Gary Martenis (July 8th):
David Smith (July 13th):
“Here’s my suggestion to the people who don’t seem to know what’s going on outside: Put a big rock in your yard. When it’s wet, it’s raining. When it’s dry, it’s not. Isn’t that simple? If we use the “rock” system, we don’t have to listen to that stupid siren.”
I feel I can offer a sensible solution to the siren problem:
When the weather ball is red, higher temperatures ahead.
When the weather ball is blue, lower temperatures are due.
Yellow light in weather ball means they’ll be no change at all.
When colors blink in agitation, there’s going to be precipitation.
For more information & fun:
WMDs in Michigan
Senators Stabenow and Levin announced that Michigan would be receiving $3.5 million in Homeland Security funds. That would make me feel safer if I actually felt that the greatest threat to our safety came from terrorists.
|Every time I hear about spending millions of dollars on security and the war, I remember the words of Dennis Kucinich, at the 2004 DNC:
Some WMDs are forged from within, in the name of patriotism, religion, or profit. Let’s throw a few million at these weapons of mass destruction.
New Leadership at the SRCC
The Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce welcomes Rita Mickolajczyk as the new President. Rita is featured in this Argus Press article, in which she states that she is anxious to get started in her new position: “The bottom line is that the board has set their goals for the next two to four years, with an emphasis on membership services, recruitment and retention, as well as economic development,”
As a Chamber member, that sounds good to me. As a human, I get nervous when the Chamber talks about recruitment and retention, because the chamber is a GOP marketing machine. While the SRCC official position is that they do not endorse candidates, I find most of their literature and statements to be supportive of GOP candidates and corporate-driven policies. As a result, most chamber members begin to believe that it’s in their best interest to promote and vote GOP.
On the one hand, it makes perfect sense that the SRCC would promote such policies. Isn’t that their function? To promote business? But that’s the problem, isn’t it? Promoting business is not the same thing as promoting the GOP.
When business after business comes forward and tells us that health care is a job killer, how can the chamber support candidates and policies that protect the health care status quo?
|The reason manufacturers come to Shiawassee is that we are a source of low-cost labor. People like Dave Camp have made our local (low-cost) labor pool unnecessary. Not only has he supported every trade agreement that exported our Shiawassee jobs, he’s supported legislation that imports low cost labor as well. The only people he’s ever protected from job loss were the sugar farmers (who coincidentally are his biggest contributors here in Michigan). Furthermore he’s fought all attempts to reform our health care system. Yet Chamber employees say things like “Dave Camp is our best hope for bringing jobs to the area.”|
The SRCC philosophy is messed up.
|Instead of supporting a guy like Camp, they could use their subtle politics to promote someone who will do something about healthcare. If you want to bring jobs to Shiawassee, then set up a system in the county through which it is easier for people to self insure. Take the burden of health care off of the employer. Suddenly, Shiawassee rises to the top.|
Of course, if Shiawasseeans (that’s a word in my blog) can easily self-insure, then businesses wouldn’t need to join the chamber for insurance group rates.
Back to Rita — hopefully Rita’s time with the United Way has left her with some progressive values, and she’ll find some creative solutions to job creation in our area. I do like this quote, from the same article as above: “those rural communities that are successful are those that have looked at niche services like ethanol or biodiesel,”
That tells me that she gets it, at least to some degree.
Shiawassee County’s only mass transit system is facing some tough financial times … but it must be saved.
Residents of Owosso, Corunna, and some townships (though not Caledonia, yet) have reported receiving Michigan Vote cards, which include the QVF# of the recipient. Political consultant Mark Grebner reports on his conversation with State Elections Director Chris Thomas:
“First, "one" of the main purposes of the mailing was to troll for data. Chris – toeing the company line – insisted that "the educational component was important too" but pretty quickly cut to the chase.
Second, they intend to completely ignore the role set out for local Clerks in Michigan law, and just run the program themselves. This is mainly a reaction to the lack of cooperation they’ve gotten from local Clerks. Chris’s claim was that Federal law supersedes the provisions of State law. I don’t believe that (we’re both attorneys) but since the Republicans control the courts, I suppose their version might prove triumphant, if the question is ever litigated.
Third, all the data from the returns is public, although Chris seemed taken aback by my desire for my employees to actually handle the hundreds of thousands of cards that will come back. He had thought I’d be happy with a CD at the end of the process.
Fourth, they’re going to ignore the postal "endorsements" on each returned piece of the reason for the return. They’ll treat all returned pieces identically. This strikes me as illegal, since they plan to act under MCL 168.509AA which requires "reliable information" that the person has moved out of the municipality. As I’ve explained to Chris, I think they should break out certain returned cards for separate treatment, which he doesn’t currently plan to do.
For example, if a postcard is marked "mail cannot be delivered due to unleashed dog" – which is a real endorsement – I don’t see how you infer that somebody has moved away.
Finally, and most interestingly, they’ve given up taking any action before November’s election. Total surrender. They’ll send out a forwardable letter asking people to respond, but regardless of what they get back, they will leave people on the rolls for this November. I’m certain that wasn’t the original plan, but as Emily Latella would say, "Never mind."
Visit these Michigan Liberal links for more information:
Farewell, Neighbor SoldiersOwosso’s National Guard Company 144 left for a 12 month Iraq deployment.
We all hope they return home safely. Perhaps this deployment is what inspired local Vietnam Veteran Ed Dodge’s nice op-ed in the July 14 Argus Press.
Senators Stabenow & Levin Score
It’s a rare day in a GOP controlled government when an environmentally driven law beats the law of the free market.
Senator Stabenow announced a $420 per truck fee for every truck-o-trash coming in from Canada .. and we don’t have to pay it. I suppose as long as we have the TIC principle (Trash Is Commerce), some people (mostly GOPers) will look at this as a business tax and claim that it destroys jobs. However, I applaud the efforts to slow the import of trash into our state. Unlike my friend Jon, who feels the trash issue is a distraction from other more important issues, I take this issue very personally.
Our ground water is contaminated with who-knows-what … and anything we can do to slow the further contamination of Michigan has my full support. While there is merit to the argument that we safely dispose of imported trash, we all know that no system is fool-proof. I have no doubt that there is unregulated, untracked refuse going through our state. Commercial waste producers/haulers/whatever, dispose of their refuse in the most profitable way possible. After all, Trash Is Commerce.
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