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Friday, March 17, 2006
 
Urban Archaeology
I spent the first 23 years of my life in and around Detroit. The place has always held a heartbreaking grip on how I view several issues from race to mass transit, to urban sprawl, to architecture, to failed dreams and probably just about everything in between.

With this in mind, I have come across what very well may be the coolest all-original one topic blog ever. Detroitblog.org is the mind blowing site of a photographer who "explores" Detroit's abandoned buildings.

He found this: in the scattered debris of Motown Records' old headquarters before it was torn down.

I'm not sure why I just spent three hours reading every inch of his blog from top to bottom. I've never actually done that on any blog before.

Maybe it's because he's posted photos of the old Kresge Building where my grandfather worked.

Maybe it because he wrote about the odd little riverfront trailer park where I helped my friend Mike MacMichael deliver newspapers.

Maybe it's because he posts pictures from the Grande Ballroom where I saw punk rock acts in the '80s and my dad saw jazz greats in the '40s and '50s.

Or maybe it's just because he sees the same madness that characterizes the once proud city - the madness that now makes the place painfully intriguing, but almost assuredly will prevent me from ever calling Detroit home again.
 
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
 
David Mamet is a Cartoonist?
As I tell my 6 year old - We learn new things everyday!
 
Monday, March 13, 2006
 
Faith Based Consumption.
If I lived in Texas, I know who I'd be voting for!
DALLAS - An independent candidate for Texas governor rode in a St. Patrick's Day parade car Saturday with his trademark black hat and burning cigar — plus a beer in his hand, an apparent violation of the state's open container law.

Kinky Friedman's spokeswoman acknowledged that he drank from a can of Guinness handed to him. Photographs taken by The Dallas Morning News showed Friedman, who wasn't driving, holding the beer and appearing to take a drink.

State law prohibits opened alcoholic beverages in the passenger area of a motor vehicle. The Class C misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of $500.

Dallas police didn't cite Friedman, and Lt. Rick Watson said Friedman can't be ticketed after the fact because it wasn't witnessed by an officer.

"Guinness is the drink that kept the Irish from taking over the world. It would be unthinkable not to have a Guinness during a St. Patrick's Day parade. In fact, it would be spiritually wrong," Friedman said in a statement issued by spokeswoman Laura Stromberg.
 
Sunday, March 12, 2006
 
Crocodile Shoes
W and Saddam used to get their $1200 handmade Italian crocodile shoes from the same renowned cobbler, Vito Antioli.

Now we know they had something else in common. Incompetence.
Ever vigilant about coups and fearful of revolt, Mr. Hussein was deeply distrustful of his own commanders and soldiers, the documents show.

He made crucial decisions himself, relied on his sons for military counsel and imposed security measures that had the effect of hobbling his forces. He did that in several ways:

The Iraqi dictator was so secretive and kept information so compartmentalized that his top military leaders were stunned when he told them three months before the war that he had no weapons of mass destruction, and they were demoralized because they had counted on hidden stocks of poison gas or germ weapons for the nation's defense.

¶He put a general widely viewed as an incompetent drunkard in charge of the Special Republican Guard, entrusted to protect the capital, primarily because he was considered loyal.

¶Mr. Hussein micromanaged the war, not allowing commanders to move troops without permission from Baghdad and blocking communications among military leaders.
 
 
If Law Schools are the Goose, then Boy Scouts are the Gander
This week's Supreme Court ruling that overturned military recruiting bans at various law schools was based on a very simple principle - If you take government money, you have to play by the government's rules. I don't like the military's Don't Ask - Don't Tell policy, but I respect the argument behind the ruling. It is exactly this principle of the "power of the purse" that forced many colleges to stop racial and religious discrimination in the past few decades.

What goes for the Federal Government also goes for local and state government. The city of Berkeley California bans discrimination based on a persons religious beliefs and/or sexual orientation. Based on this, Berkeley stopped giving free services to the Boy Scouts a few years back. The California Supreme Court has unanimously sided with the city:
SAN FRANCISCO - In a unanimous decision against a division of the Boy Scouts,
the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that groups receiving government subsidies may be required to pledge compliance with anti-bias policies - including those that protect atheists and homosexuals.

The decision, handed down against the Berkeley Sea Scouts, was a blow to the national Scouting organization, which in past landmark rulings had been assured the legal right to exclude boys who are gay or don't believe in God.

Thursday's ruling did not take away that right. But it allowed local governments to make bias costly - in this case, by withdrawing free berthing privileges at the Berkeley municipal marina, worth thousands of dollars a year to the Scouting group.
9driver, Grampa and I were all Boy Scouts. Grampa was even an Eagle Scout and still occasionally volunteers in the troop of one of his grandsons. But the facts are that the Scouts discriminate against certain kids. Plain and simple.

It is unfortunate that an organization that offers so much potential to kids has managed to alienate itself based upon an outdated sense of morality. Scouting will continue its long, slow slide into irrelevance if the Boy Scouts of America doesn't change its tune.
 
Shouting into the closet to inform and entertain the 10 people who actually read this thing. In our new format as an online magazine, we take pride in our reporting and opinions. Please leave reader feedback on our online magazine message board so that we can better serve you.

“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” -Paul Wolfowitz

Cost of the War in Iraq
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