|Progressive Calendar 08.08.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|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! --------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
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