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  • Get ready for National Tequila Day!

    Thursday, July 24th marks National Tequila Day, and forget everything you know about the beverage. Those nasty old “tequilas” of yesterday were find for doing body shots, but tequila has become something of a luxury spirit while few were paying attention. Have you tried all the varieties of tequila? Can you tell the difference between blanco, joven, reposed, añejo and extra añejo?  If your local bar doesn’t have the stuff that will help you celebrate this important holiday, there are several bars that cater just to the tequila fan. There’s Aqua Rum and Tequila Bar in the MGM Grand Detroit Casino in Detroit, as well as Rojo Mexican Bistro in Novi, which offers more than 100 kinds of tequila, and Taqo Detroit, a new spot serving American-friendly Mexican fare and serving an astonishing variety of tequilas, more than 200 in all. Been waiting for a reason to drink up this south-of-the-border nectar? You got it. Guzzle responsibly.    

    The post Get ready for National Tequila Day! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs

    In light of worldwide attention on its efforts to cut water service for thousands of Detroit residents, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department said today it would host a Water Affordability Fair on August 2nd to explain options available to those facing financial hardship. DWSD officials said in a news release today the fair will be take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the department’s Eastside Customer Service Center at 13303 E. McNichols. The move came on the heels of growing pressure from opponents of the initiative and criticism from the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing Detroit’s Chapter 9 case. “Every customer that has come to DWSD with a legitimate financial hardship has not had their water service terminated,” said Darryl Latimer, DWSD deputy director, in a statement. “In cases where the water has been shut off, it’s been restored. We keep hearing at DWSD that there are poor people who are not receiving the assistance that they need, so we want to help them and we want to make it as easy as possible for the to receive that help. That’s why we created the Water Affordability Fair – ease of access and ease of assistance. We are here to […]

    The post DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation

    The folks at Thrillist have again compiled their annual list of the nation’s best burgers, and Southeast Michigan, it seems, is well represented. Ranking alongside joints in major cities such as New York and L.A., is Detroit’s own Motz’s Burgers, hailed specifically for its Double Cheeseburger Slider. Via Thrillist: There’s nothing remarkable about the façade of this SW diner… it’s just a diner, like the hundreds of others in the D. The staff’s been there for years… and so have the regulars, who can’t get enough of Motz’s legendary smashed burgers. The formula’s nothing revolutionary: smashed, griddled patties with oozy cheese and onions that melt into the burger itself as it cooks. But it’s that unmistakable flavor of a well-seasoned griddle — which has also been here for years — that makes the difference. You can score big burgers with accoutrements, but this isn’t really a place to say things like “accoutrements”. Grab the old-school slider (the double cheeseburger one), and prepare for three perfect bites of Detroit’s finest. Flint’s Torch Bar and Grill also made the cut, most notably for its Deluxe Torch Burger with Bacon. Tucked away in an alley beyond the brick streets that used to mark […]

    The post Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know!

    The Metro Times is looking for college students or graduates of Michigan colleges that used atypical means to pay for their schooling (i.e. sugar baby, selling underwear, military enrollment purely for school help, etc.). We are looking for personal anecdotes about the lengths you went to help pay for school, what came of it, your monetary situation, if the resource worked to get you through college and more. If you have utilized any one of these avenues, or know someone who has, please drop us a line at

    The post In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit

    File under “WTF” — attorneys representing former Psychopathic Records publicist Andrea Pellegrini announced Monday that they have subpoenaed Kid Rock to produce a glass dildo as part of Pellegrini’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the Insane Clown Posse’s record label. Pellegrini claims the glass dildo was given to her by Psychopathic Records employee “Dirty Dan” Diamond as part of a larger culture of constant harassment in which she was called “bitch,” made the target of explicit sexual advances by Diamond and other co-workers, asked to procure automatic weapons for a photo shoot, and even encouraged to “deceive government investigators from the US Department of Labor.” On Friday, Diamond admitted under oath that he told Pellegrini that he had “a fat cock” and that he would “fuck the shit out of her.” The dildo, though, was “a work of art,” according to Diamond, and should not be considered sexual harassment. Why is Kid Rock involved? Diamond says when Pellegrini declined his dildo, he gave it to Kid Rock instead (presumably as a “work of art” and not a sexual advance). So now, according to court orders, Rock has 14 days to produce the glass dildo so the court can better determine if it is art or, well, a dildo. We will […]

    The post Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey

    Fans of the latest Superman franchise got a treat at Pig & Whiskey this weekend. Actors Henry Cavill and Amy Adams were spotted amid the crowds of the festival that took place in downtown Ferndale as well as a local restaurant. Cavill, who plays the man of steel in the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, stopped to chat with fans, take pictures, and sign autographs on Saturday afternoon and evening. He was wearing an inconspicuous black polo shirt as well as a signature Superman-style ‘do. Other fans spotted Amy Adams at Ferndale’s Imperial on Saturday night, some were even seated next to her at the restaurant’s communal benches. Adams reportedly was slightly annoyed that patrons continuously asked for her photo, but she smiled while cell phones snapped images nonetheless. The Zach Snyder film the two are starring in together is currently filming in Birmingham. Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, has been spotted around town with his wife Jennifer Garner recently as well. The closed movie set is under intense security and Brett Callwood attempted to infiltrate the filming last month, but was forced to give up his camera’s memory card, lest he make off with telling photos.

    The post Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Higher Ground

Cops against the drug war

The War on Drugs creates a new class of people to be discrimined

Photo: Illustration by Lee DeVito., License: N/A

Illustration by Lee DeVito.

Neil Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), is a dedicated advocate against the War on Drugs. He’s participated in it on the police side as a 33-year veteran of the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department. He’s served on drug squads and done undercover work.

LEAP is a national organization of former and current law-enforcement officers who support ending the War on Drugs. Franklin was among those, along with Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow), who convinced the national NAACP to pass a resolution calling for an end to the War On Drugs in 2011.

A couple of weeks ago, Franklin came to Detroit in an effort to help inform officials about effects of the drug war and ways to reduce the harm it does.

His organization contacted the mayor’s office. They contacted the emergency manager’s office. They contacted City Council. They contacted the Detroit Police Department. None of those entities charged with making and enforcing policy chose to meet with Franklin.

I guess it’s possible that they were all too busy to take time off from their crowded schedules to have a conversation with Franklin. After all, they’re busy trying to save Detroit’s grand bargain to bring us out of bankruptcy. The Police Department ran one of its big neighborhood sweeps, this one called “7 Mile Cruise,” while Franklin was in town. 

These sweeps are good for PR. They give the sense that police are doing something significant to stop illegal drug activity it the neighborhoods. Police tend to grab some cash and property, some drugs and guns, make a few arrests of low-level drug couriers, but, in the end, life goes on more or less as usual. These things don’t impact the big picture.

Franklin’s visit was less dramatic. He spoke to a few organizations such as the Detroit Lions Club, made an appearance on Fox 2’s “Let it Rip” — during which he and District Judge Jodi Debbrecht-Switalski took turns telling each other that what they said is “not true.” He spoke to a group of activists at Cannabis Counsel and was a guest on the “Planet Green Trees” radio webcast via telephone from there. Cannabis Counsel is the downtown Detroit office of attorneys Matt Abel and Thomas Lavigne. Franklin also met with Donnell White, executive director of the Detroit branch of the NAACP while in town.

When the NAACP first came out against the War on Drugs in 2011, I contacted White’s office but got no response. Apparently Franklin has more pull with that organization. He works with various independent local NAACP chapters across the country. Franklin later reported that White “gets it. He understands it and is very concerned about the mass arrests that are going on in Detroit.”

When Franklin brought up what it means to end the War on Drugs, he says White isn’t willing to go that far.

During his talk at Cannabis Counsel, Franklin gave us some insight into how the drug war is conducted from the police side. He pointed out that about 60 percent of the police anti-drug activity is in regard to marijuana. That means the most benign of the substances police take aim at — including cocaine, heroin, meth, etc. — gets the most attention.

We also know that by far the subjects of that attention are African-Americans and Latinos — even though whites use drugs at about the same rate as everybody else. If you don’t believe that, take a look at Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. She breaks down the statistics, usage rates, arrest rates, incarceration rates, and the fallout in communities from incarceration. It’s devastating.

In effect, the War on Drugs creates a new class of people who lose their rights and become objects of discrimination. 

Franklin talked about how it’s done in the black community. He said that young African-American police officers are recruited into drug units so they can infiltrate black communities.

“When I was on my first assignment, in the same barracks, in the basement was a squad of undercover narcs. I would bump into the sergeant from time to time. The sergeant said you ought to come in. … Before I knew it I was a member of that squad. 

“You do this work and you got on blinders, tunnel vision. There was not data for us to analyze our work and know what we’re doing.”

Franklin says there were two black-owned nightclubs in the Maryland town where he was assigned. He made drug buys from people he met at the club — not from anyone who owned or ran the club. The buys made from contacts he made at one club never took place anywhere near the club. However, police were able to shut both clubs down as hubs of drug activity.

Another case he later told me about was how the reputation of a historically black university was sullied. 

“I recruited this young man right out of the state police academy to make buys,” says Franklin. “All he found was a little bit of marijuana on the entire campus. But we made it sound like there was a huge drug problem on the entire campus. … It wasn’t true. The reason we used for targeting that community was completely false and upside-down.”

Franklin’s stories hit me personally. My brother-in-law is a retired military detective who worked on a drug squad. His son, my nephew, is a detective in Illinois who once did undercover drug work making buys.

I called my nephew and asked if he had been recruited to the job. He said yes. When I suggested that it was because he is black and upper administration needed young black men to infiltrate the community, he didn’t agree. He said it was because they noted his work ethic.

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