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    The post Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face

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    The post You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor

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    The post Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor

    The Detroit Metro Times, Detroit’s award-winning alternative weekly media company, is proud to announce the recent hire of Valerie Vande Panne as Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning independent journalist and Michigan native, Vande Panne’s work has appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business, The Daily Beast, and Salon, among other publications. Previously, Vande Panne attended Harvard University and was a regular contributor to The Boston Phoenix, and a news editor of High Times magazine. She has spent years covering drug policy among other subjects, including the environment, culture, lifestyle, extreme sports, and academia. “Valerie understands our business and what we expect to accomplish in Detroit. She has an excellent sense for stories that will move our readers, as well as experience with balancing print and digital content. I’m excited to have her at the paper and trust her leadership as we move forward,” said Detroit Metro Times publisher Chris Keating.

    The post Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’

    She welcomes you when you enter Detroit, from every direction, with the one word that might just be Detroit’s biggest philosophical question: Injured? Joumana Kayrouz is deeper than the inflated image watching over Detroit, peddling justice to the poor and broken of the city. This Wednesday, Drew Philp takes us behind the billboard and into the heart of the Kayrouz quest. (And all of Brian Rozman’s photos of Kayrouz have not been retouched.) Check out MT‘s cover story, on newsstands Wednesday!

    The post Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt

    There was a fire in an upstairs apartment at PJ’s Lager House on Monday evening. No people were hurt, although three cats belonging to the tenants died after CPR. The fire broke out around 10:30 p.m. during a show featuring Zombie Jesus & the Chocolate Sunshine Band, Curtin, and Jeffrey Jablonsky. “We just smelled smoke and someone yelled everyone has to get out,” 33-year-old Nick Leu told MLive. On the Lager House Facebook page in the early hours of the morning, a post said, “We at PJ’s lager House would like to thank everyone for their care and concern. Also, a very big THANK YOU to all who stepped up to do what they could this evening. The fire was contained to the upstairs but due to water damage in the bar, we will be closed until it can be assessed. Everyone is safe and we will keep you updated.” A later update read, “Update from the big boss. Since there was no damage to the stage side of the bar, the show will go on tomorrow! You may have to enter through the back door and there may not be a large selection of booze but we are going […]

    The post Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Politics & Prejudices

More of Moroun’s lies in bridge battle

More trouble over un-bridged waters

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

The mailing from Americans for Prosperity (front)

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

The mailing from Americans for Prosperity (back)

Contrary to what you might think, I have friends whose politics are different from mine. Last week, I got an angry and indignant letter from a longtime woman friend, now a rising star in the corporate world. She is Republican to her very core.

For many years, she worked for GOP causes and campaigns, and held positions in state government. I suspect we cancel each other out in most meaningful state and national elections.

She is a happy and easygoing person, with a far sunnier disposition than mine. But this time, she was angrier than I've ever seen her, and not at President Obama or the liberals.

My friend was raging at the "misinformation and outright lies," spread by Matty Moroun, his wife and son, and all the Permian-era creatures on their Ambassador Bridge payroll.

"Lies! Loads of misinformation and outright lies," she wrote, enclosing a flier sent to her home by one of Matty Moroun's front organizations, Americans for Prosperity, a group funded by the infamous Koch brothers. "They deliberately use messaging that will get GOP voters in an uproar. They are intimidating public officials by telling them that they will all have primaries. They are papering over the truth with money," she wrote heatedly.

I looked at the flier. I've been covering campaigns of all sorts since the 1970s. Virtually all of them exaggerate, stretch the truth, demonize the opposition, etc. But I've never seen anything like this.

The flier urged voters to call their state senator and make sure he stays in line opposing any new bridge.

Why? Well, it claims that the bridge would mean $550 million in new debt to Canada (a lie; this is money they'd recoup from toll revenues when the new bridge generates them).

It claims the bridge would cost "$2.2 billion hard-earned tax dollars," which is an amazing and double lie, since A) the bridge would cost Michigan nothing and B) would actually mean we get $2.2 billion from Washington in matching highway money to fix our roads.

Finally, the Americans for Prosperity flier claims the new bridge would mean "$100 million in welfare-style community benefits giveaways," on which my Republican friend had scrawled "LIES!"

By the way, I cannot identify my source because she now works in the private sector, in a job that requires her not to take any public political position whatsoever. But I can say she has never steered me wrong in all the years I've known her. 

"Community benefits aren't swimming pools," she said, something else Americans for Prosperity has been claiming. This woman is in a position to know; she has worked in high-level state positions and is familiar with what happens with major projects.

"In fact," she explained, "community benefits are things that would be negotiated by the bridge concessionaire [whoever gets the contract to build the New International Trade Crossing] and the community — Michigan taxpayers would not foot the bill.

"Many of these are items which are already federally required — Washington requires certain things when projects of this magnitude are done, to help mitigate impacts on a community — things like air quality monitoring, etc.," she added.

The reason the Morouns are using the term "community benefits" stems back to last month, when a bill to bring the new bridge to the full Senate unexpectedly failed to get out of committee when two Democratic state senators refused to vote either way.

Last week, I said they "also pulled the rug out from under us by not voting at the last moment."

Turns out that may have been a little harsh. Here's what actually happened. The Democrats, Tupac Hunter, the minority floor leader, and Virgil Smith, both of Detroit, were seen as yes votes.

But at the last minute, they presented a substitute bill calling for community benefits for the people of the impoverished Delray area.

State Sen. Mike Kowall (R-White Lake Township), the committee chair, said he was totally blindsided, and refused to consider the amendment. The idea that he was surprised is hard to believe. Gov. Snyder toured Delray July 26 and pledged that any new bridge would include a benefits package for the community.

In fact, the Democrats believed they had an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) to support the language. But he denied this, and so they refused to vote.

Kowall's refusal makes more sense when you realize he has been in Moroun's pocket from the start. He takes the billionaire's money for his campaigns, and opposes a new bridge. 

But why did the Democrats play into Moroun's hands? Why not vote to get it out of committee, and then continue the fight on the full Senate floor? Last week I sat down at a Starbucks with Tupac Hunter.

Hunter has been in the Legislature for nine years, though he is only 38. He has a track record of doing what he thinks is right; when the Democratic establishment was rigging the primary for Hillary Clinton three years ago, Tupac held out stubbornly for a guy who wasn't even on the Michigan ballot: Barack Obama.

This time, he told me the issue came down to a few hundred poor people, and one broken promise. "The people who have been forgotten are those who live in the area," he said.

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