You are browsing the archive for Michigan.

Water Cooler – No Matter What, Threats Of Political Violence Are Unacceptable

5:07 pm in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Threat level update

Threat level update by opacity, on Flickr

There have been some troubling events in the last couple of days and I feel compelled to talk about them because they relate to issues that I have covered in various posts and Water Coolers. In the last week there has been death threats to 15 Wisconsin Republican Senators over their votes in the collective bargaining stripping bill.

There have also been threats to the Mackinac Center in Michigan. The Center recently got some press for filing Freedom of Information Act requests of the entire labor studies department at the University of Michigan and other professors at Wayne State and Michigan State.

Unlike the Wisconsin case there is no suspect and no one arrested at this point. It is kind of annoying for me to have to say this, since I don’t want to think that the Left would ever stoop to this kind of tactic, whereas I am always willing to believe the worst of the Howler Monkey’s of the Right, but this is unacceptable for anyone, ever.

Let me be really clear, I am not pointing a finger at anyone on the FDL family of sites. One of the things that will always get a post or a comment pulled for moderation is threats of or advocating of violence.

Politics is often heated, hell at a site where we mostly agree on goals we can get pretty damned heated amongst ourselves. Any time there is a move towards violence it is bad for a democracy. I think that we can all agree that our democracy has enough problems without adding a growing culture that accepts change by violence as a viable means of political change.

The young woman who made the threats admitted to doing it when confronted by the police. 26 year old Katharine Windels was angry and overly emotional. She said in her interview that she never intended to follow through on the threat she made, yet she made a very scary threat.

In part her e-mails to the State Senators read:

“Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks”

That is not the kind of thing that is acceptable, even in the heat of a fight where one side seems to be breaking the rules and laws of the State. I know this is remedial for everyone reading it but it is never, ever going to be acceptable to try to intimidate politicians or political groups with violence. Even the mere threat does damage that is hard to correct to our discourse. Anyone one doing it, no matter their political beliefs is anathema to me and should be to anyone involved in politics in any fashion.

Read the rest of this entry →

Breaking News: Eric Cantor And Jethro Bodine Separated At Birth!

5:34 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Bodineism started as a way for me to highlight the nitwittery of the Republicans in the 111th Congress. They say and do really gob smacking things and I post about comparing them to that gormless but loveable hillbilly Jethro Bodine. But I have to wonder if I have actually, through some unintended and accidental sorcery called this disease into reality (I’m probably taking too much on myself with that, still)?

It is one thing to misinterpret the Constitution, it is open for interpretation and people can be honestly wrong, but it is quit another for a Member of Congress in a leadership position to propose action that is completely outside the boundaries of the Constitution. Which is exactly what Eric Cantor is doing.

He is proposing and will force the House to bring to a vote a measure he is calling the “Government Shutdown Prevention Act”. What this Act will say is that if the Senate does not pass a budget measure by April 6th, then HR 1, the Republicans draconian and job slaughtering bill (which, by the way the Senate has already voted down) will become the law of the land.

I hear you all going “But, but, but… Doesn’t the Senate have to pass a bill and the President sign it for it to be law?” Why, yes, yes it does. It seems that the raven haired, square jawed Virginia Republican who is the House Majority Leader does not understand how the body he has been part of for a decade now works.

If there were an “All Time Jethro Bodineism Award” it is certain that Rep. Cantor would be earning himself a place in the nominees. It is easy to dismiss this as insane and a stunt, but I see a bigger picture emerging among Republicans nation wide.

The lawless behavior of Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin has shown that he and his Republicans have a shocking disregard for the laws of their state. They have broken and bent the rules to pass their union busting bill and have even defied a court order in the implementation of the law.
Read the rest of this entry →

When What You Study Makes You A Political Target, Labor Edition

5:33 am in banality of evil by Bill Egnor

labor at the table - Rivera Court

labor at the table - Rivera Court by dfb, on Flickr

At what point does your work make you a target for political harassment? As a blogger I get a small amount of hate mail and a moderate amount of harassing mail (the two are different, one you can see the person foaming at the mouth, the other you can see their grin at wasting your time), but that is kind of par for the course.

However a troubling trend has started from the Right with regards to State University professors. They are nominally State employees, so the Right as begun to use Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to look at all of the e-mails of professors.

It all started with Ken “the Cooch” Cuccinelli, the Attorney General of Virginia, talking about going after a climate science researcher in the totally discredited “climate gate” incident. Since then there have been FOIA requests of a William Cronon of University of Wisconsin in connection with the illegal and unethical actions of the Republicans and Gov. Walker in that state.

Now it is spreading. Talking Points Memo first reported and now the New York Times is picking up the story of several conservative groups in Michigan who are asking for a wide swath of e-mails from three professors from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University.

The group is called the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. It is one of a network of state based conservative groups that is associated with the uber conservative Heritage Foundation, with donors like the Koch Brothers and the Walton family of the Wal-Mart fortune.

From the TMP article:

But where those requests were relatively narrow — looking for emails surrounding a specific incident or specific plans for a strike — the FOIAs sent to state university labor studies faculty are quite broad. The parameters for the request, from a version of the FOIA obtained by TPM and confirmed by Mackinac, cover emails that mention:

“Scott Walker”; “Wisconsin”; “Madison”; “Maddow”; Any other emails dealing with the collective bargaining situation in Wisconsin.

The request covers all faculty emails from “January 1, 2011 to March 25, 2011.”

Read the rest of this entry →