Sunday Meditation: Because I Haven’t Anything Else

I have ideas for blogs floating around in my head but I am so sick of the current level of political discourse that I don’t even want to think about it anymore…I don’t have the energy to address it…so for today…and I know it’s not Thursday…here’s some music:

P.S. Thank you to the subscribers who have sent me articles to consider or riff off of: ES and SP particularly.

Calling Out the Cop Lobby

Next door in Minnesota a heated debate is brewing about legalizing medical marijuana. Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has said he’ll sign a medical marijuana bill, but only if the state’s top law enforcement officials will get behind it. But they won’t.

So second term State Rep. Carly Melin (D-Hibbing) is doing what someone should have done a long, long time ago. She’s wondering out loud what the true motives of law enforcement’s opposition to medical marijuana really are, and maybe even more importantly, wondering why law enforcement officials should have such a central role in a policy debate that ought to be left to public health officials, the medical community, and regular citizens.

Melin is claiming that during an attempt to negotiate a compromise bill with Minnesota’s top law enforcement associations Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association,  ” explicitly told her that he was worried that legalization — in any form — could  lead to harmful reductions in the federal grants that are an important funding  source for many police agencies. ” Apparently another concern is that legalized marijuana will reduce the boost to budgets associated with seizing assets from marijuana busts.

Melin was careful to say that she thinks many in law enforcement have legitimate concerns about medical marijuana and public safety, but added that the uncompromising posture of Minnesota’s top cops makes it “ pretty obvious that something else is going on here.”

At the very least it seems to me that law enforcement agencies with a strong financial incentive to maintain the status quo, and for the most part without the proper background or education necessary to contribute thoughtfully to this debate, shouldn’t have the loudest voice in the room on  marijuana legalization/decriminalization, medical or otherwise.

So good on Carly Melin for having the courage to say out loud what needs to be said.

Bad on Mark Dayton for his deference to a cop lobby with a stance on this issue that ought to be, at the very least, suspect.

The Latest Reality Show

This is the webcam at the Government Accountability Board Office where they are reviewing recall petitions.  So far nobody has jumped up and down to show a signature of Mickey Mouse to a friend, though the woman with the dyed black hair was making eyes at Kevin Kennedy about 9:00 pm on Thursday night.  The scene may be a bit les active soon, as it looks like everyone is passing around colds like they were in preschool. 

The amount of binder clips and postit notes boggle the mind.  Anyway, have fun with it.

Oh, thanks go to Blue Cheddar for pointing this out.  There must be some use for it.  Perhaps we could devise a drinking game based on the web cam, or maybe a funnier version of MST3000?

Life’s short….tell someone you love them

Earlier today a friend and co-worker lost her fight with cancer. She was a hell of a fighter and a hell of a person, and she’ll be missed. My friend was only a few years older than I am, reminding me just how short life can be and how suddenly it can come to an end.

Be sure to tell the folks that matter most to you just how much you love them.

Common – part 2

We touched on the \"Common Controversy\" yesterday, and called it silly. After re-thinking it a little bit, I think the White House sends a message as to who they invite to visit them and who they associate themselves with. The Bush administration would NEVER do something like that: O wait!

In case you don’t know who National Security Advisor Condi’s “good friend” is, Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema. Nguema is “one of the most brutal, most corrupt and unreconstructed dictators in the world”;

H/T Think Progress!

PS: I want to be clear that I am NOT comparing Common to Teodoro Obiang Nguema at ALL. I still think the “Common story” is the ultimate non-story. I am just pointing out the incredible hypocrisy and fake outrage of the right wing echo chambers and Fox “news”.

Show me what democracy looks like


In the Village of Cottage Grove, we found out recently, that we have a royal family and no one is allowed in and no one can be voted out.

As I wrote yesterday the Village Board was getting ready to appoint registered (secret) lobbyist Paula Severson to fill out a one year term that was left open when Diane Wiedenbeck defeated Mike Mikalsen for Village President. Paula Severson was a sitting board member and ran for re-election. There were three spots open (with 5 candidates) and she finished a distant fourth.

When I realized that two board members(David Viken and Jeff Weigand) purposely went around newly elected president Weidenbeck and put the appointment of Severson on the agenda. Meant to not only subvert the process, but also meant to disrespect her as the duly elected president. Having looked at the agenda, I sent the following letter to the members of the Village Board.

I am writing to strongly oppose the appointment of Paula Severson to fulfill the one year term that was made available with the election of Diane Wiedenbeck as Village President. I feel that this appointment needs to be a well thought out, above board, and completely open process in appointing someone to serve the remainder of this term.

We just held an election in the Village, with a very good turn out, where the people spoke clearly that the way things have been done the last two years were not acceptable. When Jack Henrich applied to fulfill Scott Norton’s term, the fact that he had recently finished second in the election was of no consequence. It should carry no weight here either.

With a new election and new board make-up, please do not start out the new term by dividing the community again. The village and the state has had enough of such petty partisan fast tracked politics and it is time to end it.

Let’s do the right thing and make this an open process for everyone in the village to be heard.

Thank you for your time.

My letter of course fell upon deaf ears, as this move was planned, signed, sealed and delivered for quite some time. Despite the fact that two years ago, against massive public outcry, the village board appointed Mike Mikalsen to the presidency. Thus denying the village the vote and dividing the people. Even though the village let it be known at the ballot box that that kind of politics is unacceptable, they went ahead and appointed Paula within the first 45 minutes of the meeting to serve another year. It was very important to them to appoint her quickly so that she did not have to apply for the position. They did not want to cause Ms. Severson any “anguish”(they knew that there would be strong opposition within the village to her appointment, and did not want her subject to that).

It is ironic that Paula Severson, who was upset that some people met at a public building, spent two weeks in private planning her way back on the board. This is NOT what democracy or leadership look like. It amazes me how someone who so clearly subverted the democratic process was thinking that they were “serving” the public. Her votes and voice will be diminished by how deceptive she was in taking a position she did not earn. It is too bad that President Wiedenbeck, and trustees Viken, Zielke and newly elected Jennifer Pickel (who ran on a platform of independence and transparency, unfortunately displayed neither in her first vote) decided to show such contempt for the citizens and electorate of Cottage Grove. You wonder why there is such apathy in the electorate when the the results can be so easily and quickly ignored!

The Solution:
What should have happened was the board to post and publicize the year opening and take applications. Thus allowing everyone in the village to not only apply for the position, but also to weigh in on the people who did apply. This assures that the person who is representing the village has faced public scrutiny and then is accountable to the people. That is what democracy looks like. What leadership would look like, is for Ms. Severson to resign and go through the process. That would be the true mark of leader, and the sign that she truly felt she was the best candidate. This would also be the only way to truly legitimize her position as village trustee.

PS: For those who think I have a vendetta against Ms. Severson, while I disagree with her politics, they would not be correct. During her time on the Village Board she has served on the Emergency Services Committee. After she was voted out, she expressed an interest in remaining on the committee. I feel that there is room for everyone to serve their community regardless of their political affiliations. I also feel that ALL voices having an open and honest discussion is what leads to a better society. In that vein, I sent the following letter to the Village Board asking for them to please keep her on the Emergency Services Committee. The village sent a message that they did not want her on the village board(and I concurred), but there is room for all who want to serve on a committee.

As someone who was very active in the last election and what is happening in my community, I would like to recommend that Paula Severson retain her spot on the EMS commission. While I continue to question her understanding of what a “public” building is, I do not question her dedication to helping out the community through her work on the EMS commission. I think she has performed a valuable service on that committee and hope that she is allowed to continue on in this capacity.

Thank you and congratulations to the recent election winners.

Cross Posted at Forward lookout.

Sandy Pasch to oppose Alberta Darling

It looks Republican State Senator Alberta Darling has an opponent, as Democratic State Rep. Sandy Pasch has announced she’ll oppose Darling in the recall election in the 8th State Senate district.

“One of the main reasons I’m running in this recall election is because of the huge cuts and hits that is happening to public education in the state of Wisconsin,” Pasch said.

While Sen. Darling has already busied herself raising bucketloads of money from her big business backers, Rep. Pasch will be a formidable opponent for Sen. Darling, who narrowly beat former Democratic State Rep. Sheldon Wasserman in 2008 to retain her seat. Sandy Pasch couldn’t present a more stark contrast with Sen. Darling, who’s far from being the moderate she would have voters believe she is, based on her voting record as a State Senator.

If you’d like to make a contribution to help Sandy Pasch beat Alberta Darling on July 12, surf over to ActBlue and make a contribution!

They have a candidate….?

Senator Jim Holperin, is the subject of a recall election. Local tea party organizer Kim Simac, will be announcing her candidacy to run against Senator Holperin. Why Kim Simac you may ask? because Dan Baltes was busy) But I digress, back to Ms. Simac.

Ms. Simac is the author of numerous children’s books, including deposed Fox talk show crazy, Glen Beck’s favorite children’s book “With My Rifle By My Side”.

Now that she will be busy running for office trying to take our rights away and sell our power plants to the lowest bidder, she might be too busy to write. So I thought as a community service for the children, we could help her with future books. She nailed the idea of a children’s book perfectly with her last one. So I thought we could help her out with future ones. I am sure she is a brilliant writer, so let’s just help her with more titles as appropriate to children as “With My Rifle By My Side.” that would make the “tea party” proud.

Here are some of my ideas, lets hear yours:

” My favorite swear words”

“One Fish, Two Fish, but only White Fish”

” Fox in Socks and American Flag dress shirts”

“How the grinch saved Christmas, from all of those commie bastards that say Happy Holidays”

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: who grew up to be a Congressman from Janesville”

“The Tale of Despereaux: Scott Walkers national ambitions”

\"Randy Hopper and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day\"

“Scooby Doo and the mystery of the Blue Painters Tape”

“the Very Hungry Caterpillar: who is a lazy bastard on welfare who refuses to get a job and wants us to provide everything for him”

“Greenilicious: the story of the fight for the Koch Brothers campaign money”

“The Rainbow Fish Chooses to be that way”

Your turn: