Friday, December 14, 2018

The Friday Link for 12/14/18

OKAY, OKAY...the blog has been really light...

I sat down about 11 times this week to write and I either realized I had something more pressing I had to do, OR I was exhausted.  I actually have two blog posts written, but I've not had time to proofread and edit them.  Considering how angry people get at me for typos on the Twitter feed, I dare not publish anything before I've cleaned them up.

That being said, you deserve better than three weeks of a nearly empty blog.  I will get some more posts published in the next week, I promise.

For this week, I've three for you.  First an incredibly satisfying takedown of Fox News' streaming service by Samantha Bee.  She hasn't had her comedic bite since the whole Ivanka dust up, but this was A+ primo comedy. Warning, ROUGH language, but 'Birth of a Fox Nation' is brilliant!

Next up is the best skit so far from Saturday Night Live this season, Them Trumps.  Of course this is what would happen to Trump if he was African American, and most of Trump's current supporters would be cheering this outcome if he was.

And finally for something Holiday, how about some mass marketing! This little skit was only about marketing the movie, and more specifically Lego toys before the holidays, but it's enjoyable.  I choose not to be a Scrooge!  Enjoy!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Friday Link for 12/7/18

Hey all.

I know, I know.  The blog has been a little light this week.  It's the holidays and with it comes a stress level that's magical. I'll try to get a post out this weekend.

This Friday night I wanted something to put you in the holiday spirit, so I found John Denver and The Muppets Christmas special from 1979.  I remember seeing this on TV as a kid.  It's not the best quality, but it still will make you smile.

I feel John Denver is an under appreciated artist.  Most of us know his songs, but I don't think many people would list him in their top five if asked to name some of the biggest artists of the seventies. His poppy country music was almost it's own genre, mountain pop, where his love of America's rural wilderness balanced with his simple wholesome song lyrics.  He always sang from the heart.

When I was in the Army, stationed in Germany, the pubs and bars were packed with beer and live music.  Of course the Beatles' songs were always the most popular ones sung, but my God, did the crowds love the John Denver songs.  I remember many a Friday night closing down one specific pub where the Germans and Irish would be loudly belting out "Take Me Home, Country Roads."

John Denver died little over 21 years ago in a plane crash in California.

Enjoy John in his holiday best, with the always entertaining Muppets.

Have a great weekend everyone, and I will try to get a post up by Sunday.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Friday Link for 11/30/18

As the city of Minneapolis tries to digest the ugly story of officers in the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct putting up a racist themed Christmas tree...

...hold on a quick second...


Any who...

Since they opened the door, let's take us back to when the Minneapolis Police Union and KSTP made international headlines when they tried a political smear campaign agains former Mayor Betsy Hodges with the now infamous #Pointergate!

Since Jon Stewart is back, why not also include his three segment stint interviewing Stephen Colbert on The Late Show.  You forget how good Stewart was at interviewing people, and how he could actually ask tough questions.  This is a fun interview.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Community Pride

This weekend I had a recurring conversation.  A friend who lives in Minnetonka wanted to console me for my hellscape existence in the town I live in, Hopkins.  I informed them there was no need to throw pity my way, as not only is my town doing great, Hopkins is what America should strive to be.

Most of time when I'm correcting false notions about Hopkins it's due to a common problem.  A person moves from Hopkins to a wealthier neighborhood in one of the surrounding communities (Minnetonka, Edina, Eden Prairie or Wayzata) and to validate their decision, they vilify Hopkins, implying their 'escape' from the town was on par with the Millennium Falcon barely getting out of the mouth of that asteroid worm.  It's fantastic you were able to move to a wealthier neighborhood, but just because you did doesn't mean the neighborhood you left was bad.  I've lived in my Hopkins house for almost 20 years.  Not only is my neighborhood sensational, there have only been two crime related police calls in my immediate neighborhood in two decades. TWO!  Not exactly a hellscape.

Part of Hopkins problem is they were a less desirable community for many years.  The glory days of their agricultural roots were a faint memory by the 1980's, when the town was mostly known for cheap housing, dive bars and hair metal motorcycle gangs.  But then Hopkins started to resurrect it's reputation, beginning with the opening of the Hopkins Center for the Arts.  They embraced a new focus, encouraging a more family friendly environment.  AND Hopkins did this while maintaining standards for affordable housing and accessibility.  The city's done a magnificent job.

It doesn't help Hopkins that it is surrounded by some of the wealthiest communities in the state.  Any community would seem subpar when compared with the million dollar McMansions which crop up just across the borders.  While the surrounding wealthy communities have changed, moving away from their upper class working family roots to embrace the trend of buying up smaller houses, tearing them down and then building a 7000 square foot monstrosity replacement house to the property lines, Hopkins has maintained most of their 1950's Americana suburban, single family charm.  This is because Hopkins has very strict zoning laws which prevent a Hopkins McMansion from becoming reality.  The house can only be a certain percentage of the property size.  This rule has been a Godsend for Hopkins, saving it from the wrong kind of development.  It's kept Hopkins unique, and in turn made it more desirable.

Even with preservation rules and affordable housing standards in place, Hopkins is still more upper class than lower class.  The average median housing price in Minnesota is $230,000.  Hopkins is $252,000, placing it squarely in the upper middle class range.

And Hopkins is about to go through a MAJOR renaissance.  The Southwest Light Rail Line is starting to be built, and with it comes three stops in Hopkins.  The light rail lines on University and Hiawatha have dramatically revitalized those communities, bringing in long overdue development and investment.  You should expect the same in Hopkins, as developmental property around the stations will make for a good return on many levels.  Already Hopkins has seen the addition of two brand new apartment complexes, and both were almost immediately full.  Expect the positive development trend to continue.

In my mind, what makes Hopkins truly sensational is how really unique it is; real ethnic diversity in a middle class suburban environment. I graduated Edina in 1986 and that school was almost exclusively white.  While Edina was a fantastic school, it did not prepare me for the real world on that level.  The streets and schools of Hopkins are a cornucopia of racial diversity.  Regardless of the irrational fear of some, this is a representation of the world we're heading towards.  It doesn't mean there aren't still issues, but having a more diverse community brings awareness and conversations which help drive Hopkins in the right direction.

This article is by no means an effort to bad mouth the wealthy suburbs of the southwest metro.  They're fantastic and offer a lot to their residents.  I don't have to bad mouth my neighboring communities to make myself feel better about living in Hopkins.  To paraphrase Prince:  "I like Minnetonka, Edina, Eden Prairie and Wayzata.  I just like Hopkins a little bit better."

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Saturday Link for 11/24/18

I know it's late this week, but I did have a plateful of things to do the last few days.  I hosted Thanksgiving at my house, cooked most of it, then made the most kick caboose soup you'll ever have.  I had created a window to do some writing yesterday, by my wife mentioned it was the last over 40 degree day before Christmas and so if I wanted to get the outdoor Christmas lights up without freezing, I'd better get moving.

That was not the chore I wanted to add to my agenda, but I did get it all done, and last night I spent the evening watching "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" and MST3K with the kiddos.  Priorities!

For this week, how about some of the better appraisals from Antique Roadshow.  These are jaw dropping finds which I've watched multiple times. Enjoy!

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Terry John Zila's Thanksgiving Recipes

Every year we have Terry John Zila, a fantastic local chef, join us on the radio show before Thanksgiving to talk turkey and other holiday favorites.  Every year, I post the recipes to the blog for you to enjoy.

Here are this year's recipes.  You can click and copy on any of the images to have a copy for yourself, Or you can do a screen grab.

I stand by all of these because Terry is a great chef!  Enjoy!

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Friday Link for 11/16/18

Howdy all!

This week I first want to post something which will infuriate many people, especially Republicans, and the Christians who keep voting for them.

It's always bothered me the religion I was taught was based on love and acceptance would ever be used to push hatred, but that's exactly what the Evangelical Republican Christians have allowed their version of Christianity to become.  They made abortion the only thing that mattered in their religion, dismissing the passages geared toward fighting hunger, curing disease, ending homelessness and fighting injustice from their Bibles.  Political homophobic opportunists cherry picked a few passages, mainly from Leviticus and Paul's letter to the Romans, to justify hating gay people.  Abortion and hating Gays is what the Bible has become for most Republican Christians.

Jesus never told us to hate, ever.  If you are a Christian, then you believe in Jesus's teachings, especially when they contradict earlier lessons from the Old Testament, and especially when they go against other church leaders who are preaching hate.  Your Chrisitan life should have no place for a Republican Party platform which directly goes against most of what makes you Christian.  Jesus and Deuteronomy directly tell us one of the two unbreakable rules is "Love Thy Neighbor." Republican Christians might claim they do, but they clearly don't.

I offer in my defense GOP Jesus.  This is absolutely a spot on merging of Republican policy with the Christian Bible many Republican voters claim to follow.  Conclusion: they're not compatible.  There's a reason the amount of people attending church is shrinking, and I guarantee it's not the people who are welcoming and compassionate to all who enter turning off the masses.

On a completely different topic, Meet Roger Webb, an Australian master woodworker.  This guy might not seem like a You Tube superstar, but look at the play count on this video. 11 million plus!!!

Why?  This is therapeutic watching.  Roger is a master woodworker making outstanding pieces.  What he does seems easy, but that is a lifetime of practice on display.  Enjoy!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Since the election, I've had over a dozen people insist I've got a double standard when it comes to politicians accused of abuse, whether physical, mental or sexual.  It stems from Rightos trying to make themselves feel better for Keith Ellison becoming Minnesota's Attorney General by insisting on some sort of morality failure on behalf of all of his voters, a morality they insist they still have intact.  For the record, anyone who has championed Trump has zero ability to question mine or anyone else's morality.  Theirs dried up years ago.

I'm not going to spend this post defending Ellison over Wardlow.  Doug Wardlow, the Republican's candidate, was deeply flawed on his own level.  I've gone on record stating a more moderate Republican would've likely won against Ellison, but that's a subject for another day.  Today, I only want to focus on whether or not I've been consistent.

In my opinion, I have been.

When Ellison's ex-girlfriend made allegations of abuse against him, right before the official Democratic Primary vote, I VERY CLEARLY stated if these accusations against Ellison were true, he should withdraw from the race (you can find my shows here:  His ex girlfriend stated she had a video tape of the abuse, but then refused to show said tape to anyone.  Why?  If the tape is real, no one has a clue outside of her.  I went onto state there should be a thorough investigation, and if the allegations are proven to be true, Ellison should (depending on when the accusations were proven to have merit) either withdraw from the AG race, or resign the Attorney Generals position.  If the allegations were proven to be false, then Ellison should have the ability to seek recourse for his damaged reputation.

Abuse allegations seem to come in three different varieties.  First are the ones where there's an immediate amount of substantial evidence the party being accused is guilty of the crime.  When this type of case arises, pretty much everyone is in unison; the guilty party should resign and face the consequences of their behavior.  One important definition in regards to these cases: it's not about what one side WANTS to be true.  It's about undeniable evidence coming to light of unacceptable behavior. Keith Ellison's allegation (as long as the video tape is not verified, and regardless of what the right wing WANTS to be true) doesn't fall into this category.

Then there are the allegations where a person comes forward to accuse someone of abuse, but the evidence is primarily 'he said, she said;' unsubstantiated allegations where there are no other witnesses to the actual abuse.  There might be evidence which points to the abuse happening, but nothing definitive, hence why a full investigation is needed.  This is where Ellison's allegation comes in.  In Ellison's case, the alleged abuse tape could elevate his allegations to a confirmed case of abuse, but without the tape, it becomes a 'he said, she said' accusation.

The third type of case is one where there are multiple, separate allegations of inappropriate behavior.  Justice Brett Kavanaugh, former Senator Al Franken and Trump himself fall into this realm.  Where each individual allegation of abuse is still a 'he said, she said' situation, multiple allegations against the individual establish a pattern of behavior which call for an immediate investigation.  Once again, there might be evidence which points to the abuse happening, but nothing definitive, hence why a full legitimate investigation is needed.

The Minnesota DFL took the Ellison matter very seriously, hiring an outside attorney to conduct an investigation.  The investigation determined the only piece of evidence which could prove Ellison's guilt or innocence is the alleged video, which the ex-girlfriend still refuses to release. Without the video, it comes down to a 'he said, she said' situation.  Then in an effort to show due diligence, the DFL tried to hand the case over to county prosecutors and local police for further investigation. Ellison himself called on the US House to conduct a full investigation into the allegations against him, something a guilty person would probably be hesitant to do.

Here's where I've been consistent,  In both the Kavanaugh and the Ellison cases (even though there were multiple allegations against Kavanaugh and only one allegation against Ellison), I called for the EXACT SAME course of action.  I wanted a fair investigation into both individuals.  If a fair investigation proves abuse, then appropriate action should be taken.  In the case of Kavanaugh, a fair investigation did not happen. Trump and the Republican's 'investigation' made it impossible for his accusers to prove their claims, even if a drunk Kavanaugh admitted to them in front of the Senate (even then, I still think the GOP would have approved him).  I've stated from the beginning of the accusations against Kavanaugh:  "Investigate him fairly and completely, and if the investigation proves to be unfounded, then, by all means, confirm him to the Supreme Court."

For the record, IF the abuse allegation against Ellison is proven to be true, then he should resign immediately, not only for his unacceptable behavior, but for running the Minnesota DFL thought his maze of lies.

I believe all people deserve to have the chance to defend themselves, as long as the investigations are conducted fairly.  This is one of the main regrets I've had about Senator Al Franken leaving office.  Two of the people making allegations against him clearly had political motivations (and mysteriously Trump BFF Roger Stone was mixed up in these allegations too), but since the bellowing screams from the right were "no investigation, only resignation," Franken never got a chance to defend himself.

Righto's are incredibly inconsistent when it comes to abuse allegations.  They claim anyone who supported Ellison is a hypocrite because many Democrats questioned Kavanaugh after the multiple allegations against him, but here's the catch.  Republicans themselves never held Kavanaugh to ANY standard.  They only use the Democrat's calls for investigation to imply they themselves were for investigating Kavanaugh when they clearly weren't!  Even though Kavanaugh wasn't held to any real scrutiny (outside of a carefully orchestrated dog and pony show investigation with very limited scope) Republicans demand Ellison withdraw/resign without an investigation because...frankly I have no idea how the modern Republican's logic circuits work.  Once again, this is them trying to claw themselves out of the gutter back to a pseudo-high road position by implying they have a morality the other side doesn't, a morality they themselves never display.

This highlights the insane modern Republican inconsistency.  If a Democrat is accused of abuse, the want an immediate resignation, a public apology and for every Democrat who voted for the individual to apologize in triplicate.  If a Republican is accused, they immediately dismiss the allegation, attack the victim (usually with death threats), and demand no investigation ever happen.  Even when a Republican is caught with substantial evidence against them, Republicans will still refuse to condemn them by name.  Try to get a Republican to condemn Kavanaugh, former MN House Rep. Tony Cornish, or Trump himself.  They can't call these people out by name.

Media outlets only like to point out alleged Democratic inconsistencies, even though the Republican inconsistency is a sledge hammer hitting them in the face.  The evidence against Kavanaugh is far more damning when compared to the evidence against Ellison, but most of the media gives Republicans an unearned benefit of the doubt.  I've heard media in Minneapolis St. Paul, even sports guys, state the allegations against Ellison were enough evidence to justify him withdrawing from the AG race, but yet they haven't called for ANY Republican to resign, including Trump, whose allegations against him are more consistent and damning than anything Ellison is accused of.  The predictable narrative most media accepts is 'Democrats are evil, and Republicans are incorrigible scamps.'

I've called for investigations into Ellison, Kavanaugh, Franken and Trump.  In all four cases, I've said if the evidence proves them guilty, they should all step aside.  I've been consistent, much to Republican and media pundit chagrin.  If you're still wanting to call me out, that's more on you than it is on me.

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Friday Link for 11/9/18

I hope everyone has a great weekend, but make sure on Sunday to take a moment to say a big thank you to all Veterans who have served our country, from the Revolutionary War (where we kicked the British's cabooses for trying to stymie Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press), to the Civil War (where we kicked the anti-American traitorous Confederates cabooses), to World War II (where we kicked the Nazi's cabooses), to the recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Also remember all who served during peace time, and the families of those we lost on the battle field.

For the Friday Link, the immortal Bob Hope gets Caught in the Draft, from 1941.  This was when the Nazis were the bad guys, not welcomed and tolerated as a part of a certain political party. Bob would not approve!


For all who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Marines, and the Coast Guard, thank you for your service!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Democrats, Enjoy This!

What a night to be a Democrat, especially a Democrat in Minnesota.  It was spectacular.  Let me break it down, race by race:

US House - The US House of Representatives went back to the Democrats.  It's looking like the final total will be somewhere around a 225 to 228 seat majority.  To achieve this, the Democrats had to do a frontal attack on an election system which has been unbelievably manipulated against them.  Inexcusable gerrymandering, a massive money and media advantage, rigged voting rules and purged voter databases made what they accomplished almost impossible.  The final advantage for the Democrats was a national popular vote margin of 9.2%.  How impressive is 9.2%?  In 2010, when Republicans bragged for two years how they had a mandate from the American people to screw this country up, their margin of victory was only 7.2%.  The Contract with America uprising in 1994 was only 7.1%.  The only time in the last 25 years we've had a stronger advantage by an individual party was when the Democrats dominated in 2008, with a 10.6%.

That's what makes this US House win even more amazing.  In 2008, we were in an economy which was imploding, and stuck in a war many Americans wanted to be over.  In 2018, the economy is doing very well, and our military deployments are mostly ignored.  This massive Democratic Party advantage is simply Americans repudiating Trump.

If this was a fair election process, the Democrats would be looking at a rout more like 1930 or 1932.  The Republicans, through their fixed system, were able to stop the bleeding, but not before they had to concede the losses.  Although I would've loved to see a majority closer to 235-240, at least we'll now have some level of oversight of what is clearly the most corrupt 'leader' in US History.

I also still think there is a legit chance Trump, out of fear the Democrats will get access to his tax returns, will resign his office right before the new year, making a deal with the outgoing Republican majority to keep his tax returns private for eternity.

Minnesota's Senators and the US Senate - Both Minnesota's Senators are Democrats, as Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith both won re-election.  While Amy's competition was a laughing stock, Tina did have a little more of a challenge in Karin Housley. Then Karin decided to feature her husband, former NHL player Phil, in a campaign ad, and she never recovered from the optics of it.  Amy and Tina will have a less friendly Senate to return to, as the Republicans bucked the mid-term trend and won seats in the Senate in 2018.  That wasn't so much on Republican popularity, as Democratic Senate candidates had a 12 point overall lead in the national popular vote but still lost 3 seats.  This was partially the rigged system, but it was also the aftermath of a massive Senate victory for the Democrats in 2012, President Obama's re-election year.  There were just too many seats for the Democrats to feasibly hold in a crooked system created by the Republicans.

Minnesota Governor and the Minnesota statewide races - We say goodbye to a great governor in Mark Dayton by welcoming in a well qualified Tim Walz, the former MN-01 House Rep who will take over the Governor's mansion.  The governor's race wasn't really in question as the Republican candidate Jeff Johnson made a glass of skim milk look exciting.  This was an relatively easy layup of a victory, an 11% win.  If the MNGOP would've stayed with Tim Pawlenty, my guess is it would've been closer, but still a Walz win.

Two of the other statewide races were a little closer for the Democrats.  Steve Simon won another term as Secretary of State by 9 points, and Julie Blaha won the State Auditor position by 6.  Usually these race differentials would match the governor's race margins, so there's a question of how many Republicans disliked Johnson as the MNGOP Governor nominee?

Minnesota Attorney General - Keith Ellison, the former Rep from MN-05, won the Attorney General position over Republican Doug Wardlow.  We all know the race featured two flawed candidates.  This is something I won't revisit here, but you can read about it at this link:

The reason the Republicans lost this race is due to their flawed selection process.  When they saw Keith Ellison was likely going to be the DFL nominee, they mistakenly interpreted the race as an easy win.  They thought all they had to do was run a campaign screaming "Beware the Black Muslim Man!" and the voters would flock to anyone they put the 'R' next to.  They decided to go with the far right extreme candidate in Wardlow.  If the MNGOP would've gone with someone like Johnson or Housley, they probably would've won, but when Wardlow's true nature started getting exposed, it negated the Right's fear mongering.  Because they went with an extreme zealot, they lost.

MN-02 and MN-03 - Finally, two of the most worthless Republicans I've ever seen, Representatives Jason Lewis and Erik Paulsen, lost. Lewis should've never won in 2016, but because he kept his past misogynistic and bigoted radio show comments hidden from voters, and because a third party candidate pulled just enough of the vote away from the Democrat, he got one term in the US House.  He's gone now, as Angie Craig won the rematch of the 2016 race.  Erik Paulsen's lack of a real record, and an unnatural fear of talking to his constituents, met it's match in Dean Phillips, an outstanding Democrat who took the MN-03 seat by 11%.  Paulsen was like a lot of Republicans who were undone by their health care votes; tied to his constant repeal of the Affordable Care Act while not having a replacement plan ready to go.  It becomes hard to convince people you really have a health care plan when you haven't produced one in 8 years.

Minnesota House - This was the best caboose kicking by the Democrats of the night, as a whopping 18 seats flipped from the Republicans to the Democrats.  The Republicans lost pretty much every suburban Twin Cities metro seat they had, even in outlying wealthy suburbs which they thought offered protection.  The Republicans were undone by a few things, starting with an exceptional slate of Minnesota DFL candidates, many of whom were furious with the broken Republican version of government.

Outgoing Speaker Kurt Daudt miscalculated on two initiatives.  First, his lack of any mass transit funding for the 16th largest metro area in the country left a bad taste in the mouth of many suburbanites, many who have to tackle hour long, one way commutes to get to work.  Secondly, the Omnibus Prime bill was a massive mistake.  Last session, there were a lot of popular stand alone bills with bi-partisan support the Governor was willing to sign.  Instead, Daudt threw them all into one massive, un-Constitutional 1000 page monster bill (Omnibus Prime), a blatant effort to use the popular bi-partisan items to get his extreme partisan agenda items passed.  What he did with Omnibus Prime was the epitome of bad government, something which in turn united many voters against the MNGOP.

Daudt's funny.  His greatest nemesis has been Mark Dayton, a governor who's brilliantly counter punched the Speaker at every turn, over and over again.  Just when Daudt thinks he's going to be able to get rid of Dayton, he loses the Speakership.  He's now subject to the will of incoming Speaker Melissa Hortman.  Paraphrasing Goodfellas, "grab your Shinebox Kurt."  Dayton gets one more laugh as he leaves office, at your expense.

There were three less than ideal outcomes for the Democrats on Election night in Minnesota.  The MN-01 and MN-08 seats both flipped to the Republicans.  MN-01 was a Republican district held by Tim Walz, so that was always going to be a tough hold, (although it was a very tight race).  Trump basically bought MN-08 with his steel tariff strategy, with the Iron Range being one of the few areas of the country which benefits from his asinine trade policy.  Also, the Minnesota Senate will stay in the hands of the MNGOP, as the special election in MN-13 saw a Republican victory.  The right spent so much money on that race, with near daily visits from recognizable Republicans, they were begging the voters to keep the district Republican.  Regardless, the Senate still has to work with a Democratic Governor and House.

I've heard some Democrats bemoan the loss of some of the high profile stand alone races, namely the Senate race in Texas, the Governor's race in Georgia, and the Governor's race in Florida.  To them I say "STOP IT!"  Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the Democrats sweep the table, but considering what the Democrats accomplished on Tuesday, I'll take those losses.  Too many years, we've lost the war, trying to hang our pride on one or two individual races to make ourselves feel better. I'd much rather have won the US House this time around, as a single senator or a state governor can't hold Trump accountable.  Plus the governor races in Wisconsin and Kansas were pretty spectacular GOP meltdowns, so there's your gravy!

Democrats, enjoy this.  Take the rest of the week, and then get ready to begin again on Monday!  If we don't take back the White House, the Senate and the majority of state Legislatures in 2020, we'll have another ten years of this crap.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Matt's Guide to Voting

Many Trump/Republican voters are furious.  They're viciously mad at the minority Democrats, a party who currently holds as much power in our government as a turnip, for allegedly derailing their agenda, but the reality is their agenda came up against reality.  It's one thing to support a racist bigoted jackass who says he'll stop, jail, or kill his enemies.  It's a completely different thing to put a racist, bigoted agenda into place in the US.  The Federal Government's rules make it difficult to make earth shattering federal platform changing decisions quickly.

It's one of the two reasons modern Trump voters (and if you're a Republican you're a Trump voter) are flirting with the idea of scrubbing Democracy as a whole, embracing a more authoritarian/fascist/dictator type of rule.  The three branches of Government and the Constitution make huge racist changes to America difficult, so Righto voters are entertaining the idea of moving away from the system of checks and balances (not exactly like the Republicans in Congress are doing much anyway) to give Trump some level of absolute power.  They've convinced themselves a primary individual plutocracy is more what the founding fathers wanted.  It's also the only way they're going to stay in absolute power in the age of Trump.

The other reason the right is entertaining a dictatorship is the same reason they're really upset.  Even they have to admit this experiment with Trump has been an utter disaster.  He's put babies into prisons, sold off our national park land, and even made a tax cut so unappetizing it's making Republicans afraid of offering another.  Republican voters are looking in the mirror and realizing for a split second they're the problem.  Middle and lower class conservative voters have handed over their power to the ultra wealthy because they've been indoctrinated into HATING Democrats more than they love their quality of life, health, kids, religion, and their own country.  But instead of admitting they were wrong, wearing their shame, it's easier for them to embrace scrapping Democracy.  They're willing to end America because they're terrified of being embarrassed.

The first step at fixing this mess is a simple one.  If you were one of the 110,000,000 US citizens registered to vote in 2016, but who didn't, now is the time to correct that mistake.  What 2016 undeniably showed us is that sometimes you vote to prevent a truly horrible, evil person from getting into power.

Are you registered to vote?  In Minnesota you can find out at the Minnesota Secretary of State's page:

If you're not in Minnesota, search for your individual state's Secretary of State page.

Do you know where to vote?  Once again check with your Secretary of State, but most town's City Hall have a person who can tell you where you vote, based on your address.

Remember not only are there Federal races, but a plethora of local races too.  Depending on your state, you might be choosing your Governor, your state Senators, your state House Representatives, your county commissioners, school boards, mayors and many other local civic positions.  There's usually a spate of judges to vote for too.  In Minnesota, to my knowledge, there are only two contested juridical races, where two appointees of Governor Mark Dayton (one on the MN Supreme Court [Chutich], and one on the Court of Appeals [Jesson]) are being challenged by outside candidates.  You're welcome!

Republicans, especially ones in major metro area suburban districts, are terrified of being identified as Republicans.  This is why you've seen Republicans with purple, orange, green and even Democratic Blue campaign signs, signs which make no mention of their Republican Party affiliation.  Talk to everyone getting ready to vote and make sure they check to see which party the candidates represent.  Make sure EVERYONE asks the question "why would this person work so hard at hiding which political party they belong to?"  If they're being deceptive, they probably shouldn't get your vote.

My suggestion would be to vote a straight Democratic ticket.  In Minnesota, I'll vote for the Minnesota DFL from the top of the ticket (Senators Klobuchar and Smith) to the bottom of the ticket (my Minnesota House Rep, Cheryl Youakim).

The Republicans don't deserve to stay in power at either the national or state level.  All they have done is hand over tax payer dollars to the wealthy, and in turn cut the programs and services we depend on.  They've failed at all levels.  The only way they'll learn they're wrong is for them to lose.  The incumbent Republicans haven't done squat to deserve another chance, and electing the new Republicans would only lead to more of the same.

Let's be honest about the Republicans.  They knew Trump had a less than Christian pedigree (to say the least).  They knew he mocked the disabled.  They knew he threatened to sexually assault a married woman.  They knew all about him, implied he probably should get their vote, and regardless they all voted for him in 2016.  They will ALL show up again and vote in 2018.  They will!  This was never about getting them to stay at home.  This was always about getting a large portion of that 110 million who sat out 2016 to the polls in 2018.

Ask your family, friends, and coworkers if they are registered to vote, if they know where to vote and ask if they are planning to vote.  It's your right as at US citizens.  Please don't waste it again.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Friday Link for 11/2/18

The Minnesota Attorney General's race has become a regular discussion topic on my show.

First, right before the primary, Keith Ellison, the Democrat, was accused of abuse by his ex-girlfriend who insisted she has video evidence of the abuse, but refused to show it to anyone.  Ellison asked for the Minnesota DFL to investigate, which they did, and they couldn't substantiate the claim.  They've tried to hand the case over to law enforcement for further investigation; NOT because they think something is there.  They want to make this investigation is as above board as possible.  Also, Ellison has asked the US House to investigate the claims, something a guilty man usually doesn't do.

Then the Republican, Doug Wardlow, a guy who tried to play himself off as a wholesome non-partisan candidate (who just happened to stumble into the GOP nomination), went full nuclear.  His campaign could be summed up as "black, Muslim man beating up women!" A right leaning "news" outlet (seeming to be helping out Wardlow) went to court to open up Ellison's divorce records to see if there was any allegations of abuse in those records.

Wardlow then started to implode.  He was caught on tape saying he'd fire all the Democratic attorneys in the AG office when he wins, and replace them with Republican attorneys, implying he would push a pure partisan agenda (so much for the wholesomeness).  Then people started to look into his employment record, finding a lot of connections to groups which are extremely anti-LGBTQ, groups who try to write laws from the courtroom.

Then came the allegations of extreme bullying from Wardlow's high school ex classmates, allegations which have some level of corroboration, allegations which seem to be scaring the crap out of Wardlow.  The Ellison divorce papers were released, showing he was actually covering up for his ex wife and her abusive behavior (stemming from a medical diagnosis and depression. All they did by forcing open the divorce papers is to publicly shame a private citizen and her family), and now it's discovered Wardlow's wife's social media featured many hate based allegations against Ellison.  Her social media pages have been freshly scrubbed.

On top off all of that, the Grassroots Party candidate (legalize marijuana) Noah Johnson is now wanting all of his followers to vote for Ellison.  It's been a hoot, especially in a year when most of the Minnesota races seem to be yawners.

Why is the AG race so important?  For the Friday Link, John Oliver explains why (almost like it was on cue!).  As always, watch for rough language:

Have a great weekend everyone, AND FOR GOODNESS SAKE, VOTE!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Trump Top 20 Countdown for the Week of 10/22/18

Welcome to the Weekly Top 20 Countdown of Trump's ineptitude and stupidity for the week of 10/22/18 to 10/28/18.

These are the 20 most boneheaded things coming from Trump and his Administration this week.  All the things on this list should be the lynchpin for investigations, committee hearings, firings, resignations and even one or two impeachment charges.  Instead we have this country slowly tumbling into a death spiral, as mentally deranged zealots and emboldened racists begin terrorist attacks.  This will get worse before it gets better.

Quick note:  I'm taking off next week as the Election has me pretty busy.  Depending on the schedule, I might have a list for the week of November 5th.  By the way VOTE!!!

A quick Google search will give you plenty of news options on all of these stories.  The ranking is purely on me.  Please feel free to disagree and comment why below.

On with the countdown!

20) For at least the 5th time in his less than two year term, Trump tried to leave a bill signing ceremony prior to him signing the bill, and had to be stopped, this time the Opioid Treatment and Prevention Bill.  His wife actually stopped him from leaving the East Room and told him he had to go back to sign the bill, the only reason the ceremony was talking place.  This doesn't seem like something a competent human being would have such a consistent problem with. (10/24)

19) A senior Veterans Affairs official, David Thomas Sr., reportedly was displaying a portrait of Confederate General and founder of the KKK Nathan Bedford Forrest in his office, a tax payer funded office.  He claims the print was something he thought was nice, so he purchased it and swears he had no idea the portrait was of a notorious racist.  The portrait was featured in his office with a spotlight to highlight it, and it allegedly was featured in other offices he'd had in the past. (10/23)

Racist bastard Nathan Bedford Forrest, apparently on bath salts...

18) [Spoilers] In a bizarre tweet from Trump, right before 3 AM in the morning (!!!), Trump tweeted "Funny how lowly rated CNN and others can criticize."  He then deleted that tweet, and then posted about 30 minutes minutes later "Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will." (they shouldn't be able to???) He went onto accuse CNN of blaming him for the bomb attacks which have occurred nationwide against former Presidents, Democrats and regular citizens.  Most political experts are pointing to this being worrisome, wondering if Trump is on the verge of depression. (10/26)

17) The Trump Administration has decided to do the absolute least they can do in regards to holding Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a murder which the Saudi's have basically admitted to.  Trump has called the cover up of the murder the worst cover up ever (???).  The retaliation the Trump Administration is handing out is a revoking of the visas for the Saudis involved with the murder, but not the crown prince who clearly orchestrated the assassination.  That's it.  Nothing else so far. (10/23)

16) It seems the White House is determined to destroy our relationship with China.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was meeting with Mexican and Central American heads of state when he blatantly told them, "when China comes calling it's not always good for your citizens."  The US is terrified their trade war with the Chinese will push China into developing markets the US wants to control, and so to try to force the Chinese back to the negotiating table, the Trump Administration is trying to shut down their growth into other markets.  Chinese government officials and the Chinese media sharply criticized Pompeo for his less than discrete comments. (10/22)

15) [Spoilers] Trying to justify holding a campaign rally the same day as a massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Trump told another lie, this one about how the New York Stock Exchange was open the day after the 9/11 attacks.  The implication was since they were back the day after such a horrible attack, he could go out and stump for Republicans HOURS after a massacre of 11 people in America.  Of course the New York Stock exchange did not open on 9/12/01.  It was closed for a week, re-opening on 9/17. (10/27)

14) The Supreme Court has sided with the Trump Administration and will allow Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to NOT have to testify under oath about where exactly the racist question on the 2020 Census originated from.  It's known Ross lied about it not originating from the White House. Regardless of his lie, the new Trump Supreme Court stated the Commerce Secretary is such a protected position, Ross can't be questioned under oath.  (10/22)

13) [Spoilers] Even though the #MAGABomber was an undeniable delusional Trump fan wanting to attack Trump's critics, and even though the Tree of Life Synagogue terrorist was an anti-Semitic who clearly has been emboldened to attack the Jewish people in the environment created by Trump, Trump (via Twitter) outright accuses the media for being the ones who created the hatred and division in this country.  He's insisting the media are the real culprits in regards to the attacks. (10/28)

12) Reports are Typhoon Yutu has done extensive damage to the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory. The storm apparently was the 5th strongest storm recorded in modern times, and the second strongest to hit US soil.  The death toll is unknown, and there's no power or water on the islands.  Many communities on the islands are inaccessible.  52,000 people, US citizens, live on the islands.  Trump didn't made any statement on the typhoon strike until Sunday, a full four days after the typhoon struck. (10/25, 28)

11) Back in March of 2017, Trump stated there was evidence former President Obama had wire tapped his offices during the 2016 campaign.  Trump wrote "just found out that Obama had my wires tapped," implying the Federal Government corroborated the story.  He then used this 'revelation' to repeatedly attack Obama and call for a formal investigation.  Trump's own Department of Justice now admits there was absolutely no basis for Trump's accusation against his predecessor.  Trump's own Department of Justice's official response is that Trump made the entire story up. (10/22)

10) The New York Times is reporting the Chinese and Russians have been actively listening into Trump's phone conversations.  Is this due to a spy infiltrating the White House Communications platform?  Nope!  Was this due to new Chinese or Russian satellite technology?  Nope!  This is due to Trump's refusal to stop using his personal iPhone for conversations he's having with friends.  The Chinese and Russians are basically using equipment they can get from a Radio Shack to monitor Trump's calls.  Trump has repeatedly been warned about this, but he doesn't seem to care.  This has led one former FBI counterintelligence expert to state "the greatest threat to national security we have is Trump himself."  Trump on Thursday denied he used personal iPhones, insisting he only uses official government phones.  He made this statement, via twitter, on his personal iPhone.  Another witness stated he personally saw Trump call a senior staff member on his private iPhone recently. (10/24, 25)

9) As a Central American migrant caravan moves slowly through Mexico to the US border, growing to over 7000 people, the Trump Administration seems to scared of it, while at the same time trying to use it as a political weapon. After multiple people claimed (with ZERO evidence) the migrant caravan was sponsored by the Democrats and Democratic funder George Soros, Trump's now pushing another fear mongering made up lie. He claims there are "unknown Middle Easterners" mixed in with the migrants.  Trump has ZERO evidence of this.  Trump has alerted the military and border authorities about the caravan and has called it a "National Emergy!" (misspelled 'emergency').  Trump's also stated the US is now cutting off aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador because they're not stopping their people from leaving for the US (???).  The State Department has no idea about curtailed aide to those specific countries and have directed all questions about the cutting of aid back to the White House. (10/22)

8)  Good News!  Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is not planning on committing mass murder at the border!  After stories of a beefed up military presence on the US/Mexico border in response to the migrant caravan heading for the US turned into 'we'll shoot to protect ourselves' rhetoric, Nielsen had to ratchet back the tone, admitting there are no current plans for the US government to commit genocide. Then on Sunday, Nielsen lost badly in a discussion about the migrant caravan coming to the border.  On Fox news, Chris Wallace kept asking her how exactly are these people, including young children and babies, a national security threat. Neilson, after tap dancing around the question, and clearly getting annoyed, finally admitted she could not prove the caravan was indeed a threat, but insisted Trump has a right to label them as such regardless.  (10/26, 28)

7) At the big rally for Ted Cruz in Texas, Trump made a jaw dropping statement.  "I'm a nationalist."  He then tried to cover up his fascist-esque dog whistle admission by stating he was only insisting he's not a globalist, only concerned with America. The "nationalist" term screams back to numerous dictators from the past, most notably Hitler, who used his unabashed nationalism to get control of Germany.  Hitler also covered his fascist nationalist claims by insisting he was not a globalist.  (10/22)

6) Things are looking REALLY bad for Trump BFF Roger Stone.  The only thing missing from Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russia/Wikileaks/Trump Campaign stolen and leaked Clinton/DNC emails scandal is the direct connection from Russia/Wikileaks to the Trump Campaign.  Mueller is in possession of new evidence indicating Stone had direct knowledge of the Wikileaks emails prior to the emails being publicly released.  It seems that "Birther King" Jerome Corsi was the conduit between Wikileaks and Stone. Also there are other emails which claim Stone and Corsi were taking credit for the releasing of the emails.  Also released are text messages between Stone and talk show host Randy Credico about how Stone was going to convince Trump to give a full blanket pardon to Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks.  Put those texts with the rest of the story and Stone is pretty much dead to rights on a conspiracy to obstruct justice.  The main question now is whether Stone and Corsi will fall on the swords for Trump or will they flip. (10/25)

5) US Authorities have violated a 20 year old court order on how long minors can be detained as the Trump Administration has held immigrant children, who came into the country without a parent, for months in a temporary tent city in Texas.  A court order from 1997 says children can only be held in a non state licensed shelter for 20 days or less, before having to be placed in a state licensed shelter with access to school and legal counsel.  The tent city in Texas offers neither, nor does it have a Texas state license.  46 kids have been held in the Texas tent city since June, and over 500 children have been held past the 20 day mandatory time allotment. (10/23)

The MAGABomber and the Shooting at Tree Of Life Synagogue, as well as Trump and his Administrations response to them, are tied for first this week

1 (tie) Reports are former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, former President Bill Clinton, and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, noted billionaire George Soros (a man who donates regularly to Democratic causes), CNN and other Democratic officials have all been targeted with explosive devices which were sent to them.  Both the Obama's and the Clintons packages were intercepted by Secret Service, and the Soros package was opened by an employee, who (thankfully) didn't set it off.  This comes after rhetoric from Trump about how the three parties, (the Obama's, the Clinton's, George Soros) are evil and need to be stopped.  Trump, as well, has notoriously promoted violence against his enemies.  After initial condemnations from Vice President Mike Pence and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump initially only had re-tweeted Pence's condemnation, before reading a statement calling such behavior unacceptable.  He did not refer to the bombs as terrorism, something they clearly are. (10/24)

1 (tie) A total of ten pipe bombs have been mailed to former Democratic Presidents, Democratic politicians, CNN and others.  Thursday morning it was reported former Vice President Joe Biden was targeted by two bombs in the mail, and actor Robert DeNiro, a vocal critic of Trump, was also targeted. Trump again started attacking the media, accusing them of riling up the public, and implying the media are the real culprits behind the terrorist attack. "Mainstream media must clean up it's act, FAST."  So much for civility.  Reports are investigators are starting to focus their attention on Florida as a possible coordination point. (10/25)

1 (tie) A big news day in the story of the MAGABomber, the terrorist bomber attempting to assassinate former Presidents, high profile Democrats and Democratic supporters.  Four new bombs were discovered, one targeting Senator Corey Booker, one targeting Senator Kamala Harris, one targeting Democratic financial supporter Tom Steyer, and another targeting Former Director of National intelligence James Clapper, addressed to CNN.  This brings the total number of bombs to 13. Trump accused "this 'bomb' stuff" of slowing down Republican momentum in mid-term elections. Many people immediately criticize Trump for putting bomb in quotes, somewhat implying the bombs aren't real, and for only concerning himself with the politics of the matter, not the actual assassination attempts. Then came reports of a man, Cesar Sayoc, who's an avid Trump supporter, being arrested in Florida.  They've labelled  him the #MAGABomber.  As Trump announced the arrest, young conservatives gathered at the White House shouted out "fake news" and "Infowars," while Trump hoped the story of the largest assassination attempt in US history would "disappear rapidly" from the news.  Then, as Trump tried to bring the announcement back to a more conciliatory tone, the young conservatives started to yell about locking up one of the bomber's targets, George Soros.  Trump laughed and repeated "Ha, lock him up!"  Trump later tried to distance himself from the bomber when it became undeniable he was an ardent supporter of Trump.  Most news outlets gave a detailed breakdown of how many times Trump has encouraged violence towards his opponents, and featured images of the bomber at one of his rallies.  Later that evening, in a stunning interview, one of Trump's supporters at a Charlotte rally insisted even though the bomber had been caught and had made some initial admissions to sending the bombs, he still believed "Hillary and Obama probably mailed the bombs to themselves."  The media was forced to hire private security at the Trump rally in Charlotte to keep them safe from the seething crowd.  (10/26)

1 (tie) After an anti-Semitic bigot stormed The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11, Trump, in a stunningly tone deaf moment, told reporters the results could have been better if there had been armed guards in the house of worship.  It should be noted that three SWAT team responders, wearing full combat gear were injured as they responded to the shooting, and the shooter held himself in the synagogue for 20 minutes after being confronted.  A security guard wouldn't have stopped him.  It was talking points straight from the NRA as Trump stated the Jewish people wanting to congregate without weapons is the real problem.  Another extremely troubling aspect of Trump's comments is how clearly he's blaming the victims themselves for being shot.  It's reminiscent of another time when violence against Jewish people was inspired by a country's leader, and the leader told the victims it was their fault for being attacked.  If I could only remember which Reich that was...With the tragic shooting at the Tree Of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the number of white supremacist terrorist strikes which have led to at least one death since Trump came into office is 18. (10/27)

I can't tell you how important it is that everyone vote.  Are you registered to vote?  Do you know where to vote?  Does your state offer early voting and can you still take advantage of it (in Minnesota that is a big yes!)?  Are your friends and family registered to vote?  Do your friends and family know where to vote?  Have you asked everyone you know if they are going to vote?  If not, you need to.  We're only trying to save Democracy.

#2018IsEverything.  Good luck everyone.  Talk in two weeks.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Dark Days

The night Abraham Lincoln was shot, there was actually a far larger, more nefarious plan in place; an attempt to throw the US government into disarray.  While Booth was successful at killing Lincoln in Ford's Theater, George Atzerodt was dispatched to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Lewis Powell was assigned to assassinate Secretary of State William Seward.  The goal was revenge for the Confederates's defeat, and an attempted destabilization of the US government as a whole.

In 1865, the Vice President and the Secretary of State were the pseudo-established positions in the line of succession to the Presidency.  The Succession Act of 1792 tried to establish a line, but when William Henry Harrison died in office, the reality was no one knew who was President.  The Vice President John Tyler basically stormed into the office and refused to relinquish it, setting up a succession framework, but by the time of Lincoln, it still was unresolved.  The Succession Act of 1886 finally established a clear line of power, but at the time of Lincoln it was still relatively fragile at best, meaning multiple assassinations could potentially lead to a Constitutional crisis.

Atzerodt either got drunk and forgot about killing the Vice President, or had second thoughts.  Powell did attack Seward in his house, stabbing him repeatedly after his gun misfired, nearly killing him.  Seward survived.  The rest of the attack in 1865 is often forgotten as Lincoln, the main target, was lost to this country.

There have been four successful assassination attempts of our Presidents (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy) and multiple other attacks against Presidents, Vice Presidents and national politicians over the history of this country (including the 2017 Congressional baseball shooting, which was universally condemned by everyone).  Thankfully no one was hurt by this week's far right terrorist bombing attack by Cesar Sayoc, but there has never been a more aggressive and grandiose political assassination attempt in our country's history.

Think about the scale of this attack, the number of current and former politicians targeted:  TWO former Presidents in Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Former First Lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former First Lady Michelle Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden (twice), Former Attorney General Eric Holder, Former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, TWO current sitting US Senators, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, TWO current sitting US Representatives, Maxine Waters and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the news network CNN (twice), two wealthy philanthropists who support Democratic causes, George Soros and Tom Steyer, and actor and vocal critic of Trump Robert DeNiro.

We've had attacks on this country designed to start a traditional war (Fort Sumter, Pearl Harbor).  We've had attacks on this country designed to start ideological wars (Harpers Ferry, 9/11).  We've had minor domestic uprisings against the government.  We've had domestic attacks targeting individual and multiple politicians.  We've had attacks on this country via social media networks.  We even had an attempt to overthrow FDR in the 1930's by conservative businessmen furious he won the election and that he took the US off the gold standard (The Smedley Butler Affair).

We've NEVER had anything of this scope and magnitude happen in the US, prior to this week.

When you look at the targeted list, it feels like we're not talking about the US government, rather some third world country where a military uprising has targeted all current and former politicians.

For the first time in my life an attempted assassination of US politicians has created an even more divided response.  Only a year ago, when a coward targeted Republicans at a baseball practice, the nation condemned the attack as a whole.  I'm not sure if the difference is the political party targeted, or whether it's the undeniable growing meanness in this country, but the reaction this time around is jaw dropping.

In regards to Republicans/Trump supporters, 10% seem to be outraged, offering undeniable and absolute condemnation for the terrorists actions, and insisting the toxic rhetoric of the current political environment needs to be toned down immediately.  50% of Republicans/Trump supporters have an attitude of "no one denies bombing is wrong, but when Democrats confront a Republican in a restaurant or in the halls of Congress, they technically started it." They're making excuses for the bomber's behavior, trying to blame Democrats for bringing this on themselves, acting as if a rational response to a heated political discussion is to napalm a neighborhood.

40% of Republicans/Trump supporters initially insisted this was a "false flag" operation, a set up by the Democrats to make Trump and the Republicans look bad.  This wasn't just fringe nutbags and conspiracy kooks.  Many major Republicans politicians and mouth pieces were pushing this as a fake attack within hours of hearing about it, with ZERO proof to back up their claims.  Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. was pushing "false flag" conspiracies on social media, and even Trump himself referred to the attacks in a manner suggesting they might not be real ("bomb").

Since the terrorist Sayoc has been arrested in Florida, about half of the false flaggers are now in the 'Democrats started it' camp.  They keep bringing up how the bombs were poorly made, pushing poor craftsmanship as a valid excuse to dismiss the attack.  20% of the Far Right think Sayoc is a patsy, that the Democrats sent these bombs to themselves, and no amount of evidence, even Sayoc's admission, will ever convince them otherwise.  They are broken beyond fixing.

There's a concerted effort from the right to push this story off the front pages and to get America focused on a migrant caravan heading for the Mexican border.  To those trying to make this story go away:  This was the single largest political assassination attempt in US history!  The same people who were screaming for a 9th and 10th Benghazi investigation are demanding we no longer focus on these dark days in American history, only the dog and pony show they want everyone to pay attention to.  If we do not condemn this with maximum reverence, if we skip past this outrage and focus on lesser stories, then shame on all of us!  We ourselves, whether intentionally or not, become part of the cover up.  We ourselves will be to blame for the next massive assassination attempt.

If John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators attempted their assassinations today, with the current technology available, it makes me shudder to think what they might be able to pull off.  We got lucky with Sayoc.  He seems to be mentally incompetent, a zealot who thinks he's fighting a holy war for his true idol, Trump.  Help us all if we don't reverse this noxious and poisonous version of America before the next attempt.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Friday Link for 10/26/18

As we get ready for Halloween next week, let me remind everyone to be safe and have fun.  I'm getting ready to free-base Reese's Peanut Butter cups.  Love those.

For Halloween laughs, NOTHING is better than Ellen Degeneres scaring the living daylights out of Andy, her producer, by making him go through a haunted house.  The stunning confidence which Andy displays is magnificent when the real Andy comes out mere seconds later.  And kudos to an American treasure in Chrissy Teigen for putting up with him.  She's terrified and laughing uproariously at the same time.  Just perfect!

I'm in tears every year with that bit.  And of course there is always Ellen scaring the daylights out of her guests.  The fact the guests allow this to happen points to how good of a host she is.

I leave you with the best shot I took at the Halloween Spectacular at he Minnesota Zoo!  Have great weekend everyone!

Wisconsin Doesn't Deserve the Brewers

If you missed Major League Baseball's National League Championship series, you missed one of the best series I've ever witnessed.  The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4 games to 3, with a stunning road victory.  These teams were so evenly matched; the deciding factor in this series was about 20 total pitches (over seven games!).  The Dodgers just had a few more pitches go their way.

Don't take anything away from the Milwaukee Brewers, one of the best hitting teams ever assembled.  If a team like the Minnesota Twins went up against one of the Dodger's great pitchers, they'd conceded by the 2nd inning.  Not the Brewers.  They would methodically look for weakness and identify the one or two pitches they could do something with.  Their pitching staff is also shockingly good, loaded with starters.  Their bullpen was a little suspect, but overall, they're probably the best team I've ever seen who didn't make the World Series.

And no one in Wisconsin cared.

Okay, I know it's not fair to say no one, but my guess would be only a tenth of the state followed one of the best stories in baseball, their local 9.  This deduction comes from a simple observation.  Living in the Twin Cities, I have a lot of friends who either live in Wisconsin, or are transplanted from Wisconsin. After game 3 of the National League Championship Series, I noticed none of my Wisconsin friends were making ANY comments about the Brewers.  Nothing!  No bragging, re-posts, shares, praise; nothing!  One of the most entertaining series in baseball history, and the local fans were all silent (well not exactly silent, but I'll come back to that).

For perspective, let's look at the last weekend of the Minnesota Twins regular season  The Twins were well out of the playoff picture by early August, and with the Vikings season in full gear, and the Wild getting ready to start their season, plus the U of M fall sports getting media attention, you'd expect the Twins season to end with a whimper.  But my social media timelines were inundated with Twins posts, mainly about Joe Mauer getting behind the plate to catch, and the Mauer daughters coming on the field with dad.  For a few days, the Twins, a God awful team with nothing to play for, was dominating local social media.

Comparatively, there was FAR more about the Twins final regular season weekend in my social media than anything from Brewers fans for their entire playoff run.  Some people might be saying "aren't you the same guy who constantly bellows sports are supposed to be parsley on the plate of life?  Why are you caring if a baseball team has a worthy fan base?"  Because the Brewers deserved SOME praise from the locals.  The Brewers problem is they're cursed to play in a state with a team whose fan base is possibly the most delusional in all of sports, the Green Bay Packers.

Sports markets always have favorite teams. In Minnesota, the popularity countdown goes 1) Vikings 2) Twins, 3) Wild, 4) Gopher Hockey, 5) T-Wolves, 6) Gopher football and basketball, 7) MN United, 8) Lynx, but that list is contingent on how good a team is.  The Lynx at playoff time are a top five team in the state.  If the NHL's Minnesota Wild ever won the Stanley Cup, they'd be the state's most beloved team for a decade.  Some cities/states get known for their love of one team above all others (New York/Yankees, Dallas/Cowboys, LA/Lakers, Detroit/RedWings) but Wisconsin takes their love affair with the Packers to a new level.

During the same night the Brewers were dominating the LA Dodgers in Game 3 of their series, the Green Bay Packers were playing a worthless San Francisco 49'ers team, at home.  The Packers are not a good team and had to stage a last minute comeback to stave off a humiliating home loss.  This was a win, but not a win you'd think anyone would be bragging about; unless you are Packers fans.  My social media exploded with 'Aaron Rodgers is the greatest of all time' gushing messages from a game which was nearly a train wreck.  Wisconsin social media betrothed divinity upon the QB, for barely beating a horrible team at home.  Meanwhile, the Brewers are taking back home field advantage from the LA Dodgers, on the road, and there wasn't even a 'Go Brewers' post.

Wisconsin doesn't deserve the Brewers, or the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team for that matter.  The state only loves the Packers, and any left over goodwill is reserved for the Wisconsin Badgers football team.  There's no love for the Brewers in Wisconsin because all of Wisconsin's sports love is accounted for.

In the long run, it might be best the Brewers didn't made the World Series. Say they did and played the Boston Red Sox to a Game 7.  If I were a TV station is Wisconsin NOT airing the Brewers game, I'd counter-program with a new retrospective about Packers quarterback Aaron Rodger's career.  The humiliation of having a game 7 of a World Series featuring your local team getting beat in the ratings by a player retrospective would be beyond humiliating for the Brewers, and Wisconsin as a whole.

Major League Baseball would be better to move the Brewers to Portland, Salt Lake City or Charlotte.  The team would be FAR more loved in one of those markets than they'll ever be in Wisconsin.  Unfortunately, with former baseball commissioner Bud Selig's close ties to the organization, the Brewers are stuck in an unloving relationship, a loveless marriage with a partner in Wisconsin who will never love them back the way they deserve.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Trump Top 20 Countdown for the Week of 10/15/18

Welcome to the Weekly Top 20 Countdown of Trump's ineptitude and stupidity for the week of 10/15/18 to 10/21/18.

These are the 20 most insane and (in many cases) evil things coming from Trump and his Administration for this last week.  If this was a Democratic Administration, EVERYTHING on this list would have triggered investigations, committee hearings, firings, resignations and even one or two impeachment charges.  Instead, we have a party who's so desperate to stave off the oncoming blue wave, they're embracing the most bigoted and racist narratives we've seen so far in Trump's term.  It will only get worse.

A quick Google search will give you plenty of news options on all of these stories.  The ranking is purely on me.  Please feel free to disagree and comment why below.

On with the countdown!

20) The Trump Administration reported the budget deficit rose at a whopping 17% in fiscal year 2018.  Spending jumped dramatically and tax revenue only increased slightly, this after the Administration promised the Trump tax cuts would lead to massive tax revenue.  It's also a good time to remind you most Republicans screamed at the top of their lungs when the deficit under former President Obama wasn't nearly as bad as Trumps. #FACT! (10/15)

19) In Robert Mueller investigation news,  Mueller is now focusing on conservative activists and their contact with Wikileaks, the likely go between for Trump and the Russians.  Reports are Mueller has obtained evidence against Trump BFF Roger Stone, a man who long bragged about his relationship with Wikileaks and it's founder Julian Assange.  Right wing celebrity Jerome Corsi, former Trump campaign staffer Sam Nunberg and New York conservative radio host Randy Credico have also been questioned by Mueller.  Meanwhile Paul Manfort appeared in court in a wheelchair as he apparently is having some health issues in regards to his confinement.  One investigator mentioned how many times he's seen guilty criminals all the sudden get health issues which require a wheelchair as they get closer to their sentencing, a ploy for leniency. (10/19)

18) CNN's Jim Acosta recalled the bizarre crowd response to Trump praising Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte, the man who proudly body slammed a reporter who asked him about healthcare.  Thursday night, Trump praised him for body slamming the reporter, calling him "my kind of guy." Acosta described how the crowd roared at the idea of assaulting journalists, with people in the crowd making body slam gestures.  One person looked at the press pool and ran his finger across his throat to imply he was going to hurt them.  It's clear Trump will not stop encouraging violence. (10/20)

17) Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is in trouble again, this time for a recurring problem within the Trump Administration, violating travel policies.  Zinke and his wife Lola were faulted for numerous violations.  Zinke sought to have his wife designated as an 'agency volunteer' in order to obtain free travel for her, and he often brought her along with him in agency vehicles, a direct violation of agency policy. (10/19)

16) Trump made up a whopper of a lie at a rally in Nevada. Attacking California for it's sanctuary cities policy, Trump stated: "A lot of people in California don't like them either.  They're rioting now, they wanna get out of their sanctuary cities."  Trump completely fabricated domestic riot(s) just to vilify immigrants and California. (10/20)

15) Trump is going to name handbag designer Lana Marks to be the Ambassador to South Africa. Not only does Ms. Marks have ZERO diplomatic experience, and not only does Ms. Marks have a history of lying about her past, but after reviewing the nomination, it seems the only reason Ms. Marks is getting this Ambassadorship is that she's a member of Mar-A-Lago. (10/21)

14) Trump has made a claim he has no financial interactions with Saudi Arabia "(or Russia, for that matter)." The truth is the Saudis are pouring money into his properties, according to reports released in August.  In 2015, Trump bragged about how the Saudis "buy all sorts of my stuff.  They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."  (10/16)

13) Talking to reporters, Trump is promising a new tax break for middle-income earners, a tax break which will be installed prior to the election.  Putting aside the massive hole which is the deficit under Trump, a deficit which is only getting worse because of his last tax bill, a deficit which makes any new tax cuts grossly irresponsible at best, Congress is out of session until after the elections, meaning there's no possible way a tax bill would be passed prior to the election.  (10/20)

12) A profanity laden shouting match occurred in the White House between Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Advisor John Bolton.  Apparently the shouting match had to do with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, a person Bolton was viciously berating as incompetent.  Kelly was defended her.  The fight was so bad, there's speculation one of the two men might resign. (10/18)

11) Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a man who has quite a few investigations going on in regards to his conduct, has come up with a less than brilliant idea.  Zinke is actually getting rid of the Interior Department's Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall and replacing her with a political appointee, Suzanne Israel Tufts, who's currently an assistant Housing and Urban Development secretary.  This potentially would wipe the slate clean in regards to the numerous investigations into Zinke's bizarre behavior since he took office.  On Friday, Tufts resigned, as reports emerged Interior had no idea she was coming over, and HUD claimed there here multiple issues with her conduct while in their department.  As opposed to push for the transfer, she decided to leave government altogether. (10/17, 19)

10) Trump is making more excuses for the Saudi's likely assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  Trump backed the Saudi's excuse that the Saudi's were not involved, that it was "rogue killers" who were responsible for the murder.  The overwhelming amount of evidence points to the Saudis being behind it.  Turkey apparently has found evidence at the Saudi Embassy pointing to Khashoggi being murdered there.  By the end of the day, the Saudis were floating a "we accidentally killed him" excuse.  (10/15,16)

9) A new disturbing report emerges about the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  There seems to be an audio recording of the assassination, in the Saudi Embassy, an assassination done at the hands of Saudi officials.  It's a brutal piece of audio which should warrant immediate condemnation.  Trump and his Administration are still trying to figure out how to defuse this situation, as reports are Trump son in law, Senior White House Advisor, and point person for the Administration in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, Jared Kushner is either wittingly or unwittingly helping the Saudis manage the official response on the international stage.  Trump's refusing to say if he'll send the FBI to help in the investigation into the killing. (10/17)

8) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is giving Saudi Arabia a few days to get their story straight in regards to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  Reports are Pompeo has heard the alleged audio recording of the journalist's murder, an audio the Turks possess.  Trump son in law and Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner is comforting Trump, telling him outrage over the murder (which he referred to as "errors") will pass, just like the outrage over the Saudis kidnapping the Prime Minister of Lebanon, and the Saudi's killing a busload of children in Yemen (I'm still pretty pissed about both of those).  Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has decided against attending a Saudi Arabian investor conference.  He'd been planning on going, but pressure finally made him do the right thing. (10/18)

7) Rep. Joaquin Castro was on CNN when he brought up a previous story about Trump son in law and Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner.  The Daily Mail published a story in April in which the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, bragged about key US intelligence he had received from Kushner about his supposed enemies.  Castro reminded people the crown prince bragged about getting the intelligence and using it to purge certain princes and businessmen.  One of the sources for the story stated that Jared "took out a list of the people who had been trashing [the crown prince]...stating these are the ones who are your enemies."  It's unknown if Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, recently murdered by the Saudis, was on the list.  On Friday, it was revealed an interrogator from within the crown prince's inner circle was part of the murder of Khashoggi.  The Saudis have finally admitted Khashoggi is dead, but insist he died during a fist fight...apparently with a bone saw... (10/19)

6) A new report shows Trump himself played a major role in preventing the FBI headquarters from moving to a new office in the Washington DC suburbs.  CNN reported the FBI not moving benefited Trump directly, as one of his hotels is located near the current FBI headquarters.  The House Oversight and Government Reform committee also called out General Services Administrator Emily Murphy for misleading of Congress on the issue of who was involved in the decision to not move the FBI. (10/18)

5) As an immigrant caravan moves closer to the US southern border, Trump threatened to send the US military to the border to deal with the unarmed immigrants.  He then went on to claim the immigrant caravan was a plot by Democrats working with certain Central American governments.  He then ordered Mexico to stop the immigrant caravan.  Trump then threatened the caravan with a closing the border if the caravan didn't do what he said.  Then he threatened to scrap the entire revised NAFTA trade deal he just agreed to if the Mexican government failed to stop the caravan. WOW! (10/18)

4) Trump decided to do a victory tweet the day after a defamation lawsuit against him, brought by porn star Stormy Daniels, was dismissed by a judge. Trump pledged to go after "Horserace" (Daniels) and "her 3rd rate lawyer" (Michael Avenatti).  There's a lot to unpack here.  First, this is so beneath the office it's astounding.  Trump said this to a woman he slept with, one of multiple affairs he was having as his wife, First Lady Melania, was home recovering from giving birth.  At what point Trump thinks he has ANY high road, I'm not sure.  Both Avanatti and Daniels lashed back at him, with Daniels getting very personal.  Trump's tweet also threw away any validity to his wife's complaints about a new music video from hip hop/rap artist T.I., a video where Melania is portrayed as a stripper.  If your husband just called a porn star he had an affair with "horserace," you can't accuse anyone else of being in the gutter.  So much for Melania's anti-bullying campaign.  Some pundits are reporting he said it just so he could see himself covered on cable news.  Others are pointing to this as a frantic attempt to pull the Saudi Arabian assassination scandal off the front pages.  Later it was revealed Trump was testing out the "horseface" line for weeks, before finally deciding to use it.  (10/16)

3) Trump has announced he's undoing a Reagan era nuclear weapons treaty we had with Russia.  The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty from 1987 required the elimination of short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles from both the USA and Russia. This looks like Trump doing Russia's bidding.  Russian despot Vlad Putin has long wanted to get rid of the treaty, even thought Russians are currently pretending to disapprove of Trump's proposal.  The Russians are believed to be developing a ground-launched missile system in breach of the treaty, a system the Russians would be able to develop fully if the treaty no longer exists.  Russia wants to use this weapons system in a potential first strike capacity with Europe, Iran, Pakistan and China. (10/21)

2) Trump still has 66 immigrant kids, including at least one who us under the age of 5, in baby/child prison.  This four months after Trump supposedly halted the evil and disastrous policy.  Of the 66 kids, 50 of the kids are ineligible for reunification with their parents because the US has already deported the parents and the US Government has no idea where they're at. (10/16)

1) The Trump Administration is planning to put new rules in place which would allow businesses with federal contracts to be able to fire LGBTQ workers just for being LGBTQ.  Trump is specifically putting these new regulations into place under certain circumstances which will make the rules far harder to undo in the future. The plan is not finalized, but it feels like a policy directly from Vice President Mike Pence.  Trump's also moving to remove all rights for the transgender community, as the Administration is trying to establish a legal definition of gender as 'a biological condition determined solely by genitalia at birth.'  The report from the New York Times is citing a memo from the Department of Health and Human Services to establish these new definitions "on a biological basis that is clear...and administrable." (10/19, 21)

The Republicans will eagerly and gleefully undo any advances the LGBTQ community has made in the last 40 years.  There's a large portion of the extreme right who want to go back to the days were people with non-hetero sexual orientation were jailed, and executed.

Don't tell me this election doesn't matter.  Get registered to vote and get to the polls, either early if your state has early voting, or on Election Day!

What are you doing to make the #BlueWave happen?  #2018IsEverything!