Monday, March 27, 2006

Rinck to run for Congress

His dad Dick announced it Thursday night at choir rehearsal and the Press reported it on Saturday: Attorney and GR School Board member Jim Rinck is making a run for Congress. Vern Ehlers, the popular six-term republican who now holds Michigan's Third District seat, hasn't yet announced if he'll run.

Even though I've lived in a suburban school district for 10 years now, I never quit following GR Schools politics. I've always admired the outspoken Rinck for his ability to stir things that need stirring and his willingness to push for change. Said Rinck to the Press:
"I think the Democrats need to make this race more competitive and know I can do the job."
I think he can, too. Good luck to you, Jim.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Weekend links

Minimum wage petition drive continues. The Senate passed a minimum wage hike last Thursday (the House has yet to approve it), but Michigan's Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer urges the signature gathering to continue.

Michigan's Billionaires Forbes released its annual list. The Michigan Eight: Davidson, DeVos, Penske, Stryker, Stryker, Pulte, Taubman, Ford.

Finally, speaking of DeVoses: Grand Rapids Company Launches Community Film Site It's the brainchild of the billionaire's grandson (and candidate's son), Rick. Looks kinda cool.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

On impeaching the "emperor"

In his article last week for the Chicago Tribune, What To Do When the Emperor Has No Clothes, Garrison Keillor calls for impeachment in that way he has of humorously expressing the dead serious. Via Common Dreams:
These are troubling times for all of us who love this country, as surely we all do, even the satirists. You may poke fun at your mother, but if she is belittled by others it burns your bacon. A blowhard French journalist writes a book about America that is full of arrogant stupidity, and you want to let the air out of him and mail him home flat. And then you read the paper and realize the country is led by a man who isn't paying attention, and you hope that somebody will poke him. Or put a sign on his desk that says, "Try much harder."
It's pretty clear by now that nobody's going to suggest that to the man, and I don't think he's listening anyway. Yet he's been parading naked in front of the entire world for more than four years now. I understand less and less everyday how anyone, especially the President, can continue to hold this hard line on the Iraq war and the dubiously named "war on terror" he's so fond of invoking whenever the "yeah, buts" start to build a bit of momentum.

Keillor's call is one I'm hearing more lately.
The U.S. Constitution provides a simple, ultimate way to hold him to account for war crimes and the failure to attend to the country's defense. Impeach him and let the Senate hear the evidence.
It's past time.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Weekend links

Why Jon Stewart Isn't Funny Fine-minded young progressive thinkers aren't going into politics because watching Stewart has unmasked the "buffoons and idiots," making potential politicians think they're above all that. Gimme a break.

State workers have a lot to learn, execs say
A WMU survey of technology executives says that developing a highly educated work force is more important than tax cuts in making a state attractive to high tech firms. So repealing Michigan's SBT's the answer??

A Nurse's Courage
Amy Goodman interviews a New Mexico VA nurse whose letter to the editor criticizing the President resulted in her being investigated for sedition. Scary.

Fennville teachers to get bonuses if students improve on MEAPs
"Teachers see this as a sign that the school board doesn't really get it" ... Even more pressure to teach-to-the-test leaves creative and critical thinking to take a back seat, IMHO.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Michigan Needs a Raise Campaign

Media Mouse pointed yesterday to ACORN's new website for the Michigan Needs a Raise Coalition's campaign to raise Michigan's minimum wage to $6.85/hr. With Congress having failed to pass legislation in March to raise the minimum wage and Michigan's state house refusing to vote on a bill this past summer that would have done so, ACORN and the MNR Coalition are now in the process of gathering the 350,000 signatures needed (by mid-June) to put the measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Facts from the website:
  • A minimum-wage worker makes $5.15/hour, or $10,712/year before taxes.
  • The $5.15 federal minimum wage has stood for nine (9) years.
  • 40% of minimum-wage workers are their family's sole breadwinner.
  • 70% of minimum-wage workers are adults.
  • 464,000 Michigan workers make less than $7.15/hr.
Check out the website. The blog is here.

On the DP's "lack of vision"

Food for thought in this post on AlterNet's Echo Chamber blog yesterday. AlterNet staff writer Joshua Holland talks about the Dems' seeming inability to put forward a unified and focused message:
Dems have been beaten up for years at the ballot, while scoring well on the issues that matter most to Americans in poll after poll. It's traumatized many of them; they're terrified of losing those last blue islands in the bright red electoral map, and that's led too many of them to take a much more tentative approach to politics than those of us in the grass-roots are looking for.
Still, that simplifies the conflict, he says. The real problem is more tactical:
Do you stand up for a set of progressive values and passionately oppose the right's agenda -- and let the chips fall where they may -- or do you "triangulate," and come up with ways to peel off those lower-income red-state voters?

It is the latter approach that has prevailed, and it's left Americans unsure of just for what Democrats, and progressives, really stand.

Holland notes this is changing, though, as grassroots organizations like MoveOn and Democracy for America begin put money behind progressive candidates in places like Texas and Connecticut. This will eventually be positive for the Democratic party as a whole, he says.
Support for progressive ideas will be more important than ever if, as is being projected, Dems make gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections.
They're going to be stuck with a huge deficit, they're going to need to extract us from Iraq and figure out how to inject some commonsense into the War on Terrrr [sic] and they're going to have to look hard at an economy with a middle class that's disappearing into the smoke and mirrors of globalism. How will they cope with those issues if they don't have a coherent governing philosophy?
The DP is going to need that "progressive vision" or they'll be beaten again by "a right that knows for what it supposedly stands."