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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

What we should fear

It's easy to be scathingly critical of the president these days

"We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering ... they are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred."

—Franklin D. Roosevelt, running for re-election, 1936


Don't you wish that President Obama had said those words? Wouldn't it have been something to see him go on TV and tell the nation that during the recent raising-the-debt wars?

But he didn't, as we know. He made a deal instead to raise the debt ceiling slightly, and set up a bipartisan congressional committee to study the problem and come up with a proposal in the next three months to dial the deficit down further.

When that was done, he went forth from the glowing flat screens of America, and pronounced these anything-but-deathless words: "Now, is this the deal I would have preferred? No."

"But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction that we need," he said in words that could maybe flutter the heart of an ancient accounts payable clerk at J.C. Penney. That is, if they were true, which they aren't, really.

Frankly, it's easy to be scathingly critical of the president these days. He seems to be sleepwalking sometimes, or led around by the nose by a band of reactionary Republicans.

Yet in his defense, remember this. He knows the buck stops with him — and clearly felt that someone had to be the adult in the room. Obama has opponents who cheerfully would take the country down the default drain just to get some political traction. 

This president bailed out the irresponsible financial institutions that did so much to create the mess because he felt the alternative might have been economic collapse. Bailed out the auto industry too, for the same reason.

He also wants to restore a sense of collegiality and sanity. That's why he didn't call the GOP out last week for their stalling and delaying tactics, and other lunacies.

There was a time, he knows, when Washington was a place where well-intended men played politics, yes, but in the end did the best they could for this country and its people.

Unfortunately, for too many today, the game is all about winning. Others are so stone ignorant, happily misinformed or ideologically blinded they are unable or unwilling to see the consequences of their actions.

Naturally, there have always been some like that. Joe McCarthy. Huey Long, etc. But they were exceptions. Reckless stupidity is now the norm.

What that means is that, terrifying as this is to say, our political system simply doesn't work anymore. Not only that, perhaps can't work. Three things have happened to destroy representative democracy in this country. Too few know about them.

Far fewer understand how important they are. But together, they have come close to destroying our nation's ability to respond to even the most severe economic crisis.

First, there has been a huge and ongoing transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in America. Twenty-five years ago, when this process was already starting, the richest 1 percent of us took in one-eighth of the nation's total income.

Today, that figure has more than doubled. That golden 1 percent gets a quarter of the income, and own 40 percent of the nation's net worth. That's not surprising, given that virtually all of what income growth there's been in recent times has gone to them. 

Second: Political campaigns at all levels are entirely controlled by money of a sort unimaginable only a few years ago. Vast sums are spent on even low-level races. Millions are routinely spent to win (or lose) a two-year seat in Congress; hundreds of thousands for state legislative posts that pay a tiny fraction of that in salary.

Worse, the U.S. Supreme Court has said any limit to corporate spending is unconstitutional.

Finally, these critical facts are little-known because of the decline of an independent, investigative, analytical news media. What we have instead is an endless profusion of "talk" channels that largely feature shills shrieking lies or dwelling on irrelevancies. 

Taking back this country before it collapses is going to take something close to a revolution. It's going to take committed, radical action to wake up people before it is too late to do so.

Maybe our national debt is too high. But that's the least of our worries. A nation of ill-informed, increasingly desperate jobless is far worse. 

Seventy-five years ago, when FDR spoke the words at the beginning of this column, the right denounced him as savagely as they do the more timid President Obama now. Less than a week later, Americans gave FDR the biggest landslide in history. Ironically, he got timid soon afterwards.

He did what the Republicans wanted: He cut spending, tried to balance the budget, and the Depression came roaring back.

FDR switched course, fast. He learned his lesson.

All of us need to learn ours too. Here's a place to start: Throughout the roaring, prosperous 1950s and 60s, the rich paid a far higher percentage of their income in taxes. They didn't flee the country. They didn't even stop building country clubs.

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