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David Ashenfelter is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter for the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.

Tom McMillin: Tea Party conservative, ACLU sympathizer

Anti-tax. Anti-gay. Anti-Obamacare. That’s all you need to know about brash Tea Party favorite Tom McMillin. Or is it? A growing chorus of progressives are finding common bond with the Rochester Hills Republican.

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What Tom McMillin wants

The brash Republican hasn’t had much legislation signed into law, but it’s not for lack of effort. McMillin’s nearly 200 bills and resolutions span the political spectrum, from deeply conservative efforts to restrict abortion and gay rights, to strange-bedfellows alliances with the ACLU and progressive Democrats on civil liberties issues.




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Rare book collector Ed Surovell started with little, now traces ‘footprints of mankind’

Edward Surovell made his mark selling houses — thousands of them across southeast Michigan with trademark blue lawn signs. But his passion is books. One-of-a-kind-books. Michigan books published in the 1800s. The affable 73-year-old Ann Arbor real estate broker has acquired nearly […]

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Why ‘dark money’ matters when you stand before a Michigan judge

The State Bar of Michigan this month urged Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to require everyone who contributes money to Michigan judicial campaigns to be publicly identified. It said a 2004 decision by then-Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land allowing those who […]

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The Giving Judge: Which comes first, impartial justice or partisan politics?

Henry Saad is a Michigan Court of Appeals judge who keeps on giving. To his church. To his profession. To the national Republican Party. In 2012, the 65-year-old Bloomfield Township resident contributed an eye-popping $80,800 — more than half of his $151,441-annual […]

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Why Michigan citizens should care about money in judicial politics

Rich Robinson is executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a non-profit, non-partisan campaign finance watchdog group in Lansing. Here are his thoughts about judges who contribute big bucks to political campaigns and the role big money plays in judicial elections. […]

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Pipefitter’s daughter from Downriver becomes potent advocate for Michigan prisoners

It began as a favor to a dying friend. But Deborah LaBelle’s decision in 1985 to take over a federal lawsuit at the request of attorney Judith Magid has since evolved into a 28-year legal crusade that has improved the quality of […]

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Michigan veteran’s service didn’t stop after discharge

For many Americans, Memorial Day means cookouts and fun with friends and family. But for Nate Weiser, it’s a day to remember buddies who died on the battlefields of World War II. “I’ve never forgotten their faces – I see them all […]

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Pushing 90, Avern Cohn not ready to adjourn career

DETROIT — Notes on the family fridge to remind to “pick up milk” or “Bobby’s soccer game 6:30 tonight” are a common sight in Michigan homes. Avern Cohn uses such notes, too — except his are stuck to the bench in a […]

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Handshake deal with state haunts Detroit

It seemed a reasonable deal when Gov. John Engler and Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer shook hands on it in 1998. The state of Michigan would give Detroit $333.9 million annually for nine years in revenue sharing funds — if the city would […]

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