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  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

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Politics & Prejudices

Unpleasant truths for the Occupy Movement

And could 2012 mean the end of Michigan’s black reps. in Congress?

Just about everybody seems excited about the Occupy Wall Street-inspired protests currently sweeping the nation. Michael Moore himself, filmmaker and patron saint of Flint, has been dashing around various cities, attempting to inspire the protesters.

"There's no turning back, is there?" he challenged the occupiers in Oakland, Calif., where, last week, a poor veteran of our war on and in Iraq nearly got killed when he was apparently hit in the head by a tear gas canister fired by the local police.

"NO," the crowd roared back enthusiastically. No turning back. Right on. Moore claimed the movement, if that's what it is, has already "scored a number of victories in our first six weeks."

Like what?

Well, "we've killed despair and we've killed apathy," he said, claiming this was the start of a "watershed moment."

That would be nice, if it were true.

But I doubt it. Here's a contrary view, from a cranky old cynic. The high priests of greed, the bailed-out bankers and the plutocrats who own the nation aren't really worried about Occupy Wall Street.

Not one bit.

Sure, a few nervous right-wing editorial writers and radio talk show clowns are railing against the movement and telling lies about the demonstrators, in part because they think that's what their masters want. But the smart capitalists, while they are keeping a watchful eye on the protesters, aren't really concerned.

Here are three reasons why: 

First, the Occupiers have no coherent agenda. They think bailing out the rich was a terrible thing, especially since so many people have no jobs, nor prospects of jobs.

But what are they demanding the government do about it? Do they have any program? Not that I can see. Two weeks ago I blundered into an "Occupy" protest on a crisp fall day in Traverse City, of all places. They were a band of mostly merry folk holding signs, waving and trying to get cars to honk, and having a good time.

What their demands were, if they had any, was not at all clear.

Occasionally they ducked into a nearby bookstore and ordered hot chocolate. If I were a bailed-out banker or other parasite, I might even think the Occupy protests were a good idea.

They haven't really threatened anything — so far — and allow those screwed over by the system to let off steam.

The second reason J.P. Morgan's successors aren't quaking in their tuxedos: No politician of any stature has stepped forth to lead the movement and propose a coherent program of action.

Not even, for example, making the rich "1 percent" or even 5 percent pay their fair share in taxes, or suggesting we use some of the money we are using to destroy Afghanistan to rebuild Detroit.

Again, do you see anyone, even U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist, stepping forward to rally these folks around an agenda? Nope, uh-uh, can't be bothered. Yes, inequality is bad, but what do they want to do about it?

And, finally, the third reason the plutocrats aren't breaking a sweat is simply this: It is getting cold outside. That's right. Winter is coming. Are Muffy and Brian and their grandma going to be out in those tents in Grand Circus Park in February? Especially without any one thing they are pressing the government, any government to do?

You know the answer. Think back. Remember the big globalization protests in Seattle in 1999? Remember the round of protests against globalization that swept the nation and the world in 2007? What did they accomplish? Did they stop globalization?

Are the protesters still on the job, demonstrating, agitating, demanding equal pay for equal work nationwide? Again, you know the answer. They went back to school or back to work.

Or back to el barrio. That doesn't mean all this is hopeless. Some stupid police brutality might help energize this movement.

Somebody with guts and brains could still come forward and seize this moment to try and remake the world. But it won't be easy.

Consider this: The civil rights movement of the 1960s and the anti-Vietnam War movement of the '60s and '70s were coherent and focused, and the demonstrators knew exactly what they wanted.

They eventually succeeded. But getting there literally took years. Overthrowing this corrupt system might be a lot harder.

No one fights harder than those who have money and want to hang on to it. I'm not putting the cause down; this may be the most important battle we could ever wage, if we want to save democracy. 

But if you think it's going to be easy, think again. 


No black congressmen? Last week, I wrote about state Sen. Bert Johnson's decision to challenge longtime U.S. Rep. John Conyers in next year's Democratic primary in the 13th District, which is primarily Detroit and western Wayne County.

Since then, state Sen. Glenn Anderson of Westland has also jumped into the race, and state Rep. Shanelle Jackson of Detroit is making noises about running. Anderson is white; the rest are African-American. This is a district that is about 56 percent black. 

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