Progressive Calendar 07.10.07
From: David Shove (
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]>
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

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]>
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 -

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] 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]>
Subject: MPN4P meeting 7.11 7pm

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]" <wamm [at]>
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]>
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

--------6 of 22--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at]>
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]
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]

--------8 of 22--------

From: Joan Malerich <joanmdm [at]>
Subject: Cuba/health/film 7.12 6:30pm

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


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.


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."


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

--------9 of 22--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
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

--------10 of 22--------

From: Kiera Coonan <kieracoonan [at]>
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]
Contact: Kiera Coonan / 651.399.6058 / kieracoonan [at]

--------11 of 22--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
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]>
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]>
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]>
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

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]>
Subject: LRT boondoggle 7.13 8:30am

[Event below put on by the pro-boondoggle people -ed]

City sets public hearing on Central Corridor land-use plans


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], fax to
651-228-3341, or mail (25 West 4th Street, Suite 1200, Saint Paul, MN

--------16 of 22--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
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:
<>. 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]>.

--------17 of 22--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
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]
Subject: Party with Greens 7.14

Saturday July 14th
@ 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

--------19 of 22--------

Sheehan says she'll run against Pelosi unless Bush impeachment sought
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
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

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

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

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] 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
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

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

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]

--------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

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 Contact him at
edgeofsports [at]]


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