Friday, September 30, 2005

Of X-Mice and Men...

I want
mice mutant registration laws...
Life isn't all about squid; mice also matter. I've been reading about the MRL mouse, a lab-bred strain which has been discovered to have an unusual property: amazing powers of regeneration. They weren't bred for that, though; instead, they were selected for large size, and were then discovered to have a defect in the cell death gene fas, which made them a useful model for autoimmune research—they had excessive proliferation of lymphatic cells.

Science blogger Pharyngula warns:
This is an exciting model for studying mechanisms of regeneration that might someday be applicable to us. One other weird thought: I'd like to see a combination of the MRL regenerating mouse with the Mighty Mouse somatostatin mutant—then we'd have a Wolverine-like superhero mouse!

Good lord, what if they joined up with the Irriatiated Mutant Cockroaches?! They'd be unstoppable!

(Actually go read the pharyngula article, it's an amazing accidental trait.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Hammer...

gets nailed!

Tom Delay was indicted in Texas today on conspiracy counts.

There is a spin alert:
Expect the Republican spin machine to come out in full force exclaiming that Ronnie Earle is a partisan Democrat and has indicted Tom Delay as part of a "partisan witch hunt."

It's not true. The numbers don't lie. In his career, Ronnie Earle has prosecuted more Democratic officeholders than he has Republican ones.

The pontificator from DailyKos cites:

Houston Chronicle (March 17, 2003):

During his long tenure, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has prosecuted many more Democratic officials than Republicans. The record does not support allegations that Earle is prone to partisan witch hunts.

El Paso Times (March 6, 2004):

Earle says local prosecution is fundamental and points out that 11 of the 15 politicians he has prosecuted over the years were Democrats. His prosecutions include former Democratic Attorney General Jim Mattox.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Howard Dean Coming to MIchigan on Nov. 15

State Party Chair Mark Brewer told the Midland Dems on Wednesday night that our national party chair, Howard Dean, will be coming to Michigan for a state party fund raiser on November 15. The location has not been chosen yet, the news is so new. It will be somewhere in Southeast Michigan and will cost $100 a head.

Midland Dems Going Strong

The Midland County Democrats had an impressive meeting on Wednesday night that included an appearance by State Party Chair Mark Brewer. It seems our next door neighbors are as active as we are this year, which could bode well for a really good Democratic Party candidiate for the 99th District House seat. Republicans may think that they can keep the Caul family in there forever, but we have another idea. The Democratic Party only needs another four seats to take back the House in Lansing. It certainly won't be easy since the rich Repubs will outspend us and outsmear us, but 2006 could well be the year of reckoning for the Republican Party.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bill Maher's Monologue About Bush Resignation

If you haven't already seen this piece, it comes highly recommended by Linda Mason and Nancy Lewis. Bill Maher simply says what everyone else is thinking about GW. Here's the link: and here is the best part:

"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend -- you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished.

"Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man? Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with
Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.

"But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

"On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.

"So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: 'Take a hint.' "

Chamber ballot initiative...

...AKA "Protect Craig LaRoche" amendment.

Right now as it stands, a Michigan state rep can serve three two year terms as a rep, and two four year terms as a Senator, or 14 years total.

The rethugs, er repubs, are nervous about 2006. Their boy Bush doesn't look so good. This isn't a proud time for a Republican. They see 2006, and they see a highly motivated Democratic tide (that's us, yo!). They don't like the picture.

So let's try and save what we can, "batten down the hatches" as Matt of MichiganLiberal says.
So the chamber is starting a
ballot initiative.:
The Chamber's proposal would allow lawmakers to split all of their 14 years however they want, i.e. a lawmaker could opt to stay in the House for the full 14 years. Or he or she could spend 12 years in the Senate and two in the House. The Chamber has also thrown in a couple of good proposals (that have no substantial effect on them) that will help to give this the warm and fuzzy lustre they so desire. One would require lawmakers to report their sources of income (as is now required on the federal level and in many other states). The other would dock the pay of legislators who don't show up to vote. Oh, and there's a measure in there that requires a 10-day waiting period and a public hearing for a tax hike - that's probably to help make sure their membership stays excited.

Term limits are bad. Any way you slice them. There are talented technocrats that want to do this job, for life if need be. Let the local community decide who will represent them. If a local doesn't like what the rep is doing, run a good campaign and fire their butts.

So what should we do?

I'm still chewing on this question, but my first idea is this: have the state party, the UAW, and everyone else we can gather start a ballot drive not to "reform" term limits, but to elminate them altogether - which is really what we should be doing. It would be incredibly simple: just repeal Proposal B. End of story. No ins and outs about four 2-year terms, eight 2-year terms, or 3 1/2 4-year terms. Whether or not our plan would actually win is certainly open to question. However, the Chamber's "reform" proposal would begin to look more and more complicated compared to ours. And if there's one thing that can be said about ballot questions, if there is confusion, people vote no. Another potential benefit: it's possible we could "piggyback" on the $3 million the Chamber plans to spend. For instance, every time a news report mentions something about their proposal, they'll be obligated (if they have a conscience) to mention ours.

Good plan.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

More info on New State Chief of Staff...

Rich Weiner has quit. The new chief of staff is John Burchett.

Check him out:

Before being named director of the D.C. office, Burchett served as deputy director of Governor Granholm's transition team. A Michigan native, Burchett has worked in Washington D.C. for the past 8 years, serving during that time as a White House Fellow, a special assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, an assistant management officer for the D.C. Control Board, and a government management consultant, specializing in state and local government, business planning, and business process reengineering.

Before moving to Washington in 1997, Burchett served for three years as an assistant Wayne County corporation counsel where he specialized in real estate and economic development projects. He was heavily involved in the negotiations and development of both the new Tiger Stadium and Ford Field in downtown Detroit. Burchett also served as counsel for Little Caesars Enterprises and was an attorney at Honigman Miller Schwarz and Cohn.

Burchett earned his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame in 1984 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1987. He clerked for the Honorable Cornelia Kennedy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Another interesting note from
One item that didn't make it into the Guv's press release: in 1996, Burchett was the first openly gay delegate from Michigan at the Democratic National Convention.
(all via milib!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

MyDD is covering the Supreme Court...

...nomination hearing of John Roberts.

Chris Bowers is at the hearing and live "blogcasting" the event.

Go check it out.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Republican self reflection is...

...nonexistant. The Republican run Pentagon sponsored a "walk" for support of 9/11. Everybody was welcome, as long as you signed up on a Pentagon website and were vetted.

Billmonbring's us a coincidental news round up of news of before the walk.

Ministry of Silly Walks

Organizers of the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial Freedom Walk on Sunday are taking extraordinary measures to control participation in the march and concert, with the route fenced off and lined with police and the event closed to anyone who does not register online by 4:30 p.m. today.

The march, sponsored by the Department of Defense, will wend its way from the Pentagon to the Mall along a route that has not been specified but will be lined with four-foot-high snow fencing to keep it closed and 'sterile,' said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense.

The event, the America Supports You Freedom Walk, is billed as a memorial to victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and a show of support for those serving in the military, topped off with a concert by country singer Clint Black, known for his pro-troops anthem, 'Iraq and Roll.'

Organizers said they expect 3,000 to 10,000 participants.

Washington Post
Tight Constraints on Pentagon's Freedom Walk
September 9, 2005


Pyongyang, North Korea -- Organizers of the Democratic People's Republic's memorial Slavery Walk are taking extraordinary measures to encourage participation in the march and concert, with the route fenced off and lined with secret police, and the event closed to anyone who does not have the slogan 'Long Live Dear Leader, Glorious Light of the Proletarian Masses' tattooed on his or her forehead by 4:30 p.m. today.

The march, sponsored by the Ministry of Defense, will wend its way from People's Tractor Factory No. 438 to the People's Palace of Democratic Torture along a route that is classified as a state secret and will be lined with 16-foot concrete walls topped with broken glass and razor wire to keep it 'ideologically pure,' Dear Leader Kim Jong-il said.

The event, the We Will Gladly Lay Down our Insignificant Lives for Dear Leader Slavery Walk, is billed as a memorial to victims of imperialist aggression and a show of support for those serving in the People's Army, topped off with a concert by folk singer Klint Black-il, known for his pro-government anthem, "Without Your Brilliant Dialetical Thought, Our Petty Lives Are Empty and Meaningless, O Wonderous Dear Leader."

Organizers said they expect 30 million to 100 million participants.

Pyonyang Post
Unprecedented Freedom Allowed
For This Year's Slavery Walk
All Hail Dear Leader!
September 9, 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ordinary Folks Give While the Rich Take

Author Norman Sullivan puts his finger on the priorities of the Bush administration where there are no consquences for misdeeds or mistakes. Sullivan writes:

There is something egregiously obscene about the people in charge of the U.S. government telling citizens to donate money for a hurricane relief effort while the administration, from the president on down, has viciously abdicated its most basic responsibilities.

For the activities it views as really important, like the war on Iraq, the Bush White House hardly requires private contributions while siphoning off vast quantities of taxpayer funds. But when the task is to save lives instead of destroying them, kids are supposed to bust open their piggy banks.

The rest of the Sullivan article, entitled "Ending the Impunity of the Bush White House," can be found here:

Rubber Stamp Camp Doesn't like Criticism

Our 4th District right wing Congressman is at it again defending the indefensible. Dave Camp is singing in the Karl Rove choir again from the same Republican song sheet, but the notes are mighty sour now.

The Midland News has the story:

Rubber Stamp Camp agrees with everything Tom DeLay says and everything George Bush says from Terry Schiavo to Social Security and claims that this isn't the time for criticism. That's Republican hogwash and a blatant outrageous way to deny what everyone knows. Republican indifference, cronyism and mismanagement caused thousands of Americans to die both in Iraq and from the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina.

Accountability isn't something they want to talk about now. Remember WMD? They don't want to talk about that either. Remember Terry Schiavo? Remember privatizing Social Security? How about more tax cuts for the rich? They don't want to talk about what the majority of the American people want to talk about. Greed, indifference, war profiteers, any rebuilding contracts for Halliburton? How about more tax breaks for oil companies? There's a lot of things the Bush administration doesn't want to talk about now. Messing up America and you don't want to talk about it? We beg to differ.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Gotta Love Those Writers Over at The Onion

The mess the Bush administration has made of America can make you cry, but the folks over at The Onion find a way to put things in perspective now, don't they?

Bush Urges Victims To Gnaw On Bootstraps For Sustenance

WASHINGTON, DC—In an emergency White House address Sunday, President Bush urged all people dying from several days without food and water in New Orleans to "tap into the American entrepreneurial spirit" and gnaw on their own bootstraps for sustenance. "Government handouts are not the answer," Bush said. "I believe in smaller government, which is why I have drastically cut welfare and levee upkeep. I encourage you poor folks to fill yourself up on your own bootstraps. Buckle down, and tear at them like a starving animal." Responding to reports that many Katrina survivors have lost everything in the disaster, Bush said, "Only when you work hard and chew desperately on your own footwear can you live the American dream."

Go check out what else The Onion has to say about the disaster. I think these writers head straight to The Daily Show.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Democratic State Rep. To Be Picnic Guest Speaker

Rep. Matt Gillard, who represents the 106th legislative district in Michigan’s northeast corner of the state, will be the guest speaker at the Isabella County Democratic Party’s Annual Potluck Picnic on Thursday night. Matt is also the Democratic Party Caucus Chair in Lansing and is an attorney from Alpena. He is serving his second term representing residents the six counties of Alcona, Alpena, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle. Here is a map that shows the state’s legislative districts Matt’s bio can be found here:

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What if the Twig had heard about truffala trees?

Would it have made the world much different if young Georgie (he's more a twig than a bush) was sitting on Barbara's knee and had been read Dr. Seuss's, "The Lorax?" Would little Georgie have garnered an awareness that you just can't keep cutting down all the truffala trees especially after being scolded by the Lorax who speaks for the trees.

Grandma Bush might have been proud if the Twig actually paid attention to scientists who warned him about global warming and how it could spawn hurricanes with far greater strength than in the past. But Georgie never learned that lesson and our world is in trouble because of that.

Ignoring global warming is a far greater issue than who is to blame for not responding quickly to Hurricane Katrina because our world is already profoundly changing and there are likely to be many more Katrina's in the next ten years according to Bill McKibben. Check this out for some startling awareness.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Indifference is a Weapon of Mass Destruction

“As bad as this catastrophe will prove to be, it is in fact only a warning. Our government must change its direction, it must become involved in making America a better place to live, a place where all may survive and thrive. It must get off the path of war and seek the path of peace, peace with the natural environment, peace with other nations, peace with a just economic system.”

Congressman Dennis Kucinich was not happy with the federal government response to Huriicane Katrina and he said so even as he voted for the emergency appropriation of $10 billion in aid to the region. Check out the entire Kucinich speech here at

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Liberal Blogosphere for Hurricane Relief

MyDD is asking you, blogo-reader, to donate to the relief effort. All proceeds go to the Red Cross.

Go here.

Just Say No to Republican Voodoo Economics

The Mackinac Center to Benefit the Wealthy is still pushing the same old snake oil of tax cuts. This has never worked and won’t work to stimulate Michigan’s economy. The tired old economic voodoo of pumping money into the top should have Michigan swimming in jobs by now, but instead Republican fiscal irresponsibility has just made it more difficult for Gov. Granholm to recover from the $4 billion deficit left behind by the Engler administration. Schools, roads, health care and deteriorating bridges and infrastructure don’t matter to Michigan’s economic know-nothing Republican legislators. If the Mackinac Center says it’s the thing to do, they do it. The future of our state depends on Democrats taking back the Michigan legislature next year.