Monday, January 31, 2011

I think Obama is taking the right approach toward Egypt.

I've been really reluctant to comment much on the situation in Egypt. I just don't know that much about the Middle East to give as much as an ignorant opinion on that very volatile situation.

I can say however, that I approve of President Obama's pragmatic approach to the situation. If history is any indication, a majority of people in that region really don't want American interference in their domestic issues.

I understand that our economy depends on stability in the Middle East, but it just seems that our continued presence and influence in that part of the world has served more to destabilize the region. Sans the Camp David Accords, every other venture into Middle East policy has seemed to end with needless deaths of US civilians and military personnel.

I just feel we need to take a wait and see approach to the unrest in Egypt. I have a feeling the people of that nation will do the right thing.

Minnesota's Progressive Home Team

Matt McNeil & Nancy Nelson

A new found respect for Stephanie Miller...

I remember when I started listening to Progressive talk radio about two and a half years ago, one of the shows I kinda avoided was Stephanie Miller's snarky mix of political and toilet humor. My feeling was that these are serious times that needed serious discussion.

As I have paid more attention what is going on beyond my own neighborhood, I've discovered that if you don't laugh every once in a while, your head will explode, especially with all the right wing hate talk that has surfaced in the last two years. It's this point of view that has made me come back to the veteran comedian's show that blends current events and political news with a good dose of "lighten up Francis" thrown in the mix.

However, what tipped the scale for me happened this last Saturday at the Blue State Ball, the seventh annual gathering of liberals from around the state, to celebrate accomplishments, and to discuss the future of the Progressive movement.

This was my first year attending the celebration. I had volunteered to work the door for a couple of hours, which allowed me to spend the rest of the evening enjoying a couple of beers and mingling with the like minded crowd.

The night featured rousing speeches from Congressman Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, Governor Mark Dayton, AM950 show hosts Nancy Nelson and Matt McNeil, as well as Ed Schultz and Ms. Miller. But after all the speeches, only one of the aforementioned dignitaries took the time to dance and revel with the common folk, that was Stephanie Miller. Ms. Miller danced her ass off with just about anyone that asked, including a couple of gay gentlemen, and a group of kids. Yes and she even took the time to pose for picture with yours truly. That might have been the most embarrassing moment of the night, as I stepped on her foot while getting in position. I apologised profusely, and later noted in a tweet that it was a good thing she was wearing boots, and I was 35 pounds lighter than I was a couple of months ago.

All of this will indeed make me a loyal listener to the Stephanie Miller show. She has proved that she can walk the walk, as well as talk the talk.

Thanks again to AM950, for giving me the opportunity to help out, and be a part of this great celebration of liberalism.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Racism still alive in 2011... At least in Anoka...

On weekend nights, I like to operate the taxi close to home, in Anoka. I may change my way of thinking. For those who are aware of the the news that this Mayberry-esque community is beginning to enforce an antiquated taxi ordinance, it has nothing to do with that. The cops up here have been pretty cool to the cabbies that are holding out of the permit process.

No folks, what bothers me is that in 2011, there are still places that a person of color can't go, without some jerkoff spouting off racial slurs to his face. That was the case last night. Sad part is, the guy who was on the receiving end of this hate speech was nearly cuffed and stuffed for sticking up for himself. It's a good thing I showed up when I did to get him and his friend out of there.

Yep.. Good old Anoka... About as white bread as you can get. The town that helped one of the biggest wingnuts in political history, Michele Bachmann, coast into another two year term in Congress. It's pretty obvious that black people aren't very welcome here. And it isn't even the old farts that are the most racist up here. There is a breed of twenty-somethings, like the jackwagon from last night, the ones that have no problem getting liquored up, and ganging up on a couple of guys who were just out to have a good time.

I don't think I've ever been as ashamed of my race, or my community, as I was last night.

The war on drugs goes medieval...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sarah Palin quiz...

Ok class... fill in the blank...

Sarah Palin would look best in _____________ house.

  1. The White...
  2. Pent...
  3. A tipped over out...
Timer starts now... No cheating...

Saturday's show should be a ball...

Click here to listen to the archive...

From the Twin Cities, John Shannon and Roger Shaver discuss news and events of local, statewide, and national interest.

We will take the time to examine the State of the Union address, as well as the responses from both Paul Ryan and Michele Bachmann. There are a couple of key points brought up between all three that warrant some in depth discussion.

Also, with Minnesota progressives celebrating at the 7th annual Blue State Ball, we will discuss the need for all liberals to be singing off the same page.

Time allowing, we will take up the Minnesota GOP's plan to allow gun sales without a permit.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Even Fox News fans approve of State of the Union address...

I don't know about you, but it looks like to me that over 83% of  718k Fox News viewers thought the president "correctly sized up the challenges and how to face them." Go figure... 

I want to tell you about a friend named James...

About 3 years ago, I went digging through Facebook, looking for people I went to school with back in the 70's. I was quite successful, as nearly a quarter of my contacts are indeed old classmates.

One guy, by the name of James (last name omitted), used to pick on me unmercifully. I'm not singling him out for that reason, because quite frankly, I was picked on a lot as a kid. I remember chatting with him, through Facebook, and he couldn't stop telling me how sorry he was. Funny thing of it is, he was the only one of my Facebook contacts from that era that even acknowledged how nasty he was to me.

James now lives in Cambridge, Minnesota, a long way from our childhood neighborhood, on St. Paul's West Side. Of course, that puts him in Congressional District 8, a district that sent long time Representative, and transportation advocate, Jim Oberstar to retirement, in favor of Chip Cravaack.

I only mention this because James recently commented, through Facebook on a posting I made about Sarah Palin. The comment, while not nasty or mean spirited, told me that he may be leaning towards voting against President Obama in 2012. Until that point, I had never spoken to him about politics.

James is a hard working truck driver. He has a modest home (I picked him up in my cab last Spring) on a nice little piece of land. What I don't understand is why James would ever consider voting Republican.

To me, James is a classic example of hard working rural Americans that don't understand that the Republican Party is not interested in anything about them, other than votes and campaign contributions. Oh, I get the classic stereotype of Democrats only being interested in taxing working families, in order to fund programs that give money to the poor (or lazy, as most rural Americans see it). What he may not recall is that it was the Reagan administration's anti-labor policies that sent many of these families into a downward spiral of welfare dependence.

There are a lot of things that need to be fixed in this country. But it won't happen until we start bringing good paying jobs back to this country. And as long as the Republicans are in control, all you will see are more and more American shipping jobs off to India, China, and even Vietnam, in the name of "free trade."

So to my friend James, and any other person that busts his ass for peanuts, get a hold of me some day. I'd like to tell you who's really on your side.

Thought you could use a good laugh...

Dear God... This woman makes Paul Ryan look intelligent...

Real heartfelt speech... Didn't even look at the camera while stumbling over her script.

The 2011 State of the Union Address

Just in case you missed it...

State of the Union: Inspiring? Not really... To the point? Absolutely...

I can't say that I was overly inspired by President Obama's State of the Union address last night, but I don't think he had intended to inspire.

In my opinion, the president used the speech to tell Congress, and the American people that we need to change our priorities.

This president is still committed to upgrading infrastructure, and promoting education and clean energy. He understands that these initiatives need to be paid for, and not on the backs of the nation's poor and disabled.

So the question is, how will it be paid for? Obama made a point of saying that tax breaks for millionaires would not be extended past the next two years. Admittedly, we've heard that song before. But if there isn't a strong recovery in the jobs market, I don't think there will be much of an appetite to continue with this folly.

I agree with the pundits I heard so far, that expressed disappointment that the president did not mention some form of gun control. That said, I heard MSNBC's Chris Mathews say that Obama will lay out a comprehensive gun control initiative in the near future.

I've heard that 92% of those polled approved of the president's speech. You could put me in that category as well. If John Boehner and the rest of the Republicans actually work with Obama, instead of playing politics, this might be a productive year.

Oh by the way, did you hear crickets chirping last night? That was pretty much the response to Michele Bachmann's "ground breaking" Tea Party response to the address. Hell, even some Teabaggers said "she don't represent me."

Roger and I will give more of our take on the State of the Union address this Saturday at noon.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Like usual, Michele Bachmann blowing her own horn...

it seems like some factions of the Tea Party aren't too happy with the Sixth District Congresswoman from Io.. I mean Minnesota.

It was announced earlier that Michele Bachmann will give a response to the State of the Union address. The response will be carried on the Tea Party Express website, as well as by CNN.

According to a story ran earlier today on, the Tea Party Patriots, one of many factions of the "grass roots" organization sent out an e-mail, stating that Bachmann "does not speak for the Tea Party."

It seems that some in the Tea Party may already be seeing Bachmann's omnipresence as an obvious run at higher office. Many speculate that she will take a run at the White House.

As I've stated before, I hope she does run for president. This will clear the way for someone to run in my district that isn't planning on using it as a political stepping stone, as some other well known Minnesotan has done.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Talk radio in Olbermann's future?

As most of you know, I'm a big fan of talk radio. But I gotta tell you, before I started listening to progressive talk radio about 3 years ago, I had never heard of Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, or even Ed Schultz. I had heard of Alan Colmes, but only from his stint on Fox News with Sean Hannity.

Now I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen Keith Olbermann's Countdown show on MSNBC. But that's only because I don't watch that much TV. Anybody with a pulse knows Olbermann is one of the most powerful liberal voices on any form of media.

With the news of this progressive powerhouse's departure from cable TV, one has to wonder, what's on deck for this baseball nerd?

I don't pretend to have any inside knowledge here, but don't you think if Olbermann were to venture into the world of talk radio, it would instantly raise the notoriety of liberal talk shows?

A station that featured Olbermann, along with say Colmes, and Schultz would have enough of a powerful lineup to seriously compete with any station that airs Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck.

Again, as a fan of talk radio, such a lineup would leave me salivating.

I'm going to go out on a limb here...

Looking at the current political climate, I'm willing to bet that President Obama will handily win re-election. In doing so, he will sweep Democrats back into control of the House at even a bigger margin than in 2008. One can only hope that he can also work the same magic in the the Senate race, and give the Dems a filibuster proof majority.

I know the 2012 election is really too far away to begin serious talk about it. But why? Republicans are already jockeying for the nomination.

In my opinion, it's going to take a major gaffe by the president not to win re-election. Mitt Romney, the Repubs closest to normal choice, is double digits behind Obama in the most recent polls.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Think I'll earn this some day?

Hey... At least it's not Playgirl...

Note to Glenn Beck... Bring it bitch!

I've about had it with Glenn Beck's vitriol. Let's see if he's willing to settle things like a man. I have my doubts.

After originally posting this, I realize there will be some who think a posting like this makes me no better than him. I get that.

I'm at least not advocating that someone shoot him in the head. And yes, my friends, I have seen that type of response. I just think ol' Glenny needs a good old fashioned ass whoopin' to set him straight.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Did Reagan have Alzheimers While In Office

Almost makes me feel sorry for the ol' guy... ALMOST...

This Saturday's show may go to the dogs...

Click here to listen to the archive.

From the Twin Cities, John Shannon and Roger Shaver discuss news and events of local, statewide, and national interest.

Is it wrong for the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board to want a dog run at Martin Luther King Park? In my opinion, a true Minneapolis civil rights leader, Donald Allen gives his perspective.

Plus, our take on the effort to repeal the Affordable Health Care for America Act, the Vatican's effort to cover up sexual abuse by Irish priests, and Does Glenn Beck really want to shoot all liberals in the head?

As always, your calls are welcome...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Glenn Beck Shoot Them In The Head Video Clip Found

Ok... remember what I said about Michael Savage being the biggest hate monger on the airwaves? Forget about it.

Beck, do you have the balls to pull the trigger on another man? I doubt it. Looking at those manicured nails, I doubt you've ever shot a gun. Tell you what though, next time you're in Minnesota, look me up.

50 Years ago today: President Kennedy 1961 Inaugural Address

Let's remember his words, not only today, but every day...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A tail of two governors...



Image shamelessly plagiarized from Minnesota Progressive Project

House Votes to Repeal Health Reform

OK jackwagons... you made your point. Do you really have a better plan, or is this just the same old political bullshit? Any plan that denies coverage to those with pre-existing conditions is unacceptable. Back in 2008, I waited with baited breath to hear a Republican plan for health care reform, there was none. Why would I think that anything would change in 2011?

Of course Michele Bachmann had to get her 2 cents in...
"Obamacare, as we know, is the crown jewel of socialism."

Eisenhower warns us of the military industrial complex.

Prudent words back then. Even more so now...

Weiner Gives 'Half Time Report' In Debate Over Health Care Repeal

Phenomenal speech by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY)

Anthony Weiner (D-NY) today on healthcare repeal: "For all of you sitting and watching at home, playing the drinking game where you take a shot every time a Republican says something that isn't true; you better get a designated driver." We need more Democrats with this kind of backbone to fight the "untruths" of right wing on the healthcare debate.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Picture IDs at the polls: I think I got my answer...

The common theme I got when posting this question here, and on Minnesota Progressive Project, is that seniors, especially those living in nursing facilities, would be shut out the most by requiring a photo ID at the polls. I don't think this is the group the GOP is worried about.

As usual, these are my opinions alone.

As most of you know, the subject of voter IDs came up during and after the 2008 election, an election which drew an incredible interest from minorities. These minorities, especially from the inner-cities, gave us our first president of non complete Anglo origin. With this, many House and Senate candidates from the Democratic Party won their respective elections.

It is for this reason that I feel it is the minority voter that the GOP is targeting by wanting to mandate a photo voter ID. Sad thing is, I think most of these voters have at least a state issued ID or a driver's licence already.

So while the intended target of the Republican push for voter IDs may be minorities, the unintended victim of such a proposed law would be seniors.

In summary... I really don't think our voting system is broken, so why try to fix it?

Thanks to all who commented.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A question about picture IDs at the polls...

As a middle aged guy with a drivers licence, I would find little inconvenience in producing an ID in order to vote. I would like someone to explain to me why this is such a big deal. Especially if IDs were made available free at at low cost.

Again, because of my situation, I don't have position either way yet.

Convince me please...

(As I get replies from sources outside of this blog, I will post them here...)

Hal Kimball said (via Twitter)
did a meet and greet at a senior center in Glencoe. of 60+ seniors < half had ID. similar in other places

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wanted... Progressive organizations to talk about their cause...

When I started the Minnesota Progressive Talkers Network a few months ago, I figured there would be at least a few more folks like Roger and I that do liberal themed Internet radio shows. Guess I was wrong.

We have some real good blog writers in Minnesota, but I still think that putting a voice to the issues sometimes can have more impact. Especially in a conversation of two or more people.

While it's true I'd like a crack at a paying gig on radio, I like what we're doing on the the blogcast right now. What I want to do more of in the future is give more progressive causes a voice. I understand that Out Front Minnesota will be joining us in a few weeks. I also have it in the works to talk to a representative from Planned Parenthood.

But there are so many more worthwhile progressive causes. We could do a couple months worth of shows and not cover them all. But we're going to try. If you or someone you know has a good cause you'd like to tell our audience about, drop me an e-mail.

A little out of place at Net Roots seminar...

This is just an observation, don't anybody get their undies in a bundle over this.

I think I speak for Roger as well when I say that we are glad we attended the Net Roots Minnesota seminar yesterday. Speaking for myself, other than a few of the people that I knew in advance, via Twitter, were coming, as well as some notable exceptions, I couldn't help but feel some of the folks in attendance were a little uppity.

I don't go to many formal events like this. I just don't have the time with my work schedule. So admittedly, I more than likely was a stranger in a crowd where it seemed a lot of people knew each other. But when I do attend, I do my best to mingle and network. I'm not joking when I say there were a few people that wouldn't even make eye contact with me.

I understand I still have that Larry the Cable Guy look about me that may make some folks think that I got lost on my way to the NASCAR memorabilia gathering. Forgive the Christine O'Donnell quote when I say that I am one of you.

I really look forward to use our internet radio show to give progressive causes in this state a voice. But you have to trust me when I say I'm on your side.

No... I'm really not as weird as I look...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Saturday's show, live from Net Roots Minnesota...

Roger and I will will be broadcasting live from the seminar, that's being held at the Hilton Garden Inn, in downtown St. Paul. Al Franken spoke to the seminar crowd about 30 minutes into the show.

Also, we weigh in on the most toxic talk radio host in America.

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

Condensed version of January 8th show, before and after Rep. Giffords was shot

Steve Quist, from had noted on his Facebook page, that Roger and I were talking about the threat of violence by the right directed at Obama and other politicians. When the news of Rep. Giffords' shooting had broke, I had almost forgot that we had been talking about this very thing. The following is a condensed version of that show.

Click here to listen to these segments of the January 8th show.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Obama To Nation: Talk Should Heal, Not Wound

Thank you,

Watch live streaming video from theuptake at

A question about the 2nd Amendment...

When the 2nd Amendment was enacted in 1791, these were the guns of the times...

Does anybody really think they would have ever ratified the amendment had they known about...

Arizona guns billboard says it all...

Courtesy of  Hugh Kaufman  and 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We'll see how easy it is to obtain a gun...

I have documented on several occasions that I would not hesitate shooting someone over something as stupid as someone breaking into my car. Thus I would not be the ideal candidate for a conceal carry permit. Yet, I'd be willing to bet that I would have no problem obtaining one.

In the weeks to come, I plan to prove this point, as I've decided to apply for a gun permit.

We'll see what happens...

Advertisement for Rush Limbaugh in Tuscon, AZ

This is just north of Ina road on I-10 in north Tucson. Whether the shooting in Arizona was caused by this type of imagery or not, it has no place in rational political discourse. None. Of course, no one ever said that Rush Limbaugh was rational, so this just might be a moot point.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Special show on the Giffords' shooting tonight at 7pm CT

Needless to say, I've had a lot on my mind since Saturday's assassination attempt of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. A lot was said by myself, Roger, and former co-host, Dan Lundin, on the blogcast, soon after the horrific news had had broken.

Now that the dust has settled, I want to revisit the events of this last Saturday. What could have driven this deranged individual to go on his shooting rampage, and more importantly, what could have been done to prevent it?

I plan on hosting an hour long show on tonight at 7pm CT, to address these questions.

Click here to listen to the live show at 7pm Monday, or to the archive.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Open letter to Jared Lee Loughner


You don't know me, and after your senseless act Saturday, you do not want to know me.

Speaking for just about every red blooded American, I only have one question, why? Were your motives political? Were you somehow called to arms by all the inflamed rhetoric that has spewed over the airwaves and the Internet over the last few years? Or are you just some lost sheep, someone who has read one too many conspiracy novels?

Did you act alone? Or is there someone still at large that aided you, and may still be planning similar acts of violence.

Lastly, was it worth it? It's pretty clear that your primary target was Congresswoman Giffords, but sadly, one of your victims was a 9 year old girl. If anybody at all deserved to die this late Saturday morning, did she?

If you are convicted of this senseless act of violence, you will be most certainly be sentenced to the death penalty. I for one feel this is the easy way out. If you are convicted I would offer that you would spend the rest of your life, in solitary confinement, somewhere in the Arizona desert. Far away from any form of civilization.

Hopefully, after 60 years of this punishment, and your soul leaves this earthly bounds, may you burn in Hell, and your act of cowardice be remembered as the tragic act that finally shocked some sense into this country.

Today at noon, on the blogcast...

Click here to listen to the archive.

Our show topics were drastically changed with the news of the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. Our thoughts and prayers are with her, her family, and the other victims of this senseless act.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Did you know Michele Bachmann was a Democrat?

During an ass kissing interview with Chris Baker from KTLK-FM, in Minneapolis, Michele Bachmann admits the unthinkable.

Blue State Ball... Saturday, January 29th

Click here for ticket information...

Yes... You're crusty ol' liberal buddy (me) will be workin' the door. I look forward to meeting you.

As if I needed another reason to despise Michele Bachmann

They say that you learn something new every day. Today, while listening to our local Faux News radio station's morning guy, Chris Baker do an ass kissing interview with Michele Bachmann, I learned that the Tea Party darling was once a card carrying Democrat.

Well card carrying may be a little strong. After all, she was a college age girl, dancing with glee, because Minnesota Senator, Walter Mondale was the new Vice President.

As she put it, she became a Republican after she saw her W-2. Translated... I got mine, now screw the rest of you.

Sound familiar? Remember the Conservative Messiah, Ronald Reagan? When he was a struggling actor back in the 40s, he was about as liberal as Ted Kennedy.

I find this type of Conservative the most repulsive. The ones that expound real American values of compassion and collectivism, until they get a little coin in their pockets, then it's all about ME, ME, ME!

The only good that comes in all this, is that the more Michele Bachmann talks, the more we learn about her.

Keep banging the lips, baby...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Saddened by a loss of a companion, Governor Dayton carried on...

To any pet owner, the death of that special family member can be devastating. Today, newly sworn in Governor, Mark Dayton experienced that loss first hand.

From his Facebook page...
I am terribly saddened to report that my beloved German shepherd, Dakota, died this morning. I went downstairs to my living room at 5:30 am, and gave her some pets and water. When I came back downstairs an hour later, she had passed away, after battling cancer for the past three months. Her brother, Mesabi, and I will miss her enormously.

Yet the governor continued with his busy schedule, without missing a beat. Even allowing detractors to his Medicaid expansion to voice their complaints.

Whenever we elect a public official, we often wonder about their character. I think today's example of resilience shown from a man who lost a dear part of his life will go a long way in cementing his legacy.

Governor Dayton, please accept my condolences on your loss.

Dayton courageously reaches out to Medicaid opposition.

Today, after signing an executive order that would expand Medicaid to cover 95,000 more Minnesotans, Governor Dayton (damn that feels good to say), in an unprecedented move, allowed a representative from a group of protesters, that numbered in the hundreds, to speak at the podium, to condemn the governor's decision.

Twila Brase, president of the Citizens Council on Health Care, said the state can't afford the plan's long-term costs.
"It really puts the state in peril when it comes to costs," Brase said. "There is something called tails which means once all of these people are on it will be difficult to get them off and it will be expensive to the state in the long haul."
Another protester, Ann Marie Ashton told reporters that she didn't think it's the role of the government to ensure health care for its citizens.
"It's the government's responsibility to provide safety for the people but it's not their responsibility to provide welfare or health care, "That's the community's responsibility."
What Ms. Ashton doesn't understand is that every citizen of this state, of this country, for that matter is is part of out community. It is not efficient for low income individuals to bounce from church to charity, in order to attempt to provide basic medical care for themselves and their families.

We all know what happens when the poor can't afford to go to a clinic for non life threatening illnesses, they pop in to the emergency room. When the patient can't pay for that ER visit, the cost of care just gets passed on to the ones that can. Usually that means the insurance companies. What this expansion will do is get these people into primary care doctors, and hopefully will promote preventive care.

Don't let these people that paraded their children into the Capitol to be a part of this protest fool you. This has nothing to do with quality of care, or budgetary worries. This is all about a lack of compassion for the poor, a great majority of which are minorities. In other words, just more Tea Party bullshit!

By the way, Ms. Ashton, were your 3 kids all under school age? Hmmm...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Help General Mills kick hunger.

Click on this image then, click "LIKE" on the campaign's FACEBOOK page. General Mills will donate $1.00 for every "LIKE," for up to a $10,000 donation.

And the Rotten Tomato award for "Least Funny Independent Film" goes to...

So if you haven't seen the video that got Capt. Owen Honors sacked from his command of the USS Enterprise, here it is. With the f-bomb bleeped out, this is the PG-13 version.

The reason I even looked at this was so for show content, this Saturday. Roger and I are planning to talk about the ability to laugh at ourselves. Problem is, in my non Gene Siskel opinion, there was absolutely nothing funny about this video. As a matter of fact, that might have been the most offensive part of the whole thing.

I'm not sure if I agree with Capt. Honors losing his command over this. I'll have more to say about that on the show. But I sure hope the Navy doesn't put him on some sort of USO detail.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Transcript of Governor Dayton's inauguration speech...

Gov. Dayton's inauguration speech
January 3, 2011

Mark Dayton was sworn in Monday as Minnesota's 40th governor and the first Democrat to lead the state in 20 years.

Below is a transcript of Dayton's inauguration speech, as provided by his transition office.

Courtesy Minnesota Public Radio News.

Gov. Mark Dayton: Thank you, Chief Justice Gildea.

Vice President Mondale; our excellent Lt. Governor, Yvonne Prettner Solon, and other distinguished guests; my wonderful sons, Eric and Andrew, and family; my friends; my fellow Minnesotans.

I am honored, humbled, and grateful to stand before you as Minnesota's 40th Governor.

I especially want to thank my fellow citizens, who voted for me, and placed your trust in me. I will do my very best to serve you well.

To those who voted for my two worthy competitors, I will do my very best to also serve you well.

I believe we all share the same aspiration -- for "a Better Minnesota" -- for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. We may disagree on the details. May we never forget, however, that our honest disagreements and our freedom to express them are the essential rights and great strengths of our democracy.

Yet what a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago today, I was sworn into office in the United States Senate. Back then our country was on top of the world and on course to stay there. Tragically, two massive federal tax cuts, two lengthy wars, and two devastating recessions have damaged our pre-eminence and our prosperity.

Here in Minnesota, two state tax cuts, two wars, and two recessions later, we stagger from one huge deficit to the next. 208,000 Minnesotans are out of work. And a state which used to lead most others in economic growth has fallen toward the bottom.

The past decade has left our country, our state, and many of our citizens worse off than before, with lower standards of living, larger debts and deficits, and less assured of future success.

The stakes now are high. This coming decade will determine whether we suffer the historical declines of previous superpowers, or write a new chapter for future historians. If anyone can do it, we can. And we must.

Previous generations of Minnesotans and other Americans faced graver dangers, under worse conditions, with fewer resources, than we do today. They summoned their collective knowledge, courage, and resolve. They persevered. And they prevailed. By working together.

They won their independence. They preserved our nation. They overcame the Great Depression. They worked their way to the top. By working together.

Now it's our turn, our challenge, and our responsibility. Now is the time for us to summon our best, to be our best, to do our best.

To all Minnesotans, I say: Let's get Minnesota working working together. That is what we are called upon to do - for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.

To the 201 Minnesota legislators, who will take office tomorrow, I say: Let's get Minnesota working working together. That is what we were elected to do.

We were all elected by just a fraction of Minnesotans; but our responsibility now is to serve all Minnesotans. If we serve only the people who voted for us, we guarantee destructive division, and we risk paralyzing gridlock. We must do better than that. The people of Minnesota expect better from us than that. Their futures depend upon us being better than that.

I have three top priorities, and I ask all of you to work with me cooperatively and constructively to achieve them.

1. To bring more jobs to Minnesota.

2. To balance the State Budget fairly.

3. To improve government services.

My top priority is to get Minnesotans working again. The 208,000 who are unemployed. The thousands more who are underemployed, stuck in low-paying dead-end jobs. Whose economic security is shattered. Whose hope for a better future is threatened.

Their futures are also our futures. As our great United States Senator Paul Wellstone said, "We all do better, when we all do better."

To all do better means we all must find common ground in our shared desire for a Better Minnesota. In our shared love for our state. In our shared appreciation for all it has given to each of us. Now, the future of Minnesota depends on us - on all of us working together.

To Minnesota's business owners and executives, working men and women, farmers, and civic leaders, I say: Let's get Minnesota working...together. We can't succeed without you. You can't succeed without one another.

As we work together to put Minnesota back to work, we have many advantages: talented, hard-working, productive people; strong companies; innovative small businesses; good schools, colleges and universities; valuable natural resources; and a priceless quality of life.

Let us recognize all that is good about Minnesota and make it better ... by working together.

My second, urgent priority is to clean up the state's financial mess, a responsibility I will share with the new Legislature and, ultimately, with all of you. Some people think eliminating a $6.2 billion deficit, almost 20% of expected revenues, will be simple and easy. I don't. As my friend and former colleague, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, likes to say, "For every complex problem, there's almost always a simple solution. And it's almost always wrong."

My proposed budget solution will be reasonable, balanced - and painful - because I see no easy alternative. I will insist that any final solution make Minnesota's overall tax burden more progressive, not more regressive. I respect that no one likes paying taxes, and almost everyone would like to pay less. Which is why it's essential that everyone paying taxes knows everyone else is paying their fair share. And also knows that I will do everything possible to assure those hard-earned dollars are spent only to provide the best possible public services - for a better Minnesota.

To those who sincerely believe the state budget can be balanced with no tax increase - including no forced property tax increase - I say, if you can do so without destroying our schools, hospitals, and public safety, please send me your bill, so I can sign it immediately.

Otherwise, let's begin tomorrow, and in May conclude, this challenging, complicated, and essential process, by working together. And let's always remember that working together requires responsible cooperation and reasonable compromise, as well as sharing the best ideas we have.

Third, we must improve the services we provide our citizens, starting with education innovation, and including more affordable health care, better natural resource protection, streamlined business regulation, improved transportation, and greater cost-efficiencies throughout government.

While everything is important, education is first and foremost. Nothing is more essential to our state's success than providing all our students with the world's best education. Yet nothing has divided educators, policy-makers, and parents more in recent years than how best to provide it - and how adequately to fund it.

Meanwhile, we're failing our students - and thus failing our future. Overcrowded classrooms, like the 36 children in a fifth-grade classroom in Rochester. Four day school weeks, as in Warroad, forcing children to stay at home alone while their parents are working. Unaffordable college tuitions, leaving the single mother in Marshall with a Masters degree, $100,000 in debt, and no job.

Better education for everyone is essential to getting Minnesota working again ... and to keep Minnesotans working in the future. To give everyone the skills necessary to succeed in an ever more competitive global economy. Doing so must be everyone's shared responsibility.

That is why I am asking every business in Minnesota to adopt a school. And contribute to its improvement. To visit the school and see its realities. To meet with teachers, students, and administrators and find out what they need to improve their school - now your school. A little money, a lot of help, technical expertise, remedial reading volunteers, adult mentors, new books, used computers. Make that school's progress your shared responsibility.

Other areas of health and human services also need our help. To all Minnesotans, I ask you to remember the words of the Roman philosopher-leader Cicero that in a democracy, the most important office is that of citizen. I ask you to remember that our state's success is also your responsibility. I invite you to get involved in the betterment of your communities.

I ask every adult Minnesotan, who is physically able, to volunteer a part of one day, every month, at a school, hospital, or social service agency, as I did this morning at the Wellstone Elementary School and will continue to do as Governor and thereafter. Whatever you can do to help, whomever you choose to help: whether the young, the old, the sick, or the disabled, you're helping to get Minnesota working again... by helping one another.

In conclusion, let me note that Saturday was the first day of the second decade of the third millennium AD. What we do during the next four years will affect everyone who follows us, who will inherit their Minnesota from us. Their futures and ours are intertwined, and they are our responsibility.

All of us want - and need - a state that works better than today. One, in which everyone has a good, well-paying job, with affordable health care and secure retirement benefits. Where the world's most innovative companies employ the world's best-educated people to produce life-enhancing goods and services. Where strong economic growth and sound environmental protection are both honored and assured.

Our children and grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren, will inherit a state where people from all over the world, now live here ... together. How well they can work together then, will depend on how well we work together now. How well we accept, respect, and even come to appreciate our many differences. How soon we realize that those differences are among our greatest strengths, integrate them, and put them to work for all of us.

They will be born and raised in a state where their well-being will depend on how well we take care of our youngest citizens. Their values will depend on how well we take care of our oldest and sickest citizens. Their success will depend on how well we rebuild our infrastructure, protect our environment, and create new economic opportunities for them and their fellow Minnesotans.

Their better future begins with us. So does ours. A better Minnesota for all of us depends on all of us.

So, let us dedicate ourselves to rebuilding a successful state, one that again is the envy of the nation, a leader of the world. Let it be written that we were Minnesotans who led the way to something better than before, who created something greater than ourselves, who achieved together what none of us could have accomplished on our own.

By working together. Starting now.

The Dayton era begins in Minnesota... Thank God!

While political life in Minnesota may not be all roses, progressives in our state welcome in a new era today, as Mark Dayton takes the oath of office, today in St. Paul.

The Dayton administration will face challenges, as the new Democratic governor will have to work with Republican majorities in both the state House and Senate. All parties are facing a $6 billion budget deficit, left behind by Tim Pawlenty's inability to work with the previous legislature.

One of TPaw's legacies that will be quickly flushed when Dayton settles in, will be the money set aside for this state for extended Medicaid benefits, by the Federal government, that were blocked by the now former governor.

In my opinion, Pawlenty's biggest legacy was his obvious disregard for the poor. Minnesota has always been known as a state that looked after those who were less fortunate. Had there not been a Democratic majority in the legislature, who knows how much he would have gutted desperately needed social programs. As it is, I have never seen so many destitute people in this state, as I have in the past 8 years.

So as Tim Pawlenty gets ready leave his political stepping stone known as the state of Minnesota, may he know that even the simplest minded of us saw through his "aw shucks" persona. And as he embarks on his laughable dive into the national political arena, let me be one of many Minnesotans that will be ecstatic to see him go.

And as you leave the Governor's Mansion Timothy, don't let the door hit you in the ass!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010... A Year in Review on the Blogcast

Roger and I spent the entire 2 hour show reviewing the events of the previous year, With a unique take on many of the more important issues.

Click here to listen to the show archive.