It is hard to find the words to describe all that has transpired in 2016. I have so much to say, but where shall I begin? In many ways, for me and my family, 2016 brought many new accomplishments and blessings, but as we exit the year, I feel an enormous sense of foreboding and concern. I’ll have more to say about that later, in a different post.
I admire my friends who have written eloquent essays and family updates at the end of each year. I can’t match what they have done, so I’ve decided to share some pictures and just a few words to capture some of the highlights of my life in 2016. If you were connected to any of these happenings in any way, I thank you for sharing the journey. Here we go…
I found out the hard way that EBay is facilitating the theft of items people post for sale on their site.
I just had an experience with EBay that I find extremely discouraging, and the result is that I will no longer be posting any items for sale on EBay. EBay’s “Money Back Guarantee program” protects unscrupulous, scam “buyers” by returning their money even if they falsely claim that they received a damaged item, or even that they didn’t receive the item. The seller is left holding the bag, or in my own case, holding a bogus piece of junk. Something must be done to address this outrageous situation, before many, many more occasional EBay sellers are scammed. In the meantime, my recommendation is that you do not post anything for sale on EBay that you are not willing to give away!
When I was writing my recent article “Flint’s Water Problems are the Symptom, not the Disease” I ran across this LA Times op-ed piece by Andrew Highsmith, a U-M grad who now teaches history at UC Irvine. I found it interesting because Andrew views the Flint crisis from an objective historical perspective, and cites specific government policies that led to the city’s demise. Andrew has also written a book, “Demolition Means Progress,” which details how the urban renewal campaigns carried out in Flint resulted in a more divided and impoverished city.
See the article summary below, and click on the link to view the entire article on the LA Times web site.
In the fall of 1966, African American activists from the impoverished North End of Flint, Michigan, turned out en masse for a series of hearings on racial inequality sponsored by the state’s Civil Rights Commission. One of those who testified, Ailene Butler, drew links between the segregationist policies that had created the North End and the corporate practices that had immiserated its inhabitants.
Article in Belt Magazine – Dispatches from the Rust Belt
These past few months, the news has been full of stories about the water contamination in Flint, Michigan. As a native of the city with family and friends who still live there, this story has been particularly painful. The reality of the situation, however, is that even if Fiji water flowed from Flint faucets, the residents there would still be suffering from decades of neglect and disinvestment. My recent article, published in Belt (as in “Rust Belt”) Magazine, chronicles Flint’s decline in personal terms, and describes what must be done to reestablish Flint to what it once was – a model city.
To read the article in Belt Magazine, click on the link below.
2015 was a year of anniversaries – some happy, some sad, some bittersweet. As each anniversary came and went this year, I made a mental note, but didn’t otherwise recognize it. Doing so distracted me from the flow of daily events, and besides that, it made me feel old. However, sitting here on the eve of the eve of a new year, I feel like collecting and recognizing these anniversaries. If you were a part of any of them, you know how special they were. Continue reading →
The University of Michigan College of Engineering is searching for a new Dean. The second and final term of the current dean, David Munson, ends next June, and the search for his successor is well underway. I am serving on the search committee, and we’ve received a lot of input from people in and around the College. As an alumni community search committee member, I’m interested in hearing as broad a range of opinions about the attributes the new dean should have. What do you think the priorities for the next dean should be? What attributes would you most like to see in the selected candidate? You can let me know by posting a comment here, or by sending me a private e-mail. In any case, I’d appreciate hearing from you.
This Sunday, July 12, I have the honor of being the Festival Speaker at Christ the King church in Flint, Michigan. Always great to go back home and see so many long-standing friends. Thanks to Father Phil Schmitter for the invitation. I’m still settling on my topic . The problem is that there are so dang many to choose from! If you’re in the Flint area this Sunday, come on over — we’ll have a good time. When? Immediately after 9:45 am service.
Monday morning, May 18, 2015, day 12 of my cross-country journey. Time to see something I’ve wanted to see for a long time, the Hoover Dam (a.k.a. Boulder Dam). After much less than a one-day stay, it’s time to leave the delightful Boulder City hotel. First though, I’ve got to get some breakfast and check out the Boulder Dam museum right here in the hotel. Continue reading →
I spent the better part of the weekend with my friend Allen Thompson (a.k.a. Alley Cat) and his family. On Saturday morning, I accompanied Allen and his son Durell to the Men’s Prayer Breakfast at his church, New Directions. It was good to be among the fellowship of men, both young and old, who were taking part, Unfortunately, we got to the event a little late, so only slim breakfast pickings remained. No problem, still lots of barbecue left at Allen’s house!
Me and Alley Cat, at the Thompson Estate, Rancho Cucamonga.
I enjoyed the brief stay in San Luis Obispo. I could envision living there, teaching at Cal Poly SLO, making the occasional trip to LA and SF, frequent visits to nearby Central Coast wineries. Now that would be the life!
My home for the night in SLO – not fancy, but not expensive, either.