Water Is A Human Right

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Don’t mess with Maureen Taylor.

Scroll to 1:08:40. “This monstrous thing that’s going on in Detroit … beyond demonic … You gotta leave here changed! … Water is a human right.”

Seems we got their attention:

Detroit suspended its aggressive policy of cutting off water to customers with unpaid bills on Monday, the latest response to a controversy that has prompted large protests and caught the attention of the judge overseeing the city’s bankruptcy.

The city said there will be no shutoffs for the next 15 days. The disclosure was made in bankruptcy court where Judge Steven Rhodes is overseeing the nation’s largest ever municipal bankruptcy. He has been encouraging Detroit to come up with alternatives to shutting off water for thousands of homes and businesses.

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Still recovering from an electrifying conference in Detroit. Wanted to post this.

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Rev. William Barber from the Forward Together movement spoke for an hour on Thursday night and wowed the Netroots Nation audience. It was many people’s first exposure to Rev. Barber, and it was all anyone could talk about on Friday morning. And least one person said it was the best speech they had ever heard live.

Barber drew energy from the crowd. He talked at one point about how, to get out of the wilderness, you don’t go down into the valley. There are snakes down there! Instead, he said, you make for the ridge tops.

From his telling, there is a climatic effect, an elevation above which snakes don’t go. Our politics, Barber said, have got to “rise above the snake line.” By the next morning, you could buy Rise above the snake line buttons in the exhibit hall with the coiled Tea Party snake below the line on the lower half.

He seemed to be enjoying himself, and was much lighter on his feet by the end of this speech even bouncing a little bit.

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Sunday Morning Music

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Some guy was playing this beside the river in Detroit Friday night. Oh, it was this guy.

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Michigan has Rick Snyder. North Carolina has Pat McCrory. Here in Detroit for Netroots Nation, it is clear that Michigan is facing some of the same issues with GOP governance as North Carolina. The Koch brothers’ influence is palpable to these people. And where North Carolina has Art Pope, Michigan has the DeVos family.

With twenty percent of the world’s fresh water in the Great Lakes and flowing past our hotel, Detroit faces water privatization. It was not lost on those in Asheville that when Michigan’s governor appointed an emergency manager for Detroit — superseding local democracy and local governance — about the first public asset that went on the auction block was its water and sewer.

Sound familiar?

Over and over again this weekend, stories being told at Netroots echo what we are experiencing in North Carolina. The same destructive agenda is being acted out across the country. Other states are worse off, having enacted budgets like Gov. Sam Brownback’s in Kansas ahead of Pat McCrory’s in North Carolina. But the results will be the same in the Old North State. We are only now seeing the leading edge.

As we sit here, a panel of local activists is discussing the privatization of Detroit’s water system and Michigan’s public schools. In actions described by activist Maureen Taylor as “beyond demonic,” thousands of poor residents are having their water cut off in Detroit. Some going without running water for over a year. Mothers with children. The United Nations

It is not encouraging to see how widespread the assault is on public institutions, but it is good to know we are not alone in the fight.


Friday Open Thread

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VP Joe Biden spoke to the Netroots Nation conference last night on a variety of policy issues including marriage equality.

“There’s so much unfinished business,” Biden said. “But I believe in a nation that understands the most precious right Americans possess is the unfettered access to the ballot box.”

At her booth at the conference, Lisa Graves from The Progressive magazine and the Center for Media and Democracy showed her organization has been keeping a close eye on North Carolina’s radical legislature.

It’s Friday Open Thread. What’s drawing your scrutiny?

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Unions Work For You

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Sitting here waiting for VP Biden to show up to speak. They’re scrolling some of the sponsors on the video screens, including AFSCME. Thought I’d re-run this. Just for fun.

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Categories : Action, National
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Check back for the addresses listed below and here.

Live streaming video by Ustream

Thursday, July 17, 2014 Keynotes

3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Keynote featuring Vice President Joe Biden
7:15 to 9 p.m. Opening keynote featuring Rev. Barber

Friday, July 18, 2014

10 to 10:45 a.m. Morning keynote featuring Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Categories : Action, Democrats, National, News
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Hey Baby,

Yeah, I’m talking to you hot pants! You so fine I want your vote to be mine. Didn’t you know I was a free-market Love God? It’s because I’ve got “invisible hands” but it feels so good when they make the market run in perfect harmony, you know what I’m sayin’?

Hey, sweet cheeks, don’t get upset. I’m just trying to bring the debate down to your level, honey! Are you getting me yet? Are you voting for me yet? Do ya love me Baby? Do ya? Can you fetch a cool glass of privatized water for me Baby?


Categories : Republicans
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Paul Krugman observes the ever-changing predictions of the Affordable Care Act’s imminent demise.

First nobody but the sick would sign up, so we’d have a death spiral. Then it was “OK, a lot of people have signed up, but they won’t pay — and anyway, even more people have lost coverage.”

As uninsured rates take a nosedive, naysayers are going to have to line up some more reasons the act is failing, Krugman suggests.

And no, it’s not just an improving economy. An improving economy doesn’t explain the differences in state that implemented the exchanges and those that didn’t.

What he doesn’t mention is that signups are only one, slim metric of success. Gallup reports that few report that the law has helped them so far and the the law remains fairly unpopular (both polls late May) even as Americans are generally satisfied with the health system in the country.

Go figure.

Categories : Health Care, National
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Sunday Morning Music

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