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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    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

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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