Michigan Policast for Monday, February 4 2019

Former MDP chair Brandon Dillon says the lessons learned in 2016 and 2018 will shape the party’s gameplay for 2020, and also says Gretchen Whitmer may have to go around the Legislature to “fix the damn roads”

And a whole lot more …

  • Walt and Christine talk about Governor Whitmer's first big test:  the dangerous polar vortex that brought freezing temps to the state.  What did it mean, how did she do, and how did it compare to Governor Snyder's leadership during times of emergency?
  • A lot of folks thought we were going to see a settlement in the federal lawsuit over Michigan’s gerrymandered districts, but instead, we're going to court.
  • Lavora Barnes takes over as the Chair of the MDP.

Fix the Damn Roads report: Just how bad are Michigan roads, and why?

Congratulations to @LavoraBarnes on being elected to MDP party chair! @michigandems Click To Tweet

Resources for this week:

Former @MichiganDems Chair @BrandonDillon75 thinks @gretchenwhitmer may have to go around the Michigan legislature to Fix the Damn Roads. Find out why on this week's @MiPolicast Click To Tweet


This show covers big money, income equality, and the bliss of ignorance.

I start with data from a report called Income Inequality by State, and it ain't pretty.  Some startling facts about Michigan:

  • We're the 15th most unequal state when it comes to income
  • The top 1 percent in Michigan took home 25 times more than the bottom 99 percent in 2012
  • 1% took 82% of income growth in MIchigan since 2009 (recovery from great recession)
  • In four states (Nevada, Wyoming, Michigan, and Alaska), only the top 1 percent experienced rising incomes between 1979 and 2007, and the average income of the bottom 99 percent fell.

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Here we are again with another episode of pure genius.  🙂  This time we're about education .. initiatives from the state, and initiatives from the tea party at the local level.  We also have some new info on transportation.

Amy does a great job covering Snyder's new education proposals, as outlined in the State of the State.  Click here for her excellent work on this topic.  Charter schools, EAA, privatization, and a bunch of other failures.  In his own words:  “It's an environment that's not creating success for our students.”

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In this episode we talk about the scary Contract for Liberty, brought to us by Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.  Let's be clear, it's liberty as Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat interpret it, according to their understanding of the bible.  There are 10 points to the Contract for Todd Courser's worldview, which are

  • Freedom to be born
  • Freedom to defend ourselves
  • Health care freedom
  • Freedom from regulatory tyranny (lol)
  • Freedom to own property
  • Freedom from economic intrusion
  • Freedom from unjust taxation
  • Restoration to the right to privacy from government intrusion
  • Free and independent state
  • Bonus concept #11 – Freedom to own rainbow unicorns and sea monkey ninjas

Eclectablog also published a good take-down of this piece of garbage here.

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Our first episode for 2015!  Today we talk about the Hastert Rule, corporate welfare queens, and student athlete unions.

We kick off with Kevin Cotter, the new Michigan Speaker of the House.  He's considering bringing the Hastert Rule to Lansing, ensuring that the minority can never get a vote on a bill unless the majority of the majority caucus agrees with it.  What does that mean by the numbers?  78 out of 110 State Reps can want to vote on something, but unless 32 of them are Republicans, Cotter won't let it come to the floor.

This disenfranchises the majority of Michiganders, since over 50% of Michiganders voted for Democratic representation.  #gerrymandering #puremichigan #hashtagsoutsideoftwitter

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In our last podcast of 2014 we talk more about lame duck, transportation, loggers, and why we are going to miss Randy Richardville — who turned-out to be one of the few adults in the room.

lame duck game 2

What died in lame duck?

  • Medical Marijuana reform
  • Election rigging
  • Sentencing reform
  • A new and broadly supported teacher evaluation system

A huge win for commercial logging cruised through lame duck.  Amy explains what this is and why it is so potentially harmful to Michigan's natural resources.  This is some creepy language in a sick bill from a state rep whose family money comes from logging.  Here's a brief explanation from Amy's post on the legislation:

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This time we're all about Christian persecution, charter schools, and Father Knows Best. Ew.

Religion Freedom Restoration Act. Passed out of the State House faster than you can say “Daddy DeVos.”  We break down the bill as it's written, strip away the hyperbole, and find that it's just as scary as you've been told. If the government can't prove that it has a compelling interest in preventing discrimination, then this is indeed a license to discriminate. Not sure how the Michigan government can prove that it has a compelling interest in preventing discrimination against the LGBT community, since the Michigan government has never included the LGBT community in the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act, even though they could have done so at the same time they were moving MiRFRA out the door.  We'll be seeing a lot of this play out in courts. I suggest that this law has three purposes:

1. Paying off Daddy DeVos.
2. Elected Democrats, support our agenda or we'll punish you with “awesome duck” crap like this.
3. Tie up liberal money in court, keep us playing defense.

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Oh my goodness, we have a lot of ranting in this one, and I even get bleeped once.  That's good though, we've got a family-friendly image to protect 😉

Today I talk about a local issue … local to me, anyway.  In Shiawassee County, voters recently rejected a request for a millage to support our Sheriff Department.  As a result, our road patrol has been eliminated as of January 1.  I spend a few minutes on this issue, primarily to raise awareness.  You can get more information from this website:

Save our Police

And here is some info on Mayor Ben Fredrick's evaluation of the county budget.

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Hey all, hope you've had a Happy Thanksgiving!  We're a little late this week due to power outages and whatnot.

Check out our topics this time:

Immigration & how it's going to affect Detroit and Michigan in general.  We have about 120k undocumented immigrants in Michigan as of 2012.  1.6% percent of labor force.  Some say the executive order giving them temporary deportation relief will help STEM grads settle down and start businesses.  Others say that the order will only help the agricultural and retail employers.  Either way, it creates a new level of spending, as these immigrants become consumers for products like homes, cars, and other things that people buy as they settle in for a long-term stay.

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Today we spend the bulk of our time on corrections, including a great conversation with Barbara Levine, Associate Director of CAPPS – the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending.  Here's a partial bio for Barbara:

Barbara Levine was the founder and executive director of CAPPS from 2000-2013 and is the architect of its policy recommendations.  She opted to serve as associate director to focus entirely on research and policy development.

Levine received her Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Michigan.  She has been a member of the Michigan Bar since 1974. She began her career as a staff attorney at the State Appellate Defender Office, representing indigent felony defendants on appeal of their convictions.  From 1979-1983, she taught law school, first at Wayne State University, then at the University of Toledo.  She served as a Commissioner for the Michigan Supreme Court until 1985, when she became the first administrator of the Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System (MAACS).  In that capacity, she trained lawyers appointed to represent indigent defendants on appeal, oversaw the appointment process, enforced minimum performance standards, and worked to obtain improved funding for indigent defense services. Ms. Levine left MAACS in 1999 to focus exclusively on issues affecting prisoners and the constant expansion of the prison system.

You can read the rest of her bio here.

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