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    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

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    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May 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 Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Politics & Prejudices

To hell with the poor

Throwing all those kids off welfare felt great — until they turned to crime to survive

We have reason to celebrate this weekend: Michigan is cutting off welfare payments forever to nearly 30,000 poor children!

Good thing. Little bastards are eating too much, and if their growth isn't properly stunted and they are allowed to survive, they'll eventually start breeding too. Yes, I know we should castrate them.

Back in the day, we used to do that to Native American children, or the "feebleminded," as long as they weren't from Texas and didn't have family money. But the liberal do-gooders put a stop to that.

Thankfully, the so-called do-gooders haven't been able to stop this new wave of welfare reform, which will only continue to grow in scope because those 30,000 kids are only the start. Beginning Oct. 1, people will be kicked off welfare permanently, every day. That's because in July, the Michigan Legislature passed a law saying you can qualify for welfare cash payments for a maximum of four years. ...

Lifetime. Then you are cut off for good. What if you are badly injured and can't possibly look for a job at the end of that period? What if you have three small children, and absolutely no cash? What if there are no jobs, and hundreds of thousands of others are out of work? (Hey! That's what's happening right now! Who knew?)

Tough titties, kids.

Face facts, poor children of Michigan: Those in power in Lansing believe your low-class parents had no business having sex, let alone having you. If you think the state will save you, think again.

You're on your own. 



If you think the above is dripping with sarcasm, you too can be a literary critic. Naturally, our leaders wouldn't put things that honestly. Mike Green, for example, the gauleiter — oops — state senator from someplace up in the thumb called Mayville, put it this way:

"These common sense reforms make sure that limited dollars get to those in need, while encouraging independence and rewarding hard work among able-bodied individuals."

How soothing. How Orwellian, actually. The truth is that these "reforms" cut off money to some of the neediest. And as for this "work brings freedom" attitude, there are two slight problems.

First of all, there's damned little work. Official unemployment in our state is 11 percent and rising, and much higher when you count the discouraged workers who have given up looking for jobs.

Besides, even if some job were available, how do you manage to hold one down when you are a single parent with children? There is no free state-sponsored day care, you may have noticed.

We're in trouble as an economy, and as a society. The poverty rate is soaring. Poverty is defined as an income threshold below which people don't have the resources to meet basic needs for healthy lives.

Since the Great Recession started three years ago, poverty in Michigan has jumped by 20 percent. Statewide, nearly 17 percent of us were officially poor last year. But it is far worse for children.

Child poverty rose to nearly one out of every four Michigan children last year, according to the nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan League for Human Services. But in Detroit, it is far worse: Last year, almost 54 percent of the children lived in families without adequate income. Now, we've taken several steps to make that worse:

Not only are we ending all cash assistance to 11,000 families this weekend, we have already severely reduced the Earned Income Tax Credit to working families. That means that despite the sanctimonious bullshit put out by Sen. Green and others like him, we are, in effect, punishing the poor for working hard.

We've also eliminated the back-to-school clothing allowance for the poorest kids, and slapped new restrictions on food assistance.

But hey — these "reforms" are expected to save the state $77 million, which they can maybe use to buy some new riot control equipment for the National Guard. They may need it, eventually.

Odds are that throwing this many people off any kind of cash assistance will end up costing Michigan — i.e., the rest of us who have jobs and pay taxes — far more than we would save.

Desperate people, after all, do desperate things. You don't have to have seen Les Miserables to know that people whose kids are hungry are apt to see stealing food as a reasonable alternative.

State Sen. Vincent Gregory, a Democrat from Southfield, gets it: "Ninety percent of these families are working poor ... trying to support children and just barely getting by. We are pushing these families to homelessness." That's exactly what we are doing.

Which, from the enlightened self-interest of the wealthy, is just plain stupid. Why do people who have a house and a nice car think their security won't be threatened if lots more people are desperate?

Have a little common sense, people! 

There isn't much of that out there, judging from my e-mail correspondence. Every time I have written something in defense of not taking benefits from the needy, I get a barrage of odd personal attacks, divided roughly along two lines. Some think I am some counterculture type living in a bark hut with no interest in nice things, "like normal people want," as one quaintly put it.

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