Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Friendly Suggestion...

Do you read blogs on a regular basis? Find it a pain in your arse to keep typing in the url's of each one?

Consider a feed-reader service like Bloglines or the one that Nirmal recently clued me into - Netvibes.

Consolidate all of your favorite blogs onto one blogroll and only have to check one website.

I use Bloglines and I love that I can just go log in, and see all 40+ blogs that I read regularly on one page. Bloglines lets me know if there's been any new posts since my last log in. If there are, I simply click on the name of the blog, and Bloglines features the post for me.
You can also share your blogroll with others, if you'd like.
While you're there, check out your local weather info, search blogs, websites and newsgroups. I like it because it's easy to use, and it's instantaneous!

I don't use Netvibes, but Nirmal shared some of his experience with me. It's literally everything available on one page. Email, instant messenger, blog roll, news, weather, everything. Being a bit skittish of Big Brother, it's too much of my info on one site. Still, it looks very cool.

Did I mention that both sites are free? :-)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog-reading. :-)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Deafening Silence of Grief

In the last 24 hours -

  • I've lost a family member

Which of these was preventable?

We're almost up to 3,000 American deaths in Iraq.

How many more must die before we stop sending our brave men and women to the slaughter?

It Only Takes a Spark

Blogging is a labor of love, without a doubt. Any semi-serious blogger will tell you that. Community blogs, such as Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood can be less ardous and in some ways, more fulfilling than traditional one-man blogs.

Since my venture into the world o' blogging little under a year ago, I have become deeply passionate about this venue and its potential for the political sphere. The internet is the place to be seen and heard, and it's only fitting that politics has its place here.

I've recently been promoted to front-page contributor at MichiganLiberal, a huge honor and even bigger responsibility that I refuse to take lightly. Within the core group of bloggers that call MichLib home, the running joke is that I'm the cruise director of the group. It's not so much a joke as it is fitting. I'm a networker, I bring different people, groups, and organizations together. I'm more than just a social person, I'm a connector.

I believe the best writers are the ones who stay true to their passions and their strengths. It is my hope to help connect voters to the information they need to be the best informed about their government. I've seen how various watchblogs can be extremely effective at this if managed properly and updated regularly.

I don't believe that blogs need to be flashy or nasty, just informative. If it's entertaining and informative, all the better because it makes for an even more enjoyable read. In the end, blogs are simply an educational tool that the public can utilize to stay informed.

In the coming weeks and months expect to hear a lot of grassroots information from me both here and on MichLib. I firmly believe that there are many readers and lurkers of blogs just waiting for the perfect opportunity to jump in. I'm going to be meeting with a lot of folks all over the state, working hard, continuing to get the word out, and providing the nudge that we all need in order to get started.

If you've got a desire to learn more, to make your own mark, and do your part, drop me a line.

A community starts with one person working with another.
It's about what's best for MI, not just for me.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boxing Day - not just for the Commonwealth

December 26th is the day celebrated in Britain and Canada as Boxing Day. It is a day with a meaning that I think should be practiced by everyone, and not only on this day. Being of British heritage, and raised by very British parents and grandparents, my family has incorporated many traditional British customs into our own.

Despite its name, Boxing Day does not involve a ring or gloves, but rather a day when you do something extra for those who are less-fortunate.

Snopes has this to say about Boxing Day:
...its origins are found in a long-ago practice of giving cash or durable goods to those of lower classes. Gifts among equals were exchanged on or before Christmas Day, but beneficiaries to those less fortunate were bestowed the day after.

Stop by Wikipedia to get the full scoop. It's also known as St. Stephen's Day (as mentioned in the Christmas carol Good King Wencelas).

When it comes down to it, Boxing Day is about doing something good for others. I think too many of us call off the good cheer of the season when the last drop of eggnog is drank and the wee ones are put to bed after a happy Christmas Day. Just because the red kettles are gone and we return to life as usual, we shouldn't forget those who still need our assistance the other 11 months of the year.

Remember when politics was about serving the people? I still believe that's what it's supposed to be about. I know plenty of elected officials and volunteers who still hold that motto high, but there's plenty of reasons why politics still has a bad reputation. These tenets are especially true to those of us who subscribe to the democratic/progressive/liberal philosophies.

As we go through the next 364 days, let's all keep a little Boxing Day spirit going. Whether it's donating clothes or food, giving money to a worthy charity, volunteering for a cause or a campaign that truly does some good, keep doing and giving to others. Following the motto of my blog, it's about what's best for MI, not just for me.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Milestone, Some Thanks, and Best Wishes

I find it fitting that this post marks the 100th post of this blog since it's creation on October 13th, 2006.

It's been a wild ride since that first post. Through the highs and the lows, the hours spent scouring the tubes of the Internet researching, the panic of putting together the now-famous 25 Reasons Why List, and now the creation of a congressional district watch-blog, every moment has been worth it. Thank you for hanging in there with me, for continuing to stop by and share your thoughts.

With the season upon us, I'd like to wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season. Have fun, be safe, and never stop keeping Michigan great!


Granholm's Early Christmas Gift to You

If you don't succeed at first, try, try again.

Words that our great Governor has definitely taken to heart, particularly in dealing with the Republican-controlled Legislature these past 4 years.

Since 2002, Governor Jennifer Granholm has called for legislation that increases patient confidentiality of medical records and ensures their proper disposal. Today, she was able to finally sign that legislation into law.
"As technology increases in the 21st century, we have a duty to help citizens protect their privacy," Granholm said. "This legislation will ensure that citizens' personal information remains between them and their health care provider when they seek medical treatment and assistance."
Senate Bill 465 requires medical records to be maintained for a minimum of 7 years and provides a system for health facilities or agencies to dispose of records older than seven years, while ensuring patient information remains confidential. The bill requires health facilities to notify patients if their businesses cease, or if they plan to transfer or destroy existing medical records. The bill also imposes fines of up to $10,000 if businesses fail to comply.
Senate Bill 468 amends the Freedom of Information Act to make is clear that "protected health information" as defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is exempt from disclosure, giving patients protection against unwarranted invasion of personal information.
"Patients deserve the utmost respect and privacy as they seek medical attention," Granholm said. "This legislation will provide that privacy for patients and their families."
The two bills signed today are Senate Bills 465 and 468. The bills were sponsored by Senators Gilda Z. Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods) and Deborah Cherry (D-Burton), respectively. Governor Granholm is also expected to sign similar legislation, Senate Bill 466, sponsored by Senator Bruce Patterson (R-Canton). --Office of the Governor

This legislation might not sound flashy, life-altering, or exciting, but as a client of the health care system, I can assure you it's much needed. Consider filling out one form at your doctor's office. On it you have your home address, your birth date, your SSN, your driver's license number, your insurance information, emergency contact information, among other things. Think about how many people handle that information once you hand over that form. It's not just your doctor's office, it can be outside laboratories, your insurance carrier, hospitals, drug companies, etc.
Identity theft is quickly becoming a growing problem for more and more people and an expensive one at that. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the most common ways for thieves to obtain access to your personal information include:

  1. stealing records from their employer,
  2. bribing an employee who has access to these records
  3. hacking into the organization's computers.
  4. They rummage through your trash or the trash of businesses or dumps in a practice known as dumpster diving.

Knowing that this legislation will make it even harder for thieves to get a hold of my personal information makes me feel a little more secure. It also reaffirms the faith I hold in our government, particularly in Governor Granholm and our Democratic legislators such as Senators Jacobs and Cherry.

What a great gift, and right before Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Your wish for Michigan in 2007

It's that time of year again...time for the tree, the menorah, the feast, or just a couple days off of work. It's also the time when we make our wish list and check it twice. For some it's a new toy, the latest electronic to hit the shelves, or that tool you've been drooling over for months. For others, it's a roof over their head, a couple extra dollars to keep the heat on, or a soldier's long awaited return. It's a time when we all have a wish.

What's your wish for Michigan in 2007?

Head on over to MichLib and check out my post...

It Just Doesn't Make Any Sense

Iraq seems so far from Michigan. That is until you realize that here in Michigan we've lost 116 men and women to the war in Iraq. The U.S. has lost 2,962 American troops, and worldwide, the total is at a staggering 3,209 coalition deaths.

My father has canceled his subscription to Time Magazine and no longer watches the news on a daily basis. The constant news about Iraq inundates him with too many painful memories of his time in Vietnam, now almost 40 years ago. He doesn't understand why we haven't learned our lesson yet.

Polls from the November elections showed that more voters voted against the Republicans because of the situation in Iraq more than any other reason.

Now the Detroit News suggests we should send another 10,000 troops to the slaughter. Why?

How many more must die? How many of our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers must we sacrifice?

Just a thought, perhaps we should take a page from President James Monroe who advised:

In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken part, nor does it comport with our policy, so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded, or seriously menaced that we resent injuries, or make preparations for our defense.

Substitute European for Middle Eastern, and you've got yourself some free advice, Dubya.

Let's focus on another key word there - defense, apparently these days confused quite often with offense.


I don't have answers, but I do know that staying there, and continuing to send our loved ones there is not the answer either. Surely with all the brilliant minds in D.C. we can come up with something better than the status quo.

Our brave men and women deserve more than a magnet on our car or a yellow ribbon tied around the mail box.

Don't they deserve us fighting for them?

Friday, December 15, 2006

You Should Be Blogging (Part 1)

The '06 Elections demonstrated one clear thing. Blogs work. They are powerful, far-reaching, and their potential is endless.

Laura recently posted about the need for new folks to step forward and start blogs in their district. She's right. There's an ever clear and present need that exists.

As someone who barely read blogs over a year ago, much less was a visitor here on MichLib, I never would have imagined starting two of them. I lurked here, day after day, reading what everyone else had to say and watching the successes of the blogosphere grow. It was exciting. Starting my own individual blog was a huge undertaking, and is a big time commitment, even to this day. I love it, but I know it's not for everyone.

When I joined forces with 7 other people all across the 8th Congressional District (CD) to kick off Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, it was fun, it was relatively easy and we got noticed by our target audience right away.

So why should you start a community blog?
  • Smaller time commitment per individual contributor. You can go a couple days without posting because you can rely on your other contributors to chime in.
  • Different strengths represented by different contributors (i.e. photoshop skills, research ability, social connections within the district, html knowledge)
  • More thorough coverage of your district. Face it - you can't be everywhere, know everyone.
  • Varied interests of contributors (Health care, Military, Environment, Education, etc) You literally have a shop with invested, passionate policy specialists.
  • Pure Motivations. We blog because we care. We don't make money, we typically write under pseudonyms so there's no professional motivation, and our fuel is the most renewable out there - passion!
Got 20 Reasons Why You Can't be a Part of a Blog? So did I. Let me dispel some of the myths...
  • You need to know HTML Code. False. With blogging software/programs like Blogger and Wordpress, they do all the code work for you. You literally have to write and hit 'Publish'.
  • Blogging's a full-time job. Definitely false. Blogging's like any activity. You can put as little or as much time into as you want. True, you want to keep your blog fresh. If you have at least one other contributor, you share the load.
  • They cost money. Also false. If you have access to a computer and the internet, then you can blog for free. Both Blogger and Wordpress are free. If you want to get your own domain/url like Pohlitics, Capital Viewpoint, or ChristineBarry, then you're talking under $50 a year in costs.
  • You have to have journalism skills. Not true. Blogs are a means of transmitting information. Put the facts up there and let them speak. If you're a little more eloquent than some, consider it a bonus.
  • Blogging's a new-fangled thing for the youngsters. Complete and utter baloney. If you made it to MichLib to read this, then you're not too old. :-)
  • Blogging cuts you off from the real world. Couldn't be more false. If anything, I've met more people and more friends (yes, in person!) through blogging than I have in most other hobbies of mine. We're a dedicated, loyal bunch. We take care of our own and are always there to help each other out. We are so much more than just an "online community". We're a community of friends united by a common thread spread across the state. To really dispel the myth - we've actually met each other, and have been known to gather in groups to enjoy excellent food and drink (we're all talented outside of blogging, of course!)
Of course, members of our community have all posted some extremely helpful tools and guidelines for liberal bloggers, no matter the skill level. Check out these additional helpful tools -
Got your interest piqued? Excellent. Then you'll definitely want to wait for You Should be Blogging (Part 2) coming soon...

My apologies to the BeeGees for the title. :-)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

See the Truth Movie Party - East Lansing

See the Truth Movie Party

On Saturday, December 16, 2006 thousands of us are going to get together in living rooms around the country, watch the blockbuster documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," and press Congress to take action to solve our climate crisis.

If you haven't seen the movie, you have to. If you have, you can help raise awareness and push Washington to take action on the biggest crisis facing our planet. In America, political will is a renewable resource and together we can build the will to do what has to be done.

Join local residents/activitists Bob Alexander and Heather Ricketts as they sponsor this very important film.

Saturday, December 16th
9:30 A.M.
Hannah Center - Rm. 235
819 Abbott Road (corner of Abbott and Burcham)
East Lansing

click here to RSVP.

You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to. - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Ingham County Democratic Party Executive Committee Elections

Monday, December 11th saw the election of the new Executive Committee for the Ingham Country Democratic Party.

Congratulations to the following officers:

Griffin Rivers - Chair
Sandy Zerkel - 1st Vice Chair
Nathan Triplett - 2nd Vice Chair
Betty Markham - 3rd Vice Chair
Pete Vargas - 4th Vice Chair
Jim Ramey - Treasurer
Heather Ricketts - Secretary

Members of the Statutory and Executive Committees were informed of the recent press of the 8th Congressional District Watch Blog for U.S. Mike Rogers - Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and were quite pleased to hear about how well it is going. Many promised to stop by and by all traffic reports, it seems they did, and they keep coming back!

Stay tuned for the latest ICDP news....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

This Blogger's Passion

Much of politics is standing up for what you believe in. Standing up when the sun is shining, the clouds are grey and foreboding, or even in the head-pounding hailstorm. Watching those publicly involved in this process for years, that is one of the first lessons I quickly learned.

So now it seems as if my time has come to stand up and wait for the weather to roll in. The new RogersWatch Blog has gotten folks talking on both sides of the aisle, and as usual, the press isn't far behind. Tomorrow morning will bring a story about the blog, and a couple comments provided by myself. It was a scary step, to publicly out myself as a blogger for the first time. I thought more than once about not doing it, but I knew that it would happen sooner or later, and here it is.

I am someone who has dedicated my life to serving those who have no voice and standing up for what I believe in. As a blogger, as a citizen, as someone who cares about others, I feel an obligation to keep speaking up when I see someone wronged, or when there's another candidate/official championing a cause that deserves recognition. Standing up for my writing as a blogger, even without the mask of anonymity that blogging provides, is an act of civil disobedience. It started with the Boston Tea Party, On Walden Pond, the Suffragettes, Edward R. Murrow and the anti-McCarthy movement, the conscientious objectors of Vietnam, and now it comes to people like me, those who blog.

Within the community of bloggers, there's a wide spectrum of who we are and what motivates us. Personally, I feel that I can't be an effective voice of change if I sit back and always write behind a pseudonym. The very essence of who I am wills me to get up, get out and speak up, in all facets.

I accept that for each thing that I believe in, many more will disagree with it and some may even personally attack me for my beliefs. As a blogger, I believe in and uphold the right of Free Speech. I exercise it every time I disagree with an action or a statement made by someone in government. It's my right, just as it is their right to say what they believe in. It's a vital part of what keeps our country so incredible.

It's still difficult to take that next step, opening yourself up to criticism and becoming readily available as a poster-child for everything that a group or a person stands against. It's already happened to me, both as a blogger and as someone who is active politically, and regardless of the thickness of your skin, it's never pleasant.

Despite that, I will continue to stay true to myself to the public and the people who deserve tireless advocators on their behalf. I know that my community, both online and off, are full of many like-minded individuals, and that gives me pride and hope. We may not always agree on the issues, but as long as we're staying true to ourselves and working for those who need us the most, then we must continue to speak up and out, regardless of the reception we may receive.

Well Done Mr. Mayor Representative Meadows

Today the City of East Lansing celebrated 11 years of public service by former council member and mayor Mark Meadows. With over 100 people in attendance, including friends, families, and colleagues, the reception lasted several hours and was a real success.

If you recall, Mr. Meadows was elected in November to fill the seat left vacant by now Senator Gretchen Whitmer in the 69th State House District. Rep. Meadows was sworn in immediately to fill the vacancy, so unlike most other newly-elected representatives, Rep. Meadows won't have to wait till January to start serving his district.

On hand to celebrate his tenure and note his many accomplishments, State Senator Gretchen Whitmer (D-23), East Lansing City Council members, City Manager Ted Staton, Police Chief Tom Wibert, Fire Chief Randy Talifarro, Representatives from Michigan State University, a spokesman for U.S. Rep Mike Rogers (MI-08), and a letter of congratulations and thanks was read from Governor Jennifer Granholm. All who spoke touched on Rep. Meadows' high dedication to the people of the City.

Of most significant note, I was impressed with a few of the closing words by Rep. Meadows. He remarked that as time goes on, people will forget their public servants. Those who serve the public should always remember this - It's not about me, but about what we can do as a community.

If those words are truly an example of his attitude of public servitude, than his constituents can expect great things in the years to come.

Welcome aboard, Representative Meadows!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Whoda thunk it?

I never would have thought that within just a couple hours of the new RogersWatch blog (Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood) going up, that it would receive so much attention. But it did.

I'm no dummy.

That tells me that I'm not the only one sick of Mike Rogers using my district as a pulpit for his extremely conservative agenda. That tells me there's hope for our district in 2008.

I'm much more politically active than most folks I know. Sometimes when I have a strong feeling on something, I try to gauge the rest of the world's temperature to mine, to see if I'm really just out in left field, or if I'm just the only one willing to stick my neck out there and speak up. On this issue, I know it's the latter.

I would like to clarify something though. Just because I'm a staunch liberal/Democrat/progressive, doesn't mean I'm against all Republicans. There's a lot of tenets of the republican platform that make sense. (Notice I said republican, not Republican - big difference these days.) There's some Republicans who do good work in office on behalf of their constituents. Mike Rogers is not one of those.

Identified time and time again as one of the most conservatives in D.C., it's hard to understand how Rogers claims to be working for us, his people. His campaign finance reports don't lie. It's the special interest lobbying groups that he works for.

Check out his voting record, how many times has a vote of his aligned right up with the Bush policy? More times than not. I'm not saying Mr. Rogers hasn't done some good work in D.C. I'm saying that most of his work has not been for the people, but rather for the special interests. That's where the problem lays.

That's why there's so many of us who are going to work feverishly between now and November 2008 to make sure the people of the 8th District Neighborhood see how out of touch Mike Rogers really is.

So during the next two years, keep tabs on LLP and The Neighborhood. The great thing about The Neighborhood is that it's not just one person spouting ideas. That blog is a community, made up by different folks from all across the District. Men and women, from the newly employed to the retired and everywhere in between. We're military veterans, homemakers, blue-collar workers and policy wonks, and everything in between. We want the same things you want, to have our government work for us the way it should - for the people and by the people. We don't all agree on the same issues, but we do agree that no matter where we stand, Mike Rogers stands against us.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Something's Brewing in the Neighborhood...

Who Is This Man?

He carries a big stick.

He doesn't wear a yellow sweater.

He preaches war and hate.

He openly discriminates against the very people he's supposed to be working for.

He narrowly missed getting downsized last month. (too bad!)

He's good buddies with two of Washington's most corrupt players (Abramoff and DeLay)

He got more airtime with this child molester (Mark Foley) on CNN than he probably has his entire career.

He lives in Our Neighborhood.

That's right, he's the one and only U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (MI-08), your very own public official.

We're going to hold him accountable and
  • Watch every vote,
  • Count each dollar collected from special interests and
  • Record each time he continues to wreak havoc on us, the people of the 8th Congressional District.

Stop on by The Neighborhood and join us as we take back Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Taking Care of One of Our Own

The most important part of being a community involves acting as a community. Here at LLP, we strive to discuss those things that are most important to keep our Mid-Michigan community the best we can be.

The health care situation in both Michigan and the U.S. has a long way to go, but far be it from us to not do our part. Being a person with more than her fair share of health problems, I've seen the ugly side of being sick, the battles that occur on the emotional, social, physical and of course, financial fronts.

I was particularly touched with the cover story of the LSJ's Sunday paper. Caroline Thomas is a darling 5 year-old girl from Lansing who has faced a seemingly up-hill fight from her very first day. Her latest struggle comes in the form of brain cancer, and a tumor the size of a golf ball.
Little Caroline has had several surgeries at Lansing's own Sparrow Hospital, the most recent just this past Friday. Undergoing chemotherapy and having her put life on hold while she recovers will not be easy, but Caroline's parents, family and friends all remain optimistic. Caroline still faces 45 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation treatments.

*It's not quite clear whether or not a fund has been set up to assist Caroline and her family with medical expenses, but I'm waiting a return call from the article's author and will keep you posted.

You can help keep up Caroline's spirits and send her a card -
Caroline Thomas
1417 Jerome St.
Lansing, MI 48912
Friends have also arranged for the local Red Cross to put on Blood Drives in Caroline's honor.
Every third Sunday of each month for an entire year, you and I can head down to the Lansing Donor Center (1729 E. Saginaw, Lansing) and donate blood or platelets for those who desperately need it, like Caroline.

While you're there, you can sign a card for Caroline. Even if your blood isn't a perfect match for Caroline, the chances are quite good that your gift of life will go to someone in our community who desperately needs it, particularly with the holiday season upon us.
Red Cross spokeswoman Ann Kammerer said Caroline may be receiving specialty blood products, such as platelets.

"We have seen blood donations go up and down to the point where we've had some pretty severe shortages during the summer and also during the winter months," Kammerer said.

"With the holidays coming up, we need to keep that momentum going to ensure that the blood is on hand to help people."

Dine said there are cards at the Red Cross to send well-wishes to Caroline. "She likes to read mail and get little things," she said.

For the Saturday blood drives in Caroline's honor, Dine makes a giant card for people to sign and draw little pictures.

"Not everybody is going to be compatible (with Caroline), but everybody feels like they are contributing," she said. "They are going to be compatible with someone.

"If (the blood) doesn't necessarily get used by Caroline, it will get used by somebody, and most likely right here in the community."

There's also contact information for the area Red Cross on the right side of this blog. If your health, fear of needles, or whatever prevents you from giving blood, plasma, or platelets, you can always give money.

As they say "Tis the season to give". Why not take 5 minutes out of your day, give the gift of life, bring a little love to someone's life and feel better knowing you helped take care of one of Mid-Michigan's own?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bloggers - A Campaign's Best Friend

Statement: Bloggers are a force to be reckoned with.

It's true. Some people don't quite realize it, but the NetRoots Movement is on, and wow, what an impact we had on the '06 Elections.

For some of us, like me, blogging's become an outlet where we can combine our passions, writing and political activism.

When I write and post, I have no idea who reads this and what, if anything, they take away from it.

It is my hope that people who aren't as into state and local politics as I am find this blog to be somewhere where they can stay informed on the important stuff without having to read everything everywhere (and trust me, there's tons!). I think that's happened because every once in a while some of you are kind enough to comment or email me about something that you loved or something that just really stirred you up. That's good. That means I'm being effective.

Nonetheless, I've been saying all along that we can't rest on our laurels, just because we won. Democrats saw the political climate change in our favor, but I'm hoping we won't just stop with a win. If anything, this victory means pat ourselves on the back and then get going on the '08 elections. Let's focus on what we did do right, and what we didn't.

Here's what was disappointing/tragic in Michigan -

8th Congressional District - Mike Rogers has never been a friend of our district, and Jim Marcinkowski was the best candidate that's been run against him yet. He should have won. He needed to win. How do we kick Mike out in '08?

Proposition 2 - No way did we need to follow in the disgraceful footsteps of California in eliminating Affirmative Action. Talk about digging our own graves. We're too smart for that, and while everyone agrees Affirmative Action isn't the answer to our inequity, its a step in the right direction to achieving equity.

Secretary of State - I know, I know. How many of you really care about who's running the DMV, right? That's exactly what I thought till I read up on what it is the SOS really does and what they have control over, say, voting machines? Terry Lynn Land has done a poor job protecting us against ballot fraud, and Carmella Saubaugh has definitely been an innovator for the people down in Macomb County. Read more about it here.

Attorney General - Regardless of what he does in and out of his bedroom, Mike Cox is not exactly working for you and I. He's working for Mike Cox, Saul Anuzis, and the many special interests that lined his campaign war chest. Our own governor should not have to do his job for him when he refuses to protect everyday citizens like you and I (UofM Admissions Case). Amos Williams has had a long record of serving the people, even those who can't contribute to his campaign.

And these are just a few. So many areas to improve upon.

That's why I have to give props to Nirmal. His post is chock-full of brainstorms for how our community moves forward is exactly the nudge (or kick!) we all need. I'm grateful that he's posted it before we start to get together for what I hope will be a very effective planning session. What we'll come away with, I can only guess and hope for.

I hope that our party leaders, our elected officials, and all of the players in front of and behind the scenes realize the potential and power of the bloggers and online community.

Did You Know -
  • We can go places and do things that traditional media and campaigns can't.
  • We reach an enormous (and often hard to reach) audience and have an incredible pull when it comes to soliciting donations. I believe whole-heartedly that campaigns can't afford to ignore us any longer.
  • The best part is that for most of us, we're the most dedicated, hard-working, and inexpensive (sometimes practically free!) group of volunteers any candidate/campaign can hope for. We feel honored and appreciated when we're reached out too, and that initial email/conversation could reap more votes than can be counted.
So as candidates are starting to position themselves, races are considered, and campaigns are started in people's kitchens and living rooms, I ask just one thing. Don't forget about the bloggers. We are most definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Importance of Being Liberal

Liberal Lucy is my pseudonym.
Liberal, Loud and Proud is the name of my blog.
Michigan Liberal is where I got my start blogging.

I identify myself as a liberal. I vote and belong to the Democratic Party, but I believe in liberal ideology.

When I started becoming politically active, and then again when I started blogging, the warnings were plenty loud and clear. The minute I started identifying as a liberal, folks were going to get turned off by my liberalism.

Why has liberalism been equated with a four letter word?

Does liberal = extreme?

  1. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
  2. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
You be the judge.

I believe that everyone, not just the wealthy, deserve health care coverage.

I believe that we don't belong butting our noses or tanks into other countries business unless they are threatening us with serious harm.

I believe that the government doesn't belong in my bedroom.

I believe in a separation between church and state, and that my president's religion doesn't belong down my throat.

I believe in God, but if my neighbor, congressperson, plumber, or my co-worker doesn't, that's okay too.

I believe that the government should work for the people, but not against it.

I believe that perhaps the government could take a word or two of fiscal advice from my mom.
  • Don't buy things you can't afford.
  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Always help those in need.
  • Invest in your money wisely.
I believe that while I don't enjoy paying taxes, our government can't operate without them.

Does this make me extreme? I've never thought so.

I believe that no truer words have ever been spoken than these:
I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, in the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas. It is, I believe, the faith in our fellow citizens as individuals and as people that lies at the heart of the liberal faith. For liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man's ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves.

I believe also in the United States of America, in the promise that it contains and has contained throughout our history of producing a society so abundant and creative and so free and responsible that it cannot only fulfill the aspirations of its citizens, but serve equally well as a beacon for all mankind. I do not believe in a superstate. I see no magic in tax dollars which are sent to Washington and then returned. I abhor the waste and incompetence of large-scale federal bureaucracies in this administration as well as in others. I do not favor state compulsion when voluntary individual effort can do the job and do it well. But I believe in a government which acts, which exercises its full powers and full responsibilities. Government is an art and a precious obligation; and when it has a job to do, I believe it should do it. And this requires not only great ends but that we propose concrete means of achieving them.

Our responsibility is not discharged by announcement of virtuous ends. Our responsibility is to achieve these objectives with social invention, with political skill, and executive vigor.


Only liberalism, in short, can repair our national power, restore our national purpose, and liberate our national energies. -John F. Kennedy, September 14, 1960

Does this make one of the best loved and most respected of American presidents extreme?

I believe that diversity in all its forms, particularly political thought, is crucial to the continued success of our country. I believe that political ideology is inherently designed to be diverse. I respect and value those who subscribe to the the conservative thought. I believe that we must come together in our partisanship and serve all of the people, not just the wealthy, or the religious, or value any one group over another. It is there where I believe the fundamental differences begin.

I shall remain a liberal. A proud liberal who won't be dissuaded by the twisting of a societal label. A liberal who still believes in the power of our government and the promise that it holds for us. A liberal who hopes to humbly serve all of the people, especially those who have no voice and who aren't society's favored sons and daughters.

If that equates me with being extreme, then I'll proudly hold my head up high and remember the words of one of the loudest and proudest of liberals, John F. Kennedy as he said
I believe for these reasons that liberalism is our best and only hope in the world today. For the liberal society is a free society, and it is at the same time and for that reason a strong society. Its strength is drawn from the will of free people committed to great ends and peacefully striving to meet them.
I will always remain a liberal, loud and proud, and believe that I am all the better for it.

(Cross-posted on two very fine liberal websites, Michigan Liberal and DailyKos)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Healthcare in Ingham - On the Right Track

In Michigan everyone thinks Jobs is the No. 1 issue, particularly with this most recent election.
For most, it might be.
But if we get truly back to the basics, you realize that if you're not healthy, you can't work, much less find a job.
In continuing to focus on what is GREAT about Michigan, instead of the Dick DeVos Right's tactics of Doom and Gloom, I thought I'd take a look at the healthcare climate right here in Michigan's capital, Ingham County. I hope that our county can act as a progressive model for the rest of Michigan, all the while keeping Michigan GREAT!

I've always said the best offense is a good defense.

Glad to see Ingham County is taking that to heart when it comes to county health care.

As mentioned last month by LLP-endorsed County Commissioner Curtis Hertel Jr., county residents now have a new health-benefits program for the uninsured. The Ingham Health Plan is designed for low-income residents who don't have health insurance. But, it is not actual health insurance, it's a health-benefits program. If it sounds confusing, you're not alone. I had to read it a couple times before I actually got it. Courtesy of Dr. Dean Siekno, Medical Director for the Ingham County Health Department.

The Ingham Health Plan offers benefits in primary care, specialty services, most outpatient laboratory and x-ray services, and pharmaceuticals under a restricted, yet reasonable formulary.

The program does not pay for inpatient hospitalization. Philosophically the IHP intends to use its resources to provide primary care services to a greater number of people; the intent is that access to primary care services for greater numbers of people will avert unnecessary emergency room visits and preventable hospitalizations.

County officials estimate that less than 80 percent of young adults between 18 and 24 years of age have health insurance while almost 100 percent of adults over age 55 have coverage.

Income is another significant factor — less than 80 percent of persons with annual household incomes under $20,000 per year have health insurance while nearly 100 percent of those with incomes over $50,000 are covered.

The IHP has two benefit programs: Plan A and Plan B.

Plan A offers more robust benefits, but to qualify for Plan A a person can earn no more than a meager $285 per month.

For Plan B, a version with more modest benefits, a single person can qualify with an income slightly above $2,000 per month, while a family of four can qualify with an annual household income of about $50,000.

This is all part of the policy that the County Commission adopted to assure accessible healthcare as a top priority for all residents.

The program does have co-pays but these are generally only between $2-$10 depending on the service and the plan that each member is enrolled in.

Of course, as with any health benefits package, there are restrictions, but after looking them over, they seem relatively reasonable. I even had the opportunity (strictly by chance) to speak with someone enrolled with the IHP this weekend while I was getting my hair done, all of things. She was definitely happy to have some coverage, but had a couple complaints, mostly due to the lack of coverage for emergency room visits, but overall, grateful that county even offered the program.

I encourage you to check out all the details, read the fine print (there isn't much) ask questions, call the information line provided and see if this something for you or someone you know.

Ingham County Health Plan Information Page

While you're there, if you or someone you know are a small business owner in Ingham County looking to provide affordable healthcare for your employees, check out the Ingham County Advantage program.

Kudos to Ingham's Board of County Commissioners for doing their part to keep Mid-Michigan great and healthy, all the while keeping the cost to tax-payers reasonable. I hope to speak for others when I say I hope this by no means a stopping point, but rather an excellent point to continue to build up on.

*Hear what folks on the statewide (MichiganLiberal) and national scene have to say about the IHP (DailyKos). You might be surprised!*

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Local Lansing Flavor - Tavern on the Square (Review)

(I had the pleasure of joining Mensch on one of her two trips here, and I think she's done a dandy job with her review.
Have you eaten there? What do you think? We'd love to hear from you! ~LL)

Tavern on the Square
206 S. Washington Square
Lansing, MI 48933
Phone: (517) 374-5555
Review By LLP's Very Own Resident Food Critic - Mensch71

Downtown Lansing has a large number of locally owned restaurants but sadly, few are open for dinner. That trend is changing and the latest entry is Tavern on the Square, a tapas restaurant with a roaring fireplace and a hip loft meets Americana decor. *Make sure you check out the impressive wrought iron chandelier from the second floor.

Tapas traditionally describes Spanish appetizers served as a complimentary offering with drinks. It has evolved into a distinct cuisine where diners order multiple dishes and share with one another. Despite the casual nature of tapas, Tavern on the Square is a bit more upscale and caters to the "suit and tie" crowd.

Tapas generally focuses on Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine but this menu touches on Caribbean, Polish, Asian, Italian, Greek and American classics. A narrower menu focus along with more vigilant sourcing of materials will raise Tavern on the Square from a "it's new, try it" to a "sheesh, you haven't been there yet?!?!".

The menu is cleverly divided into sections, "To Eat While Drinking", "Finely Chopped Tapas Salads & Soups" and "Food for Sharing". Sadly, there are no soups in the soup section, just salads.
The Apricot Wings ($4.50) were sticky, sweet and overly smoked, but the hot dipping sauce cut much of the cloying apricot glaze.
The Square Meat & Cheese Plate ($7) is a composed plate with various meets and cheeses. The Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar was neither Tillamook or cheddar and the prosciutto slices were thick and tough. The drunken goat cheese and the salami were the surprising all-stars of this dish.
Quality is absolutely imperative when offering cheese courses and the Baked Brie with Apples ($7) features a pasteurized version of the great French cheese. It's very mild but a nice accompaniment to the crisp, Michigan apples.
The Square Chicken Salad ($5) and the Spanish Chicken Salad ($5.50) both contain long lists of ingredients with strong flavors including gorgonzola, olive tapenade, fried leeks and drunken goat cheese. The salads come chopped into very small bits and are dressed very lightly. Both salads needed supplemental salt and pepper to bring out the flavor.
A West Coast phenomena, the Fish Tacos ($5) were outstanding. The crispy fish contrasted nicely with the crunchy coleslaw and the creamy guacamole. A quick squeeze of lime and a dash of hot sauce made this the perfect entree.
Pierogies ($6) were filled with mashed potatoes and served with a paprika sour cream. The pierogies had some nice carmelization from pan searing but it wasn't able to disguise the mass produced, artificial taste.
The best part of the meal was the warm cinnamon donuts ($2). Warm and flavorful, these donuts were cakey and moist.

As with any new restaurant, much of the first year is spent working out the kinks in the menu and service. Our service was slow but reasonably attentive. Make sure to order one of the many Coke products offered by Tavern on the Square - the bottles are completely charming.

A return visit in a few months is in order and there will be an updated review at that time.

Rating: 1 STAR (out of 5)

Mensch's Rating Scale

1 STAR - An OK dining experience. OK quality service, food and decor. OK wine list. (Includes new restaurants open less than a year.)

2 STAR - A good dining experience. Good quality service, food and decor. Adequate wine list.

- A very good dining experience. Very good quality service, food and decor. Staff with good wine/spirits knowledge. Good wine list.

- An excellent dining experience. Excellent quality service, food and decor. Staff with strong wine/spirits knowledge. Excellent wine list.

- A superb dining experience. Highest quality service, food and decor. Sommelier or staff with extensive wine/spirits knowledge. Superlative wine list.

Meet Mensch71 - Our Newest Contributor!

Liberal, Loud and Proud is not just about me. It's about what makes Michigan great, and that includes all of its people. I've loved the feedback that all of you have given me on LLP, and I'm glad that so many of you find it worthy of a couple minutes of your day.

In the constant strive to make Michigan and LLP great, I've asked several writers from various parts of the state to contribute. I'm pleased to announce that we will be featuring a semi-regular installment from the first of these contributors, Mensch71.

Who is Mensch71?

Mensch71 is a Lansing-area native who's traveled around the country and part of the world on her stomach. When she's not saving the world, one non-profit at a time, you can find her in the kitchen, planning dinner parties for friends, dishing the dirt over on Chowhound ( or blogging about politics and life. Keep up with Mensch71 on travels in countries and kitchens alike at People Are Strange.

Welcome Mensch71!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Humbled Musings

Tonight was the second time in less than 3 weeks that a diary of mine has been "rescued" on DailyKos. (The first was my Veteran's Day post)

For those of you unfamiliar with Kos, it's The national liberal blog. Thousands of people write dairies there each day, just like MichiganLiberal, but on a much, much larger scale. Each day, about 10-20 diaries are rescued by the Rescue Rangers, and no, they aren't chipmunks. :-D

At the end of each day, a Diary Rescue is posted on the front page of DKos, with a brief summary of each diary. This is a big deal for me because as a relatively new kid on the block (I've been blogging just under a year, and only blogging on Kos for about a month) it's quite the unexpected honor.

I never stuck my toes into the water of this blogosphere because I wanted to be famous, or well known, or to have bragging rights. (If anything, I've endured a lot of teasing from my non-blogging friends and family over the elevation of my dork status since blogging.) I blog because I hope to educate and enlighten others.

A fellow Kossack (the moniker given to those of us who post at DailyKos) had this to say in the comment section, and I'd like to share it.

Everyone should read the MI GOV diary (Posted by Land of the Free)
Liberal Lucy's diary is a must read for everyone. It's a fascinating look at how a Democratic Governor in a state with a struggling economy, and with a ridiculously rich right-wing opponent, was able to win in a landslide.

The theme from the polling results is that Michiganians, while hurting economically, saw through the right-wing crap and voted for competence over empty platitudes. The weird thing is that while they voted overwhelmingly for Granholm (who was behind in the polls last summer) based on many social issues as well as her competence, they also simultaneously voted to create some bans on affirmative action. There are some interesting lessons to be learned from the polling results LL has in her diary. Check it out.

That got me thinking. Here's my response that I posted.

Thanks for Getting It! (Posted by LiberalLucy)

The only reason I blog is to educate others, not because I have a bunch of time on my hands.

There's so much to be learned from all the different states and their elections, but I agree with you, Michigan is a unique case that I dare say will most likely be repeated again.

In one aspect, it gives me pride that Michigan told a billionaire we can't be bought to his uber-conservative ways.

In another aspect, it frightens me to think that as this very moment, the GOP is restocking their candidate inventory, and figuring out how Michigan can be bought and conquered, next time around.

The Liberals own the blogosphere like the Conservatives own the Talk Radio sphere. If we don't continue to strentghen and fortify our strong points, we'll only fall flat on our faces in '08. I hope to God that it's just a really bad nightmare we all have, and never the actual case.

I won't sit by and watch it happen, so I continue to speak up, speak out, and hope to God those who matter are listening.

So another day, another post, another prayer that those who matter actually are listening.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Real Skinny on the Michigan '06 Elections

To say this election was a bit of a doozy is an understatement. I'm glad that I was able to get the real breakdown of the numbers and what it all meant with lpackard this past Friday at the Kellogg Center at MSU for the Off the Record - On the Road 2006 Election Wrap-Up, hosted by our 'favorite' Tim Skubic.

I went to hear what the pollsters had to say, what wasn't in the papers, and what the real numbers were. I think you might be as surprised as I was.
Better yet, we got post-election thoughts from the Granholm, DeVos, Stabenow, and Bouchard campaign people. Pretty interesting. So interesting, I took notes. Not quite live-blogging, but I think you'll enjoy it.

This bit's from Ed Sarpolus with EPIC + MRA...
  • The ad that helped Governor Granholm win more women was her Abortion Ad. Even with the Right-to-Life group, women sided with Granholm because in the end, they didn't want anyone telling them what to do with their body.
  • DeVos lost most retirees after itwas revealed that he believed that if you want health care, you need to get a job.
  • More Michigan voters liked President George W. Bush more than they liked Dick DeVos, and that ain't saying much.
  • Between 8 and 10% of Republicans voted for Granholm based on their feelings over Iraq.
  • More people believed that Michigan's poor economy was the fault of President Bush, not Governor Granholm's.
  • Most people did not believe Michigan is experiencing a single-state recession, contrary to what DeVos said.
  • More voters believed that out of the two candidates, Governor Granholm was the one who "was more honest and truly cares about you."
  • The Single Biggest Complaint voters had about Dick DeVos was that he was unable to define himself for the voters.
  • 51% of voters knew more of Granholm's plan (if re-elected) compared to 31% of DeVos.
  • 59% of voters believed that Governor Granholm was more charismatic, compared to 23% for DeVos.
  • 49% of voters believed that on issues of abortion, stem cell research, intelligent design, gay marriage, Granholm better reflected their personal views, as compared to 35% for DeVos.
  • 45% of voters believed that DeVos' role as President of Amway hurt his chances of winning. - Biggest single factor that he was unable to shake.
and my personal favorite - after the 1st Debate, Dick DeVos lost votes based on (in Sarpolus' words) The Wimp Factor. No explanation, she beat him senseless in that first debate.

Then there's Steve Mitchell. Ah yes, that guy that called it right before the election 46%-44% for Granholm, which quite obviously was not the case. Not too mention that he's good friends/worked for the DeVos team (something that's addressed below).
  • Both Mitchell and Saropolus agreed that this race was most comparable to the 1966 race due to the Vietnam War in terms of negative backlash.
  • Total of 3.8 Million voters, up 600,000 from 2002.
  • DeVos actually won 100,000 more votes than Dick Posthumus did in 2002.
  • Granholm won 500,000 more votes than she did in 2002.
  • Of those who voted in the 2004 Presidential Race, Granholm took 86% of those who voted for John Kerry, and DeVos took 70% of the voters for George W. Bush.
  • Noted extremely high Democratic turn out for Granholm.
  • Granholm won two-thirds of the Independent vote.
Mitchell also credits DeVos' loss with a failure to present his biography through ads, and was not effective in answering the 'China Accusations' from the Granholm camp.
He believes that Governor Granholm ran a superb campaign, but it was more of a national campaign, with lots of backlash over the war, GOP handling of the country, etc.

Upon being questioned by a member of the audience about his integrity in polling, given his association and paid polling services by the DeVos team, Steve Mitchell responded "I'm glad you asked that question." To para-phrase him, he is proud to be very good friends with Dick Posthumus, and did polling for him that showed him down. "As a pollster, all your integrity lays in your numbers." Hmmm...famous last words?

John Truscott is Dick DeVos' man still to this day. He thinks they ran a great campaign, that the media did an excellent job reporting things (I wanted to know about the media, NOT just the Detroit News) and when asked what it was like to have a campaign where money was not issue he responded "Beyond your wildest dreams!" to which everyone laughed at. Too bad it was so true.

Chris DeWitt spoke on behalf of the Granholm campaign and it was nice to see both him and Tom Russell (campaign manager for Stabenow for Senate) thank and credit their campaign staff and workers with a job well done, including our own lpackard. I was happy to see DeWitt also mention how important the Internet was in this campaign (props given to our favorite Granholm Campaign Internet Communications Director, Clint!) and how it's going to increasingly be a larger factor in the future of campaigning.

All-in-all, it was a fruitful evening, and even a bit of a spectator sport. I'm never ceased to be surprised how snarky Michigan politics can get. No one was out right rude, but each side knew how to get their dig in here and there, and it made for a little entertainment throughout the evening.

I was glad to see that the Democrats were the primary ones to touch on the importance of netroots activism in this campaign. I hope that they continue to see how crucial it is to invest time, money and people into this area. I have no doubt that like everything else in this state and country, the Internet is the future. Americans, particularly the 30-somethings and under, are the instant-gratification generations, they want their news and information instantly, pulled up by a couple mouse-clicks. Our party and our candidates must keep up, or get out. I just hope that our party leadership understands that now before its too late.

And now, onward to victory again in '08!

(Cross posted on MichganLiberal and Daily Kos)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Inspiration from a Coincidence

With my last post about the Liberal's Guide to Gift Giving, I received a lot of comments, both on the post and off-line. Frankly, the entire reason I've not posted anything since, is because I've been mulling on these thoughts/comments.
In the creation of this blog, and as one reader aptly put it "Figuring out my place" as a blogger, this has caused me a lot of retrospective contemplating that I might not have normally considered.
As someone who plans on entering the fray of public service one day, I still see things from the outside. I still see more politicians than not who are great at talking the talk, but so few actually walking the talk. As a person who holds integrity as one of her highest values, many find it ironic that I want to go into a field where it's considered a rare find.
Part of the beauty of LLP is that this is a forum to talk and walk. I've always said too many people who blog rant. They justify their ranting by saying that they're 'walking it' by publishing their talk. To that I say pshaw.
The men and women who I truly respect as role models in the battlefield of public policy are those who truly walk their talk. It's about rolling up the sleeves, and going to work, not afraid of getting dirty in the process, or being above anything or anyone. That is exactly what I believe a servant of the people is. That is who I strive to be.

I don't believe in coincidence. I believe everything happens for a reason at exactly the moment it's meant to happen. Case in point - the most recent post about the area's less-fortunate.

Today I had an opportunity to attend an event where Jane Marshall, the executive director of of the Food Bank Council of Michigan spoke about Michigan's hungry. If you recall that article, she's the woman quoted in the LSJ article that inspired my post, and the new permanent additions to this blog on the right side. Now I had no idea that this was the woman in the paper, or that she was going to be the speaker featured at the event. For me, it was just another thing to do/attend on my busy daily schedule. But as I listened to Ms. Marshall, and saw her very startling and disturbing presentation, I realized that this was not a coincidence.

I haven't figured out where this is leading me, but for certain, it's taking me somewhere.
Keep posted as I plow ahead and figure it all out.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Grandma's Applesauce Brown Bread

Yes, that's right, I'm publishing a recipe.
I said it before, and I'll say it again, two things I don't kid about, cooking and politics. After my last post and talk about this Applesauce Brown Bread that I'm giving as gifts has had several of you wanting to try the recipe yourself.
This is Grandma's recipe, and the usual caveat applies - if it's Grandma's you know it's got to be good. (And no, Grandma didn't work for Smuckers.) :-D
I usually divvy it up into 2 small loaves, wrap them in foil and top with a pretty bow for gifts. Of course, I highly recommend keeping a loaf or two for yourself. It's so moist and sweet, you won't even need butter. Folks at the office have already started asking if they can expect one this year, so you know it's a hit.
Without further adieu...

Grandma's Applesauce Brown Bread
Makes: 1 loaf or 2 small loaves
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:45 mins
Servings: 8


  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Applesauce (Chunky or Regular)
  • 2/3 Cups of Softened Margarine
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Cups and 2 Tablespoons of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, cloves and cinnamon, sifting together until well mixed throughout.
  3. Blend sugar, softened margarine, egg, and applesauce.
  4. Combine two mixtures into one bowl, stirring well.
  5. Grease one large regular loaf tin or 2 small tins.
  6. Pour into tin(s) and place in oven on middle rack for 45 minutes.
  7. Bread is done when toothpick comes out dry of the middle.
  8. Set on wire rack to cool approximately 20 minutes.
  9. Serve and enjoy!
Be sure to let me know how much you enjoy it! :-D

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Liberal's Guide to Gift Giving

I pull a 'Scrooge face' and groan as the commericials on TV remind me to hurry up and spend, max out the credit card, and then spend some more on this holiday season. Bah Humbug, indeed!

There are too many going without anything, including a meal this holiday season. What's the point of one more gift? Can't live without one more DVD, a sweater you'll never wear, or one more tool set? Sure you can.

What if - you took all the money you would normally spend in gifts for others and put it towards someone who truly needed it? (Give it to a local shelter/Red Cross/food bank - and get a tax write-off?)
What if - you counted the hours you spend shopping for the perfect gift, waiting in line, asking over-worked and under-paid retail staff only to discover they are out of that size and gave it back to your community? (Volunteer to feed the hungry at a local shelter, staff a food bank/clothing closet, etc)
What if - you gave a gift that would fill a hungry stomach, ensure a warm place to sleep, or just make someone smile who hasn't done so in days? (Donate canned goods, clothing, blood, etc)

You can, right here in Lansing.

There is a terffic article in yesterday's LSJ by a very promising up-and-coming writer, Melissa Domsic about the needy in our very own backyard.

With one in four Lansing residents living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census, local food banks and soup kitchens have reported increases in clients as they begin holiday drives. Others are seeing more first-time visitors.
About half the people who go to Our Savior food pantry are children, Miller said."Times are terrible out there, I think more so than people realize," she said

There's no reason for poverty in Lansing, not when we have such a fantastic and giving community to come together and help make things a little brighter for those in need.

Look to the right and you will see a permanent list of organizations that could use your time, your money, or your food and clothing donation, when ever you can give, not just during the holidays.

This holiday season, I'm not shopping for the usual Christmas fare. I'm putting my meager culinary talents to work and will be baking my Grandmother's Applesauce Brown Bread for my family friends, instead.
I'll be taking the usual gift money and putting it towards canned good items for these local shelters and always making sure to have spare change to give to the bell ringers outside of the local grocery store.
I'll be going through my closets and donating unused/gently used clothing to the various charities with Clothes Closets to give to those who need it more than my closet hangers.

There is no season of giving, nor should there be.
We're part of this community, and we should need to come together as often as we can and join hands and lift up those who need our help.
Give of yourself and your gift recipents won't be the only ones smiling. :-D

For the Inner Wonk in All of Us

Is this You?
1. a student who spends much time studying and has little or no social life; grind.
2. a stupid, boring, or unattractive person.
3. a person who studies a subject or issue in an excessively assiduous and thorough manner: a policy wonk

(courtesy of

If it is, satisfy your Inner Wonk and join me at:

Off the Record - On the Road

2006 Election Wrap-Up
November 17, 2006 - 2:30 to 6 p.m. - Kellogg Center, MSU

Off the Record-On the Road! will feature Tim Skubick as moderator.

The program includes:

  • a review of the election results with top pollsters Steve Mitchell, Mitchell Research &
    Communications, and Ed Sarpolus, EPIC-MRA.
  • highlights of the U.S. Senate Congressional race with Tom Russell, Campaign Manger for Stabenow for U.S. Senate and a representative from the Bouchard for U.S. Senate Campaign and of the gubernatorial race with Chris DeWitt, Communications Director for the Granholm for Governor campaign, and John Truscott, Communications Director for DeVos for Governor campaign.
  • the pundits' perspectives with Bill Ballenger, Inside Michigan Politics; Coit Cook Ford
    III, CCF III Consulting and Associates, LLC; and Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press.

The event will be held at MSU's Kellogg Center, Big Ten Room B, in East Lansing, Michigan. Registration begins at 2:30 p.m., the program will kickoff at 3:00 p.m., and will continue with a networking reception from 5:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

There is no cost associated with attendance, but pre-registration is required. During the reception light hors d'oeuvres will be served and a cash bar will be available. Please RSVP before November 13 with Linda Cleary at Michigan Political History Society. Please e-mail or call 517.333.7996.

The event is being generously sponsored by Comerica Bank, Karoub Associates, Muchmore Harrington Smalley & Associates, Inc., The Rossman Group, and Sault St. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians/Greektown Casino LLC.

A Laugh from South of the Border...

(Courtesy of the Toledo Blade)
Many thanks to Patrick for providing this link on yesterday's post. You can never have too many reasons to laugh in a day.
If any of you would ever like to share a funny, a thought, or vent, you're welcome too right here at LLP. You are what keeps LLP great!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bush: Fatten the Drug Lobby, Starve the People

I'm not an angry person by nature. But mess with health care, and you mess with me.

Case in point - Drug companies are getting rich off the poorest Americans, all thanks to President Bush.

Further proof that President Bush and his cronies are not out to help average Americans.
The Bush administration said on Sunday that it would strenuously oppose one of the Democrats' top priorities for the new Congress: legislation authorizing the government to negotiate with drug companies to secure lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries.
In an interview, Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, said he saw no prospect of compromise on the issue.
In December 2005, just before leaving office, Mr. Leavitt’s predecessor, Tommy Thompson, said he wished Congress had given him the authority to negotiate prices for Medicare beneficiaries, as he negotiated discounts on antibiotics during the anthrax scare of 2001.
New York Times 11-13-06

Medicare Part D, a government insurance program providing prescription drug coverage to over 38 million people, is paid for with our tax dollars.

Because of a 2003 Medicare Law, the federal government is not allowed to negotiate prescription drug prices.
The government is expected to spend at least $31 billion this year on the drug benefit, which provides partial drug coverage for people over age 65, according to the federal agency that runs Medicare. Next year, the program is expected to cost almost $50 billion -- almost 20 percent of overall American drug spending. NY Times 11-06-06
Drug Companies are now posting even larger profits since the start of the Part D program in January of this year.
For big drug companies, the new Medicare prescription benefit is proving to be a financial windfall larger than even the most optimistic Wall Street analysts had predicted. NY Times 11-06-06

The Democrats say that within the first 100 hours of the new session in January, it will introduce legislation to repeal that law.
Representative Nancy Pelosi... has said the House will take up legislation to repeal that ban in its first 100 hours under Democratic control.
Senate Democrats have expressed a similar desire. The eight Democrats newly elected to the Senate all say Medicare should have the power to negotiate with drug makers.
NY Times 11-13-06

The Bush Administration said it will "strenuously oppose" that legislation.

Here's what I don't get.

The government has already put programs in place that negotitateprescriptionrug prices, for example, the Veterans Administration. Democrats say that repealing the ban and allowing the government to negotiate for lower prices could save the government $190 Billion over the next 10 years. Even if this is a slight exaggeration, at the very least, $150 Billion would be an enormous savings for the Federal Government.

So why oppose it?
Exactly who are President Bush and the GOP working for?
The people or the Drug Lobby?

Don't the American people deserve to pay the lowest cost available for their medication? With healthcare costs skyrocketing, and the latest news that the average American faces a 10% jump in healthcare costs, why isn't President Bush willing to do a little more for the average man?

Don't just get angry, get motivated, get out and contact your congressmen and women.

Get on the horn, and start saving our country, our seniors, our disabled and yourself a little dough.

Dick's Demise + An Amway Surprise

While it's nothing new that those of us who followed the campaign closely don't know, the MSU paper - The State News - has a tidy little piece about Dick's downfalls, future (or lack thereof) plans, and some interesting news on Amway.

This news is all thanks to an incredible woman, candidate and governor who soundly defeated Amway Guy by a beautiful 14 point margin. Way to go Gov!

So why didn't Dick win, just for the record?

DeVos, whose wealth is estimated at more than $500 million, spent more than $35 million from his own pocket on the campaign, said Rich Robinson, a financial analyst with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a nonprofit government watchdog group.

"(DeVos) has a record, and I don't think he was able to overcome that despite a heavily funded campaign," Robinson said. "He has a long record as an interest-group lobbyist, on all kinds of tax, but particularly inheritance."

Largely self-funded campaigns are not generally successful because they often reflect a narrow support base, Robinson said.

Despite record spending for a Michigan gubernatorial race, Robinson said DeVos lost to an incumbent who raised less than one-third of what he did.


But it wasn't just the money. And clearly, all that money did nothing to solicit good advice on his TV advertisements...
MSU political campaigns expert Charles Atkin said DeVos made strategic mistakes in the way he executed his campaign.

While DeVos started his campaign early and was able to garner name recognition, Atkin said the Republican candidate's advertising approach backfired.

"For a candidate like DeVos, positive ads would help him to be recognized. They help to identify that he has positive ideas and qualities," Atkin said.

"The proportion of positive ads and negative ads was very skewed," he added. "Candidates have to be very careful because (negative ads are) a risky form of persuasion. They wear out much faster."

In addition, DeVos appeared in many of the negative ads, which is uncommon for candidates, Atkin said.

No real surprise there either, but still, I think it helps to have what a lot of us have been saying for a while now echoed by an expert.

I really think Amway's image took a thumping itself in this election. What really caught my eye in this entire article is here

In a post-campaign twist, positive ads promoting Amway Corp. — the company DeVos used to run as CEO — began airing last Monday on WSYM-TV, FOX 47, Lansing, said Lyle Schulze, the station's general manager.

The ads will continue until Sunday and were paid for by Alticor Inc., the parent company of Amway.

The ads feature a medley of employees saying, "I am Amway." Throughout the campaign, Granholm accused DeVos of outsourcing Amway jobs to China when he ran the company.

The Associated Press reported the ads are the first that Amway has run in the United States in 20 years.

See Dick.

See Jen.

See them run.

Run, Dick, run!

Run, Jen, run!

See Jen win!

See Dick leave.

Bye, bye Dick!

Monday, November 13, 2006

It's County Convention Time!!!!

Thanks to a friendly reminder from MichLib's lpackard, we all need to mark our calendars because it's time for our county convention!

Ingham Co. Democractic Party(ICDP) is having their convention this Saturday !

Here's the details ---

Ingham County Democratic Party Convention
Plumbers and Pipefitter's Hall (Local 333)
5405 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48910 Map here

Registration starts at 9:30am.
Convention lasts from 10am - 12:00pm

For more information call 517.337.0027
or visit their website

You must be a registered member with the Michigan Democratic Party, but you can join online in minutes for low as $15.00!

Suffice to say, this will be a great opportunity to get involved at the local level and meet other like-minded folks. Of course, you can have a hand in your county politics!

Who's going?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Drinking Liberally - Coming to Lansing!

So the election's over, and all of us are asking "Now what?"
In the spirit of all that's great here in Lansing, a couple folks in our fine town are going to be starting back up our very own Drinking Liberally Chapter.
Wondering if all the super-blogging before last week left me a little loose in the noggin? Not quite, but since you're wondering exactly what Drinking Liberally is, I'll let the fine folks at DL break it down for you...

What is Drinking Liberally?

An informal, inclusive progressive social group. Raise your spirits while you raise your glass, and share ideas while you share a pitcher. Drinking Liberally gives like-minded, left-leaning individuals a place to talk politics. You don't need to be a policy expert and this isn't a book club - just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent frustration and hang out in an environment where it's not taboo to talk politics.

Bars are democratic spaces - you talk to strangers, you share booths, you feel the bond of common ground. Bring democratic discourse to your local democratic space - build democracy one drink at a time.

While drinking liberally, always remember to drink responsibly, and make liberal use of designated drivers. Drinking and driving is reckless and irresponsible, like a neocon war or corporatist tax cut. Liberals, don't do it.

Got your interest piqued? Excellent!

These fine Lansing Liberals who are attempting to organize a monthly group to meet need your input. Here's what they'd like to know...

  • What night of the week works best for you to meet?
  • Which bar/restaurant in the Lansing area would you like to meet?
  • What time would you like to meet?
We can meet anytime of the day, but since most of us work, anytime after 6pm would probably be best.

The best thing about DL is that it's open to anyone, it's free, they aren't attached to any candidate, cause, party or campaign, and it's a great place to meet new friends, all the while investing in our community!

Alright, so let's hear what you have to say so we can start our chapter up!