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  • 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.

  • Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor

    Detroit home-girl Lily Tomlin will perform at the Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, June 14. A press release reads, “Get together with Lily Tomlin for an unforgettable night of fun and sidesplitting laughter. “Tomlin is amazing” The NY Times and “as always a revelation.” The New Yorker This unique comic artist takes her audience on what the Washington Post calls a “wise and howlingly funny” trip with more than a dozen of her timeless characters—from Ernestine to Mrs. Beasley to Edith Ann.” “With astounding skill and energy, Tomlin zaps through the channels like a human remote control. Using a fantastic range of voices, gestures and movements, she conjures up the cast of characters with all the apparent ease of a magician pulling a whole menagerie of animals from a single hat.” NY Daily News “Her gentle touch is as comforting as it is edifying.” NY Time Out She has “made the one-person show the daring, irreverent art form it is today.” Newsweek Her long list of awards includes: a Grammy; two Tonys; six Emmys; an Oscar nomination; two Peabodys; and the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Find more info here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor

    The Detroit Metro Times, Detroit’s award-winning alternative weekly media company, is proud to announce the recent hire of Valerie Vande Panne as Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning independent journalist and Michigan native, Vande Panne’s work has appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business, The Daily Beast, and Salon, among other publications. Previously, Vande Panne attended Harvard University and was a regular contributor to The Boston Phoenix, and a news editor of High Times magazine. She has spent years covering drug policy among other subjects, including the environment, culture, lifestyle, extreme sports, and academia. “Valerie understands our business and what we expect to accomplish in Detroit. She has an excellent sense for stories that will move our readers, as well as experience with balancing print and digital content. I’m excited to have her at the paper and trust her leadership as we move forward,” said Detroit Metro Times publisher Chris Keating.

    The post Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’

    She welcomes you when you enter Detroit, from every direction, with the one word that might just be Detroit’s biggest philosophical question: Injured? Joumana Kayrouz is deeper than the inflated image watching over Detroit, peddling justice to the poor and broken of the city. This Wednesday, Drew Philp takes us behind the billboard and into the heart of the Kayrouz quest. (And all of Brian Rozman’s photos of Kayrouz have not been retouched.) Check out MT‘s cover story, on newsstands Wednesday!

    The post Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt

    There was a fire in an upstairs apartment at PJ’s Lager House on Monday evening. No people were hurt, although three cats belonging to the tenants died after CPR. The fire broke out around 10:30 p.m. during a show featuring Zombie Jesus & the Chocolate Sunshine Band, Curtin, and Jeffrey Jablonsky. “We just smelled smoke and someone yelled everyone has to get out,” 33-year-old Nick Leu told MLive. On the Lager House Facebook page in the early hours of the morning, a post said, “We at PJ’s lager House would like to thank everyone for their care and concern. Also, a very big THANK YOU to all who stepped up to do what they could this evening. The fire was contained to the upstairs but due to water damage in the bar, we will be closed until it can be assessed. Everyone is safe and we will keep you updated.” A later update read, “Update from the big boss. Since there was no damage to the stage side of the bar, the show will go on tomorrow! You may have to enter through the back door and there may not be a large selection of booze but we are going […]

    The post Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. The Sugar Clouds’ Partners Don’t Do That (They Watch and be Amazed) (Wax Splat) is a nostalgic look at the psychedelic days of ’60s grooviness. Even the album cover looks like a lava lamp. The male-female vocals have a sort of Jefferson Airplane feel, and the songs are blessed with both sugary sweet pop melodies and a garage-y earthiness. The story of the band’s formation is rather interesting; the two vocalists, Greg and Melissa Host, are a divorced couple who wrote the songs in their living room. The band is still together, so this divorce was a hell of a lot more civil than any we’ve ever known of. Steffanie Christi’an has friends in fairly high places. Her new Way Too Much mini-album is being put out by Nadir Omowale’s Distorted Soul label, and she is also a regular feature on Jessica Care Moore’s Black Women Rock revue. Maybe the choice of cover image isn’t the best – she looks a bit like a Tina Turner tribute act here. But that can and should be […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

The problem with a Santorum spoiler

Instead of cheering on a weak candidate, it’s better to vote responsibly

"It all comes down to sex. ... Woodstock is the great American orgy. ... One thing I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is the dangers of contraception in this country. It's not OK." 

—Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum

 

Believe it or not, those are recent, real remarks from one of the two top candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, a former senator unhealthily obsessed with sex, a man who was, six years ago, thrown out of office by the voters in his own state.

Rick Santorum seems to be some sort of deeply messed-up, pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic. Forget abortion as a litmus test. He is not only against that; he's against contraception. He thinks a long-ago U.S. Supreme Court decision saying birth control was a right was decided wrongly, and would apparently ignore it.

He says he believes the states should have the right to outlaw birth control, and would encourage them to do so. 

Essentially, he is as far removed from mainstream America as the handful of Maoist nuts in the Revolutionary Communist Party. Naturally, there is a great temptation by liberals and Democrats to hope (please, God, please!) that he becomes the GOP nominee.

I know some of them, from university deans to lawyers in the Upper Peninsula, who gleefully voted for Mullah Rick in the Republican presidential primary last week. They assume that with Santorum as the nominee, the party would lose in a landslide. Joe Nocera, a fairly conservative columnist for The New York Times, wrote that he is openly rooting for the little man from Pennsylvania.

His reason is different, however. Nocera thinks the landslide defeat Santorum would suffer is just what the Republican Party needs to sober up — and to throw off the tyranny of the religious fanatics and right-wing nuts who now dominate the party at every level.

Nocera believes that if Santorum were to lose badly, "The party will no longer be able to delude itself about where its ideological rigidity has taken it," and will become more moderate.

Whereas, if Mitt Romney were to become the nominee and lose, "the extremists who have taken over the party will surely say the problem was Romney's lack of ideological purity."

All that may make sense on paper. But I don't buy it, for a number of reasons. First of all, the power of the presidency is so vast that you never want to risk having someone unacceptable as one of the two major party nominees. 

I remember being at the 1980 Republican Convention. Ronald Reagan had just been nominated, and the majority of the national press saw him as a certain loser. They knew America was not going to vote for an old, right-wing B-movie actor. Except then the nation suddenly got sick of Jimmy Carter, and decided Reagan's simplistic rhetoric was charming. Santorum is much scarier than Reagan, who didn't really care about social issues. 

What if he is nominated ... and the country goes into another downturn, or two weeks before the election, the president has a heart attack or a stroke? Even if that doesn't happen, and Santorum were to be smeared, there's no reason to believe this would start the Republicans back toward moderation.

Barry Goldwater lost badly too, in 1964. But that campaign converted the Deep South to a Republican region, and made the GOP safe for racists, where many have remained since.

No. Trying to help Rick Santorum win anything is the height of irresponsibility for anyone who believes in personal freedom and rational thought. Once, when Adlai Stevenson was running for president, an admiring lady supposedly gushed something like, "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person."

Adlai told her, "That's not enough; we need a majority." He knew what he was talking about; he never came close to winning.

 

The unmaking of a pig: Way back in the '60s, when people were in power who weren't afraid to call themselves liberals, there was one right-wing media star: William F. Buckley Jr. 

He was witty, fascinating, well-educated and highly effective in print, on his TV show Firing Line, or making a speech. True, he was a total snob and somewhere to the right of Louis XVI.

But he was often worth paying attention to. Contrast that to the dominant right-wing media voice for the last two decades: The brawling, nastily ignorant, and usually grossly fat Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh, who flunked out of a ninth-rate college, has made millions by spewing racist and sexist rhetoric to millions of listeners. He has cruelly mocked everyone from the homeless to those dying of AIDS, and for some baffling reason, has gotten away with it.

Now, however, he may finally have gone too far. Last Wednesday, he identified Sandra Fluke, a courageous young law student, as a "slut" and a "prostitute" who "essentially says she must be paid [by the government] to have sex."

The truth was this. Fluke testified before Congress, encouraging representatives to require health care plans to cover contraception. For months, conservatives have been selling the big lie that President Obama's health care plan is "limiting religious freedom" by requiring employers to provide access to health care plans that include coverage for contraception.

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