Friday, November 17, 2017

Taxwinkle opponent Fioretti proposed a commuter tax when he was a Chicago alderman

While I was in Detroit I learned that former Chicago alderman Bob Fioretti announced that he is running for president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, in other words, he's the only declared opponent of the loathed Toni "Taxwinkle" Preckwinkle, the leftist behind the county soda tax and the increase of the county sales tax.

The repeal of the hated one-cent-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax takes effect next month.

But if you see somehow see Fioretti as a friend of hard-pressed Crook County taxpayers, then you need an education. Not only is Fioretti not ruling out future tax hikes if he's elected, but it's important to remind voters, particularly suburban ones, that Fioretti, in his brief Chicago mayoral run two years ago, proposed a one-percent commuter tax.

"Yes, people in the suburbs may not want to pay it, but I;ve heard from a number of suburbanites. When they come here, they want what? They want safe streets. They want clean streets. They want emergency medical care if something happens to them," Fioretti said three years ago. "And so, a small tax – which they can deduct off of their income tax – is helpful for this city."

It's always a small tax with liberals. Until a few years when the rate goes up. That's why new taxes should be vigorously opposed.

If the Republican House tax bill becomes law, that commuter tax deduction will vanish.

Speaking of Detroit, the Motor City also has a commuter tax.

How is that working out?

Detroit: Brightmoor or Blightmoor? (Part Two)

Yesterday I presented part one of Detroit: Brightmoor or Blightmoor.

Here is part two.

The home I grew up in Palos Heights, Illinois had a yew hedge in front of it.

This looks like a sweet little home--let's walk in.

Scrappers have moved in and moved on.

Walking into an abandoned home is hazardous. Sometimes the flooring is rotted--and its collapse can cause an injury, and if this house had a basement, the fall can be fatal. But I entered anyway. And sometimes indigents live inside who may not be happy about an uninvited urban explorer barging in. Two years ago I walked into a seeming vacant house when I encountered a prostitute with a client.

On the other hand, feel free to live through me.

"And I bought a little cottage in a neighborhood serene," is a lyric from a song popularized by Gram Parsons, Streets of Baltimore. As I mentioned in Part One, Brightmoor was originally settled largely by Appalachian whites. In Streets of Baltimore, written by Tompall Glaser and Harlan Howard, a wife begs her husband to sell their farm and move north for city excitement. Had more words rhymed with Detroit, the tune could have easily been written about the Motor City.

Call me a ruin porn propagator, if you will. But your beloved Blogger Laureate of Illinois is an artist. But last year another American artist, Ryan Mendoza, shipped the facade of an abandoned home at Eight Mile Road to Europe for some bizarre exhibit. But the artist left behind an uglier mess because the shell of the old house remained. Perhaps the joke is on Detroit--many artists believe ugly is beautiful and what is attractive should be shunned. The great Tom Wolfe wrote a book on that subject, The Painted Word.

As the saying goes, "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints."

There are few pedestrians and few cars in Brightmoor. Yes, this is the Motor City.

Near the western edge of Brightmoor there are some rolling hills, most likely moraines. On the bottom right is a driveway leading nowhere. Understandably quietude dominates, save for the occasional roar from a distant train--just as in the country--or a blaring siren, which of course is more an urban sound.

The murals read "God's work our hand" and "Peace."

That's rubble from a burned-down house. And note the emptiness in the background.

Whoah, is this a mistake? No, it's a Brightmoor two story beauty. Next to it is a typical dismal home. I asked the woman sitting on the porch if that home was recently built. She replied, "I don't know when it went up."
Then she asked me, "Do you have a smoke?"

That's right. You see three forsaken Detroit homes in a row.

Knock, knock, who's there?

There is nobody home but Siberian elms. Weed trees such as that species and another Asian invader, mulberries, are quite common in Detroit's ruins.

It's as if someone just plopped that old home there.

These Siberian elms have are blessed with glorious autumn foliage.The trees are probably ten years old--which is a good estimate of the amount of time this frame house has been abandoned.

Related post: Detroit: Brightmoor or Blightmoor? (Part One)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Detroit: Brightmoor or Blightmoor? (Part One)

I've returned from my second but no doubt not my last trip to Detroit. Yes, it was a vacation, albeit a working one. Working on my blog, that is.

The Motor City, after decades of neglect and gross mismanagement, is on the rebound. Downtown, Midtown, Corktown, and New Center are thriving. Really, they are.

Then there is Brightmoor in northwest Detroit, or what some folks call Blightmoor. Or Blight More. If you want to experience a rural setting in a major city, then Brightmoor is for you. Detroit, unlike Chicago, doesn't have set neighborhood boundaries, but Wikipedia says it is "generally bordered by Evergreen Road, Telegraph Road, Puritan Road, and Interstate 96." The same source says 12,000 people lived there in 2010, according to the US Census.

On the 14100 block of Braile Street, what appears to have been a silver maple, is resting on this cottage.

Always, always, plant silver maples very far from your house.

I only saw a few of these banners.

We are only temporary residents of this world. As are our creations. But the Bible phrases is more poetically.

"And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." Matthew 19:29.

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity." Ecclesiastes 1:2.

According to Wikipedia, Brightmoor began in 1922 as a planned community of inexpensive homes for Appalachian whites who migrated north for auto industry jobs. It was annexed by Detroit four years later.

Most of Brightmoor's houses are one-story units with "Michigan basements," that is, dirt crawl spaces beneath them.

Stick with me on this one, my friends. What's so unusual about this abandoned home? There's a pole in front of it. And? So? What? Well, it's all that is left of a chain link fence that scrappers have stolen. A few minutes after I took this photograph I almost destroyed my left shoe--and nearly injured my foot--when I stumbled over a sharp stump of a scavenged fence post.

A few blocks later I found this message: Scrappers will be shot! But will there be a warning shot first?

Here is Charlie Brown's home, on the northwest corner of Brightmoor.

Many Blightmoor homes have been tarted up.

"Rejoice," it says.

The only cloud I saw that day was painted on this home. It was a glorious day for photography.

This part of the neighborhood has gone from Brightmoor to Blightmoor to No-More-Blight. Do you want wide open skies and spaces? You can find them in some parts of Detroit.

Oh, those two houses are occupied.

I did promise you a rural setting, right?

The weeds are eating my house!

Despite the Douglas firs, eyes will gravitate to the trash. Yes, there are a few two story houses in Brightmoor.

So many Detroit homes have been torched. Insurance fraud? Vandalism? Boredom? Hatred?

Johnny, a neighborhood denizen, told me that white-tailed deer are common in western Brightmoor, which is adjacent to River Rouge.

Finally, all over Detroit I saw gray squirrels with black fur, in fact a majority of the squirrels in Detroit are black. I see them all of the time in Morton Grove. The Chicago Tribune's Mary Schmich saw a black squirrel once--and she reacted as if she discovered Bigfoot. She has a Pulitzer Prize and I don't.

Warning: Urban exploration is a dangerous hobby. Most urbanex spots are in high crime areas. If you choose to follow my lead, please exercise extreme caution.

Next: Part two.

UPDATE: Part two is here.

Monday, November 13, 2017

On the road...

Blogging will be very light for the next days as I travel again back into red state America. Thanks for continually visiting Marathon Pundit.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Toby Keith at the Make America Great Again concert: Courtesy of the Red White and Blue

Toby Keith was one of the artists who performed at the Make America Great Again concert in Washington on the night before the inauguration of President Donald J Trump.

Watch him belt out his patriotic classic, "Courtesy of the Red White and Blue." Yes, the president-elect was there.

Think of the veterans--and thank them--today on Veterans Day.

Wisconsin historical markers for Veterans Day

Wisconsin does a spectacular job of marking its history with historical markers at its rest areas. Are you paying attention, other states?

On Veterans Day I have a couple of them for you.

On US Route 41 at Rest Area 64 near Lomira--on the northbound lanes--you'll find this historical commemoration.

It reads:
More than 330,000 Wisconsin residents, including 9,000 women, served in the armed forces between December 7, 1941, and the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945. They participated in every theater of war and in virtually every major campaign, from Wake Island to New Guinea, from France and Romania to Burma and Okinawa. Approximately 8,000 perished. Another 13,000 were wounded in combat. Fifteen earned the nation’s highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.

On the home front, Wisconsin contributed its share and more to Allied victory. Despite shortages of feed, fertilizer, new machinery, and labor, state farmers delivered record amounts of agricultural products. Wisconsin’s industries responded similarly, producing automotive components, marine engines, ammunition, air-craft parts, uniforms, footgear, even ocean-going vessels such as frigates, minesweepers, cargo ships, and submarines. And on farms and in factories throughout the state, women and schoolchildren took the place of men in uniform.

World War II was truly a "people's war."
Although technically not a rest area--there are no washroom facilities--just south of the Michigan state line there is a "Welcome to Wisconsin" sign. In the selfie era of our culture that qualifies as a premier pullover stop. And that is where, on US Route 45 north of Land O'Lakes, you'll find a historical marker noting the Thirty-Second Division Memorial Highway. US 45 runs concurrently with Wisconsin Route 32, which runs from Wisconsin's northern border to Pleasant Prairie and the Illinois state line.

The 32nd Infantry Division consisted of National Guard soldiers from Michigan and Wisconsin. In World War I it was the first allied division to cross the Hindenburg Line, the division's symbol, a red arrow, pays tribute to its ability to pierce the enemy's defenses in the Great War.

In World War II the Red-Arrow Division fought in the Pacific Theater.

This marker reads:
The 32nd Division was organized in 1917. Originally it was made up of National Guardsmen from Wisconsin and Michigan.

World War I: Fought in Alsace, Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne, and Meuse-Argonne Offensives. Vanquished 23 German Divisions. Served in the Army of Occupation in Germany. De-activated in 1919.

World War II: One of the first to be called. Fought offensively in the Buna-Sanananda Operations. Saidor, Aitape, Morotai, Biak, Leyte and Luzon campaigns. 654 days in action in the Pacific Theater. Served in the Army of Occupation in Japan. De-activated in 1946.

This highway is dedicated to the gallant men of the Thirty-Second Red Arrow Division who made the supreme sacrifice in both wars.

Friday, November 10, 2017

(PragerU) What Happens When Google Disagrees With You?

Ex-Google software engineer James Damore challenged political correctness, specifically on gender, in an internal document.

What happened?

You know already.

Brazile slams Obama ego in her book

One problem with demagogues such as Barack Obama is that they stunt the next generation of leadership.

Who are the possible challengers to President Trump in three years? Joe Biden? He turns 75 this month. Bernie Sanders? He's 76. Elizabeth Warren? You mean Pocahontas? Hillary Clinton? Puh-leaze! Kamala Harris? Who?

Obama the demagogue also left his party in debt.

From AOL:
Former interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile said the Democratic party was "leeched of its vitality" by former President Barack Obama and others in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential campaign.

“We had three Democratic parties: The party of Barack Obama, the party of Hillary Clinton, and this weak little vestige of a party led by [Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz] that was doing a very poor job getting people who were not president elected,” Brazile wrote in her newly released 2016 campaign tell-all, titled "Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House."

Brazile accused the 44th president of caring "deeply about his image" and using the committee to act as a bank for his personal "political expenses."

Obama "used the party to provide for political expenses like gifts to donors, and political travel," Brazile wrote, adding that the politician also used DNC funds for "his pollster and focus groups" later into his second term although he couldn't run for president again.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Senate wants to delay corporate tax cut until 2019

Patriots need to drain the swamp. And that includes recalcitrant Republicans.

From Reuters:
U.S. Senate Republicans version of a tax cut bill will delay corporate rate cuts by one year to take effect in 2019, and will not include a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate, Republican Senate Finance Committee member Bill Cassidy said.