Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
New look, stellar musical acts, family fun activities set
Family fun and exciting entertainment return when the Motown Winter Blast, presented by the Ambassador Bridge, kicks off at Campus Martius in downtown Detroit, Friday, Feb. 10, and concludes Sunday, Feb. 12. Festival-goers will enjoy a lineup of favorite returning attractions and can expect a number of new activities. Making a welcome reappearance will be free snowshoeing, dogsledding and snowmaking.
“The stage is set and we are ready to deliver a high-quality show to downtown Detroit,” said Jonathan Witz, event producer. “(The) announcement speaks to the momentum behind this event. With so many community organizations and corporate citizens coming together to help put on the festival this year in spite of economic setbacks, we view our overall situation as nothing but a huge victory for the quality of life and a positive promotion for downtown Detroit and the region.”
The event hours will remain the same as last year: Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
NEW THIS YEAR: ‘READING IS A BLAST’
Literacy is not only crucial to success, but a lot of fun, too! This year, the General Motors Foundation will present “Reading is a Blast” to story lovers of all ages. The program will feature a children’s book collection drive to complement existing festival charity initiatives and will also make reading a featured event on the Winter Blast family stage.
CHARTER ONE BANK
Detroit’s signature winter festival boasts value-conscious activities for children of all ages. Festival patrons can ice skate for free at the Campus Martius Park rink for the entire festival weekend courtesy of Charter One Bank. This is the only weekend all year long that visitors can skate for free.
Beautifully carved and lighted ice sculptures again will be on display in the Greektown Casino Ice Garden.
Guests also will enjoy marshmallow roasting stations sponsored by Health Plan of Michigan. Positioned throughout the festival.
MUST GO ON!
Snowmaking also returns to Winter Blast with special snow cannons that will add to the festive, winter environment. Donated by Shanty Creek Resorts, the cannons will supplement any natural snow to guarantee snowshoeing and snowy hills for children to enjoy, as well as a snow blizzard for visitors to walk through during the event.
As part of its “Get Fit” campaign at Motown Winter Blast, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan once again will present free snowshoeing for the weekend.
AMBASSADOR BRIDGE COMFORT ZONES
Even with chilly temperatures, there is no need to feel cold as guests can find heat every 150 feet with the Ambassador Bridge Comfort Zones.
THE QUICKEN LOANS TASTE OF
Motown Winter Blast is pleased to bring back a real treat for festival attendees. The Quicken Loans Taste of Detroit will showcase the amazing array of culinary delights from around the metro area.
Motown Winter Blast is pleased to announce its best ever music lineup in the Ambassador Bridge Comfort Zones on three different stages,—all at no cost to attend. The voices and beat of music from many genres, including country, rock, blues, pop, acoustic, Americana, funk and soul, will resonate from three stages located in the Compuware Lobby and throughout the festival in the Comfort Zones, which provide a warm and cozy environment for listening enjoyment.
THE MICHIGAN LOTTERY STAGE
The Michigan Lottery Stage will showcase a high quality, eclectic lineup of performers in blues, rock, country, soul, funk and Caribbean music.
FLAGSTAR BANK STAGE
Festival patrons will enjoy pop, modern rock, acoustic, soul, indie, and Americana music by many outstanding performers.
THE WALMART STAGE
When the kids entertainment wraps up at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, the Walmart Stage inside Compuware will feature folk, rock, soul and world artists.
All family fun and activities will unfold on the Walmart Stage at the festival. Kids of all ages will enjoy the high-energy comedy and magic of Chris Linn’s Cool Tricks & Funny Stuff as well as the classic hijinks of Rosco the Clown and a Punch and Judy puppet show. Ventriloquist Vikki Gasko-Green and her colorful cast of characters will take to the stage throughout the weekend and will have every member of the family laughing.
Radio Disney will return for three hours on Saturday and Sunday, lineup of family fun and adventure in the form of science themed games and cool prize giveaways. Families will take part in an exclusive pre-premiere screening of Disney XD’s Lab Rats and one lucky family will take home an electronics and gadgets package sizeable enough to build their own bionic lab valued at $500.
HELP END THE CYCLE OF POVERTY
For the third consecutive year, Motown Winter Blast will partner with Matrix Human Services and the Grosse Pointe Rotary in support of “Breaking the ICE on Poverty” program. Volunteers from each organization will help collect children’s books, nonperishable food items, or one dollar at the festival gates as part of a special Motown Winter Blast “admission fee.” All donated items will be used to support a major service project that will fight hunger in metro Detroit and continue the festival’s commitment to fostering literacy.
THE OFFICIAL WINTER BLAST AFTER PARTY
Sure to attract the 21 and older crowd after hours on Friday will be the Official Winter Blast After Party at Greektown Casino, the place to warm up after Winter Blast. Located a short walk from the Winter Blast at Monroe, Greektown Casino is Detroit’s Winning Address and your spot for post Winter Blast fun. With more than 2,500 of the most exciting slots and video poker machines, action-packed table games and a live Poker Room, Greektown Casino in Detroit is 100,000 square feet of pure gaming thrills. Visitors will enjoy the Casino, watch the game at Shotz Sports Bar & Grill or dine at Bistro555. They also can stop by the Greektown Casino-Hotel booth inside the Taste of Detroit tent during Winter Blast to receive special invitations and coupons for food and drink specials.
MOTOWN WINTER BLAST BAR BLAST
Real Detroit Weekly and Greektown Casino-Hotel help festival patrons (21 and older) heat up Saturday evening with the official Winter Blast Bar Blast. The “Snow-Torius” pub crawl will feature a dozen of downtown Detroit’s most famous and infamous drinking establishments including The Centaur, The Town Pump Tavern, The Old Shillelagh, Delux Lounge, Big City Bar and Grill, Fishbone’s Rhythm Café, Dirty Trick, Bookies Bar and Gril, The Fountain Bistro, Pulse Lounge, Cheli’s Chili Bar, Asteria, and Shotz in Greektown Casino Hotel. Shuttle service will be provided. The cost of this event is $5.
SPEND THE NIGHT IN THE CITY
With all of the excitement of Winter Blast festivities and after parties, why go home? Organizers are again offering festival patrons the opportunity to “Spend the Night in the City” at Westin Book Cadillac Hotel Detroit at special Winter Blast discounted weekend rates.
In addition to the convenience of a mini-vacation downtown, the hotel indulges the senses with amenities such as contemporary rooms, flat screen TVs, guest room services, valet parking, indoor pool fitness center and spa. The Westin Book Cadillac Hotel is offering stays for $135, which includes complimentary overnight valet parking for one car.
The return of Winter Blast is made possible with the generous support of many corporate citizens, including The Ambassador Bridge Company, Michigan Lottery, Detroit Downtown Development Association, General Motors Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, US Bank and Greektown Casino,.
Also, Wayne County, Quicken Loans, Charter One Bank, Ilitch Holdings, Health Plan of Michigan, Marketing Associates, Walmart, Detroit Receiving Hospital, GalaxE.Solutions, MetroPCS, Brown Forman, Great Lakes Beverage and Pepsi, among others.
All weekend entertainment schedules and any additional information can be found online at www.winterblast.com. Motown Winter Blast is produced by Jonathan Witz, president of Jonathan Witz & Associates.
Originally created as the backdrop for Super Bowl XL, the festival attracted more than 75,000 people last year.
For additional public information, visit www.winterblast.com or call (313) 963-8418.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2012 16:58
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: News Briefs Written by Michigan Chronicle
The Michigan Chronicle’s “Pancakes & Politics” forum returns Monday, March 12, 7:30 a.m. at the Detroit Athletic Club with Gov. Rick Snyder as featured speaker.
The discussion on a plan to move Michigan forward opens the season with subsequent forums set for April 26, May 18 and June 15.
For tickets, contact Misha Helvey at (313) 963-8100, ext. 308.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 February 2012 17:44
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: News Briefs Written by Michigan Chronicle
The family of Samuel (Sam) Logan has created a scholarship in his name at University of Detroit Mercy. He graduated from the University’s College of Business Administration in 1973.
Logan served as publisher of the Michigan Chronicle for 40 years and was co-owner of Real Times, the parent company of the Chronicle and FrontPage, Chicago Defender, New Pittsburgh Courier and Memphis Tri-State Defender newspapers.
Named Publisher of the Year three times by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), he was also inducted in the Hall of Fames of Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Hall, Junior Achievement, the International Institute Foundation, and most recently, UDM’s College of Business Hall of Honor.
The Samuel Logan Scholarship at UDM will afford students with limited financial resources to attend the institution that he personally felt so strongly about. Diane Taylor, one of Logan’s daughters, also graduated from UDM with a degree from the College of Health Professions. Taylor explained, “He was extremely proud of his education here and showed his ring proudly to everyone.”
Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2012 15:31
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