Friday, September 12, 2014

Maggot-Infested Links

This thread is updated through the day between The Curmudgeon's visits to the Jackson Prison cafeteria for some delicious maggot stew.

ANOTHER GARBAGE POLL SHOWS GOVERNOR'S RACE A TOSS-UP
When the EPIC/MRA poll came out a few days ago showing Mark Schauer with a 1-point lead over Rich Snyder, Snyder's campaign mouthpiece called it an anomaly:
"One out of every 10 polls is garbage and this is certainly an example" Emily Benavides told the Detroit Free Press back then.
Sorry, Emily, but two subsequent polls have had the same results. The latest comes from
USA Today and Suffolk University, showing Schauer up 45-43%. The same poll shows Gary Peters with a 46-37% lead over "Silent Terri Lynn" Land, also consistent with the EPIC/MRA results of a two weeks ago.
TOTTEN, DILLARD GAINING GROUND
The real news in the same poll shows the rest of the Democratic ticket surging.
Law professor Mark Totten LEADS 30-year career politico Bill Schuette 43%-36% (outside of the margin of error) in the race for Attorney General. And Detroit civil rights attorney Godfrey Dillard (with virtually zero name identification) leads incumbent Secretary of State Ruth Johnson 40-36%.
The poll showed Hillary Clinton the choice of Democrats for President, with a 61-18% lead over Vice President Biden. Republicans prefer Michigan native Mitt Romney (39.5%) followed by Jeb Bush (9.9%).
Remarkably, the news network with the highest trust factor was Fox News (31.6%), with CNN (14.8%) and NBC (11.2%) the only other outlets in double-digits.
The poll has a margin of ±4.4%.
You can download the topline summary of the poll here.
You can download the cross-tabs here.

PRISONS DIRECTOR CANCELED $98,000 FINE IMPOSED ON ARAMARK
Real journalism committed by the Detroit Free Press.
The scandal over the out-sourcing of food services for prisons gets deeper and deeper. They have repeatedly talked about the fines imposed on Aramark for things like sex between prisoners and Aramark employees, smuggling drugs and other contraband into the prison, and food shortages.
Republicans like to say "corporations are people, my friend."
Well, my friend, if you or I had tried to smuggle a little pot into a prison, we wouldn't have paid a fine. We'd have spent some time behind bars. Aramark got a pass on a fine and (heavens forbid) you wouldn't want to put their officers in jail for a little thing like breaking the law.
Rep. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, was quick to react to the Snyder administration coverup regarding Aramark. He posted on his Facebook page:
As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I can only say that I am shocked and feel like we were misled. When we asked tough questions about the Aramark contract, we were told that they were being fined and corrective action taken. To now hear from media reports that the fine was cancelled under pressure from the Governor's office is a gut punch. Report after report over the summer reiterated the fine and the Governor's office never corrected it. Why is there no accountability with Aramark? Why were Democratic members of the Subcommittee on Corrections not informed of the cancellation? Why did the Governor's office not correct media reports? Were they intentionally deceiving the public, media and legislators?

MICHIGAN OFFICIAL FEARED 'LOSING CONTROL' OF PRISON FROM FOOD PROBLEMS
The head of the state Dept. of Corrections, we now know, has been worried for months that the sub-standard food service from Aramark was a threat to the prison system.
We only know because of a Freedom of Information request by Progress Michigan, which asked for email exchanges between the Governor's office and state corrections officials on the food-service scandal.
Portions of the email exchange between Corrrections Director Daniel Heyns and Snyder Chief of Staff Dennis Muchmore were redacted (censored) without explanation.
The emails show the "Snyder administration trying to stamp out the controversy in March of this year," according to Progress Michigan spokesperson Sam Inglot.
Despite bipartisan legislative calls to have the Aramark contract reviewed and even rescinded, Snyder instead slapped Aramark with token fines of we now know were $200,000, not $300,000 - a tiny portion of the $42-million it is being paid to replace state workers in prison cafeterias. Aramark has been found responsible for maggots in food, employees having sex with prisoners, and other employees smuggling drugs and other contraband into prisons.
Yesterday the administration announced hiring the former Florida Corrections Director, Edwin Buss, to oversee the food services contract. Buss was forced out of his Florida job after six months by the man who appointed him to the job, Governor Rick Scott. He moved to a private company that outsources medical and mental health services for prison inmates.
His hiring apparently is an effort by the administration to prove privatizing government services works, even when the evidence points in the other direction.
Snyder's office says Buss' $160,000 paycheck will be covered by the fines assessed to Aramark.

RICH BAIRD'S LATEST SCREW-UP: HE "LIVES" IN MICHIGAN, BUT HIS CAR HAS ILLINOIS LICENSE PLATES
I love this guy.
Just when it looks like he might disappear back into his Executive Office cocoon, still more comes out about how he is a walking contradiction.
The Detroit News reports Baird's Mercedes has Illinois plates although he claims to be a Michigan resident (you have to be a resident to vote here). And he still hasn't told us if he pays Michigan taxes on his huge pension from PriceWaterhouseCoopers where he was a senior managing partner.
For purposes of property taxes, his primary residence is in Illinois. For purposes of voting he is a resident of Bath Township, Michigan. His car is registered in Illinois. He has a Michigan drivers license.
Illinois does not tax pensions. Governor Snyder, with the help of Rich Baird, raised taxes on pensions for retirees in Michigan. Wanna bet that Baird claims to be an Illini when he files his tax returns?

HOW CONSERVATIVES DEFINE A "FAILED PRESIDENCY"



KOCH FOUNDATION PROPOSAL TO COLLEGE: TEACH OUR CURRICULUM, GET MILLIONS
Universities love it when they get multi-million dollar donations for academic programs. But for Florida State University, those millions for its business school come with a lot of libertarian strings according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity.
Documents obtained by the CPI show the Koch Foundation wanted control over faculty hiring, and demanded that the curriculum aligned with the libertarian, deregulatory economic philosophy of Charles Koch.
The documents that were finally uncovered are seven-years old. Conditions may have changed. But the fact that they ever existed (and might still apply) is chilling.
FSU is one of 163 universities to receive Koch money. Most are public universities; most of the contributions limit how the money may be used.

FORMER STATE REP CANDIDATE GETS LOPSIDED SETTLEMENT IN DEFAMATION LAWSUIT
Speaking of maggots ... a lawsuit in Macomb County has established that "anything goes" does not apply to political campaigns. Even in politics there has to be at least some level of truthfulness. The victim: an unsuccessful candidate for the state House, Phil DiMaria. The perpetrator: a Lansing political consultant, Joe DiSano. 
As someone who was slimed in a campaign by an anonymous robocall (and later found out who did it) The Curmudgeon can relate to the candidate in Macomb County who wanted to serve the public, put his heart-and-soul into the campaign (probably along with a lot of his own savings) only to have some political genius slander him with some gutter tactics.

Yes, politics is a rough "game". But a "win at all costs" campaign sucks the life out of our democratic process by discouraging good people from taking the risk of running for office.
(For more on the dirty tricks used against Phil DiMaria, read Macomb Daily columnist Chad Selweski's blog post here.)

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