Most Read
  • Detroit area code 313 may be phased out

    Hey, everybody from the 313, start thinking of new numbers to rally around– the longstanding Detroit area code may be phased out. Our friends over at the Detroit News report that pending a revised estimate next week, the North American Numbering Plan Administration will stop handing out 313 telephone prefixes on new phone numbers. Detroiters with existing cell phone lines would be able to keep their current area codes, while those with land lines would change. via Detroit News: The venerable 313 will ultimately become overtaxed. Even as Detroit’s population has fallen, cellphone usage has accelerated like one of those smoldering SRT Vipers that Dodge has been bolting together at Conner Avenue Assembly — which is, of course, comfortably within the confines of 313. … When the first five dozen area codes were assigned nearly 70 years ago, says NANPA’s Tom Foley, “that was expected basically to last forever.” Instead, somebody invented fax machines, and then somebody else came up with cellphones, and lots of somebody elses decided to give them to 10-year-olds, and meantime the population grew to 300 million. Now every telephone carrier is required to submit twice-yearly forecasts of its needs in each area code, factoring in […]

    The post Detroit area code 313 may be phased out appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last night’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, which, in case you were unaware, is a 16-member board established to weigh in on the new Red Wings arena near downtown. About three dozen residents and property owners cast ballots by the 8 p.m. deadline on Wednesday inside the Block at Cass Park, The Detroit News reports. It’s the culmination of a handful of community meetings which began weeks ago. Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez facilitated the meetings, but emphasized at previous meetings that it’s up to the community to conduct business. According to the News, the 12 candidates selected include: Michael Boettcher, Richard Etue, Jason Gapa, Francis Grunow, Steve Guether, Paul Hughes, Ray Litt, Warner Doyle McBryde, Karen McLeod, Delphia Simmons, Melissa Thomas and Anthony Zander. Joel Landy, a land owner in the area, lost his bid. The City Council appointed four candidates last month. As we reported in this week’s issue, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was negotiated after Olympia Development of Michigan, Detroit Red Wing’s owner Mike Ilitch’s real estate arm, balked on a proposed community benefits agreement.  The committee is charged with the task of offering input on the arena’s design, parking security and more.

    The post Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag

    The Magic Bag in Ferndale will host James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. A press release reads, “James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched […]

    The post James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit

    The Dead Kennedys, still with local boy Klaus Flouride in the ranks, will play St. Andrew’s Hall on Tuesday, June 24. Alongside Flouride and fellow original members East Bay Ray and DH Peligro, the current lineup includes singer Ron “Skip” Greer, taking the place of Jello Biafra. Downtown Brown will open that show, which starts at 7 p.m., with tickets priced $20-$25. Give Klaus a hero’s hometown welcome. Just over a week before that, strangely enough, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine will play at the Magic Stick. It’s a weird coincidence, but one that DK fans should be happy to embrace. That show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $17-$19. Local hardcore vets Negative Approach play before Jello, with the Crashdollz opening the show. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain

    The Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present a police drama called A Steady Rain May 2 through 24. Planet Ant veterans Ryan Carlson and York Griffith will star in the play, written by House of Cards and Mad Men co-writer Keith Huff. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale now at According to the press release, “A Steady Rain by Keith Huff focuses on Joey and Denny, best friends since kindergarten and partners on the police force whose loyalty to each other is tested by domestic affairs, violence and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey helps Denny with his family and Denny helps Joey stay off the bottle. But when a routine disturbance call takes a turn for the worse their loyalty is put to the ultimate test.First produced at Chicago Dramatists, A Steady Rain appeared on Broadway featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The Planet Ant production of A Steady Rain is directed by York Griffith featuring Ryan Carlson and Andy Huff. This marks the return of two of Planet Ant’s founding members. Carlson and Griffith. Griffith has served as the theatre’s Artistic Director where he directed the critically-acclaimed productions The Adding Machine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? […]

    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.



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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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