ago.

That's a trend we like to see.

Videos Show Livingston Diversity Council's Past

The Livingston Press and Argus has three well-done videos up on the history of the Livingston Diversity Council.

They are especially timely, given Barack Obama's 42 percent showing on Nov. 4 in the county. Safe to say that would not have been possible without the sensitizing work of the council.

The videos are on the local news channel of the Press and Argus's website.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not Fighting Very Hard

Okay, so now we now a little more about how hard Republican Mike Rogers is fighting for jobs for Michigan.

He was still studying the details as late as Tuesday as thousands of jobs in his district were on the verge of disappearing. Way to fight, Mike!

But at least we got that much out of him, or as Michigan Liberal says, at least we "shamed" him into making a statement.

Yet Rogers' statement is so vague, it's hard to tell if he supports a new loan for the auto industry or if he merely wants to re-write the terms of a $25 billion loan the domestic auto makers were given back in September to re-tool for more fuel efficient vehicles.

He also says other lawmakers need to be educated about the need for the loan, but it's not clear how that's being done. Is he personally meeting with other Republican lawmakers? How many meetings as he had? What arguments is he making?

Rogers does not seem to be in high gear for this battle. If he has gubernatorial dreams, he'd better look at what's ahead and put a little more effort into this fight.


What do numbers mean? What do dollars mean? In the recent election campaign, the Livingston Republicans put up billboards and ran TV ads boasting about how they kept taxes low and attained an AA bond rating by their one-party rule. But all is not well in Livingston County
In the Press & Argus, Rich Perlberg: By the Numbers Your Help Is Needed, Nov. 16, 2008, the General Manager of the P&A gives numerous statistics that prove the existence of grueling, awful poverty in this affluent county.

This is not news to those of us who understand that poverty exists along with affluence. It can be seen by those who open their eyes. If those of us who ran for the State House didn’t know it, we heard about it when we attended the Livingston County Human Services Collaborative Body forum last September 24. That is, we heard about it if we bothered to attend. Bill Rogers was evidently too busy counting tax monies to make it.

Perlberg writes:

“Those are some of the harsh numbers. They put into perspective the personal stories most of you hear — the neighbor who got laid off, the co-worker whose home is in foreclosure, the family that moved because there was no work here.
“The agencies that produced this report stressed how they are working together by seeking efficiencies, leveraging efforts for state grants and publicizing services, especially for those who have never before found themselves needing financial help.
“But they need your help, your money and your time. Look at it this way. If 3,000 homes were in foreclosure, that means 50,000 or more were not. Now more than ever, those are the folks who need to look past the numbers and help their neighbors — even, and perhaps especially, those they have never met.”

So what Rich is saying is what we saved on taxes, we should give to charity to feed the hungry, care for children’s medical needs and shelter the homeless. We should even give a little bit more to cover for the people who don’t contribute. Then we can feel good about ourselves playing Lord and Lady Bountiful. Yes, we can be generous and compassionate. What we are not is fair and just. Justice demands that we share resources with others. If we follow justice, the County may even borrow some money to help citizens of Livingston County – I think borrowing is one of the uses of an AA bond rating. Or we may even go so far as to allow our taxes to be raised a mill or two so that we can provide health insurance for the impoverished as well as the County Commissioners.

A new day is coming, a new political climate is blowing in the wind but we still don’t get it in Livingston County. Values are changing. Good government and low taxes are not synonymous.

Wake up! Livingston!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Romney in 2012? We'll Remember This

Mitt Romney may have just dealt a big set-back to any presidential plans he may have for 2012.

In an op-ed piece for The New York Times on Wednesday (Nov. 19, 2008) the Michigan native argues that America's automakers should be allowed to go bankrupt.

Romney shows himself to be totally out of touch with what has gone on with the American auto industry in recent years -- the massive restructuring and down-sizing that already has taken place, the investment in new products such as the Chevy Volt that are soon to be released, and the supportive role that the UAW has played in this.

Most out of touch is his criticism of the $2,000 discrepancy between pay and benefits in domestic automakers' costs vs. foreign ones, which he of course blames on the workers and retirees. That $2,000 is almost entirely due to the absence of universal health care in this country, which forces automakers to pick up the slack.

We'll remember this, Mitt. Elephants aren't the only ones with long memories.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mike Rogers AWOL So Far On Auto Aid

I still have my glossy brochure from Mike Rogers, sent right before the Nov. 4 election.

Fighting hard for Michigan jobs, it said.

Now that the election is past and the hometown boy has been returned to his government job, Rogers is pretty silent about protecting the jobs of the rest of us.

What exactly has he said on aid to the auto industry?

Where is Rogers' leadership as the main industry in his state teeters on the edge of bankruptcy?

If he's against it, why doesn't he say so? If he's for it, why doesn't he say so? Does it take this long for him to figure out which way the wind is blowing?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Perils of Mixing School Board, National Elections

A move that was supposed to save money may have ended up costing some Livingston County residents the right to vote in their local school board elections.

Democratic poll challengers working in absentee ballot counting boards in at least one township report that some absentee voters were mailed ballots containing the wrong school board race. In order for the ballots to be counted on the tabulator for the proper school district, the votes had to be manually transferred to new ballots.

Of course, the poll inspectors doing the duplication had no way of knowing how the voters might have voted in the proper school district election. So those contests had to be left blank. Tough luck.

Who knows if this spread beyond one township or beyond Livingston County. The Michigan Secretary of State's office might well know.

This mix-up is a result of a Michigan law that allowed school districts to move their elections from May to November. The move is ostensibly to save money but a Republican desire to turn non-partisan contests into ideological battles probably was part of the motivation.

As a result, the precious right to vote, purchased with the sacrifices of our military as well as civilian activists, is a little more disposable.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Million Hits--But Still Something Is Missing

Congratulations to the Livingston Press and Argus for its thriving website, as noted in Maria Stuart's piece for Sunday (Nov. 16, 2008).

The column notes:

"For the first two weeks of November, we're closing in on almost 600,000 hits, surely helped a bit by the election. Even so, we're regularly averaging well over a million hits a month.

"More than a million hits!

"Never, in a million years, did I dream that would be averaging more than a million hits a month."

Sadly, the news media as a whole has been slow to figure out the whole internet-thing, but it's good to see that locally the media is now trying to catch up.

Stuart goes on to note that the Press and Argus regularly posts videos of events, including the two candidate debates it sponsored this election year.

Unfortunately, that's not the whole story. For the last debate, the newspaper put up video of only some of the candidates in its Oct. 30 debate.

Video of Democrat Donna Anderson's debate with Bill Rogers in the 66th House District and of Democrat Bob Alexander's debate with Mike Rogers never made it to the site that I could find.

Maybe the newspaper wasn't too proud of the way its two endorsed candidates performed against their Democratic opponents.

'Terrible Aftermath' of Obama Win -- What Do We Do Now?

The news media never lets a sunny day go by without looking for storm clouds on the horizon. So it's no surprise that in the days after Barack Obama's historic victory, we have seen stories about panicked gun owners rushing out to buy more guns because they think Obama is going to take away their guns. Or at least that's what the people who sell guns have been telling them so that they can sell more guns.

But there is one phenomenon that has been missed -- the trauma of Obama fans obsessed with his candidacy. Now they must face the daunting question -- what do we do now?

We in Livingston County are not immune to this trauma, but we're coping somewhat better than the folks in this video:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is Oakland County the New Macomb?

During the Republican National Convention, which now seems like years ago, Republican Rep. Candace Miller from Macomb County was part of a cable-news panel discussing how well the McCain-Palin ticket would do in Michigan.

Yeah, that was before everyone knew about the $150,000 shopping spree, before the Katie Couric interview, before all the details of Trooper-Gate, before McCain pulled out of Michigan, before the campaign suspension, and before all the other foolishness that characterized the McCain-Palin ticket. But still, Miller said McCain-Palin would carry Macomb County by seven or eight points.

Well, like so many other Republican promises, that didn't happen.

In fact, pollster Stanley Greenberg, who built his career on watching the so-called Reagan Democrats of Macomb County, has lost interest in the phenomenon.

In an op-ed in The New York Times, Greenberg says goodbye to the Reagan Democrats of Macomb County. Says Greenberg:

"I conducted a survey of 750 Macomb County residents who voted Tuesday, and their responses put their votes in context. Before the Democratic convention, barely 40 percent of Macomb County voters were 'comfortable' with the idea of Mr. Obama as president, far below the number who were comfortable with a nameless Democrat. But on Election Day, nearly 60 percent said they were 'comfortable' with Mr. Obama. About the same number said Mr. Obama 'shares your values' and 'has what it takes to be president.'

"Given Macomb’s history, this story helps illustrate America’s evolving relationship with race. These voters, like voters elsewhere, watched Mr. Obama intently and became confident he would work for all Americans and be the steady leader the times required."

Greenberg goes on to say that Oakland County next door is now more interesting because it too went big for Obama, yet its residents were more open to ideas like gay marriage and affirmative action.

"On Tuesday, Oakland County voters gave Mr. Obama a 57 percent to 42 percent victory over John McCain — those 15 points translated into an astonishing 96,000-vote margin. That helped form one of the most important new national changes in the electorate: Mr. Obama built up striking dominance in the country’s growing, more diverse and well-educated suburbs," Greenberg wrote.

Could it be the beginning of a new-style Democratic coalition?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's Okay To Be Smart Again

As a university instructor, one of the hardest things for me the last eight years was watching the "dumbing down" of the American presidency. George Bush has two college degrees, yet he seemed to pride himself on his ability to come across as ignorant.

Besides his own personal behavior, he chose officials in his administration based on their loyalty to a narrow ideology rather than any minimum amount of competency in the field of their assigned responsibilities. We all remember "Heck of a job, Brownie" after Katrina, but several authors have pointed out the same sort of cronyism in the Iraq occupation.

Soon we will have someone with a real intellect in the White House again. Barack Obama is also a professor -- of constitutional law at the University of Chicago. He thinks, as anyone can tell who has read his books. He is intellectually curious. He surrounds himself with similar people. Coupled with that intellectual brilliance is a lot of street smarts, too.

Imagine, the president of the United States of America will once again speak in coherent sentences. He will not insult the public's intelligence by pretending to be just a regular guy.

It's okay to be smart again.

Still Growing and Growing and Growing

The month of October ended a while ago, but I was a little tied up, what with having to help out with a historic election and all. So I'm a little late reporting on our monthly stats.

Our monthly stats, like interest in the Democratic Party, is way up. Total visits were up 19.92 percent over September. Unique visitors were up 29.78 percent. And those who came to the site viewed 12.53 percent more pages.

Visitors came from 43 countries and territories. Those from within the U.S. came from 47 states and territories. Only people from North and South Dakota, Arkansas, and Vermont shunned us. Michigan visitors alone were up 33.16 percent. They represented 105 cities within the state.

The election is over, but the news goes on -- a new administration in Washington, a new legislative session in Lansing, and on-going politicking.

So stick around.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Livingston County Follows Trend of Fast-Growing Counties

In the exurbs, political alignments may be changing, and Livingston County is not immune to the change. reported Monday (Nov. 10, 2008) that Barack Obama did much better in the nation's 100 fastest-growing counties than did John Kerry in 2004. Obama carried 15 of the counties and cut into George Bush's margin in many of the others.

Livingston County has been one of Michigan's fastest-growing counties, even though it may not make the top 100 nationally. But Obama's strong showing here indicates that the point of Politico's piece probably extends well beyond the top 100 fastest growing counties.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Won't Be Needing that Phone Booth Any More

Our friends over at Conservative Media have a great post-election piece.

How did they know we put that phone booth up for sale?

There's also a great piece on GOP involvement in the defeat of money for new computers and buses for Brighton school kids.

A few days before the election, I saw a sign that read "No Tecknolegy" next to one of the anti-bond signs.

I guess Republicans are against money for spelling, too.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dave Bonior for Secretary of Labor?

The word is out that former Michigan Congressman Dave Bonior is one of three people under consideration for Secretary of Labor in President-elect Barack Obama's administration.

What a boon to working people that would be! There is no one who understands working people better than Dave Bonior, who graced us with his presence at our "Countdown to Victory" party at Whispering Pines.

The Associated Press has a list of other cabinet possibilities in the upcoming Obama administration.

Sign of the Times

Less than 12 hours after Barack Obama squashed John McCain in the electoral college, I was on my way to campus in Ann Arbor along the back roads of Livingston County.

Winding along Winans Lake Road, I passed the big, white Obama-Biden sign that came from the Livingston County Democratic Party office, and headed up the hill to where the speed limit rises to 45 miles per hour.

And there it was. The McCain-Palin sign. Stuffed in a garbage can, waiting to be picked up along with the chicken bones and carry-out pizza boxes, as if its owner couldn't wait to be rid of it.

It made me smile.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Suffering and Politics

Livingston County is known for its conservatism.

Democrats who run for township clerk are called baby-killers because they support a woman's right to choose whether to continue or end a difficult pregnancy, regardless of the fact that township clerks have nothing to do with the abortion issue.

Conservative groups tried to use the same baby-killing rhetoric against Proposal 2, the measure allowing embryonic stem cell research to go forward in Michigan. Churches used all sorts of scare tactics to try to link the search for cures for debilitating illnesses to killing babies.

It didn't work across Michigan and it didn't work in Livingston County. Proposal 2 carried even in Livingston County.

Why? Perhaps it has to do with suffering. Lots of people find it easy to condemn a woman who feels she has no choice but to end a pregnancy. They can't put themselves in her place or understand that a late-term abortion may be absolutely necessary to save her life. Even John McCain ridiculed the notion that a woman's "health" might be impaired by a pregnancy.

But it's much easier to put yourself in the place of someone with diabetes or Parkinson's disease. A man who will condemn a woman for getting an abortion never has to worry about getting pregnant. But he might get Parkinson's disease. And he sure doesn't want to suffer from it. All of a sudden, the fate of those microscopic cells seems unimportant next to his own potential suffering.

Same thing with Proposal 1, medical marijuana. Not everybody can get pregnant but anybody can get cancer. Everybody knows someone who has had cancer and seen them suffer the ravages of chemotherapy. Much easier to put yourself into the shoes of a cancer sufferer than a woman who was raped and gotten pregnant. That's unimaginable. But cancer is another thing entirely. It strikes too close to home.

Let's face it. Suffering is a hard sell in the 21st century.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did!

Call me superstitious, but Livingston County Democrats had buttons printed in advance of Tuesday's election that said, "Yes We Did!"

But I wouldn't let anybody bring them out until after the networks called the race for Barack Obama.

They were snapped up in 30 seconds.

A more detailed analysis will come later, but our goal in Livingston County was to increase the vote for the Democratic candidate for president by 10 percent over what John Kerry earned in 2004. In fact, we increased it by 24.5 percent.

Thanks to the efforts of volunteers who worked thousands of hours over the last few months and the decision of the Obama campaign to put a field organizer in Livingston County, Obama tallied 8,355 more votes than Kerry did.

We came very close on our other goal -- carrying the county for Carl Levin. Levin's 45,680 votes were just 546 shy of the Republican's 46,226.

A personal goal was to defeat Cliff Taylor. And Livingston County certainly helped with that.

Diane Hathaway carried Livingston County -- 33,011 to 31,750. For months, I have made it a point to mention the race to anyone who came into our office. And the Obama volunteers carried thousands of pieces of literature about Hathaway to the doors of Democratic supporters. We held three events in the last year in our county publicizing the horrible effects of Cliff Taylor's rulings on Michigan working families. Hathaway's victory is one of the most important events from Tuesday night for average people in Michigan.

But most amazing to me about Tuesday night was the way people at our election night party didn't really want the campaign to end. Many made it a point to say that they want to stay involved.

We can't let this feeling slip away. And we won't.

Yes We Did and Yes We Will!

Good Morning!

Brand New Day


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today's the Day!

In the Science section of today's NY Times, a really fascinating article on why people vote and the significance of strong voter turnout ("When Duty Calls: The Value of Voting, Beyond Politics"). On the practical side, there's an interactive electoral map and other analytical tools.

The Washington Post has a goodie-filled page with interactive maps, poll closing times and even weather forecasts around the country.

Slate will have an hour-by-hour guide to reading the returns.

The Huffington Post's Off The Bus is asking for your voting stories.

Attention, political junkies: the information buffet is now open. Feast to your hearts' content -- but remember to get out and cast your vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Almost to the Finish Line

We're almost there...
... stay strong! Three cheers for Donna, Matt, Walt, Debby, Dave, Bob and all who have stepped up to make a difference in this crucial election year. We are proud of you!