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Those “Rivers of Opportunity” Were Flowing Prior to Governor Snyder

If you’re on Governor Snyder’s email list you recently received his most recent glitter bomb of self-congratulation. In it he points out that Michigan’s unemployment rate has dropped by half from 11.2% in December, 2011, but offers no reasons for this drop. It’s reasonable to assume the drop is primarily related to the increase in auto sales along with the national economy moving at a less sluggish pace. Is this because of GOP policies or Obama’s? If Snyder’s own policies explained any good news he would be touting something specific about that decline in unemployment, something like that mass migration of businesses to Michigan once Right to Work legislation was passed.…

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Despite Aramark privatized prison food scandal, Snyder administration doubles down on privatizing prison services

The privatization of prison food services to the for-profit group Aramark has generated a seemingly endless litany of scandals and more are likely to come as Progress Michigan plows through the results of their exhaustive FOIA request. The scandals so far have been thoroughly documented here at Eclectablog.

Although this collosal failure at privatization would lead most good leaders to abandon the effort, that is decidedly NOT the case with the administration of Rick Snyder. This week, they announced that they will be privatizing state-run prison stores and firing 30 existing employees that do that work now:

About 30 state prison workers have been told they will lose their jobs as the state eliminates regional prison stores in Ionia, Jackson and the Upper Peninsula.…
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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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Employees of for-profit prison food vendor Aramark served food that had been in the trash

For-profit prison food vendor Aramark is back in the news again with revelations that its employees served food that had been in the trash and were rinsed off, reheated, and served to inmates.

Aramark has a long history of patently absurd violations of state rules and, frankly, the norms of society, all of which have been documented here at Eclectablog. Aramark employees have been busted having sexual relations with inmates, bringing drugs to inmates, soliciting a hit on a prisoner, and even serving food that had been gnawed on by rodents. This is on top of food shortages and the discovery of maggots in food service areas (twice, actually) run by the private company that profits from our tax dollars.…

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Well-connected, wealthy lawyer for big 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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