Flint’s Emergency Mgr rewards Mayor & City Council for good behavior, Benton Harbor teachers take cuts

It’s probably a crass way of looking at it, but I can’t see THIS as anything more than the Mayor of Flint and the City Council being rewarded for their obedience.

Flint’s emergency manager is giving back some responsibilities to the city’s mayor and city council.

One of the first things Michael Brown did after the governor appointed him was to eliminate the pay and benefits for Mayor Dayne Walling and the entire Flint city council. He also canceled future city council meetings.

This week, Brown reinstated 60 percent of the mayor’s salary, as well as his full benefits. Mayor Walling will also get some of his powers restored, including his role in economic development, master planning, intergovernmental affairs, and community engagement.

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The price of tea party politics in Troy, Michigan: investors walking away

Lots of talk these days from conservatives and tea partiers in particular about too much government spending. Rather than seeing government spending as the investment that it often is, they see nearly all government spending as waste to be eliminated. As I wrote yesterday, tea party mayor of Troy, Michigan, Janice Daniels, led a coalition of like-minded tea partiers to kill off a transit center project that was a decade in the making, kissing off $8.4 million in federal investment funds to help make the project happen.

Well, Troy is now going to pay the price for this type of mindless ideological dogma: investors are being advised to look elsewhere rather than Troy, Michigan.…

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Week 1 of post-war Iraqi War Iraq: Vice President Biden nursing the peace

The Iraq War is over but the US is still watching things closely. Today Vice President Biden checked in with the Iraqi Prime Minister and Iraqi Council of Representatives.

Via the White House:

The Vice President today spoke on the phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and separately with Iraqi Council of Representatives Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi to discuss the current political climate in Baghdad. The Vice President told both leaders that the United States is monitoring events in Iraq closely.  He emphasized the United States’ commitment to a long-term strategic partnership with Iraq, our support for an inclusive partnership government and the importance of acting in a manner consistent with the rule of law and Iraq’s constitution.…
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Michigan tea partiers can’t decide who is the boss of the tea party

Heh, heh. There’s a funny thing about the confluence of power and a deliberate decision not to have a leader: someone is going to step up and grab the reins eventually. And that’s where the fun begins.

The tea party effort to unite behind one conservative U.S. Senate candidate is taking shape, with dates set for a debate and straw poll convention [...]

Invitations are being sent to all eight GOP candidates for a Jan. 14 debate at Central Michigan University, organizers announced. Two leaders from each qualified tea party group will be invited to participate in a Feb. 25 straw poll at CMU to determine who wins the tea party endorsement.

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Tea Party mayor of Troy waves goodbye to $8.4 million in federal funds for transit center

Tea Party homophobe and Troy, Michigan Mayor Janice Daniels led the way to the city losing out on $8.4 million in federal transportation funding for a state-of-the-art transit center this week.

After a decade of planning, a regional transit center is off the table after the Troy council voted Monday to pass up a design contract that would have paved the way for $8.4 million in federal funding to build it.

A divided council listened to residents, stakeholders and engineers speak for about two hours before turning down, in a 4-3 vote, an architectural and engineering contract to design the facility.

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Obama admin smacks down Michigan GOP effort to thwart Affordable Care Act

In a rather stunning rebuke this week, the Obama adminstration, through the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services denied an effort by the Republican Snyder administration in Michigan to thwart part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

The federal government has denied a request by the Michigan Office of Insurance Regulation to delay a regulation under health care reform that requires insurers to return $89 million to people who have purchased health insurance.

The decision means that eight health insurers in Michigan will return the $89 million to their subscribers

, said Gary Cohen, acting director of oversight with the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the U.S.…
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So, did you guys all hear about the Obama Christmas tree tax?!

No, seriously. Barack Obama is such a freak for taxing your ass off that he has imposed a Christmas tree tax this year. Those danged Democrats! Those guys will tax anything.

Executive Director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association Marsha Gray says most Christmas Tree operations are small farmers. “When we have so many different individual farmers it’s difficult for them on their own to executive an effective ad campaign.” Gray says there’s no exact count, but estimates there are between 600 and 700 growers. Only about half of those harvest more than 500 trees per year.

Gray and others turned to the U.S.

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Pres. Obama signs Executive Order establishing a National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security

This morning, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. You can read the Executive Order HERE (pdf) and the comprehensive plan itself HERE (pdf). This is the part of the Executive Order that is most compelling for me:

Sec. 2. National Action Plan. A National Action Plan shall be created pursuant to the process outlined in Presidential Policy Directive 1 and shall identify and develop activities and initiatives in the following areas:

(a) National integration and institutionalization. Through interagency coordination, policy development, enhanced professional training and education, and evaluation, the United States Government will institutionalize a gender-responsive approach to its diplomatic, development, and defense-related work in conflict-affected environments.

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