The YouTube pitch.

One of the smarter pieces of journalism I recall in recent years — maybe “This American Life,” but can’t be sure — was about economic development. Working thesis: There’s no such thing. True economic development requires investment, real investment, in infrastructure, in education, in entrepreneurial ideas, which crash as often as they don’t. No one likes investment anymore, at least not public investment, because that = taxes, and OMG can’t have those.

So what we call economic development is really just a bunch of states and cities trying to lure businesses away from one place to another, like prostitutes cutting the price until the customer settles on one. The Sun Belt’s economic development came at the expense of the Rust Belt, to use only the most obvious example.

Which brings us to Amazon’s search for a second headquarters. Perhaps your city is capering before the retailer of the future, because it seems half the cities in the country are. Detroit certainly is. The bids were due yesterday, I believe. Ours was accompanied by a video. An excellent video, with maybe some confusing shots here and there. Go ahead, spend three minutes on it. It’s very inspiring.

Detroit should really do some economic development in making cool bid videos. The one when Detroit was angling for the X Games is even better. Didn’t get the X Games; Austin won that one. They had a good video, too. But Detroit filmmakers could certainly improve on Washington D.C.’s, or Danbury’s, or Dallas’, or even Philadelphia’s. (Watching these in succession, I’m wondering how long before the swooping drone shot becomes as cliché as walking-in-slo-mo-away-from-the-explosion.)

I doubt we’ll get the Amazon headquarters, because they’re not going to be looking for a nice video. Like the customer looking over the goods on an Amazon dynamic-pricing page, they’re going to want the best price. So all that yammering about restaurants and diversity and prose poetry is going to come down to: How much public money are you willing to cough up?

Meanwhile, back in Realityville, I need to get back to the job hunt. But I wanted to point this out for people who didn’t follow the links on one of Cooze’s comments yesterday. The story is about contenders to be president of the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank. Final paragraph:

J.D. Vance, the best-selling author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” a memoir about his upbringing in Appalachia, was also floated early on in the process as a possible high-profile, younger recruit. He has met in recent months with Stephen Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist who has since returned to his post running Breitbart News, and Bannon has privately expressed a desire to install an ally at the conservative institution.

So much for the moderate populist, the thinker, the son of the soil ready to lead. The hell with that guy, and I’m sorry I bought his stupid book for my brother last Christmas. Is Middletown, Ohio even Appalachia? I don’t think so.

Miscellanea: Making media literacy great again, from Columbia Journalism Review:

More than 10,000 students have taken Stony Brook’s news literacy course, which is constantly updated to help students identify the latest ways bogus news and information are created. For instance, there are dozens of websites that let anyone easily produce counterfeit social media posts, then retweet them, post them on Facebook, or embed them in a news story. But fake tweets seem positively quaint compared to an even newer threat: Using artificial intelligence to make videos of people saying things they didn’t say. Researchers recently made a video of Barack Obama speaking very earnestly about his priorities for the waning days of his administration.

“The single most important thing I can do now,” Obama said, according to the doctored audio track, “is to play golf.”

When Bridge began its Michigan Divided project, one of the participants, a woman about my age, said she “didn’t give a rat’s ass” about the Access Hollywood tape, because she “got hit on all the time in my job in the corporate world.” Meet just one personification of why hazing continues, why sexual harassment continues, why corporal punishment of children continues: I lived through it, and so can you. Here’s another: I was assaulted, but you were just harassed. Stop cheapening my experience. Ahem:

Remember the schoolyard chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me?” Words simply aren’t the same as actions. They’re not treated the same — nor should they be — under the law. And their ultimate effects are vastly different.

There’s a spectrum of victimization. At one end is an unwanted advance or comment, and at the other is rape and death. The problem with #MeToo is that it’s almost encouraging people to celebrate that victimization, regardless of where on the spectrum it falls.

I don’t think any woman who #MeToo’d this week is celebrating anything, but you can’t tell that to some people.

The weekend is nearly here. Enjoy yours.

Posted at 12:45 pm in Current events, Detroit life |

39 responses to “The YouTube pitch.”

  1. Dorothy said on October 20, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Oh snap. No link to Pittsburgh’s video? And it’s more than a minute shorter than Detroit’s!

    Speaking of drone shots, hubby got home at lunch time today to meet the Geek Squad, who had to evaluate all the things we had fried from the lightning strike on October 7. He saw six police cars on a street a half mile from our house. They flagged him to stop and asked if he’d seen a young man in a black hoodie run by. Just before that happened, he saw another police car and an officer deploying a drone to check for (presumably) this same young man. Mike went over to our next door neighbor’s house when he took Nestle outside to suggest she close her garage door, just in case. I’m wondering what this guy did – burglary maybe? This is not usual for our neighborhood, seeing that many police cars in a one or two block area.

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  2. Deborah said on October 20, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Wow, that Detroit video was good, very moving (pun intended). I’m going to have to find Chicago’s now.

    In the last thread I said winter was coming, but not today, it’s 78 in Chicago. Crazy.

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  3. brian stouder said on October 20, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    psssst – don’t miss the end of the last thread; lots of good stuff there, including from Cooz and from Sherri.

    Aside from that, I’m gonna break a Nancy Rule, dog-gone-it!*, and say that – as a father of daughters (and sons), and as a husband of a lovely woman who, herself, has been subjected to sexual harassment at a place where she used to work, such behavior is inexcusable, period.

    A semi-non-sequitur that has been front-of-mind for me, since this past June, is a jarring realization I had…which is all-too obvious, really, but which (nonetheless) threw me (and continues to throw me) for a loop.

    To wit: all of parenting, I realized, has to do with letting go. You raise these kiddos, every day, with that prospect looming down the road – right up ’til the day it is simply a fact.

    Waves and waves of unfocused parental fear is therefore available for others – for example, all the terrible things we’ve done to public schools over the decades – to surf on.

    It’s not too much to say that our disgraceful President stomped all over those parental fears in this recent series of mis-steps regarding the killed soldiers in Niger….and that it may well damage him even amongst his know-nothing base.

    How’s THAT for a lack of focus, on a Friday afternoon?!

    *Rule 143, sub-section 3, clause C: No valid point can be based upon the assertion that one is a ‘father of daughters’, or any variation thereof, period.

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  4. Dorothy said on October 20, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Brian once I heard my mother say that the whole point of parenting is to raise kids to be independent. If you’ve done that, she said, then you’ve done a good job. But of course she said the hardest thing in the world is the letting go part!

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  5. Sherri said on October 20, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    When I dealt with this kind of shit over thirty years ago, I told myself, at least I’m breaking ground for women to come. It makes me so angry that so little has changed.

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  6. Heather said on October 20, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Ugh, that Buss editorial–I consider myself very lucky that I have never been sexually assaulted. I would never say harassment is the same. But it is in the same category, in that both are results of a society in which such behavior is allowed to continue and sometimes flourish. The same culture that used to cause me to change out of a skirt if I wanted to walk two blocks to the Walgreens in my neighborhood (because I didn’t want to deal with the stares and comments) supports an atmosphere in which many men feel empowered to sexually assault women.

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  7. Deborah said on October 20, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    I have felt uncomfortable about saying “me too” on Facebook. I described here a couple of incidents that happened to me when I was working which were uncomfortable and I wish I hadn’t had to experience them but paled in comparison with many, many other women I know who had experienced much, much worse including my own daughter. None of it should have happened for sure, and things have got to change.

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  8. Bitter Scribe said on October 20, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Sometimes I have my doubts about Amazon.

    The company has never, I mean NEVER, turned a profit. Anyone who brings this up is usually laughed at—“profits are so 1985” (or whatever pre-internet year). Instead, they make all their money from membership fees, for Amazon Prime and whatnot. Also “information” and “access” and “eyeballs” and a bunch of other e-buzzwords that may have some relation to actual cash money, but I don’t see how.

    They’re also going in a lot of different directions: establishing their own product brands, starting brick-and-mortar stores, delivering fresh and frozen groceries, providing cable TV service (and developing original content for it), and probably several more I don’t even know about. This is usually taken as evidence of their dynamism, but to me it looks more like lack of focus.

    This whole business of making all your money from membership fees seems dicey to me. How long before that market is saturated? Retailers stay in business by turning over inventory. The thought that you can make money indefinitely just by charging people for the privilege of buying from you—I just don’t see how that’s sustainable. It looks one step removed from a classic pyramid scheme.

    I don’t wish Amazon ill. I buy from them, not regularly but often enough (two books and a pair of slippers just this month). Plus Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, which has been stalwart in exposing Trump’s lies and blunders.

    But I can’t help wondering if Amazon is going to be the next Enron.

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  9. Colleen said on October 20, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Brian, re: letting go—I am always puzzled every fall by the moms (almost always moms) sending kids off to college who are all upset about it. I mean, yeah, you’ll miss the kid, but isn’t the whole point of kids to raise them to leave you? Maybe I don’t get it because I don’t have kids, but I don’t remember too terribly much sadness when my classmates and I were deposited on campus. Now *I* was beside myself, because I wasn’t too keen on being away from home, but I knew I had to tough it out, and much to my parents’ credit, they never once said to me “well, come on home and go to IPFW.” So in my case, going away to school was much harder on me than on them!

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  10. brian stouder said on October 20, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Colleen – of course you’re right.

    Our oldest son still lives at home, as he rolls into his senior year at IPFW, and all is well.

    But our oldest daughter – in a scene that you just wouldn’t believe if it was in a movie – literally (really, truly) went through her high school commencement ceremony this past June, and then we departed from the parking lot of the Coliseum after that ended, and rolled south to Bloomington.

    That was a day I shall always remember; Happy/proud/concerned/confident/fraught/wonderful…

    a genuinely full day!

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  11. Deborah said on October 20, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Colleen, it was hard on me when LB went away to Art school, I cried to myself, not in front of her that afternoon after getting her squared away in her dorm. It’s a big step. But once I got over that initial drop-off, I was fine, which I think is probably what a lot of mom’s experience. When we dropped my sister off at college when she was a freshman and I was still a senior in high school, I was bereft. The thought of going home without her was devastating. She was on cloud nine of course.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on October 20, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    My own experience is that you know how much you’re going to miss them (daughter) and/or you’re worried sick about their study habits (son, who eventually flunked himself out). Either way you also mourn a bit because such a big part of your life is over, and you know there will be personal changes too. We joked about having to reinvent our social life after going to school events nearly every weekend, but we did.

    As much as I thought I was ready to have children, I was totally unprepared for the complete rerouting of all my priorities. I went from being self-indulgent to totally getting that it wasn’t about me anymore. Driving with my newborn for the first time instantly cured my leadfoot. Every political issue looked different to me, as I became convinced that all babies needed the same good start we gave ours. And on and on. Biggest surprise of my life.

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  13. Deborah said on October 20, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    October 20, 2017, 80 degrees in Chicago.

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  14. coozledad said on October 20, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    This was always the Republican objective, and they achieved it through voter suppression measures cheered by Republican fuckbags on this site. We got us a Junta, now. A lying white trash junta.

    Kelly is fucking garbage. Racist-ass white supremacist garbage. And while Maggie Haberman and the rest of the legacy punks who constitute our press were always primed for this moment, Kelly may not be entirely ready.

    How many other members of the military will be willing to join the Trump junta and sit at the reviewing stand with that white trash. We’ll see.

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  15. coozledad said on October 20, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Artist’s representation of John fucking Kelly.

    Cracklicker needs to be retroactively dishonorably discharged. I gotta tell ya, pugs. I thought you couldn’t crawl any further under a slimy rock with Dubya.
    But now I know you fuckers have no center, and no bottom. It’s all fake. All the mouthing about some lost godliness, your certainty of righteousness that arises solely from ass slapping your male brethren.

    The Republican party is a coprophagic secret society.

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  16. Deborah said on October 20, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    No question Chicago is a very segregated city, before that I lived in St. Louis which was probably worse, before that, Dallas ditto.

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  17. coozledad said on October 20, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Deborah: It was the white riots that determined the course of politics in the sixties. Especially in the midwest. The US is a bastard on the altar, north to south.

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  18. susan said on October 20, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Here’s“racism enshrined in higher ed (nursing edition).” White people are a given, the “norm,” and aren’t even on the list. All others are compared to white people. Jewish people aren’t white people. According to one of the commenters (#7 robro),

    And this isn’t just any old educational textbook publisher, this is from Pearson Education, formerly Simon & Schuster education and their Addison-Wesley division. Pearson is huge.


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  19. coozledad said on October 20, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Goddamn, Susan. Look at this site. The Republican everyone continues to suck was out here claiming blacks were too lazy to vote in 2012 in Ohio. And he’s gotten a pass ever since.

    I’m looking at his enablers and thinking, I’m going to shoot your ass down. You might be memory starved, but I’m not. Test your brains against me, fuckwads. I’m a memory freak for fascist tropes.

    Think of me as a John Kelly, whose got blood in the game but gives an actual shit ABOUT HIS FUCKING COUNTRY.

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  20. Sherri said on October 21, 2017 at 2:01 am

    What Rebecca Traister said. It’s not Harvey Weinstein. It’s the system. This is why I’m out there supporting and recruiting women to run for office and fill positions. Enough.

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  21. Sherri said on October 21, 2017 at 2:37 am

    On Amazon, Bitter Scribe, their business model is not membership fees. It’s not the revenue stream from the dues that Prime members pay that matters, it’s that Prime members order a lot more stuff preferentially from Amazon. But, even so, they make more money from AWS, their cloud services business. They are the market leader in the cloud, ahead of Google and Microsoft.

    Amazon has shown profits, it’s just not Bezos’s priority. He invests the revenues back into the company, and while it may look unfocused, that’s how you get the next cash cow, like AWS. Especially in tech, what pays the bills today is not going to pay the bills tomorrow, you’ve got to find the next thing. Amazon is far more nimble at doing this than most companies their size.

    Some people have tried to draw conclusions about the business climate in Seattle based on Amazon’s announcement, but I think all you need to know is that Amazon has 41000 employees in Seattle and a quarter of the Class A office space and is still hiring, something like 6000 open positions. I don’t know how you’d double the number of Amazonians in Seattle; there really are some geographic limits.

    The local business columnist believes that good local transit and a research university are key to winning HQ2, and that tax breaks are secondary, maybe more of a proxy for willingness to bend on other regulatory issues.

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  22. Connie said on October 21, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Two big beautiful cauliflower bought on the side of the road. I am thinking roasted. Your suggestions?

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  23. basset said on October 21, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Definitely. On the grill with a little oil and maybe some soy sauce.

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  24. coozledad said on October 21, 2017 at 11:55 am

    A con is always the easiest con.

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  25. coozledad said on October 21, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Pack of liars.

    That Republican “support the troops” bullshit has always been bullshit.

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  26. Suzanne said on October 21, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    This #MeToo

    As someone raised by conservatives, surrounded by conservatives, and used to vote pretty conservative, I still don’t really get why conservatives seem incapable of caring about social issues until it happens to them. And even then, you have the likes of Gen Kelly who wasn’t bothered by the statement that his deceased son “knew what he was getting into when he signed up” so cannot understand why would Mrs Johnson be bothered by the prez saying that to her.

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  27. Sherri said on October 21, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    the luxury of oblivion

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  28. Deborah said on October 21, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    We went to the new Blade Runner film this evening. Meh. Special effects were good, the story line was interesting. But the acting accept for Harrison Ford was forgettable. Ryan Gossling was middling compared to Ford. It was very misogynistic, if that is the future for women, God save us.

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  29. Dexter said on October 22, 2017 at 3:03 am

    connie, check the cauliflower for those tiny transparent spiders that love cauliflower. I learned the hard way about them.

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  30. Connie said on October 22, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Always soak the cauliflower in salt water to get rid of the bugs.

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  31. Deborah said on October 22, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Eric Zorn on Kelly and the sacredness of women

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  32. Suzanne said on October 22, 2017 at 10:46 am

    That is excellent, Deborah.

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  33. Deborah said on October 22, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Meta-trumpian fake Melania, ha ha

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  34. Jakash said on October 22, 2017 at 11:36 am

    I realize that there is a lot of hypocrisy baked into politics, but the disingenuousness of General “Women were sacred” and V.P. “I won’t be alone in a room with a woman other than Mother” offering these essentially belittling, antediluvian attitudes toward women while choosing to serve and abet the “if (she) weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her” Pussy-grabber-in-Chief is truly through-the-looking-glass preposterous.

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  35. Sherri said on October 22, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    None of them regard women as peers, fellow human beings with the same agency and autonomy as men. Implicit in Kelly’s sacred message is that women should be worthy of being kept sacred, and My Pants doesn’t think women can be trusted. They may find trump’s behavior distasteful and crude, but they probably think the women provoked it.

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  36. Jakash said on October 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    “They may find trump’s behavior distasteful and crude, but they probably think the women provoked it.”

    Well, it *is* pretty provocative of the women just to be women in the first place — being attractive goes way over the top. What’s a creep supposed to do, anyway?

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  37. Jeff Borden said on October 22, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I haven’t thought much about the Orange King backing a military coup, but I have worried that as his universe comes crashing down on him that he might declare a national emergency and institute martial law. There are more than 62 million ‘Muricans –those who voted for this ogre– who would happily give up their own freedom if they were enlisted to deny freedom to the “others,” especially if they get to use their big guns and wear their little camo outfits and not be laughed at as the wee little people they are.

    A confession. When I was in college, my draft number came up 34, but I remained an undergraduate until a couple of months after the draft was eliminated because I’d enrolled late. At the time, I was a big fan of the all-volunteer armed forces. Why should those with no interest in military life be consigned to giving up some of the prime years of their lives to serve? Now, I see the creation of a warrior class as a sizable mistake. Our troops indeed make up a tiny majority of the population, which allows politicians to pursue foreign military adventures without upsetting the vast majority of citizens. And those of us who do not serve are encouraged to worship those who do, conferring a higher moral status on them. This is dangerous to our democracy, I think, and prevents us from clearly assessing what and why our armed forces are doing in our name.

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  38. Deborah said on October 22, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Gin and Tacos says it well again,

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  39. brian stouder said on October 22, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    I mean, wow.

    an excerpt (with emphasis added):

    The New York Times reported on Saturday that O’Reilly paid $32 million to a Fox News colleague who threatened to sue him for alleged sexual misconduct.
    The settlement was struck in January. It was supposed to stay secret. Weeks later, Fox News renewed O’Reilly’s contract, reportedly worth $25 million a year. Fox says it knew about the existence of the settlement, but not the price tag.

    I’d say Oxy-Rush’s next chemically-enhanced rant about how the ‘Democrat party’ owns Weinstein will be coupled with an equally delusional support of Fox News’s “ignorance is bliss” defense

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