The next Otsego County Democratic Party event will be Tuesday, May 21st, at BJ's Restaurant, 990 N. Center St., Gaylord, MI 49735, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This will be a mostly social event with a speaker from the 1st Congressional District Democratic Party and other speakers. Plan to eat dinner at BJ's at 6 p.m. and stick around to socialize and for the presentations.
Indents are usually quotes from the original article. Information in brackets [...] added for clarity. Additional information is left justified. When possible, a link is provided to the original article. The headline is the editor's and usually not the original headline for the news article. Opinions about the article are italicized.
Munetrix reports City of Gaylord in financial trouble
Wayne County rated an 8, on a 1 to 10 scale in which 10 is close to financial catastrophe. And eight of 23 municipalities rated 6 or worse were in Wayne County. Nearby Flint rated a 7, as did Detroit – which was just described as “insolvent” and in “dire financial straits” in a preliminary assessment by emergency manager Kevyn Orr.
But the Munetrix breakdown also detected trouble in places such as Bangor, a Van Buren County city of 1,885, which earned a 5; the Village of Middleville south of Grand Rapids, a 5, the Northern Michigan City of Gaylord, a 4. The state capital of Lansing rated a 6.
We now have an online calendar. If you want something posted in our calendar, please contact our Secretary using the contact information at the bottom of this page or contact Otsego County Democratic Party officers via our Contact Us form.
Heather Zang (Vice-Chair), Brendan Curran (Chair), Bob Mammel (Secretary), Susan LaVanway (Treasurer)
Ice Tree outside Court House April 16th, 2013 It's been a long winter!
As of 4/16/13, the Otsego County Democratic Party has new officers for the 2014 Election Cycle. They are:
Chair: Brendan Curran
Vice-Chair: Heather Zang
Treasurer: Susan LaVanway
Secretary: Bob Mammel
To send an e-mail to officers, please use our Contact Us page. To phone or s-mail the party secretary, please see the contact information at the bottom of this page.
Equal Pay Day
Today marks Equal Pay Day in the United States, a date noted on the calendar every year to symbolize how far into 2013 women must work to earn what men earned in 2012.
While we, both as a state and as a nation, have come so far in terms of recognizing the importance of equality in terms of race, gender and, thankfully, sexual orientation as well, the truth of the matter is that women are still facing discrimination in their paycheck every single day. Even more troubling is that for the first time in years, the problem has actually gotten worse.
The latest report from the National Women’s Law Center shows that the earning gap between men and women widened across the nation recently as women are earning only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men with that gap even larger for women of color. Here in Michigan we’ve fallen to 45th in terms of income equality between men and women in the United States with women earning only 74 cents compared to men in our state.
Yet, at a time when we should be working to find solutions to this problem, Republicans seem content to make it worse. While “Right to Work” has been widely criticized for a number of very valid reasons, one critically important one is the fact that it jeopardizes language in contracts that unions have fought for to require equal pay for women. Unfortunately, even as I spoke out on the Senate floor to point this fact out to my Republican colleagues as they rushed to pass that terrible legislation, they responded with indifference.
We can, and must, do better. As we mark today as Equal Pay Day across the United States, let’s remind legislators here in Lansing that as we fight to create jobs across Michigan we must also fight to enact the policies that value women’s work and foster a thriving economy for us all.
We owe it Michigan’s next generation of women leaders to do nothing less.
Medicines heal. But on occasion, they also harm. And when they do, we need someone to protect us. That responsibility, in part, lies in the hands of the Michigan attorney general -- the "Guardian of the People." And yet, despite his response to the recent meningitis outbreak, Attorney General Bill Schuette is also among a group of legislators responsible for making Michigan citizens more vulnerable to these harms than the citizens of any other state in the nation.
Our State Senator, John Moolenaar, sponsors bill allowing health care providers to withhold services
Health care professionals and institutions could withhold services if they had a moral religious or conscientious objection to the service according to a bill passed by the state Senate Health policy committee today.
Yet there is, as I said, a lot of truth to the charge that we’re cheating our children. How? By neglecting public investment and failing to provide jobs.
You don’t have to be a civil engineer to realize that America needs more and better infrastructure, but the latest “report card” from the American Society of Civil Engineers — with its tally of deficient dams, bridges, and more, and its overall grade of D+ — still makes startling and depressing reading. And right now — with vast numbers of unemployed construction workers and vast amounts of cash sitting idle — would be a great time to rebuild our infrastructure. Yet public investment has actually plunged since the slump began.
Or what about investing in our young? We’re cutting back there, too, having laid off hundreds of thousands of schoolteachers and slashed the aid that used to make college affordable for children of less-affluent families.
And why are we shortchanging the future so dramatically and inexcusably? Blame the deficit scolds, who weep crocodile tears over the supposed burden of debt on the next generation, but whose constant inveighing against the risks of government borrowing, by undercutting political support for public investment and job creation, has done far more to cheat our children than deficits ever did.
Fiscal policy is, indeed, a moral issue, and we should be ashamed of what we’re doing to the next generation’s economic prospects. But our sin involves investing too little, not borrowing too much — and the deficit scolds, for all their claims to have our children’s interests at heart, are actually the bad guys in this story.
Michigan legislators again punishing teachers and faculty
This week Michigan’s Right-to-Work law goes into effect. It was preceded by several weeks of new acrimony, as two legislative committees passed measures that would deny needed state funds to two of our research universities and several of our K-12 school districts as a form of punishment for negotiating long-term “win-win” agreements between management and labor.
Apparently Michigan legislators were angry over universities and community colleges and school districts coming together with their employees, and in spite of Right-to-Work, figuring out how to reforge agreements that both save taxpayers money, and refocus on kindergartners learning their ABC’s, and graduate students doing cutting edge research.
Apparently this violated the “spirit” of Right-to-Work, which to Michigan legislators means: you are supposed to keep punishing your teachers and faculty.
Home-court advantage is a perennial topic of conversation in college basketball, but Michigan Republicans have to be congratulated – or pilloried – in how they have created a huge advantage for themselves in congressional elections. As this Bloomberg visual details, Michigan Republicans win by losing.
Even though they gained only just under 46 percent of the vote in congressional races in 2012, they took 64 percent of the seats (9 of 14).
“Jocelyn Benson, interim dean of the Wayne State University Law School in Detroit and a Democratic voting rights advocate ... ‘The only real solution’ to decreasing congressional polarization is for states to create “an independent redistricting commission that has the power to not only draw the map but enact it as well,’ Benson said.”
Yesterday, Democrats in the Michigan State House introduced a Joint Resolution that would significantly reform the redistricting process that happens every decade after the national Census. In contrast to the current process where the political party that is in control creates districts that favor their candidates and makes it harder for the opposition party to win seats, the new process would be conducted by a bipartisan commission, would be far more transparent, would allow input from any Michigan citizen and, perhaps most importantly, would prohibit the type of gerrymandering that currently plagues our state.
House Joint Resolution I was introduced by Representative Jim Townsend and co-sponsored by Representatives Jeff Irwin, Phil Cavanagh, Dian Slavens, Andy Schor, Marilyn Lane, and Sean McCann. The resolution would amend sections 2, 3, and 6 of article IV of the state constitution of 1963 and, if passed by at a least two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate, would put a proposal on the ballot for Michigan voters to consider. This process does not involve the Governor of the state.
The new commission would consist of nine members:
One member selected by the Speaker of the House One member selected by the Minority Leader of the House One member selected by the Majority Leader of the Senate One member selected by the Minority Leader of the Senate Five members selected by the Auditor General
All commissioners would be required to be a registered voter in Michigan. Individuals would NOT be allowed to serve on commission if they:
Have been appointed to or elected to any public office Have been employed by a political party or a political party caucus in the immediately preceding 5-year period Have received compensation as a registred lobbyist in the immediately preceding 5-year period Are employed by an organization from which members of the commission are prohibited from receiving gifts or loans Have entered into a contract with the State of Michigan or are employed by a person who has entered into such a contract
Commissioners would not be permitted to solicit or accept gifts or loans from registered lobbyists, a union, a business registered with the State of Michigan, a political action committee, a nonprofit organization or a 501(c) or a 527 organization.
Members of the public would be allowed to submit redistricting plans and all of the business that the commission performs would be required to be in compliance with the Open Meetings Act. Additionally, all of their work would be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
Finally, and this is the piece that makes me the most happy, there are very strict rules about how legislative and congressional districts can be drawn. No longer will there be, for example, islands of one district in the middle of another one simply to benefit a single political party. The resolution requires that districts be “areas of convenient territory contiguous by land”. Areas “that meet only a points of adjoining corners are not” considered “contiguous”.
Bipartisan. Independent. Transparent. Open. This proposal has all of the hallmarks of a true democracy and a legitimate redistricting process. While it will chap the butts of Republicans who have been so shrewd in their redistricting over the past 20 years, they will have a very hard time defending a vote against this resolution and the people of Michigan would very likely support it as a ballot proposal as well.
This incredibly important resolution is now in the Elections and Ethics Committee. We’ll keep a very close eye on its progress.
Republican rejection of Obamacare in Michigan increases costs for small business
The Small Business Association of Michigan supports the broadening of eligibility criteria to participate in the Medicaid program...
The reality is that people go to our health-care system and they get care, and if they can’t afford it, they still get care but it’s uncompensated. Uncompensated care actually gets passed along to those who can pay. It’s called cost shifting and it’s been happening for a very long time. And it has found its way into the base rates of health insurance for small businesses all across the state.
Medicaid expansion makes good business sense for Michigan’s government, its businesses and, most obviously, its uninsured – because getting coverage for the uninsured matters to business.
Obamacare has expanded coverage, saved consumers money, reined in health care costs and improved quality of care
Republican leaders in Congress regularly denounce the 2010 Affordable Care Act and vow to block money to carry it out or even to repeal it. Those political attacks ignore the considerable benefits delivered to millions of people since the law’s enactment three years ago Saturday. The main elements of the law do not kick in until Jan. 1, 2014, when many millions of uninsured people will gain coverage. Yet it has already thrown a lifeline to people at high risk of losing insurance or being uninsured, including young adults and people with chronic health problems, and it has made a start toward reforming the costly, dysfunctional American health care system.
PEW Center poll shows GOP favorability at 20-year low
Andrew Kohut is the founding director and former president of the Pew Research Center. He served as president of the Gallup Organization from 1979 to 1989.
In my decades of polling, I recall only one moment when a party had been driven as far from the center as the Republican Party has been today.
The Republican Party’s ratings now stand at a 20-year low, with just 33 percent of the public holding a favorable view of the party and 58 percent judging it unfavorably, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Although the Democrats are better regarded (47 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable), the GOP’s problems are its own, not a mirror image of renewed Democratic strength.
Americans’ values and beliefs are more divided along partisan lines than at any time in the past 25 years. The values gap between Republicans and Democrats is now greater than the one between men and women, young and old, or any racial or class divides.
Ultra-conservatives believe that Democracy gives them the liberty to seek their own self-interests by exercising personal responsibility, without having responsibility for anyone else or anyone else having responsibility for them. They take this as a matter of morality. They see the social responsibility to provide for the common good as an immoral imposition on their liberty.
Delegates at the recent Michigan Republican Party state convention overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution in support of a plan that would change how the state awards electoral votes in presidential elections.
The convention support could provide momentum for some Republicans in the state Legislature who want to divide electoral votes primarily based on winners in individual congressional districts – a dramatic change from Michigan’s current winner-take-all format.
From commenter chocolay
A republican legislator tucks his son into bed.
"Dad, I want to be a senator just like you."
"Well son, here's what you need to do. First, learn cursive. You'll need it to forge petitions in case you can't come up with enough signatures to get on the ballot. Next, learn math. You'll need that to figure out how to draw your district around the people who support you..your BFFs. Then, if you can, hire a shill to run against you, someone unknown and unqualified. If all those measures fail, change the rules!
"But Dad, I want to help the people I serve. Wouldn't it be better if I won them over with good ideas?"
"No son. Those bums, ah, constituents don't know what's good for them.
Skip history class, democracy is elitist bunk.
Our 105th District Republican Representative, Greg MacMaster, proposes legislation to protect Michigan cities and townships from takeover by United Nations
2012 House Bill 5785: Ban “Agenda 21” implementation
Introduced by Rep. Greg MacMaster (R) on July 18, 2012, to prohibit any Michigan governmental entity from adopting or implementing policy recommendations originating in or traceable to the United Nations “Agenda 21” or any other international laws that infringe or restrict private property rights without due process. Also, to prohibit governments from entering into a contract for services with, paying any money to, or receiving money from a nongovernmental or intergovernmental organizations enlisted to assist in implementing “Agenda 21”.
Referred to the House Government Operations Committee on July 18, 2012.
Agenda 21 is non-binding UN resolution adopted by 178 countries at the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. It's an action plan, or series of recommendations and goals aimed at promoting sustainable development, reducing poverty, world hunger, pollution, and climate change. While it is non-binding, many governments (both national and local) and institutions use agenda 21 as a useful set of goals and guidelines. At the local level, it's sometime referred to as Local Agenda 21, or LA21. In reality the actual effects of Agenda 21 in the US over the last 22 years seem to have been almost zero. Searching for mentions of it on the internet almost entirely results in mentions from conspiracy and conservative organizations.
Colbert Report embraces plan to turn Detroit's Belle Isle into haven for the rich