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Posted: 6/2/2012 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
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Jack Lessenberry

Essay/Analysis: Political Commentator

A Detroit native, Jack recognized that he wanted to become a journalist during his graduate studies at the University of Michigan. (He had previously set out to be a historian.) Now, he boasts thirty years of eclectic journalism experience. Jack has worked as a foreign correspondent and executive national editor of The Detroit News, and he has written for many national and regional publications, including Vanity FairEsquireThe New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Boston Globe, and The Oakland Press.

Currently, he is a professor of journalism at Wayne State University and a contributing editor and columnist for The Metro TimesThe Traverse-City Record Eagle, and The addition to his work at Michigan Radio.

Throughout his years of journalism experience, his favorite memories are of interviewing Gerald Ford about Watergate in 1995 and winning a national Emmy for a documentary about Jack Kevorkian in 1994.

On a personal note, Jack stopped watching TV -- except for documentaries -- when Mr. Ed was canceled.


12:40 PM
FRI JUNE 1, 2012

Tale of Two Races

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing couldn't have enjoyed reading his city's newspapers when he woke up on Mackinac Island yesterday morning. The Detroit Free Press splashed a story across its front page saying the business community wanted longtime Wayne County political fixer Mike Duggan as the city's next mayor.

The Detroit News's editorial page editor said the business community had decided that it is time for the mayor to go, and then called on the mayor to, quote "use the excuse of advancing age and poor health" to not run again next year.

Yesterday morning the mayor came out to face the press, and naturally, was asked about his own future. Standing on the Grand Hotel's magnificent porch, all the mayor would tell us reporters was that he had eighteen months left in his current term (it's actually nineteen), and he felt the need to "get as many things done as I possibly can." Now, I don't have an opinion on whether the mayor ought to run. He previously has said he was going to.

Frankly, if you know anything about how government works, the worst thing Bing could do would be to announce early that he isn't running. The moment he does that, he becomes a lame duck, and immediately loses much of his power and influence.

But beyond that, I am astonished at the business community's chutzpah in attempting to say who ought to be Detroit's mayor. Do they think our memories are that short?

Seven years ago, the business community was highly decisive in a Detroit mayoral race. Freman Hendrix was one of the final two candidates. He was a decent man with a finance background who had served as deputy mayor in the Archer administration.

Hendrix had grown up in a working class neighborhood. He had joined the Navy, and had put himself through college. I thought he had the potential to be a good mayor who had the ability to relate to average citizens. But the business community wanted the incumbent: Kwame Kilpatrick.

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Posted: 1/3/2012 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
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Josh Linkner's Blog

Josh Linkner

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Can't or Won't?

Some things just "can't" be done, right?

Up until 1954, the top scientists and athletes agreed that running a mile in under four minutes was physically impossible. Never been done in all of history. That is, until Roger Bannister did it on May 6 and shattered this preconceived notion. Just 46 days later, another runner broke the four-minute mark and from then on, times continued to decrease.

With a fresh year ahead of you, you're probably reflecting on the things you want to do. It may be to fit into that new pair of jeans. Or perhaps you have bigger goals: to drive social change, launch a business, or heal the sick.

Throughout the journey, you'll be met with challenges that will test your resolve. You'll be dealt that inevitable setback, making it easy to play the victim card. When you say something "can't" be done, you are relinquishing your power. It is the world's fault that a goal wasn't met, not yours. It may be easier to rationalize in that moment, but in doing so you end up settling instead of achieving.

Often the difference-maker for high achievers is that they are willing to do what others won't, not what others can't. They own their outcomes, and take personal responsibility for seeing it through rather than playing the blame-game. Tough spots don't have to indicate game-over status. Also-rans may crumble, but champions never waiver.

What if Martin Luther King Jr accepted that racial equality was impossible and not worth pursuing? What if Google felt that cataloging the world's information couldn't be done? The minute we stop pushing the limits as a society, civilization crumbles. And the same applies to you.

The next time you're faced with an obstacle, stop focusing on all the reasons you can't conquer it. Instead, pivot your thinking to "What steps need to happen - even if they are difficult - in order to see this through?"

If you are pursuing anything worth doing, they heat is likely to get really hot. Before you forfeit your dreams, perform a careful examination to see if you are really in a "can't" dead-end or just a "won't" situation. Turns out that 90% of the things we think are impossible just require some extra grit and determination to make them a reality. Bottom line: mojo is the antidote for adversity.

2012 is your time. Your time to shatter conventional wisdom. Your time to do the never-been-done-before. Your time to crush the impossible. Your time to make a difference.

Like what you just read?

Think it's crazy talk?

A little bit of both?

Comment on my blog by clicking here.


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Posted: 12/31/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
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Michael Moore

Michael Moore

Oscar and Emmy-winning director




75 Years Ago Today, the First Occupy

Posted: 12/30/11 02:24 PM ET


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On this day, December 30th, in 1936 -- 75 years ago today -- hundreds of workers at the General Motors factories in Flint, Michigan, took over the facilities and occupied them for 44 days. My uncle was one of them.

The workers couldn't take the abuse from the corporation any longer. Their working conditions, the slave wages, no vacation, no health care, no overtime -- it was do as you're told or get tossed onto the curb.

So on the day before New Year's Eve, emboldened by the recent re-election of Franklin Roosevelt, they sat down on the job and refused to leave. 

They began their Occupation in the dead of winter. GM cut off the heat and water to the buildings. The police tried to raid the factories several times, to no avail. Even the National Guard was called in. 

But the workers held their ground, and after 44 days, the corporation gave in and recognized the UAW as the representative of the workers. It was a monumental historical moment as no other major company had ever been brought to its knees by their employees. Workers were given a raise to a dollar an hour -- and successful strikes and occupations spread like wildfire across the country. Finally, the working class would be able to do things like own their own homes, send their children to college, have time off and see a doctor without having to worry about paying. In Flint, Michigan, on this day in 1936, the middle class was born.

But 75 years later, the owners and elites have regained all power and control. I can think of no better way for us to honor the original Occupiers than by all of us participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement in whatever form that takes in each of our towns. We need direct action all winter long if we are to prevail. You can start your own Occupy group in your neighborhood or school or with just your friends. Speak out against economic injustice at every chance you get. Stop the bank from evicting the family down the block. Move your checking and credit card to a community bank or credit union. Place a sign in your yard -- and get your neighbors to do it also -- that says, "WE ARE THE 99%." (You can download signs here and here.)

Do something, anything, but don't remain silent. Not now. This is the moment. It won't come again. 

75 years ago today, in Flint, Michigan, the people said they'd had enough and occupied the factories until they won. What is stopping us now? The rich have one plan: bleed everyone dry. Can anyone, in good conscience, be a bystander to this?

My uncle wasn't, and because of what he and others did, I got to grow up without having to worry about a roof over my head or medical bills or a decent life. And all that was provided by my dad who built spark plugs on a GM assembly line.

Let's each of us double our efforts to raise a ruckus, Occupy Everywhere, and get creative as we throw a major nonviolent wrench into this system of Greed. Let's make the politicians running for office in 2012 quake in their boots if they refuse to tax the rich, regulate Wall Street and do whatever we the people tell them to do. 

Happy 75th!

Posted: 11/29/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
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During a recent visit to the East Coast, the level of appreciation people had for Detroit and Michigan was refreshing.


Wheel's Up
During a recent visit to the East Coast, the level of appreciation people had for Detroit and Michigan was refreshing. Rather than focusing on our economy or loss of population, the inquiries centered on our breadth of manufacturing, skilled labor, and natural resources.

Business leaders I met — defense contractors, manufacturers, technology specialists — understood that Detroit and Michigan can design, engineer, and produce just about anything. Throw in attractive real estate rates, both for lease and for sale, along with an improved corporate tax structure and regulatory reform, and you have the makings of an economic revival.

We may not see it here, but corporate leaders from outside the state are taking note. In fact, the cost of doing business in Michigan is nearly competitive with outsourcing markets like India (all things considered). And given the choice, most domestic executives favor setting up operations in the U.S. rather than dealing with exchange rates, language barriers, political unrest, and foreign time zones.

One sweet spot of opportunity in Detroit’s comeback is aviation. We have a history here — Henry Ford established the modern aviation industry in the 1920s, and many of the automakers built planes during World War II.

The industry has come a long way since then, but challenges abound. The FAA recently mandated that all aircraft be equipped with GPS-enabled communication systems by 2020, among other requirements.

The reason: Rising fuel costs, greater security measures, and technological limitations are causing major airlines to reduce flights. Most recently, Delta Air Lines canceled service to five northern Michigan communities, along with other U.S. destinations.

While today’s planes fly faster than ever before, the time it takes to travel between two destinations has actually increased due to enhanced security measures and communication limitations. The new equipment will alleviate many of these shortcomings.

Traveling by small plane, I listened intently as pilots and air traffic personnel using radar (1940s technology) communicated via party-line radio (really, that’s what they call it). Best described as controlled chaos, the pilots and ground control personnel did their best to operate in a challenged environment.

If ever there was an industry ripe for a 21st century technology overhaul, aviation must be at the top of the list. With manufacturing expertise, skilled labor, and available industrial and R&D space, Detroit and Michigan are ideally positioned to grab a good share of the work, including the design and production of advanced aircraft. We just need to go out and get it. db

R.J. King 

Posted: 10/16/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
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Cyndy Canty – Weekday Mornings 6am-10am

Posted 10/15/2011 6:35:00 AM

This is a position so many Detroiters have found themselves in over the past few years. I know that I'm in good company. Lots of you have had to do this: write the final lines in one big chapter of your lives, while eyeing thatblank page---the one with no title yet---that begins the next chapter.

So now you know. We've made the announcement: Jim Harper is retiring after some 45 years in front of the microphone. ("What? Did he start when he was 13  or something?" Yes, actually he did. He was 13 years old when he began his broadcast career. Imagine that! ) After our show on December 23rd, Jim retires and the Magic Morning Show will end. But I amnot retiring. So that means I am about to undertake the process of finding a new job, exploring what's out there...perhaps re-inventing myself?

As I drove to Stratford, Ontario the other day to see "Jesus Christ Superstar", I had plenty of time to think about the impending changes in my life as I trundled through the Canadian countryside. Three hours there, three hours home. As I passed a small church in a small town, I spotted a sign with a spectacularly simple and powerful message: Let us thank God for unknown blessings yet to come. Yes! I have had a life filled with opportunities and blessings up till now. Why should I think God's going to start ignoring me now?

Not long after, my trusty iPod , which I'd set on SHUFFLE, served up a song with an equally simple and powerful message. It's an obscure Art Garfunkel song, written by John Bucchino. It's called "Grateful". Check it out on YouTube; you won't be sorry.

"Grateful, grateful...Truly grateful I am. Grateful, grateful...Truly blessed And duly grateful."    Sing it, Art!! 

"In a world that can bring pain, I will still take each chance. For I believe that whatever the terrain, Our feet can learn to dance. Whatever stone life may sling, We can moan or we can sing...."

And I have so much to sing about. The fact that one morning in October 1980, I stepped into the studios at WNIC as the brand-new newscaster for Jim & Jer. Yes, St James & Harper. Good Lord, I was as terrified as I was excited. Only a year before, Jim Harper and Jerry St James were the voices on my alarm clock, waking me up for my job with the American Cancer Society. And here I was, a part of their show?! 

That terrifying morning launched me into a radio and television career that has brought great joy and satisfaction and excitement over the past 31 years.  And, more importantly, it brought me a friend named Jim. Someone who taught me volumes about communicating and connecting through that microphone. Someone who could always make me laugh. Someone whose spirit is what has drawn so many of you to tune in each morning through the years, to write those lovely tributes on Facebook as you learned he's retiring....I have had the privilege of really knowing Jim and his dear wife Lynn for all these years. And through Jim, I came to know Mike. And Fay, the little sis I'd never had.

"In a city of strangers, I got a family of friends. No matter what rocks and brambles fill the way...I know that they will stay until the end...."

I am grateful for  my family: my husband Sean, our son Brendan & his wife Megan and their baby boy Liam, our daughter Siobhan, now making her way in life as a college freshman. And I am grateful foryou. The Magic Family. We don't use that term lightly. You are like family to me. Through Facebook posts, through emails, at our Toys for Tots & Capuchin shows, at our listener parties, there you are. Sharing your lives with me. Offering joyful words when our son was married, when I found my birth mother, when our daughter graduated from high school, when Sean and I celebrated another wedding anniversary. Offering words of wisdom and condolence and support when my Mom died, when we lost Sean's dad...and now, as you hear the news that I will soon have to leave Magic. 

"It's not that I don't want a lot... Or hope for more, or dream of more. But giving thanks for what I've got...Makes me happier than keeping score."

Thank you for being there over the years at WNIC, WDTX, WKBD during my decade in TV news, back to WNIC and now over these past ten and a half years at WMGC. This is certainly not goodbye. I'm beginning the process of discovering where I'm meant to be after December 23rd. Know that we will stay connected through Facebook, through emails, when I meet you through the day (like the wonderful ladies at my Comerica bank branch who greeted me with hugs after hearing our big announcement. What a spirit-lifter!!). Keep a good thought for me as I begin this exciting-yet-scary journey of discovery and re-invention.

"Grateful, grateful...Truly grateful I am. Grateful, grateful...Truly blessed...And duly grateful."


Posted: 10/14/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
Category: Other

by Regis Hadiaris in Leadership

  • article clipper vert Engineered to Amaze   Leadership Philosophies Behind the Brand

What does it mean to be Engineered to Amaze?

Earlier this year, we launched a complete reinvention of who we are at Quicken Loans.  We are a different and better company than most, and we desperately needed to let that shine through.

Marketers will call this a “branding” initiative, PR folks will call it a new “communication plan,” but I really believe it is simply doing a better job of talking about who we are: in ads, with Clients, with partners, and with each other.

To us, being engineered to amaze means accepting nothing less than literally amazing our Clients and each other.  Think about that: be amazing every single day.  I’ve talked previously about being continually dissatisfiedhaving the right attitude, and how to challenge conventional thinking.  But being amazing: that’s a pretty high bar to set for yourself and your organization.  But remember, people rise to the expectations you set for them.

The ISMs: Driving a Culture That’s Engineered to Amaze

At Quicken Loans we have a set of leadership philosophies called the “ISMs” – they serve as the rules for interactions amongst everyone at our company.  I firmly believe that a company does not have a culture listed on a piece of paper or PowerPoint somewhere.  Instead, it has millions of internal interactions every day that in aggregate define the culture of the company.  Our ISMs guide those interactions to be successful, by creating the environment to make amazing things happen.

Engineered to Amaze: Top 3 ISMs That Work

Here are the top 3 ISMs that I believe have helped us become Engineered to Amaze at Quicken Loans.

Numbers and Money Follow, They Do Not Lead

Don’t chase the numbers.  Chase the ideas and skills that can make you great.  If you are really good at reacting to what your Clients need and nurturing new ideas, the money will follow.  Spend your time pursuing your ideas with passion.  Another popular ISM that works with this is “A Penny Saved is A Penny” – don’t let yourself get focused on chasing pennies, instead chase the ideas that lead to new revenue.

Every Second Counts

Urgency is the key to staying close to your customers, your Clients, and your business.  You have to create a company that reacts to the external and internal forces around it quickly and decisively.  You get 31,536,000 seconds every year.  How you choose to spend them will dictate your success.  Time is our most precious, non-renewable resource.

You’ll See It When You Believe It

You can’t make things happen unless you first believe in them.  It simply doesn’t work the other way around.  This belief that we can do anything has lead to some projects like our new iPhone app that are truly engineered to amaze.  By having laser-like mental focus every day, you can turn your beliefs into reality!

I hope you can embrace these ISMs, create your own, and use them to guide your success.

Be amazing.

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Welcome to the Dot Connector blog!

Regis HadiarisHi! I'm Regis Hadiaris. I write about improving your productivity, leadership skills, and life to help you become more successful.


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Posted: 7/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ] - 0 Likes
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Josh Linkner  The Man Behind the Magic  

Monday, July 25, 2011


This past week was truly a "magical" one for me.  Earvin "Magic" Johnson, the hall of fame basketball star, brilliant entrepreneur, and generous philanthropist joined my venture capital firm, Detroit Venture Partners, as our fourth partner.  His extensive involvement will help Detroit rebound by creating jobs, urban renewal, and hope.


Magic Johnson Spending the day with Earvin reveals something much more than his legendary stats and accomplishments, however.  His rarified level of achievement is actually overshadowed by his warmth, humility, and passion.  He doesn't talk of money, power, and fame.  No words of crushing the competition, self-enrichment, or glory.  In the place of typical boastfulness that oozes from so many celebrities lie words of encouragement and purpose. Beneath the surface, I quickly discovered a whole new kind of magic.


His most important teachings are not mastering a jump shot or commanding a boardroom.  The lessons we can all learn from Earvin relate to being a better human being.  So I want to share my observations with you, in the hopes that we can all benefit from learning a little magic:


MAGIC TRICK #1: Make everyone feel special.  Whether he's talking to the President or the parking attendant, Earvin is totally engaged.  He's an incredible listener, makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world, and cares deeply about you.  He doesn't size someone up and consider how he could extract benefit.  Instead, he looks into the eyes of the person, not their resume.


MAGIC TRICK #2: Develop boundless humility.  Many celebrity athletes and business leaders overflow with ego and pretense.  They travel with an entourage, drape themselves with bling, and anoint themselves king of every situation.  Earvin is exactly the opposite.  He celebrates the accomplishments of others over his own.  He's grateful for each opportunity and just wants to contribute.  No entitlement thinking.  No outrageous demands.


MAGIC TRICK #3: Focus on impact, not money. In the discussions leading up to our new partnership, the focus was always on making a difference.  We talked about how we can create jobs, how we can help talented entrepreneurs win, and how we can rebuild our beloved city.  Earvin keeps his eye on the real prize - driving positive change in the world.  And from there, money follows as a byproduct.  I've learned over the years that if you chase cash, you'll seldom find it.  Pursue greatness instead, and your earnings will rise in the process.


I'm certainly never going to win an NBA championship, but I grew as a person this week by hanging out with someone who transcends the world of athletics.  His thoughtful approach to both business and life is an inspiration to everyone he touches.  At 6'9", he's certainly tall.  But his character, strength, and honor are what make my friend Earvin a giant.


And that's the real magic.


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