Friday, August 31, 2018

EV, FCEV, or FCV?





"In any event, this is going to be interesting to watch. I have been more and more impressed with how China is embracing the future. They are bold and unafraid to try (and invest heavily) new things. And US? We shall see."



I suppose many looked at the title to this article and are confused. I don't blame them. But get used to these terms. You are going to hear more and more about them in the very near future. Wait a minute Bird! You are the one who told us to get ready for this BIG electric car revolution in America! Are you back sliding? Nope. I am just going to tell you there is more on the horizon than the EV (Electric Vehicle).

I recently read on a tech blog that China, besides developing their own electric car, is also working on a FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle). Even though fuel cell technology is still fraught with problems, the Chinese are committed to solving them. Some refer to whoever can make the FCEV viable will have found the "golden bullet" in transportation. Not the "silver bullet", but the "golden bullet". 

Fuel cell technology has been around for years. It has fascinated scientists. Why? Hydrogen, comes from an inexhaustible supply. And - it is as clean as a whistle. The current drawback with harvesting hydrogen, is in the process required to separate it from water. That still takes fossil fuels to power that process. And because hydrogen is very powerful (powerful enough to be used in rocket ships), it can be volatile.  

That these do not deter the Chinese. They still believe it can be done, and done by the year (get ready) - 2025. But hold on. Is that the end of the rainbow with new automotive technology? Maybe not. Whereas the FCEV is an improvement over the EV (no battery required), the FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) would just use pure on-board hydrogen, mixed with outside oxygen, for power. The Chinese are already working on developing hydrogen pumping stations, where one can fill up with pure hydrogen. 

But (and this is where the rumor mill kicks in), I also heard on a YouTube sight someone has developed a technology which would fit under the hood of a car. This item will separate the hydrogen out of ordinary water while driving. If that is true, your morning fill up would be the garden hose instead of a gas station, electric charging station, or a hydrogen pumping station.

Every time I address the impending demise of the gasoline engine, some of my more conservative friends want to take me out and have me drug tested. I will say one more time - I love my gas guzzling truck as much as anyone else loves theirs. But the future (maybe the very near future), has trucks like mine going "bye-bye". 

In any event, this is going to be interesting to watch. I have been more and more impressed with how China is embracing the future. They are bold and unafraid to try (and invest heavily) new things. And US? We shall see.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Turnout = $$$$$





"Just remember this one thing folks. Voter turnout = Red Team victory = more money in your pocket. The math really is as simple as that."



Some great news for the President this week! The Arizona primary is complete, and the person who the President endorsed - won. Florida also had a primary this week, and the candidate the President endorsed - won. The GOP also won in both of those states as the turnout for primary voting was higher for the Red Team than the Blue Team. Nation wide this should be a good thing - right?

Not so fast cowboy. The state which almost went red two years ago, the state the President REALLY wants red this year, will sadly stay blue. WHAT???? What kind of heresy is that Bird!!! The fact of the matter is simply this - as nice as it was that more Republicans came out to vote in Florida and Arizona, that was simply not the case in Minnesota. In fact, not only did more Democrats come out in our August primary - they smoked the Red Team by about 2:1.

If that ratio holds in the November election, we can kiss good-bye the Minnesota House, the Governor, Attorney General, State Auditor and Secretary of State. Then throw in both Senate seats, and some of the House seats. The only "red" in Minnesota will be the blood bath the Republicans had at the ballot box. 

And one more thing folks. If the state turns a brighter blue, the "green" in our pockets will be a little less so. We can kiss good-bye getting rid of the Social Security tax; we can kiss good-bye any hope of getting our tax rates reduced; we can kiss good-bye any chances of luring new businesses in here by have a lower business tax - and - throw in the extra expense of becoming a sanctuary state.

Or....we can do like the President has requested - and turn this state red. How? It is so simple, it is like falling off a log. GET OUT AND VOTE!!! Each and every one of us! If we leave it up to the "other guy" to pull the load, WE WILL LOSE FOR SURE! Republicans are famous for throwing in the towel, thereby letting the other side win.

Case in point. In 2012, many Red Team voters were so nonplussed with Mitt Romney, they stayed home in droves. Like 3 million less Red Team voters showed up in 2012 than did in 2008. And then, after Obama was sworn in for the second time, the ones who did not vote bitched the loudest. 

By the way, even with some suspected voter fraud in play, low voter turnout also resulted in Senator Al Franken (and thereby ObamaCare) and Governor Mark (Foggy) Dayton. It gave us SOS Mark Ritchie, and AG Lori Swanson. This time around, if we have low voter turnout once again, we will for sure have Attorney General Keith Ellison and Congresswoman Omar. Let that sink in for just a minute or two. 

Folks, we can win this thing, and win it big. We have the message, we have the people. What we don't have is the people willing to take that one day, and vote. In 2014, the SOS office said we had a hair under 4M eligible voters in the state. Suppose they are split 50/50 between the parties. That would be 2M each. In 2014, neither Dayton nor Johnson got over 1M popular votes. In other words, if all the eligible voters on the Red Team voted that year, Jeff Johnson would have won by an historic landslide. As it was, he lost by 6%.

Just remember this one thing folks. Voter turnout = Red Team victory = more money in your pocket. The math really is as simple as that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Military appreciation done right!






"As a veteran, I am proud of this band of brothers and sisters who served. I am proud of our services, and I am proud of how this country now treats our returning veterans." 


Yesterday, in the midst of a very soggy morning, my wife and I were once again at the Great Minnesota Get Together. Why again? I had booth duty at the Jeff Johnson booth and the Doug Wardlow booth. Plus - it was Military Appreciation Day at the fair. If you are a veteran of any service for any length of time, or are currently serving, you owe it to yourself to come to the fair next year on Military Appreciation Day. The Minnesota State Fair does it up right.

There is something about the bond of military (both former and current) members that defies explanation. Most all vets are drawn to each other like old friends - even though they had never met. It really does not matter the service, the length of years served, or the time frame served. The bond exists, and yesterday at the fair, I could see that bond over and over and over again. It was wonderful.

First off, the price of admission yesterday. If you were under 65 and a vet, you saved $5 on a ticket to get in. Over 65, you saved $3 (because as a senior, your tickets are already discounted). Right by the grandstand, in a large open area, was a HUGE display of veterans services. Every veteran organization you could imagine was there. And it was PACKED with vets. All ages, all services. Once again, it was wonderful.

Did the morning rain keep the veterans away? Na. They just put on a poncho of some type, their service hat, and did the fair. All morning long, I could see vets saluting each other as they passed by, shaking hands, stopping to chat. It was like a family reunion of Uncle Sam's finest. 

But in the joy of the day, I was also reminded of our Gold Star families. Families of service members who gave all, and never came home. This day was for them also. As we celebrated the freedoms we have to attend an event like our State Fair, none of this came cheap or free. Our freedoms are truly not free. Paid for in time away from family, long duty watches in lonely and far away places, sometimes in combat, and yes - sometimes being killed in combat.

I also thought about our wounded warriors. Those who came home with the visible scars of battle. Those who came home with the invisible scars, such as PTSD. I think of the 22 veterans who commit suicide each day, due to untreated mental illness. I think of the veterans I saw yesterday who were confined to motorized chairs due to lose of limbs. 

As a veteran, I am proud of this band of brothers and sisters who served. I am proud of our services, and I am proud of how this country now treats our returning veterans. The days of coming home disrespected after the Viet Nam era are gone, forgotten, and forgiven. We are now living in a new day.

Most veterans, including myself, have a common motto: If I could, I would do it all over again. Amen fellow veterans, amen to that. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The future of agriculture?






"Stay tuned on this one folks. I think this industry is about to really take off. When do I think it will happen? Why 2025 of course - when everything else will be changing also." 



Two recent events to take note of. First off, a proposed new trade deal with Mexico. Geared to replace NAFTA. Why replace NAFTA? Seems like many on both sides of the aisle have hated this thing for years. Even Barack Obama, when he was running for President, said he would replace it with something better. Never happened. Anyhow, according to our President, our manufacturers will love this new agreement, and so will our farmers.

I sure hope our farmers like this deal. Many are still smarting from the "trade war" with China. Even though the President has asked the farmers to stay cool, as the long game is being played (and they will be much better off at the end of that game), meanwhile, bills need to be paid. So any uptick in trade with Mexico will certainly help. Meanwhile, if you watch for the deals, you can buy decent pork now in Minnesota at 99 cents a pound.

But believe it or not, agriculture trade deals are only a part of the "short game", The other news story is of even higher interest to me - and it deals with a much larger and longer game. I have written many times as of late on how technology is really taking off in all sectors. But I have not address agriculture.

One of the more tedious jobs in America right now, is picking fruit. Much is done by migrant workers in California. But even for migrant workers, it is tedious and back breaking. 

Fresh on the scene come the robots. These robots have been programmed to recognize which fruits are right for the picking, how to pick them without injuring the fruit, and then how to package them. However, that is just the beginning. Much of agriculture will soon be automated, with the farmer acting more like the orchestra leader, than a worker. From tilling to planting, to irrigating (stand by for new types of totally efficient drip irrigation), to harvesting. It will be a brave new world in how we feed ourselves, as well as the rest of the world.

One final word. Back in the 1980's when I worked for the Control Data Corporation, the CEO at the time decided that besides making computers and storage devices, it would be cool to develop a better way to grow veggies. Like on rooftops. Bigger, better veggies using computers to help with the planning. Well, Wall Street about laughed him right out of business with that one. It went nowhere - or did it?

I see that technology coming back into play as a part of this mix. Why? Right now China is growing food on just about every square inch of available land. They are constantly coming up with innovative ways to grow new food, better and cheaper. I see the rest of the world following. Better, cheaper, more abundant ways to grow the right kinds of food. 

Stay tuned on this one folks. I think this industry is about to really take off. When do I think it will happen? Why 2025 of course - when everything else will be changing also.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Tomorrow - Reporting for Duty - Double Duty







"The Minnesota State Fair? Love it! Booth duty or not, I simply love it! Hey Minnesota, we are all in this together! Here is the team which can make it work! Stop by! Jeff's or Doug's tomorrow. Love to meet you. If you are a vet, wear your vet hat. Be proud brother (or sister) - you have earned it!"




I need to get my cadence on. Why? Tomorrow is Military Day at the fair. It is the day the fair honors those serving and who have served. With proper ID, military vets or current members of the service can get some discounts tomorrow. I love this day! Not for the discounts (although appreciated) - I love to see my brothers and sisters who have served coming  to the fair to be together. If you have served, you know what I am talking about. If you have not served, please bear with me.

For Military Day, I am pulling duty. Actually double duty. And I can't wait. I start my day out at 8 bells with duty at the Jeff Johnson booth. Meeting the folks from all over the state is a real treat. And since I have been in Jeff's "orbit" now for four over years, I know Jeff's positions quite well. They are uncomplicated, and very easy to explain. However, if Jeff is also at the booth during the shift, the job gets even easier. Once folks have the chance to have a face to face with Jeff, the deal is usually sealed. Nobody sells Jeff and his positions better than Jeff does.

Here is where the military comes in. Even though Jeff has never served, he is VERY pro-vet. Four years ago, he asked me (and others) to be a part of a group of vets who could bring concerns to his attention. This year he upped the game. Not only am I still on the team (Vets for Jeff), Jeff picked a Lt. Gov. who is a retired Lt.Col from the USMC (Donna Bergstrom)! Now Jeff is surrounded by folks who have served in most of the five services, and I know he appreciates each and every one of us - as well as the counsel we give him.

When I finish my duty at the Jeff Johnson booth, I will meander over to the Doug Wardlow booth for afternoon duty. Like Jeff, Doug is a quality man. If we can just put politics out of the picture for one minute for both Jeff and Doug, I would like to say this. Quality men - no, high quality men. Then if we could add in the accomplishments by both - they are off the chart qualified to lead. 

Staffing Doug's booth will be almost as easy for me as staffing Jeff's booth. Doug is so heads and shoulders above his DFL competitor, it is almost unfair to compare. Doug WILL be our next AG. Doug WILL break the almost 50 year drought we have had with no Republican in the AG's office. 

I am excited about Governor Johnson and Attorney General Wardlow working together, cleaning up the crap decades of swamp dwellers have left us. Will they be working alone? Nope. For the first time in forever, they will have a REAL auditor working with them (Welcome Pam Myhra!).

The Minnesota State Fair? Love it! Booth duty or not, I simply love it! Hey Minnesota, we are all in this together! Here is the team which can make it work! Stop by! Jeff's or Doug's tomorrow. Love to meet you. If you are a vet, wear your vet hat. Be proud brother (or sister) - you have earned it!









The Blue Cesspool






"This is an all hands on deck gang. It is almost Labor Day and then we only have September and October to go. As the swimmers say - now is the final lap. Time for the finishing kick. Victory can be ours. It should be ours. It has to be ours."


Tick tock. Tick tock. Can you hear it? Time is running out. The midterm elections are almost upon us. There could be scary days in our forecast. Why? What the Democrats are hoping will happen, will be a Blue Wave. But the the Republicans are referring to the Blue Wave as a Blue Cesspool instead. That is, if the Democrats take the house. Why? Picture Nancy Pelosi, Jerry Nadler, and Aunt Maxine running the joint. If that Blue Cesspool is not enough to scare the crap out of anyone, I don't know what is.

Minnesota can do its part to keep this from happening. How? First off, hold CD 6 (easy), CD 2 (not as easy), and CD 3 (hard). Then, pick up CD 8 (best shot), CD 1 (second best shot), CD 7 (longer shot), CD 5 (Moon shot), and CD 4 (no shot). In any event, the worst we should do in November is keep three Red Team member of Congress. The Best we could do is have six. Six would be (as Trump would say, YUGE!!!) 

The Democrats (along with their BFF media hacks), are getting almost giddy. Every day, more and more so. Why? They feel this is their BEST chance to right this huge wrong which was visited upon the American people in 2016. The Democrats want to first take the House, and then have Nadler start Articles of Impeachment hearings. Then using their new majority in the House vote on impeachment. Once the President is impeached by the House, shove it over to the Senate for trail.

What the Blue Team forgot to factor in were two very important things. First, should that ever happen, Vice President Pence is warmed up in the bullpen and ready to go. What will he do? Probably follow the Trump agenda down to the last item. Second (and this is big one) - President Trump's supporters have known since Day One that this was the Democrat's prime objective. The overall approval numbers (very recent) for Trump with his base is still 90%. If the Democrats take the House, and impeachment proceedings start - hold on to something. All hell will break loose. I mean really, break loose.

To keep this from happening, to keep the team of Trump/Pence in power for the rest of this term (and maybe next), we need to stay strong and resolute. The Blue Wave (or Blue Cesspool) CANNOT be allowed to happen! Things would get very bad, very fast I'm afraid. However to keep the House, would allow this juggernaut called the "Trump Recovery" to continue. High GDP, high employment, lower taxes, better lifestyles. 

What I am asking every Red Team voter in Minnesota to do, is simply this. Not only vote, but also make sure other Red Team folks vote. If they need a ride, give them a ride. If they are not sure which precinct to vote in, help them find out using the SOS website. 

This is an all hands on deck gang. It is almost Labor Day and then we only have September and October to go. As the swimmers say - now is the final lap. Time for the finishing kick. Victory can be ours. It should be ours. It has to be ours.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

John McCain - hero, villain, maverick, or all of them






"Here is how I will remember John McCain - and I have said this before. Even though he was often a disappointment to me with some of his votes in the Senate, his time as a POW cemented him as a hero of mine." 


I never met John McCain. I did vote for him, when he and Sarah Palin ran for on the GOP presidential ticket. I, along with many Navy vets my age, worked for Senator McCain's father while stationed in the WestPac. Admiral McCain was CINCPAC at that time.


I told my wife this morning at breakfast, it will be interesting to see how John McCain is remembered. Was he a hero, a villain, a maverick, or all of them.

First off, the 1967 USS Forrestal incident. This happened when John McCain was in his jet, on the flight deck, getting ready to launch. What happened that day is still a matter of confusion and controversy. Why? Total fog of war. Most, but not all, has been patched together. The rumor that McCain had launched the missile which started this conflagration has been proven false. What was never determined was this did the missile hit McCain's jet which caused one of two bombs to become dislodged and land on the flight deck? Or did McCain accidentally dislodge them while trying to escape. In any event, over 130 sailors died, and the Forrestal came within inches from being lost.

Then there was the mission in which McCain was shot down. He survived the landing, but was badly injured. When it was found out by the NVA that he was Admiral McCain's son, the younger McCain became a prize. The fact he was injured did not faze his captors - he was beaten, abused and tortured as much as the rest of the captors. But the NVA were careful not to let McCain die - he was worth far more to them alive than dead.

Upon release at the end of the war, McCain was a physical wreck. He could walk (barely), but never did regain the full use of his shoulder. Once he finished his stint in the Navy, he decided to try politics. Extremely popular in his homes state of Arizona, he had no trouble winning a Senate seat. And there he stayed until his death.

Besides the Forrestal controversy, his time in the Senate was laced with confusion as to where McCain stood on cornerstone issues. He was a registered Republican, yet often voted against his own party. Two of his BFF's in the Senate were Democrats - Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman.

McCain quickly gained the reputation of being a maverick - an uncertain vote on key issues. His last major vote in the Senate was a killer for the Trump Administration. His "thumbs down" vote on killing ObamaCare was the deciding vote which allowed ObamaCare to stay in place as of this day.

Here is how I will remember John McCain - and I have said this before. Even though he was often a disappointment to me with some of his votes in the Senate, his time as a POW cemented him as a hero of mine. I have read some things in the past on how he was treated. What he had to endure. Even though he had a father of high stature in the Navy, he wanted no better treatment than the rest while in captivity. 

Some of my more conservative friends are not quite as forgiving to the Senator. Their vote is already in, and it is not good. But now John McCain is gone, and only his legacy remains. And how will that legacy read, once the historians get done with it? That is the $64,000 question.  

Saturday, August 25, 2018

For a better Minnesota...








"Look up Jeff Johnson at his booth when you visit the fair this year. Say hi, get to know him, and then ask him your toughest questions. You will be amazed at the answers you will get. No blather, just facts. That is the kind of leadership we need for a better Minnesota in 2019 and going forward."



One of the major differences between the Blue Team and the Red Team in Minnesota is different visions on what makes a better Minnesota. It's funny - the different visions today are the same as when I was a young man. The Blue Team thinks the only way to achieve a better Minnesota is to "feed the beast" with more tax money. In other words, make the heavy hand of government even heavier by taxing the citizens more. The Red Team on the other hand, feels just the opposite. "Starve the beast", until it looses some of its size. Empower the citizens to use their own money, rather than taxing their socks off. That is just a starter.

I remember a few years ago, a Democrat said to me, "The problem with you Republicans, is you want no government at all". I corrected him immediately. "No - that is not true. Only anarchists want no government. Republicans want a right sized government which works for the people, not a giant government which enslaves people in tyranny."

Anyone who listens to the Red Team running for any elected office in Minnesota, will hear a similar theme. They want a better Minnesota by nurturing growth and opportunity. What can government do to allow more growth and opportunity? Get of the way to start with. Plow the road, instead of putting impediments up at every turn. Lower taxes for everyone. Why? According to Art Laffer (Reagan's economic adviser), lower taxes results in more revenue. How can that be? Growth.

Jeff Johnson has a very good plan for a better Minnesota - and it does include (GASP!) - government. Why? We need to have an efficient, right sized government. He does not want Minnesota to cede anymore businesses to other lower taxed states. Our taxes should be on par (or lower) than our neighboring states. 

The Blue Team would hear that idea (to right size our taxes), and cry bloody murder. "You can't do that! People with starve! People will die!" No they won't. Jeff wants generous and fair benefits for those who need them. The problem is, our government has become so unwieldy, so bloated, that we have numerous social programs which are obsolete, redundant, or just plain inefficient. 

Bottom line? By making our state government more efficient, the needy will be served better, our young folks will be educated better, our healthcare system will take care of people better, and the state services (like MNLARS) will run better. All for less money.

Trying to fix governments problems by only throwing money at them is like trying to put out an oil fire using only water. I doesn't work, and only spreads the fire further. This year more than any other, listen carefully to what the candidates have to say. We have heard vague solutions to huge problems from the Blue Team for years now. Like, "Well, we need to fully fund it so it works better". And that is it - no more. The Red Team on the other hand, has specific solutions for specific problems. 

If you think this is just Red Team propaganda, look up Jeff Johnson at his booth when you visit the fair this year. Say hi, get to know him, and then ask him your toughest questions. You will be amazed at the answers you will get. No blather, just facts. That is the kind of leadership we need for a better Minnesota in 2019 and going forward.    

Friday, August 24, 2018

All that and a bag of chips...





"It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I think this problem is so big right now, it needs some very big solutions. And that is the real problem. I don't know if the good people of Minneapolis are ready for those really big solutions."



The "Boy Mayor" called a presser yesterday to address the growing tent city which is located close to the Little Earth community in South Minneapolis. Is that a problem? You betcha it is. This is the first real indication we are developing the same issues that Portland, Seattle and other western cities are getting. It is gentrification at its worse. While the well healed are moving into $3,000 month flats in the Warehouse district, the less fortunate, many who had some kind of pitfall, are relegated to living in a tent on the streets. 

On a similar note, the Governor recently addressed the need for more affordable housing in the Twin Cities. We really suck at having an equal distribution of housing in the cities. Why? Developers love to put on the dog. Fancy joints with all the amenities. Building just ordinary housing? That is so yesterday! Where does that leave us with? According to the city planners, we need thousands of affordable units in the metro area. Let that sink in for a minute. Not dozens, not hundreds - but thousands.

Okay Twin Cities - brace yourself. To house the growing number of homeless, to ensure that people from all income stratas can have some kind of housing, this is going to take cash bucks - and lots of them. It is also going to take some vision which is currently lacking. Like what?

Like a moratorium on new housing in Minneapolis. Only allow new housing which is under a certain threshold. GASP! Do you know what that will do to our image? We are a "with it progressive city"! Do you know what this would do to our "growth"? The bottom line is this. The duel problems of inadequate affordable housing as well as the acute shortage of homeless shelters, is NOT going away by itself. As much as I hate the heavy hand of government, government might have to get involved here. We don't need a brand new 40 story high rise, loaded with high buck apartments and lofts, We do however, need a bunch of "Orin Thompson" type ramblers.

It is really up to the "Boy Mayor" and the City Council to determine what kind of Minneapolis they want going forward. Right now, Minneapolis is a mess. If you are "well to do" and living downtown, it is great, except for "those people" who are on the street corners. But "those people" also would like a bite from the apple. Like a place to live with a roof over their heads. 

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I think this problem is so big right now, it needs some very big solutions. And that is the real problem. I don't know if the good people of Minneapolis are ready for those really big solutions. But without those really big solutions, the big problems might just grow into insolvable ones. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The free speech conundrum...





"So go to the fair this year. It is stellar and spectacular. Engage in conversations with strangers. I do every year, and I love it."




It was a great day at the Minnesota State Fair! The weather was perfect, the food was unhealthy - yet delicious, and the people were for the most part, very friendly. The twelve days of the Minnesota State Fair is a time when most all people are on their best behavior. What about the politics discourse? Oh, that can wait until the Great Minnesota Get Together is over. After all, we are all Minnesotans - right?

Before I answer that question, a bit of a diversion. Guess what the main topic of discussion was today at the fair? The drop dead gorgeous weather? The new Pronto Pub location? The Vikings? Nope - none of those. It was the unbelievable traffic getting to the fair. I mean, come on, it is always bad. But this year? It was like total gridlock at times. So bad, just about everyone was late.

Then it hit me why it was so bad today. It was that dang Donald Trump! When Obama was President, and we had so many people out of the workforce, traffic was only a dull roar. However, now that President Trump has the economy hotter than a pistol, most everyone who wants a job, has a job. Ergo - much more traffic. It is no longer a dull roar - it is a loud roar. I know, I know. That is a good problem for us to have.

As we were leaving the MN GOP booth, some woman was trying to get a picture in front of it. Okay, big deal. But she also had her middle finger up in the picture, so it was right in front of the flag and the MN GOP sign. One of the candidates saw what she was doing, and got in the way of her picture. He asked her to please stop. She told him she had every right to do take that picture, and asked him to get out of the way. She said it was a freedom of speech issue, and the candidate who tried to stop her, was infringing on her freedom to take that picture.

We walked away before I saw how this was resolved. But here is my conundrum. How would I have handled it? First off, like I said earlier, these are the twelve days when Minnesotans really come together as friends and neighbors. The "blood-fest" of politics can wait until the fair is over. So what this woman was doing was provocative, and violated that sacred trust.

On the other hand, with the liberty we all enjoy, she had every right to take that picture. Why? It is like taking a knee when the anthem is played. Folks who do that, have every right to disrespect our flag or anthem. By the same token, when many of us see that, we have every right to change the channel or turn the TV off. 

The First Amendment. Funny, we end up talking a lot about the Second Amendment - and we should. But the First Amendment keeps us grounded. A good friend of Voltaire uttered a vary famous quote many years ago - "I disagree with what you said, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Bingo! That is what makes us different. That is a part of the American Experiment. We can speak our heart, no matter how vile or profane it might be. And people have the right to listen to you, or turn their backs and walk away.

Bottom line? I would have let the woman take the picture. I then would have asked her what it was about our flag, or the MN GOP sign which she did not like. What would cause her to do such a profane thing.  Folks - this is the playing field. It is great when we get together and exchange warm fuzzies with each other. But the playing field to win people over is right in front of us. We can win people over, with the ideas we have. No more, no less.

So if you have the chance, go to the fair this year. It is stellar and spectacular. Engage in conversations with strangers. I do it every year, and I love it. But please remember this - every opportunity to engage with someone exhibiting inappropriate or tawdry behavior, is just that - and opportunity. 

Not too long ago, MN GOP changed their motto to the "Growth and Opportunity Party". The growth thing we got covered - Hello? The traffic today? But the opportunities pop up all the time. How to we turn the state RED? By showing the Blue Team, they will be much better off wearing a different color. And that my friends, all starts with us. 




Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Working the fair!





"Bottom line is this. During election season, the Minnesota State Fair is like manna from Heaven. Rather than traveling, we have people from all over the state coming to this location for 12 straight days!"


Am I excited about tomorrow? Heck yes, I am! Why? It is the start of the Great Minnesota Get Together. I know more than one person who goes every single day. Why? Because we have one of the top five, maybe three, state fairs in the country. Has been that way for years, and will be when my grand kids are old. How did I know that? Because in this part of the country, we know how to do "fairs". And we do it well and with pride.

Tomorrow will be the only day that I am there which I am will not be working a booth. Well, sort of. I will have my Jeff Johnson shirt and hat on. I will be walking the grounds, just hoping to engage someone in good conversation about Jeff. The other days I will be at the fair, I will be working mostly at Jeff's booth, with a shift thrown in for Doug Wardlow. 

Because I have been with Jeff now for four years, I basically know most, if not all, of Jeff's positions. It really is a blast to work his booth. His volunteers are always nice, and always try to engage folks the right way. If someone comes up in a combative mode (which is very, very rare), the volunteers just wish that person a nice day, and they they move on. But the vast majority who visit the booth, like Jeff. And want to know more about him. That is when the job is no longer a job - it just becomes a pleasure.

One of my favorite lures, when someone walks by the booth without stopping. I then like to go out and greet them. If they look like they might be close to my age (careful - trademarked secret coming out), I ask them if anyone in their family is old enough to be on Social Security. As soon as they say they are, the conversation starts in earnest.

Folks, this issue is an iron clad winner for Jeff. At least half the folks don't know that Minnesota is one of the few states which still fully taxes Social Security. Since raises are parsimonious at best, having the state tax removed is a game changer for many. Besides all of which, we have already been taxed on Social Security. 

Then comes the "closer" to the argument - and I can't wait to use it this year. "Jeff's position is to kill this tax on our seniors, as soon as possible. Jeff's opponent, on the other hand, is on record as saying, 'Well, we can look at it.' Sir or ma'am? Which solution do you like? I am on Social Security, and I sure like Jeff's idea the best!"

Bottom line is this. During election season, the Minnesota State Fair is like manna from Heaven. Rather than traveling outstate, we have people from all over the Minnesota coming to Jeff's booth for 12 straight days!

In any event - no morning report tomorrow. The Bird will be at the fair, getting ready for the annual foot long hot dog (heavy onions) for breakfast. Then it is off the the Ag buildings, the former Machinery Hill, the Grandstand, and other various exhibits. The weather will be great, the people friendly, and the vibe will be good.

I will report in if anything happens in the next two weeks which is newsworthy. Otherwise, it will be my usual rants. And as most of us know, the rants never stop.

Good flipping grief!





"Onward and upward. The news we should be focusing on is the economy today. We could (should) set a record for the longest recovery - ever. That is big flipping news. Not the news about how a dirty lawyer flipped on his client. Just saying..." 



Well the totally expected thing happened yesterday. A sleazy lawyer (heavy on the word sleazy) violated his attorney-client agreement and flipped on the President. How so? Did he tell Mueller that Donald Trump was in bed with Putin? Oh no - this was worse. He told Mueller that Trump (before becoming President) had authorized some hush money be paid to some gals Trump (allegedly) was messing around with.

Then what did we learn? First off, a President of the United States is not always true to his wedding vows. In other news, we found out that sweet corn in Minnesota is really good this time of year. All this time and trouble (and a boat load of cash) to find out what we already knew - Donald Trump has not always been a saint in his life. However - there is a big difference between not being faithful to your spouse and doing something illegal. Since Trump authorized "hush money" from his own funds, no harm, no foul. 

I will say this - after hearing about what Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen were found guilty of, both are deserving to do some time. The irony of both of their crimes is this - if Trump had never become President, they both might have gotten away with their misdeeds. But they did not, and it is time for them to do some time. Cohen will never practice law again. When he gets out, he will be dis-barred. As far as Manafort is concerned, I am no fan of taxes. But if I have to pay them, I don't want others skating out on theirs.

So bravo Mr. Mueller! After over a year and hundreds of thousands (or more) of dollars, you have a couple of New York sleaze balls dead to rights. Of course, that had nothing to do with your original charter. But who cares? You think you put a dent in the President's armor. But you did not. There was no Russian collusion. Never was. Hillary Clinton lost because she is Hillary Clinton. 

Speaking of Hillary Mr. Mueller, how about focusing some of your efforts on peeling back her skin. What? You can't? Why? Oh yes - the staff you put together are all Hillary people. Silly me. I forgot for a moment how the Deep State really works. Mueller's team does not just put their thumb on the scale of justice, they have set their fat asses on it also. 

Onward and upward. The news we should be focusing on is the economy today. We could (should) set a record for the longest recovery - ever. That is big flipping news. Not the news about how a dirty lawyer flipped on his client. Just saying... 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Gone, but not forgotten...





"Personally? I would love to see one of these pervs come up on a woman who was carrying, trained and prepared. Then I would like to see the perv smoked."




This is a topic which I have not addressed before. And it is high time that I should. As the father of two girls (now adult women), this was always a fear of mine. That someone, when one of them was outside of my protection, would do something horrible to them. Why would I think that? As much as I hate to say it, this type of thing happens much, much too often. The lucky ones get away with just being sexually accosted. The unlucky ones never get away.

A beautiful young lady was recently found murdered in Iowa. A 20 year old college student. Her crime? She went out jogging by herself. Some sick, twisted, pervert came across her and looked upon her as nothing more than a target of opportunity. What exactly happened, nobody knows - yet. That is, except the perv who ended this young life. If he is never caught, it will be up to the forensic scientists to piece as much of this puzzle together as possible.

Just like another young, beautiful women who went missing in Iowa, Jodi Huisentruit also did not have to die. But after missing for 6 years, her family had her declared dead. Police believe she was taken against her will. How do they know? There were signs of a struggle by her car the morning she disappeared. But they found no Jodi. No suspect. No clue. Only the heartache of the loss. 

Here is my rant. EVERY women should consider herself a target of opportunity. That sounded very harsh, but it is true. 90 plus percent of the men who cross a woman's path would never cause harm to them. But - there is that small fraction of the population who are sick beyond measure. And if a woman is confronted by one of them, she better have some means of protection. Some kind of self defense. 

What kind of self defense? My favorite of course of all women, would be to have a carry permit. Then along with that permit, a very small, easy to carry (and conceal) handgun. The downside? In Minnesota, the use of lethal force can be legally very risky.

So, there are a multitude of excellent non-lethal substitutes. I am talking not only about the stun gun (some as small as a tube of lipstick), but also key chains which look like a cat's head (the ears are the weapon), whistles, and the modern pepper spray, which will bring most big men to their knees. Beyond these, are a multitude of others. 

But for crying out loud, have something! Take a simple self defense class (they are offered all over the place), and learn some techniques, just to help you get away if held. Don't worry about hurting an attacker - that person wants to hurt (or worse) you! The predators are more animal than human, so worry not about inflicting pain on them. Every ounce of pain they receive, they deserve ten fold or more. 

Personally? I would love to see one of these pervs come up on a woman who was carrying, trained and prepared. Then I would like to see the perv smoked. Harsh? Sorry. It is going to take a few of these guys getting smoked for the word to get out. Woman are no longer an easy target. Coming up on a woman for evil reasons might end up being the last thing a perv does. They will get the message. 

For the family and friends of Mollie, it is time to grieve. For the rest of us, we cannot let Mollie's untimely death go without taking something positive away from it. If nothing else, if a handful more of woman learn how not to be easy targets by practicing self defense, that would help make some sense of this needless tragedy.  

"Stupid is as stupid does..."





"What Democrats really need to do, is go see Forest Gump again. For someone who was a bit slow, Forest had a good grasp of reality. His famous line, 'stupid is as stupid does' is one for the ages. Hear that Andrew? Talking to you. Listen to Forest. Maybe then you can keep from putting the other foot in your mouth."


A wise person once told me, if you let someone talk long enough, they will reveal their hidden truths. In other words, someone can be as PC, as political, as careful as possible - but their real truth will eventually slip out. Like whom, you might ask? Like the esteemed Governor or New York, Andrew Cuomo. 

It was a cringe-worthy moment for most Democrats. Plus, the press has played it over and over and over again. Now that statement will go down in history, as one of the biggest political blunders - ever. "America was never that great." Five words, strung together, has all but killed anymore upward mobility for the favored son of Mario. Yes, live and in color, Andrew committed political suicide.

Oh, ever since he uttered those words, Andrew has been trying to put some lipstick on that pig. Really, to no avail. I know deep down he is looking for the "delete" key. But just like an email once sent, words once spoken become a permanent part of the record. What do I think? Bravo, is what I think. For once, a leading Democrat has spoken truth. He is wrong, of course, but this is his truth. Most Democrats don't think this country is that good. That is why they bitch and moan CONSTANTLY!

What to do. First off, Cuomo needs to understand he is politically dead. He can probably stay Governor of New York as long as he wants, but that is where his trail will end. Next, own it. If that is what he truly believes, then cast a vision on how to make America great. If you disagree that America is great right now, explain. Not in hyperbole - immutable facts. If you have no facts, just say that is what you personally believe, and try to move on. Just be aware that from now until forever, you are tattooed with those words.

One thing socialists do not understand is this - America loves optimism. That is why America loved Ronald Reagan. That is why America loves Donald Trump. Things are going much, much better right now than under the tyranny of Barack Obama, and the loons on the Left, HATE that fact. But it is true. The economy is s**t hot, and getting hotter. Unemployment for minorities is so low, new records are being set. We have more unfilled jobs than people unemployed. Most all economic indicators (except the national debt) are pointing north. 

What Democrats really need to do, is go see Forest Gump again. For someone who was a bit slow, Forest had a good grasp of reality. His famous line, "stupid is as stupid does" is one for the ages. Hear that Andrew? Talking to you. Listen to Forest. Maybe then you can keep from putting the other foot in your mouth.




Monday, August 20, 2018

Tuesday at the Bank...






"It will interesting on Thursday to do a post mortem on this event. Will it be just a 'nothing burger', or will there be something else to it."



People have often debated how many Somalia refugees now live in Minnesota. This November, the Refugee Resettlement Program is going to be a front and center issue in Minnesota. That is - it will be with many, maybe not all. Why is the number of Somali refugees important? Is it because we are encased in xenophobia? Not a bit. Are we racists? I don't believe so. It is because the Somali immigration program might be Exhibit "A" on how our entire immigration program has gotten out of control.

Why do I say that? A while back an immigration official explained how the system works. Suppose one year, the state of Minnesota agrees to take 5,000 people from Somalia. The State of Maine also agrees to take 5,000 people. The following year, 3,000 Somalians in Maine decide the benefits are better in Minnesota, plus they have clan members there. So they move. Illegal? Not a bit. Can Minnesota afford an additional 3,000 people with poor language and limited work skills? That is the question.

Jeff Johnson, when he becomes Governor, wants to put a pause, or a complete halt to this program. Why? To start with, many people who live in the St. Cloud area have had it. They no longer feel like hosts - they feel like they have been invaded. And when these additional people come into a community with no notice, the budget to accommodate them is either not there, or stretched to the limit. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday, there will be an event called ED AL-ADHA 2018 held at US Bank Stadium. Up to 50,000 Muslims are expected to attend. Let that sink in for just a moment. For the Super Bowl in February, there were 67,000 people in attendance, and the stadium was packed to the gills. 50,000 is a whole lot of people. And where are they coming from? Are they all from Minnesota? Minneapolis? Bottom line - nobody knows.

Anyone know who is funding this? Will extra services from the city be required? Super Bowl 52 cost a small mint for extra police and security. BTW - before the last huge event in the stadium (Super Bowl 52), the paper was filled with information about the stadium for weeks prior to the event. Today's paper has nary a word that I could find. 

It will interesting on Thursday to do a post mortem on this event. Will it be just a "nothing burger", or will there be something else to it. I do know this - now that this event has been made known, social media is buzzing about it. Why? Until we have total understanding and consensus on our refugee resettlement issue in Minnesota, events like this are going to continue to cause controversy.  

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The best news possible!







"Thank you DFL - you may have just handed us the new Al Franken - and the AG position - for first time in a half a century."  



A while back, a friend (who was not politically astute), asked me if I could sum up the difference between Republicans and Democrats in a few short, yet easy to understand sentences. I believe he thought he might be on the receiving end of something very profound. Instead, he was very disappointed with my answer. Why? You be the judge.

I told him putting economics and social issues aside, to me the biggest difference between the two parties, is how they handle damaged goods. Damaged goods? Like someone who cheats on his or her spouse; someone who abuses a family member; someone who steals, someone who assaults, and so forth. Republicans, no matter how much they may like this candidate, once this type of damning information is known, cannot "deep six" that person fast enough. No matter how much that hurts their chances in the election.

Democrats on the other hand, will keep all kinds of damaged goods. They will put as much lipstick as they can on that pig, and then spin a yarn of biblical proportions to make the flawed person look like a saint. Then they will coalesce. They will become Yellow Dogs. Need proof?

Keith Ellison, who has more warts than the witch in Hansel and Gretel, won the primary without winning the party endorsement in June. So the DFL had a special endorsing event for Keith and whomever else needed endorsing. After all these things became known about Keith's association with Farrakhan, his (alleged) domestic assaults (two of them), and his open borders protests, the DFL OVERWHELMINGLY endorsed this damaged candidate to be the next Attorney General of Minnesota. 

This is great news for the Red Team! The Blue Team is now firmly on record. On record for not giving two hoots and a holler about believing a woman's side to the story -  especially when it involves a powerful Democrat politician. Then to endorse Ellison for not just any position - to endorse him as the chief law enforcer in Minnesota! The one who wants everyone to DISOBEY our immigration laws! The one who has proven association with the man who hates Jewish people. Thank you Democrats! You have just made the Red Team's job in November even easier! 

There is much more I could say about Ellison but I won't for many reasons. First and foremost, I don't want to sound impolitic. The other is, I don't want to go to Facebook or Blogger's jail. These other items about Keith will be brought up by a swarm of people - over and over and over and over again.

My guess? I think the heat might get too hot in the kitchen, and the powers that be in the DFL still might have to "deep six" him. Should that happen, I think Mike Hatch is still warming up in the bull pen.

Anyone who thought the November election is going to be boring, might want to re-think that. I think it is not only going to be entertaining, but also enjoyable - that is, if your color is red. Thank you DFL - you may have just handed us the new Al Franken - and the AG position - for first time in a half a century.  




One HUGE non story...









"So Brennan, dry your eyes and quit your bitching. Or should I say, man up and grow a pair. You are still getting your retirement. Nobody is throwing you in jail (yet), and you are free to go on MSNBC and run your yap." 




John Brennan, the former CIA Director in the Obama administration got his clearance yanked. On another note, my grass continued to grow this weekend. Both stories are of equal importance. Why do I say that? I had a very high level clearance for over 20 years while in the Navy. It was an honor and privilege to have such a clearance. I had that clearance at the pleasure of the United States Navy. At any time, for any reason, the Navy could have relieved me of that clearance. When I retired, my clearance was also retired.

Many in the Deep State have gone in front of a camera or a mic and decried their outrage at President Trump. One idiot Senator even threatened to draft legislation to prevent the President from doing this again. Would someone pinch me and wake me up? What planet is this? Senator Tim Scott summed it up the best. Take the names or parties out of it. If one cannot prove that having a clearance makes this country safer, that clearance should be retired. Gosh, that makes sense!

Why is the Brennan issue getting so much traction? I will tell you why. He is a highly ranked member of the Deep State. The underlings in the Deep State are starting to rally around the pole, in support of Brennan. Just wait however. More are coming. Clapper, Comey, and a few select misfits still employed in the DOJ are next. Maybe even some in the FBI. Why? President Trump not only favors loyalty, but more importantly - performance. He also knows that having a clearance is a high honor. To act dishonorably in your job, shows you do not deserve the honor of having a clearance. 

In any event, change is always harder for some rather than others. Fans and followers of the Deep State have lived in this status quo for decades, so this change is gut wrenching. For others, such as myself, this type of change is long overdue. I gladly embrace and applaud what the President has done and will continue to do.

One final thing before I close. I had my clearance because I had the need to know the information I would process. It was not only an honor and privilege, there was also a burden that went along with it. When my clearance was retired, I no longer had that burden. There was no sadness. I had done my job, and now it was over. I was in a sense, free. When I went to work at my civilian job, I would actually talk to my wife about my day. When in the Navy, having a high level clearance - that never happened.  

So Brennan, dry your eyes and quit your bitching. Or should I say, man up and grow a pair. You are still getting your retirement. Nobody is throwing you in jail (yet), and you are free to go on MSNBC and run your yap. This is the biggest non-issue I have seen in a long, long time. Why it is getting the air time it is, is way beyond me. 






Saturday, August 18, 2018

Round One...







"Bottom line? Last night was more of a conversation than a debate. It was Minnesota nice all the way around, including the moderators. Did I learn anything new last night? Not really. I did however, give the chance to turn on MPR. Not a first for me, but a rare event indeed." 



How did it go last night? You know - debate number one between the two nominees? First off, you have two gentlemen who have spent the better part of their lives in Minnesota. That's right - the "nice bug" has bitten both of them. They also know each other (sort of). So the hard hitting jabs? The mocking? The insults? Never showed up last night. 

Neither one of these men are what some might call "flashy". I have been with Jeff Johnson now for four years, and my opinion of him has never changed. Rather than being like a new car salesman, full of hot air and sometimes empty promises, Jeff is like the mechanic. He knows how to diagnose problems, and then how to fix them. Plus (and this is a big one) - most folks are wary of used car salesmen, but a good mechanic - that person is trusted.

Tim Walz again pushed for a new gas tax. "Ours has not been raised for years, and our roads and bridges need work." Jeff agreed our roads needed work, but disagreed the money to do so would need to come from more taxation. We spend way too much of our transportation dollars on trains and bike trails. 

This is going to be a festering issue as we get closer to the election. Mr. Walz might want to be a bit careful on this one. As a Hennepin County Commissioner, Jeff understands the transportation funding issue quite well. Jeff could bury Tim in a blizzard of well substantiated facts.

Income taxes was an interesting spar. Tim did not like Jeff's pledge to fix our taxes by getting them rightsized (reduced). Tim would rather keep the idea of taxation "open". For those who do not understand Democrat speak, that means Tim would be open to more taxes. We might need more money to "fully fund" education and healthcare.

Jeff on the other hand, thinks we are already taxed way too much. He wants our taxes reduced, so our lowest tax rate does not outstrip the highest tax rate in about half the states. Dayton's almost 10% rate on our highest earners really cemented us being a high SALT state. Jeff believes that needs to be fixed - pronto. Tim is not concerned in the least about it.

Anyhow, there were some areas of agreement. Mining, pipelines and fixing the entropy in our legislature. This is the result when you have a DFL nominee who is more of a conservative Democrat than a socialist, progressive, nut ball. Jeff on the other hand, is an old fashioned conservative. Not a "bomb thrower", let's burn it all down, fire brand. Nope - just a nuts and bolts conservative. Why do I paint these two men this way? Because anyone who is waiting for the sparks to fly in subsequent debates might be disappointed. I believe most of them will look quite a bit like last night. 

Bottom line? Last night was more of a conversation than a debate. It was Minnesota nice all the way around, including the moderators. Did I learn anything new last night? Not really. I did however, get the chance to turn on MPR. Not a first for me, but a rare event indeed.