The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is proceeding past the finger-pointing phase into the actual-criminal-charges phase, as a city employee and two state Department of Environmental Quality employees have been charged with various crimes related to misconduct in office and tampering with evidence. [more inside]
Duluth: Who Loves Ya, Baby? (SLYTellySavalas)
It's another day of multi-state voting in the live version of House of Cards otherwise known as Election 2016. On the Republican side, four candidates remain: Rafael Edward Cruz, John Richard Kasich, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Donald John Trump. On the Democrat side, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton and Bernard Sanders continue their fight. As the math becomes clearer, and with several months still to go before potentially feisty party conventions, the odds [Oddschecker] [PredictWise] remain on both Clinton and Trump as the favorites to win their respective nominations. More on today's voting from ABC, Fortune and USA Today, while on the horizon, in-person voting begins in Florida... [more inside]
Everyone commits crimes. There are so many laws out there making what's relatively banal behavior criminal if looked at in that light. Apparently a longstanding legal principle tho has been the idea of a "guilty mind," which has gotten somewhat lost recently. The idea is that if you can't write a law where it's possible for a person to commit a crime without meaning to commit a crime. More in the link.
Last month, Flint, Michigan, declared a state of emergency as a result of serious contamination of the municipal water supply. Since then, the issue has expanded from a municipal problem to a scandal reaching the Governor's office and the White House. The situation in Flint took up much of the annual State of the State address this week. [more inside]
For two days in 1975, rock band KISS took over the town of Cadillac, Michigan, and played at the Cadillac High School Homecoming. [SLYT] What started as a football coach looking for a way to inspire his players ended up bringing the entire town together in the name of rock and roll. [via]
The city of Flint, Michigan, disconnected its municipal water supply from the Detroit system in April 2014 while a new pipeline to Lake Huron was being installed. The interim supply came from the local Flint River, and almost immediately, people complained that the new water was cloudy and smelled bad. Over the next eighteen months, though, the news got worse, and the state came up with $12 million to switch the water supply back. This week, the newly elected Mayor of Flint declared an emergency due to skyrocketing lead levels in the blood of Flint's children, asking the Genesee County Board of Commissioners to address the situation.
When I visit Lake Michigan, I feel staggering incredulity: How is this not an ocean? Driving between cities around its 1,400 miles of shoreline—say, from Chicago to Grand Rapids—emphasizes the lake’s vast scroll, since the only way to go is around. A new map captures that experience.
Michigan State Representatives Todd Courser (82nd District) and Cindy Gamrat (80th District) were close allies. Tea Partiers from opposite sides of the state, they shared an office and staff, and when Gamrat was expelled from the Republican caucus for posting inside information on Facebook, Courser posted a 3,300-word defense of her. You know how this is going to turn out -- the married-to-other-people family-values Representatives were having an affair. [more inside]
After months of undercover work, Williams and Moon had information on more than 40 suspects, but the department realized it didn’t have the funds or the manpower to round them all up. So it had to come up with clever ideas. “Cops used to offer parolees free tickets to the Detroit Lions, then arrest them,” recalls Peggy Lawrence, a Flint historian. On one occasion, Moon quietly arrested and locked up stolen property dealer, announced his death in the newspaper, and arrested gang members who showed up at his fake funeral. “Sometimes you gotta do things that are simply funny,” Moon later told a television reporter. “People gotta go to jail, but it don’t always have to be sad.” In 1990, the department planned a particularly elaborate operation: Officers would throw a fake wedding, invite all the suspects, and arrest them.
Yesterday, the organizers of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival announced that this summer's festival will be their last. [more inside]
The University of Michigan Library, the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries and ProQuest have made public more than 25,000 manually transcribed texts from 1473-1700 — the first 200 years of the printed book. Full text access. Multiple format downloads, including ePUB. Or just download the entire corpus. [more inside]
Detroit in the '40s, thriving industry (note: some photos of racial conflict)
Today, by a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit upheld the same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan. reversing a federal district court decision and creating a circuit split: the Sixth Circuit has upheld bans, while the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits have struck them down. [more inside]
One-Fifth of Detroit's Population Could Lose Their Homes — Many families could stay put for just a few hundred dollars, if only they knew how to work the system. (SLAtlantic)
The U.S. Supreme court has decided to uphold Michigan's ban on affirmative action. Here is a a brief summery of the history behind the case. The court has made their opinions available here. Also, how states with affirmative action bans have fared.
A federal judge has overturned Michigan's ban on same sex marriage and adoption. (pdf). There is no stay in the ruling.
I, Too, Am Harvard. A photo campaign highlighting the faces and voices of black students at Harvard College. 63 students participated, sharing their experiences with ignorance and racism. "Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned-- this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard." [more inside]
College football attracts a lot of rabid fans. Of late, college football (and football in general) has also attracted an increasing number of stats enthusiasts peddling increasingly obscure metrics to quantify success and failure. At MGoBlog, a popular Michigan fan blog, one intrepid poster has turned the statistics tools on the fanbase itself. A Season in Profanity details the usage of various swear words in open game threads. Among the relationships detailed are the usage of various colorful expressions by game, mood of the fan base by opponent, swearing efficiency, which coach(es) should be fired, and even the individual play outcomes that inspired the greatest amount of swearing. As it was kind of a rough season for the team, there was a substantial amount of data to comb through. [more inside]
100 years ago a storm on the Great Lakes sank dozens of ships I found it a riveting story. "It reads like the tale of the Titanic times a factor of at least a dozen. Freighters thought invulnerable to the weather cracked in two. Hundreds of sailors drowned. Sad farewell messages tucked inside glass bottles washed up on Lake Superior beaches. The “White Hurricane,” a cataclysmic storm which pounded Michigan 100 years ago this week, was quite simply the biggest, deadliest natural disaster ever to hit the Great Lakes. It’s also one of Michigan’s most epic tales. "
The Free Press investigates the causes of the Detroit bankruptcy. From 13th checks to Kwame's gamble, the story of Detroit's bankruptcy is surprising and often counter-intuitive.
Utilizing video locations including Isle Royale National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Headlands Intl Dark Sky Park, North Country Trail, Hiawatha National Forest, Marquette Michigan, Copper Harbor and Eagle Harbor MI, Shawn Malone has created North Country Dreams, a time lapse video that explains why some of us will never leave Michigan. (I encourage you to watch this in full screen and HD)
Odawa Indian tribe hosts Michigan's first legal same-sex marriage (and the third among all US Native nations). It was a historic day. Not just for them and not just for the tribe that [Tim] LaCroix belongs to, but for Michigan too. News story from UpNorthLive.
Aaron Peterson is a nature photographer and writer based near Lake Superior on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. He takes many photographs of bike trips, like this ice biking series.
The rider, Ryan Labar, chimed in with a technical comment.
More of Aaron's galleries.
The rider, Ryan Labar, chimed in with a technical comment.
More of Aaron's galleries.
'Meet Sluggo – a green semi-subterranean inhabitant of Ann Arbor, Michigan. This strange little creature first appeared back in 2008 on a sidewalk, and since then started peaking out of walls cracks, chilling on ledges or doing his daily routines all over the town. Turns out, it was drawn by a local graphic artist David Zinn.'
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law two bills that will "will among other things, bar both public and private sector workers from being required to pay fees as a condition of their employment." [SLNYT] [more inside]
In 1962, fifty years ago this month, striking union printers shut down four New York City newspapers in resistance to computerized, automated technologies that were being introduced in newsrooms across the country. Five other area papers shut down voluntarily. The strike lasted 114 days and sounded the death knell for four newspapers. For a brief period, New York was a laboratory that demonstrated what can happen when newspapers vanish. Today, new technology is again shaking American newspapers as the Internet drains away more and more advertising revenue. Is this The Long Good Bye? [more inside]
Helen Wallbank Milliken, former Michigan First Lady and strong supporter of women's rights, passed away late yesterday. Married to William Milliken, Republican governor of Michigan from 1969 to 1983, Helen Milliken was both a strong proponent of both the ERA and of abortion rights. [more inside]
What happens when a former star of the West Wing's sister decides to run for the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan? This.
In December of 1997, a Michigan man received a letter from the Department of Environmental Quality informing him that he was prohibited from the 'Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond. A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department's files show that no permits have been issued. .... The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris dams and flooding at downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all unauthorized activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the strewn channel.' He replied: 'Regarding Your Dam Complaint.' [more inside]
Louder Than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story. While not as famous as Bill Graham's Fillmore Theaters, from 1966 to 1970, Detroit's Grande Ballroom hosted national acts such as Cream, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, and Pink Floyd. The brainchild of Russ Gibb, with help from activist John Sinclair, the Grande provided a stage for local bands like The MC5, SRC, The Rationals, The Amboy Dukes, The Frost and the The Stooges. The Grande had it's own psychedelic poster artists Gary Grimshaw and Carl Lundgren. Leni Sinclair took pictures. Local boys from the Grande that went on to national prominence included The Bob Seger System, Alice Cooper, and Grand Funk Railroad. [more inside]
Award winning campaign saved the Troy, Michigan Library. The library needed to pass a .7% tax increase to stay open. Anti-tax crusaders (*cough* Tea Partiers *cough*) took over the conversation to get it voted down. So, faced with dwindling prospects a group supporting the library worked with an advertising agency to develop a provocative campaign to get the tax increase passed. [more inside]
"And finally, Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you're all so interested my vagina, but 'no' means 'no.'" After this pointed observation, Michigan Representative Lisa Brown (D) was subsequently barred from speaking on a bill about the retirement of school employees. Twitter responds. Meanwhile, many remember a similar kerfuffle over the word "uterus" in Florida last May.
Not So Pure Michigan (youtube), a play on Michigan's "Pure Michigan" tourism campaign. (For more on Michigan's troubles with its neighbors see Mitten-gate.)
Atlas Obscura (seen 'round here before) has organized its third annual Obscura Day for April 28. It's "an international celebration of unusual places," from the Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Particle Accelerator at John E. Edwards Accelerator Laboratory in Athens, Ohio, to a tour of the Secrets & Oddities of the National Museum in Edinburgh, Scotland and an Expedition to the 1,553 Stone-Carved Monks of Nihon-ji in the city of Kyonan, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
Feral swine (aka feral hogs, wild pigs) incur an estimated $1 billion (US) in property damage and control costs, according to the USDA (.pdf). They rip up crops, root up native plans, injure and kill other wildlife and carry disease. As of April 1, 2012, Michigan's Department of Natural Resources has outlawed them, permitting "any licensed hunter [to] shoot feral swine on sight." The relevant Invasive Species Order (.pdf), and its convoluted implementation, has a number of hog farmers up in arms over the state's new ability to slaughter farm-raised pigs that meet the state DNR's description of "feral swine." [more inside]
Emotions ran high (video) as city and state leaders met to work out a deal to address Detroit's looming budget crisis. The threat of state imposition of an emergency financial manager has some residents fearful of the ulterior motives of state officials: [more inside]
You may have heard about the Michigan high schooler who made a game-winning basket and then died. Here's the rest of the story. [Alternative link]
A Michigander questions why an anti-bullying legislation became instead a bully protection tool. "On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled state senate passed an anti-bullying bill that manages to protect school bullies instead of those they victimize. It accomplishes this impressive feat by allowing students, teachers, and other school employees to claim that 'a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction' justifies their harassment." [more inside]
The Burton Holmes Archive has information about Burton Holmes, the travel writer who became the first person to make filmic travelogues. More importantly, they also have a lot of film clips by Holmes and his associate, André de la Varre, who was also a great travelogue maker himself. Watching these clips is not quite time travel, but it is as close as we can get. Take a look at Reykjavík, Iceland, in 1926, Lake Michigan in 20s, Cairo in 1932 and the 1955 Rio de Janeiro carnival. The later films have sound and narration, but I prefer the silent ones. [Burton Holmes previously, André de la Varre previously, and the Travel Film Archive, which runs Burton Holmes site, previously]
Don't get me wrong, yeah I think you're alright; But that won't keep me warm in the middle of the night
"Change Proposed for State's Electoral Vote Process." Gov. Tom Corbett and state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi are proposing that Pennsylvania divide up its Electoral College votes according to which candidates carried each Congressional district, plus two votes for the statewide winner. Talking Points Memo says that under the proposed plan Obama would have received only 11 of the state's 20 electors in 2008; Dave Weigel and Nick Baumann say gerrymandering could mean that in 2012 Obama could actually wind up with a minority of the state's electors even if he carries the state. GOP-led legislatures in other states, such as Wisconsin and Michigan, could make similar moves. But could this be a bridge too far for some members of the state's GOP caucus? [more inside]