civil war en Stateside for Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Embattled Republican National Committeeman Dave&nbsp;Agema&nbsp;is hitting back at critics of his anti-gay and anti-Muslim web postings, saying he stands on the same issues he always has, "God, family and country."</span></p><p>In a Facebook post, the ex-state-Representative says people are feeding half-truths to the news media within the GOP and stirring up divisiveness.</p><p>He says he's wrongly being blamed for posting other people's comments and says it's an unfortunate and uncivil tactic to tarnish his reputation.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Rick&nbsp;Pluta, Lansing bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network and co-host of It's Just Politics, joined us today.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Lawmakers in Lansing have begun holding hearings on which standardized tests Michigan students will begin taking next spring. Goodbye Michigan Educational Assessment Program (</span>MEAP<span style="line-height: 1.5;">), hello Smarter Balanced Assessment. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Opponents say it takes away local control, while those who favor it say it better predicts a student's comprehension. We found out more about this computer-based testing on today's show.</span></p><p>Then, we continued on the subject of schools and asked: Are zero-tolerance policies actually keeping kids out of trouble? A new study says not so much.</p><p>And, Michigan’s University Research Corridor is making huge contributions to the state economy. We spoke with Lou Anna Simon, president of Michigan State University, to learn more.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Finally, a new documentary explores Michigan’s history with the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad. &nbsp;</span></p><p> Tue, 21 Jan 2014 21:28:38 +0000 Stateside Staff 16118 at Stateside for Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 How have recent events in Syria impacted Michigan's Syrian community? <div><p>Opponents and supporters of U.S. military intervention in Syria have been holding rallies across Michigan.</p></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>President Obama is asking for Congress's support to attack Syria over what he says is the government's use of chemical weapons.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Several dozen opponents of a U.S. attack marched through downtown Detroit for a rally Sunday at the waterfront Hart Plaza. About&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">30 people opposed to American military intervention turned out for a rally Saturday in Grand Rapids. And on Friday, about 100 supporters of an American military response held a rally in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham.</span></div><div>&nbsp;</div><p>As the headlines unfold over the civil war in Syria and whether the United States should or should not take military action against Bashar Assad's regime, there are thousands of people in Michigan watching with the most intense interest.</p><p>Syrians first started coming to Michigan at the turn of the 20th Century. Today, the Syrian Community in Michigan numbers about 25,000.</p><p>We wanted to get a sense of what this civil war looks and feels like for these thousands of people in Michigan with close ties to Syria.</p><p>Dr. Yahya Basha came from Syria to Southeast Michigan in 1972 after graduating from medical school at the University of Damascus. He is a leader in the Syrian-American Community in Michigan. He has been active in the issues of civil rights, anti-discrimination, and civic participation including working with the ACLU, the Arab American Institute and the National American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.</p><p>Dr. Basha joined us today.</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></p><p> Mon, 09 Sep 2013 21:25:58 +0000 Stateside Staff 14334 at How have recent events in Syria impacted Michigan's Syrian community? There are better investments than replica Civil War cannons <p>State Senator Bruce Caswell of Hillsdale is a military buff – he attended West Point for a couple years, before transferring to Michigan State – and he’s a former high school history teacher.</p><p>Now, he has a new project he would like people to donate money for. If you are about ninety, and spent a lot of time at the State Capitol when you were young, you may remember there used to be two old Civil War cannons out front.</p><p>Otherwise, I suspect you never heard of the so-called Loomis cannons. They weren’t especially famous cannons; they didn’t batter down the defenses of Richmond, and people in the 1940s thought so little of their importance that they were apparently melted down during a World War II scrap metal drive. Fri, 23 Aug 2013 12:49:43 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 14115 at There are better investments than replica Civil War cannons Michiganders taking part in Gettysburg sesquicentennial <p>A large number of civil war re-enactors from Michigan are in central Pennsylvania this week to mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.</p><p></p><p>Michiganders heard the first shots fired at Gettysburg.&nbsp;&nbsp; And they were there a few days later, as the Confederates launched the ill-fated Pickett’s Charge, which failed to break the Union lines.</p><p></p><p>Don Everette is among the Michigan civil war re-enactors in Gettysburg this week.</p><p></p><p>He says he’s been to previous re-enactments of Pickett’s Charge that were highly emotional.</p><p></p> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 04:14:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 13308 at Michiganders taking part in Gettysburg sesquicentennial Get a letter from your great-great (etc) Grandpa: New, online MSU Civil War archive <p></p><p><em>This story includes historically racist language that some readers may find offensive.</em></p><p>We're in the midst of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.</p><p>So your great uncle, the war re-enactor, is probably having the time of his life.</p><p>But for those who have trouble sitting through all nine episodes of the Ken Burns “Civil War” documentary, now there’s something for us, a new online archive is bringing Michigan’s Civil War letters into the Google Age.</p><p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Kate Wells 11210 at Get a letter from your great-great (etc) Grandpa: New, online MSU Civil War archive Great and Bloody Sacrifice <p>Many of us have been so consumed with our modern economic struggles that we&rsquo;ve barely paused to note that we faced a much greater crisis one hundred and fifty years ago his month.</p><p>South Carolina, the first state to secede from the union, fired on federal troops at Fort Sumter that April, and the Civil War was on.</p><p>When it ended four years later, more Americans had been killed than in any war before or since, and the country was a different place. We don&rsquo;t often think of Michigan in connection with the Civil War. We were then a small, pretty new, and not very major state.</p><p>Our entire population was only three-quarters of a million people - far less than the population of Macomb County today. Yet Michigan answered the call enthusiastically.</p><p>We overfilled our quota of volunteers. Abraham Lincoln had some anxious moments those first weeks of the war.</p><p>Would the states really respond by sending the troops necessary to put down the rebellion? Michigan did. From Detroit, Adrian, Marshall, Ypsilanti and Grand Rapids they came.</p><p>Washington asked Michigan for a single regiment. Governor Austin Blair protested. No. We could furnish more. Much more.</p><p>The first Michigan troops arrived in the capitol in May, lifting the President&rsquo;s spirits. &ldquo;Thank God for Michigan!&rdquo;Abraham Lincoln said when they arrived. Fri, 29 Apr 2011 14:27:01 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 2278 at Great and Bloody Sacrifice Michigan prepares to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War <p>There are numerous observances planned across Michigan beginning this week marking the<a href=""> 150<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the start of the Civil War</a>.&nbsp; More than 90 thousand <a href="">Michiganders served in Union army</a> during the Civil War.&nbsp; Nearly 15 thousand&nbsp;died.</p> Mon, 11 Apr 2011 16:49:55 +0000 Steve Carmody 2016 at Michigan prepares to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War