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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 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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