|Progressive Calendar 12.16.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 06:40:14 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 12.16.06 1. Islam/science 12.15 4pm 2. Vets/peace/potluck 12.15 6pm 3. Dinkytown history 12.15 6pm 4. Gitmo/torture 12.15 7pm 5. Gifts/shelters 12.15 6. Vs outsourcing jobs 12.16 9am 7. Water/MidEast wars 12.16 9:30am 8. Venezuela/elections 12.16 10am 9. NW V4P vigil 12.16 11am 10. Northtown vigil 12.16 1pm 11. Inconvenient Truth 12.16 4pm 12. Armenian genocide 12.16 7pm 13. Young/Jewish/left 12.16 7:30pm 14. Alexander Cockburn - Liberals: more troops to Iraq; Obamaspeak agony 15. Joshua Frank - More dangerous than crack: death by Coke 16. Debra Eschmeyer - Corporations control your dinner --------1 of 16-------- From: mjshahidiusa [at] aol.com Subject: Islam/science 12.15 4pm Islam, Science and Modernization A conversation with Dr. Taqui Khan Friday, Dec. 15, 2006,4-6 p.m. At United Nations Association of Minnesota 2104 Stevens Ave South Minneapolis, MN 55404 Dr. Taqui Khan is the vice chairman of Islamic Heritage Society and ex-president of Iqbal Academy in Hyderabad, India Professor M. M. Taqui Khan got his PhD form Clark University, Worcestor (Mass), USA, in Physical-Inorganic Chemistry. He taught in Osmania University, Hyderbad, (India) for forty years as a professor of Chemistry. He is a former director of one of the National Laboratories in India. Professor Khan has attained national and international distinctions as a scientist and philosopher. He is a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, Indian Academy of ciences, Royal Society of Chemistry in Britain and American Chemical Society in USA. He is the author of 300 scientific papers, several patents and four books. Dr. Khan is interested in the comparative study of religions, especially philosophy and Theosophy. From his childhood, he has beens inspired by the poetry of Iqbal. His lectures on Iqbal have been compiled in two monographs in Urdu. He has also contributed many articles on Quran and science and Nahjul Balagah and science. Please join us for refreshments and conversation with this Islamic Scientist. For information call M. Jay Shahidi at 612-328-1913. --------2 of 16-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Vets/peace/potluck 12.15 6pm Friday, 12/15, 6 to 10 pm, Veterans for Peace annual holiday party (potluck), St Martins Table, 2001 Riverside Ave, Mpls. --------3 of 16-------- From: John Kolstad <jkolstad [at] millcitymusic.com> Subject: Dinkytown history 12.15 6pm Dinkytown Histories: Multiple Stories, Multiple Meanings Exhibit Opening: Friday, December 15 125 Nolte Hall, 315 Pillsbury Drive S.E. Minneapolis, MN 55455 6-9 PM Free! Exhibit Runs December 15 2006 - February 9 2007 Food from Dinkytown restaurants will be provided, piano player Cadillac Kolstad, and hip hop act Kanser will perform. The exhibit is comprised of five different projects that students in History 3001 ("Public History") completed over the course of the fall semester. Please see below for a more detailed description of the different topics included in the exhibit. http://events.tc.umn.edu/event.xml?occurrence=398931 "Dinkytown Dynamics: The Soundtrack to a Neighborhood, 1950s - Present" - This exhibit explores the important relationship between Dinkytown and music. From the first time a folk singer strummed their guitar, through basement punk shows, to a DJ's innovative scratch routine, Dinkytown has been defined by the music that has reverberated down its quaint avenues. At the same time, a great deal of the music that has touched countless souls has been influenced by this unique neighborhood. Music and Dinkytown share a symbiotic relationship where each has contributed to the identity of the other. This exhibit looks at the broad array of musical venues where musicians have performed, controversies surrounding live shows, and what Dinkytown has contributed to both local and national music scenes. It includes a video documentary with interviews and live concert footage. "Preserving the Memory and Legacy of the Mill City" - This exhibit examines the history of flour milling in Minneapolis, and the complicated contemporary discussions surrounding the historic preservation of the mills, grain elevators, and other structures that still dot the city's landscape. The exhibit poses the question: what should be done with these deindustrialized monuments to Minneapolis's past? What is the best present-day use for them and who should make the decisions on how they will be preserved? Focusing on the adaptive re-use plan for the Pillsbury "A" Mill, the exhibit provides insight into how Minneapolis's industrial past might be remembered. "The Red Barn Incident" - At approximately 1 a.m. on Wednesday, May 6, 1970, Minneapolis police raided a building on the 1300 block of 4th Street in the heart of Dinkytown that community members and University students had been occupying for more than a month. By 7:30 a.m., police had arrested 38 protesters and construction workers had bulldozed the building. These events represent the dramatic climax of the "Red Barn Incident." Community members and students, during the height of anger over the Vietnam War, had sought to prevent the Red Barn corporation from moving a franchise restaurant into a building previously occupied by small businesses. This exhibit looks at the motives behind the protestors involved in the Red Barn Incident, and the impact their action had on the neighborhood. "Bridge or Barrier?: Highway 35W and its Impact on Dinkytown and the Surrounding Community" - Located in plain sight, a small section of the federal interstate system, 35W, makes its way through the heart of Minneapolis's oldest neighborhood. Totaling less then two miles in length, this highway has left both a profound impression on the surrounding community and Dinkytown area both in terms of geography but also in how it has affected the notion of community. This exhibit explores how the construction of 35W and other changes in transportation have impacted the community, business, and social life of Dinkytown. It also asks visitors to think about how neighborhood changes in the future - such as the construction of the new football stadium - will affect Dinkytown and transportation in the area in years to come. "Public Art in Historic Dinkytown" - This exhibit looks at the recent addition of murals to Dinkytown's visual landscape, and the manner in which public art relates to community identity and visibility. These murals depict historical moments from Dinkytown's past and were designed to commemorate the neigborhood's rich cultural heritage. In addition to exploring what public art brings to a community, the exhibit includes a walking tour brochure that will allow future visitors in Dinkytown to walk the neighborhood and enjoy its visual elements. Cadillac Kolstad ak [at] millcitymusic.com (612) 379-1092 -Land (612) 986-3892 -Mobile 1403 4th street SE Minneapolis, MN 55414 --------4 of 16-------- From: Roger Cuthbertson <rojo [at] visi.com> Subject: Gitmo/torture 12.15 7pm Guantanamo Presenation Mike McGuire will make a presentation about Guantanamo, entitled "War on Terror" on Friday, December 15, at 7:00 PM at the Mad Hatter's Tea House. The Mad Hatter's is located at 943 W. 7th Street in St. Paul. Mike is an organizer with Witness Against Torture, a group that led a twenty-four person pilgrimage to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in December, 2005. Following their 2005 pilgrimage, Witness Against Torture launched the 'Campaign to Shut Down Guantanamo', consisting of public education and acts of nonviolent civil resistance to draw attention to the plight of prisoners of the war on terror. McGuire will describe past actions and discuss actions being planned all around the country for January 11, 2007, which is the fifth anniversary of the first prisoners arriving at Guantanamo. For more information, contact Roger Cuthbertson, Tackling Torture at the Top at 952-474-2476, rojo [at] visi.com --------5 of 16-------- From: Erin [at] mnwomen.org Subject: Gifts/shelters 12.15 Friday, December 15: Women's Advocates Shop at Chico's on Grand. Sale of annual wishes for women heart pin- benefiting Women's Advocates and other local area shelters. www.wadvocate.org. --------6 of 16-------- From: Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council <betsy [at] mplscluc.com> Subject: Vs outsourcing jobs 12.16 9am Stand Up for American Workers Protest Goodyear's Outsourcing of U.S. Jobs Goodyear has forced 15,000 Steelworkers out on strike by demanding wage and benefit cuts, shutting its second U.S. plant in three years, and abandoning its moral and contractual obligations for retiree health care. Enough is enough. Join USW District 11 and the Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council in leafleting to support Goodyear workers on strike. Steve's Auto World, 1221 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis Saturday, December 16 from 9-11 AM If you can't help with leafleting, please call or e-mail Goodyear's top executives Bog Keegan and Jon Rich and let them know you also want to save American Manufacturing. Bob Keegan: 330-796-1145 or bob_keegan [at] goodyear.com Jon Rich: 330-796-4550 or jon_rich [at] goodyear.com --------7 of 16-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Water/MidEast war 12.16 9:30am "The Role of Water in Middle East Conflicts:" Professor Dawud Mulla Saturday, December 16, 9:30 a.m. Southdale Hennepin County Library, 7001 York Avenue South, Edina. University of Minnesota Professor Dawud Mulla gives an overview of water resources in Middle Eastern countries, water usage patterns by Israelis and Palestinians, and a history of conflicts in the region from the perspective of water scarcity. Sponsored by: Middle East Peace Now (MEPN). FFI: Call Florence Steichen 651-696-1642. --------8 of 16-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Venezuela/elections 12.16 10am Saturday, 12/16 10 to 11:30 am, John Peterson reports on election monitoring in "Venezuela Elections Report Back," Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha, Mpls. www.americas.org --------9 of 16-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NW V4P vigil 12.16 11am The NW Neighbors for Peace weekly demonstrations every Saturday between 11am and noon along Vinewood, near Rockford Rd. (also known as 42nd Avenue or Cty. Rd. 9) and just east of 494. This is the entrance to Target, Rainbow, and other stores. --------10 of 16-------- From: Lennie <major18 [at] comcast.net> Subject: Northtown vigil 12.16 1pm Mounds View peace vigil EVERY SATURDAY from 1-2pm at the at the southeast corner of the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE in Blaine, which is the northwest most corner of the Northtown Mall area. This is a MUCH better location. We'll have extra signs. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. For further information, email major18 [at] comcast.net or call Lennie at 763-717-9168 --------11 of 16-------- From: Bridget Borer <bridgetborer [at] GMAIL.COM> Subject: Inconvenient Truth 12.16 4pm On Saturday, December 16, 2006 thousands of us are going to get together in living rooms around the country, watch the blockbuster documentary *"An Inconvenient Truth,"* and press Congress to take action to solve our climate crisis. If you haven't seen the movie, you have to. If you have, you can help raise awareness and push Washington to take action on the biggest crisis facing our planet.* In America, political will is a renewable resource and together we can build the will to do what has to be done. * Host your own <http://event/events/create.html?action_id=69> See the Truth Movie Party or sign up for an event near you. You can sign up for the See the Truth Movie Party I'm hosting, or to host your own, at: http://political.moveon.org/event/seethetruth/29056 Here are the details of my event: A Screening of the Film An Inconvenient Truth Powderhorn Park 3244 10th Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55407 Saturday, 16 Dec 2006, 4pm I hope you'll sign up. --------12 of 16-------- From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Armenian genocide 12.16 7pm My colleague at the Center for Holocaust and genocide Studies has a new book which will be the definitive one on the Armenian Genocide. A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility by Taner Akcam (Hardcover - Nov 14, 2006) $19.80 on Amazon. The book redceived a five page positive rewview in The New Yorker three weeks ago, will be reviewed in this coming Sunday New York Times Book Review and the Philadelphia Inquirer review described it as: "Like Raul Hilberg's The Destruction of the European Jews, A Shameful Act is destined to become a touchstone for other studies." Orhan Pamuk, who was announced as the Nobel Prize winner in literature on October 12, must postone his trip to University of Minnesota until later in the year because of all the notoriety surrounding the announcement of the prize. The Pamuk visit will be supported by the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair in CLA, Institute for Advanced Study, Institute for Global Studies and Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Taner Akcam Saturday, December 16, 2006 St. Sahag Armenian Church, 7 p.m. 203 Howell St N St Paul, MN 55104 Taner Akcam speaks about his new book, "A Shameful Act." C-SPAN, who confirmed that Book TV will be coming to tape ACOM's ( Armenian Cultural Organization of Minnesota along with CHGS) appreciation event for Taner Akcam's highly reviewed book, "A Shameful Act." Book signing will follow. C-SPAN will broadcast the event nationally several times. Free and open to the public. --------13 of 16-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Young/Jewish/left f 12.16 7:30pm YOUNG, JEWISH AND LEFT a documentary by Irit Reinheimer and Konnie Chameides December 16, 2006 @ 7:30 p.m. Pangea World Theatre 711 West Lake St. (inside) Minneapolis Abouth the Film: Young, Jewish, and Left A celebration of diversity, Young Jewish and Left weaves queer culture, Jewish Arab history, secular Yiddishkiet, anti-racist analysis, and religious/spiritual traditions into a multi-layered tapestry of Leftist politics. Personal experiences from many of today's leading Jewish activists reframe the possibilities of Jewish identity. It presents a fresh and constructive take on race, spirituality, Zionism, queerness, resistance, justice, and liberation. Inspired by the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Workmen's Circle, and by their own poltically active grandparents, these Jewish radicals are creating a more just future by learning from and identifying with a collective, rich Jewish heritage of reform and rebellion. At a time when religious fundamentalists take power in the US and around the world, this documentary is an inspiration. Grab your Bubbe (grandmother) and your habibi (loved one) and check it out. Join Pangea World Theater and Diaspora Mentality to experience the visions of a vibrant and diverse community of artist, activists and other community members from around the Twin Cities and the country. This amazing night of film, poetry, music, food and dialogue starts at 7:30 p.m. at Pangea's studio. YOUNG, JEWISH AND LEFT December 16 @ 7:30 p.m. Pangea World Theater Studio, 711 West Lake Street, Suite 101, Minneapolis Tickets: $8 - $15 To RSVP or more information about the event, please contact: Ismail Khalidi 612 822 0015 ismail [at] pangeaworldtheater.org Aleksandra Ajdanic 612 822 0015 aleksandra [at] pangeaworldtheater.org www.pangeaworldtheater.org Pangea World Theater - 711 West Lake Street Suite 101, Mpls, MN 55408 - Phone 612 822 0015 --------14 of 16-------- CounterPunch Diary Liberal Consensus Hardens for More Troops to Iraq; Meet Senator Slither; By ALEXANDER COCKBURN CounterPunch December 9 / 10, 2006 Here's comes Rep Silvestre Reyes of Texas, handpicked by Nancy Pelosi to head the House Intelligence Committee and he's calling for 20,000 more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq. Reyes says they're needed to crush the Shi'a and Sunni militias. Didn't I tell to you right here, after the Nov 7 "peace moment" the polls, that the Democrats would fall into line behind Senator John McCain? The minute Jack Murtha made his run for House Majority leader the liberal establishment began to take a stand against all seditious talk of "immediate redeployment". You can scarcely open up the New York Times without tripping over a piece by Michael Gordon reporting yet another thoughtful military man--he put up General Zinni in this capacity last week--saying that the prudent short-term course would be to send more troops to Iraq. Contrast this with the angry floor speech Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon, the potato kind of Pendleton, who said straighforwardly on Thursday night that he'd had it with the president that the US should "cut and run, cut and walk or whatever ... " You want more evidence of Democratic spinelessness? How about the confirmation of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense by the U.S. Senate, 95 to 2. Not a single Democrat voted against this slippery survivor of the Iran-contra scandal, who spent the early part of his intelligence career at the CIA and NSC, inflating the Soviet threat and leaking fictions about the KGB plot to kill the pope to neocon fantasists like Clare Sterling. The two No votes came from Santorum of Pennsylvania and Bunning of Kentucky. Some of the Democrats voting Aye this time voted No on Gates when he was up for confirmation as Bush Sr's CIA chief back in 1991. In our national public life these days, if you want to make any realistic recommendation on policy options, you have to be over 75, plenty of money in the bank and with nothing left to lose. Take Jimmy Carter and James Baker. Carter denounces Israel's "imprisonment wall" and Baker slips Palestinians' right of return into his Study Group's road map to peace. Another 80-year old, Jeane Kirkpatrick, apparently saw reason in her fading years. Her friend Jack Kemp says that she would meet him on the way to church and lament the folly of the US attack on Iraq. This ur-neo-con would, so Kemp said, denounce the younger neocons like William Kristol. I had to endure a servile interview with Kristol by NPR's Deborah Ames, in which he held forth on her fine distinctions between authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. Since the point of Kirkpatrick's distinctions was to give intellectual buttress to crude imperial functions like cheering on Guatemalan mass murderers practicing genocide on Mayan Indians, Kristol at least reminded me of what a disgusting creature Kirkpatrick was, at least in the decades when she had measurable influence on U.S. foreign policy, in the Reagan years. As with all the Commentary crowd in the late 1970s the only intellectual challenge they ever offered was the matter of deciding whether they actually believed all the drivel they were writing. Kirkpatrick was one of the irksome, because she tricked out her absurdities with pretentious references to Hobbes and Kant, thus tipping off the rubes that here was a Great Mind at work. I remember her at the Republican convention in New Orleans in 1980. Conservative queen bees like Kirkpatrick and Schafly had, in their proximate physical aspect, an undercurrent of erotic violence - Jeane was surely a closet case -- that didn't really come through on camera. Rooted under the rostrum in the Superdome, peering up into Kirkpatrick's flaring nostrils I could see planes of her face that were normally flattened out in the bland imagery of videotape. Of course she was talking about "national security" with her lips puckered into a moue of cruel delight as she foretold how Dukakis and the Democrats would leave America bound helpless beneath the Russian jackboot. The only jackboot I could keep in mind was hers: Jeane lashing savagely at the cuffed and whimpering body of effete liberalism. Meet Senator Slither The slithery junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama is ensuring himself a steady political diet of publicity by refusing to take his name out of consideration as a possible candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. We're entering the time frame when all such aspirants have to make up their minds whether they can find the requisite money and political base. Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, the obvious peace and justice candidate, has already decided that he can't, which gives us a pretty revealing insight into the weakness of the left these days. It's a no-brainer for Obama to excite the political commentators by waving a "maybe" flag. It keeps the spotlight on him, and piles up political capital, whatever he decides to do in the end. It's depressing to think that we'll have to endure Obamaspeak for months, if not years to come: a pulp of boosterism about the American dream, interspersed with homilies about "putting factionalism and party divisions behind us and moving on". I used to think Senator Joe Lieberman was the man whose words I'd least like to be force fed top volume if I was chained next to a loudspeaker in Camp Gitmo, but I think Obama, who picked Lieberman as his mentor when he first entered the US Senate, is worse. I've never heard a politician so desperate not to offend conventional elite opinion while pretending to be fearless and forthright. When Democrats fled Murtha's call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq a year ago, few with more transparent calculation than Obama who voyaged to the Council on Foreign Relations on November 22, 2005, to soothe the assembled elites with such balderdash as "The President could take the politics out of Iraq once and for all if he would simply go on television and say to the American people 'Yes, we made mistakes" or "we need to focus our attention on how to reduce the U.S. military footprint in Iraq. Notice that I say 'reduce,' and not 'fully withdraw' or "2006 should be the year that the various Iraqi factions must arrive at a fair political accommodation to defeat the insurgency; and three, the Administration must make available to Congress critical information on reality-based benchmarks that will help us succeed in Iraq." Some Democrats working for Ned Lamont in the recent senate race in Connecticut eventually taken by Lieberman, running as an independent, are exceptionally bitter about the role played by Obama who made the calculation that Lieberman would win, and that he would not forfeit political capital by doing anything for his fellow Democrat, Lamont. (By contrast, Hillary Clinton gets good reviews from such Lamont workers as a politician who did what she could for their man.) These hard feelings go back as far as the notorious political dinner in Connecticut in March of 2005, when Obama traveled to Connecticut to hail the pro-war Lieberman to the state's Democrats. Obama, who runs a huge political fund-raising operation in Washington, knows where the money is, in the the right-center segment of the political landscape inhabited by the Democratic Leadership Council. It's why he picked Lieberman, a DLC icon, as his mentor. The new arrival in Washington wanted to send out a swift signal to the corporate powers and Party donors that here was no boat-rocker from Chicago, but a safe pair of hands and an obedient pair of heels. There ere was another, more substantive signal, keenly savored by the corporate world, where Obama voted for "tort reform", thus making it far harder for people to get redress or compensation. As I wrote about Obama last year, Sometimes people comfort themselves with variants on what's called the intentional fallacy: in other words, as only the fifth black senator in US history, Obama has to bob and weave, placate the Man, while positioning himself at the high table as the people's champion. But in his advance to the high table Obama is diligently divesting himself of all legitimate claims to be any sort of popular champion, as opposed to another safe black, like Condoleezza Rice (whom Obama voted to confirm. The Empire relishes such servants. And so, Obama, the constitutional law professor, voted to close off any filibuster of Alito, and fled Senator Russell Feingold's motion to censure the President, declaring "my and Senator Feingold's view is not unanimous. Some constitutional scholars and lower court opinions support the president's argument that he has inherent authority to go outside the bounds of the law in monitoring the activities of suspected terrorists. The question is whether the president understood the law and knowingly flaunted it." That's not the question at all. The question is whether the Constitution permits its violation by the President, and the answer is no. Obama, a self proclaimed educator in constitutional law, voted Yes on March 2 to final passage of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act, unlike ten of his Democratic colleagues. A couple of weeks ago Obama unleashed another cloud of statesmanlike mush about Iraq to an upscale foreign policy crowd in Chicago. Trimming to new realities he's now talking about a four-to-six month time frame for beginning withdrawal from Iraq. Don't mistake this for any real agenda. It's a schedule that can be pulled in any direction, like a rubber mask from a Christmas stocking. This week many Americans have stared aghast at the photos of Jose Padilla, manacled hand and foot, blinded by special goggles, being escorted by his US military jailers from his isolation cell to the dentist. His lawyers say that his horrible treatment, four years of total isolation and sensory deprivation, have rendered him incapable of defending himself. The treatment of Padilla--classed as "an enemy combatant" until US government prosecutors were forced to reclassify him as a criminal defendant earlier this year--was obviously a diligent exercise in torture, akin to what has been meted out to "enemy combatants" held in the US concentration camp at Guantanamo. Last year Illinois' senior US senator, Dick Durbin, bravely got into trouble for likening conditions at Guantanamo to those in a Nazi or Stalin-era camp. This was one of Durbin's finer moments, as he read an FBI man's eyewitness describing how he had entered interview rooms "to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more." "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners. It is not too late. I hope we will learn from history. I hope we will change course." The right-wing mad-dog crowd jumped on Durbin, and eventually he paid the penalty of having to eat crow on the Senate floor. His fellow senator from Illinois, Obama, did not support him in any way. He said, "we have a tendency to demonize and jump on and make mockery of each other across the aisle and that is particularly pronounced when we make mistakes. Each and every one of us is going to make a mistake once in a while...and what we hope is that our track record of service, the scope of how we've operated and interacted with people, will override whatever particular mistake we make." That's three uses of the word "mistake". Obama had his fingers stuck in the wind as always. He bends to every breeze, as soon as he identifies it as coming from a career threatening quarter. This man is no leader. [Accumulated lesser-evil voting gives us two national parties neither of which does a thing for us (unless dragged by an appendage - choose your favorite), and lots against us. How can anyone continue to think this is rational? It fits the definition of insanity. -ed] --------15 of 16-------- More Dangerous Than Crack Death By Coke By JOSHUA FRANK CounterPunch December 13, 2006 We are a country of overweight people. Americans are tipping the scales in record numbers, with approximately 130 million who are presently considered overweight or obese. Perhaps most alarmingly of all, half of all women aged 20 to 39 in the United States are included in these figures. Many factors contribute to the growing problem, from our sedentary lifestyles to our overindulgence in high-energy, low nutritional foods. Dealing with the crisis is not easy. The marketing of energy dense foods is a multi-billion dollar industry and manufactures of such products go to great lengths to ensure their shareholders continue to profit from the sales of nutrition-less foods. Despite the barrage of marketing to the contrary, sales pitches, and misinformation, consumption of soda has been directly linked to both obesity as well as type 2 diabetes. Soft drinks are packed full of sugar and refined carbohydrates, both of which are undeniably correlated to these factors. Type 2 diabetes is also associated with a poor diet that is laden with high-fructose corn syrup and low in fiber. Research indicates that soft drinks largely contribute to this growing epidemic, with high school and college age kids being the most likely to consume sugar laden soda beverages on a regular basis. Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are bad news, according to health experts, because they contribute to the obesity epidemic by providing empty calories, that is, calories that provide little or no nutritional value. Meaning, a person who slugs down too much soda is swallowing more than their body can handle. And this added energy isn't healthy energy -- it's energy derived from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), i.e., highly refined sugar that has been chemically processed in order to excite your taste buds. It has been argued that too much HFCS in one's diet may offset the intake of solid food, yet does not produce a positive caloric balance. In turn, this over-consumption contributes to the slow development of obesity because the person is consuming more calories than their body can burn. And these days, people are drinking more soda than ever before. Perhaps not surprisingly, as portion sizes for soft drinks have increased, so have American waistlines. To put this dangerous pattern in to perspective, one regular 12-ounce can of sugar-sweetened soda contains approximately 150 calories with close to 50 grams of sugar. If this is added to the typical American diet, one can of soda per day could lead to a weight gain of 15 pounds in one year. Currently the consumption of soda accounts for about 8%-9% of total energy among children and adults, and studies suggest that it is most certainly having a negative effect on the people who consume it in such vast quantities. So what's so wrong with being overweight then, you ask? So what if soda has been linked to causing obesity? What's wrong with that? Well, plenty say scores of medical, health and public nutrition experts. For starters, obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, bowel cancer as well as high blood pressure. Type 2 diabetes alone can contribute to cardiovascular disease, retinopathy (blindness), neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney damage), and other health complications. So if type 2 diabetes is highly associated with individuals who are obese, and obesity is linked to SSBs, then type 2 diabetes is highly associated with the consumption of SSBs because the consumption of SSBs is so highly associated with causing obesity. In short, if one consumes SSBs on a regular basis, they are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which itself may cause many ailments. That's why being overweight is not a good thing for one's health. And that's why drinking copious amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages contributes to poor wellbeing by way of obesity and type 2 diabetes. On top of causing one to gain unhealthy weight and spurring type 2 diabetes, SSBs may also contribute to the loss of bone density, which may cause one to be more susceptible to bone fractures. It has been argued that low bone density may be a result of high levels of phosphate, which is found in elevated amounts in sugar-sweetened cola. Such large amounts of phosphate may alter the calcium-phosphorus ratio in people whose bodies are still developing, or people who are most likely to consume SSBs, and consequently this can have a toxic effect on their bone development. If a growing individual has a low calcium intake it could jeopardize bone mass, which may then contribute to hip fractures and other bone related disorders later in life. Drinking a lot of SSBs while your body develops could have lasting, deadly effects on your health. So while it is clear that soda isn't good for you, it is also obvious that soda is downright bad for your health. It can make you overweight, suck the calcium out of your bones, and increase risk of type 2 diabetes, a leading cause of blindness. But that's not the kind of news the profiteers of big soda would ever want you to hear. The marketing firms that barrage consumers with ads for their mouth-watering soft drinks hope to encourage you to drink more of their harmful products, not less of them. Indeed they have a financial incentive to do so. Their annual revenues are billions of dollars. To protect their interests, as Prof. Marion Nestle of NYU notes, the soda industry shells out tons of money to convince people to consume their products in mass quantities. In the late 1990s, Coca-Cola spent about $1.6 billion dollars in global marketing, with over $850 million spent in the United States alone. With that kind of lavish spending, it is little wonder why Coca-Cola is such a household name. Clearly, those who advocate for cutting down on the consumption of SSBs because of their negative health impacts are up against a very well financed opposition -- not unlike the anti-smoking activists who take on the shenanigans and deceit of Big Tobacco. Nevertheless, Coca-Cola, like its competitors, is extremely savvy. They have inundated schools with their products. As Michele Simon, the author of Appetite for Profit, writes, "A 2003 government survey showed that 43 percent of elementary schools, 74 percent of middle schools, and 98 percent of high schools sold food through vending machines, snack bars, or other venues outside the federally supported school meal programs ... With public schools so desperate for funding, districts are lured into signing exclusive contracts (also known as "pouring rights" deals) with major beverage companies -- mainly Coca-Cola and PepsiCo". In other words, these multinational corporations give millions of dollars to schools so that their districts and vending machines exclusively carry their goods. In reality, however, it comes down to one big clever marketing ploy: In the end these big corporations have hooked kids on their products while fooling people into believing they are virtuous corporate citizens because they support education. Fortunately there is a growing movement across the country to ban sodas from schools. Indeed the feisty Killer Coke campaign, which focuses on the company's labor abuses and not Coke's negative health implications, has been successful is banning the product from over 10 major universities in the US. But it would be wise to not just focus on the company's alleged murders in Colombia, and instead broaden the struggle against the soda industry by pointing out their complicity in the obesity epidemic worldwide. Because death truly is the "real thing". Joshua Frank is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush and edits http://www.BrickBurner.org --------16 of 16-------- A Monopoly on Futures? Corporations Control Your Dinner By DEBRA ESCHMEYER CounterPunch December 13, 2006 Most everyone has been told to not play with his or her food, yet somehow agribusiness is playing Monopoly with the nation's food supply. When pouring your next glass of milk, consider who decided what the cow ate and who controls the distribution of profits. One would think the farmer and consumer take the lead roles in managing the supply of safe and healthy food. The farmer should control his or her business while mainly battling unpredictable weather --- expecting the price they receive for a quality product to be set by a fair and honest marketplace. However, in today's market, the lack of competition is wielding just as much force as Mother Nature as witnessed by the recent proposed acquisition of the Chicago Board of Trade by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to become the CME Group Inc. --- combining the two largest U.S. futures exchanges. If you think this and similar mergers do not affect your freedom of choice and the quality of food you eat, think again. Food is not simply a commodity to produce at a larger and larger scale, squeezing the family farmer out along with the value of safe and healthy food. The CME is already the world's largest commodity broker determining futures and cash prices for products such as cheese, butter, live cattle, timber, and fertilizer as they set the benchmark prices for farm country. Within seconds the coarse yelling on the trade floor is translated around the world, affecting farm gate prices and grocery bills of billions of people. If this merger goes through, the newly formed CME Group will enjoy unprecedented power over global food markets to the detriment of producers and consumers and the glee of large agribusiness and traders --- lining their own pockets with money generated by destroying family farmers and the consumer value that exists in having diversity in the market. The new CME Group could still end up with the Go to Jail card, as the U.S. Department of Justice must decide whether this merger violates federal anti-trust laws. The CME does not have a clean slate either. Last July six U.S. Senators including Clinton, Specter, and Feingold sent a letter calling on the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether cheese trading on the CME is susceptible to price manipulation. The study was requested to fully evaluate the CME in light of the upcoming farm bill. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is also currently investigating the nation's largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, for alleged racketeering and insider trading on the CME. Family farmers already know from previous paychecks that this is not a good forecast. Because the CME is a privately owned corporation, it does not have to follow normal transparency and accountability rules. The CME is subject to nominal oversight by the CFTC over the trading of futures, but there is no external oversight for cash trading. With market consolidation and little to no oversight, competition and economic fairplay are almost defunct in the U.S. food system. Consumers will pay more for fewer choices; farmers will get paid less --- don't pass go, and don't collect $200 --- that will go to the commodity trader living down on Park Place. Lack of competition is not new to modern agriculture. The largest producer and processor of hogs in the U.S., Smithfield Foods, Inc., recently announced plans to purchase Premium Standard Farms, the second largest hog producer. On top of owning 20% of the nation's hogs, Smithfield would then envelope the ContiGroup, the largest cattle feeding entity in the world, and they control 40% interest in Premium Standard Farms. Pork or corporate profit for dinner? In 2002 the late Senator Wellstone joined with Senators Daschle, Harkin, Feingold and Grassley to reinstate some degree of competition into agriculture and to reign in the excessive control of a few giants in the livestock sector. Unfortunately, the measures to benefit farmers and consumers that were won in the Senate were negotiated away in the conference with the House. Let's hope following the 2006 election that Congress will listen to the public and restore democratic fairness to the markets that are critical to our nation's economy and diet. The CME Group merger is yet another win for corporate agribusiness players and a loss for consumers and farmers in the game of food system Monopoly. DEBRA ESCHMEYER is the project director of the National Family Farm Coalition, a non-profit that provides a voice for grassroots groups on farm, food, trade and rural economic issues to ensure fair prices for family farmers, safe and healthy food, and vibrant, environmentally sound rural communities here and around the world. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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