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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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Gridlock in Lansing tosses road funding decision to taxpayers but Dems get a LOT of what they wanted

Michigan’s legislature is essentially a microcosm of what is happening in Washington, D.C. A small coalition of hard-right tea party types are holding the Republican party hostage, forcing them to cut deals with the Democrats in order to actually, you know, govern. Cast in the role of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger. This gridlock gave Democrats the ability to secure some important elements in the road funding agreement.

The battle to find over a billion dollars in road funding finally came to an end at something like 5:30 a.m. this morning. The final result does a whole lot of things but entirely depends on Michigan taxpayers raising the sales tax from six percent to seven percent.…

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Michigan Republican posts photos of his kids with AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, calls them “modern muskets” & “weapons for liberty”

NOTE: I have updated this post and the title to correct the misuse of the term “assault rifle”. Though semi-automatic AR-15 rifles are commonly called assault rifles, the strict definition of an assault rifle says that it must be “selective fire” meaning that it has “at least one semi-automatic and one automatic mode”. The rifles in the photos below are semi-automatic only. They do, however, have magazines that hold 10-30 rounds or more of ammunition.

Yesterday, I wrote about Todd Courser and showed a photo he had posted on Facebook of one of his kids with an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle.…

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While progressives try to catch up with ALEC in the states, ALEC moves to the cities and counties

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Koch brothers-funded group that churns out pro-business model legislation for state legislators, has been incredibly effective at impacting policy at the state level. A recent study shows just how effective they have been:

Building on research I am conducting with Konstantin Kashin, I used text analysis of ALEC’s model legislation, along with all state legislation introduced and enacted since the mid-1990s, to identify instances when state governments enacted ALEC-authored bills related to public unions. (In all, I counted twelve enactments of ALEC reform bills across eight states.) These bills generally followed several common patterns, such as provisions making it more challenging for labor unions to automatically collect dues from workers, and making it easier for states to contract out services that were previously performed by public workers.…
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Religion, guns, and anti-government paranoia guide incoming Republican legislator Todd Courser

One of the newly-elected legislators who will take his seat on the floor of the state House next month is Todd Courser from the Lapeer area. Though he has yet to take office, I have written about him several times already and, judging by his bizarre rhetoric and behavior, there will be an abundance of Eclectawords written about him over the next couple of years.

Courser, along with all of the other incoming legislators, has been going through the extensive training offered to new lawmakers. Courser has been writing about what he refers to as his “indoctrination” on his Facebook page and his posts are a creepy blend of religion, paranoia, and a twisted sense of what it means to be a “patriot”.…

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Obamacare: unleashing the power of entrepreneurship on our economy

My daughter turned 26 this past fall and is no longer covered by my health insurance. She had the misfortune of graduating from college with a Masters in bassoon performance right in the middle of the Great Recession. Though she has an advance degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, finding a full-time position with an orchestra or symphony has been elusive so far. Being the bright, energetic young woman that she is, she formed her own quintet and she has been eking out a modest living, supplemented, of course, by waiting tables. While she’s paying her own bills, she does not have to kinds of resources needed to purchase health insurance on her tiny income.…

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AFT President Randi Weingarten shares her personal story and her truth about being raped

Three years ago, I I wrote about being sexually assaulted by a doctor when I was ten years old. It was a story that I had kept to myself for decades and the decision to share it came after I came to the realization that our national conversation about rape and sexual assault was a complete train wreck. Two years later, not much has changed in that regard. Because it’s such a disaster, many sexual assault victims are afraid and/or unwilling to tell their own personal stories about their experiences.

But these experiences are truths. They are real and they are all around us yet they go largely unheard because victim-shaming is such a tragic reality.…

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GUEST POST: EMU faculty honor University President Susan Martin’s courage & leadership and ask for her help re: the EAA

Dr. Stephen Wellinski has been on the forefront of the battle to end the interlocal agreement between Eastern Michigan University and the Education Achievement Authority (EAA). EMU’s connection to Gov. Snyder’s failed experiment with Detroit students is a stain on an otherwise well-earned reputation as a university that teaches teachers and Dr. Wellinski’s leadership on this issue is an important element in the overall effort to send the EAA to the rubbish bin of history. He has written several guest posts on Eclectablog and today, once again, I turn over the blog to him.

During the most recent meeting of the EMU Board of Regents, faculty and students alike spoke out against the partnership with the EAA.…

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Help Eclectablog and do your online shopping at Amazon.com at the same time

I've recently become an Amazon affiliate partner which means that you have an opportunity to help out the blog financially without it costing you a dime. Any time you are placing an online order with Amazon.com, if you do it from the widget at the top of the right sidebar, we will get a percentage of the sale price. ...
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DERP – Tea Party: Having to pay tax on internet transactions is TYRANNY!

The Tea Party of West Michigan (motto: “Influence policy, effect [sic] elections, protect the Constitution”) is a constant source of entertainment and amazement to me. They amaze me because of their impressive ability to turn out their supporters to contact their legislators to get things done according to their distorted worldview in Lansing. They are VERY good at doing this, far better than progressives are.

They entertain me because… well, because of stuff like this:

From: Tea Party of West Michigan
Date: December 10, 2014
Subject: Vote on internet tax today.

Call your Reps.and any others you have time to call

Arguments can be made on the merits of a level playing field however what it boils down to in my book is tyranny as it’s just another confiscation of our wealth and the large companies like Amazon who lobbied for this will benefit as it will remove many small business internet companies hence thinning down their competition.

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Republican plan to fund road repairs will strip nearly $1 billion MORE from Michigan schools each year

Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger wants you to believe that he’s found a magical way to fund road repairs without raising your taxes! While it’s true that your gas taxes and sales taxes won’t increase, the entire scheme is based on taking nearly a billion dollars more from schools each year. Local municipalities will take a huge hit, too.

How much will schools lose? A report by the Michigan League for Public Policy puts the tally at $634.1 million for this year. That number rises to $888.7 million in 2022-23. The Michigan Association of School Boards calculates that the average loss to schools will be an astonishing $475 per pupil per year.…

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