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 Gipper giveth, state GOP taketh away

Republicans find a tax break they don't like. It happens to help the poor.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Once upon a time, there was a president of the United States who enthusiastically supported giving the working poor a break on their income taxes. The program, called the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, "is the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family program ever to come out of Congress." He vastly increased it.

Soon, seeing how well it worked, a number of states, including Michigan, did the same. In our state's case, the most a family with three kids could make last year to get the credit was $49,077.

This money — totaling $344 million in 2009 — was not parked in banks in the Cayman Islands, Mitt Romney-style. Instead, pretty much all of it was immediately spent in the local economy.

Then last year, Gov. Rick Snyder took office and right-wing Tea Party types took over both houses of the Michigan Legislature. They very nearly eliminated the entire Earned Income Tax Credit.

Fortunately, slightly saner heads prevailed, and a severely cut-back program survived. Now, instead of getting to deduct 20 percent of their state taxes, those eligible can deduct only 6 percent.

Michigan already had a regressive tax system. Lower-income people pay a higher percentage of their income than the rich, which makes sense only if you think government is supposed to punish them for being poor. This makes things worse.

According to the nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan League for Human Services, cutting the EITC means a tax increase for the working poor of almost a quarter of a billion dollars, when you consider that their tax cut now falls to a mere $109 million.

Apart from simple unfairness, there is actually a precise technical term for the decision to cut the EITC: damned stupid.

For one thing, this hurts small business almost as much as it does the working poor. The Anderson Economic Group, no bastion of liberal propaganda, calculated that every dollar returned to the working poor has a "multiplier effect" generating $1.67 in economic activity when they spend it. Now, they don't have it to spend.

Gilda Jacobs, the president and CEO of the League for Human Services, says this will cost small businesses in poor tortured Detroit an estimated $22 million this year; another blow falling on a bruise.

Ironically, it may hurt poor rural regions upstate even more. "Many lawmakers don't realize the impact that the EITC has on [such] regions of our state, particularly in northern Michigan, which have high levels of poverty," Jacobs said. "Cutting the EITC may well put out of business some small businesses, such as independent grocers, small auto repair shops and second-hand stores that cater to low-income working families in rural communities," she added.

Among the districts heavily impacted, the league calculated, were those represented by GOP state senators John Proos of St. Joseph, Dave Hildenbrand of Lowell, Mike Nofs of Battle Creek, and Roger Kahn of Saginaw Township.

There is, however, no sign they give much of a damn. Most Democrats themselves haven't done nearly enough to defend the interests of working families. One exception: state Rep. Phil Cavanagh of Redford Township. Three months ago, he introduced a bill to fully restore the EITC tax credits. He, and it, have been ignored.

Republicans control all branches of government in Lansing, and have no interest in even scheduling hearings on anything that conflicts with their agenda. Never mind if, as in this case, it might be something that would help the state, or their fellow Republicans.

Never mind that the Earned Income Tax Credit has been proven to work both in theory and practice — it gives people a tax cut, which is to Republicans what the finest heroin is to a drug addict.

The EITC helps the economy; helps business. But today's Republicans evidently hate the poor so much they are willing to inflict widespread damage in an attempt to punish the needy. 

By the way, speaking of out-of-touch liberals: So who was the president quoted at the start of this column?

Lyndon B. Johnson? Franklin D. Roosevelt? Bill Clinton?

Not exactly. It was the GOP's patron saint, Ronald Reagan.


Whatever happened to ... Hansen Clarke's campaign for Congress? Two years ago, the charismatic-if-mercurial state senator from Detroit did what nobody else had been able to do: He defeated former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick in the Democratic primary. Then, he went on to win a crushing victory over his Republican opponent.

This year, Michigan lost a seat in Congress. So the Legislature responded by throwing several Democratic incumbents together, to make sure at least one gets eliminated. Sure enough, Clarke and Gary Peters ended up battling it out in the new gerrymandered 14th district, which stretches from the Grosse Pointes to Keego Harbor, by way of Farmington Hills, Southfield, Pontiac, West Bloomfield, southwest Detroit and other places. This race should have been a real toss-up.

Slightly more than half the eligible voters are black; slightly more than half live in the suburbs. Most thought it would come down to whether black voters would turn out in adequate numbers, and whether Hansen Clarke's charm could win over suburbanites. Yet, more than two months before the Aug. 7 election, there is a clear feeling in many places that Peters has it wrapped up.

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