Everywhere a sign.


Greetings from west Michigan. Here’s how you know where you are:

1) This is what passes for workplace benefits in the less-unionized part of the state, and
2) the snow stick.

Ha, that first one’s a joke. I just thought the sign was funny, as the business was deep in one of those light-industrial parks — low-slung buildings with indeterminate names (“FlexCo”) arrayed along a winding road, thundering with truck traffic, dotted with storm-water retention ponds and about as pastoral as a parking lot. Who would want to fish there, you wonder? I’d say the occasional employee looking to spin out his lunch hour with a little fly-casting practice would be a rarity, but evidently they get enough interlopers that they needed to put up a sign.

The snow stick — that little marker on the edge of the driveway — is there to remind plow operators where the curb is. In the world of Lake Effect, you need those sticks.

That’s where I was Monday, working on an assignment, which I have to spend most of Tuesday writing. I’d like to tell you more about it, but it’s a magazine piece, which means standard non-disclosure applies until publication, which is weeks away. Alas.

But hey, it was nice to get out of the house, even for a there-and-back across the Mitten. It was strange to see signs in yards reading, WE SUPPORT PRESIDENT BUSH AND OUR TROOPS IN EVERYTHING THEY DO. (Yes, a real sign. Elsewhere in the same yard: WE LOVE AND SUPPORT AMERICA. Glad to get that cleared up.) Western Michigan is pretty red, but the traffic’s thinner over there, so they’re frequently outvoted by the blue southeast. Movie writer/director Paul Schrader’s from Grand Rapids. I once attended a columnists’ convention — yes, they have them — with a guy who wrote for the paper there. He claimed Schrader put a small, subtle f-you to Grand Rapids in every movie he wrote or directed. I’ve seen most of them, and never noticed a single one, except maybe for the hometown in “Hardcore.” Even Iris, the lost soul girl prostitute in “Taxi Driver,” hails from somewhere in Pennsylvania.

But I can see why he — Schrader — might be tempted. I’m sure he fled as soon as he could.

OK. Because I was out in the actual world yesterday, I didn’t get out in the ‘net world, so I have no tasty bloggage, and my overwhelming impression of what went on yesterday is filtered through the radio — both the NPR affiliates I was able to find, and the rokkin-the-lakeshore stations I turned to when I tired of the plight of indigenous Guatemalans. And so, to bookend this entry with another list of two, here’s all I know today:

1) Alberto Gonzalez deserves to be smeared with peanut butter and set upon by pit bulls; and
2) Bob Seger’s wrapping up his tour with two dates at Cobo, and they’ll be RECORDING. Is “Live Bullet 2” in our future?

We can only hope. Discuss anything and everything in the comments.

Posted at 7:53 am in Same ol' same ol' |

24 responses to “Everywhere a sign.”

  1. Joe Kobiela said on March 13, 2007 at 11:07 am

    My Brother in law and Sister in law live just north of GRR, they a along with most other’s that way dis-like Detroit and the south east part of Michigan. They and I agree with them, do not seem to belive that the rest of the state share the political views of the Urban welfare recipiants. Other wise known as ” if it wasn’t for Detroit the State would go Rebublican instead of Canadian demacrat” Older Brother Dave, who checks in here some, is going to see Bob on Sat night, might get a review posted by him. Last time he and I saw Bob was in Fort Wayne, and I think a friend of mine’s wife threw up in Daves wife’s coat pocket!!!!
    Ah Memories

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  2. Danny said on March 13, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Too funny, Joe.

    Hey, please tell Dave that I really would like him to post a review. That would be way cool.

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  3. brian stouder said on March 13, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Under the ‘anything and everything’ rubric that Nance generously offered – this article gave me pause –


    A gay advocacy group Tuesday demanded an apology from the Pentagon’s top general for calling homosexuality immoral.
    In a newspaper interview Monday, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had likened homosexuality to adultery and said the military should not condone it by allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces.

    Bothersome, this is. Our military is chiefly concerned with executing policy in accord with their adherence to duty and to law.

    Morality will (hopefully) guide them in the completion of their missions – but when it comes to the morality of non-mission questions (what about gambling? or unmarried sexual activities? or drinking alcohol? or smoking cigars?) – why would the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff blithely sally forth into a battle that he doesn’t need to fight?

    Wait! Don’t answer that!

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  4. MarkH said on March 13, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Wyoming snow sticks are taller than Michigan snow sticks.

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  5. Danny said on March 13, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    I’m a bit puzzled about Nancy’s reference to Alberto Gonzalez. I’m not a fan of his for other reasons, but surely the firing of eight federal prosecuters pales in comparison to the precedent set by Janet Reno’s axing of ALL of them back in the 90’s. I distinctly remember this.

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  6. MarkH said on March 13, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    You’re right, Danny. But will the remembrance of things in the early 90’s gain any traction now, in any kind of comparative mode? Not likely…

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  7. nancy said on March 13, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    NYT, 3/24/93:

    Attorney General Janet Reno today demanded the prompt resignation of all United States Attorneys, leading the Federal prosecutor in the District of Columbia to suggest that the order could be tied to his long-running investigation of Representative Dan Rostenkowski, a crucial ally of President Clinton. …While prosecutors are routinely replaced after a change in Administration, Ms. Reno’s order accelerated what had been expected to be a leisurely changeover.

    The eight targeted by Gonzalez — with input from the White House — weren’t Democrats held over from the Clinton years, but Republicans who displeased the White House by refusing to go after Democrats for whatever reason, or because they went after fellow Republicans with a bit too much zeal. And Paul Krugman makes the obvious connection:

    The bigger scandal, however, almost surely involves prosecutors still in office. The Gonzales Eight were fired because they wouldn’t go along with the Bush administration’s politicization of justice. But statistical evidence suggests that many other prosecutors decided to protect their jobs or further their careers by doing what the administration wanted them to do: harass Democrats while turning a blind eye to Republican malfeasance.

    Donald Shields and John Cragan, two professors of communication, have compiled a database of investigations and/or indictments of candidates and elected officials by U.S. attorneys since the Bush administration came to power. Of the 375 cases they identified, 10 involved independents, 67 involved Republicans, and 298 involved Democrats. The main source of this partisan tilt was a huge disparity in investigations of local politicians, in which Democrats were seven times as likely as Republicans to face Justice Department scrutiny.

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  8. Danny said on March 13, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Mark, I agree. Not likely with some or maybe even most, but Nancy’s different. Which is why I am puzzled by her reference. Surely, she would remember this incident too.

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  9. Danny said on March 13, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Krugman’s argument is specious. The statistics make sense in light of the fact that democrats are 4 times as likely to be criminals. Joking.

    But Clinton’s abrupt firing of every prosecutor smacked of malfeasance if anything did. Or doesn’t anyone remember the crap Rostenkowski was pulling? But I guess a FOB is a friend indeed.

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  10. garmoore said on March 13, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Re: Janet Reno’s request for resignation of prosecutors, as I recall, the request for resignation of U.S. attorneys when a new administration came in was fairly standard operating procedure for decades. In point of fact, Janet Reno’s request for resignations drew some heat because of a pending investigation of Dan Rostenkowski. The current firings drew heat because (1) they were rationalized as being based on job performance, when the performance of the prosecutors involved (our U.S. Attorney in Grand Rapids was one of them) was beyond reproach, (2) there was an indication that the firings were tied to unhappiness on members of Congress, largely Republican, that investigations of improprieties connected to Democrats and Democratic organizations weren’t proceeding at the pace the Congressmen wanted, and (3) the timing of the forced resignations was odd (why now, instead of back in 2004 after the election?). Given the perception, accurate or not, of the Bush Administration’s willingness to appoint unqualified cronies to critical posts, the whole thing smelled. The firings may not be improper, but they were handled about as ineptly as possible.

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  11. Danny said on March 13, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    OK. Good points. I’m persuaded and agree.

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  12. brian stouder said on March 13, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    I (for one) am going to IMMENSELY enjoy watching Krugman, Huffington, & Kos (et al) [sounds like a St Louis law firm] transition from Fierce Defenders of Truth, Democracy, and Fair Play – into spineless toadies for the new Democratic president, when she or he gets sworn in!

    Hell – I’ll even be nodding in agreement – at least for the first two years!

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  13. joodyb said on March 13, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    i too vote for dave to write a seger review.

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  14. Laura said on March 13, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Okay, how about this: Bob Seger kinda sucks. Kidding. Well, not really.

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  15. Jill said on March 14, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Nancy, next time you’re in GR, let me buy you a coffee at Kava House. As a refugee from the northern suburbs of Detroit, I’d be honored to sit down and discuss the different politics and auto industry head-scratchers with my favorite (and longest running) blogger.

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  16. Emma said on March 14, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Both of my parents were from Grand Rapids — one from the west side, one from the east side. In reference to GR, my Dad used to sing this little ditty: “The Irish and the Dutch/ don’t amount to very much.”

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  17. MarkH said on March 14, 2007 at 9:45 am

    Politics? Entering into presidential appointments?! I’m shocked, etc.! Yeah, this is a little different than attorneys general removals in the past, handled poorly to be sure. But some of you are being a little naive.

    I know how much the liberals here dislike the WSJ editorial page (maybe as much as some of us, er, QUESTION Paul Krugman), but here’s a little perspective on our heroes Bill and Hillary who handled things a little differently in their time..


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  18. Connie said on March 14, 2007 at 10:21 am

    Watch what you say about my old home stomping grounds. I was raised a Dutch girl in Holland with a Dutch Grandma in GR. (She lived near what was then called the “Salvation Army Home for Unwed Mothers”.) My current home in northern Indiana is the closest I have lived to that area in over 25 years. And Emma, that saying is supposed to go like this: “You ain’t much if you ain’t Dutch.”

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  19. Dave K. said on March 14, 2007 at 10:23 am

    Laura, I talked to people who saw Bob Seger at Indy and Detroit
    on the current tour, and no one said he “…kinda sucked..”!
    My wife and I will be at Cobo on Saturday night, and if Bob and the Band suck I’ll be sure and let you know.
    ps. Someone did puke in Paulette’s coat pocket (25 yrs. ago..!)

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  20. Laura said on March 14, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    Yes, Dave, I know some people love Bob Seger. I just don’t get, as, you know, he kinda sucks.

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  21. Laura said on March 14, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    I mean, I just don’t get IT. I’m having formatting issues, too, so I’ll give up on getting all italics on you.

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  22. Danny said on March 14, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    You know, I hate to be so flip-floppy, but MarkH is right (as usual). I now disagree with the rest of you again. Except about music where we all diagree with Laura.

    Back to status quo. Carry on.

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  23. Laura said on March 14, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    My musical tastes may not be popular, but I can sleep at night knowing the music I like is non-sucky. (I’m saying this with a smile, I swear).

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  24. LA mary said on March 16, 2007 at 11:06 am

    I’m with you Laura. I don’t hate him, but some of his music sorta sucks.

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