Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cougars in Livingston County?

From the Michigan Gun Owners Message Boards.

Here's one for ya! One of our cattle farming friends over in the northwestern part of livingston county boardering Ingham on lovejoy road and i forgot the cross road.
Shot himself a new predetor to the area. A Cougar yep a Cougar and according to animal control and the sheriffs department it wasnt the biggest cat in the area.
Well he found that out the following night when his mare was attacked. She survived the attack with battle scars to show for it. A nice set of claw marks down her back with about a 6 inch long and 1 inch wide laceration on her hind quarter. Someone took the dead cougar he didnt say who.
Wouldnt you think it would have made the Papers? or the news to let people with kids know!

Probably Conway Township. I've heard cases of cougar up north, but didn't know they are this far south. Heads up to all of you with pets.

Argus endorses Brennan. In other news, the Pope is still Catholic

In a move that surprises nobody, our liberal paper - The Argus - endorsed Brennan. This is the same paper that endorsed John Kerry in 04 and almost the entire democrat ticket in 2002, including Granholm, Gary Peters, Butch Hollowell, Carl Levin, and even Joe Hune's opponent. I would have been shocked and wonder what's going on if they didn't endorse Brennan. The Argus has the right to their opinion, but I take issue with this statement here.

Drick followed that up with a campaign mailing that accused Brennan of not supporting our troops in Iraq. It was a shameful, unjustified attack

She organized the war protest. People who have war protests do not support the troops. Period.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Campaign Finance Reports Due Today

Today is campaign finance day for those in the primary election. All ballot question committees and candidate committees are due in today. (Outside of those who spent under $1000)

I took a look at Theresa Brennan’s filing. It’s an interesting combination. Mostly democrats like Joe Carney and Steve Manor which is no surprise. The ones that aren’t democrats are big developers. That’s not a good combination for rural republicans here who would like to keep the rural character of Livingston County. I don’t want to see us turn into another Oakland County or Washtenaw County. I also wonder what will happen if a mobile home park case comes to her desk......

It’s just another reason why we should support Jay Drick for Judge.

Raise the Diesel Tax? NO!

Fuel taxes are 2nd to Property Taxes on my bad list. The Argus had a story about Valde Garcia and his primary challenger Barton Hellmuth. I planned on voting for Garcia anyway, but this article solidifies it.

Hellmuth said more money should be spent to bring school districts that get less money from the state more in line with those at the top of the funding ladder

To pay for that, he recommended some budget cuts in the Corrections Department for spending on "luxuries" to prisoners. He also suggested an increase in the diesel tax, which he said is lower than it is in Indiana and Illinois, to help pay for road repairs.

Raise the tax of something that's already $3 a gallon? You have to be kidding me. That also raises shipping costs more, which raises the cost of everything shipped by truck.

I have an idea to save money. This is going to earn me the wrath of the Michigan Municipal League, but too bad. Consolidation. I think we're one of the few states in the country with townships. There are over 100 elected officials in Livingston County alone. 16 Township Supervisors, Clerks, and Treasurers. 4-6 trustees in every township. Multiply that by 83 counties and you have some serious money. I think the townships should be "unincorporated" and brought to the county level. It's at least something to think about with Michigan's budget.

We should do it in schools as well. Do we need 5 different superintendents and groups of assistant superintendents in our county based schools? Create the Livingston Consilidated School Districts. We can still have the rivalries between schools. Milford and Lakeland are both KVC schools under the same district (Huron Valley). This could save a few bucks with admin salaries at the top, without costing teachers and students.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Slight Granholm Rebound

From the AP

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A poll released Wednesday shows 47 percent of voters said they'd back Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm if the election were held today, while 44 percent would back GOP challenger Dick DeVos and 9 percent were undecided.

Granholm's numbers have improved slightly since a June poll. Then, 46 percent said they'd back DeVos and 44 percent said they'd back the governor, with 10 percent undecided.

Both polls were conducted by Lansing-based EPIC-MRA for a consortium made up of The Detroit News and television stations WXYZ of Detroit, WOOD of Grand Rapids, WILX of Lansing and WJRT of Flint.

EPIC/MRA polls lean democrat as I've said before. That said, the race is close and anything can happen between now and election day. I'm not discouraged by this poll, and I wasn't declaring victory on the others.

That comes November 7.


I was at the Fowlerville and Howell Judicial Debates. Tonight's the Hamburg debate. I'll probably be unable to make that one.

The Probate Article is linked there. Seven are running and two will run off in the general election. I don't think there was a clear winner in Probate. All brought their strengths to the race. I do think one candidate hurt himself in the debates with his arrogance. I have no idea who is going to win there. Anytime there's a seven way race, anything can happen.

The open District race was discussed here. All three did very well in both debates. This race has slipped through the radar some. I think all three candidates would make a good judge.

The other district race was the last debate. I suspect the Argus set it up that way so people stay.

I thought Jay had a very slight edge over the others in the first debate in Fowlerville. He gained two votes from his answer on small claims matters which IMO gave him the slight edge. Other than that, I'd call the Fowlerville debate a draw.
Brennan performed well in Fowlerville (Where there was no political question), although I thought she was a little defensive and irritated in the Howell debate. In the Howell debate, Jay was excellent. He was prepared, thought well on his feet, and handled all questions well. The political question was first, and Jay was ready and answered it correctly. While party label does not matter, philosophy does.

One other thing that should be mentioned. Bill McCririe pointed out to the audience that district judges are now assigned some circuit court cases. That makes judicial activism an issue now at the District Court level (outside of moving up to Circuit/Appeals). Why does that matter? Because now injunctions can be issued. If the ACLU wants to make things tough against pro-lifers - injunction. If new development around Howell Gun Club leads to Ann Arbor transplants trying to shut it down - injunction. These things would happen at Circuit Court, and if District Judges are assigned to Circuit Court, philosophy now matters there as well.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I've been swamped with work, law school stuff, and elections lately, so I haven't had time to update this site.

The Argus is hosting a debate among the judicial candidates tomorrow at Howell High School. 6PM. I believe there's a debate tonight in Fowlerville as well, and one Thursday in Hamburg. I'll try and make at least one of them and post updates.

The Argus has another story on the Drick/Brennan race. I have to take issue with this comment.

Earlier in the campaign, he said his previous literature assailing Brennan's values was just trying to point out that Brennan was appointed, not elected by the people.

Assailing? That's not assailing. Dan Meisler is letting some bias show there. All Drick's campaign literature said referring to Brennan was that it is our choice this election on who picks the judges, not Granholm's.

Lastly, some joker also was defacing Mike Rogers' signs in Brighton Township. That doesn't speaking highly of Marcinkowski's supporters. It's also destruction of property and bigtime illegal. Is that the road you all want to go down. For those who don't want their signs messed with, get some cameras with the license plates down and don't get mad....get even!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Saw my first Granholm/Cherry 06 Sticker - on a riceburner

In a fitting display of job losses in Michigan, I saw my first Granholm sticker this year. Fittingly, it was on a riceburner - a Nissan. It was an obvious democrat activist who owns that, since there was also Wes Clark and pro-abortion stickers there as well.

It never fails to amaze me how many "pro-union" and "pro-jobs" democrats drive foreign cars. Don't they know that each foreign car/truck they buy takes jobs away from Michigan?

And before someone attacks the quality of American cars and trucks, I've never had problems with my Ford.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

NRA endorses anti-gunner

The rumors are true. The NRA gave Schwarz an A rating and endorsed him in the 7th district. At best, they have a short memory and forgot Joe Schwarz' term in the state senate. At worst, they were games playing. For whatever reason, it's sad to see possibly the most powerful grass roots organization in the country endorse someone with this bad of record on the 2nd amendemnt.

Should one decent term make up for his 16 year anti-2a record in the state senate? I don't think so. While Schwarz has a top level press secretary, a record speaks for itself.

Joe Schwarz campaign on gun grabs when he ran for governor in 2002 against Dick Posthumus. He was the most anti-2a candidate running that incluces David Bonior and Jennifer Granholm circa 2002(and Granholm has improved greatly on this issue - enough to no longer earn an unacceptable rating from SAFR). In 2004, he still supported the ugly gun ban and was booed out of a townhall meeting in Jackson because of this issue.

As I said on November 20

I'm not a fan of Mr. Schwarz. This goes back to his days in the state senate where he was a frequent critic of gun owners, pro-lifers, and tax hawks. I can respect honest disagreement, but when I'm told that I'm a "bubba who straps on and packs a 9mm" because I support the right of law abiding citizens to carry concealed pistols or that I am a "zealot" because I am pro-life, well I'll be supporting his primary challenger. I will give Schwarz credit for some honesty where he said that he "didn't give a shit" (exact quote) if he got the votes of pro-lifers and 2nd amendment supporters. That much is obvious by his mouth. In the 2002 primary debate in his gubenatorial campaign, he stated that he was not opposed to tax increases. He also brought up his anti-gun views there.

I will concede that Schwarz hasn't been terrible as a congressman, even surprisingly supporting the gun lawsuit ban, but I have to look at a 16+ year record over two years. He is unrepentantly anti-gun. He was one of the anti-conceal carry leaders. He is also pro-abortion and ran on that in the 2002 gubenatoral primary. Add the tax support, and it's three strikes and yer out.

NRA's wrong. SAFR and GOA are right. If you want someone you can count on when it comes to the Second Amendment, vote for Tim Walberg.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pelosi's No Gingrich - This is no 1994

A good warning article from former Rep. George Nethercutt.

Some political pundits are speculating that the Democrats are poised to retake control of the House of Representatives this fall, much like the GOP did in 1994, when it dramatically ended 40 years of Democratic control. As a proud member of 1994's "New Majority" Republican class in the House, I understand the historic dimensions of that victory and the dynamics that made it possible. I also know why neither will apply to the elections in November. Those who predict a Democratic takeover of the House are wrong--but maybe by just a couple of years.

In the summer of 1994 I was a congressional challenger trying to persuade skeptical voters (and sometimes myself) that my run against a sitting speaker of the House was more than just a long shot. No sitting speaker, after all, had been defeated since before the Civil War. But the more I campaigned, the more I sensed that voters were ready for change. As I walked the main streets and worked the coffee shops and neighborhoods of eastern Washington state, I met more and more restless people. They were frustrated with Washington, D.C., and weary of a Congress that seemed more enthusiastic about scoring points in political gamesmanship than actually getting anything done.

But voter unrest does not by itself portend wholesale electoral change. Even disgruntled Americans are reluctant to "fire" incumbents if they think they're just trading in one pol for another, regardless of party. That's the lesson of 1994.
Led by Newt Gingrich, the GOP candidates that year responded to the disillusionment of voters with the refreshing and specific ideas of the Contract with America. They proved that voters are drawn to issues and genuine political leadership, even in the absence of complete ideological agreement. In my own case, the voters in my district seemed electrified by the positive promise of specific policy proposals related to issues they cared about--fiscal responsibility, ensuring the safety of our homes and streets and schools, securing family values, family-oriented tax policies, strong national defense and commonsense legal reforms. And this was not just a Republican phenomenon. The Contract spoke to a wide cross-section of all voters.

The problem the democrats have is few ideas. The problem the republicans have is that we lost our ideas that gave us the majority in the first place. If we want to keep our majority, we need to go back where we came from.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Property Tax Reform

I got this sent in an email from one of our commenters that I think should be posted. I agree with most of these ideas and think that property taxes, more than any other tax, kills us here in Michigan.

The proposals for property tax increases in the upcoming election are making me re-evaluate the entire concept of property taxes. These are some of the problems I see with property taxes on real estate:

Problems with property taxes:

- High property taxes must be paid even if a person is unemployed or living on a fixed income. High property taxes can force families into bankruptcy and encourage retired families to relocate to tax friendly states.
- Property taxes penalize families for improving their homes.
- Property taxes discourage people from getting building permits for improvements due to fear of higher taxes and permit fees.
- The Headlee amendment limits tax increases for long time homeowners, making it difficult or impossible for some people to move because of the potential for a big tax increase.
- Local governmental bodies spend large sums of money each year to reassess property values and to deal with complaints over assessments.
- Crushing tax burdens within cities are encouraging families to migrate outward from urban areas to suburban and rural areas with lower tax rates, helping to fuel the decline in urban areas.
- Property taxes discriminate against families who choose to live in single family homes and give preferential treatment to families living in apartments and mobile homes, even though all families receive the same level of services. This is fundamentally unfair.
- Voters who choose to live in apartments and mobile homes have little incentive to take an active interest in local issues because tax increases have little effect on them. These residents can enjoy the higher level of services which result from tax increases while paying very little for them.

Can we do better?

Property taxes are used to finance schools and local government, so if we eliminate them we must find some other way to finance these services. The question is, how can we change the tax system to levy the tax load more evenly while continuing to support local services and still giving taxpayers a say in how their dollars are spent? Looking at the taxes we have in Michigan, the fairest tax we have is the flat rate income tax (Aside from the fact that the state government keeps tinkering with it to make it less flat). Nobody likes paying taxes but I hear fewer complaints about the flat income tax in Michigan than I do about any other tax.

I've seen the proposals for a "Fair Tax" floating around, but as far as I can tell they don't include any real estate property tax reform.

So I starting thinking . . . what if we were to get rid of the cumbersome property tax system that we all suffer under and replace it with a flat residential tax, where every residence in a taxing jurisdiction pays the same tax, regardless of property value or residence type? Any solution needs to keep the current financial independence of local governmental units and give voters as much incentive as possible to become involved in the decisions of local governments.

Replacing the real property tax with a flat residential tax

Concept: Eliminate all current property taxes on land and buildings used for houses, mobile homes, or apartments. Also eliminate fees on mobile homes, fees for building permits, and fees for transferring property. Replace the lost revenue with a flat residential tax, where all residential units within a given taxing jurisdiction would pay the same annual tax regardless of housing type or value of property. This flat residential tax would vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction because tax proposals in each jurisdiction would still be voted on by taxpayers, giving voters in each individual school district, city, county, and township the flexibility to decide what types and level of services are wanted. So a residence would pay a flat tax to each of the local school district, county, and city/township jurisdictions that residence is located within, just as property taxes are currently paid to these governmental units. The difference is that the new FLAT tax would be the same for each residential unit located within these same jurisdictions, rather than based on value as it is now.

- The tax would be levied on each address regardless of the type of housing. This would make it possible for more families to buy their own homes, and for large families to move into larger homes.
- A flat residential tax would save Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars every year due to a reduction in staff currently used to assess and reassess property values.
- Homeowners would have no excuse for failing to pull permits for improvements.
- Spreading the burden for schools and local government more evenly over the population is the most fair way to tax elections.
- Having every family within a jurisdiction pay the same flat residential tax gives everyone an equal stake in property tax increases. This would encourage more people to take an interest in these issues and make it harder for local governments to raise taxes.
- A flat residential tax would allow people to move freely without having to worry about major tax increases.
- A flat residential tax would allow blighted areas to be rebuilt because owners would not face a big tax increases for improving their properties, giving a big boost to efforts to revitalize cities like Detroit and Flint where tax rates are monumental. Quite honestly, this might be the cheapest and easiest way to encourage revitalization in urban areas.
- This would remove a major objection to mobile home parks because mobile home residents would pay the same taxes as homeowners.
- This removes the need for the Headlee amendment because property taxes would no longer rise with property values. Essentially, this permanently fixes the single biggest problem with a tax system based on property values. Local units of government would see revenue increases only from new residential units or from property tax increases approved by voters (I know I've not addressed the issue of commercial and industrial property)

To give this proposal a real shot at being implemented I feel that it should be revenue neutral, otherwise local officials statewide would rise up against it. A revenue neutral proposal allows this proposal to be considered solely based on it's own merits. (Sorry, taxpayer groups)

Obviously there are more issues that would need to be addressed as this is just a simple outline. But I think the basic idea is good and I would like to hear commentary from others on this idea about potential issues and about ways in which it might be fine tuned to make it work better. So fire away . . .

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Concerned Taxpayers Group and Livingston Taxpayers Association featured in Argus

From the Argus

It would take an act of God before David Hamilton could support a tax increase.
Hamilton's Livingston County Taxpayers Associa-tion has been tracking millage increases since 1990, and he said the only reason a local government would legitimately need higher taxes is a natural disaster.

"The only time a tax increase needs to be in order is an act of God ... a devastating tornado or hurricane," he said.

William Johnston and his Concerned Taxpayers of Livingston County have a very similar outlook. "I do see a crisis coming in an excess of government spending," he said.
The two groups have plenty of fodder in the August primary. There are four millage or fee increases up for a vote in various parts of the county, and either Hamilton, Johnston or both have weighed in against all of them.

While Hamilton's group has a long history and Johnston's is relatively new, both gained higher profiles when county schools sought a 3-mill increase in property taxes last year. The measure was overwhelmingly defeated, and both men took some of the credit.

It's good to see both of our county's fiscally conservative organizations active, since with all of the tax measures planned and attempted the last couple of years and in this economy, we need some organized opposition.

Also from the Argus - A listing of tax or fee increases on the August 8 ballot.

Livingston County: $1 per month per phone increase in fee for 911/emergency dispatch, from $3 to $4.

Hamburg Township: $3.5 million bond for a new fire station, estimated millage of 0.3243 mills in 2006 and average millage of 0.3982 mills over the 10 year life of the bond. One mill is equal to $1 per $1,000 of a property's taxable value.

Brighton Area Fire Authority: Increase in millage from 0.95 mills to 1.25 mills.

Howell Area Parks and Recreation Authority: New 1-mill levy for operating, maintaining and improving the parks system, and acquiring new parkland.

Millage renewals

Cohoctah Township: 1.44 mills for road improvements

Green Oak Township: 1.45 mills for fire protection, and 1.54 mils for police protection.

Hartland Township: 1.88 mills for Hartland Deerfield Fire Authority.

Howell Township: 0.95 mills for road improvement and maintenance.

Full Article on Endorsements

From the Argus

After weeks of internal divisions and public controversy, the Livingston County Republican Party Executive Committee issued a statement Friday saying that all nine judicial candidates who responded to its endorsement questionnaire share the "core values" of the party.
"Based on their answers, we have found their statements of core values to be consistent with those of the Republican Party," the statement said.

I do have one correction that needs to be made.

On Friday, Wholihan declined to comment other than to say that he voted for the statement.

Actually my statement on "he voted for the statement" was "I didn't vote Nay." Take that how you wish.

Technically, the statement given in the press release would be issue advocacy if used in a broadcast ad. It did not use the "magic words" of endorse, support, for, elect, against, defeat, or reject. However, if this was federal and in a broadcast ad, this statement - "Based on their answers, we have found their statements of core values to be consistent with those of the Republican Party," - is viewed as an electioneering communication in support of those judicial candidates under the BCRA(McCain/Feingold) Act (unless it is a 527).

Technicalities aside - to the readers reading this, does that statement look like an endorsement?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Dems, GOP agree to partially closed presidential primaries

From the AP. We'll see how this works. I prefer a caucus system, but it's better than what we had before. I expect this will work in 2008 as both sides will have major primaries, but what about 2012?

Dems, GOP agree to partially closed presidential primaries

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The state Democratic and Republican parties have agreed to hold a 2008 presidential primary that would force voters to publicly choose between casting a ballot in the GOP or Democratic contests.

The deal was described Friday as a cross between an open primary in which voters can cast ballots for candidates from both parties and a closed system that requires voters to register with either party.

The "semi-open" primary would take place on the same day, assuming both sides could agree on a date. The proposal still needs the approval of the GOP-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and is designed to stop Democrats from voting in GOP primaries and Republicans from joining Democratic caucuses.

Michigan Republicans have blamed John McCain's victory over George W. Bush in their 2000 primary on Democrats who crossed over. Democrats have long had concerns about Republicans' influence on George Wallace's 1972 primary win in Michigan.

"The goal is to avoid gamesmanship and to encourage each party to participate in their own primaries," state GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis said. He also described the proposal as a "softer, gentler" way of ensuring that Democrats and Republicans vote in their own primaries while also letting independents participate.

Under the hybrid proposal, voters would walk into a polling place and choose either the Democratic or GOP ballot. Their choice would be recorded by state election officials.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Livingston GOP releases "endorsements"

From the Argus

The Livingston County Republican Executive Committee Thursday night announced that nine judicial candidates have "core values" consistent with the party, but stopped short of issuing an endorsement in any of the three Aug. 8 primary judicial races.

While it wasn't a technical endorsement - if nothing else, these candidates were acknoledged as the better candidates for judge.

The names mentioned were Jay Drick, Christina Heikkinen, Bill McCririe, Carol Sue Reader, Linda Walker, Roberta Balon-Vaughn, Carol Hackett Garagiola, Lyle Dickson, and Suzanne Dugas.

The Circuit Judge race was not addressed as that race is not on the primary, but only the general election.

Howell doesn't need tax increase

I missed this guest column from Bill Johnston June 12 in the Argus. Bill's the President of the Concerned Taxpayers' Group of Livingston County and does a good job making the case for a no vote on August 8.

Howell doesn't need tax increase

If you live in the Howell School District and reside in the city of Howell or in Genoa, Marion or Oceola townships, the Howell Area Parks and Recreation Authority millage request will be on the Aug. 8 ballot. Residents will be asked to approve a new millage of 1 mill to operate the newly formed Howell Area Parks and Recreation Authority. This will increase taxes $100 to $300 per year for most homeowners in the authority if the millage passes.
Recreation in the Howell area is currently taxpayer-funded with about a $600,000 contribution from the city of Howell, along with subsidies from township budgets amounting to about $81,000, $54,000 and $65,000 from Oceola, Marion and Genoa townships, respectively. The balance of the current recreation budget comes from family user fees.

The city of Howell's past Parks and Recreation Department has become too expensive for Howell to operate.

I encourage eveyone to click on the link and read the rest of the article.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

New membership chair

The Livingston County Republicans selected Debi Drick as our membership chair. With the buzz with this election, we will have a full court press to elect all of our candidates this fall. Debi will do an excellent job for us.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to email Debi at Debberr@(nospam) (Removing the nospam part first)

The new judicial questionaire

The Argus just wrote a story on the questionaire we issued last Thursday

The Livingston County Republican Party still wants to know the party affiliation and political activity of local judicial candidates, even though the races are designated nonpartisan by the state.

Who issued the survey? Republicans. Of course we want to know the party affiliation and political activity of the candidates. That's our job. I don't even see where this is even controversial. We are a political party in a 63% GOP county, where judicial activism is a major issue.

As for "nonpartisan", judges are human. They have their biases as lawyers and bring them to their court. Theresa Brennan is still the Emily's List pro-abortion democrat. She's still the war protestor. She's still the individual who gave thousands to extremist and incompetent Stabenow who fillibusters Bush's judicial nominees. Republicans will be republicans after they become judges. Democrats will be democrats after they become judges. That's just how it is, and we're just pouring sunlight on what is usually an overlooked race.

The difference is that we're honest about being political in this. Others aren't. You can't tell me that gubenatorial appointments are not political. Not when there's $3400 checks involved, as well as more checks to state, local, and federal democrats at the same period. Theresa Brennan bought the seat. If that's not partisan, I don't know what is. Our partisanship is grass roots based however, not good ole boys and good ole girls clubs. The old boys clubs and old ways are threatened by our decisions as a party. Too bad.

I caused a bit of controversey with my comment here on the old questionaire.

....candidates should ignore the questionaires. All I have to say is that candidates do so at their own peril

That was due to some of the political dynamics at the time. I have no regrets about that statement. At that time, it needed to be made. I had a private answer and a public answer on the situation. My public answer is that I supported the questionaires. Publicly, I'll always stand behind the volunteers on the committee. Privately, I'll just say that I made a lot of phone calls to a lot of people on this matter, as my cell phone bill will show in a week. My private stance was that the questionaire shouldn't be tossed but changed slightly due to three questions there that I did not support because of what was implied by them. I'll now say that three of the questions were unacceptable and needed to be taken care of. That should have never been admitted to the press however. I had a quote to the Argus saying that I expect we'd come to an acceptable solution. We did.

The new questionaire passed easily among the committee. This one counts and will be a major factor in determining the decisions our committee makes in these races. My advice. Turn it in quickly, since the decisions will be made soon.

To tip off the candidates who read this blog, these two questions are my favorite and count the most to me. I'll warn everyone that I've very good at reading between the lines and deciphering "politicalspeak".

What is your opinion regarding the role of the judge when it comes to interpreting the law?

Which judges do you admire personally or professionally, and why? Moreover, what have you learned from them and how will that knowledge impact your role on the bench?

Those two questions count the most to this executive committee member's vote.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Statewide Ballot Proposals

We'll have a lot of ballot proposals on the ballot

MCRI - Prohibits the use of race and gender preferences in university admissions and government hiring.

I support MCRI 100% People need to be treated as individuals.

Mourning Dove Hunting - A proposal to restore a ban on hunting mourning
doves in Michigan.

Even though I don't hunt mourning doves, I support hunting, and oppose attempts to stop hunting. Mourning Doves are hunted in Ohio and Indiana. These won't affect the year round birds near feeders since it's illegal to hunt near houses (for obvious reasons).

Proposal to give K-12 schools, community colleges and universities annual state funding increases equal to at least the inflation rate.

This passes the buck of irresponsibile spending from school boards to the state. I oppose this 100%, as well as all garanteed funding measures. While the state needs to equalize funding, this is unacceptable.

A proposal to establish a conservation and recreation legacy fund and game and fish protection and trust funds within the state constitution.

I don't know enough about this proposal to have an informed opinion on it. Undecided.

A proposal to restrict the power of local and state governments to take private property by eminent domain.

Support 100% Currently, all there is protecting us is the Poletown reversial by the current Michigan Supreme Court. If judicial activists re-take Michigan's Supreme Court, we're in trouble.

A proposal to repeal the state's Single Business Tax. The group's petitions are being reviewed by the state. If petitions are approved, the measure would go to lawmakers. If lawmakers don't act on the proposal, it would go to the ballot.

Time to end this thing once and for all.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

July 26 - Judicial Debates

The Argus sponsors a judicial debate every election, and this year is no exception. The debate is at Howell High School's auditorium.

The candidates running for judge in Livingston County's Aug. 8 primary — all 13 of 'em — have been invited to the Daily Press & Argus' judicial debate. The event, set to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 26, at the Howell High School auditorium, will feature the three candidates running for each of the two 53rd District Court races, as well as the seven hopefuls running for the Probate Court position. The debate is open to the public.

If there's anything you'd like us to ask the candidates, e-mail your questions to Be sure to include your name and telephone number. We'll use the questions submitted by our readers to craft those we ask during the debate.

Friday, July 07, 2006

With "friends" like this, who needs enemies?

Back in the old Usenet days of the internet, there was a term called Godwin's Law. For all intents and purposes, it means that in a debate, whoever calls the opponent Nazi's of Fascists has nothing productive to say and loses the debate.

Detroit PAC "Voice the Vote" took a full page ad out in the Chronicle that violates Godwin's Law, and then some.

From the Free Press
Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Republican challenger Dick DeVos were in rare agreement Thursday -- the campaign they are waging against each other doesn't have anything to do with Adolf Hitler.

Granholm and DeVos were responding to a full-page ad appearing in this week's edition of the Detroit-based Michigan Chronicle newspaper that featured photographs of Hitler and Granholm and accused Democrats of taking African-American voters for granted.

Now while I believe democrats take blacks (and also labor) for granted, this is not the smartest way to address that, and will most likely backfire. All it's doing is making people mad. DeVos isn't happy with this, since he'll get blamed - even though he has nothing to do with it.

The newspaper ad features the story of Jesse Owens, an African American and gold medal winner at the 1936 Munich Olympics who became a supporter of the Republican candidate for president that year. Owens said he did so, in part, because Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt, like Hitler, had not shaken his hand after the Olympic performance and the Republican candidate, Kansas Gov. Alf Landon, had.

The ad features photographs of Hitler, Owens and, in addition to Granholm, former Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. It urges black voters to "Say No to Governor Granholm in November."

But both Mongo and Harbin said it was not an endorsement of DeVos.

"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right..."

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Argus Story on Wendy Day

This Monday, Howell Schools will have two new board members. Wendy Day and Phil Westmoreland. The Argus has a story on Wendy today. Her blog is here

I don't think it's a big deal if Wendy homeschools her children. What matters to me when I make my vote is which candidate is the best on the issues.

Wendy Day homeschools her children.
For the time being, the Marion Township resident plans to continue to do so, even as she is sworn into a four-year term on the Howell Public Schools Board of Education.

The reasons she took her children out of Howell schools last year had more to do with external factors; however, issues within the schools that Day said compromise her family's values system played a role in the decision to keep them out next year.

Day said she doesn't like evolution being taught as fact instead of theory.
Day also had issues with the display of the Howell High School Diversity Club rainbow flag, which she and others in the community said was the recognized symbol of the gay and lesbian pride movement.

The flag has since been removed, but, more recently, Day said she doesn't agree with the district's new sex education curriculum, which provides seventh-grade students with information on condoms.

"Those were a variety of issues that compromise our beliefs as a family," Day said.

Two Senate Interviews

We have two interviews with senate candidates.

Mike Bouchard interviews with Congressional Quarterly

Keith Butler interviews with the Free Press.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Monday, July 03, 2006

End of an era - Yzerman Retires

One of the best of all time has just retired. From the Detroit News

After 22 remarkable seasons, including the last 19 as the longest-serving captain in NHL history, Steve Yzerman made it official Monday at Joe Louis Arena: He's retiring.

"I've enjoyed my career immensely here in Detroit," Yzerman said. "I've finally made a definite decision. I've decided to retire, to hang up my skates."

Yzerman, 41, has been an iconic star for the Red Wings franchise. He is second only to Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, on the club's all-time list in goals (692) and points (1,755) -- totals that rank seventh-best among all NHL players.

But more than that, Yzerman has built a legacy as a leader.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Judicial updates

The non-partisan PAC arm of the Second Amendment Organization "Shooters Alliance For Firearms' Rights" (SAFR-PAC) endorsed Jay Drick for Livingston County District Judge.

Also, in the Argus. The Probate Court battle is heating up.

Is there an endorsement battle going on?

Hamburg Township Treasurer Roberta Balon-Vaughn, one of seven candidates for probate judge, told the Daily Press & Argus that Livingston County Prosecutor David Morse tried to get David Gorcyca, the prosecuting attorney in Oakland County, to withdraw his endorsement of Balon-Vaughn.

Morse has endorsed another candidate in the race, Carol Hackett Garagiola, who once worked for Gorcyca.

Balon-Vaughn said she's not happy about any interference from Morse.

"I'm disappointed if people are trying to interfere with my campaign," Balon-Vaughn said. "The Gorcyca endorsement is on my material and is going to stay there."

Gorcyca declined to comment. And Morse failed to return several messages.

Jim Marcinkowski sign of hope for the dems?

If that's the case, I need to make a trip to Vegas for the betting lines in this race and go "all in" for Mike. This guy doesn't have a chance, and those that know me, know why. His last name may be Polish, but he has an Irish temper that's going to cost him big at some point - if it hasn't already.

The hype is from this blurb from the Argus

Its Web site,, rates every race in the country on a scale of seven ranks, from "Safe Republican" to "Safe Democrat."

The chances of Democratic challenger James Marcinkowski of Lake Orion are apparently improving, because CQ changed its rating of the contest from "Safe Republican" one notch in his favor to "Republican Favored." He still has two more notches to go before reaching the coveted "No Clear Favorite" ranking.
In an article accompanying the rating change, CQ's Marc Rehman wrote that Marcinkowski has two logistical advantages previous challengers didn't: First, he's from Oakland County and could siphon votes from the area added to the 8th District in the most recent redistricting.

Secondly, Marcinkowski has raised nearly $150,000 so far, "putting him in contrast to Rogers' past two underfinanced opponents," Rehman politely wrote.

The reason given was fundraising. Marcinkowski has more money than Bob Alexander and Frank McAlpine did. That makes him the great white hope for the dems, especially those looking from a distance in DC, Virginia, and Maryland. CQ's from DC, sees the money, sees the name Oakland County, and makes its decision from that.

The "logistical advantage" cited by CQ is a disadvantage for Marcinkowski. Most of Oakland County is Detroit media. The area around Holly, Fenton(Livingston side), and Durand is in Flint media. The district Howell-westward is in Lansing media. The Oakland County part of the district is 63%+ GOP. Even if Marcinkowski wins Lake Orion (and much of that is in the Knollenberg district), he's going to lose that part of district, most likely 60-40. His campaign address is a PO BOX in Brighton, 50 miles from his home. That's a long commute. Marcinkowski is on the fringes of the district, 50 miles from Brighton, and very far from the democrat base of the district - Lansing, East Lansing, and Okemos.

Too add to that, Rogers always wins big in Livingston County, never lower than 63.66% - and that is against an A-team opponent for an open seat. 70%+ is the norm here for Mike. Rogers almost always does well in the democrat stronghold of Ingham County. Dianne Byrum won big there in 2000 57-40, but she represented the area as a state senator. Since then, Mike won it 59-39 in 02 and only lost it 49.16 to 49.01 in 2004. In order for Marcinkowski to beat Mike, he needs to get over 60% here - that's tough if you're not a homer.

Shiawassee County is a marginal GOP area that sometimes goes Democrat. Mike wins big here. 62-35 in 98, 55-42 in 00, 69-29 in 02, 64-34 in 04. Clinton County is a GOP stronghold. 69-29 in 98, 74-25 in 02, 67-31 in 04. Marcinkowski is on the other side of the district from Shiawassee and Clinton Counties, as well as Ingham County. I don't see any logistical advantages for Marcinkowski at all. Shiawassee County is where a homer advantage would be most important, not Oakland.

So celebrate your momentum Jimmy, and waste all your money, since when all is said and done - Marcinkowski will Crash and Burn, eh Maverick?