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by Sarah van Gelder
Detroit was not an accidental choice for the U.S. Social Forum (USSF). Take a look at the decaying Packard Plant or at boarded-up homes and small businesses, and you'd say this city is dying. Less well known is that it is a city in the midst of a rebirth from the bottom up, and the organizers knew this well when they chose Detroit for the second USSF.
"Detroit embodies both the problem and potential for solutions," says Maureen Taylor, USSF staff coordinator. "We believe the Social Forum process will stimulate some hope for the people of Detroit and help the people turn this city around." Organizers expect 15,000 to 25,000 people to arrive from around the country for the forum. And while the attention focused on Detroit may help turn the city around, Detroit's bottom-up style of activism may also open up new ideas and possibilities for those visiting from around the country.
by Rochelle Riley
DETROIT - As many as 20,000 people are coming to Detroit for a massive discussion of social change.
First of all, "Yay!" that as many as 20,000 people are coming to Detroit.
Second of all, do not dismiss the grassroots activists, idealists, revolutionaries and community organizers (even Tea Party members inquired about space) who will be in the city for the US Social Forum from Tuesday through Friday. Organizers say it will be the largest gathering of its kind to explore, among many things, improving public education and strengthening the working class.
The forum grew out of the 10-year-old World Social Forum, which was a cry against "the world's elite - a small amount of people, entrepreneurs and government officials - making decisions for the majority of people," said Adele Nieves, a 36-year-old Detroiter who is the forum's media spokeswoman.
by Michael Hiltzik
I believe we can all agree on the root cause of the state's $20-billion budget gap.
It's welfare: all those millions of taxpayer dollars going to recipients who line up for their government handouts instead of competing in the marketplace on a level playing field like the rest of us, who don't pay their fair share of taxes and who get protected by a politically powerful lobby.
Yes, I'm talking about the business community.
For all the hand-wringing by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger about how there's almost nothing left to cut in the state budget except services to children, the aged and the destitute, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on handouts to business. That's despite the lack of evidence that some of these programs keep employers in the state, lure employers from out of state or are cost-effective in any general way.
The governor is asking the Legislature to take such draconian steps as eliminating CalWORKS, the state's principal family welfare program (serving 1.1 million children), and downsizing child care and mental health programs.
Meanwhile, corporate welfare programs such as tax breaks for some of our largest companies and "incentives" for our largest industries are to survive. To his credit, Schwarzenegger has proposed delaying some new corporate tax breaks.
John Lennon's A Day in the Life lyrics sell for $1.2m
John Lennon's handwritten lyrics to Beatles song A Day In The Life have sold for $1.2m (£810,000) at auction, well above the price expected.
The double-sided sheet of paper with notes written in felt marker and blue ink was sold at Sotheby's in New York.
The lyric sheet also contains some corrections and other notes penned in red ink.
The song - co-written with Paul McCartney - is the final track on the band's 1967 Sgt Pepper album.
The buyer was an anonymous American telephone bidder. The lyric sheet had previously belonged to Mal Evans, the Beatles' road manager.
According to the auction house, the previous record for a sale of Beatles lyrics was All You Need Is Love, which fetched $1m (£655,450) in 2005.
Rolling Stone magazine listed A Day in the Life at number 26 in its compilation of the greatest 500 songs of all time. The album went on to win four Grammy awards.
The BBC banned airplay of the track in 1967 because of the lyric "I'd love to turn you on", which was interpreted as a reference to drug use.
This also led to several Asian countries to release Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band minus the song.
The lyric was apparently a later addition by Lennon.