Friday, June 30, 2017

Our discourse? Definitely off course!

"In any event, here we are. Our national discourse? It is way off course. What to do about it? How about practicing the 'Golden Rule' for example?"

Well, look here! Joe Scarborough and his bride to be Mika, have done what most lefty journalists aspire to do. Instead of reporting the news, they are creating the news. After spending the past six months or so, calling the President just about every name in the book, the President hit back. And this hit was a real "ouch" to Mika. Seems he said when they were self invited guests down in Mar-a-Lago, Mika was having some "bleeding in her face" from a recent face lift. Then the ship hit the sand. Way out of bounds, many have said. 

What do I think of what happened? First off, I think the once respected Joe Scarborough has sold out to  become part of the clown show known as MSNBC. Both Joe and Mika have said some pretty vile things about our President. Some folks like the fact our President is a counter-puncher, others wish he would not telegraph his moves. I personally like the approach of Vito (Don) Corleone in the Godfather series - "Never let them know what you are thinking."

Going a bit deeper in this thought, let's look at our national discourse in total right now. Nothing seems to be off limits. I am actually surprised that "Your mother wears army boots!" has not been used. And the language used at many of the town halls is beyond the pale. Since when does it become common to use an uncommon word like the "F Bomb" when addressing a public official? When addressing anyone?

Our national discourse is a disgrace. It really is. I have told this story before. When George Bush was our 43rd President, my oldest daughter was able to get me us tickets to hear him speak in St. Paul. Once the event was over, as we were walking outside, there were dozens of "flea infested misfits", wearing black t-shirts, with the words "F**k Bush!" on them. Plus they were chanting the same. I was embarrassed for them. I was embarrassed for their parents. Our state. And our nation.

This "sudden" diminution in our discourse is not really that sudden. It has been brewing for a while now. How long? I think part of it started during the Clinton Administration with Clinton's dalliances and how the Left tried to gloss over them. Then it got worse, much worse, during the event now known as the 2000 election. Or to use another term, the "hanging chad" election. 

I know, I know. People on the Left will say our lousy discourse happens on both sides of the spectrum. People on the Right will say maybe so, but they are certainly not equal. I agree with that. As a normal course of events, the Left seems to be much more coarse than the Right. However, for the first time now, we have a President who is a street fighter. And to some degree, a "potty talker". And the Left has a hard time dealing with that.

In any event, here we are. Our national discourse? It is way off course. What to do about it? How about practicing the "Golden Rule" for example? I am sure some of us remember what that says. And those to profess to be in the faith, remember the Greatest Commandment. Love for each other may not be able to conquer all, but it will sure help in our discourse. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Gender Confusion

"It is said for every action there is a reaction. The reaction to our normal sexuality has been the development of this collage of variants. I am now waiting for the pendulum to swing back the other way. We really need our society to once again resemble something more like Eden than Gomorrah." 

Lets pretend when I woke up today, I felt more affection for my truck than my wife. So much so, I wanted to marry my truck. In the wacky world we live in, some human rights group would tell me, "That is okay - we have a separate gender for those who feel strong emotions for mechanical things." In the old days if I had told someone something like this, I would end up in some loony bin. Today? Na - I just became a separate class of gender identity. 

WTH is going on with us? Seriously? Someone on the radio the other day said we are now up to over 90 separate genders. How wacky has this become? Earlier this month someone posted on social media a trans gendered woman (does that mean a woman is what she became, or what she was born into?) had herself mutilated by tattoos, piercing and implants to look like a snake. Why? She identified herself to be more snake than human. Again, not that many years ago, something like that would have been a one way ticket to a loony bin. Today - we celebrate her (its) diversity.

The pragmatic streak in me always seems to gravitate to the same question - what do you do for a job when you take such a drastic step off the pier? Who will hire you? What are your social bounds when you identify yourself as polyamorous and love everybody and everything (intimately). How in the world do you procreate and raise children when you are so wacked out, you don't even know who or what you are?

This brave new world we are creating is slowing devolving into something that Dante might have written about. We are eschewing the fact we are either a male or female and splitting that up into almost an infinite number of variations. If someone from 1900 could be brought back today via time travel, that person might think that he or she was on another planet. Seriously!

It is said for every action there is a reaction. The reaction to our normal sexuality has been the development of this collage of variants. I am now waiting for the pendulum to swing back the other way. We really need our society to once again resemble something more like Eden than Gomorrah. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

United States Space Command

"In the play Hamlet, Shakespeare said, 'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy'."

Did you know that not too long ago, the United States had a Space Command? Do you mean like the United Federation of Planets like in Star Trek? Not exactly (maybe). It was a command formed during the Reagan years to (as the mission statement read), help "institutionalize the use of outer space by the United States Armed Forces" (whatever in the heck that means).

Very few folks have heard about this organization, since NASA was the big ticket in our space shuttle flights. Anyhow in 2002, the Space Command went away - sort of. Under the direction of Donald Rumsfeld, it merged with the United States Strategic Command to became the United States Northern Command. The headquarters for the space portion of the command is still located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

Everything I have said so far is absolute fact. Now I am going to step off that street just for a minute. One of the fastest circulating rumors in the Ethernet is that our space command is alive and well and has been for quite a while. That we have a group of astronauts who are well traveled - like to the Moon many times, as well as Mars, and the moons of Saturn. Wait a minute! If that is true, why keep it a secret? What is the big deal anyhow? If we have been to Mars, should that not be front page in every paper in the globe? Well, maybe.

If we had true "reporting" these days, I would love to see an honest reporter look down this rabbit hole (rather than try and invent a Russia-Trump connection). We have spent trillions of dollars on "black programs". Programs so secret, many in the Administration have no clue what they are. Is it possible then, what was recovered at Roswell was in fact of alien origin? That we were able to reverse engineer the wreckage enough to make a craft which could travel the solar system in days rather than months?

For those who have an interest in peeking around the corner into the unknown, try this. Google The Disclosure Project. It is quite revealing, and if true, quite startling. The witnesses who have come forth in The Disclosure Project are not bums from skid row. They are not actors. These witnesses are highly qualified military personnel, both officers and enlisted. They are airplane pilots, FAA chiefs, civilians, and so forth. But - you would have to watch it to form your own opinion.

One more thing. According to more than one whistle blower, some of whom which served on it, we do have space travelers who are part of a multi-national, very secretive group called the Earth Defense Force. And it is a true planetary defense.

Before you scoff and dump this into your junk file, think of this. Steven Hawking, one of the smartest men on the planet, is worried about space invaders. About sending too much information into space to interest those looking for a better deal, a better place to live or plunder. 

In the play Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy". If what I said above is true, then maybe Shakespeare was right all along...



To dream the impossible dream....

"Fixing healthcare really has turned out to be the impossible dream. And it has turned out to be a very unbeatable foe."

Ain't gonna happen. This is what many have been saying for quite a while now. We are on a plane which is getting ready to crash, and the rescue plan is .... nowhere in sight. What happened yesterday with the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (Whew! What a name!) was only act one of a very long play. What kind of a play? A Greek tragedy.

Senate Leader McConnell pulled the bill from being voted on yesterday for good reason. Rather than have another kerfuffle like what happened in the House, Mitch proclaimed, "We will wait until after the 4th of July recess to vote on this." Now if I may quote one of my former managers - "Bad news does not get better with age." And this bill as it stands right now - is very bad news.

Last night on Fox, Dr. Krauthammer summed it up quite well. To paraphrase what he said, you can't open up the goody box like Obama did with health care, and then try and take some of those goodies away. The only problem is, the "goodies" are helping make ObamaCare self destruct. Many of the recipients of those goodies however, can't see it. They just keep getting the free stuff. Those who are paying the freight however, are seeing it in technicolor. 

More and more folks on the Right are now suggesting this healthcare thing is too broken to save, too broken to fix. We should wave the white flag and move on to tax reform. This healthcare thing is not worth wasting a ton of political capital on when in fact, nothing can be done. Nothing? Hey - what about single payer? Medicare for all? 

We can do that. We can go to a "Medicare for all" program like Comrade Bernie Sanders suggested during the last campaign. But the costs? What will we do with all those nasty costs? First off, if we did this, kiss tax reform good-bye. In fact, there will be an additional tax to help pay for it. And this additional tax will be skewed so the wealthy pay more (sound like ObamaCare?). But even with confiscatory taxation, that will not be enough. Any extra costs will just pile up in our ballooning national debt. And (what most experts agree on), the quality of our care will have to be less. Less choice, less options, and yes - even some rationing.

So here we are, going into the middle of a wonderful summer, with a busted healthcare system. Thank you Barack Obama, for leaving us this POS. Chucky Schumer is standing on the sidelines, ready to put cement shoes on any Republican plan and then toss it into the Potomac. This healthcare thing is worse than toxic. Any smart Republicans should stay a mile and a half away from this thing. And what about those promises to "repeal and replace"? Tell the truth - Republicans did not know how broken this thing really was until they were in the diver's seat.

To dream the impossible dream. To fight the unbeatable foe. To bear with unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not to go. Those words from the Andy Williams song sum up where we are right now. Fixing healthcare really has turned out to be the impossible dream. And it has turned out to be a very unbeatable foe.

Enjoy your 4th of July folks - things are going to get real tough once it is over. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Who is the new "Uncle Walter"?

"CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, and now even FOX. News organizations? Not any more. Entertainment mostly. And much of the entertainment starts at 5 pm on the nightly news." 

Big disclosure by CNN today. Big news to us? Nope. We all knew it. In fact, the President has called them out many times for reporting "fake news". Now they have sort of admitted it with their Russia reporting. Something like they did not have "giant proof" of their reporting, whatever that means. Well, I have some news. We no longer have an "Uncle Walter" that we can depend on. Someone in the media who will give us the unvarnished truth. What do we have today? We got spit.

In fact, news today is more comic relief than anything else. Watching the "smartest woman on cable television" was at one time Megyn Kelly, but is now Rachael Maddow. Really? All Rachael does is drink the MSNBC bathwater and put a little more spin on already spun news. What comes out of her mouth is more like Pravda than Pravda is. Blah, blah, blah. And Megyn? She sold her soul to the NBC gods, and is now sinking into the pit of irrelevance. 

Did we have one news person who is close to "Uncle Walter"? I think we had one maybe even better. Why better? After Cronkite retired, we did discover he had a liberal slant. Nothing like his protege, Dan Rather however. But still, Walter lived on the left side of the street.

Bill O'Reilly, who Fox just dumped, was a close to an honest reporter as I have seen. Why Bill? He was an equal opportunity abuser. He was as tough on conservatives as he was progressives. He did not ask softball questions like, "What is you favorite color?" or "What is on your iTunes playlist?" Yes, those are questions which have been asked in the past of Clinton and Obama.

Our once highly valued Fourth Estate, our free press, has devolved into nothing more than a shill for the Loony Left. Sorry, but it is true. In journalism today, they obviously forget to teach the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Or, the difference between fact based reporting and opinion. Journalists today have less credibility than a used car salesman dressed in a sharkskin suit. 

One of the smartest media people I have met is a local fellow name Bob Davis. Bob Davis of Bob Davis Podcast is a true truth finder. He eschews most all media, as it is too corrupt for him to use as a basis of this reporting. He uses a wide variety of sources, including on the spot reporting. In short, Bob has known for a lot longer than many of us (myself included), that not only does "Uncle Walter" no longer exist, but neither does a shred of an honest media. I have told Bob more than once that every time I listen to him, I learn. I get informed. Is that not what an honest media is supposed to do?

CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, and now even FOX. News organizations? Not any more. Entertainment mostly. And much of the entertainment starts at 5 pm on the nightly news. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

What the what, over?

"In this vast and troubled world,
We sometimes lose our way..."

I got Rhythm
The Happenings

My grandparents on my mother's side, lived their entire lives in Minneapolis. Mr grandpa worked right in town. They lived a good portion of their lives in South Minneapolis. My mother grew up in South Minneapolis and went to South High. My grandparents didn't to South High - they both (as was common for that generation) only had an 8th grade education. In their "golden years" they lived within spitting distance of Powderhorn Park. I have great memories as a young boy, spending some time with grandma and grandpa and going to the park, and then walking down to Bloomington Avenue and sitting at a soda counter in a store.

I grew up on the border of Minneapolis. When I got into Jr. High, my mother worked downtown at Dayton's (part time). During the summertime, I would often walk to the bus stop, and hop on the old "5C". It would travel through a respectable North Minneapolis and then into downtown. How was it back then? Although not perfect, it was pretty close to living in a Norman Rockwell painting.

So what in the world has happened to the once safe, sane and fun downtown Minneapolis? For starters, the 60's. The anti-war movement, the protests, and in July of 1967, the Plymouth Avenue race riot. All of a sudden, Minneapolis started to change. Not the homogeneous city of the 1950's - it was starting to fracture. The "prairie populist" leftist politics started to take over. Gentrification started, poverty became entrenched, and all of a sudden, kids having kids was no longer uncommon nor shameful.

I often wonder what my grandparents would think if they were alive today. Would they look at the changes in Minneapolis as an evolution or a devolution? Would they feel happy and safe living by Powderhorn Park, or not? Would they even what to live in or visit Minneapolis?

When I was discharged from the Navy in January 1973, I was anxious to get home. Stationed up in the wilds of Maine for my last duty station, I thought a healthy dose of enjoying the nightlife in downtown Minneapolis would be the right ticket. It took me about a week, and I could not believe how Minneapolis had changed. My dreams of spending a lot of time downtown, soon went right out the window. 

Some like what Minneapolis has changed into. And that is fine - to each their own. I do not - not a bit. When I think of what Minneapolis has become, I think of lyrics from the song I got Rhythm by The Happenings:

In this vast and troubled world,
We sometimes lose our way...

Yes Minneapolis, I think you have lost your way. Not just a little bit, but a lot. Good luck in the future going forward - you will need it. That is my opinion, and I am sticking with it.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Life beyond trains....

"No more traffic jams, no more DUI arrests, no more texting while driving issues, just the comfort of a car taking you where ever you need to go. The future belongs to the prepared Met Council. And your Thrive 2040 is not in sync with a rapidly approaching future."

I have been doing quite a bit of mulling as of late. I have been reading different tech blogs. And I have listened to an interesting podcast. On what? On the future. Specifically the future of transportation. One of the things I have learned is that our beloved Met Council, who is mysteriously in charge of our transportation needs in the Twin Cities, might have it all wrong.

Maybe in the their short time remaining until we elect a true conservative Governor, the Met Council should add one more position - a futurist. Why do I say that? He (or she) could tell this bunch of bureaucrats they are barking up the wrong tree with their choo-choo trains. That is not our future. Sorry folks - it is not the cars we are driving either. The future will belong to the "driver-less" auto-cars being developed by Google and other tech giants.

One article I read said that humans are very lousy drivers compared to the robot technology which will be guiding these small, yet comfortable auto-cars. If you are going to work, you will have it programmed with the auto-car company you are dealing with that an auto-car will pick you up at your house at (as an example) 7:01 am. Your drive to work will always take the same amount of time (unless we are getting a foot of snow at the time), the the auto-car will drop you off at the front door of where you work - and then leave.

You program from your smart phone what time you need to get picked up from work. Another auto-car will be at the door waiting to pick you up and take you home. While the auto-car is driving, you may read, talk on the phone, do social media, or nap. Once you arrive home, the auto-car is off to another task with another customer. 

Why are these auto-cars better than trains? For starters, cost. No tracks needed, no upkeep, no right of way traffic jams. Whereas trains travel on a fixed route based with a set schedule, auto-cars are anywhere, at any time. They will be battery powered, and very "green". Every month, the auto-car company you deal with will send you a bill for how much you used the auto-car service that month. All maintenance, upkeep, storage, and insurance will be paid for by the auto-car company.

What I found interesting about the research I was doing, is the timing. This is not 100 years in the future - it is  maybe 15 - 25 years away. The prototype auto-car exists right now, but is not ready for prime time. But they will be. Thrive 2040, the bible of the Met Council mentions NOTHING about the auto-car - only choo-choo trains. And us poor taxpayers will continue to spend untold billions to build these choo-choo trains (and infrastructure) which very few will ever ride.

The future is coming, and coming fast. And do you know what the future is going to tell us? Trains are so yesterday! They were not efficient nor flexible, so they became part of the dust bin of history. Plus trains were expensive as all get out. 

I think going forward will be a very exciting leap forward for humanity. No more traffic jams, no more DUI arrests, no more texting while driving issues, just the comfort of a car taking you where ever you need to go.

The future belongs to the prepared Met Council. And your Thrive 2040 is not in sync with a rapidly approaching future.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Our Secular, Machiavellian, Truculent Party of Intolerance

"But - for the sake of a civilized society, please, please, clean up your act. Your threats, your potty talk, your coarse humor is doing nobody any good - especially yourselves." 

What is the world is wrong with the good people on the Left these days? It is as if they have come completely unhinged. The language (yes, the Perez "F-Bomb") is becoming as common and annoying as Minnesota mosquitoes in June. But of all the nasty and evil things said about the President, of all the nasty and evil things said about Republicans, what was said yesterday took the cake. 

Phil Montag, a technology chair for the Nebraska Democrats was caught on tape saying the following (I need to edit it a bit, so I don't get thrown in Blogger jail): "I hate this motherf****r. I am glad he got shot." Wow! There is that Perez "F-Bomb" again! Montag goes on, "I wish he was f*****g dead." Of course he was talking about Steve Scalise. Once the chair of the Nebraska Democrats found out about this, he fired Montag. But the damage had already been done.

All that seemed to happen just hours after Johnny Depp, the "has been" Jack Sparrow actor, said something about assassinating the President. Depp later apologized and said it was a joke in bad taste. Ha ha - that was so funny I forgot to laugh. That ranked right up there with Kathy whats her name holding up a severed head which was supposed to look like the President. Or Snoop Dog shooting the President with a fake gun. Or the Broadway Show, Shakespeare in the Park, where the President is killed.

Here is a big difference between conservatives and the progressive Democrats, which have become a secular, Machiavellian, truculent party of intolerance. For eight years, when Obama rode roughshod on our Constitution,  many on the right disagreed with his policies. Yet, (true story) I never heard one person wish him or his family harm. Not one. In fact many on the Right prayed for Obama. Why? We did not want him harmed nor killed. Even though we disagreed with him, he was our President.

I am sorry if this offends some on the Left. But people, you need to clean up your party - and soon. Tom Perez is a disgrace. He really is. He should be let go. To use language like he uses out in the open that children can hear (remember - you guys are supposed to be the party which protects kids) is coarse and crude.

Next, you need to divorce your self from the Hollywood left. They have not only slid towards Gomorrah, they have already passed it and are their way to the next stop. To say Hollywood is vile these days, is a gross understatement.

I am not trying to give you folks on the Left advice which will help you win. Trust me, I like the trajectory the Right has been on since 2010 (thank you Barack Obama!). But - for the sake of a civilized society, please, please, clean up your act. Your threats, your potty talk, your coarse humor is doing nobody any good - especially yourselves. America deserves better. 


Friday, June 23, 2017

The future of the future

"Why mention this on a Friday afternoon, right on the doorstep of a well deserved weekend? A reminder. At any time, at any place, our future might not have a future. So to quote a famous line from a pretty good movie - Carpe Diem (seize the day)!" 

When I first started working, there was a man in the office next to my department who was getting ready to retire. He was rapidly approaching 65 and was not a happy camper. Congress had just authorized by a certain date, people could work until 70 if they wanted to - and he wanted to. Unfortunately, his birthday came at the wrong time and his 65th birthday would be his last day at the company. 

There was a retirement get together with the usual cake and coffee. He figured now that he had to retire, he would get this nasty cough looked at by the doctor. A heavy smoker, the cough was getting his way of enjoying a good smoke. Once reconciled that he was not going to be working any more, he had plans for the future. Big plans. Unfortunately, the nagging cough was more than just a little something. By the time he was 65 1/2, he was dead of advanced lung cancer. His future had no future.

We do all of us, think about the future - our future. We plan for it. We sometimes put things off in our lives until a later date - a date in the future. But what if the future never comes? I just delivered a meal to my next door neighbor who is trying to fight his way back from a second round of chemo. He has stage 4 lung cancer, and right now the cancer is winning the day. 

My neighbor is just a couple years older than I, and he has many plans for his future. Hunting with his long time deer hunting team, fishing, playing with grand kids, even cutting his vast lawn with his John Deere. Talking to his wife just a bit ago as I was delivering the meal, she told me his future might not have a future. His body might not be able to stand any more chemo. 

In the faith, we are taught to live for today. Tomorrow might never come. Amen to that! I had a conversation a few years ago with a good friend of mine about death. I told my friend it is my belief that many who die suddenly do not have a clue when they get out of bed it be their last day on Earth. In fact, dying is the last thing on most people's minds. It is not in the script. And yet a car accident, a plane crash, a bad fall, a madman, a terrorist, a heart attack, a stroke, whatever - can change everything in an instant. 

Why mention this on a Friday afternoon, right on the doorstep of a well deserved weekend? A reminder. At any time, at any place, our future might not have a future. So to quote a famous line from a pretty good movie - Carpe Diem (seize the day)! 

The Humpty Dumpty Program

Humpty Dumpty said on the wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
And all the Kings horses and all the King's men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again... 

Mother Goose
Nursery Rhyme

Really Bird? Has this week come to this? A nursery rhyme by Mother Goose for crying out loud? Actually, it has. I could not think of a better way to describe what is going on with our nation's health care. And not give a spoiler for the rest of the article, I believe our health care system is broken, just like Humpty, and beyond repair. And what will eventually come out of this mess, will look more like a scrambled egg than poor old Humpty.

I am going to try and put this together without too much bashing of our former President and former Democratic Speaker of the House. But it was they who pushed Humpty off the wall. Yes, our perfectly good health care system, which did need a tune up and tweaking, was instead thrown out with the bath water. What replaced it? A ticking time bomb. A system so flawed, it was bound to fail within a decade. And what would happen after that? Who cares? The architects of this mess would all be long gone.

Let us first look at some immutable facts. Our country is aging. Our country is getting more immigrants in from poorer nations. Why is that important? The 600 lb gorilla in the corner continues to be who is going to pay for Medicaid. Under ObamaCare, 90% of Medicaid is issued back to the states via block grants. And this $240B (and growing) program is a belly buster to our national debt. So the House and Senate bills both want to reduce down the block granting from 90% to something less. And many states (including Minnesota) are screaming bloody murder.

Another huge problem with ObamaCare (yes Dr. Gruber you really did pull as fast one on us) is the exodus of insurance companies. Living in a free market economy coupled with a socialized form of healthcare is an oil and water issue. ObamaCare does not fit in well with the business model of many of the insurance companies . Translation: they are tired of getting hosed and pulling out. Aetna is the latest to do so. With that, 1/3 of all counties within the country are left with only one insurer.

Where does all this leave us (as a country) right now? In "no man's land". ObamaCare is in hospice and the House and Senate bills have about as much chance of becoming law as the Twins winning the World Series this year. Wait a minute? Something will need to happen. We can't keep going on this way, with this much uncertainty, can we? Well, can we?

The barbarian which lives inside me would like to do something which would at least be cathartic. I would like to put Jonathan Gruber, Zeke Emmanuel, Nancy Pelosi and yes, even our former President in pillories in the town square. They deserve some kind of public scorn (or worse) for leaving us this mess.

When ObamaCare was passed in 2009, many said it would change (or destroy) the country. Many who said those words were looked upon as panic merchants. Today, they are looked upon as wise soothsayers. Especially you, Twila Brase.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I will see your billion and raise you a few more...

"In January of 2019, we need to swear in a Governor who is NOT a progressive and NOT a RINO (sorry Tim)."

When Jesse Ventura was Governor of the great state of Minnesota, he did many things wrong. However, he also did some things right. And he said some things which were true. Like what? Like calling the Republicans and Democrats the Crips and the Bloods. Why did he do that? Because they both operated the same way. Sometimes the only difference between the two parties were their colors.

This is not a hit piece on Tim Pawlenty, but Tim was part of the problem with our state. State government grew under his watch. And he did not raise taxes to cover this growth - but he raised many fees (code speak for hidden taxes) and shifted bunches of money around. Two terms of Tim, and we had bigger government.

Then Mark Dayton came around. And one of the biggest mysteries in the universe was how Dayton beat a highly qualified man like Tom Emmer. But he did. Dayton won and Minnesota lost. After Dayton was sworn in, his unspoken mantra to his predecessor was, "I will see your billion and raise you a few more."

Under Dayton, spending was off to the races. Wait a minute! Hold on! We have had a GOP controlled House for half of Dayton's tenure! And a GOP controlled Senate for Dayton's last two years! I don't get it! Yes, (Ventura talk) the Crips and the Bloods work well together. One gang just spends money a little faster than the other gang. But between the two of them under Dayton's tenure, the size of government in Minnesota has gone up an astounding and unsustainable 56%!

Dayton tried to mask this massive increase in spending by giving us the third highest tax bracket in the country. True, our top bracket is over 3% lower than the Republic of California's top bracket, but guess what? Even with the crushing tax burden that California has, the goofballs running that state are still spending so much money that their debt is an amazing $1.1T.

In January of 2019, we need to swear in a Governor who is NOT a progressive and NOT a RINO (sorry Tim). We need a REAL conservative who will say, "I will fold on your billion and start reducing the pot." NO MORE saying maybe we can reduce the growth of spending. We need a Governor who will reduce spending from the year before. NO MORE hidden fees. I love how Matt Dean has described out government - it has become "flabby". In fact, I will take Matt's term and strengthen it a bit. Our state government is morbidly obese.

I am backing Jeff Johnson for Governor in 2018 for one simple reason - the trajectory we are on (and I will use by good friend Tom's words with his permission), is making Minnesota "Illinois in training". Yes, it can get that bad. The GOP has some incredible people lined up to run for Governor. Any one of them would be a vast improvement over Dayton. I just happen to think Jeff's vision is the preferred path we need to take right now. 

How would Jeff do working with the Crips and the Bloods in St. Paul?  He probably won't be voted the homecoming king by the free spending lawmakers and lobbyists down there. But he will be a hero to the taxpayers. He will be the person who FINALLY breaks Minnesota's addition to uncontrolled and unsustainable growth in government.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Illinois bankruptcy exit

"Take a good look at your own state. How are the government pensions funded? Are they adequate or is your state on the same path as Illinois. Just asking..."

This could be the race of the "Blues". Blues? Blue what? And what race? This is the blue state marathon. Okay, maybe now it has turned into a sprint. And leading the pack right now to go over the cliff just like the Thelma and Louise movie is the great state of Illinois. How bad can it be? The current Republican Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, recently said his state has entered "Banana Republic" status. 

One would think that California with a state debt approaching $1.1T (Yes, that is trillion, not billion), would be the first state to go over the cliff. Ha! Illinois, a state which has existed under crushing Democratic rule and blistering corruption as long as I can remember, is finally starting to reap the negative benefits of such. 

How bad is it? A top financial official recently warned that 100% (that be all) of the revenue projected to come in needs to go to court ordered payments. The state is so broke, it might have to abandon the state lottery as they will not be able to honor cash prizes won. The state also has $130B of unfunded pension obligation. And to put frosting on the cake, it also has $13B of unpaid bills.

The battle royal (politically) will be in Illinois, instead of a state like California. California has all but outlawed Republicans. So the monopoly of Democrats in California are spending money like nobody's business. The result? California's debt is almost looking as bad as our national debt.

Illinois on the other hand, has a Republican Governor who is trying to use a leaky bucket to bail out the Titanic. His biggest problem? A Democratic controlled legislature. The battle continues.

Illinois however, might only be the canary in the coalmine with its unfunded pension problem. Yes, it could be that bad. The United States, as well as individual states, have been making bets which cannot be covered for decades. Right now, according to a Business Insider article from April 2016, our country has as much as a $20T problem in unfunded and underfunded pensions. That is a huge bubble that many economists have been warning about for years.

Thinking about a sunny vacation in the Land of Lincoln this summer? I wouldn't. Stay as far away from that state as possible. And one more thing. Take a good look at your own state. How are the government pensions funded? Are they adequate or is your state on the same path as Illinois. Just asking...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Eight Mysterious Young Deaths

"President Trump? Congress? This is front and center on many minds right now. Forget August recess. We have work to do."

During the past week, our country has lost eight of our young men. One might say,"Big deal - Chicago loses that many to gang violence on any ordinary week." True. But these eight young men died under very mysterious circumstances. Seven died in the middle of the night while on a Navy ship cruising through international waters. And the other died at the hands of one of the most murderous regimes on the planet.

Before I address what happened aboard the USS Fitzgerald, I want to talk about Otto Warmbier. This young man, full or promise, was a soccer player, gifted student, and homecoming king in high school. He went on to the University of Virginia and became an honors student.

Almost two years ago, Otto wanted to visit China. Once there, an opportunity arose through a Chinese company to visit North Korea for five days. Why did he want to go to North Korea? I don't know. Maybe it was like to the Steven Covey saying, Otto wanted "Seek to understand". While in North Korea, he wanted to take an innocent souvenir - a political poster. That turned out to be a fatal mistake.

He was convicted of a "hostile act" in a North Korean court and sentence to 18 years of hard labor. After spending over a year and a half of his prison sentence, Otto Warmbier was pardoned to come home. He had been in a coma for over a year, and I believe the North Koreans knew he was close to the end. So rather than have a corpse come back to the United States, they released this young man who was just days from death. How did this healthy young man get into a coma? No answers as yet - just many questions for the Nork regime.

Now the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62). On June 17th at 2:30 in the morning, the USS Fitzgerald was rammed by a Philippine flagged container ship, the ACX Crystal. Seven innocent sailors died, drown in the quarters in which they were sleeping. One might ask how in the world could a state of the art, AEGIS equipped warship, get rammed in the open sea? 

Having worked for companies who supplied equipment to the DDG ship class for years, I know something about these ships. They are almost invulnerable to attack. Why? The phase arrayed radar is so sensitive, it can (as the joke goes) "hear a fly fart at 10,000 feet". So in the middle of the open sea, with a container ship doing very unusual maneuvers, the USS Fitzgerald allowed itself to get rammed. Not only rammed, but for a while, in danger of sinking.

My suggestion to Congress is simple. Rather than spending thousands of hours and countless millions of dollars on this Russia-Trump connection (by the way, as we can now see from Syria that so called Russian connection is looking at bit tenuous), we should be investigating both the Warmbier death and the USS Fitzgerald incident. Both of these incidents stink to high heaven. There is way, way more to each or these stories - which we all need to know.

Eight mysterious young deaths. Eight young men - gone in the early stages of adult life. Eight families left to grieve and question why. And a nation on edge, also wondering what has happened. President Trump? Congress? This is front and center on many minds right now. Forget August recess. We have work to do.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Met Council HATES TCO!

"If a candidate tries to waltz you around the May Pole with a bunch of happy talk, send that person packing. We no longer have the time nor money to put up with fairy tales." 

Aw, Bird! Are you going to talk about that boring business crap called "TCO" again? And put people to sleep? Why Bird, why? For starters, let me again refresh anyone who is not familiar with "TCO", what it means. Total Cost of Ownership. In other words, if you look at the cost of buying a car, a non-TCO approach would be to recognize just the cost of the car. A TCO approach to what the car would cost would also cover license tabs, gasoline, maintenance, insurance and depreciation.

I have been told by a detractor or two (when I harp on the Met Council) I don't know what I am talking about. Because I have never sat on this most evil Council. Well glory be! Today in the paper was an editorial letter penned by someone who sat on the Met Council for 18 years. Did this person defend all the bone headed decisions this Council had made, especially with regards to transportation? Nope - he told the emperor he was not wearing any clothes.

The editorial writer first lit into our most famous money hole - the Northstar. In his words, "the Northstar is an absolute disaster". Gasp! Really? Really. It only pays for a measly 10% of its operating cost and 0% of its capital costs. Then where in the heck does the money come from to operate this choo-choo? A money tree in St. Paul? Nope - the taxpayers back pocket.

LRT is not quite as bad as the Northstar. 30% of the operating costs come from user fees. The other 70% as well as all other costs come from - the back pocket of the taxpayer. But here is the money quote from the article. The ticking time bomb. The article goes on to state that right now equipment which is replaced is capitalized with the feds paying 50 to 90% of the capitalization costs. But there is no guarantee that will last forever. In fact, in this current environment, that could come to a screeching halt at any time. Then the taxpayers are stuck holding that bag also.

The article goes on to demonstrate how the state does not account for costs like a normal business does, and that is why costs are often times under estimated. In the real world, a finance person would be updating his or her resume should estimates such as these be presented to management. But in the world of make believe (that be the Metropolitan Council), this is just business as normal.

How do we get rid of this tribe of village idiots who are wasting billions of tax dollars on follies? One more time - WE NEED A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR WHO CAN, ALONG WITH A REPUBLICAN LED SENATE, KILL THIS COUNCIL FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL!! It is as simple as that. 

When the candidates come knocking at your door during the upcoming campaign season, be sure to ask the tough questions about transit in Minnesota. Arm yourself with the facts, the truth. If a candidate tries to waltz you around the May Pole with a bunch of happy talk, send that person packing. We no longer have the time nor the money to put up with fairy tales. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dethroning Ms. Hotdish

"The GOP needs to get an 'early bird' identified like yesterday to run for Amy's seat. Failure to do so will allow Ms. Hotdish to once again become a Bar-B-Que queen by smoking the GOP in November of 2018." 

Currently, people are lining up on both sides of the political fence to be the next Governor of Minnesota. There are some good people on both sides who are committed to take this year plus campaign journey. I happen to think the GOP has better people than the DFL, but that is just me. We even have two very qualified GOP candidates running for Attorney General. But the silence is deafening on who is going to dethrone Minnesota's "Ms. Hotdish". That would be Senator Amy Klobuchar who up for re-election in 2018.

Last time around, the GOP put up a tepid candidate who ran a tepid campaign. Because of that, Amy smoked him big time. A total waste of time and money. In the opinion of many (including me), Franken was very vulnerable and beatable in his last election. But again, the GOP put up another tepid candidate running another tepid campaign. Sad. 

November 2018 will be here before we know it. I know, there are Washington whispers about Amy Kolbuchar maybe running for President in 2020. And she would be tough to beat should she decide to run. But that is down the road. First things first. My opinion, as a political novice, is simply this - whoever on the GOP is going to run for the Amy Senate seat, should have declared months ago and already be organized and the campaign running.

Is it possible the GOP could let Amy run un-opposed? Or is the GOP going to find a "sacrificial lamb"? Someone who knows he or she would get waxed and not care. My preference would be to have a real candidate, with a real message, and a real campaign team step forward. Is Amy beatable? Sure, everyone is. But to beat a Senator who is one of the most popular Senators in the nation, with a favorable rating of 63% and unfavorable of only 26%, the road to victory will be rocky and steep.

What say you MN GOP? This next election the GOP will have the chance to not only hold Congressional Districts 2, 3, and 6, but they also could also pick up 1,7, and 8. Okay - 8 might be a stretch, but 1 and 7 certainly are not. Is that the strategy of MN GOP? To try and run the table on congressional seats (save the unwinnable 4 and 5) and then cede the two senate seats? Seems so. What say you Jennifer?

This summer is a "dipping the toe in the water" year for the declared candidates. Next summer will be a whole different story. The silly season will be in full force. However, being a bird watcher, I still like the old saying, "The early bird catches the worm". The GOP needs to get an "early bird" identified, like yesterday, to run for Amy's seat. Failure to do so will allow "Ms. Hotdish" to once again become a Bar-B-Que queen by smoking the GOP in November of 2018. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Who in the world is Maximus Garrulous?

Who is Maximus Garrulous? It is me. Trying to spread the most important message of all time.

No, Max is not The Thinker from Rodin as shown in the graphic to this article. Then who is Max Garrulous for crying out loud? Quite simply Max is this - my alter ego. Yes, Max is me. Max was my first blog attempt. And years ago, I put a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears into Max. Some might wonder, what was Max about? Max was strictly faith based. And what did his name mean? Simply put, it meant "talks a lot". Then one final question - why is Max still not a blog post? Because nobody read him.

When my wife and I attended the church we deeply loved, I was asked to contribute to the weekly "e-letter" which went out to the congregation. I agreed, as I did not mind that at all. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. The Executive Director of the church only had one simple rule - 300 words or less. The associate pastor had a more stringent rule - no blasphemy. But we were on very good terms, so he knew that would never come from me.

After a while, I was asked to also contribute an article to the monthly hard copy publication for the church. I did, and enjoyed doing it also. Then after some time passed, I considered using my articles to create a blog of my own. Thus was born Maximum Garrulous. It was loaded for bear with many of my better faith based articles. It was all was good save one minor issue - nobody outside the church read them. 

So Maximus Garrulous faded into the woodwork and was later replaced by the Very Angry Bird. The Bird has done well in readership, and I have no regrets on how the Bird continues to expose politics as he thinks as it should be. The Bird does not mind doing that as he thinks very fondly of this great country we live in. But if you pull the feathers off of  Bird and strip him naked - you will find Max.

Why Max? Because that is my true calling. Once saved, the real truth is way too important to keep contained. Yes, I can unabashedly talk about the redeeming love of Jesus. And before being nailed as a hypocrite, I can remind folks I was as rotten as they come. But through Jesus, I am also redeemed. And without redemption of Jesus, I would have stayed rotten.

I have been told in the past if I spent too much time on this "Jesus talk", it would hurt my numbers. Okay. I get it. Who cares? That is not what the Bible teaches us. Matthew 28 on our Great Commission is crystal clear on this issue. So, before I close this, let me give a simple example.

The Bible tells us once saved, we are to show the world our unbridled joy. After a while, people who have that unbridled joy are easier to pick out than a glorious sunset on a stormy day. People can witness with their behavior as well as their words.

This world, our world, needs God more than ever right now. Now just a little God, I mean jumping into the deep end of the pool. If you think you have strayed too far, become too rotten, here is the good news. There is NOTHING you can do wrong, which will cause God to love you less. By the same token, there is NOTHING so good you can do which will cause God to love you more. That is the "Wow" statement, right there.  

Who is Maximus Garrulous? It is me. Trying to spread the most important message of all time. But don't worry - Max is still here - he has not gone away. He is safely tucked under the wing of the Very Angry Bird. From time to time, Max will emerge and share his heart once again. And when Max does that, it is a very good day. The Word of God is way too important to keep tucked away. 

Slow healing wounds

"How can we help? First, if you are the praying sort, pray for healing of the families. Then, pray for healing of our great country. Finally, before we judge either side, first seek to understand. I think that is the best we can do."

What a week. Turbulent, gut wrenching, and heart wrenching all at once. The shooting of Steve Scalise. And then the not guilty verdict of Officer Jeronimo Yanez in the shooting of Philando Castile. What do these two events have in common? They both demonstrate how the social fabric in our country has become dangerously thin. So thin, it is on the verge of tearing.

First the Scalise shooting. Authorities have now found out that the shooter of Congressman Scalise had a hit list in his van of six Republican legislatures. Most, if not all, were members of the Freedom Caucus. The man had a visceral hatred of Republicans, especially the most conservative ones. The sad irony on the day Scalise was shot, he was not one of the six on the list. The shooter just decided that a ball field full of Republicans was too tempting of a target. Fortunately for all, the shooter was a lousy shot. Plus, the Capitol Police were at the ready. 

It was announced a Republican Congressman was going to cancel a town hall meeting. Why? He feared for his safety. And why wouldn't he based on many of the town halls so far this year? And now mix in an assassination attempt at Republican law makers. What is next? Do all our law makers need to wear some kind of body armor and have Secret Service protection? Have we really become that lawless?

On the local scene, my heart goes out to both the Castile and Yanez families. One unfortunate incident, and a life is lost and countless others changed forever. Officer Jeronimo Yanez will never be the same. He took a life. Talk to most anyone who has taken a life, even in war, and it is life changing. He will probably never be a police officer again. And his legal troubles might not be over. There might a civil lawsuit in the future.

One week, many wounds. All slow healing. Even though Steve Scalise is not totally out of the woods as yet, there is continual slow improvement in his condition. To be shot in that area of the pelvis, is very damaging. One surgeon is confident Scalise will someday walk, maybe run again. But this wound will take a long, long time to totally heal.

The woulds with the Castile and Yanez families are a different matter. These are also slow healing. Only they might never totally heal. After the verdict was read, the continued mistrust of the police by certain segments of our society has grown deeper.

How can we help? First, if you are the praying sort, pray for healing of the families. Then, pray for healing of our great country. Finally, before we judge either side, first seek to understand. I think that is the best we can do.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Diving off a cliff into shallow water

"As far as I am concerned, the world should unify and give North Korea this crystal clear choice. Either become a part of the civilized world, the community of nations, or become part of past history. The choice is theirs."

Diving off a cliff into shallow water. Nobody in their right mind would do this if they knew the water was shallow. But once in while someone does, and suffers a catastrophic injury. It is always sad when this happens. What is the point? For an American to go into North Korea these days, the most brutal regime on the planet, is akin to diving into a shallow pool of water. And there are a couple of Americans in jail doing hard time for doing nothing wrong. One young man was just sent home in a coma, more dead than alive.

University of Virginia student, Otto Warmbier has just been released by North Korea for "humanitarian reasons". This young man who went to North Korea as a normal healthy person, did something foolish right before he came home. He wanted to bring a propaganda poster home with him as a souvenir. He took one, got caught, and was sentenced to over 15 years of hard labor. And because there are zero relations between the United States and North Korea, Otto was on his own.

Sailors from the USS Pueblo who were illegally captured and detained by North Korea in 1968 told of the unbelievable conditions when they were held. Yes, beatings were a part of it. So when young Mr. Warmbier was released in a coma, many (including me) were very suspicious. The coma he arrived home in is not recent - he has been in a coma for about a year. And the neurological damage suffered by this young man is so extensive, he will probably never recover.

His folks were recently interviewed on Fox and were very angry and upset with both the North Koreans and (ready for this) - the Obama Administration. In their view, the Obama Administration did nothing (surprised?) in getting their son released. But he is released now. And I want the Trump Administration to get some answers. Not propaganda by this puppet regime - I want the truth in what happened to this student.

The civilized world should shun this regime like the plague. It is rotten to the core. They are dangerous and they are rogue. Traveling into North Korea these days is no more safe than diving off a cliff into shallow water. As far as I am concerned, the world should unify and give North Korea this crystal clear choice. Either become a part of the civilized world, the community of nations, or become part of past history. The choice is theirs.