Archive for the ‘Ranting’ Category

Bikers and dogs.

Since yesterday was such a nice and warm day (a good change of pace for our recent weather), K and I decided to go out for a bicycle ride. Not even through the alley and we encounter what most bikers hope they never do…No, not Corey¬†Haim selling biographies, loose dogs–a rottweiler and a pit bull. At first they didn’t seem to notice us, but shortly after seeing them, they saw us. The problem with most Minneapolis alleys is that garages line most of them–not leaving much availability to jump a fence or something. So the best option was to bike past them in a hurry. I was able to get past them, but K seemed to attract the attention of the pit bull and it latched on to her pants. I thought for sure it was going to drag her off the bike. For the better part of a block it kept jumping up at her legs trying to latch on. The rottweiler chased me down for about 2 blocks. Unfortunately we got separated when the dogs started running after us. I knew the dog chasing me wouldn’t catch up, but I kept having reruns of dog attacks on the news going through my head. After a while, we managed to meet back up. The dog did get at her leg, but only a small bite. Thankfully it was never able to fully grab her ankle or foot. Maybe some dog mace wouldn’t be a bad idea for the next bike accessory…..
It’s just scary to think what could have happened.

Because there’s no important work in Washington D.C.

In myth and legend there’s a magical place East of Minnesota where lawyers go to bask in the glow of happy unicorns. This amazing fabled land is called D.C. and it’s a land of great wealth and everyday is sunny, also everyone gets a balloon when they leave their apartment in the morning and magical faeries called lobbyists sprinkle pixie dust on important government representatives. Oh, and even the most moral get their fill of hookers.

It’s a magical realm,but even with all this glory and happiness it can be a sad land. You see, there just aren’t enough real issues to be legislated. So the important government representatives have to occasionally shake off their hookers, wipe the pixie dust from their clothes, and have a congressional hearing.

The pioneerpress reports House subcommittee chairman: We’re here to help NFL, Vikings’ Kevin and Pat Williams resolve differences

‘It is in all of our best interests for these parties to reach an agreement on this enormously important matter.”

Isn’t that nice? Those important lawmakers want to help those big fat rich men get along with their big fat rich bosses.

Thank God, there isn’t a war going on, or an economy that is in shambles, or a kitten caught in a tree.

It’d be terrible if our esteemed Representatives were to get distracted from the important business of the NFL.

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Corn Ethanol Fails Again

The strib reports MPCA hits Minn. ethanol producer with $425k penalty

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) said today that the violations by Bushmills Ethanol Inc. of Atwater stretched from 2006 to 2009. They included producing ethanol beyond the facility’s permitted capacity, failure to inspect and maintain production and pollution-control equipment, and exceeding allowable wastewater discharge limits.

Because of Bushmill’s violations, the MPCA said in a statement, the cooperative of more than 400 farmers “created a situation where the facility could potentially emit more regulated air pollutants than allowed by its permit.”

I just want to know when we start to get holding the flaks, that push the BS as “green”, responsible for the damage?

This line really strikes me as interesting “could potentially emit more regulated air pollutants than allowed by its permit”

Hmmm, if only Minnesota had a group that was constantly harping about any air pollutants being bad air pollutants.

… that is if only they weren’t in bed with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. . .

A Bob Dylan Christmas Album

Last night, there I was minding my own business when suddenly I was accosted by Bob Dylan and Christmas songs.

WHAT?!

Why?

Bob Collins has the scoop and a few sample songs with Ho ho ho! It’s… Bob Dylan?

Here’s my favorite comment

Matt in Woodbury: “Dylan sounds like a dying walrus that got kicked out of his boys’ choir. This album is worse than snow in October.”

Give it a listen. What do you think?

More from MPR

Does this task force make me look angry?

The other day I was talking with a friend that associates with known Officers of the Law about the people that aggrevate police during stops and I mentioned that I make it a rule to never antagonize the police to which he replied “You mean, you make it a rule to never antagonize the police that can arrest you.”

A subtle distinction or a cautious reminder?

Turns out that apparently I piss off the police.

Why? Because I write about police activity, a big no-no which has grown into a taboo. We are supposed to respect, even fear, the police and be happy when, in the event of a criminal wrong doing, they show up and do their job.

You see, it’s gotten to the point where everyone is afraid of the police. The most innocent person gets nervous when trailed and tailgated by a police car, no matter that the driver wasn’t breaking a law. Just the mere presence of Police, aka those that are supposed to protect us, makes most people nervous. I think that isn’t right.

We live in a time when a bad teacher breaks a law and they get a harsher sentence because they “need to be held to a higher standard”, but when a bad cop breaks the law they need to be shown leniency. This effectively equates to the police are held to a lower standard and at a position above the law. You know it. I know it. We all know it.

Yet few, if any, journalists ever take on this miscarriage of justice. Why? Is it because they don’t want to become targets? Wouldn’t that imply that the police target people that aren’t criminals? (Unless you think all journalists are criminals which very well may be.) Why is it that as a society we accept this abuse of power?

Not long ago I asked if our state forfeiture laws should be suspended and a grand total of 8 people voted.

Despite the widely known fact that with current forfeiture laws police can take cash money, not charge the person with any crime, and the individual still won’t be able to get the money back in court.

Well today another bigger and badder report was released by the state ,Report: Strike Force rife with misconduct, letting us know once again that justice is not being served. The report revealed large scale property seizures that were either kept for personal use by law enforcement or held and sold cheaply to their friends and family.

The report concludes,

Something went terribly wrong at the Metro Gang Strike Force, and it should not be allowed to happen gain,” the report said. It recommended that there be no stand-alone Strike Force units that are untethered from a law enforcement agency, and the report urged the Legislature to consider revamping the state’s seizure and forfeiture laws.

I have questions and so should you.
Why is it that when I am outraged by this sort of activity and call for it’s end it’s because I don’t like the police?

So then what’s it called when the state investigation comes to the same conclusion?

Let’s be clear, I don’t hate the Police or cops. I realize that for the most part they babysit the scum of the earth. It’s a tough job, but it’s not like when filled out their application they promised to do the work for free and somehow forgot to check the “Dancing With Stars” option.

Also, let’s get right to it not pretend this sort of stuff isn’t rampant and isolated to one small group or a couple of rogue cops. If that were the case grandmas wouldn’t be afraid when trailed by police and soccer moms wouldn’t be getting tased. Everyone has a story

As long as there are events like this Task Force debacle and wrongly raided houses leading to medals of valor, I just can’t see much justice in our Justice System.

The featured commenter at the Strib complains,

Why aren’t these cops being prosecuted?
They are stealing – “not mis-appropriating”!!!! I hate the double-talk – call a thief a thief!

I guess the answer may very well be because the stealing in question was done by a bad cop, and not an ordinary citizen or someone held to a “higher standard”, like a teacher.

You know polls don’t mean much in reality, but it’s interesting that my recent poll about Brett Favre got three times more votes than the forfeiture poll which involved citizens of the country having their Constitutional Rights violated and their property stolen by those that are supposed to Serve and Protect.

You can chew me out in the comments, if you’d like, but save your typical arguements of “If you ever have a burglar, don’t ever call the police then . . .”

Those arguements are B.S.

Speaking of B.S. I can’t help but wonder why the Feds don’t investigate every judge that signs a search warrant, every confidential informant that gives secret testimony, and prosecute lies and collusion using the same RICO laws they use to fight organized crime. Recent events seem to reinforce the old joke about the most armed dangerous gang on the streets being the police.

And I’m supposed to be worried about pissing off cops for not liking their abuses of the law with the citizens they are supposed to protect?

That’s funny, because all I feel is disgust.

Someone let me know when it’s safe to go back in the water.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYwzW2QFnwo[/youtube]
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Here’s the full report H/T

What if it happened to you? (Trapped in an Airplane)

The headline reads “47 trapped on ‘nightmare’ flight to the Twin Cities”, but you don’t have to get far into the story to know there’s wasn’t much ‘flight’ going on at all.

This is another story where an airline site on the tarmac for extended periods of time while the passengers are kept inside waiting.

From the story:

When Link Christin boarded a Continental Airlines flight from Houston to the Twin Cities on Friday night, he expected to be on the ground in about three hours and ready for a comfy bed.

Instead, he was among 47 passengers who spent the night trapped inside a small airplane, parked at the Rochester airport, complete with crying babies and the aroma of over-used toilets.

The ExpressJet Airlines that operated the plane says the flight was diverted to Rochester because of Twin Cities thunderstorms, and that airline regulations prevented passengers from getting off the plane.

Christin is incredulous that the airline couldn’t figure out an option besides trapping passengers on the plane for nine hours

I have to admit, this is one of my only fears of flying. It happened to me one time on a flight to Atlanta where we couldn’t land because of storms and the plane actually ran out of fuel and was diverted to an army base in Birmingham. We refueled, and then they kept us for hours upon hours sitting on the tarmac.

I think we were supposed to arrive at MSP around 4pm and it was after midnight when we actuallly arrived.

It may just be my perception, but it seems like these types of delay have been becoming more and more frequent and some of the time it seems like an inconvenience and others it seems like a kidnapping.

What do you think?

[poll=8]

Just Another Music Friday – 08/07/09

Leaning Couch - Eat Street

Leaning Couch - Eat Street

This picture uploaded on July 22, 2009 by Tony Cachaca of two fellas sitting on a couch on Eat Street is pure rock and roll.

It’s like that song sitting on a leaning couch. Wait no, not that song.

Anyway, here’s Slug kicking a drunk out of First Avenue.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_Em5haKj7Q[/youtube]

What’s in your shuffle?

Take the money and run.

It appears that last year the Long-arm-of-the-law had some issues filling their coffers with forfeiture booty.

The Strib reports Criminal forfeitures down last year in Minnesota

The state’s law enforcement agencies last year confiscated fewer items from convicted criminals and netted less cash from those items, the Minnesota Auditor’s office reported today.

The office’s annual report on cash and property seized found that 225 agencies realized just over $3.8 million in 2008, down 21 percent from the total a year earlier.

After expenses were deducted, the agencies realized net income of $3.5 million.

The overall number of seizures also dropped by 22 percent from 2007 to 2008, to a total of 3,823.

Typically when posting a poll I try to at least give the guise of objectiveness, but in this case I take issue with even the mere wording of “Criminal forfeitures” since many, if not most, forfeitures occur before there has been a criminal trial. Then if a person wants their property back they have to go through a civil trial in which their property actually becomes the defendant, essentially saying “I’m happy with the state. I don’t want to belong to my prior owner.”

Aside from the obvious risk of abuse I find the entire concept of our government taking property without first proving that it was gained illegally to be entirely ludicrous and offensive to the extreme.

Now I ask you, my lovely readers, am I way off base?

[poll=7]

While you try to make up your mind here’s some kids that made a video to a Steve Miller song that will get stuck in your head.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFGZufk4HFs[/youtube]

oooo oooo oooo

The stupid tax is $110 per person

According to the MSP Airport’s Web site, “In 2008, MSP served 34 million passengers.”*

So of those 34 million*, apparently 20,000 people get lost trying to find the right airport terminal every year.

This is apparently a very big deal, as the Metropolitan Airports Commission’s finance, development and environment committee voted this morning to spend $2.2 million to improve signs directing travelers to the two airport terminals.

That’s $1.2 million more than it was a month ago, and $2.2 million more than zero dollars.

Per my “free” alternative suggestions last month, when you purchase a ticket, it already tells you which terminal your flight leaves from. When you check-in or look up your flight online, it tells you which terminal your flight leaves from, too.

Given the economy, price of airline tickets and growing carrier fees — and the fact that 33,980,000* MSP visitors aren’t having trouble distinguishing between the airports — it sure seems like a better alternative to me. Expecting folks to pay attention is much cheaper than $2.2 million for 20,000 people.

* (note: I don’t expect all of those 34 million originated from driving into one of the two terminals, but it’s a good ballpark to work from)

Taste of Minnesota forces food down your throat

picture-2After some back and forth with David and the @tasteofmn folks on Twitter tonight, I finally jumped on my computer to check out the site and band line-up. Why?

Well, they built their Web site in flash, and it won’t load on my Blackberry Bold, which is my primary surfing device. Strike 1.

And although the band line-up does feature Judas Priest and Whitesnake, they aren’t enough for me to make the trek out of the burbs. Strike 2.

And I discover you have to PAY TO GET IN this year. Strike 3.

That’s it. I’m not going this year.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Taste of Minnesota (see posts from 2006, 2007).

I used to live in downtown St. Paul where I could see the evening fireworks from my balcony. We would walk over every evening, listen to the awesome classic rock bands (Kansas, Deep Purple, Charlie Daniels, Alice Cooper) and get raped on 8-ticket juicy lucys. Some nights my wife and I would split something, spending less than $10 total. But some nights I myself wouldn’t spend any money — instead just enjoying the festival, people and festivities while our friends blew their wallets on fried things and powdered thats and super expensive beer and lemonade. We went every night one year and have gone multiple nights every year.

But this year, going multiple nights will be pricey up front, and despite the recession, my wife and I would have to pay $20 (plus parking and gas, mind you) just to get in the gates. Festival organizers say they need to charge an entrance fee to keep out the riff-raff, justifying it by saying visitors will get $10 in food tickets and they only charge after 3 p.m. If you ask me, 3 p.m. is a looooong time before the 8:30 headliner time.

Personally, I don’t like them forcing you to buy food tickets and think it will severely limit their turnout far beyond the riff-raff their hoping to keep out. That’s too bad for local bands like Quietdrive, The 757s and Throw the Fight (whose lead singer is battling cancer, and I believe this is their first show back).

What do you think? Will a family of four over the age of 12 really shell out $40 just to get in the gates? Will the entrance fee keep you away?

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