Barack Obama

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4:34 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Outgoing GM CEO Dan Akerson says they've 'been trying to fix this airplane while in air'

Dan Akerson speaking at the National Press Club.
NPC screen shot from YouTube

Outgoing GM CEO Dan Akerson spoke to the National Press Club this afternoon cataloging all the changes the company has made to make it profitable once again.

The U.S. Treasury sold the last of its holdings in the company earlier this month. The government said they lost about $10 billion on its bailout of over $49 billion.

Akerson said over the last four years, the company has invested more than $10 billion in its U.S. operations, including $1.27 billion announced today.

"There's that $10 billion again. But we're investing it - that will keep paying dividends to the American public that supported this company in its darkest hour," said Akerson. 

Akerson said the company is still in the early chapters of the comeback story and that they still have a lot to prove to people who left the brand for other car companies.

Akerson will step down as CEO on January 15, 2014. Akerson was with the Carlyle Group prior to taking the helm at GM in 2010. The global auto industry will see its first female CEO when Marry Barra takes over in January.

You can watch Akerson's address to the National Press Club below:

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It's Just Politics
1:44 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

'Blue State' project targets Snyder, other GOP governors in states Obama won

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

We’re into the 2013 winter holiday season, which means we’re just a few weeks away from 2014 and a new round of big statewide elections.

That includes Governor Rick Snyder’s reelection bid -- which isn’t quite “official” yet, despite an active campaign committee, ads, and political consultants.

Still, it’s good to be a Republican governor these days. The presidential race is in the rearview mirror, the economy’s ticking up slowly, and people are looking at Washington and seeing nothing but gridlock and dysfunction.

But Democrats still see opportunity for putting one of their own into the governor’s office in Michigan, as well as eight other states that President Obama carried in 2008 and 2012. Politico says the Democratic Governors Association has secured a commitment from President Obama to fundraise, campaign, and provide material support to help pick up those states.

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Opinion
2:44 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Merging Detroit and Wayne County is the only long-term strategy that makes sense

Lessenberry commentary for 11/8/2013.

Well, it was quite a week for our state’s largest city. Voters elected a white mayor for the first time since 1969.

Had you gone to Lloyds of London 10 years ago and bet that within a decade, America would have a black president and Detroit a white mayor, today you would be very rich indeed.

But in the city Cadillac founded, attorneys today will offer closing arguments in a trial to determine whether the city will be allowed to file for bankruptcy. While everything in Federal Judge Steven Rhodes’ courtroom is by the book, there is an element of Kabuki-theater unreality about it all.

Nobody really believes the application will be denied. If it were, creditors would tear what remains of Detroit apart with the efficiency of a pack of wolves with a lamb.

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Stateside
5:11 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Obama's speech resulted in mixed reactions about what to do about Syria

President Barack Obama
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.

Politics & Government
11:04 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Michigan's congressional delegation remains divided on Syria after the president's speech

President Barack Obama delivers a speech on the crisis in Syria
White House press office

The president’s speech last night on Syria is drawing mixed reactions from Michigan’s Congressional delegation.

Senator Carl Levin says the president “made a forceful and persuasive case” for confronting the Syrian government over its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens.    The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee says Congress should approve a resolution authorizing the use of force against Syria as a way of supporting diplomatic efforts.

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Politics & Government
8:30 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Anti-War protests continue in Michigan as Congress considers the President's call to bomb Syria

About a hundred anti-war protesters walked down Woodward Avenue in Detroit Sunday afternoon
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This week, Congress may act on President Obama’s request for authorization to bomb Syria.

Yesterday, a small group of protesters in Detroit rallied against military action.

They chanted “Money for Detroit, Not for War” as the roughly one hundred peace protesters walked down Woodward Avenue.

They want President Obama to drop his plan to bomb Syrian targets to punish the Syrian government for allegedly using chemical weapons on its own people.

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Politics & Government
5:06 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Sander Levin on the situation in Syria

Congressman Sander Levin
http://www.house.gov/levin/

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 as senior officials in his administration are working to get support for intervention in Congress.

So, let's 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.

Today, we turned to Democratic Representative Sander Levin.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
4:41 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Michigan members of Congress look forward to Syria debate

President Barack Obama meets with his National Security Staff to discuss the situation in Syria, in the Situation Room of the White House, Aug. 30, 2013.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Michigan’s congressional delegation is weighing in on the President’s call for congressional authorization for military action in Syria.

Michigan’s senior U.S. Senator says he’s glad the President is seeking congressional approval for a military strike against Syria.

In a written statement, Democratic Senator Carl Levin says “A congressional vote to authorize the use of force would strengthen the President’s decision to take military action.” Levin adds the President should also use this time to help the Syrian people “defend themselves”.

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Politics & Government
4:15 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Michigan Congressman says President Obama should consult Congress before a military strike on Syria

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) talks with constituents in a Battle Creek coffee shop about the potential for U.S. military action against Syria
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

West Michigan Congressman Justin Amash says he wants the House to go back into session to address potential military action against Syria.

A U.S. military strike is expected in the next few days in response to the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians.

Amash told a group at a Battle Creek coffee shop today that the president must consult with Congress first.

“If the president intends to use force, we expect to be called back into session,” says Amash, “We demand we be called back into session to have a vote.”

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Politics & Government
10:00 am
Wed August 28, 2013

In this morning's news: Medicaid bill, Detroit ballots, and Syrian conflict

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

State Senate passes Medicaid bill

Yesterday, the Michigan state Senate passed a bill to expand Medicaid.  The legislation is now headed for the state House.  However, Michigan Radio's Jake Neher reports that the bill may be delayed because the Senate did not vote to put the bill into immediate effect.

State will re-tabulate some Detroit ballots

The state elections department will recount some of the ballots from Detroit's mayoral primary.  Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports that "state elections director Chris Thomas says they won’t discount any votes because of how they were marked."  Thomas says "you can’t disenfranchise voters because election workers make a mistake, or don’t do what they’re supposed to do.”

Michigan congressmen request collaboration between President Obama and Congress on Syria

West Michigan Congressman Justin Amash and Upper Peninsula Representative Dan Benishek joined seventeen other representatives requesting that President Obama consult Congress before taking action against Syria.  Many countries, including the U.S., are considering military action against Syria in light of recent chemical attacks against civilians.  Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports that "isolationists in Congress oppose another U.S. military intervention in the Middle East."

Politics & Government
4:54 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

2 Michigan Republicans want Pres. Obama to consult with Congress on Syria

Rep. Dan Benishek (R) Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Two Michigan Congressmen have signed a letter demanding the White House consult with Congress before taking military action against Syria.

West Michigan Congressman Justin Amash and Upper Peninsula Representative Dan Benishek joined 19 other Republicans and one Democrat lawmaker in sending a letter to the president.

They want President Obama to get an authorization from Congress before taking any military action against Syria.

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Opinion
9:19 am
Thu August 22, 2013

The farce of presidential impeachment

Lessenberry commentary for 8/22/2013

I was a college student almost forty years ago when the U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach President Richard Nixon. I watched those proceedings and hung on every word.

Many, perhaps even most people did. I remember crowds clustered around television sets in department stores at particularly dramatic points in the testimony. When the members finally voted to recommend impeachment, many of them did in voices breaking with emotion. They knew this was an almost unimaginably huge step.

The congressmen knew that only one other President had been impeached in history – Andrew Johnson, more than a century before. They also knew that history had judged very harshly those congressmen and senators who supported removing that president, and praised those who managed to stop his conviction.

Impeachment, those congressmen knew, was the nuclear option in American constitutional democracy. In the end, President Nixon resigned before he could be impeached, convicted, and removed from office, as he surely would have been.

I thought that would be the only attempt at impeaching a president I would ever see, and I was, of course, wrong. Twenty-five years later, the house actually impeached President Clinton for what really amounted to lying about sex. The senate never came close to convicting him, and the entire episode was seen as low farce.

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Law
12:00 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Supreme Court to hear case which directly affects Panera Bread workers in Michigan

Last Friday, union picketers walked the line outside a Panera Bread outlet in Kalamazoo
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a dispute between President Obama and congressional Republicans which is directly affecting the lives of Michigan workers.

At issue is the president’s authority to make "recess" appointments.

Recess appointments are made when the president fills a governmental position while the Congress is in recess.

In this case, President Obama filled three vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board without getting his appointees confirmed by Congress.

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Politics & Government
7:55 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

President signs disaster declaration for 16 Michigan counties hard hit by spring floods

Sandbags are being deployed in downtown Grand Rapids to combat rising water from the Grand River.
Lindsey Smith/Michigan Radio

President Obama has approved a disaster declaration for 16 Michigan counties hard hit by spring floods.   

Heavy rains in April and May inundated communities across the state. 

The president’s disaster declaration will help communities repair and rebuild roads, bridges and other public infrastructure damaged in the flooding. The disaster declaration does not include assistance for individuals or businesses.

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Education
7:18 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Pres. Obama eyes Michigan high schoolers' safety project

President Barack Obama listens to Spencer Ottarson, 19, center, and Julie Xu, 17, right, both from Williamston, Mich., as they explain their 'Offshore Rip Current Alert System (ORCA), Monday, April 22, 2013, during the White House Science Fair
Pablo Martinez Monsivai/Greenwichtime.com

President Barack Obama has had a briefing from two Lansing-area teenagers about their new technology for warning swimmers about dangerous off-shore currents.

19-year-old Spencer Ottarson and 17-year-old Julie Xu represented Williamston High School on Monday as of 12 teams that presented their science projects at the White House's third science fair.

Obama examined their Offshore Rip Current Alert System, which was on display in the East Garden.

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Politics & Government
4:45 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Suspicious letter forces evacuation of Sen. Carl Levin's Saginaw office

Sen. Carl Levin (D)
Official portrait

Update 4:50 p.m.

Sen. Levin's office says as a precaution, the Saginaw office will remain closed until further notice. In a statement, Levin said: 

“Law enforcement officials are performing tests on the suspicious letter that was delivered to my Saginaw office. We do not expect to learn at least a preliminary result of those tests until late tonight or tomorrow. The staffer who discovered the letter is being kept overnight at a local hospital for precautionary reasons, but has no symptoms. We do not know yet if the letter has any connection to suspicious mail sent to other public officials. I want to repeat how grateful I am to local, state and federal authorities who reacted so quickly and professionally, and especially to my Saginaw staff for being so vigilant."

4:35 p.m.

An FBI spokesman says the incident is still under investigation, but that people were allowed to return to the building a little after 3 p.m.

1:15 p.m.

Senator Carl Levin's office in Saginaw was evacuated this morning after a staffer received a suspicious-looking letter.

The letter was unopened and authorities still don't know whether it presented a threat, Levin wrote in a statement.

"Earlier today, a staffer at my Saginaw regional office received a suspicious-looking letter," he wrote. "The letter was not opened, and the staffer followed the proper protocols for the situation, including alerting the authorities, who are now investigating. We do not know yet if the mail presented a threat. I’m grateful for my staff’s quick response and for government personnel at all levels who are responding."

Levin is in Washington, D.C. today. Two staffers work in the Saginaw office.

Authorities in Washington are investigating suspicious packages sent to President Barack Obama and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker (R) that contained traces of the poison ricin.

Capitol Police are also investigating other suspicious packages found in Senate office buildings surrounding the Capitol.

- Joseph Lichterman, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Economy
4:46 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Seniors rally against 'chained CPI' idea

The AARP is fighting the idea of 'chained CPI.' This put together an infographic explaing their opposition.
AARP

Next week, President Barack Obama will present his budget to Congress. 

There's a lot of speculation about what changes will be proposed for Medicare and Social Security.

Specifically, some analysts are focusing on something called 'chained CPI.'

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Offbeat
1:10 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Pure Michigan: President Obama's Petoskey stone

Pete Souza The White House

Jennifer Granholm might not have found a place in Obama's second-term Cabinet, but at least there is a Petoskey stone in the Oval Office.

A photo of Obama tapping the stone on his desk was posted by White House photographer Pete Souza last week.

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Offbeat
4:43 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Stateside: Author Kevin Hofmann on growing up as a biracial child

Kevin Hofmann's book, "Growing up Black in White"
http://www.kevinhofmann.com/

Author Kevin Hofmann spoke today with Cyndy.

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

One very clear aspect of President Barack Obama's story is that he grew up biracial in America.

His mother was from Kansas. His father was Kenyan.

Author Kevin Hofmann grew up in a similar environment.  

He was born in 1967 to a white mother and a black father, just two and a half weeks after the Detroit riots.

He lived in foster care before being adopted by a white family, where he became the fourth of their three children.

Hofmann’s memoir is entitled "Growing Up Black in White."

On “Stateside” today he recalled his adoption experience.

“They had approached the adoption agency and said we want to adopt. They only qualified at that time for what was called ‘hard-to-place’ kids. Back in 1967 and in some places today, biracial children are considered hard-to-place.  So that’s how I came to them. My dad was an associate pastor at a large Lutheran church in Dearborn. Much to our dismay, the church was very vocal about disapproving of having this biracial child in their congregation."

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Politics & Government
4:34 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Stateside: Second inaugural addresses throughout history

George Washington's second inaugural speech was the shortest in history, said Whitney.
the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=14476

Gleaves Whitney discusses the history of second inaugural addresses.

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Today, President Barack Obama delivered his second inaugural address.

According to Gleaves Whitney, many second addresses are somber and straightforward.

Whitney directs the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University, and he spoke with Cyndy about the history of inaugural addresses.

“I think that Eisenhower was the first and only president to write his  prayer into the inaugural address,” said Whitney.

George Washington’s second inaugural speech was the shortest in history, said Whitney.

“Second inaugural addresses usually occur after the president has been chastened by experience. The lofty optimism that often characterizes first inaugural addresses is missing," he continued.

For the entire interview, listen to the above audio.

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

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