Monday, October 31, 2005

Who Needs Wetlands? Not Dave Camp!!

Our local Congressman, Rubber Stamp Camp, can always be expected to vote for the rich and powerfull and against the rest of us, but he has always tried to keep all that from us. Whether it is his efforts to get Dow Chemical off the hook for polluting local rivers or making the world safe for polluters, Dave Canp has always been there, rubber stamping the Bush administration's attack on all the environemental laws and regulations passed in the last 30 years.

It is not surprising then that Dioxin Dave would also go to bat for a motel owner in Traverse City to gut wetland regulations designed to keep the Grand Traverse Bay from becoming another over developed area like Houghton Lake. Ignoring wetland regulations made Katrina worse then it needed to be, but Dave Camp and his friends in the Bush administration could care less, because the rich and powerful keep their campaign coffers fat.

The whole sordid story is in this weekend's Traverse City newspaper under this article entitled
Camp goes to bat for hotel owner on beach

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Dick Cheney story...

...last year during the election, Dick Cheney came to Albuquerque (where we were in '02-'04).

I went up to the Repbulican party headquarters to get some tickets. I was in full republican garb, sleasy salesman, nice pressed pants, shined shoes, and a smarmy grin.

The fella at the counter asked me some questions, and gave me a questionaire to fill out. I dutifully gave all my info. I flipped the page over to see what was on the other side. There it was...the bushkateer loyality oath. The infamous "I do herby endorse George W Bush of The United States" loyalty oath.

I kinda shrugged it off, said yeah right, and skipped putting my signature. The guy brought me my tickets and I moved on. Just as I was about to hit the parking lot I decided to go and grab some stickers to deface. (Lizzie had a great custom KISS/HEINEY'04 sticker on her van all election) I popped my head back into the office to grab the stickers. The office had gotten busy, and a woman came bustling holding a questionaire.

"This one didn't sign the oath!" she told the whole office. "We must make sure that we get the oath signed, we do not want any (riff-raff) with the vice president. Be very careful."

That's when I realized, they were trying to keep me out. Dick Cheney was scared to let me see him speak. Well, as much as I'm less proud of the intruption, I am pretty happy that I called him a liar, twice, in the quiet gym while he was speaking. I'm sure Dick understands, it's what a lot of us believe, and some things just have to said right, Dick?

That his office has been tainted by treason, putting politics above the American people, is disgusting. Any Republican that defends or tries to blow off the charges are the most insidious of traitors.

Dick Cheney and his minions are bad for America. They try to hand down orders, and crush dissent with a ruthless flare. His dishonesty has killed tens of thousands in the wars that rage on. They make the US less safe.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

That Was Some Movie

I just came back from the showing of the film, The Corporation, at the Democracy Film Series, and all I can say is "Wow!!" It's hard not to want to go out and do something like burn a corporate logo, any corporate logo in a symbolic protest over what global corporations are doing to our planet and the injustice of the entire structure of corporations.

But then I realized we are already working for change with what may very well be the only real hope for change, working to strengthen and rebuild the party of the people and helping to make it so strong that party leaders won't feel the need to compromise the needs of the people by accepting campaign contributions from corporate contributors. We have a long way to go. But slowly, but surely we are building up our party coffers thanks to so many of you who recognize the need to do more.

If you want to know more about the very long, but very solid reminder of what is wrong with America today, visit this web site:

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Dave Camp Taking Orders From Karl Rove?

Our Million Dollar Congressman, Republican Dave (Rubber Stamp) Camp is rarely photographed, because he likes to maintain the facade of being a man of the people -- just a guy from Midland. But Margie Williams wondered about this Time Magazine photo taken in 2004 at a Bush campaign stop in Traverse City. Camp now has a million dollars in his campaign war chest, thanks to Tom DeLay and other Republican stalwarts. He's the best Congressman Dow Chemical could buy -- the folks at Dow have given Camp's campaign war chests more than a quarter million bucks since he first started running for Congress. Man of the people or Karl Rove's buddy?

Rove, Delay and Camp are all birds of a feather -- the right wing. Posted by Picasa

The President from Texas?

Did you ever wonder why The Twig doesn't have a ranch in Connecticut?

They don't seem to like him much there. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 21, 2005

Award Winning Film "The Corporation" Here On Tuesday

If you haven't gotten yet to see any of the films in the Democracy Series at CMU you've missed some good stuff. But I have word from several of our local Dems that "The Corporation" is the best of the lot and even if you can't make it to see any of the other films, try and make it to this one.

"The Corporation" has won 25 international awards. The film explores the nature of the corporation in American law and American society. It's scheduled for Tuesday , Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Park Library Auditorium. Yes, it is free and open to the public.

Progressive Jocks??

Since the Brooklyn Dodgers moved from Ebbetts Field, I lost interest in following sports on a regular basis, but one can't help wanting to read what insights one can gather from folks like Freep writer Mitch Albom. Mitch transcends the sports scene much-like crossover singers can show their stuff in more than one genre.

But I just discovered there is a newer sportswriter on the scene who has been making a buzz at Air America Radio, among other places and he hails from PG County, Maryland, the place where I got my start as the young editor of the Bowie News-Express. His name is David Zirin and he has a book out that sounds intiguing and one I will get to when some of the other things on my plate get gobbled up. Yes, we can scratch off the boat for now. But Zirin's book, "What's My Name, Fool?" could very well change the way some of us think about sports.

If you remember the 1968 Olympics and the two black athletes who stood with their fists raised while the national anthem proclaimed their victories, you wil be somewhat familiar with the fact that not all athletes are concerned with becoming millionaires and partying until their 40's. Zirin does a marvelous job of describing that historic event and the price those two ahtletes paid for their dissent. Remember Kanye West, the popular rapper who commented that George Bush doesn't care about black people? I wonder if he will suffer the same fate.

But I digress. Zirin has his own web site too that includes his interview on Democracy Now. You might want to check that out too. It's called The Edge of Sports.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

ACTION ALERT!!!Community internet under attack...

House Bill 5237 has a provision to hinder future community internet projects. is calling us to action n:
Dear Media Reformer:

Community Internet is under attack in the Michigan legislature. Urgent action is needed TODAY to safeguard universal, affordable broadband access throughout the state.

All across Michigan -- from Ann Arbor to Coldwater to Grand Haven -- local governments, public utilities and community groups are finding they can offer faster, cheaper Internet service to more people by doing it themselves.

But a provision in House Bill 5237 -- scheduled for a vote this week in the state legislature -- would make it far more difficult for communities to offer high-speed Internet services to their citizens. HB 5237 is especially bad for those living in rural and low-income urban areas -- where often no broadband options are available, much less affordable ones.

The big telephone and cable companies behind HB 5237 talk about the 'free market,' but they're really trying to undercut competition and limit consumer choice so they can keep offering the same lousy service at sky-high prices.

Here's what you can do to help:


Fax: 517-373-5491
Phone: 517-373-1789


Monday, October 17, 2005

Walter Cronkite: Dem's need mid-term convention

Walter Cronkite is suggesting a Democratic Party Convention for the mid-terms. He writes to the New York Times that a convention "command" public attention to our agenda.

Here's what he says:

The key to a Democratic success in next year's Congressional election is clearly in the party leadership's coming up with a campaign that does not concentrate on the Bush administration's failures but offers alternative programs to fix what it believes is wrong with the Republican agenda.

A suggestion by which the Democratic Party could command the greatest public attention for its positive agenda: It could within weeks call an extraordinary midterm convention to draw up its platform.

The convention would not need to be expensive. The delegates could be those who attended the 2004 convention. Their meeting would be open to the public and of course the press.

Sounds like a good idea to me. Thanks to SneakySnu from DailyKos for the heads up.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

At Least CM Life Gets It Right

Those poor folks at the Morning Sun seem to have one heck of a time getting their act together either in the print edition or online. Governor Granholm's visit to CMU on Tuesday afternoon was the subject of major stories in both CM Life, the campus newspaper and the local rag. But the student journalists outdid the so-called professionals both in the scope of their stories and most notably in their online pubs. The Morning Sun simply ran a picture on the online edition, but the story and picture cutline were missing. Very confusing!! Check it out. It looks like the Governor's pic goes with a story on the new seniors drug plan or maybe she went fishing and is trying to show how big the one that got away is.
Meanwhile, over at the campus newspaper, things were just fine
The Morning Sun could learn a few things from the students.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Bill Moyers Speech Reminds Us Who Needs to Fight Dow

In a recent speech to environmental journalists, Bill Moyers reminds us all that the battle for a clean environment that we thought we won back in the 70’s now needs to be joined all over again and we are losing. He also reminds us that the odds are now stacked against us too, but adds that a few determined folks can make a difference. It’s a very good read: or if you prefer the audio version you can find it here

Can We Do Anything About Dow?

After hearing about the long battle of the folks who live downriver from Dow’s Midland plant on Thursday night, many of you asked, “What can I do?” It’s easy to rattle off a list of folks to contact, but it is just as important to remind ourselves what America has become under the right-wing corporate elitists and thier allies.  They are destroying America and its democracy. When the largest chemical company on earth refuses to clean up after itself and even a Democratic governor is being enlisted to help them avoid responsibility, who is left to say, “No more.”  We need to remind ourselves why we call ourselves Democrats. We believe in people, not corporations. We are the buffer between the people and the market forces that could destroy us, if not regulated. Government provides balance to the market and provides a level playing field. It’s not necessary to make Dow into an evil monster, because there are numerous benefits including jobs that accrue to the area with Dow’s presence. But it is important that our elected officials enforce the laws we already have in effect and avoid weakening environmental standards that require industries to do the right thing. What can I do? Everything you can to fight the Republican control of our legislature. Provide enough support so that Democrats can take back America without having to rely on corporate campaign contributions. Dig deep. This IS your battle. See postings below on who to contact about Dow and dioxin.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Creepy Cropsey...

PrideSource: "Creep of the Week: Senator Alan Cropsey"

Go check out the picture, he is creepy.

Missed the Meeting? Catch the Premiere of the Film

There was a lot going on Thursday night and many of our regulars missed the presentation about Dow and its dioxin pollution down river from the Midland Plant. Although the presentation won't quite be the same, the story certainly is.

The ICDP proudly announces the Michigan premiere of the documentary, "The Long Shadow" on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the community room at The Crossings on Broadway. The 2003 film by MSU grad student Steve Meador documents the battle between riverfront residents and Dow Chemical Co. that has dumped dioxins into the Tittabawassee River for decades. Although we teach our children to clean up their messes, Dow hasn't quite grown up yet and the documentary details the subterfuge and political maneuverings of a company that has spent millions on PR to avoid spending a hundred times that on cleaning up dioxin contamination.

Talking Points and Who to E-Mail

From our friends at the Lone Tree Council comes the foll0wing suggestions

E-mail the Governor’s Environmental Advisor
Ms. Dana Debel

Suggested Talking Points For Your E-Mail
  • Great Lakes and public health are Michigan values
  • Dow is not above the law
  • Enforce Dow License
  • Keep your promise and restore transparency

Contacting Governor's Office about Dow Dioxin

"What can I do, " is one of the questions many folks had after the Thursday presentation at our monthly ICDP meeting about Dow's dioxin contamination of the Tittabawasee River and the Saginaw watershed.

Our presenters from the Lone Tree Council asked us to oppose:
nHB 4617 & SB 390 the misnamed "Homeowners Protection Act" which might better be described as the "Get Dow off the Hook From Cleaning Up Its Mess"
because the bills would do the following
  1. 1Delay cleanup
  2. 2.Increase cost of cleanup
  3. 3.Permit Dow to use an EI Dow paid for and submitted protocols on to determine the level of cleanup Dow would be subject to
  4. 4.Takes away over site authority of DEQ to determine site specific cleanup

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Cropsey worries about equal rights...

...and that they may be extended to all Michiganders.

The fight for same sex partner benefits still rages in the courts. Sen. Cropsey thinks they just go to the supreme's now, the appeals process is for little people.

WLNS in Lansing reports:

Republican State Senator Alan Cropsey says he wants the high court to hear the case now because there are efforts to fast track the implementation of same sex partner benefits.

Sen. Alan Cropsey: "A lot of times it takes a long time to hear things in the court of appeals, and this is an issue that will ultimately be decided by the State Supreme Court, and I think it should be decided sooner than later."

See The Film Sunday Night

For those who need to know more about the dioxin contamination from Dow’s Midland facilities, the 90-minute documentary that never got aired in Michigan will be shown in its entirety on Sunday. ICDP has obtained a copy of the controversial documentary, “The Long Shadow” by Steve Meador, and will show it on Sunday, Oct. 9 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Meeting Room at The Crossings on Broadway, 5304 East Broadway, Mount Pleasant. Discussion will follow.

Thursday Meeting - One to Remember

Thursday night's ICDP meeting should be one that will be remembered and could be a bit uncomfortable for Democrats who like to think of ourselves as the good guys. Is our Governor doing everything she should be doing for the people who live along the Tittibawassee? Should the $5 million Dow dollars that went into the CMU health professions building gone to clean up a Dow polluted river instead? Is Dow Chemical using a few bucks to burnish their image while millions more should have been spent cleaning up their messes in Midland?

Perhaps we can find some answers at our ICDP meeting Thursday night, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Isabella County Office Building, 200 N. Main Street in Mount Pleasant.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

If you are interested in running for state office... better read this. (hint, hint bob lee)

Matt at MichiganLiberal started a discussion of what we need to do to get the economy going:

At the next great economic calamity to befall our state - perhaps the bankruptcy of General Motors-spinoff Delphi, or GM itself - ask Michigan's TV stations for an hour of time for an "emergency address" to the people of Michigan. Try to pick a night that's slow ratings-wise - so they're more likely to air your speech. Don't do what Mr. Bush does and go off somewhere in front of a colorful background filled with subliminal messages, or use rescue helicopters or American soldiers as props. No, do your address from the Governor's office - the nice one with the big desk in the Capitol. Make damn sure someone competent is in charge of sound, video and lighting. Pay them yourself if necessary. Everything needs to be perfect. If it isn't, you're doomed.
That's how Matt started, here is some of his ideas:

What are some ideas? Well, what are the most serious problems the state faces, and what might actually fix them? For starters, I'd say reform of the health care system. Simplicity is the key here. Don't pollute your proposal with a bunch of extraneous provisions to satisfy this lobbyist or that. But you're smart, you know this already (read more of my thoughts on health care here).

Public works projects for laid off workers. You've already touched on this a little. But I really think you need to kick it up a few notches. People should see these crews working in their communities, and be able to identify them. Folks should be able to look out on their street know that "Governor Granholm put those people to work."

Also, just like the WPA did, pick some high profile locations, and have people work there. For instance have the state take possession of some of the abandoned landmarks in our urban areas and make them new again. When people drive by the old Michigan Central railroad terminal, or the old Book Cadillac hotel and see lights on and people working, they'll know that Governor Granholm did that. That's the kind of thing you do to inspire confidence, to make people want to keep give them hope.
The discussion went on in the comments, I (posting as chanupi), being the neophyte to Michigan tax and budget policy, asked how do we pay for this?

jmgear answered quickly:

How to pay for the necessary massive public investment that Michigan needs?

Easy -- STOP taxing the things you WANT the economy to produce more of (jobs, savings, investment, urban renewal) and START taxing the things you want less of (energy consumption, depletion of nonrenewable resources, emission of pollution, urban decay and land speculation).

So, for her fireside address on the economic emergency, here's the pitch:
  1. Michigan income tax goes to zero
  2. Single business tax goes to zero
  3. In land zoned residential and commercial, all property tax is levied on the land, not the buildings -- that way, anyone sitting on vacant land for speculation pays the full freight, same as if the land was 100% built out. Thus, anyone improving their land is not hit with a tax increase as a "thanks" from Michigan.
Housing and rental costs drop as all the property currently being held off the market has to come back on the market, and new construction soars; builders would have to build low-income housing because the rich can't live in more than one house at a time, and most of the land being held for speculation is in depressed areas where the rich won't live. So we address the shelter shortage and put people to work at the same time.

4) Make up for any lost revenues and provide the funds needed for the state investment program by

a) taxing all fuels in proportion to carbon content and with graduated taxes on residential and business energy use (i.e., those consuming the most pay at a higher rate).

b) taxing import or production of any non-recyclable technical materials ("technical materials" are, essentially, anything you couldn't put into your garden): so rechargeable batteries escape the taxes, as do #1 and #2 plastic drink bottles -- but non-rechargeable batteries and anything packaged in #3-#7 plastic pays a tax. Taxes are applied at the wholesale level so that they are administratively cheap and show up in prices in proportion to use.

5) Institute a statewide "pay at the pump" auto liability insurance system, where we add the no-fault insurance premium to the gas, rather than making everyone buy it from profit-making insurance companies. This way, people only pay in proportion to the amount they drive, the overhead and markup of the insurance companies is eliminated, and we get 100% coverage, instead of our 10-12% ininsured motorists rate, which is a form of stiff tax on all of us who have to carry UIM coverage. (You keep it a private system though, in that you let insurance companies by bid to service the policies for blocks of 10,000 drivers in balanced-risk blocks. In other words, you take the fat out of the system, make it work better, but don't take it over.)

You raise more than you need here, and you dedicate the funds to paying for the necessary investments in mass transit and urban renewal and redesign (to reduce the need for mobility entirely).

6) Paving moratorium -- a "no net loss" of land policy effective immediately. That way, anyone who wants to pave any land area has to restore an equivalent amount of land in the state. (You can tailor this to increase the rewards -- so that someone can get an extra "area" reward for restoring land near streams and rivers, for instance.)

Excellent stuff. We need to start having discussions like these, if we are to get out of the hole Engler and the Rethuglicans have dug for us.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Bush and Camp Don't Care About Taxpayers

One of the mantras of the Republican Party in the past is that taxpayers have a friend in Washington, when actually only rich taxpayers have Republican friends in Washington.

The truth is Republicans like Bush and Congressman Dave Camp are ripping us off. Latest information from Taxpayers for Common Sense shows taxpayers are paying outrageous overcharges on Katrina relief efforts like temporary roof repairs from FEMA costing 10 times what they should. Check this out:

Taxpayers for Common Sense, a non-partisan taxpayer watchdog group is the same organization that rated our local Republican Congressman with the second worst legislative scorecard of all Michigan Congresspersons. Only Republican Congressman Joe Knowllenberg did worse. Camp got a pitiful 30% rating for keeping an eye on the bucks for taxpayers, while Knowllenberg got 5%.
Check it out here:

The Two Sides of the Bush Administration

How can an administration that seems so incredibly competent in carrying out its agenda, be so inept at running the government?

Perhaps, it has something to do with the nature of the people, Bush selects to fill the appointive positions at the top of government. Bill Clinton chose a brilliant Harvard professor to be his labor secretary, for example, Robert Reich.

One of the better things written about the Bush Paradox and shared by many comes from Reich

Next ICDP Meeting on Oct. 6

Imagine what it must be like to know that your children could be harmed by the soil in your back yard. It's happening nearby and most Isabella County residents don't know anything about it because the Dow Chemical Company has been working hard to keep you from finding out. The ICDP monthly meeting next Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. is a follow-up from our July meeting where a 3-person panel dissected some little known facts about our anti-environmental Congressman Dave Camp AKA Dioxin Dave.

Terry Miller and Michelle Hurd Riddick of the Lone Tree Council will be our guests to tell us about the battle of residents along the Tittabawasse River to get Dow to acknowledge their responsibility to clean up the contamination of their properties of dioxins. We will be introducing their presentation with a segment of "The Long Shadow," the 2003 documentary film by Steve Meador, which Dow Chemical has attempted to suppress. See how Dow did that here: You may also wish to see the July archives of our blog at paying particular attention to the one on July 10.

We promise this will be a meeting like the July one that folks will talk about for some time. For more information, you may also wish to see, the Tittabawassee River Watch web site that details the situation in our neighboring counties to the east.