Archive for April, 2007

Bushies give Levin a head pat

Monday, April 30th, 2007

         (Cross-posted from Michigan Liberal) 

        See Reuters, Fight over Iraq war funds heads toward new phase, 

         “…Senate Armed Services panel Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, has discussed language in a second bill to measure the Iraqi government’s progress on goals like a law to share oil revenues fairly among Sunnis, Shi’ites and Kurds.
         McConnell and other congressional Republicans have signaled openness to benchmarks. A senior White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that was a “promising area” and praised Levin’s role. …” 

         “praised Levin’s role.” I’m as happy as a clam.

Joe Francis charged with sexual battery

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

         HuffPo channeling AP, ‘Gone Wild’ Founder Faces Sexual Battery,

         “Joe Francis, the millionaire founder of the “Girls Gone Wild” video empire, was charged Wednesday with misdemeanor sexual battery for allegedly groping an 18-year-old woman.
         Francis allegedly touched the woman’s breast and buttocks repeatedly despite pleas to stop, said city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan [, who] said the alleged incident took place at a Jan. 10 birthday party at the Geisha House in Hollywood. …”        

         Don’t miss our past post on Francis going to jail for other reasons. (4 posts! that day, the Ugly Joe one might’ve got buried.)

Monster over Ann Arbor

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

         Snapped this some while ago, showing huge moving monster crane over campus and Ann Arbor. There’s lots of these lately, actually, if you look carefully. (To the southwest of the Diag, etc.)
         All the new construction, but maybe not much real improvement, unless you like busy work for its own sake…

Clinton visits Michigan Stadium. –Bill, not Hill or Chel

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

(Cross-posted from Michigan Liberal) 

Plane with “Choose Life Not Hillary & Abortion” message! 

         Today’s visit by President 42 to Mich Stadium for the UM commencement was late, or at least the ceremony started about 1/2 hour late. Clinton is not famous for being on time…
         Amazingly, someone hired a small plane to buzz overhead, with messages like “Defend the Unborn” and “Choose Life Not Hillary & Abortion”, with “Abortion” in red! How thoughtful.


Bill C on two screens, featuring his shiny white hair 

         However, to my relief, Bill did not mention Hillary or her campaign once, to my recollection. Despite his problems with Dubai and such, he gave a speech that was not bad at all.
         Mentioning some of his Clinton Foundation humanitarian work in Rwanda and elsewhere–some of which was helped by talented UM students, we learned–, he riffed off of UM’s finishing ‘06-’07 “citizenship theme year”, and said the graduating youngsters would need to define citizenship for themselves in our increasingly interdependent world. (Clinton said he liked “interdependent” better than “globalizing”.)
         In between mentioning problems like global warming and the dirty drinking water which kills many children under the age of 5 worldwide, Clinton mentioned his signature themes of opportunity, responsibility, and community (though he called the last one “belonging” today), and said that our currently unequal, insecure, and unsustainable world would have to be improved with all these values, presumably wielded by the newly minted UM grads. 

         42 also dropped some funny jokes, such as his philosophical realization that Bo Schembechler (RIP), a hardcore Republican, could maybe change his party registration in the afterlife–but was it moral for him, Bill Clinton, to pray for it?
         Also, BC said some nice words about Gerald Ford (RIP), with whom he had had a 2-day golf trip and other nice experiences. 

         One of the key words in his speech was “integration”, which is what our world interdependency should ideally lead to, if we try hard. (Clinton adeptly praised the (very funny) graduating class speaker Abdul El-Sayed, as an example that disproves the doomsayers who preach “various cultures can’t get along”.)
         And he subtly jabbed at the current war in Iraq by saying that the problems such as tainted drinking water are crucial, since they may actually kill more people than wars do in the upcoming century. (Clinton noted that we may not have Hitler, etc., to kill people in wars now, but there are plenty of other big challenges.) 

         Maybe Bill earned his honorary Doctor of Laws degree today after all!


The name is Bond. J. Max Bond 

         There were other dignitaries or honorees on stage, such as J. Max Bond Jr. in the photo above (on screen, not the guy in the way of the camera), the award-winning African-American architect who overcame prejudice and abuse to become one of America’s great building designers, and to get a UM honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree today. (Sort of fits with Clinton’s theme of “integration”.) 

         I’m not sure I’ll vote for Hillary (it’s not because of the plane and sign), but with moments like these, I’d still vote for Bill Clinton over either George Bush any day of the week, I suspect… 

12 Sweatfree students to be criminally charged

Friday, April 27th, 2007

         A source tells me that the dedicated dozen from Sweatfree Coalition who sat in at Mary Sue Coleman’s office are now due to be arraigned on May 9 before Judge Michael J. Gatti. Apparently “Mercy Sue” isn’t going to be Mary Sue’s nickname any time soon. Surprise, surprise.
         Trespassing and unlawful remaining on the property of a higher education institution, or words to similar effect, seem to be the two charges. (Ironically, there is no victim listed on the forms, since it’s a victimless crime, really…)

         So the arraignment will take place after many students are gone for the summer. Somewhat as I thought might happen.

         Here’s where you can donate to their defense fund, this link.

         Without going into many details: while Mary Sue is smirking tomorrow about getting Clinton as the graduation speaker, etc., reflect on the misery she is causing for these 12 students, for the sweatshop workers whom she will likely not ever help much at all, and for the whole state of Michigan with her absurd and unpopular two-tier college appropriations plan. If the UM Regents replaced her tomorrow with UM-Dearborn chancellor Daniel Little or someone else, you would probably not hear me complaining much. Administrators just outlive their usefulness sometimes.
         Happy graduation everybody.

The Daily’s slip on Sudan, part 4

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

         Continuing from part 3 (noting the Mich. Daily article’s false claim that there was no campus debate re divestment from Sudan): the Daily article gives as reason that there (supposedly) was no debate,

         “That’s because the University doesn’t have any funds invested in the region, administrators said. …
         Tim Slottow, the University’s Chief Financial Officer, said in an e-mail interview that the University doesn’t have holdings in any companies doing business in Sudan. 
         ‘We have never officially divested from Sudan because the University has not and does not own stocks of any company widely recognized for working in Sudan,” he said. “Nor do we own bonds in any company widely recognized for working in Sudan.’ …”

         However, the Daily’s conclusion “the University doesn’t have any funds invested in the region” is patently groundless and misleading, from what Slottow says shortly afterwards. When he says “widely recognized for working in Sudan”: what on earth does “widely recognized” mean? That’s a hole wide enough to drive a truck through.  
         Do companies pay for Super Bowl ads, “We want you to know we invest in Sudan! Come enjoy the flies and death during your holiday in Darfur!”? Probably not. Thus, the very article title “‘U’ has no stock in Sudan” is conclusory and unevidenced.

         Competent journalists or commentators (e.g., bloggers), like Woodward and Bernstein unearthing Nixon’s Watergate crimes, or Ann Arbor’s most famous blogger Marcy Wheeler putting the dirty ducks of the Valerie Plame case in a row, know that their task is largely to go beyond the cover-up that the state, the government, offers.
         What the Daily article pulls off, stupendously, is the blunder of giving the state more cover than they offered themselves, i.e., Slottow tacitly admitted that some Sudan investments could exist, but the Daily went beyond that for no reason and offered a complete whitewash for UM by saying there were no investments, period. And this false assurance misinformed thousands, or tens of thousands, of Daily readers about the Sudan divestment matter, helping make those readers complacent when there is still an ongoing problem.
         Journalists have probably been fired for less than this; and seeing the gravity of the issue, i.e., the ongoing genocide/mass murder in Darfur, the Daily’s performance is inexcusable and disgraceful.

         In part 5, more Daily errors, and my efforts at getting the Daily to print a correction…

“My Name Is Rachel Corrie”, playing April 26/27/28 at East Quad auditorium (RC)

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

         Running at 8 p.m. in the Residential College at UM, for $5 admission, this controversial play, one which has sometimes been canceled by those pressured to cancel it, will be followed by a discussion the night of the Tuesday, April 26th 2007 performance only.

         Also, here is the link for the Rachel Corrie Foundation.

Warren Avis RIP, 1915-2007

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

         See yesterday’s AP report, Warren Avis, car rental pioneer, dies at 92, and today’s similarly-titled AA News report, Rental car mogul Warren Avis dies: Area entrepreneur, author was 92. Avis died at his farm (some say in AA, others Pittsfield…).

         He tried harder. RIP WA.

U. of Virginia apologizes for employing slaves

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

         See CNN, University apologizes for using slaves to build school,

         “The University of Virginia’s board marked founder Thomas Jefferson’s birthday with an apology for the school’s use of slave labor between 1819 and 1865.
         The measure was inspired by the Virginia Legislature, which passed a resolution in February expressing its “profound regret” for the state’s role in slavery. …”

         About time. (See my Michigan Liberal post on getting Michigan to apologize for slavery/segregation/racism.)

Joe “Girls Gone Wild” Francis goes wildly to jail

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

         Joe Francis of the quasi-pornographic “Girls Gone Wild” franchise is in trouble, see People, Joe Francis Sentenced to Jail for Contempt,

         “A tearful of [sic] Joe Francis, founder of the Girls Gone Wild video empire, pleaded guilty to contempt of court Monday and was sentenced to 35 days in a Florida jail. …
         Francis, 34, was charged with contempt after he allegedly lost his temper and yelled obscenities during negotiations to settle a lawsuit filed by seven women who were minors when they were filmed at Panama City Beach for a racy video.
         U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak in Panama City, Fla., ordered Francis to settle or face a contempt charge. After talks collapsed, Francis berated Smoak in the media, calling him a “judge gone wild.”
         The judge ordered Francis to surrender April 5 to begin serving jail time for contempt, but he never showed. He instead arrived in Florida five days later and was arrested at the airport. …
         The contempt plea does not end his legal problems. A federal grand jury in Reno has also indicted Francis on charges of tax evasion.” 

         In jail. About time.