August 29, 2016
For many of you who follow the blog and live outside of Southeast Michigan, around here warm weather is known more popularly as the “Orange Barrel Season.” It seems like as soon as the temperature has three continuous days above freezing, work begins on repairing the roads and highways of Michigan. These roads (and bridges) rival those of a Third World country in terms of disrepair. Actually, our roads may be worse. One important reason why Michigan’s roads and infrastructure are so bad is the Michigan government.
Unlike other states that have insisted on enforcing minimum materials and construction standards, along with a guarantee of viability, Michigan governments since the Engler Administration have allowed contractors to use inferior materials and construction methods to create a virtual perpetual employment machine, moving constantly from one short-term, emergency fix to another. It has also been a government that has resisted any effective public transportation system, or enforced regulation of heavy traffic vehicles.
Since all of the highway work had been unguaranteed, it guaranteed huge tax expenditures to create emergency, and short-term fixes. It’s quite remarkable to see if you are not from Michigan. Slow-moving trucks roll along at 5 mph on a 70 mph highway for miles, causing huge traffic jams while men shovel out a gravel and tar mixture to fill in monster pot holes. Then they rely on subsequent traffic to roll over the mound to compact it down, while the rest of the tar and gravel are sent bouncing off of cars in other lanes.
Well, there’s good news and bad news in this regard with the announcement of a major road reconstruction project at one of the busiest conduits in SE Michigan, at I-75 in Oakland County. The good news is that the huge congestion of traffic creating a 10-mile-long, bumper-to-bumper commute into Wayne County and the City of Detroit will be somewhat relieved. The bad news is that the project will take 12-14 years to complete! For Oakland County residents working in Detroit, it means more than a decade of finding alternate routes or commutes extended hours longer. Imagine spending 2-3 hours or longer to drive 10 miles to work.
I’m guessing that the good conservative types in one of America’s riches counties will be wishing they had approved extending the Woodward light rail pretty soon. For the thousands of people who use I-75 as their route to Northern Michigan … just think of it as an opportunity to tour the back roads instead of a costly extension of hours in travel time. There even might be some economic benefit from the fact that hotels and restaurants will have increased business once driving to Mackinac will take an over-night trip rather than the usual 5 hours.
Or maybe we can contemplate how much of a difference government can make with regard to infra-structure – for good or bad.
August 9, 2016
Alright all of you Khans of the world, here is a list of the sacrifices Donald trump has made for his Country.
- From 1959 to 1964: He served honorably in the New York Military Academy High School. Says Trump, he “got more training than many men get while serving in the military.”
- From 1964 to 1968: Multiple deferments from the draft. Not the conscientious type, but it was still very difficult for him to stay in college instead of serving during a war.
- From 1980 to 1997: Avoided contracting any sexually transmitted disease. “It was my personal Viet Nam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.” (By the way, didn’t we lose that war?)
- He created thousands of jobs.
And if you have any doubts about whether or not Trump has read and understands the Constitution, consider the fact that on July 7th, Trump clearly and unequivocally announced his support for “Article XII” of the Constitution. Maybe he should get one of those pocket Constitutions. Then again, it wouldn’t make a difference. This is a man with a pathological narcissism that runs through everything he does. Creating jobs for people to perform the labor that makes him money is, to him, a sacrifice. In the mind of a narcissist, the money he paid to people who ultimately made him money were taking something from him. They should work for him for free…
The attempts to smear the Khan family were the inevitable result of a complete lack of response about his lack of sacrifices and understanding of the meaning of the Constitution. They simply can’t defend Trump, so they attack these two fine people. I hope that this is the real turning point of the election.
August 8, 2016
What are the top 5 responses of Trump supporters to his encouraging Russian espionage against the US?
- The media is lying about what he said.
- Ya, but Hillary…
- He really meant to say…
- Ya but Hillary…
- Ya, but Hillary…
When does the love of Country “trump” the hatred of Hillary Clinton? I am not a big Hillary supporter. In fact, I am pretty angry at the Dems for anointing her as the candidate even before the primary process began. Is there any doubt that Bernie, or nearly anyone else as the nominee would mean a huge advantage in the polls right now? However, the comments of Trump encouraging a foreign power to commit espionage may not be treason per se, but is certainly a felonious act. It is a felony to encourage a crime, and hacking any private citizen’s e-mails, let alone those of the State Department’s. So what does the Party of “Law and Order” have to say in response? Nothing.
I sat marveling at the hypocrisy exploding from the Republican National Convention when they all chanted “Blue Lives Matter” – the same Party that blocked bills to help support 9/11 first repsonders for years. The Party that has tried to lay sole claim to patriotism now stands in silence as their candidate encourages our adversaries to spy.
Was this an act of treason? Probably not his motive, but Trump is so ignorant of National Security issues and self-centered that he still sees no problems with compromising national security if it serves his purposes. Come to think of it… isn’t that why they wanted to throw Hillary in jail?
August 5, 2016
It was perhaps the most important speech at the Democratic National Convention, and may be of any in this campaign. Mr. Khan became the face and voice of American Muslims in such a dignified and effective way that it could affect the Fall election. Most Americans have no personal relationship with a Muslim family. I have known several through my work as a trial lawyer. So when Trump and his allies began to caricaturize American Muslims as “silent participants” in terrorism (Trump said they are not “turning over the terrorists,”) and claiming they seek to impose Shari’a law in the United States, many Americans believed them.
We’ve been through this type of process with virtually every wave of immigrants in our history and African-Americans have been going through it for centuries. It’s easy to hate someone you don’t know or understand. Integration of immigrants (and to a lesser extent, races) means that a face – a relationship replaces racist stereotypes and fear. Mr. Khan not only provided that experience for the first time to millions of Americans, he did it in a way that could only be called inspirational. He virtually shamed the Trump campaign and many of his well-meaning supporters. He put into clarity the moral and patriotic choices we face in this election, but even more importantly he reminded us that the way to end fear and hatred is to seek dialogue. When there is a personal experience with an individual of a group, then the fear of the group disappears.
Now, Trump responded with an attack on the mother, implying that she was silenced by her Muslim faith, consistent with their attacks on the Muslim faith as oppressive to women. Her response to his attack was even more powerful – she was still grieving so much that she could barely talk about her loss. Yet she had the courage to stand before thousands of delegates and millions of Americans on television. Their challenge to GOP leadership to have some moral courage and repudiate Trump has been met with only the confirmation of their cowardice. Moral clarity is a powerful thing. Dr. King exemplified that principle and now we have the Khan’s.
August 4, 2016
After Michelle Obama brought down the house at the DNC with a speech that many call one of the greatest in convention history, the pundits were all pitying the poor speakers who had to follow. Enter President Obama. Twelve years ago he electrified the Country in a convention speech and consequently lit the fuse for his own Presidential run. Now Michelle and Barak have given us 3 of the most memorable speeches ever. In a brilliant speech, the Democrat and President used a quote from the patron saint of Republicans to unfavorably contrast the Republican candidate with Hillary Clinton. To use Reagan as a foil to Trump was the ultimate rhetorical takedown of a Party that struggles to maintain a sense of self-respect while their candidate reveals their silent hypocrisy.
There is no doubt that President Obama has suffered through years of outrageous treatment from the right wing, primarily because he was a black man (e.g. birther movement, secret Muslim movement, etc). How wonderfully fitting that he is finishing his second term as one of the most popular to leave office since President Bill Clinton. Well, I guess the new Obama is Hillary.
Contrasting the speeches given by Michelle and Barak Obama with those of Trump and wife #3, one has to be amazed at the intellectual gulf between them. I can understand Melania wanting to plagiarize Michelle, and perhaps we will hear Michelle’s speech again at a future GOP convention. But the revealing contrast is that of President Obama with Trump. Intelligence, class and authenticity with a birther, bombast and bigot. It may have taken a few too many years and another great speech, but finally we are realizing what we have had in President Obama and what we could get with Trump.
March 26, 2016
Mitch McConnell is nothing if not a consistent fool. Make that a supreme fool. Before President Obama ever entered the White House, he publicly stated that his job (and the job of all GOP Senators) was to make sure that Obama was a one-term president. He then initiated the most obstructionist campaign against any president in history. It became so absurd that Republicans in both houses of Congress opposed the president’s initiatives that they had previously supported. It got so bad that the American Psychological Association is considering a new diagnosis of “Obama Derangement Syndrome” or what we call “black-tracking” (rejecting their own ideas whenever Obama supports it).
Perhaps the best example of black-tracking is to not even consider the current nominee for the Supreme Court. In one of the best “in your face” political dunks of all time, President Obama nominated someone that Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah) only one week earlier cited by name as a man who would easily pass unanimously if only the president would be reasonable enough to nominate him. It clearly showed the willingness of Republicans to put party before the welfare of the country, leaving a Supreme Court seriously impaired for over a year, maybe a year and a half by the time the next president nominates and the Senate confirms.
All the obstructionism Mitch McConnell and his deranged GOP Congress has accomplished up to now is to hurt the country by failing to do much-needed legislation and making the institution of Congress the most derided and least respected in history. Then again, he and his cronies may have accomplished something else. By trying to destroy the Obama Presidency, he may have destroyed his own party. The obstructionism and rhetoric of the GOP leadership has spawned the two front running candidates for their party based on platforms of rejecting their leadership. The reality is that Congress stopped serving the needs of the country shortly after the Citizens United ruling codified the creation of the “donor class” and permanent dysfunction of government.
June 20, 2014
I turned on the television to watch the Sunday morning news shows a couple of days ago and it was like watching the same goblins from 2003 spouting their gobbledygook. Crystal, Wolfowitz, Bremer, McCain, Feith, Cheney … the same guys who were wrong about everything concerning Iraq calling for us to invade Iraq (again).
They are even using the same rhetoric (e.g. “the seeds of another 9/11 are being sown again”). That’s doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that the same media who enabled these war mongers in the past are giving them a platform to spew their lies once again.
The entire national media that failed us last time around (miserably) is doing it again. I suppose this means we really can’t trust the media (even the so-called “liberal media”) to play a critical role in telling the truth to power.
Maybe it’s because much of the media has been consolidated to ownership by a few powerful men who view the news not as a public service, but as a entertainment vehicle to sell advertizing. Maybe it also means that if enough of us raise our voices in a collective “no, not again”, they might banish the war goblins out of fear that they might lose advertizing dollars.
June 12, 2014
The GOP is the party of sexually dysfunctional men.
That was NOT a reference to old white men (and the problem of ED per se). Rather it is a reflection of their obsession with sex and misogyny. The most recent example among many was the column of George Will (the wannabe intellectual heir to William Buckley) in the Washington Post asserting that being the victim of rape was a “coveted status” on American college campuses. Does he really believe that women intentionally get raped so they can obtain “status”? Yes, he does, and so do many conservatives in the GOP.
The evidence of misogyny in the GOP is abundant and you have to acknowledge that the Tea Party element of the GOP is at least open and unapologetic about it. Add to the Will assertion that women want to be raped to obtain “status” to the many comments essentially blaming women for either being raped or falsely claiming raped, to their refusal to let women earn equal wages for the same work and you have the foundation of the party of misogyny.
However, the dysfunctional sexuality of the GOP is not just limited to degrading and devaluing women. Add to that character an obsession with homosexuality and you have two corners of the conservative tent (racism/xenophobia and corporate pandering are the other two corners).
For a political party that claims to be the party opposed to big government they sure advocate a lot of government interference in our sex lives. For millions of American women, gays and minorities the GOP is less of a libertarian liberator than the boogeyman in the bedroom closet.
April 14, 2014
You couldn’t ask for a clearer contrast between the “family values” of Republicans and those of the Democrats. The vote on equal pay for women was blocked by Republicans — every single Republican voted against it. Terri Lynn Land, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate to replace Carl Levin, chimed in with agreement with her fellow Republicans that women aren’t really interested in getting paid the same for the same work. You would think that a woman might have a hard time justifying a policy to allow discrimination against women, but apparently not a Republican woman.
As a father of two boys and a girl, I can’t imagine advocating a policy that punishes my daughter just because she is a girl. I wonder how ANY woman could remain a Republican after such a disgraceful vote. However, I can’t honestly discern if Republicans are conducting an ideological war against women, or if the issue is simply one where all Republican policies are subservient to protecting corporate America.
Sure, Republicans have been the party to deny the right of women to choose what happens to their own bodies. The party of “small government” has proposed all kinds of government intrusions into the personal lives and bodies of women — even to the point of mandating government vaginal exams of pregnant women, and prohibiting reimbursement for contraceptives. The refusal to support equal pay for women might seem to be another extension of their “war on women.” But when you look at the big picture, the issue is less about discriminating against women as it is about protecting corporations. More than anything else, Republicans are all about protecting the profits of corporations and billionaires. Five Supreme Court Justices are possibly the only five people in the world who don’t understand the role of money in politics and power. The Ryan Budget just passed by the House of Representatives is essentially the declaration of GOP policy: take from the poor and give to the rich.
The defeat of the equal pay law should be a warning to every American, female or male, that the agenda of the Republican Party is to turn the U.S. into a Third World economy where impoverished workers serve the goal of corporate profits. Resisting raising the minimum wage, equal pay, blocking unemployment benefits, Tort Reform … asking how any given law will affect corporate profits can explain 99 percent of all Republican policy. The Ryan Budget declares it loud and clear. In that sense, I suppose, the Republicans can legitimately argue that they are not prejudiced in favor of either gender: both should face equal injustice.
March 13, 2014
Paul Ryan is a lot like many other Republicans insofar as he likes to think of himself as a conservative whose “Christian” values guide his policy. His recent speech at CPAC used coded words and Christian symbols to communicate his political pitch.
For example, he told his fellow Christian conservatives that the left was making a mistake by advocating programs to feed the poor (such as school lunches), because the poor don’t want full stomachs, they want “a life of dignity – of self-determination.” He suggested that feeding poor children hot lunches fills their stomach but empties their souls. I suggest that Paul Ryan has never been poor or hungry … or Christian.
In fact Ryan isn’t even a very good Catholic boy either. His own church teaches that the economy must serve people, not the other way around … protect the rights of workers to organize and join unions and to have fair wages. You know, the exact opposite of what Ryan stands for.
In fact, I challenge any person who claims to be a “Christian” and a “Conservative Republican” to justify the following.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said that the Father would welcome those who fed the hungry… took care of the sick, welcomed the stranger and visited the imprisoned. He hardly advocated turning his back on those in need and saying “you’re on your own”.
Right wing nuts claim that our country is a “Christian Nation” and that the government should reflect Christian values, yet they want to eliminate programs that feed the poor, deny medical benefits, deport immigrants and imprison people (well, mostly black men anyway).
I suppose they will answer with the Left’s support of abortion rights and gay marriage, but the Left really doesn’t claim any unique political connection to God.
Maybe Ryan and his religious right would do well to remember what Jesus said about Pharisees.