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  • Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation

    The folks at Thrillist have again compiled their annual list of the nation’s best burgers, and Southeast Michigan, it seems, is well represented. Ranking alongside joints in major cities such as New York and L.A., is Detroit’s own Motz’s Burgers, hailed specifically for its Double Cheeseburger Slider. Via Thrillist: There’s nothing remarkable about the façade of this SW diner… it’s just a diner, like the hundreds of others in the D. The staff’s been there for years… and so have the regulars, who can’t get enough of Motz’s legendary smashed burgers. The formula’s nothing revolutionary: smashed, griddled patties with oozy cheese and onions that melt into the burger itself as it cooks. But it’s that unmistakable flavor of a well-seasoned griddle — which has also been here for years — that makes the difference. You can score big burgers with accoutrements, but this isn’t really a place to say things like “accoutrements”. Grab the old-school slider (the double cheeseburger one), and prepare for three perfect bites of Detroit’s finest. Flint’s Torch Bar and Grill also made the cut, most notably for its Deluxe Torch Burger with Bacon. Tucked away in an alley beyond the brick streets that used to mark […]

    The post Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know!

    The Metro Times is looking for college students or graduates of Michigan colleges that used atypical means to pay for their schooling (i.e. sugar baby, selling underwear, military enrollment purely for school help, etc.). We are looking for personal anecdotes about the lengths you went to help pay for school, what came of it, your monetary situation, if the resource worked to get you through college and more. If you have utilized any one of these avenues, or know someone who has, please drop us a line at college@metrotimes.com.

    The post In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit

    File under “WTF” — attorneys representing former Psychopathic Records publicist Andrea Pellegrini announced Monday that they have subpoenaed Kid Rock to produce a glass dildo as part of Pellegrini’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the Insane Clown Posse’s record label. Pellegrini claims the glass dildo was given to her by Psychopathic Records employee “Dirty Dan” Diamond as part of a larger culture of constant harassment in which she was called “bitch,” made the target of explicit sexual advances by Diamond and other co-workers, asked to procure automatic weapons for a photo shoot, and even encouraged to “deceive government investigators from the US Department of Labor.” On Friday, Diamond admitted under oath that he told Pellegrini that he had “a fat cock” and that he would “fuck the shit out of her.” The dildo, though, was “a work of art,” according to Diamond, and should not be considered sexual harassment. Why is Kid Rock involved? Diamond says when Pellegrini declined his dildo, he gave it to Kid Rock instead (presumably as a “work of art” and not a sexual advance). So now, according to court orders, Rock has 14 days to produce the glass dildo so the court can better determine if it is art or, well, a dildo. We will […]

    The post Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey

    Fans of the latest Superman franchise got a treat at Pig & Whiskey this weekend. Actors Henry Cavill and Amy Adams were spotted amid the crowds of the festival that took place in downtown Ferndale as well as a local restaurant. Cavill, who plays the man of steel in the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, stopped to chat with fans, take pictures, and sign autographs on Saturday afternoon and evening. He was wearing an inconspicuous black polo shirt as well as a signature Superman-style ‘do. Other fans spotted Amy Adams at Ferndale’s Imperial on Saturday night, some were even seated next to her at the restaurant’s communal benches. Adams reportedly was slightly annoyed that patrons continuously asked for her photo, but she smiled while cell phones snapped images nonetheless. The Zach Snyder film the two are starring in together is currently filming in Birmingham. Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, has been spotted around town with his wife Jennifer Garner recently as well. The closed movie set is under intense security and Brett Callwood attempted to infiltrate the filming last month, but was forced to give up his camera’s memory card, lest he make off with telling photos.

    The post Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Shop Talk: Harvard and Duke students moderate panel discussion in Detroit

    The Social Club Grooming Company, a metro Detroit-based environmentally conscious company that focuses on health and beauty as well as education, will host Shop Talk this Thursday, a special in their on-going event series that will bring students from both Harvard and Duke for a panel discussion about the social-entreprenurial climate and business innovation happening in Detroit. Detroiters like Burn Rubber’s Rick Williams, fashion photographer Piper Carter, Crain’s Detroit’s Eric Cedo, Mission Throttle’s Jamie Shea, and campaign manager Bryan Barnhill will come together to discuss how to create change in the city’s economic landscape through innovation and entrepreneurship. Of course what makes this panel discussion unique is the way in which it will take place. As The Social Club is a barber shop, each panelist will be receiving a haircut while speaking, the trimmings from which will be used for their nitrogen content to help grow plants in the city. Part of a series that will help Detroiters meet city leaders, voices, artists, activists, and business owners, Shop Talk’s objective is to help young people understand their role in the city’s ever-changing economic system. “There’s so much positive energy in Detroit right now,” says Sebastian Jackson, The Social Club’s founder. “It’s […]

    The post Shop Talk: Harvard and Duke students moderate panel discussion in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Just to clarify, Olympia hasn’t ‘finalized’ financing details on promised Detroit ancillary development — yet

    Yesterday, the Detroit Free Press and Crain’s Detroit Business reported on the remarkable concept Olympia Development of Michigan, the real estate arm of Detroit Red Wings owner Ilitch Holdings Inc., has developed for the proposed “catalyst development project.” (The basics of the project can be found here.) Baked into the details offered by the Freep was this: Arena plans announced earlier called for development to grow up around the arena over ensuing years. But the Ilitches decided to do it all at once: A large part of the infrastructure and construction associated with the retail and residential projects will rise out of the ground along with the arena — and be ready by 2017. Christopher Ilitch said construction of the residential units, restaurants and other new development around the arena was moved up because of its importance to Detroit. He estimated the development would create at least $1.8 billion in total economic impact over several years, 8,300 construction and construction-related jobs, and 1,100 permanent jobs. As Crain’s reported, Olympia would develop 300 apartments in “two buildings on what currently are the surface parking lots between Comerica Park — home of the Ilitch-owned Detroit Tigers — and Woodward Avenue.” Crain’s writer Bill Shea also notes a new building across Adams Street […]

    The post Just to clarify, Olympia hasn’t ‘finalized’ financing details on promised Detroit ancillary development — yet appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Stir It Up

Crisis on the corner

Should we legalize drugs to save the hood?

The War on Drugs has been fought from corner to corner in black communities across the United States. Although African-Americans make up only 13 percent of the general population, 40 percent of drug offenders in federal prisons and 45 percent of offenders in state prisons are black.

It's not that blacks make up 40 or 45 percent of American drug users. A study of New York drug arrests from 1997 to 2006 by sociologist Harry Levine and drug policy activist Deborah Small found that 18-to-25-year-old whites are more likely than blacks or Hispanics to smoke marijuana, yet blacks were five times and Hispanics three times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.

Similar statistics can be found in all kinds of studies out there. All of it leads to black and brown communities where young men committing victimless offenses get criminal records, get sent to jail, lose their families, and enter a system wherein a life of crime is more likely than getting an education and a job.

So it's amazing that the drug war and civil rights haven't been more closely tied together the way linguist and conservative political pundit John McWhorter links them in a recent column for the The New Republic's website titled "Getting Darnell Off the Corners: Why America Should Ride the Anti-Drug-War Wave."

I don't know what that guy on the corner is named, Pookie or Tyrone or whatever, but McWhorter wrote "... with no War on Drugs there would be, within one generation, no 'black problem' in the United States. Poverty in general, yes. An education problem in general — probably. But the idea that black America had a particular crisis would rapidly become history, requiring explanation to young people. The end of the War on Drugs is, in fact, what all people genuinely concerned with black uplift should be focused on. ..."

And, in fact, he says all drugs should be legalized. Some civil rights groups have nibbled at the edges of the drug war, sometimes suggesting that marijuana is not as bad as other drugs. The California NAACP went that route last year when it came out in support of Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana in the state. Proposition 19 lost by a 53.5 to 46.5 percent vote in November. But California NAACP President Alice Huffman threw down the gauntlet in saying marijuana law reform is a civil rights issue.

Neil Franklin, president of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition who worked with Huffman in creating the NAACP policy, casts some wisdom on the roiling waters of drug policy debate.

"We went to a prison here in Baltimore with a section for juveniles; it's a high school in prison for them," says Franklin, an African-American with more than 30 years policing experience in Maryland. "We did a workshop with 12. I think 10 were there for drug violations. We asked them what your neighborhood would be like if drugs were legal tomorrow. The number one answer was that they would have no money. There would pretty much be no money in their households. The drug market provides more money into those communities than anything else. The second answer was that the police would no longer harass us if drugs were legal in the community."

The kids focused in on two important issues: economics and police-community relations. Legalizing drugs would cut the economic legs out from under the drug business because legal drugs would be cheaper and easily obtainable. Drug dealers would no longer be able to finance terrorizing neighborhoods, and drug addicts would be a public health issue not a law enforcement problem. Regarding community relations, growing up without an adversarial relationship with the police goes a long way in creating citizens who would rather cooperate with law enforcement than fight it.

Despite the failure of the drug war to reduce the use of illicit drugs, support for prohibition remains strong among many African-Americans. Carl Taylor, a sociology professor at Michigan State University who focuses on crime and other urban issues, takes a hard line against legalization. "I contend strongly that illegal drugs, legal drugs and alcohol are truly the barbed wire around the neck of the black community. I see not one serious plus in my life experiences professionally or personally from illicit narcotics. ... I don't agree with McWhorter. I don't think he knows what he's talking about. If you put the black market out of business, the fellas out on the street are still going to find deeper and better drugs. Just because I don't know what to do doesn't mean you do something that you've got to be out your mind to do from where I'm sitting. The ignorance of very distorted socialization, the racism, the discrimination is not going to go away, the failure of the family structure, interactions. ..."

Indeed, McWhorter's article tends to gloss over the details of how legalizing drugs will work to "magically" fix race relations, nor does he tell us what job "Darnell" will get when he no longer has drug money fueling his lifestyle. In an e-mail last week, McWhorter told me, "It won't be easy and the jobs won't often be upwardly mobile middle-class jobs. The issue here is very specific: Whatever Darnell does instead, anything at all, is better than selling drugs on the corners. That's what matters. But for starters, the Darnells would start doing vocational training at community colleges. The economy will not be this bad forever. We know Darnell can do this because his brother Eugene already does. Eventually the Darnells would install cable, fix heaters, be bail bondsmen, be real estate inspectors, work on boats, work for UPS, be security guards, be hospital assistants. That is, they would do what Eugene has always done."

But these are tough economic times. Where will the money for job training and job creation come from? Activists have an easy answer for that one: the War on Drugs. The group DrugSense (drugsense.org) keeps a running tally with its "Drug War Clock 2011," and Monday afternoon showed that federal and state governments have spent nearly $2 billion so far in 2011; we spent around $40 billion on the War on Drugs in 2010.

To some, that might be money well spent. But a 1994 study by the RAND Drug Policy Institute found that "treatment is 10 times more effective than interdiction in reducing the use of cocaine." It also found that "every additional dollar invested in substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers more than $7 in societal costs, and that additional domestic law enforcement costs 15 times as much as treatment to achieve the same reduction in societal costs." And that doesn't even take into account potential revenues from taxing drug sales and payroll taxes from employed citizens.

Regardless of which tactic you support, prohibition or legalization, the goal is the same. "We pretty much desire to do exactly what the War on Drugs seeks, to reduce crime, disease, death and addiction," Franklin says. "We aim to do it through legalization, regulation and control of drugs rather than prohibition. It's quite obvious to us that the efforts are ineffective; they have failed and it's time for a different approach."

It certainly seems like it's a conversation worth having without histrionics. Go ahead, talk about it. It's therapeutic.

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