Tuesday, August 7, 2018

I find things in strange places . . .

This comes from an interview with former Seattle City Council member Nick Licata, with the indispensable FieldOfSchemes.com, Neil DeMause's fantastic website covering, in-depth, how sports teams fleece cities in direct subsidies from "everyone else" to The Very Rich, via the use of tax dollars to build stadiums.

This is the thing: I’m somewhat of a believer that we’re never going to live in nirvana, okay? There will always be challenges; there will always be things that are not right; there will always be shortcomings to people that you elect to office. But the moment you believe that it’s not worth trying, then it’s like walking away from the game, because the people left at the table playing the game are totally going to get their way, because they’re not going to look out for your interest.

So two things I keep in mind is: One, you have a choice — you have to participate in the game of politics and the game of democracy, because if you don’t someone else is going to run your life. And secondly, you should enjoy that game. It’s like sports. You got to think about it as: This is not just good for everyone and yourself, and not only does it create good, but it’s a good process to go through. That’s why I’m a strong believer in democracy and argue that we have to, if nothing else, protect the vibrancy of our democracy.

Amen sir. Amen.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

We're Overthinking Stuff . . . .

Can we please stop acting all "surprised" and saying "Well gee whiz, how come the Evangelicals support that amoral asshole sitting in the White House?" Are we JUST NOW figuring out that it has nothing to do with Christian Values? Next time I see yet another 3,000-word "think piece" about "Here's the special secret as to why the Christian Right supports someone who doesn't reflect their values," I'm gonna puke blood on my keyboard. Four words: "They lust for power." End of fucking analysis. How are people making money pretending to have "analyzed this troubling question"-? It's as simple as could be.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

In these times . . . .

I don't know what it says about us as a nation that, while our political system craters into authoritarianism, we are concurrently in the golden age of fancy beer and excellent television shows. Similarly, there are more and more variegated flavors of Lays potato chips than ever there have been before. I make no judgments on anyone, and am probably at least as guilty as the next one. But some questions about our collective priorities are probably in the offing.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

ColumbuSCrewed: Disillusion and Loathing for American soccer, MLS, and USMNT

It's been a crap couple of weeks for American soccer fans, so if you're not among those, this post may not be for you.

The USMNT's spectacular flameout of World Cup Qualifying was one punch to the gut. Oooof.

Now this from the fevered egos that have been quote "growing the game" unquote, here at the U.S.'s professional level, MLS:

Crew SC exploring new Columbus stadium or potential move to Austin

Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt announced on Tuesday that the club is looking at strategic options to ensure the long-term viability of the club, including a new stadium in Columbus or a potential move to the city of Austin, Texas.

Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV) acquired Crew SC in July 2013 from Hunt Sports Group, the original owners of the club since its founding as an MLS charter club in 1996.

In the last few years, Major League Soccer had made at least a few strides away from the typical stadium grift that has enveloped all pro team sports in North America, as billionaire owners in the Twin Cities, Orlando, and Los Angeles had (mostly) paid for new stadiums out of their own ends. Now this.

Columbus’s (likely) move looks terrible for MLS, as if to say: “Yes we are just as greedy and short-sighted as all the rest.” Yes the black’n’yellow have had some attendance issues, but so have many teams, ahem, especially the older ones. The Crew are an Original 10 franchise, they have won the Cup, and three Supporters’ Shields, and routinely make the playoffs. Their stadium may be older than others, but it was the FIRST soccer-specific stadium MLS conceived, and it has been a stalwart home for the national team, which has always played well there.

As a Fire fan, I would miss having an organic, regional rival not dreamed up in some marketers’ coke-binge. Every single ounce of coverage from Austin seems to suggest that the glorious downtown stadium Precourt is talking about THERE is little more than a pipe dream, along with a fair amount of: “Okay so wait, what’s MLS now again?” They are clueless, and will at least be NO BETTER than Columbus is as a home for top flight soccer in the US. Sure! Let’s trade a small-market college sports town for another one, and it will somehow be ten times better! Big mistake MLS, and big mistake Precourt. You don’t shit on one of your oldest fan-bases. I don’t care if they ARE so fucking yellow.**

Sure, let’s add some more Texas franchises into the current mix. Those two in Dallas (sort of) and Houston are doing so well building the culture down there, where they are near the BOTTOM of the league in attendance and local relevance. And if Austin officials were really so enthralled with having an MLS squad locally why wouldn’t they, you know, put in an expansion bid like every other city in the whole country did this past year?

I gotta be honest . . . the more I think about this, the more it stinks. They announce this shit RIGHT BEFORE the playoffs begin? Are they DELIBERATELY trying to sink the team’s hopes and hype? It would look pretty shitty to have, say for example, an Eastern Conference Champ packing their bags for a new market. This gets particularly interesting as the Crew is now the hottest team in MLS on the pitch - 6-0-3 in their last nine games. (Just spitballing here, I want the Fire to win the Cup, although I think TFC is a way better squad than we are right now.)

At any rate the PoS Precourt can’t seem to get his lies straight. He’s been saying since he bought the club that he was committed to Columbus, except that now it comes out that when the team was sold to him, he had language inserted into the sale that says the ONLY city the team could move to was Austin, and his marketing of the team - which is tearing up MLS on the field right now, btw - has been absolute shit. Again, this has all the makings of a deliberate, longish, con. It seems everyone who cares to know is aware that one of the Crew's betst players, Federico Higuain, is out this winter. Thus will Precourt be able to claim: “Oh see? No support,” when the Columbus faithful do the rational thing and decide not to show up for this obvious tank job.

Precourt says he wants Columbus to help him build a stadium, but that he’ll join the big boys and pay for one himself if they move to Austin?- like the bigger boys in Minnesota, Orlando, and LaFC did. Sure - real “committed to Columbus,” DICK. I know Chicago is a bigger market than Columbus, but the implication is pretty clear - if this PoS can do it, so can ANY MLS owner.

I want the Fire to win the Cup, let’s be clear. But if somehow the Yellows outlast us in the Playoffs, I will be pulling for Columbus this year, just because of the glorious FU it would be to their asshole owner and MLS brass. Good luck explaining to the world why an MLS Champ has to leave town. Watching that would be delicious.

** - a riff off my favorite anti-Crew pro-Fire chant.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Chicago's Official Decompression: THE OUROBOROS: Sat 9.23 :: 5pm

Bold Urban Renaissance Network Presents

Chicago's Official DECOMPRESSION 2017:

THE OUROBOROS

This year, we are returning to our roots. Tickets are FREE and it's BYOE but you need to register for entry. SOLD OUT

Whether you went to the burn or not, we want to bring the entire community together and we are counting on YOU to help make this event amazing. Let's bring all the tribes together!

Help us by volunteering (https://goo.gl/forms/F0XwdZCw1JOFc2Pq1), bringing your art (https://goo.gl/forms/RSIY3nHI01JV826v2), performing (https://goo.gl/forms/1ZFUmHLlhasuhqB92), setting up your theme camp (https://goo.gl/forms/oGBgLi0XdCnU5EjR2) dancing and donating if you can. ( https://tinyurl.com/DonateBURN)

Come decompress with our community!

5pm-3am (Kids welcome til 10pm)

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

At a large outdoor venue in the city. (Event details will be sent with your ticket confirmation.)

PARTICIPATE

CELEBRATE

DECOMPRESS

Please use your legal name when ordering tickets - we will check ID at the Gate.

Questions? Email communications@boldurban.org.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Open Letter to President Obama, Senator Reid, and Secretary Clinton: STAY PUBLIC.

Dearest Madam, and Sirs:

First, thank you for your service to this country. It's been an intense, yet rewarding last eight years, during the Obama Administration; to say nothing of the tumultuous years that took us to that wonderful night in November of 2008, and beyond. I know that you leave duties in DC, and on the campaign trail, under unhappy circumstances. Perhaps you deserve better, but it was not to be this time. Thank you, regardless.

Speaking of things you deserve, a long and leisurely transformation into the quietude of retired life is certainly among them; for all of you. . . . which is why it so pains me to put you on the spot like this.

I am asking you, pleading really, not to fade away from public life just yet. You all don't need little ol' me to tell you how grave our emerging national crisis in government may well be. Certainly we are entering uncharted waters. This is why it's so very important that the side of decency, sanity, and accountability have leaders of national stature, who can help us fight back against the ugliness of incoming administration.

Mr. Obama, you have withstood the racist, shrieking opposition of the unhinged, with class and dignity, for more than eight years now. You have repeatedly acted as the adult in the room. History will remember your name a million times more than that of even your biggest detractors. Of course you have duly earned a long retirement, but because of your very class and dignity, we need you on the front lines, speaking out against these lunatics. The Anti-Gerrymandering project seems like a wonderful start. Yes, and more please, as far as I'm concerned. Thank you. And I'm so very sorry that you cannot kick back into the luxury of sustained leisure, which you so richly deserve.

Mr Reid, you have made much of your career standing up to bullies. It goes without saying that this particular skillset is deeply needed now. Your speaking out against Steven Bannon on the Senate floor, fruitless though it may no doubt have seemed at the time, was an important entrée. Please continue to speak out as often as possible, from Nevada, from DC, from wherever. We need your voice in standing up to these, the biggest administration of bullies this nation has known since . . . Andrew Jackson? I don't know, maybe EVER . . . . they are the biggest administration of bullies in a long time, at the very least. Yes you deserve a quiet life of enjoying boxing matches, but I'm afraid your country needs you. Please continue to answer the call.

Madam President, in a world of justice and fairness, that is what we'd be calling you in a few weeks, Secretary Clinton. For you, although you have been fighting terrifyingly-aptly named "vast right wing conspiracy" for nearly 30 years, this message may come least welcome of all. I can only imagine what it must feel like to run for national office, and have the results not go your way. I have to imagine that you will want a break, at least, from public life, and it seems only fair, and perhaps reasonable you should get one, in the at least in the short term.

In the long term, and I'm sorry to say this Madam Secretary, we need you. We know you are made of steel, and your resolve to work for the American people is great. Of course you still must have a role to play. Please keep speaking out, even as a private citizen, against the forces of hate and ignorance.

The American people get it, I think - you deserve some peace and quiet. But in times like these, people of good will cannot sit in peace and quiet. We must activate, energize, organize, and fight like never before. From the grass roots, and at the very top. Please join us down here on the ground, and fight to save tomorrow. We need your considerable "bully pulpits."

Downtown Dave aka daveinchi

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Unify now! ALL HANDS ON DECK! #MyFiveThings

God-damn.

I really . . . REEEEEEAAAALLLLY didn't want to be right on this one. For about seven months there, I thought I would read this post, and look foolishly upon my gloom and doom from Winter 2016. Along with, well pretty much everyone in America, perhaps even El Drumpfo himself, I was pretty sure that my "Oh Trump Could Win It" phase was just a phase, and that that piece-of-shit-in-shoes would go down handily to a flawed, but eminently more qualified Secretary Clinton.

But I was wrong to change my mind from its pre-ordinance. The unthinkable has happened, and now, as though our presidential elections were a "Who's the Biggest Asshole" Competition, that turd-breathed sleaze, El Drumpfo, is President-Elect of the United States. That happened 12 days ago. I am still somewhat in shock, as Herr Hair lines up his cabinet with the biggest collection of fringe right lunatics you'll find outside a Klan rally, although who knows, perhaps some of these jackals will attend the Klan's victory celebration December 3rd.

The apoplexy on the Left is palpable. We are defeated, and pretty badly. The America we thought we knew turns out to be ephemeral and pretty fucking hateful and irrational, when the mood changes. It's entirely understandable that the nice people at DailyKos are re-litigating the primaries, blaming Hillary, blaming ourselves, blaming the idealists, blaming Bernie, blaming the pragmatists etc.

That's all normal and all that, but it's time to wake the fuck up, get up off the ground, and unify now. We don't have time to kill on blame-games, infighting, or even drawn-out, navel-gazing autopsies. I have my own theories on "What Went Wrong," but I am MUCH more interested in forward-looking solutions, than putting November 8th's horror show on repeat. We lost. Time to get over it. There is work to be done, immediately. We've been badly knocked down, but we ain't dead, not even close to it.

We need to unify now to stop El Drumpfo. Period. We have TWO YEARS until the 2018 midterm Elections. We must organize and RESIST NOW.

Stopping Fascist Trumpblicans (and I don't use the word Fascist lightly) will require both outsiders and insiders; street protesters and those familiar with the halls of power; those living on the margins, and those rational power-players of good will, who are horrified about what Trump represents; community organizers and legislators; black/brown/white/yellow/red/gay/straight/queer/trans and all in between; outsiders who never claimed a political party, and fed up Republicans who have watched their party morph into something unrecognizable; those who voted Democrat, and Green, and Libertarian, and the PLURALITY of voting-age Americans who simply didn't vote in 2016.

Fuck whether you pulled for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, or Jill Stein, or Gary Johnson, or just weren't motivated enough to vote in 2016; doesn't matter now. Who cares? If you think Donald Trump's brand of proto-fascist, hate-based politics is wrong, you are welcome aboard the U.S.S. Resistance as far as I'm concerned. Mobilize now. We are putting a stop this insanity.

We ALL have a role to play. For my part, I decided to come up with five actionable things I could do to, in my own small way, to stop the Fascists.

#MyFiveThings

1) I will talk more about current events, and just generally "get more political" in my classroom

2) I will encourage my student poets to get into a more political mode in their art

3) I will engage more with my local Democratic party . . . yes, even in Chicago

4) I will start giving monthly contributions to two organizations who are going to be facing budget axes, or resisting Team Drumpfo and his horde of orc-people - the ACLU, and the Stone Belt Center in Bloomington, IN

5) I will encourage EVERYONE I KNOW to come up with #MyFiveThings lists themselves.