October 18, 2005
Is this too much?
First of all, thanks to freealonzo for giving me some great ideas for what I can write about during "No Sports Week" at the Greet Machine. One of his suggestions that gave me pause was this:
"Why was picture of Representative Paulsen removed from this website?"
I have decided to tackle this question today.
A few days ago, last Thursday I believe, I posted a picture of Erik Paulsen, Minnesota House Majority Leader, that made it look like he was saying some disparaging things about himself.
If you'd like to take a look, here is a link to the picture.
Shortly after posting the picture, maybe two hours, I decided to take it down. What surprises me is that freealonzo caught it before I took it down. So, to answer his question, my reasons were as follows in order of importance:
- First of all, Thursday night the Vikings "sex boat" scandal was in full swing. People were angry, I was angry, and after seeing the picture above on my blog I got a little angry with myself for possibly looking like I supported overpaid, juvenile athletes at the expense of a public servant.
- Secondly, I suddenly realized that over the past week I had personally attacked a bunch of people: Nick Coleman, Tim Pawlenty, and a large number of the members of the Minnesota Legislature. So, I thought to myself, is this how problems are solved? Is this an example of "civil discourse?" I was not happy with how bitter I had become, and how I had resorted to singling people out for abuse. Keep in mind that I was also thinking about the Vikings boat scandal.
- Finally, I also started thinking about the fact that this blog is not anonymous. It is very easy to figure out who I am. In addition, these types of posts could one day come back to haunt me. What if I was trying to get a new job, and the person I am interviewing with is Erik Paulsen's father-in-law? Or a strong supporter of the Republican party? With this lack of anonymity it would behoove me to be more thoughtful with what I post. You never know when it could come back to haunt me.
So, I practiced self-censorship, which is really the only form of censorship that is appropriate. And truthfully, bloggers in general should all practice self-censorship more often. Some of the big knocks against bloggers are that we are rude, unthoughtful, biased, full of ourselves, and wrong more often than not. Have we actually improved the quality of discourse in the public forum? Are we as bloggers living up to the promise of this new medium to improve democracy in America? Or do we muddy the waters too often with vindictive posts of little or no value?
I know, I am probably reading too much into it. But that is what I was thinking about when I took down the picture.
My question for you is, am I over reacting? On the flip side, public officials should be used to this kind of thing and they should even probably expect it. For years political cartoonists have done worse things than I could ever dream up and they are praised for their creativity and wit. And honestly, I am ticked with Erik Paulsen. His letter to Pawlenty was yet another display from our legislature of poor leadership, poor decision making, and an unwillingness to take a chance and do something they know is right for Minnesota. Our legislators should care less about getting reelected and more about improving our state!
But I digress. If you would be so kind as to let me know if you think I am over reacting by taking the picture down I would greatly appreciate it. Keep in mind that I am also trying to protect myself. With blogging, especially blogging as yourself, it is important to put your best foot forward. Sometimes I think I go too far.
July 14, 2005
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY DO NOT READ THIS POST. CLICK YOUR BACK BUTTON NOW!!! PLEASE! STAY AWAY FROM THESE INCOHERENT RAMBLINGS! DON'T SAY YOU HAVEN'T BEEN WARNED!
I have seen the light. What in the world have I been doing for the past 10 years? Year after year, session after session I have been begging for a new Twins stadium but to no avail. I suddenly realize that all these years I have been fighting for the wrong cause. Allow me to introduce my new cause, my new platform, which I'm sure the vast majority of Minnesotans will quickly understand and be able to relate to. Allow me to introduce the "Me First" platform.
The "Me First" platform is based mainly on a single principle that is rapidly becoming more and more important to the average Minnesotan: what is in it for me? I have seen this principle at work in the stadium debates of the last 10 years and I gotta admit it is starting to have some appeal. Seriously, what is in it for me? You say you want to build a new light rail line? What is in it for me? I never ride the light rail. You say you want to build a new Guthrie theater? Holy crap, what the heck is in it for me? A bunch of pansies dressing up and acting like idiots, that's what. You say you want to build a new downtown library? What, so more people can surf for porn for free? What is in it for me? You know, I could really get the hang of this...
And don't give me this "community" crap. I've tried that argument before and it just doesn't work. If you don't care about the millions of Twins fans in the upper midwest, if that community doesn't matter, then I for sure don't care about you. You see, the only thing I care about from now on is my own pocketbook and how to make it fatter and sealed more air tight.
As you might imagine my new hero is Phil Krinkie. What an American hero! Phil Krinkie's tireless fight against all forms of government spending has truly been an inspiration, and he has taught me the all important concept of the "boondoggle." What a phenomenal word. Of course, this is Krinkie's favorite word. Say it with me: boondoggle. If you aren't familiar with how to spot a boondoggle then let me give you a crash course. It is essential if you want to follow the "Me first" platform:
Does the project cost money? If so, it is probably a boondoggle.
Does the project make anyone else besides me any money? If so, it is definitely a boondoggle.
Does the project require any tax money? Ding, ding, ding! It is a boondoggle.
No good can come from any projects like these! The LRT? It cost a lot of money, it definitely made some contractors a lot of money, the bulk of that money has come from taxes, and I haven't benefited from it at all. I mean, I never ride it. Yep, boondoggle all the way. Let's go back in time a little ways. The Metrodome? Back in the early 80s it cost a lot of money, it has made the Vikings and the Twins a whole lot of money (and they only paid for 9% of the building -- their locker rooms and offices -- the public the rest), and what have I gotten in return for that building? You guessed it. Not a dime. How about the Xcel Energy Center? Tax money ... check. Rich sports owners making money ... check. Have I ever set foot in the building? Nope. Boondoggle.
I think you are beginning to see the point. Gone are the concepts of sharing, community, investment, and civic pride ... what a rube I have been! These concepts do not make for a better Minnesota! What will make this state a great place to live in the future is if we all start thinking more about ourselves than our neighbors. I mean, who cares about millions of Twins fans? Not me anymore. And I don't care about schools (except the one my kids go to), roads (except for the one in front of my house), parks (except the ones I visit), etc. etc. You get the picture.
"Me First," baby. That is the only way to go. I have seen the light, and I want more of it for myself.
July 1, 2005
My nominees for next year's legislative leadership
I nominate Bobo (to the left) as Speaker of the House, Jojo (center) as Governor, and Spanky (right) as Senate Majority Leader. The great thing about monkeys as our legislative leaders is that they'll work for bananas, and they will pretty much be able to get the same exact thing done on the budget that the current bunch of "leaders" got done: NOTHING.
This failure of our government is nothing short of stunning. The last state that suffered this embarrassement was Tennessee in 2002. Yes Minnesota, we are now grouped in the same category with a state that considers Hooters as fine dining, cousins as suitable spouses, and where the governor's mansion is the nicest home in the trailer park.
Long time readers of this site know that I have criticized our elected officials before, usually in regards to efforts to build a new Twins stadium. This failure, though, this shocking disregard for the people they serve is so outrageous, so upsetting I honestly don't know how any of them will politically survive. Minnesotans seem to have a short memory, true, but 9,000 people are out of work right now. The state is shut down! I truly can't believe it.
The blame is easily bipartisan. Pawlenty's "no new taxes" pledge is too inflexible and just plain stupid. Does he serve the people of Minnesota or the Taxpayer's League? By immediately removing from his tool-chest an important option such as even considering tax increases he proved to be less of a leader and more of a lacky to special interests. Pawlenty's "leadership" is, quite frankly, driving Minnesota into the ground.
And the DFL, led by Dean Johnson, is playing a very dangerous political game. It is obvious, at least to me, that they are trying to make Pawlenty look bad. They are trying to get people angry in the hopes that we will blame the Republicans in control of the House and governor's mansion. So far it is working, but Dean, where is the money that you want to spend? Increased funding for MinnesotaCare and education are noble causes, but there is no more money! Pawlenty and Sviggum have made it clear that they won't raise taxes, you have made your point, now accept a compromise so we can move on!
It is time for a change. Minnesota politics have become so polarized that it appears the normal functioning of state government is an impossibility. I have never wanted a unicameral legislature more in my life than a I do right now.
As jthielman has already pointed out we need to give this bunch of "stumblebums" the pink slip. They do not deserve their jobs. They have not done their jobs. The sad thing is, even though they now truly have nothing to lose, the cherry on the top of this legislative session will be their inability to pass the Twins stadium bill. This group of do-nothings couldn't pass a budget bill to keep the state running!!! We need to vote all of them out of office. They are worthless.
June 29, 2005
This and that
I'm sorry if you don't care about stuff like this, but I am just fascinated by the potential partial shutdown of state government looming this Thursday. Of course, I am interested in it from a stadium standpoint (are they going to tackle that next?), but I am also interested in it because I am a state employee. Fortunately they have already passed a higher education bill, but my heart goes out to the other state employees that are about to be laid off. Dean Johnson seems to be promising that a deal will be reached in time, but I'm not so sure.
Consider this: the DFL has taken it's tax increase for the wealthiest Minnesotans off the table. They realize Pawlenty will never go for that. However, they are also demanding that the Republicans forget about any "racino" at Canterbury Park saying that the votes just aren't there in the Senate or the House. At the same time they are demanding that there be increases in money for education, LGA, and health care. Where does this money come from?
The Strib reported that the Republicans are still touting the racino idea:
House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, and Senate Minority Leader Dick Day, R-Owatonna, defended the racino proposal as the most painless way to raise revenue.
"It's voluntary. ... It creates jobs rather than kills jobs," Sviggum said. "If you raise an income tax, if you raise a statewide property tax ... a business tax, you kill jobs."
Interesting. While I am not in favor of new, state run casinos in the downtown area(s), I'm not so sure I have much opposition for expanded gambling at Canterbury Park. It is definitely voluntary, and (gasp!) we already have gambling there. The Republicans say it could raise up to $218 million per year.
So, again, how does the DFL propose to pay for the increases they are demanding if not through their tax increase proposal or a racino? According to the Pioneer Press:
Johnson said they might be able to plug the revenue gap with "corporate avoidance taxes" on foreign operating corporations, statewide property taxes and small fee increases. DFLers have already accepted Pawlenty's proposed 75 cents-a-pack cigarette "fee" hike.
Plugging the revenue gap on the "corporate avoidance taxes" may help diminish any potential deficit, but I didn't think it could actually raise revenue in the short term. Anyone have any more information? And it pains me to read that my property taxes could go up. But I am intrigued by "small fee increases." What form would these things take? A fee on haircuts? A fee on horse shoes? What other "fees" could do the trick?
Anyway, they've got two days to find more revenue. Personally, I'm now thinking they'll be able to do it, but it won't be pretty. Where is this money going to come from?
I like the T-Wolves pick of Rashad McCants. He's a proven winner, he's got a chip on his shoulder, and he is brimming with confidence. A year under KG's wing will be really good for him. I expect him to prove to be a very good lottery pick.
"Fix You" by Coldplay is a very, very good song. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen.
I've been thinking more about Pink Floyd's reunion for Live 8 and it dawned on me that they are probably only going to play 3-4 songs. My question is, then, what songs should they play? What songs will they play? Here is my list of the songs I hope and think they should play:
- "Another Brick on the Wall Part II" -- Duh.
- "Comfortably Numb" -- Really, this song is the perfect combo of Waters and Gilmour and a perfect way to celebrate their reuniting.
- "Wish You Were Here" -- Few songs in all of rock music are as beautiful as this one.
- "Time" -- I don't think they'll play this one, but I think they should. In fact, they could open their set with the clocks which could symbolize the fact that it is "time" to start playing and recording music together again.
That is all I got for now. Have a good one!