Monday, May 31, 2010

St. Louis Activist Events for June 1 - 6

This week's events:

Tuesday, June 1, STL Food Factory will be meeting with people interested in volunteering at Kaldi's (700 Demun) from 10 AM to noon.

Also Tuesday, a group will be gathering outside of Claire McCaskill's office (5840 Delmar) encouraging her to condemn Israel's attack on the Gaza Flotilla from 4 to 6 PM.

Also Tuesday, Will Bike For Food will be making a donut run on bicycles starting at 10 PM at Brookings Hall (the big castle) on the Wash U campus.

Wednesday, June 2, through Friday, June 4, NARAL is having a mailing party from 9 AM to 5 PM at 1210 S Vandeventer.

Also Wednesday, Illinois state legislator Jay Hoffman will be making the case that the midwest has the ability to spark at green revolution at 7 PM at Left Bank Books Downtown (321 North 10th Street).

Also Wednesday, this month's Black and Green Wednesday will discuss the impact of the police state/prison state on ordinary people.

Also Wednesday, there will be a fundraiser for two people seriously injured in a car accident, Kevin and Trenton Payne, from 7:30 to 11:30 PM at the Library in Soulard.

Thursday, June 3, learn about backyard beekeeping at the EarthWays Center from 6:30 to 8 PM.

Also Thursday, this month's City Affair will discuss how online advocacy relates to urbanism from 7:30 to 9 PM at 3301 Meramec.

Friday through Sunday, the movie October Country will be showing at the Webster Film Series at 7:30 PM in the Moore Auditorium.

Saturday, Jun 5, is Opening Day for the North City Farmer's Market (14th St. and St. Louis Ave). The market is open from 9 AM to 1 PM.

Also Saturday, a group will be canvassing to support Barbara Fraser's run for the MO Senate starting at 9 AM at 8420 Delmar Blvd, Ste. LL-9.

Also Saturday, the STL Craft Mafia and the Webster University Environmental Studies Department are hosting the Green With Indie Craft Show from 10 AM to 6 PM at 125 Edgar in Webster Groves.

Also Saturday, OFA is having a National Day of Action to Get out the Vote from 10 AM to 6 PM, meeting at the St. Louis Bread Company at 21 Allen in Webster Groves.

Also Saturday, Jean Ponzi of EarthWays Center will be presenting "Green Living 101" at the Carpenter Branch Library at 11 AM. Call 772-6586 to register.

Also Saturday, from 1 PM on, is the RFT Music Showcase.

Also Saturday, the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee will be meeting at the World Community Center (428 N. Skinker) at 4 PM.

Also Saturday, International Play Ground is performing a play "The World According to Us" based on the true story of area refugess at the Mildred E. Bastien Center for the Performing Arts (5600 Oakland) from 6 to 8 PM.

Sunday, June 6, The Suzy Esstman Walk on Sunshine at Queeny Park (550 Weidman Rd in Manchester) from 10 AM to 1 PM will be raising money for brain tumor research.

Also Sunday, there will be an LGBT Family Picnic from noon to 4 PM at the Kirkwood Park Scout Paviliion (West Adams and Geyer Road in Kirkwood).

Monday, June 7, Colin Beaven, author of No Impact Man, will be at the Schlafly Branch Library at 7 PM to discuss his book.
Also Sunday, you can do a wagon tour of the Shaw Nature Reserve at 1 PM.

Also Sunday, Mic the People at Off Broadway will be raising money for Play it Forward from 2 to 6 PM.

Also Sunday, and every Sunday, there will be a vigil for peace at the corner of Lindell and Grand at 7 PM.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ed Martin Really Angry that Russ Carnahan Cares about the Environment

Ed Martin let loose an angry rant last week about the fact that Russ Carnahan introduced the Global Conservation Act to Congress, a bill that creates a Global Conservation Coordinator position in the White House and asks agencies to come up with a plan to:
– Protect millions of square miles of land and sea,
– Address illegal and unregulated fishing around the world,
– Safeguard the natural sources of fresh water to several major population centers around the world,
– Stop the worst wildlife trafficking operations, and
– Stabilize environmental destruction trends in areas vulnerable to conflict and instability.
Here's what Ed Martin had to say:
He’s voted for bailouts, he’s voted for a failed stimulus, and now he’s pushing some absurd scheme that may save a giraffe in the Serengeti, but it won’t bring the Dodge Ram back to Fenton. At least Russ Carnahan’s Hollywood buddy Don Cheadle may send a fat campaign check.
Ed Martin's short-sightedness on this issue is astonishing. The decision to "come up with a plan" is hardly a major financial investment. More importantly, destroying the planets' natural resources is bad for the global (and hence the U.S.) economy in the long-term, so small steps like this will inevitably pay for themselves.

In fact, Congressman Carnahan has been doing great work on the environment lately. In addition to introducing the Global Conservation Act with a high-profile press conference with Don Cheadle and Jane Goodall, Congressman Carnahan was at a panel discussion a couple weeks ago about the need for the United States to invest in a more sustainable transportation infrastructure. You can read about the event at the Next Stop St. Louis Blog. I'm glad that St. Louis is represented by a Congressman who recognizes the environment as an important priority rather than a climate change denier like Ed Martin who thinks that Glenn Beck's opinion on the environment is more valuable than scientific consensus.

Ed Martin Graduates from Center for Citizen Journalists Who Don't Read Good

Apparently, Ed Martin is taking lessons from the St. Louis tea party on how to do the shameless hackery they call "citizen journalism." In one of the most ridiculous blog posts I've read in a while (and trust me, I read some bad ones), Ed Martin ranted about Mexican President Calderon's speech to Congress and asked, "Where was Russ Carnahan when Mexico's President Slapped America in Her Face?" Then, executing a move of "citizen journalism" so absurd that only Dana Loesch could have appreciated it, Martin presented the following picture:

Where to start with this one? First of all, only far right extremists could possibly think Calderon "slapped America in her face." He simply offered criticism of Arizona's law, and pointed out what many in America have said: the law allows racial profiling by allowing police to pull over people for suspicion of not carrying the appropriate papers. In fact, the law encourages such profiling because it allows people to sue police departments if they think they're not enforcing the law strongly enough. So Calderon criticizing a law that he disagrees with is hardly a "slap in the face."

But what really irks me is that ridiculous photo. Is Ed Martin serious? Posting a blurry photo and then saying, "Is that Carnahan?" Martin must have just felt like ranting and then came up with the most pathetic attempt ever at trying to link his rant back to Carnahan. I think even Glenn Beck has higher standards of journalism than that.

All of which leads me to a very important question:

Just asking questions, folks. Ed Martin and I: we're just asking questions.

DADT: Ed Martin says 80% of Americans are "Out of Touch"

According to a recent CNN poll, 80% of Americans are in favor of allowing openly gay people to serve in the military. In fact, 6 out of 10 Republicans support the change. Yet former Matt Blunt Chief of Staff Ed Martin recently wrote that Congressman Russ Carnahan is "out of touch with the people of the third district," because Carnahan voted to end the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy that prohibits gay and bisexual people from openly serving in the military.

Martin ironically ends with the following quote:
The people of Missouri’s 3rd district need a leader – someone who will put their priorities at the top of the list and not the agenda of Washington insiders.
Ummm, actually Ed, given that 80% of the population supports changing this discrimnatory law, you are the one who's out of touch.

Arizona "Buycott" Event Appears to Be A Huge Failure

You know when St. Louis tea party co-founder Bill Hennessy writes a post claiming that some Tea Party event was a "huge success" without providing any evidence whatsoever, there's a good reason to take a closer look. Local non-elected Tea Party leaders John and Gina Loudon played an early role in promoting the "Stand With Arizona" rally in Tempe, a rally designed to offer monetary support to Arizona to reward them for their new racial profiling law. Hennessy wrote a post congratulating the Loudons for the rally, but the only video he provided was a promo for the rally rather than any footage or photos from the event. So I investigated a little, and sure enough the rally fell far short of expectations.

Rally organizers said multiple times that they expected 20,000 people to attend the rally and were confident that "at least 10,000" would be there. In fact, news estimates of the number of people who actually showed up ranged from "a couple thousand" to "close to 5,000" people. In other words, they got at best 1/4 of what they were expecting and maybe even far worse.

You can see a several pictures of massive numbers of empty seats from the blog "bullet people:"

In fact, this screen shot from a news report was taken 30 minutes after the rally was scheduled to start, and you can see huge numbers of empty sections in the stadium:

Meanwhile, a rally and march opposing the new Arizona law attracted 10,000 to 20,000 or over 30,000 people, depending on the estimates. One white supremacist counter-protester with a loaded shotgun was spotted at the rally, but kept separate from the marchers.

Recall that Gina Loudon was able to get a lot of media attention after greatly exaggerating her "Wholefoods Buycott" last year without ever having to present any evidence of the amount of money actually raised. She and husband John Loudon also played a central role in the anti-Prop A campaign that somehow only managed to get 37% of residents in the county to vote against a sales tax! It will be interesting to see if the local media further embarrases themselves by presenting this event as a huge success.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Milestone

After several months of hard work and research, this blog has reached a new milestone: I have now been implicated in one of the tea party's Massive Government Conspiracy Theories. Here's what Bill Hennessy wrote yesterday:
Dana Loesch and 24th State have revealed the ring of corruption that extends from St. Louis bloggers and local St. Louis leftist rag, through SEIU, to Media Matters and Huffington Post.
Hennessy's quote is referring to all of the groups and organizations he thinks are involved in a giant "cover-up," regarding the Gladney incident on August 6. If you want a full refresher on the event click here, but I can also provide a short summary: the tea party originally claimed that there was video showing that SEIU "thugs" had beaten up merchandise seller Kenneth Gladney. After it became obvious that there in fact was no video evidence of the "beating" they claimed happened, they then shifted their story. Now they say they have secret evidence that proves that Gladney was beaten. They won't show it to you, but if you don't believe them you're racist.

Because Media Matters is one of those strange organizations that actually requires evidence before they blindly accept tea party stories, and because SEIU has donated money to Media Matters, they are therefore involved in a Massive Conspiracy according to Loesch and Hennessy. And because someone who has written blog posts for the Huffington Post was at a rally for McCowan, they are part of the Massive Conspiracy as well. In fact, the full tea party conspiracy theory about this event involves everyone from President Obama to the local dogcatcher (literally), and is so complicated it could only truly be understood with a Glenn Beck chalkboard session. But never before had I been implicated in it! Since I'm the only "St. Louis blogger" who's even been writing about this issue, Bill Hennessy now clearly thinks that I am part of this massive conspiracy. He must have read my tweet from two days ago:

Sadly, being the weak-kneed leftist that the tea party all suspected, naturally I also broke down and ratted out my fellow conspirators:

What's especially awesome is that even after I mocked the tea party's conspiracy theories, Hennessy was still courageous enough to further expand the people implicated in them. I think that the number of people involved in this secret coverup now equals at least 51% of the population. Anyway, great to finally get my acknowledgment as a cog in the massive conspiracy.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

St. Louis Blog Posts for Progressives - May 27

In an effort to better connect the St. Louis blogosphere and to familiarize people with it, I'm sharing some of my favorite posts from locals for today. Please check out the sites and feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments.

Environment/Animal Welfare:
Ripper McCord at Talking Points Memo suggests we bring in the expertise of NASA for the BP oil spill catastrophe.
Chad Garrison at the RFT reports on the failure of St Louis City to provide adequate facilities for their animal shelter.
Eric Vieth at Dangerous Intersections explains how to use and save electricity.
Tom Shout, who was involved with Citizens for Modern Transit for 22 years, is leaving as a champion after St. Louis at long last has stable funding for public transportation.
Charles Jaco speaks with Rick Outzen about the oil spill.

St. Louis City:
Robin Wright Jones discussed the McEagle project with Sal Martinez on her Monday radio show.
Matt is fired up about the City to River project to connect downtown to the river at STL Dotage and so is Alex at Urban STL.

Health Care:
Polls are showing that people's opinions about the health care reform bill that was passed are getting more positive. So naturally Roy Blunt is trying to say, "wait, wait, don't you see how oppressed you secretly are?!"

State Politics:
Chad Garrison at the RFT reports on the FAILure of the right-wing effort to mess with Missouri's court system(although he didn't put it that way). By the way, did I mention HAHAHAHA!
The St. Louis American discusses the St. Louis/Missouri dynamic in the appointment of a new head of the board of police commissioners.
Speaking of that awkward dynamic, the Tour of Missouri has been officially cancelled.
As reported in the Beacon, NARAL announced it's primary endorsements for MO races today.
For more Missouri political news, go to FiredUp Missouri's MO Headlines.

Miswestern Vegan discussed making Kale chips.
Gloria at Occasional Planet discusses how the federal government have changed their hiring processes.
Catch a podcast of Stephene Russell discussing her interview with local blogging standout Shark Fu.
Charles Jaco speaks with Chad Watson about the Wounded Warrior Program.
Patrick Powers offers 10 Tips on live tweeting an event.
In the Beacon, the Lewis and Clark tower gives bird's eye view of the Confluence.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Hardest Working Blogger in Show Business

Eric Boehlert at Media Matters wrote about the call from Big Government Editor Mike Walsh for all of their contributers to triumphantly write about the fact that James O'Keefe pled guilty to a misdemeanor.
From: Michael Walsh/Big Journalism
Sent: Wed, May 26, 2010
Subject: Pedal to the Metal Today re "Watergate, Jr."

Dear Contribs: we understand that, today, James O'Keefe will plead guilty to a misdemeanor in New Orleans, essentially to spitting on the sidewalk, and that will be the end of the Great Media Meme of "Watergate, Jr."

Today, Andrew Breitbart, Retracto and I would like to hammer the media for this one -- they simply couldn't control themselves, jumped to the most extreme conclusions, and widely predicted all sort of crazy things, including that Breitbart was behind the whole thing, that it was a break-in, etc. etc. Of course, none of this was true and now they have egg all over their faces.

Starting ASAP, I'm asking each of you to please contribute to a rolling series of posts taking the MSM to task, citing the lies, and charting the careers that have been broken over this, most spectacularly David Shuster's at MSNBC (you will recall Shuster's memorable shouting match with AB live from Nola just after the arrests). No waiting -- get it to me and I'll post it up on the site as quickly as possible.
It seems a little strange that James O'Keefe would plead guilty in a case that Big Government contributer Dana Loesch called a "witch hunt," but that of course didn't stop Loesch from dilligently following her orders from the boss. And oh what an effort she put in. Loesch wrote a whole three sentences about the matter in order to earn her Big Government credentials. She even made sure to use the "Watergate Jr." meme that Walsh spoon fed the contributers.

If only everyone could have it so easy.

St. Louis Blog Posts for Progressives - May 26

St. Louis locals are writing about the environment, health care, peace, lgbt issues, St. Louis city pride, law and order, and a host of other interesting issues! It's time to check out the awesomeness of the St. Louis blogsophere. Here are a few of my favorites from today. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

Shark Fu at Angry Black Bitch weighs in on the FUBARness of the BP disaster.
Jo Mannies at the Beacon discusses how the BP Oil disaster is being discussed in the U.S. Senate race.
Eric at Dangerous Intersections discusses the problems with consumerism.
Tom Barker at the Post-Dispatch reports that local campuses are going green.

Health Care Reform:
Hotflash at Show Me Progress describes an incident where the insurance companies were hemming and hawing when asked tough questions. This includes the revelation that insurance companies gave employees time off to attend tea party events last year.
As FiredUp reports, the Columbia Tribune says that the healthcare vote in August is a "Waste of Time and Energy." Don't tell Jim Durbin!

St. Louis:
Alex Ihnen of UrbanSTL wrote a City Profile of St. Louis for the Urbanophile blog. Pretty cool!
Chad Garrison at the RFT writes about Bill Streeter's upcoming documentary about how the use of bricks has influenced St. Louis architecture.
Rick at STL Rising comes up with a pretty awesome method of measuring part of the impact of getting rid of I-70 in downtown St. Louis to better connect the downtown and river.

Nicholas Phillips at the RFT reports on a same-sex couple smooch-in at the City Garden as part of Harvey Milk Week. Bonus points for using the term "lamestream media."
Luella right here on the Activist Hub blog wrote about the role of agitation in activism for the 2nd installment of her series on Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Andy at the Peace Economy Project discusses the issues with using a defense bill full of wasteful spending to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell.

State politics:
Sounds like the right-wing efforts to tamper with Missouri's nonpartisan court system have embarrassingly failed despite the massive amount of money they blew on the effort. Bwahahaha! Given some of the people who were involved, I can't say I'm surprised.
The Beacon reports that awesome State Senator Joan Bray has endorsed Barbara Fraser for her senate seat.
FiredUp issues a call for comment from all the people who talked about how sweet James O'Keefe was now that he's pled guilty to federal charges.James O'Keefe is worshiped as the future of all journalism by the St. Louis Tea Party.
Sean at FiredUp also calls out Peter Kinder on some of his deliberate misinformation.
Don't forget you can find all the MO Headlines about statewide politics you need at FiredUp's new MO Headlines site.

Law and Order
The RFT writes about Alderperson Shane Cohn's role in the proposal to decriminalize marijuana in St. Louis.

From the Beacon, Despite its own problems, Jennings church keeps on feeding the hungry.
Tim Barker at the Post-Dispatch reports that Downtown Information Technology business is growing.
Arthur Lieber at Occasional Planet discusses Steve Nash's gutsy performance of playing with one eye swollen shut.
Bill Streeter analyzes the films of the Maysles Brothers.

A Conversation with Dan Choi, Part 2: Agitation

If you’ve been following the news this week, you’ve heard that the U.S. military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy is now on the path to repeal. But yesterday, GetEQUAL cofounder Kip Williams was arrested for disturbing the peace after interrupting President Obama's speech at a political fundraiser event. Williams had interrupted the President to ask him to move faster on repealing DADT. The President seemed irked by the activist, as if he didn’t understand what else this malcontent expected him to do: “[M]aybe he didn't read the newspapers, because we are working with Congress as we speak to roll back Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” Obama said.

Why are DADT repeal activists still unhappy with President Obama if he is, in fact, moving forward to repeal DADT?

Because the proposed plan is a "compromise" that allows the military to continue discharging out gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers while the Pentagon conducts an expensive study to determine how to implement the repeal.

In fact, the repeal bill up for a vote in Congress—an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill—establishes no date for the end of the discriminatory policy, and the repeal is contingent upon a number of conditions being satisfied after the study is completed. GetEQUAL is currently circulating a video of Lt. Choi asking the important question, "When?" attached to a petition to the White House “to enact repeal this year and to issue an Executive Order to end military discharges immediately.” Choi writes in an open letter published today in Newsweek:

My question for the president that I ask in this video is simple: under your compromise, when will the discharges end? How long can we ask gay service members to live a lie? How long can we deny existence to their families? How long do we need to study the injustice in order to understand that discrimination is un-American?

In Part 1 of our interview on March 28, Lt. Choi spoke extensively about sacrifice. In Part 2 of the interview, he continues along that theme, and explains the necessity of agitation in social justice movements, as well as the importance of repealing DADT even if one opposes war and the military in general.

More from Lt. Choi after the jump.

But who will edit the Editor?

Tea partier Jim Durbin likes to call himself "The Editor" with a capital E on his blog 24th state. Check out the melodramatic signoff on this post:
I am simply, the Editor.
But what happens when there's no one to fact check the editor? Well, you get posts like this one from yesterday, where he presented completely false information:
Here's the official summary.
Upon voter approval, this proposed constitutional amendment prohibits any person, employer, or health care provider from being compelled to participate in any health care system...
The problem for Durbin is that in fact the Missouri General Assembly did not decide to let people vote on a constitutional amendment: instead, the vote will be about the adoption of a new state statute. And this renders it completely useless for changing the law. Dave Roland at Show-Me Daily explains:
the text that might have been legally useful as a constitutional amendment will have zero legal effect as a statute... Thus, even if HB 1764 had purported to establish a fundamental right or liberty, courts would have been unlikely to take them seriously. It just so happens that HB 1764 does not even make such an effort, further diminishing any legal usefulness it otherwise might have had.
In other words, Durbin is presenting this as if it has a chance to actually alter the law, when in fact it doesn't.

Now, I suppose it's possible that Durbin already knows this and is just withholding information to keep his readers uninformed so they will continue to be motivated to vote. After all, in the Kenneth Gladney case, he admitted that he put out false information last year and knew it was false but did not issue a correction because he didn't want SEIU to have the info. He also suggested with Bob McCarty's completely misleading video last year that McCarty wait to "release the whole video." Given that Durbin is happy to withhold information and in fact is even willing to put out false information in order to try to "get" his opposition (which hasn't worked so far), it wouldn't be that much of a shock to find out that he's also willing to put out false information to try to trick people into voting for something that has no real chance of success.

Either way, it's the kind of misinformation a real editor wouldn't stand for.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

St. Louis Blog Posts for Progressives - May 25

Some stories from local bloggers that I found interesting today. Please feel free to add your own in the comments.

The Economy:
Eric at Dangerous Intersections tells Obama to Finish the Job on financial reform.
There was an important Op-Ed in the Post-Dispatch about the consequences of passing billionaire Rex's earnings tax ban.
Madonna at Occasional Planet puts in a pitch for the U.S. Social Forum, a gathering of activists from around the country, in Detroit.
KWMU reports on a group of Democratic politicians proposing cuts for the Illinois budget.

St. Louis Built Environment/City Pride
Michael Allen at Ecology of Absence is looking for some stolen Interior Pediments.
Steve at Urban Review STL discusses how Annie Malone helped shape St. Louis.
Paul at Vanishing STL weighs in on the demolition of the St. Louis Centre Sky Bridge.
Adam at Searching for Sustainability discusses the revival of the American City.
Courtney at Next Stop STL reports that Metro's Tracy Beidleman "received the first-ever Award of Excellence for Outstanding Customer Service and Financial Oversight of FTA Projects in St. Louis presented by Region VII of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)."
Tim Logan at Building Blocks reports the latest in the Kiel Opera House renovation.

Vital Voice announces an LGBT Benefit Concert at the MCC in October.

Ryan at the Political Buzz Examiner looks at what a war with North Korea would entail.

Statewide stories:
FiredUp reports on Peter Kinder changing his "I hate healthcare" lawsuit...again.
Sean at FiredUp also reported on Chuck Purgason correctly describing Roy Blunt as a typical D.C. Republican insider. Someone should tell the St. Louis Tea Party. Oh wait, they already know that: that's why they like him so much!
Hotflash at Show Me Progress continues her series on the broken public defender system in Missouri.
Get a full daily dose of Missouri political headlines from FiredUp Missouri's new MO Headlines Project.

Heather at Our Next Chapters talks about her computer addiction.
Craig Mayhem mentions his new site design.
The Post-Dispatch is shaking up their political reporting team a little.
Lois at the Curious Kitchen decides that she could live happily in Edwardsville after an especially good meal.
Shark Fu at Angry Black Bitch is pretty excited about hockey.
Justin Chick takes on the classic debate: Star Wars vs Lord of the Rings.
Cutbacks at the Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center.

Monday, May 24, 2010

THIS is Why the Tea Party is Dangerous

No, not because they're about to march down the street with torches and pitchforks.

No, not because they represent a large portion of the voting public.

No, not because they're all racists or they're all this or all that.

The St. Louis Tea Party is dangerous because their leadership is willing to lie, smear, attack, distort, persecute, and destroy people in order to get their way. And not only that, but our ridiculously under-informed St. Louis media is happy to help them do it.

The St. Louis Tea Party has been freaking out lately alleging that a teacher at Francis Howell High School was "indoctrinating" her students by asking them to watch Michael Moore's movie "Sicko" as part of their literature class and had previously called a conservative student a "teabagger." The story originated on Bob McCarty's blog, who highlighted the fact that the incident could "lead to termination" of the teacher and then spread to Dana Loesch's radio show, Andrew Breitbart's Big Government, KMOX's Mark Reardon, and finally was mindlessly passed along by KSDK.

Some background on Bob McCarty, which will be relevant. McCarty was the originator of the video back in November that claimed that "union thugs" had attacked a "patriot" at the weekly K & N rally in St. Charles County. The story spread across the St. Louis Tea Party blogosphere. But in fact it turned out that this "patriot" had actually grabbed a female union member by the throat and thrown her to the ground and was arrested on the site. In other words, McCarty's video was a clear distortion of the truth that attempted to cover up violence from a tea partier and then blame it on unions. Furthermore, McCarty appears to openly entertain the absurd conspiracy theory that the Oklahoma City bombings were actually orchestrated by an Iraqi. Here's the quote McCary highlighted for his story:
there is absolutely no question that those tapes existed and, if those tapes ever came forward, they would show conclusively that there was an Iraqi connection to the bombing."
So yeah, that's the guy who started this whole story and was given a platform to share it on Big Government and in the local media. And it will come as no surprise whatsoever that the story is ultimately a complete fabrication.

First of all, none of the tea party reports mentioned that this particular assignment was specifically for the purpose of evaluating how Michael Moore was trying to persuade the audience. The assignment was to evaluate the ethos, logos, and pathos in the movie. In other words, the assignment was designed to get the students to think critically about how movies can attempt to persuade them, which is the exact opposite of trying to push a particular point of view. If you are analyzing how someone is using techniques to try to make you believe something, you're less likely to be susceptible to those techniques. But the tea party instead only said that the movie was being shown as part of a "great literature class," implying that the teacher was conveying the message that this was a work equivalent to "a great piece of literature."

Second, the video McCarty used of his interview was intensely edited. He cut scenes multiple times just to get the basic premise out, and in fact used four different edited cuts of the student talking in order to create his narrative. This is very similar to the video McCarty used to claim that "union thugs" had attacked back in October, where he used frequent cuts and clips to create a completely false story. I would not be surprised at all if the student actually told a much more nuanced story to McCarty and he edited it to suit his agenda.

Finally, and most importantly, the claim the the student was called "a teabagger" appears to be completely false. As was reported by students from the class on the Team Blessman facebook site set up to defend the teacher:
But a classroom full of students were able to tell the principle that [the student] wasn't called a teabagger and simply twisted the situation. So to the school board, I'm pretty positive that about 20 kids saying what happened is going to overpower [the student's] little fairytale.
This was confirmed by multiple students from the class.

In other words, this whole controversy, which the tea party used to suggest that a beloved teacher should be FIRED, was completely manufactured. The teacher did not call the student a "teabagger." She showed the movie Sicko in order to get students to think critically about how the movie tried to use rhetoric to persuade them, not to convince them that there's something wrong with the American health care system. The tea party was willing to go out of their way to DESTROY a person's life in order to further perpetuate their conservative victimhood complex and to intimidate other people from being able to even discuss liberal ideas or works of art in classrooms.

None of the tea party people knew the teacher Mrs. Blessman. But they assumed she was a liberal and so they were happy to try to destroy her. In fact, they ultimately probably didn't even care that much if she was really a liberal because they are willing to do anything to perpetuate the story that conservatives are being discriminated against. They do this to make people sympathetic to their cause. They do this to provide cover for their own nasty behavior. And in many cases they do this to promote their own careers.

And ultimately, not only do they not care at all about destroying the teacher's life, they really don't even care about the student. Don't believe me? Check out these updates from McCarty's blog:
*EDITOR’S NOTE: Those who have accused [the student] of trying to milk this issue for media attention could not be more wrong. When it came to the story I published May 17, I contacted her; she didn’t contact me. Furthermore, I know for a fact she has turned down numerous media requests, including an appearance tomorrow night on Fox News Channel’s Hannity, an interview over the weekend with CNN and an interview with Mark Reardon on St Louis’ KMOX radio this afternoon. How do I know? Because many of those requests were made through me by representatives of the media outlets who had read my article about [the student].
And later:
At the [family's] request, this is the last post I’ll be publishing about the issues at Howell High School related to the “Sicko” assignment, etc.
In other words, McCarty and the tea party were the ones pushing this story, even when the student wasn't interested in pushing it.

One final thought: it's not surprising at all that McCarty and Loesch would spread this misinformation; after all, that's what their careers are based on. However, it's absolutely pathetic that KSDK would pass on this story with no fact-checking or critical thinking or knowing anything about McCarty. KSDK participated in an attempt to destroy a local high school teacher's reputation. There is no excuse for that.

So in the end the reason the tea party is dangerous is that even as a relatively small part of the population they're able to terrorize teachers and whoever else stands in their way if they perceive those people as not sufficiently conservative. And they know how to use their connections in the local lazy media to perpetuate stories no matter how absurd or how disgraceful. Imagine what it would be like if the tea partiers actually were in control of some part of the government. What kind of witch hunts would they go on? How would they react to people who don't share their extreme ideology? They already justify everything they do now by pretending "well, that's what the liberals do." So given that they think that evil liberals are constantly victimizing them, is there any doubt that they would be willing to use their power to persecute those they disagree with?

St. Louis News from the the Net - May 24

In an effort to get people more familiar with the St. Louis blogosphere, here are a few stories from today that I thought were interesting. Please feel free to add you own in the comments.

Good Government:
Gloria at Occasional Planet interviews Mount Holyoke Professor Douglas Amy, who explains why Government is Good.
Hotflash at Show Me Progress describes the massively underfunded public defender system in Missouri.

Eric Vieth at Dangerous Intersection discusses the idea of collective intelligence.

St. Louis Pride/Urban Planning:
St. Louis/Elsewhere discusses how St. Louis can do a better job replicating Austin's amazing South by Southwest festival by combining multiple events.
At Urban Review STL, Steve Patterson discusses the US Bank parking garage eyesore.
From yesterday, Tim O'Neil at the Post-Dispatch has a story about the Hodiamont Line streetcar line that closed after 107 years of service.
Tim Logan at the Post-Dispatch continued his series on "Can St. Louis Compete" with a discussion of risk-aversion in small-businesses.
Mr. Logan also had a blog post about the HUD secretary keeping an eye on the Northside Project.
Chris at St. Louis Patina weighs in with his documentation of the demolition of the St. Louis Centre Sky Bridge.
Rick at STL Rising suggests that we should also demolish the Interstate 70 overpass in order to better connect the downtown to the river and archgrounds.
Speaking of the archgrounds, Courtney at NextStop STL describes how a new pedestrian walkway will make it easier to get to the arch.

Environment/Animal Welfare:
On the Daily RFT, Chad Garrison reports on a new bill that (finally) places some restrictions on the owners of exotic pets in Missouri.
The KWMU site has a story about St. Louis hosting an international group of biotech companies.
Adam at Searching for Sustainability has his second post on the theme The Gulf Spill and a Climate Bill.
Eric at Dangerous Intersections questions why we are trusting BP to clean up the oil spill.
The Post-Dispatch Political Fix reports on Senator Durbin of Illinois returning from viewing the disaster.
Charles Jaco interviews Jim Ryan about the spill.
And Jo Mannies at the Beacon reports that Governor Nixon is sending Missouri National Guard helicopters to help with the oil cleanup effort.

The Vital Voice Reports: Military Leaders Tell Congress Time Has Come To Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

And, if you'd like headlines about politics in the State of Missouri like this, you should check out the new service being offered by FiredUp Missouri.

Ruh Roh! Did Ed Martin's Favorite Sheriff Misuse 50 MILLION Dollars?

KHPO reports:
CBS 5 obtained some new information about how much money the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe may have misused.

Arpaio's attorneys said the board has a vendetta against the sheriff, but if the information in the in court documents is true, $50 million could have been misused.
Remember how former Matt Blunt Chief of Staff and current congressional candidate Ed Martin was bragging about getting Arpaio's endorsement just a few weeks ago? The story continues:
According to those documents, MCSO's Chief Financial Officer, Loretta Barkell, provided information showing nearly $500,000 of misspending in just a two-week period.

That money, according to court records, came mostly from voter-created and restricted funds.

If that's true, the board said it doesn't see any reason that would be the first time funds were misused.

It said one of Arpaio's lawyers suggested the misspending started in 2006.
I think I'm finally beginning to see why Ed Martin was so excited about the endorsement. Now he can tell people, "Hey folks, I told you that 2.4 million dollars in hard-working taxpayer's money that I wasted by improperly firing a whistleblower wasn't really a big deal! My friends blow money like that all the time!"

h/t to Julie Gulden at Daily Kos.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

St. Louis Activist Events for May 24-31

This week's events:

Monday, May 24, there will be a panel discussion of converting algae to biofuel at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center from 9:30 AM to 11 AM.

Also Monday, as part of Elder Americans Month, there will be a free screening of An Age For Justice, about the abuse, neglect, or abandonment some elders have experienced, followed by an expert panel. The event is from 6 to 8 PM at Tower Grove Manor (2710 S. Grand).

Also Monday, there will be a Pride St. Louis community meet-up at 7 PM at Just Johns (4112 Manchester Ave).

Also Monday, there will be a planning meeting for the World Nake Bike Ride at 7 PM at Mokabes (Grand and Arsenal).

Tuesday, May 25, the Stray Rescue Volunteer Monthly Happy Hour will be from 4 to 8 PM at the Bleeding Deacon (4123 Chipewa).

Also Tuesday, State Auditor Susan Montee will be in town for a reception for Vicki Englund's re-election bid from 6 to 8 PM at the Genesis Banquet Center (2651 Telegraph).

Also Tuesday, Amnesty International of St. Louis City will have their monthly letter writing meeting at 7 PM at Hartford Coffee Company (3974 Hartford).

Wednesday, May 26, there will be a meeting for volunteers interested in helping out at the weekend book sale for the Second Chapter Life Center this weekend. The meeting will be from 7 to 8:30 at the First Congregational Church of Webster Groves (10 W. Lockwood Ave).

Also Wednesday, check out the "Beep Beep Bling Bling" fundraiser for the Community Arts and Media Project from 9 to 11 PM at 3026 Cherokee with Kate from KDHX.

Thursday, May 27, the Young Nonprofit Professional Netowork Happy Hour will be at Nellie Glenns (6109 Gravois) from 5:30 to 8 PM.

Also Thursday, the Bonhomme Township Democratic Club will be having a State Senate (District 24) Candidate Forum with Barbara Fraser and Sam Page at 7 PM at 111 S. Geyer Rd in Kirkwood. Please RSVP to Jean at 984-9580.

Also Thursday, the movie Unnatural Causes: In Sickness and in Wealth showing at the MO History Museum (Lindell and De Baliviere) at 7 PM explores the relation between health and class and racial inequalities.

Also Thursday, the movie Precious is showing at the Webster Film Series (470 E. Lockwood) from 7:30 to 9:30 PM.

Friday through Monday is the African Arts Festival in Forest Park. Get the full schedule and details here.

Saturday through Monday, there will be a fundraiser and book signing to benefit the Second Life Chapter Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for individuals with special needs and their families, at the Book House (9719 Manchester). The author of Wendy on Wheels, Angela Ruzicka, will be there signing books on Saturday from noon to 3 PM, and the hours are Saturday 10:30 AM to 7 PM, Sunday noon to 6 PM, and Monday 10:30 to 7 PM.

Sunday, May 30, and every Sunday, there's a vigil for peace at the corner of Grand and Lindell at 7 PM.

Next Monday, May 31, St. Louis Symphony Orchistra will be holding the 38th annual Gypsy Caravan flea market supporting the SLSO. The event will be held at University of Missouri St. Louis near the UMSL North Metrolink Station inside Lot E. The event is from 7 am to 5 pm, rain or shine. Admission is $20 from 7 am to 9 am, $5 from 9 am to 5 pm. For more info go to
May 23, 2010 7:46 PM (via Bushido Hacks in the comments)

Also next Monday (May 31st), there will be a super-fun evening with the group: "Think Outside the Bomb." Through Music, poetry, puppetry, and other savvy manners of pursuaision and edification, a group of young people, who have been traveling across the country, will join St Louis to help educate us about an expanding US Nuclear Weapons complex and remind us why we should all care and what we can do about it! This fun event will be at Black Bear Bakery, 2639 Cherokee St.
(via Andy in the comments)

Bill Hennessy Says Going to Private Homes is "Terrorism," Forgetting That He Carried Coffin to Carnahan's House Two Months Ago

Bill Hennessy suggested yesterday on his blog that SEIU going to the private residences of bankers was "terrorism." SEIU had rallied outside of the home of Bank of America's Deputy Counsel Gregory Bauer to protest the bank's predatory lending policies that caused the financial meltdown in 2008 and BOA's current policies that are forcing thousands to lose their homes. Hennessy suggested that this was terrorism "as defined by the U.S. Patriot Act."

But apparently Hennessy assumes that the people who read his blog have the memory of goldfish, because a little more than two months ago he and other members of the St. Louis tea party carried a mock coffin to the personal residence of Congressman Russ Carnahan. In fact, the St. Louis tea party did this a day after they were kicking, punching, screaming at, and ultimately burning a photo of Congressman Carnahan, a day after Hennessy was openly calling for "revolt" on his Twitter account, a day after Jim Gateway Pundit Hoft wrote a blog post titled, "Hundreds Rally as Russ Carnahan is Booted and Torched," and the same week Hennessy was claiming that citizens no longer had any moral obligations to their government. Representative Carnahan was in D.C. at the time of the protest, and as far as I know Rep. Carnahan's family wasn't in the home at the time. But imagine if they were and they looked out the window to see a bunch of weirdos standing outside with candles and a coffin. Seems like a pretty clear attempt to intimidate to me, especially in light of the context of the tea party's rhetoric the previous week.

Of course, Hennessy's post also assumes that his readers are incapable of doing their own research. The reality is that a neccessary part of the legal definition of "domestic terrorism" is that it, "involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State." So pretty obviously neither the tea party's actions nor SEIU's are even remotely close to being defined as terrorism, despite what lazy researcher Hennessy had to say (I mean, seriously, quoting a random comment on Big Government as evidence? Wow!).

So Hennessy's post is clearly false and hypocritical. But of course folks like Dana Loesch have been claiming that this incident shows that "the left" who criticized the tea party coffin incident are hypocritical if they aren't speaking out against the SEIU action. I was definitely very critical of the tea party's coffin incident, although unlike Hennessy I criticized it on moral grounds rather than inventing a false claim that it was "domestic terrorism."

Unlike the tea party, I'm not going to pretend that this is a black and white issue. I'd guess that the way I feel about protesting at people's personal residences is the same way that most people feel about it. Namely, I have a very strong presumption that doing so is wrong in almost every situation, but I can at least imagine hypothetical situations in which it might be appropriate. For example, if we somehow knew that protesting at a certain person's home was the only way to prevent some policy that caused millions of people to suffer needlessly, then I'd probably support the action in that case (don't ask me how we would ever know such a thing: I'm just assuming it for the sake of argument).

It seems pretty clear to me that neither SEIU nor the tea party comes close to meeting the criteria for justifying their actions. The tea party certainly can't claim that going to Rep. Carnahan's home was the only way to make their point. They had just gotten media coverage at Carnahan's office, so traveling to his home was intended to send an additional message to Carnahan and his family: we know where you live. In fact, these self-proclaimed "champions of liberty" hadn't even bothered to try the Democratic process yet: they hadn't run an official tea party campaign against Carnahan until this year's run by Ed Martin. So they have no excuse for escalating to that level.

I also don't think SEIU should have gone to bankers' personal residences. I suppose they could argue that the democratic process is too poisoned by big money donations to enact the necessary changes, and so they had to try other means. However, it's not clear at all to me why they would need to go to personal residences. In fact, it seems to me, based on some of the actions at the People's Settlement, that companies are very uncomfortable with protests at their office locations. So why not continue to protest at Bank of America offices rather than going to someone's house?

So anyway, all of that is just to say that going to people's personal residences seems to me a very bad idea, especially if you just spent the previous days calling for "revolt" and attacking effigies of the person whose home you were visiting. If the St. Louis Tea Party leadership wants to even pretend that they have a shred of intellectual consistency, they should admit that taking the coffin to Carnahan's home was wrong. Oh, and Bill Hennessy should try actually reading the law rather than citing random comments he finds on the internet.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Conversation with Dan Choi, Part 1: Sacrifice

On March 28, 2010, I had the pleasure and honor of interviewing Lt. Dan Choi via telephone. Lt. Choi is a a fluent Arabic linguist, a West Point graduate, and an Iraq war veteran. He is also a vocal activist for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the 1993 U.S. law signed by then-President Clinton, which forces gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members to remain closeted or face discharge from the military. Promises have been made regarding the law's repeal, but given the current political climate, its status remains uncertain.

More than 13,500 service members have been discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell since 1994, including almost 800 mission-critical troops in the last five years, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Choi’s discharge is still pending after he came out publicly on The Rachel Maddow Show in 2009. He resumed military drills with his unit in early February of this year.

Choi was arrested on March 18 for handcuffing himself to the White House fence, along with Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, in protest of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He was arrested there again on April 20, along with five other service members in uniform who also chained themselves to the fence. Lt. Choi refuses to be silenced, and continues to speak out against the injustice of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

In Part 1 of this interview, Choi emphasizes the importance and urgency of sacrifice in the struggle for LGBT equality, and the value that everyone has to contribute to the movement:

For a long time, we’ve been fighting and struggling to gain equality. Yes?

Well, for 40 years since Stonewall. People have been doing their part and paving the way.

Why do you think that sacrifice is so important in the struggle to gain full equality for LGBTQ Americans? Why are you calling for sacrifice now, when so many of us have had to make sacrifices just in order to make ends meet? As a military man, you are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary. What would you say to someone who tells you that they can't afford to make any more sacrifices—or who hesitates to participate in civil disobedience, for fear of losing their job, their healthcare, their freedom, or even their life?

This issue, at its core, is about what America is, and when we talk about people who are losing their jobs, and when we talk about people who are going through difficult times, we have to remember that all people—who include the LGBT population—are significantly affected.

You bring up the economic situation. By the economic situation, we are significantly affected. And right now, as we don’t have the necessary protections for employment; and we don’t have, in the military, protections for expressing the truth; and we get fired for expressing the truth, even though we want to serve our country—we are all affected by that. Right now, because this is an issue about the core of what America stands for—the foundations of what America is—gay people, as well as straight people, are waking up to the necessity, and the urgency. I’m not creating this urgency. This urgency has existed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ed Martin's Favorite Sheriff Sends Threatening Letters

A week ago, Republican Congressional Candidate Ed Martin bragged about being endorsed by Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Given Arpaio's track record of abuse of power, posing for pictures with white supremacists, and keeping prisoners in deplorable conditions, Martin was harshly criticized in a number of blogs for touting this endorsement, including FiredUp Missouri and Show Me Progress.

Congressman Russ Carnahan's campaign manager Angela Barranco had especially biting criticism of Martin's decision:
“Ed Martin and Joe Arpaio have lots of things in common — like costing taxpayers millions in lawsuits for misconduct on the job or trying hide public records,” Carnahan campaign manager Angela Barranco said. “No wonder Ed Martin had to go all the way to Arizona to find someone who would endorse him.”
Arpaio seems to be living up to this description. The Arizona Republic reported today that the Sheriff sent out threatening letters to attorneys in the Maricopa County Attorney's office warning them to, "watch their words if they speak to investigators looking into possible unethical conduct by former County Attorney Andrew Thomas."

The text from Arpaio:
“This letter is intended to advise you that I do not consent to you revealing any information provided to you by my office, regardless of any personal incentive to breach the attorney-client privilege… Be advised that should you disclose any information that could harm any pending criminal investigations, I will consider charging you with violations of applicable statutes.”

To which one of the attorney's responded:
“This threat is not only inappropriate but is a clear abuse of your authority as sheriff of Maricopa County. Thereby, I shall be forwarding your letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
In line with Barranco's comment, this does seem somewhat similar to the Scott Eckersley scandal Ed Martin engineered. Eckersley raised concerns about the Governor's office's failure to comply with state Sunshine laws. In response, Ed Martin and Matt Blunt had Eckersley fired and attempted to smear him in the media. This resulted in the State of Missouri spending $2.4 million dollars in eventually losing a lawsuit to Eckersley over the wrongful termination.

With endorsers like these, who needs detractors?

h/t to Mother Mags' Recommended Diary at Daily Kos.

National Academy of Sciences: Urgent Action is Needed on Climate Change

The reports stress an even greater urgency than was expressed by the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Five more years of research convinced the scientists that things are even worse than was believed. The National Research Council recommends that the U.S. cut its carbon emissions by up to 80%, from 2012 to 2050. Of course, NASA just separately reported the hottest April, the hottest January through April, and the hottest 12 months on record.
Read all about it at Daily Kos.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Delusions of Grandeur

Sigh. I probably shouldn't be spending time on this, but classes just got out, so what the heck? Jim Durbin, the guy who claimed that he single-handedly defeated the public option is back again trying to convince the world how brilliant he is. His latest claim is that by putting out false information and withholding a correction for several months, he somehow lured "liberals" into "admitting" that Kenneth Gladney was injured.

First of all, I'd just like to remind people that Durbin was claiming back in January that there was a massive government conspiracy that led to Kenneth Gladney's brother being fired by the local animal control department. Durbin uncharacteristically actually backed off that conspiracy theory after he realized how ridiculous it was, but it's hardly his only one. Anyway, back to the matter at hand, how exactly does Durbin think he "tricked" liberals into admitting Gladney was injured?

He never really makes this claim clear, just like Dana Loesch never explained the title of her post, "Are Liberal Bloggers Finally Admitting that Gladney was Beaten?" I guess the logic is supposed to be that if you acknowledge that medical records exist, that is equivalent to agreeing that Gladey was injured and/or beaten. But that doesn't follow: everyone agreed that Gladney decided to go to the hospital after the incident, so of course he would have medical records. So everyone can acknowledge the obvious fact that there are medical records without making any claims about the extent of his injuries. The interesting question is "to what extent was Kenneth Gladney injured?" In particular, was he injured in a way that explains the fact that he was running around immediately after the injury but then showed up in a wheelchair two days later?

Now I can already imagine Durbin's response. He'll likely say, "this proves that Adam doesn't have access to primary sources that I do and therefore his story about what happened that night is FALSE!" But, as I explained on multiple occasions, I actually don't have a story about what happened that night. All I've been doing is evaluating the evidence that's available. Here, once again, is a quote from my original post:
First, let me point out that I was out of town that week, and so couldn't be at the event. So I am not claiming to know what happened. In fact, I feel very similar to how I felt before the Iraq War: I didn't know that Saddam Hussein did not possess WMDs; I just knew that no one had provided me with any good evidence that he did. Likewise, right now I have yet to be provided with any good evidence that Gladney was the victim rather than the instigator (or co-instigator) of last Thursday's events.
I still feel that way. If Jim Durbin would like to present the evidence that he thinks is so convincing, he's welcome to do so. But so far the right-wing has failed to make a compelling case, so they don't have a good reason to be angry at the rest of the world for not jumping on to their bandwagon.

One last note, Durbin also recently wrote a post suggesting that Media Matters started writing about this case after a donation from SEIU in November. Unfortunately for Durbin, Media Matter actually started writing about this on August 8. Nice try though.

For background info, see "The Case Against the Tea Party/Kenneth Gladney Story"

Tea Party Rhetoric Turns on a Dime

Sean has an interesting post at FiredUp detailing how Republicans (and their surrogates in the St. Louis tea party) are talking in abstract terms about the "anti-incumbent" atmosphere without being willing to mention that Roy Blunt fits the incumbent/ D.C. establishment profile perfectly. This fits well with what I and former members of the St. Louis tea party have been saying: the St. Louis tea party leadership is not advocating for some new government that is fundamentally different than the Bush administration; rather, they are simply trying to put the same old Republicans like Roy Blunt and former Matt Blunt Chief of Staff Ed Martin back in power, while gaining some personal influence along the way.

But I also want to explore in a little more detail just how quickly Bill Hennessy's rhetoric flipped immediately after yesterday's election in a blatant attempt to put a positive spin on an unquestionable disappointment for the Republican Party (and hence the St. Louis tea party). Before the election, Hennessy was talking only about one race: the PA-12 swing district (with Republican candidate Tim Burns). Here are some of his tweets about that:

There's more from Twitter, but you get the idea. Hennessy also blogged about Burns:

But after the election, Hennessy shifted his focus immediately, barely mentioning Burns, all of a sudden talking about Rand Paul (whom he wasn't talking about beforehand), and claiming that this demonstrated an "anti-incumbent atmosphere." The shift can probably be seen most dramatically in two tweets about 10 hours apart. In the morning of election day, Hennessy said:

Apparently, he thought that Paul was going to lose. Must have gotten that from the same source that told him that Prop A was going to be defeated. Anyway, later in the day, when it was obvious that Paul was going to win in a "Randslide," Hennessy changed his tune:

Now, to be fair, Hennessy still said in his later blog post that "No one single race proves the strength or impact of the tea party," but it's still remarkable to see just how quickly he shifted from speaking only about the PA-12 race to claiming Rand Paul as the "Tea Party Candidate" and seeing this as a referendum on incumbents.

Ed Martin Sends "Even Lies Are Free Speech" Sharp Elbows to Harass Carnahan in the Streets

Earlier in the year Ed Martin's friends in the tea party organized a rally outside of Russ Carnahan's office where they punched, threw shoes at, and burned a photo of Representative Russ Carnahan with blood dripping down his mouth. Ed Martin spoke approvingly of the rally, linking to a video where his own campaigner was throwing shoes at the photo of Caranahan. The next day, Ed's tea party friends carried a coffin to Representative Carnahan's personal residence. Now Ed Martin is sending his favorite tea partier to scream childish insults at Russ Carnahan whenever he goes out to a public event.

If you haven't heard of Adam Sharp, or Sharp Elbows, as he likes to call himself, here's a little background from a post I wrote back in August of last year:
  • He directly and knowingly violated police orders to "move back" outside of a Carnahan Town Hall (see bottom of the post).
  • He snuck into a press conference on private property, then asked a question "as a citizen" when the moderator clearly stated that they wanted questions from the press. While he was there, he argued against the answers experts were providing to media questions, including interrupting a pastor in attendence.
  • He was a distraction and a disturbance at the McCaskill Town Hall in Hillsboro, yet still whined about being persecuted.
  • And, in general, he runs around events trying to secretly capture people on film when they're not aware of him filming, then selectively edits their comments to make them look bad.

  • Unfortunately, since that time, Sharp's behavior has gotten even more obnoxious:

  • He snuck into the opening of the OFA office and then wrote a blog post arguing with an 8-year old's drawing about Obama.
  • He freaked out that Congressman Keith Ellison came to St. Louis for a Carnahan fundraiser, claiming that it was "against Missouri values," because Ellison is Muslim.
  • He went out of his way to make fun of veterans who showed up at a tea party rally.
  • He then got into an argument with a different veteran after Sharp attempted to go to a MoveOn Rally and misrepresent the protesters message. Said Sharp: "Even lies are free speech."
  • He warned his readers to "Keep your eyes on those moonbat neighbors of yours."
  • He lied about Congressman Phil Hare to get on Fox News.
  • He wrote a post claiming he was going to "personally demonstrate" teabagging on President Obama.

    And worst of all, in my mind, is when he crashed a rally that was being held in honor of Melanie Shouse, an amazingly brave activist who spend the last several years of her life fighting for health care even after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Sharp crashed the rally disguised in an SEIU shirt (he actually hates SEIU), being completely disrespectful of participants who were there to honor their friend, then harassed reporter Charles Jaco and tried to bait Jaco into pushing him. And then, Sharp had the nerve to try to press charges against Jaco for brushing up against him! This behavior was enough to get Sharp the Ass Clown of the Week award from readers at the Riverfront Times.

    So naturally Ed Martin, political opportunist that he is, is happy to use Sharp's tactics to try to harass and attack Congressman Carnahan. Sharp has been following Representative Carnahan around in public places and yelling insults at him, then whining about how he's doesn't understand why Representative Carnahan won't speak with him (ummm, maybe because you've been stalking him for the past four months?). Here is the latest from Sharp outside of the Tivoli where Congressman Carnahan discussed public transportation:

    (By the way, the issue of the "ethics charge" that Sharp referred to is cleared up pretty well in this article).

    Naturally, Ed Martin promoted Sharp's video, but what was really interesting is that Martin made it sounds as if he didn't know Sharp, referring to him simply as "a constituent:"

    In fact, Martin knows Sharp very well. Sharp has interviewed Martin several times. After Sharp lied to a Carnahan staffer and tried to bully her, Martin tweeted approvingly:

    Sharp had to rescue Martin at a townhall when Martin wouldn't correct a guy spouting birth certificate conspiracy theories. And of course the two interact frequently on facebook:

    So Martin and Sharp are working together to try to use cheap tactics to attack Russ Carnahan and anyone else who stands in their way. Sharp's motto is "Even lies are free speech." I guess that means the Ed Martins motto is "even lies are political opportunities." The two are perfect for each other.