A Tree Grows in Detroit

From Vice, a post-apocalyptic photoessay of public schools left abandoned in Detroit.


The above image is captioned: A box elder tree grows from a soil made of ash and pulp from science textbooks in the Detroit Public Schools' Roosevelt Warehouse. A man's body was discovered in a frozen lift shaft here. It is assumed he had been there for some months as his face had decomposed.

More Detroit gothic here. More on the failure of the Detroit public education system here. More money for the city's schools here.

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  • Hugh Akston||

    Detroit is way ahead of the rest of this country.

  • ed||

    Whatever became of the Detroit Renaissance?

    By 1976, the offices were partly occupied. General Motors executive Henry L. Duncombe said the Renaissance Center would be a valuable trigger for Detroit. He saw a reversal of the population and business exodus over the next five to seven years. Everyone agreed that there must be "spinoff' in order for the salvation of downtown to be realized. At this point, the most obvious effect was an unrealistic jump in property prices.

    And so the Renaissance Center rose up on a hopeful note, with much good will and a tantalizing future. Two more office towers were built and opened in 1981, called Phase II, occupied and eventually purchased by ANR. In 1978, Mayor Coleman A. Young and the Downtown Development Authority invited a team of architects to give their professional opinion of the Renaissance Center. Their study was critical of many of the design features, especially the resulting isolation. The study also was critical of the city's poor riverfront planning and lack of planning in general. A later study was critical of the high retail vacancy rate in the RenCen.

    Phase III, the residential development, was left by the wayside, as Detroit's population continued to leave the city throughout the 1980s. In 1982, the city measured the population of the central business district as 37% lower than in 1970. By 1983, the RenCen was in default in its mortgage payments for the second time, and the four insurance agencies that bankrolled the construction, along with Ford Motor Credit, assumed 53% ownership.

    In 1987 the elevated-rail mass transit People Mover, many years in the building, began operation, with a stop at the Renaissance Center that soared over the forbidding concrete berms. Finally, in May of 1996, General Motors announced that it was buying the Renaissance Center from then-owner Highgate Hotels in Texas for $73 million, and would spend up to $500 million in renovation costs. Today GM's logo is up on the hotel tower, now owned by Marriott, and the berms are being dismantled. A new era is beginning for what was once a beacon of hope for downtown Detroit.

  • ||

    In the picture of items confiscated from a dice game (here), what's with the area where Jackson's face should be on the $20s?

  • David Pinto||

    NPR did a report on trees reclaiming Detroit buildings a few years ago. Most started on the roofs, with their roots growing down into the walls, absorbing calcium and other nutrients from the cement. It's amazing how quickly nature can reclaim the earth.

  • robc||

    I always wondered how the ancient cities were allowed to fall into ruins. I got wars that decimated a city, but other than that, I couldnt figure out how you could just let stuff gets covered by dirt and etc.

    Watching it happen over the scale of my lifetime, I understand now (although Ive only been to Detroit twice, once in the 70s, once in the 90s).

  • DetroitRockCity||

    I smell a bailout opportunity.

    Box Elders are amazing trees or weeds when it comes to inhospitable areas. The most amazing trees that grow in urban areas are Ailanthus trees, which was probably what the tree that was mentioned above growing on roofs. Both species are useless as urban trees though.

    That's a pretty sad set of articles on more than a few levels.

  • robc||

    Both species are useless as urban trees though.

    Not a problem in this case as they arent growing in an urban area.

  • Lefiti||

    "It is important to recognize that general education is not solely and perhaps not even mainly, a matter of communicating knowledge. There is a need for certain common standards of values, and, though too great emphasis on this need may lead to very illiberal consequences, peaceful common existence would be clearly impossible without any such standards. If in long-settled communities with a predominantly indigenous population, this is not likely to be a serious problem, there are instances, such as the United States during the period of large immigration, where it may well be one. That the United States would not have become such an effective "melting pot" and would probably faced extremely difficult problems if it had not been for a deliberate policy of 'Americanization' through the public school system seems fairly certain."--Friedrich Hayek

  • Lefiti||

    "The education of common people requires, in a civilized and commercial society, the attention of the state."--Adam Smith

  • Dee||

    On a side note I heard yesterday the owner of the Detroit Pistons died. The news said he bought the team for 7 million and it is now worth 300 million. I didn't think all of Detroit was worth 300 million these days much less their basketball team.

  • robc||

    Dee,

    Technically, the Pistons arent located in Detroit. They play in Auburn Hills.

  • ||

    "I have a very empty life. My dad only said 'I love you' once. And he was making fun of the way I said it to him."--Lefiti

  • Lefiti||

    I wish you libertarian fucktards will quit bashing Detroit.

    Once we get the right people in charge, things will turn around.

  • NLE||

    Am i the only one who saw that picture and thought Pot for a second.


    "Hitch of a wagon Marshall, I smell opportunity we're heading northeast.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Nice work Lefiti impersonator @ 10:48. However, it should read:

    Now that we have the right people in charge, things will turn around.

  • ||

    In the picture of items confiscated from a dice game (here), what's with the area where Jackson's face should be on the $20s?

    Johnathan, modern copiers are designed not to make copies of US currency.

  • ||

    Am i the only one who saw that picture and thought Pot for a second.

    No, but I look at any picture (or most anything) and think Pot. Yesterday I was at a home and garden show and went in to a Habitat for Humanity surplus materials sale. I saw a 250W Metal Halide lamp for $10. I almost bought it, except the bulb is probably no good and they're like $100 alone. Sigh.

  • ||

    In other Motown news -

    147 cases in police lab mess called 'tip of iceberg'
    State Police must reanalyze Detroit's mishandled evidence

    Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says her office has identified 147 cases of convicted and imprisoned people that will require the retesting of evidence as part of the investigation into the now-closed Detroit police crime lab -- unveiling the first of potentially thousands of cases that are at risk of unraveling because of mishandled evidence.

    "This is the tip of the iceberg," Worthy told the Free Press on Thursday, noting that in addition to the 147 cases identified by her office, defense attorneys have notified her office of 30 others that they believe relied on mishandled evidence.

    ...

    The Detroit lab wasn't the only one in the country with problems, according to the independent National Research Council. A review by West Virginia State Police found more than 100 convictions were in doubt because an employee had repeatedly falsified evidence. At least 10 people had convictions overturned.

    In Oregon, a man won a $2-million settlement after fingerprints mistakenly linked him to the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, Spain. Fingerprint evidence also was tossed out of a death penalty case in Maryland by a judge who declared it untested and unverifiable.


    *sigh* Your tax dollars at work.

  • VM||

    hay Edweirdoo - what about the Onkle Milton public education quote?

    jeez.

  • VM||

    "Onkel"...

    drrrrrrr.

    joe's law strikes again!

    where is he of late, anyways?

  • ||

    From the final link in Jesse's post.

    Detroit Public Schools stands to reap $530 million - $355 million with no strings attached - from the federal stimulus package that will hand Michigan nearly $7 billion over two or three years.


    This doesn't completely illuminate how deep a fiscal rathole Detroit Public Schools are. Allow me to expand on the subject.
    DPS leader: Watchdog to be hired; district is $200M in red

    He [Robert Bobb*]said the current deficit is likely more than $200 million, a marked increase from last year's $139-million deficit.


    Bobb also said, repeatedly, that the district will have to first create an educational plan and facilities plan before a financial plan can be implemented.


    Of course the NEA, AFT and their elected minions fight charter schools and vouchers tooth and nail. I'll leave it up to y'all to google Detroit Public Schools' sterling academic achievements.

    * Bob Bobb? Rob Bobb? Bobby Bobb? Ouch.

  • Lefiti||

    The Libertarian method--cherry pick evidence that supoorts your cherished beliefs, and ignore everything else. Fucking mental zombies.

  • ||

    Lefiti will now defend the continued existence of the Detroit Public School System. This should be as humorously interesting as joe speaking on firearms.

    Go for it, smartass.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Lefiti will now defend the continued existence of the Detroit Public School System.

    I doubt it. If past is prologue, he will post the same four or five insults over and over again, without making much effort to connect them to the discussion. The guy's on autopilot, which adds a little poignance to his complaints about "mental zombies."

  • Taktix®||

    The Libertarian method--cherry pick evidence that supoorts your cherished beliefs, and ignore everything else.

    Exactly. We always find some random quote and conflate it with the entire belief structure of the subject being quoted.

    Oh, wait...

  • ||

    joe's law strikes again!

    where is he of late, anyways?


    Oh, he's "outta here." It was under the pretense of being offended by something someone said, but I offer this crystal ball:

    http://www.reason.com/blog/show/129949.html#1133797

    sage | November 6, 2008, 10:28am | #

    You know, I like joe, and he makes very intelligent arguments. But I have a feeling things are going to get very difficult for him on this blog. It's been easy to hate Bush since most of us don't like him either. But when a lot of Obama's ideas are exposed to the light they are going to look very ugly, and hard to defend.


    I guess it's easier to leave than to try to defend indefensible ideas, eh?

  • anon||

    Will turn around??? Have turned around!! Obama told us that WE'VE been blowing this whole recession thing way out of proportion, and I believe it!

  • Shannon Love||

    The scary thing is that Obama and the rest of the democrat leadership see the policies that wrecked Detroit and the other Great Lake states as the template that they wish to force the rest of the country into. Detroit, after all, is just the most extreme example of the economic decay of this once great region.

    Since the 70's people have high tailed it out of the region that was once the industrial heartland for the entire planet. Now, California, having followed them same policies, has suffered the same fate. Ten years from now, we will look at California with the same shock that people in 1980 looked at the catastrophic collapse of the Rust Belt states.

    If leftists ideas of high taxes, strong unions, expansive social services and a generally invasive government worked as advertised. Places like Detroit would be a paradise. People would immigrate from other states to move to the Rust Belt as they did prior to the 60's. It really shows the intellectual bankruptcy of the left that they keep pushing the policies that killed these once great cities and states.

  • I, Kahn O\'Clast||

    Other cities have also lost half their former populations over similar periods of time (Pittsburgh comes to mind) and they have not suffered the fate of Detroit. Discuss...

  • ||

    One big difference is that Pittsburgh has a bunch of prestigious universities to draw money in even during bad economic times.

    And make no mistake, most of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods and the suburbs are ghettos; the city is broke and has its finances overseen by the state; and people are still fleeing the entire metro area (not just the city).

  • Taktix®||

    And make no mistake, most of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods and the suburbs are ghettos; the city is broke and has its finances overseen by the state; and people are still fleeing the entire metro area (not just the city).

    Pretty much. As a current flee-er, there's not a whole lot outside of Biotech propping up the economy.

    PNC is becoming decent-sized bank, but it's not big enough to compete with the biggest banks, yet big enough that if purchased whould make the #3-or-#4-largest bank jump up to #1 or #2.

    There is some advantage to the low cost of living, but it doesn't matter how low the cost of living is when there are zero jobs.

  • robc||

    Taktix,

    Didnt PNC just got bought? Or maybe they bought someone else. Whatever, I just know some banks in Louisville changed names and PNC was involved.

    Okay, looked it up, PNC bought National City.

  • robc||

    Oh, the PNC-National City deal made PNC #5.

  • robc||

    More details, PNC took $7.7B in tarp money and used $5.6B of it to buy National City (although it was a $5.2B in stock and $400M in cash deal).

  • TallDave||

    It's a good start.

    Now, if we can just do that to the rest of the public schools, maybe kids can get a decent education.

  • TallDave||

    The scary thing is that Obama and the rest of the democrat leadership see the policies that wrecked Detroit and the other Great Lake states as the template that they wish to force the rest of the country into.

    Hey, remember that promise to not raise taxes on anyone making over $250K? Anyone who believed that, please slap yourself. < a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/us/politics/15health.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1237140441-UJEQaCsbP5xaNxPgHoavcA">Hard.


    The Obama administration is signaling to Congress that the president could support taxing some employee health benefits

    The proposal… is similar to one he denounced in the presidential campaign as "the largest middle-class tax increase in history."



    Yes We Can!

    Somehow, 'I told you so' just doesn't quite say it.

  • TallDave||

    The scary thing is that Obama and the rest of the democrat leadership see the policies that wrecked Detroit and the other Great Lake states as the template that they wish to force the rest of the country into.

    Hey, remember that promise to not raise taxes on anyone making over $250K? Anyone who believed that, please slap yourself. Hard.


    The Obama administration is signaling to Congress that the president could support taxing some employee health benefits

    The proposal… is similar to one he denounced in the presidential campaign as "the largest middle-class tax increase in history."



    Yes We Can!

    Somehow, 'I told you so' just doesn't quite say it.

  • jtuf||

    Some region or another declines once in a while. The New England country side is full of abandoned farms from when agriculture shift west. The West has its ghost towns from when the mines petered out. New Jersey has remnants of the Hudson-Delaware cannal that trains made obsolete. I think Youngstown, Ohio's managed decline could be a good example for government of Detroit to follow.

  • ||


    On a side note I heard yesterday the owner of the Detroit Pistons died. The news said he bought the team for 7 million and it is now worth 300 million. I didn't think all of Detroit was worth 300 million these days much less their basketball team.



    Dee,

    Technically, the Pistons arent located in Detroit. They play in Auburn Hills.



    More on Bill Davidson - The Palace of Auburn Hills was privately funded. Beside the successful roundball franchises that play there, it remains one of the premier concert venues in the country.

    Bill Davidson was the first to buy a private jet to transport his team around. It doesn't count against the salary cap and when the Pistons were the only franchise doing it, it was probably worth 2 to 4 road wins a season.
    It wasn't his idea, it was a response to a question he asked. Something like "What can we do to help the team win more games that we haven't tried?"

    That is quality management.

  • ||

    Yes We Can!

    Yes you can sugarfree a link. Did I say that properly?

  • anon||

    These pictures/story are as old as the internet. I distinctly remember a virtually identical threat on Hit & Run a few years ago.

    Anyway, check out detroitblog.org for some very interesting slice-of-life type journalism. (not the author, just a fan)

  • Lefiti||

    "...he [Lefiti] will post the same four or five insults over and over again, without making much effort to connect them to the discussion."

    O yeah, I can see how my four or five insults stand out in the generally high level of discourse here. You've been in the right-wng propaganda business too long, Jesse. If you're no soon looking for another line of work, it will be a testimony to the charutable instncts of the mental zombies. Donate now!

  • Taktix®||

    If you're no soon looking for another line of work, it will be a testimony to the charutable instncts of the mental zombies.

    Memo to all Lefiti posters:

    Please try harder when wearing the Lefiti mask. It's a tool, not a toy.

    That is all...

  • ||

    There is some advantage to the low cost of living, but it doesn't matter how low the cost of living is when there are zero jobs.

    Indeed. Luckily I'm getting paid as a grad student with money from outside. Life is good when you're a vulture picking flesh off the once-great elephant's corpse.

    Interestingly, my mom just sent me a link to a TIME article on how Pittsburgh's revival after the collapse of the US steel industry is a model for how America can survive the economic downturn. I responded that she shouldn't wish that on herself.

  • Lefiti||

    Hit and Run is an endless series of cheap-shot propaganda posts that elecit moronic replies from true-believers who have swallowed the Kool-Aid long ago, and Jesse Walker has the chutzpa to complain about insults. Fuck, only in Libertopia!

  • Taktix®||

    Interestingly, my mom just sent me a link to a TIME article on how Pittsburgh's revival after the collapse of the US steel industry is a model for how America can survive the economic downturn.

    So everyone in America should move to North Carolina and Florida? I don't think they're big enough...

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    A Poem

    Some see the tree as a sign of hope and renewal
    But I see the snow covered library books and sigh, thinking
    "What a toasty bonfire they would have made!"

  • Lefiti||

    In order to raise money for the Detroit school system I will be hosting a telethon, during which I will perform oral sex on myself until enough money is raised.

  • ||

    In my experience, you'd probably raise more money by performing it on other people. But I wouldn't expect a socialist to know a thing about making money as opposed to taking it.

  • Jesse Walker||

    You've been in the right-wing propaganda business too long, Jesse.

    See what I mean?

  • Jennifer||

    I think he has a crush on you, Jesse. He acts exactly the same way my third-grade self acted in the presence of the then-Cutest Boy In School: Eeeew! Cootie alert! You are so ugly and stupid and etc.

    Although in third grade, my vocabulary was not yet advanced enough to work Hayek into my insults. Boogerbrain.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Actually, "Hayek" is very close to the guttural sound we used to make before, as the third grade term of art went, hocking a loogie.

  • ||

    Anyone know how much of the Stimulus Detroit is getting?

  • Jesse Walker||

    These pictures/story are as old as the internet. I distinctly remember a virtually identical threat on Hit & Run a few years ago.

    The story is ongoing. The photoessay is new. I remember the post you're referring to (it was one of Brian's) and it wasn't the same pictures.

  • Anonymous||

    a virtually identical threat [sic] on Hit & Run

    The word is "thread", sir. I've seen this mis-spelling quite a few times recently. Is it some kind of joke, or just stupid?

  • Taktix®||

    Anyone know how much of the Stimulus Detroit is getting?

    Too much...

  • Jesse Walker||

    Anyone know how much of the Stimulus Detroit is getting?

    The schools are getting $530 million, of which $355 million comes with no strings attached. More details here.

  • ||

    "The schools are getting $530 million, of which $355 million comes with no strings attached. More details here."

    Accountability, YES WE CAN!!

    Amazing.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Ten years from now, we will look at California with the same shock that people in 1980 looked at the catastrophic collapse of the Rust Belt states.

    You may be right, but I don't see it happening. As bad as our state government is, California has a lot going for it that's hard for them to fuck up. We have a lot of creative and energetic people, and those people are not as likely to take flight to somewhere else because of the climate, recreation, and deep-routed fun culture.

  • Mike Laursen||

    As bad as our state government is... not as likely to take flight to somewhere else because of the climate, recreation, and deep-routed fun culture.

    Come to think of it, this is just a microcosm of the optimism that Nick Gillespie keeps expressing about freedom advancing throughout the world despite all of the short-term anti-freedom shit that we humans subject ourselves to.

  • ||

    "You may be right, but I don't see it happening. As bad as our state government is, California has a lot going for it that's hard for them to fuck up. We have a lot of creative and energetic people, and those people are not as likely to take flight to somewhere else because of the climate, recreation, and deep-routed fun culture."

    Fifty years ago Detroit was the greatest industrial city the world has ever seen. Never underestimate the ability of governments and unions to destroy something. California won't look like Detroit today, it will look like Mexico City, a combination of slums full of people who couldn't escape and gated neighborhoods of people to wealthy to care or live in reality.

  • ||

    yes California is beautiful. But so is much of Mexico and Central America. The beauty doesn't keep them from being third world countries, which is what California will be in 20 years of so.

  • Mike Laursen||

    California won't look like Detroit today, it will look like Mexico City, a combination of slums full of people who couldn't escape and gated neighborhoods of people to wealthy to care or live in reality.

    Lots of California already matches those two extremes and I suppose it's been that way since, oh, 1697. I guess the real question is what's going to happen to all those vast middle-class suburbs that lie between the extremes?

  • ||

    The schools are getting $530 million, of which $355 million comes with no strings attached. More details here.

    Sweet! Looks like it's time for my new consulting firm, ChuckU, LLC, to start ginning up some bids. First contract: for interior landscaping of the Roosevelt Warehouse. Only $5 million/year. A bargain!

    Of course, this will be after my substantial donations to the school board members' reelection campaigns. And hiring their in-laws on as deputy executive VPs for corporate relations.

  • ||

    I guess the real question is what's going to happen to all those vast middle-class suburbs that lie between the extremes?

    Killer robots. Next question?

  • Mike Laursen||

    In all seriousness, I'm expecting a non-industrial robot industry to be big business in the mid-term future. Whether California (or the United States) will get in on it is an open question. There's a good chance it will be another Japanese-dominated business. Ironically, Detroit has (or used to have) a lot of what it would take to compete well in this area.

  • Mike Laursen||

    California also has a lot of potential to become big in private space flight, but I'll bet we'll blow that one.

  • Anonymous||

    I have no handy citations, but didn't California decrease in population as a result of people moving to other states? I don't know whether this was counted in raw numbers of individuals, by families, or excluding immigration.

  • ||

    Mike Laursen,

    California's water problems might come to a head soon. There's an awfully good reason why there are few historical examples of millions of people living in a small patch of desert. You can't divert water from NoCal forever. (Of course this applies to Arizona and other popular Sun Belt destinations as well)

    Of course, with all the electoral votes that are piling up in the Southwest, I suppose it won't be long before the National Water Administration arrives to pump Great Lakes water to the southwest.

  • ||

    Which is part of the reason California is so big in area...back in 1850 no one thought that the southern half of the state could support even a small population. Without water diversion LA and San Diego would be nearly uninhabitable.

  • Taktix® (as a Detroit, Unioniz||

    I'm expecting a non-industrial robot industry to be big business in the mid-term future... Ironically, Detroit has (or used to have) a lot of what it would take to compete well in this area.

    My contract says I ain't gotta learn any new skills...

  • Taktix®||

    Of course, with all the electoral votes that are piling up in the Southwest, I suppose it won't be long before the National Water Administration arrives to pump Great Lakes water to the southwest.

    They could run it alongside the NAFTA Superhighway!

  • ||

    No strings attached is only because the Detroit Public Schools have historically been wise and frugal stewards of the citizen's tax dollars. Cass Technical High School is a recent example of the fine stewardship DPS has displayed. From the oh so useful Wiki.

    During the 2005-2006 school year, Cass Tech faculty, students and staff were moved to the new building, which was constructed on and around the school's old football field. The move into the new building sparked controversy because of uncertainty about the future of the old building, which is considered to be a historic landmark.


    That is less than 4 years ago when the old Cass Tech was filled with students. Here is a photo of the absolutely gorgeous structue from 1939. Four years ago it looked pretty much the same, some wear and tear that is to be expected, but still a very handsome building. The new school was opened next door and the old building (historical landmark?) was

    A) sold to private developers.
    B) converted into a community center/museum.
    C) razed.
    D) allowed to decay and be stripped by vandals. ✔

    The management gurus at DPS have apparently decided to let erosion, vandals, urban recyclers and gravity dispose of the old Cass Tech. The juniors and seniors at the new building have had a front row seat watching the old decay.
    The $355 megabuck no strings attached portion of the stimulus package will be be used to paper over past and future mismanagement.

  • Lefiti||

    "You've been in the right-wing propaganda business too long, Jesse."--Lefiti

    "See what I mean?" --Jesse Walker

    No, I don't see what you mean. Do you mean that you're not in the right-wing propaganda business, so saying you are is an insult? Or do you mean it's inaccurate to call it a busness since what you do isn't economically viable without donations?

  • ||

    I'm still waiting for Lefiti's defense of the Detroit Public Schools. I'll likely wait forever.

  • ||

    The scary thing is that Obama and the rest of the democrat leadership see the policies that wrecked Detroit and the other Great Lake states as the template that they wish to force the rest of the country into. Detroit, after all, is just the most extreme example of the economic decay of this once great region.

    Since the 70's people have high tailed it out of the region that was once the industrial heartland for the entire planet.

    That has the disadvantage of not being...true -- the Great Lakes states have not actually been shrinking since the 1970s. Not even Michigan has been shrinking. Hell -- not even the Detroit Metro region has been shrinking. They've all grown quite a lot since 1970. For decades, Michigan and even metro Detroit did fine while Detroit flailed away.

    But now that the rest of Michigan has caught the cold, Detroit has the flu. Or rather now that the rest of Michigan has the flu, Detroit has AIDs...or something like that. You get the idea.

  • Lefiti||

    J sub D

    Make an intelligent attack on the Detroit public schools, and I'll defend them.

  • Lefiti||

    J sub D

    Make an intelligent attack on the Detroit public schools, and I'll blow myself and send you the pics

  • Taktix®||

    J sub D

    Make an intelligent attack on the Detroit public schools, and I'll defend them.


    For some reason, I read this and imagined a frustrated fellow trying to teach the process of fission reactions to a mean cocker spaniel...

  • ||

    J sub D

    Make an intelligent attack on the Detroit public schools, and I'll defend them.

    For some reason, I read this and imagined a frustrated fellow trying to teach the process of fission reactions to a mean cocker spaniel...


    What do you have against Cocker Spaniels? Sure, they aren't as smart as Labrador Retrievers or Border Collies, but comparing the entire breed with Lefiti is just plain unfair.

  • ||

    Fascinating story here.

    A thriving charter school in Georgia is looking for a new facility; the school district has recently closed a school due to "falling enrollment" but refuses to lease the building to the charter school.

    That idiot Obama wants to throw money at local school districts, with no strings attached, because they are doing such an awesome job.

  • ||

    Cass Tech faculty, students and staff were moved to the new building, which was constructed on and around the school's old football field. The move into the new building sparked controversy because of uncertainty about the future of the old building, which is considered to be a historic landmark.

    You can bet your ass if a charter school wanted to move into that (now deteriorating) building, the Detroit school authorities would fight tooth and nail to prevent it.

  • Taktix®||

    J sub,

    Nothing against Cocker Spaniels, but the gap between their intelligence and the level of intelligence required to understand nuclear physics is about the same as the gap between Lefiti's intelligence and the level of intellegence required to make a poignant, logical argument.

    A camparison of scale, you see...

  • jester||

    Lefiti,

    Sir, when you blow yourself, please make it all available at lone-wacko's site.

    Just one more reason...

    Sorry forget I said that.

  • Taktix®||

    Err... Comparison!

    Damn you, Joez Law, damn you!

    Where has he been, anyway?

  • ||

    Which is part of the reason California is so big in area...back in 1850 no one thought that the southern half of the state could support even a small population. Without water diversion LA and San Diego would be nearly uninhabitable.

    And don't forget all the idiot bay area types who desperately want to "restore" Hetch Hetchy.

  • ||

    No, I don't see what you mean.

    Now there's the understatement of the thread.

  • jayjayhawker||

    The Robo Cop movies predicted this.

    But seriously, nothing is a sadder product of the government subsidy system and labor laws than Detroit.

  • ||

    Make an intelligent attack on the Detroit public schools, and I'll blow myself and send you the pics

    Perhaps you need to look up the word "disincentive".

    With the exception of your posts, most of this thread has been an intelligent attack on the schools. The pics alone are damning enough.

  • ||

    back in 1850 no one thought that the southern half of the state could support even a small population. Without water diversion LA and San Diego would be nearly uninhabitable.

    Sorry, but bullshit on the date.

    L.A. wasn't doing badly before the aqueduct was built (started 1905, completed 1913). The water was brought in to make the arid SF Valley viable farmland (and the sneaky bastards who owned it all a lot of money), not to build up a vast exurbia. The All-American canal was built in the 1930s, mostly for the Imperial Valley and later for SD. The CA Water Project came years after that.

    Even today, SoCal would have enough water were it not for the cutbacks in delivery to save the delta smelt. That and if the farmers stopped growing cotton and alfalfa in the fucking desert.

    I recall when L.A. cast her insatiable eyes all the way to the Columbia River, lamenting all that water going to waste flowing untapped into the ocean.

  • ||

    JI,

    The only date I have there is the date of California's statehood, 1850, which I'm certain is correct, thanks to an unimaginatively named compromise. At that time the vast majority of CA's population was in the northern half. If they'd known the southern half would become so populous they wouldn't have made it all one state, probably giving statehood to the northern half and letting the southern half remain a territory.

    Even today, SoCal would have enough water were it not for the cutbacks in delivery to save the delta smelt.

    That water is coming from NoCal, and they're starting to run low themselves. SoCal has next to no fresh water of its own, save the Colorado River, which is getting lower itself due to AZ's own population explosion.*

    That and if the farmers stopped growing cotton and alfalfa in the fucking desert.

    Now we're talking...also cutting back on the number of lush green golf courses and front lawns would help.

    * I saw a 20/20 report profiling Jeff Flake last year, a guy who I'm certainly inclined to like, but then they showed him playing with his kids in a vast, lush green back yard in the middle of the Arizona desert. Yo, fuck Arizona water hogs.

  • ||

    Desalinization plants. San Diego wanted to build one, but the warm and fuzzy environmentalists said now. They said salt was a pollutant and it couldn't be dumped back in the ocean.

  • Jesse Walker||

    No, I don't see what you mean.

    I wasn't addressing you.

    Do you mean that you're not in the right-wing propaganda business, so saying you are is an insult? Or do you mean it's inaccurate to call it a busness [sic] since what you do isn't economically viable without donations?

    On the slim chance that you're honestly curious: I meant that you were doing just what I said you would do. I said that you would rather spout inane insults than engage in a real discussion about the Detroit schools, and I was right. I said that the insults would be the same jibber-jabber you recycle through all these threads rather than anything related to the topic, and again I was right.

  • Bags||

    Don't feed the troll. I actually remember Lefiti accusing Balko of cherry picking evidence in the Ryan Frederick case. Eddie has no other point other than to troll.

  • Lefiti||

    Dear Jesse

    So if you weren't addressing me, why do you bother rersponding to my questions, which you claim are "insane insults"? That you engage in propaganda is a insane insult? You can't be that fucking stupid. Jesus. Don't feed the troll, especially if you have nothing to fucking say.

    Best,

    Lefiti

  • Atanarjuat||

    Desalinization plants. San Diego wanted to build one, but the warm and fuzzy environmentalists said now. They said salt was a pollutant and it couldn't be dumped back in the ocean.



    Couldn't they sell the salt as a commodity? Even if it wasn't fit for eating, they could salt icy roads with it.

  • Jesse Walker||

    I actually remember Lefiti accusing Balko of cherry picking evidence in the Ryan Frederick case.

    He has a set number of routines that he cycles through almost randomly, and one of them is to accuse people of cherry-picking evidence (without, of course, giving specifics about the alleged cherry-picking, as that would involve engaging in actual debate). Now he's entered his "Yes, I'm a troll, nyah nyah nyah" meta-routine, another familiar schtick. Talking with him is a bit like trying to carry on a conversation with one of those toddler toys that says one of five preprogrammed sentences every time you squeeze its belly.

    Ordinarily I don't interact with him, but he's kind of fascinating, so occasionally I give him a poke to see what happens. We probably ought to ban him, but he does serve the useful function of reminding us that there are people out there who take the smug/stupid combination even further than Lonewacko.

  • ||

    Brandybuck,

    Really? If that's so, the environmentalists' complaint is the silliest thing I've heard today, and wait till I tell you about my day. I could see salt being considered a pollutant if you're going to dump it in a forest or something, but it's not like San Diego has a shortage of nearby desert. That's of course if you accept that there's no way they're going to be dumping enough salt back into the ocean to change the concentration at all.

    I always thought the hangup with desal was the enormous energy input necessary for each gallon of fresh water produced.

  • Lefiti||

    Lefiti's song (sung to some tune)

    Oh, they're talking about me
    Little bannable me
    They've banned me more than once
    They made me play the dunce,
    But they're talling about me again
    Threatening to ban me again
    But they're talking about me!

  • ||

    We probably ought to ban him, but he does serve the useful function of reminding us that there are people out there who take the smug/stupid combination even further than Lonewacko.

    So long as we can say, "this is the stupidest," it is not the stupidest.

  • ||

    I have read Shakespeare ... try not to faint ...

  • Shannon Love||

    Slocum,

    That has the disadvantage of not being...true -- the Great Lakes states have not actually been shrinking since the 1970s.

    Not according to the Census Bureau. All the Great Lake states except IIRC Wisconsin have seen net internal emigration over the last 30 years. California tipped over within the last 10. I don't have the link at hand but I did the research for a recent post on Chicagoboyz.

    External immigration is still happening but internal emigration since WWII has largely been a phenomenon of the middle and upper class. Poor people don't move anymore, probably due to the welfare state. This means states with net internal immigration are loosing their entrepreneurial classes. Detroit is a microcosm of this phenomena.

    Socialism can make a desert our of garden.

  • Detective Mills||

    "Fuck you Shakespeare, you faggy rhyming lyric pentameter piece of shit!"

  • ||

    Dumping salt back into the ocean is not polluting it. It would make for higher salinity around the point where the salt was being recycled, but once you got outside the immediate area where it was being dumped the ocean would essentially remain at normal salinity. And, over time, the acres of ocean area of higher salinity would develop a new ecosystem adapted to the new environment, quite possibly increasing local biological diversity.

    This process occurs naturally, actually. When water naturally evaporates off the ocean surface, the top layer of the ocean becomes more saline.

    In fact, dumping salt in the ocean is about the only way to not pollute or damage anything. It's the one place where salt is NOT a pollutant.

  • Lefiti||

    Anybody with a passing knowledge of the level of the comments here would find it astonishing that Jesse Walker could single mine (or anybody else's) out as "stupid." Jesse's sole criterion is obviously the extent to which the comments conform to libertarian articles of faith. In other words, Jesse Walker is a right-wing propagandist pimp pretending to be a journalist.

  • ||

    Shannon Love,

    You're neglecting the fact that people are being born in those states. "Shrinking" is the term you originally used, which is usually interpreted to mean that the total population is declining, not that there is "net internal emigration".

    I'm sure you'll return momentarily to explain why I'm a despicable socialist liar who doesn't understand plain English, though.

  • Naga Sadow ||

    Crimethink! That's my schtick! Damn you!

  • Naga Sadow as Lefiti||

    What do I send unto you Libertards?

    Defiance! Scorn! Add unto that contempt, and slight regard!

  • Jennifer||

    I was talking to you, Jesse! Why haven't you responded? Pay attention to me!!! Stupid boogerbrained right-wing dumbass.

  • Jennifer||

    Goddammit, I have when Lefiti-like demons take control of me when I'm online. Just forget that last remark, why don't you?

  • Jennifer||

    Have = hate.

    Fuck this, I'm going to bed.

  • Lefiti||

    I'm pretty sure Jennifer is a guy.

  • cuernimus||

    Dumping salt back into the ocean is not polluting it. It would make for higher salinity around the point where the salt was being recycled, but once you got outside the immediate area where it was being dumped the ocean would essentially remain at normal salinity. And, over time, the acres of ocean area of higher salinity would develop a new ecosystem adapted to the new environment, quite possibly increasing local biological diversity.

    That's not even taking into consideration that much of that water is going to be returning to the ocean after it gets pumped into rivers or artificial lakes or out of bladders.

  • Kolohe||

    And, over time, the acres of ocean area of higher salinity would develop a new ecosystem adapted to the new environment, quite possibly increasing local biological diversity.

    Yes, but this takes like millions of years, and I need my Filet-of-fish this friday.

    The 'solution to pollution is dilution' is, on balance, a good strategy. But many marine (and other) environments are quite sensitive to small chemical changes.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Even today, SoCal would have enough water were it not for the cutbacks in delivery to save the delta smelt. That and if the farmers stopped growing cotton and alfalfa in the fucking desert.

    And yet our local Bay Area NPR station always refers to this situation as a "drought". And the most politically correct of my neighbors (and it's pretty damned liberal Democratic around here) are looking forward with religious fervor to taking one-minute showers and flushing their toilets only once a day.

  • ||

    Dadgummit, I really want to meet Lefiti in person.

    I bet you in reality he's a very successful, well-dressed and socially gracious human being.


    Because otherwise he must be like an unsuccessful and coked up John MacEnroe.

  • ||

    Art, it's commentary like yours sir, that keeps the mary jane illegal.


    I keed I keed

  • ||

    Because otherwise he must be like an unsuccessful and coked up John MacEnroe.

    What do you have against the greatest tennis player of all time?!?

  • ||

    What do you have against the greatest tennis player of all time?!?

    Nothing, it's just that when he gets all riled up he's like Charlie from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, who is like Bobcat Goldthwait, whose characterization in Scrooged was, I believe, partially based on Lefiti.

  • ||

    Plus, you see MacEnroe's anger, you're like Oh, he's just a passionate competitor. You see Lefiti's anger, it's like What the hell?

  • ||

    who is like Bobcat Goldthwait, whose characterization in Scrooged was, I believe, partially based on Lefiti

    Actually, Bobcat has stated that his performance in Police Academy 2 was inspired by Lefiti. Also, One Crazy Summer.

  • Taktix®||

    Jennifer | March 15, 2009, 10:36pm | #

    I was talking to you, Jesse! Why haven't you responded? Pay attention to me!!! Stupid boogerbrained right-wing dumbass.


    Lefiti exposed!

  • ||

    We have a lot of creative and energetic people, and those people are not as likely to take flight to somewhere else because of the climate, recreation, and deep-routed fun culture.

    The out-migration of highly productive people has already begun, although I don't know at what scale.

    At some point, a rising tax burden and declining social capital will outweigh whatever marginal advantages in recreation, climate, and fun California has.

    The outmigration of highly productive people could set off a death spiral, as outmigration increases the tax burden and reduces the social capital for those that remain, ratcheting the incentive to leave up and up. How likely is this scenario? Don't know, but people who value climate, recreation, and fun highly don't strike me as people who are likely to stick around in a bad situation to try to make it better.

  • SpongePaul||

    I almost bought it, except the bulb is probably no good and they're like $100 alone. Sigh.
    ___________________________________________
    you do not need a fancy bulb. a standard bulb at home depot will work just as well. the enhanced spectrum really does not make much dif over the long run. go to the depot and get a 15.00 MH bulb. get some seeds from the uk and have fun, lol

  • Mike Laursen||

    How likely is this scenario? Don't know, but people who value climate, recreation, and fun highly don't strike me as people who are likely to stick around in a bad situation to try to make it better.

    My expectation isn't that the most creative and affluent will try to fix California government for everybody. Instead, we'll find ways to isolate and exempt our neighborhoods, schools, etc.

  • jtuf||

    This is a bit of a tangent, but when I caught up on my vertical farming reading today, I saw a paragraph that partly explains America's urban decline. Sooner or later the reason for a region's popularity (the oil well, gold mine, steel mill, ect.) goes bust. For a city to grow or keep its population after the bust, it needs to reinvent itself. Vertical farming is an emerging technology that could invigorate a city. A researcher at Columbia U advocates it on his website vertical farming. He links to an interview he gave about his next project. In the interview, he says:

    One of the requests we have that we think will actually result in an initiative is from the country of Jordan. I've had an inquiry from two separate [US AID representatives from Jordan]. They want me to come visit Jordan to explore the possibility of working with Hyatt hotels to produce vertical farm-like settings inside the hotel so that they're carbon neutral. You can integrate food production into the hotel as well as energy recapture and all these other things, because, remember, it's a desert. You've got wonderful sun. You don't have any water, but if you drill down deep enough you'll have water too. So we can accomplish a lot. If you're constrained by New York City building codes or something like that, you might not be able to do this. If you go to Jordan they will give you an open invitation to try whatever you like.



    I'll be ecstatic if the building goes up anywhere. However, there's no good reason why we can't have verticle farms in both Jordan and New York City. Zoning regulations are discouraging them in New York. So, inventors are hard at work trying to save their cities, and politicians are hard at work making sure nothing changes.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I've seen a BLDG blog post or two on vertical farming. My impression was that it's at the wouldn't-it-be-cool idea stage, with no serious analysis of economic feasibility.

    How could growing veggies in a skyscraper possibly compete with growing them in a relatively low-cost field of dirt and then shipping them into the city?

  • jtuf||

    Mike Laursen, vertical growing might not be economically feasible, I'll grant that. My main point is that it might work and someone is willing to try it, but the city laws are a barrier to even trying it. Most new ideas end up not working. That's why we have to try hundreds of them. If the law keeps builders from even trying a new type of building, it will be much more difficult to revive declining cities.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Agreed. I'm all in favor of letting people try new ideas.

  • Russ 2000||

    I've heard of turning trees into textbooks, but never thought textbooks could turn into trees.

  • Russ 2000||

    Box Elders are amazing trees or weeds when it comes to inhospitable areas. The most amazing trees that grow in urban areas are Ailanthus trees, which was probably what the tree that was mentioned above growing on roofs. Both species are useless as urban trees though.

    Primary succession.

  • wizard of oz books||

    With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

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