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  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    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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Politics & Prejudices

Conyers' last stand?

Big John faces challenges in redistricting, a field of candidates and his own diminished profile.

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Yes, he knew Martin Luther King Jr., and can show you photographs of them together, working for civil rights in Mississippi. Yes, John Conyers was the man who did more than anyone else to make MLK's birthday a federal holiday.

He came out in favor of impeaching Richard Nixon before almost anyone else did. He stood on a car with a bullhorn and tried to stop rioters from burning down their own homes in 1967.

Conyers stood up to Lyndon Johnson on Vietnam when others were scared to, and has done much to recognize and preserve that quintessentially American musical genre of genius, jazz.

He was the first African-American to chair the House Judiciary Committee, and his achievements will be remembered forever.

But sadly, there are abundant signs that it's time for him to leave Congress.

Conyers has been there almost a half-century. He was first elected in 1964, before most of his current constituents were alive. Now he is an old man with young sons. And his wife is in prison for taking bribes while serving on the Detroit City Council.

His effectiveness is diminished. There are times when he doesn't seem to know where he is or to whom he is speaking.

Last fall, he showed up at the National Arab American Museum during a serious discussion of the legacy of Sept. 11, 2001. He told a startled audience they should do more to appreciate the genius of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and that they should buy bus tickets and go to Washington for the anniversary of the Congressional Black Caucus. (I was the moderator; evidently gauging my net worth, he told them they should buy me a bus ticket too.) 

Many journalists know stories like this, but lack the courage or ability to tell them. Conyers' office is a mess; it has been for many years. Constituent services are chaotic or nonexistent. It has been a long time since he has done anything much to help his district.

"Things shouldn't have come to this," says state Sen. Glenn Anderson of Westland, who is running against Conyers in the Democratic primary in the newly reshaped 13th District.

Anderson, a 58-year-old veteran of the Legislature, wishes he weren't running against the old lion. "He should have retired gracefully and with dignity," says Anderson, who first got interested in politics when Bobby Kennedy ran for president.

News flash: He may be an underdog, but Anderson has a real chance to defeat iconic John next Tuesday. Few have paid much attention to Anderson's almost under-the-radar race for Congress. If it had been any previous election, his candidacy wouldn't have been worth much notice. (A white guy from Tennessee running against John Conyers in a majority black district? Jesus! Forgetaboutit! )

Times have changed, however, and so has the district. According to the last census, only about 56 percent of the district's population is black, about the same percentage of the district that lives in Detroit.

The balance is a collection of mostly white, mostly blue-collar Wayne County suburbs, including Garden City, Westland, and Dearborn Heights. They are outnumbered by Detroiters.

However, white turnout is almost always higher than black, especially in primary elections. (Incidentally, Conyers won't be voting for himself; he doesn't live in the 13th, at least not yet.) Republicans are a negligible factor here; whoever wins the Aug. 7 Democratic primary is virtually guaranteed to go to Congress.

It is actually conceivable that white turnout could be as high as black. But Conyers has other problems as well. Two black state legislators are also making a spirited effort in the primary. State Sen. Bert Johnson of Highland Park has been arguing even more forcefully than Anderson that Conyers is ineffective.

State Rep. Shanelle Jackson is attractive, charismatic, and is counting on two factors to win some votes: She is the only woman in the race, and, at 32, is by far the youngest candidate. Unfortunately, she has little money to mount a major campaign, beyond a few scattered billboards. Johnson has been working hard, and won the endorsement of The Detroit News. But he suffers from the stigma of having done time for armed robbery committed at age 19.

Nobody doubts that he has since remarkably rehabilitated himself, and Johnson is up-front in discussing his past; what I found admirable is that he blames no one but himself.

But what happened, happened. In rejecting his candidacy, Detroit Free Press editorial page editor Stephen Henderson sniffed that "it would be nearly impossible [for Detroit] to get past the image of this community that would be created by replacing a civil rights icon with, well, a felon." Detroiters may be more forgiving.

The suburban part of the district, however, is unlikely to be. If Jackson and Johnson do pull any significant number of votes, they will come at Conyers' expense.

While there is another white suburban candidate — Wayne-Westland school board member John Goci — he has near-zero name recognition, and little cash other than what he's lent himself.

It isn't hard to imagine Anderson winning, say, 40 percent of the overall vote, and finishing first in the primary. If that happens, he says Detroiters have nothing to worry about.

"I intend to be a congressman from all parts of this district — I have lived here since I was 15. I care about what everybody here cares about — education and jobs," he told me. "Those would be my priorities in Congress, as they've been in the Legislature."

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