recall elections

New Michigan Law in the Works to Destroy Public Education

A posthumous legacy of Michigan’s 96th Legislature — some ugly unfinished business the state can expect to see lead the parade of bills introduced in the new session:

Neophyte Republican party hard-liner, Lisa Posthumus-Lyons rode the coat-tails of her daddy, Dick Posthumus, into the Michigan House in 2010. After his failed gubernatorial race and loss to Jennifer Granholm, Dick worked his backroom corporate affiliations, and the father-daughter team surfed their well-greased skids into power positions within the Snyder Administration. The 32 year old freshman lawmaker, Lisa Posthumus-Lyons, fresh out of dabbling in the real estate business, was appointed Chair of the House Education Committee when the previous occupant, Rep. Paul Scott, was recalled.

Upon election, Snyder named the elder Posthumus as his senior advisor and legislative lobbyist. The appointment of Posthumus, a Michigan farmer with extensive legislative experience (having been the longest serving Senate Majority Leader in Michigan’s history) should have been the first clue that the Snyder administration would be nothing like the one painted in the campaign. More →

Michigan Republicans… Toying with Democracy

A (satirical) Holiday Card from Republican Lawmakers:

Dear Michigan,

Season’s Greetings from Lansing to All Our Friends!

It’s that time of year Michigan Republicans like to share what the kids in Congress have been up to — capping-off another year of magic and wonder for the whole gang.

Santa came early for Michigan Republicans. And boy did they get spoiled this year! First they eagerly ripped open a package from Governor Snyder himself . Wow! — it was a Magic Kit!

Our Republican lawmakers, not being the brightest kids (shhh! They More →

Michigan’s House of Horrors – A Guide to Bad Bills and Lousy Laws

Under the leadership of Republican Speaker Jase Bolger members of the Michigan House have been busy as bees destroying democratic rule, dismantling the public sector, treating women as reproductive chattel, busting unions, polluting the air and water, fostering racial tension, gutting public education, selling public assets, trampling individual rights, and wrecking havoc with the state’s fragile economy and infrastructure.

Following is a list of some of the most reprehensible, repugnant and downright laughable bills and resolutions. Luckily, the majority remain stalled in committee, but several real doosies snuck through to become law, and just like with any virulent plague, it only takes a few…but hey Michigan, it’s just a touch of Ebola, right? Walk it off!

THE ROLL CALL OF RIDICULOUSNESS IN THE 96th MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE:

Let’s start with Jase Bolger (R-63) himself. The Speaker introduced four rather innocuous resolutions and no bills or amendments because he preferred to do all his dirty work behind closed doors, with his crowning achievement being manipulating the 76th District race by helping recruit a sham candidate to run against Republican-come-lately (really lately) Roy Schmidt. A complaint was filed and the court found enough evidence of wrong-doing to appoint a one-person grand jury. Great work setting the tone for the House Jase!

While we’re talking scandal, let’s look at the legislative rap sheet of Bolger’s partner in crime, Rep. Roy Schmidt (D, er…R-76).  As a special gift for his fellow recall-facing conspirator, Schmidt introduced a bill that would repeal the constitutional right of the people to recall elected officials for “political reasons”. When the effort to recall Bolger fizzled , the bill strangely stalled in committee.

Moving on to the man responsible for the worst piece of legislation to come out of this House, let’s visit the record of Rep. Al Pscholka (R-79). His crowning achievement being the abrogation of the right to home rule for 50% of all communities of color in Michigan. It’s called the Emergency Manager Law — a legislative atrocity that’s not only racist, but is flat-out unconstitutional and in violation of both the Civil Rights and the Voters Rights Acts. Puppy-kicker Pscholka also introduced the law that restricted grad students from unionizing.

(Oh, we’re just getting started….)

Rep. Bill Rogers (R-42) and Rep. Nancy Jenkins (R-57) both introduced bills to aid and abet Emergency Managers. Just as the Detroit Public School’s Emergency Manager was putting 70 schools on the market, Rogers introduced a bill that would make those public assets a sweet deal for private land speculators, offering them a five-year exemption from property taxes –just what the battered tax-base of that community needed —freeloading speculators. Jenkins, not to be outdone, wanted to exempt government bodies from the Open Meetings Act so they could discuss the potential sale of public assets behind closed doors. Both bills remain in committee.

(In no special order, the list goes on…)

Rep. Bob Genetski (R-80) sponsored several committee-lodged gems. The first was to ban people from photographing their completed voter ballots. Hah! Tell that to Michael Moore! Another jewel in Genetski’s legislative tiara is a bill to ban hospital workers from being required to get flu shots. This lawmaker seems to know plenty about bugs ‘cuz he also introduced a bill to establish a state bug.

And there’s Rep. Bruce Rendon (R-103) who’s doing his level best to incite a pussy riot right here in Michigan. Vagina expert Rendon sponsored an over-arching abortion rights bill that takes care of all his omnibus concerns about those lady parts hidden behind panties. Thanks Bruce! But not to worry moms and unwilling would-be-moms, the good representative cares about Michigan’s kids too — he also introduced a bill to have fire arm classes taught in Michigan’s elementary schools. His pussy bill passed the House and his kids with guns bill is still shooting it out in committee.

Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-86) is a serious fiscal hawk — she’s taken the Norquist pledge to a whole new level — the unborn. Yup, Lisa promoted a bill to authorize tax deductions for fetuses. (I’m totally carrying octuplets this coming tax season if this bill makes law). Lyons, however, did get one of her legislative initiatives into compiled law. She sponsored the bill that eliminated the requirement for retail item pricing — which has worked out so well for consumers…because the thing they crave most is lack of information.  

Rep. Greg McMaster (R-105) introduced a bill against sustainable development — are we to assume he prefers the unsustainable kind?

Rep. Joel Johnson (R-97) is a man of varied and complex interests — trucks and vaginas. He introduced a bill to waive the limit on the number of hours truckers can be on Michigan roads, and he is the bright guy who gave us the vaginal probe bill. Thanks Joel for caring about the ladies. Your’e a modern day renaissance man. Too bad your bills got stuck in committee — maybe you should probe into that….

Rep. Ken Goike (R-33) prefers his constituents to pee in to a cup — he wanted to prevent individuals from receiving unemployment benefits if they refuse to take a drug test for a job application. Rep. Jeff Farrington (R-30) felt that welfare recipients should similarly share their bodily fluids.  The first bill remains in committee and the latter passed the House but is not yet law. (Does anyone see a pattern here? Are Republicans pottyheads?)

Rep. Tom McMillan (R-45) has introduced plenty of Tea Party boiler plate items: a resolution for a right to life amendment, a bill to exempt family members from computer hacking laws, and one to ban government agencies from competing with private enterprise, and of course, a bill to ban Obamacare. He’s not all bad though — the man has a sense of humor — he introduced a bill requiring drug testing for CEOs of companies receiving corporate welfare. Tee hee hee.

It’s not all fun and games in the House, they are a spiritual lot, our lawmakers. When they’re not thinking about pee-pee and vaginas, they’re all about God and country! Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-99) introduced the law that requires our kids to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and Rep. Edward McBroom (R-108) tried but failed to get “In God We Trust” on our license plates. (Now how will the guy tailgating you know who you trust?) 

I’ll end with Rep. Kenneth Kurtz (R-58). He offered a bill to make English Michigan’s official language ….

…. Lamentable, esto no paso.

Amy Kerr Hardin from Democracy Tree blog

The Wisconsin Blues and a Failed Progressive Narrative

A truly fascinating article–Highly Recommended!

by George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling

In taking over the framing of just about every major issue, conservatives have hidden major truths. Democrats need to speak those truths from their own moral perspective. To show how, we have just published The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide for Thinking and Talking Democratic. Here is how the book applies to the Wisconsin Recall.

The Wisconsin recall vote should be put in a larger context. What happened in Wisconsin started well before Scott Walker became governor and will continue as long as progressives let it continue. The general issues transcend unions, teachers, pensions, deficits, and even wealthy conservatives and Citizens United.

Where progressives argued policy — the right to collective bargaining and the importance of public education — conservatives argued morality from their perspective, and many working people who shared their moral views voted with them and against their own interests. Why? Because morality is central to identity, and hence trumps policy.

To read this complete article by George Lakoff–the master of framing, and IMHO one of the most incisive writers of our time, please click here

Framed: How Redefining Direct Democracy as Anti-Democratic Won Wisconsin

Now that the dust has settled following last Tuesday’s Wisconsin recall election, the most remarkable line of spin to have gained traction is the notion that Scott Walker won in large part because Wisconsinites did not like direct democracy…

Unfortunately for those who seek actual answers, it is wrong.

Or to be more precise, the anti-recall sentiment was manufactured by a very smart, very effective and very expensive campaign by Governor Walker and his allies…

….In addition to the ads, and a $5 million direct-mail push, the governor used dozens of appearances on television programs to drive home the anti-recall theme: “A minority of voters will get to force a new election in Wisconsin…costing millions of dollars to the taxpayers this spring,” Walker griped during a CNBC appearance last November. That appearance also saw him suggest he would win “because every week, every day, every week, every month that goes by, our numbers get better because our story gets out.”

That’s exactly what happened.

To read this analysis by John Nichols, please click here