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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Experts discuss font size during Michigan Supreme Court hearing

Credit : Michigan Municipal League
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The Michigan Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments on whether a referendum on Public Act 4, the Emergency Manager Law, should appear on the November ballot.

As you might remember the Board of State Canvassers was asked to determine whether the petitions were printed in the correct font size. But they deadlocked and the issue went to the Michigan Court Appeals, which made a confusing ruling about precedent. And so now we’re now at the Supreme Court.

“Stand Up for Democracy, which is the organization that supports this ballot initiative to repeal PA 4, claims that their font size meets the standard, which has to be 14 point font,” said Susan Demas, a political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.

On the other side of the argument, the group Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility argues the font size doesn’t meet the standard. “And so there were a lot of technical discussions going on with people showing blowups of font sizes and consulting with experts on that very specific issue,” Demas said.

Ken Sikkema is Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants. He thinks the argument about the font size being too small is weak. “If the Supreme Court is going to keep this off the ballot because of this, they are going to need a very, very good explanation of why they arrived at that decision,” he said.

According to the law, font size does matter. But Sikkema says, “The law really refers to printer’s blocks, that for all practical purposes are not used any more, we use computers.”

Sikkema thinks there might be a solution to the font size confusion. “I think the court could help us down the road by simply directing the Legislature to clarify how to look at font size.”

Demas expects the Michigan Supreme Court will rule on this matter in the next week.

Michigan Congressman Dave Camp being treated for cancer

By The Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) - The chairman of the House's tax-writing committee says he's been diagnosed with a "very early, highly treatable and curable type" of cancer.

GOP Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan says in a statement that doctors found non-Hodgkin lymphoma during a recent physical. Camp says he'll continue in Congress and retain his committee chairmanship during chemotherapy.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system. The 59-year-old Camp says he has large B-cell lymphoma. B-cells are a type of white blood cell that helps fight infections.

Camp, who's served since 1991, has said he wants to combine a push to head off pending tax increases with ways to force Congress to revamp the tax code next year.

GDH

Friday, July 27, 2012

State: Federal lawsuit coming because 70 clerks missed deadlines to give absentee ballots to military, overseas voters

Published: Friday, July 27, 2012, 6:17 PM Updated: Friday, July 27, 2012, 6:17 PM

LANSING, MI - The U.S. Justice Department is expected to sue the state because at least 70 city and township clerks across Michigan missed deadlines to give absentee ballots to military and overseas voters, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said late Friday.

Under state and federal law, clerks are supposed to make absentee ballots available at least 45 days before an election to military and overseas voters who request them. The primary election is Aug. 7.

Johnson, a Republican, said the suit could force clerks to extend the time for receiving and counting affected ballots.

Johnson said 70 communities missed the deadline - including larger ones such as Battle Creek, Ferndale, Dearborn and Canton Township. Another 215 clerks did not respond to repeated requests from Johnson's office for a status on whether they provided the ballots.

Michigan has more than 1,500 local clerks responsible for conducting elections.
"It is critical that our overseas and military members - who put their lives on the line every day to protect our freedom - get a right to participate in the very system they are protecting," she said in a statement.

The state Bureau of Elections sent at least three reminders to clerks before the 45-day deadline, Johnson said, and also has a calendar of dates to help clerks.
She has instructed clerks in the affected communities to immediately contact military and overseas voters and offer a new ballot if they did not get one.
Johnson said she will ask the Legislature to stiffen "administrative remedies" so federal lawsuits are not needed.

Absentee ballots for military and overseas voters can be provided by mail or email. Email saves clerks as much as two weeks in arrival and response times.
Clerks that missed the deadline - mostly township clerks - handle elections in counties such as Bay, Genesee, Kent, Van Buren, Muskegon and Kalamazoo.

Email David Eggert at deggert1@mlive.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidEggert00
GDH

Thursday, July 26, 2012

106th District Candidate Forum set for July 31st

The League of Women Voters of Alpena County will host a Candidate Forum at 7PM on July 31 at the Alpena County Library. Candidates for the 106th District have been invited. lwvalpenacounty.org for more info. Let's show up and support Ken Hubbard !

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Citizens United Constitutional Amendment Floated By Senate Democrats

By :
paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats, battered by a tsunami of independent campaign spending and without legislative recourse, promoted a constitutional amendment Tuesday to reverse the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling that freed corporations and labor unions to spend freely in elections.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chairing a hearing of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, said he had long opposed a constitutional amendment to reduce the influence of money in elections. But he "reached the conclusion that a constitutional amendment is necessary" after the torrent of money spent by independent groups after the Citizens United ruling, he said.

Durbin acknowledged amending the Constitution would be "an uphill battle and it might take years." The assertion underscores the difficulty that Senate Democrats have had in passing simple legislation that would increase campaign spending transparency.

Democrats have decried the Citizens United decision, which they say has empowered Republican donors, including corporations, to pump hundreds of millions into independent groups to elect more Republicans into office. Democrats sought to pass legislation to improve disclosure for this money, but have been rebuffed three times in the Senate, failing to secure a single Republican vote.

The hearing featured two panels. The first featured three Democratic senators and one congresswoman, all of whom had introduced constitutional amendments to either reverse Citizens United or to overturn the 1976 Supreme Court ruling in Buckley v. Valeo that found government-imposed campaign spending restrictions to be unconstitutional.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) called a constitutional amendment "the only way we can solve this."

"We are seeing our country move toward an oligarchic government," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said. "Citizens United is a part of that trend."
Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) explained the Buckley decision that stripped the 1970s campaign finance system of restrictions on the amount spent by each campaign. The decision is famous for stating that money provides the ability to speak in politics and, thus, spending could not be regulated without restricting speech.

"Americans' right to free speech is now determined by their net worth," Udall said as he bemoaned the current system. "The damage is clear. Elections become more about the quantity of cash and less about the quality of ideas."

A second panel featured former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, Harvard University law professor Lawrence Lessig and Cato Institute senior fellow Ilya Shapiro. Roemer, who ran for Republican nomination for president this year and refused to accept contributions above $100, echoed Udall's sentiments. "It's corrupt when the size of your contribution determines your place in line," he said.

Lessig said the public, through civic conventions, should propose potential Citizens United fixes to Congress instead of looking to Congress for an answer. "The people have lost faith in their government," Lessig said. "They have become convinced that the government has become more responsive to ... the funders."

Lessig said there are two elections today: the voting election and the money election. "It is only the very few who can compete at all," Lessig said, referring to the money election.

Shapiro was the lone dissenter. The Cato fellow had been invited by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to share the policy beliefs of Libertarians and Republicans. Shapiro supported Citizens United and money in politics. No Republican senator sitting on the subcommittee showed up to ask questions.

"Citizens United is one of the most misunderstood major cases ever, " said Shapiro, echoing an argument previously made by Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Shapiro argued that the case was far more limited than its critics say and that it expanded speech rights rather than threatened democratic institutions, as Democrats and the other panelists argued.

Shapiro called for Congress to "liberalize the system" by eliminating campaign contribution limits and reducing disclosure of contributions to only those deemed large enough to be corrupting.

When pressed on this latter point by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Shapiro stated that a corrupting amount may be $500,000 or more. He further stated that a $10,000 contribution -- far above the $2,500 limit a donor can give per election -- may be corrupting in an election for dog catcher.

Whitehouse recounted a run-in with a Marine who lost his legs in Afghanistan on the way to the hearing. If the U.S. can ask a Marine to go to Afghanistan and lose his legs, said Whitehouse, "We can ask the Koch brothers to disclose their contributions and deal with some impolite blogging."

While the senators' chairs were largely empty throughout the hearing, the audience seats were filled. Activists and advocacy groups packed the hearing to support a constitutional amendment. Durbin mentioned that a petition signed by more than 1 million Americans had been delivered by advocacy organizations working to get states, cities and local municipalities to oppose Citizens United.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Anonymous conservative propaganda emails

I just received an email from a conservative acquaintence re: Medicare increases . It's an anonymous email written to frighten seniors and blame Obama.

If you get the same you can use this site to refute it. I just love showing them that they are peddaling lies !



GDH

Rep. Franz "deaf" to constituents

Thursday, July 12, 2012

U.S. Olympic Team's Clothes ... Made In CHINA

I've just learned that the U.S. Olympic Team will be wearing clothes made in China. This is embarrassing and very sad.

 This is like George Washington outsourcing the making of the American Flag instead of giving the assignment to Betsy Ross.

Who is responsible for this and why weren't U.S. made clothes - even custom clothes used ? This may be OK with Mitt Romney but not with me.Are their U.S. flags made in China as well ?

I'm interested in your comments ... What do you think about this ?

GDH

Bailey's Journey ...