Come Heller high water …
- You probably aren’t even aware of one of the biggest news stories in Michigan in a decade because we barely have a functioning circulatory system for media anymore since the decline of newspapers. How do I know? Because if you were aware of it, you’d be pissed. The story: A panel of three federal judges has ruled that, yes, the Republican Party did in fact illegally gerrymander the hell out of the state the past 11 years so they could “enjoy durable majorities in Michigan’s congressional delegation and in both chambers of the Michigan legislature for the entire decade.” It was so bad and so egregious that the judges described the gerrymandering as “of historical proportions.” In other words, Republicans did a fantastic job of turning a blue state red by temporarily winning legislative control in a pivotal year (maps are redrawn every 10 years) then using that control to make sure they kept power. The state has until August to redraw them fairly or the judges will do it. Which is great. But the damage has been done. A state this size is like the Titanic. It’s slow to turn. So Michigan is likely to be saddled with the effects of gerrymandering years after the lines are redrawn. What should happen, but won’t, is that judges should use the new maps to retroactively award state House, Senate and congressional seats. In other words, a do-over on recent elections. Some will say, “Hey, it’s just all part of the game.” But that’s not the case. It wasn’t merely toe-over-the-line illegal. This violated your 1st and 14th Amendment rights. Like I said, you should be pissed. At the very least, this should serve as yet another warning to voters to stop being so damned complacent. This is what Republicans – who position themselves as morally-superior patriots – actually do when they gain power: change the rules of the game.
- They’re doing the same thing in Washington. The Mueller report laid out 10 ways Trump obstructed justice. Then this week, we learned he didn’t fire deputy AG Rod Rosenstein after Rosenstein assured him “I give the investigation credibility” and “I can land the plane.” And yet Congress is doing nothing because the Senate is Republican. And yet here we sit.
- Bryant Gumbel’s show on HBO took a critical look at the so-far largely empty promises made by the Ilitch family in redeveloping a swath of downtown Detroit. When they built Little Caesar’s Arena, they got $324 million from Michigan taxpayers, money that was supposed to go to schools. In return, the Ilitchs were supposed to develop a 50-block area around the stadium, but so far little has happened. I’m not surprised. Handouts to corporations that don’t need them have always been a boondoggle. But cities and states can’t seem to stop offering them. They repeatedly take the bait that these wonder projects will bring jobs, inflate the tax base, save a blighted area etc. etc. etc. And it’s almost never true. Are Michigan cities better off for all the tax cuts they gave to automakers for decades? Look at Detroit, Flint, Saginaw for the answer. Subsidies and tax breaks are an addiction and the only way to beat an addiction is to go cold turkey and ban the practice of sucking up to corporations.
- Saudi Arabia just beheaded a 22-year-old man who was on his way to attend Western Michigan University in 2012 when he was arrested. His crime? He attended a pro-democracy rally during the Arab Spring. Tell me again why we’re friends with this nation? Oh, that’s right. Oil. I figure they have less than 20 years left before electric cars make them largely obsolete.
- I never knew I peeled fruit incorrectly until the invention of the interwebs. (Trouble is I’m terrible with a machete.)
- Just heard a local commercial say, “If we have it, it’s here.” Truer words were never spoken.
- I’m curious: Do people who have no interest in “Game of Thrones” simply endure it when someone who loves the show yammers on and on about it or do they say something like, “Stop right there, I’m not a fan and don’t know or care what you’re talking about”?
- Game of Thrones has been around eight years already, by the way. I didn’t start watching until a couple years ago, which probably explains why I still don’t know the names of more than a couple characters. If I’m talking about it with the lovely yet formidable Marcia, who is a big fan, I usually have to refer to characters by past actions and characteristics, as in “the sneaky little guy who forced that girl to marry him,” the “blond lady with the dragons” or “the guy who read all those books.” Remembering names has always been an issue for me.
- A guy on “Jeopardy” is over a million bucks in winnings. I’ll bet he’s insufferable to talk to at dinner parties.
- “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman
Image: Michigan Congressional Districts since 2013