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  • Get ready for National Tequila Day!

    Thursday, July 24th marks National Tequila Day, and forget everything you know about the beverage. Those nasty old “tequilas” of yesterday were find for doing body shots, but tequila has become something of a luxury spirit while few were paying attention. Have you tried all the varieties of tequila? Can you tell the difference between blanco, joven, reposed, añejo and extra añejo?  If your local bar doesn’t have the stuff that will help you celebrate this important holiday, there are several bars that cater just to the tequila fan. There’s Aqua Rum and Tequila Bar in the MGM Grand Detroit Casino in Detroit, as well as Rojo Mexican Bistro in Novi, which offers more than 100 kinds of tequila, and Taqo Detroit, a new spot serving American-friendly Mexican fare and serving an astonishing variety of tequilas, more than 200 in all. Been waiting for a reason to drink up this south-of-the-border nectar? You got it. Guzzle responsibly.    

    The post Get ready for National Tequila Day! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs

    In light of worldwide attention on its efforts to cut water service for thousands of Detroit residents, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department said today it would host a Water Affordability Fair on August 2nd to explain options available to those facing financial hardship. DWSD officials said in a news release today the fair will be take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the department’s Eastside Customer Service Center at 13303 E. McNichols. The move came on the heels of growing pressure from opponents of the initiative and criticism from the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing Detroit’s Chapter 9 case. “Every customer that has come to DWSD with a legitimate financial hardship has not had their water service terminated,” said Darryl Latimer, DWSD deputy director, in a statement. “In cases where the water has been shut off, it’s been restored. We keep hearing at DWSD that there are poor people who are not receiving the assistance that they need, so we want to help them and we want to make it as easy as possible for the to receive that help. That’s why we created the Water Affordability Fair – ease of access and ease of assistance. We are here to […]

    The post DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation

    The folks at Thrillist have again compiled their annual list of the nation’s best burgers, and Southeast Michigan, it seems, is well represented. Ranking alongside joints in major cities such as New York and L.A., is Detroit’s own Motz’s Burgers, hailed specifically for its Double Cheeseburger Slider. Via Thrillist: There’s nothing remarkable about the façade of this SW diner… it’s just a diner, like the hundreds of others in the D. The staff’s been there for years… and so have the regulars, who can’t get enough of Motz’s legendary smashed burgers. The formula’s nothing revolutionary: smashed, griddled patties with oozy cheese and onions that melt into the burger itself as it cooks. But it’s that unmistakable flavor of a well-seasoned griddle — which has also been here for years — that makes the difference. You can score big burgers with accoutrements, but this isn’t really a place to say things like “accoutrements”. Grab the old-school slider (the double cheeseburger one), and prepare for three perfect bites of Detroit’s finest. Flint’s Torch Bar and Grill also made the cut, most notably for its Deluxe Torch Burger with Bacon. Tucked away in an alley beyond the brick streets that used to mark […]

    The post Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know!

    The Metro Times is looking for college students or graduates of Michigan colleges that used atypical means to pay for their schooling (i.e. sugar baby, selling underwear, military enrollment purely for school help, etc.). We are looking for personal anecdotes about the lengths you went to help pay for school, what came of it, your monetary situation, if the resource worked to get you through college and more. If you have utilized any one of these avenues, or know someone who has, please drop us a line at college@metrotimes.com.

    The post In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit

    File under “WTF” — attorneys representing former Psychopathic Records publicist Andrea Pellegrini announced Monday that they have subpoenaed Kid Rock to produce a glass dildo as part of Pellegrini’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the Insane Clown Posse’s record label. Pellegrini claims the glass dildo was given to her by Psychopathic Records employee “Dirty Dan” Diamond as part of a larger culture of constant harassment in which she was called “bitch,” made the target of explicit sexual advances by Diamond and other co-workers, asked to procure automatic weapons for a photo shoot, and even encouraged to “deceive government investigators from the US Department of Labor.” On Friday, Diamond admitted under oath that he told Pellegrini that he had “a fat cock” and that he would “fuck the shit out of her.” The dildo, though, was “a work of art,” according to Diamond, and should not be considered sexual harassment. Why is Kid Rock involved? Diamond says when Pellegrini declined his dildo, he gave it to Kid Rock instead (presumably as a “work of art” and not a sexual advance). So now, according to court orders, Rock has 14 days to produce the glass dildo so the court can better determine if it is art or, well, a dildo. We will […]

    The post Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey

    Fans of the latest Superman franchise got a treat at Pig & Whiskey this weekend. Actors Henry Cavill and Amy Adams were spotted amid the crowds of the festival that took place in downtown Ferndale as well as a local restaurant. Cavill, who plays the man of steel in the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, stopped to chat with fans, take pictures, and sign autographs on Saturday afternoon and evening. He was wearing an inconspicuous black polo shirt as well as a signature Superman-style ‘do. Other fans spotted Amy Adams at Ferndale’s Imperial on Saturday night, some were even seated next to her at the restaurant’s communal benches. Adams reportedly was slightly annoyed that patrons continuously asked for her photo, but she smiled while cell phones snapped images nonetheless. The Zach Snyder film the two are starring in together is currently filming in Birmingham. Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, has been spotted around town with his wife Jennifer Garner recently as well. The closed movie set is under intense security and Brett Callwood attempted to infiltrate the filming last month, but was forced to give up his camera’s memory card, lest he make off with telling photos.

    The post Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

Save Freedom House

After losing major grant, local do-gooders imperiled

I've often written about Freedom House, the nonprofit, nonpolitical place that exists to provide shelter for those victims of persecution seeking political asylum in the United States and Canada. There is nothing else quite like it.

Over the years they've saved hundreds, maybe thousands, of victims and help them start new lives in this country and Canada.

But now they are in bad shape financially. They unexpectedly lost a major grant, and Deborah Drennan, the executive director, is worried they may have to close. "I've laid off six of my eight staff members, and both myself and the other two are working without a paycheck," Drennan told me last weekend.

"As you know, sending people away from Freedom House is in many cases a death sentence. I can't let this happen," she said.

If Freedom House did close, it would be a mini-global tragedy. People come here, somehow, from all over the world. Rwanda, Cameroon, Libya, Russia. When they arrive at this century-old, redbrick house (a former convent) in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge, they are often a malnourished, dehydrated mess. Most have been tortured, physically and psychologically; many have been raped.

Though we tend to forget, these are the kind of people for whom this country was founded. In fact, victims of political and religious persecution started coming here long before it was a country. (Think Puritans.) Because of that, the United States has, in principle, always been open to provide asylum for legitimate victims.

Trouble is, it often takes some time for asylum seekers to be able to prove they have been persecuted. Many of those fleeing for their lives aren't able to bring all the necessary documentation. Some have nothing at all.

Increasingly, first the U.S. and now the Canadian governments have been clamping down on asylum requests. The average bedraggled victim can't find and engage a top-notch immigration lawyer, much less pay one. Nor are they often ready to adjust to a life in a strange new world.

Which is where Freedom House comes in. It was established by a group called the Detroit-Windsor Refugee Coalition to meet the needs of Central American refugees in the 1980s. But the founders soon realized that there was a lot more need out there — and that most of those arriving needed more than three hots and a cot.

Today, they try to provide everything from a temporary home to transitional housing, once the refugee gets asylum. "Our services include medical services, mental health care, education, job training, recreation and legal aid," Drennan said. In recent years, they haven't lost one asylum case in the courts. Several former clients are now living in Detroit, working energetically to help bring the city back.

But asylum cases take a long time — typically eight to 12 months, sometimes years. The refugees are not legally allowed to work while they wait. So they help where they can. Some have been working with Ron Quick, a Freedom House board member who has a building firm, to rebuild the shelter's ancient kitchen.

Some work hard to learn English. Freedom House used to pay for classes, but they've lost other federal and state funding, and, thanks to the economy, charitable donations are down.

So they are scrambling to just keep afloat, while they reapply for the grant they lost and try to come up with other sources of funding.

Personally, I think the best thing that could happen would be for Freedom House to be able to expand its operations, and work to settle many more deserving asylum seekers in Detroit. Those are precisely the folks who could rebuild the devastation into a city.

But for now, it is important they stay alive. Anyone wanting to help can send money or contact Drennan at Freedom House, 2630 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit 48216, or call: 313-964-4320. Incidentally, they also would be grateful for in-kind donations — paper goods, supplies, etc., all of which are fully tax-deductible.


Mackinac Center's McCarthyism:
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a sort of odd think tank based up in Midland, also known as Dow Chemical land. Normally they crank out "free-market" analysis and policy prescriptions, most of the sort that crazy old Ayn Rand would love, if she didn't happen to be dead.

This is all harmless enough, and occasionally they even have made some sense on an issue or two. But now they are selling out to the right-wing thought police. Last week, the Mackinac Center filed Freedom of Information Act requests asking for all the e-mails sent by labor studies professors at Michigan's three major universities — Michigan State, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State — including such key words as "Scott Walker" and "Madison."

All the e-mails, that is, these professors sent regarding the Wisconsin clash, where the governor is out to destroy public employee unions by taking away their right to collectively bargain.

Mackinac won't say why they are doing this, but it is clearly a thuggish attempt to intimidate professors and cast a chilling effect over what should be uncensored academic debate.

I was stunned that the Mackinac Center would do this ... until I learned, via Mother Jones magazine, that past major donors to the center have included the Charles Koch Foundation, established by the family that exists to make Satan look moderate.

They also take money from the family that owns Wal-Mart, the DeVos family, and, best of all, a family that includes the founder of Blackwater, the infamous private security force.

Whether any of these groups leaned on the Mackinaniacs is unknown, as are the center's intentions. They may be seeking, I suppose, evidence professors are using university resources for improper political activity.

What the Mackinac Center is really doing, of course, is just trying to intimidate them. Actually, this is likely to backfire.

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