Countdown Clocks

Countdown Clocks

Posts tagged "Michigan"
By a 6 to 2 vote, the divided court concluded that neither the Constitution nor Supreme Court precedents provide authority for the courts to overturn Michigan laws that allow the voters to determine whether racial preferences may be considered in decisions such as school admissions.

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Image APSame sex couples are married in a group by the Oakland County Clerk in Pontiac, Michigan.  (AP)

The federal government will recognize the 300-odd same-sex marriages performed over the weekend in Michigan after a federal judge struck down the state’s gay marriage ban. That’s despite Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s announcement this week that his state will not recognize those marriages, citing a stay on the court decision issued last Saturday. 

The federal government’s decision was announced on Friday morning by Attorney General Eric Holder, who noted that federal recognition means those couples “will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages.” He added: 

“Last June’s decision by the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor was a victory for equal protection under the law and a historic step toward equality for all American families.  The Department of Justice continues to work with its federal partners to implement this decision across the government.  And we will remain steadfast in our commitment to realizing our country’s founding ideals of equality, opportunity, and justice for all.”

Holder’s decision consistent with the government’s stance towards 1,300 married same-sex couples in Utah, who face a similar limbo of federal, but not state, recognition of their marriages while a court battle over a state ban continues. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced in January that his administration considers those marriages “on hold” until the issue is resolved. Similarly, Snyder’s statement announcing the state’s position acknowledges that the couples who married on Saturday “had a legal marriage.” But with the restoration of the state ban, he argued, Michigan was not obligated to recognize those marriages. 

Utah and Michigan bucked an earlier trend among states with contested same-sex marriages. Both California and New Mexico (states that now permanently recognize gay marriage) have recognized marriages performed during temporary windows where same-sex marriage was legal. In California, for instance, the state recognized the 18,000 same-sex couples who married after a state court legalized same sex marriage, but before voters passed Proposition 8. 

Source: Abby Ohlheiser for The Wire

With Mike Rogers retiring, this seat [MI-08] goes to tossup. 

thepoliticalfreakshow:

The temporary stay issued after a federal judge struck down Michigan’s law banning same-sex marriage has been extended until the state completes the appeals process.

That process could take some time. While Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette told the Grand Rapids Press that he hoped the case would be resolved “as quickly as possible,” he has said that he will pursue the appeal all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Some state attorney generals have declined to pursue a defense of same-sex marriage bans. Others have fought against those bans.

But Schuette is in the middle of a re-election campaign and is making his fight against same-sex marriage part of his platform, even writing an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press about it today:

Moreover, Michigan’s voters had a rational basis for their vote: Marriage has been understood to be between one man and one woman by virtually all civilizations throughout the centuries. The notion that marriage would be anything else has only emerged in the last few decades. It is not irrational for voters to support the belief that a mom and a dad are not interchangeable.

Also:

But I also know that there is a difference between a buffet and the state’s constitution. This fundamental document is not a cafeteria in which you can pick and choose which measures are enforced and defended.

That is why I am defending Detroit’s cops’ and firefighters’ rights to their pensions, because the Michigan Constitution says pensions shall not be ‘diminished or impaired.’

That is why I went to the United States Supreme Court to defend equal treatment in admissions to our state’s outstanding colleges and universities. Because it is fundamentally wrong to treat people differently based on the color of skin, gender, race or ethnicity.

Yes, he did somehow manage to be against same-sex marriage but for “equal treatment” in the very same letter. Treating someone differently based on the color of skin, gender, race or ethnicity is fundamentally wrong. Treating someone differently on the basis of sexual orientation is rational. Also, something about public safety officials shoehorned in to try to get more votes.

In the meantime, same-sex couples cannot get married in the state, and the 300 or so who managed to get in the seven-hour window before the ruling was stayed still don’t know whether or not their marriages will actually be recognized by the state. They will, at least, be entitled to federal marriage benefits.

There was hope that Gov. Rick Snyder would make a decision whether or not the state would recognize those marriages by now, but he has so far declined to do so. His spokeswoman said he “doesn’t want to get distracted by issues that could divert his attention from jobs and the economy.”

Source: Sara Morrison for The Wire

addictinginfo:

Emails Show Republican Governor Used State Budget To Boost Profits For Family Member

featured

On March 24, 2014, the Michigan Democratic Party released emails that show Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, along with his former budget director and current adviser, colluded to give a massive taxpayer funded subsidy to a member of the governor’s family.

Cousin George’s furniture business got a big boost in Rick Snyder’s budget.

Governor Rick Snyder’s CEO cousin, George Snyder’s business partners received more than $19 million dollars, after jotting off a quick email to cousin Rick, on April 29th, 2011. Since 2011, the share of the taxpayer budget going to George Snyder’s industry has ballooned to $41 million. What is George Snyder’s industry? Office furniture.

VICTORY!! 

Rachel Maddow: Michigan is ‘way more insane than anyone nationally gives them credit for’ (via Raw Story )

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow weighed in on Michigan’s “rape insurance” law on Wednesday, one night before it takes effect, saying it is just one example of state lawmakers’ anti-woman stance. “Michigan, you are amazing,” Maddow said. “I continue…



 

My home town of Dexter has been in the national news a bit lately. It started when Congressman Tim “the Original Tea Partier” Walberg invited a resident of our Stars Hollow-like village, Julie Boonstra, to be his guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address as a “victim of Obamacare”.

From there, she was featured in an anti-Gary Peters ad by the Koch brothers’ front group Americans for Prosperity, an ad that has gotten more attention after being completely debunked than it would have gotten otherwise.

AFP doubled down, running another ad where Boonstra tearfully cries about being “silenced” by Gary Peters who questioned her veracity. Julie Boonstra may be the loudest “silenced” person this country has ever known.

Now Boonstra is making the news again after an excellent bit of journalism by Detroit News reporter Marisa Schultz tears her already debunked story to shreds:

Boonstra said Monday her new plan she dislikes is the Blue Cross Premier Gold health care plan, which caps patient responsibility for out-of-pocket costs at $5,100 a year, lower than the federal law’s maximum of $6,350 a year. It means the new plan will save her at least $1,200 compared with her former insurance plan she preferred that was ended under Obamacare’s coverage requirements.

A Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan spokesman said the insurer welcomes a chance to help members understand their benefits and alleviate concerns.

“We are here to help people like Ms. Boonstra to work their way through adjusting to the health plans we are now offering them,” the Blue’s Andy Hetzel said. “If there are questions … they should call.”

Boonstra’s old plan cost $1,100 a month in premiums or $13,200 a year, she previously told The News. It didn’t include money she spent on co-pays, prescription drugs and other out-of-pocket expenses.

By contrast, the Blues’ plan premium costs $571 a month or $6,852 for the year. Since out-of-pocket costs are capped at $5,100, including deductibles, the maximum Boonstra would pay this year for all of her cancer treatment is $11,952.

When advised of the details of her Blues’ plan, Boonstra said the idea that it would be cheaper “can’t be true.”

“I personally do not believe that,” Boonstra said.

She cannot believe this very likely because she has been fed a pack of lies by groups who want to exploit her, a woman with life-threatening leukemia, to help achieve their crass political goals.

Americans for Prosperity and other conservative groups and individuals have accused Gary Peters, who wrote a letter to television stations playing the offensive ad to either force AFP to prove their claims or pull the ad, of exploiting the poor, innocent cancer patient. The truth of the matter is that Julie Boonstra IS being exploited. She’s being exploited by the Koch brothers and the chances are good she’s being exploited by her ex-husband. Julie Boonstra was once married to Mark Boonstra, a former chair of the Washtenaw County Republican Party. She is the mother of his children and co-owns a vacant lot with Mr. Boonstra’s next door to his Dexter home:

image
Screen shot from Washtenaw County Property/Parcel Lookup website

The fact is, Julie Boonstra will SAVE MONEY with the new plan that she moved to due to the Affordable Care Act. In fact, she’ll save over $1,200 annually. Her big fear about the “unpredictability” of when the bills will come due is all but laughed at by the insurance company spokesperson interviewed for the Detroit News article. Boonstra is literally complaining that she MIGHT have to pay more per month early in the year even though she’ll pay less over the course of the year. There is no risk whatsoever that she won’t be able to afford her medication which will cause her to die.

Ms. Boonstra claims that Harry Reid and Gary Peters owe her an apology. She certainly is owed an apology, but not from Peters or Reid. She is owed an apology from Charles and David Koch, Americans for Prosperity, Tim Walberg, and very possibly from her ex-husband Michigan Court of Appeals Justice Mark Boonstra. They are the ones exploiting a vulnerable woman with leukemia, making her the laughing stock of the country in the process, not the Democrats trying to make sure EVERYONE has access to affordable health insurance. Just like Julie Boonstra now has.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has downgraded Boonstra’s story from “Two Pinocchios” to “Three Pinocchios”:

[O]ne cannot claim that a plan is “unaffordable” when over the course of the year it will provide you with substantial savings. Thus we are changing the rating on this ad from Two Pinocchios to Three Pinocchios.

image

Not sure why an outright lie doesn’t merit four Pinocchios but this is a start, I suppose…

H/T: Eclectablog at Daily Kos 

dailykos

This week, the Michigan House of Representatives took up HB 4643, legislation which was introduced by Republican Tom McMillin, that imposes massive fines against citizens who exercise their basic first amendment rights.

Under this law, citizens can be fined up to $1,000 per day for picketing.

Michigan’s extreme right wing Governor, Rick Snyder, along with the state’s predominately GOP/tea party legislature, have passed some of the most controversial laws in the country. From the state’s insane Emergency Manager law, which grants the governor power to remove any elected official and replace that official with a hand picked lackey of the governor himself, to the much hated Right To Work legislation that was passed by the legislature only after the voters were locked out of the capital, to the state’s extreme anti-abortion legislation and it’s widely condemned ‘rape insurance‘ bill, the fanatical right wing politicians that have seized hold of Michigan have made it all too clear that what the voters want is of no consequence to them. 

As if all of that were not enough, however, this week the Michigan House of Representatives took up a bill that will require judges to impose a fine of up to $1,000 a day for picketing workers. An additional fine of up to $10,000 a day is also to be levied against any labor organization found to be leading or organizing a strike.

Not only is this law a direct attack on labor, but a direct attack on rights guaranteed to all citizens under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Here’s a video from the House Floor. Representative Jim Towsend (D) introduced three amendments to the proposed house bill, in order to protect citizen’s constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly. At the end of the video the Speaker of the House can be heard to say “Amendments not adopted.”

Are Michigan workers making too much money?

What’s up with all of these anti-worker bills in Michigan? Why would the state’s representatives be launching attacks against workers? Are Michigan’s super high wages keeping employers from opening businesses in the state? Not hardly. In fact, Michigan workers are not earning anything close to super high wages.

In 2012 Michigan average income ranked 35th in the nation. What’s even more telling, however, is that between 1980 and 2000 (the last year figures were available) the income of the poorest families in Michigan increased $1,465, or 8.9 percent, and the income of Michigan’s middle class citizens increased $4,186 or 8,8 percent. During the same time period, however, the income of Michigan’s wealthiest citizens increased $66,799, or 48 percent.

Between 2000 and 2010, Michigan personal income increased 18.5 percent, while the personal income for people living in the rest of the country increased 45.2 percent. And most telling of all, Michigan personal income growth ranked 50th out of 50 states and Puerto Rico, over a thirty year period.

Who is writing the laws in Michigan?

So while the statistics tell us that Michigan wages are not keeping pace with the rest of the country, that the rate of inequality between the rich and the poor is steadfastly growing for the past several decades, and the average income for Michigan’s working class citizens is all but stagnant, Michigan republicans keep crying that high wages are keeping businesses out of the state. Still, the facts say something very different.

A 73 page report from Progress Michigan asks the all important question “Who Is Writing Our Laws In Michigan?” The answer is not surprising. The detailed report shows the extent of ALEC’s activity within the state. Michigan is also home to the right wing think tank known as the Mackinaw Center For Public Policy. Both organizations are deeply entrenched in the state’s legislative and policy making decisions.

It’s obvious the policies being herded the Michigan legislature have little to do with helping the people of the state or even of addressing problems that actually exist in Michigan. Instead the legislation is being written by right wing think tanks and pushed through by the state’s right wing legislature, who are all too happy to do the bidding of their corporate benefactors, at the expense of citizens and workers.

HB 4643 which is now in its third reading before the House, must also be signed by Michigan’s right wing governor, before it becomes a law. There is little chance that a bill given this much attention by the state’s legislature will not pass the House. Given Rick Snyder’s track record on signing extreme right wing bills into law, my guess is that the citizen’s of the state will yet again be suing their government in federal court, over a clear violation of constitutional rights.

h/t: Randa Morris at Addicting Info

As fact checkers investigated and debunked claims made in an ad attacking the Affordable Care Act, Fox News and other conservative media used a cancer patient’s illness to defend the spot’s dishonesty.

The episode is part of an ongoing pattern in the conservative media of promoting anecdotal Obamacare horror stories that have fallen apart under scrutiny.

Michigan resident Julie Boonstra, who is suffering from leukemia, had her existing insurance plan canceled after it failed to meet the law’s new guidelines, which forces insurers to provide more comprehensive coverage than in the past. She later signed up for a new plan, which she has said is too expensive, and came to national attention earlier this year after she repeatedly appeared with Republicans attacking the health care law.

Boonstra was featured in an ad released last week by conservative group Americans for Prosperity saying that her new “out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable.” AFP is largely funded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch; their ad targets Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), who is running for Michigan’s soon-to-be open Senate seat, their second such ad in the state.

But the ad’s claim hasn’t held up. Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler investigated the ad and noted that while Boonstra says that her out of pocket health care costs are now “unaffordable,” her monthly premiums were “cut in half” and that those savings are just two dollars shy of the maximum she would have to pay thanks to the new caps enacted in the law.

Kessler noted, “the premium savings appear to match whatever out-of-pocket costs she now faces.”

He concluded:

It is one thing to say there are higher out-of-pocket costs, as she did at the RNC news conference, but another to assume that those higher costs are not offset in some way by the significantly lower premium. (The $350,000 bone marrow transplant, for instance, would be capped at the out of pocket minimum.) The reality is that eventually Boonstra will hit the maximum and no longer pay anything. So over the course of the year, the difference in the costs could well even out.

The Washington Post isn’t the only outlet calling the ad’s claims into question. Politifact found that the ad is “at worst, misleading and, at best, lacking critical context.” The Detroit News also reported that “The one-minute ad makes no mention that Boonstra successfully enrolled in a new Blue Cross plan where she’s able to retain her University of Michigan oncologist and continues to receive the life-saving oral chemotherapy.”

Lawyers representing Rep. Peters sent a letter to TV stations in Michigan which asked them to demand that AFP “provide the factual documentation for its claims if you are going to continue airing this advertisement” and went on to cite the ad’s factual inaccuracies.

Despite all of this, in comments to the Post and Detroit News, AFP has continued to stand by its ad.

h/t: Oliver Willis at MMFA

h/t: Barbara Morrill at Daily Kos

dailykos

H/T:Andy Kroll at Mother Jones

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health