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Debunking some common progressive liberal excuses for not voting YES ON PROPOSAL 1

Part 2 of a series. Part 1 is HERE and Part 3 is HERE.

Before I get into this piece, I want to clarify a couple of things. First of all, in the conversation on Proposal 1 in Michigan, at least on the progressive side, we are starting from the position that Republicans are hideous leaders that created gigantic hole in our budget by slashing taxes for corporations. And they are now compelled to fill that hole by cutting essential programs and services – including education – or by forcing Michiganders to raise taxes on themselves. That is self-evident and, if we as citizens are doing our jobs – something we too often fail to do – they will be ridden out of Lansing on a rail in the next election.…

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When religious exemptions become law: How RFRA hurts everyone

A look at what’s at stake if RFRA legislation comes to Michigan.

On April 28, the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee will take testimony and debate Senate Bill 4, the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Although a vote is not expected on SB 4 that day, odds are good there will be one eventually. And understanding the implications of RFRA legislation is important — especially because there’s more than one RFRA-style bill in the Michigan Legislature right now.

Most of the attention on RFRA legislation has understandably focused on LGBT people, especially in Michigan where there are currently no civil rights protections for the LGBT community under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.…

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Proposal 1: The issue that has turned too many Michigan progressives into tea partiers

Part 1 in a series. Part 2 is HERE and Part 3 is HERE.

There are few topics that unite tea partiers with progressive liberals but Michigan’s Prop 1 has not only united these two disparate groups, it has, for all intents and purposes, turned many progressives into tea partiers in their own right. What I mean by this is that they have allowed their hatred for our Republican governor and his colleagues in the legislature to cloud their judgment on Proposal 1, turning them against it when the truly progressive position is to support it.

When I am discussing this with my progressive friends, the ones who are against Proposal 1 say they will never support something Rick Snyder supports.…

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INTERVIEW: Meet Jayne Rowse & April DeBoer, two Michigan women at the center of this week’s SCOTUS marriage equality case

With the U.S. Supreme Court hearing testimony tomorrow on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans in places like Michigan, I thought it would be a good time to repost my interview with April DeBoer and Jayne Rowze. Although much has happened since our interview a bit over a year ago – like the addition of a fourth child to their family – it’s worth hearing directly from Jayne and April why this case is so critical to couples like them. They talk about the terrifying experience that made them realize that their second-class citizenship status was a threat to the children they are raising together.…

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DERP ALERT: Michigan bigots now trying to out-bigot each other

This post has been updated to reflect Brian Klawiter’s conviction on assault and battery charges and for parole violation.

After the owner of Indiana pizzeria Memories publicly declared she wouldn’t make her pies for same-sex weddings, she raked in well over $800,000 from a fundraiser. Eager to get in on the action, or at least to share the limelight and maybe be interviewed on Fox News, Michigan bigots are now oozing out from the rocks under which they live to be larger-than-life idiots in front of cameras.

First we had, Brian Klawiter, the owner of Dieseltec auto repair who decided it would be hilarious to publicly ban homosexuals from his shop while giving a discount to people who walk in packing heat.…

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INTERVIEW: Nic Clark talks about the amazing work of Clean Water Action and next week’s awards ceremony & fundraiser

As I went to compose this post, I didn’t have to create a new “Clean Water Action” tag because I have written about Clean Water Action and their incredible work many times in the past and have quoted their state Director Nic Clark on numerous occasions. That’s because I have a special place in my activist’s heart for CWA.

Immediately following the 2008 presidential election, after spending the previous year knocking doors and making calls and organizing others, I found myself unable to quit. So I joined up with the Ann Arbor CWA operation and what I found there was nothing short of amazing.…

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New study: Washtenaw County is a case study of the realities of income inequality in a “knowledge economy”

Conventional wisdom in the 21st Century says that the salvation of our economic future will come from the so-called “knowledge economy“, an economy based largely on technology and that sees education and knowledge as both a business product and a productive asset. In knowledge economies, the need for high-skill workers is amped up and these workers are, presumably, paid more because their skill sets are more desirable.

Few communities embody the concept of a knowledge economy as well as Washtenaw County in Michigan. Home of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County is also the home base for a wide array of technology-focused companies.…

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MI Lead coalition launches to give women a stronger voice in Michigan

More than 30 organizations are engaged in the bipartisan initiative to empower women and ensure gender equality.

Women make up more than half of Michigan’s population, yet they are facing some significant challenges. That’s the reason for the creation of the MI Lead coalition, a bipartisan group dedicated to protecting women’s rights and empowering women by giving them more say in state policies.

Officially launched today at a press conference in Lansing, MI Lead is made up of more than 30 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, Business and Professional Women of Michigan, AFL-CIO, Michigan League for Public Policy, Right to Health, American Association of University Women and the Michigan National Organization for Women.…

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UPDATED: Tell Michigan legislators you want an inclusive non-discrimination law — and no exceptions

Hearings set for Dec. 3 and 4 on two pieces of legislation critical to the LGBT community and beyond. Take action now.

If you believe that every Michigander deserves equal protection under the law — with no exceptions — the time to be heard is now.

The Michigan Legislature is holding hearings on two pieces of legislation this week that could impact the state for years to come. Take a look and then take action.

Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act update

UPDATE: The hearing mentioned in the original post below has taken place, and the committee declined to bring the bill to a vote of the full House.

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Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette wants to turn Michigan into a southern state (Michissippi? Alabamigan?)

Unfair as it may be, there are certain things we northerners think of when you think of southern states. The first is bigotry and intolerance. Another is a near worshipful devotion to guns and anything related to guns. Hunting is part of it but just walking around with a big weapon strapped to your body is a much bigger part of it. In general, that’s not something that folks in northern states are nearly as enamored by. Yet another is a visceral disdain for government and regulations. Yes, we have all of these attitudes in the north, but they are just not really part of our culture.…

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