Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Thoughts on the McKee Project

This post is largely taken from my comment on Steve Patterson's Urban Review STL:

For me the main issue is accountability. I think this ties into several other strands of thought. First, as has been convincingly argued by others, McKee should not be rewarded for his neglect of the property. To do so is to send a message that block-busting is morally acceptable and that we’re fine with wealthy people trampling over the rights of middle and lower income people in order to get what they want. Thus, I would argue that McKee’s “punishment” for his neglect should be that we hold him to much higher standards of accountability than we would have done if he had previously demonstrated good faith.

Second, I lived in Massachusetts during the “Big Dig” and I’m very wary about situations where the government is so invested in a project that they are basically forced to throw money down a bottomless pit in order to avoid disaster. I think we need to ensure that along every step of the way of this process, Paul McKee has more at stake with each goal being met than does any other player (including the city and the local residents). He is, after all, a businessman, so if there is ever a point in the process where he can leverage the fact that the city has more invested than he does to get the city to commit more money, why wouldn’t he do it? Thus, in my opinion, any deal should be structured so that if McKee announces half way through, “Oh, I guess we aren’t able to do the trolleys after all,” then he should lose X amount of subsidization. If he decides that he can’t renovate some building he had promised to renovate, then he should lose a punitive amount of subsidization. In other words, his funding should be tied to the promises he makes, so that there is no point in the process where he can sneak out of his commitments or blackmail the city to cover them.

So my question is: is there a way to structure the subsidization so that it is contingent upon McKee meeting the commitments he has made (including things like the trolley, preservation, not using eminent domain, etc)?

And it should be worth noting that Michael Allen, who certainly knows about such things, replied as such:
Yes. The redevelopment ordinance can — and should — make such contingencies.

Good, then let's make it happen!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Breaking News: CA Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Marriage Equality

The California Supreme Court has announced its ruling on Proposition 8: As had been anticipated, the court upheld the amendment banning same-sex marriage, but the estimated 18,000 marriages that were created before the amendment passed will be allowed to stand.

I have no words to express my reaction to this injustice. California's highest court has upheld the tyranny of the majority.

St. Louisans, please join us at 5:30 p.m. downtown in the City Hall Rotunda to express your outrage at this ruling.

Cross-posted to The Quixotic Pragmatist

Monday, May 25, 2009

St. Louis Activist Events for May 25- 31

This week's events:

Monday, May 25, is Memorial Day: Don't forget to take some time on Monday to think of the people who've lost their lives in war.

Also Monday, Steve Patterson of Urban Review STL will be on Collateral Damage at 7 PM discussing Paul McKee's plans for North St. Louis.  Listen by tuning in to 88.1 or get it online here.

Tuesday, May 26, The California Supreme Court is examining the legality of the controversial Proposition 8 bill that banned same-sex marriage.  In St. Louis, the group Show Me No Hate will be rallying at the City Hall Rotunda (1200 Market Street) at 5:30 to either celebrate or protest the court's decision.  This is a very important rally!  Get the details here and try to make it if you can.

Also Tuesday, Metropolis St. Louis is a group dedicated to creating and promoting an environment that attracts and retains young people in St. Louis.  From 6 PM to 8:30 PM, at the Urban Arts Collective Gallery at 3301-03 Meramec, Metropolis will be holding a "Wine Club" event featuring artwork from five local artists. 

Also Tuesday is the day for Amnesty International's monthly letter-writing meeting, from 7 to 8:30 PM at the Hartford Coffee Company, 3974 Hartford Street.

Also Tuesday, the Principia College Film Club will be screening "Milk" at 9:15 PM followed by a discussion at Wannamaker Hall, 1 Maybeck Place.

Wednesday, May 27, Greenpeace St. Louis is holding a press conference to raise awareness of CO2 emissions in Missouri and global warming.  The event is from 10 AM to 11 AM in front of City Hall.

Also Wednesday, the YWCA Metro St. Louis's "So Reel" speaker series invites you to join in a conversation about the #1 killer of black women, HIV/AIDS.  At 5:30 refreshments will be served, and at 6 PM the program starts.  The YWCA will also be offering free HIV testing on site.  The YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Heritage Center is located at 2711 Locus Street (around the corner from the Loft).  

Also WednesdaySt. Louis Effort For AIDS is hosting a preview party of the new venue Nancy's Place at 4510 Manchester to raise money for PAWS, which helps people with HIV/AIDS care for their pets during difficult financial times.  The event starts at 6 PM and will feature Kim Massie!

Also Wednesday, the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures is screening the movie, "The Accidental Advocate," which details the journey of a family advocating for embryonic stem cell research.  The film is showing at the Social Science Auditorium (in the Social Sciences Building) at St. Charles Community College, 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, Cottleville, MO, at 7 PM and will be followed by a panel discussion at 8:30.  Get free tickets here.

Thursday, May 28, The LGBT Community Center of Metropolitan St. Louis (625 N Euclid, Ste 420) is hosting "Generations," a discussion group where younger and older members of the LGBT community can come together and have fun.  The discussion goes from 5 to 6 PM.

Also Thursday, the Workers International League will be holding a discussion of "Factory Occupations Around the World & the Auto Industry Crisis" at the Stratford Inn, First Floor Boardroom from 5 to 7 PM.  The Stratford Inn is located at 800 S Highway Drive.

Also Thursday, Drinks and Mortar, a monthly happy hour for anyone interested in buildings, will be meeting at 7 PM at the Bleeding Deacon, 4123 Chippewa.

Friday, May 29, The local chapter is hosting Clean Energy Jobs Day at Affordable Comfort, 12154 Natural Bridge Road at noon as part of a nation-wide kickoff.  Sign up here and start pushing for a revolution in the American energy economy! 

Also Friday, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation is hosting a trivia night starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Hazelwood Community Center (1186 Teson, Hazelwood, MO).  Cost is $15 per person and the winner gets a cash prize.

On Friday though Saturday will be Thomas Jefferson Days 2009, hosted by the St. Louis County Democratic Central Committee at the Sheraton Hotel at 7730 Bonhomme in Clayton.  Get more details here.

Saturday, May 30, the National School Leadership Network presents "Our Place in the Sun: Voices of Black Adolescent Males" at Grand Hall (inside of Duburg Hall) on the SLU campus (221 N. Grand Blvd) from 8:30 AM to 1 PM.  

Also Saturday, from 9 to 11 AM at the Center for Theology and Social Analysis at 1077 Newstead Avenue, a group of citizens will be gathering to discuss how best to challenge the escalation of war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  

Also Saturday, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment celebrates its 40th anniversary with an auction of art from more than 60 local artists.  "Art for an Endangered Planet" will be from 6 to 8 PM at the Regional Arts Commission at 6128 Delmar.

Also Saturday, from 7 to 9 PM in the Busch Student Center at SLU (on the corner of Grand and Laclede) the Intercommunity Justice Ministry is presenting "An Uprising of Hope" women's choral concert benefiting Marian Middle School For Girls.  

Sunday, May 30, Interfaith Legal Services for Immigrants is hosting their Annual Awards International Buffet at Nerinx High School, 590 East Lockwood, from 3:30 to 5:30 PM.  If you're interested, make sure to check the web site for ticket info.

Also Sunday (and every Sunday), the Instead of War Coalition and Catholic Action Network hold a vigil remembering the human toll of the Iraq War at St. Francis Xavier Church (on the corner of Grand and Lindell) from 7 to 7:30 PM.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"Day of Decision" Rally on Tuesday

The California Supreme Court has announced that it will be ruling on the legal challenge to Proposition 8 this Tuesday, May 26. Supporters of marriage equality will rally across the nation regardless of the decision.

Ed Reggi of Show Me No Hate is organizing a rally in St. Louis to be held at City Hall on Tuesday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. From the Show Me No Hate blog:

A pro-Equality court decision would help fortify our community against what could be difficult years of economic strain and scapegoating.

A[n] anti-Equality court decision would likely fuel the heightened level of violence already recorded against the LGBTQ community across our nation. It will embolden more bigotry and homophobia.

If the court overturns Prop 8, we will all be celebrating. If the court upholds the proposition, we will all unite in protest. "We must pack our City Hall to stand in solidarity with California and the world," Reggi said. Please join us downtown on Tuesday evening as we stand united for equality!

Cross-posted to The Quixotic Pragmatist

Friday, May 22, 2009

Expanding Informed Consent Or Restricting Rights?

Missouri legislators recently voted on a new bill that would add to the long list of Missouri abortion restrictions. If you follow local politics, you can probably guess how this one turns out. But just to set the stage, let's look at Representative Bryan Stevenson's February comments regarding the Freedom of Choice Act.

First of all, the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is a piece of federal legislation meant to codify the protections set out for women in the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. It is very controversial, and also--as of right now--entirely hypothetical. It was introduced in the 108th and 110th Congress, but not the current (111th) Congress. So the legislators aren't working on it, but what about the president? President Obama has supported it in the past, but in an April 29th news conference, he said "the Freedom of Choice Act is not highest legislative priority." Pretty clear, right? FOCA appears to be a bit of a non-issue at the moment. And that's at the federal level, where it actually would come into fruition were the Congress and the President suddenly to become interested in it once again.

With all of this non-activity and lack of progress on FOCA, you can naturally see why Missouri State Representative Stevenson felt compelled to call FOCA "the greatest power grab by the federal government since the War of Northern Aggression." Oh yes! The War of Northern Aggression! But the very best part is this: his remarks came up during a discussion concerning "a proposal urging federal leaders to oppose an abortion proposal." What abortion proposal would that be? Oh, I think you know.

That's not even what I wanted to actually write about. That's just some background information I thought you should know; in order to get a feel for Missouri politics when it comes to abortion issues. So. On to the Missouri bill.

It didn't pass; that's the first thing you should know. The state Senate sent it back to the House of Representatives with changes that the House rejected, and that's likely the end of it (for this year at least) since the legislative session is now over. The bill attempted to expand the informed-consent guidelines, in part by requiring that "women seeking abortions be told in person, a day in advance, about the potential risks of the procedure and about the development of their fetuses." The House version of the bill, which the Senate refused to take up, also included language making it a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion.

The coercion language might sound good at first, because of course we want women to make choices freely and without pressure from others. But the House version included this provision, at the very end: "whenever a physician knows that the predominant reason the woman is seeking or obtaining an abortion is that the woman is a victim of coerced abortion, the physician shall certify that the woman lacks the consent required by law."

Here's the problem. How is "knowledge" defined? That might sound like silly, Bill Clinton-esque levels of linguistic parsing ("that depends on what the meaning of "is" is"), but remember- Clinton is a lawyer. He understands that Very Important Questions often do turn on word choice. How does this law define "knowledge?" How does it define "predominant reason?" What if a woman comes to a clinic seeking an abortion, and the doctor knows her boyfriend has been physically abusive and wants her to have the abortion, but she says she wants to have it as well (a desire independent from the boyfriend's own motivations)? Does the doctor now "know" that the "predominant reason" for the abortion is the boyfriend's coercion? The woman says she wants the abortion too; but is that just her fear talking? Can the doctor believe her?

Important questions, because if the doctor DOES perform the abortion despite knowing the predominant reason is coercion, he or she is actually performing the abortion without consent: the bill dictates that if "the woman is a victim of coerced abortion, the physician shall certify that the woman lacks the consent required by law." Domestic violence advocates have expressed concerns that the "coercion" clause would make it nearly impossible for a rape victim to legally consent to an abortion.

The House version of the bill is a mess, with imprecise language in danger of overreaching: making it very difficult for medical professionals to ensure compliance with the law and potentially criminalizing those who would give advice given to women, lest that advice be considered insufficiently pro-life and thus tantamount to coercing the woman to have an abortion.

That last bit might sound unfair, but I actually have good reason to suspect that the pro-life position of the authoring politicians might influence the way counseling and advice would be interpreted within the bill's provisions. If you need an example of the power and influence wielded by the pro-life interest groups, consider this: one provision in the bill requires abortion providers to "prominently display" the following statement: "it is the public policy of the state of Missouri that the life of each human being begins at conception, and that unborn children have protectable interests in life, health, and well-being." Of course, the bill also requires that "all information shall be presented in an objective, unbiased manner designed to convey only accurate scientific and medical information." Y'know, an objective and unbiased manner. Illustrated by the state of Missouri, which takes the liberty of defining when human life begins and discusses the protectable interests of unborn children. Scientifically and medically.

Add cognitive dissonance to the list of problems. The authors couldn't resist inserting pro-life talking points despite their presence rendering the bill internally inconsistent.

This particular bill didn't pass, but that is definitely not the end of the story. Missouri legislators will almost certainly continue their efforts to further restrict reproductive freedom in the next session. Missouri is still home to very restrictive abortion laws, including a mandatory counseling session followed by a 24-hour waiting period. Salon's Lynn Harris has likened waiting periods to "timeouts" for grown women, and I think the comparison is apt. Statistics show that waiting periods serve "only to delay women's access to a procedure they have already chosen, rather than to inform their decision making." Studies of Mississippi's counseling and waiting period laws show a decline in Mississippi abortion rates but a matching increase in both out-of-state and second-trimester procedures.

Missouri State Senator Joan Bray said she was "sick of women being treated like they're so stupid that they can't be responsible for their own reproductive decisions." I share her frustration. Waiting periods begin with the rather insulting presumption that women have simply failed to consider their options. Because it's obviously highly unlikely that a woman would have considered the impact of her decision before being given a clinic brochure and instructed to return in 24 hours? But even worse, waiting periods have no discernible benefit. They result in later abortions, which are less safe and more expensive. They also disproportionately hurt poor women by requiring two separate trips to the clinic; trips that cost time and money. This is especially true given the extremely high likelihood that the woman seeking an abortion has had to travel out-of-town to the clinic in the first place (according to NARAL, 96% of Missouri counties have no abortion provider).

It's important to keep an eye on our Missouri legislators. Because these kinds of bills can be complicated and full of dense language, and it's easy to overlook them, but that's how rights are lost- slowly, a piece at a time, because nobody is paying attention. Since she is more eloquent than I can ever hope to be, I think Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent in Gonzales v. Carhart is an appropriate summation of this issue:
At stake in cases challenging abortion restrictions is a woman's "control over her [own] destiny." "There was a time, not so long ago," when women were "regarded as the center of home and family life, with attendant special responsibilities that precluded full and independent legal status under the Constitution." Those views, this Court made clear in Casey, "are no longer consistent with our understanding of the family, the individual, or the Constitution." Women, it is now acknowledged, have the talent, capacity, and right "to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation." Their ability to realize their full potential, the Court recognized, is intimately connected to "their ability to control their reproductive lives." Thus, legal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion procedures do not seek to vindicate some generalized notion of privacy; rather, they center on a woman's autonomy to determine her life's course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.

This particular bill failed to pass. The next one just might.

Reproductive Health Reality Check has more on HB 46/343 here and here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"We just saved a bundle on car insurance!": The Benefits of Marriage Equality

~~~ See end of post for important update! ~~~

Yesterday, I attended the Marriage Equality Town Hall Talk at Central Reform Congregation. Two of my closest friends went with me. My friends enjoyed the talk and found it informative and thought-provoking.

Over dinner afterward, we chatted about marriage equality. One of my friends told me that the talk was really good. She said she learned some things that she hadn't known before. She even said that if she were to attend a marriage equality rally, the sign she'd make would say something like, "I can get married; why can't they?" That was thrilling, because back in November, she hadn't seemed interested enough in the issue to want to attend a rally in protest of Proposition 8.

At the talk, we heard from some of the couples who traveled to Iowa on May 1st how life has or hasn't changed since they got legally married there.

Many said the day was bittersweet. It wasn't how they had imagined getting married. They had wanted a normal wedding with all of their family and friends present. Some had hesitated before deciding that boarding the bus was the right thing to do.

But most were surprised by how meaningful the day turned out to be. They didn't encounter any protesters, and the people of Iowa City were welcoming. The bus and the church in which they tied the knot were full of love and support that day.

And they returned home to some unexpected benefits of marriage. For one thing, getting married in Iowa entitled the couples to a legal name change for the $35 cost of the marriage license -- and the name changes cannot be contested in the state of Missouri. Other same-sex couples have spent thousands of dollars getting their names changed without a marriage license.

Ed Reggi spoke of how the businesses with which he holds accounts wanted to change his account status to "married." Because of their new married status, Ed and his husband Scott Emanuel were able to save hundreds of dollars a year on their car insurance. I now think that the newlywed couple ought to star in a GEICO commercial:

"The state of Missouri won't recognize our out-of-state marriage license. But there's good news!"

"What's that?"

"We just saved a bunch of money on car insurance!"

During a question-and-answer session, I asked if it's true that it's a misdemeanor to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony in Missouri. Rabbi Susan Talve confirmed that it's a misdemeanor in this state "to solemnize a marriage without a marriage license." Religious leaders are representatives of the state when they conduct wedding ceremonies. The government grants them the right to officiate, to create a legal marriage along with the spiritual union. By default, all same-sex weddings in Missouri are performed without a marriage license. In 2004, Missourians passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Rabbi Talve has never actually been cited for officiating a same-sex wedding, and she has done so numerous times. "Let them try!" she quipped. But technically, she doesn't have the legal right to marry same-sex couples, even though her religion fully supports such couples' right to marry. She spoke of the sadness that accompanies her joy when conducting same-sex wedding ceremonies. She wants to be able to make the marriages legal, and she can't. This is the heart of why legalizing same-sex marriage is a matter of religious freedom.

Another person asked how a separate-but-equal right to civil unions for same-sex couples would be different than the right to civil marriage. Reggi summarized what he has heard from lawyer friends: The word "marriage" is written into law on so many different levels that creating an entirely new institution would pose no end of legal challenges. Even if civil unions were legally equivalent to civil marriages, problems might arise when, for example, couples with a civil union license crossed state lines.

This argument also applies to the idea of the government getting out of the marriage business: If civil marriages were replaced by civil unions, then opposite-sex couples wishing to form a civil union would most likely run into the same legal hassles. And all because certain people don't want to share the sacred word "marriage" with committed, loving same-sex couples whose unions are just as sacred as theirs.

One member of one of the couples compared the opposition to same-sex marriage with the opposition to interracial marriage by a previous generation. "It's the same discrimination all over again," she said. Her parents are an interracial couple.

Next up in the fight for marriage equality is the Prop 8 Day of Decision. The California Supreme Court has only until June 3rd to rule on the challenge to Proposition 8. The ruling will be on either a Monday or a Thursday. Supporters of marriage equality need to be ready to rally, regardless of the decision!

IMPORTANT UPDATE 5/22/09: Today the California Supreme Court announced that it will rule on Prop 8 this Tuesday, May 26, at 10 a.m. Pacific time (12 noon Central). Ed Reggi is planning a rally in St. Louis for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Please add him as a friend on Facebook and be ready to protest or celebrate!

Cross-posted to The Quixotic Pragmatist

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

St. Louis Activist Events for May 19-23

This week's events:

Tuesday, May 19, All Day, there is an impending execution in the State of Missouri as Dennis Skillicorn is scheduled to be executed one minute after  midnight on Wednesday, May 20.  Missourians Against the Death Penalty are asking all people to contact Governor Nixon and ask for Clemency.  Their Execution Alert can be found here.  There will also be a prayer service at St. Francis Xavier Church at 7:30 PM and a vigil outside the same church from 8:15 to 9 PM.  St. Francis Xavier is located at 3628 Lindell Blvd.

Also Tuesday, Show Me No Hate is hosting a discussion of Marriage Equality at the Central Reform Congregation (5020 Waterman) from 6 to 8 PM.  Many of the couples who recently took the bus to Iowa to get married will be there.

Also Tuesday will be a screening of "Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl" as part of the St. Louis Labor Council's Labor Learn Film Series.  The movie will be showing from 6:30 to 7:30 at IBEW Local 1, 5850 Elizabeth Avenue.  

Also Tuesday, Jon Ginoli, the founder and lead singer of gay rock band Pansy Division will be discussing his life and book Deflowered at Left Bank Books CWE location, 399 N. Euclid, at 7 PM.

Wednesday, May 20, tune in to Charlie Brennan's show on 1120 KMOX at 9 AM to listen to Bob Soutier, President of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, discuss the Employee Free Choice Act.

Also Wednesday, the LGBT Community Center of Metropolitan St. Louis will be hosting a discussion on the topic, "Straight Talk on Queer Money: Socially Responsible Investing in Companies that Support LGBT Causes," by presenter Jon Shigemura, Investment Advisor and Representative of Metlife.  The talk is from 6:30 to 9 PM at 625 N. Euclid Ave. Ste 420.

Also Wednesday will be the first volunteer meeting for Greenpeace Saint Louis, who will be working on a campaign to fight global warming this summer.  The meeting will be at Epiphany UCC (2911 McNair Avenue) from 7 to 8:15 PM.

Thursday, May 21, there will be a happy hour for Smoke Free St. Louis City at 5:30 PM at the Church Key, 4127 Manchester Road.  Free pizza included!

Also Thursday, the much anticipated public meeting for the proposed McEagle North City/Downtown Project will be held at 7 PM at the Central Baptist Church Education Center at 2837 Washington Avenue (across from the church).

Also Thursday, there will be a discussion of "Herbal Medicines and Botanical Supplements: Facts and Fiction" from 7 to 9 PM at Herbies Vintage 72 (405 N. Euclid Avenue).  

Friday, May 22 is the beginning of the African Arts Festival at the St. Louis Art Museum, 

Also Friday, Michael Pollan, bestselling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, will be speaking at the St Louis County Library at 1640 S. Lindberg from 7 to 9 PM.  Click here for more details.

Also Friday is opening night for "My Heart is Always Shaking," a play based on interviews of two dozen women who escaped the Taliban and are trying to make a new life in St. Louis.  The play shows at 8 PM and 10 PM on Friday night at St. Louis University Theater - Xavier Hall, 3733 West Pine Mall, and will run through June 7th.

Saturday, May 23, the African Arts Festival will continue being celebrated at the World's Fair Pavilon.   Get the full schedule at this link.

Also Saturday will be a Citywide Bicycle Scavenger Hunt that raises money for BicycleWORKS!  The event starts at 5 PM at the Atomic Cowboy (4140 Manchester) and goes until 1 AM.  Sounds really cool!

Have a fun and meaningful week!


Friday, May 8, 2009

St. Louis Activist Events for May 11-17

This Week's Events:

Monday, May 11. Karl Rove is going to be in town handing off right-wing talking points to the Missouri Chamber of Commerce about the proposed Employee Free Choice Act. The Act would make it easier for workers to decide if they want a union and better protect them from management intimidation, so naturally Rove hates the idea. Fortunately, Missouri Jobs with Justice and other groups will be outside sharing the real facts about the Employee Free Choice Act and asking, "We shouldn't have believed Rove on weapons of mass destruction, why would we listen to him now about our country's economic future?" The rally in opposition to Rove starts at 3:45 at 7701 Forsyth and you can get the details here.

Also Monday, join the United Auto Workers (UAW) as they hold a "Save Our Jobs" rally in Keiner Plaza at 6 PM.

Also Monday, at 7 PM, Landmarks Association of St. Louis hosts a presentation and book signing of Houses of Missouri at the Chantillon-DeMenil House (3352 DeMenil Place) as part of their "Preservation Week 2009."

Tuesday, May 12, The Royale (3132 Kingshighway) is hosting a resume clinic from 2 to 5 PM.

Also Tuesday, The Landmarks Association of St. Louis continues "Preseveration Week 2009" with a screening of "Hail, Hail, Rock 'n' Roll," a documentary about Chuck Berry.  Doors open at 7 PM at the Tivoli (6350 Delmar) and the program starts at 7:20.

Wednesday, May 13, The "Labor Law Breakfast Series" continues with a discussion of the COBRA subsidy and Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program in the American Recover and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  The event starts a 8 AM at the IBEW Local 1439 Hall, 2121 59th Street.

Also Wednesday, there's a meetup for St. Louis Food Not Bombs at 6 PM.

Also Wednesday, Preservation Week continues with an opening reception for the Mississippi Valley Architecture exhibit starting at 6 PM at 911 Washington Avenue #170.

Also Wednesday, the LGBT Community Center of Metropolitan St. Louis hosts a regular "Trans Community Discussion" at 625 N. Euclid Avenue, Ste 420, from 7 to 9 PM.

Thursday, May 14, There will be an Open House Public Hearing on the Page-Olive Connector (141 Extension) Study.  The proposed project would disrupt an environmentally sensitive area, and the Missouri Coalition for the environment is encouraging people to attend.  The event will be from 4 to 8 PM at Parkway Central High School (369 N. Woods Mill Road) in the gymnasium.

Also Thursday, The Missouri History Museum screens "Ask Not," a movie examining the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of the military.  The movie starts at 7 PM and will be followed by a panel discussion. You can find more details here.

Friday, May 15. Landmarks Association of St. Louis's Preservation Week 2009 continues with two interesting events.  First, there's a discussion of St. Louis Architect Theodore Carl Link at  Architecture St. Louis (911 Washington #170 ) from noon to 1.  Then, later in the day Landmarks is holding the "2009 Most Enhanced Awards" honoring the best in restoration, rehabilitation, and adaptive re-use of St. Louis's historic structures.  The event is from 5:30 to 8:30 at the Roberts Orpheum Theater, 416 N. 9th Street.

Friday through Sunday, the Webster Film series shows the movie "In a Dream" about Philadelphia muralist Isaiah Zagar.  St. Louis could use some more murals, no?

Saturday, May 16, Join Connect With on a number of volunteer projects throughout the day, starting at 10 AM.  Check out this link for more details.

Also Saturday, the closing day for "Preservation Week 2009" features a walking tour of some of the works of St. Louis architect Theodore Carl Link.  The tour begins at St. John's Methodist Church at 5001 Washington, starting at 10 AM.

Also Saturday, at 4 PM, at the Central Baptist Church Educational building (2843 Washington Blvd), there will be a discussion of Africa, Obama, and the legacy of Malcom X. The event will include conversations about black talk radio in light of Obama's presidency and a discussion on Sudan, Somalia, and Zimbabwe.  

Saturday and Sunday, there will be a used book sale to raise money for the Chantillon DeMenil House Foundation, at 3352 DeMenil Place.

Sunday, May 17, there will be a 5K run to benefit the Open Door After School Program starting at 8 AM at the Son's of Rest Shelter in Tower Grove Park.  Click here for more details.

Also Sunday, the Organization for Black Struggle hosts "Malcolm X/African Liberation Day" at the Missouri History Museum from 4 to 6 PM.  Anyango Reggie will discuss the struggles of the Rwandan people's lives after genocide and explore the particular issues of women and the World Bank's negative influence.  

Also Sunday, there will be a remembrance of those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS and their survivors called "Love Letters" and hosted by the MCCGSL.  The event starts at 6 PM and is located at 1919 Broadway.

Have a fun and meaningful week,


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Best argument for Employee Free Choice Act? Karl Rove in St. Louis telling us how "dangerous" it is!!

According to the Missouri Chamber of Commerce web site, Mr. turd blossom himself, Karl Rove, is going to be in St. Louis next week, warning people of the scary, scary prospects of letting workers decide if they want to unionize (otherwise known as the Employee Free Choice Act).  Karl Rove will be telling local business leaders how the Employee Free Choice Act will be "severe" and "devastating" for business.  

Let's see, what else has Karl Rove said over the years?
  • That congress, not President Bush, pushed for the war in Iraq.
  • That waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed saved Los Angeles from attack, even though Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested one year after the plot had been discovered. 
  • That he had nothing to do with the outing of Valerie Plame.
  • That Arlen Specter has moved to the left rather than the Republican Party moving to the right.
So Karl Rove thinks the Employee Free Choice Act is dangerous for America. What better argument could there be that we need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act?? 

Saturday, May 2, 2009

St. Louis Activist Events for May 3 - 10

This week's events:

Sunday, May 3. From 10 AM to 2 PM Black Bear Bakery is holding a "Farm Planting Day." They'll be planting berries, herbs, flowers, and perennials and will be providing pizza for volunteers. The planting will be at 3342 Ohio, behind the bakery. Check it out here.

Also Sunday is a Clean-Up Day at The Learning Center. The Learning Center was an educational and social club for populations across St. Louis in the 80s and 90 and is being started up again! Clean up at the building at 4504 Westminster Place will go from 1:30 to 5:30 PM. For WashU students, rides are available from the DUC. Get the full details here.

Also Sunday, Students for Gender Equality are holding, "A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer" a performance of famous writings to stop violence against women and girls. The show will be at the Webster U Library Conference room at 2 PM.

Also Sunday, the organizers for World Naked Bike Ride are having a planning meeting at 5 PM at Velocity Cafe. For more information, check out this link or email .

Monday, May 4, students at SLU will be celebrating the new All of Us campaign on the Quad from 2 PM to 5 PM. It will be a chance for people to sign the new Ally Pledge and to let the SLU administration know that they should give this group and members of the GLBTQIA community their full support!

Also Monday
is the National Kidney Foundation Walk Dinner Benefit from 6 to 10 PM at Smugala's Pizza, 3730 South Lindbergh Blvd. 20% of proceeds go to the Explore Transplant Team's contribution to the National Kidney Foundation.

Update- The Greger talk is CANCELLED!
Also Monday, at 6:30 PM, there will be a discussion of vegan nutrition with a national expert on the topic, Michael Greger, at 1027 Bellevue Avenue in the West Pavilion Auditorium (in St. Mary' Health Center). For more info, follow the link here.

Also Monday, I'll be on Topic A with Amanda Doyle discussing the current state of student activism. The show runs from 7:30 to 8 PM; you can listen live at 88.1 or online by going here. Or catch the show later at this link.

Also Monday, The St. Louis Beacon and the Royale are hosting a discussion of Access to Health Care at their Policy and Pints event. The event starts at 8 PM at the Royale, 3132 Kingshighway.

Tuesday, May 5, there's a kickoff for the new program St. Louis Dancing Classrooms at Cafe Ventana, 3919 West Pine Blvt, from 5:30 to 7 PM.

Also Tuesday, the Alzheimer's Association is presenting a workshop on "Understanding Behaviors and Improving Communication" from 6:30 to 8 PM and the Sunrise-Des Peres at 1360 Manchester Rd. The event is from 6:30 - 8 PM, follow the link here for more info.

Also Tuesday, SCCC Associate Professor William Griffin presents his research on an excavation and archaeological survey in Madagascar, which includes a discussion of how Islam spread through the Indian Ocean and how social inequality arose in the frontier society there. The talk is from 7 to 8:30 PM at the Missouri History Museum, at the corner of Lindell and DeBaliviere.

Wednesday, May 6. From 4 to 9 PM at the Noodles and Company in Creve Coeur, 10925 Olive Blvd, a Creve Coeur youth group SETYC is hosting a benefit for Camp Rainbow. Camp Rainbow is a week long camp for children with cancer and other serious illnesses. Find out more at .

Also Wednesday, I'd never seen a bowling fundraiser before, but oddly enough there are two on the same night! The first one is the Spring Bowling Exravaganza raising money for the City Academy from 5:30 to 9 PM at Saratoga Lanes.

Also Wednesday, the other bowling fundraiser Cosmic for a Cause is raising money to help underpriviledged children whose families can't afford dental care. This event is at the Tropicana Lanes at 7960 Clayton Road, from 6:30 to 9 PM.

Wednesday and Thursday are the last couple days of the Chautauqua Art Lab, a great mix of local artists, activists, and community advocates. The event starts at 6:30 each night, and goes until late! It's a great schedule and well worth a visit!

Thursday, May 7, the LGBT Center of Metropolitan St. Louis is showing "Summer in my Veins" for their regular Pink Cinema Film Series. The film starts at 7 PM at the LGBT Center at 625 N. Euclid, Suite 420.

Also Thursday will be a discussion of the development of Downtown St. Louis hosted by City Affair and the Downtown St. Louis Partnership. The event goes from 7:30 to 9 PM at the Thaxton Speakeasy, 1009 Olive St.

Also Thursday, Urinetown! starts at the SIUE campus.

Thursday through Sunday, Stray Dog Theatre presents Kafka's classic The Trial.

Friday, May 8, Relative Toxicity, an exhibit by WashU and SIUE grad. Jennifer Flores that focuses on the harms of modern industrial pollution opens today at the Good Citizen Gallery, 2247 Gravios. The opening reception is from 6 to 10 PM.

Also Friday is the Metrobus Funeral, lamenting the passing of many of our city's public transportation lines due to the MO state legislature's unhealthy fixation on subsidizing highways and road construction but not public transit. People are asked to wear black and to bring musical instruments and eulogies for the ceremony at 6th and Washington at 7:30 PM. An after party at the City Museum will follow.

Friday through Sunday are showings of "In the Continuum," a play dramatizing the devastating problem of HIV/AIDS in the African and African-American Community. Check the St. Louis Black Repertory Theater page for show times.

Saturday, May 9 the monthly fundraiser for KDHX at Black Bear Bakery goes from 9 AM to 2 PM.

Update: According to the facebook group, the bus tour has been cancelled!
Saturday, May 9
, The Landmarks Association of St. Louis is leading a bus tour of the most enhanced buildings of St. Louis from the past two years. The tour goes from noon to 5 PM and begins at the Field School Lofts, 4466 Olive (the corner of Olive and Taylor).

Also Saturday is an information meeting for the St. Louis Food Not Bombs group. The meeting is from 5:00 to 6:30 PM: send an email to to find out the location.

Also Saturday, the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition is hosting a Trivia Night fundraiser at One City Center (515 North 6th Street, 18th Floor) from 6:30 to 10:30 PM. There will also be a silent auction and some refreshments will be provided.

Also Saturday is Urbanaire, a "chic soiree" that raises money for PROMO. The fundraiser is from 7:30 PM to 1 AM at the Bialto Ballroom in the Centene Center for the Arts (3547 Olive St., Grand Center).

Sunday, May 10 Michael Allen of the Landmarks Association and the amazing blog Ecology of Absence is leading a tour of the James Clemens House. The tour starts at 2 PM: call 314-421-6474 for reservation information.

Also Sunday, join a quartet from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as they raise money for the educational program Orchestrating Diversity. The event is at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Association, 3301 Lemp Ave., at 7 PM.