Bernero: "Being a good leader starts with being a good person"

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, one of our Democratic candidates for Governor, came to CMU to speak to students and to answer our questions. While I won't pretend that I'm 100% behind Virg, Alma, or Andy, I will say that now I know why so many others are supporting the Mayor!

Unsurprisingly, Virg talked mostly about economic issues. He discussed, among other things, his proposal for a state bank; our need for better trade policy; the importance of manufacturing; unions; Wall Street's refusal to invest in Michigan; the tendency of some to blame the workers for our economic problems; and so much more.

Virg also talked about his record in Lansing - including how he was able to get the budget done on time, without laying off a single person.

Beyond economic policy, Virg is also a supporter of the new healthcare reform law, though he (like many of us, myself included) doesn't think it's perfect. He also supports a woman's right to choose, though he only talked briefly about it, saying that as a man, he doesn't make decisions about abortion.

In terms of economics, I'm not sure I've ever (or at least lately) heard anyone in politics sound so wonk-ish and nerdy as Virg Bernero. (Especially not Snyder!) And yet he comes off like a regular guy someone smart enough and easygoing enough to relate to people and understand what our state needs.

While I don't know for sure who I will support on August 3, Virg Bernero has made a very solid impression on me.



Rosie O'Donnell posted this on her blog. She got it from someone else.

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn't get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn't get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.

You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans...oh hell no!


Freedom Triumphant

This week has been a great week for the cause of freedom here in America.

More Americans will spend less just to be healthy - or alive. They will have the freedom to not only live, but to keep more of their hard-earned money (or spend it on something worthwhile - boosting another sector of our economy).

Because we will get to stay on our parents' insurance until age 26, more young Americans will have the liberty to get on a sound financial footing before we have to buy health insurance on our own.

Millions of Americans, bound by the chains of preexisting conditions, will no longer be bound by the additional chains of not having

Countless small businesses will see the freedom to save more of their money or hire more workers, as they will enjoy tax breaks and costs savings for health insurance plans.

There are so many other benefits to the new healthcare laws passed by Democrats in Congress and signed by President Obama. But they all center around one simple idea: You should not be punished for being sick.

While these laws aren't perfect, and while our union isn't perfect, this week we have taken some giant steps in forming a more perfect union. The idea of 'liberty and justice for all' - an ideal on which our founders formed our nation, and for which so many have died - is becoming more of a reality.

That is why I am pleased to dedicate this post, my 500th on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott, to those who fought to make this reform the law of the land, and to all who fight for our country's ideals at home and abroad.


Healthcare Reform WIN

With the passage of the healthcare bill, I am proud. Proud to be a Democrat, but more than that, proud to be an American.

What does this all mean for Michigan? From a press release from Rep. Gary Peters:
The 6.3 million Michigan residents who currently have insurance can keep their current plan and will have it strengthened, as reform prohibits annual and lifetime benefit limits, outlaws dropping individuals who become ill while insured and reduces the cost of preventive care.

Nearly 2.5 million middle class Michigan families will receive a tax cut to help pay for health coverage.

Over 200,000 small businesses will receive a tax break to help provide health coverage for owners’ families and employees, and will be able to purchase insurance at more competitive prices on insurance exchanges.

Nearly 1.6 million Medicare beneficiaries will see their benefits improved, such as new access to no-cost preventative care.

135,000 Michigan seniors affected by the Medicare Part D “donut hole” will benefit as the hole is eliminated over 10 years. Those entering the donut hole will receive a $250 rebate for prescription drugs this year, and the average beneficiary will save $700 in 2011 and $3000 by 2020 when the donut hole is eliminated.

141,000 Michigan residents with preexisting conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes could no longer be denied health coverage

536,000 uninsured Michigan residents would now have access to health insurance

781,000 young adults in Michigan could now remain on their parents health care coverage until they are 26 years old.
But as the President has said:
But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.

It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe.

It is a great night for America!

While this bill isn't what most of us wanted, we are so much closer to achieving our gooooooooooooooal of healthcare for all!


Brackets Galore: My picks

Kansas, UNLV, MSU, Houston, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Ohio, San Diego State

Syracuse, Gonzaga, Butler, Murray, Kansas State, Brigham Young, Pittsburgh, Minnesota

Kentucky, Wake Forest, Cornell, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Clemson, New Mexico, Marquette

Duke, Louisville, Texas A&M, Siena, Villanova, St. Mary, Sam Houston State, Notre Dame


CD-03: Mayhue (D) is in, Amash to face challengers

WZZM reports that former Kent County Commissioner Paul Mayhue will enter the race to succeed retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers.

Mayhue says he is entering the race because he is concerned about jobs and said that as a community we have seen "NAFTA give us the SHAFTA. Mayhue says he is concerned with government giving tax breaks to companies exporting jobs to other countries.

"Business and Labor need to come together on this issue," Mayhue said in a press release. "The American taxpayer is paying for jobs to be taken away from us all."

Also running on the Democratic side is attorney Patrick Miles, Jr.

Right-wing Republican Justin Amash- who announced his run before Ehlers said he would retire - will face competition in the Republican primary from State Sen. Bill Hardiman and former Commissioner Steven Heacock.

Kent County - which is not entirely, but mostly, in the 3rd District and which also makes up the lion's share of the 3rd - went for Obama by 1,573 votes. McCain barely won the district; each got 49%. So this just might be more competitive than most people will acknowledge!


Help shape our Democratic Party!

Hey, you! Yeah, that's right - YOU!!

  • Do you want to be more involved as a Democrat?
  • Do you want to strengthen your voice in our Party and our communities?
  • Do you want to help decide whom the Democratic Party nominates for offices like SoS and AG?
  • Do you want to help steer the direction of the Democratic Party, including what our platform will look like and what issues the Party supports?
If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, then have I got the opportunities for you!

1. Join the Michigan Democratic Party. In order to vote at the April 17 Endorsement Convention, you must be an MDP member for 30 days before the Convention. So join or renew your membership by March 18 to have a chance to support your favorite candidates for office!

Plus, since memberships are good for one year, your membership will still be good for next
February's State Convention, at which we will elect our state Party leadership and adopt some resolutions. So join the MDP and have your say!

2. Become a Precinct Delegate! What is a Precinct Delegate? Well, I got this in an email a couple of years ago:
The Precinct Delegate is one of the most important of any elected office. It is the active Precinct Delegate who wins elections for the Democratic Party. Precinct Delegates are elected directly by the voters of each precinct to serve as a bridge between voters and the Democratic Party. Precinct Delegates represent the Democratic Party in their neighborhoods and represent their neighborhoods and Democratic Party meetings.

Precinct Delegates:
-Help Democrats get registered to vote
-Take information on issues and candidates to the voters in their precinct
-Identify other Democrats and recruit new Party members
-Help turn out the Democratic vote on Election Day
-Keep Democratic leaders informed about the issues that concern voters
So, essentially, you would be a liaison of sorts between the Democratic Party and your community.

It is an elected position, and you will get to vote for yourself in the August primary election. Better yet, you will probably win, since many precincts have more delegate seats than candidates!

Oh, and did I mention you can hone your resolution-writing skills? My meager self wrote two resolutions that were adopted at the Kent County Democratic Convention in February 2009 - they were then adopted at the State Convention a couple weeks later, all because I am a Precinct Delegate!

So, take advantage of these opportunities to move our Democratic Party in the direction YOU want it to move! Things will happen when YOU take the time to get involved.