|Progressive Calendar 07.10.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2007 01:51:07 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 07.10.07 1. Predatory lending 7.11 11am 2. Cafeteria workers 7.11 11:45pm 3. MPN4P meeting 7.11 7pm 4. Peace grannys 7.12 11am 5. NWN4P-NewHope 7.12 4:30pm 6. Eagan peace vigil 7.12 4:30pm 7. Northtown vigil 7.12 5pm 8. Cuba/health/film 7.12 6:30pm 9. Bombies/film 7.12 7pm 10. Cardboard music 7.12 7pm 11. Dept of peace 7.12 7pm 12. AntiWarMN/newMem 7.12 7pm 13. WB Av parade 7.12 7pm 14. Nader speaks/GP 7.12 Reading PA 15. LRT boondoggle 7.13 8:30am 16. Pigstock retreat 7.14 10am HagerCity WI 17. M Albert/CTV 7.14 9pm 18. Party w Greens 7.14 19. Angela Brown - Sheehan to run v Pelosi unless Bush impeachment sought 20. John Walsh - Dems have failed; will the Greens seize the moment? 21. Doug Giebel - Wanted: old men with nothing to lose 22. Dave Zirin - The doming of America --------1 of 22-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Predatory lending 7.11 11am COMING WEDNESDAY, JULY 11 @ 11:00 AM: Truth to Tell talks about Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis and Predatory Lending with the UofM Law Schoolšs Prentiss Cox, the MN Homeownership Centeršs Dana Snell and Larry Moloney of Southern MN Regional Legal Services (SMRLS). KFAI, FM 90.3 in Minneapolis, 106.7 in St. Paul, streaming online at KFAI.org. Andy Driscoll, Producer/Host Truth to Tell co-host: Craig Cox Wednesdays at 11:00 AM KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis/106.7 St. Paul -------2 of 22-------- From: Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council <betsy [at] mplscluc.com> Subject: Cafeteria workers 7.11 11:45pm Thank you to all of you who have contacted Bruce Taher regarding the UNITE/HERE capitol complex cafeteria workers' situation below. Please get the word out that there will be a Rally on behalf of these workers outside of the Department of Transportation (DOT) Building next Wednesday, July 11th from 11:45am to 12:30pm. The DOT is located at 395 John Ireland Blvd, right next to the State Office Building across from the Capitol. There is a pay parking lot for DOT that you can enter from Rice Street a few blocks south of University. If you have any questions, please contact Martin at UNITE HERE Local 17 - 612-379-4730! Three cafeterias in the State Capitol Complex (Centennial, Transportation and 600 Buildings) have reopened today with 18 of 20 UNITE HERE Local 17 workers not on the job. They were not re-hired after decades of service by a management firm which won a new state contract, and has rejected workers' union contracts in its entirety. Taher, Inc., the newly hired management firm, has said the full-time cafeteria jobs are being down-sized to part-time and workers' health care benefits will be eliminated.If this leaves a bad taste in your mouth, here's what you can do to help the workers: 1. Contact Bruce Taher, CEO of Taher, Inc. at 952-945-0505 or b.taher [at] taher.com and demand that he rehire the workers, offer real employment and benefits, and stop busting the union. 2. Downsize Taher's profits. Bring your own lunch to the Cafeteria. And encourage your friends to do so. Take leisurely lunches. Keep the tables full and the cash registers as empty as possible. 3. Spread the word. --------3 of 22-------- From: "Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)" <web [at] mppeace.org> Subject: MPN4P meeting 7.11 7pm MERRIAM PARK NEIGHBORS FOR PEACE JULY MEETING Wednesday, July 11, 2007 7:00 p.m. Merriam Park Library - Meeting Room A 1831 Marshall Avenue (at Fairview Avenue), St. Paul Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace usually meets the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00 at the Merriam Park Library. In July, we're meeting on the 11th since the first Wednesday was a holiday. We've also switched to Meeting Room A instead of Meeting Room B. Please join us! All are welcome! --------4 of 22-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Peace grannys 7.12 11am Grandmothers for Peace: "How Much More Can You Stand?!" Thursday, July 12, 11:00 a.m. Peavey Plaza, Nicolette Ave., downtown Minneapolis. Everyone welcome to join in. Wear black. Bring noisemakers. Drumming. Demonstrate along the mall. Stop at every block. Speak out. Proclaim the message of Troops Out of Iraq Now! Alert shoppers about need to Get Out of Iraq Now! Grandmothers for Peace. One hour. Ends at WCCO. --------5 of 22-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P-NewHope 7.12 4:30pm NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of Winnetka and 42nd. You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near McDonalds; we will be on all four corners. Bring your own or use our signs. --------6 of 22-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 7.12 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------7 of 22-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 7.12 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------8 of 22-------- From: Joan Malerich <joanmdm [at] iphouse.com> Subject: Cuba/health/film 7.12 6:30pm ĄSalud! CUBAN HEALTH CARE DOCUMENTARY Directed by Academy Award Nominee Connie Field Co-Produced by Gail Reed Showing one day only at Rondo Community Outreach Library, 461 North Dale (University and Dale), St. Paul. Thursday, July 12, 6:30 PM Free parking under library and free admission. Metro Transit Lines #16, 50, 65 (Transit Station --612-373-3333) Sponsored by Minnesota Cuba Committee FIND OUT WHAT PUTS CUBA ON THE MAP IN THE QUEST FOR GLOBAL HEALTH A Timely examination of human values and the health issues that affect us all. Some 28,000 Cuban health professionals are serving in 68 countries. ĄSalud! Explores the hearts and minds of international medical students in Cuba. ĄSalud! spans three continents to look at the philosophy and the health professionals placing Cuba on the map in the worldwide movement to make health care a global birthright. A FILM ABOUT THE PRESSING HEALTH ISSUES THE WORLD FACES TODAY Film opens in South Africa and travels to Venezuela, to Honduras to Gambia. The Gambia's Minister of Health stated: "Our infant mortality is down, life expectancy up. We wouldn't be able to narrate this success without the help of the Cubans." TRAINING HEALERS TO PROMOTE HEALTH, NOT SIMPLY TREAT DISEASE THE FILM VISITS Cuba's Latin American School of Medicine (LASM AND/OR ELAM) now the largest medical school in the world and includes 12,000 low-income students from 27 countries---nearly 100 from US. The Deal: Receive a free medical education in exchange for pledging to return to poor communities in their own country when they graduate. "ĄSalud! is just the kind of film we want to showcase in our festival." Ayuko Babu, Executive Director Pan African Film Festival (PAFF), Los Angeles) on presenting "ĄSalud! to the Audience Choice Award. ""ĄSalud! is compelling, upbeat and moving, a great tool for learning the much there is to learn from Cuba." Paul Farmer, MD, Partners in Health and Harvard Medical School. For more information, trailer and reviews go to http://www.saludthefilm.net/ns/synopsis.html --------9 of 22-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Bombies/film 7.12 7pm Film: "Bombies" Laos, Honeywell & ATK Project Updates Thursday, July 12, 7:00 p.m. St. James Lutheran Church, 6700 46th Place North, Crystal. "Bombies" portrays the aftermath of the carpet bombing of Laos with made-in-Minnesota cluster bombs and includes local footage of demonstrations at Honeywell and Alliant Techsystems (ATK). An update by members of AlliantACTION and Marv Davidov, founder of the Honeywell Project, will follow the film. All are welcome. Free. Sponsored by: Northwest Neighbors for Peace. FFI: Call Carole, 763-546-5368 or email <nwn4p.pbwiki.com>. --------10 of 22-------- From: Kiera Coonan <kieracoonan [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Cardboard music 7.12 7pm Arise! Bookstore and Belfry to Host Cardboard Instrument Making Workshop Minneapolis, MN: Arise! Bookstore and the Belfry present a cardboard instrument making workshop as part of this year's "Made From Scratch" DIY Summer Series. Arrive at the Belfry Center on Thursday July 12th at 7:00PM to make fabulous DIY instruments out of salvaged cardboard and other everyday materials. Sing-a-long/show afterwards! Event to be held at the Belfry Center. Cost $3-5. The Belfry is a radical social center located @ 3753 Bloomington Ave. S Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407 For further information, please contact Kiera Coonan at 651.399.6058 or kieracoonan [at] yahoo.com Contact: Kiera Coonan / 651.399.6058 / kieracoonan [at] yahoo.com --------11 of 22-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Dept of peace 7.12 7pm Thursday, 7/12, 7 pm, Department of Peace host celebration of the DoP campaign, with Dot Maver and Lynn McMullen, music, food, more. House of Balls, 212 3rd Ave N, Mpls. Mary Jane at 651-261-6966. --------12 of 22-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: AntiWarMN/new mem 7.12 7pm New Members Meeting Thursday 7/12 @ 7pm @ 1313 5th St. SE, Mpls. in room 102 A Interested in checking out the Anti-War Committee? Come to a meeting designed for new people! We'll be planning our upcoming events this summer - including our plans to demonstrate at the RNC! Everyone is welcome! --------13 of 22-------- From: Andrew Abruzzese <spreadleft [at] hotmail.com> Subject: WB Av parade 7.12 7pm White Bear Avenue Parade Thursday, July 12, 2007 Line up 6:00pm, Parade 7:00pm Currently have 5 people signed up to appear in parade --------14 of 22-------- From: Green Party of the United States <office [at] gp.org> Subject: Nader speaks/GP 7.12 Reading PA Ralph Nader to Speak at Green Party National Meeting Reading, PA will be turning green from the 12-15th of July when the Green Party National Meeting comes to town. With a huge number of workshops and speakers as well as a Music Fest to keep everyone entertained in the evenings it should be a great weekend. It will be a wonderful opportunity to learn the skills required to build effective campaigns, network with Greens from across the country and worldwide; and, most of all, to have fun. Ralph Nader is scheduled to speak on the Saturday and will be addressing the issue of Ballot access, an ever prevalent topic which resonates particularly clearly in Pennsylvania, a state with some of the most antidemocratic ballot access rules for third party candidates in the US. Ralph will be sharing the stage with 2006 PA Senate Candidate Carl Romanelli and renowned progressive hip-hop artist Head-Roc. --------15 of 22-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: LRT boondoggle 7.13 8:30am [Event below put on by the pro-boondoggle people -ed] PUBLIC HEARING JULY 13 City sets public hearing on Central Corridor land-use plans PLANNING COMMISSION PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE CENTRAL CORRIDOR DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY: A CHAPTER OF THE SAINT PAUL COMPREHENSIVE PLAN The Saint Paul Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, July 13, 2007 in Room 40 (basement) of the City Hall Conference Center, 15 W. Kellogg Boulevard, on the Central Corridor Development Strategy, a proposed chapter of the City's Comprehensive Plan. Written comments will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on July 13, 2007. They may be submitted to Donna Drummond of the Saint Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development via e-mail to donna.drummond [at] ci.stpaul.mn.us, fax to 651-228-3341, or mail (25 West 4th Street, Suite 1200, Saint Paul, MN 55102). --------16 of 22-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Pigstock retreat 7.14 10am HagerCity WI Veterans for Peace Retreat: Pigstock Saturday, July 14, all day Paul and Trudi Schaefer's "Pig Wisdom Farm", N2934 750th Street, Hager City, Wisconsin (for directions with a map see: <www.pigwisdomfarm.com>. Minnesota Veterans for Peace daylong retreat that includes: a general meeting, announcements, speakers: Army Col. (Ret.), Ann Wright, now ardent peace activist, on The Role of Desent in Modern Democracy, Dr. Steve Miles on Torture in the Military, other speakers, food, entertainment and ceremonies. Camping grounds are available for all who want to stay overnight and socialize Saturday night. Sponsored by: Red Wing VFP Chapter 115 and Red Wing Alliance for Peace. FFI or to register: Call David Harris 1- 651-388-5863 (You or e-mail <tuvecino [at] redwing.net>. --------17 of 22-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: M Albert/CTV 7.14 9pm Revered Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts weekly on MTN Channel 17. Households with basic cable can watch. "Our World In Depth" is on Saturday at 9 pm and the following Tuesday at 8 am (as well as other times). 7/14 and 7/17 "Michael Albert: From SDS to Life After Capitalism" Part 2 of recent talk in St. Paul. --------18 of 22-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Party with Greens 7.14 PARTY WITH THE GREENS!!! Saturday July 14th [time?] @ The Terminal Bar $7.00 at the door Free beer til the keg is dry Door Prizes & Raffle Featuring the Musical Talent of: N.O.T.A. (None Of The Above) Drums-Ashley James Bass Guitar - Darrell Gerber Guitar & Vocals - Wyn Douglas Trumpet & Percussion - Jay Pond Vocals & More - Mona Toft & THE TURNS... --------19 of 22-------- Sheehan says she'll run against Pelosi unless Bush impeachment sought By ANGELA K. BROWN, AP Posted: 2007-07-08 20:57:43 CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - Cindy Sheehan, the soldier's mother who galvanized the anti-war movement, said Sunday that she plans to seek House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's congressional seat unless she introduces articles of impeachment against President Bush in the next two weeks. Sheehan said she will run against the San Francisco Democrat in 2008 as an independent if Pelosi does not seek by July 23 to impeach Bush. That's when Sheehan and her supporters are to arrive in Washington, D.C., after a 13-day caravan and walking tour starting next week from the group's war protest site near Bush's Crawford ranch. "Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership," Sheehan told The Associated Press. "We hired them to bring an end to the war. I'm not too far from San Francisco, so it wouldn't be too big of a move for me. I would give her a run for her money." Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said the congresswoman has said repeatedly that her focus is on ending the war in Iraq. "She believes that the best way to support our troops in Iraq is to bring them home safely and soon," Daly said in an e-mail to the AP. "July will be a month of action in Congress to end the war, including a vote to redeploy our troops by next spring." The White House declined to comment on Sheehan's plans. She plans her official candidacy announcement Tuesday. Sunday wrapped up what is expected to be her final weekend at the 5-acre Crawford lot that she sold to California radio talk show host Bree Walker, who plans to keep it open to protesters. "The land itself has historical value," Walker said. "It is the first people's movement of the 21st century, and it needs to be kept as the hallowed ground that it is." Sheehan announced in late May that she was leaving the anti-war movement. She said that she felt her efforts had been in vain and that she had endured smear tactics and hatred from the left, as well as the right. She said she wanted to change course. She first came to Crawford in August 2005 during a Bush vacation, demanding to talk to him about the war that killed her son Casey in 2004. She became the face of the anti-war movement during her 26-day roadside vigil, which was joined by thousands. But it also drew counter-protests by Bush supporters, many who said she was hurting troop morale. Sheehan, who has never held political office, recently said that she was leaving the Democratic Party because it "caved" in to the president. Last week, she announced her caravan to Washington, an undertaking she calls the "people's accountability movement." "I didn't expect to be back so soon, but the focus is different than it was before," Sheehan said Sunday. "Instead of talking and making accusations, we're going into communities and talking to the people who've been hurt by the Bush regime. We're finding out how we can help people." Sheehan, who will turn 50 on Tuesday, said Bush should be impeached because she believes he misled the public about the reasons for going to war, violated the Geneva Convention by torturing detainees, and crossed the line by commuting the prison sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. She said other grounds for impeachment are the domestic spying program and the "inadequate and tragic" response to Hurricane Katrina. Libby was convicted of lying and obstructing justice in an investigation into the leak of a CIA officer's identity. Sheehan said she hopes Pelosi files the articles of impeachment so Sheehan can move onto her next projects, including overseas trips for humanitarian work. But if not, Sheehan said she is ready to run for office. "I'm doing it to encourage other people to run against Congress members who aren't doing their jobs, who are beholden to special interests," Sheehan said. "She (Pelosi) let the people down who worked hard to put Democrats back in power, who we thought were our hope for change." Pelosi was elected to the House in 1987 and became the first female speaker in January. Sheehan said she lives in a Sacramento suburb but declined to disclose which city, citing safety reasons. The area is outside Pelosi's district, but there are no residency requirements for congressional members, according to the California secretary of state's office. 07/08/07 20:56 EDT -------20 of 22------- Will the Greens Seize the Moment? The Democrats Have Failed By JOHN WALSH CounterPunch July 9, 2007 "Americans' View of 'Most Important Problem Continues to be Iraq." "Americans' Confidence in Congress at All-Time Low." "Congressional Job Approval Dips Again This Month." Thus read three major headings in the Gallup Poll Weekly Briefing of June 22. And the crisis has started to consume our liberties, with the police state growing in power to the point where even that most ancient of protections, habeas corpus, has been suspended in some cases. The core of the crisis is that the political system is unable to respond to the demands of the people for peace. And everyone knows it. Cindy Sheehan said it as well as anyone last May 26 in a letter addressed to the Democrats in Congress: I will now "try and figure a way out of this 'two' party system that is bought and paid for by the war machine which has a stranglehold on every aspect of our lives. As for myself, I am leaving the Democratic Party. You have completely failed those who put you in power to change the direction our country is heading. We do not condone our government's violent meddling in sovereign countries and we condemn the continued murderous occupation of Iraq. We gave you a chance; you betrayed us." The present crisis appears comparable to the state of affairs in the 1850s when the question of slavery dominated the national consciousness and could not be resolved with the compromises of 1820 and 1850. But there was no anti-slavery party. Then in 1854 under pressure from both abolitionists and northern capitalists, the Republican Party was formed. In 1856 it ran its first presidential candidate who lost, and in 1860 it ran Lincoln who won. Six years was all it took - even without the internet. The point is that in times of crisis things can move faster than anyone might imagine. What greater opportunity could there be for the Green Party? The vast majority of the public knows by now that neither mainstream party wants to end the occupation of Iraq. And they are making noises, both of them, about going after Iran, Sudan and others. After the 2006 elections and Democratic votes to continue the war funding, few can deny that the Democrats are a party of war and empire. This fact is abundantly evident to one and all for the first time since the end of the Cold War, which masked the reality of the U.S. empire. But we have no large antiwar party. The crisis seems to be as close to that of 1854 as historical analogy permits. In this moment, how have the Greens done? It is true that the Greens alone among the non-Socialist parties have stuck to principle in opposing the war - and that puts us light years ahead of others. But in practice the Greens appear distracted, disorganized and downright dysfunctional, this last word all too often applied to our Party. We are not widely known as an antiwar party, and too often we have kept the antiwar movement at arms length. In certain states in the 2004 and 2006 elections we caved to the Dems. Some of us have seen ourselves as no more than "better" Dems, a complete missing of the mark. As a consequence we have failed to draw pointed distinctions between them and us, and to be sharply critical of them, thus hiding the truth from the people. Ralph Nader in contrast has been very combative with the Dems, and his approach should be a lesson to the rest of us. As another example, look at the announcement for the coming Green National Meeting in Reading PA. In it, there is no mention of the war!! In fact the most space went to a campaign to prevent the privatization of water resources, a laudable goal, but hardly the one most on the minds of the people. What happened to the idea of bringing our principles to the people using the issues that concern them most? Are we ready to move aggressively on the issues of war and empire? Or are we going to spare the Dems the kind of criticism coming from Nader and Sheehan? So here we stand on the eve of the Green Party National Meeting on July 12-15 in Reading, PA. What will happen there? Will it be business as usual? The time is ripe, and the people are with us. We have a responsibility to get organized and get going. Failure to do so will mean millions more will perish in present and future conflagrations, which the empire holds in store for us. Will we take matters in hand or let the moment pass? John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar [at] gmail.com. He is a member of the Green/Rainbow Party of MA, the merger of the MA Greens and Mel King's Rainbow Coalition. --------21 of 22-------- One Last Chance to Lead a Charge Wanted: Old Men With Nothing to Lose By DOUG GIEBEL CounterPunch July 9, 2007 Peek behind the smoke and mirrors of the Bush Administration and you will see the smoke and mirrors of a Democratic Congress. Strategically, the Bush plan is to spin out self-inflicted and tragic disasters, leaving for others to clean up the barn. Strategically, many Democrats plan to spin out investigative and oversight hearings, revealing by drops Bush Administration misdeeds so that voters will nix Republicans in the coming election. Impeachment, the only remaining remedy that can address this cancerous Bush-Cheney presidency, is "off the table." Why? Because the psycho-pathology of our politicians demands that they tinker with political gaming no matter what cost in lives and treasure rather than take decisive action to implement a cure. Deadly cynicism and hypocrisy have virtually eliminated virtue and integrity. >From the havoc created by Karl Rove's "all Republicans, all the time," Democrats hope the pendulum will swing to "all Democrats, all the time." Impeachment surgery might cost a few votes, and the game goes on. How many more lives will be "sacrificed in the name of freedom," how many billions more dollars will be thrown down the waste-fraud-abuse rat hole just so the nation's anointed "leaders" can hyperbolize for polling points? Now is the time for a group of old men who have nothing to lose to come to the aid of their country. John Conyers, John Warner, Robert Byrd, Daniel Inouye, Arlen Specter, Jim Bunning, Orin Hatch, Ted Kennedy, Richard Lugar, Chuck Grassley, Jim DeMint and many others hunger to leave behind an inspiring "legacy" of national service. Here's their one last chance to lead the charge and rescue our nation from its near-terminal nightmare. Most of these codgers won't act without the sharp pitchfork of public opinion jabbing them in their benumbed backsides, so patriotic citizens must call loud and long for impeachment or else be complicit in prolonging the Bush-Cheney malignancy. Wasting precious time writing about or investigating Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, torture, collateral damage, lying, corruption, criminality, injustice and stupidity are no longer sufficient. Only a full-blown and public impeachment process will clear the polluted air and restore the nation's failing health and image. Doug Giebel writes from Montana. Contact dougcatz [at] ttc-cmc.net --------22 of 22-------- The Doming of America by Dave Zirin July 09, 2007 "You can't throw money at the problem." As a former public school teacher in Washington, I heard this cliche from countless bureaucrats. It was code for "Stop whining about ancient textbooks and prehistoric classroom materials, because there is no money." Imagine my shock when the city announced it would be spending more than $500 million on a new baseball stadium. Clearly when it comes to the needs of billionaire sports owners, there always seems to be money available to be thrown. This is hardly a D.C. story. The building of stadiums has become the substitute for anything resembling an urban policy in this country. The stadiums are presented as a microwave-instant solution to the problems of crumbling schools, urban decay and suburban flight. Stadiums are sporting shrines to the dogma of trickle-down economics. In the past 10 years, more than $16 billion of the public's money has been spent for stadium construction and upkeep from coast to coast. Though some cities are beginning to resist paying the full tab, any kind of subsidy is a fool's investment, ending up being little more than monuments to corporate greed: $500 million welfare hotels for America's billionaires built with funds that could have been spent more wisely on just about anything else. The era of big government may be over, but it has been replaced by the Rise of the Domes. Reports from both the right-wing Cato Institute and the more centrist Brookings Institution dismiss stadium funding as an utter financial flop, yet the domes keep coming. Our stadiums, funded on our dime, become the political province of those owners who paid nary a penny for the privilege. In many stadiums, they have started "faith days at the park" where evangelical Christian organizations set up booths and Christian rock gets blared over the loudspeakers. No separation of church and state, even when the state is footing the bill. Then there is the force-feeding of political dogma. No freedom from that, either. On the orders of George Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees now string up chains along the seats to keep people standing and secured -- and not going to the concessions or bathroom -- for the seventh-inning singing of "God Bless America." As Neil DeMause, co-author of the book "Field of Schemes" said to me, "The history of the stadium game is the story of how, by slowly refining their blackmail skills, sports owners learned how to turn their industry from one based on selling tickets to one based on extracting public subsidies. It's been a bit like watching a 4-year-old learn how to manipulate his parents into buying him the new toy that he saw on TV; the question now is how long it takes our elected officials to learn to say 'no.' " But our elected officials have been more like the children, as sports owners tousle their hair and set the budget agendas for municipalities around the country with a simple credo: stadiums first and people last. In August 2005, we saw the extreme results of these kinds of priorities. After Hurricane Katrina flattened the Gulf Coast, the Louisiana Superdome, the largest domed structure in the Western Hemisphere, morphed into a homeless shelter from hell, inhabited yet uninhabitable for an estimated 30,000 of New Orleans' poorest residents. It took Hurricane Katrina for them to actually see the inside of the Superdome, a stadium whose ticket prices make entry restrictive. At the time of the hurricane, game tickets cost $90, season seats went for $1,300, and luxury boxes for eight home games ran more than $100,000 a year. But the Katrina refugees' tickets were courtesy of the federal and local government's malignant neglect. It was only fitting, because these 30,000 people helped pay for the stadium in the first place. The Superdome was built entirely on the public dime in 1975, as a part of efforts to create a "New New Orleans" business district. City officials decided that building the largest domed stadium on the planet was in everyone's best interest. Instead, it set off a 30-year path toward destruction for the Big Easy: a path that has seen money for the stadium but not for levees; money for the stadium but not for shelter; money for the stadium but not for an all-too-predictable disaster. The tragedy of Katrina then became farce when the Superdome's inhabitants were finally moved: not to government housing, public shelters or even another location in the area, but to the Houston Astrodome. Ladies and gentlemen, we had the March of Domes. I spoke to former Major League Baseball All-Star and "Ball Four" author Jim Bouton about the publicly financed "doming of America, and this is what he said: "It's such a misapplication of the public's money. ... You've got towns turning out streetlights, they're closing firehouses, they're cutting back on school supplies, they're having classrooms in stairwells, and we've got a nation full of kids who don't have any health insurance. I mean, it's disgraceful. The limited things that our government does for the people with the people's money, to spend even a dime or a penny of it on ballparks is just a crime. "It's going to be seen historically as an awful folly, and it's starting to be seen that way now, but historically that will go down as one of the real crimes of American government, national and local, to allow the funneling of people's money directly into the pockets of a handful of very wealthy individuals who could build these stadiums on their own if it made financial sense. If they don't make financial sense, then they shouldn't be building them." Bouton went on to say, "If I was a team owner today, asking for public money, I'd be ashamed of myself. Ashamed of myself. But we've gone beyond shame. There's no such thing as shame anymore. People aren't embarrassed to take -- to do these awful things." Bouton is absolutely correct. When it comes to fleecing our cities, some of the richest people in this country have shown a complete absence of shame. The question is whether we are going to finally stand up and impose our priorities onto them, instead of continually taking it on the chin. Polls show consistent majorities don't want public funds spent on stadiums. That means the silent majority of sports fans oppose the stadium glut as well. We sports fans need to make ourselves heard. We may love baseball. We may love football. We may bleed our team's colors on game day. But that doesn't mean we should have to pay a billionaire millions of dollars for the privilege to watch. [Dave Zirin is the author of the new book "Welcome to the Terrordome:" with an intro by Chuck D (Haymarket). You can receive his column Edge of Sports, every week by going to http://zirin.com/edgeofsports/?p=subscribe&id=1. Contact him at edgeofsports [at] gmail.com] ---------------------------------------------------------------------------= - 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 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
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