Ann Arbor vs. Madison

There were big turnouts in two midwestern college towns today. In one well over fifty thousand people turned out to protest the direction in which their state was headed. In the other, a few hundred gathered outside a bar in hopes of being cast in MTV’s The Real World. Can you guess which was Ann Arbor and which was Madison?

Congratulations to the men and women of Madison for demonstrating that all hope is not lost, and that, somewhere, people are still paying attention.


And, yes, I know the analogy isn’t completely fair. I realize that the threats in Wisconsin are both more visible and immediate. I get that. I still think, however, we have a problem with apathy in this state. And, before you chastise me, saying that there was a big rally in Lansing today, I’d encourage you to check out this article. According to it, only 70 people attended. That’s less than a third the number that showed up for a shot to be on The Real World. I think it’s telling, don’t you?

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  1. dp in ypsi
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Rep. Rutledge is “dismayed”(1), and Rep. Irwin has resigned to criticizing the Republicans (2).

    I think people are finally starting to pay attention, at least a little bit, and to see their elected Representatives complaining doesn’t exactly sound like creative leadership that inspires organized action. This is pretty sad considering these two gentlemen are among the “safest” Democrats in the state… these districts are designed to be able to run the shrub in your front lawn and still have it win on the inertia of the Democrat straight-ticket voting alone. That they are not out front with alternative proposals and working to coordinate the masses to support them is astonishing given the gravity of the changes being proposed.

    Here is a simple option for continuing education that will only take a few minutes. How would you balance the budget?

    Note, you don’t have to make choices in every section. Take a moment and read everything over, then make your choices. The options are not perfect, but it at least creates an opportunity for a more complex understanding of the issues at hand.

    As a side note, it seems like there may be some interest in doing a Snyder recall (3), but the folks have not yet put up a website, so my faith isn’t strong.

    Final note: I would be interested in working with interested readers to start a Political Action Committee devoted to helping independent and third party candidates run for office in MI. Campaign logistics are not that hard to coordinate as long as there is planning and a source of funding. Democrats and Republicans got us into this mess, and I have a hard time imagining them getting us out. Email me if you are interested.




  2. Glen S.
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Unlike the folks in Madison, Michigan’s efforts are getting off to a slow start. To make matters worse, these events haven’t been well-publicized, and are scheduled on different days — diluting the overall impact.

    Still, I know of at least two events scheduled for this week, one on Tuesday, and one on Wednesday.

    FYI – I’m not officially involved with either event, but merely passing along this info from the web:

    TUESDAY, MARCH 15: AARP Michigan is hosting a rally in reaction to a State Budget proposal presented by the Governor that calls for over $1 billion in tax increases on retirees, seniors and the working poor, while cutting quality-of-life programs and services by $1.2 billion and giving businesses a $1.8 billion tax cut. AARP believes this budget is an all out attack on older Michiganders. We believe what our members are getting in this plan is a much higher tax bill and reduced services. This plan would raise taxes on 1.1 million seniors in exchange for a business tax cut, while also reducing spending for public schools and universities, police and fire fighters, local road repairs and other vital programs and services. This is unfair and unacceptable!

    Join us!
    It’s Not Fair! Rally
    Location: Michigan State Capitol Building, east steps
    Corner of Michigan Avenue and Capitol Avenue
    Date: Tuesday, March 15, 2011
    Time: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16: The Michigan AFL-CIO affiliate unions and our community allies from Working Michigan ask you to stand up for Michigan’s working families and protest the relentless attacks by the rich on workers and their communities in the state legislature.

    Wednesday, March 16
    12:00 NOON

    Capitol building
    100 N. Capitol St.

  3. Pete Murdock
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    And a litttle closer to home, the fat cat teachers union in Ann Arbor is having a rally on Tuesday, March 15 from 4:30pm to 6:00pm at Forsythe Junior High School in Ann Arbor and the public is welcome.
    From the events Facebook page –

    “Thousands from Michigan are going to Madison on Saturday. Over 100,000 are expected. I’ve heard that many of you plan to drive, and I wish those travelers well. My thanks to them all for standing up for all of us.

    For those who cannot go to Madison, AAEA has reserved the Forsythe Middle School Auditorium for a large public-invited …union meeting on Tuesday, March 15, 4:30 p.m. I’ve invited the mayor, city council, our AAPS trustees, every teacher in the surrounding districts, our local parents, a few of our heroic legislators.

    This is about Synder’s budget, its effect on the elderly and the poor, his plan to remove our elected official as he sees fit, the rights of public sector workers to bargain, the plans Michigan is hatching for education and educators, In a nutshell, it’s about our democracy, one of hundreds of local rallies taking place next Tuesday around Michigan. We need to pack da joint. Please be there – about one hour – and pass this invitation along to your friends.”

  4. Jeff
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Thursday, March 17
    11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
    EMU Student Center patio

    Join EMU faculty/AAUP members (Ypsilanti firefighters and police officers have also been invited) to show support for our public workers and their collective bargaining rights.

  5. Posted March 12, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Again, I’m sorry for sounding like a bitter old man. I just want to see more from people. I want more righteous indignation from the young, especially. But, as I didn’t go out protesting today, I really don’t have much right to be casting stones, do I? It just kind of got me riled up when, after reading about the huge Madison protest this afternoon, I jumped over to and their lead story was about 200 college kids standing on line for Real World interviews.

  6. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Mark, people keep telling me young people are not aware. How young is young? 30? Those under 30 does seem disconnected. They are working too hard, expecting too little…Over 40 is divided in half (that is half are assholes). But once the pocketbook is involved people ten to sit up and take notice. I can only hope…

  7. mark
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    There were more than 70. It was cold and rainy and took a while to get going.

  8. Ted
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Kids today suck. That’s true. But the baby boomers are worse. And they’re uglier. You need to focus your hatred in the right direction.

  9. Heidi
    Posted March 14, 2011 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    If anyone is interested, there is a website that is up and running to Recall Snyder..has an FAQ about how to get it started, when it can be done, up to the minute legislative changes, HOW TO VOLUNTEER spreading petitions etc..

  10. Stux
    Posted March 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Heidi. Snyder for all intents and purposes lives in Ypsilanti. Valleyview Drive, off Geddes.

  11. Stephen
    Posted March 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I don’t want to be the one to say “Resistance is Futile”, but it kind of fits here. A recall campaign may be good to bring people together and educating those who are unaware of what’s going on, but the chances that it’ll work are slim to non-existent. I’d rather focus on creative solutions to fix our current budget issues. I still haven’t heard concrete suggestions from the Democrats.

  12. Stux
    Posted March 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    And what are your suggestions, Stephen?

  13. Stephen
    Posted March 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t run for office, Stux. Our elected Democrats did. Snyder offered his budget. I want to see how the Democrats would balance the budget. As much as I dislike the Snyder plan, at least he has one. Personally, I’d suggest a graduated income tax, for starters. There are people who understand these things a lot better than me though.

  14. Heidi
    Posted March 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Do any of the democrats even have a voice in the gop dominate house and senate? The budget is to be concerned about sure, but the underlying topic is the concept of Emergency Federal Managers, that the state can appoint to any town/city that it deems unfit..
    Sure I’d like to see the budget balanced but what Snyder is proposing 1.7 billion from education cuts, tax increase to poor etc..and then turning around and giving 1.8 billion dollars in tax BREAKS to big businesses is not balancing the budget. Snyder thinks this will cause a trickle down effect and bring people back to the state, but if you don’t have the education and exciting things that cities have to offer families, who is really going to move here?

  15. John Galt
    Posted March 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    You should be thankful that Rick doesn’t round up the poor and the elderly feed them to his hounds. You should spend your day writing him thank you letters instead of complaining here. You should be throwing rose petals at his feet for not shipping you and your ilk of to work camps in the U.P.. If I were Governor, that’s what I’d do to the complainers. I’d put them to work shoveling snow off of highways, so that the trucks of toxic sludge can make it to the great lakes.

  16. MMoore by proxy
    Posted March 15, 2011 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The real protest is tomorrow in Lansing.


    Fellow Michiganders (and honorary Michiganders around the world):

    The call has gone out and I’m asking everyone who can to take Wednesday off and head to the State Capitol in Lansing to protest the cruel and downright frightening legislation currently being jammed down our throats.

    What is most shocking to many is that the new governor, who ran against the Tea Party and defeated the right wing of his party in the primaries — and then ran in the general election as “just a nerd from Ann Arbor” who was a moderate, not an ideologue — has pulled off one of the biggest Jekyll and Hyde ruses I’ve ever seen in electoral politics.

    Governor Snyder, once elected, yanked off his nice-guy mask to reveal that he is in fact a multi-millionaire hell-bent on destroying our state and turning it over to his buddies from Wall Street.

    In just 8 short weeks he has:

    * Gotten the House and Senate to pass bills giving him “Emergency Management” powers such as the ability to appoint a corporation or a CEO who could literally dissolve town governments or school boards, fire the elected officials, nullify any local law and run your local governmental entity. That company then would have the power to immediately declare all collective bargaining contracts null and void.

    * Proposed giving business a whopping 86% tax cut while raising personal taxes by 31%! And much of that tax hike he believes should be shouldered by — I kid you not — senior citizens and the poor! He says these two groups have not been “sharing the sacrifice” the rest of us have been burdened with. So his budget proposes a $1.8 billion tax CUT for business and a $1.75 billion tax INCREASE for the rest of us, much of it from the poor, seniors and working people — even though the top 1% in Michigan ALREADY pay a lower state tax rate than everyone else does!

    * Together with the legislature, introduced over 40 anti-labor bills in just the first two months of this session! They have wasted no time and have caught most people off guard. Much of this is being rushed through right now before you have a chance to raise your voice in objection.

    These actions are breathtaking when you realize they will drive our already battered state straight into the ground. What we needed right now was an inspiring leader to help us reinvent Michigan and to find creative ways to create new jobs and lift us out of our economic depression. The rest of the country may call what they’re experiencing the “Great Recession,” but few argue that Michigan is suffering a “one-state Depression.”

    I know many of you are filled with a great sense of despair and a justifiable loss of hope these days in Michigan. But you must not let things get even worse. You must stand up against these Draconian measures and this outrageous attempt to rip our democratic rights from us by turning our state over to well-paid hacks from Wall Street and corporate America. They see our state as one big fire sale — and they are licking their chops to get their hands on what is still a state rich in natural resources and industrial infrastructure.

    Please show up at noon on Wednesday for our first mega-rally against this insanity. Hundreds of groups are already organizing car pools and buses. You can right now just declare yourself an organizer and get your friends and neighbors committed to being in Lansing. If ever there were a day to call in sick, Wednesday is it (because this IS sick). Students, if ever there were a day to cut class and become a participant in your democracy, Wednesday is it. This event needs to be HUGE — and I believe it will be if you will simply be there and take a stand.

    Much attention has been paid to Wisconsin in recent weeks. Well, they got nothing on what’s going on here in Michigan. Rick Snyder is Scott Walker on steroids. There’s never been what even the AARP calls “an all-out attack” like this on us. Trust me, you will rue the day you sat home and did nothing while thieves posing as politicians stole your Great Lakes State from you.

    Don’t let it happen. Be at the Capitol by noon on Wednesday for the largest demonstration the state has ever seen.

    Go Spartans! Go Wolverines! Go Everyone Else In Between!

    Michael Moore

  17. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted March 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Coverage of today’s rally in Lansing

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