Tuesday, May 29, 2007

ICDP-TV's Latest Episodes Present Another View of State Budget Crisis

Following the coverage on the state budget from the major Michigan media outlets, you could be led to believe that both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for the state’s budget crisis.

It is that distorted view of the state budget crisis that reminds us just how important our alternative media is in Central Michigan. ICDP-TV presents two new TV shows in our Democracy Matters series to shed some light on the real issues that underlie this Republican engineered budget crisis.

In our third edition of Democracy Matters that begins airing on public access television in Clare, Gratiot and Isabella Counties on Wednesday evening, May 30 at 8:10 p.m. Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer offer his take on the state budget and other Michigan issues. In the fourth edition of Democracy Matters that begins airing on Saturday, June 2 at 3 p.m. our panel is joined by Mt. Pleasant City Commissioner Jim Moreno to further explore the impact on communities around the state as Republicans attempt to squeeze the noose around state government.

Both editions of Democracy Matters will repeat a number of times over the next few weeks on cable channel 3 in all 12 communities served by Charter Communications in our 3–county area. Channel 3’s complete schedule is available on the Mid-Michigan Area’s Cable Consortium web site at http://mac3tv.com/

After their initial runs on public access TV, the Democracy Matters shows will be available on Google Video.

Democracy Matters is the public access TV panel discussion show hosted by CMU’s emeritus political science professor, John Dinse, and produced by ICDP-TV, a group of local Democratic Party volunteers. For more information about Democracy Matters go to the TV show's web site here.

Tim's Vietnam Memoir is a Must Read This Summer

Tim Caldwell, our ICDP secretary, has done a marvelous job on his new
book. I just finished reading it and I can tell you Tim is a gifted
writer. We all knew Tim was an exceptional guy, but until you read the
first few chapters, you can't imagine just how talented.

For those of you who haven't heard, Tim's new book is available on
both Amazon.com and on Barnes and Noble.

Tim's book is called "The Chaplain's Assistant : God, Country and
Vietnam." It's fiction but pretty much based on Tim's experiences in
Vietnam, mostly in the Mekong Delta during the war.

For those who lived through that period, the book brings memories
rushing back and gives a glimpse of the war that is nothing like
you've read before. It is a charming book that captures what it is was
like to be in country where the next mortar round could have your name
on it.

The book ought to come with a warning that you shouldn't open it if
you have something essential to do. You won't be able to put it down
because it grabs you. It's a funny, emotional, sexy, witty well done
piece of writing.

It's a hell of a summer read to remind us why war is what it is.

Cindy Is Still a Hero

It's hard to blame Cindy Sheehan for wanting to call it quits. What she accomplished was to focus attention where it needed to be at a time when few others were willing to do that. The personal and financial sacrifices she made are more than anyone in the anti-war movement could hope for.

She became a target for some of the most vile attacks and threats from the military-industrial complex and their right-wing allies.

What she did for the cause of peace was heroic. At a time when most of the media handcuffed themselves or outright bought into the lies of the Bush administration, Cindy stood up when it took courage to be opposed to this war. Today as the truth is now pouring out and the lies are now revealed for all to see, it is a lot easier to say you are opposed to the madness of the Iraq War.

Thanks, Cindy. We too are discouraged that our own Congressional Democrats have agreed to waste another $100 billion on this worthless effort and who knows how many more lives. We too are tempted to just call it quits. After making thousands of phone calls and distributing campaign literature for Democrats all over Central Michigan we do feel betrayed as you do.

But we still are optimistic that our Congressional Democrats will not give up the fight. If they do, they will not be getting any help from us next year.

We wish you well, Cindy. You gave all you could and more.

Monday, May 28, 2007

R.I.P.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Losing is More Than a Bummer

I am doing my best to not take it personally. We sent e-mail, made phone calls and did our best to let our Democrats in Congress know that the majority of the American people want to get out of Iraq now.

Yet we see our Democratically controlled Congress fall into the Karl Rove fear trap -- where Democrats lose either way they vote on funding the war. This war has been wrong from the beginning based on a pack of lies, yet it goes on.

Adding more gasoline to the fire, throwing good money after bad seems a horrible waste. How could they do that. How could our good friend Carl Levin forget how we feel about this war? Does he really believe that caving in to the Bush administration is a good strategy? Carl has earned a lot of respect, but I am hearing rumblings that he will have to earn a lot more next year.

"But where are we going to go?" asked another ICDP member. Do we go Green? Nader? Been there. Lost that election.

We are not happy about how things are going right now, and setbacks really hurt. Can we, like Paul Wellstone, shrug it off and redouble our efforts as progressives to make real change in the Democratic Party? We'll see.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

House passes bill to fight price gouging - where's Camp?

Unless you've been sleeping under a rock, you know that the price of gas has passed $3 per gallon. Some worry it will soon eclipse $4 per gallon.

In response, US Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) introduced HR 1252, the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act. This bill would provide penalties for those who take unfair advantage of consumers at the pump. (Read more here.)

The bill passed 284-141 - a veto-proof majority - with 56 Republicans joining all but one Democrat in supporting the bill.

How did Michigan's members of Congress vote?

YES:
Bart Stupak (D)
Dale Kildee (D)
Candice Miller (R)
Thaddeus McCotter (R)
Sander Levin (D)
John Conyers (D)
Carolyn Kilpatrick (D)
John Dingell (D)

NO:
Pete Hoekstra (R)
Vern Ehlers (R)
Dave Camp (R)
Fred Upton (R)
Tim Walberg (R)
Mike Rogers (R)
Joe Knollenberg (R)

Two Michigan Republicans joined all six Michigan Democrats in supporting the bill. The other seven - including Dave Camp - don't seem to care about the pain being inflicted on American drivers. Yet Republicans in the State Legislature oppose the idea of raising taxes to fix the state's budget crisis. (While painful, a tax increase would go a long way in avoiding the alternative: cuts to education and higher tuition. More on that later.)

I don't know about you, but I'd rather see my money go to help our schools than help oil industry executives who don't need it.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

URGENT - Tell Carl & Debbie to Save Our Troops ASAP

Our troops desperately need us.

If you go to Daily Kos or Democratic Underground, the big story on both of those websites is ‘the deal’ in which certain Democratic leaders abandoned their party, the troops, and our country by backing down on including benchmarks for bringing our troops home to safety in an Iraq spending bill.

Some would have us give up and concede that this bill will be passed without a fight.

The fact is, the battle is not over yet. The spending bill has not yet been passed. We cannot be like those aforementioned leaders and cower. Our troops need us.

We must make one last-ditch effort to support our troops. While our brave men and women fight over there in a war that was not of their choosing, we must fight for them back here.

Call Carl’s Washington office at (202) 224-6221.
Call Debbie’s Washington office at (202) 224-4822.
Call Rep. Camp's office at (202) 225-6563.


Carl and Debbie supported our troops at the beginning, opposing this war when it wasn’t popular to. Now the American people want our troops home; indeed our country needs them home.

So please, folks, I implore you: For the sake of our brave men and women overseas, urge Carl and Debbie to oppose this ill-conceived spending bill.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Internet Wars, Part 6

Common Cause just sent out this alert: In an interview with Forbes, incoming AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said he wants to see a two-tiered system on the Internet: big business websites in the fast lane, everyone else in a slow lane. The FCC is holding hearings until June 15th-let them know: hands off our Internet.

The battle never stops, it seems. Stephenson and the rest of the big telecoms want to dismantle the Internet. Since Granholm caved in and gave the store away in Michigan, AT&T has been rolling over activists in Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Georgia, breaking down franchising regulations under the guise of "increasing competition."

One of their goals-turning the free Internet into a huge money-maker-has always been part and parcel of their national strategy. In a way, it's refreshing that the incoming CEO is up front about his desire for a two-tiered system. Go to the Common Cause site (www.commoncause.org) to sign the petition that will be presented to the FCC.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cropsey featured in Michigan Liberal's "Better Know an Obstructionist" series

As Alan Cropsey and his fellow state Senate Republicans impede progress in our state, Michigan Liberal is calling each of them out for holding our schools - and thus our state - hostage. Take a look at their write-up on Cropsey, particularly this intriguing bit:

The editor regrets that it is not possible, given our limited time frame, for a more thorough review of Sen. Cropsey's career and activities. Indeed, Sen. Cropsey has amassed so much experience working with hard right wing organizations that a complete accounting would be an overwhelming undertaking in and of itself. The following should be regarded as nothing more than a few highlights from the lengthy and "interesting" career of Sen. Cropsey.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Camp, other MI Republicans oppose expansion of hate-crimes law

The US House Thursday passed a bill designed to expand the nation's hate-crimes laws to include those crimes that are based on gender or sexual orientation. 25 Republicans joined with 212 Democrats (including each of Michigan's six Democratic Representatives) in votng for the bill, which President Bush is threatening to veto.

CNN has more on the bill:

Under current law, hate crimes are subject to federal prosecution only if the acts of violence are motivated by race, religion, color or national origin. Federal prosecutors get involved only if the victim is engaged in a federally protected activity, such as voting or participating in interstate commerce.

The White House says there is no need for the expanded bill because state and local laws already cover the crimes it addresses, and there is no need for federal enforcement.

In addition to allowing greater leeway for federal law enforcement authorities to investigate hate crimes, the House bill -- which was passed on a 237-180 vote --provides $10 million over the next two years to aid local prosecutions.

According to the article, critics of the hate-crimes legislation say it will target pastors who preach against homosexuality. Two points in that regard. First, the bill targets those who commit crimes based on gender and sexual orientation, NOT those who believe homosexuality is wrong.

Second, I'm a straight man, and I personally believe marriage is between one man and one woman. But if one of my friends from the GLBT falls victim to a hate crime, I would expect nothing less than for the perpetrator to receive swift justice.

But Congressman Dave Camp and 179 of his colleagues - including every Republican member of Michigan's congressional delegation - do not see it that way. They believe that the current law, which criminalizes hate crimes perpetrated based on religion, race, national origin, or color, is sufficient enough.

But a hate crime is a hate crime, regardless of the basis on which it is perpetrated. Until Mr. Camp realizes this, he will probably keep receiving zeros on the Human Rights Campaign's Congressional Scorecard.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mark Brewer's first podcast

Mark Brewer, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party and a Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee, has posted his first podcast on YouTube. Check it out!

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