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  • Detroit area code 313 may be phased out

    Hey, everybody from the 313, start thinking of new numbers to rally around– the longstanding Detroit area code may be phased out. Our friends over at the Detroit News report that pending a revised estimate next week, the North American Numbering Plan Administration will stop handing out 313 telephone prefixes on new phone numbers. Detroiters with existing cell phone lines would be able to keep their current area codes, while those with land lines would change. via Detroit News: The venerable 313 will ultimately become overtaxed. Even as Detroit’s population has fallen, cellphone usage has accelerated like one of those smoldering SRT Vipers that Dodge has been bolting together at Conner Avenue Assembly — which is, of course, comfortably within the confines of 313. … When the first five dozen area codes were assigned nearly 70 years ago, says NANPA’s Tom Foley, “that was expected basically to last forever.” Instead, somebody invented fax machines, and then somebody else came up with cellphones, and lots of somebody elses decided to give them to 10-year-olds, and meantime the population grew to 300 million. Now every telephone carrier is required to submit twice-yearly forecasts of its needs in each area code, factoring in […]

    The post Detroit area code 313 may be phased out appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last night’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, which, in case you were unaware, is a 16-member board established to weigh in on the new Red Wings arena near downtown. About three dozen residents and property owners cast ballots by the 8 p.m. deadline on Wednesday inside the Block at Cass Park, The Detroit News reports. It’s the culmination of a handful of community meetings which began weeks ago. Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez facilitated the meetings, but emphasized at previous meetings that it’s up to the community to conduct business. According to the News, the 12 candidates selected include: Michael Boettcher, Richard Etue, Jason Gapa, Francis Grunow, Steve Guether, Paul Hughes, Ray Litt, Warner Doyle McBryde, Karen McLeod, Delphia Simmons, Melissa Thomas and Anthony Zander. Joel Landy, a land owner in the area, lost his bid. The City Council appointed four candidates last month. As we reported in this week’s issue, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was negotiated after Olympia Development of Michigan, Detroit Red Wing’s owner Mike Ilitch’s real estate arm, balked on a proposed community benefits agreement.  The committee is charged with the task of offering input on the arena’s design, parking security and more.

    The post Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag

    The Magic Bag in Ferndale will host James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. A press release reads, “James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched […]

    The post James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit

    The Dead Kennedys, still with local boy Klaus Flouride in the ranks, will play St. Andrew’s Hall on Tuesday, June 24. Alongside Flouride and fellow original members East Bay Ray and DH Peligro, the current lineup includes singer Ron “Skip” Greer, taking the place of Jello Biafra. Downtown Brown will open that show, which starts at 7 p.m., with tickets priced $20-$25. Give Klaus a hero’s hometown welcome. Just over a week before that, strangely enough, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine will play at the Magic Stick. It’s a weird coincidence, but one that DK fans should be happy to embrace. That show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $17-$19. Local hardcore vets Negative Approach play before Jello, with the Crashdollz opening the show. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain

    The Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present a police drama called A Steady Rain May 2 through 24. Planet Ant veterans Ryan Carlson and York Griffith will star in the play, written by House of Cards and Mad Men co-writer Keith Huff. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale now at According to the press release, “A Steady Rain by Keith Huff focuses on Joey and Denny, best friends since kindergarten and partners on the police force whose loyalty to each other is tested by domestic affairs, violence and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey helps Denny with his family and Denny helps Joey stay off the bottle. But when a routine disturbance call takes a turn for the worse their loyalty is put to the ultimate test.First produced at Chicago Dramatists, A Steady Rain appeared on Broadway featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The Planet Ant production of A Steady Rain is directed by York Griffith featuring Ryan Carlson and Andy Huff. This marks the return of two of Planet Ant’s founding members. Carlson and Griffith. Griffith has served as the theatre’s Artistic Director where he directed the critically-acclaimed productions The Adding Machine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? […]

    The post Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face

    There is no easy answer to the question regarding what should be done with Detroit’s abandoned homes. However, an Eastern Market company has a solution that could reflect Detroit’s possibly bright future. Homes Eyewear has set out to make the city a little more stylish, and do their part in cleaning it up by repurposing select woods from neglected homes for sunglasses. All of the wood that Homes uses is harvested from vacant houses with the assistance of Reclaim Detroit. A lot of work goes into prepping the wood to be cut and shaped into frames. Homes goes through each piece to remove nails, paint or anything else detrimental to their production (it’s a bit strange to think that your wooden sunglasses could have had family portraits nailed to them). In order to produce more durable eyewear, they salvage only hardwoods like maple or beech, which are difficult to come by as most of the blighted homes were built with softer woods like Douglas fir and pine. If you’re worried about looking goofy, or shudder at the thought of salvaged wood resting on your nose, you can rest easy. Homes currently offers frames in the popular wayfarer style and are developing their unique spin on the classic aviators. For as […]

    The post You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Politics & Prejudices

The GOP's race to the bottom

The truth is that Mitt Romney doesn’t capture any hearts

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Last week, as you may have gathered from the saturation coverage, the vast array of Republican presidential candidates had what they call a "debate" at Oakland University, right here in the fabulous world of metro Detroit. Aren't we special!

Well, not so much. They've been having these debates ad nauseam, seemingly every other day, all across the nation.

You might think President Obama's best hope for surviving the tough economy lies in having as many people as possible see these jokers posture, preen and poke at each other.

Unfortunately, that would presuppose a rational majority of citizens. That doesn't exist, certainly not in the GOP. 

After weeks of sexual harassment stories, Herman Cain, a candidate without any shred of experience or qualifications, still was running first in the polls. (This guy had liver cancer, by the way, five years ago, and was supposed to be dead now. Why doesn't anyone ever ask about that?) Meanwhile, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a retread from the 1990s, was tied for second with the man who will become the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney.

Yes, you saw that correctly. Willard Mitt Romney, he of the Ken doll looks and the polystyrene heart, will be the GOP presidential nominee, unless he dies or is found in bed with Joe Paterno.

What you are seeing now is a form of Kabuki theater. The various candidates bob and weave, slide up in the polls, slide down, and take turns being flavor of the month. Michele Bachmann! Rick Perry! Newt! Everybody gets a magazine cover, and brief frisson of front-runnership, before the next monkey slides down the pole. 

But everybody who knows the game knows they are going to nominate Mitt. Here's how it works: Republicans always nominate the guy who was the runner-up at the last nomination dance.

This has gone on for half a century. Want proof? When Richard Nixon was nominated in 1960, the only other candidate to get delegate votes was Barry Goldwater ... who got it the next time. Michigan's own Jerry Ford barely edged out Ronald Reagan in 1976.

Four years later, it was Reagan's turn, after he beat out the first George Bush. Eight years later, Bush beat out Bob Dole, and then Dole won the next nomination without a serious challenger.

Left without an obvious runner-up, Republicans, not a group heavy on imagination, turned to some Son of a Bush in 2000.

He won by beating out "Crash" John McCain, who got his shot four years ago. Who did he beat for that nomination?

Mitt Romney, of course.

Now, I know that chronology sounds an awful lot like all the "begats" in the Bible. But there is a little bit more than dynastic succession to it. For one thing, the first time anyone runs a national campaign, they are bound to make mistakes.

Mitt Romney's first effort was as plastic and packaged as they get, but he still let slip the fact that he used to put his dog in a cage on top of the car when they traveled, till he saw the terrified animal's pee cascading down the windshield. He thought that was funny.

Dog lovers let him know otherwise. First campaigns also tend to shake out those hiding scandals, or who are too stupid for the taste of even those Tea Party members who happen to be literate. 

When Rick Perry announced at OU that he intended to abolish three cabinet-level departments and then was able to name only two, he was, effectively, Texas toast, fit to be served up with a heapin' helping of gristle at the local Ponderosa steakhouse.

True, Romney is a Mormon, and there are those in the Bible Belt, GOP voters all, who mutter darkly that Mormonism is a satanic cult. Not to worry; they would hold their nose and vote for — Ted Bundy, Dick Morris, anyone — against that communistic Kenyan-born, Muslim, America-hating negro in the White House. 

The only thing that might give anyone pause about the inevitability of Romney's nomination is that, well, nobody loves him.

Members of his own party tolerate him. They can pretend to respect him for short periods of time. More and more conclude every day that he is their best shot at winning the election. Romney looks good, and is filthy rich, meaning he can help fund his campaign. 

But nobody really loves him. He doesn't capture their hearts the way Ronald Reagan did. Still, they'll buy him, reluctantly. 

They think he looks presidential, talks a good game, and will seem moderate enough to snare the independents. They think with unemployment so high, the odds will favor any challenger who doesn't look completely loopy.

Yet will Romney really win, next November?

Nobody yet has any idea.

Nobody knows what will happen when it comes down to only two choices. Nobody knows whether we will decide out of hope or fear. Whether we pick based on our dreams or our dislikes.

What I suggest is that we wait around to find out.

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