Fall is over, Christmas is upon us, and it’s time for a breather. But before the year comes to a close, here’s a look at my recent appearances and stories.

In late December, I talked to Minnesota Public Radio about the closing of Ford’s St. Paul truck plant. Ford built vehicles in St. Paul for 89 years, and the St. Paul plant escaped closure time and again. But Ford is consolidating much of its business, focusing primarily on Michigan, Ohio and Ontario (with plants still in Kentucky and Missouri).

I also had a little fun in Atlantic Cities with a story about my home town, Ann Arbor, Mich. Citizens are in a polite uproar over a recently implemented pedestrian ordinance. The city council is at work to come up with a revision of the ordinance, which has strained nerves, caused car crashes and resulted in tickets.

I recently became a contributing writer to Atlantic Cities, and I’m looking forward to more reports on urban America. You can read all my Atlantic Cities stories here.

Stay tuned for some news about another writing project. In the meantime, wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Should the federal government have bailed out General Motors and Chrysler? Some might say yes, especially now that the two companies have repaid the loan portions of their federal bailout.

Last week, Chrysler paid back the money it borrowed two years ago from the United States and Canada. Or more accurately, it refinanced the loans at lower rates than the interest of up to 20% that it was paying them.

I discussed the bailout on a couple of programs. I appeared on PBS NewsHour, and also was a guest on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

My sense is that the bailout was as much a political decision as an economic one. Unions backed President Obama during the election campaign. Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and other states with GM and Chrysler plants gave the president a lot of votes. It is industrial policy of a sort, and the full implications have yet to be truly understood.

So let me ask you: would you have bailed out the companies? Why, or why not?

An author couldn’t ask for a more wonderful Publication Day. The book is on sale everywhere from New York City to Ann Arbor to Starkville, MS.jprI2H

And it is getting a lot of attention, including this story in Newsweek.

I began the day by visiting Paul W. Smith in his beautiful studio in the Fisher Building on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit.

zClI8TPaul W. has always been a good friend to me and to my books, and he had me as a guest for an hour, and presented five listeners with autographed copies of the book. Have a listen here and here.

Also had the opportunity to speak with one of the best broadcasters on radio, Robin Young, who hosts Here and Now on WBUR and NPR stations. Robin raised questions that many people are asking, namely, does foreign investment weaken the American economy? You can hear my answers here (it starts about 10 minutes in).

The afternoon wrapped up with an interview on WCBS Newsradio 880 in New York, the station where New Yorkers listen for up to the minute news.

I can tell The Selling of the American Economy is going to generate a lot of discussion. Please post your comments and join in the debate.