Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday Links Thread

Now that we've had a full day to disagree who won the alleged debate between "Rick" and "Congressman Schauer" (the correct answer is "it depends"), we return to the always exciting world of retransmitting other people's stuff. Here's the Tuesday morning thread of neat stuff in Internet-land.

Michigan Policast: 16 Seconds for Equality!

The weekly Michigan Policast – a gab-fest featuring Amy Kerr Hardin, Christine Barry and The Curmudgeon – is now online and ready for your listening pleasure. We discuss the pseudo-debate between Mark Schauer and Rick Snyder, the incredible big-money campaign finance scandal involving Meijer stores and Terri Lynn Land, and a potpourri of other issues.
Soon you will have the incredible opportunity to subscribe (for free) to the podcast through iTunes!

Mark Totten Ad Highlights Schuette's Anti-Taxpayer Agenda

Democratic Attorney General candidate Mark Totten is back on television with a powerful ad highlighting what campaign manager John Keig calls Bill Schuette's "extreme agenda ... whether it's denying contraception, fighting to raise taxes or shielding drug companies from justice, he is an ideological extremist who harms Michigan families."
Totten's campaign is well behind Schuette's when it comes to funding thanks, in large part, to Schuette's unflagging defense of big-bucks special interests. You can help close the gap by clicking here!

Gary Peters Ad: Terri Lynn Land's policies hurt women
Really.
Peters is taking off the gloves in his battle with "Silent Terri".
He hits her where she is especially vulnerable: her inexplicable anti-women political agenda. Apparently, attracting women voters is more than just being a woman who silently sips coffee.

Dark Money a Part of Rick Snyder's Legacy as Governor

Rich Robinson, the respected and all-knowing expert on campaign finance, has an excellent op-ed in Tuesday's Detroit Free Press. The headline provides a good summary ... and Robinson, head of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, has all the details to back it up.
Robinson notes that even Snyder admits his super-secret NERD Fund was a mistake.
Unfortunately, the NERD Fund was not the governor’s only mistake in the area of transparency, and his bigger mistake can’t be written off as a rookie error. Last December, three years into his administration, Snyder signed campaign finance bill into law that blocked an opportunity to bring sunlight to Michigan’s dark money political campaigns.

In Defense of Obama

I'm a little late to the parade, but this week's cover story in Rolling Stone is stunning: a detailed account of why history will treat Barack Obama well. Republicans will never admit it, but Obama has managed to accomplish a hell of a lot despite a disloyal opposition intent on stonewalling him every step of the way, stonewalling that begin the very night of his first inauguration.
The writer is Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, once an Obama skeptic, who has now come full circle:
The Affordable Care Act is the most significant
social legislation since Medicare was created
50 years ago. 
His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it's working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it's much more effective than you'd think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.
Krugman confirms what I have felt for a long time: Obama has accomplished more than any President since LBJ (including St. Ronnie of Hollywood). The closest any other president has come post-FDR is probably the most flawed: Richard Nixon.

The story is accompanied by a sidebar which tells the Obama story in numbers: employment increases, consistent private-sector job creation, GDP growth, deficit reduction, record stock market prices, consumer protection, expansion of alternative domestic energy sources, and much more.
The policy victories Obama has delivered have been hard-fought, messy and politically fraught. The achievements may not be all that the president’s 2008 boosters hoped for, but change has come.
My favorite statistical comparison, in true Rolling Stone style:
Osama bin Ladens alive in 2009: 1
Osama bin Ladens alive in 2014: 0

Michigan's Energy Boom More About Wind Than Oil

The Republican energy program is basically "more fossil fuels". In the Town Hall meeting Sunday, Rick Snyder said (inaccurately) that "Michigan does fracking right." In reality there have been some significant issues with fracking within Michigan, and major problems in other states including topographically similar Pennsylvania.
Michigan, which sits atop the largest fresh-water aquifer in the world, cannot afford the risk of widespread fracking with its potential to destroy the aquifer.
Pipelines transporting petroleum products also pose huge risks. The Kalamazoo River still hasn't fully recovered from the Enbridge pipeline leak more than four years ago; a 61-year-old Enbridge pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac pose a constant threat to the health of the Great Lakes.
The Detroit Free Press reports the big boom is in wind energy, not just by the Big Two of Michigan electricity (CMS and DTE), but with smaller utilities including the Lansing Board of Water and Light.

Detroit Airport Sued After Moving Michigan Flyer Stop

The Curmudgeon is apparently focusing on the environment today. One green initiative is pretty simple: cutting down the number of cars traveling between the Lansing area and Metro Airport. This Michigan Flyer has been doing this effectively for years. The Curmudgeon loves it, but not the politicians running DTW.
They have relegated the Flyer to a pickup location that, quite frankly, sucks. It forces passengers at the McNamara terminal to walk substantially farther, and to wait outside and face Michigan's often-brutal weather rather than wait indoors. The change poses a special hardship on seniors and people with disabilities.
A hearing will be held Friday in federal district court challenging DTW's decision as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ironically, DTW defends the decision because The Flyer's passenger volume is increasing. The airport claims that causes a threat to passengers and automobiles.

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