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  • 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 may be 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 they allowed Hobby Lobby […]

    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.

  • Food trucks go to the dogs

    Today, starting at 10am, Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be swinging by the  Cherry Hill Village at Preservation Park on  N. Roosevelt St. in Canton. They’ll be serving the pups (“gour-mutts,” as Milo’s calls them) treats and the dog parents the opportunity of “family portraits.” Milo’s is on a cross-country food truck trip, promoting their “grilled burger bites” and “chicken meatballs” to pup parents from L.A. to NYC, with stops in between, including Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the Carolinas, and Arkansas. But watch out! Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck markets “real chicken and beef home-style dog treats” that are are “wholesome” and “authentic” without “artificial flavors or colors-made right here in the USA.” Authentic, processed food that is. Remember what George Carlin said about “home-style”? Their treats are also packed with soy, TVP, wheat flour, tapioca, rice, and sugar–fillers that make the meat go far and aren’t the best for your pup. They’re also packed with preservatives, like sodium erythorbate, nitrates, BHA, sodium tripolyphosphate, and potassium sorbate. Small amounts are probably ok, and no doubt the pup will love it, the same way it’s easy for humans to love carb- and sugar- laden, processed and preserved, treats.  

    The post Food trucks go to the dogs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

    Coming up on August 16, former Detroit Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt will team up with the Navin Field Grounds Crew and Metro Times‘ own Dave Mesrey to honor legend Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. The festivities, known as the annual “Bird Bash,” will be held at the infamous Nemo’s Bar & Grill, and will benefit The Bird’s favorite charity, the Wertz Warriors, and also the Mark Fidrych Foundation. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

    The post Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • First Little League game at Navin Field today

    Today Navin Field (the Old Tiger Stadium) hosts its first Little League game on a new field made just to host the youngsters! Here’s a photo of the game happening right now, courtesy Tom Derry and Metro Times‘ copy editor extraordinaire, Dave Mesrey: Stop by the site (corner of Michigan and Trumbull) today to watch history in the making!

    The post First Little League game at Navin Field today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Politics & Prejudices

Screwing the future

In Michigan, slouching toward the Third World

Phil DiMaria isn't exactly Gov. Rick Snyder's biggest fan. "Shared sacrifice? He isn't going to share in any sacrifice with this budget," DiMaria snorts. "Cutting taxes on business the way he wants to is just going to make him richer."

DiMaria, who lives in Eastpointe, has had two careers, neither of which has made him rich. He spent 30 years as a cop in Troy, which overlapped some with the 20 years he has spent as a Macomb County Commissioner.

What bothers him most, however, is Snyder's proposal to tax pensions as income. The governor, he notes, is a multi-millionaire venture capitalist and former computer executive. "He's never going to know what it's like to be old and pinch pennies to buy bread, buy a quart of milk. We need to stop this, or there is going to be no middle class left in America."

DiMaria seems mad as hell, and he's doing something about it. He's leading a petition drive opposing any pension tax. He's sent blank forms everywhere from Chelsea to Petoskey, and says the response to what he is doing is overwhelming and enthusiastic.

His plan is a little fuzzy, but the goal is to get as many signatures as possible, and then, perhaps in May, take them to Lansing and present them to the governor and the Legislature, hopefully with as much fanfare as possible.

DiMaria, a Democrat, knows the governor is determined, and that he has huge Republican majorities in both legislative houses. He knows the odds are against his being able to change Rick Snyder's mind or completely preventing any pension tax, though he'd like to do both.

But he knows that many of the newly elected GOP legislators have to run again next year, and fear the wrath of vengeful seniors, who vote more faithfully than any other group. He figures that if the petition even persuades them to limit the pension tax somewhat, it will be worth it.

Nobody doubts DiMaria's sincerity. But what he doesn't mention is that he has a vested interest in this issue. He turned 60 last year, is already collecting one government pension as a retired Troy police officer, and will be eligible for another, as a longtime county commissioner.

DiMaria doesn't like Snyder's plan to severely cut spending for education either. "We are talking about creating jobs and businesses, but we are going to have to train people to work in these businesses and do these jobs," he said.

True enough. But why isn't he leading a petition drive instead at stopping the school funding rollbacks?

Why isn't anybody doing this?

The answer seems to be pure selfishness. Today's motto might be: Forget the America where people toiled hard so their children could have better lives. Forget the fathers and mothers who survived the Great Depression, returned from World War II, and then voted millages for new schools for their kids. Forget the era when states invested billions in colleges and universities and set aside funds so that kids could go to them who weren't wealthy.

We needed to worry about being beaten by the Soviet Union back then. That's over, and we have a new ethics and morality, that can loosely be summed up as: I got mine. I'm doing everything I can to keep it, and I don't owe nothing to society, or someone else's kids, or even my own.

That may not be how Phil DiMaria feels. But that's the real meaning of cutting aid to education.

Jan Scott gets that. She is 55, of the same generation as DiMaria, and, for that matter, this columnist. She's so angry that she can barely write without spewing venom. But she isn't concerned about her precious and too-small pension. Scott, who has taught in both public and parochial schools in Ohio and Michigan, is deeply worried about education and our future. "The real root of education problems is poverty — and parents not doing their part."

Yes, she knows there are "a few bad teachers. But there are ways administrators can terminate tenured teachers."

Perhaps this hasn't been done enough in some places — but Scott sees this as a distraction. She's convinced the real agenda is union-busting. "The GOP hates unions, and teachers are the scapegoats and the sacrificial lambs right now," she fumes. They aim to ruin schools as we know them to funnel taxpayer dollars to "for profit" charter schools. Naturally, these will then be run by their friends.

Whether or not that is true, it seems very odd that the governor, whose background is in high-tech businesses, isn't pumping vast new resources into education at all levels.

That's what the jobs of the future will demand. Scott, who has degrees in Spanish and French, teaches in mainly working-class Bedford Township, near the Ohio border.

Seventy miles north, Mike Simeck feels the problem even more acutely. He's the superintendent of the Berkley public schools, one of the state's best and most diverse systems. Newsweek rated Berkley High School one of the nation's best "public elite" schools. It has kids from upper-middle class Huntington Woods, mostly middle- and working-class Berkley, and a slice of Oak Park, which includes African-Americans and Orthodox Jews.

For years, they've had a tradition of spending wisely and getting results. Simeck, who came from Lansing four years ago to take this job, modestly credits "four past great superintendents." They watch every penny in Berkley.

They privatized food service years ago. The only bus service is for special education — "this is a walking district," he said. Employees already contribute to their health care.

Positions sometimes go unfilled for months until he is convinced they've got the right person. But the governor's proposed budget would destroy much of what Berkley built.

Snyder's suggested cuts would suddenly result in a $5 million deficit in Berkley, which has only 4,800 students. Since most of the budget goes for salaries and benefits set by contract, Simeck has very little room to maneuver.

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