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  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years 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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