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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 70,611

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Syracuse suspends fraternity after report of racial slur

Syracuse, N.Y. – An African American student at Syracuse University reported being called a racial slur over the weekend, prompting the college to suspend a fraternity Sunday and shut down social activities for all other fraternities for the rest of the semester pending an investigation.

The student told officials the slur came from a group of students, which included members of a fraternity, and visitors on Saturday night. Chancellor Kent Syverud said officials have already “assembled substantial evidence, including security camera video, eyewitness accounts and interviews.”

He said even though only one fraternity has been accused of being involved, all fraternity social events would be suspended.

“Given recent history, all fraternities must come together with the university community to reflect upon how to prevent recurrence of such seriously troubling behavior,” Syverud said.

Read more: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/nation/2019/11/17/syracuse-suspends-fraternity-racial-slur-report/40638389/

DTE and Consumers Energy are broken and dangerous. Is it time for publicly owned utilities?

Even for a state accustomed to navigating heavy snow and frigid winters, the polar vortex that pushed over Michigan in late January jarred the region. Temperatures in metro Detroit plunged to record lows of -26 while a dangerous wind chill hit -43 degrees in some spots, forcing school and workplace closures while confining residents to their homes.

But as the region tried to stay warm, Consumers Energy blasted out a startling warning to Michiganders' cell phones on Wednesday, Jan. 30. "Emergency alert," the text read. "Due to extreme temps Consumers asks everyone to lower their heat to 65 or less through Fri." A fire at a compressor plant deeply stressed its system, and the company didn't have the infrastructure in place to handle an emergency in extreme weather.

Consumers placed its customers between a rock and a hard place: turn down the heat during the frigid weather — or risk a system collapse that would leave southeast Michigan without natural gas to keep people warm.

Enough people cooperated that a crash was avoided, and the company said customers could turn their thermostats up on midnight on Friday. But months later, the utilities did fail. In July, powerful thunderstorms downed the region's electric service, this time as heat peaked at 96 degrees. More than 800,000 customers lost electricity, and tens of thousands would be without power for up to a week. In another 45 days, more storms pummeled DTE Energy's and Consumers' lines — 100,000 lost power, and thousands sat in the dark for days.

Read more: https://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/dte-and-consumers-energy-are-broken-and-dangerous-is-it-time-for-publicly-owned-utilities/Content?oid=23102753

Michigan Auto Insurance Finally Going Down

Michigan drivers will see their catastrophic claims fee slashed or eliminated next year, the first sign that auto-insurance reform adopted by the legislature this spring may actually lead to lower rates.

The Detroit News reports:

Drivers who choose unlimited, lifetime medical benefits will pay $100, down 55% from $220, and drivers who choose other tiers of coverage will pay no fee, according to the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association. The fee schedule is applicable from July 2, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

The fee reflected in all Michigan premiums pays for catastrophic car crash injuries and is overseen by the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, a group created by the Legislature in 1978. The association reimburses auto insurance companies after a certain threshold — set at $580,000 this year — is reached for medical costs.

Not everyone is happy about this:

The Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault dismissed the decreases from the association, noting they were countered by increased premiums among Michigan auto insurance companies "so they can keep their profits high when they are forced to offer savings on personal injury protection insurance next summer."

CPAN exists to protect Michigan's extraordinarily generous benefits for those injured in auto accidents -- lifetime, unlimited medical coverage, which also led to our rates being highest in the nation. Under the new law, starting July 1, drivers can opt for lower levels of protection and cut the MCCA assessment from their bill.


Detroit teacher disciplined over slavery comments

A Detroit teacher who was under fire for comments he made in class about slavery has been disciplined and forced to undergo training.

Officials with the Detroit Public Schools Community District said last month that the Renaissance High School teacher was under investigation after a parent reported the comments and posted them to social media. The parent described the comments as “racially demeaning.”

The teacher received an unpaid suspension, the vice president of the Detroit school board, Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, said during a meeting Tuesday night. The length of the suspension is unclear.

At issue were comments the teacher made after showing a video about Greece that referred to helots, a group of people in ancient Greece who were forced into servitude. The parent said the teacher then compared students in his class with helots and said they were slaves to teachers. The teacher also made a comment questioning whether a student could read, the parent said.

Read more: https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/detroit/2019/11/12/detroit-teacher-disciplined-over-slavery-comments/

Birmingham jeweler who once auctioned Trump diamond busted in alleged $16M caper

Detroit — A jeweler to the stars who once auctioned the engagement ring President Donald Trump gave to ex-wife Marla Maples was arrested Thursday and accused of orchestrating a $16 million diamond caper, according to federal court records.

Joseph DuMouchelle, 58, owner of DuMouchelle Fine & Estate Jewelers in Birmingham, was released on $10,000 unsecured bond after making an initial appearance in federal court Thursday in connection with what the FBI describes as a complex financial crime involving millionaires, blue bloods and rare diamonds.

The criminal case accuses DuMouchelle, a scion of the influential family that founded DuMouchelle Art Galleries in Detroit, of engaging in wire fraud involving the purported sale of a rare 77-carat diamond dubbed the "The Yellow Rose."

A handcuffed DuMouchelle, dressed in jeans and a blue pullover, said little beyond answering basic questions while in court. His court-appointed lawyer, Colleen Fitzharris, declined comment to reporters.

Read more: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2019/11/14/jeweler-dumouchelle-auctioned-trump-diamond-busted-alleged-16-m-caper/4190759002/

$250-Million Bond Proposal Would End Years Of Neighborhood Investment Inequity In Detroit

The author is the group executive for Planning, Housing and Development for the city of Detroit. On Tuesday, the Detroit City Council will consider a $250-million bond proposal to address blight. If approved, the proposal would go before voters in March.

By Arthur Jemison

If there is one thing I hear in every community planning meeting I attend, it is that too many neighborhoods have not been able to participate in the blight removal and investment in rehabilitation we are seeing in others. Neighbors ask “why can you demolish on this side of the street and not that one? Why can’t we rehab this house? When will we be able to move the boundaries?”

In the Russell Woods - Nardin Park Neighborhoods, for example, the City recently completed a neighborhood plan, yet residents in these adjacent neighborhoods experience two very different realities. The Russell Woods area is strong and stable, having had many of its vacant houses demolished using federal Hardest Hit Funds (HHF), which created a better climate for other vacant homes to be renovated and reoccupied. Meanwhile, Nardin Park, which falls outside of the federal demolition funding boundaries, has seen little demolition and little progress. And as long as this blight remains, Nardin Park’s future is less bright.

As a solution, the Mayor has proposed a $250-million bond program that would allow all of that money to be spent addressing blight in these neglected neighborhoods through a combination of both demolition and incentivized renovation. This would end this long-standing inequity that has existed for years.

Thanks to our improved financial condition, we have a once in a generation opportunity to fix this problem with the $250 million Blight Bond proposed by Mayor Mike Duggan and under consideration by Detroit City Council.

Read more: http://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/23727/opinion_250-million_bond_proposal_would_end_years_of_neighborhood_investment_inequity_in_detroit

Former Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick loses latest bid for freedom

Detroit — Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick lost another bid to get out of federal prison Friday when an appeals court rejected claims a biased judge oversaw his landmark racketeering case.

The order filed in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, came seven months after Kilpatrick claimed U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds had a conflict of interest and should have recused herself. Edmunds presided over the six-month trial and sentenced Kilpatrick to 28 years in federal prison in 2013 for orchestrating a criminal enterprise out of City Hall.

The order is the latest rejection in a six-year quest to overturn the conviction that will keep Kilpatrick behind bars until August 2037. Kilpatrick, 49, also has sought clemency from President Donald Trump, but he doesn't appear to meet the Justice Department's standards for considering a reduction of his prison sentence.

In the latest failed bid for freedom, Kilpatrick argued the trial judge had a personal and professional relationship with his trial attorney, James Thomas, which prevented him from receiving a fair trial.

Read more: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2019/11/15/former-detroit-mayor-kwame-kilpatrick-loses-latest-bid-freedom/4201472002/

Kroger screws Lansing

It’s official: Kroger will not reconsider its ban on City Pulse.

Word got back to me via a Kroger official in its Midwest division that the Kroger Co. will neither reconsider its national ban on free publications nor entertain looking at its decision on a market-by-market basis with an eye toward retaining papers for which there is a high demand.

Nor will it bother to explain its decision.

In Lansing, more than 3,100 people a week were picking up City Pulse at Kroger until we were booted at the end of September. Given the stores’ high foot traffic, it will be difficult if not impossible to make up such circulation. What part of it can be regained will come at considerably more delivery expense because our average pickup location is far smaller.

Kroger promotes itself as a community ally. But here it has hurt a community whose members count on City Pulse for local news and information.

Read more: https://www.lansingcitypulse.com/stories/kroger-screws-lansing,13558

Michigan Democrats show less enthusiasm for progressive policies

Democratic enthusiasm to vote against President Donald Trump in the 2020 election could be matched by Republicans motivated to oppose a more progressive nominee.

At least that’s the historic argument for why a moderate Democrat could have the advantage in swing states, said Matt Grossman, director of Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. While Democrats consider which of their candidates is best positioned to beat Trump, recent polling suggests Democrats in Michigan and other general election battlegrounds are motivated to vote but less enthusiastic about progressive policy ideas.

Michigan’s Democratic primary election is only four months away, and voters can begin picking up absentee ballots even sooner. The state is poised to be a pivotal battleground after a slim 0.3% margin gave Trump enough votes to become the first Republican to win Michigan in 28 years.

Trump’s job approval isn’t faring well in Michigan, according to a recent poll of battleground state voters by The Kaiser Family Foundation and Cook Political Report. The poll found 58% of likely Michigan voters disapprove of Trump’s performance, while 41% approve.

Read more: https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2019/11/michigan-democrats-show-less-enthusiasm-for-progressive-policies.html

Liberal super PAC sues Michigan over voting restrictions

A liberal super PAC that plans to spend millions in Michigan in 2020 has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel, arguing certain laws that restrict voter services are illegal and asking the court to stop Nessel from enforcing them.

The group, Priorities USA, argues in the suit that two Michigan laws — one prohibiting people from hiring vehicles to transport voters who can otherwise walk to the polls and another barring people from handling other peoples’ absentee ballots — are “unreasonable and unnecessary obstacles to voting” and are therefore unconstitutional.

“Together, the Voter Transportation Ban and the Absentee Ballot Organizing Ban make it even more difficult for voters for whom voting is already difficult — in particular, voters without access to private transportation — to vote,” the group wrote in a legal brief.

If these were legal, Priorities USA argues, the group would fund rides to the polls and services that help people submit absentee ballots. Rideshare company Uber offered discounted rides to polls in every state except Michigan in 2018 because of these laws, the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, notes.

Read more: https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-government/liberal-super-pac-sues-michigan-over-voting-restrictions
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