Monday, July 17, 2017

July 1967

Fifty years ago this week this writer was growing up in Franklin, Michigan (northwest of Detroit). I was finishing up my Franklin Pony League baseball season with the Cardinals and my summer league hockey schedule at Gordie Howe Hockeyland in St. Clair Shores Michigan. The Detroit Tigers were battling with the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and the Chicago White Sox for the American League title (Red Sox won by a game over the Tigers and the Twinkies).

But what I remember the most about that summer of 1967 began on Sunday July 23. The resulting years after the events in our community of July 23 -27, 1967 influenced where many friends would choose to go to college and eventually where they would live to begin their careers. But more importantly the events influenced social, political, and economic development for the next fifty years in Southwestern Michigan.

In the early hours of Sunday (3:45 a.m.), July 23, 1967, Detroit police officers raided the unlicensed weekend drinking club in the office of the United Community League for Civic Action, above the Economy Printing Company, at 9125 12th Street (now called Rosa Parks Boulevard). They expected a few revelers inside, but instead found a party of 82 African Americans celebrating the return of two local GIs from the Vietnam War. The police decided to arrest everyone present. While they were arranging for transportation, a sizable crowd of onlookers gathered on the street. Later, in a memoir, Walter Scott III, a doorman whose father was running the raided blind pig, took responsibility for starting the riot by inciting the crowd and throwing a bottle at a police officer.

After the police left, the mob began looting an adjacent clothing store. Shortly thereafter, full-scale looting began throughout the neighborhood. State police, Wayne County sheriffs, and the Michigan National Guard were alerted, but because it was Sunday, it took hours for the Police Commissioner Ray Girardin to assemble sufficient manpower. Meanwhile, witnesses described seeing a "carnival atmosphere" on 12th Street. Police—inadequate in number and wrongly believing that the rioting would soon expire—just stood there and watched. Police did not make their first arrest until 7 a.m. To the east, on Chene Street, reports said the pillaging mob boasted a mixed composition. The pastor of Grace Episcopal Church along 12th Street reported that he saw a "gleefulness in throwing stuff and getting stuff out of buildings". The police conducted several sweeps along 12th Street, which proved ineffective because of the unexpectedly large numbers of people outside. The first major fire broke mid-afternoon in a grocery store at the corner of 12th Street and Atkinson. The mob prevented firefighters from extinguishing it and soon more smoke filled the skyline.

The local news media initially avoided reporting on the disturbance so as not to inspire copy-cat violence, but the rioting started to expand to other parts of the city, including looting of retail and grocery stores elsewhere. By Sunday afternoon, news had spread, and people attending events such as a Fox Theater Motown revue and Detroit Tigers baseball game were warned to avoid certain areas of the city. Motown's Martha Reeves was on stage at the Fox, singing "Jimmy Mack," and was assigned to ask people to leave quietly, as there was trouble outside. After the game, Tigers left fielder Willie Horton, a Detroit resident who had grown up not far from 12th Street, drove to the riot area and stood on a car in the middle of the crowd while still in his baseball uniform. Despite Horton's impassioned pleas, he could not calm the mob.

The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot, was a violent public disorder that turned into a civil disturbance in Detroit, Michigan. Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in the history of the United States, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit's 1943 race riot.

To help end the disturbance, Governor George W. Romney ordered the Michigan Army National Guard into Detroit, and President Lyndon B. Johnson sent in both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. The result was 43 dead, 1,189 injured, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed.

A decline that had already begun would accelerate; Detroit was the nation's fourth biggest city in 1960, but would rank 21st by 2016. The middle class fled, and a proud city fell into poverty, crime and hopelessness.

There are signs of rebirth in Detroit. Capital investment is booming in the downtown Woodward Avenue corridor in the City of Detroit.  But the men and women who lived through the riots are getting older, and most doubt they will live to see Detroit reclaim its former glory, when its very name was synonymous with American know-how and industry.
The picture below was taken on June 23, 1967 of 12th Street looking east; the second picture below was taken on July 11, 2017 of the same corner today looking east.

GOOD READS – “Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story” by David Maraniss, and “Detroit: An American Autopsy” by Charlie LeDuff: Both excellent accounts of these last fifty years in the City of Detroit.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - Republicans are becoming increasingly cranky about the value of the nation's higher education sector, according to a new poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center. For the first time since the question was asked in 2010, a majority of Republicans polled (58 percent) said that colleges and universities are having a negative effect on the way things are going in the country. That's up from 45 percent a year ago. Two years ago, 54 percent of Republicans said colleges and universities had a positive impact on the way things were going compared to 36 percent today. The pollsters found that the downward trend in the view of higher education is reflected by all ages, incomes and ideologies within the GOP.

Overall, however, a majority of the public (55 percent), still says that colleges and universities have a positive effect - a view relatively unchanged from a year ago. That includes the 72 percent of Democrats who say higher education institutions have a positive effect.

SYLLABUS – More and more this summer faculty are receiving numerous emails from publishers and student management firms on the benefits of their services. The full court press is on to provide services for helping in the classroom.

BOONDOGGLE - Google operates a little-known program that harnesses the brain power of university researchers to sway opinion and public policy. Over the past decade, the search-and-advertising giant has helped finance hundreds of research papers to defend against regulatory challenges to its market dominance, paying $5,000 to $400,000 for the work, according to our findings. Paying for favorable academic research isn’t new among food, drug and oil companies. But Google’s program highlights a behind-the-scenes push in Silicon Valley to sway decision makers in Washington. Critics worry such funding, which professors don’t always reveal, could undermine academic credibility. In some years, a former Google employee and a former Google lobbyist said, the company compiled wish lists of academic papers, then searched for willing authors. Conclusions of some Google-backed research: The company hasn’t unfairly quashed competitors, and its consumer-data collection is a fair exchange for its free services.

STARTUPS - For the first time on record, U.S. companies are dying at a faster rate than they're being born, the slow rate of business starts means the U.S. economy is powered by a narrowing segment of companies, people and geographies — making the overall economy less resilient than it was after previous recessions.

When fewer new companies are being born, it's less likely that the companies and jobs that are disappearing will be replaced by better ones. And without competitive pressures from upstarts, big companies are able to grow bigger faster, increasing industry consolidation.

A NAME TO REMEMBER - SAM ALTMAN'S BIG IDEA -- One unexpected result of the election of Donald Trump has been that some of the brightest minds in Silicon Valley have been inspired to innovate, and to disrupt, in a whole a new universe: politics.

-- That's what's pushing blogger, coder and wealthy Valley entrepreneur Sam Altman, 32, president of Y Combinator -- the legendary tech incubator which has birthed an estimated 50 firms now valued between $100 million and $1 billion, in addition to giants Airbnb and Dropbox.

“We have massive wealth inequality, little economic growth, a system that works for people born lucky, and a cost of living that is spiraling out of control. Most young people think their lives will be worse than their parents' lives, which should set off alarm bells for us."

-- His movement, outlined in a LA Times piece by Seema Mehta, seeks to address issues including affordable housing, health care, clean energy, jobs and automation, and and the importance of "world class education,'' among other things.

-- Why it matters: Altman and Y Combinator founder Paul Graham are widely viewed as among the Valley's most brilliant innovators, up in the tech pantheon with Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. Altman was the first major tech exec after the election to seek answers about the political shift. As he's written about in his blog, Altman has travelled to Trump country and around California to talk directly to Americans about their concerns.

-- Bottom line: He already has an audience of sharp, tech-savvy folks, business people and Millennials - and he's got plenty of money. If Altman is as successful in identifying new ideas, innovations - and people in politics - in the uncanny way he's managed in tech, this one could be very interesting to watch. And disruptive. Stay tuned.

PC SALES - Higher memory and display prices put further pressure on the already slumping computer market, with PC sales down yet again last quarter, according to preliminary numbers. Shipments were down 4.3% from a year ago and represented the lowest quarterly total since 2007, according to the market researcher Gartner.

It's worth noting that Gartner's numbers don't include Chromebook sales, which have been growing, or iPad sales, which haven't.

As for Chromebooks, Gartner says shipments last year grew 38% in 2016, while the overall PC market declined 6%.

HP and Dell on the rise: While most of the market was down, HP posted its fifth straight quarter of year-on-year growth and passed up Lenovo to reclaim the top spot among PC makers globally. Dell also posted a slim year-on-year rise for its fifth straight quarterly gain. Apple's Mac sales were roughly flat.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Will Ferrell (50) Malibu, CA.; Harrison Ford (75) Aspen, CO; Patrick Pugliese …happy 18th birthday, this writer is getting old; . Kat Weaver …famous Biologist and fan of Ted Nugent.

SUMMER TRAVELTipping: A tip (or gratuity) is defined as a sum of money tendered to certain service workers for a service performed.  A tip is seldom required and its amount is usually at the discretion of the patron being served.

It may not be required, but tipping is certainly expected.  I recently got a haircut and added a tip to the price.  I like my hairstylist and gave her a generous tip for her good service, but also to ensure she doesn’t massacre my hair on my next visit. I have some friends that consider tipping offensive.

People tip, even for bad service, because they don’t want to be thought of as cheap or ignorant.

Tipping Guidelines

The Emily Post Institute provides this guide to customary gratuities for various services:

Barber, hairstylist, or pet groomer – 15 to 20% of the bill.
Waiter/ess – 15% of the bill for adequate service, 20% for very good service and no less than 10% for poor service.
Bartender – 15 to 20% of the tab, minimum $1 per alcoholic drink
Pizza delivery person – 15 to 20%, minimum of $2 per pizza
Taxi driver – 15%
Hotel housekeeper – $2 to $5 per night
Furniture delivery person – $3 to $5 per piece
Movers – $10 to $20 each
Tip Jar – Zip, unless you want to

It’s not always clear, but if in doubt, the general rule of thumb looks to be about 15%.

Unless you have an EdD or PhD then all bets are off.

HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA - Every time you hear the Trump administration or Congress fight about rising Affordable Care Act premiums, or what will happen to people with pre-existing conditions, just remember — we're talking about issues that affect 7 percent of the population. That's how many people are in the individual health insurance market, or the "non-group" market.

Here's what the rest of the population looks like — including the much larger employer health insurance marketplace, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Why it matters: This shows how much time we're spending on a relatively small portion of the market. The ACA was supposed to fix the problems of the individual market, which really was dysfunctional for anyone with the slightest health problems. In doing so, it created other problems, including the rising premiums. But when you hear about those sky-high rate hikes because of "Obamacare," chances are, they're not your sky-high rate hikes — unless you happen to be in that market.

Yes, but: The spending limits that have been proposed for Medicaid really do matter, and they affect a larger group — 20 percent of the population. So every minute Washington spends on the smaller group is time that could have been spent talking about Medicaid changes that will affect more people.

TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE - Russia is the story of this Trump Presidency. Think about the past month alone: multiple investigations of collusion in full swing ... Trump at odds with virtually every federally elected Republican over Russia sanctions ... Trump-Putin meeting overshadows G-20 ... and now our Syria strategy hinges on Russia cooperation. It's like a Trump-Putin ticket is running the world!

THEY SAID IT - JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, during an earnings call:

"It's almost embarrassing being an American citizen ... and listening to the stupid sh*t we have to deal with in this country... Since the Great Recession, which is now 8 years old, we've been growing [at] 1.5 to 2 percent in spite of the political gridlock... [The] American business sector is powerful and strong. My sense is there would be much stronger growth if there were more intelligent decisions and less gridlock."

HISTORY 101 ONE HUNDRED YEARS - 1917: The Year of the Century: The greatest single event of the 20th century was arguably the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty in 1910-11, opening the way to China's modernization. But 1917 was the pivotal year, bringing the Russian Revolution, America's entry into World War I, and the Balfour Declaration reshaping the Middle East. Hard to say now which was more consequential: The communist experiment, the assertion of America as world power, or the entailing of the West in the founding of modern Israel.

EMMYS 2017 - The Full List of Nominations: The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Award nominations were announced Thursday morning... See the list of major categories link and for all nominees, including below-the-line categories,   click here.

 Five newbies -- "This Is Us," "Westworld," "The Handmaid's Tale," "The Crown" and "Stranger Things" --   will compete with "Better Call Saul" and "House of Cards" in the drama category.

"Atlanta," "Black-ish," "Master of None," "Modern Family," "Silicon Valley," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and "Veep" are vying for best comedy.

Two shows with very different political themes scored multiple nominations. HBO's satirical comedy "Veep" earned 17 nominations, and Hulu’s new dystopian drama "The Handmaid's Tale” earned 11.

"Saturday Night Live" and the HBO drama "Westworld" both earned 22 nominations. "SNL" is now the most Emmy nominated series of all time with 231 over the history of the show.


MLB Game of the Week (July 22) – St. Louis Cardinals (44-47) at Chicago Cubs (46-45), one of these two teams will make the playoffs, the other will not. Time to sort this out: Cubs 6 Cardinals 3.

Season to Date (44 - 23)

ON THIS DATE – The hottest temperature ever documented on this planet, 134 °F (57 °C), was recorded on this day 104 years ago in Death Valley, Calif.

ON THIS DATE PART DEUX - The U.S. pulled the $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills out of circulation on this day 48 years ago.

MARKET WEEK - The Great Unwind: Federal Reserve officials in June readied plans to start slowly shrinking the central bank’s large portfolio of bonds and other assets in the next few months, and signals since have increasingly pointed to a September launch. Battling data, though, has complicated the Fed’s internal debate. Inflation has weakened, justifying some officials’ call for a slower pace of interest-rate increases. But despite the increases so far, financial conditions have eased—new stock-market highs, declining long-term yields and a weaker dollar—strengthening the resolve of those who want to stay on the current path of another quarter-point increase this year and four more next year. Meanwhile, soaring assets and low unemployment mean it’s time to start worrying about a recession.

DRIVING THE WEEK – Senate Banking Committee will hold a nomination hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday for multiple HUD nominees and Chris Campbell, Trump's pick for assistant Treasury secretary for financial institutions ... Sen. Tom Cotton speaks at 9 a.m. Wednesday at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event on arbitration ... Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika will speak at noon the same day on the future of the OCC's fintech charter at an event hosted by the Exchequer Club ... Senate Banking holds a hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday on GSE reform featuring small lenders.

This week has been dubbed "Made in America Week" by the Trump administration, including a display of products from all 50 states at the White House today. On Wednesday, Trump will issue a proclamation on the importance of making products in America.

Next Blog: Summer Camp and Dear Rink Rats.

See you on July 24, Adios.

Claremont, California
July 17, 2017

CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Summer Travel by Mark Anderson

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