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  • 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.

  • Food trucks go to the dogs

    Today, starting at 10am, Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be swinging by the  Cherry Hill Village at Preservation Park on  N. Roosevelt St. in Canton. They’ll be serving the pups (“gour-mutts,” as Milo’s calls them) treats and the dog parents the opportunity of “family portraits.” Milo’s is on a cross-country food truck trip, promoting their “grilled burger bites” and “chicken meatballs” to pup parents from L.A. to NYC, with stops in between, including Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the Carolinas, and Arkansas. But watch out! Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck markets “real chicken and beef home-style dog treats” that are are “wholesome” and “authentic” without “artificial flavors or colors-made right here in the USA.” Authentic, processed food that is. Remember what George Carlin said about “home-style”? Their treats are also packed with soy, TVP, wheat flour, tapioca, rice, and sugar–fillers that make the meat go far and aren’t the best for your pup. They’re also packed with preservatives, like sodium erythorbate, nitrates, BHA, sodium tripolyphosphate, and potassium sorbate. Small amounts are probably ok, and no doubt the pup will love it, the same way it’s easy for humans to love carb- and sugar- laden, processed and preserved, treats.  

    The post Food trucks go to the dogs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

    Coming up on August 16, former Detroit Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt will team up with the Navin Field Grounds Crew and Metro Times‘ own Dave Mesrey to honor legend Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. The festivities, known as the annual “Bird Bash,” will be held at the infamous Nemo’s Bar & Grill, and will benefit The Bird’s favorite charity, the Wertz Warriors, and also the Mark Fidrych Foundation. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

    The post Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • First Little League game at Navin Field today

    Today Navin Field (the Old Tiger Stadium) hosts its first Little League game on a new field made just to host the youngsters! Here’s a photo of the game happening right now, courtesy Tom Derry and Metro Times‘ copy editor extraordinaire, Dave Mesrey: Stop by the site (corner of Michigan and Trumbull) today to watch history in the making!

    The post First Little League game at Navin Field today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit 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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