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  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

Those ballot props

Jack's take on the six big questions

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The Morouns have spent nearly $5 million to help keep the Ambassador Bridge a monopoly.


Here's what would happen if every voter went to the polls next month, got in the booth and earnestly studied the ballot proposals.

People would be still standing in line on Thanksgiving Day. One measure of the screwed-up insanity of politics in Michigan is that we've slapped six complex proposals on the November ballot, plus boatloads of candidates running in who-knows-how-many races.

Yet despite that, we don't allow voters to automatically take the ballot home, study it, and return it by mail. In Oregon, everybody votes by mail. Even in Ohio, where Cedar Point is the height of high culture, the state mails every voter an absentee ballot application.

However, in Michigan, you aren't supposed to vote absentee unless you are going to be out of town, are in jail, are over 60, working the polls that day, or pretending it's a religious holiday. (Actually, Election Day really should be democracy's highest holiday.)

But if we made it easier to vote, too many of the riff-raff might show up, as the Republicans like to mutter. So most of us are going to have to trudge off to the polls, and face all these things.

Personally, I have no opinion to share as to whether you should vote for President Obama, who saved the domestic auto industry, killed Osama bin Laden, and saved the country from falling into economic collapse, or for Mitt Romney, who would end any hope of universal health care and allow large corporations and billionaires to finish making serfs of us all. That's a hard decision.

But I have studied these ballot proposals at great length, and seriously now, folks, want to share my thinking with you. After all, you really don't want to be stuck in line when you should be starting that Thanksgiving tofurky, good vegans that you may be.

 

Proposal 1: The Emergency Manager Law: VOTE YES. This is the only one that is not a constitutional amendment, but a simple referendum on a law, one newly elected Republican Gov. Rick Snyder got the Legislature to pass last year.

There was such outrage at this that opponents easily collected enough signatures to put it on the ballot, suspending the law until after a vote. Most liberals and progressives are opposed to the emergency manager law, saying it takes away too much local power.

But I disagree. I think the EM law is, sadly, a necessary tool for cities whose deeply flawed governments have proven themselves unwilling or unable to make the tough decisions needed.

Case in point: Detroit. Forget the current budget deficit; the city has $12 billion in unfunded liabilities, and an incompetent council elected in a deeply flawed process. Their unwillingness to allow the state to save Belle Isle is just the latest evidence.

Detroit's only hope lies in drastic measures, and there are plenty of other cities in similar straits. Emergency managers should never be appointed lightly. But cities are a creation of the state. This is a tool that, in extreme circumstances, the state needs.

 

Proposal 2: Collective Bargaining: VOTE YES. This would simply "grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions."

The state's unions are gambling heavily on this proposal, which would head off any attempt at right-to-work laws. They will spend heavily to try to get voters to approve it; you can expect business interests to spend even more to defeat it.

Much of the right wing's outrage will be directed against the fact that the amendment would protect public sector unions. However, the proposal does say "laws may be enacted to prevent public employees from striking," which ought to dispel any nonsense about our governments being held hostage by radical unions.

 

Proposal 3: The Renewable Energy Standard. VOTE YES. This is the "25 by 25" proposal to require electric utilities to provide at least a quarter of all their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable sources — wind, solar, biomass and hydropower.

The utilities are screaming that this is impossible, that it will lead to energy shortages and/or massively spiraling costs, etc., etc. They sound, in other words, like the auto companies did when it was first proposed they should be required to make cars that got more than eight miles to the gallon. Now, it is true that unforeseen things can happen. It is also true that you can't legislate progress.

But reputable environmentalists agree that this is achievable. Plus, the utilities don't want to admit this, but there is an escape clause. Not only would they be allowed to charge 1 percent a year in rate increases to achieve the standard, the law would allow them to put off the deadline if necessary to avoid higher rate increases.

It isn't clear who would decide if that was necessary — possibly, the state. Setting a renewable energy standard is also something that ought to have been addressed as a simple law, rather than as part of our constitution. But environmentally speaking, it is worth a yes.

 

Proposal 4: This would amend the constitution to establish a registry for home health care workers (The Michigan Quality Home Care Council) and to allow them to bargain collectively. VOTE NO. Constitutions are supposed to be basic guiding documents, not junked up with trivia. If Proposal 2 passes, these folks will have the right to bargain collectively anyway. I have no problem with them having a registry. But it shouldn't be mandated by the constitution.

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