Archive for January, 2007

Molly Ivins 1944-2007 R.I.P. (UPDATED)

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

         See, e.g., CNN, Molly Ivins, known for poking fun at politicians, dies at 62,

         “Best-selling author and columnist Molly Ivins, the sharp-witted liberal who skewered the political establishment and referred to President Bush as “Shrub,” died Wednesday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 62. …
         Ivins made a living poking fun at politicians, whether they were in her home state of Texas or the White House. …”

         Would blogs have been possible without this amusing hellraiser? –R.I.P. MI.

         UPDATE: from the “Rare Moment of Decency” file, and Reuters, Texas liberal political wit Ivins dies of cancer,

         “…Bush and first lady Laura Bush extended their condolences to Ivins’ family and friends.
         “Molly Ivins was a Texas original. … I respected her convictions, her passionate belief in the power of words and her ability to turn a phrase. She fought her illness with that same passion. Her quick wit and commitment to her beliefs will be missed,” the president said in a statement. …”

Gratz only gets $10k from UM

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

         See DetNews, Lawsuit challenging U-M undergraduate admissions policy dismissed after 10 years: Plaintiffs will receive $10K each to cover costs; no damages,

         “…Plaintiffs Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher will receive $10,000 each to cover miscellaneous costs under the settlement agreement that a U.S. District Court judge approved Wednesday. They will not receive damages. …
         In January 2005, a federal judge ordered U-M to pay $672,000 in fees to the lawyers for Gratz and Hamacher. They had originally sought $2 million. …”

         $2 mil? What is this, the Michigan lottery??

Indict Bush tonite

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

         Just a reminder, Sham Drum at 7 tonite, Liz de la Vega talking about her indict Bush book.

First Muslim cabinet minister in Israel

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

         See, e.g., AP courtesy of Forbes, Israeli Cabinet Approves Muslim Minister,

         “The Israeli government overwhelmingly approved the appointment of the country’s first Muslim Cabinet minister Sunday, billing it as an important step for a long-suffering minority.
         But the appointment of Raleb Majadele, mired for weeks in political infighting and charges of racism, drew renewed criticism from hard-liners who said the move was little more than political expediency. Even Arab lawmakers dismissed the development, saying the government has little real interest in improving the lot of Israel’s Arabs.
         Majadele told AP Television News that his goals as a Cabinet minister would be “promoting coexistence between the two peoples inside the state, and promoting dialogue between the Palestinians and the Israelis toward negotiations and political agreement.” …”

         A good first step towards more diversity and equity, etc. Now when is that first Jewish cabinet minister in Saudi Arabia going to arrive…

Mary Sue’s little devils, uh, Angells

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

         The Michigamua, uh, Michigan Daily tells us about the new name that “the artist formerly known as Prince the society formely known as Michigamua” has decided upon: In Society asks Angell family to use its name: Controversial group asks to call itself Order of Angell, we see 

         “…James K. Angell - the great grandson of James B. Angell, who helped found Michigamua in 1902 - said last night that two members of the controversial society came to his Bethesda, Md. home on Wednesday night and asked his permission to call the group Order of Angell. …”

         Mary Sue’s little Angells. Sweet.

         Could there have been other names though? (Cf. Rob Goodspeed’s (in)famous Name Michigan’s Premier Secret Society! post) E.g.,

         To honor “most famous Michigamua man ever” Gerald Ford (RIP): the Ford Ord (not to be confused with Fort Ord, California)

         Donnmfresardigamua (the Michigan Daily preferred choice, no doubt)

         Obamagamua (self-explanatory)

         Rob Goodspeed Appreciation Society

         Circle of Andrew Yahkind Dependents

         Formerly Crazed Racists Gamua

         Gamma Gamma Gamua (for the sorority crowd)

         Lollapagamua (for the music crowd)

         Gamua Gamua Gamua Gamua Gamua Chameleon (for the Boy George/Culture Club crowd) 

         Traumagamua (because of all the fuss)

         DalaiLamaGamua (that Tibetan appeal…and just wait for the donations from Richard Gere!) 

         —Well, maybe the wait is finally over and we have a new name for the Org. Still, as long as that new name can be traced to the bad old club of Native American spoofers, our self-proclaimed “Angells” would do well not to wear the new name on a sweatshirt, lest they be barred from America’s finest service station restrooms, among other places…..

UM College Dems wonder about “ex-terrorist” event

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

         See their blog, “Kicking A[ ]s Ann Arbor”, entry A message regarding tomorrow’s 3 Former Terrorists event, for the UM Dem opinion,

         “…Tomorrow [today, actually], the right wing student group “Young Americans for Freedom” (AKA YAF) is hosting an event at 7pm in Rackham Auditorium featuring 3 self-proclaimed former terrorists.
         We welcome a robust conversation about the root causes of terrorism and how to defeat it. Unfortunately, we fear that the individuals YAF chose to shed light on this issue - implicating the entire Arab culture and Islam - do more to perpetuate the fundamental intolerance and ignorance that fuels terrorism than to address it. …”

         Something to chew on dere.

Visiting author indicts Bush—literally

Monday, January 29th, 2007


         Book-signing event coming up very soon, featuring Elizabeth de la Vega at Shaman Drum, Wednesday, January 31, 7:00 p.m.:

         “In ‘United States v. George W. Bush et al.,’ former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega brings her twenty years of experience and her passion for justice to the most important case of her career. The defendants are George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell. The crime is tricking the nation into war, or, in legal terms, conspiracy to defraud the United States.
         Ms. de la Vega has reviewed the evidence, researched the law, drafted an indictment, and in this lively, accessible book, presented it to a grand jury. If the indictment and grand jury are both hypothetical, the facts are tragically real: Over half of all Americans believe the president misled the country into a war that has left over 3000 American soldiers and countless Iraqis dead. The cost is $350 billion-and counting.
         Elizabeth de la Vega, a former federal prosecutor, was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis as well as a member of the Organized Crime Strike Force and Branch Chief in San Jose, California. Since her retirement in 2004, she has been a regular contributor to Tomdispatch. Her articles have also appeared in Nation, LA Times, Salon and Mother Jones.”        

         So if you want some de la soul, you know where to be on the last day of this warm & wonderful month.

On the new Daily design etc.

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

         I see the Michigan Daily has a completely new design; all kinds of fancy fonts, etc., and also lots of new features. (I was going to write this post a long while ago–as “Daily gone wild…as usual”, but I’ve now opted for a more conventional name), but have been very busy, and and also can’t find all my notes. –On that note, there may be a “Part II” to this, once I do find the notes.)

         Of course, I have opined a lot about the Daily before (feel free to search Arblogger for linx), but shall avoid too much snarking here.  
. . .On the whole, the changes are positive. I don’t feel any of them were necessary (how “necessary” are aesthetic things, ever? ”Form follows function”, say the utilitarians, and they are often right…), but they do make the paper more interesting. And, of course, some of the changes comprise content, not just style.

         One of the primary changes/innovations is the “menu” on the second page now, with features ”The Extremist”–”Arbor Anecdotes”–”Before You Were Here”–”Campus Characters”–”Explained” appearing in M-Tu-W-Th-F order. The “Arbor Anecdotes” feature provides a nice little series of “Arbor updates”, although a good number of the submissions seem to come from Daily staff themselves…

         And sandwiched below those varying daily Daily specialties are the “Crime Notes”, “Campus Events & Notes”, and the new “Three Things You Should Know Today” feature. That last one in particular, is it gimmicky? Maybe so. Maybe the whole weekday menu above, “Campus Characters” etc., is gimmicky too in some ways; but that does not mean it’s boring. (The whole page 2 deal is somewhat like what one sees in magazines, the “snippets of interest” format. Fogies might complain about putting that kind of magaziney thing in a venerable paper like the Daily, but whatever keeps readers amused; a student paper can take inspiration from “Cosmo” or “Time” or whatever if it likes. …Has there been a poll about the changes?

         By way, I do not mind when the Daily takes inspiration from me either, see, e.g., their 10/27/06 From the Daily: Councilman Kunselman, which sounds rather like my own 9/6/06 Ran into Steve “even sounds like Councilman” Kunselman. Imitation is the sincerest form of flat…..) 

         One surgical cut the MD has made, which I doubt the value of, is the “This day in Daily history” feature. It was a little dorky in some ways, maybe, but it did, as per its name, show some appreciation for Daily history, and was a nice window into the past. …Also, didn’t the “…years of editorial freedom” part on the front page use to be a nice Michigan blue, at some point? I seem to remember a whole lotta blue on the front page in the past… 
         I’m no conservative as a rule, but I wonder how much baby the D threw out with the bath water.

         Now that Karl Stampfl will be taking over and putting his stamp on the MichD, that paper notes, “…Managing Editor Jeffrey Bloomer said Stampfl will put more emphasis on the presentation of the paper’s content than current Editor in Chief Donn M. Fresard did during his tenure.” This mystifies me, since, as we have noted, Fresard made many changes indeed in presentation. One wonders what will happen here. (People do watch the MiDa for what it does, see the curious case of the metamorphosed Michigan Review…)

         Again, I may make more comment later, but there we are for now. Whether you like the paper or not, the Daily is too big a fact of life in these parts to walk around and avoid, so may it flourish.

Mich Rev goes wacky

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

         Never mind the troubles on their website, which is a bit difficult to deal with at times: the Michigan Review paper edition has undergone severe stylistic changes, including all kinds of fancy fontage, getting rid of the “Serpent’s Tooth” trashy sarcastic section, etc. It’s kind of a Young Americans for Freedom-meets-Starbucks vibe, sort of.

         Fancy fonts, style overhaul…who do they think they are, the Michigan Daily?

Chinese govt.: possibly worse than Jared Leto

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

         If you thought J. L–o was an enemy of bloggers and internet freedom, try the butchers of Tiananmen Square, cf. Googster Sergey Brin via Forbes, The Google Guys In Davos,

         “Brin…also responded to the criticism that erupted when Google agreed to work with the Chinese government last year to limit search results in that country. Up until that point, Google had been fairly immune from the criticism that plagues most big companies. Brin said the damage to Google’s image made the deal a “net negative.” …”

         I wonder if the foos at Goog will foo us over like Pfizer one day, seeing their spinelessness vis-a-vis China. Wouldn’t be surprised.