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    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

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  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Politics & Prejudices

Insanity Fair

Thaddeus McCotter flies the coop — and flips his constituents the bird

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Former U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter is a selfish, egocentric jackass. Want proof? Last week he abruptly quit, with six months left to go on his congressional term.

True, the Livonia Republican had already managed to destroy his political future, all by himself, and without stealing any money or any sex scandals. Two months ago, everybody expected him to be easily re-elected to his suburban seat in Congress. All he had to do was turn in 1,000 valid signatures on petitions. But to everyone's shock, nearly every signature was invalid, most evidently photocopied and cut-and-pasted from some earlier campaign. Besides disqualifying him from the ballot, this is, by the way, an apparent violation of election law.

At first, McCotter said he would run a write-in campaign. That would have taken a lot of hard work, however, and after a couple days, he gave it up. Then last week, he announced abruptly that he was quitting, right then, walking off the job. Why? Well, apparently having ruined himself was too stressful to bear.

"My future is a dimming light in a dark pit," he told The Detroit News. Most others couldn't see any light. McCotter's political suicide started more than a year ago when he bizarrely decided to run for president, for reasons known only to himself and the fillings in his teeth. He had no money, no support, and no real issues. His high-water mark came at something called the Ames Straw Poll last summer. Nearly 17,000 Iowans voted, and McCotter got ... 35 votes. That works out to one out of every 500 cast. Even Lassie probably would have done better, but the TV collie unfortunately is dead. So was McCotter's campaign, as even he soon realized.

Humiliated, and deflated further when Fox News failed to offer him a talk show, the Livonia sensation took to writing a proposed TV show in his garage, to be called Bumper Sticker: Made on MoTown.

According to those who've read it, it stars him (big surprise!) and includes "banter" about "drinking, sex, race, flatulence and puking." And, oh, yes, women's body parts, and a sexually perverted "black Santa." Would you be surprised to know that it drew even less interest than his presidential campaign?

By the way, I am taking the ex-congressman at his word when he claims to have written it in the garage at night while chain-smoking, to help get over his presidential campaign. The former staffer who released it to the media indicated, however, that McCotter wrote the pilot instead of attending to his congressional duties.

Or making sure he got enough signatures to get on the ballot, evidently. But this bizarre behavior is not the real reason I began this column by calling McCotter a selfish, egocentric jerk. Actually, he went off the charts on the assholeometer by resigning from Congress. That leaves the 700,000-plus people he swore to represent without any congressman for the next six months.

That is, unless Gov. Rick Snyder decides to hold a special election. But doing so wouldn't make much sense. It would take weeks, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and produce a congressman whose very district would soon be completely transformed, thanks to new redistricting boundaries, in January.

Congressmen, by the way, do a lot more than cast votes. They get kids into military schools, help constituents with easily solved grievances against the federal government, have their staffs trace down lost Social Security checks, and perform other services.

Two years ago, McCotter promised the people he represented that if they re-elected him, he would keep doing that until January 2013. Now, he has, in essence, given his voters a big Fuck You.

After resigning, the ex-congressman whined, "I'm finished, I'm done." We can only hope so. The press traditionally has been too kind to McCotter — probably because, despite being a right-wing Republican, he likes to play guitar in a rock band and spout Bob Dylan quotes.

But so what? Fifty years ago, a drunken, snarling Richard Nixon bowed out of politics in his "last press conference" after losing the governorship of California. Watching the spectacle, President John F. Kennedy said, "He went out the same way he came in; no class." True enough, but the voters and the media later forgot who he was. 

America paid the price for that memory lapse. Let's hope nobody ever forgets who Thaddeus McCotter really is.


Detroit follies — the latest sequel: Not surprisingly, Krystal Crittendon, the city's reality-challenged corporation counsel, is furthering her crusade to take the city down by continuing to fight the consent agreement in court.

Last month, Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette threw her silly lawsuit out in minutes, essentially saying it was frivolous. But now, possibly drunk on seeing her name in the headlines, Crittendon has asked him to reconsider.

The consent agreement was crafted last April, you may remember, to allow the city to share power and responsibility with the state as Detroit figures out the painful economic adjustments needed to avoid bankruptcy. The only real alternative was for the governor to appoint an emergency manager, in which case city officials, including Critttendon, would lose all their powers. 

Any other mayor would have fired her long ago, and indeed Dave Bing tried. But a quirk of the new charter doesn't allow him to do so unless two-thirds of the City Council agrees to do so. Detroit's dysfunctional council won't, of course, mainly because of its flamboyant leader, former local Fox News anchor Charles Pugh.

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