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Sealed with a kick



Man, do we get mail. It sometimes peaks around 10,000 words of correspondence a week. It comes from all quarters, geographically, politically and demographically: outraged right-wingers, irritated greens, furious prudes, unhappy anarchists, appalled belly dancers, baffling weirdoes or simply people angry whenever we mention corn syrup! We get people writing us on the back of receipts, mailpieces with indecipherable ravings about the second coming and gay marriage, super-angry death threats, long-winded and hard-to-understand voice mails, and just plain, old-fashioned, thoughtful e-mails. And, after correcting the spelling and grammar, lifting out libels against nonpublic figures and the Roman Catholic Church, we bring it your way, every week, publishing something like 40,000 words of your writing a year.

From the last 10 years, here are some of the very best, condensed and edited for length.

2001: On the eve of Kwame

I believe the reason for widespread lack of interest in the forthcoming mayoral election is simple, but tragic. No one has a vision of the city’s future, either as a player in the national economy and politics, or as a contributor to the nation’s culture. Without a vision for the future, we are perpetually stuck in the past, or equally bad, the here-and-now. We used to ask ourselves "What kind of world do we want our children to inherit?" A hundred years from now, what uniquely Detroit contributions will our great-grandchildren be celebrating?

Nowhere is our lack of vision more apparent than in the two mayoral front runners. Gil Hill belongs to the past, Beverly Hills Cop and all. As for Kwame Kilpatrick, his campaign slogan says it all: "The Future is Now." Without a vision of the future of Detroit, we will stumble on into the 21st century as a city of decline, known best for its past, three casinos and two sports stadiums.

If we knew then …

Your decision not to endorse a Detroit mayoral candidate was an act of cowardice. It has been clear since the primary that the Detroit electorate is not interested in an out-with-the-old sweep. Given that political reality, the question becomes, which of the two candidates would work best with a self-serving pack of council retreads? My guess would be Gil Hill, their current dean. Shame on you, Metro Times, for being blinded by what could be, instead of seeing what is: four more years of the same.


I can’t believe the nerve of Metro Times selling out the image of Detroit putting Eminem on the cover, and, of all things, he’s pointing the finger at Eight Mile Road, which he doesn’t even come from. How much did these people get paid to glorify that untalented ass-clown Eminem in your articles? I think Metro Times upset Detroit big-time, putting Eminem on the front cover and pointing the middle finger at Detroit and all its readers. As far as I’m concerned, Eminem is an insult to real Detroiters and the art of hip hop itself. Eminem is just a pop artist. Eminem is a fake-ass puppet rapper who has to put on a front to the Britney Spears and ‘N Sync culture to sell records. Let’s just dismiss Eminem as the fake bullshit artist he really is, and next time Metro Times can interview a real artist, who actually respects Detroit for the beautiful city it is.

Enraged by bad review

I am so glad that your one-sided, totally closed-minded book review for The Five People You Meet in Heaven was not printed in the Free Press. I thought you came across sounding like such an idiot. On the other hand, if your review was printed, it may help the book sales (not that it is needed at No. 1) because I will never read a book that you like. Secondly, the book was short and not too complicated. It is very easy to read in a few hours, and it is just right to myself and many others. I think you’re an idiot. Go find a different profession, please, because you’re the one who should get a bad review!

Wish list

There are two things that I hope for:

1.) If there is another terrorist attack on this country, I truly hope it’s Jack Lessenberry and his entire family who is murdered, and not mine.

2.) I hope everything that you people say about Bush is true. In that way, he will turn into a monster dictator and have all of you liberal pukes executed. You should hope for this too because it would put you out of your misery.

Good day and fuck off

Disturbed by anger

I hope I never bump into the guy who wrote that letter. The anger expressed in his letter to the editor was as disturbing to me as the thought of war in Iraq or any place else. Anger is anger. Hatred is hatred. Fear is fear. Nothing will change for the better as long as these are the governing emotions that reside in people.

If you have children, I can only hope that you are not passing your anger on to them. There is a lot to be angry about in this world, but to go so far as to practically wish someone and their family dead? That is the energy that leads to war and terrorism, not "ignorant, liberal garbage."

No we can’t

The Palestinians would kill every Jew and destroy Israel if they could. If there were no roadblocks, innocent civilians would be killed every day. The Palestinians are training their babies to hate Jews and Israelis and their "government" doesn’t even recognize the existence of the state of Israel.

Listen to Tutu

Comparing Israel to South Africa is "totally absurd"? I will take the word of Archbishop Tutu, who said that apartheid South Africa was a picnic compared to Israel. South Africa never had Apache helicopters sending missiles and bombs into densely populated civilian areas. It never had days and weeks in which entire towns were locked in, not allowed to leave. It never had dozens of women delivering babies at checkpoints while leering soldiers watched because they were not allowed to reach medical facilities.

Santa, locked and loaded

How could you be so neoconservative and corrupt as to allow Santa holding a gun to be placed on the current cover of your Holiday Survival Guide? Don’t you know that you are endorsing the ultra right-wing and the NRA by doing this? It almost forced me to not to even take it home, but I did so by tearing the cover off and leaving it at the stand. Wouldn’t a person trying to survive in the jungle been more suitable? In the future, please try and be more judgmental on what you place on the cover. Always remember that not everybody may read the Metro Times, but I bet almost everybody in the metro Detroit area sees the cover. Including — and most importantly — children.

Where do we begin?

I find it curious that you had a large article complaining about the "lack of fair reporting" in the American media and were disgruntled by most news channels not having anti-war voices, while your magazine has been nothing but anti-war propaganda. Where are your pro-war voices?

Don’t patronize us

It’s so annoying when straight people oversimplify the struggle gay people go through. Gay folks suffer discrimination every day. Not just from employers, landlords and family members but from strangers and even friends. It can feel like bleeding to death from a thousand paper cuts. Because of this we are usually the toughest bitches in any crowd. We don’t need a pat on the back from condescending liberal straight guys who just want to let us know that they think we’re OK. Don’t do us any favors.

Oh, man

I just wanted to send you a quick response to let you know how much your article sickens me. This is a perfect example of how the media is so biased and caters to you liberal freaks. I will have to do some investigating as to whether there was an article praising Bush for his tremendous job as president next to yours. For one moment, let’s forget about 9/11 and al Qaeda and talk about Saddam Hussein and the Middle East and the true reason why we went to war. Do you not think, in that pea-brain mind of yours, that Saddam Hussein was not a threat to this entire world? His daily schedule would consist of murder, rape, lying, cheating, etc. Do you not think that this man, ruling a country, who turned it into his own personal Sodom and Gomorrah against the people’s will, deserves to be brought down from power?

I think it would be safe to say that our country is in much better hands with Georgie in office than our adulterous Mr. Clinton. George Bush has not lied to us, not once. There were plenty of weapons found, and still in the process. I can’t wait until he gets re-elected to laugh in your liberal face. … Hope your liberal freak views don’t kill ya!

Really hates paying taxes

How unfortunate for readers that a basic economics class is not a requirement for the communist-in-residence position held by Jack Lessenberry!

I just made the last $700 monthly payment on a $30,000 income tax bill, admittedly a good problem to have, incurred from my old business in Ohio. This is the way liberals like Lessenberry reward job-creating entrepreneurs like me. Lessenberry thinks I should make more $700 monthly payments so poor little Wayne State University students won’t have to pay higher tuition.

No thanks, Jack. Let them quit college, start a business and pay taxes like I did or pay the higher tuition and shut up.

Call and response

As evidenced by that letter-writer, not even 100 progressive-liberal-communists can generate as much whining in their entire lives as can a single capitalist-conservative in five minutes on the subject of taxation.

Don’t let the door hit you

Goodbye, Sarah Klein. Best of Luck in "sunny, shiny California." I know you’re sick of Detroit and all of its woes but guess what? The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But, as Detroiters, we are our own worst enemies. We talk out of both sides of our mouth, just like Sarah. In one breath we say Detroiters are gritty, proud, resourceful, determined people who don’t take any crap. Out of the other side, we are the first ones to cry, "Woe are we." Sarah says Create Detroit and other programs are a waste of city dollars. Yep, she’s right, because the prevailing defeatist attitude is a virus in this city. If we don’t believe in ourselves, why would anyone else believe in Detroit? When you leave town to visit friends, I bet you’re the first one to say, "Yeah, Detroit sucks, it’s really bad there, I’m seriously thinking about moving." Stop thinking and saying that Detroit doesn’t stack up because after 20 years of traveling to other cities, I can say without hesitation, Detroit does stack up. My friends from elsewhere who came to visit over Thanksgiving all want to live here now. They loved the concert at Masonic Temple, they loved Lafayette Coney, they loved Majestic Bowl, they loved all the great bars and restaurants, the funky architecture and the urban, hip nature. As long as no one here tells them we’re not lovable, we may be able to replace Sarah and her friends with a few cool new Detroiters!

Oh, snap!

Anyone who’s been to other cities long enough to get a pulse from the people that live there learn quickly that everyone gripes about where they live. They whine about the heat in Texas, the traffic in L.A., the tourists in New York, the outright hostile vibe in Chicago, and so on. It seems Sarah Klein is in for a role-reversal as she seeks her geographical cure. Now, rather than being the one complaining, she’ll be what they’re complaining about in "sunny, shiny California" That being: Bitter, cynical, raging narcissists from the Midwest moving there every day to further overcrowd their sink-hole of souls.

Journey sucks

Let me see if I understand this correctly. You hired the reputable Johnny Loftus so he could write about … Journey?

I myself can sum up the ‘Journey experience’ with one line: Journey sucks heavy buffalo balls. And, they have sucked such balls, from day one.

There is nothing even remotely interesting about the first, second or third incarnation of this schlock AOR ‘band’. They are the musical equivalent of a trailer park.

What’s next? Hiring Derek Phillips to write about the complex ideals surrounding Foghat?

Green with anger

Here we go again with another blame it on Ralph Nader comment. Why does Jack Lessenberry still insist on blaming him for the failures of the Democrats? Every Democrat wants to blame Ralph Nader for the democrat’s woes. But your assertion, that the Ralph Nader’s candidacy led to the disaster in Iraq, and at least 40,000 dead, takes the cake!

Angry about Satanists

If self-proclaimed Satanists ever bothered to talk to Christians, they might come to realize that primitive Christianity catered specifically to the scarred, flawed and emotionally battered. What did Jesus ever do to these people that was so horrible? Seriously.

Next time you Satanists are careening down I-696 and have a near miss with a semi, who’s name will you shout out seconds before your life passes before your eyes?

That’s what I thought.

Satan sucks

I’m appalled that you would write about such garbage! Satan is very much alive and enjoys people like you speaking about him in a deceptive way. These individuals who you wrote about are going to Hell in a hand basket. People are deceived and die because of the lack of knowledge. Spirituality is nothing to take lightly and it definitely has nothing to do with culture. People in this day are confused and the devil and his dominions are pulling are their stops because they know their time is coming to an end. I suggest you stick to what you know about and leave that bastard Satan where he belongs which is in Hell and not on the front page of Metro Times.

Super brawl

I’m sure a few "prudes" or "moralists" and John Lennon fans have commented on your cover last week. To me, a parody or a homage to such a famous photo (which is associated by many with murder and tragedy) seemed to be a strange choice for a cover with so many people visiting our city. I don’t know if those who weren’t alive (or who were young) when John Lennon was shot would make this association. It’s obvious enough to me though.

Impeach Bush

Re: Jack Lessenberry’s comment that impeachment would be "a distraction," John Nichols of The Nation has a great article in the December issue of the Washington Monthly magazine tracing the results of impeachment efforts. In every single one of nine impeachment partial or full efforts, the results have been good for the party opposing the president in terms of increasing or helping maintain their control in Congress. More importantly, the party promoting impeachment has won the next presidential election every time.

Moreover, the legal case for impeaching and convicting serial liar and Constitution defiler George W. Bush is overwhelming.

How did something that is both morally right and politically smart "a distraction?"

Unflattering to belly dance

You began your recent article on the Bellydance Superstars by painting a very unflattering portrait of belly dancers: "You hear the word ‘superstar,’ and you think Champagne and spotlights, you think Jem and the Holograms, you think Molly Shannon’s armpits. Hear the term "belly dance," and it’s dish-sized sequins, middle-aged white women, tit tassels and a dimpled gut wobble."

While I appreciate the humor of your superstar references, I am very sorry that you have never before seen quality belly dancing. Yes, there may be many middle-aged white women who pursue the dance as a hobby, but it’s rather unfair to characterize them as the main proponents of the dance. Besides, a skilled dancer of any race, size or age can knock the socks off a discerning audience. By the way, belly dancers do not wear "tit tassels." Are you thinking of strippers?

Shame on you for taking cheap shots at an easy target — middle aged women who belly dance. Just wondering at such ignorance and blatant stereotyping of an often-misunderstood dance which is dear to my heart and the hearts of many.

Not for you!

I find it amusing that a magazine that paraded around not so long ago touting a "no big business" attitude, like Pearl Jam has, would say anything remotely bad about them. Remember, like them, your roots are with the beginnings of Generation X as well. I would have expected better from you, unless of course Sony (PJ’s former label) now owns you. Come to think of it — I have seen some pretty big names in your magazine lately. Did someone not tell us they sold out to the American Idol corporate crowd? You should stick by the folks who read you instead of them.

Good one!

What amazes me most is that it’s made to sound as if changing the Michigan Constitution to allow for voter-based tax to fund the new transit system would be difficult. Common sense would dictate that it should be a cake walk! All they need do is recruit the same jerks who rallied so hard to get the gay marriage ban into the Michigan Constitution to do all the leg work and lobbying — and snap it’s done.

Transit’s dividends

L. Brooks Patterson says mass transit is cost-prohibitive? A slight increase in sales tax and the $75 for an unlimited transit pass surely couldn’t cost more than what residents pay for insurance, gas, a car payment, repairs and parking.

People often see mass transit as an inconvenience when in reality it’s liberating: When I lived in New York, I walked by the $3-a-gallon gas signs without even looking up, paid less for transportation than for water, read every day on my way to work instead of sitting in traffic flipping through crappy radio stations, lost 10 pounds, and never once uttered the word "designated driver." When I moved back, I got a ticket at a broken meter and had to pay for a new starter within the first month, and gained weight. What a drag! I never thought a car would weigh so heavily on my decision to move, but it’s one of the main reasons why I’m going back to New York.

Why turn the Corner?

What to do with Tiger Stadium? Some say to tear it down to allow redevelopment of the supposedly desirable location. Others say leave it there and wait for bids on the site.

Many of course have deep sentimental ties to the old home of the Tigers. That I do understand. A lot of baseball history happened at Michigan and Trumbull.

However, except for sentiment and history, I don’t see any other tangible value in either the stadium, or the location. The stadium itself lacks the classic brick work look of the other remaining, or recently demolished baseball parks, such as Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, or the former Comiskey Park.

The plastic looking aluminum coating on Tiger Stadium makes it look more like a suburban warehouse than a classic ballpark. Same goes for the tacky plastic chairs on the inside. When they removed the classic green wooden chairs, they removed all the aesthetic quality. The only pure thing remaining is the grass field itself. Perhaps they should tear down the stadium, but preserve the field.

As far as the alleged value of the Michigan-Trumbull location, the only value I can see of said location is the memories of the Tigers there. Some folks act as if that exact location is needed for redevelopment, as if there is a lack of vacant land in Detroit. Are these people blind? Do they live in Detroit? This is Tiger Stadium in Detroit, not Wrigley Field in Chicago, where every square inch of surrounding land is covered with dense development. You want to bring in some sort of new residential or retail development to that area? All they need to do is stand at the intersection of Michigan and Trumbull, and look around. Vacant land and abandoned buildings abound. Why anyone could claim to need that specific site to develop, when there is enough vacant land in Detroit to contain 100 new Wal-Marts, strip malls or condo complexes.

The real question is, why such a sense of urgency to do something with Tiger Stadium anyway? This is Detroit. There are 10,000 vacant buildings that need to be torn down. Why make a big deal out of Tiger Stadium? It’s only been vacant for six years. That’s nothing in Detroit years. Six years? Can we say "Book-Cadillac"?

Let the stadium rest in peace where it sets. It’s not in danger of collapsing. It’s not hurting anything. It’s the only thing that gives the neighborhood some ambiance.

The answer is in your pizza

Why is it the City of Detroit has no money to tear down the thousands of abandoned houses in the city but it has enough money to tear down Tiger Stadium?

More Tiger talk

I am curious as to how Jack Lessenberry can "cynically wonder" about the feasibility of Mr. Harwell’s renovation efforts for Tiger Stadium, stating that "whatever that part of Detroit needs … it doesn’t need another vacant lot," when he has no problem with the mayor’s plan to demolish the stadium, leaving a vacant lot without any alternative plan in place.

Renovation is all about looking to the future, not about nostalgia. Lessenberry’s energies would be better spent working to solve the vacant lot problem, not mocking those who are trying to do the right thing.

Good thoughts

Forgive my hazy memory, but did not Ben Franklin once say, "A merchant knows no loyalty to any nation?" But is that what we, as Americans, devolved into? A nation of merchants, with vague ideas of unity and a burning resolve to "get what is entitled to me first." It is seems that the last three generations in this nation have yet to realize that "free markets" are like "free love," a nonexistent and self-serving idea.

Daily bummers

I enjoyed reading Jack Lessenberry’s recent columns about what is going on at our local newspapers. He is so right! I can’t believe how quickly the Free Press has become so awful. Almost all the "hard news" is from the wires. The local content is almost all fluff — an ongoing series about an engaged couple (after wasting our time with three or four profiles of other couples, so readers could "vote" on the best one to follow), stories about how couples met, family photos, silly quizzes. It now takes about 10 minutes to go through the entire paper. The best thing remaining is the comics. It is so depressing! We still need good newspapers. People are not going to get the in-depth news analysis they need from television or the Internet. Unfortunately, they’re not going to get this from our local press anymore either. I’m glad you provided the facts and details behind what had been just a nagging sense of unease for me, a loyal Freep reader for the 30 years I’ve lived in metro Detroit.

Don’t just blame the Internet

Jack Lessenberry’s column on declining newspaper quality hit the bull’s-eye. As an editor and publisher for a quarter-century, and the person who hired the three veteran editors who were shown the door rudely the other day, I shake my head in wonderment. What happened to the classic method of building a newspaper: cover the news well, which leads to higher circulation, which leads to more advertising? This is going backwards — poor journalism will lead to fewer readers and fewer ads. All this from a company that is selling a bunch of its papers because their 20 per cent profit margins aren’t up to its "standards." These are sad days in the newspaper business, but this story isn’t just sad, it’s sickening.

What about me?

I was surprised to read in last week’s opinion piece by Jack Lessenberry that John Dingell has no opposition in the upcoming election. The Honorable Dean of the House of Representatives does in fact have an opponent: me. I was nominated along with 70 other Libertarians at our state convention earlier this month. Third parties should be taken more seriously because while we pull only percentage of the vote, we take on the issues ignored by and eventually adopted by the major parties.

Offended by review

Jane Slaughter’s review of Seldom Blues was "brutal," and not my experience at all. I have been there on numerous occasions and continue to enjoy it very much. Her comment about smooth jazz was offensive to the many fans who obviously enjoy it. Tell her to go to Baker’s instead if she is seeking traditional jazz.

Both parties suck

Referencing Jack’s comment, "So why don’t the Democrats make their own Pledge to America? How about a Pledge to America that they will put us and our jobs first?"

Simply put, they won’t — because the Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans. Both parties have forgotten long ago that they’re job is to support U.S., the citizens. They’re much more concerned about their own agendas and their fight for power.

"That they will honor our rights and human rights, and never forget who the American people are and what our Constitution stands for?"

Dream on, Dr. Lessenberry. This current administration states the president can discount any part of the Bill of Rights he deems fit, under the guise of national security. That’s bad enough. But I’m surprised so few people remember former Democratic Attorney General

Janet Reno’s testimony to congress; remember that one? The testimony where it was stated that Americans have too many freedoms, the

Constitution is outdated, rights aren’t really rights but privileges, etc.?

No? I do.

Was this from Jeffrey Morgan?

Just an average Joe from Baltimore writing to say that Mr. Jeff Morgan has guided and provided me with the finest in musical observation and perception. If what he says is true — that he is leaving Metro Times for greener pastures (and I hope they are "greener"), then he will be sorely missed and hopelessly yearned for. I wish him well in his future critical endeavors and wish that those endeavors will be made available to me, somehow, somewhere, sometime.

Lampooning Kid Rock

I was encouraged to see you award Kid Rock "Boob of the Year." Beyond his personal missteps, I’ve always been galled by his phony patriotism. His early support of the Iraq debacle helped, in his small way, to send our soldiers there. If you really support the troops, don’t paint your guitar red, white and blue, and don’t just entertain and do photo-ops with them. He should enlist, so one of them can come home. The American Badass should walk the walk, and not just talk the talk.

From a Kid Rock fan

I can’t believe what I just read. How could you say these things about him? And what was it that you said about his brain? Obviously he has more of a brain than you do, he’s a self-made millionaire and you work for someone else writing stories for a newspaper. Now who do you think has the bigger brain? He is a wonderful man with a good heart. And the part about him marrying Pam, well, you can’t help who you love. Leave him alone and apologize to him for this obvious mistake that you all have made.

Smart analysis

Thank you for your article critical of the DIA’s attempt to become more accessible. It was refreshing to find someone who also didn’t agree with lowering the cultural or social bars. After seeing many of the DIA’s adolescent promotional ads promotional ads ("You Goin’?"), I decided not to. Art museums are not, and should not be, uncontrolled interactive centers. The "awe" comes from work. It’s sad that the powers that be, in many institutions, always seem to cater to the lower standard.

I think the DIA would be better off focusing more of their promotional budget on accessible parking locations, informative maps to the museum and spin off dinners, lunches or speakers to accompany exhibits. I’ll go again too.

Ambassador recalled

What I don’t understand about the Ambassador Bridge situation is how come the federal government doesn’t invoke eminent domain and take it over? I am surprised I am saying that, since I generally hate when government entities use eminent domain to take over private property. But the right to do so was held up by the Supreme Court fairly recently, and I can’t think of a more legitimate case for them to actually use it. With all the safety and terrorism issues, I would think they would have a straightforward case.

News without politics?

I enjoy reading the Metro Times. Though, I have one issue, why do Metro Times editors, columnists need to make personal attacks against republicans in their articles? Can’t we leave politics and partisanship out? Or, why not write about the positives of your Democrat politicians instead of pointing out how terrible the John Englers, L. Brooks, Bush’s of the world are ruining our country.

Leave politics out of your articles, and accentuate how Detroit is prospering with all the new developments, etc. That would be much more interesting.

Calling out Conyers

Well color me shocked, though pleasantly so — the almighty, god-like John Conyers is actually not getting a free ride from Metro Times! I had always wondered why Mr. Conyers always seemed to get a get-out-of-jail free card from your paper. (That he was an occasional guest columnist didn’t go unnoticed, either.) But now that he’s at least been called out on the carpet, all is right again with the world!

Quotable MT

"If all of us got together and agreed the past was important, but that the future is even more so — well then, Detroit might have a future, one in which the best of the past was celebrated and enjoyed, and the worst understood."

I think I am going to live by that quote. Very uplifting and well-worded.

Prescient in 2006

I now see Detroit as a metaphor of the future of America. Indeed, in my home burb of Warren, I pass by a disturbing number of vacant and abandoned houses. It is now much easier for me to imagine the rest of America becoming more like Detroit than it is for me to imagine Detroit becoming like the rest of America.

We was just funnin’

Just wanted to comment on the 50 cent vs. Kanye West vs. Kenny Chesney article. I thought it was a disgrace to journalism. Why do you have to bring down these artists listed in this piece? Maybe because you lack writing skills and the only way you are going to get people’s attention is by bringing out flaws in other people. If you thought you were funny, I wasn’t amused. It’s clearly wrong and ruins the integrity of journalism.

Infuriated by satire

Your article of Cheap Trick vs. Asia was clearly your own personal opinion. Your facts are completely wrong and misguiding. In terms of contribution, sales, longevity, musicianship, experience, Asia is in a completely different league than Cheap Trick. Asia wins, hands-down. How can you compare the technical prowess of Carl Palmer to Bun E. Carlos. Even Carlos is a big fan of Carl Palmer. I like both bands, but it’s not about me!

Begging to differ

Well, in my book, Trick wins hands down. It’s not even a contest. Over five years ago, Cheap Trick and their music woke-up my consciousness, and I embarked upon an amazing spiritual journey of self-discovery. I’m about to publish a book chronicling the mind-bending awakening, so, I’m definitely biased. But Serene did a great job at comparing the two bands, and though I’m not sure if Bun E. still lugs around those over-sized drumsticks or smokes any longer, all the band members are still smokin’ when they perform live. Have fun at "Rockin’ on the Riverfront" for me, no matter which band you choose.

Grand delusion

Why don’t you stop digging so deep for petty trash on our mayor.

Just face it: He’s doing a fantastic job turning the city around. Mayor Kilpatrick should be proud of his commitment and interaction with the citizens of the city, and he has every right to publicize it and not have to pay for it out of his pocket.

How about an article on all the new housing in the city, or just a positive word about our city?

Partisan cynicism

Why aren’t congressional Democrats ready to push vigorously for impeachment? Pelosi, Reid and company flirt with partisan cynicism. They seem content to nibble away at Bush and Cheney’s support, salivating over the prospect of electoral gains in ’08. But this is not a time for partisan jockeying. Now is the time to end this "senseless and insane war, a war that has ruined Iraq and done our country untold harm."

Ford was a lemon

I read Jack Lessenberry’s eulogy of President Gerald Ford. I have noticed in nearly every article I have read about Ford the omission of his decision to allow Indonesia to invade East Timor in 1975. The day before the invasion Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made a special trip to Indonesia to met President Suharto in Jakarta where Ford made it clear that "we will understand and will not press you on the issue. We understand the problem and the intentions you have." Kissinger added: "It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly because the use of US-made arms could create problems." Amnesty International has estimated Timorese deaths at 200,000 after the invsion. Knowing he allowed the slaughter of nearly a third of East Timor’s population while American weapons manufacturers profited handsomely is a part of Gerald Ford’s legacy that should negate the "decent guy" description.

Where’s the rest of him?

I just read Lessenberry’s Reagan eulogy. Lessenberry is full of baloney, and pretty much wrong on all counts. I could not believe my eyes reading such nonsense! Even today we are reaping the very bad karma sown back in 1980 when Reagan was elected: hyper-militarism, everything shifting way to the right, elimination of government services for the disadvantaged/poor, taxing the poor to give to the rich, etc. Reagan was absolutely awful. We now have recycled Reaganites in the current administration of wackos! Rumsfeld, Cheney, and, of course, old man Bush were all part of the Reagan administration. Do you realize the vast amounts of torture, death and suffering Reagan caused in Latin America? We are talking about thousands of dead people! El Salvador and Nicaragua were vicious bloodbaths with loads of CIA operatives, all sent there by Ronnie and friends. I am glad Reagan is gone. I am amazed you published that crap by Lessenberry. You are doing the alternative community a gross disservice by publishing such nonsense.

He’s sick, in the bad way

Ted Nugent has been a radical, idiotic, egoistic pinhead (only saying kind words) for decades now. It’s nice to see someone wrote what a hypocritical dickhead Nugent is. I wouldn’t buy any of his stuff and haven’t since Amboy Dukes. Nugent is a sick man.

Cat cap fever

Bill Holdship hit the nail on the head about that idiot, Ted Nugent. He used to have a radio show here. I would listen just because he annoyed me (why not?). One morning he went off about how he hated feral cats because they killed song birds. He revealed that he would shoot the cats from his back porch. I am a cat lover and I swear, this enraged me. I am not over this yet. I told everyone on every forum that I could. He’s such a jerk.

You stood up to the Nuge!

Just writing to say Thank You! I thoughly enjoyed your article slamming bigmouth Ted Nugent. Yes I loved the Amboy Dukes, and up to Cat Scratch he was fine. After that, forget it. For many years he ran his mouth and is such a hypocrite. Nobody ever really stood up to him like you did. Thanks again Bill for shutting this a-hole mouth that a lot of others would like to but can’t. You rock!

Neal Shine sucked

While Jack Lessenberry said Neal Shine was sad that the Detroit Free Press now bears little resemblance to the newspaper he worked for, at two crucial points, Shine played a major and unethical role in the Freep’s decline.

His first role was serving as a frontman in the campaign for a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA), pitching the proposal all over the community. Getting the JOA was a sleazy business, with the Free Press and News deliberately losing money by charging the lowest newsstand prices and ad rates in the country, so the Freep could be designated as a "failing newspaper." By achieving the JOA, competition between the dailies was destroyed and hundreds of people were thrown out of work in the name of unchecked corporate greed.

Shine’s second role was as publisher when the strike began in 1995. If Shine had any integrity left, he would have retired on the spot. Instead, Shine told striking Free Press employees he had known and worked with for decades to either go back to work or be replaced by scabs, a disgusting attempt at union-busting. This action destroyed the Freep’s credibility, and neither daily has ever recovered from the strike and lockout.

Critical choices test our character, and Shine twice failed when it counted most. It’s been said that you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. Shine was part of the problem.

Honor the soldier, not the war

Thanks, Curt Guyette, for giving the public a real view of what returning veterans have to deal with. Reading the story, I just kept on thinking of how, when the war started, there was all this public war euphoria going on (i.e., the Fox News bunch and their followers). Funny how these same people aren’t all that eager to help with the results of war.

Confused by Cribs

I’m becoming more and more confused by the weekly feature, Cribs and Rides. Why is it called this? Why are all the pictures of the so-called "cribs" only close-ups of the people who live in these mysterious quarters. And why are we featuring dilapidated homes on the southwest side, overgrown with weeds, where floor boards and paint chips are exposed? Is this supposed to make Detroit look like a cool place to live? A lot of people who live in the city have beautiful homes that they’ve restored from years of neglect, why aren’t those homes being featured? There has to be a musician, artist or writer in Detroit who refuses to live the typical squatter lifestyle of an "urban artist." There are many Detroit homes out there that are magnificent both inside and out. It might require the extra effort of stepping outside the MT circle of friends, but as a reader, I’d say it’d be worth it!

Rankled by Rides

Motor City Cribs & Rides is one of the lamest features to ever run in the Metro Times. Week after week, we see where some minor local celebrity lives or what they drive. Who cares?

With rare exceptions, there is nothing interesting or unique about the houses or cars in question, while their owners display a lack of a sense of privacy. With all that is going on in the Detroit area, surely Metro Times can find more important stories to fill the page, instead of this drivel.

Ville who?

It has long been said that those who can’t do, criticize, and your column is only further evidence in proving that theory. Do you really believe that people will buy or ignore a CD based solely on your opinion? Ville Valo is a brilliant lyricist, whose darkly romantic poetry (along with the musicianship of his incredibly talented bandmates) has gained his band HIM legions of fans around the globe, including an ever expanding fan base here in the U.S. Unlike many of the performers in this country who can’t even perform their own songs live on a stage or don’t even write their own material (i.e.: all the cookie cutter, pre-fabricated crap with no real depth or substance on American radio that the record companies see fit to assail our ears with), Ville should be recognized as the true artist that he is. You only need to look up his name on YouTube to discover the thousands of postings and tributes to the man from HIM fans everywhere.

An ever-smaller UAW

I was appalled when I heard that as the United Auto Workers union struck General Motors nationwide, the striking workers numbered only 73,000 members compared to three times that number of GM workers before the North American Free Trade Agreement, Central American Free Trade Agreement and any other free-trade deals in effect.

Still, our government and all these corporations continue to say the current free-trade policies are not hurting the American worker. There seems to be a huge disconnect between our government and our corporations on just who is a consumer.

The sand under their ivory towers is shifting. Soon, it will be too late when they finally realize the consumer is the worker who no longer has a job. When the workers can no longer afford the products on the market, your consumer base dries up and then America will have the greatest recession — or depression — the world has ever seen!

Doth he protest too much?

Why does everyone assume nowadays that movie’s with strong characteristics of masculinity, style, or emotion are gay movies? In particular, why am I hearing that one of the best war movies I ever seen, was nothing but a gay parade of men fighting in their underwear? The thought alone sounds more like a gay man’s fantasy, than an actual part of the movie 300, which was a movie about a brotherhood of men, who fought in a war because of their belief; it did not, in any way, display secretly gay undertones. Displaying such tones is ridiculous in a war movie like 300, and people who believe otherwise deserve to be conquered over.

Shame on John

July 23, 2007 was a very sad day indeed for Americans, and especially Detroiters. On this memorable day in history, a man I once held in high regard fell from his lofty height after revealing his true nature and intent. The once venerable John Conyers laid down with the rest of the slime on Capitol Hill. John Conyers, the man who once worked with Rosa Parks in Alabama, then hired her onto his staff after he won election to Congress. This same Conyers had Cindy Sheehan, Iraq Veterans Against the War activist Lennox Yearwood and Intelligence Veterans for Sanity founder Ray McGovern arrested for conducting a sit-in in his office in the Rayburn House Office Building. The arrest of impeachment activists and their forcible eviction from his office was a betrayal of people who were doing the very kind of thing that had allowed Conyers to make his way into Congress in the first place: sitting in to insist on action on their demands for justice. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Democratic

Party — Congressional Black Caucus and Progressive Caucus included — has become nothing but a dried-out husk, living on old glories and devoid of any principle other than returning its elected officials to their offices and their perks, year after year.

Well, we tried …

You have got to be kidding me. This article on the Israeli self-defense art of krav maga is some of the worst writing I’ve seen in some time, and I’m a semi-regular reader of your intern-laden columns. While I appreciate that many of us still don’t know where we comfortably sit in the PC spectrum, the awful pun "Jew jitsu" is not only offensive, it’s lazy.

I practice martial arts myself and so lack the wonder of otherness that the article attempts to convey, but even so, it comes off as a rather childish celebration of our pent up bad-ass-kicking delusions. Is she a 15 year-old boy that watched too many Steven Seagal movies?

I’m not going to say anything bad about krav maga, as I’ve never attended a class, but there’s some difference between training to be maximally effective with minimum training, as is a reality of many police and military forces, and training to be an ass-kicker that will make you sing soprano if you make a wrong move outside the club. I hope that the gentlemen who instruct know the difference, but clearly they didn’t get through.

Detroit is not the safest city in the world, and so the last thing we need are a bunch of wannabe tough guys with their teeth gritted, waiting for the right time to poke out someone’s eyes and tear their ears off before crushing their esophagus with a boot stomp just in case someone bumps into them at the bar or grinds up against their dressed-like-a-street-walker girlfriend dancing by herself.

Wrong on Dr. Death

I’ve always thought of Jack Lessenberry as a master of the false analogy, but by comparing Dr. Jack Kevorkian to "that guy long ago who used to preach in Galilee," Lessenberry outdoes himself. It’s well known that Dr. Death doesn’t believe in God or the sanctity of life. And Kevorkian’s former lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, once described Jesus as some kook who got himself crucified.

Bedtime for democracy

I don’t have any "reason to hope" when there are 97 million Americans who voted in the last round of American Idol but I doubt if there are 97 million registered voters in the U.S.

Hey, Kwame’s not so bad

One thing I would like to clear up is Hizzoner didn’t not deem himself the "hip-hop mayor." The media gave him that moniker. I’m not sure if demanding that he steps down will cure all the ills we have in this city. Things were getting bad way before Kwame Kilpatrick it’s just that things have gotten worse. I am making no excuses for him believe me, but can anyone name a politician who hasn’t lied? Even under oath? If so please tell me who.

Get the facts on Kwame? You sure?

OK, I’m all for satire, but let’s get the facts right first if you’re going to do it. The African American Mayors Convention was canceled by Mayor Kilpatrick as stated on Channel 7. He felt now was not a good time for it. I wish the Detroit media would get the facts correct before putting it out there. Haven’t we heard enough misinformation already! I was not a supporter of Mayor Kilpatrick in either terms but the media is doing a wonderful job of sending me over the the K side of town. Keep up the good work and the whole city will begin to sympathize with his situation. Let’s stick to the facts and correct information and stop inserting personal opinions.

Poetry corner

I thought you might enjoy this limerick that I wrote in Kwame Kilpatrick’s honor:

There was a young Mayor named Kwame,

Who loved to play hide the salami.

He’s a hip-hoppin’ clod

On a "mission from God,"

And he’ll ride out the trouble tsunami.

Kwame as muse

With apologies to Dr Seuss:

I did not buy a Lincoln red.

I did not shoot Tamara dead.

I never stole from petty cash.

The glock, I never tried to stash.

I never slept with Chrissy Beatty.

Carlita’s my wife, my only sweetie.

I did not try to cover up lies.

I never partied with them guys.

She did not hit her with a bat.

She did not hit her with a cat.

I will not, cannot quit you ever,

’Cause in my mind I am so clever.

The lie I told was not a crime.

Can’t say more now, don’t have the time.

The truth must not come out till late,

Or my son won’t be elected in 2028.

Bleak outlooks

I live in the city, and have almost my entire life, and I (sadly) believe that the mayor will come out of this with a slap on the wrists, and, if he chooses to, will run and probably win re-election. The people of Detroit haven’t learned from the old adage, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

But not angry about Kwame?

The Metro Times cover is extremely offensive to me as a Detroiter and an African-American. I am shocked by your insensitivity to the persons who are voters and residents of Detroit, and the vulgarity of expression intrinsic in your caricature. You have incorporated every racist stereotype possible, gold suit, leopard cape, large "K" necklace symbolizing your notion of ghetto "bling," big fist, the earring which Mayor Kilpatrick has not worn for four years. Is that what you really think about the highest ranking elected African American official of the city of Detroit and in the state of Michigan? In my view, you owe Detroiters and Mayor Kilpatrick a deep and sincere apology.

Kwame’s kiss-off

He couldn’t even go out a real man. No surprise. It was more or less bull from the start. He started it like he had finally saw a vision of all that he had done wrong. But in the end it was the same, very young Kwame Kilpatrick that hadn’t learned anything about becoming a man. He couldn’t even end his stint in office like a man, instead, once again choosing to blame someone else for his final downfall. This rant would be on the governor.

Funny I don’t remember how many times I criticized Gov. Granholm for not acting fast enough. I thought what does this man have to do, kill someone before she finally even decides to take some action? She didn’t want this role, and the strangest part of all this is, the one who really forced her hand was the mayor himself. But instead of apologizing to all the people he hurt, or the two upstanding cops he fired for no reason, he gave an empty speech of how he so loved the city and its people, and that alone was the reason for finally submitting his resignation. In reality all he was looking out for was his own


Remember the promises?

The Iraq War has been five years of tears for both Americans and Iraqis. I believe that the true cost of the war is the lives the innocent. Thanks for informing and opening my eyes to the truth: that 4,000 Americans soldiers have died and 30,000 have been wounded, not to mention the 600,000 lives of Iraqi innocent civilians. As Curt Guyette mentioned, in 2003, about 60 percent of Americans supported the invasion of Iraq. We were told in the beginning, the invasion would only cost $50 million dollars. I don’t know how we ended up losing $600 billion! We were also told the majority of the troops were expected back home within in a matter of months. When will this nonsense stop?

CREEM of the crap

Thanks for the article about CREEM. I read the magazine as a kid so I was excited to pick up both issues. Unfortunately, the article was a meandering, incomprehensible pile of shit, so whatever points the author was trying to make were lost in obsfucation. Didn’t the author write for CREEM back in the day? No wonder they tanked.

Mixed messages?

I was just reading a story online on your News and Views page, when a banner ad popped up at the bottom of the screen for "Front Sight Firearms Training." While I understand there is likely an arm’s-length policy between your newspaper’s editorial department and your paid advertisers, I have to wonder about the optics of handgun-friendly ads appearing in a progressive paper — particularly one in a city that once owned the unfortunate moniker "Murder City."

Dave Pounder sucks

My moral peculiarities are suspect, for sure, but I will give my 15 cents here. Porn star Dave Pounder is a smarmy, unadjusted user. His description and portrayal of women, and of himself, are disgusting. There was a time when pornography could mean a bunch of things, but only really worked it if harbored people who were having a good time and not afraid of a camera or two. It’s become ugly. Is that what we want? Ugly?

Don’t know what you people are thinking, but this is some seriously fucked-up bullshit.

Hobey Echlin, put down the crack pipe, or meth pipe, and revert to being a writer instead of some channel for this crap.

And, I’m not a newbie. I’ve written, directed, and acted in porn. It’s boring if you’re not on super-drugs and you’re not getting laid by someone who matters. Uh, oh, there goes my morality.

Out of my pants!

Jack Lessenberry calls on the media to stop getting involved in the personal sex lives of politicians. How about we offer politicians a truce? You stay out of our personal lives and we’ll stay out of yours. As long as politicians pass laws prohibiting gambling, smoking, recreational drug use, medical marijuana, prostitution and other victimless crimes, their personal moral failings should be exposed for all to see.

Bitching about Mitch

How refreshing to read your column exposing Mitch Albom for the jerk he is. I lost all respect for him when he crossed the picket line (electronically) during the newspaper strike in the 90’s. He is anti-labor, anti-democracy, pro-censorship, and a scab. Thanks for a good column! I mailed a check to the Vietnam Veterans of Michigan today. gets its due

I wholeheartedly agree with your critique of the new It’s a steaming pile of crap. While the final few years of the Ann Arbor News was, in my opinion, nothing spectacular, this new online venture is absolutely ridiculous.

Beat it

What a shame. Was this the "Let’s Trash Michael Jackson issue"? I’ve always looked to the Metro Times for the best (and fairest) reporting on mainstream, local, new, old, and odd entertainment. It’s hard for me to believe that from a career that spanned more than 40 years, this was all that could be pulled together for this issue. He was no angel, but there’s no denying the impact he’s had in music and entertainment.

No, it just makes you fat as shit

The suggestion that high fructose corn syrup is an unhealthy ingredient is misleading. We would like to provide you with science-based information on this safe sweetener and be a reference for you for future articles.

High fructose corn syrup does not uniquely contribute to obesity

Scoring off corn

Audrae Erickson is right, the statement that HFCS is an unhealthy ingredient is indeed misleading. It should have been said that it’s an industrially produced toxin that has no place in the food chain. Tsk, tsk, MT, you should be more accurate with your descriptions.

Smoking mad

I am weary of sorry little tyrants like Jack Lessenberry, who so eagerly wish to inflict the force of the state on those whose behavior they dislike. He apparently does not grasp the import of private property. If he does not wish to be bothered by tobacco smoke, then he should avoid the privately owned establishments that allow it.

The greatest burdens that all free people face are the cranky whims of angry, petty souls who exist to run the lives of others. Who wants to live in a world where your every action is subject to the malevolence of such sad people? Shame on you Jack! Mind your own business.

Who’s the whiner again?

Jack, why are you such a crybaby liberal? You honestly think that everybody who opposes this far left liberal president is racist? What a joke. Your little democrats have total control but you still bitch like a little kid. This American system has been pretty good to you, Jack. You sit in your affluent neighborhood and bitch about the wrongs of this country. If this place is so bad and our health care system is so flawed why don’t you move to a socialist European country, Jack? You seem to never have anything good to say about America so why don’t you just leave?

Taking Tiger Stadium

The villains have won — the liars and deceivers have won. The DEGC, Mike Ilitch and those others opposed to a viable entertainment venue that historic Detroit Tiger Stadium could have become have won. Tiger Stadium will become but a memory that dims and dies in each of us every year. Detroit is the loser, its taxpayers are the losers, while the liars and deceivers move on. Those who believed in the potential and worked to save Tiger Stadium will live on with a clear conscience, and the liars and deceivers will look and celebrate another hollow victory in their efforts to move Detroit forward — but we know what they did.

Just plain tacky

I’m not some crazy Michael Jackson fan, yet and still I was offended by this article. You should be ashamed of yourself. This is a music section, so instead of talking about personal low points of his life — which we are all familiar with — why not talk about what made him the king of pop: his music? The man is not even cold in the ground and here comes this bullshit. Michael Jackson was a human being not a punch line or a sideshow freak but someone’s son, brother, and father, with millions of fans all over the world. Have you ever had to live in a bubble? Has your every move been watched, judged and commented on since you were 5? This article proves that he still has to deal with bullshit even in death. Get off his case, focus on the music, and save your tacky-ass jokes!

Love Em’!

The most remarkable, refreshing comments in your outstanding cover interview with Eminem show how many values he shares with this fiftysomething reader. Replies about "I exercise a lot and just eat right," "guns are just bad news" and "compassion for my mother" are reminders that everyone matures (OK, most people) and that assumptions about people shouldn’t be permanent. Bill Holdship’s revealing conversation confirms that Em’ really is "one of the greatest brands and exports Detroit has going for it these days."

There goes a secret

Matty Moroun, the enigmatic owner of the Detroit International Bridge Company was hoping you would blindly trust in him when it came to the safety condition of the Ambassador Bridge. He vigorously fought in court and failed to keep secret his inspection report. You were supposed to be bedazzled by his business brilliance, not bothered by boring engineering evaluations.

Upon examination of the publicly released portion of the 2007 inspection report, it is evident that Moroun has been spending time counting cash instead of using it for urgent repairs and upkeep. The actual inspection took place in 2005 and way back then it was determined that the main deck, which vehicles drive over, was in "poor condition." That is like receiving a "D" on a report card — far below an evaluation of "excellent," "good" or even "fair."

And what did the Baron of the Border do with his failing grade from four years ago? Nothing, until the report became public last week. Then all of sudden he announced a multi-year, complete deck replacement of the Ambassador Bridge which would "likely" begin in 2010 and last a couple years. Much like his promise to renovate Michigan Central Depot, don’t hold your breath he will keep his word.

Daily dereliction

I usually find the News slightly less insipid than the Free Press. But I was taken aback earlier this week when 60 percent of their front page was devoted to articles about Chauncey Billups and the 7-year-old kid dancing without a shirt at Pistons games.

The appearance of the three Nobel Prize winners at Wayne State University was actually extensively covered by one publication. It was the main front page article this week in, of all places, the Grosse Pointe News. It is truly sad when the metro dailies are outclassed by the GP News, a paper mainly devoted to real estate ads and finding a replacement for the old Jacobson’s store.

It’s a free-for-all!

Is it too late to get in on the Mitch Albom free-for-all? Now I’m indifferent (the real insult, people say), but I, too, used to be a hater. But it’s such an unproductive way to spend one’s mental energy. Besides, it’s not his fault. He’s sort of deep in a superficial way, and that’s how the masses like their profundity. Go figure. True, his heart isn’t in sports anymore, which accounts for all that "personalities" fluff. But fault the Free Press here for thinking a big name means credibility.

Finally, the corrosive tone in that batch of anti-Mitch missives was oddly refreshing. The Freep — if it publishes any — sticks with softballs. But many MT letters, mine included, have been rather brutal on your own resident luminary, Jack Lessenberry, in the past. Props are in order for printing them. Any paper that shields its commentators from embarrassment is, in my view, a journalistic fraud.

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