Sunday, January 31, 2010

St. Louis Activist Events for Feb. 1 - 7

This week's events:

Monday, Feb. 1,
There will be an info session for Field Day, a program that gives public school students a tour of the Wash U campus for a day of activities, at Ursa's Fireside Lounge from 6 to 7 PM.

Also Monday, the Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust) is hosting this month's Theology on Tap at 6:30 on the topic The Catholic Church meets YouTube.

Also Monday, the St. Louis Instead of War Coalition is having their monthly meeting at 7 PM at the World Community Center (438 N. Skinker).

Also Monday, this week's Co-p Cafe will feature an open mic plus The Noam Chomsky's from 8:30 to 10 PM (@ 6021 Pershing).

Also Monday, the Vagina Monologues group at WashU is getting ready for the new year with a meeting from 9:15 to 10 PM at DUC room 233.

Tuesday, Feb. 2. the St. Louis Instead of War coalition is holding Fund Our Community, Not The War rallies at Russ Carnahan (Manchester and Brentwood) and Lacy Clay's (Euclid and Delmar) offices from 4 to 7 PM.

Tuesday through Thursday, NARAL will be having a mailing party.

Wednesday, Feb. 3, V-Day at Webster is holding tryouts at 4 PM in the Library Conference. Room.

Also Wednesday, SIUE will be having a V-Day meeting at 7 PM in the Mississippi Room of the MUC.

Also Wednesday, this month's Black and Green Wednesday at 7 PM at Legacy Books (5429 Delmar) will focus on the Urgent Need for Health Care Reform.

Thursday, Feb. 4, this month's City Affair at 7:30 at the Arcturis Office of the Laclede Gas Building (720 Olive St) will focus on Transit Advocacy in St. Louis.

Also Thursday, a resident physician in Surgery at the Wash U School of Medicine will be leading a community service reflection event from 8:30 to 9:30 in Gregg 1-Faculty Fellow Residence.

Also Thursday, there will be a fundraiser for the Urban Studio Cafe at the Sol Lounge from 9 PM to 3 AM.

Friday, Feb. 5, the St. Charles county 2010 Democratic Kick Off will be at Tri County Labor, 506 Droste (at West Clay in St. Charles) from 6 to 8:30 PM.

Also Friday, there will be a Lefty Trivia Night fundraiser for May Day St. Louis 2010 at Foam Coffee & Beer (3359 S. Jefferson) from 6:45 to 9 PM.

Also Friday, Pride St.Louis is having a fundraiser and will be bartending at Bar 5 (4127 Manchester) from 7 to 9 PM.

Also Friday, the LGBT community is raising money for Haiti via a free concert at Nancy's Place (4510 Manchester) from 8 to 11 PM.

Also Friday, there will be a One Love Fundraiser for Haiti at the Queen of Sheba restaurant (6665 Olive) from 9 PM to 1 AM.

Saturday, Feb. 6, Left Bank Books in the CWE will be screening Riot Acts, a movie about flaunting gender deviance in performing, from 6 to 8 PM.

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

Friday, January 29, 2010

Massive Government Conspiracy might not involve your dogcatcher, but certainly involves secretive effort to coordinate LinkedIn profiles

A few weeks ago, I noted how right-wing blogger Jim Durbin was declaring that there was a Massive Government Conspiracy to send an army of "union thugs" to an August 6 townhall to beat up random merchandise-sellers, and that Durbin now thought that this conspiracy extended all the way to your local dogcatcher.   In an effort to "establish credibility" with his "honest readers," Durbin has now conceded that his in-depth investigation of the local Animal Control Department has determined that the incident was "inconclusive," (which of course actually means that the evidence proves him wrong).  

Durbin, in an amazing moment of clarity, further appeared to realize that you shouldn't accuse government employees of massive conspiracies without any evidence.  Perhaps he should have thought about that before declaring it a "wrongful termination," before claiming that someone in the County government "overplayed their hand," and before announcing that the firing was intended as a warning message from "monsters that steal our land and rob our people."  And, of course, if he was really interested in establishing "trust" with his readers, he probably would apologize for falsely claiming that Patricia Reddington hadn't looked at Kenneth Gladney's medical reports before filing misdemeanor charges.  

What's really hilarious, however, is that Durbin nearly immediately turned around and declared another Massive Government Conspiracy based on, you guessed it, no evidence.  Here's how it goes: he discovers that McKenzie Lehmann worked for the Carnahan campaign at one time, and volunteered for America Votes at a different time.  Her current LinkedIn profile doesn't list her volunteer time at America Votes, but an old LinkedIn profile does.  Hence, Durbin concludes, it clearly was a Massive Government Conspiracy to do.....something.

Here's Durbin's flawless logic in a nutshell:

  1. Someone changes their LinkedIn profile.
  2. Out of the 186,741 possible explanations for why they would change their profile, one possible explanation is that there is a Massive Government Conspiracy that only Jim Durbin can see because his tinfoil hat protects him from radio waves that interfere with everyone else's thinking.
  3. Ergo, there is a Massive Government Conspiracy.
Of course, when I looked at the two resumes, I noticed that the job underneath America Votes, brand ambassador for Brown-Forman, was also missing in the new resume.  Or rather, the job was changed from a full description in the old resume to a simple mention in a list of clients represented in the new one.  In other words, it seems pretty obvious that she condensed her resume as she added jobs, and didn't include America Votes because it wasn't a paying job.  But this would suggest that there wasn't a Massive Government Conspiracy and that maybe, just maybe, sometimes changing a LinkedIn profile is nothing more than changing a LinkedIn profile.

But on the other hand, maybe I am part of the Massive Government Conspiracy...or did I just blow your mind?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fake Wash U Student Arrested in New Orleans

Joseph Basel, one of the fly-in conservatives involved in the "campus gulag" hosted by the Young Americans for Liberty at Washington University, was at the heart of the actions that resulted in the arrest of four people at the office of Senator Mary Landrieu. Here's a description of Basel's role:
"At 11 a.m., Basel entered the Hale Boggs building with his associate, Robert Flanagan, dressed up as telephone repairmen with hard hats and tool belts. They went to Senator Landrieu's 10th floor New Orleans office, where they found O'Keefe waiting.

Basel asked for access to the phone, manipulated it, tried to call it from a cell phone and said he couldn't get through. Basel and Flanagan said they'd have to fix it.

They were directed to the main office, where their credentials were requested. They claimed they "had left their credentials in their vehicle."

Under questioning, both admitted they weren't telephone repairmen and admitted to their role in the alleged phone-tapping operation."

Here's a pic of Basel after the arrest (via the AP):

And here's a pic of Basel at the Wash U campus gulag from winger Gateway Pundit's blog:

Basel has been repeatedly portrayed by the local right-wing media as a Washington University student. O'Keefe was also at the WashU event, and ironically enough secretly videotaped the administration and then edited it to make it look like they had a vendetta against the students (Basel plays a central role in this video as well).

Update: Forgot to mention that O'Keefe and Basel, along with their local friend Jon Burns, also crashed a Show Me No Hate rally in St. Louis and held "free abortions" signs while trying to secretly videotape people. O'Keefe was in town for a tea party rally.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lessons for Russ Carnahan from Massachusetts

The St. Louis Tea Party is now promoting t-shirts depicting Congressman Russ Carnahan as Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate who miraculously managed to lose a Senate election in the blue state of Massachusetts.  Fortunately for all of us, Carnahan's opponen Ed Martin has not been spotted posing for any Cosmo spreads.  And Russ Carnahan is not by any stretch of the imagination running as bad of a campaign as Coakley, who vacationed in the Caymen Islands while Scott Brown was knocking on doors during a crucial time in the campaign.  Nevertheless, I think there are important lessons that Carnahan can learn from the campaign in a time where the Democratic Party national majorities are in jeopardy.

Here are a few of the lessons that can be learned from Coakley's failure:

Don't take blue districts for granted.  Yes, Congressman Carnahan won his last election by 36% percent.  But of course Obama won in Massachusetts in 2008 by 26%.  Democrats are at risk for a number of reasons: some people have bought the tea party rhetoric that providing affordable insurance for people and reducing the national deficit is "socialism", more people than that are frustrated that Democrats are taking too long and acting too cowardly in the face of Republican grandstanding, and most important of all is the horrible economy still suffering from the financial crises caused by greedy banks.  So it's a risky time, even for someone in as blue a district as Carnahan.

Perception can influence voters more than reality.  Like I said, Carnahan is no Coakley. He's busy doing the people's work in Congress. However, that doesn't stop Ed Martin, the Tea Party, and official tea party radio stations 97.1 and KMOX from running with the narrative that Carnahan doesn't listen to his constituents.  Every chance they get, they push the story that Carnahan doesn't listen, doesn't return calls, etc.  This narrative is aided by the fact that while Carnahan is busy being a congressman, Ed Martin is able to campaign full time, making it seem like he's much more receptive to the public.  Martin has also had creative events, such as a "town hall" and "MA Senate Watch Party" that help him to seem receptive.

Brown dominated social media by using it aggressively.  Scott Brown's win was crucially dependent upon an aggressive social media campaign.  Ed Martin has also used social media aggressively.  He's on Twitter frequently and has the right personality for it, sharing anything from trivial details of his life to ideological rants denying the existence of climate change.   Russ, on the other hand, shares primarily more dry updates about what he's doing.  It's certainly not as compelling as Martin, but overall is not bad, and he does have over 1,000 followers.  However, the real problem is facebook.  Martin has aggressively promoted his facebook fan page, and has gotten it to nearly 1,700 people.  He uses it to post links and commentary, and this leads to engagement from his fans.  On the other hand, Carnahan has not utilized his facebook fan page.  He has about 1200 fans, but these fans were not the result of work by the campaign and I can say that literally about 2/3 of those are people that I personally invited.  Furthermore, with an audience of 1200 people, Carnahan does not update his page!  Why would anyone pass up an opportunity to communicate with 1200 fans, most of whom are in the St. Louis region?  At the very least, he could connect the page up to his Twitter feed and communicate to all those people without even doing any extra work.  The more Russ Carnahan communicates what he's working on, the less vulnerable he will be to attacks from Martin and the TPs that he's "lazy" or "doesn't listen."

Don't allow your opponent to completely define himself.  One of the biggest flaws of the Coakley campaign was that they did not negatively define Scott Brown, allowing him to travel around the state portraying himself as an "independent," until the last week where she unleashed a flurry of negative ads.  Similarly, the Carnahan campaign seems to be content to allow Martin to do whatever he wants without going on the attack.  Some people think that the Carnahan campaign will just wait until late and then hammer Martin by pointing out his Jefferson City scandals and millions in wasted taxpayer money, but isn't that exactly the same strategy that failed for Coakley?  And it still doesn't explain why the Carnahan campaign doesn't take advantage of obvious points of attack that highlight Martin's flaws.  For example, the AP and FiredUp! Missouri reported on Ed Martin abusing St. Louisan's love of Anheuser-Busch by gathering names to oppose the InBev takeover and then using the email list and site to promote his own campaign (which he explicitly promised not to do as he was collecting names).  Why wouldn't the Carnahan campaign take advantage of an incident that highlight's one of the core weaknesses of Martin, his apparent lack of honesty and dubious ethics?  Similarly, why don't they respond when Martin makes ridiculous statements denying the existence of climate change, which clearly would not go over well in much of the 3rd congressional district?  Democrats in general need to do a better job fighting for their core values, and that includes being willing to aggressively take on the ideology of the right.

I'm hopeful that Russ Carnahan will win in  landslide like he did in 2008.  But I think it's important to take into account the flaws of the Coakley campaign, and to make sure to aggressively oppose the narrative the GOP and their sidekick tea partiers are spinning.

St. Louis Activist Events for Jan 25-31

This Week's Events:

Tags used in this post: #politics #savebauer #lgbt #science #grassroots #anti-oppression #haiti #international #gaza #urbanism

Monday, January 25, the Young Democrats of Greater St. Louis's first meeting of 2010 is at 7 PM at Maggie O'Brien's (2000 Market Street). #politics

Also Monday, please stop by this week's Co-Op Cafe featuring and donate some money to help save the Cervantes House from being foreclosed. #savebauer

Tuesday, January 26, there will be a free tax seminar for same-sex couples at the LGBT Center (625 N. Euclid) from 6-8 PM. #lgbt

Also Tuesday, Amnesty International-St. Louis City is having their monthly letter writing meeting at the Hartford Coffee Company (3974 Hartford Street) at 7 PM.

Also Tuesday, the Webster University College Democrats have their first meeting of the year. #politics

Wednesday, January 27, the Schlafly Bottleworks (2100 Locust) will be hosting the January edition of Science on Tap at 7 PM, featuring Professor William Wallace speaking about the amazing Michealangelo. #science

Also Wednesday, the Royale (3132 S. Kingshighway) will be holding a State of the Union Watch Party starting at 7 PM. #politics

Also Wednesday, the Interfaith Committee for Latin America will be holding a Peru Dinner with vegetarian options at 7 PM at Mango (1101 Lucas).  #international

Also Thursday, there will be a Taste of Haiti Earthquake Awareness Event at the Danforth University Center room 300 at Washington University from noon to 1:30.  #haiti

Also Thursday, several St. Louis news personalities will be speaking on the future of downtown St. Louis at the Old Post Office (815 Olive) at 6 PM. #urbanism

Also Thursday, there will be a benefit for Haiti at the Tin Can Tavern from 6 PM to midnght. #haiti

Thursday, January 28, Drinking Liberally-St. Louis City will be cavorting at the Premium Lounge (4199 Manchester) at 6:30. #politics #drinking

Also Thursday, the Pulitzer Foundation (3716 Washington) will be hosting a panel discussion of art-based community interventions at 7:30 PM. #community

Friday, there's a benefit to Save Cervantes Free University along with Professor Jerome Bauer, an important member of the student activism community for many years.  The benefit will be at the Wash U Co-Op (6021 Pershing) from 7 PM til late and will feature several great local bands and musicians! #savebauer

Saturday, January 30, on Christmas Day, Missouri Highway Patrolman Dennis Engelhard was struck and killed while on duty in Eureka.  Englehard had been in a loving relationship for nearly 15 years and is survive by a partner and their son, but Missouri law tragically does not permit employee benefits to be extended to same-sex couples.  Show Me No Hate is holding a memorial for Engelhard at 2 PM at Christ Church Cathedral, 1210 Locust. #lgbt

Also Saturday, it's the 30th anniversary celebration of important grassroots group Organization for Black Struggle.  The event will feature Alice Lovelace and will be at 4 PM at the Sheldon Concert Hall (3648 Washington Blvd).  #grassroots #anti-oppression

Also Saturday, Gay Invasion is hosting a Guerilla Gay Bar evening starting at 11 PM.  If I told you where it would be, then it wouldn't be guerilla, would it?  But I'm sure you can find out if you join the event on facebook.  #lgbt

Sunday, January 31, the Regional Arts Commission (6128 Delmar) will be collecting hygiene kit items for Haiti from 11 AM to 2 PM. #haiti

Also Sunday, the St. Louis activists who traveled across the world for the Gaza Freedom March will speak about their experiences at the St. Louis Friends Meeting House (1001 Park) at 4 PM.  #gaza

Also Sunday, Cicero's (6691 Delmar) will be holding a benefit concert for Haiti from 6 to 11 PM. #haiti

Gladney Continues to Profit from the Tea Party

Since, as is being reported, the first hearings on the August 6 town hall arrests have started (though the Gladney case apparently isn't scheduled to start until April), it's interesting to note that Kenneth Gladney has been making money from the tea party starting within two days of the event and continuing to the present.  

Two days after the event, the St. Louis Tea Party held a rally where Republican Bill Hennessy asked for donations to pay for Gladney since he didn't have insurance.  After the irony of this claim was pointed out (since they hate the idea of reforming the health care system to cover more people), the tea party quickly announced that Gladney actually was covered by his wife's insurance, and Gladney's lawyer at that time David Brown famously said, "Well, who doesn't need a donation?"  The tea party, of course, then blamed "libruls" and "the media" for the idea that Gladney wasn't insured.

Since then, Gladney has sold his flags at events around St. Louis and on a national tour with the Tea Party Express. And even now, members of the St. Louis Tea Party are collecting donations for both Kenneth Gladney and his brother Keith.

I point this out because in my mind Gladney's testimony is clouded by the fact that he has had a financial incentive to tell a story consistent with the tea party narrative nearly from day one.

Brian Matthews Hearing

Brian Matthews was one of the people arrested outside of the August 6th Townhall meeting for Congressman Russ Carnahan. Matthews was not involved the scuffle that was the source of right-wing conspiracy theories that Obama sent "union thugs" to beat people up, but rather was accused of "interfering with an officer" after the scuffle.

Matthews had a court hearing on Thursday, and the behavior of the guards was pretty strange. According to Reboot Congress, the Campaign for Liberty's Kelly Owens was allowed into the courtroom to watch the hearing, but only after some effort. However, Brian's friend was not allowed into the courtroom. Owens reported that there were 81 empty chairs in the room.

There are several problems with the case against Matthews that can be observed by comparing the police report to the video of the arrest.

First, Matthews is charged with "interfering with the duties of a police officer" (p. 11). However, in the video, it's clear that Matthews (dark blue shirt and long ponytail) is actually trying to lead Javonne away from the scene.

Second, the police report (p. 11) claims that "As Captain Monteleone was assisting us with crowd control a subject, later identified as Brian Matthews, walked up to him and purposely fell onto the sidewalk in front of him."   But you can see from the video (1:42) that Matthews was walking in front of the officer away from the scene when he fell.

Finally, the report claims that Matthews was "on the ground yelling that he was being beaten by the police, trying to draw attention to himself."  However, in the video you can very clearly hear Javonne speaking as she is arrested.  Matthews is right next to her.  If he was "yelling" it would have been picked up on the video.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Links from the the St. Louis Progressive Blogosphere-Week 2

In an effort to better familiarize people with the progressive St. Louis blogosphere, I've been collecting some links from bloggers around the city. Please check out the links below and see if anything strikes your fancy:
  • Eric Vieth at Dangerous Intersection offers a review of No Impact Man, discusses net neutrality, hammers Wall Street, criticizes the role of private contractors in Afghanistan, and hammers Wall Street some more.
  • Ryan Witt at the Political Buzz Examiner provides a steady stream of news and analysis of national events.
  • SharkFu at AngryBlackBitch discussed Harry Reid's comments, Mark McGuire, and Pat Robertson.
  • Michael Allen at Ecology of Absence highlighted an interesting New Geography tour captured on video of East St. Louis, offered some thoughts on the Arch Design Competition jury, and discussed a legislative threat to the historic tax credits that have aided restoration projects across Missouri.
  • Vihar at Green Rising asks How Much Hate is Actually Out There?, lists some startling environmental facts, and discusses the upcoming public transit ballot initiative.
  • Chris at St. Louis Patina takes beautiful pictures of St. Louis architecture such as the continental building, Downtown and Midtown, and Old North.
  • Steve at Urban Review STL defended the St. Louis Amtrak station, offered a warning of what would happen if we don't pass the April 6 Proposition A ballot initiative to fund public transit,
  • and discussed the proposal to remove a section of I-70 that blocks the city to river connection.
  • Mary Bushnell discussed the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act that hopefully will be on the November ballot.
  • Michael at Viaticum discussed his year without a car, and encouraged donations to Haiti as well as debt relief for the country.
  • Sean at FiredUp continued his great reporting on the unethical political moves of congressional candidate Ed Martin.
  • Hotflash at Show Me Progress reported on Bill McClellan's speech to the West County Dems, as well as a nice column he wrote. Speaking of SMP and McClellan, WillyK rightfully goes after this extremely weak argument by McClellan later in the week.
  • Madame Chouteau discussed demolition concerns in Soulard and also some of the problems associated with Mardi Gras.
  • Thomas Chrone at Creative St. Louis has M-F postings on the people, places, things, and traditions that make St. Louis interesting.
  • Nathaniel Dempsey was shocked that CNBC did some investigative reporting about Wal-Mart.
  • B.E.L.T. St. Louis asked why a perfectly useable building was torn down.
  • Andrew at Exquisite Struggle discusses the idea of walkability as well as some creative transpiration options.
  • Vegan Thyme continues to provide delicious vegan recipes.
  • Bernie Hayes examines the St. Louis Black Radio Hall of Fame.
  • The Angry Independent at Mirror on America suggests that Palin's hiring by Fox News shows that ignorance is rewarded in America and looks at Obama and race after one year.
  • The East-West Gateway points out that St. Louis's earnings tax does not prevent the city from outpacing other counties in job growth.
  • The Liberal Elitist says that, yes, Rush Limbaugh really is an idiot.
  • Devil's Tower, a frontpager at Daily Kos, reminds us of the violent element in the right-wing movement.
  • The Vital Voice reported on the opening of the new office foe SAGE, a nonprofit that provides support for GLBT elders.
  • Finally, a new blog has been created to keep people updated about the progress of the campaign to save public transit in St. Louis. Next Stop STL also provides great transit information.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

St. Louis Activist Events for Jan 18-24

UPDATE: The Riverfront Times has a great list of events raising money for Haiti going on every night of the week.

Monday, Jan. 18, for a list of the many events and volunteer opportunities going on for MLK Day, including a fundraiser for Haiti, click here.

Also Monday, Organizing For America will be phone banking for Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley, who needs to win in order for health care reform to pass, starting at 4 PM at their office on California and Cherokee.  There will also be GOTV for Coakley at the St. Charles Democratic headquarters.

Tuesday, Jan. 19, Frank Lorberbaum, a St. Louis environmental leader, will be sharing what he learned at the Copenhagen summit at the Webster University Library Conference Room (101 Edgar Rd) from noon to 1:20 PM.  The event is sponsored by the Webster Earth Alliance.

Also Tuesday, the Workers International League is hosting Health Care: A Right, Not a Privilege from 6 to 8 PM at the Carpenter Library (3309 S. Grand).

Wednesday, Jan. 20, The Covenant House will host the Jewish Community MLK Celebration from noon to 1 PM.  They are asking people to bring canned food donations.

Also Wednesday, the Holden Public Policy Forum is hosting a watch party for Jay Nixon's State of the State Address from 6:30 to 8 PM in the Sunnen Lounge of Webster University Center.

Also Wednesday, the International Institute of St. Louis (3654 S. Grand) is hosting Immigration 101 from 7 to 8:30 PM.

Also Wednesday, the Atomic Cowboy (4140 Manchester)is hosting a benefit for Haiti from 8:30 PM to 3 AM.

Thusday, Jan 21, the Human Rights Campaign is holding a meeting for anyone interested in helping to plan their Gala Dinner from 7 to 8 PM at Coldwell Banker, 4320 Hampton. 

Friday, Jan. 22, the Freedom of Choice Council is hosting a reception for the 37th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade at The Wine Press (4436 Olive) from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.

Also Friday, Tippin for a Cause at Bar 5 (4127 Manchester) from 6:30 to 9 raises money for the developmentally disabled clients of JESS.  

Also Friday, the Karen House Catholic Worker (1840 Hogan) will be hosting a discussion on Putting a Human Face on the Economy: A Discussion on Distributism at 7 PM.

Also Friday, there will be a JamFest for Haiti Benefit Concert at the Billiken Club at SLU from 8 to 11 PM. 

Also Friday, the Gramophone(4243 Manchester) will also be hosting a benefit for Haiti from 8 PM to 3 AM. 

Also Friday, the PROMO Winter Comedy Night features Kate Clinton at the 560 Music Building (560 Trinity in U-City) from 8:30 to 10:30.

Saturday, January 23, The Society of Black Student Social Workers at Washington University are hosting a "Financial Freedom Seminar: Tying Loose Ends-Becoming Financially Secure" from 8 AM to 3 PM.

Also Saturday is the Hope Summit, a meeting of people who support stem cell research, from 8 AM to 8 PM at the Sheraton St. Louis City Hotel (400 S. 14th St.).

Also Saturday will be a Free Tax Seminar for Same-Sex Couples at St. John's Parrish Hall (3664 Arsenal) from 11 AM to 1 PM.

Also Saturday is a going away party for Michael McPhearson, longtime executive director of Veterans for Peace, at Legacy Cafe (5429 Delmar) from 6:30 to 9:30 PM.

Sunday, January 24, the St. Louis Vegan Network is having Brunch at the Black Bear Bakery(2639 Cherokee) from 11 AM to 1 PM.

Also Sunday, there will be a Haiti Relief Potluck at 4547 Gibson Ave. from 6 to 11 PM.

Also Sunday, there will be an informational meeting for students interested in working to help pass the April 6 ballot initiative to fund public transit in St. Louis from 7 PM to 9 PM at the Danforth University Center on the Wash U campus.  

MLK Day Events and Volunteer Opportunities

Sunday, January 17: 

The Missouri History Museum hosts the New Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Gospel Choir at 2:30 in their auditorium.

Florissant Valley Community  College is holding a special program Realizing the Dream through Civic and Community Engagement at 3 PM in the Fischer Theatre with keynote speaker Gilberto Pinela.

Former Post-Dispatch Columnist Sylvester Brown will be speaking on "Defining a Racial Agenda in a 'Post-Racial' Society" at 3 PM at the Northminster Presbyterian Church, 1570 Chambers Road,Dellwood.

Monday, January 18:

The P-D Suburban Journals list a number of volunteer opportunities in St. Charles County from 8 AM to 8 PM.

The United Way is coordinating a number of service projects that begin at 9 AM, followed by lunch and dialogue from 1 to 3 PM. The facebook group is here.

Student United Way at Harris Stowe will be volunteering at Dunbar Elementary School (1415 N. Garrison) from 9 AM to noon.

Christ Church Cathedral will be holding a Community Read-In in Honor of Dr. King from 9 AM to 5 PM.

The annual observance in St. Louis City begins with a ceremony at 10 AM followed by a march at 11:30.  Many local groups will be there, including the Instead of War Coalition.  This will be followed by performances at the Powell Symphony Hall.

UMSL has am MLK Observance at the Touhill at 10 AM featuring keynote speaker Jabari Asim and lunch at 11, followed by a service projects until 5 PM.

The SLU Campus Kitchen and The Mission Continues are hosting a canned food drive from 10 AM to noon at Dematt Hall on the campus and are looking for extra volunteers.

SSM St. Joseph Health Center is having a remembrance from 11 AM to 1 PM in the St. Charles room of the hospital.

The Royale is hosting a benefit including matching donations for Haiti starting at 11:30 AM.

Saint Louis University is hosting a Seeds of Courage presentation in honor of Dr. King at noon in the chapel of SLU hospital.

Lindenwood University is hosting a ceremony in honor of Dr. King at 12:30 in the third floor atrium of the Spellman Center on the main campus.

The Urban Studio Cafe is hosting a philosophical discussion of Civil Disobedience from 6:30 to 7:30.

Washington University will host their annual observance in Graham Chapel at 7 PM, followed by a reception at 8:30. 

Mustard Seed Theatre at Fontbonne is performing "Shame the Devil" about abolitionist, actress, wife and mother Fanny Kemble at 7 PM.

Wednesday, Jan. 20:
The Covenant House will host the Jewish Community MLK Celebration from noon to 1 PM.  They are asking people to bring canned food donations.

Saturday, January 23:
The Society of Black Student Social Workers at Washington University are hosting a "Financial Freedom Seminar: Tying Loose Ends-Becoming Financially Secure" from 8 AM to 3 PM.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Absolute devastation there as a result of a massive earthquake.  Huffington Post has a really good stream of updated news.  The Riverfront Times has a list of planned benefits for Haiti in the St. Louis area and I believe will be updating it as more are planned.  Finally, the Washington Post has listed many ways people can help out.  Feel free to suggest your own in the comments.

Monday, January 11, 2010

St. Louis Activist Events for Jan 12-18

This Week's Events:

Tags used in this post: #race exhibit #MLK Day #lgbt #human rights #environment #animal welfare #education #peace #community #legal reform #arts

Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Missouri History Museum, in anticipation of their major exhibit Race: Are We So Different?, will be screening the movie "Long Story Short" at noon. #race exhibit

Also Tuesday,
from 2 to 7 PM there will be an open house at the SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders) Metro St. Louis Center, located at 2710 S. Grand. #lgbt

Also Tuesday, Amnesty International is having their monthly business meeting from 7 to 8:30 at Bethel Lutheran Church (7001 Forsyth). #human rights

Also Tuesday, 1SKy is asking you to take 5 minutes to call your Senators and ask them to support climate legislation for green jobs, the climate, and our future. #environment

Also Tuesday, the St. Louis Animal Rights Team (START) is having their monthly meeting at7 PM at the Brentwood Community Center (2505 S. Brentwood). They will be discussing the upcoming ballot initiative campaign to end cruelty at Missouri puppy mills. #animal welfare

Also Tuesday, the elected Saint Louis Board of Education will be having a board meeting with a presentation from Dr. Sullivan-Brown on the "Best System of School Governance" at 7 PM at Carr Lane School (1004 N. Jefferson). #education

Also Tuesday, Veterans for Peace local chapter 61 is presenting "Rethink Afghanistan" at the Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust) at 8 PM. #peace

Wednesday, Jan 13, Urban Eats Cafe (3301 Meramec) is hosting a Well-Read Wednesday discussion with A Broken Mirror author John Rolens at 6 PM. #community

Also Wednesday, the Urban League Young Professionals of Metropolian St. Louis are meeting from 6 to 8 PM at the Boeing Company, Building 100 Auditorium (Airport Rd. and McDonnel Blvd., Berkeley, MO). #community

Also Wednesday, Schlafly and RFT are sponsoring a monthly Saint Louis Neighborhood tour, focused primarily on bars. This week's tour focuses on Maplewood and starts at 7 PM. #community

Also Wednesday, the LGBT Community Center of Metropolitan St. Louis is hosting a Transgender Community Issues Discussion Forum at 7 PM. #lgbt

Thursday, January 14, Drinking Liberally of St. Louis City is meeting at the Premium Lounge (4199 Manchester) from 6:30 to 9:30. #community

Also Thursday, author Stephan Schwab discusses his book Guantanamo, USA at Left Bank Book's downtown location (321 N. 10th) at 7 PM. #human rights

Also Thursday, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment is hosting Big River, from the guys who made "King Corn", about the environmental effects of corn on the waterways.  The movie screens at 7 PM at the Tivoli and will be followed by a panel discussion by Executive Director Kat Logan Smith, Law & Policy Coordinator Caroline Ishida, and Youth Partnership Executive Director Maggie Menefee.  #environment

Also Thursday, the monthly meeting of St. Louis NORML is from 7:15 to 8:30 at Mokabe's Coffee House (Arsenal and Grand). #legal reform

Also Thursday, the team that sent a bus to the National Equality March in D.C. is hosting a 10,000 for Charity Benefit Show at Nancy's Place (4510 Manchester) from 8 to 11 PM #lgbt

Friday, January 15, Active Citizen 360 is providing pizza and screening political thriller "The Interpreter" at the Civitas HQ (10845 Olive, Suite 155) from 6 to 9:30 PM.

Saturday, January 16 is the grand opening of the major Race: Are We So Different exhibition a the Missouri History Musem.  You can read the Post-Dispatch's write-up of the exhibition here.  In conjunction with the exhibit UMSL Professor Dr. Jackie Lewis Harris will be speaking about of the anthropology related to the exhibit at 2 PM.  There will also be a theatrical production Race to the Finish at 3 PM at the Museum. #race exhibit

Also Saturday, there will be a fundraiser for the community arts center SCOSAG at the Tin Can Tavern (1909 Locust) starting at 6 PM. #arts

Sunday, Jan 17, Mic the People for the People and TOCO Charity Open Mic at Off Broadway (3509 Lemp) from 2 to 6 PM will raise money from Tapestry of Community Offerings and the Community Arts and Media Project. #arts #community

Also Sunday, The Missouri History Museum is hosting a Musical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at 2:30 PM. #race exhibit #MLK Day

Also Sunday, there will be the third installment of the NOH8 Photoshoot at Nancy's Place (4510 Manchester Ave.), from 7 to 11 PM. #lgbt

Also Sunday, the Instead of War Coalition will hold a vigil for peace at College Church on the corner of Lindell and Grand. #peace

Monday, Jan. 18, as has been said many times, Martin Luther King Jr. Day should be a "day on," not a "day off."  Come participate in the annuel gathering and march downtown.  Join the presentation at the Old Courthouse at 10 AM and/or the March starting at 11 AM.  The Instead of War Coalition and many other community groups will be there.  And please check out this list of possible volunteer opportunities. Washington University will also host a commemoration later from 7 to 9 PM. #MLK Day

Sunday, January 10, 2010

St. Louis Blog Posts From the Past Week

St. Louis has a variety of great blogs from progressive viewpoints, but unfortunately many of those blogs are isolated in their own little corner of cyberspace, and we don't do a great job interacting with each other (with the definite exception of the urban planning blogs who have an amazing online community). To a large extent, I think this serves as a disincentive for progressives and activists to start blogging in St. Louis, since it can take a long time to build up enough of a following to feel like you're having a conversation rather than talking to the wind. So, in order to do my small part, I'm posting some interesting blog posts from the past week to try to get people more familiar with the St. Louis blogging community. I'm sure I missed some great posts, so please feel free to post your own favorite blog posts from the St. Louis area in the past week.

Blog Posts from the Past Week:
(in no particular order)

  • Former Post-Dispatch columnist Sylvester Brown offered his perspective on the Obama administration one year later.
  • Jim Zavist discussed the crime-prevention vs energy conservation considerations that arise from streetlights on the Urban Review Blog.
  • Eric Vieth at Dangerous Intersection is critical of the new Highway 40/I-64 design for failing to leave room for bicycle paths or future metrolink expansions. He also reviewed the recent movie Food, Inc.
  • Ryan Witt at the Examiner does a great job with frequently updated news and analysis from a progressive perspective.
  • Patricia at Write2BeHeard updated people on the Gaza March.
  • Mike Baldwin at Viaticum discusses how you can help the homeless in the cold.
  • Devilstower at DailyKos (a St. Louis area resident) explained how "the naughts" were a trial of conservative ideology, and the results clearly showed that the ideology is flawed. Later in the week, he wrote about the destructive consequences of mountaintop coal removal in "It's only Appalachia."
  • Next Stop STL discussed the opening of the Vandenter Bridge and also discussed how Metro responds to heavy snowstorms.
  • Michael Allen at Ecology of Absence wrote about Accomplishments an Opportunities in St. Louis Place. He also advocated for slowing down the process in Paul McKee's bid to massively redevelop Northside.
  • Dave at the Arch City Chronicle broke news that Don Calloway was considering jumping into the State Senate 14 primary .
  • Shark Fu questioned whether reports that there is "nothing wrong" with Rush Limbaugh's heart could possibly be correct. She also was not-so-patiently waiting for the "defenders of the sacred institution of marraige" to start getting upset about recent developments around divorce rates.
  • Lois at The Curios Kitchen laments the superficial state of the modern mall.
  • Hotflash at Show Me Progress gave an example of the often overlooked value of having competent technocrats in the Obama administration, as opposed to the Heckuva Job Brownies we were stuck with in previous years. She also examined Mountain Top Removal of Coal.
  • And WillyK, also at Show Me Progress, discusses the fiscal irresponsibility of Republicans.
  • Finally, Byron DeLear at SMP wrote a diary with a very positive assessment of the recent movie Avatar.
  • Crazy Drum Guy had some fun with Steele's announcement that the GOP "might not be ready to lead" and weak attempts by Republicans to criticize Obama over use of the word "terrorism."
  • Alex at the Saint Louis Urban Workshop wrote about how Walmart, TIF, and Musical Chair Development may devastate St. Ann.
  • The St. Louis Social Media Report wrote up a post about the death of a St. Louis blogger thought to have invented the term "blogosphere."
  • Paul at Vanishing STL examines the space reuse experiment known at Crestwood Court.
  • Colin Murphy at Vital Voice kicks off a new series honoring local LGBT icons.
  • The Vegan Thyme blog offers a steady stream of delicious vegan recipes.
  • Rick at STL Rising discusses the idea of opening up parts of the city so that they are more connected to the river.
  • Chris at St. Louis Patina offers beautiful pictures of the urban landscape in St. Louis (and the places he visits).
  • Finally, Nicholas Phillips at the RFT describes the recent legal threats by coal companies against local activist Brian DeSmet who created a satirical website mocking the PR term "clean coal."

There were also some interesting opinions by the St. Louis editorial board on the subjects of coal-fired power plants, the death penalty, and some of the proposed taxes in the health care bills.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Interview: Gladney says he Took McCowan Down

I stumbled across an amazing interview yesterday. In the interview, this is what Tea Party hero Kenneth Gladney had to say:
One of them tried to take a couple of them away, then when I took them back, they got all pushy with me. So I took the guy [reverend] down, and the others shoved me to the ground and started kicking me in the head.
If Gladney "took down" McCowan, I don't see how charges can legitimately be filed against McCowan. Of course, I'm also skeptical about the claim that others were "kicking him in the head," considering that there is no evidence of this in the original video.

Monday, January 4, 2010

St. Louis Activist Events for Jan 4-10

This week's events:


Monday, January 4, the St. Louis Instead of War coalition holds their monthly meeting at the World Community Center (438 N. Skinker) at 7 PM. #PEACE

Tuesday, January 5, the St. Louis Women's Chorus CHARIS is wrapping up their 17th season and inviting people to sing with them. The event is from 7 to 9:30 PM at the First Divine Science Church, 3617 Wyoming Street. #COMMUNITY

Also Tuesday, West County Drinking Liberally will be meeting from 7 to 9 PM at th Branica Wine Bar (451 S. Kirkwood Rd). #COMMUNITY

Wednesday, January 6, the First Wednesday Lunch meeting for local progressives will be at 4909 Delmar from 11:30 to 1:30. #COMMUNITY

Also Wednesday, the St. Louis Gender Youth Group is meeting from 7 to 10PM at the SPOT (4169 Laclede). #LGBT

Also Wednesday, Vital VOICE Magazine is celebrating the launch of their new magazine at the SOL Nighclub (4239 Lindell) from 7 to 10 PM. #LGBT

Also Wednesday, the Interfaith Committee on Latin America is holding a followup meeting to the annual trek down to the School of the Americas. The event will be at the St. Louis University High School (on Oakland just West of Kingsbury) at 7 PM. #INTERNATIONAL

Also Wednesday, the Gateway Green Alliance and the Universal African People's Organization are holding a Black and Green Wednesday discussion of Farm to Cafeteria: Kids, Gardens, Schools at 7 PM at Legacy Books and Cafe (5429 Delmar). #ENVIRONMENT

CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER:Thursday, January 7, before the counter-protest of Fred Phelp's Hate Cult at Lady Gaga's concert, there's going to be a counter-protest of Phelp's Hate Cult at Parkway North High School (12860 Fee Fee Rd) from 2:15 to 3:15. #LGBT

Also Thursday, THE media event of the week for sure will be a huge counterprotest of the Fred Phelp's Cult, a group that travels around the country holding "God Hates Fags" signs, sometimes even at soldier's funerals. The Phelps group decided to hold their protest outside of the Lady Gaga concert at the Fox Theatre (527 N. Grand), and there will be an extremely fun counterprotest outside. A couple of the the creative tactics being used by counterprotesters: having a kiss-in in front of the Phelps clan and having a "Phelp-Look-A-Like Protest". The madness starts at 6 PM. #LGBT

Also Thursday, the Interfaith Committee on Latin America will be having dinner and discussing an upcoming accompaniment and action for Honduras at 7 PM at 6922 Manchester Rd . #INTERNATIONAL

Also Thursday, there will be a very interesting discussion of the role of Web-Based Advocacy in St. Louis at the Urban Eats Cafe (3301 Meramec Aveneu) from 7:30 to 9 PM sponsored by St. Louis City Affair. #COMMUNITY #URRBANISM

Thursday through Saturday, "Love! Valour! Compassion!" shows at the Kranzberg Arts Center (501 N. Grand). #LGBT #ART

Friday, January 8, apparently the Phelps family decided to terrorize one more school before they left town, and Show Me No Hate will steadfastly be there to counterprotest them again. The counterprotest will be from 7 to 8 AM at Parkway South High School (801 Hanna Rd.) #LGBT

Friday through Sunday, Playback Workshop Theatre's new performance "Homegrown" about racism in St. Louis will be debuting at the Phyllis Wheatley Heritage Center (2711 Locust). #RACE #ART

Saturday, January 9, The International Institute of St. Louis (3654 S. Grand) is holding their Annual Children's Holiday Party from 10 AM to 3 PM and is still looking for some volunteers to help out. #INTERNATIONAL

Also Saturday, Lesbian comedian Steph Hoth will be performing at Nancy's Place, 4510 Manchester, from 9 to 11 PM. #LGBT

Also Saturday, NOH8 will be having their 2nd St. Louis Photo Shoot at the Manchester Underground Dance party (3960 Chouteau) from 9 PM to midnight. #LGBT #ART

Sunday, January 10, the weekly Vigil for Peace will be at College Church on the corner of Grand and Lindell at 7 PM. #PEACE

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's Official! St. Louis Tea Party Now Thinks Your Dogcatcher is Involved in Massive Government Conspiracy

If you've been following the Kenneth Gladney saga closely, you will recall that according to the St. Louis Tea Party, President Obama, Health Care for America Now, SEIU, the AFL-CIO, Russ Carnahan, David Axelrod, and Kathleen Sebelius all ordered "thugs" to attend an August 6 Town Hall meeting to attack random people selling political merchandise.  Of course, as I've pointed out several times since then, the video of the event doesn't show anyone being "severely beaten" as the tea partiers claim, and the only witnesses who say that Gladney was assaulted have questionable backgrounds.  Anyway, to continue with the tea party narrative, they then believe that after this massive government conspiracy to attack a random person occured, there was another massive government conspiracy to delay and demote the charges against the "thugs" perpetuated by St. Louis County Counselor Patricia Reddington, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCullough, County Executive Charlie Dooley, and the St. Louis County Council.  In the process of inventing this ridiculous story, several of the local tea party members have libeled county officials, and have refused to apologize even after their charges were proven to be completely false.

Well, this stellar conspiracy theory has now achieved a new, amazing landmark: the St. Louis Tea Party is now claiming that your local dogcatcher is involved in the massive government conspiracy!  Here's why: a few days before Christmas, Keith Gladney, the brother of Kenneth, was fired from his position at the Animal Control.  The Tea Party alleges that this is a clear case of political retaliation.  Their evidence?  The fact that the Animal Control Department operates within the St. Louis County Department of Health, which is "reported to have a close working relationship with SEIU Local 1."  According to Tea Party "logic," SEIU is the most evil criminal enterprise of all time, so anyone who can be linked to them in six degrees of separation or less should be automatically thrown in prison.  And, of course, we're supposed to "take Jim Durbin's word" that the situation is very "suspicious."  Jim Durbin, the guy known for questionable mental stability, who has refused to apologize after spreading blatant damaging falsehoods about the County Counselor, who personally attacks local reporters without any shred of evidence or ability to back up his claims, and who has claimed that the mission of the St. Louis Tea Party is to, "crush the monsters that steal our land and rob our people."   Yeah, you should take his word for it.

Also noteworthy is the fact that the Tea Party is raising money for the Gladney brothers.  Literally within a few days of the original altercation on August 6th, the tea party began raising money for Kenneth Gladney.  In my opinion, Gladney's testimony is tainted by the fact that he has been receiving money from a group with a clear ideological axe to grind from Day One.  Recall that Gladney's former "attorney," David Brown, the man largely responsible for turning this into a media spectacle, stated in the past that this incident was his "gravy train."   Funny, by the way, the the tea party refuses to talk about David Brown lately.

I don't wish getting fired upon anyone, especially in today's economy, and I'm sorry that Keith Gladney lost his job right before Christmas.  But the knee-jerk reflexive conspiracy theory reactions have gone well beyond the point of ridiculousness.  I really hope some of the groups and individuals maliciously attacked by the St. Louis Tea Party start fighting back by publicly calling out just how absurd the Tea Party rhetoric is.