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Well-connected wealthy Republican donor gets “rare” pardon by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

It’s good to be know the king…

Alan Gocha Jr., attorney for the maker of 5-Hour Energy drink got himself in trouble back in 2007 when he crossed the center line while driving drunk and landed in jail. He appealed the conviction but, after running out of appeals, decided to go for a gubernatorial pardon instead. This past week, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder gave Gocha that pardon, one of only 11 out around 750 requests he received. The pardon expunges the conviction from his record as if it never happened.

According to Russ Marlan, a deputy director at the Corrections Department who oversees the parole board, Snyder is focused on “potential pardons where the conviction was inhibiting them from advancing economically or was preventing them from getting a job or was preventing them from financial freedom — from moving past some obstacle in their life”.…

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Michigan Republicans show how much they value education by increasing funding a whopping 1.6%

“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget and I will tell you what you value.” – Joe Biden

Michigan Republicans put forth their proposed education budget yesterday and, as you would expect, it shows just how little the value education in our state. After slashing education funding for years, they are back this year with a paltry 1.6% increase. Even Gov. Snyder’s budget almost hit 2%. And it’s not just the tiny increase that is the biggest slap in the face to those who value the education of our children and see it as an investment in our state’s future.…

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This was not a great week for the state of Michigan, Governor Snyder

When your fellow Republicans vote to enshrine discrimination into law, it’s not a week to brag about the state.

So there I was, minding my own business late Friday afternoon, when an email from Governor Rick Snyder’s office showed up in my inbox. It wouldn’t be remarkable except for the subject line:

“A great week for the state of Michigan”

I know for certain I’m not the only Michigander whose stomach turned when I read that. Because the first thing I thought was, “It’s not a great week in this state when the House votes to allow discrimination.”

Like so many other Michiganders who care about equality and social justice, I thought this was a tough week.…

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UPDATED: For-profit prison food vendor Aramark served Michigan inmates rodent-chewed food

Another day, another report that for-profit prison food vendor Aramark has done something truly outrageous. Honestly, these stories have become so commonplace that writing them is like a wicked case of deja vu. This time it’s serving cake to prison inmates that had been partially eaten by rodents. The news comes out of emails obtained from a FOIA request by Progress Michigan. One line from the email, which you can read HERE, says it all: “The Aramark staff served cake rodents were observed eating from.”

A kitchen worked [sic] reported to custody staff that he was ordered to serve cake that had evidence that rodents eaten from it.…
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Mich Gov. Snyder balances budget on backs of students (again) and takes control of failing schools (again)

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder continued his assault on education this week with two remarkable moves that betray his claims to have education at the top of his priority list.

First, he signed legislation that fills a huge budget hole, created in part by ongoing multi-billion dollar tax cuts for businesses by diverting $167 million from the School Aid Fund. This comes on the heals of fake increases in per-pupil funding that are actually cuts.

But the most outrageous move was to remove control of the State School Reform and Redesign Office, which oversees the Education Achievement Authority, from the Department of Education and putting it under the oversight of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.…

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Michigan GOP moves to fill budget crater from corporate tax breaks by robbing a quarter billion dollars from schools

To hear Michigan Republicans tell the story, they are all about the importance of education in Michigan. Get them in front of a microphone, camera, or a reporter and they will tell you it’s one of their highest priorities. Their hypocrisy on this issue is in clear display this week as they passed to bills, H.B. 4110 and H.B. 4112, which take over a quarter billion dollars out of the state School Aid Fund.

I’m not kidding:

Much of the surplus in the current budget for Michigan schools could be used to pay down the state’s projected deficit after members of the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday.…
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Governor Snyder unveils fake “increase” in per-pupil school funding

I apologize for the lack of new posts this past week. My family is dealing with an ongoing medical crisis with my father and I have not had time to write. Regular posting will resume when the crisis is resolved.

Last week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder unveiled his new budget. According to his spin on the budget, per-pupil funding will be increased by $75 per student. At the time, Democratic Representative Brandon Dillon noted that this so-called “increase” would be more than offset by cuts to schools in other areas:

While questioning State Budget Director John Roberts, Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, noted that the budget includes a decrease in the amount of performance-based funding available for districts.…
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Why did Rick Snyder “follow the law” on recognizing 300+ Michigan same-sex marriages but not on our same-sex marriage ban???

Yesterday when Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced that his administration would not appeal a decision by U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith that compelled Michigan to recognize nearly 320 same-sex marriages performed in March of last year, he said hes was doing because he wanted to “follow the law” as laid down by Judge Goldsmith.

Here is his full statement (emphasis is mine):

Gov. Rick Snyder said today he will not appeal U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling recognizing the validity of the approximately 300 same-sex couples married in four counties of Michigan on March 22, 2014 and issued the following statement:

“The judge has determined that same-sex couples were legally married on that day, and we will follow the law and extend state marriage benefits to those couples.

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Corporatists benefit most from fight over increasing Michigan’s sales tax for road repair

Let’s you and him fight…

Thanks to the division within the Michigan Republican Party, the state legislature which is dominated by Republicans was unable to find a way to fund our roads. Their internal disputes led them to toss the decision to voters who will decide if we should the state sales tax by one-percent to pay for road repairs, help low income and working poor people, and to ensure our schools don’t take a financial hit.

That internal rancor has now manifested itself in the formation of at least two conservative/tea party groups who will fight the tax increase and a promise by a third – the Koch brothers front group Americans for Prosperity – to join their fight.…

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Fired or tired? Overseer of for-profit prison vendor Aramark hits the road

Ed Buss was hired about five months ago by the Snyder administration to oversee the work of Aramark, a for-profit vendor who the Snyder admnistration outsourced prison food services to. Buss was brought in to clean up some messes that Aramark had made. What messes?

These messes:

  • Running out of food
  • Making unauthorized food substitutions in violation of their contract
  • Maggots in food service areas
  • Employees having sex with prisoners
  • Serving raw or under-cooked meat to inmates
  • Falsifying food storage and safety records
  • Three different Aramark employees smuggling weed, cocaine, and heroin to prisoners
  • An employee soliciting an inmate to murder another inmate

Today we learn that Buss has left his position and nobody is saying why:

The man Gov.
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