In the News

Eliminating poverty seems like an impossibly utopian goal, but it's actually pretty easy: we can just give people enough money that they're above the poverty line. That idea, known as a basic income, has been around forever, but it's made a comeback in recent years.

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Whether or not you attended the ninth annual Netroots Nation convention at Cobo Hall last weekend, you may have heard about downtown’s large demonstration against Detroit’s water shutoffs.

Following a New York Times report on the Cuomo administration's meddling with the Moreland Commission panel on public corruption, one question could prove crucial: While the governor has the legal right to involve himself in the workings of a Moreland

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U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara vowed that he has the “fearlessness and independence” needed to investigate Albany corruption as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is accused of interfering with his own corruption commission.

“If other people aren’t going to do it, then we’re going to do it,” Bharara said on the PBS’ program “Charlie Rose."

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At this year’s Netroots Nation conference, where speakers included Democratic luminaries like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Joe Biden, the honor of delivering the opening keynote address went to Rev. William Barber, the president of the North Carolina NAACP and the driving force behind the state’s Moral Mondays demonstrations.

If one speech captured the tenor of this year’s Netroots Nation, it was Barber’s.

“Movements never came from D.C. down,” he bellowed. “Movements always come from Birmingham up, from Montgomery up.”

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At the top end, philanthropy is a disproportionate business. The largest funders, the big foundations, the massive fortunes and their grant officers enjoy a position of power over nonprofits and social entrepreneurs that’s similar – if not more dominant – to the venture capital and startup equation. And while that’s not likely to change any time soon, one new player on the U.S. philanthropy scene is aiming to level the playing field just a bit, with reporting on how foundations give their money away – and ratings on how well (or poorly) they do so.

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More than 1,000 people took to the streets of downtown Detroit to protest against the city’s ongoing water shutoff initiative, while a number of civil rights organizations formally called for a moratorium on the practice.

As Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his appointed “emergency manager” were steering Detroit into bankruptcy last fall, the public-policy think tank Demos released a groundbreaking report on the city’s financial circumstance—and how to address it.

President Barack Obama recently defied Republican threats to file suit against him for his use of executive orders. "If House Republicans are really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, the best solution to that is passing bills," the president said. "Pass a bill, solve a problem."

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In pledging $50-million to strengthen America’s "flailing democracy," the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has stirred criticism among liberal groups that in doing so it has jettisoned some of its core values.

In its three-year "Madison Initiative," named after James Madison, an American founder who warned against the "mischiefs of faction," the foundation says it will support groups looking to make adjustments to the legislative process so Congress can perform its basic tasks like passing annual spending bills, says Daniel Stid, who will lead the effort for Hewlett.