Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Michigan Job Creation Plan:The Double Dip

Please note that similar legislation has passed bringing back retired Child Protective Service workers to help with the state's round-up of poor kids to bilk Medicaid.


House Bill 5261
Introduced by Rep. Holly Hughes (R) on January 19, 2012, Allow “retired” school employee “double dipping” to allow a “retired” school employee to work as a substitute teacher or coach and still collect a pension in addition to the compensation from the current school job.
http://www.michiganvotes.org/Legislation.aspx?ID=143653


HELP WANTED
Are you a retired State of Michigan employee looking to make more money?  Work for the State, again!

REQUIREMENTS: Must be currently collecting a pension from State of Michigan.  

College graduates need not apply.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My ACTA Dinner Invitation To Bert Johnson

Recently, Michigan Senator Bert Johnson celebrated the poetic justice of the death of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) by slamming its sponsors.

SOPA and its Senatorial counterpart, Protect IP Act (PIPA) may not have been the most publicly engaged pieces of legislation but it did open discussions.  Sadly, no one really understands the motivation behind the formation of national intellectual property policy because it was international.

The United States, along with China and Russia, were a handful of countries that would not comply with international treaties regarding the interference of commerce, or rather counterfeiting. Counterfeiting and piracy was not limited to the recording and film industries, it  was far-reaching into the realms of electronics, food and pharmaceuticals.

One main target for implementation of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) international treaties and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

So what we have is an international stage where the issues encompass the economic impact of fraud.

Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy

With the help of the SCOTUS ruling in Citizens United the phenomenon of unlimited amounts of money from secret contributors, the anonymous funding of movements began to skew the public perception with asymmetrical background on SOPA.

Quintessentially, the public drank the SOPA Propaganda soup.

Do not get me wrong, SOPA had issues but I would have wanted more input from other SEO experts such as myself.  Alas I entered the equation far to late to be considered as a strong coefficient for the parsimony of the legislation.

So, here's is what happened behind the scenes.

While everyone was rallying against the possibility of SOPA censoring free speech and creativity of the internet, Google was constructing mutational algorithms to prepare for just that: manipulating commerce through the process of filtering information.



It seems SOPA was distractionary legislation to ACTA (Anti-Counterfieting Trade Agreement)an international treaty which the European Union just signed and is expected to be implemented soon.



Here is the link for Stop ACTA http://www.stopacta.info/

I will not argue that the music and film industries are working with antiquated models, but so are the majority of corporations, all of whom register its intellectual property and have demonstrated substantial increases in corporate profits along with a parallel correlation of government subsidies.

The point is that while everyone was mesmerized with the ability of an international community to support major sites going black, ACTA was passed in the silence of the night behind closed doors.

SOPA contained strong parameters for the measurement of intellectual property.  Any tangible good that is registered with the federal entities of either the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or the U.S. Copyright Office and granted the federal marking, is intellectual property.   (As a rule of thumb, if it does not have the federal marking, it is not intellectual property).  The United States even has established what is called "fair use" standards for using intellectual property.



The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is warehoused in the U.S. Department of Commerce meaning, under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the Congress has the vested powers to protect individuals and the States from the interference of commerce.

"To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes."

The U.S. Copyright Office is located in the Library of Congress. When there is fraud, be it counterfeiting or piracy, it contaminates the historical record of the nation by rewriting history and preventing the Congress to obviate policy. 

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The key word is "peace". Interference in the recording of the nation's history disrupts the legislative process to ensure peace.  Once this tenet of the First Amendment is violated, peace, the government is empowered to protect the people, pursuant to the General Welfare Clause in the U.S. Constitution. The following is an excerpt of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States, called the General Welfare Clause:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Protection of commerce is in the best interests of the nation.  Fraud is economic domestic violence.
How the nation generates domestic products is part of our national treasure and should not be violently pilfered with counterfeiting and piracy.

Violence, be it verbal, emotional, physical, or economic, becomes grounds for government intervention, or rather the calling of the police to maintain the peace. When fraud of intellectual property happens you have an economic insurrection, pursuant to the General Welfare Clause.

ACTA is vague whereby arbitrary and capricious standards may be applied in the determination of whether something is intellectual property.  Not only that, its enforcement mechanisms are not transparent therefore lacking accountability.  I fear ACTA and now that you are briefly educated upon it, so should you.

In summation, Senator Johnson, instead of attacking the two selected lawmakers who have worked for the last 7 years obviating the potential impact of ACTA, perhaps it would behoove you to first get to know all the guests at the intellectual property dinner table and commerce expansion courses being served.

A true characteristic of a charismatic leader is to generate alternative solutions.  Feel free to bring a dish to the dinner.

United Nations Report on UNCITRAL Colloquium on International Commercial Fraud

Anonymous Challenges Beverly Tran On Michigan Proposed Reinstatement Bill

Recently, I was challenged by an individual who goes by the name of Anonymous who brought to my attention that Michigan is not the first state to propose reinstatement of parental rights legislation.  My contention, beyond not properly identifying oneself for credibility, was this:

I am quite familiar with that code which is one of 4 states that has a limited exception to reunification.

Unfortunately, you did not understand that this particular piece of legislation deals with a a reunification factor that provides services to that family.

In numerous situations, children are chattel ranched through the foster care system due to poverty.

Failure to provide for the necessary needs of the child. There have been multiple, well documented cases, presenting this pattern of practice. Parental rights may be terminated because it is the only way to access proper medical care for the child.

I actually helped on the Washington piece with Pam Roach's people.

Again, I remain steadfast on my position, there is no other full reunification for I refer to one particular section of the Michigan Bill that I truly enjoy:

"(4) THE COURT SHALL TERMINATE THE RIGHTS OF THE MCI AND

REINSTATE A PARENT'S PARENTAL RIGHTS..."

This is the only proposed legislation in the nation whereby the state actually 'terminates' its own grant of custody and guardianship of an individual. I wrote a book on it. Of Parental Rights: The Acquisition of Goods. I also filed a quo warranto in Michigan.

By the state self-terminating its own parental rights, it is properly applying the doctrine of parens patriae officially registering the transfer of the grant of custody and guardianship, the moveable good, itself.  This is due process.

I thank you so much for engaging me and forcing me to clarify myself. For comparison, I have included the California Code below you have so graciously provided.

(i)(1)Any order of the court permanently terminating parental rights under this section shall be conclusive and binding upon the child, upon the parent or parents and upon all other persons who have been served with citation by publication or otherwise as provided in this chapter. After making the order, the juvenile court shall have no power to set aside, change, or modify it, except as provided in paragraph (2), but nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right to appeal the order.

(2)A child who has not been adopted after the passage of at least three years from the date the court terminated parental rights and for whom the court has determined that adoption is no longer the permanent plan may petition the juvenile court to reinstate parental rights pursuant to the procedure prescribed by Section 388. The child may file the petition prior to the expiration of this three-year period if the State Department of Social Services or licensed adoption agency that is responsible for custody and supervision of the child as described in subdivision (j) and the child stipulate that the child is no longer likely to be adopted. A child over 12 years of age shall sign the petition in the absence of a showing of good cause as to why the child could not do so. If it appears that the best interests of the child may be promoted by reinstatement of parental rights, the court shall order that a hearing be held and shall give prior notice, or cause prior notice to be given, to the social worker or probation officer and to the child's attorney of record, or, if there is no attorney of record for the child, to the child, and the child's tribe, if applicable, by means prescribed by subdivision (c) of Section 297. The court shall order the child or the social worker or probation officer to give prior notice of the hearing to the child's former parent or parents whose parental rights were terminated in the manner prescribed by subdivision (f) of Section 294 where the recommendation is adoption. The juvenile court shall grant the petition if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child is no longer likely to be adopted and that reinstatement of parental rights is in the child's best interest. If the court reinstates parental rights over a child who is under 12 years of age and for whom the new permanent plan will not be reunification with a parent or legal guardian, the court shall specify the factual basis for its findings that it is in the best interest of the child to reinstate parental rights. This subdivision is intended to be retroactive and applies to any child who is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court at the time of the hearing regardless of the date parental rights were terminated.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

1... 2... CPS is comming for you - Baby LK Report For January 29th 2012

Baby LK recaps the week in news for the child protection industry.



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Conyers Applauds President Obama’s Plan for Jobs and Education

**Follow Me On Twitter @RepJohnConyers**

For Immediate Release
Date: Friday, January 27, 2012
Contact: Matthew Morgan – 202-226-5543

Conyers Applauds President Obama’s Plan for Jobs and Education  

(DETROIT) –  Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released the following statement applauding President Obama’s approach to education and American manufacturing which he outlined in a speech today in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

“President Obama is right.  We need to break the boom and bust cycle that has characterized our economy for the last two decades and work together to forge an America built to last.  To do this,  Congress must:

·         Work to restore the American middle class by encouraging American manufacturing and making higher education more affordable. 

“I agree with the President that Congress needs to stop rewarding companies for sending jobs overseas and that Congress should stop subsidizing the oil industry.  Instead Congress should:

·         Invest that oil subsidy money into clean energy technology that will create new high tech jobs.  And;

·         Congress needs to make full employment the national policy of the Federal Government by passing H.R. 870, the Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act.    

“Higher education must be made more affordable and Congress needs to take real steps to alleviate students struggling under student loan debt.  I was honored to work with the President to end the system of corporate welfare that took money out of the pockets of student borrowers and I look forward to helping him move additional reforms through Congress that will further improve college affordability and provide prospective students with the information they need to make smart choices about their academic futures.  And Congress must now do more by preventing the scheduled increase in student loan interest rates this July.

“Finally, it is not fair that a quarter of all millionaires pay less taxes than millions of middle class households.  Congress needs to end these tax subsidies to the wealthy and instead use the money to invest in America’s future and pay down the debt in a responsible manner.”  
###

Friday, January 27, 2012

LePage crashes DHHS deliberations: 'Get this done'


LePage crashes DHHS deliberations: 'Get this done'


AUGUSTA — As lawmakers on the Legislature's budgetary committee grilled the chief of the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday on whether the state would receive federal waivers to make some of Gov. Paul LePage's proposed Medicaid reductions legal, a member of the audience was eager to talk. 
LePage. 
The governor raised his hand at least three times and requested to speak. After the final time, Appropriations Committee co-chairman, Sen. Richard Rosen, R-Bucksport, invited LePage to the interview table. 
During his forceful remarks, the governor reiterated the reasons lawmakers have to ratify his $221 million proposal to reduce Medicaid services.
LePage had given some of the reasons before, but not in this forum, not this way. 
What brought LePage to Appropriations was a letter from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services which appeared to present a tall hurdle for $37 million of the governor's proposed cuts. The letter from CMS Director Cindy Mann indicated that the state might not obtain a waiver from the federal health care law to reduce Medicaid eligibility solely for budgetary purposes.
The letter concerned lawmakers on Appropriations, who are being asked to green-light some of LePage's Medicaid reductions, although proposals might not receive federal approval. 
The letter is also a concern for LePage, who is attempting to fill a $221 million budget gap at DHHS.
On Friday, the governor briefly discussed the CMS letter, saying he would personally make the case for the federal waiver to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. 
"If this (budget) is not approved by Feb. 1 and I don’t get on a plane on Feb. 2 and stay in Sebelius’ office, on April 1, the state of Maine will default," LePage said during more than seven minutes of remarks. "(Maine) will not have the money to pay the fourth-quarter 2012 Medicaid payments."
The governor said the cuts were required to keep state money flowing to schools and to keep nursing homes open. 
". . . I will be calling you back and asking you to give me the (General Purpose Aid to Education) money so that I don’t have to close nursing homes and we will probably have to close schools," said LePage, adding that he'd have to call the Legislature back into session before requesting education funding.
He added, "This is not normal politics. This is not rhetoric."
LePage said lawmakers were mistakenly addressing his budget proposal as a budget cut.
"It is not," the governor said. "It is (that) we are running out of money and this is the only way that I see to preserve the nursing homes."
He added, "Believe me, give me $221 million today, I go home, call it a day, business as usual." 
LePage said the Medicaid issue was brought to lawmakers last year in his biennial budget. However, he said, the Legislature did not approve his proposed reductions. 
"Well, the fact of the matter is we are spending at a much faster clip than we even thought," he said. "It’s taken us several months to recognize that we are blowing, or spending, an excess of $10 to $12 million a month more than we have. Add that up by 12 months, you’re at $125 million."
The governor stressed that Maine had been too generous with its Medicaid. He said the state pays "upwards of 200 percent over the federal poverty level for Medicaid" when other states "pay as low as 17 percent."
According to DHHS figures, the 200 percent statement turns out to be a generalization that represents two of the state's Medicaid offerings. Nonetheless, the state does exceed the federal poverty level in other programs.
"What we’ve done as a state has been very, very generous over the last decade," LePage said. "And that’s good. There were good times and we could afford it . . . We are not there any longer. We are not in the good times." 
The governor acknowledged that people would lose their health care if his proposal is ratified. However, he said, some would seek private insurance and others would take insurance through their employers. The latter individuals, he said, were discouraged from doing so because MaineCare provided a richer benefit that's funded by taxpayers.
"There isn’t enough money in Maine to feed the beast," LePage said.
The governor urged lawmakers to "get this done."
"I need to get (to) Washington and and try and sit with (Sebelius) and convince her that the game of being overly generous and the economy is such that they need to work with us," he said. 
LePage asked if lawmakers had questions. None did. Several appeared surprised that the governor had chosen to address the panel.
"I’ll answer any questions if you have any," LePage said, "otherwise I’m going downstairs to make a phone call to Secretary Sebelius."
It remains to be seen whether lawmakers will be heartened by the governor's promise to try to persuade Sebelius to grant the Medicaid waivers. Prior to his remarks, Maine DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew cautioned lawmakers about drawing conclusions from the letter.
"This response from CMS is not helpful, nor is it based on a formal proposal," said Mayhew, adding that state officials had been working with the Attorney General's Office to gauge whether the state had a chance to obtain the waivers from the Affordable Care Act.
Mayhew said the health care law's Maintenance of Effort provision was tying the state's hands in addressing its Medicaid budget. She said the federal government should be persuaded to grant an MOE waiver, given a shortfall that threatened its entire Medicaid program. 
Mayhew also noted that the state would seek assistance from its congressional delegation to obtain the waivers. 
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, recently said the waivers appeared unlikely. 
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in a written statement Friday, stopped short of endorsing the MOE waiver, saying it was "imperative for the federal Department of Health and Human Services to work closely with the state to maintain the safety net that protects our most vulnerable citizens."
U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, went further.
She highlighted an amendment she helped secure in the federal health care law that would mirror what the governor is trying to do with childless adults on MaineCare. 
Snowe said the amendment was trying to fix an inequality in which states with low eligibility didn't have to make the same tough budget decisions as states like Maine with higher eligibility. 
She said that if the federal waiver is granted to lower the eligibility for childless adults from 200 percent above poverty level to 133 percent, Maine "would still have income thresholds for parent coverage that would be higher than 40 other states."
She added, "Indeed, 17 states have coverage only up to 50 percent of poverty, with five states covering only up to 30 percent."
Snowe said the government must continue to help those most greatly affected by the economy.
"At the same time," she said, "there are tremendous fiscal challenges confronting the state, including those resulting from the rising costs of MaineCare."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Michigan Redistricting Maps Approved By Department Of Justice (INFOGRAPHIC)

Michigan Redistricting Maps Approved By Department Of Justice (INFOGRAPHIC)

The U.S. Department of Justice has approved Michigan's Republican-designed redistricting plan, despite complaints from Democrats and a lawsuit that alleges some of the newly-drawn districts violate the Voting Rights Act.
Michigan must have any changes to districts and voting laws "pre-cleared" by the Justice Department because of the state's history of discrimination in elections.
But despite the DOJ's decision, a coalition of groups will move forward with its challenge to the new state House district maps.
In December, the Detroit branch of the NAACP, the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, Latino Americans for Social and Economic Development (LASED) filed a lawsuit alleging Voting Rights Act violations in the redrawn state House districts. The plaintiffs say the new maps unfairly divide Detroit voters, combining sections of the city with surrounding suburbs.
The coalition charges Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson with approving a discriminatory redistricting process. Members say the new districts will pit minority candidates in Detroit against each other.
A spokeswoman for the DOJ declined to comment further on the redistricting approval or the lawsuit.
Opponents of the new districts are especially concerned about Southwest Detroit's Latino population, which the map splits between the new 5th and 6th state House districts.
State Rep. Rashida Tlaib currently represents Southwest Detroit in Michigan's 12th district but will now run for reelection in the new 6th district. The new lines mean Tlaib's constituent base will drop from 45 percent Latino to 15 percent.
"It dilutes the Latino vote to the point where I'm seriously worried there will not be one state House seat that will be the voice for the growing Latino community in Michigan," she told HuffPost.
To compare the new redistricting map with the current districts, move the slider from right to left.
<br />
Tlaib said state Democrats presented a redistricting plan that placed nearly 50 percent of Latino residents in one district. She added she supports the lawsuit challenging the state House redistricting.
Tlaib has also been vocal about changes to the Detroit area's congressional districts.
"It looks like somebody was intoxicated when they put that together," she said. "It really does dilute and decrease the level of power that we have as voters to make sure that the right person is representing us."
Michigan lost one U.S. House seat due to a decline in population in the last census, and State republicans have drawn charges of gerrymandering Detroit area districts to make up for the loss. The new 14th district was named one of the "Top Five Ugliest Districts" in the nation in a Roll Call survey. It winds around Detroit to include half of Southwest Detroit, the riverfront, Grosse Pointe and many of the city's northern suburbs.
<br />
The new congressional districts spell trouble for metro Detroit's incumbent Democratic congressional representatives, who are already planning some district swapping.
Veteran Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat who currently represents Michigan's 14th district, will run in the new 13th district, which encompasses a good chunk of Detroit. Rather than take on Conyers in his old district, incumbent Rep. Gary Peters will challenge first-term incumbent Rep. Hansen Clarke for the 14th district seat.
Clarke and Peters face primary opposition from Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence and former state Rep. Mary Waters, who announced her bid for the seat on Tuesday.
Clarke, Peters and Conyers were unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Infographics by Jake Bialer, with demographic and district border data from Data Driven Detroit and the state of Michigan.
The U.S. Department of Justice has approved Michigan's Republican-designed redistricting plan, despite complaints from Democrats and a lawsuit that alleges some of the newly-drawn districts violate the Voting Rights Act.
Michigan must have any changes to districts and voting laws "pre-cleared" by the Justice Department because of the state's history of discrimination in elections.
But despite the DOJ's decision, a coalition of groups will move forward with its challenge to the new state House district maps.
In December, the Detroit branch of the NAACP, the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, Latino Americans for Social and Economic Development (LASED) filed a lawsuit alleging Voting Rights Act violations in the redrawn state House districts. The plaintiffs say the new maps unfairly divide Detroit voters, combining sections of the city with surrounding suburbs.
The coalition charges Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson with approving a discriminatory redistricting process. Members say the new districts will pit minority candidates in Detroit against each other.
A spokeswoman for the DOJ declined to comment further on the redistricting approval or the lawsuit.
Opponents of the new districts are especially concerned about Southwest Detroit's Latino population, which the map splits between the new 5th and 6th state House districts.
State Rep. Rashida Tlaib currently represents Southwest Detroit in Michigan's 12th district but will now run for reelection in the new 6th district. The new lines mean Tlaib's constituent base will drop from 45 percent Latino to 15 percent.
"It dilutes the Latino vote to the point where I'm seriously worried there will not be one state House seat that will be the voice for the growing Latino community in Michigan," she told HuffPost.javascript:void(0)


To compare the new redistricting map with the current districts, move the javascript:void(0)slider from right to left.

Tlaib said state Democrats presented a redistricting plan that placed nearly 50 percent of Latino residents in one district. She added she supports the lawsuit challenging the state House redistricting.
Tlaib has also been vocal about changes to the Detroit area's congressional districts.
"It looks like somebody was intoxicated when they put that together," she said. "It really does dilute and decrease the level of power that we have as voters to make sure that the right person is representing us."
Michigan lost one U.S. House seat due to a decline in population in the last census, and State republicans have drawn charges of gerrymandering Detroit area districts to make up for the loss. The new 14th district was named one of the "Top Five Ugliest Districts" in the nation in a Roll Call survey. It winds around Detroit to include half of Southwest Detroit, the riverfront, Grosse Pointe and many of the city's northern suburbs.
The new congressional districts spell trouble for metro Detroit's incumbent Democratic congressional representatives, who are already planning some district swapping.
Veteran Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat who currently represents Michigan's 14th district, will run in the new 13th district, which encompasses a good chunk of Detroit. Rather than take on Conyers in his old district, incumbent Rep. Gary Peters will challenge first-term incumbent Rep. Hansen Clarke for the 14th district seat.
Clarke and Peters face primary opposition from Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence and former state Rep. Mary Waters, who announced her bid for the seat on Tuesday.
Clarke, Peters and Conyers were unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Infographics by Jake Bialer, with demographic and district border data from Data Driven Detroit and the state of Michigan.

Michigan Celebrates 175 Years of Statehood

**Follow Me On Twitter @RepJohnConyers**

For Immediate Release
Date: Thursday, January 26, 2012
Contact: Matthew Morgan202-226-5543

Michigan Celebrates 175 Years of Statehood

(DETROIT) –  Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) made the following statement celebrating the State of Michigan’s 175th birthday.  On this day January 1837, Michigan became the 26th state to enter the union.           
 
Over the past 175 years, generations of Michiganders have built this state into a center of American industry, learning, and culture.  As a center of American manufacturing and the developer of the modern assembly line, Michigan and its people have influenced the course of modern history.  Michigan’s many world class educational institutions educate people from across the country and the world.  And as the heart of the American automobile industry, Michigan continues to have a profound influence on the Nation’s economy and culture.  I am proud to join my fellow Michiganders in celebrating this great milestone and encourage people to take a moment to reflect on our state’s heritage and contributions.”   

Conyers: Emergency Manager Not a Solution to Highland Park School District Budget Problems

**Follow Me On Twitter @RepJohnConyers**

For Immediate Release
Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Contact: Matthew Morgan202-226-5543

Conyers: Emergency Manager Not a Solution to Highland Park School District Budget Problems

(DETROIT) –  Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released the following statement in response to Governor Rick Snyder’s January 20th letter to Highland Park School District parents advising that the district is in jeopardy of closing within the next few months due to budget shortfalls and informing them that he has appointed an independent financial review team to examine the district’s finances. 

“I appreciate that the Governor has stepped forward to provide some immediate financial assistance. It is important to ensure that young people in the Highland Park community have a stable and secure learning environment.  However, I believe the best way for our community to move forward is for stakeholders at all levels of government to work together to solve this problem.  Any discussion by the Governor of employing a emergency manager in Highland Park is premature at this time.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Detroit Charter Misses Out On Financial Oversight Opportunity

I seem to recall an item I worked on during the City Charter revision process which called for an Inspector General.  As the Charter has recently been passed by the vote, it would seem there should be option for the Inspector General to admiral some of the tasks of weeding out fraud, waste and abuse within departments, programs and contracts.  No one would listen to me, as usual.

See, the archaic Ombudsman is the only department other than Corporate Council who has powers of subpoena, which have never been used, seriously.  The Ombudsman ensconces individual report findings into aggregate data and dumps it on City Council in annual reports, so nothing ever gets fixed.  The office only reports on what it supposedly does to keep its out-dated paychecks a-coming.

Then, if City Council is to now go to Council by District, there busts another illogical fallacy to keep the Ombudsman.

I raise the Ombudsman because the Inspector General has no powers of subpoena, further limiting it potential.

In addition, it was never considered that the Inspector General could privately contract for investigation,which would entail appointment for special powers of subpoena.

Lastly, there was no referral mechanism for the Inspector General to report violations of law to Corporate Council for prosecution and recovery. Another missed opportunity for oversight.

Unfortunately, a great opportunity has been lost in the Inspector General because this would have strengthened the argument against the Emergency Manager.  It would have been one of those "why re-invent the wheel" contentions.

Oh well.  Now we have the same folks overseeing the same mismanagement. Just wait, there is more.
 Keep looking into the dark cavern of child welfare.  This is why I proposed getting the language of "children are our most precious treasures" put into the preamble of the Detroit City Charter.  It passed.

"Children are our most precious treasures" is code for posterity, future interests, economic stabalization, and it circumvents the FOIA exemptions and exclusions for audits and continuous quality improvements in program quality and delivery of services.

One of these days someone is going to listen and heed my advice.

Funding at risk for Detroit's social services


Detroit— The city is managing federal funding so poorly that it's risking future dollars for social service programs intended to help disadvantaged residents, officials examining Detroit's finances say.
State officials found numerous cases of misspending on salaries and other expenditures in the administration of Head Start, Women, Infants and Children nutrition support, home weatherization and other programs, according to the state's preliminary review of the city's finances.
That puts the city in a vulnerable spot as it seeks to convince state officials that it can handle its fiscal crisis without outside intervention. If Gov. Rick Snyder determines the city requires the oversight of an emergency manager, that person could bar the city from administering federal funds and instead give the job to Wayne County or a private company.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Members of Congress and Missing Children

Interesting fact I just stumbled upon.  Since 1974 Members of Congress can include in the franking information on mission children.


The "franking" is the official marking on mailings, including emails and other electronic forms.

Too bad no one has done it.  Ever.


If I was in Congress I would be pushing the envelope... literally.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Getting Your Jollies From The Child Abuse Hotline - Baby LK Report For January 22nd 2012

Baby LK recaps the week in news for the child protective industry.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Conyers: People Must Know Who is Flooding the Airways with Anonymous Political Ads

**Follow Me On Twitter @HouseJudDems**

For Immediate Release
Date: Friday, January 20, 2012
Contact: Matthew Morgan – 202-226-5543

Conyers: People Must Know Who is Flooding the Airways with Anonymous Political Ads
  
(WASHINGTON) –  Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released the following statement in advance of the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, which falls on tomorrow January 21.  The Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case wiped out a century of legal precedent, granting corporations the same free speech rights as individuals and allowing for unlimited spending by corporations and special interests on political campaigns.         
“Two years ago, the Supreme Court opened the floodgate on unlimited, anonymous corporate money that distorts elections and accords giant corporations the same free speech rights as real people.  In order to address this dangerous decision, my colleagues and I introduced a narrowly crafted constitutional amendment, H.R. Res 78, to ultimately undo the damage the Citizens United decision wrought on the democratic process.  However in the meantime, Congress must immediately take up disclosure legislation similar to H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, which passed the House last Congress.  People have a right to know what entities are responsible for the anonymous ads flooding the airwaves. And until the Citizens United decision is overturned, Congress must ensure that all the facts are available to voters before they make a decision at the ballot box.”             

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rogers' support of Keystone XL is about fear mongering; disregard for environment

01/19/12- Rogers' support of Keystone XL is about fear mongering; disregard for environment

LANSING-- Democratic candidate for the 8th Congressional District Lance Enderle today slammed Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Brighton) for his support of the ill-fated Canadian Keystone XL pipeline project.
The project would have traversed 1,200 miles of American soil, often in environmentally sensitive areas including a major aquifer, to transport tar sands oil from Canada to Texas. The oil in question is environmentally dangerous to remove from the earth, requiring massive amounts of water, steam and heat to remove, and must be mixed with other, lighter oil products to be transported under high pressure in pipelines. The oil is also tainted with toxic heavy metals like mercury.
The Obama administration on Wednesday announced it would reject the proposal for the pipeline. The move has been heavily criticized by Republicans, including GOP Rep. Tim Walberg, who represents Michigan's 7th which suffered thelargest environmental disaster in midwest history in July of 2010. At that time, the Enbridge Energy Partners Lakehead Pipeline 6B burst open spewing an estimated 1.1 million gallons of toxic tar sands oil and the petroleum "diluent" into the Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. Cleanup continues from the spill, with the company and the EPA having trouble removing a heavy tar-like substance left behind from the spill which is now covering acres of the bottom of the river.
On his Facebook page, Rogers called the Obama administration decision "short-sighted," claiming the move will "force" Canada to sell it's toxic oils sands product to China, and enrich Iran in the process.
"Evidently, Mike has no clue about the internal politics of Canada," said Enderle. "The First Nations of Canada have been very clear -- they won't allow pipelines to traverse their tribal lands, which would be necessary to fill tankers on the Pacific coast to tank over to China. And why do they oppose this? Because they know what residents of Calhoun County discovered in 2010 -- oil sands oil is toxic, dangerous and nearly impossible to remove from the environment."
"To claim that somehow Iran will ultimately be the beneficiary of Canadian oil to China is ridiculous on its face," Enderle continued. "China is currently getting oil from Iran, and getting more oil from Canada will simply reduce the demand for Iranian oil, reducing Iranian oil money. Mike is scare mongering."
"And all those jobs Mike is talking about? How many of them are 'indirect' jobs created by toxic, life-changing spills caused by improper handling of this toxic goo?" Enderle asked. "Yes we need jobs, but more jobs produced by scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel of oil production helps no one, and makes the U.S. put off the important job of leading the world into the development of renewable energy sources which do not cause environmental catastrophes.”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Conyers Praises President Obama’s Decision to Reject Keystone Oil Pipeline

**Follow Me On Twitter @RepJohnConyers**

For Immediate Release
Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Contact: Matthew Morgan – 202-226-5543

Conyers Praises President Obama’s Decision to Reject Keystone Oil Pipeline

(WASHINGTON) –  Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released a statement praising President Obama’s announcement that the State Department will deny a permit allowing construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to begin. 

“Republicans insisted that President Obama make a decision on the Keystone pipeline deal before a thorough review weighing the economic benefits and environmental costs of the project could be conducted,” said Conyers.  “I fully support President Obama’s decision to forestall current plans for the oil pipeline.  The Congress must work towards achieving energy independence that focuses on renewable resources and research into green technologies.  There is a finite amount of oil in the world’s reserves and it is running out.  If America is to thrive in the 21st Century and beyond, Congress should invest research dollars into clean energy technologies that will create jobs now, lay the groundwork for future industries to employ America’s workers, and cure America of its addiction to foreign oil.”         

###

Conyers and All House Democratic Michigan Members Urge Construction of New International Bridge Conyers and All House Democratic Michigan Members Urge Construction of New International Bridge

**Follow Me On Twitter @RepJohnConyers**

For Immediate Release
Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Contact: Matthew Morgan – 202-226-5543

Conyers and All House Democratic Michigan Members Urge Construction of New International Bridge
(Washington D.C). – Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-M14.) and Representatives Hansen Clarke (D-M13), John Dingell (D-M15), Dale Kildee (D-M05), Sander Levin (D-M12), and Gary Peters (D-M09) sent a letter to Speaker of the Michigan House Bolger, Michigan House Minority Leader Hammel, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Richardville, and Michigan Senate Minority Leader Whitmer urging the Michigan legislature to prioritize the passage of legislation authorizing the construction of the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) project early in the 2012 legislative session.
The NITC project will create a world-class international bridge and secure a transportation corridor with Michigan’s largest trading partner, Canada.  It will create 10,000 new construction jobs for Michigan workers and generate more than $2 billion in federal matching highway funds for Michigan roads.  
The letter is attached as a pdf and the text follows below:
January 18, 2012

The Honorable Randy Richardville                                             The Honorable Jase Bolger
Majority Leader                                                                                Speaker
Michigan Senate                                                                               Michigan House of Representatives
P.O. Box 30036                                                                                   P. O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909                                                                             Lansing, MI 48909

The Honorable Gretchen Whitmer                                            The Honorable Richard Hammel
Minority Leader                                                                                 Minority Leader
Michigan Senate                                                                                Michigan House of Representatives
P.O. Box 30036                                                                                    P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909                                                                              Lansing, MI 48909

Dear Speaker Bolger and Leaders Richarville, Whitmer, and Hammel:

As you prepare for the 2012 session of the Michigan Legislature, we write to urge you to prioritize the passage of legislation that will allow work to begin on the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) project.  Michigan desperately needs the 10,000 construction jobs and $2 billion in federal matching highway funds that would be immediately provided by this project.  Additionally, the NITC will strengthen our nation’s bond with Canada – Michigan’s largest trading partner – by providing a secure alternative route to Ontario and significantly increasing the capacity for increased trade between our two countries.

Constructing a second bridge at the Detroit-Windsor crossing will help grow the 237,000 Michigan jobs that depend on trade with Canada.  The NITC would provide six new lanes, bringing the total to ten between Detroit and Windsor, while also directly connecting 1-75 to Highway 401.  These additional lanes will help prevent the delays that cost Michigan’s shippers and manufacturers millions of dollars each year.  Chrysler estimates that current delays at the Detroit-Windsor crossing add more than $600 to the average car manufactured in our region.  Without a second bridge, these delays will likely grow worse, with truck traffic across the border expected to double by 2035.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has stated that Canada’s $550 million investment in the crossing’s customs plaza will allow Michigan to receive nearly $2 billion in matching for road construction projects across the state.  If the NITC project is approved early in the 2012 legislative session, construction projects across the state could begin putting thousands of Michiganders back to work this year fixing our state’s highway infrastructure and speeding our state’s economic recovery.  

We believe the case for moving forward with the NITC project is clear.  The NITC project poses no fiscal risk to the state, as the cost of this $1.3 billion dollar investment in Michigan will be borne completely by private investors and the U.S. and Canadian governments.  Further, should the tolls collected from the bridge fall short of the dollars needed to repay Canadian or private investors, the Canadian government has agreed to cover any revenue short fall.   In short, this project is no risk, all reward for Michigan taxpayers.  
  
Construction of the NITC will ensure that Michigan keeps its edge and continues to be a leading conduit for the $62 billion in annual bilateral trade between the United States and Canada.  We urge you to pass authorizing legislation as soon as possible so that we can begin to transition the Detroit-Windsor crossing into a modern, multi-modal system that creates jobs in Michigan and guarantees safe, secure, and efficient commerce across our northern border. 
Sincerely,
John Conyers, Jr.                                                              Hansen Clarke
MEMBER OF CONGRESS                                             MEMBER OF CONGRESS

John D. Dingell                                                                 Gary Peters
MEMBER OF CONGRESS                                             MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Sander Levin                                                                     Dale E. Kildee
MEMBER OF CONGRESS                                             MEMBER OF CONGRESS

###