Dubious achievement awards 2004 - November 

Watchin’ the watchers: Republican poll-watchers clashing with Detroit voters stop just short of engaging in brawls and fistfights at the polls. People on both sides claim they’re wrongfully harassed. The Detroit Branch of the NAACP received more than 35 complaints from people saying they were hassled by the GOP’s poll watchers. Poll-watchers allege that they’re prohibited from monitoring the voting. Michigan Republican Party officials file a lawsuit against city officials. Unfortunately for Detroiters, the Republicans have a right to monitor the process. So it doesn’t do any good to fight them. A better solution is to turn the tables. Come next election, busloads of brothers and sisters need to head out to lily-white enclaves outstate to make sure everything is on the up and up. That should make for some very interesting encounters. Democracy, it’s a beautiful thing. George Bush wins. Enough said.

Palace brawl: There seems to have been some sort of minor altercation at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Something about a little disturbance involving fans, possibly during a game between the Pistons and the Indiana Pacers? Rumor is that a player or two might even have gotten into a bit of trouble with the league as a result. And what, exactly is it that the fans are supposed to have done? Good question. Unfortunately, whatever may or may not have happened received so little media coverage details of the whole thing are incredibly difficult to come by.

Street cred: What price platinum plaques? Word has it that million-selling rap star Obie Trice is having credit probs. Despite his lucrative deal with Shady Records and touring the globe with pals D-12, Trice’s cash flow hasn’t done shit to outweigh his FICO credit score. Observers at a local Best Buy spied Trice attempting to purchase a spiffy new TV on store credit. Well, guess what? His application for a Best Buy card was dee-nied. Trice then had patron heads swiveling as he stormed out of the store, only to return a half-hour later with — his mom. Ma Trice co-signed kid Trice’s app, and the television is no doubt gracing some modern console in a contented hip-hop home.

Equal pay? No way: A report released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research places Michigan at the bottom of the heap when it comes to matters of pay equity between men and women. According to the study, the state’s women make about 67 cents for every dollar earned by men. That puts us at a lowly No. 49 in the survey that looked at all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The state also got a D+ for the overall quality of the health and well-being of its female residents. And we clocked in at a dismal No. 42 in the area of reproductive rights. All in all, the report sent the clear message that it’s a real mother being a woman in Michigan.

Stone cold: As if it’s not already tough enough being homeless, life gets a little more difficult for two indigent men in Clinton Township when they get stoned — and we ain’t talkin’ pot buzz here — by a trio of teenagers. Three boys, ages 12 to 16, allegedly hurl rocks at the vagrants. A prosecutor tells the Macomb Daily: “They were just picking on homeless people. There’s no evidence of robbery as a motive, there’s no evidence of any acquaintance to these victims, or a past grudge or anything like that. They just felt like stoning two people because they were homeless, it seems.” They boys are taken into custody by juvenile authorities. A suitable punishment if they’re found guilty? How about caning?

If the hood fits: Instead of being greeted with outrage, a Grand Rapids student gets an award for attending his high school’s Halloween masquerade party wearing a white Ku Klux Klan getup. The prize is for the “scariest” costume. But what’s really scary is that none of the school administrators or teachers attending the function saw fit to tell the kid to get the hell home. The boy later receives a five-day suspension. “There are a number of questions I have and don’t yet have an answer to,” Superintendent Berk Bleke tells the Associated Press. It could have been worse. The kid could have gotten the grand prize for best overall costume. Or, in this case, it would be the grand dragon prize.

Future shock: Cast and crew for the feature film The Island are in town to shoot scenes for the sci-fi flick. That’s a good thing, right? In October, mayoral spokesman Howard Hughey tells the Freep, “Without knowing exactly what they are shooting in Detroit, it’s still very exciting to know that people from Hollywood have an interest in our city. When they are here we certainly hope to show them how magnificent our city is.” The movie is set in Los Angeles, circa 2024. Among the locales the movie’s producers are interested in is the long-abandoned and much-ravaged Michigan Central Depot. Why is it we get a sinking feeling that “magnificence” wasn’t exactly the reason Detroit was chosen as a stand-in for a futuristic Tinseltown?

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