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  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit follow a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month on the growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The story found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



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Don't be a doofus with fireworks this Fourth of July

Blowin' up

Photo: Illustration by Sean Bieri, License: N/A

Illustration by Sean Bieri

On Jan. 1, 2012, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation passed by that assembly of hillbilly solons known as the Michigan legislature. The legislation, later modified somewhat in June of last year, permits the sale of “consumer grade” fireworks and neutralized bans on shooting these fireworks the day before, the day of, and the day after a major holiday. Unlike “low-impact” fireworks, which used to be the only pyrotechnics approved for individual use, “consumer grade” fireworks shoot up into the air and explode in dazzling displays — with thundering noise.

It must be nice to be an outstate Michigan legislator: A steady stream of donations funds your campaigns, the actual legislation is written for you by corporate lawyers, and all you have to do is kiss babies and badmouth cities with more than 500,000 residents. That also means you can pass all kinds of crazy laws that make life in a big city increasingly hellish. The fireworks measure is one example.

For emphasis, let’s examine that law again: It says that, aside from some bans on nighttime fireworks, no ordinance shall regulate the “ignition, discharge, or use of consumer fireworks on the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday.”

To my eyes, the enforcement of that limitation appears rather lax. It seems that the first explosions in my Hamtramck neighborhood are heard around June 1, and the Western Front doesn’t fully quiet until around July 30. The week of the Fourth of July, it sounds like a refinery blowing up for several continuous days. Dog owners loathe this time of year like the Magic Bag loathes the Dream Cruise, as it sends their pets whining under the bed, their sensitive ears pained by the deafening explosions.

There are side benefits to all this chaos, I guess. A Hamtramck couple I know keeps a brace of backyard ducks. They tell me the thunder of explosions tricked the earthworms into surfacing to avoid what seemed a harbinger of flooding rains. As a result, their ducks feasted all week long. So we’ve got that going for us.

But the truth remains that, for weeks, some of the more sedate city residents have to deal with a string of massive explosions and real fire hazards as their hog-wild neighbors seem intent on making as much noise as possible, as long as possible.

Perhaps the worst thing about suddenly relaxing fireworks legislation is that it simply tosses these deadly exploding rockets into the hands of people who haven’t been properly educated about them. A little education would go a long way.

To be fair, I have seen individual people launch some bad, boss fireworks displays. It seems any minor holiday up North is an occasion for people to touch off an impressive show that can light up the sky for minutes at a time. But many outstaters have the open land to make exploding rockets relatively safe. Plus, they’ve been doing this for some time, and have the good sense to take safety precautions, such as attaching the fireworks to a sheet of plywood so the rocket-launchers can’t flip onto their sides.

Downstate, however, newbies too often figure any consumer product must be safe, and set the 96-rocket Battle of Fallujah down on springy grass, only to find that it tips, pumping rockets across the back yard for long, terrifying seconds, explosions blasting under the feet of their guests, sending people running for cover. In the last few years, I’ve seen this occur three separate times, remarkably, with no injuries. 

Of course, I’ve seen it in an environment about as different from 20-acre spreads up North as you can imagine. My neighborhood is smack in the middle of the densest city in Michigan. When the rockets really get flying, you can hear the spent missiles landing on your roof.

As a city resident, it’s irritating that state legislators, many of whom are well-groomed businessmen living on remote parcels of land where these fireworks make sense, have helped turn the city into a battle zone during times when the heat is often so unbearable we need our windows open. Driving around the city during the holiday week gets surreal, explosions bursting all around, streets blocked off with families setting off skyrocket incendiaries — to say nothing of the ripped and charred cardboard carnage left all over. For weeks, I find myself picking up fireworks litter. I probably have a battery of spent shells in my gutters. I’m afraid to look.

The situation calls for plenty of education, teaching people how to properly set off fireworks. (Although, since our fusillade-happy legislature can’t even agree on such vital issues as money for road repairs, the prospects for proper funding from Lansing seem dim.) It’s likely that if any lessons are passed on, they’re going to have to begin with us. So listen up, fireworks fans: Don’t be a doofus, be dainty.

Yes, fireworks are designed to be safe. Industry sources declare that they’re safer than ever before. But to think that “Light and get away” is all you need to know is foolish. Don’t just get away; keep everybody away. And “away” means 140 feet for all aerial products, which means tight shots from alleys and backyards demand every precaution possible. Don’t take our word for it; take a moment to check safety guidelines from the National Council on Fireworks Safety or the American Pyrotechnics Association. 

They’ll also tell you to keep a bucket of water or a hose handy, or, for more remote locations, a fire extinguisher. They also wisely suggest you use a long-neck butane lighter or a fireplace match to ensure that you’re as far away as possible when you light that sucker.

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