Progressive Calendar 03.19.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 04:09:09 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    03.19.07

1. Iraq protest      3.19 12noon
2. Shahadi/Iraq      3.19 2pm
3. Torture/film      3.19 6:30pm
4. Paul Leob         3.19 7pm
5. Secular coalition 3.19 7pm StCloud MN

6. Sami/Iraq         3.20 10am
7. Anti-war/UofM     3.20 12noon
8. Jewish/Germany    3.20 12noon
9. Muslims in MN     3.20 5:30pm
10. Pesticides/sex   3.20 6:30pm
11. Open discussion  3.20 6:30pm
12. Cuba caravan     3.20 7pm

13. CCHT housing     3.21 7:30am
14. Climate change   3.21 7pm
15. Intl womens day  3.21 7pm
16. Haiti rights     3.21 7pm
17. War/home/Guard   3.21 7pm

18. Cam Gordon      - Repeal Minneapolis' lurking ordinance
19. Jeanne Weigum   - Smoke-Free law passes committees
20. Pham Binh       - Aiding the enemy
21. Floyd/Greenwald - Doomsday bk: Bush lit lunch foretells horrors ahead
22. ed              - Hillary and Billary  (poem)

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From: Impeach for Peace <lists [at]>
Subject: Iraq protest 3.19 12noon

Eyes Wide Open Minnesota
Monday, March 19, 2007 [at] 12:00pm
As the Iraq War begins its fifth year, take time to honor those who have
died, and to contemplate the human cost of war.

Where: Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda

The Eyes Wide Open Minnesota exhibit presents a memorial to those who have
fallen and a witness to our belief that no war can justify its human cost.
It includes a pair of boots for each Minnesota soldier killed in Iraq,
shoes representing Iraqi civilian casualties, and a visual display showing
the human costs of war to our communities.

Noon - Opening ceremony (speaker to be announced)
12:30 - Reading of the names of all 3,000 American casualties, as well as
Iraqi civilian casualties
4:00 - Closing ceremony (speaker to be announced)

Watch for details as they become available at:

Sponsored by Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace:
and Crocus Hill/West 7th Neighbors for Peace
Co-sponsored by Women Against Military Madness(WAMM):
Veterans for Peace - Chapter 27:
and Military Families Speak Out Minnesota:

Download/Print a Color Flyer (PDF)
Download/Print a BW Flyer (PDF)

More Information
march19 [at]
Anne (651) 647-0580

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From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Shahadi/Iraq 3.19 2pm

Monday, 3/19, 2 pm, just returned from his home in Iran, Jay Shahidi
speaks on history and politics of Iran and the region, American
Association of University Women, 2115 Stavens Ave S, Mpls.

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From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Torture/film 3.19 6:30pm

Monday, 3/19, 6:30 pm, free film "Outlawed: Extraordinary Rendition,
Torture and Disappearance in the War on Terror," St Joan of Arc
Hospitality Hall, 4537 - 3rd Ave S, Mpls.  612-827-5364 or

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From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Paul Leob 3.19 7pm

Mon.Mar.19:Paul Leob
Keeping one's spirits up while confronting a government that ignores
international law, breaks with the Geneva Convention and is shredding the
U.S. Constitution can be a challenge.

Offering antidotes to despair, author Paul Leob (like Howard Zinn's
history) told stories of contemporary progressive victories in "Soul Of A
Citizen". From stopping polluters to clean elections law, labor activism
and more, that book revealed "ordinary people" acting to make their
communities and our democracy better. Leob's most recent work was editing
an anthology of essays, "The Impossible Will Take A Little While", of some
of the most inspiring voices of our times: Nelson Mandela, Cornel West,
Alice Walker, Jim Wallis, Zinn and more. Leob will get your batteries of
resistance recharged with hope.

Donations accepted. Mon.Mar.19, 7pm, Joan of Arc Church, 4537 Third Avenue
South, Minneapolis Hosted by coalition of TC peace groups (Lydia Howell)

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From: August Berkshire <augustberkshire [at]>
Subject: Secular coalition 3.19 7pm StCloud MN

Lori Lipman Brown from the Secular Coalition for America to speak in
Minnesota,  March 18-24, 2007

Lori Lipman Brown, the director and lobbyist for the Secular Coalition for
America (SCA), will speak at five meetings and appear on two radio
programs while visiting Minnesota March 18-24, 2007.

She will discuss her lobbying for separation of church and state in
Washington D.C. on behalf of atheists, humanists, and freethinkers.  She
will also discuss U.S. Rep. Pete Stark, the first openly nontheistic
member of the U.S. Congress.

The Secular Coalition for America is made up of eight coalition members:
American Humanist Association, Atheist Alliance International, Freedom
>From Religion Foundation, Institute for Humanist Studies, Military
Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, Secular Student Alliance,
Secular Web / Internet Infidels, and Society for Humanistic Judaism.

Please contact August Berkshire of Minnesota Atheists (612-588-7031,
pr [at] if you would like Lori to speak to your group (free)
while she's in town or if you would like to interview her for

While in Minnesota, Lori Lipman Brown will speak at the following events.
All but the last event is free and open to the public.

Mon., Mar. 19, 7 p.m., Brown Hall auditorium, St. Cloud State
University, St. Cloud.
Sponsored by Friends Free of Theism, (320) 529-0146.
(There will be a dinner with Lori at 5 p.m. at the Green Mill Inn in
downtown St. Cloud.)

Thur., Mar. 22, 7:30 p.m., 130 Murphy Hall, University of Minnesota,
Sponsored by Campus Atheists and Secular Humanists (CASH),
(A social gathering with Lori will occur at a restaurant after the

Sat., Mar. 24, 10 a.m., Nokomis Recreation Center, 2401 E. Minnehaha
Pkwy., Minneapolis.
Sponsored by Humanists of Minnesota, (651) 335-3800,

Sat., Mar. 24, 6 p.m. Private gathering.
Sponsored by Or Emet, the Minnesota Congregation for Humanistic

Lori Lipman Brown will also be interviewed on the radio:

Mon., March 19, 9-10 a.m., MPR radio, 91.1 FM, St. Paul - Lori Lipman
Brown will be the guest on Minnesota Public Radio's "Midmorning"
program.  The program is also streamed live at http://  It will probably be available at that website
later in the week as a podcast.

Tues., Mar. 20, 11:00-11:30 a.m., KFAI radio 90.3 FM, Minneapolis - Lori
Lipman Brown will be the guest on "Catalyst: Politics and Culture"
hosted by Lydia Howell ( catalyst.htm).  The
program will also be streamed live at http://

For more information, contact:
August Berkshire Public Relations Minnesota Atheists P.O. Box 6261
Minneapolis, MN 55406 pr [at] (612)

Lori Lipman Brown Director and lobbyist Secular Coalition for America P.O.
Box 53330 Washington D.C., 20009-9997 lori [at] (202)

--------6 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Sami/Iraq 3.20 10am

Tuesday, 3/20, 10 am, just returned from Iraq, Najaf resident (and former
Mpls restauranteur) Sami Rasouli appears during Occupation Project at office
of Rep. Jim Ramstad.  (See above.)

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From: Jess Sundin <jess [at]>
Subject: Anti-war UofM 3.20 12noon

National day of protest: Students Say NO to War! U.S. Out of Iraq Now!

Tuesday, 3/20 @ 12 noon @ Coffman Front Plaza, U of M East Bank.

Join students from the U of M, Macalester, Augsburg and Twin Cities high
schools for an anti-war rally to mark the 4th Anniversary of the U.S. war
on Iraq. As students and youth, we have seen our tuition rates increase
over 60% since the start of the war. We have watched as our brothers,
sisters, and friends are sent to fight and die in an unjust war. We say
enough! We demand that the Iraqi people be allowed their right to
self-determination. The vast majority of Iraqis and Americans say they
want the troops out now. Now it's time for students to stand up and
demand: Money for Education, Not for War. Troops out Now! National
protests are listed here. Sponsored by AWOL.

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From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at]>
Subject: Jewish/Germany 3.20 12noon

Jeffrey Peck on "Being Jewish in the New Germany"
Tuesday March 20, 2007
Social Sciences Building Room 710 267 19th Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55455

Jeffrey Peck is the author of the recent book "Being Jewish in the New
Germany" (Rutgers, 2006). His talk explores the diversity of contemporary
Jewish life and the complex struggles within the community and among
Germans in general over history, responsibility, culture, and identity. He
provides a glimpse of an emerging, if conflicted, multicultural country
and examines how the development of the European Community, globalization,
and the post-9/11 political climate play out in this context. Jeffrey M.
Peck is a professor in communication, culture, and technology at
Georgetown University, a senior fellow at the American Institute for
Contemporary German Studies, and the academic director of the new Leo
Baeck Summer University in Berlin. He is the coauthor of "Sojourners: The
Return of German Jews and the Question of Identity" and the coeditor of
"Culture/Contexture: Explorations in Anthropology and Literary Studies."

Cost: Free Sponsored By: <>Center for German and
European Studies Additional Sponsors: <>Center for
Jewish Studies <>Department of German, Scandinavian,
and Dutch <>European Studies Consortium For more
information: Center for German & European Studies, 612-626-7705;
cges [at]

--------9 of x--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Muslims in MN 3.20 5:30pm

Twin Cities Public Television invites you to a dialog among Muslims in
A series of panel discussions on the political, business and community

Tuesday, March 20, 2007
5:30pm - 8:30pm
Minneapolis Central Library, Pohlad Hall
300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
Parking is available in the ramp beneath the library for a small fee.
Please RSVP to Terry Evans tevans [at] or 651.229.1451 Space is limited

--------10 of x--------

From: Carol Greenwood <carolgwood [at]>
Subject: Pesticides/sex 3.20 6:30pm

Tuesday, March 20 - From Silent Spring to Silent Night:
Endocrine Disruptors and Amphibian Decline
Presented by Friends of the Mississippi River

6:30 p.m. - Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public
Affairs, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis

A special presentation by Dr. Tyrone Hayes. Presented by Friends of the
Mississippi River and the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization.

Do pesticides cause sexual malformation in frogs? If so, how might they
affect humans and other living things in the Mississippi watershed?

Eminent University of CA/Berkeley biologist Dr. Tyrone Hayes, whose
research is focused upon finding answers to these questions, will speak to
a public audience about the impacts of atrazine and other pollutants on
aquatic life and reproduction.

Read more about Dr. Hayes and his research on our event page

Reserve your seats early! This is a free event, but space is limited.
Pre-registration is required. To RSVP, e-mail Volunteer Coordinator sue
rich, srich [at] <mailto:srich [at]>, with the number in your 
and contact information.

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From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Open discussion 3.20 6:30pm

The salon for next Tuesday, March 20 will be Open Discussion.

Pax Salons ( ) are held (unless otherwise
noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943
W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

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From: Minnesota Cuba Committee <mncuba [at]>
Subject: Cuba caravan 3.20 7pm


Planning meeting: 7:00, Tuesday, March 20, Holy Trinity Church, 2730
E.31st St., Minneapolis

It's time to start planning for this year's caravan to Cuba. The Minnesota
Cuba Committee and other local organizations will sponsor a send-off
program and dinner here on July 3. Please think about attending the
planning meeting and consider joining other Minnesotans in breaking
through the travel ban to Cuba.

For more information: 612 529-0510 or 651 983-3981, mncuba [at]
>From the website:
      Join the IFCO/Pastors for Peace 18th Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba
                                   July 2007

The US government says you can't go to Cuba and see things for yourself.
We say you should! Our Friendshipment Caravans to Cuba call domestic and
international attention to the cruel and immoral US economic blockade by
delivering humanitarian aid to our sisters and brothers in Cuba without
asking permission for a US Treasury Department license.

In November 2006, the United Nations once again voted overwhelmingly
(183-4) to condemn the US blockade. We know that many members of Congress
are deeply unhappy with the policy. Meanwhile the Bush administration and
its "Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba" continue desperately to
look for more ways to starve the Cuban people into surrendering to US

We think that the tide is turning in the US against the blockade, but this
issue cannot be left to the politicians - we must take the lead and
challenge them by implementing a People to People Foreign Policy that
calls for an end to this insidious and immoral policy.

How you can get involved:

In July 2007 the 18th Friendshipment will travel on 14 different routes to
visit more than 120 US and Canadian cities. We will travel in school
buses, trucks, and cars to Cuba via Mexico with medical and educational
supplies collected from groups across the US and Canada as a collective
challenge to the blockade and travel ban.

 * Come as a caravanista - get in touch with us to get an application
 * Recruit other caravanistas - get them to request an application form
 * Get involved locally - host a caravan event in your community -
    email us to find out your local contact - and if there isn't one you
    or your organization can take the initiative to host the caravan!
 * Collect material aid - let us know so we can send you the aid
    information packet.
 * Help out as a volunteer in the IFCO office.
 * Make a financial donation. Checks or money orders should be made out
    to IFCO and mailed to our New York office. To make a credit card
    donation simply click on the donate-now button on this page and
    follow the instructions, or you can call our office (212-926-5757).
    Donations are tax-deductible!

--------13 of x--------

From: Philip Schaffner <PSchaffner [at]>
Subject: CCHT housing 3.21 7:30am
March 2007 e-News

Learn how Central Community Housing Trust is responding to the
affordable housing shortage in the Twin Cities. Please join us for a
1-hour Building Dreams presentation.

Minneapolis Session: Mar 29 at 7:30a
St. Paul Session: Mar 21 at 7:30a

We are also happy to present Building Dreams at your organization, place
of worship, or business. Space is limited, please register online at: or call Philip Schaffner at 612-341-3148 x237

Central Community Housing Trust 1625 Park Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 341-3148

--------14 of x--------

From: BRUCE ROMAN <bruceroman [at]>
Subject: Climate change 3.21 7pm

Climate Change, Our Impact, Our Solutions. Discussionand Presentation  by
Steve Seidl with moderator Sue Roegge discussing solutions. The debate is
over, we humans are having an effect on our climate. Come see the scientific
evidence based on the award winning film An Inconvenient Truth.
At The Coffee Grounds
    1579 Hamline Ave.
    Falcon Heights
651-644-9959 on Wednesday March 21 7pm or check Coffee Grounds web site

--------15 of x--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Intl womens day 3.21 7pm


Join the Macalester and Saint Paul Amnesty International chapters as we
honor the struggle for women's rights worldwide and learn about Amnesty's
campaign to Stop Violence Against Women.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 - 7:00 p.m.
Kagin Commons, Macalester College

Carol Arthur, Domestic Abuse Project
Gary King, Philippine Scholars
Featuring Darfur Photo Display by Sarah Masse
For more info: please contact Nisha at aistpaul640 [at]

--------16 of x--------

From: Dick Bernard <dick_bernard [at]>
Subject: Haiti rights 3.21 7pm

Wed. Mar 21 7 p.m. Potluck and Fundraiser for lawyers and Haiti Human
Rights Advocates Mario Joseph and Brian Concannon at home of Jim and April
Knutson, 3744 Garfield Ave S Minneapolis.  More info: 612-823-4989.

Thu Mar 22 7 p.m. Well known Human Rights Lawyers Mario Joseph (from
Port-au-Prince Bureaux Avocats Internatiounaux) and Brian Concannon
(Executive Director of Institut Justice d'Haiti ) will speak
on current conditions in Haiti.  Both are experts on Haiti Human Rights,
and are known for such cases as the Raboteau Massacre prosecution, and
defense of Fr. Jean-Juste, and folksinger So Anne Auguste, among other
credentials.  Room 250 Olin Science Building at Macalester College, at
Snelling and Grand (between campus buildings and football field).  Perhaps
easiest to enter Macalester off St. Clair.  Parking available just south
or west of Olin Science Bldg.

--------17 of x--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: War/home/Guard 3.21 7pm

Wednesday, 3/21, 7 pm, former MN rep Tim Penny, MN Guard Col Neal Loidolt
and employer support chair Denny Schulstad speak on "The Impact at Home: War
and the National Guard," Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Institute, 301 - 19th
Ave S, Mpls.

-------18 of x--------

From: Cam Gordon <CamGordon333 [at]>
Subject: Repeal Minneapolis' Lurking Ordinance

I want to take a moment to explain why I am proceeding with efforts to
repeal Minneapolis' "lurking" ordinance.

This is a small part of a larger effort to improve public safety practices
in our City; to address the root causes of poverty, homelessness and
crime; to promote fairness in our criminal justice system; to better
respect and value diversity; and to improve confidence in our City's
public safety services.  Even before I took office the lurking ordinance
had been reviewed and recommended for possible repeal or reform on several

* In 2003 the Community Advisory Board on Homelessness recommended that
"the City repeal its lurking and disorderly conduct ordinances, or amend
them so that they give specific guidelines and criteria for illegal

* In November of 2004 the Council on Crime and Justice completed a report
on "Low level Offenses in Minneapolis: An Analysis of Arrests and there
Outcomes," that found dramatic racial disparities in citations and arrests
for lurking and high (nearly 80%) dismissal and acquittal rates.

* In a Council Study Session in June of 2005 the findings of a City Task
Force on the Decriminalization of Homelessness indicated that dismissal
rates for lurking, loitering and trespass over 2003-2004 stood at 69%, and
that dismissal rates for lurking were the highest of the three.

* After I took office in 2006, I reviewed these reports. In May 2006, at
my initiative, the City Council unanimously voted to remove its ordinance
making it illegal to dance in the streets. It was clear that it had been
used in discriminatory ways to target people with mental illness or
suffering from homelessness.

* In June of 2006 the Council on Crime and Justice published a report,
"Reducing Racial Disparity While Enhancing Public Safety," that examined
the complex, sometimes subtle but often far reaching effects of racial
discrimination in the criminal justice system. Lurking was again
highlighted: "The racial disparity is larger for low level offenses where
police officer discretion is greatest. In 2001 the equivalent of one out
of four Black residents were cited for such low level offenses as
disorderly conduct, loitering and lurking. For whites, the number was one
in 60." The report articulated the connection between arrest records (even
when charges were dismissed or people were acquitted) and the long lasting
barriers to employment and housing that can be created.

The report recommended a new approach to addressing the problems of
"livability" crimes that relies on "multi-pronged strategies to address
low level offenses thereby reducing the ineffective over-reliance on the
criminal justice system." It laid out a process for developing "community
based problem solving strategies at identified hotspots," working with
schools and communities on intervention strategies and reforming the "tab
charge" process.

* In December of 2006, the City/County plan to end homelessness was
unanimously approved by both the City Council and the County Boards. It
calls on us to evaluate and recommend changes to ordinances that are
determined to discriminate against or criminalize homelessness.

The Ten Year Plan to end homelessness points us in a new direction and
calls for us to:  "Change the paradigm from managing homelessness to
ending it, from funding programs to investing in the community, from
serving people to partnering with people to achieve self-sufficiency...
"Eliminate panhandling and other livability issues through providing
prevention and outreach services..."

It was within this context I decided to take a closer look at our city

It soon became apparently that of our low level offenses, "lurking" was
the most unusual, ineffective, unnecessary and potentially discriminatory.

Here is our "lurking" ordinance: "385.80. Lurking. No person, in any
public or private place, shall lurk, lie in wait or be concealed with
intent to commit any crime or unlawful act."

On its face it is vague, unclear and there is little to no direction on
how to infer intent.

While some see it as an effective tool, all of the evidence that I have
seen leads me to believe that the "lurking" ordinance is not an effective
law enforcement tool, overlaps with other applicable statutes and
ordinances, and offers nothing but an opportunity for discriminatory

Before I reached that decision I looked at some of the current

Even recently, the outcomes of lurking arrests show serious racial
disparities. There were 167 people arrested or cited for "lurking" in the
City of Minneapolis in 2006, 133 of these people, or more than 80%, were
people of color. An African American is four times more likely to be
charged with "lurking" than a non-African American, and an American Indian
is three times more likely. Someone experiencing homelessness is fifteen
times more likely to be charged with "lurking" than someone with adequate

I believe that the "toolbox" of the Minneapolis Police Department includes
enough useful tools. More than a third of those charged with "lurking" in
2006 were charged with another, more serious offense. I remain completely
convinced that law enforcement officers have the legal right to stop and
question a person they suspect of committing an actual crime. If an
officer sees someone trying to open multiple car doors, for instance, this
can constitute "articulable suspicion" that the person is attempting to
violate statutes and ordinances ranging from Theft to Tampering with a
Motor Vehicle. The same is true for every illegal act I have heard used as
a reason to have "lurking" on the books.

Additionally, the Supreme Court of Minnesota said, when upholding the
Minneapolis "loitering" ordinance, that "'lurking' is not significantly
different from 'loitering'". "Lurking" has a very, very high dismissal
rate. This means that very often when folks are charged with this crime,
it does not carry consequences. The ordinance therefore has little to no
deterrent effect in itself. It is a way to move someone out of a given
area for a few hours, not any sort of long-term solution.

The Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights put a
priority on individual liberty and I think make it clear that government
should criminalize acts, not thoughts. I believe that the "lurking"
ordinance crosses that line. Our police officers are highly competent
professionals. I believe that they can appropriately develop articulable
suspicion and probable cause to charge persons engaged in actual illegal
activity with crimes that bring real consequences.

My philosophy is that we should put our resources into effective
investigations and consequences for actual criminal activity that harms
people and into preventing crime by addressing its root causes. The
"lurking" ordinance is the clearest example of where too much time and
money are being spent with little positive effect and potentially far
reaching unintended negative effects.

Resources that would be better invested in investigating real crimes and
convicting real criminals as well as addressing root causes of crime and
developing community based strategies are instead wasted on an ineffectual
criminal justice "revolving door."

Additionally, the use of the "lurking" ordinance has been waning in recent
years. I believe this is an additional sign that it is ineffective and
unnecessary. It is clear that most large cities also find it unnecessary.
We are one of only four of the largest 100 cities in the nation with
distinct "lurking" ordinances.

I believe it is time to repeal the "lurking" ordinance, and I am not
alone. So far this effort is supported by the Barbara Schneider
Foundation, The Minneapolis Urban League, The NAACP, Jewish Community
Action, The Council on Black Minnesotans, The African American Men
Project, MICAH/OPAAC, Office of the 5th Congressional District of
Minnesota, American Immigrant Lawyers Association, Chicano Latino Affairs
Council, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Community Justice
Partners, Woman Planting Seeds, The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center,
African American Family Services and St. Stephens Human Services.

I plan to bring this forward to the City Council on Friday March 30 to
introduce the subject matter for referral to the Public Safety and
Regulatory Services Committee for a public hearing and recommendation. In
order for it to go to the Committee a majority of the Council Members must
vote in favor of the subject introduction. Your support could be very
helpful. Minneapolis can be a national leader by following the lead
provided by our Ending Homelessness report and the Council on Crime and
Justice. We can create a system of community centered policing that deals
effectively and constructively with the underlying causes of crime.

We can address and attack the racism and discrimination that continue to
plague society and we can (as our City Goals state) make our city "One
Minneapolis" with "Equal Access, Equal Opportunity and, Equal Input" for
everyone where "diversity will be welcome, respected and valued" and "all
residents will have confidence in public safety services."

Please let me know if you have any questions or need any additional

In peace and cooperation,
Cam GordonMinneapolis City Council Member, Second Ward 673-2202, 296-0579
cam [at]

--------19 of x--------

From: Elizabeth Dickinson <eadickinson [at]>
Subject: Status of MN Smoke-Free bill

Jeanne Weigum wrote this for distribution--

Smoke-Free law passes committees

After decades of trying and not succeeding 2007 may be the year the
Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act is amended to provide smoke-free air in
bars, restaurants and other workplaces. Dubbed the Freedom to Breathe act,
chief authors of the bill are Representatives Tom Huntley of Duluth and
Dan Severson of Sauk Rapids and Senators Kathy Sheran of Mankato and Steve
Dille of Dassel.

When the bills were introduced in the House (HF 305) and Senate (SF 238)
the hope was that the bill would be heard in the Health Committee and then
be sent to the floor. That hope was quickly dashed. So far the bill has
gone to and passed the following House committees: Health and Human
Services; Commerce and Labor, Health Care and Human Services Finance
Division and at this writing is scheduled to be heard in Finance.  It is
anticipated the bill will pass the Finance Committee and is expected to
then be sent to the full House Floor for a final vote.

The path in the Senate has been no shorter. To date the bill has been
heard in: Health, Housing and Family Security; Business, Industry and
Jobs; State and Local Government Operations; Economic Development Budget
Division; Health and Human Service Budget Division and it may be referred
to Finance. One legislator quipped that the only committee left to refer
the bill to was Transportation and if they could figure out how it related
to transportation, they would send it there.

Not only have the House and Senate bills been well traveled, they have
been repeatedly amended and re-amended. For now, both bills look quite a
lot like they did when they were first introduced with amendments having
been put on in one committee only to be removed in the next. Some of the
amendments which have been considered are in the silly category;  some are
intended to narrow the bill's impact and some are intended to kill the
bill. Below is a partial list of the nearly 40 amendments which have been

1) Delay implementation until 2009

2) Allow smoking in bars with ventilation systems

3) Preempt local governments from adopting stronger ordinances

4) Forgive the liquor tax for any bar that was smoke-free until 2009

5) Require the state to purchase any bar or restaurant that went out of
business as a result of being smoke-free

6) Implement the state law after all the tribes made cassinos smoke- free

7) Apply the law to tribal lands (The State can not do this.)

8) Exempt veteran's clubs

9) Provide tax exemption for installation of air exchange systems

10) Include any worker who loses their job in the "Displaced Worker"
program (Note, this is not unemployment compensation but rather a special
fund for when there are masive displacements like the Ford plant closing)

11) Exempt husband and wife trucker teams

12) Ban the sale of tobacco

13) Ban the use of transfats

Make your opinion heard. Time and time again we hear that the legislators
are tired of hearing from the lobbyists and they want to hear from the
real people. That means, they want to hear from the people who actually
vote them into or out of office . To get the name, phone number or e-mail
address of your Senator or Representative, you may call 651-296-2146 or
(800) 657-3550.

Freedom to Breathe authors: Representatives Tom Huntley, Dan Severson,
Maria Ruud; Kim Norton; Neil Peterson; Kathy Brynaert; Mindy Greiling; Ron
Erhardt; Patti Fritz; Alice Hausman; Kathy Tingelstad; Jim Davnie;  Steve
Gottwalt; Linda Slocum; Michael Paymar; Erin Murphy; Terry Morrow; Ken
Tschumper; Dianne Loeffler; John Benson; Karen Clark; Phyllis Kahn;  Tina
Liebling; Rick Hansen. Senators: Kathy Sheran; Ron Latz; Julie Rosen;
Scott Dibble; Steve Dille; Yvonne Prettner Solon; Sharon Erickson Ropes;
Terri Bonoff; Tarryl Clark; Goeff Michel.

Please consider sending a thank you note to any/all of these authors
thanking them for their efforts on behalf of the bill. Letters to Senators
can be mailed to NAME, Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Blvd,
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606. Letters to Representatives can be mailed to NAME,
State Office Building, 200 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul,

If you wonder where your senator or representative stands on the Freedom
to Breathe legislation, call Jeanne at 651-646-3005.

Secondhand smoke drives health care costs

It is expensive. We knew that and now, at least in Minnesota, we know just
how much secondhand smoke costs us. $215,712,572. That is one of the
findings of research by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public
Health in collaboration with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The
report also determined the number of Minnesotans who die each year from
secondhand smoke exposure, 581.

These cost figures are stunning, especially when compared to other state
expenses. Compare $215 million for the health care costs caused by
secondhand smoke with:

Transportation: $103 million

Department of public Safety: $ 85 million

Early Childhood Education: $ 47 million

Department of Agriculture $40 million

The primary costs from secondhand smoke result from: low birth weight
babies; acute lower respiratory illnesses in those under 3; otitis media
and middle ear effusion; asthma, lung cancer and heart attacks and heart
diseases. The cost of heart disease represents nearly half of the total

Dollars are not the only cost. Secondhand smoke also costs 581
Minnesotan's their lives each year. The cause of death among these 581
are: low birth weight babies (44); Sudden infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
(14); lung cancer (112) and heart disease/attacks (411).

You have probably seen the ad on TV about secondhand smoke. It asks the
question, "Are you OK with that?" ANSR says NO, We are not OK with 581
deaths a year from involuntary smoking.

If you would like more information about this research, please visit

Elizabeth Dickinson West Side St. Paul

--------20 of x--------

Aiding the Enemy
by Pham Binh
March 18, 2007

They cut and run in the face of danger. They aid the enemy and give
comfort to him in his hour of need. They don't understand the nature of
the threat we face today.

Who am I talking about? The Democrats, of course.

The enemy they aid, give comfort to, capitulate to, and retreat from, is
President Bush. Although they rode a wave of anti-war sentiment into
office, the Democrats are doing their best to betray the voters by giving
Bush every thing he wants - money, troops, and his choice of generals -
but whining about it every step of the way. Hence all the non-binding
resolutions, the schemes by folks like John Murtha to continue the war
while appearing to oppose it, and the shameless posturing for 2008 by
opportunists like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

One of the schemes to trick us into thinking they oppose Bush was the
insertion of language into the war funding bill that would have required
Bush to seek Congress' permission before attacking Iran. Of course, there
was never any danger of Bush getting a no vote on that. Obama, Clinton,
and even the out-of-power-with-nothing-to-lose-loser-of-2004 John Edwards
have been endlessly repeating Bush's mantra on Iran: "all options are on
the table" to stop Iran's nuclear program. And even if an attack on Iran
were voted down in Congress, since when has Bush been bothered by
legality? Every law he doesn't like, he breaks. When he signed the law
banning torture, he attached a signing statement that basically said, "I'm
exempt from this law whenever I say so." How another piece of paper would
prevent Bush from bombing Iran has yet to be explained.

But now the Democrats have scrapped even this pretense of opposition.
They've taken the Iran measure out of the military spending bill, giving
Bush permission to attack when he pleases.

The bill has also been making headlines because it sets a deadline in 2008
for the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq, conveniently before a
Democrat can win the White House. Out of the 140,000 troops there now
(surge not included), only 60,000 are combat troops. So "only" 80,000
American lives would still be at risk for the control of Iraqi oil and the
geopolitical power that would bring.

Essentially, the bill would force the military to end major combat
operations against the resistance and the militias and pull back to those
permanent bases nobody in Washington or the media wants us to know about.
If this redeployment happens, the war will continue. That's because a
majority of Iraqis don't want to be occupied in any way, shape or form.
They don't want their country to be a colony, protectorate, satellite, or
springboard for America's future wars against Iran or Syria. This
redeployment would merely re-arrange the deckchairs on the Titanic. Or the
Hindenburg, if you're a Stephen Colbert fan.

Iraq has been a godsend for the Democratic Party. Voters' anger over the
war has outweighed their anger at the ineptitude, bumbling, cowardice, and
betrayal of the Democratic Party. This dynamic is likely to make either
the first black or the first woman President in 2008. But the track record
indicates that a Democrat at the helm won't obey the voters and stop the

Pham Binh is an activist and recent graduate of Hunter College in NYC. His
articles have been published at Asia Times Online and Monthly Review
Online. He edits Traveling Soldier, a newsletter for anti-war military
personnel. His website is and he can be
reached at: anita_job [at]

--------21 of x--------

Doomsday Book: Bush Literary Lunch Foretells Horrors Ahead
by Chris Floyd
ATLANTIC FREE PRESS Saturday, 17 March 2007

Stop what you're doing and go read - right now - Glenn Greenwald's
(BELOW)account of the recent "literary luncheon" that George Bush held
with a gaggle of extremist neocon "scholars" in the White House. Read of
the poison flattery they lovingly smeared all over Bush's ego, of the
brutal and ignorant prejudices they confirmed him in, of the unbridled
military aggression they advocated. Read how they fed Bush's megalomaniac
belief in his "divine mission," like Byzantine courtiers or al Qaeda
groupies assuring the Leader that he walks in God's favor and is
answerable to no one and nothing but the Almighty.

Read too of how Bush eagerly lapped up their "lessons," nodding in solemn
agreement with their fawning assessment of his greatness - even adding to
it, saying that he was greater than Winston Churchill because the British
leader was a secularist, an agnostic, and lacked the rigid blinders of
crude, unquestioned faith that gives Bush such an unwavering certitude in
the rightness - and righteousness - of his actions.

(This is hubris indeed, given that Churchill is the tutelary god of the
neocons and all the other militarists of the American Empire crowd.
Indeed, the Claremont Institute - yet another extremist pressure group on
the war-whooping Right - has just announced it is giving its Statesmanship
Award to none other than that eminent ex-statesman and certified
slaughterer of civilians, Donald Rumsfeld, at the Institute's annual
dinner in honor of - who else? - Winston Churchill. The Claremont
Institute is of course devoted to restoring "the principles of the
American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national
life." However, the Institute's view of these principles may differ
slightly from that of the Founders themselves - a saucy crew largely made
up of questioning, doubting, agnostic, non-blinkered secularists. For
example, one of the Institute's most prominent board members is Howard
Ahmanson Jr., the rightwing moneybags who for many years was the principal
funder of the "Christian Reconstructionist"  movement. This movement, many
of whose adherents and allies now have ready access to the corridors of
power and exercise great influence on the formation of government policy,
advocates the imposition of a totalitarian theocratic state, with every
aspect of public and private life governed by a Sharia-like blanket of
religious law. Some of the fearsome strictures openly championed by the
Reconstructionists include slavery for the poor who fall into debt,
execution - by stoning - for homosexuals and other transgressors,
revocation of citizenship for non-believers, and a worldwide jihad to
exert God's dominion over the globe. Bush, of course, is very much at home
with such lumpish, grunting, primitive minds; but one suspects that
Churchill - much less Jefferson, Madison and Franklin - would find a
dinner with these cretins pretty heavy going.)

But aside from the fascinating - if sick-making - spectacle afforded by
Bush's neocon chowdown, Greenwald cuts to the deeper meaning of the event:
we're doomed. The bloodthirsty baying of these servile ministers is the
only voice that Bush attends to. Witness the "surge" in Iraq, launched in
arrogant defiance not only of the will of the American people (neither
party pays any attention to that) but also of a broad swathe of the
Establishment elite, including the faction of Bush's own father. Instead,
Bush turned to Frederick Kagan - yet another well-wadded neocon courtier
with absolutely no expertise in the Middle East, no knowledge of Iraq, no
military experience, no qualifications at all save for his adherence to
militarism, empire and the inherent greatness of George W. Bush. Bush will
follow their lunatic agenda of "creative destruction" and imperial
conquest to the end - because it is his agenda. Greenwald's conclusion is
grim, but all too true:

Irving Kristol [husband of luncheon attendee Gertrude Himmelfarb] has
written in the past about the need to exploit religious and moral concepts
in order to manipulate the masses, and his intellectual North Star, Leo
Strauss, has advocated - as Strauss scholar Shadia Drury documented - that
"those in power must invent noble lies and pious frauds to keep the people
in the stupor for which they are supremely fit" - a view Kristol has
endorsed. One can see that dynamic powerfully at work in the interaction
between these neoconservatives and the President. They have seized upon
the President's evangelical fervor and equated his "calling" to wage war
for Good in the world with the neoconservative agenda of endless wars in
the Middle East.

And the more unpopular the President becomes as a result, the more of a
failure these policies are, the more strongly they tell him to ignore all
of that, that none of it matters, that his God and history will conclude
that he did The Right Thing, provided that he continues steadfastly to
pursue their agenda. And the President believes that. That is why nothing
will stop him in pursuing the path he created years ago when, in January,
2002, he became convinced to name not only Iraq, but also Iran, as
standing members of the "Axis of Evil" (even though our relations with
Iran were rapidly improving at the time) and cited the 9/11 attacks in
order to all but vow war on those countries, despite their having nothing
to do with those attacks. The President's "lessons" at the feet of
neoconservatives continue, and he is as faithful a student as ever.

president receives "lessons" from his neoconservative tutors
by Glenn Reenwald

(updated below - updated again)

On February 28, George Bush hosted what he called "a literary luncheon" to
honor "historian" Andrew Roberts. Accounts of that luncheon - which
describe the "lessons" the guests taught the President (and they call them
"lessons") - really provide an amazing glimpse into the Bush mindset and
his relationship with neoconservatives.

Roberts recently wrote the right-wing historical revisionism tract
entitled History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900. The book, as
Roberts himself described it in an interview with Front Page Magazine,
"does not consider British imperialism to have been a Bad Thing, argues
that the Versailles Treaty was not harsh enough on Germany, [and] defends
the bombing of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki . . . . " A central theme
is that "Intellectuals of the Left bear a heavy responsibility for the
cruelties and savagery of the 20th century," and Roberts' world-view is
filled with banalities like this:

     I fear, in the light of Congress's recent nonbinding (and utterly
self-contradictory) resolution opposing the surge, the gross bias of much
of the Left-Liberal media, and the present poll ratings of Sen Hillary
Clinton, that the US will lose the will to fight the War against Terror in
any manner that might hold out the hope of ultimate victory.

So one can see why Roberts was chosen to be honored as the President's new
favorite historian, and why his "history" book, which affirms George
Bush's imperial worldview in every way, has become one of the President's

The White House invited a tiny cast (total: 15 guests) of standard
neoconservatives and other Bush followers to the luncheon, including
Norman Podhoretz (father-in-law of White House convict Eliot Abrams),
Gertrude Himmelfarb (wife of Irving Kristol and mother of Bill), Mona
Charen, Kate O'Beirne, Wall St. Journal Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot,
etc. etc. The Weekly Standard's Irwin Stelzer was also invited and wrote
about the luncheon in the most glowing terms.

Stelzer's account provides truly illuminating insight into what
neoconservatives have been filling the President's head with for years
now, and demonstrates how they have managed to keep him firmly on board
with their agenda. The most critical priority is to convince the President
to continue to ignore the will of the American people and to maintain
full-fledged loyalty to the neoconservative agenda, no matter how
unpopular it becomes.

To do this, they have convinced the President that he has tapped into a
much higher authority than the American people - namely, God-mandated,
objective morality - and as long as he adheres to that (which is achieved
by continuing his militaristic policies in the Middle East, whereby he is
fighting Evil and defending Good), God and history will vindicate him:

     On one subject the president needed no lessons from Roberts or anyone
else in the room: how to handle pressure. "I just don't feel any," he says
with the calm conviction of a man who believes the constituency to which
he must ultimately answer is the Divine Presence. Don't misunderstand: God
didn't tell him to put troops in harm's way in Iraq; belief in Him only
goes so far as to inform the president that there is good and evil. It is
then his job to figure out how to promote the former and destroy the
latter. And he is confident that his policies are doing just that.

Or, as luncheon attendee Michael Novak of the American Enterprise
Institute recalled (also in The Weekly Standard) the President saying: "I
want to have my conscience clear with Him. Then it doesn't matter so much
what others think." (Novak also revealingly marveled that "The President
was not at all intimidated by his fifteen or so guests" even though the
guests included Podhoretz, Himmelfarb and "Irwin Stelzer himself" - in
Novak's world, one expects the President to be intimidated to be in the
presence of such powerful neoconservative luminaries, not the other way

Stelzer recounts what he calls the multiple "lessons" they taught Bush at
this luncheon. One of the key lessons is Roberts' view that the U.S.
should be most concerned with its relationships with the other
"English-speaking countries in the world," and not worry nearly as much
about all those countries where they speak in foreign tongues ("Lesson
Four: Cling to the alliance of the English-speaking peoples").

But that "lesson" led Bush to bewilderingly wonder why there was such
rising anti-Americanism all over the world, even in English-speaking
countries such as England ("'Is it due simply to my personality?' he
wondered, half-seriously. 'Is it confined to intellectuals?' asked a
guest"). Anti-Americanism, the neoconservatives instructed Bush, is
something he should just ignore. As long as he continues to follow
neoconservatism, that is all that matters:

     The combined Roberts-Stelzer response: The causes of rampant
anti-Americanism do indeed include dislike of Bush. But there are others:
the war in Iraq; anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian sentiment, laced with some
covert anti-Semitism; and resentment of American power. Roberts urged the
president not to concern himself with these anti-American feelings, since
in a unipolar world the lone superpower cannot be loved. His advice: "Get
your policies right and history will prove a kind muse."

Nothing matters - not the disapproval of the American people of the
President's actions nor rising anti-Americanism around the world. He
should simply ignore all of that and continue to obey the mandates of
neoconservatism because that is what is Good and his God will be pleased.

Other lessons that Bush was taught that day: "First: Do not set a deadline
for withdrawal. That led to the slaughter of 700,000 to 1 million people
in India, with the killing beginning one minute after the midnight
deadline." They also told the President to ignore the fact that other
powerful countries and even empires that tried to dominate the world have
all collapsed. Those incidents are irrelevant and teach us nothing because
- unlike the Glorious Leader today - those people simply lacked the Will
to Power. Thus:

     Second lesson: Will trumps wealth. The Romans, the tsars, and other
rich world powers fell to poorer ones because they lacked the will to
fight and survive. Whereas World War II was almost over before Americans
saw the first picture of a dead soldier, today the steady drumbeat of
media pessimism and television coverage are sapping the West's will.

They also instructed the President to continue his policies of indefinite
imprisonment without charges: "Third lesson: Don't hesitate to intern our
enemies for long, indefinite periods of time. That policy worked in
Ireland and during World War II. Release should only follow victory."
"Victory," of course is decades away - it's a Permanent War - so the
"lesson" they are teaching is to imprison people forever with no charges
and not to worry about all those whiny French complaints that doing so is
un-American. American values are no competition for the imperatives of
neoconservative glory.

The lessons continued. "Appeasement," of course, is the Ultimate Evil, the
Great French Sin. Hence: "Fifth lesson: We are fighting an enemy that
cannot be appeased; were that possible, the French would already have done
it - a Roberts quip that elicited a loud chuckle from the president."

Finally, the neoconservatives left Bush with the overarching instruction -
namely, the only thing that he should concern himself with, the only thing
that really matters, is Iran. Forget every other issue - the welfare of
the American people, every other region around the world - except the one
that matters most:

     The closing note was a more serious one. Roberts said that history
would judge the president on whether he had prevented the nuclearization
of the Middle East. If Iran gets the bomb, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other
countries will follow. "That is why I am so pleased to be sitting here
rather than in your chair, Mr. President." There was no response, other
than a serious frown and a nod.

The President, concluded Stelzer with great satisfaction, "worries less
about his 'legacy' than about his standing with the Almighty." And as a
result of this luncheon, the President's standing with the Almightys in
the neoconservative circle was as secure as ever. Another luncheon is
likely planned soon, since Stelzer also noted that "Bush has circulated
copies of Natan Sharansky's The Case for Democracy to his staff, and
recommended Mark Steyn's America Alone."

Irving Kristol (Himmelfarb's husband) has written in the past about the
need to exploit religious and moral concepts in order to manipulate the
masses, and his intellectual North Star, Leo Strauss, has advocated - as
Strauss scholar Shadia Drury documented - that "those in power must invent
noble lies and pious frauds to keep the people in the stupor for which
they are supremely fit" - a view Kristol has endorsed. One can see that
dynamic powerfully at work in the interaction between these
neoconservatives and the President. They have seized upon the President's
evangelical fervor and equated his "calling" to wage war for Good in the
world with the neoconservative agenda of endless wars in the Middle East.

And the more unpopular the President becomes as a result, the more of a
failure these policies are, the more strongly they tell him to ignore all
of that, that none of it matters, that his God and history will conclude
that he did The Right Thing, provided that he continues steadfastly to
pursue their agenda. And the President believes that. That is why nothing
will stop him in pursuing the path he created years ago when, in January,
2002, he became convinced to name not only Iraq, but also Iran, as
standing members of the "Axis of Evil" (even though our relations with
Iran were rapidly improving at the time) and cited the 9/11 attacks in
order to all but vow war on those countries, despite their having nothing
to do with those attacks. The President's "lessons" at the feet of
neoconservatives continue, and he is as faithful a student as ever.

UPDATE: Writing in Salon about this same luncheon, Sidney Blumenthal
reported (h/t Vast Left):

     The subject of Winston Churchill inspired Bush's self-reflection. The
president confided to Roberts that he believes he has an advantage over
Churchill, a reliable source with access to the conversation told me. He
has faith in God, Bush explained, but Churchill, an agnostic, did not.
Because he believes in God, it is easier for him to make decisions and
stick to them than it was for Churchill. Bush said he doesn't worry, or
feel alone, or care if he is unpopular. He has God.

We have long known that Bush Is Churchill (along with all the
chest-besting neoconservatives who cheer on wars), but now we learn (from
Bush) that he has become convinced that he is stronger than Churchill
because Bush "has God" and Churchill didn't.

UPDATE II: I will likely write more about this later, but for the moment,
I will simply highly recommend this new article by American Conservative
Editor Scott McConnell, which focuses on the role of the blogosphere in
expanding the scope of permissible debate over Israel and, specifically,
the role played by right-wing Israeli groups in influencing American
foreign policy.

Entitled "Bloggers v. the Lobby," McConnell argues that "the blogosphere
is playing a role in bringing to the fore these kinds of dissenting views
- though they may be majority views - letting them circulate and evolve
under the test of critical argument." He focuses on some recent writings
on AIPAC, Wes Clark, Iran, and domestic politics by Matt Yglesias, Ezra
Klein, and this post written by me.

Ezra adds some worthwhile thoughts on this article both here and here,
including a reference to Barack Obama's highly commendable (and
startlingly rare) discussion of Palestinian suffering in front of the
AIPAC crowd, the day before he addressed AIPAC.

--------22 of x--------

 Hillary and Billary
 went to the till, we all see,
 for a free ton of mon.

 But when they got there
 the cupboard was bare
 so the poor dogs had none.

   - from Profiles in Cur Age


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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