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Michigan: Where democracy used to live

One hundred and eighty years ago, in his journey across America to report on “Democracy in America,” the great French writer Alexis de Tocqueville said: “There is hardly a political question in the United States that does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one.” Today, we face a major judicial question in the history of our democratic republic. This question is rooted in whether or not every citizen o ...

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Fallout from my Tea Party ‘Taliban’ comment… What is the lesson here?

I have always suspected that racists didn’t like being called out for their racism. Now I have proof. When I told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts on May 14 that the Tea Party was “the Taliban wing of American politics,” a firestorm erupted. Arguing the IRS was correct to target them for extra scrutiny, I also said, “Here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political” and therefore worthy ...

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Placing athletics above academics

Why do sports play such a prominent role in college education? Does it crowd out the attention we pay to other aspects of college life? Why are student athletes treated like slaves or gladiators, playing to pay colleges for the fruits of their labor? Other students enjoy “school spirit” when their team wins, and universities collect revenue from advertisers when they make it to the big leagues. ...

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Homeowners to Eric Holder: Hold banks accountable

Homeowners and former homeowners rallied in front of the Department of Justice Monday to demand the Attorney General Eric Holder hold banks accountable for foreclosures. The groups are asking the Department of Justice to prosecute banks and to protect the 13 million homeowners who struggle today with underwater mortgages. The groups organizing the protest, the Home Defenders League and Occupy Homes, are pus ...

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Why the Obama Administration must do more to help working-class families on housing

By many accounts, the economy is prospering again and the housing market is on the road to recovery. But, reality is nowhere near as comforting as fiction, and the facts point to a very different reality faced by working families and minority communities, especially in the barrios. The Great Recession pushed millions of willing workers off the labor force, put many others in lower paying or multiple jobs, a ...

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Class of 2013: Summon the courage, choose to serve and live with compassion

“Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are … for all the land that you see I will give to you.” — Genesis 13: 14-15 University commencement season is a time of high hopes and great celebration. I was again reminded of that this past Saturday when I delivered the commencement address at Huston-Tillotson (HT) University in Austin, Texas. This coming weekend, I will also speak during graduatio ...

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A fair minimum wage is a measure of decency

The April jobs report has been hailed as good news by the nation’s newspapers. But a look under the numbers is more sobering. In Chicago and cities across the country, extreme poverty remains high, and the jobless still haunt our streets. Washington would rather sell optimism. We’ve seen 38 straight months of private-sector job growth. The stock market is at record heights. Corporate profits are setting rec ...

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Testimonial of Henry Ford High School student

(Recently) the administration informed the student body that a student, Terry Jones, was killed over the weekend while he was on his way to a gang fight. It was interesting because during my Ethics class, we were — or attempting to — have a class discussion about the recent student protest for equal education at Michigan and North Carolina universities. The class did not seem intrigued until it was announce ...

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On Democracy and Emergency Managers

Progressive Michiganders have, in response to the proposed and imposed emergency managers, opposed the emergency manager (EM) laws as attacks on or subversions of democracy. This concern is based primarily around the emergency managers’ ability to dismiss the decision-making power of elected officials. This, in effect, removes the franchise from subject populations by disempowering those who won office by t ...

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