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  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



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Politics & Prejudices

Try a line in the sand

Obama should plead with the people for a new WPA

Photo: Courtesy Library of Congress, License: N/A

Courtesy Library of Congress

Excavating work for sewage disposal plant in San Diego under the Works Projects Administration in 1941.

Three and a half years ago, before the stock market crashed and the Great Recession began, I sat down with a group to interview then presidential candidate Barack Obama. More jobs were urgently needed, even then. The first question I asked him was, "If you are elected president, why don't you create something like an American Infrastructure Corps?" 

During the Depression of the 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt saved the lives, integrity and self-respect of millions by putting them to work via something called the Works Progress Administration, WPA for short. It also immeasurably helped the country. 

Writers and artists went to work for the government, creating, among other things, a magnificent set of guides to the states and rivers that are still valuable today. Architects were hired to design fire stations and post offices and unemployed engineers built them.

The Republican Party's right-wing ideologues of the time screamed and denounced the WPA, as they undoubtedly would today. They said it was a boondoggle that paid lazy bums to lean on shovels or pretend to rake leaves all day. They said, as the Ron Pauls and Michele Bachmanns and Tea Party fakers would today, that this was — shudder — socialism. They claimed that the only legitimate jobs were those created by private enterprise.

Most people, however, knew better, even though the media back then had a heavy right-wing bias too. After three election cycles, the GOP was left with fewer than 100 congressmen.

Finally, the Republicans more or less muzzled their more rabid members and began talking about "reforming" or "fixing" New Deal programs, rather than abolishing them. Only then did they begin to win elections. I mention all this history for a good reason:

Few remember or know that any more. Evidently, that includes President Obama, who seems to have made the mistake of trying to compromise, or reason with, the Republican leadership.

That was a mistake not worthy of a man of his intelligence. There are virtually no moderates left in the congressional GOP. If they were alive, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan would be seen as left-wingers by this bunch of wing nuts.

Bob Dole, if he were still in the Senate, would be a pariah in his own party. Dole, with whom I spent a day once when he was running for president, thought there were occasions when the good of the nation took precedence over partisanship. Dole, now 88, also said in my hearing that while welfare needed reforming, the government had an obligation not to let children starve.

Today's bunch doesn't think that way. They are either ideological know-nothings who are determined not to let any facts get in the way of a good theory. Or they are ruthless opportunists who want most of all to bring the president down and take the White House in 2013.

By any means necessary, that is, including a government shutdown that will damage this nation's credit and make the cost of borrowing money more expensive, or impossible, for all of us.

What seemed likely, as of this weekend, was that Speaker of the House John Boehner didn't have the guts or the power to agree to take a long-term sensible deal on debt reduction back to his caucus.

Both sides have only a few days to get a deal done before the government reaches the limit of its borrowing ability, and how all this will end is not clear. But what should happen is this:

President Obama should draw a line in the sand. He should take his case to the people. The fact is that there has been an enormous transfer of wealth in this country in the last 30 years. A transfer, that is, from the poorest Americans to the richest Americans, particularly, the richest one-tenth of 1 percent. The bottom two-thirds of us have been screwed over.

Worse, we've been brainwashed to think this is a good and necessary thing, and that any attempt to level the playing field is, once again, freedom-destroying socialism. This has been done before.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, to his credit, was secure enough not to listen, at least at first. When he ran for re-election, he said boldly, "I should like to have it said of my first administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. 

"I should like to have it said of my second administration that in it these forces met their master." Republicans screamed class warfare. The people gave him an electoral landslide of 523 to 8.

The next year, unfortunately, FDR started thinking maybe it was time to appease the conservatives. He cut federal spending and made noises about a balanced budget. Unemployment shot up, the Depression deepened, and Democrats lost many seats in Congress.

President Obama knows law; he ought to take a page from history. What this country needs is a new WPA focused on repairing and renewing our crumbling infrastructure, as I clumsily suggested to candidate Obama back in 2008.

Barbara Ellis, a former professor and Pulitzer Prize nominee from Oregon, makes an eloquent and well-researched case for this in a long piece on the alternative website

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