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  • 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.

  • 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.

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Politics & Prejudices

Snyder takes command

Snyder promises to leave nobody behind, and you must hope he succeeds

Richard D. Snyder was sworn in as governor last weekend, taking power in a state that has lost people, lost political clout, lost nearly a million jobs in the last decade. He then, in his distinctive, oddly nasal voice, gave an unusual inaugural speech.

Unusual, that is, because it was worth listening to. Though he did his appropriate best to encourage us to believe we can build a better future, he pretty much also spelled out how bad things are.

"The last part of the industrial era has been a period of decline in our state [that] has gone on for several decades," he said.

Reversing this trend "will not be simple or easy," he said. "It will require shared sacrifices from all of us ... many of us will have to take a step back in the short term to move us all forward together in the long term." That isn't quite Winston Churchill saying he could offer his people "nothing but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

Melodrama is not Snyder's style. What he did say is that the state couldn't be reformed; it needs to be reinvented.

That is, by the way, exactly right. You may not have voted for Rick Snyder. Interestingly, most of the 1,874,834 people who did vote for him in November hadn't even heard his name yet a year ago today.

But now he's in charge, and if you are reasonable, intelligent, sane and have a brain in your head, you have to hope he succeeds beyond anybody's wildest dreams, even his own.

Otherwise, Michigan, your Michigan, stands a very good chance of becoming Haiti with ice storms. The old economy is indeed dead. The domestic automotive industry is still alive, mostly thanks to the Obama administration. But it will never again play the role it did.

Think about this: For nearly a century, the auto plants defined the economy of this state. They employed hundreds of thousands of workers who, beginning in the 1940s, were paid high wages for largely unskilled work, thanks to the efforts of the United Auto Workers.

For many years after World War II, we were so rich we could afford this, and the autoworkers' fat contracts drove up wages and benefits across the board in Michigan. We were one of the highest-income states in the nation a half-century ago. Then things started slipping, and, finally, the bottom fell out a couple years ago.

Want to know what happened to Michigan? Back in 1979, General Motors had more blue-collar employees working in the city of Flint than it does today in the entire country. In fact, more than 91 percent of all GM blue-collar jobs in Michigan that existed then are gone. Forever. The auto companies may survive, but they never again will be a mass employer of high-wage, low-skill workers.

In fact, the UAW is now so beaten up and broken, they have agreed that when the factories hire new workers, they can get away with paying them only $14 an hour, and, in most cases, people need two-year degrees to even be considered for those jobs.

Most people finally get that the auto industry will never again be the all-driving force of the state's economy. But too many of us still have a sort of unthinking industrial worker mentality.

We want another industry to come in here and open up a new chain of big-box factories and put us all to work making scrunchies or condoms or windmill parts, providing good-paying, hourly jobs.

Jobs where we could punch in, punch out, not have to think too much and occasionally pile up lots of even better-paying overtime. Guess what. That isn't happening. Not this year, not next year, not ever again. Rick Snyder knows that; he knew it a long time ago.

That's why, as a young boy from Battle Creek, he got a law degree and an MBA when he was still in his early 20s. Now, to the extent I can tell, he isn't an elitist. He doesn't expect everyone to do that. What he expects is for us to work smart, think, take chances.

The example he used in his speech was of a couple from the Ann Arbor area who started a couple sandwich shops, turned to baking and came up with a new kind of bread which caught on, nationwide.

"We have to remember that innovation is not about technology, it's a state of mind that we all have the power to do."

Shortly we'll find out how he intends to make that happen. The voters elected him by a landslide, and he deserves a chance.

Even while he was speaking, Mark Brewer, the Democratic Party Chairman-for-Life, was cranking out a sophomoric press release whining that "Snyder has never offered a specific plan."

Right. Now go sit in the corner. The new governor is facing a state budget deficit of at least $1.8 billion, and how he handles that will tell us a lot. If he does it by savaging education in this state, our one hope for a workforce that can compete in the future, we'll know he is just another hypocrite, or a Tea Party, Ayn Rand-style wacko.

Somehow I think he may surprise us all. What the Democrats should be doing is trying to ensure that the least of us are not left completely behind, that foster children and the elderly aren't trampled in our rush to entrepreneurial reinvention.

"The reinvention of Michigan must not leave anyone behind," the new governor said. If he follows through on that, and gets the economy going, our best days and his may be yet to come.


Nothing against Sue Snyder, but
... Few in the press discussed this openly, but one of the bigger embarrassments of the Granholm administration was the perpetual problem of the care and feeding of her husband, Dan Mulhern, the "First Gentleman."

The First Gentleman did, it's true, write leadership books, and look after the household's three children, something he once called "leading from behind." But he also needed something to do, and though he got a radio show after a while, didn't really have a job.

So he beat up on reporters who dared to criticize wifey, and we the taxpayers paid for something called the Office of the First Gentleman. While he didn't get a salary, he had a chief of staff who got a very nice one, plus other employees.

Mulhern also cost the taxpayers a pretty penny in other ways, especially when he wanted to go somewhere or someone asked him to speak. A notice on the governor's official state website said:

Please note that the First Gentleman is accompanied to all events by a staff person and security personnel. We request that accommodations be made in seating and in meals.

Naturally, the taxpayers paid for the security personnel too. Now, apart from the fact that the state was broke, this was nuts.

Now hear this: The governor's family is not royalty.

Nor is the governor president of the United States, an office that has both governmental and ceremonial functions. I have no problem with a state employee driving Sue Snyder somewhere if she is appearing on behalf of her husband on what is clearly state business.

But she is a private person who both deserves privacy and doesn't merit an imperial staff. Here's hoping the Office of the Unelected Spouse is a tradition she is smart enough to let die.

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