June 3, 2012

For the first time in four years, the Detroit Grand Prix is being run this weekend in Detroit, Michigan. It's a 2.1 mile race on Detroit city streets, and was just red-flagged by race officials because chunks of the asphault were flying out of cracks in the streets, putting drivers, teams and spectators in danger as a result of flying debris and brand-new potholes in the pavement.

City workers are working frantically as I write to patch the holes with epoxy and cure them with oversize hair dryers so they can restart the race.

I was recently in Detroit and loved the city. I found myself rooting for it to overcome all of the current economic challenges and be the phoenix rising from the ashes of the 2008 meltdown. Perhaps it could have been if Governor Rick Snyder had paid attention to infrastructure issues before he spent so much time union-busting and hitting hard on poor people and teachers. He might have a track worthy of this race instead of the possibility of being made a laughingstock.

In early 2011, Governor Snyder took hard aim at unions and unemployed people in his state. In classic conservative style, he took aim at seniors' pensions while sneaking in tax cuts for rich folks and corporations. And let's not forget that Detroit was one of his prime targets for takeover by the state in order to break the unions.

In late October, 2011, he rolled out a proposal for infrastructure improvements, a welcome change from his usual focus at hammering poor and elderly people. Of course, it's all in the name of promoting business interests in Michigan, but Governor Snyder hasn't been able to get to first base with his teabagger legislature on appropriations to improve infrastructure. I suppose it goes without saying that Congress is no help at all either, given their fetish with holding infrastructure bills hostage to bills attacking women's health.

So today, Indy Car returns to Detroit for the first time in four years. Whether you're a racing fan or not, these events promote tourism, bring revenues to the city, and build goodwill. That is, unless your streets fall apart mid-race. Then they serve to humiliate city governments, citizens, and make the United States look worse than the streets of Bahrain.

Way to go there, Republicans. True patriots you are. Not.

Update: The race will restart at 3:45 pm for 15 more laps, cutting it down from the 30 which were remaining. This is a tough track to race as it is, because it's very narrow and passing is difficult. Between the road problems and the passing issues, I expect drivers to err on the side of caution for the last few laps, which means it won't be much of a race.

The more I think about this the angrier I get.

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