September 25, 2005, 1:30 am
Expelled. A friend writes:
Do you have time to post something about that forum you just left? It
would be nice to have a little spot on your blog for others to mourn the
loss of your participation.
Clearly, the gods are fickle over there. I have wanted to phone the
powers that be many times over the years, but they live in some sort of
impenetrable bubble. If you find a penetration, send it to me--you have my
I will miss your wit and wisdom over there. I hope we can still get
together for the occasional luncheon -- you make me laugh, and I've seen
you laugh at me, too.
The reference is to the MLIVE Ann Arbor Town
Talk forum (sponsored by the Ann Arbor News), from which I
have apparently been expelled.
This is pretty baffling. I don't believe I ever did anything to
violate the Forum
Many users of that forum evade explusion by creating another ID and
wading back in until being expelled again. I did create a second ID
(Ephraim2), but just to let others know what had happened and to say
goodbye. I'm not interested in getting zapped again and again.
As I think about this, a perfectly reasonable explanation occurs to
Most people outside politics probably don't realize that the Ann
Arbor News has a policy against publishing any letters-to-the-editor
from elected officials. (Under rare circumstances they will publish an
"Other Voices" piece to allow a politician to respond to something
Perhaps this same policy also restricts the participation of known
political figures in the MLIVE forums.
In any case, I have plenty of other places to express myself online,
notably Arbor Update, Ann Arbor Is Overrated, and
Update. The goodbye message I posted on Mlive was deleted, so I
reposted it, and it was deleted again; I don't think I'll bother to try
Further Update. I received the following message:
From: Eric Braun
Subject: MLive.com forum
I saw the posting on annarborisoverrated.com that you had been booted
from our forums. I checked into this for you and it appears there was a
system-wide screw-up that booted, many, many people the other day ... as
my e-mail can attest to.
Anyway, they have no record of any block or hold on your account so it
should be free and clear now.
Our forums are actually moderated out of our New Jersey offices, so I
don't deal with them on a day to day basis.
I hope you continue to post on the forum and let me know if anything
else like this happens to your account.
It's odd that the "system-wide screw-up" lasted for days, and didn't
affect any of the other regular users of the Ann Arbor forum that I know
of. Nor have my deleted postings been restored — not that they need
to be at this point.
All snarkiness aside, I did sincerely thank Mr. Braun; and now that my
account has been restored, I will return to my semi-occasional
....Posted by Lawrence Kestenbaum —
September 9, 2005, 10:33 pm
Mandatory evacuation &mdash here? Japan Today reports
on the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, and makes a startling
reference to local geography:
But in a largely-deserted uptown neighborhood in Washtenaw county, where
county sheriffs wearing flak jackets and carrying assault rifles were
knocking on doors, officials said a forced evacuation was yet to begin.
I wonder what kind of translation error would substitute the name of
our Michigan county for some place a thousand miles south of here.
Especially given that Louisiana doesn't have counties or "county sheriffs"
Or maybe the Japanese reporter got on the wrong plane and ended up in
Ann Arbor instead of New Orleans? (Certainly I could have made the same
kind of error trying to find my way in Japan.) No wonder he didn't see
Update: Undoubtedly the Japanese reporter encountered the ten
Washtenaw County sheriff deputies who volunteered for Katrina work, and
assumed the geography from the agency name on their uniforms and
....Posted by Lawrence Kestenbaum —
September 6, 2005, 11:15 am
From the Clerk-Register. Today's message to my staff.
More hurricane aftermath. Help is starting to arrive in flooded
New Orleans, but southern Mississippi, which received the brunt of the
hurricane force winds, is still desperate, with houses flattened, roads
blocked by debris and fallen trees, emergency vehicles destroyed, food and
water running out, gasoline scarce.
A friend of mine in Jackson, Mississippi (she's a retired professor
from Mississippi State University in Starkville) was asked whether it
was the case that devastated areas in Mississippi are not attracting
attention and help. She replied:
IT HAS BEEN VERY MUCH THE CASE. The people in Mississippi
don't care about being on tv. The point isn't about the media.
Naturally the media would pay more attention to the drama of New Orleans.
But what people in Mississippi care about is that indeed it very much has
extended to the government. Not only did Pass Christian and Gulfport get
slower responses, not to mention the now-almost-non-existent Hancock
County, where at least as recently as yesterday somebody who made it there
and then back out to report said that the submerged police station at
Waveland had no communication equipment at all and was BEGGING for at
least one satellite phone, but people in the inland towns in south
Mississippi have been TOTALLY IGNORED. You ought to hear some of the
things the mayor of Hattiesburg has had to say on the subject. And
Hattiesburg now has a FEMA representative available -- after a mere week
of hunger and thirst. People in smaller towns are still without ANYTHING.
And people in rural areas are, well -- who cares -- there aren't enough of
them for it to matter. If any of them are still alive, they won't be much
longer, so what's the point in worrying about them.
Here in Michigan, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has offered to accept as many
as 10,000 refugees from the South. That sounds like a lot, but it's only
1% of the estimated one million made homeless by Katrina. And I heard this
morning that the Ingham County Board of Commissioners is considering a
small millage on November's ballot to help pay for support services for
the expected influx of refugees.
We will be hearing about this hurricane and its impact for a long
Our customers may be under stress as well. Though we haven't seen
actual refugees arrive here yet, people at our counters and in our offices
and courtrooms may have family or close friends who were directly affected
by the hurricane. Moreover, we will always have customers whose lives
have just been disrupted by more local, personal catastrophes, such as
house fires or automobile accidents. The key is to treat everyone with
courtesy and respect, even if (especially if) they seem distracted or
Individual meetings with staff members continue. I will send notices
to the people who I'd like to meet with this week. When the workload
permits, please arrange a half-hour with your supervisor and my schedule
(perhaps via Outlook) for a meeting in my office.
....Posted by Lawrence Kestenbaum.
- Anna, 9/26/2005: What does it mean to "accept
refugees"? Last I checked, anyone could move to Michigan any
time they wanted. Does it mean Michigan will "accept" them as
in provide food, shelter, and jobs?
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