Monday, September 28, 2009


Public polling has not been kind to the administration regarding health care, or at least that is what the Main Stream media wants you to believe. The hidden truth, is that even though things have been a bit bumpy for the President, they are much worse for the opposition:
Take a recent CBS/NY Times poll as an example:

* 52% of Americans trust Obama to make the right decisions for health, while only 27% feel Republicans are more trustworthy.

* 60% think Obama is trying to work with Republicans. Only 30% think Republicans are trying to do the same.

* just 30% have a good view of Congressional Repubs. 47% have a favorable view of Dems.
A party can dissent without being obstructionists. Unless the Right starts providing meaty and hard alternatives rather then 'just say no' politics. they will just further alienate themselves from the electorate.

As one who does have legitimate concerns about the current proposals on the table, I hope they do decided to work together. We are close, time to put the country first.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Of course, it is the Left that is actually offering solutions for the Right to shoot down and offer nothing in return. But its still worth a giggle. Which brings me to an oldie but goodie from several weeks ago:

Interesting sidebar, Fall started yesterday, so make those phone calls, NOW! What's that, they want even MORE time, now . . . shocked, shocked I say!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Wear a Helmet

My Nieces' best friend was involved in a motorcycle accident over the weekend. It didn't turn out good:
A 21-year-old woman died Sunday from injuries she suffered after the motorcycle she was riding on crashed.

Chelsey D. Nielson, of Elk River, was injured on Saturday sometime between midnight and 1 a.m., when the rear tire of the motorcycle went flat, causing the driver to lose control. The bike and both riders went down and skidded into a ditch, resulting in serious injuries to both, the State Patrol said.
Her cousin Jared writes a Good Bye letter:

I don't know what to say, you're leaving us when you are too young, too smart, have too much potential and are entirely too loved. Words can't begin to describe the hole created in each of our hearts. This planet will never again be the same without you. The day is a shade darker for the rest of time.

I can't make it apparent enough how thankful I am that I was able to be related to you, able to know you. I'm so happy that we were able to spend Labor Day weekend together. I had the best time spending that time with you. Thank you so much for staying up late talking with us. I'm so happy I was able to play a few rounds of games with you, and I'm even more happy that you were on my team. I'm sorry I didn't get to design your tattoo. I know Braxton and I had the most amazing time tubing with you. We all enjoyed your company.

I'm sorry that we never got around to eating at Benihana. I'm sure it would have been a night to remember, and I think that I would have been able to get you to try some sushi. And between me and you, I think you would have liked it.

I love you more than I let you believe, and I let you believe every time I saw you.

I'll NEVER forget our times in Alaska, I'll NEVER forget our times at the lake, I'll NEVER forget our times making candy with grandma, I'll NEVER forget the vacation you spent with my family and I. I'll NEVER forget how much you meant to me, and I'll NEVER forget you.

Until I see you again.

Love always,
Neither the driver or rider were wearing a helmet. The driver is in an induced coma, and even if he makes it, speculation is there will be brain damage.

If you ride, be smart, wear a helmet. It's not as much for you as it is for those who love you. I started wearing a bike helmet as goofy as it looks, cause I'd rather look goofy and be alive, then the alternative.


Funeral Arrangements:

Visitation will be at Dare's Funeral Services, 805 Main St NW,
Elk River, MN 55330-1506 (763) 441-1212 on Wednesday, September 23 from 4 to 8 pm.

The funeral mass will be at St. Andrew's Church, 566 4th St NW
Elk River, MN 55330-1496 (763) 441-1483 on Thursday, September 24 at 1:00 pm, visitation one hour before mass in church gathering area.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Donklephant on Baucus Bill

Justin at Donklephant echoes what I have been thinking:
However, my point in a previous post is that if Repubs don’t want to come to the table for legislation that’s a genuine attempt at bipartisanship, well, they probably never wanted to play ball in the first place. At least not play ball as the minority party, which brings with it the reality that the legislation is going to be written by the opposition and include a fair share of their ideas.

And I’ll repeat again what I said over there…the Baucus bill has ZERO publicly run options, the CBO says it’ll reduce the budget deficit, has a clause to allow these new privately run, not-for-profit co-ops the chance to phase out and no employer mandates. These are all things that Republicans said they wanted, but now they’re calling the bill purely partisan?
The Right hates the bill because it has a D on it, the left hates the bill because it doesn't have public option, I am intrigued by the bill because the the genuine compromise being offered up specifically in the non profit co-op solution. The President seems interested as well:
At the White House, after the delays and drama of summer, strategists spoke finally of movement and a possible path toward success on the president's centerpiece domestic policy goal. To keep up the pressure, Obama met with three lawmakers who had warned they would not support the Baucus bill.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), who is upset that Baucus did not include a public health insurance option, tempered his criticism after a private meeting with Obama, signaling that he hopes to work out a compromise.

"Nothing is clearer than the president's commitment to providing affordable and effective health care for all Americans, and he and I are united in our efforts to deliver on this promise," he said.

Lawmakers and lobbyists alike cautioned that Obama remains far from a White House signing ceremony and that perhaps the greatest danger at this point is death by a thousand legislative changes.
Sure, death by a 1000 amendments, where great ideas turn into bad decisions. Lets hope that isn't the case this time.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Balking at Baucus Bill?

Another piece of legislation is hitting congress (PDF), this time it is the Senate Finance committee chairs attempt. This bill was painstakingly put together, with bi partisan input. One thing is clear, even tho significant concessions were made to the GOP, including a fiscally neutral bill with no public option, no member of the minority party is on board. See, the Right, regardless of what they say, simply don't want anything to succeed for fear of becoming even more politically irrelevant. Fortunately, there are enough grown-ups involved in the process that reform will happen, only its form is still in transition.

On the surface you even have the Left discouraged about the lack of a public option, but the bill does include a competitive option calling for non-profit health care cooperatives to be created. However, industry leaders don't seem to be opening up their knee jerk fireworks on this particular proposal. A WaPo analysis points out:
But behind the rhetorical fireworks was a sense that the fragile coalition of major industry leaders and interest groups central to refashioning the nation's $2.5 trillion health-care system remains intact. As they scoured the 223-page document, many of the most influential players found elements to dislike, but not necessarily reasons to kill the effort. Most enticing was the prospect of 30 million new customers.
Although the House GOP has released an 'outline' of what they would like reform to look like, no one on the Right has release anything specific. If they want to continue to claim they support reform, they are going to need to come out with something more than 'Just Say No' campaign style rhetoric.

CNN has a nice comparison chart of the various proposals. Take a peek!

For me, I am beginning to see feature from the various proposal that I like. As one who has been lukewarm to a public option, am curious to learn more about the Baucus non-profit health care cooperative plan.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Inside Target Center - Obama Health Care Visit

Sitting on Press row, watching the crowd come in. Very organized and controlled inside, outside, not so much.

More later - - - -

They showed the President's arrival on the jumbo-tron much to the joy of those in attendance.

Program is scheduled to start around 12:30, with the President speaking by 1:00. I spoke with a White House Press Office member who stated the remarks have not been released yet. I will link them once the are up.


The Presdient has arrived, his remarks are below

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hello, Minneapolis! It is so good to be back in the great state of Minnesota. I hear the Gophers have their home opener in their brand new stadium a little later today. I’d wish them luck, but they’re playing Air Force, and I have to fly home on one of their planes in a few hours.

I don’t know if any of you caught it on television, but the other night I gave a speech to Congress about health care. I can already see that this crowd’s a lot more fun.

But I didn’t just go to Congress to speak to Senators and Representatives. I went to speak on behalf of the American people. You see, I ran for this office because I believed it was time for a government that once again made possible the dreams of middle-class Americans – a government that understands the quiet struggles you wrestle with at the kitchen table or when you’re lying awake at the end of a long day.

Health care is one of those struggles.

If you are one of the tens of millions of Americans who have no health insurance, you live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy. And these are not primarily people on welfare. These are middle-class Americans. Maybe your employer doesn’t offer coverage. Maybe you’re self-employed and can’t afford it. Or maybe you’re one of the millions of Americans who have been denied coverage due to a previous illness or condition that insurance companies decide is too risky or expensive to cover.

In the last twelve months alone, six million more Americans lost their health insurance. And today, we received more disturbing news. A new report from the Treasury Department found that nearly half of all Americans under 65 will lose their health coverage at some point over the next ten years. More than one-third will go without coverage for longer than one year. In other words, it can happen to anyone. There but for the grace of God go I.

But I don’t need to tell you that our health care problems don’t stop with the uninsured. How many of you who have health insurance have ever worried that you might lose it if you lose your job, or change jobs, or move? How many stories have you heard about folks whose insurance company decided to drop their coverage or water it down when they got sick and needed it most? How many of you know someone who paid their premiums every month only to find out that their insurance company wouldn’t cover the full cost of their care?

We’ve all heard these stories. There’s the father I met in Colorado whose child was diagnosed with severe hemophilia the day after he was born. They had insurance, but there was a cap on their coverage. So once the child’s medical bills piled up, he was left to frantically search for another option, or face tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Another woman from Texas was about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne. By the time she had her insurance reinstated, her breast cancer more than doubled in size. These stories are heart-breaking, they are wrong, and no one should be treated that way in the United States of America.

It has now been nearly a century since Teddy Roosevelt first called for health care reform. It has been attempted by nearly every President and Congress ever since. And our failure to get it done – year after year, decade after decade – has placed a burden on families, on businesses, and on taxpayers that we can no longer sustain.

If we do nothing, your premiums will continue to rise faster than your wages. If we do nothing, more businesses will close down and fewer will open in the first place. If we do nothing, we will eventually spend more on Medicare and Medicaid than every other government program combined. That is not an option for the United States of America. So Minnesota, I may not be the first President to take up the cause of health


Friday, September 11, 2009


A link to a list of those lost on that fateful day.



The Pentagon
Arlington, Virginia

9:34 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen and members of the Armed Forces, fellow Americans, family and friends of those that we lost this day -- Michelle and I are deeply humbled to be with you.

Eight Septembers have come and gone. Nearly 3,000 days have passed -- almost one for each of those taken from us. But no turning of the seasons can diminish the pain and the loss of that day. No passage of time and no dark skies can ever dull the meaning of this moment.

So on this solemn day, at this sacred hour, once more we pause. Once more we pray -- as a nation and as a people; in city streets where our two towers were turned to ashes and dust; in a quiet field where a plane fell from the sky; and here, where a single stone of this building is still blackened by the fires.

We remember with reverence the lives we lost. We read their names. We press their photos to our hearts. And on this day that marks their death, we recall the beauty and meaning of their lives; men and women and children of every color and every creed, from across our nation and from more than 100 others. They were innocent. Harming no one, they went about their daily lives. Gone in a horrible instant, they now "dwell in the House of the Lord forever."

We honor all those who gave their lives so that others might live, and all the survivors who battled burns and wounds and helped each other rebuild their lives; men and women who gave life to that most simple of rules: I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

We pay tribute to the service of a new generation -- young Americans raised in a time of peace and plenty who saw their nation in its hour of need and said, "I choose to serve"; "I will do my part." And once more we grieve. For you and your families, no words can ease the ache of your heart. No deeds can fill the empty places in your homes. But on this day and all that follow, you may find solace in the memory of those you loved, and know that you have the unending support of the American people.

Scripture teaches us a hard truth. The mountains may fall and the earth may give way; the flesh and the heart may fail. But after all our suffering, God and grace will "restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." So it is -- so it has been for these families. So it must be for our nation.

Let us renew our resolve against those who perpetrated this barbaric act and who plot against us still. In defense of our nation we will never waver; in pursuit of al Qaeda and its extremist allies, we will never falter.

Let us renew our commitment to all those who serve in our defense -- our courageous men and women in uniform and their families and all those who protect us here at home. Mindful that the work of protecting America is never finished, we will do everything in our power to keep America safe.

Let us renew the true spirit of that day. Not the human capacity for evil, but the human capacity for good. Not the desire to destroy, but the impulse to save, and to serve, and to build. On this first National Day of Service and Remembrance, we can summon once more that ordinary goodness of America -- to serve our communities, to strengthen our country, and to better our world.

Most of all, on a day when others sought to sap our confidence, let us renew our common purpose. Let us remember how we came together as one nation, as one people, as Americans, united not only in our grief, but in our resolve to stand with one another, to stand up for the country we all love.

This may be the greatest lesson of this day, the strongest rebuke to those who attacked us, the highest tribute to those taken from us -- that such sense of purpose need not be a fleeting moment. It can be a lasting virtue.

For through their own lives –- and through you, the loved ones that they left behind –- the men and women who lost their lives eight years ago today leave a legacy that still shines brightly in the darkness, and that calls on all of us to be strong and firm and united. That is our calling today and in all the Septembers still to come.

May God bless you and comfort you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On the Speech

From the Fix:
-- House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) checking his blackberry and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouting "you lie" at Obama -- don't work in Republicans' favor. Remember that while the American public is not sold on Obama's health care plan, overwhelming majorities say they favor the two sides working together to solve the nation's problems. The more Republicans look like they are opposing the Democratic plan for partisan reasons, the more danger they are in politically
That is spot on where I am at. I am simply furious at the Right's refusal to make any efforts to work towards a solution. There are some things in the current proposal that concern me, but the Right's misinformation and distortions lead one to believe they simply don't want the President to succeed, regardless of whether it may be what is best. They'd rather play political ping pong with our lives. Sad, really!

For the record, I didn't watch last night, but I'll read it later.


MORE: Seems Wilson is getting hit hard this AM:
"If he's the face of the GOP, we'll have public option by Columbus Day!" wrote Andisheh Nouraee, a columnist for an alternative weekly in Atlanta, Georgia.

Democrats on Capitol Hill piled on the condemnation as well.

"Biggest disappointment of evening, the total lack of respect show by one member for the president," wrote Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. "Never acceptable to behave like a jerk."

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

2009 FootBlogging, Fantasy Edition

Ladies and Gentleman, the 2009 Spaten Optimator from Munich, Germany. Members of the MN Brass Fantasy Football League (MBIFFL)

Listed in Draft order. 12 team league and I drew the 12th position in the Draft. That should explain my early grab of a QB and Kicker.

RB PHI Westbrook
QB IND Manning
WR BUF Owens
KK NEP Patriots
WR DEN Marshall
WR ATL Gonzalez
WR CIN Coles
WR CHI Olsen
DE CHI Bears
RB NYJ Washington
RB TBB Graham
TE WAS Cooley
QB DEN Broncos

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A New Beginning

The season is over and school begins. Thank to all of you who followed the historic drum corps season. Welcome new readers whom I hope stick around for the flurry of political banter that is to return.

This week is a busy one, with the student address today, and the ramping up of the health care debate.

Today will be a busy one across the board, so strap in and get ready, for we have much work to do.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Success, MN Brass breaks personal Best

The corps came out on fire Sunday evening and separated themselves from the pack to secure 2nd place at the 2009 DCA World Championships. On the left I proudly hold our trophy with the assistance of our FANTASTIC corps director Ann Jones!

Open Class:

1. Buccaneers 99.025
2. Minnesota Brass 97.588
3. Empire Statesmen 96.200
4. Hurricanes 95.838
5. Caballeros 94.238
6. Renegades 90.463
7. Brigadiers 89.225
8. Alliance 89.138
9. Bushwackers 88.963
10. CorpsVets 83.750

This video says it all!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

DCA World Championship Semi Finals

Live from the press box thread is at Drum Corps Planet HERE !

MN Brass Inc is returning to the hotel after a focused rehearsal block, warm up begins at 6:47 PM Eastern time, gate report is at 8:47, blow down the stands and peel faces at 9:04.

We ARE the hornline . . . . this IS the drum corps.


UPDATE: tied for 2nd with the Hurricanes at a 94.875, Buccaneers inching close to their 5th consecutive title with a 97.175.

Here is a clip for MN Brass prelims

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Remembering Lothar, 4 years ago today

This weekend can not over shadow the reality of what happened this day four years ago. Joel 'Lothar' Magnuson, of the Racine Kilties, collapsed during the opener of their Preliminary performance on Saturday, September 3, 2005. Although they were able to re-establish a heart beat when the ambulance left the stadium, he was later pronounced at the hospital.

In 2005, my last performance on the field prior to this year, I was a performing member of the Govenaires. I was in the concourse when I heard what happened, and ran down the stairs to see a lone mellophone laying on the field, and Lothar being worked on just off the 50.

Joel was my bus seat partner in the Blue Stars. That 1980 season was bitter sweet as we just missed finals by placing 13th. Joel and I stayed in touch over the years, and when the Kilties returned, he was a charter member of the re-surging All Age corps. I always looked forward to the Drum Corps season, and an opportunity to visit with my good friend, belt out dirty songs while swigging the beverage of our choice, and taking no prisoners in the process.

Joel was buried in his Uniform, but ribbons cut from the plaid of the very uniform he was wearing that day were made available to those in attendance. On my memorial wall, I have a tribute to Lothar, with the ribbon taped to the obituary with his photo. Before I left for the weekend, I took that picture down, and clipped a small piece from the plaid. I taped it to the brim of my shako, where I will be able to look up, and pay tribute to my fallen brother, before I step off on this historic weekend.

Joel, you are deeply missed and never forgotten. I toast to you often, and think of you repeatedly. Know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers this weekend. And when I take the field, both Saturday and Sunday, you will be with me, in spirit and in uniform.

My Saturday performance is dedicated to you, brother, my first DCA on the field since you left us. I will commit to not letting you down.

For All We Know