Most Read
  • Detroit area code 313 may be phased out

    Hey, everybody from the 313, start thinking of new numbers to rally around– the longstanding Detroit area code may be phased out. Our friends over at the Detroit News report that pending a revised estimate next week, the North American Numbering Plan Administration will stop handing out 313 telephone prefixes on new phone numbers. Detroiters with existing cell phone lines would be able to keep their current area codes, while those with land lines would change. via Detroit News: The venerable 313 will ultimately become overtaxed. Even as Detroit’s population has fallen, cellphone usage has accelerated like one of those smoldering SRT Vipers that Dodge has been bolting together at Conner Avenue Assembly — which is, of course, comfortably within the confines of 313. … When the first five dozen area codes were assigned nearly 70 years ago, says NANPA’s Tom Foley, “that was expected basically to last forever.” Instead, somebody invented fax machines, and then somebody else came up with cellphones, and lots of somebody elses decided to give them to 10-year-olds, and meantime the population grew to 300 million. Now every telephone carrier is required to submit twice-yearly forecasts of its needs in each area code, factoring in […]

    The post Detroit area code 313 may be phased out appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last night’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, which, in case you were unaware, is a 16-member board established to weigh in on the new Red Wings arena near downtown. About three dozen residents and property owners cast ballots by the 8 p.m. deadline on Wednesday inside the Block at Cass Park, The Detroit News reports. It’s the culmination of a handful of community meetings which began weeks ago. Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez facilitated the meetings, but emphasized at previous meetings that it’s up to the community to conduct business. According to the News, the 12 candidates selected include: Michael Boettcher, Richard Etue, Jason Gapa, Francis Grunow, Steve Guether, Paul Hughes, Ray Litt, Warner Doyle McBryde, Karen McLeod, Delphia Simmons, Melissa Thomas and Anthony Zander. Joel Landy, a land owner in the area, lost his bid. The City Council appointed four candidates last month. As we reported in this week’s issue, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was negotiated after Olympia Development of Michigan, Detroit Red Wing’s owner Mike Ilitch’s real estate arm, balked on a proposed community benefits agreement.  The committee is charged with the task of offering input on the arena’s design, parking security and more.

    The post Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag

    The Magic Bag in Ferndale will host James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. A press release reads, “James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched […]

    The post James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit

    The Dead Kennedys, still with local boy Klaus Flouride in the ranks, will play St. Andrew’s Hall on Tuesday, June 24. Alongside Flouride and fellow original members East Bay Ray and DH Peligro, the current lineup includes singer Ron “Skip” Greer, taking the place of Jello Biafra. Downtown Brown will open that show, which starts at 7 p.m., with tickets priced $20-$25. Give Klaus a hero’s hometown welcome. Just over a week before that, strangely enough, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine will play at the Magic Stick. It’s a weird coincidence, but one that DK fans should be happy to embrace. That show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $17-$19. Local hardcore vets Negative Approach play before Jello, with the Crashdollz opening the show. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain

    The Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present a police drama called A Steady Rain May 2 through 24. Planet Ant veterans Ryan Carlson and York Griffith will star in the play, written by House of Cards and Mad Men co-writer Keith Huff. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale now at According to the press release, “A Steady Rain by Keith Huff focuses on Joey and Denny, best friends since kindergarten and partners on the police force whose loyalty to each other is tested by domestic affairs, violence and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey helps Denny with his family and Denny helps Joey stay off the bottle. But when a routine disturbance call takes a turn for the worse their loyalty is put to the ultimate test.First produced at Chicago Dramatists, A Steady Rain appeared on Broadway featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The Planet Ant production of A Steady Rain is directed by York Griffith featuring Ryan Carlson and Andy Huff. This marks the return of two of Planet Ant’s founding members. Carlson and Griffith. Griffith has served as the theatre’s Artistic Director where he directed the critically-acclaimed productions The Adding Machine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? […]

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

  • You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face

    There is no easy answer to the question regarding what should be done with Detroit’s abandoned homes. However, an Eastern Market company has a solution that could reflect Detroit’s possibly bright future. Homes Eyewear has set out to make the city a little more stylish, and do their part in cleaning it up by repurposing select woods from neglected homes for sunglasses. All of the wood that Homes uses is harvested from vacant houses with the assistance of Reclaim Detroit. A lot of work goes into prepping the wood to be cut and shaped into frames. Homes goes through each piece to remove nails, paint or anything else detrimental to their production (it’s a bit strange to think that your wooden sunglasses could have had family portraits nailed to them). In order to produce more durable eyewear, they salvage only hardwoods like maple or beech, which are difficult to come by as most of the blighted homes were built with softer woods like Douglas fir and pine. If you’re worried about looking goofy, or shudder at the thought of salvaged wood resting on your nose, you can rest easy. Homes currently offers frames in the popular wayfarer style and are developing their unique spin on the classic aviators. For as […]

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



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Politics & Prejudices

Obama's trouble

Why Obama and Dems should toot their horns louder

"Here's my big bitch," a lady who lives in Dearborn Heights and has five kids wrote to me last weekend. "The socialized medicine that BO [President Barack Obama] was supposed to implement is an utter failure."

Wonderful, I thought. Another person brainwashed by the insurance lobby and their front women, Sarah Palin and her mini-me, Delaware's Christine "I am not a witch" O'Donnell, whose anti-masturbation crusade has inspired the nation.

But I was wrong. Disillusioned in Dearborn Heights had a different take on all this, which may explain some of why health care reform isn't more popular: "I have way too many friends, or just humans I know, [who] remain without coverage. I am not one of them, but for as much hoopla as there was about passing the legislation there should have been a result. I am begging you to make a public comment."

Fair enough, and here it is: There hasn't been much result because most of the health care benefits don't take effect till the year 2014!

That was to give the insurance industry, etc., time to prepare. They seem not to be doing that; instead they are raising money like mad to try to repeal the health care bill.

Some of the health care bill's provisions have kicked into effect in the last few weeks. Insurance companies can no longer deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition, or kick you off the rolls if you get sick. If you have coverage already, you can keep your children on your policy till they turn 26.

But most of the bill, the part that makes it possible for nearly all Americans to have coverage, hasn't taken effect yet.

Politically, setting things up that way may have been a mistake. Consumers are hearing scare stories, most of them pure lies, spread by special interests with deep pockets — and who, thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in January, are allowed to spend unlimited amounts.

The Obama administration ought to have been doing a lot more to educate people; ought to be running a vast education campaign about what is in this bill and what is really at stake.

"Health care reform is on the way. Don't let them steal it from you." That's what the voters need to be told. But money may be lacking, and the president seems to be making another "mistake" as well: He seems to be too focused on doing his job.

Rochelle Riley, the Detroit Free Press columnist, took part in a mass interview session with the president recently. She said he compared himself with Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball. Obama said he thought that when he was a player, Old Number 42 was largely focused not on his historic legacy, but on his and the team's performance.

"I tend to just be focused on getting hits and making plays." Naturally, you'd think that was exactly what the job of the president should be. Except that he was wrong about Jackie Robinson. He was always conscious back in 1947 that he represented all of black America.

If he had blown it, either by playing poorly or having a bad attitude, he might have ruined his people's chances for years. He wasn't even allowed to fight back when racists on the field attacked or spiked him for his first three years.

Fortunately he was a great player and a greater diplomat, and he succeeded at everything. Unfortunately, he was dead at 52; the strain involved sent him to an early grave. But he went out a winner. The lesson for President Obama is that today a president has to be both superb at what he does, and the most effective chief propagandist of his administration.

Some 40 million Americans without any health care insurance are going to have health care in a few years, thanks to President Obama. This country narrowly escaped another Great Depression — so far — again thanks to President Barack Hussein Obama.

We might all be selling apples on street corners if John McCain had won, and he and the nasty nitwit were now in power. (See the October Vanity Fair if you want to know who Sarah Palin really is, and what she is like.) Closer to home, General Motors and Chrysler almost certainly would no longer exist if it hadn't been for President Obama saving them.

Yet Obama, and the Democrats, aren't doing nearly enough to blow their own horns. Thanks to that, and the nonstop barrage of right-wing propaganda, some masquerading as news under cover of the Fox network, they've allowed their enemies to define them in the public mind.

They need to do better, fast. Responsible journalists need to limit the amount of time they give to Christine O'Donnell, who is running from a state the size of a postage stamp. They need to do more to point out that her record is pretty much a tissue of lies, from start to finish. The so-called "Tea Party revolt" has resulted in some very bizarre candidates, from the outrageous Sharron Angle to one Rich Iott in Toledo.

Iott, a dropout from Hillsdale College, hates "Obamacare," but has a hard time articulating an alternative to it, or much else. He's been running a well-funded congressional campaign against longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, and seemed to be giving her a race. Until, that is, Atlantic magazine revealed that for years he liked to dress up as a Nazi SS officer with a group that re-enacted the exploits of a particular SS division.

Where do they get these people??


News blues: Everybody agrees that an informed public is vitally important, and that newspapers supply a quality and dimension of news other media don't. For one thing, the vast majority of news itself — "content" — is gathered by newspapers.

Gathering serious news is hard, difficult and important work. Yet you'd never know that from the utter contempt with which Gannett treats its workers. Union contracts have expired at the Detroit newspapers, both effectively controlled by Free Press owner Gannett, and the company is demanding a 12 percent wage cut.

That, plus employee health care contributions would go up by 1 percent a year, with perhaps lesser coverage as well. According to a memo from the Newspaper Guild's Lou Mleczko, the company's health care proposal "contains no details."

The company has refused to budge on any of its demands, and the unions plan to schedule votes on whether to accept the contract on Halloween, which seems curiously appropriate.

How they vote probably won't matter, since the company will likely declare an impasse and impose what changes it wants anyway. Meanwhile, Gannett's quarterly report posted a 37 percent increase in earnings!

True, revenue from the company's 80 newspapers was down 4.8 percent, though they were still profitable. But broadcast and Internet revenue soared. Does this justify giving newspaper folks in Detroit huge pay cuts — and then freezing salaries for two years?

Evidently, Gannett thinks it does. Why? Because they figure they can get away with it. Fifteen years ago, the workers went on an ill-planned, ill-prepared strike. Local unions took on nationwide companies with deep pockets, and were utterly defeated.

Detroit can expect even worse newspapers in the future.

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