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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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.

Ford Field
Ford Field, site of the Quick Lane Bowl

By John Ruberry

One has to wonder if college football is headed to an every-participant-gets-a-ribbon level of competition. Not including the NCAA championship face-off, there will be a record 40 college bowl games this season, which means 63 percent of FBS programs will play in a bowl contest. And despite some of these teams fattening up against next-level-down teams in non-conference games, for instance Illinois clobbered Western Illinois 44-0, there aren’t enough teams with 6-6 records or better to fill all of these bowl slots.

Which means some 5-7 FBS teams–Illinois could be one of those squads–may still be graced with a bowl entry. At least two losers–and as many as five–will be bowl invitation winners. But another 5-7 Big 10 team, Nebraska, may have a leg up. The NCAA has a loser contingency plan–I’m sure they call it something more palatable–which rewards schools with the highest Academic Progress Rate. The Cornkuskers have the highest APR among the 5-7s.

Hey, studying finally counts for something in college sports! That’s an improvement. On the other hand, Nebraska’s fans are intensely loyal and even a Cornhusker team with a losing record makes them an attraction for a low-level bowl. Follow the money.

And what about the games themselves? Let’s take a look at Detroit’s Quick Lane Bowl, which will be played at Ford Field on December 28. It has tie-ins with the Big 10 and the Atlantic Coast Conference. But because there are not enough B1G or ACC bowl-eligible teams, Campus Insiders projects that another Big 10 loser, Minnesota. will face off against Central Michigan of the Mid American Conference. The Chippewas are 7-5–good for them.

NCAA football: Where you can be a winner and a loser at the same time.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

by baldilocks

Colorado also says no. Credit: NPR.org
Colorado also says no. Credit: NPR.org

At least half of the governors in the United States have refused to take the Syrian refugees and “refugees” or called for a halt to the resettlement which the federal government, meaning President Obama, is intent upon seeding in cities all around the nation. But, it appears that these governors have no legal leg on which to stand, since it is the US Congress that establishes “an uniform Rule of Naturalization” and, back in 1980, the Democratic Party-majority 96th Congress passed the Refugee Act, which, of course, was signed by Democrat President James E. Carter. (I would say something cutting about Democrats here, but I’m sure that the Act seemed like a good idea at the time. However, it is important to know which party did what.)

And of course, President Obama knew this going in, or at least his advisers did. So, in spite of state executive orders, like the one accomplished yesterday by Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA), the die is likely cast.

So what can we expect?

My friend, Everett Powell, says this:

The one thing the Feds can’t do is force the states to provide services and support for Obama’s refugee program – which by all accounts makes it EXTREMELY difficult for them to continue the resettlement.

I suspect what you will see done is vast numbers of people just being dumped at bus stops and train stations in the States resisting for the sake of creating images for a media campaign of people suffering sleeping in the streets. We are entering winter and there will be such a caterwauling out of the White House about cruel uncharitable Christians and GOP barbarians as the world has never seen.

That is certain, but there is something else to expect. If the mean, horrible Red and Reddish states (like Michigan) will not provide services for these people, they will migrate to those which will, like California and other states which are already overloaded with people on various forms of welfare. This will speed up the financial reckoning for these states–and for the country–something which is already in view.baldilocks

And even if there is not one terrorist among the new arrivals, this will bring chaos.

As was planned; as in Europe.

(Thanks to Jeff Bishop)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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Detroit city limit
8 Mile Road

By John Ruberry

I spent most of last week slowly driving–to avoid potholes–and walking the streets of Detroit. Yes, I took in some time downtown, but most of my travels were in the forsaken neighborhoods far from the casinos and the sports stadiums.

When Detroit celebrated its 250th anniversary in 1951–it enjoyed the highest standard of living of any city in the world. Its population was 1.8 million. Now there are barely 700,000 Detroiters. Motown is at the top or near the top of all American cities in poverty and crime rates.

What went wrong? Detroit’s apologists quickly name off what they believe are causes, such as the building of the interstate highway system and the resulting suburbanization, as well as the decline of the American automobile industry. Almost all northern industrial cities were impacted by the former but they managed, with varying levels of success, to claw back or at least stop the bleeding in the 1990s. But by 2000, Detroit became the first United States city that once exceeded 1 million residents to have fewer than that landmark figure.

Burned out Detroit
Burned-out home

As for the car business, Michigan doesn’t have a single foreign-owned automobile plant, unless you count Fiat-owned Chrysler. The states on Michigan’s southern border, Indiana and Ohio, together host five foreign-owned car factories. You can attribute Michigan’s absence from this late 20th century manufacturing shift to muscle from the United Auto Workers and compliant Democratic politicians.

As for the latter, from 1974 until 1994, Coleman Young, a onetime member of the Communist Party, was Detroit’s mayor. His acidic rhetoric convinced many of Detroit’s remaining white residents as well as many businesses to flee to the suburbs--where they were unable to escape Young’s demonizations. While no government funds were used to build the gorgeous but money-losing Renaissance Center, he was among its biggest cheerleaders. Young was a strong proponent of massive Stalin-esqe public works projects such the also beautiful People Mover trains downtown that was expensive to build and is expensive to maintain–and it doesn’t move very many people.

Packard MP
Author at Packard plant

In 2013 Detroit declared bankruptcy.

The neighborhoods outside Detroit are pathetic sights. Vacant lots and abandoned homes dominate most streets. Retail stores are non-existent. Even better districts such as Corktown and Boston-Edison have boarded-up homes on every block. Residents usually walk on the streets as opposed to sidewalks because the walkways are often in worse shape than the roads–and they are sometimes overwhelmed by vegetation.

Outside of the world’s largest abandoned factory, the Packard plant, a man pulled up in his old Pontiac Grand Am and told me, “I hope you’re a publicist. Because the world needs to know how bad it is in Detroit beyond Packard. All the schools in this neighborhood are closed.”

I promised that I would tell the world–and I’m a man of my word.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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By John Ruberry

Online commentators, particularly those on blogs, are known for their vitriol and sometimes cursory devotion to the truth.

But the accumulation of comments on a since-pulled online version of an article from a free weekly newspaper and a blog have led to the indictment on child molestation charges of a 94 year-old retired suburban Chicago physical education teacher and former Boy Scout leader, William Bricker, who now resides in northern Michigan.

The unraveling of his reputation began in 2005 when the Glen Arbor Sun of Grand Traverse County Michigan published a hagiographic human interest piece on Bricker, which included his recollections of combat in World War II and his summers as a counselor at a Wyoming summer camp near Grand Teton National Park, titled Old Cowboy, New Tricks: Lessons from Bill Bricker’s Adventurous Life. Comments, some vaguely accusatory, some supportive of Bricker, began appearing on the Sun’s website. But after the arrest of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky for numerous molestation and rapes in 2011, the comments became more numerous and nastier.

Judy Linklater, who writes Mrs. Linklater’s Guide to the Universe blog, had her suspicions about Bricker, took the lead on the story–although the establishment media has mostly ignored her efforts–after the Sun yanked the article from its website in 2012. Her half-brothers had noticed Bricker’s odd behavior. The gym teacher’s overly affectionate actions around children, both male and female, for years had raised eyebrows in Winnetka, Illinois, where Bricker taught and where Linklater was raised.

Accusations of Bricker’s inappropriate contact with students at Hubbards Wood Elementary School, where he was employed as a teacher and then a substitute for over 40 years, go back to the 1950s and school officials were aware of them in 1968.

Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park

But the statute of limitations in Illinois on such crimes prevents charges against Bricker in Illinois, but that is not the case in Wyoming. Bricker was arrested in September–he’s accused of molesting boys at the Wyoming summer camp in 1962 and 1985. The 1992 Winnetka Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year, who now breathes with the aid of oxygen tanks, is fighting extradition to Wyoming.

Linklater did more than blog, she reached out to the alleged victims and she has been the lead reporter on the Bricker story–she’s a true journalist.

Other than their status as alleged victims of Bricker, there is a common link they share. Each thought they were alone–only they were reportedly harmed by him. They weren’t–when these emotionally-scarred individuals typed “Winnetka” and “Bricker” into an internet search box they discovered others who also have repulsive memories of the Old Cowboy.

UPDATE January 11, 2015: AP is reporting that Bricker died in Michigan two days ago.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

DetroitBy John Ruberry

Over the last few days there have been several protests, many of them attended out-of-towners, by leftist groups, such as National Nurses United, against the shut off of water to delinquent waters by city-owned Detroit Water and Sewerage.

Last July of course Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. Decades of mismanagment by liberal mayors, especially race-baiter Coleman Young, who I believe was the worst mayor in American history, transformed what was the once the wealthiest large city in America into the poorest.

About half of Detroit Water and Sewerage’s 170,000 residential accounts are delinquent. Poverty plays into this problem, but only partly, as the left-leaning Detroit Free Press points out:

Water department officials say the collection efforts are necessary because the department has a glut of bad debt caused by nonpaying customers. They say many Detroit customers can afford to pay the bills but have become accustomed to putting off or ignoring the bills without fear of shutoff.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

That’s the heart of this issue. Two generations of paternalistic progressive government has fostered the belief in America’s former Motor City that no matter what, the water will flow.

And that message resonates among Detroit’s better-off Detroiters, such as steelworker Eric Williams.

Again from the Free Press:

“We owe $300. I’ve got that right now. I can pay that now,” said Williams. “$300? That’s not enough to shut off my water. This is water. You don’t do nothing without water.”

Water department spokeswoman Garner, who was at the site because she was accompanying media, explained that city records showed a shutoff notice was sent to the house.

“You’re not struggling. You just got off work. You said you could pay it right now,” Garner told Williams. And she said the water department is trying to stress to homeowners that unpaid bills can’t languish indefinitely, as once was the case. Williams ended up paying the bill online, and his water was later restored.

It’s not so easy for other Detroit residents, who are unable to to turn on the faucet for a drink of tap water, shower, or flush their toilets.

Lake Huron in Michigan
Lake Huron in Michigan

But leftist protesters, who claim that “Water is a human right,” neglect to mention that there are ways to get the spigots turned back on for those in need that are “just a phone call away,” Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr says.

The libs are attempting to make bring irony into the mix, bellowing that Detroit sits near the world’s largest supply of fresh water–the Great Lakes. Three hundred miles west of Detroit, I am writing this post drinking coffee made with Great Lakes water. That water was treated and pumped to my home. When that coffee makes it way through my body it will be flushed away and treated again. There is a cost for that service, which I pay.

Water is not free. And liberalism incurs costs– very expensive ones.

John Ruberry blogs at Marathon Pundit.

DetroitBy John Ruberry.

Rap music is a bit–okay, a lot outside of my comfort zone, but last night a story broke in Detroit that as of this writing, among mainstream media sources, only Michigan’s Bay City Times has reported on. Rapper Rick Ross, the scheduled headliner at Hot 107.5 Summer Jamz 17 in the one-time Motor City. But a mob of 100, apparently fans of a rival rapper, Detroit’s Trick Trick, threatened Ross outside the performing venue, which Ross said caused him to fear for his life.

The show was organized by the radio station’s program director Jeremiah J. Hicks, whose remarks after Ross’ departure were reported by the Times:

“It took me nine months to put this show together,” Hicks told the crowd. “I do this for y’all; I was at work negotiating contracts, putting (expletive) together.

“I’m going to be real with y’all; I’m going to be real as (expletive). We had Rick Ross right outside here tonight at about eleven o’clock. As he was pulling in to come into Chene Park, he was met by 100 individuals outside. By 100 individuals outside!

“We will try to pull every resource together and ask him to come back (to the stage for the show Saturday night). He is in fear of his life. I’m just being real; real talk. This is some real (expletive). He was in fear of his life and he is not performing here tonight.

“And he may never come back to Detroit, and that’s no (expletive).”

John ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Here’s the uncensored video.

Ross has a unique background for a rapper; he’s a former Florida correctional officer and he says he is a committed Christian, although many of his YouTube videos are labeled “explicit.”

Say what you will about Ross or hip hop music, but where were the Detroit Police last night?

While details are still fuzzy, it appears that a group of thugs prevented an artist from performing at a major music festival, where tickets ran from $40 to $150–this was not a back yard gig. And the Detroit media as of this writing is ignoring the story. Why? Is it because of political correctness? Or laziness?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Michigan flag on left
Michigan flag on left

By John Ruberry

During a lesson on Jim Crow laws and segregation in his Monroe, Michigan history class,  Allan Barron showed a video of white men performing in blackface. Unfortunately for the 59 year-old instructor, who is retiring at the end of the school year, an assistant principal was sitting in on that lesson. The video was stopped because the administrator, but apparently no one else, was offended.

Blackface, white men and occasionally women wearing makeup and wigs. was a popular form of entertainment from the 1850s until the early 1940s. It was never universally accepted, even though many legendary performers, including Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, and of course Al Jolson, performed in blackface. Many of Stephen Foster’s songs, including Camptown Races, Swanee River, and My Old Kentucky Home, were first staged in blackface by E.B. Christie. In a film about Foster’s life, Jolson portrayed Christie.

But no mentally stable person sees blackface as acceptable today, including Barron, who was suspended because he showed that video clip.

From the Monroe News:

According to parents whose children are in the eighth-grade class, the administrator thought the lesson plan was offensive and racist. Mr. Barron was suspended the next day Adrienne Aaron’s husband is African American, and their child was in the class. She said Mr. Barron simply was showing the students what occurred in history. She said her daughter was not offended and felt the subject needs to be discussed.

“She was more offended that they stopped the video,” Mrs. Aaron said. “It had nothing to do with racism. History is history. We need to educate our kids to see how far we’ve come in America. How is that racism.” District officials met this week with Mr. Barron, who also is the Monroe Township supervisor, but decided not to take action until further investigation is completed. He remains on paid administrative leave. The district, through spokesman Bobb Vergiels, would not acknowledge that Mr. Barron was suspended and only stated that he is “on leave.”

Society has evolved from one being largely racist to one that cannot discuss its history and show examples of bigotry. How horrible. One thing that has not changed is that edu-crats are poltroons who are not public servants.

More from the Monroe News:

A student has been making and distributing T-shirts in support of Mr. Barron, and parents have been campaigning through social media to spread their word.

“Mr. Barron is one of the … great teachers we have in Monroe Public Schools,” one parent wrote in a letter that was distributed through Facebook. “He has changed many children;s lives over the course of his career. If Mr. Barron felt that he was teaching something that was offensive, he would most definitely not have done it.”

Hurrah for the people of Monroe. As long as his suspension stands, Barron is banned from attending any school functions, including a banquet that will honor his fellow retiring teachers.

John Ruberry blogs regularly at Marathon Pundit.

Question: What is similar between the protests in Egypt and the protests in Detroit?

Today in Michigan Steven Crowder was assaulted by a crowd of Union Thugs during the “right to work” protests:

I predict that this will get the same condemnation and attention from Democrats local and national and the same attention from the police as this video from Michigan did earlier this year:

Bottom line our friends on the left are totally against violence and insist the police make sure speech is protected per the bill of rights, the Obama/Liberal version of the Bill of rights that is:

Liberal improvements are in red italic

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof unless it in any way conflicts with Obamacare, the liberal agenda or the need for 30 something college students to get laid without personal expense ; or abridging the freedom of speech unless one is a conservative speaker on a college campus, unless said speech in any way conflicts with Union demands or said speech could in any way be considered an insult to the prophet of Islam (peace be upon him)  , or of the press unless the person chooses an uncomfortable time to ask a question to the Obama administration; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble unless they support Israel on a college campus, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances with the understanding that said Government does not have to answer said grievances. relevant section underlined

Clearly Steven Crowder’s actions conflicted with union demands therefore they are not protected per the Obama/Liberal 1st Amendment.

If only conservatives would learn to be quiet and get to the back of the bus everything would be OK.

Update: Stacy McCain has a great roundup

I was at an event hosted by Granite Grok’s Mike Rogers at CPAC when Robert Stacy McCain (one of the 5 non-pols that Politico says you have to watch) came up to me and thanked me for “forgetting” my hat at CPAC 2010 (Stacy partied till 5 a.m. and I flew out a 7 but be that as it may…) That led to my hat going all over the country.

Stacy in my fedora was seen from New Orleans to Las Vegas, From Delaware to Sarah Palin’s house. As Politico said

How can you find McCain? If the chain smoking and fedora don’t tip you off, he’ll be the guy in the press section who brings his family and boisterously laughs at Ann Coulter’s jokes, to the chagrin of mainstream types. And how do you know he’s pumped for this year? He’s already dubbed it the “best CPAC ever” and has planned how to “be in seven places simultaneously.”

And thus the Axis of Fedora was born.

Today Stacy is in Michigan doing shoe leather work, he went into a Romney HQ when that same Mike Rogers gave him a call just as he came through the door, well I’ll let Stacy tell the tale:

“I need to take this call,” I told the Romney volunteer lady, and retreated to the foyer area to talk to Mike. He was calling from an airport, about to board a flight back to New Hampshire, and said he’d been reading my campaign-trail blogging. As I was talking to him, however, a couple of young guys came out of a back office in the Romney headquarters, and I overheard one of them mutter the phrase “Santorum blogger.”

Busted.

By the time I got off the phone with Mike, one of the young Romney guys was standing there in a polite-but-serious posture. The dude looked like he might have played linebacker in high school. A brief conversation ensued, which I summarized on Twitter:

5:39 p.m.: Folks at Romney Michigan HQ recognize me, invite me to leave. Must be the hat.

The perils of notoriety. They didn’t even let me get a picture of the office.

The Fedora giveth and the Fedora taketh away.

Apparently a federal Judge decided these people were safe enough to let go before trial:

“The United States is correct that it need not wait until people are killed before it arrests conspirators,” US District Judge Victoria Roberts said in her ruling.

“But, the defendants are also correct: Their right to engage in hate-filled, venomous speech, is a right that deserves First Amendment protection.”

She said federal prosecutors failed to persuade her that the defendants must be jailed until trial, the Detroit Free News reports.

Why did the judge come to this conclusion? Might have been something to do with this:

An FBI agent who led the investigation of nine Michigan militia members charged with trying to launch war against the federal government couldn’t recall many details of the two-year probe yesterday during questioning by defense lawyers.

Even the judge who must decide whether to release the nine until trial was puzzled.

“I share the frustrations of the defense team … that she doesn’t know anything,” U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said after agent Leslie Larsen confessed she hadn’t reviewed her notes recently and couldn’t remember specific details of the case.

It will be interesting to see how this comes out and to contrast the arrest and restrictions on these people while Younus Abdullah Muhammad remains free.

I see two different batches of creeps here yet one is in jail and one is not. Funny old thing isn’t it?