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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Higher Ground

Conspiracy theories

Reader reactions to drug policy enlighten

It's going to be hard to follow the brilliant and incisive work of Larry Gabriel ("When science goes to pot") in last week's Higher Ground, but one thing I've noticed over the years is that when the government commissions a study into the adverse effects of marijuana and the answer comes back "none," the report is simply ignored and the government goes right on with its program for the harassment and eradication of recreational drug users.

My memory isn't that great anymore, but I can't remember a single study that concluded marijuana is bad for human beings or has any negative effect on the workings of our society. As far as I've read, no deaths have resulted from marijuana use. It's not toxic, it's not addictive, it doesn't lead to violent or abusive behavior, and, in fact, marijuana offers great medicinal and healing benefits not found elsewhere — with the added attraction of blessed mental relief from the incessant poundings of daily life.

None of this fits with the orthodox mythology, however, so findings are routinely ignored, alcohol continues as the authorized social drug of choice, the pharmaceutical industry continues to boom as the nation's official drug supply, and the political underwriters of the established policy keep up their barrage of gibberish while voting billions for the relentless enforcement of their endless laws against recreational drug use.

Nixon got one of these reports just before firing the opening salvos of the War on Drugs that's raged almost 40 years and torn apart the lives of millions of American citizens who chose to reject the government's phony science and to smoke marijuana or get high in other prohibited ways in informed defiance of the law.

We've paid dearly for these choices; some think that's the point. Robert Carpenter writes, "It is, of course, true that the drug war has failed, insofar as its stated goals are concerned. The question, however, is whether the stated goals made in support of policy by the political class are necessarily the actual goals. ...

"On the Watergate tape recordings, President Nixon left no doubt as to his deep hatred of hippies, the counterculture, every minority group one can name, gays, and of course blacks. On the tapes Nixon demonstrates an encyclopedic knowledge of racial slurs and says words to the effect that the problem with the country now is the blacks. And H.R. Haldeman famously remarks that what's needed is a program which can deal with the blacks while not appearing to do so.

"What he means of course is that, in the wake of the civil rights legislation, a new means of containing blacks must be devised, now that the Jim Crow laws have been dismantled. That new means was the War on Drugs in which Nixon deployed his DEA and militarized civilian police forces with his SWAT programs, tanks, armored carriers and the like.

"With the War on Drugs, I believe Nixon — perhaps the most cynical and diabolically ingenious president of all time — understood that with the DEA interdictions he could drive up the street price of drugs, entice the poor, black urban underclass into dealing in them, and use the newly militarized civilian police forces as the front lines of a massive plan to begin turning blacks into felons and creating a ruling class in poor black ghettos where, as W.F. Buckley put it, the drug dealers would become the overlords.

"In brief, I think Nixon's War on Drugs can best be described as a strategy for producing delinquents. ... His problem was how to reverse the integrative processes under way, to delinquintize black populations so as to quell integration and instill in whites a great fear of a dangerous, delinquent black class.

"On that score," citizen Carpenter concludes, "the War on Drugs has been a resounding success, and, as many point out, nearly one out of three young black males in urban areas are under the administration of the Justice Department — in jail awaiting trial, as convicted felons, incarcerated or as parolees.

"There are, of course, many other goals and interests one could name in the War on Drugs — from asset forfeiture, which turns law enforcement into third-party beneficiaries, to the prison guard unions, the treatment centers and so on. But I believe Nixon, the president who federalized on a massive scale the War on Drugs, had in mind the delinquintization of newly emancipated blacks as his primary goal for the program."

Here's another reader, Justin Kline: "I recently had a friend serve up the idea that 'prohibition' was due to Henry Ford manufacturing cars with newer engines that ran on corn liquor (ethanol). Prohibition was contrived to force the farmers to keep using the output of the fledgling oil industry. i.e., protecting a special-interest group [that] was an entire industry.

"Next, my friend claimed that marijuana was declared illegal nearly to the day that nylon was invented. The grand obfuscation was to word the law with the name 'hemp' as the general scheme of the scam, which is a general category that merely includes marijuana. Almost nobody knows, even now, that the law reads 'hemp.'

"Thus, the true mission was cloaked right from the beginning, i.e., protecting a special-interest group — nowhere close to the claims of health or morals. ... Let me know if this starts to look like something worthy of your time and not just another rant from the 'conspiracy theory squad.'"

It's good to think of all these potential causes in our search for truth, because we know the official anti-drug gobbledygook is false. It's sad to keep beating this same dead horse, but they've got to drag it off the track and let real life return for our nation's recreational users.


Asset forfeiture:
I was tipped off by Eapen Thampy of Americans for Forfeiture Reform, a nonprofit group based in Kansas City, to the chilling article "Stealing Camp Zoe: The Forfeiture Gang Strikes," where William Norman Grigg of the Pro Libertate blog and radio program details the massive raid on a rural Arkansas music venue by federal, state and local law enforcement authorities "dispatched to clean out the personal and business accounts of Jimmy Tebeau, the musician and entrepreneur who owns and operates the campground."

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