Archive for July, 2007

UM Regents act fast

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

         They passed something to give tuition breaks to military families, at the end of the SAME MEETING (today) where I recommended they do! More later.

Sentencing for Sweatfrees

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

         At courtroom, 9 this morning, saw 4 students in the Sweatfree Coalition of UM sweatshop protesters (others may be busy or out of town right now) sentenced to probation and deferred sentencing, i.e., if they complete their probation conditions, their criminal record will be expunged.
         The probation conditions include $390 in fines plus $20 for each month of probation, plus no alcohol or illegal drug use (and random drug testing may occur) until the deferred sentencing hearing on December 20 at 10:30 a.m., apparently, plus 24 hours of community service, plus staying out of the Fleming Building.
         Meanwhile, UM is under fire for credit card misuse. Wonder who should really be in court.

UM builds too much, teaches too little

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

         Despite the atrocious spelling “CLASS’s” that you see on one poster, still, it is interesting to see that the sentiment is in the air (and I don’t know who put these posters up on the UM kiosk) that building projects at UM have gone kind of haywire and beyond bounds, while actual people are neglected. I think the sentiment may well be correct.

Art thing in AA

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

         Cf. Ann Arbor Street Art Fair site, though there are other sites too. (A guide to all 4 art fairs available here.) Starts tomorrow, goes thru Saturday.

         Bring a snorkel so you can breathe in the crowd.

Exile on State Street ending; or, so long Schoolkids

Monday, July 16th, 2007

         Schoolkids’ Records in Exile is shutting down on July 31, after 31 years. Offering more than 31 flavors of records, this famous hipster tunes depot is offering various special discounts. They are still downstairs inside Bivouac, 332 S. State Street, website And you still have time to “Stop by and say goodbye”, as their ad says.

         RIP SRiE.

Foxy Brown back in town

Saturday, July 14th, 2007

         See, Brown ‘Found’ at Awards Ceremony,

         “Troubled rapper Foxy Brown has ended speculation over her whereabouts — after she honored a commitment to co-host an awards ceremony on Saturday.
         The star sparked fears for safety after worried friends told the media Brown had not been seen in over a week after boarding a flight to London at New York’s J.F.K airport on June 29.
         Speaking last week her lawyer, New York State Senator Jack Sampson, said “We’re all trying to find Foxy. Depending on whom she’s working with, she could be anywhere.”
         But the singer surprised her close pals by appearing at the Urban Music Awards at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, where she had been lined up to co-host the ceremony….
         Brown recently made the headlines after allegedly being mugged by four thieves on June 23. She initially denied the incident had taken place, but has since admitted to having her stolen items — $500, credit cards and a Louis Vuitton bag — returned to her.”

         Whew!!! Out of danger–for now. (See some earlier FoBro coverage here.)

Fairyland nocturnale

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Courtesy of U. of Lothlórien Bd. of Regents

         Snapped this photo of UM Regents’ Plaza some time ago in the early evening; the effect is surprisingly magical, including the moon above the trees (with a bright star up above it and to the left), the royal blue sky with some light in it, the luminous globular lamps, and the mutedly shining fountain and the more brightly shining trees. Tolkien’s elf forest of Lothlórien has nothing on this.

         In fact, the whole looks like a more wholesome version of E. Gary Gygax’s infamous “Vault of the Drow”, often lauded as the best Dungeons and Dragons adventure ever, see one commenter’s version of it,

         “…one of the true epic moments in D&D: the Vault of the Drow. An anomalous cyst in the earth, the cavern is fully 6 miles across and several thousand feet high. The walls and ceiling are crusted and shot through with radioactive minerals that glow and rain bizarre energies down into the space below, where multi-faceted crystals and subterranean fungi grow into fantastic and grotesque forests that writhe across the floor of the Vault. In particular, one large deposit in the center of the roof far above glows likes [sic] a violet moon, joining with the ambient luminescence to illuminate dimly the cavern below…. As EGG waxes into a High Gygaxian fever, only his own words can do justice here: “The small ’star’ nodes glow in radiant hues of mauve, lake, violet, puce, lilac, and deep blue. The large ‘moon’ of tumkeoite casts beams of shimmering amethyst which touch the crystalline formations with colors unknown to any other visual experience. The lichens seems to glow in rose madder and pale damson, the fungi growths in golden and red ochres, vermilions, russets, citron, and aquamarine shades… The place is indeed a dark fairyland.”"

         There are worse things than being “Lord of the Nerds”, I guess. Thanks Gygax. (And Tolkien.)

Mary Sue Coleman is Dolores Umbridge

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007


         I thought someone should draw the parallel, that’s all. –I am no Harry Potter fan (and may even be working on a book critical of the franchise), but you use the symbols the culture gives you, so to speak.
         Repression of students, whether at Hogwarts or here re student protesters who got arrested and are awaiting sentencing, is rarely a good idea. Be vigilant. Keep free.

How you may buy YearlyKos “unConventional” book

Sunday, July 8th, 2007


         I have been asked to mention that Daily Kos’s book unConventional, YearlyKos: Citizens, Focus and Action, which is ”an in-depth book covering the first YearlyKos convention”, is now available for purchase at 

         More on the book: “A team of four brilliant photographers led by Mona Brooks along with an editorial staff led by Hunter of Daily Kos fame, documented every aspect of the convention, from caucuses to keynote speeches, from volunteers to political heavy-hitters, so many Kos bloggers, and more.
         The 292 page book combines complete convention coverage with personal essays about why so many of you are here–Kossack personal stories about what being a progressive means (with beautiful portraits to boot, so you can finally see how fabulous the people you communicate with on dKos look in the reality-based world!).”

         I get none of the proceeds, by the way, but as we learn at the link above, “All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to funding future YearlyKos conventions, so buy this gorgeous book today and secure the future of this (UnConventionally) important movement! (Also available in ebook format.)” So if you care about the growth and nurturance of the blogosphere, buying “unConventional” is one thing you can do.

         By the way, I’m second from the top in the upper tier of photos, fourth from the left, above Howard Dean, upper-right-corner from Harry Reid, and to the left of Mrs. Kos… And famed Ann Arbor blogger Marcy Wheeler is in the lower tier of photos, I think, second from top, fifth from the left, and two to the left of Kos himself. (More photos and an essay from others and from me are inside the book, I believe)

         Also, YearlyKos 2007 registration is almost over! If you want to go to that Chicago convention (August 2-5 2007), check out the YearlyKos Convention website before July 14th, when registration ends. 
         See you there!!

Katsav cops sex harassment plea, gets away pretty free

Friday, July 6th, 2007

         See the Guardian, Israeli president strikes plea bargain over sex offences,

         “The Israeli president, Moshe Katsav, struck a surprise plea bargain with prosecutors today under which he will resign and admit charges of sexual harassment in return for avoiding jail time and much tougher rape charges.
         The deal, announced by the attorney general, Menachem Mazuz, in Jerusalem, brought swift condemnation from MPs and women’s rights campaigners. …
         He [Mazuz] said it was Mr Katsav who had proposed the deal, which was finalised only this morning. Mr Mazuz also said some of the allegations would have been difficult to prove in court and might have damaged the “image of the state of Israel” …
         There was considerable criticism of the deal today. “There is no public interest in reaching a plea bargain and reducing his sentence just because we’re talking about the president and only because we’re concerned about how we’ll look to the world,” said Kineret Barashi, the lawyer for one of the female victims.
         Zahava Gal-On, an MP and women’s rights campaigner, said: “Victims of sex crimes will believe they do not have any shield.” Women have long argued that they are given little protection against sexual harassment in important public offices.
         Miriam Schler, of the Tel Aviv rape crisis centre, said the deal was a “travesty”. “It gives a message to women who were raped and attacked or sexually assaulted by men in positions of power that it’s better for them to sit at home and be quiet and not tell anyone about it because it’s not worth it for them to actually file a complaint with the police,” she said. …” 

         Well, although Katsav didn’t get away completely free, one must sympathize with his victims, and agree with the women above. “…might have damaged the ‘image of the state of Israel’”…..well, maybe this incident, the plea bargain itself, risks damaging the image of the state??