Dec 28, 2010
2010 was a year of sweeping positive change
The past year was one of sweeping change that will have a positive effect on the lives of Americans for generations to come, on both a state and national level.
Those changes came even though the national Republicans were the most obstructionist in history, In fact, over the last two years; Democrats broke more filibusters than any Senate in recorded history. Here are the top stories of 2010:
1 Workplace smoking ban goes into effect
The popular and life-saving workplace-smoking ban that includes bars and restaurants went into effect on May 1 with little or no problems. Critics of the ban continued their misinformation campaign, but later in the year in December, the Michigan Department of Treasury found that overall sales tax collections in restaurants and bars were up 2.84 percent over last year, putting to rest the false talking point that the ban will hurt business.
2 Historic health care insurance reform passed
President Obama made history in March with the passage of the historic health care insurance reform bill. After decades of trying, stretching back almost a century, the U.S. House made history and a major progressive victory was achieved that will rein in the worst insurance abuses and expand health care to 32 million Americans. It was accomplished, of course, with nothing but Democratic votes. That $1.4 million a day the insurance lobby was spending to spread lies and misinformation and kill the bill was quickly diverted to unseat those brave Democrats who did the right thing.
3 Democrats blow the whistle of GOP mismanagement
In August the Livingston County Democratic Party helped break a story on the fact that several local townships may default on several local water- and sewer-assessment bonds backed by the county, and because of that county taxpayers may have to bail them out. The local newspaper ignored the story and chose more to smear the chair of the party. The county’s financial reports have failed to alert the public to the fact that townships are in danger of missing their payments for the $101 million in principal and interest backed by the county, and the party called for the all-Republican Livingston County Commission to hold a town hall meeting explaining the issue to the public. To date that has not happened.
4 DADT is dead
History was made in December when after 17 years the discriminatory and unconstitutional “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy was killed after the Senate voted 65-31 to end the Clinton-era policy banning gays from serving openly in the military. The Senate followed the lead of the House that passed the ban, and eight Republican senators joined almost the entire Senate Democratic caucus to approve the bill.
5 HPS suspends teacher
Howell Public Schools made the national spotlight again for its history of refusal to support equal rights and error on the side of protecting minority rights. In October Howell High School teacher Jay McDowell, who just happens to be the president of the Howell Education Association (HEA) that represents the teachers, was suspended for one day without pay because he sent two students to the office for disrupting his class. The incident occurred Oct. 20; the day people all over the country wore purple to support the end of anti-gay bullying that led to a rash of suicides by gay teens. Apparently, McDowell asked a student wearing a belt buckle sporting the Confederate flag to remove the symbol of racism, slavery, white supremacy and treason. The story quickly gained legs, and McDowell’s suspension has still not been settled.
6 Campaign cash kills 10,000 Michigan jobs
On the last session day of the 95th Legislature session, the entire Michigan Senate Republican caucus voted no on discharging House Bill 4961 from committee; a bill that would authorize Michigan to enter into a public-private partnership with Canada to build the planned International Crossing (DRIC) bridge. The $1 million in camping cash that Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun spent in the last election cycle to ensure he keeps his monopoly at the busiest border crossing in North America was money well spent.
7 House approves bill that will build DRIC bridge
On May 27, The Michigan House finally took up and approved House Bill 4961 that would authorize Michigan to enter into a public-private partnership with Canada and a private sector developer/financier to build the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) bridge over the Detroit river between Canada and Windsor. Not a single House Republican voted with the Democrats to save and create 10,000 Michigan jobs. That makes the only people against the DRIC bridge Michigan Republicans.
8 Tax cut compromise
In December President struck a compromise with Republicans on a temporary two-year extension of all the Bush-era tax cuts, including the bailout for millionaires, in exchange for a 13-month extension of unemployment insurance benefits and a one-year payroll tax reduction for all workers. The tax cuts will balloon the budget deficit, but the lifeline for the unemployed will keep the recovery out of the Bush recession moving forward.
9 Ambassador Bridge owner loses in court
In February, Ambassador Bridge owner and GOP sugar daddy Matty Moroun suffers the first of many setbacks in court when Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Prentice Edwards ordered him to tear down the illegally constructed gas pumps and duty-free store built on property owned by the city of Detroit. The U.S. government filed its own lawsuit in U.S. District Court telling the bridge company to "cease and desist" referring to itself as a "federal instrumentality" in any bridge or court proceedings. Over the years, the bridge company has frequently referred to itself in this way as leverage in obtaining property belonging to the city of Detroit and to exempt it from various state and federal regulations. In May 2008, the Michigan Supreme Court voted 7-0 that because it dealt in international commerce, the Ambassador Bridge was a federal instrumentality, which gave it the right to proceed with its twin expansion project, including the construction of toll booths, pumps and duty-free shop."
10 BP oil spill
On April 20, an explosion of a giant BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico launched the worst ecological disaster in U.S. history, pumping millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf. Republicans immediately began spinning out of control trying to blame it and the resulting oil spill on President Obama. Discredited Right-wing tools from Sean Hannnity to Karl Rove have been spinning hard to try and sell it as President Obama’s Katrina, despite the fact that the Obama Administration was there from day one. Apparently, this will now be Hanity’s version of “where were the buses.” The President did a remarkable job securing of a $20 billion escrow account from BP to pay for the clean up and compensate Gulf Coast residents who have lost their livelihoods and way of life. Republicans and U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the House and Commerce Committee, apologized to BP for the President making them pay for the damage they caused.
11 Outrage over community center
In August and throughout the summer right-wingers ginned up fake outrage over the proposal to build an Islamic community center close to the site of the so-called Ground Zero in lower Manhattan is, but it appears that right-wingers don’t want any mosques or community centers built anywhere. Teabaggers all over the country supported protests against plans to build mosques and even to burn Korans.
12 Election disaster
A flood of secret, unregulated corporate and foreign money that poured into elections following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last January in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case and a conservative, corporate media that helped spread misinformation helped the election pendulum swing to the right in November, giving Republicans control of the Michigan and the federal House.