Goodbye, Hara

Goodbye, Hara

Unfortunately, on Saturday, our beloved Hara lost her fight against what was either advanced liver disease or cancer. Less than three weeks ago, she was acting totally normal and showed no obvious signs of being sick. The speed with which this took her astonished us and, frankly, left us unprepared for how much of an emotional blow it would be.

Hara, or “Hairs Bears” as we called her (oh, right, like you don’t talk baby talk to your pets ; ), was a rescue dog. My wife took our other dog, Kona, to the pound the with her and they introduced lots and lots of dogs but Kona turned her nose up at all of them and did her nails instead.…

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Cutting out the "bad part" of the plum - the exploitation of Benton Harbor

Cutting out the “bad part” of the plum – the exploitation of Benton Harbor

When I think of Benton Harbor these days, I think of a ripe, juicy plum, hanging in the sunshine, ready to be plucked off the tree. But Benton Harbor is a plum with a “bad spot” in the minds of some. A bit of rotten fruit that needs to be cut off and discarded. Once that’s done, those that would enjoy the sweetness of that plum can do so unencumbered by anything unpleasant.

In this analogy, of course, the plum pickers are the developers and corporate interests in Benton Harbor and the “bad spots” are the parts of town they don’t like.…

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Pscholka’s claims about paid protesters in Benton Harbor laughably debunked

Michigan Messenger has a pretty awesome piece up today totally debunking state Rep. Al Pscholka and his ludicrous claims that the protesters that showed up by the hundreds at the Blossomtime Grand Floral parade last month were paid professionals.

hen people from around the state announced their intention to converge on Benton Harbor during the Blossomtime parade to protest the takeover of that city’s government under the new Emergency Manager law that he’d sponsored, state Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) dismissed them as hired guns.

“It is truly unfortunate that some groups have decided to send in professional agitators by the bus load to try to create a political sideshow,” he said.

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Prisons funded better than schools in Michigan

EclectaReader Anthony sent me this link.

The Superintendent of Ithaca Public Schools in Michigan sent a letter to Republican Governor Rick Snyder in which he suggests that his students would be better off if they were treated as prisoners. That way, there would be more per-pupil-funding than there is now.

Here’s his letter:

In these tough economic times, schools are hurting. And yes, everyone in Michigan is hurting right now financially, but why aren’t we protecting schools? Schools are the one place on Earth that people look to “fix” what is wrong with society by educating our youth and preparing them to take on the issues that society has created.…
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The Detroit News responds to their lack of coverage of Michigan protest rally

The Detroit News responds to their lack of coverage of Michigan protest rally

I have a new piece up at A2Politico that looks further at the Detroit Newspaper blackout of the gigantic union rally last weekend.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

Bill Moyers once said, “There is no more important struggle for American democracy than ensuring a diverse, independent and free media. Free Press is at the heart of that struggle.” In Michigan right now, we are in an epic battle over what we value as Michiganders. Where we spend our tax money is a statement about where our priorities are. 6,000 people showed up on a sunny spring day to stand for the public education of our children and its importance to the future of our state.…
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How not to build community - Dexter Bakery is doin' it wrong

How not to build community – Dexter Bakery is doin’ it wrong

I live in a small village outside of Ann Arbor called Dexter. It’s a quaint little place with a downtown area only a few blocks long and wide. My wife and I often call it “Stars Hollow” after the town in the Gilmore Girls. Like Stars Hollow, Dexter business owners form a community. They have a Chamber of Commerce that promotes the village businesses and, in general, they all cooperate to make Dexter a destination for shoppers and theater-goers. It’s an arrangement that is replicated in small towns and villages across the country.

The past few years have been tough on Dexter.…

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Mission Accomplished – Michigan Republicans pass Sndyer's package of budget bills ahead of schedule

Mission Accomplished – Michigan Republicans pass Sndyer’s package of budget bills ahead of schedule

It’s oh-so-much easier to get things done when you have both houses of the Legislature and the Governor’s office in your control. Today, Michigan Republicans showed just how much easier it is. Both the state House and Senate completed passage of the various packages of budgetary bills this week and, today, in a wham, bam, thank you, ma’am flurry of legislative action, they passed reconciled bills in short order and sent them to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature — four months ahead of the deadline required by our state Constitution.

What’s involved? There is the 242-page school funding bill that trims upwards of a billion dollars out of K-12 education.…

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Rep. Peters invites Sen. McCain to Michigan to rub his nose in the auto industry recovery

Remember way back in 2008 when presidential candidate John McCain was dead set against the loans being given to our domestic vehicle manufacturers to prevent the entire industry from collapsing? It has turned out to be a big win for President Obama and his administration since then, but John McCain didn’t think it was a good idea at all:

I regret the president’s decision to give away over $17 billion to the domestic automakers. Just last week, the Senate rejected a bailout plan because it failed to provide assurances that the domestic manufacturers would fundamentally change the way they do business to ensure their long-term viability.…
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Yet more Michigan Republican face recalls

Michigan Senator Judy Emmons (R-Sheridan) from Michigan’s 33rd Senate District has had recall paperwork filed against her.

Recall fever in Michigan is now targeting state Sen. Judy Emmons.

On Wednesday, the Sheridan Republican became the latest state lawmaker who might be subjected to a recall election. Montcalm County officials received petition language in the mail seeking her ouster for supporting business tax reform and a pension tax increase.


Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard confirmed that her office received the petition request from Deanna Porter of Evergreen Township in Montcalm County, but the request is not yet considered official because Porter did not provide a notarized signature.

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Republican douchebaggery on plain display, Rep. McHenry calls Elizabeth Warren a liar

Republican douchebaggery on plain display, Rep. McHenry calls Elizabeth Warren a liar

By now you’ve probably heard of this bit of utter Republican embarrassment: Patrick McHenry, Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs, calling Dr. Elizabeth Warren, assistant to the President and interim head of the new department to oversee credit protection for Americans a liar. It comes in at about 0:58 or so and watch the expression on Dr. Warren’s face:

WARREN: I have other obligations I committed to based on the representations of your staff, and our effort to try to accommodate you and rearrange our schedule to accommodate you.…
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Light blogging – dog drama continues

Sorry for the light blogging the past couple of days. We’re still dealing with a very sick dog and it now appears she has liver disease which was the original cause of the thrombocytopenia. She had a liter of fluid drained from her belly yesterday and had a rough night. I thought for sure we’d be putting her to sleep today but we just got back from the vet and we’re going to give the new meds a few days to work.

Emotional rollercoaster, I tellzya.…

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Petition language for Pscholka recall approved

After failing in their first submission of petition language for the recall of State Representative Al Pscholka, recall advocates, led by Benton Harbor City Commissioner Dennis Knowles, were successful yesterday in getting petition language approved.

Unsuccessful earlier this month with its recall language, the group seeking Pscholka’s ouster covered its bases this time by submitting four separate wordings, said Berrien County Clerk Louise Stine, one of three county officials charged with reviewing recall language.

“We approved three of the four, and they picked the one they wanted to appear on the petitions,” she said.

Specifically, the wording asks that Pscholka be removed from office for “allowing emergency financial managers sole authority to remove local elected municipal government officials and elected school district board representatives from office.”

Pscholka, a former aide to Congressman Fred Upton, is the author of the bill that was signed into law as Public Act 4 or the Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) law.…

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