Monday, September 28, 2009

Mackinac Conference 2009

Over the weekend, the Michigan Republican Party held its biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island.


The most important issue on the island--why doesn't Mackinac Island allow cars? What is this, the 1800s? They have electricity and paved roads. According to Wikipedia:

Motor vehicles were restricted at the end of the 19th century because of concerns for the health and safety of the island's residents and horses after local carriage drivers complained that automobiles startled their horses. This ban continues to the present with exceptions only for emergency and construction vehicles.[17][23]
So it's another wonderful government regulation in action. As with all regulations, it was promoted by an established business to restrict its competition. Conservatives sometimes use bailing out the horse-and-buggy industry as an example of the absurdity of government intervention in the market, but in this case it actually happened.

The result is that there's horse poop all over the place. The island had to import a bunch of foreigners to clean in up continually.

Mackinac Island slogan: Watch your step!


Aside from that, though, Mackinac Island really is a beautiful place. There are lots of great views of Lake Huron and the Mackinac Bridge.


Back at the conference, the first debate between the Republican gubernatorial hopefuls was held. There were no major surprises. Senator Tom George used every question to talk about his signature issue of health care. You can watch the debate yourself here:


The conference also featured a 'straw poll' for the statewide races. Straw polls are one of the collective absurdities of politics. It is billed as a way to determine the preferences of attendees at some event. But it is really just a fundraiser for the sponsoring organization. That means that the sponsor has no incentive to combat voter fraud, provided it gets a cut. The result is that the candidates pay for lots of people to go who otherwise wouldn't.

That makes the results basically worthless, but candidates still feel obligated to particulate, since if they don't it will look bad.

The 'winner' of the straw poll in the race for governor was Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder. While lots of candidates paid for their supporters to come to the conference, what Snyder did was different. His staff recruited hundreds of people who had never even heard of him, much less supported him. They all wore ugly lime green t-shirts. On the boat ride over to the island, they handed out a pamphlet containing Rick's ten principles for Michigan, the ten substance-free rhetoric-filled platitudes discussed earlier on this blog.

Many of the Snyder volunteers either didn't support him or actually supported other candidates, and simply came because he paid their way. This was confirmed by numerous conversations with Snyder volunteers. Snyder's campaign was so confident in its volunteers that it took the unprecedented step of physically checking their ballots for the straw poll before they were cast to see that they actually voted for him. Volunteers were not given their room keys until after this.

Former state Representative Jack Hoogendyk reports:

This year, however, it was a little different for one candidate in particular. Rick Snyder's campaign brought as many as 500 volunteers to the island. (At least that is the number rumored to have registered with the Snyder campaign in the last week alone.) They were easy to spot; they all had day-glow lime green t-shirts on. You knew they weren't road builders, Mackinac Island doesn't even allow cars.

All 500 of these volunteers were allowed to vote in the straw poll because the Snyder campaign paid the $100 for every one of them. (Nice $50,000 bump for the party coffers!) What is curious is why Snyder received only 396 votes. What was even more startling was the method used by the campaign to ensure that the "volunteers" were voting properly. I happened to notice when I was up at the hotel to vote that a Snyder campaign employee was standing inside the cordoned off voting area. Each Snyder green shirt who voted had to hand the ballot card to be checked for accuracy. Once the campaign employee was satisfied, he would stamp the hand of the voter. (Can you say "card check"? So much for secret ballots...)


Incidentally, I had a brief conversation with one of the green-shirted volunteers. When I asked her if the guy she was supporting was going to be the next governor, seriously, her response to me was, "Who's that?" I replied, "You know, Rick." She had a blank look on her face. I pointed to her shirt and continued, "Rick...Snyder." She looked down at her shirt, her face brightened and she said, "Oh, yeah, duh. Gee, that was a real blond thing to do, wasn't it?" Here is a YouTube from Right Michigan that further illustrates the point.
The Straw Poll. Winners: Hoekstra and McManus. "Losers": Snyder and Scott

All of this was to create the illusion that Snyder actually has support among Republicans. Some national media outlets played along, reporting on the 'grassroots support for Rick Snyder'. Of course, he had no grassroots support. A poll shortly before the conference put him at 2% in the Republican primary.

We'll see if Snyder's sham election does him any good in the real polls.


The other outrage from the convention was the phony tea party. Flyers were distributed advertising a tea party, but it turned out to simply be Glenn Clark plugging candidates he supports, including Paul Scott.

In the race for Secretary of State, Michelle McManus did very well. She garnered 404 votes; Sen. Cameron Brown, 311; Calhoun County Clerk Anne Norlander, 248; and Paul Scott, 212. So what is the deal with Paul Scott? He is a 26-year old freshman lawmaker with all of 9 months experience in elected office. Here is the inside story. The same organization that is "master-minding" the Snyder campaign has also recruited Rep. Scott, apparently convincing him that he is a viable candidate. So the word went out to the Snyder army that while voting for Snyder for governor, they should vote for Scott for SOS. Obviously, barely over half of them did. Get all the results here.
That 'organization' later sent out an email spinning Scott's fourth place showing as a victory. It claimed that it was a spontaneous showing of support, rather than a highly orchestrated campaign.

Anyone who supports the tea party movement ought to remember this incident.

Local News

Local news around Kalamazoo.

Campaign group Citizens Voting No names board
Gay rights measures on the ballot in 3 US states

Kalamazoo City Commission challenger Kai Phillips keeps up pressure
Kalamazoo City Commission: Candidate claims 'abuse of power' by commissioner
11 have filed to run for Kalamazoo City Commission
Aaron Davis files to run again for Kalamazoo City Commission

Award-winning Oshtemo Township postal operations still could move moved
WSA ratifies $71,000 student funded budget
Road assessments hiked in Oshtemo Township
Members appointed to Kalamazoo County Land Bank panel
Student enrollment numbers down at Western Michigan University
Gubernatorial candidate Mike Bouchard would forbid Lansing brinksmanship
Kalamazoo City Commissioners unanimously ratified Metro Transit contract

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mike Cox Leads Governor's Race

A new poll shows that Attorney General Mike Cox leads a tight race for Michigan governor.


Cox and Hoekstra lead in GOP race for governor, poll shows

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra are leading the Republican pack for the party’s gubernatorial nomination, according to a poll released today.

The statewide poll of 600 likely Michigan voters showed that 27% would support Cox in the GOP primary next August, while 23% backed Hoekstra and 15% would vote for Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard.

Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder and state Sen. Tom George of Kalamazoo would get 2% each.

The results were released by the political newsletter Inside Michigan Politics and Marketing Resource Group as about 1,800 Republicans prepare to journey to Mackinac Island for a conference this weekend that marks the unofficial start of the 2010 election season.

On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. John Cherry holds a commanding lead over other announced candidates, state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith of Salem Township and former state Rep. John Freeman. Cherry would get 40% of the vote among likely voters in a Democratic primary election, while Freeman would get 9% and Smith would pick up 8%.

The pollsters also asked whether the voters would approve a tax increase over a state government shutdown; 51% said shut the place down, and 45% said to avoid a shutdown by raising taxes.

The poll was conducted from Sept. 12-20 and has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fighting Crime

Neighbor's son foils home invasion in Charleston Township

Donna Beatty had just finished her Monday morning jog with her dog when she returned home and noticed something was wrong.

A strange car was parked by the house with its trunk open. Two men had kicked in a back door and were attempting to steal video games and the family’s Wii, she said.

Beatty walked through the front door, saw an unfamiliar face and sprinted to a neighbor’s house.

“I kind of freaked out,” said Beatty, 38, who lives near Augusta on the 13000 block of M-96.

But unknown to Beatty, her neighbor’s grown son was about to intervene to stop the robbery.

He removed the keys from the suspects’ car, so they couldn’t flee, Beatty said.

Then, the neighbor’s son used a large hunting knife to keep one suspect at bay in the driveway until police arrived and arrested him about 11:17 a.m., she said.

“He couldn’t have been more perfect,” Beatty said. “It’s amazing he did what he did.”

One suspect, whose name was not released, is lodged in the Kalamazoo County Jail on charges of home invasion, according to a news release from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office.

Police were unable to apprehend the second suspect, who escaped on foot through the woods, police said.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


This update focuses on education. Government and liberalism continue to damage education.

William Jasper: "Safe Schools" Czar Jennings Should be Expelled
Claire Wolfe: Living the outlaw life
Samuel Blumenfeld: Government Education: Enemy of a Free Society
Gary North: Parents, Don't Send Your Kids to College
Phyllis Schlafly: NEA Goes All-Out for Same-Sex Marriage
Education Reporter: Through Grade Inflation, B+ is the New Average
Neal McCluskey: Genuine Change Won't Come this Way
Brenda Walker: Revaluing Work: Class Division Exacerbated By Immigration Hits A Wall (Finally)
Steve Sailer: How UC Bureaucrats Use Advanced Placement Tests To Help Asians, Hurt Whites

Learn more about education issues in Education Reporter.

Local News

Local news around Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo College improves diversity: First Posse Scholars start classes Monday
New leader a champion for change
The Michigan House OKs lifting deed restriction for WMU Business Technology and Research Park
Trustees give Dunn raise, approve College of Education name change
WMU president gets high marks, pay raise and contract extension from trustees
Kalamazoo City Commission vote on transit-fare increases expected in November
Arrested development for BTR?
Kalamazoo gay-rights ordinance: Big spending predicted

Lorence Wenke kicks off campaign for Michigan Senate
GOP candidate for governor Rick Snyder visits West Michigan to announce endorsements
Candidates file for Nov. 3 city, school elections
Edison resident a candidate for Kalamazoo seat

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Yes, Obama Lied

While some quarters have been filled with outrage (whether real or manufactured) over Congressman Joe Wilson's shouting "You Lie!" during Obama's health care propaganda speech to Congress, the media has been forced to mention the issue of whether Obamacare would provide benefits to illegal aliens.

New York Times Is Wrong, Wilson Right on Illegal Immigrants
Exclusive HE Interview With Joe Wilson

Liberals cite one provision of the house bill stating that illegals are not eligible. But that applies to only one of the many 'benefits' provided in the bill.

It also intentionally avoids the larger point. Of course the bill doesn't say "Illegal aliens are eligible". But illegal aliens break the law. That's why they're illegal. They will get government benefits unless there are effective means of preventing them from doing so.

Yet most democrats on the relevant committee voted against Republican-sponsored amendments to establish such measures. That means they really do want illegals to get benefits.

Another way that you can tell that many liberals want illegals to get benefits is more subtle. They endlessly repeat the line that "47 million Americans are uninsured" and demanding that this number be reduced to zero. Now, this isn't true, and one of the reasons that it isn't true is that the '47 million' figure includes most illegal aliens, who aren't 'Americans'.

If they want to eliminate the '47 million uninsured', then they do want to cover illegals.

(Liberals on the bottom of the information food chain may have the excuse that they don't know who this figure includes, but politicians and opinion leaders who use it know better.)


This update focuses on the culture war. A 'hate crimes' bill attacking free speech continues to be considered in Congress. Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate to the Supreme Court.

Becky Akers: Discrimination, Racism, and the Human Race
Don Devine: Papal Freedom Regression?
Selwyn Duke: Hate-crime Laws Expand, Freedom Contracts
Gary Bauer: When Gays Attack
Robert Knight: Proposed Federal Law Would Be a Hate Crime Against America

Steve Sailer: My Questions For Sotomayor—Will Republicans Dare Ask Them?
Steve Sailer: That Sotomayor Decision: One Law For Frank Ricci—Another For Emily Bazelon?
Jack Kenny: Sonia Sotomayor's Selection
Jed Babbin: Questions for Sotomayor
Thomas Sowell: Equality on Trial

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Jack on Ernie Harwell

From Jack Hoogendyk:


Ernie Harwell Sets the Standard for Faith and Class

Ernie Harwell, Hall of Fame broadcaster who for 42 years, brought the Detroit Tigers into our homes, and under my pillow as a young lad, announced today he has incurable cancer. He handled the public announcement just the way you would have expected him to; with humility and a positive outlook. You can read a full account of his announcement here.

I have admired Harwell since my earliest memories of Tiger baseball. I used to stick my little transistor radio under my pillow at night, when they were playing the Angels or the Athletics out west. Invariably, I would fall asleep before the game was over only to be awakened by the National Anthem playing as the radio station signed off the air. Of course, back then, there was no way of finding out who won until the next day when the newspaper arrived.

One of the greatest thrills of my life was the day I had fly out to California from Detroit and found myself on the same flight with about half the Tigers team and Ernie Harwell! They were heading out to Anaheim to play after the all-star break. There was a mix-up in the seating assignments and I found myself sitting in business class. About halfway through the flight I looked over and saw Ernie sitting across from me, glancing at the in-flight magazine. I knew he had to bored. The seat next to him was empty, so I took a chance and sauntered over.

He was happy to chat with me about any subject I desired. I had a chance to find out a little about Ernie Harwell, the man. We talked about what kind of car he drove, the love of his life, Lulu and other subjects. I didn't engage him for too long. I gave him my card and walked back to my seat.

When I returned home, several people told me Ernie had mentioned my name on the radio. I had told him I would be attending the game in Anaheim; he told the radio audience that a fan from Detroit was at the ball park.

A Man of Great and Abiding Faith

There were many things about Ernie Harwell to admire as a professional and as a person. But to me, what was most to be admired was his abiding faith in Jesus Christ. He was an example to all those around him and was never afraid to share his faith, yet he did not wear it on his sleeve. For him it was a way of life.

Even now, as he tells the world of this devastating disease, he does it the same class he has always exhibited . "I really feel good. I've got a great attitude. I just look forward to a new adventure," Harwell told the Free Press. "God gives us so many adventures, and I've had some great ones. It's been a terrific life. Of course, the best thing that ever happened to me was my wife, Lulu. I'm just happy that we were able to reach our 68th wedding anniversary."

That pretty much says it all. We love you, Ernie. May God continue to bless you in this, the sunset of your life on earth.

Jack Hoogendyk

More Pro-Gun Bills

Workplace Protection and Campus Carry Introduced in Michigan!

This week a package of pro-gun bills, House Bill 5302, House Bill 5303, Senate Bill 792, and Senate Bill 793, were introduced in the Michigan Legislature. These bills would prohibit employers from firing employees who safely and lawfully store their firearms in locked vehicles.

HB 5302, introduced by Representative Paul Opsommer (R-93), and HB 5303, introduced by Representative Joel Sheltrown (D-103), have been assigned to the House Tourism, Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources Committee. SB 792, introduced by Senator Roger Kahn (R-32), and SB 793, introduced by Senator Jim Barcia (D-31), have been assigned to the Senate Committee on Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Recreation.

No hearing dates have been scheduled yet. Please stay tuned for updates as these important pro-gun bills move through the Michigan Legislature.

Also, in an ongoing effort to broaden carry rights on college and university campuses, Senator Randy Richardville (R-17) introduced Senate Bill 747 this week. This bill would exempt state colleges and universities from the "safe zone" provision of Michigan’s concealed carry law, enabling permit holders 21 years and older, to legally carry on campuses across the state. The current arbitrary and artificial boundaries designate where permit holders can and cannot lawfully carry their gun for self-defense. Of course, criminals do not obey the law, putting innocent citizens in jeopardy in these designated gun-free zones where criminals know right-to-carry is prohibited. Michigan State University recently permitted concealed carry on campus, but the university still has prohibitions in classrooms, buildings and dormitories. The bill would expand carry rights to all campus property, including buildings.

SB747 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but it has not been scheduled for a hearing. Please continue to check your email and for updates.

Local News

Local news around Kalamazoo.

State lawmaker James Bolger offers plan to fund preschool programs
Gay bishop urges changed view of LGBT people
Honor follows horror: Crowd remembers those who lost their lives on 9/11
Bronco Bash 2009 brings campus, community, together
Western Michigan University President John M. Dunn seeks to increase research at the institution
Dunn prescribes more research in State of the University Address
Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce members hear from gubernatorial candidates
Gov. candidate Mike Cox releases plan to change Michigan

Jim Pearson launches bid for Portage council
David Anderson to run again for Kalamazoo City Commission
Kalamazoo City Commissioner David Anderson announces bid for re-election
Two more candidate announcements bring Kalamazoo City Commission field to 11
Claudette Reid plans to seek re-election to Portage City Council

Friday, September 11, 2009

How Long it Seems

Remembering September 11

9/11 and Immigration
College Republicans of WMU honor the victims of 9/11 in a tribute of 2,997 flags
Notes from the Chairman

Campus Security

A Gazette article discusses new security measures being implemented on campus.

Michigan colleges rethink campus safety approach

Western Michigan University, for instance, recently installed external loud speakers on campus through which recorded messages can be played. WMU will bring online a "reverse 911" system that should be fully operational next year.
What are they going to say?

Hey everybody! Hear those loud bangs? Those are gunshots! RUN!

Let's hope that if you call the police, they won't do what they did at Virginia Tech and Columbine: hide behind trees outside the building until the shooter has finished slaughtering people and safely committed suicide.

Colleges still won't consider the best policy to stop school shooters: End the Campus Gun Ban.

Hopewell Hates Guns

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell is a member of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns. MAIG is an anti-gun group that opposes the right to keep and bear arms. Hopewell is one of only two Michigan mayors in the group.

Current members of "Mayors Against Illegal Guns"

Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell
Kalamazoo, MI

Mayor Brenda L. Lawrence
Southfield, MI

Previous: Hopewell Hates Guns

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

After Hoekstra

CQ reports on the race for Michigan's 2nd congressional district, open due to Pete Hoekstra's decision to run for governor.

Open Seat and GOP Edge Yield Crowded Michigan Primary

Sunday, September 06, 2009


This update focuses on the economy. Unemployment continues to rise as government spending, bailouts, and inflation only make things worse.

Gary North: Deficits Will Matter
William Hoar: Cash for Clunkers
Steve Sailer: Alyssa Katz’ Our Lot: A Liberal Perspective On How Political Pressure To Boost Minority Homeownership Helped Blow Up The Economy
William Hoar: Stimulus Scam Redux?
Gary North: Bernanke Is Stuttering, Stammering, Panicking
Gary North: We Are in the Midst of a Disaster
Thomas Eddlem: Media Raising Concerns Over Goldman Sachs’ Gov’t Influence
Pat Buchanan: Socialist America Sinking
William Hoar: Driving Us to Destruction
Chris Clancy: The Greatest Scam in the History of the World
Gary North: Shredding Your Safety Nets

See also:
The Recession Reader
The Bailout Reader

Down with Jazz

Polpourri: Fred Upton demands patriotic tunes return as U.S. House 'hold' music

Callers to the U.S. House are back to hearing patriotic tunes while on hold after a brief flirtation with jazz music was vetoed by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph.

Upton objected after the hold music was switched to a jazz CD on Aug. 11.

The original brassy, patriotic music was restored Tuesday. Jeff Ventura, spokesman for House Chief Administrative Officer Daniel Beard, says the music was changed as a test in case the phone system someday could let individual offices select hold music for their phones.

"We do not hate America," Ventura told The Associated Press.

He says the switch was made by House administrative staffers and did not involve Democratic leadership.

Ventura said Upton's objection has ended the experiment indefinitely.