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NEEDY FAMILIES GET HELP FROM RITE-AID, HUMAN SERVICE AGENCIES
Representatives from Rite-Aid Corporation and social service agency representatives in Detroit held a press conference Tuesday announcing a resource program targeting low-income families in the city of Detroit. The event was held at Matrix Human Services Mt. Zion Service Center on Detroit's east side. Two women who are clients of the Detroit Healthy Start program were on hand for the conference. They and other client families enrolled in the program will be receiving infant-care supplies and other child-health resources, as donated by the Rite Aid Corporation. Among the items donated by Rite Aid included over 100 "gift" bags (including diapers, baby shampoo, and other health and hygiene items) as well as several baby cribs. Members of the Detroit Healthy Start program and the nonprofit Institute for Population Health were on hand for the event. Comments were made by representatives of all the principal organi…
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GUNMAN RAMPAGE AT BATMAN MOVIE PREMIERE

"Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster."--Friedrich Nietzsche

At least 12 people are dead and dozens are wounded in the aftermath of a one-man shooting rampage in the city of Aurora, Colorado.  According to a police officer on the scene, James Holmes, 24, identified himself as "the Joker" when confronted by authorities after Holmes entered a packed movie theater showing the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises and started shooting at the audience. http://tinyurl.com/733xbsd  Subsequently, Holmes reportedly surrendered to police without a fight, and is currently in custody.  Despite his declaration of affiliation with the iconic Batman arch-villain, Holmes had entered the theater in costuming more closely resembling the current antagonist in the Rises film, the terrorist leader Bane.
In recent months, Holmes was a graduate student studying medicine at a local Colorado university.  In keeping with "super villain" modus operandi, reportedly, Holme…
BLOOD AND LORE:  CABIN IN THE WOODS REVIEW
“…nobody wants to see vampire killers… or vampires… Apparently all they want to see are demented madmen running around in ski-masks, hacking up young virgins.”


Peter Vincent (Roddy MacDowall), Fright Night (1985)
If someone unexposed to horror films from the past 35 years or so were to watch a marathon of several of these films back to back (and let’s say none of them were sequels), how many would it take before he or she began to predict what’s going to happen next? For an American film audience culture that has by now endured the irony-heavy Scream franchise and the gloomily unironic spate of “torture porn” from auteurs like Eli Roth and others, can there truly be any genuine shocks in horror anymore? Cabin in the Woods film attempts to answer that question with a wink and a nod.

The new film features five college-aged protagonists, each fitting a certain stock cliché to be found in assorted horror films: the jock/de facto leader (Chris He…
GWYN AND BEAR IT


This author is a week or so behind in tackling this particular hip-hop related scandal, but unlike the average shelf-life of a Twitter post, it still bears further discussion.  Indeed, Twitter is at the center of this particular celebrity faux-pas.
It seems that Gwyneth Paltrow-- A-list movie actress, wife of Coldplay bandleader Chris Martin, and mother to quaintly-named children Apple and Moses, found herself in a foot-in-mouth social networking fuss when she typed a tweet "Niggas in Paris for real" while at a Jay-Z/Kanye West concert (Paltrow and her husband are apparently godparents to Jay-Z and Beyonce's baby Blue Ivy.)  http://tinyurl.com/7tg2txr For the uninitiated, "Ni**as in Paris" is a Jay/Kanye song, though on radio and in the music-video it is officially referred to simply as "Paris"-- go figure, right?


In interviews, such as with Tanning of America author/hip-hop manager Steve Stoute, Paltrow is upfront about having been a…
UNIVERSITY PROPOSES GREEN ACRES IN DETROIT


In a recent Detroit News article, representatives from Michigan State University have made a formal proposal to Detroit city officials regarding an urban agriculture research project. As conceived, the project would take over blighted, vacant land in the city and convert it into farmland. Among the objectives of the initiative are to explore the prospects of contemporary urban cities growing their own fresh food supplies, seeking to meet the needs of indigenous populations who have challenges in accessing healthy food. More here:
http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120414/METRO/204140342

City leadership and some local activists have long been rigidly skeptical about urban farming. Among the concerns are prospects for locals to be hired for any jobs developed. Still yet, there are cultural and political challenges, as a segment of vocal Detroiters tend to openly equate any sort of urban-directed agriculture developments with sharecropping and s…
DETROIT NEEDS TO LOOK TO THE PAST TO SEE ITS FUTURE


There has been a lot of well-meaning but empty rhetoric about “job creation” in the city and state. When people speak of “jobs” in Detroit, I think it has to be parsed out exactly what type of jobs jobseekers are looking for, and from there just what type of jobs are jobseekers qualified for?

The parts of Detroit’s economy which are not working mostly involve manufacturing. This cannot be over-stressed. Historically, Detroit has placed an inordinate amount of resources into assuming that the heavy-industrial manufacturing industry would be here forever. There was a time in which various factory and heavy-industry-related jobs were plentiful for local residents, whether they were simply a high school graduate, or even a dropout. At the risk of understatement, that era is over. From the 1960s forward, there has been both drastic and gradual disinvestment, by both larger corporations and smaller businesses, which has economically crippled…
DODGING THE DRAFT


A writer for TheRoot.com offers the opinion that recent talks in NBA management are looking at the possibility of requiring college players to stay at the amateur level until 20 years old: http://www.theroot.com/buzz/nba-draft-age-limit-high-enough-already

This is ridiculous. The writer, Deron Snyder, skirts dangerously close to making a "college is annoying, so why bother?" argument. Long-term NBA "stardom" isn't remotely guaranteed for anyone. The writer seems to still be fascinated with the narrative of working class black American boys becoming millionaires before the age of 21 based on their ability to drive the lane, and how restrictions on joining the draft straight out of high school amount to "player hating" or even racial bias.

Has the writer produced any stats on people who have finished at least an undergraduate degree since leaving college early to join the draft? The American major-league baseball system has had a longsta…
CONSENT DISCONTENT

Regarding the recently accepted consent agreement between the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan, I want results. No more well-meaning but empty rhetoric from any of the principals involved: Mayor Bing, Governor Snyder, or the City Council. I want working streetlights: many neighborhoods have no working streetlights. On major thoroughfares it's bad enough, but in the broader neighborhoods, sometimes streetlights are the only ambient illumination (no businesses keeping lights on after dusk) and when they are gone, entire blocks are shunt into 'complete' darkness.

I want a regular police presence: I mean police cars patrolling the neighborhoods, officers on bicycles, and even beat-walking officers. Currently, people can wait for hours and longer after calling for police help-- and of course, sometimes police don't show up at all.

I want a responsive fire department, ambulances and emergency medical service: seconds literally count in emergency medi…
A COLD DRAFT

An article in black culture website TheRoot.com deals with the phenomenon of college basketball athletes leaving school as early as their freshman years to attempt to join the National Basketball Association through the annual draft:
JAY-Z'S EX-BOSS HAS 99 (OR 100) PROBLEMS...

Kareem "Biggs" Burke, a former executive at Roc-A-Fella Recordings, has pled guilty to charges relating to a 2010 arrest in a wide-reaching anti-drug sting (which reportedly netted as many as 50 arrests.) In particular, Burke was charged with possession (with intent to distribute) over 100 kilograms of marijuana. http://tinyurl.com/7brtuhp

With Burke and Damon "Dame" Dash at the helm, Roc-A-Fella Recordings launched the career of Jay-Z and several late-90s/early-00s artists like Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel and Kanye West.

Leaving aside what this author feels about legalizing (or at least decriminalizing) much of today's pharmaceutical contraband: This is just so damned stupid and illustrates what is wrong with today's hip-hop and urban culture. Wasn't this guy getting checks on all the Roc-A-Fella albums for years? If he was on tour with Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek and the rest he was probably getting paid as p…
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?


Black culture website The Root has published a blog editorial about the woes of frequently embattled R&B singers Chris Brown and Bobby Brown. Bobby Brown claims that he was pushed away from the funeral of his recently deceased ex-wife, Whitney Houston. Chris Brown has reportedly been recording songs with ex-girlfriend Rihanna, whom he was convicted of battering in 2009. http://tinyurl.com/7n6974a

You know what? Stop it! Neither Bobby Brown nor Chris Brown are revolutionaries! They are not human rights activists! They are not Afrocentric academics! They're not! Just because they can sing and dance does not mean they are particularly wise, ethical or moral. Talent does not indicate that they are open to advancing their knowledge, formally or informally. They are both celebrities who have (especially in the case of Bobby) squandered much of their goodwill with self-indulgent, petulant behavior over the years. Just because they are singers with an "ed…
LIN'S SIN IS HIS SKIN

"I'm not playing to prove anything to anybody," Lin said. "That affected my game last year and my joy last year. With all the media attention, all the love from the fans (in the Bay Area), I felt I needed to prove myself. Prove that I'm not a marketing tool, I'm not a ploy to improve attendance. Prove I can play in this league. But I've surrendered that to God. I'm not in a battle with what everybody else thinks anymore,"
Jeremy Lin, San Jose Mercury News, February, 2012.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather, sportwriter Jason Whitlock and others have made some flippant remarks concerning the recent ascent of professional basketball player Jeremy Lin. A guard for the New York Knicks who recently scored 38 points in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. With those who are starkly critical of the attention being paid to Lin, one of the underlying assumptions here seems to be that only black guys are entitled to play ball. By this same li…