They done did it today, meddled in the marketplace and declared that women should now just plan to get raped and take out extra insurance in case it happens.
The abortion issue is a difficult one, I realize. But, this isn't difficult. This is about making use of a loophole in constitutional process to grab an outcome you probably wouldn't get if things worked the way they intended. The legislative approval of a citizens' referendum was intended to be a bulwark against an obnoxious executive, not to allow a minority to trample the rights of the majority.
Among today's new revelations: Goat Killer alleges that the city of San Francisco extorted American Airlines into extending same-sex domestic partner benefits.
"When you tear the family apart, you tear the country apart. I worked with these individuals for almost 30 years with American (Airlines). I know what they do. I know what happened to American Airlines when San Francisco said we could not land in San Francisco and do business with American Airlines unless we paid same sex unmarried benefits.
"The pilots said, 'Bologna. Don't go there anymore.'
"Can't do it. Too big a market. Can't do it. Well, what happened? Say me and, what's your name again, first name? Martha. I'm a flight attendant. You have AIDS. You come to me and say, 'hey, tell them I'm your lover for the last six months.' You get on our health care. American Airlines spends $400,000 before you die of AIDS. And he goes on to the next, and the next, and that's what was happening.
By the way, he wants the state Republican Party to adopt the plank he got adopted by the national party. That in the first paragraph, and he says it shouldn't be controversial.
I've dropped a line to American Airlines for comment on whether their domestic partner benefits program is a result of the city of San Francisco extorting it out of them. If I get a response, I'll post it verbatim.
You've probably seen this already, so I'm sharing for posterity.
While Agema wrote to Republicans today that his words were "twisted" by the Herald Palladium reporter, Snyder Press Secretary Sara WURFEL joined Republicans and Democrats alike speaking out against the comments.
"What I'd say, plainly and simply, is that the Governor believes Mr. Agema's remarks are wrong, extreme and discriminatory," Wurfel said. "We shouldn't tolerate discrimination of any kind. There shouldn't be room for that in any political party, period."
While it's great that our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan has decided to show up and demonstrate a little leadership on the issue, it has to be asked, "Where the Hell was this benevolent overlord Rick Michigan two years ago and again earlier this year." And, of course, as Equality Michigan's Emily Dievendorf pointed out yesterday, no one was under any illusions who Goat Killer was when he was elected to the post of national committee representative.
This is great, but it's a first step. And, it should have been taken years ago.
Earlier today, I shared that Goat Killer claimed himself to be a victim of a media conspiracy to malign his good name after he told a group of Republicans that homosexual employees of American Airlines had defrauded the company by claiming that HIV-infected homosexuals were, in fact, romantic connections with the intent of getting them health care. I was just forwarded a copy of the email. It lists Top Gun Conservatives, which is Goat Killer's 501(c)4 (more dark money!), and which has listed as its address: 190 Monroe, Suite 500, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. What's another name for the office at that address?
STRATEGIC NATIONAL CAMPAIGN
190 Monroe Ave NW Ste 500, 500 Ste
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
John Yob is a campaign consultant for Terry Lynn Land. Lest it be forgotten, Land isn't just the only credible GOP candidate running for Carl Levin's Senate seat. She's also the other RNC committee member from the state of Michigan.
Here's the text of Goat Killer's e-mail.
I spoke last week at a Christmas Party in Berrien County about the need for unity in the Republican Party and the importance of supporting our national platform. A journalist was in the audience and wrote a news article that twisted my speech far out of context. Some in the GOP have decided to advance their own agendas by
continuing to push these distortions. In response to the twisted articles posted from some GOP members that were not at the event, I say this: I was simply making a point about my opposition to same sex benefits and for traditional marriage. I stand by my words as I said them despite efforts by others to twist the meaning of those words. I strongly support the GOP Platform, the Michigan Constitution and the RNC Resolutions passed in support of Traditional Marriage and will not back down from those principles.
Unity in the party is what I stressed in that speech and those that don't accept the platform are causing dissention in the party, are wrong in doing so and that is exactly what is occurring now. I call upon all Republican Party members to embrace and support the Republican National Committee platform and use this document as a
source of unity going into the 2014 election cycle.
For those of you playing along at home, this is what's known as throwing down a gauntlet. Goat Killer says that the party requires unity to move forward, that he is unwilling to accept unity on any terms other than his own, and that he is unwilling to back down on any of it. Until the leadership of the Republican Party comes out and repudiates it, or they find some way to quietly broom him out behind-the-scenes, it's the same thing as them saying that they'll go along with his play.
Lots of people are sharing social media links about various media outlets editorialiizing against the rape insurance petition the House will probably endorse this week, committing yet one more end around of the democratic process. Jack Lessenberry is the latest.
He is absolutely correct in every word he writes. Even the way he dots his Is and crosses his Ts is fatually, logically and ethically correct. There's a slight problem.
The people who run our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect don't care. They aren't interested in clever editorials or sound reasoning. Time and again, all they've demonstrated an interest in is what they can get away with. We saw this with their end around of the democratic process regarding the emergency manager law, we saw this with the way the ramrodded Right to Work through the process, we've seen this every time they've moved something without immediate effect without two-thirds votes in favor, we've seen this with the way they've adopted wolf hunting legislation.
They aren't interested. They don't care, and all the wise and well reasoned editorial writing on the planet isn't going to make a damn bit of difference.
I put this story about Goat Killer concern trolling the Republican establishment on the Twitters yesterday after briefly scanning it. This morning, someone wrote back, alerting me to this.
He has taken flak nationally for his stance against gay marriage, but he said he doesn't mind because while working at American Airlines, he saw firsthand what happens when benefits are extended to gay people.
He said American Airlines workers would say a person with AIDS was their lover so that person could get medical benefits.
"Folks, they (gay people) want free medical because they're dying (when they're) between 30 and 44 years old," he said. "To me, it's a moral issue. It's a Biblical issue. Traditional marriage is where it should be and it's in our platform. Those in our party who oppose traditional marriage are wrong."
Despite his allegation that gay people regularly rip off American Airlines on behalf of AIDS-stricken partners, American Airlines continues to be rated as one of the nation's most gay-friendly employers. Apparently, it's a scam that only homosexuals and Dave Agema have clued into (you would think that human resources people would notice the massive increases in health insurance payouts, and the resulting impact it has on what rates the company has to pay to provide coveage).
As for his subsequent allegation that gays want free health insurance because they're all dying of AIDS, we consult an expert in the area, the CDC.
Since the epidemic began, an estimated 302,148 MSM with an AIDS diagnosis have died, including an estimated 5,909 in 20103.
The total population of the United States is about 317 milion people, which means that less than one-tenth of one percent of them are homosexual males who have died of AIDS over its entire 20 year history. If you buy the 10 percent estimate of homosexual men, that translates roughly into less than one percent of them.
By contrast, the number of people who died in the United States of lung cancer in 2010 alone was more than 100,000, and 90 percent of cancer deaths are attributed to either heavy tobacco usage or exposure to it. If Goat Killer were really more concerned with preventing people with expensive medical costs based on "risky" behavior* rather than tormenting people whose sexual orientation he finds icky, he'd be leading the charge against smoking.
*--Homosexuality is not, by itself, a risky behavior. I'm going off the argument used to endorse this, not reality.
Over the years, it's been pointed out hereabouts that way back in the 70s, the state paid about three-quarters of a typical public university student's cost of education. This was more, by the way, than the 100 percent paid in parts of the country until Ronald Reagan got fed up with leftists on college campuses and ended that, because we won't be having anyone develop the ability to critical think and come to independent conclusions on the state's dime, thank you very much. Anyway, in the 70s, the Legislature started shaving away at that, to the point where a couple of years ago, the relationship between state and student and education had completely reversed ... students now pay 75 percent of the cost of their education.
Conservatives have reacted to that, and the predictable rise in student debt, by blaming students and society at large for encouraging them to get an education. The world needs ditch diggers, too, sunshines. Along the way, Fried Chicken Frank told everyone that he's the kind of success someone can attain without a college degree (nevermind that the state's resident local oaf started his career at a time when most people didn't go to college). What they refused to say was a bad thing was the Legislature accelerating the state's disinvestment from its public universities, and said that if it was at all bad it was because greedy professors demanded better wages and benefits (wages and benefits, say, commensurate with what they might get in the private sector).
There's a new study out that says that rising tuition is really the fault of cuts to higher education, a ratification of something we already knew but handy to pull out.
If state government funding to universities had increased at the level of consumer inflation every year since 2001, state aid in the 2014 fiscal year — the current 2013-14 academic year — would be $9,192 per student. Instead, it’s $4,496. If tuition increases had been kept at consumer inflation levels over the same period, annual tuition costs would be, on average, $8,556 per student. But instead, they’re $15,891.
Here I direct your attention to an aspirant to our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect, Donijo Robbins DeJonge, who says maybe the state should spend even less because it forces universities to innovate. This is the same person who abruptly quit her comptroller's post after voters in Grand Rapids rejected her attempt to make hers an appointment for life rather than an elected job.
The report doesn't spare the universities, mind you. Depending on which numbers you use, 60 or 80 percent of that is the fault of cuts from the state. That leaves either 40 or 20 percent as the fault of the universities.
Where does most of that money go? Unless you're the absolute biggest and most successful athletics programs, that's part of where it goes. For instance, CMU just gave a raise to its athletics director. Dude takes home $250,000 a year now, not counting his benefits. The university also just entered into an arrangement with Marriott to build and operate a hotel connected to the football stadium. Now, the university swears it won't have to spend any money as a result of this, and will instead see the hotel go on the city's tax rolls (since the land is being leased, I'm not sure how that happens, since the state would technically still own the land, but those are beside the point to all this). The bigger point is that at CMU's last home football game, crowd estimates were about $8,000 and were probably significantly lower than that and probably a good many of those people didn't actually purchase a ticket. Instead, the game was paid for through tuition and state aid.
The state's universities have done a pretty good job of addessing a major fixed cost, which is energy. They've aggressively pursued energy efficiency, which has mitigated costs, but athletics and administrative costs continue to rise. The fault for that rests not with the faculty, who are increasingly asked to make due with less (this is across-the-board at the state's universities ... Western's history department just sent a letter -- ignored for no good reason -- asking for an investigation into the conduct of the provost. The fault rests with the administration who work up budgets, and of the boards of trustees, who are supposed to provide oversight.
As we all know, it's taken as an article of faith by right wingers that Detroit's bankruptcy wasn't the result of a complex set of circumstances involving racism, underinvestment, parochialism, mismanagement and the evolution of the American lifestyle from an urban to a suburban setting. It was all the fault of Democratic policies, because Detroit is a Democratic city.
As we all also know, if you get sick and go to a doctor, if he misdiagnoses your ailment, the odds are very good that whatever you have will not be successfully treated. If your car has a weird knock and you take it to a mechanic, if he gets wrong what is broken, the odds are very good that you'll have to find a new mechanic.
This brings us to today's Detroit News blog post by Gary Wolfram.
Cities should learn from this that while the short run effects of a high tax burden and heavy government regulation may be small, the long run effects will be quite large.
This is why New York City, which has a job-killing graduated income tax and which for someone with an income of $150,000 or more (thus sadling the wealthy with the third highest tax burden in the United States), is so undesirable for wealthy business people to live and do business.
Regardless, what does Doc Wolfram prescribe for Detroiters to choke down?
The way to success is to limit government to its fundamental role of protecting life, liberty, and property, and providing decent infrastructure, and to create an environment where individuals are encouraged to thrive.
Limited government, baby, means never having to ask permission to thrive! Having read enough of these blog posts, I'm half convinced that there is no actual person called Gary Wolfram, and that these are all pushed out by some 'bot as part of some great trolling joke being played by the people who run the News' editorial page.
The Detroit News ran an Op-Ed that is really a phony attack on Obamacare by way of the Veterans Administration. The headline: "Ask a Michigan vet about health care". I'd never heard of the guy before, but assumed that he's a Michigan native who served in the military and now gets his health care from a Veterans Administration hospital*. His tagline lists him as CEO of Concerned Veterans of America. Did a Google search.
He is indeed a veteran, a decorated combat veteran, in fact. Doesn't appear that he was ever wounded, however, so it's not very clear that he gets any health services from the VA. What is certain is that he's not from Michigan, and that he ran for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota last year. And, that before taking over "Concerned Veterans for America," he ran a veterans group that was a front for Republican activism.
This is above and beyond the mendatious attempt to paint Obamacare as some kind of government-run health care system.
*--Back in the day, I was treated through the VA for tuberculosis, which I contracted while on active duty. I was never sick and never contagious, but still had to take six months of rifampin and isoniazid as a treatment. I went to one appointment at the VA hospital in Topeka. I can confirm that it took me half a day to see anyone, and the doctor I wound up getting looked at by was so new to medicine and so unaware of how to treat tuberculosis that our consultation consisted of him getting a book about drugs off a shelf and reading off the side effects and asking if I had any of them. On my way out, I walked past a hallway lined with people in wheelchairs and one standing there shrieking at the top of his lungs.
The Guardian published a story a few days ago about how ALEC's influence dwindled badly after the Trayvon Martin shooting. It got good play on social media and people pointed to the bit where members of ALEC have to swear fealty to the organization, placing the welfare of the organization before the welfare of their constituents. There wasn't anything specific to Michigan in the story, but as we know the membership of ALEC is mostly state legislators and a lot of what has gotten bandied out our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect has come straight from the ALEC playbook.
It's always been a bit difficult for me to get overly freaked over ALEC. Lawmakers get elected to balance budgets and pass bills. If a lawmaker feels that the things he or she wants to see done is reflected in a piece of legislation written for him, there's no reason not to use boilerplate language. Personally, I think that's a terrible way to represent people, and it opens all of us up to a lot of unintended consequences because every state's laws are different. But, really, if you think ALEC should have less influence in Lansing, then you elect people who won't join.
The oath of loyalty is a little different, but not by much. Remember, the same people who swear loyalty to ALEC are mostly all the same people who signed Grover Norquist's no tax hike pledge. And, as we saw with the business tax cut/old people tax hike, the same people who pledge to not raise taxes will do it if they can a) do it on someone other than their core business constitueny and b) get away with it.
But, it is entirely fair to point out that many of our representatives and senators do not, in fact, represent their districts and instead feel that they represent their ideology. Most of us already knew that, however, well before people started freaking out about ALEC.