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Daniel Howes

Russell Kirk
Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Today, Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti joined Stateside to react to a lame-duck bill that would create a statewide A-F grading system for Michigan schools. Plus, what would Michigan native Russell Kirk, a founder of American conservatism, think of the ideology today? 

“This is colonialism”: Detroit schools chief blasts lame-duck A-F grading plan  

 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

With apologies to Mark Twain, reports heralding the death of auto production in Detroit are exaggerated.

Marijuana plants
Flickr user A7nubis / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

As of today, Michigan is the first state in the midwest to allow recreational use of marijuana. What changes can we expect? Plus, we hear music that prisoners at Auschwitz concentration camp arranged and performed for their Nazi captors. 

Howes: GM Drops Bomb

Dec 1, 2018
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The president came to office promising to bring auto jobs home to Michigan and Ohio. And it looked like he’d be the Detroit industry’s best friend in decades.

It’s not exactly working out that way.

General Motors’ plan to end production at four U.S. plants next year … to imperil 3,300 hourly jobs … to cut 6,000 salaried employees elicited a fit of twitter rage from the commander in chief.

With apologies to King Canute who believed he, alone, could command the oceans, the president is learning he, alone, can’t command the auto industry.

On day one, Trump threatened to revoke electric-vehicle credits, even though he probably can’t. Then he threatened import tariffs on foreign-made cars, presumably including the Buick SUVs that GM makes in China and the sedans it mints in Canada.

On the third day, he used Twitter again to deflect blame for GM’s decision, saying his tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum aren’t the problem. “The USA is booming,” Trump wrote, quote, “Auto companies are pouring into the U.S.”

Except they aren’t. No, BMW isn’t building a second plant down South, as he reported. It’s thinking about it, in part as a hedge against presidential brow-beating. No, tariffs don’t help a Detroit auto industry greased by foreign parts and some production. They increase cost, decrease certainty and force CEOs to make hard calls. Or none at all.

That’s the thing about policy, Mr. President. It has consequences. And as much as Trump wants to shirk responsibility for at least some of the headwinds buffeting the industry, he can’t.

This isn't what candidate Trump envisioned when he barnstormed the industrial Midwest two years ago promising the return of auto jobs. Or when he vowed that tariffs on foreign steel, aluminum, even imported cars and trucks, would restore the Arsenal of Democracy to its former glory.

Ain't working out that way. The short-term pain of tariffs is plain for all to see. The long-term gain? Not so much.

GM has its own problems, legacies of its past. Too much excess plant capacity … and too many plants building traditional cars consumers don’t want. By its own admission, GM’s cash-flow generation is too meager … and its engineering staff is not optimized for the techy tasks ahead. None of that, it should be said, is Trump’s fault.

It’s GM’s. After American taxpayers fronted billions of their dollars a decade ago to keep The General afloat, it shouldn’t be at all surprising that critics are howling about GM’s responsibility to its people, its communities and the country. And as this restructuring unspools next year … and the fates of those four plants is decided in talks with the United Auto Workers … the howling will continue.

History can’t be erased that easily. A few years back, GM CEO Mary Barra asked me when people would start believing the new GM is for real. When it can prove its mettle to manage tough times and well as this long run of good times.

robert and bunny carlson
Courtesy of Ken Fischer

 

Today on Stateside, we speak with a Grand Rapids couple about their 61-year-long tradition of attending University Musical Society's performance of Handel's Messiah. Plus, General Motors announced Monday it will cut 14,000 jobs in North America. We discuss the disconnect between the political promises President Donald Trump made to workers in the Rust Belt, and the reality of running a transportation business in 2018. 

A white car with a sign atop it reading "driver education student driver."
Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today on Stateside, General Motors announced that it will end production at several facilities across the nation, including two here in Michigan. Plus, the editor of a new collection of Joni Mitchell interviews talks about the singer-songwriter’s rise to fame and her musical debut in Detroit’s folk scene. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Amazon.com announced the winners of its HQ2 sweepstakes. In case you missed it, the winners are... wait for it... New York and suburban Washington.

What a surprise.

User A.L. / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


Today, Detroit lost its bid to land Amazon's coveted HQ2 earlier this year, but the city and surrounding region may have learned some important lessons in the process.  Plus, is gentrification in a city always bad? 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

On the campaign trail, Governor-elect Whitmer promised she’d repeal Michigan’s right-to-work law, kill the so-called “retirement tax,” and revive the state’s Prevailing Wage Law.

All she’d need to make that happen is a Legislature controlled by her fellow Democrats. That ain’t happening because voters this week delivered divided government to Michigan. That dreamy, organized-labor wish list has pretty much no chance with Republicans controlling the state House and the Senate.

Steven Piper

Today, Stateside speaks with Michigan’s new Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer to discuss her top priorities when she takes office, the Line 5 pipeline, and her plans to work with the Republican leadership in the state Legislature. Plus, Tunde Olaniran, a Flint native and staple of the Detroit music scene, discusses his new album with us.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

To hear the two candidates for governor on the campaign trail, Michigan’s either finishing another “Lost Decade” or it’s poised for another one.

Couldn’t be further from the truth. Simple fact: whatever you think of Rick Snyder and his eight years as governor, his successor’s gonna inherit the best economy in at least 30 years. Jobs up. Per capita income up. Foreign investment rising. Unemployment down and plumbing record lows.

World War II veterans, Art Holst and Guy Stern.
Isabella Isaacs / Michigan Radio

 

Today, we'll talk about the race that will fill two seats on Michigan's State Board of Education. Plus, as Veterans Day approaches, Stateside is taking the opportunity to sit down with a couple of America's longest-living veterans and talk about their experiences in WWII and beyond. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The stock market’s tanking, thanks to rising rates and an aimless trade war with China.

But two American automakers battling their own separate demons are making real money. And they’re getting decidedly different reactions on Wall Street -- which tells you a little something about Detroit you might not want to hear.

 

Today on Stateside, two consultants on opposite sides of the political spectrum recapped Wednesday night's gubernatorial debate. Plus, our “Work in Progress” series features a conversation between two Catholic priests, one just beginning his career, and the other recently retired. 

Schuette and Whitmer trade barbs one last time in final debate before Election Day 

 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Judging by conventional wisdom and all-knowing polls, President Donald Trump and his Republicans face a historic wipeout in the coming mid-term elections.

But if you accept the Clintonian notion that “it’s the economy, stupid” such thinking may be just a bit too conventional.

House in Pontiac
Courtesy of John Bry

 

Today on Stateside, we hear about an effort to rehabilitate houses in an historic Pontiac neighborhood originally built by GM for its workers. Plus, what Michigan could do to encourage affordable short-term lenders to set up shop in the state. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual stories below. 

Michigan regulations make affordable short-term loans hard to come by

 

  

flickr/DonkeyHotey

Today on Stateside, our education commentator explains why teachers shouldn’t shy away from talking about politics in the classroom. Plus, we hear about allegations against the Detroit Medical Center that claim the hospital fired several doctors after they raised concerns about dirty surgical instruments and other problems.

Listen to the full show or find individual segments below.

Detroit Medical Center under investigation after new allegations of dirty surgical instruments

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

You’d think eight years of economic growth declining unemployment … and the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history would be the makings of a “new” Michigan. You know, one unhitched from its contentious, anti-business past.

You’d be wrong, no matter what Republicans and the Detroit revival crowd say. From the Democratic nominee for governor and the Detroit City Council to labor unions and neighborhood group’s markers of Old Detroit are resurfacing.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Detroit lost a giant this week: the diminutive David DiChiera died at 83. He founded Michigan Opera Theatre just a few short years after the ’67 riots, prompting friends to question his sanity.

He envisioned transforming a decrepit Roaring Twenties movie theater into a European-style opera house long before Comerica Park or Ford Field became reality near Madison Avenue.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

What do you get when you combine Detroit Public Schools, the Kresge Foundation and the University of Michigan?

Answer: A place called Hope.

Nearly two years after Detroit’s Marygrove College faced financial collapse, the tiny school is opening a new chapter, thanks to some of the region’s biggest players. And the Detroit Public Schools Community District gets a chance to prove its mettle under new leadership.

This isn't good

Sep 8, 2018
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Out in flyover country, football season’s here again. The Spartans are up, the Maize and Blue is stumbling, and the spectacle in Washington is morphing from absurd to surreal.

That’s what you get with a drama queen as president a news media stretching the creed of its own business and the rest of official Washington standing aside, helpless agog or both.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The Blue Oval is stuck in neutral. Again.

Just a few years after superstar CEO Alan Mulally retired and left town, Ford Motor is embarking on another 25 billion dollar restructuring. If you think this sounds like déjà vu all over again, that’s because it is.

What happened?

Ford’s second largest business – China – is in free-fall.

South America remains a money loser.

Its European business -- just a couple of years ago hailed for its turnaround -- is losing steam.

old school Ford logo
James & Carol Lee / Unsplash

Ford Motor Company got some troubling news this week from Moody's Investors Service.

It has downgraded Ford's investment rating to just one level above junk status. To Moody's, this signifies the chance of default.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Governor Rick Snyder’s been the de facto head of Michigan’s Republicans for eight years, but he won’t be at the GOP convention this weekend.

His people say it’s a scheduling conflict. I say that’s baloney. He’s making a statement. And it’s aimed squarely at Attorney General Bill Schuette: “You’re on your own.”

governor rick snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Republicans gather for their convention this weekend to line up their ticket, led by gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette, for the November election.

But one prominent member of the party won't be there: Governor Snyder.

His office says a "scheduling conflict" will keep him from being at the final convention of his time in office.

Tesla Tweets Trouble

Aug 18, 2018
Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Tesla CEO Elon Musk needs a timeout.

Big-league auto industry pressure is getting to the, quote, “visionary” hailed by tech fan boys and true believers. You don’t need to take my word for it. Look at his Twitter feed. Less than two weeks ago, he rips one off saying that he’s thinking about taking the electric-car maker private. 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Chrysler and its storied American brands live today because ol’ Sergio Marchionne – a poker player – gambled and won.

As Detroit’s number three automaker slumped toward bankruptcy, the CEO of Italy’s Fiat bet he could combine the weakest players in Europe and the United States to forge a global contender. One that could generate fatter profits and carry less debt.

The new Obama administration relented. So an Italian schooled in Canada got control of Chrysler for essentially nothing  arguably the shrewdest acquisition the global auto industry has seen in a generation.

user International Students’ Committee / wikimedia commons

 

Tributes have poured in for Sergio Marchionne, the former CEO of Chrysler and Fiat who died Wednesday. 

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes wrote: "His impact on the global auto industry cannot be overstated.”

Howes joined Stateside’s Cynthia Canty to discuss the qualities that made Marchionne a great leader.  

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

One of the biggest things to hit Detroit since the moving assembly line marked its fifth anniversary this week. That’s when the Motor City became the largest municipality in American history to declare bankruptcy.

Just weeks before, a union official said, quote: “It’s war.” But the financial restructuring that helped deliver four balanced budgets, drew three credit upgrades, improved delivery of basic city services, and attracted billions in private-sector investment turned out to be anything but.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

It’s not news that Flint has been struggling to get clean water into its homes and businesses, except maybe to Elon Musk.

He’s the visionary behind PayPal, Space X and Tesla. This week Musk tweeted he’s ready to deliver fresh water to the city. But the offer that has Flint officials wondering what, if anything, is next … looks awfully transparent to faithful Musk watchers. Same for people who know just what happened to the city and what it will take to fix it.

Mark Edwards is the Virginia Tech researcher who helped identify the scale of Flint’s problem. He told The Detroit News that Musk should be, quote, “more focused on meeting” his Model 3 production goals.

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