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June 27, 2005

Temple of Columns

Temple of Columns

No one knows what happened to the civilization at the Temple of Columns. Perhaps they were destroyed by a neighboring village, or maybe they just sailed away. Like the ancient Maya, however, their is little doubt concerning their knowledge of astronomy and mathematics. Just look at the layout of the columns that give this civilization its distinctive name. The colunms are aligned so as to reveal the summer solstice, the vernal equinox, the first day of Spring training, and the opening of the NFL season. Genius!

• If you haven't figured out already, I went to the beach this weekend. In fact, I went camping up at Baker Park Reserve out in Maple Plain. Besides swimming and building sand castles we rode bikes, jumped around at the playground, and ate smores at the campfire. A good time was had by all.

• Did you see Pawlenty's suggestion for legislative leaders to lock themselves in a room at Camp Ripley until they've got a budget deal? I think there is something to be said for the fact that it is Pawlenty making the suggestion rather than Matt Entenza or Dean Johnson. The Republican leadership seem to be scrambling to find a solution and the DFL look to be content with watching Pawlenty and Sviggum squirm a little bit. Entenza has agreed to attend, but as of 8:40 Dean Johnson has still not said anything. Again, it looks to me that the DFL has the upper hand in all of this and they are milking it for all its worth.

Recently the Republicans made an offer of the 75 cents tax on packs of cigarettes and a return of the racino at Canterbury Park to conquer this budget stalemate. But I expect the DFL to keep pushing for tax increases. And, of course, the stadium is not on anyone's radar.

It should be an interesting week.

Posted by snackeru at June 27, 2005 8:29 AM | Life

Comments

I blame the DFL. This state is already #4 on the Most Taxed States List. The DFL always seems to think the answer to solving problems is to raise taxes instead of being more fiscally responsible. (I even have to admonish W for his spending of late)

The thing that bugs me the most is the healthcare benefits that the state enjoys. From the state employees (especially education) that I've spoken to, they have a sweetheart deal with healthcare. Basically low-to-nil copay. How 'bout joining the rest of society and paying percentage copays and taking more responsibility for your health and the concurrent costs?

Posted by: Brian Maas at June 27, 2005 8:51 AM

I'm not surprised that you blame the DFL in this, Brian. However, I think public opinion is swaying to their side. They know it, and the Republicans know it. And if the DFL can get Pawlenty to sign a tax increase into law ... wow! That would be pure gold for them come election season.

As a state employee I would have to agree that we get a pretty sweet health care plan. My co-pay is only $10. So, naturally, I am against your ideas to "join the rest of society." But that is just because I am selfish.

Posted by: Shane at June 27, 2005 9:13 AM

Interesting. I wonder how much state employees' pay (especially in education) compares to jobs in the rest of society. As a childless curmudgeon who likes to ruffle feathers from time to time, I pose that question. I don't know the answer, I'm just asking the question.

On the other hand, more bunnies! :)

Posted by: SBG at June 27, 2005 9:15 AM

Yes, the stadium situation looks extremely bleak.

Posted by: SBG at June 27, 2005 9:18 AM

From the looks of it, they invented bowling, except they had some 12-pin action. From what I have heard and read on this society, one theory was that the Cubist empire from the neighboring country took exception to their rounded society and thus declared war and eventually wiped them out.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at June 27, 2005 9:23 AM

Well, SBG, as you might imagine, I don't get paid as much as people in the private sector with my same skills. That is probably the same with everyone at the U. However, the U always justifies that by pointing at our "sweet" benefits package, and honestly I can't argue with them. In addition to my wonderful health care coverage, the U also chips in a hefty amount to my retirement. I put in 2% of every pay check to my retirement account and the U contributes 13%. Yes, you read that correctly.

And curses on the Cubist empire! A pox on cubes! All hail cylinders!

Posted by: Shane at June 27, 2005 9:27 AM

Yep, the salary payment is a valid question in relation to the health care benefits. I'd like to see one of the local rags do a comparision study of benefits-to-pay as a percentage as a true litmus test. All I'm going off of is what I hear on the street. I also hear that education retiree's get a free ride. Unheard of in the corporate world.

I think education still needs to look in-house. How many counseler's and such does a school need? We had one for a high-school that graduated a class of 400 in my hometown waaaaaayyyyy back in '79.

We are not going to fix education by throwing more money at it. We are not going to fix the roads by throwing more money at it.

Let's face it. Govt has gotten too big in America. 1 out of 5 Minnesotans is state employed. And because of that, everyone (DFL and Repubs) are fighting for their piece of the pie.

Look at it this way. Imagine your extended family. They just won $500 million in a lottery. They all sit down at the table to divy it up. Think that is going to be easy!?!? Nope, Aunt Maggie needs this much for her house and Uncle Al needs this much for his farm and little Suzy needs new braces and then someone will scream that someone is getting a raw deal and so forth.

Same at St. Paul right now. If the DFL wants to raise taxes then I want a referendum first!

Posted by: Brian Maas at June 27, 2005 9:28 AM

I disagree that the ballpark situation is bleak. The July 1 deadline is only for budget issues because that's when the State's fiscal year ends.

Once the budget stuff is taken care of Gophers stadium and Twins stadium will be considered and with speed that will leave opponents breathless and shocked. The 4th of July Holiday could help here as legislatutors would want to get finished by the 4th, on the other hand, the holiday could hurt if there is a hiccup in the ballpark negotiations.

Posted by: freealonzo at June 27, 2005 10:15 AM

True enough, COD. Government in today's society is a very complex thing. Size of government is always troubling. Is it too big? What you are saying sounds big, but I can't answer that question without more knowledge.

Answers to tough questions require flexibility. The DFL has got the governor pinned on his no new taxes issue, and they know it. The governor must have forgotten GHWB's read my lips speech. Throwing money around willy nilly doesn't work yes, but investment in the state is important. There is a difference, which I'm sure you appreciate. That's what legislators are supposed to figure out. There's no question that the last couple of years have been very frustrating. Last year, especially. Let's see how this year turns out.

As for referendum, let's not turn into California. That's a situation I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy!

Posted by: SBG at June 27, 2005 10:31 AM

Yeah, we might have some Hollywood actor become governor... Oh wait, we did that already.

I agree with COD, education needs to be overhauled in a major way. Trim the fat and get it streamlined. Problem is, who is willing to take on that union?

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at June 27, 2005 10:37 AM

What a minute! I have a Cheesehead agreeing with me!?!?! I must be out-of-line! I take back everything I said.

Brian "Polarized in Sports & Politics" Maas

Posted by: Brian Maas at June 27, 2005 10:47 AM

I find it humorous when people outside of education call for us to "trim the fat." What fat is there left to trim? A couple of years ago I went two years in a row without a raise. The U has seen double digit tuition increases for the past 5 years. And we still have to cut, cut, cut. I'm not saying that we should just throw money at education, or that education couldn't be improved with some reform, but the fact is investing in education is good for our state. I don't remember the exact statistic, but for every dollar invested in higher edcucaiton the state of Minnestoa gets $5 back. A well educated public makes for a much happier and well functioning society. Not as happy as a society with a new Twins stadium mind you ...

And I can't believe you actually spoke in favor of referendums on these hallowed pages, COD. Your penance shall be watching the '99 NFC championship game and 100 Hail Fran's.

Freealonzo, your comment made my day. "Gophers stadium and Twins stadium will be considered and with speed that will leave opponents breathless and shocked." I love it! That is the way to think positive!

Posted by: Shane at June 27, 2005 10:56 AM

I was speaking of the general public school system, not the U. I fully understand what you've been going through Shane. My sister-in-law, who is a teacher, agrees that the public school administration is too big and sucks up too much money.

You don't need to trim any fat Shane, you're a skinny rail as it goes.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at June 27, 2005 11:02 AM

Same as CC, Shane. I was speaking towards administration. I blame the parents, really. Since it seems adults can't "parent" anymore, the schools have to raise the children for them. Thus, the counseler for after school activities (recall how we just did pick-up games after school on our own?), the instructor on how to wash clothes (that one still gets me....you mean you can't learn that from Ma and Pa?), and all the assistant principles needed to cope with all the administration.

The parents ask too much of the schools because now they expect the schools to raise their kids for them. The schools then need more money to handle the increased staff. Then we need to raise more taxes because of it all. That's the fat that needs to be trimmed. Call it the "increasing burden on America's schools". A great web site that summarizes this is found at:

http://www.cosa.k12.or.us/jamievollmerinfo.htm

Posted by: Brian Maas at June 27, 2005 11:48 AM

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