Getting started in political blogging

I’m going to be on with Tony later this morning to discuss political blogging. I thought I’d start at the very beginning. What is political blogging, and is it for you?

To keep things simple, let’s define political blogging as the act of writing articles about civic affairs. These articles could be editorials designed to persuade, investigative articles that present evidence and/or empirical data, rants, comics, etc. Ultimately the only requirement is that the content of the article addresses something or someone related to policy or politics. Because the act of blogging is largely uncoordinated, unfunded, and is a “bottom-up” style of messaging, political blogging is considered grassroots activism.

So that being said, is this the kind of activism that is for you?

Some of the benefits of blogging as activism:

  • Mobility is not required. People who have tight schedules or who have physical trouble moving around and getting to rallies, meetings, etc., find that blogging is an easy way for them to engage in issues that matter to them.
  • Blogging is low cost. You do not need big up front investments or lots of gas money in order to blog. There are free platforms such as blogger.com and wordpress.com that allow people to sign up for a blog with a unique name and website address. You can eliminate cost altogether if you can pick up free Internet somewhere.
  • People with a small comfort zone usually feel ‘safer’ blogging. Many people want to be active but they do not want to knock on doors, march in parades, attend events, etc. Blogging allows a person to make a potentially powerful contribution. This is a great option for people who might have otherwise have avoided civic engagement.
  • People who enjoy writing can find that blogging is a great way to launch a second income.

So maybe blogging is for you? Do you know what you’d like to write about?

Continue reading over the fold …

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AG Bill Schuette using his office as a right wing political tool

I’ll be on First Shift this morning to discuss Bill Schuette’s actions so far as Attorney General. Here’s some of the research I have for the topic:

  • Schuette is using his office to promote a right wing social agenda.

    http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Daily-Reports/2012/February/13/State-Reax-to-Contraceptive-Deal.aspx

    Saying that religious liberty is under attack, Schuette announced Thursday plans to make Michigan the lead state in filing briefs in support of lawsuits filed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a group that leans conservative and fights for religious rights (Warikoo, 2/10).

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/supreme-court-unanimously-shoots-down-obama-admin-churches-have-right-to-ch/

    Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and a law professor at the Catholic University of America, said he thought Schuette was the first state attorney general to participate in Becket’s cases.

  • Schuette has stated that police officers who return medical marijuana that has been legally OR illegally seized, may be prosecuted as drug dealers.

    http://www.citizen-times.com/article/C4/20111113/COL04/111130466/Brian-Dickerson-Schuette-wages-war-against-people-s-law?odyssey=mod_sectionstories

    In his latest initiative, Schuette has opined that police have a legal obligation not to return pot seized from licensed medical marijuana patients because possession of marijuana is still prohibited under federal law. (Never mind that the U.S. Justice Department, which has bigger fish to fry, especially in Detroit, has made clear its lack of interest in prosecuting patients in Michigan and other states that have authorized medical marijuana.)

    In fact, the AG warned in an opinion issued late last week, officers who return illegally confiscated marijuana (in seeming compliance with a provision of the MMA that specifically bars its seizure from medical users licensed by the state) are themselves risking criminal prosecution as drug dealers.

  • Schuette is inconsistent in his views on constitutional authority.

    http://bloggingformichigan.com/2011/08/08/the-ongoing-hypocrisy-of-bill-schuette/

    In a brief filed with the court, Schuette sides with Livonia, arguing that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act is preempted by federal law and that local communities should not be forced to sanction criminal activity.


    On July 1, the appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, struck down Michigan’s Proposal 2, which bans the consideration of race and gender in college admissions and government hiring. Judges R. Guy Cole Jr. and Martha Craig Daughtrey said it put an unconstitutional burden on minorities who would have to launch their own statewide petition drive to try to undo the law.
    Schuette is appealing the ruling because it is “nutty” and because Michigan residents have the right to make laws to protect white people at the state level

  • Schuette interferes in elections

    http://bloggingformichigan.com/2011/10/25/gov-snyder-and-att-gen-schuette-involvement-paul-scott-recall-is-clumsy-and-nakedly-partisan/

    Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette filed requests with the Michigan Supreme Court today, asking the court to delay the Nov. 8 recall election targeting state Rep. Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc.
    In documents filed with the court, Snyder and Schuette said the legal tangle surrounding the case – which has been ordered on, off and back on the ballot over the course of the last two months – has left voters confused and in danger of being disenfranchised.

  • Schuette uses the AG office to interfere in university matters on a regular basis

    http://www.freep.com/article/20110318/COL04/103180441/Brian-Dickerson-Bill-Schuette-civil-liberties-champion-

    In a friend of the court brief filed this week, Schuette asked the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court ruling that EMU was within its rights when it suggested that Julea Ward — a former graduate student who maintains that her Christian beliefs preclude her from ministering to gay and lesbian clients — find another course of study at another school.

  • Schuette looking for media, face time

    http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/03/us_supreme_court_to_michigan_a.html

    Justices denied a late bid by Schuette to join oral arguments over life sentences without chance of parole for minors in death cases.

    The court’s March 5 rejection was quick, 10 days after Schuette’s office sought to participate in arguments that will help decide the fate of 2,500 inmates nationally. One in seven are in Michigan.

    Schuette’s office limited its comments to a short statement by spokeswoman Joy Yearout, who said Schuette acted at the request of the defending attorneys general of Alabama and Arkansas.

    “We will continue to defend and fight for justice for victims and their families at every opportunity,” she wrote.

  • Schuette proposing bad policy to pander to electorate / campaign for higher office

    http://bridgemi.com/2012/03/lock-em-up-and-send-taxpayers-the-bill/#.T2aEUPVUTHo

    Schuette’s proposal, which his office touted as his “plan to make Michigan safer,” calls for a mandatory 25-year sentence for a violent crime perpetrated by a criminal who has committed three previous felonies.

    “For too long, there’s been too much fear, not enough jobs, too much fear, not enough cops,” Schuette said in announcing what he called his VO-4 plan. “Too much fear means seniors can’t walk in the park.”

    Longer prison terms for habitual offenders, he suggested, would lead to safer streets – and, presumably, parks

  • Schuette campaigned on keeping more people in prison: http://www.billschuette.com/protecting_our_families

Asking for democracy is democracy in action

Say what?

Well I was checking out this article on the MLK march on Snyder’s residence, and found this tidbit here:

“We elect mayors, we elect city council members, and we would like them to be a part of the process … in terms of rebuilding these urban cities,” Williams said.

“We don’t want our elected officials to be unilaterally dismissed,” he said. “And that’s the message that we’re sending here today. We ask that you would let the governor know.”

That was the message delivered by Reverend Charles Williams to Dennis Muchmore, Governor Snyder’s chief of staff. 

Washtenaw County Commissioner Yousef Rabhi was also at the protest, and had this to say,

“This is about democracy,” … “That’s what we — the working people of America — have is our democracy,” he said. “And when the governor steps in and tries to take that away, that’s when we’re really going to have a problem, and that’s what folks are standing up here about.”

Other statements express similar concerns regarding the fact that Snyder’s Emergency Managers are destroying our democracy.

Dennis Muchmore responded by saying that Monday’s Occupy for Democracy rally was a great example of “democracy in action.”

I know, right?

‘Choose Life’ plates would fund Right to Life through the Secretary of State

Based on what we’ve seen of Snyder & the GOP legislature so far, this is definitely going to pass:

Among the legislation scheduled for review Tuesday by the Michigan Senate Transportation Committee is Senate Bill No. 600, which would require the Secretary of State to develop a plate whose proceeds would support the Right to Life of Michigan Fund in the state treasury.

 

According to Right to Life of Michigan: “Funds generated by the sale of ‘Choose Life’ plates in Michigan will be distributed to pregnancy resource centers and other prolife entities providing assistance to pregnant girls and women.”

There is no pro-choice alternative being considered.

A Slate legal columnist examined the First Amendment issues and concluded,

When the state gives license plates to certain private organizations to broadcast their messages, is it more like the state is talking (akin to a public service announcement) or more like it’s allowing private citizen to talk (like they would in a public square)? The former is constitutional, but the latter may well be censorship.

But Right to Life doesn’t like one-sided issues, remember?  They sued Governor Granholm for the stem-cell research petition that was found on Michigan.gov:

The Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center filed suit Aug. 9 in federal court in Lansing on behalf of the Lansing Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, Flint-Area Right To Life and Right To Life-Lifespan. The groups claim Granholm, using public resources, discriminated against people who oppose embryonic stem cell research.

The hypocrisy is stunning.

Report shows Shiawassee unemployment rate down

The Michigan League for Human Services has issued a report (pdf) that shows some good news for Shiawassee. The unemployment rate for the county is down from 15.1% in 2010 Q4 to 11.9% in 2011 Q1. That’s an improvement of 3.2%. The number of unemployed persons in the county decreased by 24.3%. These numbers put us ahead of many other counties in Michigan:

All counties saw a decrease in their unemployment rate between the fourth quarter of 2009 and that of 2010. Although the statewide decrease was less than 1 point, there was a decrease of at least 2 points in 53 counties and two counties had a decrease of more than 4 points. Although there was a decrease in total jobs during that period, manufacturing jobs increased by nearly 10,000 jobs

Although our job numbers are looking better, our public assistance cases have increased. 1.9% of our families are receiving public assistance. The number of families receiving cash assistance increased by 23.9%, making us one of the top 10 counties in Michigan in terms of an increase. The number of families recieving food assistance increased by 18.9%.

Click here to download the report