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Proportional fines: A way for the wealthy to give back to the society that has given them so much

A couple of weeks ago New York Times writer Neil Irwin wrote a piece in the Business Section about why a nation with our wealth is reluctant to ask for more from its richest citizens. Some of the reasons given included: low taxes encourage greater investment and entrepreneurship; the rich have grown accustomed to their income and have built their lives around it, a situation that should not be disturbed; redistribution of wealth downward is too much socialism; and it’s unclear who the rich really are and what population would benefit from upping their taxes. Polls showed that older people, including recipients of Social Security and Medicare, were especially concerned about the cut-off limit for increased taxation, and more importantly, which population might profit.…

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Athiests win victory in Warren, Michigan, allowed to have “Reason Station” in City Hall

Last summer, Warren mayor James Fouts denied an athiest group the right to have a “Reason Station” in the Michigan city’s City Hall. The Reason Station was athiest Douglas Marshall’s response to a “Prayer Station” the mayor had allowed to set up shop in the City Hall atrium.

When denying the permit to Marshall, Fouts compared athiests to the KKK and Nazis, saying, “The city has certain values that I don’t believe are in general agreement with having an atheist station, nor in general agreement with having a Nazi station or Klu Klux Klan station.”

The ACLU, in conjunction with Americans United and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, filed suit and, yesterday, they scored a win:

If a church can have a prayer station inside city hall, then an atheist can have a reason station there, too.
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Pope Francis and the Christmas Miracle

A few days ago I posted an article on my Facebook page about a speech Catholic Pope Francis gave, a speech the Washington Post described as “roughly the equivalent of a CEO sending his or her top executives off to Christmas vacation with a cleverly-worded list of everything they do wrong at the company.” The speech makes it clear that Pope Francis is not a Catholic insider in the traditional sense. He did not ascend to the Papal throne as many have by working their way through the hierarchy of the Vatican nestled in the City of Rome.

Over the past year Pope Francis has continued to be a free spirit.…

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Giving Thanks

Like many of you, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Being a literal person, Thanksgiving is a time and an opportunity to give thanks for the many things in our lives that we are truly thankful for and blessed with. The people, the opportunities, the occasions, the events, the connections, and sometimes just being alive. Oh sure, we have our challenges, and there is no question that those of us that live our lives out loud have been challenged more than we thought we would be this time of the year. Many of us were and still are profoundly disappointed by the election results and many of the issues that continue to drive us to be better activists and better people.…

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How much of America does the GOP want to turn into California?

On Wednesday, we finally learned that two Democratic members of Congress from California will keep their jobs.

This was remarkable for two reasons. First, Democrats in Congress got some good news for maybe the first time all year. And, secondly, these two victories mean that a Democratic incumbent in California hasn’t lost a House seat in 20 years.

Hmm. I wonder what happened in 1994 in California that suddenly changed the fortunes of Republicans.

*waves fingers in a dreamlike motion* It was called Prop 187. Governor Pete Wilson rode this contentious ballot measure to ban undocumented immigrants from all public services to an easy re-election.…

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Who is going to win the governor’s race?

Is Schauer tied with Snyder? Down by 5? Somewhere in between?

This may be old hat for some of you, but people keep asking me what’s going on with the polling in the Governor’s race and I thought I would put together a little primer. For reference, just in the last week, NYT/CBS has had Schauer up by 1 point, while the Detroit News/WDIV has Snyder up by 5. A couple weeks ago, we saw two polls come out in the same day, one with Schauer up 3, one with Snyder up by 8. EPIC-MRA’s current poll has Snyder up by two, when last week they had him up by 8.…

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With Mark Schauer, it’s the little things

There are many variations of the saying that the ultimate measure of a man (or woman) is not what they do when they are in public but what they do when they are alone. Another simple, quaint saying is, “it’s the little things.” If we were to juxtapose those two sayings we might just end up with something that would be a fair predictor of the people we know, or wish we knew better, including candidates.

During the Town Hall forum televised Sunday evening between Mark Schauer and Rick Snyder, I was live-tweeting during the telecast and interacting with those who were hanging in there with me.…

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VIDEO: Protest march against Detroit water shutoffs – 7/18/2014

Here is a glimpse of the huge march and rally to protest the Detroit water shutoffs. It’s an amazing feat of organization, led by National Nurses United. The massive turnout was bolstered by hundreds and hundreds of attendees of the Netroots Nation conference.

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Western leaders get real about Russia’s interference in Ukraine and Crimea

The G-7 countries issued a joint statement this morning warning Russia to back off in Crimea. In the statement they say, in no uncertain terms, that they will not recognize Crimea returning to Russian control if the proposed referendum passes. Their statement makes it clear that, with Russian soldiers patroling the streets in Crimea, if the referendum passes, it will have essentially happened at gunpoint.

It’s worth noting that Vienna, Austria is only 1,100 miles, less than a 24-hour drive, from Crimea. Europeans have to be freaking out about this.

Here’s the full joint statement:

March 12, 2014

Statement of G-7 Leaders on Ukraine

We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, call on the Russian Federation to cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea contrary to Ukrainian law and in violation of international law.

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David Trott’s millionaire donors include GOP class clown Donald Trump

If you want to position yourself as an alternative to Tea Party zealot Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, maybe associating with Donald Trump isn’t the best idea.

We’re judged by the company we keep, and Republican Congressional candidate David Trott is making his allegiances known. The latest report from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) shows plenty of contributions to Trott for Congress, Inc., from big business and big money — including $1,000 from goofball Donald Trump.

Also on the list of contributors to Trott’s campaign to unseat Rep. Bentivolio in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District are a bevy of bankers, CEOs and employees of investment firms and real estate-related operations.…

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