Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
With George Lucas’ “Red Tails” soaring at the box office, the National WWII Museum announces its acquisition and restoration of a P-51 Mustang, the aircraft depicted in Hollywood’s drama about the courageous fighter pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
They were the first African-American aviators in the United States military. They comprised the United States Army Air Force 99th Fighter Squadron and 332nd Fighter Group and were trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama.
The museum’s P-51 D, an aircraft replete with authentic “Red Tail” markings, will hang in the new US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. The 96 ft. tall structure, built to house the institution’s spectacular collection of macro artifacts, opens on the Museum’s New Orleans campus Nov. 11, Veterans Day, this year.
“The P-51 with ‘Red Tail’ markings should be a symbol of pride for all Americans,” said Wendell Pierce, actor and spokesperson for the museum’s initiative to restore the plane. “But it is of special importance to Black Americans as it embodies the patriotism of these pilots, who did, indeed, prove that courage has no color. I am proud to help in the museum’s efforts to honor all African-Americans who fought for their country during WWII.”
Pierce’s father, Amos Pierce, was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 and was assigned to the famous 24th Infantry Division – the African American “Buffalo Soldiers” attached to the U.S. Marines that took Saipan from the Japanese in 1944.
With Black History Month approaching, the Museum is making a special effort to remind Americans of African-Americans’ contributions in WWII with a series of programs. These include an opportunity for children to build their own P-51 model plane as well as a lunchtime lecture about African-American veterans and their struggle for civil rights. Other highlights include:
• A display depicting the exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen as well as those of drivers for the “Red Ball Express,” which at its peak delivered over 12,000 tons of vital supplies per day to Allied forces rapidly advancing across France. The display opens January 20 and will be exhibited throughout the month of February.
• A free Electronic Field Trip for grades 7-12 called Fighting for a Double Victory: African Americans in WWII. Students will meet Pearl Harbor hero Dorie Miller, the Montford Point Marines, and the Tuskegee Airmen, learning of the struggle for racial equality in war factories and in the barracks and tracing the historic path from segregation to integration in the military and beyond.
Though restricted by segregationist practices and US military policies throughout WWII, black servicemen and women performed vital efforts during the conflict. Their successes helped to spur integration of the Armed Forces in 1948. Still, widespread recognition of the contributions of African Americans did not come quickly. Pierce’s father Amos, for example, did not receive his medals for combat bravery until 2009, after assistance from the Museum.
“African-Americans’ experience in World War II was a fight for two victories,” said Museum President and CEO Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller. “The first was to defeat the Axis. The second was for equal rights. The Museum feels it must always convey the story of this double victory so that young generations know and understand the challenges these Americans faced. Our P-51 will serve as a touchstone for that effort.”
The family of Museum board member Todd Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, has committed to donate $500,000 to fund the P-51’s restoration, which is expected to be finished in early 2013. The museum needs to raise another half-million dollars to complete the project.
“The P-51 is the iconic aircraft of World War II and the Museum would not be complete without one,” Ricketts said. “But beyond that, it is also important to recognize and honor the Tuskegee Airmen who furthered the American war effort, and civil rights for all Americans, by doing what they saw as their patriotic duty.”
“We can’t thank Mr. Ricketts and his family enough for their generosity,” Mueller says. “Because of this gift, museum-goers will be able to enter the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center and see a real P-51, not one generated by computer graphics. It’s history made real.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 February 2012 17:47
Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson
Tuesday afternoon, the majority of the Detroit City Council did not show up for a critical 1 p.m. meeting. What does that say about the council’s sense of responsibility to the city?
And when a city begins to weigh whether to close all recreation centers where our children find recreation, that city has really hit rock bottom.
You begin to wonder about those leaders who say they believe in the future of our children, yet want to close centers that provide an environment for children to find a sense of belonging in their city.
Maybe such a decision once decided upon will be a warning signal for parents to move out of the city because Detroit will be tagged as “the city with no recreation outlets for children.”
And that is where Detroit is in its present state, where the city council — the legislative body that is supposed to be the conscience of local government — is considering closing all recreation centers in the name of saving millions of dollars in helping address a ballooning budget deficit.
The council signaled last week that it could close all 19 recreation centers in Detroit. But that alone won’t address the growing financial crisis that could render the city financially impotent in April.
It is interesting that the legislative branch of the city is making these drastic proposals when they are yet to make any drastic cuts in their paychecks to demonstrate that public service means sacrifice.
At a time that Detroit, despite its financial woes, is still seen as a city coming back with investments from businesses and families being urged to move back in to the city, what kind of message is the city council sending to families when it’s debating shutting down all of our recreation centers that also benefit our seniors?
Do our leaders understand how to make cost-cutting measures that are difficult, but at the same time not render the city without needed services?
Are they thinking right while making these decisions or is it all emotionally driven?
Either way it does not make sense. You can tell the kind of investment a community wants to make for the future by the way it treats those who are the future — the children.
It’s amazing that anytime there are cuts — unkind cuts to be exact — that need to be made it always fall on, to use a Biblical term, “the least of these,” the most vulnerable in our community.
It falls on those who have either no voice, less opportunity or no oil to oil the wheels of their own lobbying to be heard by those in government. Part of the reason we call government the machine that oversees the welfare of the state is that government cannot escape its responsibility to those it derives legitimacy from.
Despite the crucial role that the private sector plays and must continue to play as an essential part of this city’s future, those who have been put into positions of power at city hall have an obligation to offer the community more sane and rational ways of addressing the structural financial crisis than proposing to close all recreation centers in the city.
I’m not opposed to hard choices. Just make them rational and common sense choices.
There is much blame to go around for the state of Detroit’s financial crisis which did not begin with the administration of Mayor Dave Bing or this city council. And it did not start with Gov. Rick Snyder either. While it is essentially a waste of time to blame anyone for the past misdeeds and financial miscalculations the city has made, those in charge now have an obligation to the community to do what is right.
Mayor Bing, city council and labor leaders have an opportunity not to leave Detroit’s ship at the middle of the sea like the Italian Captain Francesco Schettino, accused of abandoning his ship when it was sinking.
Bing has indicated that he is still working to arrive at some concessions. History dictates that sometimes these concession agreements are undermined by the kinds of personalities that are in the room doing the negotiating. But right now, all the parties need to move beyond personalities and whether they like the next person they are dealing with in these negotiations.
The people who are struggling and those families deciding whether to move out of the city, upon hearing council considering closing all recreation centers, as well as businesses that have already made significant investments, couldn’t care less about the personality clashes in the negotiation room at city hall. What they care about is that the leaders at city hall present an answer to the city that will make Detroit financially viable.
Their inherent dislike for Mayor Bing or any other person in the room should not stand in the way of making historic decisions for the city’s future. They should not think that if they walk away from the negotiations or refuse to attend council meeting they are making it harder for the governor or the mayor. It’s not only Bing or Snyder’s participation that will be judged by history, but everyone at the table, including those who did not show up to participate.
Two weeks ago I spoke at Henry Ford Health System’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. The theme was “The Time is Always Right to do What is Right.” That theme rings true in Detroit‘s present financial nightmare. We need our leaders to stand up and take correct action. Now is the time to do what is right. It always is.
Making the right decision should include an in-depth understanding that the city is still a marketplace where services have to be provided to taxpayers and those invested in the city. These are the customers. They deserve more.
While my nubian brothers and sisters continue to raise the constitutional and democratic questions about Detroit’s right to self-governance in the face of the posssibility of an emergency manager, it is also fair that we raise the leadership questions with the same zeal about Detroit’s right to get the best out of those it sent to city hall.
No matter the arguments on the importance of constitutional governance and its accompanying merits, we cannot do so absent of the conversation around leadership and management at city hall.
Indeed, if leadership at city hall had been at its best in the last decade and beyond Detroit would not be engulfed in its present state of affairs. And if the state had done what it should had done for the city, we’d certainly not be where we are at this point. So while the drumbeat for constitutional governance continues to echo loud in the wake of a possible emergency manager coming to Detroit, let’s also beat the drum for better leadership and management in Detroit.
The test for real leadership is currently being played out as we await a significant and meaningful resolution from the mayor, city council and labor to avert this catastrophe. Show us and prove the skeptics wrong that Detroit, in fact, has capable leadership who can keep the ship from sinking like the Titanic. Show us that Detroit’s leadership at this time of monumental crisis can cross the Rubicon with dignity, grace, fair play and common sense.
Anything less, I’d recommend that they read William Shakespeare’s book, “Julius Caesar,” to see how leadership evolves in different forms when everyone on board is headed to the same goal post.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 February 2012 17:37
Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson
In an exclusive agenda-setting interview Friday afternoon, Gov. Rick Snyder said the financial crisis in Detroit is one of his major challenges for 2012.
The governor said helping the city work through its financial mess before April when the city could run out of cash is not about controlling the city.
“And I always want to be careful,” Snyder explained. “It’s not about us running the city, but working in an environment that fosters a collaborative partnership arrangement, where we can be a supporting resource.”
Snyder said he understands how politics has been driving the conversation around Detroit’s financial woes, but noted that he chose Detroiters with deep roots in the city to help address the crisis.
The review team includes New Detroit, Inc CEO Shirley Stancato, Detroit Medical Center Chief Administrative Officer Conrad Mallett, former Wayne State University President Irvin Reid, former Marygrove College President Dr. Glenda Price, and former Detroit Police Chief Isaiah “Ike” McKinnon, among others.
“They’re doing this in a very objective way, to say this isn’t about race, this isn’t about any other feature. This is basically on financial facts,” Snyder said.
He noted that he is not meeting with the review team to influence and they each bring independence and credibility to the team.
Snyder said the state should not be the only one involved in helping Detroit emerge out of this financial nightmare, but every entity that’s tied to the investment and future of Detroit.
Public safety has been a major issue not only in Detroit but across the state, especially in urban centers where limited resources have affected effective community policing. The governor said he has a plan to do a special message on public safety in March.
“That’s one of the fundamentals that some of our cities need, to have better support, and we need more to resolve some of the long-term issues,” Snyder said. “Because I’m going to be clear that crime actually went down in Michigan last year, statewide. But four of the 10 most violent cities in the United States are in Michigan, and that’s not acceptable.”
Snyder cited Saginaw, Pontiac, Flint and Detroit as the four.
“I think that’s wrong,” Snyder said, adding that he won’t go through a lot of specifics during his upcoming State of the State Address, but will indicate that it cannot be accepted.
In his address to the state, Snyder, said “The way I view it, I’m going to get up and talk about the dashboard again. The dashboard I showed last year. I’m not going to go through every item, but I’m going to highlight some of the key ones that really stand out.”
The unemployment statistics will stand out in the governor’s address.
“We may actually have a newer number by next week,” Snyder said. “But right now, we’re at 9.8 percent. It’s the lowest level in three years. Major improvement over the last 12 months.”
But Snyder is especially concerned about obesity, pointing out that the Wolverine state is becoming more obese.
“If you think about it, if we could address that with programs like the Four-By-Four Wellness Plan I supported and I’m trying to lose weight on, we could dramatically cut our health care costs,” Snyder said. “And we all control that. So that’s something that we just need do a better job with as a state.”
Looking at 2011, Snyder said it was the year of policy changes, of resetting the legal regulatory framework of job creation in the state.
“We had a very productive year,” Snyder said. “We got a lot done” while adding that Michigan is becoming the place to be.
“One cool illustration was the Atlas Van Line thing that just came out,” the governor said, referring to the Allied Van Lines 44th annual Magnet States Report. “It’s not in our dashboard, but it showed for the first time in, I think eight years, the last eight years it had all been outbound. We’re not classified as inbound yet, we’re classified as balanced. We’ve reached a point of stability now where we have people coming back to Michigan because there’s opportunity here.”
The year 2012 is the implementation year.
“A lot of these things don’t even take effect until this year, but the other part is we’ve done a lot of those tough things and hit the reset button on a lot of them,” Snyder said. “You don’t just keep on moving the things around. You make sure you do them really well, and give them a chance to work, and you follow through.”
The governor said he sees 2012 as the year of good government, because “it’s about customer service government” and how his administration can empower the workforce as well as spend more time working with state employees and their working with local partners.
Any special challenge in 2012?
“This will be a job addition year, just like this last year was, in terms of good news going on,” Snyder said. “But the biggest single challenge, I would say, is this issue of our cities and some of our schools.”
Snyder also called for more collaboration and partnerships among municipalities in Michigan to share and consolidate their services to better serve their residents.
“One thing we did when we did last year’s budget is we set aside a $5 million pot for, essentially, governmental entrepreneurship,” Snyder said. “So, it’s basically saying ‘here’s a pot of one-time money that jurisdictions that come together can apply for on whatever idea they want, as long as it has a great return on investment, great value for the money for our citizens.”
Snyder said that he didn’t make it over prescriptive because he wanted to have various jurisdictions come up with ideas that they would own and execute without state intervention.
The governor cited as an example Grand Rapids, Lansing and Saginaw coming together to process their income taxes together, something he said other municipalities could do with each other for efficiency.
“Now that doesn’t sound real exciting,” Snyder said, but he noted that the state gave a grant that pays a significant amount toward such a project.
“It’s an example of success,” Snyder said, adding that the state has set aside $5 million and has received applications for $20 million, based on ideas various jurisdictions are coming forward with.
“That’s cool,” Snyder said.
A jurisdiction, he pointed out, doesn’t have to partner with a peer. It can be a partnership with the state itself.
“Again, it’s all about partnership without worrying about overdoing the boundaries and constraints of who you partner with,” Snyder said.
Snyder also wants to reform the criminal justice system in Michigan in 2012.
“Everything from prosecutors to jails to courts to corrections, to when people are out,” Snyder said. “We need to take a whole new look at that.”
The best way bring down the crime rate, he believes, is to have the person who would have committed the crime have a job, “so they never go there to begin with.”
With regard to regional transportation, Snyder said M-1 vs. a regional transit authority aren’t mutually exclusive.
“They can actually parallel path in many respects.”
Staff writer Rick Keating contributed to this report.
Last Updated on Monday, 30 January 2012 01:41
Category: Top News Written by Robert Weiner and Jaime Ravenet
Michigan Congressman John Conyers, Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, raised a compelling question in a conversation the other day: “Why do conservatives vote against their own interests?” If we can answer this, we might reach the common ground to solve the country’s economic, debt, and growing income disparity issues.
Let’s get this much out of the way: conservatives do vote against their own interests. Pundits on the right may try to undermine Conyers’ question as being couched in terms that favor the Democratic Congressman’s side of the aisle, but deflecting the question means explaining away historical facts. Under Democratic presidents since 1930, who pursued agendas emphasizing people programs while pressing tax breaks for middle and lower incomes and resisting tax breaks for the wealthy, the average GDP increased by 5.4%, compared to a 1.6% average GDP increase during the presidencies of their Republican counterparts. The Republicans moved to cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans and gained support by calling them “job creators.”
This data from the Commerce Department and OMB proves that business and the economy boom under Democratic presidents, but bust under Republicans. The data counters the Republicans’ claims that the rich tax cuts ever really “trickle down” or are good for business or anyone but the very rich. By the numbers, votes for tax-cutting Republicans since 1930 actually have been votes against businesses’ financial security. “Trickle Down” has not worked since Herbert Hoover tried it and failed.
So the question stands: why do conservatives vote against themselves? Inaccurately perceived self interest seems to be the reason. People want to get money from greater tax cuts if they are already wealthy (and if they are not, they believe the Republicans’ illusion that they will become rich quicker or make a company do more business by the policy). The accurate legacy of the Republicans tax-cutting agenda is smaller paychecks for the average American. The numbers are irrefutable.
The conservatives’ campaigns, when candidates can take time away from attacking each other, boil down to little more than incessant repetition of vague promises to resurrect the American Dream with pure rhetoric, beating voters over the head with tax-cutting.
Recent studies from both at home and abroad detail a disturbing trend: it is now harder to transcend class in the U.S. than in our Western European counterparts like England, Denmark, and Sweden. We no longer lead in our own American dream of upward mobility. We’ve done it to ourselves. There is an ever-growing “mobility gap” in the U.S. keeping poor people from being able to rise while keeping the wealthiest of Americans more financially secure. For the first time in generations, it is actually easier for people at the lowest income levels in those countries, which conservatives keep attacking in the debates as “socialist”, to rise than it is for Americans.
While both sides of any debate assume they are working with all the facts, conservatives are more likely to point fingers at President Obama than to address the fact that their tax-cutting programs amount to corporate welfare. As Bill Clinton says in his new book, Back to Work, the outcome of three decades of conservative fiscal policies focused on cutting taxes and deregulating industry has left voters facing high unemployment while executives collect six and seven figure bonuses. The top 1% in America increased their income 18-fold over the last 30 years while the rest of the country has stayed stagnant. The U.S. Government Accounting Office reported that tax policy favoring the rich has helped cause the income disparity and the highest poverty numbers since the Great Depression.
The Koch brothers have been exposed as major funders of the “grassroots” Tea Party movement – and the money has meant advertising, a big influence in how voters vote. When conservatives cut taxes on corporate bosses and defund social programs, the very-very rich get richer and everybody else – including the overwhelming majority of conservatives-- get poorer, yet conservative politicians somehow gain from that.
Conservatives campaign on promises of restoring the American Dream, but they ignore the facts concerning whom their policies actually benefit. In the end, their policies diminish overall economic mobility. When conservatives talk about “focusing on the family”, what they really mean is they want you to worry about your family to deflect the economic issues that they are not solving and in fact are making worse. If you are preoccupied with your empty wallet, you are less likely to notice their sponsors’ bulging pockets. The liberty conservatives espouse should actually cause them to support more equitable taxing.
So to answer Conyers’ question, conservatives must be voting to make the top 1% rich because under their policies, no one else ever gets there.
Robert Weiner is a former spokesman for the Clinton White House and U.S. House Government Operations Committee under Chairman John Conyers, political assistant for Sen. Ted Kennedy, and Chief of Staff of the House Committee on Aging under Cong. Claude Pepper. Weiner recently keynoted a national conference on faith and governance at Wayne State University Law School inspired by Bankole Thompson’s new book, “Obama and Christian Loyalty.” Jaime Ravenet, a graduate of University of Maryland in philosophy, is Senior Economic Policy Analyst at Robert Weiner Associates.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 January 2012 14:35
Category: Top News Written by Marcus Amick
From cool concepts to hot new production models, the 2012 North American International Auto Show kicked off Monday with a host of new vehicles that raise the stakes in just about every car segment.
One of the first vehicles unveiled at the show, which opens to the public Friday, Jan. 13, was the 2013 Dodge Dart. Based on Alfa Romeo DNA. The Dart seeks to redefine the idea of performance in the compact car segment.
“The all-new Dodge Dart is a groundbreaking car that will surprise and delight customers who want a no-compromise, fun-to-drive car that’s a great value,” said Reid Bigland, president and chief executive officer, Dodge Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “With 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color and trim options, three powerful, fuel-efficient engines, three transmission choices, unsurpassed safety features and world-class aerodynamics, the new Dodge Dart sets a new standard for the compact car class.”
As part of its strategy to focus on the “Next Gen” car buyers, Chevrolet unveiled two new concepts — Code 130R and 140S.
Code 130R, the first Chevrolet concept, is a four-seat coupe with a simple upright profile. Painted in an all-new red metallic paint with matte anodized gold wheels, Code 130R features heritage performance-inspired styling and rear-wheel drive. With an aggressive front fascia, Chevrolet fender flares, straight body side and Chevy crossflag emblem, Code 130R makes a link to Chevrolet’s performance heritage.
Tru 140S, the second Chevrolet concept, is a front-wheel-drive, “affordable exotic” four-seat sporty coupe.
The three-door hatchback was designed to be an attractive-yet-affordable sports car. Shown in an all-new matte white with Chevy performance chrome wheels featuring crossflag emblems, Tru 140S is designed to look confident, exotic, expensive and fast. Tru 140S is based off the same platform as the Chevrolet Cruze and the groundbreaking Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range.
Frank Saucedo, director of GM’s Advanced Design studio, California, which headed the design of the Code 130R and the Tru 140S, said the Chevy concept vehicles targeted at youth were developed from two years of research with individuals from ages 11 to 30.
“We talked to them and said, what are your needs, what are your lifestyles?” explained Saucedo.
One of the most surprising new unveilings at the 2012 Detroit auto show is the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion, the latest in a series of vehicles, which follows the launch of hot vehicles like the 2011 Fiesta subcompact and 2012 Focus small cars.
“Our vision for Fusion was clear — deliver the very best of what One Ford stands for,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development. “We brought our global teams together around a blank slate with the charge to develop a midsize car with groundbreaking design and jaw-dropping fuel economy — one that features technologies to help make our customers safer and better drivers. This car is the result.”
Other new vehicles unveiled at the show include the new Mercedes Benz SL 550, 2013 Audi A4 and the new 2013 Cadillac ATS compact sedan.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 January 2012 17:08
Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson
Monday, Jan. 16, is the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, the annual recognition of a man whose message was simple and to the point: a beloved community, where all of us can live in brotherhood and sisterhood, realizing that we are all wrapped in the same garment of destiny.
In that same vein, the GOP candidates running for the presidency will also honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by either taking a break from the campaign stretch or offer heartfelt words about King’s good deeds in the media.
Since it will make for a great sound bite, we’ll hear their take on race relations, America’s strides toward greater equality, and anything that moves us away from discrimination.
Some of them might even talk about how King’s work has personally transformed their views around the notions of justice and equity, as well as their positions on those ideas.
But beyond the expected sound bites about the grandeur of King’s legacy, the GOP presidential candidates need to match their words with action.
Unfortunately, none of the candidates — Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Ron Paul and John Huntsman — have offered anything in their plan to address inherent issues around race and gender discrimination in the nation.
In fact, throughout the campaign issues involving racial and gender disparity have been swept under the rug and only mentioned in passing.
Because these are explosive subjects with the potential to drown any candidate’s campaign based on how they approach the subject, they’ve left it alone. But this is the cornerstone of the legacy of the man they’ll talk about or honor next week.
King did not drag his feet on issues. He forced us to confront our own shortcomings and offered what he saw as a prescription to the maladies of race and gender inequality.
As the New South flexes its political muscles in this Republican primary ahead of the King Holiday, let it be clear that it was King, not any Republican president, who helped to create this New South after the Civil Rights Movement achieved the right to vote for African Americans. Though the Deep South still bears elements — in significant measure — of the past, it has come a long way including helping to put an African American, Barack Obama, in the White House.
Toward the end of his life, and in his defining book. “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” King sought to offer an economic vision that was based on the simple principle of equality for all. Some of the GOP candidates call that vision “socialism” in their bid to discredit President Obama.
But the reality is that the candidates cannot talk from both sides of their mouths in an era where race and gender discrimination and economic inequality offer proof that the nation still has to a long way to go with regard to full equity for all.
If we are to realize King’s dream, it is imperative that these candidates offer solution-oriented plans in line with the vision of the man they will speak so respectfully of next week.
You can’t say you are supportive of King’s dream when your plan for building America does not help advance African Americans and other people of color.
You can’t talk about your reverence for King and his equality message when you are mute on gender discrimination, with women getting paid less in the workplace.
You can’t tell the media King was an example for you growing up when your idea of an ideal society is one that excludes his message about the unfinished business of guaranteeing that every child has the basic necessities of life, including an empowering education in cites like Detroit. It’s one thing to codify those necessities to the notions of rugged individualism — often the nicely coined technical phrase — used frequently by some who want to abdicate social responsibility or others who want to show we each have individual strengths.
Regardless of what position you take on the notion of rugged individualism, we each have a responsibility and a legacy to create in our community.
King said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
And so do the candidates running for president of the world’s largest democracy. These individuals who are vying to occupy the White House cannot avoid questions that speak to the rapidly growing rainbow nation we are quickly becoming.
Anyone who dares to become president certainly has an obligation that goes beyond the political fanfare in Iowa and New Hampshire.
They must speak to the economic climate in Detroit and the rest of the hinterland. Every segment that makes up this democratic experience called America is important.
That is why in King’s honor, we owe it an obligation to those who are cut out of the social and economic engines of society, including children, to work for a fair society and guarantee them a meaningful future. And those who dare to lead and want to lead have no excuse but to do just that. They cannot call themselves leaders when they are ignorant of the basic rudiments of leadership: step up when others will not.
So far, the candidates in the GOP primary have offered nothing but titillating sound bites and a hate-filled and anger- driven rhetoric.
Maybe someone with a more rational view will emerge to advance the presidential cause of the GOP and at the same time speak to King’s dreams as we prepare to pay tribute to him.
King preached love. He accepted people of all stripe and never spoke ill of or talked down to them. He had the hallmarks of a leader. He said “a genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus, but a molder of consensus.”
It’s hard to find in this GOP primary who among the candidates can mold consensus.
They shouldn’t just talk about King to get political points. Rather, they should help fulfill his dream.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 January 2012 16:57
Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson
I’ve written many tributes about heroic men and women, but this is one that I didn’t imagine I would have to write so soon. It was only a month ago that I presented the Sam Logan Lifetime Achievement Award at the Michigan Chronicle Legacy Awards gala. Little did I know that would be his last major public appearance.
The fact is, Sam Logan’s passing is the end of an era for the Michigan Chronicle.
To say that Logan, the Chronicle’s longtime publisher and founder of the Michigan FrontPage, will be sorely missed is an understatement.
That this towering figure, who means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, will no longer be around a newspaper that was so closely identified with him seems surreal.
That the Michigan Chronicle will from now on operate in the shadows of a man who spent more than four decades at the paper, in the process becoming the personification of this media institution, is a reality everyone at 479 Ledyard now has to face.
Sam Logan was a man who not only transcended generations; he also took part in events that shaped generations, and in some cases created such events.
He understood the marketplace he was operating in and subsequently placed the Chronicle at the center as a leader on almost every issue that’s been crucial to Detroit and this region’s long political and social history as well as that of the nation.
No matter how controversial his positions have sometimes been, Sam Logan stood behind his convictions and did not waver in making his positions clear. Even when people vehemently disagreed with him, he took great satisfaction in knowing that he was making them think.
Such was the man who sat at the helm of a newspaper that has given African Americans a voice and place to express their views on life and death issues since 1936.
When institutions are wrapped around larger than life personalities, it becomes a challenge for those institutions to smoothly continue to function after the exit of those personalities. That explains why many in the community today feel so deeply about the passing of Sam Logan. As someone put it, in a sense Logan was the Michigan Chronicle for decades.
No matter where he stood on the ideological spectrum and using the Chronicle to convey his message, Logan was respected across the aisle. Not everyone liked his decisions, but almost everyone respected him for knowing how to stake his position.
At the Chronicle, we certainly have lost a giant, a friend and a professional colleague whom we enjoyed working with. Logan believed in his staff and knew how to appeal to the best of our skills and intentions. He knew how to utilize the talents and strengths of his team, a hallmark of a great manager.
Logan was seldom in contention with his staff. He was always cool about things and even when he disagreed with us, he was very careful about how he conveyed that disagreement to the rest of the team. The last thing he wanted was to make any staff members feel frustrated and unappreciated.
He knew how to recognize talent and provided an environment conducive to that talent growing.
The Michigan Chronicle was Sam Logan’s home. He lived and breathed the paper.
Whether he was showing up early in the morning or leaving late in the evening, the Chronicle was his world and he was very clear about how he wanted the paper to be perceived in the community.
During our conversations he would tell me that he did not want the paper to be seen as a special interest publication. The Chronicle, in his view, should cater to all sides of the ideological divide.
Notwithstanding its Black identity, Logan always ensured the Chronicle was also talking to people who had traditionally been outside the Black press coverage range.
He grew up in an era when the Black press was the only voice for African Americans and he fully understood the importance of that alternative voice. He pushed the Chronicle to continue that role, and at the same time remained cognizant of the fact that we live in an interconnected world where we are all affected, hence the need for the paper to reach out beyond perceived realms.
Prior to my arrival at the Chronicle as editor, I heard so many stories about Sam Logan. Even those who did not know him had something to say about him.
The first day I walked into his office after accepting the appointment, he embraced me as if we’d known each other for ages. It was like a reunion, and later that evening we went to the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC), one of his favorite spots, for dinner and further discussion.
Throughout the first four months into my tenure, he would invite me to meet him for drinks at the DAC. He would also invite some of his friends and associates to meet me because he wanted them to know who the new editor was and what to expect from him.
Our best performances were a source of great pride for him. I remember when I would come back from scoring big, often exclusive interviews he would savor every detail of how the interview went, leaving out no details. We always knew he had our back and his support was unwavering.
We would spend time together talking about the paper and its editorial positions. He understood that the survival and relevance of any media entity today hinges on its editorial sanctity. He guarded that. As he would always remind me, “Do not let anyone in the world tell you what to write or how to write it.”
So as we mourn Sam Logan’s departure with a great sense of professional and personal loss, we owe it to his legacy to continue in his indefatigable spirit to give voice in the community.
Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2012 12:03
Category: Top News Written by Carol Cain: Special to the Chronicle
Somehow heaven just got a bit more interesting with Sam Logan’s arrival Wednesday as the iconic 78-year-old publisher of the Michigan Chronicle transitioned from this world to the next.
How could it not be the case?
Mr. Logan, a beloved father and grandfather, impacted the Motor City and state of Michigan as few other individuals have during a 40-year career at the storied Michigan Chronicle and its sister paper, The Michigan FrontPage.
He impacted the region and state with his bold leadership and vision of a stronger city, one where the gap between rich and poor, black and white dissipated. One where Detroit Public Schools prepared all of our young people for the competitive global marketplace.
Through the years, Mr. Logan walked and talked with U.S. presidents, CEOs, world leaders, powerful religious and community leaders.
He was equally as comfortable at a community center on the east side of his beloved city talking to young people or seniors about issues confronting the African American community.
To Sam Logan, it was a matter of helping and doing what he could to make this city, region and state a better place.
He was also a beloved friend and mentor whose impact will forever be etched in my heart and in my soul.
In the often rough and tumble world of journalism, where legends are few and one’s heart often left on the roadway by the endless focus of glaring ‘gotcha’ headlines to sell papers or gain viewership, Mr. Logan kept his focus on simply helping.
Sometimes that meant putting a spotlight on issues that others might have decided wouldn’t sell papers like bragging about a children’s club helping the community.
But Mr. Logan was no pushover. He had a keen sense of news.
Because of his stewardship, the Chronicle dominated coverage about corruption in Detroit Public Schools a few years ago. He led the paper to score front page stories that led to criminal court cases.
He took no delight in that. Nor did he try to win journalism awards for it. Instead, Mr. Logan took comfort knowing it would be the kids and classrooms that would benefit as district dollars went where they rightfully should.
Of Pancakes and Politics
Mr. Logan and I would often talk about race relations – a topic that proved interesting to a black man from the south who came to the Motor City as a teen decades earlier and white woman who was born and raised on the east side of Detroit.
While many described the Chronicle as the largest African American newspaper in the state, Mr. Logan would tell me the Chronicle was in the business of providing information to the community, “the entire community… black, white and anything in between.”
Which brought us to a conversation six years ago when he and Hiram Jackson, of Real Times Media, parent company of The Chronicle, decided to start a community breakfast forum where leaders would gather and talk about vital issues.
To kick it off, they wanted to have then-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who had been bickering about Cobo Hall, discuss race relations and more.
Mr. Logan approached me about moderating "Pancakes and Politics” which was the name chosen for the event.
As senior producer and host of WWJ-TV CBS Detroit’s “Michigan Matters” I regularly moderated conversations as well as community forums for Detroit Economic Club, Detroit Regional Chamber and others.
But as the nature of our relationship went, I cut to the chase. I asked if he thought about the obvious. “I may be from Detroit and attended Detroit Public Schools, but, I am white.”
"Ms. Cain: you are looking for problems when there aren't any. I see you as the perfect host for our event," Mr. Logan pronounced. "I have fought my entire life to not have people judged by the color of their skin but their abilities. End of story."
We agreed to do the first one. Six years later, with governors, mayors, CEOs, religious leaders and more taking to the stage, “Pancakes and Politics” has been a runaway success due to Mr. Logan and Mr. Jackson’s efforts.
Mr. Logan and I talked last week about the upcoming “Pancakes” season.
He was enthused by the political prospects of 2012 – the presidential contest, Senate race and more. He also hoped to hear more about healthcare and auto companies.
He was excited about Detroit with the Ilitches, Gilberts, Karmanos and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores now in town.
The pieces were falling in place to take our region to the next level.
But the captain of the “Pancakes” team and Michigan Chronicle got the call. They needed him in heaven.
Despite the tears being shed over his passing, the Chronicle family will go on.
So too “Pancakes” and other community events and stories the paper will lead going forward.
See, Mr. Logan would be disappointed if this story ended any other way.
God Bless you and your family Sam Logan! You leave a wonderful legacy behind!
Carol Cain is the Emmy winning Senior Producer and host of WWJ-TV CBS Detroit’s Michigan Matters. She has moderated the Michigan Chronicle’s “Pancakes and Politics” since its debut six years ago.
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 December 2011 22:03
Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
Sam Logan's Family issued the following statement yesterday in regard to his death:
Hospice of Southeast Michigan
"It is with deep regret that we announce the death of our father and grandfather Samuel Logan, longtime and legendary publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. At 78 our father lived a fulfilled life of service to Detroit and this nation. We thank everyone for their prayers and support at this time of grief."
Funeral arrangements are listed below.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to:
Hospice of Southeast Michigan
Funeral / Homegoing
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Noon – 9pm
Swanson Funeral Home (Northwest Location)
14751 W. McNichols (East of Greenfield)
Detroit, MI 48235
Thursday, January 5, 2012
10am – 9pm
Swanson Funeral Home (Northwest Location)
14751 W. McNichols (East of Greenfield)
Detroit, MI 48235
Funeral / Homegoing
Friday, January 6, 2012
Greater Grace Temple
23500 W. Seven Mile Rd.
Detroit, MI 48219
Services Scheduled for Michigan Chronicle Publisher Sam Logan
Interim Publisher named
The Michigan Chronicle announced Thursday funeral services for Publisher Sam Logan will be held on Friday, January 6, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. at Greater Grace Temple located at 23500 W. Seven Mile Road in Detroit. Rev. Charles Adams, pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, will officiate the funeral.
The longtime publisher passed away unexpectedly Wednesday at the age of 78.
At the same time, the paper announced that Hiram E. Jackson, chief executive officer of the Chronicle’s parent company, Real Times Media, will serve as interim publisher of the Chronicle to assure a smooth and orderly transition in leadership at the paper.
“It is with profound sorrow that we confront the passing of our friend and colleague, Sam Logan” said Larry Crawford, chairman of the board for Real Times Media. "No words can adequately express our sadness. We will honor his memory by continuing to grow the newspaper he loved so much.
“The first step in that process is naming Hiram Jackson as interim publisher to assure that Sam’s mission of publishing a vibrant newspaper that serves Detroit is carried on."
"The state of Michigan has lost a giant," said Jackson. "Sam's dedication to the Michigan Chronicle was matched only by his passion for tackling tough issues for the betterment of the community to which he dedicated his life.
“I am humbled to be asked by the board to carry on his mission on an interim basis. I do this knowing that Sam’s first order to all of us at this time of great sorrow and loss for all of us would be to focus on continuing to get his newspaper out on time. We are going to do that."
As publisher of the Michigan Chronicle for more than four decades, Logan was no stranger to controversy. He often unabashedly expressed strong views on hot-button issues. He was most known for being a leading voice on many critical matters such as Detroit Public Schools, race relations and the future of Detroit. He was once quoted as saying, “I don’t worry about whether you agree or disagree or whether you like it. All I want to know is when I put something in writing, are you thinking? And if you’re thinking, then I’ve accomplished my objective.”
It was Logan’s conviction to being tough yet fair that made him a journalistic icon not only in Michigan but throughout the Black Press.
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 December 2011 17:11
Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
Gov. Rick Snyder issued the following statement regarding the death of Sam Logan, publisher of The Michigan Chronicle:
"Sam Logan was a pioneer in Michigan journalism and a courageous advocate for Michigan's African-American community. His leadership in Detroit and Michigan transcended politics and race. As a proud newspaperman, he was passionate about the public's right to know. Sam dedicated his life to providing his readers with solid, reliable information so they could make decisions that strengthened their cities. He was fearless when it came to taking a stand, and he did so out of a genuine love of Detroit and our state. Like so many others who were privileged to know Sam, I am deeply saddened by his passing. His lifelong commitment to serving his country and his community, as well as his spirit of entrepreneurship and business acumen, will remain an inspiration to future generations. On behalf of our entire state, I extend my sympathies to his family during this difficult time."
“Sam Logan was more than a Detroit icon, he was a respected pioneer in Black journalism who championed the need for coverage of a community not totally served by the mainstream media," said Mayor Dave Bing in a written statement.
“More importantly, Sam was a loyal friend who will be deeply missed by all Detroiters. My heartfelt sympathies are extended to Sam’s family."
"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Sam Logan. He worked tirelessly for his craft and was a man of extreme integrity. He has been a trailblazer in his field and an accomplished journalist whose legacy will live on for our community to learn from and be inspired by.”
- Robert A. Ficano, Wayne County Executive
"Sam Logan was a good friend whom I respected immensely. Detroit and the region have lost a strong voice and a committed advocate. In 2011, we lost Eleanor Josaitis, Arthur Johnson, and now Sam. We can't spare the loss of such leaders in our community."
- L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive
"We are saddened by the passing of Sam Logan, a pioneer in journalism, whose passion for justice and equality was infused in every issue of the Michigan Chronicle," said Jim Murray, president, AT&T Michigan. "Through his tough yet fair coverage of issues that affected our community, he empowered those who felt powerless and provided a voice to those who felt they weren't being heard. Mr. Logan will be greatly missed, but his legacy and influence will live on forever. On behalf of our employees across the state of Michigan and beyond, AT&T sends our condolences to the family of Mr. Logan, both personal and at the Michigan Chronicle."
- Jim Murray, president, AT&T Michigan
"I shared a friendship with Sam Logan for many years, on both a personal and professional level, and I am profoundly saddened by his passing. It is hard to imagine our city without this great man. There will be a void that will be hard for anyone to fill. Sam was truly unique, and very passionate about his work. He was always courageous and never shied away from an issue even if it was not popular. He challenged our thinking. I will miss Sam."
- Joyce Hayes Giles, Sr Vice Pres, Customer Service at DTE Energy
"Sam Logan was a dear friend and confidante who embodied community responsibility. To him, giving back was part of being a member of this community. He always did what he felt was best for Detroit, the region and Michigan. He took action to strengthen the community, promote minority business growth, and to improve the physical health and well-being of Detroit residents. It’s a shame to lose Sam at this critical time, when Detroit needs its strongest voices and most dedicated leaders. Detroit has lost a friend in Sam Logan, but it is my sincere hope that we all will carry a little piece of his spirit with us each day. The most fitting way for us to honor Sam is by following the example he set – standing up for the city he loved so much and continuing to take actions that strengthen and revitalize it."
- Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 December 2011 15:43
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!
- Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy, pension cuts (2)
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network among lowest priced health plans on Michigan’s ACA health insurance marketplace (1)
- WIGS 4 KIDS HOSTS TENTH ANNIVERSARY FUNDRAISING GALA (6)
- Charles Barkley ‘Agrees’ With GZ Verdict, Says ‘Black People Are Racist Too’ (2)
- Why France’s lens is focused on Detroit (1)