Republicans

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.

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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?

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Ad Hoc Ad Interim

As badly as we need this done, do we care why he’s doing it, or even whether he gets the credit?

“If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.” (Winston Churchill, to his private secretary, Jock Colville, on June 21st, 1941, the evening before Operation Barbarossa)

Churchill was well known for being a consistent and vociferous opponent of communism, and had often spoken quite unfavorably about the Soviet Union, and particularly of Joseph Stalin (who was well-known even then as the brutal monster that honest history records). However, in seeking to stop the menace of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Churchill was willing to adopt an ad hoc “enemy of my enemy” approach, and initiated the Anglo-Soviet Agreement for joint action against Germany.

Given much of the recent hullabaloo regarding a badly-needed grassroots initiative having been likely co-opted, by a moderate opportunist apparently seeking a means to advance his political ambitions, and given that I have personally stood directly in the path of those ambitions at least twice in the past seven years, what I’m about to say is going to sound exceedingly strange, but I’m going to say it anyway.

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Calley’s Next Big Announcement!

What will the next over-hyped roll out of critical information be???

So Brian Calley has not yet come out and said if he was running for Governor ..US Senate ..Muffin man.

He used the build up, the excitement, the hype! ..To announce a legislative effort.  The May 30 announcement at the Detroit Crony Club’s Mackinac Leadership conference brought us news that The conservative boy wonder wants to spearhead efforts for a part time legislature.

Mackinac Island — Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is spearheading a petition drive and potential 2018 ballot proposal to make the Michigan legislature part-time and cut legislator pay, the Portland Republican announced Tuesday.”

Ballot proposal hmm?

While the idea of a part time legislature is a great idea, it is not entirely original, it does not set him apart from ‘the pack’ as Schuette beat him to the punch, and the timing is hilarious.  Political opportunism on the back of good policy is a part of Calley’s past.  He used RTW promises to get a hand picked supreme court nominee (who lost) and now after a decade of service in Lansing, and NOW it’s apparently time to ‘pull the trigger’ on this ‘necessary‘ reform.

Classic.

The announcement however, left open the speculation of whether Calley would be pursuing higher office.  His website hints at yet another big news event, telling us to come back June 1st.  Obviously, Calley has a string of announcements planned all the way to the GOP leadership conference.  Keeping us in suspense will keep us engaged with (presumably) his next campaign bid!

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The Good, the Bad, & the Unattractive.

Bill Schuette begins the issues ramp up for 2018.

A partial ‘wish’ list by Bill Schuette in a recent editorial is a decent start to his gubernatorial bid.

Schuette, in preparation to take on a half dozen or more GOP contenders is capably using his AG pulpit to advance certain ideals that will probably be embraced by conservatives and GOP activists across Michigan.  Schuette, already enjoying a lead built on 30 or so years of campaigning for governor leaves little to question on 4(3?) key issues.  In today’s editorial on the Detroit News page:

First: Financial disclosure

Michigan is one of only three states that does not require disclosure of personal financial information by elected state officials. This common sense reform would provide new information to help prevent conflicts of interest in government decision-making.

We already require financial transparency from federal officials, so it is not a stretch to include state elected officials, from the governor’s office to the state legislature. I have both sponsored financial disclosure bills as a state legislator and complied with federal disclosure requirements while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. It is not that difficult.

Personally, I don’t care how much you are worth.

But there are tells in the way your investments are made.  Add to this the cronyist environment that takes taxpayer money and pipes it through political process toward certain ‘investments,’ and a sickening reality becomes clear.

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It’s About Time already

Michigan lawmakers look to plug the big gaping hole in government liability.

1997 was actually a good year for Michigan.

It could have been better however.  It was the year that Governor Engler signed off on pension plan changes for state employees, but not including the school retirement system. For those it did affect, It adjusted the way in which pensions are funded from defined outcomes at high risk for taxpayers, to defined contribution with real ownership to the recipients.

It also saved the state billions in the last 2 decades. 

The change to the Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System saved the state an estimated $2.3 billion to $4.3 billion in unfunded state employee pension liability from 1997 to 2010, according to the report, authored by public pension expert Rick Dreyfuss.

Seven years later we are still benefiting (no pun intended) from this change.

This 20 year anniversary could well produce the finishing touch and allow Michigan to move toward a predictable liability scenario for good.  School employees somehow remained outside of the course correction in 1997.  House Bill 4647 and Senate Bill 0401 being nearly identical, provide the mechanism for the fix to that problem that has been long overdue.

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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}

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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.

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Addicted.

Is it truly too late for American individualism?

What just happened should scare the hell out of us.

Healthcare has officially become an entitlement.   You have whole communities full of government junkies and melted away personal responsibility. Elected bureaucracy remains the pusher of socialized (welfare) medicine, and you cannot put enough locks on the safe to keep it out.

Preexisting conditions will remain a mandate on insurers. Even with added penalties for lapses in coverage going forward, accepting, and maintaining responsibility for oneself and one’s family has apparently been cemented as a function of government.

The most humble beginnings

It started simple enough decades ago, with the accepted forms of ‘insurance;’ Social security, Medicare, and for the emergency needs of poverty stricken folks, medicaid.  Soon, it was forcing insurance providers to include pregnancy protection for men, and autism support for parents who won’t stay at home with their own children.

Michigan in total, has added 655,635 to it’s medical welfare rolls as of last Monday.  This taxpayer funded boondoggle known as “Healthy Michigan” was enacted under a ‘Republican’ controlled legislature, and signed into law by a ‘Republican’ governor. And it is sufficiently generous.  The thought of taxpayers providing insurance welfare for those who are 33% above poverty thresholds is maddening.

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