You are here

Detroit and Michigan

How San Francisco, CA is different from Midland, MI

Here are some things that I've noticed in downtown San Francisco (in the few blocks around the Hilton) that distinguish it from home.

  • Several massage parlors on every block.
  • Gratuitous honking of horns in traffic.
  • UGG boots on every hottie.
  • Indian Restaurants galore. Today I noticed one right across the street from another.
  • Four grown men (definitely not younger than high-school age) riding skateboards in the middle of morning traffic on Monday.

No to Discrimination

From an article in today's NY Times by David W. Chen titled "New Jersey Court Backs Full Rights for Gay Couples":

New Jersey's highest court ruled on Wednesday that gay couples are entitled to the same legal rights and financial benefits as heterosexual couples, but ordered the Legislature to decide whether their unions must be called marriage or could be known by another name. In a decision filled with bold and sweeping pronouncements about equality, the New Jersey Supreme Court gave the Democratic-controlled Legislature 180 days to either expand existing laws or come up with new ones to provide gay couples benefits including tuition assistance, survivors' benefits under workers' compensation laws, and spousal privilege in criminal trials... The New Jersey court did not go as far as Massachusetts, which in 2003 became the first state to permit gay marriage. Instead, it could be considered the new Vermont, which created civil unions for gay couples in 2000, in the politically, legally and culturally charged world of same-sex marriage... "We do not have to take that all-or-nothing approach," Justice Albin wrote of the marriage question in the majority opinion. "We cannot find a legitimate public need for an unequal legal scheme of benefits and privileges that disadvantages same-sex couples," he said. "We cannot find that a right to same-sex marriage is so deeply rooted in the traditions, history, and conscience of the people of this state that it ranks as a fundamental right."

In my opinion, that's the way it should be...states should have the right to define "marriage" as they choose, but they should NOT discriminate among their citizens based on sexual preference. Which brings me to another hot-button issue: affirmative action. In an opinion piece in The Chicago Tribune titled "Reverse discrimination gets another look", Steven Chapman discusses an upcoming ballot initiative in Michigan:

On Nov. 7, voters in Michigan will decide on a ballot initiative banning racial preferences in the public sector, and if it passes, opponents say, it will put the state back into the Dark Ages. Proposal 2 represents a reaction to the University of Michigan's use of racial double standards in selecting its students. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the preferences used in undergraduate admissions were unconstitutional but those used for law school admissions were not. The court said it was OK to favor minority applicants--and discriminate against whites--in order to promote diversity, as long as the school wasn't too blatant about it... The resulting measure...would amend the state constitution to bar the use of racial or gender preferences by public universities and government agencies. If it passes, no one would be penalized or rewarded for their skin color or sex. That was the point of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Today, though, colorblind policies are denounced as a form of oppression... At the University of California at Berkeley and at Los Angeles, California's most selective state schools, the percentage of students qualifying for need-based federal aid has risen sharply since 1996. In socioeconomic terms, those campuses have become more diverse, not less. But in Michigan, the concept of diversity begins and ends with race. The claim that women would suffer without special help in college admissions is a particularly outlandish invention. At Berkeley and UCLA, women increased their numbers after gender-based preferences were scrapped. There is not much doubt that Proposal 2 would reduce the number of black and Latino students at the University of Michigan, the flagship public institution. But in California, the top schools have not become replicas of Ole Miss, circa 1960. The biggest gainer has been another racial minority--Asian-Americans. Nor have African-Americans and Hispanics been exiled from higher education. The total number of blacks at all University of California campuses has fallen only slightly, and Hispanic numbers have risen substantially. The chief difference is that many (though certainly not all) minority students have been shifted from the most selective state schools to somewhat less selective ones. Are these students worse off for not getting into Berkeley or UCLA? Quite the contrary. In the old days, black and Hispanic students generally got worse grades and flunked out at much higher rates than whites and Asian-Americans. But that is changing... Racial preferences, always a clear detriment to whites and Asian-Americans, have now been exposed as a false friend to those they are supposed to help. Michigan will have a better future if its voters abandon this relic of the past.

I tend to agree. A case can certainly be made for the benefits of affirmative action, but in the end it's just too bass ackward to discriminate in the name anti-discrimination and diversity.

Renaissance Festival

Today we joined some friends at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. It's definitely an interesting crowd that you meet at a renaissance festival. It had been raining most of the day, so we also met quite a bit of mud. Why the the Ren. Fest.? Well the boys are all about knights and battles, they both recently filled up their good behavior charts so this made a good reward, and we were celebrating the rite of passage of Elliot starting kindergarten next Wednesday. The jousting was the most anticipated attraction. The kids ended up being most interested in the various games and the cheap plastic golden coins that you got as a reward for the games you paid to play.


representing us Welsh


Paul and Jack




Sir Elliot


Fairie Jon


Queen Lisa


Sir Paul

Here is a bit of jousting footage:

Michigan's Economy Improving

From an article in USA Today by Haya El Nasser titled "Michigan pulling itself out of slump":

Detroit, Michigan's most populous city, has shrunk by more than 50,000 people this decade to about 900,000. Its biggest industry, automobiles, has been battered by global competition. One of its largest employers, General Motors, lost $10.6 billion last year and has offered buyouts to more than 100,000 workers. But fresh county population estimates from the Census Bureau show modest turnarounds in several other parts of the state. Sixty of Michigan's 83 counties have grown this decade, and 19 had population gains of at least 5%... Michigan is moving away from manufacturing and tapping its intellectual base around universities and medical centers.... So far, the gains have been concentrated in three regions: •West. Counties including the cities of Muskegon, Holland, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo are seeing modest to robust growth. A highway extension south of Grand Rapids, home of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, has opened neighboring counties to commuters. The Grand Rapids area is attracting medical investment and professionals. "They're attractive, quality-of-life places and have a somewhat more diverse economic base," says John Austin, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and vice president of the Michigan State Board of Education. "It's close to Chicago." •Southeast. Washtenaw County, home of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, is a center of research and development and biotech activity. It's a place "where there are educated people, where knowledge works," Austin says. •Northwest. Traverse City and counties on the shores of Lake Michigan are benefiting from tourists and retirees moving in. Beaches and other natural attractions are luring entrepreneurs and executives who can work anywhere because of wealth and technology.

Three in First

It won't last long, but (for today at least) the Pistons, Tigers, and Red Wings are all in first place in their divisions.


Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer