Wednesday briefing and open thread

Well, somebody made the mistake of letting me fill in for Christine today and tomorrow, so the entire round up will be on ALEC… Just kidding, but take TIME for that story, will try not to mention it again today.

Did you know? The daily Front Pages of Michigan Newspapers are posted by the Newseum in DC (great place to visit) as pdf images. Michigan Papers included are:
Battle Creek EnquirerDetroit Free PressGrand Rapids PressJackson Citizen PatriotKalamazoo GazetteLansing State JournalMidland Daily NewsMuskegon ChroniclePetoskey News-Review(Port Huron) Times HeraldTraverse City Record-Eagle

You can’t get the Detroit Snooze, but then again what’s the point of reading their Fox News / Mackinac Center babble anyway? There is also a RSS feed of headlines of Michigan media outlets HERE. But as you all know blogs like BFM are carrying the news the Michigan corporate press can not. As one Michigander put it recently “If it wasn’t for Eclectablog [a BFM contributor] I wouldn’t have any Michigan news.”

In the News:

The controversial Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker is coming to Michigan, apparently to raise money to fight his recall. This makes one wonder if he will be meeting with Rick Snyder and who will be giving who advice on how beat a recall and how to make their state the top US state for political acrimony. According to a Walker/Snyder Protest Flyer posted by the Voice of Detroit seems that a number of organizations are preparing a welcome for Walker in Troy, MI on April 17 including (partial list): 99% Pastors, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Good Jobs Now, Jobs with Justice, Michigan Welfare Rights, Michigan Rising (Snyder Recall), National Action Network, UAW, and various Occupy Michigan groups. They are calling for support for the 99%:

“Michigan Republicans are hosting a fundraiser at the San Marino Club in Troy featuring Wisconsin Governor Scoot Walker, a fellow conspirator with Governor Rick Snyder in the assault on working class families. In peaceful protest, we will deliver a subpoena calling on Walker and Snyder to account for the shared agenda of cutting taxes on the corporate rich, shifting taxes to the 99%, slashing social services for people in need, and stripping voters and working people of their rights.”

From the Freep we learn that the US Army, basically the only major organization left still staunchly dedicated to working on vehicle related fuel cell technology (rather than electric battery/motor based vehicles) is TARDEC investing in Michigan at the Detroit Arsenal:

U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan will attend the 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting with Joseph Westphal, undersecretary of the Army, at the new Ground Systems Power and Energy Lab, otherwise known as GSPEL. The lab is part of TARDEC, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in Warren. About $30 million in federal funding — including $15 million from the 2009 stimulus legislation — went to the project, which increased the available lab space at TARDEC for the development of new engines, fuel cells and energy-storage devices that will aid the military in the future.

US Representative Hanson Clarke will attend a rally to stop foreclosures on April 12, Home of Willie Delbridge, 18370 S. Bassett in Detroit to introduce a new federal bill, presumably similar to a Michigan bill Clarke introduced in 2009 (without immediate effect BTW) in the Michigan State Senate. An email notice for the rally by MoratoriumNow Michigan states:

At a Press Conference/ Rally this Thursday, April 12, Congressman Hansen Clarke will announce the introduction of a federal bill that would that would place a three year moratorium on foreclosures, and mandate principal reduction to fair market value when the moratorium ends. The bill would require an immediate pause in the foreclosure process for nearly any homeowner with a federally related mortgage who requests it.

The Trayvon Martin case continues to have impacts in Michigan. This AP Story on the firing of a Michigan teacher for her involvement in a student protest:

“A teacher fired from a Michigan middle school after encouraging students to raise money for the family of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin said Tuesday she is confused by the dismissal and wants the school’s administration to explain. Brooke Harris was dismissed in March from Pontiac Academy for Excellence after she supported students’ efforts to plan a wear-a-hoodie-to-school day. (break) Harris gave the students an editorial-writing assignment on the shooting. But the students wanted to raise money for Martin’s family and asked the school’s administrators if they could each pay $1 to wear hoodies instead of school uniforms for a day.”

Dang it, just can’t do it, have to mention ALEC because just saw someone at the Detroit News slipped up and allowed an Op-Ed by the Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. in “Public is right to be skeptical of ALEC” who writes:

“[ALEC] corporate members’ goals are corporate profit and corporate power. They want more tax breaks, an end to unions, monopolies and contracts to run private prisons and schools. (break) Michigan lawmakers understandably aren’t publicizing their membership in ALEC. But its influence in our state can’t be missed. ALEC, for example, worked through the Mackinac Center to pass Public Act 4, which gave the governor enormous power to appoint unelected officials, sell off the public assets of Michigan’s cities, break up employee unions and privatize public services.”

As penance for mentioning ALEC ties to the Mackinac Center on Emergency Manager Law, some fun with a new type of feature…

What was Happening in Michigan Today a…
100 Years Ago on April 11, 1912 a headline in the Hutchinson News read “The Republican State Convention is Surrounded by the State Militia and all the Policemen of Bay City“. Another version and a clip:

“The Michigan Republicans split today in a convention featured by fist fights and the calling out of the state troops. The Roosevelt men after electing their national delegates withdrew. The Taft men claimed the regular convention and elected six delegates to the national convention. (break) All attempts to quiet the excited delegates went useless.”

Seems that bashing moderates or any progressives, even the Teddy Roosevelt ones during the Progressive Era, was and still is a Michigan tradition/sport.

Nearly 50 (49 actually) years ago on April 11, 1943 there was rally of 10,000 workers sponsored by the NAACP and UAW in an attempt to improve race relations in Detroit and the “War Industries” from “Jobs and justice: Detroit, fair employment, and federal activism during the Second World War” by Andrew E. Kersten:

“To demonstrate public support for the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) and protest discrimination in war industries and housing, on Sunday, 11 April 1943 Gloster Current, head of the NAACP’s Labor Committee, sponsored a mass rally in Cadillac Square [Downtown Detroit]. Ten thousand whites and blacks jammed into the square to hear addresses by Reverend Charles Hill, Detroit NAACP president James McClendon, the UAW’s Walter Reuther, and United States Army Colonel George E. Strong, a white industrial relations expert who had worked with the FEPC and the UAW’s leadership to end many racially motivated wildcat strikes. After Strong finished his speech, the assembled group was presented with the “Cadillac Charter,” a document summarizing the UAW’s demand that “all industry participating in the war effort treat all labor alike, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, or national origin, in hiring, upgrading, and training of men and women…”

Unfortunately, they failed and there were three days of riots in June 1943.

25 Years Ago on April 11, 1987 student protests at the University of Michigan resulted major changes in policy, funding for a Black Student Union, push for more minority students and the beginning of the collection of racial incidents:

“Other resolutions include the formation of an anti-racial harassment policy, and the creation of budgetary incentives to attract minority faculty members, The (Michigan) Daily reported. With the resolutions, the university hopes to attract a number of Blacks proportionate of the 12.9 percent Black population of the state of Michigan. During the recent protests, students complained that the university reneged on its 1970 promise to attract and maintain a 10 percent minority enrollment.”

The Michigan GOP and the whackos at the Mackinac Center did a job great job fixing that situation. This year they want even more control of public universities, higher education policy (and a privatized K-12 school system of course), blurring their intentions by sweetening the deal with bribes in the form of corporate grants and such, letting the presidents of major Michigan universities sit quietly in the corner at Business Leaders for Michigan meetings, where Snyder’s policy papers are written based on ALEC reports and papers by Mackinac Center education/academic “Scholars” and ALEC subject matter experts like the drunk (he admits it) Richard Vedder from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity at Ohio University.

5 Years Ago on April 11, 2007 a report by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) made the case for political financing and influence peddling reforms in Michigan. From Media Mouse at GRIID:

“The report, titled “A Case for Political Reform in Michigan,” provides a detailed rationale for thirty-three political reforms in the areas of campaign finance, lobbying, ethics, term limits, redistricting, election administration, judicial independence, and enforcement.”

Of course just recently Michigan ranked poorly at 43rd out of the 50 US States in terms of “risk of corruption” by getting “D” or “F” in 11 of 14 measures by the State Integrity Investigation, a project of the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International. From the Columbia Journalism Review quoting Chris Andrews, former political editor at the Lansing State Journal:

“[Michigan] has major flaws in tracking money spent to elect officials and shape policy. The set of laws regulating campaign spending, lobbyist activity, and financial disclosure guarantee essentially says to the public: Mind your own business.”

Benchmark and dashboard that Mr. Nerd.

It is a crime for a citizen to shrink from service to one's society. Contact thru Kos or DU messaging.
Hector Solon
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