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    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 Lidle & 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 follow a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month on the growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The story 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

True colors in Lansing

Amid crisis, our legislators still want to stick it to gays and the environment

Want to know what Republicans are really like — at least, the mean-spirited variety that inhabit our Legislature? They revealed their true colors in glistening slimy iridescence last week, while voting massive cuts for education.

Not, that is, just by cutting education, though that is appalling enough. The official mantra of the Snyder administration is that it doesn't really want to cut education, but it is necessary to give business as big a tax break as possible.

That, they say, will really help education in the long run, because slashing business taxes will bring new industry and jobs pouring in. The newly employed workers will pay state income taxes. As a result, state coffers will soon swell with cash. Which means Michigan will be able to devote more support to education than ever before! This is called the "rising tide lifts all boats" theory, and was last energetically believed in by some college Republicans for Reagan back in 1980, many of whom had never yet had a date. Most of them later grew up.

However, Rick Snyder still appears to believe this with the fervor of a new convert in the coming resurrection. More on this theology later, but first, back to the Legislature.

Cutting education was not enough for the lawmakers; they also made a clumsy attempt to punish gays. The instigator was, once again, the state's worst legislator, the malevolently dense David Agema, a recycled airline pilot from the west side of the state. The Granville Republican offered an amendment to further cut by 5 percent the funding of any university that offers domestic partner benefits. First, he pretended this was "a cost factor." However, it didn't take him long to reveal his true colors: This was about Agema's crackbrained idea of morality. "It provides an extremely bad example to our youth," he said, according to the Gongwer News Service.

Yes, allowing some unmarried wretch to collect state-paid benefits violates Divebomber Dave's interpretation of the Michigan Constitution, which, as he noted, says that "religion and morality ... are necessary to good government."

Ironically, what the constitution really says appears to argue against cutting schools at all: "Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education will forever be encouraged."

Some fellow legislator with intelligence and integrity ought to have read that into the record — and then noted that so-called domestic partner benefits are not limited to gays. Full personal disclosure; I've added my female partner to my benefits at Wayne. This isn't free; it costs us more than $600 a month.

Not only is this benefit not only for gays, it isn't limited to those in romantic relationships. As I read the rules covering "other eligible persons," I could have added my mommy instead, if I owned, say, a house with her, and if she didn't have the bad taste to be dead.

But beyond that, some lawmaker also ought to have noted that if you are looking for someone guilty of immorally wasting state money, you need look no further than Dave Agema. Four years ago, he was nowhere to be found during an intense state budget debate: He was off hunting wild sheep in Siberia, continuing to collect his state salary and health care benefits while in full dereliction of duty.

They eventually threw this bozo off the House Appropriations Committee for missing more votes than anyone in either chamber. Yet the voters have kept re-electing him.

Now for the shocking part: Every Legislature has idiots who are mostly ignored. Except that in this case, a majority went along with Agema. The amendment punishing the universities was added to the education budget and then adopted by the full House. Democrats unanimously voted against it, and six Republicans too.

But they have large legislative majorities — and most of them are religious and right-wing ideologues. They don't stop at trying to regulate sexual morality either. Over in the Senate, they voted to try to prevent Rick Snyder himself from helping the environment.

That's right. They did it, they claimed, "to help the business climate." They voted to forbid the state from issuing guidelines more protective of the environment than those issued by the federal government. State Sen. Mike Kowall, (R-White Lake Township) pretended that this was so the Legislature could protect nature.

This was, of course, bullshit. Rick Snyder is thought to be the most environmentally friendly governor since Bill Milliken in the 1970s. It was Milliken, in fact, who helped save Lake Erie by banning phosphate-laden detergents when the Legislature refused to act.

If the House goes along with the Senate, no governor could take action like that again. The business interests who own so many of these legislators fear Snyder, too, might put life ahead of profits. So if you thought the current crop of Republican lawmakers lacks a malevolent social agenda, welcome to the real world. The question now, however: What is Rick Snyder?

Last summer, thousands of independents and Democrats crossed over to vote for Snyder in the Republican primary, enabling him to win. Many did so because they thought he was an intelligent, pragmatic, non-ideological reformer.

By then it was clear to the savvy that whomever the GOP nominated was likely to be our next governor. Snyder seemed much better than the other options, most of them tools of various anti-abortion or hard-right economic groups.

Turns out Snyder does seem to be a true believer in the ideology of Laffer curve economics. However, he has not — so far — sold out on the social issues. To his credit, he's brushed aside attempts to limit stem cell research.

But what about these two nasty, mean-spirited legislative moves? Will he sign an education budget that penalizes universities for allowing people like me to cover people whom they love?

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