neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)




The prediction is for nice mild weather the rest of this week, which I'm looking forward to. It beats the heat we had late last week along with the storms that hit on Saturday from which the area is still recovering.  It also means that the air conditioning can finally go off.  My wife and I have the windows open and the cool evening breeze blowing through them.

As for the storms themselves, I chronicled Saturday's wild weather and its aftermath in Thunderstorms disrupt Michigan season opener, Arts, Beats, and Eats, and other events and Last night's storm knocked out power to 120,000 customers and damaged mobile homes on Crazy Eddie's Motie News.  Surf over and read about the first calling of a U of M football game for weather and all kinds of other weather-related mayhem that happened all around me.
neonvincent: Lust for  for posts about sex and women behaving badly. (Bad Girl Lust)

Yeah, this one. It got picked up by Lex Kuhne's Daily Intelligencer, a paper.li site that compiles tweets, as today's top Michigan story. Looks like he enjoys reading drunken texts about sex, too.

In other news, I've been busy over at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

Labor Day and hurricanes to blame as gas prices rise sharply in Michigan

Preview of Arts, Beats, and Eats

Surf on over.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

Seriously.

Last Night in Michigan (248)

I'm not sure how to feel about that. Maybe glad I'm too old to be participating, but young enough to be amused.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

Now I find out about this!



Detroit Free Press: Sierra Club's Green Cruise draws cyclists, health enthusiasts to Ferndale
August 14, 2011
Hundreds of people turned out for the Sierra Club's Green Cruise in downtown Ferndale on Saturday, the precursor to next weekend's Woodward Dream Cruise.

The seventh annual event included a human-powered parade on West 9 Mile from Woodward to Planavon -- a parade renowned for its unabashed geek value, with its horde of cyclists on every conceivable style of two- and three-wheeler.
...
Dozens of displays were set up at the event to highlight organic foods, climate change, wind power and more.
...
Virtually everything was free -- even food, beverages and bike maps.
I'm sorry that I missed this event; it looks like exactly the kind of thing someone like me, who is interested in sustainable actions in Metro Detroit, and who really likes Fabulous Ferndale (I was just there this evening), should be attending. Besides, it will make me feel less guilty about enjoying the Woodward Dream Cruise as a spectator.

For two videos and more commentary, surf over to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)


People are talking about their Dream Cruise dream cars as we ramp up the preparations for Saturday's Woodward Dream Cruise.
As you can see, this has become a major cultural event, even if it's one that celebrates a pre-sustainability ideal. I'm not going to burn any extra fossil fuel as part of the celebration of automobiles, as Woodward Dream Cruise passes within walking distance of where I live. I should know; I walked to it last year. I'll be walking to it again.

Two more videos with commentary at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

GoldfishNaBloPoMoJulySmall


In addition to my posts about the travails of Julie Bass here on Crazy Eddie's Motie News, I've been blogging about it elsewhere, beginning with posts to my Dreamwidth and my LiveJournal. I've also posted it to ontd_political on Dreamwidth, unfunnybusiness on JournalFen, and peakoil_prep and ontd_political twice on LiveJournal. The results have been very satisfying.

For starters, those posts have received lots of comments. The winner so far has been the first post on ontd_political on LJ, Michigan Woman could go to jail for planting vegetable garden, which prompted 126 comments. Next is the unfunnybusiness post, Woman in Oak Park, Michigan, could go to jail up to 93 days for planting a garden, with 39 comments. The followup to ontd_political, Update: Michigan woman no longer going to jail for her garden but now in trouble for her dogs, has 21 comments and counting. The mirrored posts on my LJ currently have nine comments and their counterparts on Dreamwidth have six. In contrast, I have a grand total of eight comments on the same posts so far here on Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

This mirrors the situation with the rest of the Swim posts here on Crazy Eddie's Motie News, which have a grand total of three comments on the non-Julie Bass posts, two on the five posts about Kunstler and one on the post about Elaine Meinel Supkis, two once I respond. In contrast, the LiveJournal mirror of James Howard Kunstler swims against the stream on gender role equality, too alone received 13 comments, which I pointed out in Follow up to women in Kunstler's fiction. Honestly, I'd like more comments. I could even deal with a couple of trolls, as I'm not above trolling my own comments sections.

On the other hand, I have been getting readers from the signal boosting posts, with 108 views from JournalFen and 69 from ontd_political on LJ during the past week, handily beating out what I'm getting from Facebook, just 16 referrals. Even the hits coming from my own LJ, nine so far this week, are beating out what came in from Twitter, which is not even in the top ten sources. Facebook and Twitter may be the big boys on the blog, but they aren't the traffic drivers people think they are. Google, on the other hand, is my friend, with 176 hits. The big winner turns out to be Julie's own blog, which referred 296 readers in one week. Thank you, all of you coming here from Oak Park Hates Veggies!

Just the same, I've had nine days in a row and 11 days out of the last 12 with more than 100 hits, so I have no room to complain. On that note, welcome new readers, and keep the page views coming!

Speaking of signal boosting, above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.



neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

In the previous installment, I described how Oak Park's "War on Veggies" went viral. The resulting brouhaha had the effect it intended--the prosecution against Julie Bass for her raised garden beds in her front yard--but Oak Park has found another way to continue waging war against her for daring to fight city hall. The video won't embed here, but it did embed at Crazy Eddie's Motie News, where it is larger than the version embedded at Oak Park Drops Charges Against Julie Bass and Her Vegetable Garden: MyFoxDETROIT.com. You can also read the Detroit Free Press article, Oak Park woman faces dog trouble after veggie case is dropped. Then come back here.

So the good news is that Julie Bass is no longer facing charges. All of you who raised a stink by reporting and blogging on the issue, commenting on blog and news posts, signing the petition, and sending in letters and emails to the city of Oak Park can pat yourselves on the back. Your efforts succeeded.

The bad news is that the way the story is being reported, not only in the Fox 2 Detroit clip above, but also in the Detroit News article and on Julie's own blog, indicates that the city dropped the charge by asking for it to be dismissed without prejudice. That means that that the city could reinstate the charge any time before the statute of limitations ran out. Note the coda of the report was that the city prosecutor was going to re-examine the language of the statute. If he figures out a defensible reading of the statute that allows him to go after Julie, he can file those charges again. As Julie herself describes it, it feels like her own Sword of Damocles hanging over her.

The ugly news is the city resuming their prosecution of Julie for her dogs. The sequence of events makes it look like the city is being, as Julie wrote in her most recent post, "malicious." Julie's lawyer Solomon Radner elaborated in this quote from the Detroit News, "This is really nothing other than a personal vendetta against the Basses either because somebody doesn't like them, or because they had the nerve to fight this unjust prosecution." I think the answer is mostly the latter.

Since I believe in closing circles, I think the good news is that Julie and her lawyer will appear in court on July 26th, present the proof that the dogs are licensed, and those charges will be dismissed. Even so, this entire affair has made the city of Oak Park look even worse in my eyes than it already did.
When my wife and I were looking for places to live in Oakland County, my co-workers who lived in Oak Park tried to convince me to move there. Unfortunately, when my wife and I looked at houses in the city, we were less than impressed. We got a very conformist, unfriendly, and not-at-all fun vibe from the place, so we decided to look in Ferndale and Royal Oak, which were more to our liking.
When I played the Fox 2 Detroit clip to my wife, she said that we were never going to live in Oak Park. She didn't care if we found the ideal house there at a perfect price in a great neighborhood, we won't move there. I completely agree.

Finally, stay tuned. This isn't over yet.

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.



neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

GoldfishNaBloPoMoJulySmall


Today, you get a two for one special: The Bard of Murdock on Julie Bass--two bloggers swimming against the stream.

With the permission of the author.
RE: The Oak Park Outlaw Poem

If you'd like to post my verse
At Crazy Eddie's News,
I say, "Why Not? Go Ahead."
For how could I refuse?

I ask for attribution
And with the poem a link:
thebardofmurdock.com
A fair exchange, I think.
Thank you, and done.
The Oak Park Outlaw

The scofflaw, Julie Bass,
Rejected trees and grass,
And took to life of crime
With parsley, sage and thyme.

Her crime is avant garde:
The beds in her front yard
Contain illegal greens,
Like peppers, peas and beans.

Thank God the planner saw
Within the public law,
A means to prosecute
Before she planted fruit.

The plaintiff, Kevin R.,
The Oak Park planning czar,
Will see the line is toed
By pointing to the code.

But folks can misconstrue
What’s ‘suitable’ to do,
So Kevin has deferred
To ‘common’ as his word.

And what is more unique
Than cucumber or leek,
When planted in a bed
Where grass should grow instead.

Uncommon as they are
Outside a mason jar,
She’ll need to clear her yard
Of broccoli and chard.

Then justice will prevail,
And Oak Park can exhale,
Devoid of squash and kale,
With Julie safe in jail.
Originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
I posted the following to unfunnybusiness on JournalFen, where it is awaiting moderation. It was adapted from Oak Park's "War on Veggies" goes viral on Crazy Eddie's Motie News. I'll be posting a different version on ontd_political on both Dreamwidth and LiveJournal shortly.

Here's a story I've been following on my blog since July 30th, when I posted Oak Park Woman plants vegetable garden; city objects. In it, I summarized the situation.
the Bass family of Oak Park lost their lawn when the sewer line running under their front yard was replaced. Instead of replacing it with a lawn, they replaced it with a vegetable garden. Their neighbors complained to the city and the city has cited them with a criminal violation of city ordinances. The Basses and the city have a court date on July 26th.
...
Mrs. Bass posted a more complete summary after I wrote (and she read) the above. Please read it.

As someone familiar with the area, I'm not surprised this is happening in Oak Park. )
Beginning Friday, July 8th, the number of hits on that post began climbing dramatically. When I investigated how that happened, I found out that Drudge happened.

A couple of days ago, Matt Drudge placed a link to The Agitator's post on his front page with the headline "Woman faces 93 days in jail for planting garden in front yard..." Since then, the story has spread like wildfire. Here is a list of the media sources I've found covering this story with links to their articles. )

As for how Drudge was indirectly responsible, he drove traffic to The Agitator, which drove traffic Julie Bass's blog OakParkHateVeggies, where she has a link to my post. Even from three steps away, Drudge increased my readership. Behold the power of Drudge.

In case you're wondering what you can do about it, there is a petition. 4,400 people signed it by Friday, less than a week after it was put up.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

It's been a full week since I last updated on Oak Park's "War on Veggies", so it's time to recap this week's developments.

First, I stopped by Julie Bass's house on Thursday just to see for myself what all the fuss was about.* I didn't have a camera, but Julie herself posted a photo of her front yard earlier that day, saving me the trouble. The images aren't embedding properly, so surf over to her blog to see for yourself.

Here's what the beds look like from the sidewalk (posted last Saturday).



Thanks, Julie, for posting those photos. I hope you don't mind my hotlinking borrowing them to illustrate this post!

Personally, I think there's nothing wrong with her front yard. In fact, I think it looks better than her neighbor's lawns, which the July sun has turned dry and yellow. While I think I know what the city of Oak Park's problem is, if I didn't have any preconceived notions, I wouldn't understand why they are objecting.

In other news, Sue Ann Reed from Care2 commented on my first post on the issue with the following.
Hello,

I saw your blog post about Julie Bass and the ridiculous idea that she is facing criminal charges and potential jail time for growing a garden in her own yard.

The folks from the Urban Homesteading Facebook page have set up a petition on Care2 and we would love your help spreading the word.

Here's the link to the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/oak-park-hates-veggies/
I promised to post that link the next time I updated on the issue, so, to quote the Emperor of Austria-Hungary from "Amadeus," there it is. Of course I signed, and I urge all of you reading to do so, too.

Other people besides Julie and I have started blogging about this issue. Julie herself published a guest post from Sundari Kraft of Eat Where U Live. Sundari had earlier published an entry to her own blog, Front Yard Gardens vs. a Lack of Common Sense the same day I first posted about Oak Park's "War on Veggies". Sundari agrees with me about the esthetics of the garden.
The vegetable are not unruly or untended — in fact, it’s one of the tidiest raised-bed gardens I’ve seen in a long time.
It's a great post, and you should read it.

Finally, the same day Julie published Sundari's guest post, Urban Homestead Diaries posted In Oak Park Michigan it is Illegal to Grow Veggies in your Front Yard, Seriously. As you read, they were the ones who set up the petition mentioned above. As of the day of the post, 500 people had signed the petition.

As for the rest of the story, read Julie Bass's blog. She has more to say on the matter than I could possibly summarize in a "brief update!"

*My commute takes me through Oak Park, so I didn't have to go far out of my way to do this.

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)
GoldfishNaBloPoMoJulySmall


On Dreamwidth and LiveJournal, I passed on the following yesterday.
July's theme for daily blogging: SWIM. Hopefully the Southern Hemisphere will forgive the Northern Hemisphere for having swimming on the brain. But it's more than just pools -- when things are going well, we say they're going swimmingly. We can sink or swim. And of course there are always bloggers swimming against the stream. I think it's a theme everyone can dive into.
For today's example of "bloggers swimming against the stream," I present Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan, who blogs as OakParkHateVeggies on Wordpress. I wrote about her on Crazy Eddie's News on Tuesday in Oak Park Woman plants vegetable garden; city objects, which is the most read post on the blog this week. I guess rebels for sustainability are popular.

Here's my summary of her situation.
[T]he Bass family of Oak Park lost their lawn when the sewer line running under their front yard was replaced. Instead of replacing it with a lawn, they replaced it with a vegetable garden. Their neighbors complained to the city and the city has cited them with a criminal violation of city ordinances. The Basses and the city have a court date on July 26th. Mrs. Bass has started a blog, OakParkHateVeggies on Wordpress, to record her experience.

ETA: Mrs. Bass posted a more complete summary after I wrote (and she read) the above. Please read it.
Those are the facts. For commentary, surf over to Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

ETA: She now has a Facebook page up, Oak Park Hates Veggies.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

In the intro to part one of last week's sustainability news linkspam, I mentioned "a local sustainability issue that looks like just a zoning and development issue, but has turned into something else entirely" in passing. In the spirit of "a picture is worth 1000 words," I give you these videos from WXYZ-TV. Issues of sustainable local business and sustainable built environment pop up all through both videos, including a mention of Royal Oak's walkable neighborhoods and walkable downtown. Then, there's the accusations of corruption by a lobbyist for the convenience store competitors of the proposed Kroger. And you thought city council meetings were boring.







I have a lot more to write about this issue, including coverage from Royal Oak Patch that follows up on the meetings and the provides more detail and my personal opinion of this (it's a very local issue for me, as the site in question is within walking distance of where my wife and I live--she has an opinion, too), but I have to run an errand and go to work. Stay tuned!

Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News here.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

June2011NaBloPoMoSmallBadge


I'm a fan of environmentally sound manufacturing.

The Oakland Press: GM drives to lessen Orion plant’s environmental impact
By JOSEPH SZCZESNY
Of The Oakland Press

Gas piped from an Oakland County landfill is helping General Motors hold down costs as it begins building small cars at the GM assembly plant in Orion Township, saving the company more than $1.1 million annually.

Energy savings have helped General Motors reduce the cost of building small cars in the United States at the company’s assembly plant in Orion Township.

Eric Stevens, GM vice president of global manufacturing engineering, said when production of the fuel-efficient 2012 Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano at Orion begin this fall, 40 percent of the energy to power the General Motors Orion Assembly Plant where the cars are built will come from a burning landfill adjacent to the plant on Brown Road.
I like everything about this article--local jobs for people building fuel-efficient cars, renewable energy, energy conservation, recycling, and using environmentally friendly paint. All of these are good for the environment, society, and the economy. Consider me a fan!

Originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News as Motie News Brief: GM's Orion plant to go green.

On the other hand, I'm not much of a fan of high gas prices. Gas prices back above $4.00/gallon in metro Detroit
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

Sustainability news from Michigan's Research Universities for the week ending June 4, 2011

Sustainability news from midwestern Research Universities for the week ending June 4, 2011

Sustainability News for the week ending June 4, 2011: National commercial sources

Wow, three posts in one day--looks like I'm not so burned out any more. I guess taking a couple days off helped!

Also, I posted about Michigan politics.

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner--oh the possibilities!

As you can see, that one pressed my ambition button. I'll re-write that one and post it here on Dreamwith and LJ, as well as on Michigan Liberal and Daily Kos.

Finally, I promoted my most recent post on Kunstler's blog.

That's enough for this morning. Time to go back to bed!

neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
In our previous installment, I wrote:

Troy City Council asks for August library ballot question
By BONNIE CAPRARA
Special to The Oakland Press
...
If the council formally adopts the ballot language at its next meeting on Monday, the council will have to vote on a measure to keep the library open at least until the special election. The library was originally scheduled to be closed after April 30. The council called off the closure last month until it had an opportunity to discuss ways to keep it open.
Here's to the City Council approving the measure and putting it on the ballot in August. That's a nice "maybe."

May2011NaBloPoMoBadge
"Next Monday" was the day before yesterday, and there's no maybe about it.

UPDATED: Troy City Council approves August library ballot question, budget )


Orignally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Crossposted to Michigan Liberal and Daily Kos.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)

Late last month, I posted the following in Save the libraries, save civilization:

Across metro Detroit, communities bracing for library closings
...
Troy's library was originally scheduled to close Sunday. But on April 18, the City Council postponed the closing until May 16, hoping to find a way to fund the library.

Troy Mayor Louise Schilling said she would seek a dedicated millage for the library, releasing its dependence on the city's general operating budget.

Schilling said she hopes a library millage is on the November ballot.
I do, too, Madame Mayor, and I know people who would campaign for it, too. I hope you get together with them.
Looks like I got my wish, which also happened to be the wish of those who will campaign for the library millage. )


Above originally posted to Crazy Eddie's Motie News as "Save the library, save Troy". Crossposted to Daily Kos and Michigan Liberal. More about those crossposts in my next entry.
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Default)

Just as I started last month on Crazy Eddie's Motie News with a good news post based on a press release that assumed Business as Usual (BAU) will return, so I ended last month with a post based on another optimistic BAU press release, this time from one of my alma maters.

University of Michigan: Oakland economy is in the early stages of sustained recovery
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—After posting modest job losses last calendar year following an abysmal 2009, the Oakland County economy should add nearly 29,000 jobs over the next three years—the best years since 2000, say University of Michigan economists.

That looks really good, doesn't it?
In their annual forecast of the Oakland County economy, George Fulton and Don Grimes of the U-M Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy say that Oakland will add nearly 11,000 jobs this year, another 8,000 next year and more than 9,700 in 2013.
This year looks like the best of the three and next year the worst of the three. If you're a politician up for re-election in 2012, that may not be the best news, but at least the projection isn't for job losses that year, either.
Last calendar year, Oakland County lost less than 1,200 jobs after losing nearly 60,000 jobs in 2009, and is currently adding jobs—the majority in sectors most tied to the New Economy.

Now does adding 29,000 jobs in three years look that good? Not when you realize that more than twice as many were lost in one year.

Even so, the good news continues. )

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