Wednesday, March 04, 2009

It Can't Be Racist If You Are Black


We'll be heading back to Michigan tomorrow, so I was proud to see the ethical, moral, and astute leaders of the great city of Detroit had made news promoting racial harmony. As The Detroit News article stated:

Nowhere is Michigan's brain drain on greater display than in the Detroit City Council chambers.

My hopes for Detroit's future faded as I watched the tape of last Tuesday's council meeting, the one that considered the Cobo Center expansion deal.

It was a tragic circus, a festival of ignorance that confirmed the No. 1 obstacle to Detroit's progress is the bargain basement leaders that city voters elect. The black nationalism that is now the dominant ideology of the council was on proud display, both at the table and in the audience.

Speakers advocating for the deal were taunted by the crowd and cut short by Council President Monica Conyers, who presided over the hearing like an angry bulldog; whites were advised by the citizens to, "Go home."

Opponents were allowed to rant and ramble on uninterrupted about "those people" who want to steal Detroit's assets and profit from the city's labors.

A pitiful Teamster official who practically crawled to the table on his knees expressing profuse respect for this disrespectful body was battered by both the crowd and the council.

When he dared suggest that an improved Cobo Center would create more good-paying jobs for union workers, Conyers reminded him, "Those workers look like you; they don't look like me."

Desperate, he invoked President Barack Obama's message of unity and was angrily warned, "Don't you say his name here."

Juxtapose the place and the faces and imagine a white Livonia City Council treating a black union representative with such overt racial hostility. The Justice Department would swoop down like a hawk, and the Rev. Al Sharpton would clog Five Mile Road with protesters.

But in Detroit, dealing with the council's bigotry is part of the cost of doing business. As is dealing with its incompetence. (I'll pause here and excuse from that indictment Sheila Cockrel and Brenda Jones, who supported the Cobo deal, as did Kwame Kenyatta, who although he's an avowed nationalist, most often votes in the city's best interests.)

Emmet Moten, the developer who just opened the Fort Shelby Hotel downtown, was at the meeting and found it appalling. Moten went to Lansing in 1983 on behalf of Mayor Coleman Young to successfully lobby for a regional tax to support Cobo.

"And now we're saying, 'We don't want your money,'" Moten says. "If Coleman were alive today, he'd be outraged. It hurts, it really hurts."

Now, Moten says, "we Detroiters gotta be outraged."

Outraged enough to go to the polls in November and elect a brighter, more responsible council. Moten and others I talked with this week are encouraged that mayoral primary voters picked Dave Bing and Ken Cockrel Jr., the two most rational candidates on the ballot.

The test now will be whether it's those primary voters or the angry council crowd who represent the real Detroit.

As Moten notes, "You can't fix this for us. We have to fix it ourselves."

Nobody can help Detroit if voters again elect a City Council composed of separatists, clueless dowagers and the apparently insane.

Nolan Finley is editorial page editor of The News. Reach him at or (313) 222-2064.
I wrote to Mr. Findlay:
Your column in today's TDN highlights a very real problem in Detroit: the stupidity of the residents leads to stupidity in the government. It doesn't have to be that way:, but it probably will be that way:
I believe the only real hope for Detroit is dissolution and reorganization. The city is geographically too large for its population which is shrinking daily. It cannot provide services or public education or decent living environments for its residents. Property and home values are almost non-existent in many parts of the city. The government has devolved into personal fiefdoms for the politicians who pander to the "racial pride" of the residents. Rather than having a city of which to be proud, the residents are satisfied with a city that reflects a violent, immoral, unethical, anti-intellectual sub-culture in its political leaders. A lot of them still believe Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was the best thing that could have happened to the city... before and after he went to jail. Perhaps that is why the half of the population that finds that repugnant has left... blacks, whites, and others.

As I have always told my sons and tell my readers every day: stupidity has its own rewards.


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... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)