MNRTF Ballot Passed The link

MNRTF Ballot Passed

The link is to Rails to Trails, a very hardwording non-profit boosting trail initiatives nationwide.

If you visit parks in Michigan, be they local, county or state, you’ve benefited from the MNRTF. There’s hardly a single significant park acquisition or expansion that hasn’t been partly funded through this program. I voted for the ballot proposal, but I do have a little concern about it. It swelled the cap for money into the fund from gas and mineral exploration revenue, which is great. But the heart of the proposal is to allow the state to invest MNRTF funds in the market, the same way the state is allowed to do for pensions. To me, that means the funds could lose money if when the stock market goes south. Park funding is the last thing anyone will worry about if the market really tanks, but still.

*Ahem* My dear friends and

*Ahem* My dear friends and relations, my dedicated readership (Hi Mom), I am pleased to present to you www.BinGregory.com. Ha! I have arrived. This is by far the best ten bucks I ever spent. Please note that you can still reach this site by the mile-long comcast url for now, but in a few short weeks, that will change. Also, I can now be reached by email at webmaster at BinGregory dot com, or anybody at BinGregory dot com (spammers, please ignore) for that matter.

Forgotten Detroit This is a

Forgotten Detroit
This is a very nicely designed site that showcases ruins and vacant buildings of Detroit. The photography is excellent, and the commentary is well-informed, too. I was always aware of the vacant lots, junkyards, burned down and abandoned homes that are all over Detroit. Even downtown has gaping holes where buildings once were. But it wasn’t until last year at an MASLA conference that I realized that every other huge towering gorgeous building still standing right downtown is vacant and abandoned. Empty skyscrapers!

Another great site with more pictures including the demolition of the Hudson’s Building is here.

PittsburghLIVE.com – A call for

PittsburghLIVE.com – A call for jihad — special reports from the Pittsburgh Trib

The Pittsburgh Tribune published more than a half-dozen articles on jihadi activity in the Pittsburgh area. Each one is enough to be deeply troubling on its own. Read together, they are damning. I won’t quote from the pieces at length, but one article deserves special mention because it is about a group so close to my heart er, house: the Packard Street Lions of Islaaam, the Pittsfield Township Titans of Jihad, the Islamic Assembly of North America (iananet.org).

A militant religious message is spread worldwide from this city outside Detroit by a group of Islamists with connections to Pittsburgh.

and God Knows Best.

Thx again to HN for the link

Dr. Jihad and the Intellectual

Dr. Jihad and the Intellectual Muslim Guerillas

Jeremiah McAuliffe had the coolest name in all of Rock Music, hands down. I’d learn to play an instrument if I could be an Intellectual Muslim Guerilla. Sadly, after September 11, McAuliffe retired the band. But he’s still making music, and his IMG collection is still available. Check out Hey Neo-Salafi!

Hey! Hey!heyHey! Neo-Salafi!
the past meets the present in a conflict of ways
mass delusion fosters puritanical ways
the orthodox joy in retreat and unknown
tunnel vision substitutes for singing that song

big oil fuels the dispersal of “grace”
harsh look judgment call no smile on the face…

Can I get a takbir? Allahu Akbar!

Thanks to H.N. for the link.

The Big Move

The Big Move

Time is moving quickly. The exact date is constantly morphing, but March is a late as it could be, and it could be as early as December. Suddenly, dozens of tasks are popping up. Everything from the hugely obvious (finishing that thesis) to the easily overlooked (laminate those birth certificates) are now time critical.

So many things are nearly impossible to make educated decisions about: is it more economical to buy consumer good X here and have it shipped, or save the freight and buy it there? How much does a nice queen sized bed cost in Kota Samarahan, anyway?

One thing is for sure: I’ll be driving a Proton! Other vehicles are on the market, but the tariffs are skyhigh. It’s the right thing to do anyway. Here I am, a foreigner coming to work over there as a guest. What would it look like to drive a Buick? I’ve been assured by friends that nobody would think twice about my choice of a ride, but I’m not so sure. I’m from Detroit after all. I may drive a Honda with impunity through Flint, but I’m white. If I was a Japanese on a work visa, I’d sure as hell drive a chevy.

Not that I approve of auto patriotism here in the states. It’s more or less meaningless these days. (Malaysia’s a bit different: the Proton is a state industry, at least for the time being.) Over here, we’ve gone from the Big Three to the Big Two And A Half, at best. John Deere tractors have Mitsubishi parts.

[!]

Yes! John Deere! I couldn’t believe it either. Your apple pies are probably baked with New Zealand apples, too. The Traderists have already won, I think the saying goes. But I’m not complaining. If it’s a global economy, with global capital and global companies, I might as well be a global citizen. December. Or maybe March.

Do you enjoy staring out

Do you enjoy staring out the window during your commute or while on vacation? Chances are pretty good you are gazing on land that is managed by state, county or city road departments. How they choose to manage that land directly influences what kind of experience you have on your commute. I remember as a kid growing up in Southeast Michigan staring out at the trees along the freeway and imagining what vast expanse of forest we were traveling through. The fact is that the strips of woods I was staring at were precisely that: strips, probably no more than the hundred feet or so it takes to block vision through the trees. If you enjoy the woodsy feel of the drive up 23/75 to the Mackinac Bridge, you are being taken in by the same illusion. By and large, the woods you see extend no further than the right-of-way. But that’s not a bad thing. Your enjoyment is real, and the woods serve an ecological function, humble as it may be. My point is that those trees are there only by the grace of the governing road department, who have decided to manage those areas according to the principles of Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management.

Now, if all it takes is a slender strip of land and fairly hands-off management to create that enjoyment and impart that illusion, why not bring that into the city? If you’ve driven the Southfield or the Lodge this summer, or any summer for that matter, you have probably seen the dead grass, the eroded slopes, the blowing dust, the lawnmower ruts, the stunted trees that come from trying to maintain an english lawn on a 1:4 slope in the middle of a sea of concrete and asphalt. (‘d like to provide a picture here, but I don’t want to get run over. Maybe the next traffic jam I sit in.) In fact, this is starting to happen. Check out I-75 north and south of the 696 interchange. Isn’t that nice? Typically, if the slope reaches the shoulder, they’ll mow a courtesy strip and let the upper slope naturalize. The only reason you don’t see more of it, I’m sure, is because the departments are afraid of bad reactions from the public. So give them a call or send an email and tell them what you like.

More from OpenDemocracy.net

More from OpenDemocracy.net

Planting has become an intensely political act. Palestinians are continuously planting olive groves to secure ownership of land not built on; Israel does the same, but with faster-growing pine trees. These kinds of trees became undeclared symbols of the two national groups’ ownership claims. In both cases planting is replaced by construction when the time allows for it.

The choice of trees is interesting. Perhaps the Palestinians are so close to the bone that they cannot afford to plant something that bears no food, even in strategic circumstances, whereas the Israeli “bedroom colonies” have no such constraint. There must be some kind of squatter’s law in effect to make this necessary, whereby if the land is not serving some use it can be legally taken over by squatters after a time.