Thursday, April 30, 2009

Teleprompter please close the borders

This morning on the Today Show, Vice President Joe Biden responded to Matt Lauer question of “if a member of your family came to you said look I want to go on a commercial airliner to Mexico and back in the week, would that be a good idea?”, “I would tell members of my family and I have. I wouldn’t go anywhere in confine places now. It’s not that is going to Mexico. It you are in a confined aircraft when one person sneezes it goes through the entire aircraft. That’s me. I would not be at this point, if they have another way of transportation, suggesting they ride the subway. So, from my perspective what it relates to mitigation.”

Now Vice President Biden’s office has come back with a statement qualifying his statement as “if they were sick”. Really! The President last night said that closing the borders right now is not an option and equated to closing a barn door after the horse as already gotten out. WOW!!! No one knows how this Swine Flu will mutate or how we can combat it outside of staying out of confined places.

The Vice President needs to understand that his words carry weight. By telling the American public on the Today show that he’d tell his own family to not ride the subway or an airplane can have the same affect on the transportation industry as the label swine flu has had on pork futures. The airline industry is already struggling; the Vice President needs to choose his words more carefully.

Why not close the boarders. MSNBC just had a map of the United States up showing reported cases of the Swine Flu. Every state boarding Mexico had at least one confirmed case. Until the CDC, WHO, and Homeland Security office has a handle on the Swine Flu, doesn’t it make sense to ban all travel to and from Mexico and the United States?

I agree that the Swine Flu is already within our borders but it can still mutate. It is the mutation aspect that closing the borders will protect the citizens of the United States. Whispers online and in the media are hinting toward the notion that Universal HealthCare, had it been established, would have enabled the United States to be ahead of the Swine Flu. Really? Doesn’t Mexico have state run healthcare and look how well it has worked there.

It is time for the teleprompter to say, “We are banning all transportation between the United States and Mexico until we have a better understanding of strain of swine flu.” With the summer approaching and the annual plight of immigrant workers reaches further into the United States, the teleprompter needs to speak.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hamburg City Council Agenda - April 28, 2009

To all

I understand this is a day late and not everyone lives in or near Hamburg, MN. I will be posting the City Council agenda and the minutes on the blog. I do encourage those that do not live or near Hamburg to see what is going on and comment as well. Some issues facing our small hamlet may be issues in your community as well.

7:00. Call City Council Meeting to Order @ 7:00 PM
· Pledge of Allegiance
· Miscellaneous Business (Public Comments)
· Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption
· Old City Business (Memo)

7:05. Fire Department Report
· 2009 FEMA Grant Application – Allow Chief Droege to Apply
· New Fire Department Members – Add Colton Kroells
· Joint Powers Agreements – Article in LMC Magazine

7:15. Abdo, Eick & Meyers
· 2008 Financial Report

7:30. To The Home Internet – Shawn Sprengeler
· Internet Service for City of Hamburg

7:40. City Resident Chris Lund
· Request to Advertise Blog Site on Cities Electronic Sign

7:50. Parkside Tavern
· Request for 3.2 Liquor License & Park Rental for May 2nd, 2009

8:00. Dennis’ Report (Public Works & Utilities)
· Project List (Added Items)
· Estimates for Sidewalk Replacement
o Railroad Street (Maria Ave to Sophia Ave)
· Estimates for Seal Coating
o CC/Fire Hall/WTP Parking Lot & Donald Avenue
· Lois Willemsen’s Water Meter Test Results
o Midwest Testing Bill for Test – $40.66
· NYA Water Tower
· Annual Preventive Maintenance – Emergency Generator
· General Maintenance Schedules

8:20. Deputy Clerk Report
· Deputy Clerk Block
o Delinquent Utility Bills Report
· Parking Requirements – Residential Property
· Request for Time-off (April 29th & 30th & May 1st)

8:25. City Clerk/Treasurer Report
· I/I Abatement Program
o PFA Funding Application - $2,500 Fee (S.E.H.)
o Neighborhood Meeting – Set Date
· Carver County Base Fiber Optic Ring
o Approve Fiber Optic Ring Route
o Submission of Additions to Ring via Laterals Based upon Funding from Stimulus Funds
· Tenant User Liability Insurance Program (TULIP) – LMCIT
· Close 125th Anniversary Checking Account
o Council Member to sit on Electronic Sign Committee
§ May 12th Meeting @ 6:30 PM
· Community Center Rentals – Alcohol Use
· City Savings for 2009 Payroll
· Brush Pile Site Dates – Sign Up Sheet
· Informational Items
o Liquor License Seminar – May 12th 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
o South St. Paul Steel Supply Company – State Contract

8:45. City Council Reports
· Councilmember Mueller Report (Sewer & Water)
· Councilmember Cummiskey Report (Streets)
· Councilmember Trebesch Report (Buildings)
· Councilmember Barnes Report (Parks)
· Mayor Malz Report

9:00. Approve Added Claims for April 2009

9:05. Adjourn Meeting

Sen. Specter defection shines light on the need for politcal parties

Sen. Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania has switched back to the Democrat Party yesterday. As a moderate Republican he often voted with the Democrat Party on several issues. In his press conference yesterday, Sen. Specter stated that after looking at polling numbers from the upcoming Republican primary for the Senate race and figured it was time to re-join the Democrat Party. Sen. Specter tried to make it sound, during his press conference, that he was making the switch because it is in the best interest of those he represents in Pennsylvania.

Are you kidding me? How is switching parties for political survival in the best interest of our constituents? The move by Arlen Specter is job security. When looking at the polls, Sen. Specter realized that he trailed Pat Toomey 20 points. In the 2004 primary, Specter held off Toomey by 2 points. Seeing the door, Specter did what every good politician does, run away from principles and toward political expediency.

If I lived in Pennsylvania I’d be upset had I voted for Specter or donated money to him. “I am not prepared to have my 29 year record in the United States Senate decided by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate,” said Sen. Specter during his press conference. Sen. Specter is admitting that making the switch is for personnel reasons and not because his constituents are looking for new leadership.

The Republican Party has lost their direction. The Democrats are courting Moderates in an effort to balance the run to the Left. Adams and Jefferson loathed political parties even though it was their hyped and gave birth when the two squared off for the Office of the Presidency. Americans need to take a moment today and examine what took place yesterday with Sen. Specter.

It is time to take an inventory of one’s belief and view on Government. The overriding question is to ask oneself is, “How big do I want Government to be?” As the answer to that question will drive the regulations, taxes, and spending that will be carried out by the Government one envisions. Then ask oneself, “Can my vision of Government guarantee everyone the rights and freedoms established by the U.S. Constitution and the principles of Democracy?”

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rep. Ellison: Be Respectful and Apologize to Minnesotans

No one disputes Rep. Ellison’s right to advocate and draw attention to issues of Darfur. Rep. Ellison’s arrest, after being repeatedly asked to disperse, is a slap in the face of every Minnesotan that is without a job. Rep. Ellison needs to spend more time ensuring that the Legislature is acting in the best interest of Minnesotans. Yes, it is unfortunate that Darfur is unstable and aid workers are being expelled but unemployment is reaching 10% in Minnesota.

Getting himself arrested over an issue that has very little to do with the welfare of Minnesotans is irresponsible. Rep. Ellison needs to apologize to Minnesotans as he was not elected to promote his own cause with Darfur; rather he was elected to promote Minnesota interest.

Rep. Ellison misses the tenor of his actions have and has fallen short on his obligation to the citizens of Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota as well as to Minnesotan’s in general. Just this past weekend Dinkytown saw a block party that got out of hand. If Rep. Ellison is not respecting police authority when asked to disperse, how can we expect others? I doubt we will see one, a sincere one, but Rep. Ellison needs to apologize to Minnesota for not respecting the law, setting a bad example, and forgetting why he was elected to Congress.

Torture: Moving Forward and not backwards

Pandora’s Box has been opened and now the political fallout is to begin. The box in question is torture. Opponents and proponents alike have their definition of torture and how best to be applied. The CIA memo’s released by the Obama Administration set the stage for conversation on torture. Liberals on the far left are screaming for heads while stark conservatives are looking for full disclosure on the success of torture methods used.

Never before in our American history has the current administration gone after the previous administration. FDR put Japanese Americans in internment camps and Abraham Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus but neither administration following went back to persecute anyone. Why now? President Obama needs to put the topic back on point and follow Gerald Ford’s handling of President Nixon.

The topic of conversation is torture. There is no use arguing the facts as in some cases water boarding worked and other cases it did not. The question is when that fine line of harsh interrogation becomes torture. As the topic drags on, it will continue to weaken the United States and strengthen the resolve of those that wish us harm.

The CIA and other intelligence agencies is now gun shy when it comes to harsh tactics of getting the critical data needed to keep Americans safe. In his book, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, James Rachels ponders the question of Moral Theory. Although the conversation in James Rachels book does not touch on torture, much of what is discussed can be applied.

It is through justice and fairness that our society must step forward on the issue of torture. To accomplish a compromise on torture pro and con debate must take place without emotional ties and with rational thought. Using the post 9-11 rhetoric and policies as an example, emotional reaction to torture needs to be divorced from the conversation. I understand that it can be difficult to do but it needs to be done.

America cannot remain safe if a coherent and acceptable level of torture, in war and peace time, is not established. Now, I do not want to see the President or the Director of the CIA standing in front of the podium and lay out the torture levels. Americans need to have faith that methods going forward are “humane”.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Flatten the tax

Across the United States many state governments are dealing with fiscal shortfalls. In a knee jerk reaction the decision is overwhelming a raise in taxes. In Minnesota the Senate is looking to create a 4th tax tier while increasing the tax rates of the other three. When people are struggling to make ends meet, housing prices plummeting, unemployment rates raising, and runaway inflation just around the corner, why then are so many governments looking to raise taxes?

The cigarette tax just went up more than $0.50 a pack and discussion at the Minnesota State Capital is to increase it again. Really? We all understand that smoking is not a healthy vice. The purpose of the original tax, which just went into effect, was to raise tax while making it less economical for the youth. The proponents of tax increases, especially on cigarettes, will have diminishing returns. Sure, the state will reap a short term gain. Is the short term gain really the type of tax system we want?

NO!!! The trouble with Congress, both state and nationally, is the focus on short term goals. I agree we need a change and increasing taxes is not the change required. It is time to scrap the current tax code and replace with a flat tax. The reason why more taxes are being sought is due to Government becoming too large.

Minnesota Legislature is going to drive business from the state and discourage the wealthy from staying in Minnesota by implementing a 4th tier tax rate. The focus of the debate will be on partisan politics as Gov. Pawlenty has warned the state legislature that any tax hike would be met with a veto. When will the DFL party wake up and realize that taxing Minnesotans more will only make Minnesota less attractive to future investment while driving our young to other states where they can keep more of their money.

Representatives and Senators of Minnesota do something brave and implement a flat tax that encourages business development and puts Minnesota in the lead of attracting top talent – business and personnel – for years to come.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Draft Day in the NFL

What better way to wake up this morning then to a chilly morning as the NFL draft is set to take place. Unfortunately the draft does not start until 3 pm today. That didn’t stop the Detroit Lions to solidify their number one draft pick. Surprise, surprise, surprise the Detroit Lions did not take a wide receiver. Instead they signed Matt Stafford to a 6-year deal worth $78M. As long as Detroit doesn’t pull a Mike Tice, the St. Louis Rams are on the clock.

The Raiders will be taken 7th and the Vikqueens will be drafting 22nd in the first round this year. According to mock drafts on the consensus pick for the Raiders is Darrius Heyward-Bey while the Vikqueens consensus pick is all over the board but many feel Percy Harvin will be the pick.

The Vikqueens like the Raiders will benefit greatly this year with a playmaker wider receiver. I am just sure how the Raiders can pass on Michael Crabtree and go with Darrius Heyward-Bey. Yes, Darrius Heyward-Bey had speed but he lacks the intangible that Crabtree brings; football savvy.

As they say, the season is not made in the first day but it can be broken.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Transparency: Really?

As the CIA memo debate continues on and Attorney General Eric Holder is comtemplating legal action against those involved, the Obama administration has promised transparency. Really? If what former Vice President Cheney is saying is true, why is it taking so long for the Obama administration to declassify CIA memo’s that showed technique’s used saved Los Angeles from an airline attack. Throughout the run for office and since, President Obama repeated the claim that his administration would be the most transparent in history.

I ask again; really? Why hasn’t the President Obama produced a birth certificate? President Obama has done everything possible to block the true nature of his birth certificate. Many will say that Hawaii has it on record. A certificate of live birth, which Hawaii has on record, is not the same as a birth certificate. The certificate of live birth is something that you or I can get in any state since it simply acknowledges a live birth took place regardless of location.

So why doesn’t President Obama produce his original birth certificate? President Obama speaks of transparency but fails to be transparent on a vital piece of information. American’s, in hindsight, are seeing how President Obama has no plans of honoring the U.S. Constitution. Other evidence is the nationalization of banks, firing a CEO, and now forcing an automaker into Chapter 11.

Everyone on the left feels that former Vice President Cheney is out of line when speaking out against the CIA memos. Never in our history have we looked at the previous regime to punish. FDR administration didn’t get looked into for the Japanese internment camps, Wilson’s Sedition Act, or Clinton’s administration in their three missed opportunity to capture Osama Bin Laden. The continue attack on the CIA, Bush Administration, and the U.S. Constitution by the Obama Administration only weakens the United States.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Affirmative Action: Arcane or Required

Affirmative Action had it time in the sun and now it is time for American’s to be judged by their merits and not by their sex, creed, or sexual orientation. In New Haven, Connecticut a group of firefighters saw their hopes for promotion scuttled because the test they took resulted in no minorities eligible for promotion. The Supreme Court will hear the case of reverse discrimination brought forth by 20 New Haven firefighters (19 white and 1 Hispanic).

Chief Justice John Roberts posed the question to Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler that if the results had been reversed “can you assure me that the government’s position would be the same?” Although Kneedler retorted with “Yes”; I highly doubt it. Affirmative Action, as stated above, was needed and now is no longer required. With the historic election of the first black President, are we, as a society, still staying that minorities are second class citizens and are in need of protection?

It is time for the Supreme Court and others to stop playing politics with Affirmative Action and promote those based on merit. To use the firefighter test as an example, as long as the test is not biased then the results should never be questioned. The trouble with New Haven is they were worried that minorities would sue because no blacks were considered for promotion based on the test scores.

The new minority on the 21st Century is the white heterosexual male. It is time for America to grow up and to judge/promote people on their merit. Affirmative Action is an arcane program. The sad thing about the New Haven firefighter case is that the future hangs in the fate of justices that wield their political power versus the legal candor.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Liberals wants blood; America wants Jobs

“I acted primarily because of the exceptional circumstances that surrounded these memos, particularly the fact that so much of the information was public,” President Obama said to CIA on Monday April 20th. President Obama went on to assure CIA operatives that, “You need to know you’ve got my full support.” Robert Gibbs, during his press conference on Monday, responded to the prospect of legal action against Bush administration officials that approved “torture” methods by saying that President Obama was looking forward and not going to hold those involved in the new “torture” methods will not be prosecuted. Rohm Emanuel said on Sunday when asked about retribution and accountability of the Bush Administration officials; Mr. Emanuel defended the position of the Obama administration of looking forward and not going after those that approved the “torture” techniques.

All of this rhetoric upset the liberal base of the Democrat party that had elected Sen. Obama to end the use of water boarding and other “torture” techniques while prosecuting those responsible for their approval. Less than 24 hours after Robert Gibbs saying President Obama is not looking backwards or establishing a review board on “torture” techniques used on Al-Qaeda operatives, President Obama has come out saying he is approving a “blue-ribbon” panel to investigate those involved.

When President Clinton was in office, I told many of my peers that if one wanted to do well in politics they need to study Clinton for success. Now that President Obama waffles on the investigating Bush administration approval of the CIA “torture” methods has President Obama read the Clinton playbook? President Obama is leaving the legal aspect of prosecuting Bush administration officials to the Attorney General and did not want to pre-judge and leave it to the legal experts. Didn’t President Obama go to Harvard Law School?

If President Obama did read the Clinton playbook in handling tough situations, along with mass media in his back pocket, the damage done will be minimal to Barak Obama but how will this investigation assist the image of the United States? Liberals want blood even if it weakens the country. President Obama took the proper steps by stopping further use of the technique of water boarding, which, according to proponents, assisted in discovering a plan to attack Los Angeles in the same manner done in New York.

The releasing of the CIA memos was done under the guise of verifying common knowledge; fine. To take the issue further will not be good for America nor will it assist in our improving image around the world. Other Intelligence Agencies around the world will not want to participate in sharing of information with the United States out of fear their techniques or methods may be exposed. The CIA operatives are put in a dangerous way since their abilities will be handcuffed.

It is time to move forward and not look to the past. President Obama needs to learn from Gerald Ford and his handling of President Nixon during the mid-1970’s. The CIA memos were released and the techniques have been ended. The money and time spent into further investigation will not benefit Americans nor will it help our Economy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cat Fight at Miss USA contest

“In my country, and in my family, I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman,” are the fateful words said by Miss California Prejean in response to Perez Hilton question “Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?” Perez Hilton said he was “shocked and incredibly frustrated and disappointed” by the response given to his question. Really?
Why does Perez Hilton ask this question? Perez Hilton went out to say, “Miss USA should represent all Americans and , with her answer, she instantly alienated millions of gays and lesbians and their friends.” Okay. Miss America should encompass the ideals of US society but does the majority of America agree with alternative lifestyles; I am not sure.

Miss Prejean did predicate her answer by acknowledging that every person has the right to choose their life partner before giving her personal belief. Perez Hilton, in his video blog, thought Miss Perjean could have answered the question more neutral. Why?

All too often Americans feel they need to sugar-coat controversial topics. Talk about them openly and honestly. For Perez Hilton go have a tizzy fit over an answer to his question is pathetic. Perez Hilton, who is openly gay, needs to settle down. Not every American believes that homosexuals ought to marry. The government should not be the one that settles this issue. The discussion should take place in our local communities.

Miss Perjean needs to be applauded for her beliefs and speaking them. Just as the expectation is for one to respect Perez Hilton’s stance, one must respect Miss Perjean’s.

Monday, April 20, 2009

President Obama foreign policy: Hypocrite or Savior

Today the United Nations (UN) is to start a conference on racism around the world in Europe. The goal, according to the BBC, of the UN Racism conference is to review progress “in fighting racism since a 2001 forum.” The trouble is several key players are boycotting the conference; including the United States.

The BBC reports that many “Western countries see this as a curtailment of free speech” as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to speak. For the past month and a half President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have traveled across the globe in a good will tour apologizing for the actions of United States. President Obama has cloaked the apologies as means of “strengthening our hand” by reaching out to our enemies.

To boycott the UN racism conference is a bad move for a country that fought a war over slavery, saw Civil Rights leaders slain (King), and saw a historic election when Sen. Obama became for the first black President. President Obama said, repeatedly, while running for office that he’d sit down with President Ahmadinejad without preconditions. Then why does he not, or at least send a delegation, attend the UN racism conference?

President Obama continues to make mistake after mistake on foreign policy. While meeting with leaders of Americas, many criticized the President for hand shaking with foreign leaders that have spoken out against America, but President Obama missed an opportunity to re-define Democracy and the important role the United States played during the decades that surrounded World War II.

The United States for decades after World War II has been the leader of the free world, granted the past decade our leaders have failed us, and the President Obama apology tour only weakens the position of the United States by giving hope to those that wish the demise of our great country. President Obama’s administration is missing a big opportunity by boycotting the UN Conference on Racism and is a hypocrite for the reason of not attending.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

ADD Children are not the problem, Education system is.

The weekly Friday night recreational fire took place again last night. Prior to igniting the wood we did check with the local fire crew to determine if any fire ban was in place. The only restrictions was to keep it to 2x2. Not a big deal for us since our fire rarely gets larger then that. Just in case, the hose was primed and ready. The wind was very still, evident by the smoking escaping the flames going straight upward.

The usual suspects appeared and discussion of the week events ensued. As the fire dwindled down conversation switched to ADD children and teachers. While the conversation intesified at times, decorum remaind respectful.

All to often "trouble" children get labeled with ADD and teachers push them off onto others to assist. The problem, in most cases, is not the child nor does the child have ADD. The trouble falls on the education system and the teachers that allow it to continue. Most children with ADD are bored with school because it does not offer the challenge they seek.

America already spends more money per capita then any other industrialized nation. Why? It is not that we do not spend enough; rather how we allocate it. Smaller class sizes and more teachers is not the answer either. Recognition is the answer. We all learn at different rates and absorb information differently. Why is it then that our educational system is not geared toward that.

Teacher's Union is the stumbling block. Don't get me wrong, unions have their purpose while at the same time create bureaucracy that stifles change in our educational system. Charter schools are slowly getting on the right track to educating our youth. More effort needs to be made in the acceleration of learning of kids deemed "ADD".

If Albert Einstein started school today he would be quickly labeled a trouble children and been sent down the road of ADD. Imagine the loss to science and the world. Now this does not mean all children with ADD will become Einstein. What it means is that they will not be encourage to become Einstein.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mexican-American Drug War: Solution - Legalization

President Obama traveled to Mexico yesterday to meet with Mexican President Felipe Calderon. The discussion that ensued was about the drug war taking place along the American-Mexican border. A few weeks ago Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We know very well that the drug traffickers are motivated by the demand for illegal drugs in the United States, that they are armed by the transport of weapons from the United States to Mexico.” As with many consumer goods, the United States is the largest consumer of illegal drugs. According to Drug Sense the U.S. Federal Government spent over $19B in 2003 and $15B year to date. The Merida Initiative established a pledge of $1.4B in security aid to Mexico over the next three years. Clinton is hoping to use $80M to send Black Hawk helicopters to Mexico which President Obama echoed yesterday.

President Obama talks about making tough choices. I applaud him for not pushing for legislation in banning assault rifles as it was a campaign promise to do so. The three major drugs in question are marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. President Obama said, “You can’t fight this war with just one hand” and “You can’t have Mexico making an effort and the United States not making an effort.” The United States has poured billions of dollars down the Drug War drain. What effort is President Obama saying the United States is not making? The drug problem has been around longer then assault rifles.

Did the United States not learn anything from prohibition?

In nearly every speech President Obama gives, he states that Americans are going to need to make tough choices. Here is a suggestion to that tough choice decision making. Legalize illegal drugs. Before you pass judgment apply some common sense here.

Terrorist and Cartels fuel their enterprises with money raised from the drug trade while America Government spends billions of dollars to stem the tide with little success. Mexico claim that the United States is the source of guns for the cartels is misguided. If the cartels did not get guns from America there is huge black market in Asia and the Middle East.

The tough choice is to remove the cash cow from the Terrorists and Cartels. In order to remove their cash cow is for the United States to legalize illicit drugs. President Obama’s administration is planning to spend trillions of dollars to get out the recession, improving health care, and creating energy sources that promotes the “Green” initiative. The short term funding plan is to borrow money from the Chinese and for the Federal Reserve to print more money.

The time will come that the Chinese will no longer want American debt and will want to collect. In order for the Chinese collect, America will need to raise funds. To raise the funds it will take revenue and the way Governments raise revenue is through taxes. Right now the anger is focused on the rich and the expectation that the rich need to pay more taxes. There will come a time when taxes will fall to the middle and lower class.

Right now the plan is tax the rich more but do not be fooled that everyone will be expected to pay more taxes as it your “patriotic duty” according to Vice President Biden. The excessive taxation and enormous growth of Government is why “Tea Parties” took place on April 15th. To help mitigate the increase in taxes for all and to take bold moves to stem the tide of violence on the American-Mexican border it is time to legalize drugs.

By legalizing illicit drugs the United States government will be able to tax and regulate the potency and purity of illicit drugs. Another aspect is the creation of jobs through transportation, production, and selling of illicit drugs. A byproduct of legalization is it will encourage addicts to seek treatment since the use of an illegal product is no longer demonized.

Personally I am not an illicit drug user nor will legalization drive me to use illicit drugs which are the fear of opponents to legalizing drugs. I agree with President Obama that Americans need to make tough choices and one of those tough choices ought to be to legalize illicit drug use.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Minnesota Tea Party: Right-Wing or American Issue

April 15th is a day that every American dreads as the preparation of tax forms are finalized and sent in to the IRS. In St. Paul additional activities took place on the steps of the Minnesota State Capital building. Exercising the right to assembly, nearly 10,000 people assemble to mark April 15th with a “Tea Party”. The crowd began to gather around 2:30 pm and stayed until well past 8:00 pm. Prior to the kick off by Master of Ceremony Sue Jeffers; several conversations took place from excessive taxation to the mounting debt that will burden future generations of Americans.

Many came armed with signs, slogans, and cloaked in garb from 1773. Below are several signs being carried:

Even an Anti-Bush Sign presented itself.

The crowd was reported at the rally to be near 10,000 while Star Tribune reports only 2000 people showed and the Minnesota Tea Party site reported 7500. The true count is probably somewhere in between. The vast majority of crowd was white and was a strong mix between men and women. In an unofficial straw poll of mine (125 people), 80% of the group voted for McCain and 15% voted for Obama. 10% of the group was liberal. 25% of those asked were at their first rally. The oldest person found was 82 year old while the youngest was a two year old.

Here are some pictures from the crowd:

Several speakers spoke over an hour and half ending with KTLK Radio show host Chris Baker. Jim Schottmuller, 2008 Ramsey County Commissioner candidate, said during his speech the he was called to action after learning of a vote by Ramsey County Commissioners panel of a 25% pay raise to an annual income of $80,000. Mr. Schottmuller challenged the crowd to not stop with the Minnesota Tea Party but to run for office, be an activist, and/or freedom. The continuation of the grassroots campaign of the Tea Party was echoed throughout the speakers. A website has been established to continue the campaign as well.

Other speakers were Scott Nehring (average citizen), John Salsbury (Constitution Party of Minnesota Veterans Coalition Co-Chairman), Stephen Parente (PhD economist), Barb Davis White (conservative African-American), Twila Brase (health care rights advocate), Harold Hamilton (Anoka County watchdog), Dave Thompson (KSTP radio talk show host), and Bill Jungbauer (2010 State Senate candidate). Full transcripts of what all speakers said can be seen at

The crowd was very interactive with shoots of support and wit. Chants of U.S.A broke out after Jim Schottmuller spoke. No clashed took place. No burning of cars or breaking of glass took place. The crowd was respectful of each other’s point of view and at one point a man’s wedding ring was turned in. The gentleman who lost his ring did say a few words upon retrieving it and thank the crowd. The reason given for the lost ring is the gentleman has been losing weight.

Chris Baker ended the speeches by inviting everyone to the annual May 2nd anti-tax rally.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Tea Parties" across America

Today across the United States “Tea Parties” will be held to get out the message out against higher taxes and the expansion of Government. I will be partaking in one being held in St. Paul, Minnesota. Many in the drive-by media are touting the “Tea Parties” as a Republican and Right-wing rallies. Simply put, it is not true. Granted lower taxes and smaller Government equates to Conservative and Republican slants much like higher taxes, bigger Government, and expansive spending equates to Liberal and Democrat slants.

My participation in the “Tea Party” rally is to get a firsthand account of the issue at hand. Tax overhaul is required. Regardless of your party affiliation or ideological stance, I encourage everyone to attend and not allow the media put their spin on the rallies. As our Founding Fathers did, participate and create your own spin while holding Government accountable.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Perfect Storm for Cuba/American relations

The announcement by President Obama, delivered by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs yesterday, to loosen travel and financial restrictions toward Cuba is a positive shift in policy for Cuban-American relations. To expand on the policy shift, it was announced that United States will work with telecom companies to offer cell phone and television service to Cubans. Opening up communication with the island is a welcomed approach to dealing with the aging Communist Regime.

Why now?

With Fidel Castro in the twilight of his life and Raul Castro not far behind him, the opening of relations to the populous of Cuba is a perfect storm. By requiring relatives in the United States to pay for the cell phone and television access is a brilliant move by President Obama. The requirement will give the United States greater access to intelligence gathering via provisions in the Patriot Act signed by President Bush in 2006.

Finally the Patriot Act, which stripped away a level of civil liberty in the United States, will bear fruit as with the loosening of Cuba restrictions. While the United States is searching telephone and financial records of Cuban-Americans, a grassroots campaign can be launched via ads broadcasted into Cuba. The missing element to all this is how Castro’s feel about the shift. Since Fidel Castro has looked for an end to the Embargo for years, one can assume the shift is welcomed and encouraging.

The shift in policy also allows Raul Castro to tout a relationship change with the United States that his brother Fidel was unable to achieve. Raul Castro will be tempered by the potential ground swell of Democratic rhetoric that runs counter to the Communist doctrine. The perfect storm of the decline of Russian power, Patriot Act, Raul Castro, and the election of a Community Organizer to President of the United States may finally open up Cuba to America.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Minnesota Senate Race: How Minnesotans contributed to quagmire

Easter Monday has arrived and Minnesotans still only have one sitting Senator in the United States Congress. The Three-panel judge review of 400 rejected ballots which resulted in a net gain to Al Franken. Norm Coleman’s camp intends on taking the fight to the Minnesota Supreme court and possibly onto the Federal level. Many are worried that Minnesota is not getting fair representation and that Norm Coleman is just dragging out the recount for political gain.

After the original election results were counted, Norm Coleman held over a 700 vote lead and then after the recount Al Franken led by 225 votes. The swing resulted in the counting of rejected absentee votes. We all agree that if one voted that one’s vote needs to be counted. Minnesota faces a larger problem going forward regardless of how Coleman/Franken shakes out. As was evident during the Canvassing Board review of votes, the application of voting rules were not applied equally.

By allowing the election results to be reviewed by the Canvassing Board, Minnesotans watched a breakdown in the democratic process. According to Minnesota statute, M.S.204C.22, all ballots must be counted if it is possible to determine the voter’s intent. Determine voter intent? WHAT!!! As a citizen that votes, I do not want someone determining my intent which is why I follow the instructions on the ballot. Voter’s who cannot follow the simple instructions is to blame for the actions taken after the election results were announced.

That being said, all ballots that did not follow instructions – absentee and ones cast on Election Day – ought to be tossed out. Count only the ballots that Minnesotans followed the instructions correctly then crown the victor. The Minnesota statute needs to be revised to ensure a Canvassing Board does not have an opportunity to determine voter intent through the bias of their political affiliation. There are ample examples to prove that voter intent was not applied equally. Personally, I don’t care which clown gains the seat. Just apply the rules equally.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Prayers are answered

After spending Easter Day with the in-laws and watching a thrilling Masters, my prayers were answered as the scrawl reported that Captain Phillips had been freed. After hearing that snipers took out the three Somali pirates, I started to wonder if President Obama had read my blog and taken my advice. Regardless of how it came to be, Captain Phillips is free and his captures paid the ultimate price for taking an American hostage.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Minnesota tradition: The recreational fire

Back in October of 2008, my response below was published in the Star Tribune. The response published was a retort to the discussion to ban recreational fire pits.


Don't like fire pits? Close your windows

Nearly every Friday night, we stoke a fire for family, friends and neighbors to enjoy. It is a period of time just after dusk that brings to end a week of work, school, kid events and other general bustle while ushering in the weekend.

We use the fire pit to discuss serious and not so serious topics. Yet a few people are going to cling to health issues, which can be mitigated by closing a few windows, as reason to remove this weekly event of community, family and transition to the weekend. Minnesota is already headed down the path of a socialist state; banning the recreational fire pit will be one more step.

And last night the tradition continued. Preparations started at 4 pm as my eldest son and I crumpled up paper, foraged for small sticks, and built a log cabin in the fire pit. After eating homemade pizza the procession began to the backyard for the first recreational fire of the year. Beverage in hand and cigar lit the ceremonial match was struck. Match ablaze the systematic lighting of the crumpled paper inside the log cabin commenced. Within a minute the log cabin was engulfed in fire and the first recreational fire of the year was officially on.

Slowly neighbors came out from their winter slumber and joined in the festivities. Conversation shifted from economics, pirates, President Obama, kids, hunting, golf, and even aliens. As the night continued along the younger members of the crowd were put to bed. Around 11:30 pm the group decided to call it a night. The hose was rolled out and the fire was put out. All and all the first recreational fire of the year was deemed a success.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday: Not for Capt. Phillips or American foreign policy

It’s more than TGIF today, it is Good Friday. Unfortunately it is not a Good Friday for Captain Phillips. As I fired up the laptop this morning, I’d hope to read a headline saying the Captain Phillips will be spending Easter with his family. Well that is simply not the case. The BBC reported that Captain Phillips tried to escape during the night but was quickly re-captured before American forces could react. REALLY!!!!

President Obama and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates are weakening America by allowing these pirates to continue to dictate terms. They are pirates, a band of gang thugs that have taken an American captive. Nothing that has been reported connects them to a larger terrorist network or gives light to extensive military training. Someone please explain to me why snipers have not been placed on the destroyer that shadows the lifeboat.

Had President Obama given the green light for this type of action, the second the Captain hit the water the pirates would have been eliminated. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is reported to have told reporters in Washington, “The safe return of the captain is the top priority.” I do not believe them. The weakening of the American image continues under the Obama administration.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Are we sending the wrong signal?

What has happened to America! A US-flagged cargo ship, Maersk Alabama, was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia today. Since the original hijacking, the ship has been returned to the control of the crew and the captain taken hostage. Now reports say that the lifeboat holding a few pirates and the captive captain is dead in the water. Instead of using force to gain the release of the captain, American brass is trying to negotiate with the pirates. WHAT!!!!!

President Obama is going down a slippery slope by negotiating with the pirates. I agree the safety of the captain needs to be taken into consideration. Doesn’t anyone in the State Department understand that every minute the pirates spend in negotiation the resolve of other fringe groups to take Americans hostage around the world strengthens! President Obama needs to send a message that America is not to be messed with and we will not tolerate the hostage taking of any American citizen.

A U.S. destroyer has been reported in close proximity of the lifeless lifeboat that houses the pirates and the captive captain. So close that the actions on the lifeboat can be observed with the naked eye. Someone give the order to put X number snipers on the deck and coordinate the shot. Take out the pirates, free the captain, and send a signal that the United States does not negotiate with terrorist (pirates). President Obama needs to step up and become a leader.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Parents responsible for children internet use.

Timothy Cavier, a Level III sex offender, ought to be a lesson to parents. Timothy Cavier was arrested March 27th for his sexual weekend raping of 16-year-old boy from Rockville, MN. The mindset of sexual predators and the methods of rehabilitation are still open and unresolved. According to Star Tribune, Cavier met the boy online and the boy received permission to travel to Hopkins to visit “a friend” since his older sister went along.

Set aside the fact that Timothy Cavier is a Level III sex offender for a moment. Parents have the responsibility to monitor the internet activity and who their child interacts with. Granted children will find ways to rebel and ignore parental oversight. It does not mean parents need to become “helicopters” or eliminate internet use. Unfortunately we live in a society were child predators exist and it is our responsibility, as parents, to protect our children and educate them.

A friend of mine has a child that developed an internet connection with “a friend”. Through the internet interactions a plan has been hatched for my friends’ child and the internet friend to meet at a movie premiere in the near future. The movie premiere is to take place in a different country. The upside is my friend is doing the responsible thing by monitoring the conversation and taking the time to determine the true identity.

Had the Rockford mother taken the time to determine the identity of who her son was going to visit, perhaps the weekend of rape may not have taken place. Timothy Cavier is a troubled individual with his own demons and by no means do I condone his actions. Simply put, parents need to be more responsible and monitor the internet use of their children.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Troop Shell Game

President Obama took a moment to surprise the troops in Iraq before heading back to Washington today. At Camp Victory, in front of 600 troops, the President stated that it is time for the Iraqi government to move forward and to “stand on its own as a democratic country.” As candidate for the Democrat nomination and during the Presidential campaign, President Obama refused to acknowledge that the surge worked. Perhaps now he has when he said, “[Iraq] need to take responsibility for their country” and noted the job done the troops have done is “.. an extraordinary achievement.”

The time table is still 18 months to draw down troops in Iraq. While forces are drawing down in Iraq they will be ramping up in Afghanistan. Americans do not be fooled by the shell game going on. President Obama will bring home the troops from Iraq only to re-deploy them to Afghanistan. The question will is: how well equipped will the troops be that enter Afghanistan?
President Obama stated, today at Camp Victory, that he has set aside the budget to do what is “required” for those returning home from Iraq. The statement comes on the heels of President Obama’s plan to require private insurance reimbursement to the VA for treatment of troops injured in combat. Granted President Obama has since recanted the notion or at least reconsidered it. Are we to believe that he fixed his budget to accommodate wounded veterans or is it just hidden away only to be unveiled later.

Another concern that will affect troop re-deployment to Afghanistan and Pakistan is the recommendations made by Defense Secretary Gates to “overhaul” the defense budget. When our troops originally went to war with Iraq, many were without basic armor and gear. With the diversity of the war combat going to be required in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is it smart to take proven tactical weapons off the table.

Monday, April 6, 2009

War against Islam not true, then why do we hunt the terrorists?

President Obama stated in Anakra, Turkey that the United States “is not and never will be at war with Islam.” The number one terrorist is still Osama Bin Laden who, unless recently converted, is a Muslim. Now Bin Laden does preach and practice very strict Islam, one that believes there is no other “God” then Muhammad. This Muhammad dictates that all infidels must kneel before or perish. By definition the infidel is anything non-believer. The reason President Obama is ramping up troops, we won’t call it a surge because we know those don’t work, in Afghanistan to go after Al-Qaida. Al-Qaida belief system is driven by a strict interpretation of Islam.

The United States does not have a state recognized religion. Yet, the common belief is that Christianity is the unofficial religion of the United States. Since the birth of Christianity, a war has been waged between Islam and Christianity. The fact that one of President Obama’s plans in the Middle East is the eradication of terrorist safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan is an extension of the war on Islam.

For President Obama to state that the United States is “not and never will be at war with Islam” slaps every man, woman, and child who lost a loved one in the attack on 9/11. We are at war with Islam. Right now we are focused on the Opus Dei wing of Islam. Wake up America and realize the vote for “change” was a vote for the death of the American Dream. Religious tolerance is built into our Constitution but I do not think our Fore Fathers took into account the revenge factor of the Crusades. Either President Obama is naïve or does not understand the reason behind those that seek to destroy the West. Personally I hope President Obama is naïve as the alternative is scarier.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A New Tax Policy

According to the IRS website in 2008 over $11B was spent on operations, enforcement, and collections of taxes. Congress is looking to achieve ways to trim the budget so President Obama can spend $3T. A way is to rethink the IRS and the tax system. The current tax code is rooted with language that the common man cannot understand. To service the current system, the IRS has created 893 forms. It is time for Congress to take a hard look at the tax code.

It is time for a flat tax rate. The current system punishes success through a higher tax rate as one earns more. Moving to a flat tax rate will level the playing field and give the vast majority of Americans more money in their pockets. We hear of tax credits and Congress uses them as chess pieces. Part of going to a flat tax system is the elimination of all tax credits. I know that opponents will argue that a flat tax is not fair to the lower class. Well here is the solution to that.
The flat tax rate, 10-15%, will not start until the one earns $46,001. All the income prior to that will not be subject to taxation. By starting the flat tax at $46K negates the argument that the lower and middle class are hurt by it. It will also allow the lower and middle class to promote their standard of living since the Government will not be taking any of their money.

As for the upper class and parts of the middle class, the flat tax will lower their tax rate but may increase their overall dollars to Government as all tax credits are eliminated. The flat tax and elimination of tax credits will eliminate the need to file taxes on April 15th as no refund will be given. The only person that need to file in April is one that has a 1099 form issued to them.

The flat tax is a green policy change too. The IRS can reduce the number of forms required; currently 893. Unfortunately the flat tax will result in a slightly higher tax burden for the upper class as tax credits are eliminated but it will be offset by the ability to earn more and keep more of it. In the end America will see a less complicated tax code, reign in the need to cheat the system, reduce the size of government, reduce the amount of paper used on a yearly basis, and strengthen the economy by putting the money in the hands of those that spend it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Correlation: Mayor Party affiliation and City?

According to the US Census Bureau, 2006 American Community Survey, August 2007 the top ten poverty stricken, major cities 250,000 or more people, was:

1. Detroit, MI – 32.5%
2. Buffalo, NY – 29.9%
3. Cincinnati, OH – 27.8%
4. Cleveland, OH – 27.0%
5. Miami, FL – 26.9%
6. St. Louis, MO – 26.8%
7. El Paso, TX – 26.4%
8. Milwaukee, WI – 26.2%
9. Philadelphia, PA -25.1%
10. Newark, NJ – 24.2%

The mayors of the above cities have one thing, with one exception, in common over the past 20 years; Democrat Mayors. The last non-Democrat mayor in Detroit, MI was Louis Miriani (1957-1962). Chester A. Kowal (1962-1965) was the last non-Democrat Mayor of Buffalo, NY. Arnold L. Bortz (1983-1984) was the last non-Democrat Mayor of Cincinnati, OH. George V. Voinovich (1980-1989) was the last non-Democrat Mayor of Cleveland, OH. Miami, Florida is the lone exception with an independent Mayor since 2001; Manny Diaz. The last non-Democrat Mayor for St. Louis, MO was Aloys P. Kaufmann (1943-1949). El Paso, Texas has never elected a Republican Mayor. The last non-Democrat Mayor of Milwaukee, WI was Frank Zeidler (1948-1960) a Socialist. The last non-Democrat Mayor was Republican Bernard Samuel (1941-1952). In Newark, NJ last elected a non-Democrat Mayor in 1903 when Republican Henry Doremus served from 1903-1907.

Lately Republican leadership has led the party down the road that blurs the ideaological line between the two major parties in the United States. With Congress approving President Obama’s $2.1T budget, along party lines, should Americans be concerned by the potential correlation that exists with poverty rates of major cities and party affiliation of the Mayor?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Business Owners Right to Operate

The comments of mine below were the Letter of the Day in the Star Tribune March 19, 2008.

As bar owners continue to host "theater night" and pack in people, when will the message reach state agencies and the Legislature that Minnesotans' rights as business owners are being restricted by intrusive legislation?

The state Department of Health, in the March 5 article, claims that bar owners are violating the spirit of the ban ("Health officials to bars: No more theatrics," March 6). Why is it OK for the "spirit" of free enterprise and the constitutional right to pursue happiness to be ruthlessly savaged by the state of Minnesota's governing bodies?

The notion that smoking is bad for you and those around you is a debate of agreeable differences. The fact that society wants to trample upon the rights of a business owner is tragic. The state should reverse the smoking ban and replace it with an ordinance that requires all bars and restaurants to display on the outside of their building if they are smoking or nonsmoking establishments. If society truly believes that smoking is bad, then the smoking establishments will lose patronage and employees. Let the market dictate the rules of the game.$urlTrackSectionName

Since the time of my article, bars have lost the loophole of “theater night”. Government still has no right to restrict a business in their service of a legal product. The demand for smoking in bars exists and many bars have established “smoking lounges” to help accommodate their patron needs. Personally I know my patronage to the local watering hole drastically decreased since the ban went into effect. The reduced patronage is a direct result of not being able to smoke in the bar.

Any interesting dilemma is taking place with regards to smoking, as reported last night by WCCO, as additional taxes are being charged. A $0.62 tax per pack went into effect on April 1st. The belief is that by pushing the price per pack above $5.00 it will deter smokers and price cigarettes out of younger smoker’s budgets. The question that WCCO pondered was at what point will tax revenue suffer?

The issue is not the right to smokers vs. non-smokers or if second hand smoke is bad for you. Two issues are at play here. The right for a business to offer an environment for a legal product to be used and the hypocrisy of Government to demonize tobacco while relying on tax revenue to meet budget needs.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Economic woe root cause: Socialism

The following words of mine were published in the Star Tribune on 11-28-08.

So the Federal Reserve is going take over debt from the failed dealings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all in an effort to ensure economic stability. The approach is suppose to help "Main Street" as well because it will allow the credit card companies and banks to free up cash to make loans at low-interest rates and increase one's line of credit. Is this not how America started down the road to economic ruin? What types of controls are being placed on lending institutions to ensure another collapse does not occur in five or 10 years?
Owning a home is not a right that all Americans are guaranteed. The direction the Democratic Party has America going is right behind the changes that took place in the final days of Rome. Congress wisely asked the Big Three for a recovery plan before it will give any bailout, or rather, loan. Why is Congress not doing the same for the financial realm? Could it be because leading Democrats are in bed with those who benefit from the bailout? Yes!
Sen. Barack Obama is going to bring "change" to America; the "change" will be in the form of a penny that used to be a $20 bill.

The same people that are trying to fix our Economy are the same that felt Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were solvent. President Obama’s administration is using Socialism to right the ship instead of identifying the root cause for America’s economical woes. America’s economical woes root cause is the Socialistic view that everyone has the right to own a home. Simply put, it is not a right to own a home.

Government backed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgage programs enabled the financial industry to package the “toxic” asset trade by guaranteeing mortgages. Armed with the backing of the Federal Government, mortgage companies proceeded to push the socialistic ideal of homeownership through ARM’s, interest only, and no money down loans.

In 2002 a number of concerned legislators warned the Judiciary Committee about the future insolvency of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The warnings fell on deaf ears as Democrat Barney Frank stated over and over that nothing in the balance sheet or any projections supported the charge of insolvency. Why might this be?

Had Barney Frank heeded the warnings it would have meant a halt, most likely temporary, to the Democrats Socialistic agenda. Thus turning the average citizen into hedge fund managers as many that entered into mortgages they knew was going to break them in three or four years. Instead of holding homeowners accountable for their actions and the Government crafted the notion of predatory lending.

The topic of predatory lending opened the door for Socialism to thrive through a collapsing American economy and the partial nationalization of the financial industry. The House of Representatives even treaded on the U.S. Constitution by passing a bill of attainder to recoup bonuses paid to executives of TARP fund recipients. Now Secretary Geitner is asking for Congress to expand his powers to control of potentially failing companies that are vital to our economy. Barney Frank has proposed a bill that will allow the Government to establish wages for companies that take bailout money. The kicker to Barney Frank’s bill is that it will allow it to be retroactive.

On the surface the additional powers may make sense for those accepting money from the Government but that is only being short sighted. The shell game is Democrats attempt to entrench Socialism while removing Capitalism. Government has failed us by not identifying the root causes and using Socialism to attempt to right the ship. When will America wake up and realize that our freedoms are being stripped away?