By John Ruberry

Last week the 50th anniversary of the five-day long Detroit Riot passed. Or uprising or rebellion, depending on who you speak with.

I’m going with the first one, riot. It started after midnight on July 23, 1967 in the city’s Virginia Park neighborhood when an illegal bar, known locally as a “blind pig,” was raided by Detroit police officers. After arresting 85 patrons who had gathered to celebrate the return of two soldiers from Vietnam, the cops were confronted by 200 more people who threw rocks and bottles at them. The police left and crowd started smashing windows and looting stores.

Which is why I’m calling it a riot.

Rosa Parks Boulevard and Clairmount in 2015

It took 17,000 people, a mixture of Detroit and state police officers, federal and national guard troops, and firefighters to quell the riot. Over 2,000 buildings were destroyed and 43 people were killed. Only the 1863 New York City Draft Riot and the 1992 Los Angeles Riot were worse among domestic urban disturbances. Many of the buildings that were laid waste were never rebuilt, and 12th and Clairmount–now Rosa Parks Boulevard and Clairmount–was like most of the rest of Detroit when I visited in 2015, forsaken and quiet.

Sure, there were solid reasons for black Detroiters to be angry 50 Julys ago. Police brutality was rampant in the Motor City, and as had thousands of blacks migrated there from the Deep South for automobile industry jobs, many whites made that northern trek too. And the latter brought their prejudices with them. Yes, many blacks had good-paying jobs with the Big Three but often they were clustered, make that segregated, into the less desirable segments of the assembly line, the sweltering foundries or the fumous paint rooms. After World War II urban renewal and expressway building came to Detroit, as it did in other major cities, but African-American neighborhoods were usually targeted for these “improvements,” which caused blacks to sardonically label these programs “negro removal.”

What the 1871 Chicago Fire was to that city, or the 1906 earthquake was to San Francisco, the ’67 riot was to Detroit. It’s a historical demarcation line. Only Chicago and San Francisco successfully rebuilt and emerged as better and more livable cities afterwards. After 1967 white flight accelerated in Detroit–and thousands of businesses followed. Jobs too. Crime soared. In 1960 Detroit had over 1.6 million residents–now there are fewer than 700,000 Detroiters.

Blogger at Detroit’s abandoned Packard plant

“The riot was the seminal moment in Detroit’s history, the point from which nothing would be the same,” the Detroit News’ Nolen Finley wrote eight days ago.

Riot or rebellion? If it was the last one, I know who lost. Detroit did.

But bankruptcy–and the confession of defeat–like an alcoholic finally admitting addiction–offers Detroit a chance to turn things around. When I stood on the corner of Clairmount and Rosa Parks two summers ago, there was no attestion of the historical significance of the site. But last Sunday a Michigan historical marker, “Detroit July 1967,” was dedicated there.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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Chicago’s South Side

By John Ruberry

I’ve been saying that Chicago will be the next Detroit for years, and on Thursday, syndicated talk radio show host–and former Tea Party congressman–Joe Walsh, was making the same prediction on his program.

Walsh was discussing a just-released pension study which the Chicago Sun-Times reported on.

Standard & Poor’s surveyed pension obligations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, San Antonio, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Dallas, Houston, Columbus, Indianapolis and Austin.

Chicago performed the worst across the board — registering the highest annual debt, pension post-employment benefits costs as a percentage of governmental expenditures and the highest debt and pension liability per capita.

And there is more:

The report noted that the “median weighted pension funded ratio of 70 percent” for the 15 cities “underlies a wide range of positions with Chicago only 23 percent funded across all plans and Indianapolis the most well-funded at 98 percent.”

Chicago’s pension burden is $12,400 per person–more than double that of New York City and it has the lowest bond rating of those 15 surveyed cities. The S&P report says that in 2015 Chicago “only made 52 percent of its annual legally required pension contribution.”

If you are looking for more bad news you came to the right place. More than five times as many people live in New York and Los Angeles combined–but there were more murders in Chicago last year than the total in both of those cities. As for Chicago’s population, it’s at a 100-year-low. Leading the exodus are middle class blacks.

CPS school on the West Side that closed in 2013

Chicago’s jobs program for people with education degrees, better known as Chicago Public Schools, has been cited by other middle class ex-Chicagoans, including your humble blogger, for decades as the main reason they abandoned the city. CPS bonds are rated as junk. Lack of money may lead to the last thirteen days of the school year being cancelled–and the CTU may add a fourteenth with a one-day strike in May to protest that early shutdown. Yep, I don’t get it either.

CPS officials have been battling the union for years to force teachers to pay more into their own pension funds. Yeah, they can afford it–of teachers in the largest school districts, CPS teachers rank in the top three in pay. But hey, the union members probably are thinking, “Why should we pay more when we have so many taxpayers who can foot the bill?”

But that’s the mindset that got Chicago into its mess. Oh that, and public-sector unions contributing heavily into the campaign funds of Democratic politicians.

Critics of my Chicago-is-the-next-Detroit hypothesis point out that large corporations have been moving their corporate headquarters into Chicago of late, the most prominent examples are ConAgra relocating its HQ from Omaha to Chicago and McDonald’s, which will move back to the city after four decades in suburbia. But no one can say how many of these corporate big shots will live in Chicago.

Two years ago Chicagoans were slugged with the largest property tax increase in the city’s history to pay for, yes, unfunded pension liabilities. Last year Chicago water and sewer taxes were hiked. Remember what what I wrote earlier, Chicago’s pensions are only 23-percent funded. Does anyone think that there aren’t additional massive tax increases in Chicago’s future? And when the producing segment of Chicago is even more depleted–chased out, that is–how will Chicago pay for street repair, schools, and snow removal–as well as adequate police and fire protection?

The Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled that public-worker pensions cannot be reduced.

Blogger in downtown Chicago

Here’s what I base my Chicago dystopia projection on. Defenders of the status quo place blind faith into their hope that Chicago can somehow hang on until enough pensioners die, which probably won’t be until the middle of the century. They offer no credible solutions. Nothing. They’re as delusional as Gerald O’Hara meticulously counting out his Confederate bonds in Gone With The Wind–“All we have left”–after General Robert E. Lee surrendered.

There’s a way out–changing state law so municipalities and government agencies can declare bankruptcy, which is something Bruce Rauner, Illinois’ reform governor, favors. But the Democrats and the public-sector unions will never agree to that.

John Ruberry, who moved from Chicago to the suburbs in 1999, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Southwest Detroit
Abandoned home in Southwest Detroit

By John Ruberry

Yesterday Donald Trump continued his outreach to black and inner city voters by speaking at Great Faith Ministries in Detroit’s Barton-McFarland neighborhood. Even on the Motor City’s low standards this is an especially depressed part of the city, three years ago the area just east of Barton-McFarland was named the most dangerous neighborhood in the United States.

Rather than focusing on over fifty years of Democratic failure in the Motor City–Detroit has not had a Republican mayor since 1963, Trump uncharacteristically took a modest tone at Great Faith.

“But today I just want to let you know that I am here to listen to you, and I’ve been doing that and we had a fantastic interview with Bishop [Wayne T.] Jackson.” Trump said from the pulpit. “It was really an amazing interview. He’s better than the people who do that professionally. It’s true, it’s true. He’s better.”

“Our nation is divided. We talk past each other and not to each other.” Trump continued. “And those who seek office do not do enough to step into the community and learn what is going on. They don’t know — they have no clue. I’m here today to learn, so that we can together remedy injustice in any form, and so that we can also remedy economics so that the African-American community can benefit economically through jobs and income and so many other different ways.”

When is the last time Hillary Clinton, in one of her increasingly infrequently public campaign appearances, said she was there to learn?

Trump decried the sidelining so many African America youths with “unfulfilled potential…tremendous potential,” adding, “Our whole country loses out when we’re unable to harness the brilliance and the energy of these folks.”

When Trump was finished speaking he received a standing ovation.Trump Pence

Donald Trump will not win a majority of the black vote in 2016. He won’t even come close. But unlike recent Republican nominees, the political newcomer is campaigning outside of his party’s comfort zone. As a political newcomer, Trump doesn’t reflexively subdivide Americans into different voting blocs. There is too much this-is-a-black-problem-in-the-ghetto type of thinking in this country. What’s wrong in the inner city is an American problem.

Trump gets it.

Related post:

I walked its streets–the tragedy of Detroit

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Trump lawn signBy John Ruberry

The mainstream media, which of course is no fan of the Republican Party and its nominee Donald Trump, in what must have been an act of collusion, almost immediately dismissed what I thought was an A- acceptance address as a “dark speech.”

Oh, why just an A- from me? I thought Trump’s speech as a bit long, and that he should have used the safety part of the speech at 11:00PM Eastern/10:00PM Central when non-politicized viewers, many of whom only vote in presidential year elections, would be tuning in searching for the local evening news.

Trump did something in last week’s speech that the MSM, and many Republicans, including this one, have been calling on the GOP to do for decades: make an appeal to urban voters.

Democrats run nearly all of America’s largest cities. Some, such as Detroit and Chicago, haven’t had Republican mayors in the lifetimes of most of the people reading this post. However, the turnaround of one city, New York, was achieved only because of the doggedness of one determined man, Republican Rudy Giuliani, who was the mayor of America’s largest city from 1994-2001. NYC was viewed as ungovernable prior to the arrival of the “Mayor of America” at Gracie Mansion.

Burned out Detroit
Southwest Detroit

Maybe only New Yorkers understand. Manhattanite Trump does.

From his acceptance speech:

This administration has failed America’s inner cities. It’s failed them on education. It’s failed them on jobs. It’s failed them on crime. It’s failed them at every level.

When I am president, I will work to ensure that all of our kids are treated equally, and protected equally.

Every action I take, I will ask myself: does this make life better for young Americans in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Ferguson who have as much of a right to live out their dreams as any other child America?

Brilliant stuff.

Rand Paul, who like his father is generally the Republican that leftist media know-it-alls hate the least, received wide-spread praise for making a campaign stop on Chicago’s South Side last year. But such plaudits were easy because Paul was not the Republican nominee and Trump is. It’s circle-the-wagons time for the dishonest media, because the general election is now only a few months away.

Burned-out three story frame
Chicago’s South Side

Despite Trump’s reach-out to urban voters, he will not win a majority of the black vote. He won’t receive even fifteen percent of it. Trump will not win Illinois or Maryland’s electoral votes. But Trump spoke like a leader, not a candidate, as he accepted the Republican nomination for president.

The GOP political newcomer may be able to peel off enough black votes to become the first Republican presidential candidate to win Michigan since 1988.

I believe, maybe it’s just a hope of mine, that a majority of Americans are looking for a leader, not a partisan hack to steer us through troubled times.

As for the cities, we’ve tried it the Democratic Party way for over fifty years. Detroit is an urban ruin. Chicago and Baltimore are headed that way.

Trump wants to heal the rot.

And Trump, yes, really wants to Make America Great Again. All of it.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. He regularly ventures into inner-city Chicago for blogging material and has traveled to Detroit.

Grixdale
Grixdale

By John Ruberry

Type “Detroit revival” or “Detroit comeback” into your Google search box and you’ll collect a lot of hits and discover glowing yarns about the turnaround of what was once one of America’s greatest cities. Here’s one from Forbes just last week. There is even a Pure Michigan TV commercial about Detroit.

But as John Adams once famously wrote, “Facts are stubborn things.”

Yes, there is a Detroit bounceback underway but it is centered in downtown and the neighborhoods that border it. That’s it.

Then there are the facts.

The fiscal year for Detroit Public Schools ends on June 30. On July 1 there is no money for summer school or physical upkeep, unless the state rushes in for a rescue. Such a rescue should not be confused with a proposed $720 million one that will deal with DPS’ long-term debt.

Adding an exclamation point to the problems of DPS last week was a former school principal who pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks from an allegedly crooked supplier. A dozen other DPS officials, most of them former principals, have also been charged with collecting kickbacks.

Abandoned Detroit school
Abandoned Detroit school

When I visited Detroit last summer I ventured into the neighborhoods outside of its downtown ring. Places like Grixdale. This is a typical 21st century Grixdale block that in 1950 that had twenty homes each with wage earners with fat wallets: Two occupied homes, two abandoned homes, the rest are rubbished filled vacant lots with coarse weeds.

Detroit has some millstones that will impede its recovery. Its commercial property tax rates are the highest in the nation and city services are substandard. Detroiters are burdened with a municipal income tax and possible future Detroit residents who want to dip their toe in the Motor City water by taking a job in the city are subject to a commuter tax. And Detroit is still a very violent city.

Just last week a study was released that discovered that Detroit has the least storefront concentration of any big city.

Look for the Detroit comeback, such as it is, to proceed very slowly.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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Black Lives MatterBy John Ruberry

You very likely have heard about the Black Lives Matter movement, the hard-left screamers who regularly disrupt political gatherings and even attack people who proclaim “All Lives Matter.” One BLM leader called All Lives Matter a “new racial slur.”

A wrong turn into a dead end has been made from the sentiment of Martin Luther King, who proclaimed in 1963, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

But Black Lives Matter is a political movement.

Last Monday a black Chicago teen, Pierre Loury, who was carrying a gun, was shot to death by police on the West Side as he climbed a fence during a foot chase. BLM quickly mobilized a rally attended by 200 or 300 so protesters the following night

On Friday afternoon a few miles from the site of the Loury shooting, a one-year-old named Khloe was shot in the neck while she was sitting the back seat of the car by assailants in a moving vehicle. There was a small peace rally at the site of the shooting yesterday–but no Black Lives Matters activists were visible.

Four years ago Khloe’s sister was wounded by gunfire three blocks from Friday’s shooting at a lemonade stand she set up.

Also on Saturday a six-month old girl was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting in Detroit, which may have ties to an Easter Sunday deadly shooting of a 3-year-old girl.

Pastor Ray Anderson, an African-American, was one of the organizers of a Detroit anti-violence rally held shortly after that murder. He said there, “I think that right now it’s a clear call for our community to really be outraged at the violence and the murder,” adding, “We talk about ‘black lives matter’ — and we get in an uproar when it’s white on black or law enforcement…but this is something: Probably 95 percent of the violence is black on black.”

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

True, very true.

Of course BLM activists care about the murders of babies, but because there is no political angle to these heartless crimes, they ignore them.

Perhaps they should rename their group Only Certain Black Lives Matter.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

South Loop Downtown
Chicago’s downtown

By John Ruberry

Two unwelcome pieces of bad news punched Chicago in the face last week. A state pension reform law for two municipal pension plans was unanimously ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Also last week came news that the Chicago metropolitan area saw the biggest population drop of the nation’s metro regions. Chicago proper gained a miserly 82 new residents, just enough to fill two CTA buses.

Last year, as part of a rescue for two other city worker pension plans, Mayor Rahm Emanuel  signed into law the largest property tax hike in city history.

Chicago’s bonds are rated as junk, as are those of the Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools.

On New Year’s Day Cook County, where Chicago is, raised its portion of the local sales tax to pay for–you guessed it–underfunded county worker pensions.

Illinois’ worker pension funds are the worst funded of the 50 states.

CTA bus
Half of Chicago’s new 2015 residents are on this bus!

This debacle, to use former Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s ham-headed attempt to rename terrorist attacks, is a man-caused disaster, the root of which is public-sector unions contributing millions to politicians, mostly Democrats, who lavished these pension benefits on government employees, even though they knew that they were unaffordable.

Chicago has many other problems. Los Angeles and New York have more people but Chicago topped them in murders last year. Many Chicagoans, because of the Laquan McDonald fatal shooting by a Chicago police officer, are extremely distrustful of law enforcement.

McDonald was failed by Chicago’s schools and the state’s social services agencies.

On Friday members of the Chicago Teachers Union will stage an illegal one-day walk out. They want a big pay raise in their next contract. Chicago Public Schools’ financial situation is so dire that Illinois’ reform governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, favors changing state law so CPS can declare bankruptcy. CPS’ pension fund is a sinkhole too.

Why stop with CPS when it comes to bankruptcy?

Abandoned West Side apartments
Abandoned West Side apartments

As for those schools, in 2012 about 80 percent of CPS 8th graders weren’t proficient at grade level in math and reading, despite most schools having “academy” or some other fancy moniker in their names.

Outside of a beautiful downtown and a picturesque lakefront, clearly there aren’t too many reasons for people to choose to live in Chicago–or stay there. Most of the people moving in are foreigners–naive people who haven’t heard the bad news yet about the city. If you really enjoy the lakefront and the Loop, well, you can always vacation there. Just don’t venture too far away from the city’s center.

Chicago only has bad options to work its way out of its mess. Another historically large property tax is one possibility. One 2015 mayoral candidate suggested a commuter tax as a revenue source. Ask Detroit how its commuter tax is working out. The hardened leftist who runs the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis, suggests a municipal income tax as a city cure.

Detroit has one of those too.

Better options are amending the Illinois constitution to make pension reform easier or, as I touched on earlier, changing state law so governmental bodies can declare bankruptcy.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Chicago needs to move quickly or it risks becoming America’s next Detroit.

Or perhaps it’s already too late.

Related post:

I walked its streets–the tragedy of Detroit.

John Ruberry, a lifelong Chicago area resident, blogs regularly at Marathon Pundit

Packard
Packard plant, Detroit

By John Ruberry

Two months after I returned from my urban exploration trip to Detroit David Maraniss’ Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story was published.

For me the timing couldn’t have been better, As I drove west to my home in the Chicago area I mused, “What in the hell went wrong with Detroit?”

Maraniss, who was born in Detroit, is the author of biographies of Bill Clinton, Vince Lombardi, and Barack Obama. More on the Obama book later.

After seeing Chrysler’s two-minute long Super Bowl commercial for the 200c that featured the Motor City that aired five years ago, Maraniss wondered the same thing I did and decided to write a Detroit book.

Rather than focusing on the deadly 1967 riots that hastened white flight and the exit of thousands of businesses, Maraniss zooms in on a period where Detroit seemed poised to join New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles as an American Great City: the fall of 1962 through the spring of 1964. Detroit’s Big Three were building cars than ever. The city’s long unfulfilled goal of hosting the Summer Olympics finally seemed within reach. Liberal Democrat Jerome Cavanaugh, Detroit’s version of John F. Kennedy, was forward-thinking on civil rights, as was Michigan’s Republican governor, George Romney. Motown Records was enjoying its first taste of national exposure–with greater glory yet to come. The Reverend C.L. Franklin, father of Aretha Franklin, organized a Civil Rights march led by Martin Luther King; and MLK was warmly greeted at the airport by Cavanaugh’s pick for police commissioner, another liberal, George Clifton Edwards, Jr. The president of the United Auto Workers, Walter Reuther, was a prominent supporter of civil rights too.

Downtown Detroit from inside the abandoned Fisher Body 21 plant
Downtown Detroit from inside the abandoned Fisher Body 21 plant

The foundation seemed solid for what was then American’s fifth-most populous city. But there were noticeable cracks. Shortly before the International Olympic Committee vote on its choice for host city of the 1968 summer games, an open housing bill in the Detroit Common Council was overwhelmingly defeated, which led supporters of that bill to appeal to IOC members to deny Detroit the games. Local black nationalist Albert Cleage was gaining support and Malcom X spoke at a Detroit church where he condemned King’s call for non-violence in his Message to the Grass Roots address, where the few whites in the audience were forced to sit in their own section. Edwards’ push to pivot the Detroit Police Department away from its racist legacy was meeting resistance from rank-and-file cops and the DPD brass.

Interestingly, Maraniss intersperses excerpts from letters from white racists to Cavanaugh and Romney several times in Once in a Great City. He also includes a quote from  Rush Limbaugh II about where he lived “prided itself that it never allowed a Negro to live in it and no Negro lived there permanently.”

What the heck does Rush Limbaugh’s father have to do with Detroit? Nothing. However, in his Obama biography Maraniss points out many inconsistencies–or should I say lies?–within the future president’s Dreams from My Father memoir. Rather than being happy about the unexpected publicity about the book from the conservative radio host and others, Maraniss responded in anger to those attacks on a president that he supports. Which explains the author’s end-around attack on the younger Limbaugh. Such pettiness has no place in a serious book.

Michigan Bungalows in Grixdale Farms
Michigan Bungalows in Grixdale Farms

Something else happened in 1962 in Detroit that would hasten its demise, which Maraniss mentions only twice. Three months before the timeline of this book begins, Detroit’s municipal and commuter income taxes went into effect. Those are good reasons not to live or work in such a place.

Near the end of the book President Lyndon B. Johnson, after departing from Air Force One in Detroit on his way to the University of Michigan to give what became known as his Great Society Speech, offered remarks that seem comical today. “Prosperity in America must begin here in Detroit,” he told cheering crowds brought in for the occasion. “You folks in Detroit put American citizens on wheels, you have the American economy on the move. Unemployment in Detroit is down, profits are up, wages are good, and there is no problem too tough or too challenging for us to solve.”

But for LBJ Big Government was the solution to every problem. The Model Cities program, which Cavanaugh bought into big-time, was perhaps one of the biggest debacles of the Great Society.

Despite its flaws I heartily recommend this book. Because another city–Chicago perhaps, which also recently bid on an Olympics–may be the next Detroit.

Or perhaps your city is next.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Lake Huron
Lake Huron

By John Ruberry

The Flint crisis–dangerous levels of lead have been found in its drinking water–is a travesty, but one that the left is using to advance its agenda.

Background: Two years ago after telling the the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in a cost-cutting move that it would stop buying its Lake Huron water by 2017 when a new Huron pipeline project would be completed, Detroit ended its agreement with Flint, which compelled the impoverished city to turn to the Flint River for its water. But somehow Flint authorities made a colossal and possibly deadly mistake by not adding an anti-corrosive that costs $150-a-day into the water supply. That toxic error allowed lead from old pipes to get into the drinking water and yes, into the bodies of Flint residents. Had that additive been used, the expert who uncovered the Flint debacle says the lead crisis never would have occurred.

Rather than uncovering what went wrong and finding out who was responsible, the left is looking beyond the Flint water crisis to intensify a long-running political battle. Businesses and governments from all over the nation are shipping bottled water to Flint. Liberal bomb-thrower Michael Moore isn’t interested. The self-described Flint native–he actually grew up in a wealthy neighboring suburb–lists his demands for Flint which include the arrest and removal from office of Rick Snyder, Michigan’s Republican governor.

Flint and Detroit Public Schools are under control of an emergency manager because of longtime corruption and malfeasance perpetuated by its so-called public servants. Until recently so was the city of Detroit. Not coincidentally these government entities are cash honey holes for Democratic bureaucrats, which is why the left hates the emergency manager law. Snyder appoints Michigan’s emergency managers. Get it?

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

If you don’t, then read last week’s Washington Post column by leftist Dana Milbank. He blames the entire Flint travesty on Snyder and he of course sub-divides his finger-pointing on the emergency manager law.

Was Snyder–who should not be entirely blameless–the one the decision not to spend $150 on anti-corrosives? He almost certainly was not. Do Moore and Milbank care who it was? No, they would rather attack a Republican and push their idealogy.

A Students for a Democratic Society radical once mused, “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.”

Some things never change.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Abandoned Detroit high school
Abandoned Detroit high school

By John Ruberry

Last week five public schools in Detroit were closed due to sick-outs, that is, these for-the-kids educators called in sick when they weren’t, likely by the direction of the Detroit Federation of Teachers.

This is a strike in everything but name, and teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan. And no one it seems, except for Detroit News reporter Ingrid Jacques, to be angry about these phone-in walk outs. Why aren’t the parents up in arms?

Detroit Public Schools, a nest of malfeasance for decades, are currently being run by a state emergency manager. Next month DPS faces a balloon debt millstone–after which its debt obligations may exceed its benefits and payroll expenses. Bankruptcy may be coming soon to DPS.

You can cancel the “Detroit is Back!” party, although President Obama will be in the Motor City for North American International Auto Show and will undoubtedly hail the resurgence of Detroit.

Monday, according the Guardian, the teacher sick-out may spread to forty schools.

Will the “sick” teachers be punished? Will their union be cited for organizing an illegal strike? Will Detroit parents finally get angry? The parents should already be angry because for the fourth straight year Detroit’s elementary schools ranked last in reading and math scores among big cities.

Pick your cliché: Do you prefer “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic?” Or is it “Fiddling while Rome burns?”

Let me conclude about Detroit’s so-called resurgence since the city emerged from bankruptcy in 2014. Yes, there are construction and rehab projects under way, mostly downtown, in Midtown, and in New Center. Yes, some hipsters have moved into those areas as well as Corktown. But eventually some of them will start families. The prospect of sending their children to a DPS school–along with the burden of a municipal income tax, will likely send those hipsters packing.

UPDATE January 11: 58 schools are closed today because of the latest sick-out.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.