Thursday, June 30, 2016


I got back from northern Minnesota on Monday.  Here are some of the super cool photos!

Now that's out of the way, I apologize for not having more up on the blog this week.  There are a few reasons for my tardiness.  My kids sports schedules have contained 10 commitments in the 4 days I've been back, I had to clarify Tuesday's entire show, a show which shockingly made some Democrats really angry (I already know I make some Republicans really angry), and the final home remodel elements are wrapping up.  

I've had rants to post about how Brexit and its aftermath are the true W. legacy, why the Confederates should be treated like the despicable enemy they really are, a fun rant on the worst newspaper man in Minnesota, Bill Hanna at the Mesabi Daily News, and whatever happened to the Independence Party in Minnesota.  

I'll try to get to them soon, but I'm exhausted and I have to go get my fireworks.  I love me some Hand Holes, Three Finger Mollys and Flaming Hot Crotch Busters!  

Like I said, I'm a slacker...

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Friday Link for 6/24/16

I'm on vacation, but my love for you is strong...

Without further ado, an hour with Patton Oswalt.  Enjoy!

WARNING - TONS of offensive've been warned!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Damn Twins

The 2016 Minnesota Twins; I've never been so wrong about a team coming out of Spring Training.  If you go back, I actually had optimism, a feeling this team might be able to do some real damage in the American League Central.  Instead, I've egg on my face.  The team's a certifiable train wreck, destined for AT LEAST 100 losses, and near empty stands after the All Star Break.  There's no need to even go to the games for the giveaways, as pathetic collectors will wait for hours to gobble them up and leave, meaning you and your kids will have to watch a God awful baseball team in a near empty stadium, with nothing to show for it, but the indigestion.  Damn Twins...

I remember the first game of the season, the first series, the first home series, waiting for their first win.  "They'll win tomorrow!" "Hey, at least they won't get swept." "It's tough to win on the road in early April.  They'll get one at KC."  "They won't begin the season 0-6." "Finally they're at home!" "0-8 is a tough start to the season, but they won't get swept in their opening series, at home, by the freaking White Sox." Damn Twins...

0-9!  Worst star EVER for the franchise, but even then there was a ray of hope.  They swept a far superior Angles squad, and split with the Brewers.  Then they lost 6 of their next 8.  They finished April 7-17.  May was 8-19, an .005 improvement.  Damn Twins...

One of the biggest problems the Twins have is talent management.  In the last 20 years, how many players in the league once wore a Twins uniform, only to become a far superior player elsewhere?  At least two dozen, each with varying levels of success, but success none the less.  This is two fold.  Not only are we doing a horrible job of managing and developing players while they're with the organization, we also give up on them when they fail to do it the 'Twins way,' shipping them away, usually for diminishing returns.  Then some other team asks, "why in God's name were the Twins making you do it that way?  That's dumb!  Do it this way."  Instant superstar!  Damn Twins...

Then there's Joe Mauer, or rather his monster contract he really doesn't deserve, nor can the Twins afford.  Twenty three million for a guy who has a good bat, not a great bat; a good bat.  He's still bottom third in the league as far as 1st basemen, but because the team is too cowardly to send him out to right field and platoon Sano and Park at 1st, they're stuck with a bronze glover at best.   To get 23 million, Mauer should be hitting .300 to .315, with at least 15 HR's, and he should be one of the top players at his position.  He's just not.  He seems like a great dad, and a really nice guy, but he's just not a 23 million a year baseball player.  That was a REALLY bad contract.  Damn Twins...

The Twins have also fallen in love with unproven, developing talent.  I think they're desperate to make good for shipping David Ortiz off to Boston, so they keep banking on the next big thing coming our way out of the minors.  This fails two ways;  1) There are very few Ortiz level players in development today.  For every Ortiz, there are 200 not-Ortiz's.  They're not easy to find, 2) the amount of pressure put on the anointed players is massive, often causing the player to wilt.  Take Byron Buxton.  The Twins have made this kid out to be the 2nd coming of Killebrew, the most touted minor leaguer in all of baseball for three straight years.  He's hitting barely over .200, and even though he can field, he seems to be having trouble finding his way.  No worries, we'll outright release him in a year, only to watch him go to another team, win 6 batting titles, and four World Series.  Damn Twins...

I could spend all day going over numerous other player failures or coaching styles (say what you want, you don't start a season 0-9 without a large part of the blame being on the coaching and conditioning staff), but I'll go with the biggest problem on the team.  They don't have a Redass.  Redass is an affectionate term for a guy in the dugout who's still in love with the game, still in love with winning, and they've no problem holding every other player in the clubhouse to his and their highest standard, game in and game out.

The Twins have had some great Redasses over the years, Torii Hunter and Mike Redman come to mind, but Jim Thome and AJ Pierzynski had that reputation too.  These guys would openly call out other players in the clubhouse for underperforming; chewing out, cussing and even punching players, regardless of salary, who they thought were not playing up to their potential.  The Twins don't have a Redass this season.  Mauer will never be one.  Maybe Sano eventually, but the Twins organization are still firmly committed to this being Mauer's team, meaning Sano will always be told to take a back seat, or will be shipped away if he starts becoming a Redass.  At some point, they stop being starry eyed kids playing a game, and become millionaires at the office, only in it for the paycheck.  We need someone on the team to remind these soft millionaires of the fire which got them to the majors.  Damn Twins...

I'm realizing the tickets I got for this season are not worth the paper they're printed on.  I'd scalp them, but I'd lose money.  Maybe I'll gift them.  After July 4th, I'll be following the Boston Red Sox, and then the Vikes, and then the Wild.  Anyone but the damn Twins.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mining for the Truth

Last week the US Forest Service joined Governor Mark Dayton in putting the brakes on a proposed sulfide mining operation, run by a Chilean company, on land which would directly flow into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA).  Their findings were the same as the Governor; this type of mining has NEVER been done in environmentally safe ways, hence it would be too dangerous when considering the pristine nature of the BWCA.

If you've never been to the BWCA, it's well worth the trip.  You explore waterways and lakes which look the same as they did centuries ago when Native American's were to only ones viewing them.  These lakes are (for the most part) mega-mansion cabin free, quiet, and serene.

Sulfide mining is one of the most dangerous forms of mining, and it has NEVER been done before in Minnesota.  The sulfide is part of the mining process, and is left over when the precious metals are extracted.  This creates a huge problem, as exposure to air and water creates sulfuric acid, an extremely dangerous and toxic material.  Even a pile of sulfide, off by itself, will start transforming into sulfuric acid.  If a large spill were to occur into a lake or stream, it would annihilate all life in the ecosystem.  Even when a mining company is being careful with the waste product, it still poisons the area for 500 years, leaving a clean up which costs tax payers millions, and unusable land for generations.

The companies who are trying to get these mining leases are not folksy mom and pop mining operations.  These are the largest mining corporations in the world, from Canada, Europe, China, and South America.  The precious metals they're collecting don't help the US economy at all, rather it's all pre-sold to other countries.  These companies DON'T CARE about the communities they mine in.  They're profit driven.  They'll always look for the cheapest way to rip apart the land to get what they want, and run away fast when it's all gone.

We all should know better, but the mining companies put on a well orchestrated dog and pony show to convince people into destroying their own community.  They first set up a local business office, making it seem like it's not some multi-billion dollar international mining conglomerative, it's old Pete, who's just a local guy trying to make good.  They then promise jobs, jobs, jobs!  People who have been out of work are understandably attracted to these promises, and become instant cheerleaders for the new mine.  Environmental reviews are doctored or fixed to make it seem like the mine will be safe, and the mining group smooths over local concerns with praises of a new environmentally safe technology that turns their byproduct into delicious soft serve ice cream, and isn't it un-American to not like ice cream?

Time and time again, communities trust these multi-billion dollar international mining conglomerates.  Time and time again, the community, state, and tax payers get screwed.  When the engineers figure out there's limited precious metals left in the mine, the international mining group spins off it's local company, giving them full control of the mine, and all responsibility.  Old Pete walks out to discover the mine is dry and the environmental side effects are catastrophic.  Old Pete holds a press conference claiming he's sorry while declaring bankruptcy, leaving tax payers with the bill, and politicians who rammed through the approval act like a spurned lover.  "Who could've dreamed they would've done this to us?"  Every community who approved one of these mines, that's who.

That's why Governor Dayton became even more of a hero when he took it upon himself to go and see the communities who had been affected by sulfide mining.  The sobering tour convinced him there was too great of risk in approving this mine.  The US Forest Service agreed.

For the people who scream about the jobs these mines create, you do have a decent argument about the local community.  But before you buy into the multi-billion dollar international mining conglomerative's job promises, educate yourselves.  Are they trying to get around labor laws?  Are they all union jobs, or only a handful?  Are they planning on shipping workers in from Oklahoma or Arizona to work in the mines cheap?  Are they really going to pay everyone the salaries they promote, or are they only going to pay those wages to a handful of people?

Even if the mine does follow through and offers 850 people good paying, union jobs, the BWCA directly hires 17,000.  Are you telling me those 850 salaries will offset the loss of 17,000 salaries if the BWCA becomes terminally polluted for the next few centuries?  Of course not.

When we value what's on top of the land more than what lies underneath it, Minnesota, and the world, will be a lot cleaner, healthier and a much happier place.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Friday Link for 6/17/16

Short and sweet tonight because I am on vacation.

WARNING - A Lot of Naughty Language!

Samantha Bee and Full Frontal get it this week with her fantastic take down of the insanity which is the US's gun laws after the Orlando massacre.  This is the smartest commentary on the shooting yet.

Thanks Mike McIntee for filling in for next week.  I am on my staycation.  This town kicks caboose so I am partaking.  Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Assault on Common Sense, aka The Camp Crystal Lake Effect

I'm not a big fan of slasher movies. All they really are is a challenge for special effects people to make human beings look like they're getting brutally murdered.  A friend of mine said it best in 1984; "It's like Faces of Death, but you don't feel so guilty watching it."  Where's the popcorn!?! (sarcasm)

These movies are the textbook definition off the word 'unbelievable,' but for me the most unrealistic element is not the demi-monster coming out of the grave to kill, yet once again, but rather a major real world disconnect.  Why would parents send their children to the location of a teen slaughter(s)?  The Friday the 13th movies made repeated trips back to Camp Crystal Lake, the site of many of Jason (and his mother's) heinous acts of violence.  You've got to be the worst parent EVER to send your kid to a camp where people were savagely butchered by a machete wielding maniac only a year earlier.  "But Billy, they have paddle boards!"

For the never ending feeder system of teenage victims, I give the blame/credit to what is the most realistic portrayal of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in all of cinema; the never seen, hard working Crystal Lake Youth Outreach Program!

After the first senseless massacre at Camp Crystal Lake, the Crystal Lake Youth Outreach Program sprung into action, with a marketing campaign geared around false arguments: "if you don't send your kids back to Camp Crystal Lake, Jason wins! You don't want Jason to win, do you? You know what would've never happened if THEY would've gone to Camp Crystal Lake? Hitler!" On the outside, it looks like a poorly constructed argument, more bent on the vilification and demeaning of common sense, but shockingly, it starts to resonate with idiots who are desperate to find validation in their own lives.

The CLYOP then buys off every politician they can, paying them to ensure no one ever talks negatively about the 'misdeeds' at Camp Crystal Lake, and they even pass laws which encourage people to send their children to Camp Crystal Lake in larger and larger numbers.  When the next inevitable Jason slaughter happens, they get their sad faces on, talk about thoughts and prayers for the victims, insist that even though August's campers were all murdered, June and July's made it without a fatality, and if we dare address the Jason issue, the slaughter will be SO MUCH WORSE!!!

Comparison aside, the NRA, and their 'guns everywhere' rallying cry, has become a hollow argument to validate a broken, genocide enabling system.  Orlando was it for me.  There's no more discussion needed.  Assault weapons are too dangerous to have available to the general public and need to be restricted.  I'm not going to entertain the NRA/pro-gun kooks arguments anymore.  They've promised safety for 20 years, and they've failed horrifically.  All their arguments are lies, distortions and fantasy, not made in any real attempt to have a discussion about the problem, only made to get people to forget about the latest tragedy.

When I was in basic training in 1988, I watched a drill sergeant beat the living crap out of a young soldier who kept pointing his M-16 at people.  After the third warning, he went off.  Afterwards, he looked at the recruits and said, "there's nothing I hate more than an idiot who does't have the slightest idea how dangerous guns are.  These are not a bb gun, but rather a deadly weapon designed to kill, and you need to treat it as such."

Yes, the individual doing the shooting is the main problem, whether terrorist, anti-gay extremist, white nationalist, sovereign citizen or mentally compromised.  I'm not saying banning all assault weapons will stop attempts to kill, but if Omar Mateen would've entered the Pulse Nightclub with a knife, bow and arrow, hammer, or sword, he might have killed two or three people, but he would've been stopped, and we wouldn't have needed 13 heavily armed, highly trained police officers to take him down.  The reason we needed that much firepower is because his assault weapon evened the playing field.  One deranged lone gunman can become his own combat platoon with one assault weapon, and a few banana clips full of rounds.

No legitimate hunter uses assault weapons.  They're useless in personal protection too, unless you're a drug dealer in a bad 80's TV show.  These weapons were designed to kill as many human beings as possible, as fast as possible.  They're an abomination, and need to be outlawed.

While we're at it, let's also 1) inspect all gun stores inventory for the last five years.  If they don't have the weapon or a receipt for the weapon, and we can prove one of their unaccounted for weapons was used in a crime, charge them with arms trafficking.  2) Start a database of all weapons in the country.  This list should be searchable by the public, so I, as a parent, can know who of my neighbors are packing heat.  I've a right to know who to keep my family away from.  3) The 2nd amendment says NOTHING about magazines and ammunition.  No weapon sold in this country should be allowed to shoot more than 10 rounds per minute.  Large capacity ammo clips should be illegal, and bullet purchases should be limited.  4) Terrorists should not be able to buy a slingshot in the USA, let alone an assault weapon.  If they're on a watch list or no fly list, then no gun purchases, period.  5) Anyone who has a record for violence, assault or murder is forbidden from ever purchasing a gun.  If they're found with a gun, it's an automatic 5 years in prison.  6) If a person has been in long term mental care, or has had a history of psychotic episodes, they shouldn't be able to purchase a weapon.  7) No weapon can be sold in the United States, even between two private parties, without a waiting period and background check.

All of this is legal under the 2nd Amendment.  All of it.  The most important thing is to immediately ban all sales of assault weapons, no exceptions.

Slasher movies and assault weapons - one is a vehicle which glorifies violence, romanticizes carnage, and encourages their fans to believe laughable false narratives about it being the 'American Way' and 'harmless American fun.'  The other is a movie genre.

We can turn them both off, IF we want to.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Smart With Your Money

This weekend, I was at one of my son's baseball games when I overheard a conversation between two of the parents.  They were talking about Lake Vermillion, one of the true gems in the state of Minnesota, and a lake which has become increasingly high end over the years.  I have movies from the 1930's of my grandparents and a Native American guide fishing a very rustic Vermillion, but today, the lake is covered with multi million dollar mansions owned by some of the state's, and nation's, richest people.

The two parents were comparing stories of trips they'd had to Vermillion, and one parent relayed the story of how he got to stay at a major corporate vendor's place, a massive sprawling complex on a private bay, a cabin so large it was compared to a full resort complex.  This individual was responsible for some bit of computer code which most computers use a version of.  To quote the one parent, "he was really smart with his money!"

He then describes this massive cabin complex.  It sounded lovely, but he bragged too much.  He was talking about how the guy had imported all of the logs for the cabin from the Pacific Northwest, at a tremendous cost.

I've no problem with successful, wealthy people, and the computer age has created some so rich, they've no chance at ever spending it all.  More power to them.  I hope they can eventually get to a point where they go and enjoy the money they've earned, as opposed to being that wealthy guy, still putting on a suit and tie for a regular day at the office.  But when he described shipping logs to northern Minnesota, it made me immediately question how smart this guy really was.

The logs were a form of him bragging, but a really stupid one.  Not only is northern Minnesota flush with lumber he could have easily used for his cabin, at a tremendously lower cost, clearly the main reason he did this was to pat himself on his back about the logs he used, turning his cabin into a monument to foolish spending for foolish spending sake.

Imagine, instead of shipping logs across the country, he would've built with local lumber, applying the savings to feed a few thousand people for a month.  He could've taken dozens of homeless families off the streets.  He could've helped get needed medicine to developing countries, or helped inner city communities develop new employment opportunities.  He probably could've given 12 people full ride scholarships to college with the money he spent, or bankrolled one of the many non-profits which make his community better.  Nope, he spent it on logs.

For the record, you can do whatever the heck you want to with your money.  That's your call, and your right.  But maybe it's time for us to start evaluating what exactly is the definition of smart spending.

We as a society worship money WAY too much.  There's nothing wrong with having money, but to applaud such a reckless waste of it, only so one can bask in the shadow of a worthless brag, is godless, hollow and empty.  We should applaud selfless acts with far more vigor as selfish ones, or at least stop fan boy-ing over such epic waste.  We'll be a better people, and a better country, when we do.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Friday Link for 6/10/16

For this week's Friday Link, I wanted to revisit the last season of Saturday Night Live.

Overall, I thought it was a good season, but not great.  The cast is sensational, but the biggest letdown this year were the guest hosts.  There were a few laughs, but most hosts were lacking.  Also, the news is just not that funny anymore.  Granted, you did run through a decade of the best news hosts they've ever had, from Seth Meyers, to Amy Poehler, to Tina Fey, to Jimmy Fallon, but I can't remember the last time I really laughed hard at the current weekend update segment.

Here's my list of this year's five best moments:

#1 - Meet Your Second Wife!

The aforementioned Fey and Poehler show why they were two of the funniest women ever on the show, in a skit which hit a little too close to the truth about men and their second marriages.

#2 - Bern Your Enthusiasm

Larry David was by far the best recurring element of this year's season.  His Bernie Sanders impression is top five SNL political impressions of all time.  He took his impression into a version of his HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm, having Bernie end up losing in the end because of a few self induced missteps.

#3 - Farewell Mr. Bunting

Fred Armisen returned to the show to host and ended up giving us this gem of a "Dead Poets Society" parody.  Wait for it... (probably not for the kiddos)

#4 - Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base

What a great concept.  Taking the show where CEO's try to look like they're sympathetic, and care about their employees, but are only stroking their own egos, and applying it to the biggest, whiniest, most short tempered Sith Lord of them all, Kylo Ren.  Adam Driver is a riot.

#5 - Close Encounter

Kate McKinnon is the best of the show's current cast, and I think her role in Ghostbusters will launch her into superstardom.  In this skit, about three abductees talking to NSA agents about their abduction, McKinnon was testing to see how much she could get everyone else on stage to laugh.  Ryan Gosling lost it worst of all.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

More Room in the Clown Car...

Wednesday's insane racist Star Tribune drivel from Rep. Tony 'Clown Car' Cornish wasn't the only bit of racism and bigotry from Minnesota Republicans we had yesterday.  Nope, we actually had another example of how racism has permeated the MNGOP, this from a young plucky, intolerant newcomer.

Tara Mack, the Republican Rep. who was found in Lebanon Hills Park having a romantic 'document exchange' with fellow GOP Representative Tim Kelly (spoiler alert: not each other's spouse!) has wisely decided to leave Minnesota government.  MN House seat 57A is open.  The Minnesota DFL is running a spectacular candidate in Erin Maye Quade, an individual with tons of experience in politics, good ideas and a welcoming personality.  Ms. Quade IS modern Minnesota, coming from a multi-racial family and married to her wife Alyse.  Her running for office undermines the hatred and vitriol the Republicans bank on to make elections closer than they should be.

This doesn't mean the MNGOP is going to avoid hatred and vitriol.  Ms. Quade's Republican opponent is Ali Jimenez-Hopper.  She seems to be similar to Tara Mack, sans the indiscretions; a married mom, far right politically and an extreme Christian.  Yesterday, the LGBT news outlet, The Column, posted a piece from Andy Birkey about Ms. Jimenez-Hopper's speech at the Republican endorsing convention in May, a speech which has been put on YouTube.  Here's the link to the story:

The speech is a deep look into the id of the modern Republican.  There's a lot to criticize.

I could go with the Republicans clear hatred of the GLBT community, something which Jimenez-Hopper embraces as she oozes her own personal disgust for Quade's marriage.  Many Republicans want to revisit having the government regulate the GLBT community, but keep their mouth shut, due to the popularity if gay rights in Minnesota.  Being in what she thought was a safe environment, Jimenez-Hopper let her hatred flag fly, going back to the arguments the MNGOP used five years ago; "I believe in the traditional marriage...between a husband and wife..."  I'm not shocked by this, rather I'm surprised we haven't gotten more examples of modern Republican homophobia, which crawls underneath their thin public persona skin.

I could also rip on Jimenez-Hopper for her religious views.  She portrays herself as a strict follower of her Christian values, but lets cut the bologna.  There are numerous passages from the Bible she, and many other far right Christians, ignore.

(((Religious Disclaimer! - I'm Catholic.  You do, or don't do, whatever you do or don't want to do!)))

I'm sure Jimenez-Hopper's not calling for punishing people who work on the Sabbath, or closing all Red Lobsters because shellfish is a sin, nor is she for women having to marry their brother-in laws if their husband dies.  And most modern Republicans completely ignore the vast majority of Jesus' teachings, the ones which call for helping the hungry, homeless, sick and needy. They giddily refuse, unless they can label them as moochers, screaming about how lazy they are, or making them pee in a cup.  Jesus was about love, not shaming people.  Many politically right Christians today pick and choose from the teachings of the Bible, ignoring what they want, while insisting the very next passage is mandatory for all Christians and non-Christians alike.  When you realize that, you'll realize people like Jimenez-Hopper are using the Bible to validate their own personal hatred and bigotry.

The part which really upset me from Ali's speech is this little gem - (referring to Quade) "She brings up that she is half black and she uses that as a strength."  I re-read this a few times, wondering why she would reference Quade's mixed race upbringing at all.  Quade has never shied away from her heritage, but has never made it, or her lifestyle choice, the center point of her campaign.  Then it hit me.  Jimenez-Hopper was making sure all the Republicans at the convention knew 'she's one of THEM!'  Republicans have become so intertwined with racism today, she knew mentioning Quade's race to her core constituents would be beneficial to her campaign.

Jimenez-Hopper must have realized a few seconds later she might be on record, so she floated the line "Now while I don't have a speech formally prepared..."  This was a pathetic attempt for her to insist any blowback she gets from her race and sexual orientation comments could be played off as unpolished, off the cuff remarks, but don't worry far right Republicans.  She'll be winking at you as she rails against the 'liberal PC police.'

I don't know what I'm more amazed by; the sub sewer, intolerance mentality of the modern GOP, or the non-racist Republican friends I have who see and hear all of this, and not only say nothing, but are still trying to justify their inevitable Republican vote in November.  Jimenez-Hopper is just the latest MNGOP'er to try to win by embracing racism and bigotry.  Come September, if she's trailing Quade in the polls, she can always do what Erik Paulsen did to Ashwin Madia in 2008, and darken Erin's skin color in campaign materials, in a feeble attempt to make her look more ethnic.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Let's Take A Ride in The Clown Car!

Rep. Tony Cornish is a Republican who epitomizes the modern problem his party has.  They've become so infiltrated by racism, they don't hear themselves say it anymore, and blindly defend it when they get caught.  Cornish, a man I've affectionately labeled 'Clown Car,' proved this point today with a racist and tone deaf op-ed piece posted by the Star Tribune.

I'm not going to post a link to the op-ed.  I don't want to reward the Star Tribune with clicks for their irresponsible and reckless decision to print such garbage.  This paper is a hollow shell of the journalistic integrity they used to strive for.  They knew they'd get attention if they printed this racist screed, so they did, trying to make the pathetic argument "we're encouraging a discussion."  No, you're validating racism.  In the past, the Strib would've printed it, but not in the op-ed section.  They would've taken Cornish's racism, handed it over to a real journalist in their Political department, and would've written a front page story calling out Rep. Cornish.  I'll quote his letter here, but you can find it yourself.

Let's start with the dog whistle nature of the letter.  Cornish uses code words he's clearly directing at the African American community, but he's smart enough to not scream the 'n-word,' like his questionable supporters want him to.  These simpletons make biased comments in moron secret code, acting as if they've amassed a worldly knowledge on minorities, emboldened by Fox News and a right leading media who treats white America's racism and bigotry as thoughtful historic observation, and scientifically proven fact.  "Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh said my uneducated xenophobic prejudice is correct, so it MUST be true."  I wonder what they'd think if inner city minorities came into their communities and started authoritatively telling them about the problems with their way of life, and how they need to take responsibility for their circumstances, regardless of origin.

Clown Car's op-ed is a short letter, labeled as 'advice to help people interact with police better.'  It starts by referring to recent activity by advocacy groups, groups who've been asking how we can reduce the use of force by police.  It then transforms into a cesspool of ignorance; thoughtless wisdom, infused with segregationist approved narration, presented in bullet point form.  Proof of his intent lies in his first bullet point:  "Don't be a thug." 'Thug' is a term the racist right freely uses to describe black men.  It's a clear signal to whom Cornish is addressing his 'advice' to.

Other foolish nuggets from Clown Car range from bone stupid right wing 'common sense' ("don't rob people") to endorsing the rescinding of people's civil and constitutional rights (obey all police commands even when you've done nothing wrong and are minding your own business), to advocating totalitarianism (2 AM mandatory curfew?).  His final point is another directive clearly geared towards African Americans.  Cornish, who's a MN Representative, a person who can actually help address societal problems, seems to have no concern about the lack of education and jobs in minority communities, only that the minority community shouldn't use the lack of education and jobs to validate bad behavior.

Cornish's next paragraph is predictable.  Realizing he's written an unforgivably racist canon, he writes a paragraph to try to disguise his obscene racism, insisting his upbringing (apparently the inspiration for The X-Files 'Home' episode) didn't stop him from becoming a Representative.  It's the old "I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, so you need to fend for yourselves" parable.  He's trying to justify his critique by portraying it as coming from an 'authority,' while at the same time, activating the racist secret code.  His supporters then defend him, insisting his thin veil of homespun sludge is a solid resume of credentials, while they silently cheer on the intolerance he proudly waves in 'those people's' faces.

He closes out his letter with the most dickish cherry on top of his jackass sundae: "Here endeth the lesson. No charge."  The image the Star Tribune decided to attach to this letter was of police officers arresting a black silhouette, adding more insult to injury.

But that's not where Cornish's lesson endeth.  When everyone started screaming WTF, he proudly defended his letter, admitting he wrote it directly in response to Nekima Levy-Pounds, the head of the Minneapolis NAACP, a group who's been asking "how can we stop racial profiling and police violence?"  By admitting this, Cornish acknowledged his letter was written with African American's in mind, and he specifically geared his comments to the black community.  Clown Car freely admits his letter was racist.

Tony Cornish is a racist pig.  His attitude and public opinion are an embarrassment to the state of Minnesota.

Representative, judging from your unintelligent thoughts, the lesson is clearly not ended, but only beginning.  As far as you not charging of your 'advice,' your validation of innocent African American, Latino, Native American, and lower income blood spilled, targeted unfairly by police though racial profiling and harassment, comes at too high of a price.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Friday Link for 6/3/16

This has been an interesting week for me.  Monday was a long drive back from South Dakota, Thursday was surgery and today I'm still recovering.  Add in a series of personal bombshells and I'm looking forward to hiding from society for the weekend.

But with Kurt Daudt actually showing up to Dayton's meeting today, I imagine I'll have something to write about this weekend.  We'll have to see.

On the good side, the kids had their last day of school today.  I get to play with my kids for three full months!  That puts a smile on my face like the following video.

For the Friday Link, I decided to go with Friends.  This show was initially put forth as Thursday night filler behind Mad About You, but it quickly became one of the sharpest sitcoms ever.  It helped that the writers created six of the most endearing characters of all time.  Even today, every show on TV has a Chandler Bing.  As good as this show was during its heyday, it might have been syndication-ed out in the years following the show's end.  Heck, I remember one evening I came across an episode of the show every half hour on various channels.

For some reason, whether it was because of Matt LeBlanc showing up on Top Gear, or David Schwimmer's new show, or the near weekly Jennifer Anniston update we've had since 1994, they were on my mind.  This compilation clip reminded me of how good they were.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Cincinnati Gorilla

Like many people, I've been inundated with conversations about a child, unsupervised, crawling under a railing, through a few feet of thick shrubs, falling fifteen feet into the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo, only to be dragged around the exhibit by a gorilla who clearly was agitated, confused, and (in my opinion) trying to help the boy.  The gorilla was put down by zoo officials.

I don't want to dwell on this too long, as it takes away from the bevy of real news out there, but incidents like this do spur a lot of conversation.  So let's converse...

I'm torn on zoos.  In some cases, animal species would be wiped out if not for the conservation measures of zoos.  Also, there are a lot of animals (buffalo, reindeer, tortoises) who actually have been domesticated and/or thrive in a controlled environment.

On the other side, it's a freaking gorilla!  Lions, tigers, bears...these are all wild animals where the wild can't be bred out of them.  These are species who were never meant to occupy a small confined living space.  While a creature like an Amur Leopard would be extinct if not for keeping them in zoos, they're by nature extremely dangerous.  A discussion about the place zoos fulfill in the animal world can, and should, happen, but not in this post.

In my opinion, the zoo had no other option.  Life is not a Disney film.  That's an unpredictable gorilla, who could throw the 4 year old 50 feet, stomp on the boy and crush him, or even rip the child in two.  The zoo had to do what they did.  Doesn't mean it's not sad.

I've also gotten a lot of "why are we so concerned about gorillas, when people are far more important."  Agreed, only Batman villains want humanity wiped out for the sake of plants and animals, but most people who lament the gorilla coverage are only wishing they could get similar coverage of the issue important to them.  It's like when the supporters of other charitable groups complained about the ALS ice bucket challenge because it was TOO popular.  Try not to be petty.

My favorite zoo moment of all time was when I was at the Como Zoo, looking at the Snow Leopard.  A mother, who had the look of a meth addict, and her unruly child, were throwing popcorn to the leopard, past signs which clearly stated, 'Don't Feed the Animals!'  I mentioned to the woman, "your son probably shouldn't be throwing popcorn to the animals."  The Debrie Bardeaux wannabe smugly looked at me with disgust, "Keep feeding him Dylan.  He likes it!"  There are A LOT of idiots on this planet.

The mom of the boy who fell into the gorilla cage wasn't an idiot, but she's mostly responsible for her son ending up in there.  I understand accidents happen, but most of us aren't so absent supervising our children our kids end up falling into zoo paddocks.  Doesn't mean the zoo is completely without fault.  Even though it had never happened before, this 4 year old boy did it, which means there was a hole in their security.  There's plenty of fault to go around, but at the end of the day, mom wasn't paying attention to her child.

People who act as if the mom is no different than other parents who lose sight of their kid, I really disagree.  Yes, it wasn't like she left the child unsupervised on a safari, but it still was a zoo, with animals who eat people.  The boy was four, not 9.  She should've been keeping a closer eye on him.  Forgetting the zoo for a second, she lost track of her child around a 15 foot wall.  If that happened at your neighborhood playground, with a mom more concerned about Facebook and Pinterest posts, would you be so forgiving?  Blame can be spread around, but for me, most of the blame should be shouldered by the mother.  Doesn't mean accidents don't happen.  Doesn't mean she's a bad mom.

Don't worry, supporters of the mom.  She'll get a big payday from the inevitable lawsuit.

This incident does hit home for me because of a trip I took this last weekend.  My wife and I took the kids to South Dakota.  We went to Badlands National Park.  If you enter the park from the Wall, SD entrance, and start traveling east, you immediately come to a scenic overview of the stunning geology on display, going miles in every direction.  There's a parking lot, some stairs down, and then a circular path which takes you to various vistas.  At the bottom of the stairs, many people, wanting to walk directly to the main viewing area, have cut through the grass, creating an unofficial path.  My youngest daughter, who's 9, started to walk on this cut through when I stopped her.  I pointed to a sign saying 'Watch out for rattlesnakes,' told her to stay off that trail, and she quickly followed the designated, well designed, official path.

Not more than a minute later, a kid comes scrambling off the cut through saying, "look out! There's a rattlesnake!"

If I left my 9 year old unsupervised, and she got bitten by a rattlesnake, on an unofficial path in Badlands National Park, would you feel the park was to blame?  Would I'd been a bad parent?  Would she have just been the victim of an unfortunate accident?  Would we be having discussions about the responsibility of the Federal Government to remove all rattlesnakes from national parks, or how they should have fixed that unofficial walkthrough?

We're not discussing these questions because I did my job.