What were they thinking?

Apparently the Elk River (MN) Chamber of Commerce were having a fundraiser based on the prediction of when a car would break through the ice on Lake Orono.  The MN Gaming Enforcement Division put a stop to the fundraiser.

What I don’t get is how they thought this is a good idea.  Why would anyone want a car to end up at the bottom of the lake.  And if that car isn’t drained of its fluids (which would probably still leave some residue) you are creating a source of pollution in that lake.  Even if they drain the fluids and then get the car out of the lake, it is a stupid and wasteful idea.



Sanctity of employees contracts

As focus has shifted from protests in the Middle East to protests in Madison, we need to think about one of the underlying issues of this debate, employee contracts.

For those of you that think this is all about the state budget crisis and that alone, you are very mistaken.  This is about destroying the last institution, the last guardian for middle class and poor Americans from the ruling elites.  This is about destroying unions, so there is a weakened support organization for the Democratic party.  Not that the Democratic party has been the best friend of unions, I often think that many Democratic politicians play them lip service, but it is better than the outright hostility that they face from Republican politicians.

Remember in the spring of 2009 and 2010 when we heard about the on-going obscene bonuses going to folks on Wall Street?  We had funded the bailout of their industry, keeping them employed.  But that wasn’t enough, they had their contracts and we had to pay them bonuses.  But when the outrage over the bonuses came out, I didn’t hear from Republicans asking to make them re-adjust their contracts because of the bailout.  No, they said it was dumb for Wall Street to give huge bonuses, tried to lay blame on Democrats (many which are as beholden to Wall Street as Republicans), but never once pushed for a clawback on bonuses.

Yet, when it comes to bailing out a union industry like big auto, they ask for union members to take a cut.  When they are facing state government deficits, they ask public government unions to alter their contracts and take a cut.

It is not because unionized employees have more income in which to give, no that is what you find on Wall Street.  Wall Street can give more, but are not asked to because they are special, they represent the wealthy class that has an exaggerated importance in our country.  They demonstrate the lie that is supposed one person one vote democracy with their lack of sacrifice and exaggerated importance.

Republican hatred of unions is very clear to those who are willing to listen.  Their willingness to violate contracts in some circumstances and say they are inviolate in other cases shows that they have a political agenda, destroying unions.  As Rahm Emanuel has said, and Governor Walker and his fellow Republican state politicians are taking to heart, “don’t let a crisis go to waste.”


Minneapolis snow emergency delayed again

Over the years we have continued to see the city of Minneapolis wait to call a snow emergency.  This time, it wasn’t too much of a burden upon me, as my street had at least one plow through by this morning.  But I have noticed this trend for a few years, where they wait until all the snow has stopped before declaring.

Far and away the worst example of this was the 2009 Christmas storm.  This was one where we got a lot of wet snow, then the temperatures dropped.  That time, I pulled into a slushy unplowed parking spot, and after the temps dropped my axle got frozen to the cooling snow/ice mix.  My only remedy was a plow.

I realize the city must consider the cost of and effectiveness of when to plow.  However, these decisions that are to help us, often can be quite a nuisance for us citizens.  I don’t know what the solution is, but I expect that we will see Minneapolis call a snow emergency later than the rest of the twin city municipalities.

Granted, Minneapolis typically does a better job than St Paul who will usually call the emergency quicker, so maybe there is a method to their madness.  However, I think that disparity in effective snow removal predates the frequently delayed snow emergencies.


Why can’t they let us go green?

So a few weeks ago, my anti virus subscription was up.  I had Norton Internet Security Suite 2010 with a 1 user/3 pc license which I had purchased from Amazon.com for I think $30.

So my options were to upgrade directly from Norton it would have cost me $49.99 for 1 year for the same service.  Or I could buy a CD from Amazon.com with the same service for $29.99.  So I can be green, not paying for a CD nor its shipping and packaging, or I can save $20.  Sadly in these economics times I went with the extra $20 in my pocket.

Why doesn’t Norton offer existing customers a renewal license that is competitive with Amazon’s price?  It saves the production costs and makes the world a little greener.


P.S.  Granted, I don’t download mp3s, but rather buy CDs to rip them to my computer, which could be considered a little hypocritical.  However, those are CDs that I own until lost, given away or destroyed, whereas anti-virus is really a one year license.

Time for a new frame on Bush tax cuts

For those of you that remember talks about the estate tax, which is called death tax by Republicans (their frame which is very effective), there was an attempt by liberals/progressives to call it the Paris Hilton tax cut.  Sadly that never really took off.

So when we talk about letting the Bush tax cuts expire on income that is higher than $250,000 (those wealthy folks still get the same tax cut as everyone else on the income below $250,000), we need a new frame.  I suggest we go with the Fox News/Republican/Tea Party bogey name to get us there, it is time to call it the George Soros tax cut.  I want to hear John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, not to mention Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin to defend the George Soros tax cut.

Chuck Todd sucks

So when 48% of precincts are reporting in Illinois Senate race are showing Democrat Alex Giannoulias up 50% to 45% for Republican Mark Kirk, well Chuck Todd describes that as “Alex Giannoulias is hanging in there.”  How about saying he is leading, which is reporting would look like.

What if Juan Williams had been in a union?

This is a little follow up to the whole Juan Williams bigoted comments leading to his firing by NPR.

For those comic lovers out there, you may remember the comic series What if….?, so here is the real world version.  As the movie Waiting for Superman (see comic connection) is raising the issue of bad teachers who are protected by unions from firing.  The question has to be asked, what if Juan Williams was in a union at NPR?  Would NPR be able to just fire him like they did?  Would Williams had the ability to go to his union rep to challenge the firing?  Would he still be working at NPR, albeit under tighter guidelines of his employer?

Of course, if he were in a union, would Fox News ever taken him on as a commentator since their unbalanced and often very unfair ideology is decidedly anti-union.


Juan Williams firing

Here are some interesting thoughts about NPR’s firing of Juan Williams.

First, conservatives tend to put the rights of the employer above the rights of the worker. But, this fits into the narrative of Muslim bashing and claims of political correctness/victimization, which trumps employers rights, especially when the employer is a “liberal” bogeyman.

Second, Williams prefaced his comments by saying he is not a bigot and talks about his authorship of civil rights books as an example. Yet, don’t conservatives often claim the reverse racism of African-Americans towards white Americans? But since this bigotry is not directed at whites, it isn’t really racism, especially since Muslims are increasingly the target of hatred in America (which unfortunately makes it seem acceptable and mainstream).

Just seeing Juan Williams on Fox and Friends he admitted what was painfully obvious to anyone who has a clue about the range of the liberal-conservative spectrum, that he isn’t that liberal. Yet on Fox News he is portrayed as the “liberal” point of view.

But before you get too upset over Williams treatment by NPR, keep in mind that he just got $2 million contract over three years. Which works out to $55,555 per month, which is more than I make in a year.

I am not saying they should hire me, but I would be willing to put up with the frustration of talking to many of the pinheads on Fox News at that pay scale. Plus, I would give them a more liberal point of view than Williams normally does.


Erik Paulsen the math guy??

Erik Paulsen is running an ad claiming to be a math guy

Yet his June 17, 2009 press release makes this claim,

The President’s budget calls for the public debt to double within five years and to triple within ten years.

Now I realize that journalists may not be good at math, as they consistently fail to question this lie (see my math here, and example of failure of the media here).  Yet we have Paulsen making the claim that he is good at math in the ad, but he didn’t do the math because it doesn’t add it up.  Not only that, but he is not good at accounting, because he is only looking at one side of the balance sheet, spending, not at revenue (taxes).

Paulsen is not good at math, and he only sees one side of the balance sheet.  Hope the 3rd district realizes he is no Jim Ramstad and try a Democrat for a change.


Congress gets it right

Since it is tax day, I am going to highlight something that Congress got right.  Apparently a law was passed that if a tax preparer prepared more 10 returns or more, they were required to e-file.  For most this is a good thing, I get my e-filed return much faster, at least for Federal return.

I suspect that MN will push the limit on when they have to pay the refund to me like they did a few years back.  That is what happens when you have a governor (Tim “less than 50 cent” Pawlenty) against tax increases, and instead uses accounting tricks shifts to keep his purity for a national run.

Anyway, back on topic, our greatly diverse America includes those of the Amish faith, and they don’t use electricity which is the “e” in e-file.  So Rep. Peterson worked with other members of Congress, especially those with Amish communities in their districts, to create an exception.  This was a good common sense solution to an unintentional problem and it was a bipartisan solution.


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