The Brian Lehrer Show

Why Michigan Matters

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for NPR, discusses the Michigan primary, how Mitt Romney is talking about his stance on the auto bailout, and Rick Santorum’s rise.

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The Takeaway

Romney To Michigan Voters: 'I Am a Son of Detroit'

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"I am a son of Detroit." That's the first line from an op-ed Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney published in The Detroit News on Tuesday. The candidate's father, George Romney, was the Governor of Michigan in the 1960s; Mitt Romney grew up in Michigan, and with the Michigan primary contest just a week away, he’s been vigorously re-asserting his roots. But given the fact Romney hasn't lived in the state in years and "corporate-raider" past, whether or not Michigan voters will accept him as a native son remains to be seen.

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On Being

Tiya Miles — Toward Living Memory [remix]

Thursday, February 02, 2012

For Black History Month: a MacArthur "genius" who's unearthing an especially painful chapter of the American experience — the intersecting history of African-Americans and Native Americans, and the little-known narratives that Cherokee landowners held bla


On Being

[Unedited] Tiya Miles with Krista Tippett

Thursday, February 02, 2012

For Black History Month: a MacArthur "genius" who's unearthing an especially painful chapter of the American experience — the intersecting history of African-Americans and Native Americans, and the little-known narratives that Cherokee landowners held bla


Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: House To Take Up 5-Year Transpo Bill, Port Authority Audit Expected to Slam Former Head, Obama's Old Car Available eBay

Thursday, January 26, 2012

 Top stories on TN: U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood doesn’t think there’s much chance Congress will pass a surface transportation spending bill this year -- but he's standing firm on the Obama administration's goal to connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail by 2036. New York's MTA loses its only board member who's married to a Beatle. A Supreme Court ruling on GPS could affect a NYC taxi suit. And: Central Park gets its first crosstown shared bike/pedestrian path.


New York's subway (photo by Kate Hinds)

The new federal highway bill that will be taken up by the House of Representatives next week will be a five-year, $260 billion proposal. (The Hill)

Egyptian authorities are barring several U.S. citizens — including Ray LaHood’s son — from leaving the country after Egyptian government forces raided the offices of Washington-backed groups monitoring recent parliamentary elections there. (Politico)

A preliminary audit of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey's spending, initiated by Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, is expected to criticize the agency's prior leader Chris Ward -- but offer few suggestions on how it could save money. (Crain's New York Business)

House Republicans accused the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday of trying to keep secret a battery fire in a Chevy Volt out of fear of damaging the value of the government’s investment in the car’s manufacturer, General Motors, and jeopardizing President Obama’s re-election prospects. (New York Times)

Calgary has taken steps toward launching a public bike share program as soon as mid-2014, but even the city official who oversees cycling improvements won't promise there will be enough on-street bike lanes in time. (Calgary Herald)

Look out, Midwest: Austin, Texas, wants its share of the auto industry. (Changing Gears)

Editorial: at long last, Michigan lawmakers are finally confronting that state's crumbling roads. (Detroit Free Press)

Why California Governor Jerry Brown is standing firm on high-speed rail. (Christian Science Monitor)

After spending $160 million on a failed radio system for police to communicate in New York's  subways, the city is buying transit cops two-way radios that will finally allow them to communicate with police above ground. (New York Post, New York Daily News)

What transit agencies can learn from Twitter."The most interesting thing we found is that transit riders do not give any positive sentiment at a particular time. They only give negative sentiment," said a researcher. "If there’s no negative sentiment at any given time, that means that things are running smoothly." (Atlantic Cities)


A 2005 Chrysler 300C that Obama reportedly traded in while he was a senator is on eBay for $1 million. (Politico) (And: six days left to bid! Come for the car, stay for the photoshopping.)

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The Takeaway

Rick Perry's 'Oops' Moment and the GOP Debate

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Republican presidential candidates met for another debate last night in Rochester, Michigan. Herman Cain was in the hot seat over accusations of sexual harassment from four women. But the crowd was supportive as he tried move on from the many allegations which were made against him this week. Texas Governor Rick Perry, who had entered the debate hoping to get his campaign back on track, suffered the night's worst humiliation when he asserted that he would abolish three federal agencies, but failed to remember the third.

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Transportation Nation

President Heads for Michigan To Argue Auto Industry Bailout Saved State

Friday, October 14, 2011

President Barack Obama Drives a Volt During a Michigan Visit in July 2011 (White House Photo)


President Barack Obama is on his way to Michigan with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, where the two will tour the GM Assembly plant that produces the new Chevy Sonic subcompact.   The argument that the auto bailout early in his presidency was good for Michigan, the auto industry, and the U.S. is not an argument the president is willing to lose.

"At the beginning of his administration, President Obama made the very tough and unpopular decision to restructure GM and Chrysler – a decision that saved over a million American jobs and revitalized an entire American industry,"  according to materials on the visit released by the White House.  "In the year before GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, the auto industry shed over 400,000 jobs.  Since these companies emerged from their restructurings, the American auto industry has created 128,000 jobs."

The President has to thread a narrow needle here -- arguing both for the political wisdom bailout and for the recently-passed trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and other nations.  The White House argues the agreements will create jobs, though free trade agreements have not exactly thrilled labor unions, as a whole.

To counter that, the White House released an op-ed penned by UAW Chief Bob King.

" The UAW fully supports this trade agreement because the automotive provisions, which are very different from those negotiated by President George W. Bush in 2007, will create significantly greater market access for American auto exports and include strong, auto-specific safeguards to protect our domestic markets from potentially harmful surges of Korean automotive imports," King wrote.

"Unlike the 2007 negotiations with South Korea, the labor movement, and particularly the UAW, had an opportunity to be part of the 2010 discussions on strengthening the trade deal. Working with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and other members of the Obama administration, then-Ways and Means Committee Chairman Levin and top management from the auto companies, the UAW believes the new agreement will help protect current American auto jobs, contains meaningful trade law enforcement and makes stronger labor and environmental commitments."

As we've reported before from Michigan, the politics of the auto bailout are tricky -- people do see it creating jobs, but, as with the bank bailout, it's hard to swallow big corporations getting handouts when you're totally broke yourself.   Two years after the bailout, Democrats lost key Michigan races in a rout.

Nevertheless, the President and his team have argued again and again that the bailout was wise, and he'll do so again today.

We'll have more on his remarks later.


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The Takeaway

Former Governor Jennifer Granholm on America's Economic Future

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jennifer Granholm was the governor of Michigan from 2002 to 2010. Those eight years were some of the most turbulent in the history of the state. Governor Granholm led Michigan through a number of factory shut-downs, a serious recession with skyrocketing unemployment, and, of course, the auto bailout in 2008. Governor Granolm and her husband, Dan Mulhern, describe these challenges and much more in their new book, "A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America's Economic Future."

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan served two terms during the financial crisis that caused America’s major car companies to teeter on the brink of bankruptcy. Her plans for education reform, economic revitalization, clean energy, and infrastructure development were sidelined by a perfect economic storm. In A Governor’s Story, she tells how she managed the economic crisis in Michigan, and shares the ideas helping American industry recover nationwide.

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The Takeaway

Detroit Design Festival Tries to Move Beyond Drawing Creatives

Monday, September 19, 2011

The push to re-imagine Detroit as a national Mecca for creative entrepreneurs takes another leap  forward, starting September 21, with the new Detroit Design Festival, eight days and nights of crowd-sourcing ideas, talents and urban solutions.. The city has been making global headlines of late for its ability to draw young artists from all over the country and from every genre on the promise of cheap real estate and rich creative opportunity. This festival marks the first major showcase of creative Detroit and the potential local and relocating artists have to transform one of America’s anchor rust belt cities.


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Comments [1]

The Takeaway

Is Our Sour Economy Ripe for Entrepreneurship?

Monday, September 05, 2011

The economy has yet to recover from the great recession as nation’s unemployment numbers remain bleak at 9.1 percent. That number is worse in Michigan, where the unemployment rate is 10.9 percent. One solution to this problem may be for more people to start businesses. The costs of starting up a business may be lower now than in pre-recession times.

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It's A Free Country ®

House Races to Watch: Mich. Dems Swap Districts to Up Re-election Odds

Friday, September 02, 2011

In a move that may help them stay in office despite radical reformulations of their districts by the Republicans that control the state redistricting process, Detroit Democrats Hansen Clarke and John Conyers are expected to swap districts in the race for reelection in 2012.


Transportation Nation

White House: Auto Industry "Resurgent"

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

White House Chart of Auto Industry Jobs Growth

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  On the second anniversary of General Motors' declaration of bankruptcy, the White House is capping a weeks' worth of activities designed to tout that fact with a report documenting what it's calling "The Resurgence of the American Automotive Industry."

As we've reported, the President has gotten little credit for Detroit's crawl out of its hole. Democrats took a bath in Michigan this December, in what was, in 2008, such a desperate situation for Republicans that John McCain never fought for the state.

But this week, beginning with a radio address last week by Vice President Joe Biden (while the President was in Europe), continuing with the report, and culminating Friday with a trip to a Jeep plant, the Obama administration is trying to claim credit for the jobs created in the auto industry.

The report says the industry has added 115,000 jobs, which it says is the fastest rate of growth in over a decade.

It's part of the administration's march out of its own hole .

You can read the full report here.


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The Takeaway

Pastor Terry Jones to Face Trial

Friday, April 22, 2011

Following a hearing yesterday in which a judge told Pastor Terry Jones he would need to pay a bond in order to rally or face a trial. The Wayne County prosecutor is asking for the state court to order Jones to pay a peace bond to guarantee the event won't be violent. Quinn Klinefelter, senior news editor at WDET reports that the pastor will face a jury today as he refused to pay the bond. However, the ACLU of Michigan has spoken against the authorities for trying to deny the pastor the right to protest.


It's A Free Country ®

Labor Clashes Gain Momentum in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Taking Wisconsin as an example, several states seeking to close budget gaps have put collective bargaining rights for public employees on the table. Some Governors have also proposed layoffs or the sale of prisons and other government holdings in order to make ends meet.

The unintended consequence of such measures is that public workers have been energized to protest what they call an "assault" on unions. With more budgets and pieces of union-related legislation making the rounds in state capitals this week, here's a look at three states where new standoffs could be on the horizon.


Transportation Nation

Delta Airlines Posts $19 Million Profit

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(Detroit -- Noah Ovshinsky, WDET) Delta Airlines reported its fourth quarter earnings today. Michigan’s dominant carrier reported a quarterly profit of 19 million dollars, disappointing Wall Street analysts, who had expected higher numbers. Delta President Ed Bastian says the company was hurt by bad weather during the holidays.

"The severe winter weather that we experienced throughout the U.S. and western Europe reduced our December quarter profit by 45 million dollars due to approximately 4,000 flight cancelations and the associated effects.”

Bastian say Delta will take another hit in the first quarter due to severe weather. The airline canceled flights at its Atlanta hub last week. Officials say higher gas prices are also taking a toll on Delta’s bottom line.

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The Takeaway

Kwame Kilpatrik, Family and Friends Indicted for Corruption

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been charged, along with his father and three top aides, with racketeering, extortion, taking kickbacks and attempting to personally enrich themselves through the mayor's high office. The case is one of the biggest corruption indictments in Detroit history.


Transportation Nation

D.I.Y. Doe Disposal?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Roadkill in 1954. Image: NOAA's Historic Coast & Geodetic Survey Collection

(Matt Dellinger, Transportation Nation) Here’s a sign of the times for you:

In an effort to cut costs, a county in central Michigan is moving forward with a plan to end its dead deer removal program for county roads. The Argus-Press of Owosso reports that the Board of Commissioners of Shiawassee County (just west of Flint) voted 5-2 on Tuesday in favor of the cut, which will save the county something like $28,000.

Publicly funded removal, though a benefit to public health and olfactory peace, is not a mandated service. The state of Michigan suspended its program years ago, as have other states. Currently Shiawassee county pays a man named Bernard Minnick $38 per carcass to pick up the remains. You can do the math, but that’s a lot of deer!

And what are people to do? Last month in the Argus-Press ran some helpful advice from County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Michael TerMeer, who recommended drivers go ahead and hit deer rather than swerve to avoid them. Apparently most deer-related injuries and deaths are the result of the attempted avoidance. (A man from the Shiawassee County Road Commission added that drivers should swerve for a human being, but only for a human being.)

In any case, score one for smaller government. This belt-tightening continues a recent trend of transportation savings in rural Michigan. A year and a half ago, the Associated Press reported that the state had turned some fifty miles of dilapidated low-traffic roads back to gravel. It was cheaper than repairing the pavement.

This story brings to mind perhaps the most literary treatment of roadkill ever: John McPhee’s 1973 New Yorker article Travels in Georgia (subscription required) which profiles the biologist Carol Ruckdeschel as she roams the state looking for struck animals to study. Governor Jimmy Carter also makes a cameo.

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Transportation Nation

Detroiters Wait To Hear Fate Of Proposed Bridge Project

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Ambassador Bridge. Image: (CC) by Flickr user mcclouds

(Detroit -- Jerome Vaughn, WDET)  Detroiters and their counterparts in Windsor, Ontario, Canada are waiting for Michigan legislators to determine the fate of a proposed border crossing.

Legislation supporting the Detroit River International Crossing will die in a state Senate committee unless it’s brought to the Senate floor today. The lame duck legislature is expected to adjourn later today.

A group of Senators is pushing to get the bridge plan out of committee--but they’re still not sure if they have the votes needed.

If the measure isn’t voted on today, new legislation will have to be written next year and a new group of legislators will have to determine whether the project is worthwhile.

Canadian officials have already approved the project and have even offered to help pay for Michigan’s construction costs. The Michigan House passed the bill in May.

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The Takeaway

A Small Town Take on The Great Recession

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We’ve all heard about the travails facing cities like Detroit: unemployment, foreclosures, dwindling state pensions. But we haven’t heard much about how small Midwestern towns — cities like Hamtramck, Michigan — are faring. Yesterday Hamtramck announced it might have to declare bankruptcy, or else run out of money by January 31 of next year. How did Hamtramck end up facing bankruptcy? And will the economic downturn force other municipalities across the country to follow suit?

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