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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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Higher Ground

Outlaws we remain

Despite Prop 19 defeat, we've still come a long way

It was kicks to see my caricature on the cover of last week's Metro Times, and I'd like to thank my editors for the honor as well as the many friends who've called the cover to my attention since the issue appeared.

Seeing the Metro Times pot issue and reading the fervent editorial by my esteemed colleague Curt Guyette sort of took some of the sting out of the extremely disappointing defeat of Proposition 19 in California the night before.

Combined with the even more chilling effect of the right-wing takeover of the House of Representatives and many of our governorships — including the victory of the "Tough Nerd" and his slate in our own state — the rejection of the "Tax and Regulate Cannabis" initiative means that we're in for at least two more years of the invasive police-state assault on marijuana smokers that we'd hoped so fervently would begin to come to an end last week.

There remain many positive signs that the idiocy and viciousness of the War on Drugs with respect to marijuana users may finally be overcome sooner rather than later. A respected poll released last week revealed that nationwide support for legalization of recreational use of weed has reached a new high of 46 percent.

And in California, David Borden reports in AlterNet that the list of mainstream organizations that endorsed Proposition 19 includes California NAACP, Latino Voters League, National Black Police Association, National Latino Officers Association, California Young Democrats, several trade union organizations, and a number of current and former California politicians from the local level up through Congress.

"Win or lose this time," Borden concludes, "a page in history has turned — drug policy reform is an issue whose time has come, and time is on our side."

In the meantime, however, those of us who enjoy a smoke without the benefit of possessing a Medical Marijuana Patient ID card will continue to be ostracized and victimized by the greedy mongers of the War on Drugs and the morality police, suffering the consequences of workplace drug testing and job loss, unreasonable searches and seizures, arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, impoundment of homes and vehicles, mandatory subjection to the vast drug treatment industry, and the entire range of humiliating and repressive treatment they have in store for us.

"The simple truth about America's marijuana prohibition," radical historian Harvey Wasserman points out in a recent essay, is that "any law that allows the easy incarceration of any citizen any time those in power want to do it is the ultimate enemy of democracy. With 800,000 annual arrests over an herb used by tens of millions of Americans, it is the cornerstone of a police state."

It's worth following Harvey's argument further as he enumerates the forces prosecuting the War on Drugs, starting with "the drug dealers who profit directly, ... the prison builders and operators, plus the lawyers, judges, guards and street cops who make their livings off the human agony of this endless stream of meaningless arrests.

"Then come the alcohol and tobacco pushers who don't want the competition from a recreational substance that can be raised and controlled locally. Ditto Big Pharma, which fears marijuana as a superior anti-depressant with healing capabilities far beyond a whole multibillion-dollar arsenal of prescription drugs with deadly side effects.

"Ultimately it's the politicians who cling to a prohibition that enhances their power. One after the other, they endorse more arrests and fiscal insanity."

Consider the economics of this pitiless drive to control our lives and curtail our mental activity that has absolutely no chance of succeeding.

In an era when law enforcement has been forced to lay off staff, reduce patrols and even release jail inmates, officers have found that going after marijuana growers and smokers makes them eligible for hefty federal anti-drug grants, Justin Scheck reports in The Wall Street Journal.

"The U.S. Justice Department is spending nearly $3.6 billion this year to augment budgets of state and local law-enforcement agencies," Phillip S. Smith reports in Drug War Chronicle at stopthedrugwar.org. "In addition, the federal government last year set aside close to $4 billion of the economic-stimulus package for law-enforcement grants for state and local agencies.

The White House also is spending about $239 million this year to fund local drug-trafficking task forces, Steve Elliott adds at newsjunkiepost.com, "which in the real world, usually means local cops dressing up like Rambo and tramping through the woods in a wasteful, quixotic and doomed attempt to stop the burgeoning marijuana industry."

The sickest thing about this situation is that you can stack up huge piles of shocking facts about the evil nature and heartless tactics of the War on Drugs, and it doesn't seem to make a whit of difference. These mind-boggling sums are regarded as money well-spent by the people who run our country, and the relentless persecution of recreational drug users will continue as part of the Judeo-Christian proscription against people getting high so long as the current laws remain in effect.

The organizers of the California Marijuana Initiative, led by Richard Lee of Oakland, promise to take up the cudgel again in 2012 in a serious attempt to gain the support of another 5 percent of the voting population to take legalization over the top. The losing side in the 46-54 decision reflects the national poll numbers cited above and reveals just how close we are to achieving our goal.

In a fascinating aside, the California polls before the election showed a 42-47 for-and-against split, but that was when the question was asked by a person. The response to automated polling devices minus the human interrogators was more like 57-43, demonstrating the reluctance so many citizens share about identifying themselves as smokers or even supporters of legalization.

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