Posts Tagged ‘Vote’

Michigan Proposals 1 and 2 for 2014: An Analysis of the Wolf Hunting Refrenda

October 30, 2014

To fully understand Prosposal 14-1 and Proposal 14-2 that will be on the ballot here in Michigan one must go back to 2012 to understand the big picture.  In 2012, the Michigan Legislature passed Senate Bill 1350, which Governor Snyder signed, making it Public Act 520 of 2012.  The act added wolves to the definition of “game” animals; declared that wolf hunting was necessary to manage the growing population of wolves in order to protect humans, livestock, and pets; authorized a hunting season for wolves; established a licensing scheme; and established the Wolf Management Advisory Council.  Some citizens were opposed to the idea of wolf hunting, so they formed Keep Michigan Wolves Protected and filed a petition, with sufficient signatures, to have a referendum on Public Act 520.  Thus, it is this law that is on the ballot as Proposal 14-1.

(At this point, it is helpful to lay out the difference between an initiative, a referendum, and a proposal: An initiative is a citizen-initiated piece of legislation that goes before the Legislature if enough signatures are gathered; if the Legislature passes it, the legislation becomes law; if the Legislature does not pass it, it goes before the people for a vote.  A referendum is a citizen-initiated protest to a law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor; those who want the law to stay vote “Yes”, while those opposed to the law vote “No”.  Once a referendum is certified, the law in question is suspended, pending the outcome of the election.  Thus, in an initiative, those filing the petition would vote “Yes”, while in a referendum, those filing the petition would vote “No”.  A proposal is anything that goes before the people for a vote, including referenda, initiatives, constitutional amendments, etc.)

I have no issue with voting “Yes” on Proposal 1, and unless you are opposed to the hunting of wolves, you likely will not either.  But Proposal 2 is where it gets a bit trickier.  After Keep Michigan Wolves Protected got Public Act 520 on the ballot as a referendum, the Legislature decided to pass another law, in case the referendum was successful; thus, Senate Bill 288 was passed, and Governor Snyder signed it, making it Public Act 21 of 2013.  The act continued the designation of the wolf as a “game” animal (since the bill was passed before the Public Act 520 referendum was certified, Public Act 520 had not yet been suspended, but if Proposal 1 were to pass, then the wolf would no longer be designated as a game animal); granted the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) the power to designate animals as game animals, with some restrictions (however, it also stipulated that only the Legislature has the power to remove animals from the list of game animals); granted the NRC the ability to establish the first open season for any animal that it adds to the list of game animals; granted the eliminated the fee for hunting licenses for military personnel; and granted the NRC sole authority to regulate fishing.  Again, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed a petition, with sufficient signatures, to have a referendum on Public Act 21, so it is now on the ballot as Proposal 14-2.

Personally, I am not a fan of Public Act 21; I do not like the added authority that the Legislature gave to the NRC, and I do not feel that it is wise to allow the agency to have the power to designate animals as game animals and establish a hunting season for such animals without any legislative input.  I also question the wisdom of granting the NRC exclusive authority to regulate fishing.  If the story had ended here, I likely would’ve voted Yes on Proposal 1 and No on Proposal 2, but what happened next made the whole situation much more interesting.

A group of citizens in favor of hunting wolves, under the name Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, successfully filed an initiative petition.  The proposal continued the designation of the wolf as a game animal; continued the grant to the NRC to designate animals as game animals and establish a first open season; continued the stipulation that the Legislature has the sole power to remove animals from the list of game animals; and appropriated $1,000,000 to the Department of Natural Resources to fight the invasion of Asian Carp.  The proposal also had a section that stipulated that if language from Public Act 520 or 21 was removed due to failure of either referenda, that language was reinstated by the initiative.  The Legislature adopted the initiative, meaning that it became law (Public Act 281 of 2014) without having to be signed by Governor Snyder.  So what makes the initiative so special?

The appropriation of money to the DNR means that, pursuant to Article 2, § 9 of the Michigan Constitution, the law cannot be subjected to a referendum petition.  (This specific issue was addressed in Michigan United Conservation Clubs v. Secretary of State, 464 Mich. 359 (2001), where the Michigan Supreme Court interpreted that any appropriation is an “appropriation” under this provision of the Constitution, which I agree with, even though the result is that the Legislature can make a law referendum-proof.)  In drafting the initiative, the drafters knew that adding the appropriation would make it referendum-proof, and in approving the initiative, the legislators knew that even though they had previously passed two bills to allow wolf hunting with pushback from voters, by passing this initiative, they would be making the act referendum-proof.  The inclusion of the appropriation was not simply a coincidence; the drafters, and the Legislature, knew what they were doing.  They knew that this was a hot-button issue that some (perhaps even many) voters opposed, yet they went forward and passed it in a way that would not allow a referendum on the issue.

I have no problem with the Legislature passing Public Act 21 after the petition for Public Act 520 was filed; if it wants to do so, that’s fine with me.  But what I do have a problem with is the Legislature passing an initiative with an appropriation provision in it solely to make that law referendum-proof.  To do so is disingenuous and out-of-line with the intent of the appropriations process.

So that gets us to where we are today: Proposal 1 and 2 are on the ballot, but even if the No voters win on both proposals, the result is still ultimately the same as if Yes were to win.  (It should be noted that a court could potentially overturn the initiative, but I see no legal grounds for that to happen, and I think the chances of that happening are next to none.  The voters could also push for a new initiative that would undo the last initiative, but that seems unlikely to be successful.)  But voting No on the proposals can still send a message.  Those opposed to wolf hunting overall should vote No on both, but those who respect the referendum process, regardless of their feelings on wolf hunting, should vote No on Proposal 2.

There has been a lot of confusion and dishonesty surrounding the proposals.  Contrary to what some Yes supporters say, these proposals have nothing to do with allowing hunters or citizens to kill nuisance wolves; nuisance wolves can already be killed under existing law.  Farmers can still kill wolves that threten their livestock (although allowing them to be hunted would decrease the wolf population and chance that their livestock would be threatened overall).  Those who say otherwise are not being honest.

So why do the proposals even matter?  Again, it is about making a statement that the Legislature should not abuse its appropriation power to remove the power of a referendum from the people.  Regardless of your feelings on wolf hunting, all Michiganders should support the ability of those opposed to wolf hunting to hold a referendum on legislation that allows for wolf hunting; furthermore, voting No on Proposal 2, because of the passage of Public Act 281, will not have any adverse effect on the existence of wolf hunting in Michigan.  For those reasons, I urge a No vote on at least Proposal 2.

For more information about voting in Tuesday’s election, please see below.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Michigan Primary Prediction and Statistical Analysis

February 28, 2012

It’s been a while since I updated this, but I figured this would be fun.  I made my primary prediction for Michigan late last night and here’s the breakdown I went with:

Santorum – 40%
Romney – 39%
Paul – 11%
Gingrich – 9%
Others – 1%

Then today, I decided to look at the recent polls for Michigan.  The first poll I went with was starting on February 12, since anything before this wouldn’t factor in Santorum’s triple win in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota.  I made a scatter plot of Santorum – Romney:

I then added 2 trendlines. The first one (red) was a linear trendline which I knew wouldn’t be reflective of Santorum’s momentum recently. I plotted the second (green) second order polynomial trendline, which did a decent job at predicting his momentum, but I noticed that the relatively low lead he had right after his triple win was skewing the results a bit lower.  Those polls are so old that they don’t correctly account for what’s going on now with just a simple second order polynomial.  So I put in the third (purple) trendline, which was a third order polynomial.  This correctly factored in his slow start to gain momentum, but looks like it drastically overestimates it at the end.

So I thought, how can I better examine Santorum’s momentum.  I took out the polls right after Santorum’s triple-win, which I thought weren’t representative of the momentum he gained, then lost, and regained, and got this plot, with the red representing a linear trendline, and the green representing a second order polynomial:

This plot matched up almost perfectly with my predictions (which I wasn’t expecting it to turn out just like that), but I think accurately portrays the general momentum Santorum has had since his triple win.

Ultimately, gauging the momentum a candidate has is hard to do, but I think the second order polynomial in the second graph accurately portrays Santorum’s momentum.  Ultimately, both of these models could end up being wrong, and there’s no perfect algorithm to predict voters, but the results of my second model, I believe, accurately portray Santorum’s momentum, and cement my confidence that Santorum will have a close victory over Mitt Romney.

Done Predicting,

Ranting Republican

Harry Reid Accidentally Votes Against His Health Care Bill

December 24, 2009

This was a pretty funny moment from early this morning. I figured I’d share it with you all as a little Christmas present from me.  The following video is a clip from the Senate’s Roll Call vote on the health care bill (H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). I wasn’t able to set the start time for the clip, so skip ahead to 25:30 (and if that’s not working, the video is also here:

Apparently Mr. Reid was running on not quite enough sleep there.

The vote ended up being 60-39 (with all Democrats voting AYE, all of the Republicans voting NO, and Jim Bunning (R-KY) not voting).

While I personally would’ve voted against the bill, I don’t think this bill was all that bad considering other possibilities the Senate was looking at, but I really don’t feel like getting into the politics of the bill on Christmas Eve (I’ll save that for when the House and Senate come together to iron out a bill that both chambers agree on).

I just wanted to give everybody a little laugh, and wish everybody a very merry and safe Christmas!

God bless all of you and your families!  If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas!  If you don’t, Happy Holidays!

I wish everybody a safe weekend.

Done Gift-Giving,

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):

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:  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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Obama Bitter that Republicans Rejected the Stimulus Package?

February 17, 2009

So, I was just watching the news, and they were talking about a picture and caption of the White House website.  Neil Cavuto (FOX News) was asking if the following caption was a cheap shot at Republicans.  Here’s the picture (I’ll discuss it below and ask for your opinion) (see here for the original picture; it’s picture 4:


If you can’t read it, the caption says, “House Republicans surround the President after the meeting. Many of them were seeking his autograph. Every House Republican eventually voted against the bill.”

Now, I have to agree with Neil here.  The photo album never talks about all of the Senate Democrats voting for the bill, or all but 7 House Democrats voting for the final version of the bill (originall 11 voted against it).  It does talk about Susan Collins (R-ME) voting for it, but that’s understandable, because that was unique and he was meeting with her in order to bring her to his side.

I think this was just a partisan move meant to put the Republicans in a bad light.

So, tell me what you think:

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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President Obama Signs $787 Billion Economic Stimulus Plan

February 17, 2009

Moments ago, President Obama singed H.R. 1, the economic stimulus package into law.  Unfortunately, I was taking a phone call during the beginning of his speech, so I couldn’t live blog it, but I did catch some key parts (I’ll do a summary of the whole speech later).

One part that caught my eye was when he said that the bill was “a balanced plan with a mix of tax cuts and investments.  It is a plan that’s been put together without earmarks or the usual pork barrel spending.  And it is a plan that will be implemented with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability.”

Really?  Because, I remember the Democrats promising that the final version of the bill would be available to be read for 48 hours before being brought to a vote, but it was brought to a vote around 12 hours after the bill was posted (posted on-line around 12:30 A.M. last Friday), and voted on, I believe around 2:00 P.M. in the House, and later in the Senate.  At one point, Representative David Obey (D-WI) got in an argument with a Republican Representative (I don’t remember who), and asked the Republican to show him something in the bill.  He held it up and the Republicans just laughed.  He made a fool out of  himself by SHOWING that nobody could quickly find anything in the bill – it’s over 1,000 pages long!

So, I wonder if the Democrats and Obama will stick to this  promise of “transparency and accountability” or if they will continue to change their promises like they’ve been doing so far.

I see us being right back in position of “needing” another stimulus package in 6 months or so.  Hopefully the next one  won’t be “needed,” but if one is proposed, I hope that one fails in Congress.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Breaking: Senate Passes Revised Economic Stimulus Plan: 60-38

February 13, 2009

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) just got back  from Ohio, where he was attending his mother’s memorial services, and has casted an “Aye” vote for the economic stimulus package.  That was the 60th Aye vote needed, since Ted Kennedy (D-MA) was not voting.  The 3 Republicans who sided with the Democrats before, Arlen Specter (R-PA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME) voted with the Democrats.

“Mr. Brown.  Mr. Brown, Aye.”  Those were the words that just came from the Dick Durbin (D-IL) who was presiding over the Senate.  The Senate has just agreed to the bill as it was revised by the conference committee.

This is such a shame, and I’m still angry that they actually made Senator Brown come back to vote.  They couldn’t get Ted Kennedy to come back?  Sure he’s sick, but he wasn’t at MEMORIAL SERVICES for his MOTHER!

Additionally, this bill is a TERRIBLE BILL!  I’m not happy right now.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Live: Senate 1 Vote Away from Passing Economic Stimulus Package

February 13, 2009

This is breaking news, the Senate began voting on the new version of the stimulus bill around 5:30 P.M. (I was gone).  The vote so far is 59 AYE votes, and they’re waiting in Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who is expected to vote AYE.  He was at a wake for his mother (funeral services will be tomorrow).  He’s expected to reach the 60 vote mark.

Personally, I am appalled that the Senate forced him to come back and vote while he’s at his mother’s memorial services.  They honestly couldn’t wait until tomorrow or Monday to do this?  I understand that it’s an important bill, but these were memorial services for HIS MOTHER!  Come on – that’s a pretty crappy move on behalf of the Congress.  If I were Senator Brown, I’d be pretty pissed off.

I’ll give an update as soon as he casts his vote.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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House of Representatives Approves Revised Stimulus Bill: 246-183

February 13, 2009

A little over an hour ago, the House of Representatives approved the revised economic stimulus package (that’s the package where the joint conference hammered out the details between the Senate and House bill differences).  246 Democrats voted for the bill; all 183 Republicans voted NAY, with 7 Democrats joining them.  1 Democrat also voted present, and 1 Democrat and 2 Republicans were not voting.

The bill was divided into 2 parts and revised in the conference committee, and those 2 parts can be found here:

I’ll try to put a link up to the bill when it’s actually retyped up somewhere.

How many Representatives even read the bill?!  I don’t know about you, but I can’t read 900+ pages in a day or 2.  Most of the Representatives (other than those in the conference committee) haven’t had a chance to read this.  Even IF you support the bill (which I don’t), please READ the WHOLE bill (or have your staff read it and give you a detailed summary), and then make the decision.  Personally, I’ve seen enough of the bill to know that I could never vote for it.  There’s too much wasteful spending in it.  It doesn’t matter how much “good is in it” – there’s too much bad!

I think this was an absolutely terrible bill, and I strongly commend the 7 Democrats who voted for it, and I am very glad that no Republicans supported this piece of disastrous legislation.  It’s a shame that we had 3 party traitors in a group of 41, while a whole group of 178 representatives could easily say no to this bill.

Hopefully those 3 party traitors (Arlen Specter [PA], Olympia Snowe [ME], and Susan Collins [ME]) will vote against this piece of crap when it comes to a vote in the Senate!  If not, I say that we reomove Collins, Specter, and Snowe when they’re up for reelection.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Senate Passes $838 Economic Stimulus Bill: 61-37

February 10, 2009

Just moments ago, the Senate passed the economic stimulus bill, 61-37.  Here’s how the votes fell:

Akaka (D-HI) – Aye
Alexander (R-TN) – Nay
Barrasso (R-WY) – Nay
Baucus (D-MT) – Aye
Bayh (D-IN) – Aye
Begich (D-AK) – Aye
Bennet (D-CO) – Aye
Bennett (R-UT) – Nay
Bingaman (D-NM) – Aye
Bond (R-MO) – Nay
Boxer (D-CA) – Aye
Brown (D-OH) – Aye
Brownback (R-KS) – Nay
Bunning (R-KY) – Nay
Burr (R-NC) – Nay
Burris (D-IL) – Aye
Byrd (D-WV) – Aye
Cantwell (D-WA) – Aye
Cardin (D-MD) – Aye
Carper (D-DE) – Aye
Casey (D-PA) – Aye
Chambliss (R-GA) – Nay
Coburn (R-OK) – Nay
Cochran (R-MS) – Nay
Collins (R-ME) – Aye
Conrad (D-ND) – Aye
Corker (R-TN) – Nay
Cornyn (R-TX) – Nay
Crapo (R-ID) – Nay
DeMint (R-SC) – Nay
Dodd (D-CT) – Aye
Dorgan (D-ND) – Aye
Durbin (D-IL) – Aye
Ensign (R-NV) – Nay
Enzi (R-WY) – Nay
Feingold (D-WI) – Aye
Feinstein (D-CA) – Aye
Gillibrand (D-NY) – Aye
Graham (R-SC) – Nay
Grassley (R-IA) – Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Not Voting
Hagan (D-NC) – Aye
Harkin (D-IA) – Aye
Hatch (R-UT) – Nay
Hutchison (R-TX) – Nay
Inhofe (R-OK) – Nay
Inouye (D-HI) – Aye
Isakson (R-GA) – Nay
Johanns (R-NE) – Nay
Johnson (D-SD) – Aye
Kaufman (D-DE) – Aye
Kennedy (D-MA) – Aye
Kerry (D-MA) – Aye
Klobuchar (D-MN) – Aye
Kohl (D-WI) – Aye
Kyl (R-AZ) – Nay
Landrieu (D-LA) – Aye
Lautenberg (D-NJ) – Aye
Leahy (D-VT) – Aye
Levin (D-MI) – Aye
Lieberman (ID-CT) – Aye
Lincoln (D-AR) – Aye
Lugar (R-IN) – Nay
Martinez (R-FL) – Nay
McCain (R-AZ) – Nay
McCaskill (D-MO) – Aye
McConnell (R-KY) – Nay
Menendez (D-NJ) – Aye
Merkley (D-OR) – Aye
Mikulski (D-MD) – Aye
Murkowski (R-AK) – Nay
Murray (D-WA) – Aye
Nelson (D-NE) – Aye
Nelson (D-FL) – Aye
Pryor (D-AR) – Aye
Reed (D-RI) – Aye
Reid (D-NV) – Aye
Risch (R-ID) – Nay
Roberts (R-KS) – Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV) – Aye
Sanders (I-VT) – Aye
Schumer (D-NY) – Aye
Sessions (R-AL) – Nay
Shaheen (D-NH) – Aye
Shelby (R-AL) – Nay
Snowe (R-ME) – Aye
Specter (R-PA) – Aye
Stabenow (D-MI) – Aye
Tester (D-MT) – Aye
Thune (R-SD) – Nay
Udall (D-CO) – Aye
Udall (D-NM) – Aye
Vitter (R-LA) – Nay
Voinovich (R-OH) – Nay
Warner (D-VA) – Aye
Webb (D-VA) – Aye
Whitehouse (D-RI) – Aye
Wicker (R-MS) – Nay
Wyden (D-OR) – Aye

“Ayes are 61.  Nays are 37.”  There will now be a joint committee with the House to hammer out the differences.  On that committee will be 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans: Inouye (D-HI), Baucus (D-MT), Reid (D-NV), Cochran (R-MS), and Grassley (R-IA).  The House and Senate will now have to hammer out those differences.  The House’s bill was $819 billion.

This is an absolutely terrible day for America.  This bill (which is actually an amended version from the original – it’s the Collins/Nelson substitution amendment) won’t stimulate our economy, it’s just going to drive us into some huge debt.  This bill was nothing more than PORK PORK PORK!

When we’re in an even worse position 6 months down the road, I hope Congress will have the common sense to not pass ANOTHER stimulus bill.  Sadly, I see us right back in this spot in another 6 months or so.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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