Cities are slashing school budgets to pay for professional sports stadiums, and the NFL is still a nonprofit. An argument for cutting off all public funding for professional sports across the U.S., which could save taxpayers billions:
"Consider stadium subsidies. When Kubla Khan built his stately pleasure dome above a sunless sea, he did not strong-arm the Xanadu County Board of Directors into funding the project by threatening to move to Los Angeles. His mistake. He wouldn’t last five minutes as an American sports owner. According to Harvard professor Judith Grant Long and economist Andrew Zimbalist, the average public contribution to the total capital and operating cost per sports stadium from 2000 to 2006 was between $249 and $280 million. A fantastic interactive map at Deadspin estimates that the total cost to the public of the 78 pro stadiums built or renovated between 1991 and 2004 was nearly $16 billion. That’s enough to build three Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. Or fund, in today’s dollars, 15 Saturn V moon rocket launches -- three more than the number of launches in the entire Apollo/Skylab program. It’s also more than what Chrysler received in the Great Recession-triggered auto industry bailout ($10.5 billion), and bigger than the 2010 GDP of 84 different nations. How does this happen? Simple. Team owners ask for public handouts and threaten to move elsewhere unless they get them, pitting cities against in each other in corporate welfare bidding wars -- wars rooted in the various publicly granted antitrust exemptions that effectively allow sports leagues to control and maintain a limited supply of teams to be leveraged against widespread demand."
PUBLISHED: Dec. 14, 2012
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4530 words)
First in a series on John Bolenbaugh, an oil cleanup worker who said he was fired for refusing to cover up oil from a spill that put millions of gallons of tar sands crude into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. Complicating matters is his personality and his own criminal record:
"Armed with a digital camera and a machine-gun delivery of baiting, rhetorical questions, usually directed at cleanup workers ('What do you think of Enbridge covering up oil? Who do you think should pay for killing our fish and poisoning our river?'), Bolenbaugh’s caustic style has made him a divisive figure among locals -- a selfless hero to some, a self-aggrandizing crusader to others. Enbridge claims that Bolenbaugh has had no effect on its cleanup efforts, but his picture (square-jawed with wild blue eyes and wearing an orange vest) hung for months inside the security box at the entrance to the Enbridge staging site under the heading: 'All Personnel Be Alert.'
"Even after countless conversations, I sometimes find it hard to tell whether Bolenbaugh is a legitimate whistleblower who refuses to look the other way or, as his critics deride him, a wack-job whose motor-mouth finally got him fired."
PUBLISHED: April 12, 2012
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6287 words)
It wasn’t yet 3:30 p.m., and already there were heated words at the entrance to West Holt High School in Atkinson, Nebraska. The school was playing host to a State Department public hearing on Keystone XL -- a proposed pipeline meant to carry synthetic crude oil pumped from the Alberta tar sands in Canada nearly 2,000 miles to Port Arthur and Houston on the Texas Gulf Coast. Yesterday’s hearing came hard on the heels of a contentious gathering at the Pershing Auditorium in Lincoln on Tuesday and was one of eight such listening sessions crammed into a week of marathon hearings in cities and small towns across the six states the pipeline would cross, all in an effort to settle whether such a project is in the national interest. But, for the moment, the debate was focused on a more basic question: Who would be allowed to speak?
PUBLISHED: Sept. 30, 2011
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3620 words)