Recent Posts

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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Emergency Manager Joe Harris: “Benton Harbor has been a joy”

Emergency Manager Joe Harris: “Benton Harbor has been a joy”

Back in April, I released exclusive audio of Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris audaciously talking about how he had taken over the town and was now in complete control.

The EFM order, an “order” or directive, has the force of law. It is the same as a resolution or an ordinance so you’re running the city. You are the mayor. You are the Commission. You have taken over from them so just in case you’re wondering why they don’t like you too much. You’ve taken that authority away from them and they will challenge you every step of the way and they will try to use the community, try to get the community against you.
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Michigan gets some good unemployment news

Alright! Now THIS is more like it!

Michigan’s unemployment rate fell by eight-tenths of a percentage point last month to 9.8 percent. This is the first time since November of 2008 that Michigan’s jobless rate has dropped below 10 percent. The national November unemployment rate is 8.6 percent.

The jobless rate fell by eight-tenths of a percentage point in November. That’s a sharp drop and much of it was due to new hiring. But retail was the only sector to show significant growth from month to month and much of the decline is also due to about 19,000 fewer people in the workforce competing for available jobs.

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THIS is why Fox viewers are dumber after watching Fox

THIS is why Fox viewers are dumber after watching Fox

There is a very good reason that people that watch Fox News are more stupid than their non-Fox watching counterparts: Fox actually lies to them.

Check this out. When the unemployment rate numbers came out last week showing that we had dropped below 9% for the first time in forever, here’s the chart that Fox used:

Check that out. The final dot on the graph at 8.6% is equal to 9%. Hell it’s even above 8.8% from last March!

Here’s how the graph should have looked (courtesy of Jed Lewison at Daily Kos):

More from Media Matters HERE.

Need another example?…

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The Republican hypocrisy in Michigan’s charter school debate – UPDATED

A couple of weeks ago, I spent about 20 quality minutes in the Green Room of Fox News Detroit with Nolan Finley, the Editorial Page Editor of the Detroit News. In that short time, I got to listen to him debate charter schools with another guest. His main and emphatic argument, one echoed by most charter school proponents, is that charter schools are necessary because they force the public schools to compete and, in the process, become better.

This is a seductive argument and I can understand why it appeals to conservatives and maybe even some non-conservatives. The capitalistic model is a strong part of our American culture.…

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Claire McCaskill proves Republicans are hypocrites about earmarks

Claire McCaskill proves Republicans are hypocrites about earmarks

Oh, my. Who could ever have thought that Republican members of Congress would turn out to be hypocrites about earmarks?

At the beginning of the 112th Congress, a wave of Republicans swept into control of the U.S. House of Representatives, pledging fiscal restraint. One of the first policy changes instituted by the new Republican majority was to institute a moratorium on earmarks – the tool used by Members of Congress to politically direct billions of dollars in pet projects to favored entities in their districts. Earmarks had, justifiably, earned the ire of the American people who are fed up with wasteful – and sometimes corrupt – spending in Washington and the arrogance of lawmakers behind it.…
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BREAKING: Senate Comm. passes bill to create Emergency Manager transition team, Roger Fraser a no-show in Detroit

Today the Michigan Senate Government Operations passed an S-1 substitute bill to SB 0865 on to the full Senate. The bill creates a transition team that will be assigned to municipalities and school districts under the control of an Emergency Manager.

From the Senate summary:

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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Rick Syder: “Not on my agenda” or “The GOP made me do it”

Since his election last year, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has played the good cop/bad cop game to perfection. While he stays above the fray and issues calming and non-threatening platitudes, his Republican colleagues in the legislature enact a conservative agenda with a rapidity that Democrats can only marvel at. Time and time again, Snyder has talked about how a particular piece of legislation or how a particular issue is “not on his agenda” only to sign that legislation shortly thereafter when the Republican-dominated legislature sends it to him.

241 bills signed into law (pdf) as of this week and only one veto.…

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