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Member since: Tue Apr 5, 2005, 09:55 AM
Number of posts: 6,837

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Powerful video: Quite Desperation in Oakland County, Mich.

Long one of the wealthiest large counties in America, Oakland County is not immune to the great recession. At first glance, it may be hard to tell. But look closer and see the stories of people in need and those who are working to address the problem.

Free Press Editorial Cartoonist Mike Thompson has spent the past six months talking to Oakland County residents whose lives have been upended by Michigan's struggling economy. Over the next week, he'll share glimpses of the despair behind Oakland's facade of economic normalcy. All animation, art, video and photography by Mike Thompson. Music by Loopmasters.com. Total run time 9:45.

Video here: http://www.freep.com/article/99999999/BLOG2401/399990086/Mike-Thompson-Oakland-Co-desperation?odyssey=mod|dnmiss|umbrella|3

Column: Jamie Dimon should relax; nobody wants to take his stuff away

Jamie Dimon wants you to know that he’s not a bad guy and wishes people would stop picking on him and people like him.

Speaking at an investors’ conference in New York recently, Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., said: “Acting like everyone who’s been successful is bad and because you’re rich you’re bad, I don’t understand it. Sometimes there’s a bad apple, yet we denigrate the whole.”You’re right, Mr. Dimon, you don’t understand it. If you really think the rise of Occupy Wall Street and the rest of the “99 percent movement” is about demonizing individuals or denigrating the notion of success, then you really are missing the point.

The angst we see in the country today isn’t so much about “hatin’ the playas,” it’s about “hatin’ the game.” By “game,” I don’t mean capitalism, but the way capitalism has been used in recent years to further enrich people who were already wealthy, while the incomes of those in the middle class have stagnated or declined in real (after-inflation) terms. We see that not only in the Occupy movement, but in the Tea Party as well.

One does not have to be a Maoist, a follower of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un or some other kind or extreme egalitarian to be concerned about the rapidly growing income and wealth inequality in the United States. For a lot of people, there is a sense that the 2008 banking crisis was just a symptom of a bigger disease – some kind of cancer eating away at the ability of folks like them to get ahead and feel confident about their financial futures. They don’t want to seize the riches of the top 1 percent. They just want to be able to earn enough at work to provide a little comfort and security for their families – and maybe buy a new car every few years or take a trip to Disney World.

More here: http://www.northstarwriters.com/2011/12/21/jamie-dimon-should-relax-nobody-wants-to-take-his-stuff-away/#more-9530

This is not a game, people

Look, I know a lot of you are not happy with Obama. Somehow, you expected him to overcome the filibuster rules of the Senate, the rulings of the Supreme Court and the other headwinds pushing against every damned thing he has tried to do. You were disappointed. I get that.

But if any of you think sitting out the election -- or worse, voting GOP -- will make things better for the causes you care about, think again. If the Republicans score an electoral victory in 2012 that matches or exceeds their results in 2010, it could be over for us. We're dealing with radicals willing to tear the country apart to achieve their goals. These are not the Republicans of 20 years ago. This is not the Reagan revolution. These are the people Reagan would have been afraid of -- and Reagan was plenty bad enough.

If Newt Gingrich becomes president and has a Republican-controlled House and Senate to work with, America as we used to know it will be gone and won't come back any time soon. And, oh yes, the chances of going to war with Iran would then rise to 100%.

That's why I am voting for Obama next year and think ALL of you -- and your friends and families -- should do the same.

Thank you for reading.

Protesters 'Occupy Birmingham' (MI) (Dirty hippies! Take a bath and get a job!)

“I’m here because I think Martha Baldwin would expect me to be here.”

There were dozens of reasons why more than 50 protesters came out to Martha Baldwin Park to participate in Occupy Birmingham, but for longtime Birmingham resident and park trustee Elaine Moore, she was there because of the legacy of one of Birmingham’s original activists.

“She was active in almost everything in this town to improve civic life,” Moore said of the woman who helped found the Baldwin Public Library and whose name graces the park where the protest — an offshoot of the larger Occupy Wall Street movement — took place Saturday afternoon. “Martha lives in this event.”

From improving civic discourse to speaking out against income equality and campaign finance laws, the demonstrators at Occupy Birmingham had a lot to say Saturday. As many noted, Birmingham was the right place to say it.

More here: http://birmingham.patch.com/articles/occupy-birmingham-a-call-to-action-protesters-say

Note: You really need to be from Michigan to get the full impact of this. Birmingham is a very "upscale," generally Republican place.

Column: Let’s not be a gay-bashing state, OK? (Michigan)

"The unemployment rate in Michigan is 10.6 percent. So, can anybody explain to me why some Michigan politicians think attacking the gay community should be a priority?

"As Michigan works to claw itself out of the hole it fell into during the greatest recession since the Great Depression, some of our state and local officeholders want to send the world a message. That message is that Michigan is open for business, we want your investment dollars and your 21st century jobs and, oh yes … one more thing: We’re pretty darned intolerant when it comes to gay people.

"Late last week, state legislators sent Gov. Rick Snyder a bill that would ban domestic partner benefits for unmarried public employees in the state. The bill would affect the live-in partners of all unmarried employees, straight or gay. But the main targets are homosexual couples who are not only unmarried, but unlikely to get married any time soon, thanks to a constitutional amendment approved by Michigan voters in 2004.

"Snyder – who is smart enough to know what kind of message this kind of legislation sends to the world – is expected to sign the bill anyway, after a review period."

More here: http://www.northstarwriters.com/2011/12/14/let%E2%80%99s-not-be-a-gay-bashing-state-ok/

I just picked up on the whole Tim Tebow thing

Till today, I thought of Tim Tebow as just another mediocre, but incredibly lucky, quarterback. The whole religious fanatic/right-winger thing took a while to sink in.

What do people think? Is Tebow's ostentatious religiosity sincere? Is it brand-building behavior? A little of both? Should anybody really care?

OK, according to the Republicans, God really likes capitalism

So, how did Jesus get to be such a socialist?
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