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Reposted from Inflection by peregrine kate Editor's Note: I'm happy to see this diary in support of Prop 1, even more because I didn't write it. ;) If you're in favor of it, then you'll find some arguments here to support your position. If you're opposed, then perhaps you'll find some here to change your mind. -- peregrine kate

This diary is pretty straightforward: I'm asking DKos Michiganians to make their way to the polls tomorrow and vote yes in our special election to alter various tax rates in Michigan and increase road funding.  Since I'm talking to progressives, I'll try to address the most common concerns I hear from fellow Democrats about the proposal.

If you live in Michigan and read a site like DKos you're probably plugged in enough to know the basics of this already: the short of it is "sales tax increase from 6% to 7% for road funding." You also probably know that the longer version is "a package of laws that shifts some taxes around, increases road funding, ensures warranties for road work, increases the Earned Income Tax Credit, fiddles with the School Aid Fund, and does a couple of other things."  And finally, you probably know that long, complicated ballot proposals start off with a strike against them because people don't like long, complicated ballot proposals.

The polling for Prop 1 is lousy right now, but special elections on proposals are notorious for being hard to poll and dependent on turnout, which is why a motivated group of supporters can really make a difference here.  What I mainly hear is that progressives might support the proposal but they're leery.  Follow me below the orange pothole for a few comments addressing progressive concerns about Prop 1.

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Reposted from Inflection by 2thanks

Silly GOPcritter.  Don't you know the Internet plugged up the memory hole ages ago?

Below the cut (where I've posted some screen grabs) are two versions of an anti-Obamacare rant by one of our state "legislators" here in Michigan that was published as an op-ed in the Detroit News.  You expect a GOP op-ed to be full of errors and fabrications, of course, but this one started off with a bang, confusing the $1.35 trillion 10-year figure (that's the one that doesn't make any net accounting, which lowers the bottom-line figure substantially) with an annual cost, resulting in an order-of-magnitude error in policy costs.  There are plenty of other errors -- it's a veritable Gish Gallop in that second paragraph -- but that one was so big it could even get through to a Republican.

Thus, the News either made or let Sen. Colbeck make a major overhaul of the article; after the order of magnitude drop made the Obamacare costs look better compared to the kind of plan a healthy young private citizen could get, he also lost 5 million enrollees to make the denominator smaller, and changed his comparison to a cheap catastrophic plan.  After doing all this, they scrubbed the comments page and failed to note any corrections or edits to the article.

You'd think at some point in this process the necessity of doing all this would make some idealistic young staffer reconsider their choice of team.  Plain sad all around.

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Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Eclectablog

Originally posted at

Shoot 'em?

Teana Walsh, an assistant Wayne County, Michigan prosecutor posted this on her Facebook page after watching images of protesters and rioters in Baltimore following the homicide of Freddie Gray:

So I am watching the news in Baltimore and see large swarms of people throwing bricks, etc at police who are fleeing from their assaults ... 15 in the hospital already. Solution. Simple. Shoot em. Period. End of discussion. I don’t care what causes the protestors to turn violent...what the “they did it because” reason way is this acceptable. Flipping disgusting.
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Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Eclectablog

Originally posted at Eclectablog.

On Monday of this week U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officer Mitchell Quinn shot and killed 20-year old Detroiter Terrance Kellom. The killing took place during a raid conducted by a multi-jurisdictional task force with Detroit police called the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team to serve an arrest warrant on Kellom who had violated his parole. The warrant was issued after he fled last August while on probation for a 2010 concealed weapons violation. He was also wanted on a four-count warrant as a suspect in the armed robbery of a pizza driver and has a long history of run-ins with law enforcement.

Police say they went to Kellom's home, presented an arrest warrant and were let in by his father Kevin. Inside, they say, they found Kellom brandishing a hammer and Quinn, who is also black, shot and killed him.

Kevin Kellom tells a far different story. "They brought my son down the stairs and executed him in my face," he said today during his first public comments. "My son died with a clenched fist, no hammer. My son reached for me and was shot twice in the chest. [After that], eight more shots rang out."

Kellom's father also claims he never saw an arrest warrant until he returned from the hospital where his son was pronounced dead. When he arrived at his home, he found an arrest warrant left by police and time-stamped three hours after his son was shot to death.

Sorta makes you wonder why they even have tasers, doesn't it?

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Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Eclectablog

Originally posted at

There is a great deal of speculation on how the Supreme Court will decide the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that will likely decide once and for all whether or not same-sex marriage bans at the state level are constitutional or not. Yesterday, they heard two and half hours of oral arguments, an unusually long session (most are only an hour.) It's often difficult to read how the justices are leaning, particularly with justices like Justice Anthony Kennedy - generally considered the swing vote on this case - who is known for asking hard questions to attorneys on both sides. So, we'll just have to wait until late June to find out.

What interested me most about yesterday's arguments was the performance of the team that was arguing on behalf of the state of Michigan. As I wrote about earlier this month, despite having over 100 attorneys on his staff, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette went out and hired a private attorney to do his dirty work for him in front of the Supreme Court justices. Many have speculated that, if the SCOTUS rules against him, he didn't want that loss on HIS hands.

Yesterday, that attorney, John Bursch of Schuette’s former employer Warner Norcross & Judd, presented essentially one argument and that is that the state's compelling interest in marriage is to create a bond between children and their biological parents. His justification that this argument compels states to ban same-sex marriage is that by not doing so, the state would create a situation where marriage is so devalued that it will result in more children being born out of wedlock.

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Reposted from Support the Dream Defenders by 2thanks
BFSkinner in 2010
As you may know from his last two diaries, BFSkinner had abdominal surgery on Wednesday. The surgeons removed a mass that was apparently not cancerous, and they also reduced a hernia. I talked to him this morning by phone.

BFSkinner is now recovering in the ICU from his laparoscopic surgery. He went immediately to the ICU after surgery because his CO2 was elevated. He is only in pain when he begins any movements that use his abdominal muscles, including talking.

He is expecting to be allowed to sit up later today and walk tomorrow. He will possibly leave the hospital in two or three more days, but you know how that goes. Some doctors say one thing, and some say another. His nurses have been very good.

He started on a clear-liquid diet this morning, and he said it felt good to eat again after two days of not eating. His spirits are good.

He will have access to the Internet when he gets home.

You are welcome to leave a comment for him, and I will take it to him sometime tomorrow. I hope to be able to visit him then.

Please continue to hold him in your thoughts and prayers,


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Reposted from Motor City Kossacks by peregrine kate

Motor City Kossacks Banner

Hey hey! For once, I actually have photos to post from a demo I attended! I hope you're as impressed as I am. ;)

Simple and to the point
The "Fight for $15" Demo last Wednesday, Tax Day, was very impressive and well-attended. Special thanks go to one of our own Motor City Kossacks, gregsullmich, who was very involved with the organizing for the event.
gregsullmich, clearly in his element
This demonstration was part of a nationwide effort to draw attention to the need for a higher minimum wage--an idea whose time has come.

I was happy to run into many of my union brothers and sisters at the event, including a local AFT activist who I met at Netroots Nation 14, of all things. Unfortunately, I did not ever find mideedah, who was there with many of her SEIU colleagues, though we traded texts afterwards. That's a good indication of how many people were there, not being able to find each other in the crowd.

The basic message is straightforward. With higher wages, we all do better. It was encouraging and uplifting to see so many people gather for the sake of promoting solidarity and economic justice.

Because it matters and we are worth it.
That's one part of the "good" in the diary title. I don't have a "bad" to mention at the moment. I do, however, have an "ugly" to reference briefly. That would be the preposterous plan by the city leaders, including Mayor Duggan, to recommence water shutoffs throughout Detroit beginning in May.

Curt Guyette, one of the best and most reliable reporters covering this story now for many months, has a recent update: "With Detroit's Water Payment Plan a Massive Failure Mayor Duggan Plans Changes."

From that report:

According to the most recent numbers provided by Detroit’s Department of Water and Sewerage, 24,743 residential customers are enrolled in a payment plan. Of that number, 24,450 are at least 60 days past due on their payments—meaning that their homes are in danger of losing water service once the city resumes shutoffs.

Stated another way, only 300 of the 24,743 customers put on the mayor’s payment plan were able to keep up with their payments and ensure their water will keep flowing.

“You didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what the outcome would be,” said Maureen Taylor, chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. “If people are already unable to pay their bills, how could you expect them to keep up if you add past-due payments on top of that? The plan was fundamentally flawed from the beginning, and we said that.”

Despite all evidence from the beginning pointing to just this sort of failure, the mayor persists in rejecting an affordability plan. This position is reflected in a recent Detroit Free Press article about the issue:
Mayor Mike Duggan has remained adamant that water service cannot be provided for free without raising rates for all, and that the city has no way to create a system that charges for water based on household income, an idea advocates and some city officials have urged his administration to consider.

The city has tried to make it easier for residents to get on payment plans to get out of shutoff status. Water customers can do so by paying as little as 10% of their overdue bill on top of their regular monthly bill.

But that model of assistance is flawed....

"These assistance plans are Band-Aids. They are not a solution," said Lynna Kaucheck, a senior organizer with Food & Water Watch who has closely monitored shutoffs in Detroit. "If you can't afford to be on the assistance plan, it doesn't matter if you know about it."

There's much more to be said about this looming disaster, on top of many others (the collapse of Detroit Public Schools and the boom in foreclosures expected this year, to name only two). But I can tolerate posting only so much at a time. Please feel free to post your own input on this crisis in the comments, and let me know as well if you'd like to cover some aspect of the subject in an upcoming diary.

Below the orange wave, please join me for a brief review of our plan for a group outing to the DIA to see the Diego Rivera/Frida Kahlo exhibit.

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Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Eclectablog

Originally posted at Eclectablog.

After the owner of Indiana pizzeria Memories publicly declared she wouldn't make her pies for same-sex weddings, she raked in well over $800,000 from a fundraiser. Eager to get in on the action, or at least to share the limelight and maybe be interviewed on Fox News, Michigan bigots are now oozing out from the rocks under which they live to be larger-than-life idiots in front of cameras.

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Mon Apr 20, 2015 at 01:46 PM PDT

BFSkinner about to leave the hospital.

by 2thanks

Reposted from Support the Dream Defenders by 2thanks
BFSkinner in 2010
BFSkinner's discharge paperwork is done.

His brother is about to drive him home.

BF expects to rest for a while. Once he recovers from the trip home, he will post a diary.


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Reposted from weinenkel by 2thanks
Bengal Tiger from the Detroit Zoo.
Bengal Tiger
The Detroit Zoo is investing $1.1 million into a biodigester that would convert the yearly 400-500 tons of manure (and other organic waste) the zoo creates into methane heavy gas. The power would be used to run the Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex. The Health Complex is an animal hospital space.
The biodigester will also produce compost for the animal habitats, gardens and public spaces on the zoo's 125 acres, saving it $70,000-$80,000 in energy costs and another $30,000-$40,000 in waste disposal fees. [...]

The estimated cost for the project "is a pretty big barrier to entry for most zoos," COO Gerry VanAcker said. "But we expect a return on investment in close to 10 years."

Price, as with all seemingly no-brainer ideas, has always been the hurdle. But the zoo has been creative, and lucky, in balancing the economics of such an investment. They've received some money from grants as well as a generous $600,000 donation from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. They have also applied for grants with the Michigan Energy Office and hope the biodigester will be in operation come October.
MSU's Anaerobic Digestion Research Education Center will help launch the biodigester and operate it for the first year under a $100,000 contract, VanAcker said.

Zoo employees will shadow the MSU team so they can take over the operation after the first year. Estimates are that the biodigester will take just eight to 10 hours of staff time each week to operate, VanAcker said.

This is all a part of Detroit Zoo's Greenprint initiative to make their park more environmentally sustainable. Part of raising the money is a matching fund from the Michigan Environmental Development Corp, who has agreed to match up to$55,000 of any funds the zoo is able to raise on Patronicity (a crowdfunding source).

You can watch the Detroit Zoo's Patronicity video below the fold.

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Reposted from FaithGardner by Hammerhand
Brian Klawiter, proud bigot, Dieseltec business owner
Brian Klawiter owns a diesel engine repair shop in Michigan called Dieseltec. Tuesday, on Dieseltec's Facebook page, he posted a rant about how he would have no problem refusing service to a gay person.
Not sure if Dieseltec is angling for some sweet fundraising off his bigotry a la Memories Pizza in Indiana (who reopened last week with over $800K raised on GoFundMe after the owner went on TV saying she would discriminate against gays). But the comments on Dieseltec's Facebook post made it pretty clear that most people find Brian's views as disgusting and scary as I do.

Also, seriously, you're going to put my vehicle together with all bolts and no nuts? Isn't that illegal?

Some responses to the hate rant include:

Is business so bad that you are hoping some idiot at FOX NEWS or The Blaze will start a GoFundMe page to turn you into a tool and have an early retirement?
Not only are you a bad businessman but are sorely lacking in common sense of the human nature.
Good Luck...You're going to need it.
Great job! Today you refuse service to gays and tomorrow it will be blacks.....because Jesus!
Freedom of speech DOES NOT mean freedom to deny services to some that you offer others. Nice fail there hiding your bigotry. I'll be sure to pass along to some friends to stop giving you their business. Have a nice day and here's to your company failing.
It's so easy for people to forget that Jesus himself said "I give you a new commandment; love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have loved one another." John 13:34-35. I am not going to judge you on your statement, as there is only one judge of us all, but would ask you think about how Jesus loves you. Are there conditions attached to that love, or is it unconditional and forgiving time and time again? I hope you can open your heart and mind to thinking about how Jesus would want you to treat another human being.
This guy is a moron and a lousy businessman. EVERY business has customers it doesn't like, and customers with different morals and values. Only a complete fool would turn down a paying customer based on something that has no shred of relevance to the transaction at hand. fool, bigot and attention whore.
This is disgusting, singling out people just because you don't agree with their ways
Sorry you can't be "Christian" and hate another group of people for their lifestyle. That makes you a bigoted hypocrite, not a Christian.
Not the way to run a business. Personal views should not interfere with how you run your business. Running your mouth publicly about your personal opinions has done very real damage to your company image. You might wanna start looking at bankruptcy attorneys.
correct punctuation would be a nice start here. sorry the education system failed you so badly. but at least be honest about what you're talking about - it's not religious freedom, because you don't mean Jewish or Islamic freedom. Only yours.
You are actually mistaken. You are not getting your rights stripped away; you just don't want to share the rights you have with people you fear or disagree with. The right to discriminate was never your right to begin with. That was just you being an insufferable douchebag.
This was just a sampling of a long, long string of comments from people who clearly disagree with the Facebook post.

There were also some great picture comments:

Here's to people exercising their rights to not give Dieseltec their business. Feel free to let Dieseltec know your thoughts on their Facebook page.

H/T The New Civil Rights Movement

Reposted from Motor City Kossacks by peregrine kate

Motor City Kossacks Banner

My thanks to DoReMI for hosting a couple of weeks back, when I was otherwise occupied. The personal matter that interfered with my participation back then was major: my father died on Tuesday, March 24th. He was 94 and in very poor health, so it wasn't entirely unexpected. But it was sudden, in the end, and it was still sad.

I'm just now emerging from the immediate aftermath. His funeral was last Thursday the 2nd, and I had key duties to perform in relation to it. Fortunately, we had some excellent family time with all the children and all the grandchildren but one being able to attend the service, and with their presence it was a healing time. Still sad, especially for my mother, who is losing her husband of--wait for it--73 years. Astounding, isn't it?

Anyway, I will be sorting all of this out for some time to come, no doubt. That doesn't mean the same degree of absence, of course--and besides, I'm glad to have the opportunity now to go to a meet-up!

Drum roll please....

Motor City Kossacks Spring Meet-up
When: Saturday, April 11, 5:00-7:00 PM
Where: Sweet Potato Sensations
17337 Lahser Rd. Detroit 313-532-7996
As was pointed out in a previous diary and a couple of comments, Sweet Potato Sensations is quite the hit. They have a menu centered around sweet potatoes, and I hear their sw pie is fabulous--but there are other things to eat as well.

So, let's have a lovely Kossack crew this Saturday!

From what I understand, these are the yeses and maybees. Please pipe up if I've misplaced you, or if you need to be on the list! The cafe folks just told me they can accommodate a bunch of people at once.

1. DoReMI
2. Mideedah
3. BFSkinner
4. peregrine kate

1. dconrad
2. LakeSuperior
3. 2thanks

I hope you'll excuse this rather rudimentary diary. I am definitely NOT back up to speed.

But let me add one more event FYI for this Saturday. I believe everyone here will be familiar with the terrible disappearance of the 43 Mexican students from their homes and families last September. This Saturday, April 11, a delegation of protestors (including some parents) who still seek answers about the fate of their children and classmates will be in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. The #Caravana43 members are making this stop as part of a national tour to raise awareness and put more pressure on the Mexican government, which so far has not been willing to devote the time and attention necessary to this tragedy (let alone to the thousands of other desaparacid@s of the past several years).

Please visit this link--Facebook page--for more details. At the moment, I myself plan to attend the rally in Ann Arbor and participate in the walk from Ann Arbor to Ypsi. I'd love to have some Kossack company. Let me know if the FB link doesn't work for you.

And as always, this diary is an Open Thread. Looking forward to hearing from you....

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