Cute pictures of adorable girls

I don't think I've posted about my dogs yet.

First, meet Swifty, our black lab/husky mix whom we met at the Humane Society in 2004. After Bonnie died earlier that year, Mom told me on Christmas Day 2003 that she wanted to get me a dog. We decided, however, that the time wasn't right; Bonnie's sister Cindy wasn't doing well either, and bringing in another dog would complicate things. But after Cindy died in June of 2004, we felt lonely. So just before Christmas that year, we met Swifty, who was named after Dr. Swift at the Humane Society.

A year later, Mom said it felt awkward only having one dog in the house. So we went to the Animal Shelter, where we met Lady, whom Mom renamed Lucy. The rambunctious border collie/German Shepherd mix is the star of her own YouTube video.


Saturday Coffee Talk/Open Thread for Michigan Liberal

(I'm going to be doing this every Saturday from now on!)

We have a beautiful Saturday on tap - perfect for celebrating half a century of Michigan's best-known landmark:

  • WKAR: Governor Celebrates Mackinac Bridge in Radio Address. "She says the bridge serves as an example of how government spending can help the state’s economy." Need I say more?
  • Petoskey News-Review: Mackinac Bridge 50th has the goods on when the bridge will be closed for the parade and, later, the fireworks.
  • Jack Lessenberry: The Mighty Mac. Jack toasts fifty years of the Bridge of Steel that unites the two most beautiful peninsulas in the world.
Meanwhile, the US House passed two pieces of legislation that are of particular important to Michigan:

  • Michigan Radio: Michigan May Benefit from Homeland Security Bill. Update: The House passed it overwhelmingly, Pete Hoekstra being the lone 'no' vote from Michigan.
  • WKAR: US House Passes Farm Bill. One provision of the bill would help Michigan farmers to the tune of $265 million over five years. Find out if your congressman voted to strengthen Michigan's economy. (BTW: Here's a hilarious diary about the farm bill at Daily Kos.)
  • LSJ: Actions Speak Louder than Words. Listen up, Walberg: "As one of my political journalism mentors once said, 'When in doubt, look at the votes.' It's as simple as that."
...while times are tough for two prominent Republicans:

  • Mount Pleasant Morning Sun: Eric goes to town regarding Clifford Taylor.
  • Freep: State law commission investigates Gorcyca. A rising star in the Republican party being investigated? Right, Scotty, like that ever happens! {/snark} (Gorcyca is Oakland County's Prosecutor.
Perhaps Taylor and Gorcyca need an education in common sense. And speaking of education:

  • Detroit News: Iris Salters (MEA): Reasing ensures success. As an educator, Salters ought to know a thing or two about the importance of reading with respect to childhood development. It should be noted, BTW, that Salters was an MDP Officer-At-Large (and perhaps still is, although I don't know for sure).
  • AP: President Bush to honor University of Michigan math professor. Insert joke here.
What's on your mind this weekend?


The WeekEnder: July 27-29, 2007

Only 151 days remain until Christmas - so it must be time for the fifth episode of The WeekEnder! The WeekEnder is a weekly series that will provide a hodgepodge of information to fill your soul, make you laugh, make you cry, and inspire you.

  • Congress acts to implement 9/11 recommendations
  • 9/11, Katrina rescue hero dies
  • I'll drink to that
  • Do you recall...?
  • Searching for Good
  • Who needs work when you can vacation?
  • Blumenthal at the College Republicans Convention
  • Advice from a General
  • Leno tells it like it is
  • Not a victim to what's popular

Good news: Congress gets serious about protecting America

Which party do YOU trust to keep America safe?

Congress sent President Bush legislation Friday to intensify anti-terror efforts in the U.S., shifting money to high-risk states and cities and expanding screening of air and sea cargo to stave off future Sept. 11-style attacks.

The measure carries out major recommendations of the independent 9/11 Commission.

The bill, passed by the House on a 371-40 vote, ranks among the top accomplishments of the six-month-old Democratic Congress. The Senate approved the measure late Thursday by 85-8, and the White House said the president would sign the bill.

Six years after the Sept. 11 attacks and three years after the 9/11 Commission made its recommendations, "Congress is finally embracing what the 9/11 families have been saying all along," said Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. "It takes a willingness to do things a different way."

It's great to have a majority in Congress that actually cares about protecting America.

Bad news: You Were A Good Dog, Jake
There's a special place in doggie heaven for Jake the Rescue Dog:

A black Labrador who became a national canine hero after burrowing through white-hot, smoking debris in search of survivors at the World Trade Center site died Wednesday after a battle with cancer.

"But against all odds he became a world-class rescue dog," said Flood, a member of Utah Task Force 1, one of eight federal search-and-rescue teams that desperately looked for human remains at ground zero.

On the evening of his team‘s arrival, Jake walked into a fancy Manhattan restaurant wearing his search-and-rescue vest and was promptly treated to a free steak dinner under a table.

After Hurricane Katrina, Flood and Jake drove 30 hours from Utah to Mississippi, where they searched through the rubble of flooded homes in search of survivors.

Maid busted for serving boss water with urine
I hope your dinner has digested:

An Indonesian maid has been jailed for six days in Hong Kong for serving her boss a cup of water containing urine, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

The 29-year-old pleaded guilty to a charge of "administering poison or other destructive or noxious substance with intent to injure," but insisted she had used the urine to treat a skin condition and its appearance in her employer's cup was a mistake.

Her boss, Szeto Ching-han, smelled the urine after asking for a cup of water, and then asked the maid to drink it -- which she did. Szeto, however, kept the liquid to have it tested in a lab, the South China Morning Post said.

Blog highlight of the week: Recalls
Given recent threats by extreme-right tax-haters to recall state lawmakers, Rich at Honest Errors has a few words of satire poking fun at Michigan's most prominent anti-tax figure, Leon Drolet:

Asked if he thought those moves might be considered extreme by Michigan’s voters, he replied, “Not my Michigan voters.” When it was pointed out that he didn’t have voters anymore now that he is retired from the state House, he exclaimed, “It doesn’t matter. When are you guys [in the press] going to get it? I want my way, dammit!”
Link of the week: GoodSearch
Ever wish you could raise money for your favorite charity just by doing something you already do everyday? With GoodSearch, you can. I’ll let the site’s About page do the talking:

GoodSearch is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. It's a simple and compelling concept. You use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. Because it’s powered by Yahoo!, you get proven search results. The money GoodSearch donates to your cause comes from its advertisers — the users and the organizations do not spend a dime!
Photo of the Week: India's Media Gets It

Video of the Week: Generation Chickenhawk with the College Republicans
Who's afraid of a little Max Blumenthal?

Quote of the week: George S. Patton
"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."

Joke of the Week: Leno on Bush's approval rating
"Things not looking good for President Bush. His approval rating has dropped so low the only thing he's above now is the law."

Final thought
Whosever idea it was to start News From Around the Blogworld deserves kudos. It's a weekly series pf highlights from statewide progressive blogs from around the country (here's this week's edition on Michigan Liberal). It's yet another great way to see what's happening in other parts of the country - and a reminder that all politics really is local.

Some late-night laughs

As LiberalLucy points out, humor is good for the body and soul. In that spirit - and with a hat tip to Daniel Kurtzman at About.com - I present the best in recent political late-night humor.

Bush's recent colonoscopy:
"The doctors found five polyps. And I was thinking, 'Hell, maybe we should send these guys out to look for bin Laden.'" --David Letterman

"But everything's fine. The procedure went well. After the operation on Bush's colon, the doctors put his head back up his ass." --David Letterman

"At least for once in our lifetimes, we saw the words 'Bush,' 'operation,' and 'success' in the same sentence." --Bill Maher, on Bush's colonoscopy

"The president had five polyps removed from his lower intestines. And here's the interesting part: they were removed for political reasons. Apparently, these polyps were not loyal Bushies and had to be replaced by more appropriate, die hard Republican polyps. Apparently, the polyps who were removed began asking questions as to why they were removed, but it was too late." --Jon Stewart

Iraq, benchmarks, and the all-night session:
"A report card on Iraq shows progress on only eight of 18 areas. Eight out of 18. And, of course, President Bush is thrilled. That's the best report card he's ever got in his life." --Jay Leno

"Last night, down in Washington, DC, they had the all-night Senate session. The senators were there all night. It was the DC madam's slowest night ever." --David Letterman

"In fact, Hillary stayed up so late, she actually saw Bill sneaking in." --Jay Leno

"As you know, we are now entering our fifth year of making very good progress in Iraq. Obviously, the president defining progress now as 'moving forward through time.' ... But this spring, Congress finally asked the president for some specifics about our progress and its level of goodness. They required him to submit regular reports, and our first report card is in [on screen: Bush saying the Iraqis have made progress on eight of 18 benchmarks]. Yes! There you have it -- eight of 18. Otherwise known as a 'Gentleman's F.'" --Jon Stewart

"President Bush was talking about Iraq today and he said that the United States and Iraq has met eight out of 18 of the benchmarks ... required in Iraq. If things don't improve, people are going to think the war isn't going well." --David Letterman

Vitter and the DC Madam:
"Louisiana Senator David Vitter held a press conference this week, where he admitted yes, he was a client of the DC madam, but he said those stories of hookers dressing him in diapers were not true. Boy, what do you do there? Are you supposed to take the word of a politician over a hooker? It's a tough decision for people." --Jay Leno

"The DC madam said he sometimes paid $300 an hour just to have the hookers talk to him ... and they didn't have sex. Another example of government waste." --Jay Leno

"What is it with Republicans and weird sex? If it's not young boys, it's diapers, some other strange fetish. Why can't they just have sex under a desk with an intern like a normal person." --Jay Leno

"One thing I'll say for this guy from Louisiana, this David Vitter, at least he went to a professional and left the congressional pages alone." --David Letterman

"The senator from Louisiana, David Vitter, he's admitted now he dates hookers in Washington, D.C, and also in Louisiana. But, he said, in his defense, he always selected the girl with the lowest bid. So he's fiscally prudent." --David Letterman

"John McCain has a new campaign slogan, 'An Army Of One.' ... I don't want to say McCain's campaign is broke, but today he held a rally at the 99-cent store." --Jay Leno

"According to a new AP poll, the most popular presidential candidate among registered Republicans is 'none of the above.' At the moment, Rudy Giuliani is running third, just behind 'Good Lord, not him.'" --Conan O'Brien

"John Edwards is on the campaign trail. He's now doing something called his 'Poverty Tour', where he's visiting people who have no money and no hope. His first stop today: John McCain's headquarters." --Jay Leno

"A member of the Florida House of Representatives and the co-chairman of John McCain's Florida campaign, a man named Bob Allen, arrested for soliciting an undercover male police officer for sex. He offered to perform a sex act on the officer for $20. How broke is the McCain campaign? I knew they needed money, I had no idea. Man, that's not a good sign when you're sending guys to the men's room to raise money." --Jay Leno

"Elizabeth Edwards called Ann Coulter on Chris Matthews' 'Hardball' yesterday to complain about the attacks on her husband. See, it's a good thing Coulter hadn't attacked Rudy Giuliani, or she would have had three angry wives calling" --Jay Leno

"Have you seen that campaign commercial for Hillary Clinton? It's a spoof on 'The Sopranos' finale. Bill Clinton appears in the ad too, along with the actor who played 'Johnny Sack.' Johnny Sack, which, coincidentally, was also Clinton's Secret Service codename." --Jay Leno

"Hillary Clinton has picked 'You and I' by Celine Dion as her campaign theme song. In a related story, John McCain's campaign song also by Celine Dion. It's the theme from 'Titantic.'" --Jay Leno

"In a campaign ad that's a spoof of the big 'Sopranos' finale, Hillary Clinton plays the part of Tony Soprano in the diner. Anybody know the difference between Hillary Clinton and Tony Soprano? See, Tony Soprano goes to the strip club to get away from his spouse. Hillary Clinton goes to the strip club to find her spouse" --Jay Leno

"Yesterday, big announcement. Senator Clinton picked the winning campaign song during this clever parody of 'The Sopranos' finale. Clever, of course, because it compares the Clintons to a notorious crime family. ... Parody? Or is that what they call in the business, 'getting ahead of the story?'" --Jon Stewart

Bush in Albania:
"President Bush was in Albania. He thought he was going to Albany. Anyway, he ended up in Albania ... and somebody stole his watch. Bush is upset. He is really angry. He said he now has no choice but to bomb Iran." --David Letterman

"Today the White House said the president's watch was not stolen. They said he took it off before he started shaking hands, which means there are two possibilities. Either Albanians stole the president's watch, or the president took off his watch because he doesn't trust Albanians. Neither scenario paints a particularly rosy picture of Albanian-American relations." --Jimmy Kimmel

"George Bush was in Albania and his watch was stolen. ... They have a description of the guy. They say the suspect is armed and punctual. ... It's not a laughing matter. Don't kid yourselves. It's an important watch. It's the one Cheney uses to hypnotize him" --David Letterman

"This week, President Bush announced he's launching a new campaign to solve the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. When asked why, Bush said, 'It's fun to finally be working on a problem that I didn't cause.'" --Conan O'Brien

"You know who got married last weekend? Al Gore's daughter. ... Al Gore is no fun at wedding receptions. He keeps pointing out how fast the ice sculpture is melting." --David Letterman


Bits of Tid: July 26, 2007

  • Thousands of people across this great land heard my delightful voice on Monday. I called into Thom Hartmann's radio program and discussed how tax cuts have NOT had the impact on our economy some claim they would. Michigan has some of the lowest taxes in the US - and one of the highest unemployment rates in the US, I noted. More on that later.

  • That train-wreck sound you heard? That was Alberto Gonzales. As far as I'm concerned, Gonzales can either stay for the remaining eighteen months of the Bush Administration, or he can step aside and allow someone else to take his place, offering the possibility that the cloud that has hung over the Gonzales DoJ can be lifted. But as long as Gonzo's in charge at DoJ, that cloud will remain.
  • Call it Daschle's Revenge? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just might be in trouble in his bid for a fifth term in the US Senate in 2008. Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo announced that he is forming an exploratory committee to run against McConnell. SurveyUSA released a poll showing McConnell's approval rating the lowest it's been in recent years.

  • My latest pick for LSSU's Banished Words List (I have a couple dozen of them, folks):
    Smart bomb - I didn’t know that some bombs could be more intelligent than others. Of course, nowadays it can seem as though some of our bombs are smarter than many of our politicians.
  • On Monday the Tigers lost both games of a double-header to the White Sox, a team that was 16.5 games behind them in the standings. Then yesterday they won one - also against the ChiSox! Oh well, they still lead the division by a game and a half.

  • Coming soon to Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott:
    • My endorsement for the Oval Office
    • A look at the upcoming local elections - the primary is twelve days away!
    • Re-framing the tax debate
    • A preview of Congressional races across the country in 2008
    • Combating apathy, particularly amongst young people
    • How you can become a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Denver!


Neglecting the poor on "philosophical grounds"

I guess this can't be seen as much of a surprise:

President Bush yesterday rejected entreaties by his Republican allies that he compromise with Democrats on legislation to renew a popular program that provides health coverage to poor children, saying that expanding the program would enlarge the role of the federal government at the expense of private insurance.

The president said he objects on philosophical grounds to a bipartisan Senate proposal to boost the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $35 billion over five years. Bush has proposed $5 billion in increased funding and has threatened to veto the Senate compromise and a more costly expansion being contemplated in the House.
How ironic that Bush - who called Jesus his favorite philosopher - opposes S-CHIP on "philosophical grounds."

Just what is it about S-CHIP that Bush philosophically opposes? Could it be this?

The 10-year-old program, which is set to expire on Sept. 30, costs the federal government $5 billion a year and helps provide health coverage to 6.6 million low-income children whose families do not qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance on their own. (emphasis mine)
Or maybe he takes issue with this:

About 3.3 million additional children would be covered under the proposal developed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Republican Sens. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) and Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), among others. It would provide the program $60 billion over five years, compared with $30 billion under Bush's proposal. And it would rely on a 61-cent increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes, to $1 a pack, which Bush opposes. (Emphasis mine)
What's philosophically wrong with spending an extra $30 billion over five years to insure 3.3 million more kids? Nearly 15 times that amount has been spent on a needless war in Iraq. (With the money that's been spent on Iraq, some 60 million children could've been insured during the time since the war began.

Of course, it's not like Bush's 'favorite philosopher' would want us to take care of the poor... or would he?

'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' (Matthew 25:45)
Hmm, now there's something to think about.


Mitt Romney is desperate

Clearly Mitt Romney has little else on which to campaign, so he feels he has to hold up a woman's sign bashing Chelsea Clinton and comparing one of America's most popular politicians to a terrorist.

And by the way, what does that woman not like about the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)? Heck, I didn't even know Chelsea had a Museum of Modern Art!

Saturday Coffee Talk/Open Thread for Michigan Liberal

But why just have coffee, when you can have cupcakes too?

With a hat tip to Democratic Underground

  • Detroit Free Press: UAW, Chrysler kick off talks.
  • Detroit Free Press: GM’s global sales soar. If it's good news for GM, it's good news for Michigan.
  • Mining Journal: Northern Michigan University hikes tuition 9.5 percent. Senator Bishop, care to comment? (Cricket, cricket...)
  • Michigan Prospect: Fiscal Notes discusses why we need to invest in our infrastructure if Michigan is to recover soon.
  • Vote No On JOE: Knollenberg leads the pack in pork barrel spending. Hey Drolet, why don't you take that pig to Knollenberg's office?
  • Walberg Watch: Grumpy Tim Walberg has the latest antics from Michigan's biggest embarassment.


The WeekEnder: July 20-22, 2007

With exactly eighteen months until the end of one of the most diatrous Presidencies in American history, I welcome you to the fourth installment of The WeekEnder! The WeekEnder is a weekly series that will provide a hodgepodge of information to fill your soul, make you laugh, make you cry, and inspire you.

  • Congressional Dems support students
  • State court to voters: you need ID
  • Oops - forgot about that
  • A pricier alternative
  • Achieving your goals
  • Who needs work when you can vacation?
  • Tim Ryan, champion of students
  • Arnold Bennett dispenses some advice
  • Cows and Enron
  • Not a victim to what's popular

Good news: Congress passes relief for students

Thank you Democrats in Congress!

On Wednesday, July 11th, the House passed the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, and the Senate has now followed suit. The bill will provide the single largest increase in college aid since the GI bill in 1944. The legislation invests about $18 billion dollars over the next five years in reducing college costs, helping millions of students and families. It comes at no new cost to taxpayers, and is funded by cutting excess subsidies paid by the federal government to lenders in the student loan industry.
It's great to see a majority in Congress that actually cares about students!

Bad news: Michigan Supreme Court moves to disenfranchise voters

In case you needed a reminder of where Republicans stand when it comes to election reform:

The high court split along party lines in a 5-2 decision, with Republican justices voting to uphold the ID requirement and Democrats dissenting.
The Michigan Democratic Party is weighing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Having a driver's license is a luxury not a right," said Pete Vargas, chairman of the Lansing school board's Chicano/Latino Advisory Committee. "Voting is a right."
City Commission candidate forgets about debate
Well, at least he's honest.

Second Ward residents hoping for a rip-roaring debate among the four candidates for their City Commission seat were disappointed Thursday.

Only two candidates -- David LaGrand and Ruth Kelly -- showed up at Clancy Street Ministries for the 90-minute televised forum, and both went out of their way to be polite to each other and the no-shows.

Contacted at home afterward, candidate Michael Booker said, "I just plain forgot about it." (emphasis added)

Blog highlight of the week: How much more do you want to pay?
I don't know anyone who loves paying taxes. But as former Michigan House candidate Dan Scripps reminds us, taxes are preferable to the alternative:

The choice in the ongoing budget debate is not whether our costs will go up, but how. Are we willing to pay a modest increase in taxes that all of us share in to build our future and get Michigan moving again, or are we going to pass the buck to make the skills we know we need to compete that much more expensive to obtain? How our representatives answer that question will tell the citizens of this state much about where our priorities are and whether we care more about our children's future than our present situation.
Link of the week: 43Things
So what do you want to do with your life?

Recently (i.e. less than 24 hours ago!) I discovered 43things.com. Create an account on 43Things, and you will be able to list things you would like to do during the course of your life (i.e. get married, write a book, visit a certain place). You can also see how many other people want to do the same thing, and hear from people who have done it.

Photo of the Week: Senators On Vacation
This photo won me $25 on a recent contest on Michigan Liberal:

Video of the Week: Tim Ryan speaks out for ordinary Americans
You go Congressman Ryan:

Quote of the week: Arnold Bennett
"The best cure for worry, depression, melancholy, brooding, is to go deliberately forth and try to lift with one's sympathy the gloom of somebody else."

Joke of the Week: Economics explained
Feudalism: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them and sells you the milk.

Communism: You have two cows. You must take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

Enron Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt-equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred through an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The Enron annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.

Final thought
I don’t care about Harry Potter. There, I said it.

Dear candidates...

I ask about leadership because oftentimes campaigns center around issues or personalities. Many of the questions that appear on Monday's debate will likely center around candidates' positions on issues as well. Thus, I decided to take a different approach.


Bits of Tid: July 19, 2007

The Rich and Famous Edition

  • On Daily Kos: Ted Kennedy talks student loans, tales of seeking office, and my submission made it into Top Comments!
  • Unable to bring the troop-withdrawal amendment to a vote, Harry Reid fires back at Senate Republicans.
  • McCain is not the only candidate to be facing money woes.
  • It's time to probe war profiteering, say two freshman Senators.
  • Rep. Tim Walberg (R-WaaaaaaaayOutOfTouch) was outraised last quarter by David Nacht. Last year's Democratic nominee, Sharon Renier, spent just $50,000. We Dems just might win two Congressional seats in the next election right here in Michigan next year - swinging our state's congressional delegation to an 8-7 Democratic majority. That could be pretty important, as I discussed last month.
  • Labor Secretary Elaine Chao says American workers stink. What she probably meant was, her boss stinks.
  • Dennis Kucinich has food poising. Wish him the best.
  • I WON $25!!!
  • I have a, um, 'gut feeling' that my latest nomination for LSSU's Banished Words List just might be banished come New Year's (if for no other reason than the fact that I'm surely not the only one who has submitted it):
    Gut feeling - Michael Chertoff must be good if he can predict a terrorist attack based on his gut. I wish I had such capabilities.


Bits of Tid: July 18, 2007

  • With deep sadness, we mourn the passing of Jim Gilmore's campaign. RIP, Gilmore campaign. We will miss you as much as we will miss Dubya when he leaves office.

    Now riddle me this: Jim Gilmore was a governor for four years, Mike Huckabee, for ten years, and Tommy Thompson was a governor for 14 years. Why is the press not giving as much attention to those three combined as they are to Mitt?
  • Well, at least Romney never got a $400 haircut. But did get the next best (?) thing.
  • Mom and I enjoy listening to the radio program Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me each Saturday on NPR. This Saturday's program, however, is going to be better than most.
  • Hypocrisy anyone?
  • State Supreme Court Chief ‘Justice’ Clifford Taylor has dealt with controversy surrounding his state-owned car, which he admitted to using for personal reasons. Now the MDP is buying that car:
  • “This car will be a continuing symbol of Taylor’s misuse of taxpayer money as we travel the state in it to campaign against his re-election. We also look forward to searching through the car to see what we can find.

    Goody gumdrops!

  • Congratulations, Congressman Conyers!

  • Last year, WMU's president was fired. This week, Eastern's Board of Regents ousted their president and two others over the handling of the death of a student. Hopefully such msifortune will not befall CMU's Michael Rao.

  • And finally, won't you vote for one of my pictures? The second Hardiman one is in a three-way deadlock with the two I didn't submit.


LTTE: Lawmakers bad employees

The following letter to the editor appears in today's Grand Rapids Press.

If you were your company's boss, and you had employees who weren't doing the work they were hired to do, wouldn't you get on their case? While Michigan continues to deal with economic and budget woes, some state lawmakers decided to put a two-week vacation above the interests of our state.

Universities and school districts are having to make budget projections based on uncertainty. Businesses considering moving to Michigan are scared away by the state's poor credit rating. Why aren't such lawmakers as Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop willing to work toward a solution to this budget crisis? What's more, many lawmakers oppose a tax increase. Never mind the fact that Republicans raised the gas and cigarette taxes when John Engler was governor, or that our personal income and business tax rates are lower than those of most other states. Or that a bipartisan panel recently said that new revenues are needed to get our state out of the fiscal and economic hole.

I certainly don't fault Governor Jennifer Granholm, who has worked tirelessly over the past few years to fix the enormous problems Michigan faces. Michigan lawmakers are paid a salary of $80,000 per year, more than state legislators in most other states.

What business do they have in the Legislature if they choose vacationing over working?

As Americans, we are the bosses of our elected officials. As Michigan residents, we must remind our lawmakers that they're not paid to fiddle while our state burns.

I humbly accept your applause. ;-)

Please read the other letters in today's Press as well; we have lots of good ones today, including another one that uses the 'fiddling while Michigan burns' metaphor! (There's also more illustrious framing of the issue here.)

(I should note that in the version I sent in, the paragraphs didn't break the way they do here. So if, say, the third to last paragraph didn't make sense, now you know why.)

My thoughts on the Democratic candidates

All in all I’d say we have a stronger group of candidates than we did in 2004. I was enthusiastic about Dean almost from start to finish (with spurts of support for Clark and Kucinich as well). Any of my top three picks for 2008, however, would make very good Presidents.

Given what has happened over the last 78 months in this nation, America needs a capable leader who can not only help clean up the mess of the past six and a half years, but someone who will raise the bar in Washington. Moreover, we need a President who will remind us of what it means to truly be Americans.

So here is how I rank the candidates at this moment:

Obama: Very inspiring. Message of hope lures thousands to rallies, which is unusual for this point in an election. Has rock-star appeal that won’t hurt him come General Election time. Has a very detailed issues page on his website - probably the most detailed of any candidates’. Remember, we’re talking about the Presidency of the United States. A nation in desperate need of leadership needs someone like Obama, who continues to insist that we must be united if we are to bring about meaningful change in America. Inexperienced; Perhaps, but so were FDR and Lincoln. (Not to say Obama will be anythnig like those two.)

Edwards: Like Obama, has an excellent rags-to-riches story. Though I really like Obama at this point, Edwards has the best platform thus far. Seems to be the only person willing to talk about the divide between the elite class and ordinary Americans (‘Two Americas’). Vote for Iraq War is about the only thing stopping me from really supporting him.

Richardson: Has a full resume`. Again, our next President must be a strong leader; Bill has led a state and a Cabinet department, in addition to serving in Congress and as a UN Ambassador. His foreign-policy credentials are unmatched. Not all that charismatic like Obama, but makes up for it with his experience. Him being on the ticket would almost certainly swing New Mexico our way. Attracted 40% of the Republican vote in his re-election campaign last fall. Has actually called for a de-authorization of the war. Would complement the less experienced Obama or Edwards well as a VP candidate.

Kucinich: A staunch progressive with amazing ideas who isn't afraid to speak his mind. Comes from even more humble roots, having lived in a couple of cars at one point!

Dodd: Fierce critic of the war. Friend who interned for Stabenow last year says Dodd impressed him. Other than that, he doesn’t stand out in my mind much; I don’t see him as a good leader.

Clinton: Don’t get me wrong, she has some great ideas as well. But she is too polarizing a figure at a time when we really need a President who truly is a uniter, not a divider. Seems to me that while she’s married to Bill in a literal sense, in a figurative sense she’s ‘married’ to Corporate America.

Biden: Has foreign-policy credentials as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee. Would make a fine Secretary of State. Otherwise, less than inspiring, to be honest.

Gravel: Let’s just say I’ll bite my tongue.


The WeekEnder: July 13-15, 2007

Bonjour! Happy Bastille Day, and welcome to the third installment of The WeekEnder! The WeekEnder is a weekly series that will provide a hodgepodge of information to fill your soul, make you laugh, make you cry, and inspire you.

  • Victory for election integrity!
  • Poor bear brunt of housing crunch
  • Can't we all just get along?
  • What national security really means
  • Keeping yourself organized
  • Call him LonelyBoy08
  • Ask George
  • Thoughts from a dearly departed Lady Bird
  • Convent
  • Something magical

Good news: Judge orders revote in 2004 county race

Three cheers for voting integrity!

Late news this afternoon, sent to The BRAD BLOG moments ago, reveals that a judge in an Alameda County, California election contest is set to rule that a contested ballot measure election from 2004 must now be reheld since the county destroyed data from the election when they sent the Diebold DRE voting systems back to the company in Plano, Texas.

All but 4% of election data, records and audit logs was overwritten in subsequent contests, according to the following release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation which has supported the plaintiffs in the contest.

The unprecedented decision to re-hold an election after plaintiffs were denied the right for a proper recount could have reverberations around the country.
May this signal the demise of unverifiable electronic voting.

Bad news: Nation's poor hit by housing crunch

Once again, Michigan is NOT in a "single-state recession."

Growing numbers of the nation's poorest households are using more than half their earnings for rent while waiting years for federal housing assistance that may never come.

The phenomenon is largely playing out in urban and suburban locales, but has exploded recently in rural areas as coveted rental assistance becomes harder to get due to high demand and scant funding from Congress.

The lack of affordable homes for poor families is the nation's No. 1 housing problem and undermines the stability and security of families and communities nationwide.

A new report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development describes the startling growth of the problem since 2003. It found that 6 million impoverished households used most of their monthly earnings for housing or lived in substandard conditions in 2005. That’s an increase of 16 percent, or 817,000 families, since 2003.
Attempted robbery ends in bear hug
Aww, how lovely.

"Give me your money, or I'll start shooting," he said, according to D.C. police and witnesses.

Everyone froze, including the girl's parents. Then one guest spoke.

"We were just finishing dinner," Cristina Cha Cha Rowan, 43, told the man. Why don't you have a glass of wine with us?

The intruder had a sip of their Chateau Malescot St-Exupery and said, "Damn, that's good wine."

Blog highlight of the week: The Party of National Security
Nail, meet head. Turkana at Daily Kos concludes a diary on national security as such:

We are not fear-mongers. We are speaking calmly about real threats. The risk of terrorism should not be misconstrued as excuses for militancy, Constitutional abuses or the undermining of individual liberty. That was Bush's way. It didn't work. It was, in fact, counter-productive. That's what we need to talk about. That simple fact creates one of the greatest political opportunities Democrats have had in decades. This is a political paradigm shift. The Republicans have long been the party people turned to, when they were afraid. We can tell them to stop being afraid. Because we have a better way.

Strength does not mean staggering around like a drunken frat boy with a sledgehammer. It means being smart. On national security issues, it means being surgeons with scalpels. Having the world's greatest weapons arsenal means nothing if we are inept at diplomacy and intelligence. The facts speak for themselves. The Bush Administration is an utter failure and a continuing danger. The Democratic Party is now the party of national security.
Link of the week: Google Docs and Spreadsheets
Ever wish you could save your documents easily and access the from any computer with Internet access? Whether analyzing the results of last November's election or writing a paper, Google Docs and Spreadsheets has been an important tool for me. Anyone with a Google account can use it, so give it a try! ;-)

Photo of the Week: All alone
With a hat tip to Jeffrey Feldman, I am pleased to introduce you to:

Tom Tancredo. Tancredo was the only Republican to attend the presidential candidates forum held by the NAACP in Detroit this week. That's right - the same Tancredo who is considered the most anti-immigrant of the 2008 candidates.

Video of the Week: Ask George
Rep. Geeorge Miller (D-CA) is seeking your questions regarding Iraq policy:

Quote of the week: Lady Bird Johnson, 1912-2007
"I'm optimistic that the world of native plants will not only survive, but will thrive for environmental and economic reasons, and for reasons of the heart. Beauty in nature nourishes us and brings joy to the human spirit."

Joke of the Week: Leaving the convent
In the convent a young nun went to see the mother superior.
"Mother, I want to quit the veil."
"But why, my child?"
"To become a prostitute."
"What? What are you saying?"
"I said I want to become a prostitute, Mother."
"Oh. You had me worried for a moment. I thought you said Protestant!"

Final thought
As of tonight, the Detroit Tigers' magic number for winning the American League Central pennant is 74. In other words, if the Tigers won 74 more games this season, they would win the division. If your favorite team is in first place, it's easy to determine its magic number. Simply add your team's number of wins with the second-place team's number of losses, and subtract that from 163 (the total number of games played plus one).


Bits of Tid: July 12, 2007

  • NYC firefighters don’t like Rudy Giuliani.
  • I wish I could get paid $440.50 per day to do nothing.
  • The Bay City Times:
  • Senate Majority Leader Michael Bishop, R-Rochester, denied that there was a deal to balance the state budget. In exchange for raising taxes, he demands a remake of a wide swath of state government.
    Give it a rest, senator.
    Republicans couldn't get these changes done when they ran Lansing. They sure aren't going to eliminate public school pensions and retiree health plans, among other reforms, this year.
  • Two new federal judges were confirmed for West Michigan on Monday. One - Janet Neff - was approved after Sam Brownback held up her nomination because she - gasp - attended a commitment ceremony. At any rate, Neff will vacate a state Court of Appeals seat which Governor Granholm will fill. Might I suggest Jane Beckering, the 2006 nominee for Michigan Supreme Court who got rave reviews? Appointing Beckering will help grow the Democratic bench for the state Supreme Court.
  • Can’t wait to prove Dave Camp wrong.
  • Tuesday was LiberalLucy’s birthday. Check out my greeting on MichLib.
  • Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the stars.”
  • Yours truly has submitted another word for banishment to LSSU. Or is it a word?
    w00t - Color me surprised that this lousy excuse for a 'word' hasn't been banished yet.

  • Detroit Tigers’ magic number: 75.


House passes relief for college students

These days, getting a college education is essential for those who want to be successful throughout life. Moreover, a skilled and educated workforce is critical for the US to get back on the right track.

Key to this is making sure college is affordable. Last year Republicans in Congress voted to cut the Pell Grant and raise interest rates on student loans. Under Democratic leadership, Congress is working to remedy that. An important piece of this effort, the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, has passed the House. Michigan Members of Congress voting for the bill were:


Those voting against it were:


Blue = Democrats; Red = Republicans

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chair of the House Education Committee and champion of students, had a few words for those who tried to kill the bill:

"...You don’t like the fact that while you were in power after years of flat lining the Pell Grant, we we’ve finally given them the biggest increase in decades for the poorest kids in this country. You don’t like that so you want to kill the bill. You don’t like the fact that were going to take 5 million middle class kids and extend to them a loan thats interest rate is cut in half? While their families are struggling to get them through college? They’re making sacrifices every year? You’re going to do this? You’re going to kill this bill? Are you proud? Are you proud of this amendment, that you are going to try to kill this bill? Say it louder."


GR Press: Ehlers gets an earful from protesters

It's nice to see people try to hold Ehlers accountable:

Members of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, a national group calling for an end to the war, and Institute for Global Education, a Grand Rapids-based group that preaches nonviolence, waved signs reading "Keep 'Em Safe, Bring 'Em Home" at passing traffic on Michigan Street NW. Some drivers honked and flashed peace signs.
"We're targeting the more-moderate representatives we believe will switch their opinions," said Matthew Arnold, deputy field director for AAEI in Michigan. The group also is targeting Reps. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph; Tim Walberg, R-Tipton; Mike Rogers, R-Howell; and Thaddeus McCotter, R-Livonia.
Anyone who know Walberg, Rogers, or McCotter well enough knows that they are not moderate. But at any rate, how does Ehlers respond to the protest?

"I've learned not to let protesters sway my views on the issue," the Grand Rapids Republican said. "But, what they are trying to address is real and should be addressed."


"I'm no supporter of war, but that's over the hill now," he said. "The question is what can we do from here ... and we're going to need a presence there at this time." (emphasis added)


Saturday Coffee Talk/Open Thread for Michigan Liberal

Ahh, yes, Saturday Coffee Talk. But before we talk, we must make our coffee.

What's the first thing we need in order to make coffee? Hot water, of course. Shouldn't be hard to find; just look for your local Republican congressperson, who is surely in hot water thanks to their support of the Iraq War:

  • WDET: Residents Organize to Change Knollenberg's Position on Iraq.
  • Grand Rapids Press: Ehlers gets earful from protestors.
  • Michigan Radio: Anti-war Campaign Comes to Michigan.
  • LivingBlue: - Rogers' Response to War Protest Is Non-Sequitur - Judy does a nice job countering a statement made by a Rogers aide that "Congressman Rogers will continue to fully support our troops."
Once you've mixed the water and coffee beans, you want to add in just the right amount of cream and sugar:

  • Blogging for Michigan: The Challenge of Teaching in 'Exponential Times' -Christine discusses what it means to be literate today, and shows how the Right's opposition to investing in teachers can have negative effects on children's education.
  • Blue November: Candice Miller's "War on Terror" breaks down, paragraph by paragraph, the spin Rep. Miller has on her web site.
  • DKos: Conyers Looking Into Credit Card Merchant Practices - I'm just so glad Conyers is from our beautiful state.
  • ICDP Dispatch: Bill Clinton and Truman - what a pair - Having gone to a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Truman Library, Tim shares his thoughts on two great Democrats.
  • Liberal, Loud and Proud: - Lucy/Julielyn/Paris Hilton allowed Rich at Honest Errors to make a Guest Post.
  • LSJ Capitol Journal: Rocky to fight Levin? Ha ha ha! What's your goal this time around, Rocky? 39%?
But there are some things you just want to avoid adding:

  • Yahoo! News: Ice cream vendor accused of selling pot near Benton Harbor. Insert your own joke here.
Because in the end, you want richness:

  • Michigan Lottery - someone hit the $126 million Mega Millions jackpot, as evidenced by the fact that the jackpot for Tuesday's drawing is back down to $12 million. I don't gamble much, but high jackpots always pique my interest.


The WeekEnder: July 6-8, 2007

Welcome to the second edition of The WeekEnder! The WeekEnder is a weekly series that will provide a hodgepodge of information to fill your soul, make you laugh, make you cry, and inspire you. Highlights of The WeekEnder include:

  • Some good news;
  • Some bad news;
  • A funny or unusual news item;
  • A highlight from the blogosphere;
  • A Link of the Week;
  • A Photo of the Week;
  • A Video of the Week;
  • A Quote of the Week;
  • A joke; and
  • A random thought from yours truly.
In this week's WeekEnder:

  • Granholm works to revitalize Michigan cities
  • Libby-rated
  • A uniquely-flavored ice cream
  • Keeping church and state separate
  • Following Senate races
  • An interesting view of Bush
  • Lighting up the sky
  • Wisdom of a Founding Father
  • A plea for funds
  • My idea for fame and fortune
Good news:
Governor Jennifer Granholm is working hard to fix Michigan's cities and make the state more attractive to those who would otherwise leave:
Governor Granholm Tuesday that the Michigan State Housing Development Authority will fund up to $25 million over the next four years to help eliminate blight in her eight "Cities of Promise."

The cities targeted are Detroit, Pontiac, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Flint, Benton Harbor, Saginaw and Muskegon Heights. These cities were identified based on conditions of declining population, extreme poverty, loss of industry and jobs, crumbling infrastructure and blighted neighborhoods.

Cities of Promise Initiative is a five year program that Governor Granholm kicked off in 2006. The program has the following goals:

  • Improving neighborhood safety for children
  • Substantially increasing the number of blighted residential structures demolished in each of the cities through strategic demolition activities
  • Increasing income and skills of homeless persons in the cities
  • Increasing the use of deconstruction (salvaging/recycling usable materials) in place of and/or in conjunction with demolition to remove unwanted structures and rebuild communities
  • Increasing the use of holistic, market-based neighborhood revitalization plans tied to the neighborhoods where blight is being addressed with MSHDA funds
Bad news:
As we all know, Scooter Libby got the Get Out of Jail Free card from his friend Dubya. LiberalLucy and others are none too happy about it, and neither am I. This guy compromised our national security, and Bush proved once and for all that he is not all that strong when it comes to protecting America.

Of course, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson are happy.

Michigan ice cream truck driver may have sold pot
"Mommy, this ice cream tastes weird. What flavor is it?"

Southwestern Michigan authorities say they arrested an ice cream truck operator who was selling marijuana along with his frozen desserts.

After authorities got tips about the alleged pot-peddler, a deputy "heard jingling bells" about 2 p.m. Thursday and saw the ice cream truck entering a mobile home park, Berrien County sheriff's Lt. Keith Hafer said in a written statement.

Deputy John Hopkins stopped the truck, spoke with the driver and "detected the odor of marijuana coming from the truck (along with tutti-frutti and a couple other flavors)," Hafer wrote.

Blog highlight of the week: Accepting people of all religious persuasions
Tim Caldwell, an officer with thge Isabella County Democratic Party, gets it when it comes to patriotism and religion:

This day celebrates a time when a cluster of colonies banded together to tell England that they would not tolerate a system that oppressed people because they had different religious or political views then the majority. This would become a nation ruled by law, where a theocracy would not exist. This would be something not seen before among nations: a secular government where all religions could flourish, and where even the non-religious could find refuge.

Link of the week
We're just 487 days away from Election Day! I mentioned last week that if you want the Democrats in Congress to do more, they need to be backed up by bigger majorities in Congress, especially in the US Senate.

Senate 2008 Guru is a blog dedicated to tracking all 34 US Senate races set to appear on next November's ballots. What races are shaping up to be key? Have any GOP senators up for re-election in 2008 had a 'macaca' moment? You can find out the latest numbers and news on next year's US Senate races at Senate 2008 Guru.

Photo of the Week: Birthday Boy
Today is the 61st birthday of one of the greatest Presidents America has seen since - well, Clinton! So here's to the one who embarrasses himself as much as he embarrasses the nation he 'leads.'

Video of the Week: July 4th in Kentwood
Ithought I'd delight you with a video I shot of fireworks in my hometown of Kentwood on Wednesday:

Quote of the week: Thomas Jefferson
"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."

Joke of the Week: Bush's monument
I have the distinguished honor of being on the committee to raise $5,000,000 for a monument of George W. Bush.

We originally wanted to put him on Mt. Rushmore until we discovered there was not enough room for two more faces.

We then decided to erect a statue of George in the Washington, D.C. Hall Of Fame. We were in a quandary as to where the statue should be placed. It was not proper to place it beside the statue of George Washington, who never told a lie, or beside Dick Cheney, who never told the truth, since George could never tell the difference.

We finally decided to place it beside Christopher Columbus, the greatest Republican of them all. He left not knowing where he was going, and when he got there he did not know where he was. He returned not knowing where he had been, and did it all on someone else's money.

Thank you,
George W. Bush Monument Committee

P. S. The Committee has raised $1.35 so far.

Final thought
Okay, confession time. Mom and I have become big fans of the Fox game show Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader? If you haven't seen the show, a contestant answers up to eleven questions on subjects ranging from "1st Grade Animal Science" to "5th Grade Astronomy." The top prize is $1 million. If you don't win the $1 million - which no one has to this point - you have to look into the camera and say "I am not smarter than a fifth grader."

I was watching the show last night, and of the 20 questions I saw, I knew the answers to all but one of them. I think I just might put my name in to be a contestant. (Actually, I'm considering putting my name in to be a contestant on the college versions of Jeopardy! and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.)

I’m sold - I’m voting straight US Taxpayers in 2008

For some odd reason, my family is on the US Taxpayers Party’s mailing list. We just got their newsletter... and might I say I’m convinced that the future of our nation rests on the Constitution/US Taxpayers Party winning next year. Not.

Here are a few of the 21 platform items the newsletter lists, and my responses to them:

2. Taxes - Reduce all Federal, State and local taxes in Michigan.

First of all, do you wish state and local taxes were lower in Michigan? Fine. But federal taxes? While it would be nice to send less to the IRS than other states (after all, we do receive less in return), it's kind of illegal. Besides, we need taxes to run the government.

5. Election Reform - Reform elections by requiring the use of paper ballots.

Okay, I could actually sign on to this one.

9. Restore the Republic - Review the alleged ratification of the 17th Amendment to the U.S.Constitution.

The 17th Amendment provided that US senators be elected directly by the voters instead of by state legislatures. While the Wikipedia article does mention some criticism of the Amendment, it does not say that any controversy surropunds whether the amendment was actually adopted. So maybe it was a grammatical mistake (of which there are many in the newsletter); maybe they took issue with the 16th Amendment, which deals with income taxes. Wikipedia discusses their qualms in depth.

13. Drinking Water Treatment - Eliminate fluoride and chlorine used to treat drinking water in Michigan.

What, don't they want their teeth?

Oh, and by the way:

[O]ur candidates pledge to the party to uphold the constitutions or face lifetime expulsion from the party.

"Agree with us or else!"

Ahh, third parties. Say what you will about the major parties, but let's be glad the Constitution Party doesn't have more than a snowflake's chance in Hades!


Our Country, to Have and to Hold

Before his death three years ago, my grandfather told me a number of stories about his days in the Asia/Pacific Theater during World War II - escaping death, crossing the Equator, the meals they served on the ships. My other grandfather also had war stories of his own, although sadly, he died two years before I was born, so I never had the chance to hear them.

Both of my grandfathers shared something in common, however: Both are among a long list of brave men and women who have served in defense of this nation and the ideals we hold dear - the ones Thomas Jefferson wrote in that Declaration which was signed 231 years ago today: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Jefferson was one of many who, tired of the status quo, decided to take action against tyranny, against the oppression of those at the bottom by those at the top. And so we must follow in Jefferson's lead.

A lot has changed since the Founders rose up and rejected the status quo. Our nation has 37 more states and 100 times as many people. Forty-three men have taken an oath to uphold our nation's Constitution, with some fulfilling their oath better than others. Whereas only free men over 21 who owned property could vote in the early days of our Republic, nowadays virtually everyone over 18 may vote.

Yet even as our freedoms come under attack from within, we can be proud of the fact that so many people - among them my friend Cliff, who recently returned from Iraq - are willing to put their lives on the line for those ideals which Jefferson gave us, and that so many others - Keith Olbermann, Helen Thomas, Al Gore, and John Conyers, among countless others - work day in and day out to hold our leaders accountable for preserving and expanding liberty.

But they cannot do it alone.

In this time when our basic freedoms are being attacked, each of us must take responsibility for doing our part to ensure that the cause of liberty is not destroyed in our great Republic. Because as much as Bush and his cabal try to ruin the Republic, the fact remains, this is still our country.

OUR country.

This country belongs to ALL 300,000,000+ of us. This country belongs to a poor person without health insurance and without a job as much as it does to the wealthy CEO of a Fortune 500 company. It belongs as much to a paralyzed person as it does to a star athlete. It belongs as much to a janitor as it does to his/her company's senior vice president. It belongs just as much to a military recruit on his first day in basic training as it does to a four-star general. It belongs as much to a child entering kindergarten this fall as it does to my school district’s recently retired superintendent and her successor.

And of course, this country belongs to the millions of people who have served their country in uniform: from Washington and the other Founders, to Grant, to TR at San Juan Hill, to my grandfathers, to my father, to Cliff.

This country belongs to us as much as it did to the 56 men who pledged “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor” to the cause of freedom 231 years ago. Or to the 39 who, eleven summers later, authored the Constitution.

Or the millions of working men and women in this country, without whom America would not be America.

Or the countless men and women who have died protecting us: Armed Forces personnel, firefighters, police officers.

Understanding that this country belongs to each and every one of us is what patriotism is all about. Patriotism doesn’t involve saying you support our troops despite supporting policies that harm them, i.e. an ill-planned war that has led to the loss of nearly 3,600 Americans. Nor does it involve calling people traitors just because they they happen to disagree with you. Nor does it involve ruthlessly attacking patriots such as Max Cleland and John Kerry.

Patriotism involves speaking up. Sharing your opinion. Demanding the truth. Expecting the best for our Republic. Insisting that good spring from bad, that the values we hold dear as a nation are not suppressed by a group of egotists seeking to serve themselves at the expense of others.

Countless Americans have sacrificed so much for this country, from the bitter winter at Valley Forge, through the bloody Civil War, through two World Wars, through numerous other conflicts, right into this one. We can't all serve in the military, but if our nation is to remain free, we must all do the example Jefferson laid out for us and fight for the America we desire.


Tuesday Coffee Talk/Open Thread for Michigan Liberal

I have the distinguished honor of hosting Michigan Liberal's Coffee Talk today, the eve of America's 231st birthday.

  • AP: Democrats, environmentalists renew push to limit water diversions. Michigan would not be Michigan if not for our Great Lakes water!
  • AP: Auto Alliance backs House plan on fuel economy. "Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., an ally of the auto industry, wants to consider fuel efficiency standards in the fall when his Energy and Commerce Committee reviews climate change legislation."
  • WUOM: Governor unhappy with pace of budget talks. Not like any of us blame her. Of course, things would be going smoother if Senate Republicans weren't vacationing, giving us opportunities to take pictures of them and win $50.
  • DetNews: Governor’s television ad to discuss business tax plan. Actually it’s from the Michigan Democratic Party.
  • Lessenberry: Taxing Concerns. Jack discusses efforts to "tweak" the new Michigan Business Tax, and why new revenues are needed. He also interviewed State Treasurer Bob Kleine.
  • LSJ: Area’s corn crop booming, thanks to ethanol demand. Good write-up from the LSJ. Now about that database...
  • Freep: Six Candidates yanked off ballot in Warren. Makes sense: If you don't pay your water bill, you don't deserve to run for city office. If only those who endanger America's national security weren't let off so easily...
  • MichiganFireworks.com - Want to take in some neat pyrotechnics? This site lists nearly 500 fireworks displays from tonight through December!
  • And finally, Michigan Liberal is pleased to endorse Lisa Simpson for President. Okay, not really. But if you go to the website and sign up to show your support, you help Lucy and a few others! Details here.