Is the American Spirit dead?

•January 7, 2009 • 1 Comment

That’s the question I have to ask myself as the current recession, depression, financial crisis, or whatever you want to call it continues.  The reason I ask that are headlines like these from the January 6, 2009 Detroit Free Press and Detroit News.

The Free Press headline said “Obama’s plan holds promise for Michigan” and the News “Recovery rests on stimulus.”  You can find similar headlines and stories in every newspaper and on every television newscast.

My question, when did Americans become so dependent on someone else saving them?  When did the answer become “government” to every problem we have.  What happened to “WE THE PEOPLE?”

For the life of me I can’t fathom why John Q. Public thinks the people that have screwed this country up can now suddenly come up with “The Answer?”  (Apologies to the real “The Answer” Allen Iverson.)

Does anyone in their right mind think the people that are in Washington, D.C. getting paid over 100K a year to spend our money are any smarter than we are?  Do you think they are somehow so caring and passionate that they can divine a program or law that with the waving of a magic wand make it all better?  From my experience, it’s government that usually makes things worse.

All those in government think about is how to spend our money to help the poor schmucks that didn’t have the intelligence to become politicians or government workers.  Do you realize that the #1 employer in the United States is GOVERNMENT!  Put all those that receive a paycheck from any level of government together and you’ll find that an entity that creates nothing spends most of the  money earned in the United States!

I realize times are tough, believe me I do.  I’ve been what I like to call “under-employed” since February of 2008.  I haven’t been without a full time job since I was in college, but I am now. Yes it’s scary.  Yes I ask myself many times how am I going to pay the bills.  However, I never ask the question “When is the government going to save me?

I’ve been networking, learning, reading, talking and finding a way on my own to make a living and hopefully thrive.  I try and use all the resources that are available to me to put together a plan and use the talents I have to move forward.  I also work with others that helps enhance my effort  and theirs with new opportunities.

That to me is the American Spirit that use to be what drove this country.  We were the “Can Do!” people.  Nothing could stop us.  We got knocked down, we got up, dusted ourselves off, and worked even harder than before because that’s what Americans did!  I just wonder when did we lose that spirit?

Have we become so use to getting everything we want without working for it that we expect handouts all the time? (Mom and Dad did you ever not give your son or daughter that iPod or cell phone or PS3 they wanted because they didn’t earn it?)

Sure it’s a lot easier to turn to the government and say “Save me” and many see nothing wrong with that.  Just remember for the government to give you something they have to take it from someone else. The “government” has no money because they don’t produce anything.  However, Americans do produce something, in fact they produce every bit of wealth that has made America great! 

It’s time for all of us to return to the true American Spirit, grab our bootstraps, stare adversity right in the eye and tell the world “We are Americans!” and we will come back even stronger thanks to our own spirit and ingenuity not the kindness and largess of the government.

Crossing the journalistic line

•December 23, 2008 • Leave a Comment
Rob Parker-Detroit News columnist

Rob Parker-Detroit News columnist

Crossing the journalistic line.

That’s what Detroit News sports columnist and ESPN contributor Rob Parker did Sunday when querying embattled Detroit Lions coach Rod Marinelli on the team’s latest loss and the embarassing performance of the defense. 

Parker wasn’t satisfied with pressing Marinelli for an answers to several questions on the game and the performance under defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who happens to be Marineli’s son-in-law.  The line was crossed when Parked asked Marinelli if he thought his daughter should have married a better defensive coordinator and to their credit, the crew on Fox NFL Sunday called him out. (Watch video of Rob Parker questioning Rod Marinelli.)

As you heard if you listened to the clip, Marinelli bit his tongue at the time.  But 24 hours later on Monday, he did react, and did so as any father I think would.  (Detroit News Story)

There is no question Rob Parker crossed the line.  Criticizing a coach or player about their play is legitimate.  Bringing family into the equation is not.

For Rob Parker, stirring up controversy is nothing new and one has to wonder if it is planned to help increase his national stature and lead to possibly more appearances and work on ESPN.

Apology for false claims against MSU football player

Wikipedia-Rob Parker Controversies

The sad thing is that many in the Detroit community are cheering Rob Parker today for his questioning of Rod Marinelli and snicker at the questions concerning Marinelli’s daughter. 

I’m not sure what they want Marinelli to say!  Should he say “we suck,” “we’re the worst team in the history of the NFL,” “I am the worst coach in the history of the NFL and I resign now?

Rod Marinelli is not a stupid man.  He knows the NFL is a performance business and that he and his staff have one more week in their current jobs before being shown the door.  However, he refuses to throw his team or his coaches under the bus.  For that, I applaud him.  He’s shown character where others would be trying to find a way to cover their backside and blame everyone but themselves.  Marinelli has never done that.

Unfortunately, Rob Parker couldn’t follow that example of following the high road and went for the cheap laugh or dare we say it, the “YouTube Moment” with his question about Marinelli’s daughter.  Parker has gotten his national attention (just Google Parker’s name) but not for being an outstanding journalist.   Hopefully he is being honest when he says he apologizes (read apology in Detroit News) for asking the question. You be the judge. I say Parker got exactly what he wanted..to be in the spotlight, journalism be damned.

 

 

A big shoe falls as 2009 Detroit Grand Prix cancelled!

•December 19, 2008 • 3 Comments
Shock.  That’s the only word to describe what I felt when WXYZ TV in Detroit Thursday evening announced that the 2009 Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle was being cancelled. Not believing what I heard, I checked with my main Indy guy Robin Miller, who confirmed it, and moments later, a story appeared on-line at the Detroit Free Press.

Two years ago, Roger Penske brought back racing to Detroit and Belle Isle by spending at least 7 million dollars of his own money to turn what was a joke of a race facility into a crown jewel.  Fans came flocking back.  Both years Saturday and Sunday were sold out, but now the economy has done in even The Captain.

I’ve been proud to be part of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix the last two years as the lead track announcer.  I was proud of what the facility on Belle Isle had become, world class.  I was proud that Detroit was able to shine worldwide on television with visuals that rivaled Formula One in Monaco.  Now, that is all gone.

This decision had to be one of the toughest that Roger Penske may ever have had to make. 

Roger has become the biggest cheerleader for beleagured Detroit that there is.  From first being the Chairman for Superbowl XL that through his leadership had even Detroit bashing media types singing the praises of Motown by the end of their stay here, to spending his own money with no hope of ever getting any back on the Detroit Grand Prix, Roger Penske has done his all for his adopted home.

Roger Penske doesn’t fail, or if he does, he makes sure it doesn’t happen again..  The only time I can remember of failure was at Indianapolis when his cars shocked the world by not qualifying for the 1995 Indy 500.  He didn’t get a chance to overcome that failure until 2001 thanks to the CART/IRL split and only had his cars finish 1-2 in his return to the Brickyard.  I’m hoping history repeats itself and in 2010 Roger Penske triumphantly announces the return of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.  Until then, thanks Roger for not giving up on Detroit.  We won’t give up on you or the Grand Prix.

STATEMENT FROM ROGER PENSKE

DETROIT BELLE ISLE GRAND PRIX POSTPONED FOR 2009 

DETROIT, Mich. (December 19, 2008) – Officials for the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix announced today that the 2009 event will be postponed due to the difficult economic conditions prevalent in southeast Michigan and across the nation. 

“The economic environment that our region, state and country faces, both today and in 2009, is difficult,” said Roger Penske, Chairman of the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “It is unfortunate that we must postpone the 2009 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix as sponsorship opportunities and support has proven to be very challenging for the event in the near term.” 

The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix has brought tremendous benefit to Belle Isle Park and to the region since the event returned world-class auto racing back to the Motor City for the first time in more than six years in 2007. Both the 2007 and 2008 races established themselves as one of Detroit’s most popular summertime events, featuring both the American Le Mans Series and the IndyCar Series. 

Over $7 million in infrastructure improvements have been made to Belle Isle since the return of the Grand Prix, including the paving of roadways, repairing or replacing damaged lighting and drainage, landscaping, the renovation of the Belle Isle Casino and Scott Fountain and the installation of pedestrian bridges, children’s playgrounds and irrigation systems on the island.  

According to a joint study conducted this year by the event and the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau (DMCVB), the Grand Prix generated over $55.2 million in economic impact for metropolitan Detroit in 2008 and another $12.8 million in direct spending throughout Detroit and its surrounding tri-county area. 

This year’s study by the DMCVB also revealed the Grand Prix helped attract thousands of visitors to the area as 28% of event attendees came to Detroit from outside the tri-county region and 52% of those visitors came from outside the state of Michigan. 

“I want to thank all of the fans that have supported the 2007 and 2008 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix events,” said Bud Denker, Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Event Chairman.  “Over 100,000 people attended each of the past two Grand Prix races and we are hopeful we can extend the excitement of world-class racing on Belle Isle in the future. We also want to thank the City of Detroit, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the City of Windsor for their partnerships. The Grand Prix would not have been possible without the support of more than 50 corporations including Bridgestone/Firestone, Bosch, Comerica Bank, General Motors, Meijer, Caesars Windsor, Charter One Bank, Pepsi, MGM Grand Detroit and many others. Finally, the over 1,000 Grand Prix volunteers were the best ambassadors of any race in North America and we say thanks to them. If the economic conditions improve, we hope to be able to bring the event back to Detroit in the summer of 2010.” 

The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is a 501(c)3, non-profit corporation and a subsidiary of the Downtown Detroit Partnership. 

Further information on the future of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will be announced in 2009 and will be found at the event’s official web site, www.detroitgp.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detroit Public School Board-The joke that keeps on giving!

•December 16, 2008 • 1 Comment

I’ll admit I’m a white male Detroit suburbanite.  I have no children enrolled in the Detroit Public Schools.  I pay no Detroit City taxes, although I once did as an employee that worked within the city boundaries.  However, the sad joke that is the Detroit Public School Board affects my life and the life of the entire Southeast Michigan metroplex.

Graduation rates are around 25 percent.  Buildings are falling apart.  Text books are inadequate.  School violence rears its ugly head on an all too regular basis.  Enrollment is quickly dwindling as people leave Detroit looking for jobs or, more importantly, better schools.

In the midst of all these problems, what does the Detroit School Board do?  Fires Detroit Public School Superintendent Connie Calloway after a year and a half on the job, because they’ve suddenly realized the school is 400 million dollars in debt!

I’d go into the details of this more, but why bother.  It’s the latest excuse of the week to do nothing to improve the not even Third World nature of the Detroit Public Schools.  If you want to see what passes for school board leadership you can read the “details” here.  (Detroit Free Press article)

The school board is a joke.  It seems as each board member has his/her personal agenda and almost none have the students welfare as their main focus.

Without quality education in Detroit, the city will never turn around.  Would you want to move into a city that has no quality schools, education achievement going down, and the physical welfare and safety or your son or daughter a daily concern?

I’ve now watched the Detroit Public School board in action for 20 years and not one thing has changed.

The State of Michigan took over the system for several years but they also ran into intransigent public officials, church/community leaders, and teachers’ union.  The State currently is taking over the fiscal area of the school system since the Board can’t seem to make any decisions to fix the multimillion dollar deficit they face.

The DPS  board fights charter schools. They fight change.  They even fight amongst themselves! 

What the Detroit Public School system needs is strong leadership that isn’t worried about upsetting the apple cart.  Leadership that isn’t afraid of various community factions that have their own agenda.  Leadership that isn’t looking for political advantage.  Leadership that has only one focus, the student and making life better for them through the quality education each American is entitled to have.

Will it happen?  One can hope and pray, but so far neither have been answered, but the fight must continue or we are all to blame.

The Death of Journalism

•December 16, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I have said for several years that journalism is dead.  I came to that conclusion by watching the continual dumbing down of reporting on television, both local and national, and the lack of substance and depth in reporting on radio.

Although my major was radio and television and political science, I did take several classes in journalism during my days at Indiana University.  The journalism school building was named for the great World War II reporter from Indiana Ernie Pyle.  I’m just glad that Mr. Pyle isn’t around today to see what the graduates of that once storied program and others like it around the United States now consider professional journalism.

A good friend of mine, Mike Knight, wrote on his blog Monday a brilliant indictment of journalism in America of 2008.  I cannot even come close to being able to put anything into words as well and as poignantly as Mike has done.  Therefore, please read his blog for yourself  (Mike Knight’s blog ) and shed a tear for the death of the American institution known as journalism.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Senator Harry Reid!

•December 12, 2008 • Leave a Comment
Harry Reid tells us what he thinks of us!

Harry Reid tells us what he thinks of us!

Unlike many in the media, I wanted to see who voted and how on the cloture motion in the U.S. Senate Thursday night for cloture on debate about the Big 3 bridge loan package, and found a few interesting results.  (Click on this to see the actual vote tally.)

The vote was 52-35, 8 shy of stopping debate.  There were 12 Senators that did not vote.  (Only 99 eligible after Barack Obama resigned his seat.)

Among those not casting a vote, Vice-President elect Joe Biden, and big Dems and “friends” of labor Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.  But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid topped them, he voted against cloture!  Yes, he voted not to cut off debate and then went on the Senate floor decrying what had happened!    (Video of Senate comments)

Okay, those four votes would have made it 56-31 in favor of cloture, still 4 short, but they should not be blasting away for political gain if three (Biden,Kennedy,Kerry) couldn’t find the time to cast a vote, and Harry Reid voted against it.  Isn’t voting on big bills, especially one that could save millions of U.S. jobs what they say they are all about?  Hypocrisy, you be the judge.

My email to Saul Anuzis, Michigan Republican Chairman

•December 12, 2008 • 1 Comment

This morning, I sent a brief email to Saul Anuzis who is the Michigan Republican Party Chairman and is running for the national chairmanship.  It was brief and to the point.

Saul:
 
I would consider myself a Republican, however, what the southern Republican Senators have just done to the US car makers is unforgiveable and will also mean the Republican party will lose any union support it ever got.
 
This mess is now entirely laid at the feet of the Republican party.  It reinforces the myth that Republicans don’t care about every day people.  I’ll be amazed if a Republican can come close to winning state office In Michigan for at least a decade.
 
I could have said more, but why?  If Saul doesn’t understand the devastation this move has done to Michigan himself then indeed there is no hope for the Republican party.
I have never given out someone’s email address in a mass posting, but Saul Anuzis is a public figure and a voice in the Republican party.  Please, if you are sending him an email be civil and make your point as an intelligent person.