Friday, April 30, 2010

Book End Babies...

Aryanna and Ethan

Palin's new stud wins the endorsement...

So I guess my whipping boy for the next few months will be Tom Emmer. Where I didn't see a major difference between him and Marty Seifert, those who know politics much better than I suggest Emmer may be the most extreme right wing candidate for governor in recent history.

Even if I were politically neutral, which I don't pretend to be, I still contend this will be a slam dunk for whoever wins the DFL primary.

Remember to catch our 2 minute summary of the GOP convention, tomorrow afternoon, at 4pm.

Prediction... Palin's endorsement to be kiss of death.

So the Minnesota Republicans or are about to make their choice for who they want to run for governor. To me, it's not going to make a difference. Both of these guys are so far right that most people are going to just associate them with the tea baggers. And no matter who wins the DFL primary, I don't believe that the Republican candidate, whether it be Seifert or Emmer, will have any chance whatsoever.

That said, I still think it would be funnier than hell if Seifert got the nod after Sarah Palin's glowing endorsement of Emmer.

Go Marty go!!!

All daddy wanted...

Ok... Maybe just a little raunchy...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Finally... I get some reliable help...

I want to take a minute and welcome Dan Lundin as a contributor to this blog. Dan has been a part of our panel on the blogcast for a couple of weeks and adds valuable insight to the show.

You can learn more about Dan by going to his Facebook page.

Welcome aboard, Dan...

Time for the Republican (yawn) convention...

If I were a Republican, gearing up for this upcoming convention, to be held in Minneapolis, I'd be a little concerned. GOP candidates, Tom Emmer and Marty Seifert don't do a whole lot to inspire even the staunchest of Republican supporters. It reminds me of a dilemma that the Vikings had last year before Brett Favre came to town. The team knew they had no chance of winning with either Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels leading the team at quarterback. And while Minnesota Republicans will put on a good face, this weekend, I'd bet they wish they had their own Brett Favre to ride in from the sunset. I'm speaking of none other than Norm Coleman.

While Coleman isn't necessarily a political winner, having lost elections to a professional wrestler and a comedian, he really is the Republicans best and only chance to replace Tim Pawlenty in this next election.

Let's face it, the two choices the Republicans have for governor didn't have much of a chance to begin with. But once they decided to jump on the Arizona immigration bandwagon, they pretty much shot themselves in the foot.

Both Emmer and Seifert say that they will abide by the endorsement process and will not run in a primary election. That's easy to understand, as neither of them differ much in their vision for the state. It's like having to choose between a cinnamon or apple flavored rice cake.

I suppose we'll take a couple of minutes, this Saturday, to analyze the results of the Republican convention. Yes, a couple of minutes should be all we need.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Emmer and Seifert want to bust illegal Africans...

Well... That is the background of the majority of illegal immigrants that reside in Minnesota.

According to an MPR report, The two leading Republican candidates for governor say they'd favor an Arizona-style immigration crackdown in Minnesota.

While the draconian law is at least based on a legitimate problem in Arizona, Minnesota has not been a haven for illegals of any national origin. Only 2 percent, according to Department of Homeland Security numbers. Which begs the question, why are either of these guys even talking about this?

Minnesota House nixes your gaming options, again...

Once again, a bill that would provide for a racino for Canterbury Park to help with funding for a stadium for the Minnesota Vikings has been defeated by the Minnesota House.

I have a problem with this on a couple different levels. First off, why are we so against finding some source of funding for a new stadium for the Vikings? And why, in general, do we seem to have a problem with expanded gaming?

Hell, I'd be all for building a full-fledged casino somewhere near downtown Minneapolis. Or, at the very least, why not allow for bar top slot machines to help the financially strapped tavern industry, in this area, that lost a ton of money because of the smoking ban?

Why should all the area gaming revenue (and yes, Minnesotans love to gamble) go to Mystic Lake, Treasure Island or the Grand Casinos?

What racino proponents are attempting to do is provide a revenue stream that would go to help finance a new Vikings' stadium without additional taxation. Nobody puts a gun to your head to make you gamble. Any monies collected in this fashion would be completely voluntary. It's a win-win situation, yet it's like trying to force a horse pill down a baby's throat.

As progressives, we need to get behind common sense ideas like this. Most of us agree that general fund financing of another new stadium will not work. But is our state legislature so intertwined with the Indian run casino lobby that we cannot provide for other gaming options that the public seems to want and that would provide needed funding for those "wish list" items, that we all would like to see?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Of course there's a point...

A few minutes ago, I tweeted that, according to a study released by the Department of Homeland Security, only two percent of the illegal immigrants currently living in this country reside in Minnesota.

Yet, according to a WCCO.com report, a Minnesota group wants to enact the same type of legislation that was recently passed and signed into law by the Arizona governor, requiring police officers to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect may be an undocumented immigrant. If they can't prove citizenship, they could be arrested.

There's only one problem... Of the paltry 2 percent that are here illegally, only 10 percent of that number are from Latin and Central America. Fifty percent are from AFRICA!!

Anybody see the can of worms opened here?

Now, I feel bad...

Wow... I had forgotten about Susan Gaertner's campaign for Minnesota governor. She bypassed the endorsement process altogether and was going to run in the August primary. That was until today.

Gaertner announced, today, that she would not run in the primary because she did not want to be a "spoiler."

She has not endorsed any of the remaining candidates, but said Minnesota has never come closer to electing a female governor and, apparently, she did not want to get in the way of that important milestone.

Frankly, I had forgotten all about her in this process. Her campaign never caught on in many of the the discussions that were dominated by Kelliher, Rybak or any of the other candidates.

Maybe it was the snub from this blog that was the final straw. I invited Kelliher, Matt Entenza and Mark Dayton to join us on our Saturday show. An invite that has been excepted, at this point only, by the Entenza campaign.

No... I'm not foolish enough to believe that, but I do feel bad for not inviting her. I promise, it was not some sad attempt at a premonition.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A welcome guest...

I want to thank Thomas Harens from BlitzBachmann.com for joining Shannon, Dan and myself on the Shannon Files blogcast on BlogTalkRadio.com. Thomas gave us valuable information about the cause. We welcome him to join us at any time.

Let the voters decide...

While I congratulate Margret Anderson Kelliher on her endorsement at the Minnesota DFL convention, in my mind, the process is not over. As a voter, I want to be the one who decides who represents the party in the November election.

I'm not saying that I won't vote for Ms. Kelliher in the upcoming primary, I just want to take a closer look at all the available candidates. With that, I'm disappointed that candidates like RT Rybak have decided not to run in the primary.

In my mind, it's a two person race between Kelliher and my regular taxi patron, Matt Entenza. While Entenza has become a sentimental favorite, I don't know enough about his vision for the state to make a commitment to his candidacy.

I have an open invite to both Kelliher and Entenza, as well as Mark Dayton, to come on our blogcast.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday's show... Archive is up...

Listen to the archive...

Our roundtable discussion will include the newly enacted immigration law in Arizona. Should a convicted kidnapper, rapist and murderer be paroled after 30 years in prison? We talk to a representative from BlitzBachmann.com and we talk briefly about why men cheat on their spouses.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Free Yourself from Conservative Talk Radio: 12 Steps to Recovery

by Thom Hartmann

Step 1: Admit that you were under the sway of right-wing, anti-democracy radicals.
This is the first step for every conservative or "ditto-head" listener on the way to recovery. It is important to understand that the people you were listening to are not "compassionate conservatives," "Republicans," or "pillars of morality." They're right-wing conservative radicals, more interested in strong corporations than strong democracy, and you must be honest with yourself about that fact.

Step 2: Realize that we can't have freedom & liberty without first building a civil society.
And civil society has certain costs, such as education, infrastructure, health care, defense, transportation, communications, a viable social safety net, and the protection of the commons, which we all agree to pay for with something called taxes that we levy on ourselves and not on our children. Only on this basis can we have individual liberty.

Step 3: Love democracy's basis in debate and respectful disagreement.
The processes of debate, dissent, and compromise are democracy's underlying strength. This may be the most difficult step for those of you who had completely surrendered to the dark side of conservatism and have labeled dissenters as unpatriotic. Admit that democracy actually requires dissent. You might want to read the words of our Founders to better understand what democracy is and what it isn't. Start with Jefferson.

Step 4: Understand that a living wage is vital to maintain a viable middle-class.
A strong middle class is vital to democracy. To say that somebody who earns millions a year by sitting by the pool collecting dividend checks "works that much harder" than a middle-class wage earner is simple nonsense. Although morality tells us that people deserve a livable wage and fair taxes, reality tells us even more starkly that without everybody having access to a good job, and in a nation where dividend-earners pay only 15% in income tax, democracy is at risk.

Step 5: Support labor unions and stop chanting "cheap labor" as the tired old right-wing mantra.
"Cheap labor" is the core mantra of the conservatives, and ultimately harms democracy. If capital can organize in the form of a corporation, and corporations can organize as conglomerates, Chambers of Commerce, and trade and lobbying associations, then labor must have an equal and guaranteed-by-law right to organize. Strong unions are the only thing standing between you and serfdom at the hands of corporate masters, and without the unions of the past there would be no American middle class today. If you have difficulty with this step, spend a week with a family living below the poverty level because their manufacturing jobs were sent overseas for "cheap labor" and all that was left was a cashier's position at Wal-Mart. You'll be chanting "livable wage now!" in no time at all.

Step 6: Stop listening to TV and radio pundits who have "amnesia" about the separation of church and state.
Their intent is to convince everyone that church-state separation was never intended by our Founding Fathers and that the United States was started as a Christian nation. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robinson not only lie about our founding fathers, but also don't grasp the lessons of millennia of bloody battles between popes, mullahs, and kings. Look at the back of a dollar bill and see "novus ordo seclorum" - "a new secular order" - and realize that the US Government is a secular democracy, not a religious theocracy.

Step 7: Stop pretending that you don't understand that government is "We, The People," and not some sort of "them."
"Drowning government in a bathtub," as conservatives have recommended, may have been a good idea in the former Soviet Union, but the United States is a constitutional representative democratic republic where our government is, literally, us. It was designed to work for us, be owned by us, exists solely by virtue of our ongoing approval, and must answer to us. The shared commons of our nation - including our air, water, transportation routes, airwaves and cable networks, communication systems, military, police, prisons, fire services, health care infrastructure, and courts must, for democracy to work well, be held either by locally-controlled non-profit corporations or by a government responsive to its citizens, with corporations barred from the political process.

Step 8: Repent from your SUV and let's start taking care of the planet we all share.
The natural world - including our water and air - is our most vital and essential commons, and therefore must be protected from those who would despoil it for short-term profit. When they poison the world, they degrade our quality of life and threaten our children's future. Begin now - by participating in our representative government - to take immediate steps to protect the commons we share with all other life on planet Earth. (This may be my relapse point.)

Step 9: Stop listening to conservative talk radio.
Understand that talk show hosts of the conservative ilk daily demonstrate that bullying, humiliation, and the "big lie" are at the core of conservative talk radio. Turn them off, and instead tune into one of the many liberal talk shows that are daily sprouting across America, and where democracy is still alive and well.

Step 10: Help transform America back into an energy-independent nation.
Building a civilization on liquefied fossils and then thinking it will last forever makes no sense. World oil reserves are enough to sustain us only into our children's lifetimes, and then will run out. Encourage your elected representatives to help create viable energy sources that are not dependent on fossil fuels, and, in the meantime, take immediate steps to reduce use of and preserve our precious stores before they're exhausted.

Step 11: Refrain from rewriting political history.
Its now time to admit that George W. Bush and his administration have (had) been lying to us about the war on terror, the invasion of Iraq, taking away our freedoms with The Patriot Act, and misleading the America people on issues from the environment to taxes to jobs. Know now that George W. Bush was selected not elected, and the election was stolen from Al Gore. You may now research beyond propaganda from right-wing think tanks and Faux News to understand things as they really exist in the world. Stay in touch with the many progressive news sites (like this one) and publications and encourage our mainstream media to stop being cowed by right-wing bullies and corporate paymasters.

Step 12: Be a visionary.
Once you have completed the previous steps to freeing yourself from conservative talk radio, it's time for you to share this awakening with others who will benefit from your new enlightenment. Go out amongst the "ditto-head" sheep and spread the good word of your freedom from the chains of ignorance that once bound you. Congratulations, and welcome to reality! And keep tuning your radio to The Thom Hartmann Program.

This Saturday's show...

Our roundtable discussion will include the newly enacted immigration law in Arizona. Should a convicted kidnapper, rapist and murderer be paroled after 30 years in prison? Who is the best choice for the Minnesota DFL in the upcoming gubernatorial race? We talk to a representative from BlitzBachmann.com and we talk about why men cheat on their spouses.

Immigration reform next priority.

Today the president addressed the issue of illegal immigration. He briefly touched on the situation in Arizona, where legislators have passed a bill that would allow law enforcement to interrogate those people they felt were in this country illegally. To say the least, the president didn't think too highly of the bill that was just signed, hours ago by that state's governor.

Immigration reform may prove to be more of a contentious issue than health-care reform. There are no easy solutions to this problem.

It is a touchy subject for me, because I have some very close friends who are of Mexican descent. Yet I have lived in areas where illegal immigration has caused a huge problem.

I am the son of an immigrant. My father came to this country, from Scotland, sometime in the 1950s. Unfortunately, he died when I was nine years old. I have many questions I would've liked to ask him about what he had to go through in order to immigrate to this country.

One of the questions, is was it easier for him to come over and be a United States citizen than it is for Latinos were trying to immigrate to this country today?

To be honest, I don't know what the legal process for immigration is. I don't know why it seems that some immigrants are given Carte Blanche, while others (Hispanics) are automatically presumed to be illegal.

I'm really troubled by this new law in Arizona. Governor Jan Brewer says that racial profiling will not be tolerated, but how else are cops going to determine whether they are going to check someone's status?

Senate Majority Leader Reid says he wants to put immigration reform on the front burner. I couldn't agree more. It's time for Congress and the president to get serious about this matter, before the Arizona situation duplicates in other border states.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

First game impressions...

Man, it was great to see our home nine play outdoor baseball. Even though they got their asses handed to them, 8 to 1, it was still an enjoyable experience.

Our seats were up there, but the view was great. And the smells... What an experience for someone who hasn't seen an outdoor ballgame, except for at Wrigley Field, in quite a number of years.

There are quite a few amenities at new Target Field that I could've just as well went without. I have that old-school mentality of just grabbing a seat in the bleachers, unless I got to go get a beer or take a leak. That said, it is sure a beautiful place to take in an early spring daytime ball game.

As advertised, there is just about every type of food vendor imaginable. However, I settled for a hot dog and a Diet Pepsi. I know, how original.

It was great to see the place jammed with nearly 40,000 baseball fans. The facility handled the crowd very well. There really was not a bad seat in the house.

So hats off to the Twins, the design and construction teams that made this possible.

And to anybody who thinks that a few tax dollars to build a new stadium does not bring life into an area, you really need to come down and be a part of this.

Fun times...

Haters!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fowl pole?

Bird approves of the Twins' new digs...

GOP cat fight brews over DWI...

A little over a week before Minnesota Republicans gather to endorse the candidate they want to see fill the upcoming vacancy at the Governor's Mansion, Marty Seifert's campaign upped the ante a bit by sending a damning letter to the GOP delegates. The letter, written by Sandra Berg, was extremely critical of Tom Emmer for a couple of DWIs he had received over the years.

Berg, whose husband and son were injured by a drunk driver, said she was disappointed that Emmer was not completely forthcoming about the incidents when asked about potential "skeletons in his closet."

Apparently, the DWI convictions are not a new revelation, by any means. They have been reported by the Star-Trib and a blogger. Emmer's campaign noted that the letter was a "desperate April surprise."

If this is all the GOP has to run on, it won't matter who the Democratic candidate is. Voters are fed up with this type of politics, that have nothing to do with the issues of the day.

So while Emmer and Seifert engage in this political cat fight, us on the left will just set back and watch in amusment.

Someone pass the peanuts...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blitz Bachmann for Earth Day!


An interesting first ride...

With the Minnesota DFL convention meeting this Saturday, in Duluth, it occurs to me that I haven't paid off a lot of attention to the gubernatorial race. I have been much more focused on congressional district six and the demise of Michele Bachmann. The candidates getting the most press, to this point, are Margaret Anderson Kelliher, and Minneapolis mayor, R.T. Rybak.

My interest got peaked a little more today, as my first passenger of the morning was Lois Quam, the wife of candidate Matt Entenza. Ms. Quam was the chair of the board that helped make Minnesota Care a reality, helping many people like myself be able to obtain affordable health insurance.

We had a short, but delightful conversation, regarding her husband's candidacy. I also invited him, through her to join us on the Shannon Files blog cast.

I'm still unsure who it is I plan to support in the DFL primary for governor. But this early morning conversation helped place her husband back up on my radar screen.

Who knows? Maybe if he wins the election, the new governor will hire me on as his personal driver.

Hey, one can always dream.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Just throw away the key...

Fifty-nine year old Ming Sen Shuie is about to complete 30 years of his 30-to-life sentence for the kidnapping of a missionary, her 8 year-old daughter and the murder of a 6 year-old witness. Earlier today, Shuie apologised for his actions in a courtroom as a judge opened up a trial to determine if he should remain locked up.

During his original trial, Shuie slashed the face of victim, Mary Stauffer, with a knife he had smuggled into the courtroom, causing her to endure 62 stitches in order to close the wound. He also vowed to kill Stauffer and her daughter after his release.

Shuie was convicted on a federal kidnapping charge, where he received the 30-to-life sentence. He also received a 40-year sentence on the the murder conviction. He becomes eligible for parole in July.

According to testimony, Shuie long had been obsessed with Stauffer, who had been his ninth-grade math teacher 15 years earlier, and repeatedly raped her during the seven weeks he held her captive, even videotaping some of his assaults. She eventually managed to escape while Shiue was at work, removing the hinge pins on the closet door, telephoning for help, then hiding with her daughter until deputies arrived.

This is one case where I wish Minnesota had the death penalty. If for no other reason, so the Stauffer family does not have to re-live the horror of the events of 30 years ago. But as there is no death penalty, this is where the "hard time" I was talking about last week would come into play.


Prosecutors are seeking to commit Shiue indefinitely to the state's sex offender treatment program, arguing he's still a dangerous sexual predator. I doubt it. He's 59 years old, he's only a sexual predator if he gets a hold of a bottle of Viagra.

No, this guy just needs to go back to his prison cell and rot. Mary Stauffer or her daughter should not have to endure this every five years or so. Frankly, I'm surprised Shiue has not faced a little "prison justice" for his actions. Guys in the joint don't take to kindly to child killers. Maybe as the details of his crime come to light to today's group of prisoners, we won't have to re-live this story a few years down the road.

Ok lefties... Time to get your nose out of the air

You will never be able to confuse me with a professional journalist or talk show host. My 60 hour per week job prevents me from being able to do the research in order to do a quality job. That doesn't mean that I don't have an opinion, nor makes that opinion any less important than those who are better educated or have the time to interview policy makers at a local or national level.

Last week, I submitted a posting to a progressive blog site. The subject was how national pollsters seem to overlook the financially challenged sector of the population. I triple checked the spelling and grammar, as to not come off as a total bafoon. The submission was ignored without any explanation.

Those in either political party, especially the Democrats, who chose to ignore the voices of the working poor do so at their own peril. It was many of these same people who were responsible for sweeping the Democrats into the White House as well as giving them the majority in Congress. With the mid-term elections looming, it is imperative that the Democrats stay in touch with this group of Americans, if they want keep their near super majority in both houses.

Don't worry, this little snub by this progressive blog site will not suddenly convert me into a Limbaugh disciple. I just want my progressive friends to understand the growing disconnect between the haves and the have nots within the movement.

Adios...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Seriously?!?!

If this is what the Tea Party is all about... Count me out!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Saturday's show...

Listen to the archive...

This week we start our new roundtable discussion format like this...

Will the scandal involving sexual abuse by catholic priests force the Pope to resign? Is our justice system too easy on repeat offenders? Can the Vikings stadium issue get a serious look this session? This and more...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

On this special day...

I think what's more frustrating to most individuals, it's not the amount of taxes we pay, but instead, how complex our tax system is. I, for one, feel that if every individual paid a particular percentage of their income in taxes and eliminated all the deductions, the process would go much smoother and in the long run, the government would be able to collect more revenue.

For example, why do people who have large families get tax breaks, as opposed to those people who decide not to have children or wait until they can afford to have children?

Also, why should people who can afford to own their home be given tax breaks, as opposed to renters?

In my opinion, if you eliminate the deductions, you eliminate the headaches.

And by the way, for all you tea baggers who are marking this day with protests, remember, the original Boston tea party was meant to protest taxation without representation. For all its flaws, this country may have the best representative government in the world.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hey... You missed me...

Well, another fancy, scientific poll has come out. The AP GFK poll has told us, amongst other things, how those surveyed felt about the direction the country is going in and how the president and Congress are doing their jobs.

The website associated with the poll says that they surveyed just over 1,000 people, 70% by land line, the rest were called on their cell phone.

One number that was not called was mine. That's nothing new though. At age 47, I have never call called or approached by a professional pollster.

So who are they calling? Who determines the demographic of those who are called? I don't know, but I'm beginning to feel left out.

I mean, if you figure about a thousand people get to take one sort of poll or another, once a month, I'd have to think they'd get around to me, sooner or later.

I get a feeling I'm not the only low income SOB that gets overlooked. I don't hear of a lot of folks that are in the same boat as me financially being asked for our opinions. Maybe they feel that the working poor and those without any earned income are unable to give informed answers. If that's the case, I think they'd be surprised.

So here I am, doing my best Arnold Horshack impression, waiting to be called on.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Michelle Obama Mexico: First Lady Arrives In Floral Frock (PHOTOS, POLL)


By far, our best looking First Lady since Jackie.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Zero Hedge: What Life Is Like For The Median Earner


$50k?... I'd give my left (you get the picture) to earn 50k per year. Try making ends meet on about 22.5k. Even in the Midwest.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Radio run on hold, for now...

Over the last month, I was attempting to put together enough sponsorship support in order to have an hour long show on AM950, here in Minneapolis. Well, today I got the news that my core sponsor has fallen through, making this endeavor impossible.

Undaunted, I will just use this setback to improve on the quality of the show we do on BlogTalkRadio.com.

I want to thank those who had offered support in this effort.

Adios...

Enough is enough...

Yesterday, in south Minneapolis, a bullet ripped through the door of the school bus, grazing the driver and lodging in her seat. One of the kids on the bus was slightly injured by flying glass, caused by the gunshot.

Look... If you little gangster bastards are bent on killing each other, rock on! Just keep it out of our freaking neighborhoods! I will be happy to set up an old West type firing range, out in the middle of nowhere, where innocent people cannot be hurt by your idiotic actions. We'll just send a cleanup crew out to the area in a week or so, to pick up the bodies.

People need to start taking over their neighborhoods. This whole mentality of not snitching on criminal activities is only going to lead to more children being hit by a rival gang gunfire. Just remember, even in the poorest of neighborhoods, there are more good, hard-working people than there are hoodlums. And make no mistake, these urban terrorists need to be rounded up and put away.

It's time that we grow a set and take back our communities.

Adios...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Roethlisberger cleared... What are the implications?

It has been reported that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not face criminal charges for an alleged sexual assault in Georgia last year. The two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback is just the latest in a number of professional athletes who have faced these type of charges. Most of us remember what happened to Kobe Bryant several years ago when a Colorado hotel worker accused him of sexual assault. Those charges were also later dropped.


In both instances, only the involved parties really know what happened.

I, by no means, am suggesting that the courts take sexual assault accusations lightly. However, I see a disturbing trend here. We may never know for sure, but it seems this court has found that this was a consensual sexual act in which afterward, the alleged victim was trying to cash in on someone's celebrity.

What worries me is what this may do in instances where a sexual assault actually happens. Will prosecutors be more hesitant to peruse charges of this nature, in the future? And what about the accusers here? Do guys like Roethlisberger and Bryant have any recourse? In their cases, it seems they are guilty of nothing more than poor judgment. Can they go after their accusers for defamation of character?

Next Saturday, on the radio show, a representative from RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) will be joining us. I will be interested in getting his take on this particular issue.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Another show in the books...

Listen to the show's archive...

This week, a look at the word "socialism" and how it's been thrown around by the right to instill fear in the masses. Also, Xavier Lopez-Ayala from The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, joins me to discuss Michelle Bachmann's big rally in Minneapolis, 20 miles outside her district. As well as what changes could be made to make unemployment extension palatable to the right and what is our fascination with golf? This plus much more...

Now on Twitter...

I invite you to follow my random thoughts on Twitter... (http://twitter.com/theshannonfiles)

Today's show...

Listen live at 4pm CDT

This week, a look at the "S-word" and how it's been thrown around by the right to instill fear in the masses. Also, Michelle Bachmann holds a big rally in Minnesota, just not in her district. As well as what changes could be made to make unemployment extension palatable to the right and what is our fascination with golf? This plus much more...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Time to start chafing the wheat...

I was driving through North Minneapolis earlier today. In doing so, I have come to the conclusion that there are some problems that no amount of money can solve. I mean, there are homes in that neighborhood, that were built just a few years ago and already, they are nearly dilapidated. It seems that neither private enterprise nor public funding has done much to help this area.

Look, I'm all for helping people become the best that they can be. But sometimes, you just have to know when to throw in the towel. I'm not talking about giving up on groups of people, rather on individuals that show no inclination to want to better themselves. You can only give someone so much rehabilitation, before you realize that this person just needs to be taken out of society.

Prison has gotten to be nothing more than a badge of honor for many of today's young criminals. It may be time once again, to make these people fear the thought of being put away.

We've all heard the stories of chain gangs and prisoners in quarries busting rocks. Things that, by today's standards, would be deemed inhumane. I really have no problem with going back to these forms of punishment. And how about more boot camps for juvenile offenders?

I know things are tough out there. Let's give the person that wants to make something of their lives and be a vital part of society all the opportunities that they need. However, for those who wish to lead a life of crime, let's treat them as criminals and deal with them accordingly.

Adios...

More changes...

Damn, it was a long night, last night. I as up until 2am changing and re-changing the format of this blog, and I'm still not sure that I'm satisfied This along with the process of vetting another co-host for the show meant poor Lori had to spend most of the night without her husband.

I'm really ready to take this whole process to the next level. There are many good looking blogs out there and I think that looks may be almost as important as substance. Could be the same reason that I didn't get many dates in high school.

Anyway, thanks for your patience through this process. Feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts.

Adios...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Damn... She does reply to her constituants...

About a week before the Senate voted on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I sent an e-mail to my Representative, Michelle Bachmann, voicing my support for the measure. Earlier today, I received this reply.

April 8, 2010
 Dear Mr. Shannon,
 Thank you for informing me of your support for H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Your thoughts on this important matter are most welcome and appreciated.


As you know, on September 17, 2009, Representative Charles Rangel (NY) introduced H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As enacted, H.R. 3590 will:


· Require almost all American citizens to obtain government-approved health insurance. To enforce this mandate on the American people, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will utilize as many as 16,500 new agents to assist in fining American families that refuse to purchase government-approved insurance by up to $2,250 or two percent of their income;


· Establish the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute which will be used to ration health care and make one-size-fits-all judgments on treatments deemed too expensive;


· Levy over $569 billion ($569,000,000,000) in taxes upon American citizens and businesses, including a 40 percent tax on privately held "high-cost", high-benefit health insurance plans;


· Prohibit the construction of physician-owned hospitals (POHs) after 2010;


· Create a government-operated long-term care insurance program that would automatically enroll individuals unless they choose to opt-out.;


· Penalize Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) owners who utilize their accounts to purchase over-the-counter medicine;


· Permit direct, federal funding of abortion in roughly 1,250 community health centers;


· Cut Medicare reimbursements for seniors needing diagnostic imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT scans); and


· Cut Medicare reimbursements for seniors' home health care by $400 million in Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11).

Nevertheless, on December 24, 2009, the Senate passed H.R. 3590 by a vote of 60-39. Despite my opposition, on March 21, 2010, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3590 by a vote of 219-212, notwithstanding strong bi-partisan opposition. On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 3590 into law.


In the meantime, rest assured your support for H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be well remembered during the 111th Congress. Again, thank you for contacting me and for all you do for our community and country. Should you have any further comments or questions on this or any other issue, please contact me at the Woodbury or St. Cloud/Waite Park district office or the Washington, DC office.


Sincerely,


Michele Bachmann
Member of Congress

I am appreciative that she (her office) took the time to reply, albiet over 3 weeks from the time I wrote. I did not expect her to suddenly change her stance on the matter based on my opinion and as you see, she was quick to point out all the negative talking points about the new law.

I don't buy into any of this drivel and I even took the time to research a couple of her points. (Yes...I, with my 10th grade education was capable of such a feat.) Does she really think people are that stupid just to take what she says at face value?

OMG... Am I really talking about American Idol?

Ever since American Idol hit the airwaves a few years ago. I've always watched it, at least, out of the corner of my eye. But this year, I seem to be a bit more fascinated. There are two contestants on this years show that have actually piqued my interest quite a bit.

Michael Lynche and Crystal Bowersox are two of the contestants who I think are the most intriguing, of those that are left.

Crystal, who on most nights comes to the stage with her autographed acoustic guitar, is a contestant who cannot be boxed in one specific genre. She is capable of doing pop, folk, country, or good, old-fashioned rock 'n roll. There seems to be no limit to this young lady's talents.

Michael, on the other hand, is this lovable teddy bear of a man, who looks like he belongs in a WWE ring, as opposed to the American Idol stage. But if you didn't know by now, this man can sing!

Both Michael and Crystal do not fit into the typical pop tart mold that has seemed to come out of American Idol over the last few years. Yet, in my opinion, they are the most talented of the bunch.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BPO...

Thanks again, Lizz Winstead

How is it?

I sent Minnesota Congressinal District 5 Representive, Keith Ellison a little note, to which I got this reply...

Now how is it Representive Ellison can't reply to my e-mail (not that I was expecting one) yet Michelle Bachmann can parade her tea bagger cronies in the middle of Keith's district?

Just sayin'...

On store shelves now...

Thanks, Lizz Winstead...

Other than with the kitty box liners, I couldn't have thought of a better place for this...

An early look at this Saturday's show...

This week, a look at the "S-word" and how it's been thrown around by the right to instill fear in the masses. Also, Michelle Bachmann holds a big rally in Minnesota, just not in her district. As well as what changes could be made to make unemployment extension palatable to the right and what is our fascination with golf? This plus much more...

Bachmann holds rally... Outside her district...

Representative Michele Bachmann is having a big campaign rally in Minneapolis today. Amongst the heavy hitters to be part of this rally are former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and conservative talk show host Sean Hannity. What a great day for the city of Minneapolis! There's only one problem...

Michele Bachmann doesn't represent the city of Minneapolis. Her district is in the north metro suburbs, stretching as far north as St. Cloud.

Bachmann was asked by WCCO radio host, Dave Lee, this morning, why she would not hold this rally in her own district. She replied by saying that she could not find a venue big enough.

Bulllshit!

The city of St. Cloud has a venue that has over 100,000 square feet. Perfect for such a enormous gathering.

Now Michelle, we know you really don't give a damn about the people in your district. You got to taste the national spotlight and this is just more grandstanding. Hell, we should just be grateful that you're even holding this rally in the state of Minnesota.

Don't think the people of your district haven't taken note of this, Michelle. This might have earned you some brownie points with the tea baggers, but the people that you actually are supposed to be representing will not forget this and come November, with any luck, you may be once again, just another resident of the area you have forgotten about.

Adios...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fore!

So now that we're focusing on Tiger Woods' golf game as opposed to his sex life these days, I have to ask this question, what the hell is so appealing about watching golf? Let's see... You hit the little white ball... Chase it down the fairway.. Hit it again... And try to get into that little hole. Wow... That makes for some riveting television excitement!

I've played golf on a couple occasions. I'm not very good at it. But I am a better golfer, then let's say, than I am a basketball player.

The only thing less exciting than watching golf, in my opinion, is watching a bunch of billboards on wheels racing around a track for three hours.

This has nothing to do with Tiger Woods. I felt this way about golf since the days of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

Now I'm not going into all the drivel about golf being an elitist game. To me, it's just plain boring.

But yet millions of people will gather around their TV sets this weekend, to watch a bunch of grown men whose only goal this week is to put on an ugly green jacket.

Rock on dudes...

Adios...

Monday, April 5, 2010

The real reason unemployment benefits have not been extended...

There are some on the right who think that people who are receiving unemployment benefits are milking the system. They would tell you that these people are using the benefits as an extended paid vacation.

Now, I will concede that there are some for which this is an accurate assessment. But I strongly believe that the majority of people who receive unemployment benefits would much rather be out there working.

I do have an idea however...

I remember about 30 years ago before I started driving a cab I actually was on unemployment for a short period of time. In order to receive my benefits, I had to submit a report as to where I applied for employment during the previous week. Quite frankly, I don't know why that still is not a requirement.

As I've said on many occasions, those who receive benefits from the government, such as unemployment, food or medical assistance, have a responsibility to be accountable for their actions. I don't think it's too much to ask for those who are receiving unemployment benefits to report their jobseeking progress.

You see, my friends, those right wing zealots are under the impression that folks that are on unemployment for too long are just chronically lazy. So why not prove them wrong?

It's a simple solution to a rather complex problem. You would think that once people in Congress understand that the unemployed are truly looking to get back into the workforce, they may not be so quick to stall legislation extending benefits.

Or at least if they do, if folks can show a good faith effort, we can put more pressure on Representatives and Senators to start showing a little bit more compassion for those who are desperately trying to find work.

Why I want another talk show...

There are those that ask me why I am continuing to pursue a talk show on AM radio. Trust me, it is not about the 15 minutes of fame. I already achieved that while I was out in Las Vegas.

You see, I really believe that there is a segment of the population that is not being heard. These people are not being heard by the media or their elected officials. This is the voice of the working poor. The people who don't make enough money to feed their families properly, yet make too much to qualify for assistance such as food or medical care from the government. In times of massive budget cut:s, programs to assist these people are usually the first to go.

I don't pretend to have the answers to any of the problems facing the working poor. I have said many times that all I am an uneducated loudmouth with an opinion. This opinion ruffles the feathers of both conservatives and progressives, because I don't fit into either of their neat little categories.

Mine is the voice of the little guy. The one that never gets called upon by the pollsters and pundits. The guy that's too busy working to attend political rallies. And whether or not I get this show on local AM radio, I will continue to be this pain in the ass voice, until the mainstream understands that we are not to be discounted.

Adios...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Just a cost of doing business...

So I go to SuperAmerica today to buy gas for my cab, so I can start my work week. At the cash register is a petition. Apparently, SA is boo-hooing about the 2% they are charged by credit card companies in order to process card transactions.

Two percent? What are you guys whining about? I pay 5% every time one of my customers uses a card. I'm not thrilled about it, but it's just a cost of doing business.

It's easy to bastardize the credit card companies these days. And I'm not saying all their practices are necessarily customer friendly. But think where we'd be these days without our trusty little bank issued debit card. Do you think all those services should be free?

Considering that I drop at least $150 per week at SuperAmerica, I don't feel too sorry for them. Somehow, I don't think that little 2% credit card processing fee will break them any. It will just give them more justification to jack up gas prices more. And I'm sure it will be more than 2%.

Adios...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter...

Dueling Billboards


The damage Bachmann has caused to the Sixth District keeps piling up.

The damage Bachmann has caused to the Sixth District keeps piling up
Source: BlitzBachmann.com
Simply put, Michele Bachmann does not represent the basic needs, much less the middle-class American dreams, of the people of her district. While those she really represents — corporate lobbyists, big government contractors and Wall Street speculators — have directly caused the Great Recession. As a result, the 6th Congressional District with its high level of talent and resources, now has the highest foreclosure and unemployment rates in Minnesota, along with a high number of uninsured, costing us all. Real economic pain exists across the economic spectrum in the 6th District, from corporate executives to the middle class to the working poor, and certainly to the uninsured, unemployed and those trying to better their lives through public education or trying to stay afloat through public services.
For those of you that don't know, I live in Bachmann's district. If I have no other purpose in life, it is to send her home come November.

This week's show on BlogTalkRadio.com

Listen to the show's archive...

In this episode, I discussed how rising gas prices may effect this fragile economic recovery, the push to defeat Michelle Bachmann, sexual assault, as well as a little Wrestlemania.

The "Stop Bachmann" movement is in full swing...

Gas prices... Do we remember?

One of the things that was painfully obvious on my recent road trip was the steady rise in the price of gas. Seems to me when prices spiked to the $4 per gallon range in 2008 is when our economy started it's downward spiral.

Now surely there were many other reasons why our economy tanked, but I remember as people had to dig deeper for gas money, other "luxuries" went by the wayside.

President Bush did little, if anything, to discourage the oil companies, who were making record profits, from turning the screws on the the American motorist. It was only after decreased demand drove crude prices back down did we see any relief. Unfortunately, by then we were in the throws of this most recent crippling downturn.

As fuel prices continue to rise, it will be interesting to see if President Obama will act in any way to pressure the oil companies to keep prices from reaching 2008 levels.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good to be home...

Well... It was a long but fun week, as I got to see a couple of people I have not since childhood.

After spending Tuesday touring the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, we hit the road late Wednesday morning. We got into the Atlanta area around 10pm. Thankfully, they left the light on for us and had a nice hot meal waiting.

We got an early start Thursday. After 14 hours on the road, we stopped in Rockford, Illinois, a town just west of Chicago. That made the last 330 miles to St. Paul a breeze, despite driving through a nasty little thunderstorm outside of Wisconsin Dells.

As I said earlier, it was great to see Mike and Diana. It had been over 30 years since I'd seen either of them. Understandably, neither of them remembered much more about me than my name. They were the youngest of the the 8 children in that large household and they weren't very old when I left. They were both very gracious hosts and allowed me my few moments of reminiscing.

By the way... St. Pete is a wonderful town. I was there once before, but only long enough to take in a ball game. I tell you, it wouldn't take much to get me to call that town home.

But if and until then, it's great to be back home.

Adios...

Changes Coming

Brian Cooper has left the show for personal reasons, so I have to do a little retooling.