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    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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Politics & Prejudices

Crazy tolerance for guns

And for the rhetoric that tells people to aim and reload

... nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places ... or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. —U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, June 2008

She was hardworking, brilliant, attractive and vivacious, about everything you could want in a rising young political star. As a student, she'd won a Fulbright to study in Mexico, and gone on to earn a master's degree in regional planning.

She grew up to win a seat in Congress and win the hand of an astronaut. Gabrielle Giffords was born the very same day as our own Kwame Kilpatrick — June 8, 1970 — but except for the fact that both were ambitious, the resemblance pretty much stopped there.

She was from a fast-growing part of the country, a Democrat who survived this year's landslide to win a third-term in the U.S. House from a normally Republican part of Arizona.

Giffords' family was a truly 21st century one: bicoastal — her husband, U.S. Navy Captain Mark Kelly, is from New Jersey — and multicultural (she was Jewish, her husband, Christian).

They had demanding careers. He was scheduled to command the last-ever Space Shuttle flight this April, and they were raising his two children by a previous marriage. Their lives looked like an unfolding movie script: Robert Reich, who had been Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, said once, "I wouldn't be surprised if she's the first or second female president of the United States."

That's never going to happen now.

For as all the world knows, Gabrielle Giffords was drilled though the head last Saturday, as she was meeting with constituents on a street in Tucson, an event she called "Congress on Your Corner." The shooter seemed much like all the pathetic losers who turn guns on prominent people to try to give their own lives meaning.

Jared Loughner was a messed-up 22-year-old who had been booted out of community college for bizarre behavior. On websites he ranted incoherently about a supposed new currency and other issues that only he could understand. He seemed to read, with equal enthusiasm, Adolf Hitler, Karl Marx and Ayn Rand.

Last fall, they told him he couldn't come back to college until he brought a letter from a mental health professional saying that he wasn't a danger to himself or others.

Loughner apparently never even tried to get such a letter. He probably knew he had no chance of that. He could do something, though.

He could buy a gun. So on Nov. 30, he bought a Glock semi-automatic pistol at a place called Sportman's Warehouse in Tucson. Perfectly legal; no questions asked.

If anyone had looked on the Internet, they would have seen a video of him saying, "You could call me a terrorist." But in our gun-happy society, whoever sold him the gun only had to check his driver's license and credit card.

Gabrielle Giffords is alive as I write this, and doctors are "cautiously optimistic" she will live. But let's be bluntly real. The bullet passed entirely through the brain. She is never going to be the first woman president.

She is, in all probability, never going to return to be an effective member of Congress  What level of functionality she has may not be known for a time. But remember James Brady, the press secretary who was shot in the head with President Reagan: Her career is over.

The news was more devastating still for the family of John Roll, the senior federal judge in Arizona, a Republican who, like nearly everybody else, seems to have liked Gabby Giffords.

Judge Roll was killed at the scene. So were three folks in their 70s — Dorothy Murray, Dorwin Stoddard and Phyllis Scheck. Gabe Zimmerman, a 30-year-old aide to the congresswoman, died too.

Christina Greene was the one I thought most about. She was still alive when they got her to the hospital, but didn't last very long. She was reportedly fascinated by politics, and excited to meet a member of Congress. She didn't expect to be killed in the process. But she was. Which is sadly ironic, since she had grown up hearing a lot about mass terrorist death. Christina, you see, was born on Sept. 11, 2001.

To his credit, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said this: "When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the bigotry, the hatred that goes on in this country ..." Arizona, he said, has "become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

This wasn't just rhetoric. Giffords only narrowly defeated her opponent in the November election, a 29-year-old ex-Marine named Jesse Kelly, supported by Sarah Palin. Palin, in fact, sent out literature depicting Giffords' district seen through, the congresswoman noted with alarm, "the crosshairs of a gunsight. When people do that, they have to realize there are consequences to that action." Kelly himself took it even farther. His website showed him with a combat weapon and the slogan, "Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly."

Well, these actions did have consequences, evidently delivered by a deranged young loser who got his name and face plastered all over the national news. That may, indeed, have been exactly what he wanted. Like John Hinckley, he'll be a footnote in history now.

This is depressing in part because those of us who have reached middle age have seen this happen over and over.

Gabby Giffords hadn't even been born when John and Robert Kennedy took their bullets. She was in fourth grade when John Lennon and Ronald Reagan got theirs. But there was something different this time. Nobody was speaking out for gun control. That's because of the popularly perceived notion that it is futile even to try any more, thanks to a pair of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, District of Columbia vs. Heller (2008) and McDonald vs. Chicago, in which the court ruled the Second Amendment means individuals have the right to keep and bear arms, and that states can't prevent this.

However, even the most conservative justices emphasized that this does not mean you can't have reasonable regulation, as indicated by the quote from Antonin Scalia atop this essay.

Nobody should have sold or been permitted to sell Jared Loughner a gun. Not in any state. That he was able to do so is sick, wrong and calls for a national movement for reasonable legislation.

This will be difficult, hard and long, but is vitally necessary. People have to be willing to fight against the gun lobby's lies and the National Rifle Association's millions.

Otherwise, there will be deaths upon deaths, stirred up by right-wing zealots who know what they are doing — and will afterward denounce the next Jared Loughner, who may be buying his murder weapon right now.

This is our country, and we can take it back if we want to do so badly enough. If you have any doubts, think about what Christina Greene would want you to do.

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