Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Trickle Down Attitude

Judy at LivingBlue has a terrific follow up post about last week's Americans Against Escalation in Iraq event at the Brighton Mill Pond.

Featured is a funny-if-it-weren't-so-sad video of veteran Tom Ford (of Shiawassee Veterans for Peace) as he visits Rogers' Lansing office and tries to give an End the War yard sign to a Rogers staffer. As Judy notes,
Notice that the staffer doesn't actually take the sign or even touch it. Apparently, he's afraid it might be contagious.

Rogers' attitude -- "If I don't agree with you, I can ignore you" -- has apparently trickled down to his staff.

On the bright side, at least this staffer didn't run out the back door when a Democrat came a-callin'.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

What I Want My Congressman to Do

Congressman Rogers,

I do not doubt that you are doing what you believe is best for our district, Michigan's 8th. Though I’m sure you know I disagree with you on a lot of the positions you take with regards to social issues and the War in Iraq, I’m not going to give you a hard time here about those things you’ve done that I disagree with. I’m going to take the time here to tell you what I want you to do. So here goes.

Here’s what I want you and the rest of the U.S. Congress to do, Mike.

I want you to cut off the money to fund this bungled, ill-conceived, ill-planned war in Iraq that has spawned a Civil War that our men and women in uniform (and contractors) can not stop. That the President and Vice-President misled this country of ours into this war is criminal. Unfortunately for our men and women in uniform, the only people who can bring peace to Iraq are the Iraqi people themselves. If they would rather fight with guns instead of ballots, then that’s their horrific choice. It is not worth one U.S. soldier’s life to referee this war. Besides, thanks to this diversion, Al Qaeda is now as strong as ever.

I want you to hold Harriet Miers in contempt for refusing to testify before Congress about the U.S. Attorney firings. Dean worked for Nixon, but Nixon didn’t tell him to ignore Congress. Miers seems to think she’s supposed to support Bush over the Constitution. When you were an FBI agent, how did you react toward people who ignored subpoenas on cases you investigated?

I want you to call for Alberto Gonzalez to step down as Attorney General. He’s either a liar or incompetent or both. He tells Congress that the FBI hasn’t abused people’s civil rights under the Patriot Act, when, only days before, he’d received reports informing him that the FBI had in fact violated laws protecting civil liberties and privacy. That’s called perjury. A previous Congress attempted to impeach a President over lying about a blowjob. Covering up abuses of citizen rights strikes me as a higher order of crime.

I want you to work to close Guantanamo Bay and try those detainees for whatever crimes they have committed, following due process. John Walker Lindh got 20 years in the civilian court. Why is our own justice system, or the International criminal Court, not good enough?

I want you to work to stop the CIA’s rendition program. That the United States of America, the country that’s supposed to be the standard-bearer of freedom and democracy, is kidnapping people off streets and taking them to undisclosed locations around the world for interrogation and torture is a travesty. It is a method used by the likes of Pinochet and the Junta of Argentina’s Dirty War. Those methods don’t preserve freedom and democracy. They suppress it.

I want you to shut down Bush’s NSA spying program (the one that ignores the FISA) because it is unconstitutional.

I want you to tell Speaker Pelosi that Impeachment should be ON the table. Ridiculous, you say? Purely political, you say? It’s not ridiculous when President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney show contempt for the Constitution of the United States. Just because it’s political doesn’t mean it’s unjust. You are a politician. Every elected official in this country is a politician.

Most importantly, as an FBI agent you swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. As a member of Congress, you took a similar oath. Not to your party. Not to the President. Not to Congress. Not to the military. Not an oath to anyone or anything else. Just the Constitution: the contract, that brilliant document, that binds every citizen of this country together with the three branches of our government.

We have a President and Vice-President who at best view the Legislative branch with contempt, as merely a bank with unlimited funds, and as a rubber stamp for their ideas.

The two of them must be kept in check so that their successors don’t even get the chance to abuse the power of the Executive Branch. Do you really want a Democrat in the White House acting this way? Even as a Democrat myself, I don’t.

I know this is a lot. But our country has been violated repeatedly by a President and Vice-President who have little regard for the concepts of accountability and responsibility. You weren’t elected to make easy decisions. You were elected to serve the people and uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.

[Cross-posted on Honest Errors.]

Friday, July 27, 2007

Voters talk to picture of Rogers: better response than the real thing, participants say

Yesterday's good weather showcased the latest efforts of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq to move U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers on the Iraq War. Intrepid AAEI guys Mike Webb and Jake Coffey were joined by local Dem activists Delphine Palkowski, Bob Alexander and others as they videotaped messages to Mr. Rogers at the Brighton Mill Pond.

The Press & Argus ran "Proponents of peace hold rally" on the front page, complete with photos. Citizens were invited to stand next to a larger-than-life-size poster of U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Brighton) and tell the Congressman what they thought of the war... Given that this may be the closest Mr. Rogers will ever get to any LivCo Dems, the messages were videotaped & will be sent to the Congressman's office.

In a no-surprises side story, Rogers' spokeswriter Sylvia Warner issued yet another written statement in lieu of actually talking to a reporter:

Our nation's security rests on our ability to take partisan politics out of this debate and move forward together. We must deal with several problems in Iraq — an Iranian problem, and al-Qaida problem, and a sectarian violence problem. It will take an honest, bipartisan dialogue to find strategies that solve those problems and bring our troops home without leaving an al-Qaida safe haven in Iraq. Immediate withdrawal is not a strategy and neither is ignoring the challenges.

Well, taking politics out of the debate is definitely a good thing... too bad Mr. Rogers isn't showing signs of doing it. He's also not over-fond of logic, apparently: he intersperes his lockstep support of the war with his own spiffy micro-managment plan to move 4,000 troops around an area the size of California.

While we're on the topic of logic, what exactly is Mr. Rogers' preferred strategy for safely bringing our troops home?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thumbs up from critics, thumbs down from House GOP

Join the Livingston County Democrats on Friday, August 3rd at 7 p.m. for their second "Dinner and a Movie" night featuring

The screening is co-sponsored by Americans Against Escalation in Iraq , a group spearheading constituent action to persuade Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Brighton) to end his support of the Iraq War.

The screening will take place at the LCDP office, 10321 East Grand River, Suite 600, Brighton. "Dinner and a Movie" is open to the public. The suggested donation is $10 per person or $15 for a couple, and $5 for students. Attendees are asked to bring a covered dish for the potluck dinner. The movie will be screened following the potluck. Anyone needing transportation may call party headquarters, 810-229-4212.

Robert Greenwald, a 30-year veteran of Hollywood, has won acclaim for his documentaries, including "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" and "WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price."

Earlier this year, Greenwald was invited to testify before the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, where he discussed the role of private contractors in the torture and abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Greenwald had intended to show four minutes of the film, but Republican committee members insisted that the clip not be shown.

"This documentary should appeal to any taxpayer who is concerned about government waste and government over-spending, even if they support military action in Iraq," said Matt Evans, County Democratic Party Chair. "Certainly government waste is something that Democrats, independents, and Republicans should all be against."

The film features individual soldiers talking about the waste of taxpayer dollars they witnessed in Iraq due to government out-sourcing of the war to private corporations – including paying private companies $100 for doing a bag of laundry.


Although the film was designed primarily to be shown in grassroots screenings rather than in movie theaters, reviewers have praised it. The New York Times said that Greenwald had compiled "... a horrifying catalog of greed, corruption and incompetence among private contractors in Iraq," and called the film's revelations "shocking."

The Los Angeles Times wrote:
"Like Greenwald's previous films, ' Iraq for Sale' is made from a progressive political point of view but spends considerable time talking to regular people who likely voted Republican. And this time he's focused on one of those issues that might unite viewers across all political spectra: unconscionable war profiteering coupled with catastrophic decisions by major American companies."

TV Guide awarded it three and a half stars (out of four) while calling it
"carefully researched" and "crucial to fully understanding the Iraqi/American

Join us on August 3rd and see for yourself!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Express your outrage over the Iraq occupation at the Brighton Mill Pond Thursday

Join the growing number of people trying to stop the needless Iraq civil war/occupation at Mill Pond in downtown Brighton at 12:15 pm Thursday as part of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq’s Iraq Summer campaign where yard signs, bumper stickers, lapel stickers and other material will be passed out.

The event will give Michigan and Livingston County voters a vehicle to voice their displeasure with one of the biggest Bush apologists and Iraq war cheerleaders, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, right in his own backyard. Rogers has continuously voted to continue Bush’s failed Iraq policies and continues to make excuses for its failure.

A video camera will record 30-second personal messages from voters expressing their outrage at Rogers continued failure to hold the administration accountable for their failed polices and support for a civil war that has killed more Livingston County soldiers and Marines than the entire 16-year history of the war in Vietnam. A compact disc filled with voters telling Rogers how they feel about the war will be presented – or at least an attempt will be made- to Rogers at the end of the summer.

The Mill Pond is located about a block south of the main four intersections of Grand River Avenue and West Main Street in the 100 block of West Main in zip code 48116, and easy access to the beautiful Mill Pond is available from the Spencer Road exit from I-96. Everyone is welcome, but organizers are asking that you please RSVP at michigan7@iraqsummer.org.

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq is a national campaign comprised of a variety groups from across the political spectrum that are committed to opposing the Bush plan to escalate the war in Iraq and to work for the responsible redeployment of American forces. It’s a loose coalition of various groups, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), MoveOn.org Political Action, VoteVets.org, Center for American Progress Action Fund, USAction, Win Without War, Campaign for America’s Future, the United States Student Association, Working Assets, Americans United for Change and Campus Progress Action.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Support the troops by getting them home beginning with a canvas Saturday

If you’re looking to get out in the beautiful sunshine to get some exercise and enjoy the weather you can also do that and save our brave soldiers and Marines from dying needlessly in Iraq because of President Bush’s failed policies by joining Americans Against Escalation in Iraq in canvassing in Brighton from 2-4 p.m. Saturday (7/21).

The group is meeting at 2 p.m. behind the McGivney Law offices - 210 E Main St. -
before dispersing. That’s just about a block east of the main four in downtown Brighton – and the home of one of Bush’s and the Iraq war’s biggest cheerleaders, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers – and less than a mile west of the Spencer Road exit from I-96. The zip code is 48116 so you can type it into Google maps to get here. Canvassers will be distributing yard signs and asking Brighton residents to call their Congressman to stop supporting Bush's reckless war policy.

Just a few days ago with the GOP filibuster we saw the hypocrisy of Republican senators who continue to speak out against the civil war and occupation in Iraq, and then when it comes time to vote for actual change and put their money where their mouths are they do absolutely nothing. We saw the hypocrisy of the all-night debate over the Reed-Levin amendment, which would begin bring American troops home from Iraq in 120 days, with the eventual goal of removing all combat troops by April 30, 2008. Republicans were able to block even an up or down vote. We cannot allow them to say one thing and do another when the lives of our finest young men and women are on the line.

Please RSVP to michigan7@iraqsummer.org if you are able to attend or for any questions regarding the campaign. You don’t have to live in Brighton or even the 8th U.S. Congressional District to attend. You just need to care about justice and want to truly support the troops instead of just giving it lip service and slapping a bumper sticker on your car like Bush, Rogers and their supporters.

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq is a national campaign comprised of a variety groups from across the political spectrum that are committed to opposing the Bush plan to escalate the war in Iraq and to work for the responsible redeployment of American forces. It’s a loose coalition of various groups, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), MoveOn.org Political Action, VoteVets.org, Center for American Progress Action Fund, USAction, Win Without War, Campaign for America’s Future, the United States Student Association, Working Assets, Americans United for Change and Campus Progress Action.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Guest blogger points out Cleary and Rogers unhealthy relationship

(This is a guest post from Michael Motta that was first posted on Michigan Liberal. I agree with his basic premise of the unhealthy relationship between the Cleary University and the Livingston County GOP - and even the Gannett corporate media, but I strongly believe Clearly is a good institution that fills a needed niche in the community. But for one more example of that unhealthy relationship Mr. Motta may not be aware of, the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus endorsed Rep. Chris Ward, R-Brighton and a Cleary graduate, during the November election without even an endorsement interview, the only candidate not to have one.
If you look at the list of earmarks Mike Rogers was asking for Cleary to receive they don’t even make sense. For example, he asked for $325,000 “for the training of technology workers, to be done at Cleary University to provide job training opportunities for Livingston county workers.” That ignores an underutilized state partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation that does the same thing called the Livingston Regional M-TEC. The M-TEC, one of 18 in Michigan, “is a not-for-profit Technical Training Center operated by Mott Community College – a public institution - and advised by a board of local businesses and community representatives.”)

Mike Rogers Wants over $2.15 million for ClearlyNotA University
By: Michael Motta
We all know that politics aren't pretty and that the money flows right along with the greasy grimy hands. The hope is that there is still enough around of that cynical yet practical idea of the Founders that "ambition counteracts ambition" and that pluralism wins in the end.
But what happens when a single Congressional District has at least two of its largest media outlets, a private college, a county economics club and its U.S. Representative all on the same page? Well, you get a greasy gravy train.

Most of you have by now read of the Livingston Economic Club, Cleary University, and the Livingston Press & Argus co-sponsoring a lecture series that pays ridiculous amounts of money bring in such speakers as Ann Coulter ($30,000).
Many of you have also read of former Lansing State Journal publisher Leslie J. Hurst's breach of journalistic ethics (far more heinous than the state databases) regarding her fabrication of the LSJ Editorial Board's "non-endorsement" of a candidate in the 8th Congressional race last autumn. In fact the Board had voted 5-1 to endorse Marcinkowski over Rogers and others.

Some fewer of you may have added up the recent federal funding requests of Mike Rogers for Cleary University and found that they run in excess of $2.15 million. Some may realize that the student body of Cleary is likely smaller than many elementary schools, with figures I've seen ranging from the 400s to the 600s. So we're talking about three to four thousand dollars PER STUDENT that Rogers is requesting for a private school that had a right wing agenda even before Rogers started feeding it, and probably more so now that he has.

If you doubt that Cleary has a political agenda, it actually states one right in its president's greeting: "Welcome to Cleary University! I am especially proud to be affiliated with Cleary University, an institution committed to teaching the American free market economic system . . . " http://www.cleary.ed... And of course some of you may have read about the various ties between Cleary administration members and the Republican Party, such as Janet Filip, the development director for Cleary, being married to the chair of the Livingston County Republican Party.

First of all, the Federal Government has no business funding a private school, especially one that has such an obvious agenda. Cleary doesn't even save face by offering traditional conservative "Great Books" styled liberal arts programs - it flat out markets itself as a quick way to move up the corporate ladder (about halfway I imagine in most cases), shunning an actual education in the process.

Perhaps equally unnerving to Rogers wanting the Federal Government to toss millions of dollars at this "school" of three digits of students, is this whole chain or consortium of cohorts scratching each others' backs.

Let's see, the LSJ's Hurst helps Rogers by lying during his campaign, the LSJ's Gannett sister the Press & Argus co-sponsors the Coulter and friends lecture series (as its former publisher becomes publisher of the LSJ, replacing Hurst who simply moved her act to a Gannett paper in Louisiana) along with Cleary, and then Rogers wants a cool $2.15+ million for Cleary.

Doesn't all of that sound even greasier than usual?

I give credit to this blog http://liberalmedian... for some of my information, though the gentleman who runs it seems to defend Cleary much more than I do. In the face of the details it strikes me as a non sequitur to defend Cleary in the abstract.

Willfully Ignorant?

Without sufficient caffeine, I opened this morning's NY Times to find my local legislator quoted in the front-page story, Bush Aides See Failure in Fight With Al-Quaeda in Pakistan.

“We have to change policy,” said Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee who has long advocated a more aggressive American intelligence campaign in Pakistan.

Suitably fortified with a second cup of coffee, I re-read the article.

Changing policy? Well, gosh! That's a GREAT idea!! Though one wonders just how long Mr. Rogers thinks we haven't been aggressive enough in Pakistan...

Less than a year ago, Mr. Rogers spoke at a Brighton Chamber of Commerce luncheon, touting his credentials as a member of the House Intelligence Committee. He called Afghanistan “a great success story” and Pakistan “a great friend.” He attributed reports of escalating violence in Afghanistan solely to Pakistan’s anti-terror efforts, and noted that progress in the region has been continuous. And he’s made other references to Pakistan as “our premier partner in the war on terror.”

So what exactly IS the story, Mr. Rogers?

In 2006, you brandished your membership in the House Intel Committee as a license to disagree with news reports, 'cause you had super-secret inside information that things were just swell in Pakistan.

In 2007, though, we find that you've apparently been (super-secretly?) fighting the good fight to CHANGE our intel policy in Pakistan... um, that would be the same intel policy that you thought was right on target last fall.

Oh, dear. Flip-flop is SUCH an unpleasant word.

Show Us The Money

Mike Rogers recently released a partial list of earmarks to local media.

Let’s leave aside the fact that he (a) didn’t release the complete list; (b) didn’t release it when requested by a constituent; (c) included all kinds of goodies for Cleary University’s Livingston campus; and (d) only had six earmarks approved, receiving waaaay less $$ than he asked for.

Mike Rogers is proud to call himself a Republican.

Are the Republicans proud to include him in their ranks?

Apparently, Republican Michigander is kinda skeptical.

In a post titled, “Can’t Go Along With This, Mike,” RM notes:

I know earmarks is how the game is played. I know that this is an attempt to bring home the bacon to the 8th district. The problem is the game itself, and Mike had a good chance to be a hero.
This was a good chance for Mike Rogers to request no earmarks and once again call out the democrats, as well as the Ted Stevens acolytes in the GOP side of the house, and bring some fiscal responsibility to the party which - until recently - carried that banner.
The system is broke, and this was a good chance to fix it.

Now, our Saul stops short of violating Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment (“Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican”), but he’s not the only one to have noticed the disconnect between Mr. Rogers words and actions.

The Club For Growth (a/k/a Ideology R Us) gives a score of 100 to legislators who show the highest support for pro-growth policies, and anoints those with scores in the 90+ range as "Defenders of Economic Freedom."

According to the Club, Mr. Rogers hasn't been an ardent defender of economic freedom, sliding from a 71 in the 2005 score to a 58 in 2006.

The National Taxpayers Union isn't that impressed, either. In their survey of spending in the 109th Congress, they found that Mr. Rogers had voted to approve an annualized net increase of $417,331,000.

Mr. Rogers' NTU scores have ranged from 56% - 62% during his time in Congress. Though, in an example of grade inflation that would make Harvard blush, NTU gives a score of 62% a grade of “B”...

So by these fiscally conservative standards, Mike Rogers isn't being careful with our money – yet he doesn't seem to be bringing much back to the 8th district.

Where's our money going? You can start by reviewing BZP's earlier post detailing some of Mr. Rogers' campaign contributors (General Dynamics, Exxon Mobil, Lockheed Martin, Koch Industries, Wal-Mart). Then think about who's profiting from the wasteful war in Iraq, astronomical oil prices and unfair labor practices -- and the legislators who help them.

P.S. For a well-written analysis of the current GOP rift between social conservatives and fiscal conservatives, read The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, libertarians and the battle to control the Republican Party by Ryan Sager.

Cross-posted at LivingBlue.org

Monday, July 16, 2007

Mike Rogers: Update on Earmarks for FY2008

The Livingston Press & Argus has an update on Mike Rogers' earmark requests for the 2008 budget. Here is a list of the projects that were approved:

  • Rogers asked for $2.5 million for the Latson Road interchange at Interstate 96, but the bill approved by the committee contained only $500,000.
  • He asked for $11.2 million for a runway extension at the Capital City Airport in Lansing, but he received $500,000 in the bill.
  • Rogers’ request for $400,000 for the United Way of Southeast Mich-igan for programs to help recently released prisoners learn job skills ballooned to $675,000 in the bill to fund the Commerce, Justice and Science departments.
  • The bill funding energy programs contained $500,000 for Lansing company MBI Inter-national’s research into biomass processing, down from the original request of $2 million.
  • $250,000 for Intermediary Bio-Chemicals of Okemos for re-search on emerging technology to displace petroleum-based chemistry, was down from the original request of $1 million.
According to the P&A, "the Defense appropriation bill, in which Rogers has several earmarks, has not been considered yet."

Remember, on June 15 Mike Rogers wrote an op-ed for the Lansing State Journal, and said "every dollar the federal government spends should be vetted, offered in a transparent way, and open for debate. If we turn the lights on the earmark process, we can work to protect Americans against the abuse that has brought us considerable misuse of the public's hard-earned dollars."

While Rogers has shared a list of his earmark requests for the 2008 budget with the media, none of them are posted on his congressional website. Similarly, Rep. Rogers has yet to share a complete list of every earmark he has ever requested while serving as a member of Congress, as was requested on June 18.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mike Rogers' Second Quarter 2007 Fundraising Report

Here is Mike Rogers' fundraising report for the second quarter of 2007. You can view a list of his contributors for this quarter here, and a list of committees who have donated to his campaign committee (dating back to 1999) here.

Mike brought in $174,162.15 this quarter, and currently has $491,383.91 cash on hand. That sounds pretty good, until you consider that during this same period (April through June 30) two years ago, he had a whopping $842,867.37 cash on hand. Not sure if we can draw any conclusions from this yet or not, seeing as how Mr. Rogers still doesn't have an opponent for 2008, but during a presidential election cycle, you'd think he would be further along with his fundraising by now.

Also of interest is that Mike took in $108,918.15 from PACs this quarter, which amounts to about 62% of everything he raised.

Looking back at our post about Mike Rogers' campaign contributions from prominent Iraq war profiteers, here's a quick update for the 2008 election cycle:
Wal-Mart also chipped in $1k for Mr. Rogers' campaign on March 22 of this year (they've gone in for $2k so far this cycle).

While I was poking around, I dug up a few other gems from past election cycles. The last one really caught my eye:
So that's the update from the Neighborhood. Sorry we didn't get around to this for the first quarter, but we will be keeping closer tabs on Mike's finances from here on out.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Change the way Rogers votes on the war - today

You have the opportunity to help bring our soldiers home now.
Will you take it?

On Thursday night, the United States House of Representatives voted to end the war in Iraq responsibly and bring our troops home. Michigan Congressmen Ehlers, Upton, McCotter, Knollenberg, and Rogers all voted to continue the failed policy in Iraq and keep our nation on a path of endless war.

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq plans to hold those Congressmen accountable for their votes on Friday with a Press Conference and Rally as part of their Iraq Summer campaign.

The event will be held from 12:30-1:30 at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing. Speakers will include Kevin Kelley and our own Bruce Fealk.

This event is yet another opportunity to help change how Michigan's Congresscritters treat the war in Iraq. You have a real opportunity to be a part of the force that changes the tide.

This campaign is effective. Eight Republican US Senators have recently changed their position on the war in Iraq. Five of them were targets of the Iraq Summer campaign.

Please do whatever it takes to make this rally.

Our troops are depending on us.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rogers Votes Against Pulling Troops Out of Iraq

The U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 2956, a bill;
To require the Secretary of Defense to commence the reduction of the number of United States Armed Forces in Iraq to a limited presence by April 1, 2008, and for other purposes.
Mike Rogers voted against this bill; the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act. Which means he's supporting President Bush, who had this to say:
"I don't think Congress ought to be running the war. I think they ought to be funding the troops."
In other words: just give me the money and I'll do whatever I want with the troops. With this vote, it appears Congressman Rogers is okay with giving this reckless President of ours whatever he wants when it comes to Iraq. We are now in the 5th year of the Iraq Occupation, with no end in sight to the civil war our troops are refereeing, or the injuires they receive or casualties they suffer.

Our troop presence is also estimated to be costing our country $10 billion a month. That buys a lot of pell grants, health care, research into alternative fuels, extra teachers, public transit, better roads, [fill in the blank].

It is clear to only the most obtuse that this war is not worth the cost in lives, money, or resources. Our troops need to be brought home.

Others were hoping the man from Michigan's 8th District might do the right thing. But alas, so far, that is not the case.

Mike Rogers: You're Invited!

Big kudos to the folks over at Living Blue for putting this video together:

That was the response that a group of 8th Congressional District residents opposed to the Iraq War got Thursday (July 12, 2007) when they met with Republican Rep. Mike Rogers' staff about the upcoming "Take a Stand" event at the Michigan Capitol.

The group, which included the mother of a man who has served a year in Iraq, a Shiawassee County veteran opposed to the war, and others, gathered outside Rogers' office in Lansing. Rogers was in Washington, but staff members met with four of Rogers' constituents.

Afterward, participants said they had a chance to explain their positions to Rogers' aide and hand-delivered a letter, along with a petition signed by 200 people, inviting Rogers to the Aug. 28 "Take a Stand" event being organized by Americans Against Escalation in Iraq.

Remember, Mike Roges has been funded by Iraq war profiteers for years, so I can't say I'm surprised that the response to this invitation was ignored. However, this is grassroots activism at its best, and I applaud everyone who was involved.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rogers Votes Against College Students

Today the House passed H.R. 2669, the College Cost Reduction Act.
The bill passed 273-149.

The legislation, along with a separate proposal approved Wednesday by the House Appropriations Committee, would raise the maximum Pell grant from $4,310 per year to $5,200 per year by 2011. Pell grants go to poor students and don't have to be repaid.

The interest rate on federally subsidized loans for low-income and middle-class students also would be halved under the newly passed legislation. The rate would go from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent over five years. The House previously voted to approve that cut, but the Senate never followed.
How did our very own Republican Congressman Mike Rogers vote? No, of course.

This is a particularly egregious vote given that Michigan State University is encompassed by Michigan’s 8th Congressional District. It is a university that serves 44,000 students.

According to the Center for American Progress, in Michigan this bill will:
  • benefit over 200,000 students with increased Pell Grants
  • provide over $500 million in increased student aid
  • give students an average of over $4000 worth of savings due to the interest rate cut
President Bush has said he will veto this bill. So it really should come as no surprise that Rogers voted "no." He has no problem supporting the Bush Administration in funding the continued presence of U.S. troops in the middle of the Iraqi Civil War, a war that has cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. But giving students more money to earn a college education is out of the question according to Rogers.

Is this really what's best for Michigan's 8th Congressional District?

Rogers' Earmarks for FY2008

Well, after Mike Rogers wrote an editorial in the LSJ saying, "Every dollar the federal government spends should be vetted, offered in a transparent way, and open for debate," it would appear that he's being true to his word... sort of.

Last month, I submitted an email to Mr. Rogers' office, and asked the following question: "Rep. Rogers, could you please lead the way by disclosing every earmark you have ever requested in Congress?"

Well, I still haven't heard back from him yet -- remember, his office has a knack for being a little slow when it comes to responding to constituent inquiries -- but today WILX posted "a complete list of the appropriations project requests submitted by Congressman Mike Rogers (MI-08) for Fiscal Year 2008." They also made sure to mention...
that these projects have zero budget cost and do not constitute new spending as each application seeks to be included as part of the budgeted appropriations process. Projects are listed according to the bill they would be included in. Pursuant to House rules, Congressman Rogers has filed certifications with the Chairman and Ranking Member of the appropriate subcommittees stating that neither he nor his spouse have a financial interest in the project requests.
Well, if that's true, good for him. A little transparency never hurt anyone.

Now, it should be pointed out that these are just requests made for fiscal year 2008. Remember, I asked for every earmark he ever requested in Congress, but hopefully Rep. Rogers will be sending me that information soon.

Anyway, here is the complete list of earmarks requested by Rep. Mike Rogers for FY2008:


1. $550,000 to Tomorrows Child/Michigan SIDS: Tomorrow's Child/Michigan SIDS is a non profit organization to preserve newborn lives and help families, through education, outreach and research. Funds would establish the Michigan Center for Infant Loss to address infant mortality.

2. $461,000 to Cleary University: Cleary University currently maintains partnerships with a local public school secondary consortium and a local public charter school to provide instruction for high school students. Funds would be used to upgrade equipment and further develop technology instruction for high school students.

3. $500,000 to Ingham Regional Medical Center: Funds would provide for health screening and educational outreach programs to combat obesity.

4. $500,000 to Burcham Hills Retirement Community. The project would fund the Burcham Hills Retirement Community’s establishment of the Career Ladder Nursing Program for Alzheimer's Patients.

5. $325,000 to Impression Five Science Center: Science Exhibit Impression Five allows visitors to explore, discover, and experience the scientific wonders of the world. Funds would allow for the creation of a new exhibit directed at understanding science presented through basic components of molecules and cells to more complex areas of genetics and health.


1) $400,000 to the United Way of Southeast Michigan. Funding would support United Way programs that help recently released prisoners learn job skills and find employment.

2) $360,000 in funding for the Judicial Education Reference Information and Technical Transfer (JERITT) program, administered by Michigan State University, based in East Lansing, Michigan. Funding would allow MSU to upgrade the computer system JERITT uses. JERITT is a nationally-known program accessed by many other universities.


1) $4,000,000 for a Base Security Systems project administered in Brighton, Michigan by Lowery Computer Products. The funding would allow Lowery computer to do proof of concept tests and perform a demonstration project on a proven, advanced security system that would allow the military to better track who and what is on base.

2) $2,250,000 for Advanced Composite Materials Research for vehicles, at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. This research will be enhance the effectiveness of US Forces through numerical simulation optimization and experimentally validated design of advanced hybrid vehicle components such as motors, power electronics, and control systems. The resulting technology will be the most advanced components available resulting in a competitive edge both for the U.S. military and U.S. industry.

3) $8,000,000 for the purchase of Battlefield Respirators (BRAV) by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, in Silver Spring Maryland. These respirators help injured soldiers in the field mitigate serious injury until full medical attention can arrive.

4) $1,000,000 for Disposable Bioreactors, to be developed by PBS Biotech in Okemos Michigan. Funding will assist in the development of simple, scaleable, and economical disposable bioreactor system which will provide more flexibility on manufacturing capacity and operation schedule without major capital investment, and simplify the regulatory compliance requirements by eliminating the cleaning steps between the batches.

5) $4,000,000 for Tactical Vehicle Cargo Restraint Nets, to be developed and produced by Network Enterprises Inc. in New Hudson, Michigan. The function of the LoadTamer Cargo Nets is to safely restrain mission ready cargo in trucks/trailers/combat vehicles/boats and helicopters from bouncing/shifting or blowing out of, or off, the cargo area thus ensuring mission accomplishment.

6) $2,500,000 for Advanced Hybrid Vehicle Technology research and Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. MSU would use funding to continue research to validate the design of advanced hybrid vehicle components.

7) $6,000,000 for Cold Weather Layering clothing, to be produced in Lansing, Michigan for servicemembers fighting overseas in cold climates.

8) $8,000,000 for Multiclimate Protection Clothing, to be produced in Lansing, Michigan for servicemembers fighting overseas in various climates.

9) $9,000,000 for Fleece Insulating Liners, to be produced in Lansing, Michigan for servicemen and women fighting overseas. Note: All three of these projects are performed by Peckham Corp, a company that employs the disabled in Lansing, MI.

10) $325,000 for the training of technology workers, to be done at Cleary University in Howell, Michigan. Cleary University, based in Livingston County is working to provide job training opportunities for Livingston county workers.


1) $1,000,000 in funding for research and development of emerging technology to displace petroleum-based chemistry, by Intermediary BioChemicals, located in Okemos, Michigan

2) $2,000,000 in funding for research into biomass processing, advanced fermentation technologies and downstream process systems, by MBI International, located in Lansing, Michigan. This research would further efforts to reduce the production cost of biomass fuels.

3) $1,000,000 in funding for the implementation of Energy Conservation Measures (ECM) at Ingham Regional Medical Center, located in Lansing, Michigan. Funding would allow Ingham Regional Medical Center to reduce its overall energy consumption.

4) $3,000,000 in funding to conduct research that will assist the Department of Energy’s FreedomCar initiative, to be conducted at Michigan State University, located in East Lansing, Michigan. The Hybrid Electric Vehicle group at Michigan State University is working to develop technology which will lead to advanced hybrid components including motors, power electronics, and control systems, along with the capability of conducting numerical simulations for optimizing the designs of these systems. This effort will also include evaluation of the advantages of using selectively manufactured biofuels.

Financial Services:

1) $100,000 in funding for the Institute for Trade in the Americas, at Michigan State University College of Law, in East Lansing, Michigan. Funding will help advance the second phase of the Institute’s planned development. The planned addition of a web-portal to disseminate the Institute’s information and provide open access to the many resources of the law college will further accelerate the importance of dialogue on trade issues.

2) $325,000 in funding for the development of economics and personal finance courses at Cleary University, located in Howell, Michigan. The funds would be used to develop and provide on-line courses in economics and personal finance to be used by schools in the Washtenaw and Livingston Counties of Michigan.

3) $600,000 in funding for an Ex-offender Entrepreneurship program run by the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, located in Detroit, Michigan. The funds would be used to provide training classes in the areas of small business management, building a business on the internet, business marketing, credit education, franchise possibilities, selling and customer service. The initiative will work with the Wayne County Michigan Prisoner Reentry Pilot and its contracted sites to recruit potential entrepreneurs.


1) $165,000 in funding for the Mill Pond Lane Bypass sanitary sewer project in Brighton, Michigan. The construction of the Mill Pond Lane By Pass Sanitary Sewer will allow for collection of downtown sewage and route it to another portion of the sanitary sewer system, freeing up capacity on the Second St. sewer main. The Mill Pond Lane By Pass Sanitary Sewer will allow for additional new economic development projects in downtown. The industrial area and other areas will benefit as well.

2) $1,000,000 in funding for Infrastructure Management and Planning for the Oakland County Drain commission, in Oakland County, Michigan. The rural villages in Michigan are faced with numerous failing septic systems and the inability for these systems to be reconstructed in kind. The towns and villages (as well as adjacent schools) will need to construct new public infrastructure that reflect the publics desire to retain the rural setting. Funding will assist the Oakland County Drain Commission in its mission to address these water, wastewater and drainage challenges.


1) $2,500,000 Interchange construction at I-96 and Latson Road in Livingston County, Michigan.

2) $7,500,000 for Right-of-Way acquisition at Baldwin Road in Oakland County, Michigan.

3) $11,250,000 for the extension of the main runway at Capital City Airport, in Lansing, Michigan.

4) $1,040,000 for road construction at Cleary University in Howell, Michigan.

5) $5,415,996 for the purchase of buses and bus storage facility renovation at the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) in Lansing, Michigan.

6) $1,200,000 widening of Sashabaw Road in Oakland County, Michigan.

7) $1,200,000 for the purchase of land and maintenance equipment for Clinton County Transit, located in Clinton County Michigan.

8) $100,000 for the purchase of buses and bus storage facility renovation for the Livingston Essential transportation Service (LETS) located in Livingston County, Michigan.

9) $400,000 for the construction of wheelchair ramps in the homes of disabled individuals who cannot afford to pay for them. The construction will be done by the United Way of Southeast Michigan, based in Detroit, Michigan.

10) $225,000 to construct a community recreation center on the campus of Cleary University in Howell, Michigan.


1) $500,000 in funding for the research of Phytophthora capsici. The entity to receive funding for this project is Michigan State University located in East Lansing. The funding would be used for the research of phytophthora capsici a fungal pathogen that causes plants to rot which is a threat to the asparagus crop in Michigan.

Note: The following project requests did not include a dollar amount. These direct grants are part of larger, coordinated, on-going agricultural research projects overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

2) Funding for the research of Bovine Tuberculosis in fiscal year 2008 at MSU.

3) Funding for the research of improving Fruit Practices at MSU.

4) Funding for the Michigan Biotechnology Consortium at Michigan State University. The funding provides for a joint venture between MBI and Michigan State University to develop value added products and processes utilizing agricultural products and renewable resources.

5) Funding for the research of Armillaria Root Rot at MSU.

6) Funding for the research of improving Sustainable Agriculture at MSU.

7) Funding for the research of improving Wood Utilization Research at MSU.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Write Stuff

Rogers spokeswoman Sylvia Warner, as part of her ongoing (and successful) effort to avoid actually speaking to journalists, felt it best to email her [one-word?] answer to the The Buzz column in yesterday's Press & Argus.

After noting the rather large number of Rogerites decked out with Romney stickers and signs at Brighton's 4th of July parade, The Buzz asked if Rogers was supporting Romney's run at the Republican Presidential nomination

Does that mean Rogers supports Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who spoke at a Republican Party event in Livingston County in April?

The answer, according to an e-mail from Rogers' spokeswoman Sylvia Warner, is simple: No.

Stay tuned for more gripping prose from our representative's representative.

P.S. Speaking of the Brighton 4th of July parade, where were the legislators? No Rogers, no Ward, no Hune, and a Senator-free Garcia entry. C'mon, guys -- cough up the entry fee, buy some tootsie rolls and make the effort to walk the 1.1 mile route.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Once again, Judy at LivingBlue has a to-the-point post about Mike Rogers' "support" for the troops:

What, pray tell, does supporting the troops have to do with whether or not they should stay in Iraq and remain sitting ducks in a civil war between factions in that country?

If Rogers fully supports the troops, why doesn't he want to end the failed mission in Iraq and bring them home to their families, friends, homes, jobs, and lives?

Good question!

And while we're asking questions, why is it that the Press & Argus lets Rogers get away with written responses from his spokeswoman, Sylvia Warner?

[Since Ms. Warner always provides written responses, should her title be Writewoman?]

What exactly is Rogers is doing on his summer vacation that he's too busy to talk with the biggest paper in his home county?


One might start to think Mr. Rogers is afraid of follow-up questions...

Friday, July 6, 2007

Anti-War Group Targets Rogers

From today's Press & Argus:

A national anti-war group has kicked off a campaign to get Congressman Mike Rogers to join a growing number of Republicans opposed to President George W. Bush’s Iraq war policy.

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq held a press conference in front of Rogers’ office in Lansing on Thursday afternoon. The four-term Brighton lawmaker is one of 40 the group is targeting across the nation.

“We think he’s vulnerable,” said Michael Webb, a spokesman for the group. “He’s not the most vulnerable in the state, but some data suggest his district is growing in places, like Oakland County, that are getting more Democratic.”

Rogers could not immediately be reached for comment for this story.

Other Michigan lawmakers targeted in the campaign are U.S. Rep. Vern Ehlers of Grand Rapids, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton of St. Joseph, U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Livonia and U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg of Bloomfield Hills, all Republicans.

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq is a coalition of groups including unions, MoveOn.org Political Action, Vote Vets and Campaign for America’s Future.

Rogers’ spokeswoman, Sylvia Warner, supplied a written response to the event. The statement said that “Congressman Rogers will continue to fully support our troops.”

Mr. Rogers' political instincts (a/k/a CYA) are pretty keen... so with old guard Republicans like Voinovich, Warner, Lugar and Domenici all coming out against the war, combined with AAEI's efforts, may provide the extra push Rogers needs to do the right thing.

Let's hope so, before any more lives are lost.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Tip o' the hat to Judy over at LivingBlue.org, who had this great post about (yet another) Press & Argus story on Rogers' divorce:

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Romanticizing Rogers' Divorce

The Press & Argus is working hard to make sure that Rep. Mike Rogers suffers no political harm because of his pending divorce.

First there was the story of the divorce plans, with Rogers' plea for privacy slamming the door on any questions about the circumstances of a divorce by someone who claims to be protecting the sanctity of marriage. Next came the story (already blogged about here ) reassuring readers that there is no reason for Rogers to suffer politically due to his divorce because voters shouldn't care about that kind of thing.

Now Buddy Moorehouse is weighing in with a syrup-laden account of how it almost happened to him, too. Why, if he had finished first instead of third in that Republican primary five years ago, he, too, would have gone into politics and that could have destroyed his marriage.

Message: The divorce isn't Rogers' fault at all. Its the fault of the big-bad world of politics.

Some people already are weighing in on Moorehouse's column with the observation that divorce doesn't just "happen" to people like a car accident or a hurricane. People who truly believe in the santity of marriage participate actively in their relationships and have the free will to stay together or not. You would think that members of the party of personal responsiblity would understand that rather than blame the divorce on "politics."

Moorehouse assures us that Rogers and all the other divorced politicians are good people. Funny, when President Clinton and Senator Clinton had trouble in their marriage, we didn't hear that -- only that Clinton was the devil incarnate. And when the Clintons stayed together rather than take the easier road of divorce, Republicans gave them no support for upholding the sanctity of marriage. Instead, they -- especially Senator Clinton -- have been attacked as calculating political animals.

Furthermore, Moorehouse's assurances that Rogers is a good person who merely had a bad thing happen to him makes me wonder -- how does he know? Does the Livingston Press & Argus know details about the divorce that it's not sharing with the rest of us? Or is he just taking Rogers' word for it?

I'm sure that the Rogers family is suffering right now and I know (but not from personal experience) that divorce hurts. I also know that people get divorced every day. That's not the issue. The issue is that Rogers has been throwing stones at the way other people live their lives by opposing same sex marriage, abortion, and other choices that people make in their private lives. And all the time he has been willingly living in a glass house called the Republican Party that says people should be responsible for the choices they make and that marriage is holy.

Shouldn't the Press & Argus at least acknowledge Rogers' hypocrisy?