A country that loses its values, its principles, has lost its heart. A country that loses its sensible center, its common ground, has lost its mind.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Selweski wins first place for column writing

Chad Selweski of The Macomb Daily took first place for column writing on Wednesday at the annual Society of Professional Journalists’ (Detroit area chapter) “Excellence in Media” awards banquet.
Competing in Category B for newspapers with circulation of less than 100,000, Selweski was singled out for three of his 2013 columns, which were published in print, on macombdaily.com and on his blog, macombpolitics.blogspot.com.
One column detailed the efforts by Warren Mayor Jim Fouts to spy on his political enemies. A second column explained how Michigan’s K-12 students lag far behind their counterparts across the globe on test scores. The third piece focused on the hate speech and white supremacist roots of an infamous Facebook post by Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema.
Other SPJ award winners from The Macomb Daily were: feature writer Gina Joseph, outdoors writer Don Gardner, photographer Dave Dalton and graphics artist Kevin Martin.

Some of my favorite moments of the night …
Brian Dickerson of the Detroit Free Press winning in Class A for best columnist. Bridge Magazine capturing several awards for their in-depth, long-form online journalism. Crain’s Detroit Business, which has been home over the years to many Macomb Daily alumni, taking home a stack of awards thanks in part to the leadership of managing editor Jennette Helen once-a-Jones Smith Kotila (Sounds like royalty ;-]). And former Free Press reporter Steve Neavling winning recognition for his self-starter efforts that led to the Motor City Muckraker website.

I also need to tell you that Jim Schaefer of the Free Press is a bad, bad man. Bad.

House Ag Committee grinds out LaFontaine sausage-making bill

Legislation that would allow food processors to mix wild game meat from more than one owner—providing for “wild game sausage” in state law—was approved by the House today after the bill was sponsored by state Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus Township.
“There is an old saying that there are two things you never want to witness being made: sausage and law. “Today we intended to combine the two,” said LaFontaine, who represents Chesterfield Township and New Baltimore.
Under current law, those who process wild game harvested by a hunter must completely clean their equipment between each and every animal. House Bill 5195, authored by LaFontaine, chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, will remove this condition when the end result is not for sale. Customers will be informed of this provision.
“Wild game hunters don’t expect machines to be cleaned between processing, and such cleaning (has) never been common practice,” said LaFontaine, an avid hunter and fisherman. “We’re clarifying the law to reflect a harmless practice that has hardly been enforced.”
In celebration of this legislation, LaFontaine will be offering samples of Wild Game Sausage to members of the House next session. The bill is supported by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development and now heads to the Senate.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

GOP criticizes Schauer for bill backed by Engler, Snyder

The Republican Governors Association took aim at Rick Snyder’s Democratic opponent on health care issues, but the result was a need for RGA medical assistance – for shooting themselves in the foot.
A new attack ad released by the RGA today criticizes Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer for a 2002 state House vote by the former representative that imposed a new per-bed fee on nursing homes. 

But the RGA ignored a few key facts.

As the Democrats are quick to note, the Medicaid Quality Assurance Assessment Program was enthusiastically backed by Republican Gov. John Engler, won bipartisan support in the state Legislature and was later extended by Gov. Rick Snyder, whom Schauer is challenging.
According to MLive, which first reported the RGA’s distortion, the program is designed to win tens of millions of federal matching dollars and then return them to nursing homes that participate in Michigan's Medicaid program.

At a 2002 press conference, with health insurers at his side, Engler said: “In this period of constrained state revenue, we must maximize every non-state revenue source available to us. 
“I am pleased to support this very important initiative because it will allow Michigan to earn additional federal funding to help continue quality medical and long-term care to low-income families and the disabled. I applaud the efforts of these two provider groups – the Health Care Association of Michigan and the Michigan Association of Health Plans -- for working hard to identify ways to maintain quality health care during this difficult financial period.”

The RGA ad claims Schauer’s 2002 vote is among the candidate’s past decisions that “defy reason.” Obviously, the Republican governor’s group, after failing to do its homework, is now licking its self-inflicted wounds.

Young couple flees Michigan's 'out of control' politics

Perspective is always important for elected leaders to heed, especially those who engage in noisy political battles while also trying to promote Michigan as a land of bliss.
In a guest column for MLive, a man named Brian Sweeney has written an explanation why he and his wife – the type of young, college-educated couple that are a priority for the Mitten State -- are leaving Michigan and won’t look back. The main reason?

“The state’s political system is out of control,” Sweeney wrote.

He cites partisan bickering and the inability of the Legislature to tackle basic issues, such as fixing the roads. Sweeney also derides specific policy issues, such as the “appalling” law recently enacted that forces women who want health care coverage for abortion to purchase so-called rape insurance separate from their health benefits.
Sweeney, a former state government employee, and his wife, who recently completed graduate school at Michigan State, are not particularly liberal or conservative. Like many young people, they’re independents who simply expect political officials to reach pragmatic decisions that don’t pry into personal matters.

Here’s a bit of what Sweeney wrote:
“Like a growing number of young people, I espouse some Republican and some Democratic values. Either because they are out of touch or they just don’t care, Michigan’s political leaders have largely assumed opposing positions on issues important to young adults.

“Democrats generally support same-sex marriage and, perhaps unexpectedly, so (does) a strong majority (61 percent) of Republicans aged 18-29 according to a Pew Research poll. United in opposition to marriage equality, Gov. Snyder, Attorney General Schuette and (Republican National Committeeman) Dave Agema differ only on whether to dodge the issuehide behind the state constitution or meet the issue with shameless bigotry.
“(U.S.) Rep. Mike Rogers, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, may be the nation’s foremost defender of National Security Agency surveillance of U.S. citizens. He has become famous for calling Edward Snowden a traitor while fighting reform of the domestic surveillance programs he helped to shape and conceal.

“These programs are wildly unpopular with young people.”

New study shows toxic chemicals in everyday items from Walgreens

New study results released today should give pause to anyone who shops at Walgreens.
Ann Arbor-based  Healthystuff.org purchased pet products, children’s products, and other home goods from Walgreens stores and tested the products for hazardous chemicals, including arsenic, lead, bromine, chlorine, mercury and cadmium. The study is part of ongoing research at HealthyStuff.org (a project of the Michigan-based nonprofit organization, the Ecology Center) on harmful chemicals in consumer products sold by each of the top ten retailers in the US. Previous results from other retailers can viewed at the HealthyStuff.org Retailer Center.

Ecology Center researchers tested 44 products for substances that have been linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity, and cancer. Products tested in a laboratory setting included pet toys, children’s products, and other everyday consumer products purchased at the nation’s largest drugstore chain, Walgreens. Local advocates will release the study data and call on Walgreens to Mind the Store at a press conference in Ann Arbor.

"Retailers like Walgreens have the responsibility to sell products that are safe, not toxic,” said Mike Schade, Mind the Store campaign director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. “While other big retailers like Target and Walmart are beginning to tackle toxic chemicals, Walgreens has yet to develop a comprehensive plan of action to address unnecessary dangerous chemicals in the products they sell."

Scientists at HealthyStuff.org tested 44 products from Walgreens, ranging from household cleaning products, school supplies, pet toys and other everyday consumer products. Many were found to have one or more chemicals, including PVC (vinyl) plastic, phthalates, organotins and heavy metals that have been identified by state and federal authoritative government bodies to be toxic to our health.
Phthalates are plasticizers -- substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. 
High resolution photos of the specific products, some of which are Walgreens branded products, and test results are available at HealthyStuff.org.

"Our new study shows that some products sold at Walgreens contain toxic chemicals like phthalates, flame retardants and vinyl plastic," said Jeff Gearhart, research director for the Ecology Center and HealthyStuff.org. "It shouldn’t be a case of 'buyer beware,' when shopping for consumer products, retailers have a responsibility to offer safer products. As a result we have joined our partners in the Mind the Store Campaign to call on Walgreens to get products containing toxic chemicals off of their store shelves."
New research into toxic chemicals in Walgreens products found:
* High levels of phthalates in a number of products sold at Walgreens, including a 3-ring binder, vinyl shower curtain, iPod/iPhone charger, and handbag purse.
* Of the 13 vinyl products screened for phthalates, all 13 tested positive for regulated phthalates at levels greater than 10,000 ppm. Examples include:
  -- A vinyl shower curtain contained 18.2% of the phthalate DEHP.
  -- A vinyl 3-ring binder contained 14.3% of the phthalate DINP.
  -- Vinyl cleaning gloves contained 37.5% of the phthalate DINP.
  -- A blue handbag purse contained 4.5% of the phthalate DEHP.
  -- An iPod/iPhone/iPad charger contained 32.7% of the phthalate DINP.
* About 30% (13 of 44) of the products tested contained high chlorine levels, suggesting they may be made of the toxic plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl).
* A pet tennis ball contained elevated levels of lead.
About 27% of the products tested contained antimony based flame retardants.
* 20% of the products tested contained organotins, which are used as additives to vinyl plastic.

Actor and activist Jennifer Beals weighed in support of today’s actions: “It is my hope that Walgreens listens to our message today. Everyone, regardless of income and education, should have access to safe, non-toxic products. I admire and support all the brave advocates who will be visiting their Walgreens store today in support of safer chemicals.”
Beals is an outspoken public health advocate, having made two trips to Washington D.C. in support of strong laws on toxic chemicals.

In recent months, several major national retailers including Walmart, Target, and Bed, Bath and Beyond have announced significant new initiatives to disclose and limit the use of chemicals that are known hazards and appear on the Mind the Store’s “Hazardous 100+” list.
Walgreens is considered a “laggard,” having undertaken no major initiatives to address toxic chemicals in their supply chain and ignoring feedback from consumers and requests for meetings from environmental health organizations.
The Mind the Store Campaign is coordinated by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, which is challenging the top 10 US retailers to get tough on toxic chemicals.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Run for the Rogers open seat already tearing up GOP

Congressman Mike Rogers made his surprise announcement on Friday that he is stepping down, and on Monday we already have a potential bitter split in the Republican Party. And this time the tea party cannot be blamed.

Former Michigan Senate Leader Mike Bishop of Rochester appears ready to jump at the chance to run for the open 8th District seat, a district which comprises Ingham and Livingston counties and northern Oakland County. A Facebook page created on Friday encouraging him to launch a campaign has accumulated 250 likes so far. 
Standing in the way is Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, who apparently has the backing of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
On Michael Patrick Shiels' radio program this morning, state Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak said there would be a "meeting of the minds" over Barnett and Bishop.
Schostak did admit that Bishop is "associated with
those years" when asked directly by Shiels if Bishop was tainted by the tax and budget fights with then-governor Jennifer Granholm.

With the moved-up filing deadline set for April 22, a move is purportedly afoot by party leaders to put together a closed-door meeting today or Tuesday to hash this all out.
In the midst of this flurry of activity, Beverly Kelly, a conservative Republican activist put out an email commentary that essentially amounts to an attempt to quickly wound Bishop’s campaign before it gets started. 
Here’s a look at what she had to say to fellow “grassroots” Republicans:

This coronation is strangely reminiscent of the one called … “McCottergate,” when establishment Republicans anointed ex-(state)Sen. Nancy Cassis against conservative activist Kerry Bentivolio in the 2012 Republican primary for Michigan's 11th Congressional District.

An online graphic opposing Bishop
Bishop, who inherited political office from his father, a politician of the first order in his own right, has been dependent on the teat of government for most of his professional life -- as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, a member of the Michigan Senate, majority leader of the Michigan Senate, the losing Republican candidate for state attorney general, and the losing Republican candidate for Oakland County prosecuting attorney. Despite losing his last two races Bishop is apparently back despite professing his passion for a life in the private sector. Does anyone even know if Bishop even won his own precinct when he lost last time?

Of course, this has deeply troubled many Republicans, and in particular the grassroots, who remember Bishop for cutting a smoke filled-backroom deal with then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm to shut down state government in 2007, thereby allowing Democrats to pass a $1.3 billion tax increase — the largest in Michigan's history.
Conservative activists and taxpayer rights advocates across the 8th Congressional District, which spans parts of Oakland, Livingston and Ingham counties, will need to guard their wallet with Bishop seeking a congressional seat. While he talks the talk, he is the epitome of the blue-blood Republican establishment.

Another bit of intrigue surrounding the "Run for the Rogers" seat is the contention that the timing and plotting is all part of a payback by the congressman against state Sen. Joe Hune, who represents all of Livingston County and apparently would like to take a shot at a congressional run. Conservatives say that Hune outmaneuvered Rogers’ brother, Bill Rogers, for a seat in the Michigan Senate four years ago.
Meanwhile, in a case of wishful thinking, former Michigan House Speaker Craig DeRoche, whose reputation took a plunge after a drunken driving incident and some erratic behavior, felt the need to issue a press release announcing that he will not run.
Former state party chair Saul Anuzis has also expressed an interest in the seat, with mixed results.

On the Democratic side it appears that much of the buzz surrounds Virg Bernero, the outspoken Lansing mayor who lost the 2010 gubernatorial race to Rick Snyder, and Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, a former state representative.
State Rep. Sam Singh (D – East Lansing) has declined to run, choosing to stick with his state House seat.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Don't scoff -- Detroit could be the next Silicon Valley


Could it be that down-and-out Detroit, the poster child of dark days and hard times, is on its way to becoming the Silicon Valley – the shining star -- of the Midwest?
Such a question sounds ludicrous but the greater Detroit area is quietly becoming a high-tech juggernaut and Macomb County sits at the center of this renaissance as the auto engineering capital of the world.
According to a new report, universities in the metro Detroit region graduated more students in the areas of engineering and engineering technology than any other region in the study, with more science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and computer-science graduates than Silicon Valley.
The region’s 22,000 jobs in life sciences in 2010 nearly doubled, to 42,000, in one year. That’s a good thing. That’s a very good thing.

But here’s the really stunning statistic: Tech industry employment in the eight-county Detroit region rose 15 percent from the previous year’s study, while Silicon Valley – California’s iconic high-tech haven -- shows a 4 percent drop.
Our technology sector added more than 30,000 jobs, while Silicon Valley’s tech sector lost 10,000.
The report, compiled by the Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group, shows a seismic shift in the Motor City’s role in the U.S. economy. Since the recession ended and the auto industry reversed its tailspin, the Detroit area has emerged as a major competitor when measured against 14 other high-tech hubs in the U.S. – places such as Seattle, Austin and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Automation Alley, the Troy-based economic development organization that also maintains an office in Macomb County, released the report this past week to little fanfare. But the author of the study and the leader of Automation Alley were nearly giddy in an interview with Crain’s Detroit Business.
“We’re not a one-horse market here,” said Ken Rogers, executive director of Automation Alley. “We have to change how we see ourselves. This is one of the major centers for engineering in the world. There are 15 tech hubs in the U.S., and we’re a major player. We’re not a wannabe. We’re there.”
“The numbers look great this year,” said Patrick Anderson, CEO of the Anderson Group. “We’re in the first rank of tech centers around the country.”
Driving this rebirth is the so-called knowledge economy, the technology jobs that require talent and collaborative skills and a college degree in substantive studies such as math and engineering.

For example, Michigan leads the nation in advanced automotive, the new high-tech version of designing, engineering and manufacturing vehicles. In fact, the concentration of employment in metro Detroit – 64,000 advanced auto jobs in 2011 -- is 6.5 times the national average.
Many of those workers can be found at the GM Tech Center in Warren and in nearby engineering and design firms. In addition, the state now ranks fifth in the U.S. in patents granted for the creation of technological innovations.
This is not the gritty, blue-collar land of assembly lines anymore.
In 2011, tech-related jobs in the region reached the highest concentration in the Midwest.
On the national landscape we ranked second to who? Silicon Valley.

Those of us in Macomb and Oakland counties and suburban Wayne are viewed by the world as Detroit. I certainly wish the inner city well but we need to bust out of that straightjacket and tell the world that metro Detroit is about much more than bankruptcy and ruin porn.
In response to my column from last week, “Many kids just aren’t college material,” some smart analysts came back with rebuttals that reiterated the extraordinary value of a college degree. In fact, the newest data shows that the key to financial success isn’t simply a bachelor’s degree, it’s now a master’s degree.

The Pew Research Center has found that one of the biggest problems facing the nation is the high cost of not going to college. Pew researchers have substantially busted the myths about Millenials (aged 25 to 32) regretting their decision to pursue a degree.
Pew found that Millenials who secured a bachelor’s degree or more earn about 40 percent more annually than their peers who stopped at a high school diploma. The college grads’ unemployment rate is 3.8 percent and 88 percent say that, despite high tuition and student loan payments, their decision to take the college route was worth it.
In contrast, the wage stagnation and skills-gap that has developed over the past 30 years has hit Millenials with nothing more than a diploma especially hard. About 22 percent of them live in poverty, which is three times the rate among Baby Boomers in that same education category when they were in their 20s.
Another key finding by Pew is that majors matter. Four in 10 of Millenials who majored in the liberal arts or social sciences find themselves working outside of their field.

Perhaps the solution is to steer kids -- not to rigidly put them on a career track, but to sort out who’s who and who’s capable of what.
We need more kids pursuing degrees in STEM fields. But we also need more kids who are languishing in community college classrooms to step out, to move over to their school’s curriculum in skilled trades or advanced manufacturing.
Because what we have now is a bit of a bipolar mindset that leads to a non-functioning system. The result is too many kids passing up good careers in technology, and too many kids dropping out of community college who end up flipping burgers.

Clearly, the tech jobs are the future, the path toward metro Detroit perhaps becoming the next Silicon Valley.
But all those brilliant engineers and designers and scientists in advanced manufacturing will still need a new generation of workers to operate and maintain high-tech machinery and equipment, and to build the facilities that house these amazing new “factories.”

If we do that, the Motor City will never be the same. And that’s a good thing.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Monumental mix-up

Because of a monumental mix-up -- or was it an  early April Fool's Day joke? -- the blog post about Joe DiSano running for Congress has been taken down. DiSano is not running.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Former GOP lawmaker: Time to apologize for anti-gay marriage vote

Former Republican state representative Chris Ward has written a blog calling on his former GOP colleagues in the Legislature to apologize for their support in 2004 of Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriages.
Ward recalls that the push for the ballot proposal – a state constitutional amendment – was motivated by pure politics, not deeply held beliefs.
The Republicans needed a good issue to run on in ’04 and the pollsters and campaign strategists convinced them that gay marriage would bring out the Catholic vote in droves, and those Catholics would gratefully vote for Republicans up and down the ballot.

Here’s a portion of what Ward wrote for Republicus, a blog site that caters to GOP loyalists:
“Looking back now, one of the things that bothers me the most about the whole episode was how dehumanizing it was. It was just politics. But it wasn't politics ... these were people. We singled out a whole group of people, most of whom just wanted to be left alone, to forcefully discriminate against them for short-term political benefit. 
Ward was featured in a November 2008 story by domemagazine.com

“All around us were our friends, COLLEAGUES, family members, highly valued staff members and people we care about who this clearly was going to hurt. Nobody seemed to think a thing of it. Like most people, including my constituents, I wasn't comfortable with same-sex marriage at that point but I didn't even bother to throw out a ‘hey we shouldn't be doing this?’ or ‘look what we are doing to the people we care about.’ 
"The vote (in the Legislature) failed. The supporters had to go spend some money to gather the signatures. Of course, those signatures were used as a database for later campaigns. A few of my Republican colleagues, Lorence Wenke and Leon Drolet, paid enormously for their courage in voting no.

“… My own particular purgatory is to be forever doomed to be on the wrong side of history. Ever since I can remember I have voraciously read history. Churchill in the wilderness years with his scrappy friends trying to rouse support to fight Hitler before the war. Lincoln, Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams, Charles Sumner and so many more who fought slavery, even before it was popular. The founders meeting in secret and drawing up the plans for our country, while facing seemingly insurmountable odds. Reagan and Barry Goldwater always looking for the principled stand for the long term over the expedient. 
“You always picture yourself cast in a role with them. Not on the other side. In my small window of making an impact, I failed to put the things I learned from reading those books to use on an important issue.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Schuette says he talks with Snyder regularly -- in confidential conversations

3rd UPDATE: I was remiss earlier in  not including Bill Schuette's entire statements on the white supremacist court brief submitted in support of the attorney general's fight against marriage equality.
Here they are:
“There is no place in this discussion for  derogatory language, and anything like it will be completely disregarded by the Department of Attorney General.  The Sixth Circuit should use this brief to line a birdcage, because that's all it's good for.” 
Second, here is the Schuette statement in reference to the governor's comment about a lack of interaction with the AG’s office:
“The Department of Attorney General and the governor’s office talk all the time. Those conversations are confidential.  The governor’s written statement speaks for itself, and as the attorney general has said all along, these issues will ultimately be sorted out by the courts, just as they have in other states. The sooner these questions are answered, the better.”

2nd UPDATE: I am shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that white supremacist Kyle Bristow began his political activism here in Macomb County. He grew up in Clinton Township, in the Rivergate subdivision, and started up a Young Republicans group at Chippewa Valley High School. From there, he became active working on GOP campaigns.

UPDATE: Bill Schuette has issued a statement denouncing the Traditionalist Youth Network's court brief, saying it's only good for "lining a birdcage."

The evidence is mounting that Attorney General Bill Schuette has decided to latch onto the far right, including gay haters and white supremacists, in order to keep his job.
As Gov. Rick Snyder was trying to decide what to do about the 300 same-sex marriages performed in Michigan before the federal appellate court issued a stay, the state’s top lawyer, Schuette, apparently wanted nothing to do with that decision.
Though Schuette is arguing the gay rights case in the federal courts and has vowed to fight marriage equality all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, here is what happened when the governor went to him for legal advice.

Snyder said he met with legal counsel and contacted Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office to understand the complexities of the issue. Schuette’s office did not respond, Snyder said.” That’s according to Crain’s Detroit Business.
Snyder is already unpopular with the tea party and other staunchly conservative Republicans. His decision that those gay marriages are legal (though not enforceable at the moment) will further erode his popularity with the far-right crowd. Schuette obviously is keeping his distance.

Meanwhile, Kathy Hoekstra, a writer and blogger, has uncovered some embarrassing details about one group that is siding with Schuette in his fight against gay rights.
The AG had already demonstrated some of his questionable connections during the federal court trial that led to the short-lived ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. Schuette’s last expert witness testified that “unrepentant homosexuals are going to hell.”
Now, his appeal to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court is backed by a white nationalist group called the Traditionalist Youth Network, which has filed amicus curiae brief supporting Schuette’s legal fight.

Hoekstra writes on her Detroit News blog that the lead counsel for this brief is Kyle Bristow, a Clarkston- based lawyer who gained notoriety in college as head of the Michigan State University chapter of Young Americans for Freedom.
Bristow loudly pushed for the elimination of funding for “all non-heterosexual student organizations” and creating both a “Caucasion Caucus” and “Man’s Council” on campus.


 The Traditionalist Youth Network Bristow represents is tied to the white nationalist movement and was founded by Matthew Heimbach, formerly the president of the Towson University White Student Union, according to Hoekstra. Heimbach has boasted that “No longer do white student unions have to feel ostracized and alone for having pride in their people while witnessing the genocide of our race.”

Here’s some more from Hoekstra:
“The group then zeroes in the act of sodomy as the offending behavior to be feared. The TYN states that sodomy has become “so chic,” activists have convinced judges it should be normalized. Which, according to the TYN, leads to all sorts of abhorant, deviant behavior:
“‘If a state cannot be permitted to define marriage as simply as constituting one man and one woman, then our culture will be taken down a very slippery slope that will see pedophiles, polygamists, zoophiles, those in incestuous relationships, and every other sexual deviant with proclivities now known or to be invented to challenge laws that, likewise, prevent them from marrying whom—or what—they wish.’
“If this amicus brief is allowed to stand, Schuette, his office and the state of Michigan will be forever tied to those who think two people of the same gender getting married will lead to my neighbor demanding to marry my cat.”

By siding with the far right, Schuette should have an easy path to winning the GOP nomination at the Republican state convention later this year (not every incumbent Republican officeholder can say that). But in the general election, I don't think the "Schuette on duty" slogan will work very well if it reminds voters that the AG is protecting us all from those people who want to take the phrase "cat lover" to the next level.