Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bus Tax Zone

The Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority, which has never met a tax it didn't like, is proposing a map of areas of the county with access to bus routes. The goal would then be to raise taxes in those areas. This follows the failure of its attempts to raise taxes on the entire county.

Transportation authority recommends new map to include residents with access to bus routes

The problem with the map is that it is based on election precincts. Thus there are people in Comstock, Oshtemo, and Portage who live miles away from the nearest bus stop who would be paying extra for buses. In Comstock 5, some residents appear to be six miles or more from the nearest bus line.

The map should be fixed to only take in those who actually use the bus lines. Better yet, only the people who use the buses should pay for them.

Khan Academy

A very interesting article about learning math and science online. I don't think this will replace teachers, but it can be a nice supplement.

How Khan Academy Is Changing the Rules of Education

Friday, November 18, 2011

Parking Lot Carry

This bill would prevent people from being fired or prosecuted for having a gun in a car at a business. While this is a very small restriction on the property rights of businesses, it will reduce crime and make the public safer.

Michigan: Bill would allow residents to lock guns in cars at work

Van Jones' Speech

After all the buildup, what did Van Jones say at Kalamazoo College?

Van Jones, former White House advisor and author, attracts hundreds to Kalamazoo College event (video)
KALAMAZOO – More than 400 people filled Dalton Theatre to hear author, activist and former White House advisor Van Jones speak for Kalamazoo College’s William Weber Lecture on Government and Society on Wednesday night.

Jones began his lecture by praising the students in the room for the Occupy Wall Street movement started by young people, which he made appearances at in California.
“You are bigger than the Baby Boomers,” he said. “You are more ecologically aware, more humanitarian than any generation of Americans ever. You stood up in 2008 and in your enthusiasm you made history. In 2010, you sat down and made history and now in 2011 you stood up – or are laying down in sleeping bags – whatever you do you make history.”
What a suck-up. Pathetic.
Many of the college students and adults in the audience said they regard Jones, 43, as a man who has answers to our grim economy with green jobs, which he outlines in his book “The Green Collar Economy.”

“When the wind turbine falls over, you don't get a massive wind slick that wipes over,” Jones told the audience.
You know what you also don't get from wind turbines? Affordable energy.
“I've worked in solar energy for 10 years and I've never seen a sun spill.
Have you heard of skin cancer? By the way, when has Jones ever "worked in solar energy", as opposed to being a political activist?
There is a smarter way to power America and the good thing about it is everything that is good for the environment is a job.”

Jones joked about hot-topic issues such as gay marriage and immigration reform and said the millennial generation is the most diverse one yet.

“Y'all make up genders and still get along, it's a miracle in human history,” he said. “This diversity you are managing and celebrating and multiplying will be a source of your solution to find a way to restore the prosperity.”

Mayor Bobby Hopewell – who sat in the second row among the lecture's namesake Bill Weber, who founded of the William Weber Chair in Political Science – said Jones is already making a difference by finding a new approach to improve urban communities. Kalamazoo billionaire philanthropist Jon Stryker was also present at the event.

Kalamazoo's Fran Kremlick, 78, said Jones's visit reminds her of when Martin Luther King Jr. visited her church 60 years ago.
Yet more liberals who don't have a problem with a communist past.
Jones is currently president of the liberal nonprofit organization called Rebuild the Dream as well as co-founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green For All. He is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and on the board of several organizations including Demos, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and the Campaign for America's Future.

TIME magazine recognized Jones as one of the 100 most influential people in 2009. That same year, Jones was asked to resign from his position as green-jobs advisor in the Obama administration.

Rumors about his involvement in a Sept. 11 conspiracy group, a radical group with Marxist roots and past statements against Republicans are what led to his resignation, according to The Washington Post.

The Gazette’s advance article on Jones’s lecture, which mentioned the above controversy, was met with sharp criticism in a letter to the editor from Kalamazoo College Professor R. Amy Elman, who pointed to Jones’s New York Times editorial piece explaining how the rumors were false.

Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership of Kalamazoo College program coordinator Hussain Turk also wrote a letter accusing the Gazette of being “racist and heterosexist” for publishing the public controversy surrounding Jones.
They were lying, as was Jones.
Kalamazoo College Professor Lies About Van Jones
Another Kalamazoo College Employee Lies About Van Jones
“This is the most controversial thing I am going to say and I know you were waiting for it,” Jones said, poking fun at his controversial reputation. “America is not broke. We are the richest country in the world. We can't drill and burn our way out of our energy problems but we can invent and invest our way.”'
Evidence? Wind and solar don't produce anywhere near enough energy.
While his humor brought much laughter to the room, some audience members wanted a more solution-oriented conversation.

"Van Jones shows himself as a true showman," said Bejamin Leventer, 22. "Ultimately he left us with a challenge of how to bring jobs back and bring about climate change by changing our reliance on 'dead' energy sources."

There was an hour-long question and answer period and a book signing after the lecture. It was not disclosed if Jones received payment to speak at Kalamazoo College, but tickets to the event were free.

Jones is participating in a panel discussion called “The Political Moment: Social Justice Tensions, Possibilities, and Aspirations,” at Kalamazoo College’s W.K. Hicks Student Center banquet room on Thursday morning.
Van Jones continues to sell his gospel of more spending, more corporate welfare, higher taxes, and more debt. He is exploiting and promoting the fad of "green energy" to do so, but the real goal continues to be big government.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kalamazoo County Tax Rates

Julie Mack of the Gazette compiled the following useful chart of local tax rates.

Which Kalamazoo County community has the highest millage rate? (Julie Mack blog)


2011 homestead millage rates for Kalamazoo County
This chart is organized by school districts, which are listed in bold, and show the millage rates for owner-occupied homes. The tax bills shown are for a home with a market value of $130,000 and a taxable value of $60,000, which is the county average.

____________Mills Tax bill
City of Kalamazoo 51.2 $3,072.00
Kalamazoo Twp. 38.7 $2,322.00
Oshtemo 30.7 $1,842.00
Texas 28.3 $1,698.00

Portage 37.7 $2,262.00
Texas 28.4 $1,704.00
Pavilion 27.8 $1,668.00

Climax Village 38.9 $2,334.00
Climax Twp. 30.9 $1,854.00
Charleston 28.6 $1,716.00
Wakeshma 28.6 $1,716.00
Pavilion 28.5 $1,710.00

City of Kalamazoo 52.9 $3,174.00
Kalamazoo Twp. 40.5 $2,430.00
City of Portage 40 $2,400.00
Portage 37.9 $2,274.00
Comstock 30.6 $1,836.00
Pavilion 28.5 $1,710.00

Augusta/Ross Twp. 42.4 $2,544.00
Augusta/Charleston 41.8 $2,508.00
Galesburg 37.2 $2,232.00
Climax 30.7 $1,842.00
Comstock 30.4 $1,824.00
Ross 29 $1,740.00
Charleston 28.4 $1,704.00

Gull Lake
Village of Richland 36 $2,160.00
Charleston 28.4 $1,704.00
Comstock 27.6 $1,656.00
Richland Twp. 26.5 $1,590.00
Cooper 26.4 $1,584.00
Ross Twp. 26.2 $1,572.00

Oshtemo 31.1 $1,866.00
Prairie Ronde 27.5 $1,650.00
Texas 27.5 $1,650.00

Oshtemo 28.8 $1,728.00
Alamo 26.4 $1,584.00
Cooper 25.6 $1,536.00

City of Kalamazoo 50.8 $3,048.00
City of Parchment 46.1 $2,766.00
Kalamazoo Twp. 38.4 $2,304.00
Cooper 30.3 $1,818.00

Cooper 25.6 $1,536.00
Alamo 26.4 $1,584.00

City of Kalamazoo 50.9 $3,054.00
City of Portage 37.9 $2,274.00
Texas 28.3 $1,698.00
Pavilion 27.8 $1,668.00

Schoolcraft Village 44.7 $2,682.00
City of Portage 40.3 $2,418.00
Schoolcraft Twp. 29.6 $1,776.00
Prairie Ronde 29.3 $1,758.00
Texas 29.3 $1,758.00

Vicksburg Village 42.6 $2,556.00
City of Portage 37.4 $2,244.00
Pavilion 28.6 $1,716.00
Schoolcraft Twp. 26.7 $1,602.00
Brady 26.6 $1,596.00
Wakeshma 26 $1,560.00

Sackley/Randall Spat

There is a spat between Portage council members Ed Sackley and Patricia Randall. Sackley criticized her attendance, and she responded that she had been seeking treatment for breast cancer.

Portage council member reveals 'detour in my life' in response to statement read at council meeting (viewpoint)
Portage City Councilwoman Patricia Randall speaks out to 'set the record straight'

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Election Day

Today is the day for local elections in Michigan.


Mattawan voters, please oppose the millage.

Results later.

Mattawan millage trails 760-925 in Kalamazoo County.
Mattawan millage trails 805-1156 in Van Buren County.

Die, millage!

Kalamazoo marijuana ordinance is passing 3866-2084.
City commission: Hopewell/McKinney/Cooney/Miller/Anderson/Cinabro/Bell
Boyd trails...

Mattawan millage loses 1379-1471 in Kalamazoo County!
Mattawan millage loses 805-1156 in Van Buren County!

Kalamazoo final results:
Marijuana proposition wins every precinct, including absentees: 4649/2416.
City commission: Hopewell/McKinney/Cooney/Miller/Anderson/Cinabro/Bell
Miller and Anderson switch places, Bell drops to seventh.

Bailes trails...

Paul Scott recall (13/35 precincts)
51.24 Yes
48.76 No

Genesee County Election Results
YES . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,210 50.15
NO. . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,167 49.85
Total . . . . . . . . . 14,377
Over Votes . . . . . . . . . 9
Under Votes . . . . . . . . . 55
Down to the wire...

No trails...
YES . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,892 49.49
NO. . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,075 50.51
Total . . . . . . . . . 17,967
Over Votes . . . . . . . . . 9
Under Votes . . . . . . . . . 71

Portage all but over (one precinct left)
Bailes defeated.

No inching ahead...
YES . . . . . . . . . . . . 10,361 49.21
NO. . . . . . . . . . . . . 10,693 50.79
Total . . . . . . . . . 21,054
Over Votes . . . . . . . . . 10
Under Votes . . . . . . . . . 88

The final percentage in Mattawan was 55% no.

Paul Scott recalled. Lost by 232 votes.
State lawmaker says he accepts his recall in Genesee County

Monday, November 07, 2011

Electric Cars Versus Trees

Western cut down trees to install electric car chargers near Miller Auditorium. I'll take the trees over the bogus green energy boondoggle.

Green energy project leaves WMU student group seeing red
In Western Michigan University's trees vs. charging stalls 'green' debate, trees have the edge (letter)

Global Warming Propaganda in Michigan Schools

This excellent article exposes a bogus left-wing propaganda book on global warming. The book calls Al Gore an eco-hero and urges students to "vote green" while containing plenty of factual errors.

Farm Bureau upset that science kit for students contains left-wing book with misinformation about modern farming

The book was eventually pulled from the BCAMSC science kits.

Climate change book recalled by Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Club for Growth Encourages Upton Challenge

The Club for Growth is considering supporting Jack Hoogendyk in another bid against Fred Upton. I suspect this a warning to Upton not to support any bad deals on the Supercommittee. It would have been nice if the Club had supported Jack last time when he got 43% against Upton.


Club for Growth Encouraging Upton Primary Challenger

The Club for Growth is considering supporting a primary challenge to Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) next year.

Club spokesman Barney Keller said the conservative organization is “impressed” with former state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, who is considering challenging Upton for a second time in 2012.

“The club met with Hoogendyk today and came away impressed,” Keller said. “We’re taking a look at the race.”

Upton has faced renewed scrutiny from conservatives since he became chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this year. After House Republicans appointed Upton to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, conservatives groused.

But back home in Michigan, Upton has consistently won re-election by double-digit margins. Last year, Upton defeated Hoogendyk in the primary, 57 percent to 43 percent, although the Congressman heavily outspent his GOP challenger.

Hoogendyk has not announced a campaign yet. But the club’s statement is likely meant as encouragement for him to challenge Upton in the August primary.

“Hoogendyk has a good record in the Michigan Legislature, he voted against spending and tax increases,” Keller said. “And Fred Upton has a long record of voting for bigger government that’s inconsistent with our policy objectives.”

Keller pointed to Upton’s meager lifetime score of 54 on its Congressional Scorecard.

Local Campaign Finance Reports

Local campaign finance reports are out.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell leads candidates in Kalamazoo campaign fundraising, reports say

Local elections have been very quiet so far. Bobby Hopewell is the biggest fundraiser so far, with $24,000. He always raises and spends a lot even though he could be reelected without spending anything. Robert Cinabro is second with $12,000. He was appointed to fill a partial term on the commission. The other incumbents trail. Nicholas Boyd and Nicholas Wikar are the only challengers who have raised more than $1000.

The Portage race is pretty quiet, with Cory Bailes leading and Patricia Randall trailing.

The pro-tax-hike group in the Mattawan School district raised $2477.
The filing didn’t list itemized spending but top contributions included $500 each from Kingscott Associates Inc.,an architectural and engineering firm,and the Miller-Davis Co., a construction management firm.
I'm sure those construction firms donated because they are concerned about quality schools, and not at all because they hope to get million-dollar building contracts.

Another Kalamazoo College Employee Lies About Van Jones

Hussain Turk, the "program coordinator for the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership of Kalamazoo College" took time off from defending the rights of great apes to pen a letter to the Gazette protesting its accurate characterization of Van Jones as a Marxist. Turk, who has virulently anti-American views, writes

What Van Jones really offers is rebuilding the American dream, not a course in Marxism
In a recent piece on Van Jones' upcoming presentation at Kalamazoo College, the Kalamazoo Gazette echoed the archaic and unprofessional (and not to mention historically racist and heterosexist) red-baiting cry of "Marxist!" in its description of the progressive intellectual.
What is 'red-baiting'? Why would criticism of Marxists, who murdered 150 million people, be considered a bad thing by Mr. Turk? How is it 'racist and heterosexist'? Communists certainly weren't very kind to racial minorities and homosexuals when they were in power. Incidentally, the original progressive intellectuals were incredibly racist, supporting eugenics. Woodrow Wilson segregated the White House, for example.
This is an outdated tactic that will not save any of us from the immoral and disgustingly expansive web of corporate greed that in 2010 afforded John Paulson a $4.9 billion annual paycheck while unemployment rates soared to unprecedented heights.
Turk then blathers about corporate greed for a few paragraphs.
Van Jones' movement to Rebuild the American Dream might offer us a solution. On Wednesday, Nov. 2 he will speak at Kalamazoo College's annual Weber Lecture about this movement, which he sums up in a Contract for the American Dream:
[Comments in brackets]

1. Invest in America's infrastructure [government spending]
2. Create 21st century energy jobs [corporate welfare]
3. Invest in public education [spending, socialism]
4. Offer Medicare for all [spending, socialism]
5. Make work pay [You can get PAID for work? All this time I've been working for free!]
6. Secure Social Security [spending]
7. Return to fairer tax rates [raise taxes]
8. End the wars and invest at home [spending]
9. Tax Wall Street speculation [raise taxes]
10. Strengthen democracy [socialism is central planning by elites, which is undemocratic]
Jones offers a traditional American solution to the problems that have plagued this country since its beginning. Rebuild the American Dream repositions the American Dream as an ideal worth striving for: "this basic idea that ordinary people should be able to find a job, keep a job, keep a home and give their kid a better life."
Which Founding Father would endorse this platform?
My political theoretical barometer picks up little to no Marxism here — but for things to be as unfortunate as they are at present, a healthy dose of Marxism might be "productive."
Little? So there is some? So Turk does want Marxism?
In spite of the Gazette's false accusations and vapid commentary, I encourage your attendance at this tonight's presentation by Jones — a presentation that is sure to raise both viable solutions to and critical inquiries around the national crisis.

On Thursday at 10 a.m. in Hicks Banquet Hall, Jones will also speak on a panel discussion, "The Political Moment," alongside two local community activists and two Kalamazoo College students. Admission is free and no RSVP is necessary.

Hussain Turk is program coordinator for the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership of Kalamazoo College.
Communists don't gain power saying that they're going to kill people. They always promise good things like jobs and health care. At the same time, they exploit existing divisions in society through class warfare (and phony accusations of 'racism'). Van Jones made a strategic decision to abandon overt radicalism in favor a phony 'green jobs' agenda, but with the same goal of imposing big government socialism.

Turk is either clueless or lying, most likely the latter given his oblique endorsement of Marxism. I'll quote again Politifact on Van Jones.
There's little question that Jones was an avowed communist.

In a Nov. 2, 2005, profile of Jones in the East Bay Express , an alternative weekly in Berkeley, Calif., Jones said his life hit a turning point in the spring of 1992 when he was swept up in mass arrests while protesting the acquittal of police officers accused of beating Rodney King.

Although the charges against Jones were dropped, Jones said that while in jail, "I met all these young radical people of color — I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, 'This is what I need to be a part of.' I spent the next 10 years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary."

"In the months that followed," the Express article said, "he let go of any lingering thoughts that he might fit in with the status quo. 'I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th,' he said. 'By August, I was a communist.'"

In 1994, the story states, Jones formed a socialist collective called Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, or STORM.

According to a history of STORM written in the spring of 2004, the group held "structured political education" training at every meeting "to help members develop an understanding of the basics of Marxist politics." They "trained members on capitalism and wage exploitation, the state and revolution, imperialism and the revolutionary party."
Would Turk make the same excuses for a speaker with Nazi ties? Would he invite David Duke (who has also endorsed Occupy Wall Street) to speak about social justice? If not, why not? Communists killed far more people than Nazis. Once again I'll ask--is communism the sort of 'social justice' Turk and the Arcus Center are promoting?

Kalamazoo College Professor Lies About Van Jones
Van Jones at Kalamazoo College