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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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Politics & Prejudices

Long live socialism

The great right-wing swindle has hoodwinked too many

Here's the truth: I love socialism, and so do you, even though you may well neither know it, nor admit it. Matter of fact, so do most of the poseurs trying for the Republican presidential nomination.

They, however, want socialism only for the rich, and never call it that. Instead, they pretend what they call "socialism" is the problem. Well, if you want to see someone who lived a life free of socialism, go to Italy.

There, you can visit the body of the so-called "Ice Man," who was found after being frozen for 5,000 years. He was in his 40s; his teeth were decayed, his body was pretty much worn out, and, oh, yes, he had been murdered. But at least he didn't have to pay taxes.

Nor did he have police protection, schools, health care, roads or any agency in charge of seeing he wasn't sold tainted reindeer meat.

Well, he may have led a life Ron Paul would love, but the rest of us would probably prefer the sort of government intrusion that prevents someone from pissing in our drinking water.

Some of us are even so addicted to the road to serfdom that we think we should all have to pay taxes to make sure our kids are educated, our roads safe and people get at least minimal health care.

Well, enough of my subtle sarcasm. Libertarianism, the idea that you need virtually no government except perhaps for national defense, is a great philosophy for teenage boys from Bloomfield Hills. However, it doesn't work for grown-ups.

Right now, our economy is not in good shape. The national debt is not as large an immediate threat as the right-wing howlers in Congress would have you believe, but there is cause for concern. When Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, it was less than $1 trillion.

That is to say, the nation had run up a trillion dollars in unpaid borrowing since Thomas Jefferson scratched out the Declaration of Independence in 1776. However, since then, that deficit has ballooned to $14 trillion, and is now increasing by more than a trillion dollars a year.

Nobody disputes that. Nor does anyone dispute that a couple trillion have been added by the Obama administration, in a narrowly successful effort to prevent the Great Recession from turning into a second Great Depression, in which you might well starve to death.

Where you are being told the big lie, mainly by the Republicans, is in what the real cause of these huge deficits are, and what ought to be done about them. From Michele Bachmann to Mitt Romney, they will tell you that "entitlements" are too high. That we can't afford health care, and may not be able to afford Social Security.

They are all itching to cut wages and benefits for public servants, and the one thing they'd all agree we must never, ever, think about is raising taxes, especially on the rich.

What is most remarkable about that is not that it is bullshit and blatant hypocrisy. It is that they have persuaded an astonishing number of us to believe this. Some years ago, I had a not-very-bright student who was also poor. She never finished her degree, largely because she couldn't afford to. The only job she could get was cleaning the bathrooms at a McDonald's. But she was a right-wing Republican who once told me she was dead set against raising taxes, even to help students like herself. Why?

"Because I intend to be rich someday," she said.

The myth that we can all be rich is another howler we've been sold. We are in our current mess, in large part, because, starting with Reagan, there has been a tremendous redistribution of wealth in the country. We've been transferring wealth from the poor to the rich — especially, the richest one-tenth of 1 percent of the population.

Essentially, what Mitt Romney and his fellow defenders of greed are doing is sitting down with a hungry worker and an unemployed person over a plate of nine hamburgers.

Romney grabs eight of the burgers, looks at the worker, and points at the jobless person. "He wants to steal your hamburger," he says. The incredible thing is that many workers buy it.

Barely a decade ago, our economy was in fine shape. When the much-reviled President Clinton left office, we were running consistent surpluses for the first time since World War II!

We were actually starting to reduce the national debt. And then along came George W. Bush, who ended the surplus and once again plunged us into the red by having a Republican Congress enact huge tax cuts, the vast majority of which went to the rich.

Again, nobody can dispute this; the numbers and analyses of what they mean are available in many places. William Gale, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, recently published an easily understandable explanation of all this in the Washington Post.

When this is pointed out to the more intelligent supporters of the great right-wing swindle, they will say, "Yes, but they use their tax cuts to create jobs," and "they spend that money and further stimulate the economy." They sometimes even use those arguments to argue in favor of even more tax cuts for the rich.

This is all nonsense. As Gale notes, "most Bush tax cut dollars go to higher-income households, and these top earners don't spend as much of their income as lower earners."

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