One of Michigan's two senators (both Dems), Debbie Stabenow, is up for re-election in '06.. the two primary GOP contenders include two pastors, one white, one black.. one's from Grand Rapids, michigan, the other from detroit.. Keith Butler, along with Andrew Merritt of Straight Gate, Wayne T. Jackson of Great Faith Ministries, Glenn Plummer of Ambassadors for Christ Church & CTN TV ministries and Marvin Winans of Perfecting Church have been among G.W. Bush's strongest local supporters (both vocally and $$$) since Bush became the GOP frontrunner for prez in '99.. I've been to Butler's main church (he has like, 7 total) a couple times.. mostly to humor female friends (and no, I didn't get any).. huge place, seats 20,000 easily, but I guess typical for such mega-ministries.. almost like going to a basketball game.. guy has a curiously southern accent for someone who supposedly grew up here.. one sermon, shortly after the Asian Tsunami, included an aside about The Last Days, and the cheery thought, "..and you all know, the Last Days started in 1948 when Israel (became a state), Amen?"..
Did I just hear..? Nahh.. couldn't be.. then again, the auditorium has several giant video screens 15-foot speakers and Surround Sound... oh-kay.. anyway... I'm not sure if he's a card-carrying NRA-er or not, but supposedly he has African safari trophies in his church office-- I have to admit, I'm no trophy hunter (I'd rather just take pictures), but I've known folks who go hunting and I don't hassle them about it.. Still, this strikes me as kinda corny, but I guess when you're the boss you do what you want, & maybe the wife doesn't allow them in the house.. which reminds me.. Oct. 1 starts bow-hunting deer season in Mich.. Nov. 1 allows for gun-hunting.. and chaperoned kids get a 2-week head start.. I'm not kidding.. ..I'm sure I know where he stands on some of the standard hot button issues, of abortion (against), gay rights (against), prayer in public schools (for) and unrestricted gun rights (for, though it may be kind of redundant since Mich. passed a Concealed Weapons Act that makes it easier to get a license to hide a Desert Eagle in your jacket.. not that most folks in the 'hood deign to bother with such formalities)..
I predict a heavily "Family Values"-driven campaign, eventually highlighting past administrations' alleged ties to homosexual plots-- in the form of lobbying for money to go to support schools like U. of M & Mich. State, who are known to have Gender/Sexuality classes that deal with gay culture and the like.. In the hood, there is lingering "alarm" over the presence of "dyke gangs" in the public schools, a phenomenon which totally flies over my head.. people should be wondering more about why there haven't been infrastructure improvements with money that presumably comes from the casinos and state lottery.. why many schools have made toilet tissue only available when you ask for it.. why schools are still overcrowded, despite record de-enrollment in the past 10 years, which continues.. why schools are still "under-booked" as in, not enough books to pass around.. Detroiters got their right to elect their own school board again (a state-appointed takeover began in '01), so let's see if folks can really push to get involved and make school officials accountable.
..so far he hasn't taken any public stance on what to do about Michigan's economy, whether or not to encourage foreign companies to set up shop here.. They might as well.. K-Mart corporate HQ is already bolting to Chicago, and more stores will close soon.. A&P Corporation is scuttling their Farmer Jack grocers chain, one of Metro Detroit's most long-standing grocery chains.. clothing retailer Mervyns is closing all Michigan stores.. Northwest Airlines declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy recently-- in the midst of a mechanics strike.. they've indicated if/when they re-emerge, those jobs probably won't be there..
.. I'm not sure where he stands on the Affirmative Action debate-- in Mich., of course, there was the big debacle when a white female didn't get into U. of M. law school right away-- which led to the Supreme Court decision in '04 that severely altered how Mich. schools conduct their recruitment.. Ward Connerly is leading a new proposal to get on Michigan Ballots in '06, to universally ban aff. action in Michigan period.. ...he's been relatively silent concerning most Detroit-centric issues of recent years, despite having served on city council for a brief stint in the 90's.. offering no comment on the AfricanTown proposal.. or glaring accountability issues in the Detroit Public School system.. or issues of Insurance Redlining (the country's worst!!) and Racial Steering in real estate.. or addressing child care issues in labor, especially as it relates to the working poor-- Welfare recipients are required to work at least part-time (20+ hours), and these jobs are typically bottom-end stuff service industry initially, with shifting hours weekly; which puts the single parents (read: mothers) in binds to find caregivers--
the State has comparatively lenient rules on licensed child care-- there is an option that allows relatives & friends chosen by the parent(s) to get a small stipend for care, but the system is administered by a moderately complex computerized system where people have to enter in data through telephones or the internet in order to receive bi-weekly checks-- Most urban black detroiters esp. the grandmas, aren't on the web, and about 45% of the city is functionally illiterate, which leads to confusion across the board.. Mich. needs better rules for recruitment & retention, as the day care business is pretty low-paying for the average day care worker.. Tragedies have marred the image of the business (last year a deranged dude invaded a home day care, shot several people, and killed his 3-year old daughter because 'he didn't want to pay child support' (uh, no, Michigan doesn't have the death penalty-- moving on); and this past week, a suburban site had a crib death where an infant got wrapped up in blankets and strangled itself..
There are a lot of abandoned and semi-abandoned buildings in and around downtown (a few even have vultures roosting-- naturally!), including Old Tiger Stadium-- old man Mike Ilitch (godfather of Little Caesars' Pizza and the Red Wings & the Tigers teams) might as well not have built Comerica Park(with an assist from city money), considering their record so far (of course, even if the Tigers were good, would black people finally start coming to the games, instead of just selling food and T-shirts there?). IMO, too many of these (mostly suburban-dwelling) property owners are waiting for pie-in-the-sky deals where they can make money hand-over-fist, and thus are simply content to have hulking, decayed eyesores lingering for what is at this point, decades on end (and the 3 casino owners are still looking for 'permanent' sites to build newer facilities plus adjacent hotels).. In my ideal world, they would all be strung with dynamite and razed immediately (the buildings, not the owners-- then again..), but that's not gonna happen anytime soon. So, my idea is that some of them should be converted into large-scale day care/early child development schools.. they could also house after-school programs for school-age children.. with the right people behind it ($$$), it could work, but urban Detroit is notoriously flip-flopping on redevelopment projects, manyof which tend to stay in limbo..