Thursday, March 31, 2011

Salon's Top 5 Best and Worst Places to be Unemployed

The GOP is attacking the middle class with a fierceness not seen since...well, sadly I have no comparison. Scott Walker, the infamous Wisconsin Governor, cutting jobs to give benefits to his corporate sponsors (links everywhere!) and recently the Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, cutting unemployment benefits to the detriment of all. Well, we all know that the unemployed are lazy good for nothings, here, here, and here! Even Ferris Bueller's teacher is calling the unemployed lazy!

If you find yourself in the midst of a GOP vs. America battle, Salon has a list of the top 5 best and worse places to be.

1. Mississippi Unemployment rate: 10.2 percent (42nd) Maximum weekly benefit: $235 No. of weeks state pays for: 26 Total possible compensation: $6,110

2. Arizona Unemployment rate: 9.6 percent (38th) Maximum weekly benefit: $240 No. of weeks: 26 Total: $6,240

3. Louisiana Unemployment rate: 7.9 (20th) Maximum weekly benefit: $247 No. of weeks: 26 Total: $6,422

4. Alabama Unemployment rate: 9.3 percent (33rd) Maximum weekly benefit: $265 No. of weeks: 26 Total: $6,890

5. Tennessee (tie) Unemployment rate: 9.6 percent (38th) Maximum weekly benefit: $275 No. of weeks: 26 Total: $7,150

5. Florida (tie) Unemployment rate: 11.5 percent (49th) Maximum weekly benefit: $275 No. of weeks: 26 Total: $7,150

Meanwhile, the top five states for unemployment benefits are:

1. Massachusetts Unemployment rate: 8.2 percent (22nd ) Maximum weekly benefit: $625 No. of weeks state pays for: 26 Total possible compensation: $16,250

2. New Jersey Unemployment rate: 9.2 percent (32nd) Maximum weekly benefit: $598 No. of weeks: 26 Total: $15,548

3. Minnesota Unemployment rate: 6.7 percent (11th) Maximum weekly benefit: $578 No. of weeks: 26 Total: $15,028

4. Pennsylvania Unemployment rate: 8.0 percent (20th) Maximum weekly benefit: $573 No. of weeks: 26 Total: $14,898

5. Washington Unemployment rate: 9.1 (30th) Maximum weekly benefit: $570 No. of weeks: 26 Total: $14,820

Go here to read the original article. Now get off your ass and find a job!

Hey Donald!

Listen Donald, I am all about you running for President to promote your crappy show. It provides some great entertainment (your running for President, not your show), but come on! Your main issue so far has been the ridiculous birther movement. Also, I will never forgive you for firing Cyndi Lauper, but that is for another time.

So you want to prove how easy it is to obtain your birth certificate, your REAL birth certificate. Not the fake one that Obama has, right? Riiiiight.

The Smoking Gun reports on the laughable outcome:

“It’s inconceivable that, after four years of questioning, the president still hasn’t produced his birth certificate,” Trump told Newsmax. “I’m just asking President Obama to show the public his birth certificate. Why’s he making an issue out of this?" To prove how easy it was for a household employee to find his birth certificate, Trump, 64, crowed, “It took me one hour to get my birth certificate.”

As seen above, he provided the conservative web site with what he purports to be his birth certificate.

Except the document is not an official New York City birth certificate, but rather a document generated by Jamaica Hospital, where Trump’s mother Mary reportedly gave birth in June 1946. Official birth certificates are issued (and maintained) by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Vital Records."

Say whaaaat? But, but, but it should be easy. It should only take one hour. What kind of chicanery is this? What Mr. Trump showed was not his OFFICIAL birth certificate. How can we tell? There is no seal from the Department of Health nor is there the signature of the city registrar. Neither of which appears on the certificate that Mr. Trump crowed (I love that word) was so easy to get.

So the question is, what are you trying to hide Mr. Trump? Someone call Orly Taitz, stat!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sometimes welfare is the only option...

I don't get into the habit of debating politics while I'm in my daily travels with my taxicab, but something got to me today. I was at a car wash in Ramsey, MN (which for out of towners is in the northwest part of the Twin Cities Metro, and deeply entrenched in Michele Bachmann's 6th district.)

The conversation turned to welfare recipients, as the proprietor of the car wash told of an employee he had that quit after one week, because she stood to lose food and medical assistance from the county, for her and her kids, because her minimum wage job paid too much for her to qualify for those programs.

I've said it many times, the system does nothing to reward those who are trying to get off their ass and find work, or in other ways, better their lives. In it's current setting, it's much more "profitable" to stay home, and let the taxpayers foot all the bill, instead of helping her with specific needs.

The dependence cycle will never be broken, until we allow public assistance recipients to gradually wean themselves of the government tit, instead of ripping the carpet out from underneath them all at once.

I may have gotten through to the owner of the car wash (which did a fantastic job, I might add). People will do what they have to to survive. Until you've been in that position, you'll never know what motivates people to give up a hard to find job, just so she can still afford to feed and care for her child.

Pawlenty looks to separate himself from the pack...

Former Minnesota governor, and presumed presidential candidate, Tim Pawlenty has called on Donald Trump, who has also hinted at running, to stop his commentary regarding President Obama's birth certificate. In my opinion, this is a shrewd political move, as he seems to be attempting to separate himself from a field of Republicans, many of which are admitted "birthers," or dodge the issue when asked.

Pawlenty may be realizing that the moderate Republicans feel that their party has been "hijacked" by the Tea Party movement, and a less radical approach may be necessary, if he is to have any chance of winning the nomination.

Unfortunately for Pawlenty, I think most Republicans, including the teabaggers, pretty much think Trump is a joke in his own right. Calling him to task probably won't have much impact either way.

Also, I think intelligent Republicans (yes, there are a couple) will recognize Pawlenty's last four years as governor as nothing more than grandstanding for higher office.

While I welcome T-Paw's apparent call for a campaign based on real issues, I still don't think it will be enough to carry him to the nomination. There are still too many crazies on that side of the isle for a born again moderate to have any success.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Damn, I have a talented wife...

Lori figured we needed a padded headboard. Hmmm...

Nice job honey...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Does it pay to do the right thing?

Next time I see someone driving erratically on Twin Cities highways, I just plan to back off, and let them get well ahead of me. Calling the authorities just doesn't seem to pay off.

Last night, on our way home from bowling, we encountered some dipshit on 694 driving like he was either drunk or incredibly distracted. We witnessed the motorist swerving and straddling lanes. Worst of it was, that he was traveling, at times, at speeds well over 80 mph.

We did what we felt was the responsible thing, and called 911. At this time, we had made it to Highway 10, going through Coon Rapids. The emergency call was handled by Anoka County. The wayward driver was pulled over at the Main St. exit, on the north end of Coon Rapids. Police dispatch had asked us to pull over in the vicinity. An officer with the Coon Rapids police department questioned Lori, who had placed the call while I was driving. I kid you not, the apprehended motorist, which by the way was driving with a burned out tail light, was released just a couple of minutes after the inquisition we received from the local officer. To my best recollection, the driver we dropped dime on got off with out as much as a warning ticket for the tail light.

I swear, I will never all 911 again while I'm on the highway, unless I witness a life threatening accident.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bridging the political divide...

Unfortunately, like a lot of things, sometimes I don't have all the specifics on a particular issue before I offer an opinion. I guess that puts me on par with the average joe. The issue of a proposed bridge over the St. Croix River, linking Stillwater with Holton, Wisconsin, and points east, is no exception.

On face value, one would have to agree that the existing lift bridge is not sufficient for the existing traffic in that area. I guess the question is, what should it be replaced with?

I'm hearing (again I haven't seen an actual proposal) the plan favored by Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, a longtime resident of the Stillwater area, would be a six-lane, expressway type bridge. As a proponent of replacing the current structure, I really don't think it needs to be that grandiose.

Also, an underlying question is it in the city of Stillwater's best interest to have such a bridge built, which would certainly mean some sort of bypass for the town.

Governor, Mark Dayton's appearance with Bachmann, in Stillwater, a little over a week ago left a few of his supporters, most who despise Bachamann, feeling a little betrayed. I say to them, not so fast. Dayton understands that something needs to be done, sooner than later. I think it's pretty safe to say that this will be one of the few times that the governor sees eye to eye with the sixth district Congresswoman. I just don't see how the need is so great for such a large bridge, unless the plan is to bypass downtown Stillwater.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 26th show review...

Roger and I invite you to join us for our slightly redesigned show...

Our "Big 3" topics this week...

The legacy of Elizabeth Taylor. The legendary star was a tireless advocate for people with HIV-AIDS. This advocacy drew the ire of bigoted groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, who had threatened to protest at her funeral.

Libya... Should we be involved in military action against another Muslim country?

The Twin Cities is worst in the nation in the unemployment ratio between whites and blacks. We offer our opinion as to why, and what could be done to reverse this disturbing trend.

Ken Avidor returns with his "Dump Bachmann" segment, and we open with our new "Lightning Round," a quick look at some of the top stories of the previous week.

We want to thank hollycairns.com for adding the show's "badge" to her blog. Holly is also the founder of Minnesota Blue Blogs, a valuable source of information for people wanting to keep up with the progressive cause.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bachmann calls Ousted Pro-Equality Iowa Judges Black Robed Masters.

What seems to be an increasingly long list of crazy, Michelle Bachmann praised a conservative group in Iowa for ousting three Iowa Supreme Court justices because of their pro-equality votes on gay marriage. She referred to the justices as "black robed masters"

Andy Barr from Politico reports that Bachmann's audience consisted mainly of home school advocates. “You said enough is enough and sent them packing, and I’m very proud of what you’ve done,” she said, repeatedly calling judges “black-robed masters.” “It’s very rare that a judge does not go back to office.”

Black robed masters...would she prefer the robes to be white? I am saddened that this woman represents the district where I live. She is an embarrassment to all of us who believe in fairness and equality for ALL. In the words of Jack Nicholson in the movie As Good As it Gets, "Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here."

Royal Wedding Barf Bags!

I have a feeling this will be the most popular item sold. In fact, I am confident of that since the FIRST EDITION of the bags have already sold out! LOL! Really? The first edition?

Artist Lydia Leith is offering these bags more tongue in cheek than anything. With the words THRONE UP under a symbol of the crown. She urges everyone to keep these bags handy on April 29th, 2011.

Anyway, if you want to buy them, they can be found here at Lydia Leith's Big Cartel shop for £3 (about $4.85 US). But hurry before the SECOND EDITION is sold out! (snicker)

Cowardly Attacks on Recall Signature gatherers in Wisconsin

Blogging Blue reports two separate events of recall signature gatherers being attacked in Wisconsin. Being the cowards they are, a man came up to a one of the individuals (who was gathering recall signatures in Rep. State Senator Alberta Darling's district) and sucker-punched him, then took off in his car. He is still at large.

In another instance, a man was pretending to to sign the petitions to recall Rep. Sheila Harsdorf in front of an EconoFoods in River Falls WI, when he grabbed the petitions and drove away. He came back 5 minutes later and threw them out his car window onto wet pavement. He was caught at his home by the police and put up a struggle when he was arrested. "The man seemed indignant that a police officer was at his door and denied being near EconoFoods. Then he said he couldn’t be accused of stealing the petition signatures because he returned them." While he was being arrested he started shouting police brutality. He was fined $177 and released.

I agree with Blogging Blue, it is hypocritical that opponents are calling union members thugs and goons, when they themselves are exibiting the behavior they are criticizing!

Unfortunately, I am sure this will not be the last we hear of such incidents.

Westoboro Baptist Church to Picket Elizabeth Taylor's Funeral

What a surprise!

The infamous Westboro Baptist Church will picket Elizabeth Taylor's funeral. Ms. Taylor was a champion of the gay community. She was heavily involved in AIDS fundraising. So this makes her a target for this so called church. It is galling for Westboro to picket and besmirch a woman's memory who has done so much. Of course, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Westboro and allowed this behavior to continue so that makes it okay! Pathetic.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Steve Sack weighs in on Pawlenty's presidential bid...

Steve Sack - Star Tribune

Elizabeth Taylor Feb. 27, 1932 – Mar. 23, 2011

You will be missed.

Anti-Gay Pastor Caught with his Pants Down!

Who did not see this coming? No, this is not a satiric piece from The Onion. It is unfortunately real. Brent Girouex, 31, a youth pastor in Council Bluffs, Iowa, was caught sexually exploiting at least 4 young men, aged 14 to 23. He claims he was helping them to gain “sexual purity in the eyes of God.” If it wasn't so tragic, it would be hilarious. Disgusting and tragic. This so called christian. This wolf in sheep's clothing. When will people realize that those who yell the loudest have the most to hide.

Girouex stated he had “mutual” sexual contact with the teen between “25 and 50 times” over the four-year period starting in 2007. The accusers, who are now adults, say that it was closer to 50 to 100.

Girouex said this was “to help (the teen) with homosexual urges by praying while he had sexual contact with him.” One of the victims came to Girouex for help with marital problems. What was Griouex's advice? To pull down his pants and start playing with his genitals. Yep, you read that write.

Read the full story here at The Daily Nonpareil.

This is not an isolated event, by any means. Here are the Top 5 Gay Anti-Gay christian leaders.

1. John Geoghan - Boston Catholic priest who molested 130 young men. He was sentenced to jail where he was killed by a white supremacist after Geoghan made a pass at him.

2. Paul Crouch - President of and Chairman of Trinitiy Broadcasting who threatened to fire a male employee who not have sex with him. They settled out of court for a half a million.

3. Bishop Eddie Long - He preached "homosexual cures" He was labeled “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement", by the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center). He was accused of coercing 4 young men into sex.

4. Ted Haggard - this piece of filth was addicted to male prositutes and meth all the while spouting anti-gay rhetoric. See Ted Haggard in action from the movie Jesus Camp. A scary endeavor in itself.



5. George Rekers - Mr. Rekers is a baptist minister and a prominent anti-gay activist. The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, another braintrust that tries to cure homosexuality, used Mr. Rekers to testify against gay adoptions in Florida. Well, Mr. Rekers was found with a gay prostitute heading to Bermuda.

What amazes me is the self loathing of these men. What is worse, is you know that everyone around them in their little circle of hate knew what was going on.

Lord help us from your "servants".

Exodus Ex-Gay App Evicted!

The hateful Exodus International app the purported to provide "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ" has been removed from the iTunes.
The question on everyone's mind now is, why was it even approved in the first place?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Anti-Gay iPhone App...AGAIN!

Here we go again! Apple is causing an uproar by approving an application from an organization calling itself Exodus International for inclusion in the iTunes store. Exodus International hopes the app will spread the word of it's ministry to "individuals and families impacted by homosexuality." It was approved with a 4+ rating which means that there was "no objectionable content"! Say WHAT?!? What these charlatans at Exodus purport to do is to offer "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ". Hmmmm....oooooookay.

Exodus utilizes "reparative therapy" to turn gay men and women straight. This therapy has been denounced by every major psychological association. The American Psychological Association opposes the therapy, as does the American Medical Association and the American Counseling Association. How about this, I am going to create an app that will offer freedom from HETEROSEXUALITY! Yeah, it would be as effective as the Exodus app.

This is not the first time the anti-gay religious crazies have attempted to pollute iTunes with their bigotry. The Manhattan Declaration (where do they come up with these names?) infiltrated the store with their anti-gay marriage app last November and was pulled after an outcry from customers.

Let's face it, being gay is NOT A CHOICE. It is GENETIC. Much like the color of your skin. If these so called christians hate gays so much, then quit having us! Scarily enough, they are probably trying. The sanctity of life means nothing if it goes against their views. Dr. George Tiller is proof of that.

I have a message for these type of "christians". Keep your hate, bigotry, and vitriol to yourselves. It is incredible that in this day and age we are still fighting this kind of hate. Would Apple approve a racist or anti-Semitic app? Of course not! Then why are they approving an app that is anti-gay?

Send Apple a message that this kind of bigotry will not be tolerated. Join and sign the petition to have this app removed from the iTunes store here at change.org. Right now, there are 86,086 signatures requesting the app be removed. Make it 86,087.

To quote Lady Gaga:
I'M BEAUTIFUL IN MY WAY
'CAUSE GOD MAKES NO MISTAKES
I'M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

DON'T HIDE YOURSELF IN REGRET
JUST LOVE YOURSELF AND YOU'RE SET
I'M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

Damn right!

UPDATE: As of 1:16 pm today the number of signatures at change.org is now 100,617 and growing! In fact, I had to update this before I published it and it went up another 1,000 signatures! Keep it up!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I was Casey Heynes

Funny the things you remember in 48 years of life...

I'm sure by now most of you have seen the video where the chubby Casey is getting picked on by some twerp that is considerably smaller than him. I don't know when in all this young Casey had enough, but he decisively put an end to the bullying with a body slam that would have made John Cena proud.

What looks to have happened though is that the bullying stopped.

I was that fat kid growing up. Before my parents died, they told me never to fight, just walk away. I really didn't get picked on much until they died, and I ended up living with a neighbor lady, who used the money she got from my survivor benefits to do everything but buy me clothes that weren't from the Goodwill or garage sales. That, along with a my size and a nasty acne problem, made me a perfect target for every bully in the school.

I didn't help my own cause, of course. I was as outgoing then as I am now. But whenever I was picked on, I just walked away. If it got too bad, I'd tell a teacher or one of the councilors, but that did little good.
Like I said in the beginning, it's funny what you remember. It was a late Spring afternoon. The kid's name was Mark. He was one of those kids that wasn't really a bully, but he wanted to fit in with that crowd. I was walking home from school, when I heard this group of kids egging Mark on to "kick my ass." I had run ins with this group before, which ended in bloody noses, torn clothes, and numerous cuts and bruises. I never fought back, because I always thought I'd get hurt worse.

Poor Mark had to be the one that met the new me. Oh, I tried to to avoid him. I even tried to get into the corner drug store, where I felt I would be safe. It was a reach around sucker punch that pushed the button.

I remember turning and knocking Mark down, all in one fell swoop. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough. Pinning his arms down with my knees, (remember I outweighed him by a good 40 pounds) I wailed on his face repeatedly. Sadly, none of the kids poor Mark was trying to impress did anything to help him. It wasn't until my adopted mother drove by, did I finally stop the assault. I found out later that someone had called to tell her that I was beating the shit out of some hapless kid. It was the last time anyone from that school ever picked on me in any way. To my credit, I didn't use my new found ability to fight to become a bully in my own right.

I didn't share this to brag, but I think in sharing this I realized that had I been raised in today's adolescent culture, that condemns any type of school violence, I might have been one of those kids that shot up his school, instead of settling things the way kids have done since the days of "Little House on the Prairie."

Sadly, all some bullies understand is getting their ass kicked. Good on Casey Heynes for settling this like he did, and not going home and finding a weapon of some sort to put a permanent end to a childhood problem.

March 19th Show in review...

Despite some audio glitches, we got through the show with these topics...

Ron Rosenbaum joined us briefly to talk about the proposed Racino legislation.

We also covered the NRA's silence on over 2,400 shooting deaths in this country since the Tucson incident.

Ken Avidor's "Dump Bachmann" segment looked at the assumed Presidential candidate's gaffe on the "shot heard around the world." With that, we briefly touched on the proposed Stillwater bridge construction.

Should liquor stores in Minnesota be open on Sunday? We talked about it, as well as how Minnesota seems to be behind the curve on many issues when it comes to adult "vices."

We briefly touched on the US apparent involvement in the Libyan conflict.

Arguably, we might have spent more time than we should have, but we spent nearly the entire second hour talking about the Minnesota GOP's idea to limit how welfare recipients can use their benefits, through their EBT cards.

We invite you to listen to the archive by clicking here.

On a personal note, I feel our show has lost a little structure over the last couple of weeks. I take full responsibly for this. Starting next week, we will go back to a more concise schedule of topics. We thank you for staying with us through this, and hope you continue to listen, as we attempt to produce a better product. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Minnesota Republicans say: Poor people with money should be outlaws

Original story from FightBackNews.org
Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more $20 in cash in their pockets any given month. This represents a change from their initial proposal, which banned them from having any money at all.
I haven't read House File 171, but this seems a little over the top, even for Republicans. That said, I understand the need to do something about those who abuse the public assistance program, and quite frankly, make it that much harder for those truly in need to receive assistance.

People who receive assistance currently receive their benefits through a EBT debit card. I'm not sure if the card can be used like a bank card (aka Visa), but with the right embedded technology, to prevent liquor store purchases and disallow the benefactor from using the card outside a radius of their home city, there would be no need for the recipient to have an over abundance of cash that could be used in the underground economy (aka drug dealers).

If you've paid any attention to this blog, or our show, you know that I think we have an obligation to help the needy. That said, those who are being helped have an obligation to the taxpayers who are paying the freight. 

We will cover this more in depth, this Saturday at noon, CDT.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Annette Meeks just set the anti-Racino movement back ten years...

Ms. Meeks was just on FOX9, in a mini debate with Ron Rosenbaum, from Racino Now. She opened up the conversation by stating that she'd shut down the Minnesota State Lottery, if she had her way. Not a good start.

What she said next just about knocked me out of my recliner. Meeks told moderator, Jeff Passolt, in so many words, that putting slot machines at Canterbury Park would expand gambling in our neighborhoods. Uh Ms. Meeks, could you tell me what that huge complex just a few miles south on County Road 83 has done over the past 20 years?

I always thought you Republicans were all about personal freedom. Oh, I forgot... You guys do like to legislate morality.

Personally, as a casual gambler (I'm too much of a sore loser) I think we should stop pussy-footing around and bring gaming into the core of the cities (aka Bellagio style casino), but I do understand the arguments against expanding gaming.

Lets just keep the conversation honest...

What is an international police force worth?

I write this at the risk of sounding completely ignorant when it comes to foreign affairs, but with talk of some form of intervention in the Libyan conflict, I have to ask, what does this country get for being the world's police force?

American taxpayers have spent trillions of dollars, and countless numbers of families have lost loved ones in wars  where logic would dictate that our intervention was completely unwarranted. Take a quick look at history. We were attacked by the empire of Japan, prompting our involvement in World War II, but did we have to risk spreading our forces so thin with our involvement in the European conflict? What did we gain by pushing back the Nazis other than the designation of  bouncer for the United Nations?

Ever since the end of World War II, whenever there has been a dust up in some remote corner in the world, America has sent it's personnel and resources to "save the day." Many times, our involvement has been repaid by fragmented sections of the same people we were trying to help girding up to harm Americans worldwide (aka al-Qaeda).

What I want to know is have American taxpayers ever received a plug nickel for "liberating" places like Granada, Kuwait, or Iraq?  What is it costing to maintain bases in Europe? Most importantly, do you feel any more secure as an American, with all of the precious resources that have been spent being the world's police force?

It doesn't take rocket science to determine that American forces are spread as thin as they've ever been. God forbid, this country sustains an attack or a Japan-like natural disaster. Would we be be able to take care of our own? Or... would our "allies" devote the same type of resources to come to our aid?

I hope we never have to find out...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gottfried should have quit while he was behind...

It was announced earlier that Gilbert Gottfried lost his long time contract as voice of the famous AFLAC duck, due to some real tasteless postings on his Twitter account pertaining to the recent devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Sad part of it is, the veteran comic might have gotten away with one quip, but instead he let loose with at least 11.

Worst yet, none of these "tweets" were even remotely funny.

Click here, if you want to see some of this tasteless crap...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kucinich on Obama: "Where is he?" - The UpTake



Rep. Dennis Kucinich spoke with The UpTake after a forum for worker’s rights in Madison, Wisconsin.

Asked about President Obama’s absence in Madison, Kucinich said: “He should be here. Where is he? He made a statement that he’s standing behind the workers – he should be standing in front of them. He’s the President. Lead. Show people you’re dedicated to worker’s rights.”

Filmed at the Barrymore Theater in Madison, Wisconsin on 3/12/11.Interview by Jacob Wheeler for The UpTake.

---

If I didn't know any better, I'd say Kucinich was sounding a lot like a challenger for Democratic nomination in 2012. He does have a good point. Obama was the same guy the showed the "leadership" to host a beer summit, between black scholar, Louis Gates Jr and white cop, James Crowley. While criticized by many, I applauded the president's out of the box thinking, on his way of handling a potentially nasty blow to relations that police departments nationwide have with the black community. Yet his handling of the situation in Wisconsin, and other states facing similar attacks on workers' rights, has left me scratching my bald head, wondering where is the leadership?

President Obama is an inspiring speaker. His last State of the Union address, at times, made me want to stand up and shout, "now that's the guy we elected!" But his lack of leadership, from not taking the reins in the health care reform debate, to his inability to fulfill his campaign promise to end US involvement in Iraq, makes me wonder if it's time to look to a new leader for this country.

Obama's lack of leadership was not missed by the 100,000 plus attendees of Saturday's rally. I'd be willing to bet many of them were asking the same question as Dennis Kucinich, "Where is our leader?"

The Birth of a Movement

Yesterday was a great day for me. I not only got to spend the whole day with my son, but we spent the afternoon hours outdoors in 10 degree windchill with the warmest and nicest bunch (120,000 or so) of friendly people you may ever see gathered in one place. As a Minnesotan, I never thought I would say that about my neighboring state's cheeseheads, even if it were true! But, as we chanted along with everyone there yesterday, "We ARE Wisconsin." Yes we are, and that can apply to so many of us, anywhere....

After the early morning (okay, it wasn't as early as we had intended!) drive down the freeway, which included linking up with Todd Dahlstrom's car on I-90/94, we stumbled luckily onto an underground parking ramp which only was charging $3, and was right next to the Capitol. When we emerged into the light, we were in political activist heaven. Thousands of people were already marching around Capitol Square, with signs and costumes galore (mind you these are Midwesterners, in winter!, being expressive!!!). Not knowing where things would be happening, we fell into the stream of people and let it carry us around to the far diagonal corner, where just as we arrived about noon, Jim Hightower was being introduced. What a way to start!

Then a fabulous thing happened...as he finished his colorful (ahem!) remarks, the crowd first yelled out a cheer, but then rather politely (for a protest crowd) began to chant, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" Not just a few people, but all 30-40,000 who were already there! The amazing thing is, this was the "new normal" as, after each speaker or singer, this mass gratitude was loudly, but politely, expressed again and again. Even as the crowd grew to upwards of 100,000 people (a jam packed stadium full at a large university's football game...united in being polite and grateful! in unison!)

We looked for a place to be, and noticed that many of the swelling crowd were moving up onto the lawn on the hillside up to the Capitol. All the square feet of space in the streets and the sidewalks and the steps were now occupied. This is the situation which led to the trampling and muddying and ripping up (soft ground) of the Capitol Grounds sod, which I'm sure you will hear Gov. Walker say, tomorrow, is expected to cost between $75 and 100 million to replace. However, should Gov. Walker offer to step down in exchange, I'm quite certain that the $15-20,000?? project would be completed for free by any number of union workers....

I had along one of those fold out canvas chairs from my soccer-dad days, and we looked for a place where it wouldn't tip over backwards if I sat down from time to time. Parking at the base of a very large tree, we discovered that for most of the afternoon, we could actually see the heads of the speakers, up the hill near the top of the steps. As the crowd milled around and the inclined ground became more and more of a mudslide, we frequently directed the less capable to safer ways of descending to street level, than the slope to one side where several people found themselves enjoying a mud bath on their asses. This provided quite a bit of entertainment between speakers...

Here's what all this led up to: for the rest of the afternoon, we were swept along with the emotion and passion of over 100,000 amazingly fervent and yes raucous citizens, who were, yes, angry about the theft of their democracy and their civil rights by the Republicans in the state government....but nary a single incident of thuggery, violence, fighting, even arguing(!) was seen. Not one! Boring? NO WAY, I still have chills, not from the cold, but from remembering the energy and united force of the crowd's unity! But friendly respectful, GOOD PEOPLE?? Yes!!!

"THIS. is. what. de.moc..racy looks. like." The chant was so incredibly, beautifully, openly, powerfully.....TRUE!

More than one speaker told all of us, this was now more than just a "protest" - this was the birth of a MOVEMENT. A movement of the people who have had enough. A movement for democracy fighting back against the insidious onslaught of plutocracy. A movement to guard the hard-won civil rights gained in past battles - now, right here and right now, in today's very-polite ("Thank You! Thank you!") but-make-no-mistake-deadly-serious war.

To all who were there, to all who see these words or any other story about yesterday, 3/12/11 in Madison Wisconsin (well, except any story about it on Fox News)....make no mistake:

THE PEOPLE ARE COMING ALIVE. THE MOVEMENT IS HERE. NOW IS THE TIME!!!

Time to get on board...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Now the fight begins...

After the "defeat".....

Tomorrow will be a key day in the fight for workers rights in this country. After the (illegal) passage of the non-monetary portion of "Gov. Wanker's Koch-addicted plot," will the crowds be discouraged in Madison, and come out with less fervor?

The "Wisconsin 14" senators have decided it is time to return and make a heroes appearance together, marching to the Capitol, though temporarily defeated, to launch the recall efforts against their Republican colleagues. That should help the crowd.

I will be traveling from Minneapolis early in the morning, and hope to share some reflections at the end of the day. What we see tomorrow will tell us if this fight will be sustainable....

More on the March 12th show...

As well as a live report from Madison from WTDY's Dylan Brogan, the debut of the Dump Bachmann segment, and Lady Gaga nixing her agreement with Target, Rog and I will discuss Governor Dayton's rejection of WCCO's "garbage time slot" offer, and ABC's "Buy American Challenge."

Also, former co-host, Dan Lundin joins us to talk about his latest upcoming project at the Minneapolis Musical Theatre, "bare."

We invite you to listen to the archive.

ABC's Made in America Challenge...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Must See Chart (This Is What Class War Looks Like)

Originally posted by 
greywolfe359 via Daily Kos

Dylan Brogan live on Saturday's show...

Dylan will join us live from Madison, with the latest on Wisconsin's labor unrest. It's expected that a few thousand farmers will be bringing their tractors to the State Capitol, to protest along side state workers.

Dylan Brogan is a producer on WTDY's Sly in the Morning show. The host, John "Sly" Sylvester is a long time advocate of worker's rights.

We will also debut our Dump Bachmann segment, featuring Ken Avidor from DumpBachmann.com. Plus, we'll talk about Governor Dayton's decision to not accept WCCO Radio's offered time slot, and Lady Gaga breaking off her deal with Target.

All this and much more. Click here to listen to the archived show...

Not taking this lying down...

Use all the silly analogies you want, but the working class of Wisconsin are pissed off, and it's beginning to show. I never want to condone violence, but protesters at the Capitol are becoming more restless. It's only going to be a matter of time before someone gets hurt. And can you blame these people? The Republicans are using underhanded and argueably illegal tactics, in order to break the unions. The same unions that have agreed to pay and benefit cuts in order to help balance the state's budget.

My friends, we are witnessing nothing short of a revolution in Wisconsin. I only pray that nobody gets hurt in the process. I'm not counting on it though...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gaga nixes Target deal...

Advocate.com reports that Lady Gaga has dissolved her recently signed agreement with Target Corporation, over the chain's controversial political donations.

According to the story...
A source close to Lady Gaga confirms to The Advocate that the entertainer has dissolved her deal with Target over the chain's controversial political donations. "She and Target didn't see eye to eye on Target's policy of political donations and how they affect the LGBT community," the source tells The Advocate exclusively.

The Advocate was tipped off that the deal had crumbled by Bob Witeck of Witeck-Combs Communications.

Target came under fire by LGBT activists last year when it was revealed the discount store chain had donated corporate funds to MN Forward, a political action committee that supported antigay candidate Tom Emmer in his failed 2010 run for governor of Minnesota.

Last month Gaga discussed the decision to partner with Target with Billboard magazine.

"That discussion was one of the most intense conversations I've ever had in a business meeting," Gaga told the music publication. "Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they've made in the past ... our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they've made supporting those [antigay] groups."

I'm a little confused by all this. The questionable donations were made mostly during the 2010 election. Gaga reportedly inked a deal with Target earlier this year. I wonder what went wrong.

WCCO-AM offers Dayton garbage time.

According to MinnPost's David Brauer, WCCO Radio offered Governor Dayton the 7am time slot on Saturdays, an offer rejected by the governor's staff.

In addition, Dayton was also offered a 4 minute spot on Dave Lee's Morning News, Friday mornings at 6am.

The station contacted Brauer almost immediately after his original posting, disputing the claim that the offered time spot was not "garbage time," insisting the listening audience is "roughly the same" as what I assume was the 9am slot T-Paw held on Fridays.

Brauer offered that the perceived shun would anger some DFLers, I couldn't agree more. This may be the final straw in what has been a gradual weaning from a station I began listening to in 1972. Between the over abundance of commercials, many of which target the nearly dead, insulting my intelligence (don't go there) by passing off Chicago resident, John Williams as a local host, to insisting on airing a sometimes incoherent Sid Hartman three times during the morning drive.

I was never a fan of Tim Pawlenty's policies, but I always tuned into the former governor's show, especially after AM-1500 pulled Prebil and Murphy from their line-up. I think having the governor airing a weekly show during radio prime time is an essential tool for staying connected to the citizens of the state.

The "Good Neighbor" insists they are still interested on hosting a show for Governor Dayton. I just don't think they're really THAT interested.

It goes without saying that the governor is always welcome on The Shannon Files.

Monday, March 7, 2011

New regular segment on the show...

I am happy to announce that Ken Avidor, from DumpBachmann.com, will be doing a regular segment on our show. The segment will either be live or recorded, depending on Ken's schedule for that week.

As much as Michele Bachmann provides great material for smart asses like me and Rog, we have to understand that in her own little mind, she is very serious about the direction in which she sees this country going. Ken has been in the forefront in exposing the hypocrisy that Bachmann is now well known for, as he has been covering her since her days as a state Senator.

We look forward to having Ken as a regular contributor to our show. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bachmann wants an apology...



Well honey, you got it. I will offer an apology... I apologize to America for allowing you to continue to represent my Congressional district...

Gov. Dayton meets new puppy "Mingo" | kare11.com

Gov. Dayton meets new puppy "Mingo" | kare11.com

Just like Harry Truman said, "If you want a friend (in Washington) buy a dog. I'm happy that Governor Dayton was able to find a new companion.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What you missed if you didn't listen live...

The reason Bradlee Dean ditched the interview...

Dim watt Michele Bachmann and the lightbulb choice act...

Shocking... Fox News lies again... Where are there palm trees in Madison?

NFL lockout... Will it kill the chances of a new stadium for the Vikings, and what is the impact pro sports franchises have on a community?

The Supreme Court rules that Westboro Baptist Church can protest at military funerals...

How the opponents of heath care reform are using the unfortunate terminal illness of a Canadian child to justify the "death panel" claim...

Fret not... The show is available on podcast, or click here to listen to the archive.

Friday, March 4, 2011

NFL lockout = bye bye Vikings...

It's hard for me to think about football when we are less than a month away from the first pitch of the season. Yet, it seems that the NFL's owners and players are a blink away from scrapping the 2011 season with a lockout.

I've spoke to numerous people that couldn't give a rat's ass if there was no football next season. I'm not in that camp, and as a casual fan, I think a lockout would spell the end of the Vikings run in Minnesota.

You see, unless you're been under a rock for the last year, you probably know that the Vikings have been pushing hard for a new stadium. Their lease at the deflated Metrodome ends at the end of this season. The team has emphatically stated that they would not play another season there without a deal done in this legislative session. In other words, the Vikings want your tax dollars to help pay for their new digs.

Under normal circumstances, I would say do what you have to do to make this happen. I think we all know what losing this team would do to the psyche of not only the metro area, but also the the state. But as a the possibility of a lockout becomes closer to reality, I don't think those in the state legislature have much of an appetite for building a new stadium when the league and players can't figure out how to fairly split $9 billion in annual revenue. I don't either.

I truly think if the 2011 season is cancelled because billionaires and millionaires can't play nice, Minnesota's legislature, and Governor Dayton will move on to what one could argue are more important issues. And even though the Vikings wouldn't have played their last contractual season at the Dome, they will surely follow through with their threat to move the team, maybe to that shiny now stadium that's going up in LA.

Let's just hope the Twins have a memorable season this year...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

(Personal post) So we can get back a semblance of normalcy...

To quote that classic TV show, "Lucy... you got some 'splainin' to do..."

I've been a little distracted over the last couple of weeks, here's why...

Back a little over 4 years ago, Lori and I were living in Corpus Christi, Texas. The coastal city was one of the most beautiful cities I've ever lived in. We both worked for a small cab company called Green-n-Go Cab service. The owner, Dan Stiefel, did a great job of bringing some respectability to the local taxi industry. Lori and I moved from the area, back to Minnesota, when she discovered she was going to be a grandmother for the first time.

Since then, I have remained in contact with Dan, and his extremely capible office manager Julie. They have always said that we were welcome to come back at any time.

A couple of weeks ago, Dan hinted on Facebook that he needed an operations manager for his growing company. I was indeed enticed. We bantered a bit about salary, and agreed on a reasonable amount.

It looked like it was chiseled in stone. I was to jump on a Greyhound late Monday night.

But for as right as it seemed at the time, something clicked. Suddenly, it was all wrong. Some of the reasons included not really being financially prepared for such a move, but it was much more than that.

Through this, I've all but ignored this blog. I know it's not a money maker, fact is the whole thing costs me money. But I've met some great people while doing this. People who are compassionate about their causes, whether it's basic human rights, reproductive rights, or rights of workers. Even though Roger and I would have continued doing the show, somehow I don't think it would have been the same.

But the biggest reason I had a change of heart was Lori. She was incredibly supportive of me through this process, but I knew her stress level was through the roof. Lori is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me. I could not do this to her. I could not do this to us...

So now, we regroup. We have a show to do Saturday, and I want to get back to exposing the hypocrisy of today's out of touch Conservative movement. It's what we do...

Next time you don't hear from me for a few days, drop me a line and tell me to take my head out of my ass, and focus.

Now to quote another movie line, Lois Lane, in I think the second Superman movie, "So what's going on in the world?"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quote of the Day*

"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'" — Isaac Asimov *Quotes will not be daily. :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sign of the times..

Just wait... Some still think $5 per gallon is possible.