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  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of buildingdetroit.org, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Savage Love

Her choice

How to find out if your boyfriend is merely troubled by abortion or a pro-life zealot

Q:

 I recently discovered that my boyfriend of seven months and I have opposing viewpoints on the whole "life begins at conception" issue. He's not a crazy zealot, but he is strongly against abortion. And while he won't go so far as to say abortion should be banned, he does believe in the whole "personhood" concept, i.e., that a fetus — from the moment of conception — is a person with the same rights as any other person. This shocked me, and I almost broke up with him. He says that disagreeing on issues is fine in a relationship, but I am not so sure. I find his position abhorrent, one that ignores hundreds of real-life factors, and it opens the door for a litany of laws regulating my body. He's a sweet, loving guy and progressive in every other way. But I'm suddenly unsure about a relationship I viewed as totally solid just a few days ago. I'm not sure if this should be a deal-breaker or if this is just a disagreement. Please advise. —Love Is Finding Errors

 

A:

 Your boyfriend won't go so far as to say abortion should be banned ... or maybe he saw the shocked look on your face and realized that going so far as to say abortion should be banned to you would be a big mistake.

Here's a good way to find out if your boyfriend is serious about not wanting to impose his personal beliefs on others or whether he's an anti-choice zealot: Tell him you're pregnant.

Some men blithely assume anti-choice positions because "personhood" and other anti-choice arguments appeal to them in the abstract and, hey, it's not like their bodies or their futures are on the line, right? Most anti-choice-in-the-abstract men come to a very different conclusion about the importance of access to safe and legal abortion when an unplanned pregnancy impacts them directly.

So tell your boyfriend you're pregnant. You can present it as a thought experiment if you prefer, LIFE, but I think you should flat-out lie to him. Then, once the news sinks in, ask him if he's ready to provide financial support for a child and/or make regular, monthly child support payments directly to you. Ask him if he's ready for the responsibilities (and the grind) of full- or even part-time parenting. Ask him if he knows you well enough — just seven short months into this relationship — to make the kind of lifetime commitment that scrambling your DNA together entails. Because even if you don't get married, even if you don't live together and raise this child together, you two will be stuck with each other for the rest of your lives if you have the baby.

I'm guessing his answers will be "no, no and no" and he'll offer to drive you to the nearest abortion clinic himself.

As for whether you should date someone who is anti-choice, well, women have to be in control of their own bodies — and when and whether they reproduce — in order to be truly equal. I don't think I could date someone who didn't see me as his equal or who believed that the state should regulate my sexual or reproductive choices. So, yeah, this shit would be a deal-breaker for me, LIFE, if I had a vagina.

Actually, this issue is a deal breaker for me, even though I don't have a vagina. I wouldn't date a gay dude who was anti-choice. Any gay man who can't see the connection between a woman's right to have children when she chooses and his right to love and marry the person he chooses is an idiot. And I don't date idiots.

If your hypothetical pregnancy doesn't shock your boyfriend out of his idiocy, LIFE, you'll have to ask yourself if you can continue dating this idiot.

And speaking of abortion ...

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis released the results of a massive study — more than 9,000 women participated — on the effects of making birth control more widely available. And how did they make birth control more widely available? They gave it away for free. And it turns out that making birth control available to women at no cost, which is what the president is trying to do, reduced the teen birth rate by more than 80 percent (from 34.3 births per 1,000 teens on average to 6.3 births per 1,000 for teens enrolled in the study), and it reduced the number of abortions by 62 percent to 78 percent (from 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women on average to 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women enrolled in the study).

A person can't call himself pro-life and oppose access to birth control (or Obamacare!). If you do oppose access to birth control — or you oppose Obamacare because it expands access to birth control — you're not really pro-life. You're just anti-sex.

 

Q:

 I found porn on my kid's computer and I talked to him about being careful about spyware, the difference between actual intimacy and objectification, and that kind of thing. I don't have a problem with a 15-year-old boy looking at porn — so long as he's discreet and doesn't do it to excess. But what my kid was looking at was standard stuff, i.e., garden variety M/F porn and a touch of M/M porn. But a friend found a stash of really kinky violence-against-women stuff on her kid's computer. I'm thinking a parent can't let that go as easily. She's about to confront her kid. I don't think you can help her with what to say, since she'll already have said something, but what would you have advised her to say? —My Friend's Kinky Son

 

A:

 You meet two kinds of people at kink events and in kink spaces: people who've always known they were kinky — people who were jerking off to kinky fantasies and/or porn long before they were 15 — and people who got into kink after falling in love with someone who was kinky. Your friend's son sounds like one of the former.

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