Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Strike Two

Yesterday, Congress gave its final approval to the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which passed 250-177.

No prizes for guessing how Mr. Rogers voted on the bill, which reduces barriers for workers to bring lawsuits for pay discrimination.   It was his second "no" on fair pay for women.

Ms. Ledbetter was a Goodyear plant employee in Alabama, who 
became a champion of women’s rights and an outspoken supporter of Mr. Obama after the Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 decision in 2007, rejected her lawsuit against Goodyear.

A jury had found that the company paid Ms. Ledbetter less than male supervisors, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Supreme Court did not deny that she had suffered discrimination, but said she should have filed her claim within 180 days of “the alleged unlawful employment practice” — the initial decision to pay her less than men.

By voting against the fair pay act, Mr. Rogers made it clear that he thinks employees should be psychic -- they should know (and act!) within six months of their initial employment if they are facing pay discrimination.  Never mind that for most of us, it takes six months just to figure out how to get the tech support guys to help you.  

Speaking of "fair pay," though Mr. Rogers wailed at the thought of his automatic $4,700 pay increase,

"Congressman Rogers believes there should be no raises for members of Congress as long as the nation has a deficit, and especially while Michigan families are facing pay cuts, loss of their jobs, rising costs for fuel and groceries, and an uncertain economic future," Warner said.

... there's still no word on whether Mr. Rogers will be donating this extra cash to a local charity...

Monday, January 19, 2009


From today’s Press & Argus:

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, said Bush has received a bum rap from many citizens.

“He didn’t get credit for being a nice guy a lot, but his tendencies are always to do that, I think,” Rogers said. “He didn’t get a chance to display it.”

Well!  Who knew that being a nice guy magically canceled out defiling the United States Constitution, racking up a trillion-dollar deficit and starting a few wars?

I feel so much better about the past eight years, don’t you? 

Consider this Palinesque display of synatx and logic as a preview of what to expect if Mr. Rogers should become Michigan's next governor...

cross-posted at Michigan Liberal

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mike Rogers: Dr. No

Today, the House overwhelmingly passed the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), twice-vetoed by President Bush, with the comfortable margin of 289-139.

As a quick recap, S-CHIP is the joint federal/state program that helps working parents purchase affordable health insurance coverage for their children. It isn't welfare, it isn't a handout, and it isn't socialized medicine. SCHIP has been a success since its start in 1997.

Over the past two years, the Neighborhood had quite a few S-CHIP posts, given Mr. Rogers' implacable opposition to a program that has enjoyed strong bipartisan support.   

Guess we can give Mr. Rogers partial credit for being consistent: he voted against it again today.

Why vote no, when 150,000 Michigan children have no health insurance?  On the floor today, Mr. Rogers stated "Let's get our priorities right, let's not pit children against seniors. I would urge a strong no vote against the bill."

After four terms in Congress, you'd think Mr. Rogers would know that Medicare funding and S-CHIP funding come from two completely different sources.  It's disingenuous at best to hide behind senior citizens -- especially since Mr. Rogers has hung seniors out to dry on health care more than once before.

E.J. Dionne makes the point that S-CHIP is even more crucial in today's economic climate:

It's not just that sharp increases in unemployment add to the ranks of the uninsured. State governments are hurting, too, and they are responding to revenue shortfalls by shrinking health-care programs.

According to Families USA, a group that pushes for fundamental health-care reform, states have enacted budget cuts that will leave some 275,000 people without health coverage, including 260,000 children in California. By the end of this year, if further proposed cuts go through, the number losing health coverage nationwide could rise to more than 1 million, almost half of them children. Other states have reduced benefits to those they still insure.

Bringing this closer to home, the latest KidsCount Report details the impact of record-breaking unemployment rates on Michigan's children: statewide, the poverty rate for children under 18 rose from 13.6% in 2000 to 19% in 2007.  

Over the next few weeks, you'll be hearing a lot about why Mike Rogers will be a good choice for our next Governor.  When you hear that, remind people that Mike Rogers doesn't think kids from working families deserve health insurance.

A (Sort of) Rousing Endorsement

Today's Press & Argus editorial, "Rogers for Gov.? It's opportunity worth exploring", rehashed a recent MIRS report and gave it a little "local boy" twist.
While Rogers has served us well in Congress, perhaps he can have the greatest political impact in Michigan, which desperately needs a big turnaround. We're glad to see he's exploring the waters, because having a governor from Livingston County would obviously benefit the home folks.
After a nod to Kingsley Bingham and Edwin Winans (earlier Livingston County natives who served as Governor from 1855-1859 and 1891 -1893, respectively), the editorial ended with this somewhat restrained endorsement:
So why shouldn't Rogers put his hat into the ring? The Howell High School grad is as qualified as anyone else considering a run, and having him as governor could only be a good thing for Livingston County.
As qualified as anyone else?  Really?  Wow.  Now there's some enthusiasm.

Take a minute and come up with an example of something Mike Rogers has done during his time in Congress that was of benefit to the people of Livingston County (much less the state of Michigan).  In the past year, he voted against health care coverage for children of working families, and voted against Michigan's unemployed.  As our economy has gotten worse, he's spent his time in, um, less than productive ways.  

Given all that, it was heartening to read that Mike Rogers was proposing a tax credit for purchasing American-made autos:
“With the state of our economy and consumer confidence at the lowest point in years, my hope is that this bill could help give folks who need a new vehicle an incentive to go out and purchase one with tax benefits. The bill also gives incentives for lenders to loan the money to folks buying the new cars,” Rogers said.
... but then I found out that was the idea of Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers.  Oops!

Over the next few weeks, The Neighborhood will take a closer look at how Mr. Rogers is "as qualified as anyone else."  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

An Epiphany. Sort of.

Happy Epiphany, dear readers!  Things have been pretty quiet in The Neighborhood during the holidays, but since today is the twelfth day of Christmas, here's a little treat:

Mr. Rogers is considering a run for Governor in 2010.

A Press & Argus article cites a report from MIRS:
The Michigan Information & Research Service Inc. quoted Rogers in a recent story saying he knows he will have to raise a lot of money if he were to run for governor, but that he is confident he can raise the funds.

“I'm just not sure yet,” he told MIRS about a possible run in 2010 adding, “There's a lot I think I could offer if I run for governor in 2010 ... but I have to decide where can I make the best impact.”   

An unnamed source in the MIRS report states Rogers moved the idea of running for governor to the front of his mind when a group of “big donors” asked him to run. That source put the chances at 50-50 that Rogers will declare his candidacy next month.
Time to unleash your inner pundit: 

* Take a guess as to who the "big donors" might be.  

* How do you think Mr. Rogers will play outside the cozy borders of the 8th Congressional District?  

* Raise your hand if you'd like to see the Mike vs. Mike Steel Cage Match: AG Mike Cox's smackdown of Blue Cross/Blue Shield should trump Rogers' whiny defense of the Medicare Advantage Program and higher drug prices for seniors.

February should be an interesting month...