Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Julie Rogers' Office for Nobody

One of Julie Rogers' big plans for the 61st district is to create a "district service office". This would be modeled on a similar office in the 60th district, which is mostly made up of the city of Kalamazoo.

Rogers has promoted this plan both as the democrat challenger to Rep. Jack Hoogendyk in 2006 and again as the democrat nominee for the 61st house district in 2008.

What would this office do? Constituents can easily contact their legislators by phone or email.

A district office might not help citizens much, but it would definitely help Julie Rogers by raising her name recognition and helping her chances for reelection.

Is there any demand for such an office? The person to ask is the current district representative, Jack Hoogendyk. Jack has talked to many thousands of voters in the 61st district during his campaigns. How many of them have asked for such an office? To quote Jack exactly, "zero".

Jack further states:

I talk to many constituents every week. Only a few call because they have concerns. When they do, we help them cut red tape and get answers quickly. Our 800 number makes its very easy for constituents to get quick answers.

I used to have coffee talks in the district, but the turnout, even though the events were heavily publicized, was very low.

I have never had a request for a district office or a complaint from a constituent because we were not accessible. I think a district office would be unnecessary and a poor use of taxpayer dollars.
The 61st district is not like the 60th. The 61st is mostly suburban, with some rural areas. If citizens want to contact their representative, they can call him on the phone, email him, or visit his website.

But Julie Rogers is itching to spend taxpayers' money on a district office whether they want it or not.

More Concealed Carry

From the Gazette:

More people legally carrying guns
Applications for concealed-weapon permits increase

KALAMAZOO -- Some people want to protect their property from theft and feel less vulnerable to attack. Others see it as a way to preserve a constitutional right.

Whatever the reason, the number of first-time applicants for permits to carry concealed weapons is on the rise in Kalamazoo County, according to records from the county clerk's office.

"There's no question in my mind that there's been a considerable increase in new applications over the last few years,'' county Clerk Tim Snow said.

Figures show 900 new permit applications were filed in 2001, the year changes to Michigan law made it easier to get a permit for a concealed weapon. Those numbers tapered off each year through 2005, when new applications totaled 232.

Since then, there has been a steady increase, from 302 applications in 2006 to 448 in 2007 to 473 so far this year. Overall, one out of every 83 residents in the county is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, records show. Statewide, one out of every 58 residents has a permit, according to Michigan State Police.

When you consider a fourth of the population is too young to obtain a permit, the percentage of adults with them is probably much higher.


Read it all.

By the way, their figures imply that one in 43 Michigan adults is licenced to carry, and one in 62 adults in Kalamazoo County are licenced to carry.

Bailout Defeated!

The monster bailout was defeated in the House of Representatives.

Breaking: It’s official. House rejects Trillion-Dollar-Plus Crap Sandwich; roll call vote added

The vote was 205 yes, 228 no.

There were 140 democrats and 65 republicans who voted yes. But 95 democrats and 133 Republicans voted no.

This was a defeat for the entire political establishment. The executive branch, congressional leadership, big banks, media, etc. It was defeated by overwhelming public opposition to corporate welfare and socialism.

In this way the bailout resembles amnesty for illegal aliens, which was defeated against similar odds. But also like amnesty, the plan may need to be defeated two or three more times.

The battle continues.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stop the Bailout!

The arguments against the bailout aren't complicated.

Various financial institutions are in big trouble because they lent lots of money to people who they had little reason to think could pay it back. These mortgages were packaged as securities. The companies that invested heavily in them are now dropping like flies.

Now the government, led by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, has proposed a seven-hundred billion dollar ($700,000,000,000) bailout for whichever financial firms he feels like saving. This follows bailouts for Bear Stearns, IndyMac Bank, AIG, and the big three automakers.

Where would the money come from? The government may try to borrow more money, if there's anyone left willing to lend to it. Or it may just print more money through the Federal Reserve. Either way, it's the taxpayers who will really pay for this, whether through higher spending for interest on the national debt, or reduced value of the dollar.

Hence the first argument. It is immoral to take money from some people by force and give it to others. It's theft. Making this theft even more obnoxious is the fact that the recipients of stolen money would be politically-connected Wall Street millionaires.

Second, this plan would reward failure. This is wrong in and of itself.

Third, the bailout is unconstitutional. The Constitution does not give the federal government the authority to do this. The Founding Fathers knew what they were doing, and Congress would we well-advised to follow the rules they put in place.

But the bailout's promoters make other arguments. Isn't the bailout, despite its obnoxious nature, necessary to save the economy? Isn't it necessary to prevent a recession or worse?

No. This plan will make things worse. At best, it might delay the consequences a little, but they would be worse. The bad debt needs to be liquidated, not pushed onto taxpayers. There will be a correction, perhaps a recession. As painful as this is, it is necessary to restore health to the economy, just as surgery is sometimes necessary to restore health to the human body.

Won't some innocent people get hurt in a correction? Yes. But the whole point of a bailout is to hurt innocent taxpayers.

Fourth, the bailout is guaranteed to make things worse over the long run. The principle of incentives says that if you reward something, you will get more of it. Thus if you reward bad lending and bankruptcy, you will get more bad lending and bankruptcy. Guaranteed. This principle is as certain as anything we know about human behavior.

If you start bailing out companies, there will always be more bailouts. In a free market, you must be free to fail, so that resources can be directed to more efficient uses.

Fifth, even if you assume that government action could save the economy, that doesn't mean that it would. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who is not even a Republican and has donated to democrats, has a long history of wrong predictions about the economy.

The plan would devote 700 billion to Paulson's discretion alone. From his proposed plan:

“Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”
Americans overwhelmingly oppose the bailout. They must demand that it be stopped.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


This update focuses on the economy. Financial firms including Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, and Washington Mutual have gone bankrupt, been bailed out, or been bought out. This economic crisis was precipitated by the collapse of the housing bubble, which was caused by the Federal Reserve's monetary policy and government regulations. The government is now proposing a 700 billion dollar bailout of bad lenders.

Ann Coulter: They Gave Your Mortgage to a Less Qualified Minority
Mac Johnson: Bailout: Far Worse than a Recession
Brian Farmer: Government Bailout
Takuan Seiyo: The Case Of The Disappeared Subprime Minority Borrower
Thomas Sowell: A Political "Solution"
Michelle Malkin: Illegal Immigration And The Mortgage Mess
Steve Sailer: The Diversity Recession: What Was The Financial (And Political) Establishment Thinking?
Mark Skousen: Are We Headed Toward a New Collectivist State?
Gary North: Still in the Stock Market?
Ron Paul: In Government We Trust? Part 3
Lew Rockwell: The Social Imperative of Sound Money
Gary North: Subsidy Madness and Depression
Will Grigg: The Denouement
Ron Paul: In Government We Trust? Part 2
Gary North: The Bloom Is Off the Housing Rose

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Candidate Forum Report

The Friends of Historic East Campus (FOHEC) held a forum for the candidates running for the Michigan House of Representatives last Wednesday.

Legislative hopefuls state their case at East Campus
State House candidates differ on WMU funding

The candidates are:

60th district: Charles Ybema (R), Robert Jones (D) (incumbent)
61st district: Larry DeShazor (R), Julie Rogers (D)
63rd district: James "Jase" Bolger (R), Phyllis Smith (D) (did not attend)

All the candidates bemoaned the funding disparity between Western and the top three universities (UM, MSU, WSU). All of them promised to change it, and to work across party lines.

None of them pointed out that changing the disparity isn't very likely, because the partisans of the top three are working to preserve it. There are more of them, and they have more money and more clout. Ybema proposed the best plan, which is for money to follow the students rather than go directly to the universities.

Jones and Rogers both said that all universities should have increased budgets. Rogers bemoaned the fact that students are paying a higher percentage of tuition than taxpayers, when the reverse was once true. They both demanded more government funding to make college "affordable".

All the candidates support funding for remodeling of Sangren Hall (which was just passed by the legislature).

The Republicans all support making Michigan a right to work state, the democrats oppose it.

Rogers and DeShazor both endorsed the bus millage on the ballot in November that will raise taxes on the 61st district.

All the candidates had kind words for "alternative energy". Surprisingly, all the candidates endorsed slant drilling for oil under the Great Lakes.

Rogers endorsed creating a "district service office" in the 61st district, similar to the one in the 60th district.

On term limits, Ybema supported ending them, and Rogers, Jones, and DeShazor supported extending them. Bolger was sympathetic to criticisms of term limits, but also said that they have been unfairly blamed for the legislature's poor performance and that since they were passed by a vote of the people, they should only be changed that way.

All the candidates endorsed or were sympathetic to repealing the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) surcharge. Bolger and Deshazor were sympathetic to replacing the MBT with another tax, but did not endorse any specific plan. Ybema endorsed repealing the MBT entirely. This induced Rogers to claim that repealing the MBT would be disastrous because it would cause bridges to collapse like the I-35 bridge in Minnesota. (The cause of the collapse of that government-owned, government-inspected bridge remains unknown.)

Rogers denied supporting a tax increase to pay for all her plans for new spending. She said that she wanted "tax stability". When pressed where the money for her plans would come from, she said that Michigan's prisons could be more efficient. All the candidates endorsed saving money in the prison budget. Jones was sympathetic to sentencing that would let nonviolent offenders out of prison, while Bolger cautioned that letting felons out of prison would be dangerous. Ybema was sympathetic to privatising freeways and letting nonviolent drug offenders out of prison.

All the candidates wanted economic development. Most endorsed more higher education as the way to this. Ybema pointed out that economic growth requires capital, which is best attracted through economic freedom.

Ybema's libertarian economic views were the best on most questions, even if they were not popular with some in the audience.

Video on the Housing Crisis

Polls in Michigan

The Detroit News reports on polls on the ballot proposals.

Proposal 1, which would legalize medical marijuana, leads 59%-37%. Absent a vigorous opposition campaign, this proposal will pass, as have similar proposals in about a dozen states.

Proposal 2, which would promote the destruction of human embryos for stem cell research, leads 50%-32%. This proposal is likely to fail, since it faces vigorous opposition from Right to Life and the Catholic Conference. Support for ballot proposals almost always goes down until election day, since opponents point out the negatives of proposals that sound good at first. Further, the undecideds mostly vote no on proposals, since the status quo is safer than a proposal they aren't sure about.

A poll for Congressman Tim Walberg shows him leading Mark Schauer 50%-40%. Partisan polls should be taken with a grain of salt, but the result is still encouraging.

MIRS reports that a poll shows that Diane Hathaway leads Justice Cliff Taylor 15%-14%. This isn't a big deal. It means that most voters don't know who they are. With ballots listing Taylor as an incumbent, he should be safe.

CTV on Medical Marijuana

Something to consider regardless where you fall on Proposal 1, regarding medical marijuana.

Legalization of Medical Marijuana on the November Ballot

Friday, September 26, 2008

Herald on College Republicans

College Republicans gather, get advice from alumnus

As students filed into the Brown and Gold room in Bernhard, Western Michigan University’s College Republican leader Megan Buwalda turned over speaking rights to a former College Republican.

Adam Keech, regional communication specialist for the House Republicans in Lansing, took the floor to describe exactly what the College Republicans did for him during his stay at WMU.
“Through the contacts I made in the College Republicans, I was able to gain an internship and later a career in Lansing,” Keech said.

Representatives from the John McCain campaign were also present. Garry Hartlieb discussed opportunities for Republicans or McCain supporters to get involved at the local level.

Keynote speakers had the floor during the majority of the meeting, as also in attendance was James Bolger, who is currently running for state representative of the 63rd district. Bolger, who’s college career began here at WMU gave an introduction about himself, highlighting his “real world experience” which he believed could help him earn a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives.

“You have to do the tough work,” Bolger said, “meet with both people that agree and disagree with you in order to best represent all of them.”

Bolger then proceeded to open the floor for questions from any of those in attendance.

Topics like bringing jobs to Michigan balancing the Michigan budget and term limits were all brought up and openly discussed. Even the touchier issues like gun control and public education were openly discussed between students and the candidate.

The College Republican e-board closed the meeting announcing that students could stay after and get involved with flyers or if they were unable to attend this week that they could join the group at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30 in 2304 Sangren for a movie night with free snacks.

On the way out the door to start the flyers students were given the opportunity to obtain a fresh stock of McCain/Palin t-shirts.

Every College Republican meeting ends in a tradition that even returning College Republicans remember…a trip to the local Road House for a great time with other College Republicans.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Too Many Jobs in Michigan!

Michigan's unemployment rate is 8.9%, the highest in the nation. The auto industry is in the dumps. Between housing and financial markets, more economic troubles are coming.

With all this trouble, the Kalamazoo Gazette sees a pressing problem--there are too many jobs in Michigan!

Migrant labor crucial to local agriculture

That's the message of their editorial on "migrant workers" in agriculture. These are legal or illegal aliens who are hired because they will work for less than Michigan citizens.

And the Gazette isn't the only one who thinks Michigan has too many jobs.

Fortunately, the state of Michigan is recognizing the economic worth of migrant farm workers.

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth sends officials to Texas to recruit laborers to work on Michigan farms from April to October. About 15,000 migrant farm workers came to Michigan this year.

If such annual recruiting trips continue to be successful, Michigan could become one of the top five destination states for migrant farm workers, according to Rick Olivarez, state monitor advocate at D-LEG.
Fighting for Mexican jobs. Thanks, Governor Granholm!

Ron Paul Endorses Chuck Baldwin

Congressman Ron Paul has endorsed Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin for President.

A New Alliance - By Dr. Ron Paul

Seventy Years of the Herald

Seventy years of low-quality journalism and stupid opinions.

Western Herald celebrates 70 years as a student-run newspaper

OK, that's not fair. That's the last five years. The Herald was pretty good when Jason Giliken was the editor.

At least the Herald is independent, so that it is free to voice opinions contrary to the administration.

See this blog's voluminous commentary on the Herald.

Candidate Forum

Candidates for the three Kalamazoo County based Michigan House of Representatives districts will speak at a forum at Western.

Michigan Legislators Speak at Open Forum


With the elections fast approaching, six candidates running for Michigan legislature will meet for an open forum at the Little Theater on East Campus.

The forum will focus on how the candidates plan to affect state funding for WMU in the midst of a budget crisis. The forum will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is open to the public.

The six candidates for the Michigan legislature are from the 60th, 61st, and 63rd districts. Robert Jones-D serves in the House for the 60th district and is the only incumbent candidate. The other five are Jase Bolger-R, Julie Rogers-D, Charles Ybema-R, Phyllis Smith-D and Larry Deshazor- R.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


This update focuses on Russia. Russia recently invaded the country of Georgia. Alexander Solzhenitsyn recently passed away. Russia's authoritarian government menaces its neighbors. It must be dealt with cautiously.

Robert Maginnis: Russia's New World Order
William Lind: Defending the Baltics
Don Devine: Russia Realities
Warren Mass: KAL Flight 007 Remembered
Warren Mass: Solzhenitsyn Passes Away
Charlie Reese: A Giant Is Lost
Pat Buchanan: Why Do Chinese, Russians, Like Their Governments So Much?

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Carl Levin: Porker of the Month

Citizens Against Government Waste has named Senator Carl Levin Porker of the Month.


CAGW Names Senator Carl Levin Porker of the Month

Washington, D.C. - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) its September Porker of the Month for attempting to give earmarks contained in committee reports the force of law. The provision is included in S. 3001, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009.

Currently, earmarks listed in committee reports do not have the force of law; only those included in the statutory language have that status. Traditionally, members of Congress have included earmarks in committee reports knowing they are not the law, but have expected federal agencies to treat those spending items as if they had the force of law. President Bush issued an Executive Order on January 29, 2008 instructing government agencies not to fund any earmarks contained in report language, or based on any non-statutory source, such as phone calls from members of Congress.

This means that beginning with this fiscal year’s authorization and appropriation bills, agencies would be under no obligation to fund earmarks contained in committee or conference reports. In a brazen attempt to gut the executive order, Sen. Levin inserted a provision (Section 1002) into the defense reauthorization bill that would incorporate the earmarks listed in the committee report into the statute itself, making the earmarks “a requirement in law.” The earmarks would be “binding on agency heads in the same manner and to the same extent” as if they were written into the bill.


Read it all.

Local News

Gun buyback program is Saturday
You can't buy back what was never yours.

WMU groups hosting state candidates forum

Palin: `I am prepared' GOP candidates answer questions in Grand Rapids town-hall meeting

County nixes public-defender study
This is one boondoggle that has been avoided for the moment. Democrats want to create a public defender's office with a budget the same as the prosecutor's, even though many dependents wouldn't use it.

City of Kalamazoo reduces minority preferences to comply with state amendment
This will save taxpayers' money.

Freshmen help drive enrollment hike

Supporters tour building planned for Catholic college

WMU professors: Mixed feelings over contract

McCain Draws Protesters

WSA approves this years budget

Alternative Energy Means Higher Taxes

Well, the legislature passed its bill to raise energy prices, reduce competition, and waste money on "alternative energy". Great work, guys!

Leaving Michigan families out in the cold

Previous: Michigan Legislature Hard at Work

Palin On Target

Sarah Palin Rifle Training - Watch the top videos of the week here

Saturday, September 13, 2008


This update focuses on energy. Liberals continue to thwart energy production and promote red herrings on this subject. T Boone Pickens has proposed a plan to give billions of taxpayers' dollars to T. Boone Pickens.

Dan Kish: Who’s Hoarding America’s Oil?
Chris Horner: The Lawnmower Police are Coming
Arthur Robinson: Easy Pickens
Michelle Malkin: Pelosi and the Big Wind Boone-doggle
Ed Hiserodt: Algae May Be an Energy Answer
Walter Williams: Environmentalists' Hold on Congress
Steve Forbes: Oil and the Feeble Greenback
Deroy Murdock: Offshore Oil Drilling: Cleaner than Mother Nature
Ross Kamisky: Oil Economics for Liberals
Paul Driessen: Blowing Hot Air Up Our Shorts

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

The Plight of Professors

Money makes the difference in faculty deal

With the supplement, an associate professor, for instance, would receive an additional $677 because the median salary for an associate professor is $67,714.

The median salary for a full professor is $92,286 and it is $53,143 for an assistant professor.

Carr said the 1 percent supplemental pay is "what really sealed the deal.''

The professors consider the supplemental pay an "equity adjustment for people who are getting paid really low salaries,'' Carr said.
These salaries do not include health care and retirement benefits, which bumped the average salary for full professors up to $136,800.

How can they even afford to put clothes on their backs?

Other WMU news:
Western Michigan University student count shows 2008 enrollment up 1.6 percent
WMU takes step to revitalize East Campus

Dan on Palin

Dan has several interesting posts on Sarah Palin and the media's reaction to her nomination.

Mugabe's Degree Revoked

Michigan State revokes Mugabe's honorary degree

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan State University trustees Friday stripped Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe of an honorary law degree it gave him in 1990, citing a pattern of human rights abuses and political repression.

Mugabe led the successful struggle to overcome white minority rule over what then was called Rhodesia. But he now faces wide domestic and international opposition because of Zimbabwe's economic collapse and his crackdown on opponents.

A Zimbabwe diplomat said the board's timing is odd — one day after Mugabe announced a power-sharing agreement with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mugabe, 84, has received more than 50 honorary degrees over the years, said Wilbert Gwashavanhu, political counselor at the Zimbabwe Embassy in Washington.
This has been a long-time cause of conservative students at MSU. Of course, a communist like Mugabe should never have gotten an honorary degree.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Strike Averted?

WMU and the faculty union have reached a tentative agreement.

Western faculty, university reach tentative 3-year pact
AAUP, WMU Reach Tentative Agreement

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's faculty union has reached a tentative deal with the university on a new three-year contract.

The professors are scheduled to meet at 2:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss the offer with the goal of holding a ratification vote later this month, the union said on its Web site.
But not before professors politicized the classroom.

AAUP meets to discuss next move

With the possibility of a strike looming, many professors have taken the time to speak with their students about what has been happening with the AAUP negotiations.

“They are using their lectures to try and make us choose sides during class, said Secondary Education major Steve Smith. Smith explained that he thought that it was inappropriate for teachers to use students time to promote their own viewpoints.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What Were They Thinking?

Ding dong, the RMGN plan is dead! The Michigan Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that the proposal will not appear on the ballot. This follows a 3-0 ruling from the Michigan Court of Appeals to the same effect a couple weeks ago. They ruled that the proposal is so long that it cannot be summarized in 100 words.

The Republican judges were joined by democrat Michael Cavanaugh, with only democrat Marilyn Kelly dissenting. RMGN backers had demanded that two Republican judges recuse themselves, since the proposal would have eliminated their jobs. They could attempt to appeal to federal court, though the prospects for such an appeal seem bleak.

All this raises the question--What were they thinking?

Did the RMGN backers really think this would work?

Did they really think nobody would find out about their stealth petition?

Did they really think that people would believe that a proposal with millions of dollars in funding was a grassroots efforts sponsored by a couple of nobodies?

Did they really think that nobody would ask who wrote it and funded it?

Did they really think that nobody would read it and find out what it really did?

Did they really submit a proposal without proofreading it carefully enough to discover that it references a section of the constitution that doesn't exist?

Did they really think that submitting a 19,000 word proposal without preclearance was a good idea?

Did they really think that a proposal to rewrite the Michigan Constitution that couldn't possibly be summarized in 100 words would survive judicial scrutiny?

Did they really think that a proposal attacking the Michigan judiciary, which they believe to be unfairly controlled by Republicans, wouldn't be struck down by that same judiciary?

Did they really think this proposal was a good use of a couple million dollars?

Apparently so.

Michigan Legislature Hard at Work

Democrats continue to push for registering homeschoolers, and offer not very convincing arguments for the plan.

As more homeschool, state could track kids

Why do we want a database of homeschoolers? Uh, you know, just for information.

See also: Registration Leads to Confiscation

Michigan lawmakers know there's a problem with energy prices. And they've got a plan to... make them higher!

Mich. residents may pay more of green power costs

Naturally they also want to restrict competition and funnel tax dollars to businesses that can't compete in the marketplace.

The Mystery of Banking

The Mystery of Banking
by Murray Rothbard

The Mystery of Banking

The Mystery of Banking is an enlightening book that explains the economics of money and banking. It explains the nature and origin of money, supply and demand for money, loan and deposit banking, central banking, and the history of central banking. Topics that are murky to the general public and are often misunderstood even in economics classes are clearly explained. This book is worth reading for anyone who wants a better understanding of this subject.

Political Correctness

A revealing documentary from the Free Congress Foundation.

The History of Political Correctness

Sunday, September 07, 2008


This update focuses on education. A California court ruled that home-schooling is legal. Liberalism, government, and education fads continue to impede education.

Vin Suprynowicz: Close the Government Schools
Gary North: Wal-Mart University: No More Boola-Boola
Steve Sailer: "No Real Solution"—Arnold Schwarzenegger's Algebra For Dummies
Bob Unruh: Homeschooling OK – even in California
Phyllis Schlafly: The NEA Spells Out Its Policies
Steve Sailer: Sailer’s Four-Point Plan For Improving Schools
Steve Sailer: The College Paradox: Not Everyone Gains By Higher Education

Learn more about education issues in Education Reporter.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Faculty Strike Looming?

The WMU chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the labor union that represents professors on campus, has voted to authorize a strike, or as they call it, a 'job action'. Contract negotiations are ongoing. The previous contract ended on Friday, so a strike could start as soon as Monday.

Western Michigan University professors press contract talks
AAUP contract nears expiration

This does not mean that there will necessarily be a strike, but it means that the union's negotiators can call one if they don't like the way that talks are going.

A strike would only apply to professors. It would not apply to graduate assistants, who have their own union and contract, or part-timers, who are not unionized. (Some professors might not participate in a strike, so make sure to check with your professors before skipping class!)

Strikes by teachers or professors at state universities are illegal in Michigan. A union can be fined for calling a strike, but the individual members of the union cannot be penalized for participating. Eastern Michigan University recently saw a strike that lasted about two weeks.

As you would expect, the issue here is money. "The WMU administration has offered faculty annual salary increases on a three-year contract of 3 percent, 3 percent and 3.25 percent, according to a union official." But the union objects to a proposal to make professors responsible for more of the cost of their own health care.

In 2007, the average total compensation of full professors at Western was $136,800. Associate and assistant professors make less.

It isn't clear where the union thinks additional money is going to come from. The only real possibilities are higher tuition, additional state funding, or cutting spending elsewhere. More state funding is not likely. Tuition increased 68% between 2001 and 2007.

See also:
Understanding Government: Bureaucracy
The Economics of Labor Unions
A Work Inaction

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Good Riddance, Kwame

Kwame Kilpatrick announced his resignation as the Mayor of Detroit today. He also pled guilty to obstruction of justice. This came shortly before a scheduled hearing in which Governor Granholm was all but certain to remove him from office.

Kwame dragged Detroit through the dirt for months. Other disgraced democrats like Eliot Spitzer and Mark Dann at least had the decency to resign quickly.

Kwame will be succeeded as mayor by city council president Ken Cockrel, who at least is an adult.

Detroit's problems are hardly over, though. The political culture that made its leaders such a cruel joke is here for the long run. Several members of the city council are under investigation by the FBI. Monica Conyers, soon to be council president, regularly embarrasses the city.

By the way, Barack Obama finally called for Kwame to resign--after his resignation had already been announced. Great timing!