Browsing articles from "July, 2017"

Chaledean Christians, Who Helped Bring Trump Victory, Now Face Deportation

Jul 24, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Chaledean Christians, Who Helped Bring Trump Victory, Now Face Deportation

Support from Iraqi Christians helped deliver Donald Trump Michigan. Now some of their friends and family are facing deportation. Host Michel Martin talks to Michigan State Representative Klint Kesto.

Words You’ll Hear: ‘Collusion’

Jul 24, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Words You’ll Hear: ‘Collusion’

Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort agreed to meet privately with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. Michel Martin talks to NPR Politics’ Geoff Bennett.

Jessica Hernandez On Her New Motor City Sound

Jul 24, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Jessica Hernandez On Her New Motor City Sound

Jessica Hernandez describes her music as “Latin-punk-Motown-soul — it’s a little bit of everything.”

Taylor Bonin/Courtesy of the artist


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Jessica Hernandez describes her music as “Latin-punk-Motown-soul — it’s a little bit of everything.”

Taylor Bonin/Courtesy of the artist

There’s no doubt that music is in the DNA of the city of Detroit. People around the world know this Michigan city for the classic Motown sound; the city also nurtured a vital rock scene and is often cited as the birthplace of techno. But along with Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Iggy Pop and Eminem, an up-to-date roll call of Detroit’s music scene would have to include Jessica Hernandez The Deltas.

Jessica Hernandez  The Deltas: Motor City Grit In Two Languages

Hernandez is a Detroit native, the daughter of a Cuban father and a Mexican-American mother. She and The Deltas have been making gritty, soulful music in their local scene for a while now — but on their latest record, they tried something a little different. The band released two albums simultaneously: Telephone in English and Teléfono in Spanish.

As part of Weekend All Things Considered‘s trip to Detroit for the 50th anniversary of the 1967 riots, NPR’s Michel Martin spoke with Hernandez about the city’s influence on her sound and why she felt it was important to make her new music bilingual. Hear their conversation at the audio link, and read on for highlights.

Interview Highlights

On the many musical influences she drew from her family and her city

I grew up in a household with a father who was Cuban but came to the States in the ’60s when he was really young, so he grew up in the ’70s punk and garage-rock scene that was really flourishing at the time. So he was huge into Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop and MC5 and all the things that you think of when you think of Detroit rock music. … And then my mom’s young — we’re only about 19 years apart — so for her, she was introducing me to The Cure and Joy Division and ’80s new wave. And then my grandmother on my father’s side, who’s Cuban, was introducing me to salsa and merengue … and then my mom’s parents, who are Mexican-American, grew up in Detroit through the ’50s and ’60s, and they had The Four Tops and Temptations [and] Supremes playing at their high-school dances.

On developing her own sound

Because I had so many influences … I had a really hard time deciding what I wanted to be as a person and an artist. And I think once I stopped trying to figure it out and just told myself, “Write whatever you wanna write, whatever you’re feeling that day. Let it happen. If it’s a salsa song, cool; if it’s an RB song, cool.” … Once I let go of trying to define myself and my music, it definitely made it a little all over the place, but it also felt way more natural.

On why she decided to create a double, bilingual album

One of the big things was really my family. I think my grandmother — it was a hard thing for us, with wanting to get closer and with the language barrier. I speak Spanish and she speaks English, but my Spanish isn’t great, her English isn’t great … And she’s always said, “I want you to sing in Spanish so I can understand what you’re singing about … I want to be able to enjoy it in a different way than listening to your music in English.”

And then I think with everything going on today, too — I think it was even more of a reason for me to want to kind of tap into my own heritage, feel more connected with who I am. … A lot of my fans are Hispanic Americans: Puerto Rican Americans, Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans. And they come to concerts, and I’ve had younger girls come up to me and say, like, “You’ve helped me feel comfortable with being Mexican-American. And I’ve wanted to reject being Mexican because I wanna be American, I wanna be accepted as an American. I’m proud to be here and have my citizenship, but I also feel sad that I’m not able to embrace where I’m from, and where my parents are from.” … And so I feel like that was something that really pushed me to want to do something like that.

‘Going There’: 3 Prominent Detroit Natives Reflect On The 1967 Riot

Jul 24, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on ‘Going There’: 3 Prominent Detroit Natives Reflect On The 1967 Riot

Former Detroit police chief Ike McKinnon (L), Motown musician David Coffey (center), and former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer (R).

Denise Guerra/NPR


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Former Detroit police chief Ike McKinnon (L), Motown musician David Coffey (center), and former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer (R).

Denise Guerra/NPR

Detroit has faced a tumultuous past, but the most painful week in Detroit’s modern history arguably happened exactly 50 years ago. On July 23, 1967, after decades of discrimination, poverty, and mistreatment by police, many black citizens of Detroit erupted in violence. Some call that five-day period of burning and looting the “riots;” others call it the “uprising” or the “rebellion.”

Detroiters have had 50 years to contemplate the reasons for the civil unrest, and at our Going There event at WDET in Detroit, NPR’s Michel Martin spoke with three guests who remember where they were when the five-day rebellion started. They spoke with Michel about how that week of unrest changed their relationship with the city of Detroit, what impact the rebellion had on the city, and what the future holds.

Dennis Archer is former mayor of Detroit and a former Michigan Supreme Court judge. Ike McKinnon was one of the first African-Americans on the Detroit police force, and ultimately became police chief. Dennis Coffey is a former session guitarist for the Motown record label, and was in studio recording an album when someone came running to tell him the city was burning.

Interview Highlights

NPR’s Michel Martin talks with former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer about the conditions that led to Detroit unrest.

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NPR’s Michel Martin talks with former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer about the conditions that led to Detroit unrest.

Denise Guerra/NPR

On how the cops were told to deal with the civil unrest

McKinnon: Go out and lock people up. We were woefully unprepared to handle what occurred. We had received no training. And we could not have handled the situation because at that time we had close to 1,600,000 people [in Detroit]. And if you have 5,500 police officers — and all of us were not on duty at one time — and if we try and stop a rebellion as such, or people looting, it was impossible to do so. So we were undermanned to handle this.

On the roving police squads that terrorized the city

Coffey: Back in the mid-50s, they had two patrolmen in the front and two detectives in the back, and the detectives in the back had shotguns. And so they rolled down the window and said, “What are you guys doing?” Well, we’re walking home from school. And they said, “Do you know there’s an ordinance? You can’t have more than two people in a group.” And we said, “Yes sir.” Because the reputation — when they said do something, you did it.

McKinnon: I’d seen this before of other young men, but never to me. And at this point they grabbed, threw me up against the car, and proceeded to beat me. And I was, “But sir, but sir!” I’m asking — and the more I ask, the more they beat. And the look of anger — extreme anger — on these officers’ face, with the name-calling and beating. And they were good at what they did, I should tell you. They beat me between my neck and my belt. And toward the end of it — I’ll never forget this — they said, “Get your black ass out of here.” And I ran home. And I never told my parents. …[T]he reason being if you told your parents, they would go to the precinct and they would get locked up or beaten also.

Defense Attorney For Police In 'Algiers Motel Shooting': 'Am I A Soulless Person?'

On the cause of the rebellion

In Detroit, A Colorful Mural Stands As A Reminder Of The City's 'Segregation Wall'

Archer: You’ve heard the explanation already, in terms of what people of color and whites as well were subjected to. But let’s talk about economics. The federal government would not allow blacks to have mortgages. You couldn’t live in certain neighborhoods. And when you consider that you couldn’t go into certain restaurants, and certain hotels and businesses if you happened to be black. … When people are able to live and they’re comfortable, and they’re able to do what they pretty much want to do… you take that away, and you strip people of hope or dignity and the like? You set up an environment that can be explosive.

On how white cops brutalized black cops

McKinnon: After about an 18-hour shift, I came off at the Chicago Boulevard and made a left turn, and as I passed the overpass to the freeway, these two white police officers pulled me over. And I was in uniform — had my shield on — people think it’s a badge but it’s a shield. I had my “2” for the precinct I was at. And you could clearly see I was a police officer. I was stopped by these two white police officers — one was an older guy with gray hair – but he got out of the car with his partner. And they said to me, “Get out of the car.”

I said, “Police officer! Police officer!” And I smiled, the way I am right now. And as I stepped out of the car, the officer with the short stub-nosed silver gun, he said, “Tonight you’re gonna die.” And he didn’t stop there; he said the N-word. And I looked at him, and I couldn’t believe this was happening. And as I looked at him, it was as if time froze. And when time freezes — and when there are exceptional circumstances — your senses are heightened. And I could see his finger pulling the trigger. And as I dove back into my car he started shooting at me.

Former Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon was beaten by Detroit police officers as a child. That made him want to become an officer when he grew up – so he could treat people the way they should be treated, he said.

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Former Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon was beaten by Detroit police officers as a child. That made him want to become an officer when he grew up – so he could treat people the way they should be treated, he said.

Denise Guerra/NPR

Archer: If we could invite in the 100 or so police officers who were African-American who were working in their precincts, you would hear a lot of similar stories, in terms of how guns were pulled on them in the precincts, and how they were fussed at, cussed at, and white officers saying, “I’m not going to ride with that blankity-blank.”

… And then I would just ask us to speed forward for a moment, and then you wonder why there’s a group called “Black Lives Matter.” And why those issues are very relevant today, as they were back then. And then when you start thinking about what we’re hearing in terms of the divisiveness that’s being openly talked about today, it hurts our country, it hurts our cities, it hurts people and it hurts all of us.

NPR’s Stacey Samuel edited this story for Radio. NPR’s Ashley Young produced this for radio. NPR’s Maquita Peters produced this story for the Web.

Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Detroit’ Revisits An American Tragedy: The Algiers Motel Incident

Jul 23, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Detroit’ Revisits An American Tragedy: The Algiers Motel Incident

Bigelow’s new film, Detroit, depicts the beginning of the Detroit riots and one of their most horrifying events.

Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Pictures


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Bigelow’s new film, Detroit, depicts the beginning of the Detroit riots and one of their most horrifying events.

Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Pictures

The Detroit riots began 50 years ago Sunday, after a police raid on an unlicensed, after-hours club. They lasted five days, and by the time they stopped, 43 people were dead, hundreds were injured, thousands had been arrested and entire neighborhoods had burned to the ground.

The new film Detroit depicts the beginning of the riots and one of their most horrifying events: the Algiers Motel incident, in which three young black men were killed (some would say executed) by white police officers.

Kathryn Bigelow also directed 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. She’s pictured here at that film’s 2012 premiere.

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Kathryn Bigelow also directed 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. She’s pictured here at that film’s 2012 premiere.

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow directed Detroit. She says at first the film introduces a lot of characters, “and little by little it winnows down to a particular character played by Algee Smith: Larry Reed. And the tragedy of these events unfold with him, and it’s a very emotional roller coaster ride that you take with this character.” (Reed is based on an up-and-coming Motown singer, also named Larry Reed, who survived the carnage.)

Actor Algee Smith is from Saginaw, Mich., not far from Detroit. He says he didn’t know about the riots when he was growing up, and learning about what happened, “changes a lot.”

“I would say it puts more fuel to the fire of my personal mission as a human being to do something about it, and as a black man to do something about it. “

Interview Highlights

On what drew Bigelow to the Algiers Motel story

Bigelow: I think predominantly it was an opportunity to telescope this giant canvas of the uprisings down to a particular crime event that [was] first presented to me … right around the Ferguson, Mo., incident. And so I was kind of really emotionally moved by that. And felt that this story was an American tragedy that was important enough to be told.

Algee Smith also appears in BET’s The New Edition Story. He’s pictured here at the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour.

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP


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Algee Smith also appears in BET’s The New Edition Story. He’s pictured here at the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour.

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

On what drew Smith to Detroit

Smith: First of all, it was just Kathryn’s name alone and the brilliance and the professionalism that came with that. When I first went to the audition, we didn’t have the official script that we were reading — but it was the essence of those lines that me and [casting director] Vicky Thomas were going back and forth with, and I think from that day I was just drawn to the whole project.

On how Smith approached the character of Larry Reed

Smith: I was trying not to think a lot, and I feel like that’s what helped. Kathryn specifically put us in a place where we were unprepared, and I feel like that helped us give authentic reactions in those scenes and not think about it too much. … When we got there and we knew what we were doing that day, then I just tried to sit in that feeling.

On whether Smith was able to put himself in Reed’s shoes

Smith: With all due respect to Larry, I don’t think I can put myself in that place. That’s a place where no human being would want to put themselves in. I tried to get as close as I could on set … just to try to get a glimpse of what he was actually maybe feeling. But I could never feel that way.

On the effect Bigelow hopes the film will have

Bigelow And Boal, Dramatizing The Hunt For Bin Laden

5 Films Look At The Los Angeles  Riots From (Almost) Every Angle

Bigelow: These events seem to recur — this is a situation that was 50 years ago, yet it feels very much like it’s today. And I think, you know, you look at South Africa, where there’s truth and reconciliation, and here I feel like there’s not enough conversation about race. And so I think the film has the potential to provide an opportunity to engage in that dialogue. … I can only hope that there’s an urgency and a necessity for it. … There’s no other way for a healing process to begin. …

The world has kind of handed me a kind of microphone, not unlike yourself, and I feel like there’s a responsibility that comes with that. … And if I can somehow use this medium, the medium of film, to propel a conversation forward — you know, the purpose of art is to agitate for change. I’ve always believed that and I still do.

Denise Guerra, Dustin DeSoto and Stacey Samuel produced and edited this interview for broadcast, and Nicole Cohen adapted it for the Web.

Before ‘The Blind Pig’ Raid, What Sparked The Detroit Uprising

Jul 23, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Before ‘The Blind Pig’ Raid, What Sparked The Detroit Uprising



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This weekend marks 50 years since the start of what many people here prefer to call the uprising. It started when a police raid on a party at an unlicensed after-hours club called The Blind Pig set off fires, looting and other chaos that went on for five days. This weekend, we’ll be talking about those events and the state of the motor city these 50 years later. We thought we’d start by hearing from someone who’s been here for all of it, Congressman John Conyers. He represents Michigan’s 13th congressional district.

Fifty years ago, he found himself addressing crowds of angry protesters who started gathering in the early morning hours of July 23, 1967. He’s currently Congress’s longest serving member, making him the dean of the House of Representatives. And he’s with us now from his office. Congressman, thank you so much for speaking with us.

JOHN CONYERS: What a pleasure to talk with you.

MARTIN: And I just have to acknowledge that we’re only going to be able to scratch the surface of what had to have been such a momentous occasion in your life and in the life of your city. So just having said that, can we go back to that day? I understand that you were home. It was 9 a.m. And the deputy police chief called you and asked you to come down to 12th and Claremont, where people were already gathering. Can you just take us back to that moment and just ask you, what was it like for you?

CONYERS: I can never forget the fact that Lyndon Johnson, then the president of the United States, called me at my home to verify that this was as bad as he had been advised that it was. There were tanks coming in, paratroopers sent by the president himself. The governor at that time, George Romney, ordered 8,000 National Guardsmen to do active duty. And the police officers – the state police officers were sent in, some 800 or more of them. It was just unbelievable. It was a total breakdown of a civil city.

MARTIN: Yeah, I was going to ask you about that. What do you think it – I mean, the spark was the raid on The Blind Pig, but you have said many times since then that, you know, that was just the spark that set it off. What, in your view, is really why? What is the real why of it in your opinion?

CONYERS: The underlying cause was the racism and segregation that permeated everything that we did, where we lived, where we were – how you were treated, especially by the police.

MARTIN: Do you think it made your job harder or easier? And the reason I ask that is you were only in your second term in Congress. And, you know, you were trying to – I mean, you were one of the founders of the Black Caucus. I mean, you were trying to get people to pay attention to a lot of these issues. On the one hand, you certainly got the world’s attention. On the other hand, some people think it ignited this kind of backlash of, you know, racial paranoia and even more kind of resentment and desire to keep black people out of certain places. So what do you think?

CONYERS: Well, I would like to think that it made it more challenging. But fortunately, we were able to bring together a number of organizations that were helpful. And we began to systematically examine these causes of discriminatory action on the part not only of the police, whose brutality is – was unspeakable at that time, but other obvious discrimination in terms of where you lived or where you worked and how your conduct was monitored by police all around you. It just created this explosion of anger that had built up and could not be contained. And that ran for the course of five days and cost 43 people their lives.

MARTIN: There are some who say that African-American Detroiters are in some ways worse off than they were 50 years ago. What do you think about that?

CONYERS: Well, no. I invite anybody that feels that might be the case to come out and visit us. I think without doubt we’re better off. And I’m not saying that everything is OK now and that this is all past, but I don’t think that this could happen or would happen again because we have so many outlets. We have nine council members. But at that time, there were only two of color in the city of Detroit. But today, 7 of the 9 members of the Detroit Council are people of color. So I think this was a wake-up call to America, as well as Detroit and Michigan.

MARTIN: That’s Congressman John Conyers of Michigan. He is currently Congress’s longest serving member. He’s the dean of the House of Representatives. And he was kind enough to join us from his office. Congressman Conyers, thank you so much for speaking with us.

CONYERS: It’s a pleasure, Ms. Martin.

(SOUNDBITE OF SMOKEY ROBINSON’S “CRUISIN”)

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Critics Say New Poland Law Dissolves Separation Of Judiciary And Ruling Party

Jul 23, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Critics Say New Poland Law Dissolves Separation Of Judiciary And Ruling Party



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Early this morning, Poland’s Senate passed legislation that if signed into law would force all of that country’s Supreme Court judges to step down except for those kept on by Poland’s president. Critics fear the move would undermine the independence of the judiciary by giving control to the country’s ruling party, known as the Law and Justice Party. NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has been in Warsaw this week. She’s back in Berlin now. Soraya, thanks so much for speaking with us.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: You’re welcome, Michel.

MARTIN: So you were in Warsaw earlier this week. What did you see when you were there, and how are people reacting to this legislation?

NELSON: Well, there were definitely some of the largest protests against this government since it took office a couple of years ago. People were in front of the Parliament. They were in front of the president’s office and calling for free courts. Today, actually, Lech Walesa, who has been sick recently with some heart issues, was out with protesters urging them to defend Polish democracy.

MARTIN: And remind people of who Lech Walesa is. I mean, he has tremendous moral authority, not just in Poland but around the world because…

NELSON: Lech Walesa is a Nobel laureate who was former president of Poland and also the co-founder of the Solidarity movement, the labor movement which helped bring down Communism across Eastern Europe.

MARTIN: So why would the Parliament move to pass a bill that has caused such an outpouring of protest?

NELSON: Well, Law and Justice, which is a pretty far-right populist party, they dominate the Parliament and the government. And they say that they’re fulfilling campaign promises and also addressing concerns about a judiciary that many people feel is inefficient or doesn’t represent the general Polish public. That is their take on it. They’re completely not accepting of what the opposition in Parliament or what people on the streets are saying. They say these are the elites, and they represent average Polish people.

It’s also something – it’s very interesting to note that the party leader for this group, for the Law and Justice Party, claims the purge is needed to get rid of the vestiges of Communism as well. He’s been the only one who has brought that up, you know, for the judiciary, but it is something that this government has been pursuing in other departments and other parts of the government in Poland.

MARTIN: I mean, what about international reaction to all of this. Has there been any?

NELSON: It’s been interesting because the U.S. actually has come out – the State Department issued a statement warning Warsaw not to violate the Polish Constitution or threaten judicial independence. And the EU has been particularly upset. I mean, Poland is a member of this 28-member bloc. And they’re threatening to sanction Poland under what’s known as Article 7, would be the first time they’d actually impose this if they did. And it would strip Poland or could strip Poland of its right to vote.

But it’s important to note Brussels has been threatening to do this sort of sanctioning against Poland for the past year because Poland has been taking other steps to try and solidify their power. At least, that’s what critics are saying. They think that having, for example, the judges appointed by the populous party or its proponents is going to result in election – future elections being problematic, where you’re going to end up with the party being able to control who actually wins.

MARTIN: So now the bill goes to the Polish president’s desk for a signature. Is he likely to sign it?

NELSON: Well, let me just say President Andrzej Duda’s nickname is Pen because he is somebody who’s pretty much rubber-stamped everything that has come his way from the populist-dominated Parliament. He’s a former member of the Law and Justice Party himself, although as president, he has to be independent. He did resign from the party. But it’s interesting to note that his spokesman this morning said there were a couple of issues that the president has with this new bill that’s coming to his desk, but he didn’t elaborate on what or what he was going to do about it.

MARTIN: That’s NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson. We reached her in Berlin, but she’s been spending the week in Warsaw, Poland. Soraya, thank you so much for speaking with us.

NELSON: You’re welcome, Michel.

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Barbershop: The Ghosts Of Detroit’s Past

Jul 23, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Barbershop: The Ghosts Of Detroit’s Past



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We’re going to close things out today with a special Barbershop. That’s where, every week, we gather a group of interesting folks to talk about what’s in the news and what’s on their minds. Today, as you might imagine, we want to focus on the subject that brought us to Detroit this weekend – the anniversary of the 1967 riots. Many here prefer to call it the uprising or the rebellion. Whatever you call it, we’ve been talking about why it happened, what it meant and if there are any lessons the country can take away from what happened here.

Right now, though, we want to focus on what’s happening in Detroit today. So we’ve called people who follow events in Detroit closely. Here for a shape-up this week are Lester Graham, a reporter for Michigan Radio and co-host of their new show Stateside. Welcome.

LESTER GRAHAM, BYLINE: Thank you.

MARTIN: Also joining us is Aaron Foley. He’s Detroit’s chief storyteller. That’s actually his official position. He was designated by the mayor. He’s also the author of the book – sorry, Mom – it’s called “How To Live In Detroit Without Being A Jackass.” Thank you so much, Aaron, for joining us. You’ll have to let us know if there are a lot of jackasses in Detroit…

AARON FOLEY: Oh, I will.

MARTIN: …That we need to be aware of.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: Also with us is Rochelle Riley. She’s an award-winning columnist for the Detroit Free Press. Welcome back to you. Thank you so much for joining us once again. We’ve benefited from your insights many times over the years, so thank you.

ROCHELLE RILEY: Thank you.

MARTIN: So I do want to focus on what’s happening now, but I did want to just get a couple of minutes of memories, if we could. And, Aaron, I’m going to start with you because I know you weren’t around then. You probably weren’t even thought of then because you were born in ’84. But I wanted to know if you grew up hearing about the riot, or the uprising, or whatever you call it. Did people talk about it when you were growing up?

FOLEY: People talked about it, but it’s not like we were taught it in schools. And I think that’s a really big shortcoming on our part. And to be honest, there’s a lot of local history that I think should be taught in schools. That’s a whole different subject. But no, I mean, it’s one of those things that was talked about at home a little every now and then. And you just grew up hearing about oh, “a riot,” quote, unquote, but not really. Like, it wasn’t until I became older and I started studying, like, demographics of Detroit and started studying the history of Detroit that I learned about it.

MARTIN: Rochelle, what about you?

RILEY: You know, that’s such a good point because, not only in Detroit, but outside of Detroit, this is not something that was talked about in the way that you saw it on television. There were people who, for years, didn’t understand why it happened or tried to, you know, come up with the reasons why it happened instead of focusing on what people had been talking about. And that’s the fact that this was a city under siege by the police and poverty and discrimination for decades before it was a city under siege for five days. So we really do have to do a better job of the history. And we really have to do a better job of dispelling some of the myths.

MARTIN: Lester, what about you?

GRAHAM: When I first moved to Michigan 14 years ago, I lived in Lansing. And the white folks wanted to tell me about the 1967 riots. That’s the only term they used. And their perspective and what I’ve learned about 1967 are very, very different.

MARTIN: What did they say? What were their – what was their narrative about it?

GRAHAM: Basically that the black folks went crazy, the city went to hell in a handbasket, and it’s never recovered. And that’s the attitude, generally, for folks who aren’t familiar with Detroit.

RILEY: That’s it in a nutshell.

MARTIN: Has any of that changed in recent years, as there’s been more focus on it? Do you think that any of that point of view – it seems like those were very separate narratives about what happened.

GRAHAM: Yeah, we did a poll last year. The Detroit Journalism Cooperative did a poll talking to folks in all-white communities and mixed-race communities and all-black communities. And attitudes have changed a bit. There’s still that 15 percent of white folks who are convinced that’s what happened and that’s what was going on. But I think attitudes have changed slowly.

MARTIN: So, you know, one of the reasons that this whole topic is resonant for many people is not just because of the history but because of what’s happening now and what we’re seeing in a lot of cities around the country, you know, not on the same scale, you know, to be sure. I mean, it’s important for people to know, like, this is – number one, this is a big city, period. And number two, a lot of parts of the city were affected. And you can see it. You can still see where it was affected. So – but, you know, Ferguson comes to mind. Minneapolis comes to mind. I mean, these are places where, you know, police conduct – or Baltimore, for example…

RILEY: Yes.

MARTIN: …You know, comes to mind. And I’m wondering – Rochelle, I’ll go to you on this – does Detroit feel itself to be part of that? Like, does it feel itself to be part of today’s civil rights movement, the Black Lives Matter movement? Because that doesn’t seem to be at the forefront of what’s in the headlines here.

RILEY: Well, it depends on the people that you talk to. There are longtime activists who have been fighting for better equality and fighting against police misbehavior who would say that there should have been a Black Lives Matter movement here decades ago. There are people today who say that we’re a match away from ’67 happening again, which the police chief firmly, firmly, not only denies but says won’t happen. And he was a little boy, 10 years old, in ’67, who, at 20, became a cop who saw the racism firsthand and vowed to one day be chief. And lo and behold, here he is.

But I think the biggest problem is the reason Black Lives Matter resonates is because a single person died. You’re talking about something that’s so big, so large with the discrimination and the police abuse in Detroit, that it wasn’t seen the same way. It’s still not seen the same way, but it should be.

MARTIN: So, Lester, nationally, you know, Detroit is seen as this city on the rise. I mean, it keeps popping up in hot places to live, hot places to work, you know, the food scene, hot places to eat. But it’s compared to, like, in places like Pittsburgh and maybe Asheville, you know, North Carolina. But I take it you don’t think it’s that simple. You’ve talked about Detroit as a tale of two cities. You know, as – I mean, obviously, you’ve spent a lot of time reporting on this, but as briefly as you can, tell us why you think that that’s really not the right – you know, that you don’t think those comparisons are the right ones.

GRAHAM: Well, it’s booming in downtown and midtown. It’s great. It’s really good to see. But when you go to the neighborhoods, you don’t see that. It’s not the same life. There was recently a Wayne State University study that indicated that a lot of people who are living in the neighborhoods are actually doing worse now since the bankruptcy than, you know, the midtown and city – the downtown areas are.

They – jobs are still not there. Poverty’s still a problem. The schools are still a problem. You know, they have street lights now, and they have regular garbage pickup. That’s good. But the rest of their life hasn’t improved like we’ve seen in downtown and midtown.

MARTIN: So what’s the key to that? I mean, what is the issue here? Is there just a job – what’s the issue here?

GRAHAM: There’s always been a – chronically, Detroit’s unemployment level is twice that of the state, and that hasn’t changed at all. Even with the states lower, it’s still really high, pretty darn high in Detroit. The other thing is, you know, the public transportation system is still not good enough for people to go get a job. Auto insurance in Detroit is – it’s the highest in the nation, so people can’t afford auto insurance. So just getting to a job is one of the big hurdles. And that’s just the beginning.

MARTIN: So, Aaron, is that, in part, what your book is about? Which is that if you’re one of the people who’s benefiting from the rise of Detroit, don’t be a – forgive me, Mom – a jackass to the people who aren’t. Is that part of what the deal is for you?

FOLEY: It’s along that line. Like, why I wrote the book was because there – long story short, there were a lot of younger white people moving into Detroit, right? Not just young white people but young people from all backgrounds and who were not familiar with the same kind of Detroit that I knew growing up, the same Detroit I loved growing up. And people kind of moved to downtown and midtown and just sort of surround themselves in that bubble. But downtown and midtown are only 7.2 square miles. They’re a very important 7.2 square miles, don’t get me wrong, but the whole city is a 143.

And people were saying things like, don’t go past, you know, the boulevard – Grand Boulevard. Don’t go past MLK, you know, you’re going to get shot, you’re going to get this, you’re going to get that. And it’s just like, I’ve – I’m still here. I’ve never been shot in my life.

Not to say that crime doesn’t happen, that violence doesn’t happen, but I got tired of people saying things in general about Detroit. And I’m looking around at, like, my friends, my classmates, my aunts, my uncles, my parents, all these people that call Detroit home at some point or another, and we love this city like no other.

MARTIN: Are you mad at these new folks? I mean, just be honest. Are you mad at them?

FOLEY: Oh, no. I mean, well…

MARTIN: Come on.

FOLEY: …Maybe – OK (laughter). Maybe – I’m not mad at them directly. I’m mad at what they were taught. A lot of this is coming, in my opinion, just to keep it all the way real – this goes back to when I was a freshman in college when it clicked for me. Hearing kids from the suburbs say if you go past Alter Road or go past 8 Mile – the movie “8 Mile” came out when I was a freshman. And people were saying that all of Detroit, all 143 square miles of Detroit looked just like the movie “8 Mile” and all of this.

And I’m just, like, look, I grew up in a brick house in an all-brick neighborhood. We had a block club. We had ladies on the street, you know, that would beat you when the street lights came on and all that. And that – you’re going to tell me about my upbringing and all of this? So yeah, I’m not mad at them, but I’m mad about all these discrepancies and all these things that people were taught over the years.

MARTIN: But, you know, Rochelle, you know, we’ve been in a number of cities this year where the issue of the new folks and the folks who’ve been here has come up. You know, gentrification is the term of art for a lot of people. Some people – it’s a dirty word. Some people, like, you know – so just – let’s just use it for shorthand, OK, without sort of claiming the politics of it on either side. Now, we were in Austin, where the mayor told us that there isn’t a city in the country that has figured this out yet.

You know, prices go up. The economy gets healthier. Some people get priced out. New opportunities arise. But a lot of the people – a lot of times, there’s a mismatch between those new opportunities and the people who are already there. Do you think that’s true? Has anybody figured this out? And is that something that people in Detroit are talking about?

RILEY: Well, here’s the thing – not many people try to figure it out. For instance, in Detroit, you’ve got Dan Gilbert buying more than a hundred buildings and literally transforming the 7.2. Well, if he’s going to do that, then the city ought to focus all of its attention on all of that area and the donut around that area. And instead, what people do is they jump on the train to make sure that they – it’s like, all of a sudden, that’s where our public transportation is, this 3-mile train that goes up and down Woodward. And I call it, you know, the second people-mover because our people-mover’s our old train that goes around in a circle.

I think that if you have something that is spurred by business, if the catalyst is business people and corporate types who are trying to make money off of the renaissance, then that’s what you’re going to get. If you have a city that’s decided, we’re going to do more than that, then that’s what will change.

MARTIN: So let me – we only have about three minutes left, and I just want to hear from everybody here. You know, a lot of people are expecting big things from Detroit, and it obviously isn’t that simple. And when you think about the future here – and I understand you’re all journalists, so your job is the what is not necessarily what the should be is. But I would like to hear from you as people who think about this. As briefly as you can, what do you think would make the biggest difference – small things, big things? Lester, do you want to take it?

GRAHAM: I – well, I want to make one quick point. You know, after the ’67 riot, we had the Kerner Commission report which looked at all of the grievances that folks had about why these civil disturbances had. We took a look at all the grievances that they listed in ’68 and looked at Detroit today. And African-Americans in Detroit, living in the city, for the most part, are in worse shape now than they were in 1967. I know that disagrees with what Congressman Conyers said earlier on the program, but that’s the fact. That’s the data.

FOLEY: I think one thing that’s not being talked about is the one thing we’re seeing at the city of Detroit is we can track the number of permits pulled and things like that. And we’re actually seeing – now, wait, I’m not saying that things are great – but we’re actually seeing a lot of people in all the neighborhoods, when you get a contractor and they pull a permit, people are making improvements to their houses. They’re getting new roofs and new porches and things like that. So I think that’s the signal to us that says maybe things are slightly on the upswing. You know, I don’t like to say comeback city, but I – we are seeing that people are making improvements in their neighborhoods through…

MARTIN: What’s the one thing that would make a big difference, though? I mean, you talked about in the book. Do you mind if I kind of spoiler alert? One of the things you say is the schools. I mean, this is not a great place for…

FOLEY: The schools, absolutely.

MARTIN: …Kids at the moment.

FOLEY: Absolutely. And only just now have we gotten a new superintendent – don’t know what he’s going to do yet. But the schools, absolutely. You know, Detroit needs kids. We need families, so.

MARTIN: Rochelle, for people – and you’re doing your part, I hope, soon, eventually. Are you going to…

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: …You going to get there? I mean…

GRAHAM: Not at the moment, but…

(CROSSTALK)

RILEY: If only people could see his face right now.

MARTIN: I know, right? Rochelle, last 30 seconds.

RILEY: You and I talked about this several years ago when I told you there wasn’t a national chain grocery store in Detroit and you were aghast. That has changed. There is a renaissance. It is real. We need transportation as well as families.

MARTIN: That’s Rochelle Riley. She’s an award-winning columnist at the Detroit Free Press. In fact, she’s the recipient of a new honor – the Ida B. Wells Award, which she will be awarded at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention this year. Congratulations on it.

RILEY: Thank you so much.

MARTIN: Thank you for joining us. Aaron Foley is Detroit’s chief storyteller. Aaron, thank you so much for joining us.

FOLEY: Best job in the city.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: Lester Graham is a reporter from Michigan Radio and host of the show Stateside. Thank you all so much for joining us at WDET studios in Detroit. Thank you all so much.

RILEY: Thank you.

FOLEY: Thank you.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

RILEY: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF BADBADNOTGOOD’S “HEDRON”)

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Minneapolis Police Chief Resigns After Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting

Jul 22, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Minneapolis Police Chief Resigns After Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting

NPR’s Audie Cornish talks to Andy Mannix, a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, about the fatal police shooting in Minneapolis last week that resulted in the death of Justine Ruszczyk.

‘Spicey Out!’ 9 Highlights From Sean Spicer’s Combative Tenure

Jul 22, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on ‘Spicey Out!’ 9 Highlights From Sean Spicer’s Combative Tenure

White House press secretary Sean Spicer spoke during a news briefing in June.

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer spoke during a news briefing in June.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

From his first official briefing, it was clear that Sean Spicer was going to be a different kind of White House press secretary.

Rather than trying to build a rapport with journalists — as his predecessors working for presidents from both parties had done — Spicer came out swinging, setting the tone for an administration that has frequently seemed to be at war with the media.

It’s been a tumultuous tenure, with Spicer seemingly barricaded at the lectern firing salvos at the press corps. The dialectic was so tense that it inspired a recurring parody on Saturday Night Live.

Here are some memorable moments of Spicer’s six-month tenure:

1. Day 2 — “The largest audience to ever witness an inauguration”

“Yesterday, at a time when our nation and the world was watching the peaceful transition of power … some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting,” Spicer said, angrily reading from his notes.

He boasted, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe.”

He went on to say that photographs of the inauguration had been “framed” to “minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall.”

2. Alternative facts

Spicer didn’t coin the phrase “alternative facts.” That was Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway.

But Spicer gave us this Orwellian moment involving “facts.”

“I believe that we have to be honest with the American people,” Spicer said, “but I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts.”

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “fact” as: “A thing that is known or proved to be true.”

So, no, you can’t disagree with them.

3. When a spokesman doesn’t speak for a president

There were statements that would seem otherworldly — coming out of any other White House.

“I think the president’s tweets speak for themselves,” became a common Spicer refrain every time the president tweeted something controversial.

4. Tongue-tied: From Martin Luther King Jr. to Hitler

Spicer had the occasional outright gaffe.

He insisted, for example, that President Trump had “sat down with Martin Luther King Jr.”

He meant to say he had met with Martin Luther King III, the slain civil rights leader’s eldest son.

Spicer stated confidently (and incorrectly) that even Hitler (unlike Syrian President Bashar Assad) did not “sink to using chemical weapons.”

Responding to a reporter, who questioned Spicer on that point, the president’s press secretary clarified:

“I understand your point. Thank you. I appreciate that. He brought them into the Holocaust centers, I understand that. I was saying in the way that Assad used them where he went into town, dropped them into the middle of town. I appreciate the clarification. That was not the intent.”

Holocaust centers? Whoops.

As polls showed that a majority of Americans wanted the president to release his tax returns, Spicer let fly what sounded like a Freudian slip: “I think there’s a huge appetite for tax return,” he said, quickly recovering with the words “tax reform.”

5. Russian salad dressing that led to that head-shake comment

There were analogies gone wrong. In March, he showed exasperation with the media’s seeming obsession with the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.

“If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight,” he said, “somehow that’s a Russian connection.”

The question was from reporter April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks. She wasn’t buying it, which didn’t sit well with Spicer.

“You’re shaking your head,” he said. “I appreciate it. But, but …”

That didn’t go down well. The backlash was swift. The next day, Spicer tried to make it up to Ryan giving her the first question at the briefing and beginning with this oh-so-sweet opening.

“April,” Spicer began.

“Why, thank you, Sean,” Ryan responded.

“How are you today?”

“I’m fine, and how are you?”

“Fantastic.”

6. When a ban is not a ban or is it?

Spicer also showed some confusion about his boss’s evolving positions, especially on that travel ban.

“It’s not a ban,” Spicer thundered. “It’s not a Muslim ban.”

The “extreme vetting” measure the administration put in place that restricts travel from six Muslim-majority countries has been hung up in the courts.

7. “Covfefe”

For all the confrontation — and there was lots of it — there were moments of mirth.

After Trump sent out a bizarre late-night tweet that trailed off with the nonsense word “covfefe,” Spicer, in an audio-only briefing, insisted that it was all part of the plan.

Asked by a reporter whether people should be concerned that the president “posted something of an incoherent tweet last night that stayed up for hours,” Spicer replied simply, “No,” insisting, to laughter from the press corps, that “the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.”

8. A little help from Gronk

In April, the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski popped his head into the press briefing room while Spicer was fielding questions.

“Hey, Sean. Need some help?” the tight end asked. “I think I got this, but thank you,” Spicer replied.

“That was cool,” he added.

9. Leaning into SNL

Finally, there was a bit of self-deprecating humor as the press secretary answered what he deemed a “silly” question from a reporter.

Referring to Melissa McCarthy’s SNL parody, Spicer joked, “Don’t make me make the podium move.”

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