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    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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    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

Right-wing power grab

‘This was the action of a Third World dictator’

Photo: Sam Inglot/City Pulse, License: N/A

Sam Inglot/City Pulse

Protestors crowded into the Capitol rotunda Dec. 6. Demonstrators and Democratic legislative maneuvers have failed to blunt the GOP’s moves

After years studying the oppressive regimes of Eastern Europe, I knew exactly what to call what happened with "Right to Work" in Lansing last week: fascism with a human face.

Or, perhaps, tyranny without a tie. The way legislation was rammed through in a single day would have been admired by all of those puppet regimes that used to do Hitler's and Stalin's bidding. (Democracy? Fuck that.)

"We have had more deliberative hearings on something like a new commemorative license plate," state Sen. Steve Bieda (D-Warren) told me. Bieda, one of the state's most thoughtful and creative legislators, added, "As much as I detest the legislation, what's worse is the way they did it."

"This was the action of a Third World dictator," he said. "The governor went back on his word — this governor who was posing as a moderate. This was really a right-wing power grab."

Well, yes it was. They didn't even bother with the veil. Shortly before lunch on Thursday, the governor, who had long said abolishing the union shop wasn't on his agenda, did a complete about-face, proclaiming not only did he want it ...

But that the time to do it was now. Within hours, both houses had passed bills blowing apart the long-established labor-management relationship as we've known it.

What Right to Work means is the essential death of the power of unions, in any real sense. In case you aren't too sure of the principles involved here: Unions have been able to get what clout they've had by getting workers in an industry or a plant to establish what is called a "union shop."

When you went to work there, you either had a choice of joining the union or, if you didn't want to do that, you at least had to pay them dues, and agree to accept them as the group who negotiated your contracts with management.

Right-wingers say union shops are an outrageous slap at freedom, and that workers should be free to work wherever they want without having to join anything they don't want to.

Likewise, they say management should have the right to negotiate whatever terms they like with free workers on an individual basis, rather than with some socialistic "union" that insists all workers be treated exactly the same.

All that makes perfect sense ... if you are some affluent guy without much of a sense of history, sitting in your parents' vacation home, reading Ayn Rand.

But the fact of the matter is this: The unions are what made it possible for ordinary workers to have vacations and health care and a decent living. "Prior to the unions, working people didn't have any such thing as a vacation," former Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley told me last week.

Kelley, who is almost 88 but still is as sharp as most 50-year-olds, grew up in a world before unions. 

"People didn't have weekends. They didn't have health care, for Christ's sake. The unions made that possible. The unions in this country created the middle class. This is the worst day in my life," Kelley said, shaking his head.

Believe me, the corporations know that too. Once the union shop is abolished, employers can speedily undermine unions by hiring non-union workers. They may pay them a little more, or make them think they are getting something special.

Eventually, the union will have lost much of its clout and have no real power to negotiate hard for better conditions or to call a strike. Management will just blissfully fill the ranks with scabs.

Eventually, wages and benefits will fall markedly. The nonpartisan Center for Michigan's online magazine Bridge recently did a study comparing the so-called right-to-work states with states where union shops still exist.

They found no evidence to support the idea that right-to-work states attract more jobs. They did find considerable evidence that wages are lower in such states.

"Unless and until this is repealed, Michigan will never again be a major industrial state," Frank Kelley thundered at me. But is there any chance of stopping or repealing it?

Not anytime soon, seemingly. The reason they rushed it through with such unseemly haste is that Snyder and his legislative henchmen knew they couldn't do it in January.

Democrats will still be in a minority, but they gained five seats. RTW only passed the state House of Representatives 58-52. Even six Republicans voted against it. Had four more votes switched, it would have failed. Some of the Republicans voting to stick it to the workers were lame ducks who aren't coming back, and so didn't have to fear the wrath of their voters.

If you need further proof that the Republicans hate democracy, they deliberately attached an appropriations rider to the bill. When they do that, it means voters can't collect signatures to try to get repeal of this law on the ballot.

The special interests gave very specific instructions to their puppets in the Legislature, and they followed through.

But something good may, just may, come out of this:

Let's face it: The right wing was able to do this because labor has been slipping for years, and there hasn't been a labor leader worthy of the name for a long, long time.

The bottom line, and labor's dirty little secret, is this: There isn't any "labor movement." To some extent, there may not have been one since the old IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, ceased to become a major player.

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