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    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.

  • Food trucks go to the dogs

    Today, starting at 10am, Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be swinging by the  Cherry Hill Village at Preservation Park on  N. Roosevelt St. in Canton. They’ll be serving the pups (“gour-mutts,” as Milo’s calls them) treats and the dog parents the opportunity of “family portraits.” Milo’s is on a cross-country food truck trip, promoting their “grilled burger bites” and “chicken meatballs” to pup parents from L.A. to NYC, with stops in between, including Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the Carolinas, and Arkansas. But watch out! Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck markets “real chicken and beef home-style dog treats” that are are “wholesome” and “authentic” without “artificial flavors or colors-made right here in the USA.” Authentic, processed food that is. Remember what George Carlin said about “home-style”? Their treats are also packed with soy, TVP, wheat flour, tapioca, rice, and sugar–fillers that make the meat go far and aren’t the best for your pup. They’re also packed with preservatives, like sodium erythorbate, nitrates, BHA, sodium tripolyphosphate, and potassium sorbate. Small amounts are probably ok, and no doubt the pup will love it, the same way it’s easy for humans to love carb- and sugar- laden, processed and preserved, treats.  

    The post Food trucks go to the dogs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

    Coming up on August 16, former Detroit Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt will team up with the Navin Field Grounds Crew and Metro Times‘ own Dave Mesrey to honor legend Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. The festivities, known as the annual “Bird Bash,” will be held at the infamous Nemo’s Bar & Grill, and will benefit The Bird’s favorite charity, the Wertz Warriors, and also the Mark Fidrych Foundation. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

    The post Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • First Little League game at Navin Field today

    Today Navin Field (the Old Tiger Stadium) hosts its first Little League game on a new field made just to host the youngsters! Here’s a photo of the game happening right now, courtesy Tom Derry and Metro Times‘ copy editor extraordinaire, Dave Mesrey: Stop by the site (corner of Michigan and Trumbull) today to watch history in the making!

    The post First Little League game at Navin Field today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit 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 Politifact.com 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 Politifact.com 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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