Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Detroit

Detroit (Photo credit: Ann Millspaugh)

 

Installment 1 on a series that affects so many and is quite sad. The PRIDE of our country now stands in shambles. If you are a GenXer or younger, you probably wouldn’t consider Detroit the Pride of America. Installment 2 will show you why this city was so great. I shared a  few bullet points (both good a bead below).

 

It is so sad to watch one of America’s greatest cities die a horrible death.  Once upon a time, the city of Detroit was a teeming metropolis of 1.8 million people and it had the highest per capita income in the United States.  Now it is a rotting, decaying hellhole of about 700,000 people that the rest of the world makes jokes about.  On Thursday, we learned that the decision had been made for the city of Detroit to formally file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.  It was going to be the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States by far, but on Friday it was stopped at least temporarily by an Ingham County judge.

She ruled that Detroit’s bankruptcy filing violates the Michigan Constitution because it would result in reduced pension payments for retired workers.  She also stated that Detroit’s bankruptcy filing was “also not honoring the (United States) president, who took (Detroit’s auto companies) out of bankruptcy“, and she ordered that a copy of her judgment be sent to Barack Obama.  How “honoring the president” has anything to do with the bankruptcy of Detroit is a bit of a mystery, but what that judge has done is ensured that there will be months of legal wrangling ahead over Detroit’s money woes.

It will be very interesting to see how all of this plays out.  But one thing is for sure – the city of Detroit is flat broke.  One of the greatest cities in the history of the world is just a shell of its former self.  The following are 25 facts about the fall of Detroit that will leave you shaking your head…

1) At this point, the city of Detroit owes money to more than 100,000 creditors.

2) Detroit is facing $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities.  That breaks down to more than $25,000 per resident.

3) Back in 1960, the city of Detroit actually had thehighest per-capita income in the entire nation.

4) In 1950, there were about 296,000 manufacturing jobs in Detroit.  Today, there are less than 27,000.

5) Between December 2000 and December 2010, 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the state of Michigan were lost.

6) There are lots of houses available for sale in Detroitright now for $500 or less.

7) At this point, there are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city.

8) About one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict.

9) An astounding 47 percent of the residents of the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate.

10) Less than half of the residents of Detroit over the age of 16 are working at this point.

11) If you can believe it, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

12) Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, but over the past 60 years the population of Detroit has fallen by 63 percent.

13) The city of Detroit is now very heavily dependent on the tax revenue it pulls in from the casinos in the city.  Right now, Detroit is bringing in about 11 million dollars a month in tax revenue from the casinos.

14) There are 70 “Superfund” hazardous waste sites in Detroit.

15) 40 percent of the street lights do not work.

16) Only about a third of the ambulances are running.

17) Some ambulances in the city of Detroit have been used for so long that they have more than 250,000 mileson them.

18) Two-thirds of the parks in the city of Detroit have been permanently closed down since 2008.

19) The size of the police force in Detroit has been cutby about 40 percent over the past decade.

20) When you call the police in Detroit, it takes them an average of 58 minutes to respond.

21) Due to budget cutbacks, most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.

22) The violent crime rate in Detroit is five times higherthan the national average.

23) The murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City.

24) Today, police solve less than 10 percent of the crimes that are committed in Detroit.

25) Crime has gotten so bad in Detroit that even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.

Next up –  Installment 2: Detroit, The Pride of America circa 1960.

redcross-logo

The American Red Cross through a network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas:

1. Disaster relief: Hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, and tsunamis. There are 70,000 such events that occur in the US each year. Red Cross provides shelter, food, health and mental health services to help families and entire communities get back on their feet.

2. Military family support: The Red Cross helps military members, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to the challenges of military service. Emergency communications, training, support to wounded warriors and veterans, and access to community resources help an average of 150,000 military families and veterans annually.

3. Blood bank: Your donations of blood are what make the American Red Cross the largest single supplier of blood and blood products in the U.S. Each year, nearly 4 million people donate blood through the Red Cross, helping to provide more than 40% of America’s blood supply.

4. Health and Safety services: The Red Cross is the nation’s leading provider of health and safety courses, such as CPR, First Aid and Lifeguard training. Each year, more than 9 million Americans participate in our training programs, including first responders, educators, babysitters, and people who want to be prepared to help others in an emergency. (I am CPR and Defib certified!)

5. International Assistance: The American Red Cross is part of the world’s largest humanitarian network with 13 million volunteers in 187 countries. Working together, we help respond to disasters, build safer communities, and educate future humanitarians. Each year, we reach an average of more than 100 million people across the globe.

Today, I will be training to become a certified (I hope) volunteer with the American Red Cross. As we have seen throughout our country’s history, nothing brings us all together like a call for help and those willing to lend a hand. Remember how close we all seemed post 9/11? Remember all of us (my age) as kids and helping cut and tote trees out of neighbors yards following Hurricane Hugo? I encourage everyone to click this link HELP and sign up for a class. No matter how small or large the contribution you are able to make, please know you are helping your fellow man.

“Human beings lose their logic in their vindictiveness.” ~ Elizabeth Stanton.

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And now to take on a hot button issue. I have only voiced my my opinions on this in private. I want to cause my readers to think about what I want to share. I want you to set aside your preconceived feelings and thoughts and start anew. Lets wipe the board clean and lay out some facts and see where we end up. Lets use LOGIC rather than emotion. Keep in mind – emotions are liars. They convince you to feel things you don’t normally feel.

The topic: The George Zimmerman trial. Before I go further, let me just say I have sat NEXT to defendants in trials. Some on trial for their life. No, I was never a defendant. Whether they felt they were innocent or not, they admittedly were scared as to what the 12 folks in the box thought of the case. I imagine Mr. Zimmerman is scared right now, too. This case also involves the folks who lost their loved one – for life. They are obviously hurt. I do not intend to promote either cause in this case.

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What I would like for folks to ponder is the sensationalism of this case. Its promoted by many in the media and other spokespeople (Al, Jesse, etc.) as a hate crime. We have a young black man who died as a result of a gunshot administered by another man of a different race. But, the man that pulled the trigger is of two races. His is half Caucasian (which may only be 1/4) and half Hispanic and of course he is allegedly Jewish. So why is this classified as a hate crime? Why are their marches and demonstrations? For the record, the man Aaron Hernandez allegedly shot and killed was a black man. Hate crime? Note: there isn’t the slightest allegation that the Hernandez victim threw any punches that led to his demise. So again, I ask why is this case promoted in a fashion to sell tv time and sell papers and used as an avenue for several spokespeople to request significant monetary donations to allow them to keep shouting albeit form very expensive hotels, conference rooms and with a very expensive travel budget. It doesn’t seem logical.

Some other statistics. Last weekend, in Chicago, around 54 black men were murdered. Preliminary reports are that most, if not all, were murdered by other black men. Where are the protests and marches? Why aren’t the spokespeople, and others who profit from these travesties using the money and resources to fight against these atrocities?

Lets go back to the immediate argument. I have several friends who chose a side on this and I will not sell them out. Lets say Zimmerman is “half white/half hispanic.” Why is the white half the racist half that falls under the guise of a hate crime? His neighbors (who come from many different races, including mixed race) state emphatically he was not a racist guy. I will add NO ONE really knows a person unless you spend every second with them, but then only that person knows whats truly in their heart. 

Now the logic question: Our president is “half white/half black” so which is he? If he shot a black man, would it be a hate crime? Same question if he shot a white man? Almost everyone I asked, considered the President to be “the first black President.” When I hear this, I ask them who chooses? Why does he have to be one or the other? I GET A LOT OF CONDESCENDING LOOKS AS RESPONSES.

From what I have seen and heard of the trial, I have to feel there is evidence of doubt which, by law one would legally have to vote for acquittal. Its more than likely why the police and DA chose in the beginning not to charge Mr. Zimmerman to begin with. I have no idea if he is truly guilty, if Mr. Zimmerman is a racist, or if Mr. Martin was a good kid/bad kid, or if he really attacked then threatened Mr. Zimmerman that he would die. Many of my readers have no clue as to these things, either.

I am certainly not a racist. Heck, take a look at my family 🙂 What I’m against here is the perpetuation of something that by logic doesn’t exist so that corporations and spokespeople can line their coffers with cash. There are murders everywhere. The immediate case may or may not may not have been one.

A genuine fear is that Mr. Sharpton has been linked to several riots in which folks have been killed. Authorities are justifiably terrified that Sharpton’s incitement will precipitate riots if George Zimmerman is released or found not guilty. After a traffic accident in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn (8/19/91) tragically took the life of seven year old Gavin Cato, segments of the black community – urged on by Sharpton and others – rioted in the Hassidic Jewish community and killed a Jewish man as his 7 year old son watched.

Folks we can end this when the media is hyping it, papers are promoting it, and other folks are throwing fuel on the fire. If Mr. Zimmerman is found not guilty, is justice served by rioting in the streets of Florida?

I feel like this case is similar to the final scene in A Time to Kill when Carl Lee’s attorney asks the jury to imagine the victim as a white girl. In other words take the sensationalism and emotions out of it. The case is whether it was justified self defense or not. There is no need to promote and profit from a race campaign, when, if we all looked at this logically, could not exist.

EDIT/UPDATE:

As expected, the jury saw what I felt they would. GZ was guilty of something, but under Florida law, he was not guilty of the crimes for which he had been charged. One juror stated they felt he was guilty of “something’ just nothing that was on the paper. 

Whether you agree with the outcome or not, can we please stop the stupidity going on around this country? Folks jumping people based on race and shouting “This is for Trayvon” as if some random guy in Senatobia, MS or Baltimore, MD had anything to do with this. 

The cake taker today was the professor at UPenn. She said this BULLSH*T. Really? Because of the verdict, this proves your theory that God is white and hates black folks? Amazing what tenure at a private university can do to one’s ego. Even more amazing is that an educated person states God is “white.” Jesus was born in Israel and was born to the parents of Mary – Israelite and Joseph – Israelite. (yes I know God is the birth father and Joseph is the protector). Point here is, that if you take the time to Google what a native Israelite looks like — then take it back 2049 years (year 2013 plus 36 years) and consider lack of ease in ethnic migration at that time, you’ll see what I mean. God was more than likely NOT “white” in the European/Caucasian sense.  Sorry if that rubs folks the wrong way. 

Idiot!