Saturday, December 31, 2011

As '11 Ends, 11 Charts Of 11 Disturbing 11 Year Trends

This is just one of eleven charts that show rather disturbing trends in America. See the other ten here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Federal Jobs: A Real Gravy Train

Interesting tidbits from USA Today:
  • The portion of federal workers making at least $100,000 per year grew from 12% in 2006 to 22% in 2011, not including benefits
  • A "cook" in a federal prison makes an average salary of $66,225 per year
  • Since Obama took office, layoffs are down by two-thirds to an average of 300 per year, out of a workforce of 2.1 million
  • Federal workers averaged $75,296 salary plus $28,323 in benefits (medical and pension). This is about 60% more than comparable jobs in the private sector

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

UAW Gets Government Bailout, Going Broke Anyway

In 2009, when General Motors went bust, it was Uncle Sam (the taxpayers) who came to the rescue. But who was the biggest beneficiary of the taxpayer funded bailout? It was the United Auto Workers Union. As was said by Mark Hirschey in the LJWorld.com back in June of 2009,

"This Treasury-imposed restructuring is not a GM bailout; it is a UAW bailout with far-reaching ramifications. GM’s common stockholders are getting wiped out and public bondholders are getting hammered. Taxpayers and consumers get to pay billions of dollars for GM products that they never received or even wanted in the first place. All of this is to reward the UAW for bringing to its knees what was once an American icon."

Yet, in spite of all the help and money we, the taxpayers unwillingly shoveled into the coffers of the big union, it looks like they are about to go broke, anyway. As reported in Reuters.com,

"Two years after the wrenching restructuring of the U.S. auto industry and the bankruptcies that remade General Motors and Chrysler, the UAW is facing its own financial reckoning. America's richest union has been living beyond its means and running down its savings, an analysis of its financial records shows. Unless King and other officials succeed with a turnaround plan still taking shape, the next financial crisis in Detroit may not be at one of the automakers but at the UAW itself."

This is a story about the collision of greed and good intentions. The union leveraged their power and greed against a President who owed his election to Big Labor and the good intentions of a Congress that was hornswoggled into believing they had to act to save hundreds of thousands of jobs by bailing out the largest industrial corporation in history.

They could have allowed the car companies to use the process that was put in place in American law many years ago. It's called bankruptcy protection. The bills would have been paid, the company would have had ample time and opportunity to restructure itself and GM could well have come out in as good or better shape than it has so far without billions of taxpayer dollars being spent - dollars that will never be returned.

In  October of 2008, as a candidate for the US Senate, I was asked about the bailouts that were being considered at that time. My response was recorded in the Detroit News:

"Hoogendyk stated that there has been many other American carmakers that began, tried, and failed in the auto industry and America still survived. This was part of his opposition to the $25 billion federal loan package for auto companies that Congress recently passed, Hoogendyk said he believes it's not government's business to make loans to individual companies."

I was roundly criticized for saying that back in 2008. Ironically, the "$25 billion federal loan package" has turned into a nearly $25 billion loss for taxpayers as reported in the Detroit News last month. Hmmm...

As bad as the free market may seem, it is still the best way for individuals and corporations to sink or swim.

Electric Car: $250,000? But it gets 39 miles per charge!

According to research done by Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the electric-powered Chevy Volt may have as much as $250,000 in federal and state tax incentives per car. In other words, taxpayers are covering the risk in this venture by General Motors into electric powered automobiles. Read the full article in Capitol Confidential here.

Back in the "old days" entrepreneurs invested their own money or found venture capitalists to take the risk on a new idea. Or maybe they would go public, pitch an idea and see if anyone wanted to buy stock in the company. The downside for the investor? He lost it all, but the upside was that he could become a millionaire. This scenario has occurred thousands of times.

Today, we have members of Congress and state legislators who vote either for direct aid (bailouts) or huge tax incentives and subsidies to pick up the risk in place of the private investor.

What do you think are the chances of success when the manufacturers are using somebody else's money instead of their own?

I suppose you could argue that the Volt will ultimately be a huge success and that GM will sell millions of units at a tidy profit. But, if they do, will the taxpayer benefit the way the private investor would have? No, they will not. And if they don't, who will pick up the tab? I think you know the answer to that one.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Democrats=Big Labor. Republicans=Big Business...Really?

The conventional wisdom is that the Democrat Party is the party of "Big Labor" and the union bosses. The Republicans are the party of "Big Business" and the corporate fat-cat CEO's, right? Well, what is one way to uncover the truth on that assertion? 
"Follow the money."
Do the unions spend their PAC money supporting Democrat candidates who will protect their interests? Do the corporate PAC's give their dollars to the Republicans so they will continue to get big tax breaks and "corporate welfare?"

I did a little research using OpenSecrets.org, the web site that tracks campaign contributions. Here is what I found. No matter how far down the list you look, union PAC's all give donations to Democrats at about a 24 to 1 rate. 96% of all union PAC dollars go to the Democrats. But what about "business" PAC's? This is where it gets interesting.

Of the top 8 business PAC's, 52% of the dollars go to Republicans, 48% goes to Democrats. The union bosses are putting all their eggs in the Democrats' basket. The business groups like to play both sides of the fence. They want everybody in office beholding to them. See the chart below or go to the opensecrets.org web site for more details.
The top 8 union PAC's are American Federation of Teachers, AFSCME, Teamsters, Electrical Workers, Laborers, National Education Association, Carpenters, and Engineers.

The top 8 business PAC's are Bankers, Home Builders, AT&T, Auto Dealers, Beer Wholesalers, Boeing, Honeywell and the Realtors. 

The top eight unions gave $19 million and the top eight business PAC's gave $24 million to candidates. Combined, almost 70% of these dollars went to Democrats. 

How will politicians vote when bills come before them affecting unions, or the auto business, or the banks, etc? It's easy to become cynical of our elected officials when you see these kinds of dollars circulating. And it's also a little easier to see why the banks, the UAW and the auto companies got bailed out by us, the taxpayers. Oh, and by the way, the UAW gave 100% of its PAC money to Democrats.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ronald Reagan Wishes Us All a Merry Christmas

If you are over 40, you remember Ronald Reagan. If you are under 20, you have no idea what it was like to live in an America with a President like Ronald Reagan.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Congress Fails on Spending, Yet Again

While this chart is labelled "Obama Budget", in reality, it is Congress that holds the purse strings. Appropriations of taxpayer funds are in the control of the House and the Senate. They have not been effective in reigning in spending.
from Heritage.org
It has been some 1,000 days since the Senate passed a budget. It is clear that fiscal discipline is not emerging from that chamber anytime soon. And the House, which in April passed a budget resolution that would have set America on a stronger fiscal path, began the year with such great promise. The new leadership in Washington, ushered in by the Tea Party wave of 2010, pledged to be serious stewards of the people’s pocketbook. With December 15th's mega-omnibus bill, those who were eager to right the fiscal ship have been silenced by leadership that prefers bigger government, higher spending, and slinking out of the Capitol with an appropriations package that comes up short by spending too much. Get the details here.

Congress Delays Incandescent Light Bulb Ban

** FILE ** A compact fluorescent light bulb (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
from the Washington Post
Congressional negotiators struck a deal Thursday that overturns the new rules that were to have banned sales of traditional incandescent light bulbs beginning next year. Read more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Save Our Light Bulb!


Save the Bulb. Repeal the Ban.  E-mail Congress. Sign The Petition to Overturn the Light Bulb Ban.
freeourlight.org
Get daily updates on the effort to repeal the ban here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Time For Public Pension Reform

When you hear a public employee, whether it be a teacher or a county employee complain that they don't make the kind of income they could in the private sector, just ask them about their pension benefits.

The Taxpayers United of America just released data on pension payouts in Michigan. Remember, pensions to retired public employees are paid for by YOU, the taxpayer.

Here are a few examples from the Taxpayers United of America web site:
  • The top 100 retired teachers are collecting at least $90,000 per year in pension benefits
  • The top 25 Ingham County retirees are collecting between $55,000 and $64,000. (This is based on average annual salaries of $49,000 and retirment at age 55)
  • The top 25 Kent County retirees are collecting between $67,000 and $96,000, annually.
Assuming retirement at age 55 and 30 years to collect, total payouts can range from $1.6 to $6 million! And every dime of it has to come from your state and local tax bill. How many "working stiffs" in the private sector are seeing that kind of benefit? Well, if you wanted to set up a pension for yourself by saving every year out of your paycheck, it would go something like this:

Assume you want to receive $100,000 per year, like over 50 retired teachers in Michigan. How much would you need to save every year? You can use a payroll deduction into a 401k type savings plan. This way, you can use pre-tax dollars. Now, let's assume you can earn an average of 5% interest every year on the money you save. Let's also assume that you want to retire at age 55 and have a perpetual fund of cash to pay you $100,000 per year.

Using those assumptions, you would need to start working at age 20, work and save for 35 years, and put away $22,143.42 each year (1845.25 per month) for your retirement. When you reach age 55, you will have $2,000,000 in the bank, from which you can draw $100,000 per year. If the principle continues to earn 5% per year, you should still have a bundle left over at age 85 to leave to your children or to charity.

Yeah, I guess it's time for pension reform. The simple solution would be to convert all public employees to defined contribution retirement plans from the defined benefit plans they now currently enjoy. Most state employees are on defined contribution, they were converted from defined benefit over ten years ago. But education and municipal employees are still on the defined benefit pension system. Pension benefits are putting an undue strain on the budgets of cities, counties and school districts around the state.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is the Government Invading Your Fundamental Rights to Parent?


A 13-yr. old boy has serious health problems. The doctor suggests specific tests. The parents give the OK and then are told they may not see the results without the child's consent.

A five-yr. old boy comes home from Kindergarten with the book "My Two Dads," a book about "diversity." The parents are shocked and go to the school to protest. They simply ask that their son be allowed to opt-out of the class. Result: father is arrested.

A 14-yr. old boy decides he does not want to go to church three times a week. The courts remove him from his home, put him in foster care and hold a hearing. Result: the judge says he only needs to go to church once a week.

Are these stories fantasy? Are they accounts from Communist China? No, they are true, and they happened here, in the good ol' USA. The truth is, your rights as a parent are under serious threat. Watch this short documentary film and find out what can be done to protect your rights as a parent.

You are welcome to attend the Center Right meeting Thursday, December 15, in Lansing to learn what is being done in the legislature to preserve fundamental parental rights through a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The meeting will be held Thursday, December 15, 9:00 a.m. at 116 West Ottawa, Lansing, MI. Admission is free. Coffee and cookies will be served. Please RSVP here.

Hypocritical? Ultra-High Paid Superintendents Criticize "For-profit Schools"

From the Michigan Capitol Confidential...
As superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools, Michael Rice had a total compensation of $321,252 in 2010. Yet Rice was one of a dozen public school superintendents who signed a letter criticizing charter public schools and raising the “for-profit” status of some of the charter school’s contracted management companies.

The nonprofit Ann Arbor Public Schools just agreed to pay its new superintendent $1.22 million over five years (base salary of $245,000). In fact, the nonprofit Ann Arbor school district has seen its total revenues jump from $195 million in 2005 to $207 million in 2010, despite having about 400 fewer students, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

Taylor Public Schools pays all of its kindergarten teachers and nine elementary school gym teachers more than the city’s median income for an entire household. The city of Taylor’s median income for a household is $42,944. Taylor Public Schools had nine elementary school phys-ed teachers and all 23 of its kindergarten teachers make more than $43,000 in 2010. The average teacher salary in 2010 in the district was $65,477, about $23,000 more than the median household income.

Why would these high-paid "non-profit" public school employees complain about other public schools which are under the same rules as their school, just because they are operated by for-profit companies? Read the whole story here.

See You at Noon Today, Town Hall Meeting, Kalamazoo


If you are a home owner, you know that your annual property taxes are calculated based on the assessed value of your home. If you own a home in Kalamazoo County, you may be paying as much as $1,000 per year too much! Why?

When values go up, the assessment goes up and your taxes increase. When values go down, as they have over the last four years or so, assessments should follow. But they haven't.  Find out why at our special Center Right Town Hall Meeting.

And, what about that bridge to Canada? Is the County Commission poised to pass a resolution of support? Get some answers on the bridge controversy Tuesday.
Center Right - Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 
Noon - 1:15 p.m.
Kalamazoo Public Library, Downtown 315 S. Rose St.

Tentative Agenda
Mark Avery - Overtaxedproperty.com. Mark will explain why your home may be severely overtaxed based on hours of research he has done on properties in the city of Kalamazoo. 

Jim Lefler - Three Myths About the Government Bridge to Canada.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Deficits Result of Runaway Spending, Not Reduced Revenue




This chart from the Heritage Foundation shows that during the Bush era, while spending accelerated as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product, it actually stabilized in the last years of his presidency. Meanwhile,  revenues were growing much faster than spending. During the Obama era, spending exploded, as tax revenues declined. At the current rate of spending and revenue, the gap between the two will only widen, even though projections suggest a huge increase in revenue to the government. The problem will not be lack of income, it will be lack of spending restraint. Read the full story here.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Automatic Dues Deduction, Should This Practice be Stopped?

In Michigan, public school employees who are members of the union, i.e. the Michigan Education Association, have their dues automatically deducted from their paychecks. A significant portion of those dues find their way to Political Action Committees (PACs). The PACs give donations of up to $5,000 to candidates for office who support the union's goals. In 2010 alone, the MEA-PAC made over $513,000 in contributions.

As reported in Michigan's Capitol Confidential, In June of 2010, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision, that deductions for union PACs are a violation of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act. The court’s majority concluded that administrating a payroll deduction that sends contributions to a PAC constitutes a “contribution,” under the state's campaign laws.

Explaining, in part, the court said such deductions are illegal: “because public resources are being used to advance the political objectives of the committee” and are to be considered an expenditure “because public services and facilities in assistance of these same political objectives are being provided.”

Legislation to prohibit public school districts from deducting contributions to PACs from employee paychecks appears to be on a fast track in the Michigan House.

House Bills 5085 and 5086, sponsored by Reps. Mike Shirkey and Paul Opsommer, are scheduled to be taken up by the House Redistricting and Elections Committee on Dec. 6. It seems likely the measures will receive committee approval that day and be sent to the House floor. The apparent goal is to have the legislation passed by the House and sent to the Senate before the upcoming end-of-the-year holiday break.

“We think this is good policy,” said House Redistricting and Elections Committee Chair Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, “The state should not be doing the collecting when people want to pay into PACs.” Read more.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Resart Congress: Term Limits


Senator Jim DeMint
South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint has introduced an amendment to the Constitution that would apply term limits to members of Congress.

Ten Republican Senators joined DeMint in his call to limit U.S. Representatives to three terms and U.S. Senators to two terms in office.

“If we’re ever going to permanently change Washington, we must change the process that encourages career politicians to amass personal power instead of making the hard decisions for the nation,” said Senator DeMint. “We need true citizen legislators who spend their time defending the constitution, not currying favor with lobbyists. We need new leaders continually coming to Congress to ensure every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely, not wasted on Washington special interests. We must end the era of permanent politicians that has led us to a $14 trillion debt and a pending fiscal crisis.” Read more.

Senator Joe Hune Works to Save the Family Farm


Senator Hune
From Joe's Newsletter:
Generations of children have learned the value of honest work and gained valuable life skills on family farms across our great state.

Yet proposed revisions to federal child labor regulations could put that way of life at risk. I co-sponsored a resolution calling on the U.S. Department of Labor to stop a proposal to prohibit youth under age 16 from performing any agricultural work with animals and all work if the farm is owned by a family member other than the child's parents - even grandparents or siblings.

Certainly, we want to protect our young people in the workplace, but the proposed federal rules show an amazing lack of knowledge of how family farms operate.

The revisions would not only impact family operations, but could eliminate all 4-H, FFA and Extension training programs and prohibit kids under age 16 from raising animals and showing them at county fairs.

I urge the federal government to look at ways to promote our agricultural heritage, not undermine it.
Senator Emmons
Read the text of Senate Resolution 94, sponsored by Senator Judy Emmons here.

Obama About to Kill the Family Farm?

From RedState.com. For centuries, even before there was Willie Nelson and FarmAid, farming throughout the world (including here in the United States) has largely been a family affair. That is, parents and their children (when not in school) work from dawn until dusk to put food on the family table, and the tables of others.

Recognizing this, when child labor laws were developed in the last century, there was an exemption built in for family farms. Now, however, the concept of the family farm may be getting gutted if the Obama Labor Department has its way. Read more.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Automobile Prices Going Up...Way UP?


Is this the Luxury car of the Future?
Brace yourself. The cost of a new car in America is set to explode, skyrocketing by thousands of dollars, all thanks to a new regulation proposed by President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Under a new 893-page proposal unveiled last week, automakers must hit a fleet-wide fuel economy average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025--double today's 27.3 standard. The government says it would cost automakers $8.5 billion per year to comply, which means a spike in sticker prices of at least $2,000 to $2,800, according to official projections. Other estimates peg the added costs at $3,100, and that could go even higher. As The Wall Street Journal writes, "Vehicles that currently cost $15,000 or less will effectively be regulated out of existence." Read more.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving: The Result of Free Enterprise and Prayer

Here is a lesson in free-market capitalism and dependence on God, learned almost 400 years ago, on our very shores. from the book: “The Landing of the Pilgrims” by James Daugherty, published by Landmark Press, 1950.

“1623 – Spring had come. It was March and the frost had come out of the hard ground, leaving soft and wet mud. The last handfuls of corm were being given out in equal rations from the common store. Only the precious seed corn for planting was left. On it depended the settlers’ survival from starvation. The time for third planting was at hand. Each year the Governor divided the common land equally among the families. The sounder church members usually got the best lots. 

Last year this had caused discontent and there had been some grumbling. Some were workers and some were shirkers, but all received equal amounts of food from the common supply. This was taken up at the town meeting. It was decided that each family should keep the crop it raised on its allotted land. Each little farm would be a free enterprise. There would be no common store. Each would work for himself.

The result was wonderful. Each family, even the women and the children, worked in the fields daily from dawn until dark. Every inch of each field was planted and tended. There never had been such a planting. They had no plows, horses, or oxen. With spades and mattocks they loosened the earth, planted two fish in each hill, and dropped in the hard kernels. At night they took turns watching to keep the wolves from digging up the fish. The lean and ragged colonists tended their greening fields with a new pride and energy. The laziness and indifference of “communitie” had vanished like the sea mist before the sun.” 

The story goes on to describe how spring turned to summer. Six weeks went by with no rain. Finally, the pilgrims gathered at the meeting house and prayed for eight hours, non-stop as the sun shone brightly in the “brassy July sky.” That night the rain came “without either wind, or thunder, or any violence, and by degreese in that abundance, as that ye earth was thorowly wete and soaked therwith…the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of faire warm weather, as through His blessing caused a fruitful and liberall harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoyceing. For which mercie (in time conveniente) they also sett aparte a day of thanksgiving.”

Can you believe that this book was common reading material in the public schools?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Union Charges Dues to Parents Caring for Their Own Disabled Children

Robert Haynes feeds his son who has cerebral palsy
How insidious is it that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) charges a family union dues for providing care to their own children who are afflicted with cerebral palsy? Under a scheme originally cooked up during the Granholm administration, home health-care "workers" have been placed in a union, in many cases without their knowledge or consent. The stipend they get from the state has monthly dues deducted, which go to the SEIU. Read more here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chinese Have Control of Our Satellites, Says Federal Government

nasasat1 US Satellites Compromised by Malicious Cyber Activity
Recently, I wrote a blog about concerns expressed by former Professor of aerospace engineering, William Kauffman. He has asserted, and has been saying for several years now, that the University of Michigan, and other universities in the United States are transferring sensitive military technologies to Chinese Nationals who are enrolled as students. Nobody seems to be listening.

Yesterday, ABC News reported, "US Satellites Compromised by Malicious Cyber Activity."

According to a report just issued by the U.S.-CHINA ECONOMIC AND SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION, “Chinese military writings advocate attacks on space-to ground communications links and ground-based satellite control facilities in the event of a conflict. The report noted that in [two] instances, “The responsible party achieved all steps required to command the satellite but did not issue commands.” The report mentions the serious implications the intrusions could have on the satellite systems, particularly if they were directed against more sensitive systems such as military or communications satellites.

“If executed successfully, such interference has the potential to pose numerous threats, particularly if achieved against satellites with more sensitive functions. For example, access to a satellite’s controls could allow an attacker to damage or destroy the satellite,” the report read.

So, if I have this right, the Chinese Nationals have figured out how to control and command our satellites, but they have chosen not to implement the commands...yet. And, apparently, the ChiComs are getting the education from us on our American university campuses, AND, the taxpayers are subsidizing their education.

Meanwhile, China has increased its military budget by double-digits every year for the last ten years.

Let me know if I am missing something.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Auto and TARP Bailout Cost to Taxpayers: $81 Billion

The Detroit News has reported that the Auto Bailout cost to taxpayers has been boosted to $23.6 billion, and the cost for the Troubled Asset Relief Program has been increased to $57.33 billion.

Once again, government has demonstrated to us that, no matter how bad something may be, and no matter how expensive it might be to "fix" in the private sector, it will ALWAYS be worse if the government gets their hands into it. It is a simple problem, really. Either you (the business) fix your own problem with your own company's money, which encourages a certain level of personal responsibility because its your money. Or, you fix your problem with OPM (other people's money), which requires very little personal responsibility because, after all, "it ain't MY money!"

Read the story here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

School Millage Fails by 55% - 45% Why?

from mlive.com
MATTAWAN — An organization headed by former state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk sponsored robocalls last week warning Mattawan school district residents about the cost of a $59.9 million bond issue on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The Citizens’ Alliance for Life & Liberty paid for a round of calls on Nov. 7, the day before the election, and then another round Thursday, said Hoogendyk, the organization’s executive director.

Hoogendyk taped both messages, including Thursday’s call thanking residents for voting. About 55 percent of Mattawan Consolidated School voters rejected the request, which would have financed construction of two new elementary schools and upgraded technology for secondary students.

In the Nov. 7 call, Hoogendyk said the Mattawan bond proposal was “about four times higher than any previous bonding proposal in the school district’s history. .... If you are over 40, you will most likely be paying this tax increase as long as you own property in the school district.”

Hoogendyk, a Mattawan schools resident, said the point of the call was to provide information on an important local issue.

“I don’t want to hide the fact that I was personally opposed to the bond and I wanted it defeated,” said Hoogendyk, who is well-known for his strong anti-tax stance.

The Nov. 7 call did not say the call was from the Citizens’ Alliance for Life & Liberty, which was an oversight, Hoogendyk said.

Although state election law does not require identification for robocalls, Hoogendyk said his group paid for the second round of calls on Thursday to make it clear it sponsored the calls earlier in the week.

“I wanted people to know it was us,” Hoogendyk said. “We weren’t trying to run and hide.”

Hoogendyk said the group paid for 5,000 calls to Mattawan school district households. That’s a little more than the number of votes cast Nov. 8.

The Citizens’ Alliance was founded a few years ago as a nonprofit and registered as a political action committee with the mission of “protecting the right to life, liberty and property,” said Hoogendyk, who became the alliance’s executive director in February.

He said CALL is not “a Tea Party group per se, but its philosophy aligns with the Tea Party.”

The organization is based in Kalamazoo and does not have any paid staff or an office. Hoogendyk, who works as a political consultant, said he receives some consulting fees from the group.

This was the first time the alliance has targeted a local ballot issue, he said. It had focused on state issues, including right-to-work and immigration legislation and education spending.

Is Obamacare Being 'Locked In' to Michigan?

2011 Senate Bill 693: Create state "Obamacare exchange"
  • Introduced by Sen. Jim Marleau (R) on September 22, 2011, to create a government health insurance “exchange" (the “MiHealth marketplace”), which would be the state entity through which the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act” would distribute its subsidies and impose its various restrictions and mandates.
    • Referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee on September 22, 2011.
      • Reported in the Senate on November 10, 2011, with the recommendation that the substitute (S-2) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
    • Substitute offered in the Senate on November 10, 2011, to replace the previous version of the bill with one that revises details but does not change the substance as previously described. In general, the bill's provisions take advantage of narrow opportunitities within the federal health care law to make it less rather than more restrictive on the state insurance market, although it must "perform all duties and obligations of an exchange required by" the federal law. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on November 10, 2011.
  • Passed 25 to 12 in the Senate on November 10, 2011. For details, click here.
HOW THEY VOTED

Michigan Professor Questions University's Ties with China

"We are transferring every bit of knowledge and know how that we have to the People's Republic of China," says tenured aeronautics engineering professor William Kauffman. "This has been happening for at least a decade. It is done by having many of [China's] undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students, who pay out-of-state tuition, here in Ann Arbor and having University of Michigan campuses staffed by University of Michigan faculty in the PRC."

This article is several years old, but to date, nothing has been done to address this problem. Dr. Kauffman spoke at our Center Right meeting November 10th. The information he shared was shocking, to say the least. You need to know this information. Please read this story and log on to the web site for more information.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Worse Than a Tax Increase: A NEW Tax

The House recently passed HB 4293, which ostensibly legalizes many fireworks that are not currently allowed in Michigan. But, it imposes a $1,000 fee for any seller in a permanent structure, $600 for sellers in temporary structures (tents), adds 6% tax on top of the current 6% sales tax, requires a $10 million insurance policy and allows local municipalities to further restrict, through permit fees, the sale of fireworks. Only eight Republicans voted against the bill.

This is bad policy. For lawmakers to essentially say, we know you want this bill legalizing fireworks, and we know our neighboring states are selling fireworks, so we will legalize them, but use the opportunity to slap a huge new tax on this new entrepreneurial opportunity.

Oh, and here is a prediction: the parents of the first kid who gets burned by one of these new fireworks will sue for...$10 million.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another Tax "Opportunity": The Internet Sales Tax

Two legislators have introduced bills in the House to impose sales taxes on anyone who sells products on the Internet. It appears to be part of the effort led by Senator Dick Durbin, (D) IL. which would require that Internet-based retailers and mail-order companies collect state and local sales taxes. It also authorizes state and local governments to collect these taxes.

The bottom line is, this is just another way to collect taxes, thus giving the government more of your money to spend. Here is a great article that gives a clear perspective on the legislation. The bill numbers are HB 5004 and 5005. After reading up, please contact Chairman Jud Gilbert and share your thoughts.

Nesbitt's Resolution: One More Way to Bring Jobs to Michigan

Please urge Committee Chairman Ken Horn to move this resolution out of committee.

House Resolution No. 134.

A resolution to urge the Governor to expedite Michigan’s withdrawal from the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord.

Whereas, Signatory states in the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord agree to establish greenhouse gas reduction targets and timeframes. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through government regulations generally requires placing limits on carbon dioxide, which is produced by most energy production and industrial processes. Carbon dioxide cap-and-trade policies are the favored approach for the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord; and Whereas, Forcing business, industry, manufacturers, energy producers, and food producers to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through the government mandates and cap-and-trade policies advocated by the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord will increase the cost of doing business; push companies, job-providers, and businesses to other states or overseas; and increase consumer costs for manufactured goods, electricity, fuel, and food; and Whereas, The Congressional Budget Office warns that the cost of cap-and-trade policies will be borne by consumers and will place a disproportionately high burden on poorer families; and

Whereas, Simply reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the state of Michigan or in the Midwest will not have a significant impact on global greenhouse gas emissions, especially while developing countries such as China, Russia, Brazil, and India emit an ever-increasing amount of carbon dioxide; and Whereas, A tremendous amount of economic growth and job creation would be sacrificed in a regulatory cap-and-trade scheme that would have no appreciable impact on global concentrations of carbon dioxide; and Whereas, No state or nation has enhanced economic growth or international competitiveness through a cap-and-trade scheme or any other government-mandated carbon dioxide reduction policies; and

Whereas, The European cap-and-trade system has been undermined by political favoritism, corporate giveaways, higher costs for consumers, and accounting tricks and has failed to achieve its carbon dioxide reduction targets; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives, That we urge the Governor to expedite Michigan’s withdrawal from the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord; and be it further Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the Office of the Governor of Michigan.

Are Michigan Employers Hiring Illegals?

Sometimes, Michigan business owners are hiring illegal immigrants knowingly, sometimes they are doing so not knowing for sure whether their employees are in Michigan legally or not. Under new legislation introduced by Dave Agema, this issue will be resolved. Agema's bills, HB 4024 and 4026, will make use of the E-verify system, a quick and reliable way of checking the legal status of immigrants.

This is a government-run program which always raises suspicion about its reliability and efficiency. But, as reported by James Edwards in NumbersUSA, "Queries in this program give accurate responses 96 percent of the time. Not bad for a government program...99 of 104 employers sampled were generally satisfied with E-Verify. Those employers reported that the program isn’t burdensome."

It is a matter of security, (we need to know who is in our country), and a matter of legality regarding employment, taxation, benefits, etc. You can learn much more about E-verify here.

House Commerce Committee Chair Wayne Schmidt has been sitting on this bill since January. Please encourage him to take it up. His email is here. After all, what is it about the word illegal that we don't understand?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hermain Cain: Prepared for the "High-tech Lynching"


from the Washington Examiner May 5, 2011...But wouldn't liberals and Democrats still find a racially-based way to attack Cain? They certainly found a way to attack Clarence Thomas, the black, conservative Supreme Court justice.

"They're going to come after me more viciously than they would a white candidate," Cain responded. "You're right. Clarence Thomas. And so, to use Clarence Thomas as an example, I'm ready for the same high-tech lynching that he went through -- for the good of this country." Cain smiled broadly. "I'm ready for the same high-tech lynching."

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/05/herman-cain-sounds-race-debate-win-and-need-simplify-government#ixzz1cMnjryRX

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Herman Cain: "A black man who knows his place."

Here is the most racist remark I think I have ever heard uttered, without challenge on national TV. It was said on MSNBC Friday afternoon.

"One of the things about Herman Cain is, I think that he makes that white Republican base of the party feel okay, feel like they are not racist because they can like this guy. I think he is giving that base a free pass. And I think they like him because they think he's a black man who knows his place. I know that's harsh, but that's how it sure seems to me." Watch the video here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

American Laws for American Courts

When a judge rules on a case, he uses the Constitution as his measuring stick for justice, right? That's the way it always has been, and that's the way it should be. Unfortunately, courts are beginning to use international law to adjudicate cases.

Dave Agema has introduced HB 4769, a bill to limit the application and enforcement by a court, arbitrator, or administrative body of foreign laws that would impair constitutional rights; to provide for modification or voiding of certain contractual provisions or agreements that would result in a violation of constitutional rights; and to require a court, arbitrator, or administrative body to take certain actions to prevent violation of constitutional rights. His bill has 41 co-sponsors!

Chairman John Walsh
What is this bill really about? Just look who is strongly opposed to the bill. The Council on American and Islamic Relations and the Arab American Anti-discrimination Committee. They have called Agema's bill "anti-Sharia law". Well, if the courts are drifting into using Sharia law to make judgements, than maybe Agema is on to something. Read the language of the bill here. The bill has been sitting in Chairman John Walsh's Judiciary Committee since June. Please contact him and ask him to move this bill.

Poll Says: Pass Right to Work!

A poll done by "the polling company (tm), inc/Woman Trend on behalf of Americans for Prosperity - Michigan, in a survey of 600 voters across Michigan shows:
  1. Do you support a proposal to build a bridge funded by Michigan and Canadian governments? Total support = 31% Total oppose = 49%
  2. Do you support or oppose giving workers the right not to be forced to join a union? Total support = 71% Total oppose = 20%
  3. Do you support or oppose an increase in the gas tax here in Michigan? Total support = 13% Total oppose = 80%
These three answers are just the "topline" data. There were other questions asked and the poll was done scientifcally to get an accurate cross section of men and women, conservatives and liberals, and all parts of the state. Bottom line: the people of Michigan generally are opposed to a government built bridge, strongly in favor of a Right to Work bill, and very strongly opposed to an increase in gas taxes. Get more details on the poll here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Taxpayer-Funded Insurance for Domestic Partners Should End

Should a private employer be allowed to provide insurance for his employees, his employee's family, his employee's dog? Of course! A private business owner should be free to provide whatever benefits to his employees that he likes. But, should a public employer be allowed to do the same? That is a different issue. Any expenditure by a public employer is made with public funds, i.e. your tax dollars.
Representative Dave Agema introduced HB 4770-4771 with that concept in mind. Public employers have started to provide insurance benefits to "domestic partners" of their employees. Is that appropriate? Is there a line that should be drawn between what may be reasonable and what may not be? The entire Republican House caucus plus one Democrat agree that it is not appropriate. HB 4770-4771 was passed with 64 votes and is now languishing in the Senate.

Senator Mark Jansen
As a limited government conservative, I believe government should stay out of the affairs of a private business. But, as a legislator, I always believed that we who were responsible for spending tax dollars, should be looking for ways to limit public spending. It is appropriate for those who are responsible for the annual state budget to oversee how public funds are spent.

Please contact Senator Mark Jansen and ask him to move these bills out or his committee to the Senate Floor
.

Bridge Proposal Defeated in Senate Committee. What's Next?

From the neighborhoods in Delray, one can see the Ambassador Bridge and the RenCen. A number of homes and businesses would be displaced by the bridge project, Sen. Virgil Smith said. (Elizabeth Conley/The Detroit News)
On Thursday, October 20, two votes were taken in the Senate Economic Development Committee in an attempt to push legislation to create a new bridge authority out of committee and on to the Senate floor for a full vote. The first proposal to receive a vote was a revision of the original bill. It included millions in "community benefits" for the neighborhood that was to be affected by the construction of the new bridge. Billed as a way to compensate displaced property owners, the bill actually included a number of goodies such as subsidized housing, new parks, and subsidies to local businesses. The cost might have exceeded $100 million. All five Republicans on the committee voted NO, while the two Democrats voted YES.

The second vote in committee was on the original version of the bill, which did not include the community benefits. On that vote three Republicans voted in favor, two opposed, and the two Democrats "passed." This was their way of saying they wanted to benefits but were unwilling to vote against the bridge. Because the bill only received three YES votes, it failed.

Much pressure was brought upon lawmakers before the vote by several groups including you, the grass roots readers of Core Principles. Over 500 of you called and emailed to let your voices be heard. You proved that grass roots activism still works.

What's next? The Senate could reintroduce another version of the bill with elements in it that will lure more Republicans and Democrats to support it. There is even talk of an "end-around" by the governor who could find a way to accomplish this project using an executive order. This would not require any legislative action.

You need to continue to lobby your legislators and the governor not to move forward with this costly project. Here are some facts:
  • It will require $2.2 billion in new state and federal spending
  • Over $550 million in new debt to Canada
  • $100 million in new "community benefits" may be included
  • An Authority would be created, with the ability to bond, issue debt, and tax
  • Hundreds of parcels would be seized under eminent domain
  • New roads and exit ramps would need to be built
  • A bailout of the project down the road, if traffic and toll projections don't pan out
Thank you for participating in citizen government. Please don't rest now. Remember what Thomas Jefferson said, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

Read a background story from the Detroit News here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Detroit-Windsor Bridge: Yes, It IS a Government-Run Project

New approaches for second Ambassador bridge span are already completed with private funds
Here are a couple of quotes from the Windsor Star article of October 22 on the bridge project. It demonstrates that it is a government-run project. Regardless the propaganda and rhetoric coming from either side, one fact remains clear. In a limited-government philosophy, the government should never engage in a project when the private sector can do it because the private sector will ALWAYS do it either faster, or cheaper, or better, or all three combined.

When you hear "government-backed" or "publicly owned" you are hearing the exact opposite of privately backed or privately owned.

Windsor Star October 22, 2011:
Canada's federal government expressed dismay Friday over the rejection to construct the proposed $1-billion government-backed Windsor-Detroit bridge, by a handful of politicians who serve on a committee in the Michigan senate.

Federal transportation minister Denis Lebel has already spoken with Michigan's Gov. Rick Snyder and confirmed the bridge project remains a top priority for the state's leader despite the setback, Butler said.

"The Government of Canada remains fully committed to building a new publicly owned crossing between Windsor and Detroit and will continue to work with the governments of Michigan and the U.S. to jointly examine other options for delivering the new crossing."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ineptocracy: Ever Heard of it?

A new word for Webster's Dictionary!

Ineptocracy (in-ept-o-cra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Thanks to "Stan K" for sending this along.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Farrington Introduces Bill to Hold Back Aggresive Regulations by State Government

Rep. Jeff Farrington
State Representative Jeff Farrington has introduced a bill to prohibit a state department or agency from promulgating rules more stringent than required by applicable federal standards. The bill also requires systematic review of existing rules, establishes that agency bulletins, interpretative statements, etc. do not have the force of law, and more. It passed the House in June and has been sitting idle in the Senate.

This is good legislation. It curtails the power of government and, if passed, will help promote jobs in Michigan. Companies considering relocation want to know how stringent the regs will be. If they know that the state could promulgate rules that are more stringent than federal regs, they are less likely to locate in Michigan. 

Contact Rep. Farrington to thank him for his work to limit government. And while you are at it, please ask Senator Mike Kowall to take the bill up in his Economic Development Committee. Senator Kowall is a solid, limited-government conservative. I am sure he will take it up.

McMillin Passes "Right to Light" Bill in the House


Rep. Tom McMillin
The “Right to Light” bill, House Bill 4815, was approved by the House last week. McMillin introduced this bill for two reasons; to protect the freedom to choose our own light bulbs, and to provide the opportunity for job growth in Michigan. This legislation allows incandescent light bulbs to be manufactured and sold in Michigan without Federal interference (because the interstate commerce clause wouldn't apply).

A federal law passed in 2007 will soon ban the usage of the normal incandescent light bulbs and require the use of other bulbs like the compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs (the curly-cue ones). The federal ban eliminating the use of regular light bulbs is set to be phased in from 2012 to 2014 - with the 100 watt light bulb banned starting January 1 of next year. The cost of the new, mandated bulbs will require consumers to buy the more costly CFL bulbs, at $3 or $4 per bulb.

The Federal government should not be dictating what kind of light bulbs we use in our homes. If the state Senate passes this bill and the governor signs it, we'll at least have a chance of keeping our choices, including the good old incandescent light bulb. If we can protect our freedom and create jobs in the process, it will be a double-win for Michigan.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Call NOW! Stop the Bridge to Canada

Your immediate action is required! The Senate Economic Development Committee is set to vote this afternoon on a bill to build a taxpayer funded bridge from Detroit to Canada. The new substitute being pushed by Senate Majority Leader Richardville creates an authority to craft a "public-private agreement" for construction of the bridge. The bill now includes paying "community benefits" to neighborhoods in Detroit. This was apparently a deal that was brokered with Detroit legislators to gain their support.

You need to contact by phone or email, before 1:30 this afternoon, Senators Kowall, (chair), Hildenbrand, Nofs, Emmons and Hansen and ask them to vote NO on this bill. 

Why would the state create an authority (which can tax the citizens) and enter into a public contract to build a bridge when there is a private developer who has already started the construction of a new bridge? And why would the state build a bridge that we currently don't even need? 

Please call the above Senators now. By clicking on their name, you will find their phone number and email address. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Freedom to Garden Act Makes Sense

You wouldn't think legislation is required to give home and property owners the right to raise a few fruits and vegetables on their own property, would you? Apparently, it is. Rep. Paul Opsommer's Freedom to Garden Act will be discussed in the Agriculture Committee tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. in Room 307 of the House Office Building. The bill is pretty straightforward. You can read it here.

I generally like any bill that starts with the word "Freedom".

Bridge to Canada: The Plot Thickens


As reported in Capitol Confidential: "MIRS has reported that all 12 Democrats in the state senate — only four of whom are from Detroit — will vote “yes” on a controversial Detroit-Windsor bridge, but only if the deal includes a wish list of “community benefits” being written by Sen. Tupac Hunter, D-Detroit." Read the full story here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gov. Snyder’s 'Exchange' an Obamacare Trojan Horse?


As reported in the Mackinac Center publication Capitol Confidential, Gov. Rick Snyder has recommended creating a state health insurance “exchange,” and to promote the concept he's using the reassuring language of the comparatively modest version identified with the conservative Heritage Foundation. Gov. Snyder's administration, however, is steadily advancing toward creating a full blown state “Obamacare exchange,” which is not really an exchange as originally envisioned, but rather the agency through which the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will distribute its subsidies and impose its restrictions and mandates. Read the entire article here.

Michigan Health Care Exchange: Would It Entrench Obamacare?


Cato Institute health care policy expert Michael Cannon testified recently before the Missouri Senate’s Interim Committee on Health Insurance Exchanges on why that state should not create an Obamacare exchange. His arguments apply just as much to Michigan. In the article recently published in the Mackinac Center's Capitol Confidential, which you can read in its entirety here, he lays out six compelling arguments for avoiding the creation of a health care exchange.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Who Should Build the Next Bridge to Canada, and When?

The battle lines are being drawn in the ongoing debate about when, where and by whom the bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario should be built. The Snyder administration is pushing a bridge that would be built under the auspices of a state bridge authority. The Moroun family, which owns and operates the Ambassador bridge wants to build a second span with their own money, next to the current bridge.

A couple of observations: my understanding of an "authority", at least at the local level is one that has the power to undertake public activities; the ability to enter into contracts; the right to sue and be sued; and the ability to collect taxes and determine a budget. 

I got a post card in the mail today from "The Fund for Michigan Jobs", whoever they are, that said in bold letters, the bridge "WILL NOT cost Michigan taxpayers", and it will be paid for with "private not public funds." That does not square with statements in the Senate Fiscal agency's own analysis document. That analysis speaks extensively about public-private partnerships. It also states, "Any costs associated with the administration of eminent domain proceedings, professional fees, administrative costs, planning costs, or procurement costs related to a bridge project, or certain highway maintenance and repair costs, would be paid from the Department's existing State or Federal revenue."

Now, I may not be the sharpest knife in the pencil box, but aren't the taxpayers also known as the "public?" And, where does "state and federal revenue" come from? Wouldn't that be the taxpayers?

Professor Gary Wolfram
Even if the current bill, as written insulates the taxpayers from any obligation, future legislatures, as Professor Gary Wolfram, from Hillsdale College points out, can change that and put taxpayers on the hook by a simple majority vote. And there is a precedent. They did it back in the 50's with another bridge...the Mackinac Bridge. Read about it here.

At the end of the day, would you rather "trust the government" or let a private owner take the risk to succeed or fail with his own money?

Senate Bill 410 could be up for a vote in the State Senate next week. Perhaps you should contact your state Senator and offer your opinion.

Anti-bullying Legislation. Here is what it is REALLY About

The fight for "anti-bullying" legislation continues. The latest event was the attempt by Senate Democrats to add amendatory language to the charter school legislation on Thursday. Democrats want the phrases "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" added to the list of protected classes in the anti-bullying legislation. This has been going on for at least six years. Now, state Senators are trying to stage a sit-in at the Capitol to make their point.

Back when I was in the House, my colleague John Moolenaar and I offered an amendment to an anti-bullying bill to strip out such language. We changed it to say, in essence, ALL students should be protected from bullying, for ANY reason. Incidentally, one liberal writer was less than charitable in his objection to our amendment. In his tirade against us, he suggested that, "it might be a useful educational experience if some very large human being were to grab a couple Michigan state representatives, namely, John Moolenaar and Jack Hoogendyk, twist their arms painfully behind their back and smash their faces into the harsh stone of the Capitol building."

Why is the militant left so adamant about including these two "classes" in the legislation? It's all about ENUMERATION. You see, if a law is passed that enumerates these classes for special protection, a precedent is set. That enumeration can then be used in court cases. Cross dressers, among others, will then be a protected class and the precedent set in this amendment could be cited for providing that protection in any number of other situations.

Conservatives should stand firm and only allow for anti-bullying legislation that protects everyone without specific enumeration.

Genetski is On The Right Track

State Rep. Bob Genetski has offered HB 5000, to create a commission to study how our public universities are run. Quoting from the language of the bill, "The commission shall analyze the operation and governance structure of the state universities; analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the constitutional requirement for separate governing boards for each state university; review the higher education governance structures utilized by other states; and make any recommendations to the governor and the legislature it considers appropriate concerning the restructuring of the manner in which the state universities are governed in this state."

This is a great idea. Predictably, university management and their lobbyists are objecting. “He's trying to dismantle higher education,” said Michael Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, in a story in Mlive.

This is so typical. Those who are on the public dole don't want any oversight. But those same people want more regulation of the private sector. It's ironic really. Think about it; if your tax dollars are being spent on government-run programs, why would you not want more oversight of how your dollars are being used?

Back in 2003, I was on the House Higher Education appropriations sub-committee. We were responsible for recommending how the $1.7 billion that was being given to the 15 public universities would be doled out. Each year, the fifteen presidents would sit in front of the committee and beg for more money, but then they would remind us that according to the state constitution, they were autonomous and we could not regulate how they spent the money.

Michigan has 15 public universities, all heavily subsidized by your tax dollars. Have you noticed how they compete against each other for more students, how they put up huge billboards and open campuses in each other's back yards?

I think it is high time for some independent oversight and recommendations for how to make universities more efficient. Kudos to Bob Genetski for stepping up.
 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Is State Government Forcing You to Report Your Childrens' Height and Weight?

The governor seems poised to ask you to have your child's Body Mass Index (BMI) put on a state registry. Apparently, some in government don't trust parents to teach their children healthy diet and exercise habits. Granted, many parents fail to provide this basic instruction, but the question is, is that the role of government?

Pediatrician Meg Edison doesn't think so. Here is her appeal to you to get involved, while there is still time. You have until tomorrow morning to appeal to the legislature to act to hold this up.

Governor Snyder has recently proposed a plan, unprecedented in our country, to have doctors report the Body Mass Index (BMI) of children into a state database, claiming it will be voluntary and anonymous. As a pediatrician, I believe this is a violation of our Hippocratic Oath on patient confidentiality. On a practical level, the claims of "voluntary" and "anonymous" are at odds with the facts.

This reporting will not be voluntary, anonymous, or confidential. The MCIR system (Michigan Care Improvement Registry, formerly Michigan Childhood Immunization Registry) was initially created to track childhood immunizations, but has since crept into tracking newborn hearing screens, newborn metabolic screens and now lead screening for Medicaid patients as well as expanding to cover adults.  

Snyder is proposing a "rule change" which bypasses the legislature to allow doctors to report BMI into the MCIR. Data is entered without parental consent, families have to ask to "opt-out" at which point the state will be notified in writing of this request--far from voluntary. This will ask doctors to report BMI on specific children with potential to track the BMI, the doctor's recommendations and compliance--far from anonymous. MCIR is accessible to all doctors, nurses, many office staff, schools, daycare providers, and health insurance providers irrespective of whether the child is a student or patient of those looking at the record--far from confidential.   

Governor Snyder has already indicated his desire to expand this program to cover adults as well. Unless we speak up, Michigan will be the first to do this, by executive order. 

Perhaps most disappointing is the silent approval by the Michigan State Medical Society and the overt approval by the Michigan Academy of Pediatrics on this issue. (Rest assured that the silent majority of practicing doctors are not represented by the vocal minority of administrative doctors in these organizations on this issue.) 

Please contact your representatives and senators today! Many lawmakers are uniformed and do not even have the rule change in hand. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) is made up of Senators Pappageorge, (C ) Meekhoff, Marleau, Hunter, Johnson & Reps Olson, (C ) Rendon, Horn, Constan, Bryrum. The committee has a hearing this Thursday, October 6, 9:00 a.m., 426 State Capitol Building.


Thank you, Meg Edison, M.D.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tea Party Scorecard: The Standard Bearers? Agema, McMillin and Franz

The Mackinac Center for Public policy has released a new "Tea Party Scorecard." This is the toughest measuring stick in Lansing. It scores legislators on no less than 36 votes. View it here. Congratulations to Representatives T Dave Agema, Tom McMillin and Ray Franz, tied for first at 92%. How did your State Rep. and State Senator do?

Hoekstra Comments on Death of Anwar Al-Awlaki


Dead

U. S. military took out this American-born Al Qaida terrorist. He was an advisor to the Ft. Hood shooter and the "underwear bomber." Get more details in this Newsmax interview with Peter Hoekstra.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Objectivity and Disclosure

Objectivity is something many strive to offer and many others hope to find. Columnists are supposed to be biased; they express an opinion, but "reporters," well, they're objective, right?

Dictionary.com describes being objective as "not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased."  But objectivity in almost any circumstance is virtually impossible. Why? Because everything we observe is influenced by our personal feelings, our prejudices, our impressions of the facts, our experiences and world-view.

Ask any police officer who had to interview three witnesses to a traffic accident, let's say a bystander and the two drivers who were in the accident. ("Just the facts, ma'am.") You know you will hear three different versions of "the facts."

I write a newsletter called Core Principles. It sort of a companion to this blog of the same name. I sometimes try to be objective; other times I intend to express my opinion. But either way, it is nearly impossible for me to be totally objective.

Take the U.S. Senate race, for example. My objectivity is colored by my personal support for one of the candidates. When you see stories I post about the race, be forewarned, I may not be totally objective. But, I promise you this, I will try to be truthful.

It is appropriate that I disclose a couple of things. First, I am supporting Peter Hoekstra for U.S. Senate. However, contrary to rumors that have circulated, I am not on the campaign payroll. In fact, I have not been compensated at all, in any form, by the Hoekstra campaign. Any campaign activity I have involved myself in has been as a volunteer.

Secondly, I am an ardent supporter of the Michigan Freedom to Work effort. While I am not currently being compensated by MI-FTW, I have raised funds independently to financially support myself while working on making Michigan a Freedom to Work state.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A "Union Guy" Weighs in on Electric Cars

Terry Bowman
September 20, 2011 http://detnews.com/article/20110920/OPINION01/109200318
Union bosses wrong to prop up unwanted electric vehicles  by TERRY BOWMAN

Today's movement for green technology is nothing new in the automobile industry. The plug-in electric car has been a hopeful dream for decades.
Fifteen years ago, Costco installed EV charging stations at some of its stores. This month, the warehouse store chain started removing those chargers because it acknowledged no one was using them.
Nonetheless, the Chevy Volt and other electric cars are marketed as the saviors of the automobile industry. High hopes and dreams are once again laid at their proverbial feet, hoping Americans are ready to embrace electric drivetrains.
In August, a measly 302 Chevy Volts were sold in the entire country.
In short, Americans don't want electric vehicles because they are too expensive, inconvenient and underpowered.
Unfortunately, union officials have jumped aboard the electric car wagon, proclaiming it as the hope and promise for thousands of union jobs in the auto industry. They are sure 2011 is different and we are ready to buy the electric car en masse.
Read the rest of the article here.

Terry Bowman is a UAW member and president of Unionconservatives.com. Email comments to letters@detnews.com.

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