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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 65,589

Journal Archives

“Any government's condemnation of terrorism is only credible.............

............if it shows itself to be responsive to persistent, reasonable, closely argued, non-violent dissent. And yet, what's happening is just the opposite. The world over, non-violent resistance movements are being crushed and broken. If we do not respect and honour them, by default we privilege those who turn to violent means.”

-- Arundhati Roy


Paris Wants to Keep Central Neighborhoods From Becoming 'Ghettos for the Rich'


Paris Wants to Keep Central Neighborhoods From Becoming 'Ghettos for the Rich'
The French capital has announced a plan to stop housing displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods. It might be the most radical proposal Europe has seen.

FEARGUS O'SULLIVAN @FeargusOSull Dec 19, 2014


What can you do when a once socially mixed neighborhood starts turning into a “ghetto for the rich”? Quite a lot, according to the city of Paris. As part of a massive home-building drive, the government of France’s capital has just announced a plan to stop housing displacement in central neighborhoods. It might just be the most radical Europe has yet seen. Earlier this week, the Conseil de Paris published a list of 257 addresses (containing over 8,000 apartments) that the city would have a "right of first-refusal" to buy, in order to convert to subsidized housing. Located in areas that are being gentrified, the city’s plans would both increase subsidized rental options and ensure that at least some housing in these areas remains affordable to lower- and middle-income residents. The plans operate within existing laws rather than creating new ones—but as you can imagine, real-estate professionals aren’t exactly delighted with the proposals.

The nuts and bolts of the plan are as follows. When apartments at any of the 257 addresses come up for sale, they must by law be offered first to the city. The apartment should still be sold at the market price —but the price offered would nonetheless be decided by the city, not the seller. If the landlord doesn’t like what’s offered, he or she can appeal to an independent judge to have it re-priced, or can withdraw the property from the market. What the landlord can’t do, however, is sell the apartment on to someone else without the city having bowed out first.

The broader social-engineering goals here are clear to anyone familiar with Paris when you look at where the addresses are distributed on the map. Typically they are in formerly working-class neighborhoods in northern and eastern Paris—Ménilmontant, the slopes north of Montmartre, the eastern end of the Bastille—where lower-income residents are being displaced. In places, the list even reads a bit like a gentrifiers’ streetfinder, with addresses on busy, broadly hip café and restaurant strips Rue Oberkampf, Rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, and Rue de Charonne. According to mayor’s aide Ian Brossat, the move is about:

Choosing diversity and solidarity, against exclusion, social determinism and the centrifugal logic of the market. It also aims to reduce inequalities between the east and the west of Paris in particular, developing social supply where it is insufficient.


The plan’s ambition will come at a cost—literally. If the city is genuinely going to pay market prices, the plan could be expensive, which is why it has set aside €850 million ($1.05 billion U.S.) for purchases. In reality, as this is a right of first-refusal rather than an outright purchase plan, only 100 or so apartments may be bought up during current mayor Anne Hidalgo’s tenure. The idea is essentially to give Paris the ability to act as a social-mix monitor, steeping in to prevent social segregation in the public interest if they feel it is under threat. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.citylab.com/housing/2014/12/paris-wants-to-keep-central-neighborhoods-from-becoming-ghettos-for-the-rich/383936/



Slip of an Officer’s Tongue Suggests Police Are Monitoring #BlackLivesMatter Protesters’ Cell Phones


from In These Times:


Slip of an Officer’s Tongue Suggests Police Are Monitoring #BlackLivesMatter Protesters’ Cell Phones
Are Chicago police using ‘stingrays’ against activists?

BY JOEL HANDLEY


“We Surveil and Protect” is an ongoing investigation into the techniques and technology that the Chicago Police Department employs to spy on activists, unions and heavily policed communities of color.


A police officer’s blunder appears to have shed a thin ray of light on one of the Chicago Police Department’s most closely held secrets.

During a Black Friday Boycott march, one of many Ferguson-related demonstrations held that week, a Chicago police officer radioed the city’s “fusion center,” where the city police collaborate with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, among many other agencies.

Officer: “Yeah, one of the girls, she's kind of an organizer here, she’s been on her phone a lot. You guys picking up any information, uh, where they’re going, possibly?”

Crime Prevention and Information Center (CPIC): “Yeah, we’re keeping an eye on it. We’ll let you know if we hear anything.”


A member of an online subculture of police scanner enthusiasts caught the call as it came in on Chicago Citywide 6—the police band used for special events—and paraphrased it on Twitter. Protesters seized upon the information, widely sharing it online. Later that week, Anonymous published a video of the call and transcript, dramatized with music and voiceover assurances from President Obama that the government is not listening to citizens’ phone calls. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17476/a_slip_of_an_officers_tongue_suggests_police_are_monitoring_ferguson_protes



Infographic: The 5 Largest Public Transit Systems in the US





http://thisbigcity.net/infographic-the-5-largest-public-transit-systems-in-the-us/


Ahh, the wonders of the U.S. healthcare system ............


From the E.R. to the Courtroom: How Nonprofit Hospitals Are Seizing Patients’ Wages
One Missouri hospital has sued thousands of uninsured patients who couldn’t pay for their care, then grabbed a hefty portion of their paychecks to cover the bills. “We will be paying them off until we die,” one debtor said.

by Paul Kiel, ProPublica, and Chris Arnold, NPR, Dec. 19, 2014, 5 a.m


This story was co-published with NPR.


On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Missouri, lies the small city's only hospital, a landmark of brick and glass. Music from a player piano greets visitors at the main entrance, and inside, the bright hallways seem endless. Long known as Heartland Regional Medical Center, the nonprofit hospital and its system of clinics recently rebranded. Now they're called Mosaic Life Care, because, their promotional materials say: "We offer much more than health care. We offer life care."

Two miles away, at the rear of a low-slung building is a key piece of Mosaic—Heartland's very own for-profit debt collection agency.

When patients receive care at Heartland and don't or can't pay, their bills often end up here at Northwest Financial Services. And if those patients don't meet Northwest's demands, their debts can make another, final stop: the Buchanan County Courthouse.

From 2009 through 2013, Northwest filed more than 11,000 lawsuits. When it secured a judgment, as it typically did, Northwest was entitled to seize a hefty portion of a debtor's paycheck. During those years, the company garnished the pay of about 6,000 people and seized at least $12 million—an average of about $2,000 each, according to a ProPublica analysis of state court data. ...........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.propublica.org/article/how-nonprofit-hospitals-are-seizing-patients-wages



Paris Wants to Keep Central Neighborhoods From Becoming 'Ghettos for the Rich'


Paris Wants to Keep Central Neighborhoods From Becoming 'Ghettos for the Rich'
The French capital has announced a plan to stop housing displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods. It might be the most radical proposal Europe has seen.

FEARGUS O'SULLIVAN @FeargusOSull Dec 19, 2014


What can you do when a once socially mixed neighborhood starts turning into a “ghetto for the rich”? Quite a lot, according to the city of Paris. As part of a massive home-building drive, the government of France’s capital has just announced a plan to stop housing displacement in central neighborhoods. It might just be the most radical Europe has yet seen. Earlier this week, the Conseil de Paris published a list of 257 addresses (containing over 8,000 apartments) that the city would have a "right of first-refusal" to buy, in order to convert to subsidized housing. Located in areas that are being gentrified, the city’s plans would both increase subsidized rental options and ensure that at least some housing in these areas remains affordable to lower- and middle-income residents. The plans operate within existing laws rather than creating new ones—but as you can imagine, real-estate professionals aren’t exactly delighted with the proposals.

The nuts and bolts of the plan are as follows. When apartments at any of the 257 addresses come up for sale, they must by law be offered first to the city. The apartment should still be sold at the market price —but the price offered would nonetheless be decided by the city, not the seller. If the landlord doesn’t like what’s offered, he or she can appeal to an independent judge to have it re-priced, or can withdraw the property from the market. What the landlord can’t do, however, is sell the apartment on to someone else without the city having bowed out first.

The broader social-engineering goals here are clear to anyone familiar with Paris when you look at where the addresses are distributed on the map. Typically they are in formerly working-class neighborhoods in northern and eastern Paris—Ménilmontant, the slopes north of Montmartre, the eastern end of the Bastille—where lower-income residents are being displaced. In places, the list even reads a bit like a gentrifiers’ streetfinder, with addresses on busy, broadly hip café and restaurant strips Rue Oberkampf, Rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, and Rue de Charonne. According to mayor’s aide Ian Brossat, the move is about:

Choosing diversity and solidarity, against exclusion, social determinism and the centrifugal logic of the market. It also aims to reduce inequalities between the east and the west of Paris in particular, developing social supply where it is insufficient.


The plan’s ambition will come at a cost—literally. If the city is genuinely going to pay market prices, the plan could be expensive, which is why it has set aside €850 million ($1.05 billion U.S.) for purchases. In reality, as this is a right of first-refusal rather than an outright purchase plan, only 100 or so apartments may be bought up during current mayor Anne Hidalgo’s tenure. The idea is essentially to give Paris the ability to act as a social-mix monitor, steeping in to prevent social segregation in the public interest if they feel it is under threat. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.citylab.com/housing/2014/12/paris-wants-to-keep-central-neighborhoods-from-becoming-ghettos-for-the-rich/383936/



Tennis: Navratilova just part of coaching carousel


(ESPN) So you rose from No. 11 in the world in January to No. 3 in the WTA rankings by the end of the year, and along the way, you made a Grand Slam final in Paris. What do you do?

If you’re Simona Halep, you fire your coach.

So you made the semifinals (at least) of three Grand Slam events and rocket from No. 32 to No. 7. Incidentally, you also break out as a star and marketing sensation. What do you do?

If you’re Eugenie Bouchard, you fire your coach. Although in her case, the official statement said that she and Nick Saviano agreed to part by mutual agreement. Translation: They fired each other. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://espn.go.com/blog/peter-bodo/post/_/id/899/navratilova-just-part-of-coaching-carousel



John D. Dingell Transit Center Dedication in Dearborn





NYC: MTA To Combat Subway Delays With 'Platform Conductors'


There were five days in September when New York City's daily subway ridership exceeded 6 million. November had six such days. MTA officials have called those ridership numbers "unprecedented."

But as ridership grows, so do delays. This year, 25 percent of all subway trains were at least five minutes late. That's a 51 percent increase over last year.

Part of the problem, says MTA chief Tom Prendergast, is that crowded conditions are slowing things down on the platform level. Each subway line has a schedule which accounts for 'dwell time.' That's the length of time it takes from the moment a train pulls into the station to the moment it closes its doors and pulls out again. "So if we're programmed in the schedule for 30 seconds of dwell time at the station, but it's taking 45 seconds to a minute, you will slow down the movement of trains," Prendergast said.

Or as MTA board member Charles Moerdler put it: "You cannot fit more sardines in a sardine can than we do today." ...........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.wnyc.org/story/mta-deploys-subway-platform-conductors-combat-subway-delays/



Why Have Americans Stopped Resisting Economic Privilege?


Why Have Americans Stopped Resisting Economic Privilege?

December 19, 2014
by Steve Fraser


The following excerpt is from the introduction to Steve Fraser’s new book, The Age of Acquiescence.


Marx once described high finance as “the Vatican of capitalism,” its diktat to be obeyed without question. Several decades have come and gone during which we’ve learned not to mention Marx in polite company. Our vocabulary went through a kind of linguistic cleansing, exiling suspect and nasty phrases like “class warfare” or “the reserve army of labor” or even something as apparently innocuous as “working class.”

In times past, however, such language and the ideas they conjured up struck our forebears as useful, even sometimes as accurate depictions of reality. They used them regularly along with words and phrases like “plutocracy,” “robber baron,” and “ruling class” to identify the sources of economic exploitation and inequality that oppressed them, as well as to describe the political disenfranchisement they suffered and the subversion of democracy they experienced. Never before, however, has the Vatican of capitalism captured quite so perfectly the specific nature of the oligarchy that recently ran the country for a long generation and ended up running it into the ground. Even political consultant and pundit James Carville (no Marxist he), confessed as much during the Clinton years, when he said the bond market “intimidates everybody.”


Southern Labor Archives at Georgia State University

Occupy Wall Street, even bereft of strategy, program, and specific demands as many lamented when it was a newborn, nonetheless opened up space again for our political imagination by confronting this elemental, determining feature of our society’s predicament. It rediscovered something that, beneath thickets of political verbiage about tax this and cut that, about end‑of‑the world deficits and ­missionary-​minded “job creators,” had been hiding in plain sight: namely, what our ancestors once called “the street of torments.” It achieved a giant leap backward, so to speak, summoning up a history of opposition that had mysteriously withered away.

.......(snip).......

Gilded ages are, by definition, hiding something; what sparkles like gold is not. But what they’re hiding may differ, fundamentally. Industrial capitalism constituted the understructure of the first Gilded Age. The second rested on finance capitalism. Late-​nineteenth-​century American capitalism gave birth to the “trust” and other forms of corporate consolidation at the expense of smaller businesses. ­Late-twentieth​-​ century­ capitalism, notwithstanding its mania for mergers and acquisitions, is known for its “flexibility,” meaning its penchant for off­-loading​ corporate functions to a world of freelancers, contractors, subcontractors, and numberless petty enterprises. The first Gilded Age, despite its glaring inequities, was accompanied by a gradual rise in the standard of living; the second by a gradual erosion. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://billmoyers.com/content/steve-fraser-age-acquiescence/



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