Wait. Sorry. I shouldn't listen to New Riders while I'm blogging. I'll start over.
Every year along about this time the people who make news and the journalists (or what passes for them) who report on it return from vacation, During their absence, the volume of silly, irrelevant stories, focusing on silly, irrelevant people usually goes way up, and then, boom!, at the end of August, things get serious again. This morning, with my granola, I ran across all of the following, just in about ten minutes reading.
- Snarking about Detroit: First, the Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, said that he'd consider living in Detroit, but that he'd "...blow the place up and start all over." He attributed Detroit's problems to poor leadership. Not surprisingly, the man currently demonstrating the accuracy of that assessment, Detroit's lame-
assduck mayor, Dave Bing, says "Nuh-uh!". The best Bing could come up with as a riposte was to criticize Menino's use of the phrase "blow up", considering Boston's recent unfortunate incident. Classy, Mr. Mayor.
Then, not willing to leave well enough alone, the ex-Mayor of Milwaukee, John O. Norquist, weighed in, saying that tearing down the city is a "stupid idea".
This puts Bing in a difficult place, having on the one hand to resent the suggestion from one of his peers that Detroit should be blown up, while simultaneously hearing from another (ex)head of a
decaying Midwestern berg-on-a-lakemetropolis that his, Bing's, policy of tearing things down is "stupid." Tough place to be, especially since Mayor Bing is now mostly assigned to fetching coffee for Kevin Orr, the Emergency Manager.
- Not everyone, of course, is talking in these critical terms about the city. Beloved musical performer and one-time Pepsi spokesman MC Hammer publicly prayed for Detroit, saying "... Detroit still can't be touched!" We concur, in the same sense that it's inadvisable to touch a rattlesnake or in the sense your mother had in mind when she said "Don't touch that! You don't know where it's been!"
- Moving up to the state level, Michigan is apparently on a list of states (actually so are almost half of the rest of 'em) that "...do not require schools or day care centers to meet minimum standards to protect children during major emergencies...". This is deplorable, especially in light of recent disasters such as the continued threat from the legislature. "We just don't have any plan for dealing with these statewide attacks on our educational system," said a spokesman for Is-our-children-lerning?, a non-profit organization concerned with cuts in educational funding. "I mean, are you aware that unlike dozens of other states, Michigan has no plan for arming third-graders and sending them to Lansing?"