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A big factor trapping people in unemployment? The answer may surprise you.

To get and keep a job, you need a reliable way to get there.

If you lose your job – particularly if your income was low to start with – affording and maintaining a reliable vehicle is difficult, maybe impossible. And without a reliable vehicle, it’s harder to get or keep a job. Especially in areas, like much of Southeast Michigan, where public transportation is limited to non-existent. It’s a vicious cycle making it harder for people to work their way out of poverty.

Michigan Works!, the workforce development agency that connects job seekers with employment, anecdotally reported the scenario above to be a common one, and a new survey (PDF) by my firm for the Region 9 Prosperity Initiative puts numbers to this story.…

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Schuette talk, little action on pipeline safety in the Great Lakes

Schuette talk, little action on pipeline safety in the Great Lakes


Round Island Lighthouse in the Straits of Mackinac, photo by Anne C. Savage

The aspiring but unannounced 2018 gubernatorial candidate Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette appointed a Task Force to address the increasing public concern about Line 5, Enbridge’s pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac. That was last year. Since then new voices and new media outlets have begun asking hard questions about a pipeline that is in the twilight of its years and has been either maintained or not, who knows, by the same company that kept patching rather than replacing the pipeline that ruptured and befouled the Kalamazoo River and adjacent lands in 2010.…

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New polling shows just how gerrymandered the blue state of Michigan really is

New polling shows just how gerrymandered the blue state of Michigan really is

Given the results of the last few elections in Michigan where Democrats received the majority of the votes but Republicans won a majority of the seats in the state legislature, there is little to argue about when it comes to discussing gerrymandering and how terribly gerrymandered our state is. There are hardly any competitive seats in our state anymore. Period.

However, a new poll out from Public Policy Polling brings the reality of this into sharp relief. Without question, the voters in our state lean toward progressive, sometimes sharply, on a wide array of issues while our state legislature is as Republican as any southern state.…

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LetsJustCallItMarriage

Take a moment to celebrate and then let’s finish the job once and for all

Last week was an incredible week for all Americans, but most especially for progressives and activists and advocates for equality and equity. We need to take time to celebrate these crucial and impactful Supreme Court decisions, all three of them.

King v. Burwell affirmed what most common sense non-elected Republicans have known from the beginning of the Affordable Care Act. Among them, that without subsidies millions of Americans would not have health care today. Semantics did not get in the way of this majority decision and I was clearly thrilled for the many who would have found themselves lost and on another horrific path to ill-care and a destruction of progress and what should clearly be a right in this country: Health Care.…

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There was a 3rd SCOTUS decision this week progressives should be thrilled with, one with implications for Michigan

There was a 3rd SCOTUS decision this week progressives should be thrilled with, one with implications for Michigan

As the celebrations over the U.S. Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell (which upheld the Affordable Care Act [again]) and their decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (which found same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional) begin settle down, it’s worth looking at a third case they decided this week that should have progressives applauding. This one, Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. involved fair housing practices:

Civil rights groups won a victory Thursday, as the Supreme Court ruled that claims of racial discrimination in housing cases shouldn’t be limited by questions of intent.
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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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Oil in the Water: Once it's black and blue, it's too late

Oil in the Water: Once it’s black and blue, it’s too late

I’m adding my voice to the chorus of those who call for Governor Snyder and the legislature to protect the Great Lakes as required by law and as demanded in Liz Kirkwood’s excellent op-ed in The Detroit News this week.

Kirkwood’s study group, For Love of Water (FLOW), delivered compelling arguments that Enbridge Oil’s 62 year-old oil pipeline 5 that carries 23 million gallons of oil a day through the Straits of Mackinac needs to be temporarily shut down and fully inspected. In July, 2014, University of Michigan researchers produced a chilling animation of an oil spill scenario.

Enbridge is still cleaning up the five year-old oil spill in the Kalamazoo River, the largest inland oil spill in U.S.…

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SnyderNerdDetroit

We don’t have time to agree on everything; we just have time to stand up and demand our state back

My last post here at Eclectablog created a bit of a stir, and certainly got many of you thinking, which is a good thing. I wasn’t necessarily looking for approval, but I was looking for reaction, and I got plenty of that, most of it supportive and some if it negative and, in my mind anyway, regressive in its tone and temperament. When someone suggests that the way to “show them” (whoever “them” are) is to NOT vote and NOT rally or show up, well your priorities are very much displaced and way out of tune as to how you get “their” attention.…

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UPDATED x2: Three big rumors swirling in Michigan involving Todd Courser, Cindy Gamrat, Lon Johnson, and Rick Snyder

UPDATED x2: Three big rumors swirling in Michigan involving Todd Courser, Cindy Gamrat, Lon Johnson, and Rick Snyder

There are an inordinate number of rumors swirling around the state at the moment, all of them unconfirmed. I don’t typically dabble in reporting about rumors but it seems silly to ignore things like this that are being widely talked about in various circles.

The first rumor is probably the biggest potential bombshell if it turns out to be true. It involves Republican tea party state Representatives Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser. According to the rumor mill, the two of them were busted in a tryst at the Lansing Radisson Hotel last March by one of their spouses – supposedly Gamrat’s husband.…

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Michigan under assault: Gov. Snyder signs bill kicking families off welfare if their kid is truant (and more)

Michigan under assault: Gov. Snyder signs bill kicking families off welfare if their kid is truant (and more)

BREAKING: Michigan is breaking

It’s been a tough week in Michigan.

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