In Memorium: Richard Skattebo

I regret to inform you that Richard Skattebo, the OCDP's super volunteer, passed away Wednesday evening. In recognition of his many years of outstanding volunteer services and loyalty to both the Oakland County Democratic Party and the Michigan Democratic Party, I would encourage all of us to let his family know how much we appreciate all that he has done for us.

In Memorium - Richard Skattebo

FARMINGTON - I regret to inform you that Richard Skattebo, the OCDP's super volunteer, passed away Wednesday evening. In recognition of his many years of outstanding volunteer services and loyalty to both the Oakland County Democratic Party and the Michigan Democratic Party, I would encourage all of us to let his family know how much we appreciate all that he has done for us.

I know it would be comforting to Richard's family to either see you at the visitation or at his funeral service to pay your respects or receive a card from you if you are unable to attend. His wife's name is Hugette (aka Huey) Skattebo. Her address is 3071 Royal, Berkley MI 48072.


• William Sullivan Funeral Home - 705 W Eleven Mile Road, Royal Oak.

The funeral home is located on the south side of 11 Mile Road, between Main St. and Woodward Ave. The phone number there is 248-541-7000.

• Visitation: Friday, April 6, from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
• Funeral: Saturday, April 7, with service at 11:00 a.m.

Wanda Reager

Aldo Vagnozzi Pasta Night!

The Oakland County Democratic Party Pasta Night to honor state representative Aldo Vagnozzi was a huge success. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow honored Aldo, as did many other elected officials from Oakland county. The hightlight of the evening though was Aldo himself. His speech was full of stories of his long career in politics and Aldo's unique brand of humor. Also started out by saying, "You're probably wondering how long I'm going to talk. As Elizabeth Taylor used to tell her husbands, 'I won't keep you long.'"

Support Our Troops

The guilty verdict in the Libby trial is the latest example of the Bush Administration valuing appearances over the real lives of our troops. The counter example to that would be sending men and women to war and then leaving them to fend for themselves -- in atrocious conditions in a substandard hospital -- and to manage their own health care as veterans. Over the last 24 hours, the contrast has been shown between the all-out effort of the Bush Administration to sell this war, and the shameful way veterans of the war have been treated when they return home in need of medical care. The New York Times explores the issue:

But the fundamental responsibility rests with the president and his former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who stubbornly insisted on going to war without sufficient resources -- and then sought to hide the costs of their disastrous mistakes from the American public.

Is it any surprise that the war's wounded have been hidden away in the shadows of moldy buildings by an administration that refused to let photographers take pictures of returning coffins? Or a White House that keeps claiming that victory in this failed and ever more costly war is always just a few more months away?

The Walter Reed revelations once again put the lie to the president's claim that everything is being done to support America's troops.

More from DNC Chair Howard Dean:

"It's appalling to think that, while President Bush had a high-level team in place to sell the Iraq war and viciously smear its critics, it has not given that same attention to plan for postwar Iraq, providing the proper equipment for our troops or ensuring that our troops and veterans receive the care they deserve."

There is no excuse for this, absolutely none.

Levin, Stabenow vote for Iraq troop withdrawal

WASHINGTON (AP) Michigan Democrats Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow voted in favor of a failed U.S. Senate proposal for the nation to begin withdrawing military forces from Iraq within 120 days, with the goal of a total pullout by March 2008.

The measure set no fixed deadline for completion of the redeployment, but set a goal of March 31, 2008. The vote Thursday was 50-48 against the measure, 12 short of the 60 needed for passage.

Senate Democrats promptly said they would try again to force a change in President Bush's policy beginning this week when they begin work on legislation providing money for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The American people, and especially our troops in the field, deserve real leadership when it comes to the war in Iraq," Stabenow said in a news release. "I support this resolution because we need to make the tough choices necessary to bring our men and women in uniform home safely.

"Only the Iraqis can secure Iraq, and American troops can no longer be seen as a substitute for Iraqi political will."

In a statement on the Senate floor Thursday, Levin said: "We must change course if there is any hope of success in Iraq. The best leverage we have is the presence and mission of American forces. As long as our presence is open-ended, the dynamic in Iraq will remain the same."

The House voted 347-73 on Thursday to limit no-bid federal contracts in reaction to reported abuses and huge losses in contracts for Katrina recovery and Iraq reconstruction.

The Accountability in Contracting Act was the last of five open government bills the House passed under new Democratic leaders critical of what they called the closed and secretive nature of the Bush administration.

Michigan Democrats John Conyers of Detroit, John Dingell of Dearborn, Dale Kildee of Flint, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick of Detroit, Sander Levin of Royal Oak and Bart Stupak of Menominee voted for the measure.

Also voting yes were Republicans Dave Camp of Midland, Vernon Ehlers of Grand Rapids, Pete Hoekstra of Holland, Joe Knollenberg of Oakland County's Bloomfield Township, Thaddeus McCotter of Livonia, Candice Miller of Macomb County's Harrison Township, Mike Rogers of Brighton and Fred Upton of St. Joseph.

Republican Tim Walberg of Tipton was the only Michigan representative voting against the measure.

On Wednesday, the House voted 331-94 to pass a bill to strengthen protection for government whistle-blowers. All six Michigan Democrats and Republicans Camp, Ehlers, Miller and Upton voted for it. Hoekstra, Knollenberg, Rogers and Walberg voted against, while McCotter did not vote.

Luther King Jr. Day Statement

FARMINGTON  - Today County Party Chair David Woodward issued the following statement regarding Martin Luther King Jr. Day: “The County Democratic Party joins citizens all across Michigan and America today in remembrance of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. King’s practice of non-violent civil disobedience was crucial to achieve many milestones for the civil rights movement.”

“His work towards tolerance and racial equality is still as powerful today as the day he uttered the words ‘I have a dream.’ While there are many accomplishments to celebrate and reflect on, unfortunately Dr. King’s dream is not a reality for all Michigan citizens yet. The civil rights movement in Michigan was dealt a serious blow with the passage of proposal 2. There is no better day to increase the dialogue on how to move forward and combat institutional racism and discrimination in our society.”

Michigan Congressman John Conyers (D-Detroit) first introduced legislation for a federal King Holiday four days after Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. The bill stalled, but Conyers continuously resubmitted King Holiday legislation until public pressure mounted and Congress finally passed the holiday legislation in 1983.

Mascot History

When Andrew Jackson ran for president in 1828, his opponents tried to label him a "jackass" for his populist views and his slogan, "Let the people rule." Jackson, however, picked up on their name calling and turned it to his own advantage by using the donkey on his campaign posters. During his presidency, the donkey was used to represent Jackson's stubbornness when he vetoed re-chartering the National Bank.