Your move, civic leader Peter Karmanos
Famous compuman and destroyer of the Hartford Whalers, Peter Karmanos, must have done something really, really awful. Convicted felon Kwame Kilpatrick has pictures. Or, at least, copies of dubious no-bid contracts. That explains why Karmanos hired the convicted perjurer but it doesn’t explain why he hasn’t yet fired Kilpatrick. Zero sales in six months as a Compuware salesman? Dude owes a million dollars to the city he bankrupted (the city Pete Karmanos claims to care so much about) and he’s doing everything in his power not to pay it back. Even it means violating probation. What happened to Karmanos’ claim that Kilpatrick had to keep his nose clean?  (Freep)

Who needs college with so many jobs available on the line

There are a few things state governments should do well. Keep the roads paved for instance. People like paved roads. Educate the children so we don’t end up like Mississippi. That would be a good idea. Except we’re not going to do that. Properly educating Michigan’s young people would be expensive and really what’s the point? They can all get jobs on the line after high school anyway. Frankly that’s better because a lot of these college kids can’t even change their own oil. It’s all book smarts which, as everybody knows, is basically worthless. Get a job on the line and you’ll learn some street smarts. That’s an education that will cockpunch you last you for a lifetime. (Crains)

Nobody cares about dumb Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder used to run that crappy computer company with boxes that looked like cows. You know the one. It’s too awful to mention. But the point is, he moved to Ann Arbor and wants to be the governor. That’s why he’s running as a pro-choice moderate in the Republican primary. Don’t worry, he’s going to throw a ton of money at the race and everyone will want to vote for him. You know, Dick DeVos-style. Just be patient. Even though he’s only at 2% in the polls, with three serious candidate far ahead of him, it’s a long way until 2010. There’s plenty of time to throw more money at this race. (Freep)

Dave Bing does not care for your crappy cubic zirconia jewels
Free Press business reporter cheerleader Tom Walsh took time out from servicing Dan Gilbert to interview Mayor Dave Bing. Walsh didn’t ask Bing about Quicken’s smooth transition from (euphemism for a not-subprime lender) to a “plain vanilla” mortgage originator. They did talk about Belle Isle and Dave Bing delivered. He says people treat the place like a dump and it’s gross and it has to stop even if that means charging an access fee to use the island. How dare he say Belle Isle isn’t perfect in every way? Oh sure, it operates in a deficit and people like to throw their empties and used condoms everywhere except the trash but it’s our park-jewel so we can do what we want. (Freep)

Al-qaeda’s West Virginia cell planning attack at the Big House
You can’t bring bags to Michigan Stadium for Saturday’s game because the terrorists may use your bag to blow up Michigan football. Or maybe you are the terrorist. The point is we can’t let the terrorists win. Until the evil doers are flushed from their West Virginia mountain hide-outs, no bags at Michigan Stadium. This terror cell is angry that Michigan stole Rich Rodriguez. See everything in West Virginia is named after Robert Byrd or Jerry West. A big-time football coach would give them someone else to name stuff after. Michigan, with its “leaders of the West” decadence, stole Rodriguez from this simple third world people. Michigan grad students will protest in solidarity with the peoples of West Virginia and their jihad of the pigskin. (Freep)

Categories : State of the State



In case you’re wondering why I skipped the DPS audit story, I read it this morning and spent 20 minutes staring at the screen trying to find someway to be funny. In the end, I just punched the wall and wished it was Ken Burnley’s face.


I listened to Bob Bobb’s interview on NPR yesterday, it was a pretty good interview. We should ask Obama to appoint him as the Socialist Czar of Detroit Public Schools.

To comment about the education funding cuts, can we stop paying the Senate and House? That would patch a pretty big hole in funding, and its not like they’ve done a fucking thing in forever. How many times has shit like the smoking ban gone before them, and they pass it then let it die? I’d like to see some follow through from, you know, anyone. Fuck our politicians so much.


motz, I agree. I think the legislature should work for tips. We’ll pay them by the bill, the more meaningful/useful the legislation, the more we’ll chip in. I’d totally throw an extra $2 on the table for a smoking ban!

One more idiot with an opinion and a keyboard
September 24th, 2009 at 11:45 am

West Virginia really is U-M’s Triple-A affiliate now. Not only did the Wolverines promote the Mountaineers’ football and basketball coaches to big-time college sports, U-M is grooming Jeff Anderson to take over at Yost Ice Arena in a few years after Red Berenson retires.


can we clone robert bobb and have him in every position of local government? life would just be easier. and a lot less corrupt.


It’s easier to cut than build.


First, I am a DFT member. Second, I agree that most of what Bobb has done has been good and and needed doing for a long time. Many, most of the financial cleaning up he’s done, the DFT has clammered for for years. Lots, there is a serious issue that underlies Bobb’s role that needs to discussed.

Bobb’s appointment and powers are the result of the collapse of a functional civic society in Detroit. Bing’s appeal is that he’s a watered down Bobb. When it takes strongman rule to clean things up, democracy and civic responsibility are swept aside. People flop back on their sofas, fat and lazy, applauding the autocrat’s broom as it sweeps up the mess the people allowed to overwhelm them. When the autocrat’s broom sweeps up some of the people, the others clap and say, “About time.”

The problem is that Bobb, as tyrant, gets to decide on his own what needs sweeping up. He decides what replaces the old system. He decides anything and everything. Omniscience is a lot to ask of Bobb – especially when he’s busy walking on water.

In a few short months, our heroic Cinncinnatus returns to DC or Oakland. What happens next? Granholm, Duncan, Bing – Democrats all (well, I suspect Bing’s a Repub) – have abandoned democracy and want Bobb’s sceptre passed to the Mayor. What’s missing is any belief that Detroit will ever be a functioning society. They’ve thrown in the hat. If they’re right, then what are we doing here? What’s the point? Is laughing at the corpse that amusing a pastime?

Maybe our Democratic leaders are correct and democracy has failed in Detroit. After all, our elections are often the electoral equivalent of jury nullification. Maybe it will take tyrants to make Detroit work. If so, don’t complain when the next Kilpatrick treats the city like it’s his mother’s purse and he’s hungry. That’s the problem with strongmen, there are always more Kwame’s that Bobb’s.


Hey, Teach. You’re a member of the DFT and you can’t use your goddamn apostrophes correctly (Kwame’s/Bobb’s)? Maybe you’re what’s wrong with DPS.


Or spell “clamored.” Aaaannnnd that’s why this parent of school age kids is shelling out for parochial school and getting the hell out of the city as soon as we can get out of our house (right now it’s worth less half of what we paid for it seven years ago). The DFT has been the problem and not the solution going back at least 20 years.


As for “democracy” vis a vis school systems, who’s to say we must have an elected school board for any given geographic location? Is it really necessary to have a school board “decide” kids should be taught math or how to read?

When you look at it, what real value do elected school boards add to the process? Once you determine what value they provide, then you can ask if an elected board is the best method or if there’s a better way to get the same results.


All the white kids who moved to Chicago and live in the city could care less about the schools. Just sayin’.


I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss Teach’s point about one person in total control of the schools. That said, Bobb isn’t here indefinately. His one-year term does act as a check on his power. And let’s be honest, everything else has failed. DPS is going a detox right now. Ask any heroin junkie. Detox is painful.


I’ll take the benevolent ditatorship of a Bobb over the Lord of the Flies style of management that has run DPS any day. Its disingenuous to decry the autocratic powers of Bobb when the electorate has long abdicated their own power.

The babysitter has arrived and if you don’t like it, act like a big kid so the parents don’t have to hire one. Don’t whine about the babysitter setting your bedtime.


My stance is if Bobb is doing a better job than the democratically elected individuals did, then good for DPS. Let him do what he needs to do, get some people locked up, etc, maybe he will remain around for another term, maybe not. Its not the worst thing that could happen to the DPS, because frankly, the worst thing that could happen, already did.


Perhaps some of the folks who favor the strongman theory of governing have forgotten that DPS had another appointed strongman just a few years ago: David Adamany. He didn’t have quite the sweeping power that Mr. B has, but he did straighten out the financial mess. He also got rid of some of the more egregious administrative leaders, appointed on the basis of their time-honored “friends, family, and fraternity” qualifications , e.g. Alonzo Bates’ nephew, who no doubt became a central administrator on the basis of his wealth of experience as a substitute teacher for a couple of years. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long after Adamany’s departure for a return to business done the old way.

I like most of what Mr. Bobb has done, but it does have a hint of business as usual. His lead associates were hired without advertisement of their positions, for example. Things like that leave me deeply ambivalent about permanent change in the District.

Mr. Bobb will leave. Mayors will come and go, too, and we can’t depend on more Mr. Bings to keep things on the straight and narrow, or any mayor to be free of local political pressures. I think we’ll have our opportunity to see how well Mr. Bing will serve if he steps into that role. And I’m not sure I’ll like a future school dictator as much as I am pleased with Mr. Bobb. In that I agree with Teach’s perspective. That may sound disappointing, discordant, even disaffected, Mr. Rakestraw, but it isn’t disingenuous (look it up).


Yuri and Amy, I am a lousy typist. I was deciding between saying “Kwame’s people” and “Kwames” plural, and I slipped. The result was a mistake. Yes, I misspelled “clamored.” Guilty as charged. This is a blog, and MLA style hasn’t taken hold yet. But you are right – those errors invalidate everything I said. I’m sure parochial school will protect your children from my wanton spelling and grammatical errors. I will quit my teaching job on Monday and the DFT will disband in disgrace. I will then preform seppuku or suduko (I always get them mixed up.) That should solve all the problems in DPS.

If I were still a composition instructor at WSU (so be sure you don’t send your kids there either) and was grading your comments, I’d hand them back and say, “Very cute, but you failed to engage the argument. Try again.”

Some guy: The last thing I intended was to defend the practices of the DPS school board in the nearly twenty years I’ve been in Detroit. The school board should have no say in instructional issues or daily operations. The School Board’s job is to select the Superintendent and monitor his or her progress. The job is a public service. Board members should be unpaid and have no staff. They should have no role in how the District spends its money.

The democracy I was talking about is not just the electoral version, but the wider sense of the word. The citizens of Detroit must become involved in cleaning up the mess in DPS instead of waiting for Bobb to do it.

Two examples: Last night, someone broke into my school and stole 12 computers and some personal items belonging to teachers. I know that there are people in Detroit who know who did it. Turn them in.

My class has 29 students. Eight are extremely disruptive and occupy at least 1/3 to 1/2 of my time. The community and parents have to step up and establish an environment that will not accept such behavior. (We also need more social workers and psychologists in the schools, but most have been laid off.)

I’m speaking of a wider democracy – a democracy of individual and group responsibly. That is what at risk when relying on one-man rule.

Ansel: I was trying to point out consequences of Bobb’s appointment. As I said, I mostly agree with Bobb’s actions. My concerns are about what will follow Bobb. As RKC points out, Adamany’s reforms lasted little time at all.

WF and motz: It may be the case (I suspect it is) that things had gotten so bad Bobb’s appointment was necessary. Granholm could have done much worse than Bobb (see Blackwell in HP). My concern is that if we fall in love with despotism, think what who we will get when Governor Brooks Patterson appoints Bobb’s successor.

Everyone: Thanks for the exchange of views. I hope I did you comments justice.


“You comments” should be “Your comments.” I really need new fingers.


@Teach, Governor Mike Cox will keep Governor Brooks Patterson in line. Sigh.

I don’t disagree with what you’re saying about engaging the wider community but I think, given the extreme mismanagement of directly elected leadership and gubernatorial and mayoral leadership, appointing a competent administrator with sweeping temporary power was necessary.

Ideally, Bobb’s replacement will be a more collaborative leader but that’s a double edge sword. Collaborating with parents and teachers in the democratic model you envision would be great. Collaborating with the usual political swine that have robbed Detroit’s schoolchildren and teachers (see: Farbman, David; Murray, Reverend David; etc etc) would be collaboration of the Field Marshal Petain variety.

History tell us that the mayoral appointed superintendent may no be any better than the school board system. My own hope is the Obama folks can find some creative interpretation of Brown or something to federalize control of DPS.


My original post was provoked by the widespread praise of Bobb across a wide variety of forums as the be-all-and-end-all. I agree with the necessity of Bobb’s appointment. In an ideal world, people who steal from schools and ruin schools would be jailed (Farbman) and horsewhipped (Murray). I don’t think I’ve been very clear here. If it takes an appointed strongman to clean up the mess, can the city, school district, or whatever, ever recover? What is the cost of the abandonment of democracy? I’m no scholar of the history of these things, but the Highland Park, Ecorse, and DPS takeovers don’t offer much hope that the patient will recover from emergency surgery.

Setting Bobb aside, what happens when the appointed autocrat leaves the stage and the people must govern themselves again? Or does that time ever come?

Local control of education is an outdated idea that nevertheless has a great emotional appeal. We need a national curriculum and testing standards. That being said, a Federal takeover of DPS would be tricky, but since Detroit is largely irrelevant to most of the country, Obama might pull it off. In any case, I think that Obama, or at least, Arne Duncan, had a great deal to do with Bobb’s appointment.

Has Patterson pulled out of the race? I pulled his name out of air because I couldn’t remember Cox’s name. But it doesn’t matter. That political dynamo, John Cherry, will blaze past any Republican opposition, sparks of charisma positively leaping from his powerful frame, lighting the way to the rebirth of our great state.


No you are right, without a plan for a post-Bobb DPS then this effort will have been for naught.

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