Sunday, February 28, 2010

St.. Louis Activist Events for March 1 - 7

This Week's Events:

Monday, March 1, the Pre-Law Club at FPCC will be having a "Justice for Reggie" presentation by Jamala Rogers from 11 AM to 1 PM.

Also Monday, Food justice activist Bryant Terry will be speaking and putting on a cooking demo at 6 PM at the Danforth University Center of Washington University.

Also Monday, Show Me No Hate is holding a rally to Make Kirkwood Schools a Safe Haven by including sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination policies. The rally will be at 6 PM at the Kirkwood North Middle School (11287 Manchester N.).

Also Monday, the film Sunday, the Story of the Displaced, about one of the 1.7 million people displaced in Northern Uganda as a result of the insurgency, will be showing in Wilson 214 on the Wash U campus at 7 PM.

Also Monday, there will be a conversation on race from 7:30 to 9 PM at the Half Pint Room of the Schlafly Brewery on Locust.

Tuesday, March 2, Jamala Rogers will be facilitating a discussion of "On Borrowed Time," a documentary about Reggie Clemens, from 11 AM to 1 PM in the Forest Park Community College cafeteria.

Also Tuesday, there will be a resume clinic at the Royale from 1 to 5 PM.

Also Tuesday, a major phone bank for Clean American Power kicks off at the Repower America office at 8420 Delmar from 3 to 5 PM.

Also Tuesday, slam poet and filmmaker Kip Fulbeck will be speaking on his mixed experience at the Graham Chapel of Wash U as part of the Assembly Series.

Also Tuesday, Connect With... is hosting a discussion on Organizational Development from 5:30 to 8:30 at Webster Univesity. $15.

Also Tuesday, there will be a 100th birthday party for the Miriam Foundation at 5:30 at 9266 Clayton Road.

Also Tuesday, the SLU Transit Alliance will be holding an advocacy meeting to plan out how they can help with the Proposition A campaign.

Also Tuesday, Yoav Shamir's "Checkpoint" will be screened in January 110 on the Wash U campus at 7:30.

Wednesday, March 3, Students at Wash U are encouraged to vote for the Student Sustainability Fund!

-Cancelled Due to Illness-Also Wednesday, famous feminist Gloria Steinem will be speaking about human trafficking at the Graham Chapel at 4 PM at part of the Assembly Series.

Also Wednesday, there will be a Happy Hour for Safe Connections Young Professionals from 5 to 7 PM at the CWE Pi (400 N. Euclid).

Also Wednesday, check out the Dizzy Spell fundraiser from 8 to 11 PM at the Atomic Cowboy (4140 Manchester).

Thursday, March 4, United Way will be discussing their vision for the region from 7:30 to 8 AM at 910 N. 11th.

Also Thursday, there will be a regional food summit with Mark Winne at the Piper Palm House in Tower Grove Park from 8 AM to noon.

Also Thursday, if you have a lot more cash than me you can have lunch with Gloria Steinem from noon to 1 PM at the Norwood Hills Country Club. Note: Due to illness, State Auditor Susan Montee will be filling in for Gloria Steinem.

Also Thursday, the Art of Labor exhibit opens.

Also Thursday, Mike Owens of Channel 5 will be speaking at the Mosaic Restaurant (1001 Washington Ave.) from 6 to 7:30 PM as part of the Focus on Downtown discussion series.

Also Thursday, SLU is hosting a screening of an Invisible Children documentary about the ongoing civil war in Uganda and Central Africa in the Kelly Auditorium from 7:30 to 9:30 PM.

Also Thursday, this month's edition of City Affair will focus on gentrification and will be from 7:30 to 9 PM at the STYLEhouse (3155 Cherokee).

Saturday, March 6, the Sisterhood one in the Spirit conference will be at UMSL.

Also Saturday will be one of the last chances to join a NOH8 photo shoot at Just John (4112 Manchester) from 7 to 11 PM.

Sunday, March 7, the Community Arts Media Project along with the Finders Hive and the UpCycle Exchange, will be Turning Trash Into Books from 2 to 4 PM.

Also Sunday, there will be a vegan chili contest from 3 to 6 PM at 16601 Wild Horse Creek Rd. in Chesterfield.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Peaceful Rally for Non-Discrimination

Ryan Schuessler, from the Kirkwood high school Gay Straight Alliance will appeal to the Kirkwood School Board on Monday March 1, to include Sexual Orientation in the Kirkwood School District non-discrimination policy...Show Me No Hate will be peacefully rallying outside starting at 6:00pm

Details at the Show Me No Hate website (where I got the picture).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Newsflash! James O'Keefe is not a "Nice Young Man" w/ Exclusive STL Video

The local St. Louis Tea Party, like most on the far right, loves them some James O'Keefe. This is because O'Keefe's highly edited, completely out-of-context, and in fact blatantly dishonest videos seriously damaged ACORN, a group that works in low-income, minority communities. ACORN registers a lot of people to vote in these communities, and since they vote to make their own lives better, this inevitably hurts a Republican Party built to defend the profits of the wealthiest Americans and corporations.

Even after James O'Keefe and three others were arrested in New Orleans, the local tea party rallied behind him. Gina Loudon, a so-called "political analyst" from the Tea Party, had picked O'Keefe as her "Political A-lister" earlier and defended her decision even after he was arrested, writing, "I proudly stand by my friends" and claiming O'Keefe was a "patriotic young prankster that was trying to expose corruption." Bill Hennessy called the people critical of O'Keefe's actions "cowards" and said that O'Keefe and fellow teabugger Joseph Basel were, "patriotic men of character." And Dana Loesch, who somehow manages to be constantly yelling even while online, said, "I’m withholding judgment because all we know comes from the Obama administration – NO ONE else." [italics hers, of course].

So why would anyone think that O'Keefe, who is willing to misleading edit, lie, and apparently even break the law to get a story, is a hero? I'm not convinced that the self-appointed leaders of the St. Louis Tea Party actually believe anything they say, but I'm sure some people actually see O'Keefe as a good person. The justification for such a strange belief would have to be the thought that all of these tactics which normally would be seen as unethical are being used (on tea party mythology) against a big, oppressive force that's trying to take away our freedom. Obviously they believe this about the government. And the Right has successfully portrayed ACORN to it's followers as a dangerous group that engages in all kinds of unethical behavior(such as "stealing elections") and corruption. In other words, they excuse O'Keefe because they think the ends justify the means.

Well, I have a video via my friend Ed Reggi from November 29 that I hope puts to rest all of these claims that O'Keefe is simply a nice young man fighting against the oppressive forces of socialism. James O'Keefe, while he was in town to speak at a St. Louis Tea Party rally, attended a Show Me No Hate Rally organized by people protesting the local Catholic Church's donation of thousands of dollars to oppose gay marriage. No "oppressive forces" here. No "corruption." Just a group of people fighting for their rights. Even if someone didn't agree with them, you certainly would agree that they have a right as Americans to express their beliefs. But even to a group of people just standing up for their rights, O'Keefe and Basel are total jerks:

Clearly, O'Keefe and Basel were ignoring the crowd's request for them to stand behind the line. In fact, the police had told everyone to stand behind the line. Even more ridiculous, O'Keefe and Basel tried to pretend that they were still "undercover" even after everyone knew who they were. Furthermore, several people at the rally saw O'Keefe's group write "free abortions" on one of the signs in an attempt to distort the protesters' message. These "champions of free speech" spent their time maliciously trying to interfere with another group of peoples' right to express themselves.

James O'Keefe is not a "nice young patriot with good character" trying to fight against oppression. He is a completely unprincipled person obsessed with his own fame and willing to trample over anyone who stands in the way of his extreme right-wing ideology. Gina Loudon, Bill Hennessy, Andrew Breitbart, Dana Loesch: you can stop pretending now.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

St.. Louis Activist Events for Feb 22-28

This Week's events:

Monday, Feb 22 is the start of Africa Week at Washington University, sponsored by the African Students Association. This year's theme is Myths and Legends. Check here for the full schedule.

Also Monday at 9:45, V-Day UMSL will be selling cookies to raise money for organizations that wok to end violence against women and girls at the Millennium Student Center at UMSL from 9:45 to 2:30.

Also Monday, long-running progressive TV show Laborvision will now be running at 4:30 pm on Channel 8 (for some houses it will be on Channel 98).

Also Monday, the St. Louis Young Dems are having their monthly meeting from 6:45 to 8:45 PM at Maggie O'Brien's.

Also Monday, David Swanson will be speaking at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid) about his book Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union at 7 PM.

Also Monday, Pride St. Louis is having a community meeting from 7 to 8:30 PM at Trinity Episcopal Church (600 N. Euclid).

Also Monday, there will be a panel on immigrant healthcare from 7:30 to 9:30 PM in the Carlo Auditorium of Tegeler Hall on the SLU campus.

Also Monday, Co-op Cafe at the Wash U Co-op (6021 Pershing) from 8:30 to 10 pm.

Tuesday, Feb 23, there will be a Talking Circle at the Schnucks room of the MO History Museum to discuss the material presented in the Race Exhibition from 4 to 7 PM.

Also Tuesday, Deb Lavender, candidate for state rep, will be discussing the creation of green jobs in Missouri from 5:30 to 7:30 at 1133 Colonnade Plaza in Des Peres.

Also Tuesday, prominent anti-racist activist Tim Wise will be speaking at the Missouri History Museum from 7 to 9 PM.

Also Tuesday, there will be a dialogue on Don't Ask Don't Tell at the Busch Student Center Room 251 from 7 to 8:30 pm sponsored by the SLU roundtable.

Wednesday, Feb. 24, the film American Violet, about the true story of a single African-American mother falsely accused of dealing drugs in Texas, will be showing at Forest Park Community College (5600 Oakland Ave) from 11 AM to 1 PM.

Also Wednesday, Laura Bernstein will be leading a discussion on how intimate partner violence affects LGBT people from 8:30 to 9:30 at Ursa's Fireside Cafe on the Wash U campus.

Also Wednesday, Just John Nightclub(4112 Manchester) is hosting a Pride Idol competition from 9 PM to midnight.

Wednesday and Thursday, the Vagina Monologue is playing at UMSL from 7:30 to 9 PM at the JC Penny Building.

Thursday, Feb. 25, There will be a discussion of the realities of immigration at SLU and St. Louis at the SLU Campus Ministry at Wuller Hall from noon to 1:30.

Also Thusday, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts is hosting a really interesting panel on Redefining Neighborhoods from 7 to 9 PM.

Also Thursday, Grace United Methodist Church will be showing the documentary film We Must Kill the Bandits in a fundraiser for Haiti at 7 PM.

Also Thursday, Llywelyn's Pub is holding a Speed Dating for Haiti fundraiser from to 9 PM.

Friday, Feb. 26, the SLU Urban Planning Association will be hosting a Metro Transit Panel from 5:30 to 6:30 at Tegeler Hall, 3550 Lindell, Room 102.

Also Friday, Tracking Progress is hosting a Coffee Party at Foam Coffee and Beer (3359 S. Jefferson) from 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM.

Saturday, Feb 27, starting at 8 AM, the Young Blacks Give Back campaign will be meeting at the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club (2901 N. Grand).

Also Saturday, the Ethical Society of St. Louis is hosting For the Love of Pancakes, a benefit to support LGBTQ youth from 9 AM to 1 PM.

Also Saturday, the Catholic Action Network is having a winter retreat starting at 11 AM; click here for more details.

Also Saturday, the Missouri Democratic Party Asian American Caucus-St. Louis County Chapter will be meeting at the Haveli Restaurant (9720 Page) from 3 to 5 PM.

Also Saturday, St. Louis Amnesty is holding SLAmnesty featuring spoken word artist Shihan from 8 to 10 PM at the Billiken Club.

Sunday, Feb 28, there will be a benefit for Stray Rescue of St. Louis from 10 AM to 7 PM at REHAB Bar and Lounge (4054 Chouteau).

Also Sunday, Crafting with Purpose will feature knitting/crocheting for homeless youth at 1009 Russell from noon until 7 PM.

Also Sunday, there will be an Open Ally Workshop in Danforth University Center room 23t from 1 to 4 PM on the Wash U campus.

Also Sunday, there will be a benefit for SAGE Metro St. Louis and That Uppity Theatre Company from 2 to 5 PM at 21 O'Fallon Street.

Also Sunday, Art Dimensions (2720 Cherokee, 2nd Floor Gallery) is showing the movie Who Does She Think She Is at 5 PM.

Ongoing: Don't forget the much acclaimed Race exhibit at the MO History Museum.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tea Party Harrases Reporter and Participants at Rally for Melanie Shouse

St. Louis Tea Party representative Adam Sharp literally seems to believe that he is the most oppressed person in America. He continuously indulges in the most blatant unethical and obnoxious behavior, and then whines about how oppressed he was afterwards. A few weeks ago, he attended a pro-health care reform rally lying and trying to distort the protesters message, and then whined about how participants were "stiffling dissent" because they blocked his misleading sign. He snuck into the OFA office opening and then whined about a seven-year-olds drawing on the wall. And he spends all of his time trying to harrass progressives and then blames Obama for the fact that he didn't work more hours this year.

But yesterday takes the cake. Sharp dressed up in an SEIU jacket (again blatently lying to conceal his identity) to attend a rally honoring Melanie Shouse, the local health care activist who passed away from breast cancer. At a rally attended by many of Melanie's friends, Sharp spent his time harrasing participants and Fox2 News's Charles Jaco, who had recently run a special report on Melanie's life (tune in at 1:45 to see me ask Sharp about his skills at arguing with 7-year-old's drawings):

Yet, amazingly, Sharp again claims that he is the one being victimized. Only Adam Sharp would dishonor the life of a tireless activist, lie about his identity, and then pretend like other people are trying to oppress him. He literally is without shame or dignity.

Monday, February 15, 2010

St. Louis Activist Events for Feb. 15-21

This week's events:

Monday, Feb. 15, the Royale is hosting a St. Louis Birthday Bash with UMSL History Professor Fred Fausz at 5 PM.

Also Monday, the Peace Economy Project is holding a Wine, Not War! Fundraiser at the Wine Press, 4436 Olive, at 6 PM.

Also Monday, the Association for African American Collegians is holding a Black History Month Trivia Night at the Eden Library conference room from 6 to 8 PM.

Also Monday, Amnesty International at SLU is holding a Death Penalty Teach In from 7 to 9 PM at the St. Louis Room of the Busch Student Center.

Also Monday, Co-op Cafe this week will be from 8:30 to 10 at 6021 Pershing.

Tuesday, Feb. 16, there are several Lobby Day's at the Missouri State Capital. There's a Pro Choice Lobby Day, Bicycle Day, ACLU Bill of Rights Lobby Day, and Faithful Choices Lobby Day!

Also Tuesday, the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign is meeting at the Carpenter Branch Library (3309 S. Grand) to discuss the recent elections in Bolivia and current events in Venezuela at 6 PM.

Also Tuesday
, Controversy N' Coffee this month discusses gun control, public safety, and the constitution at 7:30 in the Danforth University Center room 276 on the WashU campus.

Wednesday, February 17, there will be a fundraiser for after school program Kids' Place at Racanelli's Cucina (6665 Delmar). From 11 AM to 10 PM, 20% of the order will go to the program.

Also Wednesday, there will be a Healthcare Reform Now rally in honor of healthcare activist Melanie Shouse at 4 PM at Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield (18th and Chestnut).

Also Wednesday
, Cocktails for a Cause at the Red Lion (7336 Manchester) will be raising money for Connect With.. from 6 to 8 PM.

Also Wednesday, Join the Whole Earth Nuclear Ukulele Orchestra at a fundraiser for KDHX at 2720 Cherokee from 7 PM to 1 AM.

Also Wednesday, there will be a fundraiser for KWUR in the Gargoyle at Washington University at 8 PM.

Thursday, Feb. 18,
the Not For Sale club at Wash U is putting on a fundraiser to help promote slavery-free chocolate and to build an education center for former child slaves in Uganda. They'll be at the Danforth University Center from 11 AM to 2:30 PM.

Also Thursday,
there will be a fundraiser for Kacie Starr Triplett from 5:30 to 8 Pm at 3108 Olive St.

Also Thursday,
the So Reel Racial Justice Lecture Series will feature a discussion of environmental racism from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Heritage Center (2711 Locust).

Also Thursday, the Save the Beavers fundraiser for the SLU Monologues will be at 9 PM at the Lofts 2601.

Friday, Feb. 19, Houses for Haiti: the Community Arts and Media Project will be selling house magnets and pins made by Kindergarten and First Grade students of the St. Louis Language Immersion School in a fundraiser for victims of the earthquake in Haiti from 5 to 10 PM.

Also Friday,
there will be a Trivia Night fundraiser for Food Outreach at Orlando Gardens (8352 Watson Rd.) from 6 to 10 PM with host Ed Reggi!

Saturday, Feb. 20, Pancakes for Possibilities will be raising money for UrbanFUTURE from 8 AM to 10 AM at Applebee's (4689 Chippewa).

Also Saturday, there will be a Women Led Prayer at the Center for Theology and Social Analysis (1077 S. Newstead) from 11 AM to 12:30 PM.

Also Saturday, the Bixsexual Alliance of St. Louis (BASL) is having their monthly social at Mokabe's Coffe House (3606 Arsenal) from 5 to 7 PM.

Sunday, Feb. 21, the Open Your Heart Annual Fundraiser from 5:30 to 9 PM at Harry's Downtown (2144 Market St.) will raise money for the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation).

Also Sunday, and every Sunday, there will be a Candlelight Vigil for Peace at 7 PM on the corner of Lindel and Grand.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why Dana Loesch Won't Respond To Me

Two days ago, right-wing radio host Dana Loesch baselessly attacked me in a series of comments on Twitter, suggesting that I was "stealing her intellectual property" when I debunked her talking points or reported on local tea party events.  I pointed out that she was completely wrong, and all of a sudden she "didn't have time to respond to every criticism."  She also attacked me by name on her facebook account.  Her husband also accused me of "libel" and "stealing intellectual property" on Twitter, spending hours arguing with people.  When I responded to him, all of a sudden he "didn't have time to respond to every criticism."  He also accused me of lying on his facebook account.  For some reason he had added me as a friend a while ago, so I posted my response to his attack.  He immediately blocked me on facebook, not allowing me to comment.  I guess he "didn't have time to respond to every criticism."  This is in fact part of a long pattern of behavior, where Loesch will make vague, unsubstantiated criticisms of me, and then categorically refuse to engage in discussion when I point out the inaccuracies of her claims.  I'm pretty sure that I know why. 
Before offering my hypothesis, let me point out a series of things that are definitely not the reason why she won't respond:
  1. She's too honorable to use her wide reach to attack specific individuals.  This is certainly not the case.  In addition to the her numerous personal attacks on other people (detailed below), she is willing to use my full name when she attacks me.  Furthermore, she even was willing to state my place of employment and suggest that I was somehow violating my school's policy.  In other words, not only is she willing to use her media to personally attack people, she's willing to use it to try to get people fired who criticize her (which btw, I am not at all worried about).  The only things she's not willing to mention are my blog and my Twitter account, because she knows that doing so would allow her readers to see my responses.
  2. She's unwilling to engage in debate with people who disagree with her: This is also not true.  Loesch has argued on Twitter with the St. Louis Young Dems, with a blogger named The Queen of Spain, and with David Shuster.  
  3. She won't validate people who personally attack her.  First of all, she will in fact argue with people who personally attack her.  I think it fits nicely into the whole conservative victimhood complex.  But more to the point, I actually don't personally attack her.  I have pointed out here and elsewhere numerous falsehoods and contradictions in her publicly stated political rhetoric, just as I have done with many other bloggers and politicians. But pointing out that someone is wrong is not the same as personally attacking that person.  In fact, I delete quite a few comments on my blog that are personally attacking her: claims that she is "a hick" or "didn't go to a good school."  I delete these claims both because they are unsubstantiated and because they are not relevant to evaluating Loesch's political stance.
  4. She doesn't have time.  She apparently has time to read my blog posts and tweets and to accuse me of "stealing intellectual property."  She also has time to attack me by name.  So why wouldn't she have time to respond to anything else?
So much for that.  But this leads us back to the question of why is it that she's unwilling to engage in actual debate or discussions, and particularly to give her readers any hint of where to find me on the internet?  I think there are two pretty obvious reasons:
First, her attacks are baseless, and she knows that I could point that out if she linked to my blog or Twitter account.  To be a little more specific:
  1. She claims that I make personal attacks.  As stated above, I focus on her political positions and do not care at all about her personal life.
  2. She claims that I am a stalker.  My responses are to her public content.  The whole point of blogs and twitter are to make your opinions public (at least in cases where they are kept public), so you can hardly complain when someone responds to them.  Compare this to true stalkerish behavior, like that of right-winger Jim Durbin, threatening to "release personal information" of people who disagree with him.  She also claims that I "stalk" other right-wing bloggers Durbin, Bill Hennessy, Gina Loudon, and John Loudon.  The only way someone could "stalk" all those people is if the word "stalk" simply means, "reads some the blog posts of."
  3. She claims I steal her intellectual property.  Nope, everything I do is protected by the fair use doctrine of copyright law.
  4. She claims that I'm a liar.  I document all of my posts with links and screenshots so that people can make up their own minds.  In some cases I might not post screenshots for the sake of readability, but I'm happy to provide them if people ask.  This is in stark contrast to Loesch and her husband who attack me without providing any evidence whatsoever.  If they want to accuse me of lying, or any of the above character flaws, they have an obligation to provide evidence.
So an inability to back up her attacks is one huge reason she won't engage in discussion with me.  But an ever bigger reason, in my opinion, is that she knows that I am able to point out the falsehoods, personal attacks, and hypocrisy that basically are the bread and butter of her public persona:
  1. Personal attacks.  Dana falsely accused St. Louis County Counselor Patricia Reddington of not looking at medical records before filing charges.  Last week, she mindlessly attacked my friend Melanie Shouse, a recent victim of breast cancer, without knowing anything about Melanie's situation.  She called a woman a "union thug" last year and accused her of attacking a tea partier when in fact the man attacked her.  All of these people are human beings with families who would be wounded by Loesch's smears, yet Loesch somehow thinks it's perfectly OK to personally attack people with whom she disagrees.
  2. Falsehoods.  All of the above cases involve blatant falsehoods.  Loesch also completely fabricated a story claiming that the federal government was funneling people to ACORN.  She also claimed that an HCAN rally was "astroturf" because it had people with Obama shirts, but she actually used video from an OFA rally two weeks before.  
  3. Intellectual dishonesty. In none of the above cases does Loesch ever acknowledge that she was wrong or inaccurate.  In the case where she called the woman a "union thug," she simply deleted her original post without mentioning a word about it being false.  Even Fox News apologizes for using video from the wrong rally, but Loesch simply ignored the fact that her video was from the wrong rally when it was pointed out to her.  She continually provides false information to her fans, and she is unwilling to correct herself even when the claims are shown to be false beyond all reasonable doubt.
  4. Hypocrisy.  Several of the above are great examples of blatant hypocrisy, since Loesch falsely accuses me of doing things she does on  regular basis.  There are others as well.  Loesch constantly rails against "political correctness," yet she's willing to accuse people of racism simply for not believing right-wing story-lines about events.  Similarly, she makes jokes about "tea bags," but she acts as if it's a "slur" when Democratic politicians or liberals use the term.
  5. Astroturfing and Phony Bluster.  Loesch pretends that the leaders of the local tea party (including herself) are committed to conservative principles rather than carrying water for the Republican Party, but her actions speak differently.  Loesch screamed and threatened that the tea party would be "coming for Blunt" if he didn't endorse conservative candidate Doug Hoffman.  Blunt ignored them, and they simply quieted down and have been carrying water for Blunt ever since
So I certainly don't expect Dana Loesch to be responding to me anytime soon.  If she did, she would be exposing her sheltered listeners and readers to volumes of documentation of her falsehoods and hypocrisy.   So instead she'll probably continue to make her attacks from the safety of her blog and radio show, worrying every day that people might actually start to get informed about the emptiness of St. Louis Tea Party leaders' rhetoric.  I'm an optimist though: I think the truth has a way of coming out, even when people like her do everything they can to avoid it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dana Loesch Attacks Me Without Knowing What She's Talking About

#epicfail #comedygold .  Those are the tags Dana Loesch used attempting to threaten me, but they ended up being self-referential.

Apparently this blog has been overly successful in debunking local tea party conspiracy theories, because Loesch accuses me by name of "stealing intellecutal property," claiming I am "stealing photos."  Here are her ridiculous comments:
So not only is Loesch suggesting that I broke the law, she's also mindlessly claiming that I'm using my "employers equiptment" to do so.  Apparently Loesch, despite claiming to be an expert on blogging and an advocate for free speech, is not aware of the "fair use" doctrine of copyright law.  Here's a snippet:  "Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission form the rights holders, such as for commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching or scholarship."

Whatever the heck I'm doing on this blog when I piss off the tea party, it's either "criticism" or "news reporting."  And I make sure to credit the site where I got the information from.  So she really has absolutely no clue what she's talking about.  Either that, or she just likes making threats to try to sound tough.  But she ended up only being right about one thing:

#epicfail #comedygold

Monday, February 8, 2010

St. Louis activist events for Feb. 9 - 13

This week's events:


Tuesday, Feb. 9, the Community Arts Initiative is having a meeting at Goldfarb 246 on the Washington University Campus from 12:15 to 1 PM. #ART

Also Tuesday, at 2 PM, MOPIRG, the Missouri Sierra Club, and Citizens for Modern Transit will be having a press conference at the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center to discuss the High Speed Rail System. #ENVIRONMENT #URBANISM

Also Tuesday, *Rescheduled Due to Weather* Real Men Hurt Too Inc. will be collecting clothing, shoes, and water to send to Haiti at Studio Blue, 8909 Natural Bridge Road, from 7 to 11 PM. #HAITI

Also Tuesday, SIU Carbondale will be hosting a discussion on Oil Development and Climate change in Lawson Hall, Room 151, from 7 to 8 PM. #ENVIRONMENT

Also Tuesday, Amnesty International of St. Louis City has a meeting at Bethel Lutheran Church, 7001 Forsyth, from 7 to 10 PM. #HUMAN RIGHTS

Also Tuesday, St. Louis Musicians for Haiti will be performing at the Sheldon Concert hall from 7:30 to 10:30, raising money for Doctors Without Borders. #HAITI

Tuesday through Friday is Sexual Awareness Week at Washington University with interesting events every day of the week. Check here for the full schedule. #SEX WEEK

Wednesday, Feb. 10, there will be a discussion Does race matter at SLU? in the Busch Student Center Wool Ballrooms from 11 AM to 1 PM. #RACE

Also Wednesday, the Meramac student activities council is holding an informational event on healthy sex and relationships from 11 AM to 1 PM. #SEX WEEK

Also Wednesday, the Urban League Young Professionals of Metropolitan St. Louis are meeting from 6 to 8 PM at their headquarters at 3701 Grandel.

Also Wednesday, the first St. Louis Green Drinks of the year will be at the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood from 6:30 to 9:30 PM with a focus on Green Business. #ENVIRONMENT

Also Wednesday, TransHaven is hosting a Creating Change briefing from 7 to 9 PM at the LGBT Community Center of Metropolitan St. Louis. #LGBT

Also Wednesday, M-Cubed is holding Boys N Brews from 7 to 9 at Coffee Cartel (2 Maryland Plaza). #LGBT

Wednesday and Friday, UNA at SLU is holding the SLU Monologues at Tegler Hall Carlo Auditorium (3550 Lindell) at 7:30. #VDAY

Thursday, Feb. 11, join the phonebank for Citizens for Modern Transit from 5:30 to 8:30 to help expand and restore public transit. #TRANSIT

Also Thursday, the Holden Public Policy forum is holding a FOCUS on Downtown St. Louis discussion at the downtown Left Bank Books (321 N. 10th St.) from 6 to 7:30 PM. #URBANISM

Also Thursday, HomoLatte at Urban Eats Cafe (3301 Meramec) features Summer Osborne from 6 to 8:30 PM. #LGBT

Also Thursday, Dr. Cornell West will be speaking at Saint Louis Univeristy (Wool Ballroom of the Busch Student Center, 20 N. Grand) at 7 PM. #RACE

Also Thursday, SIUE Making Waves Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance is holding a VDAY production meeting and auditions from 7 to 10 PM at the MUC boardroom. #VDAY

Also Thursday, Greater St. Louis NORML is having their annual membership meeting and elections at 7:15 at the Community Arts and Media Project building (3022A Cherokee). #NORML

Also Thursday, the Furry Pink Underwear benefit at L.U.R.E. starting at 8 PM raises money for the St. Louis Effort for AIDS. #SEX WEEK

Also Thursday, SpeakOUT St. Louis is having an open mic at Urban Eats (3301 Meramec), from 9 PM til midnight. #LGBT

Thursday and Friday, Maryville Univeristy is hosting the Vagina Monologues in the university auditorium (650 Maryville University Drive) at 7 PM. #VDAY

Thursday through Saturday, Washington University also will be putting on the Vagina Monologues, raising money for Lydia's House and Women and girls of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. #VDAY

Friday, Feb. 12, St. Louis NORML is holding a Valentine's Day Vigil for the victims of the Drug War from 11:30 AM to 1 PM at 100 S. Central Clayton and another vigil from 4 to 5:30 at the Mel Carnahan Courthouse (1114 Market St.). #NORML

Also Friday, if you bring a flier to Noodles and Co at 6310 Delmar from 4 to 10 PM, they will donate 25% of their sales to the Campus Y's Alternative Spring Break. #COMMUNITY SERVICE

Also Friday,
the NOH8 Project Photo Shoot #4 will take place at Erney's (4200 Manchester) from 8 PM to 10 PM. #LGBT

Also Friday,
the exhibit Jamaa opens at the Soulard Art Market and Contemporary Gallery (2028 S. 12th Street). #ART

Saturday, Feb. 13
, join St. Louis NORML at the Mardi Gras celebration (the Shanti, Allen and 9th St.) from 9 AM to 12 PM. #NORML

Also Saturday, there will be a Trivia Night fundraiser for the historic Chatillon DeMenil House at St. Wenceslaus Parish Hall (3014 Oregon) from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. #PRESERVATION

Also Saturday, the Pageant (6161 Delmar) is holding a concert for Earthquake Victims in Haiti from 7 PM to 11:45. PI is donating 50% of sales to Haiti that day as well. #HAITI

Also Saturday,
MetroEast Pride is holding a Valentines Day Cabaret Fundraiser from 9 PM until midnight at Club-Escapade (133 West Main, Belleville, IL). #LGBT

Saturday through Monday
, join the President's Day Recess Rapid Response team to remind Senator McCaskill that sane Missourians demand science-based climate legislation. #ENVIRONMENT

Sunday, Feb. 14, join the memorial service for the amazing progressive activist Melanie Shouse at the Central Reform Congregation Synagogue, 5020 Waterman, at 2:30. #MELANIE

This Sunday, and every Sunday, the St. Louis Instead of War Coalition holds a vigil for peace at the corner of Lindell and Grand at 7 PM. #PEACE

Press Advisory on High Speed Rail

Press Advisory from MOPIRG and the Sierra Club:

*For immediate release
*Contact: Andrew Bailey, transportation advocate*

*Phone: 314-454-9560

*The Right Track: *

*Building a 21st Century High Speed Rail System for America*

*Who:* Andrew Bailey, transportation advocate, MoPIRG

Ginger Harris, Transportation Chair, Missouri Sierra Club
Thomas Shrout, Executive Director, Citizens for Modern Transit

*When:* Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2:00 pm

*Where:* Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center

MoPIRG, the Missouri Sierra Club, and Citizens for Modern Transit will
hold a press event at Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center to
discuss the future of high speed rail in Missouri and to release /The
Right Track/, a new MoPIRG research report which quantifies the benefits
of high speed rail and sets 11 recommendations for future investment.

Last month, the Obama administration announced that 31 states will
receive a portion of $8 billion in funding to build and plan for high
speed rail under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Missouri
received $31 million for rail from Kansas City to St. Louis and will
also benefit from a $1.1 billion grant for high-speed rail from St.
Louis to Chicago.

High speed rail in Missouri has the potential to create tens of
thousands of jobs, alleviate congestion, and reduce oil use and carbon
emissions. The new MoPIRG report will highlight these benefits and
recommend further commitment to high speed rail development.
And speaking of public transit, check out the cool new TV ad from Citizens for Modern Transit:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Disgraceful Gateway Pundit Attacks Melanie Shouse

I try to avoid gratuitous name-calling, but I really don't know what to say about someone this sick. Right-wing blogger and St. Louis tea party leader Jim Hoft, aka Gateway Pundit, today attacked Melanie Shouse, a progressive activist who died last week from breast cancer because she couldn't afford preventative care. Hoft wrote the following about Melanie:
It’s just too bad this woman didn’t call St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Louis. They offer free breast exams to women who are in need of assistance. I suppose that’s Bush’s fault, too.
after writing
There really is nothing they won’t do or say to get this nationalized health care bill rammed through Congress.
Furthermore, as the update in his post makes clear, Hoft made his comments before even bothering to find out about Melanie's story. It's amazing that he would make such a disgusting attack without even having the decency to research the story.

How someone could not be moved by Melanie's story is beyond me. But of course Hoft and his fellow right-wing demagogues are not moved by the 45,000 people/year who die in the current health care system either, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. That's what was so amazing about Melanie; she was so moved by the suffering of others that she could not quit fighting for change even while struggling against cancer.

This is why it's so important for those of us who actually have the human emotions of compassion and empathy to fight to make the world better. People like Hoft are out there every day working to get rich off spouting the insurance company talking points, and they will win if we aren't out there fighting twice as hard.

Friday, February 5, 2010

More links about Melanie-Updated

As I said in my previous post, I'm trying to keep track of the many posts and acknowledgements of health care activist Melanie Shouse, who passed away from breast cancer last week. There have been some nice stories added since Thursday:

Chad Garrison at the Riverfront Times reported on President Obama's acknowledgement of Melanie in a speech to the DNC.
The Post-Dispatch followed up on their previous story.
Jaelithe had a really touching tribute to Melanie at MOMocrats.
Gloria Ross wrote a fantastic obituary for the St. Louis Beacon.
The New York Times referred to Obama's speech on Melanie.
Blackwaterdog had a recommended diary on DailyKos about Melanie. and True Majority both sent out emails about Melanie, and have created a page where people can express their condolences.
The We Are the Ones Project had a great portrait of Melanie's life.
Finally, a new facebook group "No more health care deaths. In honor of Melanie Shouse" was created and has been growing fast.

Here's the video of President Obama referring to Melanie's story:

Update: Charles Jaco featured Melanie's story on the Jaco Report.

Please pass some of these links on and keep fighting for real health care reform.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

For Melanie

Last week, St. Louis lost it's most courageous activist. I first got to know Melanie Shouse as a friend on facebook. I looked forward to her fiery updates every day, her calls to action, and her verbal smackdowns of the heartless politicians who would do anything to protect the profit margins of the insurance companies. Melanie had a combination of optimism and fighting spirit that I've never seen in anyone else. She was always pushing forward, always calling for action, always challenging the status quo, yet she never lost her faith that we could get our flawed legislators to do the right thing if we just keep pushing them.

But online activism was really just a sliver of what made Melanie such an amazing person. Melanie had started up her own business several years ago and could not afford health insurance, and this caused her to delay treatment. When she finally was able to be examined, she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, a terminal condition. Rather than being deterred or giving in to depression, Melanie became one of the fiercest fighters St. Louis has ever seen. She fought for President Obama as a member of Organizing for America. She helped found a new community group M-Slice. She was constantly sending out links and information online. And, as many probably know, she gave impassioned speeches at countless healthcare rallies around St. Louis. Sadly, after fighting for far longer than anyone could have imagined, Melanie passed away last week.

Melanie said she wanted a political rally rather than a funeral. She dedicated the last precious years of her life fighting so that we no longer will live in a world where 45,000 people every year die because they lack health insurance. We owe it to Melanie to keep fighting to make sure that health care reform passes. We owe it to Melanie to remind Claire McCaskill every day that the people who elected her did so because they're not willing to settle for the massive inequalities that exist in society today. Melanie would never settle for an unjust world, and neither can we.

I'm going to try to keep track of the articles and tributes to Melanie. Please let me know about any I've missed. There was a good story about her in the Post-Dispatch yesterday. There was also an article about her amazing resolve in the Suburban Journal back in September. Tony P. at People's World also wrote a great tribute to Melanie.

Here's a post on Melanie from Single Minded Women.
Melanie's story on Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice.
Health Care for America Now
Ripper McCord on TPM
Hotflash at Show Me Progress
John Hickey on SMP.
News Tribune
SMP article about a rally outside Blue Cross/Wellpoint

Melanie as a guest on LaborVision:

Melanie on KSDK at a rally to protest state budget cuts:

At a Russ Carnahan forum:

Melanie taking on Republicans:

And, of course, people have probably heard that President Obama promised to keep fighting for Melanie in his talk at the DNC today.

Finally, I wanted to end with the text of a speech that Melanie posted here in November. I think it nicely captures why so many of us were moved by her:

Speech delivered at Rally for the Future of Health Care under the Arch, 11-7-2009

All I can say is “Wow”. What a historic day for our country. Just 13 months ago, a future President stood here before a cheering crowd of 100,000 Missourians, black, white, and brown, all come together to lift up the promise of change we can believe in. REAL change. Not just empty words.

Now, just over a year after the biggest citizens’ rally in the history of Missouri, we have shown our elected officials in Washington that we will NOT go back . We are moving FORWARD, together, to deliver the change we need for We the People of Missouri, and all Americans. The first step on the road to change was passage of the economic recovery act, which created & saved a million jobs for teachers, policemen, firemen, state service workers, and health care workers (in addition to $10 Billion in funding for medical research by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute to find the cures which have eluded us for so long). This landmark legislation has laid the groundwork for the recovery that has just shown its first dividends – a 3.5% growth rate last quarter (the first in two years), and stabilization of our economy to enable real investments in a solid future.

After that monumental victory for America, we didn’t stop. We launched full speed ahead to take on the Big Insurance Monopoly and liberate American families from the slavery of skyrocketing insurance premiums and cancelled coverage, which leaves millions of us in a state of perpetual fear and insecurity and strangles our economy and small businesses. With the President’s firm leadership, our Congress – at least half of them – has finally stood up to proclaim our basic human right to health care for all Americans. Now we stand on the cusp of a great triumph for America, and for humanity, the likes of which we have not seen since the bold leadership of Franklin Roosevelt and his vision for a Second Bill of Rights, which would include the right to health care and economic security for EVERY American.

Passage of the Affordable Health Care for Americans Act will mark a milestone in the long march toward full equality and true democracy for America, of a magnitude equal to passage of Social Security, worker’s rights and civil rights. We are on the verge of taking a giant step toward the culmination of the vision of our founding fathers for a nation where “ALL men are created equal” – not just the privileged few. We are closer now than EVER before, and now is the time for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of their country. Keep up those phone calls, e-mails, talks with neighbors and friends, so that we can deliver the best Christmas present ever to the hard-working people of Missouri. Then we will ring in the New Year with new hope for our future, and move forward once again on passing a clean energy/climate bill that will free us from the tyranny of oil, revive our economy, create millions of green jobs for America, and save the planet for our children and grandchildren in the bargain.

But it’s not time to celebrate yet – dangerous obstacles still remain in our treacherous journey toward progress for America. These obstacles are called Congressional Republicans. These pre-historic creatures are known for acting only on short-sighted self-interest and greed in the service of powerful interests which refuse to relinquish the impunity they have enjoyed over the last six decades, ever since Franklin Roosevelt was brave enough to take them on. FDR gave his life battling right-wing forces in defense of ordinary Americans and the values we treasure.

But the same Republican Party which devoted its obsessive energies in the 1930’s and 40’s to the destruction of the New Deal and wild vilification of the greatest President of the 20th century (dragging him through the mud at every opportunity & calling him “That Man” and “socialist” just for starters) has now turned its fangs onto our new People’s President and the best Democratic Congress we have had in the history of this country. These GOP elites will stop at nothing to derail, delay and defeat EVERY piece of legislation that promises to lift up the working people of America and bring us the dignity that we deserve.

Just this week alone, Republicans in Congress have blocked unemployment benefits for struggling American families, boycotted work on the critical clean energy jobs bill, and launched a loud shrieking frenzy against the health insurance reform act with crazed accusations that reek of their attacks on Social Security in the 30s and Medicare in the 60s. Well, I have a message for the Republican elites in Washington: NOT THIS TIME. We will NOT be distracted, divided and bamboozled by their snake oil again. We have something now that we haven’t had since 1945: a President with true vision, integrity , and purpose, and an organized people’s movement that is FIRED UP AND READY TO GO!

It’s up to us to move forward this broad vision for progress for America. We the People have shown over and over again in our history that when our minds are made up and we stick together, NOTHING can stop us. Not even powerful Republican elites and their corrupt corporate media that enforces cynicism and despair on a daily basis to try to strip us of our purpose and our power. We have come too far, and there is no turning back now. We WILL bring change to America, to build the country that our founders and their descendants Lincoln, Roosevelt, and King knew that we were capable of. There is no obstacle strong enough to withstand the united power of We the People.

When you leave here, I want you to make a pledge to yourself and your neighbors here that you will continue to step up to the plate to defend the gains we have achieved, and to support the bold new initiatives that are essential to get our country on a firm track toward progress. To quote our community-organizer President, “Change does not come from the top down; it comes from the bottom up.” Let’s get ready to start a new chapter in the history of this great country, and become the next greatest generation in the advancement of humanity. Our future is in our hands; it’s time to make it happen.

- Melanie Shouse

RIP Melanie. We will keep fighting for the beautiful vision you shared with us.