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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

STOP IT! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!



Below is a letter from Professor Charlene Beckmann, Ph.D.Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education, to Senator Goeff Hansen.  Below that is the initial correspondence that this letter is a response to.  Well worth the read.



Dear Mr. Hansen,  

We all agree that we want all children to have access to top-notch education; that is exactly what I am advocating. Forcing legislation through during the lame duck session is the opposite of the open and honest debate you mention below. Clearly, legislation regarding the future of children and their education is important. It is essential that time be taken for the open and honest debate to happen. To make an informed decision about the future of Michigan's children, the conversation must be extended to include educators input; these are the people who study education for a living (note that legislators are not known to be among this group!). Any educational decision that does not include educators at the table not only gives the appearance of impropriety, it is morally and ethically corrupt. The current decision appears to be entirely based on notions of finances and business rather than on the well-being of children.

The Emergency Manager bill that you supported has been forced on the Muskegon Heights community. As you know, the EM taking over Muskegon Heights Public Schools has not been successful; 20% of teachers hired by Mosaica have quit in the first few months. The bill you supported is having the effect of demoralizing Muskegon Heights teachers and families. If you truly have children's education at heart, I cannot imagine why you supported the Emergency Manager Bill. I also cannot imagine why you want to force another potentially damaging bill through the legislature. Not allowing citizens of a community to have a say in their lives is wrong. I can't imagine you would be willing to live under a dictatorship, but that is exactly what you're forcing on this community! The community needs help but this is not helping. The turn-over in teachers alone is wreaking havoc on the education of these students. An emergency manager has been in place in Detroit Public Schools for several years. What evidence do you have that the placement of the EM is helping the district? Where are the test scores showing improvement? 

I also wonder, how can you possibly believe that a corporation who is in business FOR-PROFIT can do a better job educating students than a non-profit public entity? If both groups receive the same money per student, who loses? The non-profit pours all of the money into education and the physical plant. For-profit corporations are clearly not spending everything they receive on education or there would be NO PROFIT! So who is losing? Currently, the losers are teachers who are paid poorly, required to work very long hours, and provided few benefits. The losers are also kids who are being subjected to substandard course materials (such as the Saxon math program chosen by Mosaica for Muskegon Heights children, likely because Saxon has a history of giving some books away to entice schools to buy their product). The bill you are proposing is not aimed at improving children's achievement. It is aimed at saving a few bucks... at the expense of the people who might very likely be in charge of your nursing home someday... Think about social security in a different way. When uneducated people are in charge, then what? Or are we already experiencing what cuts in education have done to Michigan's citizens (including its legislators)???

I hope you will think long and hard about the decisions you are helping to force on Michigan's children and take the time to make the right ones! Forcing a bill of such importance through during the Lame Duck session when Michigan's electorate demanded that you repeal the last version is certainly not what you were mandated to do as our representative!

Sincerely,

Charlene Beckmann, Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education
Grand Valley State University
Allendale, MI 49401

Dear Senator Hansen:

I'm writing to ask you to oppose HB 6004/SB 1358 (on the Education
Achievement Authority) and HB 5923 (on new forms of charter schools).

I'm working with Muskegon Heights, one of the schools districts under an
emergency manager. Mosaica has basically destroyed the mathematics
education of the children in the district. They have chosen the worst math
program available and imposed it on the children of the district. This
corporation gets the same amount of money per child as do other public
schools, but they spend very little on kids and teachers. How is that
fair? They don't abide by the same rules. Of course they make a profit.
But while they're doing that... what about the students? What about the
teachers who are so dedicated to helping the children in this very low
income area? If you cannot see why public education is necessary and
should not be run by corporations, spend a week with the kids and teachers
at Muskegon Heights. You have no idea the damage your legislation is
imposing on this community! STOP IT!!! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!

I respectfully and strongly urge you to oppose HB 6004, 5923 and SB 1358.
I will be watching this misguided plan closely, and I look forward to your
response to my email. Thank you.

Sincerely,


Charlene E. Beckmann, Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Education,
GVSU 231-780-3063

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif
Dear Professor Beckmann,

Thank you for contacting me regarding SB 1358, HB 6004, and HB 5932; legislation that would codify the Education Achievement Authority into state law to benefit children in distressed schools across the state. I appreciate hearing from the educators in my district.

By way of background, the Education Achievement Authority is currently in place through an interlocal agreement between Detroit Public Schools and Eastern Michigan University.  Advocates of the legislation have stated that by putting this agreement into statute this will be another tool for local education officials to quickly and effectively improve perpetually failing schools.

Overall, I believe that our parents and children deserve to be in a setting that provides the best environment for maximum educational growth and opportunity.  We all should expect and demand excellence for our loved ones and not tolerate the status quo or mediocrity.

However, as I review the legislation, I do share legitimate concerns regarding the various powers and the proposed work of the Authority Board, the need for a statewide inventory and maintenance of unused school buildings and agreements to provide or receive various services, just to name a few.

We owe it to our parents and children to have a larger conversation on achieving educational excellence for Michigan's children.  Yet, it is within the details of the method of achieving this result that requires an open and honest debate to address these and any other concerns.

It's also important to note that the public unveiling of the Governor's Public Education Finance Project draft bill is a completely separate document and issue at this time.  This particular project will be one that is expected to be discussed in 2013.  I'm continuing to gather information on this issue and encourage future comments from constituents on this issue.

Sincerely,

Goeff Hansen
State Senator
34th District



________________________________________
From: beckmannc21@aol.com [beckmannc21@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2012 1:01 PM
To: The Office of Senator Hansen
Subject: Don't take the Public out of Public Ed

Charlene Beckmann
3680 Dunecrest Drive
Muskegon, MI 49441-4421

Sunday, September 16, 2012

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR



It’s official.  We now know that school choice as a solution to our educational challenge is a complete failure. 

We start with a school district with the twin circumstances of poverty and segregation, the main ingredients that create the breakdown of educational success.  Then, rather than find an effective solution to resolve the education challenges, we give parents the opportunity to pull their children out of that school district.  The end result, as we have seen, is that some of the students leave, those whose parents have the necessary resources.  And when those students leave, the foundation allowance leaves with them.  Funding declines.  

Of course, the original school remains.  But now the school has lost the necessary finances to operate effectively, let alone resolve the issue of educating students who live in the most difficult situation to succeed educationally.  The students with the most resources are now gone; those with the least resources, the students facing the greatest challenges, remain.   The money to lower class sizes, provide art, music, libraries and P.E. classes is now  diminished.

Now, instead of resolving the initial issues, the downhill trajectory steepens.  More students leave.  Test scores decline further.  The cycle of failure steps up.

That is what using schools of choice as a solution has brought us.  

It is a failure.

Studies show us clearly the effective solutions:  lower class sizes, provide longer school days,  longer school years, after school programs, and summer programs.  Assure all students receive the support they need through effective and comprehensive mentorship programs.  

These are proven effective solutions.  They are expensive, but remember.

We get what we pay for.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

RESIGN NOW!!


Michigan’s Speaker of the House, Jase Bolger, and State Representative Roy Schmidt attempted to rig an election.  They conspired to recruit a young man to run for state representative in the 76th district while letting him know he was not expected to campaign, thus throwing the election to Mr. Schmidt.  They left a trail of text messages, which have now come to light, in which they clearly laid out this plan.  Then they publicly lied about it.

The Speaker of the House is the leader of the Republican Party, and he has now proven he has no respect for the electoral process and will lie when necessary.  How in the world can such a person lead our state?  The answer is that he has broken the trust of Michigan’s citizens and cannot lead our state.

The saddest part of all of this is that the Republican Party has refused to hold these two men accountable.  Both of them are clearly wrong and completely lacking in ethics and have even embarrassed their own party members.  But the Republican Party wants to brush this under the carpet and pretend all is well.  They were caught red-handed working to rig an election, then publicly lied about it. If they walk away from this unscathed, the behavior will continue and spread to others.  They must go if we are to expect ethics from our leaders.

I am sorry to report that even our very own representative in the 91st District, Holly Hughes, is trying to sweep this under the rug as well.  She has thus far refused to call for the resignation of Speaker Jase Bolger or Representative Roy Schmidt. Now it is time for us to step in and insist that she call for their resignation.

Please contact her by phone and email.  If you have called/emailed already, please do it again.  Let your friends know what is going on and ask them to contact her as well.  If you live in a different district, please contact your own representative.  Let that person know this behavior is not acceptable.

Holly Hughes’ information:  Toll Free Phone: (877) 633-0331

Email: HollyHughes@house.mi.gov

For more information and to sign a petition, you may go to the following link:

Even though we are in the middle of the dog days of summer, when sitting on the beach or reading a good book seems like the only option, the fight has not slowed down.  As a matter of fact, those who are attempting to undo our democracy will be quick to move in the moment we relax.  

So please take just a moment and contact (or recontact) Representative Holly Hughes.

Monday, June 25, 2012

WE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN



“I honestly had no idea it would become such an issue.”
                                                            Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamos

That was Michigan’s Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamos’ response to the fury he  and Speaker Jase Bolger faced when they denied two lawmakers their right to free speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.  The silenced lawmakers were given no explanation why their free speech was denied nor for how long. This is  particularly egregious  in light of extra constitutional measures granted lawmakers so they can speak freely in the chamber during floor debate. (Article 4, Section 11, Speech and Debate Clause).

Floor Leader Jim Stamos took an oath of office to defend the constitution.  Yet he was stunned to realize the citizens expect him to honor his oath.

I was surprised by his comment until I looked at the goings-on in Michigan over the past two years.  This abuse of power is a pattern with these two and should have come as no surprise to me or anyone else.

First, there is the matter of Immediate Effect.  Michigan’s constitution is clear:  laws only take immediate effect if granted so by a super majority.   Yet Michigan’s House Republican leadership illegally disregards this part of our constitution every day.  Even as Michigan receives national attention about this illegal action, they continue.   Their excuse is “everyone else does it, so we can do it, too.”  We don’t buy that malarkey from third graders.  Why in the world should we accept it from paid lawmakers? The truth is this.  They got caught and have been publicly asked to stop this practice and have refused.

If Speaker Bolger and Floor Leader Stamos are willing to ignore the constitution in the face of national attention, of course they would be willing to ban free speech.  We should have known.

Secondly, almost immediately after taking office, and with scant discussion, these two leaders pushed through a bill to deny large parts of our population their right to self-governance.  Sadly, it was passed into law. (PA 4)

With actions like these, we should not be surprised by further erosion of our rights.

And finally, these legislators see our State Board of Canvassers get away with completely disrespecting the constitution and instead of defending it, as they promised to do, they are further emboldened to disregard it.  

Recently a petition that needed a 14 pt. bold font heading and had a 14 pt. bold font heading got denied its certification, supposedly when it had the wrong size font.  Yes, you read that correctly. Every i was dotted,   every t crossed,  yet still the State Board of Canvassers failed to certify the petition, thereby silencing the voices of over 200,000 citizens.  And our legislative leaders stood silently by.

We should have known.
  
Citizens everywhere expressed their outrage at this latest incident.  But Speaker Bolger and Floor Leader Stamos  have shown by their actions they will continue to  trample on our constitution.   Who will be their next victim?  If they deny one person his or her rights, they would do it to any one of us.

Please join me in asking our lawmakers to admit wrong-doing, apologize to the silenced law-makers, and immediately remove the ban on their free speech.   

I hope the citizens of this great state and country will continue to raise their voices – and raise them louder still.  Maybe then our law-makers will be shamed into defending our constitution.

(To sign a petition asking for the speaker and floor leader to apologize, go to Democracy for America, then click on Stand With the Women of Michigan.)

Monday, April 30, 2012

FIGHTING BACK AGAINST THE WAR ON WOMEN

April 28 Speech
My understanding of how this event got started is that a couple of women simply had enough of the war on women. So those women, Karen Teegarden And Desiree Jordan started a new Facebook group, “Organizing Against the War On Women.” Within twenty-four hours there were almost 500 people asking to join and offering up their skills. This rally, and those like it across the country, is a result of those two women just saying “enough.”  They certainly struck a chord with the women of this land.  We are here today to keep that fire going and pick up the mantle of those that came before us. They fought hard for our rights, and we are not simply going to let them be thrown out the window.
last week  I heard Mr. Romney, say “people are saying we have a war on women.  There is no war on women.”
Well, Mr. Romney, yes, there is a war on women.  It’s been going on for quite some time and we are here today to fight back.
We are not talking about any violence here.  But be clear, we are strong.  We are determined.  And we do not intend to back down and lose all that previous generations of women gained for us.
Mr. Romney, this is how we know there is a war on women.  This is what it looks like:
Women waited for years for the Lily Ledbetter law that requires equal pay for equal work. There shouldn’t be anything radical about a person get paid fairly for their work.  But yet, a candidate for Senate right here in Michigan, Pete Hoekstra,  called The Lily Ledbetter Act annoying.  This man is running for Senate in this state and yet says it is annoying to have to pay us our worth.
Another piece of evidence of the war on women:  Virigina passed into law a bill forcing women to endure medical treatments against their will.  These are the very people who yammer about liberty.  Well, apparently they are not concerned about women’s liberty because they want to force women into unwanted medical treatments not ordered by the doctor.
Some legislators even suggested a bill that in cases where an abortion is required to save the mother’s life, hospitals allow women to simply be left to die. Maddie Oatman, Mother Earth News.
 A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to "accuser." Victims of other less gendered crimes, of course, like burglary, would remain "victims."  According to this state legislator, however, when a woman is the victim, she is suddenly not a victim.  She is simply an accuser.
Right now there is an issue at the Federal level. The Violence Against Women Act became law in 1994 and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. Death from domestic violence fell dramatically as a result of this law.  It now needs to be reauthorized again.  It passed the Senate.  We don’t yet know what will happen in the House of Representatives.  But let’s keep our eye on it.  If any of our congress people vote against it, let’s expose them for waging this war on women.
It has been a bit of a challenge making this list, because every day my inbox is filled with more examples of this war on women.
They have tried to redefine rape, cut funding for women and children’s programs.  They have even tried to cut funding for early childhood programs because “women should stay home and raise their own children.”
Hundreds of pieces of legislation have been introduced across the country to harm women in a myriad of ways.
And these are from the “pro family” candidates.  I hate to see what they would do if they were “anti-family.”
So, yes, Mr. Romney, that is how we know there is a war against us.  And pretending there isn’t a war will not make it go away. Stopping the attacks is the only thing that will make them go away.
Today we are here to stand up in defense of women across this country.
Right now I am going to venture out and talk about the thorniest of all thorny issues:  abortion. 
This is the most complicated, frustrating, nuanced, divisive issue facing us as a country today.  And yet, we have boiled the whole issue down to just a few words:  pro choice or pro life.  And that’s where all discussion stops.
I think those labels miss the mark.   The question is this:  are we going to handle this dilemma by criminalizing it or denying access?  Or are we going to find a solution that is actually effective?

I did a little research to find out how other countries handle this.  What I discovered is not only shocking, it is counterintuitive.  The countries that have criminalized abortions actually have MORE abortions.  I want to repeat that.  The countries that have criminalized it actually have MORE abortions.  Countries where it is legal, but there is good solid education and available birth control, have a greatly reduced abortion rate.  THAT is what we need to be talking about.  This information does NOT come from any biased organization; it doesn’t come from the right-to-life organization or Planned Parenthood.   It comes from scientific studies by the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization.
So today I am calling on those organizations that call themselves “pro life” to join with us on developing and implementing EFFECTIVE solutions that we can all agree on -- making birth control available, education, and medidal research.  How about a motto like this?  Education, not legislation.  There is a huge common ground here and we need to find it, so we can resolve this issue and  address other important dilemmas we are all facing:  global climate change, public education, public safety and public health to name a few.  While we are fighting about whether to criminalize abortion, which we now know is an ineffective solution, all those issues are lying dormant and unresolved.
So – Education, not Legislation
Another point I’d like to make is that when we look at our elected officials we immediately see that women are drastically underrepresented.  In the state of Michigan, not even 25% of our legislators are women.   The governor, Lt. Gov and Attorney General:  all men.  As a matter of fact, of the top six most powerful people in this state, five of them are men.  I don’t know how it is in your town, but where I live, in Muskegon County, there is only one woman on our county board.  There has never been more than one woman at a time on our county board. 
So women, it’s time for us to stand up, get out in front and become leaders in our communities.  No one will ever address our issues as well as we do. We need YOU to run for public office, so women’s voices can be heard.  Studies have shown that the more women who are in an elected body, the less corruption.  When there are women on board, the men simply act better.  So we are needed out there.
Sometimes, though we are our own worst enemy.  We were told so long we are not capable, that we have come to believe it.  But ya know what?  That is simply not true.  We are smart, committed, and capable and should be out there doing our share.
So we know there is a war on women.  How do we stop it?  We can now see that ignoring it didn’t help; it just got worse.
It is up to each one of us to meet our legislators, talk to them, find out what makes them tick and where women fit into this society.  Remember.  You are THEIR boss.  You do not need to be intimidated by them or worry about what they think.  YOU are the boss; you have every right to find out about their stands on issues.  More importantly, you can research their votes.  There are plenty of legislators out there who say they are pro-women, then introduce or even vote for legislation that will harm us.  Talk to them, but do your research as well.  It is your right and duty as a citizen of a democracy.
And when you figure out who is truly your ally.  Do everything you can possibly do to get that person elected.  Talk to others about them, knock on doors for them, walk in parades.  And lastly. DONATE!!  We all hate the corrupting influence of money on politics.  But if we don’t donate, our candidates will lose.
There is a pretty strong war going on against us.  They are well-financed, well organized and they never give up.  But there are more of us.  But we need to be on the front lines making informed decisions about who we vote for and we need YOU to work in the trenches.
Today is the day.  This is the day we pick up the mantle left to us by previous generations of women run with it.
I want to close with a quote from Harriet Tubman, who DID change the world.
“Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to change the world.”
Thank you.

Friday, April 27, 2012

MY TESTIMONY AT THE STATE BOARD OF CANVASSERS MEETING

My testimony at the State Board of Canvassers committee hearing yesterday.  The Board voted to throw the petitions out based on a nonexistent font error.  It was supposed to be 14 point bold, in capital letters, and it was.



In the past year, volunteers from across the state gathered nearly a quarter of a million signatures to call for a referendum on Public Act 4, the Emergency Manager Law.

These were not paid petition-gatherers.  Hundreds of volunteer citizens did the hard work of a democracy.  They sat in hot parking lots, went to farmer's markets, attended meetings and worked for months to circulate petitions and gather signatures.

Citizen volunteers then unloaded boxes and boxes of petitions to take to the Secretary of State's Office for validation.  202,238 signatures have now been validated.

A few hours before the deadline to submit a complaint, a small group of Lansing insiders drummed up nonsensical allegations to try to silence the voices of these hundreds of thousands of citizens.

Everyone in this room knows the claim of using the wrong font has absolutely no merit.  There is not one speck of doubt in anyone's mind; this is a completely bogus complaint.

Clearly, it is the constitutional right of those citizens for this referendum to go on the ballot in November and let the citizens decide if they like PA4.

This issue has now made national news.  The eyes of the entire nation are on you.  Those people here in this room -- and all the people who are watching and listening to this issue from their homes, what will they learn about our state?  Will we be a state that honors the constitution?  Or are we a state that throws out the constitution when it is inconvenient?

Whether you are for PA4 or against it is irrelevant.  This issue at hand is this.  Will the citizens' constitutional right to a referendum be honored?

If a few powerful Lansing insiders can overturn the voices of thousands of citizens, our constitution is at serious risk.  It is your responsibility to protect our constitution.

It is time to stop the erosion of our constitutional rights.

Please.  Protect the constitutional rights of the citizens of this state.  Allow those thousands of voices to be heard.  Put this referendum on the ballot.

Thank you.




Friday, April 20, 2012

DEPOSE, FIRE, NULLIFY AND ELIMINATE

MY TURN

What is it called when a “government” consists of one man who can do virtually anything he wants and the governed have no voice or vote? That’s a dictatorship, and it’s what the LDN inexplicably endorsed in a recent editorial on the so-called “emergency manager law”. 


Under this law, the governor can unilaterally appoint a crony to rule absolutely over any municipality or school district. This person can sell off, depose, fire, nullify, eliminate, or dissolve anything he pleases with the excuse that it’s financially expedient—and pay himself from whatever is left. Thus far this law has been applied primarily to poor minorities (surprise!), but there is nothing to prevent much wider application as the state takes away resources and then blames communities for lacking them. 


“But something has to be done,” says the well-heeled outsider whose community is not yet hit. Something has been done. First corporations have abandoned the communities that nurtured and supported them in favor of outsourcing in pursuit of record-breaking profits. Second, the state has gutted appropriations, especially to school districts, which are no longer allowed to raise their own operating revenue. The resulting flattened income cannot be “managed” by the wisest guru; the only alternatives are to restore/replace the revenues or to slash and burn. Of course, the powers that be like option two. In the process, the most fundamental right of Americans, the right to vote, is simply eliminated! 


“But this will get them on a ‘sound’ financial footing,” says the all-knowing outsider. “Sound” here, means destroying those communities or school districts by guaranteeing that no one with the ability to get out will stay in them as they precipitously deteriorate. People prefer to be somewhere where they can actually vote as the Constitution guarantees. This accelerates a race to the bottom while destroying democracy as we have known it. 

“But there’s corruption in these localities!” says the superior outsider. Quite possibly so—government and business are both prone to it. Case in point: Petitions have been filed to place the overturn of this law on the ballot, and there is no chance of eliminating enough signatures to void them. So a Lansing law firm with right-wing ties has filed a lawsuit claiming they should be voided because of the font size at the top! By the way, one of the partners in the law firm sits on the four-person board that will hear the suit. That sounds like corruption on the state level to me—not to mention the height of the ridiculous. But it’s a power grab that may work.


“But the governor doesn’t want to run towns and school districts”, says the mind reader. Probably true—he has his cronies for that. Quid pro quo is illegal (just ask Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois governor doing fourteen years’ hard time), and our governor is too clever to engage in it. He just expects his managers’ eternal gratitude—and whatever else might flow naturally and legally from that. 


“But they’re ‘not like us’ in those towns”, says the bigot. Jesus answered that one in Matthew 25: “Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me”. The big shots in Lansing would say we’re “not like them” too—we’re not rich enough, powerful enough, or well enough connected. 


It boils down to three simple questions: Do we live in a democracy or not? Will we stand by while the right to vote is taken away from others on the assumption that it couldn’t happen to us? If that
assumption were true, would that make it OK?


So what can we, the powerless, do about it? 

* PAY ATTENTION-- What if the governor should decide that Pentwater Schools are too small to be financially viable? Or that Amber, Summit, Hamlin, Pere Marquette, and Ludington should be combined to cut costs? Under this law, it can happen. We can’t vote it down because under this law we have no vote, but we can make a lot of noise. We can also support loudly those it’s already being done to.
* SPEAK UP—whenever and wherever you see voter suppression taking place, even by
shortening voting hours, providing fewer machines, etc.
* BEWARE THE GOVERNOR—He shares goals with the about-to-be-recalled governor across the lake in Wisconsin; he’s just slicker.

Hard times are no excuse: DEMOCRACY MUST PREVAIL OR THIS ISN’T AMERICA. 
Carol Rodwell
PM Township

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

MADDOW AGAIN


Rachel Maddow covered more nonsense from Michigan this evening; it gets worse by the day. 
Remember all the hours we spent gathering signatures last summer to put the repeal of the Emergency Manager/Dictator law (PA4) on the ballot?
It has turned out that a group called Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility is trying to disqualify all those signatures, throw out all of our hard work – over – get this – the size of the font on a heading of the petition.  It will go to the board of canvassers and guess what?  One of those who put in the complaint about the font size is on that board. 
That’s right.  This guy, who is from a Republican consulting firm, puts in a complaint, then sits on the board to determine if the complaint has merit.  There are four people on the board, two Republicans and two Dems. According to Tim Skubick, the complaint will put an end to the petition if there is not a majority vote on the board of canvassers.  With two Dems and two Republicans on that board, does anyone think there will be a majority to overturn the complaint? 
But it can go to the courts so we can have justice, right? Ultimately it will end up at the Supreme Court;  historically, this supreme court has thrown justice out the window and instead rules the way the Republican Party tells them to.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is now in the hands of powerful Republicans who will ultimately throw it out, whether that is right or wrong, whether the petition was legal or not. The truth is that there is nothing wrong with the petition. There is nothing wrong with the font size.  But it won’t matter.  I hope I’m wrong, but from where I am sitting, no matter what happens, no matter how wrong they are and how right we are, this will end up at the Supreme Court and it will go with the Republicans.   That is how bad the situation in this state has become.
Many people were upset about Michigan’s Immediate Effect problem, partially because of the footage of Democrats unable to get the attention of Republican leadership.  The potential repeal of PA4 situation does not have that compelling footage.  But believe me, it is far worse.  A few people in power are in a position to literally rip our democracy right out of our hands.
What do we do?  Should we stand back and watch?  Or do we move into action? 
The least we can do is let people know what is happening on the Supreme Court.  We voted the ineffective board in.  We can vote in a more effective Supreme Court in November.
The Supreme Court candidates I am supporting are Bridget Mary McCormack, Sheila Johnson, and Connie Marie Kelly.  Remember those names; tell your friends and neighbors to vote for them in November.  We simply must get a Supreme Court that believes in justice for the people.
So I ask again.  What do we do?  People stood with the family of Trayvon Martin; the populace erupted and his killer has now been charged with second degree murder.  Glen Beck lost his job and Rush Limbaugh was significantly weakened because we stood together.  Is it time for us in Michigan to act in regard to the Repeal of PA4?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

HOMELESS VETS?


I watched the State of the State address on TV this year.  Following it, when the legislators were interviewed by the news media, I heard the same story from all Republican legislators.

“We finally solved Michigan’s problems,” they said over and over again. “Our budget problems have been resolved.”

It didn’t ring true to me.  I knew the situation too well to think they just waved a magic wand and funding magically appeared.

The real truth about what they did is slowly emerging.

We have known for a while now that our schools are in a desperate situation, but now it’s the Veteran’s Home in Grand Rapids, too.

To save money  our legislature privatized its staff.  Out with the highly-qualified, well-trained union workers and in with barely-trained $10-an-hour staff.  These Vets, the ones that risked their lives for us, are fragile; they need excellent care.  With the advent of the privatized workers, a few of our Vets were handled incorrectly, including one  who ended up with a broken neck.

This is what they mean by solving the budget problem?  Get rid of good solid care for our Vets and replace it with cheap care.  Shameful.  The case ended up in court, which put the highly-qualified union workers back on the job, while the case works its way through the legal system.

And because our legislature only appropriated enough for the cheap workers, there is not enough money to keep all four floors of the Vet’s home open.  The fourth floor is now closed.   Vets have now been cleared out of their safe home, having to find new places to be housed.

Thank you Governor Snyder and the Republican legislature.  What else did you do to save money at the expense of those you represent?


Sunday, March 11, 2012

SURPRISING WOMEN'S HISTORY

A TRUE STORY EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW!
This is the story of our Mothers and Grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago.
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Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.
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The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.
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And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

(Lucy Burns)
They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.
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(Dora Lewis)
They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.
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(Alice Paul)
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

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Mrs. Pauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving a 60 day sentence.
Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.
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Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown , New York
All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.
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(Berthe Arnold, CSU graduate)
My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. 'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'

HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco/Bingo night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.
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Conferring over ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at National Woman's Party headquarters, Jackson Place , Washington , D.C.
Left to right: Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon (standing, right))

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know. We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.
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Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk , Conn. Serving 3 day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner, 'Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.'
So, refresh MY memory. Some women won't vote this year because - Why, exactly?

We have carpool duties?

We have to get to work?
Our vote doesn't matter?
It's raining?
I'm so busy...I've got so much on my plate!
Read again what these women went through for you!

We can't let all their suffering be for nothing.
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