Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thursday's Thread

Having been awed by the "blood moon," The Curmudgeon has recovered to the point where he is again chuckling everytime he hears Terri Lynn Land remind us she's the mother of two.
Across the Internet on Thursday morning...

Brittany Makes It to The Daily Show
On Monday, The Curmudgeon took note of the amazingly sexist, demeaning "Brittany" ad in which an adoring blonde gushes over the "Snyder" style wedding dress, rejecting the frumpy "Schauer" model favored by her Mom.
First of all, given the relative voting turnouts of Millennials and their parents, Schauer is better off with Mom's support since she is more likely to vote. Secondly, Brittany (as we noted) is a playuh. She loves a whole bunch of dresses conveniently named for GOP gubernatorial candidates, and Jon Stewart noticed...

Stewart and the brilliant Kristen Schaal devoted an entire segment to the latest GOP campaign to impress the ladies...

Breaking: Hillary Schedules Michigan Campaign Stop(s)
The President-in-Waiting will be in the state on behalf of Gary Peters and Mark Schauer on Thursday, October 16. While it is billed as a "public event" no details are available yet from the Michigan Democratic Party.

Progress Michigan Ad Focuses on Maggots in Prison Food
Until now Rick Snyder has been given a pass (at least in political ads) on the myriad scandals and mini-scandals in his administration. That's ending with a TV ad running for the next week in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Mount Pleasant and the U.P. on the Aramark prison-food debacle.
The ad is appropriately titled "Maggots".

Latest Poll (Do They Ever End?): Schauer +1
The latest poll, from CBS News and the New York Times, has a huge sample (2,560 likely voters) giving it a margin of error of just ±2.4%.
It shows the gubernatorial race still a tossup. All but one recent poll (EPIC/MRA) have shown the race within the margin of error. 72% of voters said they were certain of their choice; 14% of voters surveyed said they might change their mind.
In the Senate race, Gary Peters' lead over Terri Lynn Land (including leaners) is 46-41%.
Other findings:
  • Support airstrikes against ISIS 76-9%
  • Disapprove of President Obama's job performance 54-43%
  • Want Democrats to control Congress 45-42%
  • Have very or somewhat unfavorable opinions of Terri Lynn Land (44%), Rick Snyder (41%), Debbie Stabenow (37%), Gary Peters and Carl Levin (35%), Mark Schauer (34%)
  • Oppose the tea party movement 40-22%
  • Feel Michigan's economy is: getting better (35%) about the same (41%) getting worse (21%)
  • Believe the U.S. economy favors the wealthy 66-27%
  • Oppose affirmative action for women and racial minorities 43-35%
  • 52% want illegal immigrants deported; 37% support a path to citizenship
  • 38% want Obamacare expanded or left alone; 37% want it completely repealed; 17% want changes
  • Support a $10.10 federal minimum wage 52-34%
  • Favor marriage equality 47-39%
  • Support abortion only in special cases (40%), always (20%), during the first trimester (17%), until the fetus is viable (9%), never (13%)
  • Support stricter gun control laws or banning guns (37%), status quo (26%), looser (13%), no restrictions (11%)
  • Believe global warming is a somewhat or very serious problem (58%); not serious or not a problem at all (37%)
Let's Face It: Our Civics Education Sucks
Tim Skubick's column on mLive demonstrates how decades of cutbacks in our K-12 education is hurting our democracy. While I'm sure the readers of this blog know most/all the candidates for statewide office, even educated young people know virtually nothing. Reading between the lines, it appears Skubick spoke to a college class and then gave a pop quiz asking for the names of candidates. The results were depressingly horrid. (Thankfully for the alumni association of the school he did not identify the college.)
The Curmudgeon had a similar experience in his unsuccessful effort to join the state House of Representatives. Many (most?) people don't know the difference between the state and federal legislatures, and often don't even know there is an election coming (despite all the advertising and news coverage).
Our education system gave up on educating future voters a long time ago. "Civics" classes are non-existent or, at best, one semester. A college degree program does not require civic literacy. The reality is that a Ph.D. can go through life unable to pass the citizenship quiz required of immigrants.
Our education system has also given up on driver education, music, art and sometimes even foreign languages. Even the two most sacred of non-core subjects, football and basketball, are endangered in some school districts.
The lack of civics education makes it much easier for those with money to manipulate/dominate elections ... and is a major reason why nearly half of eligible voters don't even vote. (At a recent registration drive at Lansing Community College, The Curmudgeon was told more than once by proud students "I don't vote".)
STEM subjects are vital in education. But so is civics. It will cost us money up-front, but civics education might ultimately benefit all of us by elevating the knowledge of the people who pick our leaders.

This Would Have Been Great
New York Magazine reports that NBC tried to hire Jon Stewart to be the host of Meet the Press. Stewart may be a comedian, but he is also an amazing interviewer with the ability to cut like a knife through bullshit.
Jon Stewart's interview with HHS Secretary
Kathleen Sebelius proved that the comedian
simply doesn't accept b.s. answers
The magazine reports NBC was willing to pay Stewart whatever he wanted to take over the longest-running network program from the pretty but inept David Gregory. Despite being prepared to "back the Brink's truck up," according to a source, Stewart wouldn't take the bait.
While admittedly a liberal politically, Stewart doesn't hesitate to take on Democrats in high positions. He chastised President Obama following the incredibly poor presidential performance in the first debate with Mitt Romney, and his interview of then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the aftermath of the rollout devasted Sibelius who apparently was expecting softball questions despite the massive problems with the website.

MayDay PAC investing $1.5 Million to Topple Fred Upton
The MayDay PAC is unique: it is a crowd-funded effort with the goal to take big individual contributions out of politics. Recognizing you can't unilaterally disarm, it has raised more than $6-million through small online donations. The money is distributed to candidates who 1) can win, and 2) are pledged to comprehensive campaign finance reform.
In announcing the support, the PAC notes that Upton – who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee (formerly chaired by John Dingell) – has taken more than $10-million from special interests. Paul Clements has pledged his support to MayDay's Government By the People bill which would match small-dollar donations, lessening the impact of big-money donations.
MayDay is funding a TV ad which goes directly to the issue of "who is paying for this Congressman?"

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