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GUEST POST: Enbridge Line 5 pipeline beneath Straits of Mackinac – too old, unsafe, and a threat to the Great Lakes

The following essay is a guest post by Denny Green of Clean Water Action – Michigan. Enjoy.

Stick that in your pipeline and smoke it!

Anybody who’s ever visited Michigan’s Great Lakes has been taken aback by their inspiring splendor and breath-taking beauty, laid out for all to see. What you don’t see, however, are Enbridge’s two aging pipelines, known as Line 5, that run under the Straits of Mackinac, the waterway that joins Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. And these old pipelines are not only hidden beneath this splendor and beauty, but they actually threaten to destroy it.

You see, Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline is a 62 year-old system that carries nearly 23 million gallons of crude oil every day, right through the middle of the pristine Great Lakes.…

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GUEST POST: New York Times forgets about one of America’s truly great ex-presidents, Thomas Jefferson

Doug Kelley is a dear friend of mine and the man who recruited me into a leadership position in the Washtenaw County Democratic Party where I am now the Chair. Doug is not only an activist – a career in itself that has spanned seven decades and includes the formation of the organization that was the predecessor to the Peace Corps – but he is also one of the nation’s top collectors of political memorabilia. I have had the privilege of having a personal tour of Doug’s extensive collection which is housed in its own building behind his home and it is eye-popping.…

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GUEST POST: Replacing forced arbitration contract trickery with transparency

The following is a guest post by Lonnie Scott, Executive Director of Progress Michigan.

If you’ve ever opened up a credit card, taken out a student loan or signed up for a cell phone plan, you’re probably bound to arbitration through some version of a consumer financial contract you’ve consented to – whether you know it or not.

Buried in the fine print of take-it-or-leave-it contracts, forced arbitration terms rob consumers of their constitutional right to their day in court in the event of a dispute. Instead of being able to have their case heard by a judge and jury, consumers must instead go to private arbitration where a panel of adjudicators review their case and make a determination that is legally binding and enforceable in the courts.…

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GUEST POST: Burning Tires (Hazardous is the New Clean)

Since today is Earth Day, I thought it would be a great opportunity to hear from a group that does more than most others in terms of protecting our planet from further damage by human activity. Clean Water Action is on the forefront of this and their organization is a model for how to organize and create change one doorstep and phone call at a time.

Today’s guest post is by Denny Green, a staffer at Clean Water Action.
You know that warm, cozy feeling you get from seeing black toxic plumes of smoke billowing up from a pile of burning hazardous rubbish and industrial waste?…

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GUEST POST: Snyder-pardoned drunk driver Alan Gocha, Jr. and I have something in common. Sort of.

Today’s guest post was written by Tali Wendrow. She and her husband Julian, the parents of an autistic daughter, were put through a legal ordeal unlike anything you’ve likely ever heard of. In her essay, Tali contrasts their own experience with the favorable treatment that Alan Gocha, Jr. recently received when Gov. Rick Snyder issued a rare pardon for Gocha, expunging his record of his drunk driving arrest in 2007.

The Wendrows won a court case last fall but, as she describes, the case is still under appeal. In the meantime, they are treated as criminals while Gocha, a man who admittedly endangered others by his actions, is heralded by Gov.…

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GUEST POST: After Philip Levine: Who Will Speak for Workers Now? And is Anyone Listening?

Today’s guest post was written by my new friend Sally Tyler. Sally lives in Washington, DC. and is a public policy analyst for a national labor union, who spent time in Wisconsin in 2011, and who occasionally reads poetry.

She writes today about Philip Levine, a U.S. Poet Laureate who died last month. Levine is best known for his poems about laborers and the working class. As Sally writes, his loss is a loss to the labor movement as a whole.

Philip Levine, U.S. Poet Laureate 2011-12, who died in February, said that he began writing poems about the people who worked alongside him on the line at Detroit auto plants in the 1950’s because they were “voiceless.” I think Levine would have probably admitted that workers were always saying something, but that not enough people bothered to listen.…

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GUEST POST: We Need Paid Sick Leave Because Workers Are Humans First

The following post was originally posted at Ramona’s Voices. Note that there is an ask at the end of this post: several groups are looking for stories from workers both who have and don’t have paid sick leave with their jobs. Please check out the links and share your stories.

There’s a fuss going on in Michigan over whether the state should mandate paid sick leave for all workers. It’s the Democrats who are proposing it but the Republicans dominate the government, so at this point it’s not a question of winning the issue, it’s a question of how far their bill gets before it fails.…

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GUEST POST: Chartering of tea party school by Brighton Area Schools would be a huge mistake

I have been writing about the efforts of a tea party-driven group called “American Christian Classical Academies” (ACA) to open a religion-based school in Brighton and their push to have Brighton Area Schools to be their chartering organization. Having purchased the Lindbom Elementary School from BAS for the tidy sum of $1.45 million, ACA, led by extremist Pasquale Battaglia, are pushing hard for BAS to charter their school. Battaglia is on the record saying that he wants to open the school using our tax dollars and then to detach from the public school system:

We will provide an education option tuition free working toward autonomy from the government and the government run public school systems…

But first Battaglia needs to get his hands on some of those sweet, sweet tax dollars to get his project off the ground.…

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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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GUEST POST/EVENT: Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents meeting to discuss ending relationship with the EAA, 12/5/2014 (UPDATED)

I have updated the post to give details on the EMU Board of Regents meeting. See the end of the post.

Today’s guest post is from Eastern Michigan University College of Education faculty member professor Stephen Wellinski. Prof. Wellinski has been a leader in demanding that EMU end its partnership with Gov. Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit school kids known as the Education Achievement Authority.

Along with a host of other faculty members, students, and activists, Prof. Wellinksi has been tirelessly advocating for his university to stop betraying its legacy as one of Michigan’s top bastions of higher education when it comes to educating the public school teachers of the future.…

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