add to the list of reasons to leave Michigan

Chuck Moss, Michigan State Rep for District 40,  which of course is my district.

I voted for this yahoo in the last election(2008), even though at the time it seemed like a good idea to chuck every Republican out of office. Of course, as we’ve learned allowing one party to have too much power is a recipe for disaster. Anyway, the dude seemed reasonable enough, I mean for a politician and a lawyer. I know, what was I thinking?

Anyhoo… I might have continued to hold such a view if I hadn’t made the  mistake of sending him an email expressing my discontent over the matter of school budget cuts. It wasn’t my idea, but at the request of the PTA.  These cuts will come after funds from the state had already been set. And this isn’t the first time that Lansing has done this to our schools.

Anyway the response I got was typical political malarkey. Check it:

Dear Chris,

Thanks for writing me about the School Aid Fund budget.  This budget is a Bi-partisan, Democratic/Republican effort to balance the budget.  House Speaker Andy Dillon and Majority Leader Mike Bishop joined hands to get a budget done and avoid a shutdown.  I don’t like all the cuts either, especially to education, but with our revenues down 22% and unemployment at 15%, we face hard choices.

Actually, the budget as adopted decreases the per-pupil state aid by $218, but allows local districts the flexibility to absorb the cuts by reducing or eliminating any other funded (categorical) program except a handful like Durant, special education, school lunch.  In other words, the schools can use the “categorical” money for their own educational priorities, something that school groups specifically asked for.

Once again, no one wants to make any cuts to schools, but when our income goes down so drastically, we have to do what every family does and tighten our belts and live within our means.

Chuck Moss

Of course I get the obligatory thanks for writing which is immediately followed by Chuckie touting the Bi-partisian efforts, as if this is some great accomplishment, when it should be the norm. I love the “joined hands” phrase, as if to conjure images of too best buddies frolicking in a meadow. Then of course I get hit with numbers to set me up for the justification for the cuts, which comes with the rhetorical device of  beginning with “Actually….” an attempt to strike a pose that suggest this is really not as bad as it sounds, and in fact you should be thankful it is not worse. But I don’t think anyone would be thankful for $218 per pupil cut, especially after the district was already counting on this money. Because these dipshits up in the state capitol cannot get their act together in time we, the citizens, have to suffer. Furthermore, Mr. Moss sees no problem in cutting things like special education and school lunches, because the unfortunate children with disabilities aren’t really worth education anyway and there’s no need to provide a hot lunch option to our children.  They should suck it up and brown bag it like he did, it’ll build character.

I found it curious that he does not like all the cuts but he does not explicitly express his dislike for the cuts to schools. This made me wonder, since Mr. Moss lives in Birmingham and has two daughters, do his children attend the public schools. Turns out they do not, although they did. They’re grown now and —  wait for it — that’s right living out of state.  Lucky for them, eh. They got their education, from the same school that my daughter now attends. And then what? Bolted the state, which I can hardly blame them for. After all, we plan to do the same, although in mine and my wife’s defense we paid for our state-school educations here in Michigan and have worked and paid taxes in the state for more than a reasonable amount of time. But I digress, as I am prone to do. The point is, Mr. Moss really has no vested interest in the schools. But I can’t help but wonder what cuts are not being made. Not to mention will this budget include reasonable tax increases to balance the cuts.

In another email, I called Mr. Moss out on this point and he seemed to feel that his daughters having once attended B’ham school gave him some kind of credibility on the matter. Talk about political gobbledygook, a term that Mr. Moss took offense to. He’d have preferred that I call his position bullshit! Why are so many Republicans potty mouths? Or trying to pick up other men in potties. Oooh! That was just so wrong.

Another bit of political gobbledygook that I called Mr. Moss out on was his attempt to endear himself and deflect constituent ire but referring to  us all as a family. He denied this was what he was trying to do, claiming that is the gov’s rhetoric. The gov happens to be a Democrat and so often used by Repubs such as Mr Moss as a scapegoat or someone to pass the buck to. Criticism of the Gov are not wholly undeserved. Of course, that doesn’t make them useful or productive. It is just petty sniping and a waste of time, which is why the solution to the budget crisis here in Michigan has become so dire. Anyway, to further counter Mr. Moss backpedaling, I found this video clips of him using that very same phrase.

Also worth nothing in this video is his mumbling dismissal of cuts that would effect children and seniors at approximately 1:39.

And then at approximately 2:49 he takes a partisan dig at Dems, saying that the stimulus money from Obama is like oil money, and suggesting that the state should not be taking it. Because it is more important to cut school budgets than to accept funds from a President that isn’t of your party.

But is this a good reason to leave the state? No, not alone. But considering it along with other factors, it makes the move easier to justify, not that justication is required.


should we stay or should we go

For the last few years C and I have been kicking around the idea of moving out-of-state (Michigan, for those who aren’t aware).

Okay, C’s been wanting to move for some time and I’ve been dragging me feet. Why? Search me (just watch you hands mister).  But not anymore. I’m ready to live some place else. Not that I dislike Michigan so much. In fact, there’s plenty to like about Michigan. But it ain’t all gravy either. With each passing year the winters get more unbearable. And summer, when temps get up into the 90s and the humidity makes it like breathing through wet, wool blanket, can be rough. Plus we live near Woodward and I’ve pretty much had with the Woodward Dream Cruise. We get it already — you people like cars. Sheesh!

Anyhoo…I got to thinking that maybe this is something to blog about. Off and on. Reasons to leave, reasons to stay. Possible places to relocated to. Etc.

So let’s begin with perhaps the most glaringly obvious reason to bolt Michigan. The shite economy. Which is pretty shite right now but, according to Jack Lessenberry in a recent column of his in the Metro Times it is going to get a whole lot shite-ier.

….what few of us realize is that the very real pain many of us will feel hasn’t even started yet. That will happen starting this fall. Here’s the scoop. The federal government can run a deficit bigger than Betelgeuse, as long as it can keep borrowing money from somewhere.

But the state legally has to balance its books every year, meaning that if they don’t have it, they can’t spend it. When the politicians run short of money to do what they planned on, like fixing the roads or funding schools, they have two choices: a) cut services or b) raise revenues, via taxes or fees.

Hmm. I wonder which one it’s going to be? Let me think, let me think. Of course, cut services b/c the Repub dominated congress would rather kiss Hillary Clinton’s warty butt than raise taxes. Okay, maybe not….no, they would.

“This should scare the (used hay) out of any thinking person in Michigan,” she told me. The Republican-controlled state Senate is on course to eliminate all funding for early childhood development, she reported.

Why don’t Repubs like children? Why?

And Dem Gov Jenny Grannyholm seems tempermentally incapable of taking these yahoos on.

So Fed Stimular money has been tapped to fill the whole in the budget. So bye bye new job creation. And in the end it still won’t be enough.

…sometime before September 2011, all that money will be gone. And if something isn’t done to change the entire way Michigan plans its budget, there will be a great crash, a deficit probably larger than $2 billion, and no obvious way to get that money, short of selling ourselves to Azerbaijan

I’m pretty sure the Azerbaijan comment is a joke, but at this point it almost sounds like a plausible alernative, doesn’t it?

The way ol’ Jack sees it we have two options:

We could accept that we want Michigan to be on a par with Haiti, or maybe Albania, and stop funding education and social services and forget about fixing the roads and bridges.

Or, we could raise taxes to something like the level required to maintain a civilized society. The best way to do that would be to pass a state constitutional amendment allowing a graduated income tax, which means that Matty Moroun and Geoffrey Fieger would pay a higher percentage than a kid who works at Holiday Market bagging groceries for $8 an hour.

I’m all for a graduated income tax b/c I don’t make much, and I get warm tingly feeling in my naughty bulbous parts at the prospect of sticking it to the rich. Take that fat cats!

Just to give you an idea of how bat shit crazy some pols in this state are:

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop is perhaps the prime example of this. Last week, he attacked the governor’s plan to lay off 104 new state troopers, all trained by the state at considerable expense to the taxpayers. The Freep quoted him as saying, “We’ve lost our mind … we’re not focusing on law enforcement.”

The governor says she hates doing it too; it is just that there is no money. Bishop’s response? His Senate Republicans called for another $4 million in cuts to the State Police budget next year


Sounds like Bishop hasn’t had his little bishop polished in a while and it’s making him cranky, not to mention coo coo for co co puffs.

Anyhoo… My point is with all this shit about to rain down on the heads of Michiganders, tell me where is the insentive to stay for crying out loud? Would you?

Right now C and I both have jobs and not much debt. But for how long? Better to bolt ahead of the crash if you can.

Let’s call that reason number 1 for bolting Michigan for new digs. And on a scale of 10-1, 1o being the most significant and 1 being the least, I’d rate it at least a 9.