Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

2011 Michigan Redistricting: Gerrymanderliscious

June 22, 2011

Well, it’s been quite a while since my last post, but I figured this topic is important enough to warrant a return to the blogging world (even if it’s a brief return).  The Michigan Legislature recently released their maps for the 2011 redistricting.  For reference, here are links to the current boundaries:

Now, those were created by the 2001 Legislature, which was controlled by Republicans, and signed into law under Republican Governor John Engler.

They’re not bad, and look pretty good.  This year, it seems as if the Republican members of the Legislature have gotten a little more ambitious, and a little more creative.  So let’s take a look at what they’ve proposed.  Here are links to PDFs of all 3 maps, and I’ve copied the images below, where I’ll analyze them:

This first map is the proposed Congressional districts:

And here’s a zoomed in image of the Metro-Detroit area:

I’ll admit – I cringed when I saw the 14th district, and the 11th district isn’t exactly pretty either.  They’ve got some awkward separations, like putting Farmington Hills in the 14th, but keeping Farmington in the 11th; putting Bloomfield Hills in the 11th, while placing Bloomfield Township in the 9th; Southfield Township is placed in the 9th, while Southfield City ends up in the 14th; Clawson is split up; and Rochester Hills is split up.

In an attempt to squeeze Democratic Congressmen Sander Levin and Gary Peters into the same district and force a primary between the two, saving the Republicans from losing a seat, the map has turned into something I like to call gerrymanderliscious.

But it gets even more creative as we move on to the Michigan Senate map:

And again, a zoomed in view of the Metro-Detroit area:

For the most part, this one isn’t too bad until you get to the Metro-Detroit area. District 1 is incredibly awkward, as is District 6. But the really weird ones are 14 and 25.  You can’t see it on my uploaded images, but if you view the original map at 100% zoom, you can see that Springfield Township and Waterford Township just barely overlap for the 14th to be contiguous.  As for the 25th district, I’m guessing they’ve just connected them along a strip of County Line Road, but I’m not positive.

So that brings us to the state House of Representatives:

And again, a zoomed in view of Metro-Detroit:

And a zoomed in view of Grand Rapids and the southwest corner of the state:

The House map isn’t too bad, other than more awkward county splits than I’m really comfortable with. The Grand Rapids area looks pretty decent, although 86 is a bit wacky. And Metro-Detroit looks pretty good with the exception of the 13th.

So, by far, my biggest complaints are with the Congressional map, but what was really sad was the Republicans claims that they had to draw the lines like that to abide by the Voting Rights Act, which mandates 2 majority minority districts for Michigan.  That’s just nonsense.  There are plenty of ways to draw the lines so that you have decent looking districts that obey the VRA.

Obviously Democrats Sander Levin and Gary Peters weren’t happy with the maps, but even Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is unhappy with the map, because as of the current proposal, Oakland County, the second most populous county in Michigan, would be represented by people who all live outside of the county.

Now, gerrymandering can be a lot of fun; I enjoyed playing around and making this little beauty for Maryland:

Photobucket

But when it comes to ACTUALLY redistricting, our legislature shouldn’t be drawing crap like this for partisan gain. Doing so takes the focus off of the good things the Republicans have done in Michigan and tells voters, “We know you voted for us in 2010, but we don’t trust you for the next 10 years, so we’re gonna cheat to win.”

Am I advocating that the legislature adopts a plan where we have 14 districts and each one is competitive at a 50-50 level?  Absolutely not; that’d be ridiculous.  The GOP won in a landslide in 2010, so it’s expected that the maps will favor us, but there’s no need to mangle the maps the way they’ve done.  That’s just petty politics, and when the people of Michigan see that, it gives them a bad image of the party.

Monica Conyers Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison

March 11, 2010

Well, yesterday the city of Detroit finally received some well-deserved justice.  Former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers (wife of the Congressman John Conyers), was sentenced to serve 37 months in a federal prison after she plead guilty to accepting bribes.

Her plea was for taking bribes to support a contract with Synagro, a sludge processing company; however, the trial of her former aide, Sam Riddle, also exposed a series of other payoffs.  Because of that,  U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn was going to increase Conyers’ sentence.  He had originally planned on 3 years, then wanted to move up to 4-5 years, but Conyers protested and claimed she was a victim of an overzealous media out to get her.  She wanted to take back her guilty plea, but the judge wouldn’t allow it.  Instead, he backed down on the sentencing and went back to 3 years (37 months).

Here is a video, courtesy of FOX 2 Detroit:

And when reporters went to talk to Conyers, again courtesy of FOX 2 Detroit:

Conyers absolutely deserved this (in fact, she probably deserved the full 5 years).  She plead guilty to the charge, and then when she saw that she as going to get a REAL punishment, she tried to back out of it.  If she wasn’t guilty, she never should have plead guilty the first time.  Detroit deserved some justice yesterday, and I am happy to see Monica Conyers going to jail.  Her crooked ways and the ways of those like her (Kwame Kilpatrick, for one) are purely disgusting, and not what Detroit needs.  Hopefully, this, along with the sentencing of Kwame Kilpatrick, mark the road to recovery for Detroit politics and an end to corruption in Detroit.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Michigan Legislature Needs to Get to Work on Permanent Budget

October 5, 2009

Last week, Michigan saw its second government shutdown in the state’s history.  In the history of this country, only two other states have had government shutdowns because of a budget crisis, and Michigan is the only state to have more than one shutdown.  What’s even more sad is that the 2 shutdowns came only 2 years apart.

I ended up watching most of the late-night sessions last week, as I followed the budget crisis, and while there were some humorous segments (such as “I can count!” coming from the chairman of the Senate), most of what I saw was just sad – it’s sad that the Michigan legislature can’t pass a budget on time.

So why does Michigan have problems passing a budget?  There has been a fundamental failure in leadership, as well as the overall impacts of having the state in such a poor economic state.

Michigan is essentially the same position as it was for the 2007 shutdown: a Democratic Governor with terrible economic policies, a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives with Andy Dillon (D-Redford) as Speaker of the House waiting until it is too late to work on the budget, and a Republican-controlled Senate who tried to get the budget done on time, but was unable to overcome the incompetency of the House.

In both the 2007 and 2009 shutdowns, work on the budget started too late, and many legislators (including Republicans) weren’t committed to finishing the budget on time.

While portions of the budget were being passed by the Senate late Tuesday night, the House had already recessed for the day.  We saw the same thing in 2007: Andy Dillon would go would only have the House in session once or twice a week over the summer, and he even took a five-day weekend trip to Mackinac Island after acknowledging that the state was facing a budget crisis.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) had been getting Senate budget bills passed and sent over to the House faster than House bills were coming to the Senate.

But this isn’t to say that all Republicans were trying to finish the budget on time or that all Democrats were uninterested in finishing on time.  While the Senate Republicans seemed to generally work harder as the deadline got closer, NOBODY was working hard enough in the month and weeks beforehand.  Instead of passing a budget 2 hours into the government shutdown, the legislature should be passing a budget weeks or even months beforehand.

Representative Tim Bledsoe (D-Grosse Pointe) has suggested that the Michigan Constitution be amended to require the budget be done by July 1st, and legislators wouldn’t get paid after that date until a budget was passed.  Bledsoe told the Detroit Free Press, “We’ve had every opportunity to get this work done earlier in the year.  There’s no excuse to be moving the budget as late as we did.”

Senator Hansen Clark (D-Detroit) has suggested fining legislators $1,000 a day for each day after the fiscal year that a budget isn’t completed, with the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leaders paying $3,000.  He told reporters, “Even though many of us work long hours, we don’t have the same incentives as other sectors of the work force.  Typically, our incentive would be to do a good job so we can get re-elected, but apparently that’s not enough. … The leaders have to be accountable for results.  If you don’t perform the core mission of your job, and that’s to enact a balanced budget … there should be a penalty.”

Former Majority Leader Ken Sikkema (R) said that the problems run deeper than just legislators not cracking down in time: “The gap between revenue and spending is so large that there isn’t any structural issue that can compensate for it.  It’s a much deeper issue that legislators don’t want to deal with.  Michigan as a state can’t continue the level of spending it’s enjoyed for many years.  The economy has downsized underneath it.  Until you change the tax structure and the spending process, this kind of paralysis is likely to continue.  There is no process change that is going to make this a rational, timely, decision-making process.  Until there are fundamental changes, you can’t avoid this kind of chaos.”

And in part, I would agree with that.  The Democrats in the legislature have refused to accept that spending cuts are an inevitable result of the state’s deficit.  Taxes can only be raised so many times and only to a certain level, and when you’ve exhausted that option, you have to cut spending.  Michigan is not in a position to raise taxes.  Businesses won’t come to Michigan if we raise taxes, and we’ve even seen film companies come to Michigan now that we have a tax credit for film companies.  Raising taxes is only going to hurt the economy more and drive more people out of the state.

Fortunately, an interim budget was passed and signed by Governor Granholm only 2 hours into this year’s shutdown, but we aren’t in the clear yet.  The legislature gavels into session tomorrow, and a permanent budget still needs to be passed for the new fiscal year.  Unless legislators understand that spending cuts are not and option, but a necessity, and that they have to start cracking down and getting to work, we will wind up seeing a full government shutdown when the interim budget expires.

And we need to learn from our mistakes – this cannot happen in 2010.  It’s just unacceptable.  Fortunately, 2010 is an election year, and lawmakers will be trying to pass a budget on time so that they can get reelected, but unless things change, we will see ourselves back in this same position in 2011.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Mike Bouchard Announces Terri Lynn Land as His Running Mate

September 16, 2009

Earlier today, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard made a major campaign announcement: Secretary of State, and former Gubernatorial candidate, Terri Lynn Land would be joining his campaign as his official pick for Lt. Governor.  I first heard the news  a little after 9 this morning, but I’ve been in class until now.

Bouchard posted the following on his website earlier today:

Oakland County- Mike Bouchard, Republican candidate for governor, today announced his selection of Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land as his lieutenant governor running mate, citing her successful record of improving services for Michigan residents while cutting costs.

“Terri Lynn Land’s innovative leadership proves that state government can control spending while offering Michigan residents more,” Bouchard said. “From day one as Secretary of State, she looked to cut costs and make her department more efficient. I look forward to working with Terri as my lieutenant governor to fix Lansing so Michigan can get back to work.”

Bouchard, a former state lawmaker who now serves as Oakland County sheriff, made the announcement at press conferences in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing. After the visits, Bouchard and Land launched a bus tour that will take them across Michigan to talk with state residents.

“I’m honored to join Mike’s campaign to turn Michigan around and again make it a national leader in job creation,” Secretary Land said. “His willingness to make the right decisions for Michigan now instead of focusing on the next election is exactly what Michigan needs. He has the knowledge, experience and backbone to get our state back on the right track.

“As both a sheriff and state senator, he has shown he believes that government should live within its means by reducing spending and cutting taxes.”

As Oakland County sheriff, Bouchard leads one of the nation’s largest sheriff’s departments with 1,200 personnel and has used creative ideas to save taxpayers’ dollars. Oakland County now saves $1.6 million a year because of his efforts to privatize the jail’s food services. As a state senator, his record of accomplishment includes protecting families by leading the push to create the Michigan Sex Offender Registry and passing laws that reduced the state’s real estate transfer tax, saving taxpayers to date over a billion dollars. He grew up in Oakland County and has three children with his wife, Pam.

Before becoming secretary of state, Land served as Kent County’s clerk and register of deeds. Highlights of her time as secretary of state include revolutionizing the branch office environment and employing the latest technology so Michigan residents, whether as voters or branch office customers, can expect fast, efficient service. She has two children with husband, Dan, and lives in Byron Center.

Land sent out the following e-mail:

Dear Friend,

As you remember, I offered my endorsement of Mike Bouchard back in June.

I told you then that Mike Bouchard had the diverse background both legislatively and administratively to fix Lansing so Michigan can get back to work.

Back then, I told you that Mike was a proven vote-getter; that I believed his experience winning a statewide primary in 2006 would be key to his success in November 2010.

Well, I’ve learned a lot in the past few months.

After spending the summer on the road with Mike, I’ve realized that he is even more impressive than I had originally thought.

First of all, Mike is an incredible campaigner.

Mike is tireless. After seven years on the road, I’m used to traveling the highways and byways of this state. Believe me, I know a “road warrior” when I see one! Mike loves connecting with people, learning what they care about, and sharing his vision with them. I am confident that he has the instinct and the heart to win both the primary and the general next fall.

Mike gets it. As a former leader in the state senate, Mike has experience working with the legislature, and as Oakland County Sheriff, he knows how to get things done administratively as well. But Mike is also a businessman. He has signed the front of a paycheck; not just the back. He understands firsthand that Michigan is hurting right now, and what it will take to start the healing process.

Finally, Mike is ready. I’ve been in this business a long time, and I know that sometimes a candidate may have all the “right stuff” on paper, but will have a hard time making that transition once they take office.

Not Mike Bouchard. Mike is ready to lead on Day One.

And Michigan can’t wait for its next governor to waste any time. Our families don’t have the luxury of waiting for our next governor to adjust to a learning curve. We need help now.

For those reasons, I am so pleased to join his team officially as his pick for Lt. Governor.

We believe that my experience traveling the state, streamlining services, keeping a balanced budget and delivering world class service even in these tight economic times will give Mike an advantage when we take office in January 2011.

I am so honored to be part of this team.

I am confident that we have the work ethic, the ideas and the passion to fix Lansing and get Michigan back to work!

Thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to seeing you soon on the campaign trail!

Sincerely,

Terri Lynn Land

Bouchard also held a press conference earlier today in Detroit, saying:

I am really excited to have her on board. Terri Lynn Land’s innovative leadership proves that state government can control spending while offering Michigan residents more.

The people of the State of Michigan see what happens to their tax dollars.

I am willing to be a one-term governor if that is what it takes to fix Michigan. It is long overdue. They have been forestalling tough decisions for the past 6 1/2 years.

Personally, I think this is a great move for Bouchard.  I think everybody knew this was coming.  I predicted it back in June when Land dropped her bid for Governor and endorsed Bouchard.

This will have the biggest impact on Pete Hoekstra, the Republican Congressman from the 2nd District.  Land is also from the West side of Michigan, and her place on a Bouchard ticket will probably impact Hoekstra the most, but we’ll see.

With the addition of a big name like Land’s to the Bouchard ticket, I would put Bouchard as the frontrunner in this race; however, we still have just under a year until the primary, and a LOT of things could happen before then.  This race is far from over.

I’ll continue to follow the candidates and the race, so make sure to check back here for my analysis on the race as we continue to get closer to the primary.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Detroit City Council Session Turns Crazy: Complete with Racism and Hymn Singing

March 9, 2009

Well, if people already didn’t think that Detroit City officials were wacky, this is sure to change their mind.  I heard about this driving home for spring break this weekend, and decided that I HAD to write something about this.

On Febraury 24th, the Detroit City Council voted against transferring Cobo Hall to the Detroit Regional Convention Authority.  Cobo hall is in need of expansion and repair (the roof leaked on some VERY expensive cars this past weekend at Autorama).  On March 4th, Mayor Ken Cockrel, Jr. vetoed the council’s vote.  On Thursday, the council called an emergency session (president Monica Conyers called the session) to override the veto.  Well, that wasn’t legal, so nothing really got done there.  An injunction against that veto will most likely be submitted, probably today, and the Council is meeting again tonight.

Now, on to the fun part.  The first video I have for you is from WDIV (Channel 4-NBC).  This is Councilwoman Barbara Rose-Collins going off on how Detroit cannot give up Cobo Hall to the Regional Convention Authority (a group of 5 people – 1 from each of the counties of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb, 1 person appointed by the mayor of Detroit, and 1 appointed by the Governor):

http://www.clickondetroit.com/video/18865456/index.html

Next we have the video of Councilwoman Barbara Rose-Collins singing “Onward, Christian Soldiers” (and she’s joined by Councilwoman Martha Reeves), courtesy of FOX 2 Detroit:

Here Collins defends what she said in the meeting and accuses Oakland County L. Brooks Patterson of being a racist, courtesy of FOX 2 Detroit:

Finally, here’s L. Brooks Patterson defending himself and sharing his views on the situation, courtesy of FOX 2 Detroit:

Now, this just goes to show how sad of a state the Detroit leadership is in.  Barbara Rose-Collins is pretty much the very definition of a racist idiot.  She claims that Brooks Patterson called her a monkey.  He never did that.  He said that “instead of making decisions about the zoo, they ought to be in the zoo.”  Collins and other racists on the Council took that to mean that he was calling them monkeys, and Collins refuses to work with Patterson today because he won’t apologize.  Well, he has nothing to apologize for in my opinion, because he did NOT call anybody a monkey.

If he had compared the councilmembers to monkeys, even I would demand an apology from him.  Do you know how heartless and mean of a thing to say that is?  If I were a monkey, I would have been devastated!  All joking aside, Brooks Patterson did nothing wrong – he simply stood up to the council and showed how ignorant they were.  But he’s white, and most of them are black, so that makes him a racist in their eyes.

I have one other factual error to correct.  Collins talks about his involvement as a lawyer defending bus bombers in Pontiac.  She claims that he defended NAG, who bombed school buses.  Well, that’s also untrue.  For more about that, see the Detroit News piece on that: http://apps.detnews.com/apps/history/index.php?id=161.  I’ll go into quick detail – NAG was the National Action Group, and they opposed busing in Pontiac.  Well, the Ku Klux Klan bombed some school buses.  Patterson represented the head of NAG, Irene McCabe, but neither NAG nor McCabe were ever involved with the KKK bus bombings.  Collins here again twisted the facts to make Patterson look like a racist, but it is COLLINS who is the racist.

It’s not secret that I have great respect for L. Brooks.  Oakland County is one of the most successful counties in the nation, and it’s a county in one of the economically worst states.  Sure, his humor gets him into trouble, but it makes me laugh – I liked his jokes about Collins.

Anyway, I hope that Cockrel’s wish comes true, and Cobo is handed over to the Regional Convention Authority.  We’ve seen before that Detroit leadership ruins more things than it fixes, and I think Cockrel sees that here.  Hopefully his veto stands, and we can move on to fix and expand Cobo Hall.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Live Analysis of Governor Granholm’s Michigan State of the State Address

February 3, 2009

The Michigan State of the State address is about to begin.  I will be live blogging the event, giving my analysis (so my apologies for any spelling errors – I’ll fix them eventually).

Alright, she’s entering the chamber (I’m not sure if this is the House or Senate – probably House since  it’s bigger).

Oh – my roommate (Democrat) just about made me die of laughter – he said, “Where is she?”  I said, “Right there.”  And he goes, “Oh, I thought that was a dude.”

Alright – she’s making her way up to the podium – about half the room is still clapping – probably the Democrats.  There’s Lt. Governor John Cherry up in his chair.

There’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R) and Speaker of the House Andy Dillon (D).

She’s saying welcome and thank you.  She’s welcoming and congratulating the new representatives.

She’s now welcoming Supreme Court Justice Dianne Hathaway, elected this year.  And she’s congratulating the longest serving president of the State Board of Education.

Now thanking the servicemen and women from Michigan as well as the first responders.

We just gave a moment of silence for those who lost their lives defending this country and state overseas.

“I will not sugar-coat the crisis facing this state. … Our auto companies fought for their very existence, and as the bottom fell out of the national economy” Michigan “went from bad to worse.”  She’s absolutely right about that.  “Any honest assessment of our state’s economy must recognize that things are likely to get worse before they get better. … Things will get better … because Michigan citizens are resilient … because our battle plan is focused on the three things that matter most: fighting for more good paying jobs in Michigan, educating and training people to fill those good paying jobs, and protecting out people.”

“This is not time for pet projects or special interests.”

Now talking about Michigan now having “a friend in the White House who now shares our agenda.  I say this based on pragmatism, not upon partisanship.”  BULL CRAP!

She’s talking about him being focused on energy jobs, education, and protecting people.  COME ON Madame Governor, the Republicans are interested in all of those things too!

“We’ve made many tough choices in our budget.”  True, but you could have done a lot more to fix the state, but you didn’t, and that’s why we’re as bad as we are now.

“I have a veto pen, and I will use it. … The President’s economic plan is a one-time opportunity.”  Really?  Because so far, I count THREE bailout bills.  What’s to stop three more?

She’s saying that our problems will be here after the economic stimulus money is gone.  Lt. Governor Cherry will be in charge of downsizing government, reducing number of departments from 18 to 8.

Something about we can’t have “9-5 government in a 24/7 world.”  Good point there – I’ll give her that one.

Her and Cherry are reducing salaries of all elected state officials in Michigan by 10%.  That’s a good move – I COMMEND HER on that, but I don’t really see how she can directly do that.

“Already, I’ve cut more than any other Governor in Michigan.”

She’s saying that a national survey showed that MI has done more to cut spending than other state in the country.  I’d like to see the details of the survey, but if it’s all true, I commend her on that.

She’s cutting funding for the state fair – because it’s not essential to government.  GOOD CALL!

Talking about preserving our wetlands.

Talking about reducing corrections spending.  We’re going to close 3 more facilities in the coming months.  Reinvest in more law enforcement on the street.  More law enforcement is good, but I’m not too keen on closing 3 facilities – that means more criminals on the streets, since our prisons are already TOO FULL!

Funding for roads, bridges, and transit systems – um, we’ve needed that for the past FEW years!

We can focus on jobs when we spend within our means.

We need to diversify, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing our number one industry, the auto industry.  When pundits and ill-informed politicians take cheap shots at the auto industry and its workers, we (she’s saying this) will defend the auto industry.

Talking about the green auto industry being great.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost since 2000.  “These losses have fueled our determination to bring new industry to Michigan.”  Good – we can’t JUST depend on the auto industry anymore.

Talking about film and TV project coming to Michigan after the tax breaks to film companies.

Three major announcements:

  • Wonderstruck Animation Studios – $86 million in Detroit.
  • Stardock Systems (digital gaming) – build in Plymouth
  • Motown Motion Pictures – $54 million in Pontiac (former GM plant)

Motown MP alone will create 3,600 jobs.  That’s great news – especially for the Pontiac area.

“But our success with the film industry is not an isolated example.”  Talking about renewable energy industry – solar panel production companies are building here in Michigan.

Just like the auto industry “it creates all kinds of jobs for all kinds of people.”  And that’s a good thing – I am VERY enthusiastic about renewable energy, as long as it’s not expensively forced on the people.

She’s talking about wind turbines (and wind power is something I have always been really excited about – that  and nuclear power).

Jobs for manufacturers and engineers – for solar panels and electric car batteries.

She’s getting really intense about this.  “The fact that these jobs are in Michigan is no accident.”

We bring them here by beating out other states and countries.

We passed incentives to make sure those batteries are made in Michigan.  Within weeks of passage, GM said that they’d make batteries for the Volt automobile will be made here in Michigan.  5 million electric car batteries to be made a year, creating 14,000 jobs.

She’s saying that we want electric cars researched and designed here as well as all kinds of renewable energy companies.

She set a goal for becoming more dependent on renewable energy.

  • 3 wind turbine manufactures to expand in Michigan.
  • Unisolar to build solar panel factory in Battle Creek.
  • HSC – $1 billion for solar panel expansion
  • Dow-Corning – more solar panels.
  • Great Lakes Turbine to build in Monroe (where my roommate’s from!)

“We all know that  we need more jobs – a lot more.”  I agree with you there.

President Obama has demanded more use of renewable energy.  This will increase jobs in Michigan.

“By 2020, Michigan will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for generating electricity by 45%. … We’ll do it through increased renewable energy and gains in energy efficiency.”  Sounds like a good idea to me, but I think 45% is high.  I have no problem with it as long as it doesn’t jack up prices.  But if it makes energy unaffordable, don’t do it.

Instead of importing coal, we’ll spend energy money on Michigan wind turbines and solar panels and energy efficiency devices, all installed by Michigan workers.

Ask Legislatures to allow for Michigan homeowners to become entrepreneurs by installing solar panels on roofs and selling money back to power company.  Sounds good to me – it’s giving people the choice to do this, and enables people to eventually make that money back.

Asking utility companies to invest in energy efficient products.  Good.

Unlike the coal we buy right now, the money that we will spend on energy efficiency will create jobs in Michigan.

Create Michigan Energy Corps – creating jobs and turning natural resources into renewable fuels and weatherizing houses.

Saying that we’ll need less coal power  plants here in Michigan.

I’m kinda mad that she hasn’t said anything about more nuclear here in Michigan.

Talking about how she’ll bring new jobs to Michigan – that she’s gone all over the world to get jobs.  Yeah, well you haven’t been too successful so far.  You can go places to bring jobs here, but that doesn’t matter until you bring some here.

Saying she’ll require (I think it was universities) to buy Michigan.  I have a problem with that though, because she wants a tuition freeze in order for universities to get stimulus money.  How can they do that if you FORCE them to buy Michigan-made (more expensive at times).

Saying people should buy Michigan products.  Buy everything from Ford to Faygo.

Talking about the Michigan $4,000 putting college in the reach of all students.  Um, $4,000 really doesn’t do that much.

Michigan will be the first state to replicate the Kalamazoo promise on a large scale.  Something about free education, and I missed the rest.

#2 in the country for well qualified teachers in the classroom.  How are we #2 with the Detroit Public School system?

No Worker Left Behind: Talking about free college tuition – $5,000 per year for 2 years.  Training people for jobs, such as nurses, electricians, computer technicians.  52,000 people.  Helping us to remake Michigan.

Added more resources to the unemployment system – THAT’s what we need – to allow more people to rely on welfare!

Asking universities and colleges to freeze tuition for the next year.  The problem with that is, what if THEY can’t afford it?

Give people 90 days without the fear of foreclosure.  That’s absolutely insane.  If people buy a house that they can’t afford, then they should lose it.

Talking about asking auto insurance companies to freeze rates on auto insurance.  Sure, if they want to, but don’t make it mandatory.

She’s saying we’ll use every administrative tool to ensure that affordable rates are given to consumers.  That should be up to the companies, not the government.

Saying that we shouldn’t strip people of health coverage in order to reduce spending.  We shouldn’t HAVE state sponsored health care!  She’s saying we should protect those whom people of faith often call “the least of these.”  Well, people of faith need to step up and help the poor.  That’s their duty as good Christians (as it is my duty), NOT the governments.  When did Jesus ever say that the government should help the poor?  He didn’t!  He said his followers should – that’s why it makes me angry when people give that as a reason that Jesus would be a Democrat!

And wouldn’t “the least of these” refer to the unborn babies as well?  I don’t see you protecting them, Madame Governor!

“Is it harder to balance the state budget or the budget of a family who went from 2 paychecks to 1?”  Talking about the harships of family being much greater than the hardships of politicians as leaders.

She’s now giving an example of a guy on unemployment who used No Worker Left Behind to go to a university and now he’s working for Dow Corning.

Sorry – my news station just stopped covering it – ABC needed to go back to “regular scheduled programming.”

OK – I’m back.

Talking about hope and strength.  “We together will build a better Michigan.  God bless you all, and God bless the great state of Michigan.”

Tim Skubik is on now – saying that “Doom and Gloom” only got 2 paragraphs.  He’s right – I think she could’ve shown that things are bad more than she did instead of just saying, “This is what we WILL do,” since she’s been saying that for YEARS now.

She never really said exactly how much she wanted to cut out of the government.  I will commend her for some of her pro-energy efficient plans, but I think she may wind up driving up costs at a time that we can’t afford it.  Allowing people to sell back energy from solar panels is a GOOD thing, because it gives individuals the choice to do it, instead of  mandating it.

And now Mike Bishop’s response:

He’s saying that “we all want what’s best for our state.”

“Each one of us has felt the effects of this economy.”

Saying that the Governor wants to use federal funds to fix the state, but a quick infusion of money “will never be the antidote. … You can’t increase spending and debt and somehow hope to resolve a serious budget crisis.”  The Republicans will submit a plan in the next 45 days for instant stimulus – it incentives job providers instead of increasing spending.

The House must pass Senate Bill 1.  Get rid of the 22% business surcharge.

Talking about manufacturing complexes and other companies coming in due to tax cuts, proving that business tax cuts DO work.

The second part of the plan would bring property taxes in line with home values.  Third, a tax credit for purchases of new homes will be created.  This would spur the housing market.  And he’s absolutely right – that was one of the things my parents looked into was the huge jump in taxes we would’ve payed if we moved this past summer.

Review each item in the state budget and find savings – good!

We must “be certain that state resources are used efficiently.”  Absolutely!

Talking about opportunities coming with adversity – leaders need to rise up and “take the reins that will lead us back to prosperity. … Time for us to fix Michigan. … Thank you … God bless you, our families, and our great state of Michigan.”

Alright – I’m off to a meeting – I’ll spell check this and finish my analysis when I get back.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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Detroit’s Bond Rating Now Matches the City: Junk Status!

January 8, 2009

Well, here’s more bad news for the city of Detroit: Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services downgraded the city’s bond ratings to junk status.  The ratings on approximately $2.4 billion of unlimited and limited tax debt were cut to BB.  They had formerly been BBB and BBB-, respectively.  S&P analyst Jane Hudson Ridley told reporters that the new rating “reflects a downward trend in some revenue sources that has made balancing operations difficult and the continued difficulty in assessing the city’s financial position, given its chronically late audits and its historical tendency to end the fiscal year with results that compare unfavorably with initial projections.”

The downgrade could mean higher interest rates for the city, but it also allows investors with which the city engaged in credit swap agreements to request a payout from the city.  That payout could total up to $400 million.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. told reporters, “We are resolved to ensure that Detroit is financially stable.”  Right.  I’m sure that means a lot to the citizens of the city who’s bond rating was just downgraded.  He later continued, saying, “Ultimately the only way to deal with the problem is to fix it.”  Yes, Mr. Mayor – the only way to fix a problem is to fix it.  Who elects these people?

Joseph Harris, the city’s chief financial officer told reporters that city officials are putting together a plan so that creditors won’t demand their money.  He said, “We won’t be able to come up with $400 million.  We don’t expect anyone to ask us for $400 million.  What we expect them to ask us for is some guarantees or some assurances.”

You mean guarantees like, “I didn’t cheat on my wife and cost the city millions of dollars in a whistle-blower lawsuit”?  Oh wait, those guarantees were false.

Irvin Corley Jr., the City Council’s fiscal analyst, told reporters, “I would think they would understand that the city is not in a position to come up with $400 million.”  So, wouldn’t that make them want their money ASAP even more?

The reason S&P downgraded the status, was that the city was turning in yearly audits late.  This comes after former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick had about S&P raising the city’s rating from negative to stable.  Cockrel shares a different sentiment, saying that S&P officials feel that they were deceived by the city.

Harris continued his chat with reporters, saying, “We’ve got to put together a budget whereby our revenues either equal or exceed our expenditures.”  HOLY CRAP!  A budget where you bring in more money than you spend?  IS THIS LEGAL???  The fact that the city’s CFO has to actually say that statement troubles me.  Isn’t it common knowledge that you’re expenditures should be lower than your revenues, otherwise you LOSE MONEY?  Seriously, where do these people come from?

Perhaps Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel will be able to enlighten us.  After telling reporters that this is “as serious as you can get,” she said that “We as a City Council, as a community and as a group of city leaders are going to have to address the fundamental restructuring of city government.”  That might have been the smartest thing any city official said on the issue.

But in all seriousness, this is just sad.  Sure, other cities (New Orleans, for example) are in the same situation, but that doesn’t excuse it.  The city of Detroit needs COMPLETE overhaul.  I still say Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson the Great should just annex Detroit and become Supreme Ruler of it so that he can clean it up a bit.  I don’t know, maybe I’m asking for too much.  Maybe a balanced budget just isn’t in the cards for Detroit.  Maybe Detroit’s fate dooms it to utter disaster.  But maybe, just maybe, this isn’t a problem of fate or stars or cards, but a problem with GOVERNMENT, a corrupt government to be exact.  If Detroit cleaned up it’s act, I guarantee that it could get a better bond rating.

But Detroit can’t do this when it’s citizens continue to vote scum like Kilpatrick into office.  Detroit, the blame, for now, rests on your own shoulders – it’s your dumb mistakes at the ballot box that cost you this time, and now, it’s up to you to fix it.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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I’m In Wisconsin

December 30, 2008

I’m in Wisconsin until Saturday, and it looks like this may be some of my only Internet access.  So, if I don’t get a chance to wish you all a happy new year, have a safe and happy new year.

Things are going good.  I will ask for prayers for my aunt – she hit a bump while sledding today and fractured 4 vertebrae.  She’s expected to recover fine, but it’s still pretty painful.

Other than that, I’m having fun out here – decent amount of snow, and pretty much anywhere is better than Detroit (except maybe Camden, NJ).  Alright, enough with the lame jokes.  NO – wait, we can’t end this without a joke about the 0-16 lions.  Speaking of the Lions, at the hospital today, the doctor told my uncle (wearing his Lions) coat that he must really be a loyal fan.  Alright, that’s close enough to a lame joke, since we’re about to eat Chinese food (it’s awesome – I’ve heard it’s really good quality Chinese – they use USDA Grade A cat).  OK, I’m done; I promise.

Take care yall!  Drive safe tomorrow, and PLEASE don’t drive drunk!  Call a cab – it’s cheaper than a casket!

Done  Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Another Perspective on the Auto Bailout

December 17, 2008

I came across a column by economist Thomas Sowell this morning entitled “Postponing Reality,” and I’d just like to discuss part of this column with you:

We are told that the collapse of the Big Three automakers in Detroit would have repercussions across the country, causing mass layoffs among firms that supply the automobile makers with parts, and shutting down automobile dealerships from coast to coast.

You should hear the news stations here in Detroit.  The news anchors night after night of covering House and Senate votes keep making comments like, “Some Senators just don’t understand how detrimental this will be to Detroit,” or “The Southern Senators don’t understand what’s happening here in Detroit” or “Talk to your friends in other states about contacting their representatives to explain how bad this would be for Michigan.”  And you can substitute the word Senators with Republicans for a lot of the news anchors, since the media here in Detroit tends to lean left (as does all of Wayne County).

A renowned economist of the past, J.A. Schumpeter, used to refer to progress under capitalism as “creative destruction”– the replacement of businesses that have outlived their usefulness with businesses that carry technological and organizational creativity forward, raising standards of living in the process.

It’s survival of the fittest, economic style.

Indeed, this is very much like what happened a hundred years ago, when that new technological wonder, the automobile, wreaked havoc on all the forms of transportation built up around horses.

For thousands of years, horses had been the way to go, whether in buggies or royal coaches, whether pulling trolleys in the cities or plows on the farms. People had bet their futures on something with a track record of reliable success going back many centuries.

Were all these people to be left high and dry? What about all the other people who supplied the things used with horses– oats, saddles, horse shoes and buggies? Wouldn’t they all go falling like dominoes when horses were replaced by cars?

Unfortunately for all the good people who had in good faith gone into all the various lines of work revolving around horses, there was no compassionate government to step in with a bailout or a stimulus package.

They had to face reality, right then and right there, without even a postponement.

He actually brings up a really good point here.  Industries go through cycles, and to stop these cycles with the use of  government funds is only going to harm us more in the long run.  Like I’ve said before, the main reason that Michiganders support this is because it helps Michigan.  If the technology industry were to suffer detrimental losses, I’d be willing to bet that you couldn’t find 30% of Michiganders who would be in favor of spending billions of tax dollars on helping Silicon Valley in California.

Who would have thought that those who displaced them would find themselves in a similar situation a hundred years later?

Actually the automobile industry is not nearly in as bad a situation now as the horse-based industries were then. There is no replacement for the automobile anywhere on the horizon. Nor has the public decided to do without cars indefinitely.

While Detroit’s Big Three are laying off thousands of workers, Toyota is hiring thousands of workers right here in America, where a substantial share of all our Toyotas are manufactured.

 But Toyota doesn’t have union workers.  Without unions, their workers make (on average) a measly $30/hour.  Wait a minute, that’s not measly.  In fact, that’s more than the average GM worker ($29.78/hour).  The difference comes in pensions and health care.   GM has to pay out an extra $39.22/hour (that includes pensions for retirees), while Toyota has to pay out an extra $18/hour (with far less retirees).  So, the average Toyota worker (assuming he worked 40 hours/week with 4 weeks of vacation), would make $57,600.  That’s not that bad folks.  You assume that his spouse works part time (20 hours/week at $10/hour), that’s another $9,600.  That’s a yearly total of $67,200, which is DEFINITELY enough to live off of (My family of 4 lived off of about $80,000/year until my mom got a job, but she did that more out of boredom than need for more cash inflow.  And we were decently well off.  We aren’t rich, but we’re definitely nowhere close to going broke.), even though they may get a little less when it comes to health care.

Will this save Detroit or Michigan? No.

Detroit and Michigan have followed classic liberal policies of treating businesses as prey, rather than as assets. They have helped kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. So have the unions. So have managements that have gone along to get along.

EXACTLY!  I was just talking about this the other day.  Every time one of the Big 3 is in financial trouble, they go to the UAW and ask them to take a pay cut.  The UAW, being filled with greedy Americans says no.  So instead of setting a good example and taking a 50-75% pay cut, the management simply sat there and said, “You need to take a pay cut, otherwise we may go bankrupt.  The UAW continues to say, “No.  And if you don’t give in, we’ll go on strike.”  So, the company heads wind up giving in.  If I were head of any of the Big 3 right now, I’d immediately decrease my pay to $0.  Then, I’d tell the unions, “Take a pay cut, or go on strike.”  If they didn’t take a pay cut, I’d let them go on strike and hire new workers.  If a court ruled that I’m not allowed to hire new workers, I’d let the strike continue.  Eventually, the workers will have to come back to work or the company will fail.  If the company fails, it was the union’s fault for not showing up to work.  But the UAW wouldn’t let the company completely fail, because then their workers would be out of a job.  The corporate heads need to 1) lead by example, and 2) have some guts and stand up to the UAW.

Toyota, Honda and other foreign automakers are not heading for Detroit, even though there are lots of experienced automobile workers there. They are avoiding the rust belts and the policies that have made those places rust belts.

A bailout of Detroit’s Big Three would be only the latest in the postponements of reality. As for automobile dealers, they can probably sell Toyotas just as easily as they sold Chevvies. And Toyotas will require just as many tires per car, as well as other parts from automobile parts suppliers.

So, there you have it.  This was one of the best analyses I’ve seen on the auto bailout, and I couldn’t agree more.

Who’s at fault, the UAW or the corporate heads?  Both.  The UAW needs to stop being greedy and be willing to take a pay cut.  The leaders of the Big 3 need to lead by example and take MASSIVE pay cuts and start standing up to the unions.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2008

I just wanted to take the time to wish all of my readers a happy Thanksgiving.

Personally, I have so much to be thankful for: the fact that I can live here in America, where we have so many freedoms; my family; my friends; my roommate who proof-reads my blog for me all the time (I figured I’d mention him again); all my roommates and friends up at Central Michigan.

I just got back from volunteering at a local soup kitchen, and I’d encourage everybody to take some time and give back to the community.  If you can’t do it today, try for some other time this holiday season.  But don’t just do it during the holidays.  The homeless are homeless year round, not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  If you’re fortunate enough to be able to read this blog on a personal computer in your home, you’re fortunate enough that you can go out and help somebody in need.  We all don’t do this enough, including myself, but if we all give a little more, we can make the world a much better place.

Well, I’m about to head off to the couch to watch the Lions lose yet another game, and then it’s food time!

I wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving!  God bless you all and God bless America.

Done Celebrating,

Ranting Republican


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