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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

Leadership for sale

Lackeys in Lansing take a holiday

Michigan legislators make pretty good money, as state lawmaker salaries go. Every one of our 148 elected representatives will be paid more than $6,600 this month. Paid that by your poor, cash-strapped Michigan, paid with our taxpayer dollars ... even though they aren't doing any more of the people's business. They've knocked off for the year, you see.

They think they need another long paid vacation. That's not to say they solved the state's problems, or even made things better. They almost completely failed to address the state's real difficulties, such as school funding or the system that produces budget deficits year after year. Most didn't care enough.

And many of them were rewarded handsomely not to do anything serious to make life better for ordinary people.

Anyone who tried to do that could be assured that Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop would block anything decent from happening. He had one small failure: the smoking ban. The Rochester Republican didn't want to outlaw smoking in bars and restaurants, and for a time, prevented any vote on the issue. But in the end, part of his own caucus, led by state Sen. Tom George of Kalamazoo, revolted. George is normally a right-winger, but he's also a physician who knows that second-hand smoke kills people. Outgunned, Bishop had to let the good guys win this one last spring. But it probably wasn't all that big a deal to him; the opponents of the smoking ban weren't giving him the kind of money Matty Moroun was.

Want a perfect example of the failure of our democracy? Look at what happened last week with the proposed new Detroit River International Crossing Bridge. Virtually every business, labor and corporate interest wants a new bridge. Canada offered to front Michigan's costs, meaning we wouldn't have to pay a dime.

The project, state Sen. Ray Basham of Taylor told me, would create 10,000 good-paying construction and other jobs, most of which would go to Michigan residents. Sarah Hubbard, of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, said ripple effects meant the number of new jobs would expand to 35,000.

Anyone who knows how desperate people are, with unemployment running out for hundreds of thousands, knows how badly needed those jobs are. But two men were determined to prevent them from happening. Bishop, of course, but he was a mere lackey of the real bloated spider of corruption: That would be Manuel J. "Matty" Moroun, the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, who doesn't want his monopoly threatened.

Moroun, an 83-year-old billionaire and probably Detroit's worst slumlord (just think the hulking ruin of the old Michigan Central train station) sent forth his wage slaves and minions to block the new bridge. They lied, misrepresented, improperly seized city land, and most of all, got themselves the best government that their money can buy. Most of all, they showered politicians with cash contributions.

Newspaper reports indicate Moroun coughed up more than $1 million for federal and state candidates and political action committees in the last few years. More than $75,000 went to Bishop's campaign for the GOP nomination for attorney general. He didn't get it, which may prove the existence of some kind of god. What's interesting, however, is that the AG candidate is picked by party insiders, not voters. So what did Bishop need the money for? Moroun also gave at least $150,000 to committees to elect GOP Senate candidates.

Legal? Yes, thanks to our cockeyed system, which calls a billionaire's attempt to buy a legislature "free speech."

Rich Robinson of the Michigan Finance Network more accurately called it "a form of legalized bribery." But Moroun won, of course. Basham, who was also instrumental in getting the smoking ban accomplished, waged a heroic, last-ditch fight to the end.

In May, Bishop promised an up-or-down vote on the bridge, but cynically decided to break his word in November. Basham last week tried a legislative "Hail Mary pass," to get the bill to the floor. He was no match for Moroun's dollars.

That was that. Now, Moroun's activities have been written about many times before, in this column and elsewhere. The facts of the matter and the need for a new bridge were well-known. But that didn't make any difference to the lawmakers, or to an increasingly apathetic public. "Nobody cares!" said Macomb County Circuit Judge Matthew Switalski, when I ran into him at a party last weekend. The judge seemed mildly amazed. "You wrote about all these things, and people just don't care."

Yeah, well, what can you say? Everyone may be getting screwed. But hey, they can watch Hung on their DVRs any time they want to.

There was one mild bit of low comedy at the end. State Rep. Brian Calley, who will be Michigan's new lieutenant governor, is a run-of-the-mill conservative who, at the end of the session, made an impassioned plea to his fellow Republicans to require insurance coverage for autism.

Huh? Republicans never want to force insurance companies to do anything. However, Calley just happens to have an autistic child. Interesting how something like that can change your perspective. Calley was silly enough to try to persuade Mike Bishop and his pals to show signs of humanity.

"I don't think you've got a shot in hell," one wise senator correctly told him. Naturally, Bishop wouldn't allow a vote on autism either. If the new lieutenant governor wanted compassion and understanding, he'd have been better off going to Matty Moroun.

 

Final thoughts on Helen Thomas: Last May, the journalism legend was fired after she told a blogger with a video camera that Jews should get "the hell out" of Israel and go back to "Germany, Poland, America" or anyplace else.

Awful as those remarks were, it was possible to believe she was just having a bad day and was reacting irritably to what amounted to an ambush interview. Nor was it clear whether she was challenging Israel's right to exist, or merely saying that it should leave the territories their armies have occupied since the 1967 war.

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