Stateside Staff

Confidence in the judicial system in our state has been undermined because funding sources for many judicial campaign ads remain secret, says the State Bar of Michigan.

Bruce Courtade, president of the State Bar of Michigan, discusses "dark money" in Michigan, and why the Bar is claiming Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land made a “bad ruling” back in 2004 on campaign spending. 

Michigan State University

When you think of East Lansing, you probably don’t think about the sounds of Creole Louisiana.

But Etienne Charles might be changing that. A trumpeter from Trinidad, Charles is now an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University. His latest album, “Creole Soul,” has been described as both “easy to listen to” and “intellectually sound” by The New York Times, blending sounds from the Caribbean, New Orleans and Midwestern R&B.

Despite his rich repertoire of jazz, Charles got a late start to the genre.

User: Caneles / Flickr

It sounds like the plot of an apocalyptic Hollywood blockbuster:  the poles on the Sun are flipping.

But why is this polar flip happening? And, what does changing polarity mean for us Earthlings? We talk to MLive Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa about the sun's latest flip-flop. 

We're deep into the 2013-2013 college football season. Fans flock to the "hallowed ground" of their team's home stadium, be it The Big House for Wolverines, Spartan Stadium for MSU Fans or, maybe Kelly/Shorts Stadium for you Chips. Or, maybe, your pilgrimage takes you to other states. To Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley or Ohio Stadium or Notre Dame Stadium.

No one can argue the fact that, no matter which metric you use, whether attendance, TV ratings, revenue for the NCAA, money into the coffers of the college or university, college football is huge.

But, Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon is deeply worried about the future of college football. He fears it may be losing its soul and, with it, the support of fans and players.

His new book is a deep-dive into the Big Ten during the 2012 college football season. It's called "Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football." Bacon sat down with Stateside host Cynthia Canty and spoke about his new book.

Today on Stateside, the State Bar of Michigan, which represents thousands of lawyers and judges, is calling for an end to secretly funded judicial campaigns ads in Michigan. The Bar says they want campaign expenditures to be disclosed. We' took a look at this so-called dark money coming up on today's show.

We had our regular Thursday check-in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes. He had depositions and a White House meeting on his radar screen.

And Michigan Radio's Sports Commentator John U. Bacon talked about his latest book exploring Big Ten College Football.

Twitter

The push by fast food workers to make more than minimum wage has swept across the nation. It's raised the question: can fast-food restaurants pay their workers more than the $7.40 an hour minimum wage? If they do, will they last? Is it sustainable?

At the fast food restaurant Moo Cluck Moo, the answer is yes.

Moo Cluck Moo serves up burgers, chicken, shakes in Dearborn Heights in Wayne County.  And starting wages at Moo Cluck Moo are $12.00 an hour.

Detroit Bus Co. Facebook page

In the quest to improve life in Michigan's cities, one of the biggest challenges comes down to transportation.

And one of the most problem-plagued, dysfunctional bus systems in the entire state is in the city of Detroit, where using a bus to get from Point A to Point B can become a herculean task.

And for kids, it's an even greater challenge getting them to and from summer enrichment and after-school programs and doing it safely.

But there's a solution to that challenge which launched this summer and which may have lessons that can apply to cities all over Michigan.

It's called the Youth Transit Alliance. It's a pilot program funded by the Skillman Foundation, a public-private partnership between the Detroit Bus Company and area youth groups.

Andy Didorosi, the president and founder of the Detroit Bus Company and Nina Ignaczak, the project editor for Model D's transportation series, joined us today to tell us how it works.

Listen to the full interview above.

Al Jazeera

There is a new "eye" on the news coming out of Detroit and southeast Michigan.

Al Jazeera America was launched August 20 on cable lineups in 48 million American homes. And it has opened 12 bureaus across the nation, including a Detroit bureau.

Bisi Onile-Ere, the correspondent for the new Detroit Bureau, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

barnesandnoble.com

Anyone who's been lucky enough to be a parent has likely been unlucky enough to have had the excruciatingly embarrassing moment when your little darling lets loose with a word that he or she undoubtedly picked up at school or day care, never at home.

That universal family moment is the subject of a wonderful new children's book written and illustrated by our next guests.

It's called "The Very Inappropriate Word." It’s about a typical little boy named Michael who loves collecting words, all kinds of words.

Author Jim Tobin joined us today in the studio along with illustrator Dave Coverly, who draws the award-winning cartoon strip Speed Bump and who works out of his attic studio in Ann Arbor.

Jim and Dave will be signing copies of “The Very Inappropriate Word” and will give a short presentation, including live drawing, about the process of creating the book in November.

There will also be paper and pencils available for kids who want to draw along with Dave.

You can find more information about the event at bookbugkalamazoo.com/

Listen to the full interview above.

White House

President Obama is conditionally endorsing a Russian offer for international inspectors to seize and destroy chemical weapons in Syria. It's an effort to avert U.S. missile strikes.

President Obama addressed the nation last night amidst the continued erosion of support in Congress for military strikes. The President's speech drew mixed reactions from Michigan's Congressional delegation.

Todd Spangler, D.C. based reporter for the Detroit Free Press, joined us today from Washington.

Listen to the full interview above.

It's called many things -- the

ACA, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. As implementation of the law continues, so does the confusion. On today's show, we sat down and tried to make sense of it all. What will the law mean for Michigan and for you?

And, we spoke with the Detroit Bureau correspondent for the new TV network Al Jazeera America.

And, author Jim Tobin and illustrator Dave Coverly joined us to talk about their new children’s book.

And, public transportation can be confusing, especially for children. The Youth Transit Alliance in Detroit is looking to improve this. 

Also, Moo Cluck Moo, a fast food restaurant in Dearborn Heights, has stepped up and raised their starting wage to $12 an hour. The founder spoke with us about why he thinks fast food workers deserve to be paid more than minimum wage.

First on the show, President Obama is conditionally endorsing a Russian offer for international inspectors to seize and destroy chemical weapons in Syria. It's an effort to avert U.S. missile strikes.

President Obama addressed the nation last night amidst the continued erosion of support in Congress for military strikes. The President's speech drew mixed reactions from Michigan's Congressional delegation.

Todd Spangler, D.C. based reporter for the Detroit Free Press, joined us today from Washington.

chrt.org

We've been flooded with news coverage of the Medicaid expansion in Michigan, the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"), and the soon-to-be unveiled health care exchanges.

But it's all confusing and challenging, even to those who work in the field of healthcare coverage.

We wanted to see if we could get a firmer grasp on what all of this means in real world terms. Who's in, who's not? What does it mean for you, the consumer?

Marianne Udow-Phillips is the director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation. It's a non-profit partnership between the University of Michigan and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan. She joined us today from Ann Arbor.

Listen to the full interview above.

user: Michael Knight /flickr

Students in Michigan's public schools are back at their desks.

 And for young football players, soccer players and other athletes around the state, practice has been happening in earnest for weeks. This will be the first school sports season under Michigan's new sports concussion law.  We wanted to find out what it will mean to student athletes, their coaches and their parents. Laura Rowen joined us today. She's an injury prevention consultant with the Michigan Department of Community Health. Listen to the audio above.

Protestors outside the Indiana Capitol building when the "right-to-work" legislation passed earlier this year.
screen grab from video / The Statehouse File

A judge in Indiana has ruled that that state’s right-to-work law violates a provision in the Indiana constitution -- a provision that bars the delivery of services “without just compensation.”

 The judge found that the law wrongly requires unions to represent workers who do not pay dues. Indiana became the 23rd state – and the first in the Midwest – to ban the collection of mandatory fees for representation from unions. Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio network, joined us today. He's been covering Michigan’s right-to-work law – which, of course, was passed in December. Listen to the audio above.

Flint, Mich.
Flint Michigan / Facebook.com

It isn't every day when the President of the United States turns to you for advice.

 But Flint's Mayor Dane Walling is now in that relatively small group who can say exactly that. Mayor Walling was among 18 mayors who sat down in a White House meeting with President Obama. The topic: how to reduce violence among young people -- something Dane Walling is faced with every single day. That's because Flint is among the top U.S. cities of more than 50,000 people with the worst crime rates. Mayor Dane Walling joined us today. Listen to the interview above.

Ever since the city of Detroit's historic bankruptcy filing, there have been accusatory fingers pointed at past mayoral administrations -- black administrations.

On today's show, we talked with Marilyn Katz. She played a leading role in the Students for a Democratic Society demonstrations and has recently penned the piece "Detroit's Downfall: Beyond the Myth of Black Misleadership."

And, the band "Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr." stopped by to talk about the inspiration for their music.

Also, Michigan plans to try experimental "social impact bonds." What are these bonds and what do they mean for the state?

First on the show, 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.

Syrians first started coming to Michigan at the turn of the 20th Century. Today, the Syrian Community in Michigan numbers about 25,000.

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.

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 joined us today.

Twitter

Michigan plans to enlist private investors to finance public social programs, becoming the latest state government to try an experimental "pay-for-success" approach in tackling persistent problems such as homelessness or recidivism.

Also known as pay-for-success contracts, social impact bonds let private investors put up money for a program with a specific goal.

If the goal is achieved, the government pays back the investors, with a profit. If not, the government pays nothing.

Chris Gautz, Capitol correspondent for Crain's Detroit Business, joined us today to talk about these bonds.

Listen to the full interview above.

Twitter

Ever since Detroit made history with its bankruptcy filing, there has been a mountain of opinion as to what got us here, what exactly happened, and why.

There have been many accusatory fingers pointed at black leaders like Kwame Kilpatrick and Coleman Young, at union leaders, even at Detroiters themselves.

But, there are, of course, other views about just what went wrong in Detroit.

One such view comes from Marilyn Katz of Chicago, a long-time liberal political and social activist, dating back to the 60's. Katz was an active member of Students for a Democratic Society, the SDS. She played a leading role in the SDS demonstrations during the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago.

Katz recently published a piece on the website inthesetimes.com.

Its title? "Detroit's Downfall: Beyond the Myth of Black Misleadership."

Marilyn Katz joined us from Chicago, where she heads up her firm MK Communications.

Listen to the full interview above.

cell phone picutre via Associated Press

Opponents and supporters of U.S. military intervention in Syria have been holding rallies across Michigan.

 President Obama is asking for Congress's support to attack Syria over what he says is the government's use of chemical weapons. Several dozen opponents of a U.S. attack marched through downtown Detroit for a rally Sunday at the waterfront Hart Plaza. About 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. 

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.

Syrians first started coming to Michigan at the turn of the 20th Century. Today, the Syrian Community in Michigan numbers about 25,000.

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.

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.

Dr. Basha joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Facebook

Dale Earnhardt Junior Junior is Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott, both from Metro Detroit. And they’re about to release their sophomore album, "The Speed of Things," which drops October 8 on Warner Brothers Records.

Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Fewer immigrants are choosing to make Michigan their home, but there is one group that is continuing to come: Iraqis.

On today's show, we explored why and what it means for our state. And we looked at the possibility of Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr using artwork at the Detroit Institute of Arts as collateral for a city loan. But first on the show, Governor Rick Snyder has tapped a veteran auto industry executive to become the state’s automotive adviser. Gov. Snyder announced the appointment of Nigel Francis and the creation of the Automotive Industry Office earlier this week.  The new position and new office will be housed within the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Francis has almost 30 years of executive experience in the auto sector both in Europe and the U.S. -- most recently working for Tata Technologies in Novi and Troy.Nigel Francis joined us today. Listen to the audio above.

DIA

As we’ve seen, even the merest hint that portions of the DIA collection will be appraised by experts from Christie's has led to impassioned pleas from all around Michigan to keep the artwork out of the bankruptcy proceedings.

 Among the many voices raised in this state-wide conversation is that of long-time Detroit journalist Bill McGraw. His recent piece in Deadline Detroit says it all? "Six Things About Detroit That Are Worse Than The Idea of Selling Its Artwork." Bill McGraw joined us today.

user aMichiganMom / Flickr

This week, the City of Detroit released the transcript of a deposition given by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr late last month as part of Detroit's bankruptcy proceedings.

 While being questioned about the value of the city's art collection and whether the artwork would be used to help solve Detroit's liquidity problem, Orr said, "no, there are no plans to use the art or any other asset in particular to liquidate it to relieve liquidity issues in the city. What I have said and continue to say, all options are on the table." Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes has been parsing what Kevyn Orr said during his deposition and has come up with another possible role that the DIA artwork might play in the bankruptcy drama. Listen to the interview above.

Flickr user: citizen of the deep

Governor Rick Snyder has tapped a veteran auto industry executive to become the state’s automotive adviser. Gov. Snyder announced the appointment of Nigel Francis and the creation of the Automotive Industry Office earlier this week.

 The new position and new office will be housed within the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Francis has almost 30 years of executive experience in the auto sector both in Europe and the U.S. -- most recently working for Tata Technologies in Novi and Troy. Nigel Francis joined us today. Listen to the interview above.

Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

Today on The Living Room, we get a dose of back-to-school advice from young students in Kalamazoo. After that, a report from a new charter school that’s trying to create its own education paradigm in Detroit.

It’s called the James and Grace Lee Boggs School.

Today marks the beginning of a yearlong series from the school by producer Zak Rosen. The Living Room is produced by Allison Downey and Zak Rosen.

user JMR_Photography / Flickr

Fewer immigrants are choosing to make Michigan their new home, according to figures released by the Department of Homeland Security.

Last year, Michigan’s immigrant population dropped 4.6% — the second-lowest level in the past 12 years.  

That decline doesn’t fit with current immigration trends in the Midwest. Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio have all seen an increase in immigration. Only Michigan and Wisconsin are experiencing a drop.

But while the number of newcomers coming to the state is on the decline, one immigrant group continues to flow to Michigan — Iraqis.

“Michigan is just second to California in terms of its attraction of Iraqi immigrants,” said Kurt Metzger, director emeritus of Data Driven Detroit.

localfirst.com

When it's time to buy something, what's your pattern? Do you head to the big chain store thinking you might save a little bit? Or do you try to take your business and your money to a local business?

Elissa Hillary hopes you think "local first."

"When you are supporting a locally owned business, 73% more money stays in the community and recirculates, and that money goes to create jobs to fund our tax base, to support our infrastructure, and schools and roads and things like that," said Hillary.

She heads up Local First. It’s a Grand Rapids-based group with a mission to get us all to keep our local businesses and merchants top of mind when we go shopping.

She joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

The auto industry has been forever linked to the city of Detroit, but if that's the case, why is Detroit seeing such financial hardships while U.S. automakers are enjoying a boom?

On today's show we discuss the not-so-entwined Big Three and Detroit.

Then, Governor Snyder visits China . We'll find out why he's pushing so hard for a relationship between eastern Asia and Michigan.

But first, speaking in Sweden today, President Obama said responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria's government is the "moral thing to do." The President is on a three-day trip in Sweden and Russia for the G-20 summit. This is happening while senior officials in his administration are working to get support for intervention in Congress. 

Today we continue to get the view from Michigan's Congressional delegation.

Yesterday on Stateside we heard from Republican Congressman Justin Amash and Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow. Now we turn to Democratic Representative Sander Levin to explain why he supports a targeted and focused response.

Peter Martorano / Flickr

There is no small touch of irony in the fact that as Detroit filed for bankruptcy, the U.S. car makers are enjoying boom times. Sales for the Big Three in July were the highest in seven years. GM, Ford and Chrysler are adding shifts and hiring workers. Good times.

But not for the city that gave birth to what we know as the U.S. auto industry.

Tom Walsh, business columnist for the Detroit Free Press, and Sonari Glinton, National Desk Reporter from NPR who has covered transportation and the auto industry, joined us today.

Official portrait

Earlier today, Rick Snyder landed in China for his third trade trip since becoming Michigan's governor.

He has scheduled stops in China and Japan during the week-and-a-half-long mission that starts today, and he's accompanied by at least 15 representatives from Michigan companies.

It's all part of the on-going effort to attract Asian investment in Michigan and strengthen trade relationships.

Snyder isn't guaranteeing that jobs will be created from this trip, but says he feels good that new business will occur as a result of the face-to-face meetings.

The Governor is also turning to tourism, putting an emphasis on selling "Pure Michigan" as a destination to Chinese tourists.

The trip is being paid for by donations to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, not by taxpayers.

Tom Watkins has been instrumental in strengthening ties between Michigan and China, and has traveled to China dozens of times since his first trip in 1989. He joined us today to talk about this trade mission.

Listen to the full interview above.

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