Eclectablog

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Chris Savage is the owner of Eclectablog, your one-stop shop for progressive Michigan news and state & national political commentary.
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Detroit school teachers vow to fight yet another pay cut, increased class sizes, and 24 school closings

[NOTE: Edited to clarify that the DPS budget was created by the DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin, not the School Board.]

When Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin put together the Detroit Public Schools budget for the coming year, it included revenue from a $14.8 million county-wide school millage that did not pass in the August primary election. Because of this blunder, now the district finds itself having make huge changes. In an updated budget and deficit-elimination plan to the Michigan Department of Education last week, we found out just how huge:

  • DPS teachers, who took a a 10% wage cut in 2011, will see their wages cut by 10% again
  • The district will lay off people to eliminate 1,381 positions from this year through 2019
  • 24 additional schools will close starting next year
  • Teachers will pay as much as $13.1 million more for their health insurance coverage
  • Golf and tennis will be ended for both boys and girls

Unsurprisingly, teachers are not taking this sitting down, not especially surprising since they are facing a loss of a fifth of their salary while working in one of the most difficult and challenging teaching environments in the entire country.…

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Microsoft ends its relationship with American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

The Sustainability Group, a group aimed at fostering socially responsible investment, along with Walden Asset Management, which offers portfolio management services to socially responsive investors, have been working with Microsoft to encourage it to end its relationship with the corporatist group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC.) ALEC is responsible for much of the pro-corporation, anti-union, anti-regulation legislation introduced in state legislatures across the country. Even Michigan’s so-called “right to work” law was derived from ALEC model legislation.

The Sustainability Group was successful. From a statement released today:

Last year, The Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott and Coolidge and Walden Asset Management engaged Microsoft over its affiliation with the controversial model legislation group American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.…
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Terri Lynn Land paid less than 3% in taxes 2012 & 2013, Gary Peters paid 18% or more

In 2011, Gary Peters had an effective tax rate of 18.6%. In 2012 it was 18.9% and in 2013 it was 18%.

Over that same time period, Terri Lynn Land paid 2.7% (2012) and 2.2% (2013.) Land says her absurdly (and questionably) low rate is due to her charitable donations. In 2013 she claimed charitable deductions of $44,865 on an income of just $89,729.

Her tax questions are starting to raise eyebrows, especially since she has pumped several million dollars into her Senate race out of a joint bank account with her husband that she happened to just forget about, calling it an “administrative error”.…

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EVENT: Rally for marriage equality in Detroit, Thursday, August 21st

This Thursday, there will be a rally at the Detroit Courthouse to support marriage equality in Michigan and the 300 same-sex couples who were married in March.

Here are the details, via Michigan for Marriage:

Join us in Detroit at a rally for the freedom to marry
After a federal judge struck down Michigan’s marriage ban in March, more than 300 same-sex couples legally married across the state before that historic ruling could be stayed.

The federal government is already recognizing these marriages as legal but Governor Rick Snyder won’t budge—putting hundreds of Michigan families in legal limbo as Michigan’s marriage case makes its way through the courts.

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Cue GOP call for more business tax cuts: Michigan unemployment rate ticks up to 7.7%, still nation’s third highest

If you go to Rick Snyder’s Facebook page, you’ll see a picture of him smiling smugly under the banner “Michigan’s Comeback Kid”. Putting aside the fact that “comeback kid” actually refers to a person who has come back from some personal trauma, something our Governor has not done, the suggestion that Michigan is somehow roaring back to economic prosperity under Rick Snyder is ludicrous at best and complete and utter lie at worst.

Last month, we had that the third highest unemployment rate in the country at 7.5%. This month, we’re still the third highest, tied with Nevada and Nevada, at 7.7%.…

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GOP launches another failed attempt to deceive voters about Democrats, target Pam Byrnes

Republicans know they are in deep trouble across our country. Their popularity is plummeting — their “unfavorable” rating is nearly 50% — largely thanks to efforts to stop people from voting, attacks on women and the LGBT community, and for making sure government doesn’t work and then blaming that on Democrats. In response, they have turned to deceptive strategies intended to deceive voters about their candidates.

Their most recent foray involves the creation of fake news websites attacking Democrats and designed to look like popular newspaper sites:

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which came under fire earlier this year for a deceptive series of fake Democratic candidate websites that it later changed after public outcry, has launched a new set of deceptive websites, this time designed to look like local news sources.
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VIDEO: Mark Totten launches general election campaign against AG Bill Schuette, Michigan’s version of Ken Cuccinelli


Michigan Democratic Attorney General candidate Mark Totten

Mark Totten started his campaign to be Michigan’s next Attorney General in 2013. He’s been one of the hardest working candidates I’ve seen in this election cycle, consistently making the case that our current AG, Bill Schuette, is an extremist that is hurting our state and, through a variety of actions taken on the Michigan taxpayers’ dime, the entire country.

Totten is a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Michigan State University College of Law. He holds a law degree and a PhD in ethics from Yale University. He’s also previously served as an attorney in the United States Department of Justice and as a clerk on a federal court of appeals.…

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Terri Lynn Land’s campaign is a visible demonstration of waste & excess with a $100K truck that gets 8 mpg

Terri Lynn Land’s website has a page titled “Energy Policy”. On that page, she talks about how things used to be so wonderful in the USA because we had stable energy sources but now those days are behind us. She lists three “Solutions” to this problem. The first one is “Respect the Environment.”

“Michigan’s environment is important and we need to protect our state’s resources,” Land says on her website.

On the same page is a picture of “Terri’s Truck”, also called “Big Blue”. Terri’s truck is an International CXT. The “CXT” stands for “Commercial Extreme Truck” and extreme they are.…

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Democrat Mark Schauer helps Detroit-area resident clean-up after flood. Gov. Snyder decides he’d better do that, too.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all…


Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer breaks down a child’s play set to remove it from a flooded Royal Oak basement, courtesy photo

Yesterday, Democratic candidate for Governor Mark Schauer got his hands (and feet) dirty helping a Royal Oak resident clean up after the epic flood that flooded their basement. From his Facebook page:

We removed everything from the basement (the water damaged every basement on the block), cut and removed the carpet and mopped up.

Not to be outdone, Gov. Snyder today pledged to do the same and to also do it in Royal Oak:

Gov.…
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UPDATED: Corporate-funded education reform group compares holding for-profit charter schools accountable to racist segregation

SEE UPDATE BELOW

You know the corporate funders driving the push to dismantle and privatize as much of our public school system as they possibly can are freaking out when they do stuff like this tweet from the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP):

You also know they’ve stepped in it when they have to tweet out four explanatory tweets following the tweeted meme explaining themselves.

PRO TIP: If you have to explain your meme, especially if it takes four tweets to do so, you blew it and should just go ahead and delete the damn thing before too many people see just how out of touch you are.…

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