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GUEST POST: A perspective of the Netroots Nation #BlackLivesMatter protest from a person of color

The following is a guest post from Sommer Foster, the Political Director for Equality Michigan and a long time political activist. Like Anne and me, Sommer was at the #BlackLivesMatter protest during the presidential candidates’ townhall meeting last Saturday at the Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix. Anne and I have shared our perspectives as white progressive allies. Sommer brings the perspective of a person of color, someone who lives with the plague of systemic racism and discrimination every day of her life. It’s a powerful perspective, one that should be shared widely.

You can follow Sommer on Twitter at twitter.com/SNFoster.…

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GUEST POST: You get what you vote for so take a look at how “they operate” before you vote

GUEST POST: You get what you vote for so take a look at how “they operate” before you vote

“What happened to your family was terrible, but I didn’t do anything to you.” Yes. Yes you did.

The following guest post was written by Tali Wendrow of Oakland County.

I had spent much of my adult life trying (not always successfully) to keep my political views quiet, at least in public fora. Oh sure, I’d let ‘er rip at family gatherings but beyond the Thanksgiving or Rosh Hashanah table, I pretty much kept it them myself. I especially didn’t discuss political matters on Facebook or whatever fledgling social media that was emerging at that time, mostly because I worked in a government job.…

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

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

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

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)

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.

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?

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.

Enjoy.
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

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

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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