Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Craziness of Doing Nothing

Another day, another death by gun.  This time it was a Mendota Heights police officer who pulled over a vehicle, only to be gunned down with three shots almost instantaneously.  The officer never had a chance to pull his weapon.  It was still in the holster.  Guns are lethal by design, and reaction time is almost nonexistent.  All my prayers and thoughts go the officers family, and please make a donation to help the family out at

At this point, it's time for the mouth pieces of the gun industry to rush in and insist we do not talk about guns so soon after the tragedy.  They'll insist we need to concern ourselves with the victims of the violence, people the gun lobby doesn't really care about.  The gun lobby's true motivation is to prevent people from talking about guns when another senseless death is in front of us, as they know it makes people ask the question, "why are guns so prevalent in our culture."  Guns are so prevalent because the gun industry, the bullet industry and their lackeys make so much money off of guns, whilst wrapping their image in the American flag, they have all but drowned out any real counterpoint based in sanity.

The pro-gun forces in the USA have really become obscenely brazen.  After the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, where young children were riddled with bullets, shot from a weapon doing exactly what it was supposed to do, the public outrage was so intense, the gun lobby needed to come up with a new narrative.  They started planting an idea in the fringe far right of the pro-gun groups that these mass shootings were not real, and the federal government was either staging them or making up the whole crisis for nefarious reasons, something slack jawed morons ate up as a 'viable' explanation for what really happened.  They were so good at pushing this conspiracy theory, people even drove to Newtown for the purpose of ripping down memorials for the slain children in the middle of the night, screaming "it's a lie!"  At the same time, the same gun industry put the same gun model used to slaughter young children on special, reminding buyers, "you'd better get yours now before Obama comes and takes them all away."  Sales skyrocketed.

Or how about the new NRA narrative; people should be forced to learn how to shoot a weapon in order to move on in school, the government should subsidize gun sales, and there should be mandatory gun areas in the country.  Of course, these pro-gun initiatives would take the profits of these gun and bullet companies into the stratosphere.  When I first read this, I was shocked at how much it sounded like a dystopian future from an 1980's book.  This backs up my statement, the only gun rights being stomped on in the United States in 2014 is my right to NOT have guns jammed into my families face 24/7, 365.

For God's sake, we regulate cough syrup in this country, a product where the vast majority of purchases are to stop coughing due to illness.  We have tons of regulations on cough syrup because a small portion of the purchases go to drug abuse and for meth making. Meanwhile, most injuries and deaths involving a gun are not some "good guy" with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun, they are accidental shootings, suicides and homicides.  Salon magazine complied the numbers for one year after Newtown (December 16, 2012 - December 14, 2013):

Estimated number of people killed in the USA that year by guns - 33,173
Number of school shootings that year - 26
Number of children who died that year do to gun violence - nearly 200


Do you think there were 33,173 cases of good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns in that one year?  I would guess there were 100 of fewer cases where non-law enforcement used a gun to stop someone threatening bodily harm, nationwide.  If I'm correct, 33,173 cases, 100 justified.  Heck let's make it a John McClain wet dream and call it 33,173 cases, 5000 justified.  Even under the grossly unbalanced pro-gun stats, bad cases of gun violence are over five times more likely than good cases, and we are not even including the numerous times someone threatened another person with a gun.  And yet the mere suggestion of funding the regulations currently in place (something the gun lobby made sure would be permanently defunded), proposing legislation to stop gun purchases by the mentally ill or a violent offender (a category the shooter in the latest story fell into), or suggesting that gun stores are inspected to make sure their gun inventory is accounted for, will send the gun enthusiasts into a screaming fit, accusing you of being against the founding fathers and everything this country stands for.  By the way, read some history.  The founding fathers would not be for this carnage on our streets, and would keep pointing to the "well regulated militia" part of the 2nd Amendment, something the gun lobby wishes they could erase.

Let's take the current madness from the gun lobby and apply it so something else just as dangerous, drinking and driving.  Imagine the liquor industry, feeling like their sales would skyrocket if drinking and driving were legal, insisted police officers not be allowed to enforce any laws on the books involving alcohol, not fund the enforcement of said laws, make it illegal to question if someone is drunk, insist not serving a drunk another beer would violate the spirit of the country, and insist no government agency or funding be used to investigate the real numbers behind drinking and driving.  They then introduce us to a guy we'll call Bill.  Bill has been a drunk all of his life, has driven drunk all the time and yet has never gotten into an accident.  The hypothetical liquor industry will do what the real gun lobby does, take away all of the parameters used to evaluate a situation that could bring any negative analysis regarding Bill, and then filter the remaining facts through a rose color prism to come up with the conclusion they want everyone to believe; since Bill never got in trouble, and since Bill is a great guy (take our word for it), then no one good has ever been hurt by drinking and driving.

They then start spending money wildly, buying off politicians left and right to make sure no new legislation about drinking and driving ever comes to light, regardless of public demand.  When a drunk drives into a crowd of people, killing twelve, they will insist no one talk about drinking and driving so soon after the accident, biding their time until they can launch a full scale offensive about how the founding fathers wanted people to drink and drive.  Also, are we sure the case with the twelve deaths actually happened?  Maybe it was the government trying to take away your booze and car keys. (To quote the boogie man - boggie, boogie, boogie boogie!)

But that still isn't enough.  To make this comparison really represent where the gun nuts are today, you would have to insist everyone, regardless of age, criminal history and mental stability be allowed to drink and drive.  As a matter of fact, we should have mandatory drinking and driving zones, and drinking and driving classes in schools! "When everyone is drunk and behind the wheel of a car, only then will we be truly safe."

I hope I didn't just give the liquor lobby any ideas.

Nothing will change.  That's the saddest part of all of this.  I am pro hunting guns, and although I would never have one, I'm okay with personal defense handguns.  I will be ridiculed because I just want the unjustifiable body count to stop.  What will it take to get common sense gun laws passed and enforced in this country?  I don't know, a slaughter of 700 or 800 adults and children.  The outcry for change would be deafening, but it all comes down to whether or not our politicians would ever look at the gun lobby and say, "no campaign donation, regardless of size, will prevent me from doing what is right."

I am not holding my breath.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Friday Link for 7/25/14

Sorry it's been a busy end of the week with camps, play dates and sports.  The boy did have two home runs in the same game tonight.

I have had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Cinematic Titanic's J. Elvis Weinstein, Mary Jo Pehl and Trace Beaulieu.  Not only are they great interviews and very funny, they are some of the nicest people I've ever had the privilege of getting to talk with.  I eventually will get Frank Conniff and Joel Hodgson on with us too.

Go to their website:

and buy all of their DVD's.  You'll have a hard time finding anything as funny, anywhere.  Click below for the Friday Link!  This is the preview of Rattlers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Cragg from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  Very cool.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Duck is a Duck is a Duck....

I have been taking some grief about a comparison I made on air the other day.  After Ukrainian separatists backed by Russia got a new toy, high altitude anti-aircraft missiles, and proceeded to execute around 300 people for simply flying from The Netherlands to Malaysia, the point I made was when a political party or leader gets into bed with a fringe element, handing some level of power to an extremist point of view, it usually never ends up well for the political party or leader.  I was specifically referencing Russia's President Putin supporting the crazies in eastern Ukraine, and to create another example of this political maneuvering, I brought up the far-right extremists who have taken over the Republican party here in the United States, going out of my way to make sure no one thought I was implying the tea-partiers, religious extremists and pseudo-libertarians in the USA were intending to, or capable of, shooting down airliners.  The point remains, when fringe elements take over it usually never ends well for the political party.

Apparently, I have crossed a line...or have I.

Let me reiterate, I am not making a direct apples to apples comparison in regards to the Tea Party verses Ukrainian Separatists.  Only a fool would think I was trying to do that, but the GOP has to come to grips with how much of their party has been usurped by the extreme far right, and how it threatens to ruin their party.  Back in 1999, after years of neoconservative policies had driven people away from the GOP, the puppet masters behind W. Bush started to court the religious far right, the libertarians, the racists, the militias and the stupid who were desperately trying find something they could blame for their own problems.  This new group of foot soldiers were never before allowed to have a seat at the table, but out of necessity, they were welcomed to belly on up.  Buoyed by success in 2000, 2004, and especially 2010, this once fringe right leaning political ideology, was now driving the Republican bus, requiring a blood oath to be able to stay on board.  For God's sake, one of the candidates on the stage during the 2012 GOP primary was a freaking Libertarian, and all of the other candidates were desperately trying to mimic him.  This would be like a Socialist candidate being up on the Democratic stage, and let's face it, the left wouldn't even allow a Green Party candidate in the arena, let alone a true Socialist.

How far to the extreme has the GOP gotten?

1) They applauded when a group of far right extremists threatened to open fire on government agents.  These militia extremists threatened to do so while hiding behind women and children.  The government agents were only doing their job and the person the right rallied behind was a tax cheat, government aid abuser and a racist.  It's only when the right realized their unbridled support for Bundy and his racist views would be construed as endorsement that, out of fear of losing voters, they quietly backed away.

2)  The GOP, while claiming to care for children, insist the loving thing to do with undocumented children without parents on the US border is to throw them back into the hell scape they are trying to flee without even a sandwich, while screaming in their faces to "get out."

3) They want to distort Christianity, a religion based on love and compassion, into a platform for legal discrimination against a group of people (the GLBT community), a group they don't like for personal reasons.  They hide behind the same Christian values when striping all food, medical and housing aid from the neediest of Americans.

4) It is impossible for the modern GOP'er to acknowledge that their party has EVER done anything wrong.  When confronted about such things as Iraq, Iran/Contra, the housing and banking collapse of 2008, or Katrina, it usually ends up with them making wildly outrageous accusations, screaming at the top of their lungs or storming off in a huff.  They do this because they already know they can't defend the right's actions, so lies, temper tantrums and running away are their only options.

5) It is impossible for the modern GOP'er to acknowledge the opposition party was ever right.  Point to the economic recovery the country has had over the last five years, an economic recovery which has pretty much been done by Obama himself, or possibly the greatest economic time in the country's history, the Clinton 90's, an economic boon created by smart governing from Clinton (for a fun activity, go look at 93/94 and see the GOP argue how Clinton's economic stimulus would "ruin" the country and how they proudly voted against it.  Too funny!).  To be fair, the Republican voter gets most of their 'news' from right leaning propaganda machines who either distort, lie about or ignore positive news for the left.  Regardless, as for their reaction, it's the same as it is for #4.

6) Many GOP'ers want to force everyone to always carry a loaded gun.  The mere suggestion that you may not think that's safe and don't want to, or limiting a mentally unstable man or serial spousal abuser's access to one makes their blood boil.  If you bring up any of the mass shootings in this country, their response is a belligerent ranting on how it's either unfair to mention those shootings, or the shooting was "made up."  They will even scream the later into the face of the parents of children ripped to shreds in Newtown, Connecticut.

7) There isn't an event or person the far right can't vilify; victims of violence, the Olympics, children, a POW, the family members of shooting victims, The World Cup, the hungry.  They can do it to anyone or anything in an effort to justify their flawed beliefs and/or hatred of the President.

8) They praised a political despot in Vladimir Putin just so they could criticize their own president.

9) The right applauded the idea of an individual or corporation getting between a woman and their doctor, something they spent four years insisting President Obama was menacing to do.  They will foolishly go after popular health choices, such as contraception, in an effort to tarnish the record of President Obama and the Democrats, regardless of the impact on most Americans.

10) They have threatened to revoke the basic security net system of America (social security, medicare and medicare) and the basic laws which, although inadequate in some cases, still present a basic rights barrier for the American worker (minimum wage, child labor laws, unions) not because they don't work. They want to get rid of them because they do work.

11) They will, in one breath, act like the wealthiest Americans are some poor, persecuted class who are the true victims in our modern world, while in the next breath criticize the truly needy and poor as living high on the hog, mooching off of hard working Americans.

12) There is a palatable racist element within the GOP.  Two words - Birth Certificate.  To paraphrase the Simpsons, "The GOP isn't racist, but it's number one with racists."

Shall I go on?

There is a Republican running for a state house seat here in Minnesota who is for - paying for the right to vote, forced child labor, water boarding and no celebrations for pregnant women who get married.  She terrifies the establishment GOP because she could win her primary, something that would have been near impossible 20 years ago.

It's time for the leadership of the right and their media megaphones to realize how close we've come to the brink.  Your relentless talk about revolutions, killing grandma, taking your guns, terrorist sympathizing, and anti-American rhetoric has encouraged the crazies driving the bus to aim for the cliff.  When the inevitable happens, not some drunken Ukrainian hillbilly shooting down a commercial airliner, but some delusional zealot taking a shot at the President (God forbid), a zealot  who is going off perceived marching orders from the right to save themselves and America, you can no longer bow your head and act as if no one could have seen this tragedy coming. Yes we can, and you on the right are responsible for the potential trigger man.  You can no longer keep telling some idiot the bees are their enemy, insinuating they need to stop the bees, encouraging them to throw rock after rock after rock at the beehive until the individual gets stung, and then innocently put your hands in the air and act as if you had nothing to do with it.

GOP, get control of your party.  This continued march into lunacy will only doom you to the history books.

I stand by the comparison.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Same Street, Different Directions

Let me share two pictures I took this morning walking my dog.  These two photos were taken less than a block away from each other, a few blocks from my house.  I did edit the license plate and neighbor's house number out of the one picture.

First, I really don't know the political preferences of either neighbor.  I can take a guess about the truck one; probably tea-party or pseudo-nuevo-Libertarian, but regardless, they clearly hate Obama.  I have no idea in regards to the flower folks.

The front yard of the truck guy was a mixture of dirt, weeds and grass, obstructed by four cars, two in the driveway, two on the street (including the truck).  One other car in the driveway, an older, rust riddled beauty, also had some over the top, anti-Obama bumper stickers.  The other front yard was not blocked by any cars on the street and there weren't any in the driveway.  The flowers spread from property line to property line, thick and vibrant.  My guess is no one would want to veil the gorgeous summer display by parking their car in front of it.

The houses?  The truck guy has a house more akin to Frankenstein, at one time a tiny little thing, but added too a little here and a there over time.  It didn't look bad, just off.  They have a large front porch, which might be a selling point for the property if it looked nice.  This porch desperately needs some upkeep.  Hanging from the porch, next to an American flag, is a larger Gadsden flag, with three empty beer cans littered about offering evidence of the previous nights activities.  The flower house was not the freshest or prettiest, but it was well kept, testifying that the overwhelming flower display wasn't due to laziness or apathy.  While you couldn't miss the truck guy's house, this house almost disappeared behind the brilliant, natural colors in the yard.

I met someone who was at the truck house once.  Late Spring 2013, I was walking past and struck up a conversation with him.  I asked about how he liked the neighborhood.  It didn't take him long to start taking shots at his neighbors, something he offered freely.  The man, caucasian and around 30, insisted skin color and religion wasn't the problem, but used his own introduction on the subject as a springboard into a litany of stereotypes and derogatory statements.  I made an excuse and got going.

The only thing I know about the flower neighbor is that a few years back, someone complained about the condition of the front yard.  My guess is the trade off to have such a luxurious late June through August pageant means the yard must look bad the remainder of the non-snow covered year.  The issue must have been resolved.


Which neighbor would you feel safer with?
Which neighbor looks more welcoming?
Who would you rather have living near your house?

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Friday Link for 7/18/14

On Fridays, I am going to start putting up a link for something fun.  This is a segment of the APM series Wits featuring Dessa, a great artist I had the pleasure of interviewing a few weeks back.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I have said something on the air a few times which I want to repeat here.

Wealth is wasted on the wealthy.

Now before anyone calls me Johnny Wealth-Redistribution, most wealthy people understand the book value of the money they have, and many of them have good lives, because they can.  My whole point consists of one thing;  many people with 10's of millions of dollars, 100's of million's of dollars, and even billions of dollars, are fools because out of ignorance, stupidity or near maniacal drive, they don't just walk away from the constricts of life.

Have you ever taken the time to think about how much money someone would need to own to ensure they lead an amazing life without ever having to do anything they didn't want to do, ever again?  I peg it at $50 million.  Once a person has $50 million after taxes, they could lead a very comfortable life (please!).  You're eating out every meal (a nice one too), you never have to make a car or house payment again, you have good tickets to every theater performance and sporting event in your town, you could travel in style, dress anyway you want and see pretty much anything you ever wanted to see.  Heck, you could sit in bed all day long and surf the internet.  Where people with $50 million get into trouble is when they get outrageous with what they do, like put a shark tank in their garage, build their own space plane or sleep with a certain celebrity.  If you can keep the obscene bucket list to a minimum, you can lead the first class life and never have to worry.  If you are a little frugal with your $50 million, you can leave a nice chunk of change to the kiddos.  If you have ten figures or higher, you have so much money you can sleep with that celebrity in the shark tank on the space plane.  Obscene away!

Yet how many of these uber-wealthy people still get up every morning, get dressed (in a suit no less!), drive into their office, and work.  Yeah, actually work.  I understand they're more than likely not over seeing the day to day numbers of their company or investments, but they are taking calls, having meetings and and reading reports and analysis.  Why?  Sure I get the type-A personalty thing, and it is hard to turn off the business switch, but how many people would choose to jump through other peoples hoops when they owned that much money?

I also understand there are people who will dismiss me under the guise of the lottery mentality.  "Sure Matt, $50 million would be great in a lump sum but it's a different feeling when you earn it.  You just can't walk away that easily."  That's my point, YES YOU CAN!  You can walk, put on your favorite pair of shorts, the t-shirt of your choosing and wave to your kids every morning as they head off to private school.  You're right. I have not had to keep up the image of a luxurious lifestyle, and that $50 million, with my modest suburban house, practical cars, and frugal life would have a very different spend pattern for me.  But there is the problem, you've been so busy chasing the brass ring, you don't even realize you've been grasping it for awhile.

And don't get me started on multi billionaires who still go into the office.  What are you doing? You've won!!!  Challenge quit years ago!  Go buy your own country and impose yourself as lifetime ruler, give your money away to charitable groups so for centuries your name will be associated with benevolence, or find a hollow volcano you can turn into your lair and await Bond.

Wealthy people, ask yourself these questions:  How are your kids?  Are they happy?  Are they always trying to get your approval, sacrificing everything to do so?  Do they understand the value of the life you have earned for them?  Are they spoiled brats with a machiavellian level of entitlement?  Will they bitterly fight each other to the death after your gone because they all learned from you that unless you have all the money you're a failure?  If you feel as if you would answer those questions negatively, then quit.  Quit and work as hard on your family as you did to get the money you cherish.

I appreciate hard work.  I respect the heck out of someone who starts with nothing and ends up in the upper echelon of the economic sector, but what are you doing it for?  What else are you trying to achieve?  Wealth is wasted on the wealthy when the wealthy realize, too late, that even though they could have stopped working decades earlier and lived an amazing life, they didn't because of a attempt to create a legacy few would appreciate.  Instead, the only legacy they leave behind is the one about the fool and their money.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Please Help Stop the Destruction of Net Neutrality

We all should be terrified by the FCC potentially removing net neutrality rules.  Seriously, because I am a Democrat, this blog would probably only be available at some high end, premium internet service price ladder, if available at all.  I'm dead serious.

Follow the link below and fill out the form and submit it.  I did.  I said the following:

Please don't get rid of net-nuetrality. If you do, not only will you ruin one of the last true free vestiges of thought and expression available to the masses, you will prove that regardless of the percentage of the US's population that disagrees with the idea (60, 70, 80, 90%) money is the only thing that matters in the FCC's eyes.

I decided to leave the swear words out, but don't let my prudishness stop you!

This goes way beyond one political party or ideal.  Get your friends, all of them, involved to make sure the Internet stays neutral for all.  Thanks.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Black and White

How am I supposed to take serious any person who insists we not investigate a President who started a war under false pretenses, lied openly to the American people and the Congress, who fed their war machine on the public's fear following the 9/11 attacks, and whose decision led to thousands of dead American soldiers, tens of thousands of permanently injured soldiers, at least one hundred thousand dead Iraqis and trillions of dollars of tax payer money disappearing into the Iraqi desert, but yet insist we have to impeach a different President who, through an effort to help Americans without health insurance and to reign in out of control medical costs, passed a law, through a dully elected Congress and had it upheld by the Supreme Court, having Americans buy private health insurance, something that's making a positive difference in many American's lives, something that has gotten more Americans health insurance and brought down health costs, whose biggest critics of the program just don't like the President and are using their anger at health companies who cancelled their health plans rather than make them more consumer friendly to fuel distorted outrage, and who have had the primary failures in the program purposely created by his opposition party to intentionally turn the President into a boogyman, at the expense of the well being of the people they represent?

Or do you just want to impeach him because he's African American?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Exceeding the Parody

There comes a point where the parody of something turns out to be more of a prediction or prophecy, which in turn makes the joke seem ethereal.  The most consummate example of this is "The Onion's" fake headline from when George W. Bush took office, "Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over."  But something has happened in the last five years to the Republican party where it's becoming impossible to make a parody of them.  The right seems to take making fun of them as a dare, and doubles down on the ludicrous, and nowhere is it more apparent than the right's hatred of the president.

Take the story today from the Raw Story website about Kathy Perkins, the founder of the Mom's With Guns group.  This is one of these organizations who have sprung up since Obama became president, built on the conspiracy theories floated by the NRA and the gun manufacturers that Obama is coming to take your guns.  You know the kind of group; "we're for safe and responsible gun ownership, we love our guns, only a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun" (On a side note - you guys suck at stopping bad guys with guns.  Just saying).  MWG actually posts the line -

We are Law Abiding Citizens of this Great Republic of the United States of America from ALL walks of life.

These groups get so upset when they get labeled gun kooks.  They hate it when anyone portrays their hatred of Obama as anything more than simple political disagreement, or their maniacal love of guns as anything but their love of 'Merica.

Kathy Perkins put a picture of the President up on her Facebook page with the line, "Where is an assassin when you need one?"  Law abiding citizen my caboose, you gun kook!

There is a small element of disturbed people in this country who knowingly put forward the lie they are simple political discourse, but so desperately want to scream the N-word or fuel Obama violence porn, and can barely, and usually unsuccessfully, hide their true feelings.

By the way, no conservative will condemn this woman's statements.  Instead, they will be silent or try to find some comment on a message board to counterpoint, saying, "See, you guys started it."  This wasn't some internet troll anonymously looking to offset their own anger by moronically lashing out at a target.  This was the leader of a supposed law-abiding gun group, a person who views Fox news photos and loves Pick Perry (judging by this Facebook post) so presumedly votes Republican and leans politically right, openly wishing for a assassin to kill the President of the United States.

No one should ever 'joke' about killing the President, regardless of what letter is next to their name.  I can say that unequivocally.  But I wonder about my Republican leaning friends who will see this post, see me calling them out and still say nothing.  I hope it's because they're hiding behind Reagan's 11th Commandment crud, and not because down deep inside they agree with Kathy Perkins.  Regardless, it is a hypocrisy no one could ever parody.  Why can I say that?  Image the outrage from the right if this was ever said by the leader of a left leaning organization about a Republican president.

House Keeping #1

Hi all!  I hope you like the blog.  Spiffy as polished kyanite, but I have to be honest here.  If you think I am going to be posting new stuff here all the time, sorry to burst your bubble.  I might be a crazy cat, but I just don't have that much time.

Some days I imagine I might have 3 or 4 new posts, other times (like this week when I have numerous family and kid commitments) it might only be one for the week.  Regardless, I appreciate you visiting and promise to try to make updates on a regular basis.

Cool cool!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Brilliance of America

The article, raw, that was published on Minn Post.

Most 4th of July’s, I’m usually wearing my “Kiss the Cook” apron while grilling my family’s favorites, contemplating what will lead off my fireworks extravaganza later in the evening.  This year, with my family visiting relatives, I found myself with only the company of my dog for the holiday.  Him needing a walk and myself wanting some social interaction, I headed for Lake Calhoun. 
            As I strolled Friday afternoon, observing the waters of the recent storms exaggerating the shoreline of the lake, and surveying the numerous people wearing red, white and blue tinged clothes in recognition of the USA’s 238th birthday, I noticed an amazing display of unity on the south side of the lake.  All ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, ages, economic classes; all of them together, walking and celebrating in a true melting pot of our society, all brought together under the umbrella of exaltation for greatest country in the world.  This wasn’t some organized event or pay to enter bar-b-que, this just happened on it’s own.  It was stunning.
            To compare this to what we usually experience on a daily basis, you’d find it hard to imagine it was the same country.  We’re bombarded with the message of who is or isn’t our enemy, how our President is either the worst man to ever walk the Earth, or a great symbol of how far we’ve come, and why you can no longer disagree with someone on an issue, but you must vilify and despise them.  I think the reason so many people dive headfirst into sports, gaming and reality television is just so they can find a respite from all of the negativity.  Seeing the walls of pessimism disappear and a joyful unity take its place brought a feeling of hopefulness.
            What really brings all of us together on a fine summer day in Minnesota is something highlighted in the Declaration of Independence in regards to “certain unalienable Rights,” “that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Regardless of how people on both sides of the aisle feel, we have far more in common than we are sometimes willing to acknowledge.  We all want Life and Liberty and Happiness, and just because we don’t always agree on how to achieve those things, it’s when we recognize we’re all striving for the same goal that we evolve into something great. 
            Take the aforementioned overflowing water issue going on in the state.  This excess water is affecting us all, from the opulent lakefront mansions around Lake Minnetonka to the lower income apartments and townhomes of the city.  From the roads and land around our biggest corporations, to the roads and land around or smallest businesses.  It’s the great equalizer, threatening our Happiness at the very least.  By working together we can find a plan to overcome the problem.  That ideal is what this country is about, working together, not trying to wallow in our differences.

            I love America.  I am proud to be an American.  I love what this country represents and what it can inspire.  I might not always agree with the direction we are going, but I can look at my fellow countrymen and women and be proud to be in this together.  I just hope we can find a way to make the good feelings last longer than a holiday weekend or an environmental emergency.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

School Lunches

First Lady Michelle Obama helped lead an initiative to create healthier school lunches.  I grew up in the generation where ketchup was considered a vegetable, and only a few years ago pizza sauce was considered a serving of vegetables too.  The decision that a government subsidized lunch should be healthy seemed a no brainer, but some school districts and kids protested.  They said it wasn't enough food for "starving" kids, the food took longer and was harder to produce every day, and the healthier food options, particularly the vegetables, usually ended up in the garbage can.  Inevitably, the Republican politicians, usually draped in donations from big Ag and food companies, came up with the talking point about how we've failed our kids.

Since most school cafeterias operate on a limited budget and can't produce two or more full menus each day, they have to make one and go with it.  This is where the right really loses me.
  • No one ever threw away part of their lunch prior to the new nutrition standards?  I highly doubt it.
  • Given most school districts can have only one major lunch option every day, and considering the near epidemic levels of juvenile diabetes in the USA, the GOP is saying school lunches should be burgers, pizza and fries only?
  • All kids can and will make smart, nutritional food decisions for themselves?
  • A family, dissatisfied with the school lunch program, can't make their kid the lunch they deem fit and have their kid take it everyday?
  • The whole notion of rich white suburban kids who don't have a fast food menu level of choices in a school cafeteria menu are the real face of hunger in this nation?
These no brainer counterpoint arguments are never brought up in discussions about health and nutrition in our school lunch program.  No one asks the GOP to describe the food they would like to see served.

After seeing the crap fed to our kids via school lunch programs for years, food which was horrible nutrition wise, pushed by big Ag and big food companies, and created for convenience (and I mean to imply some cafeteria workers complaints are really a smoke screen to cover the truth; they're lazy folks who don't really want to work), I commend the Obama Administration and Michelle Obama's efforts to make a government funded meal healthy, one that is appetizing, one that helps local farmers, and one appreciated by the truly hungry in this country, not those who want to label themselves victims.

The GOP just hates Michelle Obama and will always rail against her on anything she does.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Shall We Begin...

Hi.  You may know me and you may have heard me.  I am a radio broadcaster.  I am a liberal radio broadcaster, which makes me like an endangered species.  If you'd like to hear me, please go to my radio station website, AM 950 radio, KTNF, in Minneapolis.

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I have a lot of political thoughts that come into my head and this will give me a place to let them out for you to read.  Please feel free to forward anything you like.  Comment at will, but I reserve the right to determine if a comment is appropriate for the masses.  This doesn't mean I won't post comments that disagree with something I've written.  On the contrary, I want you to disagree with me.  This is about making sure we use constructive conversations and appropriate language.

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