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Veterans
11:00 am
Sat November 12, 2011

In Detroit, a new community for homeless vets

A housing complex for homeless veterans officially opened its doors in Detroit on Veterans Day.

It will serve as a transitional housing program where veterans can stay for up to two years. It can house as many as 60 people at a time.

Sharon Dade is the director of social services for Volunteers of America, the non-profit group that owns and operates the Detroit shelter.

She says they’ll work with the Veteran’s Administration to serve every qualified person—whether they’ve just returned from conflict, or have struggled for years.

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Politics
10:44 am
Sat November 12, 2011

"It is time for the city to pursue a new direction"

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint mayor Dayne Walling won re-election on Tuesday.   

Friday, he started cleaning house.  

On Friday, Walling issued a statement saying he had accepted the resignation of the director of the city’s Department of Community and Economic Development. He also announced two other DCED employees had been fired. Walling also fired city Finance Director Michael Townsend. 

In a written statement, Walling said “it is time for the city to pursue a new direction with respect to the operations of the Finance Department and the Department of Community and Economic Development”

Walling will be sworn in for his new term as mayor on Monday.   

But also in the coming days, Governor Snyder is expected to formally announce his intention to appoint an emergency manager to run the city of Flint. 

Last week, the governor agreed with a state review team that Flint’s finances require outside management to fix.

Sports
5:46 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

Athletic scandals and the culture of sports

user: Michael Knight /flickr

A student riot erupted this week at Penn State following the firing of the university’s longtime coach, Joe Paterno. He was fired after details surrounding alleged child sex abuse emerged involving the university’s former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talked with Dr. Cheryl Cooky, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health & Kinesiology and Women’s Studies Program at Purdue University. She specializes in sports sociology. Cooky talks about how we view athletic scandals.

 

Veterans Day
5:17 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

The "unfinished business" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Master Sergeant Orlando Garcia featured in a story by Britain's Channel 4 News on PTSD in the U.S. Army.
Britain's Channel 4 News screenshot

Earlier today I posted the stories of two young veterans who had served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Multiple tours overseas is common in today's military. Re-enlistments helped keep these wars supplied with soldiers over the last ten years.

The problem, as Bernard Rostker of the Rand Corporation put it, "the more you go the more you’re exposed, the more likely you will eventually have some adverse psychological reactions."

Rostker is a former Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and a former senior policy advisor on recruitment for the Secretary of Defense.

He said the propensity to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is cumulative. And with soldiers serving multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, they're more at risk than a soldier serving a single tour.

PTSD can show up much later in life.

"This is going to be a huge concern for the military," said Rostker.

"Rand did a study, it was a random telephone interview of large numbers of vets using screening techniques for PTSD, and came to the conclusion that there was a huge number of unreported cases. It was controversial with the Department of Defense who looked at the number of people being treated versus those identified with PTSD and noticed lots were going untreated," said Rostker.

In 2010, Britain's Channel 4 News did an excellent piece on the challenges facing today's military.

You can view it here:

 

Bernard Rostker said the military has come a long way in its understanding of the psychological effects of war.

"We’re much more aware of it today, but it’s still the unfinished business of this war," said Rostker.

The law
5:02 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

$100 million settlement to sexually abused prisoners won't be delayed

ACLU of Michigan

The Michigan Supreme Court will not intervene in the fight over a settlement awarded to female prisoners. 

More than 800 women inmates said they were repeatedly raped and abused while in prison.

In 1996, they brought a class action suit against the Michigan Department of Corrections.

In 2009, they were awarded a $100 million settlement.

But Oakland County wanted to know the names of the inmates so it could divert some of the money to crime victims.

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Offbeat
4:38 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

"1-1-1-1" unlucky for some Michiganders today

"1-1-1-1" was not a lucky number for many would-be Michigan lottery players today.  

So many people decided to play today’s date, "11/11,"  in today’s Daily Four game, that Michigan Lottery officials were forced to stop letting people purchase tickets with that combination.    

The Daily Four lottery has a maximum daily payout of $40 million.  At a certain point today,  lottery computers showed if the combination won that the maximum payout would be reached. 

So the system automatically blocked any more tickets from being bought with that combination.  

Politics
2:40 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

Michigan GOP presidential primary ballot lists 11 candidates

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Eleven Republican presidential candidates are on the ballot so far for Michigan's Feb. 28 presidential primary.

The Michigan Department of State released the list Friday. President Barack Obama is the only Democrat. Democratic activists plan to nominate their favorite at May 5 party caucuses, not through a primary election.

The chairmen of the state Democratic and Republican parties have until Tuesday to add the names of other candidates to the list, and candidates have until Dec. 9 to remove their names.

The GOP list includes Michele Bachman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. All eight participated in a southeast Michigan debate Wednesday night.

Others on the GOP list are Gary Johnson, Fred Karger and Buddy Roemer.

Veterans Day
2:39 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

Spartans play Tarheels tonight on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier

Hoops on an aircraft carrier. MSU will play North Carolina Chapel Hill tonight at 7 p.m. President Obama will attend.
MSU

The "Quicken Loans Carrier Classic" will be played on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson stationed in San Diego in honor of Veteran's Day (the nuclear powered carrier is famed for being the ship from which Osama bin Laden's body was buried at sea).

Michigan State University will play North Carolina in an NCAA Division 1 basketball game to be broadcast on ESPN starting at 7 p.m.

President Barack Obama will attend "the first ever aircraft carrier to host a Division 1 college basketball game."

MSU Coach Tom Izzo's reaction to the game was captured in this ESPN blog post - they quoted Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis:

“I saw him tear up today,’’ Hollis said of Izzo’s emotions when he boarded the USS Carl Vinson on Thursday. “He was emotional. He lives for these kinds of things. The Final Four is special, but this will rank up there in his mind.’’

It already has -- and the tipoff hasn’t even occurred yet.

“My first impression far superseded what I thought it could be about seven or eight years ago when we tried to get this thing together,’’ Izzo said. “At first we were going to play two military schools. But if you could have seen our players’ eyes. There was such an appreciation for what we’re doing. It’s bigger than the game. It’s bigger than North Carolina or Michigan State. It’s a dream come true for us.’’

Here's a video of the MSU team's shoot around:

Offbeat
12:56 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

Warning: We're about to say "sex"

Australian Broadcasting Company Flickr

I received an email last week from a listener angry enough to write the most common threat I hear from Michigan Radio listeners, “I will never donate to your station again!”

We hadn’t libeled or defamed this man. We didn’t misquote him or make an error in a story he thought was important. He wasn’t even accusing us of left-or-right wing bias.

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Science/Medicine
12:01 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

What is the future of Michigan's medical marijuana law?

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A Lansing attorney believes Michigan’s Attorney General is trying to dismantle the state’s medical marijuana law.   

Thursday, Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a formal legal opinion that police officers may seize pot from medical marijuana patients. In the opinion, the Attorney General says police could face federal drug charges if they return to the marijuana to the patients.   

Attorney Eric Misterovich represents medical marijuana patients. He believes the attorney general will next try to stop the state from issuing medical marijuana permits.  

“You know, we can see where it’s going. And I’m not sure what the attorney general’s plans are, but I think this is a step…toward…invalidating the (Michigan Medical Marijuana) act as a whole," Misterovich says.

Before he was attorney general, Bill Schuette led the campaign against the 2008 state referendum on medical marijuana. Since he was elected Michigan Attorney General, Schuette has supported legal efforts to curb access to medical marijuana.

Commentary
11:34 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Two very different anti-bullying bills in the legislature

Governor Snyder has to be hoping that the State Senate goes along with the changes the State House of Representatives made to the anti-bullying legislation now before the legislature.

Otherwise, the Michigan Senate will continue to be the object of nationwide scorn, and the governor may have to veto the bill. If you haven’t been following this, there has been steady pressure building for years for Lansing to pass an anti-bullying bill.

There have been a rash of stories about kids who were so tormented in school they took their own lives.

Read more
Politics
11:29 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Tea Party activists get fired up over Michigan health care exchange bill

user rosefirerising Flickr

The Michigan State Senate followed Governor Snyder's desire and passed a bill that, if adopted, would set up a statewide health care exchange. And the Tea Party is none too happy about the vote.

If state officials don't set up a statewide exchange by 2014, the state would have to enter a health care exchange system set up by the federal government.

The exchange, as political writer Susan Demas says, is like Travelocity for health care packages.

Demas wrote a piece on MLive about the Tea Party's reaction to the vote. She wrote that the activists warned Republicans "that there would be consequences for voting 'yes,'" and they accused Governor Snyder of trying to cozy up to the Obama administration.

Demas highlighted complaints from Scott Hagerstrom, the head of the free-market Americans for Prosperity of Michigan:

Hagerstrom called the passage of the health care exchange a "bribe" to get more federal dollars. 

"What they've done is basically declared war on the Tea Party and Tea Party activists," he declared. Joan Fabiano, a Tea Party activist from Holt who lobbied the Legislature against the health care exchange, also fired off a scathing statement against the Senate's action. 

She called it "a [sic] unnecessary set back [sic] in the freedom of Michigan citizens. . . . The hurried manner in which the bill was amended, passed through Committee and scheduled for a vote is an affront to every citizen of Michigan who was disenfranchised from having his or her vote heard. Voters will not forget this affront."

Senator Bruce Caswell (R-Hillsdale) might be on the Tea Party's list.

As Rick Pluta reported yesterday, Caswell was one of the Republicans arguing in favor of the exchange:

“I do not support putting this state in the position of having the federal government come in and basically take over regulation of health care,” said Caswell.

politics
11:18 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Michigan Supreme Court won't intervene in $100M deal with Prisoners

user: abay flickr.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court has declined to intervene in a dispute over a $100 million settlement with former and current female prisoners who claimed they were sexually harassed behind bars Oakland County wants the women's names so victims of their crimes can also be paid. While that dispute is pending, the county wants the state to suspend payments.

News Roundup
9:11 am
Fri November 11, 2011

In this morning's news...

Morning News Roundup, November 11th, 2011
Brother O'Mara Flickr

State Health Care Exchange

The state Senate has adopted a bill to create a statewide health coverage exchange where people and businesses could comparison shop for insurance, Rick Pluta reports. From Pluta:

Republicans were divided on the question, and whether a vote for it was an endorsement of the federal health reforms. Some Republicans argued they should take a principled stand against the federal law by refusing to enact any portion of it. Others argued the state should not risk being forced into a federal bureaucracy. Without action, the state would be forced into a federal exchange system. The measure now goes to the state House. Republican Governor Rick Snyder says the statewide coverage exchange is a good idea with or without the federal mandate. He has asked the Legislature to send the bill to his desk before the end of the year.

Anti-Bullying Bill

A measure that would require all school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies has cleared the state House. “The proposal says there is no reason for kids to be allowed to bully each other. That sets it apart from legislation approved by the Senate last week. That bill exempted statements based on a student's deeply held religious or moral belief. Critics called the provision a license to bully,” Laura Weber reports.

Medical Marijuana

There’s a new challenge to the rights of Michigan’s medical marijuana patients. Steve Carmody reports:

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a legal opinion yesterday that said police can seize marijuana from medical marijuana patients. In the opinion, the attorney general also said it would be illegal for police to return the pot, even after they confirm that the patients possess a medical marijuana permit. Under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, a patient with a valid state issued identification card may possess up to two and a half ounces of usable marijuana. That same state law prohibits police from seizing marijuana or drug paraphernalia from authorized medical marijuana patients. But Schuette says the state law conflicts with federal law on the subject of marijuana forfeiture and that federal law preempts state law.

Sports
7:25 am
Fri November 11, 2011

John U. Bacon: "You can either be a PR man or you can be a journalist... and try to tell the truth"

Anthony Gattine Flickr

Michigan Radio's Sports Commentator John U. Bacon has a new book out. It premiered at number six on The New York Times non-fiction best seller list this week. Bacon was already well-known at the University of Michigan for the book he co-wrote with Bo Schembechler. So, it wasn’t difficult for him to get access to the Wolverine football program in 2008 when the team got a new head coach Rich Rodriguez, or Rich-Rod.

Bacon's plan was to write a story on the spread offense that Rich-Rod had used so successfully at West Virginia. But Bacon quickly found himself in the middle of a new, more complex story.

"It started out being a very simple story... and, now you realize, of course, three years later, the real story is off the field: it's what it's really like to be a player, what it's really like to be a coach, NCAA investigations, pressure, losing, ultimately getting fired... I don't think you have to be much of a football fan to follow this," says Bacon.

Michigan Radio's Christina Shockley spoke with Bacon about his new book, Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football.

Veterans Day
7:00 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Two young veterans in Michigan share their stories

Staff Sergeant Vic Anthony Sasota and Captain Brandon Petrick of the Army's Great Lakes Battalion Lansing recruiting office. Petrick says he was the first in his family to serve in the military. Sasota joined in remembrance of his father.
Morse/Brush U.S. Army/Michigan Radio

There are close to 22 million veterans in the U.S., and around 1.7 million of them are less than 35 years old.

These young veterans volunteered for the military. And their reasons for joining depended on any number of things: a personal sense of duty to serve their country; following in a family member's footsteps; joining up with trusted friends; a chance to see the world; or a shot at a better life.

Whatever the reason, there's no doubt about the sacrifices these service members and their families have made.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have largely been sustained by multiple deployments from military personal, long tours, and shorter times between deployments. And the more deployments, the higher the risk.

Bernard Rostker is a Senior Fellow at the Rand Corporation and author of a book on the all-volunteer military. He said that over the last ten years, researchers were surprised by the number of people re-enlisting.

"This war was sustained not by recruiting, but by re-enlistments, and that surprised a lot of us who had been in the business a long time. The notion that a career military force would go to war and that they would then re-up at much higher rates, and that’s what we saw," said Rostker.

"Units that had re-enlistment goals, were achieving 125% of their re-enlistment goal," he said.

When I asked him why so many people re-upped, Rostker said it had a lot to do with today's military being a professional force.

"They had joined the military, because they wanted to join the military, and they were doing what they had been trained to do," said Rostker. "They were not just sitting around at garrison, they were out eagerly involved."

If you ask Captain Brandon Petrick and Staff Sergeant Vic Anthony Sasota at the Army's Great Lakes Battalion Lansing Company recruiting office, they likely would agree with Rostker.

They both served multiple tours in these wars.

You can hear part of my conversation with them (edited for radio) above.

Politics
9:30 pm
Thu November 10, 2011

Controversial Pastor Terry Jones wins appeal

Terry Jones
Associated Press

A Judge has reversed a Dearborn jury’s ruling that found a Christian pastor intended to breach the peace at a demonstration he planned outside the country’s biggest mosque.

Terry Jones is the controversial Florida Pastor who once burned the Quran, and believes Muslim Sharia law is a major threat to the U.S.

He wanted to protest outside Dearborn’s Islamic Center of America in April, but never got the chance. He was hauled to court, found guilty of intent to breach the peace, and ordered to stay away from the Islamic Center of America for three years.

Jones appealed his prosecution, saying it violated his right to free speech. A Wayne county Circuit Court Judge ruled it actually did not. But he still reversed the jury’s decision on a due process technicality.

Jones said he plans to return to the mosque to protest “jihad and sharia.”

“That was why we chose that particular location," Jones told reporters after the ruling. "That particular location had a definite purpose. Because we were targeting [those] two aspects of radical Islam.”

The Judge also overturned a three-year injunction keeping Jones away from the mosque.

Wayne County Prosecutors say they’ll appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Politics
9:21 pm
Thu November 10, 2011

End near for Occupy Detroit encampment?

It appears the city of Detroit is looking to clear out the “Occupy Detroit” encampment.

“Occupy" campers have been settled in downtown Detroit’s Grand Circus Park for nearly a month. That site has served as a gathering point for several larger protests.

But the group’s permit is set to expire Monday. Officials indicated they’ll then begin enforcing a 10 pm curfew at the park.

Participant Jessica Dawl said the “Occupy” group applied for permit extensions, which the city denied. She said it’s widely thought the city is cracking down in advance of Detroit’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade.

“It’s definitely because of the parade," Dawl said. "They don’t want us here because of the parade. Because the bleachers are in this park…and it’s national, on television. So, they don’t want us there.”

It’s not clear whether all of the protesters plan to clear out voluntarily. Dawl said they will meet Saturday to decide their future course of action.

Science/Medicine
8:22 pm
Thu November 10, 2011

Michigan Attorney General: Police may seize medical marijuana

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
Michigan Attorney General's office

There’s a new challenge to the rights of Michigan’s medical marijuana patients.   

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an opinion Thursday saying police can seize marijuana from medical marijuana patients. 

In the opinion, the attorney general also said it would be illegal for police to return the pot, even after they confirm that the patients possess a medical marijuana permit.  

Under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, a patient with a valid state issued identification card may possess up to two and a half ounces of usable marijuana. That same state law prohibits police from seizing marijuana or drug paraphernalia from authorized medical marijuana patients. 

But Attorney General Schuette said the state law conflicts with federal law on the subject of marijuana forfeiture. Schuette said federal law preempts state law. The opinion also said police could face federal drug charges if they returned the confiscated marijuana to legitimate patients.

Politics
5:32 pm
Thu November 10, 2011

House OKs anti-bullying bill

A measure that would require all school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies has cleared the state House.

The proposal says there is no reason for kids to be allowed to bully each other. That sets it apart from legislation approved by the Senate last week. That bill exempted statements based on a student's deeply held religious or moral belief. Critics called the provision a license to bully. 

 “School districts across the state know the dangers of bullying and are tracking this issue head-on. And we should too. Our students deserve it," said Republican State Representative Phil Potvin, who sponsored the House bill. "We cannot sit by the sidelines anymore. There is no excuse for bullying.”

But some critics say the bill does not go quite far enough. Democratic state Representative Lisa Brown said schools should also be required to report bullying incidents to the state Department of Education.

"How many children need to be hurt?" she said. "I would hope that we’re looking to do more than just stop or prevent bully-side, but that every children—child has an opportunity to learn in a safe environment.”

 The measure was approved by a wide margin, with only a handful of Republicans voting against it.

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