Sunday, February 28, 2010

Livingston Dems Endorse Jocelyn Benson for Secretary of State

Livingston County Democrats' executive committee has become the latest county party to endorse Jocelyn Benson for the party's nomination for Secretary of State in 2010.

Benson has been cross-crossing the state for a year, telling voters why she is the best person to protect their right to vote and the fairness of elections in the crucial office of Secretary of State.

Benson, a full time assistant professor of law at Wayne State University Law School, has been a long-time worker on behalf of voter protection -- from working to investigate white supremacist organizations in the South to testifying before Congress to helping develop statewide voter protection programs in 21 states for the 2004 elections.

She wants to make Michigan a leader in election administration again by instituting early voting and same-day voter registration. Helping people vote is essential for democracy, and Benson knows that.

A sign of Benson's strength is the recent decision by Democracy for America to endorse her. This puts Benson in a strong position going into the Michigan Democratic Party's special endorsement convention April 17 at Cobo Hall in Detroit. The party does not nominate candidates for secretary of state (or attorney general) until August, which gives them little time to organize an effective statewide campaign. But this time the party will "endorse" candidates in April, giving them extra time to build their organizations, raise funds, and talk to voters.

Benson is a dynamic speaker and was a big hit when she spoke at the Livingston County Democratic Party's annual Winans Dinner in May 2009.

Livingston County Democrats are proud to endorse her!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Toyota's Problems Not Just a Problem for the Owners

I don't drive a Toyota, but I'm still worried about the company's vehicles. No, I certainly don't feel sorry for the company, which is living off an out-dated reputation for having better vehicles than the domestic manufacturers.

But I worry about what will happen to me -- and other people on the road -- if one of it's vehicles accelerates uncontrollably. Although news accounts of deaths have focued on the people inside the Toyota-made cars, certainly the potential exists for those of us sharing the road to be injured, killed, or scared out of our wits, too.

So when I see a Toyota in the rear view mirror, I take my foot off the gas and let it pass. If the vehicle is going to go out of control, I'd just as soon have the action in front of me rather than coming up behind me.

And that's why Toyota's problems are everybody's problems.

Friday, February 26, 2010

You Gotta Have Heart

February is National Heart Month.

We should all chip in and buy one for Republican Jim Bunning, who is single-handedly blocking an extension of unemployment benefits for millions of Americans.

In the Republican world, it's every man for himself.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Republican GOP Candidates Want to End Tax Breaks Bringing 2,500 Jobs

Republican Mike Bouchard has a great idea for improving Michigan -- get rid of a program that just created 2,500 jobs.

The Detroit Free Press reported Thursday (Feb. 25, 2010) that Bouchard says the Michigan Economic Growth Authority tax credit program for businesses creating new jobs should be scrapped. Bouchard and two other rivals for the Republican nomination for governor -- Mike Cox and Rick Snyder -- also plan to get rid of the program started by their old buddy John Engler.

Unfortunately for Bouchard, Cox, and Snyder, the Detroit Free Press also reported Thursday that MEGA tax credits are bringing 2,500 manufacturing jobs to the Midland-Saginaw area.

The tax credits will help Dow Chemical manufacture materials for lithium-ion battery cells and solar roof shingles. You know, those pie-in-the-sky green jobs that Gov. Jennifer Granholm is always talking about -- the jobs that are reorienting Michigan's economy from 19th century technology and 20th century jobs to the 21st century.

And if they had their way, Republicans would dump the program that helped make them possible.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It Pays to Advertise--Unless It's by Dems

It pays to advertise.

That's what newspapers tell businesses over and over. Take out an ad in our newspaper and your business will go up. Having a sale? Take out an ad and tell people about it. Running for office? Run an ad to tell people about yourself. Run an ad, run an ad, run an ad. Pages of newspapers have tons of ads and little holes left over for the news -- newsholes, they're called.

So I was a little surprised to read in the Livingston Press and Argus recently (Feb. 16, 2010) that the newspaper wants proof that the Pure Michigan advertising campaign, which is one of the loveliest pieces of state advertising I have ever seen, needs to prove that it boosts tourism in the state.

Funny, I've never been given that kind of proof when I place a classified ad in the local paper, or when the newspaper comes and asks me to place ads before elections. Not once was I shown a study that proved anything about the effectiveness of advertising in their paper as opposed to advertising for free on Craig's List or in the Marketeer.

But now that Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm is placing the ads, the local paper is up in arms and demands proof that advertising works.

Wonder if they would be so suspicious if the ads were running in their pages?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Remember--Vote for Annette Koeble for Hamburg Clerk Tuesday!

Hamburg Township voters are ready for decency and common sense to come back to township government.

After all the nonsense of last year, they want a new clerk who will take care of the people's business efficiently and without a lot of fuss. And that person is Annette Koeble. And that's what they'll get Tuesday (Feb. 23, 2010) when they vote for Annette in the special election for Hamburg Township Clerk.

Annette has more than 40 years of "hands-on" business experience, including working 25 years with Turner Electric Service as the office administrator. Annette did everything from handling the books, payroll, bank deposits, correspondence -- you name it. And anybody who can work for the same employer for 25 years must know how to get along with people.

Annette has lived in the township since 1982 -- far longer than any other candidate.
She has been attending board meetings for two years and knows the issues well -- but she is a fresh face politically and is not involved at all with the past board in-fighting.

The special election will take place Tuesday with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Vote for Annette and let her go to work for Hamburg Township.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Statewide Candidates Speaking in Livingston Next Week

A pair of candidates seeking Democratic nominations to statewide office in Michigan in 2010 will speak in Livingston County next week.

Richard Bernstein, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general, and Dennis Denno, who is seeking one of two Democratic nominations for Michigan State University trustee, will speak Thursday (February 25, 2010) at 7 p.m. at the headquarters of the Livingston County Democratic Party, 10321 E. Grand River, Suite 600, in Brighton. The meeting is open to anyone interested.

Bernstein is currently chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors, having been elected in 2002 at the age of 28 when he became the first blind person to win a statewide election in Michigan. A trial attorney with the Sam Bernstein Law Firm in Farmington Hills, Bernstein focuses on cases that involve both public policy and complex litigation issues and never charges a fee for his services. Bernstein appears frequently in court where he commits entire case files to memory. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, teaching “Law and Social Change” in the Department of Political Science.

Denno is chief of staff for Michigan Senate Democratic Floor Leader Buzz Thomas of Detroit. He also has worked in various positions for the Michigan House of Representatives, the Michigan Democratic Party, and former Michigan Speaker of the House Curtis Hertel of Detroit. He also has worked on numerous Democratic campaigns, including the Michigan 2008 campaign of President Obama, Virg Bernero for Lansing mayor, the 1996 and 1992 Clinton-Gore campaigns, and campaigns for various Democratic candidates through Michigan. He also is a partner in the polling firm Denno Noor.

Nominations for attorney general, secretary of state, and the university boards will be voted on at the Michigan Democratic Party’s August convention. The party, however, will endorse candidates for secretary of state and attorney general at an April 17 endorsement convention.

People who want to vote at the endorsement convention need to be members of the party as of March 17 or have been elected as precinct delegates in the August 2008 primary election. Anyone seeking information on joining the party may call the party office at 810-229-4212 or visit the party’s website at:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Genoa's Slogan: Let the Lawsuits Roll

Genoa Township has come up with a catchy new slogan for the area -- "Life is Good." I live in Genoa Township and I'm not going to argue with that, but other people might.

That's because other folks also think "Life is Good" and have been using the slogan to make money for themselves for awhile already. They may not think too kindly of Genoa Township poaching on their intellectual property.

Take "Life is Good" the apparel company, a New England-based firm that sells optimistic tee-shirts and other items with stick figures. The company has been around since 1994 and likely has a little equity invested in their name and slogan. Are they just going to let Genoa Township capitalize on the good vibes they have created in the marketplace with their slogan? Maybe they will.

But maybe another operation won't be so benevolent -- the electronics company LG. It spends millions on television commercials with the tagline "Life's Good." And now they will sit idly by while Genoa Township markets itself with a slogan that sounds nearly identical to the company slogan. Just like Walt Disney would do if Genoa Township adopted Mickey Mouse as its official ambassador.

Companies fight over this kind of stuff. Company reputations and money are at stake. And somebody in township government might have thought to do a search on the Internet before announcing a slogan.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Levin Is Right: Filibuster Must Fall

Sen. Carl Levin is right -- the days of the filibuster in the Senate should be numbered.

Levin was speaking after two separate incidents of Republican shenanigans regarding the U.S. Senate's filibuster rule. The first was Sen. Richard Shelby's attempt to hold up all of President Obama's nominee until a French company received a military contract that would help his district. And the latest is an attempt to block an Obama appointee to the National Labor Relations Board, Craig Becker. Becker had a majority vote in favor of his routine appointment, but not the 60 required to break a filibuster.

Levin told the Huffington Post that this abuse of the filibuster can't continue.

"I think it will either fall of its own weight -- it should fall of its own weight -- or it will fall after some massive conflict on the floor, which has happened in the past where there have been rulings from the chair that have led to reform," Levin said.

Republicans, of course, complained to high heaven that George Bush's appointments to the highest court in the land deserved "an up or down vote" but now they have no qualms about holding up the lowest level appointees about whom no questions have been raised, except that Obama appointed them.

Levin is right. Senate rules need reform. But hoping something will fall of its own weight someday isn't good enough. Somebody needs to give it a stiff push.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Come Hear Hamburg Township Clerk Candidate Annette Koeble

Hamburg Township residents will have two chances to get to know Hamburg Township Clerk candidate Annette Koeble this week.

Annette will appear in the forum being held at Hamburg Township Hall on Tuesday (Feb. 9, 2010) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the township hall, 10405 Merrill Road.

Come hear why Annette, with 40 years of hands-on business experience and 28 years of residence in Hamburg, is the best person to restore civility and integrity to the clerk's office after months of Republican turmoil. You will see why even the all-Republican board was impressed with her when she interviewed for the interim clerk's position.

And then on Saturday (Feb. 13, 2010) come meet Annette in person at the Stonehouse Cafe, 9560 Chilson Commons, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

This three-way race is a tremendous opportunity for Democrats to showcase our ideas and leadership abilities. There is still time to get an absentee ballot from the Hamburg Township clerk's office prior to the Feb. 23 special election.