Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The economics of the Kwame sentence

The main argument for not throwing Kwame in the slammer has been that if he is in jail, he cannot pay his restitution.
That position seems a little silly because he has fought every step of the way about paying his restitution.
On top of bald-faced lies about how much money he has, he had the brass to ask that his restitution be dropped to $6.
The people of Detroit might also ask how much all of this fight over his restitution has cost.
And, severl legitimate questions would be:
Is Kwame trying to wear down the city? Has he already made it more expensive to pursue restitution than to abandon it?
And, why is no one asking how he can afford all this legal resistance to paying restitution and then claim he has no money to pay? Surely his legal team is not doing this for free.

Kwame gets prison, loses job

The Kwame saga continues as Detroits greatest reality show.
Today's episode included a penitent husband (first time ever) and father asking for mercy. And Judge David Groner wasn't buying any of it.
Groner laid it out for the former mayor: You lied in court, you cost Detroit millions, you betrayed the public trust, and then you lied again about your finances and tried to duck paying restitution while living the high life.
He said the five-year original sentence was not enough, but it would have to do.
And then Compuware/Covisnt fires Kwame.
If you go to The Oakland Press story at http://bit.ly/d2HZ8R, you will see the comments coming in heavy on the side of he deserved it, and few on the side of maybe that was too heavy.
But this is a great time to join the debate.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Miss Michigan wins Miss USA

Winning a beauty pageant has always resulted in a little bit of pride and prejudice.
That will be multiplied now that Miss Michigan Rima Fakih of Dearborn,has won the Miss USA title. http://bit.ly/9FdWRA
The pride part is easy. She is a resident of SE Michigan and our state can use all the good news it can get. As for beauty, Miss Fakih has it.
The prejudice part is more complicated.
On one level, there are going to be those who question whether someone born in another country should hold the title. There is, of course, plenty of precedent in contests in this country, and elsewhere around the world, where place of birth is not a requirement. It is not, after all, like being president of the US.
But there is also a world level, where the conflict between strict interpretations of Muslim beliefs about feminine modesty will certainly be raised. To win this contest, the women have to present themselves in public in costumes that some parts of the world will argue are far from modest.
The new Miss USA says her family celebrates both Christian and Muslim faiths, and she attended a Catholic school.
However, there are those who may not take kindly to a Lebanese woman, abandoning her birth culture at such a prominent level.
This will be a story to wathch.
And, as always, you can add your comments to the stories on The Oakland Press website.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Early retirement for Michigan teachers

The Michigan Legislature has passed an early retirement package aimed at inducing older teachers to bow out early. Backers say it will save the state $700 million and result in increased spending for public schools.
The bills are backed by Gov. Granholm and the Republicans -- odd enough -- and also by enough Democrats to swing it through.
The plan is opposed, however, by the MEA, which is miffed about not being consulted about the details, and because it does not offer enough to retiring members.
Those are just the major backers and opponents, there are many other views on the impact and potential for success of this plan.
The debate is already going strong on The Oakland Press website. Go to http://bit.ly/dehlp8 to add your comments.
Here are some samples:

"Increase the taxpayer funded pensions and let them retire early, how nice. If the company that I've worked at for 31 years decided today to get rid of me I'd be out the door with no pension, health care, severance package, nothing. Teachers need to start living in the real world."

"Two points:
1. If the MEA is strongly against it...then it is good for everyone in the State of Michigan...including teachers. The MEA is self serving....even the teachers know that. The people that manage and administer the MEA are SCARED TO DEATH THAT THE GRAVY TRAIN WILL END and they will become irrelevant.
2. With every teacher that gets $50,000 in pension a year...it is the equivalent of having 1 million in savings and living off the 5%. Most know that this is a great deal and, on an individual basis, are reasonable people. Dealing with them without the MEA would solve a lot of problems...they just can't/won't admit that in public."

"Cut EVERYONE's pay! Don't let old people retire! Stop all health care for everyone but the wealthy! Cut Taxes! Raise Profits!
***With a mindset like the above, we are rapidly becoming the third world nation that the rest of the world wants us to be. No more shipping jobs to China - the low wage jobs are now here. No more lawsuits against corporate criminals - the rules are in place to forbid it. No more "golden years" for seniors - their efforts have only supported Wall Street. No more American Dream - it's now a nightmare for everyone that ever thought they had it!"

"I seriously urge anyone graduating from college to seriously consider moving out of Michigan. The recovery process will take a long time and the environment is not education friendly at all. I am so relieved that my children left the state after they graduated from the University of Michigan.
Seriously, read the posts here. Who would really want to live here? It is a dying, angry group of people."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The Michigan Department of Transportation wants your opinions on roundabouts.
Those controversial traffic circles which rely on drivers who yield and cooperate divide the driving public into two camps -- those who love them and those who hate them.
You can join the conversation -- and offer your thoughts -- by going to http://bit.ly/c5IyKR and adding your 2 cents to the comments on the bottom.
Here are a few from those already on the story:
"Roundabouts get me turned around. I may want to simply go straight but can't figure out which exit is straight... maybe if the signage was better? Keep in mind in some locations you could have a large vehicle in front of you and may not see some types of signs."
"It's not just ignorance of how to use them, people are always in a big hurry and try to beat the other traffic. I've never seen anyone stop for a pedestrian in a roundabout; they just race around them before they get far enough across to really block the traffic. Lights are better because most people obey them."
"I loved the incident at Maple & Drake Rds. They put in a roundabout to eliminate the light, then they had to reinstall lights because the pedestrian traffic couldn't cross that busy intersection. Can we say WASTE of money?"
"There is a roundabout on Tienken by Stoney Creek H.S which is the worst. Students don't yield and one side gets to go for several minutes before the other side finally gets one car who has to hurry and go through. I am surprised there hasn't been several accidents in this roundabout. I get nervous every time I am out there. The buses are even worse. They all just go together without yielding. Perhaps it would be bettter to have a stop light or stop signs in this area."
"I love the roundabouts! My GPS enabled phone tells me how to navigate an unfamiliar roundabout a quarter of a mile before I get to it and then zip zip I am usually through without having to stop."
"Try driving a vehicle with a trailer (properly) through one. Move to the left lane and try to get back over for your turn in that small space? Never happen.
Oakland county spent millions on traffic detectors at intersections to ease the flow of traffic. Why not get them working? You sit at an intersection with no cross traffic, why doesn't the detector flip the light green in a reasonable time? It's like the lights are still operating off timers.
How much does it cost to buy the land, build the roundabouts, and maintain roundabouts as opposed to an existing intersection? Somebody's mowing the grass, etc. There is no expense for that at conventional intersections. Any savings in time and gas needs to be offset by the maintenance expenses and fuel used to drive from one to the other to mow maintain them.
This is just another government campaign to convince us they need to spend more money, even if we object to the end result. Government STILL hasn't caught on to the mood of the country."
" I freely admit that I have no idea how to drive in a roundabout. I panicked the first time I drove through it; it’s a blur as to what happened. Second time, someone laid on their horn at me the entire time, but I still have no idea what I did wrong. My parents live on the East side which is why I encounter them at all. I drove through one with my mother a few weeks ago and even with her telling me how to do it, I needed a Xanax after I made it out of that circle of death. It's now the thing I fear and will not under any circumstance drive through one again. Glad to read I'm not the only one inept at maneuvering through. MDOT - Stay out of Troy with those things. "

Monday, May 10, 2010

Medical marijuana

A recent story about a Waterford restaurant offering medical marijuana during the evening -- http://bit.ly/a1mF3N -- brought a flood of comments -- positive, negative and some downright nasty.

Here are a few samples:

"We also need to ban alcohol and firearms. They kill as well. But the people have spoken. They want medical marijuana. So we won, you lost. Stop crying. It's the law. Don't like the law. Then move to another state. In this state we are going to smoke our medical marijuana. Deal with it. "

" Does anyone realize that these "poor suffering" people are just like a drunk driver after they smoke dope? The THC levels are intoxicating enough for the state to have a Operating While under Influence of Narcotics...which marihuana is still classified. So go ahead go to Waterford to smoke your dope. I hope the Waterford PD is there waiting to take you and fake "chronic" pain to jail. For every legitimate person who the dope supposedly helps, there are a hundred frauds making up reasons to have a medical card. Just go to the doctor in Howell and he will give one for a boo boo on your knee. What a Joke! And by the way, people are getting killed everyday supplying and delivering your dope. "

" I want to say thank you for the great work you people are doing in Waterford, I'm 72 yrs old & have lost alot of friends to cancer & a host of other diseases, that prescription drugs seemed to make worse or turn my friends into zombies, or kill 'em off faster, if only this was around sooner, alot of people could have lived a better life & possibly longer, welcome to the 21st century folks! the new miracle drug is here!"

This story proved to be the most popular story on The Oakland Press website last Wednesday.

Don't worry, if you missed that debate, there are plenty more coming up on the topic.

We will soon have a story about a school for medical marijuana growers that will open soon in Southfield.

It is an interesting issue. There are those who say legalization of any form of marijuana is a "slippery slope." Others say it could be the economic salvation of our depressed state.

And still others say that the U.S. will have to legalize pot, just to cut off the funding to the growing menace of the drug lords south of the border.

What do you think?


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Kwame to Detroit: Time to move on

One thing that Kwame has in abundance is brass.

The Dallas Morning News has a great interview with the ex-Detroit mayor about his new life in Texas, about his kids' role in his decision not to fight the charges against him.

And, the topper is his advice to the city of Detroit that it is time to "move on."

An interesting idea, particularly since he is due back in court later this month when a judge will tell him if he is going back to jail, or not, for probation violations.

Also interesting, if his sons told him not to fight, why is he spending so much time in courtrooms?

Read it at http://bit.ly/a4K7w9 and leave you comments on the bottom of the story.

Is it time for us all to move on?