David Schorr is under intense scrutiny to determine whether or not he is a “fit” parent. You see, he refused to take his son to McDonald’s for crap, but instead wanted to take him to a favorite, local restaurant for some real food. The child threw a tantrum, the ex-wife called a shrink to testify against David, and the psychobabbler noted, in court, that she was “gravely concerned about Schorr’s parenting.” David is now a major news headline. Thanks to Travis Holte for the link.
Kid Rock was on CNBC to talk about Detroit’s business and community successes with Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans. Kid is right on this count: It’s not the government that is making things happen, it’s the people.
The news is this this headline: “FDA to ban artery-clogging trans fats.”
Still, as bad as these industrial-created hydrogenated oils are, I wonder when the media and the medical profession (and Dr. Oz, a heart surgeon) will stop describing foods as things as if they are ingested and travel to the arteries, like hair in the bathroom plumbing. Now on to the article with this quote:
The advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest first petitioned FDA to ban trans fats nine years ago. The group’s director, Michael Jacobson, says the move is “one of the most important lifesaving actions the FDA could take.”
As always, the CSPI and Michael Jacobson are at the forefront of any movement to ban anything deemed ban-worthy in the name of “protecting the public.” Trans fats are, in the estimation of those of us who travel in real food circles, a tragedy of the politicized-industrial system. The history of these industrial products are always tangled with political vibrations that involve subsidies and crony capitalism.
Before other cities decide to regulate diets absent a safety issue, they might also consider that some of the same people now pushing for a trans fat ban once recommended the ingredient as a substitute for another health scare: saturated fats. Twenty years ago, Mr. Jacobson’s CSPI launched a public relations blitz against fast food joints for using palm oil to cook fries. The group claimed victory when restaurants started using partially hydrogenated oil instead. In 1988, a CSPI newsletter declared that “the charges against trans fat just don’t hold up. And by extension, hydrogenated oils seem relatively innocent.” Today, Mr. Jacobson is claiming trans fats kill 30,000 people a year. We wonder if he feels guilty.
The American Heart Association opposes the trans fat ban, and why? Because it will likely force the use of oils that are high in saturated fats. And yes, restaurants might have to revert to the use of palm oil, that substance that CSPI launched an attack against two decades ago. The AHA takes the sober view, recommending that restaurants take the time to look for healthy alternatives.
Says Jacobson of his trans fat victory: “If trans-fat labeling in the supermarket was the beginning of the end of trans fat, New York’s move today is the middle of the end of trans fat.”
I’ve long noted the oncoming war on lifestyle, and especially dietary supplements. Anything that serves a purpose for any individual, whether real or imagined, is under attack. What does the CSPI have next on its agenda? They are busy trying to convince the FDA to regulate energy drinks as well as all “functional” foods. The safety hazard being claimed by CSPI lawyers is that the energy drink products are being used some alcohol drinkers as they “mistakenly rely on “energy” drinks to mitigate the effects of alcoholic beverage consumption. Drinkers may experience a placebo effect, and dangerously assume that they can drive a car, or drink even more alcohol without becoming further inebriated.” Thus we must regulate it at the point of manufacture. These advocacy types don’t ever go away; they just multiply. And each time, they replace something bad with something worse.
So you can blame your “clogged” plumbing, and potentially, an entire generation of health carnage on the fact that the industrial food machine has built an almost insurmountable system of rent-seeking decrees based on politically-motivated junk science that has fully intended to do you harm. I do not subscribe to the the feel-good notion that these actions are the “tyranny of good intentions,” or that the fallout – such as entire generations of health disasters – is somehow an acceptable downside of otherwise useful political actions upstream. This is intentional strategy on the part of the political-industrial machine to string together a system of uninterrupted profitability undergirded by political favors performed by a plethora of crony-corporate megalomaniacs who apply political clout to gain advantage in the marketplace and build their revolving-door resume. The hacks at the top of the crony capitalism org chart transition between the government sector to the pharmaceutical-medical-industrial food sector in an entirely purposeful way.
Lastly, the article makes this point:
Dr. Leon Bruner, chief scientist at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said in a statement his group estimates that food manufacturers have voluntarily lowered the amount of trans fats in food products by 73 percent.
There is no mention, here, of why this has occurred: because of the free market that gets results in spite of the barriers, monopolies, wayward regulations, and political power plays that are the result of an artificial entity known as the state. That free market consists of of dissenters, medical heretics, real foodists, and other enemies of the conventional wisdom who write, blog, speak, and research their way to the truth in spite of the fact that an entire gatekeeper system works against them.
All of the assorted ‘truth movements’ have dedicated endless unpaid time and energy to informing the public, and that is why food manufacturers have had to buckle under the pressure and start retreating toward a new sanity.
This is one of those interesting stories that has larger meanings than most folks might think on. Golfing stud Rory McIlroy, according to the media, broke up with Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, with this act being the last dealbreaker.
North Irish golfer Rory McIlroy finally split with his girlfriend of two years, Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, reportedly after Wozniacki tweeted an unflattering picture of him. The pair had been going through rocky times recently.
A photo of the PGA champion sleeping with his mouth agape was the final straw, according to the Irish Independent. One source said, ”Rory was very upset by it and even Serena Williams pointed out – albeit in a joking way – it was a pretty mean thing to do.”
One fellow posted this article on his Facebook page, and I wasn’t surprised to see all of the comments – including from men – that Rory was a sissy (I substituted a kind word for a not-so-kind version). My opinion differs, and to the point where I would deem this chick to be a snotty, self-absorbed, little wretch. The Idiocracy has become so fixated on the world of Reality TV that they can no longer disconnect from the farcical world of mass-market entertainment long enough to respect that the highly personal acts and lives of others around them are not entertainment for the public at large. In the moral sense, these acts are to be kept private unless express permission to the contrary is obtained from the person whose life is being revealed. Taking a very personal moment and making it very public, especially when Rory is a celebrity, is childish and well below the line. Those who think it is a harmless act obviously don’t cherish their own privacy and therefore think that no one else deserves a discreet life free from the mobs of exhibitionists.
The crux of the article pissed some people off because it came off as a pregant-and-barefoot-in-the-kitchen remark, though I don’t think it was intended that way.
Golf legend Gary Player felt the need to add his two cents about the relationship to ESPN. He said, “If you’re a young man like Rory, you can’t play with worries. You can’t have managerial problems, you can’t have women problems. You’ve got to be out there and have a free mind. And that’s why Arnold [Palmer], Jack [Nicklaus] and I won something like 55 majors between us. Because we had three wives that were very, very special.”
He continued, “He’s got to find himself a wife that’ll help him, actually almost dedicate her life to him being a success. And that’s hard to find today, because women are extremely independent today. It’s a very different time than when we were around.”
I don’t think this remark is as chauvinistic as it appears. I believe that Mr. Player is more or less advocating that professional golfing is a very demanding profession and only a very small group of men can compete as the best in the world. To do so takes a relationship – whether man or woman – where one spouse is always the guardian of the other’s back. No petty distractions or unnecessary emotional drama should distract from the game. Tiger Woods immediately comes to mind, and I am sure that story the object of Mr. Player’s commentary. When two people are in a relationship, the ultimate support comes from one another’s unequivocal trust and dedication to the success the other.
The outside media doesn’t see the whole picture here, and that’s because they don’t want to see it. Most never come here: they just google the web for anything and everything about Detroit, and then they blindly scarf up the information return. The ones who do come here – big budget media bobbleheads – get dropped off from the airport, they do their quick hit story, then they climb back in the cab or limo and head back out to the (suburban) airport.
This article gives a short rundown on all that is positive in Detroit, as opposed to the same plethora of media gloom and bankruptcy doom. The Detroit Downtown Partnership (DDP) is a positive force that is mostly made up of private companies and members of the religious community who are interested in transforming Detroit by way of private investment, corporate social mission generosity, community service acts, and foundation philanthropy. Transformations that go unnoticed by the parachute media hacks include the Detroit River (Riverwalk); the modernization of various downtown corporate headquarters; Capitol Park neighborhood renovation; the David Whitney building conversion; the Broderick building restoration; and turning multiple abandoned lots into alluring green spaces and/or community gardens.
Just recently, one of Dan Gilbert’s companies, Bedrock Real Estate Services, announced its provision of free wifi in my favorite spaces to hang out downtown: Campus Martius Park and Cadillac Square.
Another bit of great news is that the ‘Detroit Jail Fail‘ that I have been writing about has become a reality: the bungled, overspending, underperforming government project that stole prime downtown property for building a monument to its lockup bureaucracy is now dead and done. The millions already spent will ooze down the tubes and the partly-built jail will be torn down in favor of selling off the property to a private entrepreneur. Government acquiesced on this one, admitting its incompetence while laying low about the corruption that funded and initiated the disastrous undertaking.
The LA Times sure likes writing about Detroit, and most recently, writer Alexandra Le Tellier hails this city as “America’s great comeback city.” The author quotes a PBS Fresh Air interview with Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institute. Katz is a guy who once worked for HUD under Henry Cisneros in the Clinton Administration. Katz is a statist, but while talking about Detroit, Katz actually gives credit to Detroit’s pooled philanthropic endeavors; entrepreneurs and business networks; projects financed by local (private) resources; Detroit’s small-batch manufacturing upsurge; private investment; rising technology sector; and the attraction of human capital.
I’m impressed with some of the Detroit coverage by the LA Times. Le Tellier’s article even takes to passing on the same old ruin porn while instead posting a photograph of Detroit in a flattering light – one that most of us here view each day. The LA Times has also been fond of promoting a video from Lowe Campbell Ewald executive Iain Lanivich titled, “We’re Moving to Detroit, and So Should You.” The thesis is pretty good, as well as accurate:
Despite what you might read in the media, Detroit is quickly becoming rich in creativity, innovation and inspiration. With tech investors like Detroit Venture Partners, it’s becoming easy for startups to create an opportunity. And in Detroit, everything needs help, so there are endless opportunities. With a “we’re all in this together” mentality, everyone is becoming friends and utilizing their skills to not only help one another, but define Detroit’s future. Whether you’re a designer, an innovator, an entrepreneur or an investor. The talent is moving to Detroit. And so should you.
Most notable is the comment from a young startup entrepreneur (2:35 mark) who makes the comment that the Detroit bankruptcy is not a negative because it is, in reality, a restructuring of the old model. This means we are moving from a government-based planning model to a market-based entrepreneurial-philanthropic model. The success of Detroit will invariably be inversely related to government intervention efforts on the part of the buttinskis in federal government who see it as their mission to rebuild Detroit with funny money embezzled from the looted masses.
In case you never heard it, here’s Lou Reed’s Egg Cream from the excellent Harvey Keitel movie, “Blue in the Face” (Directed by Wayne Wang & Paul Auster). One of the most grungy, ambiguous guitar licks I have ever heard.
60 Minutes may have done its worst hack job of the year last week with its story about the gloom and doom of Detroit. CBS correspondent, Bob Simon, who has the appearance of a cadaver propped up for one last broadcast, notes in his most dramatic tone that his story represents ”what an American city looks like when it goes bankrupt.”
Once upon a time, this show was one of the few reasons for me to turn on the television. In spite of the left-wing propaganda spewed by its orthodox producers and correspondents, Ed Bradley (RIP) was a beacon of journalism in his early days, and even Mike Wallace (RIP) was a fascinating individual who often put forth some thought-provoking editorial attempts. Now, 60 Minutes is left with its old guard of cadaveric gatekeepers who can barely make an utterance without bringing forth images of the propped-up corpse in Weekend at Bernie’s.
In this latest journalistic attempt at shedding light on the media spectacle that Detroit has become, Bob Simon takes the injudicious view of the city as a collective whole. There is no distinction between public and private entities, and the role of each sector in the city’s sordid history. The “city” is implicitly defined as some vague organism having shot its wad after fifty years of “race riots, spending sprees, borrowing binges, and corruption.” And then, the government’s financial position of insolvency is somehow held up as the standard by which all things Detroit should be measured. And when Simon comes upon something other than a dilapidated building, a dead body in the weeds, or another rundown emergency vehicle – surprise, surprise, what’s going on here? Could it be progress on the part of private interests, of both the citizen and business variety? That stuff hardly sells to the booboisie on American television.
Early on, the 60 Minutes hit piece conveys the impression that there are no thriving businesses, no risk-taking entrepreneurs, and no grassroots movements of residents reclaiming the city on their own dime and own time. Detroit is a city that, Simon says, looks like Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. The core of Simon’s commentary is that the buses don’t run on time (Mussolini could surely fix that); the city looks like Dresden after the allied bombing (same old ruin porn); the streetlights don’t work; and there are the 80,000 abandoned buildings (a considerable stretch). I am surprised that Simon didn’t bring up the fantasy reports of 50,000 wild dogs that are said to be roaming the city in packs. Yawn. So where is thestory?
The gist of Simon’s tale is that the city is helplessly downtrodden except for a small pocket of downtown that appears to thrive, thanks to one insatiable capitalist. On that note, Simon interviews Dan Gilbert, the Detroit billionaire and entrepreneur, from his office with a downtown panorama as the setting. The backdrop deliberately suggests a wealthy man in a pricey suit looking down at his development empire from his downtown tower, scanning the plebeian and bankrupt masses of the city. This is reminiscent of the scene from the 1956 movie, the The Ten Commandments, where Rameses II, pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire, looks down upon his slaves as they build the city by hand, brick by brick. This is shoddy, melodramatic journalism on the part of a gaggle of fourth-estate dilettantes.
Simon’s burning question to Gilbert is, “Are you doing what is good for Detroit or what is good for you?” That sets Simon’s tone for the entire commentary on Dan Gilbert and his role in revamping the city via the pursuit of private interests. Simon picked on Gilbert because he is the city’s second largest landowner after Government Motors. The reason for spotlighting Dan Gilbert was to be able to point out that a ‘destitute city’ is at the mercy of a wealthy, money-grubbing entrepreneur who is greedily buying up city land at bargain-basement prices.
There were only a few nebulous comments about Gilbert’s role in funding startups with seed money and walking his talk through action that brought many of his employees downtown. While Gilbert may not be the perfect free-market guy in all respects, he was taking risk and investing in Detroit when few other tycoons were willing to do the same.
Laughably, Bob Simon shows the prosperous downtown area and makes the comment that the visual he sees is something that “hardly what comes to mind when you think of bankruptcy.” Apparently, Bob doesn’t understand that it is the government that is bankrupt: not the businesses, not the entrepreneurs, not the spirit, not the future, and not the people. In fact, 300-plus years of splendid history doesn’t promptly dissolve because bureaucrats file court papers begging for financial mercy due to decades of unchecked government criminality.
The real story is that Detroit continues to move forward and thrive in spite of decades of government corruption, largesse, and barriers to success. Bob Simon, oddly enough, spent in inordinate amount of time focusing on a conversation with a firefighter about a fire truck with a perpetually leaking water tank, as if this problem is an ideal linchpin, or is somehow unique to Detroit.
Finally, the CBS crew did show selected shots of great, historic neighborhoods; the motor city blight busters, a community action group; and a few other positive angles. But the thesis had already been evoked with purposeful intent. The night the show aired, Dan Gilbert tweeted a comment about the fact that 60 Minutes had entirely missed the real story of what is transpiring in Detroit. So Dan Gilbert gets it, too.
Back in Detroit’s darker days, Mike Wallace came to Detroit to cover the “wave of corruption and mismanagement” that was Detroit in the 1970s. His story, “Hell Upon Detroit,” focused on how government and its criminal allies in the private sector served as a tool of destruction and corruption upon the city. The Wallace story is far from flawless, but at least government – and not savvy entrepreneurs – was the proper culprit.
At some point, just maybe, the national media will come to grasp the idea that the story of Detroit as a blighted canvas that consists only of ruin porn and government services that don’t serve is no longer remarkable news, nor is it demonstrating competence on the part of the jaded, old media organs.
It’s about time that Detroit gets some positive attention for its appreciable views from downtown. Forget the ruin porn – looking across the river this week (my office is visible in the background) we get to see our Canadians friends in Windsor and their wonderful sense of humor as well as sense of aesthetics. From Gawker media:
CBC News reports that Mayor Eddie Francis was “not happy” when told that one of the city’s shrubs had undergone a phallic makeover.
“The bush was in the sculpture garden, and somebody took it upon themselves to reshape the bush into something that they wanted to see,” the city’s parks boss John Miceli told the Windsor Star. “Whoever did the shaping was pretty proficient at shaping bushes.”
Since a Sunday deserves a non-ideological post or two, here’s my musical contribution for today: the young and brilliant and uber-talented Conrad Tao playing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall last weekend. While Tao’s performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 is amazing, I want to point the reader to his short (3-4 minute) performance that was a special surprise for the audience. Turn the video exactly to the 39:00 mark to see this amazing musical presentation.
The standing ovation for this young man, at the Saturday night performance that I attended, lasted about, oh, one year. And he deserves this mile-long entry in Wikipedia, too. Conrad is also a composer as well as a stud performer.