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Michigan Water Reminder

Today,  you might go to your cabinet, pull out a glass, and put it under the faucet. You expect clean and safe water to flow into your drinking glass.

When you sit down at a restaurant, and they bring you a glass of ice water while you look at the menu, you feel safe in drinking that water. In fact, you probably barely look at it.

Your feeling of safety stems from your belief that the city or the government is doing a good job in providing safe water to drink. Plus, water is free… and you are thirsty!

Unfortunately, our feeling of safety just received a nudge from Flint, Michigan. (Washington Post) The mayor of Flint, Michigan, has declared a state of emergency over the amount of lead in the city’s water supply. He takes the actions to apparently seek state and federal financial aid. Now, a lawsuit has also been filed by the citizens of Flint against the city, state and public officials over the water safety. (lawsuit copy)

The city began using the Flint River supply in April 2014, but has now and switched back to the Detroit water system as of Oct. 16. Why? Because of lead in the drinking water. They are now calling it a “manmade disaster”  that has affected residents and the children in the city. The percentage of Flint children with above-average lead levels in their bloodstream has statistically now almost doubled, since the city switched from the Detroit system to the river supply.

According to the World Health Organization, High levels of lead in a child’s bloodstream,  “ affects children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as shortening of attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment. Lead exposure also causes anemia, hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive organs. The neurological and behavioral effects of lead are believed to be irreversible.”

It’s serious and it’s unacceptable. This city has basically poisoned it’s children.

We think we can count on the government to provide clean water. Instead, they choose cost over safety. That’s why I stop and think before I start guzzling that glass of water that the waitress brings me. A true head-shaker. Not a fun topic for the blog.

And for pic o’ day… I am also not encouraging this drinking by dogs!!!!


The Rights of Roaches

I have stopped and started this blog a couple of times. I just don’t enjoy writing about roaches. Still, when Time magazine discusses cruelty to roaches, it cries out for a blog topic.

An Ann Arbor, Michigan company is selling a kit called RoboRoach for $99. The kit uses a remote control device to control a roach’s movements. Soon, the company indicates that you will be able to operate the kit with an app on a smartphone.  So far, I know that you are having a hard time believing this “army of roaches” story, but it is true!

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have asked the Michigan Attorney General to stop the sales of the product. They contend that this kit amounts to practicing veterinary medicine without a license. An attorney for the organization also adds that, ” It’s not okay to torutre and mutilate cockroaches”.

Now can you see why I finally gave in and wrote the blog? I’m still bothered that I would have to touch the cockroach to even use the device. I draw the line right there!

DID YOU KNOW that it is impossible to eat 6 saltine crackers in under a minute… without licking your lips! Some of these are historical; others just make you shake your head. Does this one tempt you to perform your own experiment?

And for pic o’ day, how about a “puzzler”?


Control in your Control

     Sports Illustrated’s  story on the Michigan/Ohio State football game on Saturday, included a life lesson reminder.

     It was the 109th football game between these two rivals. When new football coach Urban Meyer took the Ohio State coaching job this year, he knew that it would be difficult. Ohio State was on probation and could not participate in any bowl games or be considered in the college rankings for a national championship.(Bowl Championship Series) He also knew that it was his job to always “beat the team from the north”… Michigan.

     At halftime of Saturday’s game, Ohio State honored its only national championship team, the 2002 team. Coincidentally, that meant that in honoring that team, they were also honoring former coach Jim Tressel.  His actions and omissions are credited for the current team probation.

     The game result: Ohio State beat Michigan 26-21 and finished with a perfect 12-0 record. Because of probation, it is their last game this year. At halftime, Tressel had received a standing ovation for the 2002 season, Then, he was even hoisted on his former players’ shoulders.

     After the game, the current athletic director was asked whether he had ever seen someone receive a standing ovation where they might have been responsible for costing that team a possible chance at a current national championship. “I’ll let you talk about that”, was what AD Gene Smith told the reporter.

     When Coach Urban Meyer was asked about his thoughts on missing out on the championship and the standing ovation of Tressel he  replied, “Sure I’m going to wonder. But I think … the lesson I learned is that I’m not going to try and control what I can’t control”.

     In my practice, I see that lesson in effect. I just spoke to a client about a current settlement offer. He advised me to take the offer and said that he wasn’t going to look back at why it happened; he was going to settle his case and look forward.

     That also reminded me of the Prayer credited to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr that is now titled the “Serenity Prayer”. “Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

     And for pic o’ day, how about some relaxation!

Did You Miss This News?

     There are some places where you just shouldn’t get into a food fight. A Wendy’s Drive-thru is on that list. Here is the Yahoo report  about Michigan customers who were arrested, and charged with assault on Wendys’ employees. 

     It all started with four hungry people, probably craving a bacon and mushroom, sitting in one vehicle, at the Drive-thru. They claimed that their order was wrong. So far, no news there.  Then, they hurled drinks, hamburgers and fries at the employee standing at the window. The employee fired food, ketchup and fries back at the vehicle.

     The four then went inside and started hurling chairs and got in a fight with the employees. Two of the customers were charged with assault. The employees blamed the fight on a communication breakdown. No word on whether the song,  “Everybody was Kung Fu fighting” was playing over the intercom.

     Now, moving on to news 2 story, from the State of South Carolina. Imagine going to the animal shelter. You have talked your child out of a pony. (Do kids still want a pony) They now are excited about helping to rescue a homeless animal.

     The animal shelter employee walks you by the first row of cages and you see some cute dogs come up to the cage bars. Not wanting to be too hasty, you move to the next row where you hear the purring and meowing of the cats.  All of a sudden, you think you hear a strange scratching and a noise that sounds like a rooster. Is it your imagination?  No, you have wandered into the animal shelter in Greenville, South Carolina.

     On June 6, Greenville County Deputies broke up a cock fight, arrested 85 people and seized 145 roosters. All but 12 of the roosters were euthanized and those 12 are now being held at the animal shelter. I suspect that they will be evidence in the cockfighting trial. I don’t think that they are there waiting for public defenders, since they can’t afford attorneys.

     In cockfighting, spectators typically pay an admission and bet on the fights. The birds have spurs on their legs and they fight until the death. The owner(s) of the winning (living) birds keep a portion of the fees and bets. There are even referees who get paid for officiating.

     In South Carolina, you rarely see a story like this because there are few arrests. Law enforcement says that arrests are few because  “cockfighting groups” move around a lot, are secretive and stay in rural areas. Of course, the fact that the University of South Carolina is still known as the “Cocks”, named after the roosters in cockfighting, suggests to me that such fighting is still strangely acceptable. What if Furman decides to be called the Furman Fightin’ Pit Bulls? Would it be any different?

     To get an idea on how some in South Carolina have reacted to these arrests and this story,  you can click on the pasted article from Greenville Online. The comments range from, “They are wasting our tax dollars” to “Instead of killing those roosters, they should have returned them to their owners. At least they would have a good home”. Even better, “Why are they on these people. The stock market is gambling too.”  Hard to reason with that kind of thinking.  

     Some recent comments to the blog have asked me to take more specific positions in my posts. It’s true, I do like to stimulate thought rather than convince, but in this story, animal cruelty should not go unpunished. I hope that they make such conduct a felony in South Carolina. In addition, University of South Carolina should change their name. How about the USC Mountain Dews or the USC Spurriers (for the ole ball coach).

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