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TERRY TEMPEST WILLIAMS ON TIM DECHRISTOPHER AN INTERVIEW WITH CHARLES FERGUSON Walker Rolls Back Civil Rights September $4.95 $4.95 US ALEX NABAUM DOES YOUR PHONE COMPANY WANT A TEA PARTY PRESIDENT? Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) founder, House Tea Party Caucus recipient of funds from AT&T and Verizon AT&T Gave $386,000 Verizon Wireless Gave $35,500 To Michele Bachmann and her House Tea Party Caucus in 2010¹. JOIN US! We don t fund the right we fight them! Visit or call: mention offer: % OFF your monthly service fee for 24 months + get up to $350 contract buyout credit 2 1 Source: 2 All with two-year CREDO Mobile service agreement. Offer available only to new CREDO Mobile customers and subject to credit qualification. Activation fee of $35/line applies. Rates do not include applicable taxes and surcharges or international charges. Contract buyout credit: We will credit your CREDO Mobile account (up to $350 per line, up to 3 lines) after you send us the contract buyout credit form, with proof of your prior carrier s termination fee charges. 10% discount applies to monthly voice fee only. AT&T is a registered trademark of AT&T Intellectual Property and is not associated with CREDO. Verizon Wireless is a trademark of Verizon Trademark Services, LLC and is not associated with CREDO. COVER BY ALEX NABAUM 18 Cover September 2011 Volume 75, Number 9 4 Editor s Note 5 No Comment 6 Letters 8 Comment The Hazards of Muslim-Bashing 10 On the Line 8 Columns 13 Terry Tempest Williams takes the stand for Tim DeChristopher. 16 Ruth Conniff slams the Right s attack on special ed. Cover 18 Walker Rolls Back Civil Rights Rebecca Kemble Jim Crow, move over, the Wisconsin Republicans have taken your place, says a Democratic state senator. Features 22 In the Shadow of San Diego Kari Lydersen An immigrant neighborhood fights against environmental pollution Caution: Women at Work Susan Eisenberg I stopped feeling safe on jobsites after a death threat for my activism. 1st Person 30 Singular Transgender at the Reunion Jacqueline White Everyone looked at me as the presumed alumna of the women s college, not my husband. 32 Poem Dennis Trudell 22 Interview 33 Charles Ferguson Ed Rampell There was undoubtedly a great deal of criminality at high levels in the financial sector, says the Oscar-winning filmmaker. Culture 37 Sculpting Strength Eleanor J. Bader Artist Linda Stein wants to construct a new kind of female hero. 41 Kate Clinton wonders how men get away with playing victims. 42 Dave Zirin remembers John Mackey. 43 Books Elizabeth DiNovella reviews Bossypants, by Tina Fey, and Girls to the Front, by Sara Marcus Jim Hightower examines the sordid practices of Massey Energy. EDITOR Matthew Rothschild POLITICAL EDITOR Ruth Conniff MANAGING EDITOR Amitabh Pal CULTURE EDITOR Elizabeth DiNovella EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Ben Lembrich CONTRIBUTING WRITERS David Barsamian, Kate Clinton, Anne-Marie Cusac, Edwidge Danticat, Susan J. Douglas, Will Durst, Barbara Ehrenreich, Eduardo Galeano, Jim Hightower, Fred McKissack Jr., John Nichols, Adolph Reed Jr., Luis J. Rodríguez, Terry Tempest Williams, Dave Zirin PROOFREADERS Diana Cook, Jodi Vander Molen EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Ben H. Bagdikian, Barbara Ehrenreich, Martín Espada, Richard Falk, Colman McCarthy, Robert W. McChesney, Jane Slaughter, Urvashi Vaid, Roger Wilkins ART DIRECTOR Nick Jehlen ART ASSOCIATE Phuong Luu PUBLISHER Matthew Rothschild CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Maribeth Batcha CIRCULATION MANAGER Erin Grunze CONTROLLER Carolyn Eschmeyer MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR Jodi Vander Molen ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Erika Baer WEB MASTER Tamara Tsurkan WEB ADMINISTRATOR Scot Vee Gamble PROGRESSIVE MEDIA PROJECT Matthew Rothschild and Amitabh Pal, Co-editors Andrea Potter, Development Director VOLUNTEERS Judy Adrian, Pat DiBiase, Carol Lobes, Richard Russell, Rukmini Vasupuram (Intern), Ian Welsh BOARD OF DIRECTORS Matthew Rothschild, Chairman. Gina Carter, Ruth Conniff, James Friedman, Stacey Herzing, Celia Jackson, Barb Kneer This issue of The Progressive, Volume 75, Number 9, went to press on August 2. Editorial correspondence should be addressed to The Progressive, 409 East Main Street, Madison, WI 53703, or to Unsolicited manuscripts will be returned only if accompanied by sufficient postage. Subscription rates: U.S.- One year $32; Two years $52; Canadian- One year $42; Two years $72; Foreign- One year $47, Two years $82; Students- $21 a year. Libraries and institutions- One year (Domestic) $50; (Canadian) $60; (Foreign) $65. Send all subscription orders and correspondence to: The Progressive, P.O. Box , Palm Coast, FL For problems with subscriptions, call toll-free The Progressive is published monthly. Copyright 2011 by The Progressive, Inc., 409 East Main Street, Madison, WI Telephone: (608) Publication number (ISSN ). Periodicals postage paid at Madison, WI, and additional mailing offices. Printed in U.S.A. The Progressive is indexed in the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature, Magazine Index, Alternative Press Index, Book Review Index, Environmental Periodicals Bibliography, Media Review Index, Academic Abstracts, Magazine Article Summaries, and Social Science Source. The Progressive is available on microfilm from University Microfilms, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, and on compact discs and other optical, magnetic, or electronic media from the H.W. Wilson Company, 950 University Avenue, Bronx, NY For permission to photocopy material from The Progressive, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center, Customer Service, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923; (978) Donations: The Progressive survives on donations from readers. Contributions are tax-exempt when you itemize. Mail checks to The Progressive, 409 E. Main St., Madison, WI Postmaster: Send address changes to: The Progressive, 409 E. Main St., Madison, WI Editor s Note Matthew Rothschild A Trip to Chile I m just back from a vacation in Chile. My wife and I went down there to pick up our daughter, who was on junior year abroad in Valparaíso. I was struck, right away, by how vibrant the political scene was. Leftwing graffiti adorned the walls of the city. A likeness of Salvador Allende peered down from a mural on an apartment building. And the students there had been on strike for two months, demanding free, highquality college education. One day, we went to a demonstration where tens of thousands of students, professors, port workers, former political prisoners, and truck drivers jubilantly joined in. On our last day in Chile, we went to Santiago and visited the powerful Museum of Memory and Human Rights, which is dedicated to chronicling the coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power in 1973 and to documenting the viciousness of his sixteen-year rule. I watched video of the Chilean air force bombing the Moneda, the presidential palace. It was the first time in 100 years that the military had overturned civilian rule in Chile. I heard Allende s astonishingly eloquent last speech on radio while he was inside the Moneda, just minutes before taking his own life. And I saw the unbearable testimony of some of the victims of Pinochet s brutality. Leaving the museum, I was reminded how fragile democracy can be. When I got back to the office and started going through my s, I came upon one from a reader who responded to Sandy Williams s first-person piece in our June issue, What s After the Piggy Bank? In that story, Williams showed how the economic downturn was having a dire effect on poor peo- ple in her Alabama community. I was so touched by the piggy bank story I looked up the store where the article suggested Sandy worked and sent her $100 to put back in the piggy bank, he wrote. The letter was returned as undeliverable. The subscriber wanted to know what had happened. Turns out, the store where Williams worked has now gone under. As for Williams, she was fortunate to find another job at the nearby Geraldine Hardware Store. Many of my previous customers have begun to come into the hardware store, she says, so I still get to see a few familiar faces every day. We all hope and pray that one day soon, someone will purchase and reopen our community store we all miss so much. I ve been doing a slow burn for the past couple of years over the Wall Street scandal. The investment bankers and mortgage wheeler-dealers destroyed our economy and swindled consumers, and yet they didn t go to prison for it. So when I saw Charles Ferguson s film Inside Job, it raised my blood pressure almost to the boiling point. If you haven t seen the movie yet, you should rent it because it shows you precisely how Wall Street did its dirty work. This month, we offer you an insightful interview with Ferguson. He s still burning, too. Please come to Madison on October 15. We re holding a one-day conference I think you ll enjoy. The first part is hands-on: We re giving you a clinic on how to write an editorial and how to overcome writer s block. And the second part is on the fight back in Wisconsin, where you ll hear the latest on this historic battle. You ll find a registration form on page 36. Looking forward to seeing you. 4 September 2011 No Comment Pawlenty Palaver GOP hopeful Tim Pawlenty criticized the National Labor Relations Board s complaint against Boeing for retaliating against its union employees, reports The Hill. The NLRB decision and what they are saying to an American economy as to where and how they can do business is outrageous, said Pawlenty on Fox News. This is not the Soviet Union circa 1970s or 1960s or 50s. The Battle for Health Care GOP Presidential contender Rick Santorum says D- Day troops fought for the freedom to choose their own health care plans, reports TalkingPointsMemo. Almost 60,000 average Americans had the courage to go out and charge those beaches on Normandy, to drop out of airplanes who knows where, and take on the battle for freedom, Santorum said on the sixty-seventh anniversary of D-Day. The very Americans that our government now, and this President, does not trust to make a decision on your health care plan. Those Americans risked everything so they could make that decision on their health care plan. Our Forgotten Greco-Roman Heritage Evangelist Pat Robertson said New York s decision to legalize same sex marriage would result in the country s destruction, and compared America to the biblical town of Sodom. There s never been a civilization ever in history that has embraced homosexuality and turned away from traditional fidelity, traditional marriage, traditional child-rearing, and has survived, Robertson said on The 700 Club. There isn t one single civilization that has survived that openly embraced homosexuality. Of Cops and Criminals A Florida police officer honored in 2010 as an Officer of the Year is now accused of selling drugs for the last two years, reports The Palm Beach Post. The U.S. Attorney s Office and the DEA allege he intended to sell more than 500 grams of methamphetamines. The officer denies the charges. Readers are invited to submit No Comment items. Please send original clippings or photocopies and give name and date of publication. Submissions cannot be acknowledged or returned. A Hit Below the Belt The sheriff of Polk County, Florida, is ending the distribution of free underwear for men booked in jail, as a cost-saving measure, reports Reuters. Sheriff Grady Judd said the end of free underwear will save an estimated $45,000 a year in operation costs. $45,000 is one person s job we re saving, said Judd. If inmates want to wear underwear in jail, they can buy it, just like hardworking Polk County citizens do. The Daddy State Steven Leavitt of Freakonomics fame admitted he s fine with some government restrictions, reports If the answer is that I wouldn t want my daughter to do it, then I don t mind the government passing a law against it. I wouldn t want my daughter to be a cocaine addict or a prostitute, so in spite of the fact that it would probably be more economically efficient to legalize drugs and prostitution subject to heavy regulation/taxation, I don t mind those activities being illegal. Prison Labor: A Win-Win? Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker s antiunion law allows inmate labor to replace work done by public employees, reports The Capital Times. Racine County is already using inmates to do landscaping, shoveling, and other maintenance previously done by county workers. We have a win-win when we use inmates, says Racine County executive Jim Ladwig. School of Hard Rocks The Wolf Run Mining Company, a subsidiary of the second-largest coal company in the United States, is seeking permission to mine for coal directly underneath a high school in West Virginia, reports the Huffington Post. The company has filed a permit to mine under both Buckhannon-Upshur High School and a proposed site for a new middle school in Buckhannon. Local school officials are opposed to the plan, which could produce eight million tons of coal over eight years. STUART GOLDENBERG The Progressive 5 Letters to the Editor Nichols on Wisconsin I was disappointed by The Wisconsin Model in the July issue. John Nichols blames Obama for the defeat of Senator Russ Feingold and other Wisconsin Democrats in the 2010 election, and thus the installation of Scott Walker in the governor s mansion. Before we make that judgment, should we not ask: Where were the voters? How many people voted in that election? I am sure that if all those people attending the anti-walker rallies had voted, we would still have Feingold as Senator and a Democratic governor. Where was the Democratic Party in getting out its voters? Clarence Goldberg Annapolis, Maryland First, let me say that John Nichols is the best and most dedicated reporter our country has. But I feel one thing is lacking in his narrative. He says the uprising in Wisconsin was against corporate power, and, indeed, the outpouring of radical activism was inspirational. But even though we may holler to the skies against corporate abuses, we all know they will continue, with the aid of our elected capitalist politicians. The only real way to defeat corporate power is to expropriate the corporations, and use their resources for the public welfare. The fact that this possibility is never even mentioned in the left press is symptomatic of the total ideological domination by the corporate state. Of course, fighting to defend the rights of working people is more important now than ever, but in the end we need to realize that you can t really control the corporations without taking them over. Now that would be an uprising. Alan Weinerman San Francisco, California 6 September 2011 Cartoon Controversy I was sorry to see Troubletown (by Lloyd Dangle) go, because his insights were usually spot on, and most enjoyable. But I have to say that the first Slowpoke (by Jen Sorensen) wasn t that bad. Sure hope she can keep up the good work. Robert D. Holtz via Although I am not a fan of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu s policies, this scurrilous cartoon is offensive (Comment, July issue). Cartoons that mock Jewish figures have a long and infamous history in Western culture from the Christian Middle Ages to Nazi Germany and finally to the Muslim artists of today. Please cancel my subscription. Alvin Sandberg New York, New York Gorillas in Our Midst In Walking with Gorillas, Terry Tempest Williams notes how a humble group of mountain gorillas accepts the intrusion of human tourists with measured indifference (July issue). If tolerance is a measure of civilization, Rwanda s gorillas are more advanced than much of the industrialized world. Now picture what would happen if the situation were reversed. A small group of silverbacks wanders into an American suburb. Humans shriek, mothers snatch up children, people slam doors and make frantic calls to 911. The bravest boys heave rocks at the intruders while men riffle through their gun cases. With the arrival of a SWAT team, the marauding beasts would be brought down in a barrage of bullets. And, finally, the authorities would reassure the community that life in America was, once again, safe and secure. Gar Smith via Clinton on Closets Kate Clinton s examination of the claim that 10 percent of the population is gay was a fair article ( The 10 Percent Problem, July issue). She points to tremendous psychological difficulties in understanding and in accepting the varieties of human sexuality. As a longtime psychiatrist, I agree with the Williams Institute s survey, as well as with Clinton s galpal, in thinking that the 3.8 percent number is low. The vast majority of gay people opt for being in the closet rather than for coming out. Coming out means enduring social ostracism, being bullied, living with lower socioeconomic achievements, and loneliness. Kosta Stojanovich Honolulu, Hawaii Thanks for the Poem Our thanks for publishing Martin Steingesser s poem The Red Bird (August issue). We didn t know his work, loved the poem, and ordered his book. Sharon and Phil Smith via No Nukes Postwar Germany provides an example of what a multiparty system can accomplish ( Atomkraft? Nein Danke! by Paul Hockenos, August issue). It s a perfect example of a functioning democracy in action, far removed from the hate-filled, bipolar political system in the United States. Joe Bahlke Red Bluff, California On March 1, 1986, I was the startup physicist for the Muelheim-Kaerlich nuclear power reactor in Germany and guided them to a smooth initial criticality. The design and construction was a triumph of technology, and it was one of the safest installations in the world. Even then, the Subscriber Warning! The following and similiar companies are not authorized to solicit subscription renewals on behalf of The Progressive: Magazine Billing Services, Inc. Magazine Payment Services, Inc. Payment Processing Service, Inc. Your payment should always be made to The Progressive to ensure legitimacy of the order. thoughtless opposition was working to stop operation, and in a few years succeeded in closing the plant. The result was an increased dependence on brown coal, and added air pollution and environmental destruction for Germany. The Germans also buy nuclear electricity from France. How ironic to see a country that discovered nuclear fission deciding to forgo the use of its technical abilities to improve life for all citizens. Russell M. Ball Lynchburg, Virginia This month on We ve got a new look for our website! Check it out. Fight Back in Wisconsin: Ruth Conniff, Elizabeth DiNovella, Rebecca Kemble, Mark Pocan, and Matt Rothschild write updates from ground zero of the progressive movement Madison, Wisconsin. Video: Watch Matt s daily short commentaries, Monday through Friday. Progressive Radio: Managing Editor Amitabh Pal discusses his new book Islam Means Peace, and Robert McChesney talks about the future of journalism. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for digital-only subscriptions. The Progressive is now available on your Kindle and ipad. Our authorized subscription facility is in Palm Coast, FL. If you get notices from The Progressive at P.O. Box , Palm Coast, FL, 32143, you should feel absolutely confident that your payment will be processed properly. You can always renew by sending your payment to us here at The Progressive, 409 E. Main St., Madison, WI 53703, or online at The editors welcome correspondence from readers on all topics, but prefer to publish letters that comment directly on material previously published in The Progressive. All letters may be edited for clarity and conciseness, and may appear either in the magazine or on its web page. Letters may be ed to: Please include your city and state. The Progressive 7 Comment The Hazards of Muslim-Bashing The Norway attacks teach us the danger of Islamophobia. The lone suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, is full of antipathy toward Islam and multiculturalis
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