Friday, December 31, 2010

Christine O'Donnell stars in...


Season of Witch - The Prequel...

New Year's Eve - My taxi service...

Like I said on Twitter and Facebook earlier, I will be out from 7pm until 3am. Here's how I work...

You can call me at 651-280-7720 to reserve a ride to wherever you are going to do your celebrating, up until 10pm. I will take reservations on a first call, first serve basis. If you want to reserve a ride back home, let me know at that time.

I do charge $25 in addition to the meter, payable in advance, if you want a guaranteed ride home. This will also be done on a first come first served basis. Sorry if that seems steep, but you understand, I will be non stop all night, after midnight.

Due to licencing restrictions, I will not attempt return rides from downtown or the Uptown area of Minneapolis.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Five dollar per gallon gas? There went that recovery...

I'm no expert, but I think if gas price keep going up, any gains in this economic recovery will go right down the ol' crapper.

It's been widely reported that former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister thinks that the price of a gallon of gas will go up to $5.00 per gallon by 2012. Hmmm... Just in time for the next presidential election.

This report will surely effect the January consumer confidence report, which already took a 1.8 hit for the month December, dropping to 52.5.

I remember the last time gas prices were nearly 4 bucks per gallon, and how they remarkably rolled back just before the 2008 election. Too late for most Americans, as the economy had already began to spiral downward.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

This round goes to the snow...

Homelessness in Minnesota...

When my mother died on Christmas Eve of 1974, I found out the hard way that there was no Santa Claus. But at least I had a place to live. Even through some real tough moments of my life, I've never had to worry about sleeping out in the cold.

Do you know that tonight with nearly 3 feet of snow on the ground and an expected low of 4 degrees, on the day after Christmas, an estimated 13,000 plus Minnesotans will not have a home to go to. Many of these people are children.

Oh sure, there are shelters in the Metro area, and churches are attempting to help out where they can. But this is still no type of life for a child.

Minnesota taxpayers are asked to do a lot when it comes to contributing to the social safety net in this state. I hate to say it, but more needs to be done. No child should have to worry about what church basement might be available on any given night. These children are our future, they deserve better.

Speaking like the true socialist I've seemed to become, I believe that affordable housing is every bit as much of a right as food and healthcare.

So next time you have the urge to gripe about how high taxes are in this state, just remember this image...

Sleep well...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Show attempt aborted...

I was trying to do a show this week without Roger that further proved my inability to do a monologue. So after an hour of complete crap, I threw in the towel.

Roger will be back next week, and hopefully we can put together a meaningful show. Thanks to those who listened.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

MSP Airport Commission shortsightedness biting cabbies in the ass...

Check out this FOX 9 story...

MSP Airport Snow Has Taxi Drivers Furious: MyFoxTWINCITIES.com


This story only serves to bring to light a much bigger problem, when it comes to the taxi situation at MSP International Airport.

Under ideal conditions, the holding lot you see in this story is full of cabs. On most days, they'll sit in this holding area for upwards of 4 hours before getting a fare. In so many words, Hogan blames the drivers that flock to MAC landside offices to obtain a permit. But it is clearly the commission's shortsightedness that keeps handing out these permits, in which the fees paid by the drivers are outrageous, even though it is within their right to put a cap on the the number of licensed taxis, and or drivers.

This is a situation that needs to be addressed, before this little protest you saw turns into outright rioting.

BTW... The city of Minneapolis plans to take the cap off the number of taxi permits in that city, as I understand it, sometime in January. Unless the city clears more parking spaces for staging, what you see here at the airport will be a walk in the park by comparison.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back, T-Paw

Reflecting on his last 8 years as governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty is gloating on how he kept excessive government in check. In reality, the real Pawlenty legacy will be more impoverished Minnesotans than in anytime since the Great Depression.

I don't need to see numbers or statistics to back up that statement. All I have to use is the "exit ramp quotient." I've seen more people standing at the end of exit ramps, begging for help, than I ever saw 10 years ago.

This is the type of shit you see in Texas or Nevada, but not in Minnesota. What Pawlenty calls cutting government excess is what most sane people call kicking the poor to the curb, literally.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Simply put, new stadium = jobs...

I want to start this by reaffirming that I am in favor of building a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings I think it would be disastrous for the quality of life in this area if the team would wind up moving. And make no mistake, Los Angelenos are licking their chops at the prospect of acquiring an NFL franchise.

Proponents of a stadium project tout the number of much needed construction jobs that would be created in building a new stadium, while some of us on the left say that these would only be temporary jobs. While that is a valid point, if you think about it, aren't all construction jobs, whether it's a new home or a road, temporary in nature? A job is a job. And those who are in the construction industry desperately need these jobs, regardless where they come from.

So the next time you shake your fist at those who want to build a playground for millionaires, try to remember, there are some folks that would give up a certain appendage to get one of those construction jobs.

I've never understood the housing market...

I have a question, why is it that anything else you buy used depreciates in value, yet people have the expectation that a home is to appreciate?

I've never quite understood this. It just seems illogical that someone would buy a used home as an investment. You wouldn't buy a '97 Caravan for $5k, and expect to sell it a year later for $7k, would you?

Like a car, homes suffer a certain degree of wear and tear. And like a car, keeping a home in good repair would slow down the depreciation factor, but it just doesn't make sense to me that a home owner should expect to turn a profit.

What most people are calling a housing crisis, to me, seems to be the logical effect of depreciation.

Hopefully, someone smarter than me can do some 'splainin'...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A major regret today...

Have you ever heard the saying, "When my ship comes in, I'll be at the airport?" Kinda how I felt about today's blogcast. While I enjoyed the interview with Cory Merrifield of SaveTheVikes.org during the first hour, the second hour was an uninformed babblefest about the "Fair Tax."

While I feel that a fair and equitable taxation system is essential, I felt we really dropped the ball by not carrying the Senate's vote on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." This is an issue of true equality in this country, and in my opinion, there is nothing that is more important.

Roger Shaver is my co-host, but I am the one that makes the final decision on show content. For this show to move forward, I am going to have to become more flexible in covering breaking events.

I am truly sorry that we missed covering this historic event. I hope you will continue listening to the show with the knowledge that I am going to be making changes, as so this type of thing does not happen again.

Thank you...

How is our show different?

I was going through some of the archives from the last year, in order to put up a "best of" for next week. While doing so, I had a revelation. Besides the fact that Roger and I aren't broadcast professionals, it's clear that The Shannon Files is different than most any other talk show you'll hear on the radio.

A classic example would be in today's show. Roger and I interviewed Corry Merrifield, from SaveTheVikes.org. The interview lasted for over 45 minutes, with one 2 minute break. There is no other platform, including public radio, that would allow for such an extensive interview.

Last week, our sister show on the MNptn.org network, ON POINT!, conducted a half hour long interview with Chris Doleman, former linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings. Do you think any form of celestial radio could have afforded that much time to a single interview or topic?

My point is that what we do is true citizen broadcasting. Some of the shows that air on BlogTalkRadio.com have a little advertising, but not near the same amount as on the AM-FM dial. If you want content driven programing, I feel our format is the place to turn.

I invite you to give this show, as well as ON POINT! and other internet radio shows a listen. I think you'll see that as the technology improves, your listening choices will be clear.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Saturday, Vikings stadium and the "Fair Tax."

Now nobody thinks ol' Zigi had someone sabotage the Metrodome roof, last Sunday. None the less, it does put talk of a new stadium for his Vikings back on the front burner. Roger and I will probably disagree on this one.

Also, it's a little known fact that Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann is a quiet (if you can believe that) proponent of the so called "Fair Tax." We'll hammer out our opinion, which may surprise you.

Click here to listen live, Saturday at noon CT, or to the archive.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dome collape is a wake up call...

When the Metrodome roof collapsed last Sunday, I knew it was only going to be a matter of time (about 30 seconds) before just about every sports writer in Minnesota was saying that it was time for the Vikings to get a new stadium. Unlike many of my liberal friends, I agree.

Even if the roof never would have collapsed, the Metrodome still has outlived it's usefulness of being able to host major league sporting events. Anybody who has attended a game in the facility, when there were over 50,000 people in attendance, could not argue that point.

As in any stadium issue, the main sticking point is who is going to pay for it. Cost estimates to build a new stadium are pretty close to a billion dollars. Many people feel that's way too much money to build a playground for millionaires. On the surface, they're right. If spent at all, that money would be better used on roads and bridges, or helping feed or shelter the now 10% of the state's population that is at or below the poverty level.

But I'm telling you folks this needs to be done. Part of the reason the state can afford to help the needy as well as it does is the tax revenue that having major league sports, especially the NFL, brings to the community. As many as 12 times per year, 60,000 plus converge on downtown Minneapolis, and spend upwards of $150 each, on an average. Between that and what the Twins, Wild, and Woofies bring in far exceeds the money generated by concerts or stage shows. Bottom line is major league sports brings millions of dollars, yearly, to the state's economy.

I'm not suggesting that the state try to cough up money out of the general fund to build a new stadium for the Vikings. But between a user tax and maybe an expansion of gaming revenue (God knows Minnesotans love to gamble) the new legislature and Governor Dayton should be able to find a way to get this done.

If we don't, you think this winter's gonna be a long one? Just wait...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Conservatives leading me to unchartered territory...

I'm really not a mean person. I still escort the elderly to and from my cab. I can't tell you the last time I engaged in an act of road rage. I even congratulate the winning bowling team when they kick our ass. All in all, I think I'm a pretty nice guy.

But there's something about the arrogance of Conservative Republicans that lately has made me act a little different. In the last couple of weeks, I've butted into conversations on Twitter where some right wing hack was trying to belittle one of my "Tweeps." Only today, I was a lot nastier.

The girl I engaged was someone named Kimberly Morin, a neo-con blogger from the Boston area. After monitoring the back and forth with the lady I follow on my feed, I couldn't help myself. I made a nasty word play on her last name, that I felt reflected her stupid opinion.

Yes, it was pretty low. But lately, it seems Conservatives have gotten a little cocky since the results last election, and the president's unwillingness to stand up to them. I felt the need to knock her down a couple of pegs.

Fact is, nothing I did helped our cause in any way. It did offer me a little cheap satisfaction, but that soon went away.

We have to understand that there is nothing we'll ever do that will change the way Conservatives think. I'm a rare case, it doesn't happen very often. We we need to do is light a fire under our base. I truly feel there are many more liberals in this country. We can never take another election for granted again.

So Kimberly, while I'll never be sorry for my beliefs, I am sorry for the cheap shot. While I won't be expecting a Christmas card from you, maybe we all try to focus more on making this country great again, instead of engaging in a pissing match through social networking sites.

Metrodome collapse...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Winter storm coverage at 5:30pm

I can't go drive cab, so I might as well talk about the storm. We are expecting up to 20" of blowing and drifting snow.

I'll spend a couple of hours talking about what could be the biggest Twin Cities snowstorm in recent history.

Click here to listen...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Saturday at noon, join us to talk about the Obama tax deal...

Roger and I are going to be spending the majority of tomorrow's show talking about Obama's deal with the devil. This is a hot button issue, and we invite you to join us by calling (347) 633-9614.


Click here to listen live, at noon CT, or to the archive...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

So, what is a basic human right?

I was listening to an ad for Hunger Free Minnesota, which said that food is a basic human right. I would agree with that statement, but I would take it further. I also think that shelter and medical care are also basic human rights.

Does that make me a socialist? Frankly, I don't give a rat's ass what kind of tag you want to put on me.

It kills me to think there are people, right now, in sub-freezing weather, who are on the streets. I'm not just talking about the drunks, I'm talking about families.

Even with our economic problems, we are still the richest nation in the world. There is no reason that Americans should not have a warm shelter to go to when they are down on their luck. It doesn't need to be the Taj Mahal. Hell, most homeless people would be happy with a heated 200 sq. ft. room with a bed and a chair.

What really gets to me, is that there are people that call themselves Christians, that don't believe in this basic right. To them I say, remember what Jesus said in Matthew 25:34-35...
Then the King will say to those at His right, 'Come, my Father's blessed ones, receive your inheritance of the Kingdom which has been divinely intended for you ever since the creation of the world. For when I was hungry, you gave me food; when I was thirsty, you gave me drink; when I was homeless, you gave me a welcome.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Half assed ball player makes all assed remarks on Obama's birth.

Click to enlarge
What you see is a certified copy of President Barack Obama's birth certificate. Back in 2008, when all the crap started swirling about Obama's eligibility to run for president, some dumb ass commented...
That is not his Birth Certificate. It is a substitute. Also, in 1961 they would have described the father's race as "African?" We have to produce our Birth Certs. for school, driver's licenses and passports, but Barack does not have to produce it to run for President?
Has anybody requested a copy of their birth certificate lately? This is what you get.


Sorry about the tangent, it's not the reason I started this post.


Apparently, Luke Scott, a slightly better than mediocre first baseman/right fielder  for the Baltimore Orioles, is the latest to spout off about the president's place of birth. In a story published by the LA Times, Scott is quoted as saying, "He was not born here."


Scott continued...
That's my belief. I was born here. If someone accuses me of not being born here, I can go — within 10 minutes — to my filing cabinet and I can pick up my real birth certificate and I can go, "See? Look! Here it is. Here it is." The man has dodged everything. He dodges questions, he doesn't answer anything. And why? Because he's hiding something. 

You know what? People who have bad intentions, people that are deceivers or are not of honor and integrity — that's how they act. I've seen it in every — it doesn't matter what level. It can be in politics, it can be in business, it can be in sports, it can be in the construction field. Doesn't matter. It's all the same attitude. It's the same thing. 
I guess once you have a career year, (.284 BA with 27 HRs and 72 RBI) you can focus less on your game and more on being another jackass right wing pundit.


Scott's comments were quickly dismissed by the Orioles' organization, saying that he was not speaking for the team.


I got 10 bucks that says he takes a fast ball between the shoulder blades, sometime during spring training. Personally, I'd give that pitcher a $500k bonus.

This Saturday, we talk about "The Deal."

I wish it could be something like the "New Deal" (aka FDR), but no, Roger and I will discuss the so called compromise the president made with the Republicans. Is there any good that can come of this? Are there lessons to be learned? Are liberals pissed off enough to look for a new candidate in 2012?

We'll try to make sense of it all, and talk about what we might expect now that Mark Dayton is officially the governor-elect of the state of Minnesota.

As always, your calls are welcome. We go live, Saturday, noon CT.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards (July 3, 1949 – December 7, 2010)

I don't often find myself taking pause when someone I don't know passes away.  Let's face it, people die every day. It's just part of life. Today was a little different.

When I heard that Elizabeth Edwards had succumbed to cancer today, I got a bit misty eyed. Ms. Edwards was a true inspiration to many Americans, especially when she shared her diagnosis during the 2004 election. Many of us felt extremely sympathetic when it was learned that John Edwards was engaged in an affair with a campaign staffer.

Elizabeth Edwards is in a better place now. But it will never be lost on me the true fighting spirit she possessed.

Rest in peace, dear soul...  

Viene la revolucion??

Lots of discussion out there today on "The Deal" that was struck. On the surface, and maybe from everywhere, it looks like President Obama is a horrible negotiator. The two "big" items do not in any way compare, evenly. However, there are several other parts to this: a two percent payroll tax holiday extension, business investment credits meant to stimulate the economy further, and more. From the center (and of course, what IS the "center" in this country anymore, other than the old moderate right of only a short time ago....) it is even suggested by Andrew Sullivan in the Atlantic to be a shrewd move on Obama's part to make his re-election two years from now more likely. From the "quite-a-bit-left-of-center" spot that I come from, and from the poverty in the midst of which I live here in North Mpls, the center does not seem safe - it feels like more affront and attack on our ability to survive. Is it anything more than a slow, "methodical and cynical process of increasing the pain threshold" at which we just barely survive but still don't revolt? (as friend Dan Brown put it). Things are desperate in this country and getting worse, fast. I would not be surprised at all to see rioting and worse by the poor and underclass, soon.... What choice to they/we have? I would hope there would BE a better answer...but the center seems to only throw an occasional scrap under the table for the poor, and in the meantime it does try to keep the middle class happy. Trouble is, there isn't much middle class left, and shrinking daily, statistically. Perhaps I am over dramatizing. Quite likely I am too hopeful that there is real chutzpah left within the poor and underclass....

I still say Merry Christmas...

It seems like every year at this time, I have to talk a little common sense when it comes to the holiday season.

Every year, we go through this war of words. "Christmas is for Christians, so I'm insulted when someone says Merry Christmas to me." Get the fuck over yourself already!

I don't care how someone extends a greeting during this time of year. Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays, it's all the same as Merry Christmas. All someone is doing is extending their best wishes to you within the realm if their religious (or non) beliefs. What could possibly be wrong with that?

We live in a very diverse society, in order for this great experiment known as America to survive, we have to be able accept other religions, cultures, and traditions. There is absolutely nothing wrong with mixing all of these great traditions, including Christmas, in the public arena.

A healthy dish of political hindsight...

I've had to think long and hard about the deal President Obama made with House Republicans, that extended the Bush tax cuts for everyone, including the uber-rich, in exchange extending unemployment benefits for 13 months. My analysis, us Democrats got what we asked for.

Go back to to the 2008 primary. We chose this rising star Senator, with the fresh face and bold ideas, over a savvy, well established, and connected politician. I'm not throwing stones, my liberal friends, I was right there with you.

Since day one, this president has had to back away from every principle that got him elected. Whether it was health care, or denial of tax breaks for the rich and famous. I just don't think Hillary Clinton would have folded that easy.

Whether we want to admit it or not, the Democratic Party is in disarray. I hope for President Obama's sake that this latest compromise not come back to bite him in 2012. A primary challenge to this president would only serve to further weaken the party. Just what the Republicans want.

What a difference two years can make...

***Afterthought***

Had the liberal base that put President Obama in office got off thier asses and gave him the same or better majority than he has to work with now, maybe we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Saturday's Dessert Course on the Recount Menu

I also watched, with great interest, the Saturday Field Trip to the Hennepin County Government Center by the Emmer legal team, on The Uptake. Most of the volunteers had spent up to 35? of 40-45 hours during the week in exactly such a position, sitting at a table observing the flipping of ballot after ballot, so it was somewhat gratifying to see slimy-smooth Tony Trimble in shirtsleeves, looking quite small and unimportant, having to undo all the frivolous challenges that he and others had directed their volunteers to create, only a few days earlier. I noticed the groans they all made as they stood up, with sore necks and aching backs, after only one or two hours of looking at ballots - most of the volunteers had spent much, much longer shifts in such a position. Poor lawyers!! Now, keep in mind, everyone, that the 2604 ballots ruled to be frivolously challenged by the Emmer team were only the tip of the iceberg. At each table throughout the week, many more were pulled aside by the Emmer observers, who then, after wasting everyone's time, reversed their OWN calls at the end of each precinct's counting, for about half of their own challenges. The true measure of the idiocy is about double what we saw being dealt with on Saturday. It was a particularly good moment of schadenfreude to watch Tiny Tony Trimble trembling with humiliation, as he saw the fruits of his labors and the cause of his complaints pass before him. Earlier in the week he lit into a very professional Sandy Engdahl (Plymouth City Clerk), who was trying her best all week to bite her lip and NOT say the word everyone was thinking ("ludicrous") as she patiently went through hundreds of idiotic non-challenges by Tony's Troops. He decided to try to blame her, and humiliate her in the press, for "mistreatment" of his peeps (which was never the case). Well here he was, on camera for all to see, looking small and getting the true just desserts of his own mistreatment of others. Yes indeed, the Saturday Field Trip was just what was needed: a supreme bit of justice (pun intended) for the very people who like to humiliate others. It was their turn to be brought low. It was truly delectable "just desserts." Sweet!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Facebook child abuse awareness push seemed like a good idea...

I saw something on Facebook last night that seemed a nice thought. Apparently, there is a push to have everyone change their profile picture to that of their favorite cartoon character, when they were a kid. This was done to bring attention to child abuse. Seemed like a pretty good idea, so like a good little sheep, I changed my pic. My choice, none other than Batman. Not scowling Gothic avenger that he has been portrayed as of late, but the campy Batman of the Super Friends era.

Anyway, I get a feeling this might have touched a nerve with one of my Twitter friends. She seemed to think that the symbolic Facebook act was just that, a pointless symbol.

I don't know, maybe she's right. But isn't something better than nothing? I mean, is it wrong that professional sports teams don a nice titty pink once a year, in support of breast cancer research?

I don't know who started the Facebook initiative, but can't we give it credit for what it was?

Internet talk radio at it's finest...

At least that's what we shoot for...

Today, we talk about the ramifications of WikiLeaks, the latest on the Minnesota gubernatorial recount, the FBI's involvement in the Christmas bomber plot, and A Texas talk show host that thinks gun holders should be able bring their guns inside a school building.

Roger and I will also talk about what being a Progressive means to us.

If you can't listen live, at noon, check out the archive.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

An early look at Saturday's blogcast...

Some of the things we'll cover this week, WikiLeaks, the Christmas bomber, and the Minnesota governor's election recount.

Also, a Texas talk show host thinks if conceal carry permitted gun owners were allowed to bring their guns on campus, the incident at the NE Wisconsin high school would not have happened.

Finally, Roger and I discuss what it means to us to be a progressive.

Click here to join us live, Saturday (12/4) at noon CT, or catch the archived show.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A not so natural disaster...

As 2 million Americans are about to lose their unemployment benefits, I wonder why this is not more of an urgent matter than it is.

Every time a community gets devastated by a flood, or some other natural disaster, this country, rightfully so, rushes to their aid. My question is, how is 2 million people out of work, through no fault of their own, with no means to pay their bills, any less of a disaster?

To me, this is a no brainer. If this lame duck session of Congress does nothing else, they need to get a year long extension of unemployment benefits passed, and on the president's desk.

As an American, if you aren't totally disgusted by what's going on in Washington, you simply don't have a pulse.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Youth recreation centers slowly disappearing...

When you've had a childhood like mine, you tend to remember some of bright spots. When I was a kid, in the 70s, I remember having these wonderful rec centers to play at after school. The centers were well staffed and equipped, and provided a safe place for school age kids to blow off a little steam before heading home. Sadly, these rec centers are disappearing at an alarming rate. On St. Paul's East Side, it's reported that three of these centers are closing.

Of course this is all because city budgets have been drastically cut. A direct effect of the state's, specifically Governor Pawteny's, unwillingness to raise revenues that are needed to deal with the increasing costs of city funded programs.

The direct result is more teens and pre teens wandering the streets looking for something to do. On many instances, this leads to mischievous behavior, or even gang activity.

I understand that the problem is deeper than just more taxes. While the costs of providing city services, such as rec centers goes up with inflation, wages, thus net tax revenue, has not increased. Yet corporate profits have skyrocketed. These are the entities that seem to shelter themselves the most from federal and state taxes.

Meanwhile, communities struggle with the loss of services. Rec centers, which provide a vital role in keeping youth off these streets, are one of the first items to face the budgetary axe.

In short, the next time your half a million dollar home gets broken into, it may be by some misguided youth that just didn't have anything better to do, like shoot some hoops at his neighborhood rec center.

Oh well, you'll just write off your losses anyway...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What does being a progressive/liberal mean to you?

Again, I solicit your input as I want to know what brought you to this large umbrella known as the Progressive movement. Barring any major stories in the coming week, I will share some of these thoughts, as well as some of my own, on next Saturday's blogcast.

Please use the comments section below, to share your thoughts.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

More than about my silly little rants...

Look... I'm in no danger of wearing out any bandwidth with this site, but I do have a few loyal followers. I really want to use this platform to do some good. So if you have a cause you want to promote, shoot me an e-mail. I will shout it from the highest mountain. Ok... I'll post a link on this blog, good enough?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Something to think about, this Thanksgiving...



















Thanks, The Christian Left

Shit... They found me!!!

It would figure it would be at a liquor store...

America's passenger rail service stuck in the stone age...

Whenever I'm in St. Paul around 7:00am, I check out the Amtrak station for potential fares. When I pulled in this morning, I noticed 4 buses loading train passengers headed for Chicago.

To me, this is a glaring point of what is wrong with America's passenger rail system. First off, if I bought a ticket to ride Amtrak, I would be livid about being herded on to a motor coach. If I wanted to take a bus, I could have gone Greyhound or MegaBus for a lot less money.

The problem as I see it is that Amtrak tries to run these cross country trains through the Continental Divide. More times than not, this becomes problematic any time a winter storm hits the Rockies.

In my opinion, the best way to operate would be to split the existing "Empire Builder" line, possibly at Cheyenne or Denver. As well, I would split the line that runs across the southern U.S. from Los Angeles to Orlando. This train is notorious for running late, because any little hiccup along the line has a ripple effect for the rest of the scheduled stops.

In my Utopian world, our nation's passenger rail system would resemble dual wheel spokes, with hubs in Chicago and Kansas City. Rail lines would then finger out in shorter spurs that would run no more than three to four hundred miles apart. This would make for more frequent and reliable service along these lines. It would also eliminate the need for a much bastardized idea of a high speed alternative for rail travel.

I think that rail has a very important role in America's transportation future. That said, it's not practical for most people to take a thousand mile train ride. Most rail trips are usually no more than a few hundred miles. The route between Chicago and the Twin Cities is often sold out, and could support as many as three trips each way, as opposed to the current one trip daily.

I summary, more trains + shorter routes = a more efficient passenger rail service.

Now if only Ray LaHood would get off his anti cell phone campaign long enough to look at a practical solution for rail travel.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Interview with Kevin Winge part of Saturday's show.

I just concluded an interview with Kevin Winge,executive director of Open Arms of Minnesota. Kevin is wrapping up a week in which he budgeted himself $27.65, about what an individual receives in Food Stamp benefits, for a week's worth of food, in order to draw attention to the limited nutritional value this allotment offers.

The interview will air on the blogcast, this Saturday, as part of a look at the limited help that is available to needy families.

From MPR News: Minn. man takes 'food stamp challenge'

I think more people should try to live off a food budget of $27.65 per week. Then they'd understand that feeding yourself on Food Stamps is no picnic.

Click here for the MPR story...

Your take on airport security...

Rarely do I solicit the readers of this blog specifically for their opinion, but after Saturday's blogcast, I wonder how people really feel about the increased security measures at our nation's airports.

So the question I have is what you would do differently? Should we relax airport security to pre-911 levels, and pray nothing else happens?

Use the comments form below to air your opinion.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An icy dose of reality for Minnesota drivers.

Of the near 30 years I've spent behind the wheel of a cab, 20 of those years have been right here in Minnesota. Of course, that means putting up with Minnesota winters.

This will be my third season of winter driving since moving back up here in 2008. In that time I've dealt with a few good dumpings of snow, but nothing that slowed me down like last night's ice storm.

Was it really a storm? Not really... I think we only got .02 of an inch of precipitation. But when that precip comes out of the sky as ice, all bets are off.

It took me damn near sliding through the light rail crossing on 11th Avenue to convince me that my night was over, damn the lost revenue. But when weather gets like this, I stay off the freeway, because good old boy, Joe Skoalring, with his 4x4 pickup, will surely come blazing by everyone else, until he realizes his monster truck won't stop, and at best case scenario, he winds up in a ditch.

Not me folks... I took Marshall-East River Road all the way up to Coon Rapids Boulevard, to get myself into Anoka. Never once did I top 25mph. Even at that speed, stopping was a challenge.

I stayed up until after 4am, to make sure Lori got home from work ok. Poor girl's nerves were rattled, to say the least.

What amazes me, is the number of people up here that don't understand if there is ice forming on your car, chances are pretty good it's forming on the roads. In other words, slow your ass down.

This is a lesson I hope we don't have to learn again, any time soon.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Alan Colmes Liberaland: TSA Forces Flight Attendant To Remove Prosthetic Breast During Patdown

In my opinion, this is going too far...

Click here to read the story...

A new network for Progressive talkers in Minnesota

For the time being, I have abandoned the idea of getting on AM 950 here in the Twin Cities. Not that I don't believe in their cause, it's just the sad realization that the station is in business to make a profit. Nothing wrong with that, it's just I don't have the money to put up to buy airtime from the station, nor the time it takes to enlist sponsors.

Then it dawned on me, I can't be the only talker that faces this issue. I believe that there are many individuals in this state, that have the same views I do, and would like to get their message out to the masses. As much as I would love to have one progressive love fest on The Shannon Files, I know this is not practical.

So my idea is to start a network of Progressive blogcasters and podcasters. Thus the name, Minnesota Progressive Talkers Network. Members of this network would post links to upcoming live shows and/or archived podcasts.

For more information, please go to the network's homepage.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hot t(r)opics, this Saturday

While sipping a Mahi-Thai in Hawaii at 8am, Roger will join me to discuss the plagiarism in the Bush memoirs, as well as his admission that he made the decision to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Also, we discuss whether the new TSA security measures have gone too far. We'll find out the answer to the pressing question, if TSA officers felt Roger's junk before he was able to get on board the plane.

Click here to listen to the archive.

They're reading this blog on Capitol Hill...

Don't think they're not paying attention out there...

I'm really not hating on Big Eddie...

A couple of days ago, I posted something on Cinch that might have sounded a little harsh on Ed Schultz. I want to clarify that I appreciate the opportunity to meet Ed, if for only less than a couple of minutes.

I have to remind myself that I'm not easily star struck. I've had dozens of celebs and ball players in the back seat of my cab over the years. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. So when a busy guy like Ed Schultz takes a minute out of his busy schedule to pose for a picture, I should accept it for what it is worth.

I am still a loyal listener of the Ed Schultz show. I still think he is the only one on the airwaves that is really telling it like it is, when it comes to the struggles of the working poor. It was just seeing him with that SUV car service waiting on him in the parking lot somehow smacked of elitism. I don't care if MSNBC paid for it. Take a friggin cab and get a receipt!

I want to thank AM 950, here in the Twin Cities, for setting up the meeting. Don't hold my little tantrum against me, I still am working to be a part of the station.

CinchCast: The do nothing Congress strikes out again



I'm so pissed off about the failure to extend unemployment benefits, I forgot to mention that the Senate didn't even vote on equal pay for women...

Don't give up on the Central Corridor just yet.

On a recent blog posting, Dave Mindeman asks who will fight for the Central Corridor? While that's a good question, maybe a better one would be, who on the Republican side wants to grind the project to a halt, after all the initial work has been started. One would think that stopping the project now would be a huge waste of money that was already spent to go forward with the light rail line, that is scheduled to begin running in 2014.

One has to remember that while the GOP will be in charge of the Minnesota Legislature for the next couple of years, chances are still good that Mark Dayton will be our next governor. I have a hard time believing he'd let the existing work that has already been done go to waste. Also, if my recollection is correct, commuter rail is still a high priority of the Obama administration.

Dave is right though. This is not a home run just yet. Congresswoman Betty McCollum will have to get involved to be sure the funding for this project does not dry up.

The strongest case I feel will be to point at all the work that has already been done in the downtown St. Paul area. Parts of Lowertown look like a war zone with all the streets that have been ripped up in moving utility lines, in preparation. Who is going to be the one to step up and say all of that work was for naught?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Beats the hell out of posing with Limabugh or Beck...

I think the girl that took the pic should have dragged out the wide angle lens.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A long way from using a cell phone connection to do the blogcast...

I still have a face made for radio...

Media Matters: While suggesting he will be set up, Beck assures his listeners "I'm not into child pornography"

CinchCast: Repubs already talking debates at Reagan Library

Sign of the day...

November 13th blogcast...

Social engineering: What will it take to break the cycle of welfare dependency in this state,and across the nation? Also, we talk about the KSTP story about welfare fraud and abuse.

Click here to listen to the archive.

Potential for backlash after KSTP welfare fraud piece.

I watched the KSTP report on welfare fraud last night. While I agree on most of the points of the story, I can't help but think this and a couple of planned follow up stories are going to create a huge backlash on people that rely on state assistance.

There already is a stereotypical view of welfare recipients, that portrays them as them as lazy people, who are unmotivated to get off the government tit. It will be interesting to see if any part of these stories do anything to dispel that myth.

As the story unfolded last night, it became clear that the real targets were state legislators that have been champions of the state's relatively generous welfare system, such as Senator John Marty.

When I started my series on social engineering on Monday, I had no clue that channel 5 was going to run this piece. The report will be part of the conversation Roger and I have, on the blogcast, this Saturday.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ironic... KSTP-TV to air report on welfare abuse in Minnesota

The report aired on the station's 10pm newscast. (Link)

In the initial post, I speculated that the station would unfairly group all welfare recipients with the abusers, this was not the case. However, as the station looks to run a series on welfare fraud, it's bound to cause a backlash on the state's welfare system.

CinchCast: Are Progressives ready to throw President Obama under the bus?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Social engineering... Accountability...

My last segment on social engineering may draw the most ire from many of my Progressive friends, but here goes...

In the last two segments, I spoke of personal responsibility, and education. Here, I will talk about accountability to the taxpayers who are helping the poor.

First, let me differentiate between those receiving public assistance with those receiving unemployment benefits. Those on unemployment have shown the ability to obtain work, and are normally unemployed due to no fault of their own. Instead this is more toward those that receive such benefits as AFDC, Food Stamps, housing, and medical assistance for an extended time.

As I wrote Monday, anyone spending government assistance cash should not be using that money to buy booze or illegal drugs, maybe even tobacco products. Different states handle welfare benefits in different ways, but in no way should it be a cashable check. Furthermore, benefits payed through a EBT card should not be allowed to withdraw from an ATM, Nor should they resemble a typical credit card. I also feel that assistance should include a rent and utilities vouchers, as opposed to giving the recipient X amount of dollars to spend at their discretion. Welfare recipients should be accountable for every dime of taxpayer money allotted to them. I also feel mothers receiving AFDC should be required to participate in what I call day care cooperatives, in order to assist other low income families.

Food Stamps should not be used to buy an over abundance of junk food, ie... chips, soda, candy, or cupcakes. We have a major epidemic of obese children in this country, a majority of which come from low income families that receive Food Stamps. That said, Food Stamp benefits should be increased, to allow for the higher price of healthier foods.

Finally, health care... Those receiving medical assistance should show some responsibility for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. That would include smoking cessation, and realistic effort to lose weight.

Here's the bottom line... I am all for helping the needy. But simply cutting a monthly check without some degree of accountability is a blatant waste of taxpayer money. The short term cost of of this so called social engineering will be high. But if done properly, the long term result would bring less money spent on caring for the chronically poor.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The OpEd: What's the real deal on outsourcing? - Ed Schultz

Social engineering... Education...

Following up on a post from yesterday morning, I want to talk about education, as it applies to social engineering.

As I eluded to yesterday, poverty is a vicious cycle. If you're poor, chances are really good your kids, and even your grandkids will be as well.

Problem is that many people don't have the social skills to pull themselves out of poverty. At the risk of sounding harsh, some people think it's perfectly ok to squeeze out 2 or 3 kids, with no idea how they are going to support them. I'm not talking about the people who have been working, and who have lost their jobs, and are now having trouble supporting their families. I'm talking about the 18 and 19 year old girls that already have 2 kids from 2 different fathers.

To my knowledge, schools are not currently allowed to teach about any more than basic anatomy in a sex ed class, if it's even offered at all. To me, this would be the perfect setting to teach young, impressionable minds that in the words of a bumper sticker I saw, "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."

This may be a hard lesson to a 12 year old girl who is the oldest child of a 29 year old mom, but it's a lesson that needs to be taught.

Other lessons would include, despite your level of education, walking into a job interview with gang tattoos will all but certainly disqualify you from getting hired.

This is the biggest part of social engineering, in my opinion. I understand that our schools are hard pressed in teaching the basics to our kids. I feel it's just as important to teach them how to be good citizens.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Social engineering... Personal responsibility...

Personal responsibility may sound like a foreign term to a Progressive, but it really isn't. Progressives pay taxes, just like everybody else. I think all taxpayers have some expectation of getting their money's worth when it comes to paying for social programs.

One of those areas I know of first hand is health care. I currently am helped by Minnesota Care. The program allows me to afford the medications I need to keep my type-II diabetes, and high blood pressure under control. In return, I feel it's my responsibility not to be woofing down Quarter Pounders like I did a few years ago. The result is I've dropped 20 pounds in the last month. Another 40, and maybe I can get off a majority of these meds. I'm nobody special, if I can do this, anybody can.

I still believe as a society, we should help those that are in need. But I do join the chorus of those that say that welfare money should not be spend on booze, drugs, or gambling. Nor should food stamps be used for junk or convenience food.

All of this comes with education, point I will go into next.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Social engineering on steroids...

Barring any major events this week, I want to talk about something I have thought long and hard about, since I've started doing the blogcast. You see, if I've learned anything at all in 47 years, I've learned that poverty is a vicious cycle. A cycle that I, or my adult children have not been able to break.

Sometimes poverty is a result of bad circumstances, but most of the time it's due to bad decisions. Bad decisions, most of the time, come from a lack of education. While book smarts are important, I'm talking about an education in life skills.

It's easy to blame parents for not giving their children the proper tools needed to function in life, but in today's economy, it's nearly impossible to have a stay at home parent, that can provide the proper guidance that a growing child needs.

Leading up to to Saturday's show, I am going to put out some ideas in order to help reverse this trend. As always, your input is welcome.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Internet radio, the wave of the future on political talk...

During the show today, I realized that Roger and I are at the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to getting our message out to the people. Internet radio has the potential to blow it's celestial counterpart completely out of the water. BlogTalkRadio.com has massive number if broadcasters, with a wide variety of topics.

I have been using this service for almost a year straight. Alone, and with various co-hosts, I have attempted to bring the Progressive message to an audience I would have never been able to reach otherwise. BlogTalkRadio.com allows me to do something that I have wanted to do for many years, host my own talk show.

Because of the limitations celestial radio has, the average guy couldn't get a break like what's afforded on this medium. A potential listener doesn't even need a computer to hear our show. BlogTalkRadio is accessible on any smart phone, a technology that is increasingly more available, and more affordable. In the next 10 years, nearly everybody will be able to listen to internet broadcasts, just like we listened to our transistor radios back in the 60s.

Like all broadcasters, internet or celestial, Roger and I have do more to increase our share of listeners. We have chose to focus for the most part on events that events that effect us up here in Minnesota. I understand that given the potential worldwide audience, that may be a bit short sighted. But I feel that even on internet radio, one has to start small, and build a following.

In the weeks and months to come, we hope you can find the time to join us, either live or on the show's archive.

Friday, November 5, 2010

This Saturday, we lick our wounds...

Roger and I take the time to analyze what went wrong in last Tuesday's election, and what we can do correct the situation for 2012.

Click here to listen to the archive...

My 2 cents on the Olbermann situation...

My Twitter account has been non stop with opinions about the suspension of Keith Olbermann by MSNBC, for allegedly donating to a couple of political campaigns, a violation of the network's policy. The logical side of me acknowledges that because Olbermann violated policy, MSNBC was well within their right to levy the penalty.

Unfortunately, these are not logical times. How else do you explain the voters of this nation handing back power to the political party that, as President Obama so correctly stated, "ran our country into the ditch."

MSNBC has been the one bastion of hope, in a media market that has been clouded by corporate or Conservative interests. Olbermann has been the standard barer for the Progressive cause. Pulling the plug on his "Countdown" show will surely have a negative ripple effect.

We all look at the way money is thrown around at political campaigns with great disdain. God knows, FOX News, and others have shelled out plenty of cash to Conservative candidates. In my opinion, Olbermann was just fighting fire with fire.

Just a word of advice to you neo-cons who are dancing in the street over this, hopefully temporary, suspension. Us on the left aint in a real good mood right now. Losing control of the House of Representatives, as well a losses in other key statewide elections, will only serve to strengthen our resolve. I promise, you won't catch us napping again.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ideas for upcoming shows...

Now that the election is over, and Roger and I lick our wounds from ass kicking the Democrats took, there are some topics I'd like to cover over the next few weeks, including...

The real problem at the Mexican border.

A realistic look at the "Fair Tax."

The high cost of attending a professional sporting event.

Will President Obama face a Democratic challenger in 2012?

A comprehensive (and expensive) way to end welfare dependency.

If you like to offer some feedback on any of these topics, or have something you'd like us to cover, send me an e-mail, or jot a comment to this posting.

A simple look at repealing the Bush tax cuts...

Of all my areas of in-expertise, economics is probably up there towards the top of things I don't know a whole lot about. However, one thing seems extremely logical to me. If you're going to extend Bush era tax cuts to higher end income levels, those people better be investing in creating jobs, not just sticking it in mason jars, per se.

I keep hearing that personal tax increases hurt small businesses, and prohibits job growth. I don't quite get that. It would seem to me that employees are a business expense, thus making them tax deductible.

I think the confusion here is business tax, as opposed to personal income tax. In other words, if Minnesota's favorite multi-millionaire, Joe Mauer wanted to invest a few million in a job creating venture, it would stand to reason that that business would be taxed at a much smaller rate than if he kept that money in his pocket, wouldn't it?

I think the biggest frustration in this country is that the wealthy find ways to pay less of a percentage of their income in taxes than the guy who flips burgers for a living. This is where I think consumption taxes, as opposed to personal income taxes may be a better idea.

Either way, I think any of us in the 22.5 club want is for those in the 22.5 million club to pay the same percentage of tax as we do, without the loopholes.

This will end this edition of Simple Man's Economics-101.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New York Times Opinion: How Obama Saved Capitalism and Lost the Midterms

If I were one of the big corporate donors who bankrolled the Republican tide that carried into office more than 50 new Republicans in the House, I would be wary of what you just bought.

For no matter your view of President Obama, he effectively saved capitalism. And for that, he paid a terrible political price.

Read the rest of the story here...

A glimmer of good news...

I told Roger I wasn't going to talk about any more about the election until Saturday's blogcast. I lied...

Despite how I feel about the overall election results, I want to congratulate Hussein Samatar, who was the first Somali-American (I'll make an exception to my hyphenated American rule here) to be elected to public office in Minnesota, possibly in the country, according to reports.

Samatar was elected to the Minneapolis School Board.

We have a large Somali presence in Minnesota. I hope to see their community gain more representation in future elections.

All pain, little gain...

I just have to stop attending home team events...

When Lori and I arrived at the Minneapolis Hilton, around 9pm, Mark Dayton had a fairly comfortable lead over Tom Emmer. That lead dwindled faster than the Twins' hopes of advancing to the next round of the playoffs.

We had to throw in the towel around 12:30. I stayed up for about another hour, watching the results from home. When I woke up this morning, at 5:30 Dayton's lead was less than 10,000 votes, setting the stage for an inevitable recount.

Going into this election, I thought going to the polls and using this blog and our show would be enough to, at the very least, ensure that Mark Dayton would be the next resident of the Governor's Mansion. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Many of the individuals at DFL election party had spent countless hours knocking on doors and making phone calls. In the end, it just wasn't enough. Even if Dayton wins the gubernatorial election, the overwhelming wins by Republicans in the state Senate and House elections will spell certain doom for any statewide progressive agenda.

While I'm a little discouraged, this morning, possibly because I'm operating on less than 3 hours sleep, I will not give up on the Democratic cause. We have to remember the good that has come to to this state over the years under primarily Democratic leadership, despite not having the governor's seat for nearly 12 years.

Yes, my back and knees are killing me after standing for nearly 4 hours straight, and I'm horribly disappointed by the results of last night's election, but this will only serve to strengthen my resolve.

I that ask all Minnesota Democrats to remember this moment, and how we got here. We can never take another election for granted again.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Our first big political event...

Well, I'm about to take Lori to her first political function, as we attend the Minnesota DFL (hopefully) victory party at the Minneapolis Hilton. This will also be my first time attending an event of this political magnitude.

Yes, I'm beginning to get in with both feet. My work schedule makes it prohibitive to do much campaigning, but I've tried to use this blog and the blogcast to get my political feelings out to as many as possible. I hope it's paid off.

This Saturday, Roger and I will cover the ramifications of today's election, both on a state and national level. Let's hope we can talk about good news.

I look forward to meeting a few of the folks that I know read this blog.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A shocking display of Minneapolis police priorities.

For those who follow my political rants, please allow me a moment to steer off course for something I really need to get off my chest.

Ok... It's a little after 1am Saturday night, on the eve of Halloween. Arguably the biggest drunk fest outside of New Years Eve. Fortunately, a good majority of revelers have decided to be smart, and not drive after their celebrating.

That's where my industry comes in. My wife, who works in the dispatch room for the company I drive for, says she was slammed all night. On a night like this, it's usually a free for all for cab drivers who on most nights struggle to pay their cab fees.

I won't bore you with too much background here, but cities like Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington, as well as the Airport all require both cab and driver to licenced in order to operate it their jurisdictions. This last year, Minneapolis licence inspectors have been out like storm troopers, enforcing their city's policy, going as far a impounding improperly licenced taxis.

On a normal night, I don't have a problem with this. The city councils of both Minneapolis and St. Paul have opened the flood gates on taxi permits, to accommodate the thousands of East African immigrants who think there's some untapped gold mine in this industry. The enforcement by Minneapolis inspectors is welcomed by most drivers who have gone through the process and expense to work there.

But on a night like last night, when there were literally hundreds of people in certain areas trying to flag down taxis, all bets are off. There is no conceivable way even a thousand licenced cabs could have kept up with the demand.

Our company has over 400 taxis that work the entire metro area, the largest fleet, by far. Our dispatch system is set up to honor the territorial boundaries of each restricted community. In short, Minneapolis licenced cabs in our company are the only ones that get dispatched to calls in that city.

Last night was one of those rare occasions when if a customer has been waiting too long for service, we will take the city restriction off and offer the call to any cab that might be in that particular area.

Now understand that a majority of our cabs and drivers, not licensed in Minneapolis, hold permits in the other aforementioned areas. These areas are just as stringent as Minneapolis when it comes to screening vehicles and drivers. Even more yet are permitted by the state to operate as a class III school bus. What I'm saying is our cabs and drivers are pretty God damned safe.

Last night, one of our non-Minneapolis fleet was asked to pick up a call in the Dinkytown neighborhood. He didn't ask for the call, our system sent it to him, because he was available in the area. The driver was stopped by MINNEAPOLIS POLICE, and the cab was impounded. Now here we are in Dinkytown, where there are thousands of drunk college kids roaming the streets, and a friggin cop decides then and there that he is going to enforce taxi ordinance, what a joke! I'd be willing to bet if someone were in that same crowd, selling trinkets without a peddler's licence, not a damn thing would have been done. And don't get me started on some to the out in the open drug deals that were going on in some neighborhoods.

It would stand to reason to me, as this is the same police department who has prided itself on ridding it's streets of crack whores, while drive by shootings are at an alarming increase.

Mayor Rybak, I know you've been on the campaign trail for fellow Democrats this last few weeks, and for all of our sakes, I hope it works. But could you please get your police chief to take his head out of his ass, and go after the real criminals, and leave taxi licence enforcement to the folks who are paid to do so.

Friday, October 29, 2010

This Saturday, Live from the State Capitol

Roger and I do the show live, from the Minnesota State Capitol, where a rally to coincide with Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" will take place. We will discuss what's happened to "Minnesota Nice," when it comes to politics.

Click here to listen to the archive...

I remember...

A wake up call for the David Stroms of Minnesota...

Just to keep up, I follow a handful of Conservative types, on my Twitter account. Not too many, as I don't want my head to explode. One in particular is David Strom. I don't know much about him, other than he seems to have some financial expertize.

Earlier this week, Strom was commenting on the flack over a DFL mailer, that depicted what looked to be a priest wearing a lapel button that said something like forget the poor.

I jumped into the fray, pointing out that the general platform of the GOP is anti-poor. Strom replied, asking for an example, to which I retorted, "one phrase, personal responsibility."

Don't get me wrong, I think personal responsibility is a good thing. But for some folks, through no fault of their own, sometimes just have no other choice then to ask for help. Not all, but a good number of those on the right, would like to abolish programs that help the needy, including cash assistance, food, shelter, and medical care.

Again, I don't know the man, but I get the impression that David Strom has no clue what it's like to be dirt poor. Does he think those using the social safety net do so because it's so much fun to hang out in a crowded welfare office? Or maybe he thinks it's a hoot filling out a mountain of paperwork to determine eligibility.

Are there some that abuse the system? Of course. I would guess it's about the same number of those who squandered millions of other people's money on risky investments. I don't see near the outcry from the right about that, as I do about someone who may be hiding a couple hundred dollars of monthly income, in order to receive a hundred bucks in food stamps, to help feed his family.

I rely on the slim earnings of driving a cab, a job that a guy like Strom might have done during his college days, to earn a little drinkin' money, to pay my household bills. My income is low enough to qualify to get health coverage through Minnesota Care, a program that has allowed me to afford the medications I need for my type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The program has also helped me obtain help from a dietitian, in order to get my weight down, so I don't need the state's help paying for medications. If the GOP makes too great of political inroads this election, programs like Minnesota Care would be greatly cut, or eliminated all together.

It's too late for this election cycle, but somehow the poor need to find a way to become more politically involved. Many of the people I've spoken to couldn't tell me who was running for governor or for the Congressional seat in their district. Some of them didn't know there was an election coming up.

Guys like David Strom, and other neo-cons rely on the ignorance of the poor, when it comes to involvement in the political process. It's what keeps the GOP alive. Do you think that if every eligible person with an income level of less than $20k were to get involved politically, there that the Republican party as we know it would even exist? I don't. Further more, groups like the Tea Party would be run out of town.

I'm not a history major, but I seem to remember just about every revolution this world has known, to have been started by those on the lowest wrung of the fiscal ladder. As the divide deepens between the haves and have nots in this country, and the middle class all but vanishes, watch out, as the now classic anthem of Twisted Sister, "We're Not Gonna Take It," will be the rallying cry against the profit before people crowd. You know, guys like my new buddy, David.

***Since initially writing this, I've discovered that Mr. Strom works on the Emmer for Governor campaign. Go figure...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

From Gawker.com: I Had a One-Night Stand With Christine O'Donnell

Sounds way too good to be true, but follow the link anyway...

Of course, her spin machine is working overtime, but is this any different than if a male candidate engages in "immoral" behavior? Sounds a little hypocritical to me.

Bachmann, Clark Spar on MPR

My dog is such a diva...

For gays and lesbians, the road is still long.

Funny, the things one thinks about on a long distance drive...

I remember how grossed out I was, back in my younger days, at the thought of two men having sex. Of course, when you're in your 20s, a guy spends quite a bit of time thinking with the little head. So naturally, the sexual aspect of a gay relationship was the only thing considered.

Now as I have the big five-o well within my sight line, I've come to understand the companionship aspect of both straight and gay relationships.

I think as us heterosexuals try to come to grips with advances that gays and lesbians have made in mainstream life, we have to understand that most of these relationships go far beyond the bedroom. Once you open your mind a bit, it's easy to understand how a person could be in love with someone of the same sex.

I would suggest that if more of us uptight Americans opened their minds, the struggles that remain for gays in gaining mainstream acceptance would disappear, once and for all.

But when a high school girl can't bring her girlfriend to her senior prom, it goes to show we have a long way to go.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Somalis Must Speak More Forcefully Against the Radicals within Their Ranks

The following was written by Abdiweli Aliby Fartun Ahmed, a Facebook friend of whom I've never met, but have shared a couple of on-line conversations with.

The assistant principal of a Minneapolis based Somali-populated charter school, Banadir Academy, recently condemned a group of Somali Imams who joined hands with leaders of other faiths in a multi-faith service prayer. The ceremony was a show of solidarity with Muslims following the recent anti-Islamic sentiments in New York and Florida. The assistant principle, Abdighani Ali, who is also an Imam at a local mosque in Minneapolis, labeled the Imams apostates simply because they joined in prayer for unity with “infidels” in a church. Both MPR and the StarTribune carried some versions of the story.

Abdighani’s religious bigotry manifested itself when, during a live call-in Somali show that airs on Minneapolis community channel, he was asked whether it is in accordance with Islamic principles for Somali refugees, as Muslims, to settle in the States through Christian church groups. (see the video below; go to minute 36:22). The mainstream media didn’t carry this part of the story. “It is a grave mistake and unislamic”, he said. He quoted a verse from the Holy Koran to explain the church groups’ motive:
[2.120] “And the Jews will not be pleased with you, nor the Christians until you follow their religion.” “Therefore, their purpose is to convert Muslims into their religions”, he added. Abdighani didn’t stop there but continued his religious bigotry. He pronounced, “There can be no friendship between Muslims and the infidels” and cited a couple of other verses from the Holy Koran to substantiate his fatwa: [60.1] “O you who believe! do not take My enemy and your enemy [Christians and Jews] for friends;” [5.51] “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends.” He makes no effort to interpret the Holy Scripture or to put it into perspective. He urges literal and raw enforcement of the verses. Can we afford to teach our children to see their neighbors’ children and their classmates as enemies? Such dogmatic and literalist Imams are a threat to our democracy and to peaceful coexistence.

The most frightening thing is that Abdighani has plenty of platforms to disseminate his radical views. In addition to leading a charter school and a mosque, he is a frequent guest on local Twin Cities Somali television shows, which are widely watched by Somali parents. Almost all of the callers during the live call-in shows where Abdighani chastised the multi-faith participants cried indignantly and applauded Abdighani for telling the truth to power. He said the purpose of the event was to amalgamate the different faiths into one. Not true. His was commanding and wielding influence. They were already falling for his rhetoric without any critical examination.

Minnesota Somalis have often protested against negative publicity. It is not enough and probably disingenuous to say “we are against extremism”, or issue halfhearted condemnations and stand at the sidelines. Somalis or Muslims, in general, have to learn how to come out at full throttle to denounce and disavow their fringe elements. The vast majority of Muslims are moderates and deserve a better representation. The likes of Abdighani must pay the price or else they’d continue to preach the crowds with impunity. Nor can we afford to allow a person who espouses such radical religious views to educate our children and therefore I call on Banadir Academy to cut ties with Abdighani.

With all this said, I think it's also important for us not to judge the Somali community, other Muslims by the actions of the few.

Maybe it's time for a little sanity...

Unlike nationally syndicated, progressive talk host, Bill Press, I think Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" is a wonderful idea. As a matter of fact, Roger and I are attending a similar rally, this Saturday, at the State Capitol.

The idea behind the nationwide rally is to ratchet down the rhetoric that has been so prevalent in this election. Even I have been a little vulgar in my amateur commentary. Nationally known talkers like Limbaugh, Beck, Schultz, and Olbermann have really gotten nasty at times. Trash talk like that is great for whipping up the base, but serves as a real turn off for independents and moderates.

No matter who goes on to win these mid-term elections, we still need to be able to function as a state, and as a nation.

I find it somewhat fitting that the wife of WWE chairman, Vince McMahon has gotten into politics. The trash talking is beginning to resemble that seen on Monday Night Raw.

It's my hope that we take a serious look at the rhetoric of this election, and maybe find ways to tone it down a bit.

We look forward to seeing you Saturday.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Video: Clinton stumps for Clark...

Strib Editorial: Clark would serve Sixth District voters, not herself | StarTribune.com

This pretty much sums up what Roger and I were talking about yesterday.

Editorial: Clark would serve Sixth District voters, not herself | StarTribune.com

Thanks for the heads up, dumpbachmann.com.

Is it right to ban WWE apparel at Connecticut polling places?



Now, I by no means, am pulling for Linda McMahon in this election, but I think the old huckster has a very valid point here.

WWE's fanbase spans across various ages and political ideology. I own no WWE branded clothing, but consider this. If someone told me I couldn't wear a Hulk Hogan t-shirt (not that I would) when voting in 1998, the year Ventura was elected governor, I would have told them to kiss my ass.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Replay of Obama's speech at the U of M

Detmar no show a non factor...

Roger and I were disappointed that James Detmar, writer/director of Michele, The Musical Bachumanntary, did not join us as planned. None the less, we carried on without him. We still highly recommend this hilarious production that runs through October 30th, at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage.

Click here for the show archive...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Republican House Candidate Calls For Violent Government Overthrow If GOP Loses Election

Stephen Broden, a “constitutionalist pastor” from Texas who won the Republican nomination for Texas’ 30th Congressional District, made a vaguely threatening statement at a Tea Party event last year. He described the federal government as “tyrannical” and said that “we have a constitutional remedy. And the Framers say if that don’t work, revolution.”

Yesterday, a political reporter for WFAA in Dallas-Fort Worth asked Broden to explain whether he was actually calling for violence against the federal government. After a “prolonged back-and-forth,” Broden said a violent overthrow is “on the table”:

Read more

Define Irony...

Just another recycled internet pic, but still funny as hell...

A little soul searching, after last night...

So I'm sitting in the lobby of the Minneapolis Theatre Garage, waiting for Roger to join me. I had this strange feeling. At the table where they were selling soda, water, and cookies, they were also giving away wine. Cute little plastic cups with a choice of red or white. They couldn't sell the wine, but the amount of money I saw in the collection plate surely covered the cost.

The whole setting made me feel a little out of place. Not that anybody in attendance was over dressed. It's just that I felt a little slovenly in my jeans and t-shirt, which I'm sure had at least one coffee stain.

Yes, my progressive friends, I still have a little bit of a redneck side. No, there's no Skoal ring branded on my ass, and I don't own a ball cap with the number 88 on it. (That's Dale Jr's number, if you didn't know) But my lack of education and 29 years doing a job that college kids used to do to make a few extra bucks back in the good old days, means my life borders on that of trailer trash.

What is the point of all this drivel?

Good question... As the Bachumanntary pointed out, with such hilarity, most guys like me are firmly in the Bachmann camp. As I've left the darkside, for the life of me, I can't figure out why.

There is no logical reason why any guy that busts his ass for a living, or someone that works 80 hours per week just to support a family, would want anything to do with Michele Bachmann and her likes. They have absolutely nothing to offer the working class of America.

The right have supported policies that allow corporations to ship jobs overseas. First it was manufacturing, now you can't even call AT&T without talking to someone from India. and like the hypocrites they are, they want to hunt down all the Mexicans crossing the border illegally, but turn a blind eye to the companies that hire them.

I have a running buddy in Las Vegas. He works as a labor advocate out there, yet he supports the teabaggers, just because they advocate sealing the border. My friend, the number of Mexicans coming here looking for work has not cost us nearly as many jobs as GM has by buying Chinese steel.

The sad truth of this is that what drives the right is this twisted desire to return back to the good old days. When blacks and other minorities just kept to themselves, and gays stayed in the closet.

Remember, I've been there, I know...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bachmann parody director on Saturday's blogcast...

This Saturday, we talk to James Detmar, director of the irreverent musical, Michele, the Musical Bachumanntary. The show runs through next Saturday, and is playing at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage, 711 W. Franklin, in Minneapolis.

Tonight, Roger and I are taking in the show.

After the interview, we will discuss the Bachmann leagacy, as we hope this will be the final few months of her term.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gay teen suicide... It's the least I can do to help...



I saw on my Twitter feed that another teenager, who was gay, commited suicide. I would ask that anyone viewing this, please spread the word.

Thanks...

Where's the outrage?

By now, a few of you have seen the image I posted here of someone's Twitter avitar that depicted President Obama, presumably dead, with a noose around his neck. By the number of followers to this Twitter account, one can assume there have been quite a few people that have seen this disgusting image. What I don't understand is, where's the outrage?

We've seen depictions of our president as a chimpanzee, and the Lord of Death. We've seen more than one drawing of him being lynched. When are his supporters, or even the general public going to say, "enough is enough?"

God knows those on the right would be pissed off if a picture with the likeness Jan Brewer being gang raped by a bunch of Mexicans turned up. What if there was a depiction of Sarah Palin being sodomized? I'm sure there may some of that floating around the internet, but nothing that anybody with any credibility, or someone looking for cred, would have as a Twitter avitar.

So I ask you, when are we going to hold these people accountable for their abuse of free speech? Or will it take us dropping to their level just to prove a point?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Not really fair to compare Linda McMahon with WWE

Let me start this by saying I have been a wrestling fan since ladies mat star, Betty Niccoli bought me a hot dog and a Coke in 1969. While any dope can understand that professional wrestling is scripted entertainment, the performers put their bodies on the line every time they enter the ring to put on an entertaining show for their millions of fans.

Pro wrestling has changed immensely from the days of my youth. The show I enjoyed as a kid has evolved into a muli-million dollar empire, ruled by billionaire, Vince McMahon.

Vince's wife Linda, is the former CEO of what's now known as World Wrestling Entertainment. Mrs. McMahon is running for a US Senate seat, currently held by Connecticut incumbent, Richard Blumenthal. As I have enough on my plate watching the races here in Minnesota, I haven't had much time to spend paying attention to the New England area contest. What I have read is that some Blumenthal supporters may be tying McMahon to her husband's (the true mastermind behind WWE) somewhat shady business dealings.

While the Democrat in me cannot support another Senator that will surly rubber stamp any Republican/Tea Party effort to turn back what little progress that was made over the last 2 years, I feel any similarities between Mrs. McMahon and the WWE patriarch would be a bit of a stretch made by the Blumenthal campaign.

I still find the WWE product entertaining, but any long time wrestling fan cannot deny the negative impact the globalization WWE enterprises has had on the independent wrestling scene. This makes Mrs. McMahon an easy target for those who feel that she would be a strong advocate for the current trend that has seen multi-national companies ship American jobs overseas. I have no idea if she supports this effort by corporate interests, or not. I'm just saying that it's only fair to judge either McMahon or Blumenthal on their records, or in Linda's case, what she would bring to the table as a US Senator, not as the wife of wrestling promoter, that was given a title by her husband, who is the Chairman-of the-Board and Supreme Dawah of WWE.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The face of the Tea Party movement...















This, my friends, is what the teabaggers are all about. Do you think it's about time for our side to get a little angry?

Emmer and Horner to pander to Vikings' fans...

Yes, I want to see a solution to the Vikings' stadium issue. No, it's not the top priority facing this state. That's why I'm not losing any sleep over the fact that Mark Dayton isn't planning on joining Tom Emmer and Tom Horner at the Dome, tomorrow, to talk stadium plans.

There are plenty of ideas on the table on how to keep the team in Minnesota. Whoever winds up winning in November will have to deal with this dilemma, at some point. But it's my impression that Dayton doesn't see it as a top priority, as he shouldn't.

I see Horner and Emmer's appearance at today's game as a cheap political stunt by both candidates that are lagging behind in the polls.

Look, I want the Vikings to stay in Minnesota as much as the next guy, but anybody that votes for our next governor solely for his position on the stadium issue has no clue about the challenges that this state faces, in the years to come.

BTW... I predict the Vikings will beat the Cowboys, 17-13. Randy Moss will catch 2 touchdown passes.

Skoal Vikings!!