Apr 29, 2007

The race for Livingston County’s two term limited House seats begins

Although the primary election for the Michigan House is still 16 months away, the jockeying the seats has already begun with both of Livingston County’s two House seats term-limited in 2008

The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus is reporting Republican County Commissioner Steve Williams, 45, is running for the 66th District seat that will be vacated by Chris Ward, R-Brighton. The district includes the townships of Brighton, Genoa, Marion and Oceola, and the city of Brighton in Livingston County and Milford Township in neighboring Oakland County.

Williams has only been on the board since January 2005, but this will be his third attempt at the 66th District seat. He nearly unseated incumbent Rep. Judy Scranton as an unknown in the Republican primary in 2000, losing by only 721 votes. He ran again in 2002 when the seat was open because of term limits, but he dropped out before the primary when the military intelligence officer was recalled to active duty.

Williams is very conservative, and he really played on that in his race against Scranton, a rare moderate Republican and an even more rare pro-choice Republican. It’s rare in Republican-dominated Livingston County that a Republican incumbent is challenged, and Williams is the only one I can recall in the past seven years.

It’s ironic that when Ward, then the chair of the Livingston County Republican Party, ran for the open seat in 2002 there was not even a primary challenge for the seat, knowing that a primary win almost guaranteed a general election win. Some quality candidates began falling out of the race as the primary approached, including Williams, Rick Chrysler – the son of former U.S. Congressman Dick Chrysler - and former Brighton Mayor Kate Lawrence. What we got were six years of questionable ethics.

When Williams first ran for the seat, the 66th District included almost all of Livingston County. A few townships in the western part of the county were in the 67th District then held by Republican Paul DeWeese. But following the population growth in the fastest growing county in the state and the gerrymandering by the GOP, a new seat was carved out of Livingston County. Instead of making the two districts a logical east/west split of the county which most people already identified with Republicans carved out the 47 District seat by illogically cutting a big C in the county with the inside of the C being the 66th District.

When the 47th District was created, we saw a six-person primary that had a few well-known candidates that peoples knew, such as Hartland Township Supervisor Greg Bogdanski, Hamburg Township Supervisor Howard Dillman, Chair of the County Board of Commissioners Dave Domas, Daily Press & Argus editor Buddy Moorehouse, John Sheppard and Joe Hune. The unknown Hune won the primary by just two votes over Domas.

This goes back to the question of why an incumbent is never challenged in this county like they are in other places where one party dominates. Domas was well respected and able to work with a wide-range of people, and in a county that offers very little services he actually implemented a discount prescription drug program. Despite losing by a mere two votes and Hune’s very thin legislative record, Hune has never been challenged in the primary.

At this point, Williams is the only candidate that has publicly announced his intention to run, and he is the only person even rumored to be considering a run to date.

Apr 27, 2007

Anti-gay AFA hate group targets another award-winning composition

Legislative offices in Lansing, at least the one I work in, have been getting bombarded with this e-mail from constituents. The letters are word for word exactly the same, and the only thing that is different is the name and address. It shows why conservatives hate drama and the arts because clearly they have no imagination.

Rightwing Nutt
1313 Mockingbird Lane
Midland, MI 48160

April 27, 2007

The Honorable State Representative
Michigan House of Representatives
PO Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514

Dear Representative Representative:

The Saginaw News reported April 14th that my family's tax dollars are being used to pay
illegal theater presentation of a play that promotes homosexual activity and includes full-frontal nudity in a public facility not limited to adults only.
Here's how the Saginaw News described it:
"A play 'clearly no community theater north of Detroit would touch' opens a two-weekend run Friday night at Saginaw Valley State University. ..(I)t's also in R-rated territory and suitable only for ages 16 and up...It's subtitled as a 'gay fantasia' and...deals with homosexuality and the HIV/AIDS crisis in its early days. ... It needles Republicans...It also includes full-frontal male nudity and the use of the F-word in every
way possible...'We are the only theater in mid-Michigan that can get
away with it because while we want people to come see this show, we're not tied to ticket sales to survive.' ...(Director Richard) Roberts says the Saginaw/Bay area has 'a huge gay population' that likely will attend the show." See the full article here: http://www.mlive.com/printer/printer.ssf?/base/entertainment-1/117654624374
At a time when Michigan is facing a severe budget deficit, and you're looking opportunities to cut wasteful or abusive use of our state tax dollars, here is a good place to start. Please take whatever steps are required to eliminate the use of my tax dollars to pay for this offensive and perhaps even illegal presentation by a state-funded institution.
Please keep me informed of what you do about this. Thank you.


Rightwing Nutt

This trash is apparently an alert from the anti-gay hate group known as the American Family Association (AFA) of Michigan, led by hatemonger Gary Glenn. Livingston County residents are all too familiar with this group’s underhanded tactics because they helped another anti-gay hate group, known as the “Love” PAC - (Livingston Organization for Values in Education), try to ban some similar award-winning books, including one by a Nobel Laureate. It led to an actual investigation by the FBI.

The assault on “Angels in America” is eerily similar. The play won both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony award for Best Play in 1993. The HBO mini-series was the most watched made-for-cable movie in 2003, and it won both the Golden Globe and Emmy for Best Miniseries. But Mr. Glenn and conservatives don’t want you to see it.

The play accurately reflects the situation in the mid-1980s when little was known about the deadly disease medically, including how it was spread and contracted, and it was an instant death sentence that the federal government took little interest in or concern of. The objection by the AFA is because the play accurately portrays homosexual men as real human beings with feelings and families that love them, not because of any language or nudity.

The letter sent to Legislators completely takes the review of the play that ran in the Saginaw News out of context, and the link it provides does not even work. The director was clearly warning people who may be easily offended by real life and death that there is mature content in the play, and they may want to stay away.

I’m happy that the SVSU President is standing his ground and not canceling the play, realizing the university is a place for learning and the free exchange of ideas.

What does the AFA expects to accomplish with all of the letters to Legislators? Only about 37 percent, on average, of Michigan’s public colleges and universities budget’s come from state taxpayer funds, and the rest comes from tuition, grants, fees and alumni.

The Michigan Constitution also directs that the Legislature cannot dictate how those state funds are spent, and the constitution strictly leaves fiscal control up to the autonomous, elected governing boards of the schools.

LC’s own LL knocks em dead on OTR

Hats off to Julielynn Gibbons (Liberal Lucy of Liberal, Loud and Proud) and Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel from The Next Hurrah) for the excellent job they did representing liberal bloggers on “Off the Record with Tim Skubick.”

They appeared with rightwing bloggers Nick DeLeeuw (“Rightmichigan”) and Bill Nowling (The Lunchbucket Conservative) on the half hour show to discuss the effect of blogging on Michigan politics. They did an excellent job doing that, and they lent credibility to what we bloggers do. This is one of my favorite shows, and usually the panelists are political reporters from the mainstream media that cover the Capitol, but this time we had people who are much more involved in covering the Capitol.

I know this is all over the blogosphere by now, but because a lot of what I write about is politics where I live in Livingston County I wanted to point out the special connection to Livingston County.

Liberal Lucy grew up here in Livingston County’s Green Oak Township, and her proud parents still live. Although she now lives in Lansing, many local Democrats know her from her work to improve the Democratic net roots presence here in the county.

Bill Nowling also lives in Green Oak Township, and he was once a reporter here for the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus when it was still a weekly newspaper. After moving here to his wife’s hometown, fellow Republican Buddy Moorehouse, then the editor of the former Brighton Argus, got him a job with the paper until he could get into Michigan Republican politics, hooking up first on the staff of former Gov. John Engler and for then former state Sen. Mike Rogers.

After going to work for a PR firm, he made news when he allegedly threatened to blackmail Rogers after Rogers was elected to the U.S. House if he did not vote for a telecommunications bill one of the clients Nowling’s firm was representing wanted passed.

Ann Arbor resident Marcy Wheeler is the author of “Anatomy of Deceit” about the Plame CIA leak case. She was the only blogger to receive a press pass for the Scooter Libby trial where she live-blogged during the trial.

DeLeeuw operates one of the more slimier blogs around that’s long on accusations and short on facts. He recently took the Governor to task for daring to take a lunch hour and spending it with her teenage daughter on her birthday. His latest baseless attack is accusing Michigan House Democrats of taking a bribe because DTE’s political action committee contributed $15,000 to the House Democrats' political action committee, making the ridiculous claim it was for the proposal to revamp state regulations to return monopoly status to utilities such as DTE that could raise $500 million toward the budget shortfall. Like all of his “reporting” the real story is what he leaves out, like the fact that DTE has also given $11,500 to Senate Republicans.

You can see the show online, or you can tune in tonight at 9 p.m. on WKAR in East Lansing or 11:30 p.m. Sunday. The show is on most state PBS stations.

Doing my part to erase Livingston County’s racist reputation

Livingston County Daily Press & Argus political reporter Dan Meisler wrote an excellent opinion piece on the county’s reputation as a haven for racists. He was commenting on a story in the paper about Cohoctah Township, the rural township north of Howell where Michigan Klux Klus Klan Grand Dragon Robert Miles lived until his death in 1992. His farm also served as a HQ for Klan and white supremacist activity.

The title of the column is “What are we going to do about it?” I’m doing my part to do away with the undeserved reputation our community has for being a have for racists by trying to stop racists and hatemonger Ann Coulter from speaking in Livingston County.

Coulter’s appearance at Cleary University’s Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series reinforces the general perception that Livingston County is a safe haven for racists and bigots of all ilks. The column reinforces what I have been saying for months, that the actions of a small minority are position the majority of the great, accepting people who live here as racists.

Those who live and work here know that the streets of Livingston County are not running rampant with racist rabble-rousers in robes. But those of us paying attention also know a strain of intolerance remains.
For example, in the last few years, a Puerto Rican woman's home and a black man's home were defaced with racist graffiti. A black man's van was vandalized. A crowd at a high school basketball team chanted "U.S.A." at a minority player. A man outside a restaurant yelled racial slurs at an Arabic delivery driver. "White power" was written in a sand trap at a local golf course. A black Michigan State Police Trooper was assaulted at a Brighton bar, and his assailant was convicted of a hate crime.
Not to mention the auction of Ku Klux Klan robes that, to one participant, evolved from an auction of Klan material to a "Klan auction." Meaning that dozens of racists from who knows where converged in Howell to what they perceived as a safe place.

Some of the incidents Dan mentioned I had not heard of, such as the slurs yelled at an Arabic delivery driver and “White Power” written in a sand trap.

But he also forgot to mention the intolerance and discrimination by the anti-gay hate group known the “Love Pac” that first created a far-reaching controversy by labeling a diversity flag as a gay pride flag. It they attracted embarrassing nationwide attention to the county with its book-banning quest. The Ann Coulter flap is just one more building block that reinforces the area’s undeserved reputation as a small-minded, racist community.

Part of a newspaper's job is to shed light on bad things in its community, hopefully resulting in some kind of improvement. We can't address our problems without admitting we have them.
Any doubt that we have a problem should have been erased when kids from Howell were taunted recently at an event in Walled Lake for being racist. There's no excuse for those children's rude and nasty remarks — but they didn't come up with the idea that Howell=racist from whole cloth, either. So the questions become: What can we do about Livingston County's reputation, and what are we going to do about it?

I agree with Dan on what a newspaper’s job is. I admit that at times I take issue with them for things like overworking some stories just to create buzz and the rightwing bent of the editorial page, but for he most part the P & A does an excellent job of being the community watchdog and reporting what the community is talking about.

With apologies to Mark Twain, I wish we, as a county, would stop complaining about our reputation, and start doing something about it.

I agree, Dan, and that’s why I will continue to pull the welcome mat out from under racists like Ann Coulter.

Just one more example of Coulter’s discrimination

I guess the only good news is no newspaper in Michigan carries hatemonger Ann Coulter’s column after her last discriminatory outburst, but unfortunately people can still read her slime on line.

Her latest piece of trash is called “Nuts in the crosshairs,” and I can only hope no one really takes this bile seriously. Believe it or not, she’s talking about the tragedy at Virginia Tech University, and its pretty much the standard fare: more then half the U.S. population, Democrats, are evil and more than half the world population, followers of Islam, are also evil.

“Democrats are promoting a mental health exception to the right to bear arms.”

As you know, in December 2005 the district court in Montgomery County, Va. ruled that the Virginia Tech shooter presented "an imminent danger to self or others.” The ruling, more than a year before Monday's mass shootings, was the necessary criterion for a detention order, after he had been accused of stalking by two female schoolmates. So Coulter is saying people who are insane or are judged to be a danger to themselves and others should not be denied the right to buy a firearm? I have to disagree. Whether the 2nd Amendment allows individuals to buy any kind of firearm with no sane restrictions or whether it’s a collective right is also up for debate.

As lovely as it would be, we cannot identify mass murderers before they have broken any law, and mass murder is often the first serious crime they commit. No one can be locked up permanently for being potentially dangerous.

It’s a little scary, but I agree with Coulter in this one. But I don’t think we should allow the mentally ill unfettered access to any kind of firearm they want.

So on one hand, the mental health exception is a feel-good measure that would be largely pointless. But on the other hand, it's no skin off my back. Liberals go to therapy. Conservatives go to church. And I think we'd all sleep better knowing that David Brock could not buy a gun.

Again, those judged by a court to be a danger to themselves and others should be allowed a weapon? I disagree. “Conservatives go to church?” There is no one who listens or reads Coulter’s hate speech can believe this woman is a Christian. It just seems to me that the values of social justice and care for the less fortunate that liberals embrace are much more in line with Christian values. I don’t get the shot at David Brock, other than people like Bill O’Reily and Rush Windbag are on a mission to destroy him because as the head of Media Maters he is exposing their lies and misinformation.

It’s funny, Brock - the author of the rightwing attack book “The real Anita Hill,” and recently the confessional “Blinded by the Right” – was once one of the rightwing conservative attack writers that were in engaged in the GOP character assassination strategy in the 1990s. Now he is a target of the people he once served for doing the right thing. He was a writer for the rightwing magazine American Spectator where he was part of the infamous “Arkansas Project” that was financed by Richard Mellon Scaife to dig up dirt on the Clintons. Brock’s crime now? He is posting entire transcripts, video and audio of the hate monger’s shtick, and apparently O’Reily, Limpbag and the other right wing attack dogs are misquoting themselves and taking themselves out of context.

And it would end the public lunacy of Jim Wallis, the Democrats' Christian. Wallis' first remark on the massacre at Virginia Tech last week was to hail the remarkable "diversity" of the victims. True, Cho murdered 32 people in cold blood. But at least he achieved diversity!

Wow. Apparently, Rev. Wallis is not a Christian and Coulter is. Wallis is an independent, but because he embraces the values of social justice and care for the less fortunate that Jesus Christ preached he must be a liberal. Wallis is a graduate of Michigan State University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois and the author of “God’s Politics.” Wallis was taken completely out of context from a column reflecting on the tragedy of the massacre, and like he said, “This is not a time to seek easy answers or to assign blame.” Tell that to Coulter. Read it for your self.

If the Koreans can do it, why can't the Muslims? What explains the lack of a Muslim guilt impulse — so normal, as seen in the case of the saddened Koreans — after dozens of terrorist attacks on Americans?
How about a Muslim exception to the Second Amendment? That would have prevented the Virginia snipers from killing 10 people within three weeks in 2002. But most important: It would help us achieve "diversity" in our gun law prohibitions.

If you need any more proof of Coulter’s discrimination here it is. It’s like the ridiculous notion of holding every Christian accountable for the Salem Witch killings. I hope Coulter is aware a Muslim is simply a follower of Islam.

Apr 25, 2007

A shameless plug for my favorite national radio show

For those of us who enjoy our political commentary mixed with comedy, parody and humor we will get a treat next week by being able to see as well as hear the “Stephanie Miller Show” on MSNBC.

The show can be heard from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday on the radio at its regular time, but beginning Monday, April 30 the show can also be seen where the former Don Imus show aired. The show will be seen from 6-9 a.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Producers are not saying whether this is a full-time stint, if it’s just for the week or if it’s just a fill in for the rightwing hack that’s filling the slot now. The show will air on the radio at its regular time during the TV stint.

The biggest difference, in my opinion, between liberals and conservatives is conservatives are somewhat lacking in a sense of humor. This show proves it, and there is nothing on the right that is close to this. By the way, what ever happened to that fake news show on Faux News that was supposed to be the right wings answer to the “Daily Show with John Stewart?”

It may be a shameless plug, but I highly recommend this show. If you can’t watch the program listen on AM 1290 WLBY in Ann Arbor, AM 1310 WDTW out of Detroit or listen to the web cast.

If you have never heard the show before a quick listen will get you hooked.

Quote of the week: Coulter wants to kill those who disagree

The only good thing about featuring an Ann Coulter hateful and racists quote of the week is you never run out of them. If nothing else you can just read her weekly column for more outrageous quotes. In her latest column, for example, where she argues that the Virginia Tech students were shot because they were not armed she says Ralph Nader should be in jail.

I’m not really sure how or why we get to her trying to make political points from a tragedy to advocating a man the Republicans supported just two years ago should be jailed for no reason, but no one can figure out the hate that clouds Coulter’s thinking.

The fight to stop racist hatemonger Coulter from appearing at Cleary University’s Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series on Oct. 1 continues, despite Cleary's apparent greed out weighing their sense of right and wrong.

“If we find out someone [referring to a terrorist] is going to attack the Supreme Court next week, can't we tell Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalito?”
Ann Coulter at the Reclaiming America for Christ Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 3/3/07.

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."
-- Ann Coulter to George Gurley, New York Observer, August 21, 2002

Apr 24, 2007

Howell fights discrimination: Cleary promotes discrimination

If you are looking for a sharper contrast between one group trying to do the right thing and do away with racism and discrimination and another group promoting racism and discrimination you need look no farther than the Howell Education Foundation proposing to bring back Challenge Day and Cleary University promoting racism and discrimination by paying hatemonger Ann Coulter more than $30,000 for two hours work.

The Ann Arbor News reported Challenge Day is a daylong session to break down barriers of gender, race and anything that causes students to ridicule each other or people who are different. It works to reduce teen drug, alcohol and tobacco use, cut down on school absenteeism, and reduce bullying. It teaches teens and middle school students to be tolerant of others and their differences and to respect others.

The HEF board is seeking sponsorships and plans to spend $60,000 over three years for a pilot program that would involve Howell Public Schools teachers, counselors and a corps of community volunteers. It has been several years since Challenge Day was held in the Howell schools, and in light of the antics and divisiveness of the anti-gay hate group known and the “Love” PAC this is something that is sorely needed.

Former school board member and HEF member Sue Swartz said if enough money could be raised, the program could begin as early as the 2007-08 school year.

In sharp contrast, Cleary University’s Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series is paying Ann Coulter more than $30,000 to spread the very hate and divisiveness that Challenge Day is trying to overcome. Perhaps Cleary can find someone more popular than Coulter for less money that has an actual sane and uplifting message and use the money they save to sponsor Challenge Day.

Anyone interested in Challenge Day - either to contribute money to the program or to be put on a list to volunteer for it in Howell - can contact HEF board member Charlotte
at 517-546-2172.

Anyone interested in spreading a positive message of tolerance instead of hate can contact Cleary University President Tom Sullivan at

Cleary University
3750 Cleary Drive
Howell, MI 48843
Phone: 517.548.3670

Listen to the Howell School Board candidate debate on important election

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the forum Monday night for the Howell Public School Board candidates. I didn’t get into town late from Lansing, and I read that the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus that was sponsoring the forum was giving out tickets because the venue was so small. They said you needed to get there early to ensure admittance. With all the controversy surrounding the race because of the anti-gay hate group know as “Love” I thought the 150 seats at the Howell Recreation Center would be filled.

Unfortunately, I was wrong, and the turnout was rather sparse. Apparently, the change in venue because the newspaper refused to bend may have contributed to the lower turnout.

Despite the low turnout, this is an important race. The “Love” group is pushing hard to get two more candidates on the board in addition to Wendy Day last year, and everyone saw the damage and embarrassment they caused with their book-banning censorship campaign. The backlash against them is so hard they are keeping their endorsements secret, but they are stealthily pushing hard for Doug Moore and Bob Harvey. At this point I know I am not voting for those two, but until today I had not decided between the other candidates.

This is also an important race because some special interest groups have jumped in. This is a nonpartisan race, but the Livingston County Republic Party has made an effort to recruit, train and throw their resources behind candidates. At this point they haven’t told us who to vote for, but I’m sure they will let their members know if not the general public.

So it’s very important to vote on May 8, and here are the candidates you have to choose from:
Incumbent, Jeannine Pratt, 46, City of Howell; Dan Fondriest, 49, Genoa Township; attorney Edwin J. Literski, 52, Genoa Township; and write-in candidate Phil Nicholas.

The good news is if you want to be better informed you can listen to the debate on radio station WHMI. I just listened to it. After listening I have made my decision, and I suggest you do the same.

UPDATE: The Press & Argus is reporting the so-called “Love” Pac is not endorsing in the race. At best this is a cowardly act, and the negative backlash against this anti-gay hate group is so great they realize an endorsement is the kiss of death and no candidate actually wants it. But on this blog and other blogs the leader of this hate group has made it clear they support Bill Harvey and Doug Moore. That should tell you who not to vote for on May 8.
The best thing that could come of this is that this group dries up and goes away.

Apr 22, 2007

Howell soldier finally gets deserved recognition

The Detroit News reported a grave injustice was corrected with the awarding of a Purple Heart to Sgt. Sean Knudsen of Howell in recognition of combat wounds received during his service in Iraq in 2005.

The 16-year veteran of the National Guard and Iraqi War was denied the Purple Heart he earned when he suffered shrapnel injuries to his head, left arm and shoulder in February 2005 when his convoy in Iraq was hit by small arms fire. However, the publicity generated by his case and help by elected officials, including Mike Rogers, helped get the medal he deserved.

Knudsen said in the past that he is working to ensure other fellow wounded veterans who were denied the medal will also get the recognition they deserve, and he said it's the integrity of leadership and military regulation that has come to light in during his quest.

Now that that injustice has been addressed, perhaps we can now get an apology from the Smear Boat Veterans – AKA “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” – who tried to smear U.S. Sen. John Kerry and his military service in 2004.

Questioning how Sen. Kerry or Sgt. Knudsen earned their Purple Hearts calls into question every single award ever earned by every veteran everywhere.

New school group hopes to trump anti-gay hate group

After more than a year of bad and embarrassing press that painted Livingston County and Howell as a racist community because of the antics of the anti-gay hate group known as the “LOVE” PAC (Livingston Organization for Values in Education), there is now a group out there that will negate some of that discrimination and hate.

The Ann Arbor News' Livingston County Community News is reporting on the formation of a loose-knit group formed in recent months to better share information about issues such as funding, programs and communication in the Howell area called Positive People.

Bonnie White, a district booster, is part of the group. She has spearheaded Friends of Howell Public Schools, a citizen’s organization that supports school bond issues. Since the Friends group has a specific mission, the new group was formed to offer more general information and facts to the community, she said.

I met Mrs. White once, but I had a long talk with her. I found her to be kind, gentle and passionate about her community. She is in sharp contrast to and the exact opposite of the leader of the “Love” group. I wonder why this new, positive group has not received a fraction of the press coverage the “Love” group got, but apparently harmony, respect and tolerance do not make good headlines.

With all the brouhaha in the district with the books and all, we decided to evolve the Friends group into the Positive People group,'' said Colin MacGregor, a retired school principal, a member along with his wife, Helen, who is a retired teacher. "There are so many negative things going on in the district. This (the group) is in the process of evolution right now.''

Anyone interested in the Positive People's group can contact Bonnie White at 517-548-9311.

Cleary president’s response blames bloggers for Coulter fuss

Cleary University President Tom Sullivan broke his silence about his decision to pay more than $30,000 to have racist hatemonger Anne Coulter spread her unique brand of hate speech at the school’s Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series with a letter-to-the-editor in Sunday’s edition of the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.

Sullivan claims the goal of the series is to:

"enrich the community by hosting speakers who can share a broad spectrum of business, social, political, intellectual, and cultural experiences."
Since that time, a wonderful array of 10 diverse speakers shared insightful stories of success, leadership, and personal reflection. Their invitation to speak did not include an endorsement of any of their messages, but rather recognition that a community is strengthened by encouraging diversity of thought and conversation.”

Again, how is Coulter’s appearance enriching anyone but her own pocketbook? However, if the school wants to make money on the LEC series that's fine, but they can make more money by inviting a speaker with a positive message, with more appeal and at a less expensive price. We have provided them a list of many to choose from at the same place they booked Coulter from.

I also fail to see the broad spectrum of diverse speakers. Other than the Mayor of the largest city in our state, all of the speakers have had a conservative bent. How can anything Coulter has ever said or done meet the goal of “insightful stories of success, leadership, and personal reflection.” Her success is from making hateful, racist remarks, and why would anyone want to emulate that? A less hateful remark than Coulter’s numerous racist remarks cost Don Imus his job, but Cleary hired and is paying 30 grand for Coulter’s remarks. Paying someone $30,000 to speak sounds like an endorsement to me, Mr. Sullivan.

"In inviting Ms. Coulter, the university recognized that she often (regrettably) uses shocking language to make her apparent point that media bias and political correctness have effectively removed several contemporary topics from critical analysis and public debate. We imagined her presentation would be thought provoking and that our guests would be able to determine for themselves if there were any merit to her message."

Saying she uses “shocking language” is an understatement, much like saying the Sears Tower is a tall building. It goes well beyond "political correctness and media bias” when you call for the mass murder of Arabs and Muslims and their forced conversion to Christianity, calling them “ragheads,” saying North Koreans should be "nuked for fun, calling Native Americans “Injuns” and savages, calling respected, veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas an "old Arab” or saying the Emancipation Proclamation should be repealed. If your guests want to be able “to determine for themselves if there were any merit to her message” they can borrow one of her books at the library, read her columns in the few newspapers that still carry it after her last discriminatory remarks or watch her nightly appearances on fox news, but they don’t have to endorse her racist views by showing up at hear her talk.

"Some in our community were not pleased with the invitation to Ms. Coulter and expressed their disappointment. The university noted that someone posted a clarion call to several Web sites, encouraging people to contact the university and the founding partners of the club to express their disapproval of Ms. Coulter's presentation. In some instances, "talking points" were suggested and allegations were made of rampant local outrage.
At the risk of unleashing another storm of correspondence from the bloggers, in fact, local reaction to Ms. Coulter appears to have been mixed, but fairly evenly split. Much of the negative correspondence was vitriolic, some simply voiced disapproval, and a few were quite thoughtful. We certainly appreciate the latter."

It’s OK to take shots at us bloggers, but that’s the only way to get any critical coverage of her appearance because the instrument for doing that, the newspaper, is a sponsor of the event. I would like to you point out the talking points, Mr. Sullivan, or better yet dispute them if and when you can point them out. Unfortunately, we have no way to know if the response was “evenly split,” but it appears no matter how negative the response to Coulter’s appearance the only real numbers or response that matters to you are the ticket sales. The school and community’s reputation be dammed as long as ticket sales were good.

"One Web site included the message "The gauntlet has been thrown!!" — an apparent reaction to the fact that initial response to Ms. Coulter's appearance was positive and fairly evenly balanced. In encouraging Web visitors to communicate their displeasure, it went on to say: "The chance to take money out of Ann Coulter's pocket is here!" Candidly, this motivation seemed to mitigate the impact of the correspondence."

I’m more concerned with the reaction that some of our students received when they went to a choir festival and were called racists, based on the welcome racists like Coulter seem to get from our community. Now, I never said, “The chance to take money out of Ann Coulter's pocket is here!” Nor do I recall reading that. That’s not to say it was not written somewhere, but I have no problem saying I think it’s wrong to throw money at a person simply because she says outrageous, racist things, and it’s simply wrong to get rich for doing that.

President Tom Sullivan
Cleary University
3750 Cleary Drive
Howell, MI 48843
Phone: 517.548.3670

Apr 21, 2007

Newspaper takes its ball and goes home

The good news is Howell Public Schools Superintendent Chuck Breiner has relented on his idiotic decision to not allow HPS facilities to be used for a candidate forum for Board of Education candidates sponsored by the Livingston Daily Press & Argus, but the bad news is the newspaper is childishly saying they don’t want to play in the district’s yard anymore.

In a lengthy story in the Thursday edition of the paper that quoted Breiner, the newspaper's executive editor and almost all of the school board members and some candidates, the paper took Breiner to task for rescinding previous permission to hold the forum at Hutching Elementary on Monday, claiming the forum violated a policy that prohibits political campaigns in schools. Clearly, he was wrong because political debates and forums have been held at the high school auditorium for many years, and debates and forums do not meet the criteria of partisan campaigning the policy prohibits.

Obviously, the purpose of the article is to illustrate the absurdity of Breiner’s actions and get him to change his mind. Well it worked, and on Friday an article appeared that both announced Breiner had indeed done the right thing but at the same time it announced the venue for the forum would now be the Howell Recreation Center.

Despite getting the proper outcome it desired, the newspaper’s leadership are acting like spoiled children and saying they are taking their ball and playing elsewhere.

“Daily Press & Argus editors explained they couldn’t risk having the school district withdraw its approval to use the facility again.”

I don’t think I have ever heard a more self-serving and petulant statement from a supposedly professional organization.

"The capacity of the recreation center is 150 people, so anyone interested in attending is urged to get there early. Once capacity is reached, people will be turned away."

I was under the impression the primary purposes of this forum, sponsored by the newspaper, was to help give voters the information to cast an informed ballot with the secondary purpose to promote the newspaper, but it seems here those purposes have been reversed. I have never seen anyone turned away from a local debate or forum, and the way to avoid it is for the newspaper to stop acting like a spoiled child. It makes you wonder if the editors are ticked at Breiner because he said he hasn’t read the P & A in three years.

When you read this exchange a letter writer had with the executive editor you begin to get a hint why the newspaper is not acting responsibly in this matter.

Near the end of Friday’s article the paper makes it a point to claim Breiner was wrong when he said he stopped a 2002 fundraising event for editor Buddy Moorehouse when he unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for the state House in the 47th District, but it doesn’t bother to correct the false statement the paper made that Moorehouse was on leave from the paper to make the run.

It’s also a little funny that four of the five school districts in the county have contested races this year, but Howell is the only forum they are sponsoring. I’m sure it’s because the anti-gay hate group known as the “LOVE” PAC (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) only has candidates in this race- as far as we know, and the paper has given this group far too much copy. I’m not saying they should ignore them, but there is such a thing as overkill.

A forum for those candidates running for the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education is also being held, but it does not appear the P & A is sponsoring it. It’s being held at 7:30 p.m.Thursday, April 26, at the Green Oak Township Hall, 10001 Silver Lake Road. Questions from the community may be submitted via e-mail to superivsor@brightontwp.com. For more information call 810-229-0550.

The Howell forum is being held from 7-9 p.m. Monday at the Paul Bennett Recreation Center, 925 W. Grand River Ave. in Howell.

The election is being held May 8, and it is especially important fair-minded people turnout because the Livingston County Republican Party is making a joke out of the nonpartisan tag by recruiting, training and supporting candidates.

Apr 20, 2007

Quest to stop hate speech and discrimination from coming to county continues

People trying to stop the rewarding of hate speech suffered a minor setback Thursday when Cleary University’s executive committee of the board of trustees decided racist hatemonger Ann Coulter would not be uninvited to speak at the school’s Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series, despite growing opposition to her racist and hate speech.

This was not unexpected news when you consider that seven members of the eight-member board are registered Republicans, and this is just one minor bump in the road to stop hate speech from being rewarded and embraced. Opposition is growing, based on her outrageous speaking fee of $30,000 plus expenses. That’s more than the annual salary of most of our full-time, elected township supervisors in the county.

Coulter’s appearance here reinforces the general perception that Livingston County is a safe haven for racists and bigots of all ilks, and Cleary’s anteing up the hefty sum of $30,000 simply means hate speech is very profitable and the school is not only endorsing her racist views but paying handsomely for them.

According to an article in the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, Cleary President Tom Sullivan said somewhere in a written statement that that the goals of the series were to bring many different perspectives of political debate, and that Coulter's appearance was valuable in meeting that aim.
"The committee affirmed the value of the presentation of varied viewpoints through the economic club and noted the excellent diversity of the speakers throughout the history of the club," Sullivan wrote.

I disagree with that; since the series began only one speaker has not had some kind of conservative bent, and that is the elected Mayor of the City of Detroit who spoke in 2004. That’s hardly varied views points, and they are just giving it and the club’s mission statement lip service.

The stated mission of the LEC “is to enrich the Livingston County community by hosting speakers who can share a broad spectrum of social, political, intellectual and cultural experiences.” I am still waiting for anyone to tell me how having Ann Coulter speak in Livingston County enriches anyone, other than her pocketbook.

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has more effect on the entire region than any past speakers combined as the chief executive of the largest city in our state, and he spoke on the relationship between the state’s largest city and its suburbs, including Livingston County. I would venture a theory that almost every single resident in Livingston and Washtenaw counties above the age of 18 has some connection to Detroit, by either being a former Detroit resident, they work in the city or they have attended a professional sporting event or cultural event in the city.

Reporter Dam Meisler did mention how the blogosphere is lining up against Coulter, and he even quoted our cruise director and fellow Livingston Counyite Liberal Lucy.

Starting with the locally produced blog "The Conservative Media" and the site "Liberal, Loud and Proud" posted by Julielyn Gibbons, a Green Oak Township native who lives in Lansing, the anti-Coulter activism has spread to several other blogs including the nationally influential "Daily Kos."

LL hit the nail on the head when she talked about the county’s undeserved reputation, earned because of the lack of minority population and because it was once home to the grand dragon of the Michigan KKK until his death in 1992. However, actions by a small minority continue to perpetrate that old, tired and untrue stereotype of Howell and Livingston County as a racist community, such as the auction of Klan memorabilia a few years ago, the attempted book banning by an anti-gay hate group and now Coulter being welcomed with open arms.

This is just compounding the black eye that Livingston County has been trying to get rid of for decades now,” LL said in the article.

Sullivan’s response really reflects why the county and Howell has a long way to go before it shakes its racist past.

"Many in our community were pleased with the selection of speakers and, in particular, with Ms. Coulter," he said.

Gee, that kind of says it all, but our cruise director said even more.

"I, for one, will not rest until I hear that Ann Coulter is not going to appear in October," Gibbons said.

A lot of us feel the same way, and toward that end we need to continue to contact all the sponsors, the sponsors boards of directors, the university and the school board of trustees, as well as Cleary alumni. We also need to physically show up at some of their events. The first opportunity will be Monday when Cleary holds an open house at Mott Community College in Flint to recruit transfer students. It seems ironic that the university wants to recruit students in a predominately African-American city, but it sponsors a racist like Coulter.

The open house will be held at the Mott Memorial Building (Room 2006) on Monday, April 23 from 6-8 p.m.

Apr 19, 2007

The racist, hatemonger is still coming

We knew this was coming, but a reliable, unnamed source tells us the Cleary University’s executive committee of the board of trustees met today and decided Ann Coulter would still speak Cleary University’s Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series on Oct. 1.

Despite a recent overwhelming amount of contact with the board and the series sponsors saying Coulter should not be invited, nor should the racist, hatemonger be paid $30,000, the board ignored them. As many of you have posted your replies from President Tom Sullivan telling us to suggest speakers for next year, we knew this was coming.

The appearance is still five months away, so I think we should keep the pressure up. In that five months we can be assured of at least one thing: Coulter will say more offensive and discriminatory things. Maybe it will be enough to change their minds. However, I don’t know what more offensive thing she can do or say to change their minds after all of the crap that has come out of her mouth so far. Perhaps if she wore a white robe and hood to the podium at Crystal Gardens that might change their minds.

Or because this board is primarily made up overwhelmingly of Republicans, so maybe Coulter does speak for them.

Leave the driving to us is subject of annual Ecology Center meeting

With gasoline hovering near the $3 a gallon mark and carbon emissions increasing, the place to be is at the Ecology Center's annual meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday April 25 at the Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Avenue in Ann Arbor.

The meeting will feature a presentation about the new commuter rail proposals for Ann Arbor, Detroit and southeast Michigan. After years of discussion and planning, new commuter rail services - between Ann Arbor and Detroit, between Ann Arbor and Livingston County and throughout the Detroit metropolitan area - are on the verge of start-up.

This has been a hot topic in Livingston County for years, and if you have the choice between commuting in your car south from Livingston County to Ann Arbor on U.S. 23 or sitting on a train reading your morning newspaper the choice is obvious to me.

Some of the region’s top transit experts will join the Ecology Center to discuss the latest plans. Megan Owens is the Executive Director of Transportation Riders United, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving transportation access and mobility in Greater Detroit. Eli Cooper is the Transportation Manager for City of Ann Arbor and the chief planner of the City's "Model for Mobility" transportation vision.

The Ecology Center annual meeting will also include program updates, environmental awards and election of the Center's Board of Directors. The meeting is open to the general public and admission is free.

For more information, please call (734) 761-3186 ext. 120.

The Ecology Center is a membership-based, nonprofit environmental organization based in Ann Arbor. It was founded by community activists after the country's first Earth Day in 1970, and the Center is now a regional leader in the struggle for clean air, safe water, healthy communities and environmental justice.

Superintendent does not want informed voters for school board election

Howell Public Schools Superintendent Chuck Breiner is taking a stand against educating the public by canceling a forum for school board candidates set for next week at one of the district's elementary schools, sponsored by the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.

Breiner is not only ignoring the function of the schools to educate and inform all of the public, including the people who actually pay for it operation through their taxes, but he is ignoring years of precedent. Breiner is claiming the district policy that states, “District facilities and equipment shall not be used or made available for political campaigns” does not allow the forum.

However, since I have lived in Livingston County since 1998, I have attended at least five political debates at the Howell High School auditorium for U.S. Congress, state Senate, state House, County Commission and judicial candidates. The picture posted above was taken by a friend of mine at a debate I attended last August at HHS for state House candidates.

He is also ignoring the fact that school board elections are nonpartisan.

It makes you wonder why this change. The school board and Breiner have been sources of controversy the past year with the book banning attempt by the anti-gay hate group known as the “LOVE” PAC (Livingston Organization for Values in Education). The Howell school board election has taken on an even more importance with the “Love” group running candidates after getting “Love” member Wendy Day on the board last May. The Livingston County Republican Party is making a mockery of the nonpartisan label this year, and it has made a special effort to recruit, train and throw their resources behind candidates in the race.

What makes it even more mysterious is the district had already given the newspaper permission to use its facilities.

According to the article, Breiner claims he did not know permission had been granted for both this and past forums, even though the forums and debates have been publicized by all the media that covers the county. The article says Breiner said “he hadn't read the local daily newspaper in three years.” There is more than one local newspaper. With all the news generated by the school district and other things going on, it’s sad that we have a man in charge of our school district so misinformed about what’s going on around him.

Breiner also says, “They approved something that directly violated district policy," Breiner said. "When I found out about it, I said we can't allow this according to district protocol." "If I had known of them, they wouldn't have occurred," he said.

A forum and a debate are not political campaigns, because they dos not endorse any candidate; it only allows voters to learn about whom they are voting for.

In fact, the only possible violation of the policy was by a newspaper employee, and the newspaper admitted it in the story.

“Breiner said the only other political event at the school that he knew of occurred in 2002 when Buddy Moorehouse, on leave from his news job at the Daily Press & Argus, staged a fundraiser for his unsuccessful bid for the state House.”

A fundraiser clearly violates the policy, and you have to wonder why he did not put a stop to that. The newspaper also failed to mention that Moorehouse was not on leave from the newspaper. Rich Perlberg, then general manager of the Daily Press & Argus, said Moorehouse would never work for the paper again after he left to run for the Republican nomination for the 47th District seat in the state House, but after he lost in the primary he was back at the newspaper shortly after that.

This makes Breiner look extremely bad, especially in light of criticism that the current board is nothing but a rubber stamp for his wishes. Political debates have been held elsewhere, and I hope this is rescheduled for a place like the historic Livingston County Courthouse. But the fact remains that the people who actually pay the taxes to run the schools and pay for the buildings were told they can’t use the building for an important Democratic function.

I always thought Breiner did a good job under extreme pressure, but he is wrong in this case.

Apr 18, 2007

A double shot of Coulter hate this week

Despite all the national publicity against hatemonger Ann Coulter’s appearance at Cleary University’s Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series in five months, the weekly Coulter racist and hate filled quote of the week continues. This Wednesday features a double shot of hate from the queen of hate. It’s not like we will ever run out of material because her column still runs in a few newspapers, and she’s on faux "news" almost every night.

So you never know when she will tell a wacky joke making fun of rape, murder, starvation and genocide in Darfur, or some other hilarious joke. If her popularity with the right ever begins to falter or she needs more money she just says more outrageous things.

The good news is Cleary’s executive committee of the board of trustee’s plans to meet tomorrow to discuss the matter, and there is still a chance to let them know we refuse to embrace her racist and discriminatory views.

"If those kids had been carrying guns they would have gunned down this one [child] gunman. ... Don't pray. Learn to use guns."---Politically Incorrect, 12/18/97

"I think we had enough laws about the turn-of-the-century. We don't need any more." Asked how far back would she go to repeal laws, she replied, "Well, before the New Deal...[The Emancipation Proclamation] would be a good start."---Politically Incorrect 5/7/97

Apr 17, 2007

Blogosphere was buzzing about the queen of hate’s appearance

Both the Michigan and national blogosphere were buzzing yesterday about the appearance of the queen of hate Ann Coulter at Cleary University’s Livingston Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series in Livingston County.

Our cruise director, Liberal Lucy, got the buzz going and picked up the fight on Michigan Liberal with the help of an excellent piece of art from Mike Ramsey.

Rich over at Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood took Rogers to task for his sponsorship of Coulter’s racist and hateful remarks and positions.

Nicole Belle took up the fight on the national and busy Crooks and Liars.

LL’s diary on the national Daily Kos also generated lots of traffic and comments.

Back here in Michigan the echo began, and blogers began spreading Lucy’s message to their readers. Over on Democracy for Metro Detroit the message generated lots of interest.

Over on Democratic Edge they gave Coulter back just a little bit of what she has given anyone who doesn’t’ agree with her warped view of the world with this headline, “Coulter (the bigot whore) is coming to Cleary University.”

Celeste Whiting over at Our Michigan speculated on why verbal abuse and propaganda is so popular, and why it’s earning Coulter so much money.

As you know, Cleary’s executive committee of the board of trustees plans to meet Thursday to discuss the matter. I have posted the contact information for the entire board below. I suggest contacting them directly and politely telling them Cleary University should not be embracing Coulter’s racist, discriminatory and hateful views. For some members I could not find contact info at all, and for others all I could find were home phone and address.

If you contact them please be polite, and I request you let us know the results of your contact with the board members, and if you have better contact info please let us know that too.

President Tom Sullivan
Cleary University
3750 Cleary Drive
Howell, MI 48843
Phone: 517.548.3670

Cleary University Board Officers
William J. Davis Jr., J.D.
Arbor Springs Water Company, Inc.
1440 Plymouth Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Telephone: 734-668-8270
Toll Free: 800-814-4183
General e-mail: sales@arborspringswater.com

Ian Schonsheck
Chief Executive Officer
Schonsheck, Inc.
Vice Chair of the Board
51331 W. Pontiac Trail
Wixom, MI 48393
(248) 669-8800 - Phone
(248) 669-0850 - Fax

Andrew M. Eggan, J.D.
Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C.
1349 S Huron St Ste 1
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Phone: (734) 483-3626
Fax: (734) 483-1107
E-mail: aeggan@psedlaw.com
Secretary to the Board

John E. Klee ‘74, ‘01
Vice President
National City Bank of MI/IL
Home phone 734-429-1836
Treasurer of the Board

Anne McKenny
Senior Project Engineer
General Motors Powertrain Group
Chair, Livingston

Scott Maly
TG Fluid Systems USA Corporation
740 Advance Street
Brighton, MI. 48116
Tel: 1-810-220-6161
Vice Chair, Livingston

Frank E. Fike ‘70
Vice President (Retired)
Comerica Bank
4500 E Loch Alpine Dr.(Home addrerss)
Ann Arbor, MI 48103-9769
Chair, Washtenaw

Milton A. Weidmayer CPA ‘74
Weidmayer Schneider Ratham & Bennett CPA
635 S. Maple Road
Box 2389
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-2389
Phone: 734.662.2522
Fax: 734.662.9581
Vice Chair, Washtenaw

Carol Alexander ‘76
Ford Credit IT Office

David W. Barfield
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
The Bartech Group
17199 North Laurel Park Drive
Suite 224
Livonia, MI, 48152
Tel: 734.953.5050
Fax: 734.953.5075
Toll free: 800.828.4410

Nelida Bravo
Vice President, Community Relations
Uni-Boring Company, Inc.
2280 W Grand River Ave
Howell, MI 48843-8515
Phone: 517-548-0500
FAX: 517-548-1336

Robert J. Buckler
Group President
DTE Energy Company
2000 2nd Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226-1279

David Canter, MD
Senior Vice President, PGRD & Director
Michigan Laboratories, Pfizer, Incorporated

Richard R. Chrysler
Former Republican U.S. Congressman
4869 Southern Breeze Dr.(Home address)
Naples, FL 34114

Patrick R. Cleary II
Captain, USN (Retired)
Vice President & General Manager,
Warfare Systems, PRC, Inc. (Retired)

Dan Craig
President & Chief Operating Officer
Hatch Stamping Company
635 E Industrial Dr.
Chelsea, MI, 48118

John J. Edwards
President & COO
Edwards Brothers, Incorporated
PO Box 1007
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
(734) 769-1000
Fax-(734) 769-0350

R. James Gorenflo
Director of Development
Wexford Development Group, LLC
13770 Rainbow Dr.
Dexter, MI 48130

Matthew C. Hoffmann
Jewelry Designer
Hoffmann Phoenix, LLC

Lee Jean-Gilles
Pierre Paul Art Gallery
3601 Washtenaw Avenue, Suite C
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: (734) 975-1050

Phil Jenkins
Sweepster, Incorporated
2800 North Zeeb Road
Dexter, MI 48130-1199
PHONE: (313) 996-9116
(800) 627-9378
FAX #: (313) 996-9014

Kevan P. Lawlor
President and CEO
NSF International
P.O. Box 130140
789 N. Dixboro Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48113-0140, USA
Telephone: (+1) 734-769-8010
Toll Free (USA): 800-NSF-MARK
Fax: (+1) 734-769-0109

Sheldon F. Markel, M.D.
Department of Pathology (Retired)
St. Joseph Mercy Hospital
3975 Waldenwood Dr. (Home address)
Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Glynis McBain
Your Peace of Mind

Nina I. McClelland, PhD
Nina I. McClelland, L.L.C. Consulting Services
4580 Sawgrass Dr E (Home Address)
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Robbie O’Brien, CWA
Senior Vice President
J.J. B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, Inc.

Douglas J. Ritter ’93, ‘01
Sierra/Silverado Brand Quality Manager
General Motors Corporation Service Operations Headquarters

Dave Sager
Fiegel’s, First Fiegel Financial Corporation

Judith L. Scranton ‘95
Former Republican Michigan State Representative
2457 Spring Lake Ln. (Home address)
Brighton, MI 48114

Ed Shedlock ‘03
Hoi Polloi Boutique, LLC
President, Alumni Association Ex-Officio
333 S Main St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Leon Tupper
Gilreath North

Donald E. Van Curler
Van Curler Associates, Architects
Flying Dutchman Companies
2008 Hogback Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
(734) 971-4000
Fax (734) 971-9450
E-mail: teb9711@aol.com

Richard W. Wells
Chief Financial Officer
Victor International
2601 Cambridge Court Suite 310
Auburn Hills, MI 48326

Apr 16, 2007

Open letter to Cleary University LEC coordinator

This is my response to an email I received from Janet Filip, the Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Cleary University, the person who books the speakers for the Livingston Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series and the wife of the chair of the Livingston County Republican Party, last week.
I asked her with all of the quality people available at the same speakers bureau where she booked Coulter why the university chose someone so racist and hateful as Coulter. She sent me this response, and although she has been very polite, gracious and forthcoming she never really answered the question.

I know that anything less than me replying that we are canceling Coulter's appearance is not going to be satisfactory to you. At this point, there are no plans to do so and I am not in a position to be the one to cancel her. The advisory board, many of whom are not fans of Ann Coulter's (nor am I) is aware that now the ultimate decision rests with the Executive Board of Trustees for the University. They will be having discussion about this at a meeting later this month, but based on feedback we've received from several board members, I don't think it will happen. I mentioned it before, but Ann Coulter is not a commencement speaker for the University. We are not forcing anyone to listen to her or to embrace her beliefs. The Livingston Economic Club is a program that enables those interested in hearing a speaker to pay to do so. President Sullivan was quoted as saying that the University does not endorse anyone that we have speak. Saying outrageous things is not new to Ann. Those that hated her before her comments a month ago still hate her. Those that were fans are probably still fans. But, most people (I think) probably could care less one way or the other because they don't give her a second thought. Yes, there are many speakers who are less money and many who are significantly more. It is a balancing act of bringing speakers who will be appealing to the majority of the community and to those who have supported and will continue support the LEC program. I doubt we'll ever be able to bring someone who has never said anything offensive - our obviously won't pay to see her speak. One member of our advisory board has never been a fan of hers and doesn't want to hear her speak. She will be giving her ticket to someone else to attend in her place. I don't know if all this really addresses your questions but it's my reply nonetheless.

As far as posting on your blog - I normally don't post on blogs- I Think I got a little defensive when I heard you were writing about me and my husband being the driving forces behind the speaking engagement and I replied. I am learning that with his involvement in the Republican Party, people have opinions of him and even dislike him without even knowing anything else about him. In fact, we have a neighbor down the street from us that has left us hateful letters in our mailbox. This neighbor hates Republicans and everything they stand for (which is his right), but without knowing anything else about us, has called us the most vile names. I don't like blogs because anonymous names and often spew hate and venom. I don't believe constructive dialogues can happen if people won't reveal their identities. I believe in saying what you think and standing behind that- people don't always have to agree, but I think it's important to at least be honest. I respect people who do that, even if we disagree.

Back to the LEC, I certainly believe the Coulter appearance has gotten folk's attention and they will definitely be paying attention to who we book in 2008. I look forward to the LEC presenting an outstanding lineup.


I have to disagree with what you perceived as what I think a satisfactory response from you would be. If Coulter was speaking for free I might consider dropping my opposition. I live in both Howell and Livingston County, and welcoming her here simply spreads the message that we are a community that accepts and welcomes racists with open arms and pocket books. That is simply not true, but that’s the message that’s going out with her appearance.

It seems the board’s minds are already made up, but in light of the recent firing of radio broadcaster Don Imus it should cast Coulter’s appearance in another light. As a good friend of mine said, CBS is firing Don Imus for racists remarks, but Cleary University and Livingston County are hiring Coulter for her racist remarks at more than $30,000 for two hours of hate.

I totally disagree with your assertion that “the University does not endorse anyone that we have speak.” Matt Evans, chair of the Livingston County Democratic Party, said it best when he said her appearance in Livingston County reinforces the general perception that Livingston County is a safe haven for racists and bigots of all ilks.

I never said I hated Ann Coulter, but the things she says are simply wrong. You are 100 percent correct when you say, “Saying outrageous things is not new to Ann.” That’s exactly the point. At what point and how many times does she have to cross the line of decency before we say enough and stop throwing money at her like the university is doing? What more does she have do and say before people throw up their hands and say we should not be giving this racist a platform, let along pay her to do it? If she shows up wearing a white robe and hood will that finally be enough to change your board's mind? It makes you wonder why Coulter is appearing in Livingston County instead of Ann Arbor where Cleary’s main campus is.

I think you are wrong when you say, “I doubt we'll ever be able to bring someone who has never said anything offensive.” Just off the top of my head, someone like Sparky Anderson, Lance Armstrong, Mike Eurizione or Art Linkletter fits your bill of not being offensive and appeals “to the majority of the community and to those who have supported and will continue support the LEC program.”

I also disagree with you on blogs. There are those people who visit blogs that post anonymously, but not the actual bloggers. I prefer to use a pen name when I blog, but I take ownership of everything I write.

I never said your “husband being the driving forces behind the speaking engagement.” What I said, and it is still true, is there is a conflict of interesting in Allan Filip, Chairman of the Livingston County Republican Party, commenting on Coulter’s appearance for a news article without reveling the relationship. Nowhere in the article does it mention the person who booked Coulter is his wife. Now, that may matter tremendously to some people and not a bit to others, but the conflict of interest exists and should have been pointed out to allow readers to decide what it meant for them.

The one point I do agree with you on is when you say the “Coulter appearance has gotten folk's attention.” I think that was the goal all along, and it wasn’t to further the mission of the LEC to” enrich the Livingston County community by hosting speakers who can share a broad spectrum of social, political, intellectual and cultural experiences.” Those lofty, ambitious and noble goals could have been met and you could still sell out the venue with a better speaker without selling out the university’s integrity.

Apr 14, 2007

Cleary University continues to defend racist remarks

Some news stories really don’t need to be written or are non-stories. A great example of this is the story in Friday’s edition of the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus that reported that an advisory committee for Cleary University’s Livingston Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series has no plans to stop racist hatemonger Ann Coulter’s appearance at the event.

That’s like reporting it’s dark at midnight. Cleary President Tom Sullivan and the people involved with the event knew the kind of furor it would cause inviting Coulter and paying her more than $30,000 grand for two hours of hate, especially in light of the quality of speakers the school had the option of inviting. With the recent firing of Don Imus for an alleged racist remark, it also seems unbelievable that Cleary continues to defend Coulter and she's not being held to the same standard, whose racist and hateful remarks in the past make Imus pale in comparison.

It just makes you wonder where the $30,000 in blood money came from. I had no idea Cleary was so well off. The newspaper also claims it's only Democrats that are protesting Coulter’s appearance, but the dislike of her discrimination and hate speech crosses all political lines, for the most part.

“An advisory committee to the Livingston Economic Club decided recently not to rescind the offer to Coulter, said university President Tom Sullivan, despite the furor she caused by using a derogatory term for homosexuals when discussing Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards earlier this year.
Yet, the eight-member executive committee will meet on Thursday, he said, and will conduct a routine review of the economic club's speaker series.”

Sullivan claims the school has received 33 calls against Coulter and 35 in favor, but the real number that matters is 200. That’s the number of tickets that have already been sold to Coulter’s appearance, and it’s sad that a community asset like Cleary is throwing away all its credibility to embrace racist views for a few bucks. Again, they had their choice of many people for less money that will fill the Genoa Woods Conference Center and actually give an uplifting message instead of an hour or two of hate.

“Sullivan said Coulter's speech and the controversy she often creates are a desirable part of the political debate that's critical to democracy.
"The economic club is designed to bring people of varying perspectives into the community," he said. "The discussion, and getting people to raise questions about her perspective and approach to things, is healthy. I do think it's something of value."

What is desirable about calling a presidential candidate a fagot, telling women who lost their husbands in 9/11 they enjoyed it or saying the genocide in Darfur is not happening fast enough or that half of the U.S. population are traitors?

How does that lift the political debate or contribute to dialogue in this country, Mr. Sullivan?

President Tom Sullivan
Cleary University
3750 Cleary Drive
Howell, MI 48843
Phone: 517.548.3670

Apr 12, 2007

It takes one to know one

In what has to be the most outrageous case of the pot calling the kettle black, right wing hatemonger and racist Ann Coulter appeared on two Faux cable “news” shows last night commenting on Don Imus' remarks about the Rutgers University women's basketball team that got the TV broadcast of his radio show dropped from MSNBC.

I’m not sure if what Imus, a registered Republican, said was enough to get him fired, but it pales in comparison to the many instances of offensive and racist things Coulter has said over the years. It’s not just the discriminatory things Coulter has said in the past, and there have been many of them, but it’s also the general hate speech. She should be fired, but instead she’s invited on two Faux shows to trash someone else for what she routinely does. Can you think of anything more hypocritical?

I am assuming Imus has a long history of racist remarks like Coulter has that earned him a suspension and dropped from MSNBC. Instead Coulter of being held accountable for her racist remarks and hate speech, we have Cleary University throwing $30,000 at her for two hours work. Imus has apologized repeatedly for his comments, but Coulter never had and never will until she is held accountable.

Imus described the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos.” Unfortunately, the word “hos” has become a derogatory, sexist term used to describe women of all races, much like “broads” is a derogatory, sexist term used to describe women. I’m not defending it or Imus, but it is no worse than Coulter’s endorsement of the Darfur genocide just a week ago and the many other hateful, racist things she has said in the past.

Livingston County perceived as racist surprises students

Stop the presses! Howell High School students are perceived as racist by people outside of Livingston County.

In an exercise in stating the obvious, the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus reported today that students attending the District IV Choral Festival at Walled Lake Western High School last month were called racists when they told other students they were from Howell. I have lived in my wife’s hometown of Howell for some 10 years, and do we really need a newspaper story to tell us what people outside of the county think of us?

The most obvious reason we wear this label of racist is because former Klan Grand Dragon Robert E. Miles lived in Cohoctah Township, just outside of Howell, until he died in 1992. He has died, but the actions of some small-minded people in this community have not. People keep ignoring the fact that the many people in the county, the city and the school district continue to reinforce the untrue idea that this is a small-minded, racist community.

The most recent example is the rise of a small but vocal anti-gay hate group known as the” LOVE” PAC (Livingston Organization for Values in Education). This group first raised its head after it mounted a campaign against a diversity flag they falsely claimed was a gay pride flag, and then they made national news by trying to ban books, including two books by African-American authors writing about racism, including one author who is a Nobel Laureate.

We also have the planned appearance of famous hatemonger and racist Ann Coulter at Cleary University’s Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series for the princely sum of $30,000, further reinforcing the general perception that Livingston County is a safe haven for racists and bigots of all ilks, including rich, blonde ones.

We have also had a few instances of hate crimes, like the attack on a black State Trooper a few years ago, and last month a Hamburg Township family were greeted by racist words scrawled on the wall of their Portage Lake home by vandals and the home viciously ransacked.

The headline for the story, “Howell students stung by taunts” seems a little misleading, but in defense of the newspaper, headlines are meant to grab attention and get people to read the story.

When asked where they were from the; “The students proudly replied, "Howell High School," only to be told that being from Howell must mean the students "are racists," the 17-year-old (Kelsea) Raether said. An adult on the trip said the students were called "damn racists."

I hardly call these taunts. It was wrong and should not have happened, but I'm not sure I would call them "taunts." Again, calling people you don’t know racist is wrong, but the students surly could not have been surprised, based on the actions of the adults in the community.

Apr 11, 2007

Check out the Conservative Media

If you want to know what’s wrong with the media in the United States take a look at the movie “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism.”

If it’s possibly that there is anyone out there that still believes the almost 40 year Republican political strategy of the “liberal media” myth I suggest you take a look at this movie. With outlets like Faux “news” and Sinclair it really is the Conservative Media.

You can see the movie free at this link: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6737097743434902428&q=outfoxed

Weekly wacky Coulter quote

With Wednesday comes the weekly wacky and discriminatory quote from the queen of hate Ann Coulter, as her scheduled appearance at Cleary University’s Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series approaches.

Apparently, the Executive Board of Trustees for the University is meeting later this month to talk about her appearance, and we need to help them make the right decision.

This week we get a double does of Coulter’s brand of the kind of freedom she supports.

"I think there should be a literacy test and a poll tax for people to vote."---Hannity & Colmes, 8/17/99

"I think [women] should be armed but should not [be allowed to] vote."---Politically Incorrect, 2/26/01

President Tom Sullivan
Cleary University
3750 Cleary Drive
Howell, MI 48843
Phone: 517.548.3670

Apr 10, 2007

Somebody should tell the AG about the YMCA four blocks from his office

A great job by the Michigan Democratic Party’s uncovering of Republican Attorney General Mike Cox’s plan to build a personal gym at taxpayer expense.

MDP Chair Mark Brewer provided the media with the blueprints for the office that will go on the 7th Floor of the AG’s office in the G. Mennen Williams Building in downtown Lansing where Cox’s office is located and a receipt for the $60,000 worth of exercise equipment. Now, I give a lot of credit to Brewer and Communications Director Jason Moon for this fine piece of investigative journalism, but I wonder if one of the 22 legal secretaries who just got fired last month because of the budget crunch did not supply the material. That’s the big story; Cox’s is buying this unnecessary perk but laying people off.

“It looks like Cox was for his taxpayer-funded $60,000 personal gym before he was against it,” Brewer said. “How long is Cox going to try and cover-up his outrageous plans before he admits that he is lying? This is just another display of Cox’s arrogance at the expense of Michigan’s citizens.”

Rusty Hills, a spokesman for Cox, does a great job spinning the story, but he’s paid well for that. You may remember Hills as the former Chair of the Michigan Republican Party during the dark Engler years, so he is very good at spin.

According to the Detroit Free Press. Hills said the gym would be geared, initially at least, to the 37 gun-toting investigators on staff.
"We buy books for attorneys, we have no problem buying weights for cops," Hills said. "We want the cops on our payroll to be in better shape than the criminals they're chasing."

Here is perhaps on of the best quotes I have ever heard from a public official. Besides, Hills said, a gym is urgently needed: "Folks in state prison are lifting weights right now, as we speak."

Man, what a spin doctor.

I happen to be a big advocate of physical fitness, but why do I have to pay for a perk only they can use?

I have a friend that owns the Howell Fitness Center in Genoa Township, and he and his wife are big contributors to all kinds of community causes. Dale has worked out a deal with the Livingston County EMS that provides memberships at a big discount to all of the paramedics, and the county provides them to the paramedics for free. Dale also provides a discount to law enforcement personal.

Wouldn’t it be more cost effective and help local gyms if the AG’s office picked up a gym membership or paid a portion of it? How about the YMCA? They are an excellent non-profit organization, and Lansing has some excellent YMCA facilities. In fact there is an excellent YMCA at the corner of Ottawa and Washington Street in downtown Lansing, and it’s just a short four-block walk from the AG’s office.

The walk will do them good, and they will be in “better shape than the criminals they're chasing."

Apr 9, 2007

Resistance to hatemonger is building

This Letter-to-the Editor that ran in the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus today was too good to pass up, so I decided to post if for an audience outside of Livingston County. Many people I have talked to feel the same way as Mr. Henderson does, and there is a group of people trying to persuade Cleary University to come to its senses and find a better speaker.

Apparently, the Executive Board of Trustees for the University is meeting later this month to talk about her appearance.

Ann Coulter is a hatemonger. Her invitation to the 2007 Livingston Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series is an affront to all who seek peace and justice. Here are only a couple of her outrageous pronouncements:
"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."

"Whether they are defending the Soviet Union or bleating for Saddam Hussein, liberals are always against America. They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of America's self-preservation, the difference is irrelevant."

Please reconsider the invitation offered to Ann Coulter to speak in Livingston County based on the above.

The acceptance of similar hate speech paved the way for Hitler's rise in the 1930's and must not be repeated.

Robert L. Henderson


Apr 8, 2007

Coulter makes jokes about rape, murder, starvation and genocide

Boy, those people who are going to buy tickers for the appearance of hatemonger Ann Coulter at the Livingston Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series in October are sure going to get their money’s worth.

In her latest column Coulter pokes fun at rape, murder, starvation and genocide. Boy, she’s worth every single penny of the more than $30,000 they are paying her. Making jokes about the genocide in Darfur is sooo funny. That will be good lunchtime entertainment. She is just hilllllarious.

In her latest column, the queen of hate had this to say about the funny going ons in Western Sudan:

"These people can't even wrap up genocide," Coulter writes. "We've been hearing about this slaughter in Darfur forever -- and they still haven't finished.
The aggressors are moving like termites across that country. It's like
genocide by committee. Who's running this holocaust in Darfur, FEMA?"

To quote a famous American entertainer, “funny, funny stuff.” Here, she is saying that the brutal rape, murder and genocide of Africans in Darfur is not happening fast enough for her. How funny it that? I guess that’s why nine newspapers in the last month have agreed to drop her column, including the Oakland Press here in Michigan.

In case you didn’t know, since 2003, Darfur, in Western Sudan, has been embroiled in a deadly conflict. Several hundred thousand people have been killed or seriously injured. More than two million people have been displaced and live in displaced-persons camps in Sudan or in refugee camps in Chad; more than 3.5 million people are reliant on international aid for survival.

That is most definitely the fodder for jokes.

Maybe Cleary University President Tom Sullivan or Janet Flip, who booked Coulter, will appreciate this funny joke. Contact them and let them know.

President Tom Sullivan
Cleary University
3750 Cleary Drive
Howell, MI 48843
Phone: 517.548.3670