Michigan Giving Away Magic Stones to Job Seekers

This is no joke, and comes straight from my “old work box.” That’s the box that sits in my home office with the stuff I collected over the years as an environmental newspaper reporter guy. In the box, deposited earlier this year or so, is a small plastic baggie that contains four magic rocks, or maybe you could call them shiny stones. These are (were) being given out by Michigan Works!, the state employment agency with an exclamation point.

Allow me to quote from the card inside: “Enjoy these special gypsy stones to improve motivation, stimulate wealth, and relieve stress.”

Gypsy stones? Don’t you need a permit for that?

It goes on: “We’re not psychic, but we’re pretty darn good at helping employers recruit, retain, and retool their workforce.”

On the other side of the card, there’s a fortune teller gazing over a crystal ball and the words “Is Success ‘In The Cards’ For Your Business?”

Inside the white ball is a subtle white Michigan Works! logo.

I thought government types didn’t have a crystal ball? The next time you hear someone say that, tell them to call Michigan Works! for help.

Anyway, enjoy my little observation. And let me know if these magic stones have (or haven’t) worked for you.

Michigan’s current unemployment rate is 13.1 percent.

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I Stumbled Upon the New Digg

Social media companies have been duking it out for my time and attention, which is fine with me. Using social media is like going to a cocktail party where you only have to talk to the people who interest you. It doesn’t hurt to look in on the ones that drive you mad, too.

Which brings me to my point: You’ve got to check out the new StumbleUpon app, if you have an iPhone or Android, and the new Digg, either way

My StumbleUpon profile is at stumbleupon.com/stumbler/KeffJ/

My new Diggs are at new.digg.com/jeffkart

Why is this important? What does it have to do with the environment? Everything. I Stumble and Digg lots of environmental stories, and am exposed to many more via my Stumble and Digg friends.

Sure, I have real, live friends, too. Which reminds me, I’ve got to go right now. I’m on my way to a real, live cocktail party.

Recycle This: Shut Down the U.S. Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service wants you to know about a new, cheery feature: More recycling opportunities at its offices. Uh huh. Since people go there so often. This stinks of an antiquated government agency grasping at straws to stay alive.

Every time I turn around they raise the prices of stamps. Hint: Because people don’t use the mail as much anymore. E-mail, social networking, cell phones, have replaced the need for shipping paper across long distances.

As CNN reports, the Postal Service projects a $7 billion deficit next fiscal year. Last year, the amount of mail sent declined 12.7%.

My point: We don’t need more recycling bins at post offices. We need fewer post offices, or no postal service at all. If the U.S. Postal Service wanted to help the environment, it would take more of its trucks off the road and keep less offices cooled, heated, electrified.

I don’t want to put people out of work, but I also don’t think it’s wise to keep funding this dying beast. I used to work at a newspaper, fer God sakes.

If I want to receive or send mail let me contract with a service like UPS or FedEx. They’re going to be in my neighborhood sooner or later anyway. Maybe not every day, but I can live with that.

Most mail I receive from the USPS is junk mail, which goes straight to the recycle bin. The important mail that I need to receive can in most cases be delivered electronically. If I must have the mail delivered in paper form, I can pay for it. I don’t have all the answers, but I tell you what, my pay-as-you-go mail bill would be very small.

Back to the press release:

“From Dallas to Detroit, Nome to San Juan, and 115 national parks, memorials and historical sites in between, recycling mail at Post Offices has just gotten more convenient. With more than 10,000 locations across the country, nearly 50 percent more than last year, it’s even easier to be green by recycling Post Office Box mail …

“‘Last year, the Postal Service recycled more than 220,000 tons of paper, plastics and other waste, which avoided more than 700,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions,’ said Deborah Giannoni-Jackson, vice president, Employee Resource Management. ‘Lobby recycling is an important part of the Postal Service’s conservation efforts, because it helps divert paper waste from landfills and helps our bottom line, making us greener and smarter.'”

It drags on from there.

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Great Lakes Syringes, Again (and Again)

This wouldn’t be so damn annoying if it weren’t so damn common. Great Lakes beach-goers are being warned to avoid … muck? No. E. coli bacteria? No, not this time. Syringes? Yes, syringes, from Milwaukee.

“The Department of Natural Resources and Environment has received recent
reports of syringes washing up on Lake Michigan-area beaches from Shelby to Arcadia,” officials said in a news release issued today. “It is suspected that the syringes are from a major combined sewer overflow that occurred in the Milwaukee area on July 25.”

July 25? Today is Aug. 12. Thanks for the quick notice.

“Wind and lake currents are suspected to have carried the syringes and other waste across the lake, resulting in the waste washing up on the Michigan shoreline. The U.S. Coast Guard has also been made aware of the incident and is investigating its source.”

Awesome. This isn’t the first time I’ve come across such a warning.

Check out this news release from April 2006, issued by then-Michigan Department of Environmental Quality:

“The return of warm weather means that people across Michigan will be headed back to our beaches and parks, and enjoying time on the water. With this increased outdoor activity, there are also increased hazards that can be encountered including finding used syringes in the water or on the shore.”

What? Who was investigating back then? The DEQ. More than four years ago.

“Improper disposal of multiple syringes may be related to illegal management of medical waste by a doctor or veterinarian’s office, a clinic, or a tattoo facility,” the release said.

Milwaukee also sent us some syringes in 2008, notes the Lansing State Journal.

So, here we are in August 2010, still warning people about syringes on Great Lakes beaches. I look forward to a release detailing penalties for depositing this garbage on our beaches, Milwaukee. Which is, according to Alice Cooper, Algonquin for “the good land.”

— Photo via LegalJuice

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