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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

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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