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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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Why does MI-08 Congressman Mike Bishop use tax dollars to pay for "lodging" in  Washington, D.C.???

Why does MI-08 Congressman Mike Bishop use tax dollars to pay for “lodging” in Washington, D.C.???

Members of Congress do not receive reimbursement for their housing while they are in Washington, D.C. Their $174,000 salary is presumed to cover that. Some sleep in their offices to save money. Others room together in shared living spaces. Most rent apartments. However, Michigan’s Congressman from the 8th District, Mike Bishop, seems to be using tax dollars to pay for housing out of his Congressional budget, a budget that is paid for by the taxpayers of the United States of America.

In the first two months of this year, the only quarter that we have information on at the moment, Bishop expensed $900 each month for “lodging” and paid it to McKinley Associates.…

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Bill Schuette: Poster child for wasting Michigan taxpayer money to pursue a regressive conservative agenda

Bill Schuette: Poster child for wasting Michigan taxpayer money to pursue a regressive conservative agenda

Bill Schuette has been raising campaign funds since last year’s election even though he is term-limited making it quite clear that he plans to run for governor in 2018. What he’s counting on, apparently, is that Michigan voters will overlook the millions upon millions of tax dollars that he has spent in his crusade to deny civil rights to LGBTQ people, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and to end regulations of corporate polluters who despoil our fine state and country.

In the interest of making sure that people don’t forget, let’s take a look at some of the epic failures Schuette has wasted our money on over the past few years.…

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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell champions Medicare coverage for hearing aids

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell champions Medicare coverage for hearing aids

Less than 30 percent of older adults who need hearing aids actually get them. Rep. Dingell is determined to change that.

This week, let’s do more than celebrate 50 years of Medicare, one of the most successful social programs in this country’s history. Let’s also talk about how we can improve Medicare over the next 50 years.

That’s the message from Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who is a staunch supporter of improved healthcare access, research and prevention. Right now, she’s raising awareness of the need to have hearing aids covered by Medicare.

The legislation to make this happen already exists, because it was the first bill Rep.…

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Huckabee

GOP primary voters torn between people who think Obama is Hitler and actual fans of Hitler

It took corporate America about four years to get the subtext of Donald Trump’s birtherism.

But when he decided to use his announcement that he was running for president to reveal his belief that immigrants are criminals and rapists, Madison Avenue was forced to recognize that they probably shouldn’t be tolerating a guy whose comments would get him kicked out of  a group home — even if he is a billionaire of some sort.

One group that has suddenly realized that they had a lot more in common with Trump than they imagined is white supremacists.

WARNING: This is about to get really gross, really fast.…

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Frmr. Dem presidential candidate Wesley Clark calls for placing "radicalized" Muslims in internment/reeducation camps

Frmr. Dem presidential candidate Wesley Clark calls for placing “radicalized” Muslims in internment/reeducation camps

Retired four-star general Wesley Clark was the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000. Following his illustrious military career, he became a prominent Democrat, running for president in 2004 and supporting other Democrats financially and with endorsements since then. He was critical of the Bush administration’s response to the 9/11 attacks, saying, “You’d be taking them to the Better Business Bureau if you bought a washing machine the way we went into the war in Iraq.”

But this past week, Clark showed a side of himself not seen before. On an MSNBC interview, he called for placing “radicalized” Muslims in what sound like internment camps, both here in the United States and also in our allies’ countries.…

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pp4

New poll shows GOP approval lowest in decades — but conservatives would like it to be lower

The Republican Party’s approval rating is now lower in the Pew poll than at any time since 1992.

It’s lower now than it was during the government shutdowns in 2013 and the mid 1990s — lower than the absolute nadir of George W. Bush’s presidency when we were actively losing two wars as the global economy teetered on the edge of existence.

Why is the GOP so unpopular now?

The current survey finds that positive views of the GOP among Republicans have declined 18 percentage points since January, from 86% to 68%. Independents also view the Republican Party less favorably; 29% today, compared with 37% six months ago.…
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Citizen-initiated ballot proposal would bypass Michigan legislature & governor to fix roads by restoring corporate tax fairness

Citizen-initiated ballot proposal would bypass Michigan legislature & governor to fix roads by restoring corporate tax fairness

Michigan legislators met for two days this week (without taking attendance or casting any votes) then folded up shop and went home for a one-month recess. They did this as our state’s roads continue to crumble and without passing any legislation to deal with the ongoing road and bridge repair crisis.

UPDATE: @EmptyWheel reminds me that they did actually take a vote to declare July “Ice Cream Month”. So they aren’t completely useless.

Why does @Eclectablog hate Ice Cream month? https://t.co/GvcSvJbOP3

— emptywheel (@emptywheel) July 24, 2015

With the inability for state Republicans to take action on the abysmal state of our roads – we have the fourth worst roads in the country – a group of citizens is taking matters into their own hands.…

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