Friday, September 27, 2013

WHDT Interview on Detroit Bankruptcy

Here's my interview with Gary Franchi for WHDT. The topic is Detroit and the city's bankruptcy.

UPDATE: WHDT had to change the link, so here is the working version.

 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Podcast: Market Anarchism With Lew Rockwell

My podcast with Lew Rockwell on what's really happening in Detroit.


Miley Cyrus, Detroit Hipster

Poor Miley is dragging the D down with her tale of her "Detroit Days." As one Detroiter said, Miley "said she grew up in Detroit for no logical reason."
Pretty much everyone else has jumped on this let's be really into Detroit right now bandwagon, one more can't hurt anything. Climb aboard, Miley.
The Tongued Twerker even got a tattoo on - gasp - 8 Mile Road! Only in Detroit can the hipsters be outhipstered by Miley Cyrus.


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Detroit: Anarcho-Goats to Replace Government Workers?

I love any story about government being so incompetent that unionized, pensionized, lifetime-employed city workers need to be replaced by ... goats. Since Detroit can't afford to maintain thousands of acres of vacant land in spite of its bloated payroll, one City Councilman wants to explore using goats and sheep to mow the city's overgrowth. What a glorious idea. In fact, let's move the urban agriculture into Phase II by luring eco-agricultural farmers to raise grass-fed cows, pastured pigs, and free-range chickens among Detroit's thousands of acres of unoccupied salad bars.

 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Detroit Among the Ruins

More of Detroit on the experimental side, with a Samsung S3 cell phone.


Cadillac Square
Photo by Karen DeCoster



A burnt out house sees the light of art
Photo by Karen DeCoster



Marla Donovan at Urban Bean
Photo by Karen DeCoster

Detroit Angles


All photos were taken with a Samsung S3 cell phone in the city of Detroit.



Photo by Karen DeCoster


Heidelberg Art Project
Photo by Karen DeCoster


Urban agriculture in the heart of downtown
Photo by Karen DeCoster



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Anarcho-Perspective on Detroit is Catching On

Travis Holte sent me this video along with the message, "What? Reason didn't interview you for this piece???" Travis has an amazing eagle eye for these things, and I shouldn't promote Reason's take-offs on my anarcho-Detroit culture since they have never cited me while conducting their imitation of my take on the ground-up, voluntaryist Detroit resurgence that rejects government, but this one is worth mentioning. That is because Michael LaFaive, a Director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, is quoted as saying that, "Accidentally, the city has created an anarchistic culture...."

I know that Mr. LaFaive reads LewRockwell.com because I have corresponded with him. Actually, while I very much like the Mackinac Center and I appreciate LaFaive's take on mentioning "Detroit" and "anarchistic"in the same sentence, Detroit's anarchy is not accidental, and it has not been "created" by the city. So I will offer up my version of a correction since I have been covering the positive side of Detroit's resurgence for about the last four years.

Detroit's ground-up resurrection has not been created by the city, but rather, it has been enabled by the city because in spite of its seemingly unyielding regulatory environment, as presented by the media and some local businessmen, the government-regulatory complex has been too corrupt, too inept, and too inconsequential to enforce its own ridiculous dictates, for the most part. Hence the 'end around' on the part of savvy entrepreneurs to establish a service-for-profit base in the city.

The term "create" denotes intelligent, purposeful design while a more appropriate term, "enabling,"can be defined as allowing or permitting via a serendipitous practice. Also, nothing is "accidental," as entrepreneurs have been very canny in learning to navigate the regulatory waters while taking advantage of the lack of rigorous enforcement of the existing regulatory structure. Detroit's entrepreneurial storm that is rooted in rejection of the conventional political system is purposeful in that creative human capital actually seeks Detroit out as a place where they can potentially launch and operate innovative entrepreneurial efforts with minimal bureaucratic meddling.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

HELP: Detroit is Waiting to be Rescued!

The abundance of media  stories of Detroit and its plight are becoming larger than life by the day. If I believe the sensationalist media, the city where I have spent my half-century on earth is barely recognizable to me anymore, thanks to the fourth estate bobbleheads who have either never step foot here, or, they take a moment to zip through the city via their hired limousines just long enough to have their camera crew photograph some background ruin porn while they spin their melodramatic tales of Detroit's long, slow, harrowing demise due to bankruptcy woes, oodles of $100 houses falling into disrepair, dead bodies percolating from the ground, and lastly, angry packs of feral dogs (in gangs of 20) roaming the streets and eating humans as appetizers.

Indeed, CNN satirist Poppy Harlow starts off her anecdotal interpretation of Detroit for CNN Primetime by stating, "In America's biggest bankrupt city, where people are fleeing in droves..." Pause for a moment here.

I'd sure like to know the definition of "people fleeing in droves." Surely, this wild-eyed statement was not supported by facts, though it sure sounds compelling. Detroit's population decline has been occurring for 50 years, and recent years have evidenced a reverse flight of people fleeing the boring, highway-saturated suburbs for the most dense areas - downtown and historic neighborhoods - of Detroit.

Unfortunately, Poppy has allowed fiction to get in the way of facts throughout her piece. The main gist of the latest fable presented by CNN is that there are "thousands upon thousands of dogs roaming Detroit's streets." Really? As one who is navigating the city just about every day, by car, by bicycle, and by foot, I have never seen a shred of evidence of any wild packs of canines roaming the streets of Detroit. In fact, it gets even more amusing when you read Yahoo's latest joviality: "50,000 abandoned dogs roaming streets of Detroit in packs." It hardly gets better than that. 50...thousand...dogs. On my numerous bike rides throughout the city, including both the dense areas and the outskirts of the killing fields, I have never been privy to roaming packs of anything, let alone groups of 2 or 5 or 20 dogs, as reported by the media that is desperate for woe-is-Detroit headlines. Even Bloomberg jumped on the "packs of dogs" fable, noting that as Detroit's "latest crisis." Business Insider reported that these feral creatures are "taking over the streets of Detroit." A Washington Times headline reads, "Bankrupt Detroit: As many as 50,000 stray dogs roam city streets in packs." Surely, the inclusion of "bankrupt" makes the Detroit plight seem even more fatalistic. One person from the Humane Society even called Detroit "post-apocalyptic" due to these invisible roaming packs. Gawker media gets even better. To quote:
But one thing Detroit can still be proud of: its roaming packs of wild dogs. 
Though other cities may jeer at Detroit's troubles while pompously displaying their "functional city governments" and "plumbing that has not been torn out," none of those cities can match Detroit when it comes to the viciousness and ubiquity of the canine mobs controlling their streets.
Each media story copies heavily from the others, with a few original lines thrown in to make sure it is understood that Detroit is a rotted, unoccupied, apocalyptic war zone. What a shame that major media outlets keep composing this tinpot trash.

Sure, there are stray dog problems in Detroit, like anywhere else, especially in the cities where the pit bull stereotype - a philistine status symbol - is alive and well. Just look on Petfinder.com, and especially, filter on "pit bull." At the suburban animal shelter in my neighborhood, 95% of the dogs are pit bulls.

No one  know who lives and breathes Detroit has any knowledge of this apparent affliction of roaming packs of feral canines that give rise to the latest media buzz. While this falsehood is laughable, it is also disturbing to see that the story is being scattered throughout the media for lack of any more amusing headlines. Our Poppy Harlow ends up with this poignant statement: "and like so much else in Detroit, man's best friend is waiting to be rescued."Oh please, Poppy, come and rescue us, just like those who sat on their rooftops during Hurricane Katrina, waiting for the U.S Government of Incompetence to come and rescue them.
We folks here in Detroit actually prefer to not have people like Poppy Harlow call for our rescue. In fact, some of us here are even perfectly fine with purging the city's years of corruption and largesse via a bankruptcy. We are not sitting on our rooftops waiting for the government helicopters to rain down fiat dollars or rescue ladders. I document Detroit's ground-up resurgence from a non-sensationalist, in-the-trenches perspective at my blog, "Detroit: From Rust to Riches."

 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Topic Detroit: Robert Wenzel and Virginia Postrel

My interview with Robert Wenzel from last week is up at the Economic Policy Journal. The topic is, What's Really Going on in Detroit? While contradicting the naysayers who have never step foot here, I discuss what's really going on from my view in the trenches - both the good and the crummy.

Amazingly, I have received eight media requests, in the last week or so, to be interviewed for TV, radio, and podcasts about Detroit's rust to riches story, as chronicled in my Detroit blog. Because I'm not a trust fund baby, I can't even respond to half the requests I get. But I appreciate that so many good folks - like Robert Wenzel -  are interested in my idiosyncratic viewpoints.

On a related topic, Robert and I did not discuss Virginia Postrel's recent flatulence regarding Detroit, but this will be discussed during some future interviews. In fact, next up on the topic of Detroit is Lew Rockwell's podcast. You can find examples of Postrel's anti-Detroit sentiments in her Bloomberg column as well as her Facebook page. In fact, here is a post from Postrel's Facebook page from June 12th:
As you can tell from the comments in the book tour post, all of Detroit now hates me because of these recent Bloomberg posts: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-06/detroit-s-van-gogh-would-be-better-off-in-l-a-.html and http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-07/hey-picasso-how-about-a-time-share-in-arkansas-.html
Postrel has taken some strange shots at Detroit via her articles on the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) that were published on Bloomberg. I dropped a comment letting Postrel know that I don't hate her, but I can certainly help to educate her. In fact, I invited her to come here (and not just passing through on a freeway via the airport) and I will personally take my time to show her the good, the bad, the ugly, the fantastic, and the grass-roots, voluntaryist, hyper-entrepreneurial anarcho-economy that she won't find on Google, except my website. I'll also introduce her to some DIA people I know so that she can get the straight facts instead of the varnished media version. She never responded to my invitation. Additionally, Postrel has posted some really quirky anti-Detroit comments on her Facebook page. She lives in Los Angeles, hardly a bastion of architectural genius, fine culture, and interesting aura.

Two glances at Postrel's Detroit writings tell me this: she's a Googler, googling "all about Detroit" from her Los Angeles-Hollywood pad so that Bloomberg can pay her for her uninformed opinions disguised as educated perspectives. In an interview with Deadline Detroit, Postrel noted that she has "been in Detroit," meaning she hasn't been to Detroit at all in terms of actually visiting Detroit. She's apparently passed through Detroit, just as I have passed through New York. But I don't write about the local issues related to New York because Google does not tell me anything about the political history or the socioeconomic factors that are at the foundation of New York's current political affairs.

Again, I don't hate Postrel. And if she doesn't hate me, perhaps she will come here and allow me to take my (limited) time to show her how this city is being transformed via entrepreneurs and grassroots efforts that are without equal anywhere else in the world.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I See Stuff That Other People Don't See

Especially in the city of Detroit. These are all taken with a Samsung S3 cell phone. I continue to experiment with cell phone photography.


Me in front of the Lincoln Park Art Center, an outdoor anarcho-art exhibit.

A shot of the Renaissance Center, from the warehouse district.
Photo by Karen DeCoster.

Another dilapidated building coming down near the riverfront.
Peeking through the construction hole, you see the Renaissance Center.
Photo by Karen DeCoster.

The Renaissance Center, as seen from another angle in the warehouse district.
Photo by Karen DeCoster.

Someone else's dismal night and my morning canvas.
Photo by Karen DeCoster.

Lofts near Chene Street. Photo by Karen DeCoster.

Woodward corridor. Photo by Karen DeCoster.

This old sign says "Be a part of Detroit's revitalization." Then the housing bubble hit. No revitalization here.
Photo by Karen DeCoster.

Roberts Riverwalk Hotel from the riverwalk.
Photo by Karen DeCoster.

A friend, Marla Donovan, a native Michigander who moved to downtown Detroit
from Manhattan five years ago to experience the return to riches.