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West Bloomfield resident Kathy Warras knew there was something wrong when she started waking up in the middle of the night last May with horrible headaches.

Kathy and her husband Bryan had spent several months away from their Oakland County home, as they do each winter.

Upon returning last year, they discovered that a Smart Meter had been placed on the home they have lived in for the past 25 years — just 10 feet away from their bed.

And Kathy said this is what is making her sick.

“Eventually, I was waking up every night like that,” Kathy said. “I thought, maybe I’m dehydrated … I started filling up a thing with water and I was drinking it everyday. That didn’t help … and the headaches were getting more intense.”

Smart Meters, or advanced meters, use radio frequency networks similar to those in cell phones, wifi signals or microwaves to record the amount of electricity used in a home or business.

The West Bloomfield Township board unanimously supported a resolution on Nov. 17 in support of a residential opt-out of Smart Meters.

West Bloomfield has 33,000 homes with Smart Meters — some homes with two meters, according to Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste. DTE Energy spokesman Scott Simons said there are 50 million, advanced meters across the U.S., or 43 percent of homes.

“There’s been a lot of different tests and basically we remain confident and the safety, security and benefits provided by the meters,” Simons said.

Out of those 33,000 in West Bloomfield, only 22 have opted-out and many residents don’t even know they have one. West Bloomfield joins 35 communities across the state to pass these resolutions, Ureste said.

The outcry has prompted the Michigan House Oversight Committee will hold a special hearing on Dec. 2.

State Rep. Tom McMillin, committee chair, called for the hearing after being contacted by many constituents and other citizens about privacy, health and safety concerns relating to the meters.

“With this hearing, we’re giving the people of Michigan an open and transparent platform to not only voice their concerns but hopefully have them addressed by public utility officials” said McMillin, R-Rochester Hills. “Residents have contacted my office, terrified that their power will be shut off after receiving letters from utility companies threatening to do just that if they don’t allow a smart meter to be installed on their home, even though they have a perfectly working analog meter.”

One of those constituents is Clarkston resident Georgetta Livingstone, a former engineering instructor at Oakland University, who said DTE cut her electricity this spring after she paid someone to install an analog meter back on her home.

“When the smart meter went on my home, I had a total breakout on my body. It looked like an allergic reaction,” said Livingstone. “I decided to take action myself, and had the analog meter put on.”

After her power was cut, she was reduced to “primitive life,” she said, having to use the restroom at a nearby Kroger and take showers at a neighbor’s home. When she searched for answers, she connected with the group working with McMillin.

“I was so glad that someone else sees the problem here,” Livingstone said. “These companies should allow the customer to have a choice … I don’t want to be told what to do.”

DTE’s Simons in October said that out of two million meters installed by DTE, there have been 3,200 requests to opt out. He added that DTE takes every case on an individual basis, but “to take our meter and replace it with something else is against the law.”

While many are against the meters, Oakland County resident Pat Priestley said she’s happy to have hers.

“I live in Rose Township where the electric lines are all overhead that run through trees … it’s a very rural area,” said Priestley, a retired Holly Area Youth Assistance worker. “In 2012, my electric went out 19 times. Before the smart meters were installed, if the electric went out, I had to call to report the outage and then wait sometimes 8-12 hours before a DTE truck would show up to find out where the outage was.”

Now, with the smart meters, Priestley said she still calls when her electricity goes down, but “DTE knows quickly where the outages are and sometimes they just flick a switch and we are back with electricity.”

Oak Park resident and President of Michigan Stop Smart Meters David Sheldon is against the meters for three main reasons: Health, safety and privacy.

He said that while DTE Energy does have an “opt-out” program for these meters, it is not a true opt-out. When you opt-out now, the DTE customer has to pay an initial $67 and then around $10 per-month for meter readings.

Simons said: “We’ve completed installation in West Bloomfield. Analogue meters just aren’t available anymore, they’re totally obsolete.”

Additionally, the Smart Meter stays on the home and DTE does not put the old analogue meter back. In turn, Sheldon said this gives the homeowner “dirty electricity,” which can actually be worse.

Trustee Lawrence Brown commented that residents haven’t seen any savings with the new meters and supported the resolution for that reason.

“I don’t think anyone should have to pay (to opt-out),” Brown said.

The West Bloomfield resolution is to encourage DTE Energy to give customers a choice between Smart Meters and the traditional analogue meter.

 

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By Stephen Moore  and Joel Griffith

Republicans are rightly and predictably infuriated by Barack Obama’s immigration executive action power play. What has been remarkable has been the silence from the left to President Obama granting legal status to some 5 million illegal immigrants. Such Nixonian abuses of White House power once elicited howls of protest from Democrats and their lap dogs in the media.

But in this case of Obama defying voters, Congress and the Constitution in one fell swoop, the left has drifted between quiet unease and full-throttled support.

What rank hypocrisy.

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Personal Libert Digest New

Snowball in snow

The scientific community is more or less evenly split on whether human beings play a significant role in shaping the Earth’s ever-changing climate, according to one recent survey.

That’s a far cry from the “97 percent” of scientists the Obama administration continually invokes as advocating an anthropocentric view of climate change.

A survey conducted by Purdue University found scientists split in their opinions on the cause of so-called climate change, with fifty percent attributing changes to human activities. The remainder was further split into those who believe humans and nature are both equally shaping the climate, those who believe nature does that job on its own, and those who believe there’s not enough evidence to tell.

None of those surveyed indicated that “climate change” is not occurring.

“Contrary to the repeated insistence of both climate alarmists and the media, scientists do not all agree on the standard climate alarmism talking points,” The Washington Free Beacon observed in its story on the survey.

“A Purdue University scholar, surveying scientists in the agricultural sector including climatologists, found surprising disagreement on humanity’s role in climate change. These findings, though contrary to popular narrative on climate change, are unsurprising to anyone familiar with the prevalence of dissent in the scientific community.”

 

the-daily-signal-logo-black

by Kelsey Harkness

Calling a secretive government operation to strangle politically out-of-favor businesses “more dangerous” than the IRS targeting scandal, a congressman with a background in banking is preparing to introduce legislation to kill the Obama administration initiative.

“I believe this activity is probably more dangerous and more disastrous than that of the IRS scandal because this is running people out of business for no reason and it’s harming livelihoods, incomes [and] families,” Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., said today in an interview with The Daily Signal.

Luetkemeyer, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, was comparing the Department of Justice’s Operation Choke Point to the Internal Revenue Service’s much-reviled targeting of tea party and other conservative groups.

Operation Choke Point seeks to cut off the financial lifeblood of payday lenders and other industries the Obama administration doesn’t like by pressuring banks to close their accounts with such businesses.

The government contends that Operation Choke Point combats unlawful, mass-market consumer fraud. However, a congressional report revealed that the initiative’s targets include legal businesses such as short-term lenders, firearms and ammunition merchants, coin dealers, tobacco sellers and home-based charities.

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FDIC Choke Point List

Personal Libert Digest New

industrial pipeline with gas or oil

“‘Canadian oil’ offers little to nothing for average Americans.” — TheStar.com’s summation of President Barack Obama’s statement last Friday

The House approved legislation for the Keystone XL Pipeline Friday. And although the Senate voted it down on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell  promised that Keystone will be “an early item on the agenda in the next Congress.” But even if both houses in Congress ultimately pass the legislation, President Obama has indicated that he will veto the pipeline.

Obama spoke on the subject last Friday: “Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.”

Interesting in that Obama said “their” oil pumped through “our” land. He made it sound like an oil invasion by a Canadian vanguard. Yet Obama is leaving out a few things.

The U.S. and Canada already have pipelines measuring tens of thousands of miles that date back decades and crisscross the continent. Those pipelines have allowed Canada to be the No. 1 petroleum supplier to the United States, delivering 3 million barrels of crude per day, or three times more oil than the U.S imports from Saudi Arabia. Canadian pipelines have made petroleum more affordable, safer and easier to transport to American industry and consumers.

It would seem Obama skipped economics 101. There they teach that oil is a global commodity. More oil sloshing around the world — any part of the world — means cheaper gasoline for American drivers.

Obama’s rejection of Keystone is especially puzzling when you consider that Canada is a democratic country that for seven decades has been safely engineering and operating pipelines.

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Representative-elect asks for investigation

President Obama signing the federal health care law in 2010. (Image via Pete Souza at Wikimedia Commons).

A consultant considered an architect to the federal health care law who said a “lack of transparency” and “stupidity of the American voter” were critical to getting it passed reportedly received $481,050 from the state of Michigan, and a recently elected state representative said he wants an investigation.

Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who created an econometric model intended to project health care spending and costs under different assumptions, along with his team, was granted a $481,050 contract by the state of Michigan, according to the Washington Post. He was paid that to help set up state health-insurance exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The Washington Post reported that Gruber received similar payments from three other states, but Michigan paid the consultant $81,050 more than any other state.

Gruber was paid the $481,050 even though the Michigan Legislature did not authorize creating a state-level exchange. In 2012, the Senate approved legislation authorizing one but the House declined, with the result that Michigan currently has an exchange run by the federal government.

In some cases Gruber worked with other consultants, so the fees may have been shared.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it will consider a case challenging the authority of a federally run exchange to distribute the health care law’s subsidies, without which its “employer mandate” may not be imposed in a state.

Gruber has been widely criticized for comments on a recently discovered video where he said, “If you have a law that makes explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it wouldn’t have passed. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage and, basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever. But basically that was really critical to getting the thing to pass.”

Rep.-elect Gary Glenn, R-Midland, said Saturday he will formally request Monday that the state House of Representatives Research Services Division investigate why Michigan’s payment was more than what Wisconsin ($400,000), Vermont ($400,000) and Minnesota ($329,000) paid.

Glenn will request that State Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, and State Rep. Matt Lori, R-Constantine, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee, investigate the state’s deal with Gruber.

Rep. McMillin said he’d ask the Department of Community Health how Gruber was selected and what services he provided for the money.

“Mr. Gruber appears to be a very devious man – perhaps with a proclivity for fraud,” Rep. McMillin said in an email. “Based on the info I receive, I’ll decide if a hearing is warranted.”