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    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

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    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

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    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Politics & Prejudices

Mitt Romney's world

'My job is not to worry about those people'

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Romney told a private gathering about his team of "Karl Rove equivalents."

Sometimes in the course of a campaign, politicians beat up on each other for weeks without having much of an effect on the voters.

But once in a while, something happens that suddenly crystallizes opinion and forever fixes an impression in the public mind. The clearest example of that I ever saw was on Oct. 5, 1988.

Democrat Lloyd Bentsen and Republican Dan Quayle were going at it in their vice presidential debate. The selection of Quayle, a lightweight 41-year-old senator from Indiana, had stunned members of both parties who felt that he was in no way up to the job.

Unwisely, Quayle attempted to compare his experience to that of John F. Kennedy. Bentsen, who was old enough to be Quayle's daddy, intoned in his deep baritone, "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine," and he paused, before adding, "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

The cameras cut to Quayle's shocked, deer-in-the-headlights face. In an instant, Quayle's political future was over.

Ironically, he did end up becoming vice president; fortunately for him, we don't elect vice presidents separately, and nobody could have saved the hapless Michael Dukakis from defeat. 

But Dan Quayle spent his four years in office mainly as fodder for gag writers. When he eventually ran for president on his own, few noticed. Though today he is the same age as Mitt Romney, Quayle has been pretty much completely forgotten.

Which brings us to Mitt, who last week suffered what may turn out to be his own Dan Quayle moment — except Romney's was far deeper, more self-revealing and completely self-inflicted.

For months, Democrats have argued that Romney was an out-of-touch rich guy who doesn't give a damn about ordinary people. This wasn't especially imaginative on their part. Democrats try to pin that label on almost every Republican, often with no success.

But then Romney proved they were righter than they probably knew. The evidence is a fascinating surreptitious videotape of the candidate speaking at a fat-cat Florida fundraiser in May.

You can easily find the videotape, or read a transcript of it, on the Internet. But reading it isn't enough; you need to see it; need to see his facial expressions, his tone. Romney officially may be a Mormon, maybe even wears their funny underwear. But this video makes it clear he is really a sneering Social Darwinist.

If you aren't rich, if you haven't made millions, if you need some sort of help from the government of any kind, well, then, you are an inferior specimen and lower life form. To quote the video:

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president, no matter what ... who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it." 

"That's an entitlement," Romney explained helpfully, and the lower orders evidently feel that "the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what." 

Throw in a few deluded liberal dupes with jobs, and "I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48 — he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that's what they sell every four years."

What would he do for the lower orders? Evidently, kick them to the side of the road. "My job is not to worry about those people — I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." Mark Dobias, an irreverent lawyer in Sault Ste. Marie, sent me a one-word e-mail: Untermenschen.

Yes, mein führer, that's about the size of it. No, I'm not implying Romney is a Nazi. He doesn't want to exterminate these people; just cut off their freebies, and then I suppose have them work in our kitchens and sewers for a pittance and be neither seen nor heard.

There are other fascinating revelations on this tape. The only time I ever interviewed Romney, five years ago, it was clear he thought he was the most intelligent person on the planet.

It must be wonderful indeed for Mitt to greet his mirror every morning. His belief in his own cleverness is fascinating. 

At one point, he mentions that he wrote a book that "lays out my view for what has to happen in the country," before modestly adding "people who are fascinated by policy will read the book," the title of which (No Apology: The Case for American Greatness) he never even bothers to mention. No wonder; as he candidly adds:

"I don't think it will have a significant impact ... a setting like this, a highly intellectual subject, a discussion of a whole series of important topics typically doesn't win elections." He said he'd leave that to the ads, and bragged, "I have a whole team of extraordinarily experienced, highly successful consultants ... Karl Rove equivalents," whom Mitt evidently relies on to sell him like any other product. 

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