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More Housing, Not Shelters

We know that housing helps people live stable, healthy, productive lives. We know what we need to do. The question, Minnesota, is … will we do it?

Colleen O’Connor Toberman, Minnesota 2020 

housing_blueprint.jpg May 1, 2014 | Today, Minneapolis’ two winter shelters will close for the season. This has become an annual ritual for the past few years, ever since two churches opened temporary winter shelters to offer supplemental beds for the rising homeless population. These two shelters house over 100 people a night, who will now find themselves out in the still-chilly spring without other options.

Our first impulse might be to solve this problem by keeping these shelters open year round, but I have mixed feelings about opening more homeless shelters. Obviously, I want everyone to have a safe place to sleep, eat, and connect to services. I want shelters that are accessible to every community across the state and offer sufficient space for everyone in need. It’s not humane to turn someone away because there’s no room at the inn.

Colleen O’Connor Toberman is passionate about housing and poverty issues. Colleen is a social worker at East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis, where she assists low-income individuals with benefits enrollment and food security. Her prior experience includes time at Our Saviour’s Housing and several other housing/homeless organizations.

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Is America Still a Democracy?

Politics%20Banner.jpg

  • Or Have America’s Unelected Ruling Elites and Their Multinational Corporations Changed it into a Sociopathic, Quasi-Fascist Police State?
  • New Study Finds the U.S. Is Not a Democracy
  • Bill Moyers Essay: The End Game for Democracy

Gary G. Kohls, Duty to Warn

police-state-.jpg April 29, 2014 | I was one of many progressive Americans who were rudely - and belatedly - awakened to reality during the era of Ronald Wilson Reagan (old 666 himself) and his henchmen who forced through, with gleeful help from devious NeoConservative Republicans and compliant NeoLiberal Democrats, the massive borrowing and spending programs (that put America’s economy into a $4 trillion deficit, a deficit that benefitted the military industrial complex, the nuclear weapons industry, and Reagan’s crony capitalists. 

Prior to that era I had been the victim of a cunning and wide-spread deception and misdirection, I had been effectively brain-washed at the hands of my elected and un-elected rulers and thought-leaders that run America’s governing bodies, court systems, transnational corporations, and military. 

Gary G. Kohls is a retired physician who writes about issues of war, peace, justice, mental health and nonviolence and feels it is important to mix religion and non-partisan politics. 

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Related:

Stencil.jpg/image_large New Study Finds the U.S. Is Not a Democracy, Natasha Hakimi Zapata, Truthdig

  • So What Is It?
  • Bill Moyers Essay: The End Game for Democracy
  • Noam Chomsky | U.S. Politics Are Now 'Pure Savagery'

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Bill Moyers Essay: The End Game for Democracy, Bill Moyers, Us 

  • Bill Moyers has done some great essays on money in politics corruption in his time, but this might be his finest work to date.
  • The Great American Class War
  • Bill Moyers: Weapons of Mass Distraction—Why the Media Most Americans Consume Is Harmful to the Public Health

 

 

Truth to Tell | Minnesota Co-ops: 80 years and Start of People-Powered Ownership

  • Today, the cooperative movement remains strong in Minnesota, even if the vision of social transformation isn’t as wide-spread as it was in the 30’s.
  • Not all the cooperative movement is entirely benign. 
  • Millions to ‘March Against Monsanto’ on May 24

Andy Driscoll and Siohbhan Kierans, Truth to Tell, KFAI-FM | MN

TTT-KFAISM.thumbnail.pngNot all the cooperative movement is entirely benign. Massive energy distributor and producer cooperatives have often stepped into the corporate model of governance and less transparent, not to mention questionable huge coop owners.

Land-O-Lakes, CENEX, Twin Cities Milk Producers, whose products may be quality competitive, but not always the most affordable and often have been allowed by state agencies to run roughshod over farmlands with dairy, corn and livestock “cooperative” producers not always operating the public interest environmentally and open governance.

Guests:food_and_other_coops.png

  • LaDonna Redmond, Co-Director, Agriculture and Justice (HECUA), Education and Outreach Coordinator, Seward Coop; Student of the African-American cooperative tradition and veteran of the food justice movement.
  • Jill Livingston, Capitalization Specialist with Seward Coop, Friendship Store Project organizer.
  • Dave Gutnecht, Editor, Cooperative Grocer; and pioneer in the Twin Cities food cooperative movement. 
  • Joan Stockinger, development specialist with Cooperative Development Services, and co-author with Dave Gutknecht of a recently released case study of the cooperative local food system. 

Broadcast: in Minneapolis/St. Paul KFAI-90.3/106.7/Streamed @ KFAI.org 9-10AM, Monday, April 28, 2014

Archived: Click here.

Watch us in Studio 5! TruthToTell is now seen live on Livestream and later on Blip.tv.

Hosted by veteran producer Andy Driscoll and co-hosted by Siohbhan Kierans, TruthToTell (TTT) is weekly a public affairs radio show that features multiple perspectives on a wide variety of critical local, state and regional issues.

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Related:

Millions to ‘March Against Monsanto’ on May 24, Brandon Baker, EcoWatch 

  • “We will not allow this ‘Garden of Eden’ to be compromised by the destructive practices of multinational corporations like Monsanto,” Josh Castro, organizer for Quito, Ecuador’s march, said in a statement for the global march. “Biotechnology is not the solution to world hunger.
  • Click here for a full list of March Against Monsanto events.
  • Walmart’s latest organic scheme is just part of its plot to take over our food system.

How Agribusiness Keeps Us "Betting on Famine"

  • Betting on Famine offers a series of poignant, if unnerving, vignettes about global agriculture collected from Ziegler's years with the UN. The message is not always cohesive, yet one truth shines through: The biggest problem today is not a dearth of technology, but an overflow greed. 
  • A review of Betting on Famine ~ Jean Ziegler

Alex ParkMother Jones

BettingOnFamine300.jpg Wed Aug. 14, 2013 | Jean Ziegler, the former Special Rapporteur for Food for the United Nations, begins his new book with two disturbing statistics. "In its current state, the global agricultural system would in fact, without any difficulty, be capable of feeding 12 billion people, or twice the world's current population," he writes. And yet, "every five seconds, a child under the age of ten dies of hunger."

In Betting on Famine: Why the World Still Goes Hungry, out on August 6, Ziegler explores the disconnect between resources and the people in need of them. He tours readers around indebted countries that have transformed their agricultural base into export industries, forfeiting the ability to feed themselves. Haiti, for instance, could thirty years ago grow enough rice to feed its people, but after lowering barriers to imported rice at the behest of the International Monetary Fund, it wrecked local rice production to the point that now it must spend 80 percent of its revenue on imported food.

Alex Park is an Editorial Fellow at Mother Jones. His work has been published in PBS/MediaShift, New America Media, allAfrica.com, Time.com, and the Believer.

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Related:

Walmart’s latest organic scheme is just part of its plot to take over our food system, Stacy Mitchell, Grist 

  • To me, the pivotal question that ought to frame any discussion about Walmart’s role in our food system is: Will people and the planet be better off if Walmart grows to control 50 percent of the U.S. grocery market?
    • A Trojan Carrot

Age of Ignorance

  • What we have in this country is the rebellion of dull minds against the intellect. That’s why they love politicians who rail against teachers indoctrinating children against their parents’ values and resent the ones who show ability to think seriously and independently. Despite their bravado, these fools can always be counted on to vote against their self-interest. 
  • Human Stupidity Is Destroying the World
  • George Monbiot | Right's Stupidity Spreads, Enabled by Too-Polite Left

Charles Simic, New York Review of Books

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

Fairgoers cheer for Sarah Palin while she appears on the Sean Hannity Show at the Iowa State Fair, August 12, 2011 Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

March 20, 2012 | Widespread ignorance bordering on idiocy is our new national goal. It’s no use pretending otherwise and telling us, as Thomas Friedman did in the Times a few days ago, that educated people are the nation’s most valuable resources. Sure, they are, but do we still want them? It doesn’t look to me as if we do. The ideal citizen of a politically corrupt state, such as the one we now have, is a gullible dolt unable to tell truth from bullshit.

An educated, well-informed population, the kind that a functioning democracy requires, would be difficult to lie to, and could not be led by the nose by the various vested interests running amok in this country. Most of our politicians and their political advisers and lobbyists would find themselves unemployed, and so would the gasbags who pass themselves off as our opinion makers. Luckily for them, nothing so catastrophic, even though perfectly well-deserved and widely-welcome, has a remote chance of occurring any time soon. For starters, there’s more money to be made from the ignorant than the enlightened, and deceiving Americans is one of the few growing home industries we still have in this country. A truly educated populace would be bad, both for politicians and for business.

Charles Simic is a poet, essayist, and translator. He has published some twenty collections of poetry, six books of essays, a memoir, and numerous translations. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Griffin Prize, and a MacArthur Fellowship. 

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Related:

Human Stupidity Is Destroying the World, Mark Morford, San Francisco (CA) Chronicle / AlterNet

  • 37 Percent of People Don't Have A Clue What's Going On.
  • But who's more naive -- the ignorant, or the educated who can't deal with the idea that there are ignorant people in the world?

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George Monbiot | Right's Stupidity Spreads, Enabled by Too-Polite Left, George Monbiot, The Guardian (UK)

Yes, conservatism thrives on low intelligence and poor information. But the liberals in politics on both sides of the Atlantic continue to back off, yielding to the supremacy of the stupid. It's turkeys all the way down.

 

 

America’s rotting empire

  • Billionaires galore and a crumbling infrastructure
  • More proof we're in rapid decline: Not a single U.S. city currently ranks among the world's most livable
  • We're NOT Number 1: Guess Which Country Now Has a More Affluent Middle Class Than America?
  • 5 Ways American Policies and Attitudes Make Us Lonely, Anxious, and Antisocial

CJ Werleman, AlterNet 

shutterstock_177265289.jpg Shutterstock

Thursday, May 8, 2014 | “The game is rigged,” writes Senator Elizabeth Warren in her new book A Fighting Chance. It’s rigged because the rich and their lobbyists have rigged the rules of the game to their favor. The rules are reflected in a tax code and bankruptcy laws that have seen the greatest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich in U.S. history.

The result?

America has the most billionaires in the world, but not a single U.S. city ranks among the world’s most livable cities. Not a single U.S. airport is among the top 100 airports in the world. Our bridges, road and rail are falling apart, and our middle class is being guttered out thanks to three decades of stagnant wages, while the top 1 percent enjoys 95 percent of all economic gains.

CJ Werleman is the author of Crucifying America, and God Hates You. Hate Him Back. 

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Related:

We're NOT Number 1: Guess Which Country Now Has a More Affluent Middle Class Than America? Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

America's rich are surging ahead, but the rest are falling behind. What happened?

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5 Ways American Policies and Attitudes Make Us Lonely, Anxious, and Antisocial, Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

At each stage of life, we are being stunted as human beings.

 

The broken circle: What we've learned from the Minnesota Orchestra debacle

Perhaps we should take stock of what we have learned by this debacle. 

Bill Eddins, MinnPost

OsmoVanskaLastConcert640_1_0.jpg With the return of Osmo Vänskä, I’ve already heard some people claim that the orchestra has come full circle. Not quite. MinnPost photo by John Whiting

05/08/14 | Well, it finally happened. Those of you not living in a cave will have heard that Osmo Vänskä has returned as the music director of the Minnesota Orchestra. I’ve already heard some people claim that the orchestra has come full circle. Not quite.

There are still some major issues surrounding the M.O. that cannot be avoided. Musicians have left, and to replace them is a lengthy, time-consuming and expensive process. There is still a deficit that needs to be addressed. There are very bruised feelings in the community over how this has all gone down. Importantly, it now seems that the musician’s contract and the music director’s contract will expire within spitting distance of each other. That could lead to more issues in the future. Oh, and the M.O. needs a really good executive director. STAT.

Bill Eddins is the music director of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and is a former assistant conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he currently resides in Minneapolis. 

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