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  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

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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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