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    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Stir It Up

Boys in the hoodies

The merits of the case aside, what do we tell our black children?

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I'm obsessed with the Trayvon Martin case. Maybe it's the innocent aura that seems to project from his photos. He looks absolutely cherubic in the one where he's wearing a hoodie — the garment that may have helped seal his doom.

In case you've been in a coma these past few weeks, Trayvon Martin was an unarmed 17-year-old African-American boy gunned down in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., near Orlando, on Feb. 26 by self-appointed neighborhood watch vigilante George Zimmerman. Martin was walking to his father's girlfriend's house after going to the store to buy Skittles candy and iced tea. Zimmerman — white father, Peruvian mother — was subsequently released by police with little investigation. His freedom has put Florida's "Stand Your Ground" gun law in the spotlight, engendered a national uproar and brought probes from a state grand jury and the U.S. Justice Department. The law gives anyone, anywhere, the right to use deadly force if they feel their life or safety is in danger.

However, there is no way Zimmerman should have felt in danger as he cruised around in his truck carrying a loaded 9 mm pistol. When he spotted the 140-pound Martin, Zimmerman called 911. The operator told him, "We don't need you" to follow him. 

The case raises so many questions in my mind that I pore over every tiny piece of information trying to understand how it happened and how police could handle it so badly. Maybe some of my concern is rooted in the fact that my 14-year-old daughter will be vacationing in Florida in a couple of weeks with a friend and her family. I'm wondering if I should add more to the usual parental admonitions about safety. Should I talk to her about not getting into situations where someone could claim they feel threatened? Should I underscore her race and tell her that she could be in danger because of it?

These are the kinds of conversations black parents and their children have been having in America for decades if not longer. In the wake of the Trayvon tragedy, one news commentator talked about how, when his family moved to an upscale neighborhood, his father told him not to run because police would find a black kid running through the neighborhood suspicious — and certainly don't run while carrying something.

Is it just black boys who need that admonition? I spoke to a friend who raised a boy and a girl as a single mother. She told me that she gave her son more warnings about how to behave safely around police and white people than her daughter. She talked to him about always keeping your hands in view when pulled over for a traffic stop. She told him to avoid driving around with a car full of his friends, which is a magnet for people who think young black men are suspicious. 

I spoke to another friend who says he didn't have the conversation directly with his two sons, but they had pretty much picked up on the message through their friends.

I remember hearing a commentary once about Arthur Ashe, the great tennis pro and civil rights activist. One of the points made in the commentary was that Ashe was such an outstanding person ... well, who knows what he could have accomplished if he hadn't had to spend so much of his time worrying about racial issues. With that in mind, I've tried to not overburden my daughter about race. She knows she's black and what that means in America, and as issues come up that involve race I give her my perspective. But unlike my father, who told me I have to be three times as good as the white guy to get recognition for something, I don't lay that one on her.

Maybe it's more of a guy thing. In the Higher Ground column I also write for Metro Times, I recently wrote about Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow, which argues that drug laws, disproportionately used to prosecute young African-American men, have created a permanent underclass with the stigma of a felony drug record. The offender who tries to go straight can't find work, is ineligible for federal housing or education funds and often ends up in a revolving door in and out of prison. These young men may be guilty of using drugs, but their white peers who are just as likely to get high don't get arrested for it at nearly the same rates as blacks.

Trayvon Martin is another reminder of how young black males are scapegoated, feared, devalued and attacked. How they are guilty until proven innocent, and in the case of Martin, apparently executed. Zimmerman made a statement to police that he felt threatened and defended himself – one report Monday said that Martin attacked first. Maybe he was just standing his ground. Another report said the teenager had been suspended from school for possessing a bag with marijuana residue in it. This thing is going to go through major contortions – including attempts to discredit Martin.

It seems to me that when someone invokes the "stand your ground" law, there should be an investigation to ascertain whether they were justified, rather than the cops just taking the shooter's words — as seems to be the case with Zimmerman. I'm pretty sure that if Martin had somehow successfully defended himself, gone upside Zimmerman's head with his can of ice tea and killed him, there would have been an investigation. There would have been questions as to whether he was truly threatened. He would have been drug-tested. And Zimmerman's family would have been notified immediately.

It's clear from the transcript of the 911 tape that Zimmerman had a profile in mind when he saw Martin. He told the operator Martin was wearing a hoodie and added: "This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about."

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