Thursday briefing and open thread

"We were told today that Al Jazeera is the buyer for Current TV. My agreement with Current was for the duration of the election (and the sale). It has been a very fun adventure; we are blessed with a wonderful team. We’ll continue to broadcast The War Room for the next few weeks through the transition, but after that I’ll be going back to teaching, speaking and other things. Thanks to all of you who have been watching, and especially thanks to those who helped achieve a key goal: helping to re-elect the president!" – Jennifer Granholm

So Al-Jazeera bought Current TV for the network penetration into the US. Unfortunately the Current programming will be going away, which is a bummer for me since we just lost 1310am. (Is this because I mocked Hannity yesterday? Karma sucks) This is one of the reasons why I keep paying for podcasts even though they nickel & dime me and I only listen to them half the time. I just don’t trust programming to stay in place.

Anywaaaayyyy ….

What’s that? Gerrymandering?

51 percent watch: All the votes are tallied, 51.06%

And speaking of a functioning democracy, behold the power of gerrymandering:

With NY certified, House Dems’ popular vote lead over GOP has expanded to 1,362,351 (59,645,387 to 58,283,036):…
— @Redistrict via web

Democrats beat Republicans at every level. The only thing protecting the GOP’s remaining hold on power are artificial constructs like gerrymandering and the filibuster. In a genuine democracy, they would be fully relegated to where they belong—the deep minority.

Here are the totals:

And here’s Dale over at Detroit News with more on that:

While the Michigan Legislature currently has a Republican majority, this comes as a result of creative redistricting or gerrymandering, not a populace that supports Republicans by a similar majority.

The most recent election data shows that more than 54% of the votes cast for State Representatives in Michigan were for Democrats. These numbers are nearly identical to the results of the presidential election totals for Michigan.

As further proof of the illegitimacy of the Republican rule in Michigan, the average margin of victory for Democrats in the House was over 42% while the Republicans’ margin was less than half that at 19%.

There are some things in the works to deal with the Republican efforts to maintain a permanent illegitimate majority. It’s a non-partisan effort and we’re not involved in it, but we’ll blog it as we get info.

We mentioned yesterday on Twitter (follow us @bloggingformich) that the Mayor of Warren is offering anti-rtw bumper stickers free of charge. Here’s an article with video. It’s interesting that the journalist asks why someone should have a bumper sticker since rtw is already law. It’s a significant question only because that’s what the right wing is counting on; we’ll simply accept the abusive lame-duck legislation and not fight to repeal.

The Mackinac Center “divide and conquer” strategy continues to have unfortunate impact in our schools. Now we have parents suing the Birmingham Schools for not providing school supplies:

The parents of a 6th-grader at Derby Middle School have filed a lawsuit, possibly a class action suit, against Birmingham Public Schools claiming the district is violating state policy by asking families to pay for supplies used in a public school.

The lawsuit specifically mentions a $10 notebook which comes with a school calendar, a $6 school-issued lock and a gym uniform which includes shorts and a T-shirt for $19.

The lawsuit seeks $25,000 in damages which could change if more parents jump onboard.

The Mackinac Center kicked up the dust on this issue last year when it started encouraging parents to complain about buying school supplies.

According to the 2012 Huntington Backpack Index, parents will spend between $548 and $1,117 on school supplies and fees for each student on average.

The rationale for requiring school districts to provide these basic supplies is language in the state Constitution requiring the Legislature to “maintain and support a system of free public elementary and secondary schools as defined by law.” The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that basic school supplies fall under this definition.

I’m not sure why the Mackinac Center thinks that a backpack and all that other cool back-to-school stuff you see in the center aisles at box stores are “basic school supplies” or why the Mackinac Center wouldn’t want folks to spend between $548 and $1,117 in Michigan stores. (I thought they liked private market spending?) I’m thinking they don’t really care about that, so much as they just want to pressure the schools to cut wages or force kids to go without things like uniforms. Which means that the “free agent” students can go to some privatized school instead.

We’re going to see more of this irrational and abusive crap from the Mackinac Center as they cling desperately to their artificial relevance in a society that’s increasingly more diverse than this.

Or this.

Or this.

Hey, here’s my new best friend:

and the follow up

Census Daily Thursday, January 3rd. In order to tackle the 19th century’s version of “shovel ready jobs,” the nation’s first engineering college opened on this date in 1825 in Troy, New York, now known as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. At the time, engineering primarily concerned great structures, applying math and physical sciences to bridges, canals, ship-building, fortifications and large buildings. In the years since, engineering has come to be applied to many other fields, such as chemical, electrical, petroleum, and, of course, computers. As a force in the U.S. economy, what might be called “big engineering” is a major industry. There are over 58,000 engineering service firms in the nation, employing slightly under one million people.

I’ve got one, and IT’S AWESOME!
There are no cover bands in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Follow me on Twitter - @christinebarry
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