66 elected Democrats send letter to Snyder decrying Emergency Manager law

Not only are Senators Stabenow & Levin asking Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to reconsider his imposition of Emergency Managers on cities around the state, 66 elected officials, all Democrats, have sent a letter of their own (pdf).

Although we come to this matter from a variety of differing perspectives and ideologies, we all share in the belief that applications of the Emergency Manager Law have the potential to irreparably and irreversibly undermine both voting and collective bargaining rights in our State. Democracy is the cornerstone of our Nation and the fundamental principle upon which all of our other rights and liberties are premised.…
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The new official First Family portrait

Now this is a fine-looking First Family:

The photo was taken by White House super-photographer Pete Souza. The last one was taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz two years ago.

My, my, those two kids are growing like weeds. They’re going to be a couple of very beautiful women, just like their mom.

So proud.

[From the White House blog]

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Senators Stabenow and Levin urge Rick Snyder to reconsider Emergency Manager law

In a letter to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin are urging the governor to reconsider the Emergency Manager law, citing constitutional concerns and its divisive nature.

December 14, 2011

Govemor Rick Snyder
P.O. Box 3001i
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Dear Governor Snyder,
We are writing to express our concern regarding the state’s Emergency Financial Manager law. We are deeply concerned about how this law is igniting tensions in our local communities and dividing our state.

Michigan’s strength is its diversity. Throughout our state’s history we have thrived when we work together to solve problems, This law runs counter to this cooperative spirit and is sending the wrong message to the rest of the country about what our state stands for.

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Friday night fun: Yoga with a cat

I’m in Ithaca, New York this weekend and tired from a 9-hour drive so instead of my usual Eclectablather, I offer you this amazing video.

She’s really, really good at Sun Salutations. So’s the lady.…

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Michigan Republicans pass bill to ensure cities under Emergency Mgrs remain under state control

In the increasingly likely event that Michigan Forward and Stand Up For Democracy secure enough petition signatures for the referendum to repeal Public Act 4, the law immediately goes on hold. This leaves the question “what now?” Will the previous law go back into effect or, because PA 4 replaced that law, will there simply be no law allowing for Emergency Managers for nearly-bankrupt cities?

Yesterday, in what they are calling a move to allow for a “soft landing” for cities and school districts after the departure of an Emergency Manger (EM), Senate Republicans passed SB 865. As I have written before, this bill has the following features:

The bill would create a new act to do the following, with respect to a local government (a municipal government or a school district) for which an emergency manager had been appointed under the Local Government and School District Financial Accountability Act:
  • Authorize the Governor to remove the local government from receivership or appoint a receivership transition advisory board, if the local government’s financial emergency had been rectified.
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Jonathan Mahler publishes important piece about Benton Harbor

For most of the summer, Jonathan Mahler has been working on an article for the New York Times Magazine about Benton Harbor. At one point, my wife and I met him there over pizza and beers to give him a bit of our perspective, primarily as outside observers unhappy with the new powers granted the city’s Emergency Manager Joe Harris.

The piece will be published this weekend in print form and is now available online. It is titled “Now That the Factories Are Closed, It’s Tee Time in Benton Harbor, Mich.”

I think it is a very well-researched and well-written piece.…

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Obama admin acts to provide min wage & overtime protections for nearly 2 million in-home care workers

More “We can’t wait” goodness from the Obama adminstration today.

The White House today will announce new rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor that would provide minimum wage and overtime protections for nearly two million workers who provide in-home care services for the elderly and infirmed. Many of these workers provide critical in-home health care services such as tube feeding, wound care, or assistance with physical therapy, and deserve the protections provided under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of executive actions the Obama Administration is taking to strengthen the economy and move the country forward because we can’t wait for Congress to act.…
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Lawrence Wilkerson: Republican response to the end of Iraq War “may cause me to leave this party”

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell was absolutely amazing on The Rachel Maddow Show last night. He was talking about the end of the Iraq War and the shameful response coming from Republicans, including those running for president.

The only way I can explain it, Rachel, is their hatred of President Obama. And I say that with some circumspection.

They want to defeat this man. They want to bring this man out of the White House. They want to embarrass this man. They want to put this man through every kind of turmoil they can possibly put him through politically.

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