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    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 secret primary

What the state democratic party doesn't want you to know

Well, the New Hampshire primary results are in, and I just know that you have to be counting the days until our exciting Michigan Republican primary, which is coming Feb. 28.

Yessiree, if you were too busy standing in line at the soup kitchen, our fiscally prudent Republican Legislature last year happily voted to spend $10 million to hold this presidential primary, which is expected to help anoint favorite son Mitt Romney.

True, others might have wasted that money by instead trying to, say, keep part of our broken promise to our kids by funding the now-canceled Michigan Promise Scholarships.

But our leaders are made of stronger stuff. What's mildly embarrassing, however, is that they broke their own party rules by holding the primary this early. Except for a few elite states, such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, neither party wants any state having a primary or a caucus before early March.

Why? To prevent the contest from ending too fast. In case you aren't familiar with how things work, nominees are theoretically chosen at the GOP and Democratic National Conventions. This year, the Repubs are meeting in late August in Tampa, the Dems in early September in Charlotte.

What's happening now, at least on paper, is that the candidates are competing for delegates in a series of primary and caucus contests in every state. Then the delegates will choose a nominee.

Long ago, the nominations were often actually decided at the conventions, sometimes after dozens of ballots. Back in 1924, the Democratic convention lasted for weeks and the delegates had to vote 104 times before they could agree on some guy named John W. Davis.

Theoretically, that still could happen. But it never does. What happens is that somebody wins a few early contests, which makes it easier for them to get money and attention. Losers see their money dry up, and are forced to "suspend" their campaigns.

The late Mo Udall, one of the funniest and nicest guys ever to run for president, said the contest was like a football game that was fair until one team made a first down. After that, it would take only five yards for them to make a first down, and their touchdowns all count as 21 points. Meanwhile, the other teams have to play under the regular rules. Guess who wins.

The last time there was any suspense at a national convention was in 1976, and as a result nobody pays much attention to them anymore. The parties don't like this, and they have decided to punish states like Michigan that break the rules. Accordingly, the Republican National Committee has taken almost half our state's convention delegates away, giving Michigan less voting clout than Mississippi.

State party leaders don't much care, because they figure the nomination will be decided long before the convention.

Democrats have been very smug about all this. They aren't participating in the primary at all. They only have one candidate, the president of the United States. They will choose which of their flunkies get to go to North Carolina, party and eventually vote for Barack Obama at a series of caucuses around the state May 5.

They now proclaim that Republicans should do the same. "Our decision not to hold a primary was not based on partisan politics. It was to save the state $10 million," said Mark Brewer, Democratic state chair since about forever. "We chose to hold a caucus in 2004, when the GOP had an incumbent president and we were selecting a candidate. ... The GOP should have done the same thing this year."

What he doesn't say is that part of the reason they didn't hold a primary eight years ago is that they couldn't control the outcome, and feared Republicans and independents might have gummed up the works by voting for someone other than their selected candidate, the always charismatic John (remember him?) Kerry.

Nor does Marvelous Mark mention that four years ago both parties willingly violated the rules and held a primary in the middle of January. Brewer and Jennifer Granholm figured Hillary Clinton was sure to win. They wanted to please her by being the first big state to give her a primary victory! National Democrats were furious.

She won, all right, helped by the fact that Barack Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot. Meanwhile, Michigan Republicans wanted to give favorite son Mitt Romney a boost. He won too. Whoopee.

Both the Clinton and Romney campaigns were over long before the national conventions, and instead of being a kingmaker, Michigan was the court jester. By the way, Obama did a whole lot better in November, and then went on to save the auto industry. Granholm, on the other hand, ended up being an adjunct college teacher instead of a cabinet member. 

However, there is an election that almost nobody knows about, and which the Michigan Democratic Party hopes you don't discover. It is called the Michigan Democratic presidential primary.

Yes, Motorhead, there is one, with one name on the ballot: President Barack Obama. But the official Democratic establishment, which didn't want you to vote for him four years ago, really doesn't want you to vote for him now. Here's why.

They don't want to lose half their delegates. They want to pick them instead in caucuses, and official party rules say anyone who votes in this primary will be ineligible to vote in the caucuses.

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