Michigan Policast for Monday, April 5, 2021In this episode:
- Segment one: COVID-19 updates
- Segment two: Dr Charles Ballard on Biden's infrastructure plan
- Segment three: Voter suppression, the GOP, and the new Jim Crow
- Segment four: Political notes
- Opinion | Here’s why Michigan’s covid spike is so scary – The Washington Post — @AbdulElSayed
- COVID outbreaks jump 20 percent in Michigan schools. More closures ahead? | Bridge Michigan
- Whitmer is holding off for now on Michigan COVID limits. Here’s why. | Bridge Michigan
- Emails reveal Michigan health officials had more cautious restaurant plan
- Bridge Michigan coronavirus dashboard
- A new variant is identified in Michigan, underscoring concerns about what’s driving the new COVID surge
- The Return to Normal: Views on the Pandemic – Morning Consult
- Stabenow, Tlaib highlight need for more behavioral health clinics amid COVID-19 pandemic
- Gallup Poll: Satisfaction With U.S. Vaccine Rollout Surges to 68%
- NPR/Marist Poll – March 22 through March 25
- Republicans attack Biden administration over vaccine passports – The Washington Post
- Lucido's challenge of Whitmer's nursing home policies under fire
- Complaint: Lucido's attacks on Whitmer make impartial probe impossible
- Required Vaccinations – Michigan Schools
- Group, parents sue Michigan health director over youth sports COVID rules
JUST IN: Michigan Health and Hospital Association reporting large increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations among younger age groups (30-39 and 40-49) that have lowest vaccination rates statewide, according to inpatient data. pic.twitter.com/Xo0UOEO5fO
— Mark Cavitt (@MarkCavitt) March 24, 2021
- Dr. Charles Ballard MSU contact page
- CHARLES L. BALLARD – CV
- In Pittsburgh, Biden lays out plans for biggest federal intervention in electricity markets in a generation – The Washington Post
- What is in the Biden infrastructure plan? – The Washington Post
- Biden borrows Eisenhower's Cold War sales pitch for his infrastructure plan.
- Automakers and UAW seek a way to drive people to buy EVs – The Washington Post
It’s time to deliver.https://t.co/jw6LpGx2Dr
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) April 3, 2021
Pete Buttigieg Speaks Slowly And Explains To Republicans That Humans Need Water To Live https://t.co/5FQxC8WImt
— #TuckFrump (@realTuckFrumper) April 4, 2021
- Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Atlanta Falcons push back against Georgia voting law – The Washington Post
- Opinion | Michigan GOP’s ‘election integrity’ bills are 21st Century Jim Crow | Bridge Michigan
- Michigan GOP mounts ‘election integrity’ push. Democrats fear suppression. | Bridge Michigan
- Republicans Aim to Seize More Power Over How Elections Are Run – The New York Times
- Inside the Koch-Backed Effort to Block the Largest Election-Reform Bill in Half a Century | The New Yorker
- H.R. 1 can’t pass the Senate. But here are some voting reforms that could. – The Washington Post
- Annotated Guide to the For the People Act of 2021 | Brennan Center for Justice
- Voting Laws Roundup: March 2021 | Brennan Center for Justice
- The Trailer: What happens when the majority doesn't rule? – The Washington Post
First, some in GOP boycotted @NFL b/c players took a knee.
Then, they boycotted @NBA b/c those players knelt.
Next, they boycotted @NASCAR b/c it banned Confederate flag.
Now, they boycott @mlb b/c changed game venue.
All while they rant and rail against #CancelCulture…🙄
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) April 3, 2021
Hey, @MLB, now that you need a new host city for the All-Star game, you should consider Detroit, home of the undefeated @Tigers and accessible, trustworthy elections. https://t.co/03cFe2KywV via @freep
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) April 4, 2021
- Former U.S. Senate candidate John James launches political committee
- Redistricting commission to ask High Court to push map deadline to Jan. 25
- Recreational pot is nestling comfortably into small-town Michigan
- Ex-UM regents call on GOP chair Weiser to resign
- Ron Weiser: ‘I won’t be canceled,’ after U-M regents call for his resignation | Bridge Michigan
- Dominion Voting Systems accuses ex-Michigan senator of ‘disinformation campaign’
— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) April 3, 2021
The University of Michigan Board of Regents has censured Michigan GOP Chairman Ron Weiser and is calling for his resignation as a regent after he called the top three state Democrats ‘witches' and suggested assassinating dissenting Republicans.https://t.co/FI7Vxb7Z4l
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 4, 2021
Easter messages from America’s current and recent presidents pic.twitter.com/CYG5UURPfG
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) April 4, 2021
@SenPolehanki & our entire MI Senate had heavily armed guys burst into their chamber last year
These guys may look like clowns, but so do the ones who are on trial for plotting against @GovWhitmer
Help us keep MI Dems in office 🔽https://t.co/T9tS6z0qWk
— flip4mi (@flip4mi) April 4, 2021
Joe Biden 00:04
Not a plan to tinker around the edges. It's a once in a generation investment in America unlike anything we've seen or done, since we built the interstate highway system in the space race decades ago
Jennifer Granholm 00:16
the biggest investment in America since FDR since then the New Deal.
Walt Sorg 00:23
After four years of empty promises, it actually was infrastructure week this last week. And former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm is one of the cabinet members charged with making it happen. I'm Walt Sorg. Later on the podcast will be joined by amateur economist Charles Balor. To assess the potential impact of the Biden plan on Michigan's economy.
Rochelle Walensky 00:46
I'm gonna lose the script and I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope. But right now, I'm scared. We are not powerless, we can change this trajectory of the pandemic, but it will take all of us recommitting to following the public health prevention strategies consistently. While we work to get the American public vaccinated. We do not have the luxury of inaction for the health of our country. We must work together now to prevent a fourth surge.
Christine Barry 01:24
The head of the CDC starts the week with a stark warning of impending doom, and Michigan's latest numbers on COVID-19 infections both us to the top of the impending doom chart. I'm Christine Barry.
This is Michigan Policast with Christine Barry and Walt Sorg, Michigan politics and policy and the National stories impacting our pleasant peninsulas.
Walt Sorg 01:47
Also in the pod major corporations join the battle against the republican voter suppression bills across the country, the state's redistricting commission from the US Supreme Court for delaying the deadline for new congressional and legislative maps, and also delay the candidate filing deadline. But of course, Christine, we always start where we always start. And that is COVID-19. Yeah, this clearly, you know, it's the best of times and it's the worst of times, we're getting vaccinated. But our numbers are horrible. We're experiencing a fourth wave of infections or rate of increases the worst in the nation, to reflected by the latest stats, which is metro area by metro area, the highest infection rate in the entire country. Jackson, Michigan, number two, Detroit, number four, nationally Flint, number seven, nationally, Lansing, and number nine, nationally, Monroe, Michigan,
Christine Barry 02:44
that's five out of the 10. You know, and if you look at this list, which of course will be in the show notes. There's only one other state in there that has more than one metro area. And that's New York. And New York City is number three after Jackson and Detroit.
Walt Sorg 03:01
Yeah, so this is infections per 100,000. population. So it is what, obviously New York get a lot more total infections, because it's such a little bit bigger than Jackson, Michigan. Last time I looked,
Christine Barry 03:12
clearly, we are outperforming New York City in this in this way. But the governor said she is not considering any restrictions at this point. Because of well, three reasons in particular, the vaccinations moving right along. And we know that masks and social distancing work. So she doesn't feel right now that we need to implement any more emergency measures. The people who are getting it are younger, though, I think age 39 and younger now, that's the age group that's surging,
Walt Sorg 03:47
yet, especially school age and college age.
Christine Barry 03:49
So I think she's hopeful that people are becoming immune to it. The vaccinations are working if we continue with the masks and the social distancing. And frankly, I think she's aware of what all of us probably feel Walt, which is that the people just won't put up with much more in the way of restrictions. They'll just risk it. So I think, she's managing the best she can.
Walt Sorg 04:14
You can't have regulations that people are not going to follow. And it's got to be voluntary compliance. And the will for voluntary compliance just isn't out there anymore. So I think she's, she's recognizing that reality. The other thing too, is we can learn a lot from places where they had been successful in beating back the pandemic. And there's two ways to go about it. You look at Australia and New Zealand, and quite simply, it has been through isolating the virus and keeping it away in so that you simply don't have the community spread. And it's worked very, very well in both of those countries. But you can also look at Israel, which has got the best vaccination rate in the world right now. More than 60% of adults in Israel have already been vaccinated. And there's a really good article I saw in the New York Times just Sunday morning. Were good Friday in Israel was like any other Good Friday, the crowds were there. They had the religious services and everything else that goes with Good Friday. And they're pretty much over it because they've got vaccinations there. Plus they've got these vaccine passports so that businesses can restrict access to people who have been vaccinated. And I know the republicans here at least some of the republicans are whining about vaccine passports in the United States, like it's something new. You're on the school board, you required vaccination passports for your kids when they enrolled.
Christine Barry 05:35
Yeah, the problem is probably the name of it, you know, vaccination passport, the people who are opposed to it are saying, I shouldn't have to show you my card, my papers, whatever, to be able to do something that is my right to do. It's not even anything like that. First of all, it doesn't seem to be anything that anybody is going to require to do normal things anyway, maybe business by business, they'll say, Okay, I need to see proof that you are vaccinated before we can let you on this plane, or we can put you in this project or whatever. It's just, it's just another
Walt Sorg 06:12
Well, you wouldn't consider to that the people that are screaming about vaccine passports, which are designed to protect us from each other, and to slow a pandemic, and protect the public health. These are the same people that whine when you want any identification to purchase a gun at a gun show.
Christine Barry 06:27
Yeah, they whine when they have to present an ID to buy a gun, but they're happy to force you to present an ID to get your absentee ballot application.
Walt Sorg 06:35
It's a tremendous application, tremendous discordance in the the arguments that are being made.
Christine Barry 06:42
Yeah, it's all it's all inconsistent on an intellectual level, on an emotional level, I think we all know where these people are coming from. I mean, you know, I look at these people. And I think if we didn't have these restrictions in place, they would be licking toilets and spitting on each other just to prove that they aren't sheep, you know, just to prove that they think for themselves. So there you have it. But getting back to the topic of the the surging infections, I do think that part of the problem is that we have so many variants. Now, I forget it is it five, five variants, I think,
Walt Sorg 07:23
I don't recall, they just keep on coming. And the more people that get infected, the more chances there are for variants, because it gives the virus a chance to mutate through a deeper basis, not like the viruses out there the plan. It just keeps trying stuff through natural selection, go back to your basic Darwinism. That's that's how it mutates. And the other problem that the governor has got is you cannot isolate the problem. Now to a few simple, small sectors, you can't it's certainly not the fault of the restaurants anymore, although restaurants still scare me a little bit. Although if I was going into a restaurant where they demanded a vaccination passport, I would certainly go in there to eat because I wouldn't be concerned. But still the the restaurants aren't the problem right now, most of them are doing everything in their power to protect us. And it's not necessarily the schools, it's portions of the schools, high school sports has certainly been a part of the problem. But that's going away naturally, high school sports are wrapping up pretty quickly. And the colleges and the universities in Michigan, for the most part, are doing as good a job as they can. Although it's hard to control students. So there's nothing that she can pinpoint. She can't use a very selective pruning of the economy and shutdowns to shut this down because it's kind of its community spread at its worst form. On the plus side, though, the people that are getting infected are more likely to survive the virus. The old people, more than 60% of seniors in Michigan have now had at least one shot. And that is that's cutting that cut down the death rate long term.
Christine Barry 08:54
And I think that's key. I think what she's looking at is okay, people may be getting sick, it is stressing our hospitals and our healthcare system. But it has been, and why not manage the chaos from this level now? And let these people go through it, live their lives, and hopefully they'll come out. Okay, now I still have, I still have an issue with the fact that, you know, when you get a virus infection, the odds are still good that you will have long term problems from that viral infection. You know, you might not have any symptoms of anything, but then in 10 years, or whenever you'll develop something Goofy, like something similar to lupus or a friend of mine, ended up with a really strange vertigo problem that comes only from viral infections, and they tracked it to shingles from several years before, I don't think we really know what's going to happen in 10 or 15. Are 20 years to people who actually contracted the virus and survived it. But I'm not, you know, not a health professional either.
Walt Sorg 10:09
Another part of the problem too is we've got a few irresponsible people that can cause a lot of problems for the responsible people. And I've got an example of my own family. My daughter and her family have been very, very careful about the virus, she's in healthcare. So she really knows what she's doing. Yet last week, they had to put their three year old into quarantine, because she went to preschool and was exposed to another three year old, whose parents had just returned from a family vacation to southern Florida, and didn't bother to quarantine when they got back. And lo and behold, their kid is testing positive now. And that spread in terms of contact, at least, to an entire class of three year olds who probably took it home. And that's just one little hotspot in the middle of Northern Indiana, as a result, and it's all because one family acted irresponsibly.
Christine Barry 11:04
Yeah, you know what that you mentioned, you mentioned three year old, I gotta tell you, if this disease, if COVID was killing our children, we would have moved heaven and earth to stop this thing. This is just kind of adjacent to what we're talking about. But the way that we prioritize people in this country, if it was killing little kids, or even, let's say, kids, 16. And under, we would have so many more people on board with masks and social distancing. And you know, maybe maybe not vaccines, because people have gotten so weird about that. But we would have acted with more urgency than we have. And I'm not talking about you and I and then people who kind of take a progressive look at everything. But really, these people who are out having parties and stuff, mom is not going to let them do that. families would be divided. Now there are still families who would still say it's fake or whatever, and do their thing. But there are a lot more people I bet who would say my baby ain't going nowhere with there's an adult, who you know, are where there's any chance they might pick up this disease.
Walt Sorg 12:16
Another thing that's really different now that from a year ago is leadership from the top. A year ago, we had somebody at the top of the previous guy, who was saying, Don't worry, this is all going to magically disappear. We'll be fine by Easter of last year, and nobody's going to get infected and we might have 40,000 deaths, then he raised it to 70. And then he raised it to 90 and then 100 and then 125. And now we are closing in on 600,000 deaths. Now we've got somebody on top, who is much more realistic and is is actually leveling with the American people.
Walt Sorg 12:50
I'm reiterating my call for every governor, Mayor and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mass mandate. Please, this is not politics, reinstate the mandate if you let it down. And businesses require masks as well. The ferry to take this virus seriously, precisely what God is this mess in the first place risk, more cases more deaths, as I do my part to accelerate the vaccine distribution of vaccinations. I need the American people do their part as well. mask up, mask up. It's a patriotic duty. It's the only way we ever get back to normal.
Walt Sorg 13:31
On the downside for national leadership, it saddens me to watch the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. And every one of those coaches uses his mask as a chinstrap. anytime they want to talk, yell, scream, holler. whatever they're doing as a coach, they take the mask off, which is exactly the wrong thing to do. There is no reason for taking the mask off when you want to talk with somebody. It's your perfectly if you just watched the some of the TV hospital dramas, which actually some of them actually have good behavior being modeled. Some of them do not unfortunately, even on the medical shows, but the example that is being set by these basketball coaches and the other coaches that are out there is absolutely it's very sad. It's short sighted. And these guys that are being paid million dollar millions of dollars a year supposedly to teach our kids should do a better job teaching about the basics of public health. Very, very unfortunate. When we're talking about the politics, a little bit that's going on in Michigan. It's pretty incredible. Right now our good buddy Peter Luisito, the sexist former state senator, now the prosecuting attorney in McComb County. He's catching a lot of flack over his efforts to politicize the what happened in the nursing homes. He has had formal complaints filed against them now with the State Bar Association. People want to go after him for abusing the process of criminal investigations for purely political motives. He deserves it.
Christine Barry 14:58
He does deserve it. You said several times that Governor Whitmer was responsible for killing people that she was a cold blooded killer. on and on. I mean, there's no question how he felt or the things that he said about her and her nursing home policy doesn't just her policy, right. It was the CDC guidelines. But there's no question what he thought of it. Going in then and trying to use the office of prosecutor to then go after her criminally is where he gets into trouble because it's just a vindictive use of his office. So he had three legal experts, three attorneys we'll have it in the show notes, but these three people filed the complaint, saying that he can't possibly investigate this because he can't be impartial. And he's proven it over and over and over again. And in response, Pete Lucido just complained about the people complaining, which is where he does same thing is when somebody complains about him grabbing him.
Walt Sorg 16:01
Yeah, the Matt Gaetz of Michigan, I guess. The Michigan legislature continues to play its game of fiscal tennis with the governor. Last Wednesday, they approved a $4.2 billion Coronavirus relief plan, without a deal with the governor once again trying to force her to sign a bill that takes away her powers to act on the pandemic, things that she will of course veto, which means it goes back to the legislature and back and forth and back and forth they volley. Meanwhile, the rest of us are stuck in the middle and I'm getting really tired of all the these shenanigans. They've got to get real in the legislature and see that the governor is not going to cede her powers permanently. For the purposes of a one time federal appropriation including money that's By the way, it's supposed to go to the schools $840 million in federal school funding for in person instruction and or protection measures in our local school districts money they desperately need, especially in the poorer school districts to upgrade facilities and upgrade the ability to deal with a pandemic in a safe way with the kids.
Christine Barry 17:06
Well, and you know what, with Governor Whitmer not pushing back right now, on the increase in infections, it's going to be harder and harder for the legislature to say we need to be a part of making these decisions. And we're going to hold the money until we do to a certain extent Walt, when you say they've they've got to do something the legislature doesn't have to do anything, it's run by people who are kind of insulated. Until you get to a critical mass in the public where, you know, the public is finally going to be put pressure on them to say you just you know, we're more important than your caucus, we need you to take this position. And and that has to snowball, right that has to grow through the legislature and then something will get done. But that's not going to happen if governor Whitmer is pushing back and saying, okay, you're back to 25%. And in restaurants, you can't have these kinds of sports, that kind of thing. She's not doing that now. So maybe we'll get more, you know, more energized, feedback from the communities who are waiting for this money to go to the legislature and say, Stop messing around. You're not fighting for anything anymore.
Walt Sorg 18:24
At the same time, you've got libertarians who are suing the governor and the state health department for the requirements, safety requirements that have been imposed for high school athletics, not that they are banning High School athletics. They're simply requiring that they wear masks and you know, unless they're in a swimming pool, of course, and that there be some, some testing of youth sports and we've had some demonstrated problems. A lot of the breakout problems that we've had in schools can be linked directly to athletics. The the data is pretty clear on that. Yet a lawsuit was filed Thursday in Lansing on behalf of let them play Michigan and three parents individually suing for their children against the state health director Elizabeth Hertel. And they don't like the COVID-19 rules and testing procedures arguing they're invalid and violate due process rights. Come on, people get a clue. Oh, this is ridiculous.
Christine Barry 19:19
I think the due process had to do with the public comment or something. It was some procedural thing. That wouldn't have been possible because of the way that we're handling health rules, I think,
Walt Sorg 19:34
straighter Procedures Act they're complaining about. But the bottom line is they're trying to overturn the rule because they don't like the rule not because of the procedure that was used to put it in place. This isn't some highfalutin academic exercise. They don't want the kids to have to go through testing and wear masks in order to compete in high school athletics, as though being on your high school softball team is a constitutional right. It's not it's a privilege.
Christine Barry 19:58
No, it's not. It's A privilege and
Walt Sorg 20:02
if it was a right I wouldn't have been cut from my high school football team because of my athletic incompetence, or, more importantly, the golf team,
Christine Barry 20:09
and people wouldn't be not be denied participation for getting Ds, you know, not maintaining academic progress. I mean, come on.
Walt Sorg 20:18
It's ridiculous. On a positive note, though, the vaccination rate is going up, the governor has raised the daily goal from 50,000 shots a day to 100,000 shots per day. And when you consider we're in a state with about seven, seven half million people who are old enough for the vaccine, that means we could be we could have this whole thing done if people would cooperate, we could have herd immunity in another 30 days, because we've already seen more than 2 million people get at least their first dose. The new goal is based on the state's successful efforts to expand efficient vaccine administration, equitable vaccine administration, a lot now of the very large sites like where I got vaccinated, I got vaccinated in a huge pavilion in Michigan see university that was drive through, there's a second drive thru shut a spot here in Lansing in an old Sears auto repair facility. And you see spots like that more and more through the urban areas of Michigan. So they can really run people through run and assembly line basis. It's very efficient, and it's working. It is working people are lined up for it. The problem is the people that won't get in line,
Christine Barry 21:26
I had a pretty smooth process getting my first shot up at Memorial that that went really well. I didn't have to wait very long. I thought that I would I thought there would be a long line and it would be a little bit more chaotic. And it wasn't. I don't know what our rates are for vaccination in Shiawassee County, but I hope that
Walt Sorg 21:43
you can find that on the bridge website.
Christine Barry 21:47
I know but I don't feel like crying today. And I think it will make me cry
Walt Sorg 21:50
yeah, I was wrong, by the way. And the number of doses that have been administered already, Michigan has poked people 4.2 million times. That doesn't mean 4.2 million people have been vaccinated because there are a lot like me who have received two shots, but still in a state of 10 million people 4.2 million pokes is a very, very impressive number. And it is growing, like I said by 100,000 a day now, that is very encouraging.
Christine Barry 22:17
You know, and I'm gonna joke about something that I feel that you might, you might feel necessary to edit out later, but it really is. But I just think I just think if we could carry around dart guns and vaccinate people, that way, we would be golden. You know, if we knew, okay, you're flying a Trump flag. Okay, I'm going to shoot everybody in that car, just with a vaccine. I think that would be a really fun and rewarding way to increase public safety.
Walt Sorg 22:52
I wonder if that could be covered under the Second Amendment? You know, so carrying a nine millimeter you carry around a dart gun?
Christine Barry 22:59
What does you know shall not be infringed mean to you Walt?
Walt Sorg 23:02
yeah, that well regulated militia could take a whole new meaning, I suppose. Let's move on to infrastructure.
Christine Barry 23:09
All right, the other focus of the Biden White House fixing America's aging infrastructure. Think of it as if you were a landlord, kinda like a slumlord. Your properties were developing leaking roofs, wiring issues and foundation damage, you have two choices, give up and watch the value of your property continue to go downhill or invest the money to repair the property, so it's still the most desirable home on the block. responsibility for implementing the Biden program falls primarily on two cabinet departments, transportation and energy. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, a longtime advocate for the economic benefits of an investment strategy says we're at a critical point of disrepair.
Jennifer Granholm 23:51
The US airports ranked in the top 25. One in five miles of road is in poor condition. We see what happens every year because of these climate events. The infrastructure going down the grid going down, we spend huge amounts of money every single year cleaning up after that $70 billion dollars on average every year just from power outages. So let's build our nation, invest in our infrastructure, invest in job creation, our people. And you know what that will do, of course, is to get the economy humming.
Walt Sorg 24:25
Christine, I think the problem that the President is having in Congress, which of course is a different world from reality, but republicans look on infrastructure and they see the 1950s. For them infrastructure is roads, bridges, airports, ports, and maybe the water supply. Biden and Granholm and Pete Buttigieg, the Secretary of Transportation are looking on the infrastructure of the 21st century. Things like renewable clean energy, things like electric cars, things like a new electric grid capable of operating more efficiently, things like insulating homes, things like repairing and strengthening our healthcare infrastructure. And that's where the two sides are colliding. And of course, you've got Republicans who are never going to say that they'll raise taxes on anything to pay for anything, they would rather either do nothing, or build up the national debt to even higher record levels.
Christine Barry 25:27
So the ones who think of it, like the 1950s, I mean, America goes through a renewal every so often, I think every country does mean before the 1950s. What was it the late 1800s, when we were investing in railroads, and, you know, it means to connect,
Walt Sorg 25:49
you know, a lot of our urban water systems were built in the early 1900s. In the 1920s, those sewer pipes are getting off old.
Christine Barry 25:58
So it isn't just something recent that I don't know what they're thinking of it. So they're just so afraid of, quote, unquote, socialism, that word. But look, that's the these are the eras that they're very happy with, though, right? The the man of the house goes out and makes the money, the woman stays home and raises the children. I mean, this is their America, and their America is made possible because there are really good jobs, and one person in the household can pay for a middle class lifestyle. And if you want that you have to invest in the country. I mean, that's just all there is to it. And not only that I you know, and she's talking about $70 billion every year just from power outages, power outages, have a human cost. People die when power goes out.
Walt Sorg 26:48
You just ask them in Texas.
Christine Barry 26:50
Yeah. I mean, it just, it just happens. And I mean, you can take the climate events, and just set that aside for now, it's for for folks who don't really believe that climate change is something that happens because of man, and humans and our behavior. But look at how our roads Look, I mean, you there's a real human cost to bad roads as well. I mean, people get killed when they're driving along and hit a pretty deep, a deep hole in the road. There's a human cost all of this, why not get on board and negotiate in good faith for what you're willing to do? And I don't know if they would do that. I think we learned when President Obama took office, that they'd be willing to stop progress just so that the other side doesn't get a win. And that's unfortunate. But look what's Look, I mean, our bridges fall down, dude. People drive over a bridge and it just breaks in the middle. Like, what more do you need to know that you need to invest in your infrastructure,
Walt Sorg 27:58
one, especially the infrastructure of the future that what republicans are afraid of is change. And they refuse to admit that we are constantly evolving. Something I mentioned in the interview, we'll be playing in a moment with Charlie Ballard. I recently watched the documentary The last blockbuster. And you know, we all remember when Blockbuster Video was the monster of retail with 1000s of stores around the country. There's one left, because the technology pass them by we no longer get DVDs and VHS tapes and all of that we stream stuff. And for the most part, because the technology changed. A lot of people were displaced by that a lot of people lost their jobs at Blockbuster Video stores. But a lot more people were hired by netflix and the other streaming services and a lot more for the internet services and all of that things change. And republicans simply, at least at the policy level, are afraid of change or afraid of embracing change. And that's a big part of it. But the President I think is being incredibly smart. In the way he is presenting this plan. He's not talking about let's spend a lot of money for the sake of spending a lot of money. His whole introduction to the plan was clearly populist. He was introduced at the speech not by a politician by but by a local skilled tradesmen, a union member in Pittsburgh, and IBEW line worker, Mike Flore. And he made it clear his strategy for building public support was by appealing directly to the benefits from Middle America.
Walt Sorg 29:29
It's time to build our economy from the bottom up from the middle out, not the top down. I had worked very well, for the economy overall had more, because Wall Street didn't build this country. You great middle class built this country and unions built the middle class in his time. This time, we're rebuilding the middle class. We're gonna bring everybody along. So today I'm proposing a plan for the nation that reward Work, not just rewards Well, it builds a fair economy that gives everybody a chance to succeed, as can you create the strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world. It's not a plan to tinker around the edges. It's a once in a generation investment in America, unlike anything we've seen or done, since we built the interstate highway system in the space race decades ago.
Walt Sorg 30:27
And that was a theme that was repeated on the Sunday shows by the two chief spokespersons for the program, who are Jennifer Granholm along with Pete Buttigieg. And you and I were talking before we started recording the podcast. The choice of those two was no accident. They are really, really good on the talk shows they come across Well, they present well, and they can't get flustered by questions that try to take them off message.
Christine Barry 30:50
Yeah, they do a good job with their messaging. And for me, it's fun to watch Jennifer out there doing what she wants to do, you know, which is to advocate for these investments and for green energy and the environment. She really has a passion about that. So that's, that's really rewarding.
Walt Sorg 31:07
To find out more about the potential of the Biden plan for Michigan's economy, I turn to a good friend of the podcast and a personal good friend as well, senior Michigan State University economist Professor Charles Ballard, Professor Ballard, always a pleasure to welcome you to the podcast. Obviously, as an economist, you got to be pretty excited by the biggest plan for investing in America really, since the interstate highway system.
Charles Ballard 31:33
Yeah, um, there's a lot in this. And my reaction to so much of it is, we really should have been doing this. For the last 30-40 years, we've just, sadly allowed our infrastructure to decay. And that that was a mistake five years ago, and it was a mistake 10 and 20 and 30. And 40 years ago, we kept making the same mistake by not maintaining this stuff by allowing our roads and bridges of the estimate that I saw 230,000 bridges in America need to be either seriously repaired or replaced. We shouldn't have allowed that to happen that backlog. Similarly, we've got we've seen in this winter, some of the problems with our electric grid, some of the problems with our water systems. And I see also that some of the money is going to public school of repairing and modernizing some of the public schools and in you know, I've been, especially when my my kid was playing high school, school sports. I've been to a lot of schools in Michigan, and a lot of them are lovely buildings in an excellent condition when modern facilities but some of them I shook my head and said, how is it that a child in the richest country that there's ever been in the world has to go to school in a place that doesn't have adequate ventilation doesn't have adequate lighting doesn't have adequate computer connections? You know, really, a lot of this is just very long overdue,
Walt Sorg 33:12
as you know very well, we have been debating the state of Michigan's roads for a long time. I remember back during the Granholm administration, when it was proposed that we raise our gas tax by a whopping nine cents a gallon, phased in over three years. And that would have been enough to fix the problem by not doing anything or doing very little, the problem now is really multiplied itself to the point where without federal help, we simply can't do it.
Charles Ballard 33:37
Well, right. It's sort of like, you know, if you've got a little problem on your roof, if you repair it this year, it'll cost you some money. If you if you let the leak continue for, for how long, it'll cost you a lot more because the damage will be will be more profound. And so that was just an error on the part of our, our public and our elected officials to not grab the bull by the horns at the right time, which was years ago, but now at least Okay, we're gonna have we're going to be doing it. At least if it passes I there are questions about whether the full package will pass. But I have I think that a substantial fraction of this will pass. I think the President Biden would do well to remind people, he's not planning to spend $2.3 trillion this month. This is spread over for eight years. You can't do all the sewer repairs and road repairs and school building repairs and electric vehicle infrastructure. You can't do it overnight. You got to spread it over several years. And the plan is to do this over a period of eight years, which seems reasonable to me.
Walt Sorg 34:54
It reminds me a lot I mentioned the interstate highway system in leading into the segment of it's very much like Eisenhower experienced when he proposed the interstate highway system. It took him several years to get it approved. And even then there was tremendous opposition because of what was viewed then as the massive cost. Yet, imagine America without the interstate highway system.
Charles Ballard 35:14
Yeah. And Eisenhower, I've read the story about when he was a junior army officer, and he had a reason to take a long automobile trip across the country. And he had this eye opening experience of how inadequate our roads were. And I I'm glad that he he's that he was able to push that through successfully. And and when you look back at it, those statements about how expensive it was, seemed ludicrous. I mean, it was a bargain because it has provided us with a transportation system. That's that's let people do all sorts of people and businesses. You know, you see so many trucks on those interstates, and they they deliver goods at good prices on time. So hats off to President Eisenhower.
Walt Sorg 36:09
Yeah, I've actually gone through the Eisenhower Museum in Kansas. And there's a whole exhibit on the pushback he got on the interstate highway system. It's really it's quite educational. I've never forgotten that it was like 2025 years ago when I saw it. Let's let's just dig down into the impact on Michigan because obviously there's a ton of money being spent. And interestingly enough, a lot of it's under the control of our former governor Jennifer Granholm now the Secretary of Energy, and the Secretary of Transportation beat Buda judge from South Bend, Indiana, who's a part time Michigan resident, it looks like a lot of good news for Michigan beginning of course, with the industry that kind of built the state, the auto industry, not as dominant now in our economy, but still pretty big player
Charles Ballard 36:51
5060 years ago, the auto industry was 1/4 of the entire economy of Michigan or even more. Now, it's in recent years, it's been something like 8% of our economy, that's still when you compare that with the national average and less than 1% autos are very important to Michigan, and the auto industry is poised to go through yet another transformation. Well, the transformation is ongoing, moving more toward electric and more toward autonomous vehicles. And so I think that's, that's got to be good for Michigan. Moreover, I want to draw attention to a group of people who have done or possibly less well than any other in America, in the last 40 years or so. And that's men with with only a high school education or maybe not even that. These are folks whose real wages on average are less than they were in 1973. These are people who have lost employment opportunities, who's just a series of disasters, including a less educated white man or the group that's most likely to die by suicide or or opioid overdose or alcohol poisoning. So, you know, this is a group that that hasn't done well for a very long time. And sure, you know, we can get training programs for them. And sure, we can try to get some of them to go to college. But if you're 45 years old, and you don't have a college degree, it's hard to go back. I like the fact I hope I see a lot of guys with, with orange vests and yellow helmets, because this is going to provide these infrastructure projects will provide employment for engineers, of course, and supervisors and managers. But a lot of the work is done by Middlesex skill, low skill, people and maybe for maybe for the first time in a long time, those people at the bottom of the of the employment ladder will have some good years as a result of all of the construction projects involved here. And so I'm I'm generally thinking that if this passes, it will be better for our economy.
Walt Sorg 39:20
Another part of the plan that I think could be very transformational for Michigan, is the emphasis on expanding broadband so that we have 100% coverage of broadband in the country. All of a sudden it makes the demographics of Michigan, which is really right now we're because our population is concentrated in the southeast corner. It makes it viable for a lot of people to move out state and really change the face of the state.
Charles Ballard 39:45
When you talk to people from Gladwin county people from Missaukee County. The the rural areas in that are north of that line from Saginaw to ludington are so What's their number one issue for their communities is that their businesses and their individuals don't have access to this modern infrastructure, or at least they don't have full access, you know, they don't have the high speed that hurts the small businesses in these places, and it hurts the individual families, especially in the age of COVID. So, um, I think that that could, you know, it's, it's high time for us to get to the point where all Americans have the full access to this modern technology, because the the the leading end, the leading edge part of the economy has, is totally involved in digital electronics, and internet and all sorts of stuff like that. And so since the most dynamic parts of the economy are completely linked up with that, if you're not completely linked up with it, that that leads you that leaves you behind, and I think this is I agree with you completely. Well, this is potentially very good news for people in in rural Michigan, mostly north of here,
Walt Sorg 41:21
there's also a big component in there of support for advanced research, at our great research universities, we have two of them here, and would seem that there's gonna be a lot of money flowing in Michigan State University, is the number one atomic physics location in the world for research, University of Michigan has tremendous research in the medical sciences, among other things. Looks like more good news for Michigan was money will flow in here for universities that are ready to use it.
Charles Ballard 41:51
Both U of M and MSU have some excellent engineering departments, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and and other and you mentioned the medical that, you know, we've known for a long time that the research universities are a driver for economic growth. And so I'm, of course, you know, truth in advertising. I'm an employee of Michigan State University. So, you know, I, I'm glad if if my place is gonna get
Walt Sorg 42:24
We're glad it's going to Ann Arbor too.
Charles Ballard 42:27
we're glad to absolutely, absolutely, and, and, you know, so many important discoveries have happened at these two universities, cancer drugs, agriculture, agricultural techniques, medical advances, medical devices, and flow cytometers, all these kinds of things that have been developed at MSU and U of M. And so I'm looking forward to seeing more of that. I think that's going to push our economy forward.
Walt Sorg 43:01
Something that Jennifer Granholm was pushing as governor and it will continue to push the Secretary of Energy is the advancement of wind energy. she points out I think, quite correctly, that Michigan is uniquely positioned to be a major manufacturer for the industry, because you know, these blades on the turbine, the wind turbines are absolutely massive, they can be the length of a football field long, the best way to get them transported to where they're needed, is by ship and we happen to be surrounded by the Great Lakes.
Charles Ballard 43:31
Yeah, I think you're right. I, I think that we've already seen some wind energy investments. But I I predict that we're going to have a lot more of that. It's, you know, there is still resistance in Congress to the idea that there's climate change going on, but there's no there's no debate in the scientific community anymore. 40 years ago, 30 years ago, scientists look at the data and they said, Well, maybe there's a trend we're not sure. Now there's no debate and and absolutely anthropogenic climate change is happening. And we saw the the awful fires in California in recent years and and various other places, we've got to do something. And what that means is we have to reduce our reliance on burning fossil fuels. Wind is part of that solar is part of that. And energy conservation, of course, is part of it. So I think that's going to be good for the world economy. Good for the National, as you say good for the Michigan economy.
Walt Sorg 44:35
Let's take a look at one of the potential downsides of all of those. And that's the transition problems for workers in some industries started with the auto industry. It takes fewer workers to make an electric car than it does to make an internal combustion engine powered car.
Charles Ballard 44:48
Well, that's right. And this is really a continuation of a trend that's been going on for 50 years or more of New technologies. You know, it used to be that I mean, I, I know a guy who replaced the left, install the left rear door handle on Chevy's for 30 years. And those jobs are gone because of computers and robots. And now we're facing another transition. And so I think, um, you know, I welcome the the electrification of our of our vehicle fleet. And I think we need to do a whole lot more than we've ever done before to make sure that the workers who are adversely affected by that are not left behind. And that means training, it means income support during transitions, it means a lot, I don't think that we should not go to the new technologies. But what we've done so much in the United States in the last 40 years or so, is we've gone to the new technologies, and if that leaves people behind, well, that's that's tough. that's their problem. And that's, that's not I think, the right attitude.
Walt Sorg 46:05
I was watching a documentary on Netflix about the last Blockbuster Video store, he can't stop change, it's going to happen. blockbuster was a hugely successful Corporation. And now they're down to one store,
Charles Ballard 46:17
right? Well, and we, you know, so many, you know, my parents are old enough to remember times when most elevators had an elevator operator. And when if you wanted to make a phone call, you had to talk to the operator, Mabel, get me three, four, or five, nine, and she would do and then electronic switching came along, and you didn't need those. But the the kind of Luddite complaints about technology have usually not borne fruit, ultimately, we're able to find people work. Um, we don't have massive unemployment. We, you know, before COVID, we, the unemployment rate was quite low. But we what we have is these transitions that are difficult for people. And we need to have public policy that's aimed at making sure that people can, can weather those transitions as smoothly as possible.
Walt Sorg 47:17
We are out of time, but I do want to talk with you down the road a little bit about two more of those transitions. And those are in the freight hauling business, which is going to autonomous vehicles more and more. And also in retail, which is certainly seen a huge shift brought about largely by Amazon and Walmart, which is more and more online trade. But the way we buy things has changed an awful lot. And again, literally millions of people are going to be impacted because those have always been two industries that have been major drivers of employment.
Charles Ballard 47:47
You're absolutely right. So I look forward to that conversation. Walt. And I'm, I'm, I imagine that next time you and I see each other we will be able to find something to talk about. Yeah, maybe
Walt Sorg 47:58
Yeah maybe we can even do it face to face.
Charles Ballard 48:00
Oh wouldn't that be nice?
Walt Sorg 48:02
Wouldn't that be a shock? We'll do it at a restaurant since we both been vaccinated.
Charles Ballard 48:05
Walt Sorg 48:06
Great. Professor Charles Ballard. Always a pleasure. Thanks for your insights.
Charles Ballard 48:10
Thank you. Well,
Christine Barry 48:11
well, thank you so much, Dr. Ballard. I love it when he joins us. He is so interesting. Let's move on to voter suppression. The package of new anti voter laws enacted in Georgia is having a huge ripple effect across the nation. A lot of major US corporations, including Georgia heavyweights, Delta Airlines and Coca Cola are weighing in against the laws. The Delta announcement could be a positive sign for Michigan as well. Detroit is delta is the largest hub outside of Georgia, with nearly half of all flights out of Metro airport on Delta.
Walt Sorg 48:44
That does make a big difference because I think a lot of employers now we're going to help drive the debate in Michigan. The announcements by delta and Coca Cola in Georgia, we're kind of warning shots across the bow for other states, Arizona, and Michigan being among them the announcement by Major League Baseball that they're playing the all star game out of Atlanta, another signal to the state of Georgia, even though Stacey Abrams isn't happy about it. But still you remember back when North Carolina had the bathroom bills, the anti transgender bills, and a lot of corporations told North Carolina you go to hell, we're not spending our money. If we don't have to North Carolina and North Carolina back down. Georgia's not gonna back down. But this may help stop some of these anti voter suppression bills in other states. And it may also help get Joe Manchin and Kristen cinema off the dime of doing something about the filibuster. So that HR1 or S1 can be passed in Congress, and a lot of these state laws overwritten by a federal comprehensive voter rights bill.
Christine Barry 49:48
Well, you know, the thing about this, though, is that I didn't see Delta Airlines or Coca Cola stopping or stepping in prior to this. There was you know, you could see this happening in Georgia. And they didn't act before it became law, when it would have been a little bit more effective. And so I don't know if they're responding now to just the sheer outrage across the country, or if they've decided, I don't know why the responding now I'm glad they are. And I think you know, what you just mentioned about Georgia that might be one good thing that comes out of it is that Georgia will be the Flashpoint to get something changed in the Senate, whether they go back to a talking filibuster, or they do something in there so that we can pass some proper voting rights packages. But it's hard for me to be too appreciative for this corporate support, because it wasn't there until after the damage was done.
Walt Sorg 50:48
There's a really good discussion of the role of corporate America in this debate on our sister podcast, a republic if you could keep it. Rick Wilson is the guest this week. Rick is the former republican campaign strategist who wrote the book, everything Trump touches dies. And they talked a lot about how corporate America could impact the debate. In a discussion with the CO hosted that podcast, Mark Brewer, the former Democratic party chair, and Jeff Timmer, the former Michigan executive director of the Republican Party, Wilson said that a lot of what's going on right now with the GOP with these 350 plus bills in 43 states is simply a matter of dealing with desperation for relevancy.
Rick Wilson 51:32
This is for them existential. They see a rising shifting demographic tide, particularly in the Sunbelt. And they recognize that they've reached a point where the only way to win is to cheat because it is very difficult to put together in Georgia, for instance, a winning coalition if you're getting blown the hell out by African American voters and moderate suburban voters. So they're gonna cheat, they're gonna make it harder, they're gonna break the system that has worked for a long time to encourage people to get in the political pool. They used to believe that if we got more people who were low propensity voters into the system, it would be better for the country and better for the party at the same time. And now what they really want is to reduce that voting pool, they want to shrink it down. They want to make it much wider and much older and much less educated.
Walt Sorg 52:24
And there'll be more discussion on that podcast as well about this whole issue of the next episode, features as their special guest commentator, the former presidential candidate and Governor of Ohio, john Kasich, who is right now considered a rhino. In fact, they've got an open senate seat in Ohio and the first thing everybody said was, well Kasich's of the question. He's an acceptable to Republicans. The guy was their governor for eight years as a Republican, but that's where the Republican Party is going. Also weighing in on this, our good friends at the Meidas Touch shoe have this take on saving our democracy.
The Meidas Touch PAC 53:02
There is an unprecedented new wave of state election laws on the horizon, aimed at making it harder to vote states are not engaging in trying to suppress voters whatsoever. Republican lawmakers in at least 43 states are considering more than 250 proposed bills that would make it harder to vote. What we saw happen on January 6, the insurrection in Washington DC was a violent version of what we're watching happened in state capitals across the country, Governor Kemp signed a sweeping republican backed bill to update the state election system. They want to restrict placement of ballot drop boxes, cut hours for early voting on weekends, and require photo ID to vote by mail. It's now a misdemeanor to hand out food and beverages in voting line the dramatic scene at the Georgia Capitol where a lawmaker was arrested after knocking on the door where the governor was signing a bill. What's happening now is not just voter suppression. It's a return to the Jim Crow era. The right to vote is precious, almost sacred in a democratic society. It is the most powerful, nonviolent instrument or tool that we have. I don't want everybody to vote on leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down. It puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats politics is a zero sum game rather than changing their message. They are busy trying to change the rules. I believe we have one more responsibility to restore access for all of our citizens who desire to participate in the democratic process.
Stacy Abrams 54:39
The best solution that we have action by Congress that HR one the for the people Act, passed for the protection of democracy.
Christine Barry 54:53
Okay, time for some political notes. First up perennial candidate john James James making noises like he is ready for a third run in four years. Mr. James recently launched a political committee. It's a basically a fundraising fundraising organization called mission first people always. And if you're wondering what that means, nobody knows. But he says businesses, business leaders do not get to choose whether they satisfy the customer or make payroll, they're expected to do both. And mission first people always pack will support candidates who bring this kind of balanced real world leadership to American government. So I don't know how he knows that it's been like four years since he's run his business hasn't,
Walt Sorg 55:38
I mean, at least more platitudes, and very little on specific. The Independent Redistricting Commission is asking the supreme court for more time to do its job because of the problems with the census. The State Constitution, the amendment that was adopted in 2018, requires them to have their maps ready by the middle of September, but the census data won't even be available until the end of September. So the commission is so the Supreme Court to basically say, well, we're gonna waive the constitution requirement right now. And you don't have to have your maps done until January 25. They also want to move the filing deadline for the August primary from the middle of April to the middle of May, to give the Bureau of elections work time to update the qualified voter file. And to get the all the mechanics and it's very complicated setting up an election after maps are drawn, there is a lot of detailed work that has to be done. And this whole thing with the census is putting just an incredible crunch not just on election officials in Michigan, but throughout the entire nation. And hopefully the Supreme Court will put practicality in front of literal interpretation of the Constitution because the constitutional language is very clear. There's no if ands or buts about it, and the Supreme Court's gonna have to say we're inserting and if and or but
Christine Barry 57:00
and I don't know what to think about whether they will or feel that they can do that. But I did have a question for you. Walt, just because I wanted your opinion on this. If their request was granted, it would move public comment to December 12 through January 25, which is a lot of holiday time in there a lot of holiday vacation, what do you think that would do to public comment, anything, increase it decrease,
Walt Sorg 57:24
they would probably tend to limit it more and more to special interest groups who are already organizing statewide to impact the process. I remember talking with the commissioners from California, who provided a lot of input into Michigan's proposal. And they said that their hearings were absolutely jammed in California plus they were very popular as a streaming program. They wiped out the soap operas a lot in California because people were watching it, there won't be a problem with getting people to testify and to get people involved. The challenge for the commission is going to be to sort out who's here as an individual and who's here representing some special interest group, whether it's a political party, a union, business group, whatever.
Christine Barry 58:08
Well, here's something more fun to talk about. It's not a surprise at all. But legal marijuana is a big hit in Michigan. Yeah, hurray! good and expected news, I suppose cities that have embraced legal recreational marijuana have found that there has been no increase in substance abuse or crime. Related to that. Anyway, there is some concern over how edibles are being kept at home though, because toddlers are getting their sticky little hands on them and eating a bunch of them because they're candy or brownies or something. The bigger picture here is that the revenue from recreational marijuana is expected to jump. The Senate fiscal agency predicts that in 2022 – 2023, the sales of recreational marijuana might produce $154 million in excise tax revenue and 15% of that goes to local and county entities.
Walt Sorg 59:03
And right now they are happy for any money that comes in from whatever source. I haven't noticed. I've got a lot of marijuana stores in my immediate neighborhood here in Lansing. And I haven't noticed any problems developing around those stores. I have a niece who works at one of them. And it's just like liquor stores man it's just it's the same thing except as I always tell my police buddies who aren't favorable of legalized marijuana. Would you rather deal with a drunk or with a stoner?
Christine Barry 59:30
And they always the stoner. The stoner just wants to chill man.
Walt Sorg 59:33
Yeah, just give give me some Doritos, and I'm happy man. Somebody could probably use some little mellowing out right now is Ron Weiser, a member of the University of Michigan Board of Regents and the republican state chairperson, who has been formally asked by his colleagues on the U of M Board of Regents to resign in the wake of the comments he made calling the three elected women running Michigan witches who It'd be ready to be burned at the stake, and suggesting the assassination of a couple of Republican members of Congress who had the temerity to vote to impeach Donald Trump. Ron Weiser, of course, even though the resolution was overwhelmingly approved by the democrats on the board, and it's a democrat dominated board, wiser said, hell no ain't going. He agreed that some of the things in the resolution of censure were appropriate. But he's not going to resign. And quite frankly, there's no way to force him out other than the governor convening a hearing to determine if he should be fired for cause. And politically, that's a non starter for governor, the governor. So I don't think Whitmer is going to initiate anything like that. But Ron Weiser may be rich, but he's continuing to have his problems. not as big as they are for Matt Gaetz. But still he's got his problems.
Christine Barry 1:00:50
He's an embarrassment to U of M. But I mean, that's my opinion as a as an alum. But I don't think that Ron Weiser was really suggesting assassination.
Walt Sorg 1:01:04
he just said something stupid.
Christine Barry 1:01:06
Yeah. And I don't think he was suggesting the leaders of our state be literally burned at the stake. But the thing is, he's talking to a group of people who like the this imagery, they like this language. They like the word assassination. They like the words, shooting and right. They just, they just really like that imagery, it calls to them, because they're so emotional about it. And he's playing to that. And as an elected representative of an institution, you should not be doing that because it reflects poorly on the institution. And I actually got into a little bit of trouble once on the board, because I took a screenshot from Reddit of this post that I thought was just frickin hilarious. I don't even remember exactly what it was. But it was hilarious. But apparently, it was a little dirty, but not really. I just thought it was really funny. And so I put it on Facebook, and I got a couple of phone calls from my colleagues about is that really appropriate? You know, could the school look bad? I didn't think of it that way when I posted it. And after that, I was just like, really sensitive about it. I can't imagine that Ron Weiser went into these conversations, not thinking at all about how it might reflect on U of M. So shame on him
Walt Sorg 1:02:24
to shame on him. But I think shame on the democrats too. Quite honestly, I am so sick and tired of faux outrage. This whole kerfuffle over his language from Democrats is a lot of bullshit. It's just an opportunity to get some cheap shots against Ron Weiser he deserves them, but not at the level that it's coming out. Dana Nestle, I think's been pretty good about it. She's laughed about it a lot, and made fun of it. But going beyond that, just let it go. People are aware that he said it. But there's a lot more important things in life. It's sort of like this outrage, it's going on in the border. Now republicans calling it a crisis at the border. That's not a crisis. It's a challenge. It's a it's a mess down there. And it's a challenge. What's a crisis is climate. What's a crisis is COVID. The border thing? Yeah, it's a problem. What Ron wiser said is bad. But it is not worth two weeks of debate and outrage over something that everybody knows, like you said that he just said something stupid. It's not something you really met.
Christine Barry 1:03:25
No, I you know, but I will push back a little bit on that. Because this is a party that clings to these violent statements. And we've said it, how many times how many times have we even said,
Walt Sorg 1:03:37
Well, I agree with it. They're both both sides are wrong. But two wrongs don't make a right. And I think we've got to rise
Christine Barry 1:03:43
Christine Barry 1:03:44
are only wrong in their pushback, because what they're pushing back against is askew to what the real problem is, which is the violence coming from the right, and the violent talk coming from the right, you think this kind of stuff isn't a dog whistle, you know, or, you know, a bullhorn these days to these to these violent fringe elements, who are on their side? I don't think like, you know, we're clear, we don't think Ron Weiser thought that you should grab governor Whitmer burner at the stake. We know that well, we know that there are people who are
Walt Sorg 1:04:18
one of assassinator Yeah,
Christine Barry 1:04:19
in in prison now are in jail now are going to trial now because they want to do kill her. And that's that's this group. So you know, I'm glad that I'm glad that the Regents have spoken out about it, because I think it reflects poorly on U of M. But I do know that this guy is one of the biggest donors to U of M. And you know, all universities rely on their donors.
Walt Sorg 1:04:41
He's given them $100 million. I mean, that ain't done exactly chump change.
Christine Barry 1:04:45
He's got his name on stuff. I mean, I'm not happy about it, but that's how that goes.
Walt Sorg 1:04:51
If you want to talk about your responsible speech, though, that's probably much more damaging. Check out our next item. Our good friend Patrick Colbeck, the former state senator
Christine Barry 1:05:00
Yeah, here's another one Dominion voting systems. Already suing Fox News and Trump attorneys for billions in damages is now taking aim at second tier conspiracy theory grifters as they should, including the would be gubernatorial candidate and former State Senator Patrick Colbeck. Colbeck has made it a new career, I guess running around spreading conspiracy theories Collbeck has spoken at multiple rail rallies since the election, including a January 6 event where he told the crowd that Joe Biden was not the President Elect. He keeps saying it's propaganda. They're trying to convince you of that he's speaking out against dominion, Dominion has done a really good job by the way of going after these people and holding them accountable for saying these lies, it's really important to do that it's not doing much to stem this really weird wave of opinion that the election was stolen.
Walt Sorg 1:05:55
It is forcing these people to take responsibility for their irresponsible comments. And when you sue somebody for a billion dollars, you tend to get their attention. Now, they haven't sued colbeck. yet. They will though, if he continues, they point out in the cease and desist letter they sent to him that he has been soliciting campaign cash or money contributions that go directly into his personal business, and is collected more than a million dollars so far in contributions, why people would give him money God only knows but callbacks been going around the state with a PowerPoint presentation that says that the maintenance stole the election for Joe Biden in Michigan, which is 100% pure bullshit.
Christine Barry 1:06:35
The good news is Colbeck is scheduled to be part of an election integrity workshop in Lansing, organized by the Michigan conservative union. And as we've talked about for the entire hour now. You know, it's really the republicans you can trust when it comes to election integrity. And everybody, you know, having the right to vote and having their votes counted.
Walt Sorg 1:06:59
That's right. The party of democracy lives on in America and I like to say that the GOP is now the TOP. Trump only party.
Christine Barry 1:07:09
But where does that leave q?
Walt Sorg 1:07:11
That was a great what you should watch Saturday night lives Weekend Update. They make a really good point about q. q is really fascinated with the whole idea of pedophiles and all of that they accused Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and God knows who else have been pedophiles. But now when it comes to Matt Gaetz and the charges against him, they're like, whoa, wait a minute. Let's wait for some proof.
Christine Barry 1:07:33
Oh, Matt Gaetz, I don't know. Yeah, doesn't sound so bad. Yeah, maybe
Walt Sorg 1:07:39
it's okay after all. And now,
Christine Barry 1:07:44
I think we are done. We invite you to head on over to our website, Michigan Policast comm where we have links, tweets, videos, memes, all kinds of things providing background. There were a couple of polls we didn't mention in particular, when we were talking today, we'll have links to those and some of the highlights in our notes as well.
Walt Sorg 1:08:03
As always we welcome your comments. You can email us at EMI, Policast and gmail.com, or even comment via Facebook or Twitter. And make sure you subscribe to our republic if you can keep it with longtime Michigan political insiders Jeff Timmer. And Mark Brewer. Their guests as I mentioned, this Wednesday's podcast will be former Ohio Governor and 2016 presidential candidate john k sick talking about his efforts to redeem the Republican Party. You can find their podcast on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, tune in and IHeart Radio.
Michigan Policast with Christine Barry and Walt Sorg is a production of Michigan citizens for a better tomorrow.