Archive for June, 2007

“Mauschwitz”; or, martryed militant Muslim Mickey Mouse macked by murderous Mossad mavens

Saturday, June 30th, 2007


M-U-R-D-E-R, M-O-U-S-E

         Or that’s what Hamas wants you to think. 

         See, e.g., CNN, Hamas TV show kills militant mouse character,

         “A Mickey Mouse lookalike who preached Islamic domination on a Hamas-affiliated children’s television program was the victim of a pretend beating death in the show’s final episode Friday.
         In the final skit, the “Farfour” character was killed by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfour’s land. At one point, the mouse called the Israeli a “terrorist.”
         “Farfour was martyred while defending his land,” said Sara, the teen presenter. He was killed “by the killers of children,” she added.
         The weekly show, featuring a giant black-and-white rodent with a high-pitched voice, had attracted worldwide attention because the character urged Palestinian children to fight Israel. It was broadcast on Hamas-affiliated Al Aqsa TV.
         Station officials said Friday that Farfour was taken off the air to make room for new programs. Station manager Mohammed Bilal said he did not know what would be shown instead.     
         Israeli officials have denounced the program, “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” as incendiary and outrageous. 
         The program was also opposed by the state-run Palestinian Broadcasting Corp., which is controlled by Fatah….”

         Farfour, Mighty Mouse you’re not. Mighty stupid, maybe. (Did some renegade from Saturday Night Live think up the whole Farfour thing??) …And it’s probably better to spend time on Darfur than on Farfour, I think, although I am making some brief mousy mention here.

         –The clever pun “Mauschwitz”, by the way, comes from conserva-pundit David Horowitz of, where he uses that term re the radicalized rodent in his 5/6/07 blog entry Mauschwitz: Palestinian Mickey Mouse preaches war on America and the Jews.

         (And for an earlier look, from May 9 of this year, see the Guardian, Palestinian TV uses Mickey Mouse to promote resistance,

         “Walt Disney’s daughter today described Hamas as “pure evil” for creating a television show in which a Mickey Mouse-style character encourages violent resistance to Israel and the US.
         The al-Aqsa television station….started showing Tomorrow’s Pioneers last month. It is hosted by a presenter called Farfur, who dresses in a Mickey Mouse suit.
         He advises children to drink their milk as well as encouraging what Israeli critics have described as “hate-filled propaganda” against the “Zionist occupation” of Palestine. …”)

Roberts junks Brown? Supreme Ct overturns school desegregation plans

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

         See, e.g., CNN, Divided court rejects school diversity plans,

         “A bitterly divided U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday issued what is likely to be a landmark opinion — ruling that race cannot be a factor in the assignment of children to public schools.
         The court struck down public school choice plans in Seattle, Washington, and Louisville, Kentucky, concluding they relied on an unconstitutional use of racial criteria, in a sharply worded pair of cases reflecting the deep legal and social divide over the issue of race and education.
         A conservative majority led by Chief Justice John Roberts said other means besides race considerations should be used to achieve diversity in schools. …
         [Clarence] Thomas said, “Simply putting students together under the same roof does not necessarily mean that the students will learn together or even interact. Furthermore, it is unclear whether increased interracial contact improves racial attitudes and relations.” …
         In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens said the majority “reverses course and reaches the wrong conclusion. In doing so, it distorts precedent, it misapplies the relevant constitutional principles, it announces legal rules that will obstruct efforts by state and local governments to deal effectively with the growing resegregation of public schools, it threatens to substitute for present calm a disruptive round of race-related litigation.” …”

         Whatever happened to Brown v. Board of Education? And what’s up with Thomas? Has he lost his mind?

Bollinger invites British boycott of Columbia re Israel

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

         See Jerusalem Post, Columbia U. president: Boycott us, too, re Britain’s University and College Union (UCU) academic boycott of Israel, 

         “…Last week, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger penned a public condemnation of the UCU initiative.
         “If the British UCU is intent on pursuing its deeply misguided policy, then it should add Columbia to its boycott list,” Bollinger wrote, “for we do not intend to draw distinctions between our mission and that of the universities you are seeking to punish. Boycott us, then, for we gladly stand together with our many colleagues in British, American and Israeli universities against such intellectually shoddy and politically biased attempts to hijack the central mission of higher education.”
         Bollinger also warned that, “in seeking to quarantine Israeli universities and scholars this vote threatens every university committed to fostering scholarly and cultural exchanges that lead to enlightenment, empathy and a much-needed international marketplace of ideas.”
         Bollinger said he was speaking “as a university professor and president,” and called the notion of an academic boycott “utterly antithetical to the fundamental values of the academy, where we will not hold intellectual exchange hostage to the political disagreements of the moment.”
         In the wake of Bollinger’s condemnation, Zvi Galil, Tel Aviv University’s new president and a former dean of Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences under Bollinger, wrote the Columbia president to thank him for “making your views publicly known.” …” 

Roscoe Lee Browne, RIP 1925-2007 (updated)

Monday, June 25th, 2007


         See, e.g., the Guardian, Roscoe Lee Browne: Actor renowned for his sonorous voice,

         “Whenever the name of the stage, screen and television actor Roscoe Lee Browne, who has died aged 81, comes up, it is his voice that is mentioned first. The sonorous baritone was used to great effect in roles ranging from Shakespeare to the narrator in Babe (1995), from poetry recitals to The Cosby Show.
         However, that voice also provoked several patronisingly racist remarks. Browne recalled that a director once told him that his speech sounded “white”, to which he responded, “We had a white maid.” …
         It was not until 1956, aged 36, that Browne, then a sales representative for a wine importer, decided to take up acting. He was accepted into the company of Joseph Papp’s inaugural season of the New York Shakespeare Festival. Papp’s colour-blind casting gave many black actors the chance to play Shakespeare for the first time. Among Browne’s roles with the company were the Fool in King Lear (1962) and Ulysses in Troilus and Cressida (1965). …
         “Roscoe Lee Browne is the only person I know who could recite, without anything written in front of him, hundreds of poems,” Sidney Poitier commented. “He was a connoisseur of poetry. He was a remarkable person in that regard, in addition to being a consummate actor.”

· Roscoe Lee Browne, actor, born May 2 1925; died April 11 2007″

         RIP RLB.

2 days left to run for AA City Council

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007


         “PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the General Election of the City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan, to elect five (5) councilmembers, one from each of the City’s five (5) wards, to the Ann Arbor City Council for a term of two (2) years will be held on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2007.         
         YOU ARE FURTHER NOTIFIED that partisan nominating petitions and affidavits of identity for candidates will be accepted until 5:00 P.M., MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2007. Qualifying petitions and affidavits of identity for candidates without political party affiliation (independent) will be accepted until 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, August 8, 2007.
         Nominating and qualifying petitions for City Council candidates must contain a minimum of 100 signatures….” 

         So 15 days if you’re an independent, not 2 days; but you don’t have a primary to worry about. In any case, get cracking…if you care about local democracy!

UM lux boxes pass, public comments cut doesn’t (updated)

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

         The various news outlets, e.g., AA News, are noting that the Michigan Stadium luxury boxes were approved by the UM Regents today. I was at the meeting, and here are a few notes:

         There were only 5 speakers (public commenters before the vote) about the lux boxes, and all 5 were supporters of the lux boxes and were male and seemed affluent. 4 were white. One of them, a man in a wheelchair, said “all of us in the wheelchair seats are excited” about the lux boxes. . .but then, critics might ask, why are the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans suing UM over the issue?
         (On that note, Mary Sue Coleman’s heartfelt-seeming words at the beginning of the meeting about the Survival Flight crash victims, while nice, would lead one to hope that her administration develops a similarly heartfelt dedication to the rights of the disabled.)

         The vote happened early too, in a rather comedic way: Regent Rebecca McGowan was apparently out taking her daughter to camp or something, so had to phone in her vote; therefore, Provost Teresa Sullivan had to abruptly interrupt her own presentation on “Financial Aid Overview” and the vote had to be taken immediately.
         After CFO Tim Slottow zoomed through his analysis of the project (presumably so that the speakerphone on the Regents’ table wouldn’t fizzle out before the vote), there was some discussion, though Reg. Laurence “Larry” Deitch, interestingly said nothing. (He voted no later, as he’s done previously.) Reg. Katherine “Kathy” White, the other “no” vote, said little herself (although she did endorse Reg. Darlow for saying what Darlow said, below, about paying attention to issues of the disabled), mainly saying that the football program shouldn’t be overly tasked about the lux box program, since the whole athletic department was doing it.

         As for supporters, Reg. Rebecca “Becky” McGowan had her prepared statement read by outgoing board chair Reg. Olivia “Libby” Maynard (don’t you love all these nicknames?); the statement mentioned “space to engage university friends and supporters”. (Hitting up donors over hors d’oeuvres in the lux boxes, maybe?) Reg. Julia Donovan Darlow voted yes but said she had “serious reservations” about the project, with the weak “Michigan economy”. (She cited construction job creation as one plus about the project, by the way.) She also struck a note of consicence by saying “the Regents should address accessibility now”, that regental “silence could cause dismay”, that dealing with “disability…should be second nature” for UM, and that the “letter and spirit” of rules like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should be met.

         After the 6-2 vote, apparently eager to get out of the room, the Regs blasted through virtually all other agenda items, sometimes moving and seconding proposals before they were fully read! Goodness.

         However, at the last agenda item before…Public Comments time (on non-agenda items, e.g., not about the stadium), the “Public Comments Policy” issue came up, discussed in our previous post Mary Sue trying to curtail public comments at UM. Fortunately, the Regents had a better proposal than the administration one: Reg. Andrew Richner made an amendment adding back 2 speaker slots, for the old total of 12, though the 2 slots were for those signing up after the agenda book was published. (Which could make things slightly complicated…) 
         So, the “sacred 12″ is saved, and thanks to the prudence of the Regents in doing that, despite Mary Sue’s proposal otherwise. (One hopes that all the other “reforms”, e.g., not having repeat speakers as much, will also somehow promote equity and not be abused or manipulated. Richner did mention the value of “rotation”, and Darlow appreciated the value of keeping the number 12, it seemed.)

          There we have it, until next month. Some bad, some good. Come to the Regents’ meetings yourself and make a difference!

Mary Sue trying to curtail public comments at UM

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

         Or at least to reduce the number of public commenters at UM Regents’ meetings, which would automatically reduce the number of comments and prevent plenty of comments from being made. See this shameful item on the agenda for tomorrow’s Regents’ meeting, at, “Public Comments Policy”, which reduces public commenters to 10 per month!
         This would mean, among other things, that the Regents can’t even give one hour (12 speakers x 5 minutes) per month any more to hear the public whom the Regs are supposed to serve. What is going on here?

         When added to all the other UM problems, e.g., the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans lawsuit about the Michigan Stadium luxury boxes, this is intolerable. The Regents and UM need MORE input, from the Veterans and others, not less. (And I also see a slippery slope problem here; if they can cut to 10, why not 8? And maybe one day, “Due to the availability of online methods such as e-mail to contact the UM Regents, UM has decided to abandon the inefficient, outdated method of having in-person public comments during the busy schedule of Regents’ meetings…”)

         The demonstrated contempt Mary Sue Coleman has for the public goes both ways, maybe. She is an embarrassment to her office.
         (By the way, I hear from a protester against the luxury boxes that he was shut out of public comments for tomorrow, and that the list of public commenters was rigged. If so, that is a sad thing.)

         Mail to comment on this or other matters; although it is even better to comment in person, your right to do which is currently being endangered, especially if you don’t mail the Regents to ask them not to cut the number of public commenters. The reduction of comments will even hurt the Regents themselves, as they will be getting less outside information (as opposed to whatever Coleman and her staff spoon-freed the Regents); and why would we want to hurt the Regents by cutting down their information?

         –Frederick Douglass: “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”

Happy Juneteenth!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007


         “Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. …”

People’s rebellion at AACC tonight, plus “”, & chickens

Monday, June 18th, 2007

         I shan’t say much for now about my own “Rating Ann Arbor City Council” public comment at AACC tonight, except that I did broach the idea of purchasing the “” domain name for a website about how bad AACC can be. The main action tonight was from the immense mass of protesters about item PH-8, “Avery House/Elks Lodge Planned Project Site Plan and Development Agreement, 2.49 Acres, 200 Sunset Road”. It was the largest line by far I’ve seen at AACC public hearings, and I can’t even count how many people there were.
         I merely talked about the need to have more candidates run for our overrated AACC, but the Avery public commenters against the project (who far outnumbered the “pro” side) gave one concrete reason for doing so, as they spoke very eloquently about the dangers of overdevelopment and how it would ruin the quality of life. A gender-, age-, and racially-diverse crowd spoke against the Avery House project, often evoking retiring councilman Bob Johnson (noted for his “quality of life” stands) against the gigantic, out-of-scale, light-obscuring, tree-and-beauty-destroying project.

         There were so many people that the curtains holding in the council room had to be opened to allow more chairs to be put out. …Some of the notable quotes or quips were that: some of the longtime residents in the area were themselves “landmark trees” who shouldn’t be disturbed; that a woman against Avery would be happy to have chickens in her backyard but she respects the idea of zoning; that one of the developers himself said that he wouldn’t want Avery next door to him; that city government will be a threat to everyone’s home if Avery goes through; that the city planning process is broken; that McMansions are bad for Ann Arbor; and that heart, caring and respect seem to be absent from the city’s dealing with Avery and the area residents.
         On the other side, interestingly enough, was an apparent coalition of white developers and mostly-black Elks Lodge members. But is a plan that offends so many community members, white, black and otherwise, the only possible plan that could save the Elks Lodge? One wonders. In any case, the city seems to have dealt with the issue in a way that inspires massive popular rage; and that alone may prove my point that AACC is overra…..


Saturday, June 16th, 2007

Edgar Allan Poe might have something to say about this

         This crow or raven whatever doesn’t seem too impressed by the crane at the UM Museum construction site, and looks as if it’s figuratively pecking at it; this crane, which pridefully looks like a stairway to the clouds in this photo. Maybe the bird knows it can go higher than the crane ever can… So doth nature outstrip the works of man. (Or woman, even)