Friday, September 19, 2014

TGI Curmudgeon Links

As the dust settles from Bill Milliken's endorsement of a second Democrat (and the inevitable RINO whining from what's become America's leading party for angry old white men), we digest some of the things we're learning from across the internet.

Breaking: "Silent Terri Lynn" Land's 'non-profit charity' apparently helping the Land campaign in violation of state and federal law
Political signs in a tax-deductible charity's store.
This could cost World Missions
its tax-exempt status
Photo: Todd Heywood
Earlier this week we passed along a story in Huffington Post about the Land family "charity" World Mission, a religion-based charity that appears to have a severe distaste for non-Christians and especially Muslims.
Now, Lansing journalist Todd Heywood has discovered that the local World Mission thrift store is apparently also a part of the TLL campaign, with yard signs stacked up in the store's breezeway apparently waiting for distribution.
That, according to campaign finance guru Rich Robinson, ain't kosher:
"It's like a church endorsing a political candidate. Charitable organizations are subsidized by taxpayers because contributions to them are tax deductible. They are not allowed to endorse political candidates," Robinson told Todd Heywood of PrideSource.
Click above to read Heywood's story.

Another anti-Obamacare Talking Point Bites the Dust
Remember when Republicans were telling us nobody would sign up for health insurance through Healthcare.gov? Well, that went down when more than eight-million signed up in the first open enrollment period.
Then the Party of Obstruction pivoted to a new talking point: one-third or more of those folks wouldn't pay their premiums, so they would not be covered.
Wrong again.
More than 7.3-million of the first eight-million (more than 90%) have paid their initial premiums and are covered. And some of those who dropped their private coverage "may have gotten employer-sponsored insurance, or found out they were eligible for Medicaid..." Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the always inquisitive Rep. Darrell Issa at a hearing.

Point - set - match to the Affordable Care Act. Republicans: read it and weep.

And ANOTHER Anti-Obamacare Talking Point Bites the Dust
No, I'm not repeating the previous item.
The alarmists/obstructionists contended Obamacare would result in skyrocketing insurance premiums.
Wrong.
The initial evidence indicates Obamacare has helped reduce premium increases for both individuals and small businesses.

More "read it and weep" for The Curmudgeon's GOP buddies.

Dems: State Housing Chief Had Conflict on HUD Grant
Just what the Snyder campaign needed: still another scandal involving a top Snyder appointee.
Scott Woolsey resigned in disgrace as director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) after revelations of lavish travel expenses, and a failure of the Snyder administration to rein in those excesses. He was swiftly dispatched by the Governor within a day of the revelations, even though the administration had known about the limousines, gourmet meals, expensive liquor and more for many months.
Now it appears Woolsey was administering a $98-million grant from HUD which included money to Labor Management Fund Advisors, a company owned by Woolsey.
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson announced Thursday he has filed a complaint with HUD's Inspector General alleging conflict of interest and misuse of federal funds.

Another Reason Not to Shop at Wal*Mart
Like you needed another one.
I've never been fond of China's top American distributor, especially with its low-wage exploitation of workers, reliance on welfare to subsidize those survival-level wages and the company's alleged discrimination against female employees (hopefully the word "alleged" will prevent a lawsuit).
Now the world's richest family is exploiting a loophole in the labor law to require employees to pay for their own work uniforms.
They do it by calling it a "dress code."
But in fairness to the Sages of Bentonville, they are helpfully making it easy for employees to pick out their new required duds from the clothing racks at Wal*Mart.
It is stories like this that make T
he Curmudgeon dream of the day when a Costco opens in the Lansing area and, until then, we'll get our cut-rate stuff from the home-grown Meijer chain.

Susan J. Demas Column: One Smug Nerd
The publisher of Inside Michigan Politics compares the Snyder campaign with the losing effort of Michael Dukakis ... and that ain't a good thing.
  • Avoiding debates makes him look weak
  • Saying he doesn't know if the public needs debates make him look like a snob
  • He spends too much time talking about numbers, too little talking about people
  • Snyder simply isn't a man of the people -- he likes to lecture folks from afar
Demas correctly notes that the Snyder campaign style is driving Republicans a little crazy. Right-wing propagandist Nolan Finley, editorial editor of the Detroit News, calls Snyder "dull as a valiumed-up dental patient." In a Facebo
ok post, onetime Engler press secretary John Truscott called Demas' analysis a "pretty good summary of how many are feeling about the campaign right now," adding that it isn't too late to "actually have a winning strategy" which implies the current strategy is a LOSER.

Demas makes one misstep in her analysis. In the process of eviscerating the Snyder campaign she also cites the Al Gore campaign as an example of an egghead strategy which lost. While Gore (accurately) came off as a really smart, well-educated egghead ... he still beat W by five-million votes among the electorate but lost 5-4 where it mattered. I doubt Gore's campaign style or strategy had any impact on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Free Press EditorialHey, Gov. Snyder: Prison food contract is rotten


Michigan Economy Shows Weak Recovery
The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau: household incomes rose 1.7% in 2013, better than the national average of 0.6%.
The bad news: the percentage of Michiganders living below the poverty level (17%) is unchanged.
More bad news: Michigan's median household income is still 13% below where it was eight years ago (unadjusted for inflation), and $4,000 below the national average.
It's not that families are bringing in more money.
Kurt Metzger, director emeritus of Data Driven Detroit, told the Detroit Free Press the increase simply reflects the fact that more households have incomes as unemployment goes down. A big reason Michigan's median income is well below the national average: our unemployment is 3rd worst in the country.

Michigan Republicans may pair gay rights amendment with 'religious freedom' act
Mary Cheney could still be denied employment in
Michigan because of employer's "religious beliefs"
The GOP apparently believes that discrimination based on sexual orientation is wrong unless you are a religious zealot. Since you can prove anything with scripture, it appears Speaker Jase Bolger wants to pass a law that extends
the GOP olive branch to the LGBT community without actually doing anything to end discrimination against them.
WWJD? I doubt that He would have allowed people to hate other people for being gay in His name.
Pathetic. Effectively what these Bible-thumpers are claiming is that our civil rights are trumped by whatever they choose to believe. Should we apply the same standard to taxpayers who oppose war, and have religious objections to the use of tax money for killing people?
The mLive story linked above includes a reader poll. Vote.


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