Saturday, September 22, 2007

While Other Dems in the US Senate Cave, Carl and Debbie Stand Tall Against Lies

Whether you liked the headline or not in the MoveOn ad, the point was being made that Bush administration lies about the status of the Iraq war need to be challenged. General Petraeus has lied to us before in 2004 about the status of the war and is going to do it again, was the point of the ad and that was backed up with substantial hard evidence from other reports on Iraq.

And while some other Democratic US Senators voted with the Republicans on a resolution in support of the general and against the alleged personal attacks on him, our Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow courageously did not support that shameful resolution. It is hard to imagine why any Democrat who actually read the MoveOn ad would consider it a personal attack.

At a time when war critics are vilified daily on the Fox Network as being unpatriotic, it seems foolhardy if not hypocritical to "condemn" MoveOn for saying in a headline what we are all thinking. That General is a toady for the Bush administration and he has forgotten his Constitutional pledge to the people. He put himself into the position of telling lies that are no longer believed when they come from the White House. And now some Dems seem to forget why so many of us fought so hard in 2004 and 2006 to help to change our representation in Washington.

The headline of the MoveOn ad was a play on words. But if you actually read beyond the headline, you would have read a simple and true statement. Petraeus has lied about Iraq before and would do it again. Lost in all of the media play was the discussion of this horrible war. Now there is new evidence that as many as a million Iraqi civilians have died thus far.

We were lied into this war and are being lied to again to stay there and waste more lives and our national wealth and honor. Our treasury that should be helping the American people with health care for all, alternative energy to alleviate global warming, a decent education for all of our kids and rebuilding America's deteriorating infrastructure, is being wasted in a war we were lied into.

Our former Allies can only shake their heads about where America is today. But you and I and Debbie and Carl can stand up once again and say, "The war is wrong, we want out of there now."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Republican House Seats Face Real Competition in Mid-Michigan

Republicans will not be able to take for granted in 2008 that they will continue to control three Mid-Michigan House seats they have dominated for decades. The Democratic House majority is likely to increase because three strong Democratic candidates have already surfaced and stand ready to take on Republicans for the 70th, 98th and 99th legislative districts. Two of them got press over the weekend from the Midland newspaper's coverage at the Midland Dems annual fund raising picnic.

Mike Huckleberry who carried the Democratic Party banner in 2004 and 2006 against Congressman Dave Camp for the 14-county Fourth Congressional District will now be focusing his attention on just two counties, Montcalm County and part of Ionia County in Michigan House District 70 currently held by Judy Emmons.

Midland County Democrats this weekend were introduced to both of the Democratic House Candidates who will vie for the two House districts that represent parts of their county. Nancy White of Isabella County will seek the 99th seat that includes all of Isabella and the western and northern parts of Midland County.

Garnet Lewis of Saginaw County will be seeking to represent the southeast quadrant of Midland County as well as the western and northern parts of Saginaw County in the 98th Legislative District. Lewis, perhaps, faces the easier challenge because Rep. John Moolenar will be term limited and she will be facing a new Republican, yet unannounced.

White will be challenging the Caul Family political career that has held the seat past its term limits. Bill Caul inherited the seat from his wife, Sandy. While Sandy was a vigorous and active legislator, Bill, by all accounts, has been only a mediocre Republican rubber stamp for a reactionary agenda. Bill Caul also recently underwent prostate surgery and although every indication is that he will run in 2008, that is not at all certain.

All 3 seats were gerrymandered in 2000 to make them secure seats for Republicans, but much has changed since then and, if nothing else, Republicans will not be able in 2008 to get an easy ride in Mid-Michigan. The local Democratic Parties in Isabella , Midland, Saginaw and Montcalm have also recently undergone a rejuvenation of party activity that hasn't been seen in Mid-Michigan for quite a while.

Election Year 2008 in Mid-Michigan will be about a lot more than just electing a Democratic President and helping to send Sen. Levin back to Washington for another term.

Friday, September 07, 2007

CMU students sound off on GOP lawmakers' budget inaction

Following Wednesday's College Democrats meeting, four members recorded their thoughts on Republican lawmakers' stalling of the state budget.



Andy (the ICDP's own):

Scott (yours truly):

Special thanks to John VanDeventer for stopping by and offering both his thoughts and his laptop with built-in camcorder!

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

This just arrived on my desktop from the Michigan ACLU. Anyone with children in high school should know about the “opt out” clause that has, most likely, not been advertised.

Today, most Michigan high school students and their parents are probably thinking about getting a new routine down pat, juggling work and school schedules, and who will get the car this Friday night.

You're probably not thinking about military recruiters and student privacy.

Whether your school has informed you or not, military recruiters are likely to request all student directory information from high schools, possibly by October.* Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, schools must turn over student directory information to military recruiters who request it.

But students have the right to keep their information private.

The ACLU of Michigan provides information to students and their parents about their right to privacy under No Child Left Behind. View our "Frequently Asked Questions on Student Privacy, Military Recruitment and the No Child Left Behind Act" here. The FAQ is available on our website and in printer-friendly form for easy copying.

The No Child Left Behind Act requires that schools inform students of their right to "opt out," keeping their information from military recruiters. Schools may have different procedures for opting out, but in most cases, simply informing the school in writing that you wish to keep your information private is enough.

If you'd like the military to have your information, then simply do nothing. Your name will be kept on a list of students who have implicitly given the school permission to share your information. If not, you must contact your school in writing to request that they remove your name, address and any listed telephone number from the list they provide to the military.

If you'd like to keep your information private, you can write your school a letter or print our "Opt Out Request Form to Protect Student Privacy" here. Keeping your information from the military should not mean that you must also be excluded from the yearbook, the school directory or from college or job recruiters. Our form allows you to select the lists on which you want to remain.

It should be your choice to share your information or keep it private. Learn about your rights under the No Child Left Behind Act and make an informed decision.

* The Michigan Department of Education website section on No Child Left Behind includes a 2005 notification that the U.S. Army had sent directory information requests to all Michigan high schools with a response date of October 15, 2005. View the notification here.

Not Everyone is Loony or Can Be

Just two days after the Great Lakes Loons' inaugural season ended with the worst record in the Midwest League, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that Lance Parrish will not return as the Loons' manager.

Imagine that.

Even though Lance Parrish is a Michigan icon, someone believed that good management just might have something to do with competence.

It would be pleasing if the White House woke up some time real soon and understood that you just can't pick anyone for a job, if they are not really qualified, and expect them to lead an organization just because they have right wing credentials.

Or they may not last very long there if a real leader is paying attention.

One group of loonies aren't exactly the same though. The ones in Midland are smarter.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Some Labor Day musings

Today, we celebrate many things.

We celebrate one final weekend of summer. We celebrate the fact that we do not have classes today, and that most of us do not have to work.

But have you ever thought about why today is a holiday? Why do we take today off? What does 'Labor Day' mean? Sure, Labor Day is about labor - working people - but what more is there to it than that?

As labor leader Samuel Gompers said:
"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."
Put simply, Labor Day is about ordinary workers - my grandfather, an UAW member who worked at the Ford factory in Dearborn; John Edwards's father, who worked in the mills; and the people who lost their lives in the mine tragedy in Utah last month.

When you think about it, this country has traditionally been about ordinary people. What was so extraordinary about Thomas Jefferson or any of the Founding Fathers? Not much, until they decided to band together and reject the tyranny of the British monarchy. Same with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony before the Women's Suffrage Movement. Or Harriet Tubman, or Cesar Chavez, or Martin Luther King and the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.

In addition to showing us that ordinary people like you and me can lead extraordinary lives, they also remind us that our country is built on the blood, sweat, and tears of ordinary people. As much as we owe our freedom to the many men and women of the United States Armed Forces, we also owe the very fact that we have food to eat, cars to drive, roads to drive them on, homes to live in, buildings to work and study in, and beds to sleep in to the people who comprise the American workforce.

Imagine a country with no janitors, no carpenters, no farmers, no factory workers.

America would be a pretty dull place without them, wouldn't they?

So as you celebrate the unofficial end of summer - which you should! - remember the people who have built this country into the economic powerhouse that it is. Not the politicians, not the celebrities, not the sports stars or the reality-TV personalities. It is, rather, the average Joe/Jane who works a 9-5 job just so (s)he can put a roof over her family's head and food on their table.

They are the ones who built this nation. Happy Labor Day!

I encourage you to read this Labor Day statement by Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean. Also, for some interesting facts on labor unions' impact on workers, see this page from the AFL-CIO.

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