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    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.

  • 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.

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Higher Ground

The roots of the fiasco

From shoddy premises to final 'failure,' a look at the War on Drugs

I'd like to start off the new year, if I may, with a radical look at the War on Drugs — a close look at its roots and at the ugly growths that have resulted in America's failing social order today.

I'd like to take as my text a statement by — of all people — TV evangelist Pat Robertson, who commented recently on his 700 Club broadcast on the Christian Broadcasting Network: "We're locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana, and the next thing you know they've got 10 years.

"I'm not exactly for the use of drugs — don't get me wrong," Pat said, "but I just believe that criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot and that kind of thing, I mean it's costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people. Young people go into prison ... as youths and they come out as hardened criminals, and it's not a good thing." Robertson's spokespersons later tried to back away, saying that he only wanted government to "revisit the severity of the existing laws," but the episode is telling.

Our subtext is provided by the Associated Press in a piece cited by Tony Newman in Alternet last month. The AP headline: "The U.S. drug war has met none of its goals." The AP said, "After 40 years, the United States War on Drugs has cost 1 trillion dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence more brutal and widespread."

"This year," Newman adds, "Mexico President Calderon called for a debate on drug legalization to help reduce the bloody war in Mexico. Former Mexico President Vicente Fox has since gone further and called for an end to prohibition. Just last week, United Kingdom's Bob Ainsworth, the former drugs and defense minister, called for the legalization and regulation of drugs.

"All of this follows a 2009 report by three former Latin American presidents, Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, where they called the drug war a failure and emphasized the need to 'break the taboo' on an open and honest discussion on international drug policy."

"An open and honest discussion" would lead first to an examination of what the War on Drugs is all about: Why do they have a War on Drugs? What are its goals? Who are the combatants? Why has there been no measurable success at all?

First off, it's not a war on drugs per se, because all sorts of drugs are more prevalent than ever, and the pharmaceutical industry is indeed the most profitable of enterprises, but it's a war on recreational drugs and their users.

The purpose of the War on Drugs is to persecute and punish users of recreational drugs in an effort basically to try to keep people from getting high on substances ruled illegal by a political process with little regard for medical or moral niceties — nor for due process of law, for that matter.

Recreational drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin were once legal. One day, through some mystical process that took place in the houses of Congress and in state legislative bodies in turn, each of them was determined to be illegal.

Marijuana was declared a narcotic. The narcotics themselves were deemed to have no redeeming social value whatsoever. Users and suppliers would be subject to long punitive sentences up to and including life in prison, and there would be no provision for medical or mental health uses. The shit would be illegal, period. Case closed.

This "tissue of horseshit" (as William Burroughs would put it) was sold to lawmakers and the nation's press by a creep named Harry Anslinger not long after the repeal of alcohol prohibition (remember that?) in 1933. Four years later, the idiotic marijuana laws were enacted by Congress with absolutely no convincing medical evidence in support, and users of cocaine and heroin began to be characterized as bigger threats to society than bank robbers or kidnappers.

Like the great novelist Upton Sinclair (no relation) pointed out, as cited by Paul Armentano on AlterNet: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Quickly, however, the stakes progressed beyond simply Herr Anslinger's measly salary to spawn a vast legion of drug law enforcement personnel that gradually reshaped our nation's approach to the very nature of law enforcement itself.

This is all in my own lifetime. I was born four years after marijuana was criminalized, started smoking weed in 1962, and was a criminal user of marijuana until the age of 67, when I was recognized as a medical marijuana patient by the same State of Michigan that had held me for three years in its various prisons some 40 years before.

I started my own war against the marijuana laws 46 years ago this very month, even before the government admitted that there was a War on Drugs — or better said, a war on drug users. The drugs weren't going anywhere, and in fact the government itself has arguably been responsible for importing massive quantities of heroin and other drugs from Afghanistan and Southeast Asia since World War II.

The drug user is a pretty easy target for the drug police. The real criminal elements who present a law enforcement problem are the large-scale suppliers of drugs to the recreational drug users, and they're a problem because incredible sums of money are at stake in their operations as a result of the criminality of the drugs themselves.

If the drugs were legal, these people would be druggists, not criminal drug dealers, they would purvey a uniformly high-quality product and they would be taxed on their sales and earnings. Duh! Instead both users and suppliers are viciously demonized by the forces of law and order, and their parrots in the press, persecuted as a danger to society, and subjected to the entire range of penalties and punishments mandated by the lawmakers.

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