Tuesday, December 30, 2008
1. Franken has a 50 vote lead. I've said nothing on the recount, because there's really nothing to say. The Obama vote in Minnesota produced the Franken vote. I think Coleman lost votes to Barkely that he shouldn't have but that's what you get running to the middle. The Democrats will keep counting votes until they get the result they want. It's shameless. And yes- it would be a total embarrassment to have Franken as our Senator, but this is Minnesota so what else is new?
2. Obama sure is enjoying his trip to Hawaii, but as of yet has "no comment" on the grave situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip. We look forward to years of photo op foreign policy from this lightweight.
3. I agree with what Mitt Romney said a week ago on "Meet the Press"- it's unbelievable that Congress is doing absolutely nothing right now about the economy. Nada. I know many people out of jobs and waiting on companies who can't make hiring decisions until they have some ability to predict the short-term future. Washington is a total failure and the Obama administration will do nothing to fix that.
4. Somebody run on term limits in 2010- I will work for your campaign.
I know I should be more optimistic about the New Year- and I'm optimistic about many things in life- but the lack of leadership out there is not one of them.
I miss Rush Limbaugh this week.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Kennedy offered no excuses for why she failed to vote in a number of elections since registering in New York City in 1988, including in 1994 when Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was up for re-election as the state's senior senator.
A politically conscience person votes. They vote in primaries, they vote in city council races and school board elections, they vote for judges and Soil Commissioners-and they most certainly vote in federal races. She wasn't a kid in 1994- she was a 37-year-old married mother. Now she wants to represent the people of New York without one vote being cast for her. She was all over the 2008 campaign trail encouraging people to vote for Obama.
Hypocrisy. Arrogance. Laziness. The hallmarks of the liberal elite.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
My neighbor was published in the Star Tribune today- I'm so proud of young Republicans- it's never easy taking on all the lefty teachers you're exposed to along the way. (He goes to Eden Prairie High School and has a big lib as a history teacher- imagine!)
MAN OF THE YEAR
Barack Obama hasn't accomplished much yet
Every year my history teacher gives us extra credit if we guess who is going to be Time magazine's person of the year. This year, however, he did not. He said it was obviously going to be Barack Obama.
He was right, of course, but I am not sure why. What has Obama done for me, or the rest of America? He has given them "hope." Good, but is that hope ever going to be fulfilled? We cannot tell, and I don't think we should think that he is going to be a great hero so early. All he has done is win a presidential election.
GENO LARKIN, EDEN PRAIRIE
When the teacher said that it was obvious that Obama would win- Geno said in class "Why? He hasn't done anything". Simply stated and completely true.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
My brother-in-law thinks the dots are connected to Obama though- that it was the Kennedys or some other Dem "god" that made him the annointed one. I agree. There ain't no way a State Senator rises that far, that fast without deep pockekts behind him- I say Soros all the way. Maybe Blogo knows.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The beaches in Hawaii, including Kailua Beach where the Obamas are staying, are all public, meaning keeping his family vacation private is almost impossible.
As Rush commented- this is totally planned P.R. so that the photogs could get lots of shots of PEBO.
I really can't stand this guy.
Ms Krull gets 23 days of Sick Leave (in 3 years I assume)- 7-8 days of sick leave a year?? What adult gets sick leave these days? How many kids in our school district are out that many days a year? I know people that haven't missed one day of work in their careers with the excuse of being sick. Now I'll assume Krull doesn't take many (if any) of those days- so how does this work. And how much vacation pay is on top of this? All this and $189,370 a year (with 2% guaranteed increases every year). Wow.
Krull started out with a base salary of $153,000 a year in June 2003- that's a 21% in six years.
Keep in mind that Krull is only one of hundreds of highly-paid school administrators in the state.
My dad has a great idea to keep local school boards and highly consolidate administrative functions for the 343 school districts across the state. Put the money in the classrooms-where it belongs. We'd save a lot of money and based on the consolidated power that seems to be apparent in this school district, I don't think we'd miss much in the decision-making process either.
We headed to Sioux Falls Thursday-Sunday- driving through blizzard conditions all the way home. Here are some pics...
And Barack Obama wants us to drive "fuel efficient" cars through this:
We were on All Wheel Drive the entire way and burned through the gas- take that liberals.
My fearless driver Todd:
We stopped at an Arby's for lunch and the bathrooms were so cold that the girls jumped up off the toilet seat and yelled "Oh- COLD!". You needed mittens on to the flush the thing.
Todd is from North Dakota and we've lived in Grand Forks and Fargo- we know cold and it has been miserably frigid here for what- 10 days now?
Mr. Global Warming Paul Douglas was on Almanac last week addressing our record cold December-- he warned us not to look out the window and make assumptions about climate change. He promised that January and February would be "unusually mild". Right. I'll believe it when I see it- meanwhile I booked a trip to Florida.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Here in Eden Prairie- we look forward to funding a new Art Center.
I missed this week's City Council meeting- but had a chance to watch some of the video this morning. I knew there was a budget vote on the agenda and wanted to see how it all "went down".
The City Council approved the 2009 budget, back in Sept. 2007- but it needed to be formally approved this week. At the end of it all, they ended up approving a budget that is about $1.4 million higher overall than the previous years budget- the overall operating budget went up by over $1 Million. That's "only" a 2.7% increase-- gee, that's nothing! But, consider the fact that the general fund has increased by 23% in only 5 years since 2004 and 41% in 10 years since 1999. This follows the logic of the State Budget which has increased by about 50% since 2000.
Why is it so hard to freeze spending? Why is it so hard to make cuts? It all seems like a no-brainer to me. It's a simple task- albeit not an easy task.
Councilman Jon Duckstad proposed freezing the proposed 2009 tax levy at 2008 levels and shrinking then proposed 2009 budget- which called for a $2 Million increase. Duckstad stated the absolute obvious- that the economic realities since September 2007 have dramatically changed and that we are in a time of uncertainty.
Mayor Phil Young acknowledged that he and City Manager Scott Neal have had many discussions about their "philosophy" on staff pay- which is to be above the median pay in the state. Hmmm, why? What's wrong with median pay in an industry? It's a nicety to pay above-average in strong economic times- we're going into uncertain economic times and "philosphies" may need to be adjusted and staff positions may need to be cut alltogether or combined. City staff received 3% pay raises across the board while Best Buy announced this week that it's offering severance packages for almost of it's Minnesota corporate employees. I wonder if somoe of those Best Buy employees live and pay taxes in Eden Prairie.
Kathy Nelson rightly brought forward the fact that the state is likely to cut homestead exemptions- but then backed off of it...I liked that she asked to cut staff/council travel to out-of-state travel costs- to every other year. Neal said it was "only about $20,000" Kathy called for it to be cut anyway- good for her. It's peanuts, and it's an easy-target, but it's something. If people want to go to conferences to learn from other local governments how to best spend taxpayer money or to save the planet- they should do so on their own dime. Or chat with each other over the internet.
Brad Aho proposed a 0% levy increase, spending the 2008 surplus- which as I understand it- is not known for certain and won't be known until next year- and to making some spending cuts. This is what Tim Pawlenty did- spent the surplus and accepted a spending increase (albeit a lower one than the Democrats wanted) and now we have a $5 Billion+ budget deficit. It sounds like compromise- and I suppose it is. But is compromise what we need right now or is fiscal responsibility what we need right now?
We ended up with a 0% increase in the tax levy- so people will probably not even notice the increase. But really- is anybody else out there increasing their household budgets right now? Or are they maintaining and/or cutting spending and saving for a rainy day? And it ain't rain clouds out there, it's storm clouds.
We shall see.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Several waitstaff emailed in to complain about their tips. One said (paraphrased from memory)
"I'm a waitress at a fine dining restaurant, overall our business isn't down, but our tips are. From 20% down to 16-18%- which may not seem like a lot, but it is. I'd suggest that if you can't afford a tip, that you don't order that second glass of wine or dessert next time"
They had two other emails which basically said:
"If you can't afford to tip enough, you shouldn't go out to eat".
Now- that's brilliant. Of course there was NO reality check from either the host or his guest stating the obvious "But, if people stayed home...you would have no tips, and most likely you'd have no job."
The underlying current was that "the rich" are still doing well enough to eat out and that mid-level restaurants are more hurting right now. Also that "the rich" were becoming selfish with their money and tipping less.
They did have a coffee "barista" call in to say that their tips have been "phenomenal lately" they have a wealthy, regular clientele who they treat very well. They know their drink orders and sometimes have them ready before they get to the counter. Imagine that- great attitude, great service equals great tips!
Todd and I tip 20% (after taxes) at restaurants. I never waited tables, but both of my sisters did to pay for school and Todd was a busboy in college. I worked as a hostess at a restaurant once and I know that waitstaff make minimum wage and depend on tips. My mom has a 63-year old "girlfriend" who has waited tables at a Minneapolis institution for 30 years, it's not easy work.
You have to be pretty bad to get lower than 20% from us- for mediocre service I go down to 15%. For superb service- we'll tip more than 20%. I don't normally tip at coffee shops, unless the staff is especially friendly. But, I don't consider getting a coffee at a counter anything different than fast-food and they don't get tips.
But- here's the thing: Etiquette has always said that 15% is an acceptable tip at restaurants. So the waitress at the fine dining restaurant really has some attitude. Assume a couple has a $100 meal (leaves out that second glass of wine and dessert as she wants) and tips 20%- that's $20 in her pocket. If they each have the wine and dessert- and it's a $150 bill- and they only tip 15%, that's $22.50 in her pocket. It's more money- but she had to work a little harder to get it. (How hard is it to have the bartender pour the wine and the chef plate the dessert and you walk them to the table?) The best waitstaff are good salespeople, they want to sell you that extra food and wine- knowing full-well they might only get a 15% tip.
At the end of a 40 hour work week- assuming that pattern continued for 10 tables a night- 5 days a week- the waitress would have an additional $125 in the bank- that's $500 a month!!
The listeners of NPR who wait tables mostly sounded like good liberals to me- wanting to work the same amount in a down-economy for the same amount of money- not willing to work harder for more. Bitching about customers who may tip a little less than they'd like and even saying that people shouldn't walk in the door.
I can tell you one thing, if I owned the restaurant that woman worked at- she'd be fired tomorrow.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
I want to be an optimist- I really do. I don't like banging my head against the wall because it hurts, but watching the show made me even more frustrated by the lack of clear vision of what our country needs to do to get out of our economic mess.
They had a panel consisting of:
Mitt Romney, Carli Fiorini (former CEO of H.P.), Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google, Obama Economic Advisor and Forbes Magazine's 129th Richest person in the World), Jennifer Granholm (Governor of Michigan), and Mike Duke (CEO of WalMart).
Only Romney and Fiorini made any sense with a call to cut corporate and personal income taxes in order to spur economic growth. They also pointed out the crisis in confidence that's out there-- hinting at the uncertainty of an Obama administration who has promised higher taxes and more regulation on business. Fiorini repeated the fact that we have the 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the world. How do you grow from there?
Romney also expressed frustration with the lack of action in Washington NOW- why are we waiting until February? Why aren't the Republicans putting forth any plan?
Schmidt and Granholm were all about "roads and bridges" projects and "green technology investments" --in order to create growth. But these require more spending and we don't have money!
Granholm has been a failure in Michigan- keeping it in it's dismal state of no-growth. She's a staunch supporter of the Auto Bailouts (of course) but insists on the overbearing environmental regulations that hurt Detroit.
Schmidt's solutions were battery-powered cars and new energy alternatives that could be "housed in" empty warehouses. (All projects paid for by the government). Liberals really believe that spending x billion on green energy ideas is going to pull us out of a recession? Here's what would pull us out and wouldn't require one thin dime of taxpayer money 1. Allow new nuclear power plants to be built 2. Allow full exploration and drilling for our own resources. How many great blue-collar jobs would be created by these two simple steps? And it just takes a couple votes in Congress to make it happen. But it won't happen.
All the participants on the panel were respectful of each other (except when Granholm put her hand on Mitt to tell him to "talk to his friends" if he wanted to help). Mitt is such a class act. His dad was the head of a Detroit Car Company- he knows Michigan back and forth and he knows economics, you just know he was thinking "this woman next to me doesn't have a clue", but he was so pleasant with his game-show host smile.The other participant on the panel- Mike Duke frightened me the most though. Be afraid- be very afraid- when the CEO of WalMart is calling for comprehensive health care reform and saying they want to be a partner with the Obama administration. Who do you think will benefit if there's an expansion of government-subsidized health care plans? Duke and Wal Mart. The Walton family occupies 5 of the top 15 spots on Forbe's Richest people in the world list. Where are the liberals who hate big corporations when you need them? They won't be anywhere if Wal Mart is on board with government-subsidized health care plans.
And don't people see throught marketing? Wal Mart's CEO is brand new- the left dogged them for supposedly unfair work conditions- so now they're singing in the choir of Obama-backed health care reform which- by definition- means more government spending. Don't people understand that corporations save money if the government picks up the tab on healthcare and makes money when they sell consumers over-priced "green" products?
We still need immigration reform to ensure that nobody who is coming here illegally is getting any form of welfare. We need a worker program to ensure that jobs are going to Americans first. We need health care reform that enables the markets to set the price for services- not the government. We need individuals to buy their own health care so that insurance companies and health care providers are dealing more directly with the consumer and have to answer to the consumer for high costs. This can be done by shifting tax credits away from corporations and to the individual. We need to cut student loans to help drive down the cost of tuition. Universities are only going to be able to charge what they can get. And of course we need an energy policy that realizes that "alternatives" are only 15% of the solution right now.
Cut taxes. Cut spending. Drastically reduce Earned Income Tax Credits so that everybody has to pay at least something into the system. And maybe a new Hollywood profit tax for celebs who bank over $10 Million in a year. One can dream, right?
None of this is going to happen with Obama in the White House- we wait with great anticipation for his $500 Billion "Stimulus" package with more checks redistributed out to people. Short term solution for a very long term problem and Bush already tried this- it did nothing!
Republicans must start articulating specific ideas and solutions and stop with just babbling about ideology. They have to lead- they have to give Americans some ideas for how things can change. Maybe they won't buy it the first time, maybe it takes ten sales calls just to close for an appointment with the American people. Maybe they won't buy our product today. But if we don't make people aware of an alternative (and we haven't-- we haven't for a long time), then what chance to we have at all? Yeah- we lost this election. We lost big time. We didn't have a chance with the money and machine behind Obama- we didn't have a chance with that charisma verses our 72-year old Washington-insider. But I'm still not convinced that America bought their product- I think they just bought their salesman. There's hope yet.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Please read the entire piece here- it's worthwhile.
The commentary ends with this thought.
We, as educators, are not so naive to suppose that no one will be uncomfortable with these actions. In fact, we’re well aware of some who are. I believe it falls on us to welcome those voices to the table and invite them to join us in respectful dialogue. We endeavor to listen to the comments and concerns in our communities in a way that honors our mutual integrity. At the same time, we must hold fast to our convictions, our mandate and our imperative that schools must be positioned and ready to lead the way in “Educating for Success in Our Diverse and Changing World.” We invite all families in our community to join us on our mission as we develop an even stronger educational system. Our collective future depends on it.
"Collective Future"? Okay comrade.
So Krull invites all families to participate in "our mission", but Krull dismisses a petition signed by at least 344 parents in the school district in this week's Sun Current:
Krull said that petitioning is just one way for parents to voice their displeasure with changes the district is making, but it's not the most constructive method."I don't think petitions really carry a lot of weight," Krull said. "I think there are much better ways of making your needs known and getting your voice in the room, and that usually has to do with respectful dialog between people and face to face conversation ...."Petitions have come and gone in this district over the years. My feeling is that if you're interested and willing to sign a petition you might be interested and willing to participate in a change initiative so that your voice can be heard and you can weigh in, knowing full well that you can influence a decision either way."
This statement is so breathtakingly arrogant to me. Ms. Krull your JOB- your highly paid JOB- is to take the concerns of the School Board and parents and implement them into policy. It is not the parents' job- they have JOBS. It's not their job to get on some committee where their feedback can be further stifled. They took the time to put together a petition and gather hundreds of signatures- that is no easy feat. The petition stated that they believe your contract should only be renewed for one year instead of three- the petition is about your failures to communicate properly with parents. So really- your opinion on petitions isn't really necessary in this situation.
And- let me get this straight- petitions are a waste of time and face-to-face conversations are required to really be productive. Yet the Eden Prairie School District has no problem spending money with an Indiana-based marketing firm to conduct a phone survey to measure support for another referendum because that type of non face-to-face feedback is important. (They called me in the early fall for this survey- I have a copy of the survey somewhere. I briefly interviewed the survey-taker and her manager to identify them as an out-of-state telemarketing firm.) That type of feedback (providing answers to highly led questions) is what you're looking for-- not feedback via a petition. Got it.
But the parents who put together the petition did show up at this week's board meeting for some "face-to-face" with the School Board- and what do they get from Democrat Chair Carol Bomben?
Board Chair Carol Bomben told the audience that the board is in negotiations with the superintendent, whose contract runs through June, but that a one-year contract renewal is unlikely.
"This board has confidence in our superintendent," Bomben said. "We will take your petition, but it's the board's job to negotiate with the superintendent to make those decisions."
How's that for respectful dialogue? Sounds like a bunch of "adults" talking to a bunch of "children". Is there anything worse than the "pat on the back" move by elected officials?
Here's what the answer should have been: "We're concerned about this information and the apparent lack of communication you feel is coming from both us and the Administration, you represent a significant percentage of our parents and your feedback is important to us. You present facts here about how you've been treated by our Administration that are troubling. The Administration in this School District works for you- the parents. And as a Board we will be sure to address these issues of communication with Administration and get back to you with what we've determined are solutions."
It seems that Krull is all ears when it's a project that she supports like "Spanish Immersion", but when she disagrees about something like, say- her contract-she makes bold statements about not accepting "business as usual". Side note: I have been a severe critic of the EP Spanish Immersion program since I moved here. It is frivolous and I just recently learned from an EP Schools parent that many are sending their kids there so they can get around attending schools with high non-native English speakers since English proficiency is required to attend the Spanish Immersion program. How's that for irony and using liberal thought to actually avoid diversity?
If you're an Eden Prairie resident and taxpayer- read and sign the petition here so that this Superintendent is hired for only 1 more year-instead of 3. She's been in the district since 1984- perhaps it's "time for a change".
Thursday, December 11, 2008
"Love for Sale"- a tawdry song about a prostitute pitching her wares-is one of his great tunes-I started humming it today when reading about Gov. Blogo.
This will probably make no sense to anybody other than me!
A seat for sale
Advertising a hot Senate seat for sale
A seat where the messiah toiled
A seat that's only slightly soiled
A seat for sale.
Who will buy?
Who would like to pay me for your guy?
Who's prepared to pay the price
For a chance at legal vice?
A seat for sale.
According to the Vogue article posted earlier:
But Valerie Jarrett's real clout comes less from her career than from her extraordinary connections and seemingly endless capacity for extracurriculars. As one observer put it, "She knows everyone in Chicago."
She worked in Chicago City Hall from 1987-1995 and met Michelle and Barack Obama in 1991. She has impressive resume in private business as well- but so do Karl Rove and Karen Hughes. Jarrett was one of the top advisers in the Obama campaign- she was certainly his top personal advisor after Michelle-and her payoff would be his Senate seat.
What would have happened if George Bush had a Senate Seat to fill and wanted Rove or Hughes to take it? There would have been a media outcry and a lot of scrutiny. What happens here? Nothing. Not one word about it from the mainstream media. Not one question.
Change to Obama means nothing more than further redistribution of wealth in this country and "saving the planet" (as he mentioned in Tuesday's meeting with Al Gore when the Blogojevech story broke and he felt it was "inappropriate to comment".)
Let's hear those tapes, let's here the overt cronyism that IS Brack Obama. This guy is the biggest political hack I think we'll see in our lifetimes. He will put Bill Clinton to shame...but is anybody in the press going to call him on it?
Press Corp: "Mr. Obama, when you talked about "Change" on the campaign trail for 20 months, did you include moving away from cronyism in Washington? Isn't wanting Valerie Jarrett in your Senate Seat cronyism?"
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
The blogger at The Volokh Conspiracy has a great timeline of how things went down in mid-November and makes the claim that Valerie Jarrett- Obama's closest personal friend and advisor- was his pick to fill his Senate Seat. Here's the picture of Ms. Jarrett wearing Oscar de la Renta in her multi-page Vogue spread titled "Barack's Rock" from October.
A day after the Obama campaign claimed that he wanted Ms. Jarrett in Washington instead, Gov. Blogojevich makes the infamous statement: “that the President-elect wants Senate Candidate 1 for the Senate seat but ‘they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. F**k them.’”
This is the statement that liberals in the blogosphere are using to absolve Obama of any wrongdoing.
David Axelrod said in a TV interview that Obama had talked to the Governor about the Senate appointment- then his campaign released a statement saying his was mistaken. Axelrod didn't get in front of the cameras and say this- it was a statement and I don't believe it for one minute.
Here's the question I have: if any mention of bribery or pay-for-play for a U.S. Senate Seat was mentioned- or even hinted at -in any phone conversation between Obama or ANY of his advisers- then didn't team Obama have a legal obligation to immediately report Blogojevich to federal authorities? They most certainly had an ethical obligation to do so. Did they do that? No- because if they did Obama's statement yesterday would have been something like "We immediately reported what we knew to authorities".
Instead his statement was:
"I'm sobered and saddened...I don't think it would be appropriate for me to comment."
No comment, huh. Let's see how long our media is going to let this guy get away from his "not appropriate" dodges- he hasn't even taken an oath yet.
Here's the bottom line- everything we know about a President before he gets in office always gets blown out of the water once they sit in the big chair. We knew Clinton was a womanizer, cheater and liar. This time though, it's not going to be about navy blue dresses from the GAP, the stakes are going to be much higher than that.
If this poem doesn't perfectly describe husbands and wives through the Holiday season, I don't know what does...
Following the the Narrative of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas"
She gave compliments to the Grinch
For a job well done
Because she knew if she didn't
The weekend wouldn't be fun!
And what happened then...?
Well...in Kappes-ville they say
That the Grinch's tight wallet grew three sizes that day!
Read the entire post here.
Todd is a fan of "NIN"- his mild mannered persona gives way to a love of some- shall we say-very intense music. I can attest to the fact that some of the songs could very possibly drive you crazy.
I'm pretty much R&B and Easy Listening all the way, so we constantly rib each other about our musical tastes.
But here's one song that we can both agree would be the best way to torture us if played over and over and over again. I've heard it several times now out Christmas shopping and every time it comes on at the stores I say out loud "please no!"
P.S. This has to be the worst variety show number in the history of variety shows
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I share the President's views on faith although I didn't share the concept of "Compassionate Conservatism" or Faith-based Initiative-funding. I don't think it's consistent with a political viewpoint of limited government and the word "compassionate" inferred that Republicans weren't so in the first place. If you don't want the government to tell you what to do, don't take money from the government. Although- without a doubt- churches and faith-based charities deliver help to people in need far more effectively than the government can.
The President is a good man and a spiritual man. I'm only sorry that faith is so scary and upsetting to many people in our country.
My blogging may be a bit less frequent in the upcoming weeks and my guess is that's OK by you. It's "the most wonderful time of the year" and we women-folk are putting up trees, stringing lights, making cookies, getting ready for parties, sending Christmas cards, wrapping presents, entertaining inlaws, taking kids to see Santa, on and on. Yes- the guys help too. But the bulk of the preparation is always on our shoulders. That's a fact jack.
I do have a few fellow "Prepublican" readers of the blog, so I thought I'd put up a few pictures of the house because I love to look at their pictures and see the "themes".
My talented MIL took some leftover raspberry ribbon from WalMart and tied them on candles and vases throughout the rooms.
And my tree is flocked with purple sparkly poinsettias from Michaels and lots of glass ornaments.
And here's my very favorite ornament- my GOP elephant :)
Enjoy your holiday decorating!
According to the statement, Blagojevich is alleged to have discussed obtaining:
- a substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions;
- placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year;
- promises of campaign funds -- including cash up front;
- a Cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself
None of the stories up on Foxnews.com, MSNBC.com, ABCNEWS.com, CNN.com include the Governor's party affiliation. I'm watching live coverage now- none of the networks are mentioning his party affiliation. The only way I knew what his party affiliation was a picture of this guy on Foxnews that occasionally comes up with a "D" behind his name.
If this guy were a Republican, he'd be a household name and everybody would know which party he belonged to.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
My favorite line from Kelliher is the opening line of the press conference.
She dramatically states:
"This crisis didn't start here, but the solutions will begin here in the legislature."
I'm sorry- how did a state budget deficit not originate in St. Paul? State spending has been out of control. The size of our biennial budget has increased by 50% in the last ten years. The Democrats proposed a 19% increase in overall spending in the last biennial budget. They got a 10% increase (Pawlenty proposed a 9% increase). Health and Human Services spending in this state is ridiculous. Cut it. Cut welfare. Quit making is so attractive for people to move here who can't afford our above-average cost of living. Cut the maximum amount of time that people can collect welfare in this state from 60 months to 12 months. Give parents tax credits to pull their kids out of the public schools to eliminate some of the burden on the schools to be "all things to all people". Cut funding to the "U" until they can come up with a plan that gets tuition under $7,500 a year. Force the "U" and "MNSCU" to eliminate duplication of services and enforce "Cost Containment" on higher Ed. Cut taxes on corporations if you want to create jobs. I mean- my goodness- we border states that have NO corporate taxes. We are one of the most overtaxed states in the nation. And- news flash: It's really, really cold here.
Let the nation know- we have a highly educated workforce here with a work ethic that is second-to-none and we want your business here. Let small business owners know that you will make all efforts to cut regulations and over-taxation so that there is less fear and risk in starting a new company.
Pass legislation so that Minnesota is a "Right to Work" state in order to drive down our high cost of labor in this state.
Re-think everything. As Pawlenty said last week: "This is a great opportunity". (Don't get me started on the fact that he should have been saying this last year at this time.)
Democrats talked last week about wanting to put more government money into research projects and "green jobs" (this was in the full length of the press conference) to spur job growth.
"This is a time when people need to run towards the Capitol and bring their best ideas of how to make these investments"
What investments? There's no money. Hello!
There will be no room for the faint of heart in this upcoming session. This is a debate about the future of our state. Will we continue to be one of the welfare capitols of the country (a la California) and go broke? Or will be work to be the very best Minnesota with less limitations and more opportunities so that we can afford to take care of the poorest among us?
Senator Amy Klobuchar is heading to Poland for a conference on climate change along with Senator John Kerry.
And elsewhere in the Strib today- The high Temperature in Minneapolis on Wednesday will be 8 degrees with a low of -1 degrees, followed by a high of 9 degrees and a low of -2 degrees on Thursday.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
WHO CARES?? Is this really news? What a piece of garbage newspaper- barely fit to line a hamster's cage. It's a joke. There was a funeral this week for a Minneapolis man who blew up 29 people in another country- and they print this fluff piece on the incident in the South Metro Section of the paper. You have to search for it, while the Palin piece is the #2 item under "Politically Connected" on the home page. I wonder what page of the print edition it was on.
I'll have to point out that Hillary Clinton's shellac for 18 months of the campaign trail surely cost a pretty penny- that she also had paid professionals applying her makeup and styling her hair on the road. And FYI- the men use professionals too. But would a MSM reporter ever take the time to pick up the phone, call the Clinton campaign and ask what her final tab was for purposes of comparison in a news story? No way.
This is getting old. The editors of these papers sitting around the news room "Well, here are the stories we have today....Recession looming, market down, still no energy policy, still no immigration reform...nah, let's go with the Palin makeup story."
The election is over- your guy won. You barely asked any substantive questions of Barack Obama- neither of his background nor his proposed policies. You effectively destroyed Sarah Palin's reputation. Mission accomplished.
Now go report some damn news.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I didn't see anything in the linked Star Trib pieces about how many people one of the missing man killed while in Somalia- it was 29. Here's the story on the Minnesota suicide bomber's funeral in Burnsville. (I can't link the exact spot- you have to scroll down to see it).
The Star Trib article on Nov 30th states that the men who were denied seats on the flight were from Abubakar As-Saddique Mosque in Minneapolis.
The Mosque has an attorney who says:
And he said that no one at the mosque encouraged men to return to fight, for any reason. Abubakar is a large mosque with large groups and many instructors, he said. But all the instructors are told to stay away from political talk because the issues are so divisive.
Abubakar As-Saddique is the same mosque who sponsored a 3-day seminar in August of 2007 on the theme "CORRECTING THE PATHWAY FOR REACHING THE GOAL" where Congressman Keith Ellison spoke on "The Importance of Voting". But there's "no political talk" at the mosque.
Speaking of Keith Ellison-The "Somali American Community" (I can't find a website and don't know anything about the organization) brought in Abdullahi Ugas Farah on October 26th of this year to help Keith Ellison promote again the importance of voting......for Democrats.
Ellison: “I need more friends in the senate and congress … honestly, we are in a good shape this time but I need you to help me get Al Franken elected to the senate” he said.
Ugas: Speaking to the crowd, Ugas. Abdullahi said “because we know and trust his intentions, you must help Rep. Keith Ellison … in order for Keith to be helpful to the situation in Somalia, you must also elect Al Franken to the Senate …
I've tried to contact the author of the Oct 26th article describing this event- as I can't find anything out about the organization who hosted it or where it was held. No luck.
This Washington Times piece from Nov 26th does a good job of connecting some of the dots with Somalia and explains a bit more about Mr. Ugas...
I Googled Mr. Farah and came up with one news story, a 2003 brief from the Asia Africa Intelligence Wire headlined, “New Islamic court opens in Mogadishu.” The story reported that Mr. Farah was one of two speakers who presided over the opening ceremony for a new Sharia court in Mogadishu's Shirkole area. From Sharia courts in Mogadishu to an Al Franken rally in Minnesota.I hope our Star Tribune decides to begin some investigative reporting on all of these stories, I'm not holding my breath.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I said to Todd: "Gee, why don't they just say we only want liberals to buy our cars".
Todd replies "More like, we know that only liberals buy our cars".
Subaru Outback and frizzy-haired women with no make-up on...they go together like peanut butter and jelly.
At the sparsely-attended Truth in Taxation meeting at City Hall on Monday Night, a handout was provided that showed Eden Prairie home values have only gone down by .9% in the last year. Anybody who owns a home here knows that is incorrect. The evaluation at Zillow shows a 5.9% decrease in home values which certainly seems more in line with the prices homes are fetching on this part of town. We have homes sitting on the market in our neighborhood for 6+ months going through several price reductions before they're sold. Go to Edina Reality- look at the Property tax amounts on homes- and what they're selling for- you can see that many have been severely over-taxed based on what they're now able to fetch on the market.
Also at the Truth in Taxation meeting- there was a new business owner that had bought a commercial property in Eden Prairie- the previous property tax (before they purchased) was approximately $4,500- their new bill this year was almost $9,000 higher! City staff tried to say- perhaps the property has been improved, etc. It hadn't. The taxpayer just shook her head and walked away from the podium dejected. Why would ANYBODY want to start a business in Eden Prairie with stories like these?
Regardless of the property values, we're experiencing a severe economic downturn with some of America's largest businesses contemplating bankruptcy. Things are very uncertain. Companies are laying off employees or not providing raises or bonuses. People are are out work for long periods of time. The plumb mid-level management jobs are drying up. Why exactly is it that government employees should be the only ones immune to these realities? Freezing salaries (at least for management level and above) should be an absolute no-brainer. I'd take it a step further and look to combine more job responsibilities among staff and cut positions. Freezing new projects that we don't need (the Arts Center) should also be highly considered. It's a time for complete fiscal responsibility.
It's important to note that 25% of property taxes (from a median home) go to the City of Eden Prairie, while 33% go to the School District here and 34% go to Hennepin County. School board elections are this year with three seats to fill- we need fiscally conservtive citizens to run for these seats. And Hennepin County? That's a whole other animal- someone needs to run against lame Republican Randy Johnson who's been in office since Disco was king. The man quotes "Governing Magazine" in his bio!
At the state level, Republican Legislator Paul Kohls of Victoria is calling for a spending freeze in St. Paul. Here's his website-http://www.mnspendingfreeze.com/ sign the petition!
Doesn't it seem sometimes, that human nature is to wait until things "hit bottom" until a change is made? It shouldn't be this way, not for mature, reasonable adults. We need to be pro-active about reducing the size of government and trimming budgets, not wait until we have a revenue crisis.
This all makes perfect sense to me. Republicans are in the minority at the state and national levels. The public is going to be looking for promises to be kept on lower taxes (city level) and less spending (state and national level). If we don't lead the way- Democrats will. They'll cut away at the basics (defense, public safety) in order to keep their programs (welfare, cultural/arts). Please make your voices heard at all levels of our government to ensure that this doesn't happen and that our elected officials understand that you don't NEED to increase spending, it can be frozen- or heaven forbid- CUT.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Governor Tim Pawlenty- talk conservative to me! "The federal government is broke, they have no money, it's monopoly money". "We need to cut spending." These were Pawlenty's comments after Obama's meeting with the nation's Governors this week. Governors across the country (including Republicans) have their hands out for federal money in order to offset their own lack of fiscal responsibility at home.
I hope Pawlenty means what he says, I worry about grandstanding and then backing down when the political pressure gets too high. But, if he wants to set out to lead the party- this is a good way to start. Republican Governors asking for federal bailouts should be sent right back to their state capitols without one thin dime- all they need is one red pen.
The Star Trib article today of course has the spin starting already with Minnesota Democrats lamenting the idea that Pawlenty wouldn't take money from the federal government. (These are the same Democrats who want a balanced budget- right?)
Then there's Obama- who said this at the Governor's meeting:
"We're going to need action, and we're going to need action swiftly," he told the governors.
In an effort to win bipartisan support, he appealed to Republicans: "We're not going to be hampered by ideology in trying to get this country back on track."
Hampered by ideology? And whose ideology is that? Now's the time to take a stand.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss won easily over Dem challenger in today's runoff 58-42%
Spoke with both of my Atlanta-based siblings today- they were among the 20% who turned out to vote. We weren't even worried- Democrats don't show up for these things- they only turned out to vote for Obama. Shows how much their base pays attention. And Georgia is red-red-red. Oh how I miss being able to stand in a grocery store line and say the word "Republican" and not be accosted (as I have been here by crazy local liberals).
I volunteered for the first Chambliss campaign in 2002- I'm happy to see him re-elected. Is there a cooler name in the U.S. Senate?
It's the holiday season- so what does that mean?
The annual NARAL door-to-door canvassing. Since I moved her four years ago, folks from the National Abortion Rights Action League have knocked my door every year about this time. I know how this works, I know they have databases and walk-lists, why do they keep knocking on my door?
They were here about two weeks ago. A young man this time. I wish I had the presence of mind to hear them out and to try to lure them into telling me more about their cause. I can't do it. I always politely say "We're Pro-Life" and move to close the door.
I understand going door-to-door to sign petitions for the environment. I understand going door-to-door to sell coffee of wrapping paper for your school. I understand going door-to-door to pitch a political candidate. I understand going door-to-door to raise the cause of AIDS in Africa or hungry children closer to home or even to protest against the War. I can understand the passion that would cause people to go out on a very cold night and door knock strangers. I can't understand door-knocking to sign up people to ensure that abortion is legal at every stage, for any reason.
Of course- the volunteers are paid, so that might explain some of it. College students will sell their plasma (and other bodily fluids) for money. I don't know.
It's a sad cause to me.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Quick- everybody have some more kids!
Overall, this is good news for Republicans as the red South gains seats and takes away from the blue North. But we could be in trouble depending on how they choose to combine legislative districts. My vote is for combining the Cities and making one uber-Liberal rep out of Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum.
I did find this blog entry comparing the actual Presidential Seal with the one that Obama uses on his podiums now.
The seal did include the American bald eagle clutching arrows and an olive branch, but the Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum” was changed to “Vero Possumus,” a rough translation of the Obama campaign slogan, “Yes we can.”
Obama’s seal also removed the shield over the eagle’s breast, representing the president’s oath to defend the Constitution, and replaced it with the letter “O,” presumably for Obama, and the image of the rising sun.
But taking those aspects away makes it look even more like the real Presidential Seal- not less. Seriously, who thinks of this stuff? I'd give anything to know who on the Obama team says "we need to have you speak in front of a fake- but real looking- Presidential seal. Talk about deceptive marketing.
I know this is all "small stuff", but it indicates someone who pays little reverence to tradition-or the rules.
Answer: 1.03 miles
Regarding the Smith-Douglas-More House:
"Kids, book clubs and seniors' groups gather at the coffee shop, and it has become a place of value to the people of Eden Prairie, but the council is primarily focused on the dollars and cents involved, Case said. "The question of how much revenue should it bring in is being asked independently of its value in the community.''- Ron Case
Please....somebody explain to me right now why a Community Center is not a place for the community to gather?? We could have spent $3,000 on a Coffee Stand and called it a day.
Letter after letter has expressed the benefits to the community derived from the million dollar coffee shop- one of the reasons cited continually was that our community's youth likes to congregate there. Boy, times have changed. We used to hang out at Pizza Hut and Baker's Square back when I was in high school. EPHS is literally steps away from the new Community Center. But, silly me- that's not where our kids want to hang out! Eden Prairie youth should be able to sip a cup of cappuccino in a historic home- and you better be willing to subsidize that you troglodyte!
This makes me wonder- is loitering a problem at the Dunn Brothers? You're selling $3 cups of coffee and encouraging people to hang out for hours (the Barnes and Noble model)- but there aren't any books for sale. How do you turn a profit?
After a lot of wrangling and political capital spent, the City Council was able to produce $3,000 more in annual rent from the current franchisee. $9,000 total over the 3-year lease agreement. Good for them, it's better than nothing. But, we are stuck with this lemon of a municipal project. Who will ever try to buy the property with the outcry and outrage of local liberals for their beloved gathering spot? No smart businessperson, that's for sure. The loud protests win again.
So- let's hope the business becomes more profitable and the franchisee can afford to pay the City a market-based rent at some point. Idea for the owner- add lots of gift items for sale (artsy home products, jewelry, cards). Have cute tissue and gift bags to wrap purchases- brand it as the Historic Home Gift Company. There's nothing like this in EP and could help pay the rent. You have a huge advantage over other business owners- a city-owned charming historic home as the backdrop. You'd need some marketing dollars to make this a success. And I'd love to see the hoards of supporters put their money where their mouths are and buy some stuff to help out the owner become profitable at this business.P.S. The City's "Truth in Taxation" meeting is at 7pm at City Hall tonight. An entertaining evening for the politically interested.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I can't wait to get down to Lakeville to consume the feast that my dad has been working on for days. Don Corbett is one hell of a chef. This year he called me asking where to find Juniper berries (are they even edible?) for a new recipe he's trying. The man is 67 and moves around his small galley kitchen with the skill of a pro.
We just watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade- wonderful. Although man-oh-man do we have an obesity problem in this country. One quarter of all of the high school dancers and band cheer squads were overweight.
Last Thanksgiving, my mom had just returned from seven weeks staying at The Hope Lodge at Mayo Clinic where she underwent chemo and radiation treatment for anaplastic thyroid cancer. She couldn't talk and she ate about a teaspoon full of mashed potatoes. We didn't know if she's be with us for much longer. This year my mom has her thick black hair back and will be eating like the old Lucy that we know and love. We have so much to be grateful for.
Pour a nice big glass of wine and toast those friends and family. I'll be back :)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
They've remodeled the restaurant since I was last there, taking out the Caribou Coffee bar and adding more seating- good move.
The Matzo ball soup, kosher dill pickles, red potato salad and cole slaw are all made from scratch and simply divine. But it's really all about the hot pastrami and corned beef sandwiches- they are huge and for $11.95 you can easily feed two people. Their sandwich BEATS- yes BEATS- the famous Katz's Deli on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. (My dad's from The Bronx, I know good deli food). I asked my dad once what a good NY deli needed- he didn't hesitate: Egg Salad, Lox, Chopped Liver sandwiches and Cheesecake. Pastrami Jack's features all of these and more.
It's kid-friendly with crayons to draw and kid's cups. Their meals start at $2.95 and could easily be split by two or more kids.
Pastrami Jacks is in a very low rent strip mall off of City West Parkway, but they have a nice view onto a pond with lots of trees and bird houses. We watched two squirrels battle with two blue jays for about 30 minutes. If this place was located near EP Center- they'd do three times the business. And- they should also be open on Sunday's-- the best day for a bagel with cream cheese and lox, red onions and capers- Yummmm.
Pastrami Jacks proves the adage: "build it and they will come". EP is in desperate need of affordable non-chain restaurants with atmosphere, service and above all- excellent food.
If you haven't been there yet- give it a try. It's addicting!
Monday, November 24, 2008
I also watch the local shows "Capitol Report" and "At Issue". Yes- I'm a nerd.
The spin on all of the National shows was that Obama was not going to keep his promise of raising taxes on those making over $250,000. That he'll let the Bush tax cuts expire in 2011.
They want "the rich" to shop over the Holidays, they know things are bleak. He'll raise taxes- he'll have to- in order to pay for his new WPA that will "rebuild roads and schools"--which schools? Do you think the government will make sure that no illegals are hired for these plumb jobs?
Back to "the rich". A fellow HENRY (High Earner, Not Rich Yet) sent this great article from FORTUNE magazine from last month describing the people that Obama wants to nail.
Accompany Obama's plans with a $4 Billion projected budget deficit in Minnesota- with Democrats in Control of both the House and the Senate- and it spells major tax hikes. The Senate PASSED a 9.7% top income tax rate in Minnesota last year!
I've thought about going back to work. I have an opportunity to earn about $40,000 a year doing something I really enjoy- but why would I? I'm not giving the government half of my salary- I'd be pretty stupid wouldn't I? The irony is if I were a single mom- I'd be getting money back if I were to take that job.
I saw Congressman-elect Erik Paulsen- who was there to watch his daughter. We chatted a bit as I hadn't seen him after the election.
Then we went to dinner in Wayzata and we saw outgoing Congressman Jim Ramstad. My friend B. said that I was right- politics seems to follow me wherever I go.
Todd got up Christmas lights on Sunday. Bring on the Holidays!
Friday, November 21, 2008
How many private jet rides has Reid taken?
Harry Reid took 36 rides on Corporate Private jets from 2001-2005.
Enough please sir of your mock disdain.
If they were from the MGM Grand Casino, you'd be having drinks with them.
Meanwhile, he's ranks #7 on the list of best-compensated University Presidents in the country (Public institutions) bringing in $733,421.
The University is a fine school, but it certainly isn't a top 10 public University. Top 25. U.S. News and World Report just ranked it #22. So why Top 10 pay? Well this is Minnesota, Minnesotans are proud of spending a lot of money on education- regardless of results. And is it damn cold here, so you may need to pay a bit more to attract top candidates- but Bruininks has been here since 1968. He likes it here. It is a huge University- but you have Provosts doing the job at the other campuses. I give. I don't know.
One interesting item from the Strib piece:
Over five years, public presidents' median compensation climbed 36 percent, while private presidents' rose 19 percent.
There was another recent piece from ABC news on College Presidents' Pay:
Fifty-nine presidents of public universities reeled in more than $500,000 in salary and benefits during the 2007-08 academic year, more than double the number who broke the half-million mark three years earlier, according to a survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education released on Monday.
So the government workers are once again fairing much better than the private-sector ones.
My favorite part about government employees is the idea that there should never be pay cuts. When I worked in sales, it was always on commission and the better you did the harder they'd make your compensation plan. If you were stellar two years in a row, it was still quite possible that you'd make less one year vs. the other. Public employees just sit back and wait for their 3.5% or 5% or 6% compensation increases every year. They expect it for the job title. They make up their own vague benchmarks for success and then tie part of their pay to those goals- amazingly they always seem to achieve them.
I'd love to throw some of these folks outside the world of taxpayer-funded compensation and see how they'd do.
Give me $125,000 a year and I'll do Bob Bruinkink's job-- and I promise tuition wouldn't be $10,000 a year either. No way.
He's already named Tom Daschle (the losing Senator from SD) as Secretary of Health and Human Services and now it look's like he's going to name New York Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
Add in Chuck Hagel from Nebraska-who's in the running for another top Cabinet position as the Secretary of Defense- and you're guaranteed whole lot of bloviating at the highest levels of government.
More change we can believe in.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This is a joke- a complete joke.
Tough-talking Democrats trying to make us believe that they want the auto industry to have accountability before they hand over billions of dollars. They don't. This is about one thing: the failure of Unions in this country, the grip they have on U.S. manufacturers which has led to our dependence on imports.
Pelosi's going to "show them the money" allright and this grandstanding is tedious and childish.
I drive a Ford, I like it, but if American car companies go broke- it's their own fault.
We MUST be able to have manufacturing capabilities in the country. It's not good enough to rely on trade partners. But this is a time to talk about Union pay and benefits, stupid government CAFE standards (which actually cause people to drive more, not less), and a ridiculously high corporate tax environment-- not about how to properly write grant request in order to get money from the rest of us.
Hello- Republicans-- Where are you?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
1. How did the hockey hair come back already? That's the hairdo my high school boyfriend had in 1989. It is not in style, it doesn't give you blue-collar cred, it just looks bad. Cut it.
2. Get your analogies straight- The Governor stated that people who want to save money shop at Sam's Club, KMart, Target and Costco. WRONG.
People who want to save money shop at WalMart and maybe KMart. Target is expensive.
And Costco? The average household income for Costco shoppers is $75,000.
People who shop at Costco don't do so to save money. They do so to spend money. They sell brie by the pound along with Kadota figs and Bosc pears. They sell lobsters with imported County Kerry butter to dip it in. They sell fresh arrangements of roses, hydrangeas and lilies to pop on your foyer table. They sell four-story doll houses to put under (or next to) the Christmas tree for your little princess.
Okay, so they also sell the best kosher hot dog with a diet Coke for only a $1.50- but don't let that fool you. They are a luxury store for luxury buyers.
They sell artisan cheeses and meats from Italy. And if the City of Eden Prairie would ever let loose of its monopoly, our location would sell some great wine to drink with all of that food. Costco has an amazing wine department- but not in Eden Prairie where our government controls where you buy booze. This REALLY irks me.
Back to my point- People who shop at Costco have a lot of money and they like to entertain. I don't know how many fundraisers and parties now have frozen food from Costco in the chafing dishes. (And that's not such a good thing).
Please, Governor, I know about shopping. I mean, I know it. You're trying to look like the common guy. But, you are the common guy. Those are your roots, nobody can take that away. If you want to run for higher office, cut the hair and don't talk about things that you don't know about-- like shopping.
Talk about the looming budget deficits in Minnesota and how you're going to lead the charge to cut spending.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Congratulations to each of the four candidates for Eden Prairie City Council. Sherry Butcher ran an admirable campaign and one which was, true to form, graceful and positive. Sherry is an outstanding public servant whose devotion to Eden Prairie is unquestioned. I have enjoyed working with Sherry on the council and will miss her leadership very much. Brad Aho deserved a second four-year term on the council and I am glad the residents of Eden Prairie honored him with that opportunity. No one works harder than Brad, either as a candidate or as an elected official. I look forward to working with Brad over the next four years. Jeff Meyerhofer earned a very respectable tally of votes for a first-time candidate running against three opponents with enormous name recognition. His message clearly resonated with voters.
Ron Case came back to the council on a platform of low taxes and opposition to the airport. I am intrigued by the possibility of new ideas regarding the airport, especially as Ron was part of the council which gave up the city’s right to oppose the expansion. I also look forward to his support in my efforts to control the growth of property taxes.
Congratulations, as well, to friends Jenifer Loon and Erik Paulsen. They will serve their constituencies very well.
Yes- that's the platform Case ran on. That and making sure the Council never asks for market-based rent at city-owned historic properties where Case places his campaign literature. As I've said before, should be entertaining.