Detroit Water and Sewerage Department: Water not a human right

Protests continue against water shutoffs

By Zenobia Jeffries

DETROIT — Cleaning up the books at the expense of residents  in order to make the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department more attractive to potential buyers outside the city is how one Detroiter described the recent mass water shutoffs in the city.

“I was on a payment plan,” Joseph Link II told the Michigan Citizen. “My monthly payment was $190. (So when) they set this up, it automatically put me over the amount (where my water can be shut off).”

It’s been over two months since Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr announced DWSD is cutting service for 1500-3000 customers a week for those residents who are behind $150 or more on their water bills, or whose accounts are 60 days overdue.

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NYC only 24th in fitness out of US’s top 50

New Yorkers may be known for walking fast — but they don’t do it often enough.

New York City comes in 24th out of 50 metropolitan areas on the 2014 American Fitness Index, a report released by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Washington, DC, topped the list, with 77.3 points out of a possible 100.

New York scored 51.5 points.

Memphis, Tenn., was the biggest loser, coming in dead last with a paltry 24.8 points.

The report says the New York metro area could use more parks, playgrounds and recreation centers.

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Seeking to Expand an Uptown Site, N.Y.U. Finds Itself in an Alley Fight

JUNE 2, 2014

“I am shocked and appalled at N.Y.U.,” Aldo Bozzi shouted during a community board meeting two weeks ago. “And this is just beginning. New York is going to decay if this is going to be permitted.”

For the nation’s largest private university, this has become a familiar lament, but this time it comes from unfamiliar territory. Rather than the professors, radicals and bohemian celebrities in its native Greenwich Village who have assailed New York University for decades, the opponents here are a half-dozen of the wealthy and socially elite on the Upper East Side, like Mr. Bozzi, the former head of Alfa Romeo in North America. And they are not fighting over vast acres or soaring dormitories.

Their battleground is a back alley around the corner from Central Park.

Since 1958, the university has operated its Institute of Fine Arts — the graduate schools of art history, archaeology and art conservation — out of a 40,000-square-foot limestone building donated a year earlier by Doris Duke. Her father, James Duke, had built the three-story mansion in the French classical style at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 78th Street in 1912, a testament to his control of four-fifths of the nation’s cigarette business.

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A National Call to Link Arms for Democracy

Saturday, 31 May 2014 16:58 By Victoria Collier and Ben-Zion PtashnikTruthout | Op-Ed

“When I despair I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall, think of it – always!” - Mahatma Gandhi

For Americans, these are dangerous and momentous times. We have only a small window of opportunity to break the grip of moneyed interests on our government, before an advancing oligarchy consolidates power and locks in tyranny.

This article is an urgent call to organize a mass-based political movement in the coming months and through the 2016 elections. If we rise to the occasion and fight, we can reclaim democracy, regain control of our future, and preserve the dreams of our children, and for the coming generations.

Without a sweeping grassroots movement, loudly pushing and protesting for reforms, populist candidates, or coalitions in Congress will never have the power to defeat the forces of a corrupt ruling class. Robber barons have resurfaced with a vengeance in the past four decades, openly attacking our democratic system, while buying power to extend and protect their privilege in perpetuity.

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Frankenstein Fears His Monster: The Gates Foundation Wants You To Boycott High-Stakes Tests

Published on Friday, June 13, 2014 by Common Dreams

by Jesse Hagopian



“…the Gates Foundation agrees with those who’ve decided that assessment results should not be taken into account in high-stakes decisions on teacher evaluation or student promotion for the next two years, during this transition.”  — Vicki Phillips, director of the U.S. education program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

How do you know the United States is currently experiencing the largest revolt against high-stakes standardized testing in history?

Because even the alchemists responsible for concocting the horrific education policies designed to turn teaching and learning into a test score have been shaken hard enough to awaken from the nightmare scenario of fast-tracking high-stakes Common Core testing across the nation. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation issued a stunning announcement on Tuesday, saying that it supports a two-year moratorium on attaching high-stakes to teacher evaluations or student promotion on tests associated with the new Common Core State Standards.

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Scientists condemn ‘crazy, dangerous’ creation of deadly airborne flu virus

Researchers say recreation of Spanish flu strain highlights risk of pandemic, but critics say work puts global population at risk

Scientists have created a life-threatening virus that closely resembles the 1918 Spanish flu strain that killed an estimated 50m people in an experiment labelled as “crazy” by opponents.

US researchers said the experiments were crucial for understanding the public health risk posed by viruses currently circulating in wild birds, but critics condemned the studies as dangerous and called on funders to stop the work.

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison used a technique called reverse genetics to build the virus from fragments of wild bird flu strains. They then mutated the virus to make it airborne to spread more easily from one animal to another.

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Iraq Descends Into Bloody Factional Chaos: Bush and Cheney Should Be Tried for War Crimes

If you are a US family who lost a son or daughter, brother or sister, niece or nephew in the Iraq War, the searing pain of loss can only be compounded by the current implosion of the nation into a failed state of factional warring chaos.

If you are an Iraqi who lost a son or daughter, brother or sister, niece or nephew in the Iraq War, the devastating grief is now compounded by the realization that the loss was not only due to the vain and imperious assertion of empire, but the abominable slaughter of a civil war is returning to Iraq at this very moment.

Mission accomplished, George W. Bush swaggeringly declared on the stage set of an aircraft carrier those many years ago.  It was supposed to be the shining moment of neocon triumph, the ultimate assertion of United States hegemony and military power as an empire.

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Japan kills 30 minke whales in first hunt since ICJ ruling

Japan has caught 30 minke whales in its first hunt since the International Court of Justice ordered the halt of its annual expedition in the Antarctic.

A report by the Japanese Fisheries Agency said that 30 minke whales had been killed during the April-June whaling season as part of its “research hunts” in the north-west Pacific Ocean.

They also said that another group of whalers were still hunting in a more remote part of the ocean.

The news of Japan’s decision to continue with its whaling programme in the Pacific will come as a shock to the International Court of Justice, which in March ruled that Japan’s Antarctic whaling should be stopped.

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Meeting Logs: Obama White House Quietly Coddling Big Oil on “Bomb Trains” Regulations

When Richard Revesz, Dean Emeritus of New York University Law School, introduced Howard Shelanski at his only public appearance so far during his tenure as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Revesz described Shelanski as, “from our perspective, close to the most important official in the federal government.”

OIRA has recently reared its head in a big way because it is currently reviewing the newly-proposed oil-by-rail safety regulations rolled out by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

During his presentation at NYU, Shelanski spoke at length about how OIRA must use “cost-benefit analysis” with regards to regulations, stating, “Cost-benefit analysis is an essential tool for regulatory policy.”

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Vergara Part Two : How the 1% Have Learned to Use the Noblest Causes for the Most Venal Ends

By Patrick Walsh

June 13, 2014

There have been more than a few events in the past 20 years or so that, even as I accepted their possibility, sent chills down my spine upon learning they actually happened. This sensation of primal fear tended only to grow stronger with time to ponder the deeper significance of such events upon the direction of the nation, a nation in which I now raise a young child.
One was the Supreme Court’s still unfathomable decision to appoint George W. Bush president in 2000. Another was the same Bush’s decision to eviscerate a virtually defenseless Iraq under the pretense of somehow making it into a democracy. A third was the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that permits the military to seize U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military facilities under the pretense of fighting terrorism.
All of the above are clear and unmistakable evidence that strange, terrible and extraordinarily powerful forces have been unleashed in this country, met only with an as yet equally extraordinarily absence of an effective resistance. In very short order in all of the cases above, what shortly before seemed inconceivable almost overnight become what is cynically called “the new normal.”

Add to these now the decision in Vergara vs. California, which may seem small potatoes when compared with the above, but, unless things change in this country and radically so, I fear it is anything but.

The case, we are meant to believe, was brought forth by nine preternaturally litigious kids who just grew tired of being the victims of “grossly ineffective teachers” who, protected by California’s laws on tenure and seniority, robbed them of their civil rights to a fair and adequate free public education. Somehow, the kids’ cause came to the attention of Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur and modern day civil rights leader David Welch, co-founder of Infinera and founder of the advocate group StudentsMatter, and David being David… well, he just had to act. Welch, out of the kindness of his massive heart, massively bankrolled the civil rights lawsuit, hiring none other than the “high-powered legal team chaired by famed litigators Theodore Boutrous and Theodore Olson, ” the same legal team, in fact, that brought us George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election.

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The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination

The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination

“While We Were Sleeping”

While We Were Sleeping is an urgent call to save Greenwich Village from New York University's uncontrolled expansion.

Click here to donate to NYUFASP and receive a copy of "While We Were Sleeping: NYU and the Destruction of New York" (minimum donation to receive a book is $10 plus $8 shipping).

Orwell Rolls In His Grave, featuring MCM – Buy the DVD

About News From Underground

News From Underground is a daily e-news service run by Mark Crispin Miller, a Professor of Culture and Communication at NYU. It is based on his belief that academics, like reporters, have a civic obligation to help keep the people well-informed, so that American democracy might finally work.

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