Monthly Archives: March 2011

calvin and demand

Bill Watterson stopped drawing his Calvin and Hobbes comic strip in 1995. About fifteen years ago.

But this one seems a little more current, somehow …

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Consumerism

us uncut vs. bank of america

Nothing unites and divides Americans quite as effectively as the issue of taxes. We’re in agreement in not wanting to pay taxes. But completely divided as to who should have to pay.

Emerging non-profit upstart US Uncut has recently made waves picking a fight with one of the most egregious tax evaders out there: Bank of America. Why? Because, despite getting a handy dandy tax-payer-funded bank bailout, Bank of America has made a habit of not paying its taxes, and it looks like they are planning on doing the same for this April 15’s national un-holiday.

This Saturday (March 26), US Uncut is organizing a massive day of action. There are Bank of America franchises just about everywhere. So there’s a good chance there will be some good ol’ American protesting happening at a Bank of America branch near you.

Check it out, consider moving your money to another bank, and spread the word …


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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Activism, Community Investing, Economic Justice, Fair Taxation

spring (barely) skiing: a photo montage!

It’s been said that skiing is the art of catching cold and going broke while heading nowhere at great personal risk. And then there’s skiing / hiking / wandering about in the woods at a undeveloped semi-slope near you.

Here are some photos from my recent jaunt into a nearby state forest. The snow was corn at best, melted mud at worst. But completely enjoyable all the same.

It’s not knee-deep pow in the Rockies, but it’s easy, local and cheap, and so, in some ways, even more satisfying than big-mountain, big-lift line, big-expense skiing.

see the corn, ski the corn ...

... before it turns into the stream

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all that is beautiful and ugly about sports: runnin’ rebels of unlv

Happy March Madness season (to those of you who didn’t pick Louisville to go to your Final Four, as I did).

Here’s a review of the new HBO Sports documentary Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV, which I enjoyed very much for its commentary on the race and class and power dynamic issues of big-time college sports.  The review ran (no pun intended) in Counterpunch this morning.



I’ll admit it. For a supposed sports junkie, I haven’t followed the college hoops game much in recent years. With players at big-time programs rarely staying on for four years, the turnover makes it difficult to really get attached to a team. But recently I came upon the new HBO Sports documentary Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV, and I couldn’t stop watching. All of a sudden, college hoops became not only significant, but essential, again.

At the close of the Eighties, UNLV (University of Nevada at Las Vegas) was one of the country’s premier basketball programs, and I was entering high school. I liked UNLV because they played an up tempo style that emphasized running and defense. They were exciting to watch, and more exciting to try to emulate, even from the isolation of a solitary basketball hoop in a suburban driveway, thousands of miles from the raucous lights of Las Vegas. Barely into my teens, I couldn’t then understand the significance that UNLV’s success had on the college sports landscape, but now watching the documentary years later, it’s nearly impossible not to appreciate their impact.

Read on …

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Filed under American Dream, Class, Economic Opportunity

look out! here comes the progressive tax organizing campaign!

From Wisconsin to Capitol Hill to the National Football League, issues of economic equality are abundant these days.

Seems like everyone is intent on looking out for their own best interest, with little (to no) thought of whether or not their individual gain might be someone else’s loss, let alone how all of it fits together for the benefit, or detriment of our society. But thankfully, there are some folks who, working together, are trying to change that.

Resource Generation and Wealth for the Common Good are two standout organizations that organize and support wealthy folks who want to take a stand, speak out, and change the economic system from which they benefit. And they’ve recently joined forces (“Wonder twin powers activate! Form of …” a more just economy for all!) to create a Progressive Tax Organizing Campaign! Right now (deadline April 1) they are accepting applications from those who wish to become a member of the Progressive Tax Organizing Team, which will be spearheading this exciting, and most needed project. The “group will engage in a collective study on taxes, build storytelling, media and campaign skills, and work together to hone and launch a campaign.”

Want more information? Check out their Progressive Tax Campaign webpage.

Peace, love and tax justice for all …


Filed under Accountable Wealth, Activism, Class, Economic Justice, Economic Opportunity, Fair Taxation, Social Change

chevron ads should get real: i agree

Annoying advertisements. They’re always popping up when you least want them to.

I picked up the new April issue of The Atlantic yesterday, all excited to read about the “Secret Fears of the Rich” (more on this later, no doubt), “… And the Upstarts Revitalizing American Journalism,” and “The Great Mom vs. Mom Parenting Debate.” Yet, en route to the Table of Contents, my sensibilities were affronted by one of those confoundingly aggravating Chevron ads, this one reading: “Oil companies should support the communities they’re a part of. We agree.”

Ugh. So much for a peaceful reading experience.

Chevron, with its history of multiple human rights violations, is attempting to rebrand itself as the nice, caring big oil company (not like those folks at BP, right?), who “agree” that “Oil companies should put their profits to good use,” and “It’s time oil companies get behind the development of renewable energy,” and my personal favorite, “Oil companies need to get real,” which would be funny if it weren’t so sickening.

But of course, the last thing an ad from an big oil company would be is real. “We’re gonna make pretending to care, the new caring,” spoof the folks over at Funny or Die, in their “Anatomy of a Greenwash” video:

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Advertising, Fair Taxation

burton snowboards: for love and money

The end of the ski season. The all-too-quickly approaching MTV-style Spring Break media coverage. The observance of International Women’s Day. Seems an appropriate time to take a look at the porn-inspired “Love” line of Burton snowboards, which will not be produced next season.

The controversial series of men’s snowboards, called Love, which featured eye-catching images of Playboy Playmates, boosted sales for Burton, and ignited a debate about sexism and free speech.

Over the past couple of winters, new lines of Love were created, with each year’s series featuring newly-released (nearly) naked images of women. As coverage of the controversy faded away, the snowboards continued to sell extremely well, and Burton continued to pretend to be oblivious to what all the fuss was about. (Which is extremely doubtful. Jake Burton himself has an economics degree from NYU.)

So, why did they (have to) use pornography to sell snowboards?  Continue reading

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Filed under Advertising, Consumerism

not-so-secret secret millionaire

I watched The Oscars this past Sunday, and in doing so was treated to several promos for ABC’s newest “reality” show: Secret Millionaire, which will fill the primetime spot of Sundays at 8pm.

The gist of Secret Millionaire: “Some of America’s most successful self-made [aren’t they all?] millionaires … spend a week in the country’s poorest areas and ultimately reward some unsung community heroes with hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money.” The millionaires will hide their true financial identity by living for a week on welfare wages (until Congress cuts funding for the program, I imagine), ultimately surprising the charitable-recipients-to-be, and reinforcing the notion that the insanely rich can easily pass for regular folks.

(Where have we heard this before? Ah yes, Undercover Boss, which airs on CBS, also on Sunday, also at 8pm. Better get your DVR ready!)  Continue reading

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, American Dream, Class, Economic Justice, Economic Opportunity, Philanthropy, Social Change