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  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



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Politics & Prejudices

Screwing us over, yet again

Lansing won't retroactively take things away — from themselves

You gotta hand it to our state legislators, especially those serving in the Senate. They know all about shared sacrifice.

They just define it a little differently than you or I would. They believe it means pretending to sacrifice, but really making future generations pay so they don't have to.

They proved this last week, big-time — especially the Republicans, though the mealy-mouthed Democrats were nearly as bad. They sniveled, as always, and then took their share.

What Your Elected Representatives will tell you is that they heroically acted to help save the state by voting to give up lifetime health care benefits for retired lawmakers.

That is true of many in the House. Two-thirds of them will lose their retirement health care. But not the state senators. What they mostly voted to do was to deny benefits to people who haven't been elected yet, and who could, once they get there, change the law back.

But as for our current band of senators — all but two of the 38 voted to keep their lifetime benefits, thank you very much.

Here's how all this started. Republicans as a species hate the idea of universal health care insurance for everyone, and they especially hate that President Obama managed to get Congress last year to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

They've been lying their pants off about what it means ever since. But it apparently dimly dawned on those in the Michigan Legislature that it would be a trifle tricky to continue screaming for this "socialist" health care bill to be repealed while keeping for themselves a much better, taxpayer-subsidized lifetime health care plan.

What they get is certainly better than you have, something the conservative Grand Rapids Press called "a staggering symbol of political class entitlement." Until now, all you had to do is manage to serve six years in the Legislature, reach age 55, and then get 90 percent of your health care costs covered — for life.

Incidentally, they've been getting this perk since an overwhelmingly Republican set of lawmakers voted to give it to themselves in 1957. But this year, with the heat on, the Michigan House of Representatives voted to eliminate the retirement benefit, for all but a small handful of those who started before 2007. 

They sent it on to the state Senate, whose members looked at it and said, "Wait just a minute, kids. Sure, it may be politically popular to give up our benefits, but we want to keep ours!"

So the Senate passed a different bill — one that gave lawmakers up to 2013 to get their six years in. That meant that 90 of the 138 House members were out of luck, for now, anyway. But all but two of the state senators will still get retirement health care for life!

Most of them served in the House first, and piled up enough years. Did the dozen Democrats in the Senate stand on principle against this flagrant hypocrisy? What do you think?

They took the money and ran. The vote was 37-1. The only vote against it, in fact, was that of Coleman Young II, who improbably has been sounding lately like the conscience of the Senate.

"This is unfair. If you are going to wipe out health care, wipe it out for everyone," he said, calling what his fellow lawmakers did a "big pander." Incidentally, Young himself qualifies for retirement health care. His fellow senators, like Pontius Pilate, averted their eyes and washed their hands. The House then cheerfully passed the Senate version, 96-11. After all, at least some of them get on the gravy train ...

... and hey, maybe more will be able to cash in later. After all, you can always amend a law when nobody's looking.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville's remarks were in a class by themselves. "We're not going to retroactively take things away from people that they signed up for," quoth he.

That is absolutely one of the most precious things I've ever heard a lawmaker say. Richardville this year voted to make teachers pay for higher health insurance benefits. He wants to make teaching a "right to work" profession, in other words, to destroy the union shop.

These most assuredly weren't things teachers "signed up for." Richardville, a Republican from Monroe, also voted to tax the pensions of retired workers, and to reduce the health care benefits of other unionized state workers. They didn't sign up for that either.

His Republicans voted to end the homestead tax credit and the credit for giving to charity. They essentially forced local governments to charge police and fire personnel higher health care costs.

Randy also helped end the tax credit for the working poor and cut unemployment to the lowest number of weeks in the nation.

But give up taxpayer-subsidized retirement health care for those who have been busy taking more and more benefits away from millions of taxpayers? How naïve can any of us possibly be?

Some day, when the people do revolt, I fully expect that most of these lintheads will actually wonder why.

Wayne County follies, Part II: Last week, I wrote about the outrageous deal given Turkia Awada Mullin, now the executive director of Detroit Metropolitan Airport, at $250,000 a year.

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