Monday briefing and open thread

“Soapblox is awesome!” ~no one, ever

I spent a good chunk of the weekend and this morning updating the software behind BFM. I enjoy doing it but because of the various things involved we end up losing some of the customization. I still get questions on whether it was worth it to migrate from Soapblox to WordPress, and the answer is always an unqualified yes. I miss the kind of community that Soap can build but it just wasn’t worth the hassle. We went offline a lot, Paul was a complete spaz, our billing was all screwed up and I always wondered if someday the whole network would go down just because he forgot to pay his electric bill. (No offense Paul, I know you were overworked)

So, we’re on the latest version of everything and if you see something broken please let me know. I’m still importing old posts from Soap. It’s a bittersweet process but I look forward to being able to promote old posts randomly just to show you what was going on in Michigan a few years ago. I like the way DK does “blast from the past / on this day …” I’m not sure I’m going to do that but we do have some excellent archives on topics that shouldn’t be forgotten. Maybe I’ll add a section in the briefings for that kind of thing.

Enough of the meta, let’s do some news, starting with Schuette on doody:

Domino’s Farms owner, Thomas Monaghan, contributed $2,400 to Schuette’s campaign in 2010. On Tuesday, Schuette filed a friend of the court brief in Monaghan’s case, which was scheduled for a hearing in federal court today.

That’s a fiscal conservative for you. They won’t spend money to provide anything to the public; only to deny something. Health care, equal rights, whatever. Don’t forget his gal pal Candice Miller pledged $3,000,000 of yer money to make sure that hitched homos don’t git equal recognition across all the states in a more perfectthe union. Salute.

Meanwhile elsewhere, Harry Reid took a stand on immigration reform and lgbt families. Holy cow.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the other big issues, the president said he wants gay and lesbians to be able to have a family preference. Senator McCain has said we shouldn’t gum up the legislation with what he calls “social issues.”

REID: If we have gay folks in this country who have children or they come from some other place, they should be protected just like any other child.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s the position the Republicans are saying that’s too heavy to lift.

Just for the record, I think gay people, brown people, and gay brown people are totally awesome.


Maxine Berman has a great article in Dome about part time legislatures. Her conclusion:

There is a big difference between a professional politician and a politician who acts professionally. Term limits has already weakened a once strong institution. Let’s not decimate it any further.

Public service is an honorable profession and many of us dream of it. It’s been disparaged so much by the right that people sneer at the word “politician” and the thought of a “public servant” often instinctively conjures up the Henry Payne-esque image of an overfed pig at a trough while emaciated citizens stand watching. We need to have professional legislators if we’re ever going to have good government. When you want a doctor or a lawyer or a policeman or fireman you want someone who knows the job, right? What is this douchebag sentiment that the best legislator is one who has never done it before, only has 6 years to learn the job, and only gets to do it part time?

Stupid.

Snyder, Johnson, and Schuette are raising money for 2014

The governor reported raising $396,167 in 2012 to go along with the $534,235 he had on hand at the end of 2011. His campaign spent $102,361 last year on various consultants, professional services and credit card fees.

Separately, Attorney General Bill Schuette reported raising $326,282 in 2012 to finish the year with $371,755 on hand. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson reported raising $52,022, finishing the year with $125,297 in her campaign fund.

Yep, it’s going to be a battle. Snyder says he needs $15 million to run again and he might face a primary from the right. We know he took care of that primary for the rtw, but that’s the kind of thing you say when you need money.

Tim Skubick is wondering out loud who comes after Gretchen Whitmer. I was thinking that Mark Schauer is the obvious choice. I could back Mark Schauer. As Wizardkitten was fond of saying, we were Schauer before Schauer was cool. Tim also throws out the name Mark Bernstein as a potential candidate. Now you know when you saw his campaign for Regent that he wasn’t really running for Regent. He was running for something bigger in an election that hasn’t come yet. I wasn’t seeing the Gov’s race there, but it’s an interesting thought. Right now I like Schauer. State Senator so he knows Lansing, a Congressman so he knows DC. He knows small business (hehe video here) and the BlueGreen Alliance has done wonders for his jobs/economy/environment creds. I say he’s a contender and I hope he’s in.

And a couple more quick blasts .. the USCGC Bramble has been sold by the Port Huron Museum to a private owner, Bob Klingler. Klingler says that he’ll use the ship for tours and sleepovers. The museum couldn’t afford to keep the ship because it cost about $80k per year to maintain.

The Bramble is of historical interest primarily because of this: “From July to October 1947, Bramble participated in “Operation Crossroads”, the first test of an atomic bomb’s effect on surface ships, at Bikini Island.” She’s had several other interesting missions though. Check out that last link for more info on those.

And finally, the Michigan Supreme Court has rejected an appeal over “the sale of a Detroit-area school for a mosque and Islamic community center.”

The Islamic Cultural Association bought the vacant Eagle Elementary School in West Bloomfield Township in 2011. Some residents sued, claiming the deal was somehow corrupt and hidden from the public. An Oakland County judge and the appeals court have said critics have no standing to sue.

I bet the residents who sue are also the first ones to complain about trivial lawsuits. What do you think?

Off topic: “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” After realizing a woman was running Boston marathon organizer Jock Semple went after Kathrine Switzer. Other runners blocked him, and she went on to finish the race. 1967.

Census Daily Monday, February 4th. Adding poignancy to Black History Month today marks the centennial of the birth of Rosa Parks, a shy woman who became a symbol of the fight for civil equality. Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a white man. This sparked a boycott of the bus system by blacks, which greatly energized the ultimately successful civil rights movement. During her life, Rosa Parks championed the cause of increased opportunities for youth. When she was arrested in 1955, the average black child had attended about seven years of school. Now, 82 percent of African-American adults have at least a high school diploma.


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