Friday, August 01, 2008

MI-07, MI-09: Wiccans, Asian invaders, oh my!

So this is what people saw earlier when they did a Google blog search on Congressman Joe Knollenberg (R) in Michigan's 9th Congressional district, which comes directly from his own Congressional website's blog.

It's about Chinese-made products that may not be safe, and he's since changed the title to "Protecting our Families from Harmful Products". But gee, ya don't think there was some stoking of xenophobic fears there with that wording?

Former state senator Gary Peters (D) is challenging Knollenberg. He's a breath of fresh air when you see what he stands for, unlike Knollenberg. All this comes on the heels of Roll Call reporting that Knollenberg may have violated House ethics rules by failing to properly disclose just how much his D.C. townhouse is worth, lowballing it at only $50K. Not a good week for the Congressman. (This is also the district where Jack Kevorkian is running as an Independent. Yes, that Jack Kevorkian.)

Meanwhile, next door in Michigan's 7th Congressional district, Congressman Tim Walberg (R) was the ONLY Congressman in the House Committee on Education and Labor to vote no on reauthorizing Head Start. It passed 42-1 in committee, and then passed the full House 365-48. So what reason did Walberg give for doing this? He explained it was to prevent lawsuits from the Wiccans!

In other words, say a Baptist or a Catholic church wanted to continue to offer its Head Start program and a Muslim or "a Wiccan from a coven in Ann Arbor" wanted to apply for a job to teach there, now it couldn't discriminate based on religious grounds anymore, or vice versa.

He said he offered an amendment that would have made that change, but it didn't get any traction.

He said he doesn't oppose Head Start, but by keeping that provision in the bill, he said religious organizations might decide it's better to get rid of Head Start. It would also open all of them to lawsuits, because the Wiccan, or the Catholic or the Muslim who wasn't hired, could say it was because of their religious beliefs, he said.

Yes, because Wiccans applying for jobs to teach at a... Catholic school... is such a big issue. Fear the Wiccans! Or, at least, their pending lawsuits.

For some background, Walberg only got to Congress by knocking out moderate Republican Joe Schwarz in the primary two years ago in a nasty primary where Walberg was funded by the anti-tax group Club for Growth. Schwarz refused to endorse Walberg in the general, and even said that people like Walberg (a former pastor) believe the U.S. should be a theocracy.

Luckily, this year we have state senator Mark Schauer (D) running against Walberg. Schauer's actually been outraising Walberg this year, so he'll definitely have the financial resources to compete. And he's damn good on the issues too. Here he is standing up for the Constitution that Walberg helped to shred.

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