Monday, December 31, 2012

The Best of The Western Right: 2012

This blog was fairly busy this year, covering many topics. We had 190 posts this year. Many of the posts covered the 2012 election, particularly the 6th district congressional primary. Here are some of the best posts of 2012.

2012 Analysis: Michigan
2012 Analysis: Senate
2012 Analysis: Ballot Propositions
2012 Analysis: Kalamazoo
2012 Michigan General Election Preview (selective)
2012 Michigan General Election Preview (comprehensive)
2012 Michigan August Primary Preview (selective)
2012 Kalamazoo Primary Election Preview (comprehensive)

Right to Work is Right for Michigan
Ban "Gun Free Zones"
Bus Tax Never Dies
Right to Work Passed in Michigan
Tea Party Versus Establishment Senate Candidates
6th Circuit Disenfranchizes Voters
Shocker: Gazette Endorses Obama
Jeffrey Getting's Bad Math
Nullification by Thomas Woods
Is Mitt Romney Repeating Dick DeVos' Mistakes?
2016: Obama's America
2012 ACU Michigan Legislature Ratings
Fred Upton's Smear Campaign
The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran
Obama Lied, Mexicans Died
A Brief History of the WMU College Republicans
Michigan Redistricting: Court of Appeals

The Best of The Western Right: 2011
The Best of The Western Right: 2010
The Best of The Western Right: 2009
The Best of The Western Right: 2008
The Best of The Western Right: 2007
The Best of The Western Right: 2006

2012: The Year at Western

2012 was a busy year on campus, though more in terms of construction than politics.  Planning for the new medical school continued to progress.  The new Sangren Hall opened, along with an expanded Honors College and many road changes.  There was only a little political news on campus.

A professor converted his car to be electric.  Graduate assistants complained.

Western graduates found jobs--but not jobs that required college degrees.  The ominous Office of Sustainability replaced the former University Bookstore.

This blog surveyed the many changes to roads and parking on campus.  The Western Herald ceased publishing, going totally online.  The new Sangren Hall opened.

The Students for Life had an event on campus. The Students for Liberty featured Jack McHugh discussing ballot propositions.

Freedom of speech remains an issue on campus.  Governor Snyder appointed two new trustees, neither of whom are Republicans.  The University proposed a plan to tear down most of East Campus, while saving East Hall.

2013 is here, whether we wanted it or not.

2011: The Year at Western
2010: The year at Western
2009: The Year at Western
2008: The Year at Western
2007: The Year at Western
2006: The Year at Western

Conservative of the Year: Ted Cruz

2012 was a tough year for conservatives.  There were few victories, and our nominal leaders, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, gave precious little to cheer for in defeat.  The biggest conservative victory was Scott Walker's defeat of the recall attempt in Wisconsin.  Human Events honored him for this this year, but this blog already did so last year.

The path to conservative victory all too often lies in defeating the Republican establishment.  Nowhere was this clearer than in Texas, where a very solid and very impressive Tea Party conservative, Ted Cruz, defeated the candidate of the Texas Republican establishment, David Dewhurst.

Cruz united the national conservative movement behind his candidacy.  He fended off the vile attacks from Dewhurst and won 57% in the runoff.  Conservatives should expect big things from Cruz.  He is this blog's conservative of the year.

Previous winners (including retroactive):
2011: Scott Walker
2010: Jim DeMint
2009: Glenn Beck
2008: Sarah Palin
2007: Ron Paul
2006: Jerome Corsi
2005: Tom Tancredo
2004: John O'Neill
2003: Roy Moore
2002: John Ashcroft
2001: George W. Bush
2000: William Rehnquist

Friday, December 28, 2012

Jeff Getting Purges Political Rivals

Newly-elected democrat prosecutor Jeff Getting has wasted no time taking on the greatest threats to the citizens of Kalamazoo County.

Incoming Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting dismisses 2 veteran assistants, including election rival

He fired Assistant Prosecutor Scott Pierangeli, his Republican opponent, and Assistant Prosecutor Stuart Fenton.  What did Fenton do?
Fenton said he believes his work on Pierangeli’s campaign may have been a factor in Getting's decision not to retain him, and possibly also that Fenton played a role in Getting’s dismissal by Gregart in 1998.

Getting’s personnel file from the prosecutor’s office contains two memorandums authored by Fenton in 1998 in which he told Gregart and then-Assistant Prosecutor Joe Skocelas of an incident, also witnessed by a Kalamazoo Township Police detective, in Fenton’s office during which Getting became “visibly hostile, and shortly after that he unleashed a verbal tirade that one had to witness to believe.”

“He started yelling loudly, using repeated profanity in the hallway near the copy machine and my office, whereby anyone within the back part of the office could easily hear him.” Fenton wrote. “He lost complete control of himself.

“The substance of the tantrum was not to bother asking his ‘F--- opinion if we were going to ‘F--- argue with him; that he didn’t have the ‘F--- time, etc … It was easily the most professionally embarrassing situation I have witnessed since joining this office.”

Said Fenton on Thursday: “Because of his conduct that occurred with me where he lost his temper and his explosive temper came out, he was fired.
Wait a minute.  What was it that Getting said about his firing during the campaign?

Candidates for Kalamazoo County prosecutor differ on visions for the office
Getting says his departure had nothing to do with job performance and stemmed from disagreements he and Gregart had “about the goals of the office, the people that were being brought into the office and what people’s roles should be.”

“I was challenging him and the way he was leading the office and that resulted in my political appointment being withdrawn,” Getting said.
So basically Getting is a big stinking liar.  And now he's the most powerful person in Kalamazoo County.
Fenton also surmised that Getting's decision to jettison him and Pierangeli may stem from promises that Fenton said Getting made of “some position to some of the people that have been helping him on his campaign.”

“There were no current openings in our office, so he had to make some room for them,” Fenton said.
We will see if Getting appoints people with ties to his campaign or the local democrat party.

Previous: Jeffrey Getting's Bad Math

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Right to Work is Right for Michigan

The argument for Right to Work in Michigan isn't complicated, but unions and democrats have been putting out lots of misinformation, trying to confuse people.

The case for Right to Work is simple.  You should not be forced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment.  Unions claim to support workers, but they want to fire workers who refuse to give them money.

Unions argue that they are providing a benefit to the workers, and that the workers who don't pay dues to the union are "free riders" who deserve to be coerced into paying them money.  But this argument is false.  First, the unions are free to set up non-exclusive agreements so that they only represent their members and not non-members.  But unions overwhelmingly refuse to set up this sort of agreement, choosing instead to coerce people who don't want to be in the union.  The people who don't want to join a union are 'captive passengers', not 'free riders'.

The second problem with this argument is that the union may not actually benefit the worker, or the benefit may not exceed the cost of membership.  Under the unions' argument, THEY decide unilaterally that they benefit the worker, rather than the worker deciding for himself what benefits or does not benefit him.

Unions also argue that mandatory union dues are no different from taxes.  But only government can collect taxes.  Are unions claiming to be units of government?  Effectively, that is what they are.  In any case, this argument does not provide any reason not to eliminate these taxes, which is what Right to Work does.

Some libertarians might argue that unions and employers should be free to agree to contracts that require union membership.  That argument would only be valid for private sector employers in a truly free labor market.  But virtually no employer would agree to such an arrangement.  The reason why they do is because of government coercion (banning firing strikers, requirement to negotiate in good faith, etc.) and union coercion (threats of violence, property destruction, and blocking access).  These government policies are mostly federal, which states can't change, but states can pass Right to Work laws.

Curiously, the left decries monopoly businesses, but is all for monopoly unions.  But unions basically businesses that sell negotiation services and related products.  They may not call themselves businesses, but they provide services in exchange for money, which is the essence of a business.

The economic effects of a monopoly (which in free-market terms, can only exist through government coercion) are well-known.  Monopolies lead to higher prices and worse service, since competition allows people to choose lower prices and better service and forces businesses to improve their services to stay in business.  Thus we would expect monopoly unions to give worse service at higher prices.  Conversely, if there were competition among unions, workers would get better service at lower prices.

Coercive unions are actually worse than monopoly businesses, since they not only restrict competition, but also force people to buy their product on the penalty of losing their job.  This coercive power makes them tempting targets for outside interests who seek to capture control of them for other purposes.  In the heyday of communism, many unions were controlled by communists.  Many unions have been controlled by organized crime.  Some union bosses use the unions for their personal benefit.  Many unions these days are controlled by left-wing activists who push politics unrelated to workers' interests.  These interests push employers and politicians to provide benefits to themselves, rather than the workers.  If workers sense that something is wrong in their union, they should be able to leave, not be forced to keep paying it money.

Thus workers should have nothing to fear from Right to Work. It not only benefits those workers who don't want to be part of unions, but it also benefits those workers who like and want to be members of unions. The people who don't benefit from Right to Work are union bosses who have to provide better, cheaper service to workers.

What economic effects should we expect from Right to Work?  Without coercive unions making unreasonable demands and enforcing inflexible work rules, we would expect businesses to benefit.  They would make larger profits, create more jobs, invent more new and better products, and ultimately expand the whole economy.  Union bosses will certainly suffer, and some overpaid union workers may not do as well, but workers as a whole will benefit from more jobs, growing demand for labor, and more accountable unions.

Indeed, we find that states with Right to Work laws have better economic growth and create more jobs.  But unions deride these jobs as low-paying and claim that Right to Work is a "right to work for less".

First of all, there is nothing wrong with a "right to work for less".  To the extent that unions do increase their members' wages, they do so by shutting out other workers who are willing to work for less.  Why should some workers benefit by discriminating against other workers?

Economic statistics need to be interpreted carefully.  Unions point out that states without Right to Work have higher wages than those with it.  Now this cannot prove that Right to Work caused this gap, since there are numerous factors that affect wages.  Indeed many southern (Right to Work) states have had higher poverty and more minorities before they had Right to Work.

Furthermore, such statistics fail to take cost of living into account. When wages are adjusted for cost of living, Right to Work states actually have higher wages than non-Right to Work states.

But the real measure of the effect of Right to Work on wages is what happens when a state switches from one policy to the other.  Oklahoma became a Right to Work state in 2001, and wages did not suffer.

Thus Right to Work is morally and economically the right policy for Michigan.

See also: The Economics of Labor Unions

Bolger on Concealed Carry

In his most recent newsletter, Speaker Jase Bolger explains the issues surrounded the Governor's veto of concealed carry reform.


Changes to Michigan's Concealed Carry Law Vetoed

Senate Bill 59 which was passed by the legislature was later vetoed by the Governor. The bill would have allowed Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holders who wished to take additional training the ability to carry a concealed weapon in the current Pistol Free Zones. It is currently legal to carry a weapon openly in those areas, however SB 59 would have eliminated open carry in those areas and allowed only concealed carry by specially trained license holders. Under the bill, an organization (like a school) wishing to remain gun free could declare itself so and post a notice of same; in that case licensed persons would not have violated gun laws but could have been asked to leave the premises and charged with trespassing if they refused. The same practice is in place today in many establishments.

According to the Governor's press release his veto was primarily based on what he feels is the bill’s failure to let designated public entities such as schools, day care centers and hospitals opt out of the new concealed carry provisions. He had urged that SB 59 be modified to more significantly restrict pistols in those zones by not only prohibiting open-carry in such places, but for allowing only concealed pistols to be carried if license holders receive additional training, subject to the right of the property owners to prohibit concealed carrying if they desire. Under the bill as passed, only private venues can opt out, as can college universities with constitutional autonomy.

Much of the debate surrounding this bill has come just as the horrific events of Newtown Connecticut unfolded last week. As the father of two children, I cannot begin to imagine the heartbreak and horror for those in Connecticut. The sad truth is that signing or vetoing Senate Bill 59 would have had no impact on that tragedy. With regard to this specific legislation, it is unfortunate a compromise was not reached that the governor could support, and I understand the governor exercising his authority. It also is unfortunate that this veto does not make Michigan citizens safer in gun-free zones. Neither the governor's approval nor his veto will stop evil from preying on innocent people. With this veto, however, open-carry still exists in schools, churches and other public areas, and we know that criminals do not respect gun-free zones. For these reasons, we will continue to work with the governor to best protect our law-abiding citizens' Second Amendment rights, as well as the safety and security of all of our citizens.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

GOP War on Christmas?

Last year, this blog covered the fact that many Republican politicians refuse to say "Merry Christmas" in their Christmas cards.

GOP Leaders: Merry Christmas Happy Holidays!
Christmastime for conservative activists brings lots of spam emails from GOP leaders in Michigan. These provide a curious sidebar in the "War on Christmas", the leftist effort to eliminate traditional symbols of Christmas as part of the broader culture war.

The chief symbol of the War on Christmas is the battle between the greetings "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays", with "Season's Greetings" making an occasional appearance. Of course, there wouldn't be "Holidays" without Christmas. The bizarre argument for using "Happy Holidays" is that some tiny fraction of the population would be offended by "Merry Christmas", so we must use a phrase that annoys far more people. (But they're the wrong people, so who cares are them?)

Two recent polls have shown that 69% and 77% of Americans prefer "Merry Christmas". The percentages of Republicans was 88% yet another poll.

Yet some Republican leaders have taken a cowardly stand with the forces of political correctness rather than the vast majority of the Republican base.
Here is this year's list.  Local Republicans seem to have gotten the message, unlike statewide Republicans.

Rick Snyder: "Happy Holidays"
Brian Calley: "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays"
Bobby Schotak: "holiday season"
Saul Anuzis: "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays"
Bill Scheutte: "Happy Holidays" (Christmas and Hanukkah both mentioned)
Ruth Johnson: "Happy Holidays"
Fred Upton: "Merry Christmas"
Jack Hoogendyk: "Merry Christmas"
Senator Tonya Schuitmaker: "Merry Christmas", "Holiday Season"
Rep. Margaret O'Brien: "Peace, Love, and Joy"
Speaker Jase Bolger: "Merry Christmas"
Kalamazoo GOP: "Merry Christmas"

Please post any additional data you have in the comments.

See also: WAR AGAINST CHRISTMAS 2012: The Eight Stages Of Christophobia

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hide Your Blueberries from the Indians

In the middle of a story about an "archaic" law banning adultery we find this gem.

Adultery a felony under 'archaic' law, a fact brought to light in case of fired Portage police sergeant
In fact, Klein said that in her 27 years in the county prosecutor’s office, there have been zero prosecutions under the statute.

“It’s just not done in this day and age,” Klein said. “… Those archaic and, possibly, unconstitutional statutes could still exist, but they’re something that’s not enforced.”


Other examples of out-of-date statutes still on the books, Klein said, include the felony an offender could face for “trampling blueberries in season” or “inciting Indians to riot.”

“There’s lots out there that aren’t going to be prosecuted because societal norms change and you have better statutes,” she said.
Wait, so is Klein saying that "trampling blueberries in season" and “inciting Indians to riot” are OK now?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ban "Gun Free Zones"

After the terrible shooting in Connecticut, the left immediately exploited the massacre to call for gun control.  They see every crime as an excuse to punish responsible gun owners and take away freedom.  Of course, the school already banned guns, and murder is illegal everywhere, but laws didn't stop the shooter.

There are lots of problems in the world with no good solutions, but this isn't one of them.  There is a simple policy change that could be implemented tomorrow that would nearly eliminate mass shootings.  It wouldn't cost any money and it wouldn't take away anyone's freedom.

The answer is to eliminate "gun free zones" and allow citizens to carry everywhere, without fear of prosecution.  John Lott reports the startling fact on mass killings:

Appearance on NPR: Sandy Hook Massacre Changes Gun Control Conversations
I'm just saying, you look around the world, at some point if it's just randomness, you know, and - you know, you would expect to see more than zero, right, in these cases, and the United States has only one case since 1950 where one of these multiple-victim public shootings, where more than three people have been killed, that's occurred in a place where guns were allowed.
There are two simple reasons for this.  One is that shooters pick locations where they can kill the most people, which means places where people are defenseless.  For example,
And I'll give you a simple example from this year. I mean any of the ones you point to from this year or past years are going to follow that, but look at the Colorado shooting that the governor is going to be coming on to talk about. You had seven movie theaters showing the Batman movie within a 20-minute drive of the killer's apartment.

Only one of those seven movie theaters posted a ban on concealed handguns. The killer didn't go to the movie theater that was closest to his home. There was one that was only 1.3 miles away. He didn't go to the largest one. In fact, one advertises itself quite openly as having the largest auditorium in the state of Colorado.

And you'd think if you wanted to go to one that would kill a lot of people, he'd go to the largest one on premiere night for the Batman movie. Instead, the one he went to was the only one that banned concealed handguns. And that happens time after time.
The second reason is that people who do try to commit mass shootings in locations that allow guns get shot or captured by citizens with guns.

Armed civilians really do capture, kill, stop mass shooters

Unfortunately, many people never learn no matter how much evidence there is.  Most states used to be "gun free zones" outside private property.  Many of these states have passed laws allowing concealed carry.  In every case, anti-gun folks howled about blood in the streets, but crime went down.  When the Supreme Court overturned Washington DC's gun ban, crime went down.  When Britain and Australia banned guns, crime went way up.

Israel has armed teachers and they eliminated terrorist shootings at schools.  Utah has allowed concealed carry in schools for years with no problems.

I laid out the same basic facts in 2007 after the Virginia Tech shooting.

End the Campus Gun Ban

But as Thomas Sowell writes, anti-gun folks never learn.

Invincible ignorance
If gun control zealots had any respect for facts, they would have discovered this long ago, because there have been too many factual studies over the years to leave any serious doubt about gun control laws being not merely futile but counterproductive.
The invincibly ignorant include Governor Snyder, who vetoed a bill that would have allowed people with concealed weapons permits to carry in previously prohibited locations if they received extra training.

Snyder vetoes concealed weapons bill; Bolger disappointed

The bill passed the state senate 27-11 and the house 68-41. All but one Republican (Matt Lori) and a few dems voted for it.

Between this and the gutting of the bill to repeal handgun licencing and registration (which he signed), we can officially conclude that Rick Snyder is anti-gun.

UPDATE: Coulter: We know how to stop school shootings

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Kalamazoo GOP Leadership

Kalamazoo County Republican Party elects new officers, including David Worthams as chairperson

KALAMAZOO, MI – The Republican Party of Kalamazoo County elected new leaders at its executive committee meeting on Thursday night.

David Worthams, of Kalamazoo Township, was elected chairperson.

"I am excited about the opportunity to lead Kalamazoo County Republicans," Worthams said in a statement. "We have a chance to build our party and make it competitive in the 2014 elections. We will show our friends and our neighbors how important it is to elect candidates who will be good fiscal stewards of our community so that everyone can have a strong qualify of life and be able to make the American Dream come true."

Melanie Kurdys of Portage was elected vice-chairperson, Stan Runyon of Portage was elected treasurer and ... was elected secretary. The appointments are for two year terms.

Friday, December 14, 2012

How Right to Work Happened

Here are a few good articles on how right to work came to be in Michigan.

Insight: How Republicans engineered a blow to Michigan's powerful unions
Lawrence Reed: From long shot to victory
UAW chief admits some mistakes in pushing Prop 2 despite Snyder's warnings

Bushouse in the House

So, how's Oshtemo's new board doing?

Oshtemo Township board appoints former trustee David Bushouse to fill board vacancy
Coleman Lutz submitted a letter of resignation citing "unforeseeable circumstances" in his first month of service as an Oshtemo Township trustee. The board accepted his resignation at its Tuesday meeting.
Were the "unforeseeable circumstances" that he got elected by straight-ticket democrat voters despite having absolutely no campaign?

The board appointed former longtime trustee Dave Bushouse, who was defeated last month, to fill the vacancy.  There will be a special election in 2014.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Half Measures for Gun Rights

From the NRA:

Michigan: Bill Repealing Permit-to-Purchase Passes State Senate, Goes to House for Concurrence Vote
The amended version of HB 5225 has many incremental improvements for which gun owners across the state will benefit, including:
  • Streamlining private sales to allow people to apply for a purchase license at any law enforcement agency rather than those in the city or county of their residence
  • Repealing the prerequisite handgun safety test currently required to obtain a purchase license
  • Extending the time that a purchase license for private transfers is valid from ten days to thirty days
  • Repealing the requirement that local law enforcement agencies maintain paper copies of purchase licenses
So the state police, with the support of the governor, succeeded in cutting the heart out of this bill.  That is, to repeal the licencing and registration of handguns in Michigan.  This is similar to what happened in 2008, when the bill was stripped to only repeal the phony "safety inspection" requirement.  This issue needs to be hammered until the full bill finally passes.

Snyder Still Stalling
Snyder Stalling Gun Rights Bill?
Michigan House Repeals Handgun Registration
NRA Alert
Gun Bills in Michigan
New Gun Law
Ending Registration

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

East Campus Plan

Western has announced a plan for East Campus.  They will renovate East Hall and tear down North Hall, West Hall, and the Speech and Hearing Center.  This is probably for the best, though a little sad.

WMU's East Hall to undergo renovation for alumni center; 3 surrounding historic buildings to be demolished
WMU plans to renovate, raze historic buildings bittersweet to East Campus supporters
WMU students have mixed emotions about school's plan to renovate, raze buildings on East Campus

Preservationists are upset.  But nobody has ever come up with a practical plan to save East Campus, for reasons explained in an earlier article.

Poor East Campus

Bus Tax Never Dies

For years now, the county elites have been trying to raise taxes to fund a county bus system.  The Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority (KCTA) was established by the county commission with the power to put tax hikes on the ballot (conveniently shielding commissioners from having to vote for them).

This blog first covered the issue in May 2006, laying out the problems with government bus systems.  The tax hikers succeeded in convincing 53.4% of county voters to pass a countywide tax by focusing on the Car-a-van (now Metro Connect) service for disabled people.  In 2007, Western cut two bus routes, but when students complained, Western privatized the routes and saved 25%.  The 2006 tax hike was intended to transition to a permanent countywide bus system, but in 2008, voters rejected the tax, with 58% opposed.

After this setback, the tax-hikers had to come up with a new plan.  They went back to the city of Kalamazoo, which never met a tax it didn't like, to fund the bus system. An extension of the Car-a-van program was passed countywide in 2009.

The tax-hikers convinced local legislators to pass a bill allowing an authority to cover part of the county, rather than all.  The idea was to focus on the areas that actually use bus service, though many people in the proposed district still live miles from the nearest bus stop.  Presumably they also want the largest district they can get that will pass their tax hikes.  So far as this blog knows, the new district has not been finalized.

This time, the bus-taxers are putting a tax proposal, possibly an increase, on the ballot in May 2013.  This appears to be a renewal of the Car-a-van tax, although the article isn't clear on this.

Kalamazoo County Transit Authority will ask voters to approve tax request in May

Bus Tax Zone
More Bus Taxes
Taxes on the Ballot
Tax Hike Plans
Future Tax Hikes?
They Won't Take NO for an Answer
Tax Eaters Are Never Full
The bus routes have been saved
Ax the bus tax
Tax increase for busing?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Great Day!

Michigan is a right to work state!

Synder makes Michigan 24th right-to-work state

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court will force Illinois to allow concealed carry!

Appeals court overturns Illinois concealed carry law in gun rights victory

Texas Township Still Divided

Over the past few years, Texas Township was divided between Supervisor Dave Healy and the other six members of the township board.  In the August primary, voters delivered a mixed verdict, voting out Healy and three of the board members critical of him.

It seems that the rift has not healed now that the new board has taken office.

Texas Township Board votes 4-3 to limit when public comment is allowed at meetings
Supervisor Greg Pendowski, Clerk Linda Kerr, Treasurer Paul Cutting and Trustee Joyce Neubauer supported the motion, which was opposed by trustees Wendy Mazer, Jeff Vander Roest and Trish Roberts.
The first four were critics of Healy, the last three were supporters.
The board followed the same 4-3 split in approving Pendowski's recommendations for planning commission appointments.
Texas Township employees to get cost-of-living wage increase for 2013
Trustee Trish Roberts, who voted against the cost-of-living increase along with trustees Jeff Vander Roest and Wendy Mazer, questioned the cost to the township of the raises and requested more information on actual compensation, employee evaluations and what private companies are doing.
Don't Mess With Texas Township
Trouble in Texas

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Kalamazoo Election Spending

Fritz Klug has several articles in the Gazette looking at local election spending.  Local Republicans were outspent in most key races.

Prosecutor race was Kalamazoo County's most expensive in November election
Over $800,000 spent on ads for Jase Bolger and Bill Farmer in 10 days before Michigan House election
Congressman Fred Upton raises more than $4 million this campaign, more than double than any previous

Ann Coulter's Election Analysis

Ann Coulter has the best analysis of the 2012 election.  Her latest column is particularly brilliant and important.

America Nears El Tipping Pointo

Both that and an earlier column focus on demographics, particularly the democrats' strategy to undermine America by importing Third World immigrants.

Demography is destiny

Right to Work Passed in Michigan

The Michigan House and Senate passed Right to Work bills on Thursday.  The bills were very quickly introduced and passed, but there was obviously a lot of work and planning behind the scenes to make it happen.

Right-to-work bills pass in Lansing

Pressure has been building for right to work for a while.  Six years ago, it was only discussed in active conservative circles.  In 2008, house dems held a vote to ambush Republicans.  Republicans in safe districts voted for it, while the others voted against.  Following the Republican sweep in 2010, activists pushed the issue within the Republican party, and support for Right to Work became the default GOP position.

Rick Snyder dodged the issue, saying it was "not on his agenda".  I can't really blame him for not wanting a big Wisconsin-style fight disrupting his other priorities.  But pressure continued to build and issue continued to be discussed, even as bills had not been introduced.

The key factor was likely Proposal 2, where the unions disastrously overreached in their attempt to hijack the Michigan Constitution.  The Michigan Chamber of Commerce spent a lot of money defeating it.  The key to passing Right to Work has never been the legislature, it has been whether the Chamber was willing to put up the money to defend it on the ballot.  With the recent news that Dick DeVos and Ron Weiser, key GOP funders, were advocating for it, the answer now is yes.

The bill still has to be passed again, probably on Tuesday.  Unions have been engaged in their usual tricks of being as obnoxious as possible, yelling, storming meetings, and threatening violence.  Do they really think this works?  Old habits are hard to break, I guess.

A handful of Republicans in each chamber defected.

Rep. Pat Somerville of New Boston
Rep. Ken Goike of Ray Township
Rep. Anthony Forlini of Harrison Township
Rep. Ken Horn of Frankenmuth
Rep. Dale Zorn of Ida
Rep. Ed McBroom of Vulcan
Sen. Tom Casperson of Escanaba
Sen. Mike Green of Mayville
Sen. Mike Nofs of Jackson
Sen. Tory Rocca of Sterling Heights

Keep in mind that legislative leaders will often let members in tough districts defect when their votes are not needed.  The six reps are all in union-heavy areas (Downriver, Macomb, Macomb, Saginaw, Monroe, UP).  Horn is term-limited and likely running for state senate in 2014; the others were all elected to their second terms last month.

Casperson (UP) has a tough district and Green's (Bay, Huron, Lapeer) is somewhat tough, but he is also the leading gun rights advocate in the senate.  Similar excuses don't hold for Rocca (Macomb) and especially Nofs (Calhoun), both of whom saw significant improvements to their districts.  Rocca and Nofs both deserve to be primaried.  Leon Drolet should run against Rocca.  There isn't an obvious challenger for Nofs, but maybe Dick DeVos and Justin Amash could find someone.

Assuming the bill is finally passed, Governor Snyder has indicated he will sign it.  Unions will file lawsuits, which are not likely to go anywhere.  They will probably try to recall members of the legislature, and may succeed in a few cases, but not enough to change control in Lansing.

They will also put the issue on the ballot.  The bills include appropriations to make them referendum-proof (though this will probably be challenged).  The unions can and will put either an initiative or constitutional amendment on the ballot.  The reason for avoiding a referendum is that a referendum would require voters to vote yes to affirm Right to Work, while an initiative would require voters to vote yes to block it.  Undecided voters usually vote no, so that side has an advantage.

The battle is just beginning, but Michigan becoming a Right to Work state is finally in sight.