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  • Once-controversial Diego Rivera murals now national landmark

    Oh, the irony — initially criticized as Marxist propaganda when Mexican muralist Diego Rivera painted them for the Detroit Institute of Arts in the early 1930s, Detroit Industry has now been designated as a a national landmark. The announcement was made Wednesday, according to the Detroit News by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis as part of National Park Week. The designation does not change the ownership status of the murals or grant any new protections or rights, leaving its place among the rest of the DIA’s art in possible bankruptcy negotiations in question. The work is considered the best of Rivera’s work in the United States (another mural Rivera had done in New York was destroyed by orders of Nelson Rockefeller). Rivera himself regarded Detroit Industries paintings as his finest work. In the midst of the McCarthy era, the DIA posted this sign outside the court: Rivera’s politics and his publicity seeking are detestable. But let’s get the record straight on what he did here. He came from Mexico to Detroit, thought our mass production industries and our technology wonderful and very exciting, painted them as one of the great achievements of the twentieth century. This came […]

    The post Once-controversial Diego Rivera murals now national landmark appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit area code 313 may be phased out

    Hey, everybody from the 313, start thinking of new numbers to rally around– the longstanding Detroit area code may be phased out. Our friends over at the Detroit News report that pending a revised estimate next week, the North American Numbering Plan Administration will stop handing out 313 telephone prefixes on new phone numbers. Detroiters with existing cell phone lines would be able to keep their current area codes, while those with land lines would change. via Detroit News: The venerable 313 will ultimately become overtaxed. Even as Detroit’s population has fallen, cellphone usage has accelerated like one of those smoldering SRT Vipers that Dodge has been bolting together at Conner Avenue Assembly — which is, of course, comfortably within the confines of 313. … When the first five dozen area codes were assigned nearly 70 years ago, says NANPA’s Tom Foley, “that was expected basically to last forever.” Instead, somebody invented fax machines, and then somebody else came up with cellphones, and lots of somebody elses decided to give them to 10-year-olds, and meantime the population grew to 300 million. Now every telephone carrier is required to submit twice-yearly forecasts of its needs in each area code, factoring in […]

    The post Detroit area code 313 may be phased out appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last night’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, which, in case you were unaware, is a 16-member board established to weigh in on the new Red Wings arena near downtown. About three dozen residents and property owners cast ballots by the 8 p.m. deadline on Wednesday inside the Block at Cass Park, The Detroit News reports. It’s the culmination of a handful of community meetings which began weeks ago. Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez facilitated the meetings, but emphasized at previous meetings that it’s up to the community to conduct business. According to the News, the 12 candidates selected include: Michael Boettcher, Richard Etue, Jason Gapa, Francis Grunow, Steve Guether, Paul Hughes, Ray Litt, Warner Doyle McBryde, Karen McLeod, Delphia Simmons, Melissa Thomas and Anthony Zander. Joel Landy, a land owner in the area, lost his bid. The City Council appointed four candidates last month. As we reported in this week’s issue, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was negotiated after Olympia Development of Michigan, Detroit Red Wing’s owner Mike Ilitch’s real estate arm, balked on a proposed community benefits agreement.  The committee is charged with the task of offering input on the arena’s design, parking security and more.

    The post Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag

    The Magic Bag in Ferndale will host James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. A press release reads, “James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched […]

    The post James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit

    The Dead Kennedys, still with local boy Klaus Flouride in the ranks, will play St. Andrew’s Hall on Tuesday, June 24. Alongside Flouride and fellow original members East Bay Ray and DH Peligro, the current lineup includes singer Ron “Skip” Greer, taking the place of Jello Biafra. Downtown Brown will open that show, which starts at 7 p.m., with tickets priced $20-$25. Give Klaus a hero’s hometown welcome. Just over a week before that, strangely enough, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine will play at the Magic Stick. It’s a weird coincidence, but one that DK fans should be happy to embrace. That show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $17-$19. Local hardcore vets Negative Approach play before Jello, with the Crashdollz opening the show. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain

    The Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present a police drama called A Steady Rain May 2 through 24. Planet Ant veterans Ryan Carlson and York Griffith will star in the play, written by House of Cards and Mad Men co-writer Keith Huff. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale now at According to the press release, “A Steady Rain by Keith Huff focuses on Joey and Denny, best friends since kindergarten and partners on the police force whose loyalty to each other is tested by domestic affairs, violence and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey helps Denny with his family and Denny helps Joey stay off the bottle. But when a routine disturbance call takes a turn for the worse their loyalty is put to the ultimate test.First produced at Chicago Dramatists, A Steady Rain appeared on Broadway featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The Planet Ant production of A Steady Rain is directed by York Griffith featuring Ryan Carlson and Andy Huff. This marks the return of two of Planet Ant’s founding members. Carlson and Griffith. Griffith has served as the theatre’s Artistic Director where he directed the critically-acclaimed productions The Adding Machine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? […]

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News Feature

Marching Toward Critical Mass

Are Americans ready to legalize marijuana?

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Lest you think the above is some anomaly (and we’re pretty sure you don’t), the following is transcribed from another Nixon recording between the president and Haldeman, in the Oval Office, toward the end of May 1971:


Nixon: “Now, this is one thing I want. I want a goddamn strong statement on marijuana. Can I get that out of this sonofabitching, uh, [commission]?”

Haldeman: “Sure.”

Nixon: “I mean one on marijuana that just tears the ass out of them. I see another thing in the news summary this morning about it. You know it’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob, what is the matter with them? I suppose it’s because most of them are psychiatrists, you know, there’s so many, all the greatest psychiatrists are Jewish. By god we are going to hit the marijuana thing, and I want to hit it right square in the puss, I want to find a way of putting more on that. …”

Haldeman: “Mm hmm, yep.”


Haldeman and Ehrlichman were each found guilty of orchestrating that infamous break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex; both men served 18 months in federal custody.

Despite a seeming respite during the remainder of the 1970s, the crusade picked up with alacrity after the inauguration of Ronald Reagan in 1981. Throughout the next seven administrations, the viewpoint of at least more than half those Americans polled felt pot was too dangerous to view any other way then as a public scourge, like crack or heroin. 

But, that was then. (As a point of reference, “then” reaches as far back as 2011.)


What’s Turning the Tide?


THE PEW STUDY, which naturally has weed advocates buzzing, is groundbreaking in its unambiguous demonstration that a majority of Americans favor legalization. In a previous poll conducted by Gallup last November, the question of whether the federal government should take steps to enforce anti-marijuana laws in those states where marijuana use is legal, 64 percent of adults responded no; 34 percent said yes, the feds should trump state law. While an inference from the majority of respondents who said yes to states’ rights was that marijuana should be legal in all states, when the question was asked whether you think marijuana should be legal, less than half, or 48 percent, responded in the affirmative; 50 percent said pot should not be legal.

What’s happened between then and now?

While it’s not a simple answer, there seems to be a confluence of events that have led to a majority shift in opinion. By parsing Pew’s results, one of the biggest drivers of change becomes self-evident: There’s strength in numbers.

The percentage of support for legalizing pot is directly proportional to the generation of the respondent. For instance, members of what is called “The Silent Generation,” those born between 1925-1945, continue to be less supportive of marijuana legalization than younger adults, but even here the amount favoring legalization has nearly doubled — from 17 percent to 32 percent — since 2002.

Compare that with fully 65 percent of millennials — those adults born since 1980 who are now between the ages of 18 and 32 — who favor legalizing the use of marijuana, which is up from just 36 percent in 2008 and you’ll start to understand the game-changer.

“It’s an issue that has been framed in many different ways within recent years,” says John Strate, a political science professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. “But generational replacement is likely the biggest cause for the shift in public opinion. Those older Americans who have traditionally been against legalization are dying out and a younger, more liberal generation has filled the gap.”

Strate, who noted that political scientists would also examine the issue of legalization as a “moral politics” issue, said that the four decade-long war on drugs has also contributed to a shift in attitudes as more Americans have become aware of marijuana’s medicinal properties as being legitimate and not the bogus red herring as previous administrations claimed.

“Elected officials are often reluctant to deal with issues in this category (other examples would be abortion and assisted suicide),” Strate wrote in an email. “Because, whatever position they take are certain to alienate a certain proportion of the public. Most of these issues are capable of being framed in different ways so public opinion on some of them can be fluid.”

Yet there also has been a striking change in long-term attitudes among older generations, particularly baby boomers. Half of boomers now favor legalizing marijuana, among the highest percentages ever. In 1978, 47 percent of boomers favored legalizing marijuana, but support plummeted during the 1980s, reaching a low of 17 percent in 1990. Since 1994, however, the percentage of boomers favoring legalization has doubled, from 24 percent to 50 percent.

Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, and coming of age in the 1990s when there was widespread opposition to legalizing pot, has also expressed a dramatic increase in support for legalization — from just 28 percent in 1994 to 42 percent a decade later, and 54 percent currently, according to the Pew study.

Underscoring Strate’s notion of a moral issue being salient, part of the Pew study looked at whether respondents believed smoking pot to be a moral issue. Again, the numbers demonstrate a clear shift in attitude. Currently, 32 percent say that smoking marijuana is morally wrong, an 18-point decline since 2006, when 50 percent responded affirmatively to the question. Over this period, the percentage saying that smoking marijuana is not a moral issue has risen 15 points, from 35 percent in ’06 to 50 percent today.

As for that godforsaken War on Drugs, nearly three-quarters of Americans, 72 percent, say that federal efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth; and 60 percent say the federal government should not enforce federal laws prohibiting the use of marijuana in states where it is legal.

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We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
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