Thursday, June 25, 2009

Asleep at the Switch

No wonder newspapers are going broke and losing readership.

The State newspaper in South Carolina says it had emails between Gov. Mark Sanford and his girl friend since December. And NOW they are releasing them.

Based on the story in editions for Thursday (June 25, 2009), it really doesn't sound like the newspaper put all that much effort into verifying the emails until yesterday.

The story about the emails says:

"E-mails obtained by The State newspaper in December detailed an affair between Gov. Mark Sanford and Maria, a woman in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"However, attempts to verify the e-mails — from an anonymous source — were fruitless, until Wednesday. Then, acting on another anonymous tip that Sanford would be on a plane returning from Argentina, the paper sent a reporter to Atlanta.

"When Sanford got off a plane from Buenos Aires, he stopped an interview with The State when asked if he had been with anyone in Argentina.

"The State then contacted Sanford’s office and a former aide, explicitly saying it had e-mails between the governor’s personal e-mail address and an Argentine woman and thought them to be genuine."

Sure makes it sound like they never even asked the governor's office about the emails between December and yesterday.

The State Newspaper reporter who met Sanford at the Atlanta airport when he got off a plane from Argentina said on the Rachel Maddow show last night that it was good, old-fashioned reporting that broke the story and not the "new media." I'm sorry, but sitting on emails for six months is not exactly prize-winning journalism in my book.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Even Single Round-About Causes Drivers Problems

A lot has been made about the difficulties of navigating the triple-round-about in Green Oak Township.

I got news for you. The single round-about, located at Main and Third Street in Brighton, has its dangers, too. The main problem is drivers on Main Street ignore the round about. They act as if they have no need to yield and automatically have the right-of-way.

I've noticed this frequently, but a recent trip through the traffic feature was worse than usual.

As I approached from Third Street, I looked to my left and saw that an approaching car on Main Street was not slowing down even though I was nearly into the roundabout. I stopped to avoid getting hit. Once into the round-about, I saw another car approaching the round-about on Main Street, coming from downtown. The driver never slowed down, never looked to the left to see if anyone was in the round-about, and never even turned her head when I honked. The car sped through the round-about and would have plowed in to me had I not stopped in the round-about itself.

That's not the way the system is supposed to work. Main Street drivers do not have the right-of-way automatically. They just think they do. And that's as dangerous as running a stop sign.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hoekstra Tweet Makes 'Daily Show'

Making the "Daily Show" with Jon Stewart -- what better publicity could a politician ask for?

Here's Stewart's take on Pete's lame attempt to compare his plight as a House Republican to that of Iranian protesters.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Better Late Than Never

Mike "I'm Fighting for Jobs" Rogers finally is getting on the band wagon to urge General Motors to builde its new small car in Michigan instead of Wisconsin or Tennessee.

Rep. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, started a Facebook campaign days ago to get people to tell GM the advantages of building the small car here, in the state where the company was born a century ago.

But it took until Friday (June 19, 2009) for Rogers to get the memo and put out an email (how yesterday is that) telling people he had written a letter to GM about the plant.

But I'm glad Rogers is on the right side on this one and isn't calling for people to boycott General Motors, unlike some of his conservative buddies.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hoekstra Staff Doing Repair Work after Pete's Twitter Fiasco

Rep. Pete Hoekstra's staff was trying to make their boss look a little less dumb on Thursday (June 18, 2009), one day after he twittered that the Iranian protests were like what happened to the poor minority Republicans in the U.S. House.

The spokesman for the Michigan Republican tried to explain that Hoekstra wasn't comparing Republicans to Iranian protesters, who have had their cell phone, internet, and other communications shut down by the government, on top of being shot at. No, the spokesman said, he wasn't comparing them at all. Hoekstra was just saying they were similar.

Oh. That explains everything.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

GOP Hopeful Hoekstra Compares House GOP to Iran Protesters -- and He's Serious

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the Michigan Republican who wants to be governor, is getting hammered all over the inter-tube-thingy for twittering that the Iranian protesters are just like the House Republicans.

Talking Points Memo reproduced some of the comments that Hoekstra received in response. You can read them here.

Hard to pick out a favorite, but this one was pretty good: "Had to move all my stuff to a new office w/o a corner view. Now i know what the Trail of Tears was like."

Oh, the humanity.

Facebook Page for GM Small Car Plant Growing Fast

Want to show your support for having General Motors build its new small cars in Michigan? Follow this link and sign up to urge GM to "Make it in Michigan."

Michigan is in competition with Tennessee and Wisconsin for the plant. A decision is expected by the end of June.

Michigan has been General Motors' home for 100 years, and as the page argues:

"We believe that building your new vehicle in Michigan makes good business sense for GM. Our state is the home of many of GM’s key auto suppliers, GM headquarters and tech center, new battery and electric car production, and the most talented engineers and skilled workers in the world."

Some 4,500 people signed up in the first 48 hours. Send the link to a few friends and urge them to sign up, too to keep it growing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Small Vets Tax Means Dedicated Funding Stream

Hats off to John Colone and other members of the Livingston County Veterans Commission for the work they did in persuading the Livingston County Commissioners to do their duty and approve a tiny tax for indigent veterans relief.

The commissioner approved the tax, which they are required by law to levy at some level anyway, Monday (June 15, 2009) night. The 1/20th of a mill will cost owners of a $150,000 home about a penny a day.

Commissioner Jack LaBelle says it will mean less money for veterans coming from the general fund, but commissioners need to be careful with that. Not everything that the county spends now for veterans qualifies as "relief," although "relief" can be defined by resolution as broader than just cash assistance to needy veterans. Given the level of need with two current wars and the aging of Vietnam-era veterans, the Veterans Commission will continue to see an increasing need. Veterans will need to keep an eye on the county commission's budgeting in the future to make sure commissioners don't take away with one hand what they have given with the other. After all, with a $20 million savings account, the county can afford to be a tiny bit generous to our veterans.

But at least the veterans now have a funding stream that is dedicated to their needs rather than having to compete with other general fund needs for cash.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

County Commissioners Taking Another Crack at Vets Tax

Livingston County veterans will make their case for complying with state law on aid to veterans again to a second committee of Livingston County commissioners on Monday (June 15).

This time, veterans will have to jump through hoops for the finance committee, after having already made their case to the human services committee. The meeting is at 6 p.m. at 304 E. Grand River, Howell.

Veterans want the county to comply with an 1899 law and levy a tax for indigent veterans. The county uses money from its general fund to provide counselors to help veterans get medical care and other benefits to which they are entitled. But it only provides $6,000 for actual relief, and demand far exceeds that.

County commissioners have been trying to pass the buck to the voters on this issue, which seems totally unnecessary since levying the tax is required by law.

The Livingston Press and Argus is taking a tougher line in favor of the tax this week than it did earlier. It notes that the owner of a $300,000 home would pay about $7.50 a year for the levy requested by the vetes. But in reality, most Livingston County homes aren't assessed anywhere near that level.

This shouldn't even be an issue.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rogers on Gitmo on Daily Show

Mike Rogers makes the big time!

Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" for Wednesday (June 10, 2009) features a clip of the Brighton Republican trying to justify keeping the prison at Guantanamo Bay open.

It starts about 10 minutes in here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Imagine v2.0

It's 2003. President Bush is the current leader of our country. He has decided to invade Iraq.

You are a liberal. You are strongly against optional wars, so obviously you don't agree with President Bush's decision. What do you do?

A) You support the troops, while protesting the war. You want us to get out of Iraq, but you want the government to do everything it can to keep our troops safe. You want policy to change, but you don't want Americans to be hurt.

B) You protest the war, and you throw 'parties' in favor of our troops being killed. You want our soldiers to die in hopes that we lose the war, so President Bush will be proven wrong. Your tax dollars are going towards a policy you don't agree with, so you want that policy to fail as miserably as possible.

Anyone and everyone would view option B as despicable. It would be so shameful, that anyone who chose that option would be shunned by society and viewed as committing treason.


It's now 2009. President Obama is the current leader of our country. He has decided to bail out GM and Chrysler.

You are a conservative. You are strongly against government intervention in the free market, so obviously you don't agree with President Obama's decision. What do you do?

A) You support the companies, while protesting the policy. You want the government to stop bailing out companies, but you want the American consumer to do everything they can to keep our American companies alive. You want policy to change, but you don't want Americans to be hurt.

B) You protest the policy, and call for a boycott against the companies. You want our companies to fail in hopes that we stop giving them money, so President Obama will be proven wrong. Your tax dollars are going towards a policy you don't agree with, so you want that policy to fail as miserably as possible.

Anyone and everyone should view option B as despicable. It should be so shameful, that anyone who chooses that option should be shunned by society and viewed as committing treason.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lansing Mayor, Ed Schultzl Shoot Down Boycott Idea

The right-wing proposal that Americans punish Michigan workers by boycotting Chrysler and General Motors isn't going down well with Ed Schultz of MSNBC. That's putting it mildly.

On his show on Tuesday (June 9, 2009), Schultz could barely contain his anger at the proposal, calling it un-American. And he vowed to bring his show to Lansing, Michigan, to let workers speak for themselves. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero called the boycott "sick" and did a terrific job of sticking up for American workers, as he has in previous appearances on national television.

Watch it yourself here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Limbaugh Hoping General Motors Fails, Urging Boycott

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Rush Limbaugh and at least one other far-right Republican are now hoping that General Motors fails and are urging people to boycott General Motors because the Obama administration has given it public funds and taken part ownership of it.

Talking Points Memo has the story, which is based on an article from The Detroit Bureau, which covers the auto industry.

So to score political points, Limbaugh and others are actually hoping that an American business disappears, taking with it thousands of jobs, impacting thousands of families in communities across the nation.

Will Michigan Republicans distance themselves from this call for a boycott? Do they dare stand up to Boss Limbaugh?

Don't hold your breath.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Where's 'Interest" in Right to Work?

Headlines are supposed to reflect the content of the story, but one of those in the Livingston Press and Argus for Sunday (June 7, 2009) is only half right.

That would be the one that says "Right to work pitch raises interest, ire."

The article is a rehash of the business community's goal to weaken the right of people to collectively bargain the terms and conditions of their jobs by making Michigan a "right-to-work" (or a "right-to-work-for-less") state.

This is an old idea that even Gov. John Engler didn't bother with as governor, but which the ultra right-wing Mackinac Center, which looks down on every Michigan residents who doesn't happen to own their own business, dredges up every now and then.

But despite the headline claiming "interest" in this old idea, the Livingston Press and Argus really did not find anybody expressing interest in it, even among Livingston County's all-Republican legislative delegation. Sen. Valde Garcia wasn't interested. Rep. Cindy Denby didn't bother to even return the newspaper's phone call about the matter, which indicates a pretty low level of interest. And Rep. Bill Rogers said even if Michigan were a right-to-work (for less) state, it probably wouldn't be the economic panacea that the Mackinac Center claims.

So exactly where is the "interest"? Apparently in the mind of the newspaper editor.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Anti-semitic Comment Should Be Removed

A house was damaged by fire in Genoa Township a few days ago and the Livingston Press and Argus put a story up on its website. Shortly thereafter, a comment appeared saying that the fire was the result of "Jewish lightning."

The comment is anti-semitic.

Why is it still standing? Did they lay off the people who were in charge of the web page?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Good Time to Buy Local

Any time is a good time to shop at local businesses. Spending money with locally owned businesses keeps more of each dollar spent within the local community, where the money can be spent again.

But the coming of spring and the opening of local farmers' markets is an especially good time to shop local. Locally grown foods are generally more nutritious and better tasting than ones shipped long distances. It's still early for fruits and vegetables, but local farmers markets will be full of bedding plants this weekend.

If you haven't been to one, give it a try. But get there early. The good stuff goes fast.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Granholm on Huffington Post

Gov. Jennifer Granholm reflects on Michigan's future in the wake of the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies in a piece on Huffington Post.