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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

How this came to pass

Mikhail Gorbachev and Christmas 1991 set the stage (no kidding)

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Ever wonder how our country ended up like this? As this year sputters to its end, that is, and children are being thrown off cash assistance forever in the dead of winter, and we are letting our roads fall apart, and few seem to give a damn about the next generation.

How did it come to this? It wasn't always this way. Fifty years ago, we were a strong and confident country, committed to making this a better world, thinking we could educate more kids.

Thinking we could help the rest of the world too. Presidents could propose programs like the Alliance for Progress to help lift up Latin America. The statesman Sargent Shriver led a major effort to conquer poverty in this country, and continued to believe, until the day he died earlier this year, that's something we could have done.

Today, any politician who even suggested that we do something to help the nation's poor would be sneered at as a socialist. For the last 30 years, there has been a massive transfer of wealth from the poor and the fast-disappearing middle class to the super-rich. Do you see any major effort to suggest moving toward even a slightly more level playing field?

Does any major Democratic politician, in Lansing or Washington, dare to stand up and say, "It's time to increase taxes on the super-rich so students can get scholarships and poor children can get milk?" Don't be silly. They'd be afraid of losing votes because bloated radio fools like Rush Limbaugh would call them names.

How did we get to this place from the idealistic nation we were? For a large part of the answer, look back to a Christmas exactly 20 years ago, to an event that set the stage for everything that has followed. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last head of the USSR, appeared on television screens across the globe that Christmas morning.

Everything was truly over. He announced he was resigning, and that the nation that had been our mortal enemy had ceased to exist.

Nobody paid a whole lot of attention at the time. The Soviet Union had been dying since a failed coup that summer. The Cold War, which even eight years before still had the power to grip us with nuclear terror, had ended when the Eastern European states gave up communism and opted for what they saw as freedom, more or less, two years before that. When the end of the USSR became official that Christmas morning, we barely glanced up from our presents.

But something very fundamental had changed. A few years after that, Dick Wright, who taught journalism with me at Wayne State University, stopped by my office. He had studied the Soviet Union in army intelligence and spoke and understood Russian.

He also cared about the labor movement, and about workers in America, and he made a casual comment that I instantly saw held the key to a lot of what was going on in this society.

"You know, I really felt that people here didn't realize how bad it was when the USSR ceased to exist," he said. "It was corrupt and all that, of course, but it was officially a workers' state. They had gotten rid of the capitalists. And while you never would have wanted to live there, I always felt it was a good thing that it existed.

"That's because as long as it was there, there would always be the thought in the bosses' minds that maybe we better show some decency to our workers, pay them a decent wage."

Dick Wright, a truly decent man, died a few years later. I'm not sure whether he was right about the example of the Soviet Union serving as a deterrent to the nation's exploiters. I know that Franklin D. Roosevelt and a lot of other people believed in the 1930s that either we do something for the ordinary man, or we risked communism or, more likely, some form of fascism.

But most of the exploiters of his day were too stupid to see that the patrician FDR and his New Dealers were working hard to save them from themselves. If anything, today's seem even stupider.

Corporate America and the Republican Party seem to think they can export all the jobs overseas, end unemployment insurance and welfare for those they've screwed over, all with no negative consequences to themselves. The not-so-big-three are now paying newly hired autoworkers salaries too small for them to be able to afford new cars, much less a house and a family.

Let's see ... doesn't all this remind you of a book by Karl Marx called Das Kapital? Does anybody other than me remember how it turned out? We are creating an ever larger, ever more desperate class of unemployed and unemployable people.

We need to wake up and remember that we are all in this together, or, once again, as John F. Kennedy said half a century ago, "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it can't save the few who are rich." We desperately need leaders who are not too stupid or greedy to understand that, and need to find them soon.

 

Snyder puts his foot in it: Whatever you think of his policies, our governor has had a remarkably successful year.

The Legislature enacted virtually his entire program, from the huge business tax cut to the pension tax. His only main setback was over the needed New International Trade Crossing bridge, where he evidently miscalculated Matty Moroun's ability to buy the lawmakers.

Look for more of that epic struggle soon. Up to now, Snyder has avoided messy social legislation, or hatefully attacking the unions to the extent that the governors of Ohio and Wisconsin have.

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