Movement Electronic Music Festival is Almost Here!!!

By Alexis Simpson

It’s that time of year again! We are going to be at Movement during the day and at a bunch of parties at night (mostly TV, Populux, The Masonic Temple, and The Works). It will be exhausting, but these are indeed the best parties of the year. Stay tuned for our pre, during and post coverage.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MOVEMENT ELECTRONIC MUSIC FESTIVAL 
REVEALS 2015 STAGES and PERFORMANCES SCHEDULE
 
PLUS,
 
EXCLUSIVE PROMO VIDEO FROM CARL CRAIG
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
MAY 23 – 25
HART PLAZA, DETROIT
 
“Movement Detroit celebrates every facet of techno in the city that gave birth to it.” – THUMP
 
“Widely embraced by the city where techno was born, Movement remains one of the longest-running independent music festivals in the country.” – Billboard
 
3-Day Weekend Passes, 3-Day VIP Weekend Passes & Single-Day Passes now on sale at www.Movement.us
 
DETROIT, May 6, 2015—Movement Electronic Music Festival is excited to finally announce this year’s stage lineups, featuring over 140 performances across six stages inside Detroit’s legendary Hart Plaza on Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25, 2015.
Over the years, Movement has been globally recognized for its unique talent curation and programming, showcasing artists from a wide-spectrum of up-and-comers, local luminaries, pioneers and trailblazers in Techno, House, Hip-Hop and more.
The Movement Main Stage will feature headlining performances by Techno darling Richie Hawtin, legendary Hip-Hop artist Snoop Dogg as DJ Snoopadelic and Boys Noize and Skrillex as the enigmatic duo, Dogblood.
Fans can also expect to see Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White perform together one-last time as the famed Canadian duo, Art Department.
Movement Main Stage lineup highlights:
Richie Hawtin, DJ Snoopadelic, Dog Blood, GRiZ, Art Department, Loco Dice, Dixon, Luciano, Recondite – live, Bob Moses – live, Maceo Plex, Ten Walls – live, Patrick Topping + many more.
For the past eight years, Red Bull Music Academy has infused new acts to the festival while showcasing groundbreaking artists. This year’s RBMA Stage lineup includes a headlining performance by chart-topping duo Disclosure as part of their traveling Wild Life showcase, featuring Eats Everything, Method Man, Octave One and Kerri Chandler, just to name a few.
“We are so happy to be going back to one of the most important cities in music, Detroit, for Movement Festival!” says Guy Lawrence of Disclosure. “We look forward to having the Wild Life showcase and headline the Red Bull Music Academy stage with some legendary acts, including Method Man, Eats Everything, Octave One, Kerri Chandler and many more.”
Techno pioneer Juan Atkins will celebrate 35 years of his illustrious career with a special performance under his iconic alias, Model 500. To mark this milestone, the legend will also bring longtime collaborator Eddie Fowlkes as well as first-time festival performers Kimyon and Milan Ariel to commemorate 30 years of Metroplex Records – Atkins’ iconic label whose catalog reaches back to over three decades of futuristic sounds and releases.
The incomparable Squarepusher will make his way back to Hart Plaza for another mind-blowing live performance to close out Monday night.
Red Bull Music Academy Stage highlights:
Disclosure, 30th Anniversary of Metroplex Records with Juan Atkins’ Model 500 and Eddie Fowlkes, Squarepusher – live, Kenny Larkin – live, Octave One – live, Kerri Chandler, Eats Everything, Method Man, Hudson Mohawke, Danny Brown, JETS (Jimmy Edgar + Machinedrum), Joy Orbison, Ben UFO, + many more.
The Beatport Stage will once again feature some of electronic music’s most celebrated DJs and producers, including headliners Tuskegee (Seth Troxler b2b The Martinez Brothers),Joseph Capriati and Joris Voorn.
Beatport Stage highlights:
Tuskegee (Seth Troxler b2b The Martinez Brothers), Joseph Capriati, Joris Voorn, Henrik Schwarz – live, Soul Clap, Maya Jane Coles, Hot Since 82, Dubfire, Nicole Moudaber, Paco Osuna + many more.
In a nod to the festival’s continuous support of local talent and luminaries, the Made In Detroit Stage presented by THUMP will feature a series of showcases curated by some of Detroit’s most celebrated names and figures, such as ORIGINS by Techno legend Kevin Saunderson; the highly acclaimed touring showcase Detroit Love by hometown hero Carl Craig; and The Movement Ghostly Showcase by the revered Ann Arbor music collective, Ghostly International.
“Movement is at the forefront of high-quality electronic music and has been a leader in pushing this standard throughout the US,” says Joel Flower, Channel Manager for THUMP, VICE’sonline electronic music and culture platform. “We’re thrilled to be a part of their amazing programming on the Made In Detroit stage.”
Made In Detroit Stage presented by THUMP highlights:
Carl Craig feat. Mike Banks, Stacey Pullen, Matthew Dear, Ryan Elliott, Kevin Saunderson & Derrick May present “Hi-Tech Soul,” MK (Marc Kinchen), Lee Foss, Floorplan,PHUTURE – live, Shigeto – live, Paul Woolford + many more.
This year’s Underground Stage will feature performances by some of Techno’s elite talent, featuring headlining performances by Regis, Ben Klock and Ben Sims.
Underground Stage highlights:
Regis, Ben Klock, Ben Sims, Paula Temple, Marcel Dettmann, Nina Kraviz, Sterac aka Steve Rachmad, Matador – live + many more.
Some of Detroit’s hottest up-and-comers will perform at the festival’s Sixth Stage – a newly added stage dedicated to the city’s rising stars. This year’s lineup features a headlining performance Detroit’s own, Sinistarr as well as a special Konkrete Jungle Detroit showcase from Mark 8EN Moss, Dilemma and Calico just to name a few.
Sixth Stage highlights:
Sinistarr, Mark 9EN Moss, Earl “Mixxin” McKinney, Bruce Bailey, 313 The Hard Way (DJ Seoul b2b DJ Psycho b2b T.Linder), Shawn Rudiman, Dilemma, Calico, Andy Garcia + many more.
The Movement Electronic Music Festival takes place every Memorial Day weekend inside Hart Plaza – Detroit’s legendary riverfront destination. The festival features: six technologically-rich outdoor stages; more than 140 artists; a posh VIP setting located behind the main stage; dozens of official afterparties; an interactive technology center featuring the hottest gear in the industry; and several art displays to stimulate the senses. Over 107,000 people from around the globe attended the 2014 festival.
Awards and accolades received by the festival and producer include: 
·      #2 on Beatport’s “15 Incredible Techno Festivals to Hit in 2015”
·      Resident Advisor’s “Festival of the Month” for May 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007
·      #2 on THUMP’s “10 North American Festivals That Won 2014”
·      #5 on inthemix list of “12 Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss in 2014”
·      #6 on Magnetic Mag’s list of “Most Life-changing EDM Festivals”
·      #8 on Rolling Stone list of “Summer 2014’s Must-See Music Festivals”
·      #14 on Pulse Radio’s “Must Do Festivals Before You Die” 2014
·      “Best Festival” by Metrotimes reader’s survey in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2009.
·      #2 on Details “Hottest Summer Music Festivals of 2013”
·      #2 on Beatport’s “20 Most Anticipated Dance Music Festivals Around the World” 2013
·      #10 on Do Android’s Dance? “Best Festivals of 2013”
·      #18 on inthemix list of “25 Festivals to Discover Before You Die” 2013
·      “Best Niche Festival” 2011 Rolling Stone
To learn more, visit www.movement.us.
Instagram: @movementdetroit
Twitter: @movementdetroit
About Red Bull Music Academy
The Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) is a world-traveling series of music workshops and festivals, founded in 1998. The main five-week event is held in a different city each year. 60 up and coming producers, singers, sound artists, DJs and musicians from around the world learn from and collaborate with top industry professionals. The public portion of its program is a festival of concerts, art installations, club nights and lectures by influential figures in contemporary music. This year’s main workshop will take place in Paris.  Year-round, the Red Bull Music Academy maintains an online magazine, radio station (RBMA Radio) and lecture video archive. The Academy hosts additional music workshops and club nights and curates stages at festivals in around 60 countries worldwide.
About BEATPORT
Beatport, an SFX Entertainment Inc. company, is the world’s leading online provider of music, tools and resources customized for the unique needs and demands of DJs. Available in more than 230 countries, their flagship digital music service features high-definition dance tracks—from the latest exclusives to deep catalogue cuts—by the world’s top and emerging artists. As a result, their sales charts serve as the industry barometer for what tracks are currently jumping in the clubs before crossing over into the mainstream.  The Beatport platform also offers tools to help DJs manage their careers, promote their productions and performances, and connect with the largest community of qualified fans on the planet.  Founded in 2004, Beatport is based in Denver, CO, with offices in Los Angeles, Berlin and Tokyo. In March 2013, Beatport became part of the SFX network of companies focused on Electronic Music Culture.
About Made In Detroit
It was hatched in 1991 as a spark for a city that’d long been left for dead. It was born of a nod to the backbone that made this place unlike any other. It was built with a forearm, a hammer and a shop hat on a silhouette that stood ready to strike. It’s Made In Detroit and for over 20 years it has been the singular symbol for a city that’s not about to quit. Today, Made In Detroit is more than a t-shirt brand, it’s the official mark of a movement that belongs to all of us. Born to represent, this is MADE IN DETROIT.  Available at madeindetroit.com
About THUMP
THUMP is the electronic music and culture channel from VICE, chronicling the music, the artists, the fans, the experience. Through original videos from the most electrifying events around the globe, breaking news, exclusive mixes from the world’s best DJs, and an engaging slate of editorial features and premieres, THUMP offers a unique and authoritative portal into the culture of electronic music.
About Paxahau
Paxahau, now in its tenth year as producer of the Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit, first established itself two decades ago as an online resource to promote both Detroit and electronic music. Paxahau is a name synonymous with excellence and has an industry reputation that is unparalleled. Paxahau maintains Movement’s independently owned festival status and is recognized across the world by artists and industry executives as a premier production and promotions organization rooted firmly in the birthplace of Techno.
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Technolo-gee: Adventures in the Online Job Market

By Dave Palmer

Modern society is increasingly turning to electronic solutions for nearly everything. Whether it be shopping, banking, or communicating, we hear the same mantra: It’s faster and more convenient. Job hunting has, of course, been relegated almost entirely to the online world as well. The same idea of greater convenience, easier connection to leads, and the ability to more readily build a network of connections calls to job hunters like the siren song of old. Just never mind those jagged rocks you’re heading for.

And those jagged rocks in reality is these questions: Whose convenience is the online job market really targeted for? Is it the convenience of the job hunter, or the convenience of human resources departments at any one of the places one might consider applying for employment?

Given the experience I have had in the past few months on the job market, it would seem that the convenience factor is entirely for the human resources department with zero attention paid to any sort of convenience for the job hunter. And why not? After all, companies have learned to run as lean, mean fighting machines since the banks crashed our economy in 2008. Employers would much rather have people groveling at their feet begging for a job in desperation than to provide anything as progressive as a living wage, insurance benefits, or job security. It is decidedly in their best interest to keep people worried about how long it will take them to get a job and to loathe the process of job searching so much that they will never be inspired to quit for any reason.

Below, you will find a small sampling of some of the horrors that await job searchers in the online market, all deviously devised by employers to keep their current employees in line, and those in the job market hopelessly spinning their wheels. That is, until they come out of nowhere to give them the same sort of faint glimmer of hope a driver stranded on the side of the road might have when a tow truck appears out of the clear blue sky to charge them $150 to get them home.

Name and current address:

Okay, this is not so tough a hurdle to overcome, unless of course your parents gave you the unfortunate first name of Hannibal, or you just so happen to be homeless because you can’t find a job.

Telephone number and email address:

Things are getting a little tougher for those who aren’t already in possession of these things. Sure, an email address is easy enough to create, if you have a home internet connection. Some libraries have taken to charging for internet access due to budget cuts, and if your phone got cut off because you couldn’t pay the bill…seems that it’s best we move on.

Provide your complete job history with the names of your supervisors and their telephone numbers:

This is not a question that an ordinary resume can tackle. For this, you need a CV. Oh, wait, I was told that my resume should only be one page, yet you seem to want five. But, if you call me to the interview and I lay five pages on you, you’re only going to look at the first one. And how in the heck am I supposed to get my supervisor’s telephone number? I can give you the number to the place where I used to work, but that supervisor has been transferred three times. Or quit. Or promoted. Or living in Outer Mongolia. This sucks. Next!

List all of the places you have lived in the last ten years.

Really? REALLY? I can give you the address where I live now, and maybe the address of the place I lived before this. (After all, it was with my parents.) But, every place for the last ten years? Maybe I can get that info from the Secretary of State…oh crap, that kind of report costs money THAT I DON’T HAVE! NEXT!

Please take the following personality tests, which are split into three parts. Each part lasts 45 minutes, and you can only take pee breaks for 5 minutes in between sessions. Answer each question honestly, there are no right or wrong answers.

Okay, maybe you should start laying this “personality test” on some of the people who are already working for the company. Maybe your high turnover rate is because they are the cantankerous assholes that no one can deal with. Seriously, why does your company feel it’s necessary to examine potential job candidates for personality traits? You should be able to suss that out in an interview. Unless, of course, your goal is to conduct as few interviews as possible…

Please upload copies of your birth certificate, current driver’s license, social security card, a voided check, a voided deposit slip from your savings account, college transcripts, and a family photo with you in it as a baby. P.S. The files can only be one of the types we specify, so you have to buy the right program so you can make us feel like we’re not the only ones suckered by a sales pitch.

Okay, so I made up the post-script, but what’s not written in the general text can usually be found in the sub-text, and sometimes can be found in the sub-sub-text. Such as, if you don’t have a scanner, a computer, and all of the modern gizmos and programs you need at home because you can’t afford them, we probably don’t want to employ you anyway.

No wonder Uber is starting to take off.

 

Alexis and Paul’s Noize Wedding MixTape

By Alexis Simpson

Paul and I are getting married this July, so I’ve been busy making a wedding mixtape to play during our outdoor party. If you’re curious what is on it, check it out here and click FOLLOW: https://open.spotify.com/user/alexisincolor/playlist/13Isyp8P0YTT1GZCYLaGTP

Let me know what great songs I’m forgetting!!!!

Or, as always we have our Noize Mixtape which is where I check out new music and showcase some of my faves.Follow that list here: https://open.spotify.com/user/alexisincolor/playlist/1JS2m3TOIdJu5qmITwlEkS

weds

For Nature Lovers, Teachers, and Students: The Hanover, PA Bald Eagle Webcam Hatch Watch

By Alexis Simpson

UPDATE: BOTH baby eagle chicks hatched! Make sure to click on the live feed below to see them:)

A few weeks ago I stumbled across the Facebook group, “The Hanover Eagle Watch,” and I’ve been fascinated by it ever since. The Pennsylvania Game Commission, HDOnTapComcast BusinessFriends of Codorus State Park and several other partners have been involved in setting up a webcam high up in the trees of Pennsylvania. The cam is documenting the progress of two Bald Eagles taking turns sitting on two eggs in order for the eggs to hatch. One egg is estimated to hatch today, and the second egg is due to hatch in a few days. Through rain, sleet, snow and snow, these birds take turns keeping the eggs warm until their offspring can crack open those eggs! Seeing nature in action is beautiful, and it’s very rare to have such a close look at the hatching process of such magnificent birds.

The Hanover Eagle Facebook page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/515858675222793/

The live stream feed for the eagle’s nest is here:

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=1592549&mode=2

ALTERNATE LIVE LINK (HDOnTap): http://hdontap.com/index.php/video/stream/bald-eagle-live-cam

Share this post so everybody can share in the experience!

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The future of our children’s education: A case for isolationism

By: Dave Palmer

Once again I find myself staring the future right in its ugly face. A future of uncertainty, trepidation, and anxiety. A future in which I am cast into the ranks of the unemployed, though I have not done anything wrong other than choose teaching as a profession. My performance was satisfactory or better on all of my evaluations. My assistance to students was superior and my ability to create growth in my classroom excellent. Yet, due to “declining enrollment” as the brusque letter from my former employer cited as the reason for the elimination of my position, I am forced again into a job market that in the last 10 or 20 years has become something of a buyer’s market.

When I was going to college to become a teacher, my counselors assured me that education was an industry that was constantly growing. They also assured me that education was fairly a recession-proof market, and that the trend in education was increased investment. For my part, I also believed that there was absolutely no way that teachers could or would become technologically unemployed as many other occupations had been replaced by computers or robots. So, I continued my education, and went on the complete a Master of Arts in Teaching.

Once I was ready to impress the world with my prowess as a classroom teacher, I found out the truth of our educational system. I found out during my years as a substitute teacher that something called distance learning was in fact perfectly capable of replacing teachers or at least severely reducing their numbers. I discovered that thanks to Michigan voters’ passage of Proposal A, education was not a recession-proof industry, considering that funding schools with any portion of the state sales tax is entirely dependent on the economy (and recessions) despite the fact that school costs do not change based on the economy. Lastly, I found out that although investment in education was increasing, very little of that increased investment was finding its way into the classrooms or being used to help teachers do their job more effectively or making sure they were fairly compensated for working 70-80 hours per week. (For you math wizards, that’s their normal 40 hours per week, plus the 30-40 hours of preparation and checking student work time.)

Thanks to Michigan legislature’s recent requirement that schools post budget transparency information (ostensibly to show taxpayers how much “those greedy teachers” are demanding to be paid) I discovered that the average superintendent’s salary is $115,ooo with total average compensation being $155,000. I also discovered that Detroit Public Schools’ new emergency financial manager earns $225,000 per year to solve a deficit of about $170 million. As an aside, it seems rather counterproductive to pay someone nearly a quarter of a million dollars per year to find out why a school district is spending more money than it was. (Easy answer, they need more money, the availability of which fluctuates depending on whether or not people are out spending money.)

Of course, all of the administrators need to have administrative assistants. So, for every superintendent of schools, assistant superintendent, director of human resources, etc., there are two people drawing a salary: the administrator and the administrative assistant. Yet, somehow or another, whenever cuts need to be made to schools, the money comes out of teacher assistants, teacher pay, and teacher benefits. Somehow or another, classes like art, band, and even foreign languages are among the targets of spending cuts, never mind the fact that administrators certainly have the knowledge, education, and ability to type their own letters and answer their own phones.

Some might wonder at this point why they federal government isn’t doing something to bolster this sad state of education. Others might point out that the $141 billion that the federal government spends on education is plenty, and that the money just isn’t being spent in the right way. Though I do agree that education money is being spent in almost all of the wrong places, such as on distance learning software, attendance systems that are not user friendly, exorbitant administrative salaries, and unnecessary administrative assistants.

Where I diverge from the latter argument is the idea that the U.S. is spending plenty on education. Sure, $141 billion sounds like a lot of money, and the figure is indeed daunting written out in full numeral form. However, the U.S. spends $786.6 billion its military every year, dwarfing education spending by a factor of about seven. That total is about 48% of the total world expenditure on all things military.

In times when the United States favored isolationism as its main approach to dealing with world problems, we did much better in the educational field. (Think about the memes you have seen that led to an 8th grade final exam from the early 1900’s.) As recently as the 1960’s, our educational system was able to produce people who sent a man to the moon, created computers that were small enough to fit inside the average home at a reasonable price point, and drove the world’s number one economy.

Somewhere along the line, we decided that blowing stuff up in other countries and then rebuilding said stuff was more important that then future of our own children. Somehow, we decided that the best future for today’s high school graduates is to join the military, grab a gun, and jump into the meat grinder in order to avoid years of crippling student debt. Something told us that it is better to spend money building good schools with good teachers in other countries rather than spend than money right here at home.

The time has come for the United States to return to a policy of isolationism and use money paid by our taxpayers to finance our interests. We no longer need  military bases in Japan (which have been there since 1945), or in Germany (again present since 1945), or in South Korea (do we really believe Kim Job Il of North Korea is competent enough to do anything serious?), or in Vietnam. Yet, we continue to maintain bases here, and in very nearly every theatre of war we have staged throughout our sordid history of near de facto colonialism.

We need to double the education budget by taking the money out of the military budget. We will still have enough money to fight terrorism, plenty of scratch for smart bombs and drones, and more than enough to depose leaders we don’t like and replace them with puppet governments. What we don’t have is plenty of money to ensure that successful teachers like myself don’t get laid off due to budgetary concerns brought on by what can only be described a genuine political apathy towards education.

We need children to grow up in a country that is not perpetually at war, and for those children to one day become CEOs, bankers, teachers, and even future Presidents of the United States. What we don’t need is for them to believe (or know) that their government cares more for children and adults thousands of miles away more than those right at their doorstep.

What it’s Like to Photograph the Detroit Auto Show 2015 (NAIAS 2015 Photos)

By Alexis Simpson

I’ve photographed the North American International Auto Show in Detroit the last three years, and it’s a love/hate event. The major pro of photographing the show is that I’ve gotten to sell my photo to publications such as Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. In fact, the first photo I ever had published was a car photo from the auto show. This year I know I already had at least 8 photos published in The Wall Street Journal. Being published is an unbeatable feeling. Some photographers make sure to capture each car unveiling event as well as attend all the big parties. I haven’t gotten involved to that extent yet,  but there is always next year. NAIAS always has an air of excitement surrounding it, so it’s always entertaining to check out the latest ‘IT” car, scope out the models, look for celebs, and enjoy the free food/booze.

The annoying part of NAIAS can be dealing with some of the over-zealous photogs. Sometimes they get so overwhelmed in their excitement to check out the interior and exterior of the cars, that they take crazy amounts of photos. Ideally in order to sell a photo of an auto show car, it helps if there are not too many people in the frame. Press week is busy so it’s inevitable that I’ll have to wait a short while to get my money shot. Sometimes I’ll get stuck behind an over zealous photographer who is in the midst of taking 75-100 photographers of a single car. UGH. Usually this is an overseas press photog who probably doesn’t get a chance to see this sort of event, so all you can do is be patient. Sometimes car industry gurus will be in networking convos right in your frame as well. Usually they’ll move if you ask nicely. If they don’t hear your request, then I recommend snapping a few quick photos of them until they take the hint:) Also, you have to wait for the car polishers that are hired to keep the vehicles looking sharp. Patience is the name of the game because of the hectic atmosphere. It can be frustrating to wait because it’s important to get all photos edited and uploaded ASAP to meet deadlines and increase sales.

Here are some photos from this year’s show.

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Mercedes-Benz always has an exciting display!
Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Cadillac

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Audi
Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

BMW

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

BENTLEY

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

MINI

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

MINI COOPER

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

DJ

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Jaguar

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Toyota

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Dodge Challenger

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Chevy Colorado

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Maserati

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Chevy Corvette

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

AISIN

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Two guys have fun at the Mazda display

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Volvo

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Lincoln

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

A Ford Presentation

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Camera guy waits patiently for the car duster dude to hurry up already:)

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Ford GT

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Mustang

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Remote-Control Cars

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Detroit Auto Show 2015 NAIAS

Metro Airport runway crumbling, lack of shock staggering

By: Dave Palmer

I started out this year with high hopes for the upcoming 365 days, as I have started many years in the past. And just like in the past, it wasn’t long before I was sorely disappointed, but not entirely shocked. According to an article in the January 5 Detroit Free Press, a $225 million runway installed in 2001 and expected to last until 2031 didn’t quite make the full 30 years. In fact, the article indicates that as few as three years after installation the runway was already showing signs of deterioration. Now, not even halfway through its expected life span, it appears as if the runway will need to be repaved. A phenomenon known as alkali-silica reaction has been blamed for the crumbling concrete, as well as environmental regulations surrounding the manufacturing of cement.

Of course, you and I as taxpayers will be on the hook to foot the bill as airport spokesperson Michael Conway indicated in the Free Press Article that his “current understanding is the concrete was installed in accordance with the project specifications.” Never mind the fact that at least one part of the construction was obviously substandard, otherwise we wouldn’t be reading about it in the newspaper.

However, to read the article in the paper would lead one to believe that nearly everyone involved sees this as just another day at the office. There is no doubt that Michigan is well renowned around the country for the abject crappiness of its roads, but we should not be treating the deterioration of taxpayer-financed infrastructure with such indifference. We wouldn’t stand for a roofing company shrugging its shoulders and blaming shingle manufacturers and environmental regulations for a roofing job that lasted less than half of its warranty period. Why should paving companies be any different?

I find it quite interesting that no matter how short of the benchmark for longevity road construction seems to fall, it never seems to be the fault of the paving company. Somehow, even though the actual result is far from the promised result, the project somehow manages to be in compliance with the specified guidelines. If in fact the paving is in compliance with current guidelines, then it is high time that the guidelines be rewritten so that the taxpayers actually get what they are paying for. A billion dollar investment in Michigan roadways will mean very little if we have to spend that money all over again in a decade or so.

To be fair, the article did note that the abridged lifespan of concrete seems to be an industry-wide problem related either to substandard sand used in mixing concrete or, as MDOT spokesman noted in the article, modification of the cement manufacturing “to incorporate a portion of the highly alkaline cement kiln dust back into their final product,” ostensibly to comply with environmental regulations. However, federal environmental regulations do not mean that you get to produce a substandard product using substandard materials that results in substandard roadways, especially when the failure of that product means higher sales and higher profits for your company.

Instead, cement manufacturers should be taking it upon themselves to create a quality product that lasts for its stated lifespan while still following environmental guidelines, not simply cutting corners and blaming it on environmental laws. This may require some research and development on their part, but if they are able to create a product that is demonstrably better than anything else that is on the market, they can expect sales to boom.

If cement manufacturers are unwilling to improve their product and choose instead to continue creating cement that isn’t up to snuff, well, that’s where federal regulations come in. We the taxpayer should not be required to throw good money after bad replacing roads every five or ten years because some crybaby CEO might not get as big of a bonus if they actually put money into creating a quality product. We deserve to get what we pay for, and we deserve to get it either through better road maintenance, better road materials, or both.

We as Michiganders are no stranger to poor road conditions, stemming from climate and poor road maintenance. However, it would seem that a lack of good paving materials is adding insult to injury. Soon, we will be asked to decide on a ballot whether or not we should approve a higher state sales tax to replace the money taken from schools and local communities to invest about $1 billion in our crumbling roadways. Before we as voters go to the polls, we should be asking our Lansing representatives and senators whether or not we will be getting a fair bargain for our dollar. Will we continue to use the same paving guidelines that have done us so much disservice in the past or will we create new guidelines to ensure longer-lasting roads? Will we continue to use the same garbage concrete as in the past or will be seek out something that is a lot better and only a little more expensive? The answers to those questions could determine exactly how many times in our lifetime we the people will be asked to pony up dough to fix our infrastructure. Therefore, any answer that does not hold the taxpayers’ best interests in mind should be deemed unacceptable.

 

 

Penalizing underfunded schools through further underfunding

By Dave Palmer

Yes, you read the headline right, folks. Lansing’s latest and greatest plan to control deficits within school districts is to punish them by withholding funding. Schools that fail to navigate the labyrinthian requirements prescribed in Senate Bills 951-954 and 957 for submitting a deficit elimination plan could see their contribution from the School Aid Fund be reduced or even withheld and be subject to state takeover via Michigan’s handy-dandy Emergency Financial Manager law. The bills contain no provisions for increasing school funding to prevent deficits in the first place. The bills also provide very few resources and little support for troubled school districts.

Basically, Lansing’s logic is as follows: If you don’t have enough money to pay your bills, we’re going to take money away from you as punishment. (The bill refers to withholding funds as an incentive for deficit reduction.) Then, you will have to tell us how you plan to pay your bills without money. If you can’t pay your bills without money, we’ll find you someone who is not elected by the local people who can figure out how to pay your bills without money. Except, when he gets there, we’ll start giving you money again. That way, it makes you look incompetent and the state look like heroes.

Obviously, this approach makes about as much sense as your employer cutting your hours or your pay to give you an incentive to pay your bills in full and on time. In other words, it could never work. Not only that, but the average person wouldn’t stand for such treatment. In that respect, the people of Michigan should not stand for this treatment of our public schools.

It is no secret that school funding has been in trouble since the Granholm administration. Ever since school funding became a state budget line item through the passage of proposal A in 1994, the state has been slashing public school budgets and requiring public school districts to contract privately for bus service, food service, and requires public schools to kick back about 24% of School Aid Fund contribution to the teacher retirement system due to the Legislature’s apparent lack of fiduciary responsibility with regards to making investments with the money teachers pay in the first place so they can have a pension. (Charter schools are not required to provide transit or pay into the teacher pension fund, though they get the same per-pupil allotment as public schools.)

Somehow, Lansing boneheads think that the best way to fix the problem of school budget deficits is not to increase revenue and earmark it for schools. In fact, they believe that if they eliminate the 6% sales tax on gasoline (part of which goes to fund schools) and replace it with an incrementally increasing tax on wholesale fuel that doesn’t contribute to school funding, that school districts will still be able to pay all of their bills. If they don’t, the state will happily keep taking money away until districts face a financial emergency, gladly usurp power from locally elected officials.

Senate Bills 951-951 & 957 are at their base nothing more than a furtherance of the Legislature’s plan to defund public schools and arrange for their takeover by the state. Once the state realizes that they are better off being ignorant about the operation of entities they write legislation to govern, they will no doubt hand the complete operation of our state’s schools to the corporate privateers who have been salivating over getting a piece of the multibillion dollar pie that is our educational system and profiting from it.

Take the time to call your Lansing Representatives and Senators and tell them to oppose these bills. While the need for reform in educational funding and spending is desperately needed, ramming these bills through a lame duck session with little debate or discussion is not the way to approach it. Tell Lansing that if they want schools to be free of deficits, they need to properly fund them first.