It's odd that as concerned as we are about taxes, many don't blink an eye when it comes to stadiums.

Dear reader,

I'm going to assume that you and I are both taxpayers. Presumably, we both care about the public good.


GIF from Golden Globes/NBC.

Roads, bridges, schools, emergency services, public transportation. For the things that will make our community run properly, we're hopefully both in agreement that shelling out a little from our pay is worth it.

Chipping in for the things we all need is part of the social contract in America.

GIF from " The Today Show."

But there's something we've been paying for that we shouldn't be.

And we do it every time because each time we even think about prioritizing something else instead of paying for this thing, we get threatened that our beloved sports teams will leave us. What is this thing, you ask, dear reader?

Stadiums.

Every time our teams want a new stadium, they act like:

GIF from "Parks and Recreation."

Would you call our relationship with teams that threaten to leave when they don't get their way a healthy one?

When we're cutting back on so many important services for lack of funding, it seems silly that we're willing to shell out up to a billion dollars for new stadiums.

We quite literally can't afford to foot the bill for our teams.

We're driving ourselves off a financial cliff. And meanwhile, they're making mad profits!

How do we keep getting rope-a-doped into such an unhealthy dynamic with our team stadiums?

John Oliver explains the drill and breaks down why the math doesn't work in our favor:

You and I spending another dime on this just doesn't make sense.

Share this for the other people who've had enough and need the facts.

Yours truly,

— A taxpaying sports fan who likes a nice stadium but also has a lot of other priorities and believes that there are way more important things to spend money on for her community and country

Canva

Prior to European colonization of North America, millions of bison roamed the Great Plains. By the turn of the 20th century, those numbers had dropped to less than 1,000. The deliberate decimation of buffalo herds was a direct attack on the Native American people, who colonizers saw as an obstacle to their "Manifest Destiny," and who the U.S. government engaged in a systematic attempt to eliminate or force into docile submission.

For thousands of years, bison were a sacred, inseparable part of life for Indigenous tribes of the Great Plains, used for food, shelter, utensils, and clothing, in addition to spiritual and emotional well-being. Wiping out the bison population nearly wiped out the Native tribes they were connected to.

Though bison numbers have increased significantly thanks to conservation efforts, governments are still grappling with the ugly legacy, and some municipalities are taking steps to try to repair some of the damage done. As one example, the city of Denver, Colorado has taken the step of giving some of the city's bison population managed by Denver Parks and Recreation to Native American tribes engaged in bison conservation efforts.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less