Monday, March 31, 2008

UAW Leader Gettelfinger to Speak in Livingston

Ron Gettelfinger, an advocate for working men and women and the head of the United Auto Workers, will be the featured speaker at the Livingston Democrats' annual Winans Dinner, set for April 19.

Gettelfinger is a strong backer of universal health care and of a program to re-industrialize the nation with a modern-day domestic "Marshall Plan" to build energy-saving vehicles. He also has been a critic of international trade agreements that fail to protect workers' rights and the environment, and of the corporate drive to scour the globe for the lowest possible wages.

"Ron Gettelfinger is the ideal speaker to address many of the pressing issues that are worrying Livingston County residents -- good-paying jobs, health care, energy-efficiency, and globalization," said Donna Anderson, county vice-chair and chair of the Winans Dinner commuittee.

"Mr. Gettelfinger's appeal extends beyond union members to all of us who work for a living or care about someone who does."

The Winans Dinner, Livingston Democrats' most important annual fund-raising event, will be Saturday, April 19, 2008, at the Hamburg VFW Hall. The event begins at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are $60 a person (or free to monthly party pledgers.)

Anderson said that Gettelfinger is known as an excellent speaker and tickets are expected to go quickly. Invitations to the event have been mailed to some 1,100 Livingston Democrats. Anyone wishing to receive tickets may call (810) 229-4212 or email

Earlier this year, Automotive News named Gettelfinger its Person of the Year for his leadership during delicate contract negotiations with automakers during 2007.

A one-time chassis line repairman at Ford's Louisville Assembly plant, Gettelfinger has been a member of the UAW since 1964. His co-workers elected him to represent them as committeeperson, bargaining chair and president.

Gettelfinger served as the elected director of UAW Region 3, which represents UAW members in Indiana and Kentucky, for six years before being elected a UAW vice president in 1998. He was elected president in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.

Gettelfinger is a graduate of Indiana University. He is married and he and his wife, Judy, have two adult children and four grandchildren.

So Why Doesn't He Do Something About It?

Rep. Mike Rogers knows it's a problem. So why doesn't he do something about it?

Rogers acknowledged during a "town hall" meeting on WHMI radio last month that Michigan has led the nation in home mortgage foreclosures. The centerpiece of the show was a private help line for people facing foreclosures that helps them find out what their options are.

Do any of those options include government help? Apparently not in Rogers' mind.

As the New York Times pointed out in an article in editions for Monday (March 31, 2008), the foreclosure crisis is causing problems for Republican members of Congress in states like Michigan and Florida that are experiencing large numbers of foreclosures. Their constituents want them to help, but the Republican members of Congress aren't willing to bend.

Legislation sponsored by Democrats is pending in both the House and Senate. But Rogers has not sponsored any legislation himself to try to deal with the issue.

A look at the legislation listed on Rogers' website that he has co-sponsored turns up nothing in the way of foreclosure assistance. Bills on repealing the estate tax for rich people, designating national pet week, naming post offices, and so on dominate the list.

But nothing for distressed Michigan homeowners.

Rogers sounded compassionate in his radio town hall meeting, but the fact is he is stuck in a Republican ideology that doesn't allow compassion for people who have worked hard all their lives and now find themselves overwhelmed by this mortgage crisis.

That's why Rogers can offer nothing but empty gestures.

Rogers' potential challenger, Democrat Bob Alexander of East Lansing, lists cutting back home foreclosures as one of his priorities.

That means more than handing out the number for a help line.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Against Bullying -- Except for Gays?

Who could have a problem with a bill aimed at ending bullying? Who could think there was something wrong with stopping school children from being beat up by bigger kids?

A pro-family group, of course. Specifically, the American Family Association of Michigan.

The group is bullying Sen. Valde Garcia, R-Marion Township, over a bill he co-sponsored but no longer supports that would encourage adoption of anti-bullying policies by school districts. The group's leader, Gary Glenn, doesn't like the measure because it includes a list of those who are often the target of bullies, including gay students.

Glenn told the Livingston Press and Argus in a story for editions of Thursday (March 27, 2008) that that amounts to advancing special rights for gay children.

Garcia told the Press and Argus that he had abandoned support for the bill that he co-sponsored before being approached by Glenn's group but he supports a House version that does not list any groups that should be protected from bullying. Garcia says it's better to leave the legislation general rather than tying it to any list.

The most disturbing part of the matter is Glenn's claim that he would be OK to list groups who should be protected against bullying, as long as gay children were not among them.

The newspaper notes:

"When asked whether he would have the same problem with the bill if only things like race were listed as protected classes, he said, 'we would have no objection to it.'"

Now that is scary.

On top of that, Glenn also opposes the House version of the bill, which does not include any reference to gays, because it includes a reference to a state policy on sexual orientation.

Bullying is starting to get a lot of attention in schools. A recent New York Times article featured a boy in Fayetteville, Arkansas, who has been beat up repeatedly by other boys. The school district has seemed lax in its response.

Kids shouldn't get beat up when they go to school. Isn't that fundamental? Why should a group that claims to be pro-family think anti-bullying legislation is some subversive plot?

Could it be because they actually support bullying?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One More for Our Side

In case you missed this, the folks over at Michigan Liberal reported that Michigan Democrats have one more member -- a former Republican state legislator from Williamson.

Paul DeWeese says he switched because Republicans are too far to the right on many issues and are ignoring the state's problems such as health care, mental health needs, and infrastructure.

If someone who served in the Michigan House as a Republican can see the light, there's hope for lots of other people.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Livingston Dems' General Meeting on Thursday

Livingston County Democrats will meet for their general meeting on Thursday (March 25, 2008) at party headquarters, 10321 E. Grand River, Suite 600 of the Fonda Office Park, Brighton.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. It is open to all Democrats.

Come and hear what's happening in our party!

8th District Convention Rescheduled

Michigan Democrats have rescheduled their congressional district conventions, originally set for Saturday, March 29.

The conventions will be held Saturday, April 19. The 8th District convention will be held at the UAW Local 6000 hall at 3350 N. Grand River, Lansing.

Registration will begin at 9:15 a.m., with the convention beginning at 10 a.m.

The district conventions are for selecting delegates to the party's national convention.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On Eve of War's Fifth Anniversary, Levin Asks Where Iraqi Oil Billions Are Going

As the nation marks the fifth anniversary of the biggest foreign policy blunder in American history, Sen. Carl Levin has reminded us of just one of the false predictions the Bush administration made to get the American people to buy into this farce.

That's the one about how Iraqis would pay for their nation's invasion, occupation, and reconstruction themselves, with their oil revenue.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told a House subcommittee just ten days into the war that "there's a lot of money to pay for this. It doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money. And it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people …the oil revenues of that county could bring between 50 and 100 billion dollars over the course of the next two or three years…. We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon."

As we see the cost of this foolish war mount into the trillions, we may have forgotten that rosy prediction.

But Levin hasn't.

Levin wants to know why, with the Iraqi government pulling in more than $100 billion in oil revenues during last year and this year, the U.S. taxpayers are still getting stuck with the bill for rebuilding Iraq.

In an email sent Tuesday (March 18, 2008), Levin repeated Wolfowitz's testimony and noted that the Iraqi government is producing millions of barrels of oil a day. With prices per barrel in the $100-range, the Iraqi government has built a large surplus from oil sales, amounting to as much as $30 billion just in U.S. banks. That money should be spent on Iraq's reconstruction so that American dollars can be spent at home, Levin argued.

Levin and Republican Senator John Warner cosigned a letter to the Government Accountability Office asking for a review of Iraqi oil revenues and reconstruction spending.

"We want to know just how much money the Iraqi government has actually contributed to reducing the violence and rebuilding the country - and how much they have sitting unused in international banks," Levin said in his email.

"The American people have paid an enormous price to attempt to secure and to start to rebuild Iraq. It's long past time for the Iraqi government to use its oil revenues to support these efforts."

Amen to that.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Clinton Appearing in Detroit Wednesday

Although the prospects of a Michigan primary do-over were dimming, Sen. Hillary Clinton scheduled an appearance in Detroit on Wednesday (March 19, 2008) anyway.

Senator Clinton will be at AFSCME Council 25, 600 W. Lafayette, Suite 500, Detroit, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to talk about "Solutions for America." Doors open at 8:15 a.m.

The campaign website has the info.

What Else Do Republicans Have to Brag About?

It must be tough being a Republican these days, even in Livingston County.

How else to explain the recent email that Livingston County Republicans are circulating?

It includes a chart of the effects of the Bush tax cuts on people of various income levels. A single person with a $30,000 annual income, with no children, taking the standard deduction, received a $401.25 tax cut, amounting to 12.7 percent, from George Bush. But a married person with a $125,000 annual income got a tax break from Bush of $3,964, or 16.92 percent.

In other words, the wealthier person got a tax cut that's one-third bigger than the less-well-off person.

The email goes on to add that John McCain wants to make the tax cuts permanent (which, of course, is different from what the straight-talker said originally because he actually opposed them. The email, of course, doesn't say that.)

Maybe it's just me, but doesn't it seem a little, oh, I don't know, unfair for the rich guy to get a bigger tax cut than the poor guy? And given that there are a lot more people at the bottom end of the income scale than at the top, does it make a lot of sense to be admitting that so freely?

But I guess if your presidential candidate thinks it's a great idea to run off to Iraq (laying the groundwork for that 100-years' war he wants to fight there?) while the national economy is going through a meltdown, you need to have something to brag about.

In that case, bragging about tax cuts for the rich is about as good as you can do.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Piggy-Back Primary Bill Is Out

Michigan Liberal has the news that a version of a primary re-do bill has been released in Lansing.

It would move the May school election to combine it with a new presidential primary.

Not a One-State Recession

Seems like ages ago that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and lawmakers struggled for a way to close the gap between revenue and expenses in the state budget for this year. Things looked pretty bleak.

But what a difference a year makes.

The New York Times for Monday (March 17, 2008)carries a front-page piece on the dire condition of state budgets, with 25 state budgets facing deficits this year.

An acompanying chart shows ten states with the largest per person budget gaps for fiscal year 2009 -- ranging from $472 in California (run by GOP golden boy Arnold Schwarzenegger) to $170in Virginia.

Michigan is not on the chart. Granholm, with the aid of lawmakers of her own party and a courageous few from the Republican side, took care of our state's problems, although the situation remains dicey with the economy so precarious.

The prevalence of problems elsewhere now shows Michigan's problems were not about Michigan "over-spending" or being mismanaged. It was about a recession that Michigan entered first and that now is widespread.

Our national economy needs attention -- the same kind of retooling that Granholm is trying to do here. We need to focus on alternative energy, creating "green" jobs, reducing our dependency on foreign oil.

And while the national economy is tanking, Republicans have nominated John McCain, who admits he doesn't know much about economics.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Not So Fast -- Republicans Were Part of This, Too

A Livingston Press and Argus editorial in editions for Sunday (March 16, 2008) is getting all indignant about the taxpayers' money spent for Michigan's January 15 primary and how it all went "for naught."

Not so fast. Let's not forget that Republicans wanted that primary moved up, too. They wanted Michigan to violate their national party's rules. They were willing to be penalized for it, and they were. The difference is that the GOP nominee already is decided so the penalty -- half of the delegates -- is not relevant.

So when the Press and Argus goes to great lengths to claim that Michigan could have spent taxpayers' money on Livingston County needs instead of paying for the January primary, it overlooks one little fact:

Somebody still would have had to pay for the GOP primary.

I don't see one line of criticism in the Press and Argus editorial about taxpayers having to pay for the Republican primary. Not one.

So typical.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rogers' Challenger Alexander Offers Solid Platform

Could there be a starker contrast between 8th District Republican Mike Rogers and his potential Democratic challenger Bob Alexander?

Rogers has supported the Bush agenda down the line, but Alexander is promising a set of priorities that line up with that of most Democrats and a likely Democratic presidential nominee.

At the top of the list -- working for good paying jobs in fields such as alternative energy and nursing. The Republican plan? Remember what John McCain told autoworkers in Michigan -- kiss those jobs goodbye forever.

Next on Alexander's list is getting rid of the Bush tax cuts for the super rich. McCain's plan (and who can doubt that Rogers will do anything but play follow-the-leader again?) is to let the super rich get away with not paying their fair share. The straight-talker used to oppose the Bush tax cuts but once he got into the presidential race he flip-flopped and now supports them. Alexander would also do away with the tax cuts for Big Oil.

Alexander also supports expanding access to health care and S-Chip, increasing human services spending, repairing our infrastructure, addressing the mortgage foreclosure crisis, investing in education at all levels and making college loans more affordable.

And one of the top differences -- Alexander supports bringing our troops home from Iraq. Rogers, of course, was against the surge before he was for it.

To help with Bob's campaign, contact him at

Friday, March 14, 2008

Is Piggy-Back Primary a Live Option for Michigan?

Could a second Michigan presidential primary be piggy-backed onto a scheduled May 6 Michigan election on education issues?

It appears from at least one news report that such an option is being seriously considered. The Associated Press, in a story carried in the Lansing State Journal, reported that option on Friday (March 14, 2008).

The date of the scheduled May 6 election probably would be moved to accommodate the primary. But it seems like piggy-backing on top of an already planned election would save the Democrats some money.

Neither the Detroit News nor the Detroit Free Press report the piggy-back option in their stories on negotiations regarding a do-over primary.

But all three stories suggest time is running short.

Time to Honor St. Patrick, Irish, and Democratic Roots

How about getting a little exercise this weekend and having some fun, too? Why not march in Pinckney's St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday (March 15, 2008) with the Livingston County Democratic Party?

Marchers will gather at the Pinckney Elementary School, 935 W. Michigan State Road (M-36) beginning at 11:15 a.m. Parade units must be in line by 11:50 a.m. and will step off at noon for the parade through downtown Pinckney.

The event will conclude with ceremonies in the gazebo in Putnam Township Square honoring Michigan's Military Moms.

As we noted in a previous post, the Democratic Party and the Irish have a particular affinity going back to the 19th century, when the party welcomed Irish immigrants to this country. So honoring the Irish really is honoring our party, as well.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wonder Why Obama Is Hiring in Detroit?

For those of us wondering what is going to happen with Michigan and Florida, this tidbit from the Michigan Caucus Blue Calendar has intrigued me for a week:

"Sunday, March 2, 2008
The Barack Obama campaign has 60 job openings at $8.00 an hour. Interviews from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm at 600 W Lafayette, Detroit, Michigan. Any questions call Kermit at (248) 667-1264."

How does the Obama campaign know what to hire people for -- a primary, a caucus, a "firehouse" primary," or a mail-in caucus?

I especially like the part about "any question, call Kermit." Right now, a lot of people have questions and no answers.

Salute Livingston's JoAnn Murphy!

Today (March 10, 2008) is a special day in Livingston County.

Our very own JoAnn Murphy turns 75 today.

JoAnn, a UAW retiree, has been active in the party for years. If you've ever been to a Democratic event in Livingston County -- a political meeting, a potluck, a parade, you name it -- you can bet JoAnn had a hand in putting it on.

She's a tireless worker for the rights and dignity of working people, which she well knows is only represented by the Democratic Party. She is generous with her time, ideas, and resources.

So if you know JoAnn, call and tell her Happy Birthday today! If you don't know JoAnn, it's your loss.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rules Are Rules -- Except for New Hampshire

As the status of Michigan and Florida's participation in the presidential nominating process remains in limbo, everybody in the country seems to be weighing in. A common refrain is that Michigan and Florida's delegates to the Democratic National Convention cannot be counted because those two states broke the rules and held nominating events in January.

Rules are rules, and the state parties knew in advance that they would be losing their delegates if they broke the rules.

But guess what? Another state broke the rules and is not being punished.

That's New Hampshire.

According to Sen. Carl Levin, the party had agreed that the first four states would be Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. "New Hampshire went apoplectic," Levin said. But New Hampshire broke the rules and moved its primary up to be ahead of Nevada.

Levin said that when the national party failed to respond to questions about whether it would enforce the rules against New Hampshire, the states of Michigan and Florida decided to move their procedures into January.

Here's the video again, for those of you who missed Levin explaining the background of Michigan's decision to the Livingston County Democrats.

It would be nice if all those national pundits insisting that the rules can't be broken would at least mention that New Hampshire broke the rules and is getting away with it.

And sound bite journalism is not an excuse. Cable news shows are an hour long. They have time to discuss the ins and outs of every adviser's comments on each side in the campaign. They can certainly find time to mention that New Hampshire broke the rules and its delegates are still being counted.

Rich Get Richer, Even in Recessions

A pair of articles published on Friday (March 7, 2008) nationally and in Michigan illustrate a problem that has been growing in our economy in recent decades -- the widening gap in pay between executives at the top of American corporations and workers at the bottom.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, held a hearing in Washington to quiz the heads of the nation's large mortgage companies about their multi-million-dollar pay packages at a time when their firms are losing billions of dollars.

Meanwhile, the Detroit Free Press reported that General Motors restored the pay cuts and even raised the salaries of some of its executives, despite layoffs for workers and continuing losses for the company.

GM's CEO, Rick Wagoner, had his pay cut in recent years when the company was going through the worst of its downsizing. Yet even though the company still lost $23 million (not counting one-time accounting changes)in 2007 , Wagoner not only had his pay restored but also given a potential $3.52 million bonus and potentially hundreds of thousands of shares of GM stock and stock options.

Granted, that's not as much as the head of Countrwide Financial Corp., who got $120 million while the company lost billions.

But isn't the bonus package still a little premature, given that GM has yet to come out of the red? Shouldn't he have to produce better results before being rewarded?

Unfortunately, such big pay packages for executives have become commonplace. Waxman is not the only person complaining about them nationally. Paul Krugman, an economist and columnist for The New York Times, warns inhis book, "Conscience of a Liberal," that the pay gap in the U.S. between workers and CEOs has widened dramatically since the 1970s.

In fact, Krugman says, the gap between rich and poor is now as wide as it was in the period from the 1890s to the 1920s, a time when many working Americans lived in grinding poverty.

Such inequality affects not only our economy, but also our politics, Krugman argues. People with enormous wealth have disproportionate impact on government through their political contributions. Meanwhile, the middle class is weakened as their salaries stagnate, no matter how hard they work.

Conservatives today have no problems with this income disparity. Yet if they really paid attention to the nation's founders (as they claim to when trying to narrowly interpret the U.S. Constitution) they would know that such income disparities are exactly what the founders wanted to avoid.

Thomas Jefferson especially warned against a social structure such as that of Europe's at the time, with a few super rich and masses of poor. His vision of democracy included a relatively even distribution of income with few social distinctions.

We're a long way from Jeffersonian democracy today, as Krugman notes. We need lots more hearings like Waxman's to get us back on that path.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Terror, Terror, Terror -- That's All They Can Say

Michigan Republican Party head Saul Anuzis has come down with a case of election-year terror-itis.

It's that terrible epidemic that infects all Republicans every four years, causing them to run around screaming that if you don't elect Republicans you will die.

Saul spewed his terror germs on the rest of us through a recent email to Republicans, which someone generously forwarded to me.

In his "MIGOP Victory Update," Anuzis wrote:

"Today our party stands united in support of Senator McCain, who is completely and 100 percent qualified to be our next Commander in Chief - on day one. He will be a steadfast supporter of our allies around the globe and will send a strong message to our adversaries that America will defend her interests and do whatever is required to keep U. S. citizens safe at home and abroad.

"While the Democrat Party is busy tearing itself apart over which liberal senator would surrender fastest in the war on terror, Republicans are uniting behind a true patriot and working together to win the White House in November."

Let's see, McCain will be a steadfast supporter of "our allies around the globe." Didn't know we had any allies left after seven years of George "I did it my way" Bush.

And "Republicans are uniting behind a true patriot." Except for the far-right wing of the party, which can't stand McCain.

But if you're Anuzis, what else can you say about McCain that might appeal to Michigan residents? McCain has admitted that he lacks expertise about the economy.

And during the run-up to the January primary, McCain told Michigan autoworkers that they can kiss their jobs good-bye because the jobs are gone and not coming back.

And then there's his flip-flopping on Bush's tax cuts for the rich, voting against them and now supporting them.

All in all, that leaves Anuzis with terror-itis.

Don't catch it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pressure on Michigan Likely to Escalate

The Democratic National Committee's dilemma over delegates from Michigan and Florida got pushed right back to the front burner late Tuesday (March 4, 2008) when Sen. Hillary Clinton won the Ohio primary.

Late in the evening, Clinton held a narrow lead in Texas over Sen. Barack Obama, but in her victory speech in Ohio, she did not sound like a candidate who planned to pull out of the race even if she lost in Texas.

Had Obama won both Ohio and Texas states, Michigan and Florida might have become less important.

But Clinton's showing means she will be continuing to insist that the party seat Michigan and Florida delegates. Obama will continue to oppose that, and some of his supporters will continue to insist on a do-over for Michigan.

Last Saturday, for example, I'm told that people demonstrated outside the state Central Committee meeting in support of a do-over primary. Some carried Obama signs, but a woman who described herself as with the Obama campaign said he was not supporting that idea.

In Florida, the Republican governor has said he would support a second primary.

I don't see it happening in Michigan.

Think about it. The state has just survived a terrible budget year in which important services had to be cut and taxes raised. Now we're going to turn around and spend $10 million for another primary? And Gov. Granholm is going to get the Republican-run state Senate to agree to that how?

Ain't happening.

So what it could come down to is who sits on the credentials committee at the Democratic National Convention.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Save the Date! Winans Dinner Coming in April

Get out your red pens and circle the date, Democrats. Livingston County Democrats will party-down at their annual Winans Dinner on April 19. The event, beginning at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m., will be held at the Hamburg VFW Hall. The site is entirely proper because Gov. Edwin Winans, the first Democrat elected governor of Michigan after the Civil War, was from Hamburg Township.

Tickets will be $60 apiece, the same as last year. People who have made monthly pledges, however, will receive up to two free tickets, based on the amount of their pledges.

We are working to line up two exciting speakers whom you won't want to miss.

The Silent Auction also will return. The party is looking for donations of new or like-new items, as well as services, that can be featured in the auction. Can you cook a special dinner for six? Or deliver a freshly-baked pie to an auction winner every month for a year? Be creative!

As time goes on, we'll feature posts on some of the items in the silent auction so you can plan your bidding strategy in advance. Or just save your money so you can bid on everything.

After all, the money goes to a good cause -- Livingston County Democrats!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Let's All Be Irish for Pinckney's Parade!

St. Patrick's Day means green beer, corned beef and cabbage -- and marching in Pinckney's St. Patrick's Day parade.

Livingston County Democrats plan to turn out to march in the annual event, which this year will be held at noon on Saturday, March 15. We will march behind our banner, wearing green derby hats and carrying green balloons.

St. Patrick's Day parades are important to all Democrats, even those who are not of Irish descent. That's because our party historically was the first to welcome 19th century Irish immigrants to this country. While much of the nation was discriminating against them, Democrats sought the votes of the Irish.

Welcoming the Irish turned out to be a good deal, not only for the Democratic Party, but also for the nation. Irish labor helped fight our Civil War, lay the rails for our transcontinental railroads, and build our cities. So marching in a St. Patrick's Day parade is a way of not only saluting Irish Americans, but also recognizing the roots of our own party and our nation.

Marchers should begin assembling for the parade at 11:15 a.m. in the parking lot of the Pinckney Elementary School, 935 W. Michigan State Road (M36). Marchers need to be in line by 11:50 a.m.

This year's parade honors Michigan's Military Moms. Following the parade, ceremonies will be held in the Putnam Township Square in downtown Pinckney with speakers addressing the sacrifices of Michigan's Military Moms. Please contact Livingston Dems at (810) 229-4212 or if you plan to march with us!

The parade will be preceded by the first-ever Pinckney bed race. Livingston Democrats plan to enter a five-person team in the bed-race. We need four people to push the bed and one to ride in it. If you can't race yourself, how about enlisting a child or grandchild to do so? This promises to be great fun and would be a great way to introduce young people to the fun side of politics! Please contact us if you'd like to participate.

In honor of Irish Americans, Michigan's Military Moms, the roots of our party, and the people who helped build our nation, let's all be Irish on March 15!

Goodbye, February!

February is behind us and none to soon. After weeks of cold and snow, the temperature Monday (March 3,2008) is almost up to 50 degrees in Brighton.

But before we say goodbye to all the bluster of February, we need to take a minute to look at how the blog did over the month.

January, of course, was an off-the-charts month because of all the interest in Michigan's presidential primary. So rather than compare with that month, we'll compare with the more typical December.

Visits to the blog for the entire month of February were up 57 percent compared to December, even though February had two fewer days. The per-day average also was up --68 percent. Unique visitors were up 83 percent. In February, 64 percent of our readers were new visitors, up from 55 percent in December.

During February, Living Blue attracted visitors from 20 countries and territories, including Canada, the Philippines, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Within the United States, visitors came from 40 states. Michigan, of course, led the list, followed by California, Arizona, New York, Illinois, the District of Columbia, Florida, Texas, Colorado, and New Jersey.

Among the no-shows on the roll call of states are places like Idaho, North Dakota, and Colorado. Those I can understand, but I would have thought we'd have attracted somebody's attention in Maine by now.

Within Michigan, our readers came from 75 cities, topped by Brighton. The Lansing area provides a steady supply of visitors, with readers not only from Lansing, but also Okemos, East Lansing, and Eaton Rapids.

Thanks to the folks at Michigan Liberal and Lefty Blogs for their frequent links to us.

Stay tuned, folks. There's a lot more to come!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Michigan Caucus Mess -- Levin Explains How We Got Here

The future of Michigan's delegates to the Democratic National Convention remains unclear, but Sen. Carl Levin has a pretty clear understanding of how we got this far.

Levin spoke to the Livingston County Democratic Party recently and gave a succinct history of why Michigan moved its primary to Jan. 15. He says the national party had committed to having four states go early in the process -- Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. But New Hampshire broke the rules and went ahead of Nevada.

Levin gave an easy to follow explanation of the history of the dispute, which you can watch on these two video segments. (His first remarks have to do with Livingston County's famous "triple round-about.")

Make sure you have the volume all the way up because it is a little hard to hear.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Keeping It Clean in Livingston

Haven't seen this in the Livingston Press and Argus yet, but maybe I missed it. Black Bear Speaks reports that a Livingston County company has reached a settlement with the state over charges of polluting Livingston County waters.

So that's one more thing we'd get with less government -- more dirty water.

Less Government Means More Bad Things

Less government and lower taxes. We hear that all the time from Republicans. And the Republican planning to run against U.S. Sen. Carl Levin is no exception.

Jack Hoogendyk, a term limited state House member, has the slogan "Less Government, Low Taxes, Individual Responsibility" on his Core Principles blog.

But what do you get more of when you get less government?

You get more toys from China that are coated with lead paint.
You get more pet food that kills our pets.
You get more contaminated meat.
You get fewer police and firefighters to take care of our emergencies.
You get out-of-date equipment for the police and firefighters who are left.
You get potholes that aren't filled, streets that aren't widened, and street lights that are burned out.
You get bigger class sizes for our children.
You get Halliburton to overcharge us for work our military used to do for itself.
You get Blackwater mercenaries who can shoot Iraqi civilians with impunity, winning us friends everywhere in the Arab world.
You get Walter Reed Medical Center Annex, run by private contractors who let our wounded warriors stay in near squalor.
You get CACI private contractors who may have participated in the torture at the Abu Ghraib prison.

You get the picture.