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GUEST POST: Ann Arbor super activist Michael Rains explains why he is Getting Out the Vote and how YOU can, too!

I first encountered my dear friend Michael Rains on the streets of Ann Arbor. He had a cart he has dubbed “the Democracy Machine” and there was a crowd of people around him, waiting to sign petitions to recall Governor Snyder and to repeal Michigan’s anti-democratic Emergency Manager law. If there is a crowd of people in Ann Arbor – and often elsewhere in the state – Michael can often be found there with the Democracy Machine, distributing information and gathering petition signatures for causes he believes in.

Today, Michael is sharing with us his reasons for getting out the vote (GOTV) for the November Election and has information on how you can get involved, too.…

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GUEST POST: The stark contrast between Rick Snyder and Mark Schauer on marriage equality

This post was written by my dear friend Amy Hunter. Amy and I have known each other for several years thanks to Facebook and Twitter but only met in person for the first time this past summer at the Netroots Nation conference where we appeared on Lizz Winstead’s “Morning News Dump” together. Amy is President and Chair of the Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality and spokesperson for the Transgender Leadership Project.

Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor Lisa Brown looks on as same-sex couples share their first kiss as married couples after the ceremony she officiated

A Stark Contrast on Equality

By Amy Hunter

The contrast between what is good policy for Michigan and cynical electoral politics could not be starker.…

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GUEST POST: Observations from a Schauer/Snyder debate attendee: “The atmosphere was completely different than on TV”

    Eclectablog reader Mark was in attendance at the one-and-only debate between Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Democratic candidate Mark Schauer on Sunday night. He sent me his observations as someone who was actually in the room and has agreed to allow me to share his comments with you.

    As you will see, the atmosphere inside the debate venue was considerably different than what many of us saw on television. What is clear to me from his report is that Gov. Snyder is afraid. And he should be. Mark Schauer is surging right now. Michigan’s economy remains in the dumps and the policies and governing philosophies of our corporatist Governor are not working.

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GUEST POST – ArtPrize finalist to the DeVos family: “I won’t keep your money”

Steve Lambert is a Michigan artist with impressive list of accomplishments. In addition to his visual art, he has done things like creating an add-on for the Firefox web browser that replaces ads with art, he founded the Center for Artistic Activism, and he has spoken at the United Nations about his research on advertising’s impact on culture.

Lambert was recently named a finalist in the well-known juried art show ArtPrize. If he wins, he could receive as much as $200,000. However, after delving deeper into the people behind ArtPrize, namely the DeVos family, he realized he couldn’t accept money from them without compromising his values.…

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GUEST POST: Calls for accountability for Aramark in Michigan grow louder

This guest post was written by Donald Cohen, the Executive Director of In The Public Interest, a “comprehensive resource center on privatization and responsible contracting”. They are committed to equipping citizens, public officials, advocacy groups, and researchers with the information, ideas, and other resources they need to ensure that public contracts with private entities are transparent, fair, well-managed, and effectively monitored, and that those contracts meet the long-term needs of communities.

The piece was first posted HERE.
Since Aramark Correctional Services won a $145-million contract to feed Michigan inmates in December, the corporation has been plagued by instances of misconduct, poor sanitation, and other critical failures that risk the health and safety of inmates and correctional officers alike.…

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GUEST POST: “Who’s on First?” in Governor Rick Snyder’s Scheduling Office

The following is a guest post from Teresa Blundell of Michigan. She gathered signatures asking Governor Snyder to agree to participate in multiple debates with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer. This is her account of getting the run-around from Gov. Snyder’s office in her attempt to deliver the petitions.

When you’re through reading it, ask yourself if this sounds like a satisfied “customer”, Gov. Snyder’s characterization of Michigan citizens.

Getting the directions to schedule a meeting with Governor Snyder from his staff is like a bureaucratic version of “Who’s on First?”

I had posted an online petition requesting Gov. Snyder agree to multiple debates with his gubernatorial opponent, Mark Schauer.…

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GUEST POST: Gov. Snyder and lawmakers urged to take steps to meet EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan

This guest post was written by Sue Browne, Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance.

On Tuesday at the Michigan AFL-CIO offices in Lansing, labor and environmental leaders called on Governor Snyder and state and local lawmakers to take the lead in crafting a flexible state plan to help Michigan meet its emissions reduction targets, as laid out in EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The plan includes the first ever proposal of its kind to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants—while also expanding renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts that create jobs across the state.

Mike Schulte, a staff representative with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Bryan Grochowski of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Dave Holtz Chair of the Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter also advocated for renewing the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which is set to expire next year.…

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GUEST POST: For Nurses Week, skip the pizza – give me safe staffing

This guest post is by Julia Morrissey, RN, a nurse in Ann Arbor and a member of the Michigan Nurses Association. It is cross-posted with permission from the Progress Michigan blog in honor of National Nurses Week.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the pizza, pens, and little pink teddy bears with signs like, “Nurses are Heroes!” that employers give me and other RNs this time of year.

My fellow nurses and I want something with a little more substance, though. We want the resources to do our jobs, and the changes to truly improve life for our patients.

That can’t be accomplished during Nurses Week once a year.…

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GUEST POST: An update on the Veterans Green Village project in Detroit

Last October, I wrote about an exciting new project in Detroit called the Veterans Green Village to bring green energy projects to the city and put military veterans to work. I have stayed in contact with Gordon Soderberg (pictured right) who heads up the project. His group has teamed up with the Motor City Blight Busters of Detroit to create the Veterans Village. I asked Gordon to give us an update of this exciting project.

You can keep up with the Veterans Village project on their Facebook Page HERE. The Motor City Blight Busters’ Facebook page is HERE.

Here’s Gordon’s update.…

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GUEST POST: Students for an Ethical and Participatory Education respond to staged EAA “forum” at Eastern Michigan University

Yesterday we heard from a faculty member about the Education Achievement Authority “public forum” held on the campus of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. In that account, we learned that the forum was little more than a staged promotional event for the EAA.

Today, we hear from David Chapman, an organizer with the EMU student group Students for Ethical Participatory Education (SEPE). The group is part of the People Against the EAA Coalition and, like the faculty members who attended the forum, they found the forum to be a sham with no true dialogue. And like Professor Rebecca Martusewicz, Chapman renews the call for EMU to sever its relationship with the EAA.…

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