Thoughts on Gerald R. Ford (1913-2006)

As someone who lives near former President Gerald R. Ford's longtime hometown of Grand Rapids, I was saddened to learn of the passing of our 38th President.

Five months and twelve days after his 93rd birthday (he was the oldest President in US history), Ford passed away peacefully at 6:45 PM Pacific Time (9:45 PM Eastern Time) Tuesday at his home in California, with his wife Betty and family by his side.

He is the only Eagle Scout to become President thus far. After graduating first from the University of Michigan (where he was an amazing football player, though he turned down offers to play for the Packers and the Lions) and then from Yale Law School, he served his country in World War II. He was then elected to represent Grand Rapids in Congress in 1948, becoming House Republican Leader in 1965. In 1973, he became Vice President after Spiro Agnew resigned. Just months later, President Richard Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal, propelling then-VP Ford into the Presidency.

It was Ford's job to heal the nation after the horrible effects of the Watergate scandal. With his light-heartedness and relaxed personality, he largely succeeded - even if he did anger many people by pardoning Nixon.

Even though I'm a Democrat, I will miss Ford. Ford was a very decent Republican who took office when the nation yearned for his leadership after the resignation of Richard Nixon. His brand of honesty and humility is rare in politics today.

It will be interesting to see how the Grand Rapids area will react to the death of perhaps the greatest West Michigander to have ever lived. His presidential museum downtown - which I pass every weekend on my way to church - is closed except for a vestibule, which includes books where people may leave their condolences. There is also a makeshift memorial by the fountain in front of the museum. He will be laid to rest next Wednesday at the museum.

Rest in peace, Mr. President.


A first look at Election 2008

For the first time since 1952, neither the incumbent President nor the incumbent VP will be a nominee for the White House. After Dick Cheney announced early in his Vice Presidency that he wouldn't run for President, many analysts have predicted that the 2008 White House race was as open as it has been in a while. In other words, it is hard to tell who could be the 44th President (as opposed to 2000, when Gore and Bush were the favorited to become their parties' nominees).

So who's running? Who's not? Who's on the fence? (Asterisk denotes those who have run for president in the past; two asterisks mean they have run for President twice)

Who's in?

The following candidates have announced their candidacies for President or have filed to form what is called an exploratory committee: (Asterisk denotes those who have run for president in the past)

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE)*
Fmr. Sen. John Edwards (D-NC)*
Fmr. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)*
Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM)
Outgoing Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA)
Fmr. Gov. Jim Gilmore (R-VA)
Fmr. Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY)
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)*
Outgoing Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)
Fmr. HHS Sec. Tommy Thompson (R-WI)

Who's Out?

The following people have said they will not run for President in 2008.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Fmr. Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD)
Fmr. Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT)*
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Fmr. VP. Al Gore (D-TN)**
Fmr. Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA)
Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS)
Outgoing Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL)
Outgoing Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN)
Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice (R-CA)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN)
Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC)

Who's on the fence? (And I don't mean the miles-long fence along the Mexican Border)

The following people may or may not run in 2008.

Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.), US Army (D-AR)* - Prediction: Will run.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) - Prediction: Will not run. (You heard it here first.)
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)* - Prediction: Will run.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) - Prediction: Will not run.
Fmr. Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) - Prediction: Will run.
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) - Prediction: Will run.


The Upgrade: Version 2.0

I've upgraded my account to the new version of Blogger, which requires a Google account. It allows me to add labls for my posts, such as the one below.

I have also decided to consider changing the name of this blog. "Scott Does Politics" was hastily chosen a few months ago, and I want a new name.

A few ideas:

Scott Semper Tyrannis - a takeoff on sic semper tyrannis, Latin for "Thus always to tyrants"

Post Scott Ergo Propter Scott - Post hoc ergo propter hoc is Latin for "After this, because of this"

Great Scott Talks Great Lakes

Urban Areas - part of my last name ;-)

The Political Polak - A 'polak' is a man of Polish descent. I'm also part German.

The Fired-up Chip - "Fire up Chips!" is a common cheer at CMU sporting events.

Other suggestions???


Levin (D-Awesome) to run for re-election

It's been a hectic few weeks, but now that I finally have a chance to post, here's some good news to make the wait worth it.

WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, the incoming chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Monday he will seek re-election in 2008.

The 72-year-old Michigan lawmaker was widely expected to seek a sixth term and will enter the race a heavy favorite. With Democrats winning control of the Senate, Levin will take the helm of the Armed Services panel, giving him a major role in shaping Iraq policy.

The Detroit lawmaker has called for troop withdrawals from Iraq beginning within four to six months. He has criticized the Bush administration for making the war open-ended, saying the White House has provided the Iraqis with a blank check with the presence of U.S. troops.

Levin said he hopes to win another term, citing his work on Armed Services and on issues crucial to Michigan's automotive and manufacturing industries.

Carl is most likely a shoe-in. He won 61% of the vote in a Republican year (2002), and he was named one of America's 10 Best Senators by TIME Magazine.


Levin to lead Senate investigation into rendition, torture

The Guardian has the scoop:

Abuses carried out under the CIA's secret programme of extraordinary rendition are to be investigated by one of the Senate's most powerful committees, it emerged today.

The new chairman of the Senate armed services committee, the Democratic senator Carl Levin, revealed that he was "not comfortable" with the rendition system and said it was making the US less secure.


Asked whether he would investigate the renditions programme, including the secret prisons and missing detainees, Mr Levin replied: "Yes. Yes, yes and yes."


Amnesty International has described extraordinary renditions as a policy of "disappearances" and welcomed Mr Levin's announcement.

"It is long overdue," an Amnesty spokeswoman said. "Many aspects of the US war on terror are of concern and are questionable. There is a need for greater transparency and we need to know who has been taken and where."


Mr Levin made his comments as he was outlining the priorities of the committee after the Democrats' gain in last week's midterm elections. The first order of business would be to change the direction of Iraq policy, he said.

Good going for Michigan’s longest-serving US Senator in history, whom TIME Magazine named one of America’s 10 Best Senators. Now if only we can get Debbie on board…


Granholm landslide highlights a great week to be a Democrat!!

As of 4:30 Thursday, here's an UPDATED look at how the election returns are shaping up according to CNN and Michigan Liberal:

Last night, the Democrats gained control of the US Senate as Jim Webb (D) beat George Allen (R) in Virginia. US Senate: 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans, 1 independent.

US House: 229 Democrats, 196 Republicans, 10 undecided seats.

Governorships: 28 Democrats, 21 Republicans, one undecided race (MN; The Repub incumbent is leading by a small margin). Granholm 56%, DeVos 42%. Rougly 3.8 million people voted in Michigan. 3.4 million were expected to vote. Damn, that's awesome!

Ballot proposals: 1 passes, 2 passes (^@&#), 3 fails, 4 passes, 5 fails.

State Senate: It looks like 21 Republicans, 17 Democrats. Just a couple thousand votes in a couple seats would have tipped the balance. Grr. But hey, we did get the......

State House: 58 Democrats, 52 Republicans.

Democrats SWEPT the races for State Board of Education, and U-M, MSU, and Wayne State governing boards! Has that ever happened?


Election 2006 predictions: How well did I do?

Governor/Lieutenant Governor:
Granholm/Cherry* 51%-47%
Actual: 56-42% (better than I expected)

Secretary of State:
Land* 58-41%
Actual: 56-42% (better)

Attorney General:
Cox* 53%-46%
Actual: 54-43% (worse)

US Senate:
50 Republicans. 49 Democrats
Actual: 50D, 49R, 1I (better than I tought - woohoo!!)

Stabenow* (D) 55-44%
Actual: 57-41%

US House:
Democrats: 219, Republicans: 216
Actual: 230-196 (with 9 undecided)

Ehlers* 61-38%
Actual: 63-35%

Camp* 58%-41%
Actual: 60-38%

State House:
56 Democrats, 54 Republicans
Actual: 58-42

District 72:
Steil* 78-20%
Actual: 66-32%

District 75:
Dean 52-48%
Actual: 51-47%

District 99:
Caul* 64-36%
Actual: 58-42%

State Senate:
19-19 plus Lt. Gov. Cherry's tie-breaking vote
Actual: It looks like 21-17 Repubs.

District 29:
Hardiman* 49.7-49.1%
Actual: 53-46%

District 33:
Cropsey* 59-41%
Actual: 54-44%

State Board of Education:
Weiser*, Turner*, McMillin, Ulbrich
Actual: Ulbrich, Turner, McMillin, Weiser

U-M Regents:
Brandon*, White*, Darlow, Brown
Actual: White, Darlow, Brown, Brandon

MSU Trustees:
Perles, Porteous*, Cook*, Owen
Actual: Perles, Owen, Cook, Porteous

WSU Governors:
Dingell, Driker*, McLemore, Akouri
Actual: Dingell, Driker, Akouri, McLemore

Supreme Court:
Cavanagh*, Corrigan*, Beckering, Shulman
Actual: Cavanagh, Corrigan, Beckering, Shulman

Kent County Drain Commissioner:
Byl 58-42%
Actual: 58-42%

17th Circuit Court:
Brinkman 50.2-49.8%
Actual: Trusock 51-49%

Ballot proposals (in tems of what percentage of voters vote yes):
Proposal 1: 61%
Proposal 2: 46%
Proposal 3: 41%
Proposal 4: 64%
Proposal 5: 41%

Actual: 82%, 58%, 31%, 80%, and 38%, respectively


Thoughts on Election Day 2006

"This is not a time to sit back and let others decide the state’s and country's fate." – Mark Brewer, MDP Chair

"The only poll that matters will be on Election Day and it will signal a new direction for America. " -Howard Dean, Democratic National Chair

"This is the time for us to stand up and be counted. Together, we will help Democrats take back Congress on Tuesday, bringing the change that our troops, our families, and all Americans so desperately need." – Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.)

"I’m depending on you to help me keep our plan, and our vision of Michigan’s future, alive. … You can make the difference in this election." –Gov. Jennifer Granholm

"Remind your world: Vote tomorrow." -100actions.com


Happy Election Day!!

Hopefully, you all have voted (at least you Democrats... Republicans, please check out www.republicansforgranholm.com before voting. ;-) ) I voted absentee a couple weeks ago. 3.4 million people are expected to vote.

I really, really, REALLY want the Democrats to kick butt this election. We haven't had a good Election Night since... a long time ago.

The polls are looking good. Jenny's up anywhere between 6 and 14 points, Debbie's up even more. (They're doing much better than I predicted they will; see previous entry.)

How am I? Nervous, yes. I want Jenny and Debbie to win big. Same with Amos Williams. I also want the Democrats to control Congress and the Legislature. And boy, do I ever want Prop 2 to go down big time!! (And I have plenty of company on that one.)

But perhaps my thoughts can be best summed up by Matt Ferguson over at Michigan Liberal:

"But the sun will come back. It always does. Before long it will be time once again to stroll along our magnificent Great Lakes shoreline, feeling the soft sand between our toes; the smooth and rhthymic din of the waves washing over our souls; the crisp coolness of that annual first plunge into the water that tells us we're alive and living in one of the most miraculous places on earth! This...is ours. It's our habitat; our imagination; part of our humanity."

All the best to Michigan and all of America.

Election 2006 Predictions

These predictions are mine and mine alone. Percentages often do NOT add up to 100% to account for third party performance.

Governor/Lieutenant Governor: Jenny is peaking at just the right time. Unlike the last two Dem governors (Swainson in 1962, Blanchard in 1990), Jenny won't lose for re-election.
Granholm/Cherry* 51%
DeVos/Johnson 47%

Secretary of State:
Land* 58%
Sabaugh 41%

Attorney General:
Cox* 53%
Williams 46%

US Senate: Didn't expect this one to bbe within reach. That said, I don't want to be too optimistic.
50 Republicans
49 Democrats

Stabenow* (D) 55%
Bouchard 44%

US House: A lot of people say they expect Democrats to win control of the House. Even Bill Ballenger predicted Dems would hold a 220-215 advantage! I've convinced myself that it won't happen. That way, if it doesn't, I won't be disappointed. But now I'll say it: I predict Speaker Pelosi come January.
Democrats: 219
Republicans: 216

MI-3: Rinck has name recognition, which is unusual for Ehler's oppoonent. Plus, it's a bad year for Repubs, so he won't do as well as usual. (He usually gets 67% or better.
Ehlers* 61%
Rinck 38%

MI-4: More people know Huck in '06 than in '04... but they still like Camp!
Camp* 58%
Huckleberry 41%

State House:
56 Democrats
54 Republicans

District 72 (Kentwood, Cascade, Caledonia): I'm stuck with Prop 2 supporter and minimum wage opponent Steil for another two years.
Steil* 78%
Hinton 20%

District 75 (part of G.R.): This is an open seat, where the Dem challenger got 48% in '04 after barely campaigning.
Dean 52%
Doyle 48%

District 99 (Isabella + part of Midland): Putting it mildly, Partlo is a disaster. ICDP endorsee and 20-something Eric Welsby would break 40% if he had won the nomination. (He lost in the primary by 61 votes.)
Caul* 64%
Partlo 36%

State Senate:
19 Democrats, plus Lt. Gov. Cherry's tie-breaking vote
19 Republicans

District 29 (Grand Rapids, Kentwood): This district is split in terms of party lines. Six months ago, I would've said that Hardiman was a loock for re-election, getting around 60-65% of the vote. But LaGrand has surprised me. I predict it will be close, with the popular Hardiman edging out the also-popular LaGrand.
Hardiman* 49.7%
LaGrand 49.1%

District 33 (Isabella, Montcalm, Ionia, Clinton):
Cropsey* 59%
White 41%

The following races are listed in terms of what order each major candidate will finish in. Top two get elected.

State Board of Education: The 5-3 Dem majority remains.
1. Eileen Weiser*
2. Reginald Turner*
3. Tom McMillin
4. Casandra Ulbrich

U-M Regents: 5-3 Dems here too. Again, no change.
1. David Brandon*
2. Kathy White*
3. Julia Darlow
4. Susan Brown

MSU Trustees: For any candidate, name recognition is important. This is especially true here, and that will help Perles more than his actions at MSU will hurt him. The GOP holds a 5-3 majority. Look for an even 4-4 split now.
1. George Perles
2. Dave Porteous*
3. Dee Cook*
4. Faylene Owen

WSU Governors: Currently it's 6-2 Dems over GOP. One of the two Repubs is calling it quits, and Debbie Dingell has a lot of name recognoition for a candidate on this part of the ballot. Can you say 7-1?
1. Debbie Dingell
2. Eugene Driker*
3. Andrew McLemore
4. John Akouri

Supreme Court: When's the last time an incumbent justice lost for re-election?
Michael Cavanagh*
Maura Corrigan*
Jane Beckering
Marc Shulman

Kent County Drain Commissioner:
Byl 58%
McKay 42%

17th Circuit Court: Many judges, plus the Grand Rapids Press, are endorsing Trusock, but the all-powerful Right to Life is endorsing Brinkman. I smell a recount.
Brinkman 50.2%
Trusock 49.8%

Ballot proposals (in tems of what percentage of voters vote yes):
Proposal 1 (Conservation Trust Fund): 61% vote yes
Proposal 2 (Affirmative action ban): 46%
Proposal 3 (Allowing mourning dove hunting): 41%
Proposal 4 (Emnent domain): 64%
Proposal 5 (Education funding): 41%
So Props 1 and 4 pass, while 2, 3, and 5 are going down.


CM-Life endorses Jennifer Granholm for re-election!

CMU's student paper, Central Michigan Life, gets it right:

It’s easy to point a finger at our current leader, Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

But the reality is it’s not Granholm’s fault.

Michigan’s dependence on the dwindling automotive industry has crippled the state’s economy.

Plants have shut down; thousands have lost work.

In response, Granholm has created a Jobs Fund initiative which will pour more than $2 billion into new sectors including alternative energy and the life sciences.

Granholm also inherited a state with a $4 billion deficit and has had to work during her first term to pull ahead.

Starting over is not what our state needs. Voters will be investing in the future of Michigan by voting to re-elect Granholm.

What about education and health care?

Under Granholm, K-12 education funding is at an all-time high of $7,085 per student. The governor also has proposed a New Merit Award scholarship, giving each Michigan high school student $4,000 for higher education.

Granholm is investing in the state’s future by keeping education a priority.

Granholm also has a plan to make health care available to all of Michigan’s residents.

The governor’s Michigan First Health Care Plan would make private health care available to more than 500,000 uninsured Michiganders.

And as for the other guy?

DeVos simply is a former CEO who had the means to run for governor.

According to campaign finance reports filed Friday, and as reported in The Detroit News on Saturday, DeVos has spent $34.6 million of his own money during his campaign.

A large checkbook cannot buy the governor’s office.

While DeVos’ success and exorbitant bank account may be a flashy beacon for frustrated Michiganders, the fact remains this family businessman is not equipped to lead our state.

They conclude by praisinbg the incumbent, and offering important advice to her:

Granholm already has the tools necessary to lead Michigan; not only does she have a mastery of the law, she’s familiar with the territory.


She must actively work to create an environment in Michigan that fosters growth.


If Granholm is to take Michigan out of its slump, she needs to pull out all the stops. She needs to foster a strong working environment with Republicans and Democrats alike.

Pulling the governor from office now, halfway between a $4 billion deficit and a struggling economy, will only create more problems by setting someone new on that tough road — someone who hasn’t already walked it.

This isn’t the time to bring in someone new.

Vote Granholm.

Nice way to start the week.


How I spent my 19th birthday: October 21, 2006

Today was my 19th birthday. I came home from CMU to spend the big day with my family, and to help our esteemed Governor and the entire Democratic ticket win the upcoming election.

I got up around 10 and then made my way to the Kent County Democratic Campaign Office to help out with whatever they needed. So when I got there, they asked if I could help assemble literature for lit drops. I put together several dozen sets of lit for Jenny, Debbie, Carmella, Amos, Congressional candidate Jim Rinck, county Drain Commissioner candidate Brian McKay, and state House candidate Robert Dean. While I was there, Haley (the field coordinator) treated me to lunch at the Cherry Deli (named after Cherry Street) for my birthday.

Then I came back home, visited my grandma. Then I was off to a volunteer appreciation dinner at my church. Good times.

As for gifts?

A dress watch;
A Tigers shirt (my first since the 1990s);
A few books
Money, money, money!


My 2006 General Election Voting Story

At approximately 12:50 AM on Friday the 13th (let it not be a bad omen), I, Scott Urbanowski, patriotic American and proud Democrat, filled out my absentee ballot for my first General election, seven hours after picking it up in the mail. (Okay, I could've voted last year, but there were literally no contested races in Kentwood.)

It took six minutes and twenty seconds for me to fill out 33 bubbles, 28 for candidates and 5 on ballot proposals.

As I voted for Jenny, I thought of a few of the people from all over the state who will join me in supporting our Governor: My parents; Lieutenant Governor John Cherry; Amos Williams; Dan Mulhern; John and many others from the ICDP; Andy and all the College Dems; Dan, Lonnie, and Mike (and a few others) from SGA; Haley and Sue from the Kent County Party; David LaGrand; Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow; John Conyers... and even a few Republicans. The list goes on and on.

And then Vietnam vet, former Detroit cop, and respected attorney Amos Williams for Attorney General. And Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh for Secretary of State.

Then I voted for Debbie. Sure, I don't agree with everything she has done, but she did oppose Roberts's and Alito's confirmations to the Supreme Court, as well as the Iraq War. Not to mention the fact that thanks to her, Canadian garbage will not be coming to Michigan for much longer. We are fortunate that Debbie and Carl are our US Senators. May we have many more years with them!

Then to US House. Vern Ehlers is pretty popular, but he voted for CAFTA and cut student financial aid. While I expect Ehlers to win by another landslide, I voted for Jim Rinck. On paper, Rinck is probably the most qualified Democrat to run against Ehlers in the 13 years Ehlers has been there, having been on the Grand Rapids school board.

And then LaGrand for State Senate. If you were to ask me six months ago if LaGrand could beat Bill Hardiman, I would've said, 'nope, Hardiman's a shoe-in.' Then I saw the crowd of supporters for LaGrand in the Kentwood Fourth of July Parade. Then he won MichiganLiberal's very first Michigan First! endorsement. Then I met David personally. Yes, LaGrand can win, and I am proud to support him!

Then on to state boards. Law professor and Army major Kathy White; Gore 's Michigan campaign manager Debbie Dingell; former American Bar President Reginald Turner; and former Michigan Bar President Julia Darlow are just a few of the fine folks who got my vote for state and university boards.

I suppoorted Brian McKay for Kent County Drain Commissioner. Having worked for the City of Grand Rapids in a similar job, he is more qualified than Republican nominee Bill Byl (though I expect Byl to win easily; Other than GR, Kent County is about as Democratic as Ted Kennedy is Republican).

Supreme Court Justice Michael Cavanagh received my support for another eight-year term. I also voted for Jane Beckering, listed in 'The Best Lawyers in America.'

As for the ballot proposals: I joined the Grand Rapids Press; both DeVos and Granholm; SGA; and many others in saying HELL NO to Proposal 2. I also opposed Proposals 1 (sounds good, but unnecessary and would place too many funding restrictions in the state Constitution), 3 (I'm unconvinced that we must kill mourning doves in order to move forward in this state), and 5 (would force the state to spoend more money that it doesn't have; more on Prop 5 in a few days). I did support Proposal 4, which would restrict government's ability to seize property by eminent domain. For more on the ballot proposals, check out http://www.michigan.gov/documents/Statewide_Bal_Prop_Status_145801_7.pdf .

Having applied 63 cents postage (a regular stamp plus a postcard stamp) and sealed and signed my return envelope, I slowly placed my envelope, ballot inside, in the mailbox in the Towers lobby.

Want more info regarding the election? Ask me, or check out www.michigan.gov/vote . Also, click here to print up an absentee request form and send it to your city clerk. (Never voted before? You must request an absentee ballot IN PERSON at your clerk's office, unless you registered to vote in person at your clerk's office.)

PLEASE do yourself a favor and VOTE! The current governor of Washington was elected by 133 votes. Bush won Florida by 537 votes in 2000. In the '80s, a congressman won re-election by four - FOUR - votes.

If you don't vote, you have no one to blame but yourself. So go vote. It's easy and quick... and the job you save may be your own.





Oh great… Craig DeRoche will be grand marshal of CMU Homecoming
From the CMU Newsroom:

The Central Michigan University campus will be filled with school spirit as Homecoming is celebrated Oct. 13 and 14, and a politically prominent alumnus will preside over the festivities.

“Politically prominent alumnus?” Whom could that be?

Serving as grand marshal of CMU's 2006 Homecoming celebration will be Craig DeRoche, Michigan's Speaker of the House. DeRoche, a 1991 CMU graduate, was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2002. When he was re-elected in 2004, his colleagues selected him to serve as Speaker of the House.

DeRoche says he is looking forward to being back on campus and serving as grand marshal.

"This is one of the neatest things that has been offered to me," he said. "It's a chance for me to come home. I hope to build as much support among alumni as possible and encourage record attendance. We hope to see a lot of friendly faces."

This wouldn’t be all that bad... except that this is an ELECTION YEAR, and (as far as I know) they're not bringing in a Dem to balance things!

Oh, and not to mention DeRoche’s disdain for working people, especially disabled people and college students. Here’s what DeRoche had to say about disabled people making the minimum wage:

It might be a physical or a mental disability that they have, it might be a capacity that, that inhibits them from the productivity where they would be employed at a higher wage and we concern, we have concerns about the effects of sending those people home and, and make them not employable because the wages are set by the government are too high for them to find a job."

Hmmmmmmm. Right-wing Republican as grand marshal 24 days before the election. One of the higher-ups at CMU can expect to hear from me soon.

Oh well. At least Dick DeVos probably won't come to CMU and curse the football team like he did at MSU.


2006 gubernatorial debates

Voters will soon have the opportunity to see Jennifer and her opponent together on the same stage.

From Grand Rapids NBC affiliate WOOD TV8:

WOOD TV8 will host the second debate at 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 10, and be available to all NBC stations in Michigan. WOOD TV8 anchor Suzanne Geha will moderate the debate, which will include panelists from WOOD TV8, Detroit's NBC affiliate WDIV, and the Detroit Free Press.

The first debate is set for Monday, October 2. The 8 p.m. debate, moderated by Tim Skubick, will be held at WKAR in East Lansing and be available to all Michigan Public TV stations and all Fox stations.

On Thursday, October 12, Granholm and DeVos will make a joint appearance and deliver remarks at a luncheon sponsored by Detroit's Economic Club and the Michigan Chronicle.

The third and final debate will be Monday, October 16 from the studios of WXYZ in Detroit. Chuck Stokes will be the debate moderator, which will be available to all CBS and ABC affiliates in the state.

There is a form on Channel 8's web page where you can submit questions to be asked in the October 10 debate.


Michigan voter registration deadline is October 9!

Just a friendly reminder: the voter registration deadline in Michigan is Monday, October 9! Registration forms are available at the ICDP office, the city and county clerk's offices, and online.
Also, be sure to apply for an absentee ballot if you need one!

If this is your first time voting, you must do one of the following in person: 1) Register to vote at the clerk's office; 2) Request an absentee ballot in person; or 3) Vote at your voting place on Election Day.

Report: Iraq war worsens terror threat

From the New York Times:

A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.


To think of the thousands of American soldiers who have given their lives in Iraq. They deserve better from their commander-in-chief and leaders in Washington.

If you want to truly protect America and fight terrorism, vote Democratic.


Told you so: Senate panel finds no link between Iraq and al-Qaida

Here's how MSNBC puts it:

There’s no evidence Saddam Hussein had ties with al-Qaida, according to a Senate report issued Friday on prewar intelligence that Democrats say undercuts President Bush’s justification for invading Iraq.

Bush administration officials have insisted on a link between the Iraqi regime and terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Intelligence agencies, however, concluded there was none.


The declassified document released Friday by the intelligence committee also explores the role that inaccurate information supplied by the anti-Saddam exile group the Iraqi National Congress had in the march to war.

It concludes that postwar findings do not support a 2002 intelligence community report that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, possessed biological weapons or ever developed mobile facilities for producing biological warfare agents.

Proving once again that it was wrong for Bush&Co. to cut and run from the real war on terror in Afghanistan.


Michigan's 2006 Democratic Ticket

Here it is, Michigan's Democratic Ticket for the 2006 election!

While I was unable to go to Cobo Hall for the state convention, I am pleased to give you (courtesy of Michigan Liberal) your 2006 Democratic ticket!

  • Jennifer Granholm for Governor;
  • Debbie Stabenow for US Senate;
  • John Cherry for Lieutenant Governor;
  • Carmella Sabaugh for Secretary of State;
  • Amos Williams for Attorney General;
  • Michael Cavanagh and Jane Beckering for Michigan Supreme Court;
  • Reginald Turner and Casandra Ulbrich for State Board of Education;
  • Kathy White and Julia Darlow for University of Michigan Board of Regents;
  • George Perles and Faylene Owen for Michigan State University Board of Trustees; and
  • Eugene Driker and Debbie Dingell for Wayne State University Board of Governors.
I'll share a few of my reactions in a later post.


Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) on GOP: "I think we've lost our way"

Senator Chuck Hagel is one of the more moderate Republican US Senators, at least foreign-policy-wise. And he's from Nebraska. If he were from a place such as Michigan or New England, I am tempted to think he'd almost be a Democrat.

Why do I say that? Well, Take a look at this article, where Hagel talks frankly about the state of his party:

Republicans have lost their way when it comes to many core GOP principles and may be in jeopardy heading into the fall elections, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) says.

Hagel, a possible presidential candidate in 2008, said Sunday that the GOP today is very different party from the one when he first voted epublican.

"First time I voted was in 1968 on top of a tank in the Mekong Delta," said Hagel, a Vietnam veteran. "I voted a straight Republican ticket. The reason I did is because I believe in the Republican philosophy of governance. It's not what it used to be. I don't think it's the same today."

Hagel asked: "Where is the fiscal responsibility of the party I joined in '68? Where is the international engagement of the party I joined — fair, free trade, individual
responsibility, not building a bigger government, but building a smaller government?"


"I think we've lost our way," Hagel said. "And I think the Republicans are going to be in some jeopardy for that and will be held accountable."

Of course, he's not the first Republican to say something like that. Former Michigan Governor Bill Milliken endorsed John Kerry in 2004 for much the same reason.


Controversy over affirmative action ban heads to federal court

Here's an update on the Michigan "Civil Rights" Initiative:

Witnesses testified in federal court Thursday that they were tricked into signing or collecting signatures on petitions to put a proposal to ban some affirmative action programs on the November ballot.

State courts so far have sided with the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, whose proposal to ban race and gender preferences in government hiring and public-university admissions is to be put to voters Nov. 7.

Joseph Reed of Detroit testified that when he applied as a petition circulator, "I was told it was for keeping affirmative action, that they were trying to get rid of it and this was a way to keep it."

Reed collected signatures and told voters, "You're signing to keep affirmative action," he said. But after a few weeks, people began accusing him of deceiving petition signers, and he learned the proposal's true goal.

I guess the questioon is, can they prove that enough signnatures were collected wrongly to warrant its remval from the ballot? If not, then remember to vote NO on this backwards plan in November.

(Isn't it just odd that leading Republicans want the Ten Commandments posted in public places and government buildings, but shudder at the thought of actually FOLLOWING some of them, i.e. the one about not lying?)


DeVos names his second banana: My thoughts on Ruth Johnson (and John Cherry)

Dick DeVos named his running mate Monday: Ruth Johnson, a former state rep and current Oakland County Clerk.

It's clear to me that this was based solely on politics, and not on ability to govern should the need arise. This was meant to add gender and geographical balance to the ticket. DeVos is banking on the idea that people in that part of the state will vote for him because his second banana happens to hail from the same part of the state as them (the fact that Granholm lives in Northville notwithstanding), and that more women will vote for him because his #2 is a woman (the fact that we have a pro-choice woman in the Executive Office notwithstanding).

Both Democrats and Republicans aim for regional balance (i.e. Kerry picking Edwards in 2004, Dick Posthumus picking Metro Detroiter Loren Bennett in 2002). However, regional balance is no guarantee of victory in the fall. I mentioned Kerry and Posthumus. In 1996, Kansan Bob Dole and New Yorker Jack Kemp lost to Clinton and Gore, who hailed from neighboring states. Four years earlier, Clinton and Gore beat Texan G.H.W. Bush and Hoosier Dan Quayle, who had previously beaten Michael Dukakis (MA) and Lloyd Bentsen (TX). So regional balance guarantees nothing. That said, do I expect DeVos to pick up a few votes because of this? Yes. Will it be enough to win? It may be what wins it for him, but only if it's very close.

However, regional balance isn't the only issue. Remember that in the event the governor is unable to perform his or her duties, the The question must also be asked: is the person ready to become governor? Voters must ask themselves if they would be fine with a 'Governor Cherry' or a 'Governor Johnson.' Only a few governors have ever resigned (often to take positions in a Presidential cabinet), and only one has died. But the question must still be asked.

Me? I'm obviously siding with Cherry:

Cherry's focus on families and education has meant that more of Michigan's children have the opportunity to go to college. He has led the Lt. Governor's Commission on Higher Education & Economic Growth, making a series of recommendations that has brought higher education into the larger discussion of creating and retaining jobs here in Michigan. He also serves as a gubernatorial appointee to the Midwest Higher Education Compact.

Cherry's interest in politics began as a teenager through organizing and political activism. He took a job as administrative assistant to former State Senator Gary Corbin, later serving as political director for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO until his election to the Michigan House.

As a legislator, Cherry focused on the issues that were most important to him - families, the quality of life in Michigan, the environment and Michigan's great outdoors. He has authored and co-sponsored several milestone Michigan laws dealing with workers' rights, environmental protection and conservation.

As for DeVos and Johnson, the Michigan Democratic Party has come out swinging:

“It is no surprise that extreme Dick DeVos chose extreme Ruth Johnson as his running mate,” Brewer said. “Johnson met every one of DeVos’ litmus tests because they both are out of step with mainstream Michigan.”

“Ruth Johnson has a record of being opposed to: stem cell research, raising the minimum wage, affirmative action, a women’s right to choose including victims of rape and incest, improving water quality, support for cities including Detroit, improving education, and stopping insurance company redlining,” Brewer added. “The DeVos/Johnson ticket is a perfect match of two extremists.”

“Governor Granholm and Lt. Governor Cherry have been a powerful voice for the entire state of Michigan. They are executing the nation’s most comprehensive and aggressive jobs plan, protecting public education and are fighting for healthcare for everyone,” Brewer continued. “Voters now have a distinct contrast between the extreme right wing policies of Dick DeVos and Ruth Johnson and the Granholm Administration which is putting Michigan first.”


CMU among most GLBT-friendly colleges in US

Just when I think the climate for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people in Michigan couldn’t be more hostile, along comes this article:

A highly regarded gay and lesbian newsmagazine has named Central Michigan University as one of its top 100 campuses for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students, released Aug. 1, features CMU based on the university's efforts "to create a welcoming, safe college experience for all students," wrote author Shane L. Windmeyer in a letter congratulating CMU Director of Gay and Lesbian Programs Ana Guerriero.

The guide profiles each institution's size, tuition rates, admission application deadlines, gay-affirmative policies, events, LGBT student groups and resources, housing for LGBT students, and more.

The colleges and universities featured in the guide, which Windmeyer calls "the first of its kind," were selected from among 680 nominees following interviews with more than 5,500 LGBT students, faculty and staff nationwide. Institutions were selected based on institutional policies, commitment and support; academic life; housing; student life; counseling and health services; campus safety; and recruitment and retention efforts.

Another reason to not only be a proud Democrat, but also a proud CMU Democrat. Fire up Chips!


My 2006 Primary voting story

Tuesday was our primary here in Michigan. Voters decided which candidates will face each other for various offices, and passed or defeated local ballot proposals.

Turnout was 18% statewide, 19% in Kent County, 17% in Kentwood, 20% in my precinct. It was a little higher in Kent County as a whole because the other state senate district (District 28; I live in District 29) had a hot Republican primary, while a couple House and county commission races were also competitive.

I voted in the Democratic Party primary. The only contested race on the Dem side of the ballot was that for US Congress. (Vern Ehlers usually wins more than 65% of the vote.) Jim Rinck won by 424 votes; it would’ve been 425 except that I voted for Peter Hickey. I also voted for Helen Brinkman (non-partisan) for Circuit Court Judge; she will face Mark Trusock in November. Three city Charter amendments and a county senior millage all pased with 70-plus percent of the vote, including mine. Oh, and I voted for myself for precinct delegate. ;-)

Elsewhere in West Michigan: Mark Jansen pulled off a surprise win over Joanne Voorhees in Senate District 28, and, given the Republican leaning of the district, is expected to win in November. I’m glad Voorhees lost; She and her husband Harold have been in politics for too long, IMO.

Tim Doyle, a 2002 Republican Senate candidate in District 29, edged out Chris Meyer for the right to take on former Grand Rapids City Commissioner Robert Dean in District 75. Term-limited incumbent Jerry Kooiman won in 2004 because the inexperienced Democrat barely campaigned. Now, Dean will campaign aggressively in a district where John Kerry got 54% (before Bush’s approval rating slipped below 40%), while the inexperienced Doyle lacks incumbency.

Fritz Wahlfield (R), David Morren (R) and, by 26 votes, Paul Mayhue (D) were renominated to the County Commission. Expect them to win in November. A closer race will be in the district where Carol Hennessy (D) faces Eric Schmidt (R) for the right to succeed Tom Postmus (R). Hennessy lost the last two elections to Postmus by fewer than 100 votes. Postmus vied to succeed the late Roger Laninga as Drain Commissioner; William Byl beat him for the Republican nomination.

Elsewhere in the state: Eric Welsby, former VP of College Democrats at CMU, came oh so close to winning the Democratic nomination for state house district 99 (part of Midland and all of Isabella counties); Loren Partlo won by just 61 votes. Former CMU College Dem Dave Tibergien lost to Julie Dennis for the right to take on incumbent Senator Jerry VanWoerkom in District 34. I hope they both run again in the future.

And of course, Mike Bouchard gets to take on Debbie Stabenow. What puzzles me is that Keith Butler won Kent County. Even the unoposed Stabenow outpolled Bouchard here!



Welcome to my newly created blog! Here you'll find my thoughts on politics, life at Central Michigan University (where I am a sophomore), the Tigers, and more.

A little about me:

I live in Kentwood, MI, with my parents, two dogs, and bird.

The Communications Director for the College Democrats at CMU, I recently became a card-carrying student member of both the Michigan Democratic Party and the Kent County Democratic Party. I have written letters that have appeared in Central Michigan Life and The Grand Rapids Press. I just became a precinct delegate in Kentwood. During this election season I hope to help with not only College Democrats, but also the Kent County Coordinated Campaign, David LaGrand for State Senate, and the Isabella County Democratic Party. I hope to someday serve as an elected official other than precinct delegate.

While not studying for my major in Political Science and minor in Accounting, I work at the Carey Residential Restaurant. I am also a senator in SGA, secretary of Kulhavi Hall Council, student member of an Academic Senate General Education Subcommittee, and member of ReachOut at St. Mary's University Parish.

I am a Catholic, and am not afraid to profess my love for God and the teachings of Christ. I have been involved with St. Mary's Church in Grand Rapids, and with St. Mary's University Parish in Mount Pleasant. I've also been active with the Knights of Columbus Council 4362, where my dad is a past Grand Knight.

Feel free to say hi anytime!