C&R Loads Up Alibaba Stock & Then Baba Visits Detroit!

C&R is putting our money where are mouth is… we’re talking Alibaba.

We are building a low six figure stock position in this business trade-bridge that’s accelerating global trade. It will likely be good for Michigan and US compaines.

In recent years we bought Alibaba stock for this reason:

  • Because more Michigan and US companies have increased their profit margins by having access to “legitimate” low cost Chinese suppliers. China is in a wild west phase of capitalism. Alibaba is acting as a scout, deal broker and as a sheriff for US companies.

In recent months we bought Alibaba stock for this reason:

  • Alibaba has made strides to not only be a door into purchasing from China, but more importantly their door is starting to swing the other way allowing US goods-suppliers to sell to Chinese companies.

C&R does not offer stock advice. We only trade our own cash. We are talking about this to share our excitement about a company that is likely creating a level playing field for global trade.  (stock ticker: baba)

Crain’s Business Detroit: April 25, 2017

China’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., has released details on a conference in Detroit aimed at helping U.S. business to boost exports to China.

The Gateway ’17 event, to be held at Cobo Center on June 20-21 and previously reported by Crain’s, is expected to attract more than 1,000 U.S. businesses, the company said in a news release.

Jack Ma, founder and chairman of Alibaba, will keynote the Detroit procurement events.

Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder and one of China’s wealthiest people, is scheduled to deliver a keynote at his company’s export event in Detroit this summer.

“Hosting the event in Detroit – in America’s heartland – will further our goal to educate U.S. small businesses, farmers and entrepreneurs about the opportunities the Chinese market has to offer,” Brion Tingler, Alibaba Group head of external affairs, said in a statement. “It’s also in a convenient location with transport and hospitality infrastructure that will enable small businesses and farmers to participate with ease.”

“China is an important and viable market for a wide range of products and services. This event will open doors for Michigan businesses, farmers and entrepreneurs by helping them identify and enter into new relationships there,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a news release. “By participating in Gateway ’17, Michigan businesses will have a unique opportunity to reach new customers in the fastest-growing economy in the world, and we encourage all companies looking to expand into exporting to attend this event.”

Ma, in a statement, said the event will help open China’s growing consumer market to U.S. companies and boost profits.

“The Chinese market presents tremendous opportunities for U.S. small businesses and farmers to grow their businesses, and in turn, create more U.S. jobs,” Ma said in a statement. “China’s middle-class population is projected to exceed 600 million by 2022, or nearly twice the size of the entire U.S. population. Last year, China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest retail market, with spending topping U.S. $4.84 trillion. By next year, China’s online spending will be greater than the rest of the world combined.”

Michigan exported $3.2 billion in products to China in 2016, making it the state’s third-largest export partner behind only Mexico and Canada. Automotive parts leads the list of exports to China, followed by agricultural products including soybeans, feed grain, dairy and vegetables.

Founded in Hangzhou, China, in 1999, Alibaba has grown into one of China’s largest companies, with a market capitalization of nearly $284 billion — more than Wal-Mart Stores Inc. at $227 billion, but less than competitor Amazon Inc. at $433 billion.

Alibaba’s 2014 initial public offering raised $25 billion on the New York Stock Exchange and introduced Alibaba to western investors, though the company remains mostly unknown to U.S. shoppers despite its more than 450 million customers in more than 200 countries.

Yet U.S. tech companies are aware of Alibaba’s presence. Jerry Wang, a co-founder of Yahoo Inc., serves on Alibaba’s board and Yahoo has a $40 billion stake in the company, Fortune reported in March.

Earlier this year, Ma wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that Alibaba would enroll 1 million U.S. small businesses to its various e-commerce platforms, primarily on its Taobao and Tmall websites. The company claims it hosts 10 million merchants in China that employ 30 million people.

In January, Ant Financial Services Group, the payment affiliate of Alibaba, announced it would buy Dallas-based money-transfer company MoneyGram International Inc. for about $880 million.

China and Michigan have had a lucrative business connection for decades. Major Michigan companies already operate in China, such as Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Dow Chemical Co., Whirlpool Corp., BorgWarner Inc., Key Safety Systems Inc., among others. China’s Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., Aviation Industry Corp. of China, Fuyao Auto Glass, Wanxiang Group and others own several Michigan auto companies.

Squalid Criminals


DOME Magazine:   Jack Lessenberry  April 21, 2017

DETROIT – Now for a controversy few are willing to touch: Why have so many of Detroit’s black legislators turned out to be squalid criminals – and why has this been tolerated by both their voters and Democratic Party leaders?

The latest example came earlier this month when a federal grand jury indicted State Senator Bert Johnson, D-Highland Park on two felony charges for putting a woman on the state payroll who did no work.

Prosecutors say he owed her $10,000, and decided to let taxpayers pay her instead. Naturally, Johnson is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

However, he has done hard time before, following an armed robbery conviction when he was 19.

And the African-American legislative caucus has now had three embarrassing episodes in the last two years:

Two years ago, it was the sordid spectacle of State Senator Virgil Smith, Jr. (D-Detroit) shooting up his ex-wife’s Mercedes after he asked her to come over for a sexual encounter. Apparently she was unhappy there was already another woman in his bed, and a fight ensued that ended with Smith pumping her car full of bullets on a residential street.

Smith never had many real qualifications for the job; his resume consisted mainly of a string of petty offenses, such as shoplifting and driving while intoxicated.

He’d gotten elected to the state house at age 23, and then the senate after a few rocky years as a Michigan State University student. Many voters may have thought they were voting for his father, Virgil Smith Sr., who had served in the legislature, and is now a respected Wayne County Circuit Court judge.

After Smith the younger was charged with multiple felonies following the shooting episode, Democrats in leadership positions privately debated whether to call on him to resign.

At one point, Lon Johnson, state party chair, told me he was close to doing that. But neither he nor the Democratic leaders in the legislature ever did anything, other than stripping Smith of his committee assignments.

This was baffling, because Smith’s seat is safely Democratic. Smith then stayed in the senate for nearly a year, voting with the Republicans whenever they needed him to.

That made self-serving sense for him; Republicans, with a 27-11 supermajority, could have expelled him – or prevented his expulsion –any time they wished.

Smith didn’t resign from the senate until after his lawyers worked out a plea bargain deal and he began a prison term.

That was in late March 2016. That meant his voters lacked any representation for nine more months, but there was never much indication that Smith or party leaders cared.

Then there was the tawdry spectacle of State Rep. Brian Banks (D-Harper Woods) who had a record that included eight felony convictions before he was first elected in 2012.

Most or all of those were for financial crimes, including credit card fraud and bad checks; he also had a pattern of being evicted for nonpayment of his rent.

Soon after arriving in the legislature, he was in trouble again, when a male staffer he hired filed a lawsuit alleging that Banks repeatedly sexually harassed and finally molested him.

The State of Michigan ended up paying more than $85,000 to defend Banks in court, and another $11,950 to settle out of court with the former aide.

Nevertheless, voters reelected Banks in both 2014 and 2016, and Democratic leaders said nothing. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan even campaigned for his reelection last year.

But the jig was about to be up. Even before last year’s primary election, it was clear that four more felony charges were coming, this time relating to falsifying documents in order to get a loan.

Had he been convicted, Banks might have faced many years in prison as a habitual offender.

Instead, he cut a deal with Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, and resigned.

Democratic leaders didn’t condemn his behavior. Instead, House Minority Leader Sam Singh praised him as a “passionate advocate for his district” who “worked tirelessly for his constituents.” Which, to put it politely, is horse exhaust.

To be sure, there are plenty of thoroughly corrupt white politicians – and black ones of integrity. President Barack Obama was a one-woman man whose eight years were as free of sexual or financial scandal as any in American history.

U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon Keith is a man of unquestioned honesty – and I could fill this column just with the names of white lawmakers with ethical problems.

But when Michigan House Republicans realized they had two bad apples – Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, who were having an affair and using state resources to cover it up, they moved quickly to expel them, though Courser quit first.

What’s different about the Democrats?

Nobody will say so on the record. But Democrats are dependent on black votes, and may well fear antagonizing those voters –an attitude that might well be described as patronizing at best. White liberals are also just as bad. Lansing is full of people to whom Senator Johnson owed money.

“Bert Johnson bounced a $7,500 check to me. Twice. Lied about what happened,” one prominent attorney told me.

She told him she would go to the police if he didn’t pay. But she never did. “I assumed everybody in the party would hate me if I did,” she said.

So has she – and others like her – been guilty of enabling this behavior? “Probably. I will own that,” she said finally.

If that isn’t reverse racism, I don’t know what is.

Coda:  As if to prove that history repeats itself, first as tragedy and then farce, Virgil Smith Jr., now out of jail, took out petitions to run for Detroit City Council. As part of his plea bargain agreement, he promised not to run for anything for at least five years.

But hey; that was then, and this is now.

Jack Lessenberry is the head of journalism at Wayne State University, serves as Michigan Radio’s senior political analyst and writes regularly for several publications. He also serves as The Toledo Blade’s writing coach and ombudsman and is host of the weekly television show Deadline Now on WGTE-TV in Toledo.


Want to Raise Successful Daughters? Science Says Nag the Heck Out of Them


Someday, my daughter is going to kill me for this one, but it’s a story that will vindicate parents everywhere.

Researchers in the United Kingdom say parents’ super-high expectations for their teenage daughters–especially if they remind them constantly of those expectations–are among the most important factors in predicting whether young girls will grow up to become successful women.

As a university press release put it: “Behind every successful woman is a nagging mom? getty_481292759_110877Teenage girls more likely to succeed if they have pushy mothers.”

Nag more, fail less.

The researchers at the University of Essex found that girls whose “main parent”–that’s usually the mother–consistently displayed high parental expectations were far less likely to fall into the traps that made the girls less likely to succeed in life.

Specifically, these girls were:

  • Less likely to become pregnant as teenagers.
  • More likely to attend college.
  • Less likely to get stuck in dead-end, low-wage jobs.
  • Less likely to have prolonged periods of unemployment.

The researchers, led by PhD candidate Ericka G. Rascon-Ramirez, studied the experiences of more than 15,000 British girls aged 13 and 14 over a 10-year period.

Of course, avoiding the prime pitfalls doesn’t necessarily mean that girls are destined to become the Sheryl Sandberg, Katie Ledecky, or Sara Blakeley of their time. But it does mean they’ll be more likely to preserve their opportunities to succeed later.

And that, dear parents, is the point at which your work is done–when your children’s success becomes much more a factor of their desire and work ethic than yours.

Rolling eyes? That means it’s working.

Nice study, some readers might reply. Have you actually tried being the parent tasked with nagging a 13- or 14-year-old daughter? News flash: Whether we’re talking about boys or girls, it could quickly deconstruct into a cacophony of eye rolls, door slams, and sullenness.

It’s not a lot of fun, I’m sure. (Regular readers will know that my daughter is only a year old, so I haven’t had the pleasure myself, yet. For more on how to raise successful kids, you can read my free e-book, How to Raise Successful Kids: Advice From a Stanford Dean, a Navy SEAL Commander, and Mark Zuckerberg’s Dad.)

But parents can take solace in one idea the researchers entertained: The more it seems hectoring them is like pounding on a brick wall, the more it might be working.

“In many cases, we succee[d] in doing what we believ[e is] more convenient for us, even when this [is] against our parents’ will,” writes Rascon-Ramirez. “But no matter how hard we tried to avoid our parents’ recommendations, it is likely that they ended up influencing [our] choices.”

In other words, if your tween or teenage daughter rolls her eyes and says something like, “Arrrrggghhh, Mom, you’re so annoying,” what she really means, deep down in her subconscious mind is: “Thank you for the helpful advice. I shall endeavor to act accordingly.”

Stacking the little voices.

There’s also some stacking going on, meaning if you set expectations in daughters’ heads that they should go to college AND they should not get pregnant as teenagers, they’re more likely to make it to age 20 without having a child than they would have been if you’d only pushed the “don’t have a baby until you’re old enough to be ready” message.

As my colleagues at Scary Mommy, where I first heard about the study, put it:

“Sure, having a healthy sense of self-esteem and believing that you have options is great, but not getting pregnant just because you ‘don’t want to hear it’ is fine with us, too. Whatever. Just make it not be so.”

I don’t know about you, but even as a man in my 40s, I sometimes hear my parents’ cautionary words–or even my grandparents’–when I go to do something I probably shouldn’t. My grandfather passed away in 1984, but if I ever overdo it on dessert, it’s his voice I hear calling me out for it.

And assuming this study holds value for boys as well–there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t–that means I have my parents’ habit of consistently expressing their high expectations to thank, at least in part, for my success.

So thanks for the nagging, Mom and Dad. And to my darling daughter, believe me, this will be harder on me than it is for you.

Spinoffs Trending For New Network TV Season

With the annual television upfront presentations for advertisers beginning Monday, the four major networks will be introducing new TV shows this week. The New York Times summarized how each network did last year, and gave a look ahead for what to expect this year. Get ready for some familiar faces and programming this season, as spinoffs, reboots and relaunches will be a major theme for this upcoming season.

CBS plans on rebooting  the popular 1908’s TV series”MacGyver” this year.


  • Despite struggling to introduce a hit show in recent years, CBS has been the most watched program for 13 of the last 14 years.
  • CBS has struggled to find a new successful show of late, as both “CSI: Cyber” and “Angel from Hell” were each cancelled.
  • CBS is rolling out new comedies staring Kevin James and Matt LeBlanc next week, as well as rebooting “MacGyver” and “Star Trek” in an effort to find a new hit show.
“Empire” finished as the number one show for adults under 50 this year.


  • Fox has ridden success from “Empire” and “The X-Files” to jump from fourth to third among the big four networks in the coveted 18-to-49 demographic.
  • Despite good reviews, new comedies “The Grinder” and “Grandfathered” were cancelled. Fox is still struggling to find their next highly rated program.
  • Fox is following the reboot trend, bringing in new “24”, “Prison Break”, “Lethal Weapon” and “The Exorcist” series. Luckily for the station, they will be broadcasting the Super Bowl in February.
ABC’s “Wicked City” was the first show to be cancelled this season.


  • ABC’s comedies set the network apart from competition. “Quantico” is a first year show that has shown signs of success.
  • After losing entertainment president Paul Lee, the network has seen a major drop in the 18-to-49 demographic. “Wicked City” and “The Muppets” were each disasters, while “Castle” and “Nashville” each got the axe this season.
  • ABC is bringing in the first black network president in Ms. Dungey. She is counting on a new drama staring former “24” star Keifer Sutherland titled “Designated Survivor” and a Romeo and Juliet spinoff, “Still Star-Crossed”, to help ratings.
In a down year for rookie TV shows, “Blindspot” was the most successful


  • “Blindspot” was the most successful new show this year, and “Little Big Shots” was a reality hit. Without the CBS having the Super Bowl this year, NBC would have been the number one network in the 18-to-49 demographic.
  • NBC is still struggling to find a successful comedy to step in. “Best Time Ever” staring Neil Patrick Harris was a costly mistake.
  • NBC is trying to find new successful comedies, bringing in Tina Fey in as a producer for “Great News” and launching “Parks and Recreations” co-creator Michael Schur’s “The Good Place”. “The Celebrity Apprentice” will also be relaunched with new host  Arnold Schwarzenegger taking Donald Trump’s place.

Students stand up to political correctness

Marketwatch: November 24, 2015

While students from Yale University in Connecticut to Claremont McKenna in California are protesting, demanding more cultural sensitivity, safe spaces and trigger warnings, some students at Princeton University in New Jersey are fighting back.

In response to a sit-in of the university president’s office by 200 members of the Black Justice League, over 1,300 members of the university community signed a petition to ensure that Princeton “maintains its commitment to free speech and open dialogue and condemns political correctness to the extent that it infringes upon those fundamental academic values.”

As signatures on the petition climbed, students formed the Princeton Open Campus Coalition. They wrote to Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber and asked to meet with him to discuss preserving the freedom of speech and civil debate that are the hallmarks of a classicalMW-DZ928_pocc_20151124111828_MG education. Evan Draim, a Princeton senior and one of the group’s founders, told me in an email: “We hope that our peers at other colleges gain inspiration from what we are doing at Princeton.”

The Black Justice League’s demands include a dorm for those who want to celebrate black affinity; mandatory diversity training; and a requirement that students take a course on so-called marginalized peoples. They also want the renaming of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the removal of a mural of President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson, who graduated from Princeton in 1879 and who served as the university’s president from 1902 until 1910, formally segregated the federal workforce.

Campus protests are the latest in many students’ efforts to be protected from situations that they find difficult.

Eisgruber has agreed to set aside four rooms on campus for the use of students of different cultures, and to consult with faculty and the board of trustees on other demands.

Asanni York, a junior who helped organize the protests, said the university was not doing enough to address racial problems on campus, and that “black students on this campus feel uncomfortable every day.” York told me: “I’m focused less on how President Eisgruber resolved the sit-in and more on how campus will change in the next two semesters.”

Wilson was a racist by today’s standards, but he was hardly a reactionary figure in his time. As university president, he tried unsuccessfully to disband Princeton’s now-famous eating clubs on the grounds that they were elitist, and he pioneered the idea that Princeton should be a university “in the nation’s service.” As America’s president, Wilson substantially expanded the size and scope of the federal government including such institutions as the Federal Reserve Board.

Campus protests are the latest in many students’ efforts to be protected from situations that they find difficult. Some students are concerned about eliminating “micro-aggressions” — speech that might, intentionally or not, be offensive. They are asking for “trigger warnings” so they can avoid material that might upset them. All of that results in limiting speech because, if something is potentially offensive, then, according to the new campus fads, it should not be said. And practically everything is potentially offensive to someone.

The fear of limiting speech is what led to the Princeton petition countering the Black Justice League’s demands. The petition’s signatories are concerned that eliminating any mention of Wilson constitutes “historical revisionism”; that mandating what courses students have to take would allow the BJL undue power over the curriculum; and that having black-affinity housing would result in de facto campus segregation.

They suggest that a “diversity requirement” should permit students to study any minority culture, not just a marginalized one, and that students should also have to take a course in Western civilization.

One of the Princeton Open Campus Coalition’s members, Beni Snow, a freshman from Massachusetts, told me: “I don’t think of myself as fighting against the Black Justice League. I agree wholeheartedly that racism is an issue that needs to be addressed. I simply feel that the way to fight racism should not include methods that limit anyone’s academic freedom.”

Not only is the Black Justice League trying to squelch academic freedom, but it falsely added the signature of politics professor Robert George to the letter sent to President Eisgruber. George is the founder of the James Madison Society, which provides intellectual diversity by bringing conservative speakers to campus.

George wrote in a Facebook post: “In what is the most underhanded tactic I have encountered in 31 years in academic life, my name was fraudulently added to a petition supporting student protestors at Princeton. … Needless to say, this is extremely distressing — especially because the issue concerns values I cherish and that I believe are being placed in peril on campuses around the country, including my own.”

It used to be that education was about being challenged. Now some students want to be shielded from different views and debates. That will not prepare them for life after college. Let’s hope that the example of the Princeton Open Campus Coalition will be emulated by students in universities around the country.

MSU Book Club Explores Muslim Experience

muslimjourneysLearn more about the experiences of Muslims in this scholar-led book group. We will begin with an introduction to the Qur’an and its place in the lives of Muslims. Then we will read four memoirs exploring the authors’ paths in countries including Egypt, France, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey and the United States. Each session will start with a short lecture, followed by facilitated book discussion, and finish with a question and answer period.

All are invited to participate. Drop-in for one or attend all five sessions. No signup is required and the event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will also be served.

Wednesday, November 18

7:00 pm
MSU Main Library, Green Room, 4th floor West wing
Jyotsna Singh, Professor of English, will lead a discussion on Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk.

Wednesday, January 20

7:00 pm
MSU Main Library, Green Room, 4th floor West wing
Salah Hassan, Associate Professor of English, will lead a discussion on House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East by Anthony Shadid.

Wednesday, February 17

7:00 pm
MSU Main Library, Green Room, 4th floor West wing
Emine Evered, Associate Professor of History, will lead a discussion on Persepolis: The Story of A Childhood (Graphic Novel) by Marjane Satrapi.

Wednesday, March 16

7:00 pm
**East Lansing Public Library**
Leila Tarakji, Graduate Student in English, will lead a discussion on The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson.

Thursday, February 25 

8:00 pm
**B122 Wells Hall**
Persepolis (Animated Feature Film)

Cosponsored by the MSU Libraries, MSU Comics Forum and MSU Film Collective. With discussion by Kaveh Askari of Western Washington University.

NewsCenter Attracts Record Social Media Audience

Our videographers, writers and web programers created a video news department that micro-targets our client’s social media audiences. Our NewsCenter’s interview style broadcasts on multiple social media channels. 

Each news cast reaches 10,000 to 45,000 targeted viewers, beating Michigan network affiliates including NBC, CBS and ABC on a market by market basis.“Those are some big numbers when you realize our newscasts target geo’s as small as Zeeland Michigan,” said C&R partner Joe Ross. 

Three small, powerful HD Cameras, a Teleprompter and a wide screen backdrop give this traveling NewsCenter the ability to broadcast where the news is happening. In the pictured NewsCast we featured our client ACD at the Connect Michigan Tech-Conference.

Topics range from local technology breakthroughs to local market economic reports.

The C&R NewsCenter’s biggest show to date is its exclusive interview with the creator of Apple’s Corporation’s culture,  Jay Elliot.  He’s also known as Steve Jobs’ “right hand man.”

When Elliot was Senior Vice President at Apple, he was responsible for all corporate operations. During his time there, sales grew from $150 million to more than $3 billion.

Elliot discussed driverless cars during his interview. He predicts these cars, whether accepted by everyone or not, would quite literally drive employment in the automotive sector.