|Progressive Calendar 06.06.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2006 04:11:08 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 06.06.06 1. LRT/Dakota Co 6.06 7pm 2. Walk for justice 6.07 5:30pm 3. Battered women 6.08 9am 4. Electric car/film 6.08 2pm 5. Eagan peace vigil 6.08 4:30pm 6. Northtown vigil 6.08 5pm 7. Intermedia/SASE 6.08 6pm 8. IRV victory blast 6.08 6:30pm 9. Racial wealth gap 6.08 6:30pm 10. US war v Iran? 6.08 7pm 11. Modern Arab woman 6.08 7:30pm 12. NEJMedicine - $1K/yr cap on Medicare drug expenses ups mortality 22% 13. William Hughes - Zeese: both parties sell country to highest bidder 14. Knowland/Grey - Supremes Court rules vs government whistleblowers 15. George Monbiot - Britain's most selfish people 16. Robert Kennedy Jr - Was the 2004 election stolen? [part 3 of 3] 17. Blair Bobier - Kerry & Ohio recount --------1 of 17-------- From: Margaret Levin <Margaret.Levin [at] sierraclub.org> Subject: LRT/Dakota Co 6.06 7pm Roundtable Discussion: Congested? LRT in Dakota County Tuesday, June 6, 7pm. Thompson Park Center, 360 Butler Ave. E, West St. Paul Featured speakers: Jim Erkel, Land Use and Transportation Program Director, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy Kathleen Gaylord, Dakota County Commissioner and Regional Rail Authority Member Aaron VanMoorlehem, City Council Member, West St. Paul Join local elected officials and transit advocates for a roundtable discussion on Tuesday, June 6th about the environmental and economic potential for light rail transit in Dakota County, and share your concerns and ideas. RSVP/more info: Margaret.levin [at] sierraclub.org or 612-659-9124. More info about the campaign: <http://northstar.sierraclub.org/dakota> http://northstar.sierraclub.org/dakota --------2 of 17-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Walk for justice 6.07 5:30pm Headwaters Walk for Justice: Organizing Overview for WAMM Participants Wednesday, June 7, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Phillips Eco-enterprise Center, Board Room, 2801 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis. Overview of Headwaters Walk for Justice will include how to organize a team of walkers and how to raise money for our group, both online and in person. WAMM members we are you! We need you to be with us on this and help keep your organization going! Actual Walk for Justice is Sunday, September 17. FFI: Call WAMM at 512-827-5364. --------3 of 17-------- From: erin [at] mnwomen.org Subject: Battered women 6.08 9am Thursday, June 8: MN Coalition for Battered Women and Casa de Esperanza !UBICATE! ...engaging youth in dialogue about their lives. An interactive workshop for youth workers, teachers, domestic violence advocates and organizations, social workers and youth leaders. 9am-12noon. Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center for Community Building, 179 E. Robie Street, St. Paul. $50 for MCBW members and $74 for nonmembers. 651/646-5553 Nina to register. --------4 of 17-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Electric car/film 6.08 2pm Who Killed the Electric Car? It was among the fastest, most efficient production car ever built. It ran on electricity, produced no emissions and catapulted American technology to the forefront of the automotive industry. The lucky few who drove it never wanted to give it up. So why did General Motors crush its fleet of EV-1 electric vehicles in the Arizona desert? WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? chronicles the life and mysterious death of the EV-1; examining the cultural and economic ripple effects caused by its conception and how they reverberated through the halls of government and big business. A press screening of WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? will be held on Thursday June 8 at 2pm at the Edina Cinema. Filmmaker Chris Paine will visit the Twin Cities on Friday June 23 in support of this film and will be available for interviews. For more information on setting up an interview or for clips of this film please contact Hugh Wronski at 612-825-6129. High-resolution images and full press notes can be accessed at http://press.sonyclassics.com <http://press.sonyclassics.com/> (username is "press"; password is "sonyclassics") WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? opens an exclusive Twin Cities Engagement on Friday July 14 at Landmark's Lagoon Cinema! --------5 of 17-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 6.08 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------6 of 17--------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 6.08 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday to 5 to 6 pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------7 of 17------- From: Lisa Fink <lisa [at] intermediaarts.org> Subject: Intermedia/SASE 6.08 6pm Intermedia Arts & SASE: The Write Place Merge! A Marriage of Two Minds Celebratory Event and Open House Thursday, June 8 - 6pm. Free and Open to the Public After careful planning for the better part of two years, Intermedia Arts and SASE: The Write Place are merging. The merger has been hailed as a brilliant move by many in the arts community who've see many nonprofit organizations close their doors or struggle to stay afloat in the wake of legislative cuts to the arts and more competition for donor support. Neal Cuthbert, Arts Program Director at the McKnight Foundation - one of five funders supporting the merger - states: "While mergers can be tricky business, this combination is exciting because SASE and Intermedia share a passion to intertwine art with the lives of people and the community." Intermedia Arts' mission is to be a catalyst that builds understanding among people through art, involving theatre, music, performance, spoken word, visual and public art. Meanwhile, SASE has sought for the past 13 years to make the literary arts accessible to a diverse community. "This merger brings real value for our participants and community because it preserves both organizations' existing strengths and fosters exciting new programs for the future," states Daniel Gumnit, Executive Director of Intermedia Arts. SASE: The Write Place brings its expertise with all things literary (as well as the SASE poetry library, the only one of its kind in the Midwest) to Intermedia Arts to result in a powerhouse arts organization. Intermedia Arts and SASE will host a free celebratory event, "A Marriage of True Minds," on Thursday, June 8, 2006 at 6:00 p.m. at Intermedia Arts, with performances by Desdamona, Ed Bok Lee, Barrie Jean Borich, Ibé Kaba and Gabrielle Civil, among others. Everyone is invited to come to Intermedia Arts to learn more about the organizations, the artists who call them home and the fascinating possibilities of their futures together while reveling in the power of words. The evening will include DJ music, dancing, hors d'oeuvres and libations. (RVSP: 612-871-4444) Celebrating with them are the funders who made the merger possible: Neal Cuthbert, McKnight Foundation; Nancy Fushan, Bush Foundation; Cindy Gehrig, Jerome Foundation; David Kline, Target Foundation; and Mary Pickard, St Paul Travelers Foundation. SASE: The Write Place founder Carolyn Holbrook, named one of "100 People To Watch In The Year 2000 and Beyond" by Mpls. St. Paul Magazine, sums it up like this: "Intermedia's mission, like SASE's, is directed toward community building through the arts. I'm excited about the possibilities for what the two organizations will be able to create together that neither of us could do alone." --------8 of 17-------- From: Darrell Gerber <darrellgerber [at] earthlink.net> Subject: IRV victory blast 6.08 6:30pm June 8th - Victory Celebration! Minneapolis Better Ballot Campaign June 8 - 6:30-8pm Better Ballot Campaign Celebration The Minneapolis City Council voted 11-1 on May 26th to put IRV on the November ballot. Join us to celebrate and honor the incredible work of the volunteers and supporters who helped to make this happen. La Bodega Tapas Bar 3005 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis Thursday, June 8 6:30-8pm Wine and Spanish appetizers will be provided until they run out. Cash for beer & other drinks. Hosted by FairVote Minnesota RSVP: sdsandell [at] minn.net On #21 & 4 bus lines. Parking available on the street, on the south side of La Bodega or in the pay lot north of Lake Street between Garfield & Lyndale. --------9 of 17------- From: Madeleine Baran <madeleine.baran [at] gmail.com> Subject: Racial wealth gap 6.08 6:30pm Come join us for an exciting event at Arise Bookstore! Rose Brewer, professor of African American Studies at the University of Minnesota, will be speaking about her new book, The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Divide, at Arise Bookstore, June 8th, at 6:30pm. The event is being held in honor of Juneteenth Day (June 19), which celebrates the end of slavery. Prof. Brewer will discuss how the impact of slavery remains strong for America's black families, many of whom continue to struggle in poverty. Brewer's recent book, The Color of Wealth, lays bare a dirty secret: for centuries, people of color have been barred by laws and by discrimination from participating in government-wealth programs that benefit white Americans. As a result, for every dollar owned by the average white family in the United States, the average family of color has less than a dime. Brewer will raise critical questions about this "wealth gap," why it has continued well past the civil rights era, and what this means for all American families. Arise is a collectively-run progressive bookstore and resource center located in Uptown Minneapolis. This event is part of Arise's Summer Series, featuring a different event every Thursday night. For more information, contact Madeleine Baran, at 612-817-7018, or email: madeleine.baran [at] gmail.com. --------10 of 17-------- From: braun044 <braun044 [at] tc.umn.edu> Subject: US war v Iran? 6.08 7pm Thursday, June 8, 7pm "Is the U.S. on the Path to a War Against Iran?" Carlson School of Business University of Minnesota West Bank, Minneapolis President Bush has refused to rule out a U.S. nuclear attack on Iran if Iran does not halt its uranium enrichment activities, declaring on April 18th "All options are on the table." With the majority of people in this country now opposing the war in Iraq, it is almost inconceivable that the Bush Administration could be planning to launch another illegal, immoral war. But, as the Washington Post reported, Pentagon planners are "contemplating tactical nuclear devices" to "take out" targets in Iran. Speakers: Omid Mohseni, Research Associate, University of Minnesota, Minnesota; Mahin Sadrai, Professor, St. Cloud State University; and Mary Beaudoin, Director of Women Against Military Madness. Come to this forum to learn more about the war danger and what we can do about it --------11 of 17-------- From: mizna-announce <mizna-announce [at] mizna.org> Subject: Modern Arab woman 6.08 7:30pm "Mideast in the Midwest" featuring novelist Jean Said Makdisi Thursday, June 8 7:30pm Open Book 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN (612) 215-2575 $5 includes reception What does it mean to be a "modern" woman in the Arab world? Set against a backdrop of political upheaval in Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, and the United States, Jean Said Makdisi's breathtaking memoir Teta, Mother, And Me: Three Generations of Arab Women contemplates this very question and lovingly chronicles the unsung private histories of three generations of women in her family. Jean Said Makdisi was born in Jerusalem and studied in Cairo and the United States. She is the author of Beirut Fragments: A War Memoir, a New York Times Notable Book. Jean will be reading from and signing her new book, Teta, Mother, and Me: Three Generations of Arab Women. She lives in Beirut. This event made possible by the support of the Loft Literary Center, and Dunn Bros. Coffee. --------12 of 17-------- [graypanthersnational intro] $1,000 yearly cap on Medicare drug expenses increases mortality 22% A study came out today in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that a $1,000 yearly cap on Medicare drug expenses produced a 31% decrease in drug spending but a 22% increase in mortality as well as increases in costs of hospitalization (13%) and emergency room use (9%) that all but wiped out the drug savings. The study focussed on bad outcomes from chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. 18% of patients with drug caps failed to take hypertension meds as prescribed, as compared to 15% of patients without drug caps. Both capped and non-capped patients were charged drug copays of $10 for each generic drug and $15-$30 for each brand-name drug, which accounts for the 15% non-compliance among patients without drug caps. So if the patients without drug caps had not been paying excessive co-pays, the excess mortality from the drug caps would have been even more than 22%. Although the Medicare Part D drug benefit is capped at $2,000, twice the cap of the old Kaiser-Permanente Medicare Advantage plan studied here, the study still demonstrates what we already know: that the doughnut hole in the standard Medicare Part D plan will kill people. The following New England Journal of Medicine editorial on this study is more germane to the larger issue of how to provide health care to today's seniors and the 70 million more predicted in the next decade. It argues that insurance, which is based on balancing risk versus premiums (and profit) is a completely inappropriate vehicle for financing health care for seniors, whose major expense, chronic disease, can already be predicted, and therefore should simply be supplied, as Medicare intended. Clearly, is it not being supplied now. But even this leaves unanswered the question of whether business and government plan to pay these costs, even assuming Medicare's efficient fiscal vehicle is preserved. 70 million is a lot of seniors with chronic illness, and consider the competing agendas: expanding war in the middle east to control a rapidly dwindling supply of oil that China and India are demanding more of; paying back trillions of foreign debt while expanding tax cuts to build up corporate infrastructure; reasserting US influence in a Latin America increasingly under the sway of the European Union. This will be the real fight. -- The New England Journal of Medicine Editorial Volume 354:2385-2386 June 1, 2006 Number 22 Cost Sharing, Caps on Benefits, and the Chronically Ill - A Policy Mismatch Kenneth E. Thorpe, Ph.D. Crafting effective policy solutions to the high and rising costs of health care requires a clear understanding of the underlying problem. First, more than 75 percent of health care spending is traced back to patients with a chronic illness.1 Patients who are chronically ill have long-lasting conditions that, in general, require predictable medical interventions. Although these medical interventions are well established, chronically ill patients receive only 56 percent of the recommended care each year.2 Second, most of the increase in health care spending is associated with a rise in the prevalence of treated disease, much of which is in turn associated with the rise in obesity and changes in clinical thresholds for treating cardiovascular disease in asymptomatic patients.3 Despite the central role of chronically ill patients, the solution offered by health plans to control the growth in spending continues to focus on increasing deductibles, limiting benefits, and imposing caps on spending and office visits. Yet, the value of health insurance for patients rises when there is uncertainty about an outcome and the magnitude of the potential loss. Indeed, in Kenneth Arrow's seminal work on uncertainty and medical care, he noted that insurance in a strict sense is probably useless for patients who already have a chronic disease.4 If more than 75 percent of health care spending is associated with treating chronic disease, why would health plans increase deductibles and limit spending through caps on benefits? Improvement in the treatment of chronic disease hinges on reforming how we pay physicians to care for chronically ill patients. One change could be the use of a primary care case-management model of payment, which would be likely to increase the number of clinically recommended services delivered to chronically ill patients. In this issue of the Journal, Hsu et al. provide additional evidence that attempts to save money through the redesign of insurance plans - involving caps on benefits and increases in out-of-pocket spending for prescription drugs - result in the delivery of poor care to chronically ill patients.5 Moreover, caps on prescription-drug benefits apparently do not even save much money; although the caps lower spending on drugs, the design of the benefit results in increased rates of visits to the emergency department and nonelective hospitalizations. These changes affect the sickest patients the most, since they reach their caps on benefits earlier in the year than other patients. Hsu et al. found that patients who exceeded their caps on drug benefits had lower levels of drug consumption; poorer control of blood pressure, lipid, and glucose levels; and greater levels of nonadherence than did patients whose insurance had no cap and patients whose insurance had a cap but who did not exceed it. In short, caps on drug benefits, such as those used in Medicare, for a population of patients with chronic illnesses result in worse outcomes and do not reduce spending considerably. The use of increased copayments or limitations on benefits in an attempt to control spending represents a misdiagnosis of what accounts for, and what is needed to address, the high and rising costs of health care. Any approach to creating better outcomes in health care must address the appropriate clinical treatment of chronically ill patients. Interventions to contain costs also need to address the rise in the prevalence of treated disease. A large component of the rise in health care spending is the increase in the rates of diabetes, back problems, and mental disorders associated with the persistent rise in obesity across virtually all age groups. Thus, controlling health care spending will require a strategy for the more effective treatment of chronically ill patients and for the slowing or halting of the increase in the prevalence of diseases such as diabetes. Instead of an approach driven by the redesign of insurance and benefits, control of spending will require the early identification of patients at risk and the appropriate payment of physicians to manage a patient's multiple chronic diseases according to evidence-based protocols. Providing better care for chronically ill patients under the Medicare program will require changes in policy. One approach would accelerate the use of the models of payment and delivery of care for chronic diseases that are under way in Medicare. A key unresolved issue concerning such an approach is how to get physicians to apply integrated models of chronic-disease care and how to get their patients to participate actively. The results of the study by Hsu et al. should encourage movement toward other approaches to the management of spending in Medicare and other health insurance programs. One such approach would involve a monthly payment to physicians so that they would take the time needed to work with patients and manage their multiple chronic illnesses. Simultaneously, cost sharing for clinically recommended care (e.g., annual eye examinations or measurement of glycated hemoglobin for patients with diabetes) should be waived to ensure higher rates of compliance. Indeed, a condition-specific cost-sharing structure should be in place for clinically recommended services for chronically ill patients. We should be reducing the barriers to treatment and encouraging patients to take appropriate medications for the recommended duration, rather than increasing these barriers by limiting benefits. As the findings of Hsu et al. highlight, the use of cost sharing and limits on prescription-drug benefits to control spending is counterproductive both medically and in the immediate attempt to limit spending. Effective strategies for reducing the level and growth of spending will need to rely on tools other than high-deductible plans and limits on benefits. With respect to the rise in spending, we need to address the rise in obesity head-on. Doing so will be neither easy nor likely to produce immediate results. However, the failure to include primary prevention and population-based approaches in the cost-containment tool kit will come at a price: a continued increase in obesity and in the prevalence of associated disease. In the near term, we can do a better job of treating chronically ill patients. Some major health systems, in particular the Veterans Health Administration, responded to this challenge by substantially improving clinical information systems and the treatment of chronic disease. Today, patients in the Veterans Health Administration receive better preventive care, and more recommended care for chronic disease, than do patients outside the system.6 Our attention needs to shift toward the reform of payment and delivery systems and away from the redesign of health insurance benefits. No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported. Source Information From the Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta. References 1. Chronic disease overview. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005. (Accessed May 11, 2006, at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/overview.htm#2.) 2. McGlynn EA, Asch SM, Adams J, et al. The quality of health care delivered to adults in the United States. N Engl J Med 2003;348:2635-2645. [Abstract/Full Text] 3. Thorpe KE, Florence CS, Howard DH, Joski P. The rising prevalence of treated disease: effects on private health insurance spending. Health Aff (Millwood) 2005;:W5-317. 4. Arrow K. Uncertainty and the welfare economics of medical care. Am Econ Rev 1963;53:941-973. [ISI] 5. Hsu J, Price M, Huang J, et al. Unintended consequences of caps on Medicare drug benefits. N Engl J Med 2006;354:2349-2359. [CrossRef] 6. Asch SM, McGlynn EA, Hogan MM, et al. Comparison of quality of care for patients in the Veterans Health Administration and patients in a national sample. Ann Intern Med 2004;141:938-945. [Abstract/Full Text] The New England Journal of Medicine is owned, published, and copyrighted (C) 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved. --------13 of 17-------- Kevin Zeese: "Both Parties Selling Country to Highest Bidder!" by William Hughes (Sunday June 04 2006) Kevin Zeese, an independent candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland, accused both parties, Democrats and Republicans, of "selling the country to the highest bidder." He spoke at a Forum, in Baltimore, MD, on June 4, 2006. Zeese emphasized the importance of breaking the straightjacket the two parties have on the voters in order to give them a real choice. Zeese also underscored that our fragile environment is headed for a global disaster, unless serious policy changes are made within the next five to ten years. -- Baltimore, MD - On Sunday afternoon, June 4, 2006, a Forum, which dealt with the topic of "Iraq, Iran and Militarism," was held at the Cork Gallery. It is located near the historic Greenmount Cemetery.  The event was sponsored by the "Generations for Peace and Democracy," a progressive group. The speaker at the affair was the popular anti-war activist, Kevin Zeese. Zeese said, "We know that both parties are selling the country to the highest bidder. So, in a historical context, where do you want to be? Republicans controlled by corporations? Democrats controlled by corporations? Or, with some independent movement that is going to challenge the lack of representation of the people. I think in a historical context, we know where we want to be...What we do now will have an effect. We make a difference. So, waking people up to make a difference is very important to moving things forward electorally." Zeese is the director of DemocracyRisingUS., an organization working to end the Iraqi War and the Occupation. He was also an ex-press secretary for Ralph Nader in 2004. Presently, he is an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, who is looking to bring together, in a unity campaign, the combined electoral efforts of the Green, Populist and Libertarian Parties, along with disenchanted members of the state's Democratic and Republican organizations. According to this morning's Baltimore Sun, "15.3 percent of the state's 3 million registered voters were either unaffiliated with a political party or enrolled in a minor party. That's up from 13.4 percent of 2.7 million voters in 2000."  Zeese underscored in his over hour long address that, "we've got to break the two party straightjacket, so people can vote for what they believe in and make their own choice. The two parties treat all of us as children, as lazy morons, who are stuck watching too much TV... So, many voters feel trapped." The general election, in Maryland, is set for Nov 7, 2006. Zeese has labeled the two opposition parties as "corporate dominated." He has written that if there was ever a moment for Marylanders "to get organized" and to "throw the bums out," it's right now.  The Baltimore Sun also wrote that Zeese is "addressing issues that major parties won't, such as challenging U.S. policy in Israel and calling for tax reform..."  Continuing with his remarks, Zeese said: "I'm the only person in the [U.S.} Senate race in Maryland, other than [candidate] Bob Kaufman, who's opposed [to the U.S.] bombing Iran. And a lot of that again is Hard Right Israeli Lobby pressure. Richard Cohen, who writes for the Washington Post, said that 65 percent of the Democratic Party's resources comes from the Hard Right Israeli Lobby and 35 percent of the Republican Party's resources come from the same [place]." As of today's date, 2,475 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq and another 17,869 seriously wounded. We won't know, however, for years what effects the radioactive depleted uranium dust has had on the health, and sanity, of those required to serve in Iraq, as well as on the 27 million peoples of that unfortunate country.  The cost to U.S. taxpayers for the conflict now stands at $286 billion. The number of Iraqis slain may be as high as 300,000.  In addition to the disgraceful Abu Ghraib torture scandal, recent reports indicate that some of the U.S. troops may have engaged in war crimes by intentionally slaughtering unarmed Iraqi civilians, including children. The inept Pentagon czar, Donald Rumsfeld, responded to these latest alleged outrages by suggesting a course "in ethics" for troops. Let's hope that he doesn't appoint that confessed fraudster, Jack Abramoff, to handle that job. Meanwhile, the prime architect of the Iraqi War, the then-Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, a grotesque Neocon, has come out of this debacle smelling like a rose. He was rewarded with the high paying sinecure of the presidency of the World Bank, in Washington, D.C. It is also beyond cavil that the country was lied into the war by slick operatives of the Bush-Cheney Gang, who were aided an abetted by War Hawks in the U.S. Congress, like: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), Rep. Peter King (R-NY), and the convicted felon and now ex-member of the House of Representatives, Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA).  To view pictures of some of dead, and tortured, from the Iraqi bloodbath, go to this footnote.  Zeese touched, in detail, on a variety of subjects, like: on the global economy, the Arms Race, the Middle East and the Militarization of Space, too. He would then engage the audience with their questions. Concluding his comments, Zeese said: "What we are doing to the environment is not a debate anymore. And if we don't act quickly - I mean in five to ten years - we will have to get some serious changes going to our policies to avoid an environmental disaster and that will be global. These guys [the Energy Industry] are worried about their profits, which are already so outlandish and that's a whole other story, while ignoring this one...the state of our environment."  Notes: . Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, among tens of thousands of others, is buried in Greenmount Cemetery. Allen Dulles, once a CIA kingpin, is also entombed there. The locals believe Dulles' grave is "bugged!" Former Baltimore mayors and Maryland governors; along with notable benefactors, too, who greatly enriched the community; like: Enoch Pratt and Johns Hopkins, lie buried there. Many Confederate and Union veterans of the Civil War also rest in peace in Greenmount Cemetery. See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenmount_Cemetery . David Nitkin, June 4, 2006, "Perils of the state's angry politics." . http://www.zeese.us/index.php?title=Main_Page . http://www.iacenter.org/depleted/du.htm . http://www.antiwar.com/jamail/?articleid=8850 . http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/ . http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/uncensored . A Video of excerpts of the above event can be found here: http://homepage.mac.com/bhughes2/iMovieTheater202.html --------14 of 17-------- [A 5/4 decision, via Alito, that the Dems lacked the guts to filibuster against. The DP said you had to vote Dem so it could save the Supreme Court. And then the party caved. What use is a party run by cowards and toadies? Why should we believe it has any interest other than piles of corporate PAC re-election/personal money? Is its evil really lesser? If we're going to save ourselves, we'll have to do it without the national DP. -ed] US Supreme Court rules against government employees who report misconduct By Don Knowland and Barry Grey 5 June 2006 http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/jun2006/supr-j05.shtml On May 30, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case Garcetti v. Ceballos that government employees who report misconduct to supervisors as part of their "official duties" are not entitled to protection under the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. The reactionary ruling reversed a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It will have a chilling effect on would-be "whistleblowers" who work for public agencies, encouraging government secrecy and lack of accountability. The five-to-four vote in support of the decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy saw the four-man right-wing bloc, consisting of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and two recently installed Bush nominees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, line up against the more moderate wing, composed of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, Stephen Breyer and John Paul Stevens. It was the first significant case to reflect the further rightward shift resulting from the elevation of Roberts and Alito to the high court, particularly Alito's succession to the post vacated by retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The latter was known as a "swing vote" and in a number of important cases lined up with the more liberal minority. In 2000, Mr. Ceballos, a Los Angeles County prosecutor, wrote a memo to his superiors stating that sheriff's deputies had made false statements in an affidavit that supported a search warrant and subsequent criminal prosecution. After talking to the police, the prosecutor's supervisors in the district attorney's office continued the prosecution. Ceballos subsequently sued his superiors, claiming his constitutional rights were violated when he was transferred and denied a promotion in retaliation for his report. For decades, Supreme Court and federal appellate court decisions had recognized that government employees do not surrender the rights of citizens to speak out on matters of public concern. They held that if such speech was reasonable under the circumstances, an employer's retaliation against such speech would violate the First Amendment's protection of free speech and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. In 1979, for example, then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote for a unanimous Supreme Court in deciding that a teacher who criticized racist hiring practices to a supervisor could not be disciplined. In his decision in the Ceballos case, Kennedy said that courts and juries should never second-guess employer decisions as to whether an employee's report was well founded or whether the employee should be disciplined, if the employee was speaking in connection with his job duties, rather than as a private citizen. Lining up squarely behind the "right" of employers to discipline their underlings, Kennedy argued that the danger of workplace disruption from unfounded accusations could not be countenanced, even at the cost of muzzling accurate reports. He further argued that upholding Ceballos's suit would constitute an illegitimate intrusion of the courts into relations between employers and employees, producing a huge "displacement of managerial discretion by judicial supervision." The far-reaching implications of the ruling are underscored by the underlying civil liberties issues in the case. Ceballos's complaint to his superiors of false statements by police, leading to an illegal criminal prosecution, came in the midst of the Ramparts Division police scandal in Los Angeles, which exposed widespread police brutality and frame-ups of mostly poor and immigrant residents. In opinions joined in by Justices Souter, Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer, the dissenting justices criticized the majority's novel interpretation for turning logic and public policy favoring reporting misconduct on their head: first, because it implied that employees who spoke out in public were protected, while those who attempted internally to correct misconduct were not; second, because the public interest in exposing wrongdoing required that employees who spoke out about matters of which they knew because of their job should, if anything, receive greater protection. Commenting on the ruling, Ceballos said its message was: "Keep quiet. Keep your mouth shut." The case was originally argued after Justice O'Connor had announced her retirement, but before she was replaced by Alito. It was then reargued, a fact that suggests the court had been split 4 to 4 and Alito cast the deciding vote. Writing in praise of the ruling, George Will, the right-wing columnist for the Washington Post, celebrated the further shift to the right on the court in a June 4 op-ed piece. "What were the Roberts and Alito confirmation battles about? That," he concluded. --------15 of 17-------- Britain's Most Selfish People By George Monbiot ZNet Commentary June 04, 2006 http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2006-05/29monbiot.cfm What greater source of injustice could there be, than while some people have no home, others have two? Yet the vampire trade in second homes keeps growing - by 3% a year - uninhibited by government or by the conscience of the buyers. Every purchase of a second house deprives someone else of a first one. But to speak out against it is to identify yourself as a killjoy and a prig. If you travel to Worth Matravers - the chocolate-box village in Dorset in which 60% of the houses are owned by ghosts(1) - you will not find hordes of homeless people camping on the pavements in cardboard boxes. The market does not work like that. Young people from the village, unable to buy locally, have moved away, and contributed to the housing pressure somewhere else. The impacts of the ghost market might be invisible to the purchasers, but this does not mean they aren't real. Second home owners are perhaps the most selfish people in the United Kingdom. In England and Wales there are 250,000 second homes(2). In England there are 221,000 people classed as single homeless or living in hostels or temporary accomodation (these desperate cases comprise about 24% of those in need of social housing)(3). I am not arguing that if every underused house were turned back into a home the problem of acute homelessness would be solved. I am arguing that homelessness has been exacerbated by the government's failure to ensure that houses are used for living in. This issue received some rare press coverage last week when the Affordable Rural Housing Commission published its report(4). It suggested that second home owners might be taxed more heavily in some places or that planning permission should be required to turn a home into a ghost house. Its ideas, though mild and tentative, were received with fury. "If the Government adopts these proposals," the Telegraph roared, "it will be in order further to punish middle-class voters and to benefit from a grievance culture stoked by envy."(5) In the Guardian, Simon Jenkins suggested that the commission's proposals would deny "existing homeowners the value of their property and thus mobility for themselves and their children. It is a crazy wealth tax on the rural poor. ... To imply that those bringing new money and, in many cases, new economic activity to rural Britain are a social evil is leftwing archaism."(6) If caring about homelessness makes you a leftwing dinosaur, I raise my claw. It is true that clamping down on second homes would suppress house prices in the countryside, by a little. That is part of the point. But it is not as if rural homeowners are suffering from low values. The day before Simon's column was published, the Halifax produced figures showing that the average rural house costs Â£208,699 (or 6.7 times average annual earnings), while the average town house costs Â£176,115(7). Jenkins seems to be asking us to care more about the profits of those who are already rich in capital than about the people who have nothing but a box to sleep in. It is also true that at weekends and during the holiday season, second home owners can bring new trade to local shops - especially the kind of picturesque boutiques which smoke their own fish and sell jamjars with paper hats on. But for the rest of the year, because the village is half-empty, business dies. The environmental impact must also be stupendous. It is hard enough to accommodate the houses we do need in the countryside, let alone the fake homes now being built for weekenders. Open the pages of any property supplement and you will find advertisements for new "holiday lodges" in Cornwall, Dorset, Pembrokeshire and Norfolk. Regional airports are springing up (or trying to spring up) wherever City brokers start pricing out the locals. (People with second homes abroad cause even more damage: one survey suggests they take an average of six return flights a year(8)). This is to say nothing of the environmental costs of maintaining two homes, and doubtless leaving the security lights on and the appliances on standby while you continue your life elsewhere. For all these reasons, I believe the commission's proposals don't go far enough. It treats second home ownership as a local problem, confined to the most desirable parts of the countryside. It doesn't consider the wider contribution that owning them makes to homelessness, or to the destruction of the environment. Nor does it make the point - almost always missed by the media - that the majority of second homes (155,000 of the 250,000) are in towns and cities, where middle-aged businessmen turn what might have been starter flats into pieds a terre. I accept that it's a rural housing commission, but I can't help wondering whether this acknowledgement might have caused some trouble for Elinor Goodman - the commission's chair - who has a second home in Westminster(9). I would like to see the ownership of second homes become prohibitively expensive, wherever they might be. It remains cheaper to own a second house than to own a first one. The government has reduced the rebate on council tax for ghost homes from 50% to 10%(10), but it still seems outrageous that there should be a discount of any size. Worse, as a letter to the Guardian pointed out yesterday, people are buying up weekend homes as fake holiday lets and setting these "loss making business" against tax(11). Plainly this loophole needs to be closed. But why not a 500% council tax for all second homes, which local authorities are obliged to hypothecate: to use, in other words, for new social housing? It won't stop the richest people from buying extra houses, but at least the people at the bottom of the ladder get something back. We're often told that punitive taxes of this kind won't work, because couples could register their homes separately. But this would surely be possible only for people who are neither married nor in a civil partnership. It doesn't stop the government from levying capital gains tax. The real problem is that almost every MP with a constituency outside London has two homes or more, and there is scarcely a senior journalist who is not sucking the life out of a village somewhere, or a paper which does not depend on advertising by estate agents. Two weeks ago the Sunday Times revealed that the Labour MP Barbara Follett, who owns a Â£2m house in her constituency (in Stevenage), a flat in Soho and homes in Antigua and Cape Town, has claimed Â£76,357 in Commons expenses over the past four years for her London pad(12). Perhaps it isn't hard to see why MPs aren't clamouring for something to be done. On Friday, Peter Mandelson - the man who says what Blair thinks - told a conference that Labour's primary challenge was to find solutions "to the angst of the hard-working middle-class ... It's not old Labour territory we have forgetten and which is detaching itself but the New Labour territory we have occupied since 1997 which is at risk."(13) In other words, the chances of getting the government to force the abandonment of second homes are approximately zero. But that should not stop us from pointing out that it is unacceptable to let the rich deprive the poor of their homes. www.monbiot.com References: 1. Richard Savill, 18th May 2006. Village trust to build houses for locals only. Daily Telegraph. 2. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, reported by Faith Glasgow, 29th April 2006. The lure of a rural bolthole or one in the city if that's more to your taste. Financial Times. 3. Shelter, November 2005. Building for the Future - 2005 Update. Table 4. Shelter Housing Investment Project Series. 4. Affordable Rural Housing Commission, 2006. Final Report. http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/pdfs/housing/commission/affordable-housing.pdf 5. Leader, 18th May 2006. Second homes and the politics of envy. Daily Telegraph. 6. Simon Jenkins, 19th May 2006. Not too round, not too precise: that's why 11,000 is a magic number. The Guardian. 7. Press Association, 18th May 2006. Rural homes cost more than urban. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uklatest/story/0,,-5829622,00.html 8. HACAN/Clear Skies, 2005. Cited by Transport 2000 in Facts and figures: aviation. http://www.transport2000.org.uk/ 9. Charles Clover, 18th May 2006. Councils may be allowed to stop sales of second homes. Daily Telegraph. 10. Affordable Rural Housing Commission, ibid. 11. Peter Dunn, 22nd May 2006. The real causes driving up homelessness in rural communities. The Guardian. 12. Steven Swinford, 7th May 2006. MPs with mansions get second home perk. The Sunday Times. 13. Quoted by Ben Hall, 20th May 2006. Mandelson tells Labour it risks support in south. Financial Times. --------16 of 17--------- Was the 2004 Election Stolen? [part 3 of 3] By Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Rolling Stone Thursday 01 May 2006 *9. Rigging the Recount After Kerry conceded the election, his campaign helped the Libertarian and Green parties pay for a recount of all eighty-eight counties in Ohio. [But see Blair Bobier below -ed]. Under state law, county boards of election were required to randomly select three percent of their precincts and recount the ballots both by hand and by machine. If the two totals reconciled exactly, a costly hand recount of the remaining votes could be avoided; machines could be used to tally the rest. But election officials in Ohio worked outside the law to avoid hand recounts. According to charges brought by a special prosecutor in April, election officials in Cleveland fraudulently and secretly pre-counted precincts by hand to identify ones that would match the machine count. They then used these pre-screened precincts to select the "random" sample of three percent used for the recount. "If it didn't balance, they excluded those precincts," said the prosecutor, Kevin Baxter, who has filed felony indictments against three election workers in Cleveland. "They screwed with the process and increased the probability, if not the certainty, that there would not be a full, countywide hand count."  Voting machines were also tinkered with prior to the recount. In Hocking County, deputy elections director Sherole Eaton caught an employee of Triad - which provided the software used to count punch-card ballots in nearly half of Ohio's counties  - making unauthorized modifications to the tabulating computer before the recount. Eaton told the Conyers committee that the same employee also provided county officials with a "cheat sheet" so that "the count would come out perfect and we wouldn't have to do a full hand-recount of the county."  After Eaton blew the whistle on the illegal tampering, she was fired.  The same Triad employee was dispatched to do the same work in at least five other counties.  Company president Tod Rapp - who contributed to Bush's campaign  - has confirmed that Triad routinely makes such tabulator adjustments to help election officials avoid hand recounts. In the end, every county serviced by Triad failed to conduct full recounts by hand.  Even more troubling, in at least two counties, Fulton and Henry, Triad was able to connect to tabulating computers remotely via a dial-up connection, and reprogram them to recount only the presidential ballots.  If that kind of remote tabulator modification is possible for the purposes of the recount, it's no great leap to wonder if such modifications might have helped skew the original vote count. But the window for settling such questions is closing rapidly: On November 2nd of this year, on the second anniversary of the election, state officials will be permitted under Ohio law to shred all ballots from the 2004 election.  *10. What's at Stake The mounting evidence that Republicans employed broad, methodical and illegal tactics in the 2004 election should raise serious alarms among news organizations. But instead of investigating allegations of wrongdoing, the press has simply accepted the result as valid. "We're in a terrible fix," Rep. Conyers told me. "We've got a media that uses its bullhorn in reverse - to turn down the volume on this outrage rather than turning it up. That's why our citizens are not up in arms." The lone news anchor who seriously questioned the integrity of the 2004 election was Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. I asked him why he stood against the tide. "I was a sports reporter, so I was used to dealing with numbers," he said. "And the numbers made no sense. Kerry had an insurmountable lead in the exit polls on Election Night - and then everything flipped." Olbermann believes that his journalistic colleagues fell down on the job. "I was stunned by the lack of interest by investigative reporters," he said. "The Republicans shut down Warren County, allegedly for national security purposes - and no one covered it. Shouldn't someone have sent a camera and a few reporters out there?" Olbermann attributes the lack of coverage to self-censorship by journalists. "You can rock the boat, but you can never say that the entire ocean is in trouble," he said. "You cannot say: By the way, there's something wrong with our electoral system." Federal officials charged with safeguarding the vote have also failed to contest the election. "Congress hasn't investigated this at all," says Kucinich. "There has been no oversight over our nation's most basic right: the right to vote. How can we call ourselves a beacon of democracy abroad when the right to vote hasn't been secured in free and fair elections at home?" Sen. John Kerry - in a wide-ranging discussion of ROLLING STONE's investigation - expressed concern about Republican tactics in 2004, but stopped short of saying the election was stolen. "Can I draw a conclusion that they played tough games and clearly had an intent to reduce the level of our vote? Yes, absolutely. Can I tell you to a certainty that it made the difference in the election? I can't. There's no way for me to do that. If I could have done that, then obviously I would have found some legal recourse." Kerry conceded, however, that the widespread irregularities make it impossible to know for certain that the outcome reflected the will of the voters. "I think there are clearly states where it is questionable whether everybody's vote is being counted, whether everybody is being given the opportunity to register and to vote," he said. "There are clearly barriers in too many places to the ability of people to exercise their full franchise. For that to be happening in the United States of America today is disgraceful." Kerry's comments were echoed by Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. "I'm not confident that the election in Ohio was fairly decided," Dean says. "We know that there was substantial voter suppression, and the machines were not reliable. It should not be a surprise that the Republicans are willing to do things that are unethical to manipulate elections. That's what we suspect has happened, and we'd like to safeguard our elections so that democracy can still be counted on to work." To help prevent a repeat of 2004, Kerry has co-sponsored a package of election reforms called the Count Every Vote Act. The measure would increase turnout by allowing voters to register at the polls on Election Day, provide provisional ballots to voters who inadvertently show up at the wrong precinct, require electronic voting machines to produce paper receipts verified by voters, and force election officials like Blackwell to step down if they want to join a campaign.  But Kerry says his fellow Democrats have been reluctant to push the reforms, fearing that Republicans would use their majority in Congress to create even more obstacles to voting. "The real reason there is no appetite up here is that people are afraid the Republicans will amend HAVA and shove something far worse down our throats," he told me. On May 24th, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tried unsuccessfully to amend the immigration bill to bar anyone who lacks a government-issued photo ID from voting  - a rule that would disenfranchise at least six percent of Americans, the majority of them urban and poor, who lack such identification.  The GOP-controlled state legislature in Indiana passed a similar measure, and an ID rule in Georgia was recently struck down as unconstitutional.  "Why erect those kinds of hurdles unless you're afraid of voters?" asks Ralph Neas, director of People for the American Way. "The country will be better off if everyone votes - Democrats and Republicans. But that is not the Blackwell philosophy, that is not the George W. Bush or Jeb Bush philosophy. They want to limit the franchise and go to extraordinary lengths to make it more difficult to vote." The issue of what happened in 2004 is not an academic one. For the second election in a row, the president of the United States was selected not by the uncontested will of the people but under a cloud of dirty tricks. Given the scope of the GOP machinations, we simply cannot be certain that the right man now occupies the Oval Office - which means, in effect, that we have been deprived of our faith in democracy itself. American history is littered with vote fraud - but rather than learning from our shameful past and cleaning up the system, we have allowed the problem to grow even worse. If the last two elections have taught us anything, it is this: The single greatest threat to our democracy is the insecurity of our voting system. If people lose faith that their votes are accurately and faithfully recorded, they will abandon the ballot box. Nothing less is at stake here than the entire idea of a government by the people. Voting, as Thomas Paine said, "is the right upon which all other rights depend." Unless we ensure that right, everything else we hold dear is in jeopardy. [end part 3 of 3] --  Joan Mazzolini, "Workers Accused of Fudging '04 Recount; Prosecutor Says Cuyahoga Skirted Rules," The Plain Dealer, April 6, 2006. http://www.cleveland.com/election/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/1144312870224340.xml&coll=2  Malia Rulon, "Congressman Calls for FBI Investigation Into Ohio election," The Associated Press, December 15, 2004.  Affidavit, December 13, 2004, Sherole Eaton, Re: General Election 2004, Hocking County. http://www.truthout.org/mm_01/5.121004.Robersondep.pdf  Jon Craig, "'04 Election in Hocking County; Worker Who Questioned Recount is Asked to Quit," Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), June 1st, 2005. http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2005/06/01/20050601-B3-03.html&chck=t  "Preserving Democracy," pg. 81.  www.opensecrets.org  "Preserving Democracy," pg. 82.  "Preserving Democracy," pg. 83.  Ohio Secretary of State's press office.  Count Every Vote Act of 2005 http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/dfiles/file_493.pdf  Dena Bunis, "Senate Limits Immigration Debate," The Orange County Register, May 24, 2006. http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/homepage/abox/article_1153484.php  Tokaji's blog, Election Law at Moritz, "McConnell's Voter ID Amendment," May 22, 2006. http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/blogs/tokaji/2006/05/mcconnells-voter-id-amendment.html  United States District Court Northern District of Georgia, Rome Division. http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/blogs/tokaji/Order%20Granting%20Preliminary%20Injunction%20email.pdf (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. t r u t h o u t has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is t r u t h o u t endorsed or sponsored by the originator.) --------17 of 17-------- Blair Bobier Sent to Rolling Stone Magazine, June 1, 2006 To the Editor: While Rolling Stone is to be commended for exposing the fraud that passed for the 2004 presidential election, one egregious error in your article needs to be corrected. The Kerry campaign did not help pay for the recount of presidential votes in Ohio. That effort was funded exclusively by the Green Party's presidential campaign. Although the Libertarian presidential ticket had the integrity to file the recount demand with us, the Democratic campaign did not. Despite having millions of dollars in the bank specifically ear-marked for post-election challenges and hundreds of lawyers on the ground, John Kerry threw in the towel, then turned tail and ran before all the votes in Ohio were even counted the first time. Kerry didn't stick around for the recount and he certainly didn't help pay for it. The Republicans stole the 2004 election and the Democrats let them get away with it. These two corporately-financed entities have colluded to wreak havoc abroad and undermine our constitutional rights at home. The Green Party's commitment to democracy-and our consistent and principled opposition to the illegal and immoral war in Iraq-is why we're the fastest growing political party in the United States. Respectfully submitted, Blair Bobier (Blair Bobier was Media Director for the Cobb/LaMarche national campaign in 2004. For more details on the Ohio election irregularities in 2004 and the mainstream media's silence, read "None Dare Call It Stolen: Ohio, the election, and America's servile press" by Mark Crispin Miller, Harper's Magazine, August 2005 <http://harpers.org/ExcerptNoneDare.html>. For an archive of information on the role of presidential candidate David Cobb and other Greens in organizing and raising funds for the Ohio and New Mexico recount campaigns, visit <http://www.votecobb ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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