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  • Jumpin Jumpin: Police, fire fighters, and EMS workers to be honored at Sky Zone

    When we think of honoring the brave men and women who protect and serve the metro Detroit area, we think of trampolines.  We think they should jump on trampolines. And by trampolines, we mean an all-walled trampoline field where they can land in a pit of 10,000 foam cubes. They have to blow off steam some how. Sky Zone, the inventors of such a place, are hosting a special day at their Canton and Shelby Township locations that will be all about police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and their families. On Tuesday, August 5 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. there will be free jumping for these folks. All metro Detroit police, firefighters, EMS workers and their families are invited to come, though an employee ID or professional organization ID will be required for admittance to 60 free minutes at the indoor park. The hour of free jumping comes with free pizza from Jet’s as well. This is the first event of its kind in Michigan.  Sky Zone Canton is located at 42550 Executive Drive Sky Zone Shelby Township is located at 50810 Sabrina Drive. Check skyzone.com for more information. 

    The post Jumpin Jumpin: Police, fire fighters, and EMS workers to be honored at Sky Zone appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times is getting a new website today

    Your favorite local alternative weekly is getting a digital facelift at around 4 p.m. today, and we need your help. If you, dear reader, spot anything amiss or notice that any of our regular features are not working properly, do give us a shout in the comment section below or on social media. If, on the other hand, you find that you positively adore our new design (which we surely hope you do!), we’d certainly enjoy hearing about that as well. Let the countdown to launch begin!

    The post Metro Times is getting a new website today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through BuildingDetroit.com, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

Wrong to recall?

Why efforts to boot Snyder may be pointless and counterprodcive

Thousands of citizens outraged by the Snyder administration's policies are now talking recall. In fact, a group has been formed that's making a serious attempt to do just that. Michigan Citizens United got petition language approved last week. They have a website, firericksnyder.org, and are taking donations and mobilizing for action. Their motto is that of the famous 18th century philosopher Edmund Burke:

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing," which is certainly true ...

Yet not the whole truth. There is an equally big truth, which every band of successful guerrilla warriors in the world has learned: Pick your battles. Yes, glorious defeats have sometimes inspired men and women to fight another day.

But all too often, losing has exactly the opposite effect. Illusions crushed, the disillusioned and dispirited melt away, turn off and drop out. That's what largely happened to the left wing in the 1960s and 1970s. The Kennedys were killed and Martin Luther King was killed and the cops smashed the protesters' heads at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in the summer of 1968.

Then Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were elected, and boatloads of people went off to communes. When Nixon and Agnew fell, the best anyone could do was Jimmy Carter, whose most radical counterculture thought was turning down the heat and wearing a sweater.

After him came Ronald Reagan and the Bushes, interrupted only by Bill Clinton, who once described himself as an "Eisenhower Republican." I mention all this history for a reason.

We've got lots of people hot to oust Snyder, and everything I know about practical matters tells me they are going to waste a lot of energy and impale themselves on the sharp stakes of the process. Here's why: Just getting a state constitutional amendment on Michigan's ballot this year would take 322,609 valid signatures.

This number fluctuates a little, from election to election. But in practice, it is always very hard to achieve. Most who try fall short unless they have lots of corporate or special interest money behind them, and can pay people $1 a scrawl to collect signatures.

The rule of thumb is that a quarter of all signatures are always invalid. People sign twice or don't know what county they live in or aren't really registered to vote, so you have to turn in at least 25 percent more than the amount really needed to get on the ballot.

When Jack Kevorkian was riding high, he and his supporters tried to get an amendment on the ballot; he told me he thought he could get enough in a few days. They never came close.

And recalling a governor is much, much harder. Michigan Citizens United can't legally start collecting signatures till July 1. Then, they have to collect 807,000 valid signatures by Oct. 1 — well more than twice the number needed for a constitutional amendment. Practically speaking, they'd need more.

Many, many more. Citizens United estimates they'd have to collect 1.1 million signatures. According to their website, as I write these lines on May 1, the group now has $5,695 in the bank.

They would need a $1.5 million, at a minimum, to have a prayer. By the way, even if they succeeded, a recall election couldn't be called till next year. Legally, they now can hold a vote only at the next regularly scheduled election, and no sooner than 95 days after the recall petitions are filed. That means February 2012.

Plus, if they succeeded, Jesus would not become governor. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley would take over. You might want to read up on his voting record before you pull that ripcord, comrades.

Incidentally, getting a recall on the ballot does not automatically mean it will be successful. Some anti-tax fanatics did collect enough signatures to get a recall on the ballot for former Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, back in 2008.

Guess what. Voters said no. By the way, the state doesn't pay for a recall election. Every already-cash-strapped city and county and township has to bear the costs in their area.

(You don't have to take my word for any of this; look online, or call the Michigan Secretary of State elections division: 517-373-2540.)

Last week, after I said here and elsewhere that I was opposed to a recall, I was savagely attacked by a number of people, including one Regina Bruner Markowicz of Macomb County, who wrote to me that "your thinking is no longer impartial ... you are led by opinion rather than facts. You will soon become irrelevant ... our family cast its vote, and it is anti-Jack Lessenberry. You are not (any) longer our friend."

Well, hey, my dog Ashley still likes me, at least when he wants to play ball. However, I have just presented a whole lot of facts above.

But at the risk of being hated even more by the Family Markowicz, I would still be opposed to a recall even if I thought one could be achieved. (Full disclosure: I did not vote for Rick Snyder.)

I strongly oppose his cuts to education at all levels — though there are a lot of good proposals in his education policy itself.

I think ending the Earned Income Tax Credit (or EITC) for the working poor is not only socially and morally terrible, it is foolish, and will cost us all more in the long run. I also think ending tax credits for the film industry is a mistake.

Yet the voters of the state of Michigan elected Snyder by a landslide. During the campaign he said he was against the film tax credit and said he would give big tax breaks to business. He also said he was against raising the income tax to compensate. Did we really think he was going to balance the budget by finding a platinum mine under the governor's office?

Everyone should have seen this coming. However, there's another huge piece of this that everyone is missing. There is another, easier way to stop these policies. Contrary to popular opinion, Rick Snyder cannot pass laws all by himself. Matter of fact, he can't pass them at all. The Legislature has to approve any laws.

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