The Landline sofa

A few days ago, I put out word through various channels that we were looking for a beautiful, mid-century modern sofa, preferably teal in color, for the front lobby of Landline Creative Labs, hoping that someone might come forward with something breathtakingly beautiful. Well, that didn’t happen.

So, for the time being, this will be our main sofa. It was acquired this afternoon about an hour north of Ypsi from the owners of an isolated house, at the end of a long dirt road, decorated exclusively in animal skulls and driftwood. At some point, if the opportunity should present itself, we may trade up, or have it reupholstered. In the meantime, though, this is it.

Let this be a warning to all you would be developers… Maybe sure you leave enough in your budget to afford furniture.

I should note, lest anyone be too afraid, that we are having it steam cleaned.

Posted in 209 Pearl, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Michigan Congressman Dave Trott, booed off stage at a Michigan town hall, goes on the offensive, painting his constituents un-American

Republican Congressman Dave Trott, of Michigan’s 11th district, who, by the way, got rich foreclosing on the homes of Michiganders, has taken a lot of heat lately for refusing to meet with his constituents. Well, this past Saturday, Trott finally agreed to come out of hiding and meet with voters in Novi, and I think it’s safe to say that things didn’t go well. While several hundred people were turned away from the venue by security guards, those who did make it though the gauntlet let the Congressman know how they felt about everything from Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare, to his support of anti-public education crusader Betsy DeVos. And it really didn’t look good for the Congressman. Fortunately, though, a Republican strategist, who was on hand to assist Trott, had a brilliant idea. Instead of waiting for the press to run videos of the Congressman standing at the podium, being yelled at by constituents who are about to lose their access to healthcare, this strategist, who was picked up on a hot mic just after the event, suggested that they be proactive, and send an isolated clip from the town hall meeting out to conservative media organizations in hopes of establishing a different narrative. Here, with more on what happened, is a clip from the Washington Post.

On Saturday, Rep. Dave Trott (R-Mich.) had just wrapped up a boisterous town hall meeting in Novi, northwest of Detroit, and he was headed backstage — where a member of his team brainstormed an angle for the news media.

After Trott defended the Trump administration’s budget increase for defense funding, paid for by cuts to discretionary spending, he was booed in a politically potent way.

“We’re going to take that part where they’re booing funding the military, and I’m gonna get somebody to write a story, and we’re going to promote the s— out of that,” Republican strategist Stu Sandler could be heard saying on a video recorded by local TV station WDIV and uploaded by the district’s local branch of the Indivisible project…

And that’s exactly what happened. Sander got the right wing press to focus on what he referred to as the “un-American” sentiment of those who had come out to confront their Congressman. The following video is from Monday morning’s episode of Fox and Friends. The show’s co-host, Ainsley Earhardt, introduced the segment by saying, “Another congressman booed at a town hall — this time, for supporting our troops.”

“Well, I think several hundred people in that room don’t support the military, but I think it’s important,” Trott said after Earhardt showed the clip.

And, as you might imagine, that’s not exactly sitting well with Trott’s constituents, who don’t see themselves as being “un-American” malcontents for asking about health insurance and public education.

Mark Barbieri, a constituent of Trott’s who attended the town hall to share his diabetic son’s experience under Obamacare, had the following to say when asked about the Congressman’s comments on Fox. “Calling an entire crowd of concerned citizens ‘un-American’ is no way for an elected official to treat their constituents,” he said. “I am literally fighting for my son’s life, and to be called ‘un-American’ is beyond the pale.”

And, for what it’s worth, several in the audience have come forward to say that they weren’t booing the fact that Trott voted to increase pay for our men and women in uniform, but the fact that the Congressman was hiding behind the military pay raise to justify cuts to services they depend on.

Here’s video of Sandler behind the scenes, strategizing as to how they might spin this in their favor.

Oh, in related news, I heard from someone today who knows people that went to high school with Representative Trott that he absolutely hated it when he classmates referred to him as “Little Davy Trott,” so, if he ever has another town hall, you now know what to put on your sign.

Posted in Michigan, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Landline Creative Labs in Metromode

A few weeks ago, in an kind of oblique way, I referenced the debarking of a 400-pound slab of black walnut. Well, here, thanks to the good folks at Metromode, is a photo of me standing next to the aforementioned piece of wood in what will eventually be the Landline Creative Labs conference room at 209 Pearl Street… Here, if you’d like to read it, is a link to the article, which is all about the resurgence of communities along the Michigan Avenue corridor, like Ypsilanti. I’d like to say more, but I just got back from the building, where, for the past three hours, I’ve been putting polyurethane down on the floors, which wouldn’t have been too bad, had my sweat not somehow activated the cat urine which was apparently hiding in my t-shirt, just waiting to be released, like a genie in a bottle. So I’m going to go boil myself in the tub now, and then collapse into bed… But, before I go, I’d like to thank Metromode for taking the time. It’s nice to know that people care about what we’re doing at 209 Pearl and see it as being somehow connected with the good things happening along historic US 12.

Posted in 209 Pearl, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Today in Treason… Representative Adam Schiff lays out the evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians, and FBI Director Comey confirms that an active investigation is underway

I wouldn’t say there were any real bombshells today, as FBI Director James Comey and NSA head Michael Rogers testified before the members of the House Intelligence Committee about Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election, but it was nice to hear both men say definitively that Trump essentially lied when he said that his phones had been tapped by the Obama administration, and confirm that, yes, there was still an ongoing investigation into what role, if any, the Trump campaign had in coordinating the illegal activities of the Russians in the run up to the election. [Comey, when asked, said that they the FBI was still looking into “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts (to put Trump in office).”] And it was good to hear Democrats on the Committee, like Adam Schiff of California, and Jim Himes of Connecticut, asking substantive questions about the FBI investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia, which, as we learned during Comey’s testimony, started back in July 2016. [The Republicans on the Committee seemed content to focus on who within the Bureau had made this information public.] As I suspect you’ve already read a good deal of coverage about what was said by Comey and Rogers today, I won’t share a lot of what they said under oath. I do, however, want to share this clip from Congressman Schiff’s opening statement, which does a pretty good job of laying out the evidence we already have of collusion between the Trump campaign and Putin’s government. [The entire transcript can be found here.]

…Let me give you a short preview of what I expect you’ll be asked by our members. Whether the Russian active measures campaign began as nothing more than an attempt to gather intelligence or was always intended to be more than that, we do not know and is one of the questions we hope to answer. But we do know this; the months of July and August 2016 appear to have been pivotal.

It was at this time the Russians began using the information they had stolen to help Donald Trump and harm Hillary Clinton. And so the question is, why? What was happening in July, August of last year and were U.S. persons involved? Here are some of the matters drawn from public sources alone since that is all we can discuss in this setting that concern us and we believe should concern all Americans.

In early July, Carter Page, someone candidate Trump identified as one of his national security advisors, travels to Moscow on a trip approved by the Trump campaign. While in Moscow, he gives a speech critical of the United States and other western countries for what he believes is a hypocritical focus on democratization and efforts to fight corruption.

According to Christopher Steele, a British — a former British intelligence officer, who is reportedly held in high regard by U.S. intelligence, Russian sources tell him that Page has also had a secret meeting with Igor Sechin, CEO of the Russian gas giant, Rosneft. Sechin is reported to be a former KGB agent and close friend of Putin’s.

According to Steele’s Russian sources, Page is offered brokerage fees ob a deal involving a 19 percent share of the company. According to Reuters, the sale of a 19.5 percent share of Rosneft later takes place with unknown purchasers and unknown brokerage fees. Also, according to Steele’s Russian sources, the campaign has offered documents damaging to Hillary Clinton which the Russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deniability, like WikiLeaks.

The hacked documents would be in exchange for a Trump administration policy that de-emphasizes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and instead focuses on criticizing NATO countries for not paying their fair share. Policies which even as recently as the President’s meeting last week with Angela Merkel have now presently come to pass. In the middle of July, Paul Manafort, the — the Trump campaign manager and someone who was a long on the payroll of Pro Russian- Ukrainian interests attends the Russian — the Republican Party Convention. Carter Page, back from Moscow, also attends the convention. According to Steele, it was Manafort who chose Page to serve as a go-between for the Trump campaign and Russian interests.

Ambassador Kislyak, who presides over a Russian Embassy in which diplomatic personnel would later be expelled as likely spies, also attends the Republican Party Convention and meets with Carter Page, and additional Trump advisors J.D. Gordon and Walid Phares. It was J.D. Gordon who approved Page’s trip to Moscow.

Ambassador Kislyac also meets with Trump national campaign chair, National Security Campaign Chair and now attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Sessions would later deny meeting with Russian officials during his Senate confirmation hearing. Just prior to the convention, the Republican Party platform is changed, removing a section that supports the provision of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine, an action that would be contrary to Russian interests.

Manafort categorically denies involvement by the Trump campaign and altering the platform, but the Republican Party delegate who offered the language in support of providing defensive weapons to Ukraine states it was removed at the insistence of the Trump campaign. Later, J.D. Gordon admits opposing the inclusion of the provision of the time it was being debated and prior to its being removed.

Later in July and after the convention, the first stolen emails detrimental to Hillary Clinton appear on WikiLeaks. A hacker who goes by the moniker, Guccifer 2.0, claims responsibility for hacking the DNC and giving the documents to WikiLeaks. A leading private cyber security firms including Crowdstrike, Mandiant and ThreatConnect review the evidence of the hack and conclude with high certainty that it was the work of APT 28 and APT 29 who are known to be Russian intelligence services.

The U.S. intelligence committee also later confirms that the documents were in fact stolen by Russian intelligence and Guccifer 2.0 acted as a front. Also in late July, candidate Trump praises WikiLeaks, says he loves them and openly appeals to the Russians to hack his opponents emails telling them that they will be richly rewarded by the press.

On August 8th, Roger Stone, a long time Trump political advisor and self-proclaimed political dirty trickster, boasts in his speech that he has communicated with Assange and that more documents would be coming, including an October surprise. In the middle of August, he also communicates with the Russian cut out Guccifer 2.0 and authors a Breitbart piece denying Guccifer’s links to Russian intelligence.

Then later, in August, Stone does something truly remarkable. When he predicts that John Podesta’s personal emails will soon be published, trust me he says, it will soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel, #crookedHillary. In the weeks that follow, Stone shows remarkable prescience. I have total confidence that WikiLeaks and my hero, Julian Assange will educate the American people soon, he says, #LockHerUp. Payload coming, he predicts, and two days later it does.

WikiLeaks releases its first batch of Podesta emails. The release of John Podesta’s emails would then continue on a daily basis, up until the election. On Election Day in November, Donald Trump wins. Donald Trump appoints one of his high-profile surrogates, Michael Flynn, to be his national security advisor. Michael Flynn has been paid by the Kremlin’s propaganda outfit RT in the past, as well as another Russian entity.

In December, Michael Flynn has a secret conversation with Ambassador Kislyak, about sanctions imposed by President Obama on Russia over attacking designed to help the Trump campaign. Michael Flynn lies about the secret conversation. The vice president unknowingly then assures the country that no — no such conversation ever happened. The president is informed that Flynn has lied and Pence has misled the country. The president does nothing.

Two weeks later, the press reveals that Flynn has lied and the president is forced to fire Mr. Flynn. The president then praises the man who lied, Mr. Flynn, and castigates the press for exposing the lie.

Now, is it possible that the removal of the Ukraine provision from the GOP platform was a coincidence? Is it a coincidence that Jeff Sessions failed to tell the Senate about his meetings with a Russian ambassador, not only at the convention, but a more private meeting in his office and at a time when the U.S. election was under attack by the Russians?

Is it a coincidence that Michael Flynn would lie about a conversation he had with the same Russian Ambassador Kislyak, about the most pressing issue facing both countries at the time they spoke, the U.S. imposition of sanctions over Russian hacking of our election designed to help Donald Trump? Is it a coincidence that the Russian gas company, Rosneft, sold a 19 percent share after former British intelligence officer Steele was told by Russian sources that Carter Page was offered fees on a deal of just that size?

Is it a coincidence that Steele’s Russian sources also affirmed that Russian had stolen documents hurtful to Secretary Clinton that it would utilize in exchange for Pro Russian policies that would later come to pass? Is it a coincidence that Roger Stone predicted that John Podesta would be a victim of a Russian hack and have his private emails published and did so even before Mr. Podesta himself, was fully aware that his private emails would be exposed?

Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? Yes, it is possible. But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated and that the Russians use the same techniques to corrupt U.S. persons that they employed in Europe and elsewhere. We simply don’t know, not yet. And we owe it to the country to find out…

Here’s the video:

Regardless of where this leads, one hopes, for the good of our country, our elected officials don’t stop digging.

I wonder if maybe there might be an opportunity set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for the investigation. Maybe, if I can stay awake a little longer, I’ll write Congressman Schiff and ask. I suspect I’m not alone when I say that I’d like to make sure our representatives have the resources to see this through to the end.

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Alt Right racist propaganda found in EMU library

According to what I’m reading on social media this morning, this card was found yesterday at Eastern Michigan University’s Halle Library. It was, I’ve been told, left on a sign next to an elevator. I suspect some will say that not much meaning can be drawn from it, as it could just be the work of a single individual on a campus of over 20,000, but, given the climate of the United States post-Trump, and the recent incidents of racist graffiti on EMU’s campus, one hopes the administration is taking it seriously, and active measures are being taken to ensure that this insidious ideology doesn’t gain a foothold campus.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments


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