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  • 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.

  • 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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Stir It Up

Grand Old Panderers

Why Republican rhetoric is like a racist dog whistle

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Front-runner Mitt Romney has been more subtle by attacking Obama's "entitlement society." Yet when the question of electability comes up, he is obviously considered the white guy who can save the country from the Obama abomination.

The problem is that, regardless of the truth, once a candidate makes a racially disparaging remark there are people who believe it.

"Americans don't understand the nature of language," Jackson says. "They need to give more attention to the centrality of language in shaping our perceptions of everyday life. We need greater attention to the role that language has in masking these overtly racist sentiments."

There will be plenty of that in the coming months. Remember the last presidential election cycle, when Obama had to disavow the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and was accused of not being American — not to mention the various attacks for being Muslim, socialist and lazy (read "black"). We've recently seen a narrative painting Michelle Obama as a big-ass, angry black woman. I don't doubt that she is sometimes angry; she exhibits the full range of normal human emotions and from where she sits the stakes are high.

Republicans aren't the only ones who play this game. Bill Clinton had his Sister Souljah moment. But with a sitting president who is African-American the crap is already getting out of hand. By the time the general election comes around, it's going to be downright nasty. Republicans obviously have little intention of engaging blacks other than throwing the embarrassing Herman Cain at us (come on, a candidate who sings hymns on request). That's their kind of black man. 

It's enough to give me a serious case of the blahs.

Postscript: In Tuesday night's debate (after MT had gone to press), Gingrich scored big points with the conservative South Carolina audience by not backing down when moderator Juan Williams, of Fox News, brought up Gingrich's food stamp comments, and his assertions that schools should hire poor children as janitors in order to help them create a work ethic. According to reports, the crowd went wild, giving Grinch-rich a standing ovation.

First of all, the claim that Obama has put more people on food stamps than any other president in American history is debatable. The elections-claim referees at rate it a "half truth." There are more Americans on food stamps (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program — SNAP) during Obama's administration than under any of his predecessors, but that's a continuation of an upward trend he inherited from the Bush administration. Two factors are involved: more lenient qualification rules (rewritten during the Bush years) and the worsening economy. On the second point, the reports:


Obviously, the rise in food stamps is a direct consequence of the serious recession that began in December 2007 — more than a year before Obama took office. It's hard to determine how much blame Obama deserves compared to his predecessor, President George W. Bush, but the experts we spoke to, conservative and liberal, agree that Obama inherited a serious economic situation.


Part of the reason it's tricky to divvy up blame is that there is typically a lag time before an upturn in the broader economy begins to show up in decreased SNAP usage. The monthly growth has slowed over the last three months, and if current trends continue, it could start declining in a month or two.


With all that in mind I wonder that if Bush made it easier for people to get food stamps, should Obama be blamed for people using them? Maybe Bush was the "best food stamp" president.

Another point is that most adults who receive assistance already have jobs but don't make enough to get by on. So if Gingrich wants to get people off food stamps he should be championing higher wages. However I still believe that rhetorically coupling Obama and food stamps, particularly given the history here, is indeed using the racist dog whistle to remind conservatives that the president is black and he's going to give all your money to "those people."

Gingrich also got applause for standing by his assertion that school children should do janitorial work in their schools. Putting aside child labor issues, what about the janitors they will put out of work? This idea would take an already low-paying job and make it even lower. If the janitor wasn't already on food stamps, he certainly will be after the kids take his job away, not to mention the unemployment compensation.

Finally, I get the sense that with Williams being an African-American, the audience eagerly consumed the aspect of Gingrich standing up to a black man on a racial issue as a surrogate for how Gingrich would handle Obama in a general election. Indeed that may be the most powerful result of this exchange for the former speaker of the House — the perception that he will stand up to the black man.

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