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  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

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Politics & Prejudices

Michigan primary follies

The mess is nothing new — Henry Ford won twice

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Suddenly, Michigan's presidential primary may actually turn out to mean something this year. If Mitt Romney loses, in the state where he was born and won easily in 2008, he could be finished.

Those behind-the-scenes strategists and money men who have been backing him in the belief that he has the best (if not only) chance to beat President Obama, may reluctantly conclude that the rank and file just aren't willing to buy their plastic Ken doll, and turn elsewhere.

That, as Curt Guyette ably explains elsewhere in this week's cover story, is a situation that could lead to anything from a dark horse candidate to a brokered convention. "I never believed this would happen," Bill Ballenger, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, told me. 

Now a word of caution — it is far from certain that Romney is really on the ropes. Polls in a primary contest are all but worthless, especially those taken more than a few days before the voting.

Most people have jobs and lives and only pay sporadic attention to politics and elections anyway, especially primaries. The one thing that's relatively certain is that most registered voters won't vote.

Won't vote at all, that is. That means that those who do turn up to vote in February tend to be the strongly committed and often stridently ideological, along with a few party faithful and a dwindling number who think voting in any election is their duty.

Fanatics do vote in primaries, which is why Rick Santorum has been doing so well. This is a man who is not only against abortion, he is against contraception, mothers having careers, and has equated gay relationships with "man on dog" sex.

Santorum looks like a nice, charming, unthreatening youngish man, who promises to return us to the well-scrubbed world of the family TV shows of the 1950s, a world that never actually existed.

But he really is right-wing religious extremism in a sweater vest, and terribly frightening to those who look behind his soothing words. 

However, he doesn't have the money or the organization, nor do the professionals really think Santorum can be elected president. Ballenger thinks it possible, even likely, that things can be turned around for Romney in time to give him a victory and shove him toward Super Tuesday on March 6. 

But regardless of who wins, the good news is that the primary apparently won't be an irrelevant farce this year. Four years ago, Michigan politicians of both parties conspired to make our presidential process the laughingstock of the nation.

Not for the first time, either. Here's what they did. Top Michigan Democrats and Republicans wanted to look big, get a piece of the action, and impress their buds on the national scene.

Saul Anuzis, the then-GOP chair, had ambitions of being elected chair of the national party. 

On the other side, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Democratic State Committeewoman Debbie Dingell and State Party Chair-for-Life Mark Brewer figured Hillary Clinton was the certain nominee. They wanted to ingratiate themselves with her. So they broke party rules and held the primary in the middle of January.

The National Democratic Party was furious. They stripped Michigan of all its delegates. (They gave half of them back months later, when that was utterly meaningless.) Every serious Democratic candidate kept their names off the ballot, except for Clinton.

National Republicans weren't happy either, and took half Michigan's delegates away, but otherwise didn't interfere.

Not surprisingly, Mitt Romney, who had not yet shown any desire to let the auto industry die, won, mainly on the strength of his family name. Less than two months later, his campaign was over.

The only thing Michigan got out of its early primary was the distinction of being the only state in the nation that didn't have Obama on the ballot. Say, were you surprised that Granholm wasn't even offered a job as White House doorkeeper afterward?

Actually, Michigan's primary has been Massasauga-rattlesnake pit pretty much from the start, largely because the politicians keep tampering with it. Primary elections first came about during the Progressive era a century ago, when muckraking journalists advanced the idea that the people should have a say in picking the nominees.

So who do you suppose won the very first Michigan GOP primary, back in 1916? Why, Henry Ford, of course! He wasn't a candidate, but, hey, he provided lots of good-paying jobs.

Just to show our good bipartisan spirit and a continuing devotion to the cause of making Michigan irrelevant, Henry Ford won the Michigan Democratic primary eight years later.

When the Great Depression hit, Michigan abolished its primary, largely because we could no longer afford it, and the bosses went back to picking convention delegates and candidates in smoke-filled rooms. However, then came 1968, when the will of the people was pretty much totally ignored by Democratic bosses.

That led to a revolt that brought back the primary in 1972, in Michigan and other states, and we had a far higher turnout, in both actual votes and percentage turning out, than in any year since.

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