The rogue.

A link I forgot to post yesterday, from Tuesday’s Free Press (and I apologize in advance for the auto-playing video piece): A story about what can happen when one — just one — bad cop gets the right job. It starts with an anecdote about a regular guy who gets the crap beaten out of him by three cops for “resisting arrest” after being caught urinating in the parking lot of his own small-town bar. And gets, in time, to the nut graf:

(Police chief Victor) Pierce’s critics say there have been other examples of aggressive policing lately, and question why Pierce needs nearly three dozen, non-certified reserve officers to protect a population of 3,900 with the most serious crimes generally theft and burglary.

The department also has two Humvees and two armored personnel carriers received free of charge from the U.S. Department of Defense for a township with only four full-time officers.

This — the militarization of ordinary police — has been a national story, and the Freep found the perfect local example, with the added fillip of a chief who has been… well, let him tell you:

Pierce, 56, a former Battle Creek police sergeant, recently told the township board, “I have preached a vision and the Lord put me here for a reason.”

I think I’ve mentioned before that my own peaceful, leafy city also got an armored personnel carrier recently, for the low low cost of Free, thanks to Uncle Sam. It rankles me just the same. Police work is best done in one-to-one face time with residents, by learning neighborhoods and the people who live there, not by driving a goddamn tank. And why is this chief so dedicated to flood-the-zone policing? Guess:

“So the numbers seem high but shortly after Sandy Hook (school shooting), I said that was the straw that broke the camel’s back … I don’t want all these things to happen, but shame on me if something did.”

You think living in fear is just a problem for those who do. It’s a problem for everybody.

A follow-up story suggests things may have gone too far; the chief is facing a job review, but I bet he keeps his job. And his armored vehicles. Because Sandy Hook, and terrorism.

So, then. How was y’all’s Tuesday? It rained here, and even though it wasn’t very hot, I left the air-conditioning on so I wouldn’t have to touch the woodwork and find it sticky. Slept in and didn’t swim due to some wee-hours insomnia, which has been creeping back into my life after a nice stretch without it. I’ll have to figure out what was working then that isn’t now. Probably clean living. So what did I do today? Ate a bunch of nacho cheese Doritos, which I don’t even like that much, except when I do, and today I did. I still feel sick.

We have a couple of good Bridge pieces today, underlining something I’ve always believed: There’s no squalor like rural squalor. I was up in Lake County last year to report on Idlewild, and came across a woman running a free clothing store out of a shell of an old house. Guess one of her reasons for opening it: To keep people from dumping their old clothes in the woods. Lake County encompasses vast tracts of national forest, and getting your trash hauled costs money. It’s a pretty poor place. Much of northern Michigan is pretty poor, too.

But I am rich in so many things, including you guys. So have a great Wednesday, muggy and hot or dry and cool as yours may be.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events | 40 Comments

A Fellini movie, every day.

Sitting at a Detroit office of the Secretary of State – an office people in most parts of the world think of as the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or, in Indiana, the license branch – is a strange experience. A guy across the aisle looks exactly like Slim Charles from “The Wire.” Another is dressed, head to toe, hat to sandals, in orange. (And I doubt he’s a Tigers fan. Not a stitch of blue.) There’s a grandma tending a fussy baby who, you can tell from the look on her face, is working his way up to a blowout.

A woman clears her way though an aisle, claiming loudly, “I’m just looking for a place to sit.” Ninety seconds later, she goes back the other way: “I’m just going to get a smoke.”

I’ve been told to use all the online tools — the check-in, the text alerts for when your place in line is coming up — and I do, because if there’s one thing that will ruin your day, it’s sitting that waiting room for longer than 20 minutes.

One thing I forgot: To lie about the purchase price. Damn, I forgot they were the ones who collect the sales tax.

But now the car is fully insured and legal, and woo. Time to start pouring more money into it.

The conversation yesterday about factory farms reminded me to post this story and video, about a guy I wrote about for Bridge a couple of years ago, who’s still struggling to close the deal on his urban amoeba farm, all organic. It was written by a former student, so win-win, etc. It gives me a little hope for the future.

Besides, what crisis? Toledo is free to drink the water again. What fertilizer runoff? Oops. Spoke too soon.

This doesn’t happen often around here, but often enough that it doesn’t really surprise anyone:

Harsens Island — While a woman fights for her life after being injured in a boating accident that killed her husband and another person, police said Monday they are releasing a man connected to the accident Sunday evening on Lake St. Clair.

Authorities said Monday they expected to release a 32-year-old Chesterfield Township man, whose name is being withheld because he has not been charged. He did submit to a blood test to determine alcohol levels given that police say drinking and high speed may have been factors in the collision.

…Algonac resident Alan Block, who is a local sailboat racer and senior reporter for Sailing Anarchy, was sailing in the southbound channel and was about 200 feet from the collision when it occurred.

“I came to a stop because I knew something was going to happen,” Block said. “There were two large boats — perhaps 40 footers — headed southbound and they were leaving large wakes. One of the boats looked like a fishing vessel and the other was a cabin cruiser with an upper deck. A third boat, a 25-foot Baja, which is a very fast speed boat, was headed northbound in the shipping channel doing about 45 to 50 mph.”

According to Block, the Baja failed to slow down for the large wakes caused by the bigger boats.

Here’s a headline that says read me: Kid Rock: I don’t have glass sex toy sought in Insane Clown Posse case.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t deliver.

Good Tuesdays all around.

Posted at 12:32 am in Current events, Detroit life | 20 Comments

What a wonderful weekend.

In addition to all the tsuris of the last week, I’m starting to have the sort of computer problems that are nothing but dire portents — sudden freezing, crashes, you know the drill. If I were a conscientious person, I’d have spent a chunk of Sunday at the Apple store. But you know what I did instead?

I went to the pool. First I did yoga, then rode my bike to the pool. I swam no laps, but practiced my back float and lazy sidestroke. I was haphazard with my sunblock, so I have some rosy spots here and there. Then I came home and Alan fixed me a Moscow mule. It was delicious and precisely what I needed. The last 10 days have been all work. I needed a little play, and I got some.

And now I have a new car, the Grosse Pointe mommiest car possible — a 2006 Volvo XC70 wagon. Five cylinders, meh gas mileage, but safe and all-wheel-drive, which after last winter feels like pulling into a safe harbor. It’ll hold all the DVAS plus most of their gear. It’ll hold a bike or two. It’ll hold a lot of stuff. That’s sort of what Volvo wagons are known for — their holding capabilities. That, and their safety features. This thing has everything but an iPod jack, but I’m going to call around on that today and see what the damage is to have one installed after-market. I’m sure, in 2006, the Swedes thought this iPod thing was just a fad and there was no need to alter their world-famous design to accommodate such a silly gewgaw.

And on top of everything else, we had comp’ny Friday night, although it was J.C. and Sammy, who are always welcome. We took them out to meet some of our Detroit friends, and a good time was had by all. At least I think so. How bad can an evening be when everyone unites in shared hatred of the waitress? She treated us like we had ebola. Of course I tipped her 20 percent.

Fortunately, I have some great bloggage.

If you asked me if I would like to read a mid-length essay about a man’s love for his cat, I’d have said, “Why, no, but thanks for asking.” Which is why I’m glad I overcame my snap judgment to read “A Man and His Cat” on the cover of the NYT Sunday op-ed section. It’s a stitch:

I’ve speculated that people have a certain reservoir of affection that they need to express, and in the absence of any more appropriate object — a child or a lover, a parent or a friend — they will lavish that same devotion on a pug or a Manx or a cockatiel, even on something neurologically incapable of reciprocating that emotion, like a monitor lizard or a day trader or an aloe plant. Konrad Lorenz confirms this suspicion in his book “On Aggression,” in which he describes how, in the absence of the appropriate triggering stimulus for an instinct, the threshold of stimulus for that instinct is gradually lowered; for instance, a male dove deprived of female doves will attempt to initiate mating with a stuffed pigeon, a rolled-up cloth or any vaguely bird-shaped object, and, eventually, with an empty corner of its cage.

Although I can clearly see this syndrome as pathological in others, I was its medical textbook illustration, the Elephant Man of the condition. I did not post photographs of my cat online or talk about her to people who couldn’t be expected to care, but at home, alone with the cat, I behaved like some sort of deranged arch-fop. I made up dozens of nonsensical names for the cat over the years — The Quetzal, Quetzal Marie, Mrs. Quetzal Marie the Cat, The Inquetzulous Q’ang Marie. There was a litany I recited aloud to her every morning, a sort of daily exhortation that began, “Who knows, Miss Cat, what fantastical adventures the two of us will have today?” I had a song I sang to her when I was about to vacuum, a brassy Vegas showstopper called “That Thing You Hate (Is Happening Again).” We collaborated on my foot-pedal pump organ to produce The Hideous Cat Music, in which she walked back and forth at her discretion on the keyboard while I worked the pedals. The Hideous Cat Music resembled the work of the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti, with aleatory passages and unnervingly sustained tone clusters.

I’ve never had a cat, but all of my dogs have had approximately 7,000 diminutives. You all know Wendy, aka Wendall, Wemberley, etc. Enjoy.

Coozledad sent this thing, a sketch of life aboard the custom jet used by Led Zeppelin, Elton John, the Rolling Stones and others during their ’70s super tours. Take a look at that fake-fur spread on the queen-size waterbed and imagine what it would have looked like under a UV light. Ew.

Finally, another NYT link, for which I apologize, but it was a good Sunday paper for August: Missouri is considering adding right-to-farm to its state constitution. What a…terrible idea. Those of you who don’t live in an agricultural state cannot know how wealthy and powerful these farm-advocacy groups can be, all the while poor-mouthing about the Plight of the Farmer. And why is this happening?

…(A) coalition of state farming groups and major agriculture corporations have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take aim at the Humane Society, which led a successful fight in 2010 to regulate inhumane dog-breeding practices in Missouri.

Backers of the amendment are wary of laws that have passed in other states, like California, where voters in 2008 approved roomier living conditions for hens, and Oregon, where a rural county’s ban on genetically modified crops was overwhelmingly passed in May.

…Opponents have protested that the amendment would be a boon for large industrial farms that would like to avoid potential laws controlling their treatment of animals or the environment, allowing them to pollute the land, extend the use of genetically modified crops and freely experiment with the use of antibiotics in livestock, a trend that has concerned scientists.

As someone who lives in an urban area a lot of people are hot to farm (and are farming), I can tell you these laws are all written to favor rural landowners and their interests. If I lived in my native state (St. Louis born!), I’d be voting no.

Seriously. You know why half a million people in Toledo are without water today, why it can’t even be boiled to safety? Algae blooms caused by agricultural runoff. Imagine these folks with a constitution backing them up.

But I vote yes on this upcoming week, and hope yours is wonderful. I sure hope mine is.

Posted at 12:31 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 53 Comments

Whining again.

I really do apologize for being such a craptastic blogger of late. It’s not going to get better for a while, but it will get better. This has truly been the week from purgatory, and simply unrelenting. Lots of tasks, normally something I like, but it was a big pile and I didn’t get the most important ones done, which means – well, you know what it means. More work.

But it’s purgatory, not hell. Like wearing an itchy sweater. Although it didn’t help that I got rained on during my afternoon dog-walk. The sun stayed out the whole time, but it rained pretty hard. Hollywood rain, but no rainbow.

So, then:

Here’s Charlotte’s neighbor, the famous poet. Boy, does he look every day of his 75 years or so. I’ve grown exasperated with Jim Harrison in recent years, but there are some good lines in a breezy read. Worth a click.

We have a proposal on the August ballot, what should be a simple approval of an allegedly revenue-neutral change in the tax laws. There’s no opposition, both D’s and R’s agree, and? It’s not doing so well. I liked this comment from a local expert:

The fact that almost all the politicians in the state are supporting the proposal might have been valuable 40 years ago, when many people genuinely trusted state government. But today, it’s more like hearing that all the mafia families have gotten together and are hatching big plans.

And that’s about all I have. Let’s get through the weekend and see what happens.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 76 Comments

Lavender lake.

What am I doing here? It’s one of those hurrier-I-go-the-behinder-I-get sorts of weeks, but we all need a fresh thread from time to time.

At least I’m making time for exercise, y’know? Today was a crisp morning, very unseasonable for July, but I was out early on the bike and rode as hard and fast as I dared for 50 minutes. The reward was this:


Seconds before this shot, the rising sun was peeking out of the clouds, reflected in a pink stripe on the water. In the time it took me to fumble my camera out of my saddlebag, it was gone. Still, a very pretty morning. Not one regret about getting up at 5:45 a.m.

So, you’re a millionaire rock star, playing a triumphant sold-out show at a beautiful theater in your hometown, where the fans love you and all the rest of it. So what do you do? If you’re Jack White, complain:

Having launched the evening with a typically scorching roar, depositing hot, gnarled guitar into the one-two punch of “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” and the new “High Ball Stepper,” White soon became visibly displeased with the standing crowd’s lack of intensity in what he wanted to be a symbiotic affair.

Road manager Lalo Medina had already pleaded the case before show time, taking the stage and asking fans not to sit down or distract themselves with cell phone cameras.

Sure enough, just a half-hour in — after trying everything from a galloping “Hotel Yorba” to an acoustic reading of “Temporary Ground” with Lillie Mae Rische on harmony and Dominic Suchyta on upright bass — White summoned his stagehands. And with a quick “Thanks, God bless you,” he had the curtains pulled.

Several restless minutes passed before White and his five-piece band returned, ripping into “Fell in Love With a Girl” as White gestured at the crowd to engage. He soon paused to alternately tease and cajole the audience in the ornate room.

“I know as Detroiters you can overcome comfortable seating and beautiful lighting to make something as real as possible,” he said.

I guess it got better from there, but man, what a control freak.

Open thread today, obviously. (What am I saying? It’s open every day.) And happy Wednesday. I remembered this time.

Posted at 12:30 am in Detroit life, iPhone, Same ol' same ol' | 63 Comments

One chilly day.

Where is July these days? It barely scraped 70 degrees today, and then only when the sun was out, and it wasn’t out much. I was in the office in no sleeves, and practically froze to death.

It’s shaping up to be an insane week — deadlines, deadlines and…houseguests! Plus we have a failing car; the Passat now requires a repair that will cost more than its value, and it’s just sitting in its parking spot, being disappointing. I really hoped it would go well past 165K, but it doesn’t look to be in the cards. So we spent the weekend trying to find a used wagon (has to hold an acoustic bass, or bass/amp/drum set, the standard rhythm-section quandary). We think we found one in an eight-year-old Volvo wagon, but it won’t be paid for for a few days, which means…complications.

So, some links:

These anti-vax people. I have no words.

Those of you who remember the towering documentary “Streetwise” from 1993 might be interested in how it turned out for the filmmakers, and Tiny, the central character of the film about Seattle street kids. A nice column.

A fascinating explanation of how the FDA approves, or fails to approve, sunscreen. Yes, sunscreen.

Happy Monday, all.

Posted at 12:29 am in Same ol' same ol' | 35 Comments

Summer snapshots.

I said expect some photo posts this summer, so here you go.

I found this video on my phone, having utterly forgotten it from a couple of weeks ago. It’s from Port Huron, at the start of the Mackinac race. When the boats start to make their way out of the river to the starting line, the Port Huron Yacht Club hosts a troupe of pipers to send them off. Sort of cool. Click here if you want to watch it.

The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad had a big weekend — five gigs in four days, one of them on the University of Michigan student radio station. It was to promote some local-music festival. They made the Metro Times listings:


Look at Justin Timberlake, checkin’ out my girls. Step off, pop star. You can’t handle the DVAS.

The best gig of the weekend was Thursday’s, at the Magic Stick. The theme was Space Jam, so decorations were in order:


They were very energetic. I will say, that after years of dragging Kate around to jazz gigs and other music lessons, six months with this band has done far more for her confidence than all that sophisticated repertoire she played with various ensembles. She’s having a ball, and so a ball she will continue to have.

How was y’all’s weekend? I spent it working on the book, and was rewarded with a strongly ass-smelling Mitch Albom column. The past week included Detroit’s 313th birthday, and if you’ve ever called someone here, you know that’s the city’s area code. So there were a number of parties, festivals, throwdowns and the like going on all week. These included: A “body-positive,” i.e. semi-nude bike ride, a street-band festival, about a million other things. A guy I know who’s involved with the people who own and operate Gon KiRin, aka the dragon art car that shoots actual fire out of her nostrils, got her out and about. They got pulled over by the cops. Let me just set up the punchline by sketching out what this thing offers:

The beast is 22-1/2 feet tall and about 80 feet long, weighing in at 8 tons. It’s an “art car,” built onto the frame of an old Dodge W-300 Power Wagon with a 318 engine. There’s a 1,500-pound second-story DJ booth encased in steel wicker, mounted on a Marine Zodiac attack boat under the monster’s spine. The whole contraption can carry more than a dozen riders, with seats in the mouth and in a party couch on the back, where riders can make the tail sway back and forth.

So guess what the offense was? One of the artists had his 2-year-old son with him, and he wasn’t in a child safety seat. On a dragon.

With all this going on, with this vast buffet of snacks and bonbons to choose from, here’s part of Mitch’s offering on the 313 celebration:

What we are — what we remain — is a place that celebrates things like its 313th birthday. A place that immortalizes an annual car cruise down Woodward Avenue. That treats Opening Day of the baseball season as a religious experience. That considers walking around new cars in tuxedos and black dresses the biggest party of the year.

We are resilient in our traditions. Fiercely proud of own. We act as if Tim Allen still walks down our streets and Bob Seger is releasing a top 10 song this week, as if Motown is a thriving business, not a museum, and Gordie Howe could lace them up and play a few shifts if he wanted to.

Tim Allen. Bob Seger. Motown. The Dream Cruise (which doesn’t come near Detroit). If this guy were any more out of touch, he’d be living in California. All of the above details about the goings-on could have been gleaned from a cursory run through the free weekly’s listings. I can’t stand it.

OK, then. I just sent this David Carr column to my colleagues. It’s about the use of immediate social-media technology to report on breaking news, and the complications and rule-bending it brings with it:

Tyler Hicks, a longtime photographer for The Times, was at a hotel in Gaza City across from the beach where the four Palestinian boys died. He tweeted the news immediately, took a photo that was hard to glance at and then wrote about what it was like to be standing there.

He said that he felt horrified, but that in a clinical sense, he also felt exposed. “If children are being killed, what is there to protect me, or anyone else?”

The act of witness, a foundation of war reporting, has been democratized and disseminated in new ways. The same device that carries photos of your mother’s new puppy or hosts aimless video games also serves up news from the front.

Are you middle-class? Feeling poorer today? There’s a reason.

OK, I’m outta here. Have a great week, everyone. Expect more spotty service.

Posted at 12:30 am in Detroit life, Media, Same ol' same ol' | 40 Comments

Cliff’s Notes theater.

I’ll give Mitch Albom this: The guy has no shame whatsoever, and a nearly Oprah-perfect common touch. Another writer, tasked with a play about a beloved baseball announcer, might have searched for a little chiaroscuro, a few shadows, something, anything to give all that lovin’ a little dimension. Not Mitch. For “Ernie,” his tribute to Detroit’s late and beloved Ernie Harwell, he will have no truck with shadows, nor shades of gray, nor anything that might taint the rosy picture so many Detroiters have of their late hero. The worst thing “Ernie” says about Ernie is that he worked very hard, and his beloved wife Lulu had to spend a lot of nights alone.

And so it was that my friend Dustin and I took in this dose of Albom, something I never thought I’d do. But I park in the garage attached to the theater, and when the posters went up for this annual cash-extraction exercise for sentimental Tigers fans, conveniently scheduled on game days, now in its four year, I had a change of heart.

“Dustin,” I said. “It’s time for us to see ‘Ernie.’”

“OK,” he said.

I was hoping he’d put up more of a fight. But I bought the tickets.

The play, like Mitch’s books, seems a bare minimum of effort (85 minutes; you get the idea it was kept short to eliminate the need for embarrassing bathroom breaks by its elderly audience). It’s set on a nearly-bare stage, with two characters – Ernie and “the boy.” The boy wears knickers, knee socks, high shoes and a newsboy’s cap. I think of him as the personification of the author’s belief that everything was better in the world when times were simpler and boys wore knickers. He’s played by TJ Corbett, with lots of jazz-handsy, run-around-the-stage energy. Ernie is played by Peter Carey with a Georgia accent and an old man’s shuffle that keeps threatening to reveal the younger one beneath.

It’s set in a tunnel at Comerica Park, just offstage, as Ernie prepares to receive an accolade from the organization that employed him for so long. But there’s a rain delay, and the kid in knickers shows up to prompt Ernie through “a broadcast of his life” in “nine innings,” and no, I’m not kidding. So we’re basically talking a monologue, interrupted by the knickers kid, and that’s a heavy lift for an actor, so respect.

Along the way, and this should not surprise you, we learn a lot about the playwright. The phrase “kids today” is repeated more than once. There’s a sneering reference to “Faceplace,” i.e., that website my daughter wouldn’t be caught dead on. The World Series-winning ’68 Tigers “really pulled us all together,” after “the racial strife and riots,” which are given exactly that much attention – five words. There’s reference to fans doing the wave, something I’ve only seen at football games, but what do I know? I’m no sportswriter.

I started jotting down random platitudes lines: “Never judge a man by what others say about him.” “None of them are texting.” “Believe in yourself; God has a plan for everyone.”

I have a friend who reveres Harwell, and on any given day, he can summon up half a dozen lines of his radio patter, the pitcher who “kicks and delivers,” the batter walked for “excessive window shopping.” The ones that turn up in every nostalgia story are the ones we hear here: “Loooong gone,” and the one about “standing like a house by the side of the road.” Similarly ignored is any mention of how the game changed toward the end of Harwell’s career; while Mark Fidrych gets in there, the story about him having sex with a girl on the pitcher’s mound, needless to say, doesn’t make it. Hey, family audiences. Even his firing, during the Monaghan era, is glossed over.

There’s nothing new here, no particular insight into the man’s character, no message about the human condition you could name, other than here was a really nice man and we all wish he were still alive, so here’s a guy to impersonate him for 85 minutes. It’s theater for the Faceplace age.

So at the end of an hour and a half, what you’re left with is an extended version of the Albom obit that is helpfully included in the program, all sweetness and light and puppies and goo. We were probably the youngest people in the house.

A little bloggage to get us into the weekend? Well, OK:

The director of the Ohio State marching band gets cashiered after an internal investigation showed the place featured only slightly less over-the-top, sexually themed harassment than a strip bar next to an oil field. If your team ever played Ohio State, you’ll want to check this handy songbook and learn what they were singing about your band in the locker room.

Tom & Lorenzo do the important work of summer fashion blogging, i.e., putting together a few snaps of Taylor Swift leaving the gym.

Dahlia! Dahlia! Dahlia takes on the two-hour execution in Arizona this week.

On Wednesday afternoon, in a ritual that has become increasingly—indeed almost numbingly—familiar, the state of Arizona administered a secret drug protocol that took almost two hours to kill a man. Joseph R. Wood III was sentenced to death in 1991 for shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father, Eugene. The murder was gruesome, and Wood was guilty. He shot his victims in the chest at close range. The only question that remains, as yet another state botches yet another execution, is whether the two hours of gasping and snorting by the accused before he finally died is excessive, or whether it sounds about right to us.

Love me some Dahlia. And now I love me some weekend, and I hope you do, too.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Detroit life | 76 Comments

Everyone forgets you but the pigeons.

Today’s Snapshot of Blogging Laziness is Gov. Stevens Mason, Michigan’s first. He stands in a park in Detroit and birds poop on his head.


And for those of you who don’t follow the comments, but who did follow our brief chat a few months back about Ben Stein’s weird column in the American Spectator, this story, about some fairly run-of-the-mill skeeviness on Stein’s part, is for you. You know the sick making passage? This one, from Stein’s own version of what happened when he met a pregnant escort and tried to get her to let him “touch and kiss” her for money. They’re talking about her now-estranged baby daddy:

“I really didn’t like him that much,” she texted me. “I just wasn’t into him that much.”

“Well, you must have been into him pretty much and he must have been very much into you because you’re carrying his baby.”

“I know,” she said, “but I’ll just be a single mom. Will you help me out?”

I am so pro-life that I can never say no in these cases but I am worried about it.

He gives her money because he is so pro-life. I can’t stand it.

Anyone else? Tony Dungy takes the easy way out on welcoming Michael Sam to the NFL. Which is to say, he doesn’t.

No blog tomorrow, but! I think you might enjoy Thursday’s — a friend and I are going to see a Mitch Albom play today. JUST BECAUSE.

Happy hump day, all. Over and out.

Posted at 12:30 am in Uncategorized | 56 Comments

Back to the grind.

I bused it into work today — ozone action alert — to find myself all alone in our little office. First day back from vacation, and apparently I missed the memo about everybody working in Ann Arbor today. No problem. It was a hot day, and I had a lot to do. So I sat in the air-conditioning and went for a short bike ride at lunch and that was that.

Actually, as working Mondays go, it’s pretty good. I love summer, riding past the baseball stadium on the way to lunch, where my favorite pizzeria was CLOSED?!? Well, damn. It was still a lovely day. And there were some good links. This one was horrifying:

Vassar — When people opposed to housing young Central American immigrants here claimed the youths worked for drug cartels, Adam Barden was frustrated.

When the opponents attended demonstrations armed with semi-automatic rifles, he was perplexed.

And when they threatened to boycott his hardware store for not agreeing with them, he got angry.

Yep, the debate over the Central American children has washed up in Michigan. It’s happening everywhere. And the protestors are open-carrying. This will surely work out wonderfully.

So, change of subject? How about this one? I swear, I don’t know why any of the big billionaires waste their money in Washington; the real power can be wielded in state legislatures, and the prices are so much lower:

Missouri is the only state in America that has declined to keep a prescription drug database — the primary tool the other 49 states use to identify people who acquire excess prescriptions for addictive painkillers and tranquilizers, as well as the physicians who overprescribe them. …But while proponents say the vast majority of the Legislature supports the measure, it has been blocked by a small group of lawmakers led by State Senator Rob Schaaf, a family physician who argues that allowing the government to keep prescription records violates personal privacy. After successfully sinking a 2012 version of the bill, Mr. Schaaf said of drug abusers, “If they overdose and kill themselves, it just removes them from the gene pool.”

See how easy? One guy can gum up the works.

And speaking of one guy, how about a Kennedy? RFK Jr. and his mad crusade against thimerosol, the boogieman chemical of the anti-vaxxers:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Institute of Medicine, no evidence supports a link between thimerosal and any brain disorders, including autism. But parental concerns of such an association in the 1990s spurred vaccine fears. This owed to a confluence of factors: highly publicized warnings of mercury-contaminated fish; rising awareness and diagnoses of autism; and vaccines added to the childhood schedule. The CDC urged vaccine makers to remove thimerosal as a precautionary measure.

Some parents took this as proof of thimerosal’s harm. The controversy, which Kennedy helped fuel in the 2000s with a notorious, widely publicized article, prompted additional vaccine fears that linger to this day.

The greatness was rinsed out the Kennedys a generation back, but the publicity remains.

A new week! It’s going to be a hot one. Enjoy yours.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events | 31 Comments