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  • 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.

  • Detroit councilman: Increased parking fines an ‘anti-growth strategy’

      There’s at least one city councilmember who’s less than pleased with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to increase all parking violation fines. Councilman Gabe Leland, whose district represents the city’s west side, issued a statement today, calling Orr’s plan a potential “deterrent” to attracting people to the city. I don’t believe the argument to raise the parking ticket fines from $30 to $45 and eliminate the $10 early payment fine are justification for this action. The emergency manager’s order to increase ticket fines places city government inefficiencies on the backs of our residents who need to do business in downtown and other parts of our city. And, this will increase the barrier for people to frequent Detroit-based establishments; likely to be a deterrent for some to shop and dine in our city. Leland suggested implementing a plan that maintains current rates for fines and reduces operating inefficiencies to collecting parking fines. “In my view, generating revenue by increasing fines when residents from neighborhoods must go downtown to get licenses and permits, attend court appointments and do other necessary business, is the wrong direction,” Leland said. “…Additionally, generating revenue using fines when we are trying to grow this city and attract […]

    The post Detroit councilman: Increased parking fines an ‘anti-growth strategy’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

Those ballot props

Jack's take on the six big questions

Photo: , License: N/A

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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