Coolness break

Okay, THIS is totally cool.

In his 18 years at Pinckney Community High School, Jim Darga, the principal, said, the homecoming queen had always been crowned at halftime of the school’s football game. Never before, though, had she had to be summoned from the team’s locker room.

Brianna Amat, the first girl to make the Pinckney varsity football team, said her teammates had “been so accepting of me.”

And that was just the beginning of Brianna Amat’s big night.

If being named homecoming queen is a lifetime memory for a high school student, so, too, is kicking a winning field goal.

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Federal judge puts new Michigan law throwing tens of thousands off welfare rolls on ice

A federal judge in Michigan today smacked down a new Republican-passed law that will throw tens of thousands of Michiganders off the welfare rolls with little notice, temporarily halting its implementation.

A federal judge today accused the state of “sleight of hand,” and halted plans to end welfare benefits to nearly 41,000 Michigan residents.

U.S. District Judge Paul Borman determined after a hearing today that the state failed to give proper notice to those it planned to cut off, and although the issue was brought to the federal court in a lawsuit filed by just three plaintiffs, the judge also granted class status to include everyone affected by the state’s decision.

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1st of two lawsuits challenging Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law dismissed

As I reported back in April, two pension boards in the City of Detroit filed suit in the U.S. District Court challenging the Republican-passed Public Act 4 — The Emergency Manager Law. From a now-unavailable Detroit Free Press article:

The City of Detroit’s two pension boards have challenged part of the state’s new emergency financial manager law, calling it unconstitutional and a threat to the pension systems.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, claims the law gives the governor and state treasurer unbridled power to appoint emergency managers with “czar-like powers” that could usurp collective bargaining rights of city employees who negotiated pension plans.

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Michigan GOP: Schools are down. Let’s kick ‘em!

Reporting by the Livingston County Press & Argus shows that Michigan schools will take hit of over a half billion dollars under a new plan by Michigan Republicans to eliminate the state’s Personal Property Tax (PPT).

The elimination of a state tax on business furniture and machinery would further cut funding for Michigan’s public schools, state and school officials said.

Elimination of the tax on commercial personal property would create a loss of roughly $573 million in revenue for Michigan’s public schools, based on 2010 revenue figures, according to a House Fiscal Agency report.

Michigan schools, which will receive a total $470-per-student cut this school year, would suffer an even greater hit if the tax is eliminated and not replaced with other revenue, said Dan Danosky, superintendent of Pinckney Community Schools.

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Exclusive interview with Karla Swift – newly-elected president of the Michigan AFL-CIO

Yesterday at their two-day state convention in Detroit, Michigan AFL-CIO members elected Karla Swift as the organization’s new president. Swift replaces Mark Gaffney who led the group for 12 years.

Karla Swift (pictured right with UAW president Bob King in Lansing), is a long-time organizer for the International Union, the UAW and for various community groups. Most recently she was the state director for We Are the People, a progressive coalition of labor and other groups in Michigan.

I spoke with Ms. Smith by phone last night to ask her about her new position and her vision for the Michigan AFL-CIO.…

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Ann Arbor outsources processing of parking tickets

Not surprisingly, there is a huge push to “Buy Michigan” to help our local economy these days. For example, there is Buy Michigan Now,, Buy Michigan First, and Think Michigan Made. With all of this, I was shocked to see this on my parking ticket last weekend:

Click for a larger version

Really, Ann Arbor? You’re outsourcing the processing of parking tickets to a firm in Tarrytown, New York? Nobody in the Ann Arbor area or even in Michigan could do this?

So much for rooting for the home team. Lame. Very, very lame.

P.S. You have to pay a “convenience fee” of $3.50 to pay by phone or online meaning it’s actually cheaper to send your payment all the way to New York if you aren’t able to get to City Hall during business hours.

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Rep Tim Walberg brings jobs fair to southern Michigan – blames regulation for lack of employer participation

This past week, Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07) sponsored a jobs fair. So far, so good. I’ve been waiting for him to do something, anything related to jobs so I view this sort of thing favorably. Unfortunately, the fair doesn’t appear to have been very successful.

On Wednesday, I hosted a Job Resource Fair at the Jackson County Fair Grounds. This event gave companies across the district a chance to connect with an estimated 600+ job seekers. While visiting with job seekers I thought, “How great it would be if at the next Job Resource Fair we could reduce the number of attendees and raise the number of employers?” We need to encourage job creation for those who want to be employed and provide a service.…
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Michigan political news round-up – 10/2/2011

I’ve been on vacation with twelve of my wife’s family members in town so the blogging has been light. Normal blogging resumes this week.

Here’s an update of what’s been happening in my fair state.
Remember when Republicans took over Congress in Washington, D.C. and they reversed Nancy Pelosi’s “Green the Capitol” effort just to be dicks? Michigan Republicans are doing the same thing:

No companies in Michigan are building incandescent light bulbs, but the Legislature wants to make sure that if any want to they can — in a pique over new federal rules.

Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out in January because of a federal mandate to promote more energy-efficient bulbs.

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