Recent Posts

Mich GOP: No attempt to make interim Emergency Manager law referendum-proof

With the news that Michigan Republicans are already writing legislation to replace the Emergency Manager law if it is stopped by the referendum petition drive being conducted by Michigan Forward, many of us are concerned that they will put an appropriation into the bill. If this is done, it will make the law “referendum-proof” because Michigan law prohibits referendums on bills with appropriations (money set aside for some particular use.)

These are worthy fears since the GOP has already done this on a number of occasions this year. For example, in the bill to “reform” Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance rules, there is a $50,000 appropriation.…

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Strange weather in the Midwest isn’t just your imagination

Okay THIS is kind of creepy.

Michigan residents have enjoyed or endured a roller-coaster year in terms of weather, and they’re not alone.

Roughly 3,000 monthly weather records — covering rainfall, snowfall, extreme temperatures, fires or drought — have been broken in areas across the country this year, according to data released Thursday by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

That includes 1,302 records broken due to high or low temperatures, 1,090 records set for rainfall totals and 549 records for snowfall.

Here in Michigan, record-breaking statistics recorded with three weeks left in the year include:

12 counties that saw record-breaking heat statistics.

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Eclectablog interview on citizen journalism and the impact & future of blogging

I sat down for an interview with Lansing Community College Professor Bonnie Bucqueroux a couple of weeks ago to talk about citizen journalism and blogging in Michigan (and in general). Professor Bucqueroux has posted the interview in two parts at her blog Occupy Journalism as well as at her site Michigan Online News.

I’m very pleased with the videos she produced. It was a fascinating conversation and one that I hope will both provide inspiration for other citizen journalists and that will also stimulate a broader conversation about the role of citizen journalism and blogging. Our media landscape right now is adrift in many respects.…

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Rachel Maddow: Mich Emergency Manager story “the most important & under-covered story of the year”

Last night, on his MSNBC show, Ed Schulz finished the evening with a piece about the Emergency Manager issue in Michigan. One particularly interesting point made by Rev. Alexander Bullock from the Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church of Highland Park, MI and also of Rainbow Push Detroit was that Emergency Managers can take control of the Clerk’s office when they take over a city. Since the City Clerks run the local elections, that has ominous portent for the future of democracy in our state.

During the hand-off from Ed Schultz to Rachel Maddow, it became clear that there was much more to come on the subject of Michigan’s Emergency Managers and indeed there was.…

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Michigan Republicans to pass interim Emergency Manager law in case petition drive is successful – UPDATED

[Bumped due to update.]

MIRS News has this tantalizing snippet on their front page this morning:

The Gov. Rick Snyder administration is working with legislative leaders on a bill that would create an interim Emergency Manager (EM) law in case the state’s new EM statute, P.A. 4, is suspended through a potentially successful referendum process.”

UPDATE: The Detroit Free Press is now reporting on this:

State officials are working on legislation to replace the state’s emergency manager law, which could be suspended early next year as a result of a ballot initiative, Treasurer Andy Dillon said today.

“I think we’ll have a pretty confused situation if the law gets held in suspension,” Dillon said in a telephone interview with the Detroit Free Press.

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Education Achievement Authority for helping troubled Michigan schools back in the news (in a BAD way)

Back August I wrote about how the Snyder Administration had hired John Covington to run a new group called the Education Achievement Authority (EAA). The EAA was set up to help out failing schools in Michigan.

This past week, John Covington was hired by the state of Michigan to oversee a collection of underperforming schools in the state. The new group, the Education Achievement Authority (EAA), will focus its efforts on improving failing schools around Michigan. In his new position, Covington may make as much as $1.5 million over 4 years if he meets goals set for him.

Here’s the official description of the EAA:

The Education Achievement System was unveiled in June 2011 as a way to redesign public education in Michigan’s lowest performing schools by driving more resources directly into their classrooms and offering greater autonomy to help ensure student achievement increases.…
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Obama administration moves aggressively on investing in small business creation

As part of the Obama administration’s ongoing “We Can’t Wait” program, they announced today an aggressive new initiative to spur the creation of job-creating startup companies. It’s a two-pronged approach. First, they are launching a $1 billion Early State Innovation Fund which provides matching capital to small business investment companies. This is part of an existing program called Startup America.

An additional $1 billion investment will be announced later today during the first board meeting of the Startup America Partnership. This consortium of over 50 companies are pledging to provide $1 billion in goods and services such as consulting, computer software and other essential items for new businesses.…

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Eclectablog at Think Progress: Occupy Our Homes comes to Michigan

I have a piece published at Think Progress this morning that covers one of the next phases of the Occupy movement: Occupy Our Homes. I have a close friend who is one of the founders and organizers of the newly-formed group that is getting a LOT of attention.

On Tuesday this week, Occupy Our Homes held an event in Michigan.

On Tuesday of this week, as part of a National Day of Action for the Occupy movement, one couple in the Detroit suburb of Southgate, Michigan took a stand against attempts to throw them out of their home. Debbie and Robert Henry, with support and help from the friends, neighbors, community supporters, and allies from Occupy Detroit, announced that they would not comply with any efforts to foreclose on their home or to evict them.…
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Detroit Free Press Brian Dickerson: Emergency Mgr Law’s impacts not racially-motivated

Detroit Free Press Deputy Editorial Page Editor Brian Dickerson has an op-ed this morning titled What’s really driving state takeovers: It ain’t race. In his piece, he argues that the disparate impact of Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law on minority populations isn’t related to race but rather to the shrinking populations of the cities involved.

As the prospect of some sort of state-supervised receivership looms larger for Detroit, politicians who exploit racial division for fun and profit are fond of pointing out that all four of the Michigan cities currently under such supervision are predominantly African American. […]

It’s the same with the four cities in which Gov.

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Rick Perry’s homophobic anti-Obama video is overwhelmingly DISLIKED

Rick Perry’s homophobic anti-Obama video is overwhelmingly DISLIKED

By now, you’ve probably seen or at least heard about Rick Perry’s latest ad called “Strong”. In the ad, Perry accuses President Obama of waging a “War on Religion”.

If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.

As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.

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Muskegon Heights school board votes to ask for an Emergency Manager – UPDATED

Tonight, the school board of Muskegon Heights voted to ask the Snyder administration to assign an Emergency Manager to the district.

Muskegon Heights school officials will ask the state to appoint an emergency financial manager to take over operations of the district after Superintendent Dana Bryant retires at the end of this month.

The school board met Wednesday in a two-hour closed session with officials from the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, including Deputy Superintendent Marios Demetriou, whom Muskegon Heights will ask be given emergency financial manager authority.

Bryant’s retirement was termed “one of several cuts” made by the district. MAISD Superintendent Dave Sipka will serve as the district’s interim superintendent.

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