Trending
Most Read
  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of buildingdetroit.org, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now

    The schedule for Blowout 17, taking place Wednesday April 30 to Saturday May 3 in Hamtramck, Detroit and Ferndale, is available to see now. Visit MtBlowout.com to see the schedule and plan your festival. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s

    The Trash Brats hardly ever play live anymore, so each show feels like an event. Wandering around Small’s in Hamtramck late Saturday night, there’s a near-carnival atmosphere in the air. The Brats were never supposed to be taken seriously, but years on-and-off the radar have given the band the gift of respect born out of longevity. We’re not being dismissive at all. In fact, no amount of kooky faces from guitarist Ricky Rat and bassist Toni Romeo can hide the fact that these boys can play and the band writes killer bubblegum sleaze-rock tunes. The fact that the venue was packed compared to, say, a recent show by internationally known punk icons Sylvain Sylvain and Glen Matlock (which you would think would attract a similar audience) is testament to the fact that, in Detroit, the Trash Brats command a certain reverence. Before the Trash Brats took to the stage, local punks The Dives kicked off the night with a set of sincere, energetic and well-performed, if standard, punk rock. No frills (besides frontman Ron McPherson’s dapper suit), the band features members of the Junk Monkeys, the Black Mollies and the Joint Chiefs, and it drives through a set of catchy, […]

    The post City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art

    By: Ayana Bryant-Weekes The Red Bull House of Art, a multidisciplinary and collaborative art project, relieves the stress of financial limitation or lack of tools and space so budding artists can manifest their creative dreams right here in Detroit. Six artists are selected for a three-month residency where they are provided individual studio space and materials, allowing their artistic concepts to flow freely. At the end of each residency is an unveiling and public display at the Red Bull House of Art Gallery. As show curator Matt Eaton told us in a 2013 interview, “The selection process for the current crop of artists was just the same as every round. The goal is not to find the hippest, coolest artists (though I think they are all very cool), but to find the people who may not typically have a voice.” This year, for the first time, Red Bull House of Art will showcase more than just Detroit artists. National artists from across the country in a special artist-in-residency program will have the opportunity to showcase their work to a much broader audience, and bring a national art stage to the Motor City. Since opening, 54 Detroit-based artists have been given the […]

    The post Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

Calendar

Calendar

Search thousands of events in our database.

Restaurants

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Nightlife

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email

Politics & Prejudices

Of sex and injustice

Why the Michigan Sex Offender List needs to be abolished as soon as possible.

Some years ago, I talked to a heartbroken woman who lived near the Ohio border. Her daughter, who was younger than 16, the legal age of consent in Michigan, had been willingly having sex with her 17-year-old boyfriend, an honor student. The kids wouldn't stop doing it, surprise, surprise, and the mom then took them to court.

When the boy, who was hoping for scholarships and acceptance at an Ivy League school, learned that he was going to end up on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, he felt that his life was ruined. Soon after, he drove his car into the path of an oncoming tractor-trailer. He left no note, and his death technically could have been an accident, but everyone knew it wasn't.

Welcome to our wonderful world of stigma.

It's called the Michigan Sex Offender List, and is a terrible thing that needs to be abolished — as soon as possible. It was born of a half-baked noble idea that was rushed into law in Lansing and turned into something dangerously bad. This all started in 1994, when Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl, was brutally raped and murdered. The scum who did it was a convicted felon who had served time for other sex crimes, and who lived across the street. Megan's parents had no idea of his background.

A national outcry led to Congress requiring persons convicted of sex crimes against children to notify law enforcement of any future change of address or employment, in some cases, for the rest of their lives. That itself ought to make us a bit uneasy; it sounds like something that would happen in a place like the Soviet Union, where prisoners often weren't allowed to leave Siberia even after they did their time. However, given the nature of sex criminals, and our legitimate interest in protecting children, this action might conceivably be justifiable in the interests of society.

What happened next, however, wasn't. New Jersey passed something known as "Megan's Law," which required the state to maintain a database listing all released sex offenders — and to notify communities whenever an offender moved into the neighborhood. Supposedly, that's so parents can keep little Billy away from the pervert's house. In fact, that sounds like a sure-fire way to make it impossible for these folks ever to rehabilitate themselves, and maybe even an open invitation to vigilante action. (Little Susie's late coming home from school? Let's string up the neighborhood pervs!)

Michigan then did something even worse. We created a registry listing people convicted of all sorts of "sex" crimes, showing people's driver's license pictures, telling where people live and indicating something about the severity of their crimes through a vague and confusing system of numbered categories.

Investigations have shown that the site is frequently out of date and lists wrong addresses. Worse, serial child rapists are there next to people who — when they were 16 — had sex with their eager and willing 15-year-old girlfriend or boyfriend. You can even get on the sex offender registry for indecent exposure, meaning it may well contain some drunken frat boys arrested for urinating in the South Quad.

To add to the monstrosity of this, once you get on the list, you stay on for at least 10 years, sometimes for life. This got new attention earlier this month, after it was revealed that a 14-year-old girl in Wayne County's Huron Township had sex with an 18-year-old classmate. Neither knew how old the other was.

Initially, both said it was not only consensual, the girl approached him. Then, however, the child had second thoughts and claimed she was raped. Classmates made fun of her, and she killed herself. Had she lived, the boy would have ended up on the offender list even if she had stuck to her story that she seduced him.

He also would have gone to jail. But since the only witness is now dead, he's home free. Which is a nutty system. But for those whose partners haven't died — how is somebody supposed to get a job and turn their lives around when they are on that list?

I just called it up and plugged in my fairly upper-middle-class ZIP code. There was one name in my neighborhood, but when I clicked on his info to see what he had been convicted of, I got knocked off the registry.

The Michigan State Police specifically say they won't verify for the accuracy of the registry's information. Nor does it do any good in preventing crime. Two years ago, a study of a similar New Jersey law found that the registry had no effect on reducing sexual offenses, re-offenses or the number of victims. What the law did do was cost the state a lot of money.

Obviously, this turkey should be repealed, and replaced with a law that requires authorities to keep close tabs on dangerous sexual predators, or, if it isn't politically possible to entirely get rid of a sex offender list, have it only for convicted child molesters.

Actually, if somebody is that dangerous, they probably shouldn't be out on the street. We need, as penal experts now say, to lock up the people we are legitimately afraid of, not the ones we are mad at. I wouldn't have any problem with stiffer penalties for dangerous sex criminals, especially if the Legislature wanted to save us millions by releasing a lot of nonviolent criminals.

Incidentally, I have a selfish interest in abolishing the sex offender registry; I might easily have been on it. Not because of anything I did when I was in high school; I was far too socially inept, and the only woman I now want is older than the president.

But I do take my dog to public woods, and once or twice, at night, after a day of coffee drinking, I have had to join him in peeing on trees. All things considered, I would rather not have my driver's license picture on the registry. It makes my face look fat.


Women who need real justice:
Last week I saw former Gov. William Milliken, a man who has devoted his life to justice. I was curious to know what he was thinking about the new administration. I found, however, that he was much more focused on the present — specifically, on a favorite cause of his: Unjustly imprisoned women in Michigan prisons. For years, he has supported the Michigan Women's Justice and Clemency Project.

He and Carol Jacobsen, a University of Michigan professor who directs the project, have petitioned Gov. Jennifer Granholm to commute the sentences of dozens of battered women. I've looked at their case files. Most probably never should have been in prison at all; they were the victims of bad lawyers and insensitive judges.

Some killed boyfriends and husbands who were attacking them or their children. Some were dragged along on crime sprees by criminal lovers, more or less against their will. Others have been held far past any reasonable time they should have been behind bars.

Jennifer Granholm leaves office in five weeks; she can never run again, and has nothing to fear politically. She hasn't left much in the way of progressive legacy over the last eight years. Letting these poor women go would be a golden opportunity to do the right thing and correct an injustice.

Let's hope that in our lock-'em-up-obsessed world, the governor at last finds the courage to do the right thing.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus