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Flint, Michigan gets an Emergency Manager – Michael Brown

Former temporary mayor and city administrator of Flint, Michigan, Michael Brown has been named the Emergency Manager of Flint. The decision to appoint an EM was made the same day current mayor Dayne Walling was re-elected.

“Michael Brown has a strong track record of serving the Flint-area community,” Snyder said in a statement. “Given his experience in public, private, and non-profit settings, I’m confident he is well-equipped to take on this critical post.”

Brown is currently president of the Prima Civitas Foundation and director of the Flint Area Reinvestment Office, which he established in 2009.

As emergency manager, Brown will make $170,000, according to his contract, which he signed Monday.

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Tuesday afternoon sanity break

Or maybe “insanity” break ’cause this is insane!

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Recall of Wisc Gov Scott Walker gathers 300,000+ signatures in 12 days

It’s amazing what can happen when a state-level Democratic Party joins up with grassroots activists to recall overstepping Republicans. United Wisconsin and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin announced yesterday that they have gathered over 300,000 signatures to recall Scott Walker in just 12 days. They need a total of 540,206 valid signatures by January and their goal is 750,000.

Meanwhile, back in Michigan, what is the Michigan Democratic Party doing? Promoting a new website and 30-minute ad to go after Mitt Romney.

Does anybody but me find it astonishing that this is how the MDP is spending its time at the moment?…

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State Education Board member ties schools of choice to bullying: Allow bullies to drive kids out – UPDATED

You have to hand it to the Republicans who are hell-bent on destroying the public school systems through what they dishonestly call the “schools of choice” initiative, they are nothing if not creative. This label is dishonest because the reality is that the “choice” they mention is only available to those with the resources to afford it. If you can afford to send your kid across town (including transportation to and from school), you could be described as having a “choice”. If not? Well, no choice for you. And that doesn’t even speak to the issue of funneling tax monies to private, for-profit schools or to religious schools.…

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Snyder admin’s solution to Detroit schools’ truancy problem: take away more of their funding

There’s no debate over whether or not there are problems with the Detroit Public School system. It’s a decades-old problem made worse by a dwindling city population, higher-than-ever poverty levels and, in some cases, malfeasance, corruption and outright criminal activity by some. Although they are improving with respect to school attendance, Detroit still has big problems in that regard, too.

The Snyder administration has decided that the best way to solve that problem is simply to fine the school system, one that it already struggling due to reduced aid from the state and from lower revenues from its shrinking tax base, by fining them.…

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Will new Mich House Education chair Tom McMillin work with Mackinac Center to destroy the MEA? – UPDATED

Will new Mich House Education chair Tom McMillin work with Mackinac Center to destroy the MEA? – UPDATED

With the ouster of Republican Paul Scott in a recall election earlier this month, Michigan Republicans chose a man considered “one of the most conservative members of the House Republican Caucus” to take his place on the House Education Committee, Tom McMillin. This retaliatory choice was predictable (and predicted). Rick Pluta of Michigan Public Radio described it as “a horse head in the MEA’s bed” a la The Godfather.

“If you didn’t like Representative Paul Scott, and what he stood for, and what he was trying to do, [then] State Representative Tom McMillin might give you something to cry about,” explains Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network.…
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Another GOP casualty: Tax break for charitable giving ends in Michigan on December 31st

You know that gigantic, $1.5 billion dollar tax cut Republicans gave Michigan businesses this year? I’ve been ranting and raving all year about how it was paid for in part by cutting a cool billion out of education. But there’s still half a billion that came from other places. One of the big cuts was to eliminate the tax exemption Michiganders can currently receive by making a charitable contribution.

The Michigan charitable giving tax credit expires at the end of the year, and charities are expecting the amount people donate to charities to drop as a result.

The charitable giving credit was ended as part of Governor Snyder’s effort to pay for a business tax cut of more than $1.5 billion.

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Right where the 1% want us: fighting over $2 waffle irons

Aw, geez

Things got out of control at one Wal-Mart near Little Rock, Arkansas on Black Friday as shoppers went wild over a good deal on kitchen appliances.

Screams could be heard as the greedy shoppers struggled to grab one (or five) of the $2 waffle irons.

A video of the scene was uploaded by a Twitter user who goes by the name “Ms. Clark.”

There were also at least two instances of people using pepper spray on other customers at Walmarts around the country. Helped them get to the on sale items a bit faster, it seems.

When this is what mainstream America is fighting for, I have to believe the 1% are sitting back, twiddling their mustaches and and quietly cackling with glee.…

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Republican goal achieved: Workers compensation “reform” bill hearing goes nearly unreported

On Tuesday of this week, Michigan Republicans held a public hearing on a controversial piece of legislation, HB 5002. As I have written about in the past, this bill makes law certain practices used by insurance companies to reduce or eliminate benefits for injured workers by using “imaginary wages” and “imaginary pensions”. While the legislation is highly controversial, Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee Sen. Mark Jansen nevertheless decided to hold the hearing two days before Thanksgiving while the Senate was on their holiday/deer hunting break. At the time, I wrote that this was completely intentional and predicted this would result in poor attendance at the hearing nearly no reporting on it.…

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Newt Gingrich calls CBO “a reactionary socialist institution which does not believe in economic growth/innovation”

Newt is such a charmer, isn’t he? I love that, when he appears in the GOP primary debates, he spends 3½ of his alotted 4 minutes deriding the question and the questioner and castigating the media as a whole. There’s no better way to garner positive press than treat the members of the press as pariahs and sociopaths, is there?

Well, there’s another group Newt ingratiated himself with this week: the nonpartisan group that scores our nation’s bill as to their impact on the nation’s budget & economy – The Congressional Budget Office (CBO). During a speech in New Hampshire Monday, he said “The Congressional Budget Office is a reactionary socialist institution which does not believe in economic growth, does not believe in innovation and does not believe in data that it has not internally generated.” It is not known if Mr.…

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MEA steps up to help Benton Harbor schools with massive donation of supplies

While state officials mull over appointing an Emergency Manager for Benton Harbor schools, the state’s largest teachers union, the Michigan Education Association (MEA), has stepped up to help teachers there with much needed supplies. They put out a call to MEA teachers (flyer HERE (pdf)) to make donations and teachers across the state responded.

When Republican lawmakers pushed through more than $1 billion in cuts to public education earlier this year, bad financial situations in school districts across the state were made even worse. A prime example of this is in Benton Harbor, where the cuts have caused an unsustainable lack of basic school supplies across the district.…
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