The unlucky.

I had just bought a case of Spriggy’s expensive special-diet food shortly before he died last summer, and, going stir-crazy from three days confined largely indoors, it provided a perfect time to do what I’ve been meaning to do forever, i.e., bundle it up and drop it off at the shelter.

Yes, I could have taken it to the Grosse Pointe animal-adoption center, but I was in a more adventurous frame of mind. We headed out for the Michigan Humane Society, the original Animal Cop station house, which sits on the freeway service drive with the usual Detroit architectural details — the parking lot enclosed by chain link topped by razor wire and with a full-time security guard; the multiple signs pointing the way to the correct door, NOT THIS DOOR NO DELIVERIES THIS DOOR ENTER ON FISHER ONLY. There was a particularly strange one telling people to surrender animals only to clearly identified MHS employees; others might want their animals for profit, criminal or “religious purposes,” and might do them harm.

And people wonder why I find this place so interesting.

As we followed the signs to the ONLY AUTHORIZED ENTRY DOOR, two people passed us going the other direction, each holding a young pit bull puppy at arms’ length, the pups stretched out to their full length with puzzled looks on their faces. The cacophony of the doomed (or at least profoundly unlucky) beasts inside started to swell. The lobby wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, although there was a young girl holding a big mutt on a leash, and I couldn’t see anything good coming of it. The dog looked old and very very tired and was in the midst of what looked to be an epic shedding episode. Two worried cats sat in cages on the counter, one nude to the skin at the collar line. A man was negotiating some paperwork with another; I suspect it had to do with the big shedding mutt.

“Can I help you?” someone said. I turned over my 11 cans of Science Diet k/d and three cans of gastrointestinal formula to the clerk, whose expression said this was an unusual occurrence on a 97-degree day. I considered asking for a tour, but it’s clear the place was operating at something shy of battle stations, so we took a long look around and left. “Come on, you guys,” the clerk said, lifting the cats off the counter. I asked about the naked-neck cat. “Flea allergy,” she shrugged; no biggie.

Outside adjacent to the parking lot, a young woman played fetch in a fenced area for a gallumping, black Lab-y looking dog — exercise for one of the lucky ones considered adoptable. Inside the pen was a small shelter/shading structure for longer turnouts. It was decorated: BAD DOG painted graffiti-style on the back wall. It’s always good to keep a sense of humor about your job.

Michiganders, they can always use help.

Just got an e-mail from one of our regulars here. Her sister’s been very sick with some serious intestinal complaints and recently spent some time in the hospital. They come from rural poverty; our friend escaped, sis didn’t. She suffers from subclinical psychological issues and is morbidly obese, but has been able to eke out a hardscrabble living at Wal-Mart. Friend writes:

The next time I hear somebody bitch about why we don’t need health-care reform, they had better fucking look out. I just talked to my sister. She just got her hospital bill: $23,000 and change. The portion for which she is responsible: over $7,000. That is approximately what she has earned thus far this year from Wal-Mart. And she does not qualify for having her bill waived by the hospital because she probably will exceed their poverty threshold, with an annual income that exceeds $11,000. Think about that. Could either of us even live on $11,000 a year, even absent health-care bills in the four digits? And that’s just the hospital bill.

She is having problems again — she’s jaundiced and has been throwing up bile for a couple of days. She sees her doc tomorrow but absolutely refuses to go to the hospital again because she “can’t afford to miss any more work.” (And she can’t afford another hospital bill, either.) She has nothing left in savings and is living paycheck to paycheck. Barely. I’m sending her money as we’re able, but Jesus, what the hell can we really do short of hoping to hit the lottery? We’re not awash in cash either.

I don’t expect her to live a long and healthy life–not with her habits, weight, health history and all the rest of it–but I strongly suspect her death will be hastened by the lack of affordable health care.

Yes, it probably will. It does every day. Just remember: This is the greatest health-care system in the world.

Bloggage? Sure:

Poor Tyson Gay. First his name is changed to “Tyson Homosexual” by the American Family Association, and now this.

OID: How to steal an ATM in Detroit. And not succeed.

We had an old man die in Grosse Pointe yesterday, apparently because of the heat. (Still checking.) What’s the toll where you are? Storms expected later, followed by a 10-degree drop. Hurry, storms.

And have a great day.

Posted at 10:32 am in Current events, Detroit life |

37 responses to “The unlucky.”

  1. Dexter said on July 8, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Dix came on strong as Gay succumbed, as Kaki prepared for a later race. I am so glad I was moved along and will finally leave middle school this fall.

    I do not give a shit if LeBron James The King of the World switches sports and leads the USA to a football (soccer) World Cup in 2014…or whatever he does. But geez…everybody else does, so here it is: Mike Breen, sportscaster extraordinaire, revealed on Don Imus’s show today that The King will play 20 games for Cleveland, 20 for the NY Knockerbockers, 20 for Miami, 20 for Chicago’s Bulls, and 2 for an as yet undisclosed WNBA team. I did like that.

    Butt (sic)…will Gay turn it around and take Dix on in a rematch? Goodbye 9th grade forever….

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  2. Jeff Borden said on July 8, 2010 at 10:56 am

    There’s a T-shirt shop several blocks away from our house that featured a shirt I feel certain Nancy would wear with pride. In stark letters on the front it reads:

    DETROIT You wouldn’t survive a day here.

    We’re in the process of finding a shelter rescue dog. A visit to PAWS, a no-kill shelter, was illuminating. The cats have an enormous room to themselves stuffed with toys and climbing devices, though most seem to enjoy climbing into the baskets they have situated on the window sill and napping in the sun. Dogs are kept either one or two to a room, where they have their own beds and chew toys. The result, when you visit, is that the animals are showcased well and are relatively calm. The humane society is more along the lines of what Nancy saw. Again, the kitties get a pretty sweet room, but because they have so many more dogs than PAWS, the canines live in stacked metal cages. Freedom from these confined quarters tends to make the dogs overly excited from all the stimulation of new sights, new scents and PEOPLE! These guys just can’t sit still. . .so you have a harder time figuring out just how they might fit into your home because you cannot discern their real personalities.

    We’re going on the advice of a friend and long-time dog person, who has advised, “You don’t find the dog. The dog finds you.” So far, none of them has found us.

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  3. Peter said on July 8, 2010 at 11:00 am

    The e-mail just reinforced my bafflement at the whole health care debate. Honestly, is there ANYONE who doesn’t know SOMEONE who is in the same situation? I’m naive and insular as anyone I know, yet I know people who’ve lost it all due to chronic health problems. We have shelters for sick pets but nothing for sick relatives? I know the health care bill has drawbacks and we probably can’t afford it, but can we afford the status quo? Are some people that cold hearted?

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  4. LAMary said on July 8, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Brian, my lab Smokey definitely found me, as did my first dane Charlie. The other shelter dogs I have/had have been terrific pets but Smokey and Charlie seemed to know me right away and decided they needed to be my dog.

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  5. Jeff Borden said on July 8, 2010 at 11:14 am


    Sadly, yes. There are millions of our fellow countrymen who believe you are poor by choice. If only you worked harder. . .or got the correct training. . .or went back to school. . .you’d be doing well, too. The fact that millions of jobs have gone “poof” and are unlikely to ever return is an inconvenient truth they refuse to acknowledge. It’s a classic case of blaming the victim.

    The Wall Street Journal has famously labeled those Americans who make so little every year they pay no taxes as “lucky duckies.” Demagogues still repeat Reagan’s old mantra about welfare queens who drive Cadillacs. Our politicians shovel billions at banks who made terrible investments, then vote to deny the extension of modest unemployment benefits.

    Money talks. The working poor are voiceless.

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  6. 4dbirds said on July 8, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Please don’t get started on the health care again. As Jeff said it’s poor people’s own fault. They should have planned better and saved.

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  7. Sue said on July 8, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Oh, don’t worry about the cost of health care reform, our elected representatives are working hard to killitkillitkillit.

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  8. Sue said on July 8, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Perhaps this is why WalMart can’t offer decent benefits to its employees:

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  9. Jeff Borden said on July 8, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Walmart has pretty much run out of rural and suburban sites on which to build, so they’ve been putting a full court press on a lot of cities including Chicago. It’s been interesting to watch the tactics they are using here.

    Unions, of course, loathe Walmart and despite the loss of many manufacturing jobs around here, Chicago is still something of a union town. So, they’ve worked vociferously to keep them out. Walmart has countered by proposing to build stores in some of our poorest neigbhorhoods, promising the creation of hundreds of jobs in areas where they are scarce. Aldermen representing those wards are largely on board with Walmart, so there’s a real schism on City Council. Mayor Daley wants them here, too, which is understandable given our plunging tax receipts.

    Many of us, maybe most, know of towns and cities where the arrival of a giant Walmart store has meant the destruction of the local retailers, who simply cannot compete with the enormous buying power of the retail behemoth. My mother-in-law lives in such city in Florida, where huge swaths of downtown buildings sit empty. There’s an old line, local department store still holding on downtown, but it’s an exception to the rule. Meanwhile, out by I-95, the Walmart parking lot is always full.

    I doubt that will happen in Chicago, but I can’t help but think the arrival of the Arkansans will have some kind of an impact.

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  10. brian stouder said on July 8, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Well Jeff, let me just say that WalMart won me over. Here in Fort Wayne, the southeast side of town has seen one business after the next go down, including what had been our first mall, built back in the ’70’s.

    In those days, the malls were the boogiemen getting blamed for ‘killing the mom and pops’; certainly the malls meant the end of downtown as the place to go to shop (as Fort Wayne was, up through the ’60’s)

    And indeed, WalMart dropped in a super store on the spot where the dead mall used to be, and they were promptly followed by a gonzo-big Menards, followed by several chain restaurants building new facilities, and several smaller (ie – ‘mom and pop’, possibly?) businesses in a strip in the outlot.

    The city and the county and the state surely did some things for WalMart to spur this; and WalMart plays the game and collects all the goodies they can.

    But, by gosh – I LIKE that! WalMart (et al) redeveloped ground where there already was city water/sewer/ electricity – and which had become a weedy wasteland. And – folks who want to shop in a good big store don’t have to drive 10 miles to get to one.

    By way of saying, if WalMart drops stores in urban grey fields where no one else will, more power to them

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  11. Jeff Borden said on July 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    My sister, who has had to feed twin teenaged boys for years, absolutely swears by it for good grocery bargains. I know it is an incredible asset for many trying to stretch the dollars a few more inches.

    I’m basically agnostic about Walmart. I certainly see no reason to ban them from Chicago and I sincerely hope those stores do create the jobs they are promising.

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  12. alex said on July 8, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Sounds like da Mayor has done quite the turnaround. When I was still living in Chicago six years ago he was vociferously against Wal-Mart opening stores in Chicago and the council marched in lockstep with him at the time.

    Personally, I think Wal-Mart sucks compared to Meijer, which has a far better grocery department and keeps a much cleaner store.

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  13. Connie said on July 8, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    All of our dogs have found us. Our current miniature schnauzer and our late Shih Tzu both came to our home because we had put out the word to friends and family that we were looking for a dog. Both were free with owners thankful to have found us.

    I have not been to a Wal-Mart in 8 yrs.

    An hour or so of rain this a.m. seems to not have had an effect on temp or humidity. Pool is almost too warm, and has not had the solar cover on it yet this year.

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  14. Jolene said on July 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I haven’t spent much time in Wal-Marts, but I, too, was grossed out by how dingy they were, alex. I’ve been to one here in Alexandria, one in ND, and one in State College, PA, and, while the one in PA seemed light and clean, the other two seemed crammed and not very clean. In general, I don’t like being in great big stores because I feel overwhelmed, but the SuperTarget that’s practically adjacent to the Wal-Mart in ND does a much better job of making it an appealing place to walk into.

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  15. crinoidgirl said on July 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Jolene, ditto on the Target vs. Walmart. They are side-by-side in Livonia (suburb of Detroit), and the atmosphere is like night and day. Or day and night, in this case. It isn’t a SuperTarget, but they have a fantastic grocery section. The Archer Farms brand is pretty darn good.

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  16. basset said on July 8, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    95 and sticky in Nashville.

    Mrs. B. and I have both been active in our local golden retriever rescue, and our golden Maggie came from there:

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  17. del said on July 8, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Sue at 8, Walmart may be protesting the OSHA violation, not because of the $7,000 fine, but because of the effect such a violation may have on any civil litigation flowing from the death. (Work comp is generally a worker’s “exclusive remedy” but Walmart may be liable for additional damages if its actions are found to have been intentional.)

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  18. Jolene said on July 8, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Back to healthcare, in addition to the general unaffordableness and the idea that people would be able to get it on their own if they weren’t such worthless layabouts, the idea about cost-cutting that seems most off-base to me is the idea that people can be effective consumers of healthcare in the sense of shopping based on cost and quality.

    Of course, to some degree, this is possible, and we already have some systems in place to help people make those judgments (consumer satisfaction surveys, for instance), but some of the most expensive care is delivered to people who are in no position to choose–either medically or scientifically. That is, they are too sick to go shopping for care or don’t know enough about the alternatives to make well-informed decisions.

    The “too sick” situation became very real to me when I had that epiglottitis episode in January. I thought I had a really bad sore throat, went to an outpatient urgent care center, and, a few hours later, was in an ICU and under sedation for 48 hours. Beyond signing a consent form to have a tube stuck down my throat under anesthesia, I made no decisions, and no one other than the medical staff made any for me. But, as far as I can judge, the medical people performed brilliantly in all sorts of high-tech ways, and I got well quickly.

    The whole thing was incredibly expensive–about 30K for a 72-hour hospitalization and everything that was done during that time. I paid $1100. Without insurance, I’d have been paying for that care for years, but, however, expensive it was, there was neither anything I could have done to avoid the condition nor anything I could have done to reduce the cost through comparison-shopping.

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  19. Jolene said on July 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Wal­mart may be liable for addi­tional dam­ages if its actions are found to have been inten­tional

    Yes, and, more generally, if this were judged to be something they should have foreseen and organized themselves to prevent, they’d be creating a precedent that might require them to spend more on security at stores all over the world. Could get very costly.

    I’m not sure, though, that Wal-Mart should be held responsible in this case. I’d feel better if some of the stampeders were prosecuted.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on July 8, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Walmart is remodeling a lot of their stores. The one in my mother-in-law’s city fit the bill described above: dark, dingy, overcrowded with merchandise haphazardly stacked on the shelves. Then, they installed a ton of skylights, introduced more and brighter lighting and widened the aisles. It’s not quite to Target level, but it’s close.

    And Alex, you’re absolutely right. Da Mare has changed his tune completely. Like most cities, we’ve taken a pounding during the recession and tax receipts are down enormously. Sheeesh, for the first time in 35 years, Chicago canceled the massive fireworks display in Grant Park in favor of three smaller shows scattered along the lakefront, which allegedly saved $1 million.

    I’d rather have Walmart beefing up the tax base than have Daley looking for another way to pick our pockets through fees and fines. Since he privatized our parking meter system, I’ve received more tickets in less than a year than in the previous 20 we’ve lived here. . .at $50 per pop. Sumbitches also tagged me for a $60 ticket for having a clear plastic sheet over my license plates. . .something I thought was a necessity since Illinois issues a new license plate about every 15 or 20 years. We’ve been here 21 years and have had exactly two plates. You fellow Midwesterners know what the long, salty winters do to plates, but for some reason, the geniuses around here decided a plain, clear plastic sheet is an offense.

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  21. paddyo' said on July 8, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I’ve avoided Wal-Mart on principle (politics, labor, etc.) for years, even when my older brother was a manager for a time in one of their Calif. stores. (We “grew up Woolworth’s,” and Paul followed Dad into the retail merchandising biz ….)

    But WallyWorld also never had a store inside the Denver city limits until the redevelopment of the old Stapleton International Airport site a few years ago — and I try like hell to patronize merchants within the city limits as much as possible …

    But I’ll admit to one notable exception: A Target store (I agree with you fellow Target-vs.-Wal-Mart fans) that I have frequented for years in the tiny, incorporated oddity known as Glendale, CO. It’s a one-square-mile island, more or less, surrounded by southeast-central Denver, full of apartments, offices (including my doctor’s), some retail stores, a mildly notorious strip club or two and, odder still, a full-fledged rugby stadium.

    I think once upon a time Glendale levied one quarter of a penny less in sales tax on the dollar than Denver did, but I believe that’s history. Anyway, my “Tar-ZHHAY,” which they super-sized a few years ago, doesn’t feel as cavernous as Wallie’s, nor does it have the dingy “feel” of the Wallie’ses I’ve been in (though perhaps they are improving). I rotate my grocery shopping there with a Safeway and a King Soopers (Kroeger) who are side-by-side not far away from my house.

    All of that said, the “Wal-Mart effect” hurt a lot of small towns in Colorado and the Rockies (and everywhere else, I suppose) back in the ’90s, contributing in some places around here to the perhaps-inevitable decline in rural retailing.

    But hey, there’s a lot of roadkill on the Retail Highway, isn’t there. The Woolworth’s stores that I grew up IN, not just WITH, were the ancestors of today’s Big Boxes . . . and are certainly an example. “Woolworth’s” or “five-and-dime” don’t even register with most young folk I know under age 30.

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  22. Sue said on July 8, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Speaking of doggies, this was linked on Balloon Juice. See if it doesn’t do things to your heart:

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  23. judybusy said on July 8, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    What do folks think about Obama appointing a permanent head to CMS during the recess? I think it’s smart, but then again, I agree with the need to get on top of implementing healthcare reform.

    And on the subjects of dogs, we’ve wanted one for years, but with four cats, (blended family, not crazy cat ladies!) it was a non-starter. Well, one of the kitties passed on in March, so the dog conversation got a little more serious. We’ve decided to move ahead by going through one of the local rescues on Petfinder. We talked a lot, and we both agreed we’d know the right dog when we saw him/her. It’s really exciting–many of my best family memories revolve around a dog we had for 12 years, and I’ve never had one as an adult!

    Sue, checked out your link after I posted. Ya’ll know how hard it is to laugh hysterically yet quietly in a cube farm?!

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  24. Dexter said on July 8, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I don’t appreciate how the Walmart thirty miles east of us is so sparkling clean and “ours” is so damned dirty. The carts are usually filty, sticky handles and old fliers wadded up on the bottom. I used to buy almost our groceries at a local chain supermarket which was driven out by Walmart, so now I am forced to go to Walmart, because the only other supermarket charges astronomical prices, catering to people that refuse to visit Walmart, and obviously have the cash to pay the high prices.
    My wife buys groceries at Kroger in Defiance when she’s there, maybe five times a year. I resent Walmart, at the same time patronizing them three times a week.
    Have your taxes done, buy a pair of eyeglasses after your eye examination, do your banking, have a Subway sandwich, who needs a vibrant town square anyway?
    I recently saw a color home video made in 1938 of downtown Waterloo, Indiana, where my mother lived at the time, and where I went to high school. The town had two lumber yards, probably eight restaurants, two truck stops, ice cream places, root beer stands, a theater, an opera house, trains stopping for passengers all day long, a bus station, about five barber shops, at least four major gas stations, all full service, a tree-lined main street, many mom & pop neighborhood groceries, a farm implement dealer, a Ford dealership, many factories to work in…but all of that would have been squelched if in a time warp, Walmart would have descended from the skies.

    “You don’t find the dog. The dog finds you.” Cats too, JB. Our cat “Friendo” just came up alongside our Jack Russell terrier on walks and walked along side her, and cried outside the door until we let him in and fed him, had him neutered and medicated, and now that feral cat sits on my lap and wants petted, and asks for nothing but food and a scratching post, and he is a great pet.

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  25. Sue said on July 8, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Judybusy, I love the illustrations, they are so perfect, but it was the phrase
    ‘I Googled “how to tell if your dog is retarded”‘, that made me like both the person and the dog. Great stuff.

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  26. judybusy said on July 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Sue, I know! It never occurred to me there could be, uh, developmentally disabled animals, but of course there can. I think the hiding the treat under the cup is pretty advanced, though. People have to be around 2, I think, before they get that concept. But not being able to get out from under a blanket? I think a newborn person would at least try! I am totally going to hide a treat under a cup to see if my cat figures it out.

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  27. beb said on July 8, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Considering that the Republican have filibustered all of Obama’s nominees at one time or another, it is long past time for the President to skirt Congress with these recess appointments just so that he can have a working government. It’s been said, and it’s something I agree with, that it’s time to move a lot of presidental appointment out of the hands of Congree.

    It’s weird that Wal-Mart would rather spend $2 million fighting an OSHA fine over a trampled employee since it seems unlikely that the person’s family could ever win more than $2 million for a wrongful death suit. Perhaps the company is worried that accepting an OSHA judgement here would open the floodgates for other employee injuries. Or perhaps the company leadership is simply nuts and refuses to bow to any lesser jurisdiction.

    I try to avoid shopping at either Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club because of the company’s horrid wages and no health benefits policies. My wife isn’t so picky. As a result I have been in Wal-Marts here in Detroit and in Mishawaka, Indiana. The Mishawaka store seems quite nice: clean and stocked with a wide assortment of items. The Detroit store (actually I believe it’s Roseville. Never can remember were the city lines are at) does comes across as dingy and haphazardly stocked. Even more interesting than comparisions between Target and Wal-Mart is that between Sam’s Club and Costco. Costco really comes across like a warehouse. There’s a sense of things just being jumbled together. Sam’s Club is more organized with a regular assortment of sales items. It feels like a regular store, just one that sells in big lots. Costco comes across as a bigger Big Lots.

    Yet, and this is where I was going with this, Costco pay better than Sam’s Club, including, I gather, health benefits. They can do this because they take a lower mark up than Sam’s Club, They don’t make as much money but they can afford to pay their workers better. To me that makes for a good company

    Stealing ATM’s is a favorite feature of TruTV’s “World’s Dumbest criminals.” Detroit doesn’t have a lock on that hobby. It never seems to end well with these people.

    My wife, the wonderful Denice B. volunteers for the Michigan Humane Society. For a time she went ever week to the shelter Nancy talks about to exercise the dogs. Her asthma got the worst of her and she now does animal adoptions in conjunction with the Humane Society at area PetSmart stores.

    The Michigan Humane Society building is old and over-crowded and needs replacing but they continue to do good work. Thanks, Nancy, for donating your left over dog food.

    Jeff Borden @20: The sin you’ve committed to “obscuring” the license plate. I see it a lot around here in Detroit, too. However I’ve lived in the Rust Belt all my live and I have never seem serious salt-damage to license plates. Detroit has a bigger issue with people stealing license plates for their crime sprees, or clipping off the tag so it looks lie their car’s annual fees have been paid. So what some people do is take their plate off the car and prop it up in the back window, taking them indoors at night. I thought the purpose of a license plate was vehicle identification and with their plates tucked into the back window they are, for the most part, impossible to read. Yet the police doesn’t seem to do anything about it.

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  28. Jolene said on July 8, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I think the recess appointment of Don Berwick is great. He’s highly respected as a researcher and leader of interventions to improve the delivery of health services. You can read more about him and his Institute for Healthcare Improvement here. It’s an excellent appointment.

    And, yes, we should stop already with all the Senate confirmations for administrative positions, but I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. Max Baucus, a Democrat, who would have supported this appointment, has publicly slammed Obama for violating senatorial prerogatives.

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  29. Dexter said on July 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    About 16 years ago I had a phone call from the police, asking me where I had been in my Ford Ranger truck the night before, and I had been at work, so they asked me who had used my truck that night, and I said it had been in the parking lot in Indiana where I worked.
    There had been a stick-up somewhere and the robber had gotten away, driving a small truck with my license numbers having been turned in. How’s a guy gonna talk his way out of that jackpot?
    I just told the truth. I assume the cops called my workplace and confirmed my presence at work, because I never heard another peep about any of this, and the caller’s parting words on the phone were “it was probably just a case of transposed or mis-read license numbers.” I am all for easily-read license plates.
    beb, once near Chicago’s old Comiskey Park I saw a car chained by the axle to a light post. It was the biggest chain I have ever seen to date…huge links, locked with a cartoonishly ginormous pad lock. I have never seen that since. Someone had had his car stolen before, ya think?
    The people who stick their plates in the window are just pushing the cops’ patience. They should buy a dealers’ magnetic bracket and remove their plates every time they leave their cars. Why invite a cop-stop?

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  30. nancy said on July 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I’ve seen two reports in the Grosse Pointe Farms’ public file lately of counterfeit tabs (the stickers), and they and the other Pointe forces seem to do little else on their patrols than run plates; those dash-mounted computers have made it far harder to avoid getting picked up.

    I have a Twitter RSS feed that gives me every mention of “grosse pointe” on Twitter, and once not long ago someone tweeted that the po-pos in the Farms were harassing his innocent ass. A couple days later, I found the same name in the file — multiple warrants.

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  31. Dexter said on July 8, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Yep, it’s always the innocent good guys who get cops up their asses.

    Before soccer is over for most of us for another four years, I implore you to check this out. It’s inspiring and humbling, and damned interesting.

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  32. mark said on July 8, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    The Institute for Healthcare Improvement seems to be many things, but I was especially pleased to read that “most of all, IHI is [ME]”. Cool.

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  33. alex said on July 8, 2010 at 7:03 pm


    I suspect the “obscured license tag” citation is one of those things that is selectively and subjectively enforced by schlubs who haven’t met their revenue quotas as they approach the end of their shifts. Dark window tints are supposedly illegal in Illinois as well, but you see them everywhere anyway, and they’re standard issue on a lot of factory vehicles these days, so how do they enforce that one?

    I started using the same kind of plastic license tag cover once I moved to Indiana, but only because Indiana cheaped out on its tags and doesn’t emboss them anymore; they’re flat and flimsy and get curled up by the wind and car wash brushes and mischievous passersby. Better hope Illinois doesn’t mimic this gimmick in the name of cost savings; these crappy license tags can barely survive a year of weather, salt and parallel parking, much less fifteen or twenty.

    Indiana’s current plates, unembossed, are illegible at any distance. I’m amazed law enforcement hasn’t raised a fuss about it. You can also have a background design featuring your alma mater, your abortion politics (but only if you’re anti), or a God-and-the-flag monstrosity favored by the sort of people who’ll rip you a new asshole if you’re a store clerk who says “happy holidays.”

    Got to try the new parking meter scheme when I was in Chicago a few weeks ago. I can see all kinds of problems in a couple of years when the equipment is worn (or tampered with) and you put in your money and it fails to dispense a printout to place on your dashboard.

    Some tragic Chicago news, Nance: While there I found that the world’s best tapas joint, Arco de Cuchilleros on Halsted, is under new ownership and is being run about as incompetently as BP’s response to the Gulf spill. I mean, it’s as if they’re intentionally trying to run people off so they don’t have to be bothered cooking meals they don’t know how to prepare. So I walked—WALKED—down to the second best, Emilio’s on Fullerton, and found it shuttered.

    Still have a paella jones that won’t quit. Guess I’ll have to learn how to make it myself.

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  34. Rana said on July 8, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    alex – I call the people who drive around with those last plates “jeepies” – (from GP = God Plate). I’ve been trying to persuade myself that my perception that they make up the highest percentage of bad drivers around here is just observer bias, but it’s pretty hard convincing myself of that. It seems that almost inevitably when someone is driving like a nut, I look at their plate, and yep… jeepy.

    One thing that I think is very odd about Indiana’s licensing is that you only get one plate, to go on the rear. I guess if you get mowed down by a truck or something, you’d better stay conscious long enough to catch the rear plate number as it goes over you, or something.

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  35. brian stouder said on July 8, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I dipped into the pictures Dexter linked to, and they were quite good. Here’s a few images I found striking, wherein a 60 year old F1 car goes racing versus a brand new one, on the occasion of the upcoming 60th anniversary of the F1 race at Silverstone (this weekend)

    …raising the question I have pondered a time or two – how much money must Red Bull make on every can of that stuff, to sponsor four F1 cars plus other race cars here in America? (and note how exposed the driver is in the old car, compared to the new one)

    Regarding license plates – Alex is right; our Indiana ones are somewhat flimsy….but I do dearly love our Lincoln Boyhood Home plates.

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  36. Linda said on July 8, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Here’s my take on the recess appointment: it’s only permanent until the end of 2011. At that point, if he is not confirmed, they need to put in another candidate. I think Obama sized up his opposition, realized that the new health law needs regs–the sooner, the better–and that his opposition would just retry the new law in front of TV cameras and jack around with an appointment to a critical regulatory post, putting off much-needed action. I would be pissed at the recess appointment if the Republicans had anything positive to contribute to public life, but currently, they don’t. The appointment would be held hostage to politics. Obama has pretty much given up on bipartisan government, and I can’t blame him.

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  37. Dexter said on July 8, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Don’t ever run out of groceries except for a bag of those little donuts that come in a bag. I will not divulge how many I just went through as I finished watching a nail-biter baseball game from Philadelphia. In case you may be just casually interested in baseball, check out the Cincinnati Reds this summer. Awesome team.

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