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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

The Fourth and our future

This holiday, a look at our increasingly dysfunctional country

Photo: , License: N/A


The other day, thinking about the state of the country, and the state of our own state, a ghastly image came into my mind from William Manchester's book, The Death of a President, about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

In an especially riveting scene, the stricken president is in the hospital's trauma room, all the best machinery hooked up, the best doctors heroically massaging his chest, doing an emergency tracheotomy, pumping new blood into his veins.

"Everything Parkland had was going for Kennedy now ... [but] it wasn't working," the author related. Nothing could be done; JFK was beyond hope. That was, for those of us who were young then and are old enough to remember now, our defining traumatic news event.

A half-century later, I had been starting to wonder if it was, in fact, finally too late for our system. None of the so-called Founding Fathers, by the way, expected that what they created would have lasted this long. James Madison once said he thought the Constitution might endure for a little more than a century, but most of the rest expected more revolutions to come, probably in a few decades.

Yet what they left us proved marvelously elastic. But, there are clear signs that neither America nor Michigan is what it used to be. For years, we've been becoming more selfish on every level, less responsible, less rational and less willing to invest in the future.

Here in Michigan, virtually nobody made a peep when the state cut off welfare payments to tens of thousands of poor children. Nobody seemed to care very much when aid to education was slashed last year, or when they cut aid promised to cities, or the lawmakers broke their promise on the Michigan Promise Scholarships.

More and more, we are a society of complacent people, increasingly grossly obese, content to let future generations go down the drain as long as we can keep borrowing from China to keep up our consumption, while we whine about having to pay for it.

Raise taxes on those who can afford it to give kids a chance at a good education? "That's socialism!" we bleat, not having the faintest idea what the word means. 

Term limits mean our legislators don't really have to be responsible for anything — and so they aren't. Most of them make our current governor, pretty much a social Darwinist in his own right, look like a stunning visionary. His party controls the Legislature, and for two years he has tried to get the lawmakers to raise gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to keep our roads and bridges from falling apart.

They refuse to do it, though if they don't, more than half our roads will be in terrible shape within eight years. Decent roads are absolutely essential to our future.

But the morons mostly are terrified of losing their scummy little temporary elected jobs to some even nastier demagogue, if they do the right thing for the people they were elected to represent.

The last straw came two weeks ago. The state has less general fund money now than it did two decades ago, thanks to the recession and the refusal of lawmakers to raise revenue. But in what seems to be a cheap election-year ploy, the Michigan House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to slash income taxes further!

The author of this turkey was a freshman Republican named Nancy Jenkins from rural Lenawee County, whose intellect is such that she once held down the job of public relations assistant at the Christian Family Center in Adrian. Her plan will cripple state government by an extra $800 million a year. Asked how we could possibly afford it, Nancy blathered, "This bill is based on expected revenue and will not lead to program cuts."

That may be a lie, or it may be what psychiatrists who work with disturbed children call "magical thinking." What disturbed me is that this civilization-destroying bill passed, 97-13.

Democrats who know better mostly supported it too, since they are all up for election, and felt they also needed to pander to the voters. Yes, those are our leaders.

Now, in their defense, our Legislature may have sold out the citizens, but they have loyally supported their real constituency:

Matty Moroun. 

They've taken his money and prevented a bridge crucially necessary to our future from even coming up for a vote. Fortunately, Snyder found a way around them to get the bridge done.

But our system is terribly broken.

Nationally, things seem almost as bad.

Four years ago, something astonishing happened: we elected, for the first time, a president of African-American ancestry. Yet ever since, he has been vilified by the nastiest and least rational smear campaign I have ever seen. Networks have actually devoted air time to examining whether the baby of two poor college students born in Hawaii in 1961 — an event duly recorded in the newspapers the next day — was actually born on the other side of the globe in Kenya.

That baby grew up to be President Barack Obama, who two years ago sacrificed control of Congress in a successful effort to accomplish what Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton and every other president utterly failed to do:

He got a national health care plan enacted. From the moment it was passed, what the right sneers at as "Obamacare" has been continually misrepresented and lied about.

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