Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More of Snyder's 'Shared Sacrifice' for School Head

Rick Snyder has delivered yet another lesson in what his "shared sacrifice" looks like with the hiring of the head of the statewide district for low performing schools.

The superintendent, John Covington, could earn up to $1.5 million over the next four years, according to the Detroit Free Press.

This level of pay, of course, is necessary to attract top talent, according to the governor's spokesperson.

Teachers across the state, meanwhile, are taking pay cuts and being forced to pay more for their health insurance, another form of a pay cut. Snyder isn't worried about whether top talent is attracted into the teaching positions, only into the jobs at the top.

So again, it's sacrifice for the people who do the work so that the people at the top can share in the savings. That's shared sacrifice.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Big Government Orders People to Leave Homes!

Oh, no. It's finally happened. Big government is forcing people out of their homes!

Oh, the horrors of it. It's the stuff of stories usually only seen in futuristic novels that someone like Orson Welles would dream up. But it's happening, right now.

On the Eastern seaboard, millions of people have been ordered out of their homes. Sure, there's a hurricane bearing down on them, but shouldn't it be up to the people themselves whether to leave? I mean, if somebody wants to stay in their home and watch the roof blown off or the storm surge sweep the building off its foundations, isn't that their constitutional right, even if they keep their young children there, too? Isn't that what Libertarians like Ron Paul are arguing when they say the government shouldn't criminalize street drugs or operate FEMA? Figure out on your own where Hurricane Irene is going to strike and how high the water will be. After all, everybody has the same skills as a meterologist, right?

New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie, however, was doing a pretty good imitation of an intrusive big government official, telling people to "get the hell off the beach" as the hurricane approached.

Natural disasters are one of those instances when Republican hatred of government action meets a reality check.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

No Jobs, But Poor Can Get Day Care Subsidies

you really have to wonder what is going on the brain of Rick Snyder. Apparently, being a millionaire divorces someone so completely from reality that they say really stupid things, or they hire people to do it for them.

Such is the case with the news that Snyder was expected to sign a bill that kicks 11,000 poor people off welfare in the middle of a weak economic recovery because Snyder thinks four years is enough.

Says Snyder's Department of Human Services spokeswoman, Sheryl Thompson, there's nothing to worry about. The poor people can still get food stamps and day care subsidies. Food stamps won't pay the rent, but the state makes up for that by providing two months of rental assistance. Two whole months. Why, everything will be fine by then.

They'll also get day care subsidies. But those don't pay the rent either, and people without jobs may have little use for day care.

Oh, but the department has an answer for that. The people being kicked off welfare will get "intensive aid" in looking for work. Guess the Snyder administration hasn't checked what has happened to the unemployment rate since it gave business $1.7 billion in tax cuts to create jobs. The jobless rate went up.

But Thompson says, "We will be providing every tool necessary" to enter the work force, except of course, an actual job. If they had so many tools to help these people find work, why haven't they been employing them since they took office in January?

She added that that "Michigan can no longer afford to provide lifetime assistance."

Federal law has a five-year cap for benefits. That's hardly a lifetime.

But being Snyder's DHS spokeswoman doesn't require facts, just meaningless sound bites.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Livingston Dems' Movie Will Rebut Gas Industry Ad Campaign

The natural gas industry has been busy on the airwaves for awhile with commercials extolling the safety of "fracking" as a method of drilling for natural gas.

But people interested in the environmental impacts of "fracking" have a chance to get another view at the next Livingston County Democrats' movie night and ice cream social at party headquarters, 10321 Grand River Road, Suite 600, Brighton.

The party will show the documentary film "Gasland" about fracking and natural gas drilling on Friday, Sept. 9. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the movie at 7 p.m., followed by the ice cream social. Suggested donation is $10 per person or $15 for two. You do not need to be a party member to attend.

Call (810) 229-4212 or email livcodems@sbcuc.net for more information.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Recall Rick Now Has Hotline

Want to know where to go to sign a petition recalling Rick Snyder as governor?

The Recall Rick folks are making it easier to find out with a new hotline. Just call
1-855-SO-FIRED to find out the location nearest you.

The Recall Rick volunteers have gotten none of the respect that the media poured all over the extremist right-wing groups now dominating the Republican Party. Lansing media representatives on Off the Record over the weekend smugly dismissed the effort, saying that it was an utter failure. They seemed to be unaware that the recall signature collection is continuing, aiming now at a February election rather than a November one. But the recall effort is alive and well, thanks to the tireless work of real grass-roots volunteers.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So Where Are the Ideas for Helping Children Learn?

Bill Rogers wants everybody to know that he's been working through his summer vacation. That's good, since as a state lawmaker he's paid to work year round.

He's been working hard on making sure students learn more so that they'll be prepared for all the jobs that Rick Snyder said he would create in Michigan by slashing school funding by $470 per student and giving huge tax breaks to corporations.

So after weeks of work, listening to testimony from school officials, Bill Rogers and his bipartisan working group of lawmakers thinks it would be a great idea if all school districts in the state used the same software for accounting and payroll.

Thank Heavens! This unaddressed scandal has been haunting parents throughout Michigan for years now. The nerve of school officials to select software for schools here in Livingston County that isn't the same as the software used in the UP. I feel so much better now that I know lawmakers will tell all the school districts which software to use because they are such experts on that sort of thing. What a relief that we don't have big goverment telling us what to do because that's sure not what we voted for last November. Was it?

Friday, August 19, 2011

If You Don't Need Democracy, Why Do You Need Courts?

Is there any limit to the power that Rick Snyder wants to grab? If there is, we haven't reached it yet.

It was bad enough that Snyder rammed through the Legislature a bill taking away the right of people living in financially troubled areas to elect their own representatives, the Emergency Manager Law. That law is now the subject of a petition drive seeking to halt its implementation until the public has a chance to vote on it.

But it also is the subject of a court challenge brought by public employees. Ordinarily, such lawsuits are heard in circuit courts, the losing party appeals to the Court of Appeals, and then the losing party asks the Michigan Supreme Court to hear an appeal from that ruling. But all that takes time and who wants to waste time on court cases and appeals, especially when you know there will be press coverage laying out the problems with the law? On top of that, there is the chance you will lose the case or the appeal and that would look bad for the governor.

Why not just short-circuit all that and ask the Michigan Supreme Court to decide the case itself, skipping all the bad publicity which would let the public know what the law really does? Especially when the Supreme Court has a Republican majority that you know in advance will decide the case the way you want?

So for the second time in his not even eight months in office, Snyder has used a special provision in the Michigan Constitution and asked the high court to address the issues in the case.

The provision has been in the constitution since 1967 and has only been used by governors 26 times, and two of them have come under Snyder -- two dozen times in 44 years, and now twice in less than eight monnths, the first being his unpopular tax on pensions. But Snyder thinks any challenge to any law he supports is of such importance that we have to dispense with due process.

Snyder's contempt for the messy aspects of democracy -- elected government, court battles, and who knows what next -- apparently has no bounds.

Yet people who claim to be so frightened about unlimited government on the national level have no problems with Snyder, who uses the constitution to manipulate the public's ability to scrutinize the laws he supports.

The Michigan Supreme Court should reject this power grab. If it doesn't, future goverors will use the power with the same reckless abandon as Snyder to avoid bad publicity and public scrutiny of their actions.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

10,000 Jobs Created in Michigan, But Not by Rick

Michigan Messenger has reported that 10,000 jobs were created in Michigan, but Rick Snyder's $1.7 billion tax cut for businesses had nothing to do with it.

Instead, it was Gov. Jennifer Granholm's spending on the Pure Michigan ad campaign that did the trick.

A study commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association found out-of-state leisure travel jumped 21 percent in 2010, the second year of the Pure Michigan national advertising campaign. THe $6.4 billion in spending allowed the travel industry to add 10,000 jobs.

The study also found that in the first year of the national advertising campaign, spending by out-of-state visitors brought $138 billion into the state's coffers. That was more than three times what the state spent on the program.

Pretty good rate of return.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Some Nerve!

The folks at Standard & Poors have some nerve.

It was they who gave AAA ratings to the junk mortgages that home lenders were handing out like candy a few years ago, precipitating a financial crisis that caused the world economy to collapse, and with it federal tax revenues.

So now they tell the federal government they are downgrading the federal government's credit rating from AAA to AA+, even though the federal government reached an agreement to avoid default on its obligations.

What makes them experts all of a sudden?

A lower credit rating means higher interest rates paid by the federal government, i.e. taxpayers, on the money it borrows. And who will be the beneficiaries of those higher interest rates? Wall Street investors, of course.

Nothing like having people coming and going.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Livingston Dems Plan Movie Night. Ice Cream Social

It's time for another movie night and ice cream social, sponsored by the Livingston County Democrats!

Join local Democrats at party headquarters (10321 Grand River Road, Suite 600, Brighton) on Friday, Aug. 12, for a viewing of Made in Dagenham, a film about a successful 1968 strike over equal pay at a Ford plant outside London.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the movie starting at 7 p.m. An ice cream social -- featuring all your favorite toppings -- will follow. This is a great time to discuss current events with other Democrats.

Suggested donation for the ice cream social is $10 per person or $15 for two.

Call (810)229-4212 or email livcodems@sbcuc.net for more information.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Help on Homes Should be Closer to Home

A Livingston County family received media attention last week after picketing the sheriff's sale of their home, which they say was wrongly foreclosed upon due to a bank error.

In reporting on the story, the newspaper contacted a Flint-area organization, Metro Community Development, for comment on the consumer side of the matter. The article noted that Metro Community Development recently helped the owners of a Pinckney home fight foreclosure.

With 1 out of every 215 homes in the county in foreclosure during June, it's too bad people in Livingston County have to rely on an out-of-county organization to fight foreclosures. Shouldn't there be help closer to home with a local agency dedicated to keeping homes from foreclosure, protecting our tax base and home values?