Thursday, March 31, 2005

A smoke-free evening

Thanks to Minneapolis' smoking ban, Famous Dave's is about $30 richer. That's about what I and two of my friends spent to see Commander Cody play and have a few drinks. We hadn't done that for years because the smoke would make me physically ill.

For the last 10 years I felt I had been banned from enjoying live music. It was liberating to go out again.

Judging from the crowd size, I'm not alone in that opinion. The place was packed on a Thursday night and when the singer of the opening band made reference to the smoking ban, there were many more cheers than boos.

For those of you who feel imposed upon by the ban, you have my sympathy. Addiction is a tough thing to battle.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Money and Free Speech

Something is generally free because it is ubiquitous. The air is free because it is everywhere and it is a fundamental need to maintain life.

Free speech is the air of our democracy. It's recognized in our constitution's First Amendment.

However, when you put a price on free speech, by definition it becomes controlled and is by definition no longer ubiquitous. The Federal Election Commission is attempting to put a dollar value on internet speech so it can regulate it. Free speech would no longer be "free"

Bloggers and other protectors of free speech are rightly worried about this and have rallied to oppose the move. Unfortunately, this is like cutting off the top of a weed without pulling out the root. The problem is going to come back time and time again.

What is the root of this problem? It's equating spending dollars with free speech. Political spending should be regulated. Free speech should not. When you tie the two together, political spending becomes hard to regulate and free speech becomes stifled. That's a muddy compromise that serves no one except special interests seeking to buy influence instead of earning it with open and reasoned arguments.

The solution? Find a way to untie dollars and free speech, or eliminate the need for most political spending.

If you have some thoughts on how this can be done, drop me an email or post it here.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Sen. Bachmann's unintended consequences

Has anybody actually read the "Gay Marriage" constitutional amendment that Sen. Michelle Bachmann has proposed?
Sec. 13. Only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota. Any other relationship shall not be recognized as a marriage or its legal equivalent.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, the language as written could have some unintended consequences. In Ohio where a similar constitutional amendment passed, the state may not be able to enforce a domestic violence law in situations where people are not married.

That raises other questions-- such as will it then be illegal for companies or the government to offer domestic partner benefits to their employees? The city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Public Library are examples of government units that offer domestic partner benefits. American Express, American Airlines, Disney, Fannie Mae, Fox Television, Knight-Ridder, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota Public Radio, Northwest Airlines and St. Paul Companies are just a few of the companies doing business in Minnesota that offer domestic partner benefits.

I thought Republicans were for protecting families and against the state telling businesses what to do.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Kennedy losing support?

Mark Kennedy apparently sounded very bad Wednesday morning on KSTP-AM. Several of his supporters are taken aback by his answer to a question about homeland security. Kennedy was reportedly asked about a slip up in Hawaii where the state had posted a confidential report about terrorism on its website. He apprently went into a "blame the media" act which did not come off very well to his supporters.

Details in the Republican blogs at:
Residual Forces
Koolaid Report

Did anyone hear (or tape) the show and can add more detail?

It sounds like something that needs to get wider media exposure.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Banning "Gay Marriage" Is A Waste Of Time

Mary Clifford, a columnist for the St. Cloud Times makes some very good points. Take a few minutes to read it here. There are more important things to focus on if you are deeply concerned about creating a good environment for families.

I've listed some of Clifford's suggestions in a poll on the site.

"Gay Marriage" is a wedge issue of distraction from the right. It is there to whip up support from the hard-core right but does nothing to really solve society's ills- economic, social or moral - and does damage to society by creating a second-class of people based upon their sexual orientation.

Wasn't there something about everyone being equal in our Declaration Of Independence?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Cynical Opportunism Poster Child

Thanks to Al Juhnke for the graphic!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Bachmann "sky is falling" alert

Last November, 13 Republican Representatives were voted out of office because the legislature accomplished little in 2004. One of the major reasons little got done was Rep. Michele Bachmann's attempt to amend Minnesota's constitution to legalize discrimination against gays.

You think the Republican party would have learned from that painful experience. Apparently not as evidenced by her Bachmann's announcement today.

Let's take a look at few of the important pressing issues facing the legislature this session:
1) Unbalanced budget with no "accounting tricks" left to use or funds left to raid.
2) An unguarded border to our north and no money to secure it.
3) A system that taxes the poor at nearly twice the rate of the rich.
4) Deteriorating roads and other infrastructure

These are all real pressing problems that get a 10 on the pressing issue scale

Oh yes... and then there's the "threat" gay marriage poses to us.

Rep. Bachmann somehow believes if we don't act, gays will be in our schools recruiting children to become homosexuals. I'm not exaggerating... listen for yourself.

In terms of threats, this ranks just below preventing attacks by little green men from Mars.

If Republicans really want to avoid a repeat of the last legislative session and the consequences it had for them, they'll kill her bill in committee.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Guess who is against gambling?

Here's an interesting quote:
"It's not a proper function of government, to be running and owning and profiting from gambling operations. That's not really part of our Constitution, or the vision that our founding fathers had for our state."
Guess who said it?

If you said Governor Tim Pawlenty, you have a longer memory than most Republicans wish you did. He made the statement in a Minnesota Public Radio interview just a few months after taking office.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Tax Truth Published In Eagan