Posts Tagged ‘United States’

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.

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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.

I woke up next to something this morning that was beautiful and blue. It inspired me to share some beautiful and blue images with you.

So here we go.

lorient

Orient Beach, St. Martin (French Side). It is a zoomed out pic because a lot of folks there are naked and this is G rated. I was on a work trip so I never got to experience L’Orient except for the drive-by view (which I couldn’t see much). Inside the Bay area, this water changes color to a very pale turquoise.

Next up: honeymoon lovango Honeymoon Beach on St. John. Its a short hike with a 250 foot downhill “stroll”, but well worth it. Named Honeymoon due to its privacy and it certainly has nothing to do with Lavango Cay across the way. Lovango (pronounced “Love and GO”) Cay is rumored to be named for its brothels many years ago. MMMM dirty pirate sex. As you can see the water changes color due to the change in depth and the color of the sand.

Staying on St. John, we have probably the most photographed beach in all of the Caribbean: TrunkBay

Trunk Bay. This is the one you see on a lot of the post cards. Isn’t it awesome? I have not actually been to this one. I was on the way then stopped into an establishment in Mongoose Junction and my friend (Adam L) convinced me it was a good idea to challenge a Rasta in a firewater drinking contest near Momma Mooies. I believe I won, which means I really lost later on the boat ride back to St. Thomas. Adam will have to fill in the details.

One you guys may have seen is this one: cinnamon bay

It is the gorgeous and sexy Cinnamon Bay. Look at the Blue and check out those curves. Cinnamon Bay has been featured on postcards, posters and even album covers like this one: Old-Blue

Kenny Chesney’s Old Blue Chair. Most of the videos he shoots around the beaches and in his boat Soul Shine are in and around Cinnamon Bay and Gorda Sound. Why was it his favorite, because he lived there in this masterpiece – for a short while anyway:

kenny house

Last I heard it was still for sale at around 8 million. Great view of the Bay.

I have to give one shout out to St. Thomas. You won’t hear me give many, because while St. Thomas is nice, I’m a Crucian which means I think all St. Thomians assume they are better’n us and the 40 miles of sea between us could be 100 for all we care. You guys would have nothing if it were not for your t-shirt shops and cruise ships. You are the Dollywood Daytona Beach Myrtle Beach of the Caribbean. Anyway, here’s Megan’s Bay. It’s beautiful enough to host homes owned by Michael Jordan and Oprah. I think its pretty but the St. Thomas traffic makes it very difficult to enjoy. megans bay stt

Now to some that are very beautiful and very dear to me. First up WEST END! Near Fredericksted you’ll find Sandy Point. If you watch the last 3 minutes of Shawshank Redemption, you’ll see Morgan Freeman walk up to a boat on this beach. (It was supposed to be Mexico). Here is Sandy Point:

Sandy Point

On Sunday Funday, a tradition in St. Croix is to hitchhike on a boat over to Buck Island, anchor out, and party until dark. Its a flotilla of fun. Here’s the beach: Buck

But here is what Buck is known for: buck-island-snorkeling-fish

It is the only underwater national park in the US. The reef is amazing.

I have two more remaining. The first, I have shared previously. It’s my favorite and holds my fondest memories of my time in St. Croix. Cane Bay:

cane bay

There are a lot of pictures on my facebook page (and Alicia’s) of this beach and a pretty girl and some friendly dogs who found there way over to our towels for some snacks and kisses.

Last one: Shoys. Oh Shoys. Where i stay is just up the hill from here. I can see it out of my bedroom window and from the pool deck. Shoys you hold a very fond memory.

It was here Shoys that the “magic” happened.

So, to the pretty blues that inspired me, here’s something to inspire you.

riddle

Cliffs notes: A young woman, who is Caucasian, applied to the University of Texas in 2008. She was denied admission. It was later discovered that MANY others were admitted with lower test scores, lower GPA’s, and with fewer recommendations, and fewer extracurricular activities.

Consequently, she sued the University over the Affirmative Action policy to admit minorities with the same, or even lower qualifications OVER someone who is not a member of a protected class. Basically, her lawsuit was based upon a reverse discrimination case. The argument is that the best applicant should win no matter what race, religion, etc. The Supreme Court was set to decide the issue today. However, in a chicken(ish) move, the Sup. Ct. decided via 7-1 vote to send the case back down to the lower Courts for additional rulings and findings. (Ruling found here).

This is a tough one for me. If my child had a 3.8 GPA and a 1500 (old score) SAT and was denied admission over ANYONE with a 3.5 and 1400, I would be furious. It has nothing to do with race, religions, ethnicity, etc. Conversely, If my child had a 3.5 and a 1400 and was denied in place of the 3.8 and 1500 student, I’d say, “Well, you got beat. Try again, or pick another school.” I just don’t see denying the clearly qualified student. What I feel should be done is a set standard of all scores above a certain number combined with a GPA above a certain number get in. The school can then admit any number of individuals based upon a quota of protected class members it chooses. But those with scores above them should not be denied. Set a bar for all students. If you are above that bar, you get in. If you are below that bar, you may not. But tell students ahead of time where the bar is located. SET A STANDARD FOR ADMISSIONS. DUH!

This is why I love the spirit of Olympic competition. Its the best in the world head-to-head and the judge is a stopwatch, a bulls eye, or a measuring stick. (No, I do not like subjective scoring events.) If Usain Bolt (Go Jamaica!) wins the 100M, is the stop watch racist? If Micheal Phelps wins the 400M, is the stop watch racist?  No, of course not.

We all know that race relations is a hot button issue in this country. It appears these types of policies throw fuel on the fire. Then when given the opportunity, the Sup. Ct. takes the coward way out of resolving this.