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February03 (Feb. 18-22)



Monday, May 31, 2004

Noodle Chain Coming to State Street

According to their website, and a short story in this month's Ann Arbor Observer, the old location of Decker Drugs will soon be the site of a "Noodles & Company." According to an official company press release, Noodles & Company, founded in 1995, is in a phase of "aggressive expansion," currently operates 87 restaurants in nine states, and plans to have "approximately 200 locations" by 2006. What precisely will a "Noodles & Co" serve? Their website describes it as "a daily dining destination built upon a chef-driven menu inspired by spicy Asian food, American comfort food and time-tested European dishes," assuring us their restaurants "creates a craveable experience that is broadly appealing across diverse markets, demographics and day parts." Day parts? Craveable? File that one in the "new words" department, along with "actionable," "suiciders," and "warfighters"

The company is actually opening two locations soon: one in the Arborland mall, and the location on State Street which will be two stories, and according to the Observer, will be full historic renovation seeing to "preserve as many of the building's historic features as possible." In my mind, this is similar to a number of other locations in the area. Drake's Sandwich shop on North University was replaced with a Brugger's, who decorated their drab corporate interior with historic photos of the area; Potbelly's which replaced the former store of a record store (albeit corporate, which went out of business) and book store (which relocated) in a two level renovated space which showcase's the building's "old" look, and now a specialty chain seeks to replace the location formerly occupied by a local, independent druggist.

> See related post: "The Gentrification of Ann Arbor"

Posted by Rob at 7:24 PM 4 Comments

Sunday, May 30, 2004

The lead story in this week's New York Times magazine: a true-life thriller about teenage sex, sure to scandalize almost all the people who read the New York Times Magazine - parents. I'm skeptical of any story where the primary research consisted of trolling the web for teens willing to talk online about their sex lives. Here's one of the passages worth your time:

"Dating practices and sexual behavior still vary along racial and economic lines, but some common assumptions, particularly about suburban versus urban kids, no longer hold true. Parents often think that teenagers who grow up in cities are more prone to promiscuous sexual behavior than teenagers in the suburbs. But according to a comprehensive study sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Development, more suburban 12th graders than urban ones have had sex outside of a romantic relationship (43 percent, compared with 39 percent)."

> The article: "Friends, Friends With Benefits and the Benefits of the Local Mall"

Here's a few Ann Arbor News articles of note:

> "Fewer blacks apply to U-M"
> "Nominations for Greenbelt committee spark controversy"
> "Crowd lining up in Dingell election"

Posted by Rob at 10:55 PM 2 Comments

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Stevens Photos

Click to view full images: I took these photos at about 4 PM March 26. Police are asking anyone in the area when the fire started on early Tuesday morning who might have seen anything to call (734) 994-4976.

> See related post: "Stevens Co-Op Burns"
> See also AANews: "Cause of fire at co-op remains unknown"
> See many more photos thanks to Commonmonkeyflower
> More photos here, taken by Niel Dayringer.

Posted by Rob at 12:10 AM 2 Comments

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

"The Link" ...

... Will be free from June 14 through September 30. However, that's also when the hours will change from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, to 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday.

> AANews: "Link bus system gets a sign of the times"
> The Link Website

Also, here's a few break-ins:

"2100 block of Commonwealth Boulevard, occurred between Friday and Monday. No sign of forced entry; laptop computers and equipment taken. Total value: $11,200.

900 block of Packard Street, occurred Sunday or Monday. Entry through unlocked sliding door; cash and a cell phone taken. Total value: $190.

1200 block of South State Street, 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Unknown method of entry; a bag containing credit cards, a cell phone and sunglasses taken.

500 block of South Fifth Avenue, occurred between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Air conditioning unit pulled out of second-floor window to gain entry; $20 cash and credit cards taken.

3300 block of Tacoma Circle, occurred between 4 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Entry gained through open garage door; purse taken.

500 block of East Madison Street, 3 a.m. Tuesday. Entry gained from fire escape through unsecured door; a laptop computer valued at $2,600 and key taken from fraternity."

Posted by Rob at 1:08 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Wolverine Access Flaw Update

It seems that there's a bit more to the story about the recently discovered privacy flaw in Wolverine Access. The student who found the flaw is alleging that the vulnerability was accessable from any browser, his friend said "The University only emailed students because Jon contacted the Ann Arbor News." This from a a Live Journal post by the student who discovered the flaw:

"I would also be very suprised if someone else did not stumble upon, given the huge number of people that use Wolverine Access. Unfortunately, for that same reason, it is rather infeisible to maintain log files for that long of a period of time to know for sure.

While a full dump of the database would not be possible with the limited web-based forms and restriction to 300 results, it would be possible to get a large majority of the data with some complex screen-scraping and common-name techniques. Let's hope no one came across it and thought of that.

So in conclusion, there's not really anyway to know who's been affected so everyone just needs to keep a watchful eye on their credit report."

Also, although the Daily story says:
"[UM Spokesperson Julie] Peterson added that the student used the Safari web browser for Macintosh operating systems whereas most students use Internet Explorer and would not be able to gain access through Internet Explorer."

Mr. Oberheide noted in a feeback posted on the story that, "Actually I used Mozilla Firefox on Gentoo Linux. Mozilla is also available for Windows and Mac. In addition, it IS possible to access through Internet Explorer although it requires a bit more technical knowledge."

It turns out that the University claims they never told the Daily that, and in Mr. Oberheide's words, "apparently the Daily pulled that one out of their ass."

> From this Live Journal discission
> Daily: "Student reports glitch in Wolverine Access to 'U'"
> U-M Information: "Wolverine Access Student Data Vulnerability Discovered"

Posted by Rob at 2:41 PM 1 Comments

Stevens Co-Op Burns

The A.K. Stevens cooperative house, burned to the ground last night. The home had been undergoing a massive renovation at the time of the fire:

"Ritter said everything had been removed from the house, including the walls and the ceilings, as part of the renovation. Workers had been at the house Monday."

> "Fire guts co-op home near U-M"

Also in today's Ann Arbor News:

> "City accuses landlord of allowing drug deals"
> "More robberies boost violent crime rate in Ann Arbor"

And some U-M related In Brief's:

" Gift to help boost U-M, Slovakia ties

A $250,000 donation announced on Monday will pay for two programs designed to increase scholarly ties between the University of Michigan and Slovakia.

The money was a gift from Ronald Weiser, an alumnus of the U-M Business School, and his wife, Eileen. Ronald is a native of Ann Arbor and the current U.S. ambassador to Slovakia.

The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Awards for Student Research and Internships in Slovakia will defray the costs of U-M students going to Slovakia for research projects or internships. The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Professional Development Awards are short-term travel awards to Slovak scholars and artists coming to U-M.

U-M funds aid city in fire engine purchase

The City of Ann Arbor recently approved the purchase of two fire engines for $439,495 with help from the University of Michigan.

U-M gave the city $98,767 with a pledge for a $300,000 contribution at the time of the purchase. The remaining $40,700 will come from the fire department's apparatus fund.

According to the fire department, the city had 10 fire trucks, not including light rescue vehicles, before the City Council approved purchase of two new trucks. The city keeps two engine trucks and one ladder truck in reserve. In the event of a building fire, four engine trucks will typically respond. "

Posted by Rob at 1:35 PM 1 Comments

Monday, May 24, 2004

> "On Saturday, the Ann Arbor Wastewater Treatment Plant reported it released up to half a million gallons of treated wastewater that had not yet been disinfected."

> "A tornado touched down about 6 p.m. Sunday near Montrose, about halfway between Flint and Saginaw, the National Weather Service said. Another touched down at about 5:30 p.m. near Williamston, about 15 miles east of Lansing in Ingham County. There were no reports of injuries or property damage."

> From AANews: "More harsh storms are on the way"

Posted by Rob at 1:31 PM 0 Comments

Daily columnist Elliott Mallen discusses the finer points of the omnipresent Nalgene(tm) brand water bottles. And while the Daily got his email address correct this time, they still seem to be struggling with the proper spelling of his first name. Maybe the third time's the charm?

" ... Nalgene bottles are also portrayed as being durable containers for the true outdoorsman. When you’re hiking through wastelands of Mongolia or climbing the staggering Andes, you know your Nalgene will be there to replenish your lost fluids. Its thick shell will prevent it from breaking when you’re wrestling gorillas in Zaire, and its watertight lid will prevent any contamination when you’re swimming across the Amazon. The rugged, exotic lifestyle associated with the bottles is the same adventurous romanticism used to sell SUVs. It’s convincing people to buy items they don’t really need: Just as we people using their Navigators to brave the dangerous, uncivilized passes of I-94, there are countless students with Nalgenes who would never even consider climbing into a canoe or strapping on hiking boots. ... "

> From "Not just any water bottle"

Posted by Rob at 12:34 PM 6 Comments

University-driven Sprawl

This thanks to the sharp eye of blogger and U-M planning student Brandon:

" Two stories in the Friday Ann Arbor News' "Regents Briefs" section illustrate how the University is doing its part to fight sprawl, promote sensible land-use, increase residential density, and discourage automobile use... or not.

1) The University is purchasing an apartment building at 206 Glen for $425,000, with plans to replace it with a parking garage.

2) The Regents approved a design for the East Ann Arbor Ambulatory Surgery and Medical Procedures Center (it really rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?) on Plymouth Road. The facility will be a 49,000 square-foot, 1-story building. The artist's rendering prominently portrays vast expanses of asphalt and Kentucky bluegrass.

Last time I checked, there were a few urban planning experts on faculty in these parts."

Posted by Rob at 3:43 AM 0 Comments

Highlights from Sunday's Ann Arbor News:

> "Storm leaves power outages"
> "Scio Twp. teen quits race for trustee"
> "City budget cuts unsettled"
> And columnist Jo Mathis writes about the death of city planning in Ann Arbor: "Reorganizing a professional out of a job"

Also, another good reason to vote against imperialism this fall:

" ... $28 million has been added to the 2004 Selective Service System (SSS) budget to prepare for a military draft that could start as early as June 15, 2005. Selective Service must report to Bush on March 31, 2005 that the system, which has lain dormant for decades, is ready for activation. Please see website: to view the sss annual performance plan - fiscal year 2004. ..."
> "Pending Draft Legislation Targeted for Spring 2005"

Finally, there's been quite a bit excitement surrounding Michael Moore's newest film, Fahrenheit 9/11. It won the highest award given at the Cannes film festival, the first time a documentary has won the award since 1953. Michael Moore's site has more information about the film's reception. See also NYTimes: "Fahrenheit 9/11 wins top prize at Cannes"

Posted by Rob at 3:07 AM 1 Comments

I have been working on helping launch a local news website to replace some of the functions of this site, and provide a central source of news and information for the Ann Arbor progressive community.

Called, it will be operated by a group of some of the area's most innovative activists, bloggers, and journalists. The site comes in response to a lack of good media targeting the University community, and will feature comprehensive coverage of local news, an events calendar, and timely and incisive commentary. Read more about the site's participants in the launch press release: "Local bloggers launch news website"

Posted by Rob at 2:40 AM 12 Comments

Defending Porch Couches

I have received a reply to my op-ed about porch couches from a member of city council. The councilperson writes:


The proposal to ban couches on porches is based on national fire safety standards and tragedies that have occurred at other university towns either with fires on porches or with waterlogged furniture causing collapse of the structure. Couches outdoors also attract vagrants who may find them a nice place to sleep and smoke. These old pieces of upholstered furniture are unsightly and dangerous. It is a lot "cooler" to purchase inexpensive plastic furniture to use on porches.


Here's my reply:

Dear X:

Thanks for your reply. However, I'm not convinced by the arguments you have made supporting a proposed ban.

First, you allege upholstered furniture on porches can become waterlogged and cause structural collapse. Having lived in two buildings with porches with upholstered furniture, I can attest that they didn't become more than mildly damp, even in the most wet weather. Also, if they are damp, reason would seem to indicate they would not be much of a fire hazard - if you have ever tried to start a fire with damp firewood, you might be familiar with this phenomenon.

Furthermore, although I have heard of porches collapsing, I believe in general this happens because well-used wood has a usable age after which point it must be replaced. Many of the houses in Ann Arbor are well over fifty years old, and it should be expected that wooden porches constructed with untreated lumber, which may or may not have been properly maintained by the building owners, will occasionally fail. In general however, a structural engineer will tell you that material fails when it experiences a sudden stress - such as when too many people are on the porch, and not when it is passively bearing a load. If you are concerned about collapsing porches, I would suggest instructing the city to inspect the quality and integrity of the wood, not ban furniture you consider "unsightly."

Second, I am baffled by your argument about "vagrants." Yes, Ann Arbor has a homeless population, but I'm not sure why couches are any more attractive to these people than patio furniture. I suspect the homeless might be occasionally spotted on upholstered furniture because students are more likely to have couches, and students dominate the rental market in Ann Arbor. In short, "vagrants" as you term them will make use of the porch of any building that goes vacant for part of the year - no matter the quality, type, or price of the furniture on the porch. I say this because I have experienced it first hand as a resident of Arch Street - homeless people would occasionally relax on the porch of a house whose tenants were gone for the summer because they were friends with a student resident who was away. Banning couches would have no effect on this phenomenon, and I have found many lawn chairs much more comfortable for sleeping than a couch. You are correct - Ann Arbor has a population of homeless people. If the city would like to address the problem of homelessness,
it could expand the size of the homeless shelter, invest in other
housing and education programs.

Third, although you might find the furniture "unsightly," in general I don't think it's a good idea to legislate aesthetic taste. Living in a large city means many people will dress, live, and act in ways you might consider ugly, offensive, and in poor taste. If you can prove that upholstered furniture is truly dangerous the law might make some sense, however I remain skeptical.


Robert Goodspeed

Related posts:
> "No Reason To Ban Porch Couches"
> "City May Consider Ban on Porch Couches"

I have two other related thoughts on the matter:

First, although I read the Ann Arbor News daily and am a member of a high-profile city task force, I heard very little about this proposed ordinance. Although it might not be on the city council agenda, many people (namely city council members and local landlords) are acting as if it is already the law. A fundamental principal of democracy is that the governed have the right to know about the creation of laws which will govern them. My inquiries have been replied with brusque, defensive replies. I don't believe it's overly nieve or idealistic to believe that before passing a law which will effect thousands of students, the city council should make some effort to seek the input of the students - and as far as I know, they have not done this.

Second, it's fairly commonly known that city government leaders make an effort to pass ordinances which students might not be in favor of when most of the student population is either not in town, or not closely following current events. This is a fundamentally callow and undemocratic move for which they should be ashamed. Good government means involving your constituents in making decisions and setting priorities, not acting secretly when you believe few are looking.

Posted by Rob at 1:43 AM 5 Comments

Sunday, May 23, 2004

I have switched the way visitors to this site can leave comments. If there is anything in the "old comments" you would like saved, save the data since it will be deleted forever in a few days.

Posted by Rob at 1:04 PM 0 Comments

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Washingtonienne update ... Washington Post: "The Hill's Sex Diarist Reveals All"

Posted by Rob at 10:56 PM 1 Comments

No Reason To Ban Porch Couches

I recently reported that the city may vote on a law which would prohibit upholstered furniture on porches in the city. Although the proposal is allegedly for "fire safety" reasons, it's actually a callow move by those in the city who, while enjoying the amenities of a college town made possible by a large student population, resent any expression of student culture which may have a negative impact on their property values.

Before I continue, I want to make this perfectly clear: the city council HAS NOT banned couches on porches! The matter is not even on their agenda, and although COULD take place before the end of the summer I believe such a proposal can be defeated by vocal and smart lobbying.

Overt anti-student sentiment should have no place in city politics. Ann Arbor is nearly 30% populated by students, and some city residents must understand the few remaining independent book, music, and coffee shops are made possibly the presence of the students whose SOLO cups and loud music they loath. If they desire the entire city to be perfectly neat, there are plenty of perfectly pretty and totally boring Michigan towns they could move to. If they like being able to go to a political protest or attend an unusual film, they must realize that means tolerating students.

Yes, students have a responsibility to be good neighbors, however couches on porches do no harm. The supporters of the ban view them as a fire danger, however I struggle to understand how a couch on a covered porch is more or less of a fire danger than a couch in a living room, frequently pushed up against a tangle of wires. (Most I suspect are too damp and moldy to burn, and none of the house fires in Ann Arbor I remember in the last four years started on the porch) Fires start in kitchens, because of faulty wiring, and because of lighting. Fires do not start on porches any more than any other room of the house where there might be furniture present. The supporters of a ban have also implied they should be banned because they have been burned during student riots in other cities (Ohio State and Michigan State University come to mind.) Although that is perhaps true, I have never heard of a couch being burned in the street in Ann Arbor in recent years. Furthermore, even if the couches were banned, the slumlords of the student neighborhoods leave enough flammable material around that a good bonfire wouldn't be particularity difficult to fuel - with brush, scrap wood, and perhaps the old furniture jamming many a rental house basement and attic.

Finally, as much as Ann Arbor prides itself as being a "cool" city, actions like the one in question are decidedly uncool and are perhaps part of the reason local venture capitalists are short new businesses to fund: creative young people leave Ann Arbor in droves for other cities: Chicago, Washington D.C., New York, and Boston. [A disclaimer: I serve on Ann Arbor's Cool Cities Task Force, which will be issuing its report in the next two weeks.] Professor Richard Florida identifies three characteristics of a "cool" city in his widely acclaimed book, Rise of the Creative Class, which he calls the three "T"s: talent, technology, and tolerance. While Ann Arbor certainly has the first two, it is frequently lacking the last component. Being tolerant includes being tolerant of those with different lifestyles - and part of the lifestyle of many students involves upholstered furniture on the porch and, gasp, holding parties that last later than 10 PM at night. Yes, Ann Arbor has city laws which are much more tolerant of people of different backgrounds, races, and sexual orientations than most places in Michigan, however banning couches sends a loud and clear message to young people: YOU ARE NOT WANTED HERE. That's not a message I think the city council either should send, or should want to send to their constituents.

In the end, this issue isn't just about couches, its about a certain class of mostly wealthy property owners being overrepresented in city politics. This is the reason why Ann Arbor has rolled back its liberal pot laws by piling on court fees, has exorbitant fines for snow removal towing (they all have garages, after all!) and refused to accept an extremely limited ordinance which might allow a few graduate students and old people to live in "granny flats." People who are willing to stand up for the interest of the city's renters, students, the poor (that remain), and many other virtually unrepresented communities must involve themselves in city politics. The deadline to file to run for city council as an independent is in the end of July, and although city leaders have done their best to gerrymander students, it's difficult to gerrymander 1/3 of the city! The November election should elicit high turnout, which I believe would work to the advantage of a candidate representing students. There's discontent brewing, and I think the time is right to stage of coup in city hall.

Posted by Rob at 9:52 PM 0 Comments

Main Street Starbucks

The Ann Arbor News seems to think the opening of another Ann Arbor Starbucks at the corner of Liberty and Main a sign that Ann Arbor is "cool":

"Sabrina Keeley, president of the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce, said Ann Arbor's diverse population of students and creative entrepreneurs contributes to the coffee culture. "It's a whole mix of people who are willing to try different things, not just sitting in a board room," she said. "A lot of people do business in these coffee shops. It's not just social." ...

Valerie Carlborg, a national spokeswoman for Starbucks, noted that Ann Arbor is home to two of the largest Starbucks in the United States - the South University location is the fifth largest at 4,600 square feet, and the State and Liberty spot is the sixth, at 4,500 square feet.

Mike Ferguson, a spokesman for the Specialty Coffee Association, said a large university location such as Ann Arbor is perfect for a coffee culture to flourish, and that the preponderance of Starbucks often helps independent coffee makers to mature.

"The competition helps independents differentiate themselves," he said. "It causes them to focus on their business and cater to the culture of the local community."

Hass said that in the case of Espresso Royale, that means displaying the works of local artists and hosting free folk music performances on Saturday nights.

Cafe Verde, which is associated with the adjoining People's Food Co-op on Fourth Avenue, purchases all of its coffee from cooperatives that work directly with the coffee growers to ensure they get a fair market price, a practice called "Fair Trade" coffee. ...

Meanwhile, Starbucks continues to grow at the rate of about 3 1/2 shops a day worldwide. Ferguson says it's easily the largest coffee shop chain the world, with more than 7,900 locations, including 59 in Michigan.

"Nobody even comes close," Ferguson said. "There's not really a No. 2 in any practical sense."

> AANews: "Ann Arbor filled to brim with coffee shops"
> Also, see an earlier post: "The Gentrification of Ann Arbor"

Posted by Rob at 9:37 PM 0 Comments

Friday, May 21, 2004

Former President Criticizes Athletic Department

Former U-M president James Duderstadt (1988-1996) has been a vocal and frequent critic of what he calls "big-time" college sports: football and basketball. (Pictured here with his wife Anne)

"During a 30-minute speech to the Ann Arbor North Rotary Club on Thursday afternoon, Duderstadt singled out Michigan's new football season ticket policy as an example of what he believes are wrong with college athletics. The policy, which requires minimum donations for the right to purchase some season tickets, was criticized by Duderstadt as "extortion" and "insanity."

... "I have known the sin of big-time athletics," Duderstadt said. "Most college sports are just great. But big-time college football and basketball stand apart as having little if any relevance to the academic mission of the university."

Duderstadt cited the University of Colorado's ongoing recruiting scandal and maintained that no athletic department in the country, including Michigan, pays its own way.

"Big-time college sports do far more damage to the university then most realize or are willing to admit," Duderstadt said.

He said that that the current model of college football and basketball exploits young athletes, gives birth to scandals, excuses inappropriate behavior by athletes and coaches and has schools locked in a battle where "the teams that win the most spend the most."

Duderstadt played football for Yale and said he thinks college athletics shouldn't be eliminated. But he proposed a variety of methods to overhaul the current system, including making freshmen ineligible, eliminating athletic scholarships, mainstreaming coach's compensation with that of other university staff and preventing them from endorsing products, putting the faculty in control of athletic departments and subjecting those departments to public financial audits. ... "

> AANews: "Duderstadt: Athletics, universities conflicting"

Posted by Rob at 7:29 PM 0 Comments

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Ann Arbor, Michigan until 5:00 PM this afternoon. The graphic is from the Weather Underground site, and shows the Detroit area at about 2:15 PM today. (Ann Arbor is marked with the target symbol)

> Ch 4: "Severe Weather Making Its Way Through Area"
> See Freep: "Officials warn more flooding likely as another storm nears"

Here's a helpful "Public Information Statement" about what it means when the NWS issues "watches" and "warnings":

"A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued by the National Weather Service in Michigan. In the interest of public safety the following safety rules are provided. Public and commercial broadcast stations serving the affected area are asked to frequently broadcast these messages while the watch is in effect.

A quick reminder... the term watch means conditions are favorable for development of severe weather in the designated area. During a watch... there is no cause for immediate concern. You should go about your normal business but keep abreast of weather developments. Public safety officials should... however... activate prearranged plans.

A warning... on the other hand... means a severe thunderstorm or tornado has been observed or indicated by radar. People in the path of the storm should take immediate precautions as outlined here...

Severe thunderstorms produce strong damaging winds of 58 mph or greater... large hail three quarters of an inch in diameter or greater... heavy rain and deadly lightning. Winds in excess of 58 mph can push over shallow rooted trees... break off tree limbs about the size of your wrist... and damage chimneys and TV antennas. In rare occasions severe thunderstorms can produce winds in excess of 80 mph which could break windows... Peel surfaces off of roofs... snap large trees and move trailer homes and automobiles. Hail three quarters of an inch in diameter or larger can damage windows... vehicles... and exterior finishes of buildings... especially if accompanied by severe winds.

Persons should stay indoors and away from areas with loose items that could become flying debris. Severe thunderstorms can and occasionally do produce tornadoes so be prepared to move to an appropriate shelter should it become necessary. Lightning is one of
the worst killers... so stay indoors and avoid using electrical appliances. You should get out of open fields and off of farm or other types of heavy equipment. Avoid towers or tall trees. If on a boat or swimming... get out of the water and to shore as quickly as
possible. Also avoid areas subject to flash flooding."

Posted by Rob at 2:07 PM 0 Comments

Washingtonienne Update

Here's my first post on the matter. Some recent press:

> New York Daily News: "Washingtonienne week"
> The Inquirer (UK): "Washington Senate sex blogger silenced"
> AZ "Senator undecided on firing aide over sex blog"
> Gannett: "DeWine staff member's alleged sex journaling practice exposed"

And this op-ed, which sensibly states:

" ... Tell it how you want, but people have illicit sex. There is surely no exception among the satin marble halls and penetratingly pointed monuments of Washington (despite what the conservative majority may have you believe). Clinton's trial for lying about sex to his enemies was a revelation, not because of the oval office's penchant for pretty things, but because his impeachment exposed a Washington that conservatives (and many liberals) hypnotically pretend they are not a part of. The many conservatives who prodded Clinton for more information about his sex life, like the witch thrusting her finger into Hansel's rib to feel the girth of his meat, were exposed as adulterers themselves. ..."

> Portland State University Vanguard: "Word up: blogged sex heats D.C."

The latest, from the AP, posted on the LA Times:

"Assistant of Ore. Sen. DeWine Is Fired

By Associated Press
WASHINGTON — An entry-level staff assistant to Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, was fired Friday after an Internet journal of her sexual exploits was made public this week.

The woman, who used the pseudonym "Washingtonienne," claimed in her Internet "blog," a public Web page, that she was paid for having sex with a married man she identified as the chief of staff at a federal agency.

"Most of my living expenses are thankfully subsidized by a few generous older gentlemen," the woman wrote. "I'm sure I am not the only one who makes money on the side this way: How can anybody live on $25K/year?"

The Web log has since been taken down. The woman had worked in DeWine's mail room since the end of February. DeWine's office declined to disclose her name.

"After investigating these allegations, our office has determined that there was an unacceptable use of Senate computers to post unsuitable and offensive material to an Internet Web log," the senator's office said in a statement."

Posted by Rob at 12:59 PM 0 Comments

City May Consider Ban on Porch Couches

This website has recently learned that the city may vote to ban upholstered furniture on porches as soon as this summer, ostensibly for "fire safety" reasons.

The proposed changes are at least two weeks away since they have not made it to the city council, and are being considered as part of a package of revisions to the City Fire Code.

Other college towns, including East Lansing, have adopted similar measures, which occasionally include expensive tenant fines for litter on the grounds of rented property.

A small but vocal group of downtown property owners have long advocated measures to reduce the visual impact of the city's student neighborhoods, such as banning couches and instituting a litter fine.

The couch ban has been the object of persistent rumors recently, particularly after the University administration sent an email about changes to the city's bulk waste pick-up on April 22. As part of ongoing budget-tightening, the city now requires a fee for disposal of bulk items and has increased the fine for violation of the trash codes, but the message says nothing about porch furniture:

To: "UM Students living off campus":;
From: "UM Director of Community Relations -- Jim Kosteva "
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004 18:26:02
Subject: Ann Arbor Move-out fees & regulations

Bigger fees and fines for big trash items.

The City of Ann Arbor has altered its approach to excess refuse often generated during end of term move outs.

You must pre-pay for bulky items left at the curb, such as sofas, mattresses, computers, furniture, etc. Phone the City's Call Center 994-2807 during business hours to arrange for bulk pickups. $25 for each two cubic yards.

All trash must be placed in plastic trash bags or approved containers before placing at the curb. 50lbs. maximum each.

Place refuse at the curb by 7am on the weekly pickup day and no earlier than 24 hours before the designated collection day.

Violations of these codes may be charged a minimum $70 fee per citation.

Multiple recycling and bulk drop-off options are available including on-campus sites.

Complete information is available at the City of Ann Arbor Solid Waste Department web site. or call 994-2807"

Posted by Rob at 12:12 PM 0 Comments

Summer Break-in Season ...

Will be short one burglar this year, thanks to the vigilant eyes of a neighbor. I wonder if she was sitting on anything upholstered?

"Ann Arbor Police arrested a man suspected of committing at least one home break-in and of attempting to enter several other homes in the city Thursday.

A woman sitting on her couch in the 200 block of Ingalls Street called police after she saw a man trying to open her door, reports said. She said she watched him approached several other homes and try the doors, reports said. ... "
(Police Beat)

Posted by Rob at 11:58 AM 0 Comments

Administration Privacy Double-Talk

"Though he's majoring in computer science, Jon Oberheide said he didn't need to draw on his studies to come across a serious security breach within the University of Michigan's online student records system.

With literally a few clicks of the mouse, he found easy entry to student and alumni Social Security numbers, addresses and student identification numbers issued by the university. The data were exposed through Wolverine Access - a Web portal containing financial aid, billing records, transcripts and other sensitive information for students.

"It was amazing how simple it was," Oberheide said. "It took like five mouse clicks. It was kind of scary ... You wonder how many other people have seen it." ...

U-M Registrar Paul Robinson said there was no reason for students or their parents to panic.

"We want them to know we're taking this very seriously," Robinson said. "There was no chance for anybody's record to be altered." ...

The Wolverine Access break isn't the first information security problem facing the university. Last year, a university audit revealed that several departments failed to erase sensitive information about students and employees from computers before they were sold to the public through the university's Property Disposition warehouse. The audit found 19 of 28 computers ready to be sold from Property Disposition contained university data. Of those, five had student and employee names and Social Security numbers, among other private information.

Separately, Ning Ma, a former U-M engineering graduate student, stood trial in March on 23 computer-related felony charges after he was accused of stealing user names and passwords of students and faculty. A jury deadlocked on a verdict in the case. Ma, who has maintained his innocence, will face a second trial. ..."

> AANews: "U-M online security flaw exposed"

This is from an administration which recently congratulated themselves on their privacy in an email to graduating students. It seems some corrections are in order before we can brag about being a "leader" in student privacy:

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation!

If you are not returning to campus next term as a graduate student, faculty, or staff member, the following information is directed to you.


While there are services that are less expensive or even free, you will find that your UM-Online package guarantees the privacy and security afforded by one of the leading advocates of student rights.

The UM-Online order form can be completed online at the UM-Online Web site: or you can print a copy to be completed and mailed or faxed to the ITCS Accounts Office...."

Meanwhile, the administration simply handed over the names of eight students charged with copyright violations by the RIAA:

"U-M hands over song copy names

The University of Michigan complied with a subpoena on Thursday and handed over the identities of eight students and one staff person who allegedly used its computer network to illegally distribute thousands of copyrighted songs over the Internet.

The recording industry had sought the information but only had the IP addresses of the individuals, essentially the unique numeric address assigned each user's computer by the Internet service provider, which, in this case, is U-M.

Now it will contact the people to reach a settlement. The average settlement in these cases has been $3,000. If no settlement is reached, it will file a lawsuit.

U-M had received the subpoena earlier this month and was up against a May 20 deadline to comply. Lawyers reviewed the subpoena and found it was valid. U-M turned over the names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of each individual. "
(In Brief)

Here's the relevant part of the Standard Practice Guide, the University's rules which apply to faculty, staff, and administrators, about "Proper Use of Information Resources, Information Technology, and Networks at the University of Michigan" (PDF)

Posted by Rob at 11:47 AM 0 Comments

Pro-Nuclear Cicadas?

It seems the cicadas are hoping for a nuclear holocaust so they can finally inherit the earth. Well, once every 17 years in any case:

"In a stunning scientific breakthrough, a team of entomologists from the world- renowned Magicicada Institute at the University of Michigan has deciphered the language of the periodical North American cicada. ...

The linguistic team, headed by Dr. Barbara Wien of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, released part of the transcript of two cicadas recorded earlier this month from a wooded area on the edge of Rock Creek Park, near the intersection of Military Road and Beach Drive in Northwest Washington. Incredibly, the two insects were involved in a discussion concerning plans by the Bush administration to prepare the Nevada nuclear test site for more nuclear detonations. “Neither cicada seemed alarmed by the President’s desire to breathe life into the nuclear testing program,” said Dr. Phillip Crandall, editor of the American Political Science Review. Dr. Crandall explained that the insects only referred to events pertaining to nuclear weapons development that occurred in successive Republican administrations; Eisenhower in 1953, Nixon in 1970, Reagan in 1987 and Bush today. “They’re firmly indoctrinated in a conservative tradition,” said the editor of the American Political Science Review. “They apparently embrace the Bush administration’s pro-nuclear policies,” said Crandall. ...

Several other conversations between Chatter and Sissy seem to indicate they are cheerleaders for nuclear proliferation. The Magicicada researchers released a lengthy transcript covering more than 6 hours of dialogue taped from the lowest leaf of a 4” tulip poplar, just out of the reach of the mowers that maintain the south side of Military Road. The cicadas discussed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that went into effect in 1970 and agreed that the reckless policies of the Bush administration make it likely that the DC area will be visited by a nuclear firestorm sometime during their next 17-year hiatus. The cicadas are hoping humanity is destroyed and the natural world is able to recover. ... "

> DCIMC: "Insects await nuclear holocaust"

Posted by Rob at 3:24 AM 0 Comments

Severe Thunderstorm Passes Through

A severe thunderstorm moved through Ann Arbor this evening. The graphic is from 1:47 AM Friday (via the Local 4 website), just after the storm had moved east of the city. The National Weather Service issued a series of alerts including a tornado warning for the City of Ann Arbor, which briefly activated the tornado sirens at around 1 am. Residents in the student neighborhood gathered on porches to observe the unusually heavy rain and frequent lightning, and a handful of students were observed running scantily-clad through the rain.

> See NWS forecast

Local blogger Brandon characterized the storm this way:

"This is one of the best electrical storms I've ever witnessed. Lightning is running across the sky in really slowly-growing fingers. It's like nothing I've ever seen, and frankly I don't have the scientific vocabulary to do justice describing what is happening. It's just plain cool."

Posted by Rob at 2:38 AM 0 Comments

SBC Workers Begin 4-day Strike

The 100,000 unionized employees of the SBC telephone company began a 4-day walkout today after being unable to negotiate a new contract to replace the old, which expired on April 3:

"DETROIT -- Union workers at Michigan's largest telephone company began striking at midnight, but SBC Communications officials said most customers' service would not be affected. ...

SBC said it planned to use a team of 40,000 nonunion managers, retirees and temporary workers who have been trained to answer phones and perform repairs, and to resolve any problems in the network through Monday night. But union officials and members said the company is likely to have a tough time keeping up with the work normally done by the 100,000 striking employees in 13 states, including about 9,500 in Michigan.

“Then at one minute after midnight on Tuesday we'll be back out there doing those repairs,” said Dave Skotarczyk, president of CWA Local 4050 in Detroit. “We're hoping to minimize the impact to customers but get the company to come back to the table and start negotiating with us.”

The union's previous contract expired April 3 but was extended through this week. A federal mediator was unable to help the two sides reach an agreement. ...

The union, which says it has lost 29,000 jobs at SBC in the past three years, points to the company's $8.4 billion profit last year as evidence that their demands can be met. ... "

> DetNews: "SBC workers walk off job"
> Union Press Release
> SBC Comment on the strike

Posted by Rob at 2:28 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Private Student Data Possibly Stolen

A friend of mine received this cryptic email, which seems to indicate a flaw in the new Wolverine Access system might have made available the names, home addresses, and Social Security Numbers of some students - since last February.

From: "Paul Robinson, University Registrar"
Date: May 20, 2004 7:44:26 PM EDT
Subject: Data Security Breach

On Monday, May 17, the University of Michigan Administrative Information Services determined that a small selection of personal student data elements may have been exposed to some individuals within the University community through the Wolverine Access Web site. The data elements that may have been viewed include UMID, Social Security number or National ID, and home address information. It has been determined that this situation may have existed between February 9 and May 17, 2004.

We are notifying you as a precaution because there is a slight possibility that your personal data may have been accessible to someone within the University community who was not authorized to see this information. Because of the obscure nature of the vulnerability, we believe it is highly unlikely there was unauthorized access of student information during this time.

However, as a precaution, we encourage you to observe practices like monitoring billing statements for accuracy, checking credit reports, etc. Identity theft has become a growing concern in our country and these are good practices to follow as a matter of course.

If you believe your Social Security number has been used fraudulently, file a police report, contact the Social Security's Office of the Inspector General Fraud Hotline at 1/800-269-0271, and contact national consumer reporting agencies to file a fraud alert. For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission website at

The University has eliminated the system vulnerability and retested other services available through Wolverine Access. We do not believe any other similar vulnerabilities exist that would allow unauthorized access to student data.

The University of Michigan is committed to maintaining a secure computing environment. We sincerely apologize for the incident and regret any inconvenience this may cause you. If you have questions about this incident, please call 734-936-7000 and select option 4."

Posted by Rob at 8:00 PM 0 Comments

Nick Denton is the blog businessman who runs Wonkette and Gawker. He pays his bloggers $12,000 a year, and makes an estimated $250,000 in profit each year from the ads on his websites.

Posted by Rob at 2:49 PM 0 Comments

Columbia Strike on "Hiatus"

After nearly one month, graduate students at Columbia University have called off what had been an indefinite-length strike by their new union, which was seeking to be recognized by the administration:

"Graduate Student Employees United announced Sunday that it is calling off its strike for union recognition at Columbia University at the request of City Council Speaker Gifford Miller and New York State Senate Minority Leader David Paterson.

According to David Carpio, a former graduate student at Columbia and a GSEU spokesperson, the "strike hiatus" was prompted by a letter from Miller and Paterson last week that called upon representatives from GSEU and University President Lee Bollinger to sit down with them and discuss possible resolutions to the conflict. The letter also requested that GSEU refrain from disrupting this week's graduation ceremonies or holding a picket line as a "sign of good faith," Carpio said. ... "

> Columbia Spectator: "GSEU Announces "Strike Hiatus"
> Official Union Website

Posted by Rob at 2:40 PM 0 Comments

Groups in New York City are organizing a "die-in" tomorrow at 8 AM at Rockefeller Center in order to "shut down 5th Avenue." They have set up a website where participants with digital camera cell phones will be able to post photos directly from the street.

> NYIMC: "May 21 Rockin' Protest"
> Rockefeller Protest live photo blog (check back after 8:00 AM tomorrow)

Posted by Rob at 2:20 PM 0 Comments

Big Brother Where?

" ... We have long been appalled at Florida’s seemingly central role in developing and pushing this intrusive system in which a government file is created on everyone, whether they are a terrorist suspect or completely innocent of any suspicion," said Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida. "But perhaps even more disturbing, this revelation suggests that Florida has been no more than a tool of the federal authorities. .. "

> From ACLU: Homeland Security Department Funded, Managed 'State Run' MATRIX Surveillance Program
> ACLU of Michigan: "ACLU Questions Michigan State Police’s Authority to Participate in Data Collection"

Posted by Rob at 2:14 PM 0 Comments

Bike Paths and "Non-Motorized" Transit

I have posted information about a series of public meetings connected to an effort to conduct a city-wide "non-motorized" transit plan in my event listings in the right column. It seems like they're talking about some good ideas:

"The west side of Ann Arbor could get a whole lot more bike friendly, according to a comprehensive non-motorized transportation plan that's being put together for the city.

The plan calls for bike lanes along portions of many major west side roads such as Jackson, Stadium, Dexter, Newport, Seventh, Pauline, Wagner and Scio Church.

... The study was begun earlier this year in an effort to make city streets friendlier to bicycles and pedestrians. It's part of a larger effort to offer an alternative to Ann Arbor's traffic congestion and parking problems. ...

The installation of pedestrian crossings with "refuges" in the middle of the road would allow pedestrians to cross busy roads more cautiously, and could act as a traffic calming device.

While the city budget is tight these days, money is available to make many of the improvements discussed at Wednesday's meeting, said Mayor John Hieftje, who attended the meeting.

The city increased the money it earmarks for non-motorized transportation from the state fuel tax from 1 percent to 5 percent. That's about $350,000 currently, he said.

The city of Ann Arbor is paying the Greenway Collaborative $60,000 for the study, with an additional $20,000 each from the University of Michigan and the Downtown Development Authority.

The citywide plan is an expansion of the Northeast Area Plan. That plan proposed policies, design guidelines and specific proposals. But this plan will be more detailed in terms of what will go where.

A final report will be drafted early next year; after that, city officials will prioritize goals from the plan and decide what can be done and when.

The next meeting, on June 16, will focus on the northeast area of town. Later meetings will focus on the central and south areas. Residents are encouraged to attend. For details, check"

> AANews: "West side bike paths may be cheap"

In a related note, I think the city should investigate constructing a riverwalk connecting Argo Pond with Gallup Park - there currently are a series of disconnected and partially paved paths between the two, and I think a well-lit, paved path along the river would be a good investment for the city to make.

It appears as if some people have already given quite a bit of thought to the Broadway park area: see this Broadway Park redesign website.

Posted by Rob at 1:32 PM 0 Comments

Business "Boot Camp"

" IT Zone plans 'boot camp'

Local entrepreneurs looking to jump-start their businesses can apply for the next Entrepreneur Boot Camp, a program sponsored by the Ann Arbor IT Zone, the University of Michigan Technology Transfer and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The three-day session on Oct. 14-16 is intended to give intensive training in business development for new companies, and includes interactive lectures and one-on-one session with veterans in the business, academic and investment communities. Participants will develop an executive summary for their businesses, an "elevator pitch" that presents their idea quickly and a more formal investor presentation.

The program, which is limited to 10 teams, costs $995 or $795 for Ann Arbor IT Zone members. For details, send e-mail to Deadline to apply is Sept. 16. "
(AANews business In Brief)

Posted by Rob at 1:30 PM 0 Comments

A few stories from today's Ann Arbor News Police Beat:

" Hit-and-run driver sought by police

A bicyclist was injured early today by a hit-and-run driver in downtown Ann Arbor, city police said.

The 27-year-old bicyclist said he was riding west on the right side of East Liberty Street at about 12:30 a.m. when a small car heading in the same direction pulled alongside his bike, reports said. He said the driver slowed nearly to a stop, then turned right into an alley as he was crossing the side of the vehicle, reports said.

The car hit a bike tire, throwing the cyclist onto the roadway, reports said. The bicyclist said he got up to approach the driver, but he backed out of the alley and took off, reports said.

The bicyclist possibly broke a collar bone and was treated at the University of Michigan Medical Center, reports said.

The driver's car was described as a mid-90s Chevrolet, possibly a Cavalier, in poor condition with chrome rims and a large white decal sticker on the top of the windshield. Anyone with information is asked to call the Ann Arbor tip line at (734) 996-3199.

Construction worker dives to avoid SUV

A construction worker ran from an SUV that was driving toward him on Ann Arbor's west side early Wednesday and dove over a fence and into a cemetery to avoid being struck, city police said.

The near-miss of the worker occurred during a four-vehicle crash on Jackson Road that sent a motorcyclist to the hospital with a broken leg, hand and concussion, police said.

The crash took place shortly before 8 a.m. when a driver failed to notice traffic was stopped and merging into one lane in a construction zone on Jackson Road, reports said. He hit the brakes and swerved to the right, coming within eight feet of the construction worker, reports said.

Another driver near that man's SUV rear-ended a white van waiting at the traffic light, reports said. The 52-year-old motorcyclist tried to avoid being hit by swerving into the westbound lane, where he was struck by a blue van, reports said.

The crash remains under investigation. "

Posted by Rob at 1:28 PM 0 Comments

The U-M Life Sciences Institute ...

... recently opened, although there's still no money for SAPAC or student services.

> See UMPR: "U-M Life Sciences Institute celebrates grand opening, unveils two centers, four new faculty"

Posted by Rob at 1:43 AM 0 Comments

A group of pirates were ticketed after they crashed a parade held each year in Holland Michigan as part of the "Tulip Time" festival:

> From the Holland Sentinel: "Pirates will be cited for crashing parade"
> See also, Grand Rapids Press: "Holland pirates plan to pay fines, buy a brick"

From that article, it seems the cool cities program has made it to Holland:

""It's a very uptight community, very conservative, especially Tulip Time," said Tom Morkas, 17. "I think people take themselves a little too seriously here."

Morkas, president of the West Ottawa High School student senate, said he was nearly booted off the senate for his part in the parade. Two other students were suspended for a day.

As he hosed off another car, Cameron Schuster, 16, said Holland could use a few more pirates.

"There are not enough pirates in Holland compared to the Dutch," he said. "We are just trying to support Gov. Granholm's Cool Cities program."

> See Ann Arbor is Overrated's Post

Posted by Rob at 12:37 AM 0 Comments

A Service Note

Any thoughts on this website now including photos?

Posted by Rob at 12:35 AM 1 Comments

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Super Size Me, a documentary about a man who ate McDonalds only for thirty days and lived to tell about it, opens at the Michigan Theater this Friday. Here's the schedule:

Friday: 5:30, 8:30, 10:30
Saturday: 4:00, 7:00, 9:00
Sunday: 2:30, 4:00, 7:00, 9:00
Monday-Thursday: 7:15, 9:15

Or, check out the online schedule on the Michigan Theater's spiffy new website. Itching to learn more about the inner workings of fast food? Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation is worth checking out.

Posted by Rob at 11:36 PM 0 Comments


This much is clear: a salacious weblog (Called "Washingtonienne"), ostensibly authored by a low-paid, sexually active staffer for a republican United States Senator has been taken off the web. Whether the author is telling the truth and whether or not they have been fired seems uncertain. The gossipy DC blog Wonkette continues to report on the story, which, she promises, "is definitely going to appear in the "legitimate" media (written by "real reporters") soon."

Update: The Gannet news service has released this story, which cites both Wonkette and Swamp-city. The story so far appears only on one newspaper's website: "Senate staffer's shocking sex blog"

> Also, the "Springfield News Sun" has posted something from the Cox news service: "Scandalous blog linked to DeWine office"

Posted by Rob at 3:47 PM 0 Comments

The large house located at 208 N. Division which burned in January 2003 will be open for tours Saturday after an extensive renovation. See AANews: "Restored Wells-Babcock House opens to the public Saturday"

Also, the website is offering for sale some of the 4,000 seats removed from Hill Auditorium in the process of the nearly two-year renovation. The chairs start at $90 each. Oddly, it's "not affiliated with the University of Michigan." Here's who has registered the domain name - the phone number and address are the same as a local real estate company, the Richard Fabian Company:

Digital Ops (LNVQIEXQOD)
210 West Stadium Boulevard
Ann Arbor, MI 48103


Administrative Contact:
Digital Ops (CFQOGNEGBO) josh at
210 West Stadium Boulevard
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
734-668-0070 fax: 123 123 1234"

Other stories of note from today's Ann Arbor News:
> "Rezoning for 450-home plan fails"
> "City to eliminate planning director's job"
> "In Brief: Cherry meets with Coleman"
> "U-M's Coleman: Insured affected by uninsured"

Posted by Rob at 3:20 PM 0 Comments

The Communication Workers of America, the union representing the employees of the SBC telephone company, have given that company notice that they may go on strike at any time:

" ... SBC wants it both ways -- gouging our workers on health costs while also demanding a first-year base wage freeze to fatten its profits," CWA President Morton Bahr said late Tuesday in a statement on the union's Web site. "That amounts to pure greed." ...

In 2003, SBC was by far the most profitable of the four so-called "Baby Bell" local-phone companies, earning $8.5 billion on revenue of $40.8 billion."

> Freep: "Communications workers union gives SBC final notice of possible strike"
> See also Communication Workers of America Website
> CWA 4008 (Eastpointe, MI)

Posted by Rob at 11:57 AM 0 Comments

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Looking for money for your new business? There's a new group of "Angel investor" in Ann Arbor who might be able to help:

"... Angel investors are wealthy people who like to invest in start-up companies. They may offer both their money and business expertise.

Ann Arbor, largely due to the influence of the University of Michigan, has one of the most vibrant entrepreneurial communities in the state and many small businesses in need of money. The lion's share of entries in the regular Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest competition, for example, come from the Ann Arbor area. ... "

> From BDW's "Angel investment group takes flight"

In a related story, the University's Tech Transfer office seems to be doing a brisk business these days.

And although he's not without his critics, this Detroit News story about a U-M spinoff seems to validate Richard Florida's theory that economic development will happen where talented people already are, leaving many cities behind:

" ... U-M has a small equity stake in the company, which employs 35 in Ann Arbor. The company also has 25 employees in an office in Boston that serves as its official headquarters, handling marketing, sales and security. Arbor Networks also has sales offices in Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley, Dallas, Hong Kong and London. ... "

Posted by Rob at 11:20 PM 0 Comments

Jon Stewart at the College of William and Mary

"... Lets talk about the real world for a moment. We had been discussing it earlier, and I…I wanted to bring this up to you earlier about the real world, and this is I guess as good a time as any. I don’t really know to put this, so I’ll be blunt. We broke it.

Please don’t be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry.

I don’t know if you’ve been following the news lately, but it just kinda got away from us. Somewhere between the gold rush of easy internet profits and an arrogant sense of endless empire, we heard kind of a pinging noise, and uh, then the damn thing just died on us. So I apologize.

But here’s the good news. You fix this thing, you’re the next greatest generation, people. You do this—and I believe you can—you win this war on terror, and Tom Brokaw’s kissing your ass from here to Tikrit, let me tell ya. And even if you don’t, you’re not gonna have much trouble surpassing my generation. If you end up getting your picture taken next to a naked guy pile of enemy prisoners and don’t give the thumbs up you’ve outdid us.

We declared war on terror. We declared war on terror—it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui. ..."

> From Jon Stewart's William and Mary Commencement Address

Posted by Rob at 11:11 PM 0 Comments

By now you might have recieved the gas boycott email I reported on last week. Here's a story from the website of Detroit's "Local 4": "High Gas Prices Prompt Call For One-Day Boycott"

Posted by Rob at 9:38 PM 0 Comments

From August 30 until September 2 2004, the Republican Party will be holding their annual convention in New York City. Dozens of groups are already organizing protests, although the city seems to be doing its best to minimize democratic expression through denying protest permits:

"... Civil libertarians note that more than 20 groups have applied for march and rally permits, and the city has not approved one. The New York Civil Liberties Union filed more than 300 complaints against the city for its treatment of demonstrators at a march just before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Since then, police have several times denied requests for high-visibility rallies.

"Sure we are in a different world since September 11th, but that doesn't mean our nation has given up its core values," said Donna Lieberman, the NYCLU's executive director. "When you invite the Republicans to town for their convention, you are inviting all of those who oppose them, and we need to welcome both. ... "

> Washington Post: "Protesters Wait for GOP Convention Invite"
> See also Official Republican National Convention Website

Here's a sampling of activist organizations planning protests:
> RNC Watch
> United for Peace and Justice

Posted by Rob at 9:28 PM 0 Comments

The Ann Arbor News profiled in an article yesterday city resident Karen Sidney, who has used the Freedom of Information Act to examine city finances:

" ... Sidney said the more she dug, the more she was bothered by the logic behind some major decisions being made.

"Somehow, they found money to go ahead with a new city hall but we can't afford to pick up your garbage?" Sidney asked. "When you are spending $24 million dollars (on city hall), you need to have decent discussions on that. But they feel that 'we know what is best for you' and they will just slip it by you."

Sally Rutzky, an attorney, said her friend Sidney likes an open process.

"Karen has a deeply held value that we should know what we are basing our decision on," Rutzky said. "When dealing with Karen (at work), you know there is always full disclosure. She wants the basis for the decisions to be known. She wants everything out for everyone to see." ... "

> AANews: "Activist Karen Sidney's demand: 'Show me the money'"

Posted by Rob at 2:40 PM 0 Comments

Monday, May 17, 2004

Michael Moore's new film, Fahrenheit 911, premiered today at the Cannes film festival in France. The film, which was received enthusiastically by the audience, includes footage of American soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees, and President Bush on September 11, 2001. Here's the conclusion of the BCC's review of the film:

"... Moore himself appears less in this film than he has in his previous documentaries, leaving most of the talking to politicians, soldiers, parents, experts and assorted real Americans.

There is highly selective editing, but the story is not totally one-sided. For example, there are soldiers in Iraq who believe in their mission, as well as those who say they are disillusioned.

But the movie's conclusions - true or otherwise - and highly emotional interviews with bereaved parents and injured soldiers will have a big impact on audiences around the world."

> See also Reuters: "Director Moore tears into Bush at Cannes film festival," and "Michael Moore Back Striking French Workers"

Posted by Rob at 2:02 PM 0 Comments

Sunday, May 16, 2004

The Gentrification of Ann Arbor

The Starbucks at the corner of Liberty and Main Streets opened last week, bringing the total in Ann Arbor to nine stores, three located in the downtown area. The location is the former site of an Amer's Deli and (briefly) a poorly managed Our Town Deli. When the new Starbucks was announced last January, Business Direct Weekly, a local business newspaper, commented that it would have the effect of "bringing a high-profile chain presence to the block," a comment which drew some well-deserved criticism on Ann Arbor is Overrated. Interestingly, one of the many places where Starbucks can be purchased includes in the University-owned ConXion in South Quad, which replaced the grill formerly located in the basement of that residence hall.

Meanwhile, the owner of the building which houses the new Starbucks also owns the building across the street currently undergoing renovation, which will house Shalimar (now in exile on Washington Street), as well as an art gallery and a Ritter's Frozen Custard a "Chicago-based chain with outlets in six states, including a franchise in Brighton." Thus continues the pattern of independent stores closing, being replaced by high-priced specialty chains (Think Potbelly's, or that odd specialty foods store on Liberty). Ironically, these nouveau chains often exist what I consider moral ambiguity - they frequently work to preserve existing unique architecture, and an employee told me that Potbelly's was a "great place to work," complete with a 401k and a "good" opt-in health insurance program, and Starbucks has begun to serve Fair Trade coffee, albeit reluctantly. Of course, none of these are unionized, and all suck money out of our cities, states, and communities into the pockets of the stockholders.

In a related matter, the location formerly occupied by Decker Drugs on State Street stands empty, and it has now been vacant for over one year. Now seems a good time to think about this phenomenon:

> Read my post about the out-of-state owner of the building from May 2003
> Read about Potbelly's
> Daily: "Drugstore closes due to high rent, competition," and a Daily editorial: "The Starbuckization of A2" which concludes:

"The local government, students and residents must make an effort to keep these independent shops open. It is time the government allocated resources and worked with proprietors in order to aid these local businesses. It is time for students and residents to consider shopping at more independently owned stores. For when these independent shops go, so do novelty, diversity and familiarity. In a sense, so does Ann Arbor."

Also, fans of the odd and short-lived Michigan Daily comic "Operation Pussycat," will be happy to learn that comic is back - online at least, in a blog called "Operation Pussycat Lives!"

Posted by Rob at 3:43 PM 1 Comments

People interested in independent and community news and media might be interested in the Allied Media Conference, which will be held at Bowling Green University this June. The conference is a project of Clamor Magazine. Here's more information:

"If you believe communities should control their media...

If you believe everyone should have the tools to create and distribute their own books, movies, music, newspapers, and more...

If you believe communication is a human right...

You should be at the Allied Media Conference.
June 18-20, 2004.
Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH

Every year in June, hundreds of the most passionate people from the world of independent media converge on Bowling Green, Ohio, for the Allied Media Conference. The AMC focuses on sharing skills, building alternatives to corporate media, and using media for positive social change. In addition to hands-on, DIY workshops, the conference includes film screenings, artist presentations, and a large exhibition hall to share our work. There are caucuses for video activists, community newspapers, and Indymedia members and a series of workshops for educators on using independent media in the classroom. Set in a small, midwest town, it's also a space to strengthen our community and enjoy each other's company."

Posted by Rob at 2:31 PM 0 Comments

"Somewhere between the morel mushroom bisque and the glazed salmon, the big white tent began leaking.

At first, University of Michigan officials, who had invited 900 of their most generous donors to the elegant lunch Friday, quietly sopped up the mess. The weather wasn't going to rain on the launch of U-M's $2.5-billion fund-raising campaign.

Unfazed, U-M President Mary Sue Coleman and campaign cochair Richard Rogel kept handing out the Tiffany diamond-and-sapphire-studded block M pins to the most generous donors -- the ones, including mall developer A. Alfred Taubman and "60 Minutes" anchor Mike Wallace, who had given at least $1 million. ... "

> Freep: "A degree in wooing donors: As U-M kicks off a $2.5-billion campaign, special attention is paid to the most generous spenders"

Posted by Rob at 2:23 PM 0 Comments

Here's a story I'm late reporting on. The president of Michigan State University, M. Peter McPherson, announced his retirement on May 7th during MSU's graduation. McPherson has been controversial for his connections to conservative politicians, surveillance of activist student organizations by campus police, and his role in the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

> Lansing City Pulse: "McPherson announcement turns protest into party"
> MSU Press Release: "President McPherson to step down"
> Freep: "At graduation, MSU chief says he's leaving, too"

Posted by Rob at 2:15 PM 0 Comments

Yesterday's "Michigan Difference" fundraising launch for an elite group of big donors was disrupted by protestors from the organization Our Voices Count, who have opposed the changes made to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center which stripped that organization of it's office space, and crippled its ability to serve survivors of sexual assault. Here's the small mention of the protest from the Ann Arbor News:

" ... Later, the guests were given lunch under a tent on Ingalls Mall. As they left the auditorium, a group of eight students and former students handed out fliers to protest changes to the university's Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center. ... " (From the Ann Arbor News)

Allegedly, the protestors ruffled a few feathers, and they even managed to give a flyer directly to Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper, who made the budget cut decisions.

> Our Voices Count Website
> Survivor website: "SAPAC Must Stay ... AS IS"

Posted by Rob at 1:55 AM 0 Comments

Well, well, well:

"The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror.

According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon’s operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld’s long-standing desire to wrest control of America’s clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A. ... "

> New Yorker: "The Gray Zone"

Posted by Rob at 1:54 AM 0 Comments

Friday, May 14, 2004


One problem: one-day gas boycotts have been a failure in the past, and even if they succeeded, the oil companies likely wouldn't notice:

"If no one bought gas today, half would have bought yesterday, and half would buy tomorrow," said Scott Espenshade, the Independent Petroleum Assn. of America's chief economist. "That doesn't change the demand, it just moves it to a different day."

Oil companies, which run their inventories on a weekly basis, wouldn't even notice the change, he said."
(See article below for source)

Additionally, the Urban Legends Reference Pages correctly points out the "gas-out" would only hurt the wrong people, if it could make any impact at all:

"Moreover, the primary effect of the type of boycott proposed in the "gas out" messages is to hurt those at the very end of the oil-to-gasoline chain, service station operators ? the people who have the least influence in setting gasoline prices and survive on the thinnest of profit margins. As such, the "gas out" is a punch on the nose delivered to the wrong person."

> Read the full article on the Urban Legends Reference Pages

Posted by Rob at 6:31 PM 0 Comments

The University announced a $2.5 billion dollar fundraising goal for their "Michigan Difference" campaign at an event today at Rackham Auditorium. Here are details via Crain's Detroit Business:

"The University of Michigan has set a goal to raise $2.5 billion in the campuswide campaign it made public today.

To date, the university has raised $1.09 billion in cash and $187 million in bequests toward that goal during the “quiet phase” of the campaign, which began in 2000.

If UM reaches its target, the campaign would be the largest in the university’s history. The school’s last campuswide campaign ran from 1990 to 1997 and raised $1.4 billion, exceeding a $1 billion goal.

UM President Mary Sue Coleman named former U.S. President Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty Ford, honorary chairs of the campaign. Ford graduated from UM in 1935 and has served in leadership roles in two of the university’s previous campaigns.

UM’s current campaign will support scholarships, endowed professorships, academic programs, capital projects and other programs across the UM campus.

Of the goal:

* $400 million would go to student scholarships and fellowships.
* $425 million would be used for faculty support.
* $625 million would be used for programs and research.
* $500 million would be used to construct new buildings.
* $150 million would go toward new laboratories. "

> Crain's: "UM sets campaign goal at $2.5B; $1.3B already raised"
> See also UMPR: "The Michigan Difference campaign launched with $2.5 billion goal"

Posted by Rob at 12:26 PM 0 Comments

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Think Ann Arbor seems like a pretty clean place to live? Think again. A plume of 1,4 dioxane, an industrial chemical classified as a "probable human carcinogen" by the EPA has already forced the City of Ann Arbor to close one well formerly used for drinking water as it slowly moves to the northeast, in the direction of the Huron River. Most of the city of Ann Arbor's drinking water comes from the Huron. In the news today - the city has filed a lawsuit against the company to help pay for the cost of a new, replacement well. Here's an excerpt from the story:

" ... At issue is contamination stemming from old disposal methods of wastewater that contained dioxane. The manmade industrial solvent was used by the company, formerly Gelman Sciences Inc., to make medical filters at its Wagner Road facility.

From the mid-1960s until the mid-80s, wastewater that contained dioxane was disposed of by spraying it over the facility's Wagner Road lawns and by storing it in unlined lagoons. In 1984, dioxane was discovered in a nearby lake by a University of Michigan graduate student.

The city stopped using its municipal well on Ann Arbor's west side, the Montgomery well, after levels of dioxane turned up in routine tests in 2001.

City officials said again on Tuesday they are confident the water city residents are drinking and using is safe and free of dioxane.

The Montgomery well was primarily used during winter months to improve the processing of icy river water. Some 80 percent of the city's water comes from the Huron. Though the well supplied only 5 percent of city water, it needs to be replaced, city officials say. ..."

> AANews: "Suit seeks damages for Pall pollution"

Posted by Rob at 3:40 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

This excerpt is from a story about the death of Nicholas Berg, a civilian murdered by an Iraqi group ostensibly in retaliation for the photos of American abuse of Iraqis in the Abu Ghraib prison:

" ... In an interview with Boston radio station WBUR on Tuesday, Berg's father, Michael, said: "I still hold [Rumsfeld] responsible because if they had let him go after a more reasonable amount of time or if they had given him access to lawyers we could have gotten him out of there before the hostilities escalated.

"That's really what cost my son his life was the fact that the U.S. government saw fit to keep him in custody for 13 days without any of his due process or civil rights and released him when they were good and ready."

The interviewer asked, "Do you really blame Donald Rumsfeld for your son's death? And will you do anything in addition to that lawsuit you had filed?"

Michael Berg responded, "It goes further than Donald Rumsfeld. It's the whole Patriot Act, it's the whole feeling of this country that rights don't matter anymore because there are terrorists about.

"Well, in my opinion 'terrorist' is just another word like 'communist' or 'witch,' and it's a witch hunt, and this whole administration is just representing something that is not America, not the America I grew up in."

> "U.S. vows to find American's killers"

Posted by Rob at 11:22 PM 1 Comments

The filing deadline for Republic and Democratic candidates for the November elections was yesterday, although Independents for city elections have until July 15, and minor party candidates have until August 3rd. Half of the city council is running for re-election, all but one (1st ward Democrat Kim Groome will face Eric Sturgis in a democratic primary) are unapposed.

> See AANews: "Races for mayor, prosecutor shape up"

And this from a companion article:

" ... In three general elections, incumbent Democrat John Hieftje has never lost a precinct in the highly Democratic city.

Still, Lumm will try to unseat Hieftje this November. Lumm, 50, is one of two nonincumbents who filed nominating petitions for this year's Ann Arbor city election by Tuesday's deadline for major party candidates. Independent candidates have until July 15 to file; minor party candidates have until Aug. 3. Eric Sturgis, a Democrat, filed to run in the 1st Ward.

"I realize it is an uphill battle," Lumm said. "I believe strongly voters should have a choice. There should be an open public discussion. The city is facing many challenges."

On the City Council, Democrats Kim Groome (1st Ward), Joan Lowenstein (2nd Ward), Jean Carlberg (3rd Ward), Margie Teall (4th Ward) and Chris Easthope (5th Ward) will run for re-election. Half of the 10-member council is up for re-election each year.

With so many unopposed same-party candidates, Lumm said someone has to bring up issues for debate." ...

> AANews: "Republican Lumm files challenge to Hieftje"

Posted by Rob at 2:18 PM 0 Comments

I'm helping create a news blog to replace many of the functions of this website, and function to serve the Ann Arbor community in more ways as well. The launch date for the website, named, is June 2.

> Launch party on

Posted by Rob at 2:06 PM 0 Comments

Sophomore Elliott Mallen is a new columnist in the summer edition of the Michigan Daily who wrote a very good column titled "Keep an eye on Fleming." Here's the conclusion:

" ... What most people don’t realize is that many of these advisory committees simply would not exist or function if it weren’t for significant student action. The Advisory Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights would not have been formed had Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality not occupied former president Bollinger’s office. Nonetheless, this committee is plagued with bureaucratic inertia and it still needs significant lobbying from SOLE in order to do what is required of it. While beneficial, advisory committees alone can’t provide the oversight necessary to ensure that the administration acts in favor of students.

In short, I am encouraging students to become involved in engaging the University. Don’t accept its motivations as pure. We’re always told to constantly question the motives behind government officials. It took Watergate to get the general public to see the importance of public scrutiny in government affairs. I’m encouraging students to become involved now so that greater oversight will prevent a Watergate-like scandal here. ... "

While the column is good, there's a few editorial issues at the Daily: they misspelled his name (His first name has two 'T's), misspelled his email address emmallen at, and falsely claimed he serves on the Advisory Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights (he doesn't, although he's a member of SOLE).

Posted by Rob at 1:57 PM 0 Comments

Scientists are expecting trillions of large, loud cicadas to emerge from the ground - the only time they come above ground in their 17-year life cycle:

" ... The 1 1/2 inch-long black bugs with iridescent wings buzz around, but are basically harmless. They don't bite, and they don't sting. They live above ground as adults for about 2 1/2 weeks to reproduce all they can before dying.

The adult males begin the mating ritual with a long buzzing sound that attracts the females. The chorus from one colony's male insects is so loud that the insects can drown out outdoor wedding events, graduation ceremonies and golf tournaments, researchers say. ... "

> Freep: "They're back: Trillions of cicadas emerge from 17-year slumber"
> See National Geographic Coverage

Posted by Rob at 12:01 AM 0 Comments

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The University of Michigan Department of Public Safety has issued this crime alert after the attack of two men at the intersection of Tappan and Hill last weekend:

"Date: 5-11-04



Date: Sunday, May 9, 2004

Location: 700 Block Tappan & 1100 Block Hill

Offense: Unarmed Robbery

The Ann Arbor Police Department is investigating two robberies near campus. The victims, both males, were walking on the sidewalk when they were approached by five young males, punched, and ordered to surrender property. The incidents occurred about five minutes apart, shortly after midnight, near the intersection of Hill and Tappan Streets.


For status updates, see the DPS website"

Here's the Ann Arbor News' coverage of the attack, from yesterday's Police Beat:

"2 men attacked, robbed at intersection

Two men were attacked and robbed within minutes of each other early Sunday morning in the same Ann Arbor intersection, city police said.

A 26-year-old Ann Arbor man said he was walking west on Hill Street near Tappan Street and noticed four or five men behind him about 12:15 a.m., reports said. He said that he turned to walk on Tappan Street when one of the men got in front of him and punched him in the face, causing him to fall to the sidewalk, reports said.

The victim said he was punched again, and the men demanded money, threatening a worse beating if he didn't comply, reports said. The victim said he handed over a money clip with $40, three credit cards and a driver's license, and the robbers walked off, reports said.

Minutes later, a 19-year-old Birmingham man reported being punched and robbed in the same intersection. He said he was walking when he was approached by four men who asked if he had any money, reports said. The man said he told them no and was struck in the jaw, reports said.

The men surrounded the victim and again demanded cash, and he said he opened his wallet and gave them $10, reports said. The victim sought treatment at the University of Michigan Medical Center for minor injuries.

Police did not find the robbers in the area."

Posted by Rob at 4:48 PM 0 Comments

Former President Bill Clinton's memior "My Life" is scheduled to be released this June. See AP: "Clinton Gives 900 - Page Memoir to Editors"

Posted by Rob at 1:52 PM 0 Comments

A man trying to steal beer at a local Kroger found himself disarmed, sprayed with pepper spray, and bound by employees of the store.

Posted by Rob at 1:31 PM 0 Comments

The University plans to kick off the "Michigan Difference" fundraising campaign this Friday from noon till 1pm in Rackham Auditorium. Although they have not announced a goal, the University is calling it a "billion-plus fund-raising campaign," and saying in a recent press release that "The campaign goal will exceed the $1.4 billion raised during the last campaign, which concluded in 1997."

> U Record: "'The Michigan Difference' kicks off public phase"

Posted by Rob at 1:05 PM 0 Comments

Monday, May 10, 2004

Someone is auctioning on Ebay some plans for Michigan Stadium dating from the 1920s when it was constructed.

Posted by Rob at 11:59 PM 0 Comments

I have some extra copies of a print version of my Inside the Daily series. They are free, and available on a first-come, first-serve basis, simply email me your name and address at rob at If you would like to help offset my printing costs, the suggested donation is $5. Use this link to pay with a credit card via Paypal.

Posted by Rob at 4:58 PM 0 Comments

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Here's the blurb the Ann Arbor News ran on Dean Willis' resignation:

"Edward Willis has resigned from his job as dean of students at the University of Michigan, a post he held since 2002. Willis sent an e-mail to his colleagues on Thursday saying he would step down "within the next few days" to spend more time with his family.

Willis said he was proud of his work with the Division of Student Affairs. In another e-mail sent Friday, U-M's Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper thanked Willis for his work. Harper said she will announce interim plans for the position shortly, and an advisory group will be formed as part of the search for his successor."

Posted by Rob at 9:40 PM 0 Comments

Sounds like we might have a "War President" on our hands.

Posted by Rob at 9:37 PM 0 Comments

Friday, May 07, 2004

Articles of note:

> "4 arrested in drug raid on house near U-M" (The house was 512 Packard)
> "Analyst: Denser downtown may slow sprawl"
> "Library considers big changes for main branch downtown"

Also, as if prices weren't high enough, President Coleman has announced the University will increase the cost of living in the dorms: "Coleman announces housing rate increase, other plans for 'U'"

And the Daily's coverage of David E. Davis:

> "Commencement speaker elicits positive reviews"

Posted by Rob at 2:14 PM

U-M grad Adam Chaprnka has started a blog with lofty goals:

"My name is Adam Chaprnka. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a Masters in Social Work in May 2004. In July 2004, I will begin a job in student affairs at U-M. I am hoping to begin a career that allows me to combine my interests in social work and higher education. My ultimate goal is to attain a leadership position at a university, helping transform instutitions of higher education into more effective tools for achieving social justice."

Posted by Rob at 2:03 PM

The University has posted online a "Frequently Asked Questions about the Proposed "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative"

Posted by Rob at 1:55 PM

This conferrence, scheduled for this weekend, sounds interesting: Activist Scholarship: Making Social Movement Theory Matter ("A mini-conference sponsored by the Social Movement Scholars Network, to be held at University of Michigan, Michigan League, May 8-9th, 2004.")

Posted by Rob at 1:52 PM

Edward Willis, the highly respected Dean of Students, has resigned:

"Date: Fri, 7 May 2004 10:59:13 -0400
From: "E. Royster Harper"
Reply-To: "E. Royster Harper"
Subject: Dean of Students
To: MI-Roundtable at, msa.reps at

Dear Students:

I know that many of you are away from campus for the break, but I am sending this note in case you happen to be checking your messages over the summer. I regret to inform you that Edward Willis, the Dean of Students since 2002, has resigned from that position. Mr. Willis has recently decided to focus more time supporting his family, and I understand and respect his decision.

Ed is a valued member of the University of Michigan community and his presence within Student Affairs will be missed. We are grateful for his leadership, which has made a considerable difference at U-M. He served on a number of committees, among them the Undergraduate Council, the Provost’s Task Force on Campus Climate for Transgender Bisexual Lesbian
Gay Faculty, Staff and Students, the Diversity Council, and Fan Behavior. Through his open, approachable style, he has been able to recognize and respond to an array of student needs.

An announcement concerning interim plans will be made shortly. In the meantime, I am calling together an advisory group to explore the appropriate next steps in launching a search for a successor.

I would like to thank Ed Willis for his remarkable service to U-M. I ask the campus community to join me in wishing him a warm and fond farewell, and the best in all his future endeavors.

E. Royster Harper
Vice President for Student Affairs"

Posted by Rob at 1:43 PM

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Expect few posts until May 8 since I'll be traveling. However, expect to see a new, Ann Arbor-based group news blog to be launched within a month.

David E. Davis: "Stay loose. Stay flexible."

Posted by Rob at 3:31 PM
> University of Michigan FY 2003 Employee Earnings Posted
> Read my new Washington DC blog:
> In DC?
> Union of Progressive Alumni/ae
> On a recent trip to New York City I visited the El...
> If you would like a Google Gmail account contact m...
> " ... A phone / e-mail survey of 3,000 Michigan ci...
> High Crimes and Misdemeanors
> Overheard recently: "From: Marvin Krislov Sent...


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