tagged w/ Michigan
In Michigan, the Republican-controlled legislature succeeded in passing a new "right-to-work" law, which weakens unions' ability to negotiate and has serious negative implications for all workers in the state. They had no public meetings, no debate, no time for review, and had Republican staffers sit in seats in the gallery to block citizens from even being in the room to hear about it.
So this guy decided to say something about that.In Michigan, the Republican-controlled legislature succeeded in passing a new... more
After three plus hours of testimony and the agony of parsing definitions during this second hearing of an ordinance violation, Mr. Vern Verduin of Gaines Township wins the right of Free Speech!
Mr. Verduin parked two semi-truck trailers on his 40 acre farm that violated the 20 square feet allowed for political signs. His signs stated: Marxism/Socialism = Poverty and Hunger and Obama’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ : 8% Unemployment 16 Trillion Debt. If the signs advertised his business, the signs could have been twice as big. He was fined for violating the township ordinance after declaring his right to free speech by leaving the signs up.
Gaines Township took legal action against Mr. Verduin in an attempt to force him into compliance. After deliberating permanent vs temporary signs, content based vs content neutral, and debating the definition of vehicular signs, Judge Steven Servaas of 63rd District Court declared Gaines Township’s sign ordinance unconstitutional “because there is a distinction between commercial and political”. The Judge added that the law has to treat commercial and political speech the same. The Township’s ordinance allows a bigger sign to sell a product than a political idea. Constitutionally, this ordinance is upside down. The proper role of government is to protect the rights of the people; one of the most fundamental rights being the First Amendment.
As Mr. Howard VanDenHeuvel, the defendent’s attorney, states: “Political speech is the most valuable type of speech…and should be given the strictest protections.”
Full Story: http://mindsofliberty.com/2013/04/first-amendment-victory-in-michigan/#sthash.kxyschOg.IjwodRBD.dpufAfter three plus hours of testimony and the agony of parsing definitions during this... more
It really does suck to be a Michigander right now, because your Republican lawmakers apparently hate you – with a passion.
Let’s see, in the span of less than one week, they have managed to pass a pair of unprecedented union-busting bills; they’ve all but shut down women’s access to abortion services; and now they have passed an emergency manager bill, which would allow an emergency manager to “break or terminate collective bargaining agreements under certain circumstances.”
We're guessing those “circumstances” are defined rather broadly and are open to interpretation…
http://veracitystew.com/?p=46646It really does suck to be a Michigander right now, because your Republican lawmakers... more
The legislation, approved by both houses of the state legislature last Friday, has now been signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder, who signed the legislation behind closed doors on Tuesday night, despite massive protests at the State Capitol. The legislation contains language pulled directly from model legislation drafted by the Koch brothers-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC...
http://veracitystew.com/?p=46622The legislation, approved by both houses of the state legislature last Friday, has now... more
BIDEN PUTS WHITE HOUSE ON LOCKDOWN TO FIND CAR KEYS-Obama administration considering ways to overturn marijuana legalization-Tiffany Hartford and Father George Sayers Jr. have Baby, Arrested for Sex Crimes-Multiple media use linked to depression-Antonin Scalia is a disgusting human being. A tumorous boil on the ass of America.BIDEN PUTS WHITE HOUSE ON LOCKDOWN TO FIND CAR KEYS-Obama administration considering... more
Sugar Baron, the electro-rock trio from Pontiac, Michigan have learned a lot in the year they’ve been together as a band. From releasing a full length album, to booking their own tour and shows, the band embodies the DIY spirit to the nth degree. I recently sat down with the band to talk about lessons learned on the road, plans for a future record, and the importance of sleep.
“Jan slept from Novi, Michigan, all the way to Delaware. No, wait, New Jersey.” Ryan Weber (Guitars/Vocals) explains. “Delaware takes about 20 minutes to drive through” Randy Nelsen(Keyboards/Vocals) chimes in. Jan Kruszewski (Vocals/Keyboards) laughs them off, “I don’t think the guys understand how important sleep is. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I was able to play a show in New York the next day well rested, which really is the most important thing to me, especially when you’re in a van all day.”
“We were in Illinois and we got a flat tire and had to wait 9 hours for U-Haul to fix it in the parking lot of a mold infested $39 dollar hotel. We slept in the van. Our tour manager was the only one to sleep inside.” Randy explains, “It happened in New York. Some lady in a brand new BMW basically hit us and kept on going. We didn’t even realize it until Illinois. New York is weird, you’ll see all these super nice cars with scratches and dents and no one cares.” Jan adds, “Ryan almost fought a garbage man, too. It was fun.”
However, the best shows for them were in the home territory of the Midwest. According to Jan, “Madison was one of the funnest shows we had on the tour, even though no one showed up. We just bonded with the other bands, partied in the basement with the sound guy, like, no one gave of a fuck.” Randy goes on further, “Don’t book a show in Wisconsin with a bunch of out of town bands. Make sure you invite a local.”
“Kalamazoo was a fun show as well.” Jan says as he sips a beer. It should be noted that the band insisted we conduct the interview at a bar. “It was nice to see the fan base there. We played in a packed basement called The Courthouse that a bunch of guys from DIT Kalamazoo (http://www.ditkalamazoo.com) put on. It’s a bunch of student housing that they deem show houses. The kids knew all the words, it was ass to nuts packed.” Ryan adds “We sold like $250 worth of merch at a house show. It was crazy. We could hear the kids more than we could hear ourselves out of our monitors.”
“We were treated like rockstars up there, everyone was buying Jan shots, he blacked out.”
A lot of learning was done on the road as well. Ryan learned to not try and drive a van with a trailer in the middle of Times Square during rush hour. Jan learned to not take every shot he’s offered, and to not sweat the small stuff, “a lot of things went wrong on this tour, but I think that we became closer because of it.”
Almost immediately after returning home, Sugar Baron isn’t taking any time off. Jan explains, “We’re planning on releasing our next record in February. We’re really excited and we’re moving forward in our style and following a cohesive sound which is the next evolution of our music.” Randy adds “our last record was like building blocks, we used a lot of elements on top of one another to build the songs, this one is much more organic.”
“The last record also followed a story line, where as this one is much more personal and about the things that happened to all of us in our personal lives.”
Sugar Baron’s debut album “Monet on the Dance Floor” is available on iTunes now, and will be launching a full US tour early 2013.
They can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SugarBaronMusic or www.sugarbaronsucks.com
Photo by Chris Nassouri. Pictured left to right, Randy Nelsen, Jan Kruszewski, Ryan WeberSugar Baron, the electro-rock trio from Pontiac, Michigan have learned a lot in the... more
These fights are not over yet, people, so don’t you dare think you can sit back and rest on your laurels. Republicans who may have been ousted from their seats are doing everything in their power to pass these laws before they’re forced to vacate. And Michigan has morphed into yet another ground zero for civil and union rights.
http://veracitystew.com/?p=46522These fights are not over yet, people, so don’t you dare think you can sit back... more
Michigan is poised to become the 24th “right-to-work” state after a day of protests and fast action in Lansing Thursday (December 6). The House and Senate passed versions of the legislation, which would make it illegal to require workers to pay union fees as a condition of their employmentMichigan is poised to become the 24th “right-to-work” state after a day of... more
Faith communities see a moral obligation to support a constitutional amendment requiring Michigan utilities to buy more renewable energy.
An initiative on Michigan's ballot is finding support in an unlikely place – churches.
"As a pastor, I look at the call in the first book of Genesis, to care for the Earth, and to the gospels' call to love thy neighbor," said the Rev. Terry Gallagher, a pastor at Sacred Conversation in Trenton, Mich. "If we don't change energy paths, we're dooming the future of the Earth."
The Renewable Energy Amendment would mandate that Michigan get 25 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025. The proposal was filed by Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs, a coalition of state businesses, labor organizations and health care advocates.
The amendment has drawn national attention because it would make Michigan the first state to have a renewable energy standard in its constitution. Now some churches in the state have lent their support.
Gallagher, who leads a congregation of about 60 worshipers, considers social justice an important part of his ministry. But supporting a ballot measure is new territory for the church, he said.
"We're always cautious about crossing the boundary between faith and politics. But once we got past whether or not it's acceptable, the reaction (from the congregation) is that we do need to do this," he said.
Faith leaders statewide
Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs has 33 faith leaders from across the state supporting the measure, said Julie Lyons Bricker, who is leading religious outreach for the group. Denominations include Roman Catholic, Evangelical Christian, Judaism, Quakers, Protestant and others, she said, and leaders have committed to educating their congregants on the proposal.
Last week the Michigan conference of the United Church of Christ, an umbrella organization representing more that 120 congregations, voted to endorse the proposal.
'We have a duty to be good stewards of creation, and using more renewable energy is an important step toward fulfilling this duty"
- Rev. Charles Morris,
St. Christopher Parish
Other supporters of the amendment, known as Proposal 3, include state environmental and labor groups, which cite a Michigan State University study [pdf] that said it would create 94,000 jobs. The study was partially paid for by the Michigan Environmental Council, which supports the amendment.
For faith leaders, it's a moral issue.
"We have a duty to be good stewards of creation, and using more renewable energy is an important step toward fulfilling this duty," said the Rev. Charles Morris of Detroit's St. Christopher Catholic Church in a statement. "By passing Proposal 3, we can put people back to work while protecting our land and air for future generations."
Rising energy costs
Opponents – including utility companies, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder – say the amendment will hit consumers in their pockets. The amendment stipulates that electric utility rate increases cannot go up more than 1 percent per year, and the 25 percent by 2025 deadline would be extended if it looks like rates might exceed that.
One study, paid for by opposition groups, found renewable energy costs are 67 percent higher than conventional sources, stoking fear that costs would rise and the 1 percent cap would be challenged in court.
The use of a constitutional amendment as a vehicle for change could doom the proposal.
Also working against the proposal: The use of a constitutional amendment as a vehicle for change. That, said Stephen Forrest, a vice president for research at the University of Michigan's Energy Institute, is an "oddity in the Michigan process" and could doom the effort.
"It muddies the water," Forrest said. "It might be voted down not because people don't agree with the standard, but because they don't want it in the constitution."
Thirty states – including Michigan – have a renewable energy standard on the books. Michigan's current standard is 10 percent of electricity must come from renewables by 2015. Forrest said the 25 percent renewables by 2025 is an aggressive push in a manufacturing state dependent upon cheap energy.
The religious community is taking a longer-term view, insisting that it is looking beyond politics. It's "about standing up for what's right," said Sister Lucille Janowiak of the Dominican Sisters in Grand Rapids.
"As people of faith we believe in taking care of our families, friends and neighbors and leaving our world better for generations to come," Janowiak said in a statement.
Added Gallagher: "If we take love of neighbor seriously, then we're called to modify our lives so we don't hurt others and damage them. "
"Our neighbors live downwind of these smokestacks."
More at the linkFaith communities see a moral obligation to support a constitutional amendment... more
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -
The State of Michigan is laying down some new rules when it comes to welfare. If you're a parent of school age children, they better attend class regularly or you risk losing your benefits.
Some of the people targeted by this new plan say it's just not that simple. There are a lot of reasons why kids can't make it to school and taking away the entire family's state aid they feel is not the answer.
"I think it's very unfair, and I think it's very stupid. I mean, it doesn't make sense," said Ebony Boost, who has three children and is currently on welfare.
She just learned about the state's new policy that will take effect October 1. If your child is truant missing more than ten days of school, your family's welfare cash benefits will be cut off.
"Maybe they have household problems, the parents. There might be something going on in the home, but I think they just need to investigate that further," Boost remarked.
The Michigan Department of Human Services is keeping tabs on kids ages six to 15 years old who will now have to prove they attended school. Threatening to take away state aid is expected to make parents more responsible.
"Our whole goal is that we're going to increase academic success for children," said Sheryl Thompson with the Department of Human Services. "We're going to have higher graduation rates because the most important thing with this also is that we want to end generational poverty and it starts by increasing our educational values."
Detroit Public Schools has one of the largest truancy rates in the state. Critics of the new crackdown don't see the connection.
"It's not always as simple as saying your the mother, send them to school," said Theresa Williams, a mother of four that receives state aid. "If it was that simple, it would be done. We wouldn't even be at this stage of them talking about that. So, it's not always that simple. You don't know what's going on inside a home unless you're there."
Maureen Taylor, head of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, believes the plan unfairly targets low income families since they are not the only ones who aren't going to school.
"What kind of plan is this? Let's punish everybody. Because this kid may have missed some days of school, maybe we should find out why that kid missed school," she said. "I like motivation, but the motivation here is to take away breakfast, lunch and dinner."
The policy change takes effect two days before Michigan's fall count day when attendance is used to determine the funding a school district gets from the state. There are plenty in favor of the new plan like Ryan Battle, who said there is no excuse why a parent shouldn't be sending their kid to school.
"It matters. I mean, if you're not going to school, if you're not doing what you're supposed to do with your kids, then how is the future going to work? You can't raise new presidents if you don't go to school," he said.
Thompson said the state does plan to work with families and they can get their benefits back if the state gets verification that the student has been back in school for 21 consecutive calendar days.SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -
The State of Michigan is laying down some new rules when... more
8 months ago
The mayor and the majority of the city commission joined other public officials today in endorsing Proposal 2 - the city ballot question that would decriminalize possession of marijuana.
"Gathering around this issue today is simply another example of Grand Rapids perhaps leading the way but taking risks to getting something done" said John Logie, the city's Mayor from 1992 - 2003 and chairman of the Decriminalize GR campaign.
http://grcentral.wzzm13.com/news/news/73353-gr-city-leaders-support-decriminalizing-marijuanaThe mayor and the majority of the city commission joined other public officials today... more
Resolution to a story The Stew has been following for two years:
We hear about it all the time – a member of the LGBT community attracts the attention of the wrong homophobe in power and suddenly life becomes a living hell for that person. This time, the perpetrator of that hell, former Michigan Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, will pay big time.
http://veracitystew.com/?p=41935Resolution to a story The Stew has been following for two years:
We hear... more
Detroit, better known as the Motor City or simply Motown, is a city which for decades stood as a symbol of the American dream.
Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, also called the 'big three' car makers, turned Detroit into the heart and soul of America's manufacturing industry for most of the 20th century.
But today, Detroit is now a new symbol. One of a US economy still struggling to recover from its worst crisis since 1929 - a crisis so serious that the government in Washington gave the country's car manufacturers an $80 billion (64 billion euro) bailout.
And despite signs that this bailout has been a success, for many Americans, the struggle is still not over.Detroit, better known as the Motor City or simply Motown, is a city which for decades... more
olks; the question is ripe for the asking: How come Republicans always try to block the vote by citing non-existent rampant voter fraud, when it’s almost always Republicans who are indicted for that particular crime?
http://veracitystew.com/?p=40730olks; the question is ripe for the asking: How come Republicans always try to block... more
On 27th June, international campaigners for justice in Bhopal are uniting around the world to take action against Dow Chemical. With one month to go to the London Olympics, demonstrators are marking this day by calling for Dow to be dropped as an Olympic sponsor. Actions will be taking place in India, the UK, the US and Canada.
"We are calling for the Olympic sponsorship deal with Dow to be dropped because Dow is the company now responsible for the consequences of the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984.The disaster killed over 20,000 and caused injury and illness to thousands more . Dow bought Union Carbide, the company which owned the site in Bhopal when the gas leak occurred, in 2001  The site of the disaster has still not been cleaned up, which has caused contamination of the water supply for thousands of Bhopalis . Hundreds of children continue to be born every year with birth defects as a result ."
More at the link
Actions are still going on today to call for DOW to step down as an Olympic sponsor and for justice for the victims of Bhopal.On 27th June, international campaigners for justice in Bhopal are uniting around the... more
When jobs started to make a comeback, Mitt Romney’s message quickly changed to “Yes, my party screwed up the economy, but Obama’s not fixing it fast enough.” -- Once again, The Stew has the facts to debunk the Right-Wing's lies...
http://veracitystew.com/?p=37957When jobs started to make a comeback, Mitt Romney’s message quickly changed to... more
In a debate over Republican attempts to restrict womens' right to health care, Representative Lisa Brown, making reference to the context of the bill under debate, said: "Finally Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but 'no' means 'no.'"
Brown continued: "While there was a scatter of applause from my colleagues, there were no dropped jaws, bulging eyes or fainting. In fact, the only remarkable thing about their response is that there was virtually no response at all." However, the next day Brown got word that Republican House leaders had banned her from speaking on the House floor. Later that day, Rep. Mike Callton told the press that what I had said was so vile, so disgusting, that he could never bear to mention it in front of women or "mixed company."
A storm of protest has ensued, but Brown remains at odds with the Michigan legislature. Watch the video. Experience today's Republicanism, emboldened by the Democratic failure to unseat Wisconsin's anti-labor governor. Anti-labor, anti-woman, inhumane.In a debate over Republican attempts to restrict womens' right to health care,... more
Warning: Repeated use of the word "vagina" follows. Please make all children and Republican lawmakers leave the room!
http://veracitystew.com/?p=37578Warning: Repeated use of the word "vagina" follows. Please make all children... more
If you you don’t like vaginas, look away. If you don’t want to hear about vaginas, look away. If you can’t say vagina without throwing up, you’re a damn nut!If you you don’t like vaginas, look away. If you don’t want to hear about... more
Clearly cooler than the war on poverty, the war on women's reproductive rights reaches new heights this month as Michigan joins other states in passing vagina-bashing legislation. Oh! And the word for female genitalia is also apparently prohibited as well. That is if you're a Michigan legislator. And you're a woman. And you talk too much. And it makes sense.Clearly cooler than the war on poverty, the war on women's reproductive rights... more