News

Handcuffs
User the commedian / Flickr

In yesterday's Detroit Free Press, Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor, wrote:

"We need to concentrate on reinstalling basic covenants that value life over property or attitude or even respect. And we need to remind ourselves that when police decide that their job is to compel submission rather than enforce the law, the slide to the role of executioner has too few speed bumps."

Stephen joined me to talk about his column and what recent national events mean for Detroit.

Here's our conversation:

The state House passed the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) yesterday and it’s fair to say it was a little dose of Republican Speaker Jase Bolger’s “here’s-how-bad-it-can-get-if-you-don’t-play-along.”

The RFRA was supposed to move in tandem with a measure that would add protections based on sexual orientation to the state’s civil rights law. That was a version that Bolger said he would accept, as long as there was a separate bill that would provide some cover for people who have religious objections to gay rights.

But LGBT advocates said there also should be explicit protections for transgender people. Bolger said he wouldn’t support that.

So, Bolger got the RFRA passed last night, without moving on the LGBT protections, showing the LGBT community just what can happen when you cross him.

Orion spacecraft takes off from Cape Canaveral!
Nasa.gov / Nasa.gov

The “Block M” has officially made its way into space.  

This morning at 7:05 a.m. EST, the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle carried by the Delta IV heavy rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida with a University of Michigan flag on board.

Wikimedia Commons

It would be foolish to do, but Michigan business owners could put up a “Straights Only” sign in the window. It would be legal. In fact, it’s legal for just about any business to turn away  gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens.

Under the leadership of Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, the Legislature has rejected the advice of business leaders and others who think LGBT people ought to be treated like every other citizen.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union is bringing a class-action lawsuit against Muskegon County on behalf of current and former female inmates at the jail.

ACLU attorney Miriam Auckerman alleges women at the jail are forced to shower and use the toilet in front of male guards. 

User _chrisUK / flickr.com

The state House has passed a $1.2 billion plan to boost road funding without raising taxes and instead using money that would otherwise go to schools and local governments.

A bill approved Thursday night by the Republican-led chamber would gradually eliminate the 6 percent sales tax at the pump and gradually increase per-gallon fuel taxes.

Sharon Drummond / flickr

Two reports out this week show Michigan as a stark outlier when it comes to charter schools.

One, from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, shows that 55% of Detroit public school students are now enrolled in charters—up from 51% just a year ago.

That’s the second-highest percentage of any city after New Orleans. 

Last night I spoke to about a hundred thoughtful citizens, mostly of retirement age, at a forum sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women. They were mostly great fans of Michigan Radio.

Several asked why I hadn’t said anything about the deaths of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, or Eric Garner,

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs to do more to help cities deal with toxic cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Erie.

"Particularly when they see something where you have an entire region could not utilize their own drinking water supply," says Miller, referring to a two-day shutdown of Toledo's water supply in August. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state House has approved bills meant to reduce prison costs in Michigan. But the sponsor of the legislation says the bills have been “gutted.”

State Representative Joe Haveman, R-Holland, says provisions were taken out that would have kept more people out of prison.

Wikipedia

State lawmakers are considering bills in this “lame duck” session that would provide one-time relief for property owners facing tax foreclosure in the coming year.

The situation is particularly dire in Wayne County, where the County treasurer has already served foreclosure notices on about 75,000 tax-delinquent properties—about 62,000 in Detroit alone. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

Brady Hoke grew up in Ohio, graduated from Ball State, and started his coaching career at Yorktown High in Indiana. He is a football man, through and through.

In 1995, Hoke began an eight-year stint assisting Michigan, a run that included the Wolverines’ first national title since 1948. The coaches and players loved the guy. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan hospitals may have to plan on receiving more flu patients this year.

Centers for Disease Control officials say the vaccine does not protect well against the dominant strain (H3N2) seen most commonly so far this year.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People in Michigan are protesting the death of Eric Garner. It's the second time protesters have come out in two weeks. Previous rallies took place after a grand jury decided not to charge a police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Missouri.

University of Michigan football game
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes wrote today: "Another longtime CEO with scant athletic experience beyond his playing days is looking for yet another football coach at the University of Michigan."

The Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Yesterday the choice of whether to add LGBT rights to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act was stalled in the House Commerce Committee, and it looks like it will likely stay there.

State Capitol
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Each Thursday we talk Michigan politics with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A bill that is supposed to protect people exercising their sincerely held religious beliefs from government interference cleared the state House today.

The bill, sponsored by House Speaker Jase Bolger, was brought up right after Bolger declared dead the effort to add LGBT protections to Michigan's civil rights law.

Solar flares
Flickr user Jason Major / Flickr

Robert Alexander works to give the sun a voice. As a sonification specialist at the University of Michigan, Alexander turns data from the sun into music. 

Michigan State Police

Big, often destructive storms are becoming much more frequent in Michigan.

Over the last 50 years, we've seen an 89% increase in storms that dump two or more inches of precipitation in a single day.

Peggy Wolff

The smell of freshly baked bread can trigger memories of home, especially around the holiday season.

Peggy Wolff is the author of Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie: Midwestern Writers on Food. She’s part of a project called "Little Big Books.” 

A screenshot of the owl from the YouTube video.
Steve Spitzer / screenshot YouTube

A Chicago photographer and birder saw something swimming in Lake Michigan, and it was not a hardy winter athlete taking an Arctic plunge.

The photographer, Steve Spitzer, captured on video a great horned owl doing a vigorous breast stroke in the water off of Loyola Park Beach in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan motorists are spending less and smiling more at the gas pump these days.

There’s a time-honored political technique you might call the “big lie” theory. Basically, it works this way: If you tell the same outrageous lie over and over, no matter how big it is, eventually people will believe that at least some part of it is true.

Brian Roth / Michigan State University

State officials recently updated the list of invasive species banned in Michigan. They added seven species to the list. That means you can’t have them in your possession or move them around.

Terry L. Atwell / Air National Guard

Michigan Senator Carl Levin says a new military spending bill could bring some big wins for the state’s defense sector.

Levin, a Democrat and Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has a big hand in crafting the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

Retired Ford executive and former Wayne State University President Allan Gilmour says adopting LGBT protections in law will help the state attract and retain talent.
Rick Pluta / MPRN

A state House committee adjourned today without voting on legislation that would add LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law, and it appears the effort has stalled as the Legislature grows close to wrapping up for the year.

David Hughey / Flickr

There is a rise in wines made and named after celebrities. There is Fergalicious named after singer Fergie, and there's rapper Lil John, who started Little Jonathan Winery. And there's Michigan's own Madonna, whose family owns the Ciccone Vineyard up north. 

Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Right now in Michigan, you can be fired from a job or be denied housing if you're gay. A group of LGBT rights advocates wants that changed. 

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr

The state House has approved a bill that would revoke welfare payments from people who fail drug tests. The state would implement the one-year pilot program in three counties that have not yet been selected.

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