No parks for you.

I was reading this column in the Sunday paper — in an oddity of the joint operating agreement here, the Freep produces nearly all of the Sunday paper, except for one page, which is the News’ editorial page — and it’s paywalled, so sorry. But it’s so strange. Headline: Finley: Biden loots treasury for parks and trails

Finley is Nolan Finley, the News’ long-serving (as in, he’s spent his entire career there, nestling in the bosom of long-term job security, union protection and a salary that is no doubt a soft, soft featherbed) editorial-page editor. He’s local journalism’s Most Respected Conservative, which means he generally has a few more brain cells to rub together than the talk-radio clowns, and gets tapped to moderate panels at conferences, stuff like that. He’s been a pretty consistent Never Trumper, so he has that going for him, but then, every so often, he craps out something like this:

Joe Biden threw a brick through the window of the U.S. Treasury, and states and cities across the country followed him inside to cart off parks, libraries, gleaming new civic buildings and shopping baskets full of other stuff their own budgets could have never paid for.

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act has created a fantasy land where local politicians can spend as much as they want on whatever they want without having to worry about waking up with a fiscal hangover.

…Canton Township is getting the downtown the suburb has always wanted. The Joe Louis Greenway is getting a leap ahead on building out 27.5 miles of trails. Taylor is getting an action park. Wyandotte is getting an upgraded post office. Melvindale is getting a boat launch and Trenton is getting rid of an old hospital. A dozen more place-making projects will sprout throughout the county.

This is, I expect, a continuation of what we talked about a few days back, more evidence that Biden is no longer trusting block grants in the hands of red-state governors and is instead writing checks directly to municipalities. To which any reasonable person who isn’t a multimillionaire might say: So? What’s the problem? Better a greenway than another tax break to buy more Porterhouses at their private clubs. The problem, Finley says, is?

And what do taxpayers get? The worst inflation in 40 years, and interest rates hikes that have been slow in turning it around largely because the furious federal spending continues.

Then there’s some blah-blah about the national debt, which is never blah-blah’ed when we’re doling out something the right wants, particularly the aforementioned tax cuts.

I no longer try to understand people like this, but I never stop wondering at the meanness required to complain about public money going to public amenities like parks and improved town squares.

But that’s just me.

OK, then! The week ahead: Fox News goes on trial, and who knows? Maybe we’ll get lucky and a new park will fall in our laps.

Posted at 8:14 pm in Current events |

40 responses to “No parks for you.”

  1. David C said on April 16, 2023 at 8:44 pm

    Our city has spent almost all the money so far and it’s doing good. Our county is run by Republicans and they did a bunch of financial chicanery to say the money paid salaries during the pandemic and put the money into what they call a “Spirit” fund. As in the spirit of the law but too bad about the letter. Somehow, I think the money will be spent on toys for the Sheriff’s department and/or on tax cuts for the small-minded bidness men like themselves.

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  2. Jeff Gill said on April 16, 2023 at 9:21 pm

    LindaG, last thread: bless you.

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  3. Linda said on April 16, 2023 at 9:33 pm

    Biden and his advisors have wised up to the conservative concord block grants. They were touted as a way to encourage “innovation” in government, but have been a slush fund for whatever red state governments felt like doing—building fake abortion clinics (pregnancy crisis centers), private school scholarships (from welfare funds, no less) and sports stadiums in MS. Or to cut taxes. They will grab that money in a minute for their own gain and cut cities out.

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  4. Sherri said on April 17, 2023 at 1:38 am

    Yes, the ARP is spending money. It’s called investment. Just like homeowners spend money on new roofs so the house will last longer, cities need to invest in new “place-making” projects (I assume that was supposed be derogatory?) to keep them vibrant.

    And no, city budgets generally can’t afford a lot of this stuff without federal help, because of the limitations placed on what cities can collect in taxes. They generally get a part of that tax, and a piece of this tax, but seldom much control over what the tax is, outside a few cities that have a wage tax. I’ve been a member of the volunteer citizen budget committee in our city three times, and I still barely understand how city revenues work.

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    • nancy said on April 17, 2023 at 8:38 am

      That’s an excellent point to make, Sherri. Local governments are hamstrung a million whichways on how much they can collect and what they can spend it on. It’s notable that the new downtown Detroit parks are all run by nonprofit conservancies that are generally on the up-and-up, but at least one is fenced, gated and locked at night, lest homeless people sleep in it.

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  5. Mark P said on April 17, 2023 at 9:19 am

    Are you sure they didn’t slip in a copy of The Onion?

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  6. Peter said on April 17, 2023 at 9:32 am

    Articles like this remind me of one of my favorite topics: The Colorado Lottery.

    Most states have their lottery profits (such as they are) go to the general operating fund, or for ‘education”. I use the quote marks because in Illinois, as in several states, the lottery money isn’t added to the school’s fund as that taxes that would have gone to that fund are diverted elsewhere.

    In 1983, the Colorado legislature decided that all of the lottery profits would go to improve state parks and nature preserves that wouldn’t normally receive state funding. Improving the parks has raised their visibility, and more people use the parks, and are in better health because of the park visits, which reduces health care expenses.

    What stuns me is that I haven’t found any complaints from the right wing peanut gallery, although I didn’t do too thorough a search….

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  7. Jeff Borden said on April 17, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    As a former journalist, the Dominion v. Fox case makes me nervous.

    Certainly, Fox News is a cancer on our democracy. Not because it takes a conservative viewpoint –which actually ought to be called radical right-wing authoritarian viewpoint– but because it is a font of lies, lies, lies. As a character on “Succession” says about Logan Roy, the Rupert Murdochesque villain and lead character, “You take black bile and turn it to gold.” There is absolutely no question in my mind that this alleged news network has gravely damaged our nation across the board by undermining belief in science and reason, attacking minority groups ranging from people of color to the LBGTQ community to urbanites and by opening encouraging violent, racist, eliminationist language in its broadcasts.

    But as a student of unintended consequences, I’m scared to death someone clever will find a way to use this case to bedevil and attack ALL news organizations, which already suffer from horrible credibility issues with many citizens. Every day the NYT runs a substantial number of corrections, which some dolts see as evidence it is mistake prone rather than being an illustration of how seriously it takes its mission.

    One thing seems quite certain. It’s going to be an ongoing clusterfuck. I hope Dominion beats Fox like a government mule. Smartmatic, too. Fuck the Murdochs and their infernal creation.

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  8. Sherri said on April 17, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    Conservatives are fond of claiming that government should be smaller and closer to the people, that taxing should happen at a lower level. In practice, this is just a plan for less government spending and fewer government services, period.

    Cities and states have to produce balanced budgets, because unlike the federal government, they can’t print money. That means that when the private economy takes a downturn, city and state governments have a harder time stepping in to help. The federal government can, but conservatives hate Keynesian stimulus as well. If Congress would actually take more actions like ARP, the Fed wouldn’t have to manage interest rates quite so tightly. It’s because we have so little fiscal policy that everything is done through monetary policy.

    And of course, it’s the red states that scream the most about taxes, while receiving the most from the federal government, even though they refuse important things like Medicaid expansion which would make their people healthier and improve their economies.

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  9. Deborah said on April 17, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    Will someone explain something to me? Why does Fox want to settle with Dominion? It seems to me that all of the publicity of a trial will only make its audience more loyal. They don’t care if Fox lies and slanders, never have, as long as they keep saying what the audience wants to hear. Also it seems like $1.9 Billion is a drop in the bucket to a media corporation, yes there will also be punitive damages added to that if (when) they lose but so what? Dominion is owned by a private equity company so they probably would love for Fox to settle. A trial seems like a win for Fox in the big picture even if they lose the case. Of course this is all abominable to me, I wish Fox would disappear, the country would be better off, but then another channel will just carry on.

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  10. LAMary said on April 17, 2023 at 4:12 pm

    Off topic: I have weird rash on my face that’s been appearing/disappearing/appearing for over two months. It itches. It’s red. The doctor has no idea what’s causing it. I have switched substance that gets close to my face to something hypoallergenic including my laundry detergent. I ordered three bottles of Method detergent which are hypoallergenic but lightly scented: Lavender, Cypress and Fresh Air. I told my son that one smells like a garden in France, one like a tall slender Italian tree and one like Terry Gross.

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  11. Icarus said on April 17, 2023 at 4:57 pm

    Deborah @ 9: my best guess is when you settle, you can also set the terms to include 1) no admission of guilt and, more importantly for FOX 2) NDAs which will prevent information from getting out about just how badly FOX committed defamation.

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  12. said on April 17, 2023 at 5:19 pm

    Re: Dominion v. Fox

    A settlement would be much better for Fox, in my view, particularly if it doesn’t require a public acknowledgment and apology for the tsunami of lies it has told. Fox could certainly afford it, but man, that is a huge amount of money. The key question is whether other entities who felt slurred by Rupert Murdoch’s puke machine would seek redress in a similar manner. Settling might encourage more suits.

    In contrast, a trial will reveal in public court the lengths to which the network went to keep its mouth-breathing audience happy up to and including the dissemination of huge falsehoods about Dominion and Smartmatic. It will bare every secret the network has worked hard to hide. We’ve only seen a smattering of the materials and they are damning. But, what if a jury finds Fox did NOT violate the First Amendment and finds for the network? Then, massive embarrassment, perhaps, but no huge fines and a license to slur, slam and slaughter the truth until we’re all bleeding from our eyes.

    Journalists have always had to swallow hard to defend the First Amendment. I never much liked the idea of being on the same side as a Larry Flynt or an Al Goldstein, but attacks on their kinds of smut could be used to attack legitimate news agencies, too. It’s why I noted above that the case makes me nervous even though I could not possibly hate Fox any more than I do.

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  13. Sherri said on April 17, 2023 at 5:55 pm

    This article lays out the pros and cons of settlement.

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  14. Icarus said on April 17, 2023 at 6:33 pm

    and the hits just keep on coming

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  15. Julie Robinson said on April 17, 2023 at 9:15 pm

    Apparently a family member signed up for BritBox but forgot about it, and I just discovered it on the smart TV. So tonight I went scrolling through their offerings: crime show, crime show, crime show, crime show, crime show…oh wait, there’s a series about the Chelsea Garden Show! ‘Twas a balm for the soul.

    Seriously, does anyone else have BritBox and is there anything else besides crime shows and EastEnders?

    All of this to say right now I need a break from hard things.

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  16. Deborah said on April 17, 2023 at 11:16 pm

    Things keep getting crazier and crazier, as they say you can’t make this stuff up. DeSantis and the Disney Prison, Rednecks shooting up Bud Light, Trump saying he’s going to make all Fed employees take a test when he’s president again to make sure they’re loyal and if they don’t pass it they’re fired etc etc etc. What’s next?

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  17. Dexter Friend said on April 18, 2023 at 2:59 am

    Neither side is favoring a settlement. Today will be first preparations for a trial. If Dominion wins, the starting penalty for Rupert’s gang will be $1B.

    Also the judge in the Trump rape trial shoved a delay request back in Trump’s lawyers’ faces. The attorneys said with all the publicity over the indictment, Trump needs the heat to cool. The judge told them that they caused the extra media coverage, not anyone else.

    DeSantis pleads the 5th, sorta, over the story about how he eats pudding with three fingers. He has bigger fish to fry: he’s going to build a prison adjacent to Disney World. Has the world spun off its axis?

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  18. Dexter Friend said on April 18, 2023 at 3:08 am

    Payday for Dexter and you!

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  19. David C said on April 18, 2023 at 6:03 am

    Acorn TV, the other British streaming channel, is all crime all the time too, Julie. It’s like Britain is infected with some Agatha Christie virus. The shows we end up watching are almost always from Australia or New Zealand.

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  20. LAMary said on April 18, 2023 at 10:57 am

    I don’t have Britbox or Acorn but I occasionally watch BBC America. Graham Norton is good but on at weird hours but yes, the rest of the shows seem to be murder mysteries. My local PBS stations show a lot of those too. Luther was good but all the ones set in small towns are tedious.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on April 18, 2023 at 10:59 am

    There’s a great nickname for the would-be Napoleon of Floriduh, which incorporates both his hilarious white rubber boots (displayed after a hurricane) and his grotesque eating habits of chocolate pudding (three fingers into the goo): Pudd’n Boots.

    DeathSantis is not going to fly outside his veto-proof little duchy in Floriduh. How many Americans want a president who feuds with Mickey Mouse? Who bans books? Who whitewashes U.S. history? Who banned abortion after six weeks in a behind closed door ceremony at 11 p.m.? Who has the personality of an infant with diaper rash? Already, a major donor who spent close to $8 million in 2020 has said he’s not donating another dime to Little Napoleon because he’s gone too far right-wing even for a wealthy conservative. The donor cited the abortion law and the book bans as evidence DeathSantis was a loser.

    The whole QOP is so fucked. A real toxic waste dump.

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  22. Julie Robinson said on April 18, 2023 at 11:18 am

    Most Floridians are for abortion rights and sensible gun control, yet they keep electing Repubs who write horrible laws. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but there is a history of poor education, and Dems in disarray.

    Luther is too violent for me. Stuff like that stays with me and haunts my dreams. I guess I’m just a softie. A few years ago I watched Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Aussie-made) and that was fun. I think it’s on Acorn now, and is worth watching just for Miss Fisher’s spectacular outfits. The costumer outdid herself.

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  23. Bob (not Greene) said on April 18, 2023 at 12:37 pm


    We’ve been BritBox subscribers for a few years now and we got it specifically for the gardening-related shows. Gardeners’ World is an hour-long show that runs for about 40 weeks each year every Friday (well, sometimes they’re late on dropping it, which is aggravating).

    On Thursday nights, for almost as many weeks as Gardeners’ World, they drop Beechgrove Garden, which are 30 minutes long and are produced by BBC Scotland.

    Then during the summer, most years, you’ll get the Chelsea Garden Show episodes and maybe even shows from other RHS flower shows, like Tatton Park and Hampton Court, around England.

    There’s also a show called Escape to the Country, which is kind of Househunters show without the incredibly annoying homebuyers and with properties and landscapes that are way more interesting.

    There are other “nature” type shows as well like Countryfile and This Farming Life.

    I don’t watch any of the crime shows or soaps and I find there’s plenty for me on BritBox

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  24. Sherri said on April 18, 2023 at 12:43 pm

    There’s also a history of voter suppression in Florida. Florida overwhelmingly passed an initiative to automatically restore voting rights to people convicted of a felony who had served their time, and the legislature immediately gutted it.

    As we’re all discovering, just because a majority, even a large majority, of people are for something it doesn’t mean that they are represented by a government that shares their priorities, even if they vote.

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  25. Deborah said on April 18, 2023 at 1:12 pm

    I’m going to have to check out Brit Box, the gardening shows sound interesting.

    I haven’t been watching much lately but last night I watched the Netflix movie, “I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore”, I found it entertaining, suspenseful in places.

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  26. Icarus said on April 18, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    killing time and checked out today in nn.c history…when was the last time we heard from Judybusy

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  27. Julie Robinson said on April 18, 2023 at 3:24 pm

    Sherri, I should have included voter suppression and gerrymandering, though I think their root cause is low turnout and poor education. We had a speaker at church who got his voting rights restored, and he detailed the different steps and how long it took. He’s now an attorney, devoted to fighting for the reversal of the laws and restoration for others.

    I could watch gardening shows all day, but I was searching for something that would make everyone in the room happy. It’s quite a challenge, given the different tastes and preferences.

    That said, if someone suggests watching 80 for Brady, leave the room. What a waste of talented women and their many facial fillers.

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  28. Jeff Borden said on April 18, 2023 at 4:13 pm

    CNN is reporting Fox and Dominion are settling! No juicy trial.

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  29. David C said on April 18, 2023 at 4:14 pm

    I think Judybusy is JodiP.

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  30. Deborah said on April 18, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I only hope the settlement includes apologies by the Fox folks on air, and not just non-apology apologies.

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  31. Dave said on April 18, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    I always thought that by typing in a commenter’s name, the search engine would lead you to comments made by that individual but today, with the mention of JudyBusy, I find that doesn’t work.

    I was hoping for a juicy trial with lots of details. Disappointment all around, I’m thinking.

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  32. Julie Robinson said on April 18, 2023 at 4:33 pm

    Also breaking: FDA approves second bivalent booster for 65+ or immunocompromised, CDC likely to approve this week, with shots possibly availble as early as this week. We have a trip to NYC planned in a month and I’ve had Covid twice, so I’m jumping on this.

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  33. Mark P said on April 18, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    I’m not sure what to make of Dominion settling. I thought they were looking for vindication. And Fox’s statement definitely does not meet that standard. It makes me wonder just how confident Dominion’s attorneys were that they would prevail. Of course there are the purely financial considerations. A trial would have been very expensive.

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  34. Sherri said on April 18, 2023 at 4:51 pm

    Dominion wins by settling. There are essentially two parts to defamation: did they lie, and did they do it with “actual malice”. The judge had already determined in summary judgement that the first part of the standard had been met: Fox had lied about Dominion. The trial would be about proving to a jury that they had done so with actual malice, which is never a slam dunk. Fox had to pay 3/4 of a billion dollars and admit they lied, with another defamation case pending. That’s not nothing.

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  35. Dorothy said on April 18, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    I don’t have BritBox and never have. But if Line of Duty is available there I HIGHLY recommend it. I think it’s on another major streaming source but I honestly can’t recall which one. Just make sure you use closed captions. Those Scottish accents befuddle me.

    We have Covid for the first time. I’m happy to say the overwhelming tiredness seems to be abating. Yesterday that’s all I did – laid my head down multiple times and slept from 7:40 last night til 4:30 this morning. No sore throat, thank goodness. Headaches though. Which is also abating.

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  36. David C said on April 18, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    Everyone knows that Fox are lying liars, except their viewers. They could have a chyron saying “They’re lying” Joe Isuzu style running 24/7 and their viewers would say “something, something, deep state” and still not know they’re lying liars. A trial wouldn’t change that.

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  37. Jeff Borden said on April 18, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    Nothing less than all the talking heads saying repeatedly over days and weeks that they lied and lied and lied might sway the Fox addicts. Might. Millions of ‘Muricans suckle daily at Uncle Rupert’s teat, sucking in the validation for all their hates, their hurts, their angers, their resentments. Fox is their fentanyl.

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  38. Deborah said on April 18, 2023 at 5:54 pm

    I read on Twitter that as part of the settlement Fox folks don’t have to admit to anything on air. Bummer. Apparently the settlement sum is more than 85% of what Dominion was worth altogether before the settlement.

    Dorothy sorry you’ve got Covid now, our neighbor in Santa Fe is getting over having it for the second time. As soon as the next booster is available I’m getting it, hopefully soon. Like Julie I’ve had it twice, mild both times but I don’t want to find out what it will be like a third time.

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  39. alex said on April 18, 2023 at 6:36 pm

    I’ve still managed to evade COVID. Even after my brother brought it to town recently and gave it to my dad the week before Easter.

    Bummed to see Dominion settle. I was looking forward to watching Fox get its clock cleaned. Instead Fox is putting out statements about its high journalistic standards and integrity and pretending for the benefit of its own audience that this was all a big nothingburger.

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