Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wednesday Michigan PoliLinks

The Holiday Party Season is officially begun in Lansing, a time for lame-duck legislators to combine job-hunting with bat-shit crazy legislation. Release the hounds!

Election Rigging Bill Delayed ... But Not Stopped

The House Elections Committee, which has been inundated with testimony urging a 'no' vote on changes to how Michigan votes for President of the United States, seems intent on moving forward with election rigging anyway.
At least that's the read-between-the-lines message from committee chair Lisa Lyons Posthumous. After a second hearing on the bill to give some of Michigan's electoral votes to the losing candidate in the presidential election, she talked with reporters. The Curmudgeon thanks activist Bruce Fealk for posting her comments, which seem to consist of "the Constitution gives us the right to fix elections."

The Michigan plan is gaining national attention (the kind we don't need), with the latest a blog post at ThinkProgress.

Transportion Fix at a Dead Stop

While the Governor huddles with bipartisan legislative leadership (yes, he knows he needs Democrats to fix the roads so, for once, he isn't ignoring them), some Republicans continue the drumbeat of "something for nothing," contending we can invest a billion dollars in fixing our crumbling roads without raising taxes. Maybe it's because Peter Pan is on NBC tomorrow night: the GOP now believes in magic fairy dust.
Speaking on behalf of reality, former House Fiscal Agency Director Mitch Bean says Speaker Jase Bolger plan to simply divert the money from school aid and local government is delusional. Bolger's rationale is that sales tax revenues are going up, so everything will be keen. Bolger fails to remember that when tax revenues plummeted (remember that Bush recession?) schools and local governments took a big hit. Apparently it's a one-way street for Bolger: schools and local needs are reduced during a recession, and then those reductions stand-in-place when things get better.
Speaking on behalf of the Magic Fairy Dust brigade is Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton), who pens an op-ed in the always obliging Detroit News explaining why we already have the money to fix our roads. Part of his argument is that the state shouldn't be funding mass transit. Of course that would mean more cars on the road, less mobility for people with cars and things like that. But Colbeck thinks it's a waste of money.

Latest Conspiracy Theory: 'Smart' Meters

Time to get out the aluminum foil hats and watch out for the black helicopters. The crazies were out in full force at the state Capitol yesterday to rail against 'smart' electrical meters being installed by utilities. It was at a public hearing called by House Oversight Committee chair Tom McMillin even though there is no legislation pending on the issue.
The new meters are more efficient since they transmit monthly readings back to the utility rather than requiring a meter reader to visit each customer. They also help utilities quickly spot outages, and provide the data needed to better plan future service expansions.
But they use radio waves to transmit the data, and that has the paranoid frothing. The meters, they claim, are a health and privacy risk.
The cellphones carried by these same people are definitely a far greater source of radio waves and, in all likelihood, a far greater threat to personal privacy. But that apparently doesn't matter in the world of paranoia - only the latest innovation is a threat.
The Curmudgeon has been hanging around the Capital for many decades and this is the same sort of ranting that comes up anytime there are significant technological advances. Back in the '70s people warned that the new-fangled ATMs would eat your money and you'd never see it again; cell phones have been under attack as a carcinogen seemingly forever; new business models like internet commerce and peer-to-peer commerce (things like eBay and Uber) -- all have been derided, defamed and opposed. Yet our society still stands.

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