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  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Saluting Motown spirit

Thick as a brick: Awards heaved in worthy Detroiters' general direction

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the first annual Motor City Brick Awards, a totally random acknowledgement of things that happened in Detroit this past year. We're holding the ceremony in front of Belle Isle's Scott Fountain because there's a lot of space out here, and people are milling around bonfires chatting, snacking and having a genial good time. We've got some grills roasting up Detroit-grown vegetables and some Indian Village free-range chickens. Don't ask me where in Indian Village and I'll tell you no lies. There is also a garbage can full of grog created from the dregs of liquor bottles collected from 500 local New Year's Eve parties. Just dip your paper cup in and scoop up some swill.

The awards are made from bricks we've recovered from a number of crumbling buildings. Several of our local artists have lent a hand to paint them with mysterious designs of their own origin. So without further ado, let's get on with the Motor City Brick Awards.

Who Woulda Thunk It Award: This one goes to the Detroit Lions. Who would have thought the most feel-good story in Detroit sports as we enter the New Year would be the Lions? The fact that our Honolulu-blue-and-silver gridiron warriors managed to win six games isn't such a big deal. Many pre-season pundits put them in that territory going into the season. However, they way they did it, pulling off four of the wins in a season-ending streak, defied belief. They broke loss streaks — road losses, division losses — had a four-game win streak for the first time in over a decade, and they won with whichever quarterback was healthy enough to tape up and throw out there on a given week. They gave us a reason to smile on a New Year's weekend when the Wolverines and Spartans stunk up their bowl games so badly they were bigger jokes than the Lions. Michigan coach Rich Rod may well have been run out of Ann Arbor by the time you read this. Michigan State looked so lame in its 49-7 shellacking by Alabama and former coach Nick Saban that it's hard to feel like its 11-1 regular season record really represented where this program stands. Those aren't sugarplums dancing in your head; those are Lions footballs and the dreams of next season.

Miss Congeniality Award: She almost lost this award for not showing up for a pre-Christmas roll call, but considering more than 70 members of Congress skipped out early for the holiday, I'll let it slide and make outgoing U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick Miss Congeniality. I know there isn't a lot of love out there for Cheeks; after all, voters tossed her out in the August primary election. However, she took her medicine without a lot of twitching and moaning, although had it not been for the problems of her son, former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, she'd probably still be in Congress for another term. Aside from coming up with that "y'alls boy" comment during Kwame's 2005 re-election run, she pretty much stayed out of the Kwame muck. That was borne out when the federal indictments came down and her name was not on the list. I'm not saying she was the greatest legislator ever, but she lost her seat because she happened to be the mother and ex-wife of a couple of gangstas. You might say that showed bad judgment from the start, but I hear that she counseled Kwame not to run for mayor in the first place (he didn't listen) and also told him to stop running around with Christine Beatty (he didn't listen). Like I said, she took her medicine and didn't start yowling about God's plan or a comeback, and showed more class than anybody else around here named Kilpatrick.

Best Thing That Happened in Detroit This Year Award: In an admittedly tough year, it was hard to get large groups of people to come to the city for any reason not related to physical freaks who are paid incredible amounts of money to throw balls or score goals, but the United States Social Forum 2010 managed to get about 15,000 leftist activists to come to town for hundreds of workshops, mostly at Cobo Center, focused on learning from each other how to continue the fight for social justice in the face of the globalized economy. They also spread out to help clean up the city, add numbers to several protests, and party in some of our cultural enclaves in the course of dropping some cash into the local economy.

Yeah I Said it Award: Few folks in Detroit took as much heat as Ron Scott and the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality did for not taking the knee-jerk easy reaction in the wake of the tragic killing of police officer Brian Huff last May. Scott always seems to stand strong on controversial police issues, but it must have taken extra nerve when a media circus and war of words sprang up between Scott and then-Police Chief Warren Evans after Scott questioned police activities leading up to the tragedy. The war of words continued as a diversion from the real issues surrounding Huff's killing. In the long run, Scott is still out there doing good work in the community, rightfully questioning a police force with a history of questionable behavior, and Evans ... well, I'm not sure what he's up to these days, but he's no longer police chief.

Medicate Me Now Award: This one goes out to the medical marijuana movement. Although medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan two years ago, a lot of the action around it sprang up in 2010 with the proliferation of compassion clubs, big-time busts, cities taking their stand for or against it, lawsuits challenging some of those laws, and activists coalescing into a movement. We'll know a lot more about how this is shaking down in the next year, but journalists have to give up the overused metaphor "hazy" for their description of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

Alexander Haig Memorial 'I'm In Charge' Award: Robert Bobb's attempt to be the Detroit Public Schools czar of everything rather than just its emergency financial manager was pushed back in early December, when Wayne Circuit Court Judge Wendy Baxter ruled in a suit by the Detroit School Board against Bobb. It was one of the few things that has gone the board's way in recent years.

Cee Lo Green F-You Award: This award goes to former state Attorney General Mike Cox. The position of state attorney general can be just a few steps from the governor's office — that was Jennifer Granholm's route — but Republican voters gave state AG and suave ladies' man Cox the boot in his bid for governor, in favor of the Nerd, who easily swept into office on the tails of his own fortune.

Local BS Political Ploy Award: For a minute, there was faux drama when Mayor Dave Bing threatened to close 77 parks during a budget standoff with City Council. It was never a serious threat, but it kept people like me going for a couple of news cycles.

Those are the winners for our highlight broadcast. There are many other winners. You'll know who you are when I toss a brick on your porch.

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