Progressive groups call on Congressman Fred Upton to return campaign donations from Big Oil interests

At around 2:00 a.m. this past Tuesday, residents in Berrien County on the west side of the state were awaken by the sound of a 24-30 inch natural gas pipeline rupturing. The noise was tremendous and some area folks said it “felt like the earth was shaking a little bit.”

Vic Rogers, a farmer that lives just a quarter mile from where the blast occurred, says he heard a loud noise around 2 a.m. and came outside to see a geyser of mud and dirt 200 feet in the area.

The area around the pipeline is now swampy.

Trans Canada, the owners of the ANR pipeline that burst, coordinated with area public safety officials who ordered an immediate evacuation of the area in a one-mile radius around the rupture, impacting more than 500 people.…

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INTERVIEW: AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler – Has the “American Dream” become the “Impossible Dream”?

The American Dream, according to dictionary.com, is defined as: the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American, or, a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S.

I might suggest that, based on generational differences, the definition of the American Dream might be different from generation to generation. Clearly, though, at least in the world I live in, one has to wonder if it’s time to redefine what the American Dream is. I’m not suggesting that the ideas set forth at dictionary.com are necessarily wrong. At the same time, however, I am concerned that the way it’s defined doesn’t exactly fit into today’s model of what our communities are, what we seek for them to be, and more importantly, how we get there.…

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Michigan Democrats introduce bill to place moratorium on opening of more charter schools

In the wake of the Detroit Free Press‘s explosive eight-day exposé on Michigan charter schools which revealed an astonishing lack of oversight, transparency, and actual performance in charters, Democrats have responded this week with a bill that would place a moratorium on opening any more charters. The legislation was introduced by state Representative Sarah Roberts. Rep. Robers and minority vice chairwoman of the House Education Committee, Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton, revealed the new legislation at a press conference today.

The legislation has several components:

  • Require complete transparency, including financial disclosure by authorizing bodies, charter schools and educational management organizations and their subcontractors.
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First thoughts on TEDMED 2014

There’s a Buddhist saying, “First thought, best thought.” While I believe that’s true, some things still benefit from time and perspective.

That’s certainly the case with TEDMED. It ended on September 12th, and my brain is still synthesizing all the brilliance I absorbed from the stage and from the leaders in health and medicine I spoke with during the conference — such as Dr. Mark Hyman, who took this photo of me in my jacket for The Walking Gallery painted by Regina Holliday, which tells my personal healthcare story.

While I collect my thoughts for a more detailed post, I put together a collection of tweets in a Storify to help organize my thinking — and give others a taste of what I experienced.…

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Terri Lynn Land’s hypocrisy on road repair funding: She lobbied to divert road funding to her department as Secretary of State

In her seemingly endless quest to find something, anything, that will change the fail-trajectory of her downward spiraling poll numbers, one of the things Terri Lynn Land has tried is to recycle a Congressional tea party idea and take it as her own. Land has attempted to co-opt the “Transportation Empowerment Act” (TEA) or, as I like to call it, the “Force States to Raise Gas Taxes on Themselves to Fix Roads Act” (FSRGTOTFRA, pronounced “fizzerg-TOT-fra”). This legislation was orginally sponsored by ardent Tea Party Caucus members Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Representative Tom Graves (R-GA).

Land mentions this on her website, calling it her “Michigan First plan for Roads, Bridges and Highways”.…

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AFTERNOON GRAB BAG: Snyder vs. Schauer – the race heats up

Several items of interest to report in Michigan’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign this afternoon.

First, another poll out today shows Mark Schauer in a statistical dead heat with incumbent Republican governor Rick Snyder. This poll, by Vanguard Public Affairs, has Snyder up by just 3.2 points with a margin of error of 4 points. In the same poll, Gary Peters is ahead of Terri Lynn Land in their U.S. Senate race by a full 7 points, Godfrey Dillard trails Republican Ruth Johnson for Secretary of State by 3.6 points with nearly a third undecided, and Democrat Mark Totten down by 8 points against incumbent Attorney General Bill Schuette with more than a quarter of the respondents still undecided.…

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Republican Rick Snyder now running on Obamacare after failure to lead on Medicaid expansion

Back when Michigan legislators were debating whether to expand Medicaid in our state through the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), Rick Snyder expressed his concern that our state didn’t “have enough capacity to put essentially 400,000 more people into a medical home model with a primary care environment, as opposed to having them simply go to an ER”.

That’s the sort of “leadership” provided by Rick Snyder on this issue.

Once Republican legislators finally figured out what a great deal this is for our state, they passed the legislation without giving it “immediate effect”, something they do for nearly every bill passed.…

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Republicans understand consequences better than Democrats — which is why they’re terrified

In her painfully good new book This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein sums up what she thinks it would take to address the threat of climate change: “In short, it means changing everything about the economy so that our pollution doesn’t change everything about our physical world.”

She argues, alarmingly, that conservatives understand this far more deeply than those on the left. Of course, conservatives not worried about the potential damage to the planet, which they could find some way to monetize. They’re worried about the damage to their worldview and — ultimately — their ability to hold power.

That is the only consequence that really matters to them — which is why they’re willing to risk government shutdowns and debt defaults and employ self-defeating tactics like voter suppression and killing immigration reform.…

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