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This time we're all about Christian persecution, charter schools, and Father Knows Best. Ew.

Download the mp3 here:

Or follow this link to play the podcast in the player on our blog.

Religion Freedom Restoration Act. Passed out of the State House faster than you can say “Daddy DeVos.”  We break down the bill as it’s written, strip away the hyperbole, and find that it’s just as scary as you’ve been told. If the government can’t prove that it has a compelling interest in preventing discrimination, then this is indeed a license to discriminate. Not sure how the Michigan government can prove that it has a compelling interest in preventing discrimination against the LGBT community, since the Michigan government has never included the LGBT community in the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act, even though they could have done so at the same time they were moving MiRFRA out the door.  We’ll be seeing a lot of this play out in courts. I suggest that this law has three purposes:

1. Paying off Daddy DeVos.
2. Elected Democrats, support our agenda or we’ll punish you with “awesome duck” crap like this.
3. Tie up liberal money in court, keep us playing defense.

Here are some links:

*House-approved Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act: A license to discriminate?
*Religious freedom bill passes out of Michigan House
*MI RFRA on the Michigan Legislative website
*Get the facts: Understanding Michigan RFRA: The Michigan House GOP website that assures you that MiRFRA is ok, even though it doesn’t tell you what it says, what it will do, or where you can find more information on it.

Oh and Amy persecutes Christians by mentioning that she is an atheist.

Walt weighs in on RFRA v Sharia law.

Amy’s segment focuses on HB5112 and charter schools. 5112 was put forth in October of 2013, written by DeVos’ GLEP and sponsored by Lisa Posthumus Lyons. Amy runs through five problems with this.

*Mandates more testing, and will encourage more teaching to the test
*Lake Wobegon syndrome that you see in NCLB:  annual learning gains
*Guaranteed failure: bottom 5% always get penalized
*Blind to poverty: 95% of students have to be suffering in poverty for schools to get any poverty related exceptions
*Elitist:  Top performing schools can opt-out

Here’s Stephen Henderson’s editorial on this subject.

Amy also tells the story of K12 Inc., founded by junk-bonds hero Michael Milkin. This is an amazing story of education for-profit startups, venture capital, short sales, and wall street predators. You can see her work on this here. If you want all the details on this story, definitely check that out.

Walt runs through the Community Benefits Bill, Emergency Manager law, and several other examples of the GOP government telling the citizens of Michigan that they know what’s best. Whenever the public steps up and demands something, the Republicans find a way to squash it, circumvent it, or ignore it. They show a complete disdain for the public and the local government, and an excellent example of leadership on this disdain is Rick Snyder. He knows better than anyone else, what is good for you. And he doesn’t care what you have to say about it.  A round-table type of discussion on this weird philosophy that the GOP knows best.

That’s it for this week.  Remember to comment, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or send us an email.  We love hearing from you!


Cross-posted from Michigan Policast

Oh my goodness, we have a lot of ranting in this one, and I even get bleeped once.  That's good though, we've got a family-friendly image to protect ;)

Click here to listen in your browser or download the mp3 or visit this page to listen in our player.

Today I talk about a local issue ... local to me, anyway.  In Shiawassee County, voters recently rejected a request for a millage to support our Sheriff Department.  As a result, our road patrol has been eliminated as of January 1.  I spend a few minutes on this issue, primarily to raise awareness.  You can get more information from this website:

Save our Police

And here is some info on Mayor Ben Fredrick's evaluation of the county budget.

Caveat:  our coverage on this issue is limited to this group of citizens and to my own perspective.  I haven't researched the issue to give you "the other side," so to speak.  However I did support the millage and am disappointed that it failed to pass.

Amy's segment is on dark money.  Her research on the issue can be found here.

Michigan is recognized a the nation’s black hole when it comes to dark money, and their resident nonpartisan watchdog group, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, surely appreciates the new FCC disclosure rule. Rich Robinson, Director of MCFN, reports that undisclosed sources dominated both therecent Supreme Court and the Attorney General races in the state. And the secretive spending was primarily of the Republican variety.
In Walt's segment, we cover a handful of things.

---The roads ... Michigan's weight limit and why it hurts (more info here)
---Why is Rep Tom McMillan fighting smart meters?  (Better question is, why is Tom McMillan a Rep?  Regardless, more info here.)
---Michigan GOP Presidential election rigging scheme is on hold ... for now.  (Link) (cough Constitutional crisis cough)
---A few comments on awesome duck vs lame duck, and why we hate Jase Bolger
---The Republican Big Amygdala
---The party of no, ebola,* repeal and replace, and oh, just everything.

That’s it for this week.  Remember to comment, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or send us an email.  We love hearing from you!

*Here's the background on the ebola / insurance thing that I mentioned.  I had to look it up.


Tue Dec 02, 2014 at 05:33 AM PST

Introducing Michigan Policast

by christinebarry

Hi Kossaks, I'd like to introduce our podcast, Michigan Policast.  You can find it at, or subscribe to it on iTunes.

Michigan Policast is all about Michigan politics.  Hosts are Walt Sorg, Amy Kerr Hardin, and me.  

Walt blogs at Michigan Curmudgeon, and has a background in state government and in radio broadcasting.  He holds everything together for us, makes sure the show keeps rolling and sounds somewhat professional.  He's the one who edits out all the times that the rest of us are tripping over our words.  He's amazing, a great progressive activist, and he has a wonderful long term memory of state politics.

Amy blogs at Democracy Tree and if you check out her blog you will see she is one amazing investigative blogger.  She focuses on public policy, politics, and media bias.  If you like to dig into the issues, you'll love Democracy Tree.  

Me, I pale to these guys.  I'm at and Blogging for Michigan, both of which have been neglected over the past few years.  Life kicked in and I just couldn't keep up with the pace of blogging ... at least that's what I think happened.  I spend some time on Facebook, and I'd love to have you as a friend.  I'm lucky to have the company of Walt and Amy on the podcast.  Great people, great progressives.

Our most recent podcast covers the impact of immigration on Detroit, the disrepair of our school buses, Bolger's latest K12 defunding scheme, and more.  You can listen to it here.

If you listen to the show, we would love to get your feedback.  We love commentary on the issues, but we also want to improve the show.  What topics do you like?  What guests would you like to hear from?  Do we sound ok?  Anything we can do to improve?  

I hope you all stop by and take a listen, and would love to hear from you if you do.  


Cross-posted from Blogging for Michigan

Hello Kossaks.  This is the BFM Political Briefing that we (try to) put out each weekday.  Today Amy & I are talking about Detroit. Speculating a bit on how we got here and what’s next.

Guest:  Amy Kerr Hardin

We have long show notes today so I am truncating here and linking back for those of you who would like links, etc.

Tomorrow we are joined by Ned Staebler, to discuss the Michigan Talent Agenda.

Thanks for listening :)


Debt of about $17 to $20 billion (estimates vary depending on the source), with $10 billion owed to roughly 20,000 retirees, and of that, $5.7 is in healthcare benefits.

There are 78,000 abandoned buildings and 65,000 vacant lots.

One third of the city, that’s 40 square miles, is abandoned.

Only 8.7 percent of violent crimes are solved.

The police force has been cut by 40 percent since the year 2000.

Unemployment in the city has risen from 6 percent in 2000 to 18 percent currently, compared to the state average of 8.7 percent as found in the recent jobs report.

About 40 percent of the street lights don’t work.

66 percent of Detroit’s parks are closed.

Detroit has gone from the fourth largest city to the 18th, with around 700,000 residents, down from 1.85 million in the 1950s.

More notes and links in our show notes at BFM


This is from the original diary at  Article & interview are by Walt Sorg.

Lee Fang joins us in this podcast to talk about the issues he addresses in his new book, The Machine: A Field Guide to the Resurgent Right.

Click here to listen to the podcast (mp3)

The full book review is excellent.  Here are some excerpts:

He describes a machine fueled by massive amounts of money from major corporations and some of the wealthiest people in the nation. Even though “the machine” has numerous independent pieces, it is well coordinated through a Labyrirnth organization created with the money and managerial brilliance of two men: Charles and David Koch. Using money and a political philosophy inherited from their father Fred, the two quietly stand at the a political machine that rivals the complexity and power of General Motors.
The overriding theme of the book, and the political movement it describes, is getting rich. At the heart of The Machine is people and companies making money – lots of it. Whether it’s the growth of the Koch fortune (now estimated at a combined $42-billion); the enrichment of media proselytes such as Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck; or the bottom lines of Washington’s biggest and best-connected PR and lobbying firms, everybody leading the movement seems to be making a lot of money. While there are a handful of progressives who have become wealthy through their politics (Al Gore and Ariana Huffington, for example), they are no match for the pantheon of nouveau riche created by The Machine. And the ultimate boogyman thrown up by the right, George Soros, often advocates policies which run against his personal financial interests.
The strategy has even included creating faux progressive groups, using a flanking strategy right out of Patton to attack progressive proposals from both the left and right. One example: after getting President Obama to back off the “public option” for healthcare reform, they created faux groups to attack the personal mandate from the left because it meant guaranteed new customers for private insurers. They ended up with exactly that: the government requiring people to buy their product (even as they tried to kill the entire healthcare package because it included this gift to insurers). Insurers wanted to kill the bill because it still required them to use at least 80% of revenues for actual benefits, rather than siphoning off even more for executive salaries, sales overhead and profits.
Walt did an excellent job with the interview, which is a conversation about the topics covered in the book.  It's about 20 minutes long and well worth the time to listen.  The book review is great too.  You can read the full book review here.

Today we talk to Dawud Walid about the environment since the Boston bombings.

Podcast -

Today we talk about:

*The impact of the Boston tragedy on immigration reform
*Bullying incident in Oakland County
*The importance of adults to be aware of their influences on young people
*The Muslim Students of America
*Marginalized groups such as Muslims, LGBTQ, etc., must build coalitions to become more powerful
*Ghettoizing American Muslims

Visit the original post on BFM for more links, headlines, and 5 Minute Activism.

I hope you enjoy the episode!  


Today we talk to our old pal Lonnie Scott about guns, guns, and more guns.


Today we discuss:

*What was really in the gun bill
*The Senate defies the American people
*We need to continue to talk to legislators and let them know that we are watching
*The importance of grass roots organizing in defeating the NRA

We also have some March 20 audio of Rep Tim Greimel talking about the secret GOP voucher plan, which has been revealed to be the "skunk works" project.

The full show notes including headlines and 5 minute activism are at the original post at  BFM.

Feel free to leave feedback or contact me here or through BFM.



Today we talk to Emily Dievendorf, Managing Director of Equality Michigan.


Today we talk about:

*The purpose and function of Equality Michigan
*Some of Emily’s experience and why she loves her job
*The courage problem in Michigan
*Many who oppose equality publicly support it secretly
*Why the lgbt community in Michigan faces unique legal challenges in addition to the constitutional amendment
*Education is the biggest challenge right now
*Why the Michigan lgbt community should expect more violence as equality gets closer
*How to help the cause and stay informed with Equality Michigan work
*It’s a ‘make or break’ moment for michigan
*The most effective way to get a legislator to support equality
*The battle for equality in Royal Oak
*The national anti-equality groups and “the bathroom panic”

The full show notes including headlines and 5 minute activism are at the original post at  BFM.

Feel free to leave feedback or contact me here or through BFM.



Today we have Gilda Jacobs, President and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.  

Podcast -

We talk about

*Michigan’s regressive tax structure
*What the MI Earned Income Tax Credit is
*How much $$ the average person would receive through the EITC and what he would do with it
*The EITC as an anti-poverty tool
*The way that the various budget cuts worsen the impact of the others
*Stigmatizing the poor
*How to help restore the MI EITC
*Why your story is important

The full show notes including headlines and 5 minute activism are at the original post at  BFM.

Thanks and I hope you enjoy the show.


Today we talk to Dawud Walid from CAIR Michigan about Islamophobia, racism, and more.


Dawud is the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan.

Today we talk about:

*The non-partisan nature of CAIR Michigan
*The CAIR Michigan legislative scorecard
*Success in stopping the anti-Sharia law proposed by Dave Agema
*The role of CAIR Michigan in the community
*The coordinated effort to discredit Islam in America
*The history of racism and bigotry in America
*The role of majorities in helping minorities and fighting bigotry
*How to stay informed on issues important to the Islamic community

The full show notes including the CAIR scorecard and the 5 minute activism docs are at the original post at BFM.  

Thanks & I hope you enjoy the podcast.  :)


In this podcast we talk to Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) about his first 100 days in office.

Today we talk about

*What the Whip does in the House
*The struggle to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
*The Paycheck Fairness Act – what it does and how to help move it forward
*The alternative to the sequester proposed by Dan Kildee and Chris Van Hollen
*How to talk about the sequester so that people will care
*Congressman Kildee’s trip to Afghanistan and why he believes that it is time to leave Afghanistan
*The purpose of the “Make it in America” package of legislation
*The knowledge economy is not enough to drive the American economy; we need manufacturing, R&D, trade, etc.
*The difference between the way the Democrats and the Republicans measure economic success, and why this matters to policy
*The new ‘Marshall Plan’ for America’s industrial cities and why we need a strong urban core
*Taking citizenship as a serious responsibility
*Disengagement is cause of a dysfunctional government

If you'd like to see all of the show notes for this podcast, please visit

The Blogging for Michigan Weekday Briefing is a Mon - Fri podcast on Michigan related issues.  To hear all of our podcasts visit this link on BFM -

You can also subscribe in iTunes using this link -

Thanks & I hope you enjoy the episode!


Hello Kossaks, blog buddies, lurkers, and everyone else.  I have some updates on the MDP Progressive Blogger Caucus.  

The caucus takes place at the 2012 Michigan Democratic Party Convention.  Details of the convention are here.  DK diary on the caucus here, and the Facebook event is here.

I'm pleased to announce that Senator Bert Johnson will be joining us at around 9:30 to address the caucus.  Senator Johnson (@senbertjohnson on Twitter) recently published his first blog post here at DKos Michigan:  GOP Uses Divide and Conquer Strategy to Protect Corporate Profits.  

We have a tentative agenda as follows:

*Political blogging - a new definition
*Supporting each other - discussion + sharing of resources
*Supporting our candidates and legislators - discussion on collaboration, coordinated messaging
*Building partnerships outside of the progressivesphere - non-profits, labor, talk-radio, reporters, legislative staffers, etc.

This is still open for discussion so feel free to add any ideas you have.  I hope to see you there!

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