Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Clinton Gas Plan Bad For Michigan: Granholm Please Note

Jennifer Granholm who has been doing a fairly good job of working hard to stimulate job growth and diversification of Michigan's economy might have to rethink her support of Hillary Clinton as result of her new proposal on gas prices.

Clinton is proposing a tax cut that makes her sound like a Republican. But even worse, cutting the federal gasoline tax would also cut billions of dollars out of road construction projects at a time when Gov. Granholm has been accelerating road projects to create more Michigan jobs.

Apparently, Clinton needs a few more votes and she will do anything to get them including helping to destroy Michigan jobs.

Obama is right on about this one. We need a real national energy program, not another quick fix. At a time when GM is announcing thousands of more Michigan layoffs, the last thing we need is a Republican style proposal from a Democrat.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rich Republicans Could Kill Part of Isabella County's Economic Future

When the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe recently purchased the Mt. Pleasant Holiday Inn, it was surprising, but perhaps understandable that tribal officials decided to stop paying the lodging tax that funds our local tourism promotion.

The tribe has been spending millions of dollars to promote the Soaring Eagle Casino that attracts tens of thousands of tourists to come to Isabella County every day. Most are day-trippers that come by the carload and bus load and spend money here, not just at the casino. Other businesses like restaurants, gas stations, golf courses and specialty shops all benefit from the promotion of tourism. Although some visitors come here to only visit the casino, many other casino visitors spend money in our local establishments.

National studies and studies by the Michigan State University, in fact, show that for every dollar a community spends on promoting tourism, it comes back to the community many times over. The only disagreement is how large that multiplier really is. The lowest figures we've seen are a $2.28 return for every tourism promotion dollar spent, but some studies indicate it is many times that when all factors are considered including the multiplier effect on a local economy when new money is brought into a community.

But here in Isabella County, we now have a prominent Republican family, the LaBelles, telling Isabella County they too are opting out of paying the lodging tax that funds the Mt. Pleasant Convention and Visitors Bureau. Since we are talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost revenues from the Holiday Inn and now the LaBelle-owned Comfort Inn and Fairfield Inn, what we are talking about is killing the Mt. Pleasant Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Perhaps, the second-generation LaBelles are not as astute as their dad and forgot that only tourists pay for that lodging tax and not them. Perhaps their accountants are looking at declining revenues because the LaBelles now have formidable competition locally, or perhaps they are simply like many other Republican business people -- they don't care about what happens to their local community. All they care about is how much money they get to take home.

A simple solution for short-sighted folks who don't understand they are part of a community is to make the lodging tax mandatory. Do you suppose that hotel owners in Frankenmuth and Mackinaw City want to destroy their local tourism promotion agencies?

Do you suppose economic development officials there think it is a bad idea to promote an industry that brings in millions of dollars to their community?

I can imagine next that the LaBelles will want to opt out of the fees that finance our 911 service and taxes that pay for police and fire protection.

Isabella County has a bright future if we all wake up to the fact that tourism can play a significant role in our economic development and rather than cutting our efforts to promote it, we should be working together to make it more effective.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Blame The Founding Fathers For Michigan-Florida Mess

The finger pointing is getting tiresome.

Democrats who don't have a clue are blaming the Michigan Democratic Party and then there is Debbie Dingel, Mark Brewer, Governor Granholm and, of course, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama all trying to make sense out of a system created by our founding fathers.

The truth is those founding fathers remarkably created a democracy at a time when monarchs ruled, but it was an imperfect democracy. It has been up to future generations to amend that democracy with the times to make it work and we have now reached a time that challenges us all to take our shot at making it a more perfect democracy.

Those founding fathers didn't imagine that women could vote for the nation's leader, much less become one. A mixed race president would be unbelievable to Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Fortunately, we've made some progress with this imperfect democracy, but it is now clear we need a complete overhaul of both the nominating process and how we vote for president. The electoral college is a ridiculous waste of time and money. So is the nominating process. But change doesn't come unless things get really bad and the time is here.

Our Michigan Democratic leaders wanted to bring attention to our flawed democracy, but could not have imagined the end results of those efforts. They have succeeded beyond their imaginations because we are seeing history in the making.

So let's make history. Our history. We are the new founders. Let us create that more perfect union and let us encourage Mark, Debbie, Jennifer and Howard to help us do what we can't do ourselves. Find a solution that works better for our times. We will help them get it implemented.

What we have now isn't working. We all know that. I know what I am doing to fix what needs fixing about the Democratic Party and politics where I live, but if all YOU are doing is complaining about this imperfect system instead of doing something about it, I am sympathetic with all the complaints and blaming, but still wonder if more of us got REALLY involved we could do more.

Progressives joining forces makes me very hopeful. That's one of the reasons I am looking forward to the Michigan Policy Summit. We are all working on fixing this mess the founding fathers handed over to us. This could be the year for the great changes we now know we need.

Blame it all on the founding fathers, but let's all get to work. This is our year. This is our country. This is our mess to fix.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mid-Michigan Progressives Heading to Lansing Summit on Saturday May 10

Can you imagine what might happen if ordinary people working on progressive issues all got together from all over Michigan and came up with an agenda for change and shared ideas to make our state one that cares more about people than corporations?

Join our caravan of progressive friends heading to the Michigan Policy Summit on Saturday, May 10 and find out.

Organizers of the event are making the second annual event even better than the first with the addition of two national progressive heroes, Amy Goodman and Jim Hightower.

Since the ICDP managed to get Amy on the air beamed out to the 60,000 households in Clare, Gratiot and Isabella Counties some 16 months ago, Goodman's Democracy Now TV show is the lone voice of reason in our media wasteland. While it is nice to have Amy and co-host Juan Gonzales beamed Monday through Friday live from New York on Channel 3, getting to see her live and in person just an hour away is something else. She will be the morning keynote speaker.

Amy inspired us to develop our own progressive TV show, Democracy Matters that appears every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday on MAC3-TV in our 3-county area and now in some other Michigan counties. Our 12th show currently airing features Central Michigan University Political Scientist Sterling Johnson and local feminist activist Linda Mason discussing the presidential race. ICDP-TV will also be bringing a camera along to capture some highlights of the annual event.

At lunch time at the May 10 progressive talkfest, Jim Hightower, the iconic Texas maverick whose books are among those featured at the free library at our ICDP Mount Pleasant office will have a few nasty words to say about the corporate SOB's who think they own our country.

This once a year opportunity to get together with activist mavericks from around the state joined by folks from education, labor, the environmental movement, and politicians who give a damn should be one of the most delightful events you have ever been to. The first one was great, this second one should be better.

Those who need a ride or can give a ride please call John Barker at 989-400-6454. You can expect to leave our area in the 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. time frame to get there in time.

Registration which includes lunch is just $30 and is easily done online by clicking on the headline above or right here.

Remind Our Democratic Leaders We Care About Clean Water in Mid-Michigan

Just how important are our rivers and lakes to you? Can you do something simple right now to save some of our area's greatest water resources? Yes, you can.

Earth Day doesn't need to be the only day we think about the environment especially when we are facing some major public policy decisions that affect our region of the state.

Right now our friends in Midland and Saginaw Counties need our help by signing a simple online petition that will be presented to our Governor and our two US Senators asking for their support to clean up the mess created by the Dow Chemical Company.

It will just take a few seconds to lend your voice to the online petition and if you want to read more about it before you sign, please take the time. Click on the headline above or right here to add your voice to make sure that Dow Chemical is forced to do the right thing.

Dow Chemical at first denied they caused the problem, then claimed it wasn't as bad as we "tree-huggers" claimed and now that it has been proven that Dow pollution is among the worst in America they want to minimize the cost to the company. They have lost the court battles, but they still hope to win at the negotiation table with officials who are our friends.

Taxpayers should not have to pay for the mess Dow created. Our Democratic leaders need to stand up to Dow and we need to remind them why we elected them.

Just do it.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Clinton's 'Bitter Politics' Likely to Backfire

Barack is right about being bitter. He has represented my feelings all along. I think Hillary is using the Karl Rove mentality against her own party. She is the one that is always harping on the things Barack says. I think he is correct--ask the people who are losing their jobs and their unemployment has run out. That's hundreds of thousands of people. They are indeed bitter. Ask the people about the war, they are indeed bitter. Ask them about wasting money on the war and putting our children and grandchildren in debt for years. Yes, they are indeed bitter. Ask them about the crimes of the Bush years. Yes, they are indeed bitter. Why doesn't Hillary get that?

Hillary's poorly managed campaign staff is struggling and seems to need to go negative using Karl Rovian tactics. But when Hillary brings attention to Barack's problems, the media directs all the attention to him again--so her team of advisors doesn't seem to get it -- that they are just giving Barack another opportunity to show his finesse.

I know as a person, I can't control the thoughts, actions or expressions of people I associate with. When Hillary says she just wouldn't go to that church if someone like Barack's pastor was there or would walk out if he talked like that--that shows me she is closed minded and isn't interested to hear others views.

She is a good politician, but seems to be missing an opportunity to run as a woman. Is that because she is afraid to address feminism or is it because she has sold out--where are the speeches about equal pay for equal work, the speeches about quality day care for working mothers, the list is long. Has she become just one of the good old boys?

Barack has already given his race speech. So where's the gender speech from Hillary? Seems her campaign staff believes bitter politics gets more votes, but that can backfire too, because many of us women support Barack without consideration for his race or gender. He's an incredibly intelligent candidate with a better vision for our country. Hillary is good, but Barack is simply better.

Not All Men Who Oppose Clinton Are Sexist Pigs, But Clinton Supporters Should Do the Math

GeneG and the references to the Cleveland Plains Dealer article in the previous post raised some good points about some sexist pundits and how they treat a female candidate, but I have to wonder just how much the comments have to do with the author's own slights in the past.

It's obvious that many career women and perhaps the Cleveland writer have strong emotions and harsh feelings about how they may have been treated in the past including being passed over for promotions, etc. It's perfectly understandable that some women feel a special bond when they feel that Hillary is also being slighted and unfairly attacked.

But not all of the men who feel Obama is the better 0f the two candidates are male chauvinist pigs. GeneG glibly suggests that only women can multi-task and I happen to think that is a sexist remark. As a father of two 30-something daughters, I am pleased they and their friends have not had to fight as hard to get ahead as their mothers. Yes, sexism in America is not dead yet and it would be nice to see a good woman in the White House, but it is highly unlikely right now.

The male candidate in this race quite simply has run a masterful campaign. The female candidate's campaign is desperate and has been poorly run. The Obama campaign has had its setbacks, but it has come back. The race speech was a stunning and perhaps historic accomplishment alone. The fund raising and voter targeting of the Obama campaign have been superb. He didn't have to loan his campaign money.

But it all comes down to the math. The rules as they stand now, assuming they won't be broken to make Hillary our candidate, are a tally of delegates. The Obama campaign has mastered the rules so well and the math too that despite Clinton's popular vote lead in Texas, Obama still walked away with more delegates in Texas. On a level playing field where everyone knows the rules AND abides by them Obama will take the nomination.

But don't take my word for it. Do the math yourself using the CNN delegate counter tool for the next ten states and let me know if you can come up with a logical scenario where Clinton can get the required 2024 delegates to take the nomination away from Obama. Here is the link to the CNN delegate counter. Just slide the little bar to how you think the vote might come out for each remaining state contest and see what delegate tally you get. Try different scenarios.

Sorry, Clinton supporters. It really is over even if Hillary takes Pennsylvania and North Carolina. All Obama has to do is stay close and Hillary doesn't have a chance. Unless we break the rules.

Any Hillary supporters want to break the rules to take the nomination away from an erudite mixed race candidate who has inspired millions of young people to rejoin the party ranks?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Come on guys, lighten up!

I know this blog is leaning heavily toward Obama, but I have worked too long for the rights of women to put up with idea that he is the answer to all our problems. Give me a person who can multi-task!

Think about checking this article written by Connie Schultz in the Cleveland Plain Dealer entitled, "Men, it's not your place to tell Clinton to quit the race," in April 6, 2008 issue.

I cannot believe the level of misogyny present among the pundits in this race against Clinton. I have wondered just what woman could run and not raise the hackles of these same men. When did you hear the clothing, voice, haircuts among other things criticized in male candidates? One pundit suggested the other day she only became senator in NY because of her association with Bill. There are a number of women in the Senate now who were elected on their own, including her.

Now mind you I am sure that they will be after Obama on another whole list of things if he is candidate.


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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Obama Meetup

There will be an “Obama Meetup” on Monday, April 21, 7:00pm, in the Isabella County Building. It will take place in room#225. 

Although the pundits are sure that Pennsylvania will be the determining factor in choosing the Democratic candidate, if we have learned anything from this election cycle it would be to expect surprises. Whether or not you are already an Obama supporter (which I am), it might be interesting for you to attend to find out why your friends and neighbors are already in his camp. I hope to see you there.