Community Activists Stop Cleveland Cavaliers Stadium

The math simply didn’t add up.

The Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Image by Erik Drost/Flickr.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s campaign to convince the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County to contribute to a new stadium died on Monday. The team issued a statement declaring they would not be contributing $70 million to renovate Quicken Loans Arena, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ home, as part of a project that would ultimately end up costing $288 million by the time the bonds had been paid off in 2034.


Why did the Cavs decide to abandon the proposal? On Aug. 14, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled by a 4-3 vote that a public referendum would be held to determine whether or not $88 million from the public coffers would be directed to pay for the renovations, and the proper workings of democracy and the whole “let the voters have a say” were not things the Cavs wanted to engage in because they’d lose.

In the statement, the Cavs began by laying out all the super-awesome, fantastic stuff that Clevelanders now won’t get. According to the Cavs, a county that is a billion dollars in debt should divert funds from an existing hotel tax to Gilbert’s pocket because 2,500 construction jobs and 3,200 permanent jobs would come to town. Plus “making [the arena] more competitive” with venues around the Midwest would bring in business, including the 2020 or 2021 NBA All-Star Game, even though the arena is already the 13th busiest arena in the United States. The Cavs also stated that the All-Star Game would generate over $100 million in “economic impact,” without citing a single study as proof.

That’s all gone now, Clevelanders, since a vote would have caused unnecessary delays and increased the final construction costs. (The Cavs had previously agreed to cover any cost overages as part of their agreement with Cuyahoga County.) From the statement:

“The prospective referendum will cause the groundbreaking of The Q Transformation to miss the current construction cycle, which pushes the overall price tag of the project higher due to rising construction costs. In addition, a time sensitive financing package that included historically low interest rates would be negatively impacted by further delay due to a prospective referendum exposing the project to an expected higher interest rate environment.”

Per Neil deMause at Field of Schemes, the Cavs’ argument about a hike in interest rates making the project economically unfeasible doesn’t hold up. Odds are far greater that the Cavs’ internal polling showed they’d get pantsed at the ballot box. Taking their $70-million ball and going home was a way to save face, even if the statement was practically written in Comic Sans.

The Cavs also clearly blamed the coalition of community activists — including unions, the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, and Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC), a nondenominational advocacy group — who have worked tirelessly for months to stop the stadium.

For the GCC and their partners in the coalition, this represents a major victory, particularly considering the lengths the Cavs, Cleveland politicians, and other government officials were willing to go to in order to keep the ordinance from being subject to a public vote.

In May, activists collected 22,000 signatures demanding a public referendum, far exceeding the 6,000 signatures needed. They then had to fend off the city council, which initially refused to accept the petition and sued itself in order to keep the GCC’s chosen lawyers from participating in the legal proceedings.

In a statement provided to GOOD Sports, GCC lead organizer James Pearlstein said that the GCC had repeatedly asked all the parties in favor of the ordinance to also provide funding for things Clevelanders actually need but had been rebuffed and ignored at every turn. As such:

“GCC makes no apologies for prioritizing ending the cycle of using our jails to house the mentally ill or seeking to employ the jobless. GCC makes no apologies for standing up for our most vulnerable residents in our most distressed communities who feel like second class citizens in their own city. GCC makes no apologies for standing up for the 22,000 people who signed petitions and were subjected to voter suppression tactics rather being able to exercise their democratic rights. The loss of this deal squarely lies at the feet of those who put old school politics above the interests of the people.”

Of course, Dan Gilbert could easily write a check for $70 million himself, given that it would represent 1.2% of his total net worth.

Sports
via Smithfly.com

"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

"The world is your waterbed," Smithfly says on its site. But the big difference is that no one has ever had to worry about falling asleep and then drowning on their waterbed.

RELATED: A ridiculous dad transformed Billie Eilish's 'Bad Guy' into a 3-minute long musical dad joke

While it is possible that one could wade into the water, unzip the tent, have a pleasant slumber, and wake up in the morning feeling safe and refreshed, there are countless things that could go terribly wrong.

The tent could float down the river and you wake up in the middle of nowhere.

You could have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This guy.

It could spring a leak and you could drown while wrapped up in eight feet of heavy nylon.

A strong current could tip the tent-boat over.

There isn't any way to steer the darn thing.

This guy.

Mashable shared a charming video of the tent on Twitter and it was greeted with a chorus of people sharing the many ways one could die while staying the night in the Shoal Tent.

Oh yeah, it's expensive, too.

Even though the general public seems to think the Shoal Tent is a terrible idea, according to the Smithfly's website, it's currently sold out due to "popular demand" and it will be "available in 6-8 weeks." Oh, and did we mention it costs $1,999?

Lifestyle
via zoezimmm / Imgur

There are few more perniciously dangerous conspiracy theories being shared online than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

This has led to a decline in Americans vaccinating their children, resulting in a massive increase in measles. This year has already seen over 1,200 cases of measles, a disease that was eradicated in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.

There is zero truth to the idea that vaccines cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.

RELATED: A new study of over 650,000 children finds — once again — that vaccines don't cause autism

A great example of the lack of critical thinking shown by anti-vaxxers was a recent exchange on Facebook shared to Imgur by zoezimmm.

A parent named Kenleigh at a school in New Mexico shared a photo of a sign at reads: "Children will not be enrolled unless an immunization record is presented and immunizations are up-to-date."

This angered a Facebook user who went on a senseless tirade against vaccinations.

"That's fine, I'll just homeschool my kids," she wrote. At least they won't have to worry about getting shot up in school or being bullied, or being beat up / raped by the teachers!"

To defend her anti-vaccination argument, she used a factually incorrect claim that Amish people don't vaccinate their children. She also incorrectly claimed that the MMR vaccine is ineffective and used anecdotal evidence from her and her father to claim that vaccinations are unnecessary.

She also argued that "every human in the world is entitled to their own opinion." Which is true, but doesn't mean that wildly incorrect assumptions about health should be tolerated.

She concluded her argument with a point that proves she doesn't care about facts: "It doesn't matter what you say is not going to change my mind."

RELATED: 12 medical professionals shared their most memorable anti-vaxxer stories and you won't stop face-palming

While the anti-vaxxer was incorrect in her points, it must also be pointed out that some of the people who argued with her on Facebook were rude. That should never be tolerated in this type of discourse, but unfortunately, that's the world of social media.

Here's the entire exchange:

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The post received a ton of responses on imgur. Here are just a few:

"'In my opinion...' 'I believe...' That's not how facts work."

"You're entitled to your opinion. And everyone else is entitled to call you a dumbass."

"'What I do with my children is no concern to you at all.' Most of the time, true. When your kid might give mine polio, not true."

"If my child can't bring peanut butter, your child shouldn't bring preventable diseases."

It's important to call out people who spread dangerous views, especially how they pertain to health, on social media. But people should do so with respect and civility.

Health

He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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Communities
via Imgur

Every few years there's something that goes mega viral because people can't decide what it is.

There was the famous "is it blue and black, or white and gold" dress?

There was the audio recording that said either "yanny" or "Laurel."

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Viral


Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape www.youtube.com

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

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