Most Read
  • 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

The choice for governor

Breaking down the race for governor: Bernero vs. Snyder

No doubt about it. The Democratic candidate was an accident of history, somebody who got the job by chance; got the nomination because none of the more experienced candidates wanted it.

They all knew he couldn't win.

So did all the smart guys in the media and the chattering classes: pollsters, pundits, talking heads. The Democrats had been in power a long time, and times weren't great.

Time for a change. The Democrats were divided. Their nominee was an emotional, passionate guy who could make a speech, charge up some of the fools, but didn't have a clue.

The Republican candidate was better connected, more accomplished, had far more education. He had it won. The only way things could change was if the Republican made a mistake. So his speeches were full of air. He was against waste, fraud and abuse.

He wanted to give citizens more value for their tax dollars. He pledged to clean up the mess in government. He smiled and waved, said we had been great and would be great again.

But the Democrat said all sorts of risky, sometimes contradictory things. He wanted universal health care and he wanted better conditions for the workers and he wanted to do more for them.

Even if it cost the rich people more than they are paying now.

You may think that passage above describes this year's race for governor of Michigan, between Rick Snyder, the venture capitalist Republican, and Virg Bernero, the mayor of Lansing. And, as a matter of fact, it does.

But I wasn't thinking of them when I wrote it. I was thinking of a long-ago presidential election between Democrat Harry Truman and Republican Thomas Dewey, candidates who share an uncanny resemblance to Snyder and Bernero stylistically and politically.

Truman was sneered at as a little man out of his depths, an emotional hot dog. Thomas Dewey was the reasonable, sober, adult candidate. Every political writer in the country said he would win. The Chicago Tribune set their headline in type and went to press early: DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN. The Wall Street Journal devoted the lead story to explaining how Dewey would govern. The Detroit Free Press wrote an editorial calling on Truman to resign immediately so that Dewey could become president early.

But guess what happened? Harry Truman won the election, easily.

Journalists, professors, pollsters and politicians intently studied how they could have been so wrong. There were three main answers:

People tended to like the scrappy little Democratic underdog. Nobody much liked Dewey, who was a strutting, pompous gasbag. But since all the cool people thought Truman was a loser, people didn't tell pollsters the truth. And reporters ignored signals that the conventional wisdom just might be wrong; Truman had larger and more enthusiastic crowds, for example.

But everybody refused to see all that.

That was way back in 1948. Today everybody "knows" that Rick Snyder is going to win the election. Reporters have been sneering at Bernero forever. But the mayor of Lansing won the nomination (which they also said he wouldn't do) and it ain't over till it is over. And we ought to remember that.

Before you jump to conclusions, I am not predicting that Bernero will win. As a matter of fact, I think he'll lose, probably decisively, though he did easily win the one debate Snyder reluctantly agreed to, last Sunday night.

Winning it wasn't all that easy; both Steve Henderson of the Free Press and especially Nolan Finley of The Detroit News were far harder on Bernero than Snyder. Finley asked Snyder, for example, if he could be "tough" in Lansing, instead of asking how he expected to govern when he had never spent a day in any office.

Snyder, who mainly appeared to be a robot, mostly said things like "we need an attitude of action." And "I have a 10-point plan on my website." Nolan Finley did ask him one very good question: "How do you create a job?"

Snyder's answer was something like "government can't do it," which isn't strictly true, and "I've created many jobs," which may or may not be true, but didn't answer the question.

Bernero countered this from the start by saying, "State government isn't working for regular people," though "the wealthy get taken care of." In perhaps the most profound statement either of them made, he said, "We can't afford to be ideologically biased. If [a program] is working, we keep it. If not, we throw it out."

And before you jump to any further conclusions — I am not a dyed-in-the wool Bernero supporter. He annoyed me throughout the debate, as he has throughout his campaign, by his endless repetition of the exaggerated claims that Snyder has "outsourced jobs to China."

Nor am I impressed by his constant banging the drum on the abortion theme. There is no evidence that Snyder has the slightest desire to change abortion policy at all. Many people don't even think he is really "pro-life," and believe he says he is to avoid the active hostility of all the Right to Life of Michigan nut jobs.

Snyder's best moment came when he said, in essence, that the next governor needs to forget about social issues and concentrate on jobs and economic improvement in Michigan.

But, on balance, I came away from the debate thinking that it is clear Virg Bernero, son of an Italian immigrant, genuinely cares about people and wants to help them. I also think that after his years in the Legislature and as mayor, he may have some idea how to govern. That's crucially important; Jennifer Granholm never had a clue.

Rick Snyder didn't give any sense that he had known any "regular people," not for a long time. Nor did he show evidence of the slightest clue he knew what governing in any kind of democracy is all about. Had I been a panelist, I would have been strongly tempted to ask if he would consider firing our lawmakers if they didn't get the job done on his schedule.

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