Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bill Hennessy Admits that St. Louis Tea Party Can't Turn Out Enough People to Disprove the Claim, "The Tea Party Movement is Dying"

Bill Hennessy, leader of the St. Louis Tea Party "movement," has admitted that they won't be able to turn out enough people for a protest of one of their most hated rivals, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to counteract the growing public awareness that the tea party movement is rapidly fizzling out. Hennessy says many people would like to protest the event, but "I have a feeling that we won't be able to draw too big of a crowd, and that will give the press a story: 'Tea Party Movement Dying in St. Louis.' " Of course, if they were able to turn out a crowd, they wouldn't have that problem, but Hennessy knows as do I that their numbers have been plummeting since the beginning of the summer.

Hennessy's cowardice is even more funny given the bluster (along with typical teabag conspiracy theories) he was using when he first heard Speaker Pelosi was coming to town:

On October 3, Nancy Pelosi will be in St. Louis—the epicenter of the tea party movement’s long, cool summer—to try to rescue Congressman Russ Carnahan’s collapsing political career. (The Widder Carnahan’s attempts to save Russ’s career failed, so they called in Big Brother from Chicago.) It’s not difficult to put two and two together here. The Democrat operative is in town to recruit thugs to kick off a riot at the Pelosi event...

It should come as no surprise the the DNC and the White House have chosen St. Louis as ground zero for a new reign of error attempting to shut down resistance. They will find, like the Cuban commies in Grenada, that we’ve got their number. If they want to make St. Louis their Waterloo, we will gladly play von Blucher and Wellington.

Quite a rhetorical flourish for a guy who's scared to even call for a protest. Not only that, but one of his fellow bloggers on the official Tea Party web site just got done writing a post tilted, "It's good to be a badass." Uh, yeah Bill, it's totally badass to be too scared to protest the woman you think is destroying America because you don't want to show the media how much your movement has dwindled.

More evidence of tea party FAIL

I've documented on several occasions the fact that local tea party rallies are getting smaller and smaller, and are failing to meet their goals. Unfortunately, the media narrative has not yet caught up to that fact. But today there's more evidence for my hypothesis; namely, public support for health care reform has increased over the month of September. And of course there's this nugget:
Fifty-seven percent of the public -- including 56% of independents -- say the GOP is opposing reform plans more for political reasons than because they think reform will be bad for the country.

Looks like all of the screaming, shouting, and media grandstanding has not actually been very effective at swaying public opinion.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

St. Louis Activist Events for Sept. 28 - Oct. 3

This week's events:

Monday, Sept. 28, the Peace Economy Project is hosting a "casual, yet elegant" evening called Wine, Not War at the Wine Press (4426 Olive) from 6 to 9 PM.  It will feature a classical guitarist, a sampling of several wines, and hors d'oeuvres.  

Also Monday, the YDGSL are holding their September Membership meeting a Maggie O'Briens from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.

Also Monday, the Keep a Child Alive campaign at SLU is premiering a movie "Alicia in Africa" which documents Alicia Key's journey to see the effects of HIV/AIDSs in the Busch Student Center from 7 to 8 PM.  

Also Monday, the WashU Coop Cafe from 8:30 to 10 pm at 6021 Pershing will feature and open mic and The Blind Nills.  

Tuesday, Sept. 29, the LGBT Center of St. Louis is hosting Queer Yoga from 6:30 to 8 PM at 625 N. Euclid.  

Also Tuesday, the Doerr Center for Social Justice at SLU is hosting Social Justice Night at the Busch Student Center (room 170) featuring internationally recognized peace activist John Dear, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM.

Wednesday, Sept. 30, the ACLU's LGBT Director  is speaking at the Washington University School of Law on "The State of the LGBT Movement" in Anheuser-Busch Hall from 4 to 5:30.  

Also Wednesday, Ed Martin is expected to announce that he's running against Russ Carnahan for Congress. Yes, this Ed Martin. And this Ed Martin.

Also Wednesday, the MO History Museum will be screening the documentary Boys Will Be Men from 6 to 8 PM, followed by a roundtable discussion.

Also Wednesday, McKendree University will be hosting Pulitzer Prize-winning former journalist Maria Karagianis as part of their Distintuished Speaker Series for a talk titled, "Making Meaning: 7 Steps to Creating a Life Worth Living."  The talk will be from 7:30 to 9:30 at the Russel E. and Fern M Hettenhausen Center for the Arts.

Also Wednesday, PROMO is hosting a comedy night at the Edison Theatre at WashU from 8 to 10 PM featuring Suzann Westenhoefer.  

Thursday, October 1st is the date for the October City Affair, where the topic of discussion will be the TIF for Northside and what citizens can do to influence the city's decision.  The meeting will be from 7:30 to 9 PM at the Old North Community Space (14th St. and N. Market).

Friday, October 2nd, Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan will be in St. Louis to talk about foreign policy, healthcare, and her campaign for congress.  The event will be at the Overland Community Center from 6 to 9 PM.  

Saturday, Oct. 3, the Community Arts and Media Project (CAMP) is holding a yard sale, otherwise known as the CheroFlea Market.  I would imagine there must be some amazing finds from their basement!   The event will be from 8 AM to 3 PM at CAMP on 3026 Cherokee.

Also Saturday, Nancy Pelosi will be in town for a fundraiser for Congressman Russ Carnahan.  The wingnuts hate Pelosi, and part of the reason is that she's been doing a great job so far standing up for the public option in health care reform.  She'll be speaking at the Chase Park Plaza.

Sunday, Oct. 4., it's Farm Aid for crying out loud!  Why would you be anywhere else during the day?

Also Sunday, the Interfaith Committee on Latin American (IFCLA) and the Missouri Immigrant Rights Association (MIRA) are screening the movie Made In L.A. chronicling three sweatshop workers in L.A at 5 PM Sunday evening at Bethel Lutheran Church.  The Producers of the film will be on hand to take questions. There's a special rate for students

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What would it take for the St. Louis media to do their job?

I saw this amazing video a few weeks ago where Anderson Cooper calls out national tea party leader Mark Williams for writing that Obama is an "Indonisian Muslim Turned Welfare Thug" and a "Racist in Chief" (around the 1:07 mark if you don't want to watch the whole video).

Williams was on the show trying to make reasonable sounding points and claiming to represent mainstream America.  But Cooper's question revealed just what an extremist Williams really is.  He's not an "average working American" with questions about the government but rather a cynical political strategist who's willing to say vile and obviously false things to rile up his base while turning around and playing the, "oh we're just reasonable people concerned about the size of government" card when in front of the TV cameras.  I'm so glad that Cooper did a little homework and found Williams' absurd claims.

Unfortunately, however, we have a similar tea party situation in St. Louis but without a local media willing to do their homework.  The St. Louis Tea Party is made up of leaders who peddle vile conspiracy theories to rile up their base, and then turn around and say to the TV cameras things like, "we're not opposed to all health care reform, we're just worried about this bill," or "we're just a bunch of hard working Americans concerned about taxes on the middle class."   So, I wonder, what would it take for our local media to start doing their job the way Anderson Cooper did his in the above interview?

What, for example, would it take for the media, when interviewing Bill Hennessy, to ask him why he claimed that Obama "wants to turn everyone into a Nazi snitch?"

What would it take, when they decide to interview Dana Loesch, for them to ask her why she blatantly lies about Obama school speeches and about a government agency designed to encourage public service?

What would it take for them to ask both Loesch and Hennessy if they really believe, as they say they do, that Obama sent an "operative" to St. Louis to "start a riot?"

What would it take for them, while interviewing Kevin Jackson, to ask how he could possibly still believe that Obama wasn't born in the United States?

What would it take for the local media (with the exception of the Beacon's Jo Mannies who did cover the event) to turn out when 200 citizens show up to challenge a health insurance company? 

And what would it take for someone to ask why 90.3 regularly has on a right wing blogger who links to race-baiting videos from white supremacist web sites?

I don't know the answer to these questions, but I'm getting a little tired of waiting to find out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Defending the Truth in St. Louis

Tomorrow marks the kick-off of 40 Days for Life, a sustained protest of Planned Parenthood. Protesting will take place 7 days a week, 12 hours a day for 40 days. The official website of 40 Days for Life describes its movement as 40 days of "prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach." Planned Parenthood, which experienced similar protests this past spring, is concerned that protesters will harass patients and distribute false information.

Planned Parenthood of St. Louis provides a variety of services including birth control and emergency contraception; testing and treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases; counseling and testing for patients with HIV; screening for breast, cervical, testicular and prostate cancer; HPV vaccinations, colposcopy and cryotherapy (procedures that can help prevent cervical cancer); vasectomies; well-woman GYN exams; and yes, abortions and abortion counseling.

While the protesters focus on abortion alone, it's important to recognize that Planned Parenthood provides a wide variety of health services. Planned Parenthood is a resource available to all members of the community, but importantly, is overwhelmingly utilized by the poorest members of our community. And no wonder. If I need to pick up my birth control pills, I would much rather do so in the privacy of my local Walgreens rather than face down a line of angry protesters each month-even if it means I pay more for a drug than I would have had I gone to Planned Parenthood and paid according to their sliding-scale fee schedule. I have insurance, I can afford my prescription co-pay, I have that luxury. Not everyone does.

Obviously these protesters have a right to picket outside. But patients also have a right to receive medical care without fear of harassment. I drive past Planned Parenthood on Forest Park Parkway frequently, and the protesters are generally quiet and non-threatening. However, there have been times when angry people have been gathered outside the gates, shouting at anyone who dares walk inside. A polisci professor who volunteers as a clinic escort has told me stories of protesters videotaping cars driving in and out of the Planned Parenthood parking lot in order to look up license plate numbers and attempt to find home addresses. Given the still-recent murder of Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion provider in Wichita, these protests are understandably intimidating to patients and clinic employees alike.

Fortunately, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region is fighting back. They've launched a Defend The Truth campaign, complete with a large banner on the side of their Central West End building. There's also a new blog, promising "regular updates on reproductive health news, useful resources and links, as well as personal stories of why our patients, staff, board members and community love Planned Parenthood."

If you'd like to support Planned Parenthood and the services it provides to our community, you may donate to their Defend the Truth campaign here. I think their donation page says it best:

"No woman, man, or teen should have to be harassed while accessing basic health care or going to work. Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis region is a critical safety net provider of preventative care in our community, serving more than 52,000 people each year."

If you think it's important for all members of our community to have access to quality medical care, and you think they should be able to receive that care with dignity and without fear of harassment, please donate what you can. Defend the truth.

Monday, September 21, 2009

St. Louis Activist events for Sept. 21 - 27

This week's events:

Monday, Sept. 21, MoPIRG kicks off it's year at BA 105 on the Meramec CC campus in Kirkwood with an introductory meeting. The meeting is from 5 to 6 PM.

Also Monday, The Esquire 7 joins movie theaters around the world simultaneously premiering the movie "The Age of Stupid," a movie filmed from the perspective of 2055 AD questioning why we didn't do more to stop climate change when we had the chance. The Esquire 7 is located at 6706 Clayton Rd. and the movie will show at 6:30 PM.

Also Monday, the Catholic Action Network is sponsoring a talk titled "How Big is Your God," by internationally recognized scholar Paul Coutinho at the College Church Ballrooom (on the corner of Grand and Lindell) from 7 to 8:30 PM.

Also Monday, Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard and an amazing activist, will be speaking about her book The Meaning of Matthew at the Ethical Society at 9001 Clayton starting at 7 PM

Tuesday, Sept. 22, the College Dems at Webster are holding a bake sale on the campus Quad from 11 AM to 2 PM.

Also Tuesday, Moveon, Health Care for America Now, and several other local groups are holding a "Big Insurance: Sick of It" rally outside Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield on 1831 Chestnut at noon. This is part of a national campaign to call out the insurance companies that are spending millions of dollars to prevent reform to a broken system with skyrocketing costs that allows tens of thousands of people to die every year. RSVP for the event here.

Also Tuesday, Show Me No Hate is holding a meeting at 5:30 at Mokabes (3606 Arsenal) for the upcoming bus trip to the huge National Equality March in DC Coming up on October 10-11.

Also Tuesday, the Webster University Democrats will be joining OFA volunteers to phone bank for Health Insurance Reform at the law offices at 1420 Strassner from 6 to 8:30 PM.

Also Tuesday, Amnesty International for the City of St. Louis has their monthly letter-writing meeting at Hartford Coffee Company (3974 Hartford Street) from 7 to 8 PM.

Also Tuesday, Dr. Jeff Schweitzer will be giving a talk, "Beyond Cosmic Dice: Moral Life in a Random World" at the Ethical Society (9001 Clayton Road) from 7 to 9 PM.

Wednesday, Sept 23, the YWCA of Metro St. Louis is hosting a discussion on "The Miseducation of Black Children" from 5:30 to 7 PM at their 2711 Locus Street location.

Also Wednesday, St. Louis City is holding a TIF hearing for the controversial McEagle Properties NorthSide Regeneration Plan at room 208 of City Hall (1200 Market) from 6 to 8 PM.

Also Wednesday, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment is holding a cocktail party to celebrate their 40th Anniversary at Erney's 32 (4200 Manchester) from 6:30 to 10:30 PM.

Also Wednesday, the Interfaith Committee on Latin America is holding a dinner with a discussion of Honduras at Papagayos market (6922 Manchester) from 7 to 9 PM.

Thursday, September 24, in solidarity with the protests outside of the G20 summit in Pittsburg, PA, the Instead of War Coalition and Greenpeace are holding a "Dirty Money, Dirty Politics, Dirty Energy" bike ride for change starting at 3:30 PM on the corner of Market and Tucker.

Also Thursday, St. Charles County Organizing for America members will be meeting at the Middendorf-Kredell library at 2750 Hwy K in O'Fallon from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

Also Thursday, Drinking Liberally in the City of St. Louis is gathering at the Premium Lounge (4199 Manchester) from 6:30 to 11:30 PM.

Also Thursday, the traveling exhibit "Transgender Considerations: My Right Self" will be on display at the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center (520 S. Euclid) from 7 to 8:30 PM.

Also Thursday, the St. Louis Urban Corps is holding a trivia night at the Mattingly Brewery (3000 S. Jefferson) from 7 to 10 PM.

Friday, Sept. 25, Jill Freidberg, a documentary film maker, will be holding a workshop on "Media and Social Justice" from 4 to 6 PM at Marillac Hall at UMSL.

Friday and Saturday,
David Dorfman's dance piece, "underground" based on Dorfman's remembrance of the radical Weather Underground group in the 60s, will be showing at the Edison Theatre on the WashU campus at 8 PM.

Saturday, Sept. 26, and Sunday, Sept. 27, the Strange Folk Festival, a "craft happening in psychedelic color," will be taking place in Community Park in O'Fallon, IL starting at 10 AM.

Also Saturday, the Literacy for Social Justice Teacher's Research Group is holding their annual "Educating for Change Curriculum Fair" at Merillac Hall in UMSL from 9 AM to 3 PM. This event is getting bigger and better every year, and I highly recommend it! Independent filmmaker Jill Freidberg will be the keynote speaker, and there will be several workshops.

Also Saturday, Earthways Center is hosing a Green Homes Festival from 10 to 6 PM at 3617 Grandel.

Also Saturday, there will be a "Beer Pong Benefit" for two people traveling to Guatemala to provide occupational therapy for children with hand and arm injuries and deformations. The event is at 1250 Orchard Village Court in Manchester, Mo from 9 PM to 3 AM.

Sunday, Sept. 27, The St. Michaels Day Dash raises money for police officers and firefighters and goes from 7:30 to 10:30 AM at Station Plaza (Madison Ave. and Kirkwood Rd. in Kirkwood).

Also Sunday, the Catholic Action Network is holding their 4th Annual sing along Hootenanny at the Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust) from 7:30 to 9:30 PM.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Actual Investigative Reporting!!?! RFT Exposes Shameless Huckster David Brown

Though I haven't focused on it for a while, I spent some time earlier exposing some of the holes in the right-wing fiction that members of SEIU had attacked teabag paraphernalia seller Kenneth Gladney outside of Congressman Carnahan's townhall meeting.   In particular, I exposed a couple lies from one the central characters in the circus, Gladney's "attorney" David Brown who also happens to be Gladney's employer and a fellow paraphernalia seller on the night of the incident.  First, I presented evidence that forced even right-wing blogger Jim Durbin to admit that he had been misled by Brown on a claim that there were no racist buttons being sold.  I then exposed how the iamkennethgladney.com site had stated that Gladney would not take any money from special interests, even as Brown and Gladney were embarking on a nationwide tour funded by the sketchiest of all special interest groups, FreedomWorks.

Despite the obvious flaws in the story, as far as I know no mainstream media organization had bothered to actually do investigation into the story.  They seemed content to just pass on the sound bytes from the parties involved, or from political opportunists like Chris Arps or Bill Hennessy trying to boost their own profile from the event.  Well that has finally changed.

Kristen Hinman from the Riverfront Times did some investigation into Brown, by speaking with one of his former employees, and found exactly what I would have expected.  He's an opportunistic huckster who has serious difficulties in the "telling the truth" department.   Among the revelations of the article:

1.  Brown originally lied about knowing Errol Hosea King, even though King was his employee earlier in 2009.
2.  Brown told King that he was using Kenneth Gladney to make money and that Gladney is a "gravy train."
3.  Despite originally claiming that he was Gladney's lawyer, Brown now says that he is Gladney's "agent."  When asked what that meant, Brown freaked out, yelled, "figure it out!" and hung up the phone.  Actually, I have figured it out.  It means that Gladney is his gravy train.
4.  Brown and King drove to L.A. to hawk buttons at Michael Jackson's funeral.
5.  The "Don't Tread on Me" flags are made in China, and Brown meticulously makes sure that the stickers that indicate this are taken off of them.
6. Brown only lets his employees keep 30% of the gross sales. 
7.  King says,"It's entrepreneurship... People need to know this."

Well, I had already suspected that this whole incident was about entrepreneurship for Brown and Gladney, but it's great to have a reporter do some digging to confirm it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Gang of Six": The privileged few holding up health reform

Just dug up some interesting info on the "Gang of Six" Senators on the Finance Committee who are holding up passage of health reform with a public option; all data is from U.S. Census Bureau 2008 numbers:

These six states(Iowa, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming and Maine) total less than 3% of the U.S. Population (2.75% to be exact), and 5 of the 6 states are over 90% white* (with the sole exception of New Mexico with its sizable Native American population - 84% white). Each state has a black population of LESS THAN 3%, which comes in at under one-fourth of the 12% black population of the country as a whole.

* Max Baucus' Montana is 0.7% black (less than 1%), while Kent Conrad's North Dakota shows a black population of just 1.1%.

TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION IS TYRANNY - these red-state czars cant be allowed to block progress for America! Call your Senators, and these six Senators, at 202-224-3121 or toll-free at 1-877-264-HCAN (4226). Then pick up a shiny new union-made yard sign to show your support for "Health Insurance Reform NOW" at http://www.healthcareforamericanow.org

"They can't stop us. Let's get this done!"

- President Obama to 10,000 cheering supporters at Minneapolis health care rally, 9/12/09.

St. Louis Activist Events for Sept. 14-20

This Week's Events:

Monday, Sept 14, Capoeira Angola St. Louis is hosting a guest teacher who will be speaking on the relationship between performing art and social responsibility.  The event will be from 6:15 to  PM in Malindrodt on the WashU campus.  

Also Monday, the Muslim Student Association at St. Louis University is holding a Fast-a-thon to raise money for local refugees who don't have enough to eat.  They'll be fasting all day, and then eating dinner in the Busch Student Center Ballrooms at night, starting at 7 PM.  
Check here to find out how you can pitch in!

Also Monday is the weekly Co-Op Cafe over at the WashU co-op at 6021 Pershing from 8:30 to 10 PM.  This week will feature an open mic, short film clips by art and film students, and a rap.

Also Monday is a meeting for VDAY at McMillan Cafe at WashU from 9 to 10 PM.  

Tuesday, Sept. 15, the Mountaintop Removal Road Show will be at the SIUC campus, room 118C in the ASA Building, from 11 AM to 12:50 PM.  

Also Tuesday, the Beacon and the Royale continue their collaboration on discussing the idea of race in St. Louis with a discussion titled, "Are you other?" The event goes from 6 to 7:30 PM at the Royale (3132 S. Kingshighway).   

Also Tuesday is the 4th Annual Thirst for Life Kickoff Party hosted by the St. Louis Effort for AIDS at Just John (4112 Manchester) from 7 to 10 PM.

Also Tuesday, former President of Mexico Vicente Fox will be speaking at the Busch Student Center at SLU in the Wool Ballroom from 7 to 9 PM.  The Interfaith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA) is requesting that people attend and ask some good questions about the Mexican Free Trade Agreement.  

Wednesday, Sept. 16, Pride Alliance at WashU is holding a Pride Perk-Up complete with loads of caffeine at the Pride Suite on the top floor of the Women's Building from 11:30 AM to 1 PM.  

Also Wednesday, Fulbright scholar and activist Anna Baltzer will be speaking on "Life in Occupied Palestine: Eyewitness Stories and Photos" at Webster Hall room 401 on the Webster University Campus, from 1 to 2:20 PM.  Anna is an amazing speaker so check it out if you have a chance!

Also Wednesday, the movie "Life in a Bubble" which explains the roots of the financial crises by exposing the tangled alliances between the financial system, politicians, and lobbyists, will be showing at Student Center Room 200/201 at the St. Louis Community College at Meremec campus, 11333 Big Bend, from 5 to 8:30 PM.

Also Wednesday, Vernon Smith will be leturing on Relics of African Civilization and Antiquity at the Julia Davis Branch of the St. Louis Public Libraries, on Natural Bridge and Taylor, from 6 to 9 PM.

Also Wednesday, peace activists Kathy Kelly and Dan Pearson from Voices for Creative Nonviolence in Chicago will be speaking about their recent trip to Pakistan at the St. Louis Room at the Busch Student Center at SLU (20 N. Grand Blvd.).  The event starts at 7 PM and is sponsored by the St. Louis Instead of War Coalition.

Also Wednesday, North Side Business Owners and Clergy are holding a forum to take a stand against Eminent Domain abuse and gentrification.  The event is from 7 to 10 PM at Vashon High School, 3035 Cass Avenue.  

Thursday, Sept. 17, Anna Balzer will be speaking on "Life in Occupied Palestine: Eyewitness Stories and Photos" in the Sunnen Lounge in the University Center at Webster, from 1:30 to 2:50 PM.

Also Thursday, the Webster Earth Alliance is looking for volunteers to help recycle at PlaySTL 2009 in the Delmar Loop.

Friday, Sept. 18, Active Citizen 360 is hosting a screening of "Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore" documenting the 2004 primary challenge by recently convicted state Senator Jeff Smith several years ago.  I'm guessing it would be rather painful to watch for many people, but certainly is good fodder for an interesting discussion afterward.

Saturday, Sept. 19, the Great Rivers Greenway is holding a River des Peres Trash Bash at Fultz Field on the River des Peres Greenway Trail from 8:30 AM to 1 PM.

Also Saturday will be the St. Louis Walk for Farm Animals protesting the horrible conditions of modern factory farms, put together by the tireless work of Sara Accord.  They'll be meeting up at the Chinese Pavillion in Tower Grove Park (4256 Magnolia) at 10 AM.  Join the walk or pitch in some money for an important cause!

Also Saturday, St. Louis NORML will be at the Mel Carnahan Criminal Courthouse protesting the extradition and sentencing of legalization activist Marc Emory from 4 to 6 PM.  The courthouse is located at 1114 Market Street.

Also Saturday will be Crank and Click 2, a citywide scavenger hunt for cyclists that will raise money for Trailnet.  The event starts at 5 PM at the Atomic Cowboy (4140 Manchester).

Sunday, Sept. 20 will feature an excitingwritten  new play Beyond Stonewall:Why We March by Joan Lipkin of That Uppity Theater Company and Tennesse Playwright Sharon Bandy inspired by the crazy comments on the Post-Dispatch's website.  The play will be from 1 to 2 PM at the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater St. Louis (1919 S. Broadway).  Well, at least something good came out of those insane comments!

Teabaggers FAIL, then lie about it, all across the USA

Despite working for 6 months to try to get together one million people for the Sept. 12th rally in Washington D.C., all the pathetic astroturf tea party "movement" could manage was a tiny 50 - 70,000 people, according to estimates from the D.C. fire department. To put that in perspective, it's a national rally that was attended by 3/4 as many people as a St. Louis rally for Obama during the Presidential campaign. Pretty darn pathetic. But of course, that doesn't stop the teabaggers from blatantly lying to their base, posting fake pictures, and then claiming there's a "media conspiracy" against them.

And of course, for any absurdity that occurs nationally, you can be sure that our local teabaggers will be doing their utmost to be even more ridiculous. They are claiming to have gotten 12,000 people at their "Midwest" rally in Quincy, IL. Only problem for them, the local media reports 2,000. I guess they'll soon be ranting about how the KHQA Tristates TV News was infiltrated by communists.

It's a good time to not be a teabagger.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Teabaggers inflate, invent numbers: will local media notice?

Earlier, it was stated that the teabaggers' "buycott" was one of the dumbest strategies ever.  After thinking a little more about this, I don't think that's quite correct.  While it clearly is true that the buycott is not going to do anything to help Whole Foods Market, the mistake in this way of thinking is the idea that the teabaggers care at all about Whole Foods or their CEO.  It was never about Whole Foods for them. It was about a cheap gimmick to get media attention, and they were successful at that. 
On the other hand, as I have written earlier, the teabaggers ability to turn out people appears to be diminishing rapidly as time goes on.  After surprisingly large initial rallies, their "recess rallies" were a huge failure, as was their attempt to organize a counter rally to OFA's bus tour.  They tried to cover this fact up by hyping up their "buycott" and claiming it was a huge success.  It wasn't, but even if it had been, it was easily matched by the MoveOn vigil the night after, which attracted more people and as much media attention.  And Obama's speech has clearly shifted the momentum even further away from their obstructionist agenda.
However, I want to focus on just how much the teabaggers are willing to completely invent and inflate numbers as they desperately try to pretend that they still have momentum, and how willingly the local media goes along with this nonsense.  The teabaggers claimed that 1,000 people attended the "buycott" and spent $50,000.  However, numerous signs point to the fact that these numbers were completely fabricated:
1.  First of all, the teabaggers themselves only ever claimed to have collected, "600 or so" receipts.  Knowing how they round their numbers, this means that at most they probably collected 501.
2.  They asked for people to mail in receipts before the buycott day.  In other words, many of the receipts they were counting were not actually from purchases that day.
3.  Not only did they ask people to mail in receipts, they asked people to email receipts.  
4.  At the rally, they collected receipts from previous days.  Dana Loesch even kindly posted video of it (go to the 2:30 mark to see Gina Louden accepting receipts from a different day).
5.  And finally, many of the receipts they collected that day weren't even from people who supported or know about the buycott.  As the following video shows, our good friend Adam Sharp was outside collecting receipts from anyone who left, regardless of whether they had ever heard of a "tea party" or "buycott" before.  The whole video is very funny and worth watching:

(side note: it's very funny how Adam Sharp admits on this video that he uses his camera to videotape people without their knowledge, despite being offended when I mentioned that fact at the OFA rally).  

In other words, despite claiming that they had 1000 participants that day, they never collected more than 600 (i.e. 501) receipts, and there were at least five ways in which they were counting receipts that weren't part of the day's protest as receipts from the day's protest.  They then proceeded to take a, like, totally random "sample" of receipts claiming that the average amount spent was $50, multiplied it by their made-up number of 1,000, and claimed that they generated $50,000 of spending for the day.  And despite the fact that the whole point of collecting receipts was that they would actually have a record of what was spent, they have still not released any real numbers two weeks later!

But more important than the long-known Fundamental Law of the Universe that teabaggers are compulsive liars is the fact that the local media is so willing to eat up their garbage numbers without the slightest bit of critical thinking.  How do they let them invent numbers like 1,000 people and $50,000?  Why wouldn't they ask them to actually provide receipts?  They are called reporters, and their job is to find out the truth and not to uncritically pass along whatever b.s. they are spoon-fed by the teabaggers, who by the way have nothing but contempt for the local media.
In the video Loesch posted, after the lady gave Gina Loudon a receipt from a previous trip, Loudon said (2:32), "I hope they don't check!"  Well, Loudon's in luck, and the rest of us are out of it, because the last thing the local media seems willing to do is to call the teabaggers on their inflated numbers and outright lies.

Monday, September 7, 2009

St. Louis Activist Events for Sept. 7 - 13

This Week's Events:

Monday, Sept. 7.  is the date for the annual labor day parade in downtown St. Louis.  The leaders of the local tea party movement, of course, despise organized labor due to the fact that it created the American middle class, but the rest of us should show our support any chance we get.  The lineup starts at 7 AM on Olive between Jefferson and 15th Street.  The parade starts at 9 AM going East on Olive until Tucker, then South to Market, and finally West to 15th.

Also Monday, Slow Food St. Louis is holding an "Eat in for Change," at the Schlafly Bottleworks Parking Lot from 11 AM to 2 PM, asking for people to speak up and demand healthy food at our  schools.

Also Monday, Coop Cafe kicks off at the WashU residential Co-op starting at 8 PM. They will be roasting marshmallows and listening to Midnight Supper, a bluegrass band from Kansas.  The Coop is located at 6021 Pershing.

Tuesday, Sept. 8, Women in Black will hold their monthly vigil calling for peace between Israelis and Palestinians outside of the St. Louis Bread Company on the Delmar Loop from 11:30 AM to 1 PM.

Also Tuesday, The Instead of War Coalition Steering Committee will be meeting from 7 to 9 PM at the World Community Center at 438 N. Skinker.

Also Tuesday, the Amnesty International chapter for the City of St. Louis will be meeting from 7 to 8 PM at Bethel Lutheran Church, 7001 Forsyth Blvd.

Also Tuesday, Left Bank Books is hosting author Dyana Furmansky to discuss her book Rosalie Edge: Hawk of Mercy.  Furmansky was an environmentalist whose activism earned her the names "Joan of Arc" and "hellcat."  The event starts at 7 PM at the 399 N. Euclid location for Left Bank.

Also Tuesday, the St. Louis Animal Rights Team (START) is having their monthly meeting at 7 PM at the Brentwood Community Center, 2505 S. Brentwood.

Wednesday, Sept. 9, The Urban League Young Professionals are holding a general body meeting at 6 PM at the Harris Stowe Telecommunity Room at 3026 Laclede.  

Also Wednesday, if you'd like to participate in a watch party for President Obama's health care address to congress, go here.

Also Wednesday, Growing American Youth is hosting a watch party for the much anticipated new comedy GLEE.  The event will be at the Tivoli (6350 Delmar) from 7 to 9 PM and will be emceed by the uber-talented Ed Reggi.  Check it out if you have a chance!

Also Wednesday, join Coro, a national organization that prepares individuals for effective and ethical leadership in the public affairs arena, for a discussion on the economic, social, political, and spiritual logic of Affton, Missouri explored solely through the people of the community.  The event is from 7 to 7:45 at the Afton Community Center, 9801 Mackenzie Road.

Thursday, Sept. 10, Planned Parenthood is holding a phone bank for health care reform, from noon to 3 PM at 4251 Forest Park Avenue.

Also Thursday is the Labor Day edition of Drinking Liberally at the Premium Lounge (4199 Manchester) from 6:30 to 10:30 PM.

Also Thursday, you can phone bank for the Instead of War Coalition and Greenpeace as they spread the word about the upcoming Bike for Change.  They'll be calling from the Missouri Coalition for the Environment Office, 6267 Delmar.

Friday, September 11, President Obama signed legislation establishing September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.  You can find out how to participate here.  

Also Friday, Citizens for Modern Transit are holding their 25th Annual Meeting at the Renaissance Grand Hotel on Washington Avenue from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM.

Friday through Sunday will be the TOCO Family Music Festival and Camp Out at Camp Ondessonk, 3760 Ondessonk Road, benefitting the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Also Friday through Sunday is the Schlafly Art Outside 2009 Festival that showcases local art and music.  It will be held at the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood.

Saturday, Sept. 12, join the Christian Vegetarian Association as they participate in the Festival of Faiths and Cultures at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.  For more info, contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com .

Also Saturday, the Gateway Green Alliance is holding their annual Great Grean Pesto Feast at Grace United Methodist (in the Fellowship Hall) at 6199 Waterman from 6 to 8 PM.  The theme is "Our Right to Safe, Affordable Homes," and there will be vegan options available.

Also Saturday, there will be a "Rock Out to Knock Out" benefit to raise money in the fight against diabetes at Pop's in Sauget, IL from 6 to 11:30 PM.  Check out the full lineup here.

Sunday, Sept. 13, the St. Louis Animal Rights Team (START) is having a table at the "Trails for Tails" event in St. Charles, a fundraiser for the St. Charles Humane Society.

Also Sunday, some friends are holding a fundraiser at Bar Italia on Maryland Plaza in the CWE to help pay for the medical bills of a chef who has had 4 surgeries for bone infections.  The event is from 3 to 8 PM.

Also Sunday, and every Sunday, the Instead of War Coalition will be holding a candlelight vigil for peace at St. Francis Xavier Church, on the corner of Grand and Lindell, from 7 to 7:30 PM.