Friday, April 28, 2017

The Friday Link for 4/28/17

I really liked 'La La Land,' even though the ending created a lot of mixed emotions within my family.  But enough about that.

I traveled to LA twice on business, and frankly, I never saw the fun side of the LA.  I thought it was interesting.  You can feel the stress of desire everywhere you go, and that's one of the things I felt they captured in the movie.  There are tons of movies about a town where the steel mill, or the coal mine, or the manufacturing plant, or the military base are the the center of their local solar system, the catalyst for the plot.  Los Angeles is no different.  It's a place where instead of a shipyard or a large farm, it's the entertainment business.  Even though the two main characters are portrayed as being on a trajectory of success, it displays the ugliness of the industry (especially in Emma Stone's character), while at the the same time relishing in the beauty of Hollywood.  It's definitely written from a local's perspective.

I especially liked how Ryan Gosling's character was portrayed; the jazz musician trying to make it in a town known for movies.  My whole family enjoyed it.

Here are some clips.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Damn Wild

Last night, the St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen, who was described as "dominant," and "one of the best playoff goalies ever"(?!?), was beaten by the 8th seeded Nashville Predators 4-3 in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Western Conference 2nd round playoff series.  Those four goals were more than the Minnesota Wild scored in their first three games against the Blues in their first round matchup, combined!  So is Allen, as he was described repeatedly during the first round match up, really that good, the second coming of Jacques Plante, or did the Wild really lay an egg?

Cluck cluck!

On paper, an NHL team in Minnesota should be a dynasty team.  A knowledgeable and loving fan base; a never ending steam of America's best young high school hockey players all dreaming of being on their home state's NHL roster; money never being a real issue; a top of the line facility with arguably the best sheet of ice in all of hockey; and a state population who's been let down repeatedly by professional sports teams, a population looking for any reason to clear the family photos off the mantle and build a shrine to honor the sport TRUE Minnesotan's understand!  Over the years, Minneapolis/St. Paul has gone back and forth favoring the Vikings and Twins in their respective sports, but trust me; this city wants to be a hockey town.

Instead we've been treated to a milquetoast version of hockey.  In 17 seasons of Minnesota Wild play, they've only made the playoffs 8 times, less than 50% of the time, in a league where over 50% of the teams make the playoffs every year.  The furthest the team has gotten is the Western Conference finals, in the third year of their existence, where they were quickly swept aside by Anaheim.  Two times we made it to the Western Conference 2nd round, only to get knocked out both times by Chicago, and five of the 8 times we've been to the playoffs, we didn't even make it past our first round opponent.

This year particularly hurt.  If you watched the Wild this season, they looked different.  They were crisp and clean, tough when they needed to be, and made good teams look weak.  And they could score at will!  During the cold of January and February, I found myself starting to believe a Stanley Cup Final was finally within our grasp!  Could this be the year?

Then came March.  Seventeen games between March 1st and April 1st.  Total wins: 4.  I understand the schedule bunched up a lot of games towards the end, but the Wild didn't even look like the same team.  We lead the Western Conference by 6 points.  By the end of the season, we were lucky to be in 3rd.  The Chicago Blackhawks seemed to be the main catalyst for the fall, having gotten under the Wild player's skin, making Minnesota look like doe eyed teens ogling their childhood heroes.  They had a chance to vanquish the demon.  Instead they allowed the demon to control them again, ruining the teams chemistry and flow.

They had a four game winning streak at the end of the season, leading to false hopes they'd righted the ship as they limped into the playoffs.  They were matched up against St. Louis, coached by (in my opinion) one of the worst coaches in the NHL, former Wild coach Mike Yeo.  The Wild quickly handed away home ice by losing Game 1.  Before anyone says "Matt, in Game 1 the Wild threw everything at them and the still could't win," well whose fault is that?  Nashville didn't seem so intimidated by the Blues, on the road, for their Game 1.  The Wild then put themselves in a nasty hole by losing Game 2.  Instead of bouncing back for Game 3 in St. Louis, they once again played like a bad Big 10 team. They finally played like the pre-March Wild in Game 4, getting their only win in the series, but then pathetically exited the playoffs, losing a game of catchup in Game 5.  What made this exit sting even worse was the only team which might've given Minnesota fits in the entire NHL, Chicago, was eliminated in four games themselves.  This was our year, and the Wild blew it.

But it's how the Wild lost the series which points to a long term mentality problem within the organization.  In every game outside of 4, they had to come back, seeming to not take the game seriously until deep into the third period.  If the team had played in Games 1-3 like they played games 4 and 5, they would've probably won the series in 5 games.  This has been the history of the Wild.  They've learned they don't need to play great, just play good enough to keep the critics from ripping them apart.  If this team was in Canada, the media and fans would be tearing them to shreds.  In polite Minnesota, we say "well they tried their best."  The only reason the team won Game 4 is because the fan base started to turn on them.  The roster, loaded with talent, realized they needed to do the very least to keep the wolves at bay.  Anyone who comes off that series feeling anything positive is delusional, but already, the Wild are putting forward their chipper chants of 'we'll get them next year!'  No, no you won't.

After 17 years, the Wild have finally graduated to the pantheon of Minnesota sports franchises, embracing the motto:  "Watch us, enjoy a game, but don't ever think we're going to win it all.  If you do, we'll only break your hearts!"  They join the Vikings, T-Wolves and Twins ('91 was 26 years ago...sigh...) in our deep pool of sports pain and ambivalence.  At least I can enjoy Minnesota United FC.  As an expansion team, any wins they get are unexpected.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

President Trump, Week 13

Here's this week's list of insanity coming from President Trump and his White House for the week beginning 2 PM Friday, April 14th to 2 PM Friday, April 21st.  This is likely not all of the Trump team's transgressions, but it's most of them.

Weekly explanation: If the President in the White House had a 'D' next to their name instead of an 'R', the same House and Senate Republicans who are purposely ignoring the disaster unfolding around them would be having a very different reaction.  Everything on this list would've garnered at least a press conference, many would've triggered official Congressional investigations, and some would've lead to impeachment proceedings.  Instead, they're terrified anyone who dares look at the never ending scandals consuming the White House will turn to stone; an orange, hairy, urine soaked stone...

Let's roll the dice to see if we get Yahtzee!
  • Trump, while the country is under a very real threat of military conflict with North Korea, decided to golfing for his 17th and 18th times since becoming president, 85 days earlier
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden absolutely smacks down Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for her decision to weaken the enforcement of Title IX.  "The real frightening message she's our culture says it's okay."
  • Trump's budget slashes funding for NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Redirect Mission, a program designed to help prevent the utter annihilation of the planet
  • Trump's nominee for Secretary of the Army, Tennessee State Republican Senator Mark Green has a troubling history of anti-Muslim comments.  FYI, there are quite a few Muslims currently serving at various levels within the US Army, as well as in support roles
  • A former Breitbart spokesperson states that Senior Presidential Advisor Steve Bannon will 'absolutely' seek revenge if fired
  • The online troll behind Pizzagate has threatened the GOP, by promising to release information which 'will destroy marriages' if Bannon is fired
  • The Secret Service has had to spend $35,000 of tax payer money on golf cart rental since Trump was inaugurated 
  • Rep. Jerry Nadler bluntly states Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a Senior White House Advisor, committed perjury by lying about Russian meetings on his FBI disclosure forms
  • As Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos prepares to roll out a plan to vastly expand America's Charter schools, at the expense of the better performing K-12 public school system, a University of Oregon study shows the Charter School system has wasted hundreds of millions in tax payer dollars with unwanted and unneeded schools, schools which have a far lower success rate at educating students compared to Public schools
  • After Trump publicly accused Former President Obama of wiretapping him, he had to be educated on how exactly FISA warrants were obtained, and how they operated.  He didn't know
  • A shocking claim from British Intelligence speculates one of the reasons Rep. Jason Chaffetz might not be calling for an investigation into the Trump/Russia connection is because the Russian Government might have compromising information on him
  • A reports states the real person pushing to have Steve Bannon removed from the Administration is Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump
  • The lawyers for an elderly white male Trump supporter who attacked an African American female protester at a Trump Kentucky campaign stop insists Trump's the real guilty party as Trump urged the crowd to be violent to the protesters
  • Trump has demanded a golden carriage ride from Queen Elizabeth when he visits England
  • Protesters numbering in the hundreds of thousands take to the streets in an anti-Trump, tax day protest, with demands that Trump release his tax returns
  • According to police reports, pro-Trump protesters violently attacked a Berkeley, California anti-Trump Tax protest, tearing down barriers while wearing masks.  I mention this because after supposed liberal protesters attacked pro-Trump protesters at Berkeley in January, Trump and all Republicans demanded apologies from all Democrats
  • Trump sent out a Twitter tweet to commemorate Easter.  He then proceeded, on Easter, to have a Twitter temper tantrum agains the Anti-Trump Tax protesters.  He then tweeted, on Easter, a call to military arms
  • Trump, via Twitter, says his winning the election negates him from having to release his tax returns.  No, it doesn't
  • Trump, via Twitter, insists all of the anti-Trump Tax protesters were paid to protest.  No, they weren't
  • Trump also lashes out on Twitter saying it's impossible for Republicans to easily win the electoral college, like he did.  1) Many Republicans have easily won the electoral college, 2) only a sad person needing a false feeling of accomplishment would insist Trump's electoral college victory was 'easy'
  • In an interview on MSNBC, a Russian expert claims Putin has "something" on Trump and will use it against him if their relationship sours
  • Trump, a man many of his supporters insist is a VERY Christian President, goes to only his 2nd church service since taking office.  The last time he was in a church was on Inauguration Day
  • Vice President Mike Pence tells North Korea the US will not tolerate any further missile tests, pointing to the bombing of Syria and Afghanistan to show we mean business.  This leads to questions of whether the bombings of Syria and Afghanistan, both of which lead to very limited results, were actually done to give the White House the ability to threaten others
  • Homeland Security Director John Kelly insists you can't call Trump's Deportation Force a deportation force, rather you need to refer to them as a 'law enforcement force.'  In their first month, the Trump Deportation Force's arrests of deportees spiked 36%
  • Trump's apparently furious with Steve Bannon's Time Magazine cover from February, a cover which labeled Bannon "The Great Manipulator"
  • Deputy National Security Advisor KT McFarland, a former Fox News host who was removed a week ago from the National Security Council (NSC), implies "big changes" are coming to the NSC
  • Trump announces his nominee to be President of the Export/Import Bank is former Representative Scott Garrett, a vocal critic of the Export/Import Bank
  • On Easter Sunday, the White House starts downplaying expectations for Monday's Easter Egg Roll, a White House Tradition.  They waited too long to start planning it.  The wooden egg supplier, Wells Wood Turning, had to actually remind the White House they were approaching the deadline to get their order in.  They couldn't find celebrities to attend, primarily due to the lateness of asking for availability, and the main talent, the Nashville family act the Marcus Family Circus, an act who said they were only contacted a few weeks earlier, still had no idea how many sets they were going to have to perform, or even where they were going to park the family RV while in Washington DC
  • Eric Trump as the Easter Egg Roll got underway, felt it was the best time to discuss detailed foreign policy issues with Fox & Friends, even though he's supposed to be running his dad's businesses, not working on White House Policy
  • First Lady Melania Trump has to nudge her husband to get him to put his hand on his heart for the National Anthem at the Easter Egg Roll
  • At the Easter Egg Roll, Trump goes up to a kid with a MAGA hat, signs the hat at the child's request, and then throws the hat to the crowd with a big smile, not giving it back to the kid
  • Boris Epshteyn, the former Trump Spokesperson, and possible 'Source E' in the Steele Dossier, announced he is joining Sinclair Broadcasting, while still not explaining his abrupt and sudden departure from the White House
  • Trump friend and confidant Roger Stone states InfoWars, the far right wing news outlet based in speculation and loony conspiracy theories, was a major source of information for Trump and the campaign during Election 2016.  InfoWars was susceptible to Russian attempts at pushing certain propaganda, and was also the major player pushing the laughable 'Pizzagate' scandal
  • In a Twitter attack on Georgia 6th Congressional Democratic Candidate Jon Ossoff prior to the special election, Trump misspells 'Congressional'
  • In a Snapchat post about Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at the Easter Egg Roll, The White House misspells 'Education'
  • White House spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway says America needs to thank Trump for hosting the Easter Egg Roll, an event every President has hosted for the last 139 years
  • A report emerges from the same source which stated in November there were FISA warrants issued against the Trump campaign, Louise Mensch.  This new report says former Trump Campaign Advisor Carter Page presented a tape recording of Trump to the Russians, a tape which stated if the Russians helped Trump win in 2016, Trump would lift sanctions against Russia for their invasion of the Ukraine 
  • A report surfaces Steve Bannon's role in the White House has been further downgraded
  • Kellyanne Conway demands Democratic leaders need to tell the protesters to stop their protests because Trump won.  Apparently Kellyanne doesn't understand how protests work, and no one remembers any Republicans telling the Birthers/Tea baggers to be quiet after President Obama won, twice
  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer once again insists Trump can't release his tax returns because he's under audit.  When asked why he just doesn't say Trump will never release his tax returns, Spicer says, "I'll have to get back to you on that"
  • Sean Spicer defends the White House not releasing the visitor logs for the White House and Mar-A-Lago, something Trump promised repeatedly he'd do, with Spicer stating some people need to keep their privacy when they come to the Administration to express their views
  • Less than half of Americans think Trump honors his promises
  • Trump relaxed ethics regulations, eliminating the requirement barring lobbyists from joining any government agencies they lobbied for up to two years prior 
  • Trump goes golfing for the 19th time since being in office
  • Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach had his appeal denied to keep private the documents he showed Trump on overhauling the US's immigration policy, and was ordered to produce the policy papers
  • Trump BFF Roger Stone says the only thing Jared Kushner wants Trump to do is "kiss ass"
  • Trump's saber rattling with North Korea backfires as North Korea promises weekly missile tests, directly thumbing their nose at Trump's demands
  • In a heck of a coincidence, China approved a multitude of new trademarks for Ivanka Trump on the day she met with the Chinese President
  • Senator Ted Cruz states the fact Trump seems "terrified" of releasing his tax returns suggests there's a "bombshell" in them
  • House Democrats and Republicans confirm that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice did absolutely nothing wrong or illegal by wanting to release the names of the Trump campaign personnel under surveillance for questionable contact with Russia during the Election of 2016, directly contradicting numerous Trump/White House claims
  • In a surreal moment from the Easter Egg Roll, White House Spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway is caught answering a question on Fox News about possible war with North Korea, while the Looney Tunes theme plays loudly behind her
  • Trump's bizarre comments on Fox & Friends points to the very real possibility that he doesn't know who exactly the leader of North Korea actually is
  • Trump blames the emergence of the violent MS-13 gang in the US on Obama, a gang who actually emerged in the US during W. Bush's first term
  • The majority of deep red Texas opposes Trump's border wall
  • The Aircraft carrier Trump allegedly sent to the Sea of Japan, the same aircraft carrier Sean Spicer bragged about entering into the Sea of Japan, was actually no where near the Sea of Japan, instead it was thousands of miles away heading into the Indian Ocean
  • A lawsuit with its basis rooted in Trump violating the Emolument Clause of the Constitution can move forward.  It alleges Trump used the office of the Presidency to advance his private businesses/wealth, which is big time illegal
  • In the hours after Trump's 'Obama wiretapped the Trump Tower' tweets, the White House sent out an all points bulletin to all Administration agencies and all Republicans in government to help find ANYTHING that could help back up his claim.  In the weeks since then, they've found nothing
  • Not only are there multiple ongoing investigations into Trump's ties to Russia, but Talking Points Memo had a story about Trump's other questionable ties; the ones he's had for decades to organized crime
  • Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Representative who's been a major Trump defender, announces he will not seek another term
  • Trump claims a "Big Republican win" in the GA-06 special election race, a race which saw the Democrat win 48% of the vote compared to the 2nd place finisher, a Republican, who received 19% of the vote.  The two candidates will compete in a run off election
  • Kellyanne Conway calls her critics "unhappy people with poison keyboards." For the record, I'm a very happy person (2017 City Pages Radio Personality of the Year!!!) and my keyboard isn't poisonous, it's an iMac
  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, after being called out on his aircraft carrier blunder, defends his comments by insisting the aircraft carrier would've eventually gotten to the Sea of Japan. Apparently they were going the long way around
  • New England Patriots Quarterback, and vocal supporter of Trump, Tom Brady announces he will be skipping the annual Super Bowl White House visit and Presidential photo op for "personal family matters"
  • The head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt says the EPA is immediately deleting the compliance date on new rules for regulating green house gases, and is reconsidering the rules outright
  • Trump's nominee for Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, Eric Hargan has massive conflicts of interest through his work at a law firm which represented many and varied health insurance groups, health insurance businesses, and health industry individuals
  • Trump Administration officials state Iran is indeed complying with President Obama's Nuclear Deal, but they still accuse them of supporting state sponsored terrorism. 
  • The world's largest international airline, Emirates, is cutting back substantially on flights to the United States, due to Trump's attempted travel bans, and due to the dramatic decrease in international tourism travel to the US
  • Speaking at a Buy American event in Wisconsin, Trump refers to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as "Ron"
  • Trump goes after Canada for an emerging milk scandal.  Canada now allows Canadian milk producers to sell filtered milk at the same price as imported filtered milk, which for some reason was cheaper than their domestic product.  This is limiting American imports.  Although this is undoubtedly hurting American dairy farmers, I don't believe Trump has the ability to force Canada to make their own local milk producers charge a higher price than imported product
  • The South Korean government and media are relentlessly mocking Trump and his Administration for their complete lack of historical knowledge of the Korean peninsula and for the aircraft carrier fiasco
  • Over half of the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots football team didn't show up for the traditional White House visit and Trump photo op
  • Chemical companies, led by Dow, are pressuring the Trump Administration to kill studies which show the harm their pesticides are doing, primarily to the US's bee populations
  • Trump has decided to close down the sidewalk around the White House grounds permanently, in an attempt to prevent protesters from using them
  • Exxon has made an application to the Treasury Department to receive a waiver to the sanctions on Russia, so they can enter into a partnership with Russia to drill in the Black Sea.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently ran Exxon, and they've apparently already been given one waiver to the sanctions
  • Sean Spicer reiterates what Trump said, insisting a 48%-19% margin in the GA-06 special election was a "tremendous victory" for the Republicans and a "big loss" for the Democrats
  • In what seems like a Simpson's episode come to life, Trump proudly welcomes former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, rock musician(?) Kid Rock, and disgusting excuse for a human being, spokesperson for the NRA, and former music(?) player Ted Nugent, to the White House, for a photo op in the Oval Office, a mocking photo op in front of the portrait of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and, I guess, to discuss North Korean policy (???) as that's where you'd think Trump's focus should be
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions apparently isn't aware that Hawaii is a US state, as he said he was amazed a judge on "an island in the Pacific" could stall Trump's Unconstitutional Immigrant/Refugee/Muslim travel ban
  • The Department of Justice is seeking to arrest Wikileaks' Julian Assange, a person who did everything he could to help Trump win in 2016, and a man with clear ties to Russia. The DOJ feels he's a non-state hosted Intelligence agency, abetted by state actors, such as Russia
  • Trump insists Iran has failed to comply with their portion of President Obama's Iranian Nuclear Deal.  Meanwhile the State Department says Iran IS complying
  • Roger Stone, super bestie to Trump, tweets a threat to do bodily harm against the Communications Director for Media Matter, an action which gets his Twitter account temporarily closed down
  • It's revealed many members of Trump's cabinet are having a weekly bible study meeting with Pastor Ralph Drollinger, a man whose own church disavowed him, claims Catholicism is the worlds largest fake religion, claims women who work after child birth are sinners and homosexuality is abhorrent.  Yikes
  • The list of people who donated to Trump's Inauguration Fund contains clear and massive evidence of fraud.  Many people on the list are not real people, are people who have no idea how their name got on the list, or are people who couldn't have donated the amounts they supposedly donated
  • Trump slams the '1st 100 days' hurdle as a "ridiculous standard", this after bragging for 2 years about how much he'd accomplish within his first 100 days in office
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejects Exxon's attempt at getting a waiver around the Russian sanctions
  • Trump weighs in on the French election, calling the far right, racist candidate Marine Le Pen the strongest in the field
  • Trump breaks history again as he claims the Korean Peninsula was recently part of China, something the South Koreans are quick to point out is not true
  • White house Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says any budget bill must contain funding for Trump's Mexico border wall, a wall Trump promised for over a year would be paid for by Mexico.  To get the funding Mulvaney says health insurance subsidies will be held hostage until the funding is approved.  FYI, Mexico is still not going to pay for the wall
  • Jeff Sessions implies he will begin to prosecute media outlets and news organizations who publish leaked material
  • Trump's lawyers, trying to get the Kentucky lawsuit which states he instigated the beating of protesters by the crowd thrown out, argues there's no right to protest at Trump rallies
  • Trump appoints the Ambassador to New Zealand that New Zealand didn't want, nominating former Senator Scott Brown, a man who's described by the government and media of New Zealand as a "former nude model who is pro-water boarding"

The list this week was not as long, nor did it have nearly as many bombshells as usual.  I think Easter had a lot to do with that.  With the House and Senate off for a good part of the week, there weren't any Republican committee hearings with begrudged acknowledgments of more damning evidence of Trump/Russia connections.  Then again, until the Chinese intervened, it was looking likely the US would be at nuclear war with North Korea by the time the Easter Bunny arrived, so...progress???

On Bill Maher's show on Friday, Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts called out Republicans, saying 'they're not stupid.  They lack courage.'  They're too afraid to do their job.  Please call your Senator and Representatives and demand a full INDEPENDENT investigation into the connections between the Trump Campaign/White House and Russia.  These cowards need to understand they should be far more afraid of the American people than they are of Trump.  

And for God's sake people, VOTE!!!

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Friday Link for 4/21/17


As multiple music professionals have stated, it could be the greatest live guitar performance ever.  I'm going into the city to dance.  Have a great weekend.

The Day Purple Died

I was at Knollwood Cub Foods a year ago.  I had just checked out, was walking past the manager's station, heading for the exit, when I noticed a woman sobbing, quite uncontrollably.  A manager, whose own face looked quite ashen, was trying her best to console the woman.  Between sobs, I heard her say "How sad it is, every station is talking about it.  He went too early."

In the 100 yards to my car, my mind started working; politician, actor, musician?  It had to be someone quite popular, someone on the level of David Bowie, who'd passed away three months earlier.  Sticking with music, was it McCartney?  The whole world will sob when Paul passes away.  I then started thinking closer to home, guessing Dylan.  He's beloved here, and he's getting up there in age.  Then my phone buzzed with the BBC news alert...

I still can't believe it.  The curse of prescription opioids is a curse on all of us.

I've listened to a lot of Prince's music over the last year, absorbing it.  God, what a talented man.  There are so few people blessed with such unbelievable ability who find themselves on a path which allows their natural talent to blossom so robustly.  An incredible singer, an incredible guitar player (considered the best ever by many of the greatest guitar players), and an incredible writer so prolific it's hard to fathom.  He also loved Minneapolis/St. Paul and Minnesota.

In late 1991, my tour with the Army, as well as my time in Europe, was about to end.  I took a final trip to Scotland, to do some hiking in the northern areas.  While on the bus from Victoria Station to Glasgow, I started a conversation with a Scottish woman with soft chestnut hair, Jenny.  The catalyst for our chat was she discovered I was from Minneapolis.  Her eyes got excited as we talked about Prince.  She loved him.  No matter where I'd gone in Europe (Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Czech Republic, England, Ireland, Scotland) Prince was beloved, mainly by the women.  Jenny had a dual jack on her Walkman and we listened to Diamonds and Pearls, his newest release.  I never got to northern Scotland.  Diamonds and Pearls is still my favorite Prince album.

'Let's Go Crazy' and 'Take Me With U' are my favorite songs.  Here's the aforementioned McCartney (Paul freaking McCartney) doing a cover of Prince in Minneapolis.

I'm still sad...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Snowflakes

You meet a new friend.  You go for a walk with the new friend.  As you're strolling down the street, you notice an African American family walking towards you.  Your friend abruptly demands the two of you go to the other side of the street.  You comply, but as you think over what just happened, you decide to ask your new friend, "did you cross the street to avoid the African American family?"  Your new friend insists they never meant for that to be the outcome.  They only wanted to see what was in the store window on the other side of the street.  You feel relived, but part of you wonders...

Now imagine the new friend does the same thing every time they encounter a minority approaching them on the sidewalk, over and over and over again.  Each time, your friend insists they're not racist.  They only wanted to see something on the other side of the street.  Their track record starts telling the real story.

Your new 'friend' is the Minnesota Republican Party, only instead of crossing the street, EVERY bill they introduce seems to be dripping with a racist undertones which can no longer be casually explained away.

So far in 2017, the MNGOP have introduced an anti-protester bill, written in direct response to the Black Lives Matter protesters successful protests in the Twin Cities.  They introduced a 'Stand Your Ground' bill after the white racist who gunned down 6 unarmed African Americans at the 4th Precinct protest was found guilty; a bill which would have made the racist's actions legal.  They introduced the Preemption Bill, written to prevent individual cities from writing their own labor/wage laws, even when the state doesn't address inadequate labor/wage concerns; a bill which was written specifically to reign in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, cities where Republicans have very little say in political office as they've abandoned all attempts at formulating a platform to win over inner city voters. And they've introduced a transportation bill which cuts busing in the metro core by 40%(!!!), defunds light rail lines (proposed and existing), and offers zero major road construction money for the soon to be twice as packed highways; transportation cuts CLEARLY geared at hurting the inner city populations of the Twin Cities.

The MNGOP might be able to dismiss one bill, but every bill they introduce has undeniable negative consequences for the minority, poor and inner city population, almost as if THAT was the primary goal of the bill, and the rest of the bill was written to give the MNGOP a thin veil of cover as they argue legitimacy.

An then there's the undeniable racism double standard the Minnesota House GOP has been displaying with the Rep. Melissa Hortman affair.  Rep. Hortman, the House Minority Leader, while the House was debating the MNGOP's racist anti-protester bill, made some observations.  While the Democrats were speaking, specifically the handful of minority female Democrats serving in the Minnesota House, many members of the all caucasian MNGOP were not on the floor.  Instead, they were in an anti-chamber off the House floor, watching a baseball game, while a group of white men played cards.

This was the GOP's own bill, a bill they screamed wasn't racist, but here they were, being belligerently disrespectful as the few minority House members spoke against it.  Rep. Hortman made a call to order and forced all of the House members back to the floor, stating "I hate to break up the 100% white male card game in the retiring room, but I think this is an important issue."

Recapping: There WAS an all white male Republican card game going on in the back room while the House was in session, debating THEIR bill.  But of course, the MNGOP was outraged by the "white male" comment, focusing their manufactured indignity in an attempt to hide their unacceptable behavior.  They demanded Hortman apologize.  She refused.  They wrote a letter condemning her, to be put into the official record, right before the House retired for Easter recess.  When the House returned to session, Rep. Hortman submitted her own letter, continuing to refuse to apologize for stating something factual.  Republican Speaker Kurt Daudt dismissed her justified letter, and her rightfully standing up for herself, as grandstanding, while at the same time insisting the Republicans, who WERE being unGodly disrespectful while their racist-ee bill was being debated, screamed at Hortman "How dare you!", demanded she apologize for saying something factual, never once acknowledged their unacceptable behavior, talked down to her when she refused to apologize, and snuck the protest letter into the record, they were the party that was trying to let it go.  Please!

Republican Rep. Jim Newberger made an undeniably racist comment on the House floor a few years back.  Republican Rep. Nolan West has a long history of absolutely disgusting racist comments, the absolute worst kind of racist rhetoric.  Republican Rep. Tim Miller called for a "civil war" against what one could only presume to be fellow Minnesotans.  Republican Senator Dave Osmek has a bad habit of using he term "wet dream" in his official Senate correspondence with Minnesotans.

Not one Republican has demanded any of these Republicans apologize for their behavior and/or comments.  Not one Republican has written a letter to be put into official House record condemning these white men's actions.

But the term "white men" being used by a Democrat in a less than flowery, FACTUAL statement has these delicate snowflakes clutching their pearls.

MNGOP, you're racists, or at the very least you embrace a lot of racist things.  You're disgusting people.  Is that clear?

Who are we kidding, they're probably currently writing a letter condemning me, because I labeled the actions of the four Republican Buffoons of the Apocalypse with the term 'white men.'  How dare I...

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring Break, Part 2

Some more photos from the week and holiday.  Enjoy and comment if you like.  I know the Doctor Who and MST3K images might seem really lame, but I love the shows and I'm kinda lame, so...