Shower Curtain Chronicles: August 2007

Shower Curtain Chronicles

Latex painted shower curtains make great, cheap, waterproof banners to display at demonstrations, over freeways or anyplace you want to take it to the anti-gay, anti-Constitution fascists. This blog will feature banners I've made over the years, commentary on the outrages du jour, general observations and accounts of the latest actions by our blog troop as we wield the bathroom accessory cum political billboard.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mandernach Falls On Sword

Does anyone seriously think that the resignation of Minnesota Commissioner of Health, Dianne Mandernach, wasn't timed to take some heat off of Molnau and Pawlenty over the scandalous negligence surrounding the bridge collapse? It's just interesting how Mandernach's withholding of information critical to public health parallels Pawlenty's and Molnau's failure to warn the public of the imminent 35W bridge collapse being discussed by state officials a year before it happened.


Monday, August 20, 2007

A Letter To My Rep. Regarding Bridge Collapse

Dear Representative Carlson,

It is quickly becoming a matter of public knowledge that the collapse of the 35W bridge was the direct result of decisions made within the state's executive branch. According to documents obtained by the Star Tribune, MNDOT officials were discussing the imminent collapse of the bridge a year ago, which incredibly, did not result in the bridge being either reinforced or closed. Worse, the public was not told of the dangersous condition of the bridge so they could at least make an informed decision about whether or not to use it. Now, at least 12 people have been killed and dozens injured.

The legislature should begin immediate hearings to find out how these decisions were made and who made them. We cannot just move on and build a new bridge without holding those responsible, accountable. If heads don't roll over this, in the future officials will find it easier to allow a bridge to collapse and deal with the aftermath rather than take the difficult, and costly, steps to prevent it. We, the public, cannot allow that state of affairs to exist. Our very lives are at stake. The legislature should use all available remedies, including the power to impeach, to remove from office those responsible for this devastating event.

Doug Benson


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Trial Lawyers Only Voice For Justice In Collapse

Finally someone is seriously talking about finding out whose decisions are responsible for the bridge collapse. Of course, it is an attorney for some of the suing plaintiffs damaged in the collapse, not the people who SHOULD be demanding answers - our representatives in government.

Minneapolis attorney, Jim Schwebel was on the news last night decrying a judge's decision not to allow plaintiff's' inspectors access to the collapse sight. The plaintiffs don't want to have to rely on the word of the very people who may be defendants in the case for their evidence, so they want their own inspectors to view the damage. Quite a reasonable position. But as we know, in the U.S., the law, reason and fairness have nothing to do with the decisions undertaken by those in authority. Schwebel actually dared speak about finding out who made the decisions not to fix the failing bridge!

Republicans, along with the help of their tools in the media, have successfully dampened down any talk of fault with regard to the bridge collapse. The Republicans did this because they are at fault. They've managed to mute the Democrats, with warnings of "politicizing" the issue and of course, as we know all too well, it doesn't take much to mute Democrats. So now just as with the Republicans' stolen elections and illegal war and torture and illegal spying, etc., etc., etc., we should all just "look ahead," not hold anyone accountable and not waste our time dwelling on the past. Well isn't that convenient. Thank goodness we have some element of our system left that functions on behalf of the people...trial lawyers.

This bridge collapse was not a natural thing, it was allowed to happen through decisions to not fix or replace it. And, the very people who made those decisions to allow the bridge to deteriorate to a critical level of deficiency, also decided not to inform the public of the danger they were in while driving on that bridge. At least we have one public voice to remind us of that fact.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Molnau's and Pawlenty's Coming Impeachment

The Star Tribune pointed out on Aug. 2, the day after the bridge collapse, that the Minnesota Department of Transportation, headed by the Lieutenant Governor, Carol Molnau, knew over a year ago (and I'm sure before that) that the steel girders supporting the bridge were worn out and beginning to fail. They discussed, INTERNALLY, NOT PUBLICLY, fixing the bridge by reinforcing the girders with applications of new steel to keep the bridge from falling down. THEY CHOSE NOT TO FIX IT knowing how dangerously deficient it was! They also chose to not INFORM THE PUBLIC of the dangerous condition of the bridge. If they had, maybe some of those people who are now sitting in their cars at the bottom of the river could have decided not to take the risk of driving on a bridge that was failing.

Molnau now says that she was not aware of the deplorable condition of the bridge. Ok, Minnesota's Commissioner of Transportation was not "in the loop" when the imminent failure of the busiest bridge in Minnesota was being discussed by the department she heads? Please.

The Transportation Committees of both the Senate and House should be holding hearings right now to find out why this collapse was allowed to happen without any warning to the public that the bridge was dangerously deficient. And, you can bet Pawlenty knew too.

Remember the recent mesothelioma scandal where Pawlenty's Commissioner of Health withheld for over a year, important information from the public regarding the elevated cancer risk to miners on the Iron Range? There seems to be a pattern of disregard for public safety from this administration.

If legislative hearings can prove foreknowledge of the bridge's dangerous condition on the part of this administration, the first order of business of any special session should be Molnau's and Pawlenty's impeachment and removal from office.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Reagan Did It

What caused the bridge collapse? Well, it wasn't an accident. After twenty five years of "NO NEW TAXES!; READ MY LIPS!; GO AHEAD MAKE MY DAY; IT'S MY MONEY!; TAX AND SPEND LIBERALS!; GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM!"...and bare bones budgets so we can have huge tax cuts for billionaires, stuff that SHOULD have been fixed, starts to fall apart. The collapse was the result of willful negligence, not just by Republican office holders, but by every selfish bastard who continues voting for the greedy, destructive, anti-tax agenda that is Reagan's legacy.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Saw it last weekend. For someone to come away from seeing the American reality displayed in that movie and still say they're proud to be an American, or continue to cling to the delusion that WE are somehow better than the rest of world, or believe that our system EVEN WORKS surely is an indication of utter insanity. Our wages, standard of living and quality of life fall far short of other developed countries. This has been true for decades even though the vast majority of Americans still think we're on top. We are actually more a third world, totalitarian country with a veneer of technology and a meticulously orchestrated symphony of propaganda that keeps a critical mass of natives from getting restless. How else could you explain "trailer court Republicans?"

Totalitarian? Nearly every significant act you engage in, public and now private is recorded and being stored in a government database, so you won't be stepping too far out of line if you know what's good for you. Every election is completely manipulable by computer (even the ones where you use a pen are computer tabulated) which is why we are now living under an illegitimate government and why we will never, as an electorate, be able to effect REAL change in our current system.

In "Sicko," the difference between the far superior French system that caters to rather than subjugates its citizenry and the U.S. was attributed to the fact that the French government is afraid of the people, whereas, in the U.S., it's just the opposite. If the French government tries to pull some shit the people don't like, everybody is in the streets, off the job, shutting the country down. They don't wait for an election. Here at home, I really believe people have become afraid to even contact their "elected" representatives to complain about their loss of rights for fear of being included on some government watch list. That's not what happens in a FREE country. And yes, there are protests here, but they are either ignored, propagandized out of existence or crushed. So it's hopeless?...not necessarily.

Remember we're all workers and consumers. We can collectively use either of those roles to effect change. Withholding labor is not likely in this work-addicted society. However, if we all don't buy products or services from a particularly odious company, that company will fail. If we did this enough times, the country's rigid power structure would eventually become malleable. They would start asking of the people, "What do you want?" Answer: Accountability from the bastards who ruined our country; the breakup of media empires and reclamation of the peoples' airwaves; all private money out of elections and a return to all-paper, hand-counted ballots; the right of workers to organize and act collectively without restriction or encumbrance; universal single payer healthcare; popular election and recall of presidents...and a nice cake. my dreams.