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  • 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 […]

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  • 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? […]

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  • 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

What it all meant

Jack on Obama’s win and what it signifies

From the day he took office, millions of people were out to ruin him. The haters, the racists, the birthers. "I want him to fail," Rush Limbaugh proclaimed before he took office. The GOP leadership was on the same page. They indicated they'd do anything they could to make that happen.

President Barack Obama came into office in what was clearly the scariest national economy since the Great Depression. His first task was to prevent it from toppling into collapse. The auto industry was facing bankruptcy. Had Chrysler and General Motors shut down, Ford would have undoubtedly followed. Ann Arbor's Center for Automotive Research, or CAR, told me that could mean the loss of another 1 million to 3 million jobs, many of them in this part of the world.

Obama bailed 'em out — got the industry back in its feet, cleaned up General Motors and had Chrysler merge with Fiat. Today, they are all making billions. Most said the president should then have put his political muscle into a quick-fix jobs program. Instead, he opted to spend his capital to try to do something no other president had managed — universal health insurance. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt wasn't able to do it. Harry Truman wasn't. Even Lyndon Johnson couldn't. But Barack Obama got the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed, though it cost Democrats control of the House of Representatives. He also did what George Bush failed to do for more than seven years: Find Osama bin Laden, and kill him.

Nevertheless, the Republicans thought he was toast. Unemployment was still maddeningly high — barely less than 8 percent. The deficit had skyrocketed out of control. They smelled victory. They nominated their best-looking candidate.

Mitt Romney promised to balance the budget, provide millions of new jobs, cut taxes (mainly for the wealthy), and — oh, yeah — reduce the deficit at the same time. He figured he was in.

He was so sure he was going to be the next president he had his transition website ready to go, and a huge display of fireworks ready to be shot off in Boston Harbor.

Romney bragged that he only had written a victory speech, not a concession statement. He spent Election Day dashing around the country.

President Obama hung out in Chicago, playing pickup basketball with his friends. Then the votes started coming in.

"We'll see who is on the correct side of the electorate," one right-winger from Ohio e-mailed me, just before the first numbers arrived. I never heard from him again.

Long before 11 p.m., stunned Republicans were watching CNN's John King standing in front of his famous election map, explaining he saw no way Romney could win Florida. 

Everything was over well before midnight. The electoral vote was Obama 332, Romney 206. The popular vote was closer than last time, but when all the absentee ballots have been counted, that reviled Kenyan socialist will have defeated the boy from Bloomfield Hills by about 4 million votes.

That makes Barack Obama the first Democratic president since Franklin Roosevelt to win a majority of the popular vote two elections in a row.

Early the next morning, I received a hysterical e-mail from a woman from the Toledo suburbs. WE ARE NOW A COMMUNIST COUNTRY RULED BY A MUSLIM, it said.

Inshallah, baby, and straighten that hammer and sickle on your burqa! Incredibly, the voters hadn't been fooled. They saw what the Republicans were offering, and they didn't like it.

Though the presidential election got the most attention, other results indicated a real repudiation of much of what the Republican Party stands for. For the first time, voters in three states — Washington, Minnesota and Maryland — voted to legalize gay marriage. Wisconsin elected an openly gay woman — Tammy Baldwin— to the U.S. Senate, defeating a popular former governor. That's the home state of GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan, by the way. Wisconsin voters gave Obama an easy win, indicating they didn't want Pauly boy as veep.

Republicans also had two candidates for the U.S. Senate in deep red states who could have won easily — till they started showing their true colors and feelings about women. Todd Akin of Missouri said if a woman was the victim of "legitimate rape," she couldn't get pregnant. Richard Mourdock in Indiana said if a woman became pregnant as a result of rape, "that was something God intended to happen."

Fortunately, God evidently didn't intend for them to become senators. A year ago, it seemed an almost safe bet that the GOP would take control of the Senate.

It seemed completely safe to say that Republicans would gain seats. After all, 23 Democrats were up for re-election; only 10 Republicans. But when the votes were counted, the score was 25 Dems and independents who vote with them; 8 Republicans.

Thanks to expert gerrymandering by state legislatures, Republicans lost a few seats but kept solid control of the U.S. House of Representatives, probably by 235 to 200.

This, despite the fact that more people voted for Democrats. That means we are back to divided government.

Whether any sanity will prevail before we hit the "fiscal cliff" of deficit reduction, nobody can say. But we can say this:

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