Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Only the Second Most Lonely – Detroit scores high on singles

As housing prices in Michigan go down, the amount of singles in Detroit seem to keep going up.

Yahoo reports a recent study ranking Detroit as having the second highest amount of singles of any city in the country, after San Francisco.

To be more specific, the census ranked cities by the number of “unmarried” people. So maybe “singles” isn’t the right word, since the word connotes young people on the prowl for love. I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but my guess is that one of the reasons why San Francisco ranks highest is the large number of gays and lesbians living there who, although they can legally marry in the state, may not have been counted in this study as married.

So why Detroit second, even more so than New York (which has 6 million more people)? Poverty? Single mothers and fathers? The reason sure isn’t because there are so many swinging fellas and ladies here than elsewhere in the country.

The added irony is that it’s the Yahoo Real Estate section that posted the results, along with a link to area houses on the market.

The study was conducted by Sperling’s Best Places. If you visit their website’s Detroit page, the first three user comments are

“Horrible place to live”

“The city America left behind”

“Absolutely terrible city”

So once again, irony and the internet win. Detroit is the worst place ever on

Anyone care to go the site and write something nice?

Registered to vote? Jay-Z might help motivate you…

As some of you may or may not know, the deadline to register to vote is fast approaching here in Michigan. There are only 5 days left to register to vote until the deadline of Oct. 6 – so get out there Detroiters and do your civic duty. With so many important issues facing everyone we all know how important it is to have our voices heard.

To help motivate Detroiters, and Michiganders (Michiganians?), as well as show some support for his candidate of choice (Barack Obama), Jay-Z will be in town performing a FREE concert. The concert takes place in Cobo Arena and all you need to do to check out this show is pick up your FREE ticket at one of the many offices of the Campaign for Change found in Detroit, Dearborn, Southfield and Wayne County’s Canton Township. So what are you waiting for? Go get those tickets!

I don’t know about y’all, but hopefully I’ll be able to make it and maybe I’ll even see you there.

"Flash of Genius" Hits Theaters Next Week; Ford Grabs onto "Oh Shit! Handle"

When I was a kid, my mom drove a Bronco II Ford SUV. This SUV, like most cars nowadays, had interior handles for each passenger, just above the door windows, to hang onto if the driver were to take a hard turn, or drive into a scary situation. My dad used to lovingly call these “Oh Shit! Handles.”

My dad worked for Ford for 34 years, and like many of our parents (and many of us!) we rely on the auto industry for our well-being and livelihood, whether working directly for one of The Big Three, an engineering firm that supports The Big Three (or Toyota or Honda), or one of the many area advertising agencies that promotes the auto industry.

The Big Three have certainly made lots of mistakes and miscalculations, and their past leadership is very much to blame for the sorry state the industry finds itself in today. And certainly, the industry deserved the harsh criticism of the independent filmmakers who produced Who Killed the Electric Car? and Roger and Me, films that justifiably showed how greedy power players and corporate executives have continued to influence the auto industry away from innovation and working 21st-century business models and into the same old ways of doing things.

But while Who Killed the Electric Car? and Roger and Me were important protests against bad auto-industry practices and the executive greed that spawned these practices, there’s a new Hollywood movie coming to theaters that threatens to tarnish the name of our American auto makers without any seeming purpose but to sell tickets at the box office.

In “Flash of Genius,” Greg Kinnear stars as Wayne State professor Robert Kearns, who, in the 1970s, invents the intermittent windshield wiper, a much sought-after technological advance for the auto industry at the time. Instead of giving the man credit, the auto industry (Ford, in particular, is named as the main culprit) steals the invention and denies the good professor–who’s been working hard just to keep his family fed–any monetary reward or credit for the invention. Kearns enters into an intense and long legal battle against Ford, which he wins after years of fighting in the courts. “Flash of Genius” is one of those feel-good movies about how the little guy, with lots of grit, determination, and an unquenchable thirst for justice, is able to win out against the powers that be.

Inspiring stuff. Unless, of course, you live in Michigan, and you can feel in your gut how much this movie will villanize our auto industry in the mind of the American consumer.

Ford is an easy target here–a sitting, and very wounded corporate duck–and I can’t think that this movie will do anything but make people less likely to buy American cars. The movie won’t make Ford any better. It won’t force protests that will make Ford correct bad practices or create greener vehicles–the market is already making that happen. No, the movie will just turn people even more against Ford, solidifying the automaker as a corporate Mr. Potter in consumers’ minds, working only toward keeping all of the George Baileys of this world down and out.

Granted, “Flash of Genius” is based on a true story, and a story that deserves telling. And I’m not trying to stick up for Ford’s past actions. I just question the timing and the intent of this film. Things are already bad enough around here due to the mismanagement of the auto industry over the years. But when the industry (and Michigan) is at its lowest, does it really make sense to kick us when we’re already down? Even though the story is about the industry exploiting one of our own, it’s the kind of PR nightmare that the transitioning American auto companies don’t need.

And let’s not kid ourselves that any other industry could possibly replace the automobile industry if it were to go down. Governor Granholm’s plans to make Michigan a manufacturing hub for green technologies are certainly on the right track for our future economic prosperity, but they could never fill in the hole that a completely broken auto industry would leave.

So grab onto the “Oh Shit! Handles” everybody, because “Flash of Genius” is going to make this recovery an even bumpier ride for the auto industry, and the city and state that rely on it.

More background from The Free Press, and here’s the trailer:







They’ve amended the outgoing message at the Mocad.

Woodbridge Pub Opens Today!?


Kwame Pleads Guilty; Cockrel will be Mayor

Around 10:40 today, Kwame Kilpatrick pled guilty to two Obstruction of Justice charges, agreeing to 4 months in jail, paying one-million dollars back to the city, and thereby losing his law license and ending his tenure as Mayor of Detroit, Michigan.

Watching the plea being made live on TV was pretty tough, and a giggly Kilpatrick almost seemed relieved to have made the decision. And although his plea and admittance of guilt shows beyond doubt that he did commit at least some of the crimes, it is a sad thing to watch. There was such promise with his election to office, but it ended disastrously.

Kwame did not walk the path that would have led Detroit into the 21st century and into greater prosperity. This is clear if you re-read his Inaugural Address from January 2002.

There are some specifically painful moments in the speech, given what we know now, which shouldn’t serve as “gotcha” moments as much as a reflection on why Kilpatrick has not delivered his promises as mayor.

As a father, I know I’m going to spend a couple of hours every day with my children because my job as a father is the most important job that I have. There is no way I can lead the city of Detroit if I don’t lead in my own house.

It’s just sad.

And perhaps worst of all, Kwame’s rousing closing to his Inaugural Speech, spoken with conviction at Fox Theatre to huge applause six-and-a-half years ago:

All I have to saying in closing, as I do in every speech, it’s time for all of us to participate in the progress and prosperity of the city of Detroit. It’s time for all of us to understand that we can’t waste four more years or eight more years or twelve more years in this city. It’s time for all of us to rise up and step up to the mantle of leadership. It’s time for all of us to rise up in this city. It’s time for all of us, state legislature, governor, city council, members of the county commission, attorney general, lieutenant governor – it’s time for all of us to rise up, to rise up, to rise up – and not start our future four years from now. It’s time for all of us to rise up and being our future right here and right now.

I hope that no one glories in the happenings of today, or in the fate of this mayor who had promised so much, and delivered on so little. Detroit needs to look ahead, to rise up, rise up, rise up from this scandal, and develop a future where its leaders will be held more accountable by the citizens of this city, and for every citizen to step up to the mantle of leadership by helping this city to become a better place for all, whether by getting involved in local politics, volunteering for local programs, or just picking up litter off the streets. And that goes for city residents as well as residents of the suburbs who come to the city for entertainment and the resources it provides all citizens of southeast Michigan.

Kwame may have failed us, but we are all responsible for this city in our own, little ways. Step up.

Kwame to quit tomorrow

Here’s something you’ve probably heard elsewhere before you read it here:

Kwame Kilpatrick is expected to enter a plea bargain tomorrow in court that will end his tenure as Mayor of Detroit.

It would be pretty bad if we didn’t say anything about this at all, but there’s not much to say that isn’t being said here (Damn you, Free Press! First you beat Metroblogging Detroit to the text messages and now you offer excellent coverage on the entire day’s proceedings!).

We were totally going to break the story on the text messages the day before the Free Press came out with them. I swear.

Creative Cities Summit in Detroit – Update

Earlier this year, we reported that this year’s Creative Cities Summit 2.0 will be taking place in Detroit, October 12-15, 2008. Well, the schedule for the event is fleshing out and it looks to be a very interesting event.

Check here for the speaker list and here for the current agenda.

SWAT team terrorizes Funk Night at the CAID

I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard about what happened at Funk Night at the CAID last Friday, May 30. Apparently, at 2:20am, a SWAT team charged into the monthly dance party and terrorized everyone there, conducted full body searches, verbally and physically abused the patrons, and impounded every single car, issuing exorbitant and seemingly illegal impound fees ($900).

My sympathies go out to every person innocently involved in this ruckus and I sincerely hope that reporters at the Free Press and the Detroit News get to the bottom of this to let us all know what happened, why a SWAT team was issued a warrant to search the CAID, and what legal actions can be taken for wrong-doing by the city of Detroit. This is not a cut-and-dried case–the CAID may very well be culpable for illegal activities. However, this abuse of power and terrorization of non-violent patrons is both ridiculous and outrageous.

For more info and commentary, visit Webvomit and Fivethreedialtone.

‘Managing Your Business’ Seminar Series

Designed to help small business owners and their employees succeed, Comerica Bank’s ‘Managing Your Business’ seminar series is once again on the horizon.

Details of the workshops, which cost $50 for Comerica customers and $75 for non-Comerica customers, are as follows: (more…)

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