The idiot lawmakers who proposed buying IPods for
Using their logic, we should buy every kid going through driver's training a car. That would stimulate the local economy and give them real world skills. This reinforces the need for a part-time legislature. We pay full price for this?
Lawmakers pushing iPods flew on Apple's dime
Democrats: Trip had other business
The 2 1/2 -day trip earlier this year covered a range of issues and interaction on topics related to
House Speaker Andy Dillon,
The $36-million iPod proposal was unveiled last week at a news conference called by Dillon to discuss the state's budget crisis and House Democrats' plans to address it.
Dillon's office did not provide details on the trip or say whether Apple paid for all or part of it. Gillard said he thought Apple covered a portion of the costs.
Dillon defended the trip in a statement issued by his office Tuesday night. He said he was "one of several lawmakers to take this trip, and I am more convinced than ever that the future for our children lies in education. As we move to the technology age and the knowledge-based economy, it would be irresponsible to separate technology from our K-12 system.
"I have four children, and I see how powerful technology is in their learning experience. While I believe that moving our classrooms into the 21st Century is critical to the future of our children and this state, I fully understand that unless and until we solve the state's fiscal crisis we cannot pursue this initiative. As I have said all along, we are focused on the state's fiscal crisis first."
Dillon and Gillard have been vocal supporters of the iPod idea. They did not identify the other lawmakers who went on the trip.
Critics of the proposal have said it indicates that
Susan Lundgren, an Apple spokeswoman, said Tuesday that the company's
Gillard also defended the iPod proposal and the trip. He said the lawmakers spent more time on non-Apple business during the trip, discussing such issues as wine distribution and
"This is about technology in the classroom," he said. "I don't know that it has to be iPod-specific technology."
Gillard said news media reports about the proposal have focused too narrowly on the iPod, which critics view as less of an educational tool than a form of entertainment. The iPods could be used to download lectures and materials.
The trip taken by Dillon and Gillard is similar to those taken in past years by other lawmakers, including many Republicans, Dillon spokesman Dan Farough said.
Matt Resch, spokesman for the Republican leader in the House, Rep. Craig DeRoche of
Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a political watchdog group, said he hadn't heard about the trip and had no idea whether it was connected to the iPod proposal. But
"There are legitimate reasons for doing such a trip," Robinson said, "but I want to know about it when it happens."
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Copyright © 2007 Detroit Free Press Inc.