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February03 (Feb. 18-22)



Friday, February 27, 2004

Ann Arbor is overrated has recently posted a comment about an article in the Business Direct Weekly where it was reported the South University Merchants Association has applied for the city to change the zoning for the area to increase density in order to achieve "greater diversity along the street." I support the move to increase density, but I don't buy their "diversity" argument. I thought this comment, posted by Boris (one of the webmasters of the site Sovok of the Week), was right on:

"The South U Merchants Association is being disingenuous, to put it nicely. In plainer speak, they're lying.

The SUMA members claim that they want a more "inclusive" and "university-friendly" atmosphere that's not just entirely awful, horrible undergrads (whose manners they may despise, but whose money builds their mansions).

Except they already have a pretty inclusive clientele base. Walk into the Brown Jug on any weekday late afternoon/evening (esp. Friday) and there will be lots of UM staff, maintenance crew, guys from the Life Center construction project, etc. all eating and drinking and spending their hard-earned money. You can barely get a table at Saigon Garden during the week, b/c there are so many UM staff and faculty there (esp. from the Social work building, school of ed., etc.). You could go on and on. People from all over town make special trips to Village Corner to buy wine. The Korean restaurants, Charlie's, and Rendezvous -- all these places bring in diverse crowds too (during the day at least).

The SUMA members claim they want "inclusiveness" and "diversity" but they already have it. What they really want is to gentrify one of the few remaining parts of town where local resident, undergrads, grad students, staff, and faculty all frequent, jack up the prices and force out "undesirables" like students and (gasp!) UM staff and facilities employees, and turn the whole strip into some bo-bo wasteland stuffed with candle shops and crap art on a stick. You know, just like State St., Liberty, Main St., etc etc etc."

Posted by Rob at 6:05 PM

The chairman of Smith & Wesson, the nations second largest gun manufacturer, has resigned after it was discovered he was convicted for armed robbery while he was a student at the University of Michigan.

"NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - James Joseph Minder, chairman of handgun maker Smith & Wesson Holding Corp., resigned after a published report revealed he'd spent as much as 15 years in prison decades ago for armed robberies and a bank heist. [...]

Minder, 74, had spent time in prison in the 1950s and 1960s for a string of armed robberies and an attempted prison escape, according to the Republic. During that time, the Detroit News said he was known for carrying a 16-gauge, sawed-off shotgun.

Minder was sentenced to 3-1/2 to 10 years in state prison for robbing a store while attending University of Michigan as a journalism student, he told the Republic.

Minder also told the paper that he turned his life around after finishing his prison sentence in 1969. He said he has spent his professional career trying to help kids after receiving a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering, a bachelor of arts in sociology and a master of arts in social work, all earned from the University of Michigan. ... "

> CNN: "Smith & Wesson chief quits over crime"

Posted by Rob at 5:52 PM

Will you need a ride from Detroit Metro Airport to Ann Arbor after returning from your spring break trip? Don't forget about MSA's Airbus service, which has scheduled 25 trips to Ann Arbor over the next two days - no reservation required - at the low cost of $8.

Posted by Rob at 1:55 PM

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Sound Familiar?

"Columbia University's president, Lee C. Bollinger, yesterday condemned a series of race-related incidents on campus, including the publication of a racially offensive cartoon in an alternative student newspaper last Friday.

In a message sent to the Columbia community, he said several statements and events that demeaned blacks and other minorities "have proved unusually offensive to members of the Columbia University community, including me."

Mr. Bollinger, the former president of the University of Michigan, who is widely known for his defense of affirmative action in two lawsuits that went up to the United States Supreme Court, said in an interview that he hoped to find ways to make Columbia a more comfortable place for minority students. His comments followed a meeting that he and other Columbia administrators had with black student leaders on Friday. [...]

Protesters also criticized an "affirmative action bake sale" this month by the Columbia College Conservative Club, which sold doughnuts and cookies at higher prices to white and Jewish students and at lower prices to black, Hispanic and female students. (Such bake sales have been staged on other college campuses.) [...]

The cartoon published in The Fed last Friday was titled "Blacky Fun Whitey" and purported to be a brief history of black Americans in honor of Black History Month. The newspaper, published about nine times a year, calls itself "Columbia's subversive newspaper" and says it has no particular political leaning.

One panel of the cartoon declared, "Black people were invented in the 1700's as a form of cheap labor." Another said: "A little later, it was found that these noble brothers were super athletes! They were soon set free to follow their hoop dreams!"

It was drawn by a Columbia alumnus, Ben Schwartz, whose cartoons have appeared in both The Fed and The Columbia Daily Spectator. Some of the Fed editors opposed running the cartoon, but were overruled by others on their board. A note printed above the cartoon said that The Fed was a forum and that "a lot of us didn't really want to print this cartoon, 'cause it's kinda offensive."

Mr. Schwartz and the Fed's editors apologized for their insensitivity this week. The leaders of the conservative student group also apologized. But some students said the cartoon and other recent incidents constituted attacks on minority students. ... "

> NYTimes: "Columbia Leader Condemns Racial Incidents on Campus"

Posted by Rob at 7:04 PM

The Detroit News has started a "Decision 2004 Weblog".

Posted by Rob at 6:19 PM

Happy Spring Break

"200 block of North Ingalls Street, 12:39 p.m. Monday. No signs of forced entry; a laptop computer, TV and stereo taken. Total value: $2,000." (AANews)

Posted by Rob at 6:05 PM

Detroit's Metrotimes has picked up a BAM-N press release in an entry in their news hits section reporting that a Michigan-based KKK organization has "Endorsed" the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, or the proposal connected to University of California Regent Ward Connerly that would ban all forms of public affirmative action in the state. The MCRI has been opposed by a broad coalition of organizations and businesses in the state including both the Democratic and Republican parties, and the lead organization opposing it is called Citizens for a United Michigan.

Other articles of note:

> AANews: "Suit seeks to block initiative petitions"
> AANews: "Remodel on LS&A to start "

Posted by Rob at 5:53 PM

An anonymous community member has launched another website protesting the proposed cuts at the University's SAPAC office. Titled "SAPAC Must Stay ... AS IT IS" the website features a detailed testimonial about the author's experience with SAPAC as a survivor of sexual assault:

" ... It is my position that anyone who truly understands what it is like to be sexually assaulted would be against making the proposed changes to SAPAC. Therefore, I believe that the decision made by the UM administration to change SAPAC is one of ignorance rather than one motivated by a lack of compassion. Yet, no matter what the cause of such a decision, it remains an attack on the individuals who have already been victimized. I implore the University of Michigan to consider my statement deeply, and to reverse its decision. Otherwise, I will be forced once again to protect myself against my attacker, except this time I will be vigorously defending myself against those determined to dismantle the services that I need to survive. ... "

See also the website of the organization "Our Voices Count".

Posted by Rob at 1:12 PM

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The new Borders in downtown Detroit is apparently a strategy of Borders Incorporated and other major retailers to move into "underserved" urban neighborhoods before they fully gentrify. I see this as an ambiguous trend - it could be part of a pattern of donut development where economic activity in the metropolis is either "downtown" or in the exurbs, or it could play a role in helping re-integrate neighborhoods into the greater economic life of the city. If the entire metropolis "gentrifies" equally, there are no problems, but if the development is highly isolated forcing out existing residents, it can be properly seen as a negative phenomenon. Also, it should not be forgotten that locally owned businesses and corporate chains have fundamentally different economic impacts: the first in general re-invest their profits into the local community, and the second effectively suck out money for the profit of the corporation's executives and stock holders - who may or may not live nearby, or even in the same country. However, Jane Jacobs would have us not forget that both can contribute to the street-level activity that is key to the economic and social success of an urban neighborhood - by encouraging more businesses, and making the area safer. From the New York Times:

"Borders Books and Music is tapping into one of the retail industry's few remaining new frontiers - underserved urban neighborhoods - with stores in Detroit and Chicago.

In November, the company, a subsidiary of the Borders Group, opened an 8,000-square-foot store in the heart of downtown Detroit at the Compuware Corporation's new world headquarters building, the first new office building to be constructed there since the 1970's.

The company is also the main retail anchor for an ambitious new mixed-use retail and residential complex on the North Side of Chicago.

"There's no doubt that there's certain rough spots in these trade areas," said Alex Lelli, vice president for development of Borders, which is based in Ann Arbor, Mich. "But there's a lot of change coming."

Of the two projects, the Detroit store is probably the bigger gamble, if only because of the general absence of retail activity of any kind in the downtown area.

"Retail is lacking in downtown Detroit," said Charles Maday, the chief executive of Exclusive Realty, a Detroit commercial brokerage firm. "All the retailers left. It's the only major city that doesn't have even a hardware store." ...

Three other retail operations - a Hard Rock Cafe, a coffee shop and a credit union office - have opened in the building, and leases have been signed for six others, including a Kinko's, two restaurants and a clothing store.

The Chicago project, called Uptown Square, is also an attempt to bring retail life to a blighted commercial district. Situated in Uptown, a North Side neighborhood that has resisted gentrification for many years, it consists of three buildings, two of them existing and one new, totaling about 80,000 square feet at the intersection of Broadway Street and Lawrence Avenue.

Both of the older buildings - one, in neo-Classical style, originally housed a bank; the other is a terra cotta department store - date from the early decades of the last century. Both have been vacant for many years. ...

Increasingly, retailers are taking notice. "Virtually all retailers that are seeking expansion today are considering underserved urban markets," said Richard Totaro, president of the corporate services division of the real estate brokerage and services company CB Richard Ellis.

The reasons, he said, include "the high densities you find in many inner-city markets and the fact that there's typically an extremely diversified income base in these neighborhoods."

There are also numerous competitive advantages for guessing right and being the first retailer to enter a gentrifying neighborhood. ... "

> New York Times: "Book Chain Taps Underserved Neighborhoods"

Posted by Rob at 10:32 PM

The other winners of the Michigan Leadership Awards have been announced:


We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the nominees who were a part of the 2004 Michigan Leadership Awards. We extend a special thanks to those nominators who have recognized outstanding contributions to the university. The nominees in all of the categories were excellent, making the award selection very competitive. We are proud to announce the award recipients for the following categories:

Outstanding New Member:
Miriam Bhimani
Lauren Kachorek
Brittany Marino

Outstanding Student Leader:
Ayush Agarwal
Bahareh Aslani
Jeannette Dupure
Jaden Felix
Payal Patel

Tapestry Awards:
Sonia DeLuca
Greg Merritt
Vania Ruiz
Matthew Stehney

Outstanding Student Organization:
American Society for Engineering Education
Chinese Student and Scholars Association
The Detroit Project
Society of Women Engineers

Program of the Year:
American Idol – A Cappella Style
K-Grams Pen Pal Program

Advisor of the Year:
Trelawney Boynton
Sarah Bowler Miller
Ani Shehigan

Student Legacy Award:
Robert Goodspeed

Congratulations once again to all nominees!


Michigan Awards Selection Committee

Committee Members:
Anita Bohn, Community Service Learning
Andrew Chadwick, Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution
Marjorie Horton, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Aurora Kamimura, School of Public Health, Multicultural Affairs
Taryn Petryk, University Housing
John Vasquez, Life Sciences Values and Society Program
Ray Wixson, Office of Student Activities and Leadership
Kate Zheng, International Center
Shay Duncan, MultiEthnic Student Affairs
Bill Kerschbaum, Organizational Studies
Amy McGovern, Michigan Student Assembly
Rena Murphy, Housing Research Office
Greg Parker, College of Engineering
Dominic Petruzelli, University Housing Office
Trey Williams, Ford School of Public Policy
Sarah Plantinga, Office of Student Activities and Leadership
John Duncan, Office of Greek Life
Ixta Menchaca, Program on Intergroup Relations
Lisa Bartlett, Union Graphics
Alex Garcia, Michigan Union Technology Services"

Posted by Rob at 10:16 PM

Monday, February 23, 2004

By now most people have heard of Friendster, a website ostensibly a singles service, but in reality a great online time-waster with a number of uses. Users of the service create "profiles," and are connected to their friends who also have profiles, allowing users to meet new people through an extended social network. There are other, similar services out there, and one with more capabilities and growing rapidly is called "orkut." It supports all the features of Friendster, but also allows for more online discussion, and is intended to be used not simply to meet people but for professional networking as well. The catch? It's by invitation only - so ask around to see if any of your techy friends are on the service, as any current member can send you an invitation.

Posted by Rob at 6:51 PM

Ann Arbor Stencil Art

This month's Current has an interesting article about the stencil art that can be seen around town, and the author even talks to some of the artists. One of my favorites: the "Just Do Something" stencil in the Law Quad, among other places.

"... Stencils are strongly associated with the punk rock community. The alternative images/ideas they present are protest in nature, and their placement tends to favor large, industrial cities.

Local stencil artist Wilbur describes his take on the punk community's concepts of public art. "One of the main things for me is that art is something that anyone can do anywhere, and that goes hand in hand with the idea of public space." ...

Nisbett points out that respect is key. "People should be respectful and not do it on people's houses or even businesses. The best place for it is public structures -- railroad property, parking structures -- places not owned by individuals who will suffer. Stenciling should be done when it will benefit ugly or boring places."

Wilbur's ultimate declaration is inspiring: "The powers that be are determined to make the world an ugly place because they don't have to look at it on the ground-floor level -- I say take it back and make it beautiful." ... "

> From Current: Off the Wall: Surveying the Streets for Beautification and Protest
> Also, see an online gallery of Ann Arbor art here (Click on the numbers for multiple pages)
> More info on stencil art at

Posted by Rob at 3:01 PM

The Bush campaign knows how close 2000 was. This from an email to supporters:

"From: "" < >
Subject: Will you be the difference?
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004

It is the year 2000. In the presidential campaign...

New Mexico hinges on 366 votes, Florida on only 537 votes.
Iowa is won by 4144 votes, Wisconsin by 5708 votes.
Oregon is decided by 6765 votes, New Hampshire by 7211 votes.

In the closest presidential election in modern history, 24,731 people in a nation of 280 million make the difference for 59 electoral votes. An incredible statistic when you consider just 4 electoral votes meant the difference between a President Bush and a President Gore.

The year is 2004. Another presidential campaign is here...

As a Bush Volunteer, you've made an important commitment to an extraordinarily important cause. As the campaign shifts into high-gear, the President is counting on you.

Will you be one of the people who makes a difference this time?

Maybe. If you choose to act now.

President Bush not only needs your vote, he needs your help. Will you take action today by simply calling or forwarding this message to five of your friends and family encouraging them to join the campaign as volunteers? ... "

Posted by Rob at 2:51 PM

Two men have been arrested after covering Detroit's "Monument to Joe Louis" with white paint.

Also, "Granholm wouldn't support gay marriages in Michigan," although saying she'd support civil unions.

Posted by Rob at 2:41 PM

Some of my readers seem to think I'm being a little harsh on Senator John Kerry. Perhaps it's because I don't spend much time criticizing Bush - I figure there's plenty of others out there taking care of that for me. Meanwhile, let's do a quick side-by-side comparison of Kerry and Bush's respective Vietnam records.

Posted by Rob at 2:35 PM

"TONIGHT, Monday, February 23, 2004
7:00 PM

Fixing Elections
- Get Out The Vote Efforts
- Touchscreen Voting Machine Scandals
- Instant Runoff Voting

Arbor Brewing Company
114 E. Washington, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Talks by
Alma Wheeler Smith, Former Michigan State Senator
and Craig Harvey, Michigan Focus on Reforming Elections

Sponsored by Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice"

Posted by Rob at 2:11 PM

In an update I posted on February 17 titled "Healthy, Secular, and Political," I interpreted the results of a survey of college freshman that U-M participates in that seemed to show students at the University were more political, healthy, and engaged than ever.

Nationally, the picture isn't so bright, but this editorial by the Los Angeles Times defies explanation. They see it as a good thing that more students than ever are concerned with money (could that be due to the slipping economy?), complain about high tuition bills (perhaps due to record-low funding of education coinciding with record-high funding for war), concluding that "The annual student survey also found growing political interest and conservatism among starting college students and declining drinking, partying and smoking, more encouraging news for parents." Is it just me, or are we speaking a different language here? Here's the editorial:

"Here's some encouraging news for parents across the country. The latest American Freshman Survey has found that new college students are beginning to realize what life is all about: money.

A popular image of college students depicts fresh, idealistic faces and minds focused on justice and equality. But nearly three-quarters of the 267,449 students surveyed last fall on 413 campuses said a prime interest in their life was being "very well off financially." That's the largest number in 13 years. A record low 39% still don't get it: They said, get this, developing "a meaningful philosophy of life" was of primary concern.

Don't laugh. They're freshmen, and freshmen are, well, fresh to the realities of life outside a cloistered home bedroom full of mess, music and pounds of unidentifiable crumbs from a food grouping known as chips.

These idealistic youngsters should come around in another semester or two. All it takes is patient tutoring by responsible parents showing them a few more tuition bills that teach a different lesson about college than the glossy brochures touting old buildings and something called higher learning.

The only thing higher than the learning at these places in recent years are the numbers being added to the aforementioned tuition bills. A College Board study last fall revealed that tuitions at four-year colleges jumped nearly 50% in 10 years at state schools and 42% at private schools, a good deal larger increase in income than that experienced by the average family asked to pay it.

Tuition, in fact, is growing faster than inflation, faster even than medical bills from doctors who, not coincidentally, also attended these institutions of higher learning.

The annual student survey also found growing political interest and conservatism among starting college students and declining drinking, partying and smoking, more encouraging news for parents.

The puzzle remains, however: Where in the world could so many college freshmen, whose parents pay so much money to expensive universities for them to earn a degree to get more money in a future job and maybe someday afford a house, a car and a doctor's visit, get the idea that money is such an important part of modern life? It's really inexplicable."

> LA Times: "Learning how to cash in"

Posted by Rob at 12:32 AM

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Have a Michigan driver's license? Your personal information is now part of a highly secret, potentially illegal multistate database operated by a private corporation. What's wrong with that? Let's not forget the only reason Bush is president is that in 2000, Republican operatives in Florida including that State's Secretary of State Katherine Harris expunged tens of thousands of people from the voter rolls even if their names were only somewhat similar to the name of a person who had committed a felony through the (intentionally) clumsy use of computer databases. The undemocratic uses of massive, secret databases are plentiful, and there are plenty of innocent Americans unable to fly, or who face intense security screening if they attempt to, because their names are similar to people who may or may not have any connection to terrorism whatsoever.

Yes, guilt by association was a key component to 1950's McCarthyism, and the USA PATRIOT act established at least one new computerized database in the name of security. This trend torwards a neo-McCarthyism in America, super-charged with computer technology, has been described by Vijay Prashad, one of the participants in the SAAN conference I attended a few weeks ago in an article he has titled: "The Green Menace: McCarthyism after 9/11" I think McCarthyism is a good way to think about the plight of former Ann Arbor resident Rabih Haddad (see my page on Mr. Haddad) and his family - although never convicted of any crime, and although the government wasn't able to even produce any convincing evidence connecting him to criminal activity, the charity organization he helped found was raided repeatedly, had their funds frozen, and was blacklisted as officially "suspicious." Finally, though the selective application of a mild immigration violation he and his family were effectively forced to leave the country, even though he intended to take up permanent residence here and was heavily invested in the community.

"DETROIT - Following a news report released yesterday in which the Michigan State Police admit that it has released information to a multistate police database, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today submitted a third "Freedom of Information Act" request about Michigan?s participation in the new "MATRIX" surveillance system. This admission comes on the heels of the state denying involvement in the program in response to two previous FOIA requests.

... Even the Michigan Secretary of State has raised the privacy issue of a program such as MATRIX and has warned the MSP that it may be in violation of the 1997 Michigan Driver Privacy Protection Act," added Moss. ...

According to Congressional testimony and news reports, the MATRIX (which stands for "Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange") creates dossiers about individuals from government databases and private-sector information companies that compile files on Americans' activities for profit. It then makes those dossiers available for search by federal and state law enforcement officers. In addition, MATRIX computer programs comb through the millions of files in a search for "anomalies" that may be indicative of terrorist or other criminal activity.

While company officials have refused to disclose details of the program, according to news reports the kind of information to be searched includes credit histories, driver's license photographs, marriage and divorce records, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and the names and addresses of family members, neighbors and business associates.

Raising even more issues, the Matrix is operated by a private company, Seisint Inc. of Boca Raton, Florida. Ironically, the company's founder was forced to resign after buried information about his own past came to light: according to Florida police, he was formerly a drug smuggler who had piloted multiple planeloads of cocaine from Colombia to the U.S.

Two other states, Georgia and Texas, have already withdrawn their involvement because of legal and financial concerns. According to a letter from the Texas Department of Public Safety, "The fiscal responsibility in participating in this endeavor cannot be reconciled in view of existing budget constraints and the potential recurring out year cost of over $140,000 per month. Further, there are other legal, ethical and financial considerations in providing non-public data sets at our expense to a private company to sell back to us."

"We're concerned that the state may be in violation of more than one law and we will be looking toward litigation, if necessary, to protect the privacy of Michigan citizens," Moss stated. ..."

> ACLU of Michigan PR: "ACLU Questions Michigan State Police Involvement in Data Surveillance Program"

Thanks to Steve Cherry for posting on this, who also found use of an excerpt from George Orwell's 1984.

Posted by Rob at 6:50 PM

Ralph Nader has announced he will be running for president, again, but this time as an independent. My firm and unwavering opinion: Bush must go. So when November rolls around, if you live in a state so red it's dripping republicanism, vote Nader (if he's on the ballot). If you vote anywhere you'll vote actually might matter (Michigan and Florida come to mind) vote for whatever the Democrats cough up, in all his tax-cut voting, Iraq-war approving, Patriot-Act supporting New Democratic splendor.

John Kerry voted for the Iraq War and the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act, and some of the Republicans' tax cuts (although not the big $1.3 trillion one that is helping create an alleged tens of dozens of jobs). He also voted for the much-disliked Digital Millenium Copyright Act that the RIAA is using to harass 13-year-olds who downloaded a Britney Spears song and made cracking a DVD, even for academic purposes, a "terrorist" offense. (The Electronic Freedom Forum is a good resource on the DMCA)

> See John Kerry's voting record on Project Vote Smart
> See some analysis from The Nation on Nader

Posted by Rob at 5:56 PM

Like a naive child struggling to keep perspective as it learns about the world, the Ann Arbor News recently discovered the U-M's Office of Property Disposition. The Property Disposition office is a little-known entity that sells the University's extra stuff on the cheap. Yes, the series raises some interesting questions regarding whether the University could make more profit on the way they get rid of excess equipment and whether proper steps are taken to maintain privacy (by expunging computer hard drives, for example). However, did that really warrant FIVE lead stories in the Sunday Ann Arbor News? They're searching for some sort of award I fear, and failing in the process (remember the exhaustive, exhausting, and ultimately mediocre coverage of the greenbelt?)

> AANews: "Who's minding the store" and "Audit finds private data on computers" and "U-M's loss often scavengers' gain" and "Schools pick over used computer equipment" and "A few finds at U-M's flea market"

> Some of the fun being picked up by the Associated Press wire: "Bargain hunters find deals on used equipment at University of Michigan"

Posted by Rob at 5:30 PM

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Graduating in May?

The University's "Graduation Guide" website has lots of information for graduating seniors and applications for the student speaker at spring commencement are due Wednesday, March 3rd. The Michigan Union is also sponsoring their annual "Grad Fair" to be held on the ground floor of the Union on March 10th and 11th featuring representatives from a wide variety of graduation-related organizations, offices, and businesses including the Michiganensian, Caps and Gowns, Black Celeb, and the Alumni Association.

Posted by Rob at 12:14 PM

The UAW is seeking funds to construct a Labor History Museum in Flint to commemorate the famous 1936-37 sit-down strike of General Motors which led to the creation of the United Auto Workers.

> AP: "Tribute raises more than $40,000 for possible labor museum"


"In the 1940s, workers at UAW Local 598 in Flint decided to honor sit-down strikers with White Shirt Day. As part of that tradition, hourly UAW workers wear white shirts to work - and keep them that way - to demonstrate their equality with salaried bosses. ..

Roth and other labor leaders got the loudest applause when they called for workers and retirees to help defeat President Bush in November.

"We've got a great opportunity - we get to get rid of Bush!" Roth said, as the crowded hall erupted in cheers and applause. Roth and others urged workers to vote for politicians who will protect U.S. jobs from outsourcing and offshoring. ... "

> From Flint Journal: "Sit-down strikers feted"

Posted by Rob at 11:57 AM

Former Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, who quit her job at the Defense Department about a year ago, isn't too happy with the Bush administration.

Posted by Rob at 11:47 AM

Friday, February 20, 2004

Articles of note:

> Daily: "Lecturers rally for better pay, work conditions"
> Daily: "Regents hear student concerns"
> AANews: "Renovations to start on U-M facility"
> AANews: "U-M to hike fees for parking"
> AANews: "U-M Regents Briefs"

And this lovely event at Score Keepers:

"A 20-year-old University of Michigan student picked the wrong place to try to use his fake ID late Thursday when he handed a bouncer the driver's license of a man who works at the bar, Ann Arbor Police said.

Officers reported they were conducting a liquor inspection at Score Keepers on Maynard Street at 11:30 p.m. Thursday when the student handed the door staff a license. The bouncer laughed and said "No way," but the student kept claiming he was the person pictured on the license and should be allowed inside, police said.

The bouncer then informed the student that he was trying to pass off the license of a 22-year-old man who works at Score Keepers. Officers said they questioned the student, who smelled strongly of alcohol, and he continued to maintain that the ID was his until he was arrested. ... "
(Police Beat)

Posted by Rob at 12:17 PM

According to the Times, the University of Colorado Boulder is "rattled" by six rape accusations against members of the football team there:

"... The Boulder district attorney, Mary Keenan, is still investigating what she has described as "an understanding" within the culture of the athletic department that sex would be provided to recruits in their visits to campus. No criminal charges have been filed ... "

The heightened awareness of woman's safety and rape at Boulder comes with resources for survivors of sexual assault are being cut here at the U of M, although the newly-formed organization Our Voices Count is trying to do something about that.

Posted by Rob at 1:52 AM

The Regents approved funding at their meeting today to decommission the Phoenix Reactor on North Campus.

> Daily: "Loss of reactor hurts 'U' nuclear program"
> AP: "University of Michigan to dismantle historic nuclear reactor"
> AANews: "50-year research site faces dismantlement":

"Demand for the facility's irradiation services has declined over the last decade and it is expensive to operate - it's currently losing about $1 million a year, according to U-M Chief Financial Officer Tim Slottow."

Posted by Rob at 12:40 AM

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I've recently heard that I have been selected as one of the winners of the "Student Legacy Award," one of the Michigan Leadership Awards given each year by the Office of Student activities and Leadership:

"Criteria: This award is designed to recognize full-time students who have made a lasting impact on the University of Michigan through their co-curricular activities and accomplishments. It is offered through the Student Alumni Council, the student organization of the Alumni Association, which is dedicated to instilling pride in and loyalty to the University of Michigan. Winners will be awarded a lifetime membership in the Alumni Association and a $100 stipend."

Posted by Rob at 10:37 PM

The U Record has posted online coverage of today's regents meeting.

Posted by Rob at 5:01 PM

The candidates for Michigan Student Assembly President and Vice President in the spring election were in the Daily today. To see their UMich directory entry, click on the names:

Students First will be running current MSA Student General Counsel Jason Mironov for president, and College Democrats Chair Jenny Nathan for VP.

The University Party is running former Blue Party candidate and B-School senior Timothy Moore for president and current engineering MSA representative Anita Leung for VP. Anita is one of the people who helped start the UMich Daily Jolt site.

It's not clear who the BAM-N / Defend Affirmative Action Party candidates will be, although Kate Stenvig is quoted in the Daily's story. I'll clear this up right now: DAAP is the political wing of the destructive sectarian Trotzite organization the Revolutionary Workers League / BAM-N. In the past some DAAP candidates have been very good, while others are the mindless lackeys of Luke Massie, Shanta Driver, and the rest of the BAM-N crowd. This election cycle I'll do my best to sift through all the parties' rhetoric to identify the saavy progressives who deserve your vote. If you're a candidate you think I'd be interested in endorsing, please contact me.

Also, judging from his website, Matt Hollerbach might be running.

> Daily: "MSA hopefuls file candidacies for 2004 presidential elections"

Posted by Rob at 2:35 PM

The large parking lot at Hill and State Streets (Near the Chabad house) is the future site of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy building. (See this site rendering to get a better idea.)

> AP: "Foundation gives UM's Ford school $5 million"
> UMPR: "Joan and Sanford Weill give $5 million for U-M's Ford School of Public Policy building"

Posted by Rob at 11:33 AM

Borders, INC profits are up 12% this year, but their employees' salaries will only increase 3% - barely keeping up with inflation, if that:

" ... But Borders officials said they would not raise salaries for their employees, despite an expected 12 percent increase in earnings from the previous year.

Recently released unaudited results for the holiday season and the full year 2003 show that retail sales and earnings per share rose from the last year.

Jim Kirk, an employee at the Ann Arbor store, said he was pleased with the profit results, as they would allow the company to pay its employees more.

But Anne Roman, corporate spokesperson for Borders, said the question of raising benefits and wages does not arise in Ann Arbor since the agreement signed with the union covered all the demands the union’s demands.

Borders has an ongoing commitment to awarding increases in pay, she said. “Last year we awarded a 3 percent increase, and again this year we are awarding a 3 percent increase,” she said. ... "

> Daily: "Borders' earnings will not bring greater salary raises"

Posted by Rob at 10:51 AM

My friend Matt Hollerbach has written this letter to the Daily about the end of the "jeopardy" issue:

"From: "Matthew Wright Hollerbach"
To: jtschrad at umich dot edu
Cc: tothedaily at michigandaily dot com
Subject: Letter To Editor
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 16:42:27 -0500

Dear Mr. Schrader & the entire Managerial and Editorial staff of the Michigan Daily,

I was pleased to hear that the leadership of the Michigan Daily has decided to discontinue the so-called "Jeopardy" edition of the newspaper after the widespread negative response this year's issue received. As I understand it, future senior editions will not contain false stories, and special pains will be taken not to offend members of the campus community.

As a former member of the Editorial Board and writer for the Arts Section, and as one who worked on the student newspaper in my high school, I fully understand the importance of having a farewell issue published by the senior staff before they pass the torch on to their younger peers. I look forward to next January's issue, which will be just as fitting a tribute, but will almost certainly not contain stories and elements which are offensive to your readers and damaging to the
paper's reputation.

I was always impressed by the amount of pride that the writers, editors, and designers took in their work at the Daily, and the level of unity amongst the staff was exceptional. Past "Jeopardy" issues have been a stain on the reputation of one of the University's oldest student-run institutions, and an insult to the people who both read and create the paper.

It is my hope that you and your colleagues will continue to examine the problems that exist in your organization, while reinforcing its virtues and expanding on its strengths. The only possible result is a paper which we can all be proud bears the name of this state and of our alma-mater.


Matthew Wright Hollerbach
RC Junior
Co-chair of the MSA Peace & Justice Commission
Former writer for the Michigan Daily"

Posted by Rob at 2:49 AM

Found in my inbox:

"Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2004 21:00:26 -0500
From: lfro at emich dot edu
Subject: Art and Activism!!!!! yay

I don't know about you, but I really want to see the art world come together to work on political issues- we have been far too divided- and it's time we come together and make some good, social and political art!!!

WHO? Visual artists, writers, musicians, dancers, actors, etc. who are involved with or interested in social activism!

WHAT? An organization that will combine progressive political ideas with art!

WHERE? For now E. Quad Madrigal Lounge

WHEN? 3:00 Saturday, March 6 (please feel free to e-mail me if you cannot make this time and we can talk about alternatives in the future)

HOW? By pooling our creativity, resources, passion and frustration and putting them towards an active social movement.

please come with ideas and discussion! Some ideas that I was thinking about:
~Culture Jamming
~Performances/Gallery openings around Ann Arbor (both school and community affilliated)
~ University mural painting
~Being a resource for other progressive movements on campus that need some artistic aid!


Posted by Rob at 2:31 AM

The Daily printed a letter to the editor I sent in a couple days ago today, but edited it slightly (perhaps for space) and didn't print the relevant affiliations I provided: a member of Ann Arbor's Cool Cities Task Force and vice chair of the Urban Issues Collective, noting instead only that I was a former staff member. While I understand they think it important to note which letter authors are former staffers, I can't help but think it has the effect - intended or otherwise - to cast me as only a former writer and nothing more. Here's the letter as I sent it in:

"To the Editor:

I was disappointed to read the anti-pedestrian bias of University and city officials in yesterday's Daily story "Jaywalking causes greater concern since student deaths."

In a city where many residents choose not to drive or own a car, it is not only fundamentally unfair but degrading to expect pedestrians to scurry squirrel-like across heavily-trafficked streets to get to the Union, class, the supermarket, or to their church, temple, or mosque.

Autos and pedestrians should share the road, and city officials should install well-marked, raised, and lit crosswalks at places where many pedestrians cross the street: on South University, on Madison Street in front of South Quad, and on Plymouth Road, among others.

When there is a glut of automobile traffic, city officials seem to jump to rectify the situation. When there is a glut of pedestrian traffic, city officials frequently blame the pedestrians for not walking far out of their way to get to their destination, something rarely expected of automobile drivers.

Yes, Sgt. Logghe is correct: impatient pedestrians jaywalking are a problem. However, impatient motorists are a more serious problem, whether running red or yellow lights or, in an incident last week, pulling over to slap a fellow motorist who was driving "too slowly" on Liberty Street. City officials should understand they can minimize jaywalking by installing more crosswalks, and increasing the crossing time on "walk" lights.

The LSA freshman interviewed in the story seemed to hit the nail on the head, saying "The crosswalks just aren't always the most convenient or efficient paths." University and city officials should spend as much time worrying about whether pedestrians are adequately accommodated as they do worrying about accommodating cars.

Rob Goodspeed
Ann Arbor Cool Cities Task Force Member
Urban Issues Collective Vice-Chair
LSA Senior"

See the letter and as it was printed, below an unrelated clarifying letter from Prof. Matt Lassiter.

Ian Robinson also has a viewpoint about the Lecture Employees' Organization (LEO) titled "Non-tenured faculty unite! LEO rising" LEO is planning to hold a rally today to coincide with today's Regent's meeting.

Posted by Rob at 2:15 AM

Urban Outfitters is selling a shirt with the logo, "Voting is for Old People," that has a few upset:

" ... I do not think it is appropriate to sell anti-voting propaganda to future voters," she said. "I saw young kids laughing at this shirt, and that's what hit me the hardest, the fact that those boys now probably will always disrespect the idea of voting in an effort to 'be cool.' ... "

> MTV News: "Voting Is For Old People': Urban Outfitters Peddles Political Irony" (Via LB)

Posted by Rob at 1:42 AM

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Everybody loves tighter CAFE standards:

DETROIT (AP) -- In an unprecedented move, the Sierra Club and United Auto Workers union have joined forces to take a stand against a Bush administration plan to change federal fuel economy regulations.

In a co-written article on the Op-Ed page of Wednesday's New York Times, Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope and UAW president Ron Gettelfinger -- whose groups often are at odds over national automobile policy -- say the Bush administration's plans to scrap existing fuel economy standards would reduce overall fuel economy and increase pollution. ... "

> AP: "Union, environmental group take stand against proposed fuel economy rules"

Read the Op-Ed: in the New York Times - "More Jobs to the Gallon" An excerpt:

"... The Bush administration is proposing to scrap these standards for a new system that would establish a series of vehicle weight categories, with a separate standard for each category. Basically, heavier vehicles would have lower fuel standards. Since they would no longer need to meet a fleetwide average, automakers would be free to add weight to all of their vehicles to make them qualify for heavier weight categories.

The result would be a reduction in overall fuel economy and an increase in pollution. America's dependence on foreign oil would increase, and our environment would suffer.

The shift to a weight-based system could also jeopardize the jobs of thousands of Americans who work, either directly or indirectly, on the production of small cars. ... "

Posted by Rob at 3:33 PM

Ever been to a Regents meeting?

"Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 23:29:40 -0500
Subject: REGENTS MEETING TOMORROW (Thurs, 2:30pm)
To: our.voices.count

Last night we had a very productive 2 1/2 hour meeting! You will be
receiving full minutes from this meeting tomorrow, once I have time to
prepare them. One important thing from last night's meeting is that Mia
White will be speaking tomorrow at the Board of Regents Meeting on behalf
of OVC. We need to pack the room with supporters.

Thursday, February 19th, 2004
Fleming Building, Regents' Room
Public Comments begin at 2:30pm
We need to FILL the room!

! Join the "Our Voices Count" Coalition !
! Email our.voices.count at umich dot edu !

Posted by Rob at 3:28 PM

Dean's Out: This from His campaign blog

"... This Party and this country needs change, and you have already begun that process. I want you to think about how far we have come. The truth is: change is tough. There is enormous institutional pressure in our country against change. There is enormous institutional pressure in Washington against change, in the Democratic Party against change. Yet, you have already started to change the Party and together we have transformed this race. Along the way, we’ve engaged hundreds of thousands of new Americans in the political process, as witnessed by this year’s record participation in the primaries and caucuses.

The fight that we began can and must continue. Although my candidacy for president may end today, the most important goal remains defeating George W. Bush in November, and I hope that you will join me in doing everything we can to support the Democrats this fall. From the earliest days of our campaign, I have said that the power to change Washington rests not in my hands, but in yours. Always remember, you have the power to take our country back.

Gov. Howard Dean M.D."

> See also the New York Times

Posted by Rob at 3:20 PM

Students for PIRGM have choses the issue of "granny flats" or accessory dwelling units as their campaign this semester. This simple zoning change would allow city residents to create small apartments to rent to 1 or 2 people in parts of their homes and would be an easy way to allow for increased density without much effort on the part of the city or the same impact as large new buildings:

" ... The assembly also voted to support the rental of accessory dwelling units for students in Ann Arbor. ADUs are additional living spaces that include additions to or conversions of current housing, and they would give students more housing options, MSA members said.

"ADUs are legal in Ann Arbor, but not to rent to people other than your family members," SNRE junior Elizabeth Graham said.

Some members of Students for PIRGIM attended the meeting and asked MSA to support ADUs because they are "increasing density" and improving housing in Ann Arbor.

PIRGIM member and RC sophomore Pamela Baker said student involvement on this housing issue is important.

"By having MSA endorsing and supporting this resolution, it shows City Council that students can be involved, especially since we are such a large percentage of this area," Baker said.

RC senior Adriane Davis added, "We want to get the community involved. … Two years ago this proposal got shot down because there were a lot of misinformed residents, so we want to hold forums to help educate the community about ADUs."

MSA President Angela Galardi will write a letter to the Ann Arbor City Council voicing students' support of ADUs."

> From: Daily: "MSA votes to fund Ben Folds concert"

Posted by Rob at 11:40 AM

This just in:

Come support the Lecturer Employee Organization in its struggle to win
their first union contract
Rally at the Flemming building from 12:45 to 1:10 this Thursday (next to the cube)

The informational pickets will be up around campus from 10:00 to 4:00. If you cannot make it, please stop and show your support at their picket lines (note: this is not a work stoppage, so they are NOT asking at this point that we do not cross).

*The University of Michigan employs over 1,400 lecturers, all them teachers employed to educate and engage us, the undergraduate community. Unlike tenure-track faculty, lecturers have no job security and receive no healthcare or benefits during semesters or summers that they don't teach.

*Lecturers are paid a fraction of what full professors earn, wages that put many of at or below the poverty line. The average "real" wage (that is, salary after adjusting for the rising cost of living) of UM Lecturers has been virtually stagnant - rising only 1% per year - over the last ten years. Some individual units have seen real wages rise much faster than average; this implies that in some units, real wages have actually fallen over this period.

By comparison, Michigan public high school teachers with a Ph.D. are often paid more than a lecturer at the University.

*The gap between tenured faculty and lecturers has widened to the point that it is interfering with the daily life of many lecturers, making it difficult for them to invest as much attention, concern and resources in teaching as they could otherwise.

*The Lecturers have challenged the University to stop treating teachers as second class employees and demonstrate a commitment to undergraduate education.

*The Lectuer's union has asked the undergraduate to join them in demanding fair treatment from the administration. "

Posted by Rob at 11:34 AM

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

I recently heard about the website I haven't had much time to explore it, but it seems like an interesting concept.

Posted by Rob at 8:24 PM

The "Homeland" Security restrictions (including a Patriot-act created student database) against foreign students seems to be working: the University has seen a 12% drop in foreign students applying for admission this year:

"... University administrators say the decrease is a result of tightened U.S. security and challenges with immigration paperwork since Sept. 11.

The University is losing international students to England, France and other European countries because there are fewer travel restrictions than in the U.S., International Center Director Rodolfo Altamirano said.

"The past couple of years, we have been working double time and triple time to compensate for the new regulations," he said. ... "

> From Daily: "Applications from abroad on decline"

Reminds me of this:

" ... It is absolutely necessary to their structure that there should be no contact with foreigners except, to a limited extent, with war prisoners and colored slaves. Even the official ally of the moment is always regarded with the darkest suspicion. War prisoners apart, the average citizen of Oceania never sets eyes on a citizen of either Eurasia or Eastasia, and he is forbidden the knowledge of foreign languages. If he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which is morale depends might evaporate. ... "

-- George Orwell, 1984, p. 164

Posted by Rob at 8:14 PM

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department has exaggerated its performance in the war on terrorism, interfered with a major terror prosecution and compromised a confidential informant, a federal prosecutor has alleged in an extraordinary lawsuit against Attorney General John Ashcroft.

The lawsuit by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino is the latest twist in the Bush administration's first major post-Sept. 11 terrorism prosecution, a Detroit case jeopardized over allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. ...

According to the suit, a senior official in the Justice Department's terrorism and violent crimes section informed Convertino that news reports concerning the department's anti-terror efforts were not accurate and that the "press gives us more credit than we deserve." The lawsuit alleges "gross mismanagement" in the terrorism and violent crimes section.

Convertino says he complained repeatedly to the Justice Department in Washington that it placed "perception" over "reality" to the serious detriment of the war on terror. ... "

> AP: "Prosecutor at center of controversy in terror case sues Ashcroft"

Posted by Rob at 8:00 PM

Alan Haber, a former leader of the late 1960s/early 1970s organization Students for a Democratic Society is calling another meeting tonight:

"Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 09:26:22 -0500
Subject: next meeting of sds, tonite, G115 Angell Hall 7:30, Tuesday , February 17
From: Alan Haber

outreach notice and invitation

The next meeting of sds is tonite. Tuesday, February 17, 7:30pm, G115 Angell Hall, Ann Arbor.

Last tuesday 12 students, with encouragement from a few activists from previous generations of "the movement," met on campus and decided to meet again with the view of reconstituting an Ann Arbor area local of international sds.

sds was in the 1960s a gathering place for action, education and initiative for democracy and against war, racism, empire, arrogance, patriarchy, poverty and the other ills of the world.

a broad multi issue affirmation of democracy and human community is again needed. one struggle, many fronts is a beginning point for radical analysis.

tonite's meeting will continue discussion of the formative process and plan implementation of several program ideas previously suggested.

new participants and new ideas welcome.

if you are interested and cannot attend, reply to add your name to the group list for reports and future information.

alan haber"

Posted by Rob at 2:21 PM

Healthy, Secular, and Political

In an article with seems to corroborate Prof. Matt Lassiter's thesis from his golden apple lecture - that in the late 1990s American youth have been decidedly political, actively challenging global neoliberal hegemony, American imperialism, and the cultural and human deritris of American corporate capitalism run amuck. According to University officials, this year's U-M class expressed a strong interest in politics (45% - the highest percent since 1994, the year after the survey began), and a record high 35% reported participating in an organized political protest their senior year in high school:

"Keeping up with politics is a growing priority for entering University of Michigan freshmen, according to a national survey, but an all-time high are undecided about what they want for a career.

The percentage of U-M freshmen expressing political interest, nearly 45 percent, is the highest here since 1994, said Malinda Matney, a senior research associate in the university's division of student affairs. [...]

U-M's reported level of political engagement far exceeded national levels, where the number of students who discussed politics on a frequent basis rose from 19.4 percent in 2002 to 22.5 percent. The U-M average also exceeded that of other selective public institutions such as North Carolina, UCLA and The State University of New York, which averaged 39.6 percent, Matney said. ...

The national attention to U-M's affirmative action case might have affected student perspectives on discrimination, Matney said, noting that the percentage of students who think racial discrimination is no longer a problem in America dropped from 20.3 percent to 16.8 percent.

Among the survey's other U-M findings:

- This year's entering class showed all-time highs in performing volunteer work (92.8 percent) and taking part in organized demonstrations (35.3 percent) during the senior year of high school. ...

- Spirituality was down to an all-time low of 36 percent, falling from 41 percent in 2002. ... "

> AANews: "So who cares about politics? Students do, U-M survey finds"

And this:

"All health indicators showed improvement. For instance, cigarette smoking decreased each year since 1997 (all-time high of 9.6 percent) to 2.2 percent in 2003, and self-reported "excellent" or "very good" emotional health was up to 61.2 percent in 2003, from 57.8 percent in 2002."

> From UMPR: "Survey of U-M freshmen shows a marked increase in political interest"

Posted by Rob at 2:14 PM

Articles of note:

> Daily: "Spread of stomach flu outbreak slows"
> Daily: "Jaywalking causes greater concern since student deaths"

Posted by Rob at 1:41 PM

Monday, February 16, 2004

Lynn Rivers for President

" ... Sen. [John] Kerry, like the last JFK from Massachusetts to serve as commander in chief, is also extremely wealthy. We estimate his family fortune at $525 million, which would make him, if elected, the third-richest president ever. But the key word is "family." The Kerry money comes from his wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry, who inherited it from her late husband, Sen. John Heinz III of the Heinz food family.

This puts Kerry in a situation somewhat similar to President Kennedy's. President Kennedy's father, Joseph, and his mother, Rose, were both still alive when JFK was in office and when he was assassinated, so John never inherited even a share of the Kennedy family fortune, which we estimated to be worth $850 million at its height in 1990.

But Joseph Kennedy was, under campaign finance laws at the time, free to spend basically as he wished on his son's electioneering efforts, which he certainly did.

Here John Kennedy and candidate Kerry part company. Current federal law prohibits wife Theresa from donating more than $2,000 to her husband's campaign. Indeed, in December, when Howard Dean was riding high, Kerry mortgaged his share of his family townhouse on Boston's Beacon Hill to raise money for his campaign. ... "

> Forbes: Kerry Would Be Third-Richest U.S. President

Posted by Rob at 11:25 PM

The course I'm teaching this semester, "Student Activism and Social Change," has been written up on the blog of the Collegiate Network, (an organization that encourages conservative college journalism) by none other than the former editor of the Michigan Review James J. Wilson. Although my access logs seem to indicate less than 6 people clicked from Mr. Wilson's post to my course's website. In a post titled "The left studies itself at Michigan," Wilson has this to say:

"We don't normally pick on specific classes on STP, but I couldn't resist noting the University of Michigan's class on "STUDENT ACTIVISM and SOCIAL CHANGE At the University of Michigan."

You might think that a course like this was taught by a peace loving, pot smoking English professor or perhaps a Marxist, feminist sociologist, but you'd be wrong. Throwing Michigan's usual academic standards to the wind, this 'honors' course is taught by an undergrad history major, whose only qualification is his passing interest in the subject. (I was interested in the conservative movement when I was at Michigan, but they never let me teach a course on it.)

Rob explains that the class will cover: "Student pacifists in the 1930s ... Students for a Democratic Society ... [...]"

Now call me crazy, but isn't this one of the most politicized courses you've ever seen? It is basically a study of the ultra-left at Michigan, taught by a junior member of the ultra-left. Also, I'm left guessing what the academic value of such a specific, politicized course exactly is."

In my defense, I am teaching the course through the honors program, which allows a limited number of honors seniors to teach 1-credit courses open only to freshman each semester. I independently designed the course and had to submit an application in order to earn the privilege.

Posted by Rob at 10:57 PM

In America

"... As a result, tens of thousands of Michigan residents have their gas cut every year. State law does not prohibit shutoffs in the winter, except for senior citizens.

Consumers Energy, which serves 1.54 million residential gas customers in Michigan, shut off 37,000 customers last year, compared to 25,600 in 2002, said company spokesman Jeff Holyfield.

DTE Energy declined to provide shut-off figures. However, spokesman Len Singer said the number of people enrolled in the company's low-income winter protection plan rose to 28,000 in January, compared to 13,000 in 2003. ..."

> AP: "Rising energy costs put more families on the edge of homelessness"

Posted by Rob at 10:13 PM

Daily Abolishes Jeopardy Issue "As We Know It"

I suspect the many responses they received over their "Three Snobs Slain outside of Ricks" story might have something to do with this decision. Here's a staff-wide email sent by current Daily editor-in-chief Jordan Schrader:

"Date: Sunday, February 15, 2004 7:23 PM -0500
Subject: Jeopardy


As some of you have already heard, what came out of our 2-hour M-Desk meeting today was a decision to end the Jeopardy issue as we know it. We will still have a Jeopardy party and an issue with senior goodbyes, and we will talk about how we can have fun with the issue. But there will be no fake stories. There will be nothing in the edition that would be inappropriate to run on any other day.

It's hard to feel too happy about this. I for one have been waiting three years for my turn to work on a Jeopardy issue. Every inside joke, every grudge, everything that can't make it into the paper, has gone into a Jeopardy file in the back of my mind. Many other editors feel similarly, as do many of you.

But continuing the spoof issue for these reasons would be selfish. As selfish as working for an entire year to build up the reputation of the Daily, to leave it better than we found it, and then firing a parting shot behind us that undoes everything we have accomplished.

We have a responsibility beyond our own whims and grievances, beyond our desire to talk about supersluts and presidential masturbation. We have a responsibility to the people who have come before us for 113 years and to those who will follow us for the next 113. And we have a responsibility to our readers - to tell them the truth.

I'd like to hear what all of you think about this. Don't hesitate to talk to me - you know where I'll be.


There is, in fact a website dedicated to publishing internal media memos: the "memos" portion of Jim Romenesko's media blog.

More Daily stuff:
> Letter to the editor about a sloppy headline
> Feedback from an editor of the Daily in the mid 1980s
> Sampling of feedback from jeopardy story
> New Daily editorial page editor Jason Pesick likening student activists to administrators
> The Daily's Gold Circle awards history
> My post on the Jeopardy issue

Posted by Rob at 11:55 AM

Detroit's Action News 7 is hard at work covering the pressing issues of the day here in Ann Arbor: alligators in the basement!

Posted by Rob at 4:01 AM

Sometimes I get cynical about the youth. Then people like Michael Rohde come along with a letter to the editor:

"To the Daily:

The title of the article "Gratz speaks at Union amidst massive protest" is misleading. I was studying at the Michigan Union at the time of the protest and went to the lobby to see what was going on. There were far fewer than 50 people there, even at the peak. There were less than 10 people actually yelling outside the door of the Pond Room. The rest of the people in the lobby were curious onlookers waiting to see something interesting happen. This was not at all a "massive" protest. If I am able to study in a room just a few feet from where this was taking place it could not possibly be "massive." The title is disrespectful to all truly "massive" and important protests that have taken place on this campus and in this country.

Michael Rohde
LSA junior"

My favorite Michigan Daily headline: "Academic Integrity Still Plagues Campus." Darn academic integrity, it's everywhere these days!

Posted by Rob at 3:34 AM

"A wily expert in the politics of the bazaar, he knew he had to sell his scheme on what was good for Americans and their security. He was happy to funnel information to the vice president that painted a picture of Saddam hunkered on a hair-raising stockpile of W.M.D. His group, the Iraqi National Congress, tried to spin our government and media through its "information collection program." Intelligence officials now say that the prewar information provided to Washington by this group was suspect and useless, even disinformation.

But here's the wild thing: the propaganda program was underwritten by U.S. government funds. So Americans paid Ahmad Chalabi to gull them into a war that is costing them a billion a week - and a precious human cost. Cops dealing with their snitches check out the information better than the Bush administration did. ...

Swept up in big dreams, the foreign policy dream team became dupes in Ahmad Chalabi's big con."

> From Maureen Dowd's column, "The Thief of Baghdad," although I think she's entirely too easy on Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, etc: I don't see them as dupes at all, just malicious warmongers and colonizers.

Posted by Rob at 3:22 AM

After inking a deal with the software company Ex Libris in 2002, the University Library is set to update the MIRLYN system next summer, switching to a new MIRLYN on July 6.

Posted by Rob at 3:12 AM

Sunday, February 15, 2004

The Ann Arbor Police parking ticket drop box near the doors of the Michigan Union might be closed, but Ann Arbor parking tickets can now be paid online for a $3.50 processing fee.

Posted by Rob at 3:59 PM

I'm a bit slow on this one, but I suppose it's better late than never. U-M philosophy and linguistics professor Peter Ludlow has been generating not a little media attention over an online experiment he's conducted, including a write-up in the New York Times, the BBC, the Detroit Free Press, and even an appearance on Comedy Central's Daily Show. Prof. Ludlow is getting all this attention after joining the online game The Sims Online and starting a newspaper called the Alphaville Herald to report on events in the virtual community. His account was famously canceled after he posted the identity of a 17-year old who operated a virtual brothel (although the characters aren't able to engage in sex acts in the game). The actions of Maxis (the company which operates the game) have sparked some online discussion about how free speech rights apply in virtual, private worlds.

All of this was ostensibly in the name of truth: Ludlow is collecting material for a book, and is interested in studying "emergence of an online governance structure, virtual legal systems and the development of social culture within the game." I'd be interested in what Prof. Ludlow thinks about blog culture in general, and the local blog scene more generally. As these types of online culture develop, perhaps an online BlogCourt won't be too far in the future.

Also, add Prof. Ludlow to an extremely short list of U-M professors who operate blogs - to my knowledge Juan Cole and Stephen Darwall are the only other faculty bloggers, although all three are fairly narrowly focused in subject matter. Am I missing anyone? With a large and talented faculty, I would assume a few more U-M faculty would have discovered the blog world before now, but perhaps they're too busy publishing or perishing.

Posted by Rob at 3:26 PM

The "Fog of War," a documentary about Robert S. MacNamera is now showing in the Michigan Theater:

-- FOG OF WAR (Michigan Theater)
Friday 2/13 at 7:15 & 9:30
Saturday 2/14 at 4:30, 7:15 & 9:30
Sunday 2/15 at 4:00, 6:15 & 8:30
Monday 2/16 at 7:15 & 9:30
Tuesday 2/17 at 7:15 & 9:30
Wednesday 2/18 at 7:15 & 9:30
Thursday 2/19 at 7:15 & 9:30
Running time: 106 minutes"

Here's the opening of the New York Times review:

"If there's one movie that ought to be studied by military and civilian leaders around the world at this treacherous historical moment, it is ''The Fog of War,'' Errol Morris's sober, beautifully edited documentary portrait of the former United States defense secretary, Robert S. McNamara. ... "

Also, see the info on the Internet Movie Database.

Posted by Rob at 3:54 AM

Budget Cuts Resistance

The University's latest round of budget cuts, cutting deep into a number of important student services offices, has sparked a little resistance. The organization resisting the budget changes for SAPAC called "Our Voices Count," has launched a website, and according to the following email, the LGBT community is organizing as well:

"Subject: ALL FIRED UP!!

We must act up!

The University has not only cut $8,000 from the budget of the Office of LGBT Affairs, it has also terminated Holly Ferrise after six years of dedicated service. All her programs will be cut, no more Speakers' Bureau or LGBT Outreach. We must act up against this and show the administration that this is not what the students need and expect.

Get involved: Monday 7pm 3909 Michigan Union

We can stop these changes!!

allfiredup_info at"

For background, see:

> My post on the SAPAC cuts
> The Activist Origins of SAPAC
> Excerpts from an Open Letter to Royster Harper about SAPAC printed in the Daily

Posted by Rob at 3:36 AM

The event on instant runoff voting with Alma Wheeler Smith has been rescheduled:

"Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice Presents:

Fixing Elections
- Get Out The Vote Efforts
- Voting Machine Scandals
- Instant Runoff Voting

Alma Wheeler Smith
Former Michigan State Senator
Craig Harvey
Michigan Focus on Reforming Elections

Monday, February 23, 2004
7:00 PM
Arbor Brewing Company
114 E. Washington
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Posted by Rob at 3:32 AM

As of late Saturday, U-M ("blue") was trailing MSU ("green") 48.54% to 51.46% in the online "No Guts no Glory" Gift of Life competition between the two schools, organized to encourage college students to register as organ donors.

Posted by Rob at 3:30 AM

I'm not sure how it can be "hilarious yet tender" having not yet been performed.

"... In the poignant monologue, "Memory of Her Face," a woman describes how planes "promising freedom" dropped bombs from the sky that burned her face away into molten flesh. Lastly, there is a reference to the University insinuated in "Eve’s Warrior Statement." Eve chronicles where she has met women of different backgrounds and nationalities from Pakistan, to Bosnia, to the University, where she spoke last year on V-Day.

Another new feature implemented in the production is the male "forum." RC senior Sam Botsford, LSA junior Brandon White, LSA junior Harlyn Pacheco and doctoral student Gary Brouhardt all collaborated together to write this hilarious yet tender take on their female counterparts. "Part of our inspiration was derived from personal stories and from hearing about what other guys talk about. We basically focus on the confusion we have towards the opposite gender as there’s no guidebook for us on how to understand women," Botsford explains. ... "

> From Daily: "Student-run 'Monologues' return to campus"

Here's my thoughts on the male monologue.

Posted by Rob at 3:26 AM

Friday, February 13, 2004

I don't attend many events with an "abstract" but this one sounds interesting!

"To Students, Faculty and Staff of the University of Michigan - please forward to anyone you feel will be interesting in attending this seminar.

Dr. Byron McCormick of General Motors will present a special seminar on
The Future: Fuel Cells & Hydrogen

Sponsored by the College of Engineering Hydrogen Council.

Friday, February 20th 1:30pm in 1017 H.H. Dow Building on North Campus.

The Future: Fuel Cells & Hydrogen

In this presentation, Byron will review: Global reasons for the Hydrogen economy, Reasons for fuel cells, Potential reinvention of the automobile, Next steps toward achieving the Hydrogen economy

Additionally, technical challenges and opportunities for invention will be highlighted to stimulate the creativity of the Engineering community."

Posted by Rob at 7:42 PM

Are you frustrated by the messages encouraging sexual promiscuity that pervade our culture? This year, you'll be able to celebrate your chastity by wearing a white shirt to school today in celebration of a "Day of Purity." It's unclear why sex would make you "unpure," it being nearly 100 years since most people thought in those terms. It's funny, but let's focus on what's at stake here: faulty, propagandistic sexual education is limiting young people's access to the information they need to make sexual choices:

" ... A report released this month by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a research group in New York and Washington, showed that more than a third of public school districts in the nation have a policy that requires that abstinence be taught as the only option for unmarried people. Half of the school districts require that abstinence be taught as the preferred option for young people but allow discussion about contraceptives. Less than 15 percent of the school districts allow abstinence to be taught as one of many options.

The report noted that teenage pregnancies declined by 21 percent in the 1990s. An analysis by Guttmacher researchers showed that three-quarters in the drop in teen pregnancy rates between 1988 and 1995 was due to more effective contraceptive use by sexually active teenagers. A quarter of the decline was due to teenagers being abstinent, the researchers said. ... "

> AP: "Teens promote abstinence by wearing white before Valentine's Day"

Also, watch out for Robitussin DM: it just might make you rob a gas station.

Posted by Rob at 9:22 AM

As if the Markley Flu weren't enough:

"Students living in Mary Markley Residence Hall will have to alter their walking routes to Central Campus after spring break, due to upcoming School of Public Health renovations.

On Feb. 23, the University will close Washington Heights Street between Observatory Street and the east end of the SPH II because of the demolition of the connector between SPH I and SPH II. ...

After Spring Break, those students will have to take East Medical Center Drive located north of Markley, said Diane Brown, Facilities and Operations spokeswoman. ... "

Posted by Rob at 9:15 AM

Jennifer Gratz spoke in the Union yesterday amid a general melee organized by BAM-N as part of their general tactic of encouraging angry personal confrontations to spark the revolution instead of building a diverse and thoughtful pro-affirmative action community on campus. Gratz, to her credit, seems to have been respectful:

"I don't agree with them, but I respect the fact that they've gotten involved," Gratz said.

> See Daily: Gratz speaks at Union amidst massive protest

Posted by Rob at 9:09 AM

Sam Woll has posted an updated version of her viewpoint in yesterday's Daily on her blog, and her sister has a letter to the editor in today's Daily about it.

Posted by Rob at 8:55 AM

I've received this feedback from Peter Mooney, an opinion staffer at the Michigan Daily in 1985 and 1986, opinion editor in 1987, and a city beat news reporter in 1988. Although it sounds as if BAM-N has attempted to meddle with the Daily in the past, they had nothing to do with last year's boycott. In fact, I've been a frequent and vocal critic of BAM-N, whom I feel represents few students on campus.

"I'm ex-Daily editor from the '80s, and have read your blog and its prescriptions for the Daily with interest. First off, I agree that too often the Daily can be excessively inward looking and self-referential (if that's not just saying the same thing twice). Your advice about appointing an ombudsman is a good one (I think one of the biggest frustrations among the Daily's many campus critics is the sense that no one on the Daily hears them). Too often the Daily could do some easy damage control by having someone (an ombudsman or editor) address an issue where they've pissed a lot of people off.

However, I do think that your blog reflects an assumption that disatisfied Daily readers are predominantly those that organize against it (BAMN etc.). In my time, and I expect now, there were many moderate/conservative students who felt that the Daily ignored/excluded them, and I suspect that a good ombudsman would spend as much time addressing these concerns as she would claims that the Daily is racist.

On the racism issue, I strongly reject the BAMN demands (with the exception of more minority recruitment). Essentially, by demanding that certain beats be created or certain series be written BAMN was seeking effective editorial control of the paper. While there's nothing wrong with attacking mistakes, poor writing, typos etc. I think that once the Daily allowed any group to determine the content of the paper on a regular basis it would cease to be an independent newspaper, and instead become an organ of that organization.

I also disagree with your argument that the Daily's management processes should be more public. Making M-Desk meetings public would, I believe, just make official M-Desk meetings meaningless (much like Michigan's clumsy Open Meetings Act). Power at the Daily, in my time at least, came from two sources -- one, holding a formal position such as being a section editor, and second, hanging around enough that you become part of everything going on. No one can realistically expect to impact the paper by simply showing up now and again at a "public M-Desk" meeting or by being a peripheral staffer who writes a story every couple of weeks.

Finally, I sensed in your analysis a belief that the Daily should be more open to the involvement of students with outside political commitments. There were several activists on the opinion page in my day, and some tried to get involved in news. That created a tremendous amount of tension between the "committed" Dailyites (some future journalists and others who
just loved the Daily) who felt that the Daily should attempt to live up national standards regarding the appearance of neutrality and fairness, and those who felt that the Daily was just another student organization where they could express themselves. I think that the Daily will only survive (and I hope thrive) if its goal is always to be to fairness both in reality and perception, and I think that that requires a policy that excludes political action outside the Daily."

Posted by Rob at 8:51 AM

U-M history professor and middle east expert Juan Cole wants to translate the "classics of American thought and literature" into Arabic through something he's calling the "The Americana in Arabic Library":

"The classics of American thought and literature have been little translated into Arabic. Worse, even when they have been translated, they have appeared in small editions (typically no more than 500 copies printed). Worse still, the distribution system for Arabic books is poor, and there are few public libraries, so that many books that have been published in the past are no longer available to most readers.

I have therefore decided to begin a project to translate important books by great Americans and about America into Arabic, and to subsidize their publication so that they can be bought inexpensively. I hope also to subsidize their distribution. This is a non-profit project, but until it grows large enough to become a proper foundation, it will not be tax-deductible. ... "

Posted by Rob at 8:44 AM

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Interested in giving money to your favorite candidate for president? You can now do it through

Posted by Rob at 9:50 PM

Rendezvous culture ...

"Drunken man makes scene at coffeehouse

A 51-year-old Ann Arbor man was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct Wednesday evening after he demanded a cup of coffee for a quarter and created a large scene when employees at a coffeehouse refused, Ann Arbor Police said.

Employees at Rendezvous Cafe on South University Avenue said the man came in after 8 p.m. and said he wanted coffee for a quarter, reports said. They said they told him it would cost $1.15, and he threw the quarter at an employee and threatened to kill them, reports said.

When officers arrived, the man was screaming in the middle of the business and pounding on windows, reports said. He was arrested and kept in a holding cell until he was sober, police said. The man has numerous convictions for panhandling, police said. "

A cup of coffee at White Market on Williams Street costs $.50, but I think they close at 7 PM.

Posted by Rob at 2:19 PM

The U of M might be forced to turn over hospital records to the Department of Justice, but an Illinois judge - citing federal and state law - has blocked a similar request at Northwestern.

"A move by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to subpoena the medical records of 40 patients who received so-called partial-birth abortions at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago was halted—at least temporarily—when a Chicago federal judge quashed the information request.

The ruling is the first in a series of subpoenas by the U.S. Justice Department seeking the medical records of patients from seven physicians and at least five hospitals, Crain's sister publication Modern Healthcare has learned. Besides Northwestern, Mr. Ashcroft is seeking patient records from University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers in Ann Arbor; Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp.; Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center of New York Presbyterian Hospital both of which are part of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System; and an unidentified San Francisco-area hospital.

In a 16-page decision, U.S. Chief District Judge Charles Kocoras denied the government’s request to obtain patient medical records from Northwestern, citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and Illinois’ medical privacy law. ... "

> Crain's Chicago Business: "Northwestern escapes DOJ subpoena"
> See also AANews: "Feds seek U-M's abortion files"

Posted by Rob at 2:16 PM

My friend Sam Woll has a viewpoint in today's Daily on the participation of the American Movement for Israel in the V-Day event on the Diag titled "Strange bedfellows? Israel activism and V-Day":

"Tomorrow in the middle of a rally that is being held to celebrate V-Day, and is in fact the symbol of a culmination of successful V-Week festivities here and around the world, will be an Israeli flag decorating one of the many student group tables. On that table will be 500 condoms. Need help making the connection? On the surface of the condoms is the text, "Israel: It’s Still Safe To Come.""

Meanwhile, the well-known local Palestinian activist Blaine Coleman (who has been in hot water for handing out a flyer at city council meetings reading "Israel - a Ku Klux Klan state, defended by a Ku Klux Klan City Council." See this Ann Arbor News story) Has sent an email to members of the Michigan Daily accusing me of "silence" on this issue, which I first heard of this morning. Here's his email:

"To the "Daily" Cheerleaders of V-Day and its Israeli Occupation component:
To the silent Michigan Student Assembly:
To the V-Day Bloggers who are strangely silent, too:

Today's "Daily" makes it pretty clear.

There's some kind of Gentleman's Agreement at the "Daily"-- Its editors really, really don't want to criticize what Israel and its campus cheering section are doing.

Even when Israel comes to campus most obviously.

This is the same "Daily" that never reported on the massive Rachel Corrie event of a few weeks ago, when the murdered student's parents spoke to hundreds, right here on campus.

Any excuse wil do, to maintain the editors' silence.

A "Daily" staffer (who's usually very anti-racist) recently told me, sorry, the "Daily" can't realy editorialize about "international" stuff.

But today's "Daily" carries a huge celebratory announcement of a CAMPUS V-Day event celebrating Israeli freedom to "do it".

While Israel continues to "do it" to millions of occupied Palestinians.

Come on, guys!!

Don't you have something to say about this?

In case you missed the Israeli V-Day event announcement, it's in the February 12th "Michigan Daily", on the Web at:

Israeli soldiers' freedom to "do it" must be a lot of fun for the soldiers, but it's no fun for over 3 million occupied Palestinian women, children, and men, who are only free to starve, and free to be robbed of everything, at gunpoint, by those Israeli soldiers. Those Israeli soldiers' "freedom" is now being celebrated on the Michigan Diag, at an occassion supposedly reserved to celebrate and promote women's freedom!

With more editorial silence by the Daily.
And with unusual silence from the normally anti-racist Bloggers like Goodspeed Update, Matt, Jenny, etc.

What does it take to break this silence on Palestine, and on Ann Arbor campus celebrations that exert considerable effort to deny what Israel is doing to Palestine?


More important, perhaps, than all of this: the remaining V-Day events:

" THURSDAY, February 12

1. Clothesline Project, SAPAC Office, 9-12am

2. Performing the Border, Michigan Room, The League, 8pm

Come learn about the disappearances and murders of hundreds of women in Juarez, Mexico. This year V-Day is donating a portion of our proceeds to an organization that is investigating these terrible crimes.

FRIDAY, February 13

The Vagina Rally! Diag, Noon

Come learn more about V-Day, the international organization that produces The Vagina Monologues on college campuses all over the world, and that donates our proceeds to SAFEhouse and other international charities. There will be speakers, poets, musicians, dancers, hot chocolate, candy, and a whole lot of fun!

SUNDAY, Feb. 15

The Vagina Monologues, 2pm and 7:30pm, Power Center

Get Your Tickets Now at MUTO $10 for students, $15 for community members!!! Proceeds go to SAFEhouse.

Questions? E-mail bigv at umich edu"

Posted by Rob at 10:55 AM

Former Michigan Review writer and editor and current employee of the Collegiate Network James Justin Wilson has written me a "letter to the editor" arguing that the supreme court's Southworth case means everything student governments do must be "viewpoint neutral." I have argued that the case, which only applies to student group funding, doesn't prohibit a student government from spending money that reflect political opinions. If you accept Wilson's logic, MSA would have to dissolve the Environmental Issues Commission, the LBGT Affairs Commission, the Student Rights Commission, (they have a viewpoint!) as well as not lobby state government or administrators to keep tuition low. MSA wouldn't be able to co-sponsor earth day events on the "coming out week" events held each year, lobby the administration on The Code, or actually do anything except for allocate funding. If Mr. Wilson thinks his legal interpretation is correct, he should bring a lawsuit against the student government of nearly all the public universities in the country.

"Yesterday's MSA allocation of more than $5,000 for students to travel to a choice event was irresponsible for two independent reasons.

First, never in MSA's recent history has it spent so much money on so few students for such a partisan purpose. For the students traveling to the event, it's nearly a 1000% return on their investment (mandatory student fees). If for no other reason than fiduciary responsibility, MSA was wrong to spend so much on so few. Furthermore, this criticism is completely
independent of my political views. I'd be just as angry if MSA gave YAF $5,000 for a lecture that only 200 people could attend.

Second, MSA is not an elected representative body, it is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose board of directors is elected by its members (the student body) and whose funding is obtained through a government grant (a tax levied on tuition to a state institution). Like any other 501c3 that receives state money, it cannot discriminate for a number of factors. But discrimination is not the lynch pin to the funding fiasco.

Political speech, particularly in the academy, is held to the highest level of judicial scrutiny. Your interpretation of the pertinent cases is inaccurate and not based whether the money goes to a student group or not. To begin with, the controlling decision in this instance is Wisconsin v. Southworth, not Fry. In that decision the Supreme Court in a 9-0 decision held that student governments at state schools must, like any other institution that receives state funding, preserve a constitutes--in this case a student's--freedom of speech. In that view, MSA is a body charge with fostering a discourse of ideas on campus not the dominant viewpoint.

According to the University's own Fundamental Tenants of Membership in the University Community, "Because the search for knowledge is our most fundamental purpose, the University has an especially strong commitment to preserve and protect freedom of thought and expression. Reasoned dissent plays a vital role in the search for truth; and academic freedom, including, the right to express unpopular views. is a cherished tradition of universities everywhere. All members of the University have the right to express their own views and hear the views of others expressed, but they must also take responsibility for according the same rights to others."

Considering that and the ruling in Southworth, MSA has a responsibility to preserve the speech of all students at Michigan, even those who posses what it deems to be an "unpopular views." This is to say that your "analysis" of Fry, which is not the controlling ruling in this instance, is wrong to assume that the tenant of viewpoint neutrality only applies to student groups. Such an argument is found nowhere within the ruling, nor in the resulting jurisprudence.

Consider a hypothetical. Imagine if a city government allowed the Republican party to hold a convention at the town's central park, but told the Democratic party to go elsewhere. In this case, the city is not acting in a viewpoint neutral way, and as such, stifling the DNC's ability to speak. The same would be true if the city gave unequal funding to electoral candidates.

Now, consider that within the context of the March for Women. Here is a situation where MSA is paying for students to go to a pro-choice event, but as you explain, it should send any to a pro-life event. This is equivalent to sending students, be they Democrats of Republicans, to the Democratic National Convention, but refusing to send any to the RNC.

As the Supreme court found in the seminal case Buckley v. Velao, money is one of the most fundamental forms of speech (think: "money talks"). More importantly, freedom of speech implies the necessity of being heard. In this case, Michigan is favoring one viewpoint by giving money to students to attend a rally (which is, in itself, a form of political speech).

To bring this full circle, what MSA did last night was favor one viewpoint over another. But as an organization that accepts state money and as a member of the University community, MSA cannot legally fund such a non-neutral event. ...

More information can be found at:"

Posted by Rob at 10:45 AM

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Are you a Lassiterian?

"Main Entry: Lass·i·ter·i·an·ism
Function: noun
Etymology: Derived from the name of University of Michigan history professor Matthew Lassiter

: a political, social, and cultural theory stressing the dominate role of the physical, social, and cultural landscapes of the suburbs in understanding contemporary American history

especially : as the suburbs relate to the mainstream media, national politics and policy-making, environmentalism, feminism, the war on drugs, the depoliticization of youth, and discourses of suburban dysfunction and exceptionalism in American culture

- Lassiterian noun or adjective"

And to be fair, although this definition is mine, my roommate Ari Paul originally coined the term.

Posted by Rob at 10:54 PM

President Coleman is planning a one day "Diversity Summit" to be held February 11, doing something that was rare during the Bollinger administration: talking about diversity issues within the U-M community.

"President Mary Sue Coleman has invited more than 300 University executive officers, deans, faculty, staff and students to discuss the campus climate during a daylong Diversity Summit Feb. 11.

The first event of its kind, the summit will use small-group discussions to foster the exchange of ideas among all ranks of faculty, students and staff.

"Our goal will be a better understanding of the current campus climate," Coleman says. "I want to make sure that all members of our community feel welcome to participate fully in campus life."

Senior Vice Provost Lester Monts, the president's senior counselor for the arts, diversity and undergraduate affairs, has coordinated the planning of the event with a program committee consisting of members of the Diversity Council, deans and executive officers.

"During the admissions lawsuits," he says, "we were focused on the national conversation about affirmative action. At this event, we are turning our attention to the important voices and questions within our own community." ...

Plenary speakers include Coleman at 8:30 a.m. and executive vice presidents Paul N. Courant (academic affairs), Timothy Slottow (finance) and Dr. Robert Kelch (medical affairs) at 12:15 p.m. In addition, Mark Chesler, professor of sociology, will speak on institutional change at 9 a.m. The sessions will be broadcast live on UMTV, and replayed periodically. UMTV is on Channel 22 or 69 on the campus cable network, and off-campus on Comcast Channel 22.

In addition, members of the campus community can go to the Sophia B. Jones Room and the Michigan Student Assembly Chambers (room #3909) in the Michigan Union to watch a live broadcast. Summaries of the proceedings will be distributed after the event in order to foster additional conversations about improving campus climate. See the Feb. 16 University Record for coverage of the day's discussions. ... "

> U Record: "President Coleman hosts historic diversity summit"

Posted by Rob at 10:22 PM

I recieved this email from the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County, the nonprofit organization which operates the new homeless shelter on Huron Avenue:

"Do you have a spare backpack lying around? The Shelter Association can use it! We are in need of backpacks (in good condition) that people who are homeless can use to carry necessary items during the day. If you'd like to donate yours, you can drop it by the Delonis Center at 312 W. Huron, Ann Arbor, any weekday from 9-5. Or if you need more information, call Deena at 662-2829 ext. 221.

Thanks for your help!

-The Shelter Association"

Posted by Rob at 10:04 PM

I was glad to read in today's Daily that the Michigan Student Assembly voted to fund buses to Washington, D.C. so students could participate in the March for Women to be held this April 25. Reproductive rights for all are one of our most important constitutional rights, and students should mobilize to fight back the attacks on our basic freedoms launched by the Bush administration, a right-wing judiciary, and some of our elected officials.

However, I was concerned by some parts of the article which seemed to suggest the specter of "viewpoint neutrality" still hung over the Assembly. According to the Supreme Court's 2000 ruling in Fry v. Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin, only the allocation of funding to student groups must be done on a "viewpoint neutral" basis. No, student government can't withhold funding from student organizations for political reasons, but I believe the student government as a whole can and should take firm political positions, and can use money not earmarked for student organizations for political purposes.

As an elected, representative body, I fully expect them to take political points of view: if they didn't they wouldn't be doing their job. When the administration of Matt Nolan and Jessica Cash forced through a resolution supporting the U.S.'s bombing campaign in Afghanistan without quorum, I was upset they were violating our internal rules, not that they were taking a point of view. I've written about this before, see my "Argument for a Political Student Government."

> See Daily: "MSA funds buses to abortion rights march"

Posted by Rob at 1:01 PM

The Center for Afroamerican and African Studies organizes an annual symposium to discuss the legacy of the three Black Action Movement strikes held by activists between 1972 and the late 1980s, which played a role in the creation of an academic department, 9 minority-cultural lounges, at least three student support offices, and arguably the University's affirmative action policies: a few short, second-page stories in the Daily. A late 1960s white radical involved in an organization which took over an administration building once and dug some bomb craters on the diag before splintering (a spin off of which bombs the pentagon and a number of other government buildings) holds a poorly-attended meeting: front page of the Daily, with a photo. Lest anyone be confused with my criticism: they're both worthy of celebration.

> Daily: "SDS founder hopes for new revival on campus"

Also, the Daily editorialized about SAPAC yesterday: "The changes to SAPAC will prove detrimental to both the program and its clients."

And Ari Paul isn't too upset with the bankruptcy of Tower Records in his column: "One fallen tower I'm not crying about".

Also of note:

> AANews: "Feds seek U-M abortion files"

Posted by Rob at 12:08 PM

The solution to road rage: walking. Or the bus.

" Angry driver slapped her, woman reports

An Ann Arbor woman said she was slapped in the side of the head by an angry motorist during an apparent road-rage incident this week, Ann Arbor Police said.

The incident occurred Monday evening in the 1900 block of West Liberty Street, but was not reported until Tuesday. The 30-year-old Ann Arbor woman said the driver behind her was tailgating her, so she slowed and let the driver pass, reports said. She said the driver stopped in front of her vehicle and confronted her, then slapped her, reports said.

The woman said she looked at the license plate on the car, and the motorist said, "That's right - look at my plate," police said. Police contacted the registered owner of the car and found out the identity of the 45-year-old Ypsilanti woman driving the vehicle that day, police said. She has not yet been interviewed. "

Posted by Rob at 11:55 AM

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Drop in Minority Enrollment On the Horizon?

Although the overall number of applications to the University is down 18%, the number of minority student applicants is down 23%, which could suggest next year's freshman class will also reflect a decline in the number of blacks, Hispanics and American Indians on campus. According to the Free Press story, the proportions of applicants admitted seem to corroborate this theory: only 30% of the already reduced pool of underrepresented minorities have been admitted, but the overall rate is only down slightly - 1% - meaning students of other races are being admitted at higher rates this year than in the recent past. For information about the racial composition of the current student body, see the Registrar's website, and this page for other detailed enrollment information.

> Freep: "U-M sees dive in minority applications"
> DetNews: "U-M loses minority applicants"
> Michigan Daily: "Applications from minorities drop in '03-04"

For those interested, here's a post about my view on affirmative action.

Also, the Daily is speculating that the "Markley Flu" or the strand of viral gastroenteritis going around is in fact caused by the Norwalk virus, and confirms administrators have instituted containment policies in South Quad after a new case appeared there, brining the total to 83, with 13 new cases since Saturday.

> AANews: "Spread of virus in dorms has slowed, U-M says"
> UMPR: "Norovirus confirmed in viral gastroenteritis outbreak at the University of Michigan"

Posted by Rob at 10:08 AM

Monday, February 09, 2004

According to preliminary numbers, minority enrollement at the University seems poised to drop this year, after the U.S. Supreme Court forced the University to re-formulate its undergraduate admissions procedures.

"ANN ARBOR -- Seven months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the University of Michigan’s undergraduate formula of awarding admission points based on race, the number of applications from blacks, Hispanics and American Indians is down 23 percent from the same time last year.

And the number of those admitted is down 30 percent.

Officials stressed the figures are only preliminary and thousands more applications will continue to be reviewed in a process the school hopes to finish by the first week of April. The application deadline was Feb. 1. [...]

The university said it has reviewed 44 percent of applications from minority students, while 69 percent of non-minority applications have been reviewed, indicating that minority students’ applications also have been arriving later in the admissions cycle. ... "

> Detroit News: "Applications down under U-M's new undergrad policy"

Posted by Rob at 8:45 PM

According to today's Daily, at least on person in South Quad might have contracted the "Markley Flu," in addition to people in Baits, Bursley, MoJo, and Markley. It should be noted, however, that these dorms collectively hold thousands of students, so the odds of getting sick remain extremely low.

Also, the AP has revised their count to "about 70."

Posted by Rob at 8:20 PM

I was going to post something about the "Boxes and Walls" exhibit, "An experiential "museum" built by students for students. It takes an interactive and emotional approach to diversity education," however according to their website, "Due to reasons beyond our control, Boxes and Walls will be postponed to a later date."

Posted by Rob at 1:49 AM

Bollinger Doing his Thing in NYC

The instructor of a course I'm taking now on University history has suggested Bollinger's administration was the University's first "imperial" presidency. His most recent move at Columbia - with big names and a presumably big budget - is classic Bollinger, who always had a flair for the grandiose.

"Gregory Mosher has directed and produced about 150 productions, at Lincoln Center, on Broadway and off, at the Goodman Theater in Chicago and in London at the Royal National Theater and in the West End. Now Mr. Mosher is about to take on his most unusual production yet, as director of the new "University Arts Initiatives'' at Columbia University.

It is a post created by Columbia's president, Lee C. Bollinger, to build the arts into the lives of students, professors and others and to build Columbia more into the arts.

"All of us believe there should be far less separation among intellectual and creative activities,'' Mr. Bollinger said during an interview in his office on Friday, as Mr. Mosher, sitting next to him, nodded in agreement.

"We don't know exactly how we will do this,'' Mr. Bollinger added. "But we are going to make an effort. We hope to build something quite distinctive, and to make a contribution.'' He declined to disclose Mr. Mosher's salary. The appointment, effective immediately, is to be announced today.

Finding new ways to thrust Columbia into the arts has been a priority for Mr. Bollinger since he became president in 2002.

Shortly after his arrival from the University of Michigan, where he was also president, he announced that Columbia and Michigan would jointly sponsor a stage adaptation of Salman Rushdie's novel "Midnight's Children'' by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Mr. Bollinger has had other ideas, too, like creating a long-term relationship with a dancer like Mikhail Baryshnikov or Bill T. Jones, although that has not come to fruition. Now he is seeking a more systematic way to meld Columbia, the arts and the community.

" 'Midnight's Children' made a stab at this,'' he said. "The idea is not to take that as a template, but to find other ways, too. We need someone to really think this through and do it, and that is Gregory. ''

He said he had heard about Mr. Mosher years ago, when he was trying to create the Arthur Miller Theater at Michigan. "Gregory was at the top of everyone's list for a director,'' he said. ..."

> From NYTimes: "Director's Job: Involve Columbia More in the Arts"

What Arthur Miller theater, you ask? I suggest the Daily's classic editorial on the subject, "Death of a Sales Pitch" from July 2002:

" ... The misfortune of these events is that the facility could have been completed without excessive waste and the University could be enjoying the benefits of a superb facility if the unrealistic goal of a "world-class" theater had not been so vigorously advanced. If Bollinger had adhered to a more reasonable vision for the project, Arthur Miller would have a structure to honor his contributions to the University and American drama. Bollinger's hubristic belief that he could accomplish the mammoth undertaking despite limited funds has hurt both the University's drama department and the entire community. "

Posted by Rob at 12:52 AM

Something I write about with some frequency is the lack of good public transit between Ann Arbor and the airport. (Aside from the highly successful student-run AirBus service before and after U-M holiday breaks.) I've obtained a draft copy of a 70-page report prepared by a consulting firm for the AATA about the feasibility of an airport link for Ann Arbor. Here's their conclusion:

"Currently, there is privately operated shared van service between Ann Arbor and Detroit Metro Airport, but no fixed route service - either direct or connecting. The survey results show that, in comparable areas, there is demand for both types of services. The general characteristics for successful services in other area are listed below. If airport service is to be considered between Ann Arbor and Detroit Metro Airport, similar service characteristics would likely be needed:

- Service from early morning until late at night.
- Service every 60 minutes or less.
- Direct service to and from the airport, ideally from a location with good automobile and transit connections.
- Secure parking at the outer end.

For profitable operation, relatively high fares are required - much higher than the typical transit fares. Fares for subsidized services are lower, depending upon the level of subsidy available. Parking fees can also be charged, with parking revenue used to reduce fares. Finally, airport services need to be well marketed, especially during a start-up period."

Read the complete report here. (3 MB PDF)

I'm not sure when this report was prepared, but the AATA was considering such a service but decided not to create it because the airport wanted to charge usage fees (generally unheard of between to public transportation entities, and in my opinion wrong,) however, I have argued the importance of the service is so great the AATA should create it first, and challenge the fees second.

Posted by Rob at 12:19 AM

Sunday, February 08, 2004

I'm a member of the newly formed student organization the "Urban Issues Collective." Below is information about the first event we're sponsoring. If you are interested in urban issues - whether New Urbanism, architecture, transportation, urban politics, etc - and would like to join the organization, come to the event or email one of the addresses below to get on the email list.


The Urban Issues Collaborative is holding an informational forum for undergraduates on pathways in urban planning.


* Find answers about how a career in urban planning can make a difference in addressing issues of sprawl, segregation, urban redevelopment, sustainability transportation, public health, education, and more ….

* U-M graduate students, professors, and planning professionals will discuss and answer questions about the field of urban planning and the prospects for the future.

WHERE: 1528 CC Little

WHEN: This Thursday, February 12 7:00-9:00 PM


Megan Gibb - Ypsilanti Planning & Development Department
Aseem Inam - Professor of Urban Planning
Melisa Tintocalis - U-M PlannerÂ’s Network
Miranda Schell - U-M Urban Planning Students Association
Carlton Basmajian - Ph.D. Program in Urban Planning

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Email Steve at smichejd at or Kumar at kkintala at

Co-sponsored by Students for PIRGIM, U-M Planner's Network, and Urban Planning Student Association."

Posted by Rob at 11:30 PM

"And Google has embarked on an ambitious secret effort known as Project Ocean, according to a person involved with the operation. With the cooperation of Stanford University, the company now plans to digitize the entire collection of the vast Stanford Library published before 1923, which is no longer limited by copyright restrictions. The project could add millions of digitized books that would be available exclusively via Google. ... "

> From NYTimes "The Coming Search Wars" found via Nathan Newman's blog.

The University Library here at Michigan has been involved in an ongoing digitization of their collections, although I'm not aware of anything quite as comprehensive as "Project Ocean." And although I don't know much about it, the website of the "University of Michigan Digital Library Project" seems interesting. In this area, the University Library is also planning to replace the aging MIRLYN, and has just launched a service called SFX which promises to make it easier to find the full-text of articles avaliable in the library's many databases and in general make research easier.

Posted by Rob at 11:05 PM

"Despite all of the things I learned in and out of the lecture hall in my five years, one thing that will remain beyond my comprehension are the very fundamentals of the contemporary college Greek system. Three months before I'll be kissing this place goodbye once and for all with a piece of paper that will (supposedly) put me in the upper echelon of society and guarantee me a job slightly more glamorous than associate manager in charge of restroom turd disinfecting at the local Steak n' Shake, I still haven't worked through the angles."

Thus begins the latest installment of the occasional email newsletter "The Manifesto" sent last Friday. This one in particular measures up to the name - clocking it at nearly 2,000 characters, or nearly four full pages single spaced. Here the manifesto skewers the Greek system for its hazing and irrationality, singling out black greek organizations for particular criticism. Here's excerpts:

"Greeks have been in existence for many moons while maintaining the same foundation of brotherhood and sisterhood, having bands of kids comes together under secrecy and ritual to establish connections with others of their ilk and form lifelong bonds that carry through collegiate life and beyond. However, from my understanding, the Greek system has, throughout the ages, received a set of morally ambiguous facelifts that the originators probably would not have approved of …

Let's start off with the organizations under Interfraternity Council, shall we? I hope my dear readers didn't succumb to the farce that is the Greek "recruitment" video that gets sent to incoming students presenting the idea that membership in these organizations will give them that opportunity they always wanted to feed starving Somalian kids … damn near all of these frats and sororities stand for social and recreational purposes and little else. Ladies, if you want to spend just a few more weeks in a high school atmosphere, you can join the sweeping throng of girls that migrate to the Mecca that is Hill Street every September in a massive ocean of cell phones, $300 purses and vapid chatter. Instead of worrying about men perceiving you as a piece of meat, you can get it from the sorors that make not-so-covert decisions based on approval or disapproval of physical appearance along with other asinine shit. Come to think of it, some of the sisters would do well as Abercrombie & Fitch hiring managers! When all is said and done, if you’re LUCKY, you will end up members of a group of ladies you’ll be forced to live with the following year and quickly grow to hate ("She took my curling iron! That bitch!").

At least they have clean homes for the most part, which is more than I can say for the fraternities. Oh, the filth …do these punks actually bring their families into these houses reeking of sweat, piss, cigarettes, and three-week old light beer? Leaving the dorms only to be forced to live in a building reminiscent of an urban wasteland is not my idea of the optimal college experience.

More than a few of the naive souls I know that signed up for rush did so with the promise of unending swells of beer, sex, and parties, but if 35-cents-a-can Milwaukee's Beast and that drunk, sweaty, STD-infested chick from your Econ 100 class that won't remember shit the next morning is your idea of a good time, then Godspeed. And these dudes go through these silly-ass hazing processes (more on that later) just to be a part of something so profound. Pardon my implied arrogance, but those who cant land frat groupies without going through a week of wearing short-shorts and extra-medium t-shirts with obscenities scribbled on them, or even getting hospitalized on some dangerous shit like that clown last semester, then you probably deserve to remain a sober virgin for the rest of your natural life.

All of the doings of the IFC, though, seem truly innocuous compared to the goings on in the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations, which cover most of the minority-based Greek organizations, particularly the African-American ones. The occurrences in the black Greek orgs have been a sore spot with me for some time now, perhaps because, despite my efforts to view their actions from a purely beneficial perspective, I cannot look past the hindering effects it has on a group of people that historically struggle just to see the inside of a college classroom.


Seriously, if you need to be a part of something resembling a Greek process, join the army and actually apply it to something. If you need booze and women, go to someone ELSE'S party. If you need a friend, try taking a shower. If you just need some love in your life, buy a dog. Problem solved."

Posted by Rob at 10:38 PM

"The University of Michigan Department of Public Safety has almost tripled the number of motor vehicle violations it writes annually over the past five years - and some drivers are angry about it, since some of the increased enforcement is happening on city streets.

The number of motor vehicle violations issued by DPS increased from 540 in 1999 to 1,545 in 2003, according to U-M. By comparison, the city of Ann Arbor writes more tickets per month, about 2,000 to 3,000, than DPS writes in a year. [...]

U-M spokeswoman Diane Brown said the increased enforcement was due to the mandatory seat belt law, which went into effect in March 2000. She said the law for the first time allowed officers to pull over motorists for not wearing a seat belt.

The university doesn't receive any money directly from the additional tickets. Fines from tickets written as state violations go to the state while the city captures court costs.

The city would only receive court costs for a speeding ticket for 1-10 mph over the limit written as a state code violation. That can range from $29 to $44. For a speeding ticket for 1-5 mph over the limit written as a city code violation, the city would get $80 of a $120 fine, according to the city. ..."

> From AANews: "U-M police tickets irk off-campus drivers"

Posted by Rob at 5:43 PM

Fearing disruptive anti-abortion protestors, St. Mary's has cancelled an event on instant runoff voting featuring former State Senator Alma Wheeler Smith.

"Subject: statement on cancellation of "Fixing Elections" presentation
From: "Fr. Tom Firestone"
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2004 14:45:27 -0500

February 6, 2004

Dear Peace and Justice Ministry,

I am writing to address the concerns some individuals have raised surrounding the invitation of former state Senator, Alma Wheeler Smith, to speak here at St. Mary Student Parish.

St. Mary's Peace & Justice Ministry asked Ms. Smith to speak at a small education gathering of St. Mary's parishioners interested in the topic "Fixing Elections." She has a strong history of advocacy for the poor and is known for her work on behalf of victims' rights and justice for juveniles. The subject matter to be addressed at the St. Mary's gathering was one in which many recognize her intellectual and practical expertise. St. Mary Student Parish seeks to promote every dimension of Catholic social teaching as an integral part of our faith formation, including preferential option for the poor. St. Mary's did not intend to create a forum for Ms. Smith to share her views on any topic other than that of the election process and issues related to the poor and disenfranchised.

It has come to my attention that individuals (many of whom are not active members of St. Mary's) planned to protest Ms. Smith's presence by demonstrations at the Confirmation celebration of high school students at another area parish, as well as likely similar demonstrations at the talk on elections at St. Mary's. In light of the plan of these individuals to demonstrate at the Confirmation Mass of a nearby parish and out of pastoral concern for these youth celebrating such a special day in the sacramental life of the Church, I have decided to cancel the education gathering related to the elections, scheduled for Monday, February 9.

My pastoral recommendation is that we each pray and silently reflect where the Holy Spirit is leading us and that we keep in our minds that such occasions as these are laden with opportunities for sinning against one another. Please let charity be our aim in all.

Sincerely in Our Lord Jesus Christ,

Fr. Tom Firestone"

Curious about "Instant Runoff Voting?" fellow Arborblog EdgeWise has an interesting post about the cancelled event and IRV more generally:

"Ann Arbor (MI) elected its first black mayor, Al Wheeler, using IRV in 1975. The system was repealed in a low-turnout, spring election. The repeal effort was sponsored by backers of the mayor candidate who had the most first choice votes but failed to win a majority when 2nd choice votes of eliminated candidates were counted. The challenge of hand counting IRV ballots, which took one week and did not go smoothly in this case, played a role in the campaign to repeal the system. Most modern voting equipment, including electronic Direct Recording Equipment (DRE) and optical scanners, is compatible with instant runoff voting. More information on IRV is available at the Center for Voting and Democracy. ... "

Posted by Rob at 5:25 PM

Shirley Neuman, LSA Dean under President Bollinger, has been asked to step down from her position of provost of the University of Toronto due to "personality conflicts" with staff and faculty.

> See Globe and Mail: "Provost leaving post to teach, U of T says"

Posted by Rob at 5:18 PM

The Markley flu might have reached Bursley Residence hall, and the total sicked has reached 69:

"Ten more University of Michigan students reported symptoms Saturday of a highly contagious stomach virus, and one of those possible cases came from a third dormitory, university officials said.

The new cases, including the first one at Bursley Residence Hall on North Campus, brought the number of suspected cases of viral gastroenteritis to 69. ... "

> AANews: "Ten more U-M students report having virus symptoms"

Posted by Rob at 5:14 PM

Saturday, February 07, 2004

On ideology and student government parties:

"3. College Republicans does not endorse a particular MSA party; however, some members are currently running for the University Party. Here is their info.

Interested in making a POSITIVE change? A MARKED difference on campus? Looking to get INVOLVED and IMPROVE student life?
* Quit complaining about things on campus, and DO something about it! The University Party is currently seeking candidates to run for the Michigan Student Assembly (! If you don't want to run, there are still plenty of oppurtunities to help campaign, or get involved in MSA!
* Come to a MASS MEETING:
Wed. Feb 4 @ 9 pm in Michigan League in Room # 4
Thu. Feb 5 @ 9 pm in Michigan League in Room # 4
Fri. Feb 6 @ 2-6 pm in Crofoot(Union)
Sat. Feb 7 @ 2-6 pm in 2105D(Union)

Questions? Contact:
Anita W. Leung
Budget Priorities Committee Vice Chair
College of Engineering Representative
Michigan Student Assembly"

Posted by Rob at 2:20 PM

Track the results from the Michigan democratic primary on this page on

Posted by Rob at 1:59 PM

"The United States must, must get out of NAFTA. We must get out of the WTO. We have to get out," Kucinich said. The union hall erupted with thunderous applause and loud cheers before he could finish the word "NAFTA." [...]

After Kucinich's appearance, Rex Johnson, 56, of Belding, said he "learned a lot" about the candidate's stand on labor issues. Johnson retired a year ago from Electrolux after working nearly 20 years at the plant; his wife still works there.

"I agree with what he said -- NAFTA's got to go, WTO's got to go. It's all got to go," Johnson said. "It's doing American business good but it's not doing the American people any good. And if we shrivel up and die, what's left?"

> AP: "Kucinich: U.S. should abandon NAFTA, WTO"

Posted by Rob at 1:54 PM

Nancy Cantor, former dean of the Rackham School and Provost under the Bollinger administration at U of M is moving from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she has been chancellor since 2001, to Syracuse University where she will be chancellor and president.

"Dr. Cantor, who grew up in New York City, has moved back and forth between public and private education. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and earned a Ph.D. at Stanford. She taught at Princeton before moving to the University of Michigan as dean of the graduate school and then provost and executive vice president."

> From NYTimes: "University of Illinois Chancellor Is Chosen to Lead Syracuse"

Posted by Rob at 1:35 PM

The Markley flu has spread to MoJo, effecting a total of 59 people out of the more than 1,180 living in Markley. University administrators have also created this website with information about the outbreak, including a message to Markley residents with the following suggestions for those effected:

"* Confine yourself in your room or the bathroom because you are contagious.
* Let your parents know you are sick.
* Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
* Use designated bathroom stalls, sinks, and showers for sick residents.
* Not leave your room, except to go to the bathroom, for the duration of your illness plus 3 days after your symptoms go away."

Here's part of the Ann Arbor News article, "U-M outbreak of virus hits another dorm":

" An outbreak of viral gastroenteritis spread to a second University of Michigan dormitory Friday, and the number of students who reported suffering symptoms of the disease rose to 59.

Most students who have been sick with the disease, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, live in the Mary Markley dormitory. But a few newly reported cases were from Mosher Jordan, a neighboring dormitory, said Alan Levy, university housing director of public affairs.

Levy noted that some reports are from students who are already feeling better but who just found out they needed to report their illness to administrators. He said it was too early to know whether the outbreak is ebbing. ... "

Posted by Rob at 1:30 PM

Friday, February 06, 2004

On the All-Male Monologue

The U-M production of the Vagina Monologues is coming up - the two performances are scheduled for 2:00 and 7:30 PM on Sunday, February 15. I have attended this production each year I've been a student here at Michigan and each time the quality of the production is superb. I anticipate this year's will be no different, and I encourage all that are able to attend. That said, there has been much discussion around campus about the so-called "male monologue." The students putting on this year's production have decided to script and include along with Eve Ensler's monologues a monologue written and performed by men.

I think this is a bad idea, for a couple reasons. First, in my opinion including men on-stage violates the premise of the production. The show's power derives from the fact it breaks taboos constructed by a patriarchal society where men frequently and casually discuss their penises, but where the vagina is somehow something secret, dirty, and undiscussed. Since the show is about women and women's bodies, I see no reason why men should be included - the mainstream discourse on sexuality is already dominated by men, and the point of Eve Ensler's production is to clear a little space where women can have the floor, if only for one night. Second, including a monologue not written by Ensler seems to violate the artistic integrity of the work - the rest are drawn from her work, based on interviews with hundreds of women, and to include a new male-authored monologue, no matter how well intentioned, would deviate from that vision.

Posted by Rob at 9:24 PM

In lieu of Carol Mosely Braun I'll be voting for Howard Dean in tomorrow's Democratic caucus. That said, I think the entire Democratic field is strong - I would feel comfortable supporting almost any current candidate. There are no Mondales or Dukakises here. It's important to note that contrary to popular belief, Mr. Dean was known as a "moderate" who brokered a deal as governor of Vermont to provide healthcare to that state's most vulnerable citizens (instead of the universal plan the liberals wanted), and balanced the state's budget. Indeed, if anything he's a bit conservative for my tastes. (the NRA likes him, for example) And although the early years of his resume are identical to Bush (elite private prep school, Yale, a few boozy lost years) the man did go to medical school, and prove himself as an effective political leader, and was willing to take a strong anti-war and anti-Bush position when so many other "democrats" were voting for tax cuts and injust wars. And he has a blog.

Posted by Rob at 8:40 PM

Another interesting event:

The Son of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad

Thursday, February 19, 2004
Michigan Union Ballroom

Doors Open 6:30 PM
Lecture Begins at 7 PM

"I always had a high opinion of Wallace Muhammad's opinion."
~ Malcolm X (Autobiography, pg. 366)

Don't miss this rare opportunity!"

Posted by Rob at 8:30 PM

Planning on voting in tomorrow's Democratic caucus? Most students can vote with a simple proof of residence (voter ID card, or recent bill with a local address, for example) tomorrow in room 2105A of the Michigan Union from 10AM to 4PM. I've heard Governor Jennifer Granholm will be present to kick off the voting a little before 10:00 AM. The U-M College Democrats website has more information about voting.

Posted by Rob at 4:44 PM

"Ironically, an important student advocate on campus says he feels lost and unknown in the University bureaucracy. Robert Holmes, the University ombudsman, provides students with confidential counseling service to get advice and settle disputes with the University.

If students feel that they are being treated unfairly or that the University has made an error, the Ombuds Office can assist them in resolving the issue, Holmes said.

“Number one, I help — through information — to empower students to be good advocates for their position. Secondly, I give them options that perhaps, in the heat of the moment, they didn’t consider,” Holmes added." ...

> Daily: "'U' Ombudsman acts as student advocate"

Posted by Rob at 4:39 PM

A website has been launched by a group calling themselves the "The Michigan Tenants Counseling Program" to "providing the services that the Ann Arbor Tenants Union used to provide." Not a tenant union, the website is a collaboration between the U-M Student Legal Services, the City of Ann Arbor, and Legal Services of South Central Michigan to serve all Washtenaw County residents and "promote decent and affordable rental housing."

Posted by Rob at 4:33 PM

The Markley Hall flu is expanding beyond the first hall where the outbreak had begun earlier this week, and now has effected a total of 43 people (or 46, according to the AP):

"The University's Occupational Safety and Environmental Health department confirmed yesterday that a total of 43 students have now contracted the contagious viral gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu, in Mary Markley Residence Hall during the past four or five days, said Alan Levy, Director of Housing Public Affairs. [...]

Other floors housing infected students include third Reeves, a women's hall, and first Reeves, a men's hall.

But Levy pointed out that not all 43 students were sick today - the estimate also includes students who were sick earlier this week, but only recently notified authorities of their illness.

The entire first and fourth floors of Markley were quarantined as of early this morning."

> Daily: "Flu outbreak spreads"
> See also, AP: "Outbreak of gastroenteritis at University of Michigan dorm strikes 46"

Posted by Rob at 11:47 AM

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Dean Campus Visit Cancelled

I've just learned Howard Dean's scheduled appearance on campus tomorrow has been cancelled, after he has cut his trip to Michigan short to travel to Wisconsin, apparently pinning his candidacy on the results from that state:

"ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) -- Presidential candidate Howard Dean cut short his visit to Michigan Thursday, canceling an event with Detroit voters Thursday evening and a Friday event in Ann Arbor to fly to Wisconsin.

The schedule change came after Dean was greeted by small but enthusiastic crowds during morning events in Flint and Royal Oak and visited Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Dean had said in an e-mail distributed Thursday that Wisconsin was the key to continuing his campaign.

Dean wrote: "The entire race has come down to this: we must win Wisconsin. ... A win there will carry us to the big states of March 2 and narrow the field to two candidates. Anything less will put us out of this race." [...]

"Winning Michigan is going to be hard," [Dean] said. But he also noted he's still second in the delegate count behind Kerry, and hopes to pick up more delegates in Michigan, Maine and Washington state this weekend.

"If I can stay close to Kerry, I can take him in the end," he said. "

> AP: "Dean courts Michigan voters, then cancels events to go to Wisconsin"

Meanwhile, Michigan senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow have endorsed John Kerry.

Posted by Rob at 4:16 PM

The St. Mary Student Parish "Peace & Justice Ministry" is holding an event next Monday titled "Fixing Elections" on voting machine flaws, and instant runoff voting with former Michigan state senator from Ann Arbor Alma Wheeler Smith. Here's the details:

"Fixing Elections

* Get Out The Vote Efforts
* Voting Machine Scandals
* Instant Runoff Voting


Alma Wheeler Smith
Former Michigan State Senator


Craig Harvey
Michigan Focus on Reforming Elections

Monday, February 9, 2004
7:30 PM
St. Mary Student Parish
331 Thompson Street
Ann Arbor, MI"

Posted by Rob at 1:32 PM

Ah, Markley

At least 15 students living on the fourth floor of Markley's Reeves House have fallen ill with viral gastroenteritis, or the stomach flu. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, headache, low fever and stomachache. University officials are telling those affected to stay in their rooms, not attend classes, and not eat in the cafeteria:

"Fourth Reeves residents such as LSA freshman Alok Ezhuthachan said they have been suffering from symptoms including vomiting and stomach discomfort.

"I got sick (Tuesday) night around 8 p.m. My roommate was sick on Friday and Saturday, and since then, basically one person per room is sick on the entire hall," Ezhuthachan said."

> From Daily: "Stomach flu hits Markley dorm"

Also, the Daily runs a lovely think-piece on Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper, titled "Student Affairs VP reflects on 'U' career". The headline makes it sound as if she's retiring, but the article makes clear she'll continue to be the face of budget cuts in the near future:

"With much activity revolving around the Division of Student Affairs recently, E. Royster feels many student groups have been forming their opinions of her with only half the facts.

"Sometimes I get impatient with what I call 'running with bad information,' " she said. ..."

Also of note: an initiative of Mary Sue Coleman to expand SAPAC training for Freshman is one part of that organization not being cut: "SAPAC to offer new program for freshmen"

Posted by Rob at 3:05 AM

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

It's confirmed:


WHEN: THIS FRIDAY (Feb. 6), 10:30 AM

Dean has made Michigan a priority...let's show him that he made the right choice!
Sponsored by Students for Dean and the College Democrats"

Posted by Rob at 11:14 PM

" ... Dean is scheduled to talk with U-M students about jobs during an 11 a.m. appearance Friday on campus at a yet-to- be-determined location, while Sharpton was to appear for a 7:30 event tonight at EMU's McKenny Union. But it was unclear whether other candidates will campaign here. ... "

> From AANews: "Phones ringing as campaigns converge"

See also, this story in the Detroit News filed from Ann Arbor about U-M students campaigning in Residence Halls: "Young voters' interest fizzles":

"ANN ARBOR - Campaigning for the youth vote has its own peculiar challenges for Megan Wilbur.

Prowling the dormitory hallways of the University of Michigan, Wilbur has been known to discuss Howard DeanÂ’s attributes to half-naked guys in towels. Often, she shouts her get out the vote message over the beeps and gurgles of video games.

But the biggest challenge facing the 21-year-old senior from Ann Arbor is one faced by a generation of political activists - finding a way to motivate young voters.

Hopes for a youth voter boom in 2004 are fading with the campaign of former Democratic front-runner Howard Dean. The legions of young voters inspired by his Internet-focused campaign are dropping out of the process rather than switch their allegiance to another candidate, according to Michigan pollsters. ..."

It seems Michigan youth will have an opportunity on Saturday to show not only that they are interested in politics, but for some, to show appreciation for a candidate has shown they are a priority in his campaign, however much in "trouble" it seems to appears. As long as everyone votes against Bush next November, I don't see why how well the candidates have fared thus far in the primary process should have any impact on our votes.

Posted by Rob at 3:41 PM

Rev. Al Sharpton to Speak at EMU Tonight

Featuring Rev. Al Sharpton

Wednesday, February 4, 2004
McKenny Union Ballroom
Eastern Michigan University

Presented by:
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. - Epsilon Eta Chapter & "The College Democrats"

Part of the enduring Alpha voter registration campaign...
"A Voteless People is A Hopeless People"

w w w . u m i c h . e d u / ~ a l p h a s


Posted by Rob at 3:37 PM

Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm wasn't too happy when her three children - 14, 12, and 6 - caught an intimate glimpse of Janet Jackson during Sunday's bawdy Superbowl.

Posted by Rob at 11:05 AM

A long-delayed study (released nearly one year behind schedule) seems to show no racial profiling by the Ann Arbor Police.

Posted by Rob at 11:00 AM

"Fifth, when it comes time to write a paper, skim the reading material for a few quotes that could reasonably be suggestive of some underlying liberal theme — for example, that "The Red Badge of Courage" is actually about lesbianism— and use these quotes as evidence of the underlying theme. Make sure you emphasize in your paper that "although this topic is not explicitly addressed in the text" your excerpted quotes can reasonably be suggestive of whatever generalized theme you chose. Any substantive knowledge is not required because — surprise-surprise —most 300-level liberal arts classes have no substantive basis. They’re merely a front for teaching the politics of race, class and gender.

Finally, sit back and watch the A's pour in. You’ll rise like the privileged class and separate yourself from the rest of the pack like the blacks, whites, Asians, Indians and Hispanics in the Mary Markley cafeteria. ... "

Yes folks, that's from former Michigan Review editor and columnist D.C. Lee's new column on the editorial page of the Daily (Titled "2L Cool J" - He's a second year "2L" law student), which starts today. To jog your memory, it's the same D.C. Lee who ran for a law school seat on MSA one year ago.

Looks like the Daily editors got their wish - this is from November 21, 2003:

"The Michigan Daily is looking for conservative editorial writers. This could be a wonderful opportunity for the Republicans to balance out the Daily a little. Anyone interested should contact Jason Pesick at jzpesick at or Zachary Peskowitz at zpeskowi at applicant should have some writing experience."

Posted by Rob at 10:48 AM

Just when you thought your schedule of events to attend was full ... it turns out the collective, Radigrrrl, SOLE, and Students for Choice are sponsoring an exhibition of the traveling Sex Workers Art Show next Wednesday, February 11, at 8:00 PM in the Pendleton Room of the Michigan Union. The event is billed as "an eye-popping evening of visual and performance art created by people who work in the sex industry to dispel the myth that they are anything short of artists, innovators and geniuses! The organizers are asking for a voluntary $3-$5 donation for admission.

Posted by Rob at 2:21 AM

"Joke" indeed: here's some of the responses online to the Daily's lead "story" in last Friday's joke edition: "Three 'snobs' slain outside Rick's" It makes me wonder what the responses say that aren't "approved" by the newspaper to appear on their website.

"As a Jewish graduate reading this article I think it is offensive. With everything going on on college campuses right now and because of what's happening in the Middle East I would like to think the people on campus aren't helping to feed into bashing Jewish people, even if it is self deprecating."

"I love good satire but these articles are not funny nor do they satisfy they definition of satire. They are sad and cruel. I would expect this kind of writing from an angry seventh grader not a UM scholar. Your attempt at cutting edge humor was not successful. I believe in free speech but why use this treasured right to shield failed satire."

"When I first read this article my initial reaction was one of complete shock and anger. How, in what is supposed to be merely a joke, could such offensive stereotypes be attached to an entire religious group on campus? The blatant ignorance here is deeply troubling."

"Spoof issue or not, the Michigan Daily should be ashamed of themselves for allowing such garbage as this to be printed. Moreover, as was mentioned in a previous post, an apology to the Jewish Community should be given, the sooner the better."

"I graduated from U-M twenty years ago with an MA. ...That this "humor" was actually printed is an outrageous disgrace to the University of Michigan's Student Publications, and to the University of Michigan in general. It is not well conceived or well written, and it certainly is not funny by any measure. Who is in charge over there these days?!"

"The topic isn't funny and is seriously misguided in its attempt to make a current difficult situation humorous. This is why there are supposed to be editors. When a writer fails in his/her attempt to be satirical, ironic, humorous, spoof, call it what you will, an editorial staff is supposed to edit, reject, totally rewrite, or publish with editorial comment."

"i am not a jew, but i found this article deeply troubling. while i understand it was a sophomoric attempt to spoof a long-standing campus culture clash -- which existed when i was at um in the 60's and when my parents were there in the 40's -- and not ostensibly meant as an attack on a cultural or religious group, it went too far. the satirical account of the murder of young girls, in whatever context, is never funny. ... and if i, a nonjew, am as concerned about this issue as this letter shows, think what jews, on campus and who read the spoof article, must feel?"

"Reading a spoof should not make one feel sad, hurt or disappointed. In a time when people should be coming together I would not think it appropriate to further stereotypes that we have been trying to fight for years. Being a jew in a sorority does not make me a snob. ...You are discussing wanting to kill people...what is funny about that?"

"The Daily printing this article is an all new low in "editorial freedom". Someone, somewhere once said with freedom comes responsibility and the writers/editors missed that."

Posted by Rob at 2:09 AM

John Kerry, who carried all states except South Carolina and perhaps Oklahoma (where Clark did well) in the democratic primaries yesterday, looks to be doing well in Michigan in a poll conducted in advance of this Saturday's Democratic caucuses.

Posted by Rob at 1:50 AM

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Keep tabs on the results for today's democratic primaries as they come in on

Posted by Rob at 8:42 PM

Dean to Visit Campus Friday

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean is coming to Ann Arbor this Friday. Although the details are tentative, he's scheduled to speak on campus "midmorning" somewhere on campus, most likely the Michigan Union or League.

Posted by Rob at 7:59 PM

The fifth of the eight public lectures in the "Michigan Colloquium on Race and Twentieth-Century American Political Development" organized by professors Matt Lassiter, Tony Chen, and Robert Mickey is this Thursday. Professor Mae Ngai will be giving the lecture "Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America" in Angel Hall B on Thurday at 4:00 PM. Here's the event listing on, a website that allows people to enter and share event information.

Here's some info on Prof. Ngai:

"Mae Ngai teaches at the University of Chicago, and is the author of a new book published by Princeton University Press: IMPOSSIBLE SUBJECTS: ILLEGAL ALIENS AND THE MAKING OF MODERN AMERICA (2004). She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1998, and is currently spending the academic year as an American Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Her talk will focus on the origins of illegal immigration and the reshaping of the relationship between race and citizenship in modern America."

Posted by Rob at 6:54 PM

Keeping track of the embittered former members of government who are now making a career of criticizing the Bush administration on the lecture circuit and/or working for a democrat? Well, in addition to former director of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives John J. Dilulio, former counter-terrorism specialist at the National Security Council Rand Beers, add retired CIA agent Ray McGovern, who had this to say at a talk at U-M Dearborn:

"I feel a deep sense of outrage and deep anger at what's happened, not only because a process I spent twenty-seven years at which has to be pure and truthful has been prostituted, but because our very constitutional framework has been subverted."

Posted by Rob at 11:43 AM

The suggestions from this town hall meeting held on the future of north campus sounds remarkably similar to a design project conducted by Dean Douglas Kelbaugh called North Campus Redux, completed with grant money given him by B. Joseph White during his interim presidency. Maybe it's because Mr. Kelbaugh himself seems to have been in attendance:

" ... "We need to recognize that North Campus must take our share of the traffic (in this part of the city)," Kelbaugh said. "North Campus is too old and too big to be treated as a satellite campus. We are a destination and we need to bring in more retail and food service, but keep it compact to retain the beauty of our area."

Several regular bicycle riders shared issues and concerns they encounter while commuting. Others expressed interest in better access to other campuses as well as other areas of the city, such as Lower Town. One rider asked if bus drivers could be more consistent in keeping the internal bus lights illuminated to allow for late-night studying while riders return to their apartments. ... "

> From U Record: "Suggestions for North Campus plan: Make it accessible, retain beauty"

Also, 22 Hopwood awards have been announced, including the following Ann Arbor residents: Robyn Anspach, Jeremiah Chamberlin, Hannah Holtzman, Donovan Hohn, and Michelle Regalado Deatrick.

Posted by Rob at 2:05 AM

"... Tripp was asked to speak about the campus environment before BAM - a separate group from today’s BAMN - began its efforts in the late 1960s. BAM’s protests of the University led to the creation of programs designed to increse racial diversity. As a student, Tripp was not alone in his efforts to promote the goals of the ASU, which included hiring more black coaches and other faculty.

"Many people supported this endeavor — it was not a singular isolated brain-trust, but many people wanted to have improvement. I was the instrument to have it take place," Tripp said. He added that the demographics of the supporters included men and women of all races. ...

The Michigan Daily printed publications from Tripp under the name "Richard X" in a time where many opposed the paper’s role in the movement.

"The Daily defended our right to speak, defended our right to write," Tripp said. He added that it provided an open forum for the issues, and that "the Daily was the one who got me attention from people who were black, white, graduate students and others."

Tripp reiterated the fact that he was not able to act alone in his campaign. "Remember this — Richard Tripp didn’t type. That meant that other people had to type (the letters) for him," he said. ... "

> From "Speaker recounts 1960s black activism"

Posted by Rob at 1:57 AM

Monday, February 02, 2004

I'm excited about this series of events:

"Join the Black Student Union, Multi Ethnic Student Affairs and the Center for Afro-American and African Studies as we "Rediscover the Legacy": Black Activism at the University of Michigan

Keynote Speaker
Alexa Canady,
U-M Activist Alumna
First Black Female Neurosurgeon in the United States
Monday February 2
6 p.m.
"The power of activism"
Henderson Room, Michigan League
Reception precedes talk

History Lesson: Being Active at Michigan; Conversations with Past Activists
Tuesday February 3
5 p.m.
South Quad, Ambatana Lounge
Reception to follow

Where do we go from here? Let’s talk about it at the Markley Unity Dinner
Wednesday February 4
5 p.m.
Markley Dining Hall

Open House and Rededication of the Asubuhi Lounge in West Quad
Thursday February 5 - 4-6 p.m.
Ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

For further information, please contact ecnrip at"

Posted by Rob at 12:28 PM

Frequent commenter T.J. Wharry has announced his "retirement" from this website.

Posted by Rob at 12:10 PM

Incoming Daily editorial page editor Jason Pesick has done something likely a first in Daily history: put student activists in the same box with censorship-minded administrators. Over its entire history, the Daily has had a close relationship with students, and frequently the Daily stood in for the opinion of the student body. But no longer - if you're not with us, you're against us! Because we're disliked by everyone, we must be independent! Unfortunately for Pesick, the Daily just isn't as independent as he'd like to make them out to be - sure, they are self-financing, but the administration can remove their editors and control their finances, and they use cut-rate University phone lines, internet connections, and rent a university-owned building.

"... In the '70s, the University attempted to weaken the Daily by publishing The University Record on Mondays, the day the Daily did not publish. In 1996, copies of the Daily were stolen to prevent their circulation, and students who boycotted the Daily in the last academic year attempted to do the same. The Michigan Student Assembly fanned the flames of the boycott with a resolution supporting the boycotters. And only last year, students called upon the University to remove the Daily's office space.

Despite these spats, there remains no more dedicated advocate of those issues that concern students than the Daily's editorial page. The paper is financially and editorially independent of the University. We receive no funds and we will accept no funds from MSA or the administration, and they will not dictate what appears on our pages. We rely on the University only to provide us with discerning readers.

Borrowing from a line coined by the journalist Edward Murrow, President John Kennedy said of Winston Churchill, "He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle."

As I now assume the helm of this page, I promise you, our readers, that during my tenure we will use the power of the pen to further our idealistic principles: namely, social equality, economic opportunity and our celestial goals of academic and editorial freedom."

> From "Our journey forward"

Also of note from the Daily:

> "SAPAC to move counseling services"
> "'Last lecture' lauds political activism of today's students"

Posted by Rob at 11:56 AM

Sunday, February 01, 2004

"Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who has made a fight against corporate special interests a centerpiece of his front-running campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, has raised more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years, federal records show.

Kerry, a 19-year veteran of the Senate who fought and won four expensive political campaigns, has received nearly $640,000 from lobbyists, many representing telecommunications and financial companies with business before his committee, according to Federal Election Commission data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. ... "

> W. Post: "Kerry Leads in Lobby Money"

See also:

> AP: "Gore campaigns for Dean ahead of candidate's town hall meeting"
> AP: "Kerry campaign visits Detroit-area churches, mosques"

Posted by Rob at 6:30 PM

"The significance of the book pivots not upon its details but upon the fact of its publication. To generations of thinkers schooled in the petty arts of self-aggrandizement, the very idea that the intellectual class might oppose political power seems merely silly. Anyone willing to risk their jeers, however, will find in The New Imperialism a fresh rallying ground, and in David Harvey a reminder of what intellectual leadership can mean in dark days."

> From a review of David Harvey's "The New Imperialism"

Posted by Rob at 6:09 PM

Watching the Superbowl?

"CBS is refusing to run the winning ad, "Child's Pay," on the Super Bowl. Watch the ad and join the nonpartisan effort calling on CBS to run public interest advocacy advertising like ours. Even if CBS won't air the ad, we're not going to let that stop us. During the Super Bowl half time show, at 8:10 and 8:35pm EST switch over to CNN to watch the ad CBS won't air. And let us know you're joining the one-minute boycott."

> From

Posted by Rob at 5:57 PM

Presidential politics: here's what the dems think about fuel economy and Kerry will be in Detroit, and Gore appearing with Dean tomorrow in Roseville.

Posted by Rob at 2:43 AM

An email being circulated:

"Our Voices Count: A Coalition of Students Dedicated to Preserving SAPAC's
Mission and Services

Don't let the administration decide for us what students need! Come to the first "Our Voices Count" meeting to learn about how you can get involved to help save Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center! SAPAC started as the result of protests by women on campus. Let's not be silent now!

Our Voices Count Meeting
Monday, February 2
MSA Chambers, 3rd Floor, Michigan Union

**At this meeting, you will hear information gathered from former and current SAPAC volunteers, sexual assault survivors and campus activitsts about the reasons that the Unversity's reorganizing of SAPAC will lower the quality of services and support received by survivors of sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, stalking and sexual harassment.

**We will also be signing people up to join this campus-wide coalition in support of saving SAPAC's counseling services and 24 hour crisis line."

Posted by Rob at 2:23 AM

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