Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Poll

It was past time to update the polls. With Fred Thompson it, it is time for a new sidebar poll.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fred Thompson apparently in for 2008

At least it looks like it from the Tennessan

Thompson, a former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, has been coy about his intentions with audiences, but made clear in an interview that he plans to run.




"I can't remember exactly the point that I said, 'I'm going to do this,' " Thompson says, his 6-foot, 6-inch frame sprawled comfortably across a couch in a hotel suite. "But when I did, the thing that occurred to me: 'I'm going to tell people that I am thinking about it and see what kind of reaction I get to it.' "

His late start carries some problems but also "certain advantages," he says. "Nobody has maxed out to me" in contributions, he notes, and using the Internet already "has allowed me to be in the hunt, so to speak, without spending a dime."

Thompson could reshape a GOP contest in which each of the three leaders has significant vulnerabilities and none of the seven second-tier contenders has broken through. Without formally joining the race — he's preparing to do that as early as the first week of July — Thompson already is placing third and better among Republican candidates in some national polls.

Dissatisfaction among one-third of Republicans with the 2008 field has opened the door for the candidate whose folksy tone, actor's ease before an audience and conservative credentials drew comparisons to Ronald Reagan at the annual Connecticut GOP dinner here. Thompson addressed the dinner last week to a sold-out audience.

"People listen to him and see someone who's very comfortable with who he is and confident about what he believes in," state Republican chairman Chris Healy says. "That's a skill that, obviously, Ronald Reagan took to great heights."

Thompson, who's left a five-season stint playing Manhattan District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC's Law & Order, says his model will be the untraditional campaign he ran for the Senate in 1994.


I'm not jumping on the bandwagon yet and unless Mike Pence and Mark Sanford jump in, I'm probably waiting till the Mackinac Conference to make a decision on who I support.

That said, Thompson is a candidate I'll be considering. Against him is that he's voted for McCain/Feingold. That's a big negative and I'll have to talk to him or his policy guys about that before backing him. I've heard he has buyers remorse about that law due to the Soros ads, but we'll see. He did have a pro-2a and pro-life record in the senate however, that's more than the other candidates.

Another thing in his favor is that he got out of senate in 2002 and isn't a part of the current class of jokers there.

Before he was an actor, he was a Watergate attorney involved with Nixon's resignation who worked with Senator Howard Baker. Later he exposed a pardon selling scandal leading to then governor Ray Blanton not running for re-election. The Tennessee pardon scandal lead to Thompson's acting career. Hollywood was looking for someone to play Thompson in the movie about the case. Thompson played himself in the movie.

This is going to be interesting as he's part of the debates. There's a lot of conservatives unhappy with the "frontrunners" who are asking him to run. Will he live up to the hype as he's apparently now in? I'm waiting and seeing. How's he going to handle the attacks? Is he consistant on his views? We'll see.

He's won big in his two senate races, once in 94 defeating an appointed incumbent Jim Cooper (replaced Gore in 92), and once in 96, getting 60%+. That was before Tennessee became a Republican leaning (although it's very competitive on the state level) state. Can he do it again?

I'm going to wait and see before joining this bandwagon, but I'll be considering it in September if it shows me something.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Budget Update

A little delayed, but here's the latest on the budget. I wanted to get comments from Chris Ward and Joe Hune's office before posting this. As soon as I hear back with the official explanation and not speculation, I'll update this.

Some good news. The budget deal for 07 took place without raising taxes. The bad news? It was a bit of a gimmicky budget, and the “Matt Millen of Governors”, Granholm is going to push even harder for a tax increase for 08 as she’s a quintessential tax and spender.

From the Detroit News

LANSING -- State lawmakers and Gov. Jennifer Granholm tonight came to a budget deal for the current year, breaking a 3 = -month impasse, that avoids shutting down government, cutting per-pupil state aid or enacting a major tax increase.

Legislative leaders, the governor and key aides huddled behind closed doors all day and a deal cutting $317 million from the budget was announced to lawmakers about 6 p.m. About an hour later and without debate, the Democratic House approved the pact on a 69-37 vote; the Republican Senate quickly followed suit, 26-10.

The deal also involves tapping a substantial amount of money from a lawsuit settlement with tobacco companies.

The specifics of the budget cuts and the amount of money siphoned from the tobacco suit were not immediately known. But the agreement averted a $116 per pupil reduction in promised school aid that had been threatened since May 1. School district officials said that kind of loss at the end of the school year would be devastating.

The legislative sessions scheduled for Saturday -- weekend sessions are an extreme rarity -- were canceled. Lawmakers will return to work next week to complete action on dealing with this year's $800 million shortfall. Not all of the deficit was eliminated by tonight's action.

While this year's problem will be addressed without a major tax increase, the same cannot be said for the budget year beginning Oct. 1, when spending is expected to exceed revenues by at least $1.6 billion. Chances are that an income tax and sales tax increase will be needed to close that gaping hole; economists don't expect a turnaround in Michigan's economic fortunes until sometime in 2008.

Highlights:
No loss of school aid
No tax increase for this fiscal year
No cutbacks in Medicaid reimbursements
Money will be borrowed from tobacco settlement
Additional cuts likely next week


Our County was split on the budget. Valde Garcia voted for it, while both Chris Ward and Joe Hune opposed it. I looked at the votes and it wasn’t a normal split.

The senate was more party line than the house, but even there you had the most conservative (Sanborn) and one of the most leftist (Gilda Jacobs) state senators both voting for it. Most of the nay votes were from hardline liberals with the exception of Barcia and Prusi.

Roll Call No.151 Yeas--26
Jason Allen (R)
Valde Garcia (R)
Roger Kahn (R)
Randy Richardville (R)
Glenn Anderson (D)
Tom George (R)
Wayne Kuipers (R)
Alan Sanborn (R)
Patricia Birkholz (R)
Jud Gilbert (R)
Michelle McManus (R)
Tony Stamas (R)
Mike Bishop (R)
John Gleason (D)
Dennis Olshove (D)
Mickey Switalski (D)
Cameron Brown (R)
Bill Hardiman (R)
John Pappageorge (R)
Samuel Buzz Thomas (D)
Deb Cherry (D)
Gilda Jacobs (D)
Bruce Patterson (R)
Gerry Van Woerkom (R)
Alan Cropsey (R)
Ron Jelinek (R)

Nays--10 (All Dems)
Jim Barcia
Irma Clark-Coleman
Michael Prusi
Martha Scott
Raymond Basham
Hansen Clarke
Mark Schauer
Gretchen Whitmer
Liz Brater
Tupac Hunter

Excused--2
Nancy Cassis (R)
Mark Jansen (R)

Not Voting--0

Some comments in the record from Bill Hardiman and Roger Kahn:

Senator Hardiman's statement is as follows:

Mr.President, I just want to say that I really appreciate all the work that has gone into negotiating this bill and this agreement. There are many wonderful aspects about it, and I will support it. I do have a problem with the higher ed component of the bill. I think it treats those universities that are bringing in more students very unfairly, and the Governor has stated that she wants to double the number of college graduates. The universities that are working to do that are penalized under this bill, but there are so many other wonderful aspects and I do believe we need to come to some conclusion. I will support the bill. I, once again, appreciate those who have negotiated this.


Senator Kahn's statement is as follows:

It has been a long and tough day, tough for our people, tough for us here. This bill has flaws in it. I think we all recognize that. In my community, it, too, is tough on higher education. I've talked to the people in my education community and they are sorely disappointed. I've also talked to the chair of higher ed who I'm grateful to say will work hard to preserve the ability of each of our universities to have a floor under which will fund all students.

On the other hand, this bill preserves and protects revenue sharing. It preserves and protects fees paid to medical care providers, and I can tell you that the medical care providers have suffered long for many years. I will vote for this bill so that the process moves forward to providing us a balanced budget in 2007 and allows us to discuss where we are going to be for Michigan in 2008.


On the house side, the vote was 69-37

Roll Call No. 173 Yeas--69

Frank Accavitti (D)
Mark Corriveau (D)
Bill Huizenga (R)
John Proos (R)
Dan Acciavatti (R)
Craig DeRoche (R)
Rick Jones (R)
Dave Robertson (R)
Dave Agema (R)
Andy Dillon (D)
Michael Lahti (D)
Tory Rocca (R)
Kathy Angerer (D)
Marie Donigan (D)
Phil LaJoy (R)
Bettie Scott (D)
Richard Ball (R)
Kate Ebli (D)
Davie Law (R)
Rick Shaffer (R)
Steve Bieda (D)
John Espinoza (D)
Gary McDowell (D)
Fulton Sheen (R)
Darwin Booher (R)
Barbara Farrah (D)
Arlen Meekhof (R)
Joel Sheltrown (D)
Jack Brandenburg (R)
Ed Gaffney (R)
Kim Meltzer (R)
Mike Simpson (D)
Terry Brown (D)
Lee Gonzales (D)
Fred Miller (D)
Dudley Spade (D)
Pam Byrnes (D)
Kevin Green (R)
Tim Moore (R)
John Stahl (R)
Barb Byrum (D)
Martin Griffin (D)
Mike Nofs (R)
Glenn Steil (R)
Tom Casperson (R)
Richard Hammel (D)
Paul Opsommer (R)
Steve Tobocman (D)
Bruce Caswell (R)
Ted Hammon (D)
David Palsrok (R)
Aldo Vagnozzi (D)
Bill Caul (R)
Goeff Hansen (R)
John Pastor (R)
Mary Valentine (D)
Brenda Clack (D)
Dave Hildenbrand (R)
Phil Pavlov (R)
Howard Walker (R)
Ed Clemente (D)
Jack Hoogendyk (R)
Tom Pearce (R)
Lisa Wojno (D)
Paul Condino (D)
Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D)
Gino Polidori (D)
Coleman Young (D)
Bob Constan (D)

Nays--37
Fran Amos (R)
Morris Hood (D)
Gabe Leland (D)
Neal Nitz (R)
Joan Bauer (D)
Ken Horn (R)
Lamar Lemmons (D)
Michael Sak (D)
Doug Bennett (D)
Joe Hune (R)
Steven Lindberg (D)
Tonya Schuitmaker (R)
Brian Calley (R)
Shanelle Jackson (D)
Jim Marleau (R)
Alma Smith (D)
Andy Coulouris (D)
Bert Johnson (D)
Jeff Mayes (D)
Virgil Smith (D)
George Cushingberry (D)
Robert Jones (D)
Mark Meadows (D)
John Stakoe (R)
Robert Dean (D)
Marty Knollenberg (D)
Andy Meisner (D)
Chris Ward (R)
Kevin Elsenheimer (R)
Kathleen Law (D)
Tim Melton (D)
Rebekah Warren (D)
Judy Emmons (R)
Richard LeBlanc (D)
John Moolenaar (R)
Lorence Wenke (R)
Matt Gillard (D)

Comments:
Rep. Kathleen Law, having reserved the right to explain her protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement:

"Mr. Speaker and members of the House:

I voted no on SB436 because of the lack of a tie bar to revenue. While SB 436 does not cut medicade funding and funding for medical providers it does cut into the bone and sinew of the states citizens. Continued administrative shifts and deferrals will not solve our current crisis."

Rep. Elsenheimer, having reserved the right to explain his protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement:

"Mr. Speaker and members of the House:

I would vote for this bill if it did not include the cut to the Bovine TB fund. I have spent a great deal of time working to move toward several northern Michigan counties acquiring TB free status, and the loss of this line item will make that almost impossible. The resulting disruption to the sale and movement of beef cattle has the potential to affect millions of dollars in transactions in this industry, and will set back the advances being made to fight this devastating disease. There were several other areas inn the budget where cuts could have been made without raiding this fund.

Beyond the Bovine TB issue, I am not pleased that the bill was distributed to the minority only minutes before a vote was taken on the bill."


Rep. Leland, having reserved the right to explain his protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement:

"Mr. Speaker and members of the House:

I voted no on SB 436 because of the cuts to services that are critical to the most vulnerable citizens in my district and the state of Michigan as a whole. In particular, cuts to the Healthy Michigan Fund, which funds the Morris Hood Diabetes Outreach program, and minority health initiatives. Additionally, cuts to Arts & Cultural grants will cause devastation to important cultural tourism and local arts programs that are essential to the development and revitalization of our communities. Furthermore, because this bill is not tie-barred to a bill that provides additional revenues, it still leaves our state in a budget deficit after these draconian cuts."


Rep. Hood, having reserved the right to explain his protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement:

"Mr. Speaker and members of the House:

I voted no on SB436 because of the reductions and elimination of programs that are critical to the most vulnerable of our citizens. The cut to Community Colleges, where people go when they are unable to attend a University, is crucial. The institutions of higher learning provide a service when people have limited choices, because of finances, transportation, or health issues. The reduction in Community Health (61million plus) hits many of the programs that are needed. These cuts will cost us more in the long run because of the lose of prevent ional measures. When we talk about being Environmentally responsible, but turn around and cut over 310,000 dollars in our Environmental Quality budget, which is used for contamination cleanup, are we as really worried about our environment. When programs are cut out of this budget such as the Morris Hood diabetes center, located on the campus of Wayne State University, which serves people with diabetes, which is one of our leading contributors of death, all across this state with treatment and prevention is a disgrace."


--------------

Overall, I'm glad there's no tax increase, but I don't like the gimmicks. This is a pass the buck stopgap measure delaying the hard decisions until later. I still would have voted for this as it was the least worst solution considering the time constraints with the schools cuts. However, a real long term solution needs to be made, and it needs to be made without a tax increase to bail out the fiscal mismanagement by government.

There's a lot more work to do.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

If I was NRCC/RNC chair......

Sometimes, I wonder what the DC beltway people are thinking. Both parties fall into this trap that "you suck" is a great campaign message. I think it's part of one, but not the whole thing.

The latest from the politico

House Republicans have a fairly simple plan to reclaim the majority: Blame Nancy.

The National Republican Congressional Committee launches its first national advertising blitz Thursday with a drive to tie freshmen Democrats to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The GOP's cash-strapped campaign arm will launch a mix of radio ads and automated phone calls targeting 18 freshman Democrats for allegedly marching in lockstep with the speaker, a California Democrat who is regularly depicted by Republicans as an out-of-touch liberal.

This modest campaign comes 17 months before the next election and signals the seats that Republicans are targeting in 2008. But it also marks an ambitious decision by the campaign committee to go after the speaker in an effort to unseat her most vulnerable members.


This doesn't sound that much different than the last go around in 06, which is a big mistake. This was my concern ever since the same house leadership was kept after the debacle in 06 instead of going with a new direction with people like Mike Pence, Jeb Henserling, and John Shadegg and the Republican Study Committee. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. There's a reasom Bob Shrum has lost 5 democrat presidential races.

So here's some advice to do something different. If I was running the elections campaign, this is what I was do.

A. Run as leaders. I get tired of candidates who say they are going to follow Candidate X's agenda. That kills us when candidate x (president, governor, etc) is unpopular. We got killed the most in the socially conservative independent areas.

B. Formulate a plan. Something beyond "Vote for me since they suck" This is what worked so well for us at our height. (1994) Yes, Bill Clinton absolutely sucked (although nobody is on Jimmy Carter's level since Franklin Pierce) I've gotten to the point where I refer to myself as a 1994 Republican to differentiate myself from some of the jokers out there with the big spending, big government, and abandonment of the conservative values of the party I've joined. If I wanted big government, I'd vote democrat.

C. Effective communications. The democrats ran on ethics, and gave us the same old crap that they pushed that lead to 1994.

How would I run the show?

1. Every race is contested on the ballot. If someone gets a free ride, they can help other candidates. John Dingell is a master when it comes to helping other candidates. We need to prevent this as much as possible.

2. Target 75-100 candidates in marginal and even long shot seats. They don't have to be big names, but they need to be clean. No Don Sherwood or Mark Foley disasters. By marginal or long shot seats, I refer to any seat that Bush got under 60% in 2000 or 2004. These need to be pushed, and we need to push in not just swing districts, but the tier 2/3 areas as well. Bart Stupak in this state should be targeted. He'd be tough to beat, but longtime incumbents have lost before. Harold Volkmer (sp) and Jack Brooks were upset in 1994.

3. Forget about the president candidate and coattails. Those are not controllable or only controlled to a limited extent by congressional candidates. Run your own race.

4. Plan. How do we get those tier 2 districts in play? Outside of a disaster on the other side, by a good plan. Tier II races won't have a lot of money. That can be overcomed with strong discipline, hard work, and a good message.

A. I'd create a slate with as many of those 75-100 candidates all on the same page. While there will be issue differences among them, run on the 90% issues. Ethics. Responsibility. Balanced Budget (Remember that? - It hasn't been done since Gingrich did it, and got the king of followers Clinton to finally go alone with him).

B. With the money problems, I'd create generic ads for most of those tier 2 races - "Contract 08 ads"

C. I'd emphasis that these candidates aren't the same politicians as the days of old. They wern't in office for the 04-05 disasters. New direction.

D. Issues to run on - if I was running
a1. Fiscal responsibility - balanced budget. Anything less is unacceptable - enact a balanced budget amendment.

a2. Peace with honor - End the war in Iraq, and do it the right way. I think Tommy Thompson had the right idea on it back in the debate.

a3. New energy policy - foget CAFE standards and other heavily regulatory crap. It's time to address our Achillees Heel so we can tell the Middle East and Hugo Chavez to go pound sand. Research and development, hard science. Cold Fusion is one example. Yes, it is not possible now, but neither was a man on the moon. This is the nation of innovation. It can be done.

a4. Border security - Current plan is unacceptable.

a5. Less government - It's time to bring that back.

a6. Low taxes and less regulation - People know what's best, government doesn't know what's best.

I didn't mention guns, abortion, or any of the social issues. Whether they fly or not depend on the district and depends on what's in the news or not at the time.

5. Communication. Again, we have been shown by Abscam Murtha, Pelosi and the rest of the crew the same old song and dance. I would have a communication strategy as follows for any non incumbent.

1. List the democrat promises and their failure to keep them. A variant would be a democrat running his mouth with the mute button on and overdub going "blah blah blah, same ole political bull" after the 2nd statement of the fact that they failed to live up to promised. Don't even name the party however.
2. Voter line - "We were promised this if the other guys were elected, and got the same old song and dance. They lied to us." Refer to the plan.
3. Introduce the new candidate - use any non incumbent for this.

6. Live up to the promises once elected. Do not back down on them, and do not forget where you come from.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Valde Garcia on the fence?

Apparently that's the word from Nick at RightMichigan.com It also coincides with what I have heard from several sources.

Things are moving fast in Lansing right now folks with all sorts of discussion and conversation.
I understand State Senator Valde Garcia is being courted heavily right now by the Governor and her staff. They're trying to get him to go along to get along and hoping he'll forget who he works for in his zeal to cut a deal.

Please email and call Senator Garcia right away:

Email: SenVGarcia@senate.michigan.gov
Office: 517-373-2420

Tell him to vote NO on new taxes and yes on Michigan's future. Tell him to support real substantive reform and that Lansing has a spending problem, not a taxing problem.

Tell him to remember his conservative principles and not to sell out.


Granholm's tax increase - call your senators and reps now!

The rumor in Lansing is that Granholm is out dealmaking with republicans in safe seats in order to protect marginal democrats who support the Granholm tax, but do not want to vote yes on it since the citizens do not support the Granholm tax proposals.

This is why we need to watch our reps and senators like a hawk and have a long memory on this vote. This vote will be a dealbreaker for me when it comes to future elections and future offices. If my rep votes for this, I'll be voting for someone else in a primary or general election. We can not have a Granholm tax victory to bail out government for its absolute failure in living within its means. We can not destroy our economy even more than it already is.

Republicans are supposed to stand for less government, lower spending (Despite what Bush and Ted Stevens think), and most of all low taxes. When they fail to do so, we need to hold their feet to the fire. I expect higher taxes, big government, and high spending from democrats. If that is what I wanted in a rep, I would have voted democrat.

Senate majority leader Mike Bishop is doing a very good job at holding the line against the Granholm tax with his 2 vote majority. He needs our help. Our citizens need our help.

Michigan House Site

Michigan Senate Site

One of the senators who needs to hear from us is our own Valde Garcia. Valde's a good guy who has always been there on the social issues, but unfortunately, I sometimes have to hold my breath when a fiscal vote is up. He usually votes our way, but he did for the "tax shift" a few years back. He needs to hear from us in Livingston County. If this is going to be stopped, it will be stopped in the senate, and we need Valde Garcia to step up and do the right thing. That goes for all of our reps in this state.

We need to make sure that Granholm's deal with safe republicans to protect marginal democrats fail. We need to make sure those marginal democrats do the right thing. We need to make sure that our republicans act like republicans and do the right thing.

No new taxes. Recall Granholm.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Immigration, Amnesty, guest workers, and fences

Sorry for the long delay on blog posts. I was taking a much needed vacation up along the Au Sable river.

The major thing in the news lately has been immigration reform and possible amnesty. Apparently, a deal has been made between Ted Kennedy, John McCain, and President Bush.

The agribusiness wing of the GOP and the democrats both want an amnesty plan to make illegals citizens. Illegals are mostly from Mexico and for the most part, areas with large Mexican populations lean democrat. California is solidly democrat. Southern Texas is democrat. Arizona is much less republican than it was in Goldwater's time. Colorado is competitive, but Pueblo is democrat. The agribusiness gets cheap labor with a guest worker program. Bush has banked on this for his legacy and is a long time friend of permissive immigration policies.

Now, I have not seen a bill up in final format yet for a vote. I'll wait and see before it's in congress before I say yea or nay to it, but to say that my guard is up right now is a major league understatement. I never trusted Bush or McCain on immigration, and anything with Ted Kennedy's name on it is usually bad news. I wasn't a fan of No Child Left Behind, an am worried for another leftist boondoggle.

My concerns are as possible:

1. Where's the border security? We're asked to give up our freedoms with the Patriot Act, but very little has been done to control our borders. It is not just Mexican's who cross our border. Hezbollah terrorists have crossed our border. One found his way to Dearborn. Anything without major border control is unacceptable, on national security concerns alone.

2. Illegals need to go home first. This seems to be a real sticking point in negotiations. One thing I liked about the Pence compromise was this requirement. If this doesn't happen, I oppose it. We can not reward people for breaking the law. Reagan's amnesty was supposed to be a one time thing, and illegal immigration skyrocketed. If this isn't solved the right way, we'll have much more illegal immigration.

3. Any businesses hiring illegals need to get nailed. There's no supply without demand.

4. What's the "pathways" to citizenship. Will legal immigrants be pushed to the back of the bus? It's not easy to be a legal immigrant. It's much easier to sneak across the border.

For now, I'm waiting and seeing what the bill will be, and what's it voting form will be in the senate. Until there, it's not worth sounding the alarm except for us to all call our reps and make sure that there is not an amnesty plan.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Democrats still whining about voting laws

The democrats still have a burr up their saddle over Mike Rogers and his win in 2000 From the Argus

State Rep. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, has introduced legislation that would allow people to vote even if they have different addresses on their voter registration card and driver's license — making it easier for college students to vote where they attend school, rather than in their
hometowns.


The rule is that people must vote at their permanent address - where their drivers license is. That is how it should be. The democrats don't like that much since it makes it easier to make sure people vote once instead of twice. They are also still mad about Mike Rogers winning in 2000 by 88 votes, partly because SOME college students were ignorant/lazy and did not do their civic duty by knowing the laws. I emphasis some, since I was well aware of the laws. I was an MSU student in 2000 who split my time between Brighton and E. Lansing, and my permanent address was in Brighton for insurance purposes.

I wasn't a republican in 2000 (Independent who split votes about 50/50 between libertarians and Republicans), nor as active as I am today. Even then, I was aware of the then new law that stated that I had to vote at my permanent address. I made the extra effort to find out. I had no problems as I never missed a contested election. While some people were bitching, my ballot was already in Brighton.

The counter argument to the Rogers law is that students have to vote in person and can't vote absentee after they resigstration. A little EFFORT prevents that as well. I voted absentee every election I was at MSU unless I was in Brighton. There was a school board election in either May or June and also an August primary. As long as I voted in person the first time as the place I was registered, I can vote absentee up in Lansing.

The main reason I support the law is to stop voter fraud. It's a major problem, and it occurs in University towns. (Milwaukee - Marquette U had people voting over 10 times, and then bragging abnut it.) This law goes back to the custom of one man (or one woman) and one vote. If you are dead set on wanting to vote at the college town, you can register there as a permanent address. The downside to that is insurance in some cases.

If you don't know election basics, nor are willing to make an effort, you shouldn't be voting anyway - and that goes for Republicans and democrats alike as far as I'm concerned. Civics 101 isn't that hard. All it takes is a little effort. This law is no secret and hasn't been for 7 years. I hope is stays and I hope the state senate shoots it down.

Brighton City Council - uncontested

From the Argus

The uncontested candidates are:
Incumbents - John Tunis and Claudia Roblee
Newcomers - Jim Bohn and Zoning Appeals Board member Chad Cooper.

Monday, May 14, 2007

County democrats set their goals - Don't write them off

The dems are prepping for 2008. From the Argus

One Democratic county commissioner, five Democratic township trustees, and 51 percent of Livingston County residents voting for Democratic Sen. Carl Levin — those are the 2008 election goals for the party that has been the minority in this county for decades.
Matt Evans, chairman of the county Democratic Party, said goals were decided on after analyzing the results of the last
election.

"We think that we can do it," he said. "They're not going to be easy goals to meet ... We'll be running quite a few more candidates."



I'm going to get some flames from my side for this, but I think those goals are reachable. It has been done before here in Livingston County. I also have a quote for the Republicans here from one of my favorite movies - "Young Guns"

"A man has to test himself every day. When you stop testing yourself, you get slow. When that happens, they kill you."

We got slow nationally in 2006 due to some major league idiots. The republicans stopped being conservative, were fiscally irresponsible, had to deal with idiots like Mark Foley (good riddance), and took the social conservative populists for granted. That's when they killed us. We can not get slow here locally, or we will be on the short end of a 49%-47%-2% loss. In 2006, I said that we took one on the chin in this county and survived a decision. We got another fight on the horizon here.

As to the goals of Matt Evans,

1. Township trustees:
Putnam and Unadilla townships have always been strong locally for democrats. I believe there are about 8 trustees among them (at least six). If you get an incumbent dropping out unexpectedly at the filing deadline, with only a democrat challenging, they win one. That happened in Fowlerville - uncontested win. I think this is a very attainable goal for them unless we have a good eye on things. The bipartisan "Keep Putnam Rural" slate won big in 04. Development in general is a big issue around here, and is one that can effect us politically - both in a positive and negative way. This depends on the candidates.

2. One county commissioner:
This has been done before. Jake Donahue was a comissioner here 15 years ago, again in the Putnam/Unadilla area. What is contestable I think will be determined by which district is opened by candidates running for Chris Ward and Joe Hune's seats. So far, Steve Williams in County Commissioner district 6 is running for Ward's seat, so there is one open seat. The open seat covers all of Putnam Township, most of Marion Township, part of Genoa, and a small part of Hamburg. The district leans GOP thanks to Genoa/Marion, but I think that's a winnabe district for the dems if the GOP candidate bombs in Pinckney. I also expect at least two other county commission seats to open up (one solid GOP, one leaner) due to state rep candidates. I also expect at least two township supervisor seats to open up. Which ones.....wait and see.

3. Carl Levin getting 51%:
I doubt it, since Levin is so leftist that he might as well be a commie. Gun grabbing, abortion on demand, high taxes. He even sold out his union base by supporting permanent most favored trade status to China. He's far out of the mainstream of middle America. However, he's an institution and has been around for 30 years. Statewide democrats have won this county before, most recently Frank Kelley, so this is not unprecidented.

Another aspect is who is going to lead the ticket for each party. If it's Hillary, John Kerry, or Obama, then the dems will have a tough time reaching their goals. If the GOP runs a weak candidate, it's more attainable. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mike Bloomberg in 2008? Hell no!!!

This will be interesting if nothing else. Bloomberg has billions of dollars and would be a credible 3rd party candidate.

The Telegraph from London, England has an interesting write up on him.

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman and mayor of New York, is building the foundations for an audacious third-party presidential candidacy that would transform the 2008 race for the White House.

The Daily Telegraph has established that a senior aide to Mr Bloomberg has held three lunch meetings with officials from the Independence Party, during which detailed discussions took place as to how a third-party bid could be launched.

Kevin Sheekey, Mr Bloomberg's special adviser and chief political strategist, first met Frank MacKay, the New York chairman of the Independence Party, for talks in November at Manhattan's Four Seasons hotel.

Two further lunch meetings took place in quick succession early last month over steak and seafood at the city's well-known Bobby Van's restaurant.

Mr MacKay declined to confirm or deny whether the meetings had happened but said that he thought Mr Bloomberg would make an "excellent candidate".

Meanwhile, a source closely connected to the New York mayor's inner circle said: "He thinks he could be a great president. Mike Bloomberg has got $500 million to spend and he is supremely confident."

Mr Bloomberg, 65, would be likely to run as a social liberal and fiscal conservative with signature issues such as environmentalism and gun control.


Bloomberg would be so bad that I'd rather see Hillary Clinton win than this joker. Bloomberg calls himself a Republican, but was a democrat before he decided to switch parties to avoid a primary in his run for mayor of New York when Giuliani retired. He generally backed Northeastern politicians in general and recently, his biggest support was for Joe Lieberman.

Bloomberg is a epidomy of a big government activist. He raised property taxes and income taxes in New York. He supports a commuter tax. He's banned smoking, and banned trans fats in cooking. He's also a major supporter of gun grabs, and pushes for lawsuits against firearms manufacturers. He also is known to support illegal tactics in sting operations, in an attempt to attack gun dealers in Virginia. He was recently shot down (pun intended) for that by Virginia's AG. This guy is flat out bad news if he wins.

Bloomberg is also like Bush and Kennedy when it comes to illegal immigration. He supports it and supports amnesty.

For all the bad news he'll be, I do hope he runs on a 3rd party platform. I think he'll take a lot of votes away from democrats, particulary in affluent areas. He'd make things a lot easier for the right in New York (homer), Connecticutt (NYC Suburbs), New Jersey (NYC suburbs), Illinois (North Shore), Pennsylvania (Philly Burbs are full of rich liberals), Virginia (Fairfax area), Florida (Palm Beach County, Broward County, part of Miami), California (coast), Oregon (Coast), Washington State (coast), and to a lesser extent, North Carolina (The Triangle), Wisconsin (Madison area), Michigan (Ann Arbor and Oakland County), Ohio (Columbus area), New Mexico, Iowa and Nevada (The latter three are usually decided within 1%). He'll also peel off many Jewish voters as he'd be the first credible Jewish candidate for president in a general election. Think of the Lieberman effect in 2000 Florida, as well as a New York connection. Overall, I can see Bloomberg getting 5-10% nationwide with higher numbers in the Northeast. Even at 5%, it could make things a landslide for the GOP, or swing a close election our way.

If he does run, I think this will be John Anderson all over again. Anderson took votes from Carter and made Reagan's 1980 win a landslide. This could be good news for the GOP....unless a left leaning candidate is the GOP nominee. Then it will be big problems.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

School Elections Report – Low Turnout, We lose

School Elections Report – Low Turnout, We lose

The results are in and basic elections 101 comes into play. When mainstream voters stay home in Livingston County, we as taxpayers lose. That’s exactly what happened. The only one of ours who won was Greg Rassel in Brighton. Thanks to all the candidates for doing a tough and thankless job. Congratulations to the winners and to the challengers for making the winners run a tough race.

Results:
Brighton
Greg Rassel – 1100 (win)
Beth Minert – 1068 (win)
Winnie Garrett – 808
Patty Bradley – 647
Irene Besancon – 628
Jared Geist – 504
Keith Van Hentenryck – 337
Wesley Armbruster – 220 (Wes dropped out and did not run a campaign, but his name was on the ballot anyway)
Write in - 6

Fowlerville (uncontested)
Mike Brown – 172 (win)
Sheila Burkhart – 167 (win)

Hartland
Elsie McPherson-Brown – 1114 (win)
Dennis Tierney – 1011
Write in – 11

Howell:
Ed Literski – 2162 (win)
Jeannine Pratt – 1788 (win)
Bill Harvey – 1667
Doug More – 1657
Dan Fondriest – 1116
Write in (Phil Nickels) – 191

Pinckney:
Anne Colone – 1059
Michelle Crampo – 870
Jason Reifschneider – 464
Write in – 137

Partial Term
Write in – 105 (Kevin MacRitchie) (Win)


The establishment in schools has a built in advantage. There are the employees of the school, the PTO groups, and some of the town elite involved. They generally think on similar lines in school related election, although there are exceptions. They ALWAYS vote in school elections, and have their best advantage when there is turnout like we had in these elections – around 10% or less overall, with a higher turnout in places like the Cities of Howell and Brighton, along with Putnam Township which are more liberal than the rest of the county. Those people turned out to vote. They earned their wins.

I’m not going to precinct crunch due to time constraints, except that most were as expected. (Brighton 1-2 more liberal, Howell City liberal, townships more conservative)

The other question remains. We get around 58% turnout in gubernatorial elections and got over 75% turnout in presidential elections. We got 15-23% turnout in school elections last year, and 25-30% turnout two years ago with the millage on the ballot? What happened to revert back to the 3-10% old days? Fowlerville is excused. They had an uncontested election once again.

I can’t blame the local paper, at least in Howell’s case. Howell had a ton of publicity. Brighton Hartland, and Pinckney had little publicity. Even with all of Howell’s publicity, there was still a very low turnout of 10-15%, with 6% in Cohoctah. There was a 20%+ turnout last year, and a 25%+ turnout in 2005. That’s still low compared to a primary or general election, but high for a school election.

These are the reasons I think most stay home:
1. May elections. People vote in August (sometimes) and November. Those are the big elections. How many people get excited about a school election? Only political junkies and those directly effected (and not even all of them).
2. No reason to vote. Many view that it doesn’t affect them unless there’s a tax measure on the ballot. The reason the Concerned Taxpayers Group stays active is so that they prevent tax measurers from being proposed in the future due to fiscal responsibility.
3. In Howell, social views dominated, not fiscal. The fiscal errors that are going on with the powers that be are overshadowed by the Love group. What dominated was the books issue and the personalities related to the Love group. The moderates and center-right voters in the district let everyone know what they thought about it. They stayed home and did not vote. It was viewed as the “book burners” vs the “social engineers on the left” with no alternative choices. Last year with “high” turnout (for a school board race) Wendy Day won in 2002 with 2506 votes with second place Westmoreland winning with 2147 votes. Last place non write in – 1658. This year, the WINNER got about 2150 with 2nd place getting slightly under 1800. The last place non write in – about 1100. People stayed home.

Advice to both social sides from someone more socially libertarian (NOT to be confused with a social liberal). Don’t overreach. The majority of people did not want a rainbow flag flying in the hallway, nor censorship of songs as religious content, or people messing with the boy scouts. Those were overreaches. These issues are what gave the LOVE group a following in the first place. Love was fighting the social engineering. The books were a different matter. While there is an argument over whether any, some, or all of the books were appropriate in a school setting (Personally, I want in the middle on that), going to the prosecutor, attorney general, and US attorney backfired. Even more so when it was a public spectacle. That was a classic overreach. If LOVE did not go to the government and had this settled over elections, maybe another 75 votes would have switched, or another 100-150 voters showed up. We don’t know. With the overreaches, you have two results, angry public sending you home (Democrats in 1994, Republicans in 2006), or a discouraged public saying “the hell with this one-upsmanship contest, I’m staying home since none of the candidates are worth my support.” Turnout was down 10% from last year with this.

Advice to the Taxpayers Group. I think it’s time for us to expand into more races on the county level. We should be more than just involved in school related elections. We may have been born from the 2005 millage, but there’s no reason we should not be active in any county level race, and maybe even the state rep/state senate races with two open seats in 08. The 05 millage is old news now, and unfortunately, most voters have short memories. The drop in turnout speaks to that.

Lastly, the big winners here – The Argus. I believe all of the Argus backed candidates won. Minert and Rassel in Brighton. Pratt and Literski in Howell. The incumbents elsewhere. I think their endorsement is going to be more valuable for these races than it traditionally has been in partisan elections (2002 and 2004).

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

DC v Parker - Appeals Court denies re-hearing, on to SCOTUS?

Some good news from the DC Court of Appeals. The first appellate ruling stands, as the full DC Circuit declines to hear the case. When a case goes to appeals, a 3 judge panel hears the case. After that hearing, an appeal can be made for the full circuit to hear the case. The full circuit can decide to hear the case at its discretion. They chose not to, and now it in the hands of SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States). I don't claim to predict what SCOTUS will do, as I can see anything from a denial to hear the case to 6-3 against us to a 6-3 or 7-2 decision in our favor. It will be interesting, doubly so, since I think if SCOTUS hears this case, it could be decides in the middle of the 2008 election, which is real bad news for a gun grabber like Obama, Edwards, Hillary, or Giuliani.

From the Washington Post

"A federal appeals court in Washington today refused to reconsider a ruling that struck down a restrictive D.C. ban on gun ownership, setting the stage for a potential constitutional battle over the Second Amendment in the Supreme Court.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, holding an afternoon press conference after the court's decision was made public, said he was disappointed in the ruling and that the city will review its options before deciding what to do next. Fenty has vowed that the city would fight to defend the D.C. law because the restriction on owning handguns in the city was critical to stemming gun-related violence and crime"

The judges who supported re-hearing the case are Bill Clinton appointees,
Merrick Garland, Judith Rogers and David Tatel and George HW Bush appointee A. Raymond Randolph. One of the dissenting judges, Karen Henderson (GHWB appointee), opposed re-hearing the case along with Reagan appointees David Sentelle, Doug Ginsburg, and George W Bush appointees Janice Rogers Brown, Brett Kavanaugh, and Thomas Griffith.

The judicial appointees are the number one reason why I do not regret by vote for Bush. In fact, it was the reason why I voted for him, despite many policy differences regarding his stance on the size of government. The judiciary is the number one issue with me, regarding 2008.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Complaint filed against MEA for illegal mailing

Back on April 27 I broke the story about East Lansing's MEA breaking the law in their illegal campaign contributions. The Argus on May 2 confirmed the illegalities by the MEA.

The campaign finance laws are tricky in some respects. Other parts are basic and no brainers. Now, the MEA's PAC is an elite campaigning organization. They know all the tricks. This one was a no brainer. I think everyone knows that all the campaign advertisements to the public need to disclose the committee which paid for them, as well as the address of that committee.

MEA-PAC made the decision to mail out illegal independent expenditures in support of their two candidates, Dan Fondriest and Ed Literski. On their expenditure, they did not mention they were from East Lansing, nor did they disclose who paid for those advertisements. It was a shady move, and thanks to a few watchful eyes, they got caught.

This is an open and shut case. As such, I did the proper thing and filed a formal complaint with the bureau of elections against the East Lansing based MEA PAC. This complaint was strictly my work and not the work of any organization officially, nor unofficially. If this was a oversight missing just the "Paid for by" message, I'd let it go. If it just missed a return address, I'd let it go. Missing both is flat out unacceptable. Maybe a $1000 fine will send a message.

School Election - May 8

Tomorrow's the school board elections. Most people claim to have education as a major issue when they vote. Here is the chance for us all to prove it.

The best candidates, as endorsed by the Concerned Taxpayers Group's committee are as follows:

Brighton Schools:
Irene Besancon
Greg Rassel

Howell Schools:
Bill Harvey
Doug Moore

Pinckney Schools:
Jason Reifschneider

Polling locations are found at the County Clerk's website. Polling locations

Saturday, May 05, 2007

2008 GOP Candidates - Debate Report

I caught the debate (taped, saw it tonight) on MS-NBC between the 10 presidential candidates on the GOP side. This was in my normal transcript shorthand format when I watch these things and can be difficult to read. Overall, I thought the winner was Mike Huckabee, although I did not care much for the format.

--------------------------------------------

10 candidates
Mitt Romney – Former Mass. Governor
Sam Brownback – Kansas Senator
Jim Gilmore – Former Virginia Governor
Mike Huckabee – Former Arkansas Governor
Duncan Hunter – California Congressman (San Diego area)
Tommy Thompson – Former Wisconsin Governor
John McCain – Arizona Senator
Ron Paul – Texas Congressman (Surfside)
Rudy Giuliani – Former NYC mayor
Tom Tancredo – Colorado Congressman (Littleton)

Debate 90 minutes. Chris Matthews, John Harris – Questions
Some view questions
60 second answers to Matthews/Harris Q’s, 30 seconds for viewer Q’s
Rebuttals – 30 seconds
No open/closing statements or thank yous to hosts for time purposes.

Some Q’s A’s. I skipped most of the fluff. Some of the more interesting answers IMO (Whether I agree or disagree)

Iraq:

McCain – I need to show success in Iraq to people. He takes Congress to task over the Democrat’s bill, Harry Reid specific for his comment. “IF we lost, who won?” The house cheered surrender. We must win in Iraq. If we withdraw, genocide will happen and it will follow us home.

Thompson. First, we must support the troops. 3 things also need to happen.
1. Iraqi Government must vote if they want us there for legitimacy.
2. 18 territories. They need to elect governments there, prevent civil war
3. Split oil. 1/3 fed, 1/3 state, 1/3 every man, woman, child. Investing in their own country.

Duncan Hunter – Key to winning in Iraq is standing up 128 batallions in Iraqi army. They need to be ready and displace American units. Right way to leave Iraq.

Polls say 55% is unwinnable in Iraq:
Romney – If we want polls to win, we let TV run the country. That’s not want America wants. We need president of strength. We want troops home, in right way. If we leave wrong way, we could have more regional conflict. We may have to come back again.



Huckabee on Rumsfeld – “I would have fired him before the election. I certainly would not have said that I wouldn’t fire him, and then do so, but that’s the president’s call” Real error in judgment by listening to civilians in suits and silk ties and not listened to generals with real mud on boots and medals on chests. Those generals told us early on it would take 300,000 troops to stabilize Iraq. We gave limited troops/budget. That was mistake, but we need to finish the job, do it right, and not go back and do it over.

Ron Paul (asked about voting against war) – We need a non-intervention traditional foreign policy. That was Republican foreign policy in 20th Century. Eisenhower got us out of Korea, Nixon out of Nam. In 2000, we ran on no nation building and humble foreign policy. Declare war if we go, not for UN resolutions or political reasons.

Iran
McCain – We need to bring greater pressures to Iran. Diplomacy, economic, etc with Iran, which is very cultural. Greatest fear – Iran getting nuke and giving to terrorist. There are lots of options, but not war right now.

Constitution to allow foreign born candidates to run for president.
Romney – probably not
Brownback – no
Gilmore – no – don’t like to amend constitution
Huckabee – after 8 years, yes
Hunter – no
Thompson – no
McCain – consider it
Ron Paul – No, strong supporter of original intent
Rudy – yes
Tancredo – no

Ron Paul – Phase out IRS?
Absolutely! Immediately. If we want to lower taxes, change policy (Spending)

Okay Abortion first 8 weeks?
Gilmore – Yes. But I have a pro-life record. Waiting period. Partial Birth Abortion

Thompson – Leave abortion up to the states. I have a prolife record. Signed pro-life bills (listed them). States law.

Romney –
Always personally pro-life, but question on government. I changed my mind 2 years ago.
States should make decision

Brownback asked if he can support GOP’er who is prochoice
I can – Reagan commandment. Agree with 80% But life is a central issue of our day.

Rudy – Asked Why support public funding for abortions? “I don’t” I support Hyde Amendment. State decision. I supported it in NY, other places can make decision.

Moral vs Libertarian with purpose
Paul – What is the goal of govt? Promote liberty – brings us together. Police weakens liberty. We’re fretting about 3rd war countries but stood up to Soviets.

Ok for private employee to fire gays
Thompson – Private decision

----
Hunter - We need to win the right way. Build the border fence, let people knock on the door.

Tancredo – Karl Rove wouldn’t be employed in my White House.

Thompson – Biggest problem in our party - We went to change Washington, and it changed us. I started Welfare Reform plan as governor. It would get democrats, independents to support.

McCain – We lost in 2006 – spending got out of control. I will veto a pork bill and make them famous.

What specific cuts:
McCain – Line item veto best tool. Start with defense aqusition. Stop pork spending, then go programs.

Fed funding of embryonic stem cell way.
Romney – None on farming embryos. Fine to be legal, not government. Support AlteredNuclear transfer.
Brownback – no
Gilmore – no Can’t create people to end life
Huckabee – no
Hunter – No, alternatives
Thompson – Not yes/no. A lot of research right now. Adult stem cell research right now.
McCain – We need to fund this.
Ron Paul – Not authorized on constitution. Market/states should deal with it.
Rudy –Yes if not cloning or created to destroy.
Tancredo – Not with tax money.

Flip Flops
McCain – No provisions on Social Security or contingency. Make tax cuts permanent, else it’s a tax increase.

Taxcuts
Romney – 0% Capital Gains tax on middle income
Brownback – Flat tax – choose between current or flat
Gilmore – I kept my word on taxes as governor. Cut Alternative minimum tax.
Huckabee – We need Fairtax! Get rid of IRS and all capital gians, individual/corporate
Hunter – Manufacuters getting killed with dumb trade deals with double tax. Eliminate manufacturing taxes.
Thompson –Vetoed 1990 items, reduced taxes. Alternative min tax – flat tax.
McCain – Line item veto on these. Alt min tax, 3000 tax credit for purchase health insueance. Flatter fair tax.
Ron Paul – Get rid of inflation tax and income tax. Printing too much money. Need sound money.
Rudy – AMT and death tax. Keep tax cuts. 2011 tax increase needs to be stopped.
Tancredo – Support fairtax. Repeal 16th Amendment or we’ll have both. We need to deal with mandatory structural problem.

What Govt does poorly:
Hunter – Secure border. People crossing Mexican border illegally – not just Mexicans. Communist China. Iran.

Romney asked - What cabinent would you keep? A: Entire new team.

Gilmore – I ran as conservative. I governed as conservative. I’m consistent and don’t flip and flop.

Ron Paul – We should NEVER interfere with internet. I always voted against regulating the internet. I trust the Internet a LOT more than mainstream media.

Mike Huckabee (Cronyism) – As president, we need to make it clear that we not going to continute to see jobs shipped overseas, and watch as CEO takes 100 million bonus to take jobs somewhere else and take pensions as well. We don’t stop it, we don’t deserve to win in 2008.

National ID Card
Rudy – support it, with immigration. Database, tamperproof. Foreigners
Romney – Agree with Rudy. Aliens, not citizens
Brownback – Don’t need to go this way. Secure borders and interior – Social Security number must mean something. Don’t need new system.
McCain – Support it if they want to work.
Paul – Absolutely opposed to national ID card. Contridiction to free society. Do not need it.
Tancredo – Do not need one for same reasons Dr Paul said.
Thompson – No national id.

Scooter libby pardon
Romney – don’t make decision until judiciary process. Fitzgerald.
Brownback – Let process go. (undecided) Not law that was violated
Huckabee – I was prosecutor. Law applies to discretion. Go to people and make case. Can’t make case, don’t do it.
Most others - no
Tancredo – Pardon him, and pardon Ramos and Camprien (Border Patrol)

Terri Schiavo Case:
Romney – Usually family decides. Courts decides. Florida did right thing, but Congress needed to stay out.
Brownback – Right decision. Life is sacred, stand for it in all circumstances.
McCain – We acted too hastily.
Rudy – Court decision. Family in dispute. Courts are for that.

On Clinton
Ron Paul - I voted to Impeach him

Overall:

The format sucked. Some of the candidates had a lot more facetime than others. All candidates IMO should have had the same questions. That is my biggest problem with this. The other problem was some of the questions were BS and fluff. Why ask 10 republican candidates about the Clintons? Right now we have a primary. I don’t want to know what Jim Gilmore thinks about Clinton. I want to know what Jim Gilmore thinks about policy.

The candidates were mostly cautious and my opinion of most of them did not change based on this. One thing I DID like about this was the lesser known candidates being allowed to participate. Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, Tommy Thompson, Sam Brownback, Jim Gilmore, and Mike Huckabee all bring something to the table and are running as well. It was good to see some of the “choice c” candidates involved to some degree.

If I had to pick a “winner” based on the limited format, I’d have to go with Mike Huckabee. I am more open to his candidacy than I was beforehand. I still have a lot of fiscal concerns with him, particularly on his record on taxes, but I’m more open to supporting him than before.

I liked Tommy Thompson's answer on Iraq, Huckabee's on Rumsfeld and Scooter Libby, Ron Paul on the National ID, Internet, and nationbuilding, Tancredo on Fairtax and Karl Rove, McCain on Pork, Romney on Stem Cell, and Duncan Hunter on trade.

I’m still undecided however, and will be for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Primary Reform Idea

The days of New Hampshire/Iowa leading the way on elections is bound to soon come to an end.

Today, every state seems to be frontloading their primary to challenge New Hampshire and Iowa's "First in the nation" elections. California moved theirs up. Florida and Nevada are doing the same. I expect this to continue until all primaries are on the same day, probably in 2012. I do not want that to happen, since it eliminates regional influences. It favors coronations and eliminates the purpose of primary elections that happened years ago. The quick primaries fail to test how strong candidates really are, and limit the ability of a darkhorse candidate to win. It also creates a 8 month "dead period" where the two projected nominees beat up each other.

Instead of the frontloading, I'd like to see a Regional Primary cycle similar to this. One region for 1st week of February. Another region has an election every two weeks. The drawbacks are larger states overshadowing smaller states, but there are enough difference within the states and regions to make things interesting with delegates). Candidates have shorter trips as well within the area near the primaries. Less time on the plane/bus to meet candidates.

I divided things up into 10 regions. Under my plan, they would rotate each election year. If the Upper Midwest goes first one year, they go last the next. If the Upper Midwest goes 2nd one year, they go first the next. If they go third one year, they go 2nd the next, etc. Random drawing would occur for the 1st lineup, and it cycles the rest.

These are the regions I proposed. I tried to keep state balance and relatively equal strength as much as I could. I think set up would strongly benefit candidates from different regions.

Northeast - Maine, Vermont, New Hampsire, Massachusetts, Connecticutt, Rhode Island - 6

Mid Atlantic - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware - 4 (10)

Mid South - Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, DC, South Carolina - 5 (15)

Deep South/Florida - Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida - 5 (20)

Appalachia/Ozarks - West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma - 5 (25)

Southwest/Texas - Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada - 4 (29)

Pacific - California, Oregon, Washington St, Alaska, Hawaii (34)

Upper Rockies - Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming - 5 (39)

Upper Midwest - North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio - 6 (45)

Lower Midwest - Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana - 6 (51 - counting DC as a state)

This could possibly draw out the primary. If things are close in some of the states in the early regions, we may have a real primary again, and one lasting longer than before. With 5-6 states going at once, we have simultainious results. Candidate A could win 2 states, B win 2 states, and C win 1 state. That dillutes a coronation attempt. The candidates would be tested, and ready for the general election.

I don't expect this to happen, but you never know.

We need more taxes so we can go to Hawaii

In a sickening use of tax money, 80 Michigan public officials are going to Hawaii on our tax dime.

From the Free Press

Nearly 80 officials across Michigan -- more than twice the number of any other state -- plan to fly off to Hawaii this month for a weeklong conference on public pension issues. And taxpayer-backed pension funds will pay the tab.

Leading the Michigan contingent are 13 officials from Detroit, making Detroit second to only Chicago, which planned to send 16 people, according to a list of registrants compiled by the event's sponsor and obtained by the Free Press.

Michigan communities investing in pension training at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa include:

• Monroe County planned to send nine people; the City of Monroe, five.

• Grand Rapids and Pontiac planned to send seven each.

• Oakland County planned to send five.

Among Detroit officials listed as attending are Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick; Fire Commissioner Tyrone Scott; Marty Bandemer, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association; the Rev. Wendell Anthony, and City Council members Monica Conyers and Alberta Tinsley-Talabi. All have roles in overseeing the pension systems.

Matt Allen, a Kilpatrick spokesman, said the pension board will pay for the costs of the Detroiters, but Kilpatrick will cover his own airfare, meals and incidentals.
Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings was also listed to attend. But, when contacted by the Free Press on Wednesday, James Tate, a police spokesman, said Bully-Cummings would not be going, adding that her about-face was "made some time ago" as other priorities arose.

Allen said Kilpatrick will use the conference to better understand issues facing the city's public pensions. "This isn't a vacation, this is a working conference, and the fact that it's in Honolulu, it's a bonus," he said.



Working conference? That's a pile of horse manure, and in this case, make it a clydesdale's pile. I have a few questions here.

1. Why is this conference essential to public policy? Are our pensions safer or will adequate pension reform not happen if our officials do not go to this conference?
2. If this "conference" was so vital to public policy on pension issues, why is it in Hawaii? Why not DC, Columbus, St Louis, or another city easy to get to from elsewhere in the country?
3. Why is our tax money paying for the Hilton? What's wrong with Motel 6?
4. Are we going to have an itemized accounting of all expenditures there? The golf trips, booze, and bills that our tax money is paying for? Riiiight.

This is a trip to Hawaii vacation, folks. No more, no less.

Leon Drolet said it best:
Leon Drolet, executive director of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, said he doesn't understand why so many officials in the state are traveling for a week in Hawaii when Michigan is mired in a fiscal crisis and many communities and school districts are facing budget shortfalls, employee buyouts and layoffs.

"The leaders of Detroit and Lansing keep telling the public they've cut spending to the bone, yet they can say that with a straight face while getting ready to fly to Hawaii on the taxpayers' dime. It's obscene," Drolet said.

"When you're sending a delegation of that size, that includes politicians, this is clearly a vacation on the beach while their constituents are struggling to find and keep jobs."


These city/county bozos living it up make a good case for consolidation.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Latest on Howell Campaign Finance Violations, Argus endorses in Brighton

First, Dan Meisler of the Argus wrote a story on the illegal MEA mailing. I mentioned the details here titled "Breaking the Law, Breaking the Law" The Argus article is here - From the Argus

A mailing sent out by the Howell Education Association teachers' union in support of two candidates for the Howell Public Schools Board of Education is in violation of campaign finance law because it doesn't identify who paid for it.
The postcards read, in part, "Howell teachers support Edwin J. Literski and Dan Fondriest for Howell school board," and are printed on paper the same shade of light green as the T-shirts union members have been wearing to school board meetings to protest the lack of a contract.

HEA President Doug Norton said it was just an oversight, and shouldn't reflect on the candidates.

"It was an oversight we regret," he said. "We also are confident all recipients understood it was from the Howell teachers and that it was paid for with our PAC dollars."
Norton said the approximately $2,000 spent on the 9,000 postcards was funneled through the Michigan Education Association's political action committee.

"It was supposed to have a 'Paid for by the MEA PAC' on there, but it didn't. The error was ours. It had nothing to do with the candidates we recommend," Norton said.

Neither Literski nor Fondriest said they paid for or reviewed the mailings.
(snip)


I believe that that Literski and Fondriest did not pay for or review the mailing. Fondriest kept this below $1000. Literski has not, but his campaign finance report looked legit to me. Literski is also running with Pratt as a team and not with Fondriest.

However, I don't buy it on the oversight. Besides the lack of a "paid for by MEA", there's no return address either, as their was in last year's mailing. I think Doug Norton is taking one for his team, but it's the MEA who fouled up this and their PAC. The HEA is an affiliate, but MEA is footing the bill. If I had to put money on this, MEA fouled up on purpose so they would not have to put the fact that they are in EAST LANSING, and not Howell. If they forgot only the "paid for by MEA" and had their return address, I'd write it off as a mistake. If they only forgot the return address and listed the "paid for by MEA part", I would have written it off as a mistake. But both of them, and by one of the Michigan's most effective PAC's? I doubt it. The MEA isn't exactly a politican rookie here. It looks better for East Lansing's MEA if Norton takes the heat, since he's from Howell and it can look like a local mistake, and not from non-county residents.

Also, The Argus endores Greg Rassel and Beth Minert for Brighton Schools. Rassel also has the endorsement from Concerned Taxpayers Group's PAC. The endorsement roundup for Brighton is now this:

Brighton Schools
Concerned Taxpayers Group - Irene Besancon and Greg Rassel.
Right to Life - Irene Besancon and Jared Geist
MEA - None listed. There are rumors, but until then that's just it. Rumors.
Argus - Greg Rassel and Beth Minert

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Jim Berryman, others challenging Tim Walberg in 7th District

From the AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Democratic state Sen. Jim Berryman said Tuesday he will run for Congress in Michigan's 7th district, setting up a potential rematch against Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton.

Berryman, who was defeated by Walberg for a state legislative seat in 1988, will be making his second run for Congress. He was defeated by Rep. Nick Smith, R-Addison, in 1998 after briefly campaigning for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Berryman, 60, a former Adrian mayor, said he decided to enter the race after being encouraged by voters in the south-central Michigan district.


Interesting matchup. Berryman was the State Senator for what is now mostly Randy Richardville/Bev Hammerstrom's district. It was a true swing district that elected populist democrats and strong conservatives. Tim Walberg is from the same area and beat Berryman once. Walberg was actually replaced by a moderate (pro-life, semi-pro gun) democrat in Doug Spade when he left office. Spade has since been replaced by his brother. Lenawee County is a conservative county, but not necessary a Republican county, and Adrian itself tilts democrat. Berryman was clobbered (outside of Lenawee)in 1998 against Nick Smith with Geoff Fieger at the top of the ticket, but I can not count him out. He's a veteran campaigner and has won tough districts in the past. Nick Smith blew out Berryman by winning by 20% in Eaton and Jackson, and 12% in Calhoun. Berryman got 48% against Smith in Lenawee. I'm not going to count this guy out. However, do not underestimate Tim Walberg. He's never had an easy election and knows how to win tough races.

Joe Schwarz is also considering a run, and hasn't decided what party. What's interesting there is that the Republican establishment rallied behind him in his primary challenge, but the grassroots (fiscal, gun owners, pro-lifers) told him off. I doubt he'll get past the primary - in either party. Walberg will beat him again. Berryman's a loyal democrat and would beat him. Schwarz is a big mouth and that will cost him once again. He's strong in Calhoun and Eaton County where he was a state senator. He has strength about state workers and in Battle Creek, but he's weak elsewhere in the district.

Sharon Renier is trying again for a 3rd time as well.

The 7th district in general was nasty to Republicans in 06. I haven't done all the numbers crunching yet due to lack of time, but the populists turned against Bush and took it out on the entire ticket due to the lack of leadership and flat out hostility to old boys club challenges (Pence vs Boehner leadership race, failure to stop Bush from spending like a leftist) right now. Granholm won the 7th district, first time since Clinton pulled it off against Dole.

Walberg had enough strength in Jackson, Lenawee, Branch, and Hillsdale Counties to offset his losses in Calhoun (Schwarz anger, swing county), Eaton (Democrat leaning in gubenatorial years, republican leaning in presidential years), and Washtenaw Counties (Chelsea, Dexter moving left, Scio is a democrat stronghold).

I think this race will be determined by who the Republicans run in 2008. Will they run a candidate with a plan to clean up the clustermuck in Washington, or will it be the same old song and dance. If Walberg isn't handycapped from the top, he'll be fine. If he is, we're in trouble. That's all there is to it.