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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,648

Journal Archives

Detroit Free Press editorial: MI Republicans are riding stolen election lies to political oblivion

(Detroit Free Press) In January 2021, four days after the now-infamous assault on the U.S. Capitol, the Free Press published an editorial documenting the roles 28 Michigan Republicans had played in the unsuccessful attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Headlined “People of the lie,” the editorial described how a small group of elected leaders and GOP operatives in our state plotted to prevent the presidential candidate Michigan voters preferred from succeeding the incumbent he had defeated – first by pressing bogus claims of election fraud, then by delaying certification of county and statewide election results, and finally by seeking to invalidate the electoral votes Joe Biden had won in other swing states.

Like most Americans, we had been shaken by what fact-finders would subsequently expose as a coup attempt months in the making, and we thought it important to memorialize the complicity of Michigan Republicans. But our outrage was tempered by the recognition that a critical mass of principled Republican officials had refused to participate. So in addition to pillorying the 28 who had abetted the scheme, our editorial saluted eight GOP leaders who had upheld our state’s election laws and helped assure the peaceful transfer of presidential power. In their honorable conduct, we found reason to believe Michigan’s democratic institutions would withstand a lawless cabal’s efforts to undermine them.

We harbored no illusion that a post-Trump Republican Party would abandon the policies and priorities the former president had during his four years in the White House. But was it so naïve to hope that Michigan’s next generation of GOP leaders would look more like Liz Cheney, and less like, say, Marjorie Taylor Greene?

Apparently it was. ..............(more)


Battery wars: Michigan snags $4B investment, 4,500 new jobs

(Detroit News) Michigan is battling back in the state-vs-state battery wars, landing two investments totaling nearly $4 billion and creating close to 4,500 jobs in two parts of the state.

Our Next Energy Inc., a two-year-old battery startup based in Novi with just 160 employees, confirmed Wednesday that it will invest $1.6 billion to create a battery-cell manufacturing plant in western Wayne County’s Van Buren Township. With a $200 million grant from the state’s Critical Industry Fund, the project code-named “Project First” is expected within six years to employ 2,112 new jobs paying an average of $35 an hour.

The investment follows parallel confirmation that Gotion Inc., a Chinese-owned battery maker, plans to invest $2.3 billion to build a battery components plant in Big Rapids that would create 2,350 new jobs with an average hourly wage of nearly $30 an hour. Internally dubbed “Project Elephant,” the Gotion project is expected to receive a $125 million grant from the state’s critical industry fund and $50 million from the Strategic Site Readiness program.

That’s a sharp turnaround from a little more than a year ago, when hometown stalwart Ford Motor Co. shocked Michigan’s business and political leadership with plans that it would head south to partner with South Korean battery supplier, SK Innovation, to invest a combined $11.4 billion to build a battery assembly operation in Kentucky and a battery-and-vehicle assembly campus in west Tennessee. ...............(more)


Demand for abortions in Michigan doubles among out-of-state residents

(Detroit Free Press) They're coming to Michigan from Ohio and Texas, Tennessee and Kentucky. Some by car and others by hourslong bus rides or by plane. All seek to end an unwanted pregnancy.

The number of abortions in Michigan performed on out-of-state residents has more than doubled since the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling reversing Roe v. Wade, leaving abortion access up to states to decide, said Paula Thornton Greear, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Michigan.

"In some weeks, our patient care teams at our health centers are serving triple the previous average," said Greear, who took the job leading the nonprofit just weeks before the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization created a nation with a patchwork of abortion laws that continue to shift as bans and restrictions are put in place and tested in state courts.

Dobbs abortion decision created 'a new reality for us all'

"If the previous weekly average was 18, the new average would be around 42 and sometimes as high as 58 in a week."

Out-of-state patients, she said, make up about 20% of the abortion care appointments at Planned Parenthood of Michigan's 14 health care centers. ...............(more)


SCOTUS: What Three Dissenters Can Do Now

What Three Dissenters Can Do Now
Jackson, Kagan, and Sotomayor are perfectly aware of their situation.

OCT 05, 20225:45 AM

(Slate) Two things were obvious after Tuesday morning’s oral arguments in Merrill v. Milligan, one of the term’s most important voting rights cases: One is that there will be three female justices on the losing side of virtually every single important case for the foreseeable future. And two—they are not going down quietly. All three of Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson brought the full force of history, text, original intent, and statutory purpose to the table during arguments about the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act—values the court’s conservatives purport to espouse. In so doing, they highlighted that the state of Alabama, aided and abetted by the court’s so-called textualists and originalists, are engaged in a radical project to engineer a new era of “race blindness” in voting that violates both the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. That these oral arguments are now broadcast live means that Americans could listen to three women, one of whom is Black, one of whom is Latina, and one of whom is Jewish, administer nothing short of a beat down to both Alabama’s solicitor general, Edmund LaCour, and their own colleagues on the bench.

Merrill is a challenge to an Alabama gerrymander that packed most of the state’s Black voters into a single district and spreads the remainder throughout white districts where they would not be able to elect their preferred candidate, a trick known as “packing and cracking.” As a result, Black voters control just one of seven congressional districts despite making up nearly a third of the population. The Supreme Court has previously held that such race-based vote dilution is impermissible under both Section 2 of the VRA and the 14th Amendment, so the case should have been straightforward. When faced with this lawsuit, however, Alabama turned those ideas on their heads by insisting that any maps that take any race into account violate the Constitution. In other words, redressing illegal racial discrimination is, itself, illegal race discrimination. This is a parody of an argument about the need for race-blindness, but it’s an idea that is ascendant this term, here and in the upcoming affirmative action and Indian Child Welfare Act cases.

The problem with this strategy, as Kagan immediately pointed out, is that when the Supreme Court took away Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County, it promised that Section 2 would be available to remediate racialized voting measures. When the Supreme Court chipped away at Section 2 of the VRA in Brnovich v. DNC, it glibly promised the law would still be available in cases where states diluted the power of racial minorities’ votes. But now the court has a vote dilution case in Merrill, and that promise has proved hollow; instead, the court is preparing to take away the use of Section 2—and with it, the VRA—altogether. What’s left, Kagan asked, after that?


Kagan also said that under existing precedents, Alabama could only prevail if the court ignored or overruled existing law. Of course, ignoring and overruling existing law is the raison d’etre for the new conservative supermajority, for which precedent is a mere annoyance on the way to its final destination. ...............(more)


Officials celebrate completion of the Long Island Rail Road Third Track project

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Third Track project is complete with state and transit officials marking the milestone on Oct. 3. The project saw the construction of a new 9.8-mile section of track between Floral Park and Hicksville that will allow LIRR greater operational flexibility and support an increase of service across the system when Grand Central Madison opens later in 2022.

"The completion of the LIRR Third Track gives the LIRR more flexibility to serve customers on the Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson/Huntington and Oyster Bay branches. When combined with the new terminal at Grand Central Madison and the newly renovated LIRR concourse at Penn Station, LIRR customers will have more frequent service, upgraded stations with a host of modern amenities, and easier reverse peak trips,” said LIRR Interim President and Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi.

The newly built Third Track is physically the southernmost track on the roadbed and will carry eastbound service. It opened in three sections, with the first leg opening August 15 through New Hyde Park and Merillon Avenue and the second stretch to Mineola on August 30.

The Third Track project is a central element to the LIRR Main Line Expansion Project, which includes the renewal of five LIRR stations along the route (New Hyde Park, Merillon Avenue, Mineola, Carle Place and Westbury), the elimination of eight at-grade railroad crossings, upgrades at seven railroad bridges, parking expansions, installation of new sound attenuation barriers and landscaping improvements. With only minor station work left to complete, the project is heading toward the finish line $100 million under budget almost four years after breaking ground. .............(more)


UK: Labour Holds on to Strongest Poll Lead for More Than Two Decades

(Bloomberg) Liz Truss has brought the Conservative Party conference to a close with Labour continuing to enjoy its strongest performance in the opinion polls for more than 20 years.

The Prime Minister delivered her speech on a day that saw the Tories' average poll rating drop to just 24%, 26 percentage points behind Labour.

The last time Labour had a similarly sized lead over the Conservatives was in the summer of 2001.

A collection of polls published in the wake of Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng's mini-budget on September 23 have all shown Labour extending its lead over the Tories, with one polling company putting the gap at 30 points (People Polling) and another at 33 points (YouGov).

These are the sorts of figures that would likely see a landslide Labour victory at a general election - were one to take place tomorrow, and were people to vote in the same way across the country. .............(more)


What does MAGA mean in 2022? An aging movement longs for an America that never was

What does MAGA mean in 2022? An aging movement longs for an America that never was
Trump's core loyalists are older, less educated, more Southern, more Christian — and driven by resentment

Senior Writer

(Salon) Donald Trump formally became the leader of the Republican Party in 2016 — but this should not be considered a hostile takeover. If the courtship was reluctant at first, Trump and the Republicans both realized in due course that they needed each other, and indeed fulfilled each other.

Trump's relationship to his followers is that of a god-king - fascist cult leader, based upon collective narcissism, fantasies of violence, cruelty and an entire set of shared delusions. When Trump began his presidential campaign In 2015, he attracted large crowds. Then he gave them a collective identity by embracing "Make America Great Again" as his slogan. The MAGA movement was born.

Seven or so years on, what does MAGA mean now? And what have Trump and his movement accomplished? By any humane, reasonable or moral standards, nothing worth doing, or in any way "great." They pushed American democracy to the brink of chaos. They normalized right-wing political violence, culminating (for now) in the Jan 6 coup attempt and attack on the Capitol. They strove to reverse the civil rights and human rights progress of the 20th and 21st centuries in America.

They elevated conspiracism, anti-intellectualism, a rejection of empirical reality and science, Christian nationalism, white supremacy, misogyny and hostile sexism, and a total disregard for the rule of law. America's global reputation as an "indispensable nation" and the world's greatest democracy (which was already damaged) was permanently stained by the Age of Trump. At least a million people died in America because of how the Trump regime and the Republican Party willfully sabotaged public health and relief efforts in response to the COVID pandemic. ..............(more)


Herschel Walker's abortion scandal won't alienate Christian right voters -- here's why

Herschel Walker's abortion scandal won't alienate Christian right voters — here's why
Trump showed Republican voters are fine with sexual freedom — for straight conservative men

Senior Writer

(Salon) Monday evening, Roger Sollenberger of the Daily Beast (and formerly of Salon) published a blockbuster scoop: Herschel Walker, former NFL running back and current Georgia Senate candidate for the GOP, allegedly asked for and paid for a girlfriend to get an abortion in 2009. Walker has taken a hard line against abortion, wanting it banned in all cases, even to save the life of the pregnant person. The woman, who understandably wants to remain anonymous, substantiated her claim with a receipt from the abortion clinic, a check from Walker, a get-well card he gave her, and the testimony of the friend who took care of her after the abortion.

Walker denies it happened. Walker also has a history of shameless lying, to the point where his own campaign aides describe him as a "pathological liar." He claimed to have graduated in the top 1% of his University of Georgia class, but in fact, he didn't graduate college at all. He lied about a career in law enforcement and training with the FBI. Like his mentor, Donald Trump, Walker has repeatedly lied about his business, claiming successes that aren't real. He had multiple secret children, even lying to his own campaign to hide them. As far as Walker's credibility goes, it might be safer at this point to assume anything he says could well be a lie. But that does not mean he will lose Christian right support over allegations of a secret abortion. They will simply scream "fake news!!!!" to dismiss this deeply reported allegation, and call it a day.

It is unlikely that Republicans actually believe Walker over this anonymous woman, but they don't have to. They simply do not care. The abortion issue is not and never has been about "life." Abortion bans are about controlling women and punishing female sexuality, full stop. Walker is a straight cisgender man and a Republican. That means, as far as the Christian right is concerned, he can do whatever he wants when it comes to sex. ..............(more)


2020 election denial is on the ballot in Michigan this year. These are the candidates.

(Detroit Free Press) Key architects of attempts to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election in Michigan could take control of the state’s most important elections and prosecutorial posts if Republican candidates win their races this fall.

The nominee for attorney general led the legal effort in Antrim County, a small conservative community in northern Michigan, turning human error into a vessel for conspiracies touted by former President Donald Trump. He’s now under criminal investigation for allegedly improperly gaining access to voting machines in an effort to further his inaccurate allegations of election fraud.

The candidate for secretary of state observed absentee ballot counting at Detroit’s TCF Center, suggesting incorrectly that she witnessed fraud in statements that also garnered Trump's support. The gubernatorial pick agreed with the false idea that Trump actually won Michigan, a state he lost by more than 154,000 votes.

In Michigan, local clerks actually run each election. But the Secretary of State has broad powers to create best practices for clerks and may intervene in the administration of local elections, either ahead of Election Day or as ballots are counted. The Michigan Attorney General would almost assuredly represent the Michigan Secretary of State in any election-related lawsuit, can issue important opinions on the constitutionality of current election practices and in theory has the power to initiate investigations that delve into the operations of elections across the state. ...............(more)


'Where Am I Going to Go?' Floridians Hit by a Hurricane and a Housing Crunch.

(NYT) FORT MYERS, Fla. — Days after Hurricane Ian buffeted the state with a trifecta of wind, rain and storm surge, many Floridians are emerging from the wreckage uncertain of their next chapter — and fearing they may become homeless.

The extent of the damage and the number of people who lost their lives or homes is only beginning to come into focus. Much clearer is the storm’s likely broad and lasting impact on the recovery of those least able to afford it.

“I don’t have enough money to replace my car and my house. I got enough money to replace one or the other,” said Llewellyn Davenport, 50. The storm surge swallowed his car, and engulfed the 28-foot-trailer he lived in near Fort Myers.

Now Mr. Davenport, a sanitation worker, must make a tough decision: get another home or another car. “My entire life changed in a matter of hours.”

After the storm, many Floridians, limited by low or fixed incomes, face finding a decent place to live in a state that is mired in an affordable housing crunch. The state’s enduring popularity, inflation and soaring rental costs have made it one of the least affordable places to live in the nation. .............(more)


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