Progressive Calendar 08.08.07
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2007 04:11:35 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   08.08.07

1. Free speech      8.08 11am
2. Color/KFAI       8.08 11am
3. Ellison/protest  8.08 6:30pm

4. 61 mile hike     8.09 6:10am
5. Ramsey corridor  8.09 11:30am
6. Grannys/peace    8.09 11:3am
7. Wal-Mart sucks   8.09 4pm
8. NWN4P NewHope    8.09 4:30pm
9. Eagan vigil      8.09 4:30pm
10. Northtown vigil 8.09 5pm
11. Today's media   8.09 6:30pm
12. Eat sweetcorn   8.09 6:30pm
13. HiroshimaDialog 8.09 7pm

14. Glenn Greenwald - The strong and tough Democrats
15. Jim Fuller      - Infrastructure funding - abridged too far
16. ed              - Turd au jus

--------1 of 16--------

From: Jess Sundin <jess [at] antiwarcommittee.org>
Subject: Free speech 8.08 11am

Activist Presence Needed at Minneapolis "Free Speech Work Group"
Wednesday, August 8 @ 11am to 12noon
City Hall, conference room 301M-A (city coordinator's office)

This committee has been meeting for months, with no input from community
activists, who may be dramatically affected by their actions. Thus far,
the work group has taken no actions to expand our rights to free speech,
to expand protections of our free speech, or to address policies and
agencies that frequently infringe on the exercise free speech in
Minneapolis. They have been considering a new permit ordinance that is a
direct attack on activism in Minneapolis. The proposed ordinance
criminalizes protests that are organized without a permit (and empowers a
police officer to revoke a permit during the course of a protest at their
own discretion). Participating in an unpermited public rally or meeting
with more than 20 people would be a MISDEMEANOR offense. This ordinance
has to be stopped; this work group cannot continue to meet in the shadows.
Please send someone from your organization to have a presence at this
meeting.


--------2 of 16--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com>
Subject: Color/KFAI 8.08 11am

LISTEN WEDNESDAY, August 8 @ 11:00 AM:

TTTıs Andy Driscoll and guest co-host KFAI News Director Lauretta Dawolo
talk with
 Author and Prof. Rose Brewer
 Vic Rosenthal of the Equal Access Working Project and Jewish Community
Action
 St. Paul Council President Kathy Lantry
...about the history, the missing and present economic trends, issues, and
opportunities in and for communities of color. Dr. Brewer is co-author of
The Color of Wealth, addressing the historic disparities of economic
security between whites and communities of color here and across the
country. Vic Rosenthal is embroiled in reform of public agencies letting
contracts to various small business enterprises and pressing for equal and
representative access to underrepresented minority contractors. Council
President Lantry will discuss the Cityıs audit of its contracting
practices then and now.

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
651-293-9039 / Fax: (same, call ahead) / Cell: 651-492-2221
email: andy [at] driscollgroup.com


--------3 of 16--------

From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com>
Subject: Ellison/protest 8.08 6:30pm

Greens:

I would like to encourage you all to come to a town hall meeting on the
war in Iraq that Keith Ellison is hosting this Wednesday night.  This is
an opportunity for REAL anti-war activists to engage with our Democratic
Party representative who has broken his promises and disappointed those
who want to end the war NOW.

Wednesday, August 8, 6:30 - 9:00pm, Congressman Keith Ellison Presents a
Town Hall Forum:  Peace & the Iraq War, at the CWA Local 7200 Union Hall,
3521 E. Lake St., Minneapolis.

We expect that most of the meeting will consist of questions and answers.
A good turnout by Greens could help point out what Keith needs to change
in order to be a true ally of the anti-war movement.  We may also show
some honest Democrats that there is an alternative to a Representative who
is too bound to the Democratic Party leadership.

The AntiWar Committee is coming and is urging other like-minded people to
show up.  They will have a leaflet to hand out.  I believe it will be the
same or similar to their earlier leaflet called: "Friends Don't Let
Friends Vote for War."  They have been angry that Keith has voted for war
funding.  Nevertheless, they want to maintain a relationship with Keith in
order to influence his policies where they can.  I think that makes sense
- he will be an ally on some issues.

Ellison is one of the best Representatives in Congress - but given the
current state of Congress, that is faint praise.  He is co- sponsoring
Kucinich's H.R. 333, for impeachment of Cheney.  He is also co-sponsoring
H.R. 589 for the impeachment of Alberto Gonzales.

Ellison also deserves considerable credit for voting against a record-
setting $460 billion defense appropriations bill just 2 days ago.  That
seems like a no-brainer, given that the US already outspends the rest of
the world combined (and that this sum doesn't even include the
supplemental expenditures for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan).
Nevertheless, he was one of only 13 in the House of Representatives to
vote against it.

He has generated the most anger within the anti-war movement for voting
for the continued funding of the Iraq War - not just a continuation, but
sufficient funding for the current escalation.  That directly violated a
campaign promise, and upset many of his strongest supporters and campaign
workers in the Democratic Party.

He is about to break another promise from his campaign by taking a trip to
Israel sponsored, conducted, and paid for by an arm of AIPAC, the Israeli
lobby.  He had promised to go only with an independent group.

I am particularly concerned by his recent co-sponsoring of a successful
resolution in the House which condemned Iran and called on the UN to
charge Ahmadinejad with genocide - based on a mistranslation of his
 comments.  Only Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul voted against it, warning
that this is likely to be used by Bush as a cause for war.  (Under
international law, a finding of genocide creates a duty for other
governments to intervene.)

Tonight I will attempt to put together a more complete "Guide to Keith
Ellison and the War".  We can more effectively engage in the forum if we
are educated about where he really stands.

Please come tomorrow night - it would help to make a strong showing of our
concern.  And it would help to show the public a real alternative based on
Green Party principles.


--------4 of 16--------

From: Larry Johnson <elent7 [at] comcast.net>
Subject: 61 mile hike 8.09 6:10am

On August 9, 2007, when he turns 61, Larry Johnson, Key of See
Storytellers, is taking a 61 Mile Hike to raise $61,000 each for a "bridge
of support" for families and soldiers deployed in Iraq, and for a new
Japanese Bridge at the Peace garden by Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.
Supporting veterans and returning soldiers is the right thing to do and a
way for others to better understand the horrendous nature of war. Building
a new Peace Bridge is a functional symbol of a time when we've learned to
no longer make war.

Johnson took President Kennedy's 50 Mile Hike for Fitness in 1961, the
year the Twins started playing at Met Stadium, so at 6:10 a.m. August 9
he'll leave from Hennepin Avenue where the 61 bus links to the light rail
which links to where the Twin's stadium was in 1961.  He'll walk up
Highway 61 and into Lindstrom to be part of a 6:10 p.m. ceremony at the
Veteran's Memorial in the town where his grandfather and uncle, both
veterans, are buried.  Johnson himself was an army medic in 1970, but a
CO, carrying medical supplies but no weapon.

On August 10 Johnson will leave again at 6:10 a.m. from Taylors Falls,
taking a 61 and bridge related route back to a 6:10 p.m. entry to the
Family Fun Night at the Midtown Market in the old Sears building on Lake
St. In Minneapolis.  Donors and supporters are invited to join the walk
back at 5 p.m. from the Sri Chin Moy Peace Bridge (formerly known as the
Lake St. Bridge in Mpls)

The whole story, growing every day, is at www.iam.MN/61


--------5 of 16--------

From: Jesse Mortenson <jessemortenson [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Ramsey corridor 8.09 11:30am

[ed remains deeply suspicious that the corridor is a boondoggle, for
developers and big boxes and labor building trades, and bad for just about
everyone else and the future of the city. -ed]

Snelling Avenue Listening [?] Session

The Regional Rail Authority staff will be hosting an informal meeting with
Snelling Avenue area businesses Aug. 9 at Snelling Cafe to share
information about the Central Corridor, Union Depot and other transit
projects and to hear from business owners and other interested residents.
Also attending the session will be representatives of the District
Councils Collaborative and the Central Corridor Partnership. The listening
session will be from 11:30 to 1:30 at Snelling Cafe, 638 Snelling Ave N.,
St. Paul. Refreshments will be provided.

For more information about all of the projects currently under
development by the Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority and its partner
agencies, visit www.regionalrail.org <http://www.regionalrail.org>.


--------6 of 16--------

From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Grannys/peace 8.09 11:3am

Grandmothers Peace Brigade March

Thursday, August 9, 11:30 a.m. Peavey Plaza, 1111 Nicollet Mall,
Minneapolis. Join the Grandmothers Peace Brigade in a march down Nicollet
Mall, downtown. They will sing, chant, pass out flyers, and gather
signatures on the petition to Senators Klobuchar and Coleman to demand an
end to the war now. FFI: Call Sarah, 612-379-4716 or email
<scsrn [at] yahoo.com>.


--------7 of 16--------

From:    "stpaulunions.org" <llwright [at] stpaulunions.org>
From: Andy Hamerlinck <iamandy [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Wal-Mart sucks 8.09 4pm

JOIN THE UFCW AND WAKE-UP WAL-MART to FIGHT FOR OUR SCHOOLS!

Wal-Mart cost taxpayers $1.37 billion in public health care in
2005. This is money that could have gone to our public schools!

join us thursday, august 9th at the midway wal-mart at 4:00 pm
to say "yes" to our schools and "no" to wal-mart's greed!

we'll be calling on all families not to buy their back to school
supplies from wal-mart or sam's club until they agree to stop
abusing their workers and the taxpayers of minnesota......

wal-mart back to school action
Thursday, August 9th at 4:00pm
Midway Wal-Mart
1450 University Ave West in St Paul

don't give your money to a company that's too greedy to provide
health care for their workers!


--------8 of 16--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NWN4P NewHope 8.09 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.

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the
fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.


--------9 of 16--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 8.09 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.


--------10 of 16--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 8.09 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.


--------11 of 16--------

From: Write On Radio <writeonradio [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Today's media 8.09 6:30pm

9 THURSDAY
6:30 p.m. "New about the News: The Scoop on Today's Media," presented by
Jeremy Iggers. Minneapolis Central Library, Doty Board Room, 300 Nicollet
Mall, Mpls; 612-630-6000.


--------12 of 16--------

From: tom [at] organicconsumers.org
Subject: Eat sweetcorn 8.09 6:30pm

This is the one, two punch of summertime culinary wonderment that will
make for the fondest memories come this winter!!! We have have herbed
Pastureland butter for the best sweetcorn in the land!

Eastside Food Co-op's Monthly Food Forum and Potluck

Atina Diffley of Gardens of Eagan http://www.frontiernet.net/~atinagoe

Spot Art Gallery (http://www.spotart.org/) 1828 Marshall ST NE MPLS,
located just south of Gabby's

Thursday, August 9th from 6:30 to 8:00 PM

It's the Diffley's sweet corn, 'nuff said

If it is not hard enough being a farmer well you should try it when a
refinery wants to run a crude oil pipeline through your certified organic
fields.  That was the scene last year before Martin and Atina Diffley beat
back the petrochemical mafia and had the first organic mitigation plan in
the country signed, saving their organic farm that they have worked and
nurtured for years.

On August 9th Atina Diffley will be visiting to share with us what life is
like on an organic farm and why farming organic is so important.  Atina
will also be sharing with us some of Garden of Eagan's legendary sweet
corn and water melon.  You will NOT want to miss this one!

Come ask questions (there are NO stupid ones) and make that connection
from our forks to the fields and farmers that raise our food.

Nothing builds community like breaking bread together so some people think
of these evenings as potluck affairs and YOU CAN TOO! Just bring something
you would like to share, any needed serving and eating utensils you may
need and a plate.

Please feel free to spread the word by forwarding this on to anyone that
may be interested, wants to learn about local food from sustainable family
farms, the challenges involved and anybody you know that eats.

Questions? Call the East Side Food Co-op - 612-788-0950.
http://www.eastsidefood.coop/

We hope you can make it and remember . . . Just because it's educational
doesn't mean it can't be fun! [Sure to be more fun than a root canal -ed]


--------13 of 16--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Hiroshima/dialog 8.09 7pm

Thursday, 8/9, 7 pm, NW Neighbors for Peace hosts free film "America's
Dialogue: What Kind of Country Do We Want to Be?" including interviews with
mayor and survivors of Hiroshima bombing, Parish Community of St Joseph,
8701-36th Ave N (SW corner Boone & 36th), New Hope.  http://nwn4p.pbwiki.com


--------14 of 16--------

The Strong and Tough Democrats
by Glenn Greenwald
Published on Monday, August 6, 2007 by Salon.com

The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt has spent the last several years
demanding that Democrats show their Seriousness by capitulating to most
Bush "terrorism' policies. He is the type of pundit about which Democratic
consultants fret so deeply when they advise their clients not to defy
Bush"s will. But even Hiatt sees the Democrats' weekend capitulation on
FISA for exactly what it is, and expresses it clearly in a remarkably good
Editorial this morning - entitled "Warrantless Surrender":

THE DEMOCRATIC-led Congress, more concerned with protecting its political
backside than with safeguarding the privacy of American citizens, left
town early yesterday after caving in to administration demands that it
allow warrantless surveillance of the phone calls and e-mails of American
citizens, with scant judicial supervision and no reporting to Congress
about how many communications are being intercepted. To call this
legislation ill-considered is to give it too much credit: It was scarcely
considered at all. Instead, it was strong-armed through both chambers by
an administration that seized the opportunity to write its warrantless
wiretapping program into law - or, more precisely, to write it out from
under any real legal restrictions.

Administration officials, backed up by their Republican enablers in
Congress, argued that they were being dangerously hamstrung in their
ability to collect foreign-to-foreign communications by suspected
terrorists that happen to transit through the United States. The problem
is that while no serious person objects to intercepting foreign-to-foreign
communications, what the administration sought - and what it managed to
obtain - allows much more than foreign-to-foreign contacts. The government
will now be free to intercept any communications believed to be from
outside the United States (including from Americans overseas) that involve
"foreign intelligence" - not just terrorism. It will be able to monitor
phone calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens or residents without warrants -
unless the subject is the "primary target" of the surveillance.

Instead of having the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court ensure
that surveillance is being done properly, with monitoring of Americans
minimized, that job would be up to the attorney general and the director
of national intelligence. The court's role is reduced to that of rubber
stamp. . . .

Democrats could have stuck to their guns and insisted on their version.
Instead, nervous about being blamed for any terrorist attack and eager to
get out of town, they accepted the unacceptable. Most Democrats opposed
the measure, but enough (16 in the Senate, 41 in the House) went with
Republicans to allow it to pass, and the leadership enabled that result.

In the NYT, James Risen, the reporter who first revealed the existence of
the NSA program, described the legislation as one which "broadly expanded
the government's authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone
calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants". As Hiatt
also pointed out, Risen explained that "its impact went far beyond the
small fixes that administration officials had said were needed to gather
information about foreign terrorists," and instead, "the new law for the
first time provided a legal framework for much of the surveillance without
warrants that was being conducted in secret by the National Security
Agency and outside". Risen quoted the excellent Kate Martin, director of
the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, saying: "This more
or less legalizes the N.S.A. program". Prior to the November, 2006
elections, the Bush administration tried desperately to force the Congress
to enact new FISA legislation to legalize warrantless eavesdropping. The
Democrats resisted just enough to prevent its enactment. Karl Rove and
Republicans generally then ran around the country exploiting that
obstructionism in order to accuse Democrats of being "soft on terror" and
"wanting to prevent the President from listening in when Osama calls," the
Republicans were crushed in that election, and Democrats obtained an
historic victory. In the not-blue state of Montana, Jon Tester defeated an
incumbant GOP Senator by running on a platform of repealing the Patriot
Act in its entirety. Wouldn't the most basic rationality compel Democrats
to draw the conclusion that this rank Terrorism fear-mongering does not
actually work?

Yet here they are, after refusing to legalize warrantless eavesdropping
prior to their midterm victory, allowing this legislation to pass now that
they are in the majority. It is as politically self-destructive as it is
unconscionable on the merits.

While the premise of this behavior is that Democrats must avoid appearing
"soft" and "weak," one article after the next describes their behavior as
"surrendering," "capitulating," "bowing to pressure," "caving in" and
"suffering defeat" - all at the hands of a weakened, isolated and
pervasively despised lame duck President whose political party is in
shambles. The worst thing one can be in American politics and American
culture generally is a loser, and Democrats perpetually turn themselves
into losers and convince themselves when doing so that they are appearing
"strong" and "tough".

What makes this all the more appalling is that it was so easily avoidable.
All Democrats had to do was offer legislation to fix the only real gap in
FISA and then demand that the President sign it or risk a Terrorist
attack. They could have gone on the offensive ahead of time by crafting
the legislation and then made it their own cause to demand that the
President sign it immediately in order to fix this problem and protect us
from the Terrorists.

But they did none of that. They waited around, as always, with no aim and
no strategy and no principle and no belief and allowed the President to
dictate their behavior and control the debate. It is exactly what they
have done on every virtually major issue over the last six years - from
Iraq to the Military Commissions Act to the Alito nomination to the whole
slew of still-secret surveillance programs that they meekly allow to
remain undisclosed, even to them.

In the process, they gutted the few existing restrictions on the
government's power to spy on us. They revitalized the GOP base which is
revelling in their Victory and dispirited and infuriated their own base.
They revealed themselves, yet again, as weak and principle-free as they
are politically inept. And even Fred Hiatt sees all of that.

Glenn Greenwald was previously a constitutional law and civil rights
litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling
book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's
use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic
Legacy", examines the Bush legacy.
-
[Dem and Green "moderates", believing themselves pragmatic, realistic,
tough-minded, mature, etc, support "moderate" Dems, because "only they can
get something done." It might have been true in the past, but those days
are over. "Moderate" elected Dems are getting little good done, and much
bad.  People need to engage in what John Foster Dulles used to call "an
agonizing reappraisal". Moderation must be used in moderation. -ed]


--------15 of 16--------

Monday, August 06, 2007
Infrastructure funding: abridged too far
by Jim Fuller

http://www.jamesclayfuller.com/

The collapse of that Hwy. I35W bridge across the Mississippi in downtown
Minneapolis could have, and should have, big-time consequences, but I
have yet to see any mention of what may be the most significant of the
likely long-term outcomes.

They involve further cuts to programs and systems necessary to the
well-being of most citizens - not, as you might expect, improvements.

For now, of course, there is a Greek chorus chanting about how we must
not talk about blame, nor outcomes; we must simply honor the losses of
those who were directly affected by the terrible event.

It's not difficult to understand such feelings, particularly in Minnesota,
where people do tend to rush to the aid of others in times of emergency -
even if they are among those who ignore pedestrians in crosswalks and run
red lights at other times - but it should be noted that the loudest of
those condemning - the blame game, - are those on the right whose favorite
politicians deserve to be in career-ending trouble over this mess.

Those who cry "Don't bring politics into it," are the same people who
most surely were figuring a way to cover their sorry asses within 10
minutes of hearing of the tragedy.

Politics is in it, has to be in it, because it is the political and
social views of a powerful minority in our society that got us into the
mess we're in now with a rapidly failing infrastructure.

It is their political maneuvering that is likely to trade on the
Minneapolis bridge collapse to lead us further down the road toward the
ruination of American democracy, along with America's roads, bridges,
dams, transit, communications, air travel, utilities and other systems.

They are the same people who created the circumstances under which our
bridge, or some other bridge, or a dam, or an airplane, simply had to
fall down.

The Star Tribune's Nick Coleman is the only commentator, local or
national, I've seen to address that fact head on, and he obviously has
been taking considerable heat from the "Don't talk blame" phonies.
Unfortunately, Coleman is like others with public platforms who have yet
to recognize the worst of the likely consequences.

Here's what we're almost sure to see when the talk has died down and the
network and cable news crews have gone back east:

First, the promised federal funding to rebuilding the Minneapolis I35
bridge will come through - though maybe not as promptly nor as
adequately as promised under the scrutiny of television cameras.

But not too far down the road, the White House and its sycophants in
Congress will begin a push to "privatize" more of our infrastructure.
The argument, bolstered by millions of dollars worth of propaganda
provided by industry, will be that government simply can't afford to
maintain public highways and major bridges at a safe and efficient
level. Our collapsed bridge will be cited as proof of that claim.

Therefore - ahem - we should sell those bridges and roads and suchlike
burdens at very low prices to corporations that are courageously
offering to take them off our hands and run them as toll roads and bridges.

The propaganda will not mention - nor will most of the undertrained
scribes who pass themselves off as journalists these days - that the
tolls, in providing enormous profits for the corporations, will cost us
far more, in perpetuity, than would the taxes to bring our
infrastructure up to acceptable levels.

Neither will there be any notice of the fact that by turning roads and
bridges and other public assets into businesses, the rich, the corporate
elite, get a permanent protection against paying their fair share of
taxes. The poor and middle class tax rate will, in effect, rise,
however, because tolls will, in the long run, cost us more than adequate
taxes.

I know this is coming, because the push began long before the
Minneapolis bridge collapsed, though it's still largely under the public
radar - and anyone who knows anything about news, selling and marketing
knows that those who seek to turn the entire country over to profiteers
simply cannot let such an opportunity pass.

Second, dead certain, outcome:

There will be a strong effort to pull money away from public
transportation, especially light rail transit, to fund some repairs to
roads and bridges.

This is an opportunity the right will not miss. Despite occasional
claims to the contrary, they despise public transit; they don't use it,
they have a deeply emotional fear of being "forced" from their cars onto
trains and buses with the great unwashed, they mostly live in burbs
which public transportation doesn't effectively reach, and some major
funders of right wing politicians, notably executives of the oil and
auto industries, are enraged by efforts to increase use of public
transportation.

Third certain outcome:

Both the Republicans in Washington and Minnesota's neocon governor, his
department heads and the right wing extremists who still hold many seats
in our state legislature, will block every move to start repairing our
crumbling infrastructure that doesn't include "practical measures" to
"keep spending within reasonable limits."

What that means, bluntly, is further cuts to virtually every state
service that aids the poor, children, elderly citizens, anyone who now
relies on state aid for survival at some level.

It also means further cuts in funding for education at all levels - a
favorite target of those right wingers through the years they controlled
the legislature - and for aid to cities. If the right wins this battle,
the burden of paying for such already tragically sagging services as
police and fire departments will be shifted further to property taxes
and away from income taxes, which have been cut substantially for the
state's richest residents.

They have a good chance of winning, given the usual weak-willed, feeble
responses of Democrats to such attacks on the public good.

As widely reported in the past week, almost 600,000 road bridges in the
United States are classified as "deficient" by the American Society of
Civil Engineers. But as the coverage of the Minneapolis mess dies down,
we'll start to be told, over and over, that "deficient" really doesn't
mean dangerous until a bridge actually falls down.

Not so widely reported, but still out there, is the fact that one third of
our country's dams are rated as "hazardous." I won't take the space to
list examples, but if you want an idea of what that can and at some
unknown point will mean here, Google "failed dams" or "dam collapses"  or
some such.

It's possible we'll see a move to sell our publicly owned dams, too.

Another disaster that will (not just "may") occur at any time is a major
airline crash, or two or three.

There have been numerous reports on the disastrous state of our air
traffic control system - overworked and undertrained controllers,
grossly outdated computer systems and more. If it isn't completely
overhauled, soon and, yes, at great expense, the crashes are coming.
Should we somehow avoid that for another year or two or three, it will
be only because of heroic efforts on the part of the remaining competent
controllers - who are bailing out at a fearsome rate, by the way.

The anti-government, anti-tax right is responsible for all of these
messes. Our president, our mad vice president, the right wing nutters in
Congress, are as responsible for the deaths and maimings that have
occurred and that will occur in result of neglect of our infrastructure
just as surely at they are responsible for the horrors in Iraq.

Our governor and his sponsors, the Minnesota Taxpayers League, and their
servants in the legislature are responsible for all sorts of human pain
because of their program cuts. We have fewer cops on city streets
because of them, more kids are going without medical care because of
them, more young people are unable to afford college because of them,
and so much more.

At the moment, talking about the bridge, they're singing a different
dirge, but it's an act. Any course changing they're doing is only minor,
and temporary.

Our governor, Tim Pawlenty, slavish servant of the Taxpayers League, is
playing statesman at the moment, in the most obvious and phony way possible.

At first he lied blatantly, proclaiming that 2005 and 2006 bridge
inspections showed that there were "no structural defects" in the I35
bridge. He backed down quickly on that after being caught.

He ordered inspection of all bridges in the state, with immediate
attention to a handful that are of the same type as the one that went
down. He is being sympathetic to the people who were hurt and the
families of those who were killed or injured. He is pledging quick
replacement for the bridge, and generally doing a good job of following
the politicians' script for such events.

But.

Carol Molnau, Pawlenty's lieutenant governor, whom he also appointed as
commissioner of the state's Department of Transportation, is firmly and
repeatedly proclaiming that despite the thousands of bridges in the
state that also are known to be "deficient," and few of which have
repairs or replacement scheduled, her department is doing a fine job.

She insists on that even though the Star Tribune and some national news
outfits have reported that the department knowingly rejected
recommendations for adding steel plates to reinforce the bridge that
went down because, and only because, it was cheaper just to inspect it
more often.

She also had her chin jutting out when pushed on the need for further
spending now that the true dangers of deteriorating bridges have been
exposed.

"We put together a system in this state that addresses the needs that we
have within the fiscal restraints we have, as well," she was quoted as
saying by the Strib.

Note: Many of those "fiscal restraints" exist only because of Republican
cuts in taxes paid by the rich, and because Pawlenty and the rest of the
Republican crew have squeezed spending on infrastructure until there is
no juice left.

And then there is Mary Liz Holberg, a Republican senator from semi-rural
Lakeville, a still powerful member of the Senate Transportation
Committee, who grew visibly angry on Minnesota public television's
"Almanac" a couple of days after the bridge collapse when one of the
show's hosts tried to get her to admit that much more spending on
infrastructure, and bridges in particular, is necessary.

Democrats must give in on a number of Republican demands for cuts in
other programs before her party can agree to pay for making bridges
safe, she insisted, though she didn't phrase it quite that way.

"Something will get done," she repeated two or three times, but she
wouldn't say what, and she still insisted that the money had to come
from elsewhere in the state budget because Republicans will not allow
tax increases (or taking back substantial cuts they gave the rich).
Fixes in funding of infrastructure repairs "can't happen overnight," she
said, and "We still have to respect the family budget," which is
Republican code for "hold taxes on the rich to a bare minimum."

Conclusion: The right wingers in the legislature will stall, obfuscate,
dig in and refuse to fund even bridge repair, let alone other badly
needed infrastructure fixes, unless the Democrats cave in and agree to
take the money from the usual places: education, food programs, health
care programs and the like.

The only thing that could change that is honest and complete press
coverage of every ploy and a resulting public outcry of considerable volume.

Don't hold your breath.

JIM FULLER is a retired veteran journalist, 30 years with  the
Minneapolis Star Tribune, as their business reporter. He now has a blog
at http://www/jamesclayfuller.com/


--------16 of 16--------

 Turd au jus falls from
 gov reps' butts, on us, Ker-plop!
 Reps laugh, Hey, bull's eye!


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