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  • 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.

  • 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.

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Politics & Prejudices

Shaming our state

Instead of making hard decisions, our pols just kick it down the road

When the wimps running the British government sold out Czechoslovakia to Hitler, Winston Churchill, not yet in power, reportedly growled that they had been faced with a choice between war and shame.

"They've chosen shame. They'll get war later."

Last week, the Michigan Legislature did much the same thing in passing a budget. They faced a choice too. What they should have done — what they were elected to do — was, simply, to make the tough choices they were elected to make, and chart a difficult path to a somewhat more hopeful future for Michigan.

We should have seen a principled war over two different versions of what government should look like. The choice is very clear. Choose one way, and those of us who are working will have to pay somewhat more in taxes to fix our roads and bridges, invest in education, and give our children a shot at a better future.

We can either do that, or we accept becoming a backward, Third World sort of state, where the rich eventually live in gated communities, the intelligent young leave for other states, and the poor live increasingly impoverished and desperate lives.

That's the choice. Our lawmakers, of course, avoided making any hard decisions. They threw together a document that was "balanced" only on paper, throwing vast federal sums into the deficit hole, and scuttled out of town.

They chose shame, but sadly, most of them won't pay for it later. We will. Most of the lawmakers, and every single member of the leadership, are term-limited. They've gone off to run for other things, or to seek jobs from the special interests they've been protecting.

Some are still doing it. Our senate majority leader, Mike Bishop, possibly the most appalling creature in the Legislature, and his pet imp, state Sen. Alan Cropsey (R-DeWitt), deserve cushy jobs from Ambassador Bridge owner-troll Matty Moroun. Bishop is still working hard — even against fellow Senate Republican Jud Gilbert — to prevent a vote that would allow work to proceed on a new publicly owned bridge over the Detroit River.

Everybody in government and industry wants and needs this bridge, but, as noted here before, Matty has deep pockets.

Beyond that, however, the lawmakers passed, almost at the last moment, a spending blueprint that will blow up in the new lawmakers' faces next year, when the stimulus money is all gone.

Next summer, the experts expect the state to be looking at a deficit of $1.6 billion. There is very unlikely to be any more stimulus money, regardless of which party controls Congress. A brand new Legislature and a brand-new governor will have to deal with the crisis.

The choices ahead will be that much more difficult because they've been put off, time and again. Unless we raise taxes considerably, the state will have no choice but to make appalling cuts to education, especially perhaps higher education, to Medicaid, to whatever social services are left.

What is going to have to happen is that for a good long time, we will have to pay more — those of us, that is, who are still lucky enough to have a job — and get less. State workers, whose contracts were modeled on those of the auto workers in the flush times, are going to get less pay, less pension, less benefits.

Ironically, our only hope for a decent future may lie in the willingness of those who are better off to pay more in the short run — more to fix up our roads and bridges and schools.

Investing more in higher education is, in fact, our best hope of all. I don't say that because I teach at Wayne State University, by the way; this is something everyone who has looked at the figures knows is true. We are paying the price now for being a state where too many mommies and daddies thought high school was all the kids needed.

Our lawmakers did very little to get us ready to face the future in the last two years. They did reform the teacher retirement and health care system in a sensible way, and did a weaker version of the same for state civil service employees. Our speaker of the house, Andy Dillon (D-Redford), did try to put all state workers on the same health care plan; he accomplished little, except his own political destruction.

And, oh, yes — our wonderful elected leaders did do a little something for all of us, right at the end of the session.

They voted to legalize the sale of alcoholic drinks, in bars and at the supermarket, on Sunday mornings. Damn nice, since thanks in part to what they failed to do, many of us may well need it.


Worth reading:
�Regardless of your politics, here's something undeniable: You can't figure out where you are, or where you are going, till you have some idea where the hell you've been.

Two new books coming out this week are worth the time of anyone who has the faintest interest in the history of this state. Wounded Warrior (MSU Press; $39.95) , by Lawrence Glazer, a former circuit judge from Lansing, is the tragic story of a man who beat the odds to be elected Michigan's governor exactly half a century ago.

Nobody in politics today has endured anything like John Swainson, who sadly has been almost totally forgotten. Not only was he only 35 when he was elected governor, he shouldn't even have been alive. When he was a 19-year-old soldier in World War II, a German land mine ripped off his legs, shattered his jaw and sent pieces of metal through his body. He survived all that, put himself through college and law school and launched a meteoric political career. He nearly got comprehensive tax reform though the Legislature, something that's as badly needed today.

But he couldn't get re-elected, and ended up being convicted of perjury in federal court, then losing himself for a while to alcoholism. Judge Glazer, who compiled a distinguished record on the bench, concluded after studying the trial transcripts that Swainson was guilty of bad judgment, but probably otherwise innocent.

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