Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voter Guide

Today is election day, and if you’re anything like me (let’s hope not) you’ll be whistling over your morning breakfast at the thought of taking part in the wonderful democratic practice. Election day is my Superbowl Sunday. Every first Tuesday in November I’m like a baby in a titty bar. And if you think about it, it’s a lot like legalized gambling. Only you can’t win money… just good policies. And you can’t really lose anything that you haven’t already lost. At least not immediately. I mean other than your soul... but who needs a soul?

Our very own Journalistic Error had a “Voter Guide” enclosed this week, assuring that those of us too stupid to make up out own minds could still take part in the democratic process. Because I know that a lot of people are guilted into voting, I’m here to offer my help as well. Here are some things to keep in mind when you cast your ballots today. And because this is a satirical publication, some of the following will fly in the face of truth and reality just for a giggle. For your benefit, those statements will be in red.

In the race for Governor of Michigan, we have ex-Hollywood starlot, incumbent Democrat Jennifer Granholm verses that anti-public school, beady eyed, filthy rich Amway Republican, Dick DeVos. A lot of people have criticized Granholm because Michigan’s economy is the worst in the nation, right behind Cuba. But Granholm defenders will argue that she inherited the biggest deficit in the history of civilization and four years with an obstructionist Republican legislature isn’t even enough time to air out the stench Engler left in the State Capitol’s bathroom, let alone balance the books. Some people insist Dick would be a good governor because he’s an effective businessman. He’d lead Michigan out of the red and into the black even if it meant outsourcing all of our jobs to China while Jennifer would just gripe about unfair trade agreements. Some people think Dick would just be another self serving politician and if there’s one thing we don’t need, it’s another dick in politics. Some people will vote against Granholm because of her strategically placed mole on her right cheek.

Dick’s views on women are suspect. In the debates he said he opposes a woman’s right to choose even in the case of rape and incest, not including cases of alien abduction. He’s also come out decidedly pro-disease, opposing embryonic stem cell research even if the embryos are to be discarded anyway. He also never recycles. Not even his hair spray cans.

Personally I’m voting for Granholm because she wants every college bound young adult to have four thousand dollars to begin their education. While that sort of plan has been attacked by Republicans as too expensive, it would pay for itself in the long run.

Rookie Senator Debbie Stabenow will face off against ex-Oakland Sheriff Michael Bouchard. Nobody knows anything about Bouchard other than he used to be in law enforcement. And as we clearly all know, Stabenow has red hair. The race has been, for the most part, clean and therefore boring. What I want to know is how can a Californian run for one of Michigan’s two Senate seats? I’m voting for Debbie because I know better than to vote against a redhead. Also because I want to break the Republican majority they have on the US Senate. It’s only fair since they’re going to take Tennessee because of this racist ad.

On a more local scene, US. Representative Fred Upton is defending his Republican seat for the 6th District against well mannered, well dressed Kim Clark. Word is once Fred found out he was running against Kim Clark, he said, “She doesn’t stand a chance.” He learned only days ago, after numerous misstatements on the campaign trail that Kim isn’t short for Kimberly. Kim Clark is actually a well respected and successful businessman, professor, and ordained minister. He’s also a fiscal conservative. Upton, meanwhile, is most known for raising the cost of vulgarities on television in a dangerous post Janet Jackson Nipple Slip world. To his credit, Upton supports modern medicine (aka stem cell research) but three quarters of the time he also supports the evolutionally challenged President. Even if Upton is no more than a rubber stamp Bush Yes Man, he’s unlikely to lose his warm seat in Washington, which is all the more reason to vote Kim Clark for Congress.

In a much closer race, Niles Democrat Judy Truesdell is trying to unseat Republican Barodian Neal Nitz. And trust me, it’s hard to unseat a Pork Lover like Nitz. It would be state history if she did. Judy (Judy! Judy!) is trying to become both the first woman and democrat to represent the 78th District in the state. Bill Ballenger, publisher of the Lansing-based biweekly newsletter "Inside Michigan Politics” has even gone so far as to label the race as a tossup. Why is Nitz suddenly on the hotseat? He can’t be accused of voting with Bush since he’s not in Washington. He hasn’t sent any provocative emails to political pages (that we know of). In fact, he poses no threat to anyone in the 78th district other than the those hooved residents named Porky and Babe who are currently unregistered to vote. The reason Judy is hot on Neal’s tail can be summed up with one word: trash. She opposes it. Nitz, a seasoned politician, realizes that trash is a big part of politics.

I’m always amazed at how politics makes such strange bedfellows. For example, the Republican Nitz beat in the primaries recently said, "Neal has the ability and experience to make changes in Michigan. Neal's agricultural background, business experience and his four years of legislative experience make him my choice.” Yet in February of this year, this same candidate said, “I want to go to Lansing to put Southwest Michigan first. Too many politicians today are more concerned with Lansing politics than serving the folks that elected them. The people of Southwest Michigan deserve a representative that will put the community’s interests ahead of special interests….” He also said, “We don't just need better representation, we need representation, and I'm not shy about saying that.” What a difference seven months make!

Well, I’m not shy about saying this: I’m proudly voting Judy Judy Judy for state representative. Join me and make history.

There are also five important proposals on Tuesday’s ballot. A very informational and unbiased resource for research on these proposals can be found here. I strongly encourage everyone to at least skim through the arguments for and against each proposal. But to assist in these time strapped days, I’ll simple copy and paste some of the passages I found enlightening… Click on any of them for further reading. Troublemaker Bob also has nice summaries on his blogsite here.

Proposal 2006-01: Constitutional Protection of DNR Funds

Moving these DNR funds into the Constitution would eliminate the chance of the accounts being raided to balance budgets in the future. It grants significant protection to these restricted funds and ensures that the user fees are spent on programs for which they were collected.

It seems straight forward enough to vote to protect funds collected for one thing from being used for something else. But like TB says, I tend to believe that the government needs some flexibility in their checkbook. For example, just last week I used all of my grad school money to fill my car up with gas. It just seemed a bigger priority at the moment.

Proposal 2006-02: Michigan Civil Rights Initiative

One of the few things I remember learning in college is that sometimes in the course of history, a group manipulates language to call themselves the opposite of what they truly are, such as the National Socialist German Workers' Party, more commonly known as the Nazis. There was nothing Socialist or Pro-Worker about them. This initiative is another such attempt at language manipulation, depending of course on whom you believe needs their civil rights better protected.

This proposal seeks to amend the Michigan Constitution by adding a Section 26 to Article 1 “to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes.”

If Proposal 2006-02 passes, it will not outlaw all affirmative action programs in the state. Only those that grant preferential treatment to individuals or groups on the basis of
minority status or gender would be invalidated by this amendment. However, determining what constitutes preferential treatment would be left to the Michigan
court system.

If passed this bill could hurt the University of Michigan. As an avid Notre Dame fan, I’m tempted to vote for it just for that reason. But that’s still not a good enough reason.

After the 2003 Supreme Court decisions, UM was forced to change its undergraduate admissions policy. It is still allowed to have a race-conscious admissions program, but the point system has been discarded and applicants are reviewed individually and holistically with race representing only one possible aspect of diversity. While academics continues to be the most important factor in admissions, non-academic factors considered in the admissions process include personal interests and achievements, alumni connections, race and ethnicity, family income, and family educational background. None of these factors has a fixed weight in the admissions process. Each application is evaluated by two people before going to a senior-level manager in OUA who makes the final decision. If Proposal 2006-02 passes, UM will no longer be able to consider race, ethnicity, or national origin as a plus factor in the admissions process as it now does in its undergraduate and graduate admissions programs.

And this passage is the one that seals the deal for me:

If any specific programs at the undergraduate or graduate level provide preferences in admissions based on gender (e.g., engineering programs preferring female applicants or nursing programs preferring male applicants), they will be impacted by passage of this proposal. Any programs at public universities that operate to provide any kind of preferential treatment (through admissions, outreach, scholarships, etc.) based on minority status or gender may be affected by passage of the proposed constitutional amendment, depending on its interpretation by the courts.

Got that? Not enough girls interested in math and science? Forget giving a state funded female based scholarship to encourage women in scientific professions. Want more women in Congress? Eighty-five percent of Washington politicians are white males. Tough titties, girls, say proponents of this initiative. We’re lucky we’re allowed to vote at all, I guess. Doesn’t sound very fair to me. Does it to you? I suspect Jim Kingston would vote yes on this proposal so I’m voting no.

Proposal 2006-03: A Referendum on Dove Hunting

Proposal three is a lot like proposal two, only this time it’s poor defenseless birds getting shafted.

A yes vote on this proposal would approve enactment of PA 160, allowing Mourning Dove hunting by reclassifying Mourning Doves as a game bird. A no vote would return Mourning Dove’s to the status of a nongame bird, as it was prior to enactment PA 160 of 2004, and continue the ban on Mourning Dove hunting in Michigan.

Michigan’s 2004 Mourning Dove season began on September 10 and ended October 30. It was intended to be the first of a three year trial period. The 2005 and 2006 seasons were suspended when opponents collected sufficient signatures to call a referendum
and place the issue on the 2006 ballot.

In 2004, 4,981 Mourning Dove stamps were purchased yielding $9,962 in stamp fees.

Those in opposition to the proposed ban argue that Mourning Dove hunting is a sport enjoyed by hunters in 80 percent of the states. They argue banning hunting of specific animals is a way for animal rights and anti-hunting organizations to chip away at the sport, species by species.

Supporters of the ban argue that Mourning Doves are popular backyard guests enjoyed by bird watchers. In 1998, the Mourning Dove was adopted as Michigan’s official Bird of Peace. In the Midwest, the Mourning Dove reproductive cycle begins with egg laying in late April/early May, and continues until fledging ends in early September. Both parents take part in incubation and brood-rearing activities. This breeding season would overlap with the hunting season in Michigan, as it does in other states. Those in support of the ban also argue Mourning Doves’ body weight varies throughout the year and is at its lowest point during the fall hunting season. Consequently, it is not a significant source of food. Some argue that they are being hunted for the thrill of the kill only and are not retrieved. The DNR estimates asmany as 4,000 were unable to be retrieved in the 2004 hunting season out of a total of an estimated 28,139 Mourning Doves. Federal and state regulations allow the use of lead shot when hunting Mourning Doves. Any Mourning Doves that are not retrieved or shots that miss their mark would leave lead in the environment. Michigan has banned lead shot in water fowl hunting to address environmental concerns.

So let me get this straight? We want to start shooting environmentally harmful lead at a bird of peace with approximately two bites of meat on them (that is, if they’re retrived) during their nesting season (make that one bite of meat) all for less than ten thousand dollars in stamp taxes? I figure Daniel Shame would probably vote for this. So I’m voting against it. If you’re that in need of live target practice, just become a Broken Springs Cop.

Proposal 2006-04: Eminent Domain

It would shift the burden of proof from the property owner to the condemning governmental unit to prove that the taking is for a public use or that proposed use for the eradication of blight is for a public use. It would eliminate the ability of governments to utilize eminent domain in
an area-wide approach to blight eradication.

More power to the property owner? Less power to the state to seize your land? And did someone mention blight? I figure since the BS Village Council would probably oppose this, I’ll support it.

Proposal 2006-05: Educational Funding Guarantee Law

The proposal would amend the State School Aid Act to guarantee a minimum amount of state funding for K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities in Fiscal Year 2007 (FY07). For all years after fiscal year 2007, the proposal would guarantee funding increases equal to the annual change in inflation.

This is a toughie. I’m usually for anything that will help education, but they say this one doesn’t help the students nearly as much as it helps the teachers. And while I’ve never met a teacher I didn’t like (except Mrs. Lee), I’m tempted to vote yes. But if I’m still so undecided at election time, I think I’ll flip a coin at the last minute.

I hope this guide has been informational or at the very least, entertaining. Don’t forget to haul your lazy butt off the sofa and vote. Dr. Phil doesn’t come on till three and it’s repeated at five on channel 2, so you have plenty of time to do your democratic duty.


Sutpen said...

Great voter guide! Thanks for supporting Granholm and encouraging people to get out and vote today. Everyone be sure to call friends, family, and neighbors and encouraging them to get to the polls. There are lots of close races this year, and every vote counts!

Gander Gardener said...

Cool roundup. But, uh, I think you mean "starlet" right? Otherwise it looks a lot like "harlot" ...

But anyway, glad to hear you're voting for Granholm. If you have some time this evening, call your local Dem HQ and see if you can help make phone calls or maybe even drive voters to the polls. Every little bit counts!

Shallow Throat said...

I meant a bit of both. She is Marilynesque...

I'm glad she mopped the floor with ole beady eyes. Didn't need more than my vote, as it turns out. And a democratic house to boot. Rock on, JG.