<h2>Using the power of personalizing issues to make change when you're in the minority</h2>
One of the most outspoken and eloquent Democrats in the legislature for the past two years is <b>Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer</b> from East Lansing. Whenever there was a major issue making the headlines that Republicans were on the wrong side of, Senator Whitmer was there to be sure that they were not only held accountable but that their actions would not go unnoticed.

Given the Republicans' recent flurry of ideologically-driven activity and the fact that Republicans still control both houses of the state legislature, control the state Supreme Court, and that the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State are all Republicans, I wanted to see how the top Democratic leader of the state Senate (and longest serving sitting Senator) was feeling about the road ahead. I sat down with her in a coffee shop in East Lansing this week for an interview.

(It's all there, after the jump.)

INTERVIEW – Gretchen Whitmer: “Michigan Democrats are not demoralized, we’re fired up!”

Using the power of personalizing issues to make change when you're in the minority

One of the most outspoken and eloquent Democrats in the legislature for the past two years is Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer from East Lansing. Whenever there was a major issue making the headlines that Republicans were on the wrong side of, Senator Whitmer was there to be sure that they were not only held accountable but that their actions would not go unnoticed. Given the Republicans' recent flurry of ideologically-driven activity and the fact that Republicans still control both houses of the state legislature, control the state Supreme Court, and that the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State are all Republicans, I wanted to see how the top Democratic leader of the state Senate (and longest serving sitting Senator) was feeling about the road ahead. I sat down with her in a coffee shop in East Lansing this week for an interview. (It's all there, after the jump.)
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Eclectablog's Person of The Year: Barack Obama

Eclectablog’s Person of The Year: Barack Obama

OK, that’s Time magazine’s thing. But we totally agree.

I’m no Pete Souza and I didn’t have 48 hours with the President, but I do have a few photos and a story to share.

Over the last four years I have had the privilege of photographing Barack Obama many times and, as I tell my story, I will include a few of my favorite photos as a tribute to Time magazine’s well-chosen Person of the Year and a little something for you at the end.

On June 16, 2008, I stood outside a door on the south side of Joe Louis Arena with several other photographers and media people waiting for approval to be part of the media coverage of Barack Obama’s visit to Detroit.…

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<h2>John Boehner: between a tea bag and a hard place</h2>
John Boehner has been negotiating all week with President Obama and his staff to resolve the "fiscal speedbump" issue. President Obama took a step toward Speaker Boehner in the negotiations by allowing the Bush tax cuts to remain in place for incomes over $400,000/year (up from $250,000), making some cuts to entitlements to be named later and agreeing to a different way to calculate Social Security cost of living increases that would lower how much our seniors get in their monthly allocation by a smidgen -- the so-called "chained CPI".

In return, Boehner offered to extend the debt ceiling for two years and allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for income over $400,000.

This was, however, a bridge to far for his tea party leadership team, <a href="http://washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/18/a-rough-24-hours-for-the-white-house">according to Ezra Klein at the <i>Washington Post</i></a>. So, he offered what he's calling "Plan B" and the response from the White House was a resounding "screw you".

Check it all out after the jump.

Obama to Congressional Republicans: Go Cheney yourselves

John Boehner: between a tea bag and a hard place

John Boehner has been negotiating all week with President Obama and his staff to resolve the "fiscal speedbump" issue. President Obama took a step toward Speaker Boehner in the negotiations by allowing the Bush tax cuts to remain in place for incomes over $400,000/year (up from $250,000), making some cuts to entitlements to be named later and agreeing to a different way to calculate Social Security cost of living increases that would lower how much our seniors get in their monthly allocation by a smidgen -- the so-called "chained CPI". In return, Boehner offered to extend the debt ceiling for two years and allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for income over $400,000. This was, however, a bridge to far for his tea party leadership team, according to Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. So, he offered what he's calling "Plan B" and the response from the White House was a resounding "screw you". Check it all out after the jump.
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ammo

No one is coming for your guns

But they are coming for your vaginas

Unlike the right of women to make their own reproductive choices, the right to bear arms faces no serious challenge in the United States of America.

This is a comparison that unsettles me, of course. Anti-abortion rights folks grant personhood to any meeting of a sperm and the egg, but no one doubts that the lives threatened by guns actually began at birth. However, looking at how the left and the right approach what they perceive as encroachments on “freedom” is useful right now.

When gun owners see outrage at the random execution of 20 first and second grade students and immediately begin imagining jackbooted thugs coming for their guns, it betrays a kind of paranoia that makes the affection for firearms seem like a fetish or a compensation for other deficiencies.…

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<h2>This isn't about the right to bear arms, it's about the right to be a freak</h2>
Have a look at this Bushmaster ad for their semi-automatic rifles:

<img src="http://www.eclectablog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/bushmaster-man-card-banner.jpg" width=300>

In any sort of rational debate about gun control, we would be facing the fact that the most extreme elements of the "stop any restrictions on gun ownership ever at all the end" crowd are, at the end of the day, gun fetishists.

Period.

Much more after the jump.

This is how extreme the gun fetishist lobby is in this country

This isn't about the right to bear arms, it's about the right to be a freak

Have a look at this Bushmaster ad for their semi-automatic rifles: In any sort of rational debate about gun control, we would be facing the fact that the most extreme elements of the "stop any restrictions on gun ownership ever at all the end" crowd are, at the end of the day, gun fetishists. Period. Much more after the jump.
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<h2>It shouldn't have taken this long</h2>
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed S.B. 59, the Republican bill that would have allowed for the carrying of concealed weapons in public places like schools, day care centers, sports arenas, bars, places of worship, hospitals, dorms and casinos. I have written before about what a tragically terrible this bill is and, actually, it's better now than it was before it was amended. It never should have passed out of the legislature in the first place but, once it did, Governor Snyder should have announced his veto immediately.

More after the jump.

Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed guns-in-schools-and-churches bill in wake of Sandy Hook shootings

It shouldn't have taken this long

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed S.B. 59, the Republican bill that would have allowed for the carrying of concealed weapons in public places like schools, day care centers, sports arenas, bars, places of worship, hospitals, dorms and casinos. I have written before about what a tragically terrible this bill is and, actually, it's better now than it was before it was amended. It never should have passed out of the legislature in the first place but, once it did, Governor Snyder should have announced his veto immediately. More after the jump.
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<h2>So much for THAT idea...</h2>
If you read the comments section of some of my coverage of the Right to Work for Less protest rally in Lansing, Michigan last week, you'll see countless commenters, arriving here from Breitbart.com and Twichy.com telling us violentunionthugracistdemocratliberalfreaks  about how <i>THEY</i> are in the mainstream and that the new Right to Work for Less legislation is not only a good idea, it's what the people of Michigan want. And they heap kudos on a governor they say has got it figured out.

Turns out they are completely full of excrement.

All the gory details after the jump.

PPP poll explodes myths of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder as “popular centrist governor” & popularity of Right to Work

So much for THAT idea...

If you read the comments section of some of my coverage of the Right to Work for Less protest rally in Lansing, Michigan last week, you'll see countless commenters, arriving here from Breitbart.com and Twichy.com telling us violentunionthugracistdemocratliberalfreaks about how THEY are in the mainstream and that the new Right to Work for Less legislation is not only a good idea, it's what the people of Michigan want. And they heap kudos on a governor they say has got it figured out. Turns out they are completely full of excrement. All the gory details after the jump.
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<h2>Funny how that works, isn't it?</h2>
The state of Michigan's tax revenues were up in November, beating estimates, according to the <a href="http://www.house.mi.gov/hfa/PDFs/revreview%20nov12.pdf">Senate Fiscal Agency (pdf)</a>. The increase in revenues was driven, in part, by higher taxes on Michiganders. As I wrote in my piece last spring, <a href="http://www.eclectablog.com/2012/02/tax-timebomb-that-explodes-in-michigan.html">"The tax timebomb that explodes in Michigan in 2012 is MUCH worse than you thought"</a>, the tax increase passed by the so-called "anti-tax" Republicans disproportionately impacts lower income residents.

Although the state coffers are looking pretty, the same cannot be said about our cities. Many of them are laying off police officers or getting rid of their police departments entirely. 

More after the jump.

Michigan state tax revenues up, cities not benefitting, laying off cops

Funny how that works, isn't it?

The state of Michigan's tax revenues were up in November, beating estimates, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency (pdf). The increase in revenues was driven, in part, by higher taxes on Michiganders. As I wrote in my piece last spring, "The tax timebomb that explodes in Michigan in 2012 is MUCH worse than you thought", the tax increase passed by the so-called "anti-tax" Republicans disproportionately impacts lower income residents. Although the state coffers are looking pretty, the same cannot be said about our cities. Many of them are laying off police officers or getting rid of their police departments entirely. More after the jump.
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