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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

Straight shooters

All I want is a weapon of mass destruction

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Those are the actual words of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, held sacred by our nation's gun nuts.

They are powerful words indeed, regardless of the fact the clause is poorly written, and clearly means something different than almost everyone thinks it does. No matter that many of its fervent defenders don't even know what the Second Amendment really says.

True, others have memorized and can unthinkingly recite these words, sort of like Roman Catholics in the old days repeating Latin incantations they didn't understand.

Language and the meanings of words change over time, but it is clear that what adoption of the Second Amendment really meant was that people should be allowed to have weapons (arms) in case the government had to quickly throw together a militia to drive off marauders, or put down some local illegal uprising, like the Pennsylvania farmers who rebelled over whiskey taxes a couple of years later.

Naturally, it logically follows that the citizens ought to be able to keep these arms in their homes, as in, on two hooks over the fireplace, since most people didn't have anywhere else to put them to begin with, and many used their rifles to go hunt dinner, much of the time.

Bear in mind too that the nation in which the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written was a collection of small, rural states, with a total population of slightly less than four million people about the size of metropolitan Detroit today. High-tech arms meant a single-shot musket, accurate to within a hundred yards or so, maybe.

Once you fired it, it took close to a minute to reload. If you shot it more than a few times in a row, it was apt to overheat and misfire or blow up in your face. This was not seen as a weapon of mass destruction, but more like a household appliance one could use for defense.

So it was logical to stipulate that the citizens had "the right to keep and bear" arms, when these were the arms. What's crazy is that these words, written for practical reasons in a primitive, largely rural world, are today being used to justify making it legal for a mentally troubled person to buy a high-tech weapon of mass destruction and turn it on helpless civilians.

Anyone who thinks the framers of the Constitution intended that is, to put it politely, crazier than a shithouse rat.

Nobody I know has remarked on this, but what's going on here isn't a problem of rights so much as a problem, first of all, of language, specifically, the word "arms." Throughout much of history, "arms" meant bows and arrows and pieces of metal that men whacked away at each other with, at close quarters. Then came gunpowder.

The Founding Fathers may have expected continued improvements in weaponry. But none of them could have imagined anything like Jared Loughner's Glock, a weapon of mass destruction good for one thing only: killing.

There is more difference between a Glock and a Revolutionary War-era musket than between a musket and a stone club. Maybe even between a musket and the pistol Sirhan Sirhan used to shoot Bobby Kennedy in a hotel in 1968.

Had Loughner had a normal pistol, he might have gotten five or six shots off before being subdued. Instead, he killed or wounded 19 people within seconds, and might easily have got even more, if he could have gotten a second clip into his gun.

Nobody in their right mind thinks the Founding Fathers would have wanted to make it possible for this sick young man to spray a peaceful crowd with lethal ammunition. Yet that's what all sorts of ideologues and ignorant fools, some of them on the nation's highest courts, claim.

All this really stems from a problem of semantics. Specifically, allowing the term "arms" to be applied to anything that kills people. Someone, somewhere, needs to come up with some way of defining "arms" in a common sense way. We also need, I think, to stop using the term "gun control," which immediately polarizes everyone, and ends anything like rational give-and-take.

These two steps may make it easier to move on and enact some sensible regulations. This won't be easy; someone has to stand up and defy the political power of the National Rifle Association, a group run by fanatics who are determined to block any limitations on weapons.

Otherwise, we are going to continue to be doomed. More than 10,000 of us a year, anyway; the number killed, like little Christina Greene, by gun violence. Another 85,000 or so are shot and survive, like Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

If that's the world we are willing to settle for, very well. If you are young and poor, you are probably more vulnerable than I am.

But even so, if that's the case, I have one demand that the NRA should find reasonable. I want a personal, five-kiloton nuclear weapon. If a mentally disturbed kid who was expelled from community college has the right to buy a Glock, then, damn it, I should be allowed a nuke. I have a master's degree and a responsible work record. Even with a Glock, there's a chance someone attacking at night might hurt me or my little red dog and manage to escape.

With a personal nuke, they wouldn't have a chance. Well, sure, there would be collateral damage, like much of Huntington Woods. But you get collateral damage with a Glock or even a .38, all the time. Just ask Jim Brady. The NRA often says that an armed society is a polite society, which ought to mean that a society where everyone has a nuke on their belt, in their handbag or in their back pack would be a society that makes Miss Manners proud.

How can any of us be denied one? Doesn't the Second Amendment guarantee our right to bear arms? Can you say, logical fallacy? Hold that thought. Common sense, here we come.

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