Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Michigan PoliLinks

It's going to be a short week for many of us, The Curmudgeon included. Today's highlights: figuring out which discounted turkey will grace the House of Curmudgeon on Thursday. Decisions, decisions, decisions...

America's Priorities Match Obama's Priorities

The news media focus on national polls is like teenage gossip: do they like me? The Presidential approval rating, hovering just below 50%, is the national fascination. It's a lot like the lyrics to Colbie Caillat's song Try:
Wait a second.
Why should you care, what they think of you?
When you're all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
You don't have to try so hard, you don't have to give it all away.
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up, you don't have to change a single thing.
That's the message of the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll: you don't have to change a single thing. It shows the President's approval ratings continue to be slightly under water, 44-50%. But it also gives Obama one of the highest approval ratings of any political leader tested in the poll. Other approval/disapproval ratings:
  • Republican Party 31-43%
  • Democratic Party 38-41%
  • Jeb Bush 26-33% (the balance "neutral" or "not sure/don't know this person")
  • Scott Walter 15-14%
  • Ted Cruz 16-26%
  • Marco Rubio 21-19%
  • John Boehner 16-41%
  • Harry Reid 16-31%
  • Elizabeth Warren 23-17%
  • Rick Perry 20-29%
  • Joe Biden 35-38%
  • Rand Paul 26-23%
  • Chris Christie 29-29%
  • Nancy Pelosi 21-47%
  • Mitch McConnell 18-27%
  • Hillary Clinton 43-40%
  • Ben Carson 17-7%
On issues, the majority of Americans support the Obama agenda  (just as long as you don't give issues the label "Obama"). By a 52-46% margin, people think government should do more (and not less) to deal with national issues. The most important issues, according to the poll:
  • Reducing costs of student loans - 82%
  • Increasing spending on infrastructure - 75%
  • Raising the minimum wage - 65%
  • Approving emergency funding for Ebola in west Africa - 61%
  • Addressing climate change through limits on carbon emissions - 59%
  • Approving the Keystone pipeline - 54%
  • Eliminating most tax deductions in return for lower tax rates - 49%
  • Approving use of U.S. troops to fight Isis - 49%
  • Reducing Medicare/Social Security for the wealthy - 44%
  • New trade agreements with Asian nations - 44%
  • Lowering the corporate tax rate by eliminating business tax deductions - 43%
  • Cutting funding for the Health Care law to prevent implementation - 41%
  • Creating a legal status for some immigrants - 39%
  • Raising the Social Security eligibility age - 34%
So what we have here is a failure to communicate: the people's priorities match, for the most part, the President's priorities and are at odds with the priorities of Congressional Republicans. So, logically, the American people put Republicans in charge of Congress.

Looting Detroit

I told you once before that there were two times for making big money: one in the up-building of a country and the other in its destruction. Slow money on the up-building, fast money in the crack-up.
          —  Rhett Butler, Gone With the Wind

While retirees were seeing cuts to their pensions, and people were having their water shut off because they were unable to pay their bills, lawyers were racking up millions in fees for "services rendered" on behalf of the bankrupt city. WXYZ-TV in Detroit has done an outstanding job nailing down some of the most egregious legalized thefts in the $200-million legal bonanza. Much of the abuse involves Governor Rick Snyder's hand-picked law firm, Jones Day (that was the firm where Snyder found his first Emergency Manager, Kevyn Orr).
Limousines, outrageous hourly fees for walking to court, $20 to receive emails (and more to actually read them), monitoring news media, long-distance limo rides ... the list goes on and on.
The full reports begin here

Nolan Finley: I'm Such an Idiot

Nolan Finley knows he was a fool for allowing himself to be interviewed for The Daily Show. Did he really think that he could outwit people who win Emmys for their wit? Apparently the Finley ego is big enough to think that was possible. On Sunday he tried to recover from the resulting embarrassment by charging that TDS edited the interview to make his look bad, and ... gasp ... the segment wasn't that funny.
In case you missed it, here's the segment reporting on Detroit's two-tiered approach to collecting water bills: shutting off water for poor people, and ignoring past-due bills for sports arenas.

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