Pages tagged "charlotte"


Communities Speak Out Against Coal Plants

This morning, the EPA announced limits on carbon pollution from power plants. That's a welcome step in fighting climate change—and it wouldn't have happened without communities speaking out against coal plants. Here at RAN, we're proud of the role our network of friends and activists has played in building pressure over the last several years.

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Stop TXU! Activists stage protests against financial institutions linked to Texas utility company TXU’s controversial plans to build 11 new coal-fired power plants as part of an expansion strategy that would make it the single largest corporate greenhouse gas emitter in the Unites States. Winter 2007. Photo: Andrew Stern.

 

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University of Kentucky Fossil Fools Day. Students raise a wind turbine atop a coal mound as part of an action for Fossil Fools Day at University of Kentucky. April 1, 2008.

 

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Wise Coal Action. Virginia residents and anti-coal activists form a blockade to disrupt the construction of Dominion's Wise County Coal-Fired Power Plant. September 2008.

 

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Capitol Climate Action. Thousands of activists surround the Capitol Coal Plant in Washington DC to demand its retirement. March 2009.

 

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Duke Energy's Cliffside Coal Plant. RAN activists holding a banner in front of Duke Energy's Cliffside coal plant in Cliffside, North Carolina. The banner action coincided with the release a new report, The Principle Matter: Banks, Climate & The Carbon Principles. January 2011.

 

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Crawford Coal Plant Banner. Six activists with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), Rising Tide North America, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and the Backbone Campaign climbed the fence to Midwest Generation’s controversial Crawford coal plant in Little Village. The activists unfurled a 7' x 30' banner atop a 20-foot tall sprawling coal pile that feeds the power plant, which reads: "Close Chicago's Toxic Coal Plants." April 2011.

 

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Stand with Pat: Tell BofA to Stop Funding Coal. Grandmothers Pat Moore and Beth Henry and seven others were arrested outside of four different Bank of America branches in Charlotte, NC delivering a simple yet urgent message to the bank: they must STOP funding coal. November 2012. Photo: © Paul Corbit Brown.


Did You Hear The One About The Bank That Couldn't Count?

BoA_ActionLast week, Bank of America (BofA) admitted a huge accounting error—for several years, it claimed a whopping $4 billion more in capital than it actually has. The day BofA announced its blunder, its shares closed down more than six percent, the stock’s biggest drop in two years.

But BofA had to come clean. Regulators, shareholders and consumers need an accurate picture of banks' balance sheets.

BofA’s admission gives us a rare chance to raise a far bigger question: What else are they hiding?

It's time for BofA to be transparent about something much more vital to the future of the planet: just how much its investments contribute to climate change.

Tell Bank of America: Come clean on funding climate change!

I'm writing to you from BofA's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I'm about to speak in support of a crucial shareholder resolution. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility—backed by investors worth almost $35 billion—is pushing the bank to report on how much carbon pollution gets spewed into the atmosphere by the companies it funds.

BofA is a top funder of the biggest drivers of climate change: coal, oil, and gas corporations, as well as carbon–intensive electricity producers. But it's refusing to report on its financed carbon emissions. BofA knows that opening its books will create pressure to cut emissions by moving away from fossil fuels.

Now is the time to push BofA on climate change. Last week's accounting revelations were a big black eye, and at today's AGM, the bank needs to reassure its shareholders and customers that it doesn't have billions of dollars of climate liabilities on its books.

We need you to add your voice: Tell Bank of America to come clean on climate accounting!

Pushing for transparency is just the first step. We're also calling on BofA to cut its carbon pollution by stopping funding coal, the top contributor to climate change. I'll be making that call here at the AGM in just a few minutes, and ally organizations will speak to coal's cost beyond climate: mountains with their tops blown off in West Virginia, rivers wrecked by coal ash here in North Carolina, and human rights abuses by coal company security forces in Colombia.

Will you stand with us? Tell BofA that today's the day to come clean on funding climate change—and to cut its emissions by ending coal financing.


Banking on Coal: New BankTrack Report Highlights Bank Complicity in Global Coal Mining Boom

banking on coal “Most innovative investment bank for climate change.” – Citigroup “Mak(ing) your life greener and help(ing) tackle climate change.” – Morgan Stanley “Financing a low carbon economy.” – Bank of America When banks tout slogans such as these, you might expect them to mean that they plan to phase out financing for coal, the single largest source of global climate emissions. Unfortunately, these and other banks are doing the opposite, as a new report from the BankTrack network and RAN found. Since 2005, the year the Kyoto Protocol came into force, bank financing for coal mining companies increased by 397 percent. This surge in bank financing for coal is not just hypocritical, it’s also insane: Leading scientific, policy, and civil society institutions around the world have concluded that burning more than 20% of existing global coal reserves would lock in catastrophic climate change. The BankTrack report, entitled "Banking on Coal," was released at the COP 19 climate conference in Warsaw, Poland and also found that global coal production has grown by 69 percent since 2000 and has now reached 7.9 billion tons annually. The future of coal was a front-and-center issue at COP 19 and at a simultaneous coal industry conference held in Warsaw this month. In a speech at the World Coal Conference, Christiana Figueres, the chair of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told attendees that any responsible future for the global coal industry must involve “leav(ing) most existing reserves in the ground.” The finance industry has played a key role in the recent global coal boom: In the past eight years, 89 commercial banks provided $158 billion in financing to the world’s largest and most destructive mining companies. Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America—the very same banks that mouth the sustainability slogans mentioned above—topped the list of coal-financing banks, providing $9.76 billion, $9.69 billion, and $8.79 billion, respectively. The report also highlights coal production “hot spots” on six continents where coal extraction has had especially devastating impacts on communities, ecosystems, or human health. Building on research from BankTrack member organizations around the globe, the report highlights the destructive impacts that coal mining is having on India’s last tiger forests, on Appalachian communities in the U.S., and on scarce water resources in South Africa. Banks are not alone in their climate hypocrisy. For example, the Government of Poland touted its commitment to powering the country with coal even as it played host to the COP 19 climate conference. But despite stiff competition from governments of Poland and other emissions-intensive countries, the degree to which major global banks are complicit in the worst coal mining projects around the world is staggering. Fortunately, bank hypocrisy on coal doesn’t work like it used to. Students certainly aren’t fooled, as campus groups across the U.S. have disrupted over 50 Bank of America and Citigroup recruitment sessions this fall over the leading role these banks play in financing the coal industry. Globally, the climate movement is becoming stronger by the day and has attracted growing support from within the financial industry, leaving the banks highlighted in the report increasingly isolated in their support for a coal-fired future.

Eye to Eye with Brian Moynihan

bofaactivistsVIDEO: To watch more of what happened yesterday at the Bank of America shareholder meeting in Charlotte, watch the clip at the bottom of this blog post.
As I stood eye-to-eye with Bank of America (BofA) CEO, Brian Moynihan, a large stop-watch projected onto the wall of the conference room started to count down. I had two minutes before my microphone cut off and I needed to choose my words wisely. Once a year BofA, like every publicly-held corporation, invites shareholders to meet with the CEO, along with the Board of Directors and the Senior Executive team. It’s our opportunity to raise questions about the bank’s performance and practice. Rainforest Action Network, along with many of our friends and allies, has been calling on BofA to take some serious action on the climate. Together we’ve petitioned, written emails, placed phone calls, written letters, marched in the streets, visited bank branches and offices and used many creative strategies to get this message on the bank's radar. And now I had the ear of the top guy, for exactly 120 seconds. At the beginning of the meeting, Brian made a speech listing off the bank’s proudest achievements. He included BofA’s environmental commitment. This is something we both like, I think it’s important for the bank to have a commitment to clean energy and energy efficiency and BofA has a good team working to meet their targets. But here’s the problem, and this is what I told Brian: While BofA fanfares its commitment to leadership on climate change, at the same time it is the leading funder of the coal industry, the single largest source of U.S. climate emissions. This means that BofA is underwriting the very same climate pollution that it is trying to tackle. The sad truth is that it is not possible for a bank to be both #1 in addressing climate change and #1 in financing the fossil fuel sector. These two goals are incompatible. And so I asked: "Which will you choose to prioritize? Will you choose to finance a transition to clean energy and a safe future for future generations, or will you choose the coal industry and a future of climate catastrophe?" It looked as if Brian was listening, but I don't think he really heard me, because he didn’t answer my question. Instead he replied by telling me some details about their environmental commitment and then asked Global technology and Operations Executive Cathy Bessant to explain the specifics of their clean energy financing. If Brian didn’t really hear me, then perhaps he heard the words spoken by others in the room. Person after person got up to the mic to speak about the many problems associated with the bank’s financing of the coal industry. Ashish talked about Coal India and how their mines are destroying forests, critical tiger habitat and the health of Indian communities. Bonnie, Jim, Les, Eddie and Carly talked about Peabody and Arch Coals’ plans to transport 150 million tons of coal per year through their communities in Washington and Oregon for sale on the international export market. Lorelei, Kathy and Stephanie spoke about the daily horror experienced by Appalachians who live next to mountaintop removal coal mines. Sarah shared her experiences of living next to North Carolina’s Riverbend Coal plant, that has poisoned her community’s lake and inflicted serious illnesses on her family. Barbara and June testified about the wide range of serious health impacts associated with coal and climate, delivering a petition to Brian from thousands of medical professionals and concerned citizens. Faith leaders Reverend Nancy Allison and Rabbi Jonathan Frierich spoke to the moral imperative to take courageous action for the climate, as did Rabbi Margie Klein, who then sang an Appalachian spiritual to emphasize this point. Was Brian listening now? I think he was; we dominated the meeting, causing him at one point to quip, “Is there anybody here who has a question that isn’t about climate change?” Among the final speakers were students David, Meiron, Maria and Ali, who all asked Brian to consider the world he is leaving for future generations. “At the moment you are part of the problem”, said David, “Please can you be part of the solution?

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It's Bank of America's Annual Shareholder Meeting: Time to Voice Discontent

I know you care—in the past couple months, you’ve already taken multiple online actions to urge Bank of America to stop funding the coal industry. And as you are reading this, I am outside the Bank of America shareholder meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a group of 30 people who have been negatively impacted by coal. These friends have traveled thousands of miles—from California to India—to speak face-to-face with Bank of America decision makers. They are demanding an end to the havoc that Bank of America and the coal industry have wreaked on our lives. These brave people include Barbara Gottlieb from Physicians for Social Responsibility, who researches how coal causes respiratory diseases; Lorelei Scarbro, who comes from a family of coal miners and had mountains blown up in her West Virginian backyard for tiny seams of coal; and Ashish Fernandes from India—where coal was a false promise for a poor country to get rich but instead destroyed the health of thousands of innocent people. Today, we need your help to deliver an additional blow to Bank of America: to call in and demand that it is time to stop funding King Coal. With hundreds—even thousands—of us calling in, this will disrupt operations on the day of the bank’s biggest public facing event all year.   ** We've updated the phone number below, after Bank of America disconnected the first one.  Keep up the pressure! ** Will you help us prove to Bank of America that these people are not alone? Call the office of Bank of America CEO, Brian Moynihan. Here’s his number: (866) 826 - 8989 Leading up to today, shareholders and bank executives have felt the crescendo of our grassroots organizing in Charlotte. We have disseminated the message that Bank of America is the leading funder of coal and so clearly doesn’t care about its impact on climate change with several creative tactics. We’ve greeted bank shareholders the minute they landed at the Charlotte airport, plastered ads all over downtown Charlotte and the perimeter of the bank’s headquarters, flyered every hotel door where shareholders are staying; and, today—our activists are accompanied by a 20x12 ft mobile billboard parked outside of the shareholder meeting as they march in. Bank of America knows we’re here. Let them know you’re here, as well. Since today is such a ripe opportunity because of this public-facing moment, we need to pick up the phone and call. Please take a few minutes today to call Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and let him know that Bank of America needs to stop funding coal. Here’s how:  
1. Call (866) 826 - 8989 2. If someone answers the phone, ask to speak to Brian Moynihan (it’s highly unlikely they will put you through). Whether your call is answered by voicemail or a real person, be polite and respectful, but above all make sure you state how seriously you’re taking Bank of America's decision to keep funding the declining industry of coal. Here’s a sample call script:
Hello, my name is ____{name}____ and I'm calling today to tell Brian Moynihan that Bank of America cannot be #1 in addressing climate change when it is the #1 funder of coal. I am deeply disturbed by how this decision is affecting the quality of our lives and future. I demand that Bank of America stop pumping billions of dollars into the coal industry. Thank you for your time.
3. After you call, click the button below to report how it went. It’s important we get an accurate count of how many folks made a call, and what Bank of America's response is.  
It’s time Bank of America is held accountable as the #1 funder of the U.S. coal industry—the bank is responsible for funding the decimation of purple mountains majesty via mountaintop coal mining (MTR); underwriting coal mines that have caused irreversible black lung to working class miners; and financially supporting contaminated, undrinkable water in once pristine streams. No financial institution should have this much power over our communities and our future. Trust me, our mighty crew here in Charlotte will feel the amplified power of every phone call you make. Thank you in advance for standing up with us today. Together, we can be heard—because there are more of us than them.

Gearing Up for Bank of America's Shareholder Meeting

photo (3)I'm in Charlotte this week to talk to Bank of America's annual shareholder meeting. For the past two years, RAN has been calling on the bank to get serious about addressing climate change.This is a bank that declares a "commitment to positive environmental change" proudly on its website and a bank that has fanfared multi-billion dollar climate initiatives. However, the bank is also the leading underwriter of the U.S. coal industry, the single largest source of U.S. climate emissions. This means that bank of America is actually underwriting the climate change that it claims to want to tackle. The sad truth is that it is not possible for a bank to be both #1 in addressing climate change and #1 in financing the coal sector. These two goals are simply incompatible. I've been terrified about what we're doing to the climate for at least ten years, but the past 12 months of extreme weather event has underlined the reality of climate change and the urgent need for action. From Superstorm Sandy's devastation on the eastern seaboard, to the droughts endured by the Midwest and Plains states, and the wildfires that raged across the Rocky Mountains last summer, the planet is sending us a loud and clear message that it's in distress. These were major headline stories, but the impacts were truly felt everywhere: over the year, more than 69,000 local heat records were set. Even as I type these words, communities in North Charlotte are being evacuated due to flooding from weeks of heavy rain. I'm joined here in Charlotte by more than 30 friends and allies, each with a personal reason for coming to talk to Bank of America (BofA) about climate change. This morning we held a press conference and I stood with Indian campaigner, Ashish Fernandes. Ashish spoke about the devastating impacts that BofA-funded coal mining companies have on his country's biodiversity, water supplies and indigenous communities. We stood with Barbara Gottlieb of Physicians for Social Responsibility, who explained the serious health impacts of climate change and burning coal; these include strokes, asthma and malnutrition. We stood with Oregonian Jim Plunkett, who is fighting plans to build five new coal export terminals in the Pacific North West, and we stood with local Charlotte Pastor, Nancy Allison, who spoke to our moral imperative to protect the climate for future generations. Tomorrow we'll take our message directly to BofA's CEO Brian Moynihan, to their Board of Directors and to the bank's shareholders. We will ask the bank to stop hedging and make a firm choice: Will the bank continue to fund climate chaos and community devastation, or will the bank fund a clean energy future?

BREAKING: "Risking Arrest for My Granddaughter"

"My husband and I are BofA shareholders, but I am a grandmother first, foremost, and forever." - Patricia Moore, Bank of America shareholder and grandmother Today in Charlotte, NC., nine people are risking arrest at sit-ins coordinated at four different Bank of America branches. Among those risking arrest is Patricia Moore, 75, of Charlotte, a Bank of America family shareholder and grandmother concerned about the impact coal pollution is having on her granddaughter, Kate, who suffers from chronic asthma. [caption id="attachment_20278" align="alignnone" width="590" caption="Click image to share on Facebook!"][/caption] Seated with her arm locked into a 55-gallon barrel, Moore was asked why she is participating in today’s action:
Most of the members of my family live within the ring of five coal plans that surround our city. When Bank of America funds coal, it sponsors the coal pollution that’s hurting my family. This bank invests billions into the coal industry every year, locking us into more pollution than we can afford. We stand together today as people who understand the many problems that stem from coal. We are committed to building a healthier world for future generations.
In the past two years, Bloomberg data indicates that Bank of America has invested $6.4 billion in the U.S. coal industry, surpassing any other American financial institution. Also according to Bloomberg Data, the bank is the top funder of companies that practice mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. The bank underwrites the entire spectrum of the coal industry, from mining, to transport, to the utilities that operate the dirtiest coal-fired power plants. Moore has spent the last month protesting BofA’s financial relationship to the coal industry, starting with an ad (one in a series coordinated by RAN) featuring her and her granddaughter that ran in the Charlotte Business Journal. According to a 2010 Clean Air Task Force study, 325 deaths, 502 heart attacks and 5,490 asthma attacks are attributed to the five coal plants within 50 miles of Charlotte. Nationally, coal is a leading cause of life-threatening air pollution like asthma-inducing smog. Last week Pat wrote an email to RAN supporters calling on all of us to help her send a message to BofA. This is what she said:
Can you imagine watching your granddaughter struggle daily to breathe? It is hard to think of breathing as a luxury—but for my granddaughter that is her constant reality. Our family lives in Charlotte, which is one of the smoggiest cities in the country, largely because of its close proximity to dirty coal-fired plants. In the five generations my family has lived here in Charlotte, North Carolina, never has there been an issue more serious than the air we breathe. Bank of America, the #1 underwriter of the U.S. coal industry, should not be contributing to devastating people's health. Terms like "bad air days," "extreme weather," or "climate change" may feel vague or far away to some. But behind these words there are people like me and my granddaughter. People whose lives are imperiled by coal companies and the financial institutions that back them. They think we haven't noticed. But the world is starting to wake up. And we have an opportunity. This is our time to tell Bank of America to stop funding coal and start the transition to a clean energy future today. Because energy should not cost lives.

Thousands March on Wall Street South, Bank of America

Just days before DNC delegates descended on Charlotte, the streets here were filled with throngs of the 99%. Nearly 2,000 protestors marched through the heart of Wall Street South, stopping to demand social, economic and environmental justice outside the headquarters of Bank of America and Duke Energy. In 92 degree heat, the pervasive mood was one of solidarity and unity in our demand for a better world. In a march that included undocumented freedom-riders, occupiers, and activists of all races, ages and backgrounds, calls for immediate climate justice were lifted up repeatedly. Near Bank of America's global headquarters, protestors chanted “Banks are blowing up mountains. Keep the coal in the ground, y'all." As the march surged past Duke Energy, chants changed to "No Coal! No Nukes! No Fracking Way!" As a Charlotte native, I was honored to address the crowd at the base of Bank of America's corporate tower.  For many local organizers, the March on Wall Street South was the culmination of a year's work.  I used the opportunity raise up one of our key demands: the immediate cessation of Bank of America's funding for the coal industry. Here's the speech I gave to the crowd:
I'm marching today, because we are in the midst of an emergency. Climate change is a global catastrophe that is happening right now. We know this as we watch drought grip the United States, levees overtopped in Louisiana, West Nile Virus outbreaks in Houston, wildfires in the the west. This the emergency that we wake up to every morning:  melting glaciers, starving children, record-breaking heat waves. A planet poisoned by fossil fuel pollution. This isn't happening by accident. The fossil fuel industry: coal, oil, and natural gas, are working to keep us dependent on their poisonous fuels that cook our planet. These industries want to make sure we burn ALL the coal, all the oil, all the gas, EVEN THOUGH THEY KNOW THAT IT IS KILLING OUR PLANET. The fossil fuel industry is the most radical and dangerous entity on earth, willing to drive our living systems to the point of collapse for a pile of money. Why do we march on Wall Street South? We march because the climate crisis starts here: this bank, Bank of America, is the SINGLE largest funder of climate change in the United States. Last year, Bank of America pumped $6.4 billion into the coal industry EVEN THOUGH THE BANK ACKNOWLEDGES THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS HAPPENING. Bank of America's money built the coal plant in your backyard, Bank of America's money has destroyed the Appalachian Mountians, Bank of America's money is fueling the climate crisis. Right now, every living species is in the house, and the house is on fire. When Bank of America funds the coal industry, it pours gasoline on the fire. We have got to put the fire out, and we can't do that if Bank of America keeps pouring coal into the furnace of climate change. We must keep fossil fuels in the ground, we must stop Bank of America from funding the destruction of our world. And friends, we are the only thing standing between the banks and the burning. You and I, the 99%. This convention is failing to address the largest catastrophe in human history, but you are not failing. Our movement is WINNING the fight against King Coal; even as we beat back fracking and leave oil behind. You are a part of this victory. You have decided to march today for a better world and liveable future. Across the country, thousands of us are fighting to save planet earth, the only home we've ever known. We need more of these heroes! We need your heroism too. Everyone has a place in this movement; find your place. Every morning we must wake up and face the greatest test of morality in human history: can we stop the fossil fuel burning? Can we stop Bank of America's funding for the coal industry? This emergency moment demands nothing less than our greatest efforts and fiercest resolve. We are answering this call to justice.  Forward!  Forward to save our Earth. Fight harder!

Charlotte Rolls Against Coal!

Last weekend, over a thousand Charlotte citizens turned out for a cancer fundraiser styled as a 24 Hour bike ride.  Participants were encouraged to ride with a team, and many organizations and businesses were represented.  Duke Energy’s team was present, as was team Bank of America in matching red and blue spandex. This year, as the bankers hopped on their bikes, they rode alongside team Roll Against Coal!, an intrepid group of Charlotte-based RAN members out to raise public awareness of coal pollution and money for cancer research at the same time. Long outdoor bike rides are often hazardous to the health of Charlotte residents, thanks in large part to air pollution from four coal-fired power plants that ring the city.  Last year, coal-fired power plant pollution contributed to 24 bad air days that endangered Charlotte’s children, the elderly, and neighbors with asthma.  Our team of biking activists carried this truth onto the bike route, with decorated bikes and tunics reading Roll Against Coal! and emblazoned with a heart and lungs graphic. As the field of cyclists zipped around the three-mile route, many stopped for refreshments at RAN’s lemonade stand, where we were happy to serve up some coal-free lemonade (99% juice!) with a side of truth.  Over a hundred cyclists stopped to talk with us about coal’s assault on public health, from air pollution in Charlotte, to cancer rates that are twice the national average in the moutaintop removal coalfields of Appalachia. Upon learning that Bank of America is the leading funder of coal pollution in the United States, dozens of doctors, surgeons, and even Bank of America employees signed letters to the bank’s CEO Brian Moynihan, calling for an end to coal funding.  Every cyclist we spoke to agreed: instead of financing the coal industry to pollute air and water near mine-sites and coal plants across the country, it is time that Bank of America prioritize health and clean, renewable energy investments.  To make sure Bank of America got the message, our team delivered letters to several bank executives who were present at the bike ride. We believe that all people deserve clean air, clean water, and healthy lives.  If our society is ever to end cancer and truly safeguard public health, we have to end our dependence on dirty and dangerous energy.  It is time for Bank of America to stop funding coal’s cancer and aggressively fund the renewable energy cure.

Taking a Cue From RAN? Democrats Give Bank of America Stadium Another Rename

Seems like no one is happy with the name of Charlotte, NC’s Bank of America Stadium these days. Just two months after we renamed it "Bank of Coal" Stadium to point out that BofA is still the #1 financier of the US coal industry, Democrat Party leaders have dubbed Bank of America Stadium “Panthers Stadium”. Here's a photo of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama scaling the sides of BofA Stadium to hang a banner announcing the new name, "Panthers Stadium", just like our activists did back in May.* Politico reports:
National Democrats have repeatedly touted their stand against taking corporate money for their convention in September, and so it was striking to see two emails from the DNC host committee referring to the Charlotte venue where President Obama will speak as "Panthers Stadium." It's the place where the Panthers play, but it's actually called Bank of America stadium.
It’s pretty easy to see why the Democrats wouldn’t want to be associated with Bank of America, which is still very much one of the least trusted names in America. President Obama is supposed to accept the party’s nomination at BofA Stadium at the end of the Democratic National Convention. I guess Obama has decided that he already has enough problems to deal with thanks to Bank of America: millions of Americans kicked out of their homes, poisoned by coal-burning power plants, and fired from their jobs — all thanks to the reckless, greedy behavior of Bank of America and other big Wall Street banks. * This is a Photoshop job. To the best of our knowledge, Nancy and Barack do not climb.

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