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 new reality

Now Michigan Republicans will have no excuses - and few checks

Let's start off by pointing out some new bad news for the Democrats most may not even know about yet.

One of their very few bright spots on election night was Congressman Gary Peters' narrow victory over "Rocky" Raczkowski. Peters, who represents much of Oakland County, easily beat a Republican fossil, Joe Knollenberg, two years ago, but almost lost this time to a candidate who was neither very strong nor well-funded.

What his supporters didn't realize election night is that their victory just postponed the inevitable. Michigan will lose a House seat next year, thanks to the shifting U.S. population. Lansing will redraw districts. Republicans will control the Legislature and the governor's office. Guess whose seat they'll eliminate?

They will almost certainly throw Peters into a district he has no chance of winning in the general election, or put him in the same district as fellow Democrat Sandy Levin, meaning one or the other will have to bow out, retire or lose.

Then the Legislature will draw boundaries to ensure the GOP captures as many seats in Lansing as possible over the next decade. They'll pass it; Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will sign it.

Now, if Democrats think that plan is unfair, why, they can always appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. But ... oh wait! Republicans now have control of that too.

Welcome to our new political reality. Last week was a GOP victory at every level. Democrats lost the governor's race by a landslide, as everyone knew they would. But having said that, here's something positive about Virg Bernero: Yes, he got creamed. But he did better than the last two losing Democrats for governor, Geoffrey Fieger and Howard Wolpe. That's amazing, given they had more money and ran against John Engler, closer of mental health clinics, an uncharismatic man with negatives of his own.

This time, Rick Snyder was able to run as Our Non-Political Savior, with the entire media establishment and business community serving as his public relations apparatus. He was effectively able to be all things to all people. Bernero had little money, a not-very-focused campaign and had to stand against a huge Republican tide. Not to mention the legacy of Jennifer Granholm, who rightly or wrongly had become a symbol for everything wrong.

With all that going for him, you would have thought Snyder would have done better than the 61 and 62 percent scores Engler racked up against a respected former congressman and then Michigan's best-known and most flamboyant attorney. Yet Snyder only beat Bernero 58 to 40 percent. That's significant, for this reason: During those larger Engler landslides, Democrats weren't wiped out at lower levels the way they were last week. Back then, Democrats were elected attorney general both times. They won at least some state education board seats too, and did better in the Legislature. This time, they were wiped out. This wasn't an anti-Virg vote. It was a vote against the Democrats.

They lost every statewide office. Jocelyn Benson, who may have been the best-qualified candidate ever for secretary of state, ran far ahead of the rest of the ticket, but lost by six points. Republicans gained more seats in the Legislature than in their wildest dreams. In perhaps the most significant blow, they took back control of the Michigan Supreme Court.

What does this all mean? Nobody really knows, and we won't for some time. But we do know this: First of all, Republicans — if they are united — can now do anything they want to when it comes to running the government. Democrats won't control a damned thing. In fact, their minority in the state Senate will be so small — less than one-third of the seats — they won't even be able to prevent any bills the Republicans pass from taking immediate effect.

However, there is a silver lining in all this, for either the state of Michigan, the Democrats, or both: Republicans now, finally, have to take complete responsibility for the mess we are in.

They are going to have to balance a budget with perhaps a $2 billion deficit, and do it without stimulus money. They will either have to take the responsible step of raising revenues, or wipe out what remains of social services, badly damage higher education, and ruin our state's ability to compete. Either the state wins or the Republicans will have demonstrated themselves to be a bunch of ideological fanatics, interested in only in the rich and super-rich.

Don't be surprised if our new governor finds his hands full with a lot of newly elected Tea Party know-nothings in the Legislature. It could be that he will only be able to succeed with support from some Democrats, if the Teabaggers revolt against him.

This much is clear. The voters decisively gave power to the Republicans, in Michigan as nationwide. I happen to believe they did so because President Obama and the Democrats at all levels did a piss-poor job of explaining what they really did accomplish.

They enacted a health care plan the vast majority of Americans would enthusiastically favor — if they understood it. They saved us from a Great Depression. Locally, the president saved the auto industry, and saved our state from financial collapse. But they apparently thought virtue would bring its own reward. Instead, the constant televised lies and their own inability to communicate brought us a GOP landslide.

So now it is their turn. Democrats won fewer seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than they have in any election since 1946. But take note of two other things too: The last three times the GOP made major gains in Congress in midterm elections, the Democratic president at the time was easily re-elected two years later.

And consider the big Tea Party Republican stars, the ones who were constantly on the all-news TV channels: Christine O'Donnell. Carl Paladino. Joe Miller. Sharron Angle. Think of Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, the rich women who were going to take over California.

Every one of them lost — badly. When people really saw what they were selling, they didn't want any of it. There might be a lesson there.

Could Comrade Mark be in trouble? The Detroit Free Press had an editorial last week urging the replacement of Mark Brewer, the longtime Democratic Party state chair. That found a lot of eager support from hardworking rank-and-file Democrats like one woman I spoke to who fought hard to get out the vote Tuesday.

She, like others, is upset that the Democrats under Brewer have squandered money on silly, doomed causes like the unconstitutional "Reform Michigan Now" amendment two years ago, and managed to make a mess of the presidential primary in 2008.

They are incensed that the party did very little for Jocelyn Benson, who really could have won with proper support, but instead threw money and energy (though they deny it) on a farcical attempt to add a phony Trojan horse Tea Party to the ballot.

So does this mean Brewer will finally leave when his term expires early next year? Probably not, I'm told. He is the unions' apparatchik, and they control much of the process.

And drifting sadly downward things go.

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