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  • City Slang: Diana Ross to open Freedom Hill season

    Motown legend Diana Ross will open up the Freedom Hill season on Friday, June 13. “We’re thrilled to have one of the greatest Motown singers of all time, Diana Ross, open our facility this season,” said Tom Celani, Owner of Luna Hillside, LLC. “We continue to bring big name talent to our venue and know fans will have a memorable time at this concert and throughout the 2014 season. A press release reads, “Born and raised in Detroit, Ross rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the renowned vocal group The Supremes, which, during the 1960s, became Motown’s most successful act and is to this day America’s most successful vocal group. In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Ross the most successful female music artist in history due to her success in the United States and United Kingdom for having more hits than any female artist in the charts with a career total of 70 hit singles and sold more than 100 million records worldwide with her work with the Supremes and as a solo artist.” Tickets go on sale Friday, April 25 at 10 a.m. Reserved tickets are $39.50, and there are a […]

    The post City Slang: Diana Ross to open Freedom Hill season appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



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Politics & Prejudices

Defending Debbie

Why right-wingers hate Stabenow's stubborn hold on office

The degree of contempt and hatred the right wing harbors for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow seems out of all proportion. Vulgar, sexist, obscenity-laced attacks on her can be found all over the Internet.

This is fascinating, both from the standpoint of social pathology, and from the degree her enemies are disconnected from voter-based reality. To those who don't live in nutball fantasyland, Stabenow is a hard-working senator, the first Michigander since the 1880s to chair the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Warmly personable, she still has more than a touch of the small-town girl from Clare, the daughter of the local Oldsmobile dealer back when she was growing up. When I had a long chat with her in Dearborn a couple weeks ago, the only loathing she expressed was for the Asian carp, "the fish that keeps me up at night."

Pressing the Obama administration to do more to stop the giant invasive species from getting into the Great Lakes is a major priority of hers, but not the top one. That could be summarized as "jobs, jobs, jobs," she said. "Helping bring more jobs to Michigan."

Helping people always has been what she wanted to do, since she enrolled at Michigan State in 1968. She earned two degrees in social work while singing folk songs part time in a local coffeehouse. Later, she married, raised two children, wore sensible shoes, and first ran for office in 1974 when she was outraged that the Ingham County commissioners closed a nursing home.

People who know Stabenow usually like her. They've been electing her to office after office ever since. Republicans have more and more trouble even finding a credible candidate to run against her.

Yet you wouldn't recognize this from the venom that drips from dozens of blogs. Much of this is clearly misogynistic, and is often coupled with sneers at the weight problem she's battled for years.

Other attacks are merely spluttering and incoherent. One of the milder ones was posted last week on a blog called Northern Michigan Conservative View. "It would be nice if everybody called her Dangerously Incompetent Debbie Stabenow," the bloggist wrote, adding, helpfully, "It helps to understand who we are talking about. The woman is the MOST LIBERAL DEMOCRAT in the Senate."

Whatever that means. Curiously, this echoes a contradictory theme raised by many of Stabenow's usually anonymous attackers: They portray her as both hopelessly incompetent and also cleverly plotting to force "the liberal agenda" down America's throats.

What her enemies mostly don't say, however, is what really bugs them the most. Not only can't they seem to beat her, this time, they can't even find a candidate to run against her.

Less than a year ago, Republicans were confident that this was the year "we take Debbie out," as one said. Actually, they've been underestimating her since the start of her career. The Ingham County commissioner she ran against a lifetime ago dismissed her contemptuously as "that young broad." She beat him like a drum.

Next it was on to the state House, then the state Senate. Her one major loss was a lucky one. She was the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for governor back in 1994, but lost narrowly to the inept Howard Wolpe when the teachers unions turned against her after she touched off the education reforms that led to Proposal A.

No Democrat could have beaten John Engler in that very Republican year, and had she been the nominee, it could have been fatal. As a good soldier, Stabenow accepted the worthless nomination for lieutenant governor. Two years later, she challenged incumbent Republican Rep. Dick Chrysler.

Chrysler was contemptuous of her too, referring to her as "liberal Debbie" when I interviewed him that fall. She crushed him by a landslide. Four years later, she took on U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham. He outspent her by more than $5 million. Ten days before the election, he was ahead by 12 points in the polls.

But she'd wisely kept what money she had for a last minute push, and squeaked to victory by 67,000 votes. Six years later, Republicans had what they felt was the dream attack video of all videos. It showed Debbie Stabenow, looking very portly and wearing an unflattering outfit, speaking in the Senate next to a sign saying "Dangerously Incompetent." Worse, the sign matched her red dress.

Republicans then managed to recruit popular Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard to run against her. Incidentally, the sign was actually referring to what Stabenow had been saying about the Bush administration. Voters seemed to get that better than the media.

When the votes were counted, it was Stabenow, 2,151,278; Bouchard 1,559,597. That was an even wider margin than Gov. Jennifer Granholm had over the hapless Dick DeVos. The senator thanked everyone, and went back to work for another six years.

Next year, she has to run again. Confident Republicans thought Pete Hoekstra, the runner-up in their gubernatorial primary last year, would give her the "fight of her life." Except, well, he wasn't willing to run. Incumbents Mike Rogers and Candice Miller weren't about to give up their safe U.S. House seats.

Their colleague, the eccentric Thaddeus McCotter, said he might run for president, but wouldn't dare take on Stabenow. Republicans couldn't even get Frank Beckmann, the blowhard football announcer and part-time right-wing columnist, to run.

That doesn't mean she doesn't have opposition. Randy Hekman, a former probate judge from Kent County, says he is running. So is Peter Konetchy, a guy in Roscommon who does accounting work for law firms. ... OK, I was wrong. She doesn't really have opposition.

A few weeks ago, Michigan Republicans were pathetically saying they heard a former Detroit Red Wing might be able to get into the race. That eventually fizzled, perhaps because their choice may have been a Canadian citizen.

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