Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stark County Ohio Woman Strip Searched by Male Deputy

This is a clear violation of policy, as well as human decency!

Thoughts on the proposed changes in Minneapolis taxi regulations

In the 30 years and I've been operating a taxicab, both here in the Twin Cities and other parts of the country, I've discovered that attending these committee meetings is a gigantic waste of time on my part. That said, as the Minneapolis Regulatory Committee has come up with yet more ways to mess with the drivers, I feel it necessary weigh in on the latest dose of gobbledygook.

First on the credit cards, I know for a fact that more than 60% of the cabs running around in this city take credit cards. Every taxi that accepts cards as a sticker prominently displayed on the car letting the customer know that his or her plastic is welcome. Not all of the companies have a fancy automated card reader that spits out a receipt for the transaction. Some of us still have to run cards the old fashioned way. I have it on pretty good knowledge that may change fairly soon. It is not practical to make a company that may only have a five or six cabs on the street take credit cards. It would be like forcing all the vendors in the downtown farmers market to take them. Cab companies have allowed customers to pay with plastic as a convenience, in order to attract more business. My service company charges me 5% on the credit card slips I turn in. I just look at it as a cost of doing business, much like gasoline.

As for the cell phone ban, I think it is incredibly rude for a driver to be on a phone while transporting a passenger. Also, I think driving while holding a phone creates a blind spot that some of our more inexperienced drivers may not know how to work around. As for me, I use a hands free device. I do not use it when I carry passengers. However, if I have to carry on a phone conversation when I'm not engaged, the use of my Bluetooth device is no more dangerous or distracting than if I was talking to a passenger in my back seat. Furthermore, taxi drivers will log, on an average, four times as many miles in one week as your average commuter. Until you ban cell phone use for every motorist, it is not fair to single out cab drivers.

As for the dress code, as long as a driver is wearing clean clothing and does not stink to high heaven, he or she should be able to wear anything they are comfortable in, within reason. Most drivers work a 10 to 13 hour shift. Telling them that they cannot wear a comfortable shirt or pair of shoes is completely unreasonable. Now I will say, that drivers sitting on cab stands, with their feet hanging out the windows, is completely unprofessional.

Now I want to address a couple of issues that this committee has seemed to overlook.

We're getting to the point to where we're going to price ourselves out of the market with rates that are up to $2.75 per mile. This makes us one of the most expense of cities in the country when it comes to cab fares. Unfortunately, the rules of supply and demand do not apply to the taxi industry. The fact that the city has decided to take the cap off of the number of permits, thus nearly doubling the number of cabs on the street from that of just 15 years ago, means cab drivers are sitting twice as long, waiting for fares. That cat has been let out of the bag, and there is probably nothing we can do about all the extra unneeded cabs on the street. But instead of continuously jacking the mileage rate that make desirable longer fares harder to come by, I would suggest raising the minimum fare, which now sits at $5.00, to eight to ten dollars.

Also, the city has not done nearly enough to allow for staging areas for all these extra cabs. And parking enforcement is Johnny on the spot to tag of these cabs that part in no parking zones or metered spots. It should be noted that they're not quite as quick to tag private vehicles that are parked on the limited taxi stand space we have. If the city wants all these extra cabs on the streets, then they better find some place to put them. Or better yet, how about working with the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote this readily available source of transportation.

One more thing. The city has gone to great lengths in promoting a "taxi riders bill of rights." All cabs must carry this placard that lets consumers know what they can expect from their cab driver. I would offer that they should be changed to a "taxi riders rights and responsibilities." That would encourage passengers to do things like check the seat, before they leave the taxi, for personal belongings, and be ready to enter the taxi when it arrives on a service call. There is nothing more frustrating than pulling up in front of a residence, only to sit there for over 10 minutes, while the passenger is dilly dallying around inside. On most occasions, barring bad weather conditions, response time is usually within 10 minutes. Passengers should be ready to walk out the door when the taxi arrives. You sure as hell would not see a taxi in New York City wait around, without the meter running, while you gather your party.

I am all for this great experiment to make Minneapolis in general, and the Twin Cities as a whole, become this great mecca for taxis. But it's going to take a little less heavy handedness by city regulators to make the riding experience pleasurable, and the driving experience more enjoyable and profitable.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Kansas Governor Brownback Winds Up Apologizing to Teen

A story that has gone viral over the last week involves a Kansas teenager who apparently told her state's governor, via Twitter, that he "sucked." Governor Sam Brownback had originally demanded that the teen, who has been identified Emma Sullivan, apologize for her remarks.  According to reports, the young lady refused to apologize, even after originally being threatened with an unknown punishment from her high school.

Today, I've learned that the school is not gonna punish Ms. Sullivan, and the governor just released a statement, saying that he is no longer seeking an apology, noting that his staff overreacted to the social media message.

I would suggest that Governor Brownback get a handle on his staff's use of his official Twitter account, as this has become quite an embarrassment to him, and his administration.  As I noted to Ms. Sullivan, in an interview request, everybody in public service, from the President on down to local City Council members, are subject to far worse commentary on social media than a simple "you suck" remark.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Madness of Michele Bachmann - November 25th Show

Blogger and co-author of "The Madness of Michele Bachmann," Ken Avidor joined me to talk about his book.

Giving away a signed copy of the book on December 9th. Tweet @TheShannonFiles #BachmannIsMadness to enter.

Long time co-host, Roger Shaver joined us. Great to have him in the conversation.

We did spend a little time talking about the crane manufacturer that refuses to hire until President Obama is out of office.

Click here to listen...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner at the GOP House - Cartoon

Steve Sack - Star Tribune (MN)

Time to Take Out the Trash - A List of House Members in the Tea Party Caucus

Sandy Adams (FL-24)
Robert Aderholt (AL-04)
Todd Akin (MO-02)
Rodney Alexander (LA-05)
Michele Bachmann (MN-06)
Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06)
Joe Barton (TX-06)
Rob Bishop (UT-01)
Gus Bilirakis (FL-09)
Diane Black (TN-06)
Paul Broun (GA-10)
Michael Burgess (TX-26)
Dan Burton (IN-05)
John Carter (TX-31)
Bill Cassidy (LA-06)
Howard Coble (NC-06)
Mike Coffman (CO-06)
Ander Crenshaw (FL-04)
John Culberson (TX-07)
Jeff Duncan (SC-03)
Blake Farenthold (TX-27)
Stephen Lee Fincher (TN-08)
John Fleming (LA-04)
Trent Franks (AZ-02)
Phil Gingrey (GA-11)
Louie Gohmert (TX-01)
Vicky Hartzler (MO-04)
Wally Herger (CA-02)
Tim Huelskamp (KS-01)
Lynn Jenkins (KS-02)
Steve King (IA-05)
Doug Lamborn (CO-05)
Jeff Landry (LA-03)
Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-09)
Kenny Marchant (TX-24)
Tom McClintock (CA-04)
David McKinley (WV-01)
Gary Miller (CA-42)
Mick Mulvaney (SC-05)
Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)
Rich Nugent (FL-05)
Steven Palazzo (MS-04)
Steve Pearce (NM-02)
Mike Pence (IN-06)
Ted Poe (TX-02)
Tom Price (GA-06)
Denny Rehberg (MT-At large)
David Roe (TN-01)
Dennis Ross (FL-12)
Edward Royce (CA-40)
Steve Scalise (LA-01)
Pete Sessions (TX-32)
Adrian Smith (NE-03)
Lamar Smith (TX-21)
Cliff Stearns (FL-06)
Tim Walberg (MI-07)
Joe Walsh (IL-08)
Allen West (FL-22)
Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03)
Joe Wilson (SC-02)

Georgia Company: “We’re Not Hiring Until Obama Is Gone”

I have an easy answer... BOYCOTT U.S. CRANES!!

Mistress Clarissa Offers an Example of Trickle Down Economics.

This sure isn't the description Reagan offered...

(Warning... Graphic Content)

Monday, November 21, 2011

10 Things You Should Know About the UC Davis Police Violence

By Angus Johnston of StudentActivism.net

1. The protest at which UC Davis police officers used pepper spray and batons against unresisting demonstrators was an entirely nonviolent one.

2. The unauthorized tent encampment was dismantled before the pepper spraying began.
3. Students did not restrict the movement of police at any time during the demonstration.

4. Lt. Pike was not in fear for his safety when he sprayed the students.

5. University of California Police are not authorized to use pepper spray except in circumstances in which it is necessary to prevent physical injury to themselves or others. 

6. UC police are not authorized to use physical force except to control violent offenders or keep suspects from escaping.

 7. The UC Davis Police made no effort to remove the student demonstrators from the walkway peacefully before using pepper spray against them.

8. Use of pepper spray and other physical force continued after the students’ minimal obstruction of the area around the police ended.

9. Even after police began using unprovoked and unlawful violence against the students, they remained peaceful.

10. The students’ commitment to nonviolence extended to their use of language.  

For More Information:   

A Challenge to "News Talk" KTLK, in Minneapols

Believe it or not, I'm quite flattered that our local right wing radio station, here in Minneapolis, takes the time to inform me when they've posted up a parody song that makes fun of the Occupy movement.  I don't know how many other local progressive bloggers or commentators that they find worthy enough to do this for. Unlike many liberals, I don't get all bent out of shape when I see this type of thing.  I understand that they're simply playing to their base.  After all, I'm not above doing a little parody myself, on the right wing looney tunes, such as Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann.

The problem I have with KTLK is that they call themselves a "news talk" station.  But with right wing mainstays such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, anybody with a second grade education can understand that they are nothing more than a springboard for conservative propaganda.  I feel that if they wanted to open the door to real dialog, they would also have programming that featured left leaning talk show hosts.

I'd be lying if I were to say that I wasn't the first individual that came to mind in such a venture.  However, there are a couple of other people who have more radio experience that would also be a good fit. Namely Nick Coleman or even Matt McNeil, who currently has a gig at KTNF-AM, the area's only true progressive talk radio station.

Personally, I think it would make for great radio to have a local progressive and conservative hosts team up on the same show.  After all what is talk radio, other than a platform to foster discussion?

I understand that such a radical change would have to be cleared by KTLK's parent company, Clear Channel Communications.  But I invite management of the station, who I know check this blog on a regular basis, to pass the word onto their higher ups.  Let's have a real discussion.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Who Knew Michele Bachmann Was an Aquarius?

The Minnesota Congresswoman is pouring water for the 7 male candidates, as well as the moderator, at yesterday's "Family Values" Debate. Why?

  1. She wanted to prove to the GOP that she could hold her water.
  2. Her idea of family values is be subservient to the men in the room.
  3. She figured it was going to be the only camera time she'd get.

Thank you, "Laffy," from The Political Carnival.

Minneapolis Cop Uses Squad Car to Push Protester

Officer... If this man has done something wrong, get your lazy ass out of the car and arrest him. Using a two ton vehicle to push someone, especially with as slick as these roads are is downright dangerous.

I sincerely hope Twin Cities media outlets pick up on this.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What's Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions

WASHINGTON—With the United States facing a daunting array of problems at home and abroad, leading historians courteously reminded the nation Thursday that when making tough choices, it never hurts to stop a moment, take a look at similar situations from the past, and then think about whether the decisions people made back then were good or bad.
According to the historians, by looking at things that have already happened, Americans can learn a lot about which actions made things better versus which actions made things worse, and can then plan their own actions accordingly.
"In the coming weeks and months, people will have to make some really important decisions about some really important issues," Columbia University historian Douglas R. Collins said during a press conference, speaking very slowly and clearly so the nation could follow his words. "And one thing we can do, before making a choice that has permanent consequences for our entire civilization, is check real quick first to see if human beings have ever done anything like it previously, and see if turned out to be a good idea or not."
"It's actually pretty simple: We just have to ask ourselves if people doing the same thing in the past caused something bad to happen," Collins continued. "Did the thing we're thinking of doing make people upset? Did it start a war? If it did, then we might want to think about not doing it."
In addition, Collins carefully explained that if a past decision proved to be favorable—if, for example, it led to increased employment, caused fewer deaths, or made lots of people feel good inside— then the nation should consider following through with the same decision now.
While the new strategy, known as "Look Back Before You Act," has raised concerns among people worried they will have to remember lots of events from long ago, the historians have assured Americans they won't be required to read all the way through thick books or memorize anything.
Instead, citizens have been told they can just find a large-print, illustrated timeline of historical events, place their finger on an important moment, and then look to the right of that point to see what happened afterward, paying especially close attention to whether things got worse or better.
"You know how the economy is not doing so well right now?" Professor Elizabeth Schuller of the University of North Carolina said. "Well, in the 1930s, financial markets—no, wait, I'm sorry. Here: A long, long time ago, way far in the past, certain things happened that were a lot like things now, and they made people hungry and sad."
"How do you feel when you're hungry? Doesn't feel good, does it?" Schuller added. "So, maybe we should avoid doing those things that caused people to feel that way, don't you think?"
Concluding their address, the panel of scholars provided a number of guidelines to help implement the strategy, reminding the nation that the biggest decisions required the most looking back, and stressing the importance of checking the past before one makes a decision, not afterward, when the decision has already been made.
While many citizens have expressed skepticism of the historians' assertions, the majority of Americans have reportedly grasped the concept of noticing bad things from earlier times and trying not to repeat them.
"I get it. If we do something bad that happened before, then the same bad thing could happen again," said Barb Ennis, 48, of Pawtucket, RI. "We don't want history to happen again, unless the thing that happened was good."
"When you think about it, a lot of things have happened already," Ennis added. "That's what history is."
In Washington, several elected officials praised the looking-back-first strategy as a helpful, practical tool with the potential to revolutionize government.
"The things the historians were saying seemed complicated at first, but now it makes sense to me," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who reversed his opposition to oil-drilling safety regulations after checking past events and finding a number of "very, very sad things [he] didn't like." "I just wished they'd told us about this trick before."
For more news:


Despicable Act By Police at UC Davis

Watch as this cop sprays several peaceful protesters with pepper spray.

Reportedly, the officer depicted is Lieutenant John Pike. 530-752-39­89 japikeiii@­ucdavis.ed­u

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bachmann: ‘I Haven’t Had A Gaffe’


Well at least I haven’t gaffed, says Michele Bachmann, the woman who confused the birthplace of John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy, the state where the first shot of the Revolution was fired with New Hampshire, Elvis’ birthday with the day he died and vaccines with the cause of mental retardation — all in the past year.

That doesn’t even include the time she joked that God was sending a message about spending via deadly hurricane.

It’s not like she hasn’t put her foot in her mouth on stage, like Rick Perry — it was standing on stage right after a debate that Bachmann whipped out the vaccine = retardation thing.

And, of course, there are many, many more.

Read More: