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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As our minimum wages inches up on Labor Day, 40% of Michigan households don’t earn enough to pay their bills

As part of the passage of a new law that did an end-run around citizen efforts to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $10.10/hour over time, today Michigan’s minimum wage rises to $8.15/hour for non-tipped workers. The minimum wage for tipped workers will be 38% of that starting today, as well. Still, a new report by the United Way shows that 40% of the households in Michigan are either in poverty or are in so-called ALICE households – Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed. In other words, two out of five Michigan households don’t make enough money to pay all of their bills each month.…

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BREAKING: Education Achievement Authority sending out deceptive letters to poach students from other districts (Updated x2))

After John Covington quit (or was forced out) as Chancellor of Gov. Snyder’s failed experiment with Detroit students — the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) — he was replaced by Veronica Conforme, the former chief operating officer of the New York City Department of Education. However, the ethically questionable behavior of the EAA is continuing under her watch.

This past week, parents of students outside of the EAA have been receiving letters from the EAA. The letters are recruitment letters, trying to bring in more students, but masquerade as official letters informing the parents that their students have been formally assigned to the EAA.…

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Law firm supporting New York Parents Union quits, parents blame bullying by Campbell Brown’s education reform group

Campbell Brown

In early June, a decision in the California court case Vergara v. California deemed the state’s teacher tenure laws to be unconstitutional because they deny children access to a quality education. The decision has sparked similar cases around the country. In New York, the parents group New York City Parents Union (NYCPU), headed by Mona Davids, filed the first of these lawsuits in early July. In Davids v. State of New York, et al., eleven students, all children of members of the New York City Parents Union, are plaintiffs. The complaint (pdf) asks the court to issue permanent injunctions against the New York statutes involving “Last In, First Out” (LIFO) layoff rules and dismissal rules for teachers found to be ineffective.…

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PHOTOS: 300 gather to support public education in Ann Arbor

Yesterday, nearly 300 teachers and advocates gathered in Ann Arbor for a rally to support public education, sponsored by Michigan Teachers and Allies for Change (M-TAC). Attendees listened to speakers like State Representative Jeff Irwin, Ann Arbor Education Association President Linda Carter, Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift, and Ann Arbor Public Schools teacher Quinn Strassel. The headliner for the event was Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor Lisa Brown. Brown reminded the crowd which candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor are on the side of teachers, students, and public education, in general. (HINT: It’s not Snyder/Calley.) She told the crowd that education is the number one priority for her and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer.…

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Michigan Democrats unanimously pass resolution condemning David Trott’s unethical foreclosure practices

At the Michigan Democratic Party’s Nominating Convention this past weekend, Democrats passed an important resolution condemning the unethical and damaging foreclosure practices of Republican Congressional candidate David Trott and demanding a repeal of a law that allows vulture foreclosure firms like Trott & Trott, P.C. to immediately foreclose on homeowners.

The resolution outlines a loophole that was passed by the GOP-led legislature and signed into law in 2013 that reduced the “redemption period” after a foreclosed home’s title is sold at auction from 180 days to 60 days, a move that benefited firms like Trott’s. The legislation also included a loophole “allowing his companies, as agents of the foreclosure sale purchaser, to inspect premises inside and out without notice, and to ‘immediately commence summary proceedings’ for eviction based on a broad range of supposed rationales, or simply because foreclosees refused to allow inspectors to invade their homes and violate their privacy.”

Trott lobbied hard for this loophole for the obvious reason: he and his firm stood to make an enormous amount of money by using it.…

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Democrat Mark Schauer leads Gov. Rick Snyder in most recent poll, Snyder spokeswoman calls EPIC-MRA poll “garbage”

Gotta love a headline like this: “Schauer edges ahead of Snyder, 45% to 43%, in new governor race poll”.

Mark Schauer is one of the most patient, methodical politicians I’ve ever seen. In my interview with him last fall, we had this exchange:

Eclectablog: One of the things that I’m hearing from folks on my blog and elsewhere online is that they just don’t know who you are because they’re not from our area. Anne and I know you because you were our Congressman but that’s not the case outside of the districts that you’ve served in and you need support statewide.…
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National environmental group lists Walberg and Upton in Top 20 #DirtyDenier$

NRDC Action Fund, the 401(c)(4) arm of one of the largest environmental organizations in the country, has selected the Top 20 #DirtyDenier$ and are rolling them out over Congress’s summer break. The #DirtyDenier$ are chosen because of they “allow polluters to foul our air by casting dirty votes and accept dirty money.”

In the Top 20 are two Michigan Congressmen: Tim Walberg (MI-07) and Fred Upton (MI-06).

Here’s what they had to say about Walberg:

Congressman Tim Walberg seems perfectly happy as a reliable foe of clean air, clean water and taking action on climate change, doesn’t he?  Maybe it’s because he’s tucked into the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Patriot Program.” And he’s done well, raising more than $700,000 from congressional colleagues’ leadership political action committees.
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Patriarchal Michigan Republicans decide democracy is not for YOU, quash yet another ballot initiative

Democracy, deschmocracy

First it was citizens overturning the majority vote of Michigan citizens to overturn our state’s anti-democratic Emergency Manager law. Then it was rape insurance. Then it was a drive to ban wolf hunting. Then it was the effort to raise Michigan’s minimum wage. In each instance, Republicans in the Michigan legislature decided that it wasn’t appropriate for us to be able to vote on these important issues or, if we have voted, that our vote was irrelevant.

Now comes the latest move to quash the democracy. Thanks to a vote of the legislature, led primarily by Republicans, a ballot initiative on the November ballot will be essentially moot and the democratic process where we decide an important issue at the ballot box has been thwarted.…

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REMINDER: Michigan Teachers & Allies for Change rally for public schools in Ann Arbor TODAY!

I am reposting this as a reminder that there is a rally to support public education TODAY in Ann Arbor from 5:30-6:30 at Liberty Plaza. Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor Lisa Brown will be the headliner.
Michigan Teachers and Allies for Change (M-TAC), a grassroots group of teachers and allies working on behalf of public education, is hosting a rally in support of public education this TODAY, from 5:30 to 6:30. The event will take place at Liberty Plaza in downtown Ann Arbor.

Speakers include Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor Lisa Brown, State Representative Jeff Irwin, Ann Arbor Education Association president Linda Carter, Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift, and Ann Arbor Public Schools teacher Quinn Strassel, among others.…

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VIDEO: Want to go see Terri Lynn Land speak without an invite? Good luck with that. Here’s what it looks like.

Not much to add to this except that Terri Lynn Land and her handlers are very clearly petrified that someone might get a video of her speaking in public because we all know how well THAT usually goes. No wonder staffers from a Koch brothers front group are saying, “Michigan is a state that’s basically an uphill climb honestly.”

Uphill climb? That’s putting it mildly.

[Caricature by DonkeyHotey for Eclectablog. Adapted from: Wikipedia - State of MI / HHS - Chris Smith]

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