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theHandpuppet

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: West Virginia
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 19,964

About Me

Cantankerous by nature, aspires to a genteel misanthropy. Interests include carpentry, organic gardening and sustainable living, history, genealogy, astronomy and paleontology, visual arts, lgbt activism. Caretaker for a brace of Scotties and several ungrateful, rescued cats. Addicted to watching sports and cheers for perennial losers. Education: I suppose, though some might think an MFA doesn\'t really qualify as such. Partnered for 24 years to a saint. Just lucky, I guess.

Journal Archives

A page from history: Paul Robeson appears before HUAC

kpete has posted on GD an informative thread about Ronald Reagan's role as a "friendly witness" before the HUAC, proving once again just how much of a sniveling scumbag St. Ronnie really was. Now let's remember a man who stood up to HUAC...

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6440

“You Are the Un-Americans, and You Ought to be Ashamed of Yourselves”: Paul Robeson Appears Before HUAC
Testimony of Paul Robeson before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, June 12, 1956

Intro:
Many African-American witnesses subpoenaed to testify at the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings in the 1950s were asked to denounce Paul Robeson (1888–1976) in order to obtain future employment. Robeson, an All-American football player and recipient of a Phi Beta Kappa key at Rutgers, received a law degree at Columbia. He became an internationally acclaimed concert performer and actor as well as a persuasive political speaker. In 1949, Robeson was the subject of controversy after newspapers reports of public statements that African Americans would not fight in “an imperialist war.” In 1950, his passport was revoked. Several years later, Robeson refused to sign an affidavit stating that he was not a Communist and initiated an unsuccessful lawsuit. In the following testimony to a HUAC hearing, ostensibly convened to gain information regarding his passport suit, Robeson refused to answer questions concerning his political activities and lectured bigoted Committee members Gordon H. Scherer and Chairman Francis E.Walter about African-American history and civil rights. In 1958, the Supreme Court ruled that a citizen’s right to travel could not be taken away without due process and Robeson’ passport was returned.

I am going to include here one passage from the transcript:

Mr. ROBESON: Could I say that the reason that I am here today, you know, from the mouth of the State Department itself, is: I should not be allowed to travel because I have struggled for years for the independence of the colonial peoples of Africa. For many years I have so labored and I can say modestly that my name is very much honored all over Africa, in my struggles for their independence. That is the kind of independence like Sukarno got in Indonesia. Unless we are double-talking, then these efforts in the interest of Africa would be in the same context. The other reason that I am here today, again from the State Department and from the court record of the court of appeals, is that when I am abroad I speak out against the injustices against the Negro people of this land. I sent a message to the Bandung Conference and so forth. That is why I am here. This is the basis, and I am not being tried for whether I am a Communist, I am being tried for fighting for the rights of my people, who are still second-class citizens in this United States of America. My mother was born in your state, Mr. Walter, and my mother was a Quaker, and my ancestors in the time of Washington baked bread for George Washington’s troops when they crossed the Delaware, and my own father was a slave. I stand here struggling for the rights of my people to be full citizens in this country. And they are not. They are not in Mississippi. And they are not in Montgomery, Alabama. And they are not in Washington. They are nowhere, and that is why I am here today. You want to shut up every Negro who has the courage to stand up and fight for the rights of his people, for the rights of workers, and I have been on many a picket line for the steelworkers too. And that is why I am here today. . . .

So here we are in 2013, still fighting so that all may have an equal opportunity to vote, and for the rights of workers to demand a fair wage.

Posted by theHandpuppet | Sun Aug 18, 2013, 06:49 AM (44 replies)

Billionaire's playground: the world of professional sports

I'm not sure why this subject has been so taboo on DU (previous attempts to broach this subject have been met with surprising reproach) but let me wade in here once again. Perhaps we all need to be reminded that at a time when Americans are losing benefits, having pensions slashed, cities are going bankrupt, schools are locking their doors, the poor are being told there's simply not enough money to feed, clothe and house their children, there's at least one tier of citizenry who are laughing all the way to the bank -- owners of professional sports franchises. While most families in America work multiple jobs to make ends meet, owners of team sports hold financially strapped cities in a type of financial blackmail, demanding taxpayer monies to build their stadiums and all manner of compensation packages, right down to breaks on their utility bills. Even better for these owners, the federal government seems a willing partner to this sham with the huge taxbreaks proffered to sports industries from NASCAR to the NFL which, in case you didn't know, has tax-exempt status.
Then again, perhaps I'm being too hard on these shining examples of American entrepreneurship. It could just be a matter of.. well, as Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen put it so simply, "I'm better at life than you."
What is it about the sacred cow called professional sports that no amount of greed and corruption can stir an ongoing debate, much less the slightest outrage, about the inequity of it all. To the billionaire owners it's just a game, and one they play with house money.

To begin, let's take a look at a sampling of some non-sports jobs and what they pay. The following wage figures were garnered from several sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Forbes and ESPN

Average salary (median) for the following professions (in thousands of dollars)
Elementary-high school teacher: 40 –44.6
Firefighter: 42.4
State governor: 124
Mail carrier: 40 – 56.7
Day care worker: 21.3
Staff nurse, RN: 67.4
Maids and housekeeping cleaners: 21.8
Plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters: 46.6
PFC, US Army <2 yrs experience, active duty : 20.3
Speaker of the House: 223
Retail salesperson: 25.3
Sanitation worker: 28.9
President of the United States: 400
Housewife: 0; calculated compensation due: 134.1

Now let's compare those incomes with the median annual salaries in professional sports: (in millions)
MLB: 3. 4 (Alex Rodriquez, per game: 150 thousand)
NBA: 5.1
NHL 2.4
NFL: 1.9
NFL Commissioner, including compensation: 29.4
Highest paid college coaches, top 50: 1.49 - 5.19
Highest paid golfer: Tiger Woods, 78.1*
Highest paid tennis pro: Roger Federer, 71.5*
*includes monies paid for endorsements; figures provided for MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL do not include monies paid for endorsements.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/03/26/paul-allen-is-the-richest-nfl-owner/
Paul Allen is the richest NFL owner, by far
Posted by Mike Florio on March 26, 2013, 1:50 PM EDT

Like Seattle star cornerback Richard Sherman recently told Skip Bayless,
Seahawks owner Paul Allen once again can declare to his NFL colleagues, “I’m
better at life than you.”


Forbes has issued its annual list of worldwide billionaires. Not
surprisingly, more than a few of them own NFL teams. The richest of all NFL
owners, via SportsBusiness Daily, is Allen, at a whopping $15 billion.

A full 11 figures in the distance is Rams owner Stan Kroenke, at $5.0
billion. (Coupled with wife Ann Walton Kroenke’s $4.5 billion, that’s a
$9.5 billion power couple.)

The bronze is shared by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and Buccaneers owner
Malcolm Glazer, both of whom are listed at a net worth of $4.4 billion.

Next on the list is Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, at $2.9 billion. Giants
co-owner Joan Tisch also has a net worth of $2.9 billion.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is worth $2.7 billion, followed by Patriots owner
Robert Kraft ($2.3 billion), Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III ($1.8 billion),
Texans owner Bob McNair ($1.8 billion), Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti ($1.8
billion), Falcons owner Arthur Blank ($1.6 billion), Colts owner Jim Irsay
($1.5 billion), Titans owner Bud Adams ($1.2 billion), Saints owner Tom
Benson ($1.2 billion), 49ers co-owner Denise York ($1.1 billion), Redskins
owner Dan Snyder ($1.0 billion), and Chargers owner Alex Spanos ($1.0
billion).

That’s 19 teams owned by billionaires, with every team in the AFC South
owned by a billionaire. Which means, excluding the publicly-owned Packers,
12 teams are owned by non-billionaires.

Which makes us wonder what those owners are doing with the money that owning
an NFL team allows them to print.

Follow these links for a small sampling of articles on the subject :

Congress Gives NASCAR a $40M Tax Break
http://usgovinfo.about.com/b/2010/12/24/congress-gives-nascar-a-40m-tax-break.htm

Why Does the National Football League Deserve Tax-Exempt Status?http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-frederick/nfl-tax-exempt_b_1321635.html

Big-time sports tax breaks: 'How much does it bother you?'http://www.wral.com/nfl-is-tax-free-how-much-does-it-bother-you-/12063209/

House panel OKs $60M in tax breaks for sports facilities (Florida)
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-03-20/business/os-sports-facilities-tax-break-bills-20130320_1_sales-taxes-house-tax-committee-new-tax-collections

Kentucky govt. diverts economic development funds from Appalachian counties for basketball arena
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023147631
Posted by theHandpuppet | Mon Aug 12, 2013, 08:23 AM (23 replies)
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