Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, Sent to Jail.

Kwame Kilpatrick made embarrassing history today in this breaking news here in Detroit, Michigan. He is the first ever sitting mayor in Detroit's long history to ever gets sent to jail while still being the leader of the city.

Link to Detroit News coverage

Link to Detroit Free Press coverage

Video clip of Kwame Kilpatrick apologizing and making his plea:

Video clip of Judge Ronald Giles responding with a jail sentence:

Bad NYPD Cop: Patrick Pogan

This is another reason why 'Do Take It Personal' is such a terrific resource to bring TRUE justice to our communities across America. Because too many police officers are no longer trust-worthy, no longer honest, no longer serving or protecting the public. Instead, we are getting more and more complaints from the people about abuses, about bullies, and about cops taking advantage of the people.

We always hope to hear about good deeds by police officers, from the public, but thus far - Only one made it to our news-desk.

The bad deeds just keep on pouring in. Take a look at this YouTube video clip, which has been circulating across the Internet;

As a citizen, a taxpayer and a voter, all of us should be very concerned about the state of our country. Such behaviors from law enforcement officers are becoming more common than ever, and the frustrating part is the fact that the courts are either slapping them on the wrists or allowed them to go without any consequences whatsoever. Enough is enough, ladies and gentlemen. It is time we take it very personal. Share the photos and the videos - Spread the word.

Bad Cop Fired for Demanding Free Starbucks.

It is really becoming unfathomable the extent of entitlement police officers continue to think they deserve. This piece of news headline sums it up enough that we here at 'Do Take It Personal' do not need to explain much further.

Link to Fox News article in PDF format.

Link to WKMG Local 6 article and video clip.

It is at least assuring to see that other cities and other police departments aren't afraid to take bold steps to terminate rogue cops from contaminating the police force. Why is the Warren Police Department and Chief Dwyer afraid to terminate David Kanapsky? Why is the Roseville Police Department and Chief Pachla afraid to terminate Stephen Starr?

Justice Unserved - Magistrate Clement Waldmann

It is always a new experience to be present in a courtroom; to research and to observe the fleecing of Americans, using your own pair of eyes and ears. Today is no different, as we sat in on traffic court proceedings in Troy.

We, as Americans, have always believed our teachers and our elders, when they tell us that justice is served by those in the position of such authority. All these becomes a mockery to the justice system, when you come across someone like Magistrate Clement Waldmann.

He not only failed the trust and the privilege granted onto him by the people, he openly embarrassed the people who came forth to defend their rights in a fair hearing. For example; he refused to listen to the explanation or look at the photo evidences brought in by a man who captured a stack of photos at an intersection in question. Next, he ridiculed a Chaldean lady for not being able to speak fluent English. Another gentleman came in to court with a photograph to prove that there was not a sign where he took a turn, but was completely shunted and had his charge raised to a higher level to be heard on another court date. After that, Clement Waldmann continued to cause more disgrace and shame to the justice system here in Michigan, by making crude remarks to a Chinese lady. According to him, "If you put me in a cave for 5 years, I would be able to learn a new language fluently." Is this the type of individuals we now put on the bench to interpret the law? Because it goes without saying that justice is not served.

We here at 'Do Take It Personal' believe that everyone who chooses to live in America should indeed be proficient in spoken English, at the minimum. However, that is a personal opinion, which must not be taken into the courtroom, and be used in any way, shape or form within the justice system. Magistrate Clement Waldmann should be ashamed to have abused his power and authority for not only unjust judgments within the four walls of the Oakland County district court, but also racist judgments handed down to innocent victims.

Cash-strapped Pontiac Struggles to Fund Court.

The economy here in Michigan is dismal, without doubt, and looking worse each passing day. Cities across the region, large and small, are struggling to stay financially viable. Pontiac, being a larger city and covering a relatively large footprint, is certainly having difficulty keeping itself afloat.

Link to the Oakland Press’ article on cash-strapped Pontiac struggling to fund court system.

Link to the same article in PDF format.

It is extremely hard to accept the same excuses from civic leaders who repeatedly mismanage public finances. There is no real consequences for irresponsibility in city government. It is very frustrating and unnerving to find the same sins being commited time and time again, over and over again, by different parties. Why are they allowed to continue down the same wrong path without repercussions? Where are the concerned voters and taxpayers? Where are the angry voters and taxpayers? Where are those who are sick and tired of being ripped-off? Michigan cannot continue to be a cess-pool of corrupted government personnels. Michigan cannot continue to have cops who line their own pockets with cash. Michigan cannot continue to appoint magistrates and judges who are biased and carry out agendas of prejudice. Michigan certainly cannot afford to put incompetent people in public office and in governmental roles. Michigan must begin 'cleaning house' immediately!

Police Brutality in Memphis.

It truly becomes stressful to witness more and more cases of police brutality each and every day.

Link to WMC-TV's story and video clip

We usually consider such acts as being hate crimes, if this were to occur among civilians. However, as documented in the linked report above, Officer Swain and Officer McRae were not charged with any crime. We must take such matters personally, because America is not a police state and Americans do not have to fear the police as long as police officers continue to be paid with tax dollars.

Allegan County Traffic Tickets Plummet, Pinch Court Revenues.

'Do Take It Personal' is here to educate and inform fellow taxpayers and fellow voters about the ridiculous conduct going on in our most trusted public agencies. We are referring to local police departments, county sheriff departments, and even the heralded halls of justice - our district court systems.

This time, we examine the hard times being experienced by those serving the Allegan County District Court. Apparently, these self-centered, selfish, self-serving court employees feel disappointed that they can't prey on more victims, due to the high price of gas. If you are in any way associated with Allegan County or even just passing through, you should take this piece of information to heart and share the information with others. The more the people of Michigan understand the truth, the harder it is for those in power to take advantage of us and to fleece everything that we have worked so hard to earn for ourselves.

Link to Kalamazoo Gazette's article in PDF format.

Are You Ready for the Fading of the Mirage Economy?

Our mantra is to take it personal - and that includes matters involving economic significance. The fact is that too many American households are living way beyond their means. The primary reason for this behavior is the availability of easy credit. Folks are buying more house than they need, because of easy credit. People are buying more cars than they need, because of easy credit. Many are buying more TVs, power tools, apparels, and etc. than needed, because of easy credit.

Link to Steven Pearlstein's article in Washington Post

All these excessive credit can't sustain forever. The typical American households are going to have to scale back immediately. They will need to downsize to smaller houses, so that it costs less to heat, to cool and to maintain overall. They will need to downsize to smaller cars and fewer cars, so that it costs less to fill-up. Regardless of whether you wish to be in denial or not, higher oil prices are here to stay.

Be prepared to pay more for practically everything across the board - airfares, shipping/transporting packages, groceries, electricity, taxes, insurance, and so on. Businesses are passing on the increasing operating costs to the consumers. Government agencies are passing on the increasing operating costs to the public. As the consumer, you need to have the ability to afford all these additional expenses. You need to take it personal, and to be ready in advance. Do not wait - Do not delay - The time was yesterday to be prepared for the fading of the mirage economy.

Southfield Police on a Traffic Ticket Spree.

'Do Take It Personal' has been very active in monitoring bad police activities in the Metro Detroit region, because we believe that this region has suffered enough. We mean it when we say 'Enough Is Enough'! We trust that you mean it too, when you wrote in to tell us that your family and you are very upset, because you've had enough - 'Enough Is Enough'!

Apparently, those who govern us did not hear our collective voices, because the unfair traffic violation tickets are still being issued across Southeast Michigan like clockwork.

Yesterday, Sunday, sometime between 11am-1pm, as we drove down Southfield Road, we saw at least 6-8 patrol cars pulling over motorists along the east-side of the road between 10 Mile Road and the Lodge Freeway split. Imagine how short of a stretch this is, especially is you are familiar with this area. Bear in mind that it is a Sunday, and it is close to noon hour, hence the majority of the drivers and motorist being folks who were attending church and so on. Southfield police was obviously seizing the opportunity to start the month of June with a big revenue day on June 1, 2008. This is downright ridiculous in the minds of Metro Detroiters struggling each day to fend-off the multitude of obstacles trying to raise a decent family here in this battered region.

We share your pain and your frustration, because we know it is already very, very difficult, even without the additional pressure from bad police conducts. Let's not try to fool anybody, it is clearly about the money - cities and municipals are broke, counties are broke, the state of Michigan is broke. Southfield residents will remember this, and Southfield residents will know what to do the next time the police department submit any issues up for vote. The people are not stupid, the people are not going to take it standing still, the people do take it personal.

Another cop with bad judgment - Jody Horne

Clawson, Michigan, is a small and close-knitted community. It is also a city with budget problems similar to other Metro Detroit suburbs. In fact, a few years ago, the Clawson Police Department was almost disbanded. Fortunately, the community came together to oppose the proposal. They endured higher property taxes in order to keep the PD intact. Naturally, you would think that the Clawson police officers would remember who is paying their salaries. Not the case in Clawson.

Jody Horne, a relatively new hire, has been writing traffic tickets that are sometimes questionable. We have seen enough of such schemes by now here on 'Do Take It Personal', but apparently greed and bad judgment knows no end. We therefore add Clawson's Jody Horne to the growing list of bad cops in Metro Detroit, which already include Warren's David Kanapsky and Roseville's Stephen Starr.

Click on the image above and take a look at the hi-resolution photo evidence where Jody Horne wrote a ticket for 'No-Left Turn' onto the side street in front of the black building with the green National City bank sign along the top. The ticket was challenged in court, but as we have all known by now, the Oakland County Municipal Court in Troy is where money comes before justice, despite tangible evidence.

Macomb County Ticket Fines Plummet, Threatening Construction of New Courthouse.

We receive a lot of angry e-mails telling us that traffic tickets do not in any way benefit the local enforcement agencies or local district court systems. This notion has been fully addressed in our previous post regarding the distribution of traffic citation revenue. In short, the answer is a resounding Yes! Absolutely - the local enforcement agencies and local district court systems depend on this funds to pad their own pockets and to build new plush offices.

Link to the Macomb Daily's article plummeting ticket fines causing financial concerns over new courthouse.

Link to the same article in PDF format.

Macomb County residents and businesses should be outraged. Those who work and commute into Macomb County should be outraged. Don't forget that rouge cops like David Kanapsky and Stephen Starr are in Macomb County. Everyone in Metro Detroit should be outraged at the simple fact that more often than not, innocent motorists are being preyed on as 'cash cows'. Unfortunately, fighting the ticket is not in your favor at all, because judges and magistrates have none of your best interest at heart.

Why is Air Travel to be Avoided, When Options are Available?

We do quite our fair share of air travels here at 'Do Take It Personal', because we spend substantial amount of time exploring big and small corners of the United States to gauge the type of injustice faced by Americans from all walks of life. It is also important to make objective comparisons between other parts of the country and the Southeast Michigan region. Unfortunately, we are increasingly frustrated with all the annoyances that come with air travels.

Let's be perfectly frank here - If you have flown recently, you would probably have had a bad experience because the amount of hassle is downright ridiculous. The so-called 'security' measures are very invasive and even rude at times. It is surprising that anyone would even consider visiting the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is over-powering, exerting tremendous authority to inspect and to confiscate your digital devices such as cameras, laptops, MP3 players, cellphones, PDAs and so on.

It comes as no surprise when we saw on CNN that Americans take 41 Million fewer flights, according to a travel industry survey. It is very hard to deny the fact that more and more Americans are sick and tired of the Federal government ruining the fabric of freedom and liberty so embedded in the very core of our nation's existence. Taxpayers money used to establish and operate the Department of Homeland Security could have been better utilized in many more productive ways. Did you know that as DHS become more involved, more cases of corruption are being exposed? Well, isn't that an oxymoron - Homeland Security itself being so 'Insecure'.

As much as possible, we are making attempts to avoid air travel if viable options are available. Rail travel here in the United States is a joke compared to rail travel in Europe. The only practical option is obviously to drive. But with gas prices as high as they are, that can be prohibitive too. Needless to say, we are definitely looking to find alternatives to air travel whenever possible.

Home Values Declining at Record Pace, What can Civic Leaders and Representatives Do?

For the majority of us, our home is the biggest asset in our lives. We spend the most money each and every month maintaining the roofs and walls above and around our heads and bodies. What if we can't afford to do that anymore? What if economic conditions outside of our control dictate that our home is now worth less in value than the amount we owe on our mortgage? We have no equity, we can't sell our house at the price we bought it for, and sometimes ..... people are simply walking away instead of carrying the debt any longer.

This scenario is occurring more and more often, particularly here in Southeast Michigan, where layoffs after layoffs continue to hurt our abilities to keep our homes, to sustain healthy communities, and to remain optimistic. 'Do Take It Personal' cares about the little people, the hardworking people of the middle-class, because we strongly believe that our neighborhoods need these people. We cannot allow more homes to be foreclosed, we cannot allow more people to move out of Michigan, we cannot allow bad politicians to remain in power and bad cops to hurt the people. We must take matters personally.

Let's start by contacting our civic leaders and our representatives.

  • Tell them to remove the bad cops.

  • Tell them to remove the bad politicians.

  • Tell them to get rid of bad public policies.

  • Tell them to get rid of bad taxes that discourage businesses.

  • Tell them to help entrepreneurs to thrive.

  • Tell them to improve people's lives in Michigan.

If our civic leaders and representatives would only accomplish the few short objectives above, Michigan residents and Metro Detroiters will be able to better help themselves prosper. As we prosper among ourselves, we will be able to afford paying a bigger amount every month on our mortgages. This will most certainly prevent us from losing our homes.

Just Exactly how Bad is Inflation for you?

Our money isn't buying much these days. Our paychecks run out before the next payday is even near. So, just exactly how bad is inflation for you and your family?

Our relatives, friends and colleagues have all told us that they are living on credit card, from paycheck to paycheck, with virtually zero savings ..... because they just can't make ends meet. Our readers have written to us with identical stories about their own struggles in their own communities, as well as witnessing more of the same hardships in their respective neighborhoods. Our posting yesterday regarding poor Consumer Confidence echoed such universal sentiments.

Journalists and the news media have voiced our pain across the land; over the Web, in newspapers and magazines, on TV and radio, plus various other media outlets. Here are a few that 'Do Take It Personal' wish to share with our faithful audience:

Link to CNBC about Credit Crunch in America and beyond

Link to Bill Gross' outlook on Inflation

Think about how bad this could be for the long term in your own household. Can you still afford bread and rice? Can you still afford milk and juice? Can you still afford fruits and vegetables? Can you still afford to heat your home this Winter? At some point, you will find that the numbers aren't adding up for you, and things will start to spiral downhill very, very rapidly. We have heard from folks who have declared bankruptcy, lost their homes and living in their cars within a matter of a few weeks. Things happen very quickly and if you do not take your financial well-being personally, one bad luck can completely wipe your family and you down to nothing in a blink of an eye. Please look after yourselves and the welfare of your family - Be Proactive - Fight Hard for what is right even before bad news hit you directly, and Never let others 'steal' from you and your children's future.

Consumer Confidence is an Important Indicator.

'Do Take It Personal' is not about slamming law enforcement officers. We often write and expose more than simply law enforcement issues in our communities.

Today's topic on Consumer Confidence is yet another example that we are taking matters personally - including economic matters.

Link to Reuters article

In order for Consumer Confidence to hit a 16-year low in the month of May 2008, it would take a newborn baby to become a High School Junior in 11th Grade. That means our country's economic health has reached a point where it is quickly deteriorating right before our eyes, without much being done urgently.

Yes, there were the tax rebate checks supposedly helping stimulate the economy. However, the timing was somehow in tune with the drastic rise in gas and food prices. Needless to say - the small token from Uncle Sam didn't go far at all and went straight to necessities.

More Discussions about Oil Prices and Personal Responsibility.

It is very difficult for us here at 'Do Take It Personal' not to elaborate further on gas prices and following up on our post yesterday concerning big oil companies with big profits.

The truth of the matter is that if we do not fight back aggressively, we are destined to suffer financially in the near future. The truth of the matter is that nobody in public office representing us seem to care one bit. Obviously we can't expect the billionaires to walk our walk.

In essence, this is our battle, as the lay people in the middle and for the lay people in the middle who truly struggles each and every day. It is our own responsibility to educate ourselves about the energy industry. For example, we have spent just a short amount of time to read the following CNBC reports and had already become more knowledgeable now compared to an hour earlier.

Link to Tom Kloza's blog entry

Link to Arjun Murti's analysis

We strongly believe that conservation of energy is key. Do not drive large vehicles, do not work far from home, do not make multiple trips to accomplish one errand at a time. Take matters into your own hands, take control of your energy consumption. Clearly, nobody else cares about you - so why aren't you taking it personally?

Why are Big Oil Companies allowed to continue running up Huge Profits?

Perhaps we are just naive here at 'Do Take It Personal', but it sure seems to be a major problem for more than just the everyday consumers feeling the pain of high gas prices. We are seeing airline companies crumbling, we are seeing automotive companies crumbling, we are seeing logistics/transportation companies crumbling - and yet big oil companies are still basking in the sunny days of large amounts of profits. How come nobody, no government agencies, no business leadership figures or anybody with clout for that matter, start fighting these energy Goliaths?

Reading today's Washington Post, brought us further frustration that big oil companies are not only kicking consumers, manufacturing, logistics and transportation companies around - they are also kicking their own franchisee dealers around too!

Link to Washington Post article

It is absolutely ridiculous to witness such behavior being tolerated day in and day out. We are so 'conditioned' to accept high gas prices these days, even a small temporary price decline warrants a smile and widespread celebrations. They have 'gotten' us, ladies and gentlemen, they have 'gotten' us.

Official State of Michigan Publication: The Distribution of Traffic Citation Revenue.

There are many question relating to the actual distribution of funds from traffic citations here in the State of Michigan. Obviously, as more and more citations are being written to cover the deficits experienced by various municipals across the state, the people wonders how this process of allocation works.

"Do Take It Personal" investigated this issue to great length and is proud to attach an official document dated back in November 1999. Bear in mind that this matter is of serious relevance to each and every Michigan resident, as well as those who travels to Michigan, because if negative PR spreads, Michigan tourism suffers. The amount in question is no small token. We are looking at approximately $120 Million circa 1998/1999 - which is about 10 years ago. In today's dollars, we are definitely looking at a greater amount of money.

Link to Traffic Citation Revenue In Michigan, published by the House Fiscal Agency

There should be absolutely no doubt whatsoever, after reading this entire report, that various enforcement entities and various judicial entities benefit from even a small fraction of this 'golden goose'. The people of Michigan are paying into the nest-egg for the Department of State Police, Judges Retirement System, Legislative Retirement System and so on.

Think about it for a moment ..... while our automobile companies and our industrial plants are bleeding red ink and laying off workers, the local and state government agencies are still fleecing what we have left, no matter how little it may be.

Recognizing a Good Cop - Officer Jason Sakowski.

Perhaps we haven't lauded enough about the great people who truly serve and protect our communities. If you have been faithfully following this blog, there tend to be a misconception that a large number of cops are bad. Not true at all, because there are certainly more good police officers out there in our neighborhoods. The unfortunate reality is that the bad cops usually outshadow the good cops, simply because the spirit of 'brotherhood' prevents good police officers from speaking out against their bad peers.

We definitely hope that there is a wave of change taking over, and more bad cops will be removed from the force and from our communities.

'Do Take It Personal' wish to officially recognize Officer Jason Sakowski of Harper Woods, Michigan, as an exemplary police officer and exemplary person.

Our Harper Woods, Michigan, neighborhood is grateful and blessed to have you in our community, Officer Sakowski.

A Formal Plea for Myanmar Cyclone and China Earthquake Relief Donation.

Between the two natural disasters, hundreds of thousands of lives have perished. We owe it our ourselves and to humankind to contribute in generous ways within our means to help. 'Do Take It Personal' would like to extend a formal plea for kind souls among our vast readership to chip in and assist the unfortunate victims. Please share your financial resources with the following organizations actively involved with emergency relief efforts in Myanmar and China;

Support Disaster Relief in Myanmar

Support Earthquake Relief in China

Warren Police Chief Dwyer restoring PD's public image.

The story on David Kanapsky has caused the city of Warren a "black-eye" nationally. In this age of Internet and viral reach, such a story travels great distances in a matter of seconds. The city of Warren, the Mayor's office and other related city officials have all heard from angry citizens who are outraged with the city and its district court system for allowing such a "loophole" to have "stolen" money from residents, voters, taxpayers and constituents in the Metro Detroit area. The media, in particular Channel 7 WXYZ, has done a tremendous job exposing this scam to the general public. Now, the Police Chief has finally decided to take some much needed actions in regards to cleaning up his police department's reputation.

Link to WXYZ's Article and Video Clip

This piece of news comes at the heel of Warren's Mayor Jim Fouts publicly denouncing such schemes and rackets in his city. It is very important that Mayor Fouts did this, because the entire country is waiting for his leadership and his response. All of us at 'Do Take It Personal' admire Mayor Fouts' courage in facing the issue and took full responsibility of it.

Not many high-ranking officials in this Greater Detroit area would have the courage to do something like that; Roseville Mayor Harold Haugh, Warren Deputy Police Chief Jere Green, Roseville Police Chief Michael Pachla, and of course Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, immediately comes to mind.

The Unbelievable Costs of Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The United States of America has been fighting these 2 wars since 9/11/2001. The price of wars continues to add up, both in terms of lives lost and in terms of money lost. According to recent reports, we as taxpayers may very well be paying US$12 Billion per month to fund these operations.

Link to ABC News report

Link to ABC News article

Perhaps money is no object when it comes to government spending and lives are dispensable as far as our lawmakers are concerned, but we here at 'Do Take It Personal' are very upset that so many of our young men and women are sacrificing their lives and so much of our tax dollars can be funneled to the Middle East, while the American people are losing their collective standard of living. We are losing our homes to foreclosures, we are losing our ability to save for retirement as daily necessities such as food/gas become more expensive, we are facing a health care crisis as medical costs continue to rise, we are unable to provide for our children's future as our own future becomes more uncertain, we are no longer able to rely or trust our employment as being stable - There are a lot that needs to be done right here within the borders of our nation. The people in this country needs help urgently. It is time to spend our tax dollars on problems in our own backyards.

Bad CEOs Must Not be Compensated, Cut the Golden Parachute.

We have discussed how bad cops continue to remain on the job and threaten the very fabric of our law enforcement entity. We have also discussed how bad city administrators continue to remain in power and mismanaging the very integrity of our municipality. Now, we ought to talk about the most unbelievable injustice openly happening in front of our eyes - corporate executive pay, regardless of performance.

Link to ABC's Nightline report

Link to MSN's MoneyCentral article

These individuals who have practically driven their companies into the dirt, should have been fired and possibly even charged with 'white-collar' crime. Bad CEOs must not be rewarded and must not be compensated with any 'golden parachute'. It is a disgrace to the rest of all the hard-working people in the companies who have conducted themselves with honesty and integrity. It is a slap in the face to all the customers who have depended on institutions such as Enron, Worldcom, Countrywide, Tyco, and so on. It is truly up to us to make it known that we will take it personally, and we will take it stand with our wallets, because there are always other companies who would cherish us as customers and would do all they can to earn our trust and our business.

Earthquake in China.

Natural disasters are the most devastating events to humankind. Mother Nature's wrath can potentially kill tens of thousands of people in a short period of time. Unfortunately, barely 9 days since Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar, a major earthquake measuring 8.0 magnitude destroyed the lives of many in the Sichuan province of China. The earthquake occurred during school hours and damaged most buildings in the vicinity. Many of the victims are children. Please consider helping by donating to the Red Cross and other relief efforts.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts on ABC's 20/20.

The negative PR appears to continue gaining momentum in Warren, Michigan. After our previous blog entries, the media is very much on the heels of Warren's city administration and police department.

In fact, the news have gone so viral that ABC's 20/20 had picked up on the story and was planning on airing the segment last night. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts and short on time, we will have to wait a little longer to see Mayor Jim Fouts in the national spotlight.

Link to Detroit Free Press report

Link to Macomb Daily article

Link to Detroit News report

This marks a significant step towards exposing more of Metro Detroit's police officers who prey on the public whom they swore to serve and to protect. Roseville Mayor Harold Haugh and Roseville Police Chief Michael Pachla must address the fleecing of voters, taxpayers and constituents by following the money trail within their district court and officers such as Stephen Starr. Local and national media investigators are already following the money trail.

The Total Disconnect Between Wall Street and Main Street.

You may be wondering the same thing as we do. How is it that in the Greater Detroit area where unemployment rate is high, foreclosure rate is high, bankruptcy rate is high, as well as rising gas prices, rising food prices and rising costs of living overall - yet Best Buy, Target and many retail stores and restaurants continue to be busy?

Doesn't it make more sense to hear crickets and a falling pin drop at this places if times are so bad? On top of the above observations, it is also rather strange to notice that the Dow Jones and NASDAQ stock indexes are up despite the looming cloud of recession and inflation worries. This point clearly indicates the total disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street America. Why do we say that? Because folks are still tapping their credit unnecessarily. As mentioned earlier, the average American still shops and eats out often. With that in mind, let's follow the money trail - and we will quickly realize that most of these people who actively shop and eat out are doing so through widespread use of credit cards. The sad reality is the fact that most average Americans are not financially savvy and do not understand micro-economics nor macro-economics. We have definitely not seen the end of the credit crunch just yet, because as long as the Federal Reserve continues to bail-out poor decisions and poor management, as seen with Bear Stearns, we will stay in this perpetual cycle of irresponsible fiscal and financial behavior.

Why are Urban School Systems Failing so Badly?

Virtually every major city has a budget problem in their school systems. The Detroit Public Schools (DPS) are no exception. The city of Detroit has seen an exodus of its population for years and clearly, enrollment in its school system has declined as a result of that. Aside from declining enrollment, top-level school officials have also often mismanaged funds.

One of the first order of business, should in fact be about a philosophy to run the DPS as a "business". The entire paradigm needs to change internally, because as long as the DPS continue to be an organization depending on receiving funds regardless of fiscal accountability, the solution will be as elusive as ever. The DPS doesn't need an educator as the Superintendent, it desperately needs a veteran corporate turnaround guru. It needs a leader with a strong sense of financial responsibility. The DPS needs a major internal overhaul and restructuring in order to effectively streamline its operations, its processes and its resource management. Every facet ranging from its tangible assets such as buildings, books, furnitures to intangible assets such as curriculum or pedagogy must be assessed and verified.

The second item should be to enact policies of transparency between school administration and the general public, taxpayers and voters. Everything from purchasing decisions to hiring decisions should be transparent to parents and families involved with the school. Transparency also entails a Superintendent who is a highly confident and charismatic PR figure. The Superintendent must be a terrific "salesperson" who can pitch to the most cynical crowd and win them over.

Another important item to tackle is concerning results. Academic results, as well as cost-cutting results leading to a balanced budget, should be monitored closely and relayed to the public periodically to that we can all see what is promised, and what is realistically achieved. We believe all these steps will gradually bring DPS and other troubled urban school systems back on track.


Gas prices and Full-size SUVs.

It is mind-boggling to fathom the thought that as rapidly gas prices has climbed over the past few years, the average American is still attracted to the Hummers, Escalades, Navigators, Jeeps and F-150s. The funny thing is these individuals aren't driving off paved roads, aren't using the additional space for work purposes and are the most vocal groups complaining about the rising cost of gas. These are also the individuals who chose to move out far away from dense urban centers in order to live the "country-lifestyle".

Obviously, living far from where you work, where your kids attend school, where you shop and where you seek entertainment will cost you more in gas money. It should also be obvious that owning a full-size truck or SUV that carries a low miles-per-gallon (MPG) will cost you more in gas money. If you decide to help your finances, you must first decide to do the fundamental things necessary to help the cause. If you do not need an SUV, don't own an SUV. If you do not need a full-size truck to haul large items for work, don't own a full-size truck. Let's face it, gas prices only trend upwards as the demand for oil increases globally. The price of gas may fluctuate over the short term and decline a little every now and then, but all that will be temporary. The best thing you can do for yourself and your family, is to take control of your "carbon footprint".


The Recipe to Michigan's Turnaround and Restructuring.

Much have been said about how dreadful and gloomy the economic climate in Michigan has been for decades. There are so many sayings, ranging from "When America catches a Cold, Michigan catches Pneumonia" to "Michigan: The One-State Recession". It doesn't take long for the average citizen and especially an average resident in Michigan to wonder what is the damn problem!

Michigan is a state with tremendous wealth of natural resources and advantages. It doesn't face water shortage issues like Arizona and Georgia, it doesn't face earthquake treats like California, it doesn't face hurricane treats like Florida and Louisiana, it doesn't face flood and tornado treats like many other states as well. So, why is Michigan at such a dire disadvantage on the economic barometer?

The wealth of intellectual resources is as good as any other regions. The Michigan State University/East Lansing-University of Michigan/Ann Arbor-Wayne State University/Detroit corridor compares highly against the Research Triangle of North Carolina (Duke University-North Carolina State University-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

Link to Michigan Future's study

With these intellectual institutions, Michigan should have easily managed to compete against California's Silicon Valley, Massachusett's Route 128 and North Carolina's Research Triangle. It is embarrassing to admit to out-of-state friends and associates that Michigan leadership and government policies continue to shoot itself in the foot by not being "business-friendly". Corporate America largely shuns Michigan, when given a choice of another state. Why is that so? What is your recipe to Michigan's turnaround and restructuring effort?


Why is it So Difficult To Fire a Public-Serving Personnel?

So many people in the Greater Detroit area had lost their jobs, due to lay-offs and down-sizing, which is the fault of top-level management more than it is the fault of these individuals. However, when it comes time to hand out pink slips, it doesn't matter how hard-working and how dedicated or how loyal you have been over the years and decades - you just pack your banker box and head for the unemployment line.

Not so with public-serving officials, even though their salary comes from taxpayers and voters. The Mayor of Detroit is a prime example of this conundrum because as obvious it is that he had abused the trust of the people, it is an extremely difficult process to remove him from the position. Kwame Kilpatrick was voted into office by the people, his salary paid by the people, and he is to work for the people of Detroit.

Amidst the text-messaging scandal, amidst the red Lincoln Navigator controversy, amidst the city contracts misappropriations and amidst the many ways that he had abused his power as Mayor - this man is still sitting high on his throne, and drawing a steady lucrative paycheck from the people of Detroit.

Link to Wikipedia details of Kwame Kilpatrick and his misconducts

This issue obviously relates to other public-serving personnel such as cops, magistrates and judges as well. The racket involving traffic tickets, brought a flood of negative PR and public outcry, but yet people like David Kanapsky and Stephen Starr are still on the job drawing a comfortable paycheck from the people they fleeced. It really goes without saying that if you were the one to engage in any of the aforementioned activities, you would be jobless in a split second. We do need to take all these issues personally, because short of that, and we will continue being victims without voices.


How critically important are rapid transit options in Metro Detroit?

The morale in Metro Detroit and the state of Michigan has been gloomy for a long time. The auto industry, which is the "backbone" of this region, no longer provides the optimism and the peace of mind that residents here depend on. The jobs are being cut, the salaries are being cut, the benefits are being cut - so it is no surprise that even those who still has a job, are having a very hard time making ends meet.

There is no shortage of new entrepreneurial ventures sprouting up in the Detroit area either. However, the ability of getting around conveniently is a serious problem for those unable to afford to drive. As we have discussed in the past, the local district courts and the local police departments are taking advantage of drivers each and every day throughout Greater Detroit. Obviously, this adds to the costs of owning a vehicle ranging from insurance to routine maintenance. It is an issue that Metro Detroiters, unlike their counterparts in other cities, have absolutely no solution for, because of this lack of rapid transit options. The cost of gasoline is quickly becoming a very damaging factor to this city, this state and this nation's economical health. For the milions of Metro Detroiters who commute to work, this luxury is rapidly going away as they tighten their families' budgets.

On top of that, the situation with sprawl is also a serious concern as it becomes more and more difficult to provide city services to an ever expanding "footprint". Due to the automobile culture, commercial development occurred in clusters separated by vast open spaces and distances. This pattern of development is unsustainable. Metro Detroit needs to consolidate into denser communities, and rapid transit is the solution. It is absolutely crucial that Metro Detroiters continue to speak up loudly and collectively for rapid transit, especially in this critical economic times.


What are you doing with your Economic Stimulus tax rebate?

Some of you may have received your tax rebate and are making plans to go on a shopping spree. Some of you may even feel unpatriotic or unAmerican if you do not spend it away. After all, President George W. Bush intended this to be used by the general consumers to stimulate the economy.

Now, we don't claim to be economic gurus, but isn't our personal family economy equally as important if not more. Our country has been gradually dwindling into recession for the past 8 years under the Bush administration. From the perspective of the federal debt, we are truly in worse shape in terms of the ratio of debt over GDP between 2001 until now, as compared to the Clinton years between 1993-2001.

Link to Wikipedia source on National debt by U.S. presidential terms

In addition, the subprime mortgage mess has rattled the foundation of many households in America due to the widespread effects of unchecked and unethical lending practices. The number of foreclosures is at an alarming rate across the United States. On top of that, we have a weak U.S. Dollar in the global currency market. We have rising gas prices at the pump, and rising food prices at the grocery store. How much more does the American public have to battle on the home front? Is it realistic to expect the average American family to spend their Economic Stimulus tax rebate on discretionary purchases? We didn't think so.

We believe it is perfectly patriotic and perfectly American, in true spirit of red, white and blue, to spend our tax rebate on our mortgage, on our utility bills, on food and on absolute necessities.


Cyclone in Myanmar.

It is unbelievable how cruel Mother Nature can be at times. However, the more pressing issue here is the fact that when disaster struck, the government of Myanmar was even worse to have held rescue aid at bay.

There are reportedly tens of thousands who had perished in this country that is governed by its military regime. This is an example of how bad government can hurt the poor and innocent. It has indeed become a bigger disaster than Mother Nature had dealt, because of the military junta's private agenda to control all international emergency relief efforts.


Is unjust police brutality a common occurence these days?

We have covered issues related to greedy police officers making a lot of money through the 'Tickets for Overtime' loophole in Southeast Michigan. David Kanapsky of the Warren Police Department, and Stephen Starr of the Roseville Police Department, are two such examples among many in the Metro Detroit area.

However, if that wasn't enough to bring the average American voter and taxpayer to fits, our society is also facing a serious lost of liberty each passing day.

There are various disturbing video evidences to just make you cringe at the thought of how close we are in America to a police state. For example; in Canton, Ohio, where a woman was brutally strip searched by Sheriff Deputies back in January 2008.

Canton Ohio Sheriff Deputies strip search woman

Link to WKYC's Article and Video Clip

This week, we also witnessed on television, as many as 15 cops violently kicking, beating and assaulting 3 suspects on the streets of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia police brutally attacking suspects

Link to NBC10's Article and Video Clip

Think about it for a minute ..... these law enforcement personnel receives paychecks from tax dollars that YOU and I contribute. These officers are NOT protecting and serving, they must be removed immediately before they harm more people. If you or I were ever to engage in such behaviors, do you really believe that we would still have a job?


Philanthropy, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

Everybody wishes to be rich, but wealth comes with immense responsibility. Year-after-year, we see the rich getting richer, and more billionaires in quantity than ever before. When we think of the mega-rich, we can't stop but think about the mighty duo of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

Incredible as it is, we have seen generosity like none other in the form of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This philantropical organization has contributed money towards many humanitarian efforts, including research grants toward deadly diseases, as well as education for those trapped in poverty. Bill Gates himself had declared his forthcoming retirement from Microsoft and stepping down from daily management duties at the software company in order to focus on the Foundation. As if that is not enough, Warren Buffett had also pledged the majority chunk of his money (more than $30 Billion) to the causes served by the Gates Foundation.

As much as envy dominates our emotions, we are very glad to hear news of Bill and Warren putting their money where their mouths are - and taking tangible actions to make a positive change in our world. Thank you, Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffett for helping others who are less fortunate.


Warren Mayor Jim Fouts speaks out; Roseville Mayor Harold Haugh up next.

It took some time, but Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has had enough of the Warren Police Department's shame clouding the Detroit suburb's image and his administration's reputation.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts

He spoke to Channel 7 WXYZ's investigative reporter to set the records straight about the many problems plaguing Warren PD's conduct. Previously, we had discussed about the 'Tickets for Overtime' racket, and the 'Bad cops running stop signs' story, here on 'Do Take It Personal'.

Link to WXYZ's Article and Video Clip

It is now Roseville Mayor's turn to stand for his constituents. Roseville, Michigan, is a neighboring Greater Detroit suburb near Warren. The residents of Roseville are primarily working class families facing the same predicament as the rest of citizens in Southeast Michigan. Mayor Harold Haugh has been leading the city of Roseville since 2005. Perhaps he wasn't aware of the traffic violation racket going on in his municipal's 39th District Court, or maybe he knows. Stephen Starr of the Roseville Police Department has been raking up overtime pay, following the footsteps of Warren's David Kanapsky. It is very important that Mayor Harold Haugh and Roseville Police Chief Michael Pachla take swift and stern pro-active actions to remove employees like Stephen Starr before the media airs all the 'dirty laundry' for the entire world to see. Bear in mind that in this YouTube generation of ours, such stories aren't confined to the TV viewing area, and will most definitely go viral across the entire world within minutes!

Roseville Mayor Harold Haugh

Mayor Haugh and Police Chief Pachla, it is now your responsibility and duty to bring back the confidence and trusts of Roseville's residents, voters, taxpayers and constituents, as well as business leaders in the corporate community, to your city leadership and administration.


Life is Fragile: Remembering Steve Irwin and James Kim.

It is very easy to get carried away in the daily hustle and bustle of life in the fast lane. We work, we have our families, we have priorities, we worry about having enough to pay for the things we need to live on ..... we pray, we hope and we wish that sometimes there is more to life than always being in a perpetual rat race.

Steve Irwin and James Kim passed away in 2006 due to very different accidental circumstances. Steve Irwin, the famous Australian environmental preservationist, a man who loved his family, the wildlife and nature, was killed by the barb of a stingray while filming in shallow waters off the coast of Australia. James Kim, a CNET technology editor, and former TechTV staff, died in the woods of the Oregon forest when he wandered out searching for help. James, his wife Kati, and 2 young daughters, were on a roadtrip during the Thanksgiving holidays. On the way back to San Francisco, they mistakenly took a wrong path and ended up stranded. They were resourceful and managed to stay warm together for more than a week, until their car ran out of gas. Kati and their 2 daughters stayed with the car and was eventually rescued by volunteers and authorities. James was found dead a few days later despite the unwavering effort put forth by all parties.

We should all learn to live with uncertainty and to live a life with legacy, as the both of them have lived. Be generous with the time you have in this world, be generous with your kindness and give others a chance to remember you positively with your good deeds.

Rest In Peace, Steve and James.


Bad cops giving police officers a bad name.

It is not unusual to have a few bad apples in any profession. However, when it is a profession that enforces the law, the impact is definitely greater. Law enforcement personnels are held to a higher standard because they chose to be in that role. If they do not wish to adhere, these cops certainly have the freedom to pick a different career.

Following up with our previous post concerning 'Tickets for Overtime', Channel 7 WXYZ has investigated further into the Warren police department's conduct.

Warren police squad cars running stop signs

Although WXYZ's investigative reporter was pleasantly polite to Deputy Commissioner Jere Green, you could imagine how furious the thousands of traffic ticket victims must be after seeing this clip.

Link to WXYZ's Article and Video Clip

The fact that Mr. Green doesn't think that it is a critical issue couldn't be more insulting to the people of Warren. It is in fact a critical enough of an issue that thousands of drivers were being scammed into paying $135 a pop. Bear in mind that the people of Warren and Metro Detroit do not have viable options to get from Point A to Point B besides driving themselves around. There is no rapid transit modes of transportation, such as subways, light rails (LRTs), streetcars, or high-speed commuter trains. So, even the poor and disadvantaged demographic needs to drive to their place of employment, in order to be a positive contributor to society.

Mayor Fouts and Chief Police Commisioner Dwyer need to publicly denounce such behaviors and proceed to terminate these individuals from the police force. Warren and Metro Detroit residents are closely monitoring the course of action being taken, because Southeast Michigan is in enough negative limelight economically and politically. It will take strong leadership, as well as swift and stern punishments to restore the community's confidence and trust. The voters, taxpayers and constituents are not settling for 'business as usual' anymore.


Nanny shows on TV.

Perhaps most of you have seen clips on TV of the prime-time shows SuperNanny and Nanny 911. Perhaps a number of you are even huge fans of the programs themselves because you are seeking a few tips to help with your own household parenting quagmire.

We have been checking out a few episodes ourselves, and mostly it is due to the 'hooks' that the talented producers have put into attracting viewers, by showcasing the worst of the brats in their preview clips. Nonetheless, we were rather impressed in the beginning to witness how these British nannies somehow have 'magical powers' simply by sending the bad child to a 'naughty corner' or 'naughty chair' temporarily. By the end of the 1-hour program, they have a perfect track record of turning around the most obnoxious kid into an angel and then some.

As we watched more of these similar flow of events, one episode after another, it gradually becomes somewhat suspicious to the reality of the entire scenario. We became skeptical about the effectiveness of what we saw on TV, we started viewing it more from the perspective of showbusiness, instead of child psychology. We began questioning the efficiency and transparency of the whole process. Does it really take just 1-2 weeks for such earth-shattering changes to take place? Do the typical nanny techniques always work no matter who the kid is and how bad the kid is? For us, it is suffice to say that it is as real as professional wrestling and the 'Survivor' series.


How is working-life like at Google?

The Google brand is virtually synonymous with the World Wide Web. As we become more and more dependent on the Web for managing our lives ..... it is very interesting to look inside the lives of those who work at Google.

Well, check these out ...


Pat Tillman.

It had been 4 years since the death of US Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan. This was a high profile report on TV and in newspapers because Pat Tillman was formerly an NFL star safety who played for the Arizona Cardinals. He turned down contracts worth millions of dollars, after September 11, in order to enlist and serve in the military.

Thousands of men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to this day. Pat Tillman helps reminds us that every single one of these brave individuals are people with courage and patriotism. These are the heroes above all heroes, and they have left behind so much to heed the call of duty.

We have lost enough ..... enough young American lives ..... enough innocent Afghan and Iraqi lives ..... and enough of our tax dollars. Let's consider ending these wars soon.


Devil Docs.

A few years ago, we came across a very inspiring program on CNN. It was a feature presentation on the 'Devil Docs', a group of Navy medical professionals assisting on the front lines of combat.

The amazing part of the story revolves around a CNN reporter/medical correspondent by the name of Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He was in Iraq to report the news, but instead found himself in the surgery tent. Dr. Gupta is a neuro-surgeon and graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School. It is therefore no doubt that this man has the knowledge and experience to get the job done.

In the end, Dr. Gupta performed as many as 5 surgeries beyond the call of duty as an embedded reporter. He was saving Iraqi lives, especially seriously injured Iraqi children at that.

Frankly, that is a sense of generosity, selflessness and humanity not taught in the best of medical schools. Dr. Gupta should be a role model for many, particularly young doctors heading into the medical profession. On top of that, he is also a role model for immigrants in America wondering how they could contribute to society. It doesn't get any better than to contribute to the American society by saving lives of American soldiers.


Is CPS helping or hurting children and families?

Child Protective Services (CPS) - sounds like a government agency worthy of huge budget using tax dollars to protect the well-being and health of children in abusive and harmful households. Or so it seems?

This 7-year-old Ann Arbor, Michigan, kid and his parents are mentally and emotionally scarred for life from an intervention that is unnecessary and completely uncalled for.

Link to Detroit Free Press article

It is important for us as a modern society to re-evaluate the extent of power granted to such an agency, especially amidst the bigger situation out in Eldorado, Texas, where almost 500 children were removed from a Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound.

Keep in mind that all these children are put into a new environment that may very well be worse off. CPS needs to use more common sense and forward planning, BEFORE making the lives of children a living nightmare for absolutely no long-term valid reasons whatsoever.


'Tickets for Overtime' racket betraying Metro Detroiters.

In Warren, a suburb of the greater Detroit region, life is already difficult for many. The automotive industry has been laying off workers aggressively across the board and the credit crisis has resulted in many families losing their homes to foreclosure. Residents in Warren, along with other communities in Metro Detroit such as Roseville, Fraser, Hazel Park, Madison Heights and etc., really do not need to become victims to those whom they trust to protect and to serve.

Kanapsky of Warren

Unfortunately, that was the case when Channel 7 WXYZ, an ABC affiliate, conducted an investigative report into the rampant traffic violations being handed out to drivers in the neighborhood. According to the news report, Officer David Kanapsky took home more than $86,000 in 2007 after adding the $21,000 of overtime pay for court appearances. This is absolutely appalling seeing as how the district court could even allowed such a scheme to carry on right under their nose. Do the judges and magistrates have anything to gain too?

Link to WXYZ's Article and Video Clip

Again, unfortunately and sadly - the answer is 'Yes'. Judges, magistrates, court employees and the entire district courts system are generally funded by Traffic and Ordinance Violations. This fact essentially tells us that before someone even walks into traffic court to fight a ticket, he/she is already at a disadvantage due to the 'money trail'. Think about it for a moment ..... in this economically challenging times, a city like Warren is losing residents, losing businesses, losing their tax base, and basically desperate for money.

However, every single day that goes by without putting a stop to such 'Tickets for Overtime' schemes, is another day of betraying the voters, taxpayers and citizens who are probably thinking of joining the exodus to greener pastures with honest, caring, responsible and better leadership who actually works for its constituents.


Happy Birthday to you, 'Do Take It Personal' Blog!

Welcome to the beginning of a blog about issues surrounding us individually, our families, our communities at large, and taking matters personally.

Hope that our posts will help you resolve common issues that affect you as well as to provide a space for you to chime in with comments.