Saturday, February 27, 2016

Blue State Ball 2016!


Last night was so much fun.  It was the 12th Annual Blue State Ball, at Aria in Minneapolis!  So many great photos to show you, but first, this disclaimer - 

When at a public event like the Blue State Ball, you're dependent on people taking your phone/camera and snapping photos.  Sometimes it works great!  Sometimes...well you get this:


(Ian Levitt and myself doing a quantum time jump at last night's festivities)

I appreciate anyone who prevented me from having to take photos in selfie mode, so on behalf of the people who helped me, don't get mad at blurry or dark photos!  

First, the great politicians, starting with one of my favorite, MN-08 Congressman Rick Nolan!


State Attorney General, and one of the greatest supporters of the Progressive movement in Minnesota, Lori Swanson!


Here's MN State Auditor Rebecca Otto.  In 2015, the Republicans tried to destroy her office.  Apparently, accountability through fair and efficient oversight of tax payer money is not something the MNGOP is for.  This year, let's re-instate the fairness Minnesota needs, with the best darn Auditor in the country!


St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman not only skated the Red Bull Crashed Ice Course, something which might make him the coolest Mayor in the Country, but his leadership, especially over the last few weeks, has been exceptional.  So great to finally get to meet him and his wife too.


And here is Marla Vagts, a rising name in the DFL.  She is challenging Pat Garofalo for the House seat in District 58B, and she shared with me an interesting tidbit.  Apparently Pat has not said if he is running again, and will wait for after the session to officially commit.  Interesting...got him scared Marla!



Next up, the Hosts, starting with Bill Press.


Thom Hartmann is so freaking smart.  Was so nice to have him back at the BSB!


Norman Goldman is fantastic!  One of the most personable people I've ever seen; he had a great speech and was working the crowd the entire night!


Next up Station People!  Here's Station owner Chad Larson with Norman.


The trio of my producer Bryan, the incredible Jack Rice, and someone else...


Host of The Daily Report, Ian Levitt


Betty Folliard, who hosts A Woman's Place on Sundays, and was MY House rep.  I adore her work, strength and effort, and she thought I didn't remember her!  With us is the very cool Branson.  


Here's Paul Metsa, the great musician who hosts the Wall of Power Radio Hour on AM 950.  He opened the Humphrey Mondale Dinner a few weeks back, but was just socializing last night.


Then more great people from last night, starting with a great friend, Jackie!


Here's Catie Nations who came to speak on behalf of Bernie Sanders.  For the record, we asked both campaigns to send people over to talk about the candidates.  Catie was fantastic, and so passionate.   


Mayor Coleman was the designated speaker for the Hillary Clinton campaign.  

Here's Maureen Hackett from Howling for Wolves!



Great listeners...




Norman talking to the fans...



The coolness of Aria...




The speeches.  Rick Nolan was on fire.  I think he could give Keith Ellison a run for his money.


And Thom Hartmann making us all smarter.


And me tormenting the crowd...



Thank you so much for all of the wonderful words and comments last night.  I am very flattered by your kindness.  The crowd was great, the guests were great, and you were great.  Here's looking forward to next year!














Friday, February 26, 2016

The Friday Link for 2/26/16

Tonight, at Aria in Minneapolis, it's the 12th annual Blue State Ball!  I'm so excited to be there.  I promise a lot of photos and memories either late tonight or tomorrow!

Since I do have a late night ahead, let's focus on the Friday link.  I'm punting to John Oliver, and his sensational take down of conservative voting laws in this country from his show Last Week Tonight.  Enjoy.

I hope to see you tonight!





Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ignoring the Hand that Feeds You

I'm a little miffed right now.  Five days before the Minnesota Caucus, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton's campaigns seem to have zero time or advertising for the only progressive radio station in Minnesota.

Let me make sure I clarify my frustration.  This has nothing to do with any other radio station or radio group in town.  Absolutely not; more power to them!  Someone comes to your door with a handful of cash, you shouldn't turn that down.  My frustration also has NOTHING to do with the Minnesota DFL Party.  Ken Martin, and everyone there, have been exceptional to us.  No, this is about the individual campaigns themselves, in both their national and local offices.

You can try to sell ice fishing houses in Phoenix, and, you might stumble on the occasional sale, but you're not going to get a lot of interest.  As a matter of fact, you're going to get a lot of people laughing at you.  I know both campaigns probably have national media buyers, who are only looking for large radio groups to buy air time with.  That's fine, but don't they realize most of the large radio groups are either right wing, or heavily leaning towards the right?  It's hard to hear the Democrats buy commercial time on radio stations where they're openly being mocked before and after the commercial breaks their ads are playing in.

Fine.  You don't want to buy ad time time on the only progressive radio station in town because the national buyers can't see the small, independent, locally owned media outlets from their perches up on high (it doesn't explain why the local campaign offices, who DO know of us, are purposely excluding us, but hey...), do me a favor, don't ask why there are four or five conservative stations in town and not more progressive ones.  I guarantee the Republican candidates are saturating the right wing media in town with their ads, helping to bankroll their conservative message for 2016 and beyond.  The Democrats throwing their money at those same right leaning media outlets, for a caucus where the goal is to appeal to the base, doesn't help their progressive cause, in any capacity.

What really chafes my hide is the unwillingness of the Democratic campaigns to give us interviews.  I've personally called both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns to do interviews.  I've told them we can do them live, or record them when convenient for the guest.  I understand it'll be hard to get Hillary or Bernie themselves, but as long as it's not the Assistant Junior Youth Outreach Coordinator for North Dakota, I have time.  Their response?  Crickets and tumbleweeds.  Actually, I did have someone scheduled to come on the air from the Clinton campaign, but they never showed up and I never heard back on why they didn't call in.

That's why it really stings to hear the candidates and their mouth pieces show up on other radio stations in town.  I was told by a friend, who produces locally at another station, the candidate's people called them and begged to get interviewed on air.  Nice.

(Quick note - my Iowa political guy, Jeff Stein, works for a VERY conservative radio station in Iowa, and he was able to interview as many members of the Clinton and Sanders campaigns as he wanted.  He even interviewed Hillary herself.  Granted it is Iowa, and it's different than Minnesota on a Super Tuesday, but it, justifiably, compounds my frustration.)

To anyone who says, "well Matt, maybe they're trying to avoid 'preaching to the choir'."  It's the Caucus!  This is when they need the choir to sing the loudest!  You'd think, for these campaigns, desperate for the most loyal Democratic supporters to show up, the easiest interview to coordinate, the easiest check for them to write, would be with the only Progressive radio station in the freaking state!  Damn...and these campaigns wonder why they struggle to appeal to the base.

It's hard enough to get the modern apathetic Democratic voter to show up and vote, but is it a surprise the left has a turnout gap when the candidates ignore their most fervent followers and proudest megaphones?

When people wonder why the left continues to have a problem in the realm of traditional media, it's this whole frustrating cycle, election year in, election year out.  Maybe the Democratic candidates can address this issue when they eagerly show up for their interview with the conservative media in town.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Watch Us!

Let's have a conversation about media, and their need to drive story narratives with an undeniable political slant.

Beyonce, the very entertaining artist who performed during the Super Bowl Half Time Show, had dancers whose outfits emulated Black Panther outfits from decades ago.  To my knowledge, the dancers didn't do any Black Panther 'dance moves,' or make a plea for all African Americans to join the Black Panther movement, or make a political statement at all.  They just danced, quite amazingly too.

In the days afterwards, you heard the media in this country talk about how Beyonce's performance 'crossed a line,' 'encouraged violence against police,' and 'embraced terrorism!'  When I say media, I'm not talking the fringe hate groups disguised as media, but the real media, the four broadcast TV networks, the main cable TV news networks, and the news services who feed the majority of radio and print media in the country.  They were all talking about the "real" outrage at the NFL's decision to allow such a performance.  They insisted the people were so angry, they were going to have a massive protest at the NFL headquarters on the 16th of February.  

Three people showed up.  Not 3000, or 300, or even 30.  3.

You probably didn't know about the aftermath of this rally, because I guarantee the media in this country didn't report on their irrational narratives, designed to create conflict, not actually creating any.  They just turned off their cameras, ignored the lackluster results of their fear mongering and moved onto the next breaking news story.  No one made any news network or outlet explain where this fake story came from, because there's no one left to question such irresponsible journalism.

The greatest example of made up news was the Ebola crisis.  I'm not saying Ebola's not a serious illness, but for three months straight, running up to the 2014 election, all we heard about was "EBOLA, EBOLA, EBOLA!!!"  Then, the day of the election, the media completely stopped talking about it.  I've never seen anything like it.  It was like all news outlets got together an tried to scare the American people on purpose.  If this was a coordinated campaign to try to get the American people preoccupied with Ebola during an election, it succeeded beyond conceivable expectations, but now, the American people are getting driven like cattle with the media's never-ending creation of conservative crusades.

Many look at the media's made up outrage and either laugh or just shrug their shoulders.  Not me.  This scares me.  The thought we have a media who's so reckless and out of control they're willing, as a whole, to create, fuel and drive a story with a conservative bias, just because they need something to fill the hours and columns, something that's a lot easier than actually going out and reporting on real news, and in turn lying to the majority of 330 million Americans who see, read and hear their product, shakes me to my core.  I'm not sure if we're still in the inertia of the W. Bush controlled media of the last decade, or if that's gone, and the media's just lazy.  The Beyonce story is the latest example of made up outrage, but these hoaxes have been going on for a few years.

After W. left office, one of the first big news stories of 2009 was the birther nonsense.  People standing up in town hall forums with their birth certificate in a ziplock bag, screaming about how the President's from Kenya, was annoying, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so I understand why the media covered the lunacy.  They realized unbridled conservative fury brought in viewers and advertisers.  Soon afterwards, we started to see examples of news reports on 'protests' which never really happened.  Jon Stewart on the Daily Show caught them, mainly Fox News, openly airing different footage from previous rallies to cover up the lack of attendance at conservative events the media insisted was filled with outraged rightos.  It's a simple pattern:  1) Report on how people are outraged about a specific issue, an issue with a conservative slant, usually built around the anger of a handful of individuals they masquerade as a 'movement,' 2) try to fan the flames the outrage by covering the story non-stop for a few weeks, 3) culminate the coverage in a rally or protest march, and 4) either point to the crowd and say, "look at how many people are mad," or ignore the small crowd by either playing footage from a different rally to make it seem like a bigger group showed up, or kill the story entirely, and move on to the next created outrage.

We've seen this locally.  Last year, the media in the Twin Cites featured numerous stories about an upcoming rally in favor of the Confederate Flag, with Minnesotans(?!) irate at the way the Confederate Flag, the symbol of the enemy of the United States (and Minnesota), is being treated by it's detractors.  Okay.  When the rally happened, 6 people showed up.  Six!  Most of the media didn't feel the need to cover the poor showing, but since they were the ones who reported the rally as a news story before hand, they should've covered it.  Instead, with few exceptions, they moved on.

I remember the pro-Scott Walker recall rally they had in Hudson, Wisconsin.  The way it was being reported, beforehand, made it seem like there would be a Taylor Swift concert level of turnout. A little less than three dozen supporters showed up.  The Twin Cites media, not wanting to admit the attendance was a bust, insisted on reporting how 'large crowds' showed up to support Walker.  There were large crowds alright.  The anti-Walker folks had a few hundred people show up, a much larger crowd.  The Twin Cities media reported on a 'counter protest occurring', but that was all.

And with that, a second, even larger problem gets exposed.  This media bias for the conservatives, while wildly and falsely increasing their importance, downplays legitimate protests and issues from the left.  In Hudson, Wisconsin, most of the Twin Cities media magnified a sparsely attended pro-Walker rally, while depreciating the far larger number of anti-Walker protesters.  The Occupy movement in the Twin Cities was mostly ignored.  Unless the report was one which portrayed them in a negative light,  the media turned a blind eye.  Black Lives Matter has a solid turnout for their rallies, but the only time you hear about them is when they violate the Mall of America, or when the media points to one guy throwing a garbage can, or one person chanting something unfortunate, as all BLM protesters.  They do this to dismiss the group as a whole.  When you consider the lack of fair coverage for left leaning causes, to the non-stop, imaginary, conservative, outrage machine, the media's failure at maintaining a neutral balance is complete and total.

Think about all of this as you watch these hacks report on the Presidential races.  Watch how they inflate and legitimize the right, while at the same time dismiss and ignore the left.  It may be part of some conspiracy to try to discourage the left from showing up on voting day, but it's likely just a completely broken media trying to find the most careless, pathetic path, so they can achieve the absolute least amount of legitimacy, all while trying to make the most money for their parent companies.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Friday Link for 2/19/16

First, hearing thunder this morning while it was pouring rain, in February, in Minneapolis, while it hits 50 degrees, is too weird.  I have zero doubt we are only a few years away from a snowless winter in the Twin Cities.  I'm bracing myself for the moment when even the oil/gas/coal companies can no longer deliver their anti-climate change shtick with a straight face.  Of course, they'll insist we don't accuse them of destroying the planet because that would only be 'sour grapes' and playing 'the blame game.'  They'll also insist they keep receiving the 10 million dollars a minute the IMF says the fossil fuel industry receives in subsidies.  Didn't see that story?  Well here you go:


Swear to God, I'll be leading the charge for the pitchforks and the torches...

On to happier things - Patton Oswalt!  I really am a huge fan of his, something apparent since I've posted him for the Friday Link three times in the last year.  Here's one of my favorite moments of his (WARNING - Adult Language).  His description of the Magician reloading his case makes me fall over every time I hear it.  Enjoy!


The next two clips are from comedian David Cross.  I love this open letter take down of Larry the Cable Guy.  What got me thinking of this two part letter was three things.  One, a friend posted David Cross is on tour, a tour which comes to the Twin Cities for two shows this Spring.  Two, this last weekend I watched Cars with my family for the first time in about six years.  When my son got into The Avengers and baseball, he put aside the Disney film.  My daughters liked it, but it was never their first or second choice when it was time to watch a movie.  We watched it, and it's enjoyable.  Larry the Cable guy plays Mater the tow truck, and every time he was on the screen, I thought of David Cross' open letter to him.

Thirdly, I saw Larry the Cable guy doing the ad for an acid indigestion medicine and realized how far he has been able to take the dumb guy bit.  He's REALLY not like that, as David Cross points out, but he has become it.  The actor who starts acting like the character they are always linked to.  

This is also a great breakdown of the inner workings of the comedy industry and the interviewer driven disingenuous which costs people real friendships and fuels fake rivalries.  It also highlights one of the reasons I love David Cross.  He so correctly dissects the lowest common denominator public and their insistence to blame any justifiable criticism of them as the "PC Police."   Nicely done Mr. Cross, nicely done!  It's from 2009, so it's a little dated, and it's in two parts (WARNING - A LOT of adult language).


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHWF0IBZ6xM

It won't let me embed the video, and I'm not that smart on these things.  Please click the links and thanks!






Sunday, February 14, 2016

Shame On You, 50B

Last Tuesday, a Republican was freely given a House seat in the highly Democratic district of 50B.  He didn't win it, or steal it.  Nope, he picked it up like a $20 he saw lying on the street.  Because the Democrats of 50B didn't think choosing their own political leaders was important, most of Bloomington no longer has a local Minnesota House Rep.

Let's dispel with any thoughts this DFL loss/Republican win was anything more than Democrats being lazy and not showing up.  Of the 32,000 or so voters in district 50B, only 5034 showed up to vote in this special election.  Of that, the Democrats only mustered 2,452, 130 less than the Republican.  This wasn't a dynamic moderate Republican resonating with the voters of Bloomington.  This wasn't an issue where outraged Democrats defected in droves to the Republican ticket.  Nope, this was Democrats, in a district which voted 65% Democrat in the same MN House race in 2012, with near 15,000 Democratic votes that year alone, not caring.  You guys just didn't show up!  The Gopher's men's basketball team is atrocious, and they still draw four times as many people to one of their God awful home games, and whether or not you have local representation in the state House doesn't hinge on the game's outcome!  What ever the reason (they had television to watch, social media posts to update or activities which they prioritized as more important) they decided a local House Representative caring for the issues of 50B wasn't important.  That's embarrassing.

I say they no longer have local representation because we know Kurt Daudt, the Republican Speaker of the MN House, told the incoming freshmen Republicans they had to vote how he told them, no questions asked, and only if they won re-election in 2016 could they start helping to mold legislation.  Kurt Daudt, a man who probably spends very little time in 50B, a man who HATES the Twin Cities metro area, especially areas with a lot of Democrats, is now making all the decisions for the House Representative of 50B, a person who I won't even name because their name doesn't matter.  He's a puppet.

Democrats, STOP FREAKING SHOOTING YOURSELVES IN THE FOOT!  Democrats talk a great game about outrage, about justice, about fighting the system, but when they have an opportunity to do the LEAST they can do, to show up and vote, they fail spectacularly.  Democrats do show up in Presidential elections, but, outside of unique situations, that's about it.  When it comes to off year elections, off-off year elections, and special elections, the majority of elections(!), they're horrific, handing Republicans easy victories, wins they should have ZERO chance at attaining.  Because of this malaise, this indifference, the GOP, a party which represents a far smaller percentage of the population, a party who fewer and fewer people identify with year after year, a party who is only concerned about the wealthiest 1% of the country, they are able to control a large portion of the Federal Government, State Government, and local offices, positions which directly dictate your quality of life.

I know some gentle flowers who will read this and get mad at me.  "Matt, all you're doing is making them mad so they don't show up the next election."  No, I'm giving these people the tough love they need to hear.  If you get upset by me calling you out, but are not FAR MORE upset about losing your local representation, I can't help you.  50B, you're likely going to see a major dip in state aide to your district because the Republicans have promised all the money back to the wealthiest Minnesotans, and what ever falls away from their gapping maws will be shipped out to rural districts in a pathetic attempt to convince rube voters the Republicans actually care about out state Minnesota.  If I make you mad by simply pointing out the factual reality of what happened last Tuesday, you should be apocalyptic about your tax dollars being syphoned away from your district.  Don't get mad at me.  Go look in the mirror and get mad at yourselves.

50B you should be ashamed, but all Democrats should be as well.  When we finally stop this crap, and start taking voting seriously, IN ALL ELECTIONS, then change will happen.  Until that point, we'll continue to kick sand into our own faces, as we dance the 'one step forward, two steps back' do-se-do.



The Humphrey/Mondale Dinner - 2016

On Friday night, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Humphrey/Mondale dinner at RiverCenter in St. Paul.  Ken Martin, the head of the DFL, asked if my wife and I would be interested in attending the event as his guests.  I jumped at the opportunity.

I've been to many political rallies, and when I see the one or two politicians who are in attendance, I get all fan boy.  I like politics, and I like politicians who are not just concerned about their re-election campaign, or the lobbying gig they're auditioning for after their term.  I like politicians who care about the people, all of the people, including the people who might not have voted for them.  The GOP, both nationally and in Minnesota, has turned their backs on the communities which didn't vote for them (Minneapolis, the Iron Range, the Twin Cities Metro, pretty much every minority group),  This is the worst element of modern politics, and it's downright un-Christian.  For goodness sake, they refused to give North Minneapolis tornado relief in 2011, and just told unemployed iron workers with no benefits to suck it up, even though they have a budget surplus they wouldn't even dent by helping them.  Sad.

Through Ken, and the DFL's, graciousness, I was also allowed to attend the Governor's reception prior to the event.  I was star struck.  To walk in and see US Congressmen, State Senators, State House Representatives, metro area city officials and state office holders, all together, in one room, is outstanding.  We stayed in the reception for only about 20 minutes, and then headed to the main exhibition hall for the dinner, which was amazingly tasty!  As we kept walking further and further towards the front of the hall, I realized we'd been given very good seats.  We dined in the fourth table row from the front, dead square center to the speaker's podium.  I promised photos...

First, let me mention all of the politicians I shook hands with, but for whatever reason, I wasn't able to get a photo with:  Governor Mark Dayton, MN-08 Congressman Rick Nolan, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, State Attorney General Lori Swanson, Matt Little, the Mayor of Lakeville, who I hope will take over the MN Senate seat held by the retiring Dave Thompson, and Marla Vagts, a great candidate who I hope takes away Garofalo's Minnesota House seat in 58B!  There were also numerous Minnesota Senators, Representatives, state officials, and DFL workers I ran into, too many to mention here, but what a delight to see them all (somehow I missed one of my favorite politicians, Rep. Erin Murphy).

Let me start with my favorite retired Minnesota politician, and a hero of mine, former MN-06 Congressman Bill Luther.


Bill has been an inspiration for me.  His wife, Janet Robert, was the leader who helped create and drive progressive radio in the Twin Cities for over 10 years.  Bill has taught me how to be compassionate, but steadfast.  His knowledge and guidance have made me a better Democrat, and a better person.

On the way to the Main Hall, I ran into House Minority Leader Paul Thissen.

He's been great on air, and is fighting a belligerent wave of idiocy, disguised as the Republican House majority.  He's the best ally we could hope for in the Republican den of thieves.

This gives you an idea, although a blurry one, of how close to the stage we were sitting.  Note, I'm wearing a collared shirt and a tie, like a big boy!


Next up, one of my favorite Minnesota office holders, MN State Auditor Rebecca Otto.


Her office has been viciously attacked by the MNGOP, as they look for ways to remove oversight in the state.  She's been relentless in fighting for Minnesota, and for her office.  If the Auditor disappears, as many Republicans wish it would, Minnesota taxpayers would lose millions in cronyism and back room deals with private businesses.  Please support her fight!

Then I had a nice 1-2 punch. First was the Senior US Senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar!  


Remember, when Norm Coleman was fighting to keep Al Franken out of the Senate, she was the only Senator the state had, and served all who came into her office, never once turning a person away because they came from a Republican district or didn't vote for her.  Depending on who wins the Presidency, she might be on a short list for an Administration position.  Next up, MN-01 Congressman Tim Walz!  


Tim is the consummate example of a rural, moderate Democrat.  He came on my show two years ago and gave one of the best arguments ever for expanding food assistance for the needy, not cutting it.  Some Democrats are really old moderate Republicans looking for a home.  Not Tim Walz.  He is a Democrat, proud and blue, through and through!  

Then came the speeches.  First up, Ken Martin, the head of the DFL,


MN-05 Congressman Keith Ellison,


The Junior US Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken.  His speech was very funny and was also good old fashion Progressive politics.


Senator Klobuchar took the stage.


Then came the Democratic candidate for the MN-02 Congressional seat, currently held by Republican John Kline (who's retiring!), Angie Craig!  I was so happy to meet Angie in the Governor's reception earlier (I did not get a photo of that meeting).  Her story is amazing; coming from a low income background, and garnering success at every endeavor she's embraced.  She and her wife have four kids.  She's the face of modern Minnesota diversity and opportunity, and I'm proud to support her in her race.  She also had the unpleasant responsibility of the 'donation speech,' the speech which tells all in attendance to please make another donation.  She nailed it. 


Next up was the best freaking governor in the country, Governor Mark Dayton.  I love how his speech consisted of pointing out all of the horrible things he's stopped the GOP from doing.  


Then came the Main event!  First up was Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.


His speech was great, and reminded me of the passion of Paul Wellstone.  As progressive as his ideas are, you can't disagree with his arguments.  He's outraged about the inequity we have in America today, and his popularity with younger voters, giving them the hope they so rarely get from politicians today, is easy to understand.  He's not nearly the outraged old man he's often depicted as, by media and comedians, but he was animated.  One minor criticism, his speech was basically the same one he's been giving for the last three months.  He might want to try to refresh it a little.  I'm not saying he should change, rather update.


Second was Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton.


She's a polished public speaker, a culmination of experience in controlling tough rooms.  She's nothing like the media portrayers her.  She's very personable, and relatable.  Her speech was new, a result of having to adjust her message more to the left, but it never came off as pandering.  She went with her record and her strengths, which, frankly, makes a pretty impressive resume.  She had the line of the night: "I'm a Progressive who can make progress."  That's a good line, and where I could make an argument she's not really representative of the Progressive side of the Democratic party, she was more on offense than Sanders, making sure to praise Bernie's agenda, while at the same time asking the question of how he would get it done.  


I'm still undecided, but I loved the speeches and the event.  A big thanks to Ken Martin.  I really appreciate it.  I leave you with Senator Al Franken...






Friday, February 12, 2016

The Friday Link for 2/12/16

I know it's been light this week on the blog, but I'm so mad about what happened in 50B.  More on that this weekend.  Yes, it's taken me a week to calm down from that debacle.  I didn't want to write a blog piece that included copious amounts of MF's.

Tonight, I'm at the Humphrey/Mondale Dinner, so I need to post this early, and it needs to be quick.

Samantha Bee returned to the air this week with her TBS show Full Frontal.  Misogyny must be the reason more women are not tapped for late night talk shows, and to point a mirror at my industry, morning drive radio hosts.  In radio it's nuts.  I've met hilarious, quick witted, top notch radio pros, who happen to be a women, but yet when a radio station needs a new morning show, they're never called.  The usual comment is "I'm saving you for midday."

When it comes to late night television, women are getting more opportunities, but it still trails behind their male counterparts.  When a woman is given a chance on late night, what I see is a lack of commitment and support by the networks.  It's like they have to be winning their time slot within a week, or the network gives up on them.  Meanwhile, men are allowed to fester in third or fourth place, for years(!), without any sign the network is dissatisfied with their performance.  Samantha Bee, if TBS is committed and supportive, should have a long, successful run.  She's just that funny.

The first episode was brilliant.  God I missed you!  A little salty language but very funny.  Enjoy!

Part 1:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkVAxyVhsis

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmFsf4AcFTY

Monday, February 8, 2016

It'd Be a Horrible Mistake to Elect a Republican in 50B

We have a special election in Minnesota tomorrow!  The MN House seat for District 50B is up for grabs, as long time Democrat Ann Lenczewski has decided to retire.  The district is in Bloomington, covering the southern and eastern part of that city, hugging the Minnesota River from Hwy. 100 to 494, and it includes the Mall of America. Residents of 50B, for goodness sake, vote for the Democrat, Andrew Carlson to replace her.  It'd be a horrible mistake to elect a Republican to represent 50B.

The guy who is running on the GOP side is Chad Anderson, a guy who, on his website, labels the well liked Representative Ann Lenczewski's departure not as retiring, but as a "resignation."  Part of me wonders if the GOP is running Chad solely because his name might confuse Democratic voters in the district, as there are some similarities.

Bloomington is a great city with a dynamic social and economic make up.  District 50B is mainly middle class working families, most of which are 50 and younger, with a larger percentage of African American and Hispanic population than many districts in the state.  We can start right there with reason number one why you don't want a Republican representing you.  The GOP in Minnesota hate African American and Hispanic voters.  HATE them, something you can see for yourself in the way they have treated the minority populations of the state, even allowing the racist Representative Newberger to openly insult African Americans on the House floor.  Electing a Republican is saying it's okay to ignore the Blacks and Latinos in the community.

Chad's website is the usually GOP mumbo jumbo.  He's for gutting the public education system, vague calls for good paying jobs with little details on what he means, and, of course, return the budget surplus to the taxpayers, which really means "we're going to give the wealthiest Minnesotans all of the surplus money, and to get you to go along with it, we'll give everyone making less than 250K $10, EACH!"  If I may, maybe Chad should elaborate on the following things:
  • Are you for a $15 an hour minimum wage?  You're trying to be the Representative for a lot of workers who make far less than that.  $15 an hour at 40 hours per week for a year is $31,200 before taxes.  Wouldn't you agree, Chad, that would be the bare minimum needed to support a family?
  • Since your district is serviced by light rail, where do you stand on light rail expansion?  Are you for it, or are you like the rest of the GOP, who have not only vowed to never expand it, but have even eluded to shutting down the system we already have in place (which means for your district!)?
  • Since the state demographer reported the vast income disparities between white and African American workers in Minnesota, and since your district will have a large African American population, what is your plan to equalize the incomes for African Americans?  Right now, most Republicans insist this is not a problem they are concerned with.  Do you disagree with them?
  • Speaking of returning the surplus, considering most tax breaks and government refunds over the last 30 years have gone to the wealthiest Minnesotans, would you be for all refunds from the budget surplus only going to Minnesotan's who make 75K or less a year?  If no, why not?  Wouldn't that tax refund immediately stimulate the economy?  Haven't the wealthiest Minnesotan's gotten their fair share of tax breaks already?
  • During the legislative off season, most speeches from Republican Speaker Kurt Daudt and the MNGOP have been delivered in rural Minnesota and have railed, HARD, agains the Twin Cities metro, talking about how they get too much funding, how the metro area needs to give all the money back to the rural parts of the state, and how the Twin Cities metro needs to be put in their place.  How do you feel about your party's official platform?  Are you for District 50B's funds being shipped off to rural districts?
The main question Chad has to answer is simply this, are you going to be another Kurt Daudt lap dog?  We know he told all freshman House members they had to do what HE told them to do, no questions asked.  I think the voters in 50B should know if they're going to have a Representative who will represent the district, what's important to southern and eastern Bloomington, or will they have a Representative who will only do what Kurt Daudt tells him to do.

Pass this along.  If you are in 50B, vote tomorrow, February 9th!  Make the right decision for a powerful, INDEPENDENT, voice who will represent the district.  Vote Andrew Carlson!



Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sacked!

Following up on the NFL story I did on Thursday (Blitz Package), I have two more updates from the league, just in time for the Big Game!

First, in regards to the Peyton Manning story, where one of the leagues top player's wife had Human Growth Hormones sent to the Manning home, a medication which has very few real, non-athelet doping, medical uses, all of which are extremely serious in nature, this all while Manning was recovering from repeated neck surgeries.  It seems Manning sent two thugs...I mean Private Investigators to the home of the parents of the person who was the source of the claim against Peyton Manning, Charles Sly.  These two individuals lied and presented themselves as law enforcement.  We know this because Sly's sister called 911 to report the two, who had claimed they were law enforcement but refused to show ID.  The confrontation de-escalated when the Private Investigators realized the police were about to show up and admitted who they really were.

It's known that Sly eventually had contact with these thugs...I mean Private Dicks, and soon afterwards, recanted the story he told Al Jazeera America.  A reminder, the Al Jazeera America story was an expose on how easy it was to get performance enhancing drugs and HGH, but Peyton Manning was never part of their original story.  It was only after Charles Sly offered up Peyton on his own that they reported his wife's HGH love.  I think it's fair to say something is really wrong here.  Just when you thought the worst thing about Manning was his love of Papa John's pizza.

Then there is the tragic case of Johnny Manziel. To be fair to the NFL, their league is not the only one where this sort of things happens, but it's rare to see an individual implode on this level.  Manziel was a great quarterback who fell in love with his image and the partying lifestyle which came with it.  He's a product of today's youth sports machine.  A kid who had undeniable talent, pandered and preened over during his pre-high school and high school days, with parents and the community turning a blind eye to his partying and disrespectful antics, because he could play sports.  He ends up at Texas A&M, were the school gains national attention for the quality quarterback he can be when he focuses, but shields his drinking and partying which were reportedly already starting to take a toll on him.  Because no one ever told him 'no,' he felt as if he could do anything.

He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2014, a decision I insisted was insanely stupid back then.  By the time he was a pro, his drinking was too out of control.  His performance on the field suffered, but the most important thing for him was the drinks and parties to chase away the failures.  The days of players drinking beers on the sidelines and then heading into the game to throw the winning touchdown are long gone, only realistic in movies geared towards the lowest common denominator.  He's a pro athlete, getting millions of dollars to play a sport, but he has thrown it all away.  He'll never be able to recover from this, even if he was to go to rehab immediately, and effectively beat his substance abuse problem.

The thing which is so sad about both of these stories is how on one side, Manziel, you have a guy who never took it seriously, and has now destroyed his potential, and maybe his life.  On the other side, Manning, you have a guy who, if the HGH was actually for him and not his wife, could not turn off the competition element of his brain.  He took it too seriously.  Instead of accepting reality and nature, if the HGH was his, he tried to postpone time but loading up his body with chemicals and drugs which will likely take years off of his life.

Like I said, I'm watching the puppy bowl.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Friday Link for 2/5/16

I have talked about Canadian comedy before but that was about The Kids in the Hall.  I don't believe I ever posted the kings of Canadian comedy, SCTV.  Since they were just featured in a story about the 10 best characters from the show, an article which reminded me how funny they were, I had to revisit them this Friday.

The show featured one of the best ensembles ever, including future superstars John Candy, Harold Ramis, Catherine O'Hara, Rick Moranis, and Martin Short, but also the incredibly underrated and (I am not joking) possibly the greatest ensemble players ever in comedy: Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin and Dave Thomas.  They all knew when to be the lead in the bit, and when to be in the background.  They played off of each other so well.  Never any denial.

The insanely funny crew at SCTV had numerous great characters.  Here are a few of my favorite:

John Candy's Johnny LaRue, in hindsight, was Crack Smoking Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford 35 years before him.  Here's one of my favorite moments of his.  John Candy, you'll always be missed.


Bob and Doug Mackenzie were the template for the dumb guy bit.  You know, too stupid for their own good, but they make good in the end.  The 90's Bros. comedies owes them a lot of residual checks.  Their movie Strange Brew is one of my favorite cult classic movies.  The fact Rick Moranis walked away from his career at the height of his popularity, so he could raise his kids after his wife passed away, makes him one of my heroes.  



Freaking Count Floyd.  Joe Flaherty at his absolute comedic best and is one of the best comedy characters ever, as the host of the late night horror movie show on SCTV, a horror movie which was never scary  Such a good character bit.


And finally, 20 plus years before Will Ferrell knocked them dead with his version of Alex Trebek, Eugene Levy did the bit, only better.  His exasperated game show host dealing with dim bulb dolts who can't answer anything is a riot.  Note, Matin Short is doing the a variation of the character who would later show up on one of the all time funnest SNL bits, the men's synchronized swim team.  Enjoy! (for some reason, I can't embed that one, so I saved it for last!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTDsJd1l7Aw


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Blitz Package

This Sunday, the 50th Super Bowl will be played between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos.  Smart money is on Carolina destroying Denver, as the Panthers are really good, but as life often imitates sports, the NFL seems to be attempting to destroy public resistance to them, going after anyone who speaks ill will of their product in any way.

The league has become a monster, making 12 billion last year, and potentially looking at 13 billion this year.  Even though the league, and its team's owners, could afford to build a private facility for every one of their franchises (and many owners were billionaires BEFORE they bought their teams), they play the public heartstrings, convincing communities to waste billions in tax dollars to support a wildly profitable private enterprise.

This manipulation goes back to the initial forming of the modern NFL in the 1960's, when the league convinced lawmakers to label the newly merged NFL as a non-profit entity.  For the record, this wasn't necessarily for future team owner's profit margins.  They were mainly given this perk to avoid an anti-trust challenge, and to help encourage the growth of an up and coming sports league, but to say they didn't welcome this label is foolish.  The NFL has itself revoked it's non-profit status, as the league's teams already paid taxes.  With the change, they now don't have to publicly list the salary of the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, a man who clears mid-eight figures annually, a man whose salary was public due to non-profit laws.  Now he no longer has to reveal what he makes, especially then he's trying to defend the kid glove punishments the NFL hands down to its players when they commit horrific crimes.

To give the NFL credit, they've masterfully run their organization.  Twenty years ago, when they changed the competition rules, preventing the Super Bowl from boiling down to the Dallas Cowboys or San Francisco 49ers every year, the league's popularity exploded.  Used to be, many fans stopped watching their teams by early October, but now, they have a captive audience all the way through Christmas.  By spreading the wealth and having upheaval in the league, where bad teams from the year before can actually make the playoffs the next year, by having teams who had never sniffed the Super Bowl actually playing in it, and by honing their playoff schedule, they've made a better product, a far more enjoyable product.  Most sports would be happy with ending it there, but not the NFL.

They took the 'spread the wealth' idea from the teams to the media, spreading the broadcasting rights for the games amongst the four big national broadcasters.  CBS and FOX host the Sunday afternoon games, NBC has the incredibly popular Sunday night game, and ABC, through their broadcast partner ESPN, has the Monday night game.  Each network is desperate to keep the NFL happy, so now, through local franchise broadcasting networks, the major networks, and all their broadcast partners, the NFL has a direct presence with every sports media outlet in the country.  The only time you hear anything bad or critical of the NFL is when one of their players does something so egregious, social media drives the network news to have to cover it, but the media still gives the league the benefit of the doubt.

NFL stadiums are the most obvious and obnoxious form of media and public manipulation the league engages in.  The league's sell job is incredible.  They first start talking about how a facility is no longer adequate.  Never mind the fact the 'improvements' the facility needs are primarily money making for the team's owners; just ignore that.  The owners and league start to form an exploratory commission which feels like a campfire singalong, with talks of community loyalty, friendship, and sacrifice.  The lovefest starts to change when the public sees the price tag for the new facility.  Communities already straining to maximize their tax dollars are being asked to front hundreds of millions of dollars in public subsidies for a private company's work facility.  To control any early fires, the team and the league focuses on 'metro image,' 'civic partnerships' and 'not letting fans down.'

Then the NFL starts the real dog and pony show.  It's a three tiered attack.  First the team's owner starts showing up in large markets without an NFL team (it was Los Angeles for many years, but now it will likely be St. Louis, as their team, the Rams, has moved back to LA.  More on them in a sec).  They make a big deal out of flying into a wanting city, going out to some undeveloped site, and, as they rub their chin and nod in agreement, talk about the potential profitability of their team moving there, creating waves of panic amongst their fan base in their home city.

Then comes the truth about the costs, which are no where near the initial costs floated during the campfire singalong.  First the facility can't be just bare bones.  It needs a roof, and a substantial luxury ring for VIP's only.  It needs massive infrastructure improvements in the area surrounding the new stadium, costs which are often excluded from the negotiations, but tax payers are on the hook for.  Then comes the needed upgrades for parks and walkways, shuttle buses and plazas.  Then comes the seat licensing fees, forcing long time, loyal fans, to have to pay thousands of dollars for the right to even purchase their seats.  And let's not forget the owner.  After he has gotten every bell and whistle in the new facility, he goes back to the community ten years later, insisting the facility in now old and dated, needing massive tax payer funded upgrades.  Just in case, he warms up the plane, and starts making plans to visit Salt Lake, or Portland, Oregon, or Vegas.

Then comes the local media push, coerced into making sure only pro-stadium discussion is put forward.  There is an insinuation that local media might lose their press access, and the team freebie merchandise the pathetic sports media reporters and producers covet, if they don't tow the company line.  The media's tone is "OH MY GOD!!!  YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE YOUR FOOTBALL TEAM!  YOUR LIFE DOESN'T MATTER!  YOUR SPOUSE DOESN'T MATTER!  YOUR KIDS DON'T MATTER!  YOUR JOB AND HOUSE DON'T MATTER!  YOUR LIFE WILL BE A WORTHLESS HELLSCAPE WITHOUT A LOCAL FOOTBALL TEAM!!!"  Think I'm joking?  I heard two clowns on one of the sports talk stations insisting Minneapolis/St. Paul would be a third class city without the Vikings, and berated anyone who called to challenge them.  The day after the new MetroDome was approved, the day after, was when most of the media in this town first asked whether spending all of this money on a sports complex, for ten games a year(!), was really a good investment?  FYI, it isn't.  To their credit, Reusse and Barreiro were the only ones I heard bring up the cost prior to the stadium being approved.

To quote the Simpsons, "our national priorities are so screwed up."

But then you say, "well what's done is done.  At least we're assured the team will stick around."  Nope!  Look at St. Louis.  That city's tax payers are still paying millions on a football stadium without a team.  They did what the league ordered them to do.  They built the stadium, they made upgrades, they paid for it with tax payer dollars and the fans did support the team.  Still wasn't enough, as the league and the Rams' owner vilified the community in order to jump ship and head to Los Angeles.  We saw this in Cleveland too.  There is no fan loyalty from the NFL anymore, only money worship.

The NFL, having mastered public manipulation for direct benefits to the teams and league, is now on a mission to make sure nothing negative is EVER reported about the league.  Let's start with the NFL, and other sports leagues, dirty secret about supporting the troops.  These NFL games and broadcasts are draped with imagery of our armed forces, in a way to win over public support for the league.  Reality: they only look at the troops as props, something proven when all the sports leagues were exposed for taking money in order to do their 'salutes.'  Outside of an initial outrage, followed by media reports which insisted the NFL, and other sports leagues, were really giving far more value than they received, that story disappeared quickly.  No word on whether they still cash the Armed Forces checks.

If your city is chosen to host the Super Bowl, not only will you have to spend another few hundred million in upgrades and perks for the wealthiest of wealthy (for the Super Bowl in Minnesota in a few years, we have to provide a new cell phone tower for NFL and owners use, and comped luxury suites for the owners and their families.  Little Billy has to get his free mini bar because grandpa owns a team!), but the city is handed over to the NFL for weeks ahead of time.  They becomes the defacto government, controlling roads, police, signage, private businesses, traffic, homelessness and loitering, and managing taxpayer funded community upgrades which the NFL demands!  And to those who insist hosting a Super Bowl is a real big deal, making a city more visible, who hosted it three years ago?  Four?  Five?  Most people have no clue.  How many long term jobs can be directly linked to a community hosting a Super Bowl?  Very few, if any.

Once again, a controlled local media exerts a tremendous amount of pressure on the community to ignore these issues, but the NFL is showing it's true colors when it comes to stories they can't control.

Ever since we realized 'having your bell rung' was actually a serious brain injury, the world has become very aware of the dangers of repetitive head trauma in sports.  Football is not the only sport which has this problem, but they've fought against their own players, downplayed the issue repeatedly, and even today makes it seem like not having players unconscious on the gridiron is a product of the 'wussification' of the sport.  When players started dying at 42, we realized something was wrong.  The fallout has been dramatic with many parents (myself included) preventing their kids from playing sports where repeated head hits are common.  Football's participation numbers have really taken a hit.  The NFL has done some public relation's work on this issue, but many insist they're still pushing back, acting as if concussions are bad for business.  It's like when the NRA talks about gun violence.  They say, "boy isn't it a shame," but do nothing else, even though they could.  The NFL acknowledges the problem, but they know talking about it too much hurts the sport, so they try not too.  The NFL even seemed to be a fighting against the movie Concussion, starring Will Smith, a movie about the discovery of the concussion problem.  It's undeniable the Academy Awards have a race issue, but has anyone asked how much influence the NFL had in making sure Concussion, and it's star, weren't recognized with Oscar nods?

How about the Al-Jazeera America (AJA) story which has put one of the NFL's superstars, Peyton Manning of the Super Bowl bound Denver Broncos, under a dark shadow.  AJA was doing a story on the questionable health clinic The Guyer Institute in Indianapolis, an institute which has been alleged to be dealing with players who use performance enhancing drugs, like Human Growth Hormone (HGH).  While secretly recording former employee Charlie Sly, Sly himself started offering up Manning, with zero initiation from AJA.  AJA didn't go into this story trying to do a hit piece on Payton Manning, but when a former employee talks of how Peyton Manning's wife was receiving shipments of HGH, and how Manning would be coming to the clinic after hours, AJA had to go with it.  The NFL and their controlled media's response?  They have attacked AJA for the story, banking heavily on Charlie Sly recanting his confession, and hiring big name crisis managers to protect the Manning legacy.  Sport reporters have refused to talk about it, even going as far as defending Manning, while never once addressing the facts of the AJA report.  AJA is now closing up shop in the USA.  AJA wasn't on the strongest financial footing anyway, but did their advertisers get calls from another 'organization,' telling them to pull their advertising, or else?  Having gone over the AJA story, which seems very journalistically strong, there clearly are some real questions about the integrity of Peyton Manning which need some answers.  My guess is the NFL is running enough coverage for Manning to get past Sunday's game, and then he'll quickly retire.

But now, there's a new story about the NFL which really concerns me, as it signifies the NFL testing how powerful they are.  Troy Haupt might have the only copy of the original broadcast of the very first Super Bowl.  How he got it is not important, but he has approached the NFL with a proposition; he'll fork over the tape, for a million dollars.  You'd think a league, which makes eleven figures in profit, would be drooling at the chance to get its hands on a unique, collectable moment.  The NFL has said it will only pay $30,000 for the tape.  The Packers and Chiefs, the two teams in Super Bowl I, would probably pay two million at the drop of a hat.  For goodness sake, Goodell could buy it himself without missing a dime!  Experts all say the tape is worth a million.  The NFL won't budge.  Not only will they not budge, they have threatened a lawsuit to prevent Mr. Haupt from selling his own private tape to anyone else in a private transaction (how many Packer fans would line up for that!), and they definitely seem involved in CBS, the network which has the rights to broadcast Super Bowl 50, cancelling a pre-game interview with Troy.  Imagine the Louvre telling someone who wants to sell them a Picasso for a million dollars they'll only pay $30,000, and if the owner tries to sell it to anyone else, they will sue.  Pretty comparable.  The NFL seems to be going out of it's way to be a jackass.  It's like they are drunk on their own power.

A fair question: is the NFL really the bad guy, or is it the insanely easy to manipulate media in this country which is the problem?  The media, and specifically in this case, the sports media, are pathetic lap dogs, hollow shells of their former selves.  I remember media outlets refusing to be manipulated by the sports team owners, opting to cover the teams from outside the facility as opposed to constantly run fluff pieces about the team.  Back then, sports media knew the teams needed them far more than the media needed player access and bobblehead dolls.  As easy as it is to be extremely critical of sports media, I think, for me, the intent to manipulate and control originates with the NFL.  Just because the media can be played like a fiddle doesn't excuse the NFL's actions.

For the record, I like football, and I like the Vikings.  It's parsley on the plate of my life.  I don't obsess about it, nor do I let it blur the things which are really important to me.  It doesn't control me; maybe that's why this blog piece was so easy to write.

Good luck Carolina and Denver.  I'll be watching the Puppy Bowl.  At least in that game, the tugging at the fans emotional heartstrings is due to cuteness, not greed.





Monday, February 1, 2016

Quick Hits for 2/1/16

***** - A reminder about the Iowa Caucuses: the media will try their hardest to make the wins today into a one time thing, that we really have to wait until the NEXT primary/caucus to get the 'real story.'  It's a line they'll repeat every 'day after,' for the next four months, until all contending candidates withdraw.  Every four years, they make so much money on this political dog and pony show, they can't help themselves.  The story tomorrow, mark my word, will be "can blank hold their momentum until New Hampshire?"

***** - May I make a formal request that goes beyond arresting the militia members who tried to overthrow the government at a bird sanctuary in rural, desolate, eastern Oregon (good thinking, geniuses), and who called for the execution of numerous politicians, judges and members of law enforcement?  Could we also arrest some of the powerful, high ranking dolts who've encouraged these clowns, and charge them with treason, conspiracy and aiding and abetting?  I'm speaking specifically about dumb as a brick Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, bag of rocks stupid Nevada Assemblywoman Shelly Shelton, and moron with a badge, Grant County Oregon Sheriff Glenn Palmer.  All three of these idiots are not only trying to convince everyone this was something more than an attempt to make western white ranchers immune to federal laws, or an attempted land grab of Federal property for personal gain, they're also rooting for violence.  For the twisted militia members, a 'win' can be achieved by either the federal government letting them break the law and take federal land (stealing from all of us taxpayers), or by killing law enforcement, federal agents and military, in some sort of combat victory.  These three upstanding citizens encourage the militia's "give us what we want, of we'll kill people" mantra.  Many people who have tried to wrap their selfish, money grabbing schemes into some sort of constitutional fight (JP Morgan and the Smedley Butler case, the Whiskey Rebellion), and the western militias won't be the last.  We just need to make sure we make an example of all enemies of the American people, foreign AND domestic.

***** - A lot of people's eyebrows were raised today when the Star Tribune printed a full page "It'd be Un-Minnesotan" anti-bigotry ad, geared towards stopping anti-Muslim rhetoric.  Many people might be wondering where this ad is coming from.  Stop by Blue Stem Prairie and read Sally Jo's excellent coverage of 1) the deteriorating situation in St. Cloud, where MN Republicans have scrambled to cozy up to the worst of anti-Muslim bigotry, and 2) the GOP introducing anti-Muslim legislation in St. Paul.  Then you'll understand why this full page ad was warranted.  (http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2016/01/st-cloud-disunity-whered-those-mn-lawmakers-get-that-wild-crazy-bill-anti-sharia-anyway.htmlhttp://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2016/01/four-mn-house-republicans-introduce-companion-to-senator-browns-foreign-law-bill.html) It doesn't surprise me some Republicans like Bruce Anderson of Buffalo, Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa and the racist Jim Newberger of Becker are hooking up to the hate train, but two names which are co-sponsors of the anti-Muslim GOP House legislation do.  Representatives Bob Dettmer of Forest Lake/Stillwater/Marine on St. Croix and Cindy Pugh of Chanhassen/south Lake Minnetonka have decided to ignore their districts growing metropolitan slant, and have embraced the politics of hate.  I've spent time in Pugh and Dettmer's districts, and they're not stockpiles of bigotry.  They might have some farms and are located a distance from the metro core, but most people work and play in the metro.  This Hail Mary attempt to squeeze the last of the bigotry and hate votes out of those districts is misguided and sad.  Maybe we should deliver boxes of rocks to each of their offices so they can commence with the public stonings they might endorse next.  (One quick side note - my Catholic church service this weekend featured my priest condemning the discrimination and persecution of others, specifically mentioning anti-Muslim hate.  It seems the Republicans are, once again, extolling anti-Christian values.)

***** - High ranking people need to go to jail in Michigan for annihilating the city of Flint's water supply.  The only reason they haven't been arrested is because it's a city with a high minority population.  Governor Rick Snyder and all the Michigan Republicans that enabled this disaster, you're horrible people.

***** - If you want a prime example of how manipulated the media in this town is, just read two stories that were, for the most part, COMPLETELY ignored by them.  The first was the horrible story out of Mound Westonka High School, where students attending a school dodgeball tournament dressed as members of the Ku Klux Klan, and members of the group shared photos on social media, with one student's photo labeled "Grand Wizard."  (http://www.rawstory.com/2016/01/minnesota-high-school-students-facing-suspension-for-dressing-up-like-the-klan-at-dodgeball-tournament/)  Sweet Jesus!  With this story, we could talk about two recurring topics on this blog:  kids whose parents have not taught them how to behave in public, and people who don't understand social media is the same as screaming on a street corner.  Instead, I'll focus on the double standard in media coverage.  In 2013, at Minneapolis Washburn High School, some students took some pictures of the "lynching" of an African American doll, and the public and media, rightfully, exploded with outrage and condemnation.  Why then is the Mound Westonka story so under-reported?  I didn't hear anything about it until I saw it on the national news source Raw Story, who reposted (to their credit) the WCCO story, the only major coverage I could find.  The reason this story was buried is simple.  Mound Westonka is a wealthy, white suburban school.  The media in this town is so afraid of losing advertisers, many of whom live in wealthy, white suburban school districts, a story, which should be front page news, and would be if it were to happen in the Minneapolis or St. Paul public schools, is purposely ignored because it happened in a wealthy, white suburban school. 

The second story has the same double standard exposed.  Back in December of last year, the media in this town was obsessed with the physical assaults happening within the Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools.  Front page articles were written, media programs were dedicated to the topic, and condemnation was heaped upon the inner city school districts for not addressing the abuse issue.  One quote I read insisted, "one attack was too many."  Agreed!  So, can someone explain to me why an assault story out of the Minnetonka school district was ignored?  (http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2016/01/27/fmr-timberwolves-player-fired-by-minnetonka-high-after-assault-accusation/)  The story from WCCO (that's 2 for you!) talked about the firing of the Minnetonka basketball coach, former Minnesota Timberwolf Chris Carr, after Carr allegedly chocked a student at Minnetonka High School after, allegedly, the same student had assaulted Carr's daughter by slapping her.  By my count, we have two alleged assaults in the school, one male student on female student, one coach on male student, and you have the added angle of the coach being a former Minnesota Timberwolf too.  This isn't news worthy why?  Oh that's right, it's Minnetonka, a wealthy, white suburban school.

FACT! - The media in this town downplays problems in white schools and highly inflates problems in inner city schools with high minority enrollment. 

***** - If you have not seen the video for Poliça's latest song, Wedding, here it is:


The last image is so good, but regardless of what paranoid conservatives fear, it's not a threat.  Poliça is right; the world is changing, albeit far slower than I hoped it would.  The world we were born into, a world of racism, discrimination, unbelievable wealth inequality, hate, guns, religious discrimination and war, is dying, and the new world built around peace, love, compassion, sharing, fairness, equality and justice is getting ready to take it's place.  That's just a fact.  It can't arrive soon enough for me...