I was going to say that I'm not angry about Franken being declared the winner of the US Senate race in Minnesota, but right off the bat he has seriously pissed me off. The SOB's press conference is preempting Jeopardy right now.
What a freaking asshole.
Ok, to be fair to old Al, he kept it short, so it was only a five minute loss of Jeopardy time. What I was going to write before was that the words "Senator Al Franken" do not seem as horrifying today as they did in early November. I'm still disappointed, but I think most of us were resigned to it ending up this way.
Politics aside, I think Franken is a nasty and boorish little man. I don't think he reflects the temperament of most Minnesotans, and that will become obvious after he takes his seat. That he garnered just barely over 50% of the vote in a year where Obama's coattail effect was so strong was telling I think. I'll bet he only has a hardcore base of about 30% and it won't take him long to start alienating the rest. My prediction: One-term wonder.
I suspect that Coleman did get the shaft in the way the recount was handled, but in any election of this scale(2.4 million votes) that comes down to 312 votes, the loser will always have a case for that. No system is going to be that perfect. I'm not sure what the solution is to close cases like this or even if there is a better one than what we have already.
The cynic in me dryly notes though, that the biggest lesson from the whole recount drama is that when people say "every vote must be counted," what they really mean is "every vote must be counted until the result I want is reached."
I got a pleasant surprise this morning when I walked out the door, something that has been a bit rare lately. Not that my life is terrible or anything, but things are pretty tight financially and there are a number of things that I want to do with the yard/property to spruce things up. The ones that just involve a little toil, I am doing. The ones that are going to cost some coin are stressing me a bit. A little background first.
Since my great personal and professional crash of 2005, something I haven't really shared much about here, I've been slowly trying to get back to the type of life I want and the kind of person I want to be. It has not been a smooth process; steps forward, steps backwards, and sometimes no steps at all. I've thought about what happened and had looked at it all as a "meltdown", but I think now that what Sheila describes in one of her posts as a "swerve" is more accurate:
There are many facets to life, and the point seems to be (to me) to
figure out how to not recoil in ALL areas of your life, just because
you have experienced a disappointment in ONE area. My friend David made
me see, yesterday, that that is, in essence, what my script is about.
Sometimes in life, we over-correct ourselves, after a bad rejection,
professionally or personally. We take a huge swerve in the other
direction and then have to go about undoing all the damage done by that
Yeah, I swerved. One of the things I recoiled from was taking care of the yard and property. I did enough to keep the city off my butt, but that was about it. The last couple of years I've been plugging away at things and I'm now at the point where I need to do stuff like redo the front steps/sidewalk. The steps at the front door are sagging away from the house and the step by the city sidewalk got wrecked by the city sidewalk plow, again, this year. The walk between the two is also starting to crack and slant and looks like crap. All in all, not good.
I had called the city earlier this year about their snowplow damaging my step and their response at the time was that the city has at least a 3" easement from the sidewalk and that since the step abutted the sidewalk, it was probably out of code. If that was the case, they would most likely hit me with a fix-it ticket, maybe to include the front walk since they would see that. Then I would have 30 days to get it all fixed, this time giving the city their easement. That meant tearing out the existing walk and fixing everything on my own dime. Not a disaster by any means, but cash is tough right now. One thing the city guy did say was that they would be redoing my street and sidewalks this summer and maybe he could talk to the project engineer about cutting me a deal, since they would be pouring concrete anyway. I said fair enough, but if the answer was no I didn't want someone hitting me with a fix-it ticket. I never heard back from the guy and just assumed the answer was no.
So anyway, I walked out the door this morning and a city employee was marking up not just the city sidewalk along the street, but my own front walk as well. We got to talking and it turns out that not only are they going to redo the step in front for me, they will do about 16' of my front walk, "to do it right". Hot dang.
But wait, it gets better. Since they are redoing the grade of the street and the sidewalk a little they will have to redo my driveway opening at the curb. The current driveway has a fairly steep angle to it, if it hits it too fast a small car could scrape its bumper. The city employee didn't like that. He figures he needs to regrade about 15' of my driveway to do that right, so they will pour new concrete for that too. It would leave me with a part concrete/part asphalt driveway, but is that a big deal?
And...The street reconstruction and the 180' of city sidewalk along my lot that will be replaced as part of the project? It's a state aid project for certain city arteries, I can't remember the term he used. Total property assessments for me: $0.
I'm going to talk to the contractor to see how much he would charge to do the remaining front walk and steps, since they will be there for the city work anyway. I don't really want to spend the money on that right now either, but if it's a good enough deal it makes sense.
God, that would be one more big thing off my plate. A good win.
more: After savoring this a little more, I think it's a good example of how treating people decently, even if I think I'm entitled to assume an angry and aggrieved pose, is better in the long run. Reaming on people is not my style, but in this case I had thought about it as a tactic to use to get something done. Aside from being generally wrong, here that would have been a huge mistake I think. It's not like I need a lot of reinforcement in this area, but it's a good reminder to first give people a chance.
The tomato plants are looking a little scrawny. They continue to produce flowers, and now a handful of actual tomatoes have appeared.
The terrorist bunnies got to some of the corn shoots. I think I was a day or two late with the second application of Liquid Fence. The rest are doing well and the ones that did get nibbled may come back. The pepper plant that got stripped bare and the cilantro have both come back. I don't know if the corn shoots that got hit will, but maybe. If they don't, I'll use the space for something else in the next two weeks.
The package on the radishes says 22 days to harvest. I don't think so. They are doing fine, but I'm guessing two weeks behind.
The heavy rain last night just pounded the carrot tops flat. The same thing happened to the radish plants earlier and they popped right back. We'll see what tomorrow brings.
Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty happy with the progress so far. I got the second round of beans, carrots, onions, and radishes in today. Directly below is a pic from today, and for comparison, below that is a reminder of how it looked four weeks ago when it was first planted.(click photos to enlarge)
House Minority Leader John Boehner is not exactly my favorite politician in the world, but he was exactly right last evening when he answered Rep. Henry Waxman's attempt to shut him up with this:
"The gentleman's had his thirty years to put this bill together, and the house is going to spend a whopping five hours debating the most profound piece of legislation to come to this floor in a hundred years. And uh...and the chairman has the audacity to drop a three hundred plus page amendment in the hopper at 3:09 A.M. this morning. And so I would ask my colleagues, don't you think the American people expect us to understand what's in this bill before we vote on it?"
Just 14 hours after dropping a 310 page amendment into an already far-reaching and massive bill, one that was issued out of committee in "final" form only two days before, our House of Representatives approved it after a measly five hours of floor debate.
There is still hope that this boondoggle can be stopped in the US Senate. If you haven't been paying much attention to the issue, I urge you to start now. If you are wondering why, or if it even has an impact on you, stop and take a look around the room you are in. If this legislation is enacted, it is going to artificially raise the future cost of 80% or more of the energy used to produce, transport, and sell to you everything in that room. Ditto for everything in your refrigerator. That's just the raw cost of energy. Heaven knows what the costs will be from the thousands of regulations that will be issued because of this legislation.
I am not opposed to seeing the world move to non-carbon based energy. I am also not opposed to subsidizing basic research to try to make those energy sources cost effective replacements to burning coal, oil, or gas. What this bill does though, is coerce us into adopting conservation and energy production methods that are not cost effective now. If they were, the market would have embraced them already. We are going to pay billions for that in prices and taxes, billions that we might better spend on health care, education, and yes, a better standard of living for future generations.
Regardless of what one thinks about climate change, we ought to have the intelligence, decency, and just plain common sense to discuss exactly what we are doing here. That the Democratic leadership does not want that to happen, in fact is desperate to avoid it, should tell you everything you need to know.
My geekdom has been completed with dsl. Now I can come home from work on a Friday evening, fire up C-SPAN, and watch the House of Representatives. Haha...I'm not sick, but I'm not well.
The Cap and Trade issue is hugely important. There will be other fights ahead even if the current bill passes the House this evening, but I think this is a historic moment. If it is stopped tonight, it will at least give Americans a chance to really absorb what this is all about. At 3:00 A.M. this morning, another 300 page amendment was added to a bill that had ballooned already just days ago. And yet Democrats are insisting on moving forward with just a few hours to comprehend the entire bill and debate it. The Democrat's process on this bill makes a mockery out of open democracy.
But with that, they will own it. They are deliberately introducing scarcity into the vast majority of energy production in this country. They aren't doing it directly, but by limiting the allowance of permits to emit the byproducts of energy production, primarily carbon dioxide. They will ramp down the amount permitted over time. Basic economics says that as you make something more scarce, it will become more expensive.
Looks like the vote is on.
Update: Passed. 219-212, with 8 Republicans voting for. Hall of Shame to come.
The Democrats have just gone all-in. They are now on a path that says they can dictate the use of energy in this country and what is worthy of that or not, and how much it costs. One can try to say that no, they are just dictating that non-carbon based energy should be used, but non-carbon based energy production is not even close to making up for the gap in what will be needed to grow the economy. The squeeze will be on, and it's going to hurt.
When your electricity bill jumps up, and you suffer electrical brownouts/blackouts, remember this moment.
When you decide not to take that weekend trip because you can't or don't want to spend the money on gasoline, remember this moment.
When you lose your job because the product you help make is now made overseas, remember this moment.
When you lose your job importing the products that are no longer affordable to make here, remember this moment.
When you can't afford the products that used to be made here, but are now only expensive imports, remember this moment.
When you lose your job because all of the others who used to buy your products or services can't afford them, remember this moment.
And as your children and grandchildren scrabble to make a living and only dream of the civilization and freedom you once enjoyed, remember this moment.
Nothing icky, I promise. From a care conference this afternoon: Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. It turns out that a blow to the head can dislodge crystals in the inner ear that can create this type of vertigo if the head is moved certain ways. Mom's physical therapist diagnosed that condition this morning and was optimistic that a few PT treatments would alleviate it. If that works it will be a huge improvement at this point, as mom is chafing at the orders to not move anywhere, even from wheelchair to bed, without an aide present. If those treatments work, she will be much freer to move around on her own and maybe even be home by next weekend.
The physical therapist was very confident, along the lines of, "seen it many times, fixed it many times." Cross your fingers.
I am less than enthusiastic about Favre coming to Minnesota at this point and my sense is that most Vikings fans are also. I would have been enthusiastic if he had gotten the surgery he needed earlier in the year and joined the rest of the team for the mini-camps. He didn't though, and last Friday head coach Brad Childress had this to say:
Vikings coach Brad Childress told Twin Cities radio station KFAN on Friday that Brett Favre
is "pain free" and that the key factors in whether the quarterback ends
his retirement to play for the Vikings are endurance and stamina.
"Does he have the endurance and the stamina in that arm yet? He
doesn't know that yet," Childress said. "He's got to build some
endurance in that and see if he thinks he can get it back to where he
wants to get it to."
Swell. Well, maybe he can get into shape in the next month. Maybe he can get a handle on running the offense and the timing with the receivers. Maybe he has the endurance to get through the season. I have my doubts that he will prove worth the circus that will descend.
PFT says the Vikings and Favre are putting off the announcement until July 3rd, where, presumably, media people will be on vacation. The idea is to cut down on as much of the media circus as they can, but I don't know if that's the greatest plan, either. If anyone in the Vikings organization thinks John Clayton won't immediately throw down his hamburger, shove a child to the ground and sprint through a fireworks display in order to get close to Brett Favre, I believe they're mistaken.
Haha, Clayton and about a million other sports reporters.
When the University of Minnesota moved it's football games to the Metrodome years ago, it became a rarity among Big Ten schools in that alcohol was sold to the general public. This year those football games will be back on campus at a new stadium and the university had planned on allowing, though not selling, alcohol in private suites. Alcohol would not be available to the general public. That was already the policy for hockey and basketball games.
That didn't sit too well with a lot of folks and the legislature passed a law this year that limited the U's options to all or none. Faced with that choice, the U has decided on none, for everyone:
Thirsty fans will be limited to water and soft drinks at all
University of Minnesota sporting events, the Board of Regents decided
Under pressure from legislators angered by the university's plan to
sell alcohol only in the private suites and premium seats at the new
TCF Bank Stadium, the regents voted 10 to 2 to make all athletic events
on campus alcohol free.
If it was up to me, I would allow alcohol to be sold at all events. It's part of life and dealing with it responsibly should be part of campus life too. But if it is not going to be allowed for those in the cheap seats, I can't see how you can justify carving out an exception for the well-heeled in the suites. Certainly the suites are a more controlled environment than the general seating, but it smacks too much of elitism and privilege. And it's a bit of an insult to those who could otherwise legally drink, but can't afford or are not connected enough to sit in a suite.
Ultimately it doesn't really matter that much to me. I like having a beer or two at a game, but it's not like it's a requirement to enjoy a game. The new rules aren't going to keep me away from a game I want to go to.