Archive for the ‘Occupy Together’ Category


Wednesday, June 20th, 2012


What would YOU do with that much money?

Would you pay for a year’s tuition at my alma mater, Carleton College?  It wasn’t that steep when I went there, luckily.  If it was, I’d never have been allowed to leave the Evans Hall dishroom.

Would you buy a car–or several of them?  My mid-life crisis car has always been an early ’70s Chevelle SS or Dodge Charger, and for that much dough I could get one of each!

Would you click over to to charge up two thousand copies of Davina Rhine’s book Rebel Moms, all because you aren’t Trish from Mississippi, winner of my first-ever book giveaway?  And you tend to overcompensate when you lose random blog raffles?

Probably not.

You’d think of something sensible to do with a pile of cash that large. If you were the mayor of a large city you might use it to fill potholes, clean up dirty parks, improve bike lanes–you know, the usual, boring, “make a city more livable” stuff.

My hometown, the everlovin’ City of Minneapolis, spent $42,429 on THIS:



 Photo credit: Occupy Homes MN

A recently released document shows that my city spent $42,429 to “protect” this empty home from the peaceful, but fiercely determined, protests of Occupy Homes activists.

The Cruz family claims that an online accounting error led them down the rabbit hole of foreclosure with PNC Bank, who had at one point pledged to work with the family to straighten out the mess and allow them to stay in the home on 4044 Cedar Avenue South. (HuffPo coverage of the standoff can be read here.)

Cedar Avenue is a north-south throughway that I use almost daily.  I’ve been by the Cruz house countless times, and I can attest that it is a fairly nondescript little thing, a dinky 1910s-era bungalow that is typical of the area.  It’s nothing fancy.  It is totally insignificant to a bank like PNC that holds assets of $270 billion.

Yet PNC somehow cowed my city into putting its muscle, and $42,429 of its cash, in the service of ridding the house of peaceful, but fiercely determined, protesters.

I was born in this city and have lived here for the vast majority of my life, but a story like this makes me fear that I slipped dimensions and entered Bizarro Minneapolis.  How do I slip back, I wonder?  In the meantime, I should head over to Lakewood Cemetery to see if Paul & Sheila Wellstone’s grave is moving….



Whew.  There’s still hope.

On that note, tomorrow is Occupy Homes’ #J21 National Day of Action Against PNC Bank.  People across the country will support David and Alejandra Cruz as they visit PNC’s Pittsburgh headquarters to hand-deliver loan modification documents to its CEO, Jim Rohr, who earned $16 million in 2011.

Wow! $16 million is a lot of money….!

It could buy 380,952 Minneapolis police actions like the one pictured above.  It could buy EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND copies of Rebel Moms, which would make it a bestseller so massive it would be immediately be turned into a major motion picture starring Kristen Stewart as Davina Rhine herself.









In the grand American tradition….

Monday, November 21st, 2011

This is what happens if you camp outside a Best Buy store for a week in hopes of obtaining the 55″ TV of your dreams:


This is what happens if you camp outside on the quad of your public university in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement:


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

The 99 percent on the road, or: a visit to Occupy Madison

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Yes, it’s true: I brought a kid in a Vikings hoodie to the (literal) capital of Packers country.  Happily, Madison’s Occupiers were a peaceful bunch.

Miriam’s flowered hoodie was a bit out of place, too. We also forgot to pack our clown noses.

I had to photograph my proudly public-schooled daughter with my favorite sign. To my readers who are teachers: THANK YOU.

Speaking on the day we visited was Dr. John Carlos, the 1968 Olympic bronze medalist whose raised fist on the awards podium remains one of the most iconic images of the American civil rights movement.  He expressed support for and solidarity with the nationwide movement–beautifully, I might add.

Miriam had no idea who John Carlos was, but she knew that her mom was freaking out that he just shook her hand and complimented her on being an Occupier at such a young age. That kind of excitement is always contagious!

“We live to make history. Much love, Dr. John Carlos 68 & 2011″

Activism doesn’t get any better than that.