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  • 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.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Politics & Prejudices

Dems: Gutless cowards

Instead of putting forth a plan, Dems sit on their hands

Throughout the state, horrified citizens are beginning to grasp what Gov. Rick Snyder's budget cuts will really mean to them.

They are going to get screwed. The poor and young and most vulnerable will be royally screwed. The rich, naturally, will be just fine. You might expect the Democrats, the party of the people, the party of Andrew Jackson and Bobby Kennedy and Soapy Williams, to rise to their defense. Offer an alternative program.

Suggesting raising — gasp — taxes on those more than able to pay! Fighting for the poor and downtrodden, that sort of thing.

Yes, the Democrats by themselves are politically powerless now. They are heavily outnumbered in the Legislature. They can pass nothing. But they could stand for something. They could say, "We'd do this instead. We would balance the budget this way. We would make the sacrifice truly fair, and preserve our children's futures."

They aren't doing that, however. They are mostly gutless cowards. They are afraid to stand for anything. They lack the guts to call for the necessary tax increases they should stand for.

Charles Ballard, a Michigan State University economist, tells me, "If we were to raise the income tax rate by a modest amount, I believe that the negative effects would be very small. In fact, if we use the money to repair some of our crumbling infrastructure, and to invest in early childhood education, I believe a modest increase in the income tax rate would have a positive effect on attracting businesses."

Ballard, who understands our economy better than anyone, said that boosting the income tax rate from the present 4.35 percent to 5.5 percent, would eliminate the entire deficit.

That's what the Dems' program should be. Here's what it is: "Waaaaah! Don't cut no benefits."

Well, fine. But then how should the state close the $1 billion-plus deficit gap we have this and every year — even if we don't enact Gov. Rick Snyder's enormous tax breaks for business?

Democrats: "Waaaah! Don't cut no benefits."

What they are hoping, of course, is that they don't have to put forward an alternative program, that they'll get power back just because people are disgusted with the Republicans.

Even if it works, it is a contemptible excuse for political philosophy. Give the GOP this: They stand for something, are filled with passionate intensity, and aren't afraid to say so. Those who should be opposing them are invertebrates.

Away from Lansing, people are starting to get it. Parents are starting to understand what the sharp per-pupil spending cuts will mean to their kids' ability to get an education that already often wasn't good enough.

College students will see a steep tuition hike, and will come back to campus in the fall to find they are paying more for less.

The impact is likely to fall heaviest on poor families. Imagine a single mother — or father — with two kids, working a couple dreary jobs, struggling to make it on $15,000 a year. There are many, many people like that in today's Michigan. They had one thing going for them till now: They'd get a state tax refund of $533, thanks to the EITC, or Earned Income Tax Credit. Yet the governor and the Legislature are hell-bent on taking that away. Know what they'll give that family instead? Fifty bucks.

This means people will lose their homes; that, according to the nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan League for Human Services (MLHS), something like 11,000 children will be toppled over the line into poverty. This is all being done so that business can get a huge tax break.

Gilda Jacobs, who runs the league, is no bomb-thrower. She's a mild-mannered suburban woman in her early 60s, a former Oakland County commissioner and state senator. Yet the impact of what's coming caused her to virtually scream: "The cuts lawmakers are making are so mean-spirited that you almost have to ask: Are the cuts deliberately crafted by bullies who are deliberately targeting kids and others who can't fight back?"

That's almost right, Gilda: They are, in fact, targeting those who can't vote. Originally, the governor proposed to tax the pensions of those now receiving them. When the geezers went ballistic, his buddies in the Legislature feared revenge at the polls. They ran from their governor like Larry, Moe and Curly being chased by a striped-ass ape. Snyder heard them, backed off. Together they came up with this compromise:

They will just tax the pensions of those not receiving them yet! By the time the people get to vote for the Legislature again, the tax will be a done deal. In the meantime, they'll make up some of the difference by screwing people on the Homestead Tax Credit, which is less well understood.

Last week, a ragged band of citizens tried to take matters into their own hands. Michigan Citizens United is going to try to recall the governor in a special election. They will find out Friday if their petition language is approved. You have to admire their passion, their drive to do something. Yet their efforts are likely to be a waste. They need 1 million signatures in three months, when you take into account that some signatures will always be disqualified.

That means collecting more than 10,000 every day for that time. That is simply not possible. Getting a constitutional amendment on the ballot only takes a third as many, and generally only succeeds if someone has money to pay handsomely to collect them.

Citizens United's spokesman says they've raised maybe a thousand bucks. What if they succeed?

There'd be another election, and if Snyder were removed, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who is even more conservative, would succeed him.

What we need right now is leadership; someone — Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, perhaps — to offer a program, that even if it fails now, is something to rally around. Yet up to now, they offer only the sounds of silence.

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