Thursday, June 28, 2012

Holder found in contempt.

The full House of Representatives voted on Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over the Justice Department's decision to withhold documents related to the failed Fast and Furious gunwalking operation.
By a vote of 255 to 67, House members voted to hold Holder in contempt, disregarding a protest walkout led by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

This is more symbolic than anything else. I highly doubt there will be formal contempt charges brought by the DC US Attorney against one of the biggest problems of the injustice department, right next to the BATF(E) that needs to be disbanded and eliminated.

What pisses me off though is that even a blind man could see that Holder is what he is. He was like this back when he was Janet Reno's toady. 19 Republicans voted to confirm this jackass. That's unacceptable. I knew how bad he was going to be. That whole outfit of the Bill Clinton Justice Department is beyond bad. Reno. Seth Waxman. Holder. Jamie Gorelick (the actual Butcher of Waco, the major problem on the 9/11 commission, and the Vice Chair of Fannie Mae - has any bureaucrat caused more damage?). They are all together and a tight knit group. Still. Look at the dates during that brief for the gun ban on when they were in the injustice dept. 

Eric Holder - Unacceptable - Janet Reno part II

While there isn't a chance in hell it will happen, the US Senate needs to tell Obama that Holder is unacceptable and that he needs to pick someone better.

We do not need someone with disrespect for freedom and someone who thinks the government is above the law like Eric Holder and Janet Reno believe. For the record, Mulaskey and Gonzalez were poor AG's. Ashcroft was a disappointment. Reno was even worse than all of them.

Why is Holder unacceptable?

1. He was deputy AG for Janet Reno. That alone raises red flags. While Reno was the Butcher of Waco, Holder wasn't part of that as he joined in 1997. There was still plenty of problems during his tenure in Stonewall Reno's cabinent.

First off, the pardons. Those have been covered in much of the news. Clinton pardoned FARQ terrorists, and Mark Rich. There was also the stonewalling of Clinton's contributions from Chinese government. While most of the hype of Clinton comes from the Vince Foster death or the Lewinsky (big deal) scandal, the worst was taking the money from Chinese government. Reno put a stop to that, and Holder was part of it.

2. Just recently, he affirmed his distain for the 2nd Amendment with his amicus brief. There's the brief. It was signed by the Reno "justice" department, including Eric Holder. The most incompetent security official in American History also signed it, Jamie Gorelick (who was also part of Reno's department). Seth Waxman (part of Reno's team) was also part of that team and is well known to gun owners in the 1990's. Just as it was a long eight years for gun owners facing discrimination from Reno, it will be another long four years under Holder as AG, as he spits on the constitution just like Reno did.

3. As a US attorney, he went after a law abiding citizen on a technicality over the DC law. This shows his overzealousness and shows an almost Mike Nifong style of judgment. From Legal Times.

In its letter (pdf), the NRA cites a criminal case from Holder’s time as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia in which a New York man was convicted of carrying a pistol without a license. Robert Bieder, who was licensed to carry a gun in New York, had brought the gun to Virginia for recreational purposes and, while returning to New York, stopped in Washington to visit the U.S. Capitol with his daughter. When he tried to check the gun with the Capitol Police, Bieder was arrested.

“Pursuing this trivial case to such lengths imposed substantial costs on taxpayers, with no benefit at all to public safety,” reads the NRA letter. “A reasonable prosecutor might have exercised his discretion by sending Mr. Bieder home to New York with a far better understanding of the District’s strict gun laws. That Mr. Holder chose to do otherwise raises serious questions about his judgment.”

I know some democrats are going to mention Bush's AG's. I'm not a fan of them either. Ashcroft was a disapointment. Gonzales was a crony. Mulaskey is what I expected as he is a friend of Chuck Schumer. Reno was the worst of all of them though, going back to Waco, and her stonewalling. Holder is a yesman to Reno, and has shown distain of his own towards the constitution and needs to get defeated.

Holder is what I thought he was. A Janet Reno clone. Eric Holder needs to be fired. There's only one way that will likely happen - his boss being fired. Mitt Romney isn't my favorite nominee, but I can guarandamntee one thing. Romney won't have Eric Holder in his justice department. That is a safe bet to make. 

Fire Obama! Fire Holder!

Bridget Mary McCormack - Dems Supreme Court nominee has never been a judge

I'm not going to get into the liberal v conservative ideology when it comes to the Michigan Supreme Court races. The justices and candidates are who they are. I'm not going to change too many minds on justices with ideological arguments. I am going to argue about experience. Most decisions aren't even ideological. Those decisions are the ones which make the news. Most decisions are procedural. In order to really understand procedures to the level a Supreme Court Justice should understand them, one should have judicial experience. 

We have three major Supreme Court races this year in Michigan. One is open seat. Justice Marilyn Kelly is retiring. One of the other seats is held by an incumbent, Justice Stephen Markman. The other is a quasi-incumbent in longtime judge Brian Zahra. Zahra was appointed by Rick Snyder to replace Justice Maura Corrigan, who stepped down to head Michigan Department of Community Health.

The dems are nominating three people for SCOTUS this year. One of them has never held any judicial position. Bridget Mary McCormack. So far she's had the most active campaign on the dem side. She's running for the open seat. Her top qualification is that she has an Irish sounding name. That ain't nice, but I'm sure that was a reason for the nomination.  She's the dean of clinical affairs at UM Law School. She's also tied to the Michigan Innocence Project, which is something which really does gain a lot of respect from me, because I don't think enough is done with wrongful convictions. That's the main reason I oppose the death penalty. I think McCormack should be commended for that work. Clinics are important, helpful, and do a lot for society. We're not electing a statewide clinic coordinator. This doesn't qualify her to be a Supreme Court Justice. Her judicial experience is zero

Compare the others. Incumbents.

Markman - Formerly on Appeals Court. Assistant US AG, Federal Prosecutor, Private practice.

Zahra - Formerly Appeals and Circuit Judge (at least 15 years), private practice.

Open Seat - Either:
Colleen O'Brien (whom I support) - 14 years judicial experience, private practice.

Jane Markey - 22 years judicial experience, private practice. While I support O'Brien, Markey would not be a bad pick.

There's no comparison. A Judge's job is to be the umpire, calling balls and strikes. The strike zone should be fair, and the merits of the case and proper procedure work should decide the cases. Justices of the Supreme Court should be the best of the best. Experience matters. Because I know a bit about Campaign Finance Laws, it doesn't mean I'm qualified to be Dean of the Political Science Department at Michigan State. My main experience is in a narrow field. I'm very good in that field. That doesn't mean I'm ready to take over the entire department at the best school in the state. More importantly, I don't have any teaching experience. That's important. That's what the dems are expecting us to accept with McCormack. Does she have the grasp of rules, procedures - in ALL aspects of law, evidential hearings, probate matters, contracts,  and other, especially non criminal law related fields? What's the learning curve going to be? 

For Michigan's Supreme Court, we don't need a major learning curve. We have two candidates running on the Republican side who both have judicial experience. Trial Court experience. If McCormack wants to be a judge, she should start with Washtenaw County District or Circuit Court, not the highest court in the land.

Experience counts.

Obamacare Upheld - including the mandate

I thought this could go either way. I expected part of the law to stand and part of it to be gone. Technically I was right, but not in the way I thought I was. I figured the expansion would stand and the mandate would be gone. All that's gone is that the state can't get the medicaid funds cut off by the feds.

Justice Roberts is the 5th Vote. I do have a lot of respect for Roberts, so I'll have to read his decision before commenting in depth. A quick read leaves me unimpressed.

From USA Today

The Supreme Court upheld President Obama's health care law today in a splintered, complex opinion that gives Obama a major election-year victory.
Basically. the justices said that the individual mandate -- the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine -- is constitutional as a tax.
Chief Justice John Roberts -- a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush -- provided the key vote to preserve the landmark health care law, which figures to be a major issue in Obama's re-election bid against Republican opponent Mitt Romney.
The government had argued that Congress had the authority to pass the individual mandate as part of its power to regulate interstate commerce; the court disagreed with that analysis, but preserved the mandate because the fine amounts to a tax that is within Congress' constitutional taxing powers.
The announcement will have a major impact on the nation's health care system, the actions of both federal and state governments, and the course of the November presidential and congressional elections.
The law's individual mandate had been the key question for the court.

First off this isn't a health care law. It's a health insurance law. However, Obamacare survived outside of the part of the feds terminating medicaid funds.

From Instapundit:

INDIVIDUAL MANDATE HELD UNCONSTITUTIONAL UNDER COMMERCE POWER, but Scotusblog says it survives as a tax. “It’s very complicated, so we’re still figuring it out.”
I feel sorry for the folks on TV trying to read this opinion and talk at the same time.

UPDATE: From ScotusBlog: “The bottom line: the entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read.” Plus: “The money quote from the section on the mandate: ‘Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.’”

So it was upheld on a basis — the taxing power — that the Administration didn’t advance. In fact, Obama denied that it was a tax. This just supports what Mike Graetz told me in Tax class years ago: “The constitution stops where the Internal Revenue Code begins.”

On the upside, the Lopez revolution, which some believed dead, appears to be revived.
So, liberals, does this mean the Supreme Court is legitimate again?

And what’s next? Republicans will have to push for repeal, or look like losers. Now Romney needs to make an issue of repealing the “Obama Healthcare Tax,” I guess. And, of course, it’s important to note that just because the Supreme Court — barely — found the Act constitutional doesn’t mean that it’s actually a good idea.

I have to see the decision outside of a quick glance, which is 193 pages. The good part is that it sounds like the commerce clause argument failed. Maybe Gonzales v Raich and Wickard v Filburn can be soon sent to Hell. Those are two of the worst decisions in SCOTUS History.

There's plenty at Volokh and Instapundit which are a helluva lot better covering legal issues than the major media.

The more I'm reading, the less I like about the decision.  What makes no sense to me at first glace is how SCOTUS decides that the penalty is not a tax for the purposes of the AIA (which would end the case right there with it unheard), and then decide the case by renaming the penalty a tax and upholding the law. 

Overall, I'd call this a major loss with a consolation prize on commerce clause expansion.  The lesson? Elections have consequences.

We need to get rid of Obama and Stabenow.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Strategic August primary voting

New Poll on the senate race now that it's narrowed down some.

Also, I'm probably going to get an earful on this post.

Some people confuse presidential and regular primaries. They work slightly differently. In Presidential primaries, you choose a ballot and publicly declare it. It's recorded and public record. It's still an open primary, but the party ballot is not secret, although the actual vote is. In regular August (or July if absentee) primaries, you get your ballot and vote for one side and the nonpartisan races. Ballots are not declared in August.

Do I vote in the Republican primary here in Livingston County because I'm a Republican, or because that's where the contests are held? The answer is because that's where the contests are held. In this county, there are no primaries on the democrat side. That will mean that the democrats are likely going to vote in our primary. As we're an open primary (although you must vote one side of the ballot). I've only crossvoted in one primary, back in 2002 when almost all of my races were unopposed on the R side, and we had a primary on the dem side for governor (and I was confident that Posthumus would demolish the jackass Joe Schwarz). I was hoping to stop Granholm and voted for the easiest dem to beat. Blanchard.

Since then, I've stayed on my side, and certainly will be doing that again this primary as there are a ton of contests on my side, and none on the dems (who have no primary opposition). When there's several contests on both sides (2010), I'll stay on my own being in Livingston County. I only go for mischief if I don't have to skip too many races.

If I lived in Warren, particularly HD-28, I'd be voting a democrat ballot, as Warren is a democrat stronghold. I'd vote my normal way in November, but I understand how things are and have a major philosophy. Take the best you can get in that area. Either that means the easiest opponent, or one who has one or two issues of agreement. In that district, almost any dem will win, so I'll go for the moderate. Jon Switalski and Lesia Liss are both economic liberals in an economic liberal area. However, Liss is at least reasonable on the 2nd Amendment issue and life issue and isn't for killing babies. She's more of the old school democrats that most of us in auto families grew up with. Switalski is a down the line lib. I'd take what I can get there. Lesia Liss would have my vote in the primary, and Steven Klusek would have it in the general.

That's similar to the 2002 John Dingell vs Lynn Rivers strategy. Gun owners and Auto Industry interests encouraged the republican members of their organizations to vote for Dingell in the primary because he was better than Rivers. Both are liberal, but you'll occasionally get something good with Dingell.

I'm sure many democrats think the same way here in Livingston County in reverse. Primaries are often when the elections are decided, especially downticket. Not many democrats win as democrats in Livingston County.

July 9th is the last day to register in the primary.

The Actual "August" Primary Election starts this week

Absentee ballots are going to be released this week. That means is it going to soon be election day - every day until August 7th. The primary election starts in late June, runs all through July, and ends on August 7th. While the most votes are cast on August 7th, it helps to think of election day as the day the votes are counted instead of cast. Over 30% of the voting population votes before primary day.

It's a heavily contested ballot this year in Livingston County. I haven't followed all of the other elections, but there's primaries all across the state in both parties. Here as expected, all the primaries are on the republican side.

Senate - It's a choice between Clark Durant, Gary Glenn, Randy Hekman, and Pete HoekstraI was backing Konetchy until he was off the ballot. I'm now between Durant and Hoekstra. Glenn won't get my vote after some of the stuff I've seen from his supporters over the course of the primary. Hekman seems like a good guy, but what he seems to be advocating can be done by anybody, not just a senator.

US House - I'm sticking with Mike Rogers. I never met Brian Hetrick or know anything about him and he's in my hometown. If you're running for Congress with a Livingston County base, I ought to at least know who you are. I've been active in the party 11 years. I don't vote blind. Vernon Molnar ran for office in Genesee County in 2010, outside of the district.

State House - I'm in the new 42nd, although have previously lived in the 47th. Harold Melton's a nice guy and a conservative, but I've known Cindy for 10 years and she's overall done a good job. Second Amendment and Life issues, I can always count on Cindy. Fiscally she's usually on the right side of things. One bad vote. I'm not going to support firing someone over one bad vote.  On constituent service issues, she's one of the best there is. I don't have a vote there anymore. Bill Rogers is challenged from Dale Rogers, a teacher in Novi Schools. I'm backing Bill. I think he's moving the state in the right direction some with spending issues. We aren't there yet, but it's been better since Bill was with appropriations than it was beforehand. Both Bill and Cindy are approachable people. They aren't hard to find. On the dem side, there are no primaries.

County Races:

Prosecutor - I'm having a real tough time with my decision here and am undecided. I've known Bill Vailliencourt and Lyle Dickson for years.  I think Bill's a stand up guy and experienced prosecutor and he is definitely a republican. Lyle's also definitely a republican and he's nobody's yesman which I respect. I have some pro-defense leanings, and Carolyn Henry is a well known and active defense attorney backed by many friends of mines whom I respect. I've liked what she's said when I had a chance to talk to her, although I don't really know her. She's running as a Republican and was an R as trustee, but I don't know how Republican she is. This one's tough. I'll probably be deciding this at the voting booth. This one I really am undecided.

Sheriff - Bob Bezotte has my support. I definitely can't support Tom Ash after his latest stunt. I've never had a problem with Bezotte's department, and his undersheriff Mike Murphy is a stand up guy who doesn't have agendas. I don't know much about CJ Maier except that he's retired MSP.

Clerk - Margaret Dunleavy has my support. I don't know Margo Heinonen, but Margaret runs a good department. I've worked with their elections dept for years. We're in good hands there.

Treasurer - Brian Wutz has my support. The incumbent, Jennifer Nash, was appointed when the last elected treasurer, Dianne Hardy retired. I don't really care for that system and prefer how Morse handled his retirement from the prosecutor's office. Don't run for re-election, back your pick, and let the voters decide without a quasi-incumbent. I like Brian's background as a practicing tax attorney in what is essentially a tax-law related office. He has the credentials for the job and also has the strong attention to detail necessary for this position.

Register of Deeds - I think we'll be in good shape no matter who wins here between Sally Reynolds and Carole Bullion, but I'm voting for Sally. The one thing I can not get past is that I can't think of a reason to fire Sally. If Sally retires in a future election, I could easily support Carole. Both are good people who are qualified for the role, but when things are close to even, I'm apt to stick with the incumbent.

County Commissioner - We have primaries in:

District 2 (Oceola/Deefield) - Jim Mantey is facing a challenge from Bill Green. Jim's a good guy. I don't know Green.

District 4 (Western Tier) -  Ron Van Houten vs Bill Call. Van Houten is possibly the most conservative guy on the board. I don't know Bill Call.

District 9 (most of Green Oak/pt Brighton Twp) - Jack LaBelle is facing Gary Childs. I'm voting for Jack. He's an institution with over 40 years of experience and knowledge on the board. On the constituent service side, he'll speak his mind, and is fair to all. I don't know Gary Childs, although I've heard he's active over by South Lyon. 

I'll have to do more research on the township races including here in Green Oak.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Construction politics at Brighton Schools (Millage and Contracts)

It's well known that the Brighton Schools millage folks spent a bunch of money. It was an 88 million dollar bond measure that narrowly passed.

Some of the money came from the MEA, as expected. Some of it came from school board members and administrators as expected. Some of it came from athletic booster funds, which I find mildly unethical as it should cut costs of athletics, but at least an argument can be made for it. Others are some community businesses with close ties to athletic programs and schools which I can understand. Customer loyalty. I don't view that as pay to play attempts because those businesses gave their support before this bond measure was even thought about.

 The most interesting part of the campaign finance reports for the millage election is all the construction ties, many of which aren't tied to the district. It reminds me a bit of Wayne County politics with Ed McNamara and his airport contracts. Now these aren't "no bid" contracts, but some of the winners have been donors.

Brivar Construction - $200
The Green Nexus - Solar Power Equipment - Hamburg -  $100
The Trombleys - Granger Construction as well as School Board - $110
Corrigan Oil - $500
Integrated Designs - $200 (Engineering) - Based in Marquette, although office in Brighton.
Barton Mallow - $1000 (Company $500, Sales rep another $500) - Based in Southfield, sales reps in Macomb.
Stifel Nicolaus - $1500 - Based in Okemos - Financial related company. I wonder what their ties are.
Contracting Resources Inc - $2250 (Construction management).
Sehi Computer Products - $250 - Based in Rochester Hills. 
Gracon Services - $75 (tech company)- Based in Okemos.

Those are donors. Some are in the district, like Corrigan and Contracting Resources. So far the winning contracts are, at least according to the Argus are as follows.

From June 3rd

$3 Milllion - SHW Group LLP (Oversight)
$800,000 - Barton Mallow.

From June 10th

Auch - $3million

These are oversights and managing contracts. We don't know the subcontractors yet, so there could be more winners.

Those that considered included Granger and Clark worked with contracting resources (donor) and Granger worked with Corrigan (both donors). I don't know who is tied with Barton Mallow and Auch, although Barton Mallow was a big donor.

While there probably wasn't direct pay to play or at least no bid contracts, there probably was a big sales pitch for the millage to these groups. If this doesn't pass, you get nothing. Put it $1000 investment like Barton Mallow does, you get your contract and your sales commission. $1000 investment for $800,000+ contract. Great deal if you get it.

What I'd like to find out is how Auch and SHW ties into this. Who are the affiliates and subcontractors and how do they tie to the general contractor and their donations? That remains to be seen, as are any future contracts from this bond.

HB5225 - State House votes to end the pistol permit system!

This took over 80 years to fix. The state house, led by Paul Opsommer, Ray Franz, and Richard LeBlanc all came through for the 2nd Amendment by repealing the worst of Michigan's gun control laws. This puts the pistol system in line with federal law. The NICS checks would still be in effect if it passes the state senate.This would eliminate the pistol purchase permit requirements. There's still some registration, but this also requires MSP to destroy records within 6 months of passage.

This was a somewhat bipartisan effort. All republicans voted correctly on this, along with 11 democrats. I'm a little surprised at some of the dem votes both for and against.  I expected better from Hammel, Constan, Kandrevas, and Clemente. Downriver and Flint burbs have usually been favorable to 2a. Interestingly, this August will have a primary race between Liss and Switalski. If you are a 2a supporter of any party in parts of Warren, then remember that election time. I'm slightly surprised in a good way with Oakes (in Mike Hanley's old district?), Slavens, Schmidt, and Dillon (Man oh man have things changed in Kent County the last 15 years on this issue - in a good way), but that's largely due to the districts more than anything else.

There's three Republican votes that surprised me. I won't mention who because they did the right thing. I don't want to put doubt in minds of readers when reps vote correctly. Heise is a big improvement over the last two republicans in that district.

From Michigan Votes:

Brunner (D)Byrum (D)Dillon (D)Lane (D)LeBlanc (D)
Liss (D)Oakes (D)Schmidt, R. (D)Segal (D)Slavens (D)
Smiley (D)    
Agema (R)Bolger (R)Bumstead (R)Callton (R)Cotter (R)
Crawford (R)Daley (R)Damrow (R)Denby (R)Farrington (R)
Forlini (R)Foster (R)Franz (R)Genetski (R)Gilbert (R)
Glardon (R)Goike (R)Graves (R)Haines (R)Haveman (R)
Heise (R)Hooker (R)Horn (R)Hughes (R)Huuki (R)
Jacobsen (R)Jenkins (R)Johnson (R)Knollenberg (R)Kowall (R)
Kurtz (R)LaFontaine (R)Lori (R)Lund (R)Lyons (R)
MacGregor (R)MacMaster (R)McBroom (R)McMillin (R)Moss (R)
Muxlow (R)Nesbitt (R)O'Brien (R)Olson (R)Opsommer (R)
Ouimet (R)Outman (R)Pettalia (R)Poleski (R)Potvin (R)
Price (R)Pscholka (R)Rendon (R)Rogers (R)Schmidt, W. (R)
Shaughnessy (R)Shirkey (R)Somerville (R)Stamas (R)Tyler (R)
Walsh (R)Yonker (R)Zorn (R)  

Ananich (D)Barnett (D)Bauer (D)Bledsoe (D)Brown (D)
Cavanagh (D)Clemente (D)Constan (D)Darany (D)Durhal (D)
Geiss (D)Greimel (D)Hammel (D)Haugh (D)Hobbs (D)
Hovey-Wright (D)Howze (D)Irwin (D)Jackson (D)Kandrevas (D)
Lindberg (D)Lipton (D)McCann (D)Meadows (D)Nathan (D)
Olumba (D)Rutledge (D)Santana (D)Stallworth (D)Stanley (D)
Stapleton (D)Switalski (D)Talabi (D)Tlaib (D)Townsend (D)
Womack (D)

It's on to the State Senate. It should pass there if it goes up for a vote. Richardville isn't reliable on fiscal issues all the time, but he's solid on 2nd Amendment issues. Hopefully Snyder will sign it. I don't think he has that strong of opinion on this issue one way or the other, but I don't think he'd stand in our way with it if it heads to our desk.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Can someome primary this clown? Please?

From ABC/Yahoo

As a conservative Republican, Lindsey Graham has never had a problem promising not to raise taxes. Like almost every other Republican member of Congress, during his last re-election campaign, he signed the anti-tax pledge put forth by Grover Norquist's group Americans for Tax Reform. But now Graham says the debt crisis is so severe that the tax pledge — which says no tax loopholes can be eliminated unless every dollar raised by closing loopholes goes to tax cuts -- has got to go. "When you eliminate a deduction, it's okay with me to use some of that money to get us out of debt. That's where I disagree with the pledge," said Graham. The Americans for Tax Reform pledge commits signers to "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses … and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." Graham said eliminating some deductions should free up money to lower tax rates — but also to pay down U.S. debt.

First off, Lindsey Graham is not, nor has been a conservative. He's a McCain senator, except more liberal. He was a bigtime bailouts guy, has supported free speech restrictions, amnesty, and at times global warming legislation.

The bigger problem is this - the spending. Graham is a big spender. He's a member of the senate which is even worse than Obama overall on spending. It was worse than Bush on spending - although both of the POTUS's signed what went to their desks. Graham now wants tax increases, now called loophole reductions, to bail out government's screw ups.

Graham - YOU screwed it up to begin with, and want us to bail you out. That's unacceptable. Cut the spending and balance the budget without raising taxes. Do that, and then I'll start listening to what you have to say and may support something as a compromise. Until I see a balanced budget without raising taxes, I'm not even opening the door to listen to what someone from the largest collection of screw-ups in the country has to say. The senate hasn't earned that privilege from me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

No more trips to Ohio for Fireworks

Back in my 18-25 days, I  used to take a drive down to Ohio, picked up fireworks, and make the trip back, like so many others did. One of the most intentionally broken laws in the state is now gone, reducing one law from potentially making the ridiculous law of the week list that isn't posted every week.

From the Argus:

Jeff Cunmulaj's sign says it all: "Goodbye, Ohio." "C Ya, Indiana."
While many families plan summer getaways around the Fourth of July holiday, many people will be saving their gas money next month by cutting out annual clandestine trips south of Michigan's borders to get their fair share of the rockets' red glare.
The smugglers have won.
Now that the state has relaxed its restrictions on fireworks to fall in line with surrounding states, people can get the biggest bang for their buck right here, which is fine with Cunmulaj, the owner of Jeff's Fireworks in Genoa Township, because he wants to give them just that.
Not only are he and his customers winners, so is the state.
"This will help the state out a lot," he explained. "I pay a 6 percent sales tax to the state. I also pay a 6 percent safety fee to the state. I'm giving them 12 percent on everything I sell. It's better to keep that money right here in Michigan than have everybody driving out of the state."

Keep in mind that there's probably still noise violation ordinances in your community, so don't set off the Big Bear Cannon at 1am over the lake, especially when it is not July 4th. Sometimes that gets ridiculous, but overall, it's good to see the money kept here instead of Ohio and Indiana.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Ballot updates - Cassis is in as write-in, others off ballot

There's been updates on who is on the ballot.  From the Free Press

McCotter wasn't the only candidate with insufficient petition signatures. Also kept off ballots by the state Board of Canvassers on Wednesday were: U.S. Senate candidate Peter Konetchy, a Roscommon Republican; 7th Congressional District candidate Michael Stahly, a Potterville Republican, and 8th Congressional District candidate Michael Magdich, a Democrat from Whitmore Lake.

I'm sad to see Konetchy out. While I keep my blog and my business interests largely separate, Peter was one of my clients. He's a good guy and focused heavily on the constitution, limited government, and budgetary concerns. Unfortunately it was a skeleton crew campaign and there's only so much a few people can do. I haven't completely decided who I'm backing with him out, although I will not be supporting Gary Glenn at all. I won't go into the details, except to say that I'm not impressed with some of the behind the scenes campaign tactics used by some of his major pushers. This goes long before the past week. It's not about conservative views in this case, but tactics.

Magdich is out. That means there is only one guy running on the democrat side for the 8th district. Lance Enderle in a rematch. Lance will have more time to campaign this time. 

There's also a coronation attempt from 11 "leaders" in the 11th District. Also from The Free Press

Former state Sen. Nancy Cassis, a Novi Republican, is the consensus candidate among a group of 11 GOP leaders in Oakland and Wayne counties to run a write-in 11th district congressional campaign in wake of the botched effort to put U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter on the ballot.

Nothing against Cassis, but I hope no party resources are used by committees controlled by those leaders. If individuals are supporting Cassis, that's fine, but party resources should not be used in the primary. I think there's a very good chance that our nominee in the 11th district will be Kerry Bentivolio, if for no other reason, his name being on the ballot, and Cassis running as a write-in. Party resources should stay neutral in the primary, and be ready to go in the general for whoever the nominee is, be it Bentivolio or Cassis. It's going to take at least 25,000 write-ins just to be remotely considered, and I suspect the number to be closer to 40,000. If Cassis can get that, without official party resources, then I'll be impressed and she's earned it. She'll have to work 3-4 times as hard as Bentivolio to have a chance. 

Bentivolio's weakness is money. He doesn't have a lot and won't be getting much, since I think Oakland GOP is unofficially going to be pushing the money to Cassis. Brooks Patterson's comments made it clear. There's a way around that, although it's not an easy one. Bentivolio needs to get primary voter lists, and start hitting doors, doors, and doors. Joe Hune style. While I think Bentivolio is favored to win, he can't take this for granted either. Control what can be controlled and work from there.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Walker wins recall election. Government unions cry in their beer.

It's nice to see that my $25 went to good use, and I rarely donate, especially to committees where I don't have some control. This was big. If Walker was recalled, then any reform in any state with any labor strength would be D.O.A. Michigan? With the MEA and SEIU? Forget it. Not if Wisconsin recalled Walker. That's how big this is. - With 78% in, Walker's up 200,000 votes. Also from Reuters
Reuters) - Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker will become the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall election, television networks projected on Tuesday, a setback for labor unions and a boost to Republican hopes in November's presidential election. Major networks projected Walker would be the winner about an hour after the polls closed in Wisconsin in the divisive election that left families at odds and neighbors not speaking to each over Walker's push to curtail collective bargaining by public sector workers. With 29 percent of the vote counted, Walker led Democratic challenger Tom Barrett 60 percent to 40 percent, according to unofficial returns, although this was expected to narrow.
Because I feel like rubbing this one in because Big labor spends more time pushing democrats instead of protecting workers.

In the immortal words of the late 1990's WWE tag team Degeneration X.....

State House committee approves ban on accessing employee's social media

Normally, I don't support legislative solutions to issues, but this is one I support at the state (although not federal) level. From the AP and
A Michigan House committee has approved legislation that would bar employers and universities from asking prospective employees or students for access to their social media and personal email accounts. House Bill 5523 would prohibit employers from disciplining or discriminating against candidates who refuse to give up the usernames and passwords to their Facebook, Twitter, or email accounts. The Detroit News reports the House Energy and Technology Committee unanimously passed the bill on Tuesday. It now moves on to the full House for consideration.
I wrote about this in March titling the post Invasions of privacy, writ large. I'm not a guy who supports a lot of bans, but this one is needed for one major reason. 1. You already have a federal law, albeit one unenforced, on the books. Some companies are telling people to break the law. From my March Post.
Here's the part that really gets crazy and sets me off. It can also cover this edition of ridiculous laws of the week. This belongs in tort law, not criminal law. Giving out Facebook login information violates the social network's terms of service. But those terms have no real legal weight, and experts say the legality of asking for such information remains murky. The Department of Justice regards it as a federal crime to enter a social networking site in violation of the terms of service, but during recent congressional testimony, the agency said such violations would not be prosecuted. Federal crime? A felony? I remember reading about this a long time ago. I believe it's under a fraud provision, but I need to double check. Still, you got to be kidding me. "Such violations would not be prosecuted?" So what. It's on the books. It CAN be enforced. It's STILL a crime. What we have here is people being told to commit a crime in job interviews. If it isn't worth prosecuting, get it the hell off the books.
Now if I quit my business to interview with a company that asked for this information, I'd say this. "First off, you are asking me to commit a felony. Secondly, in my line of work, I deal with proprietary information. If I give out that information any time the pressure is on, can you trust me to keep secrets of my clients. If you want to know my professional work history and how I conduct myself, talk to my clients. If you want me to commit a felony or give out proprietary information, I can not do that." In other works, go perform an unnatural act on yourself. The rest of what I said in March still applies. If I'm expanded to the point I'm hiring a lot of people, I'd never ask for login information, and would be supplying company computers and company emails with the full understanding that business stays only business, and personal stays personal unless it directly affects business (things that can be found on public records). That protects everybody. The irony about this is that from my perspective I have a bigger problem if you give login information away to HR, because I now wonder if I can count on you to keep things that need to be kept in-house, in-house if there's pressure by some bureaucrat.

Due to discrimination laws, I can not generally (in most cases) discriminate against somebody in employment on the basis of race, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability, age, military service, bankruptcy, genetic information, or citizenship status. In Michigan that includes marital status as well. In a lot of states it includes sexual orientation, although even in states not specifically listed, that's likely a lawsuit waiting to happen in a lot of areas. The easiest way to avoid any lawsuit or tort case is to simply not ask about those sort of things at all. Why would I anyway? None of those affect my area of business. I'm not going to ask, and it isn't my business.

Now, if some of these social network thing-a-my-bobs carry that information, is listed privately, and someone gets that information due to possible coercion (is it really volunteering the info?) by HR, does that amount to a case if someone isn't hired? That's in addition to that federal law described above violated (it's on the books, and who knows when it will be enforced) and violation of terms of service contracts (tortuous interference claims by the social networks if they prove damages).

Saturday, June 02, 2012

McCotter is out

It's really too bad that the electoral career (for now) at least of a good guy ends due to a major blunder like this. Thad McCotter releases his statement.

U.S. Rep.’s Sole Focus Is Finishing His Term and Aiding His Requested Attorney General Probe

“I have ended my write-in campaign in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District,” announced McCotter.
“One can’t clean up a mess multitasking. Honoring my promise to the sovereign people of our community only allows me to finish the official duties of my present Congressional term; and aid the State Attorney General criminal investigation that I requested into identifying the person or persons who concocted the fraudulent petitions that have cost me so dearly.

“Honoring this promise does not allow me to continue a political write-in campaign. This decision is final, regardless of how swiftly the investigation is concluded.”
“To those who unhappy at this news, I’m sorry; to those happy at this news, you’re welcome,” McCotter concluded.

I think it's time for us to now get behind a candidate, and for the party apparatuses to stay neutral. That candidate is Kerry Bentivolio. Bentivolio got the signatures to be on the ballot. Write-in campaigns for congress rarely succeed. Bentivolio is the very likely nominee. Many pundits are thinking that someone else wouldn't likely win as a write-in, but keep in mind that it takes at least 25-30K write-ins just to have a ghost of a chance. At minimum, if you want to back someone as a write-in, don't damage Bentivolio to where the dems have a good shot to win.  


Loren Bennett wants to make a comeback

This is an interesting matchup.  From the Free press

Former state Sen. Loren Bennett, a Canton Republican, plans to wage a write-in campaign for the 11th Congressional District, setting up a battle with U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Livonia.
“We need someone who takes the job seriously,” Bennett said today. “Even though it’s an enormous uphill battle, I’m putting my name and reputation out there. I don’t know if I will be more successful than an incumbent in a write-in campaign. But after what has happened here, the public deserves a choice.”

Loren Bennett was last in elected politics during the 2002 campaign when he ran for Secretary of State, then dropping to be the Lt Governor nominee under Dick Posthumus. Bennett has an uphill road in this district, but he's won very difficult districts in the 90's. Granted he had some help at the top of the ticket in 94 and 98 with John Engler's blowout wins, but anyone who won what should be a strong lean or even safe democrat district should be taken seriously. It takes more than just coattails to survive that.

Bennett has three problems he has to get past.

1. He hasn't been in elected office in ten years.That's not always a dealbreaker for voters. Former State Rep Mike Green make a comeback eight years after his loss to Jim Barcia for a state senate district.

2. Very little of Bennett's state senate map overlaps the current 11th district.

3. It's a write in campaign, and McCotter's running as a write-in. That's not to mention who I think is the frontrunner - Kerry Bentivolio. 

Now, Bennett won his state senate district in 98 by 3300 votes. That's was amazing given the district even then with different demographics, was democrat leaning. Bennett won Belleville, his part of Canton 2-1, Flat Rock, Huron Twp, Van Buren Twp, Woodhaven, and even Westland of all place.  He lost Brownstown Twp, Rockwood, Romulus, Sumpter Twp, and Wayne. Van Buren Twp wasn't AS bad in 98 as it is today for Republicans, but still.Westland's been dem for ages.Romulus is 70%+ Dem. The only areas consistently competitive are Canton and Huron Township.However, with the new 11th, only Canton is in the district.

Canton's got a lot of people, but is he going to get the 25-30K in write ins just to have a ghost of a chance at this? Not from Canton alone, or even Canton and neighboring Plymouth and Livonia.

I think this race is Bentivolio's to lose, just by default by being on the ballot. 23k voters in the 8th primary in 2010 voted for a quitter. Bentivolio's not going to quit.