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Sugar Law Center lecture & fundraiser a rousing success, Emergency Manager plaintiffs honored

Sugar Law Center lecture & fundraiser a rousing success, Emergency Manager plaintiffs honored

On Wednesday this week, the Sugar Law Center held their annual reception and fundraiser called “ESSENTIAL: Advocacy for Community Justice”. The event started with the first annual Leonard Grossman Memorial Lecture given by civil rights attorney Michael L. Pitt.

Michael L. Pitt

All photos by Anne C. Savage. Click any photo to see larger versions. Please do not reuse without permission. Seriously. Be courteous. Ask first.

From the lecture program:

Michael Pitt has earned a nationwide reputation as a litigator and in employment and civil rights cases. He is also widely known as a civil rights advocate who has taken on enormous challenges and won.…
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Mich Supreme Court: Okay to tax seniors’ pensions but not raise taxes on the wealthy

The Detroit Free Press characterizes a move by the Michigan Supreme Court as a “victory” for Governor Rick Snyder. The reality is that it is a solid defeat for the 99% and a “victory” for the 1%. The Michigan Supremes basically said it’s okay to tax seniors’ pensions but not okay to raise taxes on the 1%.

A divided Michigan Supreme Court has given the green light to the extension of Michigan’s 4.35% personal income tax to pensions, one of the cornerstones of the Gov. Rick Snyder-led overhaul of the state tax system that was approved amidst partisan rancor earlier this year.…
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BREAKING: Adam Zemke announces run for Michigan House of Representatives’ 55th District

BREAKING: Adam Zemke announces run for Michigan House of Representatives’ 55th District

Adam Zemke announced today that he will be running as a Democrat for Michigan’s 55th House District to unseat Republican Rick Olson. The district is strongly Democratic after recent redistricting making this a very likely win for the Democrats.

Zemke ran for a seat on the Washtenaw County Commission in 2010 and lost by only 723 votes in the Republican tide that swept across the state. He is a tireless campaigner, a solid progressive and a great choice to run for this seat. I look forward to seeing him win.

At a recent legislative panel discussion at the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber’s annual Impact public policy forum, Olson earned the dubious distinction of being the only legislator who thinks Michigan is spending enough on education.…

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Recall Rick Snyder organization turning into a Super PAC – “Michigan Rising”

Recall Rick Snyder organization turning into a Super PAC – “Michigan Rising”

The organization that tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to recall Republican Governor of Michigan Rick Snyder has reformed into a Super PAC called “Michigan Rising”.

Yes, the times are certainly exciting and the optimist in us says that they are also changing for the better. Nationwide November election results clearly indicate a shift in public opinion when it comes to radical legislation. Ohio’s defeat of SB5, Mississippi’s smack-down of their proposed “Personhood Law”, Arizona’s recall of Russell Pearce – the Anti-Immigration Champion, all made headline news and rightly so.

In Michigan the victory belongs to the voters who successfully recalled Paul Scott and of course, the volunteers who collected enough signatures to put that recall on the ballot.

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What’s left to take over in Benton Harbor? Oh, yeah. The schools.

Benton Harbor schools are a whisker away from getting a — you guessed it — an Emergency Manager.

The State of Michigan will conduct a preliminary review of the “critical and alarming financial situation” at Benton Harbor Area Schools. This is the first step in a process that would determine if the school district needs a state-appointed emergency manager. It doesn’t mean one would be appointed for certain.

Leonard Seawood has been superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools for a little more than a year. “When you are in a deficit like I inherited…there are no easy answers in terms to digging yourself out of this hole as a district,” Seawood said.

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Detroit News’ Nolan Finley: You can’t even watch a little soft-core porn without an Obama commercial

Detroit News’ blatherer Nolan Finley outdid his normal degree of insipidity today with an editorial piece titled “Hollywood ramps up to help Obama”.

I was watching an episode of “Hung,” the filmed-in-Detroit HBO series about a guy with a super big — well, the story line isn’t important — when all of a sudden an Obama campaign commercial broke out.

Tanya, the hapless female pimp, was telling Ray, the teacher turned prostitute, he’s like “poor people who say they’re Republican and vote against their own self interest.” […]

It’s a sorry state when you can’t even watch a little soft porn on the cable without getting your brain washed.

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Man who shot at the White House charged with attempted assassination

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, the dude who took a pot shot at the White House last Friday has been charged with attempted assassination of President Obama.

An Idaho man accused of firing two shots at the White House last week has been charged with attempting to assassinate President Barack Obama or his staff.

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, made his first court appearance before a federal magistrate in Pittsburgh on Thursday, one day after he was arrested at a western Pennsylvania hotel. He will be taken back from a federal court in Pittsburgh to face the charges in Washington, D.C.

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Michigan Messenger is closing

This is depressing:

I am writing today to announce the closure of the Michigan Messenger. After four years of operation in Michigan, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news into a single site, The American Independent at

This is part of a shift in strategy, towards new forms of journalism made available as technology has advanced, and an increasing emphasis on national coverage and issue-based coverage from our network. Over the coming months, AINN will announce a number of new journalism initiatives that will continue to advance our mission of producing impact journalism in the public interest.

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Two Ann Arbor teens help to create legislative change on Michigan’s “License to Bully” bill – UPDATED x2

Last week, I wrote about the so-called “anti”-bullying bill passed by the Michigan Senate a couple of weeks ago that is not only not anti-bullying but, in fact, is generally known as “The License to Bully Bill”. In my article, I mentioned two Ann Arbor teenagers who stepped up to respond in a powerful way.

Two Ann Arbor-area students, Katy Butler and Carson Borbely, created a petition on the online petition website Their petition is currently the most popular on the site and has picked up well over 500 signatures just in the hour or so that it has taken me to write this piece.…
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Obama administration moves to increase fuel efficiency requirements to 54.5 mpg

More We Can’t Wait awesomeness from the Obama White House:

We Can’t Wait: Obama Administration Proposes Historic Fuel Economy Standards to Reduce Dependence on Oil, Save Consumers Money at the Pump

Next phase in national program for light-duty vehicles will save consumers thousands of dollars at the pump while saving billions of barrels of oil, curbing pollution, enabling long-term planning for automakers

Building on President Obama’s historic national program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today formally unveiled their joint proposal to set stronger fuel economy and greenhouse gas pollution standards for Model Year 2017-2025 passenger cars and light trucks.

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Update on Super Student Brianna Amat from Pinckney, Michigan

Back in October, I wrote about Brianna Amat from Pinckney, Michigan. In the span of about 30 minutes, Brianna kicked the game-winning field goal at her school’s homecoming game and then was chosen as the Homecoming Queen.

She’s been feted around the country for what she did and has remained remarkably humble about it the entire time. From my piece on her at Angry Black Lady Chronicles:

Naturally humble, according to Pinckney Community High School Principal Jim Darga, Amat ceased giving media interviews Tuesday after spending almost all of Monday on the phone with media outlets.

“She is not doing any more interviews,” said Darga, who has acted as a “buffer” between the blitzing media and his star kicker.

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