EXCLUSIVE: The cost of privatization – Pontiac has water contamination issues under United Water

This past year, the Emergency Manager of Pontiac at the time, Michael Stampfler signed a five-year contract with United Water to run their water and wastewater treatment systems. The move was said to save Pontiac an astonishing $2.8 million per year.

I broke a story that made national news about the fact that, by hiring United Water, Stampfler had hired a company facing a multiple felony counts by the U.S. Justice Department for violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

United Water Services Inc., the former contract operator of the Gary Sanitary District wastewater treatment works in Gary, Ind., and two of its employees, were charged today with conspiracy and felony violations of the Clean Water Act in a 26-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury, the Justice Department announced today.
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Michigan Republican has solution to Michigan’s financial crisis: cut the state income tax

Out of touch and out to lunch

Republican state Senator Jack Brandenburg has an idea with what to do with the budget surplus created by taxing seniors’ pensions, cutting funding to cities and stripping $1 billion from schools: lower Michigan’s income tax.

I’m not kidding.

A proposal at the state Capitol would cut the Michigan income tax rate to 3.9 percent over the next five years. Right now the rate is 4.35 percent.

Republican state Senator Jack Brandenburg sponsored the measure. He said people in Michigan were promised the reduction during messy budget and tax deals made in 2007. Brandenburg said he told his Republican colleagues about his plan earlier this month.

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Some thoughts on President Obama’s State of the Union Address

I can haz inspiration?

The classic response we hear from Obama-haters after he gives any speech is, “Yeah, he gives a great speech but…” And, surely, last night was a great speech. It was more than a great speech, it was an inspirational speech. Never before has a national politician spoken so openly and plainly about the unfairness in our economic system. This speech went beyond populism; it asked us to engage our brains and look at things from a common sense standpoint.

Which, of course, why Obama-haters (a) didn’t hear the same speech as the rest of us and (b) didn’t understand the concepts President Obama was talking about.…

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Day 3 – First quarter fundraising drive

Wait, you don’t get paid for this?

The tip jar was pretty quiet yesterday but I am very thankful to those of you that have contributed so far.

It surprises people that I don’t get much income from my blogging. As I was walking up to the Capitol building last week with my wife Anne C. Savage and co-blogger at Blogging for Michigan, Christine Barry, we ran into the reporting crew from AnnArbor.com. Reporter Ryan Stanton asked me, in essence, how much of my income comes from my blog. He was surprised to learn that it’s almost nothing.

Another thing I hear a lot is “I don’t know how you do it” and “Where do you find time to put up 4, 5, 6 posts a day?” and “I don’t know when you sleep”.…

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While you were sleeping, President Obama authorized a daring hostage rescue

Chewing gum AND walking. A refreshing president.

While you were sleeping and after giving an incredibly inspiring State of the State address, President Obama was busy overseeing/authorizing an daring hostage rescue of an American in Somalia and a Danish national.

U.S. special operations forces have rescued a kidnapped American aid worker and her Danish colleague in Somalia, the White House and officials with the aid organization said Wednesday. During the raid, all nine captors were killed.

Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, were abducted by a group of armed men in the Somali town of Galkayo in late October.

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When will the latest racist reference to Obama be the last? – Republican calls him a “tar baby”

What. The. Hell.

Are you like me? Every time you hear some troglodyte Republican politician use a blatantly offensive racist comment about President Obama, do you think to yourself, “That’s just an anomaly. That won’t happen again.”?

When some moron fowarded an email depicting President Obama as an African witch doctor, did you think, “Aw, geez. That’ll be the last we see of that.”?

When some cretin Republican California mayor sent out a cartoon with a picture of watermelons growing on the White House lawn, did you think, “That will never happen again.”?

Well, who knows, maybe the latest incident, U.S.

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John Boehner: President Obama is “pathetic” and “un-American”

If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say ANYTHING

Remember that whole “you must support the president” thing we used to hear incessantly during the Bush administration? Bumper stickers demanding we “support the president”?

Then what the hell is THIS?

House Speaker John Boehner Tuesday forcefully denounced the Democrats’ campaign theme that they are for the middle class and Republicans are for the wealthy – saying the politics the president is running on are “almost un-American.”

“This is a president who said I’m not going to be a divider, I’m going to be a uniter, and running on the politics of division and envy is – to me it’s almost un-American,” said Boehner.

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Mitt Romney’s “Michigan Problem”

Regrets, I’ve had a few…

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney has a problem. A Michigan Problem. It’s not just that he penned an op-ed for the New York Times calling for the bankruptcy of our domestic vehicle manufacturers. It’s not just that he then doubled down on that statement in one of the presidential debates. It’s not just that, as former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm put it, if he had been president in 2009, our state would be far worse off than it is now (and it ain’t in very good shape at the moment as it is.)

No, it’s also because just last December, he mocked the technology behind latest piece of awesomeness to come out of Detroit: the Ford Fusion.…

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