Sunday, July 31, 2011

Peace Walkers to Stop in Farmington Sunday

Peace Walkers to Stop in Farmington Sunday

A panel discussion will be held at First United Methodist Church in downtown Farmington.

A handful of people are hoping to bring peace and justice from Detroit to Lansing – covering all 90 miles on foot.

Moveable Peace, a Michigan-based group founded in 2010 that promotes peace through community events, is holding its first-ever Peace Walk, with groups starting in Detroit, Saginaw and Grand Rapids and ending at the State Capitol steps in Lansing on Aug. 9.

The Detroit group leaves July 30, and is passing through Farmington on Sunday to host a panel discussion on the federal budget, featuring the Oakland County chairs of both the Republican and Democratic Parties and Congressman John Conyers. That's at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Farmington, 33112 Grand River Ave.

Kim Redigan, a Detroit resident and organizer of the walk, said that the walkers aren't carrying a specific agenda or message.

"The whole purpose of the walk is to listen really deeply to people," she said. "The economy is in bad straits, people are living in fear right now, there's a lot of anger in the public discourse. Our idea is to just listen deeply to people and see what creative ideas folks may have to make this a more just and peaceful state."

The walk culminates with a press conference on the Capitol steps Aug. 9, to petition the government to institute a state-wide commission for peace and justice, which would be the first of its kind at the state level.

In addition to their quest to connect with local people, the walkers also hope to do their part to help Michigan during its tough times by supporting the local businesses they come across.

"It's really important we support our local merchants, so as we're walking, we're making it a point to want to eat our meals at local diners, local coffee shops, support the small business men and women," Redigan said.

The group has reached out to churches and other organizations where they plan on traveling, and the Community Unitarian Universalists, Pax Christi and St. Paul's of Brighton all stepped up to help host the event.

"I think it's great that it's sponsored by pretty much churches throughout their walk, of all different religious diversity coming together to help support the walk," Jenny Ritter, the parish coordinator at St. Paul's, said. "I think it's great that they're taking time to listen to people and to take that to Lansing."

The group formally kicks off the walk tomorrow in Ferndale at 7 p.m., where they are hosting a concert of local artists at A.J.'s Cafe, 240 W. Nine Mile Road.

They'll pass through Brighton on Aug. 2, with an event to be held that afternoon at the Mill Pond. It kicks off at noon, and will feature a performance by Neil Woodward, known as Michigan's Troubadour for his extensive history of playing Michigan-related folk music.

In addition to that, a screening of the movie Peace Pilgrim: An American Sage Who Walked Her Talkwill be held at 7 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, where the walkers will spend the night.

On Aug. 4, the walkers will be visiting Hartland. There aren't any formal events planned as it is designated as a rest day, but the walkers will be visiting with friends and local businesses.

Conyers, Cleaver urge President to invoke Constitutional authority to raise debt ceiling

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Date: Saturday, July 30, 2011

Contact: Matthew Morgan – 202-225-6906

Conyers, Cleaver urge President to invoke Constitutional authority to raise debt ceiling

President has authority and moral obligation to invoke the 14th Amendment to avoid economic catastrophe

(Washington) – Today in a letter to President Obama, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member and Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) called on President Obama to raise the debt ceiling under the authority of the 14th Amendment. Below is the text of the letter:

July 30, 2011

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We urge you to invoke section 4 of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution to raise the debt ceiling and enable the United States government to meet its financial obligations if Congress fails to act in time. We believe that you have both the authority and a moral obligation to do so in order to avoid an economic catastrophe of historic proportions.

Since the founding of the Republic, the United States has always honored its debts, from assuming the obligations incurred during the Revolutionary War, to the present day. As a result, the United States continues to enjoy an outstanding credit rating and historically low interest rates. We must not allow a political deadlock to cause the United States to default for the first time in our history. The consequences of a default would be catastrophic. All three credit rating agencies have cautioned that default would result in a downgrading of our credit rating and a substantial increase in borrowing costs.

In addition to putting our nation's bond rating at risk along with increase interest rates that it will cause, failure to increase the debt limit would imperil every aspect of the federal government, from Social Security to Medicare, to veterans' health care, to national security. States will lose billions in funding, and businesses will not receive payments on their contracts. Default would have a devastating impact on global credit markets and economic growth.

Section 4 of the 14th Amendment reads: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payments of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."

The Supreme Court has on only one occasion - in the depths of the Depression - had the opportunity to rule on this section. In that case, Perry v. United States, the Court said, "The Constitution gives to the Congress the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States . . . . Having this power to authorize the issue of definite obligations for the payment of money borrowed, the Congress has not been vested with authority to alter or destroy those obligations." Now that Congress has borrowed money and incurred debt, we cannot - as a nation and under our Constitution - walk away.

This section was meant to ensure the payment of Union debts after the Civil War, and to disavow Confederate ones. But it was written in broader terms and extends well beyond those particular obligations. According to Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin: "You're not supposed to hold the validity of the public debt hostage to achieve political ends…. Section 4 is a fail-safe that only comes into operation when everything else is exhausted."

In addition, under the "take care" clause the President has the authority under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Since Congress has previously authorized all the debts and obligations that would be in default on August 3, we believe this Constitutional authority would also reinforce your ability to increase the debt limit on an emergency basis.

Just as President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation at a time of emergency in our Nation's history to free those who were enslaved during the Civil War, today you face a looming calamity that in some respects is just as grave.

The Congressional Black Caucus will stand behind you, and applaud your courage, as you fulfill your obligation to uphold the dictates of the Constitution to protect the full faith and credit of the United States. We urge you to do that which is necessary for the good of the country.


Emanuel Cleaver

Chairman, Congressional Black Caucus

John Conyers, Jr.

Dean, Congressional Black Caucus

Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary

Approved by forty-two of forty-three Members of the Congressional Black Caucus


Sunday, July 24, 2011

March Without Fear

March Without Fear

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Romney-Bachmann Ticket Would Have Foster Child

You understand that a 2012 Romney-Bachmann Ticket would be forced to have a bloody lil’ foster child, right? If you wanna clutch the carnage, you must click it.
It’s Back To The Future Friday, kids, and you know what that means— supercilious speculations are in order.  The latest Quttapadlock Poll says serial loser Mittens Romney is leading Stepford bot Michele Bachmann by a mere eleven points, which, according to our crystal balls, means they may as well be joined at the junk… or whatever they have down there.
No, this isn’t an ad for the Ban Republican Marriage Coalition, it’s from the Hypnotic Wallpaper Association, who, I know it’s crazy, support theBachmannish-Romneyesgue 2012 Ticket.
And that disgusting visual forces us to take a moment to speculate on just what would happen when Mittens’ magic Mormon underoos are politically wedded to the homophobic ex-Lutheran straightjacket of Michele Bachmann. These garments are generally considered orthodox raiment by casual observers such as ourselves, but putting them together on a political ticket could produce a volatile ensemble clash that will surely incense gay fashionistas all across America.
But.  Let’s move on to more frivolous stuff.  Like, just yesterday, when only the quick-of-eye caught the subtle hip-twitch by Romney when he was asked, “Is Homosexuality a sin?”  Clearly the magic undergarment was at work, as Romney reflexively responded, “Nice try.”  Which is magic Mormon underwear-speak for “Fuck off.”
But enough about Mittens. Once these two get ticketed up, he’ll be even more irrelevant than McCain was after he got his first Palin chubby.
And you must remember the protracted and outraged tarring of then candidateBarack Obama the Repugs indulged in over his pew time at Rev. Jeramiah Wright‘s church— well now word comes from Joshua Greenat The Atlanticabout candidate Bachmann‘s recent termination ( in writing) of her membership in the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Stillwater, Minnasoda, [sic] which hates the sin of homosexuality, and oh yeah, that guy in the red shoes that they call the Pope is the Anti-Christ.  Now that’s some pre-emptive political sagacity.
Bachmann, who has a gay stepsister, has spent most of her adult life fibrillating over TEH GAY.  Now Bachmann is just a Christian wife who happens to be running for “the President,” a woman who is subservient to her Christian husband, Marcus Bachmann, who claims his words were altered on this interview where he infers that gays are sinful “barbarians” that need to be educated.
And she’ll need lots more sagacity too, when the Lamestream Mediarrhoids ask her if, like her hubby-wubby, she believes you can pray away teh gay. But like all good tail-wagging the head Christians, she believes she is obligated to rule, and it will take all the obligates she can pray her hands on to rule her precious little Tea Baby, the reckless mutant spawn of 2010.
As the self-appointed foster mother of this little anti-tax monster, she will find out just how much God loves her when it starts to bite her in the ass, which should be right after someone asks her how she plans to keep it from running all over the national mall devouring gays and and anti-American Congressmen.
Let the foster parenting begin!
Awwww… terrifyingly cute… and gay!  And all cleaned up for a new election cycle.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Conyers: Allegations That News Corp. Violated Privacy of 9/11 Victims Are Disturbing and Require Thorough Review

Date: Friday, July 15, 2011 
Contact: Nicole Triplett – 202-226-5543
Conyers:  Allegations That News Corp. Violated Privacy of 9/11 Victims Are Disturbing and Require Thorough Review

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) said that the Democratic Staff of the House Judiciary Committee will review allegations that News Corporation (“News Corp.”) has engaged in serious and systemic invasions of privacy.  News Corp. is a United States media corporation with international operations.

“With every day, the allegations against News Corp. grow more extensive and more disturbing,” said Conyers.  “Last week, we learned that News of the World—a British tabloid published by a News Corp. subsidiary—hacked into the voicemail of a British teenager who was abducted and murdered in 2002.  This revelation follows reports that the tabloid, which maintained a bureau in Hollywood, had for years illegally intercepted the voicemail messages of private individuals residing in the United States.

“Now it has been reported that News of the World approached a New York City police officer and asked him to obtain and provide the phone records of victims of the attacks on our country on September 11, 2001.

“A free and healthy press is essential, and the actions of the media should be scrutinized by the government only in rare circumstances. However, I believe the allegations in this case, particularly those relating to the families and victims of 9/11, are serious enough to warrant our examination.

“I applaud Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the Justice Department has opened a formal investigation into allegations that News Corp. may have violated both federal wiretapping statutes and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  My staff will work with the Justice Department and other law enforcement authorities as they proceed.”


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Louisiana Alleging Violations of the National Voter Registration Act

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Louisiana Alleging Violations of the National Voter Registration Act
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against the state of Louisiana and a number of Louisiana state agencies and officials alleging that the state has violated its obligations under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

The complaint, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, alleges that Louisiana has violated the NVRA by failing to provide voter registration services at offices providing public assistance and serving persons with disabilities in Louisiana.   Specifically, the complaint alleges that Louisiana officials have not routinely offered voter registration forms, assistance and services to the state’s eligible citizens who apply, recertify or provide a change address for public assistance or disability services, or benefits.

“The voting process begins with registration. Therefore, it is essential that all citizens have unfettered access to voter registration opportunities,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.   “The department is committed to enforcing the National Voter Registration Act so that neither income nor disability status stands in the way of equal voter registration opportunities for all citizens.”

The lawsuit seeks a court order declaring that the defendants have failed comply with the requirements of Section 7 of the NVRA, and requiring Louisiana to take all necessary steps to come into compliance with federal law.   The suit seeks to require Louisiana to effectively publicize the required voter registration opportunities and provide the court with a remedial plan that will ensure future compliance. 

Congress enacted the NVRA in 1993 in part to enhance citizen participation in elections by making voter registration opportunities readily available and accessible to the largest possible segment of the American public.  In addition to requiring that voter registration be offered at motor vehicle offices and by mail, the NVRA also mandates that states offer voter registration through agencies that provide essential services to citizens with disabilities and low income citizens.   Congress found that if it did not require states to offer voter registration at public assistance and disability services agencies, it would exclude a large segment of American citizens from having convenient opportunities to participate in our democracy.  

More information about the NVRA and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice website at .   Complaints about discriminatory voting practices may be reported to the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.

Conyers Fights to Preserve COPS Program

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Conyers Fights to Preserve COPS Program  
Anti-Crime Program Has Given Over $67 Million to the 14th District

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) joined other Members of Congress and representatives from law enforcement organizations to criticize the plan to eliminate the successful Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program.  The bill pending in the House Appropriations Committee to fund law enforcement programs for Fiscal Year 2012 presently does not fund the COPS Program or the COPS Office in the Department of Justice which administers this program.  Since the inception of the COPS Program in 1994, Congressman Conyers’ 14th Congressional District has received over $67 million in COPS related grants to hire police officers and sheriff deputies, hire school resource officers, and fund important crime-fighting technologies. 

“I’m fighting to preserve the COPS Program, which has greatly benefited the 14th District by providing us over $67 million in funding since the program’s inception in 1994,” Conyers said.  “We must reaffirm our commitment to a program that hires more officers and creates jobs in addition to enhancing public safety.”

The COPS Program was initiated under the Clinton Administration and has funded the hiring of more than 122,000 state and local police officers and sheriff’s deputies in communities across America.  These days, state and local governments are facing severe economic difficulties.  Some jurisdictions are actually laying off police officers. 


Thursday, July 7, 2011

House Ethics Panel Confirms Two Investigations

House Ethics Panel Confirms Two Investigations

The House Ethics Committee confirmed Friday that it is investigating two lawmakers, Representatives Gregory W. Meeks, Democrat of New York, and Jean Schmidt, Republican of Ohio. The committee said it needed more time for its inquiries, but said that fact does not “itself indicate that any violation has occurred.” Mr. Meeks is under investigation because of a $40,000 loan he received in 2007 and initially did not disclose from a Queens real estate broker who had been repeatedly investigated for fraud and predatory lending. Ms. Schmidt is being investigated on accusations she accepted free legal services from a Turkish-American group. Joe Jansen, an aide to Ms. Schmidt, said she intends to pay back the Turkish-American group, but has not done so at the request of the ethics investigators. The committee said it would decide how to proceed by Aug. 16.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Conyers Calls 6th Circuit Decision Overturning Proposition 2 a Key Step Toward Restoring Equity in Michigan Higher Education

Conyers Calls 6th Circuit Decision Overturning Proposition 2 a Key Step Toward Restoring Equity in Michigan Higher Education

(Washington) – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) called today’s Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to overturn Michigan’s ban on affirmative action a victory for equal opportunity in higher education. 

The court ruled Proposition 2 violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.   The 2006 law required Michigan’s public university system to abandon its affirmative action programs despite a series of Supreme Court decisions in 2003 that had upheld the policy’s constitutionality. 

“As an opponent of Proposition 2, I am heartened by today’s decision from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Conyers.  “After losing in court, forces from outside our state attempted to gain a victory through the referendum process, like they did in several other states.  This ruling stops their momentum and gives us the opportunity to restore an admissions process, approved by the same courts, that will give all students an equal opportunity to attend our state universities, while still recognizing the unique hurdles overcome by those from racial or ethnic minority groups.”

“This victory should be considered a key step toward restoring equity in Michigan higher education.”