Friday, August 31, 2007

A Michigan Trailhead

= Pure Michigan.

Don't you just love these videos?

Happy Friday, friends.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Worst of the Worst: My Bad Boss Series

From the files of the excellent folks at the official blog of the AFL-CIO, hear are some Michiganders "My Bad Boss" entries.

I can only hope that they don't sound that familiar.

Mr. Leader
Snow Days
120% Efficiency
The Euchre Player (you know that one's from MI!)
Management by Drugs
Bad Boss -- hmm sounds like KMart, Amway, Enron, etc. You decide!
Unfair to Senior Citizens

and of course the winner, who sounds like a truly despicable boss.

Got a terrible boss? Submit your story below in the comments, and to Working America, the organization working for you. Union benefits even if you don't have a union at your workplace. Check em out and join up!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

While I'm fighting the Stone...

I'll also be fighting for others, and I sure could use your help.

Tuesday morning at 10:30 I'll be testifying before the House Commerce Committee about the Restroom Access Bill, HB 5046, introduced by Rep. Andy Meisner, and co-sponsored by Mid-Michigan Representative Barb Byrum. The bill is designed to provide restroom access to people with eligible medical conditions where a public bathroom might not specifically be available, i.e. retail businesses.

Rep. Meisner introduced the original bill two years ago, spurred by a constituent with Crohn's Disease who would no longer shop outside of her home because of an incident where the retail establishment would not let her use their private bathroom resulting in a very embarrassing situation for her.

This is no joke. When you have a digestive disease such as Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), etc, there are times where you need immediate access to a bathroom. Being denied it, especially as an adult, is incredibly humiliating and embarrassing. Certain aspects of your entire life are controlled due to your disease.

For instance, for the 10 years that my Crohn's was particularly bad, there were certain restaurants and stores that I refused to visit because they either did not have public bathrooms or they were less than hygienic to use, and that I knew should the sudden and terrible urge hit me, I would be left in a very undesirable situation. I know this to be the case of most others who suffer with these conditions.

These businesses lost out on my business, and in turn, the state lost out on much needed revenue in the form of sales tax. It was a losing situation for all parties involved.

For those of you thinking that it's just common sense for people to make their bathrooms available to someone with a medical condition like the ones described above, I'd agree with you. Unfortunately reality dictates that common sense is not always so common.

The bill works because it gives responsibilities to both the consumer and the business.
The customer provides the retail establishment with a copy of a statement on a prescription form that indicates the customer suffers from an eligible medical condition or utilizes an ostomy device, signed by a doctor.
Protections for the business include -
Two or more employees of the retail establishment are working at the time the customer requests use of the employee toilet facility.
The employee toilet facility is not located in an area where providing access would create an obvious health or safety risk to the customer or an obvious security risk to the retail establishment.
Many of us know someone who lives with either Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, IBS, and/or lives with an ostomy. We also know probably know of the pain, the embarrassment, and trials they have been through to carry on with their lives. As you support them in their goal to live a productive life, also support them in their quest to be have the same privileges and rights you would want if you were in their shoes.

Take three minutes out of your day and ask your state representative to support HB 5046, the Restroom Access Bill. Make Michigan the supportive state we know it to be, in our communities, in our health, and in our commerce.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gone Fishin' ...

...for a kidney stone. No joke.

A trip to the local Urgent Care last night revealed the biggest kidney stone the doctor had ever seen lodge in my lil ol kidney. Actually, if you want to get technical, the body is only capable of passing a 4 mm stone. Mine is a whopping 3 cm. Fantastic, huh?

I spent most of the YearlyKos Convention trying to pass one that was nothing compared to this. For those of you who've had kidney stones, you know how bad they are. For those of you who haven't, imagine childbirth, or so I've been told by mothers who've had the stones.

Tomorrow I find out if it's going to get lasered to be blown up into smaller pieces that my body can handle, or if I have to have yet another surgery to have it removed.

So, I might be out for a couple days, but hopefully not.

The pain's terrible, the prospect of another medical procedure, much less a surgery is terrifying, and I'm reminded again of the realities of life with Crohn's Disease.

While my Crohn's is in remission, and there's no active disease within my body, the absence of my large intestine (colon) makes it very hard for my body to absorb nutrients and minerals, particularly calcium. For some reason, calcium has always been hard on my body since my ileostomy surgery 9 years ago. I've grown used to the calcium forming these stones in my kidneys several times a year and then my body trying to rid itself of them. Problem is, this is the first time the stones have been so big I can't physically pass them.

The problems my forever-weakened immune system now face are a serious kidney infection, and my blood count being too high and too low, all at the same time. If left unattended, this particular stone has the potential of causing permanent damage to my kidneys, and my body's not quite equipped to deal with that or a serious infection, after a previous infection years ago nearly killed me.

I'm not complaining, because I'm still alive. This is just another day in the life of a person who lives with a chronic illness and the frequent reminders of how precious the good days really are.

This maybe not what I have ordered, but it's another opportunity to learn to appreciate what you have and to continue to make a difference in the lives of others, because in the end, that's what life is really about.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Working Together

With all the bad news about our economy, I'm amazed that more people aren't doing more to work together to get it back on track.

I've always been a big fan of leading by example, whether it's our leaders, our friends and family or ourselves. That being said...

Angela is a fellow Lansingite (is that what we're called?) who's made some very pretty baubles and selling them on her Etsy page. I'm always looking for pretty things, and the hardest decision I'm faced with is which one I start with, but at least I've narrowed it down to three.

There's this bracelet, followed by this one, and finally this necklace, of course listed in no particular order. :-)

So when you're in the market to buy something pretty for yourself or someone else, shop local, shop liberal/progressive, shop Lansing.

(While you're at, be sure to check out Angela's blog and think about becoming a regular reader there as well!)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Weekend Travels and a Must-Read Book

Happy Friday.

I'm going to be spending the weekend packing in a lot of hours in the car, traveling to and fro.

Having a weakness for cheese, I'm excited that I'll be stopping by an excellent frommage factory and picking up some yummy for home.

Even though I'll be in the car, I won't be doing as much driving as I will be enjoying some delicious hours with a pile of books that I'm taking with me. Among those in my list and pertinent to you, the readers of this humble little blog is one read that is getting more fascinating by day.

Religion Gone Bad by Rev. Dr. Mel White is a fascinating look into the fundamental Christian movements war on gays and lesbians in America, led by James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Pat Buchanan.

White is well qualified to lead this discussion. He's an evangelical pastor who's worked at the highest levels of the fundamentalist movement for over 20 years with the likes of Robertson, Dobson, Falwell and others.

  • Among some of the more scarier revelations in the book (pun intended) -
    In August 2004, Dobson used one of his Focus on the Family broadcasts to compare the ethics of embryonic stem-cell research to "Nazi medical experiments on prisoners." (pg 87)

  • In October 2005 - Dobson made it known that he had a private "conversations" with Karl Rove about Harriet Miers, the woman nominated by Bush to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and that during the conversation he was trusted with information ..."that I probably shouldn't know." The media had a field day. The Democrats and even some Republicans demanded to know why Dobson had more information about the president's nominee than they did. (pg. 88)
If things like that don't make you shudder, well, I'm not sure what would.

I've said time and time again, as a spiritual person I will never advocate to criticize anyone's personal beliefs. I am a very staunch supporter of a very clear separation between church and state, it's clear that the mainstays of the Republican Party have become anything but.

But back to my travels. There's several other lighter books on the list to be read, and a good time with friends and family.

Here's hoping you have an enjoyable weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Color My World

I got to admit, I think the Pure Michigan campaign is one of the cleverest ad campaigns the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has come up with yet.

Not only is it truly memorable, it's beautifully shot, written extremely well, and Michigan-native Tim Allen does a fantastic job narrating it. All in all, it can't be beat. Even the California ads with Paul Newman, Terri Hatcher, and Austrian native Ahh-nawld Schwartzenegger can't beat the gem that is the Pure Michigan campaign.

Never doubt the beauty and charm that is Pure Michigan.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Help Mid-Michigan's kids succeed in school

It's no secret that many folks in Michigan, particularly in the Mid-Michigan area, have been hit hard by the state's economic problems. It's one thing for adults to suffer, but when it affects children, it just seems that much worse. Thank goodness we can all be a part of the solution.

The City Rescue Mission on Michigan Avenue in downtown Lansing is on its annual mission to make sure children from low-income families have what they need to return to school with its Backpack and Supplies Drive.

According to an article in today's LSJ, the drive is already off to a roaring start, but on a more depressing note, the number of children in need is also up.

With the Lansing School District canceling their annual drive, there's still a possibility that some children could go without.

If you would like to help out some children in need, drop off a brand new/gently used backpack full of new school supplies to City Rescue Mission, or call 485-0145 for further info.

It really does take an entire village city to raise a child. Be a part of the community and help out some kids in need.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rest in Peace, Miles

A couple months ago I highlighted the story of Miles Levin, the 18 year-old from Oakland County that was fighting a rare and often deadly form of cancer.

Since his story was told in the Detroit News, I've been following his fight and journey on CarePages, a great blogging tool made especially for those in hospital or fighting serious illnesses, something they didn't yet have when I was so sick.

About a month ago, doctors made it clear that Miles would not beat his cancer and while those of us following along knew the end was near, many of us still hoped for a miracle.

Each time as of late that I received an email notifying that Miles' page had been updated, a sense of dread loomed over. This morning it was confirmed, Miles passed away.

I can't imagine what his parents and sister must be going through, but I bet for him personally it is a relief and a blessing, or at least, that's how I would imagine it after my long experience with a serious illness and pain.

Often times when my body was racked with pain and the illness seemed to completely consume every part of my life, I prayed for an end to it all.

Sometimes that meant death, other times it meant a deep, unconscious sleep that lasted for months until my body could heal itself. I never quite tolerated painkillers very well, and my threshold for pain was so high, that often times I was just left to deal with it, despite the doctors and nurses best efforts.

Miles described his last couple weeks as full of pain, something that reminded me a lot of my pain, mind-numbing and all-consuming. While I don't believe that anyone really sets out to die, given his experience, his pain, and his revelations on life and dying with dignity, I believe that Miles was ready to move on from this earthly life to something better. Here are his words, courtesy of the Detroit News, on death and dying -

If my struggle with cancer galvanizes actions of goodness, I can rest assured that even if I succumb to the rogue cells I will leave behind a legacy of victory. Dying is not what scares me. It's dying and having had no impact.

Miles will be missed by many of us who never met him. The thousands and thousands of lives he touched through his blog, his interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, his caregivers at Beaumont Hospital, and of course his friends and family can never quite be counted. His impact on all of us, guiding us how to live and die with dignity in a most uncontrollable situation will be forever felt.

Rest in peace Miles, God knows you've earned it.

Update: The Detroit News' Laura Berman has a touching memoriam to Levin here

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Life's little moments

Interesting thing life is, isn't it?

You sail around doing your thing, whether that's work or a hobby, or caring for someone, and then you get one of those little wake-up calls.

You know, those wake up calls, bad news from the doctor, shocking news from a friend, something in the news that really strikes you, etc. The ones that really just jar the core of your very being.

It's almost as if we enclose ourselves in our happy little worlds, set on auto-pilot, doing our thing, just like a bubble. But one poke at the balloon in just the right manner, and then wa-bam, you realize you're off on the shoulder watching everything zoom by, and you're still trying to recover your senses.

We get through it, we experience that situation, taking it in, almost being consumed as we attempt to get on with the rest of our day, and then sooner or later you find yourself back in the bubble set to auto-pilot.

Do we learn from it? Do we take something away that's now ingrained not only in our memory but also in our soul?

I think we have too, because that's how we survive and how we go on to live richer, fuller lives and learn how to cope through the future moments when life pulls out the rug under our feet. Otherwise, what's the point?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Funny - Markos v. Stephen Colbert

When it comes to politics and comedy, nothing says funny like Stephen Colbert.

Tie that in with my awesome experience at the YearlyKos Convention two weeks ago, and you've got yourself one heck of a package.

Markos Moulitsas is the founder of DailyKos, and not just a visionary but a real great guy to hang out with. Despite Bill O'Reilly's grandeur illusions about what DailyKos really is, it's a community of people, might like MichiganLiberal, who just care about their country and work together to make it a better place.

Today's funny is a clip from The Colbert Report with Markos as a guest. Watch and laugh along, especially towards the end.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Polish your Halo, if you please

Take a look over to the right side of the page, and you might notice a new addition to LLP.

I've thought long and hard about giving folks an opportunity to donate or support this blog, while I hate asking people to give, the truth is, blogging is a very time-consuming activity.

Blogging at Liberal, Loud and Proud is always a wild ride. No matter the rhyme or reason behind my posts, each is published with a little bit of my soul embedded right into it.

While I can never put a price on my soul or the lives it touches, your contribution helps keep me going and provides the material means to keep the lights on and the Internet flowing. More importantly, it adds to the necessary dialog that our society needs to continue if we're going to keep moving up and out.

Come for the commentary, stay for the snark, join the discussion and enjoy the entire experience that is Liberal, Loud and Proud.

And to steal a line from WKAR/NPR/PBS, if this is something you enjoy reading each day, then please donate what you feel it's worth.

With deep thanks and heartfelt gratitude,

~Liberal Lucy

Monday, August 13, 2007

More dirt on the LSJ's fight against State Employees

It wasn't bad enough for the Lansing State Journal to throw state employees under the proverbial bus by publishing their names and salaries in an online database.

Now they're trying to excuse it in their latest piece on the issue, and it's just disgusting. For the full scoop, hop over to my post on MichLib.

Here's a little additional info and commentary on the entire debate and what you may or may not have seen and heard -
  • City Pulse Opinionist and State Employee William Pettit penned a fantastically sharp piece for the July 25th publication that you won't want to miss.
  • The LSJ was founded in 1855 as the Lansing Republican, but later changed to The State Republican five years later. -- Ahh, so much makes sense now...
  • According to Wikipedia, the LSJ's circulation numbers were 71,945 morning and 91,175 Sunday. According to the Gannett website, the numbers are actually 71,386 morning and 89,020 Sunday. Assuming that neither of those numbers were taken before the state employee boycott, those number could be reduced by a thousand or two.
  • State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cliff Taylor actually had some harsh words for the paper. Republican Taylor lands a couple square on with his heavy hitting words. I know, I know, this maybe the first and only time I will compliment Cliff Taylor.
Stay tuned to LLP and MichLib for further development and news on this evolving story.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Nicknames = Pure Michigan

Call it your 30 seconds of Michigan respite for the weekend. Sit back, watch it, enjoy, and then maybe even watch it again.

Perhaps you live in one of these great towns and cities?

As Tim Allen reminds us, it all starts here.

Happy Saturday, friends

Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Voices Join the Chorus

It never ceases to make my day when I learn of a couple new blogs on the block. Check 'em out, add them to your Bloglines, keep going back, you'll be glad you did.

The Audacity of Hoek
: Another friend in the fight for Congress!
Exposing the hypocrisy, lies and rubberstamp legislative actions of Michigan's 2nd Congressional District Representative Pete Hoekstra
Hot damn, yet another fantastic Congressional District Watch Blog joining the fight! This blog's already on fire, make sure you stop by.

My Left Pinkie: This blog was a long time coming. From the spot o' blue amongst all that red on Michigan's west side, MLP was created by a good friend, Perfect Stormer, who gives this girl much too much credit -
LiberalLucy. If you're from Michigan, stop right there. You know who Lucy is--she needs no introduction. If you're not from Michigan...well, LiberalLucy is affectionately known as the Cruise Director of the Michigan lefty blogosphere, and for good reason. Watching that woman work her mojo is like lighting off fireworks indoors (yes, I stole this phrase from the New York Times review of the original Broadway production of Rent, but it fits Lucy too).
So glad you finally got your own fireworks going off there in Muskegon County!

The SuperSpade:
Black Thought at the Highest Level, the communications arm of Powerful Holdings, is a forum that presents critical, intellectual perspectives on the current issues. The goal of this space is to provide actionable commentary on social, political, and personal issues affecting the daily lives of individuals. We tie issues to people’s everyday decisions, so that they can then use these decision points and opportunities to create change. Since November 9, 2005, The SuperSpade has been energizing and mobilizing young people across the country, encouraging intellectual discourse on current events, as well as meaningful actions to help the community.
Need I say anymore? Brandon and I got to know each other at YearlyKos, and I know we can expect awesome things from him and the rest of the folks at SuperSpade in the near future.

You can find these and the rest of the Michigan lefty blogs on the right side of this page.

Speaking of Michigan's lefty blogs, have you heard all about them?

Back Yard = Pure Michigan

No matter how many times I watch these, I get the goosebumps.

I just love my state.

Good News for Pure Michigan Fun

There's nothing like a quick dip in the lake or pool to cool off in this hot summer heat. It's refreshing and relaxing and swimming is fantastic exercise.

Here in Mid-Michigan, you don't have any excuse not too.

From the LSJ -

Area health and environmental experts have deemed mid-Michigan lakes safe for swimming. A recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council raised questions about bacterial contamination at ocean and fresh water beaches. No local swimming areas made the list.

Andy Bunnell, a health inspector for Ingham County who has conducted beach inspections, said the foam Zhus encountered likely was harmless. Probably nothing more than water stirring up or decaying organisms in the lake.

"If there are any problems with the water, it's not necessarily something you can touch, smell or taste," said Bunnell, adding that's why the health department requires testing of the county's four beaches once a week.

Bunnell said the water quality for swimming in Ingham County is "exceptional," attributing it to the lakes being somewhat isolated, which makes them less likely to experience severe storm water runoff.

This is in contrast to the high number of beaches and lakes across the country that are experiencing increased levels of contamination due to a variety of factors. Growing up the Metro Detroit area, it seems as if Metro Beach was closed more than it was opened.

For a state that prides itself on its lakes, rivers and streams, this is a serious threat to not just our ecological system, but also our tourism industry.

For instance, take a walk over to, home of those fantastic Pure Michigan commercials that send chills up my spine each time I hear one. Look at the number of destinations that are highlighted around water.

We need to take care of our environment, we need to protect our natural resources, and without a doubt, it can be done all the while growing and bolstering our state's economy. It's not rocket science, it's green and life science technology, all things Gov. Granholm and the Democrats have been working hard on.

So while you head down to one of Mid-Michigan's pristine beaches, or head north or west to enjoy our Great Lakes, remember Michigan, and think about how you can help make our Pure Michigan becoming a winning factor here in the state.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Help Old Town Win National Contest!

It's no secret how much I love Old Town, the historic part of Lansing which has now found itself the bustling center of art and culture.

Thanks to local lefty talk radio show host Walt Sorg, I heard all about Old Town's latest efforts to continue to grow and develop in a national contest sponsored by Swedish Ikea.

By signing up to vote, you can ensure that Old Town wins this contest which will give 10 businesses in Old Town $5,000 in Ikea supplies each.

The businesses include:

Old Town Commercial Association
Portable Feast and Friends
Preuss Pets
The Head Room Salon
Gone 2 the Dogs
Vernadine's Soul Food
Pablo's Panaderia
The Sierra Club
Elderly Instruments
Such Video (who made the beautiful video)

Stop by and vote, and pass it on to your friends!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bill Richardson Sighting @ YearlyKos

It's amazing, I look up from where I'm sitting at YearlyKos and there's Bill Richardson, standing right there.

A man next to me exclaims, ''With all the media here, you'd think Lindsay Lohan was around.''

I thought to myself, this is how it should be, more attention paid to politics than the latest messed up child-actor....

Don't you agree?