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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

Farewell to a hero

Al Fishman never gave up the fight

For generations of peace activists, Al Fishman seemed somehow indestructible. It was easy to sort of imagine that he would always be on the job, trying to make this a better, more just and less violent world. Two years ago, I remember chatting with him as his main cause, Peace Action of Michigan, prepared for another commemoration of the anniversary of Hiroshima.

Fishman was a stubborn sort who had always held the curious idea that it was a bad idea to incinerate people with nuclear weapons, and that melting the eyes and skin of innocent women and children isn't acceptable.

Worse, he had the bad taste to point out from time to time that we were the only nation that had ever done this. That was dangerous back in the day. Less than a week after the Korean War broke out, he was arrested outside what was then Briggs Stadium, seeking signatures to ban nuclear weapons. The Detroit cops tossed him in jail, where he spent the Fourth of July weekend. To give you some perspective, George W. Bush was then 4. Barack Obama's mother was 8.

There weren't many peaceniks in 1950. Most of the few who were sold out long ago — gave up, tuned out and went off to grow vegetables or watch survivor shows on television.

Not Al Fishman. "Fifty-nine years later, and I'm still working for nuclear abolition," he told me with an amused chuckle two years ago. He never got cynical, or if he did, he never gave in to it. He kept fighting to make this a better world. What else could he do? What else could any of us do?

So he kept fighting, damn it. He and his beloved wife, Margaret, played a role, almost by accident, in bringing down Joe McCarthy, long before President Obama was born.

Fishman had fought a million battles, winning a few but losing most, but kept on keeping on. He had known disappointment and big-time political betrayal, but he kept on. What else could he do? What else could any of us do?

Frankly, I don't think he ever considered doing anything else. So I was stunned last Thursday when I got a call from his niece, the lovely and talented Nada Radulovich, a cellist in New York. Uncle Al had dropped dead from a massive heart attack in a doctor's waiting room, where he had gone to see about a troublesome knee. He was 82. I couldn't believe it. Only days before, Al had called me. He wanted to put together a big debate here in Detroit over the national budget.

I told him I thought people here were more preoccupied with the state budget now, with the efforts to cut education and rob the poor to give to the rich, etc.

"I know that," Al said. "But state and local budgets reflect the spending priorities of the national government."

True enough. What he wanted me to do was suggest some TV personality who might be willing to moderate such a debate, in the hope that a big name might draw more of the curious.

That was significant. What Al Fishman never ceased to believe was that if you could somehow educate enough people, make them aware of what was really going on, they would finally get it, and work together to make this a better world.

He made mistakes. He carried one around with him for more than 40 years: He was a secret member of the Communist Party. Yes, that party, the one that took orders from Moscow. He admitted that to me after things fell apart.

Told me it was all right to write about it, in fact. Why had he joined? He was a Jewish kid from the South Bronx who was drafted and sent to Italy right after World War II.

Al believed in racial equality, and was disgusted by the reaction of his fellow soldiers to President Truman's decision to desegregate the armed forces. Fishman was also appalled that the Allies were reinstalling former fascists in power in Germany and Italy. The Communists were the only political party to speak out against these things.

So he joined. Not to sabotage anything, not to spy, just because he thought it was right. He paid dues, went to meetings, as did his wife, a Serbian girl he met after he came to the University of Michigan to study architecture.

There, they became bit players in a major historical drama. Partly because of Margaret and Al's radicalism, the Air Force tried to throw her brother, Milo Radulovich, out of the service and take away his GI benefits.

That was so unfair that Edward R. Murrow did an entire TV program on the case. The reaction helped Murrow go after the main demagogue, Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, five months later. Radulovich, who was then apolitical, was reinstated, but the pressure resulted in his dropping out of school.

Fishman just kept on working behind the scenes. Once, I asked him how he could have been so nave about the Communists. His answer brought me up short.

"The people I knew who were Communists had proved themselves as honorable and honest to me."

He didn't believe what he read in the papers about the purges, the Gulag, the mass executions, etc. "Whenever I saw something in a Detroit paper about a labor struggle here, a struggle I knew about, it was usually wrong and sometimes nothing but lies.

"So I assumed they lied about the Soviet Union."

Fishman left the party in disgust in 1992 when those in charge resisted efforts to make it more democratic, and the scales fell from his eyes.

But he hadn't given up on humanity. He had worked in shops and became a computer programmer before computers were cool. He had run for office, but lost. However, an old radical buddy of his did get elected mayor — and made Al Fishman a deputy police chief, so he could take his computer skills to the force.

They gave him a tour of the jail then. "Looks a little familiar," he muttered when they reached his old cell. For a time, he had trouble winning the cops' cooperation.

That is, till Coleman Young showed up one day, pointing a finger at large blue bellies. "Don't fuck with my man," he said.

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