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Court turns control of the Detroit Public Library to ‘emergency’ manager

Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Annette Berry issued a decision that turns control of the Detroit Public Library over to the “emergency” manager by allowing the EM unprecedented authority “to remove, replace, appoint or confirm appointments to the Library Commission.” The Detroit Library Commission is the governing body over the Detroit Public Library, an independent municipal corporation. It is, or was, ...

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From Mexico to Detroit: Austerity, its victims and its patrons

While traveling in Mexico during the political moment of the advent of the North American Free Trade Agreement, I was swept up in the national protests. There were millions of people protesting daily, shutting down intersections and living in encampments in the Zocalo, the plaza in the center of Mexico City. PEMEX workers of the national oil companies (petroleros) were waging a hunger strike in the plaza. T ...

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Detroit is better than that

The recent comments made by Detroit’s Emergency Manger Kevyn Orr in an interview with the Wall Street Journal strike at the very heart and soul of that which clearly demonstrates two different world views of the same condition. Orr’s comments were callous, insensitive, disrespectful, stereotypical and most disdainful of not only the African American citizens in the city of Detroit, but in particular, those ...

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Labor unions at another crossroad

Next month, the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the United States, will hold its convention in Los Angeles. Breaking with tradition, the AFL-CIO will be opening its doors to community-based organizations, limiting the number of plenary speakers and seeking to focus its resolutions on “action items” such as proposals that aim to produce a specific outcome rather than general statements. ...

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What is a living wage?

Workers at fast food restaurants recently demonstrated outside their places of work, highlighting the low wages they receive and demanding more. They say twice as much, or $15 an hour, will provide them with a living wage. In Washington, D.C., the City Council has sent legislation to Mayor Vincent Gray, requiring “big box” stores like Walmart and Best Buy to pay $12.50, more than the D.C. minimum wage of $8 ...

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Street fight

Without a doubt, the race for mayor of Detroit is about to get real. When Mike Duggan won — and not just won a write-in campaign but also came in first — many in Detroit were stunned. Duggan clearly outspent the competition. The city council incumbents — who opened the door for the Snyder administration — were reelected. Any person with a family name or who has held office previously coasted to victory. Ove ...

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Cycle disobedience

Detroit is most beautiful seen from the saddle of a bicycle. Our streets are wide. The land is flat. Traffic is light. On most mornings, the city is so quiet you can hear the crackling staccato of a pheasant over the persistent whispering cadence of your chain. All those features make bike travel the ideal way to truly see what is so often overlooked in this wide, magical land. ...

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All people of African origin live the ‘Trayvon Martin experience’

While visiting Ghana, a traveler observed residents of that West African country carefully monitoring George Zimmerman’s trial on their smart phones. More remarkable than how technology has shrunk the world is the way at least some people in Africa apparently identified with Trayvon Martin and were concerned about the fate of the man who killed him. Concern abroad about the plight of Trayvon Martin occurred ...

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South Africa cozies up to nuclear power, dismaying critics

South African President Jacob Zuma and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in three reciprocal working visits this year with nuclear cooperation high on the agenda at the meetings. Russia is reportedly seeking to provide South Africa with uranium enrichment, supply, reactor technology and localization of nuclear skills. French and Chinese investors will have supporting roles. Earlier this year, the Ministr ...

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