Progressive Calendar 08.03.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2007 00:12:52 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    08.03.07

1. Private $$ war      8.04 10:15am
2. Peace stroll        8.04 11am Hudson WI
3. Bush at 35W TV op   8.04 time?
4. Bridges not bombs   8.04 11am
5. Bridges not bombers 8.04 12noon
6. Cuba/sustain/film   8.04 3pm
7. Salon               8.04 7pm

8. KFAI IndianUprising 8.05 7pm

9. Richard Broderick - Bridge to failure
10. Michael Wood     - Mpls Communists on Bridge collapse
11. Jon              - Ethanol scam
12. Jeff Goodell     - Ethanol scam: political boondoggle
13. Nicholas Hollis  - Hidden cracks in US infrastructure
14. Russ Hanson      - 35W bridge
15. Sheldon Gitis    - Transportation engineering
16. Sharon Cohen     - MN bridge problems uncovered in 1990
17. ed               - river bridges falling down  (slightly altered song)

--------1 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Private $$ war 8.04 10:15am

Saturday, 8/4, 10:15 to noon, Critical Thinking Club presents "Coalition of
the Billing: How Private Contractors are Changing How (and Why) America
Fights" by Erin Campbell, Augsburg Park Library, 7100 Nicollet Ave S,
Richfield.  RSVP Stu 952-736-1222.

--------2 of 17--------

From: Ken Friberg <ken [at]>
Subject: Peace stroll 8.04 11am Hudson WI

A Stroll for Peace
Come walk the dike road of Hudson WI for change.
Saturday August 4th from 11am-2pm
Local Musicians, Activities, Informational Booths

Organizations please feel free to come and table.
contact: colin courtney, event organizer  cel 715-220-7951

c/o ken friberg 255 east kellogg blvd suite 505 saint paul, mn 55101
tel +1 651 227 5473 cel +1 651 767 2739

--------3 of 17--------

From: ed
Subject: Bush at 35W TV op 8.04 time?

His Imperial Majesty George Busherootie-Tootietutu appears here at 35W to
get his imperially majestic mug on TV. "We died for your TV appearance."

Time unknown. Look for traffic to be messed up for hours for the divine
one's security.

--------4 of 17-------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Bridges not bombs  8.04 11am

Saturday, 8/4, 11 am, emergency demonstration "Bridges Not Bombs!" against
wars that kill others while the expense robs our own infrastructure,
Lake/Marshall bridge over the Mississippi River. or

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Emergency Demonstration: "Bridges Not Bombs!"

Saturday, August 4, 11:00 a.m. Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge,
spanning the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Like the
I-35 bridge, the empire is falling and failing. Instead of destroying the
infrastructure of Iraq, waging a secret war against Somalia, supplying
weaponry to isolate and destroy Gaza in Palestine, and threatening Iran
with bombs, we want the infrastructure of the U.S. maintained and
reparations made to those here and abroad for damage done. Sponsored by:
WAMM. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364 or Connie Fuller, 651-245-2741.

--------5 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Bridges not bombers 8.04 12noon

Saturday, 8/4, noon, demonstration "Build Bridges, Not Bombers" outside the
Guthrie Theater, 818 S 2nd St,  Meet at the walkway between the Mill City
Museum and the Guthrie, where George W will be speaking.  Mpls. Jennifer

From: Jennifer Umolac <<mailto:jumolac [at]>jumolac [at]>
Subject: "A bridge in America just shouldn't fall down."


Yes, Senator Klobuchar, it's true. So... why are our bridges falling down?
Where is our money going and why aren't we investing in the things that
truly provide for our security? Isn't it time for a national dialogue on
our priorities? Shouldn't "we the people" decide where our tax dollars go?
Why is there always enough money for the military and not enough for
education...or bridge repair? or health insurance for all?  Where did our
Social Security really go, and how are those folks in New Orleans doing

We need to organize a PRESENCE tomorrow, SATURDAY, AUGUST 4TH, 2007,
George W. is going to be in town, and so are ALL the national (&
international) news folks.

Let's dress up, have fun, get some attention and talk about how if we
weren't spending half of every tax dollar on military expenditures and
instead were investing in our infrastructure we wouldn't have to rebuild
collapsed bridges.

Make signs that say "BUILD BRIDGES, NOT BOMBERS", Invest in REAL
that catches your sentiments and hopefully some attention.

We will meet Saturday outside of the Gutherie theater, 818 South 2nd
Street, where Chicago avenue ends near the river. There is a big walkway
that runs between the Gutherie and the Mill City Museum, which on Saturday
hosts a fine farmers market (where yours truly will be selling up until
the rallying hour!), just beyond the patio are stairs that lead down to
the river...this is where we'll meet. Traffic all over Minneapolis is, and
will be for a long time to come, very congested so carpooling, parking in
NE and walking across the Central Avenue bridge to the downtown side of
the river or riding your bike are strongly encouraged.  At this moment, I
have not heard WHEN the president will be speaking, but perhaps we can
keep each other posted on this. I'm thinking, regardless really of when
the Prez will be there, we can set a time...somehow noon to about 1:30-2pm
seems to be a good time.

I started out envisioning this as an impeachment rally, but upon further
thought feel that if we stick to some talking points that have to deal
with investing in infrastructure and changing our national priorities it
will be more effective. Really, the point here is to get some media
attention so that we can pass on a message and to also talk with other
Minnesotans about our shared values. We should plan a weekly event in the
downtown area, on routes that will be highly congested where we can
distribute literature and draw attention to the fact that we are flushing
both our security and our future down the drain by this endless military
madness.  It would be great to know how much repairing the damage already
known to have been evident on the bridge would have been and compare it to
the 10 billion dollars we spend a month in Iraq.

I will have a sheet of actions to take that we can hand out to folks so
that we can leave everyone empowered and connected.

In light of the current tragedy that has happened in our city, Minneapolis
has been thrust into the national and international spotlight, and given
us a blessing in disguise. As our hearts and prayers go out to those who
were affected by the collapsing of the bridge spanning the Mississippi
river, an opportunity has been given for us to speak truth to power.

Let's show the whole country how to rebuild broken bridges.

I'll leave you with a George quote that goes something as follows:  "It
doesn't work to raise taxes on the rich anyway. They just find a way out
of paying them."

Peace. Jennifer (612) 414-7859

From: Jacabrooke [at]

To ALL: contact everyone you know about this event... I am writing to
Anderson Cooper to let him know we are massing against this failed
administration.  Others should also contact the media and if they dare to
say it is not the time or Minnesotans must come together and respect the
victims, we must respond by saying any one of us could be sitting on the
bottom of the Mississippi River right now, bloating. OUR government FAILED
to keep us SAFE!

Anh: I don't have the address for anyone else at the Antiwar Committee, so
I hope you can send this along... The Peace Bridge is the perfect place to
invite national media to see what Minnesota really thinks about Bu*sh**
and his disastrous leadership. Bu**sh** minion Pawlenty should pay for
this crime against the people. We can't let them do to us what was done to
the Katrina victims.  National media is reporting on infrastructure
failure in America and we MUST take a stand and let Americans know we are
not only SAD but we are ANGRY too!  Speak out now or the likes of KRB will
get the contract to rebuild!

Also, this is the message I am trying to get to WAMM: (The national media
is here and they should see the angry faces of the people in the
heartland!) I am SO angry about Bush coming for his photo op!!! Yesterday
on CNN he actually had the audacity to blame the Dems for the bridge
failure! I watched with mouth agape as he told America that the Dems had
failed to send him the budget bills, this when he was supposed to be
sending condolences to people in MN.

ANYWAY-- Remember in the run up to the Iraq war and it was announced that
the BBC was coming to the Peace Bridge to film footage? A huge amount of
people came out for the event! We must contact CNN and other media outlets
that are here covering the story that WE are going to be there! And then
spread the word to activist. I'm writing Anderson Cooper right now!

--------6 of 17--------

From: Corey Mattson <coreymattson [at]>
Subject: Cuba/sustain/film 8.04 3pm

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

Local environmental activist Christine Frank will present a video
chronicling Cuba's remarkable and inspiring transition to sustainable
organic agriculture. Adam Ritscher, Douglas County Board Supervisor, will
lead a short discussion on Cuba following the video. Part of a four-part
series on the left in Latin America. Free and open to the public!

Saturday, August 4th, 2007, at 3pm
Mayday Bookstore
301 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls, MN 55454
(612) 333-4719
Sponsored by: Socialist Action

--------7 of 17--------

From: Annie Young <anniey [at]>
Subject: Salon 8.04 7pm

Spread the word far and wide

Former Mayor of Santa Monica, California, Mike Feinstein
Councilmember Cam Gordon
Park Commissioner Annie Young

Invite YOU to
A SALON (gathering) private and public, of intellectuals to meet, discuss
ideas about the future of the Green Party and strategies for 2008

Saturday, August 4th
1925 Penn Ave. S.
next to Lake of the Isles

BYOBSS:  bring your own beverage, snacks and self

This is a non-official Minnesota Green Party Fundraiser
A $25 donation will be accepted (no one turned away)

--------8 of 17--------

From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at]>
Subject: KFAI Indian uprising 8.05 7pm

KFAI¹s Indian uprising for August 5, 2007 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. CDT

RETURN OF THE NATIVE RAVE: With More than a Hope and a Prayer, a festival of
spiritual performance, where the sacred and the imagination meet in profound
conversation playing at the Foss TV Studio Theater, Riverside Ave. S.
between 22nd and 23rd  Avenue, Augsburg College Campus, Minneapolis, August
3 - 12th. Flyer attached.

 Marcie Rendon (Ojibwe), Writer/Poet & Curator, Raving Native Productions
 Rosy Simas (Seneca) with Jon Davis, dance/music improvisation
 Mark Erickson (Ojibwe), singer & storytelling
 Bobby Wilson (Sisseton-Wahpeton), spoken word
 Simone Rendon (Ojibwe), hostess with the mostest

Marcie explains that she likes to write stories about Native people and
women that the mainstream press doesn¹t even hear about or consider
covering. She writes to represent an Indian perspective, or as she puts it,
at least her Indian perspective. One of her main endeavors as a writer is to
create "mirrors" for her audience so that they can see current reflections
of themselves. She explains mirrors in the following passage (Carolyn

We were kept in their mindset as "vanished peoples." Or as workers, not
creators. And what does this erasing of individual identity do to us? Can
you believe you exist if you look in a mirror and see no reflection? And
what happens when one group controls the mirror market? As Native people, we
have known that in order to survive we had to create, re-create, produce,
re-produce. The effect of the denial of our existence is that many of us
have become invisible. The systematic disruption of our families by the
removal of our children was effective for silencing our voices. However, not
everyone can still that desire, that up-welling inside that says sing,
write, draw, move, be. We can sing our hearts out, tell our stories, paint
our visions. We are in a position to create a more human reality. In order
to live we have to make our own mirrors. -- Nitaawichige

* * * *
Indian Uprising a one-hour Public & Cultural Affairs program is for and by
Native Indigenous People broadcast each Sunday at 7:00 p.m. CDT on KFAI 90.3
FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul.  Producer and host is volunteer Chris
Spotted Eagle. KFAI Fresh Air Radio is located at 1808 Riverside Avenue,
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55454, 612-341-3144.

For internet listening, go to <>  and for
live listening, click Play under ON AIR NOW or for later listening via the
archives, click PROGRAMS & SCHEDULE > Indian Uprising > STREAM.  Programs
are archived for two weeks.

--------9 of 17--------

From: Richard Broderick <richb [at]>

Bridge to Failure

Already this morning, I've read some posts holding Tim Pawlenty
responsible for the 35W bridge collapse.

While it's tempting to lay blame for the disaster at the feet of the
Pawlenty Administration, it's important to keep in mind that he is just a
bit player in this tragedy. With his "no new taxes" scam, he bears
responsibility for promoting the prevailing conservative/neoliberal
critique of government, which at heart constitutes a rejection of the idea
that there should be any non-privatized space in America, no aspect of
life not fully governed by "free" market forces. But the truth is that,
beginning with the Reagan Administration, this country has failed to
maintain its public infrastructure, a bi-partisan neglect of government's
most basic responsibility in which the Clinton Administration was just as
guilty as the Reagan and Bush Administrations. Things have reached a point
where it would now take the equivalent of a domestic Marshall Plan just to
get all of our bridges, highways, schools and other public structures up
to code.

The 35W disaster, like the much greater disaster that befell New Orleans
after Hurricane Katrina, is ultimately the result of a larger rot
besetting the country's leadership class. The erosion of the idea that
there can or should be an American commonwealth may have been cultivated
by Corporate America, the principle beneficiary of privatization, but it
has been enthusiastically embraced by both parties at the national level,
the beneficiaries of Corporate America's campaign funding largesse. The
outpouring of concern and private charity that followed in the wake of
Katrina, and that we are already witnessing in Minneapolis where, for
example, blood banks have been overwhelmed with calls, shows that the
American people have not necessarily lost faith in the idea of the common
good, even when its entails sacrifice. But certainly leaders in both the
Democratic and Republican parties have, by and large, turned away from
such "quaint" notions.

In short, unless we find a way to redress the growing sway corporations
hold over our political system - by overhauling tax codes designed to
transfer wealth upward, ending the corporate welfare system, overturning
the absurd legal protection of corporations as "persons" under the 14th
amendment, and requiring broadcast licensees to provide free air time to
candidates for office from all political parties, not just Republican or
Democrat - things are only going to get worse. Which means that the 35W
bridge collapse, like the failure of New Orleans levees, is just a portent
of things to come.

--------10 of 17--------

From: Michael Wood <mwood42092 [at]>
Subject: Mpls Communists on Bridge Collapse


We extend our deepest sympathy and support to the families and friends of
the victims who died or suffered because of the collapse of the I-35-W
bridge here in Minneapolis. We recognize these victims as our
working-class brothers and sisters.

The Bush White House says that now is not the time to point fingers. We

Gus Hall, our former Communist presidential candidate, once said that "we
can not both have guns and butter." Under the Pawlenty administration, and
in light of this recent tragedy, these words ring strikingly true. In
Minnesota, we have seen a poor economy worsening, budgetary cutbacks on
the state's infrastructure and attacks on vital social services. There has
been no attempt by Pawlenty to stop St. Paul's Ford Plant from closing and
save the union jobs of those employed there. Meanwhile, Governor Pawlenty
supports and continues to use Minnesota taxpayer's money to fund the
continuing war against Iraq. Pawlenty has supported tax breaks to the
state's wealthiest individuals and corporations and thus shifted the
costly burden of the war unto the shoulders of working class Minnesotans.

The collapse of the bridge resulting in the unnecessary deaths and
suffering also reveals a national crisis, with George Bush at the center,
of prioritizing guns instead of butter. Aircraft carriers instead of the
rights of union workers. Rifles instead of universal health care. Missiles
instead of full and guaranteed employment. Bombs instead of books. The
Bush agenda is an agenda of war, economic insecurity, poverty and racism.

Now more than ever, working class people need state and national leaders
that fund human needs instead of war and corporate greed. We need a
movement that values people and bridge repair not maximum corporate profit
and military invasions of other countries.

Michael Wood
Minneapolis club of the Communist Party USA
MN Communist Party's website:

--------11 of 17--------

From: Nancy Doyle Brown <nancyjdoyle [at]>
Subject: Ethanol scam

Response from my friend Jon, who's a peak oil expert:

Yeah, if a person wanted proof that corporations are the real voters in
the US, then ethanol would be the perfect example. It does nothing to
solve our problems but costs billions. That 3.5% gasoline replacement does
not even take into account all the fuel needed to grow the corn. If you do
that, it drops to 2.4%. And we have gotten a 12% rise in overall food
prices. With much larger rises in dairy and meat products.

What is really sad? Sad is the fact that we could have all the benefits of
ethanol for free. Not one penny spent. By raising fuel mileage standards
by 0.5 MPG for the US automotive fleet, we could cut fuel usage by more
than current ethanol production. By raising the mileage standard up 2 MPG
(back to where it was in the 80's) we would save the same amount of
ethanol as we could produce by converting the whole US corn crop into
fuel. And it is hard to claim that Americans suffered driving in the
80's. Ah, well. Not one penny spent means not one penny earned. It looks
like the auto companies have blocked mileage standards increases in this
years energy legislation.

There is no way a politician can stop ethanol now. So much advertising has
been spent that no political campaign can match it. No scientific study
can get enough press coverage to blot out the ads. I hear ethanol ads on
the radio at night. GM runs them on TV in the day. I have been reading up
on computer simulations done in the 70's predicting the future. They
never expected that we would deliberately cut food production to increase
consumer spending on luxury goods (large cars). All the simulations try to
preserve human life, and things still go badly. This is just crazy. It
just amazes me that these are the "responsible" people. Sigh.

And to further the tragedy, most of these biofuel plants are natural gas
powered. NG peaked several years back. Prices are low now because the
plastics and chemical industries were destroyed in the last price run up
(they closed 300 plants and moved the rest over seas). DOW chemical is now
Saudi ARAMCO. Next cold winter and those plants are history.

No, as GrayZone, a well written poster on The Oil Drum frequently
comments, we won't fail because we didn't know how to succeed. We will
fail because we chose failure. This country is dying. Move to Europe, they
still have a brain or two among the leadership. It is like being on the
sinking Titanic and the orders come down to burn the lifeboats because the
passengers are feeling cold on deck.

--------12 of 17--------

From: lhowell [at]
Subject: Ethanol scam

Ethanol Scam: Ethanol Hurts the Environment And Is One of America's Biggest
Political Boondoggles
From Issue 1032
Posted Jul 24, 2007 1:36 PM

The great danger of confronting peak oil and global warming isn't that we
will sit on our collective asses and do nothing while civilization
collapses, but that we will plunge after "solutions" that will make our
problems even worse. Like believing we can replace gasoline with ethanol,
the much-hyped biofuel that we make from corn.

Ethanol, of course, is nothing new. American refiners will produce nearly
6 billion gallons of corn ethanol this year, mostly for use as a gasoline
additive to make engines burn cleaner. But in June, the Senate all but
announced that America's future is going to be powered by biofuels,
mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022.
According to ethanol boosters, this is the beginning of a much larger
revolution that could entirely replace our 21-million-barrel-a-day oil
addiction. Midwest farmers will get rich, the air will be cleaner, the
planet will be cooler, and, best of all, we can tell those greedy sheiks
to fuck off. As the king of ethanol hype, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, put
it recently, "Everything about ethanol is good, good, good."

This is not just hype - it's dangerous, delusional bullshit. Ethanol
doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, nor is it cheaper. Our current ethanol
production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption - yet
it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price
of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger
in the Third World. And the increasing acreage devoted to corn for ethanol
means less land for other staple crops, giving farmers in South America an
incentive to carve fields out of tropical forests that help to cool the
planet and stave off global warming.

So why bother? Because the whole point of corn ethanol is not to solve
America's energy crisis, but to generate one of the great political
boondoggles of our time. Corn is already the most subsidized crop in
America, raking in a total of $51 billion in federal handouts between 1995
and 2005 - twice as much as wheat subsidies and four times as much as
soybeans. Ethanol itself is propped up by hefty subsidies, including a
fifty-one-cent-per-gallon tax allowance for refiners. And a study by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development found that ethanol
subsidies amount to as much as $1.38 per gallon - about half of ethanol's
wholesale market price.

Three factors are driving the ethanol hype. The first is panic: Many
energy experts believe that the world's oil supplies have already peaked
or will peak within the next decade. The second is election-year politics.
With the first vote to be held in Iowa, the largest corn-producing state
in the nation, former skeptics like Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain
now pay tribute to the wonders of ethanol. Earlier this year, Sen. Barack
Obama pleased his agricultural backers in Illinois by co-authoring
legislation to raise production of biofuels to 60 billion gallons by 2030.
A few weeks later, rival Democrat John Edwards, who is staking his
campaign on a victory in the Iowa caucus, upped the ante to 65 billion
gallons by 2025.

The third factor stoking the ethanol frenzy is the war in Iraq, which has
made energy independence a universal political slogan. Unlike coal,
another heavily subsidized energy source, ethanol has the added political
benefit of elevating the American farmer to national hero. As former CIA
director James Woolsey, an outspoken ethanol evangelist, puts it,
"American farmers, by making the commitment to grow more corn for ethanol,
are at the top of the spear on the war against terrorism." If you love
America, how can you not love ethanol?

Ethanol is nothing more than 180-proof grain alcohol. To avoid the
prospect of drunks sucking on gas pumps, fuel ethanol is "denatured" with
chemical additives (if you drink it, you'll end up dead or, at best, in
the hospital). It can be distilled from a variety of plants, including
sugar cane and switch- grass. Most vehicles can't run on pure ethanol, but
E85, a mix of eighty-five percent ethanol and fifteen percent gasoline,
requires only slight engine modifications.

But as a gasoline substitute, ethanol has big problems: Its energy density
is one-third less than gasoline, which means you have to burn more of it
to get the same amount of power. It also has a nasty tendency to absorb
water, so it can't be transported in existing pipelines and must be
distributed by truck or rail, which is tremendously inefficient.

Nor is all ethanol created equal. In Brazil, ethanol made from sugar cane
has an energy balance of 8-to-1 - that is, when you add up the fossil
fuels used to irrigate, fertilize, grow, transport and refine sugar cane
into ethanol, the energy output is eight times higher than the energy
inputs. That's a better deal than gasoline, which has an energy balance of
5-to-1. In contrast, the energy balance of corn ethanol is only 1.3-to-1 -
making it practically worthless as an energy source. "Corn ethanol is
essentially a way of recycling natural gas," says Robert Rapier, an
oil-industry engineer who runs the R-Squared Energy Blog.

The ethanol boondoggle is largely a tribute to the political muscle of a
single company: agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland. In the 1970s,
looking for new ways to profit from corn, ADM began pushing ethanol as a
fuel additive. By the early 1980s, ADM was producing 175 million gallons
of ethanol a year. The company's then-chairman, Dwayne Andreas, struck up
a close relationship with Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, a.k.a. "Senator
Ethanol." During the 1992 election, ADM gave $1 million to Dole and his
friends in the GOP (compared with $455,000 to the Democrats). In return,
Dole helped the company secure billions of dollars in subsidies and tax
breaks. In 1995, the conservative Cato Institute, estimating that nearly
half of ADM's profits came from products either subsidized or protected by
the federal government, called the company "the most prominent recipient
of corporate welfare in recent U.S. history."

Today, ADM is the leading producer of ethanol, supplying more than 1
billion gallons of the fuel additive last year. Ethanol is propped up by
more than 200 tax breaks and subsidies worth at least $5.5 billion a year.
And ADM continues to give back: Since 2000, the company has contributed
$3.7 million to state and federal politicians.

The Iraq War has also been a boon for ADM and other ethanol producers. The
Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was pushed by Corn Belt politicians,
mandated the consumption of 7.5 billion gallons of biofuels by 2012. After
Democrats took over Congress last year, they too vowed to "do something"
about America's addiction to foreign oil. By the time Sen. Jeff Bingaman,
chair of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, proposed new
energy legislation this spring, the only real question was how big the
ethanol mandate would be. According to one lobbyist, 36 billion gallons
became "the Goldilocks number - not too big to be impractical, not too
small to satisfy corn growers."

Under the Senate bill, only 15 billion gallons of ethanol will come from
corn, in part because even corn growers admit that turning more grain into
fuel would disrupt global food supplies. The remaining 21 billion gallons
will have to come from advanced biofuels, most of which are currently
brewed only in small-scale lab experiments. "It's like trying to solve a
traffic problem by mandating hovercraft," says Dave Juday, an independent
commodities consultant. "Except we don't have hovercraft."

The most seductive myth about ethanol is that it will free us from our
dependence on foreign oil. But even if ethanol producers manage to hit the
mandate of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022, that will replace a
paltry 1.5 million barrels of oil per day - only seven percent of current
oil needs. Even if the entire U.S. corn crop were used to make ethanol,
the fuel would replace only twelve percent of current gasoline use.

Another misconception is that ethanol is green. In fact, corn production
depends on huge amounts of fossil fuel - not just the diesel needed to
plow fields and transport crops, but also the vast quantities of natural
gas used to produce fertilizers. Runoff from industrial-scale cornfields
also silts up the Mississippi River and creates a vast dead zone in the
Gulf of Mexico every summer. What's more, when corn ethanol is burned in
vehicles, it is as dirty as conventional gasoline and does little to solve
global warming: E85 reduces carbon dioxide emissions by a modest fifteen
percent at best, while fueling the destruction of tropical forests.

But the biggest problem with ethanol is that it steals vast swaths of land
that might be better used for growing food. In a recent article in Foreign
Affairs titled "How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor," University of
Minnesota economists C. Ford Runge and Benjamin Senauer point out that
filling the gas tank of an SUV with pure ethanol requires more than 450
pounds of corn - roughly enough calories to feed one person for a year.

Thanks in large part to the ethanol craze, the price of beef, poultry and
pork in the United States rose more than three percent during the first
five months of this year. In some parts of the country, hog farmers now
find it cheaper to fatten their animals on trail mix, french fries and
chocolate bars. And since America provides two-thirds of all global corn
exports, the impact is being felt around the world. In Mexico, tortilla
prices have jumped sixty percent, leading to food riots. In Europe, butter
prices have spiked forty percent, and pork prices in China are up twenty
percent. By 2025, according to Runge and Senauer, rising food prices
caused by the demand for ethanol and other biofuels could cause as many as
600 million more people to go hungry worldwide.

Despite the serious drawbacks of ethanol, some technological visionaries
believe that the fuel can be done right. "Corn ethanol is just a platform,
the first step in a much larger transition we are undergoing from a
hydrocarbon-based economy to a carbohydrate-based economy," says Vinod
Khosla, a pioneering venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. Next-generation
corn- ethanol plants, he argues, will be much more efficient and
environmentally friendly. He points to a company called E3 BioFuels that
just opened an ethanol plant in Mead, Nebraska. The facility runs largely
on biogas made from cow manure, and feeds leftover grain back to the cows,
making it a "closed-loop system" - one that requires very few fossil
fuels to create ethanol.

Khosla is even higher on the prospects for cellulosic ethanol, a biofuel
that can be made from almost any plant matter, including wood waste and
perennial grasses like miscanthus and switchgrass. Like other high-tech
ethanol evangelists, Khosla imagines a future in which such so-called
"energy crops" are fed into giant refineries that use genetically
engineered enzymes to break down the cellulose in plants and create fuel
for a fraction of the cost of today's gasoline. Among other virtues,
cellulosic ethanol would not cut into the global food supply (nobody eats
miscanthus or switchgrass), and it could significantly cut global-warming
pollution. Even more important, it could provide a gateway to a much
larger biotech revolution, including synthetic microbes that could one day
be engineered to gobble up carbon dioxide or other pollutants.

Unfortunately, no commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants exist today.
In one venture backed by Khosla, a $225 million plant in central Georgia
is currently being built to make ethanol out of wood chips. Mitch Mandich,
a former Apple Computer executive who is now the CEO of the operation,
calls it "the beginning of a real transformation in the way we think about
energy in America."

Maybe. But oil-industry engineer Robert Rapier, who has spent years
studying cellulosic ethanol, says that the difference between ethanol from
corn and ethanol from cellulose is "like the difference between traveling
to the moon and traveling to Mars." And even if the engineering hurdles
can be overcome, there's still the problem of land use: According to
Rapier, replacing fifty percent of our current gasoline consumption with
cellulosic ethanol would consume thirteen percent of the land in the
United States - about seven times the land currently utilized for corn

Increasing the production of cellulosic ethanol will also require solving
huge logistical problems, including delivering vast quantities of
feedstock to production plants. According to one plant manager in the
Midwest, fueling an ethanol plant with switchgrass would require
delivering a semi-truckload of the grass every six minutes, twenty-four
hours a day. Finally, there is the challenge of wrestling the future away
from Big Corn. "It's pretty clear to me that the corn guys will use all
their lobbying muscle and political power to stall, thwart and sidetrack
this revolution," says economist C. Ford Runge. In the end, the ethanol
boom is another manifestation of America's blind faith that technology
will solve all our problems. Thirty years ago, nuclear power was the
answer. Then it was hydrogen. Biofuels may work out better, especially if
mandates are coupled with tough caps on greenhouse-gas emissions. Still,
biofuels are, at best, a huge gamble. They may help cushion the fall when
cheap oil vanishes, but if we rely on ethanol to save the day, we could
soon find ourselves forced to make a choice between feeding our SUVs and
feeding children in the Third World. And we all know how that decision
will go.

--------13 of 17--------

From: <AGENERGY [at]>
Nicholas E. Hollis Agribusiness Council (ABC)
Subject: Hidden Cracks in U.S. Infrastructure: Bridge Disaster at Twin

In the aftermath of yesterday's tragic bridge collapse over the
Mississippi at the Twin Cities there will be plenty of investigations and
evaluations. But who will point the finger at one of the primary reasons
for the infrastructure disaster - which has developed over many years of
neglect and fund-diversion?

Democracy and its institutions - like the republic's infrastructure,
requires daily maintenance and vigilance. Yet for more than a quarter
century the growing ethanol subsidy was funded by a tax credit which
siphoned billions from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).  Money that should
have gone to state/federal government for road and bridge
maintenance/construction was instead diverted to ethanol producers -
primarily Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).  And because this quiet hijacking
did not technically impact the federal budget - no one squawked too loud
in Washington - after all it was "off the radar".

Once this sneaky raid on the HTF was spotlighted five years ago (by one of
our recognition projects) - the ethanol juggernaut was strong enough to
force a legislative shift enabling a direct subsidy from the US Treasury
(Energy Policy Act of 2005, combined with the so called "Volumetric Tax
Credit" provisions passed in late 2004, as a rider on the "Jobs Bill" ) -
Yet a fair question remains - shouldn't recipients of earlier subsidies
drawn at the expense of the Nation's infrastructure - be obligated in some
way for payback?

One look at the Ethanol lobby's current agenda will dispel any such
notion. Instead, shamelessly, they are forging ahead with new pressures on
Congress to provide huge, new subsidies for massive "ethanol friendly"
infrastructure projects (i.e. dedicated pipelines, railroads, major
lock/river dredging, highways).

Despite regular reports of ethanol tanker and hopper car explosions on the
highways and on the rails - ethanol advocates want Underwriters
Laboratories (UL) to accelerate procedures to certify the extremely
volatile E-85 blend of ethanol and force gas station owners to install
dedicated tanks and pumps to sell the bogus fuel.  Once again, politics is
trumping value for human life and safety.

The Creed of Greed rolls on, and the bureaucrats charged with oversight
responsibility for public infrastructure play "duck and cover" between
yawns and long naps. - But judicial accountability and the wrath of a
fed-up citizenry is on the horizon.

Nicholas E. Hollis Agribusiness Council (ABC)

--------14 of 17--------

Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2007 23:59:28 -0000
From: popman6969 <popman6969 [at]>
To: mn-politics-discuss [at]
Subject: MPD: 35W Bridge.

They say that this tragedy wasn't a terrorist attack.

It perhaps wasn't from a military point of view however it was a terrorist
attack from a political and ideological point of view. They say that
criminals always return to scene of their crime. I don't know if that is
always true but in this case it is true.

The terrorist was one man. Tim Pawlenty. He was aided and abetted by his
band of republican thugs in the legislature that continually denied the
much needed funding in the numerous transportation and infrastructure
bills that were vetoed and obstructed by the republican contingent. He has
a lot of gall showing his face at the scene of his crime.

The Norquist ideology was clearly at work and this time it got caught in
its own trap.

Just cut and cut until we cut the muscles and the bones so that government
cannot function and then blame it for its inefficiency. Then we can just
drown the dam thing in the bath tub.

This bridge is a major artery to and from Minneapolis. It should have had
a structural deficiency rating of nine, or perfect working condition. The
official rating was only at four. Pawlenty knew this and so did other
republicans in the transportation committee. They didn't care and,
apparently, adopted a wait and see or a "if it ain't broke, don't raise
the taxes to fix it" mentality.

The collapse is the results of that type of thinking and it's a helluva
price to pay just to have a low tax rated state.

It would be interesting to know that among the people who went down with
the bridge voted for Pawlenty. I wonder if those republican voters
involved still support the idea of not raising the tax revenue to insure
the safety of bridges and other infrastructure in the state just to have a
low state tax rating.

For my money, the rescuers should just LEAVE those republican voters down
in the river and let private enterprise get them out. No doubt some
capitalist will try so long as the survivor has the money on them for the
ride back to the top - and it's a long way up.

This bridge collapse is just another example of the evil of republicanism
and the people who practice it and vote for it.

The bodies of the dead should be laid at the doorstep of Tim Pawlenty
along with a sign that says:

"Your ideological motivated veto pen did this to me. Take a good look at
my dead face, twisted in horror and agony, then turn yourself in to the
authorities and plead guilty."

You murdered me. Governor Tim Pawlenty, you are a murderer!

Rowdy Russ Hanson. The Truth in St. Paul.

--------15 of 17--------

From: Sheldon Gitis <sgitis [at]>
Subject: Transportation Engineering

Prior to the collapse, I think I heard the bridge was carrying 140,000
vehicles daily.  After 40 years, the bridge wore out and collapsed.

Parking at the University of Minnesota has expanded enormously over the
past 20 or 30 years, while the size of the student body has not.
Downtown Minneapolis boasts that it has more parking spaces than Downtown

Proper inspection and maintenance could have possibly delayed or prevented
the collapse.  Feeding the excessive and misplaced parking at the
University of Minnesota and in Downtown Minneapolis probably accelerated
the collapse.

Sheldon Gitis

--------16 of 17--------

Minn. Bridge Problems Uncovered in 1990
Minn. Officials Warned About Bridge Problems as Early as 1990; State
Relied on Patchwork Fixes
The Associated Press


Minnesota officials were warned as early as 1990 that the bridge that
collapsed into the Mississippi River was "structurally deficient," yet
they relied on a strategy of patchwork fixes and stepped-up inspections.

"We thought we had done all we could," state bridge engineer Dan Dorgan
told reporters not far from the mangled remains of the span. "Obviously
something went terribly wrong."

Questions about the cause of the collapse and whether it could have been
prevented arose Thursday as authorities shifted from rescue efforts to a
grim recovery operation, searching for bodies that may be hidden beneath
the river's swirling currents.

The official death count from Wednesday's rush-hour collapse stood at
four, with another 79 injuries. But police said the death count would
surely grow because bodies had been spotted in the water and as many as
30 people were still reported missing.

The Army Corps of Engineers lowered the river level a foot to help
recovery efforts, said agency spokeswoman Shannon Bauer.

In 1990, the federal government gave the I-35W bridge a rating of
"structurally deficient," citing significant corrosion in its bearings.
The bridge is one of about 77,000 bridges in that category nationwide,
1,160 in Minnesota alone.

The designation means some portions of the bridge needed to be scheduled
for repair or replacement, and it was on a schedule for inspection every
two years.

Dorgan said the bearings could not have been repaired without jacking up
the entire deck of the bridge. Because the bearings were not sliding,
inspectors concluded the corrosion was not a major issue.

During the 1990s, later inspections found fatigue cracks and corrosion
in the steel around the bridge's joints. Those problems were repaired.
Starting in 1993, the state said, the bridge was inspected annually
instead of every other year.

A 2005 federal inspection also rated the bridge structurally deficient,
giving it a 50 on a scale of 100 for structural stability.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said while the inspection didn't
indicate the bridge was at risk of failing, "if an inspection report
identifies deficiencies, the state is responsible for taking corrective

Gov. Tim Pawlenty responded Thursday by ordering an immediate inspection
of all bridges in the state with similar designs, but said the state was
never warned that the bridge needed to be closed or immediately repaired.

"There was a view that the bridge was ultimately and eventually going to
need to be replaced," he said. "But it appears from the information that
we have available that a timeline for that was not immediate or
imminent, but more in the future."

Federal officials alerted states to immediately inspect all bridges
similar to the one that collapsed.

The eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge was Minnesota's busiest bridge,
carrying 141,000 vehicles a day. It was in the midst of mostly repaving
repairs when it buckled during the evening rush hour. Dozens of cars
plummeted more than 60 feet into the Mississippi River, some falling on
top one of another. A school bus sat on the angled concrete.

Engineers wondered whether heavy traffic might have contributed to the
collapse. Studies of the bridge have raised concern about cracks caused
by metal fatigue.

"I think everybody is looking at fatigue right now," said Kent Harries,
an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the
University of Pittsburgh's School of Engineering. "This is an interstate
bridge that sees a lot of truck traffic."

After a study raised concern about cracks, the state was given two
alternatives: Add steel plates to reinforce critical parts or conduct a
thorough inspection of certain areas to see if there were additional
cracks. They chose the inspection route, beginning that examination in May.

Dorgan said officials considered the cracks on parts of the bridge to be
stable and not expanding.

When conducting inspections, Dorgan said, inspectors get within an arm's
length of various components of a bridge. If they spot cracks, that
leads to more hands-on testing to determine the depth and extent of the

Although concern was raised about cracks, some experts theorized it's no
coincidence the collapse happened when workers and heavy equipment was
on the bridge. The construction work involved resurfacing and
maintenance on guardrails and lights, among other repairs.

"I would be stunned if this didn't have something to do with the
construction project," said David Schulz, director of the Infrastrucure
Tecchnology Institute at Northwestern University. "I think it's a major

The collapsed bridge's last full inspection was completed June 15, 2006.
The report shows previous inspectors' notations of fatigue cracks in the
spans approaching the river, including one 4 feet long that was
reinforced with bolted plates. A 1993 entry noted 3,000 feet of cracks
in the surface of the bridge; they were later sealed.

That inspection and one a year earlier raised no immediate concerns
about the bridge, which wasn't a candidate for replacement until 2020.

In a 2001 report from the University of Minnesota's Department of Civil
Engineering, inspectors found some girders had become distorted.
Engineers also saw evidence of fatigue on trusses and said the bridge
might collapse if part of the truss gave way under the eight-lane freeway.

"A bridge of that vintage you always have to be concerned about that,"
said Richard Sause, director of the Advanced Technology for Large
Structural Systems Center at Lehigh University. "In a steel bridge of
that age, sure you'd be concerned about those kind of things and be
diligent about looking after it. And it seems like they were."

It takes time for a fatigue crack to develop, but a crack can then
expand rapidly to become a fracture, said James Garrett, co-director of
the Center for Sensed Critical Infrastructure Research at Carnegie
Mellon University. "If you get a crack that goes undetected it would be
something that appears to happen more rapidly."

At the scene, about 15 divers and a dozen boats were in the water, but
the search was proceeding slowly because of strong currents and low
visibility. By mid-afternoon, they had located four submerged cars
besides the dozen or so visible from the surface.

"We have a number of vehicles that are underneath big pieces of
concrete, and we do know we have some people in those vehicles," Police
Chief Tim Dolan said. "We know we do have more casualties at the scene."

Meanwhile, relatives who couldn't find their loved ones at hospitals
gathered in a hotel ballroom for any news, hoping for the best.

Ronald Engebretsen, 57, spent the day searching for his wife, Sherry.
His daughter last heard from her when she left work Wednesday in
downtown Minneapolis. Afterward, her cell phone picked up only with
voice mail.

By Thursday evening, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office
announced that Sherry Engebretsen was confirmed dead. The other three
were Julia Blackhawk, 32, of Savage; Patrick Holmes, 36, of Moundsview;
and Artemio Trinidad-Mena, 29, of Minneapolis.

In brief telephone interview, Ronald Engebretsen said he and his family
had huddled to try to come to grips with his wife's death.

"She's a great person. She's a person of great conviction, great
integrity, great honesty and great faith in her God," he said. "We're
just hoping and praying here."

Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein, Martiga Lohn, Ryan Foley and
Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures

--------17 of 17--------

 river bridges falling down
 falling down, falling down
 river bridges falling down
 cheap and shady

 put them be-hind iron bars
 iron bars, iron bars
 put them be-hind iron bars
 who's the lady


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   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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