Democrats

Imagine what these kids could do with a broom and some yard tools?

The circus never ends.

This weekend instead of doing something (anything) fun, entertaining and constructive over the weekend (we had an Air Show at Selfridge celebrating its 100th Anniversary, the Armada Fair, the Woodward Cruise and many others events here in Southeastern Michigan), a group of adolescent protestors with obviously way too much free time on their hands decided to go after their 15-minutes of fame and emulate their fellow Antifa comrades in Downtown Detroit.

And who did this bunch of rabble-rousers target its ire at?

{the comedy continues after the fold}

You Betcha! (8)Nuh Uh.(0)

Crony Capitalism: Not Just For Companies And Politicians!

'Scandal Free' Obama Administration AG Eric Holder Spiked Criminal Charges Against UAW VP General Holiefield Sometime In 2014.

Detroit is atwitter over the criminal indictments that dropped on 26 July against former FCA (Chrysler) labor negotiator Alphons Iacobelli, UAW VP General Holiefield’s widow, Monica Morgan, and FCA financial analyst Jerome Durden. They looted the the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center (NTC) and bought a lot of bling with the proceeds, which were laundered through a charity called Leave the Light On Foundation created by General Holiefield.  Criminal use of bogus charities is a whole story in itself best left to another day.

Prior to this little imbroglio, General R. Holiefield and his wife Monica Morgan are fondly remembered for a ‘gun cleaning accident’ on 30 December 2013. In light of last week’s indictments, that event is now probably subject to some reinterpretation.

Were they battling over ill-gotten lucre?

You Betcha! (14)Nuh Uh.(0)

Fox Conned

Go Big, Or Go Home

Just as Governor Snyder signed the SB 242 – 244 ‘Good Jobs’ subsidy package yesterday, Foxconn announced that they accepted Wisconsin’s insane subsidies. The new Foxconn industrial campus will be built in the Badger State, not Michigan. The Foxconn competition, however, was the bait used to stampede the Michigan Legislature into passing the ‘Good Jobs’ package much sought by Michigan’s government and business establishments.

Wisconsin is going to lavish $ 3 billion in subsidies on Foxconn for somewhere between 3,000 and 13,000 new jobs. That works out to somewhere between $ 1 million and $ 230,769 in subsidies per job. Amortized over a 10 year period, the state of Wisconsin will be paying somewhere between $ 48.00 and $ 11.09 per labor-hour of every Foxconn worker’s wages using taxes extracted from other less fortunate Wisconsin workers. Subtract these per labor-hour subsidies from the headline wages touted for the future Foxconn workers and their ‘Good Jobs’ don’t look quite so good. Gussied up minimum wage jobs at best, wage theft at worst.

The little pig gets to feed at the trough, the hog gets taken to market and slaughtered.

You Betcha! (17)Nuh Uh.(1)

The Aftermath of Riots

Detroit's Decline And Bankruptcy Were Indeed Due To Its Riots - Plural!

Apologists for the 1967 Detroit rioters and the feeble responses of Mayor Cavanagh and Governor Romney to that mayhem usually start off by noting that Detroit’s population and economy peaked in the early 1950’s. The implication being that the 1967 riots were just another incident in the long running, preordained decline of Detroit. Detroit’s population did peak in the early 1950’s, but its economy continued to grow right up to the 1967 riots due to productivity increases. And Detroit’s economic decline was not preordained, it was very much the consequence of both of its two major 20th Century riots.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) also studied the aftermath of the 1960’s riots in urban America, specifically their effects upon African-American economic well being. Two key NBER Working Papers examine the effects of the 1960’s riots on African-American income, employment, and real estate holdings. Unsurprisingly, these NBER Working Papers found the effects were decisively negative. Surprisingly, these NBER Working Papers found the adverse economic effects actually accelerated over time, with the worst hits coming well into the following decade.

The deceit in the apologists’ chronology of the decline of Detroit is their failure to mention or consider the June 1943 race riot in Detroit. The 1943 Detroit riot was unequivocally a race riot and its deaths and injuries were on a scale quite comparable to the 1967 Detroit riots. During the 1943 Detroit riots, 34 people were killed and 433 were wounded. Property destruction was then estimated at $ 2 million ($28.3 million in 2017 US dollars), but this estimate is probably quite low due to lower casualty insurance coverage rates at that time. By comparison, 43 people were killed and 1,189 were wounded during the 1967 Detroit riots. Property destruction in the 1967 riots is disputed, but was somewhere around $ 50 million ($ 366.7 million in 2017 US dollars).

The different ratios of deaths and injuries to property damage in the two 20th Century Detroit riots also reflects the fundamental difference in their basic character. The 1943 riot was most certainly a race riot whose participants targeted people, but not much property. The 1967 Detroit riots were an all out economic attack on small businesses, but 1967 rioters did not target people to any particular degree.

Prior to the 1967 Detroit riots, the 1943 Detroit race riot was tied with the 1965 Watts riot for the second worst American riot death toll during the 20th Century, and probably tied with Watts for the third worst American riot death toll of all time. The 1943 Detroit race riot had only been surpassed in death toll during the 20th Century by the 1921 Tulsa race riot at the time of the 1967 Detroit riots. The 1943 Detroit race riot has not been studied by academia or covered by the media in much detail because it exposed New Deal incompetence and reflected very poorly on the American war effort underway at the time.

The 1943 race riot certainly did affect the thinking of Detroit residents and Detroit’s economic actors well into the 1950’s. Most of them lived through those 1943 race riots and were intimately familiar with the the racial tensions it revealed, even if they were not much publicized. You need to consider the causality issue underlying the decline of Detroit’s population during the 1950’s.

Were the factors usually cited for Detroit’s population decline in the 1950’s sui generis, or a response to the 1943 riots?

You Betcha! (13)Nuh Uh.(0)

Why Riot?

What causes a riot in urban America?

The news media, social scientists, and political scientists are eager to offer up the usual stale left wing bromides on urban riots, but at best those bromides are based upon a lot of anecdotes rather than hard data. The plural of anecdote is not data. The disingenuousness of their bromides arises from the clash of facts with their committed leftist politics.  Economists were far less political, at least 25 years ago.

A pair of economists working under the aegis of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) applied linear regression computation modeling to various community statistics from a broad range of cities to determine which underlying issues cause riots and, further, to determine their intensity. Their results are a real eye opener and run contrary to the drivel being peddled by the media and academics on this 50th anniversary of the Detroit riots.

The National Bureau of Economic Research is a private nonprofit research organization which distributes its work product to financial officials and the public around the world. NBER is best known as the official arbiter of the start and end dates of economic recessions in the United States, a not uncontroversial subject. Its economists have run the gamut from the good (Milton Friedman, Wassily Leontief), to the bad (Austan Goolsbee), to the ugly (Paul Krugman). As a fun side note, it is comforting to know that an economists’ organization as august as NBER can lose money on their financial portfolio. No crony capitalists there!

The NBER divides its research into 20 programs; one of which is ‘Labor Studies’. Denise DiPasquale and Edward L. Glaeser produced NBER Working Paper 5456, The L.A. Riot and the Economics of Urban Unrest on behalf of the NBER Labor Studies Program. This paper was written after the Los Angeles riots of 1992, but its research reaches back into the 1960’s and across the world to construct its data base.

The DiPasquale/Glaeser study has two major components: a cross-national study which covers urban rioting around the world (including the U.S.), and a cross-city study which covers urban rioting across just the U.S. They assembled data sets on a large number of cities which included dependent variables representing the frequency of riots and the intensity of riots, along with many independent variables suggested by previous studies as being responsible for the frequency and intensity of those riots – poverty, unemployment, ethnic composition, and so on.

You Betcha! (13)Nuh Uh.(0)

Riot, Insurrection, Rebellion, or Uprising?

A Cure Always Requires a Correct Diagnosis

All Americans alive in 1967, of all races, called Detroit’s five day long spasm of violence, arson, and looting in July 1967 a riot. Some labeled it a race riot, others just a riot. Not for long. Within a year, government and media were plying the public with a long list of racial grievances said to be responsible and an even longer list of expensive liberal programs which promised to cure them.

The Detroit riots were deceitfully recast as an insurrection, rebellion, or an uprising to drive those liberal programs, but ultimately this revisionism just glamorized base criminality, Fifty years later, billions have been doled out in Detroit through those liberal programs and Detroit is in even worse shape by every metric.

Let’s start with some definitions from Merriam-Webster:

Definition of riot

  1. archaic a : profligate behavior : debauchery b : unrestrained revelry c : noise, uproar, or disturbance made by revelers
  2. a : public violence, tumult, or disorder b : a violent public disorder; specifically : a tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons assembled together and acting with a common intent
  3. a random or disorderly profusion the woods were a riot of color
  4. one that is wildly amusing the new comedy is a riot

Definition of insurrection

  1. an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government

Definition of rebellion

  1. opposition to one in authority or dominance
  2. a : open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government b : an instance of such defiance or resistance

Definition of uprising

  1. an act or instance of rising up; especially : a usually localized act of popular violence in defiance usually of an established government

Note that the definitions of insurrection, rebellion, and uprising all state that these events are a defiance of established government, while the definition riot does not.

Were the events in Detroit from 23 to 27 July 1967 a defiance of established government?

You Betcha! (14)Nuh Uh.(0)

Battles of the Lower Depths in Detroit

Davis et al v. Detroit Downtown Development Authority et al; U.S Eastern District of Michigan Case Number: 2:17-cv-11742

Eastern District of Michigan U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith ruled on June 19th that Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority can issue $34.5 million in bonds to pay for the relocation of the Detroit Pistons basketball team to the new Little Caesar’s Arena. The Judge’s ruling rejected arguments that the eventual use of school tax money to repay these tax increment finance bonds violates Detroit residents’ constitutional and statutory right to vote on a school tax money diversions.

Judge Goldsmith’s ruling denied Robert Davis‘ and D. Etta Wilcoxon’s motion for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order in their lawsuit against the Detroit Downtown Development Authority. The Judge said the plaintiffs did not establish the need for an emergency injunction. The Judge politely neglected to mention that Robert Davis was sentenced in the very same Eastern District U.S. District Court to an 18 month Club Fed vacation for stealing $ 200,000 from the Highland Park School District in 2014. Mr. Davis should still be on probation for this minor peccadillo.

One complication here is that the tax monies being diverted are not those of the current Detroit Community Public School District, but rather those of the legacy Detroit Public School District which was reduced to zombie status last year in the DPS bailout. Is the old DPS really a school district today, or just a financial entity? The Detroit Community Public School District is a near bankrupt ward of the State of Michigan that won’t receive any Detroit property tax revenues until the legacy DPS district debts are paid off. No one alive today will live to see that.

You Betcha! (13)Nuh Uh.(0)

Does Detroit need a lesson on the Fourth?

And no. I don’t mean that thing where we exercise out "right" to set off large quantities of fireworks next month.

Last weekend, I spent some time with some friends who now live out of town.

We did the “usual touristy” things like Greektown and the Casinos.

They wanted me to go with them to the Grand Prix, but I’m more of a NASCAR Guy than IndyCar.

Afterwards, I insisted on changing things up and that we go down to Lafayette to eat.

I told them that it was part of the “Authentic Detroit” dining experience and that sort of thing.

They had never been down there and after initially scarring the hell out of them (along with equally confusing them with how the food was ordered/delivered), they settled down a bit and we started to catch up on things. They began to comment on local stuff, basically regurgitating what people like Gov. Snyder, et al, were shoveling to the rest of the country about how things have turned around since the bankruptcy.

I laughed at their comments and replied to the effect that, “Yeah! They wish!”

“Look at all of this new stuff downtown? How can you argue that things aren’t better?”, they replied.

I told them that “Yes”, the Downtown Area has improved. Large amounts of government money tends to eventually do that. “Yes” places like the Riverfront have gotten nicer.

But then I added, the same cannot be said for the rest of the city.

They didn’t believe me.

They couldn’t accept the fact that everything was as bad as I told them it was.

I told them, “Fine, want to go on a little trip?”

They were a little apprehensious to say the least, but we loaded up into their car and we went happy motoring…away from the freeways.

I took them in places where even Crowder wouldn’t dare to venture!

We went up and down places like Jefferson, and then Warren and Mack where it didn’t take that long to notice the large swaths of bombed out/burned out neighborhoods (at least I think they were neighborhoods at one time), large piles of trash and abandoned/stolen vehicles (along with boats…yes boats) strewn about, pretty much every other building covered with graffiti, I told my now visibly scared “driver” that I wanted to stop at the next party store because I wanted to get something to drink.

Yes, I did that on purpose.

So, while we parked across the street and started walking towards the party store, I got bombarded with a ton of questions (besides is this really safe) like why that particular store had a chain-link fence around the roof topped with razor wire, why there were thick metal plate doors next to the entrance and why was there a flashing green light on the sign outside of the building. When we went inside, they did a double-take at the walkway surrounding most of the perimeter of the inside of the building separated by 1-inch thick Lexan.

I casually grabbed a 2-liter of Rock N’ Rye, they didn’t get anything (I cannot imagine why) and we went back to their car. I still had more to show them.

Continuing our “tour”, they still couldn’t get over the flashing strobe light on the sign.

“Oh that? That’s Green Light.”

And here is where out story turns to next…

{More after the fold}

You Betcha! (7)Nuh Uh.(2)

Setting the wrong priorities.

 

Some of the groups that I used to participate in when I had a little more free time, also involved some light maintenance and grounds keeping work. Those groups had an American Flag onsite and I would usually get chastised by other members (along with some neighbors) whenever I neglected to lower the flag to half-staff.

To Lansing’s credit, they eventually implemented a system in which they would notify anyone when the word came out to, which made this job a lot easier.

I’m no longer responsible for those duties, but still receive the messages and will pass the word along to those who are.

If anyone has been responsible for this, this has been, IMHO, overused over the past several years.

From my reading about it, it has gone from originally recognizing the passing former Presidents and major tragedies in our history (i.e. Pearl Harbor & 9/11) to literally anyone who catches the eye of the Governor while scanning the morning paper.

The last I’ve heard, there was talk of creating some specific criteria on when to order flags to half staff to honor significant events, but nothing has come of it yet.

Now here is where our story continues…

{More after the fold}

You Betcha! (7)Nuh Uh.(1)

Corruption or Incompetence?

Oakland Macomb Sewer Interceptor Costs Now At $ 335 Million And Climbing, Cue The Lawsuits

The City of Sterling Heights announced on their FakeBook page Monday that they have filed a lawsuit against Macomb County over their $ 22.2 million portion of the cost for reconstructing the collapsed Oakland Macomb sewer interceptor (OMI), as apportioned by the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District (MIDDD). Sterling Heights believes that the Macomb County Wastewater Disposal District (MCWDD) “did nothing to abate the conditions that likely caused the December [24th] 2016 collapse”. Sterling Heights believes their contract with the MCWDD covers the operation and maintenance of the OMI interceptor.  This may be a little tricky to prove, since the OMI is actually run by the Oakland Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District (OMIDDD), an entity independent of and superior to the MCWDD.

Sterling Heights’ contention is that proper maintenance on the OMI by the MCWDD would have prevented its collapse. Maybe. The OMIDDD has already spent $ 170 million on rehabilitation of the OMI since they bought it in 2009. Supposedly the entire 21 mile length was examined and rehabilitated. That rehabilitation effort ended just months before its December 2016 collapse. That collapse suggests that the OMIDDD rehabilitation didn’t do much good. Anyone care to speculate why? Your choices are corruption or incompetence, or both.

This is now a Michigan wide story because our state government will be providing at least $ 5 million of the $ 75 million repair costs for the December OMI collapse. The much debated $ 3 million legislative grant and another $ 2 million from MDEQ.  That $ 75 million is just the current estimate, for the currently acknowledged deterioration of the OMI. Given the Granholm Administration’s role in suckering Oakland and Macomb counties into the OMI purchase, the State of Michigan probably has a lot more responsibility.

You Betcha! (10)Nuh Uh.(0)