God’s Love In the Time of Bathroom Bills | Sojourners

As a clergywoman, I find myself most troubled by the fact the sponsors of these laws often do so in the name of protecting Christianity. Is our Christianity so fragile that it must dictate where people pee?

Source: God’s Love In the Time of Bathroom Bills | Sojourners

By Jennifer Bailey 04-22-2016
I will never forget the day my friend Aaron* asked me if God loved him. It was a few weeks before our high school graduation and signs of spring had finally begun to break through the deep freeze of the Chicago winter. Driving down Lake Shore Drive on our way to school that morning, I could tell Aaron’s mood was somber and reflective. We went to a gifted school full of nerds and oddballs like us. Common high school stereotypes did not apply. The stars of our powerhouse basketball team were as likely to end up at prestigious schools like Northwestern as the captain of the chess team. Against this diverse backdrop, Aaron still stood out. Tall and slender, he was fond of wearing lace gloves and tight Michael Jackson T-shirts. His presentation was what I would later learn is termed “gender non-conforming.”

Even at a high school with the first LGBTQ Pride club in the state, Aaron was relentlessly mocked and harassed. He was made to feel other and isolated because of his presentation. Against the odds, Aaron flourished. Days before our drive to school, Aaron was accepted to the college of his dreams. He would be moving to a large city on the East Coast where I hoped that he would finally feel free.

His question about God’s love for him caught me by surprise. We never talked about religion. I was, admittedly, the “churchy” one in my group of friends — president of the Junior Usher Board and active in my church youth ministry. Yet even at the age of 17, devoid of theological training, I understood the core inquiry at the root of the question: Could this Christian God that I proclaimed loved us all so much accept Aaron even when so many of this God’s “followers” did not? It was the mid-2000s and ostracizing the LGBTQ community had become political catnip for elected officials wanting the favor of socially conservative Christian communities.
My answer to Aaron that day was… – See more at: https://sojo.net/articles/gods-love-time-bathroom-bills#sthash.YUR5wTA7.dpuf

MIRS report: Universities funding increases trimmed to 3.4% by MI House, while MI Senate follows Snyder’s 4.4% recommendation

A chart showing difference of disinvestment between 2001-02  and 2012-13

Jeff –

Here’s more information than you probably want, but here is a story that was written up in MIRS, a political newspaper today.  We are making better progress in the Senate without question.

The House continued its Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget trimming ways this morning with its Higher Education Subcommittee kicking out a spending plan that gives the state’s 15 public universities a 3.4 percent increase as opposed to the 4.4 percent hike the Governor suggested.
Later in the day, the Senate Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee moved a budget that went along with Gov. Rick SNYDERs 4.4 percent increase, but gave Oakland University and Eastern Michigan University (EMU) lighter increases for blowing through last year’s tuition restraint limit.
Rep. Mike MCCREADY (R-Birmingham), chair of the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, acknowledged after the hearing he was given a target and the $1.586 billion budget in HB 5280 hits that target.
The smaller increase equals out to $13.5 million less than what the Governor and Senate want. Otherwise, on the dollars and cents, the House’s plan looks a lot like the Governor’s other than giving a 3.4 percent increase ($1.2 million) more to financial aid programs for students at independent colleges and universities.
Today’s action follows a trend of smaller budgets coming out of the House. On Wednesday, the General Government budget came in $82 million below the Governor’s recommendation (See “Revenue Sharing Restored In House Budget,” 3/23/16).
Senate Minority Floor Leader Sam SINGH‘s (D-East Lansing) attempt to resurrect the $13.5 million through an amendment failed on a party-line vote.
Rep. Jeff IRWIN (D-Ann Arbor) tried to get $5.7 million out of the School Aid Fund to pay for the Indian Tuition Waiver as opposed to having universities pay for it out of their own budgets. Irwin was going to have the money come out of the cyber schools’ budget. That failed, too, on a party-line vote. Republicans, ultimately, agreed to put $100 in the budget for the waiver to keep it alive for future discussions.
Irwin also tried to put another $14.2 million into the budget for financial aid to keep Michigan out of being in the bottom quarter of the country in student financial aid. That failed on a party-line vote.
Singh’s amendment to end the universities’ stem cell research reporting requirement also failed. HB 5280 moved to the full House Appropriations Committee 4-0 with the panel’s three Democrats passing on the vote. Under the House budget, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is getting a 4.7 percent increase, the largest of the 15 universities. Saginaw Valley State University’s increase is 4.2 percent and University of Michigan-Dearborn’s is 4.1 percent.

The lightest increase was Wayne State University at 2.8 percent, followed by Lake Superior State’s 3.0 percent and University of Michigan-Ann Arbor’s 3.1 percent.
In the Senate committee, Oakland University and EMU were penalized for blowing through last year’s tuition restraint language (See “EMU Hikes Tuition 7.8 percent, Bypasses State Aid Hike,”6/16/15 and “Bits And Tidbits,”7/9/15).

EMU received a 2.4 percent increase, a little more than half of the 4.6 percent increase Snyder recommended. It was the lowest percentage increase the Senate gave out inSB 0790. Oakland’s increase in the Senate is 3.8 percent whereas the Governor recommended 6.1 percent. Wayne State University’s increase was also 3.8 percent

Both EMU and OU made out better in the House budget with increases of 3.8 percent and 4.3 percent recommended in the lower chamber plan.

If university raises tuition over the 4.8 percent cap this year, the Senate wants to ban that school from qualifying for state help on a capitol outlay building project.

In the Senate budget, GVSU again scored the highest increase with 6.8 percent. Ferris State University is next with 5.6 percent, followed by Central Michigan University at 5.2 percent.

The Senate also kicked in $748,800 more into the tuition grants and $404,000 in competitive scholarships for those students with financial needs. “

Monique Field Foster, Asst. Vice President for Strategic Initiatives

Office of the Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Michigan State University

vpga.msu.edu spartanimpact.com spartanadvocate.com

Direct: 517-353-7171 Cell: 517-242-1283 Twitter: @MSUGovAffairs

Do you live in a bubble? A quiz | PBS NewsHour

Do you live in a bubble?

There exists a new upper class that’s completely disconnected from the average white American and American culture at large, argues Charles Murray, a libertarian political scientist and author.

Take this 25-question quiz, based on a similar one published in Murray’s 2012 book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010,” to find out just how thick your bubble is.

Source: Do you live in a bubble? A quiz | PBS NewsHour

Is Donald Trump A Modern-Day George Wallace? : NPR

Former Alabama Gov. George Wallace on the campaign trail in 1968

Donald Trump’s enduring appeal in the Republican presidential contest has the GOP in a quandary, as it’s forced to contend with voters fed up with party politics.

Some 50 years ago, another vociferous candidate put the scare in traditional power brokers. George Wallace fired up crowds with a similar anti-establishment message, and drew protests as passionate as are being seen at Trump’s rallies today. Wallace also became a face of racial tension in America as the leading symbol for segregation in the 1960s.

When Wallace entered presidential politics in 1964, the then-Alabama governor was famous for declaring, “Segregation now. Segregation tomorrow. And segregation forever.”

Wallace allies and family see parallels today in Trump…. Is Donald Trump A Modern-Day George Wallace? : NPR

Two Psychiatrists Share Advice About How To Talk To Someone Who Seems At Risk For Suicide : Goats and Soda : NPR

An abandoned house appears over a snow-covered hill in the old town of Kangeq, Greenland.

John W. Poole/NPR

How do you help someone who is at risk of suicide?

That’s a question that haunts the people of Greenland, the country with the highest known rate of suicide in the world and the subject of a special NPR report this week. The rate is about 80 per 100,000, and the group at highest risk is young Inuit men.

But it’s a question that anyone, anywhere, might ask. Every year, about 1 million people kill themselves worldwide; preventing suicides is an issue every culture deals with.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that… go to this source: Two Psychiatrists Share Advice About How To Talk To Someone Who Seems At Risk For Suicide : Goats and Soda : NPR

… MORE ON GREENLAND: This story is part of our special report on Greenland, whose suicide rate is among the highest in the world.



Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry:  Flint River Watergate

Yesterday, while we were waiting to see who would face criminal charges in the Flint water crisis, I asked a friend if he thought that would be a real, no-holds-barred investigation.

“That depends on whether the indictments stop at Hunt, Liddy and the Cubans,” he said.

Source: Flint River Watergate | Michigan Radio

State Board of Education responds to efforts to disband it | Michigan Radio

Republican lawmakers are sending a message to the Michigan State Board of Education: “Remember who holds the purse strings.”

That’s from Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, who’s sponsoring a resolution to replace the board with a Department of Education run by a governor-appointed director.

Source: State Board of Education responds to efforts to disband it | Michigan Radio

FROM THE PARTY OF ‘LOCAL’ CONTROL:Bill would sack local bans on plastic bags | Michigan Radio

Local bans on plastic grocery bags wouldn’t be permitted, under a bill in the state Senate.

The bill would block local ordinances that regulate bags, take-out food containers and other types of packaging.

Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, says the bill would allow the state to set one standard for plastic bags and other materials, as opposed to “piecemeal” bans that vary between communities.

Source: Bill would sack local bans on plastic bags | Michigan Radio

State grant helps sweet potatoes, other frozen produce get to Flint food banks | Michigan Radio

Michigan is boosting efforts to provide healthy food to Flint residents amid the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday it’s awarding $100,000 to Feeding America West Michigan.

Feeding America West Michigan’s Andrew Steiner says they knew there was a food processor north of Grand Rapids willing to donate frozen produce; squash, blueberries, cherries, asparagus and more.

“The amount of food that Arbre Farms was able to donate was actually more than we were able to handle,” Steiner said.

Source: State grant helps sweet potatoes, other frozen produce get to Flint food banks | Michigan Radio

Hillary PAC Spends $1 Million to ‘Correct’ Commenters on Reddit and Facebook – The Daily Beast

The super PAC “Correct the Record” has found a loophole that allows it to openly coordinate with Hillary Clinton‘s campaign—despite rules that are meant to outlaw this type of activity.

Source: Hillary PAC Spends $1 Million to ‘Correct’ Commenters on Reddit and Facebook – The Daily Beast