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Live from Detroit II

David Mazower | 17:48 UK time, Friday, 10 November 2006

Hi it's James here, wishing that "Live from Detroit II: Motor City Strikes Back" wasn't too long to be the title of this post. We're on air now from the studios of our partner station WDET in Detroit, and you can click here to listen.

Today we thought it would be fitting to wrap up our week in the US with a look ahead. Tuesday's mid-term elections saw the Democrats take control of Congress, and this has many people saying that George W. Bush will be a lame duck for the last two years of his presidency. So we're asking our audience in Detroit what they think the president can achieve, and getting our listeners around the world to suggest what they think is most important. So send us your thoughts - call, email, or post to the blog.

Today we kicked off the programme with a quick reprise of yesterday's debate on affirmative action. Ros and the team have heard lots of people talking about it while they've been in Detroit, so we're going to revisit it again today. Proposal 2 has outlawed discrimination on the basis of race.

A listener emailed to say American black culture doesn't place enough emphasis on success, unlike the Chinese-Americans.

This was rejected by a listener who said that this was just a stereotype - there's no one black culture in America, just like all white Americans aren't southern hicks.

A lady in the audience voted for Proposal 2: "I think it should be totally economic. Education is the way to level the playing field."
Prof Carl Cohen helped frame proposal to ban affirmative action in michigan. He says it is unjust for people to be given an advantage by the state as a result of their race, colour or sex - that is unfair. He says it's reasonable to respond to disability, but not on the basis of national origin, colour or sex. He says giving one group preferential treatment divides society.

Mark has emailed to say:
"Opportunity is not something you can grant, if you don't actively make your own opportunities a law will not. There are millions of immigrants that seem to find opportunity without even speaking English. "

Steve from Virginia:
Your audiencemember stated that the perception that blacks don't value education is a stereotype, and gave an example that blacks don't think all whites are southern rednecks. Notice the irony of making your own stereotype about southerners to make your point that not all blacks don't value education?

Paul emails:
"I disagree with affirmative action as it is today. I would be for it if the program could offer a measurable. the measurable can not be when minorities are equal to white males. This is not measurable it is only subjective. I need a number that can be obtained that is the only way."

"I think that this is a horrible thing that goes against all things that women and minorities fought for and died for. The only people to benefit from this is white men in affluent positions and white women which are the only ones they would care about. Many white people don't understand discrimination from the inside out. I also feel that any women that voted for this are crazy because they know that they are stereotyped too and considered inferior to men."

Rick in Cleveland:
"People wake up, we are not the "United States of America" . . . we are significantly divided. Blue/Red states, color, gay/straight . . . Racism exists and laws (including AA) are needed to protect the rights of all. People who say racism doesn't exist anymore are fooling themselves."

The discussion is also raging in the studio. Des Preston, a journalist from Michigan joined us, and said that there are major structural inequalities in the public school system, so there is a lack of equal opportunities, which is not racist, but often correlates with race because black people are poor.

From the audience:

"this is about gender too - women are still under the mark in terms of income"

Des Preston:
"many women work in the informal economy - like stay at home mums, who receive no money for what they do, and this drags down the wages. But there's less difference between men and women who work in comparable jobs"

Caller Carol from Flint, Michigan joined us to say that in parts of Detroit there is reverse racism - where white people are treated rudely in black areas. She asked if the audience if there are any white people who agree that this is true.

A woman in the audience said no - she lives in the area in question, and hasn't experienced this.

"We should distinguish between institutional procedures, and random acts of people being rude."

And texts are coming in from listeners:

Jenny in Cameroon:
"When our schools are of equal quality, when all children can focus on school, not work to support the family - afirmative action will die."

For the second half of the programme, we're asking if George W. Bush is a lame-duck president. Can the president achieve anything in his last two years, and what do you think is the highest priority. The texts are already flowing on this:

Emma, Nigeria:

"It is too soon for anti-Bush countries to rejoice. Democrats or Republican, American interests will always come first. "

Hurry Democrats - we hope we will see change especialy in Africa because the war in iraq seems to be the priority.

William in Monrovia, Liberia.

Democracts, please rally around President Bush to finish/end terrorism around the world or terrorism will engulf the entire world.

Abdallah in Washington
After last elections I hope that Republicans read the lesson and stop their negative politics.

Mtokoma - Tanzania
America can not solve the problem of Middle East at all. I think is better if I do it than any American to be given such a job.

Karlos in Germany
Send Bush to the Hague Americans shouldnt have voted this guy in the first place, at a time, when the whole of europe allready knew, that he was a nutcase.

To kick off this debate in the studio, we were joined by Claudia Rodette from the Foundation for Defence of Democracies - she says that now the Democrats are going to have more control over what happens, they're going to have to cmoe up with some public policies, rather than just criticisms, particularly on issues such as the war on terror.

And more texts:

Toyib in Nigeria
G W Bush now faces the worst moments of his war-obsessed presidency. Americans have voted for change, and he has no choice.

Gabriel from Nigeria
Please, do not make the mistakes from before President Bush came to power - there are terrorist killing innocent people all over the places. You should pray for your leaders what ever religion you belong to rather than criticism. We need peace in the whole world.

Charles in LagosI
do not believe Bush can work well with the Democrats, he has proven to be typically proud and arrogant.

Claudia Rodette asked if anyone in the audience has had their rights taken away by the Bush administrations's policies.

Several audience members say it's not the government's business to be monitoring their phone calls.

"It's not the government's business to be in my business"

Chris from Montreal
"He should restore the right to a writ of habeus corpus."

"I'm glad Bush was not in power when a terrorist from Michigan attacked (blew up) the Okalahoma Federal building or they would still be bombing Michigan!!!"

In response to “What would we have George Bush do?” Obviously, we don’t know all details involved to make that decision, and that’s why we pay government. However we need a president that isn’t using the title/power for his own agenda.

Anna, Los Angeles:
I would like to get back to the agenda and go after the man who killed our people. Yes Saddam is bad and glad he will be hanged. Lets get back to getting Bin Landen. I am afraid sometimes they "Bush Government" wants him alive to keep his agenda going. I never hear the news or anyone else fight to get him. He started it and Bush is continuing the killing.

[Bush] really needs to open an earnest and honest dialogue with Islam itself and simultaneously drop the Christian hegemonic rhetoric of apocalyptic fearmongering.

Skip from Chesterland, ohio
It is sad to hear the vindictive, vitriolic comments from your audience about Bush. Clearly one can disagree with his approach, but to attack him as a liar and criminal and etc…are simply inaccurate. People are NOT listening in on your phone calls. All of this hate speech does nothing to promote what it is you say you want.
Look in the mirror…

The President should try to drop the hubris out of his foreign policy. To say that the fact that we haven't been attack since Sept of 2001 means what we are doing is right is a grave error. Remember, the same group attacked the same building in NY in 1993 and it took them untill 2001...but they did do it again.

And finally Jason sent an email titled "Your Audience is Crazy":
The people in the audience believe terrorism and anti americanism started the day bush came into office. our enemy hates us because we are free.

And that's it from us tonight. Have a good weekend wherever you are, and join us again next week.


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