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  • 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, 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.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns transwomen

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns transwomen appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Use this widget to find your polling place for Aug. 5 primary election

    Reminder: the August 5 primary election is coming up. Where do you vote? What’s on the ballot? All these questions can be easily answered by simply typing the address you are registered to vote at into this handy widget created by Pew Charitable Trusts and Google: You can embed this widget on your own website with the following code, and more information can be found at the Voting Info Project.: <script type=”text/javascript” src=””></script> <div id=”_vit”></div> <script type=”text/javascript”>vit.load({‘election_id’:’4034′, ‘suppress_voter_id_rules’: true});</script> Read up on MT‘s election guide for Wayne county executive here.

    The post Use this widget to find your polling place for Aug. 5 primary election appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Jockey Mike Holmes ushers in a new era at Hazel Park

Back on track

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

The last time Hazel Park hosted a thoroughbred race, Coleman Young was in the Manoogian, Ronald Reagan was in the oval office, and the Detroit Tigers were the champions of baseball. The track, which opened in 1949 on the site of an old garbage dump, has been used exclusively for harness racing since 1985.

With Michigan’s horse racing industry in a steady decline, Hazel Park is hoping it can buck the trend. So after 30 years in exile, the ponies are coming back to the old “bull ring” at 10 Mile and Dequindre. 

We recently hit the track to catch up with veteran jockey Mike Holmes, whose father, the late Donny Holmes, won more than 2,000 races at Hazel Park. On Friday night, Mike will race there for the first time in his career.

Metro Times: How long have you been doing this?

Mike Holmes: I got interested in riding when I was 16, did it for about four or five years, then got out of it. I got back in it when I was about 26 and decided I wanted to race. Since then I’ve been everywhere: Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Canada. 

MT: How old are you now?

Mike Holmes: 41.

MT: You’re from Michigan?

Holmes: Yeah, I grew up in Oak Park.

MT: You ever race at Detroit Race Course?

Holmes: I only galloped horses there. But I spent more time there than I did here [at Hazel Park]. What I really dug about DRC was there was this ladder that went up to the roof. When I was a kid, I used to go up there and watch the races with the jockeys.

MT: Where was your first race?

Holmes: Mount Pleasant Meadows in 2002. My first horse broke out of the gate with me, took a left turn, and started bucking. 

MT: Then what happened?

Holmes: We ran dead last, but I stayed on him.

MT: How long before you won your first race?

Holmes: I won it the same year I started. I won the biggest race at Mount Pleasant my first year.

MT: What kind of race was it?

Holmes: A quarterhorse stakes race.

MT: What’s your favorite track to ride at?

Holmes: So far, probably Ajax Downs in Canada. It’s a straight quarterhorse track.

MT: How does quarterhorse racing differ from thoroughbred racing?

Holmes: They’re a little smaller, stockier, just built for speed. A quarterhorse race is on a straightaway. It’s a lot about the break. They break out of the gate twice as hard, three times as hard as a thoroughbred. Three or four strides and they’re full speed — 50 miles an hour, and you’re just like a rocket down the racetrack. 

MT: So will there be quarterhorse racing here, too?

Holmes: I’m not sure how that’s all gonna work out. It depends on the number of entries. You have to have a certain amount of betting interest per race to get a quarterhorse race to go.

MT: What’s the top speed for a thoroughbred?

Holmes: I think about 33-35 miles per hour.

MT: What’s the most a jockey weighs?

Holmes: A quarterhorse jockey, 120. A thoroughbred jockey … as far as I’m concerned, 118 is light enough nowadays. There are still tracks out there that want jockeys to be around 110 pounds — and that’s with your tack.  

MT: Give us the tale of the tape. 

Holmes: I’m 5-2, 118.

MT: Is that your riding weight?

Holmes: I wanna get down to 115 by opening day.

MT: My dad used to call thoroughbreds “the ponies.” I hear players here call ’em “the runners.” You ever hear ’em called anything else?

Holmes: Turnbreds.

MT: I like that term!

Holmes: Old school was “short necks” for quarterhorses and “long necks” for thoroughbreds.

MT: So what do you do when you’re not racing?

Holmes: I’m a mechanic.

MT: What are you doing to stay in shape?

Holmes: I’m riding horses at Sprintland Training Center in Northville for Richard and Carol Rettele.

MT: How much longer you think you’ll keep racing?

Holmes: As long as my body will hold up. 

MT: You ever taken any spills?

Holmes: Oh, yeah.

MT: How bad?

Holmes: Concussions, cuts and bruises …

MT: You wear a mouthpiece or anything?

Holmes: Just a helmet and a vest — a hard foam vest underneath the silks.

MT: Your dad’s something of a legend at Hazel Park.

Holmes: Yeah, in fact, he was the first jockey to win 100 races here.

MT: Did he ever get to see you race?

Holmes: Only on tape.

MT: What do you think he’d say if he knew you’d be riding at Hazel Park after all these years?

Holmes: I think he’d love it. I’m real excited about coming here and riding. I think it’ll bring a lot more people, I’m hoping it’ll really help the thoroughbred industry. Maybe that’ll turn some heads.

MT: How does Hazel Park compare to Mount Pleasant?

Holmes: I think it’s gonna be a big step up. I just hope the people come and support us. 

Opening night at Hazel Park Raceway is Friday, June 27. Admission is free; post time is 7:30 p.m. 1650 E. 10 Mile Rd., 248-398-1000;

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