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    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

Michigan primary follies

The mess is nothing new — Henry Ford won twice

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

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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