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February03 (Feb. 18-22)



Saturday, May 31, 2003

The city is holding two meetings this week about the future of the Ann Arbor farmer's market.

Posted by Rob at 2:52 PM

NBC plans to air a special focusing in part on former LSA-SG President Monique Luse:
"NBC has confirmed it will air a 1-hour special on the U-M admissions cases Friday, June 6, at 8 pm. According to the executive producer, the piece:

* Deals exclusively with the undergraduate case
* Tells the story on affirmative action and the admissions policies at U-M through the lives of two people, plaintiff Jennifer Gratz and U-M student Monique Luse
* Takes a historical look at the issue
* Focuses on African American alumni from U-M's class of 1973 -- their experiences, their careers and lives, and their perspectives on the issue
* Tom Brokaw hosts the program and conducts many of the interviews, including a discussion with a panel of 1973 alumni. President Coleman, Marvin Krislov and Lee Bollinger were interviewed as well."

Posted by Rob at 12:32 PM

Friday, May 30, 2003

Although it's not news, I just discovered an interesting tidbit. According to the minutes of a meeting between the Native American Student Association and VP for 'Student' Affairs Royster Harper, the University is holding the Michigamua artifacts which rightfully belong in the Bentley Historical Library at property they own at Willow Run. If they really wanted to get it off campus, they could probubly put it in the basement of the U-M owned, abandoned building across the street from the DIA - the Rackham Educational Memorial.

Posted by Rob at 12:33 PM

I recieved this in an email, I assume these people are the ones arrested blocking the entrance to the Liberty Street Federal building, but the better informed are encouraged to correct me.

"Please consider supporting our fellow resisters who are going to trial following arrests for civil disobedience acts. Those involved are Jim Russo, Helen Simon, and Abby Schlaff who face criminal charges (tried by a jury); and Phil Booth and Jim Lupton who a facing civil charges for the same event (tried by the judge).

Jury selection and trials will begin Monday, June 2 at 1 p.m. and will continue Tuesday, June 3 at 9 a.m. or 1 p.m. We'll post actual time for Tuesday as soon as possible.Takes place at the 15th District Courthouse, 101 East Huron in Ann Arbor.

It is hoped that all who can can will come to the Court House to observe all or part of the procedings and show our support and solidarity for those who have gone that extra step for the values we all believe in."

Posted by Rob at 12:12 PM

Chetly Zarko's FOIA flap has resulted in an editorial in the Detroit News, a newspaper with a long history conservative editorial activism. Meanwhile, the administration has gone to great lengths to dispel the half-truths peddled by Zarko.

My initial response to Chetly Zarko's analysis is this: while I don't doubt the difficulty of obtaining records he alleges about his FOIA requests, I attribute that to an institutional fetish for secrecy rather than nefarious intents. The summary he alleges was repressed was based on two years' of data in a four-year study, and having read it myself I don't find it a clear contradiction between the report and any position the University has taken. To the contrary, I think Zarko has read into the observation by U-M researchers that students of color experienced a hostile environment by concluding they must feel stigimatized by affirmative action. I conclude the opposite - they probubly are simply observing the climate of a student body of mostly wealthy whites from virtually all white towns on a campus which still wears the legacy of years of racially-intolerant practices. We must remember the relatively minor concessions won during the BAM I and II strikes are relatively recent in University history. Also, it's no wonder some students today feel as insecure as ever - as white republicans in the Michigan Student Assembly kick the Native American Student Association out of their Michigan Union office (last spring) and the already tiny OAMI and MESA face deeper budget cuts.

In other news, the Forth Annual Irish-Mexican Fiesta in Detroit's Mexicantown to be held June 8th is featuring a "tiniest Chihuahua and cutest Irish setter" contest.

Posted by Rob at 12:16 AM

Thursday, May 29, 2003

National/World Articles of Note:
> Wash. Post: "Budget glitch shortchanges AmeriCorps, Enrollment may be cut, Reversing Bush pledge"
> NY Times: "Tax Law Omits Child Credit in Low-Income Brackets"
> AP: "Court allows secret deportation hearings"
> Cartoon: Race and deregulation
> Asia Times: "The Roving Eye: The masters of the universe"
"The Bilderberg club is regarded by many financial and business elites as the high chamber of the high priests of capitalism. ... The Bilderberg mingles central bankers, defense experts, press barons, government ministers, prime ministers, royalty, international financiers and political leaders from Europe and America. ... The Bilderberg does not invite - or accept - Asians, Middle Easterners, Latin Americans or Africans.

Posted by Rob at 3:27 AM

The U-M Department of Public Safety is cutting the Victor and Wolverine units as a cost saving measure. These units are the student employees who patrol campus to give people jump-starts, directions, etc. Former Victor unit and U-M student Mike Roth seems pretty bummed about it. I suppose this means that SAFEWALK will be another step closer to disappearing completely, since the student employees ostensibly took the program over from student volunteers.

Posted by Rob at 2:41 AM

I was told by a friend that there was some sort of incident on Vaughn street at 6:00 p.m. yesterday - there were 'at least' 8 police cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck. My friend told me a police officer told him it was an attempted murder/suicide, whatever that means. I suppose like a lot of student drug overdoses and acquaintance crime in Ann Arbor - it will be quickly swept under the rug.

Local TV news picked up on the ELF story, probubly because it involves radical environmentalists doing crazy things, which sells well when your audience is mostly nervous sprawl residents seeking reassurance all this anti-sprawl talk doesn't have anything to do with them. I love Detroit TV news - how's this for objectivity: "This group has an agenda and has targeted homes in Superior Township in Washtenaw County. Ironically, longtime residents of Superior Township are trying to maintain the rural feel of the area, but this group obviously doesn't care."

Finally, sans sheriff alerted me to a new Free Press story about the strange events leading up the death of U-M student Jessica Smith.

Posted by Rob at 2:09 AM

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Our very own 'SST' has been waging a one-man crusade against Whole Foods recently for their anti-union tactics during a unionization campaign at their Madison, Wisconson store. The New York Times covered the story today in their article "Love the Worker, Not the Union, a store says as some organize." Here's another blogger calling Whole Foods the 'Wal-Mart of Natural Foods' for their anti-union tactics. According to the employees' website, 'Whole Foods Workers Unite!' they have begun a advertising campaign in alternative weeklies in select cities. To me, the whole affair sounds to me like the efforts to organize Borders, Target, Wal-Mart, and other retail employees. The obvious question: will Whole Food's Ann Arbor store be next? (In Current's 2003 survey, they beat out People's Food Co-op for 'Best Specialty Grocery Store, and made runner-up for best produce.)

Posted by Rob at 12:47 PM

A writer for Detroit's very own Metrotimes was ripped off by Jayson Blair.

Area builders are looking into security cameras to prevent from future ELF arson.

A discrimination lawsuit against Meijer gets nasty.

It looks if the city's patriot act resolution has stalled - for now.

And last but not least: Sprawl, sprawl, sprawl! "Develpers sketch plans for US-23 north corridor"

Posted by Rob at 12:15 PM

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

The website to access your IFS space on the web has changed to

Posted by Rob at 1:21 PM

Student activists have presented a petition to the Board of Regents and Mary Sue Coleman requesting that U-M Basketball team captain and convicted criminal Bernard Robinson Jr. be taken off the court, calling his presence on the court "tacit consent" to violence against women.

Also, a group of older students plan to create a support group tentatively called "The Returning Student's Union."

Finally, didn't anyone tell Dan Krawiec that pure "markets" don't exist in real life, or did he swallow intro to economics hook, line, and sinker? (Does anyone remember this?)

Posted by Rob at 1:18 PM

The Detroit Free Press is set to report tomorrow that the Earth Liberation Front has claimed responsibility on their website for two of four fires of luxury homes under construction near Ann Arbor in the past year. (See A.A. News March 22: "Police probe house fires for link to eco-terrorists".

Posted by Rob at 1:36 AM

Monday, May 26, 2003

I recently discovered three new Michigan blogs. Jason Mironov, the Student General Counsel of MSA has launched The Blogger.

Also, the MBA Wire is the blog of a somewhat neurotic future UMBS student who chronicled the business school admissions process on his website. Another recently admitted student at the U-M business school has started MichiganMBA, an anonymous blog (until July, the author promises). The author's plans for the website: "This weblog will cover my academic, club, and community experiences as an MBA student at the University of Michigan Business School. I hope that it gives applicants, prospective students, and the public at large a sense of what the Michigan experience is like." So far the career-driven future Wall Street businessman seems fairly smitten with his choice. From his list of top reasons to go to the UMBS:
"9. College Atmosphere
Whatever else MIT is, a typical college experience it is not. The next two years of business school are a chance for me to live in the small, college town, be part of a small, strong academic community, and go tailgating before huge football weekends. The tight-knit, dynamic, "college town" feel of Ann Arbor plays a big role in this."

Posted by Rob at 10:58 PM

Since I posted it, 195 people have downloaded the 2002 U-M earnings spreadsheet.

Posted by Rob at 9:17 PM

Yes, even the Review has (some) dissent: Matt Mulder breaks from the rest in the Review blog, calling the argument that affirmative action helped Jayson Blair lie "inadvertently racist." He concludes: "Blair is corrupt, he is a liar, and he should have never been hired in the first place. But that, to be clear, is to say nothing nor having anything to do with the color of his skin."

Posted by Rob at 7:13 PM

What a suprise - one of wealthiest towns in metro Detroit - and the nation - has a high school with the best advanced placement program in the country. Bloomfield Hills' International Academy High School tops Newsweek's list of public high schools with the highest ratio of IB/AP test takers to the entire senior class in 2002. Both of Ann Arbor's high schools made the list of 737. What I find baffling is how the only criteria for "Top High Schools" is the number of AP test takers, when similar evaluations of colleges take into consideration a broad variety of variables. Nevertheless, here's the Michigan schools on the list:

1. International Academy* Bloomfield Hills , Mich 6.323
149. Andover Bloomfield Hills , Mich. 2.086
256. Lahser Bloomfield Hills , Mich. 1.707
272. Grosse Pointe South Grosse Pointe Farms , Mich. 1.660
291. Troy Troy , Mich. 1.606
382. Grosse Pointe North Grosse Pointe Woods , Mich. 1.418
442 . Pioneer Ann Arbor , Mich. 1.353
462. North Farmington Farmington Hills , Mich. 1.320
560. Okemos Okemos , Mich. 1.211
605. Groves Beverly Hills , Mich. 1.148
635. Novi Novi , Mich. 1.106
654. Jenison Jenison , Mich. 1.078
685 . Huron Ann Arbor , Mich. 1.043
699. West Bloomfield West Bloomfield , Mich. 1.036

DetNews: "Oakland school named the best"

Posted by Rob at 6:37 PM

Friday, May 23, 2003

In the Ann Arbor News story "Downtown on foot can be tough going," a private consulting firm brainstormed how to make towntown more pedestrian-friendly. Unfortunately, some of their proposals would make the 'downtown' area quite boring - and would probubly solve the traffic problem by keeping people away. Here's the proposals:
"Others proposals included better enforcement of jaywalking rules; prohibiting bicycles from sidewalks; eliminating right turns on red lights; eliminating book tables and outdoor seating on sidewalks; improved signs at intersections; more visible overhead crosswalk signs; lower speed limits; and designated bike-dismount areas where foot traffic is high and street space is narrow."

Other stories of note:
> Fire has destroyed the Dawn Farm substance abuse recovery facility in Ypsilanti.
> The University has confirmed Tim Slottow as chief financial officer.
> "Jewelry store adds sparkle to South U"
> And, Madras Masala, an 'Indian-style' restaurant plans to open next to Cafe Ambrosia next month.

Posted by Rob at 12:15 PM

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Some local news outlets finally picked up on some old news:
> CH4: ""U-M students' junk nets over 25,000 pounds
> DetNews: "Budget cuts squeze U-M"

Also, fed up with a highway-happy legislature, local leaders have created the Detroit Area Regional Transportation Agency (DARTA) without the legislature's approval. Maybe this will lead to a world-class regional light rail system centered in Downtown Detroit, serving to curb sprawl and stimulate new development. Oh, wait - this is Detroit.

Posted by Rob at 10:19 AM

The Ann Arbor News ran a story yesterday (not online) about the mini-controversy stirred up by Chetly Zarko's Op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal alleging the University covered up research they did in the early 1990s about diversity. (Read memo on Zarko's website.) Here's an excerpt:

"[U-M spokeswoman] Peterson said the 1994 study did conclude that underrepresented minority students continue to have concerns about the "chilliness" of the campus climate. "We have never argued that discrimination does not exist; on the contrary, it is the continued segregation of high schools and the great impact that one's race has on one's life experiences that makes racial diversity on our campus such an important part of the educational process," she said.

Posted by Rob at 9:54 AM

Here's a story about a highly talented minority reporter for the New York Times ...who helped turn in Jayson Blair.

Posted by Rob at 1:25 AM

A device has exploded at the Yale law school:
> CNN: "Bomb explodes in Yale law school"
> NYTimes: "Bomb is suspected in explosion in empty Yale classroom"
>New Haven Register: "Explosion at Yale law school; spokeswoman says 'device' detonated in empty classroom"
> Yale Daily News: "Bomb damages rooms at Law School"
> And finally, here's some news about it from a law professor's blog "The Paper Chase."

Christine Todd Whitman has resigned as head of the EPA. This from the NYTimes:
"Administration officials said they had not settled on a successor. But names circulating among industry and environmental groups include David Struhs, Florida's environmental chief and brother-in-law of Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff; Josephine S. Cooper, a former E.P.A. official and now of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers; and Tom Skinner, former Illinois state environmental director who is a regional E.P.A. director.

Of interest:
"Northwest settles with Pakistani man removed from plane"

Posted by Rob at 1:15 AM

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

The Ann Arbor News leads today with the latest on the U-M budget cuts: "U-M cuts 21 faculty in LS&A"

Posted by Rob at 3:01 PM

The U-M Department of Public Safety issued this crime alert today, the second this spring and the second since December 2002. See the Ann Arbor News police beat for more information - the victim apparently took his organic chemistry exam before reporting the crime.:


Date: May 19, 2003
Location: 1300 S University
Offense: Armed Robbery
Summary: Two suspects armed with a kitchen knife took victims wallet and backpack.
Suspects: #1) Black male, 20 yrs., 6'5", 170 lbs, clean shaven, red jersey, jeans and light brown boots.
#2) White male, 20 yrs., 5'10", 190 lbs, unshaven, short blonde hair, blue Nautica t-shirt and black Adidas pants


In other crime news: "Ann Arbor Police seek identity of dead man"

Posted by Rob at 2:53 PM

In addition to a Detroit Hardrock Cafe, the Compuware building in downtown Detroit may include an 8,000-square foot Borders bookstore. Meanwhile, Free Press columnist John Gallagher doesn't like the "suburban" architecture of the new building, set to open at the end of the summer.

Also, ITCS has introduced two new online services: a file manager that allows web-based access to IFS space, and "mprint!" which enables you to print PDF, postscript, and text documents to any sites printer. MPrint was introduced in response to the new wireless networks popping up around campus, so that users can print to a computer close to them from the wireless connection.

Posted by Rob at 1:14 PM

Monday, May 19, 2003

In a feedback below, "Josh" denies Tim Wise's claim that "In just the last several years, over a half-dozen white journalists have been busted for plagiarism or fabricating stories ... yet none provoked this kind of outrage." Josh writes: "Were they really in the same scope as this guy? Maybe they were, if so I'd want to read about them and could then agree that Blair is being singled because of his race. The fact is I don't believe that this is what happened."

Josh is wrong, and he relies on a common tactic of the right: angrily and loudly repeat a falsehood, instead of quietly doing a little research and finding out you're wrong. To read about white journalists who lie, try this Salon article from 1998. And if you need an old white man at an old white institution to tell you that the Jayson Blair incident is about lying and not race, I suggest This Howard Kurtz column from the Washington Post, that concludes: "Whatever their missteps, [NY Times editor] Raines and company were deceived by an unusually good liar, a talent that transcends skin color."

Posted by Rob at 2:37 PM

Perhaps the University's most persistant FOIA gadfly, Chetly Zarko has penned an op-ed piece about his findings in the Wall Street Journal. While I disagree with his conclusions, I do suspect the University does everything it can to keep certain things secret. To see the University's response to his allegations, see this reply sent to Zarko by the University. (I first met Mr. Zarko when I wrote this story about his lawsuit against the University.) Zarko also has a website with more op-ed pieces and information.

A University of Michigan study concluded that drug testing in high schools has no effect on the levels of drug use. (See the U-M press release.)

U-M students left behind a a record amount of stuff when they moved out last April.

Survival Flight, the U-M medical helicopter service, is marking its twentieth anniversary.

Posted by Rob at 1:43 PM

Tim Wise, an activist and speaker that visited campus last semester, has written an excellent column about the Jayson Blair debacle.

Posted by Rob at 12:37 AM

Sunday, May 18, 2003

The Michigan Indymedia center has posted a version of my article about the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies..

The leaders of local public Universities appealed to the state legislature for more funds. The latest from President Coleman:
"[Coleman] said that U-M's enrollment has increased 4,500 students since 1985, about 13 percent, to its current total of nearly 39,000 students. Yet U-M plans to cut 50 faculty positions by attrition, Coleman said, and more than 250 staff positions will be cut, some by attrition and others by layoffs."

And the possibility of another dry summer may result in low water levels on the Huron River.

Other stories of note:
AP: "Legislators ponder making state constitution gender neutral"
AP: "Ave Maria School lof Law holds inaugural commncement ceremony"

Posted by Rob at 4:35 PM

Friday, May 16, 2003

Want to know how much your professors earn?
See Earnings at the University of Michigan

Posted by Rob at 1:14 PM

The Ann Arbor News began their crusade to stop a city council resolution about the U.S. Patriot act written by local activists in their story "Patriot Act targeted by council." Aside from trying as hard as possible to make the effort sound secretive and shady (it's not - see this May 11 Detroit News story), they also list everyone whom they tried to contact but couldn't, information they'd leave out any other story.

Also, MSU is planning a new Sparty.

Posted by Rob at 12:47 PM

There's lots of campus construction-related activity to report from yesterday's Regents meeting:
> Plans for the long-discussed Law Quad addition were made public yesterday - the 1950's aluminum addition will be replaced by a building that would continue down Tappan nearly over the underground addition.
> A massive new medical building will be constructed in the middle of the already surreally overcrowded and poorly planned medical campus according to this story in the Ann Arbor News: "U-M Cardiovascular Center OK'd"
> The Regents also approved a schematic design for the long-overdue renovation of the School of Public Health building.
> The Regents approved a new 'stormwater detention basin' to be constructed on North Campus.
> The Regents also approved the purchase of an apartment building behind the Thompson street parking structure, to "expand U-M's options for development on that block." Here's a photo of the house from 1999 taken from city records. The University also owns a former historic building on the medical campus.

The U-M Plant Extension department's webpage is a good way to keep track of construction projects at the 'U'.

Posted by Rob at 12:39 PM

Thursday, May 15, 2003

I've updated the U-M Regent's Political Giving page.

Posted by Rob at 2:50 AM

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

During the Student Strike Against the War last March, one of the U-M demands decided upon by Anti-War Action! was "Declare that the campus will not host the newly proposed Army Biotechnology Center." In December of last year, the Army announced they were soliciting proposals for the creation of an Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, and the University decided they would apply for what could mean $25 million direct funding from the Army for five years, renewable for an additional five years. If the application is sucessful, the Institute would nearly double the research directly funded by the Department for Defense, which totaled $37 million in fiscal year 2001, the latest data avaliable. (That figure doesn't include defense-related research conducted for other branches of government - see this page for total federal research funding.)

The Goodspeed Update has obtained the final proposal submitted to the Army by the University of Michigan:
> "The Army Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies: A proposal from the University of Michigan"

"The University of Michigan proposes to organize and direct the Army Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies (ICB) to address the changing needs of the Army. The vision of the Institute is to pursue broad scientific discovery in biotechnology that can be used to increase the performance and survivability of the future warfighter." reads the executive summary of the 26-page document that outlines resources at the U-M and plans of inquiry by University faculty.

Proposed areas of research include a nanosensor able to monitor the functions of individual cells within a soldier and transmit them to an external device, interface systems between computers and the human nervous system, and "microfluid" technology to administer drugs to soldiers in the field. The proposal assures the "Direct involvement of Army scientists and engineers from the beginning will ensure that the ICB stays focused on Army goals and the Objective Force. The Army ICB Program Manager will be an active member of the Executive Committee."

Meanwhile, it's unclear whether the technologies created by the proposed institute would protect U.S. soldiers from foreign powers' chemical and biological weapons, or whether the Institute is part of a strategy of the Army to develop the capability to conduct full biological and chemical war in clear violation of the Biological Weapons Convention and other international treaties. The watchdog group Sunshine Project announced last week the U.S. Army had patented a biological weapons delivery system in clear violation of international conventions.

Posted by Rob at 1:44 PM


> June 30, 2002
> June 30, 2001
> June 30, 2000

(all .pdf)

Posted by Rob at 2:45 AM

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Documents recently unsealed by the Kennedy Presidential Library suggest JFK had an ongoing romantic relationship with an 18-year-old intern named Mimi.

Posted by Rob at 4:31 PM

We are wealthy, says a study that concludes low-income students are "hugely under-represented" at elite universities, and many who might succeed simply choose not to apply due to high tuition and a lack of financial aid:

"At U-M, 51 percent of freshmen in 2002 came from homes where the income was $100,000 or more, while that income group represents only about 12 percent of the nation's population."
And this:
"As part of the debate in Lansing about budget cuts at the state's 15 public universities, the Michigan House appropriations committee voted last week to eliminate a proposed $4-million boost in college aid for low-income students. The House is set to vote on a bill this week with cuts to universities ranging from 5.45 to 6.74 percent, depending on the university."

Both quotes are from the Detroit Free Press article: "Paying for college: Poor students are caught in a crunch", lest anyone misconstrue the study, the authors conclude "that race-sensitive affirmative action policies should be retained and expanded to include low-income students." See also:
AP: "High tuition keeps many poor students from applying"
Wall Street Journal: "Affirmative-action case may change policies"

Read the study by the Century Foundation here

Posted by Rob at 11:18 AM

Added: U-M / Ann Arbor blogs

Posted by Rob at 1:59 AM

Monday, May 12, 2003

According to the City of Ann Arbor's publicly available tax assessment database of city properties, the building that housed Decker Drugs is owned by Alfred Duckett Jr., a partner in the California-based commercial property developer Duckett-Wilson Development.

The Ducket-Wilson Development Company is no stranger to controversy - but when they hiked up the rents on another locally owned drug store in Los Gatos California, the owner and residents bit back, filing a lawsuit and gathering 1,000 signatures for a petition. Residents sucessfully blocked the replacement of the small business with a Longs, a California drug store chain once, and when the chain eventually opened it was with a few strings attached: that they would limit services (like photo processing) so it wouldn't compete with the center's other, locally-owned tenants, and that they would make overdue improvements on the center's exterior appearance. I think the ultimate outcome proves community activism can help find a balance between the tastes and needs of a community, and the clumsy manuvering of insensive chains and real estate companies. Here's excerpts from the article about the initial blocking of the new Long's to replace the evicted local merchant:

"It was a textbook Los Gatos Planning Commission drama--A local mom and pop business abandons its retail space amidst circumstances clouded by controversy, and the out-of-town landlord from Southern California tries to bring in a corporate chain store to fill the void, which many charge they created by pushing out the original store.

If Los Gatans get fired up about anything, it's that. And they did last week, packing the Council Chambers to rail against a proposal for a new Longs drugstore in the space that had been occupied for years by a locally owned pharmacy.
David and Vivian Matsuo, who have owned and operated the pharmacy for the last 12 years, say they were pushed out so the landlord could bring in a corporation with deep pockets. Having taken the matter to court and lost, the Matsuos are now in the process of moving their operation to Winchester Boulevard. Neighbors, most of whom believe that the Matsuos were forced out, collected more than 1,000 signatures in opposition to the Longs application. Of the more than 60 letters that came in to commissioners, most were against the new Longs. ...

Read on: "Commissioners deny use permit for a new Longs on Pollard Road", and the later approval, with limitations: "The Rinconada neighbors now welcome Longs to local center"

Read more articles about the dispute here ...

Posted by Rob at 10:52 PM

Although directly unrelated with the posting below, it seems the U-M athletic department has something of a crime problem they seem content to keep trying to sweep under the rug. In the last few years, U-M varsity athletes have been arrested in a prostiution sting, charged with assault and battery, recieved an MIP, tried for rape, convicted of assault again, sentenced to one year's probation for assault, injured in a shooting, and charged with disorderly conduct for their role in a fight. While I won't speculate about the causes of the above list, I do think it indicates something needs to change.

Posted by Rob at 5:01 PM

I think it was Mike Phillips' Michigan Review blog posting comparing last week’s NCAA sanctions against the U-M basketball program to reparations for slavery that pushed me over the edge. Although it might have been the heavily-handed, righteous editorializing against the punishment by the Michigan Daily (Title: "Unjust Punishment: New sanctions imposed by the NCAA go too far") Whose editors apparently decided also warranted an inane ("Why, for instance, can't a high school kid live with a benefactor who enables that athlete to graduate high school and avoid trouble, two results that might otherwise not occur?") and lengthy viewpoint by former sports editor Joseph Litman. Indeed, nowhere I looked did anyone seem to think the NCAA sancations were fair and reasonable.

The major Detroit dailies weren’t much better – while the Free Press’ Drew Sharp sounded reasonable in his column “Justice served in case vs. U-M”, meanwhile the staff editorial minced that while “ ... it's not entirely fair for current U-M basketball players to pay the price of banishment from the NCAA tournament for another year because of the shameful conduct of a few of their predecessors,” but concluded they should accept the punishment and move on. The Detroit News was more forthwright, with their editorial titled “NCAA Punishes the Innocent with U-M Basketball sanctions”, while just a few clicks away was a story about the latest shenanigans by a U-M varsity athlete, and a basketball player no less: ”Robinson Jr. Gets year of probation in assault case”

The News’ Bob Wojnowski follows the lockstep pattern of defending the pampered (and many law-breaking) U-M athletes admirably in his column “Wrong people pay the price”: agonizing that “The NCAA, flawed in many ways, has no other viable method to send a stern message that cheating has repercussions,” although conceding the obvious: “Extremely strong penalties were warranted."

Nationally, this vision of a tyrannical NCAA slapping ridiculous punishments on innocent, wholesome players is laughable. An article by syndicated AP sports columnist Steve Wilson reprinted in dozens of papers began: “College sports are so steeped in hypocrisy it's hard to tell sometimes who is the most disingenuous: the NCAA, the university presidents, athletic directors or coaches. … They endlessly promote the illusion of amateurism while running a multibillion-dollar business that serves as a feeder system for the NFL and NBA.” And CNNSI columnist Mike Fish concludes “The more [NCAA] watchdogs, the better” in a column about a meeting a people interested in reforming the NCAA, which may result in a new oversight committee U-M will probubly be a member of.

The NCAA press release about the sanctions clearly implicates high ranking U-M officials in the length and severity of the scandal: “it was clear to the committee that [Martin] was not only a "bona fide" representative of the institution's athletics interests under NCAA legislation, but prior to his disassociation in 1997, he clearly enjoyed an "insider" status."
The NCAA infractions committee also observed “ … this case represents the largest acknowledgement of cash payments ($616,000) in the history of NCAA infractions cases. Further, these payments were made to some of the most prominent men's basketball student-athletes of the era. ... While some of the violations occurred several years ago, the actions of the athletics representative continued through most of the 1990s and constituted a continuing pattern of NCAA violations until 1999."

Given the sorry state of college athletics nationally, and what appears to be the earnest efforts of a well-intentioned NCAA to try to prove they are capiable of meaningfull self-punishment, I think the penalties are reasonable. The ban on postseason play seems fitting given the role of Ed Martin during a period of U-M success, and while the reduction of one scolarship per year will require some careful planning by the coaching staff, doesn’t seem an undue punishment.

Posted by Rob at 4:52 PM

MSA President Angela Galardi has just sent an email to student group contacts about the first September 11 vigil committee meeting of the summer, which will be held Sunday May 18th from 2 to 3PM in the MSA office. The planning of last year's vigil resulted in some controversy when the Daily ran a summer editorial "A time to grieve?" that criticized the way the vigil was being planned.
Excerpt: "By holding a preliminary meeting of select individuals and conducting much of the early brainstorming in private, they have predetermined the broad outline of the vigil. The tentative program includes dance and a cappella performances, an ROTC color guard, the playing of "Taps," the Pledge of Allegiance and a video montage set to the song "Hero" by Chad Kroeger of Nickleback. ... The MTV-like spectacle will undoubtedly preclude a solemn tone appropriate for the evening"

Posted by Rob at 2:12 PM

A couple stories of note, both from the Ann Arbor News:
> "Parking employees set June 8 strike date"
> "Car thieves keeping busy in Ann Arbor"

Posted by Rob at 1:11 PM

Last night's emergeny in Ypsilanti was caused by a leaking 8,000 gallon tank of hydrochloric acid. One person was admitted to a hospital, complaining of respiratory problems.
> CH4: "Ypsilanti chemical leak reportedly contained"
> AANEWS: "Acid leak closes area in downtown Ypsilanti"

In response to the closing of Decker Drugs, the Daily editorializes in favor of local businesses: "Starbuckization of A2." Although the editorial hints at it, the slow transformation of Ann Arbor from an authentic downtown to a place filled with expensive restaurants, overpriced yuppie botiques, and chain stores first began with the opening of the Briarwood mall in 1973.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on Granholm to see if she vetoes the ban of legal, late-term abortions.

And Freep web specialist Mike Wenland has a column in today's paper about Detroit websites, although none appear run by people who live within the city limits. It seems the photos and active discussion boards on DetroitYES! at least deserved a mention.

Posted by Rob at 12:47 PM

Sunday, May 11, 2003

A civil emergency has been announced in the city of Ypsilanti at 10:45 PM this evening after a toxic chemical leak on the 100 Block of Michigan Avenue at the Marsh Plating Corporation. Residents of the immediate vicinity are advised to close their doors and windows, turn off A/C units and move to the highest level of their homes. For more info, listen to WEMU online.

Posted by Rob at 11:09 PM

The Detroit News ran this story today, filed from Ann Arbor, about the ACLU of Michigan's campaign to pass resolutions opposing the U.S. Patriot act in select Michigan cities.

Two more U-M / Ann Arbor blogs were recently launched: U-M grad and Palestinian activist Fadi Kiblawi has started "Al-Thawra", and Daily columnist Ari Paul has started "Mob Mentality".

Posted by Rob at 3:01 PM

Friday, May 09, 2003

The infamous blog of an anonymous Bagdad resident titled "Where is Raed" is back online, with a number of lengthy posts about events in Bagdad.

Also, Andrew Van Alstyne posted these photos of the April 1st protests in D.C.

Posted by Rob at 12:45 PM

I've always felt we're not getting the whole story when it comes to the Ed Martin scandal. See this from the N.Y. Times story about the sanctions: "N.C.A.A. Bars Michigan From Another Postseason":
"This is one of the three or four most egregious violations of N.C.A.A. bylaws in the history of the association," said Thomas E. Yeager, chairman of the association's infractions committee, calling the team's success while those players were at Michigan "a sham."

Yesterday's NCAA's Press Release about Michigan also indicates they think the administration more guilty than they're letting on, and this organization doesn't exactly have a reputation for strong criticism:
"Although the university attempted to minimize [Ed Martin's] status as an athletics representative, it was clear to the committee that he was not only a "bona fide" representative of the institution's athletics interests under NCAA legislation, but prior to his disassociation in 1997, he clearly enjoyed an "insider" status."
And this:
"According to the report, this case represents the largest acknowledgement of cash payments ($616,000) in the history of NCAA infractions cases. Further, these payments were made to some of the most prominent men's basketball student-athletes of the era. ... While some of the violations occurred several years ago, the actions of the athletics representative continued through most of the 1990s and constituted a continuing pattern of NCAA violations until 1999."

However, the U of M is planning to appeal the postseason ban. Also, where in hell was this photo taken?

Posted by Rob at 12:31 PM

This Indymedia story has some photos and information about the May Day protest at the downtown Borders, where employees have voted for a union and are trying to negotiate their first contract. Here's the Ann Arbor News story about the protest. Meanwhile, the Minneapolis, MN store also trying to negotiate a contract held a successful community buy-in at the Borders store there.

Posted by Rob at 1:08 AM

The U-M College Democrats have released this statement about the local Lyndon LaRouche activists that stormed a College Dems meeting last spring and have been leaving their loony litereature around campus. This article from the Washington Post: "Ideological Odyssey: From Old Left to Far Right" from 1985 gives a historical perspective on this quasi-political cult. I suspect they chose the wrong campus to try to infiltrate since most people I know have been hardened by experiences with BAM-N, a Trotskyist political front group run by a small group of people that has stranded U-M students in both Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. in the name of the "New Civil Rights Movement."

Here's a more recent AP story about LaRouche: "LaRouche Raises $3M for Presidential Bid"

Posted by Rob at 12:50 AM

Thursday, May 08, 2003

The NCAA Infractions committee decided that the voluntary punishments taken by the U-M basketball program for the Martin scandal weren't enough, announcing today they would ban the basketball team from participating in the postseason for one year, reducing the number of scholarships Michigan can provide, and placing the program on probation for one year:
Freep.: "U-M basketball faces new sanctions", AA News: "NCAA punishes U-M basketball", U-M Athletic Dept.

Det. News: "U-M braces for NCAA slap" (timeline)
Freep.: ""More sanctions for U-M hoops"

Posted by Rob at 12:42 PM

"Everybody came to the Book-Cadillac," the Free Press writes in their article about the developing story to re-open the historic Book-Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit. That's not exactly true. For years after it was constructed in 1924, the Book-Cadillac and many of Detroit's other hotels, hospitals, and other public accomodations were white only. (Black doctors weren't allowed in white hospitals, for example) When Duke Ellington, Paul Robinson, or Lena Horne came to Detroit, they stayed in the black-run Gotham Hotel, located just a few blocks to the north in Detroit's Black Bottom neighborhood. If the city's loan from HUD goes through, the Book-Cadillac will reopen in 2006 with 450 rooms and 83 condominiums on upper floors.

Posted by Rob at 12:29 PM

Last week's Detroit News editorial slamming the Wayne State Student Council for passing a resolution requsting the University divest from corporations that did business in Israel elicited a number of responses in the letters section yesterday: Paul Massaron, chair of the WSU Board of Governors wrote a letter rejecting the resolution, U-M student activist Fadi Kiblawi wrote a letter supporting divestment, and WSU President Irvin Reid wrote a letter claiming divestment in general is not a useful political tool:
"In a complex international economy, divestiture is by no means a dependably responsible approach to influence either political or economic policy. Political beliefs, especially in a fluid global community, are not a practical basis for investment decisions."
> Read the text of the resolution on the website of the "Students' Movement for Justice" group at Wayne.

Also, now seems a good time to mention that U-M grad and former head of the Michigan Student Zionists Adi Newman has started his own blog: "Instaconfused". (A take-off on the popular "instapundit") I assume he'll be all over this Wayne State divestment stuff soon. Although I'm not quite sure what he means, he describes me thus: "Tragically deluded liberal has brain, thinks logically, knows Ann Arbor like back of Iraqi flag" Thanks, I guess?

Posted by Rob at 2:37 AM

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

This New York Times column on study of school vouchers released during the 2000 election suggests its conclusions were wrong: vouchers didn't help raise the test scores of any group that participated:

"Princeton economist, Alan B. Krueger, took the offer, and after two years recently concluded that Professor Peterson had it all wrong — that not even the black students using vouchers had made any test gains. And Mr. Myers, Professor Peterson's former research partner, agrees, calling Professor Krueger's work "a fine interpretation of the results."
What makes this a cautionary tale for political leaders seeking to draft public policy from supposedly scientific research is the mundane nature of the apparent miscalculations. Professor Krueger concluded that the original study had failed to count 292 black students whose test scores should have been included. And once they are added — making the sample larger and statistically more reliable — vouchers appear to have made no difference for any group."

Posted by Rob at 12:49 PM

President Coleman and her executive cabinent will be foregoing pay raises next year to help meet the budget crisis. According to the article, the budget plan currently means cutting 50 faculty - 20 from LSA. And this:
"Coleman said that despite the LS&A cuts, U-M is reallocating faculty to ensure easier access to high demand courses in areas such as Spanish, communications and psychology."

Also, the U-M hospitial is treating a 16-year old Iraqi girl burned in the bombing of Bagdad.

The MSU Police department has started a motorcycle unit.

Posted by Rob at 12:02 PM

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Democrats in the Michigan State Senate are trying to prohibit redlining, the practice where insurance companies set rates based only on address.

The description of last week's Comerica Bank robber has changed somewhat, according to this story: "He is described as an Asian male, 40 to 45 years old, with a stocky build and white powder on his face. He wore a dark brown wig. He was dressed in a dark suit and tie, black gloves and dark gray overcoat." It also appears the police are taking the case fairly seriously: the FBI is on the case.

Posted by Rob at 11:06 AM

Monday, May 05, 2003

The Daily covers the closing of Decker Drugs in their article this week: "Drugstore closes due to high rent, competition", documenting the latest victim of the slow continued gentrification of the State Street Area as high-volume restaurants and fast food chains replace locally-owned and independent businesses. I don't think it's quite time to despair: Cafe Ambrosia is a new small business, and Famiglia seems to have gone out of business.

Also, lest anyone was fooled, Potbelly Sandwich Works is an aggressively expanding fast food chain with over thirty nearly identical stores. In their own words, they're looking for "'urban' suburban locations", "'hot,' 'hip' or 'funky' neighborhoods" to expand. And yes, although they started as a small business, the anonymous "young couple" that started the first Potbelly has been replace by this guy.

Posted by Rob at 6:19 PM

In a blog post today, Dumi Lewis writes about a hate e-mail recieved by the Students of Color of Rackham, and reports the Ginsburg center's affirmative action banner was stolen in the middle of the night.

Posted by Rob at 6:05 PM

From today's University Record:

> 51 people at the Institute for Social Research lost their jobs, victims of a contraction in federal research spending.
> The Record's LEO headline:"Lecturers vote in favor of employee organization" I suppose 'union' was too strong a word.
>The Regents approved a schematic design for a new engineering and computer science building.
> The corner of Washtenaw and Huron (by Couzens hall) will be closed for two upcoming weekends so the pedestrian bridge that will connect the LSI complex with the Medical Campus can be installed.
> The sculpure "Bundle" near the U-M school of Music will be removed and ground into woodchips this summer.
> The office-space shuffle continues with the renovation of the LSA building.

Posted by Rob at 6:04 PM

Sunday, May 04, 2003

'Tis the season for blogging. The latest local blog to come online is U-M sociology graduate student Andrew Vanalstyne's "Ravings of a Graduate Student" about "Politics, Baseball, etc." You may know him from Mustaches for Peace.

Posted by Rob at 5:53 PM

Construction on the State Street area sidewalks will enter the final phase tomorrow when work resumes for the summer.

The Ann Arbor police cars are switching from blue to white.

Finally, Granholm tells MSU grads not to fear failure.

Posted by Rob at 4:20 PM

Former Daily reporter, N.Y. Times and Associated Press writer, and recent U-M grad Dave Enders is currently in Iraq traveling, and considering starting an english-language newspaper in Baghdad. Read his weblog here for more information.

Posted by Rob at 4:07 PM

Friday, May 02, 2003

Ann Arbor Township is considering re-zoning a parcel of land just south of Ann Arbor to accomodate new sprawl:
"Township Trustee and Planning Commission member John Allison disagreed with several of those contentions."It is clearly not consistent with the Master Plan," Allison said. He said the land also falls outside the township's utilities district and that the proposed development could be "burdensome" on the township's services."

Another downtown robbery: a clean-cut white man holds up the Comerica at Main and Huron. The inevitably vague description: "The robber was described as white, between 20 to 30 years old, 5-foot-7, medium build, with short brown hair, sunglasses, possibly a mustache, and wearing a white dress shirt, tie and khaki pants."

And this long article, about a drug bust in Ypsilanti.

Posted by Rob at 2:38 PM

The Michigan Tech students sued by the RIAA for setting up an on-campus MP3-swapping network have settled: each will be paying between $12,000 and $17,000 in fines to the record labels and promise not to download illegal music, although the students did not admit any wrongdoing. It's not clear with this might mean for U-M students, although I had heard a rumor ITCS was considering privatizing the residence hall ethernet connections partly in an effort to avoid the increasingly hostile climate facing ISPs.

Related stories:
Chronicle: "Record companies settle lawsuits against 4 students"
DetNews: "Students settle file-swapping lawsuit with music industry"
Wired: "Students fork it over to RIAA"
and, Freep's Heather Newman: "Record biz's anti-piracy offensive sounds off-key"

Posted by Rob at 10:20 AM

Thursday, May 01, 2003

A friend of Jessica Smith, the U-M student who died last weekend, dedicated part of her blog to Smith.

Posted by Rob at 5:16 PM

The Ann Arbor News ran a story about the 'U' budget cuts today. Here's the list of cuts by Department. The story doesn't include anything about the cuts to various multicultural offices that I have heard of. The Daily story "New office created to addrerss affirmative action in workplace" is about this - cutting costs - and not about "trying to improve its services to prevent discrimination and harassment at the administrative level," as the Daily seems to think.

Posted by Rob at 2:31 PM

If you win too much at Detroit's Greektown casino, it seems you may just get banned.

Also, read Doctor and U-M Professor Tim Johnson's letter to the Michigian Senate Judiciary Committee about the ban of some abortions protected under Roe the Senate passed today. Excerpt:
"Such an extreme, broad ban blatantly disregards women's health and lives. Indeed, it provides no immunity for care necessary to protect a woman's health. ... the bill forbids a physician from acting to save a woman's life unless the physician also tries to preserve the life of a fetus with no chance of survival. This is enigmatic, and it is cruel.
Click here for information about the bill from state government.

Posted by Rob at 12:29 PM

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