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Letters From Detroit


And now, it's time for BackTalk. That's where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere. Editor Ammad Omar is here with us once again. We'll get to him in just a minute, but before we do, I just want to start with a correction.

In our Barbershop segment last week, I said that a quote about Adam Levine, who was a former assistant White House secretary, came from the New Yorker Magazine. The quote actually came from the New York Observer in a column written by Joe Hagan.

So now that we've clarified that, Ammad, what do you have for us?

AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Well, Michel, you're still shaking off the jetlag from that one hour trip to Detroit. We aired the program from WDET in Detroit on Tuesday. That's my hometown, so we've got a Detroit-centric BackTalk today.

Let's start with this from Noah Stevens(ph). He wrote in and had this to say.

NOAH STEVENS: Hey, Michel, thanks for giving the rest of the nation a look at what's great about Detroit. Come back soon.

MARTIN: You know, I will, Noah. We had a great time in Detroit and thanks to all of our great hosts out there and thanks to those who wrote in.

What else do you have for us?

OMAR: Well, Michel, Noah's a photographer, so Noah, you can check out some pictures listeners sent in from Detroit on our blog. Just go to NPR.org/TellMeMore and click on that blog link.

MARTIN: And I also think we have a news update from Detroit, also. Do I have that right?

OMAR: Yeah, that's right. You interviewed Detroit Mayor Dave Bing while you were out there. The city's trying to slash its budget to avoid a state takeover that could strip the mayor of a lot of his powers and could cancel a lot of union deals. Here's a quick clip of your conversation with Mayor Bing.

MAYOR DAVID BING: I had a financial crisis day one when I walked into the office and so trying to let people know how dire the situation is because most people look back and say, you know, I remember the good old times. Well, the good old times are the good old times. They're not coming back. We've got to do something altogether different.

OMAR: Well, on Thursday, city officials announced that they'd reached a tentative deal with about half of the public unions there to rework some of those contracts and to cut the budget, but it's not clear if that will actually prevent a state takeover because the financial crisis is so deep there in Detroit.

MARTIN: We will definitely keep following that story. What else do you have?

OMAR: A quick fun fact for you. In Detroit, you've got to go south to cross the border into Canada. Obviously, for most people, south of the border means Mexico. Kristen Mellow(ph) from Newbury Park, California was reminded of that country when she heard a segment with Oscar nominated actor Demian Bichir. He talked about some of his favorite songs and mentioned "Ojala" by Silvio Rodriguez and that brought back some memories.

MARTIN: Kristen wrote that the song, quote, "took me instantly back to the days when I was living in Mexico City and in love with a wonderful musician. He sang me that song and wrote the lyrics down for me once he knew how much I loved it as a courting gesture. So, this morning, I sat at my computer crying at the beauty of the memory. Thank you."

OMAR: You're welcome, Kristen, and get your Kleenex out because we're going to play it for you one more time.


SILVIO RODRIGUEZ: (Singing in foreign language).

MARTIN: And, remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522 or visit us online at NPR.org/TellMeMore. Please remember to leave us your name. You can also find us on Twitter. Just look for TELL ME MORE NPR.

And thank you, Ammad.

OMAR: Thank you.

MARTIN: One last bonus letter. Barbara Hoffman(ph) from Millrift, Pennsylvania, writes in, I just love the Barbershop guys. I even like it when they talk sports. Well, Barbara, you'll want to stay tuned because, just ahead, the guys will be making their Super Bowl picks, even though some of them had the Detroit Lions winning it all a few weeks ago. That's coming up on TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.