Tag Archives: Michigan

Former John Conyers’ aide says most of them have seen him in his underwear and it’s “no big deal”

john conyers

Um, ok. How many times have you walked in on your boss in his underwear? Not cool by any means.

From Daily Mail: A male former aide to Rep. John Conyers has pooh-poohed claims by a female lawyer that the Democrat invited her to a meeting while he was in his underwear.

Melanie Sloan, who served as minority counsel for House Judiciary Committee, said last week that she was called up to Conyers’ office during her time there only to find him in his underwear.

But on Wednesday Bob Weiner, who was Conyers’ communications director from 1994-2000, said the representative’s underwear was a common sight at the time. ‘Most of us have walked in on him accidentally without knocking and have seen him in his underwear,’ he told CNN. ‘Big deal.’

Sloan told the Washington Post that she had been called to brief Conyers on a matter when she saw him in the uncomfortable situation. ‘I was pretty taken aback to see my boss half-dressed,’ she said, adding: ‘I turned on my heel and I left.’

But on Tuesday Weiner said that Conyers – like other representatives in the Rayburn House Office Building – had a wardrobe in his office, and so it was expected that staff would see his underwear from time to time.

‘Something else that people need to know: his closet is in his office right here. He changes clothes in his office,’ he said. ‘So to say that somebody came to a meeting and that’s how it was, that’s an untrue statement.  That is the kind of thing that needs to be explored before there’s any acceptance to that kind of an allegation.’

Sloan does not accuse Conyers of sexually harassing her, but did say that he was verbally abusive to her during her employment. ‘There was an occasion where he called me out of a meeting with a bunch of advocates and was screaming at me in the halls, including [about] me not wearing stockings on a 95-degree Washington summer day … while he wasn’t wearing socks,’ she told ABC.

She said of Conyers: ‘I don’t think he was having male staffers babysit his kids and I don’t think male staffers were berated in the same way that I was. Certainly, Congressman Conyers was picking on me and this was well known throughout the committee staff. It was obvious.’

But Weiner also denied that she was being picked on, or that Conyers was motivated by misogyny. ‘That’s not sexist. That’s just being aggressive as the member of Congress or the Cabinet member or the VIP that you are,’ he said. ‘It has nothing to do with being anti-women. I got it too.’

‘Representative Conyers has never done anything inappropriate to Melanie Sloan,’ his lawyer, Arnold Reed, told the paper.

However, Conyers – who stepped down from the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday – has other issues to contend with.

The House Ethics Committee is investigating him following a report that claimed he used $27,000 of office funds to pay off a staffer who accused him of sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

And another woman, now 77, claims that Conyers stripped down to his underwear in front of her in a hotel room while they were on a work trip.

Members of both the Republicans and the Democrats are now calling for Conyers to step down – and Weiner says the mood in his office is grim. ‘His staff is very depressed and think that people are trying to make the die cast against him, and everybody’s trying to work out statements of what to say that’s the right thing to say and it’s very complicated,’ he said.

‘People are hoping that the die hasn’t been cast too far too soon already… the staff is hoping very much that, at a minimum, that he gets the chance to complete his term as a member of Congress,’ he said. ‘That’s the objective right now of the staff.’

Conyers the longest serving member of the House, denied doing anything wrong after BuzzFeed News reported a woman was paid $27,000 from Conyers’ taxpayer-funded congressional office allowance.

The unidentified woman alleges that Conyers repeatedly asked her for sex.  In one particularly serious charge, she claims that Conyers asked her to work out of his hotel room, when the Michigan congressman began talking about his sexual desires, according to the report. She alleged that Conyers then told her to ‘touch it’ – meaning his penis – or find him a woman who would meet his sexual demands.

Read the rest of the story here.



Woman in a coma with brain cancer gives birth to 24-week-old baby

cure for carriePhoto of Life Lynn from Cure for Carrie Facebook page.

Your antidote to those who say “yay” to abortion.

From Fox News: A 37-year-old woman who has been in a coma since July, gave birth to a baby girl via emergency cesarean section on Wednesday, at just 24 weeks gestation. The baby, named Life Lynn, is the youngest of Carrie Deklyen’s six children, and weighs 1 lbs., 4 ounces.

Dekylen, of Wyoming, Michigan, discovered she was pregnant in April, just two weeks after being diagnosed with glioblastoma. She underwent two surgeries to remove the tumor and, along with her husband, Nick, chose to forego a clinical trial in order to protect the baby.

 “I asked her what she wanted to do. She said, ‘We are keeping it,’” Nick told ABC News on Aug. 15. “That was always my choice too, but I wanted her to decide because it was her life we were talking about.”

The family started the “Cure 4 Carrie” Facebook page and a GoFundMe page to keep supporters updated on Dekylen and Life. A September 2 post indicated that Dekylen, who has been on life support at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor since suffering a stroke five weeks ago, is completely unresponsive.

“I just spoke with Nick and he wanted me to update,” Sonya Nelson, Deklyen’s sister-in-law, posted on the Facebook page. “We have tried to share Carrie’s story without being negative, but the bottom line is we need to share the reality of the situation. Carrie is not doing well. For the past few days she has been completely unresponsive, she is not even responding to pain.”

Nelson said that Life was measuring in the 3 percentile for her gestational age at the time, and that the family was asking for prayers. On Thursday, Nelson said that doctors were pleased with Life’s status.

Previous posts had stated that Dekylen’s tumor was showing rapid growth, and doctors were forced to drain fluid from her brain several times. Doctors had hoped to delay delivery until 28 weeks gestation, but a decline in both Life and Dekylen’s health had forced them to act earlier. A post on July 30 said doctors had planned to turn off life support once the baby had been delivered.

In addition to Life, the couple’s children range in ages from 18 to 2, and Nick said that while the older ones understand the circumstances, the younger ones are relatively unaware.

“The older ones obviously understand everything so it is very hard on them,” he told ABC News. “They love their mother and know what they are losing. We talk about good times and laugh and then sometimes we just cry because we just so much. The younger two do not really understand what is happening.”

He said Nelson has been helping to watch the children, and that “we tell them that Mommy is really sick.”



DACA rescinded: Get ready for the drama…”End of life as we know it”

paul quinonez

Paul’s Twitter profile pic. From his Twitter bio, “From the best state in Mexico: Colima.”

Want to be the “best you can be,” Paul? You can start online here.

Surprisingly, there are very few sympathetic comments on the liberal Seattle Times web site.

From Seattle Times: Paúl Quiñonez Figueroa wakes up around 6 a.m. every day, anxious.

“I could literally wake up to the end of DACA,” he said of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which since 2012 has allowed young people brought to this country illegally to live and work here.

As a 22-year-old DACA recipient, the waiting has been killing him. “He should announce it already,” Quiñonez Figueroa said Friday in his Northgate apartment.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions did it for the president. Sessions announced an “orderly, lawful wind-down” of DACA over the next six months. The Department of Homeland Security will accept no new applications.

Current DACA recipients, however, will be allowed to work legally until their two-year permits expire. That gives Quiñonez Figueroa until February 2019.

“Having a few extra months to prepare for the end of life as we know it is not treating us with empathy or with heart,” Quiñonez Figueroa, an activist with Washington Dream Coalition, said immediately after Sessions’ remarks.

And he was infuriated that President Donald Trump, who had pledged to show heart when dealing with Dreamers, “did not have the decency to face us.”

Now, he’s looking toward the congressional debate that Trump and Sessions have set up as they left the fate of DACA recipients to the legislative branch.

Quiñonez Figueroa, who works as a legislative assistant to state Rep. Shelley Kloba D-Kirkland, said he and his peers plan to press members of Congress to vote on a new DREAM Act introduced this year. The bipartisan bill goes further than previous, failed versions; those eligible would include not just young, undocumented immigrants illegal aliens who go to college or serve in the military but also those in the workforce.

Unlike DACA, it would provide a path to citizenship.

Quiñonez Figueroa said, however, “we’re not going to be used as bargaining chips to put down our parents, to put down our friends.”

He was referring to speculation that Trump and some Republicans might try to trade passage of the DREAM Act for items on the president’s agenda less friendly to immigrants: building a wall on the border with Mexico, hiring thousands of new Border Patrol agents and placing new restrictions on legal immigration.

If Congress tacked such addendums onto the DREAM Act, Quiñonez Figueroa said, DACA recipients like him would seek to kill the bill, he said.

His views represent something of an evolution in the Dreamer movement. It has generated tremendous momentum in part because people brought here as kids are often seen as blameless, unlike other immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally.

But some are so uneasy with being in a special category that they no longer want to be called “Dreamers” — a term they feel connotes virtue unique to them. “We’ve moved far beyond that,” Quiñonez Figueroa said.

He and others want the parents who brought them here to have the same protections they do, even while that is a much more controversial notion.

‘Best I could be’

For a long time, Quiñonez Figueroa was angry about being uprooted from his home in a small town in the Mexican state of Colima, about 500 miles due west of Mexico City. He was 7. “I remember my childhood as happy — normal,” he said. “Why did I have to grow up undocumented illegally here?”

Only last year, when he returned to Colima while studying in Mexico for the summer, did he realize the poverty of his hometown, the challenges his cousins faced in getting to college and the dangers of a country beset by drug cartels.

Then, his parents’ decision to reunite the family in the U.S. — where his father had been working construction and was finding return visits increasingly hard because of toughening border security — made more sense.

He remembers the trip in the back seat of a car, eating potato chips and trying to keep his younger brother quiet as they crossed into California, driven by a legal resident. His mother followed a week later, taking a riskier trip through the desert that she never talked about.

Eventually, they made their way to Eastern Washington, where they had extended family. Quiñonez Figueroa mostly grew up there. Tutored by his mom, who had wanted to be a teacher but couldn’t afford the necessary schooling, he was placed in a program for advanced students.

He threw himself into extracurriculars: volunteering as a bilingual interpreter, running cross-country and playing tennis, joining the debate and Spanish clubs.

“I had to be the best I could be,” he said. Otherwise, he wouldn’t get the private scholarships he needed to go to college. Even when DACA came into being right before his last year of high school, and he was deemed eligible, he couldn’t get federal financial aid due to his status.

As the Trump administration has been keen to point out, DACA recipients are still considered undocumented illegal even though the government has granted them permission to work here temporarily.

Accepted by Gonzaga University, Quiñonez Figueroa benefited from Washington’s version of the DREAM Act, approved while he was there, to allow undocumented students illegal aliens to get state financial aid.

He quickly built up his résumé. He interned for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, in Washington, D.C., and got a fellowship to spend a summer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs.

After school, he worked as an Eastern Washington field director for Sen. Patty Murray’s re-election campaign, and was interested in working for the federal government. But undocumented immigrants illegal aliens are not allowed.

So he turned to local politics. In his job as Rep. Kloba’s assistant, he does everything from running the office budget to helping arrange town-hall meetings.

Not ready to give up

It was in Mexico last summer that Quiñonez Figueroa realized how American he has become. Participating in a program that brought DACA recipients to study side by side with Mexican students, he picked up on subtle but distinct cultural differences, like the way he and his peers would complain about service they found lacking.

“We were called ‘arrogant Americans,’” he recalled.

He nevertheless discovered he could get by in Mexico if he had to. His Spanish was passable. There were opportunities for college-educated professionals like him.

Staring down the possibility of a forced repatriation, he said it wouldn’t be end of the world, but added: “I’m not ready to give up.”

His game plan: go to graduate school and hope that by the time he’s done Congress will have passed a law allowing him to stay.



TDS: American Horror Story: Cult to help “alleviate the real world pain” of our election

Another Hollyweird product I won’t be watching.

From IGN: Putting dangerous witches, sexy vampires and demonic nuns on hold, American Horror Story: Cult pulls back the curtain to explore the psychological aftermath from the 2016 presidential campaign.

Fear and anxiety take center stage here, pitting Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters against each other in a perverse tale of progress and paranoia. Season 7 puts the cult of personality directly in the spotlight, revealing that the real monster in this horror story is us. After viewing the first three episodes of Cult — titled “Election Night,” “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” and “Neighbors from Hell” — at an advance press screening, it’s safe to say that this move is a welcome change for the series.

Using the 2016 presidential campaign — election night, specifically — as a jumping off point, it’s clear from the very first moments of AHS: Cult that fear is the main component giving the new season life. Fear is currency; it’s the motivator and the separator. In Cult, it feeds the fire of rising cult figure, Kai Anderson (Peters), and pushes phobia-ridden Ally Mayfair Richards (Paulson) to her psychological breaking point.

 “I do think politics in the past year has become entertainment in a weird way in our country, and I think this plays into that a little bit,” Ryan Murphy stated during a Q&A session that followed the screening. “I think how the show begins on election night, pro or con … I think everybody can relate to that feeling of that evening. And that was the launch of the season.”

While there are many players in the “AHS: Cult” game — Alison Pill is Ally’s wife Ivy, Billie Lourd is Kai’s sister Winter, and Billy Eichner and Leslie Grossman are creepy neighbors, The Wiltons — it’s the dynamic between Kai and Ally that elevate the story in a way many fans may not expect. “It’s not about Trump, it’s not about Clinton,” Murphy continued. “It’s about somebody who has the wherewithal to put their finger up in the wind, see what’s happening and is using that to rise up and form power.”

For Kai Anderson, the election of Donald Trump is a watershed moment — leading the blue-haired maniac on a quest for power. According to Murphy, he has wanted to explore The Manson Family in an installment of AHS for quite some time. But as the writer/director/executive producer explained, this concept has since evolved: “The thing that we’re doing is we’re really examining all different sorts of cults — and there are many, many famous ones. Throughout the season, Evan Peters is, I think, playing six different cult leaders: Kai, Manson, David Koresh, Andy Warhol … Jim Jones is a big one. And we really examine, how do those people rise to power? And why did people follow them?

On the opposite side of the spectrum is Ally and Ivy — a Michigan couple living a comfortable existence steeped in success and a heaping helping of white privilege. That detail is played upon multiple times throughout Cult, showing that both sides of the Trump/Clinton argument are fair game. From a Rachel Maddow shoutout to some residual Jill Stein-rage, there are elements of satire throughout these first three episodes that help to alleviate the real world pain and anxiety people are still experiencing.

But Ally’s storyline of how her phobias are manifesting — particularly her coulrophobia, or fear of clowns — is an affective and terrifying way of keeping the horror in American Horror Story. In many ways, this season isn’t about an American horror story, but what Murphy considers to be our American horror story, showcasing both sides of the election’s aftermath in their extremes.

 “One of the things that I personally experienced after this election was a wild increase in anxiety,” Murphy explained. “We’re on the brink of nuclear war one week, and then, the next week we’re onto something else equally extreme.” Instead of burying his head in the sand, though, Murphy decided to use AHS as a means to deal with this new reality; to, in his words: “lean into the escalation of fear in our culture.”

Read the rest of the story here.



Hillary Clinton launches book tour with tickets selling for up to $1,200

Hillary Clinton devil woman

The pity party rolls on, at a price of course.

From Daily Mail: Hillary Clinton will be back in the spotlight this fall for an unprecedented, big-ticket book tour for her new tome What Happened, with tickets priced as high as $1,200. 

On Monday, the ex-Democratic nominee announced ‘Hillary Clinton Live,’ a 15-city tour, which includes stops in a handful of states she lost in the election last year.

Promotional materials for her first stop, at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., promises Clinton plans to ‘let loose’ and tell her audience a ‘personal, raw, detailed and surprisingly funny story’ of her election loss and recovery.

The website promoting the tour, HillaryClintonBookTour.com, features a quote from Clinton too.

‘In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net,’ she said. ‘Now I’m letting my guard down,’ she pledged.

The tour kicks off on September 18 in D.C. and continues on all through fall.

Clinton is making stops in the trio of states that are largely blamed for her election loss: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Sticking to blue areas within those states, she’ll head to Ann Arbor, Michigan on October 24, Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 9 – exactly one year to the day that she gave her concession speech – and then head on to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 30.

Clinton is hitting up a trio of Canadian cities too, making appearances in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.   Top-tier ticket packages in those cities cost $3,000 Canadian dollars for two seats, or, in American dollars, about $1,200 a pop.

There are cheaper seats in the states with tickets costing between $50 and $350 to see Clinton in Broward, Florida – another state that she lost to now-President Trump.  Clinton will also visit UC Davis, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle and Portland.

The former secretary of state, senator and first lady already gave audiences a taste of What Happened in the form of two clips from its audio book, which were aired on Morning Joe last week.

In one of the clips, she talks about what it was like to have Trump breathing down her neck, literally, during the second presidential debate in St. Louis, Missouri. ‘It was incredibly uncomfortable he was literally breathing down my neck,’ Clinton said. ‘My skin crawled.’

Clinton said that no matter where she walked onstage, Trump followed.  ‘Staring at me, making faces,’ she said, adding that she would have loved to have ‘hit pause’ and ask everyone in the audience, ‘well, what would you do?’

‘Do you say calm, keep smiling and carry-on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and clearly, “Back up you creep, get away from me! I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up!“‘ Clinton said.

What Happened hits bookshelves on September 12.



Half of the candidates in the Detroit mayoral race are felons


I doubt their backgrounds would help them deal with the financial disaster that is Detroit.

From Fox News: Half the candidates in next week’s Detroit mayoral primary have been convicted of felony crimes, according to a local analysis.

The Detroit News found three of the eight mayoral hopefuls have faced gun charges — two for assault with intent to commit murder — and a fourth candidate pleaded guilty to a non-gun charge years ago. While some of these cases date back to the 1970s, some are more recent.

Under Michigan state election law, convicted felons can vote and run for office, so long as they are not incarcerated or guilty of crimes breaching public trust. The nonpartisan primary will narrow the field down to two candidates who will face off in November.

The candidates are apparently open about their histories. Greg Bowens, a political consultant and former press secretary to former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, told The Detroit News that the rap sheets aren’t unique to this election or Detroit.

“[The candidates] deserve the opportunity to be heard, but they also deserve to have the kind of scrutiny that comes along with trying to get an important person elected,” he said.

Three of the candidates told The Detroit News their criminal histories have served as motivation in running for office.

Donna Marie Pitts, 58, has multiple felony convictions, beginning in 1977, according to court records reviewed by the newspaper. “I don’t hide it. God has brought me out,” Pitts told the paper. “I hope [voters] don’t look at it as negative but as my experience, and I can help. I want to fight for them.”

Other candidates with past charges include Danetta Simpson, who was convicted in 1996 for assault with intent to murder; Articia Bomer, who was charged in 2008 for carrying a concealed weapon; and Curtis Christopher Greene who was charged with fourth-degree fleeing and eluding police during an attempted traffic stop, and a marijuana-related count. The felony charge reportedly came when he violated probation in 2005 and was charged over a fraudulent check, according to the report.

Detroit’s mayoral primary election is set for Aug. 8.



Demand soars for concealed carry permits, data shows

second amendment3

Shannon Watts hardest hit.

From Fox News:  The number of concealed carry permits in the United States has topped 15 million over the last year, according to data collected by the Crime Prevention Research Center.

That’s the largest one-year increase ever in the number of permits issued, according to the research center. In July 2016, the center reported that 14.5 million people had concealed handgun permits. As of May of this year, the number is already 15.7 million.

John Lott, founder of the group and a Fox News columnist, said several states, including Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Texas, have seen a big jump in the number of gun permits issued. There are several reasons for the increase – most notably, a rise in women and minorities seeking to purchase handguns, Lott said.

“I think you’re continuing to see a change in the composition of people who go and get permits,” Lott said. “Women are growing at a much faster rate than men.”

Between 2012 and 2016, Lott said, the growth rate for women was twice as much as it was for men. He also said minorities are purchasing handguns at a higher rate compared to previous years.

Firearms instructors are reporting an increase in the number of black women learning how to use guns around the country, as noted in an earlier Fox News report. Gun instructors who teach self-defense courses say more women are looking toward guns to protect themselves against crime.

In a May 10 statement to Fox News, NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said women are the fastest growing segment of firearms buyers in the country. “The NRA is a natural home for women firearms owners,” Mortensen said. “Increasingly, women today don’t want to rely on a spouse or neighbor for protection. They want to be able to protect themselves and their families.

The Crime Prevention Research Center – a nonprofit, gun advocacy research group – releases an annual report each July documenting firearm statistics by citing numbers provided by state agencies. The center’s official report for 2017 is due in July but Lott said data already collected shows a significant increase in permits in a number of states.

Arizona had 272,622 such permits in 2016 and 315,107 as of May 2017. Florida had 1,581,742 last year compared to 1,755,580 as of April 30.

Lott noted other factors contributing to an increase in permits. “You’re seeing states making it easier for people to go and get permits,” he said.

In contrast, states like California and New York have among the toughest requirements for permits in the nation. 

In Sacramento County, as of December 2016, residents are “required to pay $220 in application fees, pass a state criminal background check, take a 16-hour training course and have approval of the sheriff’s department by having ‘good moral character’ and a good reason to have CCW,” according to the center.