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Wednesday, December 17,2014

Arrests and searches

Blacks and Hispanics caught up in traffic stops

by Mickey Hirten
In a recent column on race relations and policing, I recounted statistics on traffic stops by the Lansing Police Department that could have suggested profiling. Itīs a subject worth exploring in greater detail, and because Lansing keeps detailed statistics on traffic stops, information that includes tracking race, age, outcomes and more.
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Wednesday, December 10,2014

Free speech and terrorism

MSU case raises questions about Michigan’s post 9/11 laws

by Mickey Hirten
Michigan State University student Michael Matthew Mullen, arrested last month for allegedly threatening to shoot up a school, is charged with terrorism. In a post on the social media site Yik Yak in November, Mullen supposedly wrote, "I'm gonna (gun symbol) the school at 12:15 p.m. today.” There are enough school shootings, enough mentally ill, chronically angry, psychotic people with guns that police acted swiftly to apprehend Mullen. But terrorism?
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Tuesday, December 9,2014

BWL the polluter

BWL’s poor responses to the ice storm and a plant accident may be forgivable, but failing to abate mercury pollution is another matter entirely

by Mickey Hirten
You have to wonder sometimes how the people who run Lansing Board of Water and Light sleep at night. We learned last week that the utilityīs Erickson plant installed equipment in 2007 that would drastically reduce the amount of toxic mercury is spews out over Lansing and nearby communities. But it hasnīt turned it on to save money and, well, because it didnīt have to.
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Wednesday, December 3,2014

Racial divide

Mid Michigan’s arrest numbers suggest all is not well

by Mickey Hirten
White people like me often look at racial progress in America as significant and sustainable. But as we confront what has happened, and is still happening, in Ferguson, that sense of progress isnīt how America looks if you are black. President Obama, ever cautious dealing with racial issues, acknowledged a problem that is not unique to St. Louis during a White House meeting on Monday, noting a “simmering distrust that exists between too many police departments and too many communities of color.”
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Wednesday, November 26,2014

Thanksgiving

Itīs about the mall, not the meal

by Mickey Hirten
For many of us Thanksgiving has timeless qualities. It is our national ritual: family, turkey, football ... and shopping. This most American of holidays is becoming this most American of past times — shopping. Whether you find it appalling — which I do — or feel that itīs an ideal way to kick start the holiday season, hour by hour each year, commerce is overtaking consumption.
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Wednesday, November 19,2014

Keeping it real

Mid-term election voters couldn’t relate and Dems ignored their base

by Mickey Hirten
With the election season just a bad memory I had resolved to move on. Honest. That was until last weekīs Capitol Issues Forum and a talk with polling guru Ed Sarpolis, who served up answers to questions I hadnīt even considered. It was, after all, an odd election: A convincing sweep by Republicans, except for the U.S. Senate; a beatable incumbent governor who won; and lackluster campaigns.
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Wednesday, November 12,2014

Angry voters miss opportunity

Most officeholders returned

by Mickey Hirten
To bastardize Howard Beale in the movie “Network”: “Weīre mad as hell, and weīre not going to do anything about it.” People are fed up with partisan, ineffective government, and given a chance to change it, they voted for more of the same. That is, if they voted at all. Turnout last week at 3.2 million was less than in the last midterm election. Maybe this is the best we deserve.
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Red Cedar? Maybe soon

City cites progress in talks with developers of $200 million project

by Mickey Hirten
Another week and still no word on Lansingīs much touted and still not ready for prime time Red Cedar Renaissance. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said last week that he expected a “big announcement” development principals — private and public — met on Friday to hash out issues. It didnīt happen. But maybe soon.
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Wednesday, October 29,2014

The courage question

Why is Snyder afraid to lead on same-sex marriage?

by Mickey Hirten
Time and time again as heīs campaigned for re-election, Gov. Rick Snyder has been asked his view on same-sex marriage. Right idea, but itīs the wrong question. What we should ask the governor is why he lacks the courage to lead on the defining civil rights issue of this era.
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Wednesday, October 22,2014

Bishop: More of the same

Can contribute to Congress gridlock

by Mickey Hirten
The decision on whether to support Mike Bishop to replace retiring 8th District Rep. Mike Rogers is simple. If you like the way Congress governs, the partisan bile and appalling lack of governance, Bishop is your candidate.
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