Tag: Michigan

We’re ending the week with all crazy martinis! First, we dissect the partisan fury of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel who says President Trump is no longer welcome in the state because he didn’t wear a mask before cameras while visiting a Ford plant on Thursday. They also hammer Joe Biden for telling a prominent black talk show host, “If you have a problem figuring out if you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” And they react to President Trump unloading on Fox News for not doing more to help him and other Republicans win.

Despotism Comes to Michigan

 

In early Rome, there was an office called the dictatorship. There was a resort to this institution only in an emergency when the senate and the two consuls were persuaded that the latter were not up to the challenge and that the crisis could not be handled unless there was a suspension of the laws that ordinarily limited the power of magistrates. The dictator’s scope was restricted. He was appointed for a particular purpose – and for that purpose only. He was supposed to resign when the emergency passed. Under no circumstances could he remain in office longer than six months, and when his authority lapsed he was subject to judgment. Necessity was the sole justification for any breach of the law.

The office fell into abeyance after the Second Punic War. It was revived, however, in a different form by Sulla who held the office for a handful of years after Rome’s first civil war, and it was revived again in yet another form by Julius Caesar, who had himself named dictator for life. During the American Revolution, a proposal was floated for including a provision for dictatorship within the Virginia constitution, and Thomas Jefferson fiercely attacked the idea in his Notes on the State of Virginia.

Gretchen Whitmer Doubles Down

 

Last week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer doubled down, extending the Michigan lockdown until mid-May. The new executive order is in modest ways an improvement on its immediate predecessors, which I described two weeks ago in a post entitled “The Wicked Witch of the Midwest.” One can now operate a motorboat; buy paint for one’s house and seeds for one’s garden; and even travel to a second home. In other ways, however, ”the temporary requirement” that everyone “suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life” is pure idiocy. It still rules out elective surgery while allowing abortion – presumably because, in the world of Gretchen Whitmer and today’s feminists, the not-yet-born are not really alive. Our governor has even had the effrontery to defend abortion as “life-enhancing.” In Michigan (and in some other states), some must die so that others can enjoy themselves.

Given what we knew and what we did not know, when the lockdowns began, it may have made sense for a brief time to systematically minimize human contact. The Wuhan coronavirus is exceedingly contagious, and we then possessed no herd immunity. On the Diamond Princess, virtually everyone was exposed, 18% of those on the cruise contracted the virus, and nearly 10% of those who did contract it died. In Wuhan, China and in northern Italy, the epidemic overwhelmed the health system – and there was reason to fear that the like might happen here. The aim of the lockdowns was not to prevent the spread of the virus. Given how easily it could be contracted and the absence of a vaccine, it was not even possible to impede it for long. Our aim was modest: to delay its onset and slow down the spread in the hope that our hospitals and health professionals could cope.

We know a bit more now. We know that most of those who contract the disease are asymptomatic; that the asymptomatic are, nonetheless, contagious; and that those most apt to die are elderly individuals and others with underlying health conditions. In Michigan, the mean age of those who die is 76 and the average age is 74.5. In Italy, where half of the population is over 47, I read that 99% of those who died suffered from other comorbidities. In New York, 94% suffered from at least one comorbidity and 88% suffered from more than one. Those who go on cruises on ships such as the Diamond Princess are, as one wag put it, “the newly wed and the nearly dead.” It was the presence of a great many old folks on the voyage that explains the high mortality rate.

The Curious Case of ‘Gary B’

 

In Gary B. v. Whitmer, a divided panel of the Sixth Circuit last week held that the state of Michigan owed a constitutional duty to ensure that students in the worst-performing public and charter schools in Detroit receive “a basic minimum education, meaning one that provides a chance at foundational literacy.” The logic behind this theory is straightforward enough. Illiterate young people have no ability to participate in democratic deliberations and no skills to support themselves or their families. And society overall is made worse off with fewer able participants to join a well-functioning economy.

In the majority opinion, Judge Eric Clay detailed the bankruptcy of Detroit’s public school system, whose dismal educational performance, he wrote, was driven by “the absence of qualified teachers, crumbling facilities, and insufficient materials.” He then correctly concluded that the state has general oversight and control over the educational system and is thus a proper constitutional target to remedy the bankrupt and derelict Detroit school system. The case was decided on the pleadings, which let the majority define its right to a minimum education without getting into the details of how best to implement the right in practice. One major problem with the decision is its inability to define the content of this positive right to government support. Full disclosure: Judge Eric Murphy, who dissented on these grounds, is my friend and former student.

Gary B. relies on Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, which enables federal courts to provide a remedy against any Governor or other state officials who have brought about “the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution.” That Section covers violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides that no person should be deprived of the protection of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor denied the equal protection of the laws.

Join Jim and Greg for the Friday martinis! After a quick discussion on Michigan Democrats censuring one of their state representatives who recovered from COVID and thanked President Trump for mentioning hydroxychloroquine, they turn to three bad martinis. First, they’re bummed to hear Chinese trials of remdesivir were apparently a bust. They also grimace as the virus is significantly limiting production at meat processing plants. And they hammer Trump and the media over Thursday’s disinfectant dust-up.

The Wicked Witch of the Midwest

 

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been in the news a fair amount recently. A Democrat with ample experience in both the state house and the state senate, she was elected to the gubernatorial chair by a comfortable margin in 2018 on the promise that she would “fix the damned roads.” To that end, she promptly proposed raising the gas tax by 45 cents a gallon, which earned her opprobrium throughout the state and caused the members of her own party in the Michigan legislature to distance themselves from her.

This misstep notwithstanding, Whitmer is viewed as a star by the Democratic party establishment. Perhaps because she was elected governor in a Midwestern state that Donald Trump won in 2016 and that the Democrats must take in November if they are to wrest the presidency from the man they love to hate, she was chosen in February to reply to his State of the Nation Address, and Joe Biden even made her co-chair of his campaign.

All of this has gone to Whitmer’s head. She now aspires to be her party’s vice-presidential nominee in November, and she is reportedly on Biden’s shortlist – which explains her desperate, clumsy, recent attempt to pick a quarrel with the President. The lady, whom Trump in his inimitable way calls Half-Wit Mer, is desperate to be in the limelight.

MI Governor Loses ‘Consent of the Governed’

 
Picture of Gov. Gretchen Whitmore (D-MI)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmore (D-MI)

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the COVID-19 lockdown has stood out as one of the most severe and arbitrary in the US. Michiganders are unable to purchase gardening supplies but lottery tickets are fine. They can travel to Walmart but not to their cabins in the countryside. They can paddle a canoe but can’t ride a jet ski.

Member Post

 

Vice President Pence was in Michigan while President Trump (with First Lady Melania) was attending the NATO meeting in London. VP Pence delivered his brand of campaign speech, familiar in cadence and just fleshed out with promises kept and the latest craziness from the Democrats. He tailored the message to the audiences, first speaking in […]

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Good polls, confusing polls and politicizing math are the focus of our martinis on Wednesday.  Jim and Greg are glad to see Republican U.S. Senate challenger John James already in a virtual dead heat with Democratic Sen. Gary Peters in Michigan.  They also shake their heads as a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows a majority of Americans support Medicare for All but oppose it by large margins when they actually understand it means the end of private insurance.  And they throw up their hands as school officials in Seattle consider adding an emphasis on ethnic studies into all subjects, including taking time in math class to explain how math is oppressive to people of color and is used to exploit natural resources.

Member Post

 

Normally I would post something like this over on the ‘What Are You Listening To’ group (come join!).  But I think this is a little special.  I have not researched the history on this epic tourism effort – but you can see that the planning, not to mention vision, was extraordinary.  We hear so much […]

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Young Politicos Take On a Compelled-Speech Law That Should Trouble Us All

 

It shouldn’t come as a shock that two conservatives opening a political consulting firm are only interested in promoting conservative ideas, campaigns, and candidates. What’s surprising—even alarming—is that Ann Arbor, MI, could fine the small firm $500 a day for doing so.

That may sound like something from a dystopian novel, but it’s actually at the center of a lawsuit filed by Grant Strobl and Jacob Chludzinski, founders of ThinkRight Strategies. A two-man shop, ThinkRight offers to provide advocacy services like campaign websites, slogans, speech writing, debate coaching, and more.

Yet, a law in Ann Arbor—where ThinkRight recently started—forbids even political consultants from doing what the law deems “discrimination” based on “political beliefs.”

A Meet-Up on the Way from One Important Place to Another

 

While on the way from one place to another, @stad and @neutralobserver happened to be passing through beautiful downtown Troy, Michigan, so we got together for lunch. It’s a nice way to have a meet-up. It’s a chance to just talk and get to know people. I learned several things:

  1. Stad writes under a pseudonym. It is not a masculine name, which led to my questioning if he were writing romance novels.
  2. He’s about to start writing romance novels, but no, had not in the past. (I never got around to admitting that I have one of those started, too, because why not?)
  3. He’s much taller than he looks in his avatar.
  4. Neutral Observer makes the worlds best burritos. I have Stad’s assurance of this. He even started detailing the process at one point, but I doubt I’ll get them to put the recipe in the You Will Need Group.
  5. “Cell phone photos are today’s equivalent of relatives carrying around a carousel of slides from the old days.”
  6. Once you retire, you have no time to fool around anymore, because there is just too much to do with life.
  7. Neutral Observer has picked up a soft, Southern dialect from living in the South, but no, she’s from out west.

I’m sure the huge, mega-meet-ups are a lot of fun, but I’ll take the opportunity to talk with you one-on-one(ish), if you happen to be in town.

Californication of America

 

Representative Tim Ryan, back left in tie, organized a bus tour through the Midwest with about a dozen venture capitalists. (via New York Times)

For cancer to survive, once it kills its host it must move on to another healthy body. Forty years of leftist rule ruined the once “Golden State.” You can’t walk through San Francisco without side-stepping human excrement or drive through Los Angeles without navigating countless miles of homeless camps. Meanwhile, California housing costs are unattainable by most everyone.

In Praise of a Texas Summer

 

I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could.

For me that was the summer of 1979, the year I graduated from college. I drove down to Texas from Michigan with my wife Janet in a brand-new car that lacked air conditioning. (Yes, they still made cars without air conditioning back then when the wooly mammoths still roamed freely.) We learned the joys of Texas 2-55 air conditioning that summer (the two front windows rolled down as you go 55 mph down a Texas highway – it was so long ago the double-nickel speed limit was the law).

Whoa, Nellie! Keith Jackson dies at 89

 

He was the first voice of Monday Night Football, an excellent baseball play-by-play man, but Keith Jackson will forever be remembered as the voice of Autumn Saturday afternoons and ABC College Football. He has died aged 89.

Yes, we’re talking about Trump’s immigration comments but no, you don’t have to worry about your kids hearing bad language.  Today, Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer great news in the automotive industry as Fiat Chrysler announces it is investing a billion dollars in Michigan and planning to add 2,500 jobs to build Ram pickup trucks again.  This follows earlier news that Toyota and Mazda will team to build a $1.6 billion plant in Alabama and employ up to 4,000 people.  They also recoil at President Trump’s attitude towards people in deeply troubled nations, noting that it’s fair to point out there are many horribly corrupt and crime-ridden nations in various parts of the world and re-evaluate immigration policy but deeply wrong to suggest those people have no value.  At the same time, many Trump critics suggest that diversity is what makes America great, and Greg and Jim set them straight.  And they shake their heads as Nancy Pelosi dismisses congressional immigration negotiators as “five white guys” – including her top deputy among House Democrats – as she called for more diversity in the group.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America enjoy a late lunch today as they cheer the Justice Department for allowing the FBI informant to testify about his knowledge of a massive Russian bribery scheme to influence U.S. nuclear policy.  They’re also exasperated as FBI files show people warned authorities about the Sandy Hook shooter’s fascination with mass killings and pedophilia and his specific statements about killing his mother and students.  And they react to Kid Rock announcing he is not running for Senate and never had any intention of doing so, but Him explains why he thinks that explanation is bogus.

Rock the Vote!

 

Amidst news of moderate Senate Republicans reneging on their long-made promises to repeal ObamaCare and President Trump publicly chastising his Attorney General, speculation has swirled about the 2018 race for the United States Senate in the state of Michigan. Debbie Stabenow, who has held the seat since defeating Spencer Abraham in 2000, is likely to seek re-election to a fourth term. Among her possible Republican opponents may be one Robert James Ritchie, better known to the world as rap, rock, and country recording artist Kid Rock.

*record scratch*

Kid Rock?! That’s right. The loud and proud Michigan native issued a press release on July 26 in which he stated he is exploring a possible candidacy:

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome Arizona Sen. John McCain back to Capitol Hill despite the grim diagnosis he received last week, and are happy that Republicans now have a full roster as the health care debate continues. They also bemoan President Trump’s continued use of Twitter to attack Attorney General Jeff Sessions for being “weak” in failing to investigate Hillary Clinton over her emails and alleged collusion with Ukraine during the 2016 campaign. And they analyze a surprising new Michigan poll showing rock star Kid Rock leading incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow.