Friday, January 29, 2010

“I forgot he was black tonight for an hour”: Racist Comment?

Okay, let me get this right, Chris Matthews host of Hardball on MSNBC said after President Obama gave his State of the Union address that, "I was trying to think about who he was tonight. It is interesting that he is post-racial. I forgot he was black tonight for an hour." Then went onto say that Americans forgot he was black tonight because of the breadth and scope of his speech and "seduction". Am I missing something? Imagine if Rush, Hannity, or any other Conservative pundit had called Obama "post-racial" or "forgot he was black". The kicker was the chuckle from Olbermann, who was off camera, as Matthews made his comments. Besides "Post-racial", what is that?

As I admitted in my previous blog entry, I was not able to watch the speech live but I did go back and listened to it. I apologize that I did not gathering in Obama's lack of blackness as Matthews had. I saw a President attempting to run to the middle all the while shouting back at the past. I saw a President attacking the Supreme Court for a decision that had nothing to do with foreign corporate campaign financing as the President wants us to believe. I saw a President desperately trying to keep his poll number alive.

Not once did I think, "Man, President Obama is not black." The trouble I have with Matthews statement, especially after his town hall meeting two weeks ago, is that he evoked race into a situation that did not require it. Everyone in the world knows that the President of the United States is black. Perhaps Matthews felt this way because President Obama, as Sen. Reid points out, does not always speak in a "Negro dialect". Actually, I wished Obama had used the "Negro dialect" last night because his speech lacked emotion and conviction. I saw a man angry with America. Americans have spoken loud and clear that they do not want Democrat health care reform via the town hall meetings, the Tea Party movement and the vote in Massachusetts.

Perhaps that anger is bubbling over after the recent defeats of Democrat strongholds as Americans are growing tired of big government which grew under the Bush administration. President Obama promised hope and change to which he has not delivered on. I agree with President Obama that change "will not happen overnight" and "it will not be easy" but when it is done in the secrecy of the Oval Office I take offense and question his sincerity. I am willing to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt and hope he will guide America to a brighter future. What I see instead is a man bent on growing government and spending money that our grandchildren's children haven't even earned yet. Obama has been given everything in life and now adversity presents itself; he does not like it. Maybe that is why Matthews "forgot he was black"?

Ta'Nehesi Coates attempted to gloss over Matthews words in her article by saying, "I think it's worth noting that Chris Matthews wasn't trying to take a shot at anybody. But I think its most worth noting that 'I forgot Obama was black' – in all its iterations – is something that white people should stop saying, if only because it's really dishonest." Coates added, "Chris Matthews didn't forget Barack Obama was black. Chris Matthews was white" ( Why are we focused so much on color of a person skin and not on their skills and/or experience? Barack Obama is our President, for better or worse, and he, like any other President, ought to be challenged when the direction of the country is not right or when being deceived.

Why do we allow Matthews to go unchecked in his comments? Where is the outrage from the White House or Jesse Jackson or Rev. Sharpton or even the black community? Is it perhaps because Matthews is a mouthpiece of the left that he gets a pass?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

President Obama’s State of the Union address

Last night President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress by giving the annual State of the Union address. Unfortunately I was not able to watch it as I was out trying to build my business but I did take a moment to read what the Star Tribune had to report. While I recognize this is just one source, even though they do import from other sources, I think they do an adequate job at hitting the high points. I will write more on this topic once I have more other outlets read. That being said, I did see a tidbit in the Star Tribune that caught my eye on what President Obama said last night. President Obama has a renewed focus on jobs and the creation of new jobs.

The area that President Obama plans, or suggests that Congress, focus in on is passing legislation aimed at the green sector. Even though reports from Europe have accurately displayed that green jobs are a net loss, I do applaud President Obama for doing something. The question will be is if he will have the political clout to pull it off after spending it on failed races, a failed bid for the Olympics, and on the Stimulus package that has save nothing. Another aspect of the article about Obama's speech that caught my eye was the announcement of spending freeze to take place in 2011.

In building my business this week I have heard the speeding freeze talked about on various radio stations. My understanding, prior to reading the Star Tribune this morning, that the spending freeze was going to take place this year and last three years and be only freezing 18% of the overall budget. When I first heard that President Obama was looking to enact a spending freeze it made me happy then I heard what was being frozen and that baffled me. As I wondered how he'd be able to get health care, energy, and job bills passed without spending more money but after last night's speech and the announcement of the freeze not taking hold until 2011 I found my answer.

So the plan is then to increase spending this year to heights never seen before and then freeze it at that level. Sounds great but hasn't anyone learned that expansion of government and increased spending does not create sustainable jobs nor does it turn around the economy? I did notice that President Obama mentioned his inheritance, an inheritance similar to President Reagan, and I asked myself why this is relevant. The man ran on hope, change and transparency which not one element has been implemented in this administration. Do not get me wrong, I applaud Obama for looking to freeze the budget but that is just not enough to turn around our economy. More to come but I thought I'd get the ball rolling. What are your thoughts on President Obama's speech? What are your thoughts on his first year in office? What do you think we need to do to move the country forward?

I recognize that the anonymous posting is getting a little out of hand as of late. I hope those that post will continue to post not as anonymous but as another more identifiable name. Please remind yourself that we want to have open, honest and respectful dialogue on The Hamburg Post.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hamburg City Council Agenda – January 26, 2010

7:00. Call City Council Meeting to Order @ 7:00 PM

  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Miscellaneous Business (Public Comments)
  • Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption
  • Approve Minutes for November 30, 2009
  • Old City Business (Memo)


7:10. Fire Department Report – Chief Brad Droege

  • FEMA Grant
  • Fire Department Firefighters Baker & Spande
  • Warning Siren/Radios/Pagers Programming Upgrade for 2012
  • N95 Masks


7:20. Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)

  • Project List (Added Items)
  • MRWA Annual Water & Wastewater Technical Conference
  • Picnic Tables (Paint)
  • Recall on Fire Hydrants (Update)
  • Community Hall/Community Center Repairs
    • Electrical Repairs/City Shop Door
    • Ceiling Tiles/Wax Floor
  • General Maintenance Schedules
  • Storm Sewer Repair (City Shop)


7:40. Deputy Clerk Report

  • Delinquent Utility Bills Report


7:45. City Clerk/Treasurer Report

  • Mosquito Control (Clarke) Pricing for 2010
  • Carver County Community Development Authority
    • Quarterly Foreclosure Report
  • Franchise Agreement with Mediacom (Update)
  • Senator Julianne Ortman (Emails)
  • I/I Abatement Program
    • Easements (Hold Public Meetings)
    • 2010 Project Priority Listing (Storm Water)
    • Wetland Delineation (Storm Water Pond)
    • Next Steps
  • Xcel Energy – Notice of Changes in Rates
  • MRWA Annual Water & Wastewater Technical Conference
  • LMCIT Public Employee Bond Coverage
  • Informational Items
    • Letter from LMCIT (Andrew Miller)


8:10. City Council Reports

  • Councilmember Mueller Report (Sewer & Water)
  • Councilmember Cummiskey Report (Streets)
    • Handicap Bathroom for Hall
    • Christmas Lights (Nuisance)
  • Councilmember Trebesch Report (Buildings)
  • Councilmember Barnes Report (Parks)
  • Mayor Malz Report


8:25. Approve Claims List for December 2009 & January 2010


8:30. Adjourn Meeting



"The times set forth above are estimated.  Some subjects may take a longer time to discuss and take action on; some subjects may take less time than set forth."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Supreme Court decision: Who Benefits?

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to ease the limits that corporations and labor unions can spend on during the campaign season. The decision overturned two lower Courts decision and appears to be a win for the Democrats. That apparent win for Democrats was dashed when President Obama stated on his weekly radio and internet show that "This decision opens the floodgates for an unlimited amount of special interest money into our democracy. It gives the special interest lobbyists new leverage to spend millions on advertising to persuade elected officials to vote their way – or to punish those who don't." I find this state ironic coming from a man that promised to run on public funds then turned around and accepted millions in campaign donations that set records.

If we are a true Democracy then those who wish to spend their money to campaign for or against a particular candidate they should be able to. A few weeks back President Obama held private, closed-door conversations with union groups to discuss the impact health care reform would have on existing benefits. Remind yourself that President Obama said on several occasions that the health care debate would be hosted on C-SPAN as to ensure nothing is done within secret. While I acknowledge that Obama does not have control over the leaders in Congress as it pertains to C-SPAN offer to air the conference committee discussion on health care, I find it bothersome that Obama is not living up to a campaign promise. Amazingly enough, after the meeting with Union leaders President Obama encouraged Congress to look for other avenues of income than taxing "Cadillac" plans.

It is not his broken campaign promise that is in play here; rather it is lack of accountability for the actions he takes. Doesn't Obama find himself a bit of a hypocrite? In reading the Sunday's Star Tribune issue they alluded to Obama becoming a populist. I wonder how progressives see this "Change" and is this the "Change" they "Hoped" to see take place? And now President Obama is tapping David Plouffe to head a team of strategist in order to stem the tide of Democrat mid-term election appeal. The intent of bringing back Plouffe is significant as the Obama brand is losing its luster. While many Democrats up for election will welcome the additional help, it may be a little too late because, if the recent elections are the barometer, Obama does not carry the same weight with Independent's and Progressives he once did.

Maybe President Obama will read my blog and suggest change in the election process that I have previously laid out. Perhaps it is now time for a shorter campaign season that is restricted to public funds and denies any private donations to candidates or national committees. This type of change would not prevent individuals or corporations from buying air time to campaign for or against a candidate. Is it time for American's to demand a different approach to electing candidates? I am not suggesting the elimination of the Electoral College; rather looking to make all campaigns for national offices to the three months preceding November. In the end though, will the Supreme Court ruling benefit either major party or will it give grassroots movements a great advantage?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Massachusetts send a Republican to Senate for the first time in decades

The Democrats were sent a signal last night as voters in Massachusetts went to the polls to vote in a special election. For the first time in decades Massachusetts will send a Republican to the Senate as Scott Brown beat Martha Coakley 52% to 47%. The difference with Scott Brown is that he touts himself not as a party hardliner rather he is an independent thinking that is looking for accountability and change in Washington D.C. The ramifications go further than the health care reform for Democrats. Over the past few election cycle, the special election in Massachusetts and governor races last November, the luster is off President Obama. President Obama who stumped for the New Jersey Governor Democrat, Virginia Governor Democrat, and now the Massachusetts Senate Democrat race, all three races went to the Republicans. Ironically, President Obama did not stump for the Democrat in the upstate New York House race last November which the Democrat won.

Has the shine come off the apple in regards to President Obama's aura? Is this a single to Democrats heading into the midterm elections? Is the vote in Massachusetts applicable to the rest of America? It will be interesting to see how this special election result will alter the backroom health care dealing going on right now. I wonder if President Obama and Democrat Leaders on the Hill will finally allow C-SPAN camera's in on the conversation. Republicans should learn something as well. The Tea Party movement is real and if you have political asperitations it best include smaller government, less taxes, defeating Al Qaeda, and being honest with Americans. The results in Massachusetts by no means open the door for a Republican landslide; rather it does open the door for true Conservatives to move into office.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Are we unconsciously putting roadblocks up when discussing race relations?

Today I left on my trek to becoming a successful financail advisor with Edward Jones. The plane took off at 11:30 a.m. and landed just before 2 p.m. Arizona time. The flight was a non-event even though we did hit a little turbulance upon landing in Arizona. Upon landing and getting my bag from baggage claim, I was introduced to the Arizona sunshine. Not really,I get a more unique experience with rain. According to our van driver we are witnessing a rare occurance as Arizona's yearly rain total is 7 inches.

On my flight I met a wonderful couple that are snowbirds and were on their way back after a short visit of relatives in Minnesota. In between conversations with the snowbirds I read my book. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcome Gladwell. While I was only able to get to chapter 4, I did learn something in the book. The power of the unconscience has on our decision making process.

The interesting part of the book that really got my attention thus far is the discussion around the Implicit Association Test (IAT). The IAT measures how our observations and word association factors into our quick decision making. One of the word associations in the book was with European American, bad, good, and African American. Per the book, it says that the IAT "measures our second level of attitude, our racial attitude on an unconcious level - the immedidate, automatic associations that rumble out before we've even had time to think" (p. 84-85).

I have been engaged in several converstations as of late in regards to race. I think the issue of race is more telling these days especially since the historic election of Barack Obama. I plan to take the Race IAT to see how I perform. You can to by going to By looking at the results to word association, according to the book, may be the reason why race relations are the way they are.

Using the IAT is something I plan to incorporate into my daily routine to see how my views are changing or if I am making an unconcious discrimination.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys dance today for the right to play the New Orleans Saints

Special Sunday edition of the Hamburg Post!!!!


In just a few hours the fate of Minnesotans will start as the Minnesota Vikings take on the Dallas Cowboys. It will be a good game to watch from a fan standpoint of the NFL but may be a bit nerve wrecking for Viking fans. The Cowboys are riding high on a four-game winning streak which contains wins over New Orleans, Washington, and Philadelphia twice while the Vikings come in losers of 3 of their last 5. Many are saying that the Vikings have righted the ship with the scoring down in the second half of the Bears game and the dismantling of a Giants team that quit playing in week 14 of the season. The big advantage the Vikings have is they are playing at home and they defended their turf this season very well with an 8-0 record. The Cowboys finally won a playoff game last week in convincing fashion over the Eagles. It was the first win by the Cowboys in the playoffs in 12 years.

The big question for Cowboy fans is if that win over the Eagles was fluke or something of better things to come. Personally I think the win took place because Romo didn't have any blonde waiting in the stands for him. I wonder if the Viking front office asked for blonde celebrities to show up today. Probably the most striking thing about the Viking season this year is the lack of production from Adrian Peterson. Yes, AP did average 4.4 yards and amassed 1,383 yards on the ground but both of those numbers are down significantly from last year. AP has even seen less carries this year as well. To compound that, AP, outside of the Giants game, has not averaged more than 4.0 yards per rush since the Lions game back in week 10. Why is that? The key to victory is AP. I understand that Favre was brought in here to lead the Vikings to the promise land but the guy is 40 years old and in the twilight of his career.

Now, Favre may bring some hope but he has never beaten the Cowboys in the playoffs. Favre is 0-3 against the Cowboys. The Cowboys lead the playoff series 4-2. Only time will tell if Favre can erase the donut hole or if Romo will implode as he has done in previous playoff games. The game is slotted for a noon start here in Minnesota. Should be a fun day of football with the Jets taking on the Chargers later today. Another caveat as we approach game time, history has shown that at least one home team during divisional playoff weekend has lost their game. I do not see the Chargers losing to the Jets. Guess we will see if tradition holds or if it gets bucked. Let's play some football!!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

What I missed today on Haiti discussion on Facebook while passing my series 66 today!!!

What a day today. I had a number of personal things to take care of and that is why my entry is tardy. The big news of the day is that I passed my Series 66 and will be heading off to the sunny skies of Arizona shortly for a week of learning with my new employer. While I was running about today, a great discussion was taking place on the blog entry about Haiti on Facebook. I warned the group there that I was going to life the conversation for my blog entry today. I am eager to see what readers of the blog think of the conversation from Facebook. Hopefully we will get some crossover as well. Well here we go: (***small disclaimer: Some responses contain explicatives****)

TP said:


I find your article incredibly troubling.


I said:

What are you finding troubling? The Tea Party movement, while a few carried questionable placards, the overriding theme, at least what I saw and heard, was one of frustration with out of control spending, taxes, and the growing of government. The speakers at Minneapolis were not all bashing Obama, Progressives or Democrats. In fact many acknowledged that the Republican Party and Bush had lost their way by casting aside conservative values for reckless and progressive spending ideals.

So I ask you what do you find troubling about my blog entry?

TP said:

I don't give a damn what they were upset about. They never protested Bush spending did they? Sorry your supporting racists with a wink and an "oh well". For you to ask what I find troubling amazes me & shows an insensitivity which I don't tolerate. You blog about Reid then support this shit. BTW do you even know constitutional history & what the constitutional convention goals were or the context in which the convention was called? The White supremeists were there just like at that rally of deception.


TP continued:


What progressive spending ideals Education? Welfare? Health care for all (which I assume you're against). Don't believe in community do U? To call Bush policies progressives I'm afraid makes you lose credibility to me. You're using BS as an undercurrent to link Bush to Progressives & not fascism? You may not do well w/ the Buddhist w/ your take on "... See more conventional wisdom". If my Grandparents woulda seen that Tea Bagger shit Grandpa would've shot em just like he did the KKK. Do you really believe Black folk wouldn't be outraged?


To which I asked:


Did you read my blog entry from April on what I saw in Minneapolis?


And I added:


Plus I am not a socialist. I do believe in the importance of community as well as the limitations of it as well.


KH said:


Chris, I think Tony does have a point about the racist undertones of the "Tea bagger" party movement.


I see clear undercurrents of hypocrisy, false indignation and in my honest opinion racism in the tea bagger movement based upon their behavior and "Johnny come lately" movement towards "fiscal discipline" and belief in upholding the constitution.


Please where were they for the last 8 years when Patriot act was passed stripping American's of their constitutional rights? Where were they when the prescription drug plan was passed without even an attempt at paying for it within the bill?... See More


What has changed since those things happened? Oh that's right; the tea baggers party (republicans) lost the house, senate and presidency to a black man and his ilk. I don't like Obama or the Democrats any more than the Republicans but when something stinks in Denmark, it should be called for the pile of shit that it is. And the tea baggers aren't angry over government spending, that's just an excuse. They angry that they are feeling disenfranchised and inconsequential for the first time in their privileged white skinned, middle class lives.


Personally, I find them all hypocrites, fear mongers, racists and demagogues. But if the party they represent isn't careful and find a way to be inclusive of minorities it will find itself more and more marginalized in the future.


The days of white America dominating social and political culture in this nation are fast coming to an end. Don't believe me? Just ask the people of Atlanta when they last had a white mayor? The 2010 census will shock whites.....and probably drive quite a few to racist groups out of fear. I'm sure the tea party will be standing there with open arms to greet them.


KH added:


To your articles point though, I really do like that the president took a stand quickly and tried to show America as a leader and show the true American spirit to the world.


What won us so many friends through our existence was the fact that we, the American people, always tried to be there for others in the world when they were in need. The goodwill this generated benefited us for decades after the acts occurred.


We are the richest and most powerful nation on earth. If we stood by and did nothing when another nation, especially a neighbor so close to us, suffers - what does that say about us? ... See More


And the people trying to score political points off of this tragedy are the worst of us. They bring us all down from the heights we are capable of and diminish our acts of kindness and generosity.


To which I responded:


I do acknowledge that the conservative voice lost its bite and blindly followed bush. And that is why I think the tea party movement started. Perhaps I am naïve but I attempt to look at the movement as a group of people fed up with out of control government regardless if a democrat or republican is in office.


KH responded:


Chris, the government was out of control for years. NEVER during that 8 years did these same people speak up and cry foul. So that begs the question what changed? As I said above, it's a black man and his ilk sitting in "THEIR" seat of power. Remember that the tea party movement is nearly 100% white, middle class and Republican.


Their sudden discovery of small government, fiscal discipline and defense of the constitution stinks of the shit that is political opportunism, not truly deep seated beliefs in these ideals.


I say this rather confidently because the talking heads that appear on TV supporting this movement are clearly visible during the Bush years supporting the very ideals that they now cry foul over.... See More


So, I'm sorry to say but, I believe you are being naive. There may be some people like yourself who truly believe these things in the movement - but your leadership does not. They will use you for the pack mules that they see you to be moving their political baggage to the next convenient party message and dump you when you become inconvenient.


TP responded:


Do you even know what a socialist is? Answer my questions about constitutional history? Do you know it or do u just do one line disclaimers to obfuscate your right-wing manipulative over simplifications? The Mpls Tea Party was put together by the friggin PATRIOT CHANNEL SCUM!! The other TParties were organized by the same people who rented the ... See More busses for the invasion of Florida so that the recount of 2000 would be disrupted long enough for the Supreme Court to steal the election. And in doing so cover up the violations against Blacks in ref to the Voting Rights Act & the Civil Rights Act. Do you know the history behind the reason for the founding of the court? Kevin what the USA is giving for Haiti is a fraction of what we owe them, Cubans, Mexico & all of Latin America for the EXTREME human rights violations,& pilferage committed by us against them over the past 2 centuries plus(read "THy Will Be Done").How about honoring Treaty Rights right here in the good ole boy USA? I do not see the largesse u do. BTW we give less to the needy of the world (who we continue to rape) per GNP than any other country in the world. Chris: When the all White T bggrs close their eyes & sing about taking their country back they are telling me FUCK YOU & u know what all I got to say is FUCK YOU BACK!!!


TP added:


BTW the only limitations of Community are that capitalized sociopaths cannot act in their own eschatologically fatalistic individual self interest at the expense of human freedom. Like destroying our natural right to free & equal access to clean Land, clean Air & clean Water. These bastards oppress the many for the profit of the few in order to produce more capital, which in the end is artificial POWER and a license to enslave, rape, napalm, torture & kill to protect "their property"


KH responded with:


Ok, for the record, the election in 2000 was not stolen. That implies that it was Al Gore's win based upon facts not in record and the Supreme Court overturned those facts in favor of a politically expedient resolution. Since we do not know for a fact that Florida was won by Al Gore, thus giving him the Electoral College votes to be president (in part because the Supreme Court stopped the counts mind you) it's impossible to say that the election was stolen. It was however settled through less than constitutional means via the Supreme Court which IMO overstepped their authority in electoral issues.


But the past is the past. Dwelling on a result you disliked doesn't change that result.


Tony, I have no problem giving Haiti anything, but remember it was France that "raped" that country not the US. Also, to claim reparations one must have a valid claim of harm being done to you personally not via some historical grievance of generations gone by. I'm all for fixing the social injustices of the past, but wealth re-distribution is not the solution because it's analogous to giving a homeless person a winning lottery ticket without the skills to manage those newly won resources. Without those skills the winnings are squandered and they are soon back where they started. Enabling those who were wronged to earn their own wealth through improvements in their economy, society, culture and political systems are the true gifts we can give them and they will generate returns on investment for centuries to come.... See More


But to say that we owe them for wrongs of a generation or more ago is where I say "I personally did you no wrong, therefore I owe you nothing". But I am still generous enough in spirit to give of my own free will because I would hope they'd do the same in my shoes. But I don't owe that to them - it's called being altruistic and charitable.


TP responded with:


Read Greg Pallast and others. They Robbed the election the good ole fashioned plausibly deniable Southern way, they nullified the Black vote in the state that the redneck Texan has a redneck brother. Oh gee do you want to buy some swamp land in the Arctic? The Supreme Court ordered the state of Florida to stop the recount. That was unprecedented ... See More but the real story that the Corporate media never told was the computer voter fraud or the coercive forces unleashed to turn Blacks away from the polls. So sorry thats a GD theft!!& No one said a word. The Cong Black Caucus walked out on Bush being declared winner for that reason.


KH responded with:


Again theft implies that Al Gore was president legally and that it was taken from him illegally. At no time was he declared victor via the Electoral College and at no time did he hold the votes necessary to make that claim prior to it being declared either. Therefore it was merely a judgment that you disagree with because of your political leanings - not theft which implies something criminal.


I've read plenty from all sides regarding this issue and the point I make is completely valid still. The assertions you are making are suppositions, innuendo and inferences, not facts. Facts are things we can prove, not things we believe to be true. The fact is that the Supreme Court likely overstepped its authority in stopping the election recounts in Florida. That is likely a fact. The fact is that when this occurred, it implicitly awarded the election to GWB because he held more Electoral College votes than Gore.


All the rest has yet to be proven as fact and is merely assumed, surmised, implied or inferred to have happened. If its fact and you have evidence to that effect, then a class action lawsuit should be brought on behalf of the disenfranchised voters in a court of law. The fact that this hasn't happened tells me that this isn't the case so yell, scream and bluster all you want of "theft" that doesn't make it so.... See More


If all you have are the "facts" that cannot be verified, proven or otherwise become evidence based upon reasonable legal standard then they are not fact. They are suppositions and that's all they are.


By the way, screaming, using sarcasm and ad hominem statements because you feel people were somehow wronged or because you feel we're not smart enough to see your point only makes your point that much less valid in my opinion. People should be capable of discussing a subject and agreeing to disagree in an agreeable manner. If you can't do that, your point loses any value to those around you that you are trying to influence


TP responded with:


Does "less than constitutional" mean unconstitutional & if it does (it does) then it was taken illegally. "STOLEN" is an appropriate word. Read Haitian history about 19th century American involvement I don't want to hear what you believe about historical facts tell me what you know. Right now your 0 for 1.I love it when White people jack you take ... See More control then claim you aint got the experience to run anything yourself. Haiti was doing just fine in recovering her national life w/Aristide & then we over threw him not once but twice. & now they are not even allowed to grow rice because the WTO has forced Haiti to accept cheap GM rice grown cheaper than the Haitians can grow it &forced on to that market thru shere gangsterism just like in Ethiopia. Just like what NAFTA did to Mexico. I love it when white folks have someone else's shit & then refuse to even consider sharing it because your Grand Daddy took it. There is no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity. You want to support social justice "your way" we don't count because in the end we gotta take whatever bone you throw. How long do you think we as aspecies can survive with that kind of attitude? We as a species are dying & we need cooperation not the paternalistic bullshit I just heard I just get so sad hearing decent people like you talk with no clue to the real meaning to your words.


KH ended with:


How quaint that you cling to the constitution with your hands in a vain attempt to justify Gore's presidency and at the same time trample it with your feet by claiming that reparations are due to those who were not wronged and should be paid by people who did not wrong them.


To address your points.


Show me where in the constitution or in the annals of US law where the Judicial decision in 2000 was an illegal act?... See More


Unprecedented? Yes. But so was Roe V. Wade, is that illegal? The Supreme Court sets precedent every day with their decisions effectively enacting law through their constitutional powers. Constitutional scholars still argue over the legitimacy of the 2000 election decision and rightly so as the constitution DOES NOT ADDRESS IT DIRECTLY. Therefore their decision is based upon things they infer from the verbiage within that document.


Second, there is a statute of limitations on "crimes against humanity" and that limitation is the death of those responsible. Your stance begs the question; do you hold the African leaders equally responsible for the failures of their tribal ancestors who sold their people into slavery for profit? Where does it end or is this just about getting yours from the "white man" for perceived/actual wrongs of centuries past?


I'll leave you with a question because I see this discussion going nowhere because you continue to resort to ad hominem statements rather than reasonable discourse.


If you truly hate this nation the way it sounds like you do, I'd ask why you don't leave it? What keeps you here? Is it the privileges you enjoy that were guaranteed by generations of white "grand daddy's" throughout the last 250 years?


If that the case, then in my honest opinion, that's the reparations that you and your ilk cry so badly for. 250 years of sacrifice in defense of an ideology that you hold in contempt but still take advantage of. Perhaps you should contemplate that and think about whether a "thank you" is owed to them as much as you feel they owe you something for the mistakes they made?


Just some food for thought.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti rescue efforts displays the true nature of the American spirit

A few days ago a 7.0 magnitude earthquake demolished the isle of Haiti resulting in tremendous damage and leaving hundreds of thousand people dead. Within 24 hours of the earthquake and vast devastation, President Obama held a press conference to address the situation and lay out a plan to help those affected by Mother Nature's assault on Haiti. Part of that plan was the White House establishment of a link for people to donate money: Along with UNICEF and the Red Cross other private organizations are getting involved. Some examples of non-government aid include $5M of cash donated by Digicel Group, Bank of America donating $1M, Home Depot giving $100K to the Red Cross, Lowe's giving $1M to the Red Cross, and Abbott Laboratories donating $1M as well.

I blog today about the situation facing the Haitian people not because of the timing of President Obama's speech or the potential use of taxpayer money to rebuild portions of Haiti while America mires in a recession; rather to take a moment to reflect on the generosity of the American spirit. While not every American will donate money or offer other assistance to those in Haiti, the American spirit to rally for a cause is on full display for the world. Despite being targeted by some in the Middle East for destruction or being viewed as an arrogant society no one can deny the compassion embedded within the fabric of the American spirit. Where else in the world will a society of private, free citizens donate time and money to assist people around the world in a time of need?

Take a moment to reflect on the American spirit and ask yourself, "Is there something I can do more to make the United States a better place to live?" The impact on the American society of Haiti will wane as rebuilding efforts continue but that should not stop our society from being engaged. Last year citizens all over the United States exercised their right to assembly as they attempted to shed light on the expansion of government and the out of control spending. The groups called for smaller government and lower taxes. Instead of being touted as an example of the America spirit it was painted as angry white men gathering to spew their racist hatred for President Obama.

As we will see in the coming days the donations raised for Haiti will come from private citizens and corporations. Granted the United States government will print, I believe the amount is $80M, money to help rebuild Haiti. The money used by the Federal Government is not taxpayer money, at least not yet, because our government is spending money it does not have. In the end taxpayers will have to make up the difference. With making up that difference a harsh reality will run contrary to the American spirit. Jobs, freedoms, and liberties will be compromised through higher taxes and the devaluation of the American dollar. I bring this up on the heal of the earthquake that devastated Haiti because we have an earthquake of our own brewing in Washington D.C.

Not a physical earthquake but an earthquake that will create greater damage to the country that is the land of the free and the home of the brave. As you donate, say a prayer, or watch the rescue efforts in Haiti keep in mind that our politicians in Washington D.C. are hoping you stay distracted as they continue to strip our freedoms away through increase government spending, taxation, and control over all aspects of our life.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Recovery Act: Success factors eased

The Associated Press is reporting that the White House has changed the metric to gauge success of the $787B Stimulus package passed earlier this year. The change is "no longer about counting a job as save or created; now it's a matter of counting jobs funded by stimulus" ( The determination of "funded by stimulus" is whether or not stimulus money is used to cover payroll and includes if the money was used for any bonuses or pay raises to keep employees. I thought Congress needed to pass the Recovery Act to ensure unemployment wouldn't top 8% and it would save or create 3.5 million jobs by year end. Unemployment is above 10%, higher in other areas of the country, and the White House claimed it saved or created 650,000 jobs but cannot accurate account for that figure.

Instead of admitting failure of the Recovery Act by the White House, the White House has changed the end zone. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said, "It is troubling that the administration is changing the rules and further inflating the Recovery Act's impact and masking the failure of the stimulus to product sustainable economic growth or real job creation" ( Tom Gavin, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, said, "We are trying to make it as easy and simple for the funding recipients" ( The lack of accountability by the White House is alarming.

Does this make sense? Are we, as a society, to sit idly by and allow the White House to change the metrics to gauge the success of the Recovery Act? Or is this another veil attempt at the White House to mask a serious flaw in the Recovery Act? Why cannot White House admit failure of the Recovery Act based on the success factors originally set forth?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Marriage is a Rite not a right

Yesterday the courts, in California, took on the question if Proposition 8 is constitutional. For those who have lived under a rock or do not follow this issue, Prop 8 (as it is commonly called) was passed by 52% of Californians in 2008 to establish a State Constitutional definition that marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman. Gay right groups feel Prop 8 violates their rights and is unconstitutional. What we have here are two separate arguments being made but will be lumped into one. First point of discussion is if marriage is a right. Secondly, is Prop 8 unconstitutional? To answer the second question we need first define the first question.

Is marriage a right of all Americans? To answer this we must acknowledge the institution of marriage is rooted in religious dogma. To exercise one's religion is a right established and guarantee by the Bill of Rights. Since marriage is religious in nature, does that translate to a right for all Americans? Some religious sanction polygamy yet there are rules established that one cannot take on more than one spouse at a time. Even though the law exists those that practice religions that promote polygamy are still able to even if they are highly scrutinized by child welfare agencies. Now, we have laws against drug use in American yet certain religions are allowed to posses and use drugs as outlined in the rites of their religion.

This brings us back to the right of marriage by all Americans. Marriage is a religious rite that has specific guidelines for the married couple to live by. Being a Gnostic the concept of marriage takes place on a spiritual level rather than on the flesh and blood level. But I digress. Since the definition of marriage depends on one religion, then there should be very little discussion on the topic of marriage being a right. In essence marriage is not a RIGHT rather marriage is a RITE.

Now, if we view marriage as a rite, we can answer the constitutional questions in regards to Prop 8. To resolve this question we need to look at how the question is being phrased. The argument put forth against Prop 8 is the use of the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection and due process. The groups looking to overturn Prop 8 are equating interracial marriage to same-sex marriage. Is the argument one in the same? Is defining marriage between 1 man and 1 woman a violation of equal protection?

Since marriage is a rite then no one's equal protection or due process is being violated. Now, a better argument on the constitutionality of Prop 8 is if it violates the separation of church and state. The entire process and incorporation of marriage in the laws, IRS filings, and other legal writs are all violations of church and state in so far that marriage is a religious rite. That being said, every American should be outraged by Prop 8 as it violates the separation of church and state clause in the Constitution. The term marriage needs to be stripped from various use by the government and returned to religious dogma from which it was born. If we, as a society, require recognition of living with a life partner then let's rely on legal documents, i.e. power of attorney. The Constitution already allows for same-sex and opposite sex marriages in so far as it protects one's right to practice religion and all ceremonies involved.

Why are we all not demanding the removal of the institutional definition of marriage as it violates the separation of church and state clause in the Constitution? Is that not a more intelligent way to go about the issue of marriage? By taking this approach we solidify the sanctity of marriage for all religions while also removing government control over one's choice of a life partner.

Monday, January 11, 2010

“Light Skinned” a Racist Statement?

A soon to be released book, "Game Change", written by Time magazine Mark Halperin and New York magazine John Heilemann is a collection of observations made during the historic 2008 Presidential campaign. At the end of the week last week, many pundits salivated at the potential nuggets of talk to arise from the words in print. The latest in the discussion are the remarks made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) when he "described in private then-Senator Barack Obama as 'light skinned' and 'with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.' ( Since his words have become known, Sen. Reid has offered an apology to President Obama to which President Obama accepted and said, "As far as I am concerned, the book is closed." Sen. Reid said, "I deeply regret using such poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African- Americans for improper comments" (

While many in the Democrat camp are rally to Reid's support, RNC Richard Steele is singing a different tune. Steele pointed out that in 2002, then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-), that the Democrats demanded Senate Majority Leader Lott to step down after making favorable remarks of 1948 segregationist presidential campaign of Strom Thurmond. Lott had apologized but was sent packing. "There is this standard where the Democrats feel that they can say these things and they can apologize when it comes from the mouths of their own. But if it comes from anyone else, it's racism. It's either racist or it's not. And It's inappropriate, absolutely" ( Is RNC Steele correct that Sen. Reid's comments made are racist? Is there a double standard within the Democrat party?

The Democrats are in a conundrum as they are on the cusp of passing health care "reform" but also have a tough fight in the 2010 mid-term elections. Are the leaders in the Democrat party endorsing Reid's words in a trade off for possible health care "reform"? The President accepted Reid's apology, just as he did with "You Lie", but is his acceptance of Reid's apology wise politically? Reid is behind in the polls in and is likely not going to be re-elected. Whether or not President Obama is using Reid as a pawn in light of his comments, the overriding question is it a double standard? Is RNC Steele accurate in his assessment?

Friday, January 8, 2010

City of Hamburg Public Hearing Ordinance Number 135




 Notice is Hereby Given that the Hamburg City Council will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 6:50 p.m. at the Hamburg Community Center at 181 Broadway Ave., Hamburg, MN.


The reason for the Public Hearing is to receive comments on Ordinance Number 135 for establishing City Fees for the 2010 Calendar Year.


If you have any questions or concerns about this hearing or would like to see the ordinance feel free to attend this hearing, call the City Offices at (952) 467-3232 or write in advance to the City of Hamburg, 181 Broadway Ave., Hamburg, MN 55339.




                            Jeremy Gruenhagen

                            City Clerk-Treasurer

City of Hamburg Public Hearing – Ordinance 136




Notice is Hereby Given that the Hamburg City Council will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 6:55 p.m. at the Hamburg Community Center at 181 Broadway Ave., Hamburg, MN.


The reason for the Public Hearing is to receive comments on Ordinance Number 136 amending the Municipal Code of Hamburg Pertaining to the Building Code to Include Plumbing Plan Review.


If you have any questions or concerns about this hearing or would like to see the ordinance feel free to attend this hearing, call the City Offices at (952) 467-3232 or write in advance to the City of Hamburg, 181 Broadway Ave., Hamburg, MN 55339.




                            Jeremy Gruenhagen

                            City Clerk-Treasurer


Hamburg City Council Agenda – January 12, 2010

Hamburg Residents notice that two public hearings are taking place prior to the meeting. The public hearing notices will be posted shortly.


6:50. Public Hearing – Ordinance Number 135


6:55. Public Hearing – Ordinance Number 136


7:00. Call City Council Meeting to Order @ 7:00 PM

  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Miscellaneous Business (Public Comments)
  • Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption
  • Designate Official Depository (Bank) and Official Newspaper
  • Appoint Assistant (Acting) Mayor
  • Designate Departments for City Council Members
  • Set City Council Meeting Start Time for 2010
  • Approve Minutes for November 24, 2009 and December 8, 2009
  • Old City Business (Memo)


7:15. Fire Department Report – Chief Brad Droege

  • FEMA Grants/US Fish & Wildlife Grant
  • Fire Department Firefighters Baker & Spande
  • 2009 Donation Summary (HFDRA)
    • $2,000 Donation Towards Ambulance Certificate
    • Resolution Number 2010-01
  • HFD Relief Association – Required Municipal Contribution for 2010
  • City Rescue Truck (Upgrade)
  • Fire Hydrants/City Streets (Snow Removal)


7:25. Hamburg Lions Club

  • MN Lawful Gambling Permit (Bingo)


7:25. Scott Qualle (MNSPECT)

  • Contract Agreement Extension for Building Inspections
  • State Building Code/Hamburg City Code
    • Ordinance Number 136 (Adopt)


7:45. Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)

  • Project List (Added Items)
  • Carver County Right of Way Permits, Registration Form, Obstruction Permits
  • Picnic Tables (Paint)
  • Recall on Fire Hydrants (Update)
  • Community Hall/Community Center Repairs
    • Cooling Fans/Electrical Repairs/City Shop Door
    • Wall Heaters/Fans
  • General Maintenance Schedules
  • Storm Sewer Repair (City Shop)


8:00. Deputy Clerk Report

  • Delinquent Utility Bills Report


8:05. City Clerk/Treasurer Report

  • City Fee Schedule for 2010
    • Ordinance Number 135 (Adopt)
  • 2009/2010 Park and Ball Program (Community Education)
  • Audio/Visual for Oak Grove City Center Council Chambers
  • Senator Julianne Ortman (Emails)
    • Looking to Attend a City Council Meeting
    • Tax Committee (Email from Senator Ortman & Chris Lund)
  • I/I Abatement Program Update
    • Easements (Public Meetings)
  • LMCIT Public Employee Bond Coverage
  • 2009 Hours Worked Worksheet
  • Possible LGA Cuts for 2010 (State Budget Deficit)
  • Time Off Requests (January 22, 28, 29 & February 4, 5, 23)
  • Informational Items
    • Central Public Schools (Referendum Bonds)
    • City Offices Closed January 18, 2009


8:25. City Council Reports

  • Councilmember Mueller Report (Sewer & Water)
  • Councilmember Cummiskey Report (Streets)
    • Handicap Bathroom for Hall
  • Councilmember Trebesch Report (Buildings)
  • Councilmember Barnes Report (Parks)
  • Mayor Malz Report
    • NYA City Permit Fees


8:40. Approve Claims for December 2009 & January 2010


8:45. Adjourn Meeting















"The times set forth above are estimated.  Some subjects may take a longer time to discuss and take action on; some subjects may take less time than set forth."

President Obama gives Intelligence 101 speech

"As President, I have solemn responsibility to protect our nation and our people and when the system fails, it is my responsibility," said President Obama yesterday in his speech about the lapse in security of the "Underwear" Bomber. About time that President Obama takes responsibility and stops blaming the Bush Administration for all this challenges. I agree with President Obama that there was not one piece of data missed; rather the system as a whole failed to analyze the data properly. Perhaps the scolding President Obama gave the C.I.A earlier this year is having repercussions that he did not anticipate. The more troubling aspect of this incident is that Americans will see their freedoms reduced further under the guise of "National Security". I do not foresee another Patriot Act but the application of intrusive scanning may be moving us down that road.

President Obama said, "Ultimately, the buck stops with me." Did Hoover just walk into the White House? It is refreshing to hear President Obama to take responsibility and that he may finally understand the tough job it is to keep freedoms safe from those that seek to destroy it. "Because great and proud nations don't hunker down and hide behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. That is exactly what our adversaries want," stated President Obama. Correct, and our adversaries want to disrupt our economy and encourage further erosion of our freedoms. The plan going forward appears to be out of Intelligence Analysis 101 class.

Some of the actions President Obama laid out were timely distribution of intelligence reports; improve watch list databases, enhanced intelligence analysis, and aggressive and thorough pursuit of terrorism threat threads. See a more comprehensive list at: All of these should already be in place. Perhaps if President Obama hadn't blasted the intelligence community earlier this year, they would be more apt to aggressively pursue terror suspects. Granted no system is fool proof and someone will always find a way to beat the system. As the old saying goes, "We need to be vigilant every day; the terrorists only need to be lucky once." What is the cost to Americans? After 9/11 we saw the Bush administration use that attack to pass the Patriot Act and now we see the Obama administration using the Christmas Day attack to deploy 300 advanced imaging scanners in the United States airport this year.

Here is what we can expect the TSA agents to see from the use of the scanners to be used:

Now is this something we as a Free Society need to subject ourselves to in order to "feel safer"? The TSA and government officials are saying that the TSA agent viewing these scans will not be in the same room as the person being scanned and that is to make us feel better? I was watching C-SPAN yesterday over the lunch hour, instead of having health care discussions on, the English House of Commons was on. The members of the House of Commons were grilling the Secretary of the Defense Ministry over various topics including the use of full-body scanners. The debate centered on the amount of personal freedom the members were willing to give up. The discussion did bring up the point about what would happen to the images. To which the honorable Secretary did not have an immediate answer.

Now the Obama administration contends that these images will not see the light of day and in fact will be destroyed. Really! If they are destroyed then what evidence one will have to go back to when determining how someone got another diaper bomb on the plane? Plus as one can tell from the images above, a woman with large breasts or a man with a large gut could easily hid bomb material. Also, my guess is that children will not be subject to these intrusive scanners which will give the terrorist their mule to getting explosives on the plane. The question comes down to this: How much personal freedom do we want to give up for safety from terror attacks? I do applaud President Obama for taking the potential terror attacks are still a real threat.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

McCullough vs. Maryland: Implied Power Clause Established – Constitutional?

In 1819, the United States Supreme Court heard a case that forever changed the landscape of legislative power and paved the road for a larger more centralized government. The case in question is McCullough vs. Maryland. The question before the court was twofold: First, does the "necessary and proper" clause of the Constitution imply that Congress had the power to charter a national bank? Secondly, is it within State power to place a tax on national banks or are national activities supreme to State rights? After arguments were made, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the opinion that established the "necessary and proper" clause implied that Congress can establish a national bank as it carries out activities that maintained the powers specifically listed in the Constitution; thus the Implied Powers Clause was born. Marshall also stated "that allowing states to tax part of the national government disrupted the supremacy of the Constitution and of national laws over conflicting states laws" (

While the case originally surrounded the taxation of a national bank by the state of Maryland, the case laid the ground work for future Congressional actions that went beyond those powers specifically listed in the Constitution. Article 1, Section 8 states (

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

To establish post offices and post roads;

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

Obviously the Founding Fathers did not have television, radio or the internet but one wonders if Marshall had not established the Implied Powers Clause through his interpretation of the final sentence of Section 8 would we have so many inequities within our lands. What I mean. Where does it state the establishment of entitlement programs? Did Marshall go too far in his decision? Or are there in face implied powers established in the final sentence of Section 8? Ron Paul, in his book "End the Fed", points to this decision as the birth of the central bank and the bane of our economy. Many consider the Constitution a living document but has this decision created a Pandora Box? Does the Implied Powers Clause make recent legislation, i.e. Patriot Act, TARP, and Health Care reform, Constitutional or does it display that Marshall's decision and establishment of Implied Powers Clause in itself is unconstitutional?


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

C-SPAN Rejected by Administration to bring transparency to the Conference Committee process

During the race for the Democrat nomination Sen. Barack Obama pledged that he would "have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who is making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies." Well, C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb took, then Sen. Obama, seriously and offered C-SPAN services to air the conference committee proceedings as leaders in the House and Senate look to merge the health care reform bills. The letter that CEO Lamb sent can be seen here: The offer by C-SPAN includes all the hardware to show all sessions "LIVE and in their entirety" while giving complete access to all footage to any "member of the Capitol Hill broadcast pool."

In so many words, the Obama administration, Sen. Reid, and Rep. Pelosi are saying thank you but no thank you. The latest report on C-SPAN's webpage,, that "the leadership is considering bypassing a formal conference committee in resolving differences between House and Senate versions of the legislation." Now, why is there not more public outcry by Americans or the mass media? The potential passage of health care reform will have massive implications to every American. Shouldn't Obama be held to his pledge of keeping the negotiations open and "televised on C-SPAN"?

Why are we so content on sitting idly by and watch the majority party dictate reform to America? What are they hiding? Will another Nebraska deal come through the pipeline? Perhaps Rep. Pelosi has it right about Obama when she said, "There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail" ( Is this what we are to accept as free citizens of the United States a secret government that has expanded its power and reach into the free market? It's about accountability and by Congressional leaders and President Obama no televising the conference committee sessions and potentially skipping the conference committee process all together, why are more Americans not enraged by the trampling of the process?

I was told a long time ago that a man is only as good as his word. What does this tell us about those that run our country? What does that tell us about our society that accepts it?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Staff quits after Congressman switches party

A friend of mine listed this story from the Huffington Post,, on his Facebook page. The article discussed that every member of Rep. Parker Griffith's staff has quit because the Representative of Alabama's Fifth District decision to switch from the Democrat to the Republican Party. Chief of Staff Sharon Wheeler is quoted in the article as saying, "Alabama's Fifth District has deserved and has benefited from great Democratic conservative leadership since Reconstruction. And until now they had it. I appreciate Congressman Griffith's being a very dedicated congressman. But we believe he made a mistake – a well-intentioned but misguided mistake that is not in the interest of the great people of North Alabama who elected him a year ago as a Democrat." So let me get this right, since the Congressman switched political labels he suddenly lost his conservative leadership? This is exactly what is wrong with having political parties. Just as Arlen Specter (D-PA) made his leap last year, did anyone really think his ideals or principles flipped as well?

The move from one political party to another is not one of personal shift in ideology, at least it does not appear in this situation, and rather the move is for political survival. House Speaker Pelosi has already conceded that policies passed on the Hill will result in a net loss of Democrat seats in the House of Representatives and is giving all indications that she is okay with that. Wheeler goes on to say, "As his staff, we wish him only the best, and we will remain committed to the citizens of the Tennessee Valley. But we cannot, in good conscience, continue working for him. It is with deep sadness that we leave our work for the Fifth District. But because we are unwavering in our own principles, we have no choice but to move on." Really, "because we are unwavering in our own principles", what does that mean?

The man the staff went to work for was a Conservative Democrat (Blue Dog) and now he is a Conservative Republican. Someone, anyone please help me understand how the change in words – Democrat to Republican – breaks with Rep. Griffith's core beliefs and what most likely attracted the staff to work for him. For the staff to up and quit just displays how ideology rules the roast in Washington D.C., probably in politics in general, that if ones employer or candidate doesn't have a certain label then they must be the opposition. How shortsighted is the staff?

The type of ideological stance taken by the staff is the primary reason why I do not call myself a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or insert political affiliation. Instead I look at the candidate's stance on my core issues to determine if I will back that person or not. I have little time to care what their party affiliation is. Does one a change in party affiliation translate into a change in core beliefs of the candidate? Is the staff being true to the principles they signed up for by quitting? Or is the staff quitting a sign of ideology over principle in action?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Minneapolis School Board decision is not a Segregation policy

Yesterday the Star Tribune ran an article titled "Downsizing schools, increasing segregation?" The plan, approved last year by the school board, is to close four schools and transform four magnet schools to neighborhood schools. The changes are reported to save the district more than $6M a year. I understand many of us hear million and think chump change as our Congress grows our debt to $13T. In an age where Americans have become increasingly dependent on the government it is no wonder that parents in the school district claim the changes will restrict their choices of schools. School Board member Chris Stewart is quoted in the article as saying, "Doing things like restricting access to [better schools] and closing off doors with the promise that we're going to make the ghetto better is not what parents want to hear."

Mr. Stewart, who voted for the closings, what are you talking about? I understand that tough choices were made and with Minnesota's open enrollment program, how is this decision "restricting access"? What I am hearing is that parents are concerned that "poorer" schools will be left behind and that will have disparate treatment toward minorities. Parents need to get involved. Get involved with the school, the district, and your child's own learning process. 2010 needs to be a year that we hold ourselves accountable and not push blame off on someone else. And it starts with not placing blame on the school board for making the choices they did. The article discussed that "school board members have pressured administrators to correct inequities among high schools" because the school board has reduced the number of choices for parents in the district.

First off, school board members live up to your decision and not place stipulation or attempt to spread the blame to others in the district. Secondly, what do you mean by correcting inequities? I know the article alludes to the number of advance courses offered at Southwest vs. North. Parents, school board members and administrators need to understand that basics are all that is required and if those are proving inequities between schools in the district then those inequities ought to be changed. Correcting the inequities in advance courses is not something to be considered. If student demand is there, meaning if the school is limiting the learning power of their more intelligent students then looking into the cost/benefit of adding the course is required. At the same time, parents can assist their intelligent children by doing more at home.

At the end of the day, do not hide behind limited choices or the fear of segregation to "handicap" your child. Be accountable, be involved and assist your child in their learning regardless of their surroundings. Where I live my children have one choice of public school unless I want to drive them to a nearby community or enlist them in private school. That being said, I won't allow my kids to use that as a crutch for not learning the basics that they need to be productive members of society. I hope that those in the Minneapolis school district understand that the savings realized will open up dollars to update school material and needs that will ensure their students will learn the basics. And if their child wants to learn more either drive them to another school that offers the classes your child needs or show them where the public library is. It is amazing how much one can learn from the books that line the shelves at a library.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Even the Ardent Viper Has a Soft Side…

Yesterday I hinted that The Hamburg Post would have a guest blogger today and here she is; enjoy.


Don't tell anyone….but the author of the Hamburg Post is actually a real softie.   

I've know Chris since the fall semester of 1992 when I decided that I wanted to be a part of the Hall Orientation Team at the University of North Dakota.  The leader of that team?  Chris.  The rest is history.  I promised Chris that I wouldn't post any pre-receding hair line photos.  And by receding hairline, I mean his—not mine.

In the last year that Chris and I have reconnected via the ever popular Facebook, we have many common interests—one of which is blogging.

As you know, Chris blogs about politics, big government, and the like.  I am completely the opposite.  My blog is a random bunch of nothing.  Seriously.  If you want to see it, come by and check it out—you can read about how I may end up on the TV show Mall Cops, how I almost burned down the future in-laws kitchen or even my e-mail from actor Wil Wheaton.  You can read it here:


Good stuff, I tell ya'.   

But the reason for my post today is that I have a second blog.  I have a blog that I use to promote a non-profit project that I started where I send cards to people who are fighting cancer. 


See?  Chris does have a soft side, doesn't he?


How the project started is a long story, but the short version is this:  I have a friend who is now a breast cancer survivor and because of cards sent in the mail from friends and family, her days were made a little brighter.  When she received a card in the mail, her day went a little easier and she was brought out of some of her darkest days.


And that is how Cards by Amy's Angels was born.


I, along with a small group of ladies, make cards (read:  handmade—no Hallmark cards here!), write a personal note in the card, and send it to the cancer patient.  We will send cards directly to the cancer patient or to the person requesting the card.  Privacy is important to us, so we delete all e-mails after the card has been sent, and make sure that the person receiving the card knows how we got their name.


Since our project started in November 2008, we have sent out over 200 cards.


However, our project, sadly, has hit a lull.


We get a majority of our card requests through an organization that we partner with—but we are having second thoughts about working with them.  There is nothing wrong with this group, but we are starting to feel that their focus has been taking on a new direction that we aren't so keen on supporting. 


We need to continue to get the word out.  This is why Chris has asked me to write a post today.


We are looking for ways to expand our site.  Do you know a way that we can get the word out?  We'd love to hear your ideas—just leave a comment and we'll read what you have to say.


Here's to a great 2010!