It's the end of March - time for YouTube!

How many times does the team in white pass the ball?

More headlines from Jay Leno:

Here's my first YouTube post in six months, from a karaoke night at CMU's Towers residence hall lobby. I'm gonna be rooming with this guy next year:

We ended that night with a group singing of one of my favorite songs:


Switalski: Budget likely to be finished by July 1

This is worth a sigh of relief following last year's intense budget battle:

The Senate finished a productive week in Lansing, finishing 7 of 8 budget bills. While the spotlight has been on the Mayor of Detroit and the Presidential Campaign, Michigan legislators have been quietly doing our jobs. In March, we moved the budget bills through subcommittees, full Appropriations committees, and finally through the full Senate this week. We reached consensus on most budgets. Even when we did have disagreements, particularly on the K-12 School Aid Budget and the Community Health Budget, we kept the debate on the issues and not on a partisan or personal basis.


We are on target to finish our budget ahead of time this year, well before July 1st. You may recall that we didn’t finish last year until November, and the Government actually shut down for a few hours in October before we could reach any agreements. The constant bickering, the all-night sessions, the dueling press conferences are all so last year.

There is a new spirit of cooperation and mutual respect between the parties and the chambers this year. It’s like when you finally have the big fight in the schoolyard, the antagonists bloody each other up and then become friends.

It is kind of like that in the Michigan Legislature. Once you’ve gone through an ordeal like last year’s battle, you know whom you can trust and you also gain respect and understanding of where colleagues are coming from. Even when you disagree, you find a way to argue without losing your temper. You concentrate reaching a conclusion, not fighting for its own sake.

Sen. Alan Cropsey, who represents Mount Pleasant and other areas, was in my class with Gary Peters last Monday. He agreed that lawmakers will probably be done with the budget around the Fourth of July.


Guess which of these issues I DON'T care about?

Below I have identified several issues which I think are very important - along with one non-issue that, let's just say, doesn't really affect the safety and welfare of the American populace and thus doesn't need that much attention.

So take a guess: which of these issues could I care less about?

  • Iraq
  • Weakened national security due to the Iraq War
  • Global warming
  • Reliance on foreign, nonrenewable fuels
  • The foreclosure crisis
  • The looming water shortage
  • Loss of wetlands, forests, etc.
  • Racial and gender inequalities
  • Hostility towards immigrants, non-Christians, and the GLBT community
  • The gap between rich and poor
  • An out-of-whack budget
  • An arrogant foreign policy
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty
  • Nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance
  • Neglect of our veterans
  • An embarrassing foreign policy
  • A crumbling infrastructure
  • Lack of access to technology for millions of Americans
  • America's education system lagging behind that of other nations
  • Corruption and scandals
  • Corporate influence
  • Mistreatment of American workers
  • The erosion of our basic rights as Americans
  • Obama's pastor's remarks
Given more time, I could probably come up with a dozen more issues. I just want to point out how ridiculous it is that much of the media is focusing on one of these aforementioned topics with little mention of any of the others.

Folks, don't be distracted. Let's make sure our leaders (and the media) focus on real issues.


A Good Friday reflection

I know that some of you are Christian and others aren't. If you are Christian, I encourage you to take a few minutes out of your Good Friday to watch this very powerful video. I was moved to tears.


The Bracketologist at work

EAST: UNC, Indiana, George Mason, Washington State, St. Joseph's, Louisville, Butler, Tennessee

MIDWEST: Kansas, Kent State, Clemson, Vanderbilt, Kansas State, Georgetown, Davidson, Wisconsin

SOUTH: Memphis, Oregon, MSU, Pitt, Kentucky, Stanford, St. Mary's, Texas

WEST: UCLA, Texas A&M, Western Kentucky, San Diego, Purdue, Xavier, Arizona, Duke

While I usually do these brackets one round at a time, I will say that I have Louisville winning it all.


The Onion covers the important issues of the day

"America's Finest News Source" has the very latest on the War for the White House, Iraq, Kim Jong Il, and the Queen, courtesy of YouTube.

Be sure to subscribe to The Onion on YouTube!


Bits of Tid: March 14, 2008

Take Two Edition

  • So do you have any plans for June 3?

  • Barack Obama has condemned remarks made by his pastor:
    Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.
    So where is Hillary's condemnation of Geraldine Ferraro's remark that Obama is only where he is because he is black?

  • Victory on FISA!

  • Michigan's food-stamp reform will likely be adjusted somewhat, and Sen. Martha Scott (D) is happy about that.

  • Caption the famous picture of Bush hugging McCain!


House passes mental health parity bill in honor of Wellstone

The House passed the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act on a vote of 268-148. 47 Republicans joined 221 Democrats in supporting passage of the bill.

According to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's blog, The Gavel:

This bipartisan legislation will end discrimination against patients seeking treatment for mental illnesses by prohibiting insurers and group health plans from imposing treatment or financial limitations when they offer mental health benefits that are more restrictive from those applied to medical and surgical services.
All six Michigan Democrats voted in favor of the bill, as did Republicans Fred Upton, Joe Knollenberg, and Candice Miller. Tim Walberg did not vote, while five Michigan Republicans voted against it.


Bits of Tid: March 7, 2008

  • There is reason for a renewed sense of hope today. Democrats here in State of Michigan, whose voice in the presidential nominating process has been silenced by both a lousy primary/caucus schedule and most of the Michigan Democratic leadership, may yet have a role to play in the selection of our nominee! Nothing's certain yet, but we just might have a 'do-over' caucus!
  • Look at that delegate total to the right. 111-delegate lead for Obama. That includes a somewhat-sizeable-but-shrinking superdelegate lead for Clinton and a 155-pledged-delegate lead for Obama. As opposed to the 159-pledged-delegate lead he held before Tuesday. So while Hillary may have stopped Obama's momentum, she did little on Tuesday to actually move closer to the nomination. Clinton is 573 delegates away from clinching the nomination, while Obama needs 462.
  • The aforemenmtioned numbers do not include Michigan and Florida delegates. Should revotes happen in both states, causing delegates there to be seated, Obama would need 646 more versus Clinton's 757.
  • Maybe it's because they're attractive, but I like Michigan's female Democratic lawmakers.
  • Eight months before an election, you really shouldn't trust the polls. That said, if this one from SurveyUSA is worth believing, Barack Obama just might have a shot at North Dakota and Nebraska. Also, Obama would probably have more electoral votes safely in his column than Clinton, meaning he could focus resources on battleground and purplish-red states.
  • Eight months before an election, you really shouldn't trust the polls. That said, we already see the Schauer-Walberg race turning into a hot one. Meanwhile in Illinois, Democrats just might take Dennis Hastert's old seat in a special election this weekend.
  • Just a friendly reminder: We are 67 days away from the candidate filing deadline here in Michigan. By that day, all petitions to get Levin and other candidates on the ballot must be turned in. (Actually, if you've got them filled out, turn them in now to the MDP or your local party HQ. Want to obtain petitions? Get them at your local party HQ or request them here.) I hope to get my precinct delegate re-election form filed with the city clerk today.


Bits of Tid: March 3, 2008

Marching Into March Edition

  • Obama is now 646 delegates away from clinching the nomination, while Hillary needs 758 more. 370 delegates are at stake on Tuesday. If Obama gets more delegates than Hillary on Tuesday and Hillary does not drop out, expect more 'superdelegates' (more on that word in a moment) to get behind Obama. That, and the fact that rural Wyoming and heavily black Mississippi are next up on the calendar cannot bode well for Hillary.
  • Obama's campaign has already helped the Democratic Party, whether or not he ends up with the nomination. And as one Daily Kos diarist argues, Obama has done a marvelous job supporting Dean's 50-State Strategy. I supported Howard in the primaries in 2003/04 and am proud to say that I am still a fan of his to this day.
  • I think I just might start writing a book in the coming days and weeks, about my experiences in my life thus far (I'm 20), my views on politics and government, why I'm a Democrat, where I believe we need to move the Democratic Party and the nation, and more. Working subtitle: A 20-year-old's Thoughts on Politics and the State of the World. Of course I would be surprised if I finish it before I turn 21, and even then titles and subtitles change all the time.
  • Speaking of books, I am currently reading The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John C. Maxwell and Everyday Leadership by Dan Mulhern. Boith are good reads. Reviews forthcoming!
  • Back to the word 'superdelegate.' It's my latest pick for Lake Superior State's Banished Words List. Why?

    What, exactly, makes them 'super?' Do they wear tights and brightly colored capes and fly around the country trying to save America from some evil force of which I'm unaware?
  • This week's edition of Sunday Coffee Talk on Michigan Liberal has a few changes. I hope you like it!