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  • Jumpin Jumpin: Police, fire fighters, and EMS workers to be honored at Sky Zone

    When we think of honoring the brave men and women who protect and serve the metro Detroit area, we think of trampolines.  We think they should jump on trampolines. And by trampolines, we mean an all-walled trampoline field where they can land in a pit of 10,000 foam cubes. They have to blow off steam some how. Sky Zone, the inventors of such a place, are hosting a special day at their Canton and Shelby Township locations that will be all about police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and their families. On Tuesday, August 5 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. there will be free jumping for these folks. All metro Detroit police, firefighters, EMS workers and their families are invited to come, though an employee ID or professional organization ID will be required for admittance to 60 free minutes at the indoor park. The hour of free jumping comes with free pizza from Jet’s as well. This is the first event of its kind in Michigan.  Sky Zone Canton is located at 42550 Executive Drive Sky Zone Shelby Township is located at 50810 Sabrina Drive. Check for more information. 

    The post Jumpin Jumpin: Police, fire fighters, and EMS workers to be honored at Sky Zone appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times is getting a new website today

    Your favorite local alternative weekly is getting a digital facelift at around 4 p.m. today, and we need your help. If you, dear reader, spot anything amiss or notice that any of our regular features are not working properly, do give us a shout in the comment section below or on social media. If, on the other hand, you find that you positively adore our new design (which we surely hope you do!), we’d certainly enjoy hearing about that as well. Let the countdown to launch begin!

    The post Metro Times is getting a new website today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Politics & Prejudices

Conventional madness

Comparing the conventions, conclusions emerge

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How many Republicans have held the White House? From the convention rhetoric, you might think Ronald Reagan was the only one.

There's a fascinating way in which the Republican National Convention was much like one of the old party congresses of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

The Soviet mythology was that there had been one great, true, infallible and morally incorruptible leader — Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

But alas, Lenin's legacy had been tarnished since by a line of imperfect and criminal successors, such as Joe Stalin. Fortunately, delegates would be told, things were now being put to rights under the present leader, Comrade (fill-in-the-blank).

This year's Republican National Convention was very much like that. What amuses me is that they don't mention Abraham Lincoln much anymore. That's not surprising, given that the old bugger was the first to make it harder to suppress the minority vote.

No, today's GOP traces its history only to Ronald Reagan. Make that an embalmed and Tea Party-ized image of Reagan that bears about as much resemblance to the real man as to Lenin's embalmed and mummified corpse in that glass box in Red Square.

What about those Republican presidents and nominees who came after Reagan? They seem to have been as ruthlessly purged from the GOP mythology as Trotsky was from Stalin's birthday parties. Didn't see George W. Bush praising Mitt Romney, didja?

How about Bush One? Bob Dole? What about the 120 years the GOP was fielding candidates before Reagan? Forget about 'em.

Didn't see any mention of Richard Nixon, the man they nominated five times for president or vice-president, did you? 

They are nonpersons, comrades, and hold those Romney signs higher! 

Besides the omissions, there were plenty of lies. Truth doesn't matter to today's Republicans, as was best expressed by Lyin' Paul Ryan, their vice-presidential candidate. He has been caught lying about everything from his time running a marathon (he shaved more than an hour off) to his devotion to nutball right-wing "objectivist" writer Ayn Rand. As for what his policies would do to people ...

Nevertheless, I still fully expected the GOP to have a better national convention than the Democrats. It's always easier to rally the troops and attack the enemy when you've been out of power.

Defending a record is far more difficult. Nevertheless, to my surprise, I was totally wrong. Even Republicans know that the Democrats looked far, far better to whatever audience there was.

True, Mitt Romney's speech was the best performance by a robot I think I've ever seen. Ann Romney made an — at times — touching speech about the difficulties of being a rich housewife and mom, though she also sometimes sounded like a high school cheerleader reading lines someone had written for her.

Paul Ryan's rant was, as they say, much better in the original German. The best speech at the GOP convention was that of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is plainly running in 2016.

Then it was the Democrats' turn. Vice President Joe Biden hammered away at the GOP opposition to saving the auto industry, in a remarkably good speech. The best speech was Bill Clinton's, though I was more blown away by Michelle Obama, who was so dazzling she made poor Ann Romney look like something out of a long-ago era. 

I wondered what the people who were wowed by Jackie Kennedy back in 1960 would have thought if they could have seen the power, beauty and brains of our current First Lady, who never bothered to mention that she is a brilliant Harvard-trained lawyer.

Male Democrats tend to be married to women; Republicans have wives. The biggest contrast came whenever the cameras showed the delegates. The Republicans looked as white as an Elks' Club convention in Iowa in 1955. The Democrats were incredibly diverse.

The president himself, normally seen as a mesmerizing speaker, gave a better-than-average speech, which was unfortunately overshadowed by the brilliant rhetoric of the glamour twins.

But Barack Obama did have the most sensible line uttered by anybody at either convention: "The truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades."

Clinton foreshadowed that, telling delegates that "no president, not me, not any of my predecessors," could have, in a mere four years, repaired all the damage done by the stewards of the smirking chimp.

Obama's biggest fault has always been his reluctance to be a populist when he needs to be. Perhaps that's because, as some say, he worries about being perceived as a — shudder — angry black man. I think it's just that he has the personality of a law professor.

But the president did say that this election was "a choice between two ... fundamentally different visions for the future. Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known."

That won't be easy. But that's what the Democrats, as flawed, imperfect and occasionally corrupt as they are, stand for. Getting us there won't be easy, and they'll have to be badgered constantly into not selling out. But the alternative is an eventual nation of the very rich living in guarded communities, and the desperately poor.

For those of us in the reality-based community, there doesn't seem to be a lot of choice.

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