A country that loses its values, its principles, has lost its heart. A country that loses its sensible center, its common ground, has lost its mind.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Could Obama be Land's final salvation?

Terri Lynn Land enters the final 2 1/2 weeks of her Senate run trying to fend off increasing criticism that her campaign has been a near-disaster. 
But now she is hoping that President Obama might be her salvation.
"Let me tell you how close this race is," the GOP nominee said during a Wednesday campaign appearance in Utica, "President Obama is coming here."

Obama is expected to campaign for seven Democratic gubernatorial candidates as the election approaches, including a campaign stop in Detroit at the end of the month to boost Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer.
But Land's Democratic opponent, Gary Peters, is the only Senate candidate in those seven states to step forward and agree to some campaign help from the unpopular president.
Peters has not exactly embraced Obama, saying he agrees with him on some issues and disagrees on others, but it appears that the Michigan Democratic Party believes that the president can shore up the party's base and generate some mid-term enthusiasm within the black community.

Nonetheless, it is a risky move that could backfire at a time when Peters has held a solid lead in numerous Michigan polls. And that's what has the Republicans hoping.
One longtime GOP activist from Warren received a roar of laughter and approval from the pro-Land crowd in Utica when he told the candidate: "President Obama coming here for Gary Peters -- he might put you over the top."

Meanwhile, eclectablog has a full rundown on all the media reports that are giving Land fits as the mid-terms approach. 
Land's refusal to appear before the Detroit Free Press editorial board until the newspaper apologizes for an Oct. 4 Brian Dickerson column is dissected by eclectablog, with Freep editorial page editor Stephen Henderson exclaiming: "You will never see us acquiesce to this sort of blackmailing ..."
The Dickerson column skewered Land for an incoherent interview she gave on Michigan Radio, and the writer suggested that Land might be best to crawl back into her bunker.
Land said on Wednesday that she was particularly upset with this line in the column: Land "... has been about as accessible up to this point in her campaign as a music video diva recovering from plastic surgery."

That's a pretty funny line.
Dickerson did not in any way claim that Land is ugly or disfigured. But the Land camp tried to squeeze that comment into her last-ditch effort to claim that Peters, the Democrats and certain factions in the media are attacking her based on her gender.
The desperation is fairly obvious if you read the entire column and realize that Dickerson had far more stinging criticism for the GOP nominee that did not fit the narrative that Peters and the Dems are "anti-Mom."
Such as this: "... the Republicans' fateful decision to nominate a woman who loses ground every time she opens her mouth, a candidate so inarticulate that even voters ideologically disposed to support her aren't sure what she's saying."

At the same time, ABC News ran a story about Land with this headline: "The Republican candidate that even Republicans love to hate."
Bill Ballenger, the dean of Michigan political pundits and a former GOP state senator, said that some aspects of the Land campaign have been "laughable." 
When the Republicans were stuck with a second-tier candidate like Land, Ballenger added, no one in the GOP thought that the former Michigan secretary of state would be "as inept and inarticulate as she’s proven to be.”
ABC also talked with former state party chairman Saul Anuzis, who bemoaned the lack of a GOP first-string player. 
"This is a seat we could have had,” Anuzis said. 
And then we have this from The Atlantic, which also wrote an unflattering piece about Land under the headline: "Did Republicans blow the Michigan Senate race?" The magazine offered a gem of a quote from the curmudgeonly Detroit writer Jack Lessenberry: 
“If you asked these candidates what time it was, Peters would give you a lecture on watchmaking. Land would stare at the wall for a while and then say, ‘Daytime?’”

New website promotes commonsense immigration reforms

The Hoover Institution has compiled a detailed website, Peregrine, that attempts to tackle the immigration issue by separating fact from fiction and by promoting commonsense reforms.
The site has a libertarian bent to it but it relies on a wide array of experts on the subject to discuss policies that are fair, pro-business and good for the U.S. economy.
Here's a small sample:
Expanding and liberalizing America’s lawful immigration system is the easiest way to boost economic growth and is also the key to stopping unlawful immigration.  After a century of reforms that enhanced and centralized bureaucracy, federal immigration policy is a labyrinth of restriction and dysfunction. US immigration laws are now, as Associate Justice Harry E. Hull Jr. wrote, “second only to the Internal Revenue Code in complexity.” 

Demand for all kinds of labor in the United States is strong, and immigrants are willing to supply it; but federal restrictions stand in the way. Almost no green cards (permanent visas) are available for low- and mid-skilled immigrants. Temporary visas are capped, restricted in scope, and regulated with paperwork hurdles. The result is many immigrants who would otherwise come legally to the United States instead work and live here illegally.
America’s economic magnet for foreign labor is strong, as we can see in the huge worker productivity and wage differences across countries.  A marginal Mexican worker with the same skills as an American can earn wages nearly three times higher by relocating to the United States. The marginal wage gain for immigrants from the typical developing nation is a four-fold increase. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

'WTF?' Dems outraged by anti-immigration campaign ad aimed at Mexican-American lawmaker Yanez

Democrats are blasting a Michigan Republican Party campaign brochure that singles out a Mexican-American state legislator from Macomb County for criticism on federal immigration issues, claiming that state Rep. Henry Yanez wants to allow more illegal immigrants to cross the U.S.-Mexican border.
The literature mailed by the state GOP to Yanez’s Sterling Heights district claims the Democratic incumbent who is seeking re-election would make the border more vulnerable to illegal crossings and he would make it easier for illegal aliens in the United States to gain citizenship.
Yanez calls the claims a distortion and an attempt to insert a federal issue into a state House campaign. One of his colleagues, Rep.Harvey Santana, a Democrat who represents southwest Detroit, accused the GOP of targeting Yanez for an anti-Hispanic message.
“I am disappointed that the Michigan Republican Party would stoop to an attack piece that carries an undertone of racist scare tactics in order to try to elect one of its candidates,” Santana said. “My Republican colleagues in the Legislature whom I’ve grown to respect would never act in such a fashion, which makes this ‘hit piece’ even more disappointing.”
A GOP spokesman said that the advertisement was fair game because “Henry Yanez has taken a position on this issue.” The fact that Yanez’s heritage is one-half Mexican had “zero influence” on the decision to criticize the Sterling Heights Democrat, according to Darren Littel, state GOP communications director.

The campaign flyer attributes the information to a recent candidate questionnaire but Littel said that was a mistake. It dates back to a 2010 questionnaire when Yanez was the Democratic nominee running for Congress against Republican Rep. Candice Miller.
Littel said none of the other Democratic candidates for the 148-member Legislature had been tagged on the immigration reform issue by the GOP because they had not previously run for congressional office and their views were unknown.
In the yes-no questionnaire of four years ago from a group called Project Vote Smart, Yanez said he was not allowed to elaborate on the issues.
He said as a congressional candidate he favored a “pathway” to citizenship for illegal immigrants living in the U.S., not amnesty that leads to automatic citizen status. The incumbent also said he preferred putting more Border Patrol agents in place rather than extending a protective fence for 2,000 miles along the southern edge of several states.
“As a state legislator, I have no stance. I’m focused on what’s happening in Michigan,” he said. “This is shameless on the part of the Republicans.”
Little believes Democrats are trying to rile up ethnic sensitivities rather than sticking to the issues. He said that he had no idea Yanez was of Mexican ancestry.
A retired Sterling Heights firefighter, Yanez countered that in Lansing it’s well known, based on his civic activities, that he is Hispanic.
Rep. Santana was so incensed by the campaign tactic that he used a common abbreviation of crude language to urge Yanez’s Republican foe in the November election, Nick Hawatmeh, who lives in the small Warren section of the 25th District, to denounce the party’s campaign material.
“If I were Mr. Hawatmeh,” Santana said, “I’d be on the phone with (state GOP Chairman) Bobby Shostack asking, ‘WTF?’ Especially considering that Mr. Hawatmeh is of Arab descent.”

Calley defends candidate who's maybe not racist, just ignorant

I have no interest in starting a war of words with Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, but I can't ignore a provocative column that appeared on the Petoskey News-Review website today.
Columnist Mark Pontoni wrote about Triston Cole, the northern Michigan right-wing Republican candidate for state House who lost out when Calley cancelled his scheduled appearance at a Cole fundraiser on Monday.
Calley said on Tuesday that his cancellation should not reflect on Cole. The lieutenant governor said it's unfair to criticize Cole due to the support he has from Republican National Committee member Dave Agema. The LG added that it's beyond the pale to suggest that Cole has any type of racist past.
Well, Pontoni presents a viewpoint that suggests Cole is cut right from the cloth of Agema, who is associated with homophobic and racist views.

After viewing an online, hour-long interview by the News-Review with Cole, Pontoni said he was dumfounded by the Mancelona farmer's inability to grasp issues. 
A tea party favorite, Cole said he and his friends had never seen discrimination against gays so who says it exists?
He supports cuts in food stamp payments because he once went into a 7-Eleven and saw people buying beef jerky and energy drinks with a Bridge card.
And he opposes a minimum wage hike because business owners who employ teenagers are already engaged in "babysitting" of their workers.

These are summations, of course, but here is Pontoni's big-picture takeaway from the overall Cole interview:
"Watching this man, who wants to represent a large portion of northern Michigan, stumble and bumble his way through the interview almost made me feel sorry for him. Riding a wave of tea party support, Mr. Cole ...is uniquely unqualified to represent the vast majority of northern Michigan citizens."
Wow. Maybe Pontoni discovered the real reason why Calley stayed away from Monday's fundraiser for Cole.

Doggone it, some candidates have a tailor-made name

When I first came across an online photo of a basic campaign sign for Stacey Dogonski, I thought, hey, why not go with: "Doggone it, vote for Dogonski." - ?
But Dogonski, a Democrat running for state House in Livonia, has come up with her own logo that takes advantage of her unusual name:

The only question I have is, why the menacing look on the dog's face? Does that represent a watchdog, with the candidate suggesting that's the approach she will take if she makes it to Lansing?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lt. Gov. Calley gives Selweski a smack down

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley was none too happy when I reported on my blog Sunday that he was scheduled to attend a fundraiser for a candidate who has been called a racist and has backing from the infamous Dave Agema.
Calley contacted me Sunday afternoon and said that he would not be at the Monday event for Triston Cole, a Traverse City area Republican running for the state House. The lieutenant governor's name was then quickly removed from the online invitation to the Cole fundraiser.
But when fresh photos of Calley with Cole showed up online on Monday, I contacted the LG and questioned why he had been adamant that he would not show for Cole's campaign party but he attended a separate event with the candidate.
His terse response asserted that I was unfairly criticizing Cole and inaccurately implying that Calley cancelled his fundraiser appearance due to the issues raised on my blog. The LG said the decision not to attend was made "long before" the blog post and he did not know why Cole's invitation had continued to list Calley as the featured speaker.

Here's a portion of Calley's email message to me, in which he explains how he and candidate Cole appeared in photos together:  

There were several legislators and I that were invited to a meeting (on Monday) with deer farmers from all across the state.Good folks that wanted to share about their industry.

Furthermore, I do not have any policy of disassociating with people on the basis that someone else supported them. I've really never heard of that kind of criteria.  Am I to go through and identify everyone that Dave Agema has supported and create a black list? 

I also reject your premise that Triston Cole is "racist". Are you really willing to go that far in attacking a person based on the claims you cited? I might have a weakness in seeing the best in people -- I have even defended you on a few occasions -- but I'm pretty surprised at your aggressiveness in publishing such a claim. Have you ever met him? What are you basing such a definitive and personal conclusion on? I hope it's more than what you cited in your blog.

Just for the record, the reference to Cole making allegedly racist remarks was based on a Petoskey News story which reported in July that the 2010 comments had resurfaced as an issue in the 105th House District GOP primary.

Women, girls key to Michigan comeback, Snyder says

Espy Thomas, center, co-owner of Sweet Potato Sensations, and
 student Kelsey Erne listen as Gov. Snyder addresses the crowd.
Photo for The Macomb Daily by Dave Dalton

By Chad Selweski
The Macomb Daily

Michigan’s economic comeback must include female entrepreneurs, college women in high-tech fields, and high school girls who crack gender barriers by engaging in programs such as competitive robotics, Gov. Rick Snyder said Monday.
Speaking to an energetic, overflow crowd of about 80 people – mostly women – in Clinton Township, Snyder launched the first of four “Women Strengthening Michigan” forums by pledging that in a second term of office his administration would focus on putting females into position to become employers or well-paid employees.
“It’s important to recognize the role that women play in this great state. We all know this, but we need to highlight it. We … want our kids to be better than we are,” said the governor.

The event, held at the Omega Talent agency, featured a panel of four women who emphasized that internships, mentors and role models are key to success, but a helping hand from government is also important.
Espy Thomas, co-owner of the highly successful Sweet Potato Sensations in Detroit, said many women work out of their homes in a variety of fields but don’t know how to take the next step.
“They have business savvy but they need to learn techniques, they need access to programs (for start-up businesses) so they can take their business outside of their home to a brick-and-mortar location,” said Thomas, a second-generation business owner.
The self-proclaimed “one tough nerd,” Snyder said he hopes to increase the number of co-eds who major in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – or seek a career-tech path in skilled trades or advanced manufacturing.

Kelsey Erne, 21, of Warren told the crowd she is enrolled in a new state program called Michigan Advanced Technical Training, or MAT2, that involves eight weeks in the classroom at Oakland Community College and eight weeks of on-the job training at a high-tech manufacturing plant. Ernie’s MAT2 work at the auto supplier Brose is modeled after apprenticeship programs in Germany.
“I am one of four women enrolled among the 32 people in the program,” she said.
Gail Alpert, president of FIRST Robotics, said participants in middle school and high school competitive robotics acquire technical skills and an appreciation for teamwork by “learning from the pros,” through partnerships with businesses and universities. The effort could pave the way for more girls pursuing STEM careers, Alpert said.
With teams now in place from the Detroit suburbs to the Upper Peninsula, last year Michigan added 80 additional teams, more than the increase in the other 49 states combined.

District Judge Linda Davis, who oversees cases from Clinton Township, Mount Clemens and Harrison Township, recalled that a high school counselor once told her that she should get married and have children rather than pursue a career. Beyond her lengthy legal career, Davis launched a nonprofit group, Families Against Narcotics, which focuses in particular on the disturbing rise in heroin use by teens.
What started as a “mom and pop” operation in Macomb County, Davis said, will have nearly 20 chapters across Michigan by the end of the year
“It’s all about passion, taking that passion and finding a way to make it work,” Davis told the women and girls in the audience.

One of the men in the audience was state Rep. Anthony Forlini, a Harrison Township Republican.
“What an articulate panel of women,” Forlini said at the conclusion. “They exude so much confidence. I’m just so impressed.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Biggest surprise of debate – no Snyder mention of Granholm

Many months ago I assumed that incumbent Gov. Rick Snyder would grind away at Democratic challenger Mark Schauer by relentlessly linking the former state Senate Minority Leader to ex-governor Jennifer Granholm and Michigan’s “lost decade.”
It wasn’t until about six weeks before the November election that the Republicans began to run ads on Snyder’s behalf that made the Granholm-Schauer connection. And it wasn’t until near the end of Sunday night’s gubernatorial campaign debate that Snyder finally mentioned the lost decade of 2000-10 when Michigan’s economy was a mess.

(In a bit of a slip, a Michigan Democratic Party press release this morning blasted Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land’s previous opposition to the 2008-09 auto industry rescue that “saved millions of jobs and brought Michigan’s economy back from the brink of total collapse.” The obvious question: Are the Dems conceding that the economy was “on the brink of total collapse” under Granhlom, just before Snyder took over?)

At the same time, it was quite a surprise that the incumbent governor never discussed his predecessor, Granholm, during Sunday’s hour-long town hall forum. Just the mention of that name creates a visceral, negative reaction among many voters four years after she left office and left the state. 
Schauer certainly wasn't going to mention the prior governor. But in an interview with The Macomb Daily earlier this month, Snyder staunchly defended the negative Schauer-Granholm ads. But on Sunday, it was noticeably odd that he never went in that direction.

(The oddest part of the entire debate was Schauer calling the governor “Rick” throughout, and the governor and the media panel referring to the Democratic challenger as “congressman.” Presidents and governors carry their title for life, but why was it that Snyder didn’t pipe up at some point and mention that Schauer only served two years in Congress until voters ousted him?)

Meanwhile, at an event in Clinton Township this morning, Snyder again told reporters that Schauer is knowingly repeating the lie that his administration cut K-12 education funding by $1 billion.
“He’s proven over and over again that he’s lying on this,” Snyder said. “When someone says a lie over and over, sometimes people start to believe it.”

Sunday, October 12, 2014

UPDATE: Lt. Gov. backs away from the Lion's Den of (alleged) racists, crooks and a former Nazi

UPDATE: About an hour after I published this blog post, I got a message from Lt. Gov. Calley's wife, Julie, indicating that the LG will not be attending this event. The lieutenant governor followed up a few hours later with an email confirming that he was cancelling his appearance at the fundraiser. Some hours after that, candidate Triston Cole removed Calley's name from the online advertisement for the fundraiser.

This is the original post from early Sunday afternoon:

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has selected the strangest of Republican fundraising events to attend on Monday -- one where the location, a northern Michigan farm, was reportedly raided by federal authorities in July; where the candidate who will benefit from the $50-per-person event has been called a racist and has backing from the infamous Dave Agema; and where the previous-generation owner of the family farm hid his service with the German Nazi forces during World War II.
Wow. Could there possibly be a more toxic convergence of events that would keep the LG away when its just three weeks until an extremely close gubernatorial election?

Nonetheless, Calley will be the featured headliner at a fundraiser for a state House candidate at the Friske Orchards in the town of Ellsworth. As first reported on a tea party politics show aired on Patriot Voice Radio, the farm was raided on July 7 by heavily armed federal agents in 10 SUVs with blacked-out tinted windows. 
The federal authorities reportedly “rammed in the front door of the farmhouse where 10 migrant workers were arrested and hauled away.” According to the Lansing-based MIRS newsletter, proprietor Richard Friske declined comment on the circumstances behind the raid.

The candidate, Republican Triston Cole, told MIRS that the
fundraiser is being held at the market, which is separate from the orchard. A governor's office spokesperson didn't return an e-mail from the news service for comment.

A Mancelona farmer and semi-truck driver, Cole continues to face criticism for what many believe were racially tinged remarks in his last campaign, according to the Petoskey News. 
The News reported that at a 2010 candidate forum blamed the "black leadership" in Detroit for the city's woes. A recording of the event showed that Cole said black officials had used government benefits to subjugate their constituents and, by doing so, they "perpetuate their power by keeping the population of Detroit under their thumb."  
He has refused to apologize for those remarks.

It should be noted that Cole is supported by Republican National Committee member Dave Agema, the former state representative who faced many months of criticism for remarks he embraced on Facebook that were viewed as homophobic and racist -- and based on blatant misinformation.
Agema gave Cole a $300 campaign contribution last December, which means the RNC representative chose sides in the 105th House District's GOP primary long before the field was settled.
And then there's this: The original owner of the farm and orchard where Calley will speak, the late Richard Friske Sr., apparently hid his service in Hitler's German Air Force for decades by simply telling folks that he was a World War II veteran. Friske served as a state House member in Lansing from 1970-72, until, it seems, his past caught up with him and his political career ended. 

If Calley keeps up this kind of scheduling, his political career may soon be over too.
The real head-scratcher in this whole jumbled-up mess is, why would Calley, who is despised by many tea party and far-right Republicans, go within 100 miles of a fundraiser for an Agema-style candidate?



Peters among those AWOL from Congress while campaigning

Only in politics do you see people competing for a job while they also fail to show up for work at their current job -– over and over again.
Congressman do it. Senators and governors do it. Even those seeking the highest office in the land, the presidency, do it.

Absenteeism among elected officials is largely accepted, sometimes papered over, especially at campaign time. But in several 2014 Senate races, candidates face intense criticism because they spend so much time raising money or glad-handing voters that they miss numerous legislative sessions or committee hearings related to their current post.
That includes Gary Peters.

Peters, the Democratic congressman from Bloomfield Township who’s seeking a promotion to the Senate, ranks among the bottom 14 percent of House members in attendance over the past six months.
According to the website govtrack.us, the lawmaker missed 31 floor votes on Capitol Hill from April through September, a time period in which he was campaigning daily for the Senate. As first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, that puts Peters down into the 86th percentile among his colleagues.

The congressman is not alone in putting his campaign above his legislative duties. In recent days, absenteeism emerged as a serious issue in Senate contests in Iowa, North Carolina, Colorado and Kentucky.
In some races, poor attendance provides the ammunition for television ads and candidate debates.
The North Carolina contest demonstrates the degree to which candidates will mix campaigning with legislating.
Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is, in effect, seeking a 6-year contract extension from the Tar Heel State electorate at the same time that she doesn’t always show up for work as a freshman senator. In particular, Hagan missed an Armed Services Committee meeting, where fellow senators discussed the growing terrorism threat in the Middle East, so that she could attend a fundraiser for her campaign in New York City, according to the Associated Press.

Her Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, the North Carolina Speaker of the House, used that peculiar choice of priorities against Hagan in a campaign ad. But Tillis, as the top lawmaker in the N.C. Legislature, was AWOL for several key votes in the state House while on the road raising campaign cash.
In Iowa, Republican nominee Joni Ernst faults Democratic Congerssman Bruce Braley for missing hearings of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, which has had its hands full with the VA scandal. Meanwhile, the AP reports that Democrats point out that Ernst missed many floor votes as an Iowa state senator while running in the GOP primary earlier this year.
In Colorado, Republican Congressman Cory Gardner released an ad last week criticizing Sen. Mark Udall for missing 64 percent of his Armed Services Committee hearings. At a debate Tuesday night, he challenged Udall to explain where he had been. Udall didn’t answer, but he stressed he had never missed a committee vote. That’s a distinction that may be lost on an average worker/voter.

And in the Kentucky Senate election, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state, trade barbs about the propriety of taking their government salaries while campaigning.
It’s important to note that even those senators who don’t adhere to a normal work schedule are paid $477 per day, every day, and considerably more for those in the leadership such as McConnell.
Incumbents running for re-election or a higher office –- at the congressional level or in the Michigan Legislature -- also have the advantage of recess, which means several weeks of time off work so that they can provide a sales pitch –- and often a bit of mudslinging -– to their constituents.
The overwhelming priority, re-election, extends to politics at all levels.

There’s something especially abnormal about a profession where the workers boast about what a good job they’re doing, yet spend so much time blowing their horn that they fail to actually do the job.
As for Peters, his Republican opponent, Terri Lynn Land, has barely used the attendance issue against him. With so many charges flying back and forth in the Michigan Senate race, this issue remains dormant. In part, that’s because Land is in no position to provide a contrast.
While Land tends to avoid the campaign trail –- plus, no one can figure out what her current job is -– Peters was clearly hoping that the media wouldn’t notice his infrequent trips to Capitol Hill.

To be fair, Peters only missed 9.6 percent of House votes from April to June and 6.8 percent from July to September. But for those of us in the real world who are working harder for less pay, a co-worker who is missing one of every 10 days would surely become the object of scorn.
For this Congress, one of the least popular and least productive in history, one that shamefully walked off the job without debating the nation’s newest war, it should come as no surprise that two independent candidates for Senate -– in South Dakota and Kansas -– are within the reach of election victory.

For some of the electorate, this campaign season is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It’s an opportunity to give a kick in the rear to the entire Congress, especially those lawmakers who are no-shows on the job but expect voters to give them a promotion.
If, as the saying goes, half of life is just showing up, these candidates have half a strike against them. And the other half of their resume isn’t much to brag about either.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Snyder coming to Macomb County for 'Women Strengthening Michigan" forum

Gov. Rick Snyder, in a quasi-campaign event, will co-host a "Women Strengthening Women" public forum on Monday in Clinton Township. 
The 10 a.m. event at Omega Talent in Clinton Township will include this lineup of speakers:
          * Moderator: Maria Silamianos Sherman, president of                Omega Talent
          * Gail Alpert, president of FIRST Robotics
  • Judge Linda Davis, Clinton Township District Court, founder of Families Against Narcotics
  • Kelsey Ernie, student participating in the MAT2 program with auto-supplier Brose
  • Epsy Thomas, entrepreneur and co-owner of Sweet Potato Sensations 
The forum is part of a 3-day effort by Snyder today to salute female entrepreneurs and community leaders in Michigan.
The three public discussions are co-hosted by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson; Susy Avery, executive director of the Michigan Women’s Commission; Terry Barclay, president & CEO of InForum; and Carolyn Cassin, president & CEO of the Michigan Women’s Foundation.
According to the governor's re-election campaign, at each event, Snyder will join a diverse group of female panelists and a moderator representing areas across Michigan. Other forums wills take place in Oakland and Kent counties.
Those interested in attending the Macomb County event can send an email to governorsoffice@michigan.gov. Residents statewide can also join the conversation by submitting their questions on Twitter using the hashtag #MIStrong or by watching the forums via livestream atwww.michigan.gov/MIStrong.   

Miller: Nobel Peace Prize recognizes Malala's 'courage and strength'

Congresswoman Candice Miller earlier today issued a statement following the announcement that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India:

Malala Yousafzai is a 17-year-old Pakistani young woman who, two years ago, was shot in the head by the Taliban for simply stating that girls have the right to an education.  Most would have not had the courage and strength to fight back against such atrocities, but Malala did fight back and has become a positive leading voice in the world for the rights of young women.  It is totally appropriate that, today, Malala was informed of this great honor while attending school in Birmingham, England.

Kailash Satyarthi, who shares this prize with Malala, was a businessman and electrical engineer in India who gave up his career to become an activist leader in the effort to end child slavery and the exploitation of children.  Because of his efforts, tens of thousands of children have been rescued from slavery and given a chance to live their lives. 

I applaud the Nobel Committee for choosing a young woman and a 60-year-old man who are both tireless and undaunted advocates for dignity, humanity and the value of every child.  These two individuals have truly been examples that should be highlighted, and their message must be heard.

Commissioner takes a shot at Hackel during Detroit water debate

During the Macomb County Board of Commissioners' debate on Thursday over the Detroit water deal, Commissioner Kathy Vosburg used the opportunity to take a little shot at County Exec Mark Hackel.
Vosburg, a Chesterfield Township Republican, noted that Hackel has complained repeatedly about the judicial gag order placed on himself and the other negotiators who hammered out the details of the new Great Lakes Water Authority.

Vosburg's speech during the board debate included this: "Our own executive bemoaned the fact that he was forced into secrecy, an executive who regularly refuses to participate in our own public process."

That was a reference to Hackel's Thursday appearance before the board marking the first time the executive has attended a legislative session in nearly a year.
During her stint as board chair in 2011-12, Vosburg routinely tangled with Hackel and complained that he was purposely keeping the commissioners out of the loop on a variety of issues.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Two candidates endorsed by NOW say No Thanks

In the category of, "Be careful what you wish for," two Michigan judges have gone through some awkward gyrations by seeking the endorsement of the National Organization for Women, receiving the NOW endorsement for Michigan, and then demanding that the group rescind the endorsement.

Here's how Michigan NOW, a decidedly left of center group, describes the situation:
"While Judge Cheryl Lohmeyer, Monroe County Probate Court, alleges to be an advocate for women’s rights, she also sought endorsement from Right to Life of Michigan, an anti-choice advocacy group.  She claims to have lost the RTL-M endorsement because of her Michigan NOW endorsement. 
"Michael Clarizio, Clinton County 65-A District Judge, also requested his removal from Michigan NOW’s endorsement list after invoking his support of NOW’s positions in the name of his wife and daughters.

“'This is a bizarre situation,' said Michigan NOW President Danielle Troia. 
'Apparently the candidates were not familiar with the mission and goals of Michigan NOW when they solicited our support. And in hindsight following the primaries, they’ve realized their goals are not compatible with ours.'”

As requested, Michigan NOW has removed their names from its list of recommended candidates.