In keeping with videos on the failure of major cities that are sufficiently and sadly humorous to make it into Michael Moore's new movie,
Bob Herbert sees the pain behind the humor, commenting on Conan O'Brien's jokes about Newark.
Conan was just trying to be funny, but the reality behind his late-night humor is horrifying. In Detroit, the median sale price of a house has hovered around $8,000. Seventy percent of all murders in the Motor City go unsolved. Joblessness is off the charts. The school system is a catastrophe.Sure, but there are two problems: We're not going to pour the money into the cities that it would take to fix these problems and, even if we were, there's cause to question whether that would be enough. I'm perfectly prepared to take Herbert up on his challenge to "think more seriously about what’s really going on in cities like Newark", but the answers I have (clearing out the dead buildings, consolidating cities like Detroit into areas they can afford to govern, etc.) don't really turn things around - they just make the status quo more sustainable.
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The inner cities have been in a recession for decades. They’re in a depression now. Myriad issues desperately need to be addressed: employment, education, the foreclosure crisis, crime, alcohol and drug abuse, health care (including mental health treatment and counseling), child care for working parents and on and on and on.