Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We Want Blood -- And Volunteers

Livingston County Dems are out for blood -- but it's for a good cause.

The party is sponsoring a blood drive in cooperation with the American Red Cross on Monday, June 15, 2009 at party headquarters, 10321 E. Grand River, Suite 600, Brighton.

The blood drive will run from noon to 6 p.m.

We could use some volunteers to help with simple tasks like registering donors and passing out refreshments, as well as two physically-fit volunteers able to unload the Red Cross equipment from the truck in the morning and two more to re-load it after the blood drive.

Contact Pam Green, Blue Tiger coordinator for the Livingston Dems, at or to volunteer or sign up to give blood.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

One More of Us!

This isn't local, but Arlen Specter's decision to put a "D" after his name is good news for Democrats at every level.

Monday, April 27, 2009

About that Money for Flu Epidemics

Now that the swine flu appears to have reached Livingston County, I wonder if Republicans are still proud as peacocks that one of theirs knocked out funding for pandemics from the stimulus bill.

After all, any self-respecting independent American ought to be able to fight a flu pandemic single-handedly.

Deval Patrick: What a Difference A Generation Makes

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has a personal story that is every bit as compelling as President Obama's, and he told it well at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Saturday (April 25, 2009) in Detroit.

Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Patrick, his mother, and his sister shared a set of bunk beds in the second bedroom of his grandparents' two-bedroom apartment. Every third night, one of the three slept on the floor.

Now his own daughter lives a well-off existence that includes having stayed in high-priced hotels so that when asked to describe "the four seasons" as a kindergartener, she described staying at the ritzy hotel of that name.

"One generation," Patrick said, is all that separates his daughter from the poverty he grew up in and which he escaped thanks to a scholarship to a Massachusetts boarding school and his own talent and efforts.

That has been the American story for many generations -- one generation doing better than the previous one.

We need a million more stories like Patrick's.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Freeman Launches Website; Will Gubernatorial Bid Follow?

John Freeman, a former member of the Michigan House, has a new website up:

Freeman is using it to solicit ideas about ways to improve Michigan.

Often mentioned as a likely candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010, Freeman is now leading the Michigan chapter of Health Care for Michigan Now.

You'll get a chance to meet him at the Livingston Dems' 26th annual Winans Dinner coming up on Sunday, May 3.

Tickets are available by calling (810) 229-4212 or emailing

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Working to Save Kindergarten(130 students)

April 20, 2009
Dear Michael Darner, Foreign Policy Aide to Rep. Conyers,
I talked with Rep Conyers last night and he took my flyer and had me write your name at the top of it. I told him that you were working on getting a letter signed by the MI Congressional Delegation that would go to the US State Dept and to the Israeli Embassy concerning the village of Al Aqaba and its 130 student kindergarten. I also gave a flyer to Rep. Maxine Waters, 35th District Rep from CA, who was the keynote speaker at the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights Dinner last night. She briefly talked about the human rights of the Palestinians along with many other human rights violations that are occuring around the world. She encouraged us to be courageous in standing up for human rights everywhere.

Last night the Youth Award went to Lydia Wylie-Kellerman who just came back from Palestine. She said that the award really belongs to the Palestinian children she met there. They are the courageous ones who live daily under fearful conditions.

It is important that the demolition orders against this village and its kindergarten be lifted as the village lives under the fear that the bulldozers can come at any moment. We must ACT!


Mares Hirchert
2641 Sun Terrace
Hartland, MI 48353

Melissa K from Sen Stabenow's office called me on 4-17-09 and said that Senator Stabenow's office had talked with the Congressional Liason to the US State Dept a couple days ago and that the US Consulate General in Jerusalem and the Embassy in Tel Aviv as well as the High Court of Justice are well aware of our concern about this village and its kindergarten.

Mike K from Sen Levin's office is very knowledgeable about this, too, and mentioned that he was going to contact the US State Dept in writing as well but I have not received anything in writing that this has occured. We had a good meeting with Mike on Feb 3rd in Levin's Wash DC office.

Paul Drury from Rep. Mike Rogers 8th District wrote that he sent a communication to the US State Dept but so far Paul has not written that he has received a reply. I live in the 8th Dist. and we had a good meeting with Paul on Feb 4th in Rogers' Wash DC office.

**April 25, 2009 Pax Christi Michigan is holding its 28th Annual State Conference at Marygrove College in Detroit. The Rebuilding Alliance will be gathering more petitions/postcards to ask Congress to ask the State Dept and the President to ACT on behalf of this Palestinian village and its kindergarteners. The Mayor of Al Aqaba and the children are doing their part, we need to help them!

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people. --Howard Zinn

The most important question in the world is, 'Why is the child crying?'--Alice Walker

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Say it Ain't So

How could Chrysler Financial executives been so selfish that they refused to sign waivers dealing with executive compensation and thus kept the company from qualifying from more federal assistance?

A report in the Detroit Free Press for Tuesday (April 21, 2009) says that was the case.

Saul Escalating Rhetoric Against Obama

Just because Saul Anuzis has left the Michigan Republican Party doesn't mean that we can't still kick him around a little bit.

According to The New York Times for Monday (April 20, 2009), Republicans have given up calling President Obama a "liberal" or even a "socialist" because those names no longer sound bad enough. So he's switching to calling Obama a "fascist," not because Obama really is a fascist, but because Saul thinks it will make people think Obama is bad.

The story says:

"We've so overused the word 'socialism' that it no longer has the negative connotation it had 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago," Mr. Anuzis said. "Fascism — everybody still thinks that’s a bad thing."

Sure, Saul says he doesn't really mean that Obama is a "fascist," only that what he does is "fascism."

Either way, it's not a tactic that is likely to find much appeal with independent-minded voters.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Does Mike Rogers Hate America?

Mike Rogers was in Russia recently on an "intelligence trip," and one of the pieces of "intelligence" he picked up is that the Soviet Union's top corporate tax rate is lower than that in the U.S. and that therefore they have a better business plan than the U.S.

A few years ago, if a Democrat would have gone to another country and made a favorable comparison between that country and the U.S., the Sean Hannitys of the world would have screamed bloody-murder. "Why does (fill in the blank) hate America?" was a common way of demonizing anyone who dared to criticize Bush's America.

So I guess it's only fair now to ask, "Why does Mike Rogers hate America?"

And for that matter, why does Mike Rogers hate Ronald Reagan, since the top marginal tax rates he now thinks are so terrible were even higher under Reagan -- as high as 50 percent for individuals. Reagan must have been a real pinko.

America -- love it or leave it, Mike.

Friday, April 17, 2009

To whom much is given...

Take a look at these headlines:

On Thursday, JPMorgan Chase became the latest bank, after Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo, to announce blockbuster profits in the first quarter. The reports fed a rally in financial stocks that began more than five weeks ago, when Citigroup and Bank of America, two of the banks hit hardest by the crisis, suggested the worst might already be over.

Banks are enjoying a fresh wave of profits from the government’s efforts to nurse the industry back to life

Privately, the lenders contend that the government offer was unfair.

"Ironically, politicians are accusing us of not wanting to lend more," said a source at one of Chrysler's creditors, referring to criticism that the reluctance of financial firms to make loans has stalled the economy. "But what's the incentive to provide loans if the government can come in at any time and trump you?"

Don't know about you, but I can come up with about $700 billion incentives...

Rep. Gary Peters put it quite nicely:

"These are banks that have received substantial investments from the government," said Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), whose district includes Chrysler headquarters. "We hope they will understand that what was given to them was not for their benefit, but to get the economy moving again and maintain American jobs. People are angry that again it seems like the banks are standing in the way."

Learn how Progress Michigan and FireDogLake have teamed up to remind JPMorgan/Chase of that old saying, "To whom much is given, much is expected."  

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What a busy day!

People do lots of things every April 15, and this year was no exception. 

Here in Michigan, Joe the Plumber came to Lansing for a Tea Party.  He was joined by Howell School Board member Wendy Day and Congressman Mike Rogers.  Mr. Rogers also unveiled his "Washington Waste Watch" website, which conveniently omits the $17.6 million worth of earmarks he personally inserted. 

In the meantime, responsible elected officials avoided the tea party media circus and worked to balance budgets and create jobs.  

Hale Stewart offered an interesting analysis of the politics (and economic realities) behind the "tea parties."

(Steve Sack cartoon from

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'Film-Friendly' Livingston County May Get Another Film

Another film-maker is looking at using the new Howell High School for a movie set.

One of the reasons cited by the company is that the community is "film-friendly."

Guess we need to hide the Livingston Press and Argus editorials attacking Gov. Jennifer Granholm's incentives for the movie industry.

BTW, why is that the Press and Argus lists this story under its "Entertainment" section? Isn't this business-related?

P.S. The Bay City Times has a totally different view, urging lawmakers to leave the film credits exactly the way they are.

Be Green, Help Clean on Sunday

Livingston Dems will assemble for their first roadside clean-up of the year this Sunday (April 19), as part of the Michigan Department of Transportation's highway clean-up program.

Meet at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot in front of the clubhouse at the Ironwood Golf Course, 6902 E. Highland Road (M-59), Howell, Michigan.

Safety vests, bags, and pick-up sticks are furnished.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lights, Camera -- and GOP Gripes

What's wrong with this picture?

Allen Park officials announce a huge movie studio deal that will bring desperately needed jobs to their city, but Republicans hate the program that made it possible and have been dumping all over it for months. Two similar projects are also in the works, which also will bring more jobs. The jobs are good-paying, union jobs that will empl...

Oh, I get it. It's the union part.

P.S. I forgot to add that the studio expects to create 3,000 jobs.
That sounds so good, I'll say it again -- 3,000 jobs.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hamburg Recall -- They Should Try to Get Along

It has happened.

A recall petition against Hamburg Township Clerk Matt Skiba has been filed. WHMI has the details, including a link to a copy of the full statement filed by former township trustee Mike Bitondo, who filed the recall.

What a costly exercise, at a time when taxpayers can least afford it. Can't these people learn to get along and take care of business?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Second Great Speaker Confirmed for Winans!

Not one, but two, potential statewide candidates in 2010 are now confirmed for the Livingston Dems' 26th Annual Winans Dinner.

John Freeman, a possible candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, is joining Jocelyn Benson, a likely candidate for Secretary of State, in speaking at the Sunday, May 3, event at Lakelands Golf and Country Club.

Freeman served in the Michigan House from 1992 to 1998, representing Madison Heights, Hazel Park, and Royal Oak before being term limited. In the House he worked on bills creating a State Earned Income Tax Credit, expanding the bottle deposit law to cover juice and water drinks and amending the Clean Air Act to prevent new incinerators from being located near schools, neighborhoods, hospitals and nursing homes.

Freeman now is director of Health Care for America Now, which recently issued a report warning that health care costs are ruining Michigan’s manufacturing base and suggesting that national health care reform will boost the nation’s economy.

He has worked on other issues, too -- organizing home health care workers, fighting to raise the minimum wage, and working with the poor as a community organizer for ACORN in Louisiana and other states.

Make sure you hear what John has to say about health care reform -- and about 2010.

Call (810) 229-4212 or email for more information.

Friday, April 10, 2009

What Goes Around, Comes Around

So now a senator from the South wants to save the GM plant in his state.

The appropriate response cannot be printed on a family blog.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ford a Tiny Bright Spot

Michigan looked pretty good during the NCAA Final Four. What a great facility Ford Field proved to be for basketball. Announcers commented on how it still had an intimate feel.

But we all know how easy it is for the national media to fall into a negative viewpoint of Michigan and Detroit.

So it was nice to see that The New York Times noticed that Ford Motor Co. is surviving better than its counterparts, General Motors and Chrysler. They have the same union, same economic environment. What's different?

Check out the article in Thursday's (April 9, 2009) editions.

So What Doesn't Create Friction in Hamburg These Days?

The Livingston Press and Argus is noting that the way Hamburg Township Clerk Matt Skiba is handling Freedom of Information Act requests is "creating friction" on the board.

So what doesn't create friction on that board?

I wish someone would explain why in the world those people can't get along. They are all adults, elected officials, and they should conduct the people's business with the dignity it deserves.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Scholarship Deadline Approaching!

Just a reminder that the April 15 deadline is approaching for the Livingston County Democrats' first essay contest for high school seniors.

Top prize is a $500 college scholarship for an essay on why labor unions are important to your family and community.

Get the details here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

We're All Sparty Fans Tonight

No matter if you bleed maize and blue or something else, here's why we should all be Michigan State fans tonight.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Is Web an Opportunity for Laid-Off Newspaper Reporters?

Is the same phenemonon that is partly the cause of layoffs in the newspaper business a small opportunity for the people being laid off?

In years past, if a community was dissatisfied with the coverage of its local paper, readers usually had few options other than to complain or stop their subscriptions. And if employees were unhappy, well, the costs of starting up a competitor were prohibitive.

But now, freed from the price of printing presses, ink, and paper, it's a little easier.

Laid off reporters in Ann Arbor might consider pooling their expertise and setting up a web-based newspaper to compete with The click-through ads can provide more revenue than one might think, given that the cost of a web page isn't anywhere near what a printing press is.

And who's to say that the product will automatically be superior or that it will automatically attract more readers than an effort started by spurned reporters?

Now that the Livingston Press and Argus has laid off two people, there would be the beginnings of a Livingston County news coverage organization, possibly taking in some of the folks from the old Ann Arbor News organization in Brighton.

Might as well try something. And for people who love to report and write about the news, it would be a way to keep doing what they love.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Monthly States Ticking Up

Readership of Living Blue continues to creep up.

March visits were up 18.72 percent over February, a shorter month. Pageviews were up 21.61 percent and pages per visit were up 2.44 percent.

Visitors came from 18 countries and territories, including 36 states from the U.S. Some 81 cities in Michigan sent people to our site.

Lt. Gov. Has Campaign Website Up

Lt. Gov. John Cherry's campaign in the virtual world has expanded from Facebook and Twitter to a traditional website.

Check out peopleforCherry to see who's supporting Cherry for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010, read Cherry's blog posts, find events, and so on.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

One Guy Loses His Job and Republicans Think It's a Tragedy

Sure, I feel sorry for Rick Wagoner. It hurts to lose a job, even if you do get a $20 million golden parachute.

But it seems like like Republicans are shedding way too many tears for this one unemployed autoworker and way too few tears for the thousands of line workers and others who already have been given pink slips.