Friday, December 19, 2008

Free-Thinking Friday: Whew!

This morning at 9 a.m., George W. Bush decided to pass the troubles of the US automakers over to the incoming administration by approving a $17B loan package to General Motors and Chrysler. Not only will the automakers get enough to keep them from drowning for 3 months, but they also will not have to undergo a "managed bankruptcy" as many Republicans wanted them to do.

OK, we'll thank Mr. Bush for the loan, but we won't gush over it. He did say that the credit crisis is a big part of the current troubles. He did acknowledge that the downfall of the American car companies would be nothing short of catastrophic for the economy. He did concur that bankruptcy was not a viable option. It took a week for him to realize those things?

I have a suggestion for what he can do next, instead of trying to convince people that waterboarding isn't torture and/or the Iraq War wasn't his fault. He can mandate that the financial companies who were GIVEN BILLIONS of dollars with almost no oversight open up the credit markets like they were supposed to do from the beginning. Then people with good credit and secure jobs can buy those American cars they want.

So, Mr. Bush, thanks for the loan. It IS a loan that we needed badly right away. But we still can't and won't forget Iraq, Katrina, Gitmo, etc.; nor will we forget those "signings" you're doing late at night these days that are decimating the environment and women's right to choose. We're watching. Do you hear us, Republicans?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: 2009 Truck of the Year--FORD!

Take THAT, Foreign Automaker Transplants!
Ford F-150 Pickup
Motor Trend 2009 Truck of the Year! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shopping in Detroit: Shop in Detroit!

Detroit Synergy is holding its 5th Annual "Shop Detroit" event for the Holidays to encourage people to explore and support shopping in the City of Detroit! This year, four different shopping areas in Detroit have been highlighted: Downtown, Midtown/New Center, Russell Bazaar, and this weekend on December 20: Eastern Market.

The event is from 11 am to 4 pm with Check-in at Shed #4. If you haven't participated in this fun and exciting event, you can do your last minute shopping this Saturday! The Detroit Evolution Lab, featuring organic and locally grown and sustainable foods and health events, will have an open house and food tasting from 2 - 4 pm.

From the Detroit Synergy Website:

December 20 | Eastern Market
Check In @ Shed 5 | Russell Street
You know it and love it! Enjoy the bounty that is Eastern Market. Gifts for all the foodies in your life—from locally made products to goodies from around the globe—there's something for everyone! Looking for just the right ingredients for your holiday dinner? Now's the time to pick it up! Whether you're sticking with tradition or cookin' up something new, Eastern Market's got you covered!
Parking: Parking is available in the lot adjacent to Shed 5, located at the corner of Russell and Alfred.
Tours: Our friends from Inside Detroit will be on hand to lead you down Russell Street and let you in on the inside scoop. See below for details.
Sales/Fun Stuff: The market is always bustling on Saturdays—here just a few highlights.
• 2009 Detroit. It's Worth It. Calendars available for sale for $15, OR Calendar/Synergy T-shirt combo for $20!
• Be sure to stop by your favorites, as well as lesser know retailers. Details to come.
• Detroit Evolution Lab will host an open house from 2-4pm. Stop by for samples and purchase a gift certificate or two! Click here for more info on the Lab. (1434 Gratiot Ave. #1, entrance in rear.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Detroit's Unique Neighborhoods: Millender Center Apartments

Some people just like renting, or need to rent for awhile, or just don't want the hassle of taking care of a house. There are several rental apartment complexes in the City to choose from, including the Millender Center, located right in the heart of Downtown Detroit. For people looking for upscale downtown apartment living where they would hardly even need a car, the Millender Center Apartments are a good option.

The Millender Center Apartment Complex, the largest residential building in Detroit, includes 339 units and penthouses located at 555 Brush Street one block north of East Jefferson. The apartments range in size from 1 bedroom/1 bath at 795 square feet to 2 bedroom/2 bath with 1800 square feet of living space. The apartments are connected to the Millender Center Shopping Complex, which itself is connected by walkways to the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center (the "City/County Building") and the GM Renaissance Center. The building is just two blocks from the Detroit River and offers panoramic views of the river, the city, and Winsor Ontario.

Amenities include an indoor swimming pool, a jogging track, restaurants, high-speed internet, laundry facilities, a lounge and fitness center, a 24-hour attended lobby, the Millender Center People Mover Station with Pewabic Tile decor, and an adjacent parking garage. Even cats are allowed for residents. The Millender Center is named for the 1970s and 1980s late African-American attorney and political activist Robert Millender .

Shameless plug: please read my husband's blog "The D Spot"... 

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Free-Thinking Friday: All the Big 3 Want for Christmas is a $15B LOAN

The Southern Senate Republicans seem to want to start a new "Civil War" with
the northern Big Three Auto Companies
and the pro-Democratic Party United Auto Workers Union.
The #1 reason the automakers (including the foreign transplants) are in trouble now is: the credit crisis caused by the financial companies. Without credit, people cannot buy cars (including the foreign transplants--Toyota is closing some plants for the month of January). If not enough cars are being sold, the auto companies are not making money. Those same financial companies were given billions of dollars a few months ago with no conditions, no questions asked, no regulation, no demands. Just: "here, just take this money and keep acting just you have been acting..."

The American auto companies were made to beg and grovel; were vilified; were made to repeatedly concede and apologize and turn in homework assignments; and then still were denied a loan. The unions were given the blame for everything. The same unions that made the middle class in America; the same unions that helped enact child labor laws, the 40-hour workweek, vacation and sick time, health benefits, pensions, etc. The same auto makers who were called upon to build tanks and weapons for the WWII war effort (that's how the "Jeep" started) and were again called upon to "get America rolling again" after 9/11. As of noon today (December 12 2008), General Motors just announced it will be closing 21 factories in North America for the entire month of January--Merry Christmas!

The American car companies have been around for 100 years. The unions have been around for 70 years. The foreign transplant car companies have been in America for about 25 years. Yet the American car companies are being blamed for offering pensions and health benefits to their retirees who worked in the plants for 30 and 40 years; retirees who are living longer (and costing more) because of the good health care provided by their union contracts. The foreign transplant companies don't have people who have worked that long, so they don't have those costs; and their home countries provide the health care for them.

Of course, the Southern Senate Republicans who are making these "comparisons" and demands get an average annual salary of $169,000 plus the best retirement and health benefits available in America. They are vested in their pensions after only five years and get health benefits for life--paid for by the taxpayers. By the way, American autoworkers are taxpayers, too--when they have a job. They make an average of $50,000/year without overtime; less than one-third of what Senators make.

The Southern Senate Republicans consorted among themselves to do whatever it took to destroy any loan agreement for the Big Three unless the Big Three filed bankruptcy on their terms, claiming they were "protecting the taxpayers". They don't mention that they gave away billions in taxpayer monies in the form of tax abatements, incentives, FREE land, training, utilities and infrastructure, etc. to the foreign transplant auto companies to locate in their states.

The Southern Senate Republicans demanded that the American automakers become "viable" before receiving any assistance. That's like saying to a dying cancer patient, "get well first, THEN you can receive the radiation treatment that will keep you alive..." These Senate Republicans are out to "break the UAW" because they live in "right-to-work" states; and they are angry that the UAW is primarily Democratic and helped the Democrats win the recent elections in 2006 and 2008. They are also protecting the foreign transplants which are located in their states. Yet, during the Presidential campaign they claimed to be "more patriotic" and "more American" than Democratic areas of the country.

At this writing (noon on Friday, December 12 2008), it seems as if George W. Bush will step in and loan the Big Three the $15B left from the $700B bailout. Of course, $685B was GIVEN away; and the last $15B is a loan. Some people think GWB doesn't "deserve" to be seen as "saving" the auto companies. Some think that maybe this was all orchestrated to give him "the glory"; although after ignoring August 2001 warnings about 9/11; after lying to get America into an unnecessary and seemingly endless war; after letting New Orleans drown; after de-regulating the financial markets; after shredding the Constitution and the Constitutional rights of Americans; after stealing the 2000 and 2004 elections through dirty tricks, voter suppression, and hijacked voting machines; after having the lowest popularity numbers of any President in modern times--maybe he thinks he could use "a win" right about now.

It is up to ALL Americans to realize that manufacturing (yes, those blue-collar jobs) are the backbone of the American economy and the American middle class. Even as we move to "green" technology, those building the "green" infrastructure will still be "blue-collar", or at least "green-collar". Nobody can hire "Joe the Plumber" or tip "Wendy the Waitress" if they don't have jobs. All those "small businesses" that the Republicans say they care so much about cannot survive without clients and customers. Even Henry Ford I realized that it made little sense for the Ford Motor Company to build cars that his own employees could not afford to buy--that's why he instituted the "$5/day" wage structure.

The Republican Party lost all of these elections because of their us-vs-them policies of vilification and divisiveness. Here they go again. However, the #1 Republican will probably give the auto companies the loans they need to keep going and restructure; and then Democrats will be in charge. And we hard-working taxpaying Americans will NOT forget in January 2009 what they tried to do to hard-working taxpaying America (those who us who still have jobs and homes) in December 2008.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Detroit Auto Dealers

These City of Detroit Big 3 Auto Dealers are ready to help you buy an American car!
Click here to find out about auto loans from Credit Unions! They have money to lend at great rates for your auto purchase!

OK, I DO have to put in a few words this time for "Wordless Wednesday": where to buy your Detroit car in Detroit!
Park Motor Sales (Lincoln Mercury)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Shopping in Detroit: Wasabi Korean and Japanese Restaurant

Sushi anyone? A new Japanese and Korean Cuisine Restaurant has opened on Woodward and East Kirby in the Midtown/Cultural Center Area in the 1920s-era Art Deco Park Shelton Building right across the street from the Main Library, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Detroit Historical Museum.

Wasabi offers both traditional Korean food including the "Dolstor Bibimbab" and Korean barbeque, as well as Japanese shrimp tempura, and several noodle dishes. There is a separate ala carte sushi menu featuring a nod to Michigan with a menu item called the "Michigan roll" which is a shrimp tempura roll with crab salad and jalapenos.

Proprietor and manager Chul Kang and Chef Seonghum Kim provide friendly and helpful service to patrons in the walkable Midtown Neighborhood. For those coming to visit the Cultural Center, parking is available in the Park Shelton Building. All major credit cards are accepted, there is no smoking in the restaurant, and it is wheelchair accessable. Prices range from $2.95 for an appetizer to $23.95 for a full dinner.
(Photo Credit: The Detroit News)
Great reviews of this restaurant are available from Molly Abraham at the Detroit News and MetroMix Detroit.

Wasabi Korean & Japanese Cuisine
15 E. Kirby St.
Detroit 48202
(313) 638-1272
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-10:30 p.m. Sat. Closed Sun. 

Shameless Plug: please read my husband's blog The "D" Spot...
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Detroit's Unique Neighborhoods: Green Acres

Green Acres might be one of Detroit’s best-kept secrets. Nestled around Woodlawn Cemetery at the southwest corner of Eight Mile and Woodward, it contains a stylistic mix of homes built in the 1920s to 1940s. Its well-maintained lawns and pedestrian traffic bespeak a tight-knit community. Most houses here have beautiful architectural details, and active community groups work diligently to make sure they are great places to live.

Green Acres resident Michael Griggs is currently developing townhomes and single-family homes on one of the few vacant parcels in the neighborhood. The teacher- turned-developer cites the “diverse housing stock and diverse residents” as aspects of the neighborhood that stand out to him. He also notes the proximity to shopping and food in Ferndale and Royal Oak. Green Acres is also conveniently located near freeways and new shopping centers in Detroit.

New purchasers of homes in Green Acres are eligible for the NEZ (Neighborhood Enterprise Zone) Tax Abatement.
(Some Information to be credited to Model D Detroit) 
Shameless Plug: please read my husband's blog The "D" Spot...
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Thanksgiving is Here!

Hudson's Thanksgiving Parade, 1937 Credit Detroit News

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shopping in Detroit: Downtown Foodland

Speaking of the Lafayette Park Historic Neighborhood, a new grocery store opened last weekend just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Downtown Foodland, located at 1535 East Lafayette at Orleans, is owned by Keith Tansil, a 30-year veteran of the grocery business. Most recently, Mr. Tansil was the manager of the Metro Foodland, a Black-owned independent grocery store that has been located in the Grandmont-Rosedale area for many years.

The "Shops at Lafayette Park" Shopping Center has been in existence since the inception of the Lafayette Park Historic Neighborhood, but fell on hard times along with many areas of Detroit. The new, full-service, 140,000 square-foot Downtown Foodland will be a great anchor for the resurgence of the shopping center and shopping in Detroit.

The Kroger grocery chain left the City of Detroit many years ago, and our own Farmer Jack Grocery Stores, which held on throughout the darkest days of Detroit in the last few decades finally closed their doors a few years ago. But while Detroiters were bemoaning the dearth of major grocery chains within the City limits, a number of very good independents opened for business or quietly continued to offer great shopping options in Detroit.

I will be featuring different independent Detroit grocers over the next few months in the Tuesday "Shopping in Detroit" posts; you'll be happily amazed at the options! James Hooks, the owner of Metro Foodland, once told me that people like to shop for groceries no more than 1 1/2 miles from their home. With the number of independents like Downtown Foodland slowly filling the void in the City, that wish may soon come to pass for Detroiters.

The Downtown Foodland has 40 employees and is open from 8 am to 9 pm Mondays through Saturdays and 9 am to 6 pm on Sundays.

Photo Credits: HB Meeks,

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Detroit's Unique Neighborhoods: Lafayette Park

Lafayette Towers Apartments East (1301 Orleans...Image via Wikipedia
If you're driving around downtown Detroit, you can't miss it: the 78-acre Lafayette Park Group of housing options. There are apartment co-ops called the Pavillon, low-level townhomes, and the seminal Lafayette Towers. Lafayette Park is on both the City of Detroit and National Historic Registers. Designed by world-renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the site was intended to diversify the residential area, although the historic Black Bottom neighborhood on which Lafayette Park is built was razed with the enlargement of the I-75 freeway. The Lafayette Park site is the largest collection of Mies van der Rohe buildings in one place in the world.


Lafayette Park Detroit includes shoppingImage via Wikipedia

The area is intended to be a "walkable neighborhood", with extensive greenspace and a network of pedestrian walkways to allow residents to shop at the mini-shopping plaza and attend the public school without crossing a major thoroughfare.  Each of the three types of housing in Lafayette Park was designed with Mies van der Rohe's signature use of steel, glass, and concrete. Lafayette Park is located just east of downtown near Chene Park, Belle Isle, and the I-375 connector to I-75. The shopping center, which had been in decline, has begun a renaissance, including a new full-service grocery store. The boundaries of Lafayette Park roughly include: Rivard, East Lafayette, Orleans, and Antietam.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Free-Thinking Friday: White Collar Bailout vs Blue-Collar Loan...

Carl Levin (D-Michigan)
Photo Courtesy Detroit Free Press
OK, so the auto execs should've thought twice about going to Washington in separate $20K/trip corporate jets. Of course the auto companies need to change a lot of things about their business model. But is anyone thinking about not just the "rich guys at the top" but the millions upon millions of blue-collar workers and retirees who depend on the auto companies for their livelihood? What about the millions of auto-related jobs with small businesses around the country who depend on the auto companies? What about all of the other small businesses that will fail because they won't have any customers? Why punish all of them because of what the bigwigs did or didn't do?

Raise your hand if you have a family member who works now, or who is retired from one of the Big Three or a related company. Raise your other hand if that family member bought a house, raised a family, donated to charity, sent their kids to college, and just basically lived the American life by keeping the American economy going. Now, put down one or both hands if that family never ever made a mistake thoughout life. See all of those hands raised?

The auto companies are asking for a "bridge loan"; the re-tooling for the future starts next fall--the plans are already in place. The unions have cut their wages and benefits to the bone. Huge world-wide companies can't change overnight, but changes are coming.

But because of vengefulness, short-sidedness, and frankly, elitism on the part of Republicans in Congress--yes the same ones who spend $10 BILLION a MONTH in Iraq--the white-collar financial companies got their bailout, but the blue-collar auto companies can't get a loan without rankor and vitriol.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Doin' It in Detroit: Ice Skating at Campus Martius Town Square

Fooled ya!  Campus Martius in downtown Detroit looks like this in the summer...but it's late fall now, and the Ice Skating Rink will be open for the season starting this weekend!  You can always check out the Campus Martius area 24/7 with the Campus Martius Webcam:

The Hours for the Ice Rink at Campus Martius:
FRI. NOV 14, 11am - Midnight
SAT. NOV 15, 10am - Midnight
SUN. NOV 16, Noon - 8pm 
Lace up those skates and get some winter exercise!  Skate rental is available.
The 2008 Holiday Tree Lighting will be Friday, November 21st, with Carriage Rides, World Class Skating Exhibitions, and the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign Kick-off.
Photo Credit: Detroit Free Press

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Detroit Semi-pro Sports Teams

We know about the Detroit Professional Sports Teams: the Tigers, the Pistons, the Red Wings, the Shock, and the (um) Lions, but did you know that we have semi-pro teams that play regularly here?  You can find out more about the independent and semi-pro teams here at OurSports Central:
 Check out the websites of these teams!
The Detroit Panthers Premier Basketball League 

The Detroit Ignition Xtreme Soccer League

Motor City Machine Junior Hockey

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shopping in Detroit: Made in Detroit Apparel

Kid Rock is an international superstar with roots in Detroit. He and his brother, Billy Ritchie, have teamed up with the Made in Detroit Apparel Company to produce and sell authentic "Made in Detroit"-branded apparel and accessories. Made in Detroit has been a Detroit staple since 1991, but since the Ritchie Brothers took over the brand, the product line has been expanded to include limited edition items for Wayne State University and authorized retailers in Detroit, the Detroit Metroplex, and Los Angeles.

The profits for the Wayne State-branded items are donated to a special foundation started by Kid Rock to fund scholarships for music students at Wayne State. Those items are available online at Wayne State, online at WDET, and at the Barnes and Noble College Store on the Wayne State Campus.


"Made in Detroit" items are available in Detroit at the Showtime Detroit Clothing Store on Woodward and Palmer near I-94 and the WSU campus, as well as many stores in the Detroit Suburbs. Hoodies, t-shirts, hats, and accessories are available for men, women, and youth.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Detroit Unique Neighborhoods: Palmer Woods

Palmer Woods is another beautiful westside Detroit neighborhood listed on the National Historic Records. Composed of approximately 289 homes built mostly in the early 20th century, Palmer Woods is 188 acres bounded by Woodward Avenue, Seven Mile Road, Strathcona Drive, and the Sherwood Forest Neighborhood.

Palmer Woods is named after a 19-century United Senator, Thomas W. Palmer, who owned land on both sides of Woodward Avenue from Six Mile Road to Eight Mile Road. He donated part of his land to develop Palmer Park, and also some of his land was eventually used for the Michigan State Fairgrounds in the early 20th century. After Thomas Palmer died in 1913, a prominent real estate developed named Charles Burton purchased the remaining Palmer acres and began the development of an exclusive enclave for some of Detroit's richest and most famous residents. Each lot is unique in size and scope, and there are few sidewalks in the elegantly designed district. In 1938, the Palmer Woods neighborhood received a merit award from the Michigan Horticultural Society as the finest platted subdivision in Michigan.

Bishop Gallagher Residence
Although many of the homes in Palmer Woods were constructed between 1917 and 1929, some were built after World War II, with the most recently built home in 1956. The most prevelant architectural style of the spacious Palmer Woods homes is Tudor Revival, and the largest home in Detroit, the Bishop Gallagher House, is 40,000 square feet. The former home of William Fisher, of the Fisher Body Company and the Fisher Building, is 35,000 square feet. Other architectural styles in Palmer Woods include: Neo-Georgian, Mediterranean, Modern and Craftsman.

Many prominent citizens had homes in Palmer Woods at the turn of the 20th century, including Charles Burton himself, two of the seven Fisher brothers, and John H. Kunsky, the founder of the United Artists Theatres. The Bishop Gallagher Residence was built for the Fisher Brothers and later given to Bishop Michael Gallagher and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit. Later both Edward Cardinal Mooney and John Cardinal Dearden lived in the home while they were the Archbishops of Detroit.

Today, Palmer Woods Historic District is still one of the most beautiful and exclusive neighborhoods in Detroit, home to artists, executives, politicians, and physicians. There is a very active homeowners' association, and there are many neighborhood activities and home tours throughout the year.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Auto Companies Go Begging

This week, the Big Three Detroit Auto Companies will continue begging the U.S. Government for a bail-out...why?  Here's a great article by Pulitzer Prize Winning New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman: can you say "Ouch"???? Or is "Pretty, please?" a better phrase?

Shameless Plug: please read my husband's blog The "D" Spot...
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