Jocelyn Benson responds to my criticism of the Engage Michigan conference

I received this very thoughtful response from Jocelyn Benson on my post criticizing the Engage Michigan conference. I thought it should be seen by a wider audience.

Thank you for your feedback on the Engage Michigan Convention. I’m sorry that your experience was not what you had hoped. Allow me to offer my own reflections on your post.

The question of the day for Engage Michigan attendees was this: What will you do in your communities to engage your peers in your work to improve Michigan? We sought to develop a day that would provide you with the tools to do Engage your friends, family, networks, etc.

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Tim Walberg attends ribbon cutting for facility funded with Recovery Act funds he opposed (updated w/ photo)

Yesterday afternoon, there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new facility at the Veterans Administration Ann Arbor Medical Center.

The VA Ann Arbor Medical Center will hold an open house for its Hematology-Oncology Infusion Center on Monday. […]

Infusion therapy is a type of treatment in which medications or other treatment agents are delivered directly into the body via a vein. This type of therapy is used when oral therapy would not be practical, safe or effective, according to a news release.

The open house will highlight the features of the $763,000 project, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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It’s a hoop hoop hoopty bus

Because it can’t be all politics ALL the time. This bus was parked around the corner from my friend Doug’s place in Minneapolis this weekend.

All aboard!

UPDATE: Turns out, the bus is a rolling art project/experiment/journey/adventure: 7cees.org

We’re traveling around the country for a year in our bus studio exploring creativity with people and organizations. We’d love to have you be part of the journey.

H/T: John Waltz, proving you can be a Congressional candidate against Fred Upton and hip all at the same time.

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Anti-teachers union StudentsFirst says their defeat is a “victory”

Hoo boy, talk about putting lipstick on a pig. This is from Ben Smith at Politico, via a memo from Michelle Rhee’s anti-teacher organization StudentsFirst that spent an enormous amount of money on trying to keep Paul Scott from getting recalled last week:

In Michigan, Rep. Paul Scott was targeted for recall by the Michigan Education Association because of his support for a number of issues related to the budget and education. An August poll commissioned by MIRS and conducted by Practical Political Consultants had shown Scott losing his recall by 61% – 39%, and campaign finance reports filed as of last week show that the MEA contributed at least $175,000 to the recall of Scott, with likely more being poured in over the weekend.…
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More “We Can’t Wait” awesomeness from the Obama White House

I like this:

We Can’t Wait: Health Care Innovation Challenge will improve care, save money, focus on health care jobs
New funding available for next generation of health care innovations

WASHINGTON, DC — Up to $1 billion dollars will be awarded to innovative projects across the country that test creative ways to deliver high quality medical care and save money. Launched today by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Care Innovation Challenge will also give preference to projects that rapidly hire, train and deploy health care workers.

“We’ve taken incredible steps to reduce health care costs and improve care, but we can’t wait to do more,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

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Michigan Dems in the minority: finding new ways to have a voice & an impact

I have a piece up at A2Politico this week that talks about how Democrats in the Michigan legislature are finding ways to have a voice in our state despite their minority status. Using the example of the “anti”-bullying bill passed by Senate Republicans earler this month, I show how they managed to impact a similar bill that was passed by the House last week.

The change in this bill when it went from the Senate to the House caught my attention. For the past year, Democrats have been essentially without power in our state. They control the Governor’s & Lt. Governor’s offices, the Attorney General’s office, the State Supreme Court and, of course, both houses of the Legislature.…
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Mich GOP Senate contender on the wealth gap: “I think it should be wider”

Here’s how the GOP rallies “the 99%”:

In regards to the Occupy Wall Street movement, [GOP Senate candidate Clark] Durant said the protesters should “go find a job.” In regards to the wealth gap the movement decries, Durant said, “I think it should be wider.”

Get a job, hippy! Too bad there aren’t jobs available. As I recently pointed out, the ratio of job seekers to jobs available on the Michigan Talent Bank website is 16:1. The fact that there simply aren’t enough jobs out there for people looking for work is acknowledged by state staff at Michigan Works:

Andrew Stone, employment and training manager at Michigan Works in Muskegon and Oceana counties, said the job search agency will hold nine weeks of workshops in October and November about the basics of finding and keeping a job.…
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Michigan Democratic Party’s “Engage Michigan” conference engages Dems’ ears – and not much else

This past Saturday, the Michigan Democratic Party held their “Engage Michigan” conference. It was billed as a “chance to have your say as we discuss everyone’s ideas for forging a stronger, more prosperous future for Michigan.”

It was anything but.

Let me start this off by saying I did not want to write this entry. I wanted to write an entry talking about how delighted I am that the MDP has finally gotten their groove back and their mojo working and is ready to move forward with implementing a new approach based on feedback from Democrats across the state. It’s well-known that I have been down on the state party leadership and their apparent lack of interest in and promotion of grassroots-level activism that is currently motivating most Democrats in our state and, indeed, across the country.…

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