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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

Snyder's shortfalls

Why society's leaders think Snyder is the best they've got to work with

It's official: Rick Snyder is the establishment's choice for governor of Michigan. The Detroit Free Press, which usually endorses Democrats (if they don't threaten that paper's economic interests) made it unanimous last weekend.

After listing where they disagree with Snyder, the newspaper adds: "The most important choice Michiganders face has less to do with policy preferences than it does with the need for leadership and independence in Lansing.

"We're confident Snyder will bring both."

If the Free Press editorial board really is confident he can get the job done, they're idiots. This is, they must know, a crapshoot at best. Nobody has any idea whether this somewhat aloof, self-described nerd will work and play well with others. We know he has no experience at politics or government, know he has never strong-armed or sweet-talked any bill through any legislative body, know that he is a wooden speaker who did his best to duck debates.

He only won his party's nomination because his more-right-wing opponents carved each other up, and because disillusioned independents and Democrats voted for him in the belief that a Republican was almost certainly going to win, and that Snyder seemed better than Mike Cox, Pete Hoekstra or the now-oafish Mike Bouchard. Even with that, the winner got barely 37 percent of the vote in a tiny turnout.

However, those who consider themselves society's leaders think he's the best they've got to work with. (The ones in Detroit thought the same of Kwame Kilpatrick in 2005. Freman Hendrix, a man comfortable with union locals and small business owners, made them uneasy.)

By the way, if you think this is a Virg Bernero commercial, it isn't. Voting for Rick Snyder may not be the wrong choice. I was originally appalled by the notion of a Bernero candidacy. He has taken money from Matty Moroun, opposes the proposed internationally owned new bridge, and appears not to understand the issues at stake or who Moroun is.

He runs for every office in sight, usually as soon as he gets elected to a different one. Too much of the Democrat's campaign has been based on improper and demagogic issues: Bashing China, for example, and claiming Snyder wants to send all our jobs there. He's also tried to portray his opponent as some kind of anti-abortion fanatic who would gravely endanger the reproductive rights of women in Michigan. There's no evidence of that whatsoever.

When one listens to Bernero, one sometimes thinks he believes that with a little tweaking of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, all our high school graduates again will be able to get good jobs at Oldsmobile.

However, I have developed a grudging respect for the cheerfully angry mayor's never-say-die style of campaigning. He's brought up a few ideas worth thinking about, such as a state bank to make small loans to businesses. He's done his best to carry the battle to his immensely rich opponent, with little money or support, and little media pressure on Snyder to give us the debates we deserve.

Bernero is also energetic, damn it, and really seems to care. Yet his chances are abysmal. Any Democrat's would be this year. That's partly because eight years ago, the Free Press and virtually every other media outlet in this state fought to see who could do the most to kiss up to a Democrat named Jennifer Granholm, then running for governor. She was beautiful, we were told. Brainy! Accomplished! Went to Harvard! She was on The Dating Game! The Free Press endorsed her with even more glowing praise than they gave Snyder. Granholm was going to revolutionize government in Michigan.

Besides, she was the first woman running for governor who had a serious chance, and it was about time. They wanted so strongly to believe.

Yet you only needed to talk to the pre-gubernatorial Granholm for an hour to see the danger signs: She didn't have a clue how to get a bill through the Legislature, or build the coalitions she needed. But the various establishments decided she was their choice.

That 2002 campaign was an embarrassment of riches, compared to now. Republicans, who nominated the conservative Dick Posthumus, could have chosen Joe Schwarz, for years the most capable, decent man in state government. Democrats also had the choice of Congressman Dave Bonior, then House Minority Whip, a skilled lawmaker who had also been in the Legislature, and Jim Blanchard, who had been governor for two terms and knew how Lansing worked.

But that meant nothing, because not only did we have a chance to elect our first-ever woman governor, she was mesmerizing to a world that hadn't heard of Lady Gaga yet. A Freep columnist suggested the U.S. Constitution be changed so our Canadian-born superwoman could run for president. Unfortunately, Lady Charisma proved unable and unwilling to make hard choices or tough decisions. Midway through her last term, even fellow Democrats in the Legislature sometimes treated her with thinly veiled contempt.

Other times, they didn't bother with the veil. Now, the powers that be are excited that we are about to elect a brilliant and rich self-described nerd, even though we haven't a clue how he will close next year's enormous budget deficit.

All we know is that the stimulus money is gone, and Snyder's proposal to abolish the Michigan Business Tax would make the deficit worse, at least in the short run.

We also know that unemployment benefits will completely run out by the end of November for 142,733 workers, who have been jobless for nearly two years. Money will be cut off to 324,000 by next spring, with no relief in sight.

What I think is that Campbell's Soup is on sale, and we all oughta get several cases to stack in the basement. Lasts for years, y'know.


Not trusting the people:
Earlier this week, I moderated a panel that included three politicians I generally admire: former state Rep. David Gubow, now a district judge in Oak Park; state Sen. Gilda Jacobs; and state Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton. All are liberal Oakland County Democrats, and all agreed that our state government doesn't work very well.

They also agreed that there are built-in, structural flaws in our present system. As I've noted here before, on Nov. 2, the voters are going to be asked if they want to call a convention to consider writing a new constitution.

After the panelists had talked about how things weren't working, one audience member asked each member if they would support a constitutional convention. They all said no. For one simple reason: They don't trust the people.

They didn't say it in those words, but that's what they meant. Gubow talked about the "present climate not being right." Lipton said she had worked hard to make stem cell research legal, and feared right-wing crazies would write a constitution that outlawed it again.

Those may be legitimate fears, but what kind of democracy can you have if you fundamentally don't trust the people? If we aren't willing to gamble that we can figure out a better way to govern ourselves, we might as well petition Queen Elizabeth and ask her to take us back as colonies.

My guess, however, is that she's too smart for that.

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