Polls, college sports, a black agenda, post-COVID-19 recovery. Bernie Porn, Jack Ebling, Sarah Anthony

June 8, 2020

Michigan Policast for Monday, June 8, 2020

  In this episode:

  • New polling data with Bernie Porn
  • Opening Michigan one step at a time
  • Jack Ebling on the outlook for college football
  • Racism, BLM, and Trump
  • State Rep Sarah Anthony on systemic racism and the Black Agenda
  • Political notes – UI fraud, vote-by-mail, Title IX
  • John James says what?
  • We <3 Kelly Rossman-McKinney
  • Transcript

 

Jump to:

New polling data with Bernie Porn

Biden is getting the 95 96% of the democratic vote, Trump is getting about 90% of the Republican vote, but 63% of independent voters are voting for Biden. And that is very, very strong, and it's even fairly equal among both independent men and women ~Bernie Porn, EPIC MRAClick To Tweet
Head to head of @RealDonaldTrump versus @JoeBiden, Trump got 41% of the vote with 0% leaning to Trump. 41% was his number. It's very unusual to have 0 leaners ~Bernie Porn, EPIC MRAClick To Tweet
38% would vote @RealDonaldTrump, which is just about the party ID base for @MIGOP, 51% would vote to replace Trump. That's up 6% since January when 44% said they would vote to replace ~Bernie Porn, EPIC MRAClick To Tweet
.@JohnJamesReveal is unknown by 23%, his favorability is is 31% favorable, 32% unfavorable, So he's equally disliked as much as he is liked. That's unusual at this early stage ~Bernie Porn, EPIC MRAClick To Tweet
.@GaryPeters is still unknown by 22%. His favorability is 45% - 20% but he still needs to be better known ~Bernie Porn, EPIC MRAClick To Tweet
57% have a favorable opinion of @GovWhitmer, 39% unfavorable. It was 44 to 34 favorable in January ~Bernie Porn, EPIC MRAClick To Tweet
60% give @GovWhitmer a positive job rating, and on #COVID19 specifically, she gets 60% positive, 40% negative. You wonder why @RealDonaldTrump keeps attacking her because he is 58% negative on the same issue ~Bernie Porn, EPIC MRAClick To Tweet
.@RealDonaldTrump gets 58% negative job rating on #COVID19 and 56% negative overall. @GovWhitmer gets 60% positive and 55% positive on the same. Why is he attacking her? ~ Bernie Porn, EPIC MRAClick To Tweet
57% of Michigan thinks that we should wait to open up the economy. 36% said that we should open it up quickly as soon as possible. ~Bernie Porn, EPIC MRAClick To Tweet

 

Opening Michigan one step at a time

The two states that are actually doing the best jobs containing #COVID19 are the ones that clamped down the hardest, the state of New York and the state of Michigan https://bit.ly/3f2tgRH @GovWhitmer @MiSenateDems @MiHouseDemsClick To Tweet
When @NASA sent people to the moon there were multiple course corrections because otherwise they would have missed the moon by 10s of thousands of miles. We make course corrections on #COVID19 and @SenMikeShirkey sees this as a flaw ~@MichCurmudgeon Click To Tweet
By aligning themselves with @michamber over @DrKhaldun and #publichealth experts, @SenMikeShirkey, @SenTomBarrett and the rest of @MiSenate have abdicated their responsibilities and legitimate role in public health ~@ChristineBarry #COVID19Click To Tweet
.@SenMikeShirkey should be talking about how hard everyone is working to help people get through #COVID19, but instead he's calling @GovWhitmer a dictator who is drunk on power. That's not something a legislator with integrity would do during a national emergency and global pandemic ~@ChristineBarryClick To Tweet

Jack Ebling on the outlook for college football

Maybe we can put 20% of our normal fans in the stadium, maybe it's a lower number, but I would love to see football, I would love to see having some people in the stands ~Samuel Stanley, President @michiganstateu #COVID19Click To Tweet
.@michiganstateu Pres. Stanley has been convinced that there's a way to do football in the fall. It's not going to be 75k people in #SpartanStadium, and it's going to require some sacrifice, but fans will be able to some #collegefootball. ~@JackEblingClick To Tweet
I know from talking to a lot of college athletes, I can tell you they are, if not fearless and feeling invincible, they are certainly ready for this challenge ~@JackEbling #CollegeFootball #COVID19 @MichiganStateUClick To Tweet
Can you see a quarterback coming to the line of scrimmage with a mask on? Can you see coaches maintaining six feet of social distancing when they're giving instructions to players? It's crazy to see how it's all going to evolve ~@JackEbling #collegefootball #COVID19Click To Tweet
What happens when there is an outbreak and suddenly 20% of your team is positive? Is the team quarantined? If this happens on a Thursday do you postpone or cancel that next game or your season? We don't know ~@JackEbling #CollegeFootball #COVID19Click To Tweet
You're still going to see basketball played with hand checking. I can't imagine at every timeout every free throw, and sanitizer being passed around. They're just going to be certain things that take your chances with and, and you hope that the preventative measures are enough ~@JackEbling #collegebasketball #COVID19Click To Tweet

 

 

Racism, BLM, and Trump

It wasn't the death of #GeorgeFloyd, it was the video of George Floyd getting murdered that really set off this response by the people. Without that video, George Floyd would have been just another 'dead guy' ~@MichCurmudgeon #BLM Click To Tweet

It's time for us to stand up in George's name and say 'get your knees off our necks!' ~@TheRevAl #BLM #GeorgeFloydClick To Tweet

 

 

 

 

 

State Rep Sarah Anthony on systemic racism and the Black Agenda

.@RealDonaldTrump saying he's done more for black people is one of the most ridiculous comments I've ever heard in my life, and I'm no spring chicken ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems #BLMClick To Tweet
.@RealDonaldTrump has a combination of words and deeds that confirm his complete disrespect, disregard, and hatred towards African Americans, immigrants and people of color ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems #BLMClick To Tweet
The agenda that @RealDonaldTrump has pushed at the federal, state, and local levels confirm the fact that he does not care for nor advocate for African Americans ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems #BLMClick To Tweet
Remember that @RealDonaldTrump said there were fine people on both sides in the Charleston, suggesting a moral equivalence between white supremacists and activists, he has incided hate up and down every corner of this country ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems #BLMClick To Tweet
.@RealDonaldTrump calls communities of color disgusting, rat infested, Roach infested places. He calls countries that have people that have complexions that look like mine as s- hole countries. I'm never surprised when this #POTUS decides to use his office to incite hatred ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems #BLMClick To Tweet
We know that when America gets a cold, black America gets the flu.We know that #COVID19 disproportionately impacts African Americans and other people of color ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems @LtGovGilchrist #MICoronavirusTaskForce #BLMClick To Tweet
Everyone from moderate white politician to companies like Ben and Jerry's, are all speaking out saying #BlackLivesMatter. I've never seen that level energy towards marginalized communities ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems #BLMClick To Tweet
We have the power in our local communities to battle systemic racism. Is that prosecutor reflecting the values that we want at our local level? What about our school board? What about our city council? You can reform police departments community by comunity. Now's the time, there is no excuse ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems #BLMClick To Tweet
I think people are doing the best they can, under very tense circumstances, but we always should be protecting the right of protest, regardless of the messaging, because that right is something that is very sacred ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems #BLMClick To Tweet
African Americans want to know how our leaders are going to serve us and our interests. It's not enough to be Democrats or have a record of service in our communities. We need a #blackagenda. How are you going to serve us? ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems #BLM @LtGovGilchrist @GovWhitmer @TheRevAlClick To Tweet
Our schools aren't up to par. Our communities are over policed but still not safe. We are lagging ineconomic growth. We're lagging in economic development opportunities and upward mobility. Who is going to actually serve the black community with fidelity? ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems #BLMClick To Tweet
.@JoeBiden has a track record of helping communities of color, but everyone has a way to go and I don't give anyone a pass right now. What is your #BlackAgenda? ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems #BLMClick To Tweet
A lot of people have been suffering in a major way, and that has to be at the forefront of our minds through this recovery. How are we going to make sure that these folks can pay their rent, can put food on the table, and just make sure they are ok at the end of the month? ~@SarahAnthony517 @MiHouseDems #BLMClick To Tweet

 

 

 

 

Political notes – UI fraud, vote-by-mail, Title IX

 

John James says what?

 

We <3 Kelly Rossman-McKinney

One of the most respected and well-liked people in #Michigan government announced that she's dealing with stage 4 bladder cancer ... our hearts and prayers go out to @RossmanMcKinney and her extended family ~@MichCurmudgeonClick To Tweet
Having someone like Kelly Rossman-McKinney in #Lansing has made such a difference for women ... it means a lot to have mentors who have seen everything in this town and lived to tell about it. ~@sjdemas @rossmanmckinney @michiganadvance @https://bit.ly/30p5f35Click To Tweet

 

Transcript

 

Walt Sorg  00:00

The presenting underwriter of the Michigan Policast is progress Michigan, providing a strong credible voice that holds public officials in government accountable and assists in the promotion of progressive ideas.

 

Gretchen Whitmer  00:15

Today’s order will allow personal services including hair, massage nails tattoo to reopen statewide on June 15. All regions except for six and eight will remain in phase four for now. So that’s all those other regions, but we’re going to move into the personal services space. But if the current trajectory continues, I do anticipate that in a few weeks the whole state will be in phase five. That is my fervent hope that’s always been our goal to safely reengage, so please do not drop your guard now.

 

Walt Sorg  00:51

Even as portions of America experienced growing infections and hospitalizations, Michigan strong actions to fight COVID-19 pandemic are working Some of the restrictions are coming off. We’ll be talking on the Policast this week about the gradual reopening of Michigan, including the finances, safety and politics of fall semester at Michigan colleges. This is the Michigan Policast, we’re all about Michigan policy and politics and the outside events impacting our closed peninsulas. I’m Walt Sorg. And I really need a haircut.

 

Christine Barry  01:21

And Christine Barry will also spend much of today’s discussion on two weeks of protests, more government overreaction to peaceful demonstrations. And we’ll talk with the top ranking African American in the Michigan legislature House Democratic caucus chair Sarah Anthony.

 

Walt Sorg  01:37

New polling shows support for Donald Trump and Republican shrinking in Michigan and nationally, the effort to end gerrymandering in Michigan, which is another milestone, and we’ll have our weekly update on what Senate candidate john James isn’t saying. Later in the pod. I’ll be talking with award winning sports writer Jack Ebling, about the challenges of reopening our universities from the perspective of their best known Students, the football players.  We begin with some brand new polling though the state’s top right pollster EPIC MRA has dropped some brand new numbers that have democrats feeling really good. Bernie, always a pleasure to welcome you to the podcast. Let’s start with the top lines for president and United States Senate. It looks pretty overwhelming at this point based on numbers you found the Joe Biden is going to carry Michigan easily. And Gary Peters is on his way to a very easy re election to the United States Senate.

 

Bernie Porn  02:29

Well, it looks that way. And Biden is getting the 95 96% of the democratic vote, Trump is getting about 90% of the republican vote, but 63% of independent voters are voting for Biden. And that is very, very strong, and it’s even fairly equal among both independent men and women.

 

Walt Sorg  02:51

One of the things I found fascinating about your numbers and the whole thing is really very revealing. But when you did the head to head of Trump versus Biden You found that Donald Trump got 41% of the vote with nobody leaning to Trump 41% was his number. Have you ever seen that before where there was actually no leaners?

 

Bernie Porn  03:10

Seldom, seldom, and usually get at least one or 2% leaning toward the candidate? They’re just a little indecisive. They say, Well, I don’t know I would lean toward it. But that is unusual. I guess it should not be too surprising, because 38% said that they would vote to reelect them, which is just about the party ID base for the Republican Party. And 51% said that they would vote to replace Trump. And so that was the first time we’ve had that the last time in January. It was 44% saying they vote replace.

 

Walt Sorg  03:43

And go take a look at the senate race real quickly. You’ve got Gary Peters leading John James by a ton 51 to 36. How solid is that? 51 for Peters

 

Bernie Porn  03:54

Peters is unknown. by still 22% and his favorability is 45 to 20% ,  however, James is unknown by 23%. And his favoribility is is 31% favorable 32% unfavorable, So he’s equally dislike as much as he is like. So that’s a kind of unusual at this early stage. And now he’s up with a TV ad and Peters has been up with a lot of advertising, but he still needs to be better known.

 

Walt Sorg  04:26

Okay, let’s switch over now to the the state and the the COVID virus and the governor, of course, is central to that whole debate. She’s standing up pretty well, given all the controversy and all the trauma that she’s had to go through. What did you find in terms of her popularity?

 

Bernie Porn  04:41

Well, 57% have a favorable opinion of them. 39% unfavorable for Gretchen Whitmer. It was 44 to 34 favorable in January. And when you look at her job rating, overall 55% positive job rating. It was 50 to 43% and negative in January. But then when you specifically asked about her handling of the Coronavirus 60%, gave her positive job rating 40% negative. And when you think about the acts that she has had that they capital and even with Trump challenging her, you just scratch your head and wonder what why are they doing that? Because there’s a big difference between Gretchen Whitmer, his popularity and positive jab rating and the negative job rating for Trump he gets 58% negative jab rating for his handling of Coronavirus 56% negative overall. So why on earth He is attacking Gretchen Whitmer? I will never know.

 

Walt Sorg  05:42

You also did some probing as to attitudes towards the comeback, the reopening of Michigan’s economy and Michigan institutions from the virus. And the governor’s approach of being very cautious and moving slowly seems to be supported by the majority of Michigan.

 

Bernie Porn  05:57

We found that 57% of Michigan thinks that we should wait to open up the economy. 36% said that we should open it up quickly as soon as possible.

 

Walt Sorg  06:09

Now, you also found some real ambivalence when it comes to reopening the schools. Christine of course on her local school board, and you’re fighting the same thing locally is very frightening statewide. There’s a lot of concern about bringing the kids back.

 

Bernie Porn  06:21

Absolutely. We had 46% said that it should be in August or September, which is one that normally occurs. However, most of that is among republicans like 72%. among Democrats, it’s much higher about 38% saying, school Should we open or not reopen until there’s effective vaccine medicines to effectively effectively treat COVID-19. If you look at the regional breakdowns down in Southeast Michigan, it’s a little higher for waiting until there’s a vaccine and the 46% is probably not surprising because I think people understand that 95% is what has been reported of the people that have died from COVID-19 are age 50 or older. The percentage of younger people, especially teenagers are not affected that affected that much, although there have been some pretty serious stories about the unique health risks that they face and the issues that they are confronted with.

 

Walt Sorg  07:26

Christine, is that consistent with what you’re hearing in chaiwat the county in your own school district?

 

Christine Barry  07:31

Yeah, you know, obviously, we don’t have scientific polling out there. What we’ve been doing is surveying our, our families to see what they want to do with things like commencement, what are their feelings about sending kids back in the fall, and the majority are willing to be patient and I don’t think we asked anything about you know, vaccines or anything specific. We just said, you know, what are you thinking you want to open on time or you want to wait until we are certain that We can do certain things like the deep clean the school and make it such a percentage safe and do all these other things. And the majority are saying we’ll be patient, we’ll be patient on commencement, we’ll wait until August, if that’s necessary. Even though some kids are going to college, and might have to come back for a commencement ceremony, we’ll wait to send the kids to school if we have to. On the other hand, they are anxious to start summer sports. So it’s a little bit of a dichotomy there. But yeah, the majority are just willing to wait for the right time and not risk the health of the kids and their families

 

Bernie Porn  08:37

Another 13% said that we should wait until October or November. So when you add that with the 46%, almost 60% say either August, September or later in the year, and we will be doing some survey research for a couple of school districts that want to know much more in depth information about wanting to go back and Under what circumstances and what will make parents feel safe about doing that and there is some discussion about having a choice for parents as to whether or not they want to send their kids back or continue remote learning from home.

 

Walt Sorg  09:16

Bernie Porn from Epic MRA Polling. Thank you so much. always appreciate your your thoughts and your numbers.

 

Bernie Porn  09:22

Take care. Thanks for having me

 

Christine Barry  09:31

Okay, so let’s start talking about the reopening of Michigan. Governor Whitmer has taken a lot of heat for the restrictions she put in place in response to the pandemic. But as we’ve heard from Bernie Porn, clearly this was the right thing to do.

 

Walt Sorg  09:45

It was both politically and is in from a healthcare standpoint as well. Michigan’s doing a lot better than the rest of the nation. The two states that are actually doing the best jobs containing the virus are the ones that clamp down the hardest, the state of New York and the state of Michigan. Other places, especially in the south and southwest, they’re shaking their numbers climb again, because people aren’t taking it seriously. And their governments really aren’t taking it seriously. But it is it is a step forward. I think it’s really it’s an experiment though, I can imagine that the governor and her public health director, Dr. Khaldoun, and others are going to be watching the numbers on a day to day basis on hospitalizations, especially as the North Country opens up because they simply don’t have the health care capacity. If things get bad up there, it can get bad really fast.

 

Christine Barry  10:28

You know, the governor has taken a lot of criticism for how many executive orders she’s put out. But as you can see, she’s responding to information that comes out as it comes out. So I agree she is going to be watching the data day after day and see how things go. And maybe the rollback on the economy and re engaging the economy will happen a little bit sooner than you know. When we expect However, a couple of things. They’re actually opening the business. Businesses isn’t all that’s happening here. She still has some pretty serious restrictions on employees as they go back to work and people as they go in, as consumers or clients of these businesses, for example, there’s still a very strict social distancing policy in place for many businesses. And if you remember when we talked to Brian Kelly, something he said from the survey that SBAM had just done was that about 35% of businesses that they surveyed, just don’t have enough space to do social distancing. There’s some leeway with that though. Employees can be closer together, but then they definitely have to have face coverings. So there are some things that businesses will have to navigate as we and employees and consumers will have to navigate as we reopen the economy. But again, you know, watching these things, seeing how we progress day by day by day, is exactly what they’ve been doing and that is why things are changing so quickly for the better,

 

Walt Sorg  12:01

the restaurants are going to be in a special challenge for the governor and for the state. First of all, they’re restricted on their capacity. I was talking with a friend of mine who owns a Texas barbecue place here in Lansing. And because of the restrictions, he’s got a very small restaurant to begin with, he’s only going to be able to allow six people at a time to dine in his restaurant. And he’s gonna have to rely on to carry out business plus, he does have picnic tables outside where you can add some more people when the weather is good. But that’s going to be a real challenge is staying with only six customers in the place at a time because he really needs three, four employees to service the place just to just for the cooks of the cashier and all that it’ll be a real challenge. The other challenge is compliance by both the businesses and the customers. I had an experience a couple of days ago I went through a drive thru window at a local Coney Island which is one of my favorite guilty pleasures and the young lady who was at the window and taking the money. She was wearing the mask on her chin, which didn’t do a whole Have a lot of good. I looked through the window and the cooks weren’t wearing masks at all. And then when the young lady came out to hand me my food because I was parked over to the side waiting for my food order to come up, she came out there and her mask was still on her chin. I said to her, you know, you really need to wear your mask to cover your nose, and your mouth the after all, that is the law. And she just gave me one of those, whatever looks, and that’s pretty common. You see in an awful lot. I’ve heard stories of people like at Meijer, where it’s not being enforced a lot at the Meijer stores, other places Costco and understand I’m not a member of Costco, but I understand that they are enforcing it. I was in an Aldi not long ago, they have somebody at the door enforcing it. So it’s really, it’s business by business. And if people don’t take this seriously with the masks, especially in the social distancing, we’re going to be in a world of hurt again.

 

Christine Barry  13:49

And here’s the problem Walt, so Michigan, what do we have, as of yesterday, our cases COVID we’re up to over 58,700 our death toll is over 5600 we’ve been in shelter in place for months and people are now I think the people who weren’t personally affected by it are now seeking. It’s no big deal. They have COVID fatigue, if you will. They’re tired of wearing masks and they’re uncomfortable. They’re tired of not being able to do the things they want to do. So they’re starting to kind of shrug these things off. And as parts of Michigan open back up, that feeling starts to be reinforced, I think. So people are just kind of blowing off the masks. Yeah, I’ll have it on my chin. But you don’t know what a pain it is to try to take orders through a facemask. It’s probably what that That girl was thinking. It’s not safe to do that. But that’s just human nature. I think we’re going to continue to see that so our might not be as fast as it would if we were disciplined in all areas across the board. But I think at least we’ve done enough to really slow things down and get things back under control except for in certain areas like we’ll talk about later, maybe the unemployment system, that kind of thing. Those systems, obviously we still have issues. But when it comes to the actual public health of the matter, I think we’re on the right track now, even if people start to get lazy,

 

Walt Sorg  15:17

Mike Shirkey our all time favorite senate majority leader had an op ed in the detroit news this week complaining that the governor he says her orders have been inconsistent, and they’ve had contradictions. And she’s reversed herself on things and change course, from time to time, which to me shouldn’t be a criticism. That should actually be a compliment. You know, it’s always said that when we sent people to the moon, they had course corrections all the time, or they would have missed the moon by 10s of thousands of miles because they’re constantly correcting their course just a little bit at a time. They’ve got to make up the rules a little bit as they go, because we’d have no precedent for what’s going on right now. But Shirkey takes that as a flaw.  The other person really has to be called out on that. Donald Trump, he sets a horrible example for the nation, his latest political foray and domain he went up to a place where they’re making the swabs for doing testing. And because he refused to wear a mask during his tour, the entire day’s production at that factory and to be thrown out, because it wasn’t safe to send out for use for testing. And that’s all because the president refuses to wear the mask, but his own government says is critical to reining in this pandemic. It’s just inexcusable, but he’s paying the price in so many ways this week with the revolt of the generals and a lot of other people as watching colin powell on on CNN announcing that he’s going to be voting for Joe Biden understand Cindy McCain, the widow of John McCain is going to be voting for Joe Biden and publicly endorsing him. Mitt Romney is on the verge of coming out, at least saying that he’s not going to vote for Trump again, he’ll either write in his wife or vote third party probably. But the President is providing horrid leadership on this as he has on just about every issue.

 

Christine Barry  17:01

He is and the one good thing about the fact that him being the president doing this so badly, he gets a lot of attention. And a lot of people speak out just as you’ve mentioned, but let’s go back to people like Mike Shirkey and Tom Barret and a handful of these other senators and some of the reps as well, who are doing these very stupid and destructive things. They don’t get called out the way that they should whether it’s people in their own party or the media, maybe because they need access. I don’t know what it is. But look, might Shirky has abdicated all responsibility for public health in his position, and I would argue, as would probably everybody else, that the Michigan legislature has a legitimate valid role in caring about public health. Although we all know that the legislature wanted to play a role in shaping the executive orders. The fact is by aligning themselves With the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, for example, over Dr. Khaldoon, they’ve completely abdicated that responsibility for public health. And so that he goes out and he says things like, these orders don’t make sense. And people are hurting because of the unemployment system, which is the governor’s fault and all this kind of thing. He’s really not talking about public health. He’s not even really talking about the good of the people. He’s just being careless. He’s playing politics. He goes out and he posts things like, what did he call her a dictator, drunk on power or something. He’s not serving the people, what he should be doing and what they should be doing is saying, Look, there are problems. And the administration is working to solve them and we are giving your input or some kind of adult thing that a normal person with integrity would do. But Shirkey is not doing that.

 

Walt Sorg  18:58

We’ll be talking about the unemployment system. In a little while, but there’s been criticism as well as the governor, the administration because the unemployment system has been less than flawless in this whole thing. The reality is that’s in large part because of the budgets passed by the legislature, the staffing levels at the unemployment agency are basically set by the legislature. And if they don’t have enough staff to handle a pandemic, where all of a sudden their claims have gone up by 1,000% or more, that’s on the legislature too. And it’s just a problem. And it’s really, it’s not fault. You can’t plan for something this big and just budget for it and assume it’s going to happen. You’ve got to work together to resolve it, rather than just criticize. The other big challenge they’re going to face and this isn’t coming till the fall. But still, you as an educator and a school board member understand this is what to do about education in the fall. The universities have a real problem, especially those that have a very large contingent of students living on campus, but all the universities have the challenge because they’ve got a lot of people getting together there’s a very good compilation of what every college in Michigan is doing in a bridge. We’ll have a link to that. But the big ones, of course, are the the MAC schools and the two Big 10 schools. And of all of them Michigan University of Michigan hasn’t announced what they’re going to do yet. Michigan State University is going to have in person classes at the start of the semester with some very strict social distancing requirements are going to require masks of all students, then they’re going online after Thanksgiving. One of the things that’s really attributed to an awful lot of people, you have me included is the most important part of college education, which of course, is college football. How are you going to do that in a pandemic situation? Well, President Stanley of Michigan State University thinks it can be done even thinks that it’s possible to have people in the stands just not as many

 

Samuel L. Stanley, President MSU  20:46

having individuals who are coming to these events having individuals who are coming back to campus, our expectation will be those people will be wearing masks. We think that goes a long way. The physical distance even six feet goes a long way. But the mask we’re in particularly goes a long way to reducing risk and doesn’t have to be part of what we did. So maybe we can put 20% of our normal fans in the stadium. Maybe it’s a lower number, but I would love to see football, I would love to see having some people in the stands. As we forced to talk.

 

Walt Sorg  21:13

I should point out the Dr. Stanley is a medical doctor. He’s not just the university president. So he is not speak. He’s speaking from a base of knowledge on the subject. But still, it’s going to be a real challenge. And it’s one of the things I really was curious about. So I called up my friend Jack Ebling, who’s the host of The Drive with Jack online. He’s written several books at Michigan State athletics, as well as pro sports in the state. And he’s been a longtime reporter on the MSU sports beat.  Jack, you’ve been following collegiate and pro sports in Michigan for a long, long time, probably longer than you care to admit. How important is it financially, economically and probably psychologically, to get those back on the road? Again,

 

Jack Ebling  21:49

I think it’s important in all three ways. Well, financially. There’s an athletic department here, there’s a conference membership here. It would be interesting to see what happens If a couple of the members, the big 10, or any other conference, choose to go their own way, but for Michigan State, for example, if football does not function, how does that impact all of the other sports, all the other athletes who are here on scholarship, all the other people are associated with intercollegiate athletics. So there is a financial ramification. I do think that they have done their due diligence, they’ve waited a long time, they’ve had a ton of meetings. They’ve talked to a lot of experts, and there’s some consensus around the country that if they do this in a smart way, they might be able to pull it off. In terms of liability. They’ve looked at that from a lot of different aspects, but I think the President Stanley has been convinced that there’s a way to do this. It’s not going to have 75,000 people in Spartan Stadium, and it’s going to require some sacrifice from a lot of people. But fans It looks like you’re gonna be able to some college football this fall. I did not know that was going to happen. I really thought that there was another alternative and that was to have a spring season to bet on a vaccine or to have at least the awareness of what had happened this fall and winter with a second wave of COVID-19. But they’ve chosen to go about it this way. And I know talking to some of the athletes they are if not fearless and feeling invincible certainly ready for this challenge.

 

Walt Sorg  23:28

It’s a big financial issue for Michigan State University in Ann Arbor. It’s a huge issue probably 120 million dollars.

 

Jack Ebling  23:35

Well, and it’s it’s a bigger issue here in that now there are record salaries being paid Michigan State has stepped up and is really playing with the big boys at a level it did not previously. And you cannot understate with any financial decision while the impact of the Larry Nasser settlement that is going to loom over a lot of financial considerations for this university for many years.

 

Walt Sorg  24:02

One of the things that really intrigued me when President Stanley announced the fall schedule for the semester for students coming back to campus. He said, Well, they’ll go home and they won’t come back after Thanksgiving. just so happens the last home football game was just before Thanksgiving coincidence?

 

Jack Ebling  24:19

I don’t know if he can manipulate the schedule. But certainly for the athletes, they hope that they have games after that.

 

Walt Sorg  24:28

They have one road game in Maryland, and then likely in a big 10

 

Jack Ebling  24:33

championship game in Indianapolis and they would be loved loved to have ball preparation and postseason game that had happened 12 times in the previous 13 years. So pretty good precedent for that. But timing is interesting.

 

Walt Sorg  24:49

Another thing that has me intrigued is how the student athletes and the support personnel for the teams are going to be treated. It’s almost like they’re going to lock them up in very nice prisons. They’re not going to be To really get out into the community at all, and pretty much associate just with themselves, which sounds like a tough thing to do with 19 – 20 year old guys.

 

Jack Ebling  25:09

Yeah. And I don’t know if they’re going to be able to pull that off, or they’re going to go to class or they’re going to have interaction with other students. Are they going to get out in the community at all? Or as you say, are they going to basically be, I hate to use this term, but like a sideshow, or like someone who would be on display on Saturday afternoons? I hope that’s not the case. I think that’s going to be a very dangerous concept in terms of exploitation. On the other hand, I hope they take every safeguard they can I had a chance to talk with Dr. Jeff Kovan this afternoon, and I asked him a couple of those questions. I said, first of all, you’re going to be testing everybody you say But what happens if someone is negative on Friday afternoon and becomes positive on Saturday night Or is asymptomatic after that. And you do not realize how much contact they’ve had with not only other players and coaches, but people all over the community. That’s something that they certainly have to consider the other thing of the privacy laws, Walt, you know, about HIPAA, and you know about some of the disclosure acts, are we going to know who is tested positive? They say, well, there’s been one student athlete, but how do you know which one when you come in contact with them? Or are you not going to have any direct contact with them? many more questions than answers at this point?

 

Walt Sorg  26:36

In talking with Dr. Kovan How do you deal with this the reality that football players have a lot of contact with each other in very tight spaces. You’re not gonna have social distancing during practice or during the game,

 

Jack Ebling  26:47

right. Can you see a quarterback coming to the line of scrimmage with a mask on? Can you see coaches maintaining six feet of social distancing when they’re giving instructions to Players, it’s crazy to see how it’s all going to evolve. And my guess is, there’ll be mistakes along the way. They’re going to be things that said, Gee, we should have thought of that. Or we should have done this differently. In the meantime, I want to see I hope I don’t see. But I guess I’m very curious as to the reaction when mistakes are made. And when we get the first flare ups already been five Alabama, players tested positive for COVID-19. So what happens when there is outbreak and suddenly 20% of your team is positive? Does that mean that everybody on the team is quarantine? If this happens on a Thursday? Do you limited squad for your next game? Or do you postpone that next game? Or do you cancel that next game or your season? We don’t know.

 

Walt Sorg  27:48

What about Tom Izzo and the basketball team. I know you’re very close with Tom. And he was possibly cheated out of a national championship by this disease, which is not the most important thing in the world, but it’s still pretty darn important to him.

 

Jack Ebling  27:59

Yeah. Yeah, and I think it’s a little different Walt, with every sport, basketball with 13 sponsorship athletes, a little different than football with 85. There may be some things they can do. You know, Tom is going to have to either yell a little louder or do something else to convey his message. But I think you’re going to see basketball still played with hand checking. I can’t imagine at every timeout every free throw, and sanitizer being passed around. They’re just going to be certain things that take your chances with and, and you hope that the preventative measures are enough. I wonder if they will be.

 

Walt Sorg  28:42

have one last thing I was curious about is President Stanley’s statement that he’d like to have some people in the stadium, maybe 15,000. My question to him would be, once they get past the clearance of the checks, they’re all going to take their masks off. What are you gonna do about it?

 

Jack Ebling  28:57

Right, exactly. Can you You see, police officers storming into section 11. Because by people just took their masks off,

 

Walt Sorg  29:07

they used to do it with students that were drinking, but that’s another issue.

 

Jack Ebling  29:11

Right? I don’t know how they’re going to deal with that. I don’t know whether they were going to implore people to keep their masks on if they’re going to have the seats separated to ensure social distancing. Maybe something that you you pledge when you get a ticket, I don’t even know how they’re going to distribute the tickets. I’ve talked about giving students an opportunity but I can tell you there will be major donors who are gonna want to be there. And other season ticket holders longtime season ticket holders are they just going to be ruled out for the year I’ve often wondered if they wouldn’t be better in a situation like this to get more people involved socially responsibly. If they had a split season of sorts as much as I thought they should have done long ago for MSU hockey when it was such an incredibly prized ticket and you had as many people who wanted to be there and couldn’t as we’re actually in Munn Arena. Maybe you have three or four of the games on a plan A or three or four on a plan B. One thing I did hear Walt, was that being an outdoor venue, they feel that that helps a little bit. And the concern might be even greater indoors as it would be in the winter and Breslin center.

 

Walt Sorg  30:25

You’ve also got a lot of people though sitting indoors at football, including yourself, you’re sitting in a box that’s enclosed, you’ve got a lot of the big time donors that are in private boxes or in the shared boxes. And those are pretty tight.

 

Jack Ebling  30:37

Yeah, and I’m guessing if they spread the people around the press box, maybe they limit capacity in some sense. Maybe they have to deny more credential requests. Maybe on the other side in the boxes in the Huntington club. They have to limit capacity and You know, what does that do to revenue? What does that do to sponsorship? You hope that the almighty dollar would take a backseat here, but it’s never far from the public consciousness and one of the first things that we learned in J-school was follow the money.

 

Walt Sorg  31:15

Amen. Amen. Jack Ebling, always great to catch up with you. Thanks for joining us on the Policast.

 

Jack Ebling  31:20

Hey Walt, I always enjoy it anytime.

 

Donald Trump  31:28

Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying this a great thing that’s happening for our country. There’s a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. There’s a great day for everybody. It is a great, great day. In terms of equality,

 

Joe Biden  31:43

George Floyd’s last words. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. Have echoed all across this nation and quite frankly, around the world. for the President to try to put any other words in the mouths of George Floyd I frankly think is despicable.

 

Christine Barry  32:02

We’ve had two weeks of protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd. A crime which probably only resulted in charges because a 17 year old girl recorded the entire nine minutes on her phone, and then shared it with the world. There had been repeated marches and more than 430 cities in the United States, as well as in London, Paris and Berlin. The street in front of the White House has been renamed Black Lives Matters Plaza, with the name painted in letters you can see from space. Mostly peaceful protests have been marred by violence. looters taking advantage of the chaos, some police responding with brutal force, and a president instituting a military occupation of washington dc while he hides behind the second layer of security fencing and calls for a massive crackdown on demonstrators nationwide.

 

Donald Trump  32:54

We’re strongly looking for arrests, you have get much tougher, they’re gonna get overridden. You have to dominate if you don’t dominate You’re wasting your time they’re gonna run over you, you’re gonna look like a bunch of jerks.  You have to dominate.

 

Christine Barry  33:12

It’s also been a remarkable time for leading now and learning. Reverend Al Sharpton set the tone and a memorial for George Floyd.

 

33:20

George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed of being is you kept your knee on our neck. We were smarter than the underfunded schools you put us in, but you had your knee on our neck. We could run corporations and not hustle in the street. But you had your new On our neck. We had creative skills. We could do whatever anybody else could do. But we couldn’t get your knee off our neck. What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country and education in health services, and in every area of American life, it’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say get your knee off on next.

 

Walt Sorg  34:37

The first amendment of the constitution guarantees all of us the right to peaceably assembly, petitioning the government for redress of grievances, a free press and freedom of religion. In one spectacular afternoon Donald Trump managed to trample all over the first three and make a mockery of the fourth.

 

Joe Biden  34:57

A country is crying out for leadership. leadership that can unite us leadership that brings us together. leadership that can recognize pain and deep grief of communities that have had a knee on their neck for a long time. When peaceful protesters dispersed in order for a president, from the doorstep of the people’s house, the White House using tear gas and flash grenades in order to stage a photo op, a photo op, in one of the most historic churches in the country or at least in Washington, DC, we can be forgiven for believing the President’s more interested in in power, then in principle, more interested in serving the passions of his base and the needs of the people in his care.

 

Christine Barry  35:47

One of those responding to the leadership vacuum in the White House was someone who had been Mia for a while

 

Barack Obama  35:52

there is something different if you look at those protests, and that was a far more representative cross section of many America out on the streets peacefully protesting who felt moved to do something because of the injustices that they had seen, that didn’t exist back in the 1960s. That kind of broad coalition, the fact that recent surveys have showed that despite some protests, having been been marred by the actions saw a tiny minority that engaged in in violence. Despite all that, a majority of Americans still think those protests were justified and wouldn’t have existed 30 40 50 years ago,

 

Walt Sorg  36:33

Christine we use a lot more audio than we normally do for this segment. But I really felt it was justified because it has been a remarkable week of leadership, except from the person who’s supposed to lead who just was tucked away in his bunker, calling out for military occupation of the United States and being shut down by his own generals and his own Secretary of Defense, as well as Democratic leaders and non partisan leaders. The most notable lately being Colin Powell, somebody who I think is universally respected for his leadership and his service to the country, somebody who was the National Security Advisor for Ronald Reagan, and Secretary of State for George W. Bush. And he was a really bad week when we talked to Bernie about the polling, but in terms of running the country was a bad week for Donald Trump as well. What are your thoughts on what we’ve seen over the last week?

 

Christine Barry  37:21

Well, it’s very clear that Donald Trump is every bit as incompetent and disengaged as we thought he was and self centered as well. He is not a servant leader. He just doesn’t have that kind of leadership quality, and in times of crisis. It reveals who you are, doesn’t make who you are, it reveals who you are. And it’s revealing him to be the, you know, absolute loser that we all knew that he was when he was put into office. So I do like to see how many more people now are starting to come out speak out against it. But it took this really offensive, egregious thing.

 

Walt Sorg  38:06

It wasn’t the death of George Floyd. It was the video of George Floyd getting murdered. That really set  this off without that video. He’s just another dead guy.

 

Christine Barry  38:15

Yeah, I agree and what story would have been spun up around that?

 

Walt Sorg  38:19

One of the things that really intrigued me too was that cable television news as much as Trump loves to deride MSNBC and CNN, they really became sort of his political friend because of the nature of the beast. There’s an old saying on television news, if it bleeds, it ledes. And that’s exactly what you saw on television for quite a while on the cable was nonstop coverage of the violence side of these protests, which were for the most part on four different continents very peaceful. They were loud, but there are massive numbers of people. And the overwhelming number of them were peaceful protesters who had been infiltrated basically by a bunch of thugs and jerks, who always take advantage of situations like this to loot and cause damage, there’s always gonna be a few a handful. But it’s like with the police. Most of the police are good people, but there’s enough of them who are not good people. And they’re the ones who get the focus as well. And it really explains the situation, just because of the nature of it.

 

Christine Barry  39:14

People get the news that they don’t want to admit that they want. Really what people want is to see, like you said, if it bleeds, it leads, they want to see that thing that will shock them out of their expectations, that gap between what they expect to happen, and what actually does happen. And it’s why, you know, people like to complain about how there’s no good news on TV anymore, which actually isn’t true. They’re always telling positive, uplifting stories, but there’s not a lot of good news like that because there’s people don’t care about that. People expect you to be able to drive home at after work at the end of the day, get home and nothing happens. That’s not a story. You get into an accident and Yeah, a bunch of bad things happen. That’s a story.

 

Walt Sorg  40:03

Well, I think one example of this I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen that video from Buffalo of the 75 year old, peaceful protester being knocked over by the police time after time after time after time. I’ve seen that on the cable news. It How many times have we seen the video of Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson marching peacefully with protesters in Genesee County. That was like a 30 minute story. And that probably was just as important if not more important than what happened in Buffalo.

 

Christine Barry  40:34

Yeah, you’re exactly right. People see that video, they watch it over and over and over again, you can’t turn away from it. It’s so offensive, and yet compelling that you just can’t believe what you’re seeing. And then when in particular is offensive because first of all that guy you know, a vulnerable older man and by vulnerable, I mean, you know, that guy falls, he’s going to break something, he started bleeding right away and Then when somebody went to help him, he got pushed away. And that was that was somebody in uniform who would help him. And another uniformed officer pushed him away. And you can’t help but look at that. But then when you look at, you know what happened in Flint with the sheriff. Again, that’s kind of how you want things to go. And so it’s, it’s more extraordinary than it feels when you’re watching it on the news. And people just don’t eat that up the way they do the violence.

 

Walt Sorg  41:30

Yeah, the positive side, I want to point out that late night television has been spectacular on this. Stephen Colbert had a really tremendous interview with Cory Booker on his program. And we’ve got a link to that on our website. I urge people to take a look at it. It’s about 20 – 25 minutes, but it’s really good. Cory Booker is as good as they get in explaining some of these issues. And then the other one that was really interesting is Amber Ruffin, who’s a comedian and writer. She works for Seth Meyers on the late night show. There was a writer. And she every night for a week, they started the show with her talking about her experiences with the police just telling stories. And it’s really powerful stuff. Again, we’ve got links to that on our website, take a look at that as well. And then just to cap things off, you got to get a giggle. Donald Trump made the claim with a straight face, that he has done more for black Americans than any president in history, except for maybe Abraham Lincoln, maybe Lincoln but he wasn’t sure about that. Even that insane, delusional and narcissistic comment was where I started my conversation with the top ranking African American in the Michigan legislature, State Representative Sarah Anthony of Lansing, who’s the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and also one of my neighbors. And despite the fact that she’s one of my neighbors, our internet connection absolutely sucked. I apologize for that. But the conversation is well worth your time.  Representative Anthony, thank you so much for joining us. So before we get into the conference that you had with Democratic Pary Chair Lavora Barnes and general attitudes through the Trump administration. I’ve got to ask you about something that Donald Trump said. And that is, he’s probably done more for black people than any president since maybe. Abraham Lincoln.

 

Sarah Anthony  43:13

That’s probably one of the most ridiculous comments I’ve ever heard in my life. And, you know, I’m not a spring chicken. So, you know, I think that, you know, words are one thing, but your actions speak louder than those words. And I think that this President has a combination of both words that confirm his complete disrespect disregard and hatred towards African Americans, immigrants and people of color, but also his deeds, what he has pushed his agenda, not only at the federal level, but the agenda that he continues to push at state and local levels confirm the fact that he does not care nor speak for nor advocate for particularly African Americans.

 

Walt Sorg  43:57

How do you respond to the militarization Really of the federal government’s response to so many of these demonstrations to the point where Washington DC is an armed camp right now.

 

Sarah Anthony  44:07

I think that for the most part, this President has a long track record of dismissing the needs and concerns of African Americans and inciting racism and hatred. You know, when we look at what happened in Charleston years ago, in which this President decided to say that there were very fine people on both sides, right, suggesting that there’s this moral equivalence between white supremacists and activists, you know, this President has incited hate up and down every corner of this country. He calls communities of color, you know, disgusting, rat infested, Roach infested places. I mean, he calls countries that have people that have complexions that look like mine as s whole countries. I mean, so I’m never surprised when this president decides to use his office to incite hatred.

 

Walt Sorg  45:01

Several weeks ago, the governor asked Lieutenant Governor to head up a task force to take a look at the reality that the covid virus has impacted people of color much more than it has the general population. It seems like really that the that’s just a symptom of something that’s a lot bigger and pretty obvious.

 

Sarah Anthony  45:20

Yeah. I mean, you know, we know that when it when America gets a cold, black America gets the flu. We know this. We know that COVID-19, as in many other health conditions, disproportionately impacts African Americans and other people of color. And so I’m hopeful that this, this taskforce can actually bring together these experts to validate what we already know. But I’m also leery of any efforts that you know, have a lot of energy and they come out with reports and recommendations and then they sit on the shelf. Right, I’m hope I want to believe that this legislature which is led by both chambers led by Republicans that if there are some, like legislative recommendations to come down the pipe that we actually have the courage to do so. Otherwise, these Task Force these work groups, these studies are thin and again, they’ll fall back on the bookshelf and we will continue to have a system that doesn’t work for every Michigander.

 

Walt Sorg  46:22

Now, you are way too young to have any memories, of course of the Vietnam era. And it seemed like it really crossed the line. When the demographic of those protesting spread. Reverend Al Sharpton pointed out of the memorial for Mr. Lloyd, that that’s what’s happened with this protest. In effect it is now the demographics of it looks like Americans, it’s not just black America reaching out it’s America reaching out. Do you think that’s a tipping point for us?

 

Sarah Anthony  46:48

I do. I mean, you know, you have everyone from you know, pretty moderate hot white politician and two companies like Ben and Jerry’s, all speaking out saying Black Lives Matter. I’ve never seen that level of I don’t want to say excitement. But that level of energy towards marginalized communities, I think that we have reached a breaking point. People are tired of seeing their neighbors and their friends and in cases like my sons and daughters and uncles and aunts and fathers, people that look like us dying at the hands of law enforcement folks that we pay their salaries to our tax dollars. I mean, I think that we really have as a state as a country reached a turning point. And I am encouraged by the fact that there’s so many allies were finally waking up to this stuff.

 

Walt Sorg  47:40

Okay, it’s easy to identify the problem relatively easy to identify the problem. The challenges the solution. Where do we go from here? What steps do we take to at least make some progress on the issue of systemic racism?

 

Sarah Anthony  47:53

That’s right. I mean, there’s a lot, right. I mean, there is a power of the pen. So many of us right positions in elected office can do what we can to, you know, there are common sense reform efforts, whether it is reforming, you know, the way we police communities, defunding portions of police departments, and reallocating those resources to services that help low income communities, African American communities. There’s also places that, you know, communities can do things differently from the ground up, right, working with mayors and police chiefs, prosecutors, district attorneys, you know, everyone seems to focus on the president and folks in Congress, but a lot of these reforms need to happen locally. And oftentimes, we have the power right in our local communities to step back and say, you know, is that prosecutor reflecting the values that we want at our local level? What about our school board? What about our city council? So there’s many reforms and there’s so many, you know, policy recommendations out there when Google search by an elected official or community member will be able to tell you specific plans about how you can reform communities, how you can reform police departments, community by community. So now’s the time for me. There’s no excuse. There’s no reason why we can’t get it right. This time.

 

Walt Sorg  49:17

Your district includes the state capitol itself. And I would think here in Lansing now, it’s almost like demonstrations is one of our major industries, one of our tourist industries. Are there lessons to be learned from how the police and the government have responded to all the demonstrations that we’ve had over the last couple of months in Lansing. We’re really we haven’t had any very serious outbreaks of violence,  we have a little bit the one night but compared to a lot of cities just been very calm, even though we’ve had very, very large protests. That’s right.

 

Sarah Anthony  49:47

I mean, I think that there’s always lessons to be learned, right. And I think that one thing that we always need to be conscious of, I want forcement included is that whether you are a protester or you are somebody Who is a civilian someone who, in my case, you know, I’m just trying to walk into the Capitol, you know, in the mix of armed gunman, any of any of those things. I think that the police have have a duty to protect and serve everyone. And I think that there’s lessons to learn about the types of force that should be used, how they’re conducting themselves. And I think that there’s there’s work to be to be done in that area. But I ultimately think folks are just trying to do the best they can, under these very tense circumstances. But we always should be protecting the right of protest, regardless of the messaging, that that right is something that is very sacred, and I think that we should continue to learn from what we’re seeing across the country.

 

Walt Sorg  50:41

Okay, we are talking to you from your home so we can talk politics a little bit. You’re not in your state capitol office. In the last presidential election. The statistics indicate that the African American turnout was down pretty substantially from when Barack Obama was elected, which is no surprise, do you think that’s come to an end as a result of every happened over the last month.

 

Sarah Anthony  51:01

I sense nce this time in which, you know, African Americans are a demographic in which we too want to know how our leaders are going to serve us and our interests. And it’s not enough that individuals are Democrats or that they have a record of service in our communities. We need a black agenda. How are you going to serve us? Because I’ll tell you, every other group of Americans votes with their interests in mind, whether they are the wealthy, whether it’s the environmental community, whether it is you know, all these other interest groups, they do that and I think that now is the time that African Americans are sitting back and they’re saying, Well, what have you done for us lately? You know, our schools aren’t up to par. Right. Our communities are over policed, but they’re still not safe. We are lagging in terms of economic growth. We’re lagging in terms of just economic development opportunities and upward mobility, who is going to actually serve the black community with fidelity? I think those conversations need to happen. And regardless of who is on the ballot, and whether it’s the presidential on down to the dog catcher, we need to make sure that folks are reflecting our interests and our values and not taking our vote for grant.

 

Walt Sorg  52:20

Are you hearing that from Joe Biden?

 

Sarah Anthony  52:22

He does have a track record of, you know, helping communities of color. And, you know, I think that everyone has a way to go. And I don’t give anyone a pass right now, that you know, yes, you have done things for the community, but what have you done for us lately? And what is your plan to ensure that there is an agenda that’s reflective of people in my community? So I think those conversations are happening. And I think that if given between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, I’m absolutely going to be supporting Vice President Biden, but I think that there’s always work to do with with any, any candidate

 

Walt Sorg  52:59

One final question, and it’s really kind of on the tone of the summer. It has been a very difficult several months now as a result of the virus even worse now, in the aftermath of the brutal slaying in Minneapolis. Does the fact that Michigan is reopening Finally, and things are coming back? Not to where they were but a little closer to normal? Is that gonna help?

 

Sarah Anthony  53:21

You know, I think the right you know, I think that there’s been lots of tensions and there’s been an emotional toll, not just a financial toll, but an emotional toll on all of us as Michiganders, right? I mean, you think about it, we’ve been locked up in the house, many of us have been out of work, trying to figure out when you know, where our next paychecks gonna come from the unemployment system has been an absolute disgrace and disaster. And then at the backdrop of that, many of us have been grieving the loss of loved ones due to this pandemic. And so, you know, I think that it’s encouraging that we’re slowly starting to safely reopen our economy, but I think it’s going to be a long journey. And I think that recovery is going to look different. You know, and this is no no brainer for the folks who listen to this podcast based on your situation in life, based on if you were struggling beforehand, based on how your kids went to a struggling school based on if you had health care before this pandemic. And so I think that this is going to be a long road. But again, when it when when some folks get a cold, other folks get the flu. And I think that this is a time that we’re willing to look at all these systems and see how we can serve everyone a little better.

 

Walt Sorg  54:29

Here, we’re really gonna think about other people, you and I have had a precision, all things considered you still got your job, I’ve still got my income. I haven’t been impacted directly by a health scare. But a lot of people are suffering and suffering the inner major way.

 

Sarah Anthony  54:42

That’s right. That’s right, that has to be at the forefront of our minds. How are we going to make sure that folks can pay their rent? How are we going to make sure that folks can put food on the table and that they don’t have to, you know, make the tough decisions about how they’re going to make sure that they’re okay at the end of the month?

 

Walt Sorg  54:58

Representative Sarah Anthony. Thank you so much for being a part of the podcast.

 

Sarah Anthony  55:01

Thank you for having me Walt

 

Walt Sorg  55:08

Okay, Sam for political notes real quickly here, first of all, Hurricane Nessel, Christine, she’s been added again, she’s got all sorts of things going on.

 

Christine Barry  55:17

Busy, busy. So this time it was unemployment insurance scams, she announced a crackdown on what appears to be 340,000 accounts were frozen. And this is not just a Michigan thing. It’s a nationwide thing. Some of these are legitimate accounts that were frozen. And that’s unfortunate, but they’re working as fast as they can to get the legitimate accounts verified and get the payments back on track. You know, we’ve gone through this huge surge of unemployment claims, it’s just the right environment for fraud. We don’t have enough people to vet these things. There are going to be these people who get through the cracks, which has got to be infuriating if you’re one of the people who has legitimate claim and you can’t Get through.

 

Walt Sorg  56:01

Well, the funny part is the legitimate claim, if you’ve been working consistently requires more verification than somebody who just puts in for the minimum benefit, which in Michigan $760 a week when you add in the federal money. And if you just file for that, it’s very quick and simple to do and the money comes in right away. enough people saw that who didn’t qualify, apparently, and it was an organized effort to defraud the state and the federal government, which amounted to basically every claim you could probably collect about $27,000 if you didn’t get caught, and that’s a pretty sad situation. Meanwhile, the unemployment agency, I feel for those people they’re working with outdated equipment, because stake Urban’s always behind the curve their equipments always 10 years old. On top of that, they simply don’t have the staffing to handle that they lose your claims they’ve had just in Michigan alone has been like 1.3 million people when normally they will have 100,000 200,000 people making claims over the course of two months. So tough situation.  The Attorney General also joined a federal lawsuit defending women, especially women in college from Betsy DeVos. So the tax on the title nine protections against discrimination which are too complicated to get into other than its usual it’s Betsy trying to protect one private schools, which is where her heart is. And secondly, basically stopping on the civil rights of young women in college. And it’s Yeah, it’s people it’s there’s certain universities in Michigan who shall go unnamed for now who simply don’t like having the federal government coming in anything they do, even if they are collecting federal money  in a more positive development and one in which I take personal pride to the independent citizens redistricting commission application period has closed and they have a bunch of applications. The Secretary of State has processed Northern 5700. She says she’s got more than 6000 and they’re continuing to work on them. The Independent Commission will ultimately be 13 people for Republicans or Democrats, five independent The composition of the applicants will be adjusted so that the final pool from which the names are drawn represents the state. But right now it is overwhelmingly old 68% or 55 years and older, which makes sense because these are people that don’t have to interrupt their careers in order to survive for a couple of years on this commission, the breakdown in terms of race, and gender is not too far off, although it’s to me it’s 60% men, 59% men, 41% women, which is a little bit skewed 84%, white, and African American is 10%, which would be a little bit higher. Again, that’ll be adjusted. It’s unfortunate the political affiliation, only 15% of the applicants are Republicans. It’s too big because the republicans will still have four members. So if you’re a Republican, a black young Republican who applied you get a pretty good chance of being on the commission. Democrats 35% 50% of their unaffiliated, geographically, all but one county had applicants, which is pretty darn good.

 

Christine Barry  59:05

Oh, that is good. That must have shot up in the last few weeks, then

 

Walt Sorg  59:10

yeah, they’re doing pretty good. They’ve had applicants roll over the state. Both the legal women voters and voters not politicians have been working very hard to get people to apply. The only county that doesn’t have an applicant ontonagon county up in the western up over by the Minnesota border, does not have an applicant. That’s the only one in the state that doesn’t have an applicant. Everybody else has got at least one. And of course the bulk of them are from where the bulk of the population is.

 

Christine Barry  59:37

Okay, so along those lines efforts by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to make voting safe and easy in the middle of a pandemic got a boost from the League of Women Voters. The League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Appeals that says that it is very important that clerks count all absentee ballots that are postmarked by Election Day and This differs from What it is now, which is that the absentee ballots have to be delivered by election day. So this should help increase our voting by mail, even at the last minute people getting their ballots maybe closer to election day. They don’t think they’ll get it delivered by then. So they don’t bother. If the League of Women Voters are successful, then that vote will be counted.

 

Walt Sorg  60:26

And it also takes into account the fact that the post office has said problems with delivery because of the pandemic has slowed down the delivery cycle for the post office and ballots can get delayed. And your vote should count. If you get it in the mail in time, it should count and there’s no rush. You don’t have to have these things in by election night for it to count. Michigan doesn’t require that the vote be certified until a couple of weeks after the election. So they’ve got time to do all of this,

 

Christine Barry  60:53

you know, and that actually isn’t just about getting the ballot, it’s about knowing what you’re going to vote for. So I know With the primary some of us held on for a long time, because we didn’t know who would still be relevant when we, you know, when it was time to count the votes. So if you’re looking into something like a complicated proposal, or you just can’t make up your mind about somebody and you need extra time, that give you that extra time to really cast a more thoughtful vote.

 

Walt Sorg  61:22

Now, one of the things that’s happened to with this whole controversy, a member of the legislature is suing Jocelyn Benson for acting illegally in bailing out these absentee voter applications, which is a total crock, but that’s the republican thing, do everything you can to basically discourage voting. And the ironic part is a lot of surveys have shown that voting by mail does not necessarily help Democrats. It’s actually the people that are most benefited by voting by mail are seniors and seniors tend to vote a little more conservatively than the rest of the population.

 

Christine Barry  61:57

And no week could be complete without checking up on two candidates for US Senate. Gary Peters joined Debbie Stabenow and 10 of Michigan’s House members for televised Town Hall. One of the topics how, how the growing digital divide must be overcome.

 

Gary Peters  62:15

But now that we’re all on our various apps and communicating online, and as our students are being educated online, unfortunately a third of the students in our state don’t have connectivity. They wouldn’t be able to do their homework and do it in ways that are necessary as well as new technologies like telemedicine, where we can actually provide health care services as well. People are in the comfort of their home and the safety of their home. These are the kinds of investments we need to make as a country to be a world class economy. We have to make sure that everything is up to the standards so that they’re gonna, we’re going to need to continue to to lead.

 

Walt Sorg  62:48

Peter’s also introduced legislation this week sitting in motion an overhaul of the nation’s criminal justice system. That of course in the wake of the George George Floyd protests, his opponent, john James, put out a couple of TV ads, in which he revealed the john James opposes racism. Good to hear that. But he continued to avoid any encounters with Michigan reporters. James regularly touts military record in his advertising, which led the group vote vets to ask him how he felt about the statements from multiple top military leaders, including generals James Madison, john Kelly, both former Trump advisors lambasting Trump for dividing the nation. The tweet from vote vets Hey, john James, Michigan, the choice is clear. You stand with former Secretary of Defense James Madison and the values of this nation, we took an oath to defend or you stand with Donald Trump. Silence is not an option too much is at stake. And this was actually issued as a response to Gary Peters tweet, in the Naval Reserve. I took an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution. This was one of the most solemn and sacred pledges I’ve made in my life. No one knows the weight of this oath more than General Mattis. His words here are extraordinary, which in fact, they were but as usual from john James. One personal note before we leave, one of the most well respected and well liked people in Michigan government made a stunning announcement in the last week, Dana Nessel’s communications chief Kelly Rossman-McKinney sent out a matter of fact advisory to the media which mentioned midway through it in two sentences that she’s dealing with stage four bladder cancer. The announcement shook up tons of people she’s got a lot of friends in this town. I first met Kelly a long, long time ago longer than either one of us likes to admit. She was a newly divorced single mom who had recently moved to Lansing and was working as a committee clerk in the statehouse. Her obvious town and personality letter through the ranks to become a top advisor to Governor Jim Blanchard and First Lady Paula Blanchard. And then she started a one woman public relations company that grew into one of the largest And most respected PR firms in the Midwest. Kelly ran a strong but unsuccessful campaign for the State Senate in 2018., joined the Nessel team immediately after that election, she’s a fighter, our hearts and prayers for her and her extended family.

 

Christine Barry  65:18

And that’s it for this week’s Michigan poly cast. For more information on today’s subjects, head on over to our website, www dot Michigan polycom.com.

 

Walt Sorg  65:28

As always, your comments are welcome to email us at mit Policast gmail.com or reach out through the Michigan Policast page on Facebook or Twitter as well.

 

Christine Barry  65:38

We will be back in a week. Thanks so much.

 

Donald Trump  65:41

I am your president of law and order.

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