Lansing updates, constitutional carry vs cpl, and we remember Governor Milliken. Richard Whitmer and Bill Rustem join us.

October 21, 2019

Michigan Policast for Monday, October 21, 2019

  In this episode:


  • Governor William Milliken
  • Michigan GOP vs the statutory authority of the Governor and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget
  • A moment of bipartisanship in Lansing – Raise the Age
  • “Constitutional Carry” vs CPL
  • Lightning Round – free-speech foolishness, debates, money, and Gary Peters vs who?
  • Transcript


Jump to:

Governor William Milliken

Mr. Milliken “believed government should be about seeking solutions that bring people together, instead of political issues that divide,” said William Rustem, who was his environmental adviser. ~ Source: William Milliken, three-term Michigan governor, dies at 97



Michigan GOP vs the statutory authority of the Governor and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget

For the past 100 yrs, the State Administrative Board has been an important check and balance in state government, and its authority has been affirmed by the Supreme Court and the Attorney General. ~ T.Brown for @GovWhitmer @DNBethLeBlanc @CraigDMauger Click To Tweet



A moment of bipartisanship in Lansing – Raise the Age

#RaiseTheAge' is a huge win for MI kids and families, our local communities and economies, our national reputation, and our society as a whole. ~Gilda Jacobs, @MichLeague @MiSenate @mi_republicans @MiSenateDems @MiHouseDems @GovWhitmer RaiseTheAgeMI Click To Tweet

The legislation would:

  • Automatically put 17-year-olds in family court rather than adult criminal court, where they can be assigned alternatives to incarceration such as monitoring and counseling or circumventing the traditional court process altogether
  • Stop 17-year-olds from being housed in the same cell as adults
  • Allow prosecutors to try those under age 17 as adults for violent offenses such as rape or murder with court approval
  • Would not retroactively apply to 17-year-olds who have already been sentenced as adults


“Constitutional Carry” vs CPL

The bills remain before the House Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee, and would have to pass the full House, Senate, and be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to become law. Source

“Lowering the bar on who is allowed to carry hidden loaded weapons in public is reckless,” Vandenberg said. “It doesn’t do anything to keep Michigan residents safe.”

The Michigan Sheriff’s Association is among groups publicly opposing the legislation, citing concerns about public and officer safety.

“I think that speaks volumes,” Vandenberg said in reference to the sheriff's association's opposition.



Lightning Round – free-speech foolishness, debates, money, and Gary Peters vs who?




Note:  This week's transcript has some auto-transcription errors that have not yet been corrected.  

Walt Sorg 0:24
in a week of turmoil more impeachable misdeeds of a president, the chief of staff who tells us Get over it. The President giving up an ally in the Middle East and giving new life to ISIS and to fingerpointing, Speaker of the House calling out Putin's friend to his face in the White House. With all of that Governor Whitner and Michigan podcast pause to think about the loss of American statesman, this is the Michigan podcast all about Michigan politics and policy, and the National forces impacting our pleasant Peninsula is I'm Walt Sorg.

Christine Barry 1:24
I'm Christine Barry. The war of words continues over Michigan's contentious state budget with the governor making it clear she'll use every piece of leverage available to her

Amy Kerr Hardin 1:35
I'm Amy Kerr Hardin. While the Trump mess is rightly called a constitutional crisis. There are other threats and twisting of the Constitution. I'm talking about newspaper editors who don't seem to understand the First Amendment and legislators who think the second amendment means we should return to the Wild West.

Walt Sorg 1:51
But much of today's podcast is devoted to memories of a great Michigan leader governor William Milliken. He passed away Friday at the age of 97. Milliken surfer 14 years as governor, a moderate republican actually today probably be considered a communist in the Republican Party. He ran the state when cooperation with the legislature is controlled by Democrats and a democratic Attorney General and they made it work. Amy, Milliken was a man who was unapologetically proud of his roots in northern Michigan. He was a most familiar figure in your neck of the woods, both in his hometown of Traverse City where you live in in a second home on Mackinac Island. What are your memories of Bill Milliken?

Amy Kerr Hardin 2:28
Well, he's he's a hero in our town here. And very approachable. We would see him in our downtown walking at the Civic Center and so forth. And he was just very friendly. When he lost his wife in 2012. I was concerned about him because, you know, married so long, quite frequently spouses will, you know, expire right after their their loved one did, but he has such a strong family and they're such nice people, you wonderful people and very, very kind. So he's going to be remembered very fondly up here.

Walt Sorg 2:59
I've got so many memories of the man I knew him from the time he was lieutenant governor under george romney, and then became governor in early 1969 when romney officially resigned to become a part of Richard Nixon's cabinet, and they're just so many stories that I really had to pair them down a little bit. One was actually after he left office and address echoes what you said about how he was in downtown Traverse City. First, I forgotten the reason why now, but I needed to talk with him on something. So I looked him up in the phone book of all places, and he had a listed telephone number. And I called and I left a message on his voicemail say, I will never get back to me. And about an hour later, he calls back, Walter, This is Governor Milliken, how can I help you? And it couldn't have been nicer.

Shortly after that. My wife and I are going down to the State Museum, which is a block from the Capitol. It was built during the Milliken administration. And my wife loves this lighthouses and they're doing a lighthouse exhibit. So we're going over to the museum and that you see over the left side so people walking down the street And I look and I look again, and it's bill and Helen Milliken. And they're just walking down towards the museum. So I walk up to him say hi to him. I hadn't seen him in a long time. And we start talking to turn out he never been to the State Museum that he actually had built as a part of one of his budgets. He went inside. And he was no big deal. He he just did his tour, didn't get any VIP treatment or anything, didn't expect any VIP treatment. Amazingly, nobody recognized him other than myself. And he just he just went on his way.

And the third one, we talked about a lot of other members and some interviews we got coming up with the third one was one of the earliest memories I have of him and it was when he was going to be governor, but he hadn't quite made it yet. Romney had been announced as a member of the Nixon cabinet, but he had resigned yet he didn't resign until after Nixon was sworn in the following month. And we're having a Christmas party in the basement of the Capitol. It's being hosted by the republican press secretary in the House of Representatives and as was the want of reporters back then. We are drunk as hell. I mean, we're still we're having using four wheel push carts to have races down the hallway. And I'm pushing this cart down the hallway with a couple of committee clerks on and having a great old time drunk on my button. I'm like 18 years old at the time. And all of a sudden down the stairs. There's bill Milliken. Walter, how are you Merry Christmas, and he shakes hands with everybody and he leaves and it was just so quiet.

We had a bumper sticker back then when he was first became governor that it was printed by XI six members of the press corps headed print it up. And it just said Be nice to Milliken. Because Milliken was so nice to us. And it was really it was it was such a treat to know the man and to work with a man and later. And as I talked about in some of the interviews we've got coming up when I was working for the Speaker of the House, a member of the opposite party. Working with Bill Milliken on state policy was something that really kind of set the sails for me for the rest of my life is just an amazing experience over the weekend, I think I get a chance to talk with two men who are key advisors and lifelong friends of Governor Milliken, beginning with Richard Whitmer, who served in various roles in the Milliken administration. And if the name Richard Whitmer sounds a little bit familiar. Well, he's the father of our current governor.

One thing I get this sense of from everybody who knew bill Milliken, it doesn't matter if they're liberal, Republican, conservative, Republican, Liberal Democrat. Everybody really adored the guy.

5 6:25
Now I think that's absolutely right. He was kind of a man for all season. He was on the liberal side of the Republican Party. That's when both parties had a conservative and liberal wing, and he got along with everybody and he was a he was a real gentleman and concerned for everybody's welfare, and he just set a great example for everybody.

Walt Sorg 6:42
Everybody who was around them was fascinated by his friendship with Coleman young, their true deep abiding friendship, and they were polar opposites. Coleman Young was a former communist. He grew up in the streets of Detroit as a kid he was kind of a thug grew up on on the bad side of town, Bill Milliken Ivy League graduates wealthy background, how did it happen?

Speaker 5 7:05
I had the privilege of knowing both of them. I think while they had some differences, they also had some things in common. And that really was what's good for the people. They were elected to do jobs and jobs were focused on what's best for people, how do you make people better and make their lives better? And both of you did that. And I think that's probably the nexus between the their friendship, but they were they were obviously as you say, you know, quite different but also in many reporting ways the same.

Walt Sorg 7:32
One thing I learned during the campaign maybe even a little bit before death from your daughter was she was a real student of government. She was fascinated by both George Romney and Bill Milliken and how they did what they did you of course, were an eyewitness to both of them. What do you think are the lessons she learned from them through you?

5 7:49
The main lesson that both of them you know, kind of a set of eyes, what was the favorite their job, they were elected position to really help people that weren't there to further their own careers necessarily or make money or do other things, but they were there to help the people and, and that's when Republicans, you know, had a liberal branch and a conservative branch, as did the Democrats. You know, Romney and Milliken both fell in that category, you know, with Bill Scranton and Nelson Rockefeller that people were on the side for trying to fix some of the social bills and those both have shared that that do and I think that's the main thing that kind of put them where they are.

Walt Sorg 8:25
Also now as I see her in the battle, she's heavily with the legislature like Bill Milliken. She's got a legislature that is run by the other party, both of us got the opportunity to witness firsthand how Milliken works with the the democrats that ran the legislature. And then later on, we watched john Engler who possibly was, was effective of governors we've ever had. It seems like she's incorporating a lot of that into her leadership style right now. She really is as gentle and sweet and kind as your daughter can be. She also can be pretty steely eyed.

Unknown Speaker 8:55
Yeah. Well, I you know, I think it's a different time a different place and the parties are completely different today. I mean, you have a Republican Party is it doesn't resemble what it used to be. Yeah. And you have a democrat party. That's kind of where it was before. So I think that causes problems. I think it's going to be a different set of things she's going to have to accomplish dealing with this, this Republican legislature, because it's just a different group of people. And it used to be term limits, as hurt a lot because people don't have the opportunity get to know each other from both sides of the aisle. And I think there's a lot of things that have happened that really have been harmful to the way our democracy works.

Walt Sorg 9:32
What do you think ultimately, Bill Milliken's legacy will they will look these Environmental record his record towards urban policy, especially as the city of Detroit civil rights, what's the most important thing in your mind that he was able to accomplish?

5 9:45
Well, I think he accomplished a lot of things, but I think it was genteel nature and his ability that I think everybody believed that he was there for the right reasons. He wasn't there as based on some lobbying activity or some private employment, but he was there to help people. And I think with his personality, he got that across. And I think you got that across everybody. And I think that's a monumental thing. You know, that's why I said originally natural seasons he could, he could set a terrific example of leadership and included everybody. And I think that's probably his legacy.

Walt Sorg 10:20
And I thought it interesting over the weekend, the conference I attended, the two speakers were Rashida Tlaib, who served with Elijah Cummings on the House Oversight Committee. And then, of course, my daughter who was so close to you and Bill Milliken. And to lose those two people over a period of three days. It seemed like the end of an era.

5 10:39
Yeah, yeah. There's another both kind of, you know, cut out of the same pattern. But it's a difficult you know, it's a difficult thing for everybody because you don't have that kind of leadership much anymore. It's just gotten so polarized. And you don't really have the broad view that both parties used to take and they're more liberal wings or they're just trying to help people. That was their message. That was are a plan that's what they were therefore and both parties did it and and now it's just completely different and it's hard to compare then and now we're just given the relationships in the way they've changed in the structures the way it changes, you know, it was again about term limits and things like that people don't know each other they like they used to, used to hang out politicians with hanging out with other party with the press. Yeah, everybody after work and everybody was kind of included and there was kind of an unwritten rule that whatever was said there wasn't it was to be kept there. And it was pretty much followed. So it was a different sociogram back then. It is now when I was much healthier than then than in the present.

Walt Sorg 11:44
Bill Rustam joined Milliken staff as an intern while he was finishing his degree at Michigan State University in the late 60s. He was with Governor Milliken for more than a decade and he went from a really a nobody cork in the office to one of his key policy advisors.

Speaker 6 11:59
You know, I started off Writing proclamations for things like asparagus week. So I don't know how important that was, but I was able to build up my resume over time.

Walt Sorg 12:08
Well, your resume included before much longer one of the most amazing grassroots campaigns in the history of the state the bottle bill, which was until voters, not politicians, really the only grassroots campaign to take off the way it did.

Speaker 6 12:21
Yeah, it was. It was actually the first first time anybody's ever used the initiative petition process that was outlined in the 1963 constitution. It was very successful. Of course, Governor Milliken was the first person to sign the petition to put it on the ballot. This would eat endorse the bottle bill in the legislature in 19. Asking the legislature to approve it in 1970. And of course, they didn't do it. And we could never get a committee hearing. So finally, he and Tom Washington who was executive director of the mission united conservation clubs at the time, decided to use the powers in the constitution do petition drive, put it on the ballot and then campaign for it and it was all very successful, some 365,000 signatures were collected to put it on the ballot and end up winning by a 63 to 37% margin.

Walt Sorg 13:14
It was a part of a bigger Environmental record on the part of Milliken, which really was kind of a very strange coalition of him, the democratic Attorney General Frank Kelly, and a democratic legislator by the name of Tom Anderson. Yet between the three of them, you did some pretty amazing things.

Speaker 6 13:31
Yeah, Michigan, Michigan did some pretty amazing things, both legislatively and also through some of the executive powers that were helped to be defined by Frank Kelly at the time. I'll give you some examples of in the legislature. We got it got a natural resources Trust Fund adapted that lives on today. Actually, I'm a member of the natural resource trust one board now that takes the money from oil and gas development on state lands and uses it to buy more public records. across the state, so it's a it lives on today and is still still making those kinds of purchases on behalf of the people. We got a wetlands Act passed got an Environmental Protection Act passed through the legislature Tom Anderson and Warren Gomera. Let's not forget him big moves. He key people that that helped to shepherd those things through the legislature. And on the executive side, Michigan became the first state to ban DDT. We were the first state to ban PCBs. Milliken had to transfer authority from the Water Resources Commission, which had authority at the time to the Natural Resources Commission to get a ban on phosphates in laundry detergent, all of which made huge differences and help define the environment that we live in today. I told somebody the other day I was driving up north saw an eagle. And I said to myself, you know what if governor Milliken had not had the courage to do what he did. Which was to take a step to ban DDT. What I have seen that bald eagle with my kids have a chance to see a bald eagle. So his legacy lives on with us today.

Walt Sorg 15:10
A generation later you came back to state government as a senior policy advisor to the then brand new Governor Rick Snyder. What lessons did you bring to him that you would learn from Bill Milliken?

Speaker 6 15:20
Number one was good policy defines good politics. And that's what Milliken reminded of us constantly when I remember distinctly in a room where somebody said, Governor, this wouldn't be good, good politically and he turned to them. He said, Good. policy is good politics. So that was one thing that I definitely learned from him. The other was listening, listening to people and not not shouting back then. And while you'll appreciate this, I know that back then, compromise and civility and decency and tolerance We're all attributes rather than flaws. Too often today they're looked as flaws. And I don't know how you accomplish anything without compromise without decency, without some compassion about the issues that you're dealing with. It was it was a good age when people were willing to sit down and work together to work out compromises instead of shouting at each other, which is what goes on all too often today.

Walt Sorg 16:26
You know, of all the memories that so many people have of having known bill Milliken. The one that stands out for me is his last year in office when Michigan was undergoing a tremendous budget crunch and we went into a conference room and was him his budget director Jerry Miller, Bob Vanderlawn the senate majority leader, a Republican Bobby Crim My boss is the democratic democratic speaker of the house and then Billy Fitzgerald, who was the Senate Democratic leader, and once the door was closed, and it was just us, folks. There was no politics, right? That they just had to figure out how the hell are we going to get out This mess,

Speaker 6 17:00
how we going to fix it? How we going to fix the problem? It was the question was never who do we blame? How do we blame them? How do we set them up for blame with the Milliken was always How do we fix the problem, and that was a was a great era. And they were great people serving in government at the time.

Walt Sorg 17:17
He was also a great believer ensuring the pain, because we had this every call at that time they had to go with a tax increase, and which is never popular for anybody. And it was a consensus going in whatever we do, we're doing it together.

Speaker 6 17:29
Correct? Correct. And that's the way government ought to operate. Too often today. It's it's all about blame. How do we figure out a way that we can blame somebody else for for something? That's not the way that the framers account US Constitution, thought the world would operate and it's not the way that certainly Michigan ought to be operating. So somehow, we need to get back to those days.

Walt Sorg 17:52
As I was discussing with Dick Whitmer, just before we talked, in a matter of just a couple of days, we lost Elijah Cummings and Bill Milliken to very decent, good people who are totally different in terms of their background, it's somehow some way they personify the best in government. It seems like it's the end of an era.

Speaker 6 18:08
Well, let's hope it's not the end of an era. Let's hope that it's the beginning of a new era of people willing to sit down, look each other in the eye and try to say, Okay, how do we fix the problem? How do we move forward? How do we make Michigan a better state? How do we make the country a better country, but let's hope that we haven't lost that. And we're not just going to devolve into a series in this blame game and people bullying each other and shouting at each other and calling each other names which unfortunately is all too prevalent today.

Christine Barry 18:39
Governor Whitmer has ordered Flags Over state buildings to be displayed at half staff for 14 days to honor each of his years in office. A memorial service will be held next spring, most likely in Traverse City.

Walt Sorg 18:57
Governor Whitmer and Republicans in the legislature can Continue to be at loggerheads over resolving the state's $40 billion plus budget. Christine, the governor has made it very clear and repeated over the weekend. She has a lot of leverage you can apply as governor and knows how to use it and isn't afraid to play hardball. Here's witness speaking over the weekend at the progress Michigan progressive summit.

Gretchen Whitmer 19:18
And then very clear, I'm going to use every power, every power that I have in this office to live the values that I ran on. This administration is going to live the values that we preach and my power of line item veto on transfer one and I just like someone in the middle.

Christine Barry 19:41
It's clear that Governor Whitmer, his time in Lansing has given her the benefit of some institutional knowledge that I think that a lot of members in the legislature just don't have and she knew that that administrative board was there for her. She was willing to use it and she was really open about the fact that she was willing to do it. What she had to do to fix the budgets that were sent to her, but let me back up a little bit. What we're talking about here is the State Administrative board. The fact that the republicans sent their budgets over, she ran through what was 147 line item vetoes. And then she used the State Administrative board to transfer money from programs within a department to another program within that same department. That is what she's allowed to do with that administrative board.

Walt Sorg 20:28
It's only second time in history of the state of Michigan has been done was really pissed off the legislature.

Christine Barry 20:32
Yeah. And yeah, so the first time it had been done was in 91, when Governor Engler did it, and he really made some massive changes. I mean, he basically wiped out general assistance with that, if I recall correctly, and then in 93, it was upheld what he that particular transfer mechanism was upheld by the state Supreme Court. So now come back to 2019 budget battle, we have Lee Chatfield in the house, and Mike Shirky in the senate saying they don't want to send any more money over to the governor, unless they have assurance that she won't use the State Administrative board. Governor Whitmer made it clear she's going to use whatever she has. Now, they would come to the table and talk about these things and work it all out. She wouldn't have to use that administrative board. But they want her to give up this tool. And Tom Barrett takes it a step further, Senator Tom Barrett takes it a step further and says if she's willing to agree to not use the board, then she should be willing to sign off and just give up that power all together. It's a crazy fight over this tool. Now, let me tell you a little bit about the State Administrative board though. It has general supervisory control over administrative activities of all of the departments and agencies. And it can do only a handful of things. It can handle claims like it can set a claims against the state that are under $1,000. I can approve contracts and leases and then it oversees it has oversight of the state capital outlay process. So it's really just a Administrative board, but part of what it can do is transfer money between programs within a department.

Walt Sorg 22:06
And it's important to point out who's on that state administrator board to it is basically the Whitmer administration, the attorney general, the Secretary of State, the Lieutenant Governor, the state budget director, I believe the state superintendent of public instruction is a member of it. These are basically people who will do pretty much what the government wants them to do.

Christine Barry 22:24
They will and there's, there are three departments that have committees board as well. But again, those departments would have governor winners appointees running them. So yeah, there. I mean, it's her administration. She crafted it. It's, you know, she is governor and it's the same as any other governor, they come in and they put their people in place to carry out the agenda they were elected on. And she's made it clear just in that audio that you just played that she's going to continue to do that. Now I have a ton of resources on this topic that I'm not going to get into because this there's just no eloquent way for me to do it. But I will have this On the website, there's some really interesting background and stuff with this board. So that'll all be linked online.

Walt Sorg 23:06
As I talked with Dick Whitmer, in the earlier segment about his daughter and the way she's running government, she is in fact a student of history. And she learned from what her father told her about the Milliken administration and the romney administration, she learned from others who worked with them. But she also learned from john Engler, who may be as effective a governor as Richards ever had. I don't like his policy necessarily. But he was really good at doing his job. And he knew exactly how to wield all those levers of power in the governor's office. And Whitmer was paying attention when he did it. And that's the problem with the legislature because they don't want to admit it, but she knows one hell of a lot more about the intricacies of running state government than they do. And knowledge is power, whether it's in politics or anything else.

Christine Barry 23:49
And I want to drop in just one more note on that. One of the reasons that even when Governor Whitmer does something that I'm a little like a question a little bit. I have this Trusting her because like the same way that I have this trust in Nancy Pelosi is that the knowledge This is there, the institutional knowledge is there. And I trust that knowledge because they're just students of what they do. They know so much about it, that you have to trust that even if you don't really like the way something is going you trust that they know what they're doing.

Amy Kerr Hardin 24:23
And this circles back to the problem with term limits, again, that the reason that these lawmakers don't have that institutional knowledge is because they're in and out so quickly there. They don't have time to learn.

Walt Sorg 24:34
Absolutely, absolutely. What is amazing, even with all this turmoil going on, at least in Lansing, unlike in Washington, they can get something done. The politicians can actually do more than one thing at a time. Amy, a bipartisan bill is on its way to the governor to almost universal acclaim. Tell us about raise the age,

Amy Kerr Hardin 24:52
raise the age it's it's a rare case when Michigan sees any bipartisan legislation. It's like hen's teeth, but every The consensus on classifying 17 year old defendants is juvenile offenders. Under current law, they are tried and sentence as adults, they would be tried in family court as opposed to regular courts. They wouldn't share cells with adults, but they would still allow prosecutorial discretion for violent crimes. Unfortunately, the law would not be retroactive. That's I think that's the Achilles heel of this because we, you know, have put locked up too many kids that didn't have the cognitive stick skills when they committed the crime, and they're going to be in prison for a long time. The package of bills his head up to the governor's desk, and I imagine she's going to sign that.

Walt Sorg 25:39
Fortunately for us, one that I'm pretty sure she won't side if it does get to her desk, at least from my point of view, horrible legislation. The gun lobby is responding to the epidemic of gun deaths and the way they always respond to gun deaths. They want to make it easier for anyone to carry a concealed weapons just about anywhere, including bars, churches and schools. What could possibly go wrong? With that,

Christine Barry 26:00
Pretty much everything. So here's, here's what they're trying to do. they've introduced a package of bills in the house. There's five, five bills here, and they're amendments to existing law already. And essentially what it would do is implement what they call constitutional carry. And you know, how they like to label their things with the Constitution. But anyway, it's derived from beginning of the belief that the Second Amendment amendment gives you the right to, you know, carry and brandish your weapon wherever. So anyway, they want to do away with the concealed permits the CPLs. Now, there are a couple of problems with this joke.

Walt Sorg 26:40
Just a couple.

Christine Barry 26:42
Yeah, yeah, right. Look, here's here's the thing, Representative Steven Johnson, who introduced the first of the bills. 4770 says that the reason for this is that it's to protect law abiding gun owners from accidentally committing a felony

Amy Kerr Hardin 27:02
Lee Chatfield.

Christine Barry 27:04
Yeah, exactly. But what what Steven Johnson says is as long as I'm legally allowed to possess a firearm or own a firearm, I could do that. But the second I put a coat on, I can commit a five year felony unless I have this special card. And this special card is the Cpl. That's a completely disingenuous way to describe what the CPL does for you. Because the CPL actually, it we have a very low standard in Michigan to get this permit. That's my experience like I have one. I don't normally talk about firearms because I don't need people to know my business but I do have a CPL and I do have more than one firearm, and I like shooting things like shooting targets. You know, I have fun at the range. I have fun out back in and I live out in the country and people my neighbors everybody we need firearms to defend the livestock to defend ourselves. Whatever come from a position of supporting that. But our CPL standard is a very low standard in Michigan. On the one hand, it is kind of aligned with federal background checks that are required when you buy a gun. On the other hand, it also adds a class that you have to take it it's it's a, it's an eight hour class, but three hours have to be on the range. You do have to fire live fire a weapon,

Walt Sorg 28:25
but you don't have to be any good at it. You can be a total idiot on the on the right I've taken the course as well. I don't have a license because I've never had the urge to buy a weapon, but I have taken the training. And you could be a total idiot. It's sort of like when I took bowling in college. I just went to kill time.

Christine Barry 28:41
Yeah, you don't have to be a marksman by any means. I think when I took the class, I had to have a certain percentage, but it is live fire and some states don't even require that. You know, if you're going to take the CPL, I hope that you've already fired a gun at home. Whatever So anyway, there there is a bit of a standard, but the class also includes things like how to avoid a criminal attack, controlling a confrontation laws that apply to concealed weapons. What I found valuable in my class was what to do if you're involved in a confrontation with somebody, when the police are called how you should conduct yourself, the fact that you always have to tell the police officer that you're carrying and so now, putting all that aside the value of that CPL aside, let's think about this 1.2 million applications have been submitted for the CPL in Michigan as of October 1 of this year, and of those applications only 663,502 are valid. And now to be fair, 13,000 are pending. But the rest of them have all been either. rejected, revoked, suspended something has happened that those applications did not lead to an active CPL right now, that's 1.2 million people, aside from the valid ones. I mean, what does that 300 and some thousand people who would be carrying a concealed firearm that would not have gotten through that CPL process.

Walt Sorg 30:18
What I find more problematic is that it doesn't require any recurring training, really any competence. My sense was in the CPL class, as long as you didn't shoot the instructor you're going to get you're going to pass it, but I took that like 567 … actually, nine years ago. I've never used it. And I could go and get a license today. And I guarantee you that I'm not confident. Certainly it's harder to get a driver's license than it is to carry a weapon that can be used to kill people.

Amy Kerr Hardin 30:44
One caveat of this package of amendments is that it does not include public schools. And the reason for that is that the revised school code gives broad discretion to school administrators as to who they think is safe or unsafe. hazards within the school. And the Michigan courts did affirm that just a few years ago.

Walt Sorg 31:05
Okay, it's gonna be okay. That's the second amendment. Let's go to the First Amendment, and specifically censorship on social networks. A call and the last Democratic presidential debate by Kamala Harris divorced Donald Trump off of Twitter, which would probably be good for Trump drew a rebuke from Detroit News editorial editor Nolan Finley. He called Harris's idea dumb, but his argument was ignorant. Amy Ready, aim and fire.

Amy Kerr Hardin 31:32
Yeah, Finley of The Detroit News some he penned an op ed complaining about calls for Twitter to block Trump's account, citing free speech concerns. I'm kind of surprised that someone in his position doesn't understand how the First Amendment works. Not just conservatives, but the public at large do not fully understand that free the free speech component of the first minute only applies to government entities curtailing free speech of citizens and most people know their caveats, caveats to that also, privately on body such as social media platforms can and do regulate speech. Having said that calls have been made for Facebook to censor candidates claims that are blatantly false. at something traditional media is now starting to do they have not done that in the past because the Federal Election Commission does not require them to do so. So they hadn't been policing, but now they started policing in the era of Trump. I'm a humorous me that many of the same voices calling for free speech on social media platforms are angry about government attempts to view their supposedly private communications there. If you put it out on the internet, it's enshrined in the archives just get used to it.

Walt Sorg 32:42
And meanwhile, we've got Mark Zuckerberg giving a speech based which basically says, Who me if you want to lie on my platform, go ahead just as long as you give me the money.

Amy Kerr Hardin 32:51
That is true. I think that there is some validity to the argument that it's a slippery slope, but I think they should Look at candidates, presidential candidates and hold them to a higher standard. That wouldn't be too difficult. I mean, the field is not that broad.

Walt Sorg 33:07
Well, it's interesting, too, that they talked about the First Amendment. And you're right, it does not apply to privately owned companies. But at the same time, I can't imagine Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson were envisioning a time of mass communication for them mass communication with some guy with a printing press. And the only censorship would be by that they wanted to stop was by the government because that was the environment in which they live where it was the people against the government, but now you've got people in private, the private sector, Mark Zuckerberg being one of them, and the folks at Twitter and, and on and on YouTube, Google, the Google folks. They're much more powerful now than any private individual was in the 18th century.

Christine Barry 33:48
Yeah, you know, for me, this all just comes down to how we allow money into the process. You know, we didn't have all of these, you know, mechanisms to have dark money. Or, you know, these massive like, just publicly fund the elections and we won't have all of these crazy advertisements going out to millions of people

Walt Sorg 34:10
well, you're still going to have some of them in the Federal Communications Act of 1933. And what the the late Tom youth Mike telecom law professor will appreciate that I remember this after so many years. But it basically says if you're a legally qualified candidate for office, and you yourself want to put a message on broadcast media that are licensed by the federal government, they cannot censor what you say. You can use carlon seven dirty words. You can lie, you can let you can libel. It doesn't matter. The broadcast station has to give equal access to their airwaves to anybody who's a legally qualified candidate for office, but it's got to be equal. They can say nobody gets on it, but it's either going to be everybody or nobody.

Christine Barry 34:49
Yeah, and then I get but you don't have gazillions of dollars coming from, you know, super PACs that are saying things that are just, you know, factually False.

Amy Kerr Hardin 35:01
Well, the media, traditional media, I should say, are allowed to pull ads from Super PACs. They're held to a different standard than candidates, but it's probably very difficult for them to check the veracity of everything that's set out there, and they'll

Walt Sorg 35:16
take it off. They can also charge the more for the airtime. I know. Yeah, I was I was working in broadcasting. Many times those third party ads, which are not protected on rates, like political ads are from candidates, they would charge them 345 10 times the amount of a normal ad, going back many, many years ago when the West Wing was one of the hottest shows on TV. I remember our local TV station jacked up the rate card for third party ads on the West Wing by 1,000%. They had a really good two weeks.

Amy Kerr Hardin 35:45
And that's a tiered system to I'm as a campaign manager, but run some statewide and some local campaigns. And we would always get bumped by presidential ads, but we could bump the third party ads if we want it so it's an ad spend a little bit less Then they spend,

Walt Sorg 36:01
okay, the Democratic debate. I remember we had one not too long ago. The question really is Who won? Who lost?

Christine Barry 36:08
That? I'll start I think that the public lost but I don't know who won. I see that Buttigieg and Klobuchar took in more money after the debate over a million dollars each that was kind of good for them. I don't know how well that, like how does that compare to previous debates? The only thing I really noticed about this was Tulsi Gabbard out attacking Hillary. I'm very confused about Tulsi's platform. Very good. Thank you.

Walt Sorg 36:37
Meanwhile, over the weekend yet AOC and Ilhan Omar endorsing Bernie Sanders to members of the squad, and it's expected that Michigan's Rashida Tlaib will be joining them as well. And also Michael Moore was on the stage with Bernie Sanders. What does this do to Elizabeth Warren? What does it do to the moderates that are hoping to replace the progressives at the top of the list?

Amy Kerr Hardin 37:00
Who knows? That's a difficult call. Yeah, I couldn't even venture a guest on that.

Christine Barry 37:06
I think it might move a few dollars, but I don't think it matters. I don't think it matters to who's at the top of the ticket.

Walt Sorg 37:12
I think Warren's bigger problem really is her stance on Medicare for All. She did a horrible job answering the question of what is this going to cost she's been dodging it. And Pete Buttigieg has been relentless and going after on it and Joe Biden started to go after on it as well to people who support a public option instead of Medicare for all, and the polling supports them. Within the Democratic Party, Medicare for All is slightly more popular. But in the total population all the polling shows that having an option having a public option is much more palatable politically.

Amy Kerr Hardin 37:46
I think that Warren's performance was a disappointment to a number of people. But millennials in particular, we're very, very pleased with Cory Booker was calling for civility several times on the stage and he's got like 1% in the polls. too. Yeah, well, at least to some moderating voice there.

Walt Sorg 38:03
Yeah, I'm intrigued by Andrew Yang, I don't think he's ever going to get the nomination. But he's raising issues that are very important. He's a very on target with identifying these issues of automation in the changing economy. But they're kind of complicated. And one thing I think we've learned over the years is issues that require people to think beyond one sentence can be very problematic for a candidate.

Amy Kerr Hardin 38:22
He's resonating very well with progressive millennial so

Christine Barry 38:26
well, he should be resonating with older people as well, because we were talking about automation becoming a problem for hourly labor back in the 80s. And how automation would put everybody out of work. And therefore the best thing to do for the society was to then look at a universal basic income, because you didn't need human labor to perform the functions that you did before. And you know, as a society, we would evolve. There's there's so many opportunities if we didn't have I don't know gangster capitalism.

Walt Sorg 39:02
okay, the US Senate race the polls sponsored by a republican leading Consulting Group shows a very tight race for the US Senate. Even as john James posts strong third quarter fundraising numbers, they actually outraised Gary Peters. But the marketing resource group polling which shows like a, I think it was a three point spread. I questioned it a little bit because the company has been sold to somebody who's a hardcore partner said the wife of former republican Speaker of the House, Tom Leonard,

Amy Kerr Hardin 39:27
do you think it was a little bit of a push pull?

Walt Sorg 39:29
It could be I haven't yet that's the part of the problem. I haven't seen the actual questions and a push poll. You can have very accurate results of your poll but your questions if your questions are bad, you don't get it, especially when you've got a an independent poll by a news organization emerged. Michigan information Research Service. The first poll show that Gary Peters was up 53-37 over john James at Target insight did that poll a really good polling organization and they did include cell phones but the poll is also about three weeks old and things change so fast my gun just if you look at the impeachment story that changes by the hour, and I think that's going to be part of the problem for the pollsters. Next week, we'll be talking with one of the top pollsters in Michigan. I really want to talk about this changing environment and how quickly things are changing. In fact, that's our next issue. And that is the same poll by marketing research group showed Michigan pretty split on supporting an impeachment inquiry into the President's something the republicans are chortling about because they think they can use it to knock off Haley Stevens and Alyssa Slotkin. But again, that was so so yesterday was like three days ago, and it changes almost day to day. You've got more and more republicans out the national level, tried to edge their way away from the orange menace.

Amy Kerr Hardin 40:46
It's interesting, it's very Watergate ish. But Trump is a totally different human being from Richard Nixon. I'm Trump is he's going to be dragged out of there kicking and screaming.

Christine Barry 40:58
Did you see on Twitter, that the Nixon people said that they didn't have anything to do with Trump. Trump had done something. He had said something about working with the Nixon foundation. And they were like, nope. And I think that that is like the ultimate face in politics, you know, and Nixon and in the Nixon foundation comes out and says, No, we don't have anything to do them. We don't want him tarnishing our good name.

Walt Sorg 41:23
I find it interesting. There's a really great piece of research that was done by the Pew organization that will have a link to on our website. But it shows that public opinion in favor of impeachment of Richard Nixon didn't pass 50% until like a week before he left office.

Christine Barry 41:39
Well, impeachment and recalls and those kinds of things are, are very distasteful. I think to most people. You know what they don't want to impeach somebody that was elected. They feel like it's wrong.

Walt Sorg 41:52
You know. The other side of it, though, is Richard Nixon's approval rating was very, very weak even weaker than Trump's during the entire Watergate era. dipped to as low as 24%. And kind of stayed there from January of 74. When I think that's about the time that the investigation first started, and all the way to the point where he resigned he had 24% approval rating the day he resigned, which is fascinating. I think Trump will leave office, whether it's through an election or through impeachment, he'll leave with a 40 41% approval rating

Christine Barry 42:23
tells you how crappy people are. I watched that video of Alyssa Slotkin explaining herself at a town hall explaining why she now supported the impeachment. And she was she was really good. She was reassuring people. She hadn't made up her mind, but she did decide that there had to be an impeachment process. And people are just shouting fake news, fake news. And I'm like, you have to be just some of the most ignorant frickin people to say fake news about something that you can … There's evidence for this. Right? You can see so much evidence, but you're an idiot

Amy Kerr Hardin 42:57
from Trump himself from his admitted That's where the evidence is flowing from.

Christine Barry 43:03
And that's what she said. Said Trump's not even denying it.

Walt Sorg 43:13
And to wrap up this week's podcast, I've got an announcement to make. It will come as a surprise to you two ladies. But next week we are going to originate the program from the Trump Doral National Golf Club in Miami, Florida. Not really

Christine Barry 43:27
gonna say gross.

Amy Kerr Hardin 43:29
I don't want the bedbugs.

Walt Sorg 43:30
Yeah, just stay away from the bedbugs. If you want to have some fun, go on to a Yelp and read some of the reviews of Trump national. I think half of them were posted by members of the g7 that just don't want to go there. It's interesting By the way, David Ferrand hold revealed on one of those talk shows I saw him on the one of the sites that was considered was Mackinac Island.

Christine Barry 43:50
I saw that do you think that Mackinac Island would have stood up to that though

Walt Sorg 43:53
Hell no,

Christine Barry 43:54
It's so fragile

Walt Sorg 43:55
well,tThere's not enough capacity there to handle that many people.

Christine Barry 44:00
But I just don't think that the environment there, the landscape, I just think it would be trampled. I think that the damage to the environment on Mackinac Island would just be huge.

Walt Sorg 44:11
Well, they could they can handle pretty big time operations. When I was working for Jim Blanchard. We had the Midwest Governor's conference up there, which brought in, I believe, about a dozen, maybe more state governors and their entourages. And of course, we've only got so many presidential Suites on the entire island, but somehow it managed to work. However, when Michigan hosted the National Governors Association, they went down to Acme and we're at the Grand Traverse resort.

Amy Kerr Hardin 44:37
I recall that we we repaved the road and came in and repaved the road just so we could have the capacity of all those vehicles.

Walt Sorg 44:44
And my biggest memory of that conference was the Motown show that we had to entertain the governors and junior Walker and the All Stars are on the stage and they invited a guest saxophone player to join them. The governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton

That is this week's podcast. For more information on these stories including links, videos, tweets, random stuff, maybe some names and a couple of obscene jokes, head over to Michigan podcast com.

Amy Kerr Hardin 45:14
We welcome your feedback drop us an email at in my

Christine Barry 45:18
And if you've made it this far, please do take a moment to rate the podcast on iTunes. On behalf of what made me I'm Christine Barry and thanks for making us a part of your day.

Walt Sorg 45:29
The Michigan Podcast is a production of Michigan citizens for a better tomorrow a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to a better tomorrow.

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